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Archives by month/year

Kreidler – Kreidler

Label: Mute (USA)/Wonder (Europe) Format: CD,2LP

Kreidler - sleeve detail Perhaps the best chill out album for the Fall of 2000, Kreidler have produced here a lovely self-titled musical edition of what sounds to me like a big after-dinner Disco mint for post whatever you might have been doing earlier. Calm and uncomplicated, Kreidler runs through eleven tracks of pleasant but not in the least bit boring Electro-Pop which is a welcom gentle relaxer with the heroics being placed all in its simplicity.

Highlights include “Mnemorex” with the vocals of Momus in a not quite sing-a-long song; nonetheless it quickly found its way into my mind as something a little familiar and quite sweet. Then just about as far away from that as one could get, Leo Garcia sings on “Estatico” with a distorted and minimal South American sound which will appeal to the

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Pere Ubu (live)

The Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 27th September 2000

Performing for their 25th anniversary, Pere Ubu delivered such a marvelous performance as to bring me around to wondering why I don’t listen to this band everyday. And why are they not lauded as the one of the best of the last quarter century? Why is Pere Ubu not a household word? Just as well really, as they do inspire that very possessive cult underground sort of attitude among their fine stock of fans. Not many other bands since could dismiss their powerful influence, and most worth a shit have happily given credit where credit is due.

However up and down the reception of Pere Ubu has been over the last 25 years, the Royal Festival Hall definitely got a good dose of the up. Dave Thomas led the band through an alphabetical play list of all the best

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Coil/Nectarine No.9/Foetus (live)

Royal Festival Hall South Bank Centre, London 19th September 2000

For their third live performance in a year after the seventeen of build-up, Coil arrive onstage dressed in unlaced grey strait-jackets, backed by a neon sign proclaimng the title of the night’s performance, Persistance Is All. The multiple possible meanings of this slogan soon becomes apparent, as the playback of Jhon Balance‘s spoken title beat which opens “Something” fills the “Royal” Festival Hall. The group are backed by a circling corona of fire on the projection screen which soon becomes the visual focus for the set, and this develops into a hypnagogic kaleidoscope show of the first water, trickling retinal patterns like the strongest hallucinogen to the trip-kicking music. Not that drugs are necessary; it’s far more a state of mind on offer through the combination of light and sonic textures – or Colour, Sound, Oblivion as the flashed-up message

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Coil – Musick To Play In The Dark, Volume 2

Label: Chalice Format: CD,2LP

Coil - Musick To Play In The Dark, Volume 21. As I reclined in my sketchy little world and allowed the gasses to go to my head, I became overpowered with the notion that I was being carried away. Silly flashes of Communion-like images of alien beings lifting me and placing me against soft chrome and spraying my skin black metallic and an underlying fear that maybe, just maybe this could all mean harm. Deliciously un-bothered, past that first tiny stab, I relented and realized that my ideas of invasion and possession are only valid at the movies, or at least where the victim might be unwilling to participate. Still I knew that I was away and gone from my world into another. There was comfort

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The Black Heart Procession – Three

Label: Touch & Go Format: CD,LP

Three - sleeveLet’s give Three” the moodiest album of 2000 award. If we are passing out any awards that is. Black Heart Procession capture gloom and wrap it up in matte-coloured cowboy Goth like nobody’s business. Unfeigned resignation to everything is the raison d’etre and the low level chronic depressive sound topped up with teardrop pianos and rimmed with just right amount of experimental noises blends into a heavy, heavy roll sans rock that is so specific it is difficult to pigeon-hole. There is no real climax or decent, but an even tonal and disonant string-out of sadness.

Still Pall Jenkins, Tobias Nathaniel, Jason Crane and their accomplices do like to play around a little with weird horns, telephone manipulations, a singing saw, space echoes and probably whatever else is to hand. It must be said that their

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The Tear Garden – Crystal Mass

Label: Nettwerk Format: CD

Crystal Mass- sleeve detailWhile we’re all waiting for the Legendary Pink Dots to come back, and for Skinny Puppy to repeat last year’s German reunion with a local gig for local people, cEvin Key, Edward Ka-Spel and associated LPD and Download crews have crafted another Tear Garden album, and it’s a blinder. You know the score – a gothier Dots, maybe, or a more psychedelic Download, or a way more fucked up New Order, or Jean-Michel Jarre on really bad drugs, or… OK, maybe you don’t know the score, ‘cos maybe there isn’t one, unless it’s the scoring of some of the afore-mentioned really bad drugs. And really good really bad drugs they are too.

It all kicks off with “Lament”, a nice poppy number with Ka-Spel adding some frailty and desperation to the bouncy synths and echoey guitar, before

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Cosey Fanni Tutti – Time To Tell

Label: Conspiracy International Format: CD

Time To Tell- sleeve Surely Ms. Cosey is the empress of electronic bliss. Time To Tell (2000) is nothing if not the most complete guide to a woman who stirs, blends and folds her life and art more comprehensively and with more sincerity than just about anyone else I can think of involved in modern performance and media manipulation.

