Archives by month/year

Welcome to Freq in 2014

Freq has been online in various forms since 1998, and this iteration has been around since 2010, with an archive of older material available too.

Please scroll down and on for the most recent reviews; see also the archives index for 1998-2009 below while there is also an A-Z index of everything posted so far.

The bulk of the record reviews 1998-2008 are in the following pages:
Continue reading …

> Print this page

Cindytalk – Touched Raw, Kissed Sour

Handmade Birds

Cindytalk - Touched Raw, Kissed SourRight from the offing, “Dancing On Ledges” is a difficult listen, plies a remarkably fucked-up notion of ambience, shooting your lobes in sherbety shards, like a redux of “Everybody is Christ” from Cindytalk‘s Camouflage Heart (which is 30 years old this year), its heavy drones daggering you brilliantly into submission as the uncompromising vision jousts it through with lathe-like screams. Discernible licks of bass give you fleeting compass points, continually torn up on an ominous blare of differing textures, shattered splints. A great opener that offers little if any sanctuary, taking the corrosion and paradoxical beauty of last year’s A Life Is Everywhere to a whole new level. A gutsy, almost autobiographical delve into the abstract, full of corner of the eye glimpses.

“Fire Recalling Its Nature” is gentile by comparison, awash with nocturnal synth

Continue reading Cindytalk – Touched Raw, Kissed Sour [...]

Ekoplekz – Four Track Mind

Planet Mu

Ekoplekz - Four Track MindEkoplekz‘s Four Track Mind isn’t necessarily Unfidelity‘s evil twin – more like its astral double that departs the flesh for regions unknown. And since Unfidelity was already well beyond the Oort Cloud, that’s pretty far out indeed.

The music was culled from the same process that yielded Unfidelity, released in March of this year, which means two double LPs in less than 12 months for the illustrious Planet Mu. For those eagerly tracing the lineage of Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson, King Tubby and Bristolian bassweight, we are living in a new alchemical age.

Nick Edwards‘ career could serve as a road map for the cultural alarmists and doomsayers crying “the death of this and that.” He has weathered every storm by not really giving a damn, continually releasing an onslaught of limited edition cassettes, vinyl and

Continue reading Ekoplekz – Four Track Mind [...]

Guru Guru – Hinten

Play Loud!

Guru Guru - HintenJust guitar, bass and drums — it’s a simple tirade but Guru Guru pushed beyond those limitations, expanding out into a universe eaten into with discordant joys, and zim-zoned tresses of effect-soaked goodness. There’s chord ego in there, yeah, but what Seventies band didn’t cling to that tattered flag — but for these guys it was just a starting point which hooked into a whole lot more — even by today’s standards, they still give me goose bumps, leopard-gecko my inner space with glittering possibility.

“Electric Junk” sets the stage in staggered splinters, an arresting opening slipping into something more comfortable, a Clapton-esque juju full of sliding dunes, delicious bends; it knows excess, revels in it perfectly as the wah threads roast themselves like “Hotel California” solos abacus(ing) extra equations. It could have headed into blowout of

Continue reading Guru Guru – Hinten [...]

Jeremy Reed and Karolina Urbaniak – Altered Balance: A Tribute to Coil

Infinity Land Press

Altered Balance: A Tribute to CoilJohn Balance dies and becomes a kind of saint. This is a hagiography of sorts, though it doesn’t attempt to smooth edges or unwrinkle ravages; it’s clear in these beautifully presented pages that he was a complex, maybe difficult man. It’s also clear that he was a flame that attracted people to him, a person so out there that he was able to continually make them feel welcome. A man full of light, or spectral kindness, of deep morality. A balance.

Like many Coil fans hearing about this book, I was hooked between two poles, pulled apart by horses: on the one hand, we all want more; more insight, more detail about the processes and the paradoxes behind the music; on the other, we want to avoid being part of the picking o’er the

Continue reading Jeremy Reed and Karolina Urbaniak – Altered Balance: A Tribute to Coil [...]

Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mist EP

Front & Follow

Pye Corner Audio - The Black Mist EPMartin Jenkins is a force of nature, releasing mountains of cassettes, EPs, 12″s, and free downloads since the inception of the Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services moniker in 2010. He’s the closest thing we have to a poster boy for the current state of the hauntological current, giving us an insight into its present, and a possible trajectory for the future.

This slight EP from Front & Follow is an elaboration on PCA’s track for their much-lauded The Outer Church compilation, which could be seen as a hauntological state-of-the-union address. For those that missed that essential transmission, here’s a chance to hear your favorite technician’s contribution in an elaborated form, packed with two essential addendums, the dirge-like technoid disco of “Bulk Erase” and a knackered remix from Old Apparatus.

