hot mayo: rfm on flamingo creatures, lambs gamble and ezio piermattei

June 6, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Flamingo Creatures – Fisch Versucht das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate)

Lambs Gamble – Farewell Body Bags (Discombobulate)

Ezio Piermattei – Tre Madri Ludopatiche (Discombobulate)

 Flamingo Creatures cassette inlay dimensions 181016 copy MUSTARD WITH MASK

Flamingo Creatures – Fisch Versucht das Sprechenlernen (Discombobulate) C40 Cassette

The International Dictionary of Gonzo gets a new foreword from Cologne’s finest – Flamingo Creatures.

Each section of this lithe and saucy tape is a miniature moment of prime wonk-o-lah.  Be it gloomy bouncing balls, crackling snickets or mashed-up tape werks the Flamingo Creatures breathe new life between their thumbs to hoot like a couple of funky owls.

WARNING: All direct points of contact are skilfully erased to build a new map of the territory.

So…side one features some brave violin scratching, floating trumpet and human voice – a known/known if you’d like.  But this nestles up (sometimes in the same movement, the same musical sequence) against free-gibbering and bowling-shoe-bass/electronic-shadowing to create a most definite unknown/unknown.  The results hark back to the time Miles ditched his beards after the Plugged Nickel and recruited pure hobos, gardeners and short-order cooks to jazz it up on Thunderbird, lawnmower and blackened skillet.

Side two is a weirder listen. Yeah? Oh yeah! Call and response was never so whacked-out and spluttered.  Each squeal of viola/tape is a Half-Nelson. I’m incapable of movement, pinned to the floor by the otherness, poise and audacity.  Fans of bass are sated once more as this jam flaps all loose and goosy, like Harry Secombe (with Spike’s understated piano playing).

Just when you think things are going to descend into a well of gushing-saliva an oasis opens…yellow sunlight brightens the corners to reveal a well-classy set of final movements; all cuckoo clock, xylophone and shimmering vocal intervals.

Delicate as a china cup, the tinkles and baroque pace transport the listener to a genteel occasion.  You outwardly do all the right things, smile politely and munch a biscuit safe in the knowledge you’ve got a flick knife in your pocket and odd socks.


Lambs Gamble – Farewell Body Bags (Discombobulate) Pus-yellow Vinyl LP

The LAMBS GAMBLE TRIO huff and moan like Shaolin Monks on a day off (lounging about, smoking tabs) but can leap into tight fighting stance in a blink of an eye.

The three of them: Eric Boros (guitarz, electronics, mouth), George Cremaschi (bass, electronics, mouth) and Fritz Welch (percussion, electronics, mouth) are uniquely fabulous. Moving between free jazz/jaxx, the inverted space of ‘rock’ and the spooky absence of bagel holes with aplomb (or a plum!) no mood, texture or direction is left un-poked.

Picture the little amigos cramped in a studio, all manner of pot and pan, plank and trap piled up in front of the Marshalls.  Each ant grabs a pile of clutter, hugs it tight and then sets off on a musical journey starting deep in rural China but ending up somewhere distinctly volcanic.  Readers of a nervous disposition may wonder.

“So is this a free-for-all?  An everyone-louder-than-everyone-else blank-jam?”

My answer to you friend is a firm but understanding, “No”.

With beards as grey as these you can count on experience, quality and musical-kindness.  Sonic spaces are tugged and fretted but that all-important space is left, like a eye in a clam hurricane to give folk a toehold.

I’ll go further…the lost art of the gentleman-improviser who (quite ingeniously) has built up a vocabulary and grammar that is communicated with a raised eyebrow, a tugged earlobe and discreet sniff reigns supreme on this disc.

[no matter how damp the squelch, high the squeal and wide the holla]

Sho’ nuff these three bears clatter and hawk, whinge-moan and patter the skins in abstract patterns but for maybe 20 seconds an alien Link Wray riff starts up, soon to end up melted cheese over the fog of electronic huffing and rattlin’ chains.  So you see…it’s not all jerk chicken but some deep, deep rock-a-billy.

40 minutes of classical fuh and improv-noir.



Ezio Piermattei – Tre Madri Ludopatiche (Discombobulate) C40 Cassette

Our friend Ezio Piermattei is fast-becoming the unapproachable tape-duke.  The solo-egg who can’t be beat!

