dental tang: rfm on aqua dentata, gareth js thomas, kwc, yaca, microdeform

June 19, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Aqua Dentata – One Day You Will Be a Painter (Echo Tango)

Gareth JS Thomas – Wandsworth Sports (Aphelion Editions)

KWC – Fruit Rosary Sacred Hour Service (Power Moves Library)

Yaca  – I (Ce chemin est le bon / Manjar Records)

Microdeform – Neural Regression (Aphelion Editions)

aqua dentata 2

Aqua Dentata – One Day You Will Be a Painter (Echo Tango) cassette

There’s not an ounce of flab on this whippet-like tape.

I’m not sure if such timeless music conceptually has a side one or side two (and the tape case is teasingly naked) but when I click ‘play’ a sinuous wave slowly oozes out the speakers like runny honey.

The gentlest shake (a greasy blue bag of salt perhaps) accompanies the sticky snake until “snip” it cuts out all sudden like.  What a tease you are Mr Nuttall!

But fear not Dentata-followers as complex coils of zinc-coated drones poke around my listening room like anxious lizards.

Slowly they build, blindly they roam.  Slick muscle slips over steel bone in concentric arcs.

Oddly the decaying dreams of each lizard/tone/wave can be viewed as plain as day.  A dull halo of images flicker at the leading edge of each sound.  At first they form a sort of pressure wave – the brooding bruise of a storm cloud.  After time they dry out and rattle as arthritic knuckle shuffles.

Finally my ears register the electronics tones as haw frost shimmering on silver birch or endless exhalations roaring from bronze lips.

‘Krak…’

…the tape judders to a halt and I’m back in the room; feeling fresh as an egg-cup full of lime juice.

gareth js thomas

Gareth JS Thomas – Wandsworth Sports (Aphelion Editions) cassette, CD and digital album

An intriguing tape that runs from Assault on Precinct 13 gang-synth-pulses to Neighbourhood Watch whimsy via the Australian Soap Opera.

The superb ranting on the opener ‘Lurk On My Block Get Hurt On My Block’ is both semi-comprehensible and threatening as it phases in-and-out of the great sleazy wings of drone-synth heaving left to right.

Surveillance and security is pumped-up on steroids for ‘Go Home’ a throbbing bassline whacked through some form of effect that multiplies things by very many factors. If I’m not mistaken ‘the plod’ riddim mimics Juliet Bravo’s heavy footfall into the gloomy incident room.  The back-room boys huff on that ether they found in the lock-up causing everything to

s—-l——–o————w                                                       d—-o——-w—————–n.

Elsewhere a sampler ‘trips’ down the stairs making things as messy as court drawings – amateurish pastels over which renewed street ranting (a new field recording genre – the new dawn chorus?) explodes briefly.

Mrs Jarret causes trouble for our Australian teenage sweethearts and is carefully mashed beneath an electric avalanche, whirring flywheel and more ‘plod’ rhythms.

But what I get most of all is a sense of dangerous fun…almost a Dada-esque approach, daring you not to listen.

KWC

KWC – Fruit Rosary Sacred Hour Service (Power Moves Library) CDr with smart postcards, sold out cassette and free digital album

Another vital PML release!

“Another vital release,” you say, “are you sure?”

Reader…I am.

great dictaphonic swoops of sepia-tinted sound / the initial source material is religious, baptist I believe / the spiritual weight is felt with heavy presence / like a riot of bees in my ear / constant re-ordering and waggling / deep, deep found recordings are pushed through the condenser mic miracle / transforming them not to angels on a pin head / but the vengeful ones with claymores / snatches of melody gently float on occasion / chopped and screwed becomes slowed-down and fucked-with / sound morphs into one melancholic wave / dusted / out-of-focus but undeniably there / pulling and pushing / subtle…a powerful tide, a hectic blues / repetitious spoken word become brain mangles / breaking words and meanings into grey shifting pebbles / piled up in to a precarious cairn / hail marys and ritualistic bingo / self-help becomes text-sound gumbo / fylkingen with lap steel blunts

Yaca

Yaca – I (Ce chemin est le bon / Manjar Records) CD and digital album

Oh…beautiful rattle!

One new duo from two wise voices: Rodrigo Montoya (Brazil) on Shamisen and Ignacio Moreno-Fluxa (Chile) on e-guitar/electronics mesh their sounds together into a rich savoury lattice.

The aptly named ‘Vertigo’, sets the course towards a dizzying sense of panic and loss of control but each step is very carefully measured.  Flickering, dry crackles and pops are wrenched from the slack strings while a cloud-deep strumming soars overhead.  The final moment explores the submission of freefall in detail…the final acceptance of eternal nothingness.

Phew!

The other lengthy piece ‘Power’ starts with the gentlest whirr of machinery and a slight dental tang.  Soon I’m lost in a listening swamp; thick drone leaves brushing my face as roots catch in my battered Converse.

Toothy dolphins blow pinched squeals from rubbery blowholes – thick oil is spread across the water and soon full of sonic detritus.

(note: there is a reassuring ‘liveness’ to these recordings with the unmistakable ‘clunk’ of picking up and putting down various doodads and gizmos)

At the twelve minute mark things settle (the oil – the troubled water) into a patient thrum with banjo-like Shamisen accompaniment peaking and building into stiff ecstatic peaks – Loaded era V.U. though a min’yo lens.

Oh…beautiful shimmer!

microdeform

Microdeform – Neural Regression (Aphelion Editions) CDr and digital album

Turntablist (L McConaghy) ploughs straight into a surface noise symphony on this handsome disc.  The fuxxing scutter of the vinyl becomes a star.

>>>   <<<<      >>>>>>   >>>> <><>><>><>    >>>>>>    >>>>>    <<<<>><>>><><>>><>>>   ><>

Ghostly echoes of otherness sound like distant fog horns muted and damp.

///////////\//\/\\/\\////\\///\\\\\\ \\\\\\\   \\\\\   \\////\/\/\  /\////\\/\/\\///\\\                                        \///\//\\\\//\/\

Place the horns on a spinning disc of sandpaper to smooth off the edges; sweep iron-filings into the groove.

//\\/\/\\//\\/\/\/\/////\\\////\/\\/\/\\/////      \/\/\/\/\\\\\\\/\/\\/\\\           \/\\/\\\/\\\\\\/\/\///\/\/

A series of smears and smudges

\/\///\  /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\\\\\/\/\//\/////\\/\/\\\\/\\\\///\/\\\\\\//\/\////\/\/\/\/\\/\\\/\/\/

Do you need me to spell it out?

 

Aphelion Editions

Aqua Dentata/Echo Tango

Power Moves Library

Ce Chemin est le Bon / Manjar Records

 

-ooOOoo-

lick out the jams: rfm on jute gyte, jamie drouin & hannes lingens, a.i.r tapes 1: excavation series 5 and yan jun & ben owen

June 10, 2017 at 10:03 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes)

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema)

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library)

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki)

jute gyte

Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes) Single-sided clear vinyl 12 inch with engraved ‘b’ side and digital album

The deeply psychedelic nature of Black Metal: the ingrained grot, indistinct momentum and distain of fancy technique hugely appeals to me.  This is ‘feeling music’ concerned with emotion above all.  Oh to be a Norwegian teenager in the early 90’s when it all kicked off!

But since those halcyon days both Black Metal and I have grown up (a little).  And while there is still plenty of room for true Norwegian Metallers you’re more likely to come across darkly-experimental artists like Jute Gyte in the scene than them church-burners and jail-birds.

The brittle bones of this particular beautiful stain begin with a red-tinged swooshing thunder.  The seemingly endless build galloping like Sleipnir over a one-chord velvet strum.

A plague of uncompromising screams mangle throats on the verge of panic making ‘The Sparrow’ seem almost old-school.  And then it all goes very quiet…

…ghostly clicks and reverberations tinker through my headphones, decaying and rotten smears of dark sound are punctuated with slowly-roasted, grumbling vocal.  The lack of volume has no affect on the intensity, as this restraint is uniquely spooked and unsettling.

Noise-mongers will rejoice when the guitars collapse back into the mix with a Shields-esque tremolo-effect fluttering like a thousand tiny birds – the sparrow perhaps in all its scruffy oil-slick glory!

The flip side (in reality a free-to-grab digital download when you buy this see-through disc) is orchestral in the best Metal mould.  Deep swathes of sound become a coal-black rainbow on ‘Monadanom’ arching across a cruel indifferent sky.

Through the tone-clusters thin-steel rattles and soars (like the metal strips used to bind blocks of house bricks). It’s very nature and chemistry dictates a signature sound – high and tight.

