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coverpic flag US - New York - Full Moon 75 - 11/20/02

Black Dice
Beaches & Canyons

Dude, I swear I see Igor Wakhevitch every few days, dressing out into some blood red Speedos at my local location of New York Health & Squashball Society in lower Manhattan. It looks just like him: the sinister teeth protruding, awkwardly snarling, with the gold wire glasses, pulled taut cheeks, and hay-straw hair exactly as unkempt as in the liner notes. Maybe his hawk is perched in the talc-dusted locker. However, the shower stalls are not really the place or time to approach anyone (in)famous, much less make eye contact with, but I also avoid him even on the neighboring Stairmaster machines or during low-impact aerobics classes, as the thought of hearing his breath hiss or the strained grunts anywhere other than out of a knob-controlled speaker still creeps the bejeezus outta me.

It all started after a particularly drenching sauna session, watching the distilled sweat collate and splatter in moist-spot mosaic patterns along the planks while listening to the piped-in New Age chirps (or is it the beginning of Leave the City?) of some sorta seabird (Side A), drip after drip, that I heard the most curious sound emanate from the steam room next door. Surely it was only the gurgling and humming of one of the elder Vietnamese monks that chant against the indomitable ceramics in there when they ain't folding towels, I told myself. My pool purified, the sweat from my bowed back like bat wings drizzling down the wooden walls, I made my way into the miasma of that other room, where the hidden pipes howl and spit vapor even further into the unfathomable haze, obscuring the metrical structures of the white tiles that expand beneath my toes and beyond my drenched head. As I step deeper into the pale morass, I hear this dire deep groaning escalate, into something both angelic and guttural, inhaling the peculiarly fecund medicinal stench of the steam, and emitting this sound. The eucalyptus clouds part just enough, and there he is, Wakhevitch, shvitzing hisself. And geez, he's got the biggest balls I ever seen! They are heaving like a yeasty skin puddle swelling across the entire inlaid shelf of the steam room. I don't know how he can even walk the streets with such ruddy things thudding the inner thighs of that guy!

I race out of there and head towards the subway as fast as I can, not even bothering to change back into street clothes, just clutching at the chamois-like towel as I run the streets. My skin glows now, the Manhattan streets leering and lashing across my pores, growing feverish. The heart slows into this lugubrious bump and tidal gut-sloshing as I thunder down the steps of the subway, turning deeper and deeper into the underground eels of oncoming trains. Even though things will never be the same (Side A 2) at the gym, I really need a vacation away from the streets, from the screeching peals of the underground.

And wouldn't you know it, right next to me on the subway, there's Hisham himself, the Vajrapani of Brooklyn's own Black Dice, with purple laces and vacation place recommendations. I try to tell him about the ball sacs of Hathor and Doctor Faust's daddy, but there are more of the other voices, commuting and commingling their muttering as smeared and chirped layers. Their throats peel, pull asunder, slur beyond words into sullied gurgles and cymbals. I'm discombobulated enough that I chatter on and on about his band, only I keep slipping up and calling them "Black Dick," like the old raunchy comedian from the seventies. The only one I remember saying is: "Williamsburg definitely needs more Black Dick," kinda loud, which turns a few hipster heads on the way beyond all limits. I mean it though, in the Freudian sense (being 2 LPs worth of action, that's twenty four inches of black wax, you do the math), with the whole shower room shenanigans and all. Psychoanalyzed in a shaking subway car with hari Krishnas rattling and chanting, the tunnel walls turn to burning bricks and structural rupture, the train tracks clouting louder and louder in rapture. The dream is going down (Side B), obviously.

By the time I get home, I realize my only hope of tubular and testicular erasure lies in finding that most singular of Andean nose-flute field recordings and throwing it on the turntable. It has already melted though, and the closest thing at hand is Vision Creation Newsun and UFOrb, which does the meat-and-to-veg transition nicely, balanced somewhere between its crescent cycles of carnal beats and burbling, vegetative slobber states. All the way through its peaks of glistening perdition and ebbs of restorative warm mud rub, in finely grooved undulations and pulsations of an endless happiness (Side C). I can feel the sexual tension just melt away with its subliminal waves as the sonic wallpaper massages me down. Serenity now!

Sometimes those malignant feelings come back to me, in reverie, the waves receding back to reveal the shattered black masses right under the skin at the gym, mashing back into sentient sands. The nerve-endings vibrate heavenwards and descend back down into the infinite jags of the big drop (Side D), as if it is but one gesture. Edgy and roaring now like razors over areolas and the sensitized tissues when it all returns, it reverts then to placated coos even as that selfsame pain revivifies into this levitating, lethean, cell-numbing pleasure. It's dope! The River Styx has never been so resort-like, even among the rivulets of sweat that run parallel to it.

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