Monday, August 13, 2007

Han Shan - s/t 7''



I just came across this record recently, and it’s pretty typical of the wonderfully obscure stuff available among the blogging community. This is originally ripped and posted by a guy called antithesis, at shallbejudged.blogspot.com. Anyway, (hopefully he won’t mind my stealing this for my first post!) I was attracted enough by the name and artwork of this band to spend considerable time converting 8 songs from .ogg to .mp3.

And boy, was it worth it! Think of the Swing Kids, or possibly Heroin, with a sludgy Black Flag kind of texture… and some weird wind instrument (or saxophone?) playing discordant transitions. The sound quality isn’t great (in fact it’s terrible) but really that doesn’t matter when you have music this fierce. The songs have names like “Black Teagarden” or “Loquat Tree”, keeping up the Oriental Zen theme. Inside, there’s a full-length landscape painting of, well, rocks and trees, and on the reverse an ink drawing of some dude in a kimono or something, overlaid with jumbled, typewritten lyrics like this:




IN AUTUMN the quiet storm, soft wind warm on an autumn night in a small logging town six layers soaked and frozen like muck on a glass-strewn concrete slab (sad oh ow i wish it would rain)and it took so long to figure out what i wanted, the bridges up in flames and no association to moderation cos it’s a long walk and i got a lot of hating to do… so long…

In case you somehow are not familiar with the original Han Shan, I suggest you check out my review of The Dharma Bums on my other blog here, and scroll down to the end of the extract. Or you could go to Wikipedia I guess, but that’s only for people who believe in facts. Or best of all, here’s the bands own explanation:




the poetry of
HAN * SHAN

Han-shan, “Cold Mountain” takes his name from where he lived. He is a Chinese mountain madman from the T’ang dynasty who lived as a recluse, many miles, from any kind of civilization.


Finally, this was released as Soledad Records No. 2 in 1993 and I know absolutely nothing else about it. If anybody who was actually around when all this crazy shit was going on could fill me in on anything more, I’d appreciate it!


Edit: 13/12 received this comment:

"I was the vocalist on this record. It was probably recorded very late 93 or early 94; After End Of The Line was way long gone and John Henry West had recently broke up. Han Shan was a band based out of San Luis Obispo featuring some of the Toad Liquor and Suckerpunch guys. Their singer went awol and I filled in on vocals for a gilman show they came up for. I wasn't doing any bands so they asked me to record the 7" with them. We went down to Dago, Matt from Gravity recorded it in a couple hours in a garage, and I went home to Oakland. A few weeks later we did a gig opening for Karp in Santa Cruz. That was it, end of band. I'm glad people still remember the 7". Some members went on to play in Drunk Horse,Behead The Prophet, Tight Bros, and I started Dragon Rojo, then Salem Lights.

Laters,

Cory Linstrum"





Han Shan - s/t 7" - divshare / mediafire

24 comments:

blend77 said...

good first post!

this is gonna be a great blog. i already can tell..

^_^

papstar said...

awesome band....good post

gabbagabbahey said...

Thanks guys!

As you can tell, I have a love for all things Zen...

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sapila said...

ex-end of the line, pre-john henry west

Savage Damage said...

I was the vocalist on this record. It was probably recorded very late 93 or early 94; After End Of The Line was way long gone and John Henry West had recently broke up. Han Shan was a band based out of San Luis Obispo featuring some of the Toad Liquor and Suckerpunch guys. Their singer went awol and I filled in on vocals for a gilman show they came up for. I wasn't doing any bands so they asked me to record the 7" with them. We went down to Dago, Matt from Gravity recorded it in a couple hours in a garage, and I went home to Oakland. A few weeks later we did a gig opening for Karp in Santa Cruz. That was it, end of band. I'm glad people still remember the 7". Some members went on to play in Drunk Horse,Behead The Prophet, Tight Bros, and I started Dragon Rojo, then Salem Lights.
Laters,
Cory Linstrum

gabbagabbahey said...

thanks Cory,

I put your comment into the body of the post. I gotta say, JHW and the Han Shan 7" are big faves for me... so sludgy and abrasive yet strangely melodic. Anything on who did the lyrics or artwork for this record? Also, I hear a very similar guitar sound between Han Shan and JHW - apologies if I sound like I'm talking out of my ass, I don't know anything about music, but did you play guitar too?

hope you voted on the Mike Kirsch poll!