After thirteen minutes a number of these grim swooping arcs seem to lock into place revealing a new landscape, barren for sure but not without hope.

I think I hear slo-mo singing bowls wrestle with bronze fake gongs in the fading minutes; but perhaps the extremities of passion have blunted my ears.  Whatever is occurring that burnished boom is vibrating every atom in my head like an exquisite psalm.

This desert may be almost featureless but the stark beauty takes the breath away.

Music for moon landings!

 intonema digisleeve

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema) CD

A fitting title for this ear-silt; a subtle, almost-there, grit that builds up in pale layers.

The brief pieces (many around 3 minutes mark) all seem to document an action: unboxing something, gently bowing something, methodically rubbing something with cryptic knocks and wheezing adding hot spice.

Further investigation reveals these actions come via Jamie Drouin’s basic electronics and Hannes Lingen’s floor tom and/or snare drum as they listen intently to each other on expensive earphones.

It’s easy to imagine you are inside the friction (now the snake-like, descending hiss of uncoiling sellotape, now the busy scrub of glasspaper on marble) or the low electric moan (a dying medical machine, a looped breast pump) as it seems to bore inside your very soul.

For something so lowercase and subtle this Alluvium is exerting a powerful influence over my ear-bristles.

The sound itself is king and to keep the composition clear of unnecessary chaff, especially in a duo situation is testament to the control and lack of improvisers-ego in both Doruin and Lingens.  It’s only on ‘06’ – that deals in an ever-so-slightly more assertive sound – a rubbery raspberry that putters like an outboard motor – could you say these folk lick out anyone’s jams.

The longest piece ‘07’ is still loose-limbed and beautiful at a stately 15 minutes long.  It begins by conjuring up a polite crowd caught on malfunction mp3’s; the code starting to buckle and warp in that wonderful see-sawing motion.  Then a wet rope being twisted in the rigging interrupts the human recordings; some dry-heaving swells sing like angels and someone starts a terrible tap dance.

Truly sublime listening art.

air tape

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library) Sold Out Cassette and free digital album

You had to move super fast to bag this tape in any physical form as it seemed to sell out, on both sides of the Atlantic, in a matter of days.  I felt like a chump to miss out but was happy to pick up the virtual scraps from the digital table thanks to the essential free download offered by the very generous Power Moves Library.

These well-curated mixtapes (and I use that term with awe and the greatest respect) come from vintage radio recordings of Indian Classical music captured ‘in the field’ by scholar and No Audience maven Phong Tran in 1996-97.

The fact Phong has plucked these transient recordings from the very air with a magpie’s ears makes this all the more magical.  This curation took dedication and judgement.  We are not worthy!

Side ‘A’ features some outrageously warped sitar playing, heavy as Sabbath but with that flat-fingered funk of Monk which just peaks and peaks and peaks; stuttering spoken word interludes; chewy toffee-like ragas that seem to stretch time when coupled with their reverberating tabla-bombs.  All jaggery sweet.

Impossibly deep rumbling strings open Side ‘B’ and play out some creation fantasy – this is real crack in the cosmic egg/universal ohm/blind idiot god territory.  Such supreme melancholy!  I’m close to welling up man.

A quick news update (in English) and more chat leads into some heart-breakingly sad singing that definitely pushes me over the edge.  But I’m not crying into my beer for long as the penultimate recording hauls ass, hurtling at impressively unwise speeds though (musical) hairpins and hard shoulders – the final fade-out fuzzes and fitz’ like the contemporary tape collage from the mighty Burselm slag heaps.

Do I need to say it?  Essential!

Ed’s note: just in case you missed it – all future Power Moves Library releases will be available in the UK via Crow versus Crow and vice versa for our friends in the Americas.  N-AU across the ocean la!

20170610_105408

 

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki) CD and digital album

Thirty-eight minutes of slowly uncoiling silver fern recordings.

This unabashed and confident record exerts a steely glaze trained on the empty and distantly imagined absence.  The tools?  Electronics, feedback, op amps and radio are working busily – coaxing tiny, granular sounds from their private holes in fine detail.

In many ways this is a classic two-layered recording: the hiss of a cracked pot vs the faint thud and rattle of movement.  Like equal partners in an equation each voice leans in to each other, supporting and bracing a structure that organically sprouts five distinct limbs.  Like this…

  • Fidgeting static, a canvas for the meek feedback tones, drops away to allow some dub-like drops in pressure. The white throb, once a rude thumb in the ear, slips into complete silence.
  • Breath like water fired through a hose is captured in a watchmaker’s basement. Dexterous hands move with purpose, delicately balancing the tension between cog and spring, engineering the never-never of potential energy – delayed power gratification.
  • A faint voice is heard through the ionosphere’s thick blanket; sick tones are peeled off like dollars from a grubby, foul-smelling, bundle to eventually settle into one citric slice.
  • Pure harmony spirals out of the miasma – bone dry. A warm purring and some form of engraving machine start seriously flirting; finishing each other’s sentences, coquettishly playing with their hair.
  • Sucking dull solder from an antique circuit board. The collapsing death of once electric sounds.

Lovers with hot new ears.  Apply yourselves!

 

Blue Tapes / X-Ray Records

Intonema

Power Moves Library

Organised Music From Thessaloniki

-ooOOoo-

hot mayo: rfm on flamingo creatures, lambs gamble and ezio piermattei

June 6, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Flamingo Creatures – Fisch Versucht das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate)

Lambs Gamble – Farewell Body Bags (Discombobulate)

Ezio Piermattei – Tre Madri Ludopatiche (Discombobulate)

 Flamingo Creatures cassette inlay dimensions 181016 copy MUSTARD WITH MASK

Flamingo Creatures – Fisch Versucht das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate) C40 Cassette

The International Dictionary of Gonzo gets a new foreword from Cologne’s finest – Flamingo Creatures.

Each section of this lithe and saucy tape is a miniature moment of prime wonk-o-lah.  Be it gloomy bouncing balls, crackling snickets or mashed-up tape werks the Flamingo Creatures breathe new life between their thumbs to hoot like a couple of funky owls.

WARNING: All direct points of contact are skilfully erased to build a new map of the territory.

So…side one features some brave violin scratching, floating trumpet and human voice – a known/known if you’d like.  But this nestles up (sometimes in the same movement, the same musical sequence) against free-gibbering and bowling-shoe-bass/electronic-shadowing to create a most definite unknown/unknown.  The results hark back to the time Miles ditched his beards after the Plugged Nickel and recruited pure hobos, gardeners and short-order cooks to jazz it up on Thunderbird, lawnmower and blackened skillet.

Side two is a weirder listen. Yeah? Oh yeah! Call and response was never so whacked-out and spluttered.  Each squeal of viola/tape is a Half-Nelson. I’m incapable of movement, pinned to the floor by the otherness, poise and audacity.  Fans of bass are sated once more as this jam flaps all loose and goosy, like Harry Secombe (with Spike’s understated piano playing).

Just when you think things are going to descend into a well of gushing-saliva an oasis opens…yellow sunlight brightens the corners to reveal a well-classy set of final movements; all cuckoo clock, xylophone and shimmering vocal intervals.

Delicate as a china cup, the tinkles and baroque pace transport the listener to a genteel occasion.  You outwardly do all the right things, smile politely and munch a biscuit safe in the knowledge you’ve got a flick knife in your pocket and odd socks.

cover-lambs-gamble

Lambs Gamble – Farewell Body Bags (Discombobulate) Pus-yellow Vinyl LP

The LAMBS GAMBLE TRIO huff and moan like Shaolin Monks on a day off (lounging about, smoking tabs) but can leap into tight fighting stance in a blink of an eye.

The three of them: Eric Boros (guitarz, electronics, mouth), George Cremaschi (bass, electronics, mouth) and Fritz Welch (percussion, electronics, mouth) are uniquely fabulous. Moving between free jazz/jaxx, the inverted space of ‘rock’ and the spooky absence of bagel holes with aplomb (or a plum!) no mood, texture or direction is left un-poked.

Picture the little amigos cramped in a studio, all manner of pot and pan, plank and trap piled up in front of the Marshalls.  Each ant grabs a pile of clutter, hugs it tight and then sets off on a musical journey starting deep in rural China but ending up somewhere distinctly volcanic.  Readers of a nervous disposition may wonder.

“So is this a free-for-all?  An everyone-louder-than-everyone-else blank-jam?”

My answer to you friend is a firm but understanding, “No”.

With beards as grey as these you can count on experience, quality and musical-kindness.  Sonic spaces are tugged and fretted but that all-important space is left, like a eye in a clam hurricane to give folk a toehold.

