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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Unruly Milk – Spilaggges


Unruly Milk - SpilagggesA suitably rumbunctious beast, Unruly Milk‘s Spilaggges combines the eclectic guitar playing of Joe Thompson (also of Hey Colossus and Henry Blacker) with the rippling interventions of Kek (Hacker Farm and Ice Bird Spiral) to make for a neatly under-produced début album. Add in occasional vocals from Elisa Thompson and some unspecified help from Stefano Giaconne and the results are a woozy wander through a West Country psychedelic mindscape

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Senyawa (live at Café OTO)

London 17 October 2016

Senyawa live October 2016It’s going to be very difficult to describe Senyawa in words. What follows will probably contain muddled metaphors, chaotic similes, idiotic expostulations, expletives, wild imagery, desperate comparisons, upholstery by Zachery, knick-knackery by Thackery, Terpsichore by Dickery and dickery by Dock. Younger readers – or those of a nervous disposition – may want to look away now.

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Guitar Wolf / Atomic Suplex (live at The Dome)

Guitar Wolf live at The Dome October 2016London 7 October 2016

Atomic Suplex are in many way the ideal support band for Guitar Wolf, having seemingly followed them right into the gaping jaws and fuming exhausts of jet rock’n’roll.

A frontman with a pilot’s helmet complete with mic, decorated with the words ROCK and, of course, ROLL, some sleazy good-time boogie-woogie cranked up to eleven

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All Them Witches (live at The Scala)

London 4 October 2016

All Them Witches live at The Scala October 2016The Man Whose Head Expanded. Not in a good Mark E Smith kind of way, though. Oh no. Sadly not. In a kids-back-at-school, viral-laboratory, I’d-like-to-just-lie-down-in-this-ditch kind of way. Taking the bus down to The Scala, I wonder how long it will be until my eyeballs just pop out due to the pressure from my sinuses. But, Freq reviewers are hopefully made of sterner stuff, and so in a bravura display of stiff upper head, I marshal myself off the 73 and into the venue.

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Goat – Requiem


Goat - RequiemSometimes you want music you can just joyfully wig out to. For exactly these moments there is Goat, for which I am very grateful.

Goat have an unselfconscious and unflinching commitment to their music. It’s a celebration. A testament to emotionally transformational power of music, but thankfully without any underlying philosophy other than manifestly really enjoying what they do. Their euphoric delivery, which comes across in recorded format as well as their live performances, is disarmingly engaging. Its not particularly clever, but who cares? It’s so much fun to listen to.

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Felix Kubin Und Das Mineralorchester – II: Music For Film And Theatre


Felix Kubin Und Das Mineralorchester - Music for Film and Theatre

Starts very Steven Stapleton-like with a manic woman in full-on polka-dot phobia jabbering like some Echo Poeme cut-up, well versed in disturbing vocal spikes. The next track leaping towards some brume-like contact play, electroacoustic grit in the psychic ointment. A disconcerting churn caught on a glass-rim hum diving the industrial before dipped into a dichotomy of digitised distress.

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The Other Without – The Other Without

Heavy Rural

The Other Without - S/TThis sounds like home.

It’s slow, like Somerset. It creeps up on you, like the sunlight splitting off the top of Glastonbury Tor. It gets where it’s going in its own time; there’s absolutely nothing about this release which feels forced. Neil Mortimer (Urthona) and Michael J York (Cyclobe, Téléplasmiste, The Stargazer’s Assistant) have a beautiful sense of quietude as their music crawls majestically over the landscape.

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Luke Haines – Smash The System

Cherry Red

Luke Haines - Smash The SystemI must admit to having come late to Luke Haines. I managed to avoid Britpop almost entirely for reasons largely connected to booze, drugs and industrial rock, but my vague memory of the whole era is one of a terrible national mistake from which only Haines and Jarvis Cocker appear to have emerged with any semblance of dignity. Recent years have seen me falling in love with Black Box Recorder‘s almost-Ballardian dreampop perfection, so it’s with genuine curiosity that I approached his latest solo effort, Smash The System.

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Taman Shud – Oracle War


Taman Shud - Oracle War Sweeping in on a waft of churning organ and pounding drums, Taman Shud‘s second album Oracle War has more than a whiff of classic seventies grungy acid-frazzled rock to its fragrantly-flecked switchback riffs and tight-as-you-like chops and changes. As soon as the wall of sound starts propping up their house of the holy noise, it’s impossible not to see images of dank basements, oil-wheels turning and the air heavy with sweat, drugs and the sweet-smelling waft smoke gusting under the salad lights and strobes.

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The Master Musicians of Jajouka (live at The Barbican)

Milton Court Theatre, London 29 September 2016

Master Musicians Of Jajouka live September 2016A crucial international fixture, and Team Freq is in utter disarray: star striker Rodham-Heaps out of action, midfield playmaker Nickells injured (his silky skills laid low after a night of drinking at Acid Mothers Temple), and others all unavailable for selection. And so, in a bold decision, the Freqmanager1 decides to bring yours truly off the subs bench and into the starting line-up. Taking my inspiration from Ole ‘Super-Sub’ Solskjaer, my aim is to come on and change the course of the game decisively.

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Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO / Wooden Indian Burial Ground (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Acid Mothers Temple live September 2016Corsica Studios, London 29 September 2016

It’s the beginning of autumn and leaves are already starting to turn a darker shade on the trees and supermarkets are already trying to sell us Christmas fare three months early. It is also traditionally the time when the mighty Acid Mothers Temple decide to do their UK tour. Its almost as if its a yearly ritual to go to a small club in London, usually Corsica Studios, and have my ears pummelled by Japan’s finest.

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Monno – Cheval Ouvert

Le Petit Mignon / Staalplaat

Monno - Cheval OuvertMonno‘s 2013 album Cheval Ouvert has been spruced up for this art edition by Le Petit Mignon, pressed on two glorious discs of purple/white and gold/white vinyl. Encased in a fold-out sleeve that is a work of obvious dedication and considerable aesthetic delight, the four tracks inside offer a perhaps less obvious but no less satisfying a route to gratification as its packaging.

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The Stargazer’s Assistant – Remoteness Of Light

House Of Mythology

The Stargazer's Assistant - Remoteness Of LightThe gentle slope of ambience that ignites this baby keeps its cards very close to its chest. That twinkling starlight and temple solemnity give very little away. Those odd squelchy bits that sound like Mr Burroughs‘ typewriter turned flesh mingling with the more tuneful. Those vaporised swirls erupting in Bar Maldoror fissures (more Current gasps than Nurse naughtiness; I was half expecting Mr Tibet to dip in at one moment), all leading you closer to this album’s epicentre.

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Gaap Kvlt – Jinn


Gaap Kvlt - JiinDeep like the desert where the unchecked winds create and carry the drones, Gaap Kvlt‘s Jinn — which follows on from 2014’s Void — draws on field recordings from north Africa to evoke the baking days and cold nights of the Sahara.

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Van der Graaf Generator – Do Not Disturb


Van der Graaf Generator - Do Not DisturbIt’s always a daunting prospect to spin a new Van der Graaf Generator album for the first time: will it live up to expectations? Can the group still be vital and challenging thirteen albums and forty-eight years into their “career”? The answers are inevitably a disappointing “no”; and a second and third spin do very little to change that perception.

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