This collection is a dizzying prospect – sonic vertigo – set in a concrete world.  Each whiff and klonk, tape-jaxx segment or secret field recording is patched together with a craftsman’s hand and a painter’s eye.  Secret worlds are unveiled as you peel back the onion skins: wooden skittles rocking woodenly, an Italian street scene or distant chimes sunk backwards into the mix.

Each moment becomes a theatre set for the ears with actors stepping onto an imposing stage; some armed with Dictaphone grot, others with cheap plastic toys.  As each actor overlaps (following dainty and discrete footprints carved into the parquet floor) their sound offering slips right to left, left to right, upstage and downstage.  This gentle movement launches Piermattei’s work into a category beyond mere collage and into the rarefied world of highfalutin sound-design.

Side one moves on a journey from ‘the street’ and all that entails across a highly polished desert into a foundry of Bakelite and Lucite.  Costume jewellery is dropped from various heights to create a dull pattering while Ezio gibbers on in his own ‘language of birds’.  Shade is provided in the form of more dark mumbles and the wrenching of a recalcitrant cork from an unyielding bottle.  One deft finger on the pitch wheel sends this off into outer space; my tiny brain wrinkling as if it’s pickled in ginger as I try and keep up with the pace.

Side two starts with a Babel of voices duet-ing with a practical Vespa and fondled gravel – the sound of young Bologna!

The leaps in fidelity keep a smile on my greasy chops – for one moment we’re wrapped in soft comforting Dicta-fuzz, then we’re scrubbed-up clean for a studio or computer-manipulated movement.   The changes in texture add a further dimension; like listening to the on-stage banter at a Fall gig, the truth lies somewhere between the plainly stated and deliberately provocative.

A brief kidney-flush of hiss and scrabble aside things are kept purposefully beautiful and wobbling: voice crackle in fake-stereo, tape jizz squirts it’s hot mayo, TV gossip chatters to no one except the caged songbirds.  Listen out at the 15 minute mark for a brace of sublime hamfist – the dry recording capturing not only perfect tape juggling koffs but that honest click of finger on button.

With the smallest of details and the most humble of approaches Exio PiXrmXxxei launches solo tape gonk into a new orbit.

Are you ready for your space walk captain?





respectfully anxious: joe murray on recent releases from spam

September 20, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Flamingo Creatures – Rock Classics Vol 1 (tape, SPAM, spam11)

Sinergia Elettronica – Maribor (tape, SPAM, spam9, edition of 80)

Baldruin – Klaue (tape, SPAM, spam12, edition of 40)

Dan Melchior – Black Night/New Morning (tape and riso-printed art zine, SPAM, spam10, edition of 80)

rock classics

Flamingo Creatures – Rock Classics Vol 1

Spam in a cabin?  Spamalot?  Hey man… Spam gets a bad press these days.  But for the chopped pork/tinned meat generation Spam holds a heart-warming place next to austerity-busting Woolton Pie and greasy Snoek.  But my RFM groovers… I’m digressing.  This bundle of very welcome Spam slapped onto the welcome mat and worked its way straight up to the tape deck with no delay.

First up it’s the sinister playground sound of FLAMINGO CREATURES, the CEO(s) of all this delightful SPAM.  Imagine a Mesopotamian naming ceremony with Sun Ra guesting on keyboards and winsome chanting (via perished inner tube), then tune into a very delicate use of reverb giving each sound a mauve shadow.  Plucked violin makes me think patchwork thoughts while electronic wheezes huff asthmatically.  Each phrase is coupled perfectly; the buba-buba-buba rumbles give much needed bass heft to the lighter pinched strings. The ‘poing’ of amplified springs is coddled in gritty looped finesse. All this jiggery-pokery is paced gently.  Don’t run away with the thought this is rushed or hurled about willy-nilly (the approach of many a goof-merchant).  The confidence to just let sounds be, explore and stretch out shows a deeply sedative practice, a mastery of one’s art.  A love of what matters: sound, space and magic.


Sinergia Elettronica – Maribor

Full-on wonk/skronk and gronk from this sooper-grooper of jaxx-monks The Jooklo Duo and gibbet-swingers Metabolismu.

I know what you’re thinking…

This is going to be a meeting of THAT GOD DAMN free jazz beast and 60’s style, horn-rimmed spectacles wearing, white-coat sporting radiophonic electronics goof.

