the tin skeleton: joe murray on blood stereo, luke poot, lovely honkey, gate

February 16, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Blood Stereo – The Lure of Gurp (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.320, edition of 47)

Luke Poot/Lovely Honkey – Shame 3  (CD-r or download, Angurosakuson)

Gate – Saturday Night Fever (12″ vinyl, MIE, MIE036, edition of 600)

Gurp frontGurp back

Blood Stereo – The Lure of Gurp

A selection of mini-trax that hiss as natural breath: in and out, in and out.

B. Stereo leave the long-haul jam behind for this one and concentrate on a smorgasbord of lung expand and a coy pinkie on the tape head.  In their on-going campaign of pitching formal versus informal sound, the wooden spoon is spun thrice round the bowl in heavy, sugary swipes.   Can I lick the spoon?  Yeah man, why not!

Moves are dramatic and executed with confidence in bold smears (a palette knife spreads ruddy ochre across smooth glass) so things are very well defined but not necessarily primary in colour.

As a result melancholy haunts certain corners.  Examples?

‘Huntiegowk’s Return’ soundtracks that most modern of ills, the loneliness of crowds.  This rumble is handled with a touch as light as mushroom spore.  The title track scoffs and mutters while a Chelsea Pensioner polishes his brass buttons, rum-scented wind whistling out of stiff pink nostrils. Ever tried to catch a memory?  They often move too fast for your fingers and dissolve on contact anyway.  For this study of Tantalus tune into ‘The Hand That Will Not Cup’ and follow the psychic instructions.

But the best example of this sepia-tinted longing erupts on ‘Gob & Soupy’, the Shipping Forecast through a post-ecstasy downer.  Or it’s hippy Elvish.  One of the two.

Whilst never regular church-goers, Blood. S are adept with the dusty church torpor that settles on dull Sunday worship.  That blanket-heavy hum that sucks away at your vitals but buffs the rusty brain like you ate up double portions of sleepy lettuce.   I swear I’m transported back to Methodist Ministries with the ‘rambient’ (random/ambient) churn of heavy organ keys pushed to release grimy gas.

And if I can hear the twitch of a goatee from the under-represented jazz-cat, I worry not.  Everyone’s favourite bass-clarinettist, Yoni Sliver’s damp fluttering is taken apart in a super skilful way (and I should know- I’ve tried it) to re-build into a B&W herky-jerky chorus making Korky the Cat jiggle and swing – on the yip!

The No Audience-Underground is often criticised for being amber-stuck, uncritical and self-satisfied.  Silly goose I say!  Check out this latest BLDSTR infotainment disc (complete with pics, sleeve notes and collage or something) to hear a stretching out and cheeky toe wiggle.  Its new territory marked out with heady musk.

If this doesn’t make those plants grow I’m calling you Percy Thrower.


Luke Poot / Lovely Honkey – Shame 3

I’m feeling a bit Top Trumps.

Name: Luke Poot

Avant Schtick: Tape farmer, ideas basket, office stationery re-claimer

Distinguishing features:  Mighty colourful beak & ‘sad’ eyes

Hidden Weakness: Feared of magicians

Luke Poot’s singular furrow has been ploughed across the sub-toilet circuit for the last five or six years and often leaves the casual listener in need of a new fold-out map and clearly defined landmarks.  Listen to this without basecamp support and a Sherpa or two and you risk being lost in a white-out of pro darts, taped slurp interruptions and heavy breathing  all delivered with the expert timing of a 60-a-day stand-up comedian (circa 1977).

But back to the map.  Two live recordings bookend some Manchester-born radio sessions that sound unusually strapped inside my skull; like Poot is playing from the inside out – a most disconcerting osmosis.  More of this later…

‘I Wanna Be a Cape (Live in Notts)’ is a brief 6 mins of prepared tape, infrequent muttering and embarrassed silence.  A total environment is carefully laid out but exists just out of reach, making me miss whatever fetid dungeon this was first crouched in.

