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!

Soundz?

(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.

—ooOoo—

Plush Wattle

THF Drenching

LF Records

1000füssler

organized music from thessaloniki

‘\/\/\/\/\/\/\/’: joe murray on louie rice, adam asnan, vasco alves

February 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Louie Rice – Degenerates (C25 tape, Wasted Capital Since 2013, WC1, edition of 50)

Adam Asnan – Veil after Veil (C30 tape, Wasted Capital Since 2013, WC4, edition of 50)

Vasco Alves – Volume 1 (C32 tape, Wasted Capital Since 2013, WC3, edition of 50)

VA AA LR – It Just Ain’t Flapping (CD, Consumer Waste, cw09)

 louis rice

The other week Rob was kind enough to publish my homage to the speedy National Express, their stalwart service and the hours of pleasant listening my recent trip to London gave me.

I was surprised (and a little flattered) to learn that my motorway movements caused a commotion.  RFM readers have been whispering in their garrets, ‘What was Joe doing in London?’  ‘What business can a doof like him have in our nation’s proud capital?’

My first reaction was of course to play this mystery up; ‘hum’, ‘hah’ and possibly drop a few coy clues blushing rosily as a Southern Belle.  But it’s the internet age innit and you can probably tag my footsteps as easily as folding your arms…so no mystery there.  Bloody technology.

TRUTH: I was in London to play a show at the latest Stoke Newington hotspot – Ryan’s Bar.  This unassuming Irish-themed tavern has seen the likes of Phil Minton, Spoils & Relics, Wanda Group, THF Drenching and Temperatures cross its threshold to honk, sqwark and hiss.  Jesus mang…Thurston Moore lives down the road…it’s that god damn on-point.

The night was carefully organised by the dynamic HIDEOUS PORTA duo of Louie Rice and Vasco Alves; two strapping gents full of bonhomie and spotless no-audience underground credentials.  The gig was a peach: Pablo Sanz opened with demonic soundscapes, I did my tape/gob thing and Tom Mudd and John Wall breathed fresh new life into computer glitch fizz and bubble.  I met up with old friends (Foxy, Johnny, Ed) and made a couple of new ones (Nicky, Marie), we drank beer, chatted about records and generally stayed up far too late.  As the night wore on tapes and CD-Rs were passed under the table, inspected and wrapped up safe.  The handshake of the underground had taken place…close as a tango.   Here’s my lucky bag.

Louie Rice’s Degenerate mines a sea of crystalline electronics; each ‘pip’ and ‘phaff’ is clearly birthed from some silica gel, wet and frictionless.  The five shortish tracks manage to be both austere and jolly as an apple-cheeked yokel at the same time.  Opener ’06:45′ has a grumbling appendix bassline, low as hipster pants, and a drunkard’s roll to its smear of eclectic fez.  Micro track ’01:29′ revisits Pong like a dubby ghost.  ’03:42′ reminds me of the sound our sickliest cat makes when it’s about to throw up.  A kind of deep ‘blurrrp’ that repeats in diminishing contractions until the inevitable fishy yash.  A static ripping floats over the ‘blurrrp’ and catches in any available hangnail or crevice dragging with a delicious tug.

Blimey…time for side two already.

It’s with a triumphant buzz ’05:25′ lurches out the cheap-o stereo.  That static tugging is there again but it’s pink and warm giving you exactly same sensation as letting a prawn cracker dissolve slowly on the tongue.  The buzz trumps on, majestic and unhurried; an oozing camembert.   The cat returns for ’06:13′ with soft ginger purring coupled with the clatter of them joke dentures you used to be able to buy from joke shops until an oppressive throb (sourced from project Blue Book perhaps) does that Olympic wrestle thing and pins you to the mat…Ah one-ah.  Ah two-ahhh.  Ahhh,three!

vasco alves

For Vasco Alves on Volume 1 it’s the battered portable cassette recorder that’s the star.  The dear old thing adds a patina of rust to the airy field recordings and grimy electronics found on this one-sided beauty.

Totally non-linear sounds are presented simply and with sharp edits as play/record is pressed and, on playback, a faulty motor or loose capstan make the captured sound wibbly-wobbly like you’re listening through textured brine.  Imagine a hearing test of abstract domestic and psychedelic tones, each one syringed into your ear…bop-bop-bop. You can?  Congratulations…you’re getting close to the oddness of this tiny marvel.

