rowdily settling in my stomach: rfm on bold oxide lust, sindre bjerga, king kungo and brandstifter

May 5, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release)

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes)

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes)

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes)

 bold oxide lust

Bold Oxide Lust – A Fad, Then (Self Release) a cassette perhaps but certainly a digital album

Effervescent and blistered electronic tone-poems enter one ear then dum-dum the precious grey fluid within.

It is, of course Enrique R. Palma to blame for detonating my magnetic mind-wipe direct from his base in Yucatan, Mexico.

This four-tracker, a quartet of future blues starts with ‘Brunei Rigs Nuns’ fizzing like damp fireworks until it moves through a movement for (1) stainless-steel frogs and (2) diamond-tipped cicadas. Most surprising is the guest pan-pipes hoffed by B. Eno (or someone)!

The sound of falling piss hails the start of ‘Cobalt/Trauma Eel’ while synthetic chords swell and bloat under the golden shower.  The longest piece on record – a hefty twelve minutes – things move from hot splatters to distant gasps and exhalations.  The organist is determined to add some decorum to this situation and play clumped, fistfuls of notes that seem to decay into soft butter almost instantaneously.

N-AU crossword fans will no doubt make a beeline for ‘Anagram Liar’ to seek some obscured pattern in the flailing muss.  I’ve never been a cryptic fan but, for the record, my findings are as follows: aqueduct field recordings meshed with Judy Dunaway scores, electric typewriter keys tapped with frenetic energy, mouth squoosh.  A winner in anyone’s book.

Enrique leaves closer ‘A Fondly If In’ to really kick out the jams.  This is a full-throttle rocker in a world where Suicide became punk’s measurement and the Smex Pustules petered-out like the bad fashion-world joke they were.   Almost 9 minutes of explosive muck and bluster that then chills-the-fuck-out and we’re transported to a soft cantina filled with warm erotic hiss.

Sindre Bjerga

Sindre Bjerga – Almost Like Music (Spam Tapes) cassette

Bjerga- a presence unmoveable!

Bjerga – a method unrepeatable!

Here stand two live performances summoned from N-AU’s Misterrrrrrrr James Brrrrrroowwwwwwwwwn.

(Side A)  We travel back in time to March 24th 2016.  We are in the fine city of Cologne (home of Spam tapes).  Prepare yourself for a tape-jaxx heavy set.

The FFW button is given some serious hammer as voices get squeaky and disco/funk grows an extra limb.  But the tomfoolery can only last so long as Sindre breaks out something more sparse and dub-wise where faint grunts waddle.

The sudden intrusion of space makes me feel uneasy and makes each click, throb and slo-tape-smear something a little uncomfortable – like watching a candied industrial process.

And while the third movement goes full-circle back to Sindre’s drone roots with a gritty, visceral chugga-chug-chugga of perfect dictaphonix roar; the final segment gets me all tight round the middle, in a post Sunday-lunch kind of way, before the rosemary and sage farts offer sweet relief.

(Side B) The dial is set two days earlier and this time we are in the home of the International Trade Conference circuit – Frankfurt!

Things start off very quietly with a muscular yet almost internal sound.  Could this be the birth of peristalsis-core?

The swallowing and bolus-juggling come in waves (natch!) squashing and releasing tight clumps of roots reggae into my innocent ears.

Any riddim is soon overpowered with searing tape roil, drone-embers and destroyed soft-rock (think Leather and Lace) until a child’s voice steals the show speaking with great emphasis.

As befitting a master Bjerga rejects the easy crescendo in favour of a return to subtle ham-fist tape warping: voices clutter and mesh with wet mouth-noise and (snip) it all suddenly cuts off.

Time travel at its finest.

King Kungo

King Kungo – Da Ist Der Rhein (Spam Tapes) cassette – plays same on both sides

Utterly charming and disarming!

This brief and beautiful tape is an on-the-spot composition of Nils Quak’s young son King Kungo running, shouting and talking inside a huge resonant bridge in Cologne.  In the background a piano loop by Michaela Melian is playing (from a previously happened-upon installation).

Both are dressed in the most wonderful natural reverb I think I have ever heard.

Simple eh?  But the sum of these parts results in a powerful listening experience, swaddled in memory and warmth.

The piano is sparse and dry – echoing through the huge space dropping ivory tears in complex patterns.  But it’s the young Master Kungo that turns these ingredients into a ray of sunshine.

The shouts and hollas let us gnarly-old adults revisit that pure innocent joy of shouting into the wind; you can hear his excitement as these sounds reflect back his practiced squeals and effectively rolled ‘r’s and trills.

The feedback loop of noise-excitement-noise-excitement is, I’ll wager, one of the universal N-AU equations and keeps us coming back to damp cellars across the globe to plug in and play.  Hearing this laid out without no pretence or posturing is most intoxicating – like the first sip of ice-cold lemonade; I can feel the fizziness flow though my head and neck, rowdily settling in my stomach.