I’ll go further…the lost art of the gentleman-improviser who (quite ingeniously) has built up a vocabulary and grammar that is communicated with a raised eyebrow, a tugged earlobe and discreet sniff reigns supreme on this disc.

[no matter how damp the squelch, high the squeal and wide the holla]

Sho’ nuff these three bears clatter and hawk, whinge-moan and patter the skins in abstract patterns but for maybe 20 seconds an alien Link Wray riff starts up, soon to end up melted cheese over the fog of electronic huffing and rattlin’ chains.  So you see…it’s not all jerk chicken but some deep, deep rock-a-billy.

40 minutes of classical fuh and improv-noir.

P1080087

 

Ezio Piermattei – Tre Madri Ludopatiche (Discombobulate) C40 Cassette

Our friend Ezio Piermattei is fast-becoming the unapproachable tape-duke.  The solo-egg who can’t be beat!

This collection is a dizzying prospect – sonic vertigo – set in a concrete world.  Each whiff and klonk, tape-jaxx segment or secret field recording is patched together with a craftsman’s hand and a painter’s eye.  Secret worlds are unveiled as you peel back the onion skins: wooden skittles rocking woodenly, an Italian street scene or distant chimes sunk backwards into the mix.

Each moment becomes a theatre set for the ears with actors stepping onto an imposing stage; some armed with Dictaphone grot, others with cheap plastic toys.  As each actor overlaps (following dainty and discrete footprints carved into the parquet floor) their sound offering slips right to left, left to right, upstage and downstage.  This gentle movement launches Piermattei’s work into a category beyond mere collage and into the rarefied world of highfalutin sound-design.

Side one moves on a journey from ‘the street’ and all that entails across a highly polished desert into a foundry of Bakelite and Lucite.  Costume jewellery is dropped from various heights to create a dull pattering while Ezio gibbers on in his own ‘language of birds’.  Shade is provided in the form of more dark mumbles and the wrenching of a recalcitrant cork from an unyielding bottle.  One deft finger on the pitch wheel sends this off into outer space; my tiny brain wrinkling as if it’s pickled in ginger as I try and keep up with the pace.

Side two starts with a Babel of voices duet-ing with a practical Vespa and fondled gravel – the sound of young Bologna!

The leaps in fidelity keep a smile on my greasy chops – for one moment we’re wrapped in soft comforting Dicta-fuzz, then we’re scrubbed-up clean for a studio or computer-manipulated movement.   The changes in texture add a further dimension; like listening to the on-stage banter at a Fall gig, the truth lies somewhere between the plainly stated and deliberately provocative.

A brief kidney-flush of hiss and scrabble aside things are kept purposefully beautiful and wobbling: voice crackle in fake-stereo, tape jizz squirts it’s hot mayo, TV gossip chatters to no one except the caged songbirds.  Listen out at the 15 minute mark for a brace of sublime hamfist – the dry recording capturing not only perfect tape juggling koffs but that honest click of finger on button.

With the smallest of details and the most humble of approaches Exio PiXrmXxxei launches solo tape gonk into a new orbit.

Are you ready for your space walk captain?

 

Discombobulate

-ooOOoo-

 

rejection of predetermined techniques : luke vollar on vluba, tom richards, sean derrick cooper marquardt & hole house

June 1, 2017 at 5:57 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Vluba- Altar (Aetheric Records)

Tom Richards – Selected Live Recordings 2013 – 2016 (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt – Air Almanya   (Aetheric Records)

Hole House – A Stranger in Town (Aetheric Records)

 vluba

Vluba- Altar (Aetheric Records) CDr and digital album

Strange occurrences from this Argentinean duo as they operate dark and gelatinous horizontal happenings within the shadows.

The mysterio vibe is kept aloft with pseudonyms (I guess); Murisia and Aphra provide a list of instruments on their website that may or may not exist.

Of the various descriptions on their Tumblr site my favourite is “negative improv” an approach I can get down with; it erodes the individual and throws a psychedelic blanket of sound out.  No longer doing a call and response jam with your buddy but morphing into one mighty being for an incense drenched trance ritual.
The happening across three spacious tracks include ominous intonations, reverb-ed clank and an amorphous smog of ghostly electronics. A slow procession of unseen horror like John Carpenter’s “The Fog. “

If I had to describe this CDr in one word it would be ‘goat!’

tom richards

Tom Richards – Selected Live Recordings 2013 – 2016 (Fractal Meat Cuts) sold out tape and digital album

In this review I will ask a lot of questions but provide no answers:

1. Sinuous blood lava reverberating inside a conch shell. As pleasing to the fists as pizza dough.

2. Woah! there boy. Scattershot mulch of demented bells , voices from the beyond and spongy  synth-drek flecked against the wall. Like Wile E Coyote is the size of a wasp and trapped under your drained snakebite and black pot. Drunk from viscous fluid.

3. More voices sped up, reversed. Ladies gasps chopped up like lemon grass. Stubby fingers prod greasy portals. Health and safety? Nah mate

4. New trainers? Yeah mate sorted. Actually danceable electro grunk with neon goo dribbled over hiccuping beatz. Ever regretted getting up to dance to brainy electronic music on an empty dancefloor?

5. Buried field recordings under metallic chirps and insistent lemon sherbet rhythmicals. Ever wondered how an Altern 8 /Morton Feldman collaboration would pan out?

6. Tin can feedback is at war with the obnoxious robodude trying to get his groove on. Is this a battle that can be won?

7. Liking the diced syllables. Like Hip Hop chop-project Prefuse 73 done with Fisher Price keyboards, elastic band and glue.

Tom Richards music offers a glorious array of unlikely collaborations to play out in your mind. It pleases me that he closes the tape with a daytime fever dream of the Delia Derbyshire/The Prodigy hook up that you never dared to believe could ever happen.

sean derrick

Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt – Air Almanya   (Aetheric Records) 3” CDr, badge and digital album

More horror drone from Aetheric.

This is apparently accidental guitar music. A rejection of predetermined techniques and an embrace of spontaneous no-mind noise-making.  SDCM doesn’t rehearse for gigs or recordings either so this Berlin-based American presents a collection perplexing sound oddities.

I’m guessing that the approach includes choosing your environment to record in and allowing whatever sounds occur to coexist with the artists creation though Lord alone knows what he’s doing amidst all the small sound events.

This is quiet beguiling music that seems to flow eternally – the 3″ format provides a snippet  of gracefully unfolding sound in motion.

hole house

Hole House – A Stranger in Town (Aetheric Records) 3” CDr and digital album

Next up from what is looking to be the No Audience Underground’s least cheerful micro-label is this chilly little number.

A stark abandoned property graces the cover, perhaps the abandoned  VHS rental shop in West Yorkshire, where the recording took place.   To hammer the message home like a hot nail the Bandcamp includes a lengthy quote from arch-pessimist Thomas Ligotti.  So far, so gloomy.

The short tracks all have an icy insistence, a lethargic draw to a murky centre that comes nauseatingly in and out of focus. Take for instance ‘The Way Out’ as rusty metal echoes within a damp stuttering oscillation, it sounds as dark and grim as the cover.  ‘A Place You Left Behind’, uses smears of vaporous tone as a hymn to decay.

The titles point to time spent in a sad dilapidated house, wondering what went wrong. The presence of those gone and forgotten hangs over these recordings like a blackened spectre.

 

Aetheric Records

Fractal Meat Cuts Bandcamp / Fractal Meat WordPress & essential radio show

-ooOOoo-

the sky is as full as an udder : rfm on garrett wingfield & david leon, maya dunietz & tom white and various aposiopèse artisits

May 28, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Garret Wingfield & David Leon – Yeah, No Thanks (Self Release)

Maya Dunietz & Tom White – Summer Crash (Singing Knives Records)

Various Artists – VIII (Aposiopèse)

 Garret Wingfeild

Garret Wingfield & David Leon – Yeah, No Thanks (Self Release) digital album only

What’s the story?  Two saxophones / four lungs all melt into buttery parps and hawks on this utterly charming disc.

Taking a total approach to warm breath Garret (in the right channel)  & David (in the left channel) squeal and honk through nine short improvisations and instant compositions running the gamut from lightly tickled to full-on brass discipline.

The mood is generally playful, veering from the knockabout ‘I’m Fromgoogle’ (sic) played on those whizzing party favours to the beautifully recorded and played ‘Tilting @pinwheels’ where the flat slaps of the keys flutter like fancy fireflies around circular riffs – comfy as a steaming cuppa and marmite on toast.

‘Middle School Me’ is pure Peppermint Patty, tough with a misunderstood heart of gold, all ending with a delicious laugh.

