Tags: angurosakuson, blood stereo, chocolate monk, gate, joe murray, lovely honkey, luke poot, mie
Blood Stereo – The Lure of Gurp (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.320, edition of 47)
Luke Poot/Lovely Honkey – Shame 3 (CD-r or download, Angurosakuson)
Gate – Saturday Night Fever (12″ vinyl, MIE, MIE036, edition of 600)
Blood Stereo – The Lure of Gurp
A selection of mini-trax that hiss as natural breath: in and out, in and out.
B. Stereo leave the long-haul jam behind for this one and concentrate on a smorgasbord of lung expand and a coy pinkie on the tape head. In their on-going campaign of pitching formal versus informal sound, the wooden spoon is spun thrice round the bowl in heavy, sugary swipes. Can I lick the spoon? Yeah man, why not!
Moves are dramatic and executed with confidence in bold smears (a palette knife spreads ruddy ochre across smooth glass) so things are very well defined but not necessarily primary in colour.
As a result melancholy haunts certain corners. Examples?
‘Huntiegowk’s Return’ soundtracks that most modern of ills, the loneliness of crowds. This rumble is handled with a touch as light as mushroom spore. The title track scoffs and mutters while a Chelsea Pensioner polishes his brass buttons, rum-scented wind whistling out of stiff pink nostrils. Ever tried to catch a memory? They often move too fast for your fingers and dissolve on contact anyway. For this study of Tantalus tune into ‘The Hand That Will Not Cup’ and follow the psychic instructions.
But the best example of this sepia-tinted longing erupts on ‘Gob & Soupy’, the Shipping Forecast through a post-ecstasy downer. Or it’s hippy Elvish. One of the two.
Whilst never regular church-goers, Blood. S are adept with the dusty church torpor that settles on dull Sunday worship. That blanket-heavy hum that sucks away at your vitals but buffs the rusty brain like you ate up double portions of sleepy lettuce. I swear I’m transported back to Methodist Ministries with the ‘rambient’ (random/ambient) churn of heavy organ keys pushed to release grimy gas.
And if I can hear the twitch of a goatee from the under-represented jazz-cat, I worry not. Everyone’s favourite bass-clarinettist, Yoni Sliver’s damp fluttering is taken apart in a super skilful way (and I should know- I’ve tried it) to re-build into a B&W herky-jerky chorus making Korky the Cat jiggle and swing – on the yip!
The No Audience-Underground is often criticised for being amber-stuck, uncritical and self-satisfied. Silly goose I say! Check out this latest BLDSTR infotainment disc (complete with pics, sleeve notes and collage or something) to hear a stretching out and cheeky toe wiggle. Its new territory marked out with heady musk.
If this doesn’t make those plants grow I’m calling you Percy Thrower.
Luke Poot / Lovely Honkey – Shame 3
I’m feeling a bit Top Trumps.
Name: Luke Poot
Avant Schtick: Tape farmer, ideas basket, office stationery re-claimer
Distinguishing features: Mighty colourful beak & ‘sad’ eyes
Hidden Weakness: Feared of magicians
Luke Poot’s singular furrow has been ploughed across the sub-toilet circuit for the last five or six years and often leaves the casual listener in need of a new fold-out map and clearly defined landmarks. Listen to this without basecamp support and a Sherpa or two and you risk being lost in a white-out of pro darts, taped slurp interruptions and heavy breathing all delivered with the expert timing of a 60-a-day stand-up comedian (circa 1977).
But back to the map. Two live recordings bookend some Manchester-born radio sessions that sound unusually strapped inside my skull; like Poot is playing from the inside out – a most disconcerting osmosis. More of this later…
‘I Wanna Be a Cape (Live in Notts)’ is a brief 6 mins of prepared tape, infrequent muttering and embarrassed silence. A total environment is carefully laid out but exists just out of reach, making me miss whatever fetid dungeon this was first crouched in.
The three radio pieces occur as part of an equipment breakdown. The first is a classic mouth/tape recorder duet where prior planning only accounts for half the excitement. The seat of the pants call and response milks some strange teats indeed, some half-got football reference adds to the sickly approach, like watching Noel’s House Party running a sweaty fever. Part two features the half-explosive screams Poot has become famous for…being both powerful and polite, more like an abortive sneeze I suppose. They are certainly becoming increasingly nasal as the track goes on and I feel like ticking off the severity on a Beaufort scale. And at last, it had to happen, Richard Harris gets his first oblique mention in the fabled Poot-ography. Part three is a study of failed whistling gibbers and gobbles with what sounds like some very real throat damage as fleshy tubes get pinched sharp. There is a discernible story arc (again football related) but bearing no relation to Roy of the Rovers.
‘Happy, Yeah? (Live in Sheffield)’ follows no such narrative and seems to be a secretly recorded tape made of John Cale walking his favourite lady out on a date. The sun is starting to set and everything is relaxed in buttery yellow light. They pass hang-outs and cherished restaurants. Poot is following behind the couple with an outstretched hand. He gives the command and Sea Lions spout out of the man-hole covers (it’s New York right?) clattering them aside and, in fishy unison, chant and honk a Backstreet Boys version. All whiskery naturally and over in five brisk minutes.
I recommend this highly.
Gate – Saturday Night Fever
It seems to be a universal truth that most humans can’t bear to hear their own voice on tape. You’re instantly confronted by your worst self-image without the filter of selected hearing or (in my case) regular oblivious dumbness.
Once you join that vocal jaxx brigade you’ve got to get used to your strangulated vowels and plummy neck pretty darn sharp. It’s not pleasant but you get used to it. You dig?
But what really makes me knock-kneed with fear is the prospect of capturing an image of myself dancing. It happened once and what I viewed was an almost evolutionary wrongness. Like a gin-soaked St Bernard reared up and deciding ‘four legs bad’ I folded myself into 6 foot 3 inches of tangled limbs and chin-drenched shaking. I’m not a dancer. I’m a grotesque.
I think it’s for this reason I’ve steered clear of so much ‘dance music’ in my life. I love the idea of euphoria blossoming up from your feet and gushing out your blowhole. I love the concept that freedom of movement unhitches my brain for a few blessed minutes until the lights and sound replace the fetid sump oil of my soul. I like watching people dancing but shudder at the thought of actually doing it myself.
So it’s with clammy hands I pick up Michael Morley/Gate’s new record, an exploration of disco’s glittery fulcrum – Saturday Night Fever.
It’s a 12 inch, of course it is… the ultimate dance format, with four extended loop-driven swoons, smooth as Calpol.
Horns! Horns unapologetically honk brassily from the front end of ‘Asset.’ MMorley tells me I should be dancing (did you not read that last bit mate?) and, despite myself, I begin to twitch a little until all things buckle under Dead C-heavy guitar clouds. As the kids say…
Are those palm trees? Rich coconut oil drips from swollen husks. I’m ‘on the strip’ with Vince Neil and the boyz. The sunlight is blinding as something by Circle plays on the AM radio and the Wolfman Jack cries ‘Licker’.
Fucking ‘ell Vince,
Vince just winks and flashes a gold molar.
The shortest track, ‘Caked’, is still over 9 mins long and boxy and shallow. This is no creepy insult; I mean it’s all jittery surface, like a frozen lake. The action takes place at your eye level and concentrates on wild wobbling and heavy keys.
OK… things have been pretty great so far but the closer ‘Hijack’ might just be an example of bright-shiny-footloose perfection. A nagging set of bells/parping vocals loop in tight little circuits building up a mesh of rhythms. Our Mr Morley’s hang-dog singing (he’s a 21st century Jona Lewie for sure) is gravy on the steak but the real genius is revealed in the fade out (almost half the length of the track) that strips away dance floor to focus on the reinforced mechanics, the tin skeleton I’ve been raving on for the last 10 minutes.
