pick-up truck vocabulary: joe murray on crow versus crow, faniel dord, stefan jaworzyn/dylan nyoukis/seymour glass, the tenses & bren’t lewiis ensemble and the viperMarch 17, 2017 at 8:37 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: bren't lewiis ensemble, bufms, chocolate monk, crow versus crow, crow versus crow editions, dante's ashtray, donk, dylan nyoukis, faniel dord, fonk, joe murray, seymour glass, skronk, stefan jaworzyn, the tenses, the viper
Crow Versus Crow – States (Crow Versus Crow Editions)
Faniel Dord – Faniel Dord (Dante’s Ashtray)
Stefan Jaworzyn, Dylan Nyoukis, Seymour Glass – My Disgusting Heart (Chocolate Monk)
The Tenses & Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – Daughter of the Boot (Chocolate Monk)
The Viper – Art for Pain’s Sake (BUFMS)
Crow Versus Crow – States (Crow Versus Crow Editions) 3 inch CD and 20 page art-zine photo booklet
This beautiful package comes sandwiched between plain grey heavystock card; the sombre plainness a reaction to the vibrant colour inside perhaps?
I’ll start with the sound. The disc contains 17 minutes of the real Americana collected by Andy Crow on his 2016 road trip to southern states of the USA (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia – fact fans). As you’d imagine there is a rejection of any field recording cliché – this is pure extraction music with no toothless fiddle or Grand Ole Opry in sight.
It’s a subtle and slow movement for sure: the opening static crackles makes way for a woven pattern of cicada’s rhythmic rustle and the liquid whoosh of passing cars. An occasional maraca-shake could be a deadly rattlesnake. The ‘tich-th’ of the owl a hi-hat sizzle that reeks of baked desert heat and sonic shimmer. But rather then present this slack-jawed and unexamined the mix builds a hidden momentum through increasing the thread count and rippling the fabric with a deft thumb.
The final movement drags lazy ears into unapologetic high-performance mode. A lonely buzzard calls out across the valley – the sound of the air around the recorder fizzes with unknowable purpose. An excitable preacher (my guess is via battered radio rather than a gaudy TV) adds the sort of paranoid verbals African Head Charge favoured era Songs of Praise.
It is of course a suggestion piece – with no literals to hang your baseball cap on the imagination picks up tiny clues and builds a personal narrative from the crumbs. My reality is not Mr Crow’s but what we now share is a gas station dream, a pick-up truck vocabulary.
But as well as his ears he’s brought his eyes. Eyes that spy detail in the trash and the unloved, beauty in the unused and plain old decrepit.
It’s almost impossible to look at the booklet without adding today’s awful political charge and context but a deep breath helps to remember a time before this extra ladle of madness soup soured what was the American dream.
People are absent, but the hands of the hardworking and decent, the just making do, are all over these gorgeous images.
As Crow’s lens is drawn to the weather-beaten and well used the inference is communal – we are joined by the codes of work and play. And even when the work has gone and the players drifted home the traces we leave are still good. Not necessarily grand or initially impressive but honest and modest and well-intentioned.
Railway tracks vanish to a point, exposed brickwork bakes in the sun and corrugated metal rusts like soft brown blooms. A single word ‘sorry’ is inked onto a door frame.
States shows a land waiting for interpretation, a mythology waiting to be written.
Faniel Dord – Faniel Dord (Dante’s Ashtray) CD-R
The Scouser Sun City Girl deals us a full-deck of deranged approaches on this tasty self-titled release.
Micro-songs are played on dodgy keyboard, beer-stained piano and battered guitar then dripped though a lo-fi studio set up that adds a delightful scruffy edge to these enigmatic pieces.
Some arrive fully-formed; dripping with sarcasm and uncomfortable political questions like a Mersybeat Porest.
Others riff –out a tune that has always seemed to exist somewhere behind my ear until the mighty Faniel has just shucked it out with a blunt knife (for evidence see My Bowl of Skulls).
The shadow of Edward Lear inhabits Dord’s world in both word and deed. A lover of scatological shock and the innocently odd – both ends of the stick are jammed in the jellyfish mouth until the protoplasm pops.
But of course it’s not all yuks, ‘Zaidida’ concludes in deep Rembetika sorrow after a frantic three minutes and ‘Medusa’s gone Digital’ warns the Gorgons and their ilk the dangers of modern life – something I don’t think we do quite enough of.
Fans of Derek and Clive take note and click.
Stefan Jaworzyn, Dylan Nyoukis, Seymour Glass – My Disgusting Heart (Chocolate Monk) CD-R
I never expected Jaworzyn, that long-haired, six-string Ascension/Skullflower wire-wrangler on this kinda gob-jaxx (see Nyoukis) / tape-huss (see Glass) melange. But more fool me eh? The iron banjo adds some rich, metallic DNA to this most lovable of three-ways.
Opener ‘Frozen Tombs of Siberia’ is a medium-sized panic attack; part elephant seal growl, part rattling coffin nails, but all Skippy the Kangaroo incidental music. As you’d expect from these experienced heads the pace is stately, elements of bubbling vowel or chopped-to-john-o-groats guitar placed in a sonic Battenberg with a similar marzipan roughness. The closing seconds of this jam re-imagine a Tardis’ asthmatic ‘whump-whump’. Calling all BBC commissioning editors – get these lads in – you’ve been warned!
Song title of the week is well and truly won by ‘Dirty Owl Teat’ and works like one of them Scandinavian open sandwiches.
- (rye cracker base) slow-mould guitar wrench, harmonic pimples and drumlins, a yeast of amp hum…
- (smoked herring topping) an expression of joy hissed through side-mouth bibbles, coughs and spaniel-like panting. Occasional v-words are the glace cherry.
And the Smorgasbord analogy still holds for ‘Slowest Emergency Team’ with oodles more tape-frot.
But it’s the closer ‘Gang-related Sneezing’ that really quivers my liver. This modest track is a stop-start-stop-start wrecking ball of un-sense tape-slivers. Neatly delivered in finely measured bursts that defy any conventional rhythm; pretty soon my arms and legs are tied up in Twister-esque contortions.
A test-card for the mind or an essential document of new solutions?
Whisper your answer in my hot pink shell.
The Tenses & Bren’t Lewiis Ensemble – Daughter of the Boot (Chocolate Monk) CD-R
Two long, long, long pieces of near psychic jam make up this extra-value 60 min disc.
A whole platform of players (note ‘em: Oblivia, Ju Suk Reet Meate, Lucian Tielens, Sylvia Kastel, Leroy Tick & Gnarlos) strike bowls, press buttons, crank up turntables and rattle cutlery in an infinite variety of ways. The label says…
‘spontaneous sound collage, bent improv, non-musical weirdness’
…and who am I to argue?
Of course it’s the group-think that makes this disc hover in an unnatural manner. The linkage of brown ideas and soupy ingredients interweave in an effortless stew.
And where ‘Authentication of Ancient Chinese Bronzes’ is a pointillist pin-prick on tightly ruled graph paper ‘Heroic Armor of the Italian renaissance’ is more of a flexible lake or a fake puddle. The difference is startling yet understated, like putting sugar in the salt cellar.
As I lay back and let ‘the music take me’ I picture several conflicting images: emoji torture, dry goods being bagged, the gritty feel of a military mess kit. But that’s just me! You may picture the red stone of Bologna or the broad green leaves of Portland but that’s the point innit? From a base of gentle tinkles and sound-scurf we make our own reality.
And at this point I start to doubt the sanity of reviewing such a subjective sound environment and ask you to point your finger here to listen to an extract and write your own damn review.
But, dear reader that wouldn’t be the RFM way eh?
Another couple of spins in different environments (making dinner, jogging through the park) reveal the onion layers. The surface complexity is really a carefully constructed chicken-wire framework to hang the softer, more feather-light sounds.
So…the clear-edged ‘clonks’ and ‘smaks’ punctuate the more ghostly ‘heshhh’ and ‘vumpf’ until, before you realise it a thousand bicycle bells are ringing you through The Arc De Triomphe.
The Viper – Art for Pain’s Sake (BUFMS) CD
Vintage tape experiments from one Mr Richard Sterling Streeter and his long-suffering family and friends.
What strikes me first is the application of the universal language of mucking about. You know what I’m talking about; that finger heavy on the play/pause button, that snotty ‘la la’, the classic chopstick-on-margarine-tub click.
Are these early tape experiments (made between the years 1978 to 1982 according to my terrible maths) any less worthy for that? Well of course not. As a listener I’m humbled to be let in to this world and nostalgerise my own (now thankfully lost) juvenilia.
But before I get too comfortable and misty-eyed our old friend progress rears its head and the later tracks (for all are arranged chronologically) dig deeper into the heart of echo, reverse reel-to-reel wonk and real-live violin scraping.
