vintage segs: rfm on binnsclagg, dayglow exploding super infinite, dr:wr and katz mulk

July 30, 2017 at 6:16 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Binnsclagg arranged by THF Drenching – Bring Back Hanging (Chocolate Monk)

Dayglow Exploding Super Infinite – Weightless and Everywhere, Drizzled in Honey (

DR:WR – Our Shadow Days (Eps 1 – 3) (No label)

Katz Mulk – Husks (Singing Knives)


Binnsclagg arranged by THF Drenching – Bring Back Hanging (Chocolate Monk) CDr

Operatic junk-melt from two salty coves is stirred by a third with a runcible spoon.

Beard, Karl M V Waugh & non-beard, Verity Spott have cooked up a shot of pure Binnsclagg and injected straight into Drenno’s eyeball.  The last flickering spasms from the Council of Drent’s most celebrated son register on some sort of Beaufort scale (for skronk) and gets marked-up in felt tip ‘fresh gale – twigs break off trees, cluttered sounds smudge gravity.’

Clear enough yeah?

Sense-valves are squeezed firmly from the middle to let the chum squirm rudely out, forming foul brown pyramids:


rhythmic pulses throb like a sore thumb,

granulated ripping precedes a spoken word interlude,

old coins are rubbed on a vintage slate,


the TV chatter is tuned to the Mr T show,

lobbying voices blabber and honk,

synths are employed as security guards,


overloaded sections create vital grab-zones to ponder and chew bitter herb,

ghostly organs invoke the dark heart of Blackpool; pure shredding

six-handed – with a swingers firm grip


A mess?  Of course not.

Bring Back Hanging aches like the tight tangle of poetry.


Dayglow Exploding Super Infinite – Weightless and Everywhere, Drizzled in Honey ( cheap-o digital album

This accidental-static, fluff osmosis is exactly the kind of sound The Red Hot Chilli Peppers and their foul type have tried to scrub out of existence, stomp into history, for years

The exact moral opposite of Anthony, Flea (and the other two) this rotten, fluttering pop crackles in my ears like a dry cotton bud chasing a rogue insect for about 37 minutes.

There’s no funk or no punk in this energetic splutter; indeed there is no jazz or blues either.  But this is unmistakably rock n’ roll, the closing moments of ‘Collapsing Droplets’ as badazz as Link Wray’s low-down Rumble; greasy D.A. aloft and flick knife tucked into his waistband.

If all else is true the lengthy ‘Once we Considered Surrender’ is surely the ballad, a slow dance of chittering typewriter keys and radio interference.  Somehow wetter than its companions the spitting sonics play out more like a garden hose being repeatedly stepped on-off-on-off in a herky-jerky dance.

Uncomplicated, but of course vibrating with coded meanings only the in-crowd can decode.

A whop-bam-a-loo-bop-a-whop-bam-boo!


DR:WR – Our Shadow Days (Eps 1 – 3) (No label) gratis digital album

A tone-desert as barren as Catterick Lorry Park

Oily loops of reverb’ed somethings snake in sinister circles; a gentle rumble is the slowest drummer – like yeast picked up the brushes.  ‘Dream Pollutants’ feels like some Replicant code-patch to increase anxiety and paranoia – take it slow Skin Jobs.

Lazily shifting shapes tip on hidden hinges to reflect a sooty light on ‘an attempt at exhuming nowhere’.  The see-saw effect makes this a meditative piece suitable for a trek in Nepal or charity shopping. Those times when you need to make peace with your creator (whoever she is) and open yourself to the bounty of the universe.  The final five minutes introduce giant’s steps plodding through the bog; slow and steady.

A thoughtless ohm thrown down a dark corridor? ‘Prebranded Features’ invokes Danielewski’s ‘House of Leaves ‘ with its eerie voicing’s that seem to endlessly descend into some unknowable horror.  Compact and neat this piece never stalls or chokes.  The layered lines lay as thick and deep as velvet; both opulent and oddly cloying.

But is it as bleak as the famed garrison town?  Give me answers dear reader.

katz mulk husks

Katz Mulk – Husks (Singing Knives) laser cut and risoprint booklet of performance notes with digital album

Three fine brains (Kearney, Morris, Knight) take a bunch of recordings made in public and private and wrap them up in a galactic stew with extra lashings of arm and leg movement.

This really is an arresting listen.  Each element: processed sound, voice and dripping percussion exists in a separate timeframe that I have to punch through sideways.  Viewed this way, along three separate planes, an extra dimension is revealed – a swooping movement that is felt like warm breath on the cheek rather than simply being seen or heard.

Like a velvet glove inside an iron fist…or should that be the other way around?  Heck…either way this disc demands attention.  I’ll settle for the ‘kid’s rattle full of dead wasps’ analogy; a sting in reverse, a memory of potential discomfort.

‘Temperament’ spills like wet chrome.  Including a cheeky reference to the band rather than the metal a future face presents itself – handsome in profile.

A processed whispering infects ‘Yes like a Cheetah.’ Below the chanting it squats waiting for the echoing ‘clack’ balancing the freezer burn amp-huffing on Andrea Kearney’s perfectly timed Cuban finger clicks.  High on rum I feel gloriously wasted.

Slushy-sound, slow like a glacier with levels of engagement pinned between the gritty ice?  I’m picking up much, much more than ‘A Leaf, A Gourd, A Sack’ anyways.  The tap-dancing of Ben Morris (on vintage segs  if I’m not mistaken) chatters like joke teeth, running this track out into a leaky void.

Moving furniture around an electricity sub-station seems to be the basis of ‘Y Gang’.  Ben Knight’s voice is a hyena chorus – savannah cackling and bone-crushing moans.    The floor flexes making way for a living tarmacadam demon!

That secret lemonade drinker, Beyonce Knowles, is clearly heard on title track ‘Husks’ her high-tech and passionate R’n’B blunted via discarded garden chairs and blackened disposable barbecues.

The full twelve minute masterpiece ‘Meat Stories’ continues the dripping theme.  I’m stuck in a time cave!  My mind is an echo chamber.  A discomforting shift occurs, like a muscular tick you’re trying to suppress when the silken sound shimmer suddenly turns sickly.  Like an overdose of mustard you can’t get the yellow whiff out of your hair for days.

Katz Mulk revel in the uneasy space between healthy concern and full-blown paranoia.

Chocolate Monk

dr-wr bandcamp

Singing Knives Records



who is lance? joe murray on odie ji ghast, thf drenching and the damian bisciglia mystery

January 13, 2016 at 12:03 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 1 Comment
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Odie ji Ghast & THF Drenching – Angy is You (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.321, edition of 50)

Damian Bisciglia and Friends – Volume One: The 1980s (CD-r, Ri Be Xibalba)

Damian Bisciglia and Friends – Volume Two: The 1990s (CD-r, Ri Be Xibalba)

angyangy 2

Odie ji Ghast & THF Drenching – Angy is You

There’s no lead-in or gentle border zone on this crispy disc.  This one heads straight for the sweet meat right from the get go.

Ultra-soprano & goof-scat-artiste Odie ji Ghast (relax: it’s the very proper Greta Butikute in an all-in-one moth-suit) goes



ah ah ah ah

on it like some Ono swallowed the Auto Tune.

THF Drenching (resplendent in matching orange) uses the Dictaphone to tap into and release a very peculiar energy this time, it’s very thin and metallic and flexible like an iron garden hose… on it!  I think it smells a little of voodoo… more on that later.

They duo it all together, bringing hot jazz chops of their very own making.  I’m a man of the world; I can picture Blue Note doods sucking a tooth at this lot.  But, make no mistake this is as Charlie as it is Mingus, as Gerry as it swerves into the crew-cut Mulligan.

But, as ever, the placement and setting of simple voice jaxx and Dictaphone (with the occasionally snippet of daft field huff) is all important.  These jams seem to move to different corners of the room.  At one point the haggling ‘la la’ from Odie comes from the ceiling above the door.  At others Drenching is accompanying on dog-toy and feedback-whine from behind me.  I’m pretty sure we don’t have cinema surround-sound secreted about the place so the next logical assumption is that this is bloody witchcraft.