Like fluff on a needle it’s a beautiful static ruffle: pffft… pfffft… pfffft.
Tags: dan melchior, eugenio sanna, ezio piermattei, joe murray, lovely honkey, luke poot, sindre bjerga, tutore burlato
Eugenio Sanna – La porta stretta (tape, Tutore Burlato, #04)
Lovely Honkey – Sharp Intake of Breadth (tape, Tutore Burlato, #07)
Dan Melchior – Human of Stow (tape, Tutore Burlato, #05)
Sindre Bjerga – Attractive Amplification (tape, Tutore Burlato, #06)
When Alexander Graham Bell released The Noble Four, his treatise on early electronic sounds, he could not have imagined how electricity and sound would become ubiquitously meshed to a point where one is almost unimaginable without the other.
How he’d pinkly-blush at Luke Poot’s menacing audience participation and twirl his beard to Sindre Bjerga’s Technicolor throat spasms. I can picture a neatly-booted foot tapping to Eugenio Sanna’s trustworthy improvisations and the watercolours cracked out to better capture Dan Melchior’s solo rumblings.
In the spirit of electronic experimentations Ezio Piermattei has released his own Noble Four on the charming Tutore Burlato tape label straight-outta-Bologna. Packaged in smart plastic cases with intelligent and sensitive artwork the dreich professor could easily slip all four into his waistcoat without bothering his pocket watch.
For you, my dearest of all known and possible readers, you get a head full of gonzo-text and a couple of blue links to send you on your voyage of discovery. God speed gentle ones!
Eugenio Sanna – La Porta Stretta
Konked-out solo-guitar rottings from Italy.
Side One presents a suite of tight head-stock ‘pings’ aping the sarcastic hizz of cold milk dripped on glowing barbeque coals. These metallic pickles (reassuringly sour) rattle my pegs real good especially when the few good moo-cow moans let loose. It’s a sparse affair but full of Charles Atlas’ DYNAMIC TENSION therefore giving me and the whole family assembled space to throw in a stray cough.
When things get a bit more hectic in ‘Agosto in campagna (parte prima)’ Eugenio’s 5 supple fingers ripple unconsciously over 6 strings and a fine distortive mist descends reminding my old brain of mice pattering quickly across amplified tinfoil. You dig? A zinc rustling that’s both pacey and pink-footed.
I’m sucking on some Kendal Mint Cake when Side Two slots into place and the thin metallic scratching merges perfectly with my mouthful of sharp menthol. My nose-hairs stand to attention as similarly stiff strings are plucked with a leathery thumb. It’s simply beautiful.
Then all at once the improvisation feels less improvised and more like a slowly revealing pattern I was just too dull to recognise. If you could complete a crossword with simple silvery tones it might, after forty minutes or so of head-scratching, lock into this bedazzled lotus flower.
The final short track ‘Agosto in campagna (parte seconda)’ leaves us in no doubt of Eugenio’s experience and skill – he’s been playing improvised stuff since the 70’s with beards as grey as Phil Minton, Eddie Prevost, Derek Bailey and Roger Turner – by making his guitar sound exactly like clam shells rustling in a salt-encrusted keep net.
Lovely Honkey – Sharp Intake of Breadth
For such an active collaborator and vital live jaxxon them Lovely Honkey solo tapes are thin on the ground, eh? But Huzzah! Ezio Piermattei’s clear eye spotted Luke Poot’s theatre-whoop all the way from Bologna to let us in on this felt-tipped ritual.
Sound-wize the fidelity is fairly non-existent making this feel like you’ve carefully inserted a hosepipe into Poot’s ear and you can hear the festival of whirs and clunks direct from the old-grey-thistle.
Squeaky toys, rubber dogs, old tape glutch and office stationery get used to whip up a gentle Intonarumori. In fact you could bring a smarty-pants Futurist round for tea, jab this tape on and they could check off the officially required…
- Roars, Thunderings, Explosions, Bangs and Booms
- Whistling, Hissing, Farting, Puffing
- Whispers, Murmurs, Mumbling, Muttered Hip-Hop Oaths, Gurgling
- Screeching, Skanking, Creaking, Rustling, Humming, Crackling
- Noises obtained by beating on metals, woods, skins, stones, pottery and half-melted Sindy Dolls etc.
- Voices of animals and people, Shouts, Screams, Shrieks, Wails, Hoots, Howls, Death rattles, Sobs. Oh yes, especially the sobs.
That is of course until it all degenerates into Superman (and I don’t mean the Laurie Anderson version) which I don’t think no Russolo would ever, ever approve of. Sweet.
Poot’s Circus of Shame rolls lustily into side two in a sad convoy, wheels dropping off the primary coloured cart. We bear witness to a hidden ritual. A music box plays, a small appreciative crowd moan like ghosts and Poot’s seemingly loose hand on the helm belies the firm fingertip control. He’s got us trussed up and basted in hot butter, baby.
As the ritual continues he huffs up: tape grot, Stereophonics, (more) dog toys and frenzied choking. All component parts slide together like currents meeting round a sooty headland. Sure they gash and churn but the fluid mechanics could be scribbled on a blackboard and studied by grey beards and goofs all night. He’s got the math right you dig?
So don’t listen to the chaos, listen to the patterns beyond the chaos. Leave your expectations at home and tune in deeply and surrender. Wake the town and tell the people…there’s an inventiveness and joyful release shattering that snotty ego on this tape; a freedom that few ‘plinkerty-plonk’ merchants dare to reveal.
Dan Melchior – Human of Stow
The bottom-dwelling mud flapper attaches itself to my face and starts to pump creamy fluid into eyes, ears, nose and mouth. I’m surprised I’m not choking as pints of liquid fill up my head-holes but I’m too distracted by the fanciful visuals and audio-hallucinations.
Soft boulders shuffle slowly across a ploughed field leaving zen-streaks in their wake. The Town Mayor proclaims the moral victory in an Obese Antiques Roadshow. I blow the dust from a pair of old sneakers and hop backwards at the sight of an HO-scale field hospital nestled inside. The plane I’m on descends, descends, descends but the ground fails to appear. Super-lamb-banana melts into a shallow yellow lake – the La’s lick it into the shape of Chad.
Loaves of bread are kept in gilded cages. My once beautiful nails are chipped and grimy. Elastic muscles snap back into place more slowly now. I wake up suddenly remembering why the magic markers were left in the outhouse. A slow frog begins his chorus.
All these thoughts and more float across my soft-human-cinema as Dan’s new tape wriggles out of the stereo. The working method is important. Dan randomly fills a tape full of these evocative sounds which, in fairness, are probably sourced from field recordings, accidental damage, damp organ and domestic tape huss. They are layered and woven together without no mastering hand making it clear “that the whole idea of form is pretty elastic.”
Hey…that’s in direct contrast to the Honkey tape above. Don’t we just cover the whole field of dreams readers?
To my tin-ears this all sounds pretty dandy as drones start up then stop suddenly, dismal beats lose the will to live and conversations become one-eared affairs. It’s well documented that our brains love order and strive to overlay a regular grid on anything haphazard or irregular. The connections on Human of Stow are no-less random than a fat, black raindrop collage on a dry pavement but seem ordered like the suits in a pack of cards. The bully-boy clubs versus bleeding hearts, the razor sharp diamonds outfoxing the slow spades. And like cards this tape gives me side-eyes, never quite letting me relax.
