If you were to look for a definition of the term “cult movie”, you might find the huge stone face of Zardoz staring back at you from the page, bellowing “the gun is good, the penis is bad”. Because it is for this and dozens of other images of batshit unheimlich that Zardoz has earned its cult status.
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(Before we go any further, a word about the title: you saw the caron on the s, didn’t you? Yes, of course you did. And that immediately suggested to you that Šlag Tanz is pronounced Schlag Tanz and you didn’t have a silly schoolboy [or girl] moment, did you? Good, and furthermore you get the Germanic sense of the word that indicates something like Shock Dance, so we don’t need to waste any further time on this now, do we? Good.)
There are two things immediately noticeable about Magma’s Šlag Tanz. Actually maybe there are three: the first being its relative brevity, what the label describes as a mini-album, but perhaps that is not to the point: Šlag Tanz is a single piece of music. If you are unfortunate
Continue reading Magma – Šlag Tanz […]
The 1960 tour of Europe of the Miles Davis Quintet is a significant moment in jazz. It stands at a fulcrum for the development of John Coltrane as a musician and as a distinctive voice. The Quintet here is essentially the Sextet featured on Kind of Blue, but with Bill Evans swapped for Wynton Kelly on piano and without Cannonball Adderly.
Coltrane had played with Miles Davis since the 1955 Sextet, on the albums Cookin’, Relaxin’, Workin’ and Steamin’, before being sacked for substance abuse issues. When he was accepted back into the fold in 1958 he made important contributions to Milestones and the seminal Kind of Blue, but at the moment of these radio recordings of the
Continue reading The Miles Davis Quintet – All of You: The Last Tour 1960 […]
Elektrowerkz, 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.
Continue reading Trans Am / AK DK (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut) […]
When we look back to the ’90s, back when something that was called post-rock was as vital a part of the musical landscape as Britpop or grunge, we might find ourselves wincing at the apparent uselessness of this subgeneric category, or we might find ourself wincing at the uselessness of all subgeneric categories, or we might find ourselves just not caring either way.
Post-rock was described somewhere apocryphal as what happened if you ditched your vocalist and hired John McEntire to produce your album. And as far as it goes, some of this was true of Trans Am; the McEntire production credit was there, also the lack of songwriterliness and the lack of a singer too; at least initially. Back then, if we were
Continue reading Trans Am – Volume X […]
Five DVDs into Magma‘s series of live sessions at Le Triton,we find the pioneers of Zeuhl way out there beyond the Theusz Hamtaahk trilogy and exploring some of the stranger byways of their œuvre along with some dazzling new material. The entire programme runs to about two hours. There are a few interludes during which audience members, including Steve Davis, are interviewed about their relationship to the Magma legend, but mostly what you get is an all you can eat feast of pitch-perfect Magma.
There are two numbers from 1978’s Attahk album, “Dondai” and Maahnt,” as well as an opener entitled “Attahk (Retrovision)” which was not actually part of that album but is a composition from the same period. Digging further back there is “Rïah Sahïltaahk” from the 1001° Centigrade album from 1971, and
Continue reading Magma – Epok 5: Mythes & Legendes […]
Phil Manley will already be known to fans of Total Music as a key member of the groups Trans Am and The Fucking Champs. To those of you who really keep your eye on the ball, you will also know that he released a solo album in 2011 called Life Coach. It is not that Life Coach but his new band Life Coach and their début album that we are concerned with in this review.
As the name might suggest there is an overarching journey running through this album. This journey is human potential, optimisation, excellence and a free gym pass when you sign up for a whole year of the programme. Manley is joined for the duration by drummer Jon Theodore of Queens of
Continue reading Life Coach – Alphawaves […]
In an era of bands reforming, reappearing and generally revising, sometimes apparently out of the blue, few albums have been as eagerly anticipated as My Bloody Valentine‘s third; and after twenty-two years it finally appeared on their own website with barely a breath of warning to the waiting throngs – and on YouTube when their servers crashed too. Freq offers three opinions on the mbv brouhaha.
I couldn’t figure out how to buy the mbv download, because the site was so abstract and weird.
Consensus here, some of it sounds like two hairdryers with someone trying to play a guitar solo. It keeps promising to stop, then lurches back into itself. Then a hoover comes in, along with a lawn
Continue reading My Bloody Valentine – m b v […]
The Sound of White Columns
Unlike Star Trek fans, Can enthusiasts never have to choose between the two key vocalists of the Can oeuvre. Partly this is because Damo Suzuki and Malcolm Mooney both found idiosyncratic ways in which to interact with the rest of the band. It is also because Can enthusiasts are not necessarily Star Trek fans.
