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

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

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records)

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

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

Kay Hill – ANARAK (Invisible City Records)

Kay Hill – Summit Tapes pt 2 (Strange Rules)

diatribes 

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a cotton-mouth shaman!

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

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

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

I’m a cowering villager!

yearning kru

Yearning Kru – Swumpengelf (Mantile Records) tape and download

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

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

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

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

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

Fans of Guttersnipe and Autechre form a queue please…

front and follow

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

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

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

Details?

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

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

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

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

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

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

birchall etc

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

Ecstatic three-way improv shunting with many fingers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Floats as easy as lubricated conversation.

kay hill

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

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

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

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

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

kay hill summit tapes

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

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

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

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

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

I am again extremely impressed. (Luke Vollar)

 

Mappa Editions

Mantile Records

Front & Follow

Heavy Petting / Vernacular Recordings

Invisible City Records

Strange Rules

-ooOoo-

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 edmondez

March 3, 2017 at 6:00 am | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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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)

 birchal-etc

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-and-friends

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-hooligan-1

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.

alge-1

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.”

Soundholes

Chocolate Monk

-ooOOOoo-

cscdng clttr: joe murray on david birchall, thf drenching & phillip marks

May 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 3 Comments
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David Birchall, THF Drenching & Phillip Marks – The Ludic Clamp (CD, Council of Drent Recordings, CoD007)

ludic clamp

MTHRFCKR! FSN HS BN DRTY WRD FR LNG TME. FCK STNL CLRK & HS BSS SL SHT. THS S TH RL DL FSN-WS. DPE S CDE MNY DD.

BRCHLL – GTRS: XPLSN, CRCKL & SQL. FST & RSPNSV. DRNCHNG –DCTPHNS: FFW SCR, FDBCK WHN & DFT THMB. TH GNRL. MRKS –PRCSSN: TNKL, CRSH & SNSTV FLTTR. CNG N TH CKE.  SPR-FZZNG BLL F RMSHKL NRGY; LK WTHR RPRT XPLDD N CLD F CRSTL MTH!

FNS LKE BTCHS BRW? THRS SMLR VB & FL, GRT PLRS BNG LLWD T PL T TH TP F THR GME MTHRFCKRS!

CSCDNG CLTTR, SKTTR, N NSCTS N TH FRTZ. WHN TH GRP PPS RGHT LKE PP-TRTS TS N RGT HLLCNTN – PRWNS SHVR. WHSKRS TWTTR.

WHN BTFL STPS, MKNG SNS F LD PNTNGS JST DNT CT TH MSTRD – NW JGGD STHTC, SHRP S STR.

FRSH LKE RN-RCH SPNCH. RSPCTFL CHS.

PNK PRBLMS

JZZ SLTNS!

DNT B SQR.  BY BY BY AT CNCIL F DRNT.

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.

—ooOoo—

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.

all routes via drent: joe murray travels with gen ken montgomery, midwich, thf drenching and marc matter

February 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Posted in midwich, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.274, edition of 60)

Midwich – The Swift (CD-r, Altar of Waste, AOW 145, edition of 15)

Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge (self-released download)

THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) (self-released download)

THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) (self-released download)

Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.276)

marc matter

It’s 7.15am on a rainy Sunday morning.  Newcastle sleeps off its Saturday night as I board the National Express to London Victoria.  Seven hours forty minutes of travel stretches out in front of me…seven hours forty minutes of quality RFM listening time.  So here goes, settle down, headphones on…

gen ken montgomery

(Newcastle to Catterick Garrison)  First up is Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings.  I’m assuming the dizzying speech loops for this charming disc are culled from self help/instructional/educational tapes from GKM’s legendary sound library.

