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Toy.Bizarre – kdi dctb 180 / Moljebka Pvlse – In Love and Death, You Are Alone

Substantia Innominata

Toy.Bizarre - kdi dctb 180The latest instalment in Cédric Peyronnet‘s series of cryptically titled releases as Toy.Bizarre manifests as part of Drone Records‘ lovingly assembled Substantia Innominata imprint, arriving wrapped in a delightfully warped 10″ sleeve which not only manages to make brown and sepia look stunning ( a rare trick), but would also make a great poster as a result. The vinyl inside is clear, however, and each side reveals an unfolding tale of otherworldy, hypnotic soundscapes which seem to be built on the assumption that there is other world (or worlds) of sound not that far out of reach from this one.

The neatly judged cut’n’paste aesthetic that Peyronnet deploys slips and slides from recursive watery loops through close-mic’ed hikes across

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Hills – Frid

Rocket

Hills - FridIt’s the shortest day of the year and HillsFrid album is bringing some summer warmth on a midwinter’s day — blasting, beautiful, fuzzed-out freak beat psychedelia from Gothenburg’s finest.

“Kollektiv” is like a slab of 1969 all rolled up in a glorious joint of mellow psychedelic madness. From its fuzzed out opening to its sitar-laden exit, this is the kind of music that The Freak Bothers would have had singing from their stereo. It so perfectly captures a certain era music that its coloured layers now seem out of time and space. There’s a slice of Blue Cheer mixed with the lightness of Tomorrow from ’67, and it’s time to get the joss sticks going.

“National Drone” builds like the beginning

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New Model Army (live at The Forum)

London 11 December 2015

“And you could be there…”

Zoom in. You’re down the front at The Forum. New Model Army are playing up a storm, and Justin Sullivan has put you right in the head of a religious extremist. They started with the never-more-appropriate-than-right-now-when-we’ve-just-started-bombing-in-Syria “Bloodsports”, a song which in itself encapsulates the endless War On Terror, from the packing of bullets to the bombing raids and slaughter to the impact on personal and community relations back home in the space of three minutes. They let it form a state-of-the-world triptych with angry classic “Christian Militia” at its centrepiece, rounded off by “Breathing”, an intimate glimpse into the mind of a terrorist atrocity survivor. As a statement of intent, it’s powerfully intense. As the opening to a rock show, it kicks ass. Zoom out. Take a breath.

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Tubeway Army – Replicas / Gary Numan – The Pleasure Principle / Telekon

The Arkive/Beggars Banquet

Gary Numan’s Top Of The Pops performance of “Are Friends Electric” was the Bowie “Starman” flashpoint for my generation (those creeping around the 50s age bracket). In school the next day we had many discussions about it, the weird music, the weird look, etc; it was like Kraftwerk but darker and, to be honest, just seemed alien to us.

That performance changed lots of people’s lives and here I am, thirty-six years later, reviewing some beautiful audiophile 180 gram vinyl re-pressings of Numan’s three most important albums of his early career. So please bear with me if some nostalgia creeps into my review as I go along, because in a strange way it’s difficult to review these albums that have been part of my life for so long without straying back to my 14-year-old self. I’m going to use these albums in context with other releases, but

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Faust / Nurse With Wound / Cut Hands (live at St John Sessions)

Faust & Nurse With Wound live at St John Sessions December 2015 (Picture: Michael Rodham-Heaps)St John at Hackney, London 5 December 2015

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas: illuminations strung across the lampposts of the capital, sparkling every night like twinkling stars; the inky darkness of the night already setting in by mid afternoon; overflowing trays of “luxury” mince pies everywhere you look. And – really – what says “Christmas” more than a Faust gig?

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Swans – White Light From The Mouth of Infinity / Love Of Life Deluxe Edition

Young God (North America) / Mute (Rest of the world)

Disc 1 — White Light From The Mouth Of Infinity

Swans - White Light From The Mouth Of InfinityAfter a disastrous flirtation with a major label on The Burning World, White Light From The Mouth of Infinity was a self-financed regaining of confidence for Michael Gira. The acoustic spirit of Burning World was still high on the agenda, but the lacklustre verve that cursed that LP was ditched in favour of something more epic.

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The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing (live at The Underworld)

TMTWNBBFN live at The Underworld November 2015

TMTWNBBFN live at The Underworld November 2015London 21 November 2015

A grim Saturday night in Olde London Towne, and The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing have their name up in lights. Well, kind of; even the acronym only just about fits above Camden’s legendary Underworld.

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