Like that Wanda Maximoff they freak with the fingers casting slow-release incantations.  At first I’m lost in a high-pitch snitch-jam, next hippy guitar thrums and the deep Manc burr of THF mutters ‘choreography’.  There’s more than one way to haunt a guy.  I got your number!  Plant that dancing suggestion then steal my pumps in the night… or something.

The whirl of pinch builds up and up and up until the sound palette is a wash of the finest cool blues and sea greens, incidentally making this a perfect kayak record.  And that’s before the closing Inuit twist sent me off as happy as an otter.

OJD & THFD… Just ‘on’ it.

db outerdb inner

Damian Bisciglia and Friends – Volume One: The 1980s

Damian Bisciglia and Friends – Volume Two: The 1990s

These two mysterious discs plopped through my door with no note or nothing.  The return address quotes one ‘Lance Lincoln’ and the tongue-wrenching cipher ‘Ri Be Xibalba

It’s a rum do for sure.  Opening up these plain discs I see the name Damian Bisciglia and am instantly reassured.  I’m sure readers will be aware of Damian’s impressive, inventive and essential discography along with the tragic facts of his recent death… no need for me to go into that here.

These two compilations of Damian’s work are split into two decade-long chunks; the 1980’s and 1990’s and highlight his huffing and puffings with Dinosaurs with Horns, Points of Friction and all manner of short-term, one-off, knee tremblers with an assortment  of gawky-goons (Adam Bohman, Joseph Hammer, Rick Potts, Tim Alexander etc).

I slip the silvery 1980’s disc in first and I’m gently spooned by some vocal hi-jinks (‘The Gods Speak…) that although being clearly labelled as germinating in January 1981 could easily be a Skatgobs or Noize Choir joint coughed out last week.  The soft blubbers and whispers start to form into almost-words and then decay with each syllable rotting internally like an over-ripe fig.  The similarly structured ‘A-E-Ahh-O-Ewh, Closed-Eye Baby Swiss’ has a logic straight outta the South Coast poetry scene.  This is so damn ‘now’ sounding it’s scary.

The instrumental pieces take a leaf out of Martin Denny’s book and go for that exotica feel but rather than a tacky Tiki Bar we’re pulling up a pew in a domestic diner or campus bookshop.  Whip-smart ideas float between plucked and rubbed strings or pittery-pattery percussion.  A music box tinkles for a while; tape loops float like smoke rings, snippets of field recordings (a bus transfer station?) are overlaid onto the ticking of a tin box and rubber drums.

The tape-collage is never far from your shell-like and shorter pieces like ‘Do You?’ and ‘Balloons’ get in quick, do their thing and fuck off leaving you with a grimy ear-worm as rich and itchy as golden river silt.

Suitably warmed up I place the 1990’s disc into it’s snug laser carriage.  The decade between these recordings seems to have smoothed things – a little like when the tide polishes nasty glass fragments into beautifully scuffed sea-green pebbles.  The ‘Excerpts Of Various Improvisations’ might sound pretty self explanatory yeah.  But what you can’t pick out is the magpie-like pick and approach: pinch and then a peck, a dribble then a dash.  I’ve always been a fan of this approach to music making since hearing The Faust Tapes at an impressionable age and sort of wondered why all music wasn’t made like this.  Sure thing Stevie Wonder, write a song if you have to, but don’t expect me to listen to it all in the right order man.

But the bulk of this 1990’s affair is made up of humble experiments on turntables, guitar and zither.  Simple ideas are played out in real time… again this ‘single-approach’ style is another notch on my bedpost and a welcome sorbet to the sonic blancmange that assaults me on a daily basis (especially at Christmas).  It’s focused and precise but allowing enough elbow room for dropped cues, fumbled skips and relaxed smears to make my wee brain pulse with a sickening ‘bada-boom-bada-bing’.

The closer ‘Improvisation On Wire Mesh Sculpture’ becomes a ‘whammo’ from a Batman fight scene; primary and bold, right between the eyes with a wonky smile.

The programming of these discs is wonderful with a reliance on clear placement and thoughtful juxtaposition.  There’s not no attention-seeking noise or dumb macho splutter.  It’s essentially a sound-diary being opened at random for sure; but with this Pepys of this freaky-invention you get a Great Fire on each page.

OK… so you’ve read my spiel.  I’m hoping you feel informed and curious yeah?  But that’s not the end of the story.

As I mentioned before there was something not quite right about the way these turned up so I checked out the Ri Be Xibalba site.  There’s no mention of these discs at all!  I manage to find a (fairly well hidden) contact address for Lance.  I dropped him a line and, the next day a puzzler appeared on the in-box…

Who is Lance? I run Ri Be Xibalba as a one man operation and my name is Eric. I have never heard of these CDRs until yesterday. Apparently whoever did this is sending out copies for review, but I can’t find anything else about them. I don’t understand why someone put my label name on these releases.

Curious eh?  Me and Eric corresponded some more and it seems like someone has gone to great lengths to make these recordings look as if they have come from Eric and his Ri Be Empire.  With label mates like No-Neck Blues Band and Sun City Girls it seems like a comfortable home for sure.

Copies were sent to the one-and-only Frans De Waard who wrote it up in his Vital Weekly (1012) and me and, who knows who else?  Eric points out that ‘Lance Lincoln’ is some Buffy the Vampire Slayer character so that slaps extra egg on my face!

So what next?  It seems like these are genuine Bisciglia recordings and as such deserve a wider listen.  What’s beyond question is that this is some good shit and I think you’d like to hear it.  But how?

Will the real Lance Lincoln please step forward.

I guess I could just put them on the Internet Archive or something and let people make their own minds up.

Hey, we’re a collective Hive Mind right.  What do you think my most supple and reflective reader?


Chocolate Monk

Ri Be Xibalba [Editor’s note: yeah, I know, but where am I supposed to link to in these weird circumstances?]

a frame to mark the edges: joe murray on akke phallus duo, pascal nichols, thf drenching, human heads

October 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Akke Phallus Duo – An Insatiable Demand for Tea (Devastation Wreaked By) (tape, tanzprocesz, tzpCS44)

Pascal Nichols and THF Drenching – Moth of Spring (self-released download)

Human Heads – Triggers (tape, tanzprocesz, tzpCS43)


Akke Phallus Duo – An Insatiable Demand for Tea (Devastation Wreaked By)

Insomnia is curdling my body’s precious fluids.  Beaten down by sleep deprivation I get up out of bed and unwrap another glorious release from the Akke Phallus Duo: equal parts Jon Marshall (Nose/Gracchus/Bull/Thumbs) and Ben Morris (Lost-Chora-Wax).  It’s 3.00 am and I know sleep will only coquettishly tease me from now on so I screw ear-buds into my swollen canals and clear my sinus of thick glotts.  My mind flits back and forth between dull domestics and high-art theorising.  This might be a bumpy ride…

A quick note on construction for all you lab techs: these taped sounds were sent between mainland China and hilly Sheffield and back again (and back again) in a game of reverse ‘pass-the-parcel’.  Stamps were soaped for sure as each skronk and hum is carefully folded numerous times around the seed of a zesty idea.

If you’re thinking thin tissue paper scrunched around pebbles and smeared with goose fat – you are totally right!

But beware.  This is no, ’chuck it all in and see what sticks’ meta-collage but a painterly seascape with a steady hand, an eye for colour and bold, manly texture.  As food seems to be a reference for these chaps it’s time to take those elbows off the table.  But what’s first on the menu? Why it’s delicious, ‘Black Plum and Vinegar Blues’, sour as umeboshi but not bitter at all.

The themes that emerged in my sleep-damaged skull included the slo-mo creak of a giant clam opening.  Sea-moss ripping; organic tendrils snapping under intense pressure.  A gush of stagnant, foul water jettisoned.  The gibber of the tiny idiotfish aid the greasy comedown.

I soon realize that headphones are a must here as the dead hippie electronics take more a central role than in any of the other Akke Phallus jams I have heard before.

These irregular instruments (sampler, keyboards, cassette, throat trampoline and contact mic) perform a cyber-blues, a hillbilly Dalek jug-band hootenanny.  The crackle of transistors and resistors smashes the digital and becomes fleshy fibres.  Components get all melted down into source code corruption.

