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Diamanda Galás – All The Way / At St Thomas The Apostle Harlem

Intravenal Sound Operations

Diamanda Galás – All The WayI wanted to start this out avoiding the clichés that plague writing about Diamanda Galás — “banshee” &c — but there’s a problem. There’s an analogue between how challenging her work is and how challenging writing about it in a non-facile way is. It requires a pretty expansive vocabulary.

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The Fall – Totales Turns / Grotesque / The Marshall Suite / A Part Of America Therein / Perverted by Language

Westworld

…as I always say, anyone who looks at the Fall track-by-track, rather than the correct way, which is as one discrete body of work – is, no pun intended, a fool.

Tobi Blackman, Dictionary Pudding

The Fall - GrotesqueWhen I was doing my masters, there was a seminar several times a week where the phrase “what is at stake with [x]…”

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Simon Whetham / Bang The Bore – Drowning Electret / Twelve Tapes

Every Contact Leaves A Trace

It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was reviewing the last batch of ECLAT releases (and that was largely due to my tardiness), yet here we are in 2017 with another pair of releases. I gather that these were released fairly late in the day of 2016 because label-mogul Seth Cooke wanted to get them out that side of the new year. Check out the website for a bundle deal — all of them have lovely packaging and what could falsely be described as “copious” liner notes (there’s a minimum of information about source material etc, which is part of the label concept, possibly, of not giving the game away).

Simon WhethamDrowning Electret

Simon Whetham - Drowning Electret“Whetham

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Iannis Xenakis – La Légende d’’Eer

Karlrecords

Iannis Xenakis - La Légende d'EerThe classic thing to say about Iannis Xenakis is that he’s fairly close to being sui generis. Oftentimes, that’s the sort of compliment that can feel fairly weak — which is to say that there’s not a musician operating that doesn’t think they’re not sui generis, but the majority of them are wrong.

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Bangladeafy – Narcopaloma

Nefarious Industries

Bangladeafy - NarcopalomaSo the main reason I picked up this record for review is because I think that it’s the responsibility of the writer to pick up things for spurious reasons. The reason I will never review, or listen to, Jaga Jazzist is because the name is terrible. Bangladeafy is an awesome name.

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Various Artists – Underground French Pop: The Sound of Freaksville 2006-2016

Freaksville

Underground French Pop: The Sound of Freaksville 2006-2016This comes from a world that feels very familiar to being a teenager listening to indie radio, but also not. There was a lot of this kind of stuff around — retro-ish fetishists for ersatz ’70s string arrangements and Rhodes pianos

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Benedict Taylor – Transit Check / A Purposeless Play ; Benedict Taylor And Anton Mobin – Stow | Phasing; Tom Jackson, Benedict Taylor, Daniel Thompson – Hunt At The Brook

Benedict Taylor and Anton Mobin - Stow | Phasing

Benedict Taylor: dashing young blade of the London (and beyond) free improv scene. He’s a busy man and a fine player and in possession of a veritable encyclopaedia of techniques. The scratchy ones, the frittery ones, the ones that sound a bit like a helicopter in the distance. But not showy, in case you’re worried that it’s going to sound like a viola lesson.

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Islam Chipsy + EEK / Adrena Adrena / Imboredofbastards (live at Dictionary Pudding)

The Hope and Ruin, Brighton 29 November 2016

Imboredofbastards live November 2016Imboredofbastards do some gallant opening of tonight’s proceedings — a one-man noise + objects + processing thing that, were it a carpet, would have a most curious weave. There’s an amount of textural stuff interwoven with rhythmic elements and then, every now and then, a swoopy noise that manages to make me feel like there’s swimming pool of ants ostentatiously forgetting about gravity in my left ear.

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Every Contact Leaves A Trace label feature revisited (Henry Collins / Helen White / Marvin Tate, Joseph Clayton Mills)

Helen White - Solar Wind Chime

So. I did some reviews of the first batch of Every Contact Leaves A Trace releases, which were fine indeed. And here we are, just two short years on, in a world that looks slightly different. And yet, on plod sound-art micro-labels, furrowing obstinate fields. I say that in a fashion that might sound derisory, but if I know one thing about ECLAT label-head Seth Cooke, it’s that he’s bloody-minded.

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Bloom – What Is Life

Self-released

Bloom - What Is LifeMost new bands were previously other less new bands, and so songwriters behind Bloom (Megan and Emily) used to be part of The Beautiful Word, who were Brighton-based indie-ish breezes sharing borders with whimsy and twee but (mercifully) never fully occupying those territories. The Beautiful Word were great, but they’re not here any more and (ahem) from that seed grew Bloom. (Sorry). There’s a bit of a backstory behind Megan’s voice taking a bit of a knock along the way but the tl;dr version is that her and Emily’s harmonies are, basically, amazing and getting to that point was a struggle.

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Ravi Shankar – In Hollywood, 1971

Northern Spy

Ravi Shankar - In Hollywood, 1971Some guff you’ll read everywhere: by a large margin the best-known sitar player and largely responsible for the popularising of Indian classical music. Unfortunately, it’s still a world I don’t know a great deal about; I know there’s a difference between Hindustani and Carnatic Indian classical music, but precisely what the difference is, I’m not sure.

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Urusei Yatsura – You Are My Urusei Yatsura

Rocket Girl

Urusei Yatsura - You Are My Urusei YatsuraIt might well be the case that you’ve spent the last twenty years not listening to Urusei Yatsura. Which is fine, I guess, but it does put you and I rather at odds. There’s only one band I own every release of and these are they. I have three copies of their first LP (1x clear, 1x orange, 1x blue, two with “geek rock” tattoo intact). So. Readers expecting the verisimilitude of objectivity might well look away now.

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Daniel Bennett and Stephen Cornford – Fellfield Draff

Hideous Replica

Daniel Bennett And Stephen Cornford - Fellfield DraffIt’s not clear how composed this is, but there’s bits that have the quality of being like someone’s writing harmonies (ahem) while under the influence of ketamine — it’s definitely happening, but at a pace just that smidge too slow to discern quite how it’s moving. Stephen Cornford I’m less familiar with but Daniel Bennett‘s; well, he’s always been a frighteningly meticulous musician and his attention to detail is astonishing. Here, it’s not clear whose voice is whose, so the entirely gorgeous squelch of early in “Field”, just nauseous enough to be disconcerting but never outstaying it’s welcome and is really quite lovely.

Detail is probably the thing that separates the “will this do?”‘ textural wheat from the noise chaff (NB

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Perch – Umbra

Sparrowhawk

Perch - UmbraPerch is seemingly smudged into shape from the leftovers of Fat Bicth, one of Brighton’s embarrassment of “why didn’t they ever gig further than London?” bands. The Bicth were, perhaps, somewhat closer to Brighton stalwarts (your I’m Being Goods and Sweet Williamses) than Perch, so let’s hope this is the band to thrust Perch/ Bicth mastermind Chris Mitchell slightly further afield than London Road.

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Eurovision 2016

Eurovision 2016It’s that time of year when Kev Nickells undertakes his annual mammoth hatchet job feature-length review of every entry in the Eurovision Song Contest. Let the ritual ruination and Eurotunnelvision enthusing literally begin.

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