slurred morse: nameless city haiku compiled

September 9, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Culver – Prophecy Of The Black Spider (tape, Mantile Records, #027, edition of 50)

Culver – “Kitty” (tape, Agorafobia Tapes, #31)

ZN – Carniceria (CD-r or download, self-released)

The Dead End Street Band – Bombs Rain Down on Innsmouth (tape, Agorafobia Tapes, #29)

La Mancha Del Pecado – Witchskinner (tape, Agorafobia Tapes, #28)

Inseminoid – Gemma’s Sacred Waters (tape, Matching Head, MH204)

Xtul – Black Holes of Stellar Mass (CD-r, self-released, edition of 30)

Female Borstal / NIHL – Split (tape, matching head, mh206)

culver - prophecy

…and so for the second anthology of my recent haiku reviews. This time I’m addressing the Tyneside noise/drone scene and its transatlantic outpost in Juárez, Mexico. Picture Lee Stokoe (of Culver and Matching Head tapes) sitting in a dark grey throne room that giddies the senses with its non-Euclidean geometry. On the other side of the Atlantic Miguel Perez (of La Mancha Del Pecado and Agorafobia Tapes) sits cross-legged on the floor of his desert cave whistling along to the howling wind. Eschewing the internet, they commune via crystal balls each containing a burning eye…

I needn’t go into the sound or aesthetic of this music at any length here as thousands of words I’ve written previously are available at the click of a tag (see above). Suffice to say the gist can be garnered from the following exchange. Imagine Lee casting a withering look over two brightly coloured art-school types setting up their gear prior to a gig.

C’mon, Lee!

I say,

…it doesn’t have to be all doomy blackness does it?

The withering look is transferred to me, with a slight twinkle added to his eye:

Yes Rob, it does.

…he replies. Tongue in cheek, perhaps, but there you have it: the final word.  True story.

Initially the following poems were tossed into the overcrowded public swimming pool that is Twitter (@radiomidwich) but, knowing all that shouting and splashing is not conducive to contemplation, I’ve fished ’em out, dried ’em off and present this leather-bound blog post for your leisurely perusal.

It might seem disrespectful to reduce these releases to seventeen syllables apiece – the Xtul album is a whole hour of glorious psych noise, the La Mancha tape is one of Miguel’s best, the NIHL side of that split is possibly the best thing I’ve heard all year and so on – but I put a lot of thought into these compositions and I hope the impressions expressed are, in their own way, accurate and useful. The title I used for the series, ‘Nameless City’, is, of course, a nod to the Geordie scene’s obsession with Lovecraft but is also apt for Miguel due to the desert setting of the story.

Click on the band name/album title to be taken to an appropriate webpage.  Matching Head has no official internet presence as such but contact details can be found via the Discogs listings for the label – maintained (largely) by Scott McKeating of this parish.

—ooOoo—

No. 1:

Culver – Prophecy Of The Black Spider

Polished steel mirror

examined by microscope:

metallic tundra.

culver - kitty

No. 2:

Culver – “Kitty”

Gremlin on plane wing

observes sleeping passengers

leans into the roar…

zn - carniceria

No. 3:

ZN – Carniceria

Grisly truth unpicked:

Cannibal horror movie?

Documentary.

the dead end street band - bombs rain down

No. 4:

The Dead End Street Band – Bombs Rain Down On Innsmouth

Smothered radio,

ragged semaphore, slurred morse

lost to riot seas

la mancha - witchskinner

No. 5:

La Mancha Del Pecado – Witchskinner

Flesh machinery

processes blind consumption:

cattle eat cattle…

inseminoid - gemma's sacred waters

No. 6:

Inseminoid – Gemma’s Sacred Waters

Dunes bombed into glass.

Tank tracks shatter windowed earth.

Sand returned to sand.

xtul - black holes of stella mass

No. 7:

Xtul – Black Holes Of Stellar Mass

Existence confirmed:

selfhood undeniable

…when thrown from a ‘plane

female borstal nihl split

Female Borstal / NIHL – split

No. 8a: Female Borstal side

Dredging a channel

up silt fouled estuary mouth

takes brute, swinging force

No. 8b: NIHL side

Seduced by darkness

beyond guttering arc-light –

like moths, like dead souls.