A case in point is ‘tide-sluiced soup’, which comprises a gradual distillation process refining sound to form little more than pure thought.  Imagine a robot’s mind collapsing due to a paradox in Asimov’s three rules of robotics.  That’s it!  White lubricant dribbling out an ‘ear’ completes the picture.

The thigh bone honk and demented wooden clonk of ‘Kendal Black Drop’ echoes the stark bleakness of the Lake District in freezing hail.  Picture the loneliness of the solitary cairn, the dry fellowship of rounded rocks.

In the war of organic versus inorganic, flesh becomes rigid steel and metal spreads as soft as butter.  The Akke men have leapt the wormhole with this one and beamed back an acoustic postcard from someone’s future.

You just gotta hold out hope it’s ours.

moth of spring

Pascal Nichols and THF Drenching – Moth of Spring

Recently Drenching’s ‘gone and done an Aphex’ and stuck butt-loads of his old stuff on Bandcamp for us cheapskates to check out, fondle and coo over.  The ever generous Drenno has slid a cheeky newbie in here too.  Chocks away.

Each finger-pop, tapebox ‘click’ and salty-contact crackle from ‘Moth of Spring’ is captured in voodoo fidelity on this exercise in extreme micro-sound.  THF is joined by the one and only Pascal Nichols, part-wild drummist of choice for the ‘FUH’ generation who leaves his sticks in his back pocket to concentrate on microphone and objects.  DRNCHNG’s Dictaphone hub-bub rings clear and true.

Gosh… these are frazzled jams, bubbling like claret-red blood through a vein.   They come in three moth-like servings (studio/live/studio) with the constant rattle of a true-born fidget.  It’s dry as a cracker, brittle even in parts, reminding me that fine delicacy is often created from industrial process: Nottingham Lace or Brandy Snaps being useful examples. Whatever the manufacturing formula, the powerful arms of these rhythm men crochet a fine mesh of mauve meaning.

Balance and structure become calibration points, a measurement on one axis correlates to the other plotting a classic bell curve.  For some reason this brings to mind Cornell’s cluttered boxes as a type of neatness and hobo-logic emerges from the bristly chaos.

At other times I pick up the clean, fresh sound of ball bearings scooting round a copper bowl, a perfect sauce to the cultish moaning that adds the gravel of despair to an otherwise joyous occasion.

The live piece, full of iron rich canker and grot is removed through one layer of experience.  I found myself sitting up in bed, leaning forward slightly to help approximate the O2 hit of seeing this flesh-like.  The rattle is moister and burps gas in places.

Nichols and Drenching buckle the Jazz convention – when a piece is realised live, before an audience, you speed that mother up, all the better to show off them greasy chops no doubt.  These jokers carefully create a musty lagoon to paddle your ears in.  It’s a damn sludge workout man!  Can I say Stoner Rock?  Oops… just done it.  Imagine them Electric Wizards hunkered over Dictaphones and table electronics, beards bristling, hair flying.  But these moth-riffs are loose to the point of disintegration.  The great heaviness of hiss and extended drones pile on the pressure until it is bathysphere tight.

THC Drenching & Redeye Nichols: the sweet relief of not getting picked for the football team.


Human Heads – Triggers

Welcome to the gentle world of Human Heads where ‘barely a whisper’ pillow-talks onto your hot cheek making your ears sing like a high-tension cable.  The keys (mainly played by Hannah Ellul) bump low and slow, relaxed and poised.  The voices (mainly chanted by Ben Knight) plumb a negative zone of reality, a psychedelic domestic where Lambkin spikes Pebble Mill with beige Mandelbrot.

Found sound, this collage of transmission spoons tiny verbal details, a patchy dog for instance, until a brittle beat gets all the d.i.s.c.o deliberately scooped out.  With the euphoria removed we’re left with a gritty dancefloor and bleak escapism – hell to live with but delicious to observe.

The sellotape ripping over kettle whistles mimics the lonely sound of wandering from room to room forgetting what you came in for.  Mind-wipe as chart position strategy versus untranslatable vocoder raps?

Boom… you had me at the first manipulated language tape.

Extended field recordings kick off side B.  And rather than drop a geographical anchor (even though we are pointed quite squarely at Munich) the sense of place drifts, it smears itself across the map dislocating from regular reference points.  The ‘hish’ of smooth concrete floors is dusty as the afternoon sun.

Some of the text here is appropriated from a similar place to the UNSMOOTHMAKING.  New rhymes and anti-rhymes, fresh as new minimalism, are fetched up.  Like those Young Marble Giants the Human Heads take space and place it carefully like white paint, a border, a frame to contain the action.  For what is life without a frame to mark the edges?

Well reader, I’m spent.  I’ve got to turn in for the fag-end of the night but one last Sherlock explodes in my head-pan.  Five of these six artists dwelling within these projects are Manchester based.  Well fancy that, it’s like that Roses/Mondays jiggery all over again.  Yet I’ll wager no one called Drenching baggy recently!

Double dare you.



THF Drenching

cscdng clttr: joe murray on david birchall, thf drenching & phillip marks

May 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 3 Comments
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David Birchall, THF Drenching & Phillip Marks – The Ludic Clamp (CD, Council of Drent Recordings, CoD007)

ludic clamp










the heady scent of courage: joe murray on greta buitkute, alan wilkinson, thf drenching, seth cooke, nick hoffman, va aa lr

February 12, 2015 at 12:29 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Greta Buitkute & THF Drenching – Contribution to a Discussion on Tic (download, Plush Wattle)

Alan Wilkinson & THF Drenching – Night of the Flaming Meatus (download, Council of Drent)

Seth Cooke – Eternal World Engines Of The Demiurge (3” CD-r, LF Records, LF044)

Seth Cooke / Dominic Lash – PACT (3” CD-r, 1000füssler, 025, edition of 60)

Nick Hoffman – Necropolis (CD, organized music from Thessaloniki, t26, edition of 200)

VA AA LR – Newhaven (3” CD-r, organized music from Thessaloniki, t27, edition of 100)

greta - tic

Greta Buitkute & THF Drenching – Contribution to a Discussion on Tic

An under-the-radar, sneaked-out recording from two of the out-est heads around.

I came across this one by accident via that You Tube.  This led to a series of embedded links, a journey through the dark web to the home of the Plush Wattle Corporation, where this very generous free download sits.

Taking callused thumbs, fingers and twin gob-holes to act as our orchestra these two have charmed their way into my very bones.  This is an intimate listen, full of clicks, creaking and rustling; it’s an interior sound world that’s perfect for headphones and tedious train journeys.

So (drum roll please)…introducing Greta Buitkute! Greta might be a new name to Radio Free Midwich but she has been wowing Northern audiences with her fresh take on vocal jaxx/nu-scat for the last couple of years.  A recent move to Manchester, a light ale quaffed and connections made via The Human Heads means Greta and the great THF Drenching have teamed up – their individual super powers amplified by the presence of similar corduroy mutants.

You already know THF Drenching and you’re thinking Dictaphones yeah?  Sure, the Dictas make an appearance but over half of this collection is vocal-based doof, hurling two well-lubricated throats together to dance merrily like bacteria in a Petri dish.

Yet keen Drenching watchers will note the Dictaphone tone is drier – less squelch; more rattle and hink/rustle and clatter.  The bombs are deftly dropped and the feedback ‘heek’ soars like a rectangular alto.

‘Bach Bathed in Bathos, Full Illustration’ is an important cornerstone.  An Hawaiian motel room is wrapped up in garish litmus paper, reacts pinkly and then is noisily unwrapped.  You can’t beat them apples!

But it’s the twin-vocal pieces that froth me over like excited milk.  The twin ‘Portrait of Baize Wattle’ pieces (large and small) make me recall those European Public Information films that would show up on That’s Life!  The humorous animation would be followed by a vaguely chucklesome punchline…’Winner’s drink piss’ or something like that.  The pace is furious but uncluttered; live with no overdubs (I think).  This almost puritan and old oaty approach really pays off.  The clean living certainly lends itself to Amish-style efforts.

