rooting for barnacles : rfm on power moves library, stef ketteringham, sun skeletons and star turbine

July 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library)

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?)

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?)

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records)

power moves

Various Artists  – (Excavation Series 7) You/In/Be/Arc (Power Moves Library) sold out cassette and free digital album

Hard-hitting, gut-punching, brain-scrambling missive from the collective history of mankind.

Once again Power Moves Library act as curator and editor to bring you, dearest listener, a carefully compiled recording with brains, taste and soul.

This time it’s Kev Cahill who has sourced all his sounds from youtube, vimeo and ubuweb.  A simple method that explodes the myth of the wise crate-digging grey-beard (with a full wallet) into a completely open-source, DIY approach that we can all get behind and ape like monkeys.

The mixtape as revolutionary act!

Of course the genius is not in the rarity of the sources or the skill of the mixing technique (like…yawn man) but in the notion of what sounds go perfectly with what – gamelan and ocean waves –Beckett and Indian Raags – it’s all totally ham & eggs!

For those of you that like a little more detail (spoiler alert – read no more of this chapter if you are a blind-eye voyager) expect the poetical anger of Amiri Baraka, gentle spoken French (?), gospel and blues moans, lone xylophone ‘plongs’, Billie Whitelaw’s whispering, Harry Bertoia’s vibrations in and amongst found sound and environmental recordings.

As I’d expect from a fine guitarist/curator the six-stringer appears in various forms (most notably on side two) showing the breath of the Flying V from drone, skronk to chamber-quartet ecstasy.  The balance is provided with springy tabla, Orca whoops and Delia Derbyshire and Barry Bermange’s spooky dream recordings.

The magpie visits anger, anxiety, bliss and desperation in a stream so emotionally deep I’m a little wrung-out on listening.  These recordings elicit a response from all my feeble chakras making this one of the most human things I’ve listened to in ages.  Gosh!

Like that gold record they sent up into space on Voyager; a recorded message of humanity’s desperate need to make sound, to communicate in the most natural way possible – to make music.

Get another rocket ready NASA – Power Moves gotta message for the cosmos.

stef ketteringham

Stef Ketteringham – More Guitar Arrangements (Crow Versus Crow) cassette and digital album

These semi-improvised guitar pieces might be loosely arranged but are played with a bright fury and focused intensity that I’ve not heard in years.

Stef spanks this plank with a canyon-wide spectrum of feeling.  At one end we have ‘suspicious man who’s never even seen a guitar before’ to ultra-precise and mathematically measured ‘ZOOT HORN ROLLO-isms’ that chime like cold stars.

The busy froth of twang on side one paints several pictures in my head.  The tangled wood and barbed wire of ‘If and When’ become the clotted metre-wide micro-environment seen from a moving train where weeds rule supreme.  A snatch of sung melody sweeps down the embankment, unconcerned with the swirl of notes above.  Dust collecting on old bookshelves is the 3D brain-image summoned by ‘Divide’s’ spacious and geometric riffs.    I’m particularly taken with ‘That’ all arthritic knuckles and sunburned hands, shiny as polished chestnuts with its ham-fisted flamenco flourishes bruising the strings.

This is most certainly hardcore!

Side two is a more melancholy affair and starts with the heart-lurching pressure you feel when you know he/she’s leaving forever (refer to ‘Churchgoer’ dear listener).  This empty ache is enflamed on ‘Killing Flaw’ an eruption of post-blues as poignant as that exploded shed thing.  My mind flips open on the final piece ‘Cry & Sing 3’ where the heavily amplified guitar is rattled and ‘poinged’ with a metal ruler making gilded rivers run from the bone speakers.

The real genius here lies in the two versions of ‘Grimes/Cargill’ a snaked-hipped blues taken in two different directions: one lyrical and melodic played with an early-morning vigour, the other, an end-of-the-day hung-over stubble.  Both feature the ‘slap-slap’ of Stef’s sparely deployed bass drum cleverly punctuating the movements.