—ooOoo—

EDIT: Matching Head Catalogue September 2014 as a pdf document.

the medicinal quality of northern noise, its alloys and compounds

May 13, 2014 at 10:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

posset – friction rivers (tape, Singing Knives Records)

sindre bjerga / posset – split (CD-r, gold soundz, gs#123, edition of 25)

star turbine / inseminoid / fordell research unit / xazzaz – nundungeon (CD-r, gold soundz, gs#122, edition of 25)

I, Torquemada – The Book, The Eye, The Scourge (download, Oracle Netlabel, ORE106)

Oppenheimer – Oppenheimer (CD-r, molotov, 26)

oppenheimer – js/ls/ms, js/ls/ms/mks (tape, Matching Head, mh202)

Inseminoid – Vanessa Howard’s Night Light (3” CD-r, Sheepscar Light Industrial, SLI.022, edition of 50 or download)

posset - friction rivers

Surprisingly perhaps, given my status as long-term noise aficionado, I suffered my first ever migraine last week.  Silver worms squirmed into the top right of my peripheral vision, wriggling downwards until their glistening made it impossible to read the newspaper I was holding.  Then the left hand side of my face, upper jaw to receding hairline, seized up completely – as if a phantom of the opera mask was held clamped in place over the affected area.  The pain made me feel nauseous but, in denial about what might be occurring, I decided that a few painkillers and a lie down would be sufficient treatment.  The worst of it lasted about three hours.

During the following week my face and scalp remained ‘tight’ – the muscle under my left eye twitching like an oyster dripped with lemon juice.  Worse though was a near constant state of seasickness which had me imagining I was swaying from side to side and made it difficult to sleep, to stomach food or to concentrate on everyday tasks.  I took some time off work and visited my GP who was sufficiently concerned to prescribe some medication and insist that I saw her again if anything changed.  My Dad suffered a minor stroke when he was about my age so we all wanted to make sure my brain wasn’t exploding.

Unfortunately, things deteriorated over the weekend and I reported even more, even stranger symptoms – a sunburnt feeling on my arms and hands being the weirdest – to my GP yesterday morning and she referred me immediately to Accident and Emergency at Leeds General Infirmary for a neurological assessment.  I was at the hospital for six hours, four of which were spent waiting in A&E.  I’ve been before in the evening and seen the bloody, alcohol-soaked horrorshow but the daytime parade of elderly patients rubbing numb limbs whilst spouses laughed nervously, each trying not to let on how frightened they were, was even more upsetting.  Anyway, I eventually saw a bunch of doctors, had my noggin sliced with X-rays and got the all clear.  Nowt wrong with me that a few painkillers and a lie down won’t see to.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, it explains why I’m sat here typing instead of being out gallivanting.  Given that all has not been well between my ears, medical opinion (and common sense) suggests that I should probably not press ’em up against the speakers at Wharf Chambers.  The timing is heartbreaking as this week sees sets in Leeds from Neil Campbell, Popular Radiation, Spoils & Relics, BBBlood and RFM comrade Joe Murray as Posset.  It would, of course, be a glorious way to go out – to have my head literally explode at the peak of a Paul Watson racket-crescendo, say – but my worried wife would much rather I was around to, y’know, help with the baby n’ all that.  Thus here I am in Midwich Mansions, self-medicating my sulk with doses of noise from Tyneside, Edinburgh and Norway.

sindre and joe split

First then to my man Joe and his nom-de-gurgle Posset: a cassette monograph on the ever lovely Singing Knives and shared credit for a split with the ubiquitous Sindre Bjerga on the latter’s Gold Soundz imprint.  Between the pair of them we are treated to a symphony for spittle and poorly-lubricated door hinge, a Punch and Judy show as performed by the inmates of Charenton Asylum directed by the Marquis de Sade, a fleet of aquatic budgerigars trilling, gargling and discussing the price of kelp, trainers squeaking on a basketball court during a game played by the anthropomorphic animal croquet teams from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland, a wheelie bin full of post-midnight, soggy gremlins plotting mischief and a chipped vinyl Oliver Postgate storybook LP playing forlornly on a faulty wind-up gramophone.  Occasionally in Sindre’s tracks some drone bleeds in as if his million other projects are leaking through a badly aligned tape head.  Tremendous stuff, full of verve, exuberance and humour as well as a surprising and touching emotional range.

