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London Musicians’ Collective Ninth Annual Festival of Experimental Music

South Bank Centre, London 27-29th May 2000

Now semi-permanently established at the South Bank for the past few years, the LMC Experimental Music Festival has become one of the fixtures of the London Improv and New Music scene, struggling through into something approaching mainstream cultural acceptance – though that’s a relative position of course. This isn’t to say that its become particularly watered down, blanded out or easily commercial; far from it, and while not everything will be pleasing to all ears, it neither should be nor could be, and much on offer is is such high quality that a few dull spots can easily be avoided by those disinclined to favour one piece of Avant-noodling will soon find another of superb quality for their edification and enjoyment.

Ninth time around, and Saturday’s Purcell Room show has two extreme of that which can be described as experimental – Die Trip

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Brainticket – Alchemic Universe

Label: Hologram (North America)/Fünfundvierzig (Europe) Format: CD

Alchemic Universe - sleeve detailO that wacky Joel Vandroogenbroeck! I am on about my eighth listen to Alchemic Universe and what keeps happening is that I forget it might not mean to be so serious. What a bunch of flexing of the ole keyboards! This is Prophet 600tastick! ooo, the DX-7, the Korgs, the Junos even! An Eighties sort of extravaganza of synthesizer music gone mad. Did someone already coin “space oddity” as a phrase? O yes, I think I have heard it somewhere. Ok, so odd space music and new romantic style arrangements, and Laurie Anderson style spoken words, hesitant and halting with rythyms not unlike a washing machine gone off balance during the spin cycle. Alchemic Universe must have been a real kick to make.

I don’t know really if Mr. V and company are

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An interview with Jean-Hervé Péron

After The Deluge

29th May 2000

Jean-Hervé Péron is best known as the former de facto front man for Faust, a group he sometimes seemed to embody the group’s chaotic lunacy for in his onstage antics with chainsaws and naked painting sessions. Following his traumatic personal split with the band after their early Nineties re-emergence, Péron spends his time raising horses and children on his small farm near Hamburg.

For years there were rumours that he would return with a rival group, an Anti-Faust to seal the rancour; instead, his first London show as a live performer took place in May 2000 at The South Bank Centre as a surprise performer in the Ninth Annual Festival of Experimental Music put on by the London Musicians Collective. Before the gig, Jean-Hervé took time to talk to Freq about his musical career, before, during and after the legendary Faust years.

FREQ:

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An interview with Charles Hayward

May 2000

As impassioned and animated offstage as behind his massive drumkit, Charles Hayward radiates a genuine intensity. He first came to wide attention as drummer with the highly influential This Heat as the embers of Post-Punk simmered off into wilder experimental tangents. He has released a dozen solo and colaborative albums, and puts on rare solo live shows which pull the raw muscular percussion at the heart of Rock into new shapes with devastatingly powerful results. The Freq team quizzed him on what makes drives his particular brand of rhythmic intensity as the London Musicians Collective’s Ninth Annual Festival of Experimental Music drew to a close on the South Bank in May 2000. Interviewers: Lilly Novak, Antron S. Meister, Iotar and Deuteronemu 90210.

FREQ: We know about This Heat and all of that, but what you did yesterday in the LMC Festival, is that available on record?

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The Rise – Descent

Label: Pagoda Format: CD

The Rise - DescentHaving hung out with the Reinforced Records crew, as well as The Future Sound Of London in North-west London while cutting his teeth on the sampler, it’s no surprise that The Rise (AKA Simon Wells) makes the kind of semi-abstracted Techstep Drum & Bass that propelled his breakbeat science in Vortexation and Headstone Lane (denizens of the area may notice a, hmmmm, “streetwise” trend in his choice of names) identities onto EPs for the former label and the latter’s EBV imprint. What’s a bit more different is that he used to be guitarist with post-modern punks Snuff, but there are none of that band’s quirky advertising covers or football-worshipping on Descent.

Fortunately it’s highly structured beats and loops with an electronic topping instead, and very good too. Warbling bass, squirming synths, distorted snatches of sound

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Edward Ka-Spel – Angelos Obscuros

Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records(US)/Beta-lactam Ring Records(UK) Format: CD

Angelos Obscuros - sleeve detailIf this recording of Edward Ka-Spel and Hero Wouters live in concert in Amsterdam’s noted/notorious Paradiso Club in May 1985 still sounds weird sixteen years later, just imagine what it must have sounded like then. Under a throbbing, scuttling digital percussion send off in post-Kosmische rhythm loops, surrounded by a whirl of effected keyboards and analogue lo-fi electronics, the contrast to the underground, let alone mainstream vocal synth music emerging at the time is still remarkable.

