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Archives by month/year

Jazkamer – Musica Non Grata

Pica Disk

Musica Non Grata sleeveMusica Non Grata is the second release in Jazkamer‘s 2010 monthly series, and the CD has three long tracks. To make it clear and save you wasting time reading further: this is a study in feedback! Those who are still reading might like to know that this full length CD from the trio again being Lasse Marhaug, John Hegre and Jean-Philippe Gross, is very much different from last month’s Solitary Nail. When the latter was one 30 minute track of cut and paste, Musica Non Grata is slowly moving, changing over long periods of time, making the change barely noticable.

The first track “Honda Sound Works” is more than 30 minutes of high pitch guitar, synth and electronic feedback. By insanely slowly altering the sounds, they make the track go on for the full 30+ minutes, and

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Shane Fahey – The Slated Pines

(Endgame)

Shane Fahey – The Slated Pines Shane Fahey is an ex-member of the seminal Australian post-punk combo The Makers of the Dead Travel Fast, whose much sought-after late 70s and early 80s output has recently resurfaced on a couple of anthologies focussing on the releases of the M Squared label. If anyone was wondering what the group’s synth player has been up to since then, this release at least partly answers the question.

Shane Fahey has worked as an acoustic engineer ever since the eighties, and has collected quite a library of field recordings, as this solo album aptly demonstrates. The Slated Pines consists of seven pieces which all involve the weaving together of various environmental recordings, analogue electronics, tape loops and the use of found instruments such as ‘crunched fluoro light tubes’ and ‘rolling 44-gallon drums’.

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Lustmord – [TRANSMUTED]

(Hydrahead)

Lustmord - [Transmuted] coverFor most of the twenty-eight years since Lustmord’s debut, the lot of a devotee has involved much twiddling of thumbs between infrequent releases and little chance of catching the man live – the portentous date of 06/06/06 seeing his first (and to date only) live appearance since the early eighties.

Happily, in contrast to most creative trajectories, the old contrarian seems to have grown more prolific during his third decade in the business, releasing new material during most years of the noughties. Startlingly, the past eighteen months have brought a further acceleration of output, with the [OTHER] album and its associated releases [THE DARK PLACES OF THE EARTH], [BEYOND] and [OTHER DUB] appearing in fast succession as well as a series of remixes for prog-metal giants Tool and the indispensable D is for Dubby

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Monkey Island – Luxe et Redux

Imprint

Monkey Island - Luxe et redux coverIf John Peel were still with us today, he would undoubtedly love Monkey Island. Straddling the aesthetics of his own Dandelion label and his beloved Ron Johnson Records, this Hackney-based group may be the hitherto undiscovered (and indeed unsearched for) missing link between Stackwaddy and Stump.

Opening instrumental “Back to the Stoneage” could be an out-take from Beefheart’s Mirror Man had The Magic Band been imbued with the finesse of Mötörhead. Once singer/guitarist Peter Bennett begins contemplating the relative qualities of different “Birdsong” on the following track, however, the group at once slots into that perennial no nonsense school of peculiarly British grimy jagged dada belligerence recently celebrated in John Robb’s Death to Trad Rock book. Flitting between punk, blues, garage rock and even sea shanties, Monkey Island batter their influences

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Urthona and The Asterism – Murmurations

Further

Urthona and The Asterism - Murmurations coverMurmurations sees guitar noise dronemeister Urthona teaming up with London-based electronic boffin The Asterism to create some wonderful alchemy on two long pieces inspired by the natural world in the West Country.

Although a CD release, Murmurations is conceived as a classic vinyl LP, with side one’s 24 minute “River Severn Bore” incarnating the relentless natural power of the said tidal current, layers of distorted guitar and analogue electronic drones melting into a fluid and enveloping rush of sound as it mercilessly gains a fearsome momentum tumbling down the estuary. By the end of the piece, the grainy sonic surfaces become so visceral, you can literally scratch them with your nails, like a feral snotty nephew of John Cale’s pre-Velvets drone experiments or perhaps Merzbow at his most ‘rock’.

Metaphorically flipping over the

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T. Rex – Spaceball

(Applebush/Easy Action)

The collections of ‘rare’ T. Rex material to have appeared in the years since Marc Bolan’s death in 1977 by now dwarf the official output released during his lifetime. Although much of them are deeply inessential, and sometimes indeed unlistenable, carefully sifting through these volumes of out-takes and demos unearths some gems that actually surpass the official releases. The alternative versions of Electric Warrior and The Slider for instance, strip some of Bolan’s most iconic tunes of Tony Visconti’s homogenising production to reveal the startling simplicity beneath. 2007’s Bolan at the Beeb box set featured a wealth of great takes recorded mostly for John Peel’s Top Gear, but seeing as Peel and Bolan mutually dropped each other when T. Rex hit it big, the collection grinds to a halt in 1971, just

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Slaraffenland – We’re on Your Side

(Hometapes)

Slaraffenland – We’re on Your Side Hailing from Copenhagen, Slaraffenland have made an album that seems quite out of time without sounding in the least bit dated. Their sound is at once infectious and fidgety – a restless pop music that harks back to the days when groups had too many ideas to stop and spend any time polishing any of them into blandness, moving on to the next song before the last one had fully imprinted itself on your consciousness. If we want to look for antecedents to Slaraffenland’s deft and jittery craft, we probably have to go right back to XTC, Eno (circa Before and After Science) or maybe James’ early Factory singles, a time when art-school archness could happily co-exist with melodious populism.

Polyrhythms and vocal harmonies are lovingly captured with a sympathetically sparse

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Strange Attractor Salon: Ken Hollings/English Heretic/Man From Uranus/Disinformation vs Usurp/Oscillatorial Binnage (live at The Last Tuesday Society)

Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London 22 & 29 January 2010

Strange Attractor Journal, now in its third edition of writings promoting unpopular culture, has long been intertwined with the visual, musical and performing arts. For January 2010, the Strange Attractor machine has moved into exhibitionist mode, taking over the Last Tuesday Society‘s art space above their very curious basement shoppe of horrors on Mare Street in Hackney located just near the canalside where the well-to-do Victoria Park Road meets the unprepossessing tool hire shops and local council tenants shopping in their night attire along the lower reaches of Hackney’s main thoroughfare .

Entering the gallery is an adventure in itself, and past the stuffed crows, unusually-shaped rocks, cryptozoological specimens and the stock of two-headed teddy bears on sale lies the exhibition of artwork which has appeared in the Journal. Accompanying the exhibition

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The Kittiwakes – Lofoten Calling

(Midwich)

The Kittiwakes – Lofoten CallingA folk group from Essex recording a concept album about the Lofoten Islands in Arctic Norway seems an intriguing though ultimately self-defeating idea. After all, isn’t the idea of folk music that it reflects the culture it comes from, rather than holiday snaps of exotic locations? Actually, it turns out that the two areas share a large amount of common folklore, dating back to Viking times, and there has long been maritime contact between the two regions, including singer Kate Denny’s grandfather seeing active service in Lofoten in WW2.

The group have developed snatches of traditional melodies common to both locations to write their own song cycle that musically fuses the styles of both places. Denny’s up-front singing is effectively set off by a sparse instrumentation of accordion, violin, mandolin and banjo alongside

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