Tags: autumn appreciation society, dear beloved henry, debt of nature, grey park, hissing frames, hyster tapes, r.s.t, robert ridley-shackleton, techno, zoe polanski
Zoe Polanski – Inertia. Music from the Motion Picture (Hyster Tapes)
Various Artists- L’Incoronazione (Hyster Tapes)
Robert Ridley Shackelton – Atlas Banghouse (Cardboard Club)
Robert Ridley Shackelton – 0800 NEW CARD (Cardboard Club)
Zoe Polanski – Inertia. Music from the Motion Picture (Hyster Tapes) C40 one-sided & recycled tape
Real film vs fake soundtrack // fake film vs real soundtrack // real film vs real soundtrack // fake film vs fake soundtrack
I started to ponder this conundrum and then just gave up. This may or may not be a Zoe Polanski or a further pseudonym – Bela Tar – but what this is, 100% truthfully, is one damn fine tape of pushed-out synth/sampler swoop with the buttons taped down on the ‘ecstatic strings’ option.
Imagine taking one split micro-second of 10CC’s ‘I’m not in love’ and smearing that Brummy ‘ahhhhhhh’ all over 20 minutes of atmospheric and recycled tape. Imagine catching a drip of MBV’s sampler-drek ‘hhuuuhhuuu’ and coating your atmos with that saucy ferric message.
Like an endless happy yawn the constant dragging of the orchestra pit makes me sleepy and lightheaded…but for such a brief soundtrack, moods and motifs keep emerging so I’m also on caffeine-soaked red alert.
The two note breathy faux-voice crops up hystering across the mix like a sea cow or something in ‘Mother’s Theme’. A sepia-stained, 6th generation dub of (perhaps) a smoke-filled cinema organ adds rhythm to the beautiful yet creepy ‘TV Nightmare’.
Various Artists- L’Incoronazione (Hyster Tapes) C20 recycled tape
More ultra-lo-fi tape scrapings from the House of Hyster.
My copy is taped over a ‘Pallo Punainen’ release but sounds excellent and full and wobbly, especially as DEAR BELOVED HENRY hawk out a couple of wonderful untitled tracks that seem to bridge the gap between Gastr Del Sol’s sweetly-composed minimal whimsy and the raw burst of anger unleashed when you realise your car’s been nicked.
No clues as to what turns on DEBT OF NATURE – bird sounds and cicada-menace haunt their dismal keyboard slouch like teenagers forced to go to Sunday School. They may tit about in the kitchen but the leavings are pure Lambkin.
Irregular tappings and knocks play us out the first side with R.S.T. seemingly rattling some old rubber-junk while a tape of Max Roach gets more and more distorted in one ear.
Old school hock-rockers GREY PARK reveal a decayed piano tune that doesn’t even reach the 3 minute mark but for me could have continued all afternoon – abstract ivory plonk – what’s not to love?
Without a single Ray Davies riff the AUTUMN APPRECIATION SOCIETY sweep up a baffling collection of grim found sound and added scuzz-electronics. If this is an autumn scene in Finland then it seems to be heavily industrial Snow-Plows clunking apart to transform into gilded robots.
You looking for proper Northern European, DIY, no-audience, no-frills tape action reader? Be sure to check out the Hyster.
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Atlas Banghouse (Cardboard Club) C30 tape and digital album
It’s no wonder Robert Ridley-Shackleton’s recent move to the thrillingly vibrant city of Bristol has accelerated a change in his distinct ‘pocket-jazz’ sound. Bristol has long since produced hip outsiders and wierdos to bother the mainstream; now the N-AU get’s a new Bristol lickin’.
In recent conversation with the Cardboard Prince he spilled that Techno was a great and deep love and I’m delighted to report this banger is technological with a distinct hissy twist.
Thin claves and handclaps are a shifting matrix for some pretty heavy squelching and hollow plastic thumping. In particular ‘No Peaking’ moves jigsaw pieces of rhythm so they fit neat and tight – then wrench them apart so the percussive tabs and blanks get bent out of shape and deformed.
Side two opens with ‘Don’t Worry’ – a donk, most certainly, ‘on it’ bleating in the sort of time signature Sunny Murray would love as the pots get twisted, letting soft grease flood the headphones.
Fans of the RRS old-school sound need not worry as the subtle and strangely euphoric sounds of the inside of his tape recorder and stressed fruit punnets are writ large on ‘The Ohh Ahh and ‘Duplo goes Chatty Crazy.’
But it’s the closer ‘Birthday Card’ that melds the fine granular huss of classic RRS with the nu-skool beats in new and dangerously exciting ways.
“I think it’s about 140 BPM I think…if you were wondering.”
The Prince helpfully tells us as a feeble clip-clop-clip-clop makes this more paranoid-Fall-album-interlude than filthy-Detroit-floor-filler.
Crackle, crackle…scooouuurrrrrr….hummm (with added sniff).
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – 0800 NEW CARD (Cardboard Club) tape and digital album
Seven new tracks from the Cardboard Prince. In praise of the skeletal style a skeletal review.
- 0800 New Card – Brittle drum machines are back / Phat keytar is back / Sex Rap is back
- Eye Gonna B Rich – Sweet and low tech-experiment-no. The ‘whump’ gets progressively deep
- Oh Lord – Stream of consciousness, back-room clutter clearance – of the mind. “A microchip or some shit.”
