Ello

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

MKM – Ad Astra Per Aspera

Elektronic ZNY Morderca

MKM – Ad Astra Per AsperaTo reach the stars and beyond, to travel into infinite space alone in the cosmos…

MKM’s Ad Astra Per Aspera is a wonderful mixture of Cosmonaut rock and German terrorist blues. It creates beauty but also, like a black hole, swallows planets whole.

“Terry” is a noise-laden cosmic freakout over a kind of motorik beat that makes it hang together but somehow transcends it into an air of melancholy within its groove. “Retorn Al Planeta Imaginari” is all shimmering atmospheres akin at times to Klaus Schulze‘s early ’70s output mixed with No Pussyfooting Fripp & Eno ambiences, emitting snake-like guitar drone sounds over light as air synths in a beautiful way. At points it also reminded me of Heldon and Emeralds’ early work, which is no bad thing; with a light show live it

Continue reading MKM – Ad Astra Per Aspera [...]

White Hills/One Unique Signal (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014Corsica Studios, London 23 September 2014

So we’re back again for round two – the second night in a row at London‘s tiny but perfectly-formed Corsica Studios, this time to see space-rock reprobates White Hills and One Unique Signal. And there will be volume. Oh yes, there will be volume. Lots and lots of lovely, lovely volume (say this in the voice of Neil Kinnock‘s Spitting Image puppet for best results).

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014

The first providers of this volume are One Unique Signal, of whom my first thought is that they are terrifyingly young. But this is swept into insignificance on a wave of big phat (and fat) bass, providing a properly sleazy backdrop for the guitar shenanigans that are taking place at the top end. In their “quieter”

Continue reading White Hills/One Unique Signal (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut) [...]

Bardo Pond/Black Bombaim (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Corsica Studios, London 22 September 2014

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

Despite its location, deep in the heart of Elephant and Castle, I really, really like Corsica Studios. It’s essentially a tiny concrete box with a wicked sound system, the combination of which tends to funnel intensity and make great music sound just that little bit greater. We’re here to see Bardo Pond, of whom more later, and Black Bombaim, of whom I have never heard.

Black Bombaim live Sept 2014

Black Bombaim live Sept 2014So, armed with beer, we make our way to the front of the stage to see a bunch of the least rock’n’roll-looking dudes I have seen in aeons. But boy, can appearances be deceptive, and they deliver an awesome barrage of doomy space-rock. They’re cosmic

Continue reading Bardo Pond/Black Bombaim (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut) [...]

Ziguri – Kölsch/Schickert/Erdenreich

Bureau B

Ziguri - Kölsch/Schickert/ErdenreichThe opener is meaty, elasticised basslines wrapped in kicking drum folds, the guitar caterpillaring plenty of shimmering scenery, traction for a heliumed goblin of vox. A super-tight jigsaw whose balance is temporarily upset by a tempo flick knife into vocals that don’t quite gel until repetition shape-shifts a rescue plan.

“Massa” blows this minor gripe clean away, as sleek lazer lights aero-dine your ears. That excitement of heart-scooped percussives from Dieter Kölsch licking a cathedral of rotary gliss from Günter Schickert, lubricating those beefy slabs of bass Udo Erdenreich is plying, inciting some superb cerebral fireworks. A full-on sensation that charges along, shuddering its dorsal flanks, a subtle humming dropping further honey into the mesmerising mix. “Yoyodyne” is slower, all slinky dripping kettle kinks and marching snatches of bass baked in colourful dunecast sunsets. The vocals slipping the

Continue reading Ziguri – Kölsch/Schickert/Erdenreich [...]

Zombie Zombie/Charles Hayward (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Zombie Zombie Baba Yaga's Hut, September 2014Electrowerkz, London 25 September 2014

I had not been to see anything at Electrowerkz for a very long time; in fact so long, I initially forgot where it was, and so was surprised that the place had changed very little over the years. One thing that has improved though was the sound in the venue, and both acts tonight have a wonderful clear sound that penetrates deep into the audience.

By the time I arrive, Charles Hayward is just taking to the stage. He sits sentinel behind his drum kit and begins to play a series of complex rhythms over a backing tape. Sometimes his drumming is subtle and reminds me of Bill Bruford with its light, almost jazz touch; at other points he clatters around the kit like a manic Christian Vander. At the same time

Continue reading Zombie Zombie/Charles Hayward (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut) [...]

