slip away into the great digital night: the midwich review pile and nine clumsy haiku offerings

April 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Fells – Menhir (Self Release)

Traven – ЯTLLCTЯNCS (Aetheric Records)

Sad_Rave – Add Red (Don’t Drone Alone)

Algobabez- Burning Circuits (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Ewa Justka – Acid Smut (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Epipohra – Love Songs (Self Released)

Mattin “Songbook #6 (Munster Records/Crudités Tapes/SDZ/Insulin Addicted)

David Greenberger, Glenn Jones, Chris Corsano – An Idea in Everything (Okraïna)

Alan Courtis – Los Galpones (Fabrica Records)

 

Life!  It’s all a bit of a balancing act eh?

On one hand I’ve been bemoaning poor attendance at live shows.  Is a crowd of 6 people at a gig still worthy of the title ‘crowd’?   But, on the other hand the amount of downloads, tapes and CD-Rs that we in the N-AU put out seems to be increasing exponentially.

I get it.  Sometimes getting out the house can take military planning and a frugal counting of pennies.  For many of us life is a careful juggling act with work, family, artistic practice, economics, study and health just a few of the balls in the air at any one time.

Or, leaving the house could even be a very reasonable reaction to world affairs.  Things are so fucking fucked pulling the covers back over my head in the morning sometimes seems to be the only sane thing to do.

For many of us staying in results in getting more done.  There’s more time to plan/plot and record. Using free software to create, edit and distribute your work means a project can move from brain-spark to universally available download in an afternoon.  And while the N-AU has always had a prolific work-rate, releasing something every couple of months is becoming the new norm.

Hoorah and good gravy eh?

But herein lies the rub.  For the last 3 or 4 months we at RFM have been staggering under an increasingly huge listening pile – close to 150 releases.  Try as we might; the regular chipping away from us old hands and even taking on a clutch of talented and exciting new writers is not making a huge difference because each passing day adds another multi-album download or set of (generally wonderful looking) links to the pile.  And of course we’re human too and all juggle work, family, artistic practice, economics, study and health along with this extra listening and writing.

We’ve reached a point where something has to give.

So apologies to anyone who has been waiting 6 months plus for a review – it’s probably not going to happen – but I suppose you guessed that already.  We are going to keep the 50 or so recordings we have personally agreed to, but the rest of the pile will respectfully slip away into the great digital night.

Nothing happens at Midwich Towers without debate and this is not a decision that we arrived at lightly.  But it does mean we can get back to doing what we set out to do: share passionate and energetic writing about the music that matters to us as it happens.

In the meantime here’s some snatches from the notebook hoofed into a clumsy haiku format…

fells menhir

Fells – Menhir (Self Release) tape and digital album

Wonderful breathing:

Granite sighs with great effort.

A bright moon looks on

traven

Traven – ЯTLLCTЯNCS (Aetheric Records) 3” CD-r and digital album

Spanish moss hangs low –

hissing tape, werewolf’s foul breath

no silver bullets…

sad rave

Sad_Rave – Add Red (Don’t Drone Alone) CD-r and digital album

Flickering notes from

a faithful Pisaro score.

Chat.  Sine-wave edits.

algobabez

Algobabez- Burning Circuits (Fractal Meat Cuts) tape and digital album

Real-time coding act.

Beats liquefy into goo,

Brain-melt soon follows.

acid smut

Ewa Justka – Acid Smut (Fractal Meat Cuts) tape and digital album

Sid James – “Haw, Haw, Haw”

dripped with a caustic liquid.

Dancing feet scrubbed up.

epiphora 2

Epipohra – Love Songs (Self Released) non-physical release

Mashed through dark velvet.

Maybe a jealous lover

bent up your best shades?

mattin

Mattin “Songbook #6 (Munster Records/Crudités Tapes/SDZ/Insulin Addicted) 12” vinyl and digital album

Severe warp and fuxx

Genre-free rock played like jizz

Don’t resist – give in!

greenberger

David Greenberger, Glenn Jones, Chris Corsano – An Idea in Everything (Okraïna) double 10” vinyl and digital album

More Duplex stories

Banjo and drum improvise

Lost wisdom and joy.

alan courtis

Alan Courtis – Los Galpones (Fabrica Records) limited edition vinyl LP and digital album

Overlook Hotel.

