Well, 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
Continue reading Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO – In Search of the Lost Divine Arc [...]
So, 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 dubDubdub but
Continue reading Ensemble Skalectrik – Trainwrekz [...]
The 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 singing summer bugs, thunder
Continue reading Glenn Jones – My Garden State [...]
Front & Follow
There’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 that
Continue reading Long Division With Remainders – Collision/Detection [...]
Carrot Top (N America)/Loose Music (Europe)
Aptly 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 Family songs.
Continue reading The Handsome Family – Wilderness [...]
Aneira 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
Continue reading Aidan Baker – Aneira [...]
Oaken Palace is a different kind of a label, as for a start it’s a charity, and all profits from each of its vinyl-only releases go to an environmental cause of the artist’s choice. Since Nadja have decided to support Whale and Dolphin Conservation with their album, it only seems right and proper that the LP should be titled Flipper.
“Drown” is a melancholic reflection, entering at a slower than Low pace, Leah Buckareff‘s bass plumbing suitable depths while Aidan Baker‘s hushed words are softly, semi-distinctly intoned in multiple layers of mourning for – or from? – a watery grave, one which blossoms into minor-key flowering as the guest strings of Peter Broderick‘s violin and Angela Chan‘s viola join a cleansing wash of fuzz guitar. The
Continue reading Nadja – Flipper/Caudal – Forever In Another World/Adoran – Adoran [...]
Bureau B’s mission to ensure that one in every two CDs in the world feature Hans-Joachim Roedelius continues with the most unlikely collaboration of his career to date. Lloyd Cole is best known, in the UK at least, as the man who took a slickly polished dilution of ’80s indie-pop into the proper charts with hits like “Perfect Skin” and, err… I don’t seem to remember any of the others. It appears that he also released an electronic instrumental album in 2001, inspired by Cluster‘s Sowiesoso, which Roedelius heard and liked. It was another ten years before the two met in Vienna and decided to collaborate on an album by sending files back and forth to each other.
Continue reading Lloyd Cole & Hans-Joachim Roedelius – Selected Studies Vol. 1 [...]
Mick Harvey‘s official biography says that he “has always thought of himself primarily as a collaborator” – understandable given the success of his collaborations with PJ Harvey, Rowland S Howard and Nick Cave, and in a way, Four (Acts of Love) can also be seen as a collaboration, although of a quite different nature.
The album comprises a suite in three acts, pieced together from songs and musical snippets of Harvey’s, interspersed with covers. The songs mostly alternate between the originals and the covers, forming a conversation between Harvey and his influences and contemporaries. The sound palette and arrangements will be familiar to anyone who has followed his past work with any interest; Harvey’s skill at judging just what to leave out is
Continue reading Mick Harvey – Four (Acts of Love) [...]
Yesmissolga/Acid Cobra/Lumberton Trading Company
Amaury Cambuzat‘s début solo outing as Acid Cobra (while not playing guitar in Ulan Bator and one iteration of Faust) finds him hopping figuratively onto horseback for the opening guitar looper workout “Il y a des Cowboys!” The Western vibes blow dustily into the widescreen soundscape he plays, all descending figures circling like buzzards rising on a thermal to gain height for the annual migration path from the desert into the high plains. Drifting with a purpose seems to be the order of the day, and Cambuzat’s guitar has rarely sounded more evocative. The soundtrack motif is not accidental either, and the 13 pieces on the album are all written to accompany Cambuzat’s series of paintings
Continue reading Acid Cobra – Petrified Minds/Art-Errorist and Acid Cobra – Cold Waters [...]
Disc one of Kibako, and “Nigatsu Nijuugonichi”‘s abrasive banquet of blow torch and bruised industry is definitely a room clearer. Lurching around in shifts of attacking energies, fearsome, intense – full of percussive dynamite snipping at squalling hordes. It’s a weird kind of rapture, overwhelming the senses with spiky shards, enforced further by the screaming inferno of the following track “Operation Musashi.” Those clashing hertzological blizzards taking Schoenberg‘s gasps of tonality to their ultimate conclusion as a golden garbage of percussiveness under-runs a frantic exorcism of melody. Jackbooty BPMs hitting hollow snarings, drum solos spiralling off in quartzy whirls of dentist drill and Venetian Snares fuckeries of tempo.
“Askayama Shita Moeru”‘s harsh snowstorms kiss your senses with unintelligible yells and scrubbed perspex; it sounds
Continue reading Merzbow – Kibako [...]
Music For Nations
Hi there. Can we talk about Justin Broadrick again? I like talking about Justin Broadrick. What’s that? Hymns remaster? That’ll do nicely. OK, let’s talk!
Justin Broadrick has been responsible for more amazing music under more identities and in more bands than I have written pieces praising them, which is quite a lot. Final, Jesu, Techno Animal, Napalm Death, Pale Sketcher… the list goes on, and keeps expanding. But for most people the primary association on hearing his name will be Godflesh. And that’s no bad thing.
Godflesh were legendary. Godflesh were legendary for a bloody good reason. Godflesh were phenomenal. Between 1989′s Streetcleaner and 2001′s Hymns, they pumped out music like a severed artery, relentless, crushing and, most of all, EXTREMELY fucking heavy.
Continue reading Godflesh – Hymns [...]
This is what Time-damaged sounds like and I’m not sure this is a good thing. I don’t believe the sleeve notes any more than I believe the record. Something is very wrong about this record.
Actually, that’s not true at all. In fact, there are too many things that are just right about it. It’s just too… convenient.
A quick confession (for most of you this will come as no surprise): I know nothing about this group and I’m not going to try too hard to find out (clue: I’m not going to try at all). It would make a difference, slightly, as to how I feel about this but no difference at all to how I think about it. If this was a
Continue reading Ant-Bee – Pure Electric Honey [...]
I 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
Continue reading Overhang Party – Complete Studio Recordings [...]
It’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
Continue reading The 49 Americans – We Know Nonsense [...]