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

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

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

Yol – Cancelled Chicken Regatta (Self Release/Bandcamp)

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

dale cornish

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

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

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

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

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

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

My notebook is full of sloping scribbles.

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

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

You get the gist.

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

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

Are you ready for a new platform? Time 2.0?

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

yol wanting less

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

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

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

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

More rubbing / less dropping.

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

Angry.

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

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

“sniffing marker pens and buying granite worktops.”

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

Angrier.

yol chicken

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

Like Miles and Dylan before him – Yol goes electric!

But no fucker dare shout “Judas” you dig?

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

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

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

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

Angriest?  Oh yes – very much the angriest.

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

anorak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s a wonderful thing readers.

Dale Cornish Aqal

Yol Bandcamp

Anorak Soundcloud

-ooOOoo-

falling over and over and over: joe murray on dale cornish, these feathers have plumes, isnaj dui, sarah hennies

May 4, 2016 at 11:25 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Dale Cornish – Ulex (vinyl LP, Entr’acte, E190, edition of 200 or download)

These Feathers Have Plume / Isnaj Dui – untitled split (tape, Was Ist Das?, edition of 75)

Sarah Hennies – Gather & Release (CD in hand sewn packaging, Category of manifestation, KIND_3)

190

Dale Cornish – Ulex

Ya fucker!  I had one of them Airfix models yeah.  Harrier Jump Jet and all that, it was the Falklands and shit and I pure built the fucker up from like about 200 parts.  Fucking V/STOL engines and undercarriage and the little fucker that flies it in his own little ejector seat.  It took me, like, hours and hours to glue the bastard together, smoothing off the excess glue, filing down the rough edges and shit.  Even longer to paint it all.  Navy colours yeah, as a result of it being part of the Task Force and what have you.

Consider that Harrier Jump Jet Dale Cornish’s Ulex; an evocative piece of miniature machinery.  Then, in a moment of glorious enlightenment, Dale strips off the paint, slices open the fuselage and lays each grey piece out all naked and alone.

This act of separation (pieces pinned like a butterfly under glass) lends a steely intensity and purpose to each sound, the distillation of thoughts and deeds become pure essence. It goes like this…

  • Ulex Pattern 1. The steel pan revenge plan; a falling over and over and over into endless insect Gamelan.  Donkey kick drum, once then twice… then that’s it.
  • Ulex Pattern 2. Bamboo rattles in a magnetic hole. Invisible forces snatch and grab at any vibrations causing a stretching of each dry, brittle note.  Sufi mystic collapse.
  • Ulex Pattern 3. She’s lurching, dragging a sandbag over bright pink coral. I tap the side of my canoe with an outstretched palm and bail out the overflowing rice with an old soup can.
  • Ulex Pattern 4. Fog demons breathe over mangrove roots to haunt the islanders with deep booming warnings. The earwigs glassy cascade becomes relaxed antiseptic counterpoint.
  • Ulex Pattern 5. I’m slightly shocked as the spare crackle of needle hitting vinyl is overwhelmed with a distorted voice all meshed up and jaxxed, rolling in three dimensions like some forgotten Fylkingen piece.  My inner Agatha Christie picks up a little something though.  I might be old but I’m crafty.  All I’m saying is Alright Duckie!
  • Ulex Pattern 6. Steelies penked off a copper plate.
  • Ulex Pattern 7. The longest rippling.  Distant fireworks ignition in slightly off-kilter realities, the original cucaracha stepping on echo-bugs ‘till each pops like dark ink.

Ulex is deconstructed so completely it’s almost empty.  Some of these tracks are so spare they make regular minimal look messy.  It’s so damn pure and yet, tied up in silver-plated knots.  Jagged and fresh but never sharp.

whatchyalookingat?

tfhp-id

These Feathers Have Plume / Isnaj Dui – untitled split

Oh.  The synchronicity!

Planning the previous Dale C piece I came upon a tweet from Andie Brown (AKA These Feathers Have Plumes) explaining her next tape would feature that Dale on spoken words.  That’d make a neat journalistic link I thought and contacted the most excellent Sophie Cooper, a known accomplice, to help me locate it.  Like clockwork a download code arrived (cheers Ned) and I plugged in my earphones all ready to get swept away in the foaming clouds of glassy tones.