Evil lives in the walls here.

Guitars drive them out!

Fells Bandcamp

Aetheric Records

Don’t Drone Alone

Fractal Meat Cuts

Epiphora Soundcloud

SDZ Records

Okraina Records

Fabrica Records

-ooOOoo-

 

twitching like a rope: joe henderson on marlo eggplant, dtub and bowditch

March 9, 2017 at 7:05 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Marlo Eggplant – Callosity (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Dtub – Midi-Drum Compositions-1 (Fractal Meat Cuts)

Bowditch – Southend Objectified (Fractal Meat Cuts)

(Ed’s mumble…buckle up, buckle up readers for this first dizzying and deconstructed ear-report from our new bean Joe Henderson.)

FRACTAL MEAT POST-VALENTINE SPECIAL/Jan-March Streets Edition (Marlo Eggplant, Dtub & Bowditch)

First post. It’s a cold & drizzly Sunday afternoon. Listening to the radio.

The industrious Graham Dunning, head-honcho of Fractal Meat Cuts label, delivers a small-packaged bomb of audio pleasures (including his own limited edition, custom made, generation-loss cassette – which exists in another Universe as of now, and to be reviewed when time catches up with me – but can be perused via his catalogue).

Marlo EggplantFirst up, Marlo Eggplant. Baltimore-born, Midwich reporter & SPA. Title: Callosity. Edition of 40 cassettes.

The world turns in the right direction. Valentines Day. The most fucked up day of the year. It’s grim. It’s cold. It’s loveless. I’m dialing in Dr. Eggplant.

The ashy clearing; she strums it whilst the birds go low. Animals pitch in. Marked by their slow heavy breathing. Unseen but heard. It’s always cold, but in her warm cocoon. I get so introverted, listening to music like this. Opening drawers in corners of my psyche. I’m in a stupor. Dusty softly done. Expanse throbbing. Ray-gun echoes. Like a solemn hymn to a mutant future generation (what’s wrong with X-Men?). Moving the man-hole cover away. The street lamps are a way to see at night – don’t ever forget that. She snores from another life. The quality of being led with ones hands tied behind their backs down a corridor of gloom. Footsteps all around you. Music flickering in your memories, all around you – like crowds. Fake ghosts turned off and on. Hounding by a beated rhythm. Iron curtains coming down, repeatedly. Running into the horizon without a care in the world. A white bag flapping around you. You’ve lost your memories. You riffle thru them. Like old car tapes. Chewed and sticky. But enchanted. You just never quite know for sure what the Universe says of you. It’s your little old self and the entire realm of possibility. The end coming again, and again, and again. Dusting off a little time piece, found in the dirt. A microcosm of tiny delights. Ticking down the days. Moving the man hole again. Those adverts played on me. The ones for ghost writers. Lulling those. It’s fake news. Make you question your reality. Backwards rolling tongue thru two rolling pins. Imagine waking up to a forest. All the world is twisting like a rope. Glitching small primates handle mechanized wooden mallets. “Is it normal to lie there and cry?”

QVESTIONS:

What’s your favourite brand of light bulb?

Fake candle bulbs

How often do you regret your future?

Constantly and with insistence

What’s black and blue & red all over?

I believe the answer is a newspaper but arguably several tropical fish

Helicopter drifting with a broken wing thru the jungle

Love is not a tomb

The sky has been that torn yellow colour

For so long now, like alleys that never change

What burns hotter than the sun?

My looooooove

Where do the birds go?

To the moon and back

What is your favourite colour blue?

Midnight

What’s your favourite penny-sweet?

Licorice/Liquorice

 Side 1
1. Roots
2. Cautionary
3. Distillation
4. Embers
5. Par

Side 2
6. Incident
7. Lines

8. Voice(d)
9. Songed

Format: Cassette & Download SOLD OUT

Want some more?  Click on this beautiful beauty to watch Joe’s stunning video interpretation of Marlo’s track Embers.

