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Faust Wakes Nosferatu

Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 25th October 2000

Faust were originally asked to improvise a live score to F.W. Murnau‘s classic expressionist retelling of the Dracula story for an outdoor vampire film festival in Germany a few years back. For some reason the promotors asked them to perform to the silent film twice on the same bill; the generators failed, rain loomed, disaster threatened. Still, they survived the experience, recorded an album as Faust Wakes Nosferatu, and made a few more performances as time allowed. Now, as the last of the Outro series marking the departure of David Sefton from the artistic helm of the South Bank Centre, Faust open the first night of their gruelling UK tour of the show in the Royal Festival Hall.

Bringing up the introduction to the film itself, the band settle into a warming-up routing of metal percussion, organ swarms, plucked and

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Kreidler – Kreidler

Label: Mute (USA)/Wonder (Europe) Format: CD,2LP

Kreidler - sleeve detail Perhaps the best chill out album for the Fall of 2000, Kreidler have produced here a lovely self-titled musical edition of what sounds to me like a big after-dinner Disco mint for post whatever you might have been doing earlier. Calm and uncomplicated, Kreidler runs through eleven tracks of pleasant but not in the least bit boring Electro-Pop which is a welcom gentle relaxer with the heroics being placed all in its simplicity.

Highlights include “Mnemorex” with the vocals of Momus in a not quite sing-a-long song; nonetheless it quickly found its way into my mind as something a little familiar and quite sweet. Then just about as far away from that as one could get, Leo Garcia sings on “Estatico” with a distorted and minimal South American sound which will appeal to the

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Download – Effector

Label: Nettwerk / Sub-Conscious Communications Format: CD

Download - EffectorOkay. Let’s get this straight. The back cover is composed entirely of acid blotters. The pictures of Phil Western and cEvin Key on the inside are just a bunch of eyes. And the tracks are called stuff like “Muscaria” and “Ayahuasca”. Yes, kids, it’s an album about – call the cops – DRUGS. And really mental ones at that.

A lot less abrasive than much previous Download output, and a lot more psychedelic. More third eye opening than eardrum bleeding, but still all very, very sinister. There are more weird sounds than weird noises, and if that’s a subtle distinction then it’s also a fucking important one. Fragments of voices and surges of electronic mayhem float along atop those bouncy but insistent bass

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Twilight Circus Dub Sound System – Dub Voyage

Label: M Records Format: CD, LP

Dub Voyage - sleeve detailThe indefatigable Ryan Moore keeps up the Dub pressure with this, his seventh album release as Twilight Circus, purveyor of fine Seventies-styled Dubs to the kids… and beyond. One of the first impressions of Dub Voyage, as is only to be expected, is the bass. Tons of the stuff, and warm, gloopy booms of it; while the LP starts off gently enough, by the conclusion matters have got almost down to the the low-Hertz territories mapped out so boomshakingly by Adrian Sherwood‘s experimental production on The Missing Brazilian‘s fearsomely wobbly Warzone back in 1984 – and re-released not before time a couple of years back on the On-U Sound Master Recordings series. Bathyscapes rather than landscapes.

Anyhow, back to Twilight Circus; and Moore’s production has rarely sounded this crisp – and this is

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Rother & Moebius/White Noise/Alquimia/Waveworld (live)

The Third Millennium Festival Union Chapel, London 14th October 2000

Generally I would say that if you want to see a gig in London, there are not many more beautiful places than Union Chapel. I would also add to try for summer. This cavernous gothic spired chapel all of stone and wood and beautiful doorways into maze-like passages provides an atmosphere of spooky tranquility and usually gorgeous acoustic quality. Unfortunately, the cold could not be kept out this night, even with the radiation of a dozen or more electric heaters, and according to some of the artists, the sound system was more than a little off. Putting an audience on hard pews in a cold stone room and expecting them to stay awake for hours on end of quiet dreamy music proved to be too much, so what should have been a promising bunch of performances did eventually become tedious

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Rufus Harley – The Pied Piper Of Jazz

Label: Label M Format: CD

The Pied Piper Of Jazz - sleeve Charming the snake of Jazz, the pipes lead the tones on a dance of hitherto unheard-of proportions. Bongos and drums – bongs and drugs? Methinks not. “High on life” seems more the fit. This is one of those recordings from the “outre” days of releasing – something so strange and unexpected that it is immediately endearing and entearing.

