other needles of infinite length: joe murray on ladyz in noyz

January 19, 2016 at 12:28 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists – Ladyz in Noyz 3 (2 x CD-r, corpus callosum distro)

Various Artists – Ladyz in Noyz 3.5 (CD-r, corpus callosum distro)


These three discs, split across two releases, form part of the cutting-edge Ladyz in Noyz series – a long-running, on-going, world-wide celebration of female experimental and fringe musicians – and pretty marvellous it is too.  Series 3 is compiled by our very own marlo eggplant and is an explosive introduction to Twenty Eight exceptional artists.

Regular readers will know I love a compilation; and for me the more varied the better.  I’m very happy, in fact I’m delighted, to be thrown from one hermetic sound environment to another – letting sense collapse around my ears as (for example) cool, gritty reductionist harp is angrily shattered by hissing-pissy Black Metal.

First up on the cheap-o stereo is the double pack LiN 3.  It’s a fairly weighty tome and as wonderfully varied as I dreamt, shifting the rug from bleak harsh noise to psychedelic guitar-picking to hydrant-rousing rhyming all with the crisp distinctive pop of a jar of fresh pickled onions being prised open. Ready?  Sit back, pick up a fork and dig in…

Disc One

  • Wolfesule – Sabbath-strength groan. Like deep ridges and howling canyons.  I’m clinging to a secluded mountain ledge.
  • Lyrels – Dub yomp through marsh-land with heavy boots and backpack leaking nitric acid. In triplicate, uphill.
  • Ladyjam – Spooked sheep gut and horsehair; a simple waltz round a gasping sink-hole.
  • Lucy Bonk – Gin-soaked electronics and tape cacophony. Then the organ grinder puts the monkey in the blender!
  • MINIM– Stainless steel poetry. Short vibrations set up a chain reaction of lonely pluck and subterranean ripple that take us to pre-revolutionary Russia.
  • Alodi – Ear-shattering in the way Einstürzende Neubauten would crack the brittle brown plastic of my Fisher Price tape player.
  • Sekret Dyke – Heavy and wobbling with one foot in the club and the other jammed into a malfunctioning leaf blower.
  • Lady of Situations – A reefer rolled with Godflesh. A Hammond toke (Jimmy Smith) – and the walls close in like prehistoric ferns.
  • VIA – Glass Harmonica full of silverfish flipping backwards in a wriggling cascade down the table and across the floor turning bare concrete to a shallow bristling sea.
  • Yohimbe – Backed up potato-exhaust nightmare.  Creeping rumbles set to stun.  Chances of survival?
  • Guggenheim Doppleganger – Radio waves bounced off a gritty satellite; the original signals are scrambled but marbled into a wonderful chaos. The band plays on (naturally).  KISS covers I think?
  • Pony Slut – Pure boiling hell. Absolutely no-nonsense harsh noise delivered like a fist-full of wet clay.
  • Multifungi – Thin needles ‘ping’ against other needles of infinite length. The tin reverb drowns out the ocean.
  • L Soulio/S Lee – Classy guitar pluckage becomes a million points of light. Eventually the sound of a rosy shadow is smeared into wet grass.
  • Chica X– Super innocent and joyful and gosh-darn F.R.E.S.H. The Double Dutch revival starts right now!
  • Panoptic Cyst – Obnoxious tunnelling noise. Rocks and debris rush past ‘the mole’ as it descends into shale gas deposits.
  • Berberine – A skilfully erased song. Wide swipes with a damp cloth make the chalky equations melt into a grey paste.  Beautifully vague.
  • Milch De La Maquina – Owls cast in bronze! The Sirens join in on thigh-bone cello and cloaked vocal jaxx. Soundtrack to The Secret History?

