Anarchistwood – Chiasmata
Chiasmata is like a psychedelic narrative that paints a crazy world an even brighter hue.
Anarchistwood defy description. Live they are a prank rock theatrical experience with face paint, costumes and props creating an assault on the senses. On record they are way beyond the average punk rock and anarcho punk boundaries. In this way I think they do a great job of reinvigorating the “be yourself and be different” ethos of early punk rock.
As people this band are firmly entrenched in the DIY punk world. Last time I saw their singer Funk Cutter she was doing the door at a South London Punk Collective gig and their drummer Charlie was behind the stool for long serving and grossly underrated anarcho fleabags Bug Central. Their bass player Mitch can be seen playing for Hagar The Womb. And Paul Candiflp Blackwood could often be found behind the counter of his beloved All Ages Records. Sadly he is no longer with us but he had recorded his parts for this album which gives us more of his mischief legacy with which to remember him. He also created some of the art that adorns this record’s sleeve.
Anarchistwood are more like a freeform collective than a band with a revolving number of extra members appearing, depending on who is available. I’ve even heard rumours of them having two bass players at once which I can well believe. With a host of additional instruments, the cast of players on this album could field two, if not three, football teams.
On this recording, which kicks off with “Fear” (see also their film Fear Is The Mind Killer) they fuse together plenty of different influences. Punk, space rock, goth, grunge, funk, noise, you name it they dabble in it or borrow from it. I hear elements of Crass, particularly around the time of Christ The Album, early Banshees, The Cure, Hawkwind, The Orb, early Chumbawamba and more. There are floaty interludes where techno meets dub in a space rock capsule. Funk Cutter’s strong vocal dominates and has an American movie twang which at times wavers and quivers and at others delivers in a deadpan style. I can’t help but be reminded of L7 in the strong delivery of her words. There’s plenty of brass instrumentation which gives this another dimension altogether.
Chiasmata is like a psychedelic narrative that paints a crazy world an even brighter hue. You can hear the popular Fight War Not Wars refrain. There is a faux advert for Permaculture. Ridicule of global politics. Among the sometimes cryptic lyrics I get a rejection of mainstream society and at times perhaps a rejection of perceived reality. Anarchistwood are a trip. If you like the weird and wonderful you will find this beautiful.