As Ka-Spel’s alternately disturbing and charismatic voice sweeps across the gamut of possibility the keyboard and drum machine offered in the mid-Eighties, several moods are proposed, offered, run through. Light and darkness of human emotions flow from the mournful optimism of “Even Now” to the duet with Bianca Wouters on “Hotel Blanc” where the misery of

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Einstürzende Neubauten – Silence Is Sexy

Label: Mute Format: 2CD

Silence Is Sexy- sleeve Neubauten. Yeah, you know, Neubauten. (Somehow, after all this time, it’s kind of easy to forget that there ever was an “Einstürzende” in there at all; we are, indeed, on second-name terms. Thorough familiarity.) Because everyone knows what Neubauten do. They hit stuff, make a racket, and be German. Yeah?

Fuck off. Well, apart from the third one (although there is a great deal of English on this album, as well as – worryingly- some French). And the first one (although they do hit stuff, just… maybe not quite so hard?) And, okay, when a track like “Redukt” hits its peak, they do make a glorious racket (only this time with an additional string section). But you can fuck off, anyway, because this is that rarity – a quiet Neubauten album. Silence is, in fact, sexy,

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Costes – Nik Ta Race

Rectangle

Nik Ta Race - sleeve Bells come ringing and buzzing and oh, that French! It reminds of first listenings to Einstuerzende Neubauten – unsure of what was being said but perhaps something profound…one never knows, so, keep shrugging those shoulders. Irrevocably humourous liner note photographs – salvation in the hovering black angel, the war ends, the fighting ceases and all eyes turn toward Heaven and the ascension. Oh, that scratchin’ is makin’ me itch, and the perception of M. Costes as a racist is attacked throughout.

“Misunderstanding” can be a negative but how many people in one’s lives really count, in terms of these people “understanding” you?

The microphone (mic ta race?) sways under the onslaught of M. Costes’ voice, overloaded perhaps like his shoulders with burdens and cares and troubles. Indeterminate voices swirl at his ankles – the voices of the accusers?

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Sonic Youth – NYC Ghosts & Flowers

Label: Geffen Format: CD,LP

NYC Ghosts & Flowers - sleeveThis album marks yet another, slightly revised, slightly more reflective return in sound for Sonic Youth; all the way back to the rugged melodic scamblings of Daydream Nation. With their amazing capacity for distinction of sound, SY are immediately recognizable from the first stretched note, thoough they seem to have done some house cleaning and root searching for NYC Ghosts & Flowers. New York should be so proud to have this album as a tribute to its grimy real side.

Bastard guitar layers are as liberal as we want the band to give and the songwriting within is masterful power-minimalism at its best. Kim Gordon is in top form with her sarcastic breathy singing and Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo proves themselves poets as much as string-benders as always. Is it a little bit of

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To Rococo Rot/SchneiderTM (live)

Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank Centre, London 7th May 2000

It’s City Slang‘s birthday – ten years old and going stronger than ever at the interface of good old-fashioned Post-Indie Rock, Country dispatches from the edge and exuberent German Electronica. Tonights show is the first London event, featuring the latter stylings in the shape of Dirk Dresselhaus‘s bubbly bleep outfit SchneiderTM and the ever-evolving melodies of To Rococo Rot. Somehow Schneider have expanded by 300% for this show, with Dresselhaus flanked by various intense cohorts and their boxes of tricks, and together they produce a near-chaotic mishmash of generally upbeat rhythms and some quite quirky noises.

Perhaps there is a little of the cheesy on display tonight – a little of the DiscoTechnoPop muted by the surroundings, if only for the audience. No, Dirk is well up for it, punching the air, jerking like he’s been plugged straight into the

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Scanner/Pan Sonic and FM Einheit/Project Dark (live)

Sonic Boom Live Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank Centre, London 4th May 2000

Presented in conjunction with the excellent Sonic Boom exhibition of sound installations at the Hayward Gallery, the line up for this event features three groups and artists who have also been selected for inclusion in the gallery. Project Dark are the first onstage, lurking behind a bank of samplers and sundry equipment, with the audience decked out in 3d-glasses for the presentation of the Disc Continued film – and handily, that universal promoter of all things vinyl and experimental, John Peel pops up in the movie’s intro to remind everyone to slip on the red and blue filters. The film and soundtrack are used by the three members of Project Dark as a template on which to build a really quite slick presentation of their various works of deconstruction meted out to the very idea of needles,

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Calexico – Hot Rail

Label: Quarterstick (North America) City Slang (Europe) Format: CD,LP

Hot Rail - sleeve Calexico are not trying to be subtle in any way with Hot Rail. From the Mexican Mafia gang tatoo font to their immediate delve into Mariachi horns on track one, it is apparent that this is border town type music for lovers of the desert from a group named after one very such crossing point. Mercifully they shy pretty far from sounding too Country, too Tex-Mex, and instead weave and swing through more classical SouthWestern themes of lone flowers and desolate vistas. Very cinematic, Hot Rail does conjure up beautiful melacholy pictures of lonely windswept horizons with rolling tumbleweeds, though due to some gratifying versatility, the views could be as easily taken for Italy as Arizona. One track, “Fade”, gives vision of a wanderlusted cabellero exploring the alien backstreets of

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