dreams of fur and snow: ‘broadcast’ by daniel thomas

June 16, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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Daniel Thomas – Broadcast (CD-r, Cherry Row Recordings, CRR007, edition of 25 or download)


[Editor’s note: a sudden and ferocious downpour of real-life has left me sodden recently and being dripping wet, stuck on the hall rug, makes it difficult to write. Now that I’ve finally managed to peel my socks off and drape ’em on the radiator, here’s a little something to keep you occupied whilst I squelch off to the bathroom and rub my baldy head with a towel. More from everyone soon.]


Noise/life juxtapositions are fun aren’t they? Earbuds snug, some ominous rumbling soundtracking your trot around the everyday. The purchase of a birthday card or a lunchtime mooch in the charity shops becomes otherworldly, post-apocalyptic. Sometimes it syncs just right and you feel like an underlying reality is being summoned to the surface, made visible.

For example, whilst listening to Daniel Thomas’s Broadcast for the umpteenth time an early morning walk to the dentist became a scene from They Live. I passed a crocodile of primary school children, all in charming fancy dress insect costumes, and felt sure that if I changed my usual specs for the sunglasses in my bag the purple skulls and ‘MARRY AND REPRODUCE‘ t-shirts of the cheerful adults accompanying them would be revealed. It’s that kind of recording.

However, despite being one of the more concrete/abstract of Dan’s releases, the buzz and crunch is surprisingly intimate and rewards careful appreciation with headphones. The composition has a lifting, enveloping, flowing quality – comforting or unnerving depending on the outside circumstances. Like drifting to sleep on crisp, freshly laundered cotton sheets only to wake later tangled and sweaty from dreams of fur and snow.

Hmmm… did I use the word ‘composition’? Fair enough, I suppose, knowing what I do about the meticulous care that goes into the construction of Dan’s music: the grain of each veneer matches perfectly, the joints are sanded, imperceptible. For those listeners not privy to the dank basement chambers of Castle Thomas, though, the working method must be a mystery. Leaving all talk of pot-twiddling and patch cables to one side, as I recommend we do, these tracks just seem to coalesce: like rain drops around dust motes.

Like galaxies.


Daniel Thomas

blistered, glistening: releases by ian watson and kevin sanders

April 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Ian Watson – Caermaen (CD-r, Dust, Unsettled, DU09, edition of 50 or download)

Messrs. Sanders & Watson – Cumulative Undulations (2 x CD-r in gatefold sleeve, self-released, edition of 50 or download)

ian watson - caermaenwatson and sanders

Ian Watson – Caermaen

Dunno why I’ve slept so long on this one.  An intriguing album of heavy electrics by the second most charming guy in noise released by the most charming guy in noise – you’d think I’d be all over it, wouldn’t you?  My apologies for the inexplicable tardiness.  Allow me to make amends.

What we have here is a four track CD-r (long gone – sorry) or free download (still available – woo!) by Ian Watson – artist, polymath – released on Dust, Unsettled, the label run by definitive good egg Brian Lavelle.  It was composed using ‘cymbals and feedback’ manipulated through bosky layers of electrics and is apparently inspired by the writing of Welsh mystic and Lovecraft influence Arthur Machen.  So far, so perfect.

A satisfyingly viscous low end and a refreshingly untamed crackling at the top act as river banks containing the current’s flow.  Could that be a torrent of fluorescent ectoplasm combed clean by the bones of skeletal fish?  Sure, if you like.  I can certainly imagine Ian’s kit producing a cool, flickering, ghostly green light:

Brian: err… is that supposed to be happening?

Ian: mate, it isn’t even plugged in!  Perhaps we should leave the room…

Brian: press ‘record’ first though.

Ian: oh yeah, of course, NOW RUN!

…but what this called to mind for me were happy times I’d spent as a teenager staring at a lump of dirty metal.

One of my first jobs was operating a solder bath in a factory that manufactured printed circuit boards.  Boards were loaded onto a conveyor belt, subjected to a terrifying liquid that cleaned the copper (so corrosive that I dropped two pence coins into it to see the queen’s face dissolve), covered in slime to help the solder stick, hung on a hook by me, dunked into a bath of liquid metal about three feet deep, blasted with air blades on the way back up, then placed on another conveyor belt.  Repeat for eight or nine hours with frequent breaks to sit on chemical drums outside and smoke cigarettes.

