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Ekoplekz – Intrusive Incidentalz Vol 1

Punch Drunk

The title is revealing: throwaway and heartfelt, this is certainly intrusive (this is not ambient, except in the sense of enveloping) and it is a little incidental, a little sketchy in both senses of the word (cf everything else by Ekoplekz) but there’s more to it than that. There’s something else here. This is Ekoplekz unleashing his noise horde and the title might almost be read as a minor apology, a little note to the many fans out there that says: don’t worry, this isn’t the real Ekoplekz album, this is a sidetrack, an open note, a few preliminary dashes. This feels like a deliberate attempt to destabilise, to show us that we haven’t got Ekoplekz yet… maybe he’s worried that those scary hauntological folks will adopt him against his will like a Madonna child…

This is a suffocatingly intense

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Jowonio Productions – Hands/Birds; The Meat And Bread Variations

Jowonio Productions

(Below are combined the two original reviews of the vinyl and CDr releases of Hands/Birds and The Meat And Bread Variations which are both now available online digitally direct from Jowonio – references to the extra CD etc are now sadly redundant, and the releases have been modified slightly in the new format).

Hands/Birds - sleeve detailHands/Birds finds poet John Siddique in shifting moods, one moments or three drifting across textural landscapes, the next commenting, reflecting, proposing. Sometimes, as on the rightously noisy “Hard Paki”, he’s making a blunt statement of presence in the landscape as an integral element therein, defying and defining at the same time. These sentiments are put more reflectively in “Nine Drive”, replacing the chaos and crunch with a journey defined in environmental and electronic sounds and words – “I’ve not seen enough of this city” – a

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Tarwater – Inside the Ships

Bureau B

Some medical beast had revived tar-water in those days as a fine medicine, and Mrs. Joe always kept a supply of it in the cupboard; having a belief in its virtues correspondent to its nastiness. At the best of times, so much of this elixir was administered to me as a choice restorative, that I was conscious of going about, smelling like a new fence.”

Poor Pip. In Chapter Two of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, his abusive older sister, Mrs. Joe, keeps pouring tarwater – a Medieval medicine composed of pine tar and water much favoured by the Victorians – into our young hero as a remedy for eating his food too fast.

2011’s Tarwater is a considerably more delicious proposition. Since having formed in Berlin in the mid 1990s, the electronic duo of Bernd Jestram and Ronald Lippok have

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Siinai – Olympic Games

Splendour

This is music made from orchestral peak experiences and emotional aggregates; it’s big, a little brassy and, while perhaps not as overwhelming or pompous or Wagnerian as it might have been, it nevertheless has intent, like Laibach without moustaches and Lenin vests.

Finnish quartet Siinai have created 21st Century marching music for non-psychick youths. You’ll have heard some of the guitar + synth textures before but rarely ones so in thrall to power chord structures and the slow build. They don’t once deviate into pop or angst or ethereal wailing; they keep their heads down, like early Mogwai, like post-rock in that brief, chugging, period before Tortoise jazzed it to death. Siinai’s is a simple but visionary music. It would work well as the soundtrack to a mass delusion and thus it works perfectly as an anthem for the Olympic Games,

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Suns of Arqa – Stranger Music

Arka Sounds

OK, so the thought of the world trance music wonders Suns of Arqa doing a cover versions album of Leonard Cohen songs didn’t at first leap off the page or even into my CD player at first. However, after the first initial shock of this venture the album works exceedingly well and creates a weird but fascinating hybrid that traverses several barriers. It would be pointless to compare the tracks to the original songs as they sound very different, so I would be constantly repeating myself saying how different they are.

“Anthem” is a dancing reggae jaunt that has the world feel that the Suns are famous for. By the time the second track kicks in we are in very different territory – “Every Pebble” sounds like The Residents do a very psychedelic dub number via a moribund Kali. It’s

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All Pigs Must Die – God Is War

Southern Lord

It’s time someone finally said it; Ben Koller is quite possibly the Dave Lombardo of his generation. Now, Lombardo’s technicality may be outclassed by modern day metal standards, but what few drummers can match still is his propulsive feel.

Koller is one of the special few. When he flies into an up-tempo 4/4 beat, you know it’s going down. And he absolutely tears it up on God Is War; a record that simply refuses to calm down from start to finish. Koller’s playing and Converge band mate Kurt Ballou’s typically ripping production on this first full-length from All Pigs Must Die mean comparisons to Converge are inevitable. But there’s something more macho going on here. Whereas lyrically Converge deal mostly in bitterness and heartbreak, APMD have more global matters on their minds. As the album title hints, themes on war

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Boris – Attention Please

Sargent House

Well, what can I say…..I was going to start off this review with the same two words used to review Spinal Tap’s Shark Sandwich album…..You see I’ve been a Boris fan and collector for quite a few years, this at times has been quite a hard and infuriating task. They have either constantly recorded two mixes of their albums or added one track on to an alternate label release or made stuff in such small quantities that you end up paying a stupid price for it just to lay your hands on a copy. With so many limited releases it at times began to feel silly chasing around for their albums and made the whole notion of limited releases seem preposterous. But, you know, I kind of forgave them for that because the quality of their output (even though there

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Sunlore/Heart Land – Sunlore/Heart Land

Tequila Sunrise / Cream of Turner

These two LPs came to me with the coolest hand-made sleeves I’ve seen in ages. Beautiful, odd designs. The Sunlore sleeve is a psyched wig-out of paint and scratches and burns, looking not unlike one of the shotgun paintings of William S Burroughs smeared by Max Ernst (you can see it being made on the label website). The Heart Land sleeve is perhaps a riff on Throbbing Gristle’s original sleeve for Second Annual Report, consisting of a wrist-thick gatefold slab of industrial card and a label that should be attached to one of those TPS reports that Lumbergh was always trying to get Peter to attach in Office Space. There’s also a perfect pink little mini sleeve on both albums with all the track details; homely, odd and heartfelt.

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The Book Of Knots – Garden Of Fainting Stars

Ipecac

This is an odd record. The Book Of Knots is an invitation-only collective based in New York around a core quartet and supplemented by peripheral musicians in various capacities. On this, their third LP, they explore everything from enormous metallic pounding to expansive forays into the gentle and sublime. They also manage to dig up a few top-notch guests along the way.

Opener “Microgravity” brings a female-fronted version of Page Hamilton’s short-lived Gandhi project to mind with its dense, textural guitars and inorganic bass. Blixa Bargeld pops up on “Drosophilia Melanogaster” with another one of his occasional reports documenting the amount of time he spends waiting around in airports, “I cover the glass with my passport, which at that time is green with a golden eagle on it,” before exercising his signature screeching vocals to incredible effect. “Lissajous Orbit” seems to

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