similarly introverted/greasy feathers: joe murray on final seed, troy schafer, termite acropolis, michael barthel, kent tankred, body morph, matt krefting, jon collin, f ampism and final seed again!March 14, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: beartown records, body morph, chocolate monk, f. ampism, final seed, joe murray, jon collin, kent tankred, matt krefting, micahel barthel, round bale recordings, soundholes, termite acropolis, troy schafer
Final Seed – S/T (Round Bale Recordings)
Troy Schafer – Untitled No4 (Round Bale Recordings)
Termite Acropolis – Dedication in Vinegar (Round Bale Recordings)
Michael Barthel – Randradau (Chocolate Monk)
Kent Tankred – Organ 1 (Chocolate Monk)
Body Morph – Keep Still and be Devoured (Soundholes)
Matt Krefting – Danger (Chocolate Monk)
Jon Collin – Sky Writings (Early Music)
F Ampism – The Resolution Phase (Beartown Records)
Final Seed – Untitled (Chocolate Monk)
Final Seed – S/T (Round Bale Recordings) Very rare tape or download
Rejoice in this super-subtle tape nothingness.
Side A is a perfectly timed 10 minutes that weaves the sound of background hiss-radiation with brief leather-necked gulpings and pre-language garrotte. The sound of the sound of the recorder whirring dumbly is captured in startling clarity. A round off in the cavern of the delay bounces a single blank tone off the squash court wall.
Side B is similarly introverted. What was once a throaty wolf-man roar is pitched right down and super low into a substratum of broken sea-foam. It warbles quietly, paying no mind and, like pouring thick glue over an uneven floor, the sound pools in places making deep ripples, skims the surface in others as light as a pond skipper.
The sense of purpose and dedication to a dream makes this a supremely confident release and an important exercise in listening to the sort of chuff we often ignore, gloss over and palm off.
Read no further and click here for evidence.
Troy Schafer – Untitled No4 (Round Bale Recordings) Ultra rare lathe cut 7inch or download
Round Bale describe this as a ‘brain-scrambler’. After listening I’m feeling poached and fried to boot!
Side A. Sepia piano recordings run through a wood-chipper.
Troy’s fingers may nudge the occasional keys gently but his feet hit the pedals with force sending those white and black notes ricocheting through tin and bronze filters that wreak the pretty and gasp with giant violence. What else am I getting (like a wine taster – that’s me!) a lung-rattling wheeze, half-song and memory. You know what? I’m just a sucker for a solo piano. The final 11 seconds promise a new beginning with that build up of blocked, harried notes that rudely snip off. Oh yeah…distinctly classy.
Side B starts with a grunt and then something orchestral is wrenched back and forth through a pinhole. The dry wooden click of a cello (perhaps) mimics a poultry convention; angry clucks and gobbles, that red wattle vibrating with the rough string attack. I hear a woman’s laughter and then Troy launches into more grappling with the horsehair. A dramatic friction. Like looking down a sound-microscope that magnifies each textured sound-bundle a thousand times until it bursts like a turgid cell – spouting information into your lucky earhole.
Termite Acropolis – Dedication in Vinegar (Round Bale Recordings) sold out tape and download
What an apt name for this ant-city investigation. Miniature tunnels are bored through the hard red earth and filled with dark cardboard clunks and billiard hall knockings.
Powerfully restrained recordings of process with little ornamentation. This is: a bell, a dropped coin, a handful of pocket fluff.
But that’s not to say these are overly simple. Sounds are doused with a gentle condiment (or indeed pickled) until they slush about like a rotting medical exhibit (see: Caricature of the garden) in the bottom of a demijohn.
While massive machines are imagined in ‘Lardworks’, brass pistons pumping and levers floundering in a polished wooden way, it is left to ‘Extinguish the light’ to hurl us into the modern age; a symphony of gates opening and shutting to the beat of the Bontempi.
Title tracks often tell us a little about the intention and drive behind a record or artist. In this case I’m guessing the closer, a nine-minute brining, is a powerful psychic calling card. It’s subtle and refined, relaxed but with a steady guiding hand on the reigns. Delicate and simple tones and clunks rattle around the bagatelle that mirrors your own dainty cochlear. It’s easy to get lost in such dwarf loops as they occur again and again, melting over each other in polite collapse. At around the four-minute mark a constant high-lonely-moan is redoubled turning that sweet milk into smoked cheese marking the start of a watery, pale beauty.
Waiting room music for the hep, hep cats.
Michael Barthel – Randradau (Chocolate Monk) C20 Cassette
Insider bone scrapings and economic scribble.
Side A runs for about 9 minutes and places micro-pieces of clean and energetic German-sounding spoken goof with psychotic milkman-whistle and hissy-Dictaphone-grottage. Oh yes! Michael barks stern his instructions. These blocks of meaning lock as tight as Duplo bricks but instead of the obvious primary colours this is an altogether mistier proposal.
So…rather than tan the glitches Mr Barthel exercises all the edges of his palette. The lion indeed lies down with the lamb with the final few minutes mimicking aching layers of lazy sediment.
Side B starts with off-radio, wrong-phonics and some glorious sepia glossolalia. A hum and whirr of the taping device is left to whittle away adding a tambour-like drone for an amateur age. Gloriously smeared sound leaks like straw-coloured plasma from a bad burn. Oily as balm; dressings are changed for the finale of woollen moans and an almost vaudeville reading of sparse and strangulated word blooms.
It’s a hectic world for sure, but listening to this made me dawdle like a child. Damn…listening to this tape made me a better person. You NEED some!
Kent Tankred – Organ 1 (Chocolate Monk) C40 Cassette
These ultra-heavy organ manipulations weigh as much a chubby whale loafing about in the viscous and dark brine.
A presence piece that you can, and should, project your reality on to: this is perfect travelling music.
Each organ foldback-loop and full –throated gas-roar is like a cold sun flickering through autumn leaves or watching the savage juxtaposition of a ripped billboard layered with contrasting messages.