On Fridays we would be paid in cash in little brown envelopes around 11am.  At lunchtime I’d race to the nearest pub, drink as much as possible, smoke a spliff on the way back and spend the afternoon cleaning this machine – heated to 250 degrees centigrade – in my shirtsleeves because, y’know, it was too fucking hot for overalls and a certain amount of scar tissue looks manly and suggests character doesn’t it?  The spray and overflow of hot solder dripped down into the guts of the machine and coagulated there into something magical.

This mass of waste solder – the size and shape of a child’s torso, almost too heavy to carry – was a mesmerising landscape of clustered globules, of organic micro-castles blistered with irregular crenellations, of needle sharp, filigree wire work.  All glistening a muddied silver, hopelessly polluted with the scorched scum that boiled from the boards as they were dunked.  These random accumulations of melted metal remain some of the most beautiful objects I have ever seen, even accounting for how stoned I was at the time.  Something about this album took me back to that sight and that made me very happy.

Messrs. Sanders & Watson – Cumulative Undulations

Also available from a neighbouring stable is this two hour long, two track, two CD-r set, by two collaborators: Mr. Ian Watson (as above) and Mr. Kevin Sanders (see below).

Imagine a large ruined house in a forest, swamped in ivy – each luscious leaf as deep green as cooked spinach, as shiny as patent leather.  Now imagine the root severed and the gradual death of the above ground plant, its draining vitality and increasing brittleness.  A high quality digital camera is making a time lapse film of this process.  Once complete the memory card is removed and Kev and Ian bath it in a a cool, flickering, ghostly green light.  This ‘develops the film’ with an occult power that reveals the usually invisible creatures of woodland folklore that live around the ruin: dryads, fairies, elves, horrifying, robotic horseshoe crabs, their scrabbling legs the stuff of nightmares, their carapaces as black as a dominatrix’s whip, and so on.  Now play the film in reverse and compose a soundtrack to it using just rust and magnets.

This: that.


Ian Watson

Dust, Unsettled

hairdryer excommunication

steel gaze: joe murray on recent releases by kevin sanders

April 26, 2015 at 8:52 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Kevin Sanders – Aladdin, al-Bireh (CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

kevin sanders – a study in pink (3” CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

kevin sanders – live in berlin, 2015 (3” CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 9 or download)

ks - aladdin

Kevin Sanders – Aladdin, al-Bireh

High-in-the-mix scraping, like I’m scooping the last remaining smears of thick yogurt from an earthenware bowl, beckon me into Kevin Sanders’ felt yurt.  I remove my shoes and adopt a cross-legged pose to match my host whose steely gaze has not left mine.

His intensity is replayed in the heavy fugging drone that sweeps gently over the initial scrape.  Two notes are lazily fingered, ‘AHHHhhhhhhhhhhh OHHHhhhhhhhhhhh’ – a cosmic call and response to a distant god.

All the while a ball of tangled steel wool is unravelled at a snail’s pace.  Watching the slim pale hands move with purpose, but without fussy haste, manipulating the thin wire, unwinding, untwisting and smoothing it out is…making me….s…l…..e…….e………p………….y.

Dreams, so often a blessedly heavy velvet vacuum, are now full of distant howls of creatures yet-imagined.  The fear of the fear jams my mouth open and eyes wide.  Roaring voices pour from my throat as I am the vessel of the lost souls.  Each life left in limbo protests limply at being held like a fly in amber.  But the numbers!  The countless number of them leave my throat sore as the last snivelling heckle dribbles down my damp chin.

But all things must pass and I awaken beneath the poplar trees, glittering with marvellous frost.

ks - pink

kevin sanders – a study in pink

This is no-nonsense stuff.  Some electro cardiogram briefly splutters and we’re catapulted into a see-sawing sinewave swoon.  It’s dogtooth check rough up close but smooth as alabaster from a distance.

And that’s the stand-out thing about this 3 incher.  There really is so much going on in here you can, in the right state of mind, project yourself into the landscape, stand among the slowly peaking waves of static or ride the rolling ocean of thundering grumble like a tiny Norrin Rad.

The space analogy gets stronger as about half way through this 19 minute piece planets and stars begin to hurl themselves about, bending gravity and swooping perilously close to each other.  The solar whoosh of the near miss is felt as gentle pressure on the balls of the feet.  The last two minutes slowly unfold like some docking sequence; two rusty old Soyuz modules that got pimped-out by Grateful Dead fans to better honk the Dark Star-brand kif pipe, kiss silently with a sigh of compressed air.  Two become one.

ks - berlin

Kevin Sanders – live in berlin, 2015

OK readers.  So far we’ve had two different approaches, two different moods showing two different sides to Mr Kevin Sanders.

