rooting for barnacles : rfm on power moves library, stef ketteringham, sun skeletons and star turbine

July 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library)

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?)

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records)

power moves

Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library) sold out cassette and free digital album

Hard-hitting, gut-punching, brain-scrambling missive from the collective history of mankind.

Once again Power Moves Library act as curator and editor to bring you, dearest listener, a carefully compiled recording with brains, taste and soul.

This time it’s Kev Cahill who has sourced all his sounds from youtube, vimeo and ubuweb.  A simple method that explodes the myth of the wise crate-digging grey-beard (with a full wallet) into a completely open-source, DIY approach that we can all get behind and ape like monkeys.

The mixtape as revolutionary act!

Of course the genius is not in the rarity of the sources or the skill of the mixing technique (like…yawn man) but in the notion of what sounds go perfectly with what – gamelan and ocean waves –Beckett and Indian Raags – it’s all totally ham & eggs!

For those of you that like a little more detail (spoiler alert – read no more of this chapter if you are a blind-eye voyager) expect the poetical anger of Amiri Baraka, gentle spoken French (?), gospel and blues moans, lone xylophone ‘plongs’, Billie Whitelaw’s whispering, Harry Bertoia’s vibrations in and amongst found sound and environmental recordings.

As I’d expect from a fine guitarist/curator the six-stringer appears in various forms (most notably on side two) showing the breath of the Flying V from drone, skronk to chamber-quartet ecstasy.  The balance is provided with springy tabla, Orca whoops and Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange’s spooky dream recordings.

The magpie visits anger, anxiety, bliss and desperation in a stream so emotionally deep I’m a little wrung-out on listening.  These recordings elicit a response from all my feeble chakras making this one of the most human things I’ve listened to in ages.  Gosh!

Like that gold record they sent up into space on Voyager; a recorded message of humanity’s desperate need to make sound, to communicate in the most natural way possible – to make music.

Get another rocket ready NASA – Power Moves gotta message for the cosmos.

stef ketteringham

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow) cassette and digital album

These semi-improvised guitar pieces might be loosely arranged but are played with a bright fury and focused intensity that I’ve not heard in years.

Stef spanks this plank with a canyon-wide spectrum of feeling.  At one end we have ‘suspicious man who’s never even seen a guitar before’ to ultra-precise and mathematically measured ‘ZOOT HORN ROLLO-isms’ that chime like cold stars.

The busy froth of twang on side one paints several pictures in my head.  The tangled wood and barbed wire of ‘If and When’ become the clotted metre-wide micro-environment seen from a moving train where weeds rule supreme.  A snatch of sung melody sweeps down the embankment, unconcerned with the swirl of notes above.  Dust collecting on old bookshelves is the 3D brain-image summoned by ‘Divide’s’ spacious and geometric riffs.    I’m particularly taken with ‘That’ all arthritic knuckles and sunburned hands, shiny as polished chestnuts with its ham-fisted flamenco flourishes bruising the strings.

This is most certainly hardcore!

Side two is a more melancholy affair and starts with the heart-lurching pressure you feel when you know he/she’s leaving forever (refer to ‘Churchgoer’ dear listener).  This empty ache is enflamed on ‘Killing Flaw’ an eruption of post-blues as poignant as that exploded shed thing.  My mind flips open on the final piece ‘Cry & Sing 3’ where the heavily amplified guitar is rattled and ‘poinged’ with a metal ruler making gilded rivers run from the bone speakers.

The real genius here lies in the two versions of ‘Grimes/Cargill’ a snaked-hipped blues taken in two different directions: one lyrical and melodic played with an early-morning vigour, the other, an end-of-the-day hung-over stubble.  Both feature the ‘slap-slap’ of Stef’s sparely deployed bass drum cleverly punctuating the movements.

Telepathic art from Crow Versus Crow summarises the process of composition and recording (unpretentious rehearsal room/stray cat isolation/crisp sellotape stains) making this the perfect package.

sun skeletons in pink dust

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

The wonderfully named $un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio are indeed a three piece.  But that’s where their similarity to beards like Cream or The Experience ends.