The tone set is wonderfully dated.  That Formica-slick 1950’s sound of gentle assurance and paternal wisdom (don’t worry about the bomb – it’s all going to be OK) nags at the brain stem like a fake memory.  GKM adds disquiet to these Bakelite loops with bee-waffle, Disney strings and random clatter as the repetition of the most innocent of phrases, ‘You’re as pretty as a picture’ become darkly sinister.  I’m reminded of those between-song collages from Bongwater, or the sharp, cultural poke-in-the-eye of Negativland.  None of this in a bad way – more like when you come across a Butthole Surfers interview in inky old Melody Maker and think, ‘Cor…they were great weren’t they.  Why don’t more folk do that?’  Only the track ‘If you need help’ bucks this trend and splices partial vocal snitches as tight as the wrapper on a chewy toffee penny.

“We don’t have to suffer, we’re the best batch yet”, croaked old Don Van.  And I’m thinking the same think about old Gen Ken here.  The Well Spliced Breath series on Chocolate Monk is damn essential listening for the student of vocal fuh.  You know that.  But, dear reader, this one is the creamy-doof, the Shia LaBoeuf!

midwich - the swift cover

(Wetherby to Woodhall Services) I’m hoping my terrible geography won’t let me down as I delve into The Swift by Midwich.  I want to be knee-deep in Midwich as we pass through Rob’s adoptive home town of Leeds; creating a feedback loop of musty drone from coach to city centre.

The Swift is a single hour long piece in three distinct movements.

Movement one: It starts like the soundtrack to ‘Evolution…The Movie’ as grey gloop is replaced by lazy cellular dividing and static, internal egg-memories. Things settle on Mothra’s mating ritual – long drawn-out breaths gradually moving out of synch as feathery lungs push huge volumes of air through Sperm Whale baleen.

Movement two: A rhythmic ticking and the clatter of ghostly forklift trucks start to creep in.  The Swifts chirrup, skittering in the air warmed by the horny Mothra.  Listeners note: this section accompanies the flock of stately wind turbines near Chesterfield spectacularly.

Movement three: The final five minutes heave like the tides, slowly encroaching on an abandoned city; washing through the deserted streets, clearing the human junk for a stronger, fitter civilisation floating slowly through the brine.

No question this is Rob’s most immersive and ambitious piece of Midwichery yet.  You gotta have it!

(Editorial aside: the more cynical amongst you may scoff but I’m satisfied that Joe’s praise for this album has nowt to do with it being recorded by me, his editor.  Nor will my praise for the Black Leather Cop tape in a future review have owt to do with the fact that it was recorded by the duo of Scott and Joe, my RFM comrades.  Can there be ‘conflict of interest’ down here in the no-audience underground?  I may tackle this question at length some other time but, spoiler alert, I suspect the short answer is: ‘no’.  At the time of writing there are still a couple of copies of The Swift left for sale – hop to it! – RH)

birchall drenching poot

(Hucknall to Whipsnade Zoo (including nap))  I came across Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge while using Mrs Posset’s Facebook contraption…what joy these ‘likes’ bring!

This heavyweight trio treat the disc as very jazz with a muscular Drenching doing a moody Mingus on bull-Dictaphone.  His Clangersesque chops weave around Luke Poot’s patent furniture jam and Dave Birchall’s scribble-scrabble on guitar.

The ghost of Carl Stalling looms.  The busy peaks are a cartoon catfight in a sandpaper factory; the loser tarred and feathered.  Heavy weights get dropped on heads and Bluebirds tweet over a swiftly rising bruise.   But it’s not all three-way, slapstick action – No Sir!

‘Deed of Negative Pledge’, a duo between THF Drenching & Poot is a dense mung of collapsed electrics in a scum-filled pothole.  There’s something here that reminds me of Prince – a kind of affronted pomp.  It’s easy to picture The New Power Generation battle The Revolution with toys from an Argos Christmas cracker on this one.

‘Nano-tech Slave Canoe’ by Dave & Drenching is a double-D storm of fizz & gaseous cloud – behold the hot hail.  It gladdens me pans to hear some joyful ruler-twang nestling between dicta squirts and scree.