But melancholy also takes a seat at the table, ‘Before, then’ starts off like some Henry Cow offering with that signature hope-through-adversity sigh and ‘Trash Panda’ revels in leaving-in the awkward silence, lip-splutter and spit-valve fingerings creating delicate pale, pearls from salty grains.

Students of the horn pay attention.  These superb doodles are your new practice chops!

maya and tom

Maya Dunietz & Tom White – Summer Crash (Singing Knives Records) CD

Oustanding Quatermass freakery from these two living dovetail joints.

This damn fine recording leapt like a flea from the back of a 2016 tour with Maya Dunietz (voice/piano/harp) melting butter all over Tom White’s (reel-to-reel tape) witchcraft.

Taken as a whole, the mood of this vital disc is pastoral-unease…that strange sense of something untoward going on beneath the golden fields of ripe corn and proud wheat.  Maybe it’s the sly Elysium lyric and wordless moans that float like duck-down warmed by the bruised air?  Or could it be the gentle rush and echolalia of the handcrafted tape loops weaving a beautiful pattern of dark orange, red and pink – the twilight blush of the setting sun?

A piano picks out a decaying tune; a distracted voice mirrors it like mist.  We’re living in the last days of a torch singer, gloomy glories reflected back in knotty loops and sepia memory coils.  Floating free of gravity, ‘Everything is Soaked’ is deliciously intangible, hard to grasp but with sharp hooks that snag on the old grey matter making me hum Lear-like segments of these voice/tape hybrids at the bus stop for days to come.

A nagging, insistent riff marks the tick-tock of ‘Spare Ribs’, like a glitterbeat distilled through electricity pylons until they spark with deadly black energy.  Maya’s close-miked vocals tweak the building pressure (a storm is brewing, the sky is full as an udder) moving from gentle/foul gibberish to shrieks of fear and panic.  A disco track for the very-most-modern form of dancing practiced today.

A space opens for the delicate kora-style harp that opens ‘Josephine’.  The psychedelic ghosting of tape-wax and field recordings are so subtle and controlled I may well have dreamt them, but like the salt encrusting your margarita glass, they hold it all together with their essential bitterness.  Some of the few intelligible words on this whole disc, ‘black sail’ and ‘rain’ roll through the language shower – meanwhile a dry wooden rattle marks the end with a question, “are you ready to believe?”

Each of these three wonderful offerings leads us to into the closer ‘Summer’ a Pinteresque exploration of looming, deep restraint and intimate sonic denial.

“Some slow-motion explosion is corralled into a percussion loop while the liquid fairground slips between the cracks.  The churning motion becomes a carousel losing its tilt, dangerously swaying.  Soft and menacing vocal hoffs cheer like La Calavera Catrina, up to her armpits in the body of the piano pulling deep red tones out of the beast. A somber procession starts to wind down the hill, each villager holding the shirt-tails of their neighbor for fear of being lost in the tumbling ivory and ebony avalanche. “

Mark my words!  Summer Crash is your essential balmy evening listen; thin cheroot lit and golden sherry glass poised (pinky out).

VIII

Various Artists – VIII (Aposiopèse) digital album (wav) only

Super-double-classy compilation from the French label  – Aposiopèse.

Subtle glitch, granular fonk and ‘extracted’ field recordings are the order of the day over a generous 74 minutes.  And like all good compilations there is a gentle narrative running through these pieces – an insistence on educated listening and patience.  Buckle up tight for the ride…

  • Coppice – A central heating system comes to life; witness the impudent boiler knock. A fine-tube roar as bronzed and bright as ginger.  Hissing practiced to black belt standards.
  • Hervé Moire & Juan Pablo Espinoza – shake up a bottle of pills and record the tiny tablets bouncing around. Defiant interventions like door creaks and synth tones just about mask a coffin lid opening.  Twin players in harmony milking the dissonance teat.
  • Jean-Luc Guionnet – gooses the church organ in Verneuil  sur Avre, creating twelve hefty minutes of deep, deep, booming pressure in my lugs. I’m imagining this being played on a colourful Dub Sound System until the higher registers are explored in glorious throbbing detail.
  • Julien Beau – records his dog growl, crickets chirp and water flow in a musique concrete envelope that ladles electronic tones over the mix like hot gravy. A pleasant kick drum reminds me I’m alive in the world as the confetti gets more intense around me in the most fabulous manner.
  • Tarab – Boiling? Bubbling? The ‘soda’ of the title fights against a racquet sport (Real Tennis perhaps), high-pressure squealing and the lumber of life on the road.  The shared intimacy (make-up applied on the bus perhaps) makes this almost unbearable to check out on headphones…forever thrown into personal sonic-spaces.

“I didn’t want to be a voyeur but they made me listen!”

A notebook indeed!

  • Thomas Tilly – unprocessed field recordings of noisy bird barking like Daleks in the jungle. The rise and fall of the hollow-beaked trills become the softest siren, the calmest panic button ever.  Ear canal (left) and ear canal (right) unite in glorious chirps.
  • Tomoko Sauvage – takes a bunch of shit from the kitchen and makes music sweet enough that I darn near cried. Beautiful slopping and sonorous waterfalls wobble like fat children; hot and chubby hands held tight. Nuff said.
  • Yvan Etienne – for lovers of extended tones and horror film soundtracks. Totally blisssed-out if your idea of bliss is disturbing hallucinations, thick smears of blood in the bathroom and rusty meathooks.  Pitched somewhere between a sigh of exhaustion and the upper edge of tinnitus until a coda of suspicious farm machinery reveals the complete wake in fright

 You want?  You want!

 

Yeah, No Thanks Bandcamp

Singing Knives Records

Aposiopese Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

 

 

hot blustering friends: rfm on plurals, jasmine guffond and shapeless coat of arms

May 21, 2017 at 8:20 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Plurals – Atlantikwall (Silken Tofu)

Jasmine Guffond / Plurals – Live Split (Beartown Records)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Dematerialised Landowning (Swollen Beam)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Early Protection (Swollen Beam)

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Shapeless Coat of Arms (Swollen Beam)

 Plurals ATLANTIK

Plurals  – Atlantikwall (Silken Tofu) Double CD and digital album

Two hours of peak Plurals culled from a four-hour Belgian ultra-performance.

There’s a head-crushing, world-splitting-open intensity to the grindings; think reinforced concrete cast in a Mobius loop and you’re getting close.

Listening to this in one sitting (as I did, many times, hurtling through the misty Yorkshire countryside) ramps up the magic that long-form music casts over the sleep-deprived mind.  What starts off as huge, bulky blocks of sound being dragged across the stereo field become hot blustering friends, loudly fizzing with an energy that you miss as soon as they are gone.

The very liveness is another wonderful component to this set.  Indistinct crowd chatter merges into the softer muttering loops; you can almost hear the decisions being made as one loop replaces another, a warm swell peaks or a guitar riff is wrenched in delicious slo-mo.  The ‘HUFFMMMMM’ background flutter an integral part to the overall construction – a patina of vibrant hiss as distinctive as the Guinness tang of copper pennies.

Individual moments are hard to pin down – so consistent are the coiling, roiling undulations.  However special mention must be made of the:

  • impotent roar that emerges like Swamp Thing, streaming and fetid among the twisted mangroves (Atlantikwall #3)
  • last transmission from the silver cosmonaut as he plunges into a solar flare (Atlantikwall #4)
  • collapsing code matrix re-programming itself with organic wasp synapse (Atlantikwall #6)
  • centaur singing a mournful lament as the temple horns bellow hot spice (Atlantikwall #7)

Strongly recommended for all endurance bliss-listeners!

jasmine

Jasmine Guffond/Plurals – Live Split (Beartown Records) CD

Another set of live/LIVE/live recordings from That Plurals Band and the Australian born, Berlin based Jasmine Guffond.

Jasmine’s untitled pieces mix queasy sonic manipulation with sinister vocal wordless voicings.

Queasy?  There is a distinct lurch to these electronic base layers. A kind of off-centre swooping that leaves your stomach behind your brain as they build in intensity. To pepper the confection faint pipes and those joke-shop chattering teeth are woven into mangled samples of furniture-moving leaving small indigo traces flickering around my fingertips. The occasional foggy beat or sweet guitar plucks add a note of stability, but only to tug it away unexpectedly adding to the infernal discombobulation.

Sinister? The mood is obscure and unsettled.  Like dusk falling on the barren moor.  It’s purple and beautiful for sure but you’re feeling very much alone and that map you so carefully packed (shunning a modern GPS) is proving itself to be out-dated, damp and useless.