After a flutter of sonic dry heaves things unsettle further like an early Fucking Amateurs CD-r where it’s unclear what is performance, what it added random mayhem (or in-joke) and if that regular ‘whomp’ is the sound of the broken recording equipment?
The folk next door, possibly alerted by my frantic ‘clickerty-clack’ typing, have just put their bin out and I’m convinced this is Dan’s master-stoke. Unconscious collaboration hits our collective driveway… Melchior versus Newcastle City Council!
Sindre Bjerga – Attractive Amplification
Regular readers know Sindre Bjerga’s modus operandi by now; ‘prolific-as-fuck’ yeah? And this wonderful release delivers superbly on his other well-known calling card: super-dense tape work.
Structurally we’ve got two live performances from both of the Dams – Amster and Rotter, recorded in 2015 and preserved in fine rubbery clarity.
Things start with ‘Flicker and Burst’ and it fairly slaps me across the noggin quick sharp. Jeezus…this is very, very heavy tape manipulation that thumbs a lift from Henri Chopin playing Henry Rollins.
The splutters are thick with phlegm; glottis-deep and curdled. After a time of fairly violent honks a deep perfumed-drone sets up while Sindre clatters shit-smeared chicken cages with a naked foot. You can relax into grey calm for a moment or two but don’t get too comfy because that distinctive condenser-mic jaxx starts to build and build into a full-spittin’ and bitin’ tantrum. Oof!
After a little lie down I gingerly press play on ‘Reverse Energy’. Where Sindre went wet and wild on side one this is dry, measured and sparse. In places I’m picturing the maudlin decay of Gilbert & George’s Dusty Corners, all abandoned hope and unfinished business. Sure, the tapes get mangled and strangled with that erotic ‘whurrr’ but it’s more of an internal sound, like the last sickly pulse of a tension headache.
When the volume and complexity is pitched down (a symptom of the reverse energy perhaps) it encourages a welcome introversion. The super-sad ending (some 70’s AM classic sung in pure innocent sunlight) rattles among the hiss-canyon like a lost Lambkin jam. Amber-glass perfection.
Tags: 777 was 666, aaron dilloway, altar of flies, chocolate monk, dylan nyoukis, hair stylistics, joe murray, john wiese, karen constance, luke poot, marc hurtado, phil minton, rick potts, skatgobs, smegma, spoils & relics, t mikawa, the custodians of the realm, the new blockaders, yeast culture, yellowhouse
Skatgobs – Pointless (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.314, edition of 40)
Various Artists – Found Secret (CD, 777 was 666, 777-022, edition of 300)
Skatgobs – Pointless
The cockney fug of Café Oto gives way to a relaxed domestic burr and the sharp acoustic slap-back you get between Victorian terraces.
Please welcome Skatgobs
…says some showbiz dude and the performance starts with Luke Poot in your left ear, Dylan Nyoukis in your right and Phil Minton all over your face. These three have been pulling gunk outta their necks for about 1000 years or so but tonight they are concentrating on collective mouth-music and similar damp jaxx.
For those expecting duck-like explosions, brace yourself. The sound here is mainly gentle; hissed swoops and whispered threats are the vocabulary. Each individual – Poot, Nyoukis or Minton creates fresh cockles and whelks from that tonsil and mind conglomerate but it’s the collective that makes this one a speciality bean. Ideas may launch individually but work in tandem then triplicate. Things lock pleasingly together for a while then peel away… reflective soap bubbles.
The ‘hssss-furrr-chow, chow, chow’ is lightning fast with pico-routines and micro-dramas played out and passed from cake hole to shell-like to shrimp joke like a juggler’s hot nut. The collected minds carefully splice each presented ‘bluurr’ or ‘tssshhhh-ch’ with an infinite number of other potential ‘blaaaahs’ to become a 50’s Radiophonic but without the sellotape and white coats.
The pace is brisk enough to satisfy any Minor Threat fan but the deepness of this game means we’re looking at things along the vertical rather than horizontal. I’m not saying this is a hippy-band meditative piece (this is way more large-colon than third-eye) but a certain gravity and space is required to sup properly .
It’s been asked before but I’ll ask it again. Does this work without the red-faced gurn and fat-cheeked pop; the sweaty visual to eyeball wide and contextualise? Well of course it does, listening to this in your own dungeon, it becomes an abstract electronic, they (P/N/M) become the human synths with a Mentat’s purple lips.
So dearest librarians… do you file this under Sound Poetry, free-release throat metal or tooth-jazz?
Categories become problematic and stifling with juice this fresh so park that thought buddy and slip these randomly between Editions Mego and Naxos joints, let the punters sort it out.
Essential? You betchya.
Various Artists – Found Secret
The N-AU loves a compilation: short odd-ends and snippets, bedfellows a-strange and lumpy. This compilation finds loving arms for all its wonk-eyed children.
But what’s the general feel? Is it a ready reckoner, a ‘now’ check against your wish list or a wide open window to glistening new green fields? That all depends on you, my dearest of all possible readers.
Does this tickle you?
- Rick Potts – Calliope collapse/loop-ography. Ninja Tune scratched and scratched but never got this blunted.
- Spoils & Relics – Gandalf’s pocket fluff rubbed on a shiny pate. Squeals become veals. Never an accident ignored.
- Yeast Culture – Dot Matrix Disco! Micro-events drench you like drizzle to awake refreshed but inky.
- Dylan Nyoukis – Close-miked MB Games (Frustration? Perfection?? ) summons up a slobbering beast muttering oaths to pond-scum reverb. Munch the kelp!
- Smegma – Travel expenses claim recorded in the medium of squeaks and gingerly sliding tones. “How much for an egg sandwich?”
- Aaron Dilloway – Congolese Ping-Pong. The heat effects the balls so they become heavy as sand. To be inhaled violently, with paddles proudly flapping.
- Hair Stylistics – Reptiles let loose in the studio. You’ve heard of Lounge Lizards right? Go-Go revolution with £15,000 worth of percussion.
- T Mikawa – a cleansing pixelated conundrum. The sphinx rendered in exclamation marks. Singular as a Morse Code fist.
- New Blockaders – Mystery men rattle a waterfall. A ghost of Lisa ‘Lefteye’ Lopez does backing vocals in the style of a ticking car bonnet. Malfunction never tasted better.
- Yellowhouse – From the brain canal of every blues guitarist ever. When half-formed is overdone we all win!
- The Custodians of the Realm – The urban jungle beautified with sheets of sound (Coltrane on tapes). Tiny Indian head massage works my skull as beds vibrate in the emptiness within.
- Altar of Flies – Any Moomin re-boot needs to leak this into the mix. Other worlds but with a distinct Northern flavour – like Dill sauce I guess.
- Karen Constance – 25 years of Eurovision distilled into a pipette and dripped slowly into the corner of your eye. A slight sting then blissful, herb-scented numbness.
- John Wiese – Bristles like my chin. See-sawing horns rasp like they are ribbed with foul rubber. The unease suggests significant REDRUM music.
- Marc Hurtado – Motley Crue’s Mick Mars gave off this vibe in black waves, up to, but not including 1985’s Theater of Pain. The residual mung is collected in jars and left to ferment.
Take a chance sir? Feel like a flutter madam? Catch this one while it’s piping hot.
[Editor’s note: Found Secret cover pic nicked from the Mantile Records site, where this CD is also available.]