- Large pumice boulders skin your elbows and the dead skin falls like dry sleet.
- A microphone is lowered into a crimson oubliette.
- Running into the wind with your mouth open wide until your breath gets caught behind chilly teeth.
This hissing bustle plays well obnoxiously loud and pasty-necked quiet.
Body Morph- Keep Still and be Devoured (Soundholes) C60 cassette
This tape is an exercise in long-form rustage.
True! Tones from a dying crab get hoofed through the murky, mystic mix at points but mostly it’s a 1000 yard stare of slowly crashing gears.
On side one I’m picking up cheap-casio keys gummed down under years of tape-varnish & mould-hiss. I’m hearing a smeared gossamer touch akin to greasy feathers.
Side two gets all lo-maxxed on a horn of some sort; mournful and cool as the night air. Armenian Jazz Sorrow? The sound of occasional suffocation?
A true listeners tape, this is no ‘slap it on and do the ironing’ cassette. It demands full attention and for this thorough investment you are amply rewarded with layer upon layer of ear –silt clogging yr golden wax deposits.
Matt Krefting – Danger (Chocolate Monk) C15 Cassette
Ultra-core tape jaxx.
Super-indefinite and lost imaginings.
It’s the softest breath kissing carbon paper; that most delicate and faint purple image as tender as an early morning bruise.
Memory slides smooth as a trombone made of smog and brass fittings.
Half-formed but fully realised. The magic happens in that grey blancmange as you use natural electricity to link the un-linkable, paint the un-paintable.
Matt leaves us mortals a few clues – popping candy in a giant’s gob and infrared tinfoil. Apart from that you’re on your own pal!
Polite yet essential.
Jon Collin – Sky Writings (Early Music) C15 Tape
If I’d got my finger out this tape would have made the 2016 ‘best of’ lists for sure and will no doubt be top 10 material in sunny 2017.
Fahey, Rose and Nugent fan boys/girls must listen…this tape is so charming I coughed up a cream tea and a cheeky goodnight kiss. This tape made me a damn loving fool!
In the old definition this is a fucking splendid tape (shine, be bright) that warms up my cold heart and makes me smile like reading Nicholson Baker details and footnotes.
A real human-sounding solo acoustic guitar probe the damn nostalgia nodes to conjure up an imagined picnic in a cornfield. The colours are vivid. The corn is the creamiest yellow, the sky the brightest blue. Our blanket the deepest red.
The melodies trip some switch that bursts crisp cornflowers out my chest and replace my blood with silver helium bubbles.
Spiritualised? Do me a favour eh? I’m really floating in space here mate. The strums and pickles are complex as spiderwebs but simple as nursery rhymes. The untitled tunes are as familiar as pins and needles and get under my skin in a similar restless and itchy way; it’s like I’ve always known them as they slip out of reach skidding like a deer on ice.
Oh my! Such elegance with chipped nails and calloused hands. The perfect beautiful happiness of aching heart.
F Ampism – The Resolution Phase (Beartown Records) CD
A tasty CD that I’m now re-imagining as a vinyl EP pressed onto seven inches.
“But why format transfer boy? You may ask.”
Because this is a disc of two halves, that’s why doubter. An ‘A’ and a ‘B’. My ‘This Side’ twinned to your ‘That Side’ is strongly suggested to my oatmeal mind.
Let me explain…
A jungle lushness drips through the recent work of Mr F Ampism. Thick and green, waxy and water-resistant each micro-collage is rich beyond our feeble senses; ethnic percussive loops wobbly like belly fat, environmental recordings gurgle as algae-thick rivers, electronic squirts gush tessellated digital foof. It’s a sound you can smell and that smell is pregnant and full.
The first three tracks, ‘Monaestry and Math’ to ‘Straight Brains’ are alive with exotic Toucan ‘caws’ and Howler hoots. The middler ‘The Joint Capsule’ replays Balinese rhythms among the creaking boats, the lapping waves and call of villagers selling shrimp-based snacks. Gradually a soft tone bubbling erupts in my pocket. Copper pans are dropped overboard and ‘boaab’ drunkenly in the mud-coloured water as they slowly fill, sway, and sink beneath the waves.
All of a piece these three realised constructions suggest organic life with a face tilted towards a red, red sun.
‘Shabada Transmission’ bucks the trend by laying down heavily in the rumpled bed belonging to Detroit Techno – the synthetic strings and xylophone tones as future facing as jet boots and holidays on Mars. And in doing so Ampism revels a new destination and we are already deep in ‘Side Two’ territory.
‘Inner Eyelid’ is made up of spare parts, a lone creak, a dropped calliope yet is patched up in the most un-Frankenstein manner. No flat head no sir! Bolts through the neck? Forget-about-it. Think more like a slim ankle glimpsed or thick auburn curls just begging to be tousled.
The jazz, in all its hot boiling majesty, infests ‘Thrown Jam 1 and 2 ‘ with Pazuzu sitting in on traps while Regan hams on the vintage synth. This duo/solo gets ripe!
And, as all things must, this disc ends. But with a juddering, flustering loop so perfectly placed those plunderphonic dingbats blush crimson and sweat.
Final Seed – Untitled (Chocolate Monk) C30 Cassette
Witness the drunken bowling alley vibe on this damp-chiller from Final Seed.
Like a diary opened at random one passage might reveal children squeaking, another, the fumbling fingers of a defective chord-organ.
Dark percussive knocks form a rhythm interuptus ladled on thick like broth. Slack-mouthed and slurry, a voice gnarls on with steaming feet. Wonked-out keyboard extrapolations all bothered with hot-electric butter. Broken cassette ghost-capture.
Neat eh? But all the while this is undoubtedly gush from the same mush. Oh my!
This is serious stuff…like the abstract soundtrack to the sound of making a soundtrack each perfect formula of tones, field recordings and manipulations delight by being both utterly novel and head-scratchingly familiar. So while the diary analogy still holds I’m darting from love-sick boy-teen to worried mother to toddler rocking on their plump heels. It’s got charm in punnets, invention in spades!