Telepathic art from Crow Versus Crow summarises the process of composition and recording (unpretentious rehearsal room/stray cat isolation/crisp sellotape stains) making this the perfect package.

sun skeletons in pink dust

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – In Pink Dust (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

The wonderfully named $un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio are indeed a three piece.  But that’s where their similarity to beards like Cream or The Experience ends.

Employing Drums, Saxophone/Electronics and Shahi Baaja these Thames Valley jokers get all IN A SILENT WAY on your ass with the sidelong ‘Workin’ The Church Shift.’

The focus is on blank space, placement and long-form growth.  So this improvisation grows like moss over a log; carefully seeking out nooks and crannies to take hold, working in sympathy with their fellow organisms, leaving blanks on the sour ground.

It’s a drifter, the forlorn lines of saxophone become long exhalations, the shimmering Shahi Baaja a heat mist, the subtle and sparse drums a slowing heartbeat as you become hypnotised by the horizon.

Side two probes the sensitive ‘Solar Plexus’ like it’s rooting for barnacles in a rock pool.  Each instrument gently wanders into each other, soft-edge collisions that slowly merge into one ur-drone.

At times it’s hard to tell what’s what with percussive sax, textural drum skins and melodic Shahi Baaja; each voice subtly moving into the foreground for some lazy stretch then retreating back into the collective fug.

With nothing as crass as a solo this is true groop-mind aktion – threeways.

sun skeleton permanent powers

$un $keletons Get It Up Yers Trio – Permanent Powers (Doubledotdash?) cassette and digital album

More long-form lichen jams from the Thames Valley trio.

‘That’s Fine, It Doesn’t Matter’: A mighty slow swing to this one like the world’s longest pendulum swooping east to west across the globe.  Time is punched out with simple double-hits on the snare, a dulcimer-like melody and the shallow soaring of hot breath.  The Get it Up Yers Trio explore these moments rolling them like mandarin segments in the palm of the hand – wondering who’s juiciest.

‘Life is a Joke’: This time the spirit of Jan Garbarek is channelled through an almost military snare shudder; sheer plucked ‘banjo’ to mash up the theme tune to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century with a Krautrock Cowboy!

The final moments spice up the motorik with a wailing horn as wild as Giora Feidman.

RFM EXTRA

  • Ahead of the game for once you can actually catch this lot live soon on their weedender weekender tour with the mighty WOVEN SKULL: 21st July (Gateshead) 22nd July (Middlesbrough) 23rd July (Todmorden).
  • Introduce yourselves to: Breadman (drums), Crinkil (alto sax/electronics), Krang (shahi baaja).
  • The super-pretty glitch flower art work on ‘In Pink Dust’ is designed by the unstoppable Crow Versus Crow
  • They dig the late Chet Baker!

star turbine

Star Turbine – Night Sky Isolation (Invisible City Records) cassette and digital album

Star Turbine bring their unique improvisers vocabulary to the UK again gracing the N-AU with coiled ‘skoinks’ and leathery ‘whuffs’.

Working backwards from the sound to the source becomes a futile exercise – it could be tape, radio interference, highly-processed computer files or bowed vinyl records.  All have a place in the Star Turbine arsenal; but if course it’s not how impressive your tabletop looks, it’s how you swing it.

And swing it they do.  This mature duo (Sindre Bjerga & Claus Poulsen) have been working together for around 6 years and I count at least 21 releases on their Discogs page.  This familiarity with each other’s approach leads to top class performances on both sides of this live tape

Gateshead’s Soundroom is a glitchy, almost funky performance with complex set pieces including: smeared gob-rot from Sindre and sooty coughing textures from Claus.  Both meld into an undeniable wholeness, an organic fullness of sound and presence.

Moods shift fast like clouds on a windy day; they scud quickly – one moment dark and crumpled, the next breezy and slapstick.

We move south to Brighton’s Coachwerks for side two.