Disc Two

  • Hobbyknife – A very live sounding Noise Aktion piece paced as carefully as a chess match. Checkmate!
  • Poundland – Shimmering exotica, an orchestra of lucky trinkets and gee-gaws. Like those novelty birthday cards that play a tune…but re-programmed to The Twilight Zone theme.
  • Secrets – Hum-bubbling beats that just don’t quit become the Burundi under clear digital ripping and vocal harmonies really saying something.
  • Motion Sickness of Time Travel – Ritual electronics using repetitive lurching like a shaman with a palmed frame drum. The full-on perfumed smoke makes my eyes water and nostril sting…but what’s that shape moving in the corner of the yurt?
  • Future Ex-Wives – Solo guitar bounces between twin peaks of heavy reverb into marmalade gloopiness.
  • Mass Ornament – The insistent glockenspiel and gently running water make me think about the glamour of 1950’s Air Travel and Bongwater backing tracks (circa Double Bummer). Both wonderful reveries.
  • Chic Gala – Electro-punk or something that rocks the Casio ‘tom’ sound like German Disco. Condenser Mics make the voices compressed as slick carbon and powerful beyond measure.
  • Jane DaPain –What is it about the deadly unpredictability of electricity that draws us like fleshy moths? Just over two minutes of perfect overhead-cable-drone
  • Foxdye – An unbalancing music to knock your gravitational centre. The glitch is well and truly the star as bass ‘whoooms’ detonate in each ear making me physically limp as I try to walk to Superdrug.
  • Concrete Diva – a beautiful recording that seems to capture the action going on in another room. Heavily processed guitar; part hi-life jitter, part psych-pond ripple makes time an oily slick.
  • Poundland – A darker side to the abstract is mined with a bass-line thrum. Above ground the feedback squeals as gulls do.


I take a day or two to recover from this mung-barrage and then slip in LiN 3.5, which I am guessing is a stop-gap until LiN 4 hits the shores.  This mix is pulled together in bunches so we get a couple of depth-charges from Sharkiface, Phantom Chips, our marlo eggplant and one from TAHNZZ.  OK… let’s roll.

Phantom Chips favours a crisp sizzled interface; like an electrocuted typewriter.  In fact I can do no better than hurl the title ‘buzzoidcircling’ at you as a resume for this particular micro-style.  Crinkle cut!

Sharkiface looms with a slow and low bass throb that comes across like spooky Penderecki on ‘Down the Mountain’ and moves into deep-fat-fryer territory with a wicked bubbling and dust-bin drum solo on ‘Blood Transfusion’ reminding me of something on that Cosmic Kurushi Monsters comp from donkeys ago.

The single track from TAHNZZ is an intense 15 minute (harsh) wall of rubbery fluctuations and bass-heavy rumble.  So… hot gravel gets shovelled into large house-sized piles only to get knocked down by giant lobster claws.  Both peachy and pneumatic in heavy doses.

marlo ramps up the Cthulu on her pieces ‘Shursh’ and ‘Buzz Spling’.  These two pieces sound like something ‘unnatural’ escaping from a cage and poison gas bubbling through a phosphorescent marsh respectively. An undersea kingdom is discovered by rusty bathysphere (springing a hull breach) in ‘Theadle’ and then the stunned survivors join in with the dripping-wet Old Ones booming a bass-choir of massive conch shells on the ‘Sous’.  Best of all is the all-too-brief ‘Martial’, 1 minute 42 seconds of warped tattoo and bowed golden keys.

All these sounds (and more, more, more) available at the corpus callosum distro Bandcamp site.


corpus callosum distro

cables: untangled by marlo eggplant and benjamin hallat

March 15, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Posted in live music, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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rammel club flyer

[Editor’s note: roving reporter marlo eggplant performed at this event and offers the following insider account.  Having more humility than her self-aggrandising editor she has chosen not to write about her own set, instead enlisting the help of Mr. Benjamin Hallat (of the excellent KIKS/GFR label, performs as Kay Hill) to cover whilst she was otherwise engaged.  Over to M & B:]

All day events are tricky. In my personal experience of attending and performing at these long days, it sadly tends to be a crapshoot. Even if you are enthusiastic about the performances, one can’t help but remember events that lacked hospitality, a cohesive vision, or even clean bathrooms. Sometimes you end up feeling corralled into a tight space with poor ventilation and bad sound systems; elbow to elbow amongst the once excited, now hungry and tired audience members. By the end of the night, you escape outside as soon as possible in order to recover both your hearing and your sanity.

Simply put – in order to sustain the attention of an audience, participants/attendees must be well fed. I say ‘well-fed’ in the sense that one should not need to go elsewhere for sustenance.  Memorable events need several elements in place: good curation around interesting concepts and ideas, an appropriate space that is suitable and comfortable, a framework for the happenings of the day, and – importantly – refreshments to keep the hypoglycaemia at bay.

