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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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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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Swans – The Glowing Man

Young God (North America) / Mute (Rest of the world)

Swans - The Glowing ManThe Glowing Man marks the culmination of what frontman Michael Gira calls “the current phase” of Swans, and is the fourth album by the current twenty-first century line-up which has been delivering uncompromising beauty and brutality since 2010’s My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky. It shares with that album a returned fascination with traditional song forms, though for the most part these are buried within the epic abstractions of sound that characterised the intervening albums The Seer and To Be Kind. Taken as a whole, the four form a unique and wonderful ten or so hours of music; which would probably kill you if ingested all at

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Beattie Cobell – Treatment Works

More Than Human

Beattie Cobell - Treatment WorksA nice splash of exploratory electronics on this first LP from Beattie Cobell. A meld of surgical coldness with dirty analogues that comes across like a modern-day Throbbing Gristle eagerly eating into its rhythmic nihilism. Filling dimensionally light algorithmics with Reichian slips, euphoric juxt-a-posies and flirting undercurrents. Kinetic investigations creeping with interest.

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Band Of Pain – Still Falls The Rain / Funhouse

Easy Action

Band Of Pain - Still Falls The Rain / FunhouseWhere most bands opting to record a take on of one of their influential favourites would opt for a more or less straightforward cover version, Band Of Pain main man Steve Pittis chooses instead to invite Andrew Liles and Lucy Cotter to join him in re-imagining the anonymous poem “Still Falls The Rain”, as found inside the upside-down cross adorning the inner gatefold sleeve of Black Sabbath‘s eponymous first album.

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Band of Pain / Nurse with Wound – Noinge / Gloakid With Phendrabites / Nurse with Wound – Dark Fat

Band of Pain / Nurse with Wound - Noinge / Gloakid With Phendrabites

“Noinge” / “Gloakid With Phendrabites” Dirter Promotions

The first side is the sound of the playful Band Of Pain remixing Nurse With Wound‘s A Sucked Orange in a game of arrant right-angles and ink-splattered goodness where the original source material is utterly fucked over in malfunctioning attention deficits that splutter like a cyborg cat with a data hairball.

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Perch – Umbra

Sparrowhawk

Perch - UmbraPerch is seemingly smudged into shape from the leftovers of Fat Bicth, one of Brighton’s embarrassment of “why didn’t they ever gig further than London?” bands. The Bicth were, perhaps, somewhat closer to Brighton stalwarts (your I’m Being Goods and Sweet Williamses) than Perch, so let’s hope this is the band to thrust Perch/ Bicth mastermind Chris Mitchell slightly further afield than London Road.

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Matmos / Adam Rosenblatt / UnicaZürn (live at The Lantern)

Bristol 9 June 2016

Matmos live at The LanternMatmos‘ new record Ultimate Care II is centred round a washing machine, and lo and behold that’s what is centre stage tonight at The Lantern, two microphones pointing at its innards. The rest of the stage is overrun with the band’s tech, squeezing the support UnicaZürn into the far reaches.

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Sumac – What One Becomes

Thrill Jockey

Sumac - What One BecomesBack in March of this year, Sumac unleashed “Rigid Man” on to YouTube as a taster of what was to come from their new album What One Becomes. Personally, I was very excited indeed, so excited in fact that while listening to the song on headphones on a packed train pulling out of London, I didn’t realise that this utter racket was also being played full blast out of my laptop speakers.

It took a good minute for me to look up and clock that at least 30 pairs of eyes were fixed in my direction. But the reaction wasn’t the tuts and eye-rolls you might expect from your average London commuter, more a collective projection of terror – as

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Spirit Of Moondog (live at Black Box)

Münster 29 May 2016

Moondog steleIn a quiet and undisturbed corner of the Zentralfriedhof (Main Cemetery) in Münster, there stands an elegant, tapering stone stele, atop which is a death mask so wonderfully detailed and realistic it seems that the eyes might at any moment open slowly, like an image from Dennis Potter’s Cold Lazarus come to life beneath the blue Westfalen sky. Foregrounded against the thick green hedge behind it, and surrounded by a colourful riot of flowers, it is a beautiful spot. Here, amidst the birdsong and the obsessively well-tended greenery, lies American expatriate Louis Hardin, better known to the world by a moniker adopted in honour of his trusty, yet lunar-affected, hound: Moondog.

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Twin – Hverir EP

Zamzarec

Twin - Hverir EPThis is a truly haunting experience; think Mazzy Star with a whisper of Shelleyan Orphan or Alison Shaw from Cranes, but softer, swollen in the ambiguous. Its language a diffusion of hues, suggestions for your mind to play with, backed by switchblades of horizon that pull at the frame, inverting the scenery in cycling hooks of guitar, droning key-lines, tumbling percussives.

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Silver Apples – Whirly-Bird / Oscillations

Play Loud!

Silver Apples - Whirly Bird Oscillations

Since first appearing in 1968, Silver Apples‘ “Oscillations” — and perhaps to a lesser degree the flipside track, “Whirly-Bird” — have gradually become to be recognised as key pioneering moments in the history of electronic music that they most assuredly are. Play Loud! have pulled out all the stops for this, the first re-release of the single since its first appearance nearly half a century ago, giving it the remastering treatment along the way and faithfully reproducing the Kapp Records sleeve in facsimile.

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Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard – Sound X Sound: Music For 9 Pianos

 

Niels Lyhne Løkkegaard - Sound X Sound Music For 9 PianosNiels Lyhne Løkkegaard has been busily investigating the particular qualities that can come from quantity on his Sound X Sound series of seven 7” vinyl releases. In this third instance, he has nine pianists playing two very different pieces in a veritable fall and resurgence along the keyboard, descending and rising up from the depths with results that are on occasion remarkably similar to some of the impossible to play black MIDI tunes that were all the rage for a while.

As ever, Løkkegaard’s compositions are more about the properties of the sounds that each instrument generates rather than having a specific musical character. This is of course what some sections of the avant-garde have

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Maëror Tri – Hypnobasia / Sensuum Mendacia / Somnia

Zoharum

Maëror Tri - HypnobasiaRecorded between 1989 and 1992, Maëror Tri‘s Hypnobasia, Sensuum Mendacia and Somnia were originally released on cassette by various European labels, the latter appearing as one side of a split tape with Nostalgie Eternelle.

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Peter Baumann – Machines Of Desire

Bureau B

Peter Baumann - Machines Of DesireI was overjoyed to hear that Peter Baumann was stepping back behind the keyboards to record a new album after so many years. Most people know Baumann for being part of the classic line-up that produced huge galactic-sounding Tangerine Dream albums such as Phaedra and Rubycon during the mid Seventies. And its seems that the death of Tangs founder member Edgar Froese in January 2015 was the catalyst for Baumann to work on Machines Of Desire.

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Max Richter (live at The Barbican)

London 17 May 2016

This is the first of two sold-out shows for Max Richter at The Barbican and there is a buzz around the audience about how two beautiful and intense albums will translate live. For starters this is no rock’n’roll concert, so there is no-one viewing the entire gig down their phone, in fact no one even takes a photo, which was quite wonderful. The mood in the hall has a kind of beautiful, tranquil quality about it, as if people don’t want to make too much noise before the performance even starts.

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