But this micro-diskette, recorded in a flat on Sonnenallee is my personal pick of the bunch. The notes say:

A broken organ in the flat was used to create two tape loops which were processed.

This all seems simple enough eh?  But the super-exciting thing about this 21 minute set is that the process is left clear and unadorned.  The tape loops are cut with confidence and make an extremely satisfying gristly crunch each time they turn back on themselves.  This becomes both rhythm and off-kilter melody as the singing-bowl-ring builds in intensity in the background.

Overtones become undertones become slumber-tones.  Each successive loop, as bright as copper, slides down a shapely neck to rest on lightly furred shoulders.  They collect in metallic piles on top of each other, shifting with faint tinkles.

By the 14 minute mark everything gains a superheavyweight quality.  What once was sunny and bright becomes black like lead with a similarly dark purpose.  What seems like the dawning of a dark inevitability eventually plateaus out into a shimmering crystal desert.  Geysers spew their hot dust, the polished sand flickers with heat haze.  The organ spits its last dirty electric cough and sadly clicks off.


hairdryer excommunication

the deft placement, the golden frame: joe murray learns from spoils & relics

December 7, 2014 at 9:17 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Spoils & Relics – Embed and then forget (CD, Porta, Porta #9 CD, edition of 150 in screenprinted sleeve)


This 31 minute, one track piece is the perfect ego-less recording.  The sounds themselves are the smeared oils, the deft placement, the golden frame.

Keeping things uncluttered in a music concrete/collage/extraction approach is a challenge to even the lone piper yet this three-lobed beast (The Spoils & Relics band) pull it all off with no sweat or aches at all.

They easily turn the trick of making Embed and then forget totally immersive.  With so few familiar sounds each click, burr and pop takes extra meaning from what I see around me.  This all adds a pleasant fuzzy edge to my tedious morning commute: the Blue House Roundabout summons the erotic push and pull of heavy traffic, the sky lightens over the Town Moor churning the slate gray palette of the sky to austere duck egg blue.  And, after a time, the fat patter of rain merges with the hiss of stereo-balanced electronics making crackles (although I can’t be quite sure) inside my very skull.

Crikey.  I arrive at work (usually heavy with bureaucracy) as light as goose down.

But what if the visual stimulus is cut off?  What if I just concentrate on the ear-hum?  Will I think any less of this coquettish listen?

I plug in with darkness and think…

…there can be no better flag-bearers of the psychedelic domestic.

Kettles, or it could be electronics, weave chaotic patterns.  This is the sound of being in the house all alone.   Beams creak…distant Astro Wars get jammed in the scullery with that wonderful amusement-arcades-through-cotton-wool thing going on.  Pennies drop and a lady gasps.

There is a constant flow of ideas all itchy with life; reminding me of a similar feeling – running your finger over a gravestone, nails gouging the names.  I’m caught up in a multi-sensory melting of meaning into a constant ‘now’.  A narrative presents some radio play: a potting shed séance, some misunderstanding over an old diary entry resulting in a bonfire of photos and trinkets.  All the while a refreshing pessimism is overlaid across the fragile mung like soft wounds knitting new skin.

With a sharp, flinty ‘Kaakk’ the record whizzes to a close.  Man.  I gotta jam this disc again and again.

Listeners who favour that hi-fidelity will be delighted.  Beards who dwell in the no-fi world of clanking tape jizz are going to be entranced.  Skronk fans will be be-calmed.  Zen droners will wake up refreshed and sharp.

Embed and then forget, a disc for all seasons.  A lesson for all



new midwich product! ‘attachments’ available for download

December 3, 2014 at 5:51 am | Posted in live music, midwich, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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midwich – attachments (self-released download)


Comrades! Radio Free Midwich is proud to present an early Christmas present for the discerning listeners that frequent this blog.  The latest release by house band midwich, attachments, is now freely downloadable (donations welcome but not necessary) via Bandcamp.

The first two tracks are (ahem) a ‘studio’ version of the set played at the RFM 5th Anniversary Shindig, the third track is a live recording of that very show – compare and contrast.

