Orchestras. I wanna talk about orchestras, the poor maligned things that they are. Once mighty engines of bombast and glory, capable of simultaneously breaking your heart and conquering the world, like smooth-talking dictators of sound. People rioted at the opening performance of The Rite Of Spring. Hitler had a successful second career as one of those guys who concentrates rather too much on the bits of Richard Wagner that most of his fans try to gloss over in favour of the fact that he was a damn good composer. Even Tom and Jerry understood the majesty of an orchestra, although they expressed their understanding of said majesty through the unorthodox means of hideous inter-species cartoon violence.
Nowadays opera is in decline, and your average Joe has been priced out of the classical performance, unless it’s in the really
Continue reading Foetus – Hide [...]
OK, first things first. Until The Light Takes Us isn’t really a music movie. It’s not a musical, for a start, though that would be awesome. Can you fucking IMAGINE how awesome that would be??? It isn’t a musical, though. It’s not even a movie ABOUT music, because while it DOES talk about the music, it moves swiftly on. It’s kind of a movie about musicians, because all its leading characters are musicians, but their musicianship is not really the issue – fuck it. Let’s start here. Let’s get that can, rip the lid off and chuck the worms out onto the newly-painted floor. Until The Light Takes Us is about Norwegian Black Metal.
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Well this isn’t what I was expecting (which of course is never a bad thing), before spinning the disc I did my usual thing of checking the sleeve out, reading lyrics, etc, to get a general feel of what an album may sound like. Added to this the fact that I knew that vocalist Bridget Wishart is an ex-member of Hawkwind. So can I just say from the start that anyone looking for a cosmic voyage to the nether regions of space had better prepare themselves for a different kind of trip.
Lee Potts and John Pierpoint provide “everything but the vocals;” that ‘everything’ appears to be a large amount of synths with some guitar work which change in tone to sounding at points like Gary Numan’s later works as on “These are my Thoughts” to more
Continue reading Omenopus – Time Flies [...]
The Nest, London 9 November 2010
The Nest is the old Barden’s Boudoir with a bit of a face lift. Rather than the stage being in the centre of the room, as it once was, it’s now tucked away nicely into a corner. As the venue is quite long (and there is a handy pillar right next to the stage) the further you stand back the less chance there is of seeing the band. This could end up being a real problem if the venue has a large audience. The stage also seems rather small as the three members of Prince Rama seemed to swamp the area. Maybe some of these things will be rectified as according to Prince Rama’s Michael Collins they were
Continue reading Prince Rama (live at The Nest) [...]
“Klytus I’m bored. What plaything have you for me?”
“It’s a band from the SK system your majesty – the inhabitants call them Teeth of the Sea”…….
Teeth of the Sea’s second album builds up on the momentum and foundations laid down by the first and from their EP. It’s an eclectic mixture of styles that sees the band lurch between Terry Riley minimalism to ful-on space sonic rock.
The opener “Hovis Coil” begins full of Strawberry Switchblade “Since Yesterday” sounding horns. As the track progresses more instruments are added to the mix as the song builds in intensity. Yes, at time the track is reminiscent of Coil (whom I assume the title refers to), but rather than the dark occult leanings of Balance and co “Hovis …” feels lighter in tone, like a
Continue reading Teeth of the Sea – Your Mercury [...]
Camp Basement, London 8 November 2010
This is Bo Ningen’s night, it’s their album launch and there’s quite a bit of a buzz going around about them at the moment and rightly so. The gig is sold out and still people are queuing in the vain hope of getting in to see the band.
The support slot is filled by Invasion who are promoting their album The Master Alchemist. The sound verges more on the doom and sludge territory with be-caped singer Chan Brown shrieking in torturous tones over the heavy slow guitar riffs that echo bands like Electric Wizard at times. A special mention has to be made about drummer Zel Kaute whose style is a cross between John Bonham and Keith Moon as she clattered around the kit with real power.
A wail of feedback fills the air and the audience start to move as Bo Ningen hit
Continue reading Bo Ningen/Invasion (live at Camp Basement) [...]
Music that stops you in your tracks is a revelation and there’s a clue in the sleeve notes to the selective but universal world this recording inhabits, revels in. A mossy rock somewhere up a mountain trail, overshadowed by its misty Appalachian cousins and yet once stumbled over, no less significant and astounding than the mountain giants that threaten to overshadow it. No less difficult to negotiate than the crags and ridges of a trail; the long musical path Isak Howell, Nathan Bowles and Mike Gangloff re-tread, in order to bring the pay-day stomps, moonshine reels and miner’s wakes of the traditional Appalachian fiddle and banjo masters of their adopted home, into the twenty first century.
Blasting in with the whoops and kneeslaps of “Drink Nothing But Corn” and “Last Payday At Coal Creek,”
Continue reading The Black Twig Pickers – Ironto Special [...]
Timo Reuber‘s fifth solo album finds him plucking sounds from his collection of samples and loops mixed in with a few restricted-instrument selections, and spewing them out in the visceral statement of intent which is opening track “Ring Ring.” And it does just that, in layers recursive loops which bounce off each other like an clockwork piano miniature. Deliberately lo-fi, it and two accompanying hi/lo tech electro miniatures “Ringer,” “Ring Frei” and “Ringfest” neatly bracket and counterpoint the album’s centrepiece seventeen-minute title track, which swirls into clarity from a fizzling static cloud, bubbling and phasing around the central amorphous rhythms.
