The Muslimgauze Preservation Society
Snapping into brutal gear with a slice of brightly-coloured post-dancehall rhythms which wouldn’t sound that far out of place on a record by The Bug, Martyr Shrapnel continues the work of the Muslimgauze Preservation Society of bringing the remaining odds and ends of Bryn Jones‘ extensive and still-increasing back catalogue to posthumous light.
The first six tracks previously appeared as Analog Zikr on cassette, and each is identified by that name and a number. By comparison to a lot of later Muslimgauze releases, there is a relatively mimimalist feel to these pieces, and while this may be because they were unfinished at the time of Jones’ death is irrelevant. With their crackling accretions, conversational Arabic snippets and often furious percussion intervals, the album ripples with all the musical tropes for which Muslimgauze is
Continue reading Muslimgauze – Martyr Shrapnel [...]
The Muslimgauze Preservation Society
Given a vinyl release nearly two decades after it first appeared – somewhat unusually – as a DAT, Satyajit Eye comprises outtakes from the Vote Hezbollah and Hamas Arc albums. Recorded with engineer John Delf at the Abraham Mosque Centre in Manchester, this album marks a key period in the development of the Muslimgauze sound, as the extensive liner notes on the LP recount, it was the first time Bryn Jones had used a state of the (then) art studio to mix his music.
The turning of looped 8- and 24-track tape masters into the six fully-dubbed up widescreen tracks on this LP (and on the two albums mentioned previously) is detailed with loving precision in the sleevenotes, and the tweaking, echoing and fading of the different channels by Jones and Delf is subtly
Continue reading Muslimgauze – Satyajit Eye [...]
The début release from the Turquoise Coal label is also Irma Vep‘s first time on vinyl, though it’s also the tenth solo album from Klaus Kinski drummer Edwin Stevens. However, anyone familiar with Klaus Kinski and therefore expecting a full-frontal assault of blistering noise from Stevens will be bound for some disappointment – in fact, a metric shedload thereof.
Which is not to say that HAHA isn’t intense enough in its own way, but not like having extremities removed at brutal speed by the application of discordance. Instead, the Irma Vep approach owes more to a lo-to-mid-fi songsmithing tradition which might as easily have sprung from the local corner café-bar as from the sound of New Yorkers in black polonecks singing about the Marquis de Sade. There’s also something of Daniel Johnston or Jad
Continue reading Irma Vep – HAHA [...]
If there’s any kind of party going on, when the sun’s shining or no, if there’s barbecue coals warming up and a good-sized tent set up for entertainment, cornbread and sweet tea to start, grilled foodstuffs and harder liquor to follow, there should also be The Black Twig Pickers, a turkey in the straw and the ladies hopping high on a “Merry Mountain Hoedown” all the way to Napoleon’s retreat by way of the “Brushy Fork of John’s Creek.”
Following on from the upright and whirlsome sounds of Ironto Special comes Whompyjawed – which means crooked, off-centre; but here it sounds redolent of getting fiddle-ache from playing energetic music for far too long, but pleasurably, exhaustedly so. This is the record which would doubtless suit any old wedding, birthday and/or Bar-mitzvah, and
Continue reading The Black Twig Pickers – Whompyjawed [...]
Light In The Attic
The Seventies’ favourite candy-coloured California cowboy, Lee Hazlewood stands alongside the likes of Leonard Cohen and Serge Gainsbourg in his stature (if not physically) as one of those perennially louche raconteurs of the counterculture whose influence has accumulated and expanded over the passing decades. The throaty baritone, the whiskey and tear-stained sheets, the twang and strum of a full-spectrum pop sound which still managed to be imbued with a quintessence of the stories which the American pop-cultural elite (and they were an elite) told to and about themselves and spread across the wing-collared, bead-fringed world until it became the accepted face of what the Seventies meant to the popular imagination.
This collection of solos and duets (the latter with Ann-Margret, Suzi Jane Hokom and Nina Lizell) from the latter part
Continue reading Lee Hazlewood – The LHI Years: Singles, Nudes & Backsides (1966-71) [...]
