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Hypnopazūzu / The Stargazer’s Assistant (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Union Chapel, London 22 October 2016

Hypnopazūzu live October 2016Lovely to be back at the Union Chapel again, without doubt one of the jewel venues of London. The vivid bruises of coloured light curving all that gothic finery, spot-lit chandeliers transformed into floating pentagrams. Just looking up at the vaulted ceiling was awesome in itself. You could say this was the perfect pitch for tonight’s esoteric expectations. I saw Current 93 here a few years back and it was made all the more special because of this fact.

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Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO / Wooden Indian Burial Ground (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Acid Mothers Temple live September 2016Corsica Studios, London 29 September 2016

It’s the beginning of autumn and leaves are already starting to turn a darker shade on the trees and supermarkets are already trying to sell us Christmas fare three months early. It is also traditionally the time when the mighty Acid Mothers Temple decide to do their UK tour. Its almost as if its a yearly ritual to go to a small club in London, usually Corsica Studios, and have my ears pummelled by Japan’s finest.

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Electric Moon / ENOS (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Electrowerkz, London 13 May 2016

ENOS live at Baba Yaga's Hut May 2016It’s Friday the thirteenth, the day of bad vibes, things going wrong and surreal killers with ski masks. Some people even refuse to leave the house on this day, in case they accidentally fall over a black cat or walk under a ladder. The thing is, you know when Electric Moon are in town, any heavy bad luck nonsense will dissipate in a glow of psychedelic goodness.

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Mugstar / Henge (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Electrowerkz, London 26 February 2016

Visiting London’s Electrowerkz in 2016 after spending far too many nights here at the legendary Slimelight in the ’90s is a singularly disorienting experience. It’s the same building, but where once there stood a dingy warehouse now stands an actual venue, even though they’re the same bricks in the same places. Indeed, it’s so disorienting that we may as well be on all the drugs we were twenty-odd years ago, though these days there’s an actual bar and we stick to booze, being old.Henge live at Baba Yaga's Hut February 2016

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The Cosmic Dead / Snapped Ankles (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Cosmic Dead September 2015

The Lexington, London 9 September 2015

There is something about Wednesdays, something odd that doesn’t quite fit right. Wednesday is the square peg in the round hole. It seems to bring out a strangeness in the universe, as if all those planets and solar systems and galaxies out there somehow know that that it’s Wednesday.

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Acid Mothers Temple And The Cosmic Inferno (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

The Dome, London 3 July 2015

Okay, so here’s a thing. I don’t really remember ever seeing Acid Mothers Temple. I’ve seen them on various occasions, and I don’t really remember any of them. Now, I don’t make a conscious effort to indulge any more before an Acid Mothers Temple gig than I do before a show by anyone else, but somehow after the fact they always elude me, sliding apart into vague fragments like a dream does on waking.

Acid Mothers Temple at the Dome 2015

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Raw Power 2015

Circle live at Raw PowerThe Dome and Boston Music Room London 24 May 2015

I have to admit that I’ve never been to Raw Power before. Every year, more than any other festival, there are always an amazing bunch of bands that I have wanted to see, or at least witness again. So even though I was unable to do both Friday and Saturdays events, I managed to race to the venues for the start of things on Sunday afternoon.

As I arrived a few stragglers from the night before began to appear, some still looking blitzed or partly shell-shocked; some with tales of drunken debauchery or just suffering from partial deafness from the Earthless set the day before. Someone informed me that it was more packed at the start of things

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Seven That Spells (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Seven That Spells live at Baba Yaga's HutThe Shacklewell Arms, London 25 February 2015

Called in at the last minute to cover a band of whom I’ve never heard but am assured I’ll like, I’m downstairs at The Shacklewell Arms, its cave-like stage, especially the part where the drummer has an actual alcove instead of a riser, proving to be the perfect location in which to take in the oddly-named Seven That Spells, purveyors of, in their own words, “modern, aggressive psychedelic wall of sound incorporating polymetrics and occasional Viking funeral rites; hailing from the 23rd century where rock is dead“. Which just about covers it. Except it can’t, because to just use a band’s own words for a review and then bugger off kind of defeats the whole

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Chris & Cosey / Nisennenmondai (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Chris & Cosey live at Heaven 2015 - 4Heaven, London 15 February 2015

