Archives by month/year

Charlemagne Palestine and Z’ev – Rubhitbangklanghear / Rubhitbangklangear

Sub Rosa

Charlemagne Palestine and Z'ev - Rubhitbangklanghear/Rubhitbangklangear Almost unbelievably, Rubhitbangklanghear/Rubhitbangklangear is the first album that Charlemagne Palestine and Z’ev have recorded together, though they have apparently played together a couple of time in the last twenty-odd years. This double CD (there is an LP edition with half the tracks) is released as part of Sub Rosa‘s series of Laboratoire Central collaborations and finds the veteran (and it’s fair to add legendary) improvisers/composers in fine fettle.

On the different versions of the record there are both solo and duo pieces – three of each on the CD, and two duos and one Palestine solo on the vinyl. His solo piece (there is the same one on each format) uses only bells of

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Godflesh/Philippe Petit (live at Le Korigan)

Aix-en-Provence 19 May 2013

Godflesh at Le Korigan A night of metal and more in one of the heartlands of Provence; not an area generally well-known for its enthusiasm for all things dark and loud. Luynes is a placid near-suburb of Aix-en-Provence, and close enough to Marseille to bring a decent audience from the current European Capital of Culture and beyond, but Le Korigan (a mischievous Breton elf-like creature – none more metal a name) is also far enough from the neighbours to avoid putting them out of sorts.

The venue, part rehearsal studio, instrument repair centre and music school and part sweaty rock club, is also a haven of noise and subcultural bandname-swapping among the crowd gathered outside to smoke and chat patiently while awaiting the opening of the doors. Lurking nonchalantly among the picturesque villas of a well-to-do town which is

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Skinny Puppy – Weapon


Skinny Puppy - WeaponWeapon, Skinny Puppy‘s twelfth studio album and the latest entry in a catalogue going back more than thirty years, doesn’t really fuck about. Tangentially, at least, it’s all about guns. Apparently. Of course, being Skinny Puppy, it’s a mish-mash of ranting, nursery rhyming, shouting, screaming – and irritating spelling and capitalisation, all delivered over, or rather in the midst of, their trademark dancefloor-friendly beats, squirts, whooshes and bleeps. And you wouldn’t want it any other way. Or I wouldn’t, at any rate.

And it’s very recognisably Skinny Puppy from the outset, as “wornin’” piles in with its ’80s synth sounds and hard beat rhythm section, blips and glitches flying off in all directions as Ogre growls and scrapes his anguished way through the middle. It’s a pretty good idea of what to expect, and simultaneously

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Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO – In Search of the Lost Divine Arc


Acid Mothers Temple - In Search Of The Lost Divine ArcWell, here I am strapped into my capsule in preparation for another blast off to the planet of the Acid Mothers Temple and this album doesn’t disappoint. A large crash and we are straight into “Space Speed Suicide.” Immediately Kawabata Makoto’s Hendrix style guitar solos assault our ears over a massive Pink Fairies-like riff underneath and some wildly clattering drums. This is the violent explosion of Saturn five rockets at the beginning of the journey into space with a big head-banging tune to boot. This is the moment you are down the front at one of their shows doing ape-shit hippy dancing while lights and smoke flash around you. It’s take off time!

“Skilful Grinning Skull” starts off with

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Bearded Theory festival 2013

Mark Chadwick of The Levellers at Bearded TheoryKedleston Hall, Derbyshire 17-19 May 2013

Bearded Theory is, pretty much by definition, a party that got out of hand. It started out as a birthday bash, and is now in its sixth year as a music festival. Somewhere in among this tangled web of history is an obsession with beards, and on the Sunday they have an attempt at the world record for the most fake beards gathered in one place. Which is… definitely a thing. It’s also a sign that it doesn’t take itself too seriously – although everything’s handled incredibly professionally and there are few problems, there’s never a sense that anyone, including organisers and security, aren’t actually enjoying themselves at the same time.


New Model 

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Ekoplekz – Devesham Dub

Sex Lies Magnetic Tape

Ekoplekz - Devesham DubIt seems as if Nick Edwards, sometimes known as Ekoplekz, must sleep in his studio, nestled in tangles of thick rubbery cables, lulled by blinking red-and-green LEDs. He’s released 12 albums and six EPs under that guise since 2010, while recently instating the Nunton Complekz and Ensemble Skalectrik projects, as well. The man clearly has something to say. In a way, he is an Archetypal Noise Dude, releasing reams of semi-obscure/anonymous tape sculptures and concrete hymns, festooned with grim, gritty SF dystopian wrapping. It’s mysterious, ya know, not clouded with a bunch of personality. Yr not entirely sure WHAT’s going on, and in that, it makes you want to know more.

Ekoplekz’s music could be playing in a long, concrete fallout

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Metamono – Warszawa/Shafty


Metamono - Warzawa/ShaftyThis is a great little double A-side 7 inch by cosmic electronic trio Metamono. Side A is a cover of the Bowie/Eno track “Warszawa”. Rather than the sad – almost dirge – of the original, Metamono add a punchy sprinkling of beats and some wonderful synth sounds, some of these sound like Tomita meets the early Human League in outer space as noises twitter and spiral over a heavy bass. The track is largely rhythm-lead and is certainly a different take on this classic track, taking the song in new directions that I would never have imagined.

Side AA is called “Shafty,” which starts with glitchy sounding analogue synth sounds over a building rhythm. The sounds could almost be part of a soundtrack for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis as

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Carter Tutti/Mika Vainio (live at Heaven)

Chris n Cosey @ HeavenLondon 19 May 2013

Stuck in traffic, time was slipping away from us like a buttery thing, a total nightmare as impatient idiots decided to forge an extra lane in front, and I’m behind this person in a huge sports car that was probably twice the price of my house! He’s busy checking the mirrors – for gazes of envy, no doubt – I feel like making silly faces in response, but Robby Shackleton‘s E-jack was on the stereo, those wayward charms drifting out through the open windows, doing an ace job of crushing any sort of misconception.