- My Fashion – 45 seconds of jerry-rigged funk with popgun accents
- Call me up, Tell me how U feel – delay reaction techno with an ‘I like to party’ baseline
- Cuz I’m Cool – wrapping party wrench from a sleepy RRS. Dream-logic-plea for Power Rangers
- Waltz 2016 – Reluctant Jazzie B soundcheck.
Dig a fucking pony!
Tags: chocolate monk, claus poulsen, frozen light, gold soundz, joe murray, robert ridley-shackleton, shade barka martins, sindre bjerga, star turbine
Star Turbine – Nothing Should Move Unless You Want It To (CD, Frozen Light, edition of 300 or download)
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Tupperwave (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.338, edition of 42)
Sindre Bjerga – Japan 2013 Tour Documentary – A Film By Shade Barka Martins (DVD-r, Goldsoundz, GS#130, edition of 26)
Star Turbine – Nothing Should Move Unless You Want It To
This canny duo of Claus Poulsen & Sindre Bjerga have now been together for about 6 years – that’s longer than The Beatles live-performing career. And in that time they’ve moved from loveable moptops (read: hessian cloaked druids) to Abbey Road sophisticates pulling sounds from a cosmic-scurf fortress and mixing them cleverly with improvised crackles and hopped-up speech interventions.
On this disc they reach deep into the hard drive and present, in the main, truncated live performances; the bacon in the bap, hurling you straight into their fully articulate sound cavern.
It starts as you’d imagine – mice invest dollars in sonic-grip technology, aiming their blunderbuss straight at you for the duration of ‘An/Auf’. It feels sort of sticky and thick and on the verge of panic. I feel much more comfortable if I keep my breath even and calm.
Grey-rubber ripping shakes a tail on ‘Hearing Voices’ among some seriously screwed vocals and inter-planet hum. The rushing of tape grot adds a complimentary momentum pulling your ears in different directions; microscopic insects rearrange your nerve endings.
Some sort of My Bloody Ventolin wash creeps through the recording, ‘Looking For the Centre’ a heady rush of airbrakes and panpipes bleeding into a, into a bloated walrus gas pouch?
[worried reviewer checks sleeve notes in panic]
Don’t worry. It’s my bad. No sea mammals were harmed in the creating of this particular jam… it’s just the ‘Fractal Zoom’ piece unpicking my learning centres and scrambling early illustrated encyclopaedia memories. Gosh! The tape work on this is black as tar and twice as difficult to remove.
The cherry on the pie belongs to the wonderfully titled ‘Ape Escape’ that sounds as if IRCAM released its answerphone message recorded after a rather noggy Christmas party. OR… photocopying your arse and sending it to Dick Raaijmakers. You my dear listener will have to work that one out yourselves.
Closer ‘Alef 0’ sees Claus take a sharp mallet to Sindre’s basic recordings and goof them up good and proper. How he’s managed to turn this herring into a Tangerine Dream I’ll never know but it’s heavy as bad news (never BAD NEWS) and rich as freshly ploughed soil.
Despite this recent Euro-nonsense (AKA Brex-shit) the Star Turbine will be back in your town soon. Pull your canoe out the mud and set a course for their cleansing murk.
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Tupperwave
Fifty minutes of RR-S starts with a respectful tweak on NWA’s collective nips and then gets exponentially odder by the minute. The trademarked pocket jazz sound is still in effect but over a longer duration this is embedded and augmented with child-like interactions, tangent-shearing thoughts and bakerlite ring-tones of the mind.
Question. But just what is Robert Ridley-Shackleton? An effortless creature of spoken wordisms, a stream of consciousness half-thought jester, a purple pretender, a dry-rattler extreme? Or perhaps he is the new plastic messiah?
As an excitable, hyperbolic fanzine-style reviewer it’s almost too much to take in. Do I describe the actual sounds coming out my headphones? Oh… I do, do I? Here goes…
…scratch, hiss, crackle, sniff, sex-rap-brit-funk, casio-donk, sniff, meandering monologues, scratch, clonk, harsh noise sock, house keys, humming & mugging…
…but what a thousand tapes with similar components don’t do is pose a really important question. With a comedian’s nicotine-fingered timing RR-S unravels what it means to entertain and what it means to be entertained?
There’s a long tradition of artists pushing and pressing at the limits of acceptable entertainment. And I don’t mean that violent or sexist bullshit, that wreckers of civilisation cul-de-sac, but the more fundamental – how far can I go unwrapping to find the very essence of my own personal music? Family favourites like Gwilly Edmondez, Hugh Metcalfe and the Shadow Ring have been there and chipped out their own answers in the No Audience Mount Rushmore but our very own RR-S has a bag of chisels too and he is already tappy-yappy-tapping incoherent pictograms at the base of the cliff.
The whiffle and flounce feel like a diary of instant conversation created in the moments between a late tea and bed. The Illuminati and God get equal footing to Mr Poo and Mrs Wee as mistakes, pre-thoughts and apologies are sent direct to you in a monologue of seemingly endless imagination.
Oh yeah… there is much rattling and shaking with the texture of Quaver’s eggs.
One of the ‘traditional’ musical pieces, a 5 minute keyboard funk jam, ends with the sound of brittle punnets being crushed (it’s sound art – listen!). The other (a 3 minute keyboard funk jam) launches into a discogs/format paranoid rant backed with static/analogue card-noise war and a riff on taking apart the post-creative process re: publishing.
