human knotty complexity : joe murray on katz mulk, daniel carter/george lyle/fritz welch, downer canada and brb>voicecoil

March 27, 2017 at 6:04 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Katz Mulk – Katzenungen (Sacred Tapes)

Daniel Carter, George Lyle, Fritz Welch – So Long Farewell Repair live at The Glad Cafe (Iorram Records)

Downer Canada – Snarl like a Poem (Power Moves Library)

brb>voicecoil – Cloth White Skin (Muza Muza)


katz mulk

Katz Mulk – Katzenungen (Sacred Tapes) C30 Cassette


A new project from N-AU stalwarts Ben Knight, Ben Morris and Andrea Kearney* should make the most cynical of listeners burp – but I can report back from my comfortable trench that Pepto Bismol is not, repeat not needed.  This Mulk slips down easy as sherry trifle.



Knight continues his imagineer work for a darker-Disney building a domestic palace of half-song and chant.  He adds delicate plonks with increasing grace and moves the air with a palm, then a knee.  And Morris knits these materials into a thread-bare tapestry that celebrates the tiny, the small and the microscopic. Kearney provides the graphic score…

katz mulk 2


Side one: truth bandits, engaging rumble of an outboard motor, the squished goose honk of decaying electronics and wet hiss of traffic.  A voice says ‘squeal, squeal’, a bell rings and tinfoil gets crushed underfoot, a plate spins. Alligator goodbyes!

Side two: roar of a space heater, hectic metallic scrape, a voice battles sense against ripped rubber electronics, taped blister pack wrench overlaid by gentle footsteps. The plumber’s mate fouls up the pipes leading to complex knocking (at the7 min 30 second mark) that is both wet and dry, hard and soft, immediate yet attached to memory.

The end is heralded with the kind of repetition pin-ball/gong-strike/marble rolling I could listen to forever.

(iv)Outcome & Impact

The rare art of listening is engaged in this most rewarding of tapes.  I’m guessing this is a patchwork of ‘live’ and ‘studio’ jamz with the idea of sparse pushed through a nozzle, so the language bacteria grows in a dish; the rattles of accompaniment become as real as altitude ear-pop.

One to catch in a butterfly net no matter what!

*a most fortuitous bumping into Andrea enlightens me that her presence on this tape is purely graphic score construction rather than future-ghost player.  But FFW to the planned Katz Mulk disc on Singing Knives coz itsa trio of all-three-players-playing!

carter lyle welch

Daniel Carter, George Lyle, Fritz Welch – So Long Farewell Repair live at The Glad Cafe (Iorram Records) CD

Real-proper JAZZ chips from this sax/piano, double bass, percussion trio and sadly the last ever recording from Glasgow bass-face George Lyle.

The dials are set for human knotty complexity rather than eviscerating fire and that is all super-smashing-great for me.

It’s like this.  My simple mind is pulled in several directions at once.  George saws an undercurrent of resin-soaked wood so it glows like a fire biding its time.  Fritz supplies the sizzle of gentle rain on the griddle – a liquid bada-bing!  Sax sings for the brassy siren then Daniel moves to a dusty piano playing all the in-notes outwards.

But each piece tightens the jewels further, like when you find the bite on an old socket set and each bolt and nut clicks an extra few revolutions.  This is true open-jaw music that plays the lush valleys between the craggy peaks.

Even the most casual listen reveals ear-gems and brain worms: the guilt marimba, felt ravioli all come seeping out a blowhole and begin rolling around my feet.

But weirdest of all, the closing minutes of ‘News Loom’ seem to suck god-save-the-queen backwards over all the rippled sonic scree.  That can’t be right eh?

Shit! What more do you want me to say?  This threesome are impressive enough as lone gadgies but the sum is most definitely more when all those ears and fingers (and feet) get warm and busy.

Bop it!

downer canada full

Downer Canada – Snarl like a Poem (Power Moves Library) CD-r in classy envelope and free digital download

This slim CD-r is packaged between two pieces of thick card and makes me think that the music is being coddled in some way – like it’s a delicate thing that needs protection from my fat, greasy fingers.

But when played ‘Snarl like a Poem’ is surprisingly robust – a full frequency exploration of brushed steel flux and hissing radiators.  It knocks like the ancient plumbing attached to your old head (a gaseous ghost in the pipes, hurtling through copper joints , whipping right and left) until you are not quite sure what’s going on.