Production-wise it sounds like nothing has been touched or tweaked so there is an occasional tape flutter or mic rustle but hey…that just makes it more real man.

An experience tape of wide-smiles and wonderment!

Brandshifter

Brandstifter – Die Stereoiden Des Merz (Spam Tapes) cassette

And of course this offering from Brandstifter couldn’t be more different.  Note to self – never expect the usual from Spam!

What sounds like tightly wound, tightly worked “FIELDS, LOOPS, NOISE, VOX” rumble, rustle and whistle between broken teeth.

After a few minutes of side one’s opening soft-factory vibes we’re treated to a hiss-symphony of subtle breath sounds all looping over themselves like Wounded Knee’s most delicate moments mumbled into the bottom of a pint pot.

In time, small electric motors power some fowl or other into a clucking mess, feathers are ruffled and breasts plumped – but look alive little goose – the farmer and family chant a Summer Isle backwards psalm.

Side two is a more free-flowing energy river and goes a little something like this

…car door/rubber knocks/more bloody geese/someone takes a marimba onto the train/dropped chocolate coins…

until a real Fylkingen text-sound experiment wraps creamy ‘b’ sounds and ‘lem’ sounds round various tonsils ending in a true babblicious fountain!

Brandstifter waltz the looping majestic!

Bold Oxide Lust

Spam Tapes / A-Music Spam Page

-ooOOoo-

through our cat’s head: joe murray on lieutenant caramel, nils quak, robert ridley-shackleton, the moth kingdom, buddly tuckers

March 18, 2016 at 10:23 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Lieutenant Caramel – Überschallknall (tape, SPAM / Meudiademorte Records, Spam 15, edition of 60)

Nils Quak – In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni (tape, SPAM / Meudiademorte Records, Spam 14, edition of 40)

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – God (tape, Cardboard Club)

The Moth Kingdom – Bleeding Cherub (tape, Cardboard Club)

Buddly Tuckers – S/T (tape, Cardboard Club)

caramel

Lieutenant Caramel – Uberschallknall

I’m listening to this directly after jamming Ben Gwilliam’s freezer-burn tape that my esteemed colleague L. Vollar covered a while ago. For a second I think the opening door-slam from the Lieutenant is a direct psychic-echo from Ben’s frosty vacuum death.  Rest assured readers, it’s not.  This is an altogether different beast.

This silky smooth Caramel is in fact bona fide French electronic composer/film-maker Philippe Blanchard who is tweaking the desk like a daemon on this Music Concrete beauty.  Five exceptional pieces are collected on the banana-yellow tape.  I say… shall we dance?

You dig that Luc Ferrari tape-mesh right?  Then tune into ‘Die Grosse Liebe’, a cryptic crossword of sound that despite the fiendishness of the clues fits as neatly as a half-dozen eggs in a box.  The sharp detritus from a traveller’s DAT is the fuel and these snippets slam together making my eyes riffle in REM despite the bright February sunshine.  Coiled bass notes fairly boom out of the speakers during ‘Die Obdachlos’ in a way that should make any tape-denier check their dolby and scrub out their ears.

The wonderful piano/ice-drip/wrenching rope trio dominate ‘Der Teufel’ revealing a natural timing and swing that’s as syncopated as any King Oliver.  It’s as delightful and light as meringue, the sort of music I could imagine going through our cat’s head.

There’s a JAZZ FROM HELL quality to ‘Andreea’ but rather than give me a tension headache (bloody arse Xappa) this massages my temples with sweet oil and pungent herbs.  The resulting fumes relax me in rag-doll positions, all bent legs and lolling tongue.

But this relaxation is short lived!  Taut piano-wire is strung up like some Hellraiser-inspired installation on ‘Tot eu Tot’.  A bruised thumb plucks the assembled strings releasing dull ‘poings’.  A calloused hand rubs their metallic length to leech out pico-symphonics.  This is no dark-gothic remembering but a brightly polished chrome-dream, Ballardian in temperament.

Damn don’t waste money trawling the collector-scum market for hi-brow tape-composition!  Throw open your doors to nutritious SPAM!

nils

Nils Quak – In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni

Hey!  This tape speaks to me man.  In the insert there’s a tiny note from Nils that says this whole tape was conceived “in stolen moments of mid-life angst”.  I’m with you brother Nils!  That’s the kind of thing I need tattooed on to my manky ankle.

So, does it sound angsty?  Is it half full of piss and vinegar, half full of maudlin tears?  Doesn’t sound it to me mate… this is synth-based raffles for sure, but the mood is exploratory and playful.

The many short tracks are neatly divided into carefully prepared drones, deep enough to lose yourself in and bleep-and-booster electronic pitch-bubbles that float nice and pretty with the occasional headlight shinning through the fog to pick out the detail real peachy.