  • It’s a rumbler! A cacophonous tearing of found-sound opens the set.
  • It’s a thumper! Felt-headed mallets beat a lowly tattoo alongside sharp metal cracks.
  • It’s a lurker! Strange stains appear on the carpet, an oily filth fills the air. The electric crackle of bad vibes and virus make me clap my h*nds over my e*rs.

And while improvisation often gets a drubbing for being highfalutin’ or overly-academic this is music that is rooted in real life.  Fingers and mouths, elbows and knees wrenching uninvited sounds from the magicians sleeve.

Power Bliss!

Power Moves Library

Crow Versus Crow

Doubledotdash? / $un $keletons Bandcamp

Invisible City Records

-ooOOoo-

lick out the jams: rfm on jute gyte, jamie drouin & hannes lingens, a.i.r tapes 1: excavation series 5 and yan jun & ben owen

June 10, 2017 at 10:03 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes)

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema)

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library)

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki)

jute gyte

Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes) Single-sided clear vinyl 12 inch with engraved ‘b’ side and digital album

The deeply psychedelic nature of Black Metal: the ingrained grot, indistinct momentum and distain of fancy technique hugely appeals to me.  This is ‘feeling music’ concerned with emotion above all.  Oh to be a Norwegian teenager in the early 90’s when it all kicked off!

But since those halcyon days both Black Metal and I have grown up (a little).  And while there is still plenty of room for true Norwegian Metallers you’re more likely to come across darkly-experimental artists like Jute Gyte in the scene than them church-burners and jail-birds.

The brittle bones of this particular beautiful stain begin with a red-tinged swooshing thunder.  The seemingly endless build galloping like Sleipnir over a one-chord velvet strum.

A plague of uncompromising screams mangle throats on the verge of panic making ‘The Sparrow’ seem almost old-school.  And then it all goes very quiet…

…ghostly clicks and reverberations tinker through my headphones, decaying and rotten smears of dark sound are punctuated with slowly-roasted, grumbling vocal.  The lack of volume has no affect on the intensity, as this restraint is uniquely spooked and unsettling.

Noise-mongers will rejoice when the guitars collapse back into the mix with a Shields-esque tremolo-effect fluttering like a thousand tiny birds – the sparrow perhaps in all its scruffy oil-slick glory!

The flip side (in reality a free-to-grab digital download when you buy this see-through disc) is orchestral in the best Metal mould.  Deep swathes of sound become a coal-black rainbow on ‘Monadanom’ arching across a cruel indifferent sky.

Through the tone-clusters thin-steel rattles and soars (like the metal strips used to bind blocks of house bricks). It’s very nature and chemistry dictates a signature sound – high and tight.

After thirteen minutes a number of these grim swooping arcs seem to lock into place revealing a new landscape, barren for sure but not without hope.

I think I hear slo-mo singing bowls wrestle with bronze fake gongs in the fading minutes; but perhaps the extremities of passion have blunted my ears.  Whatever is occurring that burnished boom is vibrating every atom in my head like an exquisite psalm.

This desert may be almost featureless but the stark beauty takes the breath away.

Music for moon landings!

 intonema digisleeve

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema) CD

A fitting title for this ear-silt; a subtle, almost-there, grit that builds up in pale layers.

The brief pieces (many around 3 minutes mark) all seem to document an action: unboxing something, gently bowing something, methodically rubbing something with cryptic knocks and wheezing adding hot spice.

Further investigation reveals these actions come via Jamie Drouin’s basic electronics and Hannes Lingen’s floor tom and/or snare drum as they listen intently to each other on expensive earphones.

It’s easy to imagine you are inside the friction (now the snake-like, descending hiss of uncoiling sellotape, now the busy scrub of glasspaper on marble) or the low electric moan (a dying medical machine, a looped breast pump) as it seems to bore inside your very soul.

For something so lowercase and subtle this Alluvium is exerting a powerful influence over my ear-bristles.