Music Concrete is an old maid on ‘Ollidarma’ an infectious riot of bright stereo blossoms. Raw sound becomes the source itself as it whips though the tape heads smeared by speed or plummets down a wormhole of creepy reverb. I’m treated to a whole dossier of tape wonk with added ‘accidentals’ that seem to come from the 1940’s via a haunted dancehall and a coffee-jinxed auctioneer until the white-coated engineers start pulling chunks out the Revox machine creating whirring thrums and empty pings while George Harrison wheedles away his yolk-less omelette in the main studio.
The almost traditional instrumentation of ‘In a Garden’ makes be bark like a dog. Piano, bass, shuffling snare and lonely violin tug on those melancholic heartstrings like a Midnight Doctors jam. Pure longing and loss gets bowed out across the cat-gut until hot tears snake down my cheek. Crikey!
‘Dreams of Glipnorf’ the energetic closer starts rough-hewn like a callous but ends up boogieing like that Canned Heat out-take where Blind Owl really starts to lose his mustard.
Don’t fear the Viper!
similarly introverted/greasy feathers: joe murray on final seed, troy schafer, termite acropolis, michael barthel, kent tankred, body morph, matt krefting, jon collin, f ampism and final seed again!March 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: beartown records, body morph, chocolate monk, f. ampism, final seed, joe murray, jon collin, kent tankred, matt krefting, micahel barthel, round bale recordings, soundholes, termite acropolis, troy schafer
Final Seed – S/T (Round Bale Recordings)
Troy Schafer – Untitled No4 (Round Bale Recordings)
Termite Acropolis – Dedication in Vinegar (Round Bale Recordings)
Michael Barthel – Randradau (Chocolate Monk)
Kent Tankred – Organ 1 (Chocolate Monk)
Body Morph – Keep Still and be Devoured (Soundholes)
Matt Krefting – Danger (Chocolate Monk)
Jon Collin – Sky Writings (Early Music)
F Ampism – The Resolution Phase (Beartown Records)
Final Seed – Untitled (Chocolate Monk)
Final Seed – S/T (Round Bale Recordings) Very rare tape or download
Rejoice in this super-subtle tape nothingness.
Side A is a perfectly timed 10 minutes that weaves the sound of background hiss-radiation with brief leather-necked gulpings and pre-language garrotte. The sound of the sound of the recorder whirring dumbly is captured in startling clarity. A round off in the cavern of the delay bounces a single blank tone off the squash court wall.
Side B is similarly introverted. What was once a throaty wolf-man roar is pitched right down and super low into a substratum of broken sea-foam. It warbles quietly, paying no mind and, like pouring thick glue over an uneven floor, the sound pools in places making deep ripples, skims the surface in others as light as a pond skipper.
The sense of purpose and dedication to a dream makes this a supremely confident release and an important exercise in listening to the sort of chuff we often ignore, gloss over and palm off.
Read no further and click here for evidence.
Troy Schafer – Untitled No4 (Round Bale Recordings) Ultra rare lathe cut 7inch or download
Round Bale describe this as a ‘brain-scrambler’. After listening I’m feeling poached and fried to boot!
Side A. Sepia piano recordings run through a wood-chipper.
Troy’s fingers may nudge the occasional keys gently but his feet hit the pedals with force sending those white and black notes ricocheting through tin and bronze filters that wreak the pretty and gasp with giant violence. What else am I getting (like a wine taster – that’s me!) a lung-rattling wheeze, half-song and memory. You know what? I’m just a sucker for a solo piano. The final 11 seconds promise a new beginning with that build up of blocked, harried notes that rudely snip off. Oh yeah…distinctly classy.
Side B starts with a grunt and then something orchestral is wrenched back and forth through a pinhole. The dry wooden click of a cello (perhaps) mimics a poultry convention; angry clucks and gobbles, that red wattle vibrating with the rough string attack. I hear a woman’s laughter and then Troy launches into more grappling with the horsehair. A dramatic friction. Like looking down a sound-microscope that magnifies each textured sound-bundle a thousand times until it bursts like a turgid cell – spouting information into your lucky earhole.
Termite Acropolis – Dedication in Vinegar (Round Bale Recordings) sold out tape and download
What an apt name for this ant-city investigation. Miniature tunnels are bored through the hard red earth and filled with dark cardboard clunks and billiard hall knockings.
Powerfully restrained recordings of process with little ornamentation. This is: a bell, a dropped coin, a handful of pocket fluff.
But that’s not to say these are overly simple. Sounds are doused with a gentle condiment (or indeed pickled) until they slush about like a rotting medical exhibit (see: Caricature of the garden) in the bottom of a demijohn.
While massive machines are imagined in ‘Lardworks’, brass pistons pumping and levers floundering in a polished wooden way, it is left to ‘Extinguish the light’ to hurl us into the modern age; a symphony of gates opening and shutting to the beat of the Bontempi.
Title tracks often tell us a little about the intention and drive behind a record or artist. In this case I’m guessing the closer, a nine-minute brining, is a powerful psychic calling card. It’s subtle and refined, relaxed but with a steady guiding hand on the reigns. Delicate and simple tones and clunks rattle around the bagatelle that mirrors your own dainty cochlear. It’s easy to get lost in such dwarf loops as they occur again and again, melting over each other in polite collapse. At around the four-minute mark a constant high-lonely-moan is redoubled turning that sweet milk into smoked cheese marking the start of a watery, pale beauty.
Waiting room music for the hep, hep cats.
Michael Barthel – Randradau (Chocolate Monk) C20 Cassette
Insider bone scrapings and economic scribble.
Side A runs for about 9 minutes and places micro-pieces of clean and energetic German-sounding spoken goof with psychotic milkman-whistle and hissy-Dictaphone-grottage. Oh yes! Michael barks stern his instructions. These blocks of meaning lock as tight as Duplo bricks but instead of the obvious primary colours this is an altogether mistier proposal.
So…rather than tan the glitches Mr Barthel exercises all the edges of his palette. The lion indeed lies down with the lamb with the final few minutes mimicking aching layers of lazy sediment.
Side B starts with off-radio, wrong-phonics and some glorious sepia glossolalia. A hum and whirr of the taping device is left to whittle away adding a tambour-like drone for an amateur age. Gloriously smeared sound leaks like straw-coloured plasma from a bad burn. Oily as balm; dressings are changed for the finale of woollen moans and an almost vaudeville reading of sparse and strangulated word blooms.
It’s a hectic world for sure, but listening to this made me dawdle like a child. Damn…listening to this tape made me a better person. You NEED some!
Kent Tankred – Organ 1 (Chocolate Monk) C40 Cassette
These ultra-heavy organ manipulations weigh as much a chubby whale loafing about in the viscous and dark brine.
A presence piece that you can, and should, project your reality on to: this is perfect travelling music.
Each organ foldback-loop and full –throated gas-roar is like a cold sun flickering through autumn leaves or watching the savage juxtaposition of a ripped billboard layered with contrasting messages.
- Large pumice boulders skin your elbows and the dead skin falls like dry sleet.
- A microphone is lowered into a crimson oubliette.
- Running into the wind with your mouth open wide until your breath gets caught behind chilly teeth.
This hissing bustle plays well obnoxiously loud and pasty-necked quiet.
Body Morph- Keep Still and be Devoured (Soundholes) C60 cassette
This tape is an exercise in long-form rustage.
True! Tones from a dying crab get hoofed through the murky, mystic mix at points but mostly it’s a 1000 yard stare of slowly crashing gears.
On side one I’m picking up cheap-casio keys gummed down under years of tape-varnish & mould-hiss. I’m hearing a smeared gossamer touch akin to greasy feathers.
Side two gets all lo-maxxed on a horn of some sort; mournful and cool as the night air. Armenian Jazz Sorrow? The sound of occasional suffocation?
A true listeners tape, this is no ‘slap it on and do the ironing’ cassette. It demands full attention and for this thorough investment you are amply rewarded with layer upon layer of ear –silt clogging yr golden wax deposits.
Matt Krefting – Danger (Chocolate Monk) C15 Cassette
Ultra-core tape jaxx.
Super-indefinite and lost imaginings.
It’s the softest breath kissing carbon paper; that most delicate and faint purple image as tender as an early morning bruise.
Memory slides smooth as a trombone made of smog and brass fittings.
Half-formed but fully realised. The magic happens in that grey blancmange as you use natural electricity to link the un-linkable, paint the un-paintable.
Matt leaves us mortals a few clues – popping candy in a giant’s gob and infrared tinfoil. Apart from that you’re on your own pal!
Polite yet essential.
