through our cat’s head: joe murray on lieutenant caramel, nils quak, robert ridley-shackleton, the moth kingdom, buddly tuckers

March 18, 2016 at 10:23 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Lieutenant Caramel – Überschallknall (tape, SPAM / Meudiademorte Records, Spam 15, edition of 60)

Nils Quak – In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni (tape, SPAM / Meudiademorte Records, Spam 14, edition of 40)

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – God (tape, Cardboard Club)

The Moth Kingdom – Bleeding Cherub (tape, Cardboard Club)

Buddly Tuckers – S/T (tape, Cardboard Club)

caramel

Lieutenant Caramel – Uberschallknall

I’m listening to this directly after jamming Ben Gwilliam’s freezer-burn tape that my esteemed colleague L. Vollar covered a while ago. For a second I think the opening door-slam from the Lieutenant is a direct psychic-echo from Ben’s frosty vacuum death.  Rest assured readers, it’s not.  This is an altogether different beast.

This silky smooth Caramel is in fact bona fide French electronic composer/film-maker Philippe Blanchard who is tweaking the desk like a daemon on this Music Concrete beauty.  Five exceptional pieces are collected on the banana-yellow tape.  I say… shall we dance?

You dig that Luc Ferrari tape-mesh right?  Then tune into ‘Die Grosse Liebe’, a cryptic crossword of sound that despite the fiendishness of the clues fits as neatly as a half-dozen eggs in a box.  The sharp detritus from a traveller’s DAT is the fuel and these snippets slam together making my eyes riffle in REM despite the bright February sunshine.  Coiled bass notes fairly boom out of the speakers during ‘Die Obdachlos’ in a way that should make any tape-denier check their dolby and scrub out their ears.

The wonderful piano/ice-drip/wrenching rope trio dominate ‘Der Teufel’ revealing a natural timing and swing that’s as syncopated as any King Oliver.  It’s as delightful and light as meringue, the sort of music I could imagine going through our cat’s head.

There’s a JAZZ FROM HELL quality to ‘Andreea’ but rather than give me a tension headache (bloody arse Xappa) this massages my temples with sweet oil and pungent herbs.  The resulting fumes relax me in rag-doll positions, all bent legs and lolling tongue.

But this relaxation is short lived!  Taut piano-wire is strung up like some Hellraiser-inspired installation on ‘Tot eu Tot’.  A bruised thumb plucks the assembled strings releasing dull ‘poings’.  A calloused hand rubs their metallic length to leech out pico-symphonics.  This is no dark-gothic remembering but a brightly polished chrome-dream, Ballardian in temperament.

Damn don’t waste money trawling the collector-scum market for hi-brow tape-composition!  Throw open your doors to nutritious SPAM!

nils

Nils Quak – In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni

Hey!  This tape speaks to me man.  In the insert there’s a tiny note from Nils that says this whole tape was conceived “in stolen moments of mid-life angst”.  I’m with you brother Nils!  That’s the kind of thing I need tattooed on to my manky ankle.

So, does it sound angsty?  Is it half full of piss and vinegar, half full of maudlin tears?  Doesn’t sound it to me mate… this is synth-based raffles for sure, but the mood is exploratory and playful.

The many short tracks are neatly divided into carefully prepared drones, deep enough to lose yourself in and bleep-and-booster electronic pitch-bubbles that float nice and pretty with the occasional headlight shinning through the fog to pick out the detail real peachy.

So, at points you have shifting plates of beaten steel rubbing over each other, sensuously vibrating.  Then the mood changes to a bubbling electro-bongo beating out a Roy Castle rhythm.  Again things switch for a heavy oil by-product jam, all crude slurping and melting blackness as eventually bee drones get drowned in heavy syrup.

But within the constant shape-shifting there’s something gnawing at me, a familiarity that I can’t quite place.  And then it dawns like a big orange sun, I’m getting huge nostalgic wafts of Manchester’s late, great Disco Operating System in the Sci-Fi vibrations. Yeah… the radioFONIC is in the house and churning up gravity with some wicked deepness.

god

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – God

Are you ready for card?