I’m happy with myself I think
RR-S concludes. As well you might be – the most singular record of the year.
Sindre Bjerga – Japan 2013 Tour Documentary – A Film By Shade Barka Martins
A what? A DVD-R? That most neglected of formats gets a swift brush up and plane ticket to Japan for this super-charming documentary.
See! Sindre (and brother Jorn) explore downtown Japan and creep through the narrow streets looking for the off-off-map venues played on our Norwegian friend’s first visit to the home of the mighty Budokan.
Marvel! As Sindre sets up his trusty yellow Dictaphones, echo tube and tape mess in cramped bars, tiny arts spaces and a beautiful elephant temple; blowing hot steam through his cobbled-electronics, bristly mouth parts and drone-boxes.
Watch!! Various ex-pat goofs and clean-cut Japanese fellows captured doing their own damn thing: solo keyboard hums, circular clarinet, chromed electronics, theatrical goon impressions and electric- fan-versus-acoustic-guitar living sculptures.
Shade’s camera is a friendly traveling companion; always present with a pack of tissues; clear, bright and attentive but never in-your-face. The downtime of a tour is captured with a practiced eye as attractive, vibrant shows are interspersed with sleepy train rides, airport snoozes and the gentle panic of being lost in an unfamiliar city.
Proving the No-Audience Underground, although sparse, is strategically placed on a global scale the gig-goers lap up Sindre’s approach to tape manipulation in a very physical way; lobbing projectiles at him during an instruction piece and (incredibly politely and gently) scything miniature cymbals across the room to topple Bjerga’s constructions of WalkMan/Dictaphone/steel resonator.
But of course this wouldn’t be a trip to Japan without a session in a silk robe and Sindre rocks his white-patterned shortie like a motherfucker!
Like all Gold Soundz releases this is super-limited so I’d make a bee-line for this quick to feast those peepers.
through our cat’s head: joe murray on lieutenant caramel, nils quak, robert ridley-shackleton, the moth kingdom, buddly tuckersMarch 18, 2016 at 10:23 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
Tags: buddly tuckers, cardboard club, joe murray, lieutenant caramel, meudiademorte records, nils quak, robert ridley-shackleton, spam, the moth kingdom
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)
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 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.
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
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!
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 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.
employees of the month: joe murray on hardworking families, jon seagroatt and ian staples with bobbie watson, stuart chalmers, ramleh, robert ridley-shackletonDecember 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
Tags: bobbie watson, cardboard club, don't drone alone, format supremacy, future vinyl, hardworking families, ian staples, joe murray, jon seagroatt, must die records, ono, ramleh, robert ridley-shackleton, stuart chalmers
Hardworking Families – Worse than a Stranger (tape, don’t drone alone, edition of 50 or download)
jon seagroatt ian staples with bobbie watson – deathless (CD, Future Vinyl, CD1501 or download)
Stuart Chalmers – Loop Phantasy No.1 (CD-r, Must Die Records, edition of 50 or download)
Stuart Chalmers – Loop Phantasy No.2 (CD-r in fold-out sleeve, Ono, edition of 50 or download)
Stuart Chalmers – Loop Phantasy No. 3 (Preview) (self-released download)
Ramleh – Welcome/Pristine Womankind (7″ vinyl, Format Supremacy)
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Self-Titled EP (7″ vinyl, Cardboard Club, edition of 100)
Hardworking Families – Worse than a Stranger
My most favouritely-named artist in the No-Audience Underground offers us a tape woven like a friendship bracelet. This time the grubby threads are replaced with electric-pylon-hum and carbon-monoxide-alarm-shriek, backed with sparse bristling gristle. It moves like folded towels; the texture flexes and changes under stress.
‘Bryantwood Road, Washington Street’ swells with double intensity in places then turns back on itself, revelling in its own knock-kneed skinniness. Serious knob-twiddling releases the kind of low bass throb that gives your tin-pot dictator a wet dream as they disperse an angry mob. But the icing on this beefy cake is the see-saw panning of a single sickly tone that wraps itself, like a possessive lover, round your brain stem in three dimensions.
Side two introduces us to the ‘Pasternoster’ an augmented field recording made in some brutalist concrete nightmare – it’s pretty darn cavernous! Rubberised breadsticks get rattled in a quiver as assembled umpires discuss furniture polish (quietly). The sweet swish of Air Max on a dusty floor makes dry circles in my ear buds while some joker miked up the fire escape. And, to add a point of detail, these recordings are reconstructed without electronic condiments, they are never rushed or fudge-sticky.
The dull thud of capitalism is gradually tuned out… but not before Hardworking Families is decorated as employee of the month.
jon seagroatt ian staples with bobbie watson – deathless
We’ve got used to imaginary soundtracks for films; so what about a record of a book? Jon Seagroatt, Ian Staples and Bobbie Watson must have bloody loved Steven Sherill’s 2004 novel The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break because they’ve based their immaculate playing ’round its 313 leathery pages.
Jon and Ian play a particular flavour of experimental music that’s as charming as the soft ‘plonk’ of a well-lobbed shuttlecock. It’s sparse and serene with a gritty undercurrent of processed drones/electronics over a keening flute (and probably other woodwind family members).