Jon Collin – Sky Writings (Early Music) C15 Tape
If I’d got my finger out this tape would have made the 2016 ‘best of’ lists for sure and will no doubt be top 10 material in sunny 2017.
Fahey, Rose and Nugent fan boys/girls must listen…this tape is so charming I coughed up a cream tea and a cheeky goodnight kiss. This tape made me a damn loving fool!
In the old definition this is a fucking splendid tape (shine, be bright) that warms up my cold heart and makes me smile like reading Nicholson Baker details and footnotes.
A real human-sounding solo acoustic guitar probe the damn nostalgia nodes to conjure up an imagined picnic in a cornfield. The colours are vivid. The corn is the creamiest yellow, the sky the brightest blue. Our blanket the deepest red.
The melodies trip some switch that bursts crisp cornflowers out my chest and replace my blood with silver helium bubbles.
Spiritualised? Do me a favour eh? I’m really floating in space here mate. The strums and pickles are complex as spiderwebs but simple as nursery rhymes. The untitled tunes are as familiar as pins and needles and get under my skin in a similar restless and itchy way; it’s like I’ve always known them as they slip out of reach skidding like a deer on ice.
Oh my! Such elegance with chipped nails and calloused hands. The perfect beautiful happiness of aching heart.
F Ampism – The Resolution Phase (Beartown Records) CD
A tasty CD that I’m now re-imagining as a vinyl EP pressed onto seven inches.
“But why format transfer boy? You may ask.”
Because this is a disc of two halves, that’s why doubter. An ‘A’ and a ‘B’. My ‘This Side’ twinned to your ‘That Side’ is strongly suggested to my oatmeal mind.
Let me explain…
A jungle lushness drips through the recent work of Mr F Ampism. Thick and green, waxy and water-resistant each micro-collage is rich beyond our feeble senses; ethnic percussive loops wobbly like belly fat, environmental recordings gurgle as algae-thick rivers, electronic squirts gush tessellated digital foof. It’s a sound you can smell and that smell is pregnant and full.
The first three tracks, ‘Monaestry and Math’ to ‘Straight Brains’ are alive with exotic Toucan ‘caws’ and Howler hoots. The middler ‘The Joint Capsule’ replays Balinese rhythms among the creaking boats, the lapping waves and call of villagers selling shrimp-based snacks. Gradually a soft tone bubbling erupts in my pocket. Copper pans are dropped overboard and ‘boaab’ drunkenly in the mud-coloured water as they slowly fill, sway, and sink beneath the waves.
All of a piece these three realised constructions suggest organic life with a face tilted towards a red, red sun.
‘Shabada Transmission’ bucks the trend by laying down heavily in the rumpled bed belonging to Detroit Techno – the synthetic strings and xylophone tones as future facing as jet boots and holidays on Mars. And in doing so Ampism revels a new destination and we are already deep in ‘Side Two’ territory.
‘Inner Eyelid’ is made up of spare parts, a lone creak, a dropped calliope yet is patched up in the most un-Frankenstein manner. No flat head no sir! Bolts through the neck? Forget-about-it. Think more like a slim ankle glimpsed or thick auburn curls just begging to be tousled.
The jazz, in all its hot boiling majesty, infests ‘Thrown Jam 1 and 2 ‘ with Pazuzu sitting in on traps while Regan hams on the vintage synth. This duo/solo gets ripe!
And, as all things must, this disc ends. But with a juddering, flustering loop so perfectly placed those plunderphonic dingbats blush crimson and sweat.
Final Seed – Untitled (Chocolate Monk) C30 Cassette
Witness the drunken bowling alley vibe on this damp-chiller from Final Seed.
Like a diary opened at random one passage might reveal children squeaking, another, the fumbling fingers of a defective chord-organ.
Dark percussive knocks form a rhythm interuptus ladled on thick like broth. Slack-mouthed and slurry, a voice gnarls on with steaming feet. Wonked-out keyboard extrapolations all bothered with hot-electric butter. Broken cassette ghost-capture.
Neat eh? But all the while this is undoubtedly gush from the same mush. Oh my!
This is serious stuff…like the abstract soundtrack to the sound of making a soundtrack each perfect formula of tones, field recordings and manipulations delight by being both utterly novel and head-scratchingly familiar. So while the diary analogy still holds I’m darting from love-sick boy-teen to worried mother to toddler rocking on their plump heels. It’s got charm in punnets, invention in spades!
The best album that chump Eno never made. DEMAND A RESSIUE!!!
Tags: bowditch, dtub, fractal meat cuts, joe henderson, marlo eggplant, post-valentine
Marlo Eggplant – Callosity (Fractal Meat Cuts)
Dtub – Midi-Drum Compositions-1 (Fractal Meat Cuts)
Bowditch – Southend Objectified (Fractal Meat Cuts)
(Ed’s mumble…buckle up, buckle up readers for this first dizzying and deconstructed ear-report from our new bean Joe Henderson.)
FRACTAL MEAT POST-VALENTINE SPECIAL/Jan-March Streets Edition (Marlo Eggplant, Dtub & Bowditch)
First post. It’s a cold & drizzly Sunday afternoon. Listening to the radio.
The industrious Graham Dunning, head-honcho of Fractal Meat Cuts label, delivers a small-packaged bomb of audio pleasures (including his own limited edition, custom made, generation-loss cassette – which exists in another Universe as of now, and to be reviewed when time catches up with me – but can be perused via his catalogue).
First up, Marlo Eggplant. Baltimore-born, Midwich reporter & SPA. Title: Callosity. Edition of 40 cassettes.
The world turns in the right direction. Valentines Day. The most fucked up day of the year. It’s grim. It’s cold. It’s loveless. I’m dialing in Dr. Eggplant.
The ashy clearing; she strums it whilst the birds go low. Animals pitch in. Marked by their slow heavy breathing. Unseen but heard. It’s always cold, but in her warm cocoon. I get so introverted, listening to music like this. Opening drawers in corners of my psyche. I’m in a stupor. Dusty softly done. Expanse throbbing. Ray-gun echoes. Like a solemn hymn to a mutant future generation (what’s wrong with X-Men?). Moving the man-hole cover away. The street lamps are a way to see at night – don’t ever forget that. She snores from another life. The quality of being led with ones hands tied behind their backs down a corridor of gloom. Footsteps all around you. Music flickering in your memories, all around you – like crowds. Fake ghosts turned off and on. Hounding by a beated rhythm. Iron curtains coming down, repeatedly. Running into the horizon without a care in the world. A white bag flapping around you. You’ve lost your memories. You riffle thru them. Like old car tapes. Chewed and sticky. But enchanted. You just never quite know for sure what the Universe says of you. It’s your little old self and the entire realm of possibility. The end coming again, and again, and again. Dusting off a little time piece, found in the dirt. A microcosm of tiny delights. Ticking down the days. Moving the man hole again. Those adverts played on me. The ones for ghost writers. Lulling those. It’s fake news. Make you question your reality. Backwards rolling tongue thru two rolling pins. Imagine waking up to a forest. All the world is twisting like a rope. Glitching small primates handle mechanized wooden mallets. “Is it normal to lie there and cry?”
What’s your favourite brand of light bulb?
Fake candle bulbs
How often do you regret your future?
Constantly and with insistence
What’s black and blue & red all over?
I believe the answer is a newspaper but arguably several tropical fish
Helicopter drifting with a broken wing thru the jungle
Love is not a tomb
The sky has been that torn yellow colour
For so long now, like alleys that never change
What burns hotter than the sun?
Where do the birds go?
To the moon and back
What is your favourite colour blue?
What’s your favourite penny-sweet?
Format: Cassette & Download SOLD OUT
Want some more? Click on this beautiful beauty to watch Joe’s stunning video interpretation of Marlo’s track Embers.
And then, Dtub. Electric drummer. Live album. Title: Midi-Drum Compositions-1. Edition of 60 tapes
Love this. I was lucky to see Dtub play at the Cowley Club in February on tour with Dunning & Eggplant. A self-contained motorized human-man, riding the unstoppable cycles of his beats, focussed on propelling the rhythms. Snippets of vocals samples woven into wooden timbre. A man engulfed in his unfolding creation. A train. Can’t stop, Can’t get off. Was reminded a week later of standing in the middle of London Road with Tom Roberts of Bolide & Aeolipile – cars driving ‘round us. The bar-maid offering me the choice of a pint or a jug of Cowley beer. Missed work again the next morning. Can’t remember what was on the news that day..
- 2. Newbark
- Faucet Dub
- Bubble Freak
- Hi-Tec House
- Warehouse Jam
- Music By Numbers
- 16-Bit Funk Machine
Format: Cassette & Download SOLD OUT
Bowditch. Likes to explore the mysterious and conflate it to highlight our cognition of place, experience, space. Prolific human. Title: Southend Objectified. Edition of 60 cassettes.