I can’t fool you dear readers… you are on the darn dirty dollar with your perceptive deductions.

Each musical moment of this seriously funky tape is bished and bashed through copper circuits and magnetic mercury pools.  It hums and squeals.  It soars and plummets.  The black becomes white, the up becomes down.  Electricity has the upper hand here; lightning squiggles through drainpipes, ROM memory crashes in a spectacular fashion, empty batteries prompt fluctuating voltage through Tron’s soldered city.  But… it’s not all Robocop trap work.  Oh no.  Real life human intervention beats a flexitone solo over hot dusty wire.  Bamboo pipes hiss real-life breath over the meta-organic complexity.  The effect is future/retro… Tetuso the Iron Man with ice-hockey hair.  We see a pre-Skynet meeting of minds; human and blow-bot both digging Don Cherry’s pocket trumpet squark and the blunt architecture of machine code as beautiful sides of a similar moist coin.

Further listening seems to plunge me deeper into this parallel universe.  Steam Punks… you got it so wrong.  In Sinergia Elettronica’s alternate reality Halim El-Dabh got that Mohawk he always fancied.

Years later we all wake up and Bad Brains are fresh for raspberry Pi.


Baldruin – Klaue

New Day Rising!

Lo-fi keyboard studies like a little Ludwig Van champing away at his harpsichord in a powdered wig (dripping glitter).

The Bandcamp blurb says Baldruin is showing a more distorted, noisy and abstract side on this saucy tape which makes me think ‘blimey’ as this is as tripped out as a tie-dyed vest with ‘GONG’ written on it.

All the colours are swirling man…

But, let’s get serious.  That’s no dig at a soft head.  No way.  The Baldruin delivers the hum and fuss of machine-made circuits, the flipped out, the turned on.

A Space Echo doubles each fingered shove so things ripple nice across your personal spectrum.  Tunes waft in soft on the jasmine winds, suggested as such, and then gently tugged away.  But not before they spiral-drill into the soft grey matter (tiny delicate earworms); so when dislodged they pull my precious neurons free!

This Baldruin plays with the edges, mastering the indistinct and implied.  In the same way a micro-movement of the cheek and eye muscles can turn a smile into a snarl, twists of the sonic palette warm up chilly electronics until they are a comfortable 98.6 Fahrenheit all over.

For fans of day-dreaming and the soft ‘swussh’ of traffic skimming down rain-drenched streets.



Dan Melchior – Black Night/New Morning

Dan pushes this tape/pen & ink combo to create a wonderful multi-platform experience.

Very gradual tape melange fritters the start of ‘Black Night’ until things settle into electronic tones both deep and ribbed.  Like running a stick across the railings the juddering swoops soon become symphonic, softly shouldering each other into little human pyramids.

The jagged malfunction vibe increases as ghostly voices compete with the black-night vibrations; things start to crash like trees yelling ‘TIMBER’ from splintered mouths as they fall beneath the developer’s mega-deforestation-tank.

The warble continues.  Fresh noise is squeezed on from time-to-time but the lolling, rolling tones keep on keeping on like dark tidal soul.

Turning the tape over to ‘New Morning’ creates a sharp contrast.  This side long piece is a guitar meditation full of those optimistic swells that give me little tingles.  It must be some sort of AMSR shit but certain notes, in certain orders under certain circumstances give me a shiver – a shudder of electricity just under the skin.  Add to this the slow pace and classy VOX stuttery r-e-v-e-r-b and I drift back to teenage summer holidays – that blissful ache of warm cider evenings and unrequited love.  But before this gets all Spacemen 3 a gentle organ-huff blows across the stereo-skies, human chatter leaks through the gaseous wobble and the tape is rounded off chalky and lavender.

The accompanying zine ‘Biro Crimes’ is even more direct than the tape; a selection of drawings made at the Duke Cancer clinic are respectfully anxious and never less than beautiful.

A treasure, like all this wonderful SPAM.  Be sure to check out the SPAM bandcamp for more tapes, zines and vinyl.


SPAM on Bandcamp

SPAM blog – Flamingo Creatures and Baldruin releases (also: Baldruin on Bandcamp)

SPAM blog – Sinergia Elettronica release

SPAM blog – Dan Melchior release (also: Dan Melchior via Meudiademorte Records)

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