slow as eels: rfm on various herhalen artists, mudguts, günter schlienz, hawlimann & stricktschek, nautapes #32

December 14, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Various Artists – Under The Concrete / The Field (Herhalen)

Mudguts – Granada Valley Flower Girl (Cruel Nature Records)

Günter Schlienz – Selbstportrait (Spam Tapes)

Hawlimann & Stricktschek – TEENSDREAMS (Spam Tapes)

Various Artists – NAUT #32 – Live at Northern Charter (NAU-Tapes)

 herhalen

Various Artists – Under The Concrete / The Field (Herhalen) Cassette and free digital album

A curious compilation that sits halfway between an all-star remix album and an old-fashioned call and response holla.

The backstory goes like this.  Mark (Concrete/Field) sends a bunch of unfinished, unused but much loved sounds out into the universe and waits for like-minded beards to respond with a reaction.  So what we get is a blur of interpretations and a shimmy of styles from a heady mix of collaborators.

The mood is cautiously optimistic with each collaborator (many new names to me) mining a seam of whistling iron; each piece separate in rusted glory but tied together with strong metallic links.

Cauterized bounce silver balloons with bright electric sparks.  It takes Descent to riff on the itchy scratch favoured by high priests Zoviet:France.  Air bubbles are released into the blood by Elricj with a turkey wishbone used as a funky clave.

What’s this?  A shimmering John Carpenter-style synth all trussed up in black leather? Ladies and gentlemen – introducing Amantra.

We go back in time with Wound’s piece sounding like it was composed on a Casio calculator watch (circa 1987) – a river of bleep.  Then race to the here-and-now for Matt Warren’s Styrofoam rummage and one finger keyboard bee-drone.

RFM fave Kek-W on the brilliantly titled ‘A Fax from Phillip Glass’ creates exactly that.  Four organs battle the inhuman squeal of redundant technology.  Libbe Matz Gang bring the gritty howl they are well known for in these parts.  But watch out! Scutopus’ almost 6 min drone is crispy pancake – not filled with boiling cheese and ham but gently sculpted and rough to touch. Wizards Tell Lies, another scorched earth outfit, juggle tangled loops and fine, filigree crackle.

The gloriously named artist Nude for Satan seem to be riffling through the Necronomicon while listening to copper pipes being clanged (on leaky headphones).

Classy Draaier ends the recording on a tasteful note.  A foamy sea drawing itself through smooth pebbles as the heavens dance overhead.

A perfect balm for this most abrasive of seasons.

mudguts flower girl

Mudguts – Granada Valley Flower Girl (Cruel Nature Records) Cassette and digital album

Ghostly power-duo Mudguts (Lee Culver on sounds and Scott McKeating on composition) haunt and howl their way through another impressive tape drenched in sticky black ectoplasm.

The opening two pieces ‘Original Mistake Growing Arms and Legs’ and ‘Constantly Slaughtering Something’ seem to exist beneath a level of human perception. Sure, churning voices are suggested and even become corporeal for moments but mostly these are echoes, lost murmurings and hints striving to pierce the veil of human static.

The altogether more boisterous ‘Bat’ is a multi-limbed car wash applying numerous squeegee squeals to your scalp.  The twelve minute ‘Every Single Edge’ truly made me jump with its needle-sharp intro cry.  Imagine a single string soprano violin bowed with fury cutting through an orchestra of damp tissue paper and comb artists.  Picture the clarity of intention over the glum voices of damage!

The balance is restored with the beautiful hum of ‘Carver’ a soul-scratching guitar noodle heard through heavy atmospheric interference.  And the prettiest of the lot ‘Moth’ a one minute mumble, makes me think this really could be the only surviving recording of a wet marimba covered in fragrant peat.

Mudguts once again daub the strange and the beautiful with primitive woad.

gunter

Günter Schlienz – Selbstportrait (Spam Tapes) Cassette

Totally beautiful synth wig-ins.

Marvellously introspective and slow as eels this tape massages my tired temples and places a warm oiled hand on my knotted shoulders.

Schlienz’ Self Portrait floats in the air faintly glowing all across side one.  The spare notes breathe into each other – a cinnamon-scented wind.

But this is in no way a dumb drift piece.  No Sir!  This is as deliberately approached as your end of year accounts.  The movements are smooth and calm.  A gentle shudder, a close cluster of harmonic moans as discrete as Eno’s Discreet Music.

Side two, ‘Campfire Suite’ takes the whole soft sheebeen outside and clusters around a real life crackling fire (just audible in the mix).  This time things are less obviously soothing and more mysterious – picture an electric loon-bird or stoned sperm whale.