Dtub

And then, Dtub. Electric drummer. Live album. Title: Midi-Drum Compositions-1. Edition of 60 tapes

Love this. I was lucky to see Dtub play at the Cowley Club in February on tour with Dunning & Eggplant. A self-contained motorized human-man, riding the unstoppable cycles of his beats, focussed on propelling the rhythms. Snippets of vocals samples woven into wooden timbre. A man engulfed in his unfolding creation. A train. Can’t stop, Can’t get off. Was reminded a week later of standing in the middle of London Road with Tom Roberts of Bolide & Aeolipile – cars driving ‘round us. The bar-maid offering me the choice of a pint or a jug of Cowley beer. Missed work again the next morning. Can’t remember what was on the news that day..

  1. Clockwerk
  2. 2. Newbark
  3. Faucet Dub
  4. Bubble Freak
  5. Pump-1989
  6. Hi-Tec House
  7. Jibber-Jabber
  8. Warehouse Jam
  9. Music By Numbers
  10. 16-Bit Funk Machine

Format: Cassette & Download SOLD OUT

bowditch

Bowditch. Likes to explore the mysterious and conflate it to highlight our cognition of place, experience, space. Prolific human. Title: Southend Objectified. Edition of 60 cassettes.

Sounds like thumbing a live cable. Juttery, jongery, galloping horses disintegrating, distinctly metallic in regions.

Stuart Bowditch appears inside his website wearing his field recording gear, in front of some stately home. There is horse, a man in armour and a man who has thrown his arms in the air and is hollering, dressed in medieval garb.

I begin to tap my fingers in time to ‘Bear pit’, unaware of myself doing this until I begin to write about it: “found some different tools and got to work on objects and recordings from my home town.”

 What’s your favourite breed of pig?

Side A
1. Town Crier’s Bell
2. The Railway Hotel Gents’ Toilet Hand Dryer (Broken)
3. Kenco Coffee Tub

Side B
4. Flooded House
5. Bear Pit (Point B)
6. S.O.U.T.H.E.N.D.
(Sewage Outlet Under Thames Hides Even Nastier Discharge)

Format: Cassette & Download

Jan- Mars Streets Mix is as follows:

Ndolwane Super sounds ‘Umph’ahambe’, Steely Dan ‘Steely Dan God’, Amr Diab ‘Tamally Maak’, Radical Dance Faction ‘Borderline Cases’, The Fall ‘I am Kurious Oranj’.

Put yer listening devices here

Egyptian Dream Book says: “It is the duty of the kidneys to see that the blood keeps pure. Not to make pure blood – the food we do not eat does that – but to remove from the blood all the impurities it has gathered up during its circuit of the body”

“I know, Ben mumbled. “But I didn’t have a motive” – Pg. 17. Mystery Detective.

Over an’ Out Com’s xx

 

Marlo Eggplant

Jaxson Payne/Dtub

Bowditch

Fractal Meat Cuts

-ooOOOoo-

 

 

chasing the unnatural: joe murray on graham stewart, brendan mcgeever, 21st century band, downer canada, graham dunning, tom white

November 4, 2016 at 1:26 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Graham Stewart & Brendan McGeever – Larsson Sessions (tape, Piped-in From Head Office Records, pifho007, edition of 41 or download)

21st Century Band – Dinner Free (tape, no label – or not, see editor’s note below)

Downer Canada – Hieronsong (microcassette, tape, Power Moves Library, PMLibrary 010, edition of 5, edition of 11 or download)

Graham Dunning & Tom White – You Are a New Creature (tape or download, Fractal Meat Cuts, initial edition of 10 with hand-printed lasagne sheet)

larsson

Graham Stewart & Brendan McGeever – Larsson Sessions

It’s the tradition for hacks like me to drop them Blade Runner references coz it’s such an N-AU universal [Editor’s note: as a life-long PKD fan and former PKD obsessive, I think Blade Runner is shite, not a patch on the existential masterpiece it is ‘inspired’ by].  Blah, blah, blah – Replicants and Vangelis yeah!  But for once I want to tweak the paradigm and re-imagine the rainy streets and heavy manners for a pastel-smeared over-the-rainbow, Studio Ghibli version.  In my imagining folk are retired with a big hug, the noodles come with a side order of foam bananas and the massive Greek gets turfed out the studio to allow Stewart and McGeever to tinkle on the slack plastic keys [Editor’s note: that would be better, f’sure].