The best album that chump Eno never made. DEMAND A RESSIUE!!!
Tags: alex drool, eran sachs, ezio piermattei, f. ampism, ilan volkov, joe murray, maya dunietz, the custodians, tom white, tr/, triple heater, tutore burlato
Triple Heater – Aurochs (tape, Tutore Burlato, #15)
Tom White – Commemoratives (tape, Tutore Burlato, #14)
TR/ – Amici di Filippo (tape, Tutore Burlato, #13)
The Custodians – Moribund Mules and Musket Fire (tape, Tutore Burlato, #12)
Usurper with Alex Drool, Maya Dunietz, Eran Sachs and Ilan Volkov – untitled (tape, Tutore Burlato, #16)
Triple Heater – Aurochs
Not a three-o but a two-oh! This new pairing from Tutore Burlato High Priest, Ezio Piermattei and the supple-limbed-totem-pole F Ampism flaps at the ears like a leather duck.
Students of the WTF scene can already imagine the smooth Tiki-delic jungle vibes and Red City grit yeah? But what this charming tape does so well is place the scribble-scrabble gently in a perfumed mango’s peppery slickness.
So a bagpipe meshes seamlessly with egg-slicer, a warped tape workout wetly dribbles into a pink sponge. Those robot-voice toys are underpinned with a twisted groaning and wrenched knot work.
Voices; children’s voices, male and female voices are a recurring warble that change the emotional resonance of every rattle and honk. Each piece remains human as a result, the occasional frenetic crackle an umlaut or other such punctuation. YEAH… I’m picking up a master’s hand in the edit suite ensuring each piece is a perfect mix of wet and dry, organic and man-made.
But it’s not all high-octane, fingers-on-triggers yucks. These gents are not afraid to whip out a haunting beauty-jam. ‘Telamoni Curiosi’ has a rich drawn-out slowness; the kind that floods through your body like hot opium immediately before you have an accident. You’re powerless to stop the door crunch the finger, the heel slip on the banana peel but in that moment of submission you taste the bitter tang of true happiness.
The perfect music to accompany images of Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia dream.
Tom White – Commemoratives
As 2016 continues to be that damn Tom White’s year this cassette might just be the best one yet readers.
The nosey will know the drill already; a reel-to-reel tape recorder is used to manually manipulate a loop of innocent brown tape; possibly a few pedals get pressed. Sounds easy enough, eh?
But on Commemoratives Tom’s gritty palms are transferring some kind of magnetic-manna to the slowly looping sound resulting in remarkable acrobatic leaps and whorls absolutely RIPPING out of the speakers like a sweet baklava bullet.
There’s a depth, a real colon-churning depth, to how these sounds roll bilious and tight. And just when you’re feeling fit to burst a cow-bell ‘K-LUNG’ bouncing between the speakers rattles you back into the world of flat stomachs and healthy greens.
The excellent side-long ‘Evoke a Yes’ drives Alpine cattle from their lush pasture through granular hair-pin bends; a single brassy ‘donk’ becomes the repeated motif lurching drunkenly on the local firewater until a chrome trebuchet hurls great gassy grenades into the steaming tar pits . But at the same time I’m minded of an early tape music boffin, wrapped up in labcoat and thick Clark Kents, dancing to this in his cluttered broom cupboard.
Performance-wise there is nothing held back and at times I’m pretty sure a block of particularly hectic loopery has sent me back in time a couple of seconds… a couple of seconds… a…
A powerful and heady brew that even when it’s doing nothing in particular is re-calibrating your brain-pod with subtly shifting patterns – a sly parquet interlocking those lazy synapses.
TR/ – Amici di Filippo
A right beanfeast this one – comforting and creamy.
‘Sabato’ starts with thick slapback-echo riffles over electronic-sand, creating waves of
Pietro La Rocca’s lumpy canvas to paint up with Patrycja Stefaneck’s wonderful smeared voices.
Things progress at a wrecked snail’s pace: the canvas becomes laced ribbons of liquorice empowered with a mystic charge; the voice gobbles and mutters, wriggles and stutters slathered like golden butter.
Side two opens with something akin to a song but in this instance the campfire we are sitting around has been built of oleander creating choking, hallucinogenic fumes. Urgently strummed guitars stretch their steel strings to the horizon, shimmering like a Fripp-mirage while gentle disembodied voices float overhead.
The closer, ‘Digitale Terrestre’ pulls all these elements together in a light sketch, an open doodle of huffing and mithering. Innocent squeaks escape and fly between the massed mouth-chunter. This time it’s the guitar that floats overhead, darting in and out of the weft like a stickleback – silvery but sharp enough to draw blood. These enhanced throat and lips have a Residents-style quality and I’m half expecting to launch into an Infant Tango before long.
You want some sweet to go with that gravy? Look no further than duo TR/.
The Custodians – Moribund Mules and Musket Fire
R’aid-eeeeee-oh oh oh oh oh fuh, fuh, fuh Or?
Forgive my brief extrapolation but these Custodians (just plain Custodians on this tape – not ‘of the Realm’ as on the previous outings I’ve heard) serve up a classy dish that breaks apart that British institution of cosy improv and spoken word like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange, leaving 12 dense segments splayed and easily snackable.
Their M.O. involves occasional multi-tracked speaking parts weaving between Adam Bohman’s carefully curated sonic-detritus, Adrian Northover’s saxes and synth and Sue Lynch’s tenor sax and lyrical reeds.
It’s a truly wonderful listen; light, airy and unhurried. You just can’t fake the love and respect in this playing. It’s clearly defined yet ego-less, economical but happy to gild the occasional corner.
Each player, a standout in their own right, dons the collective cap with aplomb so shimmering brass sings and croons, often swooping in the wake of a wagtail’s gentle undulations. The ‘objects’ (large glasses bowed and combs teeth pinged with a thumb for example) add just exactly the right level of clutter and stroking to keep things tasty.
