Archives by month/year

Roshi featuring Pars Radio – The Sky and the Caspian Sea


Alarm bells ring when the press release quotes from Mixmag‘s review of Roshi‘s previous release And Stars: “Stunningly beautiful Welsh-Iranian electronica torch songs” conjures up visions of dinner party audio floss – an unsuspecting musical victim snatched from a ‘novelty’ country, tacked on to a politely unobtrusive trip-hop beat and polished to a mirrored sheen with Real World™ grade 1000 aural sandpaper. Happily, The Sky and the Caspian Sea is nothing of the sort, instead bringing to mind the recent work of Robert Wyatt as re-imagined by a slightly sedated Björk, or even perhaps Kate Bush standing in for Julee Cruise in a remake of Twin Peaks.

Although she was born in Wales, Roshi Nasehi‘s parents are Iranian and

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Partisans – By Proxy


The sleeve notes to By Proxy quote Aldous Huxley: “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” But what Partisans express is not the arcane or ineffable but rather a straightforward affection for a rather uncontroversial jazz, probably circa whenever it was that Eric Dolphy was playing with Coltrane. The Partisans know what they are doing too, with guitarist Phil Robson and sax and clarinet player Julian Siegel both playing exceptional roles. As with Dolphy the feel is often toward a sort of brawny sophistication, but while Dolphy could drive that feeling somewhere into the outer-realms of hovering-at-the-edge-of meaning, brain-bending alarm, Partisans mostly keep their feet attached firmly to the ground.

The difference leads out of considerations of style

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Leverton Fox – Country Dances

(Gravid Hands)

Leverton Fox have somehow largely cut themselves loose from contemporary cliches. Coming in a gorgeous Crayola-spattered cover, Country Dances is made of equal parts jazzy articulation and jagged electronic invention. Not that there’s anything obviously ‘jazz’ here, just heavily treated percussion and brass being moulded and distressed along with location recordings and plenty of abstract electronic tics and tears. Maybe the spirit of Han Bennink is at work, but in what feels like a thoroughly electronic sensibility. Another parallel might be with Supersilent, though Leverton Fox play punk spit to Supersilent’s New Wave polish. Certainly they come across a lot more gritty and demented than Polar Bear and there are even shades of 23 Skidoo and, more substantially, Nurse With Wound and very early Cabaret Voltaire.

Leverton Fox – Country Dances […]

Teleseen – Fear of the Forest


Apparently, Teleseen is the ‘primary alias’ of producer Gabriel Cyr, who claims to be “on the vanguard of combining dub and reggae with experimental electronic music” – a claim that’s true only in the sense that Daz really is a ‘revolutionary new product’, ie., not true at all. Such resort to unmediated hype is to be expected from someone who makes such a clunky show of his commitment to affectless tossers, Deleuze and Guattari. All in all then, we’re heading for the world of rhizomatic flim-flam where ideas easily crystalise out into brands.

Almost every sound here sounds like a default setting of some kind while the production smears everything into an indiscriminate mulch of sub-dub head-nodding. Strangely for someone who

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ThisQuietArmy/Aun/Nadja (live)



Casa Del Popolo, Montréal 16 September 2009

Another Alien8 extravaganza at Casa Del Popolo in Montréal: guaranteed visceral jiggling with nice folks who make confrontational music.

A panda bear stands behind a flower-strewn hill, arms aloft, beseeching a soldier. Rainbow beams explode from the bear’s mouth through the soldier’s torso. The contradictory poster for this Alien8 happening may have the candy-coloured hue of yesteryear’s psychedelia, but don’t expect a paisley love-in: inside the Casa, the music is heavier than a death in the family.

ThisQuietArmy (Eric Quach) combined my favourite sonic ingredients – loud, rumbling bass, heavy psychedelia and almost uncomfortably high-pitched sounds to wash over you. Architectural visuals matched the motion, adding to dreamy cinematic experience the sound suggests. Just as the drone meditation came to climax

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Nurse With Wound – The Surveillance Lounge


Hmm. Nurse With Wound. Nurse With Wound, Nurse With Wound, Nurse With Wound. What to say? Writing about Nurse With Wound is like trying to nail a jellyfish to the fourth wall. After what seems like over nine thousand albums of surrealist sound sculptures, Stephen Stapleton (and partners in crime Andrew Liles, David Tibet, and a whole bunch of other skewed prophets) hasn’t yet lost the ability to unsettle.

For a band who are based so much on the possibilities of sound, it’s weird that Nurse With Wound should be so much more easily defined by cinema and litarature. Listening to a Nurse album is like stepping into a Shirley Jackson story. There’s something of the Victorian

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Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights


The centrepiece of the recent All Tomorrow’s Parties documentary is a clip from a Lightning Bolt set at the festival back in 2006. The band, true to form, is set up on the floor of the venue and the crowd is jostling around Brian Chippendale‘s drumkit in a claustrophobic huddle of beards and sweaty t-shirts. In between songs, a greasy fan taps Brian on the shoulder, leaning over the floor tom to get his attention. “Ten, three!” he shouts, holding up his greasy fingers to illustrate. “Ten plus three! Thirteen!” “Ten plus three?” replies Brian, his voice heavily distorted by his skimask and ball-gag mike setup.

“Ten plus three is thirteeeeeen!” hollers the fan deliriously

“Ten plus three is thirteen, right.” says Brian. Then,

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