The long version

Continue reading Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mist EP [...]

Jon Hassell – City: Works Of Fiction

All Saints

Jon Hassell - City: Works Of FictionI first became aware of Jon Hassell’s work mainly through collaborations with artists such as Brian Eno on the Possible Musics album and with his work with David Sylvian on Brilliant Trees onwards. City: Works of Fiction are three intertwining albums that has Hassell stretch his palette in many different directions but still remaining in very much art house territory.

The first album is Original Fiction. On this we see Hassell stretch the membrane of fourth world music and have it collide with its more obvious jazz references with a smattering of funk for good measure on top. Tracks such as the opener “Voiceprint (Blind From The Facts)” have a scatter funk approach and the kind of jumping slippery basslines that both Percy Jones and Mick Karn are famous for. The track skitters here

Continue reading Jon Hassell – City: Works Of Fiction [...]

Thurston Moore and Caspar Brötzmann (live at Café Oto)

London 7 August 2014

Probably the best way to imagine this gig is to picture the Newtonian Laws of Motion resolving themselves inside a packed Turkish sauna. If Car A is driving down a road at 100mph, whilst Car B is driving at 100mph in the opposite direction, if they collide, they will crash at 200mph. You get where I’m about to go with this, right?

So, translated into sonic terms, if Car A is not a car at all, but in fact a battered Fender Jaguar, and the man behind the wheel is Thurston Moore – alternative guitar god, mainspring of avant garde culture, and latterly resident of these parts – thrashing, trashing, grinding and mashing its six strings to within an inch of their lives, what we have here is a seriously speedy vehicle. However, if heading into a full frontal collision is Car B, in this case

Continue reading Thurston Moore and Caspar Brötzmann (live at Café Oto) [...]

Laibach – I VIII 1944 Warszawa

Narodowe Centrum Kultury

Laibach - I VIII 1944 WarszawaPoland fared worse than most in World War 2; the fields and woods are still littered with macabre reminders of the grim extent of Nazi ideology. By August 1944, sensing the Nazis were losing their grip on Europe, thousands of poorly-armed residents of Warsaw decided enough was enough and fought back. Things went quite well to start, much of the city falling under partisan rule — but without the promised Soviet assistance the uprising quickly crumbled into surrender some 63 days later. The numbers were staggering: over 200,000 people lost their lives, mostly civilians, with the survivors feeling the full wrath of the German army as they razed the city to the ground. In light of this, I should imagine it being a sensitive issue to commemorate, let alone celebrate, especially since the Soviets

Continue reading Laibach – I VIII 1944 Warszawa [...]

Venetian Snares – My Love Is A Bulldozer

Planet Mu

Venetian Snares – My Love is a BulldozerDownstairs, Grandpa’s listless hand lowered the needle. He reclined. His chair was as starchy soft as the scratched record’s hiss. Sister Rosetta flowed above that sound as the Decca spun.

The hiss faded as the music warmly flooded the hallway, and only she got to the top of the stairs. The bathroom light, faulty, pinged and zapped above Rosetta’s mellifluous tones, making Freddy’s ear occasionally twitch.

Freddy’s puffy bitten right hand was closed around a dirty cup of water. In his other he grasped an unscrewed rizla, pills in its centre. His television, black and white, reflected across the hall in the bathroom mirror, seemed to depict a still image — until a hand moved, and a gong was sounded. White masked faces stared out from the screen and howled. Freddy remained in

Continue reading Venetian Snares – My Love Is A Bulldozer [...]

Ye Nuns – Nun More Black

Tuff Enuff

Ye Nuns - Nun More BlackI was going to write something about this being “conceptually perfect,” but that feels a bit disparaging — it’s a tribute act, and it’s obviously important that a tribute act get their ideas right — but there’s a lot more thought gone into this than just “women playing the Monks called the Nuns! Brilliant.”

But I’m going to come back to the actual record in a second. It’s a tribute record, so it makes sense to natter about the Monks first. I first picked up Five Upstart Americans on the basis that the blurb described them as “the anti-Beatles.” Which is, if nothing else, the right reason to buy a record. I’ve often failed to be impressed by that sort of digging mentality of ‘”the proto-” [x] thing — Nuggets is all well and good

Continue reading Ye Nuns – Nun More Black [...]