The text pieces seem to follow Adam Bohman’s ‘instructional/institutional’ approach with medical terms dropping from three mouths like ripe plumbs.
It couldn’t be more English if it wore a bowler hat.
Usurper with Alex Drool, Maya Dunietz, Eran Sachs and Ilan Volkov – untitled
Here the brothers Duff & Robertson are joined by Tel Aviv’s finest for some surprisingly tender hap, grapple and schooshh.
I guess the temptation with such a big-band is go the full Ellington and honk it up outta each loud hole. But on this occasion, and I’m not sure if it’s the brothers instructions or our host’s impeccable manners, these side-long pieces balloon like parachute silk and float with nowt but a gentle ripple.
Side one. I’m getting a tingle in my loins that suggests method. Old bronze coins dropped with arthritic fingers, cold marbles rolled across the wooden floor, straw flutes blown listlessly, burbling electric soup (sans batteries), rocking chairs rough squall, soft mouths chanting under flannel vests and knitting needles wrapped in sellotape tapped against the kitchen table. These bare-bones are constantly reinvented and realigned.
I’m getting signals in my lugs that indicate structure. A gentle moraine, its gritty interconnectedness based on Turkish carpet patterns. Twelve hands reaching out and six brains sparking with damp electricity. A bustling village of gossip coming to rest at the end of a particularly busy day.
The nervous rustle of bodies and fingers has an ingrained tension, of course, because (SPOILER ALERT) the moneyshot never arrives! If you’re waiting to see who’s going to crack first and ‘blah’ out forget it Bub, this is one saucy tease yeah?
Side two is hardly any more physical but wears its influences proudly in a collective throat-jam.
Dry coughs and sighs and huffs are double-bubbled to form a bivalve experience: left and right unite in slurpy kisses on stubbly cheeks. I picture our sacred six stretched out on roman loungers dripping sweet grape cheek-parps and wet gonzo hawks. The odd spare hand languorously rattling a tin fig or ripping off an elastoplast completes a decadent sound-image.
I riff on the chorus of grunts. I goof on the collective harmonic gasp. We follow the da-dada-dada-da-da conversation; until ‘uh uh errr…’ it descends into laugher as a Pangolin snuffles for truffles.
The real true joy yeah!
Tags: ben gwilliam, f. ampism, gold soundz, håkon lie, ian watson, jake meginsky, luke vollar, mantile records, sindre bjerga
Jake Meginsky – Kasper Struabe Stencil Cycles (tape, Mantile Records, #029, edition of 50)
Ben Gwilliam – Breakdownspedup (tape, Mantile Records, #030, edition of 50)
Various Artists – Magnetic Decay (recycled tape, Gold Soundz, GS#128, edition of 25)
Jake Meginsky – Kasper Struabe Stencil Cycles
The excellent Mantile Records takes a side-step out of the noise ghetto for a hunk of sweetie pie that has one loafer on the dance floor and the other in the electro-acoustic treasury club. It’s the kind of furtive brain music that brings to mind the mighty Autechre; swoops of silvery bloop disappear down a rainbow precipice to emerge body popping in peacock finery, too dazzling to behold without shades. The strobing percussives towards the end are really something. No word of a lie – I am presently nodding my head and NOT stroking my chin.
Ben Gwilliam – Breakdownspedup
Various recordings made by placing Dictaphones inside freezers until the cassette slows and the mechanism seizes. Remember that bit in Shallow Grave when the bad guys finish off another guy by casually sticking him in a chest freezer and leave heavy sacks on the lid which make it impossible for him to escape? Brr, still gives me the heebie jeebies now. Thankfully this isn’t a recording of a human being stopped with low temperature (don’t even think about it transgressive readers) rather the impassive sound of a small machine slowed by inertia, a different type of nothing: from grainy speckles of frost-gripped audio to bassy and glacial hum. But, just as I’m preparing to stick this artifact into the ‘interesting experiments’ section, the recording morphs into a complex strata of textures as the freezer and the Dictaphone seem to sing to each other like whales in a vast ocean, mournful and melancholy. Flip it over and we’re in a chilly no mind zone witnessing the birth of a new micro genre: cold noise wall (CNW?)
Various Artists – Magnetic Decay
More fertile goosh from the cold lands of Norway (good link eh?) and the mecca of all things no-audience: Gold Soundz.
No idea who Håkon Lie is, I’m presuming he’s not the Norwegian politician who passed away in 2009 [Editor’s note: Google journalism at its finest there]. Live tape manipulations are extrapolated into new vistas of nada while battery operated toys are triggered with buttocks. Recognizable chunks of popular music are fed into the belly of the beast and coughed out as garish and slightly frightening splats of wha?? An American instructional tape finishes the set by intoning:
we become what we think about
…followed by a smattering of applause.
Ian Watson next with some suitably oppressive grey drizzled doomscapes; sound art that sticks to your fingers like clay. It has the same inexplicable feel for lonely English landscapes as Xazzaz. My favourite track is the last one, ‘times wiped’, which sounds like a tape loop of wind chimes excavated after being buried in the wet earth for a long while.
F. Ampism is a Brighton based beard who has been knitting intoxicating ear brews for a number of years now. By being excellent and largely ignored he makes for the perfect dinner guest at RFMHQ. Whilst an electronic and tape concoction is present, so too is a bewildering arsenal of clunks, rattles and bubbles left to bob merrily amongst the purple blueberry foam. As huge goblets of the strange but delicious cocktail are handed out by pink elephants we make our way downstream through the dense jungle as the chatter of wildlife becomes a thrum of forward motion, centipedes as big as a horse, amphibians playing thumb pianos… you get the picture.
The compilation is closed by label head-honcho Sindre Bjerga, a guy who seems to literally spend his entire life soaking up spilt beer with his trousers whilst horsing about with his collection of outdated and redundant stuff: tape players, tiny microphones and the like. He makes something out of nothing and does it spontaneously brain-to-hand-to-gob-and-back-to-brain.
