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Pere Ubu (live)

The Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 27th September 2000

Performing for their 25th anniversary, Pere Ubu delivered such a marvelous performance as to bring me around to wondering why I don’t listen to this band everyday. And why are they not lauded as the one of the best of the last quarter century? Why is Pere Ubu not a household word? Just as well really, as they do inspire that very possessive cult underground sort of attitude among their fine stock of fans. Not many other bands since could dismiss their powerful influence, and most worth a shit have happily given credit where credit is due.

However up and down the reception of Pere Ubu has been over the last 25 years, the Royal Festival Hall definitely got a good dose of the up. Dave Thomas led the band through an alphabetical play list of all the best

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Zion Train – Secrets Of The Animal Kingdom In Dub

Label: Universal Egg Format: CD,2LP

Secrets of The Animal Kingdom In Dub - sleeveOriginally recorded in 1993-4, around the time when messers Cod, Tench and Perch were at the forefront of squeezing as much out of electronic music and reggae as possible and remixing the two into a new style of digital dub music where the drum machine didn’t so much crash mechanistically as step to a more human heartbeat, Secrets Of The Animal Kingdom In Dub has finally seen light of day in this release via Zion Train‘s own Universal Egg label.

The album takes various animals as inspiration, from the “Funnelweb”, “Wild Boar” and “Scorpion” at the dangerous end to the more obscure (“Gavial”, a “Rare Indian crocodilian with a pointed snout” as the sleevenotes conveniently inform)or fluffy “Sea Otter” and majestic “Condor”. Any track named “Manta Ray” has got quite a

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Coil/Nectarine No.9/Foetus (live)

Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 19th September 2000

For their third live performance in a year after the seventeen of build-up, Coil arrive onstage dressed in unlaced grey strait-jackets, backed by a neon sign proclaimng the title of the night’s performance, Persistance Is All. The multiple possible meanings of this slogan soon becomes apparent, as the playback of Jhon Balance‘s spoken title beat which opens “Something” fills the “Royal” Festival Hall. The group are backed by a circling corona of fire on the projection screen which soon becomes the visual focus for the set, and this develops into a hypnagogic kaleidoscope show of the first water, trickling retinal patterns like the strongest hallucinogen to the trip-kicking music. Not that drugs are necessary; it’s far more a state of mind on offer through the combination of light and sonic textures – or Colour, Sound, Oblivion as the flashed-up message

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The Lothars – Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas

Label: Wobbly Music Format: CD

Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas - sleeveThe Lothars are one of those groups who revel in their references, but fail to fall into the trap of being copyists just for the process’ own sake: they use four Theremins; the album sleeve pastiches a Benny Goodman album cover; hints in their name to Sixties Psych group Lothar And The Hand People; their first CD was called Meet The Lothars as a tip of the aerial to The Beatles in their more experimental mode… but enough of the obvious pointers. What counts here is the music, and Oscillate My Metallic Sonatas (which it must be said is one of those titles which alternates from genius to irritant on every other day, and was incidentally originally to have been chosen by email competition, but they couldn’t decide on a winner; look for the

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2nd Gen/Dual/∞/Bajina (live)

Red Rose Club, London 16th September 2000

A night of drones on Seven Sisters Road, strangely light on traffic in the aftermath of petrol protests, but still teeming with North London’s variegated Saturday night fun seekers and the requisite fully made-up Goths on the 253 bus. The Red Rose is no stranger to the extremes of music, and the venue’s home as a noted comedy club is somehow appropriate to the onstage antics of Bajina. Two geezers in various stages of hand splatter-painted scruffiness, face paint and a “Police Line – Do Not Cross” headband (the fashion item de jour for the less publicly-supported kind of road protesters) behind a bunch of electronic kipple, making an unholy racket with all the glee of children set loose to their own anarchic devices.