A jaunty voyage. The sounds from the bagpipe (always singular) lend a different kind of atmosphere entirely to the Jazz backing and in comes the shaking of the tambourine. Vibrating organ and further combos reveal how integral the bagpipe is when it’s gone. Hup! And the trombone blaats, urged further by the wizard behind the curtain of history…

Propulsion from an unlikely place in history, into an uncertain future, all the while espousing the

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Hank & Slim – The World Turned Gingham

Label: Caciocavallo Format: CD

The World Turned Gingham - sleeve Hank and Slim, two good ol’ boys who lurched from legendary Bluegrass status and back into the trailer parks of Obscurity, Tx, making Country music take the dark experiemental route. Or Robin Storey and Nigel Ayers deconstructing the sound of the airwaves and the pedal steel into droning peyote-fuelled washes of moody Mid-West ambience? Rumours that the latter are true cannot still be confirmed, but if so then these sleeve notes are damn’ funny! Hilarious, especially the section about the return in the Eighties of Hank’s stint with Country Punk group Limey Faggots, favourite support group for both ZZ Top and GG Allin with a Thompson Twins fixation; there’s nothing like a good yarn to liven up the lonely nights on the paririe, now is there?

The World Turned Gingham isn’t so much of

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Nocturnal Emissions – Futurist Antiquarianism

Label: Soleilmoon Format: CD

Futurist Antiquarianism - sleeve quarterStructured around bursts of wheezing Drum & Bass breakbeats, Nigel Ayers‘ latest missive from the borderlands of music broadcasts at a frequency attuned to a zeitgeist-surfing mix of attenuated rhythms, (implied) anti-monarchism and community space travel. All this and an origami sleeve which builds into a peculiar design (instructions enclosed) and Futurist Antiquarianism makes for a rounded album which develops Nocturnal Emissions‘ edgy sound into chilling directions.

Not nearly dance-friendly enough to get the average drumandbasshead going for more than about a quarter of its length, tracks like “Though Aeons Break” mixes sampled brass with metallic-tasting abstraction until the solution dissolves; spacing out the rhythmic moments this way distances Futurist… from genre-categorization quite nicely, allowing a far more organic feel than if the beats had been left to dominate. Instead, the looped breaks are set upon

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Oh. – Charme 75

Label: MDZ Format: 12″

Oh ‎– Charme 75“Charme 75″, taken from Oh.‘s Upper Disker album, finds the gang in Housey mode, chuckling their abundant collection of analogue synths along to a slippery Funk-based track which does the dancefloor thing in spades. Warmth is the key here, and the knowledge that this is the result of live interaction between people and not just machines adds further to the pleasures of the basic groove as swatches of electronics pulse and build dreamy spires.

Chilled out is the phrase best used to sum up this track, and for some reason the snapped-up synths call the very early sound of Eat Static to mind, but without the UFO references. “Charming” is the Gebruder Treichmann‘s remix, bringing up the beats to Tech-House levels and rhythms; there’s more abstraction, and a harder edge which makes for a more

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Hazard – Wood + Field/Bridge

Label: Ash International [R.I.P] Format: CD+LP

Wood - sleeveBenny Nilsen‘s second record as Hazard comes as a CD and LP set (or at least the first thousand pressed do), with six tracks on the 36-minute digital unit and two more on the 35-minute vinyl. Odd as this might at first seem, the different media suit the resulting pieces quite well; having quiet glitchy runs of excoriated environmental sounds and thin reedy electronics (or are they? Maybe those sounds are made by a glass being run around the rim…? Or the hum of an electricity pylon…?) presented through the crystalline medium of CD certainly works in a different way than if they were back with the pops and clicks of a well-worn groove (though of course there is something to be said for vinyl deterioration in the right context – perhaps the CD tracks of

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