And then…a feedback suite; a feeble keening smooth as marble.  Limp Morse that rolls as a cylinder would over a deep ice puddle yet fuzzy at the edges like someone just smeared my glasses with Vaseline – most agreeable!

Tones on the edge of collapse send oily ripples through my ear canal, a lo-tech Eliane Radigue, until things blister, bubble and pop.

Dry mouth sounds… ‘kah’ and ‘schah’ and ‘khow’ reveal dusty language roots.  Is this the lost speech of the sand-encrusted pharaohs?  Or perhaps a sound poet’s secret  library hiss?

What was once ultra-minimal collects the grit of a classic Dictaphone approach with each surface filled and smoothed-over with fizzing huss.

It fills my head with sweet drizzle!


brb>voicecoil – Cloth White Skin (Muza Muza) C25 Cassette and digital download

The perfectly dank sound that joins the dots between classic long-form drone, field recording and musique concrete.

Kev Wilkinson’s bands Drill, Big Road Breaker and the more recent brb>voicecoil, have been stalwarts of the Newcastle noise/drone scene for as long as I can remember. After years of steady, underground activity his brb>voicecoil delighted a whole new generation in a triumphant performance at last year’s TUSK festival.

This cool-looking tape is the next instalment in an epic story.

Using source material recorded over an 8 year period the side-long title track ‘Cloth White Skin’ weaves an arcane industrial process (cast-iron rollers flattening bone fragments / blast furnace being stoked with terrible energy / huge tumbling spikes) with the spluttering of cold liquid metal and the distant thunder of Xipe Totec .

But it’s not all spitting-bluster.  The final short movement is an introspective shudder, a ‘someone’s-just-walked-over-my-grave’ uneasiness of rusty tin slowly coming to rest.

The itchy rhythm of ‘Crack Vessel’ mimics exactly the enamel rattling of a child’s tooth in a jam jar.   The accompanying offset, slopped-shunts of sound remind me of dancers limping after brutal rehearsals, all sore toes, ripped calves and swollen ankles.

The closer, an aptly named ‘Vent 2’ treats us to a Heath-Robinson industrial scene.  Grey gas escapes under enormous pressure from cracked terracotta pipes.  The hullabaloo flips a series of leather coated buttons to perform an organic, irregular beat.  The surrounding soundscape is crisp with busy electric crackles and fades into one lone drummer drumming.

A taste of the grim future?  Automation gone loco?

Regard the prophetic warnings of brb>voicecoil!

Sacred Tapes

Iorram Records

Power Moves Library

Muza Muza


scatty and clotted the rattling: joe murray gets hep to schrein, melchior & piermattei, dylan nyoukis

November 10, 2014 at 8:20 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Schrein – EinsZweinSchrein (vinyl LP, Meudiademorte Records, edition of 500 or download)

Dan Melchior & Ezio Piermattei (tape, My Dance The Skull, MDTS 10)

Dylan Nyoukis – Yellow Belly (tape, Chocolate Monk, choc.292, edition of 21 in individual collage slipcases)



I’m just going to let that word sit there for a while and shimmer.


There it is again.  The ‘J’ word.  That’s right.  I’m talking about Jazz right now.

Ask anyone:

Does Joe like his Jazz?

…and they’d say:

Joe?  Jazz?  He is Jazz.  He loves it inside out fella.  MilesDizzyColtraneOrnetteRaMonkArmstrong.  He lives for that crazy-ass Jass music.

And of course they would be right.  Jazz is the cornerstone of my listening habits.  So it’s with great anticipation I sit down to rap with Schrein  – a real Jazz group from Germany.  Ruth-Maria Adam (violin) , Bastian Hagedorn (drums) and Ronnie Oliveras (clarinet) take their three very jazz implements and imbue them with no-audience underground chops rather than beardy Trad swing.  This makes for a strung-out and exhilarating listen.

‘Llullaillaco’ is particularly medicated with Ritalin drums pushing and rushing everything forward at breakneck speed until three dark voices join in profane chorus like a mini-Popol Vuh complete with dank Kecak koff.

You spot something on the horizon.

In ‘Emi Koussi’ the creaks and scratches lay beneath keening clarinet gasps (similar to PEEESSEYE kinda) and dark fractured electronics.  The drums clump and skit across your field of listening as brittle as slates on a roof.

You venture deeper into the woods.