The three radio pieces occur as part of an equipment breakdown. The first is a classic mouth/tape recorder duet where prior planning only accounts for half the excitement.  The seat of the pants call and response milks some strange teats indeed, some half-got football reference adds to the sickly approach, like watching Noel’s House Party running a sweaty fever. Part two features the half-explosive screams Poot has become famous for…being both powerful and polite, more like an abortive sneeze I suppose.  They are certainly becoming increasingly nasal as the track goes on and I feel like ticking off the severity on a Beaufort scale.  And at last, it had to happen, Richard Harris gets his first oblique mention in the fabled Poot-ography.  Part three is a study of failed whistling gibbers and gobbles with what sounds like some very real throat damage as fleshy tubes get pinched sharp.  There is a discernible story arc (again football related) but bearing no relation to Roy of the Rovers.

‘Happy, Yeah? (Live in Sheffield)’ follows no such narrative and seems to be a secretly recorded tape made of John Cale walking his favourite lady out on a date.  The sun is starting to set and everything is relaxed in buttery yellow light.  They pass hang-outs and cherished restaurants.  Poot is following behind the couple with an outstretched hand.  He gives the command and Sea Lions spout out of the man-hole covers (it’s New York right?) clattering them aside and, in fishy unison, chant and honk a Backstreet Boys version.  All whiskery naturally and over in five brisk minutes.

I recommend this highly.


Gate – Saturday Night Fever

It seems to be a universal truth that most humans can’t bear to hear their own voice on tape.  You’re instantly confronted by your worst self-image without the filter of selected hearing or (in my case) regular oblivious dumbness.

Once you join that vocal jaxx brigade you’ve got to get used to your strangulated vowels and plummy neck pretty darn sharp.  It’s not pleasant but you get used to it.  You dig?

But what really makes me knock-kneed with fear is the prospect of capturing an image of myself dancing.  It happened once and what I viewed was an almost evolutionary wrongness.  Like a gin-soaked St Bernard reared up and deciding ‘four legs bad’ I folded myself into 6 foot 3 inches of tangled limbs and chin-drenched shaking.  I’m not a dancer.  I’m a grotesque.

I think it’s for this reason I’ve steered clear of so much ‘dance music’ in my life.  I love the idea of euphoria blossoming up from your feet and gushing out your blowhole.  I love the concept that freedom of movement unhitches my brain for a few blessed minutes until the lights and sound replace the fetid sump oil of my soul.  I like watching people dancing but shudder at the thought of actually doing it myself.

So it’s with clammy hands I pick up Michael Morley/Gate’s new record, an exploration of disco’s glittery fulcrum – Saturday Night Fever.

It’s a 12 inch, of course it is… the ultimate dance format, with four extended loop-driven swoons, smooth as Calpol.

Horns! Horns unapologetically honk brassily from the front end of ‘Asset.’ MMorley tells me I should be dancing (did you not read that last bit mate?) and, despite myself, I begin to twitch a little until all things buckle under Dead C-heavy guitar clouds.  As the kids say…

pretty sweet.

Are those palm trees?  Rich coconut oil drips from swollen husks. I’m ‘on the strip’ with Vince Neil and the boyz.  The sunlight is blinding as something by Circle plays on the AM radio and the Wolfman Jack cries ‘Licker’.

Fucking ‘ell Vince,

I say,

this rawks!

Vince just winks and flashes a gold molar.

The shortest track, ‘Caked’, is still over 9 mins long and boxy and shallow.  This is no creepy insult; I mean it’s all jittery surface, like a frozen lake.   The action takes place at your eye level and concentrates on wild wobbling and heavy keys.

OK… things have been pretty great so far but the closer ‘Hijack’ might just be an example of bright-shiny-footloose perfection.  A nagging set of bells/parping vocals loop in tight little circuits building up a mesh of rhythms.  Our Mr Morley’s hang-dog singing (he’s a 21st century Jona Lewie for sure) is gravy on the steak but the real genius is revealed in the fade out (almost half the length of the track) that strips away dance floor to focus on the reinforced mechanics, the tin skeleton I’ve been raving on for the last 10 minutes.

Like fluff on a needle it’s a beautiful static ruffle: pffft… pfffft… pfffft.