On this disc Plurals offer a 25 minute cliff hanger.  Seemingly endless muscular peaks of boiling synth-noise are rising out of a calm sea, like Neptune, stripped to the waist, with that trident poised, looking for aggro.   Ever so slowly the waves rise higher, becoming sheer canyons of water, carrying all manner of shipwrecks and flotsam up, up, up to crest gracefully and then crash like liquid ordnance.

A hellish document for future dreamers.

shapless landowning

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Dematerialised Landowning (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

Seriously wigged-out recordings from the big kahuna of St Petersburg; The No Audience Underground’s one and only Mr Anton Auster.  Anton has threaded his obscure musical silk from Rostov-on-Don though UK’s gonk-sensei Jon Marshall in the much-missed Rotten Tables Golden Meat, to his Shapeless persona (active since 2014).

Here on this clutch of exceptional tapes he strikes out alone – full of revolutionary spirit and invention!

  • rubbery rubber rubbed by blubbery blubber hands. Indistinct machines belch exhaust smoke to better obscure their foul heft.  A brief and bitter field recording (empty snooker hall, empty swimming pool) gives way to squelchy electronics spitting and spluttering – pouring limp DC spasms into your hand.
  • …a malfunction to end all malfunctions. Wet and sloppy power in a way that Wolf Eyes could never quite manage.  This eleven minute electronic workout is way beyond mere fist pumps (it loosely blurts in rhythmic spurts) invoking a mental ‘hell yeah’ through my lank fringe and Friar Tuck beard.  The final few minutes allow for essential self-reflection as a flock of tense squeals and squeaks chatter like colourful parrots.

Shapeless early protection

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Early Protection (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

More essential free-electric-jizz from Anton Auster experimenting with his modular synth, tape loops and tiny, titchy micro-moments of pure rush…

This is a repeating cascade of sonic bladderwrack – all pop-able blisters and gummy textures.  Not content to let anything sit for too long other sounds are introduced to the barely-contained melee.  Shattered bowling machine mechanisms rattle and smash in a loop hacked out of HOW DO THEY DO THAT? or something.  I press eject and turn the thing over feeling wrung out and used – a welcome eleven minutes spent in a dervish-like ecstasy.  Then…

Everything went black // Bubbling sulphuric and twice as stinky // an undervoice mumbles threats or love potions // the sound of lightening captured in a bottle, sparking off the curved glass sides // My Mexican dinner – the colours bright red and green floating on a frozen sea – the seals start to sing in unison, “wahh-heeer-kohhhhh”.  Tripped-out to the max this tape is one heavy contender for donk of the year!

shapeless shapeless

Shapeless Coat of Arms – Shapeless Coat of Arms (Swollen Beam) cassette and digital album

Where it all began perhaps? The self-titled album is often a statement of intent.  You’ll totally dig this ultra-primitive noise guttering and vomit soundz as they baffle up against sophisticated studies in sonic fuzz – smooth as a mole.

Examples?  Whole new kingdoms reveal themselves in the grime on you palm in ‘Gates’ a chundering loop that smothers and warps.  The wonderfully named ‘Cop-Shredder’ is as grindcore as you’d imagine but played on pocket synth, dentist drill and copper flute.  Dense and brooding, ‘S.A.’ sounds like the National Grid slowly coming to life, sparks flying from pylons, crushing any human daft enough to get in the way.

The closer ‘Spores’ plunges new depths of shapeless ‘fuh’ with a sawn-off grunt (some pig, or boar or walrus) coupled with a deeply unpleasant throb that seems to wobble and ripple in perpetual agony.

All three will payback your morbid curiosity sevenfold.  Is it too early to name Shapeless discovery of the year?

Damn essential.

 

Silken Tofu

Beartown Records

Swollen Beam Discogs / Bandcamp

-ooOOoo-

insistent as history: rfm on dale cornish, yol, anorak

May 11, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Dale Cornish – Aqal (Entr’acte)

Yol – Always Leave Them Wanting Less (Self Release/Bandcamp)

Yol – Cancelled Chicken Regatta (Self Release/Bandcamp)

Anorak – If they are OK, then it’s you / The Hum (Self Release/Soundcloud)

dale cornish

Dale Cornish – Aqal  (Entr’acte) CD and digital album

DC’s most recent works have documented the careful unravelling of structure and asked important questions of placement.  Why does that have to go there?  What happens when tension flows backwards into release?  When is too little too much?

And while these territorial grids are remapped the basic building blocks of sound have not been left un-considered.  Sparse blocks are modelled in plastic forms that flow like warm liquid; components are tweaked tightly or merged into unholy couplings.

And yet it all makes perfect sense. There’s nothing in this world that doesn’t sound as if it’s not in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

OK – that’s enough of the history lesson.  What about this modest disc eh?  On first listen Aqal is by far the most rhythmic session I’ve heard from Dale’s laboratory.  But repeated excavations suggest the whole idea of time is under the microscope here.

The inner sense of timing seems to resonate like a struck bell through each ‘Aqal Pattern’, lulling a lazy reviewer like me through a gradually decreasing sense of control.  The seconds stretch into minutes and that internal body clock (the nodding head, the tapping toe) that metronome our life gets reset on each and every intervention.

My notebook is full of sloping scribbles.

“(AP#1) Full, full, surprisingly full, saucily placed submarine pings and crisp machine-logic handclaps. Get them oars in sync! (AP#2) Ear-cuppingly intimate, a conversation between bass-crustacean, measured in bright bubbles and underwater static (if such a thing is possible). (AP#3 )Brutal dull thumps on slack flesh – a shotgun discharged – cartridges full of indigo snowflakes. (AP#4 )Tubular bells wrapped in downers and sticky bacon –Like something on the Philips label, catalogue number  4FE 8503 (1967).

(AP#5) Shuddering, soaked to the skin, a slow slipping away – drowning in an inch of water/or/ positive athleticism, chrome-plated hurdler, effortless leaping.”

You get the gist.

The final three patterns really seem to shrug themselves free of all that has gone before to emerge unblinking into a brave new world of un-time.  So…Aqal Pattern 6 introduces a succulent throb, a pulse without thought, generating waves like a stone lobbed into a lake.

Aqal Pattern 7 lopes in a graceful ellipse occasionally hurling ballast from the basket to rise ever higher.  Closer, the Aqal Pattern 8 steals a dream from Milt Jackson and replays it through unreliable nylon and bronze pipes: a slow and steady manifesto.

Are you ready for a new platform? Time 2.0?

Editors Note: If you’re tickled you’ve got to move quick.  The Entr’acte CD sold out at source – at time of posting only 7 left on Dale’s bandcamp.

yol wanting less

Yol – Always Leave Them Wanting Less (Self Release) recycled cassette and free digital album

Two exceptional 2016 live sets from Yol on this (now sold out) back-to-basics, DIY to the core, tape.

Picking Grit is a tight 11 minutes where vocal repetition ratchets up the urban hysteria to new levels of swivel-eyed tension.

I suspect Yol is using his patented, homemade ‘modual synth’ here.  Created from an aluminium mess tin, bowed yogurt pot and a viciously deployed metal fork it keeps the sound-movements smaller and friction, rather than gravity, focused.

More rubbing / less dropping.

The relatively sparse instrumentation is itchily uncomfortable and claustrophobic.  Couple this with the caustic word-pictures being painted and it’s no wonder the crowd are reverentially quiet. Either that or they’re bloody terrified.

Angry.

The jovial crowd chatter that opens ‘Hi Vis’ is soon silenced with a gentle pattering of wooden blocks and then one almighty blood-curdling scream from a fizzing Yol in fine voice.

The ‘modular-synth’ is left in its canvas tote bag in favour of the more orchestral bin lids and balti bowls giving this side a flatter, wider sound.  The vocal’s are positively deranged in subject matter and delivery ragging on a consumerist sheep-mentality that end with us,

“sniffing marker pens and buying granite worktops.”

The ‘liveness’ just oozes out of this side with a clearly mobile Yol, stalking the venue as the audience mumble and gasp.  The carefully controlled mayhem, the steel toe-capped attack and shuddering decay sprints though the ten minute set.  But as the balti bowls are hurled about for one last time, and in the instant before the cheers begin, one set of booted feet swiftly exit stage left.  Their work cleanly and precisely done.

Angrier.

yol chicken

 Yol – Cancelled Chicken Regatta (Self Release) non-physical download witchcraft

Like Miles and Dylan before him – Yol goes electric!

But no fucker dare shout “Judas” you dig?

Heavily amplified percussion and feedback that’s only just held back from a total war situation colour this download-only non-physical release.

The dull ‘klongs’ and harmonic swoops of feedback melt into an abstract/urban diatribe, a kinetic poem as the recording seems to collapse and implode before your ears.  Yol mentions Gustav Metzger’s self-cancellation concept in the notes and of course he’s nailing this exactly between the eyes.