…asks Robert as the wonderful God cranks up.

It’s a good question.  Are YOU ready for card?  Am I ready for card?  Are any of us really ready for card?  Many pixels have been rearranged into shapes that spell out RRS and this dude is fast becoming The Shaggs or Gwilly Edmondez or The Fall or something?

Point one.  He’s a true original voice – that distinctive pocket jazz ‘whhhuuurrrrr’ backs these jams like a Sunny Murray ride-cymbal smashhhhhh.  The tinny ‘b-tish, b-tish, b-tish’ of an ancient casio-tone drives each tune and is the kind of thing that would make Mark Ronson sweat his structured quiff flat as a pancake. The stream of consciousness lyrics baffle with gnomic platitudes,

Believe in yourself

is crooned with s.o.u.l. direct from a d.i.s.c.o. club, circa Rotherham 1983.  Reader… nothing really sounds like Ridley-Shackleton.

Point two. The unshakeable resolve.  RRS has his formula; he’s carved it out like a sailor with their whale bone and now… he owns it.  There’s no pretence at any progression or change.  You know what you’re getting right from the distinctive artwork to the gristly Dictaphone work.  Every second is a reference to the world Robert has created from yogurt pots and toilet duck.  But like all great artists who create their own unique sound there’s still the capacity to surprise.   Any slight deviation from the norm becomes a quantum leap, a forehead-slapper  (just think back to Dylan’s electric shazz-nazz for the crowd to cry ‘Judas!’) that makes you go

eh?

Halfway though side two the frippering flutter gets as dense as any Niblock-block and a micro second could be those jokers-euro Farmers Manual.

Point three.  The unfettered urge to create.  A prolific artist at the best of times, RRS keeps on moving, moving, moving letting no grass grow under his velvet pixie boots.  The zines, tapes, label(s) and releasing other folks jaxx keeps these idle hands far too busy for the devil to slip on a pair of gloves.  If I was a religious man I’d be questioning the BIG GUY… is this more divine influence?

The individual tracks mobius in on themselves (in less enlightened times they might have called this a concept tape) so a divine perspective is woven through each song, even the painfully honest ‘Sex Thug’ until we start where we once began.

So, when the dust settles, what are we left with?  Another Ridley-Shackleton joint that’s the same as the rest?  F’sure.

Another moreish peek into the wild and frightening world of Robert Ridley-Chaka Khan.  Damn right!

moth kingdom

The Moth Kingdom – Bleeding Cherub

A fellow traveller called LOAM hops into a time machine and takes me back to my teenage years; joss sticks, Answer Me! zine and lo-fi tapes of scratchy guitars.

Super simple songs played on acoustics and electrics.  The odd maraca and piano sample get sprinkled over things like tangy za’atar.  LOAM sings along with a deep reverb painting dark pictures of cruel nature and harsh life.

In his label write up Robert Ridley-Shackleton confesses his lack of knowledge of this kind of ‘folk’ sound, and me… I’m equally, embarrassingly clueless.  But what I do know is this starts to sound better and better as the sun sets, a smoky whisky appears and things unwind and unravel, beautifully illustrated on the ‘Corpse of the Crow’.  Check it out.

buddly

Buddly Tuckers – S/T

A collaboration between CHROME and ROBE (a pyjama-clad RRS, I’m guessing) where that pocket-jazz sound is the filter through which electric solids and field recordings are mashed.

The overall doof is classic Cardboard Club; a mid-table throttling, damp rustle and condenser-mic ripple.  But underneath all this graphic industry ghostly voices waft like ripe Camembert.

At one point some keyboards squawk with the ferocious virtuosity of Islam Chipsy playing with sheepskin mittens on… it’s all treble attack released in careful blocks.

The universal balance is kept via crunchy Dictaphone work; Dr Strange summons up celestial choirs from a separate dimension – you can feel them but not quite hear them.

Fans of all this NOISE genre should give this one a try for some sweet floral catharsis.

—ooOoo—

SPAM / Meudiademorte Records

Cardboard Club

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