Sounds like thumbing a live cable. Juttery, jongery, galloping horses disintegrating, distinctly metallic in regions.
Stuart Bowditch appears inside his website wearing his field recording gear, in front of some stately home. There is horse, a man in armour and a man who has thrown his arms in the air and is hollering, dressed in medieval garb.
I begin to tap my fingers in time to ‘Bear pit’, unaware of myself doing this until I begin to write about it: “found some different tools and got to work on objects and recordings from my home town.”
What’s your favourite breed of pig?
1. Town Crier’s Bell
2. The Railway Hotel Gents’ Toilet Hand Dryer (Broken)
3. Kenco Coffee Tub
4. Flooded House
5. Bear Pit (Point B)
(Sewage Outlet Under Thames Hides Even Nastier Discharge)
Format: Cassette & Download
Jan- Mars Streets Mix is as follows:
Ndolwane Super sounds ‘Umph’ahambe’, Steely Dan ‘Steely Dan God’, Amr Diab ‘Tamally Maak’, Radical Dance Faction ‘Borderline Cases’, The Fall ‘I am Kurious Oranj’.
Put yer listening devices here
Egyptian Dream Book says: “It is the duty of the kidneys to see that the blood keeps pure. Not to make pure blood – the food we do not eat does that – but to remove from the blood all the impurities it has gathered up during its circuit of the body”
“I know, Ben mumbled. “But I didn’t have a motive” – Pg. 17. Mystery Detective.
Over an’ Out Com’s xx
the sweet jelly is in the deft cut: joe murray on david birchall/nicolas dobson/javier saso, dylan nyoukis & friends, plastic hooligans and acrid lactations & gwilly edmondezMarch 3, 2017 at 6:00 am | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
Tags: acrid lactations, chocolate monk, david birchall, drugs, dylan nyoukis, fae ma bit tae ur bit, gwilly edmondez, javier saso, joe murray, nicolas dobson, plastic hooligans, skronk, soundholes
David Birchall/Nicolas Dobson/Javier Saso – XZ ::::::::: Brazil (Soundholes)
Dylan Nyoukis & Friends – Mind Yon Time? (Chocolate Monk)
Plastic Hooligans – Untitled (Chocolate Monk)
Acrid Lactations & Gwilly Edmondez – You Have Not Learned To Play & Mock in The Psychic System (Chocolate Monk)
David Birchall/Nicolas Dobson/Javier Saso – XZ ::::::::: Brazil (Soundholes) C30 cassette
Super-charged scrimple-skriffle improv coming at you mixed in, depending on your view, (almost) mono or 3-way stereo.
But what’s going on?
Dave Birchall plays granite-flecked guitar in the left speaker, Javier Saso spills slippery, silvery lapsteel in the right speaker and Nicolas Dobson sprays wild, wild violin all over the place.
Side one is a string piece for three players and it waxes happily, darting in and out of focus like a lazy eye would. Contributions are in part clotted and meshed (like a scab) and independently driven. Imagine walking three energetic hounds, each with their own digging, burying, pissing mission. Their colourful leads are soon a wrapped-up maypole binding your arms and hands. Got it?
Now replace the noble hounds with these three improv-dudes and the dog-specific missions with group-mind blankness and collective musical mischief and you’ve got the perfect picture!
While the pace is athletic there’s always room for a ruminative cul-de-sac, a wet sniff about a single tone or blunt-thumbed technique. And as I listen I pass through several phases myself: chin-stroking on the non-idiomatic tip but also horn-throwing on the sexy electric eruption.
On side two I briefly land in a thoughtful strung-out lake but get distracted by amp-pops and bright lead-crackle. The tension mounts as our three players riff on the giant nothingness that exists right at the point of the horizon; saw, saw, sawing away, whipping up a gentle typhoon that bursts with bloated rain. It doesn’t take long to plinkety-plonk and things end with that ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ intro-played inside out and over ice.
This is what it sounds like when Slash cries.
Dylan Nyoukis & Friends – Mind Yon Time? (Chocolate Monk) CD-R
Popular wisdom suggests that there is nothing more boring than other people’s drug tales.
Ha! Popular wisdom is a duff grey lie.
On this re-imagining of Dylan Nyoukis’ Fae Ma Bit Tae Ur Bit radio show various sub-underground lads and lasses ‘fess up their first or otherwise notable drug experiences. Imagine Radio 4 has been snorting and huffing all night long (or something) with Dub Naughty on the controls.
They talk, in soft mumbles and gentle whispers; ‘it was like this…’, ‘we took a taxi…’, ‘I started to feel strange…’
Recorded up close it’s an intimate listen. Breathy and in your ear(s) – you sense the memories being dragged from that grey-matter prison and forced out into the open (in some case decades later) with all the added memory moss and drama a bit of distance provides.
D-Nyoukis works like a psychedelic Foley artist, twisting the background. Adding an addled ‘whuff’ or stoned ‘skofff’ to the voices that are dropping cautionary, ecstatic and, in some cases heart-warming tales of sweet, sweet intoxication. Subtle it is, in the way a shimmering hallucination first grabs you and makes you say “wha?” But it’s a flanger-free zone yeah?
So…anyone want to split this bottle of Cherry Lambrini? I’m thinking about getting it on now anyhow.
See ya on the other side travellers! YEAH!
Plastic Hooligans – Untitled (Chocolate Monk) CD-R
The aptly named Plastic Hooligans are gentle souls wrapped up in retro Adidas and Fila.
But an obsession with the Arabic world introduces ritualistic field recordings in a primitive electronic cloak. With a sparse, shady touch, loops are played via old reverb units and malfunctioning oscillators ramping up the potency of these already fairly ‘loaded’ sounds.
The shivers come in four waves.
- A xylophone tinkles in a French-speaking colony. Delicate as a music box found among boiled chicken’s feet.
- Moroccan tapes get fed through the mincer. The ‘boing’ of the overdriven hand-drum and voice pinched sonically to release only the most important tones.
- Rubberised machinery clunks away as a giant horn is blown roughly but slowly. Deep reparative hums.
- A hiccough bounced across eleven cryptic reverb-drenched minutes. The sort of mind-loop you feel on waking from a cumin-scented dream.
Acrid Lactations & Gwilly Edmondez – You Have Not Learned To Play & Mock in The Psychic System (Chocolate Monk) CD-R
The exact Reuleaux triangle-shaped intersection between modern classical, goofy wonk and hardcore improv. Oh yes!
History Lesson #1: The Acrid Lactations have been humble key-players of the untranslatable wonk scene. Really, really, really free players smiffy that non-idiomatic improv by adding an indefinable ‘something’. I’ve pondered this conundrum long and hard and the best I can come up with is that ‘something’ might be their slight unhinged quality; a willingness to go the extra mile, wherever that trek will take them.
History Lesson #2: Gwilly Edmondez has ploughed a similarly deep furrow. A Dictaphone high-priest, instant composition stalwart and one half of those rising stars YEAH YOU! [The UK’s only father/daughter slack-hop duo pop-pickers.] Gwilly, the tallest man alive, is a selfless player, an encourager, a persuader whose full-frontal yet ego-less schtick seems to be able to connect with that artistic blank space where anything becomes possible.
Taking this babycake as a whole I’m shocked by the time-shifting quality to these suckered gobbles, hazy trumpets and clogged electronics.
The lumps are bigger yeah! For 20, possibly 30 seconds you could be listening to Pharaoh Sanders (Impulse Era), or Morton Subotnick and then it could be nothing other than the good ole AL & GE. Things are so precarious I’m on a mental zip-wire sporting a psychic g-string baby.
But readers, it’s the edit that’s the thing here. In a similar way to the exceptional Hardworking Families latest disc the sweet jelly is in the deft cut taking these pretty much wonderful recordings and carefully layering, stripping and selecting the ripest cheese.
And this editors ear not only multiplies this trio but forges new links and allegiances between sound-nodes. Put simply; a ‘clunk’ recorded one day now spoons a sexy sigh recorded another and lo! A whole new thing starts a’going on.
The sounds? A dignified sniffle and pre-language burrs make up a respectable percentage but add to that bamboo pipes that ape the breath hissing down a human neck, disturb-o-moans and high-octane heffer on brass and tin. We’re talking “Seriously munged magic” (Nyoukis 2016)
But I’m throwing in a deep balloon-rubber ripping, a damp Dictaphone squelch and a goff-keyboard going electronically slow & low. Not only but also, the relaxing humming of social insects (ants probably) discuss their complex legal system.
To sum up I’ve got (consults notes, adjusts spectacles and frowns) three quarters goat-legged- spry and muscular, one quarter lazy liquid. So that’s something for everyone then; time for dreamers to collect themselves and activists to get-up-offa-that-thing.