- gabba

Sapila said...

Cory, how do Dragon Rojo sound like? I've been searching for that 7" for a while...

sapila said...

For those who still care about this band, I found recordings with the previous vocalist. And the sound quality is way better!

rgratzer said...

Ananda from Jeberrekenelle, and such, recently posted the Reality Control? comps (santa barbara-area based stuff), and the first one has four Han Shan tracks.

Is there any way to re-do this 7"? I'd like to hear it. I started downloading it a few days ago, but it didn't work completely.

gabbagabbahey said...

here's the han shan 7" on mediafire, with artwork:
http://www.mediafire.com/?esjxljuuhwy

those songs on the Reality Control? comp are the same as on this record.

rgratzer said...

Thanks Gabba!

rgratzer said...

I was about to say, hey this sounds like End of the Line... but then I kept reading and figured out the connection.

This is great. End of the Line is one of my favorites, so it's nice to have something else in such a close vein.

Also, you mention Swing Kids a lot. Do you listen to Crimson Curse? They sound similar, and are mostly the same band, if I remember correctly.

gabbagabbahey said...

I've heard a few Crimson Curse songs, they're pretty good. I think maybe the name put me off, though.

And I do mention Swing Kids a lot, thanks for noticing...

rgratzer said...

No problem :)

I like Swing Kids, but never got big into them. I just checked them out because they had members of Struggle. Same with Crimson Curse. The CC CD came with a live video, which was pretty cool.

gabbagabbahey said...

Whenever I want to be reminded of how great Swing Kids are, I put on '43 Seconds' and wait for the middle part, where everything shuts down and goes real quiet, except for the bass, which gets slower and slower (and quieter and quieter) until you don't think he can keep it up anymore, but he does...

and then BAM! They start playing again, complete chaos. Amazing. But that's just my opinion :)

Speaking of Gravity bands, do you know Earthless at all? It has the drummer from Clikatat Ikatowi (another of my all time faves, and for the jazzy rhythms as much as anything else as well...). I saw a record shop in Dublin had the vinyl for 10 euro, thought I might get it....

Shawn said...

Hiya,

My name is Shawn. I was the drummer for Han Shan on both the Reality Control comp and the 7". The tracks on the comp are from a different recording session and actually feature Chris Pontias of Jack Ass fame on vocals. Cool that some people are still into this.

gabbagabbahey said...

hi!

really, Christ Pontius? I must listen to those Reality Control tracks soon.

thanks for the comment (and the correction)

awesome band.

johnisaacson said...

My first year of college at Oberlin in 1994 I started writing to Dave from Suckerpunch cause I was way into that band. He sent me a live or practice tape of Han Shan that blew my head off. They cover the Devo song "Girl Your Want" on the tape. It's pretty sick. This band also got me into the poetry of Han Shan, who I recommend. English translations by Gary Snyder and Burton Watson are pretty good. The fact that a punk band fused their aesthetic with ancient Chinese poetry changed my perception of the possibilities of hardcore.

gabbagabbahey said...

hi, john.

I guess the poetry of Han Shan got me into this band; kinda the reverse. Like I say in the review, I knew him from Jack Kerouac's The Dharma Bums (in which Gary Snyder of course appears as Japhy Ryder). But I totally agree with your last statement; very well put.

btw, your blogs are genius. I might put a link in the sidebar to your live reviews comix; excellent stuff!

Shawn said...

wow, i don't even have any of our live stuff. that recording must be from our gillman st show, as that was the only time we played a cover.

I've put up a Han Shan myspace page just for fun:

http://www.myspace.com/hanshanband

gabbagabbahey said...

yep, I linked it in this post here: http://hardcorefornerds.blogspot.com/2008/04/myspacecom-han-shan.html

also, it explains where the rips of the 7" originally came from...

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Anonymous said...

cool