Lo…the energy never stops. ‘A Deer Walking on Some Cardboard’ is plumped up and caffeinated like early Adolescents wrecking that forgotten kitchen cabinet full of old parts for a pre-war blender until some gonzo moose-honking heralds our arrival in glorious Luton.

thf drenching - inventions 1

More tape-screw bounty accompanies me from Dunstable to Victoria with THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) .  This solo disc showcases the Herbie Hancock of Dictaphones melting into a somewhat Ballardian mood.  The future is five minutes away and carved out of alienating concrete.  Drenching, thumbs as heavy as Stonehenge uprights, crushes micro-sounds out of the pinched brown tape with a steel-tension squeak.  Listeners note: Lovers of Raster Noton shit will dig the clean and clinical splatters of goof on display here – honest.

‘Live Acoustic Nail-Fetish’ has some button-pushing genius measured out in Samuel Morse’s code spelling out, ‘Overthrow the Ruling Classes.  Unite.  Rejoice!’ if I’m not much mistaken.   This decoding made me jumpy.  So it’s with a nervous titter I relish the electric horse sound (invented by little Jimmy Osmond) that closes this tasty piece.

Fans of balls-out skronk look away now.  ‘Postal Ballot Reflux’ is a dystopian Gamelan, heavy with loss, mourning the death of the Arts & Crafts movement.  It’s a lament for Brent Cross…it’s a silent scream in Halfords superstore.  Finally ‘Alternating Meat Wipes’ de-tunes a radio like a Victorian lady succumbing to Polystyrene ear-pressure.  That’s not something you hear everyday brothers and sister right?

thf drenching - inventions 2

I’ve arrived in the capital! And after I’ve slapped some blood back into my legs I relax into THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) as I make the cross-town jaunt Victoria to Stoke Newington on the number 73 Routemaster.

It’s a bold opening: the squeal of miniature figs in a foam of iron gravy that starts ‘Xmas TP-M110 Jammy Slobber’.  Presently the Christmas tree decorations are taken down and the resulting chatter recorded by noisy Krill.  Rice expands to fill a seeping wound…whoa man Drench!  Things get serious with ‘Jettisoned Inky Crags’, a music concrete composition (electric whisk in a Smash tin) that zip-scratches and Velcro-rips like Mixmaster Mike with crabs.

The erotic closer, ‘Something for a Stabproof Goose’ is a fumble in the hide.  An Owl’s haunted ‘twit-t’woo’ in strong sunlight.  My ears tell me it’s all composed in negative with the fowl sound redacted, the anti-echo of quack left to dissolve into the dusk.  Punishingly austere and perfectly suited to staring at the back of an old guy’s head for 50 minutes.

marc matter

The next day, my London business done, I tramp back to the train station and Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante accompanies me from King’s Cross back home to Newcastle.

I chat to the poor bugger next to me.  She’s working on spreadsheets but I’m overcome with the urge to spout forth…

Hey lady!  Here’s more vocal shenanigans from your Cannonball Run chums Chocolate Monk.  This Mr Marc has already done his personal huffing and honking and scratched his mung into soft black vinyl if you please.  The vocal explosions are then mixed and mashed up via turntables, mixing desk and effects.  Neat eh?

Do you like history lady? Marc knows his onions and has been DJing with the ‘hoof and varble’ of ancient text compositions/sound poetry for a few years.  It’s no surprise then that L’oeil Ecclatante comes across like the late, great Henri Chopin; full of damp glottal slops and high-pitched steamy hisses.

Listeners note: at this point I offer her my earbuds.  She declines but continues to look interested.

At times it’s like being trapped in a vast jug: bub, bub, bubbing as liquid is poured out on to a blackened tree stump,

…I continue,

…other moments revisit the sonic texture of corduroy as my old school trousers, Bishop Barrington Comprehensive – year 8, are rubbed against sensitive fruit.  Do you think that the sleight-of-hand encouraged by turntables allow sounds to slip wetly between your ears and rough running-breath to be laid over internal lung-farts to patch up a rhythm, soon to be nixed by the pinched trachea of Ligeti’s angels?

Although she didn’t answer and quickly went back to her spreadsheets I could tell she was hooked, another convert to the no-audience underground.

Mind the gap!

Chocolate Monk

THF Drenching on Bandcamp

Council of Drent

Midwich on Altar of Waste

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