These Feathers Have Plumes carry me to three specific places on those rusty wings.

For this is music of the sea.  The boom of the swell against the groyne; the ever-churning motion of salt-water loops.  The sneaky shifting creep of dunes, the ‘sshhhussshhh’ of shingle dragged across a beach.  ‘Return II’ moves from pregnant ringing blossoms, all rounded and warm, into the nightmare sound of ice cracking beneath your feet as you dash across the fiord.

This is music of the city.  The huge-wine-glass clang is as full and broad as Spitalfields’ Christ Church.  Field recordings slide into the mix: the chatter of taxi cabs and metallic shudder of shopping trolleys; the stark staccato clack of stiletto heels that chitter over cobbles.  Brandy balloons writhe and wobble on ‘Soho Living Room’ with Dale’s dry crackle striking teenage memory gongs while Joincey, the sinister ice cream man, packs something wicked into his 99’s xylophone dubs.

This is music of the sky. ‘You can’t burn my dreams’ swoons like lovesick chem-trails, a thousand feet above, streaking deep white scars across the palest Springtime blue.

The impeccable Isnaj Dui responds with ‘Answers at Dawn’ a noble and ancient wisdom.

I’m transported to a cloud kingdom.  The children are piped into the barren courtyard with ornate horns.  Curved downwards, the sound bounces from the terracotta tiles to echo around the courtyard setting up a matrix of slow breath. 

They dance in staccato movements, each limb stiff and mechanical.  At first in unison, then falling slowly out of phase, each arm, each leg fluttering in stroboscopic effect. 

From above miniature bronze bells are hung from prayer flags.  The gentle tinkle is accompanied by each child, now armed with reed-end sheng randomly puffing like the crickets they keep in tiny cages.

Silently the children are marched back to their solitary cells to sleep until the ritual is repeated tomorrow.

KIND_3-cover

Sarah Hennies – Gather & Release

I first came across Sarah’s work via a wonderfully head-tilting vibraphone piece Settle and did the usual bit of cyber-sleuthing to see what’s up. When I usually do this I find I’m so far behind the curve my ‘new’ discovery is wrapped up shroud-wise and I’ve been dozing 25 years too late (example: François Dufrêne – we could have made such sweet music together!). So I was super thrilled to find a new Hennies release was, like… imminent.  I paid my pal and waited…

This nifty package turned up a week or so later with a real needle and thread sewn into the cardboard sleeve (ha ha) evading customs (ho ho). The two lengthy tracks make up almost an hour’s worth of extraordinary music that left me giddy; brain fizzing and fingers tingling.

‘Gather’ is 27 minutes and 56 seconds of exquisite minimal hiss.  A real recording of a distant waterfall apes a prickly electronic cascade; a shy, wavering tone blends into a constant tide of warm and wooden.  It continues…

The sharp change at 21 minutes makes me sit bolt upright.  We are edging a corner and the salty gush is revealed.   The chromed larynxes of the Sirens are dancing across the wide stereo field – a psychic Doppler Effect.   Droplets of steel-gray water gather on stiff riverside grass.  They quiver, slowly recovering from their thunderous journey.

The final 30 seconds of HNW/H2O-NOISE is shatteringly complex and then bursts into hollow silence.  Oh…consider me gathered!

‘Release’, unrolls another half-hour or so of gentle movements… an eruption in slo-mo.

Felt, the most underused of elements, patters great pools of molten copper.  The swell and its decaying negative unlock the rhythm in simple sets – ( )  ( )  ( ) – brackets of time in which tension is folded.

Hard wood pitches between ears now softened up (creamy like butter) making my lanky frame a pendulum that swings (tick, tick); a nervous clock.

It seems like the air is trembling with glass beads.  And yet… forgotten memories of a music box, complete with plastic ballerina doomed to twirl forever, enter my skull clear and bright.  A gruesome poem is drowned in a racket as pure as the scar on my skinny wrist.  Justice’s violins are wrecked.

A soft canvas bell / a fudge clapper.  Both marking out a dusty life; school to work to retirement to death.  Brief shreds of joy peal gently.  But the rhythm never falters: byenn-boom, byenn-boom, byenn-boom.

(sotto voce) when it stops all things around me judder.

—ooOoo—

Entr’acte / download

Was Ist Das?

Category of manifestation

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