Archives by month/year

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!


I believe it was the great Neil Young who sang “…only Swans can break your arm” back in the dim and distant mists of musical history, and up until now he’s been right. No band other than Michael Gira‘s monolithic spacegod-baiting machine has ever had the capacity to damage limbs simply through sheer heftiness. But all that’s changed now with the arrival of the new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album, and in particular its opening (and topically-titled) track “Mladic.”

Starting with a cacophony of bells, strings and unidentifiable (by me at least) high-end stuff, it quickly settles into a relentlessly chiming groove, which practically screams “we haven’t even started yet, motherfuckers” at you. When the drums

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Zombie Zombie/The Oscillation (live at The Lexington)

The Lexington, London 24 October 2012

The weirdest thing, it would seem, about tonight’s opening act The Oscillation, is that they didn’t go the whole hog and add an extra “e” to that pronoun. Because this is a band who take their psychedelia seriously. Possibly a little too seriously, but if you’re a psych band then you can’t really be blamed for that. They start straight into a pleasingly massive swirl of echo, effects and coloured oils, and from then on the overall effect is like a package tour of psychedelia itself.

There are many enjoyable stretches relaxing by the Hawkwind pool, and a brief trip to see the ruins of Syd-era Floyd (fortunately they avoid the overpriced and somewhat tacky tourist traps of post-Syd

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Acid Mothers Temple (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Baba Yaga’s Hut @ Corsica Studios, London 22 October 2012

After a slight hitch of the ‘computer says no’ variety, I finally stumble into the fog-filled haze of Corsica Studios as the band are strapping on their guitars ready to play. Tonight we are going to be treated to a five-piece Acid Mothers Temple – also tonight they will play one of the tightest and best sets I’ve seen them do, and that’s certainly saying something.

They begin very subtly with carefully plucked guitar notes. Higashi Hiroshi plays space synth and closes his eyes to the cosmic space rumble beginning to build behind him. He stands sentinel there, almost motionless for a while, dressed in multi-coloured Tibetan trousers that put mine in the shade, as he prepares for

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Frisk Frugt – Dansktoppen møder Burkina Faso i det himmelblå rum hvor solen bor, suite

Exotic Pylon

Absolutely love the cover for this! A grinning turnip head with nasty teeth, pipe and wire glasses. A comedy shaman vibe which fits well with the jovial surrealism enclosed.

Sharing a similarly damaged vibe to fellow Nordic maverick Goodiepal, the first track “Animal accompaniment is a cage they can fly out”‘ (well that’s what Google is telling me) is like some fairground attraction filled with weird ’70s kid Casio muzak. 8-bit oompah horse rides mounted on wonky strings, jib-jabbed in noise and what sounds like John Cage music taking vicious tumbles, spoonfed into a spacey spin cycle at the local launderette.

The music is open plan, an index of possibility; a bizarre upbeat jumble sale of squirty tempos and bouncy keyboard, My

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Jherek Bischoff – Composed/Scores: Composed Instrumentals


I am very sorry to say that I had not heard of Jherek Bischoff until quite recently, when he joined the marvellous musical collaboration that is Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra. And, to be honest, I hadn’t really registered until I got hold of Amanda Palmer’s Theatre is Evil just what an accomplished and multi-talented musician he is.

So I did some digging (and by digging, I’m talking Wikipedia and the outer limits of internet search engines). Now I’m aware that Jherek Bischoff has been in numerous bands in the experimental pop through to the avant-garde genres (The Dead Science; Parenthetical Girls…) and that he was “Raised on a sailboat and traveled the world…” I’m also going to have to come clean

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Zombie Zombie – Rituels D’un Nouveau Monde


OK, where do I begin? Well, for starters you are getting a different Zombie Zombie than was showcased on 2007’s A Land For Renegades and 2010’s …[post=zombie-zombie-play-john-carpenter text=”Plays John Carpenter”]. This time the set up seems more like a (dare I say it) concept album and although the band bring all their arsenal of sounds from their previous albums, this has a touch more progressive rock going on. But this heightens the Zombie Zombie sound rather than diminishes it and this synthesis of musical styles has made an amazingly strong album full of mind-expanding music.

“The Wisdom of the Stones” starts with a wonderful Moog-type bass sound and immediately Cosmic Neman’s drums pick up the beat as a sequencer kicks in.

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Camera – Radiate

Bureau B

This release oozes an interstellar optimism. Rhythmic entanglements and driven drums playing Tom and Jerry with the spacey medications, whilst battling guitars spar, silhouetted on a blazing urban skyline.

