close to the pylons: joe murray on robin foster, henry collins, leda, arv & miljö, tear fet, troy schafer

August 5, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Henry Collins / Robin Foster – Spill Lynch Corrosiveness / Frostlike Neighbourly Aversion (CD-r, LF Records, LF050)

Leda – City/Clear (7″ vinyl, I Dischi Del Barone, IDDB010, edition of 200)

Arv & Miljö – untitled (7″ vinyl, I Dischi Del Barone, IDDB008, edition of 200)

Tear Fet – Blabber (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.333, edition of 40)

Troy Schafer – Amplified Double Fiddle (3″ CD-r and pin badge or download, aetheric records)


Henry Collins / Robin Foster – Spill Lynch Corrosiveness / Frostlike Neighbourly Aversion  

These two ‘non-guitarists’ play something approaching Kaiser-mash with some extremely damaged fingers.

Two tracks.  One mind/ten fingers a-piece.  You dig?

Spill Lynch yeah!  Guitar-as-you-trucking-lump-it. Totally wrecked non-playing as strings are hammered on and hammered off.  Steel is plucked and pulled and shredded hard with foam mallets.  Rubbery metal is found bounced in the reverse making this a righteous dental dam for pearly whites.

Tiny fists, like Joe Pesci’s ‘pow…ping…pow’, jab into your soft temple raising a bruise and yet… this would be a wonderfully zesty cocktail!  But you add the mangled FX-BOX and goof-timing and you are looking at a particularly sexy beach.  Memory gong ripples out a Daxophone reference but it’s slung as low as a Kev Hopper bassline so figure that captain!

Frostlike yeah! One man spitting canned peas out a tight, puckered gob-hole dribbles cold green bile.  OR has Eddie Van taken the vapours so his ERUPTION is all STAR SPANGLED out a tiny HIWATT about to burst into flames.  It’s like a pissy Morse; a constant chatter of on/off/on/off rattling up through my ribcage and whispering into my fontanel.  It’s machine code on the jibber-jabber somehow rocking a ska rhythm.  It’s barium voodoo and it’s aiming for any hole going.

We Roll tonight to the guitar bite


Leda – City/Clear

Crispy bouncing beats sound like they crept out of Sheffield circa 1979.  A wheexing synth plays a one note melody and twists the pitch up, out of waxy remains, until the thing squeals like a pinched nut.  One dimensional in the best possible way; focused and determined Leda sings a line that blends soft as Egyptian eye shadow.  It does its thing at a totally brisk pace: skip, skip, skipping like a hockey puck over dull scuffed ice.

The flipside proper songs it; imagine shoving a Woodbine into that Vape pen and huffing hard.  Misty organ vamps float like a kite flapping drastically close to the pylons.  Leda sighs as if bad news is arriving soon in a manila envelope.  I’m thinking of Barbara Manning in her total waif days if you’re looking for a mind-crutch.

Wonderfully brief, totally Nu Wave.  Where’s my piano tie dude?


Arv & Miljö – Untitled

The mysterious Arv & Miljö are quite possibly the equally mysterious Matthias Andersson who has jammed a high-quality mic out his neat apartment window to record the big wide world going about its business.

Side A picks up those pesky seabirds all going


in fine white clarity.  If this was Whitby they’d be fighting over chips but Matthias’ location is totally smorgasbord, all gherkin fresh and sauna-clean toes.

Side B revels in a Swedish downpour. The trebly ‘hiss’ of the rain fills my ears almost whole but gradually subsides into more bassy individual drips (off your peaked cap perhaps) and ends on a fragile bowl ringing making this a super-fucking-classy ride on the vinyl.


Tear Fet – Blabber

As serious as your life.

This meditation on disease and ultimate loss is pure honest gibber that surfs straight from tragedy.  It’s a pretty unsettling raw disc of vocal jaxx, jammed to tape direct with no discernable dubs or edits.  The 20 minute piece was scored by Fet himself (a Matt Dalby apparently) and then, as the moorings loosen, it breaks free of all reason.