Kate Bush – Before the Dawn (live at Hammersmith Apollo)

LondonKB-bird 16 September 2014

Listen, For in each tiny sound, In the movement of the air, And in the song of the birds, Shall the voice of God Speak unto you, If only you chose to hear it.

Johannes Dieterich, Prorsus Inventa, 1573

In his book Prorsus Inventa, musician, author, scientist and inventor (a true baroque polymath) Johannes Dieterich describes the compositional method “stylus fantasticus” as:

… the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject, it was instituted to display genius and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues.

Allegedly, when at the age of 93, Dieterich was asked why he continued to practice musical composition for five hours a day, he

Continue reading Kate Bush – Before the Dawn (live at Hammersmith Apollo) [...]

Trans Am – Volume X

Thrill Jockey

Trans Am – Volume XWhen we look back to the ’90s, back when something that was called post-rock was as vital a part of the musical landscape as Britpop or grunge, we might find ourselves wincing at the apparent uselessness of this subgeneric category, or we might find ourself wincing at the uselessness of all subgeneric categories, or we might find ourselves just not caring either way.

Post-rock was described somewhere apocryphal as what happened if you ditched your vocalist and hired John McEntire to produce your album. And as far as it goes, some of this was true of Trans Am; the McEntire production credit was there, also the lack of songwriterliness and the lack of a singer too; at least initially. Back then, if we were to attend one of those very serious gigs where people with glasses,

Continue reading Trans Am – Volume X [...]

Bob Drake – Lawn Ornaments

ReR Megacorp

Bob Drake - Lawn OrnamentsThis is literally bonkers, and monkeys with your expectations in all the right ways, each song swerving from its original starting point in a genre-flinging bewilderment of mood swings (at least four, if not more, times within the confines of each song). Quite a trip, starting with an unassuming country tinge before suddenly going off-road with a rough dose of Eugene Chadbourne-style fisted frets and bouldering percussions, then whipping the carpet clean away moments later in smooth Beach Boys crooning or winkle-picking tremolo lushness.

It’s a great technique that really emphasises the drama, the story underpinning it all with a zaniness akin to Spirit’s Potato Land. A warped tale centring around an errant meerkat (that the pet shop people were usually glad to see go) meticulously and colourfully illustrated in the accompanying booklet, with lyrics too,

Continue reading Bob Drake – Lawn Ornaments [...]

Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestite

Artemisia

Wolves In The Throne Room - CelestiteOn Celestite, the fifth LP from Olympia, Washington’s atavistic warriors Wolves In The Throne Room, the Weaver brothers have done probably the least black metal thing imaginable, and released a record of modular synth soundscapes. And while the keepers of the trve kvlt flame are undoubtedly at home, sharpening their battle axes and planning a jihad, Celestite points out some interesting layers of the modern musical milieu, as well as simply being good music.

Since the very beginning, Wolves In The Throne Room have been accused of being hipster metal — solely responsible for getting a generation of skinny jeans emo vegans into the blasphemous glory of black metal. For the grim hordes this is, of course, unforgivable, but it’s not entirely fair or accurate, either. I mean, come on, Thurston Moore and Julian Cope

Continue reading Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestite [...]

Kleistwahr – This World Is Not My Home

Fourth Dimension

Kleistwahr – This World Is Not My Home“Christ, It’s Lonely” is the title of part three of the most recent release from Gary Mundy (of Ramleh) under the name Kleistwahr, and it’s about as good an indicator of the bleakness to be found mired on This World Is Not My Home as might be required to gauge its intent. Though the dense textures crushed and mushed into the album’s seven pieces (though the CD itself contains only one track) are filled with the sort of discordance and spasms also found in Ramleh’s outpourings of harsh, brutalist psychedelia, this is far more the sound of misanthropic discontent than the battering sludge purveyed by most so-called power electronics, eventually transubstantiated into pure ecstatic trance music with some curiously redeeming qualities.

“Tell The World You Tried” is the title of one portion of

Continue reading Kleistwahr – This World Is Not My Home [...]

