fever dreams of a plush boob: joe murray on no basement is deep enough

November 5, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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Alvaro: The Chilean with the Singing Nose – 1978 (tape, No Basement is Deep Enough, NBIDE#27, edition of 60 packaged in ‘breast-shaped construction’)

Fleshtone Aura – Wet Cocomo (tape, No Basement is Deep Enough, NBIDE#29, edition of 55 packaged in ‘triffid-shaped construction’)

Lieven Martens Moana – The Volcano, The Night that precedes all, and a hymn for Paul Gauguin (tape, No Basement is Deep Enough, ‘purple tape in leather-look wallet painted and bubbling faecal mess’)

Horaflora – No Roof is High Enough (tape, No Basement is Deep Enough, NBIDE#26, edition of 49, ‘blue tape wrapped up in multi-coloured plastic rope’)

alvaro

Alvaro: The Chilean with the Singing Nose – 1978

A true original.   Grey-beard Alvaro was born in Chile in the 1940’s then moved to London as Punk gobbed and pogo-ed its way into the Bill Grundy Show.  For a time he was a 101’er, some cockney pre-punk pub-boys, with a bloke called Strummer but luckily he had the sense to move on before things got stale and boring.

Rejecting Punk’s uniform but rejoicing in easy-listening, avant-garde composition and wonderful daftness in three equal parts Alvaro sits down at his piano to come up with…err… I’m not quite sure.

To my tender ears I can pick out something that sounds like the Goon’s Bluebottle (possibly a quality of the nose) with the magic-realist lyrics of an Ivor Cutler.  Songs concern themselves with a number of domestic situations: a love of honey, mothers milk and in one case being made of wood.  But this never comes across a faux-naive or affected, it’s all utterly convincing.

For me the piano sound is a big part of the draw.  It does that wonderful swooping thing, a slightly warped thing, making it all sound wide-eyed like Charlie Brown cartoons.  An instant memory-bomb that detonates in less complicated times.

These lovely piano-led songs are punctuated by the occasional spoken word spiel, sax bleat or drums to keep it spicy.  But it’s all kept simple and pretty uncluttered with the kind of frail gossamer-touch that Robert Wyatt musters up.

Side one ends with an augmented domestic field recordings (dentist chatter/water running/tuneless singing/plastic pipe whistle) that is as bang up-to-date as anything in the no-audience underground today.

You could waggle that ‘outsider artist’ card if you like but I think that’s a bit of a red herring.  I think Alvaro (recording here in 1978) is exactly where he wants to be, doing exactly what he wants to do with confidence and, with a quality you don’t get every day, charm.

Fleshtone Aura

Fleshtone Aura – Wet Cocomo

OK.  You wrestle with the Triffid/Venus Fly Trap package and stick the tape in.  You ponder, is this jizz any good or what?

Thankfully the oval sounds within match the green construction without.

Fleshtone Aura is the one and very Andrew Zuckerman, half of mung-faves Gastric Female Reflex and involved in the very collectable Beniffer Editions label.

Found sound, loops and accidental damage are the kings here all netted up and laid out like noxious butterflies.  Fleshtone Aura provides the base material and it’s the listener that has to join the dots into <><><><><><> patterns.  Are you ready readers?

The different approaches work well.  Found tapes of ‘X Factor-style’ auditions are charming and cheeky, the Wii sounding electronics frothy like bubble tea.  Recorded cat squeals and deep throated bilge nestle up against brightly-blurring vash.  But the scratched electronics stop anything becoming over-twee.  The velocity is generally quick…the edit pieces are less music concrete and more attention deficit disorder channel-hopping but there’s plenty of space to stretch out and enjoy the fuzz if you are patient.

The teenage rampage card is played several times but FAura can’t help being god-damn classy on the tape’s closer, ‘Gomer’s Frontispiece’, in which wet digital clicking pitches against brass horn (downtuned) like the kinda thing Scott Walker should be thinking of next.

Listen or buy here or see NBIDE links below.

Lieven Martens Moana

Lieven Martens Moana – The Volcano, The Night that precedes all, and a hymn for Paul Gauguin

Real name realness from Dolphins into the Future main-mung.  DITF were the red-hot tip a year or two ago, name checked in Pitchfork and The Guardian.  We dig a little deeper here at Radio Free Midwich so here’s an early pitch of the solo, real name project.  Always an interesting prospect that when a moniker-beard goes back to the birth name.  Must mean something; a glimpse under the rug?  A trueness of intention?

The jams on this handsome purple tape are superb right from the off.  Deep gaseous whales moan and croon churning the briny and vibrating atom to atom with greater efficiency than through air.  Therefore the ‘gungs’ and ‘tungs’ meet my ear and melt into the fibrous bristle within.  Like wallpaper paste its thick and gloopy but strong with purpose, an aid to mesmerism perhaps?  The final snatch of close-vocal harmony (recorded in a Paris side-street) snaps me from my stunned state and prepares me to get up and turn this fella over.

Side two is an extended vocal piece for voices and recorded tape titled ‘Lava (The Bells from Above)’.  It’s beautifully tropical with a Howler Monkey vibe that moves to greedily rising tones surging onwards and onwards, higher and higher like pure sine waves until my merely human ears become useless.  The final section blends the sounds of the Maldives (noisy birds and insects) with a sonorous gong adding its own bronze gravity.

There’s a beautiful laziness to these recordings.  I don’t mean things are careless or idle.  They take their own time to do what they need to do and, as a result of that, force you to too.  Prepare these for the cocktail hour!  Meet me on the veranda with a Mint Julep at six o’clock.

Horaflora

Horaflora – No Roof is High Enough

Horaflora  is just one guy going by the name of Raub Roy.  He seems to be a busy fella up to his eyes in sonic experiments with a whole flotilla of names, dudes and radgies.

On this little tape he’s pretty much on his own, crouched on a rooftop, recording Cambodian Singing Kite Bows.  Singing bows give off a harsh buzzing as the wind rushes by; loud enough to scare away squirrels and deep enough to summon the spirits.  It’s not a gazillion miles away from the vibrations of a throat-singing guy but with the added twinkle of bells and very subtle sound manipulation it’s an altogether prettier listen.  Perfect if you are after something light, yet still with experimental credentials, at the end of a busy day.

—ooOoo—

No Basement Is Deep Enough – Discogs

No Basement Is Deep Enough – Soundcloud

No Basement Is Deep Enough – Flickr

2 Comments »

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  1. Nice little satxhels of revue! The Horaflora tape.is.actually called ‘No Roof Is High Enough’

    Back to the sonic ezperiments!!

    • Hey Raub – cheers for the comment, glad you enjoyed Joe’s article. Tape title updated – always happy to correct matters of fact here at RFM. Proper journalism, innit? With love, Rob H x


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