‘absent friends’ features a multi-tracked recording made in my backyard on a July evening – birds, wind-chimes, traffic, neighbour calling their cat.  Well extraction music, innit?  Everything else comes out of my battered Roland MC-303, which is also the sole sound source for ‘skin tags’ – a pure tone meditation, with pings.  The ripple of applause a minute or two into the live version is in response to me releasing a helium party balloon I had hidden under my table.  I like a bit of theatre, me.

Thanks again to Mitch for organizing the show and to Dan for recording it.


attachments on Bandcamp

‘are you allowed to do this?’ – joe murray on yol

November 27, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Yol – Headless Chicken Shits out Skull Shaped Egg (self-released CD-R or download)

Yol – Extraction  (self-released CD-R or download)

yol - headless chickenyol - extraction

The most singular artist in the No Audience Underground right now – Yol – is making the music of his troubled soul sing like shaven angels wearing round-shouldered donkey jackets.

For the uninitiated Yol has carefully and modestly created his own footnote in the frantic world of kinetic poetry.  Imagine tiny fragile words battered with broken bottles.  Innocent syllables and posh sibilance swashes getting clotted and clumped together.  Those classy phonics all chopped up and smashed; ground out like spent fags and stuttered wetly in a barely controlled rage (NOTE: howls of despair and anguish…impotent shrieks of denial punctuate Yol’s feverish work like Big Star’s drum fills).

Musical accompaniment is of the most primitive and brutal kind.  Forget the chest-beating Harsh Noise dullards, this is frighteningly naked and exposed.  Short blasts of destruction come from broken machinery, sheared plastic shards, bits of old hoover and burnt cutlery.  A more dicky commentator would say recordings are made in carefully selected site specific locations.  The truth?  Yol’s breaking into empty factory units and shouting his rusty head off.

OK…that’s the pre-amble puff piece.  I’m a fan man and I’m heading into these two newish recordings with great expectations.

Headless Chicken Shits Out Skull Shaped Egg is Yol’s Tales of Topographic Oceans, his Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.  At 46 minutes it gives the time and space needed to develop a territory rich with greed, chokeholds and cheap furniture.  Oh yeah…its recorded in an empty bank.

The action is kept scrabbly like knitting needles clicking so tunes like ‘filing, endless filing’ not only sounds exactly like white-collar pointless repetition and takes me back to the days I developed funny blisters through excessive contact with the nasty plastic wallets the Crown Prosecution Service used back in the day.  ‘Operating the phones’ and ‘Lunch, discussing the commute’ (a blues and C&W number in that order) are worryingly damp with the vocal roars being some of the most violent I’ve ever heard, kicking those Black Metal chaps right in the studded codpiece.  There’s desperation to this red-raw roar that even makes Ms Lydia Lunch seem like she was faking it.

The trademark Yol moving-a-heavy-filing-cabinet-across-lino-squeal is played out on ‘Sitting in on a loan interview’ with some grim whisper to vom-yell about “your lidless eye” upping the ante, adding a touch of psychedelia to the big-wide-world  tomming.   As the album plays on I’m reminded of Idwal Fisher describing ‘Trying to wash your hands of it all’ thusly…

Are you listening to someone having a nervous breakdown or are you listening to someone recording their new album?

…which try as I might I can’t improve on.  It’s nothing short of horrifying.

After 40 minutes of bloody fingernails and tension headaches I’m expecting some sort of psychotropic climax on the final track, ‘After the crash’.  Again I’m wrong-stepped as this measured piece for baking tray, leaf crackle, hinge squeak and gentle Dictaphone mumble is a sensitive lament; a moment for quiet reflection and quite simply, beautiful…like a pale sun viewed across the misty marshes.

I know it’s crass to make comparisons but forgive me this little slip.  Listening to Headless Chicken… is  kind of like the first time I heard Usurper.  Ali & Malcy’s totally uncompromising soundworld of rattled chain-link fence (I think it was on a Psykick Dancehall compilation.  Their track called ‘Oasis Lighter.’) was so different to anything that had dripped in my ears before I didn’t ask the obvious, ‘is this music?’ question but the more paranoid, ‘are you allowed to do this?’, like some music police would capture me in the night for all this dissident listening.  Yol serves me this guilty pleasure again like chokey porridge.   Re-calibrating my dials, sharpening me shiv.