So the question must be asked.  Has any of this mysterious percussion instrument* survived the performance?  Will my ears ever be the same again?  And of course…who throws bags of dog shit up into a tree?

As ever Yol leaves us all with another bundle of awkward questions to contemplate as the world around us crumbles.

Angriest?  Oh yes – very much the angriest.

*And what exactly is this percussive noise maker?  As the track progresses I’ve moved away from my initial idea of an amplified ice-cream carton (2 litre of supermarket vanilla), to a bubble-wrapped baseball bat being thumped with increasing force against a circa 1985 smoked-glass coffee table (chrome frame still sparkling).  Am I right?  Does it matter?

anorak

Anorak – If they are OK, then it’s you / The Hum (No label/Soundcloud) streamed digital album

Anorak is the perfectly buttoned-up moniker for one dazzling Noah Roth.

Fans of solo guitar + (and more of that ‘+’ later) will totally goof on these plucky tunes that sweep down the heart-tugging chord progressions John Fahey used to such great effect.

What I’m saying is there’s a melancholy built into the DNA of the songs that adds an authentic dustbowl twang, a thirsty longing glance between the acoustic notes and noise interjections.

This Soundcloud stream is made up of two 10 minute songs. ‘ If They Are OK, Then It’s You’ cranks up like some vintage Jim O’Rourke outtake with pure electronic waves playing alongside a steel-string acoustic guitar exploring hillbilly tunings and tumbling over itself in an attempt to stand up straight.

Of course this haste and mess is a ruse to set you up for a cascading waterfall of descending cadenzas played in the delicate style of one Cian Nugent or Tom Scott until the whole thing slips beneath the digital waves.

The real gem is saved for last, ‘The Hum’ a clear stream of harmonic pings and rich-fingered plucking, as insistent as history, guides the listener into a Ed Crawford-style circular riff.  And damn! The story-telling, personal and ever-so slightly abstract, strikes such a fIREHOSE memory-gong I’m transported back to my teenage years: lovelorn and awkward in a single note.

But of course beautiful playing needs some ugliness to react against and the ending minutes – a computer-crashing crescendo, cleverly underlines the nine minutes of prettiness you have just enjoyed.

It’s a wonderful thing readers.

Dale Cornish Aqal

Yol Bandcamp

Anorak Soundcloud

-ooOOoo-

rowdily settling in my stomach: rfm on bold oxide lust, sindre bjerga, king kungo and brandstifter

May 5, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release)

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes)

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes)

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes)

 bold oxide lust

Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release) a cassette perhaps but certainly a digital album

Effervescent and blistered electronic tone-poems enter one ear then dum-dum the precious grey fluid within.

It is, of course Enrique R. Palma to blame for detonating my magnetic mind-wipe direct from his base in Yucatan, Mexico.

This four-tracker, a quartet of future blues starts with ‘Brunei Rigs Nuns’ fizzing like damp fireworks until it moves through a movement for (1) stainless-steel frogs and (2) diamond-tipped cicadas. Most surprising is the guest pan-pipes hoffed by B. Eno (or someone)!

The sound of falling piss hails the start of ‘Cobalt/Trauma Eel’ while synthetic chords swell and bloat under the golden shower.  The longest piece on record – a hefty twelve minutes – things move from hot splatters to distant gasps and exhalations.  The organist is determined to add some decorum to this situation and play clumped, fistfuls of notes that seem to decay into soft butter almost instantaneously.

N-AU crossword fans will no doubt make a beeline for ‘Anagram Liar’ to seek some obscured pattern in the flailing muss.  I’ve never been a cryptic fan but, for the record, my findings are as follows: aqueduct field recordings meshed with Judy Dunaway scores, electric typewriter keys tapped with frenetic energy, mouth squoosh.  A winner in anyone’s book.

Enrique leaves closer ‘A Fondly If In’ to really kick out the jams.  This is a full-throttle rocker in a world where Suicide became punk’s measurement and the Smex Pustules petered-out like the bad fashion-world joke they were.   Almost 9 minutes of explosive muck and bluster that then chills-the-fuck-out and we’re transported to a soft cantina filled with warm erotic hiss.

Sindre Bjerga

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes) cassette

Bjerga- a presence unmoveable!

Bjerga – a method unrepeatable!

Here stand two live performances summoned from N-AU’s Misterrrrrrrr James Brrrrrroowwwwwwwwwn.

(Side A)  We travel back in time to March 24th 2016.  We are in the fine city of Cologne (home of Spam tapes).  Prepare yourself for a tape-jaxx heavy set.

The FFW button is given some serious hammer as voices get squeaky and disco/funk grows an extra limb.  But the tomfoolery can only last so long as Sindre breaks out something more sparse and dub-wise where faint grunts waddle.

The sudden intrusion of space makes me feel uneasy and makes each click, throb and slo-tape-smear something a little uncomfortable – like watching a candied industrial process.

And while the third movement goes full-circle back to Sindre’s drone roots with a gritty, visceral chugga-chug-chugga of perfect dictaphonix roar; the final segment gets me all tight round the middle, in a post Sunday-lunch kind of way, before the rosemary and sage farts offer sweet relief.

(Side B) The dial is set two days earlier and this time we are in the home of the International Trade Conference circuit – Frankfurt!

Things start off very quietly with a muscular yet almost internal sound.  Could this be the birth of peristalsis-core?

The swallowing and bolus-juggling come in waves (natch!) squashing and releasing tight clumps of roots reggae into my innocent ears.

Any riddim is soon overpowered with searing tape roil, drone-embers and destroyed soft-rock (think Leather and Lace) until a child’s voice steals the show speaking with great emphasis.

As befitting a master Bjerga rejects the easy crescendo in favour of a return to subtle ham-fist tape warping: voices clutter and mesh with wet mouth-noise and (snip) it all suddenly cuts off.

Time travel at its finest.

King Kungo

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes) cassette – plays same on both sides

Utterly charming and disarming!

This brief and beautiful tape is an on-the-spot composition of Nils Quak’s young son King Kungo running, shouting and talking inside a huge resonant bridge in Cologne.  In the background a piano loop by Michaela Melian is playing (from a previously happened-upon installation).

Both are dressed in the most wonderful natural reverb I think I have ever heard.

Simple eh?  But the sum of these parts results in a powerful listening experience, swaddled in memory and warmth.

The piano is sparse and dry – echoing through the huge space dropping ivory tears in complex patterns.  But it’s the young Master Kungo that turns these ingredients into a ray of sunshine.

The shouts and hollas let us gnarly-old adults revisit that pure innocent joy of shouting into the wind; you can hear his excitement as these sounds reflect back his practiced squeals and effectively rolled ‘r’s and trills.

The feedback loop of noise-excitement-noise-excitement is, I’ll wager, one of the universal N-AU equations and keeps us coming back to damp cellars across the globe to plug in and play.  Hearing this laid out without no pretence or posturing is most intoxicating – like the first sip of ice-cold lemonade; I can feel the fizziness flow though my head and neck, rowdily settling in my stomach.

Production-wise it sounds like nothing has been touched or tweaked so there is an occasional tape flutter or mic rustle but hey…that just makes it more real man.

An experience tape of wide-smiles and wonderment!

Brandshifter

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes) cassette

And of course this offering from Brandstifter couldn’t be more different.  Note to self – never expect the usual from Spam!

What sounds like tightly wound, tightly worked “FIELDS, LOOPS, NOISE, VOX” rumble, rustle and whistle between broken teeth.

After a few minutes of side one’s opening soft-factory vibes we’re treated to a hiss-symphony of subtle breath sounds all looping over themselves like Wounded Knee’s most delicate moments mumbled into the bottom of a pint pot.

In time, small electric motors power some fowl or other into a clucking mess, feathers are ruffled and breasts plumped – but look alive little goose – the farmer and family chant a Summer Isle backwards psalm.

Side two is a more free-flowing energy river and goes a little something like this

…car door/rubber knocks/more bloody geese/someone takes a marimba onto the train/dropped chocolate coins…

until a real Fylkingen text-sound experiment wraps creamy ‘b’ sounds and ‘lem’ sounds round various tonsils ending in a true babblicious fountain!

Brandstifter waltz the looping majestic!

Bold Oxide Lust

Spam Tapes / A-Music Spam Page

-ooOOoo-

pure disco imbalance: rfm on karl m v waugh, storm bugs, midmight and panelak

May 2, 2017 at 6:24 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Karl M V Waugh – o light; a lightness (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder)

Storm Bugs – Certified Originals and Vintage Fakes (Snatch Tapes)

Midmight–Cut Cut Cut Bruise (Resipiscent)

Panelak – Sunsplat/Quatsch (Urubu)

karl mv waugh

Karl M V Waugh – o light; a lightness (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder) CD and digital album

A three-part homage to light – or to life?