Right-o. Discussion proposition? Dub opened a new door for Reggae. Teo Macero projected Jazz into an alternate future state. What about this N-AU versioning then readers?
Like…whoa man. Makes you think and shout “welcome to the world Keir J Arnot.”
moderate hiss and wobble included at no extra charge: sky high diamonds on dunning, webster, underwood, rutger hauser and ian stonehouseFebruary 28, 2017 at 7:14 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
Tags: cafe oto, cassette, colin webster, graham dunning, ian stonehouse, lumen lake, sam underwood, sky high diamonds
Dunning, Webster, Underwood / Rutger Hauser – Viol of Acetate (The Lumen Lake)
Ian Stonehouse – Voyage en Kaléidescope (The Lumen Lake)
Dunning, Webster, Underwood / Rutger Hauser – Viol of Acetate (The Lumen Lake) limited edition split cassette
The recording of ‘Viol of Acetate’ took place on May 2016 at Café Oto, which was a night hosted by the independent London label Adaadat and is a documented journey of six live improvisations. The Lumen Lake is an artist-run label for new and adventurous music from South-East London.
On the A side, the artists Graham Dunning, Colin Webster and Sam Underwood are “drawing on free improvisation, drone metal, jazz and noise.” On the flip, Rutger Hauser is blending the digital with the acoustic to perform improvised and experimental rock music.
Dunning, Webster and Underwood deliver the sounds of a baritone sax (Webster) and a tuba (Underwood) woven into a tapestry of human voices generated through a digital backdrop (Dunning).
[Editors note: Graham explained the digital backdrop is “actually all produced with analogue things: a turntable, some dubplates of field recordings, some spring reverbs.”]
A call and response relationship develops between the two instruments, which are not offering traditional musical interludes, but are wrestling to find their place within the backdrop of industrial and urban living. The first track, ‘Stabharvesttreasure’ emanates a tribal feel, suggestive of a procession or a dance, and a key change resonates with the call and response effect, lifting the breathy sounds up and out, whilst pausing and searching for a reply, which is always returned.
The second track, ‘Gutsplankslime’ brings more narrative meanderings of a conversational nature between the two instruments. Again, the dialogue is non harmonious and it is interesting to appreciate how these instruments have been repurposed for these explorations. Peaks, dips and tail offs appear to mimic human vocal interactions and create sounds that could incite feelings of disturbance and discomfort. At times the breaths, as released through the instruments, are delivered like beats, shorter and ‘poppier,’ and their bitty presence emphasises the longer drawn out sounds, which come close to shrieking at times.
The third track, ‘Crustlocuskopf’ is also conversational, it enters into its own diatribe of vituperation, fighting to be heard, one sequence of sounds overlaying the other, emanating squeaky balloon noises that could be uncomfortable and producing a static sound, with an intriguing ‘nails down a chalkboard’ effect. A blend of long drawn out intonations with shorter tip-tapping interactions provides a dialogue of events. Natural sounds are also incorporated as a storm breaking is indicated in the digital backdrop whilst at times the instruments mimic low vibrations akin to bees, wasps and flies buzzing gently around in a borborygmus rhythm.
A formulaic development utilising the leitmotif is mirrored throughout Side A, and the applause of a live audience clapping appreciatively over the silence at the end of each track reminds the listener of the context of a performative ‘liveness,’ which provides an atmospheric quality. Tracks A1 through to A3 entice deep listening as the attention shifts throughout each track from background to predominant foreground sounds then back again with a continuous pendulum motion between the two.
Over to Side B and I find Rutger Hauser performing ‘Ladders Over Ladders’ where birdsong and drums interact, evolving into a spacey vibe, that is reverb intense, emanating echoes and providing a rhythmical sense of distance. This is a strangely melancholic track that becomes more and more cosmic as it disintegrates bit by bit. Haunting tuba sounds penetrate, and human voices indicate their presence, with the occasional digital suggestion of ‘foggy’ non-distinct words. The smothered human voice is enveloped in sound and now transcends the natural landscape that was initially indicated at the opening of the track. Chaos is implied but never truly takes over as sounds diminish into a breakdown of harmonious musical communications. Scratchy noise and generic hip-hop sounds suggest a further patternation under the drum rhythms and instrumental developments. This is a captivating live improvisation that peaks at numerous times and encourages all of the varying sounds to audibly break through before being plunged back into the sound pool.
‘The Hundred And Fifty Or So Dogs’ re launches the listener straight back into a cosmic and spacey atmosphere although the opening notes inspire the tuba-baritone communications again. For me, the most noticeable sounds are reminiscent of a childhood TV animation in that they are definitively Clangeresque. The drums are the threads of this piece and interact with the barely audible astronautically laced voices. Melancholic melodies are indicated, never become fully formed, but left hanging, stunted. The track dissolves into silence very slowly and delicately, occasionally challenging to re emerge.
A different change of mood kicks in with ‘-n-n-n-n-n’ where a psychedelic and potentially Krautrock environment imbued with depth and volume dismantles itself alongside a punk rock vocal. This is a high energy, cathartic and self-evaluative track that the Café Oto audience clearly appreciates.
This 6 track album is a tacit reminder of the enchanting context of live improvisation and is an exquisite blend of sonic alliterations that spin from static spitting sounds that crackle like fire and offer a primitive relapse into an ancestral past, whilst merging synchronously with a modern day industrial landscape, where new interpretations of instruments murmur and collide with an alchemic force.
Ian Stonehouse – Voyage en Kaléidescope (The Lumen Lake) limited edition cassette
For Stonehouse the world is fundamentally sonic and this premise is absorbed into his album, which takes the listener on a variety of sound walks through an urban landscape. He addresses the idea of re-sampling sonic ready-mades and incorporating them, one after another into a steady stream of visual identities for the listener to experience. ‘Vitriol’ opens the album into a looping system of decontextualised sound segments derived from a combination of natural and manmade environments. This track very much predicts the audio trail that lies ahead.
“If you would like to be the next sample in my life leave me a message after the tone.”
‘Annihilation of the Ogres’ entices with a musical introduction, corrupting into disparate sounds, both musical and non musical, then merging again with a sonic landscape of static fizz, distortion and decomposing structures for at least 5 minutes, and until the listener is left immersed in a puddle of white noise.
‘Dog Morrow’ begins with a definitive sense of walking and physical motion. Pavements, walls, footsteps, dogs and passersby are all present through sonic suggestion.
‘The Three’ offers a discourse on the state of being entirely out of control within noise, like someone obtrusively and loudly messing with incoherent radio stations in a confined space. Static fuzz plays an important role in anticipating a sense of disintegration, as does the abrupt denouement of the voice sample.
Track 5, ‘Solve et Coagula’ is an ironic invitation into a world of the mechanical techno beat. Initially it feels familiar, structured and coherent, paced at a faster bpm than any of the preceding tracks, but it gathers an enormous intensity, and serves as a reminder of the impossibility of this kind of musical composition from ordinary instruments. This track can throw the listener into a divergent thinking tangent about its place in this collection.
‘Sunday 12.27 in Soho,’ unravels itself in a documentary style. Stonehouse invites public voices to be recorded and then sampled. How participants interact with his proposition is delightfully captured, their confusion and their mockery is among the diverse samples. Eventually, the dissolution of voices fragments into natural sounds leading to a resolution for the track and culminating in the loss of the voice entirely. The sounds of rain, a potential storm breaking, which emerges and then later re emerges, highlights a powerful juxtaposition between nature and man, which is present throughout. This track appears to sum up what Stonehouse seems to be mapping, a disparate place for the human voice and a decaying sense of self within the natural and urban soundscape.
Track 7, ‘Allegory of the Fountain,’ offers a nostalgic dancehall vibe of looped swing samples that eloquently build. Yes, this is music, traditional music even, but it has little sense of place or time in this album context, revealing a clever play on words on how music can be used to transcend the urban sounds of everyday life.
‘Moribund Deck Five Moon’ offers a blend of both industrial and musical sounds, mainly harmonious and rhythmically concordant (initially), but the potential for breaking down, sound by sound, to disrupt and corrupt any sense of place is always present. Zig-zagging and bubbling effervesce with little sound hierarchy or sequencing, and this track begins to lose all sense of personal space. It feels somehow socially inappropriate, so has therefore located and claimed its very own disparate place and spontaneous sense of belonging right here.
‘Muted in the Broken Unresponsive Garden’ opens with an already decomposing narrative sample, a story mildly threatens to unfold but Stonehouse won’t allow that. The disintegration is rapid; there is little opportunity to feel comfortable with this track as it reels backwards and forwards into various contexts that hint at a sense of musical and historical documentary.