This is in and out, reflexive and agile music.  It slips happily between hi-brow and goose-honk, pearly notes and granddad mumble.  As the closing seconds of the recording state:

Greta Buitkute:

Oh my God, it’s exhausting

THF Drenching (sniffs with a chuckle):

I know.

alan thf - night

Alan Wilkinson & THF Drenching – Night of the Flaming Meatus

This is an altogether more Jazz recording.  Two pieces; live, live, live at Sconny Rotts (2014) or something.

Welcome, reader a fine pair of foils: thin breath pushed through brass and the quivering whine of sculptured feedback.  Damn, that’s good!


(i)                  Like snakes making out in the back of an old Audi until they make a mess of the upholstery; their coppery tones get all twisted and spoony.

(ii)                Old doods reminiscing about the days in their wartime dance band – sounds leak all gummy from their ears.

(iii)               The alarm on our oven telling me the bread’s ready…oh wait.  That is the oven.  Give me a minute…

…but it’s not all top-end tomfoolery.  A real satisfying base layer of hissing creak (Dictas) and watery saliva- garbles (Saxes) give this a weighty gravity that pulls on the rocketing undulations (a flight of a condor).

And if you’re still asking questions about what free music is doing right now jam your ear up against these two beauties and huff up the heady scent of courage.

This is music for heroes!

PUBLIC APOLOGY:  This review also functions as an apology to Mr A Wilkinson for my cheeky and childish ripping of his sound check sounds on my Correct Come tape.  Sorry mate – can I buy you a pint or something?

seth cooke - eternal

Seth Cooke – Eternal World Engines of the Demiurge

These two pieces of electronic gumbo take what we might call process recordings and apply the extraction method adding calm and deliberate shadings to a real-world sound scenario.

In the first of two offerings Seth ransacks an insurance office circa 1978 whilst the office party averts prying eyes.  The unmistakable sound of a dot matrix printer (duh…I was mistaken.  Research shows it’s one of them stupid 3D doo-hickies) going all akka over a slowly emerging picture (in this case a 3D  bust) of Benjamin Disraeli – or some similarly bearded goof – as it appears line by dotty line.

Said printer is jammed with cocktail sticks and discarded business cards – in reality electronic shadows – as he hits the print button and lets nature take its course.  The frantic slide, shuffle and whirr is hypnotic and lulled me like a fat wren zonked by bright red berries until it snaps off into disturbing silence.

The calm is suddenly fractured by track number two, a gliding, sliding and silvery cascade; a perfect sound track to ice skating that would make Torvill & Dean throw greasy shapes ending up as sooty smears on the ice.

Gear heads will be pleased to note that the machinery on this disc was pioneered by Paul Lomere for his Infinite Jukebox that “endlessly extends and reconfigures MP3s by calculating probabilistic routes through the sound file based on pitch, timbre and metric position.”

Seth says he’s channelling Jack Kirby but for the romantics out there this is Bolero 2015 and a perfect 10 for artistic interpretation.

cooke - lash - pact

Seth Cooke/Dominic Lash – PACT

The quicksilver tones versus Pront-a-Print kerfuffle that starts this disc (‘PA’) are a waterslide into a world of grimy groan.

Massive and ungainly ‘things’ are rubbed with tweed gloves.  Moist and sweating ‘objects’ are painfully squeezed to release sticky ichors.  Soft and flexible ‘parts’ are cruelly bent into unholy shapes resembling the Goat of Mendes.

A close-up inspection reveals canyons of scrape and gummy friction.  And while the pace remains stately for a time layers of rub and tug bring forth some slippery excitements.  Oh Matron!

Track two (‘CT’) is a darker affair.  The double bass bowing (Lash) and kitchen sink manipulation (Cooke) as uncooperative as a sullen teenager.  Black storm clouds gather over my cheap-o high-fi and I feel my brows knit.

Gosh.  This is brooding stuff.

The simple bass riff is not happy with me or you and doesn’t care who knows about it; electronics twinkle but with the black light of sea coal from Redcar beach.  I love this sombre and funereal pace and can feel my mood merge into full-on sulk.

So, what you looking at eh?  Clear off and leave me with Lash & Cooke.  You don’t understand me anyway.

I hate everything!

More details here if you can be bothered.

nick hoffman - necropolis

Nick Hoffman – Necropolis

Microscopic attention to microscopic detail turns my hammer, anvil and stirrup into marshmallow fluff.

This is a record of extreme extremes: from hosepipe-full-on-gush to tiny cooling-metal-tik.  These five pieces of sieved electronics lurch from Black Metal through the Gristleizer (The Rotten Core) to the ivory click of miniature pool balls intensifying until my speakers are fizzing and flipping-out like a model railway going straight to hell (Eros).

But what I like most about this disc are the abrupt edits, the inter-track halts and about turns that keep this grizzled noise monkey twisting to check that a fuse hasn’t blown.  While I enjoy a heads-down, no-nonsense, continuous blast of fetid sludge as much as the next pair of ears being wrong-footed and fooled is a joy.  What’s next?  Is this build up going to explode or whimper out?  It’s as slippery as Be-Bop from Minton’s Playhouse.

Nick pulls out all the stops for the lengthy closer, ‘The Scent of Ground Teeth’, a 16 minute monster of glitching signal, spluttering like a coffee percolator spiked with cobra venom.

va aa lr - newhaven

If this blog was a radio show I would segue seamlessly from this blustery fizzing into the white-hot spitting of VA AA LR’s Newhaven.  Recorded at last year’s fascinating Fort Process festival VA AA LR drop their usual prepared electronics and objects and carve out a landscape from the sound of distress flares alone.  Taking away the literally explosive visual element you are left with a wonderfully peculiar 20 minutes of sparkling hiss and frazzle.  Every permutation of splutter and crackle is worked through like Coltrane on Giant Steps, probing and searching; pushing forward and wringing all possible combinations from this electric spitball.

After a time the busy and frantic schizzle seems to fine-tune my old ear ‘ole letting me pick out tone and textural changes.  There is a whole world in here as the planes of fuzzing gimble regroup like a forgotten language.  Be sure to make a beeline for this vibrant crackle readers; a worthy bookend to that other splutter classic, Lee Patterson’s Egg Fry #2.


Plush Wattle

THF Drenching

LF Records


organized music from thessaloniki

all routes via drent: joe murray travels with gen ken montgomery, midwich, thf drenching and marc matter

February 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Posted in midwich, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.274, edition of 60)

Midwich – The Swift (CD-r, Altar of Waste, AOW 145, edition of 15)

Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge (self-released download)

THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) (self-released download)

THF Drenching – Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) (self-released download)

Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.276)

marc matter

It’s 7.15am on a rainy Sunday morning.  Newcastle sleeps off its Saturday night as I board the National Express to London Victoria.  Seven hours forty minutes of travel stretches out in front of me…seven hours forty minutes of quality RFM listening time.  So here goes, settle down, headphones on…

gen ken montgomery

(Newcastle to Catterick Garrison)  First up is Gen Ken Montgomery – The Well Spliced Breath Volume 7: Voice Clippings.  I’m assuming the dizzying speech loops for this charming disc are culled from self help/instructional/educational tapes from GKM’s legendary sound library.

The tone set is wonderfully dated.  That Formica-slick 1950’s sound of gentle assurance and paternal wisdom (don’t worry about the bomb – it’s all going to be OK) nags at the brain stem like a fake memory.  GKM adds disquiet to these Bakelite loops with bee-waffle, Disney strings and random clatter as the repetition of the most innocent of phrases, ‘You’re as pretty as a picture’ become darkly sinister.  I’m reminded of those between-song collages from Bongwater, or the sharp, cultural poke-in-the-eye of Negativland.  None of this in a bad way – more like when you come across a Butthole Surfers interview in inky old Melody Maker and think, ‘Cor…they were great weren’t they.  Why don’t more folk do that?’  Only the track ‘If you need help’ bucks this trend and splices partial vocal snitches as tight as the wrapper on a chewy toffee penny.

“We don’t have to suffer, we’re the best batch yet”, croaked old Don Van.  And I’m thinking the same think about old Gen Ken here.  The Well Spliced Breath series on Chocolate Monk is damn essential listening for the student of vocal fuh.  You know that.  But, dear reader, this one is the creamy-doof, the Shia LaBoeuf!

midwich - the swift cover

(Wetherby to Woodhall Services) I’m hoping my terrible geography won’t let me down as I delve into The Swift by Midwich.  I want to be knee-deep in Midwich as we pass through Rob’s adoptive home town of Leeds; creating a feedback loop of musty drone from coach to city centre.