Tags: belied gunaiko, bill orcutt, crank sturgeon, dylan nyoukis, electronica, fritz welch, harappian night recordings, human heads, humbolt ventures, improv, joe murray, joincey, jointhee, jon collin, jooklo duo, julian bradley, junko, luke poot, marvo men, new music, no audience underground, noise, papal bull, paul steere, peak signal 2 noise, ps2n, roman nose, sharon gal, sheffield live community television, stuckometer, sweat tongue, television, the family elan, the piss superstition, trans/human, turk geko, vimeo, vocal improvisation, yol
Peak Signal 2 Noise (TV show, Sheffield Live Community TV and Vimeo)
[Editor’s note: amused by the impressionistic ‘off the TV’ snaps that Joe sometimes tweets I encouraged him to use the same technique in illustrating this article. Thus what you are seeing has more to do with the workings of Joe’s phone camera (and fevered bonce) than the clear, sharp, properly lit and framed images you can expect from this excellent television programme. OK, over to Joe…]
It’s seems to be a truism in broadcasting that music TV has to suck really, really bad.
Cast your mind back to the mashed potato blandness of The White Room, the jokey yoof-arse of The Tube and the god-awful sweaty slobbering from Jools Holland (which is apparently still on).
What should be so simple, folk playing music with a camera aimed at them, turns into an excuse for zany camera angles, ill-thought out concepts and paedophile presenters. Ugh. It’s grim. I rest my case m’lud. [Editor’s note: hey, SnubTV had its moments!]
Thankfully Peak Signal 2 Noise is different fishy kettle. There’s no presenter to foul things up, no false stage antics or miming fools. It’s just a camera in face of the no-audience underground.
Cut up like a mix tape, the show moves swiftly between a whole buncha beards in a whole bunch of situations (live show footage, specially recorded pieces, installation performances) keeping the energy up and creating spaces to dream. Although edits are hard some interruptions blur the edges: a cheap kaleidoscope, raw fennel seeds bouncing on a speaker, frozen wasps, Yodel/Honkey and the Bubble Wrap man. On the seven episodes broadcast already you can expect to see…
· Jooklo Duo – Tender solo sax squall like free-jazz insects. Drums clatter in fur mittens. A sound so wonderfully clear and fresh it’s like a clear mountain stream running over polished cobbles.
· Human Heads – A real Dr Who vibe. That’s not saying this is Radiophonic; more like Ben & Hannah are playing parts of a broken Tardis for kicks.
· Humbolt Ventures– Glorious Sellotape jam. Rubbing and stroking are the order of the day with thin vibrations. Bullroarers in pt 2 induce coma.
· Bill Orcutt – Winged Eel finger-licking, blues shalom with naked foot.
· Luke Poot – No one does shame quite like Poot. Performance, the pink end of noise, a burst orange ball is honked like a rubber sax, lights pulled out flies, plastic toast. Lead us Luke!
· Dylan Nyoukis – Multiple Vines flicker like cat’s eyes –the hottest tip yet from the dark monk.
· Papal Bull – Maplin shoplifters curse the day tape was invented. Slow torture of the C30.
· The Family Elan – Off-kilter yarbles from Transylvania (or something). A proper band!
· Sweat Tongue – No Wave roots with new (blue) boots. Treble cranked high like it should.
· Harappian Night Recordings – Those familiar stretched ferric sounds clash off Bali bonce with wide eyes.
· Roman Nose – Layers and layers of Cardiff chalk blown up (Roman) nose, hopping from frame to frame capturing the mauve kinetic holla. PLUS some bagpipe animation creep hidden elsewhere!
· Marvo Men – Free gong-poetry on a dusty floor in a freezing space. Every opportunity taken to push things beyond ‘here’ and into ‘there’ with head-folding results. A brave and true duo.
· Fritz Welch – Mental crenulations and high metallic wavering; clikerty fingerings and squeak in two glorious parts
· Stuckometer – Free Jizz overdrive for the ‘fuh’ generation from these boy legends.
· Junko – “Atttttahhhh-atttttaaahh. Ktchhttaaaaa. Tch-aaaaaahhhhh.”
· Sharon Gal – Granite-hard birdvoice dreamtime. Geysers scored for hot-ash hiss.
· Dylan Nyoukis/Luke Poot – This time together. In conversation via khat-o-phone. Explosive sinus and remorseful tutting like all the world’s Geography teachers at once.
· Turk Geko – Found footage, frowned frottage, grown pottage, hewn montage.
· YOL – Without a face he chants (gggrrrrrrrr) leaving few traces but ghastly thoughts.
· Belied Gunaiko – Silver cloud noise. The sound of pilots dozing off…
· The Piss Superstition – Transparent methods. A ‘how to’ guide if you will. But ingestion of foul liquids may, just may, play a part in the visceral rusty bliss-tronics.
· Jon Collin – Naked guitar (finger then slide) of ultimate sorrow. Salty harmonics from slack, bitter strings cry. Two-fer-one.
· Trans/Human – Mystery Machine hi-jinks full of fuzz, fizz and fixx. Taking pale ‘scree’ to the people like hotdogs.
· Joincey Jointhee – Word poems to a frosted tit. Superb fractured sentences folded together with abrupt and sudden breath. Curse the rain that stops the f-l-o-w.
· Crank Sturgeon – Electric Portraiture. Oh my Crank!
OK friends…I tried me hardest with those descriptions (for some reason this is so much harder than talking about records) so it’s probably best just to tune in really. If you are Sheffield based you can get this on the proper telly (9.00pm/Saturday/Channel 159). Jokers living in other locales can check out Vimeo for an identical web version and an archive of everything broadcast so far building up to an encyclopaedia of No Audience shenanigans. The series plans to run for 10 episodes which should take us almost up to Christmas. But, be warned, the busy bees behind the venture are looking to bust out in all different directions in 2015.
Stop reading. Start watching.
Tags: acrid lactations, glastonbury, improv, joe murray, lovely honkey, luke poot, new music, no audience underground, noise, stuart arnot, sue fitzpatrick, tapes, the curse of never-ending elbow, total vermin, vocal improvisation
Lovely Honkey & His Acrid Lactations – Hardy the Wayfarers (tape, Total Vermin, #85)
I’m a bit of a worrier me. I worry about all the normal things a middle-aged, pampered, white, male worries about I suppose: kids, missus, job, state of the world and all that jazz. But being a welded to the no-audience underground I sometimes worry I’m being an inadvertent elitist.
Is the underground, with its limited editions, challenging approaches and cultural immersion more valid than the mainstream? The best I can muster is a, “Duh…I dunno” most of the time.
Maybe it’s time I did some serious thinking.
To make it clear reader…I have no problem with pop music. Check out the teenage magic-realism of Eliza Doolittle’s ‘Walking on Water’ or the outrageously frothy ‘Call me Maybe’ by Carly Rae Jepson? Curiously enough this kind of pure, purple, pop makes me smile just as wide as any of Phil Minton’s japes. Sure it’s a transient sugar rush…but are you telling me that Shakira (Editor’s note: Ugh. I was with you up to Shakira) don’t make you snap your fingers like the Art Ensemble?
So that’s pop music sorted out…but what about it’s more grown-up brother: indie rock?
In this day and age I should know everything about the current crop of indie rock lovelies, eh? As folks keep yammering on it’s all on the internet, for free, forever. Yup…the internet might be a portal to everythingness but you still need to peak in the right window – you dig.
I took the recent bloat-fest Glastonbury to be my window on the world. The BBC kindly chopped up footage into easily digestible mouthfuls so I could taste the best the indie rock world had to offer whilst sat in comfort at home. What a treat! These truly must be the best of times. I settled back with tea and a selection of biscuits, giddy with the knowledge I was bound to discover some rare breed, some slinky mink that had passed me by while I had my eye lowered to the grubby underground.