Chocolate Monk



within tolerances of perfection: new from bbblood

July 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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BBBlood – No Religion at the Salad Bar (CD-r, Angurosakuson, AS#006, edition of 35 or download)

bbblood - salad

Cast a net over the whole no-audience underground and haul it in. Amongst the mess of patch leads, broken equipment and writhing bodies (all secretly delighted to be in physical contact with other human beings despite the inconvenience) you would be hard pressed to find a project so unanimously loved as Paul Watson’s BBBlood.

The chap is charm personified. An illustration: at the last Crater Lake Festival, I was gently chided by an heroically drunk Paul who insisted that RFM should be more positive. Now, in nearly 400 posts over nearly five years you can count the number of unfavourable reviews I have published on the fingers of one hand without even dropping your phone. However, Paul’s opinion was so heartfelt and expressed with such earnest goodwill that all I could do was nod ruefully and promise not to be such a nasty cynic in future…

His music is proper noise of the highest order: racket torn from a selection of table-top electronics and homemade devices (loose contact mic taped into tobacco tin being a live favourite). He has a wire-walker’s sense of balance – the balls-out noise is gonzo enough for nostrils flaring, meathead catharsis, the calmer moments clever and detailed enough to reward serious contemplation. Snatches of field and domestic recordings are dropped into the mix adding a very exciting sense of location. Thus, Paul does not present a free-floating, atemporal harsh noise wall. Instead this is very definitely happening Here and Now.

So: No Religion at the Salad Bar, released as a limited run CD-r and download on Pascal Ansell’s Angurosakuson label. Dunno what the title refers to but I initially misread it as ‘Bad Religion at…’ and chuckled at the idea of veteran punkers queuing for the healthy option at Pizza Hut.

Anyway: the music. Imagine a gleaming rally car, engine tuned to within tolerances of perfection, navigator and driver linked with a near-psychic understanding of the course ahead. Looking at them you’d think the race was won before the ignition key was even turned. Then picture the slack-jawed, disbelieving horror on the navigator’s face as the driver gleefully and deliberately sideswipes a hundred metres of park railings, ploughs through a crowd of spectators (Nuns. A busload of motor sport loving nuns), parks nose-first in a ditch then gets out to slam dance to bird song in the forest and the ‘tik, tik’ of the hazard lights.

Nearly there. Now picture weary synapses firing in the fevered brain that came up with that metaphor and separated it out from the roaring white noise of kitchen sink thinking that surrounded it. Map the neurochemical process onto the perverted psychological meandering, convert the lot into noise and…



Angurosakuson WordPress (for physical object)

Angurosakuson Bandcamp (for download)


grot all get mangled: joe murray on panelak, f. ampism, david birchall, rogier small, rotten tables, golden meat, ckdh

July 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Panelak – Heimat (CD-r or download, Angurosakuson, AS#007)

F. Ampism – Chew Valley Moor Wardens  (CD-r, Poot Records)

David Birchall/Rogier Small Duo – S/T (C20 tape, Poot Records)

Rotten Tables, Golden Meat – My Nose is Broken (C20 tape, Total Vermin)

CKDH – Yr Putrid Eyeballs (CD-r, Poot Records)

rfm panelak frontrfm f ampismrfm chkd 1rfm chkd 2

Panelak – Heimat

Starting with electronics swimming in electric bile over a bunch of Korean zither pings all antiseptic and clean an antique ZX81 crashes.  KkKKkkqqQKkqKQKkk.  In the Congo ghosts play Mbira via shortwave lightning with sudden peaks in volume and intensity.  Phew! The first two songs (‘How I wrote Panelak’ & ‘Underfelt Silk Leaves’) are over and I’m sweating already.

‘Prayer Milk’ does that tunnel-vision thing for your ears making them tune inward as granular chuff curls like a graphite wave.  Watch out casual surfers…don’t get caught in the undertow.

My gosh, this is the Crossfit of noise; all muscular beefing and sweaty reps.  But…Panelak’s Pascal Ansell isn’t getting all Rollins on your ass.  No sir.  This is still pretty enough to make me blush pinky-red.  Especially with the glitch water-jug/chess beats/preset keys of ‘Slugs Salloon’ which is the kinda junk turning up on PAN at the minute.  Dance music mutated out the disco, round the corner and into the all night Deli serving chrome toaster-noise to anxious couples climbing out a collective K-hole.  Selector?  Re-rewind!