nundungeon

Speaking of Sindre’s million other projects: Star Turbine, his excellent duo with Claus Poulsen, leads off a compilation that could well have been curated with me in mind as the ideal listener.  Four bands: Star Turbine, Inseminoid, Fordell Research Unit and Xazzaz – all favourites of mine – each donate a single 10(plus) minute track to a CD-r celebrating that line up playing the exquisitely named Nundungeon in Edinburgh earlier this year.  The Turbs are in a playful mood, bringing Sindre’s current solo style to stamp gleefully around in the space afforded by their usual spacey drone.  Inseminoid I will be coming onto shortly thus my later comments can be slotted in here: ‘______’.  Fraser Burnett of Fordell Research Unit simply cannot put a foot wrong and his confident, expressive drone work is as satisfying as remembering there is an uneaten Easter egg still in the cellar head.  Mike Simpson of Xazzaz is capable of exactly the same level of customer service but does it with added pedal-stomped, bristling loudness.  Sindre had this one for sale on his recent jaunt ’round the UK – you better drop him a line to see if it is still available.

i, torquemada - the book, the eye, the scourgeoppenheimer - molotov 26oppenheimer - mh202

Mike Simpson also plays a part, I think, in both I, Torquemada and Oppenheimer – the former being a duo of Frater J (Jamie of Wrest?  Jerome of Charles Dexter Ward?) and Frater M (Mike, probs), the latter being mainly a quartet of Jamie, Jerome, Mike and RFM heartthrob Lee Stokoe of Culver and Matching Head.  I’m sure the omniscient Scott McKeating will set me straight if I have the details wrong.  Both acts perform an industrial strength improv noise rock, or free punk, or doom skronk or harsh guitar wall or whatever – subgenre post-it notes won’t stick to this surface caked with filth.  There is a perverse relish in referencing the Spanish Inquisition or the Manhattan Project with your band name and a dark, hopeless abandonment is certainly celebrated with the music too.  It’s as morbidly beautiful as the glistening wings of a sea bird caught in an oil slick, as terrifyingly faceless as a coin eaten smooth by a corrosive fluid.  I am reminded, quite purposefully I suppose, of the famous quote from J. Robert Oppenheimer following the Trinity test:

We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried. Most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita; Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and, to impress him, takes on his multi-armed form and says, ‘Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’ I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.

These Tyneside nihilists would have been amongst those laughing.  They see the big – the biggest – picture.

inseminoid - vanessa

Inseminoid, the duo of Lee Stokoe and George Proctor (of Mutant Ape and Turgid Animal), are connoisseurs of horror cinema, vintage porn and exploitative art in general but their heavy drone pieces are importantly different to the gore-splattered gusto of their colleagues above.  They curate a carefully sustained atmosphere of unease, understanding that true terror is often found not in the act but in its consequences, not in the situation but in its implications.  Repeat listens brought to mind haunting, half-remembered, dream-troubling passages from my own limited experience with horror fiction.  For example, I always found the reveal in Ringu 2 that Sadako was actually alive and sealed in the well for thirty years before dying to be as viscerally nauseating as any of the deaths portrayed.  Or how about a scene from one of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood stories where a guy foolishly pokes a seemingly dead monster and has his hand bitten off?  In a moment of genius, Barker steps back from the gore for a couple of sentences to let us in on the shock and dismay this moment of idiotic bravado has caused.  We see the awful, disproportionate consequences and are appalled.  This is what Inseminoid are up to: cool, considered, implacably hostile – absolutely compelling.

—ooOoo—

Singing Knives

Gold Soundz

(Editor’s note: there are various Gold Soundz resources revealed by a quick Google/Discogs search but none seem current.  As such, I’ve linked to Sindre’s own page and you can ask him about these releases directly.)