Fort Process

70 steps into Fort ProcessNewhaven Fort, East Sussex 13 September 2014

Wow! This place was superb!! A semi-ruin with a labyrinth of white-clad tunnels eating into the gloom, the natural reverb promoting plenty of pseudo monk fun. The weathered solidity and teasing signs of atrophy, the stonework full of weird apertures that once occupied armoury now harbouring a host of musical oddness.

On arrival, a spasmodic crackle of strip lights and Marshalls greeted us from a long corridor that spurred off from the entrance, their randomly-triggered bolts of phosphorescent paparazzi(ing) the curving murk of the narrow half-corridor, recoiled in guttural spasms of ampage. Momentary light splattered, the crack of the amps cattle-prodded the blackness like a sparse re-enactment of a Blitz bombing.

Easter Island - Fort ProcessThe running order was frustratingly alphabetical, which completely scuppered any

Continue reading Fort Process [...]

Franck Vigroux – Ciment

DAC

Franck Vigroux – CimentCiment starts spasmodic and spare, then proceeds to deploy buzzing, whining breath-fragments and scraping flexions among some moments of stark, simple beauty along the way. Pressed on two sides of vinyl, the LP is fully intended to be listened to with all the accumulated crackles, hiss, pops and incidental warmth the format brings with it, for better or worse.

All sounds originate with Franck Vigroux‘s guitar, and as is often the case when the instrument is treated in an obscure and abnormal fashion, as he frequently does here, there are moments where the vanilla sound is lost so far in the depth of its deconstruction as to sound like nothing so much as a collection of wires, wood and pickups disassembled and reconfigured into intriguingly (un)familiar avantgarde shapes. Vigroux is content to let his fingers do the plucking

Continue reading Franck Vigroux – Ciment [...]

Carter Tutti Void (live at The Oslo Club)

Carter Tutti Void live at the Oslo Club September 2014London 16 September 2014

Mounting the stage with a promise of a different set to the previous night’s show at the same venue, Nik Void, Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti settle quickly into place behind a compact selection of effects boxes, mixers and other instruments. As the gig gets underway, the backdrop lit up by the slowly-cycling op-art imagery familiar from their début album projected overhead, the first audible and visual surprise is that Carter is flanked on either side by Void and Tutti, and they’re playing guitars. Certainly, both Factory Floor and CarterTutti have both always used the instrument, but it’s a striking image at odds with the sounds which the trio are generating. The electronic beat is strong, clear and propulsive, barely varying its base rhythm throughout the next 75 minutes or

Continue reading Carter Tutti Void (live at The Oslo Club) [...]

Tundra – Tajnie i Głębie

Zoharum

Tundra - Tajnie i GłębieIt’s all about space: between things, around planets, the place of which Sun Ra spoke and the concept which he often evoked. But this is not a jazz album; Dawid Adrjanczyk and Krzysiek Joczyn are more electro-acoustic in their means and perhaps calmer in their demeanour here. The title Tajnie i Głębie – Mysteries and Depths – gives a hint of what the album brings as it rolls in on slow-burning coils of sound that shift and shimmer from low-end rumbles to breathing drones which rise and fall like the chest of a slumbering giant.

If the duo’s chosen name Tundra evokes a similar arctic chill as that summoned by a goodly portion of Thomas Köner‘s oeuvre, then that’s no bad place to start with comparisons. Motion seems under a lesser effect of gravity here than is

Continue reading Tundra – Tajnie i Głębie [...]

Radio 9 – Learn to Walk Through Walls EP

White Label Music

Radio 9 - Learn to Walk Through WallsLike the former colonel of the First Earth Battalion, Jim Channon, whom Jon Ronson encountered in the story he recounted in The Men Who Stare At Goats, Radio 9 are apparently encouraging their charges – their listeners – to embark on a mission to achieve the impossible, and walk through the walls; though maybe via the more simple expedient of metaphysically opening up the doors of perception rather than shifting their molecules into different arrangements.

This seems to be the case on “A Futuristic Journey by Car,” where Leon Muraglia sings of “endless streams of light” (the title of Radio 9’s recent album) and “moving without sound” in wasted wastrel style over rhythms lifted straight from the Big Book of How to Drum like Klaus Dinger. The NEU! influence is acknowledged

Continue reading Radio 9 – Learn to Walk Through Walls EP [...]