The Swift is a single hour long piece in three distinct movements.

Movement one: It starts like the soundtrack to ‘Evolution…The Movie’ as grey gloop is replaced by lazy cellular dividing and static, internal egg-memories. Things settle on Mothra’s mating ritual – long drawn-out breaths gradually moving out of synch as feathery lungs push huge volumes of air through Sperm Whale baleen.

Movement two: A rhythmic ticking and the clatter of ghostly forklift trucks start to creep in.  The Swifts chirrup, skittering in the air warmed by the horny Mothra.  Listeners note: this section accompanies the flock of stately wind turbines near Chesterfield spectacularly.

Movement three: The final five minutes heave like the tides, slowly encroaching on an abandoned city; washing through the deserted streets, clearing the human junk for a stronger, fitter civilisation floating slowly through the brine.

No question this is Rob’s most immersive and ambitious piece of Midwichery yet.  You gotta have it!

(Editorial aside: the more cynical amongst you may scoff but I’m satisfied that Joe’s praise for this album has nowt to do with it being recorded by me, his editor.  Nor will my praise for the Black Leather Cop tape in a future review have owt to do with the fact that it was recorded by the duo of Scott and Joe, my RFM comrades.  Can there be ‘conflict of interest’ down here in the no-audience underground?  I may tackle this question at length some other time but, spoiler alert, I suspect the short answer is: ‘no’.  At the time of writing there are still a couple of copies of The Swift left for sale – hop to it! – RH)

birchall drenching poot

(Hucknall to Whipsnade Zoo (including nap))  I came across Birchall / Drenching / Poot – Scottish Floating Charge while using Mrs Posset’s Facebook contraption…what joy these ‘likes’ bring!

This heavyweight trio treat the disc as very jazz with a muscular Drenching doing a moody Mingus on bull-Dictaphone.  His Clangersesque chops weave around Luke Poot’s patent furniture jam and Dave Birchall’s scribble-scrabble on guitar.

The ghost of Carl Stalling looms.  The busy peaks are a cartoon catfight in a sandpaper factory; the loser tarred and feathered.  Heavy weights get dropped on heads and Bluebirds tweet over a swiftly rising bruise.   But it’s not all three-way, slapstick action – No Sir!

‘Deed of Negative Pledge’, a duo between THF Drenching & Poot is a dense mung of collapsed electrics in a scum-filled pothole.  There’s something here that reminds me of Prince – a kind of affronted pomp.  It’s easy to picture The New Power Generation battle The Revolution with toys from an Argos Christmas cracker on this one.

‘Nano-tech Slave Canoe’ by Dave & Drenching is a double-D storm of fizz & gaseous cloud – behold the hot hail.  It gladdens me pans to hear some joyful ruler-twang nestling between dicta squirts and scree.

Lo…the energy never stops. ‘A Deer Walking on Some Cardboard’ is plumped up and caffeinated like early Adolescents wrecking that forgotten kitchen cabinet full of old parts for a pre-war blender until some gonzo moose-honking heralds our arrival in glorious Luton.

thf drenching - inventions 1

More tape-screw bounty accompanies me from Dunstable to Victoria with THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (vol 1) .  This solo disc showcases the Herbie Hancock of Dictaphones melting into a somewhat Ballardian mood.  The future is five minutes away and carved out of alienating concrete.  Drenching, thumbs as heavy as Stonehenge uprights, crushes micro-sounds out of the pinched brown tape with a steel-tension squeak.  Listeners note: Lovers of Raster Noton shit will dig the clean and clinical splatters of goof on display here – honest.

‘Live Acoustic Nail-Fetish’ has some button-pushing genius measured out in Samuel Morse’s code spelling out, ‘Overthrow the Ruling Classes.  Unite.  Rejoice!’ if I’m not much mistaken.   This decoding made me jumpy.  So it’s with a nervous titter I relish the electric horse sound (invented by little Jimmy Osmond) that closes this tasty piece.

Fans of balls-out skronk look away now.  ‘Postal Ballot Reflux’ is a dystopian Gamelan, heavy with loss, mourning the death of the Arts & Crafts movement.  It’s a lament for Brent Cross…it’s a silent scream in Halfords superstore.  Finally ‘Alternating Meat Wipes’ de-tunes a radio like a Victorian lady succumbing to Polystyrene ear-pressure.  That’s not something you hear everyday brothers and sister right?

thf drenching - inventions 2

I’ve arrived in the capital! And after I’ve slapped some blood back into my legs I relax into THF Drenching’s Unnatural White Inventions (Vol 2) as I make the cross-town jaunt Victoria to Stoke Newington on the number 73 Routemaster.

It’s a bold opening: the squeal of miniature figs in a foam of iron gravy that starts ‘Xmas TP-M110 Jammy Slobber’.  Presently the Christmas tree decorations are taken down and the resulting chatter recorded by noisy Krill.  Rice expands to fill a seeping wound…whoa man Drench!  Things get serious with ‘Jettisoned Inky Crags’, a music concrete composition (electric whisk in a Smash tin) that zip-scratches and Velcro-rips like Mixmaster Mike with crabs.

The erotic closer, ‘Something for a Stabproof Goose’ is a fumble in the hide.  An Owl’s haunted ‘twit-t’woo’ in strong sunlight.  My ears tell me it’s all composed in negative with the fowl sound redacted, the anti-echo of quack left to dissolve into the dusk.  Punishingly austere and perfectly suited to staring at the back of an old guy’s head for 50 minutes.

marc matter

The next day, my London business done, I tramp back to the train station and Marc Matter / Voiceover – L’oeil Ecclatante accompanies me from King’s Cross back home to Newcastle.

I chat to the poor bugger next to me.  She’s working on spreadsheets but I’m overcome with the urge to spout forth…

Hey lady!  Here’s more vocal shenanigans from your Cannonball Run chums Chocolate Monk.  This Mr Marc has already done his personal huffing and honking and scratched his mung into soft black vinyl if you please.  The vocal explosions are then mixed and mashed up via turntables, mixing desk and effects.  Neat eh?

Do you like history lady? Marc knows his onions and has been DJing with the ‘hoof and varble’ of ancient text compositions/sound poetry for a few years.  It’s no surprise then that L’oeil Ecclatante comes across like the late, great Henri Chopin; full of damp glottal slops and high-pitched steamy hisses.

Listeners note: at this point I offer her my earbuds.  She declines but continues to look interested.

At times it’s like being trapped in a vast jug: bub, bub, bubbing as liquid is poured out on to a blackened tree stump,

…I continue,

…other moments revisit the sonic texture of corduroy as my old school trousers, Bishop Barrington Comprehensive – year 8, are rubbed against sensitive fruit.  Do you think that the sleight-of-hand encouraged by turntables allow sounds to slip wetly between your ears and rough running-breath to be laid over internal lung-farts to patch up a rhythm, soon to be nixed by the pinched trachea of Ligeti’s angels?

Although she didn’t answer and quickly went back to her spreadsheets I could tell she was hooked, another convert to the no-audience underground.

Mind the gap!