Sheepscar Light Industrial

Oracle Netlabel

Molotov

Matching Head

snatched reality: scott mckeating on deathwank, platemaker, inseminoid, colossloth

February 6, 2014 at 9:07 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Deathwank / Platemaker – Find Ahmed (business card CD-r, Vilenoise, 06, edition of 50 or download)

Inseminoid – The Whitest Eye (tape, Wealth of Abuse, Wealth of Abuse 02)

Colossloth – Anchored By Lungs EP (download, Peripheral Records)

colosslothplatemaker - find ahmed

Scott McKeating, RFM’s mysterious third voice, twiddles with the focus on his microscope and invites us to see what he’s smeared on the glass slide.  Over to Scott…

—ooOoo—

Aside from briefly shocking work colleagues that have no previous experience of the harsh noise or no-audience underground, the name Deathwank has several other functions for me. Their chosen name is an indicator that this is a band I’m probably going to end up avoiding in future and it’ll be a project that’s its hard to take particularly seriously. There’s something just a little too ‘look at me, ma!’ in a name like Deathwank (Editor’s note: true, but some of their track titles are pretty funny: ‘YOUR MUM AND DAD ONLY FUCKED ONCE AND IT WAS SHIT’ is comic genius). A side project of sorts for members of Scots grinders Sufferinfuck making an unhealthy noiserockpunknoise (or as they’ve labelled it “noisecore scum grind”) racket, the act’s single track here is so lo-fidelity that it’s just a nudge away from collapsing into harsh noise wall. With little but the vocals (I think I’m hearing two vocalists screaming like Cuckoo’s Nest detainees but I can’t be 100% sure) and snatches of rhythm straining through the brick-thick sonic soup, it’s a fairly one-dimensional sound.

In all honesty I’m instantly more inclined to like Platemaker’s offerings on this business card CD-r (Editor’s note: the whole split release totals just four minutes, physical object sold out – see download links below), pretty much just because he’s not called Deathwank. For those that need to know the who and what, Platemaker is a solo “workplace grievance related noisecore” project from Tide of Iron’s vocalist / drummer Rob Woodcock. A frenzied three-pack of balance assailing tracks, this kitchen-based fury is a din risotto of live drums, noise blasts, programmed beats and treble screams; a super fast spew from the service industry that would rather take a big shite on the customer than season their dishes.

Inseminoid (Lee Culver and George Proctor of Mutant Ape’s dronestaticnoise duo) have been reasonably quiet of late, so this cassette is a welcome sight on the release schedule of Gareth Howell’s (Sump’s drummer) new PE/noise label Wealth of Abuse. This back-to-business outing begins with crossing sonic pulses and dusted down 80s VHS soundtrack melodies forming underneath the pair’s signature static thunder. Despite their stationary aggression, an Inseminoid listen demands headphones. There’s too much going on under the gale to risk losing it in the rumble of public transport or the interruptions that contact with humans can bring.  Overheard melodies are almost tentative in the mix of sound, the handful of notes (subsequent listens suggest they were made using a shite keyboard rather than broken samples) rapidly become part of The Whitest Eye’s Alvin Lucier skew. The fleeting snatch at reality these elements represented is eventually reduced to a near whiteout by the trademark Inseminoid slow rise to noise.  The deal is sealed – another extraordinary release.

Buried deep in the city of Leicester, Colossloth is a one man experimental project that isn’t easily tagged with a sub-genre. Wherever people end up deciding where the music fits, the recent Anchored By Lungs EP is a definite success in stitching together abstractions. At three tracks and around ten minutes long, the EP is more a signpost than a release (although it is an actual release, download only at the moment though). The title track might well be a very musical piece, but its still slough dredging heavy. Crawling along like Sadako on a broken pitchshift riff from the MBV archives, ‘Anchored By Lungs’ is a clash of clean and scarified, a ‘real’ violin line saws through the loopage. With death moans in the track’s recipe, accompanied by creaks and desolate piano, it’s a bit Nurse With Wound-y in the best possible way.