In parts it’s as English as teabags and disappointing caravan holidays, but there’s something that keeps me thinking of the Rune Grammofon back catalogue with its clear sound and chilly cadence.
The croaky swell of hot breath pushed through copper pipes nestles well with the shimmering slide guitar and post-production twiddling. Bobbie’s minimal vocals (there’s only a couple of minutes worth on the whole disc) are kept back as a secret weapon and hauntingly warped like silvery raindrops. It’s a very classy listen.
But what’s going to make you uncles and aunties sit up and click on the links is the connections this band are mixed up in. Check this out: the dark-folk of Comus, spooky beards Current 93, power-improv legends Red Square and, strangest of all The Temple City Kazoo Orchestra? These folk were no-audience before many of us were born.
Sit up straight, turn off that god damn phone and listen to this in flickering candlelight.
Stuart Chalmers – Loop Phantasy No. 1, Loop Phantasy No. 2, Loop Phantasy No. 3 (Preview)
Ya’ll know I steer clear of the dreaded hyperbole. I’m not one of those ‘BEST BAND EVER’, ‘THIS SHIT CHANGED MY LIFE’, ‘I WAS BLIND AND NOW I CAN SEE’ kinda zine-writers (Ed – feel free to add sarcastic comment here) [Editor’s note: I’m saying nowt].
But this time I throw my regular Northern caution and cynicism out the window and claim these three recordings THE MOST IMPORTANT SALVAGED TAPE LOOP RECORDINGS EVER YEAH.
I hear you ask.
I answer with a calm, clear voice.
Like in the whole 100 year history of recorded music?
even including the oft- mentioned high- water mark of looping Tom Recchion’s Chaotica?
You add. I merely smile and press play on the device of your choice.
You must listen, you must listen to truly understand
I chant with glassy eyes.
Anyway… fuck yeah! That’s what I’m saying. If you want to know where looping is right now in 2015/2016: PLAY THESE RECORDS. If you are looking for an instructional map of what’s possible with simple tape loops, a couple of pedals and some hot ears: PLAY THESE RECORDS. If you want to open up that valve in your stomach that helps you release gaseous tension: PLAY THESE RECORDS.
From the Stone Age goof with lovely sounding rocks to James Brown’s well-drilled fonk to Larry Levan’s sweaty yoga-stretch to Prince Paul’s magpie fingers we all love a loop. The act of repetition does something to that brain/body connection. We smile, we twitch… we bust a fucking move. And with that repetition comes the delicious recognition of the eventual slip, the change, the move out of the established pattern that leaves us all grinning at our cleverness – we spotted it first! We picked up on that micro-change that slid away from the beat like a rubber Mungo Jerry.
You want examples? Hard data yeah? Take ‘Loop Phase 4’ on Loop Phantasy No. 1. A single xylophone reverberation and gated piano-hammer strike, plays with a gentle jarring. It starts to overlap. It returns on itself and sets up an internal rhythm and logic cell that mutates gently over four sweet minutes. A final few seconds of digital crunchiness brings us to a shuddering climax.
And while …No. 1 and …No. 2 are definitely more swoony and dreamy …No. 3 employs the kind of up-tight funk cut-up David Byrne dreams of in his SoHo loft space. What’s that? More evidence? OK… slurp this up: ‘Pop Plunder 20‘ is equal parts Van Jackson/Dicta-frottage and wonky thumb. Jeepers.
Students of tape culture – your set-text has arrived. Screw in those earbuds and get seriously twisted.
Ramleh – Welcome/Pristine Womankind
This is real treasure! A box of stash from 1994 has been recently opened up for the N-A U. Naughty noiseniks Ramleh are in full-on thug-rock mode here with a guitar, bass, drums and electronics line-up shattering the song format by being so astoundingly belligerent.
‘Welcome’ is a one-riff-then-lurch-into-electronic-breakdown sort of thing. The twin guitars are bone-crushingly heavy and swing dangerously like a bowling ball rocking about in a wet cardboard box. The cymbal crashes are worthy of a separate mention as they sizzle like Bonzo walloped them with his heavy oaks. The overall sound is pretty bloody angry… pissed wasps taped into an empty jam jar. It’s buzzing.
On the flip ‘Pristine Womanhood’ is even more exposed and unconstructed. It starts and ends with a menacing closing-time choir howling something threatening. In between this terrace chant the electronics shift up a gear to give Theremin-style whoops over duelling twin-guitars; less Judas Priest and more Deliverance decamped to damp, dirty Cumbria.
But how do you get a copy of this heavy, heavy slab? Although the Format Supremacy label is now pretty much defunct, sending a reasonable £4 in the UK (inc postage) or £7 for anywhere else in the world (inc postage) via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org will secure a fresh copy of this oily sump-jam.
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Self Titled EP
The singular Mr Ridley-Shackleton takes his trademark scuff-jizz and lays it on some hot wax, man. I’m totally delighted to say that the gritty Dictaphone feel is in full effect with no attempt made to clean up this shit for the fussy pants vinyl crowd. Some people are forever cassette souls.
I’ve spoken before about the RR-S ‘pocket jazz’ sound and this is still evident in big fucking lumps. But in his duffle coat he’s sneaked in a Hall & Oates that play fragging keyboards and warm-whumping beats. The delivery, classic RR-S; part polite hip-hop MC/part loose-soul-maverick, makes me think of Guru Gwilly Edmondez and imagine what a dream duo these two would make.