And I waited, and waited, and waited some more. I know Jonah Jameson (Editor’s note: very funny – you’re sacked) don’t like no negatives so I can’t really go into detail here. Let’s just say I watched 6 hours of footage and the only act that excited me was some bass and drum duo. And that’s just coz they sound like my brothers band.
So… I tried, I really tried; but with my scientist head on I can say the experiment failed. The indie rock mainstream is not for me, doesn’t want me, can’t stand me and its back to the underground I hop.
I slip on the next tape in the review pile from Lovely Honkey and his Acrid Lactations.
Now this is telling us something right from the off. Like Cliff & the Shadows or Mike and his Mechanics this is presenting us with a handy sonic-perspective, a clue even. I picture some formation; a bizarre food pyramid with Luke Poot as its king carnivore, his golden mane flowing in the hot Serengeti wind with Sue Fitzpatrick and Stuart Arnot scarfing antelope at his shoulders.
That’s set me a visual. But musically, how does this Robin Hood and Merry Men scenario unfold?
Immediately three, really wet mouths are coughing in phlegmy unison! ‘Hierarchies of Spirit’ slurps and spits, moans and whimpers its way through a spellbinding array of lip-smacks and bloats. The genius touch is a two note drone on dusty keyboard (or cracked violin) that anchors the gurgling mouths from setting alight. Such glorious tension.
‘Gulch Reflexion’ is a whole load of trouble deeper in the throat with pre-language babble (via Sue) over the severed epiglottis explosion. In fact the best advice I can give you to build up a mental picture for this is take any Carcass song title and shave off its hair. Naked and pink yet? You got it.
Take a baking tray half full of water tapped with ritualistic seriousness as your baseline for ‘Snails in the foundry of the Demiurge’. Beat in a dozen Delia’s getting loaded on sticky Madeira and Babel hollas a gibber. Coda: the distinctive cracks and pops of a Glasgow tenement building coming to rest after a violent Hogmany.
The longer pieces ‘Obedient Refexion’ and ‘(Briny) Expiant and (Milky) Redemptive’ grace side two with a calmer mung.
My first listening summons up visions of Shhh/Peaceful scored for gibbering monks and played back through medieval Dictaphones:
The illumination is all greasy from burning candles but the brilliant colours shine through. The fabric may be rough but the needlepoint is detailed.
An insistent rhythm is heard from outside the Monastery walls (Tony Williams on tea-caddy?) as the wails of limp-berserkers float in on the mist. Some joker messes with the intro to Iron Man (Sabbs not Marvel) and Wayne Shorter swaps his horn for marbles that he drops into a bucket.
Phew…you’ll surely admit to some Miles Davis/Viking invasion thing going on here. It’s not just me is it?
…as the mental-mists clear I realise this is what I’ve been missing with all that flaccid indie rock. There’s no pictures, no sizzled synapse leaps… just the dull plod, plod, plod of the verse and the tedious plod, plod, plod to anthemic chorus. But the Lovely Honkey and his Acrid Lactations my fine friends are as magnetic and shiny as an Aaliyah video (Editor’s note: that’s more like it – you’re hired again, back to work).
And if you don’t agree I hex you with the curse of never-ending Elbow.
(Editor’s final note: at the time of writing the TV blog is way out of date, so hit up Stuart directly via email@example.com or on one of them social networks and he is sure to oblige.)
all routes via drent: joe murray travels with gen ken montgomery, midwich, thf drenching and marc matterFebruary 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Posted in midwich, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: altar of waste, chocolate monk, council of drent, david birchall, drone, gen ken montgomery, improv, joe murray, luke poot, marc matter, midwich, new music, no audience underground, noise, thf drenching, vocal improvisation
Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.274, edition of 60)
Midwich – The Swift (CD-r, Altar of Waste, AOW 145, edition of 15)
Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge (self-released download)
THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) (self-released download)
THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) (self-released download)
Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.276)
It’s 7.15am on a rainy Sunday morning. Newcastle sleeps off its Saturday night as I board the National Express to London Victoria. Seven hours forty minutes of travel stretches out in front of me…seven hours forty minutes of quality RFM listening time. So here goes, settle down, headphones on…
(Newcastle to Catterick Garrison) First up is Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings. I’m assuming the dizzying speech loops for this charming disc are culled from self help/instructional/educational tapes from GKM’s legendary sound library.
The tone set is wonderfully dated. That Formica-slick 1950’s sound of gentle assurance and paternal wisdom (don’t worry about the bomb – it’s all going to be OK) nags at the brain stem like a fake memory. GKM adds disquiet to these Bakelite loops with bee-waffle, Disney strings and random clatter as the repetition of the most innocent of phrases, ‘You’re as pretty as a picture’ become darkly sinister. I’m reminded of those between-song collages from Bongwater, or the sharp, cultural poke-in-the-eye of Negativland. None of this in a bad way – more like when you come across a Butthole Surfers interview in inky old Melody Maker and think, ‘Cor…they were great weren’t they. Why don’t more folk do that?’ Only the track ‘If you need help’ bucks this trend and splices partial vocal snitches as tight as the wrapper on a chewy toffee penny.
“We don’t have to suffer, we’re the best batch yet”, croaked old Don Van. And I’m thinking the same think about old Gen Ken here. The Well Spliced Breath series on Chocolate Monk is damn essential listening for the student of vocal fuh. You know that. But, dear reader, this one is the creamy-doof, the Shia LaBoeuf!
(Wetherby to Woodhall Services) I’m hoping my terrible geography won’t let me down as I delve into The Swift by Midwich. I want to be knee-deep in Midwich as we pass through Rob’s adoptive home town of Leeds; creating a feedback loop of musty drone from coach to city centre.
The Swift is a single hour long piece in three distinct movements.
Movement one: It starts like the soundtrack to ‘Evolution…The Movie’ as grey gloop is replaced by lazy cellular dividing and static, internal egg-memories. Things settle on Mothra’s mating ritual – long drawn-out breaths gradually moving out of synch as feathery lungs push huge volumes of air through Sperm Whale baleen.
Movement two: A rhythmic ticking and the clatter of ghostly forklift trucks start to creep in. The Swifts chirrup, skittering in the air warmed by the horny Mothra. Listeners note: this section accompanies the flock of stately wind turbines near Chesterfield spectacularly.
Movement three: The final five minutes heave like the tides, slowly encroaching on an abandoned city; washing through the deserted streets, clearing the human junk for a stronger, fitter civilisation floating slowly through the brine.
No question this is Rob’s most immersive and ambitious piece of Midwichery yet. You gotta have it!
(Editorial aside: the more cynical amongst you may scoff but I’m satisfied that Joe’s praise for this album has nowt to do with it being recorded by me, his editor. Nor will my praise for the Black Leather Cop tape in a future review have owt to do with the fact that it was recorded by the duo of Scott and Joe, my RFM comrades. Can there be ‘conflict of interest’ down here in the no-audience underground? I may tackle this question at length some other time but, spoiler alert, I suspect the short answer is: ‘no’. At the time of writing there are still a couple of copies of The Swift left for sale – hop to it! – RH)
(Hucknall to Whipsnade Zoo (including nap)) I came across Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge while using Mrs Posset’s Facebook contraption…what joy these ‘likes’ bring!
This heavyweight trio treat the disc as very jazz with a muscular Drenching doing a moody Mingus on bull-Dictaphone. His Clangersesque chops weave around Luke Poot’s patent furniture jam and Dave Birchall’s scribble-scrabble on guitar.
