shuffling huffer: rfm on cannon bone, ivy nostrum, penance stare, depletion and neil campbell

November 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Cannon Bone – At a Canter (Nice Chapeau Records)

Ivy Nostrum – Genuflection Maps (No Label)

Penance Stare – House of Bastet (No Label)

Depletion – Lost Signals (Matching Head)

Neil Campbell – Think not of the Glasses but of the Drink (Chocolate Monk)

cannonbone

Cannon Bone – At a Canter (Nice Chapeau Records) Vinyl LP and digital album

Om, Lightning Bolt, Ruins.

Rocking bass and drums duos are thin on the ground eh?  So add another much-needed twosome to this proud duo-pile.  Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce Cannon Bone.

Nottingham-based duo Daniel Murray (bass) and Rich Park (drums) reject the ubiquitous six-string and its ceaseless attention-seeking for a solid, dependable rhythm approach that still blisters like hot Szechuan pepper.

The riff becomes the king, repetition the queen and together they rule a land of lurid flexible strings and tightly wound skins.

Half instrumental / half traditional sung-song the ghosts of Roxy Music, Young Marble Giants and the aforementioned Ruins haunt tunes like ‘Seahorse’, ‘Is that OK?’ and ‘Progressive Dancing Shoe’ respectively.

Such an eclectic mix revels in the invention going back-to-basics requires so detail becomes focused on textures, the quality of the fuzz and the dry crack of a snare.  It’s so easy to get lost in the canyons of fizzing electricity and compressed air each side plays in a sort of deceptive time-puddle.  The more you poke your stick in the deeper it gets.

But all this is mere dressing to the powerfully muscular playing – a rigorous and elemental musical snarl as infectious as Darby Crash’s dental work.

The dynamics are indeed the key here so the punishing pounding is coupled with a delicate tom roll, the explosive bass-harmonix smother a melody that’s perfectly cherry, cherry.

Like a horseshoe in a boxing glove – K.O. to Cannon Bone!

Ivy Nostrum

Ivy Nostrum – Genuflection Maps (No Label) Lurid pink Cassette

Two side-long constructions pieced together by the fair hand of RFM scrivener Paul Margree.

The helpful sleeve notes say these pieces feature the autoharp (broken), domestic field recordings and free sound among other wonderful things.  But what they don’t say is how damn lovely some of this is.

The autoharp pieces are bright and sunny; each broken pluck becomes a golden beam of light.  The electronic bleats are neither too sharp nor too gritty and seem to be formed instead from fresh pink marzipan being all smooth and almondy.

Side B ‘We Weren’t Really Dressed for the Weather’ features some speech software rattling around like an embarrassed Orac in a ruptured poly tunnel until the autoharp make another Wicca appearance. Lo-impact movements clatter like Tupperware underneath some charming whistling.

But of course…like much musique concrète it’s the placement that makes the thing sing.  I don’t know why a low undulating throb sits so perfectly with human-child chatter and bulbous metallic ringing.  But it does…it most certainly does.

Not sure where you can even grab this pink tape – tweeting @PaulMargree might be a good place to start yeah.

penance stare

Penance Stare – House of Bastet (No Label) Cassette and digital album

Ex-Etai Keshiki and Melting’s, ELN plays all manner of guitars, basses, synths, drum machines and effects boxes to create a super-dark compressed tablet of riffage on the mighty House of Bastet.

A true one-woman-black-metal-band she does what is seemingly impossible and makes a drum machine really swing on awesome closer ‘Bleaken’ as it well and truly admonishes the gas-bloated riffs.   But I’m getting ahead of myself…

These four songs seem to blur the edges between industrial, shoegaze and black metal taking the most interesting elements of each and dousing it with lighter fluid.  For an old duffer like me, who, although a fan, doesn’t listen to metal much anymore this is a breath of fresh air.

Opener ‘Persona Non Grata’ has the heft of Godflesh yet the brutal riffs are played with an almost funk sense of timing – it’s all about the accents and half-spaces; rejecting the 4/4 for a more freewheeling, loose attack.  ‘A Lack of All Things’ and ‘Moon in Scorpio’ , are no-less heavy and feature ultra-disturbed vocals buried way, way deep in the mix so they sound almost like the wind rushing through nude branches.

This tape plays the same on both sides so before long I’m back to that killer fourth track ‘Bleaken’.  And now I’m more accustomed to the black-grammar I can make out the faintest howls under that pulverising thrashing – squaring that circle, lighting the thirteenth candle.