‘Erasure of Birds’ presents a sonic idea of a record playing, alongside a distant flurry of singing birds. A beat kicks in through the ‘stuckness’ of the record, offering a sense of rhythm through its repetitive pacing and opens very gradually into a stronger more recognisable beat. Yes, there is a context here, albeit momentary. Each beat becomes gently more mechanical and it is hard not to relax into this sense of rhythm and time. This is music, of sorts, that flows, almost, for 8 minutes. But, the listener is caught in a wheel, the spokes of circular motion that keep brushing past at many rpm and demonstrating how this track has complete control of its own evolution. Urban sounds are experienced aesthetically, as continuous yet dislocated, in an identifiable musical rhythm.
This album offers a sonically collaged journey through a discordant and un/familiar world of non hierarchical sounds, implying that there will always be a hint of musical foundation to reach for, but that it’s definitely best not to get too comfortable with that idea. The album was released on 12th December 2016 and limited cassette and digital versions are available. Ian Stonehouse is also a member of the improvising experimental rock band Rutger Hauser.
Tags: drone, fells, guitar, hairdryer excommunication, handwritten, invisible city records, kevin sanders, luke vollar, miguel perez, ritual, skull mask
Fells – Waking (Invisible City Records)
Kevin Sanders – Numb for Somethings (Hairdryer Excommunication)
Skull Mask – La Muerte Es Sabia (Invisible City Records)
No filthy typewriter, or flimsy keyboard for our Luke Vollar. He presents his vision scrawled in ink, direct to page. With the filters removed, the truth bleeds through…
Fells – Waking (Invisible City Records) C120 Cassette and Digital Album
Kevin Sanders – Numb for Somethings (Hairdryer Excommunication) Digital Album
Skull Mask – La Muerte Es Sabia (Invisible City Records) C40 Cassette and Digital Album
kenny g your neighbours. a no basement is deep enough special: joe murray on kito mizukumi rouber, ho turner, bart de paepe and bleekFebruary 21, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Posted in no audience underground, not bloody music | Leave a comment
Tags: bart de paepe, belgian waffles, bleek, ho turner, joe murray, kenny g, kito mizukumi rouber, nbide, no basement is deep enough, wolf eyes
Kito Mizukumi Rouber – Savatia Calvi ni KMR (No Basement is Deep Enough)
Ho. Turner – T.V. Tapes Mix (No Basement is Deep Enough)
Bart De Paepe – Twistkapel (No Basement is Deep Enough)
Bleek- Lay your Skull upon the Groundz of the Bleek Godz (No Basement is Deep Enough)
The No Basement tapes always cause a commotion in our house when they slam indignantly on the door mat.
“Oh Daddy…what are those Belgian/Serbian hash-leprechauns up to now?” cry my tear-streaked children.
Coz the kidz…they dig the NBIDE big-style. It’s like snapchat or YOLO or dabbing or something. So for the sake of all our pre-teen readers I’ll make a real effort to big-up the packaging that you so covet. Let’s go young people!
Kito Mizukumi Rouber – Savatia Calvi ni KMR (No Basement is Deep Enough) C40 Cassette
~tape wrapped in a hand-sewn fabric ribcage daubed with fake blood~
Bonkers art-skronk from a real-life band sporting the odd dreadlock and jean jacket I’ll wager.
Squat down long enough and your feet go wobbly. Listen to Kito Mizukumi Rouber long enough and that sticky pin-prick-wobble travels from sole to head.
At times this drifts into territory mapped out by the fairly obscure Gibson Brothers. There’s no shame in the ‘a-hella, hella’ rock and roll and reel and rawk and rask and wrark…
…but any quiff is flattened by the shambolic looseness. Like – SHAGGS loose baby. A sax bleats over sox-string wrangling and the tubs thumped by the delightfully named ‘Papa Big Papa’.
I’m not getting any Memphis on me but this certainly straightens my trousers as I pop a steel comb in the back pocket.
Like Easy Rider never happened.
Ho. Turner – T.V. Tapes Mix (No Basement is Deep Enough) C60 Cassette
~tape encased in toxic yellow foam stuck on the back of a large ceramic ear (sprouting wires from the ear drum)~
Short-form synth gurgles that make like a bath emptying slowly, leaving a ring of creamy residue.
Originally recorded in the early 1980’s for deaf folk Ho. gets his hands dirty grabbing large puddles of ‘groof’ and ‘schhhappp’ moulding it with fingers, mouth and elbows. A handy paper leaflet tells us the electronics Ho uses have names: the saucy Kawai-synthesiser 100f and legendary Fricke MFB-501 drum machine – so get busy fan boys and fan girls – wreck those second-hand market prices!
The resultant mix is seemingly timeless and swoops like a lazy bat in that skittering, only just viable way. Themes and ideas move quickly with an ancient logic. This resultant mist flows from abstract cloud-based longing to strict-military (like The Normal) or something. Parps and squelches may be damp as a used towel but are as far from a Tangerine Dream as you can imagine.
At times I feel John Carpenter’s corridors closing in on me…running from an unseen enemy going ‘blop, blop, blop’. Later on (on side two to be precise) the mud-bubbling wouldn’t be out of place at some seaside rave (circa ’94) but with the BPM’s seriously mogged out.
To add some ass-grit Ho makes sure we have a regular reference point; be it a rhythm or thin- recordings – a school choir, a black box recorder all nattering away in ever reliable German. This anchoring stops the tape floating away like analogue bubblebath but still leaves me delicious and squeaky clean.
As this cheeky tape clicks off I’m left with a very vivid visual after-image: steeped terraces, only a metre wide, but circling the fresh green mountain. Weird but exactly right eh?
Bart De Paepe – Twistkapel (No Basement is Deep Enough) C40 Tape x 2
~resplendent in a winged lung-shaped wallet that transforms into a lady’s face~
Totally zoned-out Space Rock/Kosmische as gentle as a cough syrup from the Sloow Tapes shagger.
Suitable for: fans of Japanese Psych, long winter evenings in front of the fire, daytime drinkers, foreign exchange students, light sleepers, bikers on a tea break, tree guardians, squat wizards and basically anyone else with a bit of time on their hands and the desire to break free and dig deep into the negative zone.
De Paepe is, I believe, responsible for all the guitars going ‘wah wah’ like an infant holding out a greasy palm. Some other jokers are ‘Tuckering’ the drums and tinkering on the occasional breathy and sizzling keyboard mung. Together, with the wide stereo sound and measured, almost agricultural, pace I’m thrust deep in the heart of the Euro-prog. I’m whiffing on the barley husks of Sylvester Anfang II, Parson Sound and International Harvester.
Each tune/piece/movement seems to get progressively more inward-focused until I’m lying, eyes closed tight, brain cogs spiralling in decreasing circles letting out a clear snake of drool.
Even without the double tape aspect this is l-o-n-g music to be lived in. Long in vision and scope, in length and near-constant solo…
What more is there to say? You wanna rock or you wanna die?
Bleek- Lay your Skull upon the Groundz of the Bleek Godz (No Basement is Deep Enough) C60 Cassette
~ avocado green tape in silky black purse, finger the slit and a bloodshot eye stares back at you ~
Two side-long jams of J-A-Z-Z from some Wolf-dong side-project. Oh yeah daddy!
If, like me, you like your fusion lumpy this will up-end ya, will flip ya. Caveman-primitive electronics wheeze and ralf in an asthmatic fashion but soaring above, proud like dope-stallions horn some horny horning. It’s all spraffed thru a limp echo box so that all important swing is multiplied again and again bouncing round my book-lined study as I nibble on a peanut.
Remember the time rock goons like MC5 and The Stooges really, really dug the free jazz? It’s got that same electric-jizz burning pure white in its veins but with one foot on the monitor. Let’s go!
Side one focuses on the distant horizon, eyes squeezed shut to keep out the wind. The horn wheels and keens while a rubber foot stomps out segments of time divided by soul-math. There’s a nobility and savagery to lengthy jams (30 mins or something) marking an endurance that’s damn shamanic. Drop the ‘shrooms and p-a-r-t-y.
Side two is altogether neater in a button-down shirt and braces with two guitars (Jared Left & Adam Right) strumming out spidery chords and brief ringing chimes. Wot…no sax? Be calm. Olson still blows his brass-stick while electronics sprout and climb like poison ivy.
Remarkably smooth – but tight enough to Kenny G your neighbours into submission.