The broke fairy tale vibe continues into ‘Welcome Home Mourning Voyeur’ – some kind of adagio for creaking floorboards or creeping-troll-incubus on the bed springs.  There’s a genius loop (created? Randomly found?) of a revolving weathervane of percussion noise, spinning at the tip of the forthcoming storm. The track isn’t all abstraction though, there’s a tasty Sabbathian electric guitar squall in there. ‘Feint Hearted’ also features guitar, possibly sampled and removed from its usual world, and angularly spelunked in a bed of manipulated bleepage and circuitboard sucked squelches. An Argento mood permeates this piece, plucked string and piano horror atmospherics add to the darkness. Colossloth is also a better name than Deathwank.

Deathwank on Bandcamp

Platemaker / Shybairns Records on Bandcamp

Vilenoise

Wealth of Abuse via All Dead Tapes

Colossloth / Peripheral Records on Bandcamp

alien menagerie: rfm catches up with oracle, kevin sanders, north east noise and shoganai

August 29, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ErosM – Demo II (download, Oracle Netlabel, ORE97)
La Mancha Del Pecado – Masiva Pared Dedicada Al Placer (download, Oracle Netlabel, ORE99)
Crown of Bone – Children of the Corn, a Tribute (download, Oracle Netlabel, ORE100)

Seth Cooke / Kevin Sanders – split (CD-r, hairdryer excommunication, edition of 25, or download)
Kevin Sanders – heard more saying less more nothing enraptured in their mud of nothingness (or “no matter”) (hairdryer excommunication, download)
Petals – Salivate Stone (tape, Dirty Demos, edition of 30)

Suburban Howl/Mutant Ape – split (tape, Turgid Animal)
Sindre Bjerga – foreign tongues (tape, Matching Head, mh195)
Culver/Xazzaz – split (tape, Matching Head, mh196)

The Truth About Frank – Live 10/04/13 Hogwash 6 Fox and Newt Leeds (self-released download)
Charles Dexter Ward – CDW 310513 (self-released download)
Charles Dexter Ward – CDW 121012 (self-released download)

Shoganai –  ショウガナイ (self–released download)

shoganai

Eagle-eyed readers will have noted that since joining the organisation in May RFM’s new staffers Scott McKeating and Joe Murray have been doing a lot of the heavy lifting.  As they frolic – sweating, bare chested, rearranging the rockery in the grounds of Midwich Mansions – I close the window to avoid breathing in their heady, powerfully erotic musk.  There, behind closed curtains in the cool darkness, I mumble into the whisper-ma-phone that links my property to Idwal Towers and discuss possible sightings of an absent muse with Uncle Mark.

She was here until recently: the Summer season has seen (*ahem*) ‘major’ articles by me about Lucy Johnson, Robert Ridley-Shackleton and the purported golden age of internet-enabled uber-punk amongst other things, a dozen (re)releases plastered up on the midwich Bandcamp site and the publication of the first two issues of North Leeds most popular noise/art microzine The Barrel Nut with much more to come.  Not bad, eh?

And yet… in the face of a review pile of over thirty items, some received more than two months ago, I feel guilt-stricken.  It’s an oddly masochistic response as I have every reason to take things at my own pace.  This is ‘only’ a ‘hobby’ after all and I have, to put it mildly, a lot on.  However, it still pains me to see quality pile up whilst I don’t have the energy to attend to it.  Leaving aside my own musical fumblings, writing is how I pay my way but, despite being thrilled by a lot of what I am hearing, my organs of musical appreciation are currently worn to sorry nubs, my powers of whimsical metaphor generation flummoxed.

So what to do?  It don’t seem right to sleep on so much good stuff so I’m going to embark on a desk/head clearing news round-up and see what happens.  I apologise to those kind enough to submit their work recently – you may not be getting the 1000 word flight of fancy you were perhaps hoping for – but I call on the discerning readership of this flagship blog to do their duty and check this gubbins out.

crown of bone

First then: RFM offers heartfelt congratulations to our Mexican cousin Miguel Perez and his comrade-in-arms Pablo Mejia on the occasion of the hundredth release from their netlabel Oracle.  A remarkable achievement, an admirable dedication.  Number 100 itself is Children of the Corn, A Tribute by Crown of Bone.  From the off this is ruthlessly pummelling – watch where you have the volume set prior to pressing play – and until a change of direction in its final minutes (during which the soundtrack of the film that inspired it is sampled, I’m guessing) is like screaming into a hurricane.  You already know if you like this kind of thing – check it out if you do, it’s a great example.