The 14 minute palette-cleanser ‘Nix Cornd Beef/Timesheet’ reminds me of the time I was locked in King Cross train station trying to avoid the security guards as semi-automated cleaning carts trundle the platforms snagging metal rails and sparking green in the darkness.  Just so you know.

This prepares the listener for ‘BBBlues’ with a guitar that’s the sort of thing to give Albini nightmares such is the sound ripped, processed and fucked.  The ever present waterfall vibe that bootleg software wafts becomes an undercurrent laying a liquid foundation.

The closer, ‘Largesse Projects’ is more Stingray-undersea-kingdom shit; follow the pressure waves of psychic-torpedoes as they zero in on their own personal Bismarck!  At a mile deep the nitrogen/oxygen mixture makes mush of your brain.  Half forgotten memories of Rave culture, Noise basements and night bus paranoia all curdle into a paste of grey-matter.

Thoughts intertwine and Jacques Cousteau leers at my wasted face under his gnarly woollen cap. “Get a grip” he yells (in French).  But I’m too far gone on Panelak and burst out laughing at the salty puddle collecting round his brogues.

Shit man…this is strong stuff.

F. Ampism – Chew Valley Moor Wardens

Brighton-based beard F. Ampism has been riffing it for years.  His set at Colour Out Of Space 2013 was one of the highlights of the weekend and this cheeky snapshot of mung is a earhole warmer par excellence.

The shingle-tape warping and snatched speech samples comes across all Chaotica and sits comfortably at the table with all that LAFMS shit; ‘cept there’s a handmade quality to this like wave-polished scrimshaw.

Let me explain.  Wooden batteries get replaced with felt.  Off-kilter percussion from Nairobi is laid over kitchen clatter (‘Bandoneon’).  A baking tray buckles and reed flute plays comforting Azathoth (‘Indian Head’).  Free-jazz workshops are rendered in miniature like the band are starting to arrive and the drummer practices exotic chops (‘Water from a Wooden Bowl’).  Grotty tabla ‘slaps’ are slowed down into the futuristic plastic ‘Boing’ posing a problem for Mega City One judges (‘Norma Supral’) as mercury is sluiced down a drainpipe.  There’s a fidget’s delight as KLF goof-on like ‘Chill Out’ (‘Comfrey Wazzo Shed Suite’).  Repetitive faux-ethic glock plonks, bronze owls t-wit and t-woo during ‘Hanging Litterbugs’ as Martin Denny finds the sweet-spot on his analogue synth.

To sum up: loops of recorder grot all get mangled. You sit and raise a glass.  The wind blows through your grass skirt.

And if god is a DJ, Amps sits at his right hand mixing all the uncomfortable sounds dropped at the pearly gates.

Check this mother out!

David Birchall/Rogier Small Duo

An eye-watering tape cover, all pink vibrations and Mexican skulls houses this crispy duck.

Warble-guitar rubberises snazzy drums all over side one with the clitter-clatter meshing like oilbeads.  Dave’s dextrous volume pedal work gives the six string a human voice…an open-mouthed gasp that speaks in a dialect from the lost land of Atlantis.  When the silvery bubbles of air float up they get well and truly popped by Rogier’s mini-trident as floppy skins (drum kit) pound like a war cry.  Up Helly-Ah!

Texture is explored for sure but it’s got a furry quality, like mould-ridden cheese, that makes me salivate grey goo down my shirt front.

I saw these two live recently and was blown away by their Crimsons.  Diggerty velocity and ultra-hard riffin’ that stopped on a dime leading to Pinteresque silence and uncomfortable stares.  And it’s good to hear those dip-outs, troughs and fallows on this pinky tape.  Too many beards just jam it without no contrasts…saps.  The chaps got chops!