Whilst I can’t lie and say that I’m unconcerned about the impact his floor based activities will have on his joints in advancing years (‘noise knee’ can now be found listed as a genuine ailment in up to date medical journals) he should be commended for his ceaseless activities. ‘They’ say that to be truly great at anything (or at least to stand a chance) you have to do it a lot. So I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Sindre is the goddam Hendrix of the Dictaphone and this is another fine addition to his humongous back catalogue.
What a splendid compilation, procure yourself a copy at once.
Gold Soundz [Editor’s note: good luck…]
Tags: blood stereo, chocolate monk, collage, dictaphonics, dylan nyoukis, f. ampism, fritz welch, humansacrifice, ikuisuus, improv, joe murray, kieron piercy, no audience underground, noise, spoils & relics, tapes
Kieron Piercy & Dylan Nyoukis – An Unripe Preoccupation with Nonagenarian Moroseness (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.305, edition of 50)
F.Ampism – Pattern Interrupt (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.286)
F.Ampism – The Ancient Wing (tape, IKUISUUS, ikasus-046)
f.ampism & f.welch – shouting a hymn down the cosmogonic dream hole (CD-r, humansacrifice, HS009)
Kieron Piercy & Dylan Nyoukis – An Unripe Preoccupation with Nonagenarian Moroseness
Mr Kieron and Mr Dylan present a 27 minute odyssey – a minute for every year of Kurt Cobain’s life on this coppery beast.
Just in case you’ve stumbled on RFM from Cuba or something here’s the back story. KP hails from inland Megalopolis Leeds and plays tapes and devices in the hypnotic-power trio Spoils & Relics. DN plays similar tapes and devices but this time from the damp coast of Brighton with memory-scrub duo Blood Stereo. Together these gently glowing men methodically flip the switches in my head marked ‘fump’, ‘whirr’ and, most importantly ‘squelch’. Right on!
Kurt’s early years are depicted as a gentle hissing – a rising of the sap through hollow young legs no doubt! Cheeky. But by Junior High the AM Radio starts to fill his blonde little head with snatches of ‘The Mac’ stripped of everything apart from Stevie Nick’s breathy acrobatics (she sighs like a pro), each expulsion of C02 piped through an intricate system of fur-lined loops.
Our man comes of age. And while much ink is spilled over his punk rock credentials (the Flipper jean jacket patches, the Scratch Acid mixtapes) little time is spent studying his Linguaphone experiments, playing Greek Progressive Rock through that new Walkman contraption, gurning along while dropping potatoes into a ceramic bowl. But of course Piercey & Nyoukis nail this moment perfectly. History is rewritten – check your facts Charles R Cross!
The move from Fecal Matter to Nirvana is a small one, but still important to note. With eyes firmly fixed on the prize of rock explosion, a series of stretched-out faux frog calls batter my poor eardrums… but all rippled and slushed. Some said the decision to open that infamous Reading Festival set with a choir of Pelicans was a career-limiting move (and some still blame the drummer) but those brazen sea-birds honk with a mournful timbre – a cosmic disaffection rather than a cry for raw herring that says more about The Stooges and the taxonomy of ‘alternative rock’ than any limp chord or riff.
The birth of a child and a marriage takes a psychic toll as serious as Geffen contracts so it’s no wonder the mood turns darker with a comfortable helplessness – skittering pops and shuffles leaking out of my tiny earbuds mirroring the sound of grazed knees.
Now it’s near the end; the final moments amplify the torment of ‘the Rome incident’ and track the disembodied voices of the medical staff and the cardio vascular crack of the ribs. It’s not comfortable listening, but then again what is? You want comfortable? Drop some Mantovani. You want real? Plug into this delightful moroseness and let those silent tears well up and spill from your fat eyelids.
F.Ampism – Pattern Interrupt, The Ancient Wing, f.ampism & f.welch – shouting a hymn down the cosmogonic dream hole
All hail F.Ampism, king of the Quiet Village and noisy jungle!
Pattern Interrupt creates a sweaty negative zone where swollen lacewings fripp by at ear level and recycled bicycle bells become a spooked gamelan.
If you peak from under your oversized pith helmet you can watch the noble tribes holding a soft revolt, a velvet coup by waving their iPhones at the gawking tourists, SIM cards full of classic Ubuweb downloads. The cultural incongruence is too much for some holiday makers and they run screaming through the sinister Swiss Cheese plants. Those that remain hawk it up for pregnant yuks.
But it’s not all Hugh Tracey tropical offerings. The frosty steppes get a look in too. Picture a landing site for a burned-out cosmonaut; thousands of miles of desolation stretch out in all directions with only the unthinking wind for company and a boner in your spacesuit.
Mark my words. There’s a yearning quality to these recordings. A longing for a retrofitted future where Margaret Mead pursued foul-electronics rather than Anthropology and Blind Lemon Jefferson composed for the frost Calliope. This alternate future/past is best played out on ‘The Infinite Inward’ a wormhole through NYC docks (circa 1946) via Moondog’s fully open third eye.
No-Audience Exorcists take note: ‘Did you mean Wasabi’ features some of the most evil wonk-muttering, like the wolves that live in the wall of our haunted house. ‘X’ marks the spot me hearties!
The Ancient Wing tape has found a home on the awesome Ikiuisuus label* and folds the incidental music from Ulysses 31 into World in Action Technicolor. The separate tracks, peppered with ‘bloops’ and ‘bleeps’, work as a perfect whole and sound like a beautiful analogue lava-lamp slowly melting in a head shop.
And, overall the mood is funky; damn funky. I don’t get the opportunity to use the ‘F-word’ much on these here pages, but as any funkateer knows, it’s all about an appreciation of space, of slipping your timing and mining the absence. What you leave out determines what the listener has to put in whether it’s on the god-damn one or not. You gotta work for your funk and F.Ampism makes my pulse rate flitter.