Opener ‘dawn’ is a shy overture.  A gathering of electric-breath and glistening themes in a cloud of expectancy leading into the 30 minute bulk of ‘light’ – moving at the speed of morning.

The gentle yawn of night is giving up, once again, to budding and unfurling mauve tendrils stroking the un-blackening blue.

Yet this is a curious and optimistic light, the bucolic synth tones rising and falling like the warmth of the spring sunshine as it pokes yellow fingers into the places darkness prefers to lurk. The rolling nature of the soft-sound lolls between my sleepy ears carrying slight dissonant pitches and moans that build and decay, build and decay…

Somewhere in the background a gruff blustering slowly gathers pace in the same way a snowball picks up stones and leaves – mimicking the creation of a tiny world.  About 20 minutes in I feel the churning emergence start to leave traces of itself – miniscule waves that shift in graceful S-bends, travelling the twin meanders in deliciously greasy detail.

The closer, a brief tropical ‘dusk,’ is altogether more hectic as fuzzing and fritzing notes buzz in Brownian motion, shimmering like moon-birds.  It’s only in the closing seconds they jettison their fragile wings, ready to propel themselves in a steep suicidal ascent into the dead vacuum of space.

The circle remains unbroken.

storm bugs

Storm Bugs – Certified Originals and Vintage Fakes (Snatch Tapes) CD in hefty vacuum-formed case, booklet and digital album

The legendary Storm Bugs are respected old-timers residing, a bug apiece, on the South Coast and Deptford (Borough of Lewisham).  Somehow this shared maritime history, pebbled-dashed openness, wide skies and neat beaches seem to run through their infectious sound.

Certified Originals is a very helpful drawing together of recent ‘dingles’, downloadable singles that play with the seven inch format in a variety of delightful ways: the three-minute pop song, the dub version, the unexpectedly superior b-side all get shoved through the Storm Bugs’ intelligent blender.

For the uninitiated get ready for SONGS…catchy verse, chorus, verse songs with real words and underpinning ideas.  But like This Heat or something these songs all get twisted into new forms creating bold statements that weave through their deceptively dark synth-pop exterior.

Make no mistake – the sweet exterior always reveals a soft-centre of something unpleasant and darkly acrid.

Starting off gently there’s no nostalgia on ‘Hisstory of the Cassette Tape’ as it playfully pokes at both collector-scum and sepia-bores.  And of course there are bonus points for rhyming “Cassette Tape” with “Ferrous Oxide bake.”

A bewildered diary entry ‘New Resolutions’ marches like a Roman Legion with the type of buzzing synth-sound EL-P loved to chuck into CoFlow jamz.  The ghost of Esquivel squirms through ‘Up the Pylon and Down the Lane’ but in a sickly sinister nursery rhyme.

‘Pity the Small’ takes me right back to those minor-key symphonies perfected by New Zealand’s Tall Dwarves but here laced with suicidal thoughts.

And this darkness reaches a peak on ‘Take it to the Top’ a discombobulating mash-up of the ‘Are You Being Served?’ theme with a Class War manifesto.

Gosh!  I need a bit of a sit down after that.

The instrumentals are measured as carefully as posh cocktails – a snitch of vermouth, a splash of bitters  – so while tracks like ‘Storm of Bugs’ could have fallen out of an Art of Noise remix 12 inch way back when Morley was a mere annoyance, ‘Ordnance Survey’ is, without a doubt, a mosh-pit breakdown.

Wondering what 60’s corn-pop tune Popcorn would sound like full of acid squelches? Clear out your lugs for ‘MitWasser’.

These kindly Bugs don’t want you to leave this disc a wreck so they save the slick beats and hummus-rich atmosphere of ‘Triangulation’ until last; a strangely euphoric piece that started to claw-back my faith in human nature and throw a few shapes around the living room.

Consumers!  Satisfaction is yours to demand.  Order a Storm Bugs solution – NOW.

 midmight

Midmight–Cut Cut Cut Bruise (Resipiscent) CDr and digital album that comes complete with another Midmight album ‘Almost Clear’

Midmight (be-masked and anonymous) offers a whole flotilla of mind-engorging short pieces on this unapologetically boisterous collection.

Some sort of electronic dissonance (hot-wired light sabre, explosive durian fruit?) takes centre stage buffing away at crumpled field recordings – often TV sound and domestic detritus – like a donkey’s tail swats bothersome flies.

The rhythm and timing of these swoops is both unknowable and difficult to categorise.  At one point they seem to batter the taped sounds into submission (‘Abdominal Cavity’), at others they accompany as delicate parsley sprinkled on fresh gazpacho – see ‘Springville Auction’ for details.

‘Make no Mistake’ seems to mould the spitting energy into a quick ska-beat; ‘Let’s Pretend’ is a slow rinser from the Wolf-dong camp.

Sucking on a pencil I decide it’s probably a mistake to over-think this set of JAMZ.

Just raise your fist and yell!

panelak

Panelak – Sunsplat/Quatsch (Urubu) Tape and digital album featuring 25 different J-cards?

A whirring, churning, ever transmogrifying mulch of lo-fi tape magic!

Phew – them’s powerful words eh?  What if I was to tell you young Pascal Ansell has created his very own Faust Tapes on this ecstatic Panelak release?

You’d read on with damp lips eh?

Huge, broad swoops of sound are moved with ease across a broad and ordered canvas.  The shudder of tape grot rubs shoulders with children singing and ukulele strums along to winged-eel keyboard.

Field recordings (a gondolier, a market place) are wrenched across a digital interface and looped, chopped and edited with fine cotton gloves.   You get the picture?

But it’s this fine sense of editing, a sure hand and a keen ear, that takes these colourful and varied sounds and turns them from dull bronze into a winner’s gold.

Each side holds a single 20 minute piece; one named Sunsplat and one named Quatsch and both contain more singular sound-moments than I can shake my walking stick at.  If your experience of this form of sound-collage/gonk montage has been ham-fisted or without any internal narrative fear not!   On this fine, fine tape Pascal has arranged each sound into a logical (un)sequence of deliberate/accidental, stressed/relaxed, acoustic/electronic.  As a result the damn thing flows like a soul-river; deep and clear and free.

Individual moments create a framework to hang your hat on; but be sure to listen out for…

Elongated moans

                 >>>vintage tape scritch & scratch

                                                                                                  >>>hi-pitch headphone feedback

Italian TV (backwards)

     >>>clunky egg-slicer manipulation>>>crab-hand guitar loop>>>Portuguese translation aid

                                                           >>>the dry plastic click of a cheap mic

Basic keyboard exercise played with three hands>>>

      unsuccessful radio tune-up>>>

                                                           old rehearsal tapes cut into pieces>>>pure disco imbalance

 

If you find joy in the miniature click your heavy fingers on the link and listen to the sweet action.

Dial up P.A.N.E.L.A.K for mighty change.

 

Emblems of Cosmic Disorder

Snatch Tapes / Storm Bugs

Resipiscent

Urubu Tapes

-ooOOoo-

corn toes throb: rfm on diatribes, yearning kru, sophie cooper & julian bradley, sam andreae/david birchall/otto willberg and kay hill

April 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Diatribes – Sistere (Mappa Editions)

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records)

Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – The Blow Volume 3 (Front & Follow)

Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willberg – Hair in the Chimney (Heavy Petting/Vernacular Recordings)

Kay Hill – ANARAK (Invisible City Records)

Kay Hill – Summit Tapes pt 2 (Strange Rules)

diatribes 

Diatribes – Sistere (Mappa Editions) Handsomely-boxed C40 tape and digital album

A new-to-me name, Diatribes, are a Swiss improvising duo – D’incise & Cyril Bondi – who offer us two damn-fine, side-long, ritualistic explorations.

‘Tabi-Tabi’, this woozily hypnotic twenty-minute rhythm workout starts like a boredoms drum-circle with a handful of percussion (bells, shaker, bamboo claves, half bag of rice and those damn shell contraptions) round a campfire and stays near enough in that vein for the duration.  Off-kilter electronic fingering appears around the edges and new shaken textures begin swooping in over the central heartbeat.

A lazier reviewer would play the Steve Reich card but this seems in no way minimal.  Sure there’s not much in terms of shifting sonic content but the arrangement and variety of dryness verses simple clattering brass is filling my soft head with little tinkles like I done an ASMR youtube marathon.