So, at points you have shifting plates of beaten steel rubbing over each other, sensuously vibrating.  Then the mood changes to a bubbling electro-bongo beating out a Roy Castle rhythm.  Again things switch for a heavy oil by-product jam, all crude slurping and melting blackness as eventually bee drones get drowned in heavy syrup.

But within the constant shape-shifting there’s something gnawing at me, a familiarity that I can’t quite place.  And then it dawns like a big orange sun, I’m getting huge nostalgic wafts of Manchester’s late, great Disco Operating System in the Sci-Fi vibrations. Yeah… the radioFONIC is in the house and churning up gravity with some wicked deepness.

god

Robert Ridley-Shackleton – God

Are you ready for card?

…asks Robert as the wonderful God cranks up.

It’s a good question.  Are YOU ready for card?  Am I ready for card?  Are any of us really ready for card?  Many pixels have been rearranged into shapes that spell out RRS and this dude is fast becoming The Shaggs or Gwilly Edmondez or The Fall or something?

Point one.  He’s a true original voice – that distinctive pocket jazz ‘whhhuuurrrrr’ backs these jams like a Sunny Murray ride-cymbal smashhhhhh.  The tinny ‘b-tish, b-tish, b-tish’ of an ancient casio-tone drives each tune and is the kind of thing that would make Mark Ronson sweat his structured quiff flat as a pancake. The stream of consciousness lyrics baffle with gnomic platitudes,

Believe in yourself

is crooned with s.o.u.l. direct from a d.i.s.c.o. club, circa Rotherham 1983.  Reader… nothing really sounds like Ridley-Shackleton.

Point two. The unshakeable resolve.  RRS has his formula; he’s carved it out like a sailor with their whale bone and now… he owns it.  There’s no pretence at any progression or change.  You know what you’re getting right from the distinctive artwork to the gristly Dictaphone work.  Every second is a reference to the world Robert has created from yogurt pots and toilet duck.  But like all great artists who create their own unique sound there’s still the capacity to surprise.   Any slight deviation from the norm becomes a quantum leap, a forehead-slapper  (just think back to Dylan’s electric shazz-nazz for the crowd to cry ‘Judas!’) that makes you go

eh?

Halfway though side two the frippering flutter gets as dense as any Niblock-block and a micro second could be those jokers-euro Farmers Manual.

Point three.  The unfettered urge to create.  A prolific artist at the best of times, RRS keeps on moving, moving, moving letting no grass grow under his velvet pixie boots.  The zines, tapes, label(s) and releasing other folks jaxx keeps these idle hands far too busy for the devil to slip on a pair of gloves.  If I was a religious man I’d be questioning the BIG GUY… is this more divine influence?

The individual tracks mobius in on themselves (in less enlightened times they might have called this a concept tape) so a divine perspective is woven through each song, even the painfully honest ‘Sex Thug’ until we start where we once began.

So, when the dust settles, what are we left with?  Another Ridley-Shackleton joint that’s the same as the rest?  F’sure.

Another moreish peek into the wild and frightening world of Robert Ridley-Chaka Khan.  Damn right!

moth kingdom

The Moth Kingdom – Bleeding Cherub

A fellow traveller called LOAM hops into a time machine and takes me back to my teenage years; joss sticks, Answer Me! zine and lo-fi tapes of scratchy guitars.

Super simple songs played on acoustics and electrics.  The odd maraca and piano sample get sprinkled over things like tangy za’atar.  LOAM sings along with a deep reverb painting dark pictures of cruel nature and harsh life.

In his label write up Robert Ridley-Shackleton confesses his lack of knowledge of this kind of ‘folk’ sound, and me… I’m equally, embarrassingly clueless.  But what I do know is this starts to sound better and better as the sun sets, a smoky whisky appears and things unwind and unravel, beautifully illustrated on the ‘Corpse of the Crow’.  Check it out.

buddly

Buddly Tuckers – S/T

A collaboration between CHROME and ROBE (a pyjama-clad RRS, I’m guessing) where that pocket-jazz sound is the filter through which electric solids and field recordings are mashed.

The overall doof is classic Cardboard Club; a mid-table throttling, damp rustle and condenser-mic ripple.  But underneath all this graphic industry ghostly voices waft like ripe Camembert.

At one point some keyboards squawk with the ferocious virtuosity of Islam Chipsy playing with sheepskin mittens on… it’s all treble attack released in careful blocks.

The universal balance is kept via crunchy Dictaphone work; Dr Strange summons up celestial choirs from a separate dimension – you can feel them but not quite hear them.

Fans of all this NOISE genre should give this one a try for some sweet floral catharsis.

—ooOoo—

SPAM / Meudiademorte Records

Cardboard Club

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