I take a breather and slap on EXTRACTION expecting more violent shaking-hell but am faced with a

                                                             l-o-n-g /

d-r-a-w-n /


piece of real life

E      xt


                                                                ract   i             on   





                s                                               i                                           c. 

Our esteemed Editor has written eloquently about extraction before.  But here Yol has raised the stakes like some Vegas card-sharp and recorded a real extractor fan going about its extracting business with the finest shimmer of feedback frosting the trembley peaks.  It’s gloriously understated.

I ride the waves of greasy flapping, “Khhhhoooorrrrr – – – – chhhhhheeeeeeeeeee” it goes, gently shifting in and out of a rhythm.  For over 15 minutes the pace is kept tantalisingly constrained, delaying the pay off until an extremely patient Yol coughs a few coughs and yells like Rollins at the end of Damaged…


“Taken out!”


Blimey.  That’s a powerful couple of discs man.  Check out Yol’s Bandcamp for a sneaky listen and to check out the funky artwork too.  And he’s up for trades so get digging under the bed for swaps.

yol bandcamp flyer

hostile terrain: kevin sanders adds new pages to the atlas

November 25, 2014 at 8:42 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Kevin Sanders – Evenings & Weekends (limited edition CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

Kevin Sanders – The Weekday (limited edition CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

Kevin Sanders – A decline in aspiration (3” CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 20 or download)

Kevin Sanders – Circadian escapades (3” CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

Kevin Sanders – Consonants and ambiguity (3″ CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 15 or download)

ks - evenings weekendsks - weekdayks - declineks - circadianks - consonants

…and is there anyone in the no-audience underground as prolific as Kevin Sanders who can also match him for his flawless quality control? >hmph< – *makes dismissive hand gesture* – I doubt it.   At the time of writing Kev has produced 23 releases on his own label hairdryer excommunication in 2014, 20 of which involve him as sole artist or in collaboration with others. Unbelievably, during this same year, he has also had his creations released by other labels, has played live, has moved house and job along a lengthy diagonal line from North to South and has let fly with a gazillion opaque tweets which may be about the politics of radical librarianship (or perhaps his cat – I don’t really understand them all). Anyway, if Kev was a track relay runner he’d hand over the baton, take a short cut across the field dodging the shot puts and javelins of outrageous fortune, grab it back again and run the next leg himself. Then he’d do six extra laps despite the fact that no one is watching. Now, I’m far too sensitive to use the word ‘mad’ so let’s say the guy is ‘driven’…

…moving swiftly on to the sound I’ll leave the athletics metaphor in the sand pit and reach for the cartographical notion I’ve used before to describe both Kev’s work and that of fellow no-audience Stakhanovite Lee Stokoe. Given the number of these releases it isn’t possible to write (my usual) reams of whimsical nonsense about each one. Instead it seems appropriate to see them as pages of an atlas, adding to the map of the world Kev’s music is describing. The latest batch covers some pretty tough terrain…

Evenings & Weekends is a frozen beach of black volcanic sand, a tragically unheralded distress signal, still audible, is emitted from a shipwreck long submerged in the bay. Nobody here to respond. A decline in aspiration is a deserted street of steel shuttered buildings, a physical manifestation of the paranoid mantra: ‘if no-one gets in, no-one gets hurt’ – the heart-breaking logic of the emotionally scarred. The Weekday is an aerial photograph of heavy industry. The scything fuzz opening building into an opera for malfunctioning saw mill equipment. Circadian escapades is an overgrown battlefield where hollow, rusted armaments stand sentry in the brambles, chimed by the wind-whipped thorns…

…but for me, Consonants and ambiguity seems to be the key to it all. This is what the background electro-magnetic roar of the universe sounds like when reduced to the pitiful range of frequencies we can hear. It is the sound of the implacably hostile, utterly indifferent ocean of nothing that our tiny island bobs on top of. Our planet orbits at a point where, like Goldilock’s porridge, it is exactly the right temperature – a fluke. The radiation from an unimaginably vast rolling nuclear explosion we call the Sun can travel 93 million miles and then be deflected by your mirrorshades – a sick joke. There are no kitsch affectations, no tentacled Old Ones to worship: this is noise as pure cosmic horror. Its nihilism is, on its own perverted terms, immensely satisfying.  All the more so for knowing that Kev personally is a man of principle and deeply held conviction.  We all doubt though, we all weaken, and if you don’t have moments of wanting everything to JUST FUCKING BURN sometimes then I suggest you aren’t paying enough attention…

