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Thought Forms audio interview

Kev Nickells interviews Bristol* noise merchants Thought Forms about their new album Ghost Mountain, among other things:

/audio/Thought_Forms_interview.mp3 *Or are they…? Listen in to find out.


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Overhang Party – Complete Studio Recordings


Overhang Party - Complete Studio RecordingsI first heard Overhang Party via their contributions to a couple of PSF’s Tokyo Flashback compilations back in the ’90s and a CD-R of their second album 2 that cultural commentator Jon Savage gave me around the same time. Since then I have almost completely failed to find any records by this most elusive of Japanese groups, the sole exception being a copy of their (I assumed) fourth album 4. Even the most basic information about the group was pretty hard to come by for years, but now the people at Important Records have brought us this handy box that brings together all the group’s studio recordings. My failure to get my hands on the group’s doubtless classic third album 3 becomes immediately evident

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The 49 Americans – We Know Nonsense


The 49 Americans - We Know NonsenseIt’s unusual to encounter a CD reissue where the ubiquitous ‘bonus tracks’ amount to more than inessential filler. The extras here, taken from the group’s first single and LP, turn out to be far superior to the actual album itself. The good news is that there are no less than 23 of them – swamping the LP proper’s meagre 17 songs and making this CD an invaluable release, just so long as you start it at track 18 – the classic “Beat up Russians” – and only skip back to track one should you fancy some bonus material at the end.

The 49 Americans’ début 7” single was seldom far from my turntable back in 1979. I had no idea who they were, but had

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Art Trip and the Static Sound – EP2


Art Trip and the Static Sound - EP2If you have ever longed to hear La Düsseldorf covering The Damned‘s “Neat Neat Neat,” Polly Harvey backed by Wire and Hawkwind (at the same time!) or The Saints fronted by Lydia Lunch, then Art Trip and the Static Sound are the group for you. EP2 (I somehow missed EP1 – but will remedy that) is full of concise, no-frills rock ‘n’ roll – driving rhythms, grinding riffs and arctic vocals coalescing into the coolest punch to the solar plexus you’re going to suffer all year. With five songs spread over a mere sixteen minutes, it’s all over before you can pick yourself up, dust yourself down and wonder what hit you.

Although you can download the EP from the

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Van der Graaf Generator – Live in Concert at Metropolis Studios, London

Convexe (N America)/Salvo (Europe)

Van Der Graaf Generator ‎Live In Concert At MetropolisAt the end of 2010, the Metropolis television company organized a series of intimate concerts at their London studios, each showcasing a ‘heritage’ act to 140 people, each of who paid £175 for the privilege. Apparently a glass of champagne and a meeting with the artist was also included in this price. The series included Caravan, Barclay James Harvest, The Zombies, Roy Harper, Bill Nelson and Van der Graaf Generator. The idea was to professionally film the performances in a studio environment and broadcast them on national TV. Each audience member would get a DVD of the show, which would then made available to the public at some later date.

In the event, the TV showings never materialized, with DVD

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Mark Stewart – The Exorcism of Envy

Future Noise

Mark Stewart - The Exorcism of EnvyThe Pop Group reunion gigs seem to have revitalised Mark Stewart. Rather than basking in the overdue glory accorded his old group, Stewart was straight back in the studio recording his first solo album for four years. The Politics of Envy came out last March, featuring guest spots from many of his punk era peers – Keith Levene, Gina Birch, Tessa Pollitt, Richard H Kirk, Youth etc. – and most rewardingly, their spiritual heirs from Factory Floor. The album was great – claustrophobic, dense and paranoid in the tradition of Stewart’s finest work, but with a lightness of touch that suggested that Stewart had actually learned to have fun with his music.

Some copies of the album came

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Merzbow – Takahe Collage

Handmade Birds

Merzbow ‎– Takahe CollageSpluttering rupturing, discordantly eviscerating the sounds and tropes of analogue and digital synthesis, Takahe Collage arrives in three parts but leaves music (once again) shredded in to far, far more. The first two pieces, the title track and “Tendeko,” weigh in at around the half-hour mark each, and after a through listen their presence soon becomes inscribed upon the ears like a permanent tattoo.

“Takahe Collage” bursts straight in without a fade or a fine thank you, surging directly for the jugular on a raft of churning loops and filter-tweakings of whatever combinations of patched-to-the-utmost analogue monstrosity and/or hand-built black box – or cheap consumer device or freeware plugin, who knows – Merzbow unleashes without a care for melody in the whole world. Ramp up

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Om – Addis/Gethsemane dubplates

Drag City

Om - AddisUK digi-dub veterans Alpha & Omega have taken on the task of remaking Om‘s track “Addis” from their recent Advaitic Songs album, transforming the original’s hypnagogic swell of doomy bass and mournful cello into a dub workout in two parts. Side A weighs in as “Ababa Dub,” Kate Ramsey‘s haunting vocal lifted into the echo chamber while the strings vibrate below, riding on a coasting undercarriage of sampled drums and bass.