Side two starts off all mellow and that with a ribbed ripple, a cluster of notes that dart and dive around Smal’s dropped grenades.  But these explosions become milestones, stately markers on a voyage over rough terrain before they gradually morph into the start of the Pink Panther show (circa 1979).

About halfway though coffin-opening squeaks and moans start coming from somewhere as Private Jazz gets the brushes out ‘schhhh, schhhh, schhhh’…a minute later we’re in Company Week territory with heavy improv chokes and giggles from drum and guitar.  This jollies me up and I’m sad, genuinely sad, dear reader when the extended grimble solo ends this tape.

Oh yeah…I know people like to know this kinda stuff:  Dave plays in Northern Loon-duo Chastity Potatoe, Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura, Stuckometer, Levenshulme Bicycle Orchestra and Rogier does stuff with Jaap Blonk, Eugene Chadbourne, Sunburned Hand of The Man and one of Earth or something.  Both websites are chocked full of tapes, drawings and videos that make me wanna get up and do some shit!

Rotten Tables, Golden Meat – My Nose is Broken

My word: hunka-grunk-scrunt!  This is the kinda doof that gets me out of bed in the morning, lickerty-split!  Do not pass muesli.  Jive straight out the door and into the woods for loamy communion breathing in the ferns.

Rotten Tables, Golden Meat are a totally gonzo electronics/vocal mush duo jamming at the heart of the new Soviet weird and its long tradition of sound poetry and religious ecstasy.  Partly recorded on Jon Marshall’s travels in Russia with St Petersberg resident Anton Auster these two sides are sharp like pickles with a lasting tang.

Side one: A live excursion jammed in St Petersburg starts like an experiment with speech from an impossible archive, micro-sounds isolated, presented and turned inside out for a gaggle of tweed elbow-patches.  The lecture continues but moves into the chemistry lab; a pristine white coat mixing noxious chemicals all a’bubble and foamy.  Rhythm is important to RTGM and loops move in eccentric orbits around each other, meeting in points; farewells no doubt tearful as they forever pull themselves apart.  But it’s not all buttery beauty!  There’s enough ‘crunch’, ‘squark’ and ‘fonk’ for the gruffest gong-farmer. In fact about halfway through side one everything kinda disintegrates into a morass of electronic gunk, shortwave gabble and tape squeal.  A purgatory of choirs is summoned through the mire with a majestic sweep of the curtain, beckons in a new dawn of pained snivel.

Side two is mixed like a travelogue, switching from one place or mood to another but with a modesty and innocence.  Shy words and the crunch of boots on fresh electric-snow open the proceedings; a black-out rave for the diesel-clogged tugboats that thump across the frozen harbour.  This hums for a while then jack knives like This Heat’s Health & Efficiency with a propulsive yet lopsided whoozy sample driving a bright cavalcade of rips and shunts and liquid voice.  More snatches of Russian conversation tease, a mouse-organ and reed thin whistles…tin-plate clicks and damaged music box mechanisms crackle with hidden purpose.  Then to close the sampled speech, all lightly manipulated, turns into a charming thought piece and/or erotic lullaby ’ears, some gills mama cav-or’ that’s just as dishy as Steve Reich.

Sorry to get extra huggy-kissy but this is one god-damn essential experience.  Like a tin bath…you gotta get in to drop out!

CKDH – Yr Putrid Eyeballs

An exceptional Black Metal logo always draws me in and the singular art work in this oversized cardboard CD case makes this a hard disc to ignore.

Razor-sharp tones (a high C#?) open ‘Your Putrid Eyeballs’ sliding over each other like greased jade.  These thin green needles puncture the twilight (it’s getting dark as I type) and I notice that swinging my head from side-to-side makes them dance gently in the middle of the room.  A brown and granular wash (think coffee grounds) plays a twin-tone melodie as liquid hydrogen rushes down a spiral staircase leaving toxic steam in its wake.  The between-track silence is uncanny.

Beautiful austerity.