During ‘Fogo’ the horns/violin/something gets processed into the austere tones you’d expect on an Editions Mego record as the bristling hubbub clears the forest floor below.  The night draws in on ‘Shinmoedake’ covering you and your party with heavy black murk, liquid bumps and waxy scratches making your neck hairs stand to attention.  ‘Eyjafjallajokull’ is the finisher.  Scatty and clotted the rattling of prayer bowls adds no comfort to you now.  Trapped in dark magic the metallic tones ‘k-u-n-g’ and ‘c-h-u-n-g’ all wobbly.  Just at the limits of your hearing a toad licks its lips hungrily. Wet slobbery anticipation?

At times the sound is as hectic as worker bees.  At others it’s as mellow as a fat caterpillar basking in the mid-afternoon sun.  But it’s in the bringing together of all these sounds and textures: wet and dry, soft and hard, clear and occluded that keeps this disc filed next to Alexander von Schlippenbach in the dusty racks.

DM_EP Untitled

Dan Melchior/Ezio Piermattei

Exquisite tape collage collaboration between two crackling bonfires of good ideas.  Voice, tapes, guitar, organ, synth, percussion etc get chucked into a pot and ladled out into rough clay bowls.  The soup is a steaming but cleansing broth full of herbs and piquant with fine vinegar dressing.

I think what I am trying to say is there is no confusion here.  Sounds and structure are distinct and clear.

The casio-tone rhythm of ‘Bad Gateway’ may be emboldened by rubbery ripping but it’s very deliberate.  As if to prove the point a simple piano sparkles in 3D above the misty sounding mung below.  ‘Lurch’, a micro song, betrays Dan’s Medway roots and acts like a punky sorbet before the prog-tastic ‘A Corner of the Forest’ in which the sound of Cluster artfully collapsing in a doorway, folding way into nothingness, is channelled through psych-guitar and no-audience vocal hink.  The sung coda, picking up the guitar part, is pure genius and worth the price of the tape alone.

‘Two Tiny Kingdoms’, the longest piece on the tape, is an epic construction.  Through whirling sound-strobes and dainty vocal recordings a humble theme emerges.  Over, under and between this central frame echoes of Italian and American voice the bilingual, the act of listening to another language jabbing my pleasure centres just like a Phil Minton jam.  Subtle tape skizz adds some sonic grit and gets cautiously heavier with some occasional fretboard fuggery until the creaking of old ropes leads us out the maze.

The final song makes me smile the widest, because ‘A Teacher Star’ sounds exactly like Portishead jacked-up on Dictaphone Jazz and filthy vocal Jizz.   Can you imagine that?  Of course you can.  And I have to tell you it sounds bloody right and bloody great.

Dylan Nyoukis Yellow Belly

Dylan Nyoukis – Yellow Belly

Another cracking tape from Chocolate Monk.  This time it’s Dylan doing the gumming on this peachy, peachy release.  The website said ‘dictaphone, voice, organ, delay’ and was recorded a few days after my birthday…the omens were good so I slipped a fiver in an envelope and waited.

A scant week later the postie plopped this beauty through the door and we all gathered round the cheap-o stereo to listen.

If you’re expecting hi-jinks and ear-tuggery look away now for this is a beautiful gush.  A gentle warming, an egg-shaped fondle.

A brief introduction of Dictaphone voice ‘glurrr’ is exact and well placed.  You can hear the rush of cars somewhere and the delightful button-click between takes as thoughts form and a plan emerges.

Here’s the real world in all its domestic charm

…it seems to say…

remember this and remember this well for we are going on a voyage long and arduous.

With a breathy chuff the organ begins to takes centre stage.  A simple one-handed motif rises through the gently churning windpipes.  It is spotted left, then right then centre stage; ever changing and growing – a misty grey dream world pulsing gently to the end of the side.

Side two opens tentatively but soon revisits the multi-layered world of rushing amber tones.  Things are more clotted here, like a bust-out church organ with small dogs sleeping on the keys.  Dank notes tumble down through a well of souls.  The Dictaphone adds its trademark gristle and grime (rain falling, plastic crackling?) as the organ is fingered bluntly by the parishioners.

I’m writing gently in bed to the seemingly random fug of notes, all placed next to each other with ever-so-slight overlap and digging this scene immensely until the Dictaphone trills like a funky Oboe.  Vocal snatches are FFWed across the church roof from Nave to Transept in a soft Suffolk burrrrrrrrr bringing things to a crystalline climax.  Whoooshhh.

Individual artwork and super limited (21 copies only).  Sold out but sure to surface again  – keep your eyes peeled.


Meudiademorte Records

My Dance The Skull

Chocolate Monk

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