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John Carpenter – Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998

Sacred Bones

John Carpenter - AnthologyI’ve just spent a few days driving down the south coast of England and then around the Devon countryside, listening to John Carpenter’s Anthology all the way. And the first thing to say about it is, it works. Overlaid on any landscape you’d care to imagine – a traffic-jammed motorway, a small-town suburb, a swooping coastal road, a mist-sodden moor, a little high-tide cove – it creates a very precise atmosphere of unease, of impending darkness, of collapse.

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Earth / Black Spirituals (live at Komedia)

Brighton 24 February 2015

Last time Earth came to Brighton they played The Haunt, a tiny space which scores highly on the intimacy scale, but you couldn’t help feeling a band of this stature deserved a bigger stage, both literally and metaphorically. It’s pleasing then to see them upgrading to the Komedia, but before the main event we have the intriguingly named Black Spirituals, who turn out to be a duo from Oakland, California.

Black Spirituals Komedia February 2015 2Zachary Watkins, on guitar and electronics, provides a hazy mid-range backdrop over which drummer Marshall Trammell improvises ever-changing percussive patterns, like an expressionist painter daubing Miro-like pictograms over his bandmate’s canvas. He’s a superb drummer – I was repeatedly reminded of Rashied Ali’s playing on John Coltrane’s ‘Interstellar Space’,

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Swans (live at Brixton Electric/Concorde 2)

Swans live at Concorde (Pic: Al Robertson)Brixton Electric London 27 May 2014

Since reforming – or, perhaps more accurately, reincarnating – in 2010, Swans have rapidly become one of the most extraordinary musical entities of our age. Their comeback album, My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky, was a fine release, and they soon re-established themselves as a formidable live act. But with 2012’s The Seer – a vast, audacious, and stunningly wonderful double album – they scaled hitherto unconquered peaks, and matched that with a series of quite astonishing live shows which were about as close to holy communion as some of us are ever likely to get (see here for Jim Bliss’ review of one such gig in Dublin in 2013. I wasn’t there, but I

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