Thursday, April 26, 2007

Henry Flynt & Nova’billy

“I Was A Creep (Soul Mash)” b/w “Left Ear (Greensboro Senior High Song)”
Locust Music

In 1975 Henry Flynt was the hillbilly of the NYC avant-garde scene. The Greensboro, NC native embraced the drone music that emanated from the likes of La Monte Young and even did a brief stint in the Velvet Underground. Both played powerful roles in shaping his musical vision, but he had no problem poking fun at them with a wave of his fiddle stick.

Flynt retired his fiddle circa ’83 and for a time his recordings slipped into obscurity. But as his catalogue is slowly unearthed his Southern fried sensibilities culminate in hours of graceful minimalism. However, these live cuts, recorded in 1975 capture a sound torn between the Velvets’ heroine haze while eyeballing no wave looming on the horizon. Flynt breaks the tension with a rollicking country-blues strut.

“I Was A Creep (Soul Mash)” is a funky number that explodes with Saturday Night Live-style saxophone exuberance. Flynt’s Muppet voice honks through the muddy recording qualities that sand off the detailed edges.

The flip side, “Left Ear (Greensboro Senior High Song)” is a tangle of high and lonesome twang and hooks. Flynt shreds the strings with a passion that transcends the uptight arts of the times. Rockabilly guitar licks go round-for-round with the violin in a high energy exchange. Nova’billy’s line-up remains anonymous, but the record is a monumental blast in the secret history of Henry Flynt; one that casts a raucous light on his aesthetic.

--Chad Radford