Temple of Bon Matin

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The Philadelphia-based noise rock collective Temple of Bon Matin sounds like early Hawkwind jamming with Glenn Branca's guitar orchestra, to the accompaniment of an extremely busy construction site. Their…
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The Philadelphia-based noise rock collective Temple of Bon Matin sounds like early Hawkwind jamming with Glenn Branca's guitar orchestra, to the accompaniment of an extremely busy construction site. Their near-atonal freakouts are as challenging and uncompromising as rock music gets, but they have enough dynamics and compositional ideas to make their records more than simple exercises in repetition and annoyance.

The heart of Temple of Bon Matin is the duo of drummer Ed Wilcox and keyboardist John Mulvaney. Wilcox and Mulvaney are the group's only constants, with other members added and subtracted according to whim. The group's first album was recorded in 1993, but not released until 1995; Thunder, Feedback and Confusion is probably the group's most overtly rock-oriented work, with some of the songs even having recognizable melodies. Although Enduro was released less than a year later, the nearly three years between the recording sessions, added to this album's expanded roster of musicians, means that there's an enormous musical progression between the two, with a strong element of free jazz integrated into the hard rock textures. 1997's Bullet Into Mesmer's Brain is an even more out-there fusion of the MC5, Amon Duul I, and the early Red Krayola; its seven untitled tracks were recorded as live improvisations with an even more experimental Philadelphia ensemble, the Tibetan Bowlers.

Other than a track on the 1997 Hawkwind tribute Assassins of Silence and a collaboration with fellow Bulb Records artist Mr. Velocity Hopkins, Temple of Bon Matin were silent for several years after Bullet Into Mesmer's Brain as Wilcox and Mulvaney worked on other projects. The duo reconvened in 2001 and recorded a brand new fourth album, Cabin in the Sky. A live show from this era was printed up as a limited edition CD-R and sold through the Bulb Records website.