It’s time to Kross up the Kriss, Kriss up the Kross
Oh baby! Hold me
leak out slowly like mercury from a fractured thermometer.
Over the five tracks the texture gradually moves from limp AM radio jam to stiff grogram shuffle. By the time we get to ‘No Grey Area’, this seven-inch-closer, minute hairs are a riffled burr on the bright tape. They bristle like magnets.
Your generous ears will no doubt latch onto the construction and form here. I know it’s going to sound like highfalutin crit-jizz but RR-S sculpts his music; building things, not so much in blocks but in the thin layers he uses in his postal art. This thin layer becomes a second skin, a grimy bandage on your wrist, spare ends flapping in the wind.
Where can you pick this hep-platter up? Try the unstoppable Cardboard Club blog for £4 of direct action.
– on Must Die Records
– on Ono
Tags: cardboard club, joe murray, piped in from head office, robert ridley-shackleton, waste farm
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Sober Junkz (tape, Cardboard Club, CC11, edition of 12)
Waste Farm – Waste! (tape, Piped-in From Head Office Records, pifho017)
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Sober Junkz
The singular RRS drops another mind-bomb on our door mat with Sober Junkz, an almost unconscious unraveling of the super-ego.
Adopting the persona of a middle-aged DJ Ridley-Shackleton mumbles through an unhinged afternoon show with nothing but Whitehouse audience recordings to play instead of Toto’s Africa three times per hour.
This pure right-brain shuffling between gentle coughing and distant feedback (er… like the rains down in Africa) sits uncomfortably with the braggadocious whittering concerning RRS and Kanye facing up as presidential candidates.
As ever the packaging is classic Cardboard Club [Editor’s note: above are scans of my copy]; masking tape and crayon daubed with careful joy around a plastic zip-loc. But it’s the sheer ‘otherness’ of this tape that shifts it to my ‘caution’ pile, clearly marked, to ensure I play this when I have my full faculties about me. Without a suitable warning this tape could set up a feedback loop of intense crypto-listening that can lead to gentle catatonia!
In an act of retro-vandalism I replaced the name ‘Cage’ with the name ‘Ridley-Shackleton’ in my handy Penguin Cassette Guide:
Cornelius Cardew, our own British avant-gardiste, is quoted as saying that there seems to be a sense of logic and cohesion in Ridley-Shackleton’s indeterminate music. ‘The logic’ Ridley-Shackleton replied, ‘was not put there by me.’
He can say that again! Even so, a tape like this of highly experimental music does give the listener an excellent chance to work hard at the apparently impossible music…what it all means is anyone’s guess, but perhaps one should not take it too seriously. The transfer is atmospheric rather than sharply focused. (March p204)
GREENFIELD, E. LAYTON, R. & MARCH, I. (1979). Penguin Cassette Guide. Middlesex: Penguin Books Limited.
Joe fucking Orton me like!
Waste Farm – Waste!
This conundrum snuck into a package from that Shareholder Sandy Milroy and feels like a solo project from a dude in a skinny tie surrounded by banks of antique synths. To complete the scene a TV flickers blue smoke from the corner of the room while circuit diagrams are soaked in brandy. Got a mental picture?
Side one opens with a sound as tactile as silvery-birch or slippery elm. The wooden electrics shimmer all over ‘Dale Baker 201’ making it hard to pick up, running through my clumsy fumbling thumbs. But it’s light man, relaxed and all; a smiling face at closing time on Princess Street.
Then the mood changes to delightfully sleazy as ‘Spoonfood’ (electronic tones pump like a punctured sausage…slow offal ooze) and ‘Woomb’//‘Meat Scarecrow’ (three-note stabs uncover a crystal skull – each beam of reflected light hints at an alien tone) soundtrack that thick tentacle wallop the Belgians seems to favour. OK… a bit more grit; you’re accepting the invitation to an empty.
Side two drops a clue to its Caledonian lineage as ‘The Specimen’ merges distant street chatter with a lolloping synth line. So far so good… but when that thick bass tone drops it’s like Wolf Eyes’ ‘Stabbed in the Face’ decided to get really fucking stroppy. Gloopy like black molasses the jellified tones stick to your hands, face and chest. It’s probably best to just submit, I think, until I find myself pounding a bleeding fist against the wall, thumping out this slow heart-beat, riding the waves of limp sizzle and ruddy ripping. I’m locked in and they are slowly approaching!
Balancing the fine line between head-banging euphoria and deeply unpleasant industry.
Serving Suggestion? Check out this euro-weird animation LIGHT YEARS. Use your eyes to see but plug your ears into WASTE FARM instead.
Tags: crow versus crow, hissing frames, joe murray, robert ridley-shackleton, sindre bjerga
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – The Cardboard Prince (tape, Hissing Frames)
Sindre Bjerga – Listening Fictions (CD-r, Crow Versus Crow, edition of 50 or download)
Robert Ridley-Shackleton – The Cardboard Prince
The problem with creating your own universe is you need to have something to fill it with. If you are going to play God you’ve got to have God’s balls!
Luckily our Robert Ridley-Shackleton has the minerals to populate the great waste with planet-sized swirls of smart ideas and novel approaches.
