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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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Gnod – Mirror

Rocket

Gnod - MirrorOn the back of last year’s Infinity Machines double comes this dinky three tracker, the traumatic jazz of yore siphoned into some gloriously sculpted discord – 36 minutes that are seriously pissed off.

A notion that gathers momentum on the slinky low-slung beginnings of the opener – a Jah Wobble dub, all languid and wanting. “There’s too many faces in the mirror!”, exclaims Paddy. “I can’t decide which one a want to wear today”.

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Purson – Desire’s Magic Theatre

Spinefarm/Machine Elf

Purson - Desire’s Magic Theatre Purson’s second album seems to have been a long time coming for their growing army of fans. With the stop gap EP In The Meantime giving us a glimpse into the direction the band would head towards next, it can now be seen as only a prelude to this multi-coloured psychedelic concept piece that will probably have people deciphering its meaning for the next twenty years.

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Glenn Jones – Fleeting

Thrill Jockey

Glenn Jones - FleetingUsing unconventional tunings for both guitar and banjo, Glenn Jones‘ latest exploration of the texture and tone he can wring from five, six strings and more cements his deserved reputation as one of the singular exponent of both instruments.

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Tobias Preisig and Stefan Rusconi – Levitation

Qilin

Stefan Rusconi & Tobias Preisig - LevitationRecorded in the Gothic church of Saint-Étienne in Cully, Switzerland by the duo of Tobias Preisig and Stefan Rusconi on violin and organ respectively, Levitation sets out to do just what its title suggests, albeit subtly and in a reflexive mood.

Thanks to the close miking, the sounds the pair extract from their instruments are examined and extracted in peculiar detail, and their respective tones and timbres are heard on record here from a somewhat unusual perspective.

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The Third Eye Foundation – Semtex (20th Anniversary Edition)

Ici D’Ailleurs

The Third Eye Foundation - SemtexIt’s great to hear Semtex again and what a fizzing refresher of fortitude “Sleep” still is – a bastardised drum foray tied to a ugly slurry of overdriven noise. Yeahhhh, as first tracks go, this is a tight shiny driven thing, a dervishing centrifuge storming the brain in raw energy.

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Laibach (live at The Forum) and The Ex / Bamboo (live at The Hope And Ruin)

London, 12 April 2016 Brighton, 13 April 2016

Laibach live at The Forum April 2016 (Picture: Agata Urbaniak)I went to two gigs in two days for Freq. They were unrelated, possibly, but worth pointing out that gigs are experiential things — it’s often more about the being there than what was played and such. That or I’m too lazy to write two separate reviews, so collapsing them into one with some spiel about commonalities is a rhetorical feint.

But before I do that, just a quick couple of lines on The Ex‘s support, Bamboo — not a band I’d come across before, but doing a fine line in big pop numbers with synth, heavily-effected banjo and drums. Their drummer for the evening, Andy Pyne,

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Ipek Gorgun – Aphelion

(Self-released)

Ipek Gorgun - AphelionAphelion unfolds with the chirruping scratchiness of a host of slothful machines awakening and dozing, dreaming fitfully or snoozing comfortably in the electro-acoustic bath that Ipek Gorgun has prepared for them. Listened to in a state of semi-willing wakefulness in the imminent expectation of the arrival of hypnotised, tired-out dozing that movement through a landscape can engender, Aphelion matches those moods and the state of hovering just between consciousness and collapse.

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Nadja – Sv

Essence

Nadja - SvOriginally composed for two festivals in Berlin and taking its title from the SI unit of measurement of ionising radiation dosage in human tissue, Sv (or Sievert in full) is both immediately recognisable as Nadja and quite the departure for Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff. While the duo’s love of all things droney and epically skyscraping is present and correct, so too is an incipient percussive trickle which ultimately rushes into a flood of bruising beats of an altogether more harsh kind than that for which they have largely been known in recent times.

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Lush – Blind Spot

Edamame

Lush - Blind SpotThe sky is bright blue, adrift with white motherships of the imagination – an inbound vision on which the shimmering haze of this recent four-tracker from Lush glides. Blind Spot marks a welcome return to the fray after the tragic death of their drummer halted their desire to continue far too many years ago.

Listening to this handsomely designed EP (something Chris Bigg of 4AD fame has done an excellent job of encapsulating) — honestly, it’s as if they never went away

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Michael Gira / Thurston Moore / Laura Cannell (live at Saisonscape)

The Barbican, London 30 March 2016

Saisonscape March 2016Spring is sprung, the grass is ris, I wonder what this thing at The Barbican is? Well wonder no more; it’s called Saisonscape, and it’s a series of concerts which have been organised by Art Assembly‘s Julia Dempsey to celebrate the idea of growth, renewal and the creation of new life in an artistic context. That all sounds quite heavy, but for tonight’s concert she’s chosen musicians who play set pieces but allow themselves room for improvisation to illustrate the theme.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Bitchin’ Bajas (live at Café OTO)

London 24 March 2016

Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Bitchin' Bajas (liveI think about what Bonnie “Prince” Billy has been to me the last few years since I began listening to him. I was late to the party, obviously, but caught up very fast and developed my obsession in earnest.

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Nisennenmondai – #N/A

On-U Sound

NisennenmondaiNisennenmondai - #N/A have turned their exploration of the extremes of guitar, bass and drum repetition into something of an artform, as well as seeming to find new and ever-inventive ways to continuously revisit and repurpose the same basic sound and tracks which first appeared on their now-classic N LP in 2013. With the superb live in the Clouds Hill studio version of N (and more) bringing the engrossing immediacy of their stage presence to both disc and video

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Babymetal – Metal Resistance

earMUSIC

Babymetal - Metal ResistanceOMG BEST ALBUM EVER.

Yeah, probably should write more than that.

Precarious, is how you might describe it. Prior to this release, there was a couple of songs floating around, notably “Road of Resistance”, which features Dragon Force, or DragonForce (I’ve no intention of dignifying them with finding out how their name’s spelt). They’re alright, if you’re in a shred kind of a mood

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Enslaved / Skuggsja / Wardruna (live at By Norse)

Wardruna live at By Norse 2016The Coronet, London 19 March 2016

Saturday night in Elephant and Castle and the queue is round the block. Almost literally. Due to the sad state of the beloved Shepherds Bush Empire, tonight’s entry in the mythic By Norse canon has been shifted to The Coronet, a converted cinema and nightclub whose security conditions for entry are of the stringent type that works just fine if you’re a club and people are showing up five or six at a time, but tends to grind to a (really fucking cold) halt if you’re putting on a gig and the whole crowd have shown up at once.

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Был замечен – стало ещё только хуже (B-Z – It Just Got Worse)

Robustfellow Prods.

Был замечен - стало ещё только хужеPsychedelic trio Был замечен (transliterated and truncated to B-Z for short) bring the heavy noise from Kharkiv, dealt out with a steadfast determination to fry the listener’s brains while shaking the rafters that’s entirely admirable. Their second album стало ещё только хуже (It Just Got Worse) sets out on a mission to befuddle, bamboozle and all-out confuse over five tracks on two sides of compact cassette (and digital download).

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