Two Nottingham organizations, the Rammel Club and Reactor Halls, got together to create an event that provided just such a balanced diet of aural and visual stimulations and the result, Cables, succeeded in being well planned, thought provoking, and fun.

Celebrating the definitions and uses of ‘the cable’, the organizers provided this text:

A cable is more than a mere length of wire. It is a trail to be followed, tracing a line between two points, or a meshwork of interwoven threads. The cable carries the pulse of electricity or light in response to a trigger. Cables are bookended by ‘plugs’, affording an abundance of possible connections. Some connections will be recommended for you in the user guide. But why stop there?…

Indeed a collaborative and connective spirit flowed through the day. From the availability of open improvisational spaces led by Abstract Noise Ting, to Murray Royston-Ward’s contact mic workshop, to the sound/performance kinetic installation by Experimental Sonic Machines, the audience was nourished.

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The event took place at Primary, a former schoolhouse converted into several artist studios and exhibition spaces. Workshops, installations, and performances were placed throughout the building, keeping one from feeling claustrophobic by the full programme. The overall aesthetic of the day was well curated and was followed by an evening of provocative performances that played with sound, intention, and improvisation.

[D-C]- by pieterLastIMG_2826

The first performance was [D-C], comprising two local musicians: analogue improviser Jez Creek [Modulator ESP] and Benjamin Hallatt [Kay Hill] providing tape loops. I heard a racket in the performance space as I entered the building and threw my gear aside. I love a good racket but that is too simplistic a description for the dynamics of their improvisation. They played together, reacting and interacting with each others’ sounds.  There was an overall meteorological sensation to the collaboration – I felt tribal drums leading to low rumbles. Punctuated at times by high whistle emissions, the accompanying visuals enhanced the feeling of being in a silo, lifted by the brutal whimsy of a storm [Editor’s note: not in Kansas anymore?]. The performance ended with trailing robotic sounds…

johnmacedo - by pieterLast johnmacedosetupIMG_2861

John Macedo followed. I do love looking at set ups that appear more like a rummage sale then actual preparation for sound art. The arrangement of small transmitters, drinking glasses, and speaker heads looked like the workbench in a hi-fi repair shop. His laptop seemed a bit out of place on the table, yet Macedo does not confine himself to his seat. Exploring spaces and placement, he circled and travelled the performance area playing with resonance and tone. Glass tapping and static transmissions, volume played with value. Silence had its place. At no point did the sounds feel saturated. It felt focused and intentional with a light touch across a minimalist acoustic playground. I enjoyed watching objects vibrate in cones. One comes away with the feeling of being witness to something ritual or holy.

[Editor’s note: Ben takes over at this point…]

Well, to follow Marlo America’s lead, I have to say that I am happy to be able to review these sets as they were two highlights for me, but this needs a bit of context which I shall elaborate on in due course. It is true that these all day events can be long and arduous but in this case the ingredients made for a fun buzz long into the night.

ianwatson-by pieterLast

I wandered into Ian Watson’s set just after I had finished packing up after my own collaboration, so it was a welcome first chance to sit down just when I needed it. Ian played in a separate large, darkened hall.  The light outside had almost completely faded by this point leaving a dull purple glow in the high windows. I walked into the room and thought

hmm, ok, a sort of tinny drone, sounds ‘ok’-ish!

But as I sat down and began to settle into the room and the darkness I found myself settling into the sound too. Ian’s set up was a really nice two turntable affair, playing his own custom resin 7” drone recordings. These vibrated a pair of cymbals that were further amplified with a couple of guitar amps. As the records spin they catch on the various imperfections, creating accidental loops and details. Within five minutes I was not exactly absorbed but simply letting my mind wander, calmly taking in the room, space and details of the sound, feeling quietly present with the fellow listeners dotted about the place! This was a lovely set for me and just what I needed.

marloeggplant - by pieter lastIMG_2880

As I remember, Ian’s set signalled the brief dinner break and up first after this was Marlo Eggplant, who also caught me, I guess, at a good time. All the sound checks I had been keeping an eye on were over and pizza had been scoffed on the fly, so I settled in for the first evening performance and opened up a beer. I was taken by surprise by this set immediately, as I had not heard Marlo before and I was expecting something more ‘crazy’ or ‘playful’,  let’s say. However this was a really peaceful emotive set utilising an autoharp and subtle building of delays and drones. Being not too drunk at this stage to appreciate the subtleties of sound I was totally immersed, gently floating about in the well orchestrated ebbs and flows of the set as a whole. I was really impressed with how well paced out this set was and its evolution, building to subtle voice expression later, coming to a timely conclusion and leaving me absolutely content! Yeah, it was good!

