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An interview with Charles Hayward

May 2000

As impassioned and animated offstage as behind his massive drumkit, Charles Hayward radiates a genuine intensity. He first came to wide attention as drummer with the highly influential This Heat as the embers of Post-Punk simmered off into wilder experimental tangents. He has released a dozen solo and colaborative albums, and puts on rare solo live shows which pull the raw muscular percussion at the heart of Rock into new shapes with devastatingly powerful results. The Freq team quizzed him on what makes drives his particular brand of rhythmic intensity as the London Musicians Collective’s Ninth Annual Festival of Experimental Music drew to a close on the South Bank in May 2000. Interviewers: Lilly Novak, Antron S. Meister, Iotar and Deuteronemu 90210.

FREQ: We know about This Heat and all of that, but what you did yesterday in the LMC Festival, is that available on record?

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Faust – Ravvivando

Label: Klangbad Format: CD,2LP

Faust - Ravvivando sleeveThe big Krautrock album of ’99? Well, it’s certainly caused a lot of excitement in those circles. Fresh from turning London’s Garage into a gas chamber and ejecting long-time figurehead Jean-Hervé Peron, Faust land in the recorded arena with Ravvivando – twelve tracks of uncompromising noise of vintage quality. Phew!

Original members, Hans Joachim Irmler and Zappi Diermaier have assembled four cohorts to continue their three decade-old campaign into new sonic territories and the revamped band are sounding harder and stranger than ever. No one really sounds like Faust. Drawing out the hoary old comparisons with Neubauten and Throbbing Gristle, we find that they are a different sort of beast altogether. The Jean-Hervé-fronted outfit had a more performance Pop-Art agenda, while the 1999 version is a sleek vortex of a band. They’re proud of their gleaming edges.

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Rachel’s – Selenography

Label: Quarterstick Format: CD

Rachel’s - SelenographyRachel’s may be the logical conclusion of the tradition of Tortoise and Slint. This is not to say that they sound like either of these bands, but rather that one may trace an evolution in contemporary American music from a highly developed No-Wave to an end of millennium conservatoire music. Of course this music is not really specifically millennial either and at its best achieves the still point of timelessness although it is neither traditional nor futuristic. Pieces may arise as naturally from drum machine patterns (refreshingly played as drum machines rather than simulations of drums), or string trios as they might from guitar riffs or harpsichord motifs.

Their previous work has included a disc about sailing ships and music for a theatre work on the

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Kling Klang – Rocker/Vander

Label: Guided Missile Format: 7″

Rocker/Vander - sleeve The seven inch single, that ancient hallowed artifact: Conduit of commerce, copper coin of pop song, object of reverence and disposable frisbee. Once in a very rare while one will come along to download into your daytime consciousness and unconscious reverie: A hook, a lyric and a skilfully-turned bassline, a drumming of the fingers on public transport or a bout of air guitar in private lodgings. How strange then that the single I am here to review should be an instrumental by a synthesizer trio.

Liverpool’s “Sonic No-Wave Electronic Frazz Punk” trio Kling Klang have taken the hoary old format and injected it with an anarchistic Modernism, all jagged edges and square wave aggregates. Split between the 45rpm “Rocker” and the 33rpm “Vander”, this is a definitive statement of intent. The opening crunch of a mechanical

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada

Label: Kranky (CD)/Constellation (Vinyl) Format: CDS,12″

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Slow Riot For New Zero KanadaPerhaps the criminally overused expression “intense” can be used with justification, just this once, to describe the sound of Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The mysterious Canadian nine-piece roll out another of those accelerative weighty soundscapes that we’d always hoped Glenn Branca would produce.

Discipline and a telepathic, egoless sense of control push the multilayered epic “Moya” into peaks and troughs similar in spirit if not style to Can‘s twenty minute “Bel Air”. During the quieter passages field recordings of anti-establishment rugged individualist types confirm the Millennial intentions of this piece. The interviewer remains anonymous letting the subjects reveal themselves. There are no spoon-fed reference points and the question of

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Don Caballero – Singles Breaking Up (Volume One)

Label: Touch & Go Format: CD,LP

Don Caballero - Singles Breaking Up (Volume One)Don Caballero are part of the recent contemporary phenomenon of American men with big guitars, no vocals and, thankfully, a sense of humour. Much of their musoid noodling would have been tarred with the Progressive brush in halcyon eras of wide trousers, big hair and expansive stage concepts but what Don Cab bring to the boot fair is their own brand of metal intensity, offbeat free association rhythming and pyrotechnic dynamics.

This compilation Singles Breaking Up (Vol.1) (threatening a second volume?) collects together their singles throughout the Nineties from when the band were trying to secure a record contract by channelling their skewed compositions through grunge generics. For all the desperate cynicism this may suggest, it is nigh on

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The Serpents – You Have Just Been Poisoned By…

Label: Ochre Format: CD

The first album from this psychedelic collective proves to be a cosmic affair of considerable depth and originality. Taking their cues from the space rock of Brainticket and Amon Düül II and the lo-fi acid folk of The Incredible String Band, this group kick out some truly noxious grooves with time for multiplex neo-pagan storytelling trips and obscure Electroacoustic klang worthy of a lost Can EFS number. But all this is mere trainspotting. What The Serpents have put together is unique. While most contemporary psychedelia has opted for the safety of Trance or the wilful obscurity of post-rock we get the feeling that someone is completely off their tits on psilocybin here.

On the downside, occasionally the female womb voice gets a tad too earth-motherish for this reviewer but who gives a shit when it’s all rockin’ on so many levels. The band haven’t entirely ejected

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Fridge/M.A.S.S. (live at the Kosmische Club)

Kosmische/The Sausage Machine The Vibe Bar, London 11 June 1998

I was foned on Wednesday night by Iain, a friend who I hadn’t heard from for a little while. He asked if I liked Fridge. I asked whether he meant my fridge or whether I was merely well disposed towards refrigerators in general. He told me that they were playing Thursday night in Brick Lane and thought I might like them.

This was how, after an eleven hour day at work, I ended up in the up and coming East End of London in the hip lounge of the Vibe Bar. The wooden floored chamber with a bar area and large sofas (all occupied by the beautiful people) was lit by many long-necked spot-lights hanging from the ceiling. A video-mixing set-up (Curious Yellow) projected a clash of video and computerized imagery onto a screen behind a low stage. The video-projector

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