Once upon a time, some enterprising music writer came up with (or popularised it at least) the term “arsequake” to describe the sort of heavyweight sludgy rock which occasionally crawled out of Camden to force itself onto unsuspecting grunge audiences in the Nineties; usually talking about the sort of sounds which stepped very close to the definition of music, then trampled on it, bit off its head and relieved itself at great length over the very notions of “listenability” and “form.”
Shit And Shine make arsequake which fits that term like a glove. The charmingly-titled “Dinner With My Girlfriend” pulls its intestines out the difficult way using a gauntlet made of rusty scrap steel discarded by Faust from the floor of The Garage in London after their legendary welding and burning
Continue reading Shit And Shine – Jream Baby Jream [...]
(Below are combined the two original reviews of the vinyl and CDr releases of Hands/Birds and The Meat And Bread Variations which are both now available online digitally direct from Jowonio – references to the extra CD etc are now sadly redundant, and the releases have been modified slightly in the new format).
Hands/Birds finds poet John Siddique in shifting moods, one moments or three drifting across textural landscapes, the next commenting, reflecting, proposing. Sometimes, as on the rightously noisy “Hard Paki”, he’s making a blunt statement of presence in the landscape as an integral element therein, defying and defining at the same time. These sentiments are put more reflectively in “Nine Drive”, replacing the chaos and crunch with a journey defined in environmental and electronic sounds and words – “I’ve not seen enough of this city” – a
Continue reading Jowonio Productions – Hands/Birds; The Meat And Bread Variations [...]
O2 Academy Islington, London 8 July 2011
Two very different Japanese interpretations of the idea of rock’n’roll descended upon The Angel Islington.
Compare and contrast the constructions of rock’n’roll energy, of gtr-bs-dr dynamics between the leather-clad machismo of Guitar Wolf and Bo Ningen‘s more androgyne angle. Bo Ningen favour the Acid Mothers Hendrix approach, riffing and cavorting at an angle to the regular hard rock template at the junction where Flower Travellin’ Band, the Butthole Surfers and Keiji Haino intersect.
Guitar Wolf take on wholesale the template laid out by The Ramones of a hairy, shades-wearing confrontational power trio vigorously reinventing bubblegum pop and garage rock in a fast, harder and definitely louder version. They open bombastically, leaping from the drum riser and getting more uproarious from there on in.
Complete with pulling (apparently) random members of the audience onstage to play lead axe while Bass Wolf and
Continue reading Guitar Wolf/Bo Ningen (live at The Academy) [...]
Important (CD) / Agitated (vinyl)
Once upon a time, a long time ago (but not long in the annals of Britain’s space rock godfathers), a bunch of dishevelled reprobates, part time musicians and full-time dopeheads used to play around with Hawkwind songs, frequently changing the words of “Psychedelic Warlords” to “My name’s Dave/And I’m a good bloke/Got a wife and kids/But I still like a smoke” in a suitably irreverent manner. These people are not connected at all to Mugstar, but somehow it seems an appropriate anecdote to mention in relation to the latter’s Lime album, or at least to its opener “Sunburnt Impedance Machine.” This is because Mugstar make good bloke (though not blokish, or laddish, and not just by or for men) music, redolent of motorbike oil and real ale, of free-flowing beards, freewheeling festivals and squidgy black
Continue reading Mugstar – Lime [...]
Label: Decay/Target Video Format: DVD,VHS
Originally released on VHS in 1987, this collection of the Dead Kennedys live in concert and the studio finds them in fine Punk Rock form. As is to be expected, the sound quality of the gig footage (mostly recorded at Mabuhay Gardens 1979-80) is less than optimal, but at least it’s in stereo and captures the band’s tightly-whipped performances in the lo-fi essentials. One simple expedient to improve the viewing experience is of course to turn up the volume. As far as DVD extras go, they’re minimal – song selection, concise biographies for each band member after they called it a day in 1986, and the amusing addition of singalong subtitles for each song. DKs karaoke anyone?