…I recommend you pick up these releases. You need them. Kev has also recently been donating the proceeds of his empire to the legal fund of Team Harpy, two women who have been threatened with ruin for the crime of calling out a man on his appalling behaviour. The full, grim story can be had via the links below. It is a worthy cause and the questions the situation raises are all too important and depressingly current…


hairdryer excommunication on Bandcamp

Kev on Team Harpy

Team Harpy

tension, balance, possibility: the thomas family’s dub variations

November 11, 2014 at 8:11 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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The Thomas Family – Dub Variations (CD, Crow Versus Crow, CVC001, edition of 100 or download)

thomas family completethomas family under constructionthomas family insert

First, the specifications:

Three seamlessly segued tracks, all around quarter of an hour long (two over, one under), released on a properly pressed CD, in an edition of 100, by Andrew Wild’s Crow Versus Crow imprint. The packaging is impressive and will be accounted for below. The brothers responsible for the content are Daniel Thomas and Dave Thomas (no relation) better known ’round these parts for their duo Hagman, for their solo recordings and for their efforts with the labels Sheepscar Light Industrial, Cherry Row and Kirkstall Dark Matter. Eyes right for links.

Second, the music:

This piece is the tension between delicate epicycles of electronic noise and the ruinous discipline needed to control the technology that produces them. It is the bead of sweat on the brow of the tightrope walker. It is a time-lapse film of dew condensing onto a cobweb. Existing as it does at the point where the needle touches red, it is saved from straying into a squall of feedback by, seemingly, sheer willpower alone. The chaps are only human though and despite (because of?) this effort artefacts still bubble to the surface. For example, around the ten minute mark a silvered ping leapt out of the dark and made me jump, like a face at the window. It is repeated, quieter, and thus possibly becomes music…

Punctuating the rumble are squeaks and trills that I assume are field recordings of avian chatter, though the context suggests poorly lubricated machinery lifting cages full of nervous workers back up a seemingly endless mineshaft. Later these squeaks become the sound of sneakers on a basketball court as two multi-limbed robots square off under gigantic air conditioning units. Each seat of the stadium is occupied by a silent mannequin, head bowed – those on the right, dressed as Dave, those on the left dressed as Dan…

…and then, sometime into the final track, there is the beat. Now, being one of the core members of the ‘extraction music’ elite (the ‘distillate’?) I was privy to an interesting peek behind the curtain. Apparently the Thomas boys had a difference of opinion about this aspect of the album: Dave thought it was unnecessary, Dan was all for it. I shall account for it thus: imagine the mannequins slowly looking up towards the end of the match. Dan’s robot is winning! The Dannequins nod in unison to express their approval whilst the disconsolate Daves shake their heads mournfully from side to side: no, no, no. In doing so the ‘crowd’ adds a percussive pattern to the remainder of the album.

In summary: this is fucking great.

Third, the package:

Quoting Andy, these CDs are

…housed in hand-stamped recycled card ‘no glue’ sleeves, with full colour 24x12cm artwork by Crow Versus Crow…

…which is a humble description of a satisfyingly tactile, beautiful object. It looks like its own future deluxe reissue – fallen to us through a space/time wormhole from an alternate reality where Dan and Dave garner mainstream worship and Pink fucking Floyd have to shoplift CD-rs to put out their shit. The guy has clearly invested a great deal of time, effort and, presumably, money into this project but, admirably, has not let his own highly developed aesthetic sensibilities overwhelm the music. Thus medium and the message are balanced and mutually enhancing.

Fourth, the conclusion:

What we have here is a foundation document, an ur text, for this year’s most talked about sub-genre ‘extraction music‘. The album was recorded way before the term became common parlance on every street corner and was released way after. Hearing it is as mysterious and exciting as finding a previously missing explanatory introduction to the Voynich Manuscript.

A truly essential purchase.


