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Prince Rama – Xtreme Now

Carpark

Prince Rama - Xtreme NowThe world has changed and moved on since Prince Rama were a three piece with ritual psychedelic overtones and a multi-coloured vision of India running through their music. Since then they have been whittled down to the two Larson sisters, who have taken the band in a very different directions from disco to almost noise music. Xtreme Now pushes this envelope even further out there.

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Driftmachine – Eis Heauton

Hallow Ground (vinyl)/Umor Rex (cassette)

Driftmachine - Eis HeautonEis Heauton is an eminently suitable title to describe what Driftmachine are up to on their second album under that name. The duo of Florian Zimmer (Saroos) and Andreas Gerth (of Tied & Tickled Trio) certainly allow and encourage their devices to live up to both the group moniker as well as the Greek term that refers to being in conversation with oneself. εἰς ἑαυτόν has also been rendered as Meditations, the title of the collected philosophical works of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, a Stoic reflection on the individual’s place and ways of being within the natural cosmic order.

So it is that the modular synth is set running a series of self-generating patches, the ghost

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This Heat – This Heat / Health And Efficiency / Deceit

Light In The Attic

This Heat

This Heat - S/TThis Heat‘s self-titled 1979 début album is a document of three musicians finding their mojo in an abandoned meat locker. Although much of the LP was recorded elsewhere, it generally feels — for the most part — a very enclosed experience, as if (I like to think) you can hear the damp walls of those black’n’white promo-shots reverberating within the fibre of each track.

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This Is Not This Heat (live at Café OTO)

London 13 February 2016

This Is Not This Heat live at Cafe OTO February 2016I suppose it would be prudent to start off with something of a disclaimer – it’s going to be very difficult to get much critical distance from this evening. Like no other gig I can think of, I was nervous when I thought I wouldn’t be able to go, nervous when I found out I could go, and nervous about trying to write any kind of review. The weight/wait of expectation is almost too much to bear.

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Datblygu – Porwr Trallod

Ankst

Datblygu - Porwr Trallod

It should be the case that this band don’t need any introduction, but they do, because the British are rubbish and refuse to celebrate anything beyond narrow trajectories of well-worn paths. There’s little about Datblygu that’s radically awkward or difficult to listen to, just songs in a language that’s not English (namely, Welsh). A big political point for me, especially as the Tories’ death march continues unabated, that anyone having the tenacity to make “minority” art in the oxygenless British culture of abject desperation and actual humans dying actually actually… is doing something that’s worth cherishing, and venerating, to the fullest.

Not that I have the energy to be excited about something just for the sake of making it a flimsy bulwark against the worst

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Drew McDowall / Helm (live at Café OTO)

London 3 February 2016

Analogue at Cafe OTO February 2016It’s all very restful really, sitting around at the front of OTO, bathed in the soft orange glow of the tea-lights scattered around the stage and sipping a cranberry juice. I’m trying to get my head around Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s recent tome on anti-fragility whilst awaiting the arrival of the “notoriously reclusive” Drew McDowall, one of the lesser-spotted denizens of the liminal zone staked out by his erstwhile collaborators Coil, when suddenly the guy sitting next to me strikes up a conversation.

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Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Pond Scum

Drag City (Americas) / Domino (Europe)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Pond Scum“My job is just to sit here and sing these songs that have no purpose.”

And yet Will Oldham, aka Bonnie “Prince” Billy, aka Palace Brothers, aka Palace Music, has been singing these songs for more than two decades, and whether his purpose is found still remains only in the hearing of the listener.

Oldham’s back catalogue is an intimidating place to navigate. With an extreme work ethic and a prolific output to match, it can be difficult to truly know everything he has done. I have listened to more of his albums and collaborations than those of any single artist and still have only heard about a quarter of what I know is out

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The Bolshoi – 5 Albums

The Arkive

The Bolshoi - 5 AlbumsMany years ago, I was all about The Bolshoi. Tipped-off by a friend at sixth form college, I borrowed their album Friends from the local tape library (for the benefit of our younger readers, tape libraries used to be a thing back in ancient history. As, of course, did tapes. And libraries.) and instantly fell in love with its marriage of goth-inflected cynicism and massively catchy tunes. For a while back there it was up there with The The‘s Soul Mining and the Sisters Of Mercy‘s First And Last And Always as my favourite album.

When I left home and hit the big city, I managed to track down their first mini-album, Giants, and was blown “clean away” (as it

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Vainio and Vigroux – Peau Froide, Lèger Soleil / Franck Vigroux and Matthew Bourne – Radioland: Radio-Activity Revisited

Cosmo Rhythmatic

Vainio & Vigroux - Peau Froide, Lèger SoleilIt really makes a huge amount of sense for Mika Vainio and Franck Vigroux to have made Peau Froide, Lèger Soleil together, especially considering the latter’s storming Centaure 12″ of a year or so ago. There, Vigroux mashed up the hardest of beats in a welter of analogue electronics that bore easy and justifiable comparison to Vainio’s former outfit Pan Sonic; together they make a heavily textural collaboration which unfolds with a wheezing, shuffling sense of palpable heaviness and weighty atmospherics.

Replete with all manner of weighty analogue oscillator drones and the crunchiest of crunchy rhythms, the album unfolds in a gathering swarm of delayed hissing snippets, sliding bass tones, cinematic dynamics and an ever-present sense of

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