I just got drunk after that!

[Editor’s note: and on that happy note, back to marlo…]

Dinner break was an artisan pizza party – amazing smells erupting from the multiple pizzas topped with caramelized onions and butternut squash. The kitchen did a magnificent job of feeding everyone cake as well. I put this in the review of the event because that was a total pro move. Well played, organizers!

dalecornish - by pieterLast

After I put my gear away, I prepared myself to watch Dale Cornish’s set. I was looking forward to seeing him play as I had previously only heard his recordings. The only note I took during the set was:

party music

With a laptop on stage, you pretty much only have two choices. You can try to deny that you look like you are checking your social media or you can own it. Cornish made no qualms about standing behind a laptop, often hamming it up with eye contact and charming face. The music, in its own right, was fun, rhythmic, and dynamic. And I really wanted to dance. Amen to the set that makes you want to shake it.

phantom chipsIMG_2987

Phantom Chips is the visionary project of Tara Pattenden. Her passion for noise and hand-crafted electronics is well matched with her gleeful expression as she skronks through the performance.  Her set was well chosen for the event. Pattenden, using fabric lines with transducers, corded off the audience. Throwing sound conductive dinosaur parts [Editor’s note: wait, what?!?] into the audience, we were forced to have a taste of the sonic madness. Audience participation is integral to her playful aesthetic. I think at this point my notes may been delirious. Regardless, I wrote this in response to her circus:

Goofballs. I am trapped in an arcade. Squished sounds. Crunchiest sounds of the night. Throws meatballs at the pasta crunk collective. Beta bites of crunch. Decimated manual noise. Serious overdrive.

mel by Pieter LastIMG_3068

My fellow Leeds-ian was up next. Watching Melanie O’Dubhshlaine’s [Editor’s note: not sure about that spelling, but that is how it is on the poster] performances is like having the privilege of watching a scientist in a sound laboratory. One would not be able to tell that the source material of her sounds was spoken text if you were not sitting there watching her speak into her whacked out dictaphone/microphone processors, appearing to be reading aloud to herself. Her minimal movements work well with the sound. Using an electronic wind instrument, she plays the strangest clarinet solo set ever. Actually, it doesn’t sound like a clarinet but it doesn’t even really sound like an instrument. The overall experience is of sounds working themselves out in front of you; your brain’s attempt to recognize and categorize the inputs hampered by insufficient associations. It is interesting work that makes you think.

philjulian by Peter K rollings phillyj

I am not sure if the curators intended this but Phil Julian proceeded to keep the audience pensive. Sitting in this dark room, he steps behind a laptop and begins to play with notable focus. Julian’s work is well paced. Even without any visuals, his music feels like a soundtrack. Both recorded and in live performances, there is a cinematic quality to his work and a patience that comes with confidence and knowledge. His face does not reflect the tension of being a performer.  Perhaps his experience of playing in different spaces allows for an exploration of his own notions of process and result. Regardless, his focus and overall performance energy is noteworthy.


Trans/Human had the pleasure of performing the final set – perhaps the most difficult slot to fill. I, personally, find it quite difficult to be the last on the bill. How does one do something memorable when one has had to sit and watch every act? Have you had too much to drink? Do you need food? Adam Denton and Luke Twyman did not seem to have any of these issues as they went old school. In my favourite duo positioning – facing off across tables filled with electronics – they went full throttle. It felt like they were trying to release the demons from their gear out through the speakers. Their set was a celebration of volume and provided much needed catharsis for a day filled with creative questionings. A perfectly good way to end the evening.

So, there you have it. Thanks again, Rammel Club and Reactor Halls. Nottingham sure is lucky to have you.


With thanks to Pieter Last and Peter Rollings for photographs – much obliged to you both.


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