It’s an enjoyable blend of guitar feedback, radio noise, snatches of charity shop recordings of the likes of Thunderbirds

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Matmos / Motion – Split

Label: FatCat Format: 12″

Matmos Motion - Split Series #11Matmos‘ side of this disc has two tracks, the first of which, “Freak ‘N’ You”, uses digital cut-ups to make snickering Funk from the garbage of sundry abandoned R&B acapella vocal CDs left lying in bins at Drew Daniel‘s college radio station; and very odd indeed it is too. Deracinated Soulful singers make a skipping, skimming presences in a piece which gets up early to make its own contribution to the annals of off-kilter undanceable Dance music. Their second piece, “Rigged Seance”, finds Mr. Daniel and M.C. Schmidt making realtime connections between prepared banjo and a CDR of David Pajo‘s guitar work, Strauss sample interjections and some field recordings from around Mount Everest. The effect makes a disjointed run

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Coil – Musick To Play In The Dark, Volume 2

Label: Chalice Format: CD,2LP

Coil - Musick To Play In The Dark, Volume 21. As I reclined in my sketchy little world and allowed the gasses to go to my head, I became overpowered with the notion that I was being carried away. Silly flashes of Communion-like images of alien beings lifting me and placing me against soft chrome and spraying my skin black metallic and an underlying fear that maybe, just maybe this could all mean harm. Deliciously un-bothered, past that first tiny stab, I relented and realized that my ideas of invasion and possession are only valid at the movies, or at least where the victim might be unwilling to participate. Still I knew that I was away and gone from my world into another. There was comfort

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Ween (live at The Astoria)

London 7 September 2000

Ween are one of those bands who embody the indie dream, the American Dream even. Starting out as lo-fi geeks with too much time, dope and a four track recorder on their hands, they turned their undoubted talents to warped and wonderful ends over the last ten years, from cult act to near-classic rock inheritors of the dubious mantles of both Butthole Surfers and the Grateful Dead. So they don’t quite have the twisted evil natures of the former, nor the hippy twiddles of the latter, but that’s all probably for the best after all. Nope, Gene and Dean Ween are good blokes on a mission to the heart of onstage excess and what might loosely be called a good time.

The Astoria is the venue for the last show of a gruelling tour of three-hour sets, and when the duo and their sidemen come on,

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Digi-Dub – Scrap Bodies

Label: Digi-Dub Format: CD

Digi-Dub - Scrap BodiesThe sounds on this recording were originally derived from pieces of detritus found at the Skrot Centralen scrapyard in Uppsala, Sweden, and composed into the Scrap Bodies soundtrack for the Su-En Butoh Company for their world tour of the dance performance. Lee Digidub and friends – Dodo, Liquid Acrobat, Egon Zoo, King Bimble – have taken the basic samples and put them through their studios and all manner of effect, turning them into a barrage of melodic in their usual rhythmic mould.

First the obvious comparision to Einstürzende Neubauten, and 1/2 Mensch in particular – which was also used for a Butoh dance video: the Digi-Dub crew have different roots in the Techno-Dub they helped define, but there are

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The Black Heart Procession – Three

Label: Touch & Go Format: CD,LP

Three - sleeveLet’s give Three” the moodiest album of 2000 award. If we are passing out any awards that is. Black Heart Procession capture gloom and wrap it up in matte-coloured cowboy Goth like nobody’s business. Unfeigned resignation to everything is the raison d’etre and the low level chronic depressive sound topped up with teardrop pianos and rimmed with just right amount of experimental noises blends into a heavy, heavy roll sans rock that is so specific it is difficult to pigeon-hole. There is no real climax or decent, but an even tonal and disonant string-out of sadness.

Still Pall Jenkins, Tobias Nathaniel, Jason Crane and their accomplices do like to play around a little with weird horns, telephone manipulations, a singing saw, space echoes and probably whatever else is to hand. It must be said that their

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Muslimgauze – The Inspirational Sounds Of Muslimgauze

Label: Universal Egg Format: CD

The Inspirational Sounds Of MuslimgauzePart of the Universal Egg series in which Zion Train showcase some rare and out of print tracks in association with their favourite influential artists, The Inspirational Sounds Of Muslimgauze draws on the Staalplaat limited editions Jaal Ab Dullah, Izlamaphobia, Fatah Guerrilla, Mullah Said and Azzazin. And what a selection – “Azzazzin II” meshes Industrial clang with ominous analogue filters and some quite disturbing moans; “Shimmer Then Disappear II” has one of the grooviest Muslimgauze beat loops heard in a long time – naturally, taken to the cleaners and wedded to as much bass as the speakers can stand.

This is the pain and pleasure of each Muslimgauze release, especially those compiled from the numerous short-run records which emerged both before and since

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