On this new tape, The Cardboard Prince (referring to a cut-out Prince Rogers Nelson perhaps), RR-S travels nearer to Around the World in a Day than the The Black Album with a richly psychedelic mixture of slub-slub pop, troglodyte bass and camp hand-claps.
The distance covered by his almighty hand is vast. Of course RR-S represents with his trademark ‘pocket jazz’ on ‘Royal Goo’ – born of a canary-yellow cagoule if I’m not much mistaken. But damp-electronics grate against the ‘Nasty M.F.’ with a shopping list to add Technicolor tones to the grey pulp. And that dusting of frivolity, the gleeful rapping and broke vocals, add what my mate Tony used to refer to as ‘pop-sparkle’ to the proceedings.
Pop indeed sparkles on the ‘proper’ songs that see-saw all rinky-dink like roiling pepper or disappear down the corridors of a leisure centre into chlorine-scented silence. And just when you think this is a cynical push for acceptance in the straight world RR-S heaves in a true conceptual piece, a screwed-up paper jam that parties in the palm; A4 warped and folded until it squeals. Or check out ’18 and over’ a true unconscious blather, a between-the-thoughts ramble that shines a light on the day-glo soul. Hidden like a B-side gem it makes the songs shine all the brighter.
Hey. If RR-S gave me an apple, I’d take a bite. What about you?
ADDITIONAL FEATURES: This set of songs comes on a recycled tape. My host tape was originally bible stories for children, dreadfully overacted with some sick new age synth work. Damn lemony. [Editor’s note: on my copy Shack’s recording cuts out just as someone on the bible tape says: “…and he is inside you.” Well creepy, or well Prince-like, or both.]
Sindre Bjerga – Listening Fictions
I open the envelope carefully and pull out the oversize sleeve. Doubly-exposed roses on the outer sleeve, and busy hydrangea on the inner, hint at the richness of urban decay and natural beauty. Imagine sunny-yellow weeds pushing up through the cracked paving stones. And, like rhododendrons growing unashamed on a roundabout, the beauty lies in secret just waiting to snag your piggy eyes.
Sonically this disc presents two live sets from the hardest working man in the NA-U, Sindre Bjerga, and recorded live in South Korea if you please. Blimey, there must be something in the water as he’s firing off sweet shots like a blunderbuss all over this marvellous looking disc.
A meditative Bjerga approaches the first set like a salmon monk, scales of pink a’glimmer. He carefully fades up dark purple washes of swoon (MBV through a kinked hose) and overlays fruity Dictaphone scree. The scene is well and truly set.
Dove-grey drone is carefully blended into the canvas until a rude microphone ‘bristly fumble’ changes pace to prep the surface for slowed-speech-mung. Tim Rice gets few props on these pages but his inexplicably popular dirge ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ gets a going over, Sindre style, until the ghostly beat, a cold-lamping knock leads the amplified ‘tank’ game for the Atari (circa 1986) to a false end. The real end? It’s a very fucking jaxxed-up tape warble…wonderfully noshed.
The second set presents us with a blockier sound but it’s ever so wet and choppy. Hey man – the first minutes are worthy of the great Henri Chopin with that contact-mic-lodged-down-his-French gullet sound. Bliss in a pillow case.
After this organic shredding things get really violent with the sort of anti-social ripping back and forth you’d expect from a teenage DJ’s bedroom – heavy on the crab cakes. Flash Gordon’s rocket ship buzzes like New Year fireworks spitting green sparks onto your New Monkey tapes while you spank the thigh of the tin man (all hollow echo coz of lack of a heart I guess). Wire-wool scrapes things clean, the fibrous tendons reaching deep into muscle tissue.
As the music snips off you’re left clamping that glossy sleeve with sweaty fingers, jaw gently chewing and eyes wide.
Tags: bob tale, cardboard club, duplo chat, faniel dord, hissing frames, improv, joe murray, lathe cut, luke vollar, mutant pop, new music, no audience underground, noise, outsider art, picking speeds, picking speeds g.o.l., robert ridley-shackleton, smithers, tapes
Picking Speeds G.O.L – Shirty Shorts (tape, Cardboard Club, CC01, edition of 10)
Duplo Chat – Just Chattin’ (tape, Cardboard Club, CC02, edition of 7)
Bob Tale – Toxic Shock Demo (tape, Cardboard Club, CC03, edition of 5)
Smithers – Is Ure Carpet Right? (tape, Cardboard Club, CC04, edition of 12)
Picking Speeds – Afternoon Vans (7” lathe cut vinyl, Cardboard Club, CC05, edition of 10)
faniel dord / Picking Speeds G.O.L – Who can I help? / Back is Block? (tape, self-released)
[Editor’s note: a parcel from blog fave outsider artist Robert Ridley-Shackleton is always a treat. Tipping its contents onto the kitchen table affords a view into another world, existing orthogonal to our own, in which Robbie has become a giant star by mimicking, satirizing, collaging or obliterating the cultural detritus he finds slung out by, well, everyone else. He is a noise-womble. Shortly before Christmas he decided his label Hissing Frames was no longer a large enough pouch to hold his prodigious output and the sub-label Cardboard Club was born. Being a generous guy, he sent copies of the half-dozen initial releases to me, Joe and Luke (this was just before the new era of gender equality at RFM) and so we decided to write a joint review in which we’d each begin at a corner and chew our way in until we met in a perverse Lady-and-the-Tramp-eating-bolognese-style three way. Here goes. Joe first:] Picking Speeds G.O.L – Shirty Shorts This slinky tape is a single-sided wormhole, a backwards trip through the looking glass.