So tonight CarterTutti bid a fond farewell to their iteration as Chris & Cosey, and as expected the place is rammed to the rafters, as nobody wants to miss the end of this particular era. Prior to the gig my Facebook feed was a constant stream of updates telling me that one person or another on my friends list was going, and judging by the sizes of the groups milling around the bar, my experience was hardly unique. A lot of crews here, all ready to have some fun. And I’ve got an epic hangover, due to having been corralled into watching Frozen by the prospect of dinner and heroic quantities

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Silver Apples / Tomaga (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Corsica Studios, London 3 December 2014

One of the bonuses of the gig being at Corsica Studios is that I can have a wander around inside the Elephant and Castle shopping centre beforehand. It’s a truly gargantuan space, way too large to justify its enormous real estate footprint in these slavering Neoliberal times, but somehow it manages to persist, its small-flecked 1970s flooring and wooden handrails clinging on in 2014, as anachronistic as pair of brown flares and a pint of Watneys Red Barrel. It’s not pink any more, and sadly no longer has wonderfully alliterative pairings of its purchasable wares written around the top of the facade (“Shoes / Sandwiches”!), but damn it, it’s still there.

Even its original architects later admitted that “the site is really saying no with a big NO to almost any poor pedestrian who wants to creep into the building.” but after many years

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Trans Am / AK DK (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Trans Am Baba Yaga's Hut November 2014Elektrowerkz, London 8 November 2014

One can learn a lot about two bands from their inter-set changeover. Here in the black box of Elektrowerkz, surrounded by dressed-down men with beards and a few women too, we are watching AK DK remove a lot of equipment.

There are two drum kits in there, a couple of synths with reassuringly wooden sides on tables covered in lots of other associated junk; and then behind them there’s that big modular system with a fetishistic dial-like module that has been cycling all through the set. We’re not even sure that it did anything but it looked kind of cool, so you definitely would leave it running if you’d bothered to drag that piece of furniture along to a gig.

For

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White Hills/One Unique Signal (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014Corsica Studios, London 23 September 2014

So we’re back again for round two — the second night in a row at London‘s tiny but perfectly-formed Corsica Studios, this time to see space-rock reprobates White Hills and One Unique Signal. And there will be volume. Oh yes, there will be volume. Lots and lots of lovely, lovely volume (say this in the voice of Neil Kinnock‘s Spitting Image puppet for best results).

One Unique Signal live Sept 2014

The first providers of this volume are One Unique Signal, of whom my first thought is that they are terrifyingly young. But this is swept into

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Bardo Pond / Black Bombaim (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Corsica Studios, London 22 September 2014

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

Despite its location, deep in the heart of Elephant and Castle, I really, really like Corsica Studios. It’s essentially a tiny concrete box with a wicked sound system, the combination of which tends to funnel intensity and make great music sound just that little bit greater. We’re here to see Bardo Pond, of whom more later

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Zombie Zombie/Charles Hayward (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Zombie Zombie Baba Yaga's Hut, September 2014Electrowerkz, London 25 September 2014

I had not been to see anything at Electrowerkz for a very long time; in fact so long, I initially forgot where it was, and so was surprised that the place had changed very little over the years. One thing that has improved though was the sound in the venue, and both acts tonight have a wonderful clear sound that penetrates deep into the audience.

By the time I arrive, Charles Hayward is just taking to the stage. He sits sentinel behind his drum kit and begins to play a series of complex rhythms over a backing tape. Sometimes his drumming is subtle and reminds me of Bill Bruford with its light, almost jazz touch; at other points he clatters

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Teeth Of The Sea/The Cosmic Dead (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Teeth of the Sea Live at Baba Yaga's Hut Corsica Studios, London 12 July 2014

It was the day of the flying ants. The humidity in London was building and it felt like a storm was about to break any minute. Before hitting the venue I went to the local pub to have a beer and cool down after the heat of London transport. People who sat outside were being assailed by ants and for a brief few seconds a shower hit that washed some of them away. Then the heat rose and steam made its way upwards from the pavement. These were the omens, the portents of what was to come as my ears were about to be aurally assaulted.

Corsica Studios were hot and sticky and the air

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