Each track is intercut with short sections of handgun headshots, Ronald Reagan slapping Nancy upside the head
Continue reading Dead Kennedys – The Early Years Live [...]
Label: 4AD Format: DVD+3xCD
There is an air of finality about the title and contents of 1981-1996. With the dissolution of their musical partnership into separate solo careers, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry are no longer Dead Can Dance, but as the extensive essay on the group included in the luxurious slip-cased hardbacked book (jam-packed with landscape photos) which makes up the packaging of the set observes, the band lives on through its music. However trite that may appear at first – all now-split bands or deceased artists exist beyond their actual personal existence together, barring reunions and the like – somehow it seems even more appropriate when considering Dead Can Dance, who practically embody the idea of timelessness in their uniquely overwhelming sound.
One of the aspects of the group’s career which is remarked upon in
Continue reading Dead Can Dance – 1981-1996 [...]
Label: NTT (available exclusively via Touch) Format: DVD (Region 0, NTSC)
Sometimes, nothing satisfies quite like the immersive intensity of a minimalist audio-visual feast for eyes, ears and cerebellum, and Formula provides more than adequate satisfaction on all counts. Starting with the packaging, which is realised with superb attention to detail and layout, from the gallery-quality booklet on heavy white paper encased in a protective plastic slipcase to the spacious listings of times and dates, releases and installations, complete with schematics and hall diagrams.
The DVD menus are equally straightforward – white screeens, titles, links. The disc divides into two sections, Installations and Concert. The former has eight selections, presented in both stereo and AC3 Surround Sound for the full audio impact of works which were created with immersive listening in mind. So it’s possible to recreate the Millenium Dome experience in any space, suitable or otherwise, to repaint a
Continue reading Ryoji Ikeda – Formula [...]
The Forum, London 3 April 2004
If one thing in life is true, it that people get older, bands get mellower – the noise and sound and fury of an Industrial youth flows into a neatly-tailored sartorial elegance and a penchant for slower numbers. Or so it is with Einstürzende Neubauten; perhaps it was always there, as such things happen with people as with music. A friend recently observed upon hearing the track “Silence Is Sexy” for the first time, that it was Marks And Spencers music – that is, middle aged, perhaps a bit boring: a contribution to the pension fund. It seems somewhat appropriate then that the merchandise stall tonight is selling what are effectively EN-logo’ed cardigans – smart, stylish black affairs, but comfortable enough to go with a matching set of slippers – and yes, this reviewer purchased one.
All the above may be true, or an
Continue reading Einstürzende Neubauten (live) [...]
@ Kosmische Upstairs At The Garage, London 16 September 2003
A reasonably well-filled Upstairs At The Garage is in store for a sleazy night of lateral Rock and Roll tonight. Caesar Romero pull off several good sweaty tricks – they use keyboards and guitars like they were meant to be scuzzed up and with a hint of wah; their guitarist manages to wear a stetson onstage without looking like a twat, and their music is a gritty swirl of fat, fuzzy bass, crisp drums and some occasional stroke of violin. Their female fans/friends also like to gyrate in front of the stage. Despite a couple of false attempts on their final number, it stomps their earthy set out with a hint of treble-cut analogue synth Funk and confirms the bands’ entertainment value as high.
The Vanity Set/Groop/Caesar Romero (live at the Kosmische Club) [...]
Label: Paw Tracks Format: CD,LP
From the acid-drenched woodland scenes of the band members lurking in a mirror wilderness on the cover to the music itself, Here Comes The Indian screams and drones and scrawls with psychedelic brightness and insanity. The Animal Collective yell and chant, whip up frenzied percussive grooves from nothing then let them rip into splashes of unhinged harmonious melody – the lysergic force is almost physical, as deliriously fragmented arrangements skip from slow handclap group unconscious singalongs into soundscapes of noises off and murmured words processed from direct from the undergrowth.
The group seem content to let their whims guide the course of any one track, while succeeding in holding back the chaos to levels of listenable dementia for the most part with the practised ease of improv selectivity. Massed echo effects and
Continue reading Animal Collective – Here Comes The Indian [...]