Tags: amateur shoegaze, cam, constellation tatsu, crow versus crow, dictaphonics, emblems of cosmic disorder, feedback, grey guides, improvisation, joe murray, karl mv waugh, noise, skrat records, slayer, stuart chalmers, tape loops
Stuart Chalmers – In the Heart of Solitude (Constellation Tatsu)
Karl M V Waugh – Future Glows (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder)
Grey Guides – Beast Mask Supremacist (Crow versus Crow)
CAM – Mirror Confrontations (Skrat Records)
Stuart Chalmers – In the Heart of Solitude (Constellation Tatsu) cassette and Bandcamp download
Don’t know if it’s just me but this appears to be the perfect winter cassette of glum collisions. Imagine bad thoughts reverberating inside your skull; the sounds bounce and amplify and leave a sooty fingerprint. You shake your head but the dust remains however low and mellow the sun.
Regular readers will know Stuart manipulates tapes and tape loops with a sparse pedal set-up, mighty fists, secret knowledge and magical skill. But this time it’s not just the loopology that takes the starring role, it’s the singular tape content that snaps like an arrowroot biscuit.
Here Stuart uses Indian Swarmandal tapes pretty much exclusively for his palette adding a layer of glittering resonance and magnetic space to each gentle track.
The dulcimer-like tones vibrate and twang, sour as brass but with an unmistakable air of mystery. “Just what is behind those beaded curtains?” They seem to whisper, while a be-jewelled finger beckons you through a hidden door into a room heavy with musk.
I’m transported (can’t you tell?) but you need facts eh reader? The killer stand-out, the magnum opus has to be ‘reflection’. It shimmers like a Bagpuss episode viewed through sepia-specs. It builds slowly and metallically, fine interlocking coils spiralling ever tighter and tighter until sonic shrapnel bursts rudely from the shell.
There’s a slight panic, a speeding edge that propels each track into momentary discomfort. And it’s that intersection between mystic enlightenment and dangerous toppling that makes me come back again and again to this wonderful little tape.
OH YEAH…While we’re talking I’ve got to give an honourable mention to Tlon a fruity collaboration between Stuart Chalmers (cassette/pedals) and Liam McConaghy (synths). It’s now sold out in this realm but available for all you millennials on digital (e.g. not really there) editions. It’s boss alright but gone, gone, gone.
Karl M V Waugh – Future Glows (Emblems of Cosmic Disorder) Cassette and Bandcamp Download
Ultra atmospheric, lichen creeping from the South Coast’s very only K M V Waugh.
Lengthy opener ‘Fire snow (i), fire snow (ii), fresh grow’ stretches out as slow as bone growth. It starts slow and ends slow yet visits several distinct intervals on the journey: Meredith Monk on the Woodbines, bummed Didgeridoo guffs and the Electric Spanking (of war babies?).
Things grow darker on the even lengthier ‘Future glow (ii), final gravity’ that matches John Carpenter’s percussive judders over Space Odyssey’s floating-backwards-through-the-monolith-with-rainbow-brite-whurrrring . The disembodied voice offers no comfort.
Designed for the sort of snitchy mediation we can expect in today’s topsy-turvy world.
A statement? Perhaps. A coping mechanism? Very much so.
Plug in and remain alert!
Grey Guides – Beast Mask Supremacist (Crow versus Crow) Tape and bandcamp download
Encased in a top-notch Andy Wild photo-collage-art-piece (slate grey of course) this tape just fucking drips quality.
The Grey Guides hail from Morley outta Leeds and concentrate that satellite town dislocation that those city slickers just can’t replicate. The exquisite weirdness of the suburbs runs through this tape like mould in a stinky cheese.
The instrumentation is sparse. A gentle roaring (sounding rather like The Cramp’s Poison Ivy practising over in the next parish) becomes a backdrop over which indistinct keys, fetid tape grot and soft Dictaphone squelches hover on opener ‘One Eye Lower Than the Other’
The next two tracks, ‘Millipede in a Doll’s House’ and ‘Mushroom Heads are Turning’ are surely designed to spook; they come across like a Yorkshire Dead C with their sound-on-sound fullness, their squished-sonic wrongness. Black reverb ripples across backmasked guitar and throb in a fair approximation of a tape player actually throwing up; brown ribbons spiralling out, collecting in sticky ferric pools. It all ends in a grim repetition which baffles against broken ancient machinery. A woven howl (now sounding like a 16th generation tape of Kerry King’s amp fizz) smears as Gerhard Richter, using only charcoal tones and coal dust, comes up with his next masterpiece.
‘Just Burned Down a Care Home’ starts with some s-w-e-e-t tape-juggling, thumb on the soft pause squealing out fractured speech while that dude out the Cocteau Twins wonders why all his pedals now sound like elephant seals huffing petrol fumes.
Massed tape séance-traps are forced open on ‘Van Hoogstraten’s Big Pay Back: Gorton Poltergeist Revisited’ leaking thick magnetic ectoplasm with a “whurrr, whhorrr, whurrrr” rattling like an unsteady wind. It’s heady like good brandy.
Several ghostly interruptions later we happen upon the rarest of beasts, a No-Audience Underground cover version of a real-live tune (x2). The Grey Guides join the dots, reversed of course, between The Can and The Fall from a barely perceptible start; the faintest of pulses through to a garage-rock-recorded-through-codeine-infused-marshmallow finale.
I finally collapse to the unruly jaxx of ‘The Unlovely Acolyte Anointed at Last’ – Sidney Bechet clarinet played on Satan’s mouthparts and wonder. “Is this what passes for entertainment in Morley right now? “
Yeah it is?
Book me on the Mega bus boys…I’m coming down to jam!
These long-timers, Denmark’s enigmatic CAM, share six electronic improvisations with us on this classy vinyl offering.
It’s a noble three-piece set-up with Claus Poulsen, Anders Borup and Mads Bech Paluszewski-Hau on an encyclopaedic array of tapes, synth, processing, objects, things, toys, electronics and improbable occult practices.
Keen RFM-spotters will recognise the name Claus Poulsen from his work with Star Turbine (a duo with Sindre Bjerga – on tour in the UK late Feb/early March) but this is a very different animal to their ion-drive grit. CAM specialise in fast-moving tripod dialogue, texture and split-tooth wrangles ya’ hear.
The spirit of Northern Europe Improv is strong with strains of cold-dark hiss, low-frequency gloop and singular vocal hummings woven together in pan of steaming mind-think.
The six tracks on this el-pee make these impressions on my Swiss-cheese mind.
- Squiffy beats ba-da-bump like Saaaaalllllt n’ Peppppper over a humpin’ vox (heavy on a delay). Snatches of field-recorded atmosphere are tucked up nice with an analogue-warm wave; reverse-hissing seems to be become a new Olympic discipline as breath gets sucked out a puckered pair of lips.
- More moaning: a creaky bridge caught up in high wind. The cables sing sorrow in a thousand different voices. The damp thump of workboots crossing the swollen planks adds a steady beat. But what’s that I hear? The dreams of the factory workers hoping for sunnier Spring days.
- Uncertain hymns via Robert Wyatt’s fractured, dust-dry larynx. There’s a real Rockbottom vibe with that watery keyboard (a gift from Julie Christie) lapping gently at your stubby toes. The oyster grit comes in the form of treble-heavy child chatter and bubbling electronic slime.
- Primary tones/chalk sliding over wet slate/Babbit-bobble/wrenched petroleum
- Confrontations in the afternoon, seeping prose and dramatic static ripples – don’t go chasing waterfalls.
- Mind-over-matter becomes a group practice. Three individual voices hum the theme from ‘The Bridge’ in different timezones, accents and languages so voice two arrives before voice one and voice three has an acidic hangover. Deep as an oil well and twice as sticky.
OK Travellers…a reliable signpost might say Supersilent but I reckon these dudes are looser and, without doubt, DIY to the core.
Tags: Dating sites, Flandrew Fleisenberg, id m theft able, joe murray, Mang Disc, skot spear, Valentine's day
ID M THEFT ABLE – A Heart Named Spooky (Download from Skot’s profile on the OK Cupid Dating Site /or/ limited cassette available from (Mang Disc))
“Love! I can’t get enough of it” says that Jay-Z fella in Kanye’s Monster (2010) and I have a feeling that this THEFT ABLE, a similar giant of a man for sure, is of the same fluffy opinion.
He’s both crooner and loomer on ‘A Heart Named Spooky’, an album of piano-led ballads (yes really) released as a download on a genuine dating site – OK Cupid.
Gosh…that’s the facts ma’am. But what about all this damn lovin’ and a kissin’?
Skot-ABLE’s world has always been fluid and this collection is as hard to pin down as cherry vape smoke. It’s as diverse as love is broad so forgive me if I skip between warm hugs and a little gentle spanking.
The drift of ‘Blue and Yellow and Different Blue’ pitches a Burberry-soft voice over rolling piano, aching like Phil Collins always wanted you to. ‘Faded Sign’ a lamentation on memory is exactly halfway to becoming a player-piano tune in a Western brothel but with the clipped diction of Human Head’s Ben Knight.