Steve Hillage – Rainbow 1977

Gonzo Multimedia

Steve Hillage – Rainbow 1977Newly released on Gonzo, this album captures the Steve Hillage Band live at London’s Rainbow Theatre in November 1977, and as such invites immediate comparison with the established classic Live Herald, which dates from the same period, and indeed one track, “Electrick Gypsies,” is actually taken from the same gig as the one presented here. Aside from that single overlap, however, there’s much less similarity between the two releases than one might expect, largely because of the line-up.

Unlike the expanded musical formations on some of the Live Herald tracks, the Steve Hillage Band documented here is a stripped-down four-piece, comprising Hillage himself on guitar and vocals, his long-term partner Miquette Giraudy on keyboards, and an all-American rhythm section of Curtis Robertson (bass) and Joe Blocker (drums). The lack of extra musicians means that the baroque

Continue reading Steve Hillage – Rainbow 1977 [...]

Qa’a – Sang

Màgia Roja

Qa'a - SangThe era of the late ’60s/early ’70s has been whitewashed through the rosy lenses of hindsight. Baby boomers waste no time in reminding us theirs was the greatest generation, with the best music. The era where everything was being invented, the future was being ushered in. It was all happening, man. This perspective distorts the fact that for much of his life, Jimi Hendrix was playing small clubs, like any indie band working today, and the only people who were flying the flag for the Black Sabbath and Velvet Underground and The Grateful Dead, Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart early were a handful of wide-eyed, speed-induced maniacs of dubious sanity.

On Qa’a‘s Sang, the Catalan collective take the brown acid back to Woodstock. They remind us that not only were The Grateful Dead, Quicksilver Messenger Service and The

Continue reading Qa’a – Sang [...]

Nisennenmondai/Blood Sport/Blood Stereo & Duncan Harrison/Rock the Roberts(on)s (live at The Exchange)

Bristol 30 July 2014

Roberts(on)s live at The ExchangeRoberts(on)s live at The ExchangeRock the Roberts(on)s plumbed an ad hoc and lo-fi angle spectacularly. A bizarre scrapbook of spurting poodle rock from a butchered karaoke machine injected with gargled indigestions that were grins-ville all the way. Irate spikes of feedback, ruler twangs, radio miss-tunes, things literally falling off the table and lord knows what else.

This girl art school stoic mumbling dead pan, holding a sign up saying “Wanted: wages for housework,” later swapping to tape recorder statics; others wandered around, all mock laughter, brandishing applause signs. Spasmodic keyboards, mock yelloids, beeping dots; they reminded me of the Texas Chainsaw family. Hammer and bucket dysfunctionals, transposed to a Fluxus send up of entertainment values, Pa scolding Junior, “Who told you you could leave the table?” and Junior sheepishly returning,

Continue reading Nisennenmondai/Blood Sport/Blood Stereo & Duncan Harrison/Rock the Roberts(on)s (live at The Exchange) [...]

Earthling Society – England Have My Bones

Riot Season

Earthling Society - England Have My BonesThis is full hippy in every good way. Hyperdrive hippy. Hippy in excelsis (not in Excel). Godz-driven, primal, ballistic-psychedelic, balls-to-the-wall, throttled/throttling. It’s the hippyish, proggy album that other people think they’ve made. There’s a massive meandering Alice Coltrane cover on here that sounds like it could be/should be terrible but works brilliantly. There’s devastating stoner stuff, a beautifully placed and ever-building soundworld which swirls and ebbs and pushes into you. There’s awkward movements in just the right places. This attempts to blow you away and achieves it in a way that most albums couldn’t even dream.

I’d never heard anything from Earthling Society before and assumed this was going to be one of the those half-heard, half-liked albums that occasionally squeezed its way out of shuffle and caught me unawares in the middle of

Continue reading Earthling Society – England Have My Bones [...]

Gum Takes Tooth – Buried Fires

Endtyme

Gum Takes Tooth - Buried FiresBlending shimmery blurs of electronics with West African-derived polyrhythmic loops and swerves, this taster from the forthcoming album from drum-loving noiseniks Gum Takes Tooth shimmies and shakes with a deftly-assured sway, ripples of synth and coasting vocal drones layered sparsely over and around the hypnotically-intertwining beats. If this is anything to judge by, then Mirrors Fold should be quite the LP to both satisfy the body and befuddle the brain.

It’s also no great surprise to find that singular exponent of harsh industrial grind turned rhythm enthusiast Cut Hands remixing the track on the the flipside of the 7″ vinyl either. Here, William Bennett applies his own particular brand of faux-Afro-futurism to the track, drawing out booming bass and metallic clangour from the get-go, delivering a track which surges and shudders on siren wails of

Continue reading Gum Takes Tooth – Buried Fires [...]