Other noteworthy recent releases include Masiva Pared Dedicada Al Placer by Miguel’s own La Mancha Del Pecado.  This is a feature length (96 minutes!) rumbling drone which sits static in a culveresque way, like some machinery of war idling as a mechanic fine tunes the engine, before exploding with speaker-challenging bass in an all too short final section.  I was so amused by this that I imported the file into Audacity and, as expected, the wave form looks like something that you’d use to unblock a sink, or bash someone over the head with.  At the other end of the spectrum we have a four track, 21 minute EP titled simply Demo II by ErosM.  This music is sombre and delicate, weighty and expressive.  It shows discipline, ambition and a seriousness of intent that makes its short running time all the more remarkable.  Those of you into Geordie drone/noise should be tempted across the Atlantic to pick this one up.

seth and kev outsideseth and kev inside

Closer to home, we find a split release on hairdryer excommunication featuring field-recording-based tracks by label boss Kevin Sanders and bearded polymath Seth Cooke.  I’m saying nowt about Seth’s effort here because (spoiler alert) I’m going to proclaim his genius (again) in a soon come review of his latest for Sheepscar Light Industrial.  Kev’s ‘side’, a piece of augmented atmospherics titled ‘Eight aisles (for Truro Court)’, brought on an irresistible attack of vanity on my part as I thought I could hear the influence of my very own ‘eaves’ in its construction.  It’s a largely domestic recording buzzed up with accompanying fuzzy drift.  I put on a Christmas cracker paper crown saved for such occasions, proclaimed myself King of Drone and strutted up and down the hallway.  Then I listened to his latest work, heard more saying less more nothing enraptured in their mud of nothingness (or “no matter”), four tracks of entirely lovely, glittering brilliance constructed from nothing but a ukulele and a fuzz pedal.  I was, all joking and whimsy aside, moved.  Once I’d finished gawping I tore up my pathetic headgear in a fit of jealous rage.

petals - salivate stone front

Also well worth getting hold of is Salivate Stone by Petals, Kev’s usual nom de plume.  This tape has been released in a perilously limited edition by Dirty Demos and comes lovingly cocooned in a bed of tissue paper within an oversized case.  The content is spring-loaded, high tension, balanced, held by the slightest of catches.  Spiralling screws lift a heavy vibe upwards whilst friction heats the barely greased moving parts until they throb and grind against one another.  Birds tweet.  Clearly, he is the King.

suburban howl-mutant ape sleevesuburban howl-mutant ape tape and insertculver-xazzaz mh196

Whilst I’m on interestingly packaged noise tapes, I have to mention the Suburban Howl / Mutant Ape split on Turgid Animal.  Here you will find two sides of unnerving catharsis housed on a neon orange cassette safety-pinned into a hessian bag painted in camo colours (shades of TG’s industrial 7″s) and accompanied with an exquisite mini-comic detailing a suicide by self-butchery.  The object as a whole has a satisfyingly doom-struck, hopeless aura.  Two new tapes on Lee Stokoe’s Matching Head label are dressed in his standard livery of black and white sleeves with the minimal information provided typewritten by hand.  The Culver / Xazzaz split sees Lee’s giant robot square up to Mike’s lizard monster in a contest to decide who wins the North East.  An honourable draw is the all-too-predictable outcome and both end up side by side, content to stamp on the false noise pretenders that dare challenge them.  foreign tongues by Sindre Bjerga documents three involving live sets from his travels in 2012.  Has he now got something released on every noise micro-label in the world?  He can’t be far off.