The pieces ‘My Clothes They Never Fit Right’ and ‘A Heart That’s Gasp GASPING for Blood’ could be the middle-sections from vintage THEFT ABLE jams with goof-goof-grub schlurps and snickers; super wet and inviting. It’s stretching at the very limits of understanding and attention ya’hear!
A thin drone sets the tone for ABLE to practice his keening castrato over digital rubble making ‘I’ll Bet’ a bridge of a track. The ideal entry point for THEFT-watchers I’d wager; but slippery? You bet!
But it’s ‘A Bit of Trash, An Unspilled Flower’ that makes me mist-up and blub. This is a truly handsome nonsense, as forgiving as true love and therefore as blind as a bat. Each slurp and tinkle, each howl and arpeggio takes me make to a very, very specific stolen glance; an imperceptible nod from beneath sharp dark bangs that made my heart go ‘pop-pop-popeye’ back, way back, when I was loveable. (Sigh!)
Things end on the very damn poignant ‘A Valentine Late’, one minute fifty eight seconds of pure piano, guff-less, and concentrating on fingers totally. Beautiful anxiety.
With THEF_T on voice-moan, snap-judgments and sloppers only, a clear space is marked out for percussionist FLANDRE_W on collected steel detritus and novelty plastic beaters. I’m listening out for a regular trap set but just keep getting these junk-mechanic flowcharts appearing before my eyes. So be it.
From both gentlemen the watchword is reckless speed and demonic accuracy. ‘Beats’ are dropped like clumsy spoons going all ‘schlang-schalng’ as they wobble comically to rest on their fat bellies.
Rosy-cheeked squawks rumble like a rusty tenor blowing Fela Kuti horn charts deep in The Shrine! It’s a well-mixed match; a garment woven with care for sure but also a jittering confidence that puff-shoulders are making a dramatic comeback.
The pivotal track ‘My Life in a Bush of Ghosts. New Paltz. New York. 05.20.16’ made me really go ‘youk-youk’. I imagine ENO and that Talking Heads guy spraffing on about psychedelic Africa while THEFT and FLAND almost take off at the 4.23 mark paying homage to the Yoruba spirits. The skies open wide and safari fumes vibrate of the land in game-y crescents. For fans of the real here and now – don’t despair! This track is bookended with violent furniture-moving scrapes.
A student of DOUBLE DUTCH? Check out ‘The Lodge, Chester, New York 05.21.16’ for helix-skipping rhythms and rhymes hymned perfecto!
In fact the energy doesn’t even begin to drop until the thoughtful, melancholic closer ‘553 Warren Street, New York 05.22.16’. As benefits a final artistic statement it goes in heavy on the water-filled baking tray, mournful bell ring and asthmatic goose-honks. Perfectly balanced…light and shade innit?
But…whatever the political climate it’s worth checking out IDM’s bottom drawer for any junk you might have missed. You could do worse that HINT HINT, plant your feet on Babb’s Bridge, for example NUDGE NUDGE.
This communication ends baby!
Tags: eclipse, georgina brett, loops, sky high diamonds, vocal, vocal loops
(Editor’s note: before we dive into this review I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to our latest RFM writer – Sky High Diamonds. We’re super-pleased-delighted to have her on board. Take it away SHD…)
Georgina Brett – The Eclipse Collaborations (Self Release) Hand-painted Gold USB Flash Drive / Bandcamp Download
I am already familiar with some of this artist’s creative sound works, so as I hit play I sit back, breathe and wait.
It drifts into my ears, delicately at first. These are succinct pockets of sound, ‘beeps’ and vocal alliterations that build in strength and velocity into layers, enveloping me, layers upon layers of sound, all from one source – the voice of Georgina Brett.
This artist works with sound and space in such a way that a 4D sound is totally imaginable through my headphones and monitors.
Georgina is based in London and makes music that involves using her voice and effects pedals, creating,
“instant choirs of sound often in an hypnotic style,”
…which can further be described as an avant- garde approach in that it can take on both a minimalist and modernist style. She has presented and performed her work nationally and internationally and at many live –looping festivals.
I am tuning-in intently to the second track, ‘Wonderful Them’ a collaboration with Lucid Brain Integrative Project running at 36 minutes and 22 seconds. There are folk-ish undertones to this piece, with a little distortion and atmospheric development as the piano sounds tinkle away. Then the vocal develops, a nonsensical, rhythmical diatribe in poetic conversation with the air. There are no audible words but sounds, hums, phonetic moaning, pulsing and breathing, so smoothly swathed in velvety textures and vocal sprinkles, they fall from the sky like multi-coloured Hundreds and Thousands. Georgina’s sighs lift and drop, like waves along the coastline, and still I feel a subtle folk vibe to this track, like she and the other musicians will break into a familiar folk song at any moment. The track is a soupy blend of electronic beeps and loops, whispering melodic guitar and piano with hints of jazz, folk and blues undertones, submersed within Georgina’s powerful vocal expressions.
At 21 minutes in I can really hear how the effect of her textured whispering mimics the delicate, almost natural sounds of bees, flies and birds in undergrowth on a summer evening. The piano sounds morph into deeper sounds and begin to lift again, taking over, ever so subtly whilst the echoes and delays carry a multitude of vocal sounds far into the distance and all around me.
I would expect to get bored with all of this vocal for this length of time, but I don’t. Instead, I am intrigued by every new sound that is introduced and becomes part of the addictive loop, and every sound that is lost, dropping away to be replaced. At 22 minutes in I find myself wondering what it is that she is trying to communicate to me through these voluminous curtains of vocal sounds.
A few gentle drum beats here and there help to remind me of the context for this track. It does have an ambient feel, it is an immense and immersive soundscape but it has structure too and I totally trust Georgina to sculpt this structure for me, she is one step ahead of this unfolding soundscape at all times, unfurling it for her listeners bit by bit.
Georgina described this process to me,
“I love the challenge of merging past, present and future into one thought process. The past being the palette of sound I have just played, the present being the sounds I am singing (or the listening I am doing in order to select the perfect next contribution to the composition) and the future being what I imagine I want to hear next.”
Returning to ‘Wonderful Them’ I find at 25 minutes the jazz-like synth sounds return; they contrast but compliment the already very present and textured layers. The soundscape then breaks down into some kind of verse structure and I am waiting, again, for that folk song to emerge, whilst reflecting upon how unexpected this structure change is, then it lifts away again into a cascade of scattered soprano showers.
No folk song emerges. By now I am too immersed in this ever-layering landscape to worry about looking for a message or a meaning. A natural conclusion to this track begins to come into view through the panning vocal and the return of the synth organ style sounds. Is that a helicopter coming into land? Vibratory, rumbling, a distant engine turning over and over and then dissolving into a sound I can only akin to omnipresent tribal chanting or dogs barking. I know, and I can hear precisely how, all of these vocal sounds somehow belong to Georgina.
Track 4 is a collaboration with Seagram Murals and ‘Flirting at the Dole Office,’ has for me, an intriguing title. I haven’t heard of the Job Centre being called a “dole office” for years and the idea of flirting in one, well, those were the days. I find this track incredibly upbeat and very enchanting with its looped vocal rhythms and drum machines. It has such a presence of liveliness, positivity and lightness within a spectrum of rainbowed frequencies that I find that my original dole office image, as pictured in my memory, has now been entirely transcended by the music and vocal sounds that express a flurry of flirtatious activity.
Track 11 is composed of a wide range of mouth sounds, such as hissing, clicking and tutting, all very precise and followed by long hissing sounds. An electronic synth organ invades; it is slightly off key at times and then breaks down completely to reveal the spontaneous variety of long drawn out, medium and short bursts of punctilious sounds, all from Georgina’s mouth. This is a collaborative piece between Georgina and Idiot St. Crazy called ‘Copy That.’ This is also a playful track where each segment spirals off outwards, morphing into another form, before it reaches the listener’s ears. These sounds from Georgina are constantly changing and towards the end of this track they become very pinched and hissy, almost like a gathering of little birds, but slightly sinister and whispering little birds.
I asked Georgina to explain a little of her process and how she can produce what seems to be both wonderfully simple yet deeply complex tracks in both live and recorded formats. She explains,
“With my more improvised pieces I like to make performance spaces where I don’t have to think logically, I know my pedal-board set up so well that it is like playing an acoustic instrument. Often I choose very simple settings, allowing me to stay in a state of concentration on the sound, inhabiting the right-brain inspiration as much as possible.”
As well as improvised and collaborative works, future plans for multiple recording and live works, Georgina runs Tuesday’s Post, which she describes as a London-based Progressive Ambient Club,
“one where the chat in between and after the performances is valued and encouraged and many of the audience members have performed with us at some point.”
Dissolve some more here…