starts with this sunburst: drummer Ed Wilcox's voice seemingly echoing
through a huge canyon. He sounds desperately angry and yells these open-ended
questions into the void. You can't understand them you just get
a feel for what's happening. At the end of the song, drums come rumbling
in, and it all kind of fades out.
think what happened next was Wilcox came down off the mountain and hit
somebody in the head with a giant human bone he'd made a weapon out
of. Then he ate that person's heart to gain the strength within. The
problem is, he feels guilty for having done it. So he has these night
fevers that won't go away, and they come out in these creepy, shamanic
poems he screeches all over this record. The moral is that survival
is ugly. I'm projecting a little bit, maybe, but there is no doubt this
music was made from some kind of inner battle, and the shit is heavy
and weird. That's good.
of Bon Matin has been around for years now and has released music and
toured extensively in total obscurity, at least partially for the reasons
just described. The brainchild of Wilcox, the group is made up of a
revolving door of varyingly able musicians, with the drummer assembling
people for whatever he happens to be interested in playing at the time.
I first encountered Temple, Wilcox was fusing his spirit-drum free rock
to elements of jazz. Specifically it was a show at the long-dead Cocodrie,
and Wilcox was on all fours whispering into these tiny hand cymbals
arranged in a row on the floor of the stage. Over the years, the music
has evolved into an earthier, more tribal thing, with increasing amounts
of New Agey-ness creeping in, making for a sort of spiritual catharsis
rock. Infidel goes even deeper into the jungle than the prayerful "Shining
Path" and the "Mule Skinner" chant that opened Temple's
2003 release, Cabin in the Sky (Bulb).
album has the usual TOBM confluence of 10 zillion types of music melded
into a single, hurtling freak-out that, almost inexplicably, is as linked
to straight rock forms as it is to free experimentation. Wilcox has
always hidden this rock underpinning beneath mountains of no-fi recording
techniques, diverting noise, and barely decipherable chanting, but never
has he come this close to releasing such a traditional collection of
"songs," with the vocals so upfront and intelligible. Still,
because Wilcox's musical identity operates on some primal level, the
stuff comes out as totally beyond fucked, and from any other band, it
would not sound even close to conventional. There are other folks flirting
with this sort of "New Age energy rock," but Wilcox takes
it way beyond the parameters of what's been done before. Mike McGuirk
Francisco Bay Guardian
Wilcox is constantly refining his art, his message. As a painter, he
describes what you will find in his work with, my love of circus,
the unrepentant whim of the Cobra Group, the recycled resurrections
of Eduardo Paolozzi, and most important to me, Persian and Mongul miniatures.
Wilcox approaches his musical efforts with the same level of thoughtfulness
and joy in exploration. A self-declared SPACE METAL band,
there is much influence of Sun Ra (Philadelphia for crissakes!) as there
is Judas Priest. Together with a crop of accomplished and loyal fellow
travelers, the TEMPLE OF BON MATIN has ventured in and out of sight,
but has continually remained true to Ed's single vision of pushing clattering
jazz through the heaviness of hard rock. The result is always explosive
and primal, always BON MATIN.
TEMPLEs sixth full length, is the record made when the pedal hits
the metal. A full on blow out featuring Ed's powerful shouts and revving
drum attack, amidst psychedelic-punk guitar blasts and blaring horns.