Perfect and peaceful – more most welcome Spam!

hawliman

Hawlimann & Stricktschek – TEENSDREAMS (Spam Tapes) Cassette

Phew!  This hectic duo couldn’t be further removed from Gunter’s plantagenet hoofs.

Side one opens with the mud-popping farts of a bass pipe getting lustily fingered. The wet slurp is part aboriginal dreamtime part steam-driven traction engine busting hot rivets.  Percussion comes in the form of crinked coffee cans, a fistful of dry reeds and shuffling grit under the soles of a clog.  It is truly magical to hear a crisp packet scrunched, up and close to the mic, as loud as Slayer in any given Enormo-dome.

Side two is an almost prehistoric take on Don Cherry’s masterpiece ‘Mu’.  These boyos drag around sacks of cloth, sigh politely and snore, setting the scene before breaking out an ivory horn and badass drum.

We are treated to a walking mix; various beaters and rattles picked up, explored and discarded.  It’s a pleasure, a delight, to hear the invention and thought weaving as voice melts into melodica or balloon squeak tackles a wooden bamboo flute.

Clear the picnic blanket – these scotch eggs are ripe and ready to pluck.

20171214_164445

Various Artists – NAUT #32 – Live at Northern Charter (NAU-Tapes) Cassette

Gosh knows how many more NAU-Tapes Dave Howcroft has released in the last month but here’s the latest that found its way into my bulging stocking.

Admission corner – I’m breaking form here at RFM by reviewing a tape that I feature on but I don’t see why the other acts here should suffer because of my writing mumps.

And what a set of acts! Posset-Ruus Duo, Dawn Bothwell, Kleevex and Yoni Silver & Ram Gabay all braved five flights of stairs to take up residence in the sun-drenched plaza that is Newcastle’s Northern Charter Space.  Normally reserved for visual artists this wonderful space looks out over the main drag of Newcastle City Centre – a veritable eagle’s nest!

First up new duo – Posset-Ruus (soon to be re-branded The Russets but that’s a different story) take two acoustic guitars, two mouths, two Dictaphones and four speakers in a self-perpetuating loop squeezing scrambled string-action and slack tooth honks via their Dictas in what I believe they call a hot mess.  Described by some as ‘not really music’ imagined by others as Harry Pussy swapping their instruments at half time – WOOF!

Dawn Bothwell’s electronic poetry takes advantage of the view and describes the pre-Christmas rush; all mead quaff and sausage munch.  A looping module takes snatches of voice and spins a ring of bright fire making it sizzle.  Just when you thought you’d heard it all pitches are switched and a booming bottom-end heralds precise and hammering tech-noir squelch.

Keleevx pair up two of the hardest working folk in the Undergronk, Faye MacCalman and Gwilly Edmondez rasping on sax/clarinet and mouth/dicta respectively. Like a couple of daytime drinkers they read each other’s minds ready to place a new conversational nugget or curious honk on the table with practiced certainty. Seeing traditional instruments cozying up to what is basically outdated office equipment fills me with a wonderful sense of hope and I can wax lyrical if you want. But it’s all just breath at the end of the day innit?   The secret is its vital oxygen, life-giving air whistling from Kleevex into my hungry ears.  Dandy.

The brave headliners are polished metropolitan gentlemen Yoni Silver (Bass Clarinet & Violin) and Ram Gabay (half a Drum-set).  I’m not going to beat around the bush here – this is world class improv.  Yoni and Ram are inventive masters pushing each of their respective instruments though ten rounds delivering stylistic K.O’s with grace and regularity.  Yoni’s deep, deep honk is filtered through an enviable technique, rude tongue-slaps on the gummy reed, a foot in the brass bell and plastic filters clattering with the power of sculpted air.

Ram’s drums (a couple of snares, a rogue bass drum and a collection of cymbals and gee-gaws) are cosseted and stroked like old house cats. Skins are thrummed and thowked.  The mixture of texture and timing fill the air with gritty vibrations that are expertly controlled with the occasional sharp ‘crack’ brining us out of our misty reverie and back into the present.  Special mention must be made of the bass drum – a slack and sliding mobile unit skittering at the sight of Ram’s well-heeled boot.

And the interplay between the two is gob-dropping, jaw-smacking.  Nuance unwraps further nuance, in a cluttered Venn diagram alive with microscopic bristle.  This damn tape reminds me why I love improv so much – it just keeps on flowing and reforming until (one brief violin scrape later) it snips to a perfectly neat and tidy close.

As with all other NAU-tapes these are available only from the mighty Mr Dave Howcroft at howcroft.d58@gmail.com for FREE!  *but bung him a few quid eh…it’s Christmas.

 

Herhalen

Cruel Nature Records

Spam Tapes

-ooOOoo-

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-

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