Mooney’s sojourn with The Can initially manifests as one and a half albums. Further material is revealed on (Un)Limited Edition and then later we were treated to a full album of Mooney-era material with Delay 1968, the slightly unfortunate Rite Time in the late 80s; and the recent unearthing of The Lost Tapes reveals more of the Mooney legacy.
Continue reading Malcolm Mooney – The Sound Of White Columns […]
The Jazz Café, London 10 November 2012
Anyone who knows anything about Krautrock will already know that Agitation Free were one of the most significant bands during the early ’70s in Germany. They will also know that both Manuel Göttsching and Christopher Franke are included amongst their alumni, and that the three albums that make up the core of their discography, Malesch, Second and Last, are some of the most accomplished psychedelic music ever to come out of Germany. Everyone else will mutter incoherently about something called a motorik drum beat and analogue synthesisers and other stuff that is more relevant to the ’90s bands that aped Neu! than about the progressive music that was coming out of Germany during this period.
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Continue reading Agitation Free (live at the Jazz Café) […]
There’s always a tension going on between artists and their audiences growing up. Back when we first encountered Low they were playing deliberately quietly, persistently black and white. As if something of a damp night in Manchester at the end of the 70s had been caught and refracted in a puddle in Minnesota. In a few years we all stopped being so bloody miserable; us, them, everyone. Although God knows there was plenty to be miserable about.
Some people went off and had kids. We thought that was the last we’d see of them, but no, they carried on doing the things they tended to do. A bit more colour came into the world. Although when we look back there had always been flashes of it like tawdry costume jewellery lost and forgotten in the coal cellar.
Continue reading Low – C’mon […]
Prince Rama‘s ecstatic mantra-core would have smacked of mere exoticism hailing from any other clime than the Florida Hare Krishna community where this trio met. What we hear in their Shadow Temple album, more so than any of their previous releases, is an expression of a domestic American syncretic Hinduism, which embraces a core Saivism that is at first glance at odds with the Vaishnava Krishna-bhakti we might have expected. Meanwhile thundering out of the local spirit realm a distinctly Vedic Indra is gelded by a bizarre cowboy Mithras, and all of this before we even contemplate the cosmic repercussions of the Bodhisattva Avalokitasvara making out with Guru Nanak. That this is pursued with such vigour and intensity across the eight petals of Prince Rama’s temple with fiery budget-synthesiser action, tom-heavy
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London 11 May 2004
Since leaving Thee Headcoatees, Holly Golightly has been carving her own idiosyncratic niche in Garage Blues, lo-fi R&B in a retro Punk vein. Eschewing the vagaries of digital technology for the immediacy of vintage Vox amplifiers, Hofner guitars and a voice turned to honkytonk leather by bourbon and bar room smoke. Bearing all this in mind it is perhaps surprising to find Holly playing at the ICA: land of square glasses, new media and progressive Drum’n’Bass DJ sets. So with some trepidation, and an irrational fear that she has swapped her Medway Delta Blues band for a couple of nerds with laptops, we find ourselves in this hallowed bastion of culture.
We are somewhat reassured by the support act, The Pipettes, who romp their way through a half hour of Sixties girlband Pop complete with eccentric organist and female trio in op-art frocks. Top marks to
Continue reading Holly Golightly/The Pipettes (live at the ICA) […]
Label: Rock Action Format: 12″,CDS
Three tracks, barely eleven minutes in total and more accomplished than an hour of almost any other band you choose to name. The five piece Kling Klang – the original core trio of Joe McLaughlin , Amy Corcoran and Dave Smyth with Ali McDonald‘s drumming and Peter Smyth filling out the keyboard ranks – are a force to be reckoned with. The band have a genuine love of their chosen weapons: cheap keyboards from the Eighties, monstrous organs, guitar stomp boxes; but also a Punk pop sensibility and an ear for a hook like nobody’s business. Neither Metal nor Avant Garde but something that combines the accomplishments of the two.
The Superposition appears from left field, and before we know what has hit us, we’re eye-deep in “Heavydale”. The opening track of Liverpool space punk band Kling Klang’s third single, does exactly what it says
Continue reading Kling Klang – The Superposition EP […]
The Klinker The Sussex, London 20 September 2001
Well, The Klinker was its normal inchoate self: the irrepressible Hugh Metcalfe yelling “We start in ten minutes” as a half dozen apparently unrelated machine operators tinker with toy tape recorders, laptops, bits of wiring, large wineglasses, violin bows and Super 8 projectors. I concieve a momentary connexion between autism and the avant-garde – the unconnectedness, the lack of affect, it’s all here tonight at The Klinker.
But behind this buzz of overgrown childsplay there stand devices rarely seen at this venue: a full drum kit (without ethnicky extensions or innovative modifications), big Roland guitar amps, a Strat copy and a Westone bass. Tonight Tony Hill
Continue reading Tony Hill’s Fiction/The Bohmans/Blind Plastic (live at The Klinker) […]