Others are content to release their own live stuff.  I know nothing about The Truth About Frank other than what can be gleaned from their Bandcamp site but suffice to say that a friend of Hogwash, that is the admirably eclectic and regular experimental music evening hosted by Dave, Noah and Benbow, is a friend of radiofreemidwich.  My own single figures was recorded at one of their gigs.  TTAF’s set is a three stage affair – a shuffling beat, looped, layered barely intelligible voices, orchestral stabs to finish – that I found engaging and entertaining.  They don’t try and do too much in their twenty minutes, each idea is allowed time to breath.  They also submitted a bonkers photoshop collage to The Barrel Nut #2 – guys, check your email!  I’m waiting on a postal address so I can send you a few paper copies!

charles dexter ward

Also to be found on Bandcamp are two live sets by Charles Dexter Ward performed at the Cumberland Arms and Morden Tower respectively, both to be found in that Newcastle I keep going on about.  These pieces are beautiful.  There is fuzz tone shimmer with enough bite to chew your ego to mush.  There are chopped and filtered loops heavy enough to anchor the vibe yet sinuous enough to let the groove flow and build.  They do the thing that a successful live recording must do: make you wish you’d been there.

Finally, then, we have the album of the year.  Well, maybe – it is certainly a contender.  ショウガナイ by Shoganai was one of those out of the blue ‘hi, let me introduce myself, would you like to hear my album?’ surprises that makes this ‘job’ such a joy (the cover is the pic that heads this article).  The fella behind this project, remaining semi-anonymous for his own reasons, has produced a piece of work so ambitious and accomplished that the fact that it is available to download on a pay-what-you-like basis from that Bandcamp left me stupefied.  More evidence of the golden age, should it be needed.

Some details: your download will contain nine tracks spanning 41 minutes.  These episodes are clearly the product of a single aesthetic but vary in construction.  There is computerborne surrealism, the programme code distorted by a horseshoe magnet ordered from the Acme catalogue, there is deep-fried tropical psychedelia the like of which wouldn’t be out of place on a Space Victim or AshNav album, and there is the cooing and squawking of an alien menagerie, recorded rooting and strutting about the forest floor on a distant, poisonous world.

I’m imaging (the muse! she returns!) one of these creatures sitting patiently in a tree, humming and carving intricate patterns in the bark with an impossibly sharp talon.  Earlier it was furious having found itself caught in a snare – the indignity!  It freed itself immediately, of course, and is now waiting for the return of the witless hunter that set the trap.  The unsuspecting fool is going to be disembowelled for his trouble.  The creature trills to itself, musically…

…and on that happy note, I call ‘enough!’  Plenty of links within the body of the article – go hear for yourselves.

last few thuds of a heart: scott mckeating on recent turgid animal

June 15, 2013 at 9:56 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Various – Behind the Toilet Door Part I (C90 Cassette, Turgid Animal, TA390)

Voltigeurs / Dark Bargain – Split (7 inch vinyl, Turgid Animal, edition of 300)

Karst / La Mancha Del Pecado / Culver – Split (CD-r, Turgid Animal)

voltiguers - dark bargain

OK folks, here’s the sophomore effort from new RFM contributor Scott McKeating in which he reveals what is behind the toilet door, confesses his obsessive love of long-term psyche/noise fiend Matthew Bower and gets grumpy about vinyl again.  Over to Scott:

Despite being a Turgid Animal release, Behind the Toilet Door Part I has the feel of a Fuckin’ Amateurs production wrapped in the aesthetics of Matching Head. A prequel to the 2009 release of Behind the Toilet Door Part II, which actually did come out on Matching Head, like its predecessor this earlier-in-the-day instalment features some lesser known North East noise players and their uncracked aliases. With each of the artists performing their sets in the confines of a carpentry workshop toilet cubicle, y’know as you do. Experimental arts festivals take note. With Behind the Toilet Door Part I having been recorded in the same lowest-fi quality as Part II, there is no concession to spit and polish clean-up here; this is organised, glorious and enjoyable chaos. As you’d except from a Dictaphone type handheld thingy recording set-up the sounds dips at points, conversations are overheard and the levels of applause (and ‘waheying’) sometimes hurricanes out all sound. These mini-sets are as varied as they are dissonant, alongside Wrest’s solo vocal take of ‘My Grandfather’s Clock’ there’s demolished sound collage, free percussion/samples, static cut-ups, stop-start field recordings, the sweep and pluck of solo violin and a dose of virulently energetic New Monkey. Yes, you read that right. New Monkey on Turgid Animal.