Chocolate Monk

THF Drenching on Bandcamp

Council of Drent

Midwich on Altar of Waste

rfm attends colour out of space part two: pascal ansell remonstrates

November 23, 2013 at 10:47 am | Posted in live music, new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Performance Weekend: 8th – 10th November, 2013, Brighton, UK

coos_will 3

Editor’s note: Pascal’s turn.  He clearly wasn’t as impressed overall as Joe but has selected some highlights to grudgingly comply with RFM’s sternly enforced policy of being nice.  Well, mostly:


In a weekend bursting at the seams with irritating vocal improvisations, glossophonics, snarled and impertinent mouth crap, the likely trio of Gwilly Edmondez, Posset and THF Drenching chose the only option viable: ol’ time barbershop. Nah, we were of course subject to gurgle-core (is that Phil Todd’s term?) but this was of the finest pedigree. Bossy, snarled and darting; a real performance in that it propelled forwards towards you, opening itself up to the punters in an act of delicious spectacle and invitation. Gwilly Edmondez is a lumbering professor of something at the University of Newcastle. He is also in possession of a reverberant set of vocal chords of such rubbery depth to be, gasp, slimey, pure slime, the slime of old lady ass, under-sofa sweat dribbles, magnificent slime, everybody! A cassette voice slowed down, and that is garçon Gwilly, whose aural slugs competed with ex-Bailey bandmate THF Drenching, the latter wrestling his amp of its feedback possibilities. Posset on the third and final hand of this musical mutant nailed a splashing blend of static and mouth junk. See his mouth didn’t sound like mouth, or gargle, or in any way approach the being so-cerebral-it-gets-silly; it sounded good, ‘sound-in-itself’ good, inexhaustibly good, serious play and goodness.

coos_posset 2coos_drench

Enjoyable as Dylan Nyoukis & Greg Kelley’s set was, and admitting that Nyoukis never disappoints in his encyclopaedic vocal voyages, his control and mastery over continents of vocalics… and taking into account this mighty Scot twinned with an enormous trumpet imagination of Greg Kelley, what really is there to be said about free improv anymore? I’ve been guilty of using the term too frequently but this is bona fide, every man out for himself territory. The only markedly different aspect of this performance was the brief and inexplicable spurts of disco lights which interrupted the almost total darkness. Good drossophonic messabout improv no doubt, but achingly purist free improv. So free, so fraught with my fevered doubts and whiffs of ‘what the hell will they do next?’ that the potential of it potentially collapsing – which really is the silent riff of free improv – seemed almost welcome.

Tom White wore a pristine white shirt and has a pristine brown beard (well, almost, and I urge him to embrace the status of total barbarism) and to clatter this rhetorical bowling ball was also in serious danger of delivering a pristine white overperformance. Let’s admit it, Luke was heavily involved with that obscenely massive and adorable tape deck he played with, he might as well gone off and married it. Ha! You’ve been great! There seemed to be no space between his hands and his ears, not letting sounds be themselves without having to hey-everyone-I’m-performing perform it, histrionics over Cagian (that’s adjectival John Cage, right?) conveying, cold and impersonal just as I like it. Thankfully us floor dwellers enjoyed an earful of superb tape junk. Nicely done. I say ‘junk’ but this was the sexy middle-class green bin kind of noise junk. Tasteful streamlines of grey static were repeated with just enough of interim to evade falling into witheringly dull tape delay jerk-off marathons. How gratifying to witness such immaculate and wretched explorations and applaud with, forty, heck, sixty other sick heads! And there were real girls, with, y’know like real hair, more than three! That’s when you know you’re festivalling!

ccos_charlie collinscoos_jon marshall 2

Roman Nose provided welcome relief on Friday night with songs, actual songs! The free suspension and ‘what do they do next’ idea exchanging had its tension nicely diverted out of the room, past the very friendly venue staff of The Old Market and into the great Brighton night; that tension mentioned earlier of spontaneous performances was eroded by sudden halts, and proceeding to jolt without much delay into the next number. What I later learnt was a Chinese sheng (a strange organ-like contraption) was set upon and disturbed by Sarah McWatt. Charlie Collins clambered delicately over his drumkit shadowed by Jon Marshall (the Roman Nose wolf mother) on samples of scary tharqa and messy reeds.

I loved Black Dice for a long time but always knew there had to be a looser, non-hipster version that wasn’t Yellow Swans with their drizzling mush. Dinosaurs with Horns were a revelatory gesture towards this. Any band that can cram in experimental graft with joyful zest, with a semblance of a pulse, are due more than a little attention. What could otherwise slide into our memory bin instead transforms into joyful and constructful mucking about, my real and true nub rubber! These LA teamsters offered on a side-plate to this gigantically stale loaf of a weekend some morsel of delight, genuine swaying fairyground [sic] (Editor’s note: what a beautiful typo!) rollercoasting delight and rumble.

Editors note: a comprehensive selection of band bios and links can be found on the COOS website here.  Photos by Marc Teare.

rfm attends colour out of space part one: joe murray ruminates

November 22, 2013 at 8:38 am | Posted in live music, new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
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Performance Weekend: 8th – 10th November, 2013, Brighton, UK

COOS poster

Editor’s note: RFM had two roving reporters present at this year’s Colour Out Of Space festival down in that Brighton. Regular contributor Joe Murray, who also performed, enjoyed himself enormously.  Pascal Ansell, whippersnapper and occasional guest of RFM, ahh… not so much.  Copious enthusiasm from Joe first, a more exacting response from Pascal to follow.  Over to Joe:


Ahhhh Brighton…the sun, the sea, the squalor!  I’ve had a soft spot for Brighton ever since I was a wee kiddie with a vivid imagination, trying to piece together the violent Mods & Rockers legend with the twin-set & pearls crowd that strolled slowly down the pier huffing camphor-scented liniments.

These days of course it’s all about the hipsters and Bubble Tea but I’m not complaining; I’ve got my freak on as I meet my gracious host Bod for a pint or two before we lurch expectantly to the main venue, The Old Market.  Immediately adopting ‘Brighton time’ I missed the mysterious Occult Hand and outrageous Acrid Lactations who I both really wanted to see – please accept my apologies Occult Lactations, I was with you in spirit.

It was sometime around pint four I met up with my co-reporter Pascal Ansell and we immediately set ourselves up in a Hunter S Thompson style press-pack; silver-eyed Tuna darting purposefully through the flitting shoal.  We rejected the usual journalistic conventions to move straight from gentle ‘forming’ to chaotic ‘storming’ within minutes, swapping war-zone anecdotes, snippets of esoteric record knowledge and the loudly proclaiming the relevance of Sammy Davis Jr.  The result of such firm-calved bonding and reckless drinking resulted in a beery bonhomie for sure but also meant I pretty much missed every act to play on Friday.  Oops…I did it again!  The one that got away was the Enzo Minarelli.  Dressed in dark jeans and tight black T shirt, his hair scraped back, there was an air of the ninja in his vocal guffings.  Assisted with backing tracks of further mouth-chaff the precise and deadly Enzo sliced the air with steel-edged hissing and lippy smacks.  This was no po-faced sound poetry lark but a right old hootenanny with his piece ‘Poem’ being turned into ‘PoemMacaroni’ in the curdled air.  The rest of the bill was crammed with exceptional acts of legendary avant-gardary but to my shame dear reader I spent the remnants of Friday propping up the bar catching up with old friends and making new ones.  I’ve never been a good mixer Midwichers but I made up for 43 years of insecurity and introversion with full-strength good cheer and love for my fellow travellers.  You’re (hic) my best pal (hic)!

Saturday morning was an exercise in sickness, pain and remorse as I sheepishly ate brunch with family Bod and took the drizzly bus in disgrace to witness Gen Ken Montgomery in a Hove Oxfam shop.  The steamy windows of the Oxfam obscured the ‘standing room only’ crowd as I inched in and stood, stomach lurching, for this exploration of the 8-track tomfoolery.  Gen Ken, dapper in vintage Op Art shirt and tie manipulated old portable 8-tracks filling the damp air with warped 70’s AM rock all mashed and rotting.  The warbles and trembles on the tape gave the Bee Gees et al a sepia fuzzed-out logic as loops were found and layered up into the consistency of dusty blancmange.  He was a right card too, playing it up for the steaming crowd, making asides and throwing out hula-hoops of pulsating ‘waaahhhhoooosssshhhhh-voooshhhhhh’.  After Gen Ken’s performance I wandered round Brighton for a bit, drank some peppermint tea (swearing off the demon drink for the rest of the weekend) and soundchecked with the great Gwilly Edmondez & THF Drenching.

coos_dylan nyoukisCoos_maya dunietz

At about teatime I found myself outside the very proper St Andrew’s church for some right high culture. Old-guy Produktionsprozesse composer-guy Dieter Schnebel was interviewed by Ilan Volkov about his approach to music and personal history.  Dieter seems a game old bird, humble and gracious but with a sharp sense of humour…he somehow manages to call the audience stupid and make them love him for it…dude!  A bunch of doofs play some Schnebel pieces: Maya Dunietz world premieres the ass off a beautiful and catchy piece for piano, voice and tambourine.  Ilan and Maya throw some shapes in a gestural piece where composer and pianist struggle for supremacy like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.  Then Maya and Dylan Nyoukis get all serious and tackle a vocal piece for restricted mouthshapes and we end up with the most spellbinding piece of the afternoon.  Like air hissing through naked ribs, dry and crackly.  The pair, dressed in formal black, embrace at the end of the show, cracking hearts at CooS and letting pure love flow.  The only way to follow such an intense and refined performance is of course with some chips so I headed to Bankers (Brighton’s best Fish & Chip shop) for sustenance.