Thanks – Andy Crow for extra journalistic brain-power on this one.

Depletion

Depletion – Lost Signals (Matching Head) One-sided Cassette

Cold psychic disturbance from Depletion all wrapped up in black and grey photocopies.

Never one for pure noise-for-noise-sake Martyn Reid pitches his monochrome tones against each other creating deft occult harmonics.

The opener ‘Intra Muros’ sets up a warm baffling of feathered obstacles.  The soft oily edges soon reveal sharp poisoned barbs but only after you realise your ankles are streaked with blood.

‘Elegy’ appears to be a gradually descending note made of brushed steel that’s being dragged down an underpass.  The heavy throb of traffic makes the concrete rumble until all begins to vibrate in electric unison.

Machine thinking is captured on ‘Synthex 1’.  Let’s be honest…it was never going to be the mechanical clanking predicted in the 1950s but more like this smooth logical curve – effortlessly coiling and unwinding picking up the stray debris of algebra and the universal language of mathematics.   And what does that mean for ‘Synthex 2’?  As this has an altogether more abrasive feel, toothed and barbaric in places even, I guess the machines have discovered capitalism.

The dramatic closer ‘Deaths Door’ finally seems to make sense of the cryptic dedication to Virginia Maskell mentioned on the sleeve.  A shuffling huffer, there is no clean machinery or warm analogue here.  This is the foul breath of an underground tube tunnel; meaty-moist and sweetly overpowering.  The resulting shuddering shakes like a wet dog with arcs of spray as crooked as arthritic fingers.

Neil Campbell

Neil Campbell – Think not of the Glasses but of the Drink (Chocolate Monk) CD-r

When I was a young teen a dusty, many-dubbed tape circulated my group of friends.  Handed down from an older brother or sister (I forget which) it contained songs by The Very Things, Alien Sex Fiend, Ausgang and The Virgin Prunes. For me this was a Rosetta Stone document.  Being under 18 (and looking it) I had no way into the underground culture of clubs.  Records were expensive and most zines I had access to ignored this fascinating middle ground between the chart pop I’d been brought up on and the weirdness I’d sniffed but couldn’t quite locate.

I’m guessing Neil Campbell had a similar moment but was obviously knocked hardest by The Virgin Prunes.  Hard enough for him to claim them as his favourite band – and I’m sure you can all remember how important and considered that personal accolade is when you are a young person*.

But what does it all sound like? These are ‘re-imaginings and reactions to’ rather than straight covers I’m guessing.  On ‘Political Problems’ Neil’s rich baritone voice intones a set of eldritch lines, at first reading like poetry and then slipping and sliding over each other to end up perilously looped ‘like a crazy singer in a band that’s lost for words’ over Neil’s signature wet electronic squelch.

Teasing us with an almost four minute fade-in ‘Red Metal’ conjures up micro-moments of guitar pick and electric squall in a lovely, lovely drift-piece.  Gradually shifting like winter sunlight this warms up the bones like a good chicken soup and somehow makes me feel pretty darn Christmas-y!

The closer, a Bongwater-esque, ‘No Clouds were in the Sky’ is quite beautiful.  A folk-tinged wriggle of acoustic guitar loops/looped vocals/spoken word/freak-out electricals all writhing like fresh chicks in a nest.

Innocent? You bet.  And with innocence possibly one of the hardest emotions to get right in music I’m sure that Gavin Friday would be delighted.

*I’m assuming you are an oldster like me eh?

Cannon Bone Bandcamp / Cannon Bone World

Penance Stare Bandcamp

Chocolate Monk

-ooOOoo-

sinusoidal perpetuity: jo murray on depletion, shareholder

August 10, 2015 at 12:10 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Depletion – Null Data (tape, Fairfax Industries, X101)

Shareholder – Jimmy Shan (tape, Know Your Enemy, Know 14 or download)

depletion

Depletion – Null Data

Welcome to the throbbing darkness, the suffocating embrace…

Depletion is the new name on the Gateshead UK Noise Scene.  After playing a handful of explosive shows in and around Gateshead this is (I’m pretty sure) his first tape, a C40 round-up of studio-jams and violent, shattering experiments.

Rather than play HNW theatrics, Depletion puts the emphasis on creating distinctive sound dynamics; each micro-passage focussing on a sort of robotic breathing (in-out, in-out), cracked aluminium lungs wheezing or the tides battering dry shingle.