The ghost of Carl Stalling looms. The busy peaks are a cartoon catfight in a sandpaper factory; the loser tarred and feathered. Heavy weights get dropped on heads and Bluebirds tweet over a swiftly rising bruise. But it’s not all three-way, slapstick action – No Sir!
‘Deed of Negative Pledge’, a duo between THF Drenching & Poot is a dense mung of collapsed electrics in a scum-filled pothole. There’s something here that reminds me of Prince – a kind of affronted pomp. It’s easy to picture The New Power Generation battle The Revolution with toys from an Argos Christmas cracker on this one.
‘Nano-tech Slave Canoe’ by Dave & Drenching is a double-D storm of fizz & gaseous cloud – behold the hot hail. It gladdens me pans to hear some joyful ruler-twang nestling between dicta squirts and scree.
Lo…the energy never stops. ‘A Deer Walking on Some Cardboard’ is plumped up and caffeinated like early Adolescents wrecking that forgotten kitchen cabinet full of old parts for a pre-war blender until some gonzo moose-honking heralds our arrival in glorious Luton.
More tape-screw bounty accompanies me from Dunstable to Victoria with THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) . This solo disc showcases the Herbie Hancock of Dictaphones melting into a somewhat Ballardian mood. The future is five minutes away and carved out of alienating concrete. Drenching, thumbs as heavy as Stonehenge uprights, crushes micro-sounds out of the pinched brown tape with a steel-tension squeak. Listeners note: Lovers of Raster Noton shit will dig the clean and clinical splatters of goof on display here – honest.
‘Live Acoustic Nail-Fetish’ has some button-pushing genius measured out in Samuel Morse’s code spelling out, ‘Overthrow the Ruling Classes. Unite. Rejoice!’ if I’m not much mistaken. This decoding made me jumpy. So it’s with a nervous titter I relish the electric horse sound (invented by little Jimmy Osmond) that closes this tasty piece.
Fans of balls-out skronk look away now. ‘Postal Ballot Reflux’ is a dystopian Gamelan, heavy with loss, mourning the death of the Arts & Crafts movement. It’s a lament for Brent Cross…it’s a silent scream in Halfords superstore. Finally ‘Alternating Meat Wipes’ de-tunes a radio like a Victorian lady succumbing to Polystyrene ear-pressure. That’s not something you hear everyday brothers and sister right?
I’ve arrived in the capital! And after I’ve slapped some blood back into my legs I relax into THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) as I make the cross-town jaunt Victoria to Stoke Newington on the number 73 Routemaster.
It’s a bold opening: the squeal of miniature figs in a foam of iron gravy that starts ‘Xmas TP-M110 Jammy Slobber’. Presently the Christmas tree decorations are taken down and the resulting chatter recorded by noisy Krill. Rice expands to fill a seeping wound…whoa man Drench! Things get serious with ‘Jettisoned Inky Crags’, a music concrete composition (electric whisk in a Smash tin) that zip-scratches and Velcro-rips like Mixmaster Mike with crabs.
The erotic closer, ‘Something for a Stabproof Goose’ is a fumble in the hide. An Owl’s haunted ‘twit-t’woo’ in strong sunlight. My ears tell me it’s all composed in negative with the fowl sound redacted, the anti-echo of quack left to dissolve into the dusk. Punishingly austere and perfectly suited to staring at the back of an old guy’s head for 50 minutes.
The next day, my London business done, I tramp back to the train station and Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante accompanies me from King’s Cross back home to Newcastle.
I chat to the poor bugger next to me. She’s working on spreadsheets but I’m overcome with the urge to spout forth…
Hey lady! Here’s more vocal shenanigans from your Cannonball Run chums Chocolate Monk. This Mr Marc has already done his personal huffing and honking and scratched his mung into soft black vinyl if you please. The vocal explosions are then mixed and mashed up via turntables, mixing desk and effects. Neat eh?
Do you like history lady? Marc knows his onions and has been DJing with the ‘hoof and varble’ of ancient text compositions/sound poetry for a few years. It’s no surprise then that L’oeil Ecclatante comes across like the late, great Henri Chopin; full of damp glottal slops and high-pitched steamy hisses.
Listeners note: at this point I offer her my earbuds. She declines but continues to look interested.
At times it’s like being trapped in a vast jug: bub, bub, bubbing as liquid is poured out on to a blackened tree stump,
…other moments revisit the sonic texture of corduroy as my old school trousers, Bishop Barrington Comprehensive – year 8, are rubbed against sensitive fruit. Do you think that the sleight-of-hand encouraged by turntables allow sounds to slip wetly between your ears and rough running-breath to be laid over internal lung-farts to patch up a rhythm, soon to be nixed by the pinched trachea of Ligeti’s angels?
Although she didn’t answer and quickly went back to her spreadsheets I could tell she was hooked, another convert to the no-audience underground.
Mind the gap!
Tags: blue yodel, chocolate monk, human heads, improv, joe murray, lovely honkey, luke poot, marvo men, new music, no audience underground, noise, singing knives, tapes, usurper, vocal improvisation
Usurper – Fishing for Tripe (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.261)
Blue Yodel & Lovely Honkey – Poppies & Cocks (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.249)
Marvo Men – Give Some Idea of the Boys at Work (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.251)
Human Heads – The Beauticinist (C38 tape, Singing Knives, SK020)
Usurper – Fishing for Tripe
The Hinge & Bracket of the no-instrument underground break the fourth wall in the opening seconds of this tasty McNugget. A noisy enamel-mug clash ends with a giggle and the beardy-burr ‘Shall I stop it and start it again?’
We are in Usurper territory instantly where tables, cutlery, marbles, cardboard boxes, billiard balls all become an orchestra for this pair of Ritalin Simon Rattles. The skringle is close and dense but with enough room to breathe and flex with layers of fuss and bother laid over Tourette’s tick and shiver.
Things are neatly compartmentalised with track one (there is no song titles baby! Malcy’s drawings depict a series of numbered stomach aches in lieu of numerals), the aforementioned symphonic scratter, setting a firm and reliable base layer. Track two is pure vocal radge with mouth farts snuggling up brownly with warm guffs and moany choams. This dark throaty gurgle is kept, pretty much, behind the teeth balancing control against the promise of chaos. Track three…a play in three acts (1) if rats were made of polythene they would recognise their brothers squeezing through the plumbing and answer in kind, (2) dry twigs evolve sap-like fingers and stretch blindly down narrow ginnels, (3) the idea of hard electric weather. Track four is Usurper’s Take Five, like Joe Morello traded in his traps for a ‘pencil rattling in jam jar’ solo but ends up in a space previously occupied by Zaire’s cacophony of electrified mbiras and full moon moaning. Track five is a proper sound poetry blow-out exactly halfway between Alvin Lucier’s ‘I am sitting in a room’ and a round of ‘London’s Burning ‘sung by year 4 of the Ivor Cutler Primary School. Not only does this sound delicious and minty on the ear it delivers a brief history of the group leaving us with a shy but heartfelt ‘cheers man.’ Fishing for Tripe – music to stack a dishwasher to.
Postscript…I’m writing this in the cafe of a snooty Health Club (just don’t ask) and next on my crap laptop playlist, after Usurper, is Venom and their legendary between-song banter from their first US tour (1986). I almost leap out my chair as Cronos dribbles his bullshit about Newcastle Brown Ale, ‘kicking your balls off’ and mixing up the names of his own songs, ‘Blood lust? Blood what?’ We don’t have a song called that.’ I don’t know how but this somehow strangely fits into Usurper’s world: making magic out of nothing, rejoicing in the vernacular, pointing at windmills and laughing at their ridiculousness.