Energised by hot potato and grease I walk into the Old Market to see the friendly and familiar face of Sindre Bjerga coaxing gentle tape loops out of his mess of wires and objects, polishing them up and floating them on the breeze like water-filled balloons pulling gruff-clouds out the air.   Stepping round his desk he carefully wraps up a few people in abandoned cassette tape, hurls a miniature cymbal onto the deck and politely waves marking the end of a neat little set.  Next up were a bunch of A-Band/Ceramic Hobs/Zero Map/Smell & Quim refugees calling themselves The Y Bend.  The programme describes ‘no-mind sounds’ which pretty much sums up the Hawkwind out-takes vibe.  Personally I’m transported back to the days of Anti-Poll Tax benefits as this jam band takes a note and jiggles it proper between guitar, keyboard, violin and eccentric hand percussion making incidental music for the revolution.

coos_jon marshallcoos_charlie collins 2

Roman Nose take the stage behind them and win the rosette for ‘best band of Saturday’.  These days Roman Nose are very much a ‘band’ bridging the gap between rock’s looseness and tape/noise/jam’s love of overload. It’s almost funky with a pushing and pulling, a wrapping and un-wrapping of tape-fuff mittens across fluttering drums and breathy intrusions via flute and black-bamboo sheng.  Throw some horns for the Nose!

coos_sharon galcoos_sharon gal 2

Huge wineglasses are set up amid electronic doo-hickery for Sharon Gal and Andie Brown.  These glasses are Jeroboam massive, pregnantly full; delicate but comprising a thousand potential shivs.  Like an inverse Justice Yeldham the glass is thumbed to produce deep rasping drones.  It’s great to watch the deft hand movement turn into such singing and bassy mulch.  Gal uses her voice like some terror-choir re-enacting a trauma.  Electronic squash makes a Black Metal grunt adding to the dungeon gloom.  Wow…a Carpathian Forest sprouts from the floor as the thin rays of a dismal sun rise slowly in the East.  The bald guy with all the pedals is M. Stactor; his mask is a composite of Her Majesty Betty II and Saddam Hussein.  Slowed down speech goes ‘burrrrrrr’ and get shoved through a variety of whizz-bangs to come out ‘BURRRRRR’ anointed with contact-mic crackle and hand-palming crunch.  Brand new CooS trio Edmondez/Posset/THF Drenching adopt the dual Dictaphone position like a crouching Judas Priest. Gwilly bangs his head like Halford.  And seeing as I’m involved modesty prevents me for saying too much about this fine-legged beast.

coos_will 2coos_possetcoos_drench 2

I caught about 20 seconds of Bridget Hayden’s set but within that 20 seconds I heard the entire history of overblown fuzz-guitar from the Sonics to the Velvet Underground to the Dead C.  Rusty chainmail began clanking out the walls; rolling thunder crashed from the ceiling.  The very gods showed their pleasure in ancient, animalistic ways.  Oh boy!  I was still kicking myself when Greg Kelley & Dylan Nyoukis sat erect and purposeful on a pitch black stage.  Side by side they were, with Greg’s tubes augmented with cold brass and Dylan’s with moist flesh.  Snide hiss and scything tones crept almost guiltily from trumpet and gob, playing merrily between wet-mouth slappings and full jowl squelch.  This was no dramatic, overwrought, performance piece nor academically apologetic. The “my voice, your voice” mantra summed up a lot of the days sessions in a simple repetitive phrase.  Some jokers joined in on coughing and started a response group reflex (koff-KOFF-koff).  The optimist in me thought the spontaneous outpouring would lead to a scratch feral choir but no…it was a piss take…yet troupers Kelley & Nyoukis toughed it out cackling and blowing the third eye till it blinked all yeasty.  Lovers Ritual (Maya Dunietz & Ilan Volkov) used voice and violin to beguile, encouraging minimal and thin tones out the cracks in the light fittings. Not content with sticking to the stage both Maya & Ilan ended up on the floor, among the punters, stroking and keening their flexible bones in a tangled tableaux.

It’s Sunday.  The Lords day.  And me & Bod celebrate with a visit to a typical Brightonian Car Boot sale; he picks up some Colombian tapes, I nab a Fantasy Island fridge magnet and we both head happily to the Sallis Benney Theatre for the famous CooS film screenings.  I really loved what I saw but I soon discovered it’s hard to take notes in the dark so am relying on musty recall only.  Standouts…the bonkers The Handeye (Bone Ghosts) by Anja Dornieden & Juan David Gonzalez Monroy which coupled 19th Century taxidermy with digitized commands and the bumbling chunter from Patrick Goddard’s charming Free Radicals.  As the films ended, us gaggle of cinema-goers milled around, checking maps and GPS systems to find the next venue, giggling over being able to genuinely say, ‘See you in church later man.’  A walk along the cold, crisp sea-front takes us back to St Andrew’s Church for a session of spooky Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) from CM von Hausswolff & Michael Esposito.  I’m really excited about this one.  Since I was a kid I’ve been in love with that flexi disc that came with the first edition of ‘The Unexplained’.  Of course I never knew these supposed ghost voices were EVP but I totally dug the hissy weirdness.  The two gents open with about 15 minutes of static tape hiss with the occasionally clunky ‘chump’ like ghosts dropping wooden marbles in a bucket.  The fuff was pretty damn immersive and had some of the flagging hordes crashed out on the pews.  CM and Michael then took us through some of their EVP recordings (cue demonic chuckle) made in this very church.  What could have been (possibly should have been) spectral and creepy turned into a bit of a laugh as the particularly chirpy Michael introduced second-long sound-clips of the dead calling us ‘assholes’, urging us to ‘get out’, that they ‘are in love with married men’ and…to much hilarity…‘it’s all shite’.  Wow the ghosts sound like angry jakeys!

COOS Jooklo Duo 1COOS Jooklo Duo 2

Back in the Old Market I strained limbs to find my comrade Pascal.  It was Jooklo Duo next and I was pretty sure he’d be right up the front for this.  Some lazy sleuthing revealed Pascal had packed up and gone.  He’d had enough and trekked back to Leeds earlier in the day.  Oh Pascal…you would have loved what came next!  Jooklo Duo were absolutely amazing.  Now I know that’s trite, lazy journalism but I was too busy picking my eyeballs up off the floor to concentrate on clever words.  This was a 100% lung-bursting blowout with drumming as agile as a crack-fuelled squirrel.  I’m no jazz buff but I like my brassy honks and squeals.  Jooklo one, Virginia Genta, plays like Pharaoh Sanders with some nifty Arabic scales quickly releasing that cheeky kundalini from the base of my spine.  Woah boy, I said Woah!  Not one or two but three casual acquaintances said this was ‘better than Brotzmann’. Heard that?  Promoters…book ‘em now.

COOS f ampism

Brighton local f.Ampism loops and loops and loops domestic clunk, mbira tones and gentle sighing all engaging and releasing softly like the briny blue sea just 100 meters down the street.  A film is projected behind his hat and beard; cut-up collage sourced from what seems to be the family Nyoukis archive and Martha Colburn’s paint splattered horror-core.  I have to admit I’m a total fan-boy of Amp’s choogle-leech-warp but this was a whole new saltine!  Fordell Research Unit sat like a couple of chess masters and manipulated a pretty damn heavy drone with micro-movements.  So far, so good.  In tiny, tiny increments the drone gets grunty and somehow slower and fuller until we’re faced with a monolith – a black slab, playing the theme tune for the world’s most evil super villain.  There’s a growing feeling of excitement for the next set from noise-monkeys Spoils & Relics with Karen Constance.  Faced with a table full of gizmos and wires the quartet sat in quiet contemplation building a Jenga house of quivering tones and darkly-twinkling steam.  Like some giant engineering puzzle, pieces are interlocked; a spark starts a fire and is extinguished ruthlessly by the hobo fire brigade.  After a time the factory klaxon calls and the workers down tools and melt into grease.

