Archives by month/year

Twilight Circus Dub Sound System – Horsie

Label: M Records Format: CD,LP

Twilight Circus - HorsieRyan Moore‘s fifth solo album as Twilight Circus is billed as “Dub-Rock-Electronica,” which is about an accurate decription as needed – but with the emphasis as ever on the bass. Moore (who also plays bass with The Legendary Pink Dots, and is likely to batter audiences with inflatable hammers, while dressed in feather boas) has drawn a lot from the UK dub scene of Adrian Sherwood and On-U Sound as well as the traditional producers such as King Tubby. The former’s influence is apprent in “Romy”, which opens the set with a booming, majestic bass and a shimmering accretion of analogue synth tendrils. The liquid electric pianos and keyboards which reverberate throughout several tracks (especially around the skanking stepping of “Kik”

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The Residents (live)

Wormwood Live The Forum, London 19th July 1999

When The Residents put on a show, it’s something very special to see indeed; like Jesus Christ Superstar (surely one of the defining moments of pomp-pop-opera, and whose theme provides the opening fanfare as the curtain goes up on the monocular ones) taken beyond the realms of kitsch to a theatricality which defies satire and emerges resplendent as total genius incarnate. To explain: the very fact that there are four musicians dressed in surplices with foam eyeballs for heads making the kind of gargantuan music to suit the subject of Curious Stories From The Bible – at once pompous, Prog and post-Modern – while the two main actors declaim (with skill which somehow transcends overacting) the group’s peculiar interpretation of key moments from the not-so-Good Book is mind-boggling enough. Add in the skull-masked and bird-like carnival beaked male and female leads (or

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Faust – Ravvivando

Label: Klangbad Format: CD,2LP

Faust - Ravvivando sleeveThe big Krautrock album of ’99? Well, it’s certainly caused a lot of excitement in those circles. Fresh from turning London’s Garage into a gas chamber and ejecting long-time figurehead Jean-Hervé Peron, Faust land in the recorded arena with Ravvivando – twelve tracks of uncompromising noise of vintage quality. Phew!

Original members, Hans Joachim Irmler and Zappi Diermaier have assembled four cohorts to continue their three decade-old campaign into new sonic territories and the revamped band are sounding harder and stranger than ever. No one really sounds like Faust. Drawing out the hoary old comparisons with Neubauten and Throbbing Gristle, we find that they are a different sort of beast altogether. The Jean-Hervé-fronted outfit had a more performance Pop-Art agenda, while the 1999 version is a sleek vortex of a band. They’re proud of their gleaming edges.

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Fridge – Of EP

Label: Go Beat Format: 12″,CDS

Fridge - Of EPAppearing in four differing takes from the album version, “Of” is a slippery little track in its “Version” form, with various sound-science vocal samples drifting across its fairly straight-ahead riff with accompanying synth squeals, blips and fallout to tingle the spine and drop down into the realms of pitch-bent fun. The “Remix” gets more jazzy in the bass department, with the drums dropped right down into brushed and stroked arenas for the most part, making a more relaxed take on what is barely recognisable as having the same origins as the former track, shuffling around softly head-nodding melodies and shimmering percussion additions.

The “Edit” is more of a rejigging into upbeat realms, propulsive and really quite groovy in a Hammondy sort of way, with a

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Four Tet – Glasshead/Calamine

Label: Output Format: 12″,CDS

Four Tet - Glasshead-CalamineOpening with an astrological description of someone with their aspect in Mars, “Glasshead” soon makes it like the groovy number to be expected from Four Tet‘s post-Trip Rock excursions in the last year or so, only here magnified, intensified and refined. Sonorous virtualised brass, real-world breakbeats and the strangely fashionable glass-chimes make for a propulsive undercarriage, circled by progressively wayward sax honks, nut-string stroke and all manner of carefully-crafted squeaks or strains. The whole effect is both energetic and laid back at the same time, which is quite some trick, and pops off in a few interesting directions before returning to the solid groove for the end.

“Calamine” declares itself to be a radio mix – and that’s because it does exactly

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Black Star Liner – Bengali Bantam Youth Experience

Label: WEA Format: CD,LP

Black Star Liner Bengali Bantam Youth ExperienceMore Dub-based at heart than anything else, Bengali Bantam Youth Experience shows a musical development from Black Star Liner‘s début Yemen Cutta Connection which results in a more streamlined experience, with crisp production letting the bass reverberate around and under delicate keyboard tones, Bollywood strings and all manner of Eastern percussion. There’s some upbeat skanking beats on tracks like “Low BMW” and the laid-back single “Superfly And Bindi” which exhibit and infectious groove and sardonic vocals which take things well beyond the Asian Cool into the realms of Asian Sarkey. Yep, and there’s a vocoder about alongside the de rigueur samples from the On-U Sound back catalogue too, plus fuzz guitars and sitar twangs as is only to be expected,

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The Tape-beatles – The Grand Delusion

Label: Staalplaat Format: CD

The Grand Delusion - sleeveOriginally released in 1993, The Grand Delusion takes as its themes the very idea of the American nation as a construct of media and cultural signifiers, especially as contextualised by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent events of the Gulf War. As a work of what The Tape-beatles mockingly trademark as Plagiarism®, the record also served as the soundtrack to their triple-screen 16mm film presentation of the same name, and brims with energetic venom directed at the powers that be in what was establishing itself as the dominant world military and economic force at the time of its recording.

As the title indicates, every opportunity to shred the braggadocio and self-aggrandising statements of Americas politicians and their partners in cultural control is taken with multi-media assault and battery in mind. Sometimes the

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