Sonic content?  Tissue thin drones nestle next to elephant calls.  Heavy rain and commuter chunter.  A tape-warped Tangerine Dream.  The distinctive sound of wind bothering a condenser mike, kettle whistle, tape whirr, pissing into a bucket, pirate radio interference, cement mixers and gentle, spacious ‘\/\/\/\/\/\/\/’ exhibited in the stream-of-consciousness, brown-sauce genius style of Blyth’s Cidershed brigade.

Things move from abstract to concrete, accidental to composed, domestic to industrial at a brisk pace.  Not too fast to see the join but almost revelling in the ‘wax on wax off’ discipline of carefully collected sounds.

At times I take this for an exercise in extreme listening (like that reductionist bunch), it’s that intense.   I’m glued so tight to my speakers, waiting to make sense of the next wave of giger-counter babble or market garden chatter, that I’m starting to (audio) hallucinate.  My teeth clench as I ride the waves of oh-so-subtle distortion that play out this tape until I realise this is no elaborate construction of pico-waves but common-or-garden tape hiss run-out.  Punked!

If you are looking for music to lift you out of your school-work-death pothole this is the very thing.  A singular listen!

adam asnan

Talking of school…when I was at secondary school I was forced to take metal work for a year.  Metal work.  Sounds incongruous enough eh?  Do you reckon I was any good at working metal dear readers?  You guessed right.  I was bloody hopeless.  The metalwork room (or shop as they called it) was a temple to masculinity; greasy, hot and loud with deep-throated swearing.  As a youth more content in the library I expected to find this a lesson a bore and chore.  But what I hadn’t counted on was the sound of metal working; the screech of bandsaw ripping through tin, the rough-bark of the file against steel coathooks.  And best of all…the reverberant clanking ‘doiiinnnnnggg’  of a dropped spanner.

It’s this memory-laden metallic KO that Adam Ansan unearths with his Veil after Veil cassette.  It’s a beautiful din of metal-on-metal drone, long drawn-out tones like molecular choirs hymning the great eventual.  Brass-plated boilers hiss and pump out grey gas, a blackened hand strokes the riveted tub like a lover.  On side two a soft juddering motif,  like a marshmallow steam train running over points of warm liquorice, draws us into a world where the heating engineer is also a sonic artist; each fan blade and ventilation shaft throbs with a different tone turning your humble abode into a Pompidou breathing-machine of pork-scented gasps and asparagus guffs.

If you stare long enough at a cloud it starts to disappear.  I’m convinced if I listen to Veil on Veil long enough all that will be left will be the plastic whirr of scrubbed tape running silently through the spools.  This is the sound of temporary music!

va aa lr

OK.  Put this all together and what have you got?  What would normally be a ‘what if’ becomes a ‘look see’ as these three chaps have put a tasty smorgasbord together as VA AA LR on their very professional looking CD It Just Ain’t Flapping.  Mission statement: whiffle-bud earphone action finds tiny scrunching in one lug and machine-like fripping in the other.

Over eight brief and untitled tracks magnified metal and environmental recordings rub up against rubbery electronic loucheness as insect radios get de-tuned and hauled behind a smog-trawler.  As ever, the art in this kind of group collage is the way it’s all put together.  These carefully minced sounds melt and drip like a finger-painting picture traced on the window of a condensation drenched bus window.  While the reels turn you get a gentle phasing; a smidge of clarity and then a jammy smear of opaque ‘wooahhh’ in that lopsided 1000-year-egg kind of way.

You want examples, yeah?

  • Dr Who’s coffee pot splutters on ‘8’ almost drowning out the slo-mo rave synth.
  • Text book examples of close-miked clicks, rattles and raps played alongside Heath Robinson cackles all over ‘2’ and ‘3’.
  • Little Stevie Wonder gets a look in on ‘6’ with a malfunctioning videodisc cracking through Chariots of Fire as he solders bad-tempered joints (badly).
  • The tugboat/trawler chugs out the harbour vibrating the dock and smaller vessels dangerously on ‘5’ while Silver Beatles jidder the mandibles.

…but it’s ‘4’ that pumps me up hard; a scant 1 min 56 seconds of percussive black hiss…slow steam escaping from a Tudor chimney.

Hey Nonny Nonny!

Wasted Capital Since 2013

VA AA LR on Consumer Waste

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