Blue Yodel & Lovely Honkey – Poppies & Cocks
This is going to be a weird one to write about as Yodel & Honkey make up the Sheffield arm of my underground family and have housed me, watered me and popped falafel into my weary gob-hole on many an occasion. What if I don’t like their offering? Will I be able to face them again? I’ve always been a worrier, and as usual, it’s a groundless concern. Poppies & Cocks is a piquant little caperberry overflowing with sour juice!
A true pairing. This is no trad jazz duo, out-honking each other, desperate for the solo – the group mind has taken over. Practiced over endless cups of herbal tea Poot/Honkey is less snotty than usual suggesting a new linctus approach. Yodel’s joyful humming is downtuned, dark and graveyardy.
A quick note on the recording quality. Some people have unfairly tarred the sub-underground with the ‘lo-fi’ brush. While I’m a fan of lo-fi’s qualities this little disc is by no means low in fidelity or intent. It fairly roars out the speakers and fills the room with clotted curses.
There are several approaches here. The open-mouthed mung-out that seems to be chuffed direct to tape and then played back at volume (although your ears may pick put more than my cloth cabbages) revelling in the spittle-flecked abandon of hurling your head back and letting the pre-language gasps and hucks spring fresh from the subconscious. On occasion there is a more feather-light feel with barren electronics needling horse-faced snorts with toothpick-thin shards of feedback gilding the outer reaches of the spectrum. The clever use of hiss and near silence makes these humps almost painterly. And then, and this could be totally off beam, there seems to be a secret recording thread; like some pieces were recorded in the dark, alone, trying not to wake the sleepers camped out next door. In this case frantic gasps and exhalations seem to stretch and mutate, expanding to fill the scant space between gob and condenser mic. Fingers search blindly for buttons to nudge and pause, smudging the grain further leaving a burred snapshot. Those dicks on The Apprentice might say – ‘Yodel & Honkey – multiple mouths make morbid murmurs!’ Fuckin’ saps…this is an essential disc for all students of the wild northern weird.
Marvo Men – Give Some Idea of the Boys at Work
More mouth-based lunacy. But don’t automatically think glottal coughs or lippy trimphones! The untitled opener is pure cut-up tape abstraction. Beautiful and brilliant the ‘aughs and absenthh, wah’ sing chicken noodle soup into my ear, nourishing my jaded soul and filling me with pearl barley goodness. I’m beaming like the golden shimmer on saffron infused rice. Track two is a more physical attack with two mouths jamming up against each other, like roof tiles they interlock but it’s not fragile. This sound bends and forms new rude shapes in expanded foam. The cloisters are never far away as monk-like groans hiss like hot drizzle on a freshly shaven tonsure. Half the fun of this kinda goof is the theatre of it, the gurn and posture, the sinews standing proud on effort-rouged neck. But the Marvo Men have marked their territory well with a strongly scented musk leading you like a pissy Bisto kid, round the saplings and into the glade they have prepared with dusky boughs and cracking grass. The closer takes us back into a multi-tracked tape nightmare that sounds like…and I’m not kidding here…some nugget from that Beatles Anthology cash in. You can hear the Fab Four, directed by the ever-correct Yoko, to lose their inhibitions and ‘make like the universe’. Ringo gets it first (of course) neighing like a Bootle donkey then letting Mr Martin rewind and play the noise backwards. George gets in on the transatlantic ‘Ohm’ leaving bloody John and bloody Paul to throw their caps into the ring; reluctant at first but with rising confidence whispering harmonious nonsense with one hand on the Abbey Road Ampex (then state of the art, now retro/vintage). The voices and chortles are corralled together to create one neon stream of liquid sound, rising in density, a dark-eyed sister to that orchestral bit in ‘A Day in the Life’. Hey man…this is what Revolution Number Nine should have sounded like.
Human Heads – The Beauticinist
Classic and domestic fung-poetry! Like a pie chart: stream of consciousness verb & strum (37%), interrupted field recordings (45%) and aching vowels (18%) this pretty pink tape clearly displays the everyday psychedelic for all to see. The faint whiff of petrol (aphrodisiac to some, emetic to others) clings to The Beauticinist with its see-sawing collection of spoken word rambles and delicately knitted tones and recordings. Tarnished beauty seems to be a central theme; from the hard gloss of grotty nail bars to the washboard stomach of a tabloid personality we are asked, as beholders, what do you see?
Among the stuttering speech patterns lays a rotating burr (slo-mo dentist drill?) and wheezy brackets (harmonium?) as dice are casually thrown and a ghost leaves by the squeaky door. Sometimes words are picked apart phonetically; each snatch of un-sound rolled round the gob like a fine brandy then spat unceremoniously into the festering slop-bucket beneath the table. Although these sounds are presented simply, sometimes with the gentlest of echoes, there is a steely confidence here. Human Heads brush a demure fringe to one side and look you straight in the face…worship me like you worship the distant buttery sunlight of youth, it seems to say!
If you are looking for easy references and comparisons the closest cousin would be sub-underground giants The Shadow Ring whose slack halfarsedness rattled brain boxes before I started shaving. But, make no mistake – this is no backwards-looking retro shit…I’d put a dollar on Human Heads lasting the full 12 rounds with a Hype Williams style outfit any day of the week. In other words – it’s tasty.
In this post-noise world it’s the tiny things matter most and Human Heads put an expert eye to the microscope. Like boffins they examine the brittle grain of speech patterns, greasy tape huss and the clatter of finger bones, presenting them, ‘OU style’ to you dear listener.
Note: Human Heads…contain two Helhesten Heads/Psykick Dancehall bods too.
guest post! extracts from the joe posset end-of-year round up! part two of two: conference of gurglesDecember 12, 2012 at 7:11 am | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: acrid lactations, alt vinyl, blue spectrum, cabbage rosette, discombobulate, dylan nyoukis, handmade birds, hapsburg braganza, improv, jazzfinger, joe murray, luke poot, new music, no audience underground, noise, phil minton, posset, stuart arnot, total vermin
OK, for preamble from both me and from Joe Murray, guest author of this post, see part one below. No need to repeat ourselves here – on with part two:
(with continued apologies to those whose pictures I’ve stolen. Click on the linked bits for further info and/or purchasing details)
Hapsburg Braganza – Recurring Dreams LP x 2 (Alt Vinyl)
Guitar reigns supreme here. A faded, scrubbed, scuffed guitar sound that seems to slink along the skirting boards. Sombre chordings and plucks play with time, swinging in places (‘Dolomite 98’ is almost jolly; like a weary parent’s forced smile) adding space like Dub. To keep it all frosty Phil introduces the occasional fear piano (hear ‘In Holland Cloth’ brother and tremble) and dervish organ (mainline ‘Golding’s Eclipse’) with fog grey electronics smeared carefully over a few of the tracks. The biggest Hapsburg surprise is the addition of super subtle drums every now and again; courtesy of Bong’s Mike Smith. A lazy journalist would point to the drums and shout “A-Ha. Slow drums and slow guitar…that’s post-rock that is!” And of course they would be wrong. There’s an older tradition here. The tradition of the saga, the legend, the epic story shared between glowing faces over a roaring fire. Recurring Dreams is a lengthy wallowing in the Kingdom of Hapsburg…and this is a place where you need to take your time, pull up a stool, bathe your feet in the stream. Recorded mostly in the early hours, on the edge of sleep, gives Recurring Dreams a definite feel…we often talk of peripheral vision…could this claim to be the first example of peripheral listening?