At times the wire-wool phlegm rattles inside the steel ribs all loose and bouncy, at others thick, rusty blood is pumped through a leaky rubber hose making dark red pools.  You dig?

And the more I listen to this tape the more the whole ‘body electric’ vibe fits as a listening strategy.  This is wholly electronic music but it is pulsating with moist, filthy life.  The metallic strain heard in some pieces apes stretched muscle sliding over white bone, the flushing hiss of steaming electronic interference sounds exactly like my hot rush of piss first thing in the morning.

Taking this deeper and deeper I’m reminded of the way microbes waggle their sexy flagella – the swooning fizz, tape loop crunch and high-pitched whine circle in imperious sinusoidal perpetuity.

Presently I pick up a musky erotic sheen over the dirty bubbling.  One of the longer jams makes like fat raindrops smacking hot neon to fizzle saucily on the floor below.  Phew matron!  Eventually I lift myself out of the gutter to find I’m rocking gently to some classic Musique concrète, industrial machinery backfiring and black-alien squelch.  S-w-e-e-t!

This healthy DIY release is limited to 30 copies so be sure to call Fairfax Industries to sup direct.

shareholder - jimmy shan

Shareholder – Jimmy Shan

Sandy Milroy’s Shareholder project has been covered in these flickering electric pages before.  Back in 2013 Shareholder was a one-man project of smeared tape collage and fuzz/grunt-guitar.  This spanking new tape, delivered squealing into the world in June 2015, is no solo-mess but a three-man assault squad dedicated to muddling heads with their deeply narcotic chops.

As a whole sonic document Jimmy Shan is a delightfully fucked-up set of songs played with heavy intensity through the most blown-out and shredded amplification modules around giving everything that rehearsal-room, sore-throat R-O-A-R.  Taking the power trio into a Dead C-space you’ve got Sandy Milroy on gruff-guitar and vocals, Grant Smith on kung-guitar plus the acid-interloper, Graham Stewart, slapping those loose traps.  Playing together they are simply bristling with sooty vibration, booming with ravenous echo and chugging steam-train propulsion.

The opener, ‘Previous’, takes the pause between descending guitar riffs as it’s backbone, revelling in the deep valley of static between each mountain of fizzing, obnoxious, coal-tar strum.  As we climb higher up the Cyanean Rocks tumble and splinter leaving us stranded in a bruised and battered rain cloud ready to let rip like Zeus heshed-up on petrol fumes.  Flinty is not the word.

Make way for seriously Altered Images man! Slumped pop music breaks at all the wrong angles on ‘Doctor was Dad’ , the bad-karma energy captured in the off-kilter power trio (exploding guitars held together with iron drums) and crafted into a whirling ball of hate-crackle, shrunk small enough to swallow.  The stomach juice leaches the poisons leaving vanilla sweetness, the damp sherbet lemon stuck to your pocket lining.

Like the aforementioned train ‘Devours’ rattles into a heart-stopping “Wah! Wah! Wah!” ending as hefty as any of Kurt’s “Yeah, Yeah… Yeah” shenanigans.  And with no time for respite side one ends with a no-wave piece, ‘Decent’, the guitars a little lighter but woven tightly together like Aran cable.  The cheeky wink to Bob Bert’s tom rolls is the blood-red icing on the flesh cake.

My eyes feel heavy in their sockets and my hair crackles.  Phew. I’m not sure if I’m ready for side two just yet, so intense is the experience, but I press on in the name of No-Audience Journalism.

‘In a Stale Room’ opens the next side, the trebly strumming shakes with the unmistakeable wobbliness of a Dindy Super in an almost confessional mode – James Taylor through a boombox condenser mic!

‘In Braille’ shimmers like a heat-slick making me think of the most extreme moments of the Vermonster back catalogue when they seemed to be just goading each other into more and more dramatic fuzz-boxed ecstasy.  At 11 minutes this is the longest song here and makes good on every second, drawing out the skunk-edged riffage, coming on like a paranoid rush.

The emotional closer ‘Didn’t Want to Stay’, parties like god-damn Crazy Horse man with that slow deliberation dripping off each fucked-up/fuzzed-out chord and tub thump. Boof… bap… bap… bap… boof – the boxy drums punch through the black-molasses shunt of the twin guitars.

Goose me!  Booking a Bar Mitzvah?  Text the Shareholder boys and tell ‘em Posset sent you.

—ooOoo—

Fairfax Industries

Shareholder

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