But, apart from getting me a hot foot this collection is giving my memory centre a good old going over. The partial, ever mutating tunes and rippling, bubbling synths that lick like a sauce kick off a series of half-remembered sensory dreams: the toilet smell of Whitby, this hiss of an opening vacuum flask, the feel of vinyl car seats in July. I feel like a dormant part of my brain is flickering into life, the lights are starting to glow. An aid to meditation and psychic recovery!
On the quite beautifully packaged Shouting a Hymn Down the Cosmogonic Dream Hole our very own F.Ampism is joined by my favourite transplanted Texan – Fritz Welch. The theme is jazz-tinged industry with a busy, busy earful of tinkering taps, bells, squawks and diddles moving across eight untitled micro-moments. I’m delighted to hear Fritz is back behind the drum kit again with super-sharp scattering as dry as twigs vibrating the piggy membranes. F.Ampism is majoring on Dictaphones and I have to say, one Dicta fan to another, this playing is nothing short of astonishing: witty, quick of thumb and lyrical.
Although the energy level is cracked up to Jolt Cola levels that doesn’t mean any detail is lost in the delightful kerfuffle. ‘Recorded in Brighton & Glasgow’ proudly proclaims the label and I’m guessing this is no clinical studio jam but a warm-up, pre-audience knock-about that captures all the spontaneity of a show without the beer-fug and crowd noise.
The first couple of tracks hit that pretty classic drum/Dicta duo bullseye, and after a while voices, and longer snatches of tape get fed into the audio-mincer. My bristly ear picks up some of Fritz’s Crumbs on the Dumpster tales of youthful indulgence amid the clatter and flummox. But nothing stands still. The subtle sound of coughs and whistles slide into the brain-pan and add an intimacy sadly lacking in your Incus-wannabe releases. Wibbley-wobbly mbira tones get plucked and tea cups jitter on bone china saucers; it’s all grist to the collective sound-mill but never feels slapped on with a trowel. That old balancing act – being free in spirit but precise in intent is easily soft-shoed across Niagara. The double-headed Fritz-ism wants you to listen and ENJOY listening.
So Enjoy. Do it!
*Hey cheap skates! Ikiuisuus not only brought us F.Ampism on this very day but you have to check out these free downloads from a whole bunch of beards and forest folk on their colourful website. The label that keeps on giving eh?
grot all get mangled: joe murray on panelak, f. ampism, david birchall, rogier small, rotten tables, golden meat, ckdhJuly 5, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: angurosakuson, ckdh, david birchall, f. ampism, improv, joe murray, new music, no audience underground, noise, panelak, pascal ansell, poot records, rogier small, rotten tables golden meat, tapes, total vermin, vocal improvisation
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)
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.
‘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.
Angurosakuson WordPress (for physical objects)
Angurosakuson Bandcamp (for downloads)
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.
Tags: acrid lactations, ali robertson, andie brown, anja dornieden, bridget hayden, brighton, cm von hausswolff, colour out of space, dictaphonics, dieter schnebel, dylan nyoukis, electronic voice phenomena, enzo minarelli, evp, f. ampism, fordell research unit, free radicals, gen ken montgomery, gonzalez monroy, greg kelly, gwilly edmondez, ilan volkov, improv, joe murray, jooklo duo, juan david, karen constance, lovers ritual, m. stactor, malcy duff, maya dunietz, michael esposito, new music, no audience underground, noise, occult hand, pascal ansell, patrick goddard, posset, roman nose, sharon gal, sindre bjerga, spoils & relics, the handeye (bone ghosts), the y bend, thf drenching, usurper, virginia genta, vocal improvisation
COLOUR OUT OF SPACE / 6
INTERNATIONAL EXPERIMENTAL SOUND FESTIVAL
Performance Weekend: 8th – 10th November, 2013, Brighton, UK
Editor’s note: RFM had two roving reporters present at this year’s Colour Out Of Space festival down in that Brighton. Regular contributor Joe Murray, who also performed, enjoyed himself enormously. Pascal Ansell, whippersnapper and occasional guest of RFM, ahh… not so much. Copious enthusiasm from Joe first, a more exacting response from Pascal to follow. Over to Joe:
Ahhhh Brighton…the sun, the sea, the squalor! I’ve had a soft spot for Brighton ever since I was a wee kiddie with a vivid imagination, trying to piece together the violent Mods & Rockers legend with the twin-set & pearls crowd that strolled slowly down the pier huffing camphor-scented liniments.
These days of course it’s all about the hipsters and Bubble Tea but I’m not complaining; I’ve got my freak on as I meet my gracious host Bod for a pint or two before we lurch expectantly to the main venue, The Old Market. Immediately adopting ‘Brighton time’ I missed the mysterious Occult Hand and outrageous Acrid Lactations who I both really wanted to see – please accept my apologies Occult Lactations, I was with you in spirit.
It was sometime around pint four I met up with my co-reporter Pascal Ansell and we immediately set ourselves up in a Hunter S Thompson style press-pack; silver-eyed Tuna darting purposefully through the flitting shoal. We rejected the usual journalistic conventions to move straight from gentle ‘forming’ to chaotic ‘storming’ within minutes, swapping war-zone anecdotes, snippets of esoteric record knowledge and the loudly proclaiming the relevance of Sammy Davis Jr. The result of such firm-calved bonding and reckless drinking resulted in a beery bonhomie for sure but also meant I pretty much missed every act to play on Friday. Oops…I did it again! The one that got away was the Enzo Minarelli. Dressed in dark jeans and tight black T shirt, his hair scraped back, there was an air of the ninja in his vocal guffings. Assisted with backing tracks of further mouth-chaff the precise and deadly Enzo sliced the air with steel-edged hissing and lippy smacks. This was no po-faced sound poetry lark but a right old hootenanny with his piece ‘Poem’ being turned into ‘PoemMacaroni’ in the curdled air. The rest of the bill was crammed with exceptional acts of legendary avant-gardary but to my shame dear reader I spent the remnants of Friday propping up the bar catching up with old friends and making new ones. I’ve never been a good mixer Midwichers but I made up for 43 years of insecurity and introversion with full-strength good cheer and love for my fellow travellers. You’re (hic) my best pal (hic)!
