Shareholder – Jimmy Shan
Dirgey, dirtpool jams masquerading as situationist prank highlights the critic as curator
I’m looking at a cassette with a picture of a skull and some clouds loitering over a silhouette of Edinburgh with a clock tower. On the side of the inlay card it reads ‘Jimmy Shan by Shareholder’. Inside are some titles and an unattributed quote about singing songs, and on the front is a logo of a 4x4 with ‘Know Your Enemy’ series. This much I know. Correction, this is all I know.
Reviewing can throw you curveballs and this is certainly one. Like that Wu-Tang album that only existed on a hard drive in an art gallery, I’m not sure if anyone else will get to hear this tape of dirgey dirtpool jams, or how they even go about it (unless it’s by West Bromwich Albion’s current Under-21 coach, Jimmy Shan, which really would be a curveball).
Instead, I like to think of this whole thing being an elaborate situationist prank: let’s make a tape of no-fi, guitar scuzz with vocals that sound like they were recorded by a cement mixer and get it reviewed even though it will never actually exist outside this realm. The critic as curator, medium, sole archivist. If a cassette of feedback-drenched sloth rock only exists in my old Walkman alone, does it really exist? Deep.
The tape is blank, incidentally, apart from ‘Know 14’ written with a Sharpie. There have been 13 others before this one. Have they all been hurtled into the same void? No idea. In many ways it’s not relevant as stuff on the outer limits does have a habit of finding listeners, and fate will see that this will meander its way into the tape decks of those seeking out an atrophied lump of swamp noise. And this inelegance is something to behold. Shareholder’s sludgy guitar barf and desiccated vocals won’t chime with many, but if you get it, you will get it. That’s if you can find it.