Employing Drums, Saxophone/Electronics and Shahi Baaja these Thames Valley jokers get all IN A SILENT WAY on your ass with the sidelong ‘Workin’ The Church Shift.’

The focus is on blank space, placement and long-form growth.  So this improvisation grows like moss over a log; carefully seeking out nooks and crannies to take hold, working in sympathy with their fellow organisms, leaving blanks on the sour ground.

It’s a drifter, the forlorn lines of saxophone become long exhalations, the shimmering Shahi Baaja a heat mist, the subtle and sparse drums a slowing heartbeat as you become hypnotised by the horizon.

Side two probes the sensitive ‘Solar Plexus’ like it’s rooting for barnacles in a rock pool.  Each instrument gently wanders into each other, soft-edge collisions that slowly merge into one ur-drone.

At times it’s hard to tell what’s what with percussive sax, textural drum skins and melodic Shahi Baaja; each voice subtly moving into the foreground for some lazy stretch then retreating back into the collective fug.

With nothing as crass as a solo this is true groop-mind aktion – threeways.

sun skeleton permanent powers

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

More long-form lichen jams from the Thames Valley trio.

‘That’s Fine, It Doesn’t Matter’: A mighty slow swing to this one like the world’s longest pendulum swooping east to west across the globe.  Time is punched out with simple double-hits on the snare, a dulcimer-like melody and the shallow soaring of hot breath.  The Get it Up Yers Trio explore these moments rolling them like mandarin segments in the palm of the hand – wondering who’s juiciest.

‘Life is a Joke’: This time the spirit of Jan Garbarek is channelled through an almost military snare shudder; sheer plucked ‘banjo’ to mash up the theme tune to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century with a Krautrock Cowboy!

The final moments spice up the motorik with a wailing horn as wild as Giora Feidman.

RFM EXTRA

  • Ahead of the game for once you can actually catch this lot live soon on their weedender weekender tour with the mighty WOVEN SKULL: 21st July (Gateshead) 22nd July (Middlesbrough) 23rd July (Todmorden).
  • Introduce yourselves to: Breadman (drums), Crinkil (alto sax/electronics), Krang (shahi baaja).
  • The super-pretty glitch flower art work on ‘In Pink Dust’ is designed by the unstoppable Crow Versus Crow
  • They dig the late Chet Baker!

star turbine

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records) cassette and digital album

Star Turbine bring their unique improvisers vocabulary to the UK again gracing the N-AU with coiled ‘skoinks’ and leathery ‘whuffs’.

Working backwards from the sound to the source becomes a futile exercise – it could be tape, radio interference, highly-processed computer files or bowed vinyl records.  All have a place in the Star Turbine arsenal; but if course it’s not how impressive your tabletop looks, it’s how you swing it.

And swing it they do.  This mature duo (Sindre Bjerga & Claus Poulsen) have been working together for around 6 years and I count at least 21 releases on their Discogs page.  This familiarity with each other’s approach leads to top class performances on both sides of this live tape

Gateshead’s Soundroom is a glitchy, almost funky performance with complex set pieces including: smeared gob-rot from Sindre and sooty coughing textures from Claus.  Both meld into an undeniable wholeness, an organic fullness of sound and presence.

Moods shift fast like clouds on a windy day; they scud quickly – one moment dark and crumpled, the next breezy and slapstick.

We move south to Brighton’s Coachwerks for side two.

  • It’s a rumbler! A cacophonous tearing of found-sound opens the set.
  • It’s a thumper! Felt-headed mallets beat a lowly tattoo alongside sharp metal cracks.
  • It’s a lurker! Strange stains appear on the carpet, an oily filth fills the air. The electric crackle of bad vibes and virus make me clap my h*nds over my e*rs.

And while improvisation often gets a drubbing for being highfalutin’ or overly-academic this is music that is rooted in real life.  Fingers and mouths, elbows and knees wrenching uninvited sounds from the magicians sleeve.

Power Bliss!

Power Moves Library

Crow Versus Crow

Doubledotdash? / $un $keletons Bandcamp

Invisible City Records

-ooOOoo-

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