Saturday morning was an exercise in sickness, pain and remorse as I sheepishly ate brunch with family Bod and took the drizzly bus in disgrace to witness Gen Ken Montgomery in a Hove Oxfam shop. The steamy windows of the Oxfam obscured the ‘standing room only’ crowd as I inched in and stood, stomach lurching, for this exploration of the 8-track tomfoolery. Gen Ken, dapper in vintage Op Art shirt and tie manipulated old portable 8-tracks filling the damp air with warped 70’s AM rock all mashed and rotting. The warbles and trembles on the tape gave the Bee Gees et al a sepia fuzzed-out logic as loops were found and layered up into the consistency of dusty blancmange. He was a right card too, playing it up for the steaming crowd, making asides and throwing out hula-hoops of pulsating ‘waaahhhhoooosssshhhhh-voooshhhhhh’. After Gen Ken’s performance I wandered round Brighton for a bit, drank some peppermint tea (swearing off the demon drink for the rest of the weekend) and soundchecked with the great Gwilly Edmondez & THF Drenching.
At about teatime I found myself outside the very proper St Andrew’s church for some right high culture. Old-guy Produktionsprozesse composer-guy Dieter Schnebel was interviewed by Ilan Volkov about his approach to music and personal history. Dieter seems a game old bird, humble and gracious but with a sharp sense of humour…he somehow manages to call the audience stupid and make them love him for it…dude! A bunch of doofs play some Schnebel pieces: Maya Dunietz world premieres the ass off a beautiful and catchy piece for piano, voice and tambourine. Ilan and Maya throw some shapes in a gestural piece where composer and pianist struggle for supremacy like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Then Maya and Dylan Nyoukis get all serious and tackle a vocal piece for restricted mouthshapes and we end up with the most spellbinding piece of the afternoon. Like air hissing through naked ribs, dry and crackly. The pair, dressed in formal black, embrace at the end of the show, cracking hearts at CooS and letting pure love flow. The only way to follow such an intense and refined performance is of course with some chips so I headed to Bankers (Brighton’s best Fish & Chip shop) for sustenance.
Energised by hot potato and grease I walk into the Old Market to see the friendly and familiar face of Sindre Bjerga coaxing gentle tape loops out of his mess of wires and objects, polishing them up and floating them on the breeze like water-filled balloons pulling gruff-clouds out the air. Stepping round his desk he carefully wraps up a few people in abandoned cassette tape, hurls a miniature cymbal onto the deck and politely waves marking the end of a neat little set. Next up were a bunch of A-Band/Ceramic Hobs/Zero Map/Smell & Quim refugees calling themselves The Y Bend. The programme describes ‘no-mind sounds’ which pretty much sums up the Hawkwind out-takes vibe. Personally I’m transported back to the days of Anti-Poll Tax benefits as this jam band takes a note and jiggles it proper between guitar, keyboard, violin and eccentric hand percussion making incidental music for the revolution.
Roman Nose take the stage behind them and win the rosette for ‘best band of Saturday’. These days Roman Nose are very much a ‘band’ bridging the gap between rock’s looseness and tape/noise/jam’s love of overload. It’s almost funky with a pushing and pulling, a wrapping and un-wrapping of tape-fuff mittens across fluttering drums and breathy intrusions via flute and black-bamboo sheng. Throw some horns for the Nose!
Huge wineglasses are set up amid electronic doo-hickery for Sharon Gal and Andie Brown. These glasses are Jeroboam massive, pregnantly full; delicate but comprising a thousand potential shivs. Like an inverse Justice Yeldham the glass is thumbed to produce deep rasping drones. It’s great to watch the deft hand movement turn into such singing and bassy mulch. Gal uses her voice like some terror-choir re-enacting a trauma. Electronic squash makes a Black Metal grunt adding to the dungeon gloom. Wow…a Carpathian Forest sprouts from the floor as the thin rays of a dismal sun rise slowly in the East. The bald guy with all the pedals is M. Stactor; his mask is a composite of Her Majesty Betty II and Saddam Hussein. Slowed down speech goes ‘burrrrrrr’ and get shoved through a variety of whizz-bangs to come out ‘BURRRRRR’ anointed with contact-mic crackle and hand-palming crunch. Brand new CooS trio Edmondez/Posset/THF Drenching adopt the dual Dictaphone position like a crouching Judas Priest. Gwilly bangs his head like Halford. And seeing as I’m involved modesty prevents me for saying too much about this fine-legged beast.
I caught about 20 seconds of Bridget Hayden’s set but within that 20 seconds I heard the entire history of overblown fuzz-guitar from the Sonics to the Velvet Underground to the Dead C. Rusty chainmail began clanking out the walls; rolling thunder crashed from the ceiling. The very gods showed their pleasure in ancient, animalistic ways. Oh boy! I was still kicking myself when Greg Kelley & Dylan Nyoukis sat erect and purposeful on a pitch black stage. Side by side they were, with Greg’s tubes augmented with cold brass and Dylan’s with moist flesh. Snide hiss and scything tones crept almost guiltily from trumpet and gob, playing merrily between wet-mouth slappings and full jowl squelch. This was no dramatic, overwrought, performance piece nor academically apologetic. The “my voice, your voice” mantra summed up a lot of the days sessions in a simple repetitive phrase. Some jokers joined in on coughing and started a response group reflex (koff-KOFF-koff). The optimist in me thought the spontaneous outpouring would lead to a scratch feral choir but no…it was a piss take…yet troupers Kelley & Nyoukis toughed it out cackling and blowing the third eye till it blinked all yeasty. Lovers Ritual (Maya Dunietz & Ilan Volkov) used voice and violin to beguile, encouraging minimal and thin tones out the cracks in the light fittings. Not content with sticking to the stage both Maya & Ilan ended up on the floor, among the punters, stroking and keening their flexible bones in a tangled tableaux.