‘Fungal Air Creeping Adders’ jams on these strange radiophonic tones further, bunching them up to create a ripple, a rhythm and a steady bass-line crackle.  It all sounds strangely contemporary and the sort of thing I imagine is played in an inner-city night club shortly before kicking out time; the feeling of dread and alienation is real.  An occasional metallic scratching uncovers itself gradually, steadily becoming unnerving, unsettling…like something is about to shear off and screech out the stereo covered in nasty blisters.   And then…just before the end a beautiful thing happens and two sine-wave tones modulate in just the right way to create a third tone, a harmony that sings like an angel.  It only lasts a second but becomes the grit in the oyster, the seldom seen hint of violet in a rainbow.

All the more delicious for its rarity.


Angurosakuson WordPress (for physical objects)

Angurosakuson Bandcamp (for downloads)

Poot Records

Total Vermin

Editor’s note: don’t fret if you visit the Poot or Total Vermin sites and can find no mention of the releases reviewed.  Luke and Stuart both work within a jelly-like, highly-flexible notion of ‘time’ and should be contacted directly with enquiries as to availability.

rfm on lsr via uml: your editor speaks!

March 25, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Posted in musings, no audience underground | 6 Comments
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my lawyers listening to lsr

Last week I spent an enjoyable afternoon chatting with Tom Bench (of the wonderful Leeds University Union Music Library) and Pascal Ansell (of Panelak, Angurosakuson etc. – he’s a representative of the noise-tigger vanguard). They settled on the rug by the fire as I dozed in my wing-backed leather chair following a fine lunch. Tom tugged gently on the arm of my blazer and, as I woke, asked me for my thoughts on a fascinating series of noise related subjects. I was happy to hold forth. Pascal piped up on occasion too – I almost had him thrashed by my manservant for the impertinence of interrupting – but the scamp is so lovable that I just ruffled his hair and smiled indulgently as he babbled on. The folly of youth, eh?

To my surprise it turns out that Tom secretly recorded the conversation and has broadcast edited highlights, complete with illustrative musical excerpts, on Leeds Student Radio as this week’s edition of the hour hosted by UML (Monday 10-11pm). My lawyers and I listened closely on the night but were so impressed that we aren’t even going to ask for punitive damages when we launch legal proceedings against the boy! I’m surprised that any of Pascal’s contribution made the edit but I suppose that, like a dog that can bark the national anthem, it has a certain nonsensical charm.


Jesting aside, this was great fun to do and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Many thanks to Pascal for being an enthusiastic sparring partner and to Tom for the terrific editing job and for having the imagination to set it up. As well as our chatter the programme features music from midwich, Astral Social Club, Mel O’Dubhslaine, foldhead, Sophie Cooper, Yol (!) and much more besides. Well worth your time.

If you missed it you can download here.

eat local part two: rfm tucks in to ashtray navigations, half an abortion and helicopter quartet

September 18, 2013 at 7:42 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 4 Comments
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Ashtray Navigations – spray (CD-r, memoirs of an aesthete, moa cd 1-800-55555, edition of 100)

Half and Abortion – Small Scale Demystification Quandary (tape, Angurosakuson, AS#008)

Helicopter Quartet – Refuge (self-released download)

ashtray navigations - sprayhalf an abortion - quandaryhelicopter quartet - refuge

The cover of the latest CD-r from blog faves Ashtray Navigations (this time being Phil Todd solo) sports a noteworthy boast: aside from ‘false starts with the percussion’ everything else therein is a first take.  It is an interesting prospect.  Despite being an accomplished improviser, Phil’s recorded output tends to be the result of much deliberation, overdubbing and editing.  The guy puts the hours in and the result is a consistency unique amongst those similarly prolific.  The slapdash should take note: no that won’t do, be more like Phil instead.

Anyway, in keeping with the vibe of the project I decided to review it in one take too.  During a lunch break I found an unused basement teaching room in the university where I work, spread my kit across a table – food, pencil, three sheets of A4 paper, mp3 player – pushed the buds deep into my long-suffering ear canals, pressed play and wrote the following.  Aside from some false starts on the punctuation, and some reconstruction following the disintegration of my sandwich and resultant beetroot stains, this is also a first take.