…he says. And as a veteran loop/noise/collage/mungtape operator, who are we to argue with Mr Picking Speed G.O.L.? As a whole this tape serves as a map of several territories. Across 45 minutes or so we visit a number of kingdoms and principalities. As you’d expect it’s a Babel of languages and customs, but the seasoned underground traveller is quick to pick up the meaning behind the semi-industrial clatter and howl. As tasty as a bowl of salty olives we find ourselves listening to a squid inexpertly fitting the lid on a Tupperware box, the sinister whisper of a faraway ghost, spoken word fribulation and the all-to-human cut/jaxx organ hiss-pokery that makes the heart sing. But of course these groovy individual parts build up into a more complete picture. The very fractured nature of the edit leaves clues regardless – a lo-fi gentleness, a light touch with the FX, a funny-bone caress [exhibit A: a jalopy take on the lone toker’s ‘Wake me up before you Go-Go!’]. The last 10 minutes or are a gentle comedown with the warm, soft rattling of one of my favourite Dictaphone techniques – smooth pocket jazz. Being a trainspotter type I like to have a flutter on the hardware involved. My guess? It’s the Olympus PearlCorder S701 in the left hand pocket of a Navy blue Duffle Coat. As Picking Speeds G.O.L goes about his daily business play and record are surreptitiously engaged allowing said Dictaphone to pick up all the tweedy scratching but nothing more. It’s a sonic buffering of which I never tire. Now me:
Duplo Chat – Just Chattin’
Bob Tale – Toxic Shock Demo
Smithers – Is Ure Carpet Right?
faniel dord / Picking Speeds G.O.L – Who can I help? / Back is Block?
[Editor’s note: as my much loved/horribly abused walkman is finally broken beyond repair, my ability to listen to tapes is currently very limited. In order to get through the above I had to listen to them in a row one afternoon whilst off work with a heavy cold. I think this was a pretty good way of experiencing them but, on re-reading, my notes are brief and don’t make much sense. Mea culpa.]
So, both Luke and I got copies of Just Chattin’ and both of us were left scratching our heads. It appears to be a full tape of what Luke described as ‘quiet HNW’ – like a tabletop of clockwork noise makers, overwound and recorded with the levels in the red and then mastered so as not to wake the neighbours. Towards the very end I think I started to understand the itchy scrabbling of it all but this one wasn’t for me.
Toxic Shock Demo by Bob Tale is a short performance by Robbie’s lip-curling, Elvis-channelling, bequiffed, Alan Vega impersonator. His breathy squawks slide over a trilling, pitter-patter (more treble than) bass line. I’d be disappointed if he didn’t record this wearing a leather cat suit. Duped onto tapes recycled from The Children’s Talking Bible which means that as Robbie cut out a mellifluous voice said
…who should he see walking towards him but Elijah!
…which in my fragile state made me laugh pretty hard. Then cough.
Is Ure Carpet Right? by Smithers (‘Jon & Rob’) begins with some brute radiophonics – all wabwabs and squiggly pot-flipping with poorly earthed pylon fuzz and 8-bit cheat mode flicker – then a storm of harsh noise gathers over which protestations are groaned. In amongst the gurgle loops I think I heard:
In your dreams!
We’re not dead, we just look it!
…but who knows? Outdated methods of communication – Morse code, fax machines – struggle to be understood over noise whipping like tent fabric in a blizzard. And then it’s done. More Children’s bible:
…before the cock crows, Peter…
Lastly from me: the split tape Who can I help? / Back is Block? by faniel dord (which I’ll go out on a limb and suggest is a pseudonym of Daniel Ford) and Picking Speeds G.O.L (no, I don’t know what the acronym stands for either).
The faniel dord side is something completely unexpected: actual, y’know, music played on actual, y’know, instruments. Over the course of five songs guitar and ukulele are picked and twanged with aplomb, lyrics are sung in a clear and decipherable manner and a dog joins in for added down home, back porch authenticity. It is funny and charming and an absolute pleasure.
…which is also how the Picking Speeds G.O.L. side could be described, though for very different reasons. Reminding me of 2013’s Piano Sonatas for Prepared Oven Mitt, this is a similar stream of consciousness recording seemingly allowing unmediated access to core Robbieness. Is this what it’s like being him? Could be. We hear pocket scrabbling dictaphonics, details of surreal errands (returning socks to the butcher), bursts of mutant electro pop and in-character-with-husky-voice musings on traditional Christmas decorations (from which this article takes its title). Whilst acknowledging that to some this must sound like inane self-indulgence, I can’t get enough. If there was such a thing as Robbiecam I’d have it on constantly in a little box at the top right hand corner of my laptop screen. What is he playing at?
…and finally Luke on:
Picking Speeds – Afternoon Vans
I will get right to the grit of it and declare that this is a straight up shazzy slice of drizzly English weirdness: we get the junk foraging, we get the two note laments on knackered keyboards, we get looped synth squelch with sleazy crooning and we get untamed scree blurts all slapped across the platter with much gusto and flared nostril.
