I’ve written about Missing Foundation here entirely too many times, even as recently as this past September. In any event… here’s another installment to that saga.
Way back when, while Missing Foundation’s cryptic insignia may have been sprayed, scrawled, scratched and/or angrily carved onto virtually every decaying edifice southeast of 14th Street, actual, tactile documents of the band’s music weren’t quite as plentiful. Given their arguable infamy and notoriety for chaotic performances that frequently culminated in wanton property damage and the occasional riot, many may have suggested, at the time, that any records Missing Foundation produced might have almost been incidental; sonically ugly side-dishes to the malignantly deafening entrée that was their incendiary live incarnation. But whether those records were simply a means-to-an-end or more likely just the victims of shoddy distribution didn’t matter to me. Having had my curiosity piqued by the band’s eerily pugnacious flyer campaign circa 1989, I was determined to find those Missing Foundation records.
Suffice to say, that task was significantly more tricky than just walking into Crazy Eddie’s.
As luck would have it, however, in the summer of 1990, or so, a fittingly-albeit-unwittingly doomed record label called Restless Records saw fit to unleash MF’s third album, the cheerily titled Ignore the White Culture, along with re-releasing the band’s earlier works, Demise, 1933: Your House is Mine (that was my favorite) and their eponymous debut from 1987. In one fell swoop, I’d gone from famine to feast in the MF department.
Pressing play on the first track of 1989’s Demise, that being “A Hunting We Will Go,” was something of a startling revelation. Some months earlier, I remember dropping the needle on Scumdogs of the Universe, the second album by GWAR and being so let down by how comparatively polished the band sounded in contrast to their cartoonishly ultra-violent image. That first airing of Demise was the complete opposite experience. While Missing Foundation didn’t have an image like GWAR’s – or, really, any discernible “image” at all -- they had accrued that afore-cited nefarious mystique of being uber-agitpropagandizers. Opening with the strains of what sounds like actual police action at a riot (punctuated by sirens and a woman’s emphatic scream of “DON’T YOU FUCKING HIT HIM, YOU PIG!”), the music -– such as it is -- kicks in with a sluggish, lurching rumble atop primary instigator Peter Missing’s anguished moaning and semi-garbled invective as barked through a megaphone. While somewhat reminiscent of the similarly user-hostile, equally No-Wave-inspired outpourings of early SWANS, MF lacked that band’s disciplined, slave-ship gait, in favor of ….well….writhing cacophony. Easy listening this was not.
Anyway, long story short, Missing Foundation’s albums fleetingly came back into print for a bit. They released one further uncompromising album, 1992’s Go Into Exile before Restless Records collapsed and Missing Foundation, or that iteration of it, disbanded.
Fast forward almost 27 years later, and the physical manifestation of music isn’t quite as much of a priority as it once was, a development that has both revolutionized and disemboweled the music industry – an apparatus Missing Foundation were never totally on board with to begin with. While there are still folks – like myself – who collect such things with furtive reverence, most people, it seems, stream their music, these dats. As such, given the advent of various digital platforms, actually hearing certain music is easier than ever before. Personally speaking, I continue to prefer CD’s and LPs. Whatever.
That all brings us to the point of this long-winded post. While their albums may have been difficult to prize back in the day, through the magic of Bandcamp, you can now pretty much avail yourself to the entirety of Missing Foundation’s discography, including the newly released Hamburg 1984, their comparatively slick (for MF) and entirely listenable collaboration with KMFDM.
Via this handy aggregation, you can hear some of my favorite selections like “Pistol Archive,” the afore-mentioned “A Hunting We Will Go,” the riff-blitzkrieg of “Jameel’s Turmoil” (including a more recent live airing of same), “Kill the Hypnotic Bastards” and, of course, “Burn Trees.”
More on Missing Foundation ...