Alpha & Omega snip out a syllable which sounds exactly like “Om” and send it bouncing off on a trail of delay while other sounds emerge as haunted sirens, and as far as dub mixes go, they could hardly have found better source material. On the reverse, “Addis Ababa” continues the meditative mood almost seamlessly

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To Live and Shave in LA – The Grief That Shrieked to Multiply


To Live and Shave in LA - The Grief That Shrieked to MultiplyWhen listening to noise, collages, field recordings or other kinds of abstract music, new compilations have always been a welcome listen. Mainly as it is usually very diverse, and for me almost never tiresome. The Grief That Shrieked to Multiply is of course not a compilation as such, but a collection of remixes, done by a big number of well known and some unknown artists from the said scene. Sounds and recordings from the not-belonging-to-any-genre collective of To Live and Shave in LA (TLASILA) are run through the whatever various aesthetic or focal point the individual remixer has. As there are more than 60 various entries over 3 CDs (and one more CD available for download, if you like),

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Gravetemple/Russell Haswell (live at Café Oto)

London 13 April 2013

Russell Haswell Cafe Oto April 2013Slipping quietly into the performance area, arch-noisemonger Russell Haswell opens his set with a slow build of spluttering sharp attacks, crawling eventually into chaos wrapped in shards of broken glass spat bloody and still sizzling into the ears of the willing victims in the crowd. Haswell is hunched intently over his boxes of dubious FX, never looking up and playing his devices the noisnik rather than the muso way – hard, brutal and as instruments themselves, an analogue/digital miasma with any emergent beats left to fend for themselves in musical purgatory.

Gravetemple are tonight (the first of two shows they will perform at Café Oto this weekend) the core trio of Stephen O’Malley (also known as SOMA), Oren Ambarchi and Attila

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Aidan Baker – Already Drowning/Aidan Baker with Plurals – Glass Crocodile Medicine (Latitudes)


Aidan Baker - Already DrowningAidan Baker‘s Already Drowning marks something of a departure for his solo releases, as each piece finds him collaborating with (in this case, women) singers with lyrical inspiration coming from the likes of Angela Carter, Philip K Dick and various folk sources. recorded over the space of two years, it’s also one of Baker’s most assured works in an already impressive catalogue both as a solo artist and in his many and various bands, not least of which is the ineffable Nadja.

The title song is a slow drum-led number, the kit swinging in a slow rhythm as Clara Engel croons softly. Her voice is as sad as the melancholy bassline, but there is a hint of optimism still in the rising swell

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Mugstar – Centralia

Cardinal Fuzz

Mugstar - CentraliaFor their 2013 contribution to Record Store Day, Mugstar unleash eight tracks (previously available as a tour-only CD) which emerge over the space of two sides of vinyl in an almost continuous mix of muscular psychedelic rock. Each instrumental merges with the next, the fading-out split between each side providing a suitable point to remind any stoners who might just possibly be listening that it’s probably time to manufacture another herbal cigarette or throw a fresh lump of resin on the burner.

Not that Mugstar’s music actually needs drugs to appreciate its cavernous reverb, phased intros, recursively expressive percussion runs worthy of Jaki Liebezeit or the frenetic lange gerade rhythms, but they probably wouldn’t go amiss for those who find such stimulating additions an aid to

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Rättö ja Lehtisalo – Spiritismi

Full Contact

Rättö Ja Lehtisalo - SpiritismiLike the music of fellow synthpop freak Jimi Tenor, that played by the duo of Rättö ja Lehtisalo seems to come from a strange otherworld of their own devising, one where off-kilter percussion and jazzy notes sidle at the beck and call of Mika Rättö‘s distinctively weird vocals. It’s not even because they’re in Finnish, because Mika has an international delivery offset by the trademark tendency to surprise at any given turn which he also brings to his vocal work in Circle alongside Jussi Lehtisalo.

So while there’s none of Ed Benttonin briljantti stabilismi tai taivaallinen kylpysaippua‘s eccentric synthpop mania, nor even Kopernikus Hortoilee Näkinkengässä‘s archly motorik‘n’melodic pop, there is plenty to marvel in here, from the shuffling rhythms and soaring

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Sion Orgon – Into the Dark

Fourth Dimension

Sion Orgon - Into the DarkSecond in the series of Fourth Dimension Singles Club 7” releases, Into The Dark represents Sion Orgon‘s first new music to be released in a good while. Like his previous album, 2008’s The Zsigmondy Experience, the A side of this 7” features appearances from Thighpaulsandra, Seb Goldfinch and the late Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson of Coil, Throbbing Gristle and The Threshold Houseboys Choir infamy.

The title track opens with an ominous nightmarescape of resonating gongs, scuttling electronics and layering drones. When Sion sings, it is in a lilting manner, at once elegiac and strangely triumphant as synthesizer squirls flip and whirr around him, together making an oddly poppish number which might once have been decorating the interior of a certain

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Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door

Rise Above

Purson - The Circle And The Blue DoorPurson’s first album has been long awaited in some quarters. After the sell out limited release of their first single “Rocking Horse” and support slots for both Electric Wizard and Comus there’s been something of a buzz about this band and this LP doesn’t disappoint.

“Wake up Sleepy Head” is a beautiful acoustic opener with lush-sounding Mellotron and owes much to the lineage of ’70s psychedelic folk such as Mellow Candle and Trees. Rosalie Cunningham’s vocals are crystal clear and stirring during this opening mournful lament. The segues nicely into “The Contract,” a big, almost Prog meets Sabbath number, where Barnaby Maddick’s big Chris Squire-sounding bass riff underpins the verse that has Wakemanesque Mellotron drifting eerily underneath.

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