I can almost picture Robert finding a £5 keyboard in his local charity shop, selecting the preset ‘sex grind’ and frightening the old dears with pelvic thrusts before getting booted out for making cyber growls and dog bothering feedback. I guess this mental image is fed by the knowledge that the guy can carry off a purple leather jacket – not something you can say for most people. [Editor’s note: heh, heh – bang on. This criminally limited lathe cut is boss cracked and a high point on which to end our tour of Shack’s Cardboard Club.]
Tags: dictaphonics, hissing frames, joe murray, luke vollar, new music, no audience underground, noise, posset, richard ramirez, robert ridley-shackleton, she walks crooked, vomir, werewolf jerusalem
Posset / Robert Ridley-Shackleton – Untitled Split (CD-r, Hissing Frames, edition of 12)
Werewolf Jerusalem / Robert Ridley-Shackleton / She Walks Crooked – April Fools (CD-r, Hissing Frames, edition of 22)
‘Robert Ridley-Shackleton’ – a name for the stage if ever I heard one. It conjures up images of a dandy striding purposefully about town: a bounder, a cad, maybe even a rogue! A quick search on that internet reveals him to be nothing of the sort; rather a hirsute, occasionally shirtless, fella with a red bass guitar. I have been curious about his work for a while mostly due to coverage on this very blog. I had read about the large and expanding back catalogue of insanely limited discs and tapes on his Hissing Frames label, his wild veering between micro genres and even genres that he’s stumbled upon by himself (‘no audience funk’ anyone?) but I had not stuck any Robert in my ear until a little box arrived recently containing, amongst other delights, a split between Robert and RFM’s very own posset a.k.a Joe Murray.
So: posset first. A small wobbly tape hum gives way to full on mouth gubber and it seems that for this session Joe has given his dictathumb the night off. Instead, on tracks one and two Joe sounds like he’s using the dictaphone to brush his teeth, doing a reverse baboon impression and flapping his wet cheeks into a demented frenzy like Dylan Nyoukis singing Van Halen after a bottle of Buckfast. On track three he goes for ‘Tibetan gong ritual on pan lids’, the singing metal feeding back nicely into the portable recording device while background life occurs. I really like Joe’s music: it’s fun, inventive and unpredictable. This is another beauty for my collection.
The ‘what is happening?’ vibe continues with Robert’s tracks, his studied junk rattling most immediately reminiscent of those usurper lads but with some disobedient electronics included. A deeply curious and weird atmosphere pervades these recordings. I found my brow furrowed in deep concentration trying to figure out what the heck it is that he is up to. It sounds very serious, whether he’s wrapping his kitchen in cellophane, constructing a testicle scratching device from forks, teaspoons and elastic bands or plugging an old radio into his microwave while sawing the ironing board in half. And roller skating on gravel.
Suitably impressed I dropped Robert a line wanting more Shackleton in my life. Along with the Melting All My Years In2 Tears tape reviewed earlier in these pages [Editor’s note: terrific self-selected ‘best of…’ and great place to start with RRS] I obtained the split disc with Werewolf Jerusalem and She Walks Crooked. An aside on Harsh Noise Wall…
[Editor’s note: imagine screen wobbles and fades to Luke recollecting…]
…a few years ago when I found myself in a small cold church in Skipton with a black bag over my head having a bit of an epiphany as the coruscating blast from French man VOMIR filled my head. There was no change, no development just a a dense static roar. It was loud, inhuman, weirdly beautiful and intensely psychedelic. Afterwards I felt cleansed – as if my brain had been rebooted – noise was exciting again. It seemed to me like a logical progression from the anti-everything rhetoric of The New Blockaders; a stubborn and unrelenting two fingers up to everyone and everything. Also a motionless man with a black bag on his head stood in front of his noise box but never touching it is pretty chuffing hilarious if you ask me. Thus started my vomir obsession, I amassed a ton of recordings all of which sounded the same but different and enthused about his noise to anyone ‘prepared to listen’ (meaning smile politely whilst edging towards the nearest exit)…
[Editor’s note: *clicks fingers* aaaand… back in the room]
…here I am welcoming another HNW disc into my life. To start we have Werewolf Jerusalem whom I hold in as much awe as vomir. Records like Black Chapel and the box set- Confessions of a Sex Maniac are stone cold classics. Richard Ramirez has been bringing the noise for donkeys years now in the equally brilliant Black Leather Jesus and a slew of other projects. On the first track he gives us around nine minutes of popping crackling noise as crisp and clean as a mountain stream. To crank it up is to discover an alien sound world teeming with a wealth of detail. His mastery of his gear ( antique sports radio and a few pedals) is evident as subtle touches guide the tracks progression.
Next up is Robert who gives us a fine chunk of high end scree overlaying a bass whubbawhubba. Some of these HNW types prefer to sit back and let the kit do the talking but Robert reaches for his gear throughout the track giving it a nice tactile quality, as if the noise is a wild stallion that he is trying to control.
We end with the curiously monikered She Walks Crooked who unleashes (sorry boss [Editor’s note: s’ok]) a blackened torrent of dense noise overload, strongly reminiscent of vomir but with its own personality and just really really good.
I’ve had some shitty times at work recently and this little disc has done wonders on the drive home in helping me forget my worries and embrace the abyss. In conclusion, I hope that Robert Ridley-Shackleton will continue on his strange journey and continue to share it with the world. I will certainly be paying attention from now on.