‘bubba o’meiser’: chimes, bells, calling the fairies to a gathering?  A wedding?  Getting heavier, maybe a mushroom vision of the forest, maybe the soundtrack to a 1970s documentary about jellyfish.  Hang on – here come the space bongos (obviously this release does contain overdubs – presumably Phil means each element was recorded in one take.  Some assembly was required)!  Now there is an epic swishing hiss – reptiles in sunglasses are eating the wedding party! ‘the awful backlash’: ah, the guitar.  A super-cool rhythmic shimmer underscores a sky-scraping psyche-rock wig-out.  Phil’s ornithopter flaps lazily over the dunes (at this point I stared at the wall for a minute, lost in the solo.  Nearby building work was making the floor vibrate nicely).  This is Phil at his most free and, ironically, perhaps at his most accessible.  I can imagine anyone whose tastes are guitar-led being won over by this to the shining path of AshNav,  Fun ending as one of the hip lizards from earlier croaks along to the dying seconds. ‘spray’: Business!  Initial bobbling sounds like an interlude in a modernist composition symbolising the rush of urban existence.  Picture ballet dancers artfully avoiding each other as they hail cabs, meet their dates, go about a stylised version of city life.  I’m expecting this to resolve, to clarify but the layers continue to slide over each other, breathless.  OK, now percussion is stapling it together and a low end is packing it away.  Second movement, change of scene.  Now the electrobibble seems like the chittering of nocturnal creatures, the wob-wob of the synth giving the impression of a tropical night that just won’t cool.  Act three sees the return our reptile friends.  As the engine of their super-yacht idles in the background, ready to depart, they enjoy a quayside performance of Miles Davis style vibraphonic space jazz then, ha!, that is it.  Blimey, for a 20 minute track that sure passed quickly.

Great stuff.

Next we have the first appearance on RFM for another Leeds based label, Pascal Ansell’s Angurosakuson.  Click through to find effervescent collage nonsense from the man himself and a couple of noteworthy releases by the (relatively speaking) ‘bankable’ names he wisely chose to kick off proceedings with (reviewed elsewhere).

My favourite item from the roster so far is Small Scale Demystification Quandary by Pete Cann’s solo project Half an Abortion.  Yes, I know the choice of band name is contemptibly gonzo but, as with all ‘extreme’ music, familiarity has made me weary/wary of complaint.  Anyway, I know he’s keeping it mainly because it annoys Pascal which amuses me as much as it does Pete.  The content is noise of the tabletop electronics variety but it is no mere exercise in meathead excess.  Pete’s work is artfully constructed, even when he is clearly making it up as he goes along, and contains levels of nuance and humour that reward repeat listens.

It sounds like this.  Imagine arriving on the space station orbiting Solaris.  Any attempt at communicating with home is scuppered by the roar of magnetic interference emitted by the planet below.  Following a racket down a corridor you find yourself outside Dr. Pete’s laboratory.  You need to pound on the door to get an answer and when Pete does come out – sweaty, preoccupied – he holds the door shut behind him.  His planet-created id creatures (track two is called Iddy and Jutt, so I’m presuming there are two) continue to crash about the lab.  Cut to inside.  They aren’t, apparently, just trashing the place but appear to be conducting their own clumsy experiments.  By the final track their project – to invent music from scratch – has been revealed.  A scribbly, uncertain refrain is dragged from their home-made stringed instrument, accompanied by the clatter of retort stands being kicked about.  The whole thing, then, could be heard as ‘tuning up’ for the one and only truly musical moment: one note, blown for a couple of seconds on (what sounds like) a melodica.  And then that is that – it’s the final noise of the album and an hilarious conclusion.  I like this very much.

Finally, a brief mention of ‘Refuge’ by Helicopter Quartet.  Regular readers will remember my unstinting praise for the two albums currently available by this fine band (for the uninitiated see here and here).  The track, a lately completed off cut from the Where Have All The Aliens Gone? sessions, is seven and one half minutes of melancholic beauty.  Nothing drippy or indulgent about this lament though.  It is coloured with the yellow-grey tones of weather-worn Yorkshire sandstone and has the soul-calming grace of a slate grey sky over Swaledale.  Highly recommended.

Ashtray Navigations

Half an Abortion

Helicopter Quartet

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