The pulse never changes…but just when I think “I’m about to leave my earthly body, swooped to heaven with winged heels…” a series of thin ringing tones guides my soul back into this slumped form on a silver wire.

I’m a cotton-mouth shaman!

The contrast of ‘Utsara – Utsara’ couldn’t be more pronounced.  Double-deep floor-tom beats in half-time with a sultry resonance.  It sounds human-played with deft smears and deep-red ringing.

Imagine your favourite gamelan record slowed down and ironed out to a single fragrant strike repeated over and over again while something lurks behind the mix hissing and spitting.

This is the music of waiting for bad things to happen and listening is an uneasy, spiritually distant experience – there is no euphoria in the repetition – just slowly creeping dread like the crops failed and goat milk has gone sour.  Why’s everyone looking at me?

I’m a cowering villager!

yearning kru

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records) tape and download

What the Dickens tape-mulch that sounds like a super-high-gloss production being ruined by an unexpected plutonium pulse and scrambled forever.

This tape is such a delight because of it’s extremely twisted DNA.  No sound is left unmolested for a moment – each digital bang or gritty slump is smothered in maximal oddness, then wrung out, then laid out on another freakish griddle.

I’ll try to make sense of it for you but I fear I’m too old…

  • Swooshing, the colour of Vogue Magazine – all fleshy beige (Canisters in the Marsh). A three-part structure is implied but never enforced: smeared samples, a clock ticks backwards drips behind, smashed glassy tinkles blink.
  • Unpleasant whalloping (Gulping Boulders) and dropped iron vases. Corn toes throb.
  • Beamed direct from Hell (Nightbrightener) as Dante attempts to sing his way out over a barrage of malfunctioning bass machines and melting RAM.
  • One recognisable mbira is a brief oasis (Tattoo (Petrol)) until my bratty breath is looped (The Address) like no human mouth could ever, ever, ever…it ends in desperate scratchin’.
  • This is no conventional medley (U Neva Glissend) but a hint of Sunday School organ gone random while the bad kids glitch and moan in the pews.

[Ed’s not: despite the computer-led approach, Cronx’ Yearning Kru leads directly to Hull’s Yol on my why-aye-player and the segue into gritty, real demolition sounds perfect – hey people – let’s make it happen!]

Fans of Guttersnipe and Autechre form a queue please…

front and follow

Sophie Cooper & Julian Bradley – The Blow Volume 3 (Front & Follow) tape and digital album

RFM’s very own Sophie Cooper and his Excellency the Julian Bradley have been creating soft bubbles of weirdness for many years ploughing fuxxed-electronics, vocal grease and guitar-moff in a variety of solo trips, swift duos and long-lived freakbands.  Pledging their troth to the way-out they formed The Slowest Lift (check press for details) but on this fayre tape they play under their own names.  No less sloe! No less lifting!!

OK…that’s the scene set.  What you’ve got here is two sides of ferric huss that runs the gamut from ‘thundering whale barnacles’ to ‘cardamom fueled intoxication.’  The controls are jammed into the red from the off with maximum distortion, reverb and delay of a type so strong it begins to punch through the fog that obscures the river bank that I’m squatting beside.

Details?

Tracks like ‘Wish Me to Forget You’ a gruff-electronic-folk-sonnet wonders what became of the hangman’s beautiful daughter.  ‘The Body’ considers the mysteries of the fallow field.  Full of shuddering wormy detail and slowly rejuvenating with essential nitrates!

Super-slow and re-imagined ‘Greenhead’ is as catchy as Under Mi Sleng Teng and fair forms a crust with them steel-pan clonks that count it out…5,4,3,2,1.

The three-part movements of ‘Nowhere from the Water to Go’ starts with (1) misty-eyed spirals of multiple guitars picked in the spirit of Portugal’s Manuel Mota – rugged plucking looped over thumbs like cat’s cradle – until (2) all sin is washed clean with thick, bassy waves of caustic tone spitting like a red-hot poker plunged into rough cider.  The coda (3) haunts in its brevity – a pickled pepper of all that’s gone before.

Up-to-the-minute tape-scroll and scratch-jaxx infects the short neighbours ‘My Muscles’ and ‘The Mirror’.  The former a black-dark fustering of synth-tones, dragged copse and dislocated voice the later a bona performance of séance gymnastics.  Lo!

The spookiest of the bunch, ‘Congratulations,’ showcases floating twin vocals becoming an almost-ghost.  No doubt a terrible tale is being told over a tune as loose as a Bardo Pond jam from way back.

Seriously delightful, yet quivering with restraint.  Sort of like sweeping an experienced hand over the powerful flanks of a gelding.

birchall etc

Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willberg – Hair in the Chimney (Heavy Petting/Vernacular Recordings) CD

Ecstatic three-way improv shunting with many fingers.

That idea of complex gets a bad rap eh?  In a world where simplification and convenience are sleepwalking us into some sort of human stasis we often shove anything difficult or involved on to tomorrows ‘to-do’ list.

Those real-gone physics-beards have got the right idea though.  They claim even the thorniest, knottiest equation can be beautiful.  A problem so complex so wide and deep and long that most of us mere mortals can’t even understand the damn question gets wrapped up and buffed into a solution all brief and balanced  – achieving beauty.

So along with the Prof Yaffles: Sam Andreae/David Birchall/Otto Willburg invite us to smudge their chalky equation with our fresh ears.

Hair in the Chimney is an ultra-complex, lovingly-layered and nuanced peak into a virtually infinite system of sax, guitar and double bass techniques.

Don’t get your Zappa out! These techniques are a million miles from prog’s privileged meanderings (and for that matter refreshingly free of improv cliché) and almost telepathic as any squeak, belch or ‘boing’ travels from sax to guitar to bass in a second.

There’s three lengthy pieces here, long enough to get dug in and explore an ever changing landscape of some new improv patois.  The textures move from brittle and broken to bulbous and ripe over the course on each imagination.

And though you might expect that with two string-bringers there’s an overreliance on pluck.  Not so! The guitar and bass are as happy to hum and wobble as the sax is evidently delighted to quietly pop from time to time.

Of course it’s not all about speed and mimicry. The sympathetic support of each instrument and player is super-palpable as each voice is selfless enough to bring out the best in each other.  Be that a slow dripping, almost Sonic Youth-style, electric gamelan or a razor-sharp ladder of tones, each essential to the overall sculpture.

Floats as easy as lubricated conversation.

kay hill

Kay Hill – ANARAK (Invisible City Records) C20 tape and digital download

A welcome return from Ben Hallatt.  A fine player who first ruffled my feathers a coupla years back at the glorious Crater Lake festival –  then proceeded to gently massage my shoulders, taking great care to conceal a syringe of potent sedative that could be plunged into my neck when least expected via a slew of marvelous releases.

Here under the Kay Hill moniker he continues with what I previously described as eerie-urban-horror with muted synth and tape work.

On the mysteriously illusive ‘ANARAK’ (no info save from the artist and title) Ben offers two sides of insistent minimalism that flick with cold urgency like Morse code distress signals. The stately and austere construction of these pieces nudges Ben further away from the noise-dingus camp into a zone of bespectacled academia and ultra-minimal electronics with the implied threat of early Wolf Eyes/American Tapes/Hanson releases.

I guess the rotating orbs we hear are reels of analogue tape floating with thudding rhythms that are offset by smears of static gristle and clunk. Ben constructs his tracks like a plate spinning exercise of noises, his timing and flair for adding and subtracting sounds at the right time is impeccable. (Luke Vollar)

kay hill summit tapes

Kay Hill – Summit Tapes pt 2 (Strange Rules) C20 and digital download

‘Summit Tapes pt 2’ continues the engrossing drama with high lonesome tones smooshed with low key grunk and fleck.

The forlorn, barely-there conclusion of the first side sounds, for all the world, like the slow journey through an underground cave-river to an unknown conclusion.  A dim light illuminating the craggy rock and the knowledge that you may well be facing the end alone.

The subtle and eerie unraveling of the second side has a slow and steady whistle rising like Doctor Octopus’ steely tentacles within a claustrophobic vortex . I keep going back to horror as a comparison but it does seem appropriate with Kay Hill as he has a gift for building tension and dread that, like the best horror films, focuses on the drawn-out suspense and fear – not the grisly climax.

So it’s fitting that there is no grisly climax to be found on either of these Hill tapes; and as the muted keys whir and crunch, half remembered voices play out ‘side b’ like a waterlogged fifth-generation tangerine cassette.

I am again extremely impressed. (Luke Vollar)

 

Mappa Editions

Mantile Records

Front & Follow

Heavy Petting / Vernacular Recordings

Invisible City Records

Strange Rules

-ooOoo-

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