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Miami Native and Former Harry Pussy Guitarist Bill Orcutt Plays Brooklyn

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Miami's eclectic, schizophrenic contributions to musical

history run the full color spectrum and are recently being documented by our sister publication Miami New Times. From 2 Live Crew to the Miami Sound Machine to Phoenicia

to the Laundry Room Squelchers, our identity as a geographically isolated and

completely mentally fucked city is special. No other group personified this dementia better than 1990s act Harry Pussy.

Beginning in 1992, main members Adris Hoyos (drums, vocals) and Bill Orcutt (guitar) crafted insane, complex compositions that came off sounding like a harrowing mess to any listener not willing to commit to the insanity. You had to fully give yourself to the hysteria: The sounds emanating from Hoyos' frenetic vocal and drum assaults (sometimes playful, sometimes destructive) and Orcutt's guitar work that barreled through the room like a freight train of desire, emotion, and unbridled fucking rage that could suddenly and seamlessly transition into soft guitar meanderings from one beat to the next. 


Bridging these disparate sensations was the omnipresent breathing -- always gasping, panting -- of Hoyos between each of the band's live numbers (and sometimes even on studio recordings). They were a quintessentially "Miami" band with a badass Cuban female drummer from Hialeah who ripped into you and had not a single fuck to give, coupled (literally at the time, as they were in a relationship) with Orcutt, who was also born and raised in the County of Dade. 

With the addition of Dan Hosker on second guitar during their later years, the group only improved, becoming tighter, more cohesive, more devastating. This yielded some of their best work both on tape and in live performances. They were badass motherfuckers, still revered by the noise music community as one of the greatest noise groups ever. And they came from our own fucking city.

With that in mind, New Times asked me to attend Orcutt's performance at the Roulette in Brooklyn, New York, marking the rerelease of the long-out-of-print HP classic Let's Build a Pussy as well as a new release of early (some old, some already previously released on seven-inch and such) Walkmen recordings by the band called One Plus One. The lineup for the evening was slated to be a solo set by virtuoso drummer Chris Corsano (known for his work with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and saxophonist Paul Flaherty in their duo the Hated Music), a solo guitar set by Orcutt, and a final rare duo performance by Orcutt and Corsano. Fuck yeah.

 

Drummer Chris Corsano's solo set featured some prepared music running through a small amplifier whilst the drummer added occasional atmospherics. The set culminated with some trademark Corsano free-jazz acrobatic stylings, playing like a bald-headed, deranged octopus. I've literally seen this guy play the drums with parts of his head in the past, so if you ever get a chance to see him live -- either solo or accompanying any other musicians -- please do so. Words can't really do justice to the mix of prowess and improvisational instinct with which he effortlessly pounds out a blissful racket.

After a brief intermission, Bill Orcutt took the stage with his acoustic guitar, joked with the crowd about some bar called "Hank's," and launched himself into a set consisting of about three five- to six-minute compositions similar in style to his opening piece sampled below:


Much of the set was similar to this brief vid I shot, but also showcased some light finger-picking touches that mixed in well with the Roulette's old theater ambiance. All throughout Orcutt was transfixed with the sounds emanating from his guitar. He followed along with oblong melodies that vacillate between following what the guitar is doing to occasional yelps and hollers.

The night's final set consisted of a duo set by Corsano and Orcutt. It was more in the Harry Pussy vein than any of the solo work I've seen Orcutt do in the past, but maintaining much of his own guitar stylings. Most of the material seemed pretty improvisational in nature (with perhaps some slight cues and extremely basic musical playbooking by the two seasoned noise, free jazz vets) and their unfamiliarity with each other flashed from time to time. However, they mentioned an upcoming weeklong tour that will likely tighten things up and only get better and better as they familiarize each other with their tendencies and tactics.

A couple samples from the joint set below:


Orcutt's amp fuse died right at the end of this clip (fuckin' shitty '70s Fender Silverface Twin Reverbs...) so after a short break to retrieve a different amp:


Fuckin' classic.

Tour dates for Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano can be found here. You can pick up Harry Pussy's new/old record here.  Dan Hosker forever.



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