What might best be described as a faux-tribal chug propels the main loop, wrapped in a fug of FX and mysterious sound sources. Reuber explicitly places this album in the realms of komische musik, and the connection to the
Continue reading Reuber – Ring [...]
The Lexington, London 5 November 2010
As a night taking its title (Death to Trad Rock) from John Robb‘s book about the Eighties underground music scene in the UK, and held on the 405th anniversary of the gunpowder plot to destroy Parliament, it’s not surprising that there’s an atmosphere of challenge to the status quo (and perhaps especially Status Quo) in the air, though the music is drowning out the massed fireworks in the night sky outside.
Monkey Island certainly like to stir things up, dragging five decades of rock’n’roll through the dirt along the way to provide a fiery musical education in everything from punkish blues to folky hardcore. Their songs are angular, disjointed, smart and often shit-kickingly great. Pete Bennett runs rings round his Gibson, shredding and twanging, buzzing and stabbing the guitar and
Continue reading The Membranes/The Wolfhounds/Monkey Island (live at The Lexington) [...]
Sunburned Hand Of the Man member Paul Labrecque turns his hand here as Head Of Wantastiquet to his own particular variation on American primitivism, taking the form down meanders which can be as strikingly wondrous as the packaging the record is released in. Both the music and visual imagery are redolent of shadow-dappled ruralism and forest-dweller rusticism, though rather than the US backwoods, Dead Seas was recorded in Labreque’s Belgian home. With deeply mysterious mastering by echo-loving Fear Falls Burning and dedicated to the late Jack Rose, it’s no surprise that the album steps into the chiaroscuro places somewhere in between lengthy ominous drone passages and a spine-tingling deployment of rugged electric slide-guitar, banjos and other folk instrumentation turned to delicately nefarious purposes.
The primitivism on display is one which
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Two oddities from the pacific North-West USA’s favourite oddball ethnodelic forgers of all things conjured up from an alternate world music scene. Side one’s “Themes From The Motion Picture Man With The Green Gloves On” is a slice of solemn gamelan’n’drone in their usual temple of the weird mode, all chimes and rumbling percussion interspersed with feedback and other signs of electronic life. As the drift becomes choral and the motion fritters into stoned wafts of sound, it’s almost possibly to smell the incense, inhale the smoke machine tendrils and feel the confusion which greets the many-robed ensemble as they continue their vocation to befuddle and bemuse.
But flipping to the other side of the 7” finds that “Theme From The Science Fiction Television Show
Continue reading Master Musicians of Bukkake – Themes From The Motion Picture “Man With The Green Gloves On” [...]
If you’re thinking of buying one Japanese cross-dressing psych rock freakout album this year, I would suggest you shed out your hard earned cash to get this one.
The opening track “4 Seconds To Ascension” is a statement of intent. It’s fast and powerful and kicks you in the gut like High Rise playing Black Sabbath on speed and falling into a factory that makes Stooges bootlegs. “Yura Yura Kaeru” is a little more sedate with the guitars slightly lighter in the mix and pulled back, and the vocals sounding almost soulful. “Koroshitai Kimochi” is similar to the mix that was used for the EP of the same name; as there were only 200 vinyl copies made of the EP a lot of people will not have any version of this track so its inclusion here is
Continue reading Bo Ningen – Bo Ningen [...]
Remix albums never seem to make a very cohesive whole; they also don’t serve very well as an introduction to an artist in general. Some are just a money-making activity rehashing band material whereas others are for die hard fans and completists only. Some artists even refuse to talk about their remix albums as was the case with Blixa Bargeld when I interviewed him around the time of the Ende Neu remix album and was told “not to ask him about it” by his agent.
Unfortunately this release, I feel, will not earn S/T any new fans. It starts off with one of two versions of “Irregulare Palpitationen Lord of The Flies” mix, that clocks in at nearly 20 minutes. Within the first five I felt my mind drifting off thinking about the washing up and whether the
Continue reading S/T – Irregulare Palpitationen: Remixes by The Grand Erector. [...]
Corsica Studios, London 31 October 2010
Its Samhain, the time to dress as ghosts and devils, a time to watch reruns of old Boris Karloff films and listen to wind howling over bleak moors. However, I am doing none of these things. I’m at Elephant and Castle (ok, not too dissimilar to a bleak moor) about to see two Frenchmen play the back catalogue of 80s horror auteur John Carpenter.
I was already a fan of Zombie Zombie’s work. Their album A Land For Renegades, a melting pot of 70s Goblin, Gallic disco and dark industrial oddness, is a must for anyone interested in modern electronica. The unfortunate thing is the name clash with Canada’s Zombi, another duo based around keyboards and drums that also mines similar progressive rock territory – which seems to baffle record shop owners when you try and ask for their records.
Corsica is bustling but
Continue reading Zombie Zombie/Solina Hi-Fi/Dave I.D. (live) [...]
This is a budget priced (around £7) mix of some of the earliest of Demdike Stare’s recordings. The one track is housed in a basic cardboard sleeve with no information on it except the name of the artist. The music itself though is magnificent and makes up for the lack of information on the packaging design. It shifts between elements of 70s sounding free jazz, Arabic rhythms, industrial noise and lilting ambient trance motives. It is electronic music that has to be listened too in one sitting when you are prepared to take an hour out of your life and let the music overtake the room. There was one section that even reminded me of moments on Current 93’s Nature Unveiled, though this lasts a few seconds before Demdike drift off
Continue reading Demdike Stare – Industrial Desert [...]