This re-re-release (with additions and enhancements) of Time To Tell is like a learn it all kit on what it means to be the empress Cosey certainly is. The music as well as the accompanying materials give ultra-evidence that a person can be their work, their art, as well as the work itself being the artist. Cosey becomes every little thing she does, is made into something like an instrument herself, uses her body and mind and undoubtedly her soul

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Azúcar Letal – Azúcar Letal

Label: Sub Up Format: CD

Azucar Letal - sleeve detailWell I am supposed to listen to this CD and be amazed at what technology can bring to life in the antiquated traditional sounds of Cuban music today. While the production techniques of Holger Hiller are undoubtedly very masterful, what impresses me most is that they do nothing to water down the sumptuous vocals that obviously take their strengths from a long-earned heridity of impassioned Latino singing. All the sampling and processing does nothing to quieten those lush voices; in fact, it simply becomes part of the music and blends nicely with the superior big brass horn sounds that are the dressings underneath. It seems the purpose is to show a more contemporary side of Cuban music, perhaps where it is today, and to this end the album is subtitled The Next Generation of Afro

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Labradford’s Third Annual Festival Of Drifting

David Pajo; Robin Guthrie; Pole; Labradford Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank Centre, London 24th June 2000

This year’s Festival of Drifting sees each participant playing all in one night as a national tour, as opposed to the previous two years when performances were spread out over the course of 4-6 days at various venues. Labradford‘s idea is to bring together an artist-led festival featuring performers from the softer side of Rock/Ambient/Electronica, and piece them all together between a stich of writers and a thread of visual artistry, developing a tapestry of music, art and literature that all revolve and influence each other in this world of dark and calm atmospheric expressionism. Competing with Glastonbury this weekend, Drifting has attracted an impressive quantity of observers, even if many of them come out a little disappointed.

The first problem presented to festival goers was a schedule issue. The Queen Elizabeth Hall seems

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Antony & The Johnsons – Antony & The Johnsons

Label: Durtro Format: CD

Antony & The Johnsons - sleeve detailSo the story goes that David Tibet of Current 93 found this act in some seedy New York drag cabaret and was so knocked out that he brought them to his Durtro label and released this CD as soon as possible. Well, it is little wonder that Antony & The Johnsons would cause such a stir. Thematically the most “Goth” music I have come across in years, this highly dramatic work pierces the subconcious with visions of everything black and bleak and toturous and painful disguised in the most beautiful gossamer folliage of clean pure blue light music.

By far the most impressive track is “Cripple and the Starfish” which leaves its indelible and invisible brand in the heart such as that of “Song to the Siren” done by This Mortal Coil or

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Slapp Happy/David Thomas & Two Pale Boys (live)

Queen Elizabeth Hall South Bank Centre, London 13th June 2000

The South Bank Centre seemed to be all on with their rules of protocol as I watched David Thomas from a tiny vertical glass in the big imposing closed door or the Queen Elizabeth Hall. I was a little late and the steward decided not to send me and the long line of other late-comers in to take seats until a break between songs. Mr.Thomas, (frontman of Pere Ubu) doesn’t bother too much with breaks between songs, so we stood, me in the lucky only view spot, for most of the trio’s set. Eventually we were all loosed on the inside and found seats and got on with enjoying a great lot of humour and bittersweet master performing. David Thomas seems to have just the right hold on the most righteous of Mississippi Valley blues. His voice is big and

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Brainticket – Alchemic Universe

Label: Hologram (North America)/Fünfundvierzig (Europe) Format: CD

Alchemic Universe - sleeve detailO that wacky Joel Vandroogenbroeck! I am on about my eighth listen to Alchemic Universe and what keeps happening is that I forget it might not mean to be so serious. What a bunch of flexing of the ole keyboards! This is Prophet 600tastick! ooo, the DX-7, the Korgs, the Junos even! An Eighties sort of extravaganza of synthesizer music gone mad. Did someone already coin “space oddity” as a phrase? O yes, I think I have heard it somewhere. OK, so odd space music and new romantic style arrangements, and Laurie Anderson style spoken words, hesitant and halting with rhythms not unlike a washing machine gone off balance during the spin cycle. Alchemic Universe must have been a real kick to make.

I don’t know really if Mr. V and company are

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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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Sonic Youth – NYC Ghosts & Flowers

Label: Geffen Format: CD,LP

NYC Ghosts & Flowers - sleeveThis album marks yet another, slightly revised, slightly more reflective return in sound for Sonic Youth; all the way back to the rugged melodic scamblings of Daydream Nation. With their amazing capacity for distinction of sound, SY are immediately recognizable from the first stretched note, thoough they seem to have done some house cleaning and root searching for NYC Ghosts & Flowers. New York should be so proud to have this album as a tribute to its grimy real side.

Bastard guitar layers are as liberal as we want the band to give and the songwriting within is masterful power-minimalism at its best. Kim Gordon is in top form with her sarcastic breathy singing and Thurston Moore and Lee Renaldo proves themselves poets as much as string-benders as always. Is it a little bit of

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Calexico – Hot Rail

Label: Quarterstick (North America) City Slang (Europe) Format: CD,LP

Hot Rail - sleeve Calexico are not trying to be subtle in any way with Hot Rail. From the Mexican Mafia gang tatoo font to their immediate delve into Mariachi horns on track one, it is apparent that this is border town type music for lovers of the desert from a group named after one very such crossing point. Mercifully they shy pretty far from sounding too Country, too Tex-Mex, and instead weave and swing through more classical SouthWestern themes of lone flowers and desolate vistas. Very cinematic, Hot Rail does conjure up beautiful melacholy pictures of lonely windswept horizons with rolling tumbleweeds, though due to some gratifying versatility, the views could be as easily taken for Italy as Arizona. One track, “Fade”, gives vision of a wanderlusted cabellero exploring the alien backstreets of

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