I bought a copy of the new Carlos Gonzales comic, Micro Pitch, at the Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Fest. It’s available at the Picturebox website, for those who didn’t make it. Keeping up with Carlos is tricky: His music project, Russian Tsarlag, is inordinately prolific, with, by my count, four releases so far this year, two on cassette and two on LP, and they’ve been quickly scooped up by obsessives- The best of these, the Midnight At Mary’s House LP, was no longer available from Not Not Fun shortly after its release, but is still maybe available from distributors. His newest tape, Sleeping On Stage, is available from Mickey Zacchilli’s Price Tapes label, and the tumblr has it available for download. In performance, he kills it. Carlos also makes movies released on VHS, that I think are generally edited in-camera. I’ve seen one of these, Bazic Street, which was his attempt at something feature length, and the copy I saw was a second-generation dub. It’s pretty good.
Carlos’ comics are drawn in a style that is not immediately appealing, I don’t think, with uniformly thin lines and difficult-to-distinguish character designs. The instrumentation on his records is similarly rudimentary, and the production values for his films are essentially nil. None of this matters, as Carlos’ storytelling sense is incredibly compelling. Everything in Micro Pitch is melting, falling apart, the nature of the reality itself is falling apart, and somehow things are crystal clear getting across these abstract ideas. Within the idiom Carlos has chosen, he is able to do whatever he wants: The music conjures the dim light of the lounge, things get desolate, mysterious. The atmosphere he attains is somewhere between David Lynch and Carnival Of Souls, but grounded in the images of a broader Americana: Micro Pitch is about baseball and microwaves. David Lynch, however, is consciously going for “art,” but it seems like Carlos is actively seeking to make garbage that transcends itself, charging up objects and moments with a potential energy of horror and weirdness. But they’re not terrifying, they are fairly funny and light, but they have a mania to them, like an impassioned monologue.