There’s no point in being coy about this, I’m a fully paid up Matthew Bower acolyte. We tend to operate in sleeper cells, tracking down his prolific output across disparate labels like randomly strewn Dan Brown clues. As one of the very few still active, evolving and enduring artists from the post-industrial noise scene of the 80s, Matthew Bower can be relied on to deliver the goods whatever the project title. Much like Black Sun Roof! and occasionally Skullflower, Voltigeurs is a duo of Samantha Davies (ex of Harm) and Matthew, and away from the glare of daylight and the accord of reality they hunt the hinterlands of bliss OD and layers of feedback noise. Turgid Animal has become something of a home to Voltigeurs, having previously put out three and a bit releases. So, needle down and right away it’s like being plugged directly into a stream of breathing charred sound that has the Bower/Davies union demon-bound in a living amber covering. It’s heavy. ‘Strangled Angels (In Our Hedgerows)’ has no time wasting coming-up intro, no mirror/signal before the manoeuvre, Voltigeurs are intravenously instant. The layers of haze-horror noise sound like they’re created through an energetic hands-on expelling. From-hand-to-instrument-to-pedal-to-overload, Voltigeurs’ chaos is a living thing far beyond any concept of a mere blackout of harshwallnoise. Howling around a pulse of (possibly) piano notes and an impatient rhythm, this side of vinyl makes me want to turn the volume up till I break on through or kneel in masochist reverie. This is music that inhabits and endorses both the concepts of cosmicism and the glory of the self as simultaneously the only important thing. And then it’s over. Just as immediately as it began we are spat out again into reality. No fade out, no winding down, just a complete and utter removal of everything. Dark Bargain is another spurt from the incestuous pool of the north east of England’s noise/experimental people. With a cast of Lucy Johnson (of Smut and co-runner of Turgid Animal), Mike Simpson (of guitar noisedrone Xazzaz and the Molotov label) and Wrest (of Fuckin’ Amateurs and affiliated labels), Dark Bargain are suppliers of fuzzed-to-hell bleak rock. Their ‘A Fillip To The Senses’ circular riff is a more an aggressive horizontal burrowing than it is primal rock repetition. A battered beat, a seven minute millstone grind that comes careering to a feedback crunching finish, Dark Bargain’s debut track is a shakily solid teaser for this new unit.

(Pedantic vinyl gripe Part 2. No rpm on this 7” means I’m on mental tenterhooks thinking I might have to get up off my behind to change the speed)

A part of Turgid’s appeal is that while they put out pro CD and vinyl releases, they also still slip out the kind of home burnt and photocopied CD-rs you can imagine them putting together at their kitchen counter. This facet of the label often puts out some of its best offerings, keeping up the regular flow from George Proctor and his close allies. This three-way is a strong representative of the label’s pool of close to hand talent. And while there is no evidence that Proctor has angels chained in his basement, Karst’s ‘Shipwreck’ is a good exhibit A to kick off the rumour. There’s a touch of the blinded angelic to the start and end of this 27 minute track.  If you can imagine a take on the idea of a watery grave, de-toned and hidden from daylight, then you might be a third of the way there and you’ll still need to pick this disc up. Nurse With What? Salt Marie Who? La Mancha Del Pecado is the lucky Pierre of this CD-r and needs no introduction to RFM readers.  Miguel’s 22 minute piece is occult slasher horror visuals made aural. I’ve no idea who Julieta from ‘Julieta En Las Catacumbas’ is, but she’s bleeding out as I write/you read – no doubt about that. Stasis drone that attracts a clattering breath industrial rhythm heard through the last few thuds of a heart.

The disc is closed out by RFM ViP Culver, and it feels like something of a slight departure. Where ‘The Fiend’ feels a little different is that it seems to be purposefully constructed as opposed to having just materialised through one of Lee Stokoe’s feedback rites. A twenty-minute slow burning noise-influenced dose, the track soon switches into a collision with harsher sounds once the opening reverse tones are swamped. ‘The Fiend’ is drone dragged through an arterial stream of black Lyle’s, Stokoe’s touch drawing queasy sound and industrial ambience poisons from the track.

All available via Turgid Animal

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.