“Ego” is quite an opener, filling the canvas in a metrical rainbow of dramatic sweeps and boredom quashing sub-currents, like a fuel-injected NEU! as shards of projectile are kicked back by the rat-a-tat-tat of snare bullets dispersing to a hushed arterial beat and key rotors. “Villon” turns the tempo down a notch with beautiful Comanche-style drumming, bouncy echoes to a seesaw of keyboard colour, run through with devilish shapes, your head instinctively nodding as delicious curves are met in a guitar cavalcade of cosmic candies.

“Ausland” ups the ante again in a sprint of percussion, zapping injections

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System 7/Banco de Gaia (live at The Garage)

The Garage, London 5 October 2012

At the end of the day most venues are the same, there’s a bar the stage a mixing desk and a few nice lights (if you’re lucky). I had not been to The Garage in a long time but remember seeing some great gigs there. As I entered the layout was the same as it had always been, however, System 7 and their cohorts had got their hands on the venue and turned it into a cross between the UFO Club and the old Club Dog meets a Goa beach rave. Colours were everywhere, the ceiling hung with multi-patterned flower shapes as liquid projections danced around the walls. This was true psychedelia in a ’67 style.

Banco de Gaia

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Zombie Zombie (live at Les Passagers du Zinc)

Les Passagers du Zinc, Avignon 6 October 2012

Zombie Zombie are touring their latest album, Rituels d’un Nouveau Monde, and their stop at the well-hidden Passagers du Zinc – it lives in a strip mall outside the walls of the old city, next to a Norma discount supermarket, far away the tourist quarters of town, psychologically if not geographically – is a welcome breath of excitement in a town more famous to the outside world for its epic theatrical festival and a charming song about a collapsed old bridge.

Tonight, the city’s underground have turned out, if not en masse, then in respectable numbers at least, to catch France’s contribution to the burgeoning crop of analogue synth and drum outfits. Unlike, say, Temperatures or K-X-P, Zombie Zombie eschew

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Om/King Midas Sound (live at The Scala)

London 30 September 2012

Tonight is all about the HEAVY. Not so much the Metal, though its ghost and spiritual guidance flow out of everything Om do like ectoplasm, but definitely the HEAVY. In capitals. Always in capitals. On paper, given a reductive genre-based taxonomical description of each act, King Midas Sound, Kevin Martin‘s ultra-deep “dub” project, seem a weird choice to support Al Cisneros‘ ultra-deep “doom metal” band (well, apart from the bit where I described them both as “ultra-deep”, but that’s kind of key) until you realise that, like a particularly unbalanced game of Team Fortress 2, it’s ALL ABOUT THE HEAVY. Then it becomes clear that there are very obvious parallels.

King Midas sound take the stage, beginning with Martin himself whipping up a full-on sonic onslaught that’s almost Swans-like in its relentlessness, the vast spaces of their recorded work quickly becoming filled to capacity with brutalising

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Seirom – 1973

Aurora Borealis

Seirom‘s double-disc epic 1973 lifts off on CD1 (Strands Of Golden Light) with a raft of shoegaze chorale, a soaring surge of fuzz and gritty noise spreading into the realms of where those of a majestic frame of mind might wander, dallying a while in pastoral landscapes where the soothing sounds of synthesized orchestras wash languidly at the backbrain. But as Seirom is also none other than MC de Jong, Grand Guignol overlord of the notoriously macabre Gnaw Their Tongues, it’s no surprise that among the orchestral majesty there lurks a beating black metal heart, all blast beats hurled into the fray as guitars lope into what sometimes sounds like Sigur Ròs have had a dose of Ulver‘s special symphonic medicine,

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Terrie Ex/Paal Nilssen-Love – Hurgu!


Terrie Hessels of the Dutch anarcho-punk-improv orchestra The Ex has never stopped with his raw punk attitude, but rather collaborated with numerous people over the years to get inspiration from and absorbing all elements of all music, but continuing to being raw and unpolished. In meetings with the Norwegian hard-hitting avant-garde drummer, Paal Nilssen-Love, two souls of similar attitude meet, although from very different background. Being a jazz drummer, Nilssen-Love holds his sticks well in the improvised area of music, much more than the average jazz musicians do today. Never letting any jazz-rules, however, decide who to collaborate with, has led him to perform with numerous exciting people, outside the jazz box. This makes for some exciting meetings, and exciting

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