My first few listens marvel at the sheer range of guff coming outta two lips, two lungs and one tongue.

Me?  I’ll carry this like Wisdens… a goddamn almanac of honk.  A how-to guide!

Over the course of the spinning shiney I count the following techniques: slack mouth farts, gulps, wheezing roars, tactile yawns, owl squeaks, slibby gibbers, lip-smacks, jaw creaks, warble and weft, dry huff/wet huff, moans, scones and drones, deep sighs, ribbet-lite, mucus croak, deft saliva manipulation, pinched inhalations, seal barks, wet sucking, coughs (phlegm and tickle), rude burps, careless whispers, dirty slurps, humms, ululation, snivel and whimpers, throat rasp, snivels (without whimpers), throat shred, large cheek inflation, nasal gargles, proper singing, mithering, call and response (solo), repetition and imitation, vibration of fleshy jowls, cavity popping, fake Russian bantz, sinus snort, irregular mucus work, jakey muttering, horse blowing and common or garden slobber. [Editor’s note: Bravo Joe! *claps meatily in approval*]

For students of vocal jizz in all its glorious forms; consider this one essential.


Troy Schafer – Amplified Double Fiddle

A tremendous hot spurting event of a record that moves from God-rattling fists to microscopic blossoms bursting.

Mr Troy here has built his own double fiddle, inspired by Aussie out-violinist Jon Rose, and rammed it through all manner of cheap distortion sawing away raising merrie hell.

The horsehair rips up a storm (x 2), the dragging and pushing astringent as a spilled gin ‘n tonic but still fatly full and all encompassing.  Occasionally things fall apart into an elegant digital-ditch or rusty tape hole; all the better to keep things human and sprightly I say!

Oh my sweet Lord!  There’s something wonderfully elemental about the frenzied bowing, the constant car-crash of sound that’s as bright as a spotlight; a pure unfettered stream of energy and information.

The overtones really play nice with my pink ears, especially on the less noisy moments.  The double movement is shaped like slow geography, a gradual denudation of the bristling sonics turning the abrasive into smooth gold teeth.

Hey!  Conventional wisdom loves a crescendo eh?  A simple narrative that leads to the big pay off, the money shot.  But Troy baffles by moving from Piss Superstition-levels of fuckedness to a no-more-than slightly water-damaged scrape over the course of this beautifully direct record.  The arc in reverse.

I’m so keen you hear this I checked with aetheric and blimey… it’s sold out at source.  Click the download my beauties!


LF Records

I Dischi Del Barone

Chocolate Monk

aetheric records

blowholes flaring: happy harshcore from robin foster

June 23, 2015 at 11:11 am | Posted in musings, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Robin Foster – Shitty Noise Moon (download, say cheese and die)

Robin Foster – ADHD NEOWZ SCHWAB (download, say cheese and die)


Regular readers of this blog will know of my troubles with depression and, more lately, anxiety.  I am suffering at the moment: what seemed at first to be a mild dose around Christmas took firm hold during four months of rolling physical illness and I am now proper fucked.  A coincidental run of poor luck has only exacerbated matters.  So what can I do?  Hmmm… I know!  I’ll count my blessings and cheer up.

Any fellow sufferer will shudder and/or crack a rueful smile at that last line.  Heartfelt sympathy from the well intentioned is often harder to deal with than simple, uncaring ignorance.  Any antediluvian HR idiot who tries that ‘well, we all get tired’ bullshit gets a curt and well-rehearsed critical beatdown from me and is banished from the room with a face like a well-slapped arse.  But what do you say to a friend or loved one who is genuinely, if ham-fistedly, trying to help:

You have so much to live for!  Your life is great!

…yeah, and yet I feel like this so why go on?

But what to you have to be depressed about?!

…you are mixing up two meanings of the word.  I’m not depressed about something, I’m ill.  Would you ask someone with diabetes what they have to be diabetic about?