The sound itself is king and to keep the composition clear of unnecessary chaff, especially in a duo situation is testament to the control and lack of improvisers-ego in both Doruin and Lingens.  It’s only on ‘06’ – that deals in an ever-so-slightly more assertive sound – a rubbery raspberry that putters like an outboard motor – could you say these folk lick out anyone’s jams.

The longest piece ‘07’ is still loose-limbed and beautiful at a stately 15 minutes long.  It begins by conjuring up a polite crowd caught on malfunction mp3’s; the code starting to buckle and warp in that wonderful see-sawing motion.  Then a wet rope being twisted in the rigging interrupts the human recordings; some dry-heaving swells sing like angels and someone starts a terrible tap dance.

Truly sublime listening art.

air tape

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library) Sold Out Cassette and free digital album

You had to move super fast to bag this tape in any physical form as it seemed to sell out, on both sides of the Atlantic, in a matter of days.  I felt like a chump to miss out but was happy to pick up the virtual scraps from the digital table thanks to the essential free download offered by the very generous Power Moves Library.

These well-curated mixtapes (and I use that term with awe and the greatest respect) come from vintage radio recordings of Indian Classical music captured ‘in the field’ by scholar and No Audience maven Phong Tran in 1996-97.

The fact Phong has plucked these transient recordings from the very air with a magpie’s ears makes this all the more magical.  This curation took dedication and judgement.  We are not worthy!

Side ‘A’ features some outrageously warped sitar playing, heavy as Sabbath but with that flat-fingered funk of Monk which just peaks and peaks and peaks; stuttering spoken word interludes; chewy toffee-like ragas that seem to stretch time when coupled with their reverberating tabla-bombs.  All jaggery sweet.

Impossibly deep rumbling strings open Side ‘B’ and play out some creation fantasy – this is real crack in the cosmic egg/universal ohm/blind idiot god territory.  Such supreme melancholy!  I’m close to welling up man.

A quick news update (in English) and more chat leads into some heart-breakingly sad singing that definitely pushes me over the edge.  But I’m not crying into my beer for long as the penultimate recording hauls ass, hurtling at impressively unwise speeds though (musical) hairpins and hard shoulders – the final fade-out fuzzes and fitz’ like the contemporary tape collage from the mighty Burselm slag heaps.

Do I need to say it?  Essential!

Ed’s note: just in case you missed it – all future Power Moves Library releases will be available in the UK via Crow versus Crow and vice versa for our friends in the Americas.  N-AU across the ocean la!

20170610_105408

 

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki) CD and digital album

Thirty-eight minutes of slowly uncoiling silver fern recordings.

This unabashed and confident record exerts a steely glaze trained on the empty and distantly imagined absence.  The tools?  Electronics, feedback, op amps and radio are working busily – coaxing tiny, granular sounds from their private holes in fine detail.

In many ways this is a classic two-layered recording: the hiss of a cracked pot vs the faint thud and rattle of movement.  Like equal partners in an equation each voice leans in to each other, supporting and bracing a structure that organically sprouts five distinct limbs.  Like this…

  • Fidgeting static, a canvas for the meek feedback tones, drops away to allow some dub-like drops in pressure. The white throb, once a rude thumb in the ear, slips into complete silence.
  • Breath like water fired through a hose is captured in a watchmaker’s basement. Dexterous hands move with purpose, delicately balancing the tension between cog and spring, engineering the never-never of potential energy – delayed power gratification.
  • A faint voice is heard through the ionosphere’s thick blanket; sick tones are peeled off like dollars from a grubby, foul-smelling, bundle to eventually settle into one citric slice.
  • Pure harmony spirals out of the miasma – bone dry. A warm purring and some form of engraving machine start seriously flirting; finishing each other’s sentences, coquettishly playing with their hair.
  • Sucking dull solder from an antique circuit board. The collapsing death of once electric sounds.

Lovers with hot new ears.  Apply yourselves!

 

Blue Tapes / X-Ray Records

Intonema

Power Moves Library

Organised Music From Thessaloniki

-ooOOoo-

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