It’s Sunday. The Lords day. And me & Bod celebrate with a visit to a typical Brightonian Car Boot sale; he picks up some Colombian tapes, I nab a Fantasy Island fridge magnet and we both head happily to the Sallis Benney Theatre for the famous CooS film screenings. I really loved what I saw but I soon discovered it’s hard to take notes in the dark so am relying on musty recall only. Standouts…the bonkers The Handeye (Bone Ghosts) by Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy which coupled 19th Century taxidermy with digitized commands and the bumbling chunter from Patrick Goddard’s charming Free Radicals. As the films ended, us gaggle of cinema-goers milled around, checking maps and GPS systems to find the next venue, giggling over being able to genuinely say, ‘See you in church later man.’ A walk along the cold, crisp sea-front takes us back to St Andrew’s Church for a session of spooky Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) from CM von Hausswolff & Michael Esposito. I’m really excited about this one. Since I was a kid I’ve been in love with that flexi disc that came with the first edition of ‘The Unexplained’. Of course I never knew these supposed ghost voices were EVP but I totally dug the hissy weirdness. The two gents open with about 15 minutes of static tape hiss with the occasionally clunky ‘chump’ like ghosts dropping wooden marbles in a bucket. The fuff was pretty damn immersive and had some of the flagging hordes crashed out on the pews. CM and Michael then took us through some of their EVP recordings (cue demonic chuckle) made in this very church. What could have been (possibly should have been) spectral and creepy turned into a bit of a laugh as the particularly chirpy Michael introduced second-long sound-clips of the dead calling us ‘assholes’, urging us to ‘get out’, that they ‘are in love with married men’ and…to much hilarity…‘it’s all shite’. Wow the ghosts sound like angry jakeys!
Back in the Old Market I strained limbs to find my comrade Pascal. It was Jooklo Duo next and I was pretty sure he’d be right up the front for this. Some lazy sleuthing revealed Pascal had packed up and gone. He’d had enough and trekked back to Leeds earlier in the day. Oh Pascal…you would have loved what came next! Jooklo Duo were absolutely amazing. Now I know that’s trite, lazy journalism but I was too busy picking my eyeballs up off the floor to concentrate on clever words. This was a 100% lung-bursting blowout with drumming as agile as a crack-fuelled squirrel. I’m no jazz buff but I like my brassy honks and squeals. Jooklo one, Virginia Genta, plays like Pharaoh Sanders with some nifty Arabic scales quickly releasing that cheeky kundalini from the base of my spine. Woah boy, I said Woah! Not one or two but three casual acquaintances said this was ‘better than Brotzmann’. Heard that? Promoters…book ‘em now.
Brighton local f.Ampism loops and loops and loops domestic clunk, mbira tones and gentle sighing all engaging and releasing softly like the briny blue sea just 100 meters down the street. A film is projected behind his hat and beard; cut-up collage sourced from what seems to be the family Nyoukis archive and Martha Colburn’s paint splattered horror-core. I have to admit I’m a total fan-boy of Amp’s choogle-leech-warp but this was a whole new saltine! Fordell Research Unit sat like a couple of chess masters and manipulated a pretty damn heavy drone with micro-movements. So far, so good. In tiny, tiny increments the drone gets grunty and somehow slower and fuller until we’re faced with a monolith – a black slab, playing the theme tune for the world’s most evil super villain. There’s a growing feeling of excitement for the next set from noise-monkeys Spoils & Relics with Karen Constance. Faced with a table full of gizmos and wires the quartet sat in quiet contemplation building a Jenga house of quivering tones and darkly-twinkling steam. Like some giant engineering puzzle, pieces are interlocked; a spark starts a fire and is extinguished ruthlessly by the hobo fire brigade. After a time the factory klaxon calls and the workers down tools and melt into grease.
It’s no secret; I’m a little in love with Usurper. Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff have been making the most singular no-input music for half a decade at least. Writing about Usurper is always a tough gig; their total lack of any of the regular handholds makes the amateur pamphleteer work hard, busting chops to describe their occasional cutlery pings and tales of Auld Reekie. Tonight they are joined by Dora Doll, one half of the legendary Prick Decay, on scissors as a circular story unfolds on twin tape recorders. Narratives intertwine as a regular haircut turns into a meditation on the seaside and seaside ritual. A grumpy Ali gets wrapped in ribbon like a maypole, Malcy crawling on the floor streaming the red and white tapes behind him. Hairy objects are presented to Ali & Dora for snipping. A guitar FX pedal, a pair of glasses, a descant recorder are shorn of hair and (in some cases) indecently rubbed beneath the barber’s shawl. Apart from the taped stories, folding in and out of phase there is a rare skronk-interruption on contact-miked yard brush ‘Shussssh, shusssh, shussssh’ as Malcy coughs up hairballs. Any traditional ideas of what performance is are dashed. Any preconceptions of what underground art should be are delightfully roasted. Usurper are right out on a limb, doing their very own thing and making up a whole new set of parameters. What on the page seems like random vignettes has a strong sense of direction and pace…and most importantly fun. I’m laughing like a drain and looking round to see a crescent of bemused yet joyful faces. No one is really sure what they have witnessed but pretty much everyone agrees it was damn fine.
The tapes spool to an end, Usurper and Dora bow and grin, and my CooS adventure comes to an end. It’s been a trip and a half Midwichers. Brighton itself is a beautiful backdrop to this very psychedelic weekend, the bands/acts/performers have all brought their own slice of oddness with a spice and professionalism the naysayers often miss. But for me it’s all been about the people…the floating and transient chats, the laughs and the in-depth conversations. There’s that quote about the Velvet Underground isn’t there? They didn’t sell loads of records but everyone who bought one formed their own band. Well this weekend might have been an intimate affair but I wonder how many projects and plans were hatched, how many ideas were sparked and alliances formed. CooS brings the no-audience underground together like a giant think-tank…but what’s gonna occur? I can’t wait to find out.
Editors note: a comprehensive selection of band bios and links can be found on the COOS website here. Photos by Joe or Marc Teare.