Cabbage Rosette with Phil Minton – Ran out of breath licking elegy nipple, cough and fall to bits, tight chest as achievement? CD-R (Total Vermin)
Balls out skronk from Messers Poot & Vermin abetted by Mr ‘jazzface’ Minton on swelling tubes. Over-blown kitchen electronics huff each and every cough and splutter so the inward sigh becomes symphonic, the lip smack a thunderbolt. Squeaky doors or plastic tape cover are rattled to destruction (screeechhh, scraaaaaw) and the only recognisable ‘instrument’; a phat keyboard, blebs in dopey chimes, once, twice then not at all. Sounds are fairly poured over each over with abandon and mixed up with a hot spoon. There’s little structure or reason to this making it all the more fun and engaging. The frenzied jerk and Tourette’s tick keep the energy up. You can almost picture them, shoulders up to earholes, spazzing out on spittle warp. Things get more crimped towards the end when what sounds like some remedial turntable abuse plays up against mouth babble and the whole thing ends in a conference of gurgles and wet-fart lippings. 13 mins in total…the perfect length.
No Artist – Untitled aka Blue Spectrum – I Almost Drowned MC (Blue Spectrum Tapes)
Sorry about the mystery surrounding the name here. It’s all very confusing…if you’re trying to check it out it’s got a Pegasus on the cover. Released in a huge edition of 3! Flipping open the case and slapping this into the deck starts a strange claustrophobic trip. Recorded in the lowest of all know fidelities this sounds like a penguin colony getting their hands on some sharpened sticks and menacing the keepers. The bars of the enclosure are wired up to the mains and blasted apart using slow dynamite. Sparks fly, low crunching fills the air and before long blubber and blood lap up against the sides of the pool. Things get pretty nasty towards the end of side one with granite hammers being thrown at a giant insect-o-cutor. High tape strangeness in the mould of an early Prick Decay or pre-school Cock ESP or something. Side two couples its buffers to classic dark noise territory and sounds like massively amplified rolling stock slamming on the breaks and keeping them there for 25 mins. Metal on metal screech and heavy rumbling fuss make this a steam powered listen, all oily and soot covered sideburns. Refreshing as a Irn-Bru enema.
(Editor’s note: in the spirit of investigative journalism Joe contacted Simon of Blue Spectrum for further information and got the following response:
As far as the title and artist goes there wasn’t any, although I credited myself on discogs just to say who made it. I didn’t want it to have a name or title. On the spine there is ripped paper in place of where the artist and title would usually go. I think how you referred to it was perfect no artist – untitled aka blue spectrum ‘I almost drowned’ because it gives it an identity. The official label name is Blue Spectrum Tapes. This is the discogs page. I will be making another batch of these soon, maybe 10 or so copies.
…so now you know.)
Jazzfinger – Destroyed Form MC (Handmade Birds)
One sided cassette that opens the door to forbidden times. At some level all Jazzfinger records are an exercise in archaeology. Although I have a brand new tape in my hands the actual recordings could have been made 20 years ago and only now have filtered through the arcane and secret Jazzfinger process known only to Has, Ben and Sarah. As it happens this does invoke ‘early’ Jazzfinger when cymbals and organ played a much bigger part in the ritual. ‘Ocean is free’ sounds like my earliest memories of Jazzfinger with the singing-grainy organ, tape wobble and sickly cymbal tapping. ‘Sun Punishment’ lurches forward in time to the white-out-guitar-squall period blowing static clouds of electric fuss all over. This one is more badly behaved than most JF jams delving into metallic tantrum through to a come down of goblin hammers tinkling. The final jam ‘blown cotton woodland’ sounds like the soundtrack to some terrible conspiracy theory documentary on cable. A doomy horsefly buzzing in your ear, some backmasking sound manipulation drawing to a close of throbbed out organ bliss.
The Acrid Lactations – The Presidential cow is bound to the maypole MC (Total Vermin)
This tape pretty much takes every gob-punk cliché and bombs them back to year zero. Very fucking warped skronk and then some extra double girl on boy skronk are the order of the day. Things seem to be in both real time and then manipulated via bad-electronics at random, making for a discombobulating listen. Moaning and groaning is fighting with pinched throat gurgles, drawn out mouth drones stray to the fore with a more high pitched keening just at the edge of my (admittedly damaged) hearing. Regular instruments are jettisoned as being bourgeois in favour of the more democratic domestic rattles of: bird-pipes, concrete sacs being dragged, ice chinks in a glass of Dandelion & Burdock, ripped cardboard, amplified plastic bags, violently bubbled milk and yogurt pots etc. Helium high screes march over tape loops of ‘vurrrum-raaaam’ with indistinct clumsy DJ scratching like Grandmaster Flash’s first session on him moms hi-fi slipping a ‘high on crack’ sample against falling down the stairs drum machine. There’s a bluesy quality to some of this…god know how that got into here…and then, just before you can dismiss this as aimless fucking about I’m reminded this is just a fag paper away from James Tenny’s classic tape piece ‘Blue Suede’ from 1961. The Lactations know their history man! For today and today only this tape has the distinction of being the exact end point of what music is and what it can achieve. Awright!
Dylan Nyoukis – The Acrylic Widow Vinyl (Discombobulate)
As of writing this is still unreleased but early 2013 will see this burst forth like pus. There are four measured tracks here.
- Dry coughs and outta-wack piano chords play into Boy Scout bike repairs, ‘test the bell, spin the wheel!’ Hot air leaks from a perished rubber hose. With knuckles like hazelnuts, these sounds shine like delicately laid cobblestones, laid end-to-end without no fuss or haste, they are tram tracks. Late night thumps, ‘boof, baff’ and a lousy Soft Machine organ solo talks a Brighton raver down from gritted jaw oblivion.
- Ideas are put through the wringer in stereo effect. The domestic bric-a-brac builds up: a motorcycle revving, the dry crunch of gravel underfoot…a jumble sale of sweaty woollens, singing out through pinched throat to make un-sense of the phrase ‘iss, sum bear-lae-um’. An unexpected kitchen sink gamelan makes for a feverish listen. Tension is introduced via leathery lunged accordion but there’s no crass crescendo. Fading out like pinched guts.
- Euro voices abound in tangled syntax. Verbs sounds & nouns renamed. Sure, there’s blubber and chunder…’you, you, you and me’ that’s slam-up-bang to babby titter-chat for starters. Then the downs come in, re-directed by taut tape loops making the ecstatic, grooving on the surface of bubble. The proclamation, ‘I’m right here’ leaves us in no doubt who you are sharing your damp bedsit with tonight, slurping up the old wine as red as pooled blood.
- Another take on the stretched ritual. A parrot squawks underwater struggling for fresh O2. Furious eraser scurrying action is met with the stony silence of a 14 year old girl while apples crunch between strong white teeth. Our old friends, words, are worried and fretted in a dark experiment; turned over looking for new seams and valves to shuck and prise open like ripe clams until mucus-like muscle slips free and falls to the flagstones below.
This is a living séance with The Acrylic Widow. Wisdom from the Old Ones, the thin Venn diagram slice between frantic scuttling & sweet Miskatonic stoned.
…and so we end the extract with a fittingly festive Lovecraft reference. Many thanks again to Joe for his kind permission to post these great reviews. His complete 2012 round-up will be available at the end of the month over at the Posset myspace blog. Reading it, and chasing up the goodies that it describes, will give you something to do in that null week between Christmas and New Year after you’ve broken all your new toys…