COOS Usurper

It’s no secret; I’m a little in love with Usurper. Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff have been making the most singular no-input music for half a decade at least.  Writing about Usurper is always a tough gig; their total lack of any of the regular handholds makes the amateur pamphleteer work hard, busting chops to describe their occasional cutlery pings and tales of Auld Reekie.  Tonight they are joined by Dora Doll, one half of the legendary Prick Decay, on scissors as a circular story unfolds on twin tape recorders.  Narratives intertwine as a regular haircut turns into a meditation on the seaside and seaside ritual.  A grumpy Ali gets wrapped in ribbon like a maypole, Malcy crawling on the floor streaming the red and white tapes behind him.  Hairy objects are presented to Ali & Dora for snipping.  A guitar FX pedal, a pair of glasses, a descant recorder are shorn of hair and (in some cases) indecently rubbed beneath the barber’s shawl.  Apart from the taped stories, folding in and out of phase there is a rare skronk-interruption on contact-miked yard brush ‘Shussssh, shusssh, shussssh’ as Malcy coughs up hairballs.  Any traditional ideas of what performance is are dashed.  Any preconceptions of what underground art should be are delightfully roasted.  Usurper are right out on a limb, doing their very own thing and making up a whole new set of parameters.  What on the page seems like random vignettes has a strong sense of direction and pace…and most importantly fun.  I’m laughing like a drain and looking round to see a crescent of bemused yet joyful faces.  No one is really sure what they have witnessed but pretty much everyone agrees it was damn fine.

The tapes spool to an end, Usurper and Dora bow and grin, and my CooS adventure comes to an end.  It’s been a trip and a half Midwichers.  Brighton itself is a beautiful backdrop to this very psychedelic weekend, the bands/acts/performers have all brought their own slice of oddness with a spice and professionalism the naysayers often miss.  But for me it’s all been about the people…the floating and transient chats, the laughs and the in-depth conversations.  There’s that quote about the Velvet Underground isn’t there?  They didn’t sell loads of records but everyone who bought one formed their own band.  Well this weekend might have been an intimate affair but I wonder how many projects and plans were hatched, how many ideas were sparked and alliances formed.  CooS brings the no-audience underground together like a giant think-tank…but what’s gonna occur?  I can’t wait to find out.

Editors note: a comprehensive selection of band bios and links can be found on the COOS website here.  Photos by Joe or Marc Teare.

garlicky pillow talk: joe murray on thf drenching and i dm theft able

July 24, 2013 at 7:52 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

THF Drenching – Cup Penis Open Penis Cup (CD-r, Council of Drent Recordings, edition of 50)

I’DM Thfftable – Popsicles, Icicles, Baseball And Fancy Clothes (CD-r, Chocolate Monk, choc.260)

thf drenching - cup openi'dm thfftable - popsicles

THF Drenching – Cup Penis Open Penis Cup

The great THF Drenching needs no introduction to the keen student of shifty Dictaphone shenanigans.  However, I realise not everyone is as obsessed as me so here is a potted history culled from the Observer Book of Dictaphones (1988):

THF (slave name Stuart Carlton) formed East Anglian Pop Sensation Pence Eleven in 1999 with some other bloke and got played on the radio loads.  Pence Eleven were all very clever and that but were still relying on songs with verse-chorus-verse leanings.  Stardom beckoned but Drench chucked all that lot in to create Limescale with everyone’s favourite grumpy old uncle Derek Bailey in 2002.   Drench dropped the guitarbassdrumpiano and now played a mean Dictaphone along with Sonic Pleasure on bricks, Derek on the usual guitar with Tony Bevan (sax) and Alex Ward (clarinet) to boot!  Hey – things were looking up!  Before, after and around this time THF rocked the mighty Pleasure Drenching Improvers with Sonic Pleasure again on common house bricks.

I caught their fizzy volcano full in the face at a rather impressionable age, this melted my head somewhat and things have never been the same since.

Thanks for the history lesson Pops but what’s this got to do with this here record?

…I hear you cry.  I’m trying (probably with a ham-fist) to build up a sense of history, a journey and all that, because our boy’s come a long way.  Cup Penis Open Penis Cup is a fully realised music concrete piece, with intent and purpose and a god-damn score and all that jazz.  The voluminous sleeve notes and inserts take you on a carefully planned trek around ‘Seven Kinder Dach Lieder’, ‘Sixty-Nine Fat-Stock Brevaries’ and ‘A Hundred Stirrup-Spout  Pots’.  The sound is classic English improv with a ‘chuck it all in’ approach.  Micro-recordings of belch, keyboard hump, domestic warning, tin percussion etc are carefully arranged in several dimensions at once.  Drench-o must have had a tidy editors head on so what might come out a mess sounds delightful Spartan and breezy.  Like me old muckers, Usurper, the thin line between just enough/too much is artfully balanced.  Listening to this on headphones is a real trip with that outside/inside thing really making me work it.  I have to keep taking my earphones out to see if that rolling marble/milkshake slurp is really inside my head or without.  And of course this discombobulation is all part of the experience with ‘Seven Kinder Dach Lieder’ going through several movements – increasing in complexity, colour and texture until you find yourself trilling and hissing in response to this Bakelite sound world.  ‘Sixty-Nine Fat-Stock Brevaries’ slows the pace with measured swells of electronics and bruised clouds of butter to make the kinda thing you hear on Radio 3, late at night with a cough-syrup jones.  Things continue in this vein for the lengthy ‘A Hundred Stirrup-Spout  Pots’ until THF takes things to the street with an un-holy Hip Hop sound; wrestling dumbbells, sweating profusely…drenched as it were!  I tried listening to this disc doing the normal domestic jizzle; packed lunch construction, cat-hair tumbleweed removal etc and realised I was doing Drench and myself a disservice…I was half stroking it.  Go the whole hog, dive in, Cup Penis Open Penis Cup demands your attention!

I’DM Thfftable – Popsicles, Icicles, Baseball And Fancy Clothes

All bow down to the rightful heir to Carl Stalling’s jump-cut, cartoon sound violence! 

ID M Theft able has been ploughing his fertile furrow of trash-culture, sound-sculptures for an age.  This bear of a man has a gentle touch with the ‘pings’ and ‘pops’ of non-idiomatic improv and honk-core jollies.  OK, so just listening on disc does miss out the visual aspect of the live ID M experience (catch a bus or train to catch this chap live Midwichers) but this is no less vinegary as super-frantic jump cuts and Donald Duck quacks assault my tender ear buds. 

But it’s not all fast forward scrimming, ID M places domestic snitches confidently to give this warmth and keep it all outta the avant-academy.  Was it that dullard Zappa that asked the question, does humour belong in music?  Well buddy I think Theftable has pretty much proved the argument, hands down, that you can play for yuks and still bristle a professors beard. 

Examples?   The lullaby of ‘Browning, Cooling’ melts over a glass hexagon making too much sound not enough.  ‘Leaving the awkward cook out only to find myself at another awkward cook out’ measures the cheap pre-set dog woof sounds (pretty much the worst manmade sound ever) and places them right next to real dog growls and barks (pretty much one of the best natural sounds ever) giving your nip a playful tweak and a wink that says ‘I know exactly how to ride this wave Chief’ all the while hurling chunky glops of mustard in your eye. Track 3, the mysteriously titled ‘A (lord or c)ie or y in the snow’ sounds like The Residents got hold of cLOUDDDEAD’s tape library and had a go at making a perfume advert.  Just when you think your poor old nervous system can’t take no more a simple loop (andoverandoverandover…) and wood block ‘click’ remind you of what true beauty is on the fade of ‘Vanishing Memories.’  Surprisingly, for this kinda jazz, ID M milks the cover version with a very secret and intimate version of Heart’s, ’These Dreams’.  No need for Spandex and hairspray this cuts right to the heart of the sentiment…garlicky pillow talk whistled through ginger whiskers.

Council of Drent (editors note: this site is hilarious. RH)

THF Drenching on Bandcamp

Chocolate Monk

I DM Theft Able

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