respectfully anxious: joe murray on recent releases from spam

September 20, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Flamingo Creatures – Rock Classics Vol 1 (tape, SPAM, spam11)

Sinergia Elettronica – Maribor (tape, SPAM, spam9, edition of 80)

Baldruin – Klaue (tape, SPAM, spam12, edition of 40)

Dan Melchior – Black Night/New Morning (tape and riso-printed art zine, SPAM, spam10, edition of 80)

rock classics

Flamingo Creatures – Rock Classics Vol 1

Spam in a cabin?  Spamalot?  Hey man… Spam gets a bad press these days.  But for the chopped pork/tinned meat generation Spam holds a heart-warming place next to austerity-busting Woolton Pie and greasy Snoek.  But my RFM groovers… I’m digressing.  This bundle of very welcome Spam slapped onto the welcome mat and worked its way straight up to the tape deck with no delay.

First up it’s the sinister playground sound of FLAMINGO CREATURES, the CEO(s) of all this delightful SPAM.  Imagine a Mesopotamian naming ceremony with Sun Ra guesting on keyboards and winsome chanting (via perished inner tube), then tune into a very delicate use of reverb giving each sound a mauve shadow.  Plucked violin makes me think patchwork thoughts while electronic wheezes huff asthmatically.  Each phrase is coupled perfectly; the buba-buba-buba rumbles give much needed bass heft to the lighter pinched strings. The ‘poing’ of amplified springs is coddled in gritty looped finesse. All this jiggery-pokery is paced gently.  Don’t run away with the thought this is rushed or hurled about willy-nilly (the approach of many a goof-merchant).  The confidence to just let sounds be, explore and stretch out shows a deeply sedative practice, a mastery of one’s art.  A love of what matters: sound, space and magic.


Sinergia Elettronica – Maribor

Full-on wonk/skronk and gronk from this sooper-grooper of jaxx-monks The Jooklo Duo and gibbet-swingers Metabolismu.

I know what you’re thinking…

This is going to be a meeting of THAT GOD DAMN free jazz beast and 60’s style, horn-rimmed spectacles wearing, white-coat sporting radiophonic electronics goof.

I can’t fool you dear readers… you are on the darn dirty dollar with your perceptive deductions.

Each musical moment of this seriously funky tape is bished and bashed through copper circuits and magnetic mercury pools.  It hums and squeals.  It soars and plummets.  The black becomes white, the up becomes down.  Electricity has the upper hand here; lightning squiggles through drainpipes, ROM memory crashes in a spectacular fashion, empty batteries prompt fluctuating voltage through Tron’s soldered city.  But… it’s not all Robocop trap work.  Oh no.  Real life human intervention beats a flexitone solo over hot dusty wire.  Bamboo pipes hiss real-life breath over the meta-organic complexity.  The effect is future/retro… Tetuso the Iron Man with ice-hockey hair.  We see a pre-Skynet meeting of minds; human and blow-bot both digging Don Cherry’s pocket trumpet squark and the blunt architecture of machine code as beautiful sides of a similar moist coin.

Further listening seems to plunge me deeper into this parallel universe.  Steam Punks… you got it so wrong.  In Sinergia Elettronica’s alternate reality Halim El-Dabh got that Mohawk he always fancied.

Years later we all wake up and Bad Brains are fresh for raspberry Pi.


Baldruin – Klaue

New Day Rising!

Lo-fi keyboard studies like a little Ludwig Van champing away at his harpsichord in a powdered wig (dripping glitter).

The Bandcamp blurb says Baldruin is showing a more distorted, noisy and abstract side on this saucy tape which makes me think ‘blimey’ as this is as tripped out as a tie-dyed vest with ‘GONG’ written on it.

All the colours are swirling man…

But, let’s get serious.  That’s no dig at a soft head.  No way.  The Baldruin delivers the hum and fuss of machine-made circuits, the flipped out, the turned on.

A Space Echo doubles each fingered shove so things ripple nice across your personal spectrum.  Tunes waft in soft on the jasmine winds, suggested as such, and then gently tugged away.  But not before they spiral-drill into the soft grey matter (tiny delicate earworms); so when dislodged they pull my precious neurons free!

This Baldruin plays with the edges, mastering the indistinct and implied.  In the same way a micro-movement of the cheek and eye muscles can turn a smile into a snarl, twists of the sonic palette warm up chilly electronics until they are a comfortable 98.6 Fahrenheit all over.

For fans of day-dreaming and the soft ‘swussh’ of traffic skimming down rain-drenched streets.



Dan Melchior – Black Night/New Morning

Dan pushes this tape/pen & ink combo to create a wonderful multi-platform experience.

Very gradual tape melange fritters the start of ‘Black Night’ until things settle into electronic tones both deep and ribbed.  Like running a stick across the railings the juddering swoops soon become symphonic, softly shouldering each other into little human pyramids.

The jagged malfunction vibe increases as ghostly voices compete with the black-night vibrations; things start to crash like trees yelling ‘TIMBER’ from splintered mouths as they fall beneath the developer’s mega-deforestation-tank.

The warble continues.  Fresh noise is squeezed on from time-to-time but the lolling, rolling tones keep on keeping on like dark tidal soul.

Turning the tape over to ‘New Morning’ creates a sharp contrast.  This side long piece is a guitar meditation full of those optimistic swells that give me little tingles.  It must be some sort of AMSR shit but certain notes, in certain orders under certain circumstances give me a shiver – a shudder of electricity just under the skin.  Add to this the slow pace and classy VOX stuttery r-e-v-e-r-b and I drift back to teenage summer holidays – that blissful ache of warm cider evenings and unrequited love.  But before this gets all Spacemen 3 a gentle organ-huff blows across the stereo-skies, human chatter leaks through the gaseous wobble and the tape is rounded off chalky and lavender.

The accompanying zine ‘Biro Crimes’ is even more direct than the tape; a selection of drawings made at the Duke Cancer clinic are respectfully anxious and never less than beautiful.

A treasure, like all this wonderful SPAM.  Be sure to check out the SPAM bandcamp for more tapes, zines and vinyl.


SPAM on Bandcamp

SPAM blog – Flamingo Creatures and Baldruin releases (also: Baldruin on Bandcamp)

SPAM blog – Sinergia Elettronica release

SPAM blog – Dan Melchior release (also: Dan Melchior via Meudiademorte Records)

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