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Archives by month/year

Welcome to Freq in 2016

Freq has been online in various forms since April 1998; this iteration has been around as of 2010, with an archive of older material available — see below.

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 — as time allows they are being converted to the newer, searchable format:
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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing / Andrew O’Neill (live at the O2 Academy Islington)

London 18 November 2016

Andrew O'Neill live November 2016

Men guitarist Andrew O’Neill opens the show, an amiable, affable presence beneath his comedy black metal goatskull backdrop. His is a fascinating cocktail of comedy — the gentle absurdism of an Eddie Izzard or Ross Noble shot through with a pitch-black streak and edged with a harder political sensibility, all filtered through the lens of Heavy Fucking Metal.

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Every Contact Leaves A Trace label feature revisited (Henry Collins / Helen White / Marvin Tate, Joseph Clayton Mills)

Helen White - Solar Wind Chime

So. I did some reviews of the first batch of Every Contact Leaves A Trace releases, which were fine indeed. And here we are, just two short years on, in a world that looks slightly different. And yet, on plod sound-art micro-labels, furrowing obstinate fields. I say that in a fashion that might sound derisory, but if I know one thing about ECLAT label-head Seth Cooke, it’s that he’s bloody-minded.

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Bloom – What Is Life

Self-released

Bloom - What Is LifeMost new bands were previously other less new bands, and so songwriters behind Bloom (Megan and Emily) used to be part of The Beautiful Word, who were Brighton-based indie-ish breezes sharing borders with whimsy and twee but (mercifully) never fully occupying those territories. The Beautiful Word were great, but they’re not here any more and (ahem) from that seed grew Bloom. (Sorry). There’s a bit of a backstory behind Megan’s voice taking a bit of a knock along the way but the tl;dr version is that her and Emily’s harmonies are, basically, amazing and getting to that point was a struggle.

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Steve Hauschildt – Strands

Kranky

Steve Hauschildt – StrandsI remember seeing Emeralds, Steve Hauschildt‘s band, whilst touring with the aptly-titled Painjerk at the much missed Croft in Bristol. We were incredibly thankful for the aural balm that Emeralds provided after the assault of Painjerk. It was akin to bathing your face in a warm sunrise after being hit by lightning.

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Papa M – Highway Songs

Drag City Papa M - Highway SongsIt has been a tough couple of years for David Pajo. A suicide attempt after discovering his wife’s affair was followed by a motorcycle accident that left him temporarily wheelchair-bound. We would not be blamed for thinking that music was the last thing on his mind, but Drag City have done us all the great service of releasing Highway Songs, the latest collection of tracks under his nom de plume Papa M.

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Peter Brötzmann and Heather Leigh / Liberez (live at The Cube)

Peter Brötzmann live November 2016Bristol Sunday 20 November 2016

Blimey, what an action-packed night, Bristol was heaving with musical busyness, Microdeform playing the Kino, Circuit des Yeux at The Anson Rooms and the Arnolfini hosting Les Diaboliques, all spinning out on same night — if I hadn’t have already committed to this Cube show, I’d be spoilt for alternatives. Anyways it was brilliant to be back at The Cube, haven’t been here since its recent refurb and so glad to see none of the reinventions have displaced any of its yesteryear charm.

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Dinosaur Jr / Wild Style Lion (live at Motion)

Bristol 14 November 2016

 Dinosaur Jr live November 2016A revolving blue police light welcomes us to the stage at the cold and cavernous Motion. I puposefully had not looked anything up about Wild Style Lion, so knew not what to expect. Their setup was parked in front of Murph‘s drums with their logo emblazoned on the front and was small enough to be wheeled away afterwards.

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Dead Can Dance – Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun / Garden Of The Arcane Delights / The John Peel Sessions / Toward The Within

4AD

Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (1987)

Dead Can Dance ‎- Within The Realm Of A Dying SunThis was the band’s third masterpiece, and a firm favourite of mine. The otherworldliness of Spleen And Ideal is here leaning towards the symphonic, a neo-classical oomph held on an animated skyline. As with Ideal, Brendan Perry is in fine fettle, dedicating a whole side to pondering life’s woes, drawing inspiration from the historical, mythical, going for the emotional jugular in doomed Romantic hues.

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The Vintage Caravan / Dead Lord (live at The Underworld)

London 13 November 2016

The Vintage Caravan live November 2016The last time I saw The Vintage Caravan play, they were promoting their first album and supporting Blues Pills on an evening that saw both bands give their all. Tonight, as I made my way to the subterranean delights of The Underworld in Camden, I had already made up my mind that there would be no such competition this time and that the headliners would probably cross the finish line well ahead of the support band.

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Kristin Hersh (live at The Lantern)

Bristol 8 November 2016

Kristin Hersh live November 2016This was an intimate show, just Kristin Hersh laying herself bare – furnished with a few self-released books and a shiny electric guitar. Last time I saw her live was just as intimate, in a small, vaulted church off Park Street, where she delivered a stripped-down acoustic shindig full of wonder. That harrowing encore satisfaction of “Delicate Cutters” is still creeping the personal archives some twenty-two years later.

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Automat – Ostwest

Bureau B

Automat - OstwestThere were two main reasons that I was eager to hear the latest Automat LP; firstly you cannot go wrong with Bureau B, from current albums by the likes of Faust and Camera to re-issues of important back catalogue from the likes of Conrad Schnitzler, Asmus Tietchens, Palais Schaumburg, etc, they represent the cream of German underground music; secondly was the involvement of Jochen Arbeit, latter-day member of Einstürzende Neubauten and guitar slinger for Die Haut, one of the most important bands from the Neue Deutsche Welle. With this in mind, it is notable that Automat sound nothing like either of these bands.

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Olga Szymula – 2

Nomadic Island

Olga Szymula - 2Musically, Olga Szymula‘s début LP is like a toothpaste tube of psilocybin rainbows and juttering dislocations. A sizzle of torn circuitries and bright petroleum blisters that spill haunt-o- delically from its instrumental start into the mysteriously entitled ‘Ø’.

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Nadja – The Stone Is Not Hit By The Sun, Nor Carved With A Knife

Gizeh

Nadja - The Stone Is Not Hit By The Sun, Nor Carved With A KnifeThere’s a moment on The Stone Is Not Hit By The Sun, Nor Carved With A Knife, not long into “The Stone”, where Nadja hit their full metal mark, ramp up the drone-doom riffs hard and it becomes essential to reach for the volume knob in order to bring the levels up yet further.

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Various ‎Artists – Drone-Mind // Mind-Drone Volume 5

Drone

Various - Drone-Mind / Mind-Drone Volume 5The fifth volume in Drone Records‘ signature series of Drone-Mind // Mind-Drone compilation LPs continues the label’s commitment to releasing the best in long-form sonority and — of course — drones from around the world.

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Günter Schlienz – Autumn

Zoharum

Günter Schlienz - AutumnOccasionally known as Navel, whose Ambient series of albums of last decade included Eno-referencing titles such as Music For Spaceports, Günter Schlienz has been making delicately shaded melodic drones and curling electronica since the 1990s. His latest release comes courtesy of Zoharum, and concerns itself with the theme of autumn.

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