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Space Ritual (live at The Borderline)

The Borderline, London 13 January 2012

Rocket summer. People leaned from their dripping porches and watched the reddening sky.”

Like the spaceship in Ray Bradbury’s book about to blast its cargo to Mars, Space Ritual have a constant feel of the summer, their music warming even the coldest of winters evenings. The sense of free festivals and long warm days hangs in the air and a mystical pan like reverie pervades.

“I was going to record and sample my farts for a track,” Nik Turner casually informs the throng in front of him; a cheer of Bacchanalian joy fills the room and the space ritual begins. Drums pound from the nether regions of the universe while the sax plays a symphony from Orion’s belt and synthesizers swirl and bleep their way making the sound as if

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Hoquets – Belgotronics

Crammed Discs

This could have been. The idea behind Belgotronics is zeitgeist-tappingly brilliant; we need a Belgian version of those Congotronics tricks; that DIY ethic, those tumbling rhythms, those alien sounding timbres and treads, that otherness. Everything seems in place; the name – Hoquets references “hockets” (the technique used in Western medieval music, Africa, Bali and elsewhere of sharing a melody line between several voices or instruments) and “hoquets” (pronounced “OK”, and the French word for “hiccoughs”) – even the music itself, which rattles and slips like a woodworker’s shed sliding slowly downhill, but… the vocals ruin it for me. They are ‘off the wall’ but not convincing, crazeee not crazy; you don’t have to be mad to be in this band but – well, that’s it. That’s all. There’s an absence at its heart that I can’t get past.

I have

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SunnO)))(+Nurse With Wound) – øøVoid/The Iron Soul of Nothing

Southern Lord/Ideologic Organ (Editions Mego)

Not long ago, in the relatively balmy days of early December, I found myself, as is my usual daily routine, strolling through the local cemetery, Abney Park, all overgrown and witch-haunted, broken angels and grasping stone hands. And that’s on a normal day. But this particular afternoon the region was visited by the harbinger of truly apocalyptic weather. About an hour earlier than was reasonable (and certainly earlier than would be considered polite by any civilised climatic system) the sun went dark, the wind picked up, and darkness descended across the land. The veil of the Temple may even have been rent in two, but I was nowhere near the bloody Temple, what with being on the other side of the world and all, so I couldn’t really tell you with any degree of accuracy whether that

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Anders Hana – Dead Clubbing

Drid Machine

I’m on a train a foggy winter afternoon, beats rocking me away into an unfamiliar yet known landscape. The steady beat accompanied by bass-noisy distorted guitar rhythms feeds to the familiarity of the sounds. Suddenly strange background screeching brakes hits, but without any effect on the speed, like the change of mood when entering a tunnel, but still continues when coming out of it, swirling through the narrow valley of winterly mountainous landscape. The feelings created by the first tracks on Dead Clubbing matches perfectly the dual sides of the experience of listening to the music, combined with the train ride I am on writing this. Almost like they where made for each other.

Anders Hana has made some hard impressions on the Norwegian scene of avant-rock, by his involvement with the heavy sides of Noxagt, or the free-rock combo

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Ustad Abdul Karim Khan – 1934-1935

Important

Oh, caveats. They’re buggers right? Yeah. Well, here’s one anyway – without wanting to get into the ‘how do ‘we the west’ appropriate non-Western music?’, there’s always a massive problem writing about this sort of thing. I’d not suggest that my lack of knowledge of Carnatic/ Hindustani music is in any way an impediment to enjoying/ talking about Indian classical music, but I always get this feeling that it’d take me 20 years to get near putting this in some sort of context. Ustad Abdul Karim Khan has a phenomenal tone, lovely range, the ornaments to the rags are phenomenally delivered, the recording has been re-mastered brilliantly considering it sounds like one mic in a dusty room some point before the 2nd World War (!). But I’m taking it as read that he has the reputation he does in India for

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John Fahey – Live at Audimax Hamburg 1978

Blast First Petite

Appearing as part of a series of DVDs from Blast First Petite unearthing performances on legendary German TV music show Rockpalast (see also [post=kevin-coyne-live-dvd text=”Kevin Coyne in 1978″]) comes a rare broadcast featuring John Fahey from March 1978. Remastered from the original video tapes, this is a rare opportunity to see footage of Fahey on stage, and the results are captivating.

Fahey arrives in front of the WDR TV audience to a brief introduction and no stands upon which to place the guitars he holds in each hand. Thankfully his embarrassment is averted by the reverentially lighthearted way his corduroy jacket is instantly whisked off his waiting arms as he seats himself at the mic, at once amusing, and indicative of the esteem in which he was – and is – held. Eschewing banter or introductions, a blue-shirted Fahey

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Nurse With Wound & Graham Bowers – Rupture

United Dirter

Sweeping in on modernist orchestrations, Rupture is a very different kind of Nurse With Wound collaboration, though there is plenty which harks back to Steve Stapleton‘s tape-loop manipulations of orchestral music both in Nursey guise and with Current 93‘s earlier harshly overbearing recordings in the pre-Apocalyptic Folk days. Here there is an explicit theme hinted at in the title, as the ensemble attempt to envisage musically what it might feel like to undergo a severe brain embolism – and who better for sculptor and composer Graham Bowers to work with on such a project than Messrs. Stapleton, Liles, Waldron and Potter?

Wall of sound doesn’t begin to adequately describe the onslaught they unleash together; once the first few gentle tones of part one’s calm before the rupture (“… a life as it now is,”) have been dispensed with, there’s no

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