Crow Versus Crow

distillations: extraction music haiku compiled

August 20, 2014 at 6:57 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Daniel Thomas & Kevin Sanders – “I am a moment illuminating eternity… I am affirmation… I am ecstacy.” (CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 25 or download)

TST – Tsim Sha Tsui (3” CD-r, Sheepscar Light Industrial, SLI.026, edition of 50 or download)

Kevin Sanders – A purification of space (CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 20 or download)

Petals – upon receiving the ultraviolet light (CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

Hagman – Number Mask (CD-r, LF Records, LF037)

Petals – I’ve never been very good at retorting narrative tales as I always get lost along the way. So I lie (tape, Beartown Records, edition of 33)

TST – The Spoken Truth (CD-r or download, hairdryer excommunication)

Daniel Thomas – Enemy Territory (CD-r, cherry row recordings, CRR005, edition of 25 or download)

Daniel Thomas – That Which Sometimes Falls Between Us / As Light Fades (2 x CD-r in wooden flower press, edition of 9, 2 x CD-r, edition of 39, or download, Kirkstall Dark Matter)

thomas and sanders - i am a moment

That Twitter is alright, innit? After stalling for years I finally signed up a couple of weeks ago and can be found @radiomidwich should you be inclined to go looking. Knowing that I was entering a lengthy period of hectic work activity, and that my energy levels are low, I was looking for a way of staying current that was effortless to pick up and just as easy to put down. With apologies to my regular email correspondents, Twitter fits the bill real nice. I have the odd gripe with twittery behaviour already but by and large I’ve been enjoying the shouty-pub-with-six-jukeboxes-and-four-televisions-on atmosphere and the opportunity to crack wise and arse smart. It also gave me an idea of how to scythe through a crop of review items.

Some context: the leading exponents of the sub-genre I’ve defined as ‘extraction music‘ are very busy guys indeed – check out the heaving parentheses in the following sentence. Dave Thomas (solo as ap martlet, half of Hagman, one third of TST, label boss of Kirkstall Dark Matter), Daniel Thomas (solo under his own name, the other half of Hagman, a further third of TST, as a duo with Kevin and label boss of Sheepscar Light Industrial and Cherry Row Recordings) and Kevin Sanders (solo under his own name and as petals, as a duo with Dan, the final third of TST, label boss of hairdryer excommunication) are enjoying a hit rate unrivaled since the glory days of Stock, Aitken and Waterman – the 1980s production trio they have modeled their work ethic on.

What’s a conscientious reviewer to do? Given the exacting quality control, staggering over such a fast growing body of work, the music is deserving of serious contemplation. However, who has time to write the usual 1000+ words about items arriving on a near-weekly basis? Not me. Instead I will turn (again) to haiku, a traditional variety of Japanese poetry in which the idea expressed is distilled to 17 syllables arranged in a five-seven-five formation. Thus, mental energy expended is roughly equivalent to normal but writing time is cut to the bone. It is also an eminently tweetable format – something the spirits of long-deceased masters of this most delicate and disciplined art must be thrilled by – so Twitter is where they got their initial airing.

Below is a compilation of the first nine, properly formatted and illustrated. I’m pleased with these, especially the last two, which are, I hope, impressionistic but accurate – like a portrait by Frank Auerbach. Click on the band name/album title to be taken to appropriate blog post or Bandcamp page. Amazingly, all of this can be had dirt cheap or for free. I recommend the lot very highly – there are potential Zellaby Award winners here – and also recommend you explore the catalogues of these gentlemen on either side of this snapshot.

No. 1:

Daniel Thomas & Kevin Sanders – “I am a moment illuminating eternity… I am affirmation… I am ecstacy.”

Terminal thought of

fatally injured robot:

“my blood is on fire”

tst - tsim sha tsui

No. 2:

TST – Tsim Sha Tsui

Ornithopter flaps

above the spice refinery.

Inhale: the future!

kev sanders - a purification of space

No. 3:

Kevin Sanders – A purification of space

Yellowed grass, cut paper

– consolations of order –

cut grass, yellowed paper.

petals - upon receiving

No. 4:

Petals – upon receiving the ultraviolet light




hagman - number mask

No. 5:

Hagman – Number Mask

Vignettes illustrate

fierce entropic beauty,

pebble becomes sand

petals - so i lie

No. 6:

Petals – I’ve never been very good at retorting narrative tales as I always get lost along the way. So I lie

Fine machinery

in an era of magic:

cogs versus witchcraft

tst - the spoken truth

No. 7:

TST – The Spoken Truth

Arterial pulse,

self lost to alien flow,

hive mind emerges

daniel thomas - enemy territory

No. 8:

Daniel Thomas – Enemy Territory

Adjust tracking for

artefacts of video:

hot snow, concrete blur…

daniel thomas - that which

No. 9:

Daniel Thomas – That Which Sometimes Falls Between Us / As Light Fades

Sharp, bristled morning

through circadian filters

to uterine fug


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