…and so on.  I’ve had polite, firm-but-gentle versions of this conversation many times over the years and it is getting easier as understanding of the condition widens and deepens.  However, just recently I’ve been acting on a revelatory suggestion from my counsellor: maybe I should acknowledge what I have to live for.  Maybe I should count my blessings.  Maybe I could even pussyfoot around the idea of ‘cheering up’…

The idea goes something like this.  I can’t stop having these thoughts and feelings but I do have some control over how I react to them.  Consciously fighting them off is one tactic but can prove counter-productive.  The illness loves a pagga because even if I win it knows I’ll be in a weakened state for the return bout.  Depression doesn’t mind playing a long game.  Better perhaps to crowd it out, to fill the headspace available with more positive thoughts.  It’s akin to the much debated tactic of ‘no-platforming’ a political opponent – sure, I can’t ban you from expressing abhorrent opinions but you won’t be doing it at my rally – and each time the grimness is denied and the positive celebrated the latter is reinforced.  Conversations with my counsellor have followed this pattern:

So how have you been?

Well, mostly pretty bad, I’m afraid.

‘Mostly’, not all?

I guess there have been a few good things, amongst the bad thi…

Let me stop you there – tell me about those good things.

On my own I have, somewhat sheepishly I admit, been consciously, literally (even out loud sometimes) counting my blessings:

1. Anne and Thomas, 2. radiofreemidwich, 3. jam doughnuts…


It doesn’t work all the time but it feels like steps in the right direction – into the light, away from the dark….

*Phew*, anyway, forgive me, it helps to write it down.  The 500 words above was meant to be a brief introduction to a few reviews of what could be called ‘joyful noise’ and an explanation of why I might be receptive to a bit of cheering up at the moment.  Shall we crack on?

Robin Foster – Shitty Noise Moon ADHD NEOWZ SCHWAB

The charming Robin Foster got back in touch at the start of the year to steer me towards his new Bandcamp site (all aliases are his) and introduce his notion of ‘Happy Harshcore’ which he described in an email as:

…basically harsh noise without the dead babies and Nazi themes.

I was tickled by this as his label is perilously close to ‘happy sadcore’, one of the mythical sub-genres that Chris Morris used to befuddle witless interviewees when talking about the mythical drug ‘cake’ on Brass Eye (I think).  Heh, heh – every possibility in music will have its day.  I downloaded a bunch and… lost them down the back of the hard-drive for six months.  Mea culpa.  Anyway, their rediscovery was at an opportune moment.

Shitty Noise Moon is eleven genre-spanning short tracks from Robin’s fun-fur lined studio.  Kinda like one of my toddler’s energetic crayon drawings converted to electrostatic squigglecore.  Like the chatter of noise-punk dolphins disgusted at the new age appropriation of their culture and reclaiming the sea for break-fin, blowhole-flaring racket – that dreamy sunset poster mum and dad are on can fuck off.  Like groaning, out-of-phase EVP muttered by a spook bumping along the virtual fences of the Ghostbusters containment facility.  Plenty to make the listener smile here – not least the invitation to join a recording of a family enjoying what sounds like a backyard display of home-made fireworks.

Despite the title, the seven tracks of noise improv that comprise ADHD NEOWZ are longer and at least as coherent (make of that what you will) as those on …Moon.  Perhaps this album is its older brother, perhaps the Ritalin is starting to have some effect?  A couple of these tracks are addled and Usurperish, some feature a nostalgic gristly throb.  The best of it is paddling in electric foam burped onto the shoreline by a mysterious, glowing shipping container, crowbarred overboard by suspicious crewmen.  You open a soggy document wallet bobbing in the surf and read ‘Caring for your Shoggoth’ at the top of the waterlogged paper.  Urgh, what’s that fizzing into being in the jelly around your flip-flops?  Eyes?!  Teeth!!  RUN!!!

Heh, well I thought it was funny and I am very grateful to Robin for the distraction.  Plenty more where that came from, thankfully.


Robin Foster

say cheese and die

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