Ello

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Oh (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische @ Upstairs at The Garage, London 25 March 2000

When consumer electronics expanded sufficiently to include musical instruments at relatively affordable prices for the average band to use in the Eighties, the result was synth pop, unfortunately with some quite dire results. Then came the Techno revolution, and sampler-based bedroom cookups, and eventually everyone who once would have formed a garage band was in on the electronica act. Now that the original Mini-Moogs and Stylophones, DX7s and SH-1s have become collectors’ items after years on the second-hand shelves at bargain basement prices, their place in the battery of instrumentation available to those who started out as indie rock bands (in the loosest possible sense, covering a variety of pleasures and sins) soon eclipsed the treasured varnished sheen of a vintage Fender Jaguar or a Rickenbacker semi-acoustic guitar as objects of desire. The sounds if not the hairstyles of Eighties

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Coil – Queens Of The Circulating Library

Label: Eskaton Format: CDS

Coil - Queens Of The Circulating LibraryImmediately the title conjours images of Thighpaulsandra and John Balance driving across the wetlands of Wessex in a peripatetic wagon filled with books and synthesizers. Perhaps this is how this CD was recorded after all – it sounds as if they were spiralling though an electromagnetic storm of drones, a whirlpool of oscillator eddies, and squall of electricity. As they pass over the marshes and into the woods, a commanding presence arrives – the titular Queen herself, berating, scolding and fulminating on the lack of returns of books to her library, the passing of the lender’s, if not the volumes’, expiry date, all delivered by Dorothy Lewis with the pitch-shift and timestretched ring of otherwordly possession.

The atmosphere created on this release is one

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Edward Ka-Spel – Red Letters/The Scriptures Of Illumina

Label: Caciocavallo Format: CD

Edward Ka-Spel - Red LettersIt is daunting to say the least to be assigned reviews of one of my most top favourite aritsts. I have spent the better part of a cold day indoors listening to these two albums on repeat and I don’t hesitate to tell you it has been a bit of a long winter’s brain-fuck. To me every little thing that Edward Ka-Spel works on turns out near genius or beyond. He is a man who can speak almost casually with the inner soul, with the subconcious, with the maddest parts of one’s nature. Like the good prophet he is sometimes called, he can take volumes of lyrics and turn them into words that seem so familiar that they must be truths, the

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Richard H. Kirk – LoopStatic (Amine ß Ring Modulations)

Label: Touch Format: CD

LoopStatic - sleeve Richard H. Kirk is one of those electronic music producers who seems content to have found his groove, and stuck with it to good result for years, refining, developing, tweaking his sound palette into variations on themes he long ago helped pioneer in the justifiably lauded Cabaret Voltaire. As the title indicates, LoopStatic cycles its way though as many permutations of ring modulation as Kirk can imagine, and he’s had more experience than most with making a groove unwind itself and reform into something else along the way for good measure. Given the resonant properties of his chosen instrumentation, the ecstatic tones generated throughout are sinuous whorls of analogue synthesis, at once familiar and open to the additions and subtractions of beats and pieces, breaks and burbles. Phasing washes of pink noise, cluttered undertows of samples

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Kammerflimmer Kollektief – Hysteria

Label: Bubblecore (North America)/Payola (Europe/Afterhours (Japan) Format: CD

Hysteria - sleeve detailA high-pitched crackle like the malfunction angel coming to take your stereo away. Dulcet bass repetition and skittering percussion make a strange and uneasy juxtapose of quite lovely and what’s-that-noise? A warbling, wobbling sense of trying to move around in the world. Now a homey sort of gentle creaking, a tentative whistling, and then the sax and drums – another run through the deserted streets of the city in the afternoon. It’s a very interesting kind of fuck music – the kind which needs a happy medium (volume-wise) in order to operate properly. Well, if you’re using it as fuck music, that is.

And what is music used for? How insidious is music in the Modern Age – how intimately have we grasped it to our hearts and injected it into our lives

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B.J. Cole and Luke Vibert (live)

Stop The Panic The Spitz, London 28th February 2000

O! if all nights out could be so entertaining! A New Orleans style jam session set up between avuncular B.J. Cole (occasional collaborator with Spiritualized) and chin-pierced Electro Bohemian Luke Vibert (sometimes Wagon Christ and Plug) and a couple of friends to boot. And not New Orleans because of the Jazz like you might be thinking, but because of the unity, the compiling of talents from such different discipines, because of how much fun they had while doing it. A mournful and then playfull ignition between friends, so driving with bleepsome Technoid beats and crunchy Drum and Bass underbeats, the pedal steel pulsing like a Juno and bongos looming. The Southwestern, the south Pacific, south of obvious, south of dreaming, and just south of playland. Cole and Vibert are soon joined onstage by sharp-suited Bobby Valentino with his dynamic fiddle to

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Nocturnal Emissions – Omphalos!

Label: Soleilmoon Format: CD

Nocturnal Emissions - OmphalosBuilt on a circling foundation of interlocking sampled sequences which shift the initial loop into self-generated patterns of intrinsically chaotic nature, Omphalos! (the navel) has much to recommend it for its hazy, slowly drifting ebb and flow of sound mixing itself into hypnotic strands. With the stated intention being to disengage from the centred focus of science and linear thought, Nigel Ayers is operating in an area familiar to those off-kilter philosophers Deleuze and Guattari – as well as pagan shamans, Buddhists and the psychoactively engaged.

Loops accrete slowly into spirals of repetition, minutely altered by pitch and tone, interacting with each other to produce what is no doubt intended to resemble the circular ruins of archetypal antiquity.

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