Winner of the Ear/eye award 2020
Nun Gun is the award-winning multimedia collaboration between visual artist Brad Feuerhelm, and musicians Lee Tesche and Ryan Mahan of the acclaimed band Algiers. Mondo Decay marks the outfit’s debut release, an audiovisual dialogue that pairs 144-pages of Feuerhelm’s malformed post-industrial gazing photography with an accompanying original soundtrack cassette produced by Tesche and Mahan.
Mondo Decay focuses the group’s critical practice on the genre of horror itself, most notably the troubling sights and sounds of 60s and 70s Italian Mondo, cannibal and zombie exploitation films by Gualtiero Jacopetti, Umberto Lenzi, and Lucio Fulci. Instead of the “savage” tropical climes as employed by the genre’s directors, the exoticism found in original Mondo films has been subverted to look at the failings of capitalism in the West.
Musically, this examination finds Tesche and Mahan disassembling, slowing down, and reconstituting the aural hellscapes of Riz Ortolani, Roberto Donati, and Fabio Frizzi’s scores, creating an uncanny and unsettling chopped and screwed cacophony of dubbed out noise, doom-jazz, rap, and post-industrial-stained death disco.
In the process, the duo summon an array of experimental techniques borrowed from the likes of tape music vanguard Halim El-Dabh, Vladimir Ussachevsky and Delia Derbyshire; dub and bass culture innovators King Tubby and Scientist; and Houston dance music and rap pioneers Darryl Scott and DJ Screw, drawing a line of inquiry into the musical concept of decay. By embracing the same antiquated resources—various tape recorders, tape echoes, low-bit-rate samplers, and short wave radio equipment—Tesche and Mahan explore the deterioration and abstraction of Feuerhelm’s imagery through decaying frequencies, phrases, and recording mediums.
Contributions from the Pop Group’s Mark Stewart; Chicago no-wave industrial gospel godfathers ONO; Cleveland, Ohio’s genre and gender non-conforming Black Culture amalgam Mourning [A] BLKstar; renowned authors Blake Butler, Sohail Daulatzai and Michael Salu; Brazil-born, Berlin-based visual artist Luiza Prado; and musician/designer Farbod Kokabi, give voice to the sound of future-oriented de-colonial subjectivity and help to further realize the anxiety-fueled, pandemic-induced isolationism roaming throughout the album’s cinematic 48-minutes.
Mondo Decay, purports to flip the lens on what is exotic now and what life feels like under the extended lockdown and oppressive moment.