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Various – Anthology of Lithuanian Art Music in the 21st Century

Music Information Centre Lithuania

Various - Anthology of Lithuanian Art Music in the 21st CenturyThis has the descriptive title of Anthology of Lithuanian Art Music in the 21st Century, which could mean a few things, but what we actually have is a load of contemporary compositions from Lithuania.

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Jute Gyte – The Sparrow

Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records

Jute Gyte - The SparrowMetal isn’t a particularly progressive genre, in a lot of ways; for all the fluff that people throw at it, musicologically speaking, it’s rarely divested itself of fairly conventional tonalities, regular 4/4s, flattened out timbres and limited melodies. I appreciate that’s kind of “the thing” that makes metal and as someone who doesn’t really like metal it’s unfair for me to tar it with that brush

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FaUSt – Fresh Air

Bureau B

FaUSt - Fresh AirI think the first thing that should be mentioned about this record is the press release. Breaking all form and convention, it’s readable, witty, descriptive and — get this — actually tells you some information about the record.

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Eurovision 2017

Eurovision 2017

It’s the time of year in Europe when days grow longer, spring blossoms multiply andthe Eurovision Song Contest heaves into view; which also entails Kev Nickells going through each and every entry with a vengeance.

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Sorrow Plagues – Homecoming

Self-released

Sorrow Plagues - HomecomingThere’s a handful of genres that, arguably, benefit most from never actually changing. Hardcore (punk), for instance, hasn’t had an idea since the ’80s. Gabber was perfect from the get to. Black Metal operates in some weird space in my head where I sort of assume it hasn’t changed since, like Xasthur or whatever…

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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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