What we gets here is a set of micro-songs and themes all played lightly on the Roland System 100 Model 101 and Korg Poly 800 exactly in the middle of 2004; predating Oneohtrix and his goons by 8 seasons at least (by my cheesy reckoning).

Soft and delightful.  The wobble floats upwards, the digital purring of a cat shifts into a light sprinkle of icing sugar dusting your cheeks.  A brave world is glimpsed through the cotton candy fug, orange and pink and red, the colour melts onto your tongue chasing the unnatural.  A most gentle voice, tones almost under the threshold of my hearing, instantly turning the instrumental studies into something approaching the Scottish Air!

Zoinks!  It’s rare I listen to anything so self-consciously pretty.  Sure, there is rough and fragile beauty a-plenty in ‘da scene’ but these deliberate constructions of a blunted, golden sunlight chimes perfectly with me on a cold autumn morning.  My word!  These warm pools of analogue colour splodge with a tranquillity rare in this day and age; the hopscotch skipping makes my toes jolly ranchers.

While critics goof on that arch Stranger Things parade… the coolest boys in school have been digging out the archive and pulling out the real thing.

Get lucky.

21st-a21st-b

21st Century Band – Dinner Free

[Editor’s note: as this tape was chucked directly into the rabbit warren where Family Posset live I have never actually seen it.  The discogs listing gives that name and title and says it is without label.  However, almost every picture the internet associates with it suggests it could also be called ‘Masochism’ and be released by Vitrine with the catalogue number VT18 in an edition of 100.  As we are diligent journos here at RFM I demanded photos from Joe and received the above.  Unused J-cards being recycled?  In-joke?  ‘Art’?  Who knows, eh?  Those scamps!]

I’m guessing you sound-sorcerers ken THE VOICE OF THE MYSTERONS yeah?  All that booming echo that explodes outta nowhere yet still casts a circular shadow?  Ever imagined THE MYSTERONS washing up, fixing a bicycle tyre or rattling around just for the jaxx of it?

21st Century Band (or perhaps it’s Masochism, also mentioned on the tape sleeve) taps right into this Martian telekinetic vibe and sets up a broadcast of damp clanging and the glug-glug-glug of a jug-band decanting their tear-stained blues.

Events are fractured from their reality belt.  Without an eye we are left rather loose in our understanding and this, my dearest reader, is what makes Dinner Free so gloriously slack and comfy.

I can project any sordid thoughts onto this soft creamy expanse of recorded fuh.  So much so, when the one-note keyboard pads like the soft foot of a toddler I’m so deep, I’m so immersed it all sounds natural and right.  The plastic flute – natural and right.  The brief Hawaiian TV snappet – natural and right  (Side A – ‘New Sensations’).

Side B – ‘Kyoko on Yoko’, makes even less sense.  Someone is reading a Dennis Wheatley novel and acting out the opening ritual scene which would be scary if the Satanists weren’t so damn posh.  Who’s ever been spooked by a dandy Satanist?

But, I have to admit, the squeal of the wheel has a swing like Jaki Liebezeit – even the tugboat horn solo could be a cowbell.  Even the juddering machine soundz could be floor toms slapped with rubber teats.

A real tickler (‘Hidden Tracks’) rigs up the exact sound of an English back-bedroom; cracked pipes (laid out on a wooden chair) and Woolworths guitar with that distinctive watery treble. It fair takes me back to the smell of fanzine ink  – Grim Humour and the Kent massive!

hieronsong

Downer Canada – Hieronsong

Hyper-real tape pieces from the multi-limbed Kev Cahill that came out on a damn micro-cassette! It’s sold out now, in this rarest of formats, but there’s no excuse not to point a squeaky mouse at the download option.

