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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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Rothko – Discover The Lost

Trace

Rothko - Discover The LostFrom the opening strum and distinctive twang of Mark Beazley and Michael Donnelly‘s twin bass strings, Discover The Lost sweeps up the listener in its warmly-curving arms, holds on tight and soothes the cares of the worlds outside away. This it does over the course of the next ten instrumentals with a similar ear for the simplicity found in detail, the subtleties perceived in a deft turn and an interlocking weave of crisp rhythms with overtones and drones.

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Pram – The Stars Are So Big… The Earth Is So Small / Helium

Medical

Pram - The Stars Are So Big, The Earth Is So Small ... Stay As You AreWe should all rejoice in the fact that finally the first two Pram albums proper have been given the re-issue treatment, and what a lovely job Medical Records have made of them: coloured vinyl, recent interviews amongst the sleeve notes and a clear appreciation for the magic contained therein.

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Wolves In The Throne Room – Diadem Of 12 Stars

Artemisia

Wolves In The Throne Room - Diadem Of 12 StarsLong out of print and originally put out in 2006 by small DIY label Vendlus, then emerging on Southern Lord a year later, Diadem Of 12 Stars has now been remastered and re-released on Wolves In The Throne Room‘s own Artemisia Records.

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Kleistwahr – Over Your Heads Forever

Fourth Dimension

Kleistwahr - Over Your Heads Forever

Like a woozy descent into the abyss, Gary Mundy‘s latest emission as Kleistwahr seizes control of the horizontal hold as well as the vertiginous, propelling the listener into a seemingly endless spiral of dissolution and unheimlich disturbance.

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Belly (live at O2 Academy)

Belly live in Bristol July 2016Bristol 20 July 2016

This was a hotly anticipated outing that didn’t disappoint. Belly were back for all the right reasons, including a bucket of cash the merch stall was obviously raking in.

It all kicked off on the full-on assault of “Dusted”. That gut-quaking bass, those weevil guitar curves all thrown in thunderous unison. Tanya‘s and Gail‘s vocals blasting the human flower. A beaming rainbow that had you shouting back the weirded-out lyrics about dead babies in cellars and the like. That chorus refrain carouseling your head in “Grass stains, back burns”, gyroscoped on the coloured wash of the lighting.

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Kreng – Selfed

Substantia Innominata

Kreng - SelfedThe latest instalment in Drone Records‘ series of double 10″ vinyl releases comes from Pepijn Caudron, AKA Kreng. Commissioned for a dance piece choreographed by Kevin Trappeniers, and performed in Ljubljana by Dagmar Dachauer, Selfed is envisioned as a metaphorical method for breaking down the borders thrown up by both the individual and society.

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Tlön – Chapter Two

Aphelion Editions

Tlön - Chapter Two

What an opener, the snaking shape-shifters of track one take some beating. That soup of drifting unease that Liam McConaghy and Stuart Chalmers conjure up is first rate, trickles your skull in Del Toro-like shivers underpinned in subtle carcasses of snare. Emotional myriads that take pleasure in peppering you in paranoia, picking the locks to the less-travelled corners of your mind in revox doubles and warfing shards.

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Die Krupps – Stahlwerkrequiem

Bureau B

Die Krupps - Stahlwerk RequiemThat bass is über meaty on the first track, steroid-injected, heavy on the recoil as a heavenly bounty of guitars burn up around it with Makoto intensity. A wow of toasty angles, quiver-toked in flinty sparks that curve-claw at the dark. This is just brilliant, clanking metallics and all, gathering in claustrophobic waves of pure joy and exploding contours. Wah-faring frets flying, mangled, percussively dancing that solid bass continuum in fiery tongues. A very heady 23 minutes to be savoured.

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Jherek Bischoff – Cistern

Leaf

Jherek Bischoff - CisternJherek Bischoff‘s new record Cistern is beautiful. I was already expecting this, knowing as I do that he is the master of melody and a conjurer of clever arrangements that can tug the heart and ensnare the senses. I loved his first record, Composed, and so I was ready to be beguiled by Cistern. It is a very different record, entirely instrumental and beautifully orchestrated: it has an intimacy; it is very personal.

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Belly – Star

4AD

Belly - StarNow lushily re-duxed on girly marbled vinyl, Belly‘s first LP Star was/is a bright young thing, a glass-refracted dream stirring up a Brothers Grimm-like syntax. Tanya Donelly‘s bewitching delivery, swimming in our head, deceptively sweet with a sting of crazy paved darkness bleeding on through. Driven out on the feel-good adrenalin of immaculate guitar work with pools of teasing melody, Star is a super-assured vision, with some songs purposely under-baked and mulled over in witchy contrast to the radiant beams of the more radio-friendly bedazzle; its fifty minutes just fly by.

Back in the day, Star was an instant hit with the media machine, at odds with the usual chemistry that was donkey-pinned for success. I remember Radio 1’s happy-go-lucky Simon Mayo

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The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds 50th Anniversary Edition

Capitol

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds1966: A fixed point in time; a distant place, another country, an alternate reality. People had yet to walk on the moon, the American civil rights movement was only just gaining momentum, there were no home computers, no email, people wrote letters, sent telegrams, long-haul travel was a luxury most could not afford and The Beach Boys were a clean-cut, all-American pop group.

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Dead Can Dance – Dead Can Dance / Spleen And Ideal / Into The Labyrinth

4AD

Dead Can Dance (1984)

Dead Can Dance ‎- Dead Can DanceBorn out of the dark and then-derelict Isle if Dogs in London, where Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry scratched out a living since relocating from Australia. This was Dead Can Dance‘s début – a collection of songs that had been percolating away for over four years before.

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Sun Ra – A Joyful Noise

MVD

Sun Ra - A Joyful NoiseRobert Mugge’s film A Joyful Noise is like stepping into a time machine. He has captured a unique insight into a particularly mystical bubble of 1980s African American counter-culture. Although, thinking about it, our main protagonist Mr Mystery, AKA Sun Ra, might not be too interested in limiting himself to any earth-based ethnicity.

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Fields Of The Nephilim / The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (live at The Forum: summer solstice 2016)

Fields Of The Nephilim live at The Forum Summer Solstice

Fields Of The Nephilim live at The Forum Summer SolsticeLondon 20 June 2016

Over a quarter of a century ago, when I was much younger and prettier, I moved to London. The first weekend I was here I went to see Fields Of The Nephilim, who had just released the prog-goth epic Elizium. The support were a band called Creaming Jesus, a wickedly funny goth/metal band fronted by a dude with a world-class glare and a serious grudge against mike stands.

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WIDT – WIDT

Zoharum

WIDTPresented in a double-disc package containing both CD and DVD versions, the former holding the music in standalone album format, while the latter combines it with the visuals, which are not merely an addendum, but integral to WIDT‘s work.

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