Archives by month/year

Klaus Dinger and Japandorf – Japandorf


Klaus Dinger and JapandorfBrian Eno once famously stated that there were three crucial beats in the 1970s: Fela Kuti’s Afro-Beat, James Brown’s funk and Klaus Dinger’s NEU!-beat. The latter – a hypnotic, strict and Spartan 4/4 that Dinger initially christened the ‘lange gerade’ (‘long straight’) or ‘endlose gerade’ (‘endless straight’), and later referred to as the ‘Apache Beat’ – came to be virtually synonymous with entire canon of German music from the early to mid 1970s, the so-called ‘Krautrock’.

The endlose gerade was, and remains, the epitome of motion, technology and progress – a rhythmic soundtrack for driving along the autobahn at sunset in a gleaming Mercedes 350 SL: precision-tooled engine purring beneath the bonnet, motion blur of green trees and white markings passing outside

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Sula Bassana – Dark Days/Vibravoid – Gravity Zero


“How puzzling all these changes are! I’m never sure what I’m going to be, from one minute to another.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Sula Bassana - Dark Days“A very irregular head” is how the late, great Syd Barrett once described himself, and from the sounds blasting from my stereo Dave Schmidt AKA Sula Bassana could lay claim to the same quote. Dark Days is the fourth Bassana album, and wow, what a head-full it is…

Take off! And the album begins with “Underground,” a massive funky space workout with big deep bass notes and a riff that straddles the missing link between the Gaye Bykers on Acid and Kaptain Kopter and the Twirly Birds. This is a massive, blissful tune with some Steve Hillage-sounding lead that

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Pombagira – Maleficia Laminah

Black Axis

Pombagira - Maleficia LaminahPombagira‘s last album Iconoclast Dream was a revelation to me with the immense dirty darkness they presented. Upon receiveing a brand new CD from the duo, hopes for more dark dirtyness appears in my mind. But after the first spin, I was in doubt. I am not sure if it was the day, or anything else, but it didn’t do anything for me at the time. I was especially unsure about the second track. But when in doubt, it makes for doing something else; take it for a road trip!

Maleficia Laminah are two long tracks, and by the first look, appear to be about death and underwordly matters. The darkness in the music is not that apparent, although the sound is very

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NXP – Notes From the Field of Guilt

Requiem Productions

NXP - Notes From the Field of GuiltNXP is a solo noise project from Norway, focusing on ambient noise, sometimes rythmic, sometimes just dirty noise. He collects samples, field recordings and various sounds and instruments to create his world of darkness.

I see this album in two parts. The first three tracks are quiet dirty ambient noise. So quiet from the start that you have to go and check whether you have turned the volume way to much down. But ultimately this makes you listen even more, and I notice the murky darkness of a future sound of a barren landscape. The second half is also three tracks, and they come out much more apparent, and easier to relate to. Not that this is easy listening,

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Thought Forms – Ghost Mountain


Thought Forms - Ghost MountainLoving that crayon lava of the cover, sleek minimal, that infra red chalkiness dwarfed by a sea of matt black, a darkness from which the title track “Landing” seems to howl. An epic opener, that grinding millstone riff all Bolan-esque beef, screaming guts, stapling drums and swelling effects. An incredibly powerful vibe, made more so by the purposeful drop into a reflective quietness which effectively notches up the tension for the raw-throated re-entry that knocks you into a Memorex slant, an infernal rage that collapses into clusters of curling effects and loose teeth.

The strummed harmonics of “Ghost Mountain You and Me” swipes the frenzy of the previous track clean away. A hint of late Autumn in the Highlands, light skating across the glen as

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Zenit – The Chandrasekhar Limit/Cristiano Roversi – AntiQua


Zenit - The Chandrasekhar LimitIt seems that prog rock is alive and well in Europe again, which is a fantastic thing. And two of the countries that were most feverish about the original bands in the ’70s here prove their worth with these two releases from Galileo Records.

Zenit (from Switzerland) begin their album with with “Awaken” – not a cover of the Yes song, but an opus of their own. Acoustic guitars and gentle vocals open, before organ and drums hit in and the song take flight. Some wonderful Moog playing takes us through to a quiet piano section. The is very reminiscent of early Marillion at times; at other points, as in the lead guitar section, it feels sometimes we are knocking on the door

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Crime & The City Solution – American Twilight album stream

After two decades away, Crime & The City Solution, the band beloved of Wim Wenders (see them play in his angelic Berlin masterpiece Wings of Desire) are back with a new album. with David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand on board, American Twilight marks a new development in rousing Americana for the band.

Listen to the full album stream here:

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Electric Moon – Inferno/Sula Bassana –Dreamer


Electric Moon - InfernoI am already a fan of the wonderful Electric Moon after hearing both their 2010 début album Lunatics and last year’s monumental live double LP Cellar Space Live Overdose, so I was eager to give this new album a spin. For starters, the cover is a wonderful psychedelic creation that gives a nod to some of best artwork from the late ’60s and early ’70s. What we have on the album is two massive slabs of out-there music that roll in near the 70 minute mark.