We’re talking 30 minutes of delicious hiss and human breath here.

Part one sounds like a lo-fi take on Steve Reich classic ‘Come Out’ recorded on a cross channel ferry.  The

speaking, dreaming, lucid, vision

refrain loops incessantly, folding back on itself, building up layers of meaning then squeezing them flat like word toothpaste out from a tube.  The listening experience is strangely comforting, your mind wanting a rhythm to settle but edgily excited by each new juxtaposition thrown up the wonderful (dis)symmetry of loop-music.

Part two fuzzes deliciously for a third of its lifespan; there’s nothing much happening apart from the busy fizz of magnetic tape buffering across the simple mechanics of dual tape players and the sound of a real live room.  But as I’m getting settled into a Jazzfinger frame-of-mind multiple wooden flutes parp with jittery menace across the landscape. These ‘pipes of pan’ induce a real panic, a loss of control and feeling of unease that’s hard to shake.  Not sure if it’s the tone or the collapsing logic that is so unsettling here but I breathe out again only when a firm finger presses ‘stop’ and the ritual clicks off.

File under shipping-forecast-peyote-trip music.

new-creature

Graham Dunning & Tom White – You Are a New Creature

A magpie-eyed borrower and reel-to-reel druid are joined by saucy neophytes on both ‘crisps’ and ‘rice spill’ for ‘Battle Overall Perspectives’, a lengthy vexation that takes up all of side one.

Rattle-hula and rimple-roll eh?

That’s right!  Simple crackle and rippage is run across slack mag-heads while CO2 is bubbled through warm milk (blub,blub,blub) making the edge of it smell suspiciously fruity.  There’s a pet lip protruding as the nimble fingers tackle crispy potato snacks and mash sticky rice with gummy mouths.

The sound-scape runs between ‘impossibly busy’ to ‘sparse and spooky’ like an inner city carpark over the course of its stale concrete day.  And it’s these movements; the transitions that make me roll over and cry ‘Uncle!’  Such plastic crackles are not uncommon in the N-AU (see Robert Ridley’s latest Tupperwave ) but the damn languor of the knuckle pops is glorious.  Glorious ya hear?

Interlaced: stray moments of crowd noise, a piano, more crisps and knotty knocks… then an ill wind blows.  We’ve moved to a very different terrain.  The ‘fi’ is shoved up high into your face and the dry and brittle becomes sleek and oil-filmed.  I’m seabird drowning in black gold.

If there’s not an ecological message I’m damn well chalking one up.  My slow-brain ruminates on nasty packaging and unnecessary filling, those string bags for oranges, tin pie dishes and the grot you have to wrench off a jar of Dolmio before you can douse your pasta in that crimson gloop.

The gummy mouths strike back in ‘Raking Leaves on Black Top’ (side B) with a filthy nosh of sloshing, rushing and warped crotchets.

A studio piece, this revels in heavy echo and thick textures creating a sly narcotic effect potent as Scientist’s Space Invaders dunked into a frothing burn, brook or beck.

And while I’m typing away, the increasingly unhinged ‘flup, flupp, puppp… whirrrrrrr, flup,pup, pup’ of mangled tape really starts to fidget at the edges of my vision.  I get audio hallucinations; I see a tunnel and my lips tremble.  A wheelbarrow of melons trundles by, scarlet ivy grows up my trouser leg.  This really is some Live at the Filmore East joint.  My gosh!

But this psychedelic vibe is well and truly bummed on closer ‘Reville Bugle Call’ by pitting those ‘Sounds of Death and Horror’ sound effects el-pees against the incidental Foley from an episode of Space 1999 with all their sexy catsuits and leotards.  I’m sat up straight and paying strict attention as the vortex of shrieks and damp piano sustains my crystal plumage.

Dunning & White.  Jokers maybe, explorers for sure – but watch out for the sharpened key hidden between the fingers.  I said watch it!

—ooOoo—

21st Century Band / Vitrine – Be resourceful.

Piped-in From Head Office Records

Power Moves Library

Fractal Meat Cuts

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