After kerb crawling for what seemed an eternity we reached Battersea power station and an open road, arriving at Heaven just in time to check out the final embers

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Ensemble Skalectrik – Trainwrekz

Editions Mego

Ensemble Skalectrik - TrainwrekzSo, here we are again. I think I’ve reviewed in some way every Ekoplekz release – even if some of them were just 140 character yelps in the empty rooms of Twitter – and now, for the first time there’s signs that Nick’s relentless pursuit of his sound is cracking. Slightly.

Okay. It’s not really cracking. I’ve heard marketing gloop that suggests that this sounds nothing like his previous stuff. You’ll probably be pleased that this isn’t the case. This still (mostly) sounds like a Nick Gutterbreakz (I met him when he was still Gutterbreakz; he’ll always be Gutterbreakz) production. The characteristic DNA is here: the wobbly electronica, the arching loops, the dissolves and the static, the hums, the Lee Perry segues into

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Glenn Jones – My Garden State

Thrill Jockey

Glenn Jones - My Garden StateThe Sprummer has burst out in full bloom here in Blighty. That’s no typo. Spring forgot to happen this year, so we’re enjoying blossom trees and warmer evenings. Saying that, we had a hailstorm yesterday. Never the less we’re enjoying abundant daffodils growing in our parks and meadows. My Garden State is the perfect music to listen to whilst riding a bike and looking around at all this sprouting nature and being reminded that once again “Oh yer, summer actually exists!”

The album chimes in with insects buzzing and well, chimes. Mr Jones must have waited for just the right time in the evening to capture the grass bugs chorus in full hazy summer night flow. As well as

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Moss/Purson/Black Magician (live at The Underworld)

London 15 May 2013

Purson at the Underworld (pic: Andy Oram)It had been a while since I was last at The Underworld in Camden. At one point I almost seemed to live there, seeing some great doom bands week after week, so it’s always good to come back here. And what a night to do it on, a night of diabolus in musica with three of the hottest bands around.

As I enter the darkened room Black Magician are already creeping into their set. Haunting organ underpins some massive doom-laden riffs that hang in the air like the smell from a charnel house. Their sound is a mixture of huge Black Sabbath-style chords with eerie keyboards and a vocalist who sounds like he’s screaming from the very pits of hell. Their set

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Editions Mego at De La Warr Pavilion

Bexhill on Sea 11 May 2013

Personal history, you can skip this bit if you like: Back in the late 1990s I discovered what was London’s finest, most idiosyncratic record shop, These Records, following a tortuously convoluted traipse through the back-streets of Elephant and Castle guided by an A-Z and an address label stuck on the back of a second-hand Nurse With Wound CD. Behind the shuttered windows on this unprepossessing residential street, the shop’s wall was lined with a series of oversized cardboard wallets baring unfamiliar, opaque and confounding titles and representations of digital abstractions and oblique geometric forms; MEGO‘s in-house graphic designer Tina Frank‘s representations of what would soon, for better or worse, come to coalesce into a codified ‘glitch’ aesthetic.

What most differentiated MEGO from – say – Carsten Nicolai‘s contemporaneous Raster-Noton imprint, was that Alva-Noto et al seemed in endless pursuit of a mathematical rigour and

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Long Division With Remainders – Collision/Detection

Front & Follow

Long Division With Remainders - Collision DetectionThere’s buckets of finely congealed empathy here, beautifully presented. Front And Follow is an unusual, old-fashioned label, not quite made for these times. And thank God for that.

This box set is a collection of nie EPs from a host of incredible artists, all working within the confines of some strange call & response routine which sees invited artists submit audio clips into a central pot, which is then distributed around the group for them to do with as they see fit. At least, that’s what this box set is supposed to be. In another reality this is Front and Follow’s collective phantasy, an arc of triumph. This is the illusion of a series of collected EPs, an illusion so pervasive/persuasive

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The Handsome Family – Wilderness

Carrot Top (N America)/Loose Music (Europe)

The Handsome Family - WildernessAptly titled, this latest album from Rennie and Brett Sparks is like a beautiful life sciences lesson. Packed with facts I presume are correct, and I wouldn’t argue with songwriter Rennie’s instructions – one can learn an awful lot about beasts of our world. The worst beasts being of course ourselves, mankind.

The Handsome Family deliver stories in their songs which seem almost always like age-old tales but are cunningly crafted in the here and now. They’ve chosen an older type of Americana to base the music on, seriously strong on bluegrass and Appalachian traditional tunes, melodies and harmonies. On Wilderness, for the first time, I’m finding myself hearing that these tunes sound like those in other Handsome

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Aidan Baker – Aneira

Glacial Movements

Aidan Baker - AneiraAneira appears as one long track, and this time round it’s simply Aidan Baker on his own with a twelve-string acoustic guitar. This is a piece which is far more isolationist than that simple statement might at first appear, as Baker uses the instrument as a sonic generator to produce a whole host of glacial textures and tones. While the sound of steel strings is still evident in the rustling, shimmering noises, their twanging rustle sometimes brings to mind the wind rattling the ice-clad rigging of a wooden sailing ship stuck fast in ice, as do the ominous groans and drones which shudder and heave at the low end.

As listens go, this one is often quite oppressive, and there’s no denying that Baker has captured an impressionistic portrait of forces of nature in slow, glacial motion.

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