Track one is “Mental Record,” which starts very slow and spacey, with echoed guitars playing over a strong but subdued bass riff while the drums scatter around in a jazz fashion. Soon this builds into a

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Conny Plank – Who’s That Man?

Conny Plank - Who's That ManGrönland released their epic four-disc tribute to legendary producer Conny Plank in February 2013. Leon Muraglia of the Kosmische Club looks back at the man, his music and some of the artists whose distinctive, revolutionary sounds he helped create.

“Do you feel like a ride into the forest?”’ Conny Plank asked Brian Eno one warm autumn evening. After a short drive in Plank’s old Merc, they parked in a forest clearing and sat talking, surrounded only by the birds and the breeze. “Do you want to hear something on the radio?” Conny asked. “Why not?” Eno replied. He switched on the radio – and it broadcast the piece they’d been working on all day. Conny had set up a transmitter

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Muslimgauze – Martyr Shrapnel

The Muslimgauze Preservation Society

Muslimgauze ‎- Martyr ShrapnelSnapping into brutal gear with a slice of brightly-coloured post-dancehall rhythms which wouldn’t sound that far out of place on a record by The Bug, Martyr Shrapnel continues the work of the Muslimgauze Preservation Society of bringing the remaining odds and ends of Bryn Jones‘ extensive and still-increasing back catalogue to posthumous light.

The first six tracks previously appeared as Analog Zikr on cassette, and each is identified by that name and a number. By comparison to a lot of later Muslimgauze releases, there is a relatively mimimalist feel to these pieces, and while this may be because they were unfinished at the time of Jones’ death is irrelevant. With their crackling accretions, conversational Arabic snippets and often furious

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Karl Bartos – Off The Record

Bureau B

Karl Bartos - Off the recordKarl Bartos: legendary percussionist of the classic era Kraftwerk, and all round good egg. The man whose biography gave us a glimpse into the closed world of the Man Machines who were more secretive than an occult order. While Kraftwerk (with their one remaining original member) are making an exhibition of themselves at various locations around the world and in effect becoming their own tribute act, the time was ripe for a new album from one of its former members. Whilst Ralph Hütter has remained practically musically redundant for ten years it seems that Bartos has been busy on a number of different projects. However, for a change he’s decided to revisit his past (sort of) by using his

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John Butcher – Bell Trove Spools/John Butcher, Derek Bailey & Gino Robair – Scrutables/John Butcher & Rhodri Davies – Carliol

I have a deal with a mate that if either of us ever manage to shout out ‘Baker Street!’ in the middle of a John Butcher performance, that person will receive a crisp £10 note and a hearty pat on the back. The irony being that, even if either of us weren’t excessively polite gig-goers, we’d still have problems remembering how to speak. Butcher’s entirely one of the most compelling performers doing the rounds at the moment, and is very much well worth catching if he’s visiting your locale.

So a couple of caveats: first, some free improv is a bastard to write about so if this goes a bit purple prose, blame the music. ALWAYS blame the music for the writer’s downfall; secondly, most people who are familiar with the scene are well aware of Butcher – he’s probably the most well-known, well-respected of the second-wave of free improvisers.

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Decoy with Joe McPhee – Spontaneous Combustion


Decoy with Joe McPhee - Spontaneous CombustionA decoy is usually defined as a person, device or event meant as a deliberate distraction, something used to conceal the real intension of an individual or a group. Under such a definition, unless they would really rather be performing Viennese light operetta, the success of this Decoy – a collaboration between Hammond maestro Alex Hawkins, London improv drum supremo Steve Noble and bass whirlwind John Edwards – must surely be highly questionable.

At the end of October 2011, Decoy played a two-night residency at Dalston’s achingly-hip Café Oto, precipitating a rush of breathless reviews, from The Liminal who called it “one of the very best things [they had] seen this year”, to Jazzwise, who ramped up the praise

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Girls Aloud (live at an arena)

An arena, London 2 March 2013


GA live1

The arena is a complete bastard. I’m no Belgianologist, but it could fit Belgium in it, twice. The beer cost me roughly four million pounds and was watered down foamy rubbish. The staff were pleasant enough. But it’s an inhuman aeroplane graveyard hanger of a space filled with hatred and inhumanity.

Here is another crap picture of the Girls Aloud tank:

GA live 2

There are many things this picture fails to capture. One of those things is

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Morning Bride – The North Sea Rising


Morning Bride - The North Sea Rising“Well I heard that you were spoken for/it’s hard to imagine anyone speaking for you,” sings Amity Joy Dunn in the opening of “Rosy Technology,” the latest Morning Bride single, taken from The North Sea Rising. It’s a great line and one that has fuelled my anticipation as I’ve been listening to this track for weeks after I received my copy of the CD.

To call this record eagerly awaited sounds clichéd, yet it was in our house anyway. The line up, changed somewhat since the band’s last release Greetings from Abney Park, make a sound that is tighter and more compressed as a unit. But at just six tracks long, weighing in at a sprightly thirty minutes, it is really only a mini-album. The

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