I could use Nochexxx to teach Freud and ambivalence. Everything I’ve heard seems to be gnashing against the groove, as if he’s almost willing to let fly and be techno, disco etc but there’s a thick seam of Super(fly)ego holding him back at the last moment and sending him spinning off into far more interesting territories. Nochexxx is close to being a superstar DJ but these twists and turns he puts his music through make the distorting mirror of the Self something he can’t escape. Nochexxx would be rich and famous if he wasn’t Nochexxx.
The fact that this is a tape tells us everything; this isn’t a loose engagement with fashion, an attempt to go retro; the tape is Nochexxx and always has been. Nochexxx is a singular entity, immune (or trying to stay immune) to the
Continue reading Nochexxx – Greatest Record [...]
The sleeve of this release says: “After Listening to this Record, your friends may not know you anymore” and you can see what they meant, at least in 1971 when this was first released. Cleopatra seem Hell bent on making Brainticket a thing, re-releasing their classic albums, pushing them onwards, trying to find a space for them in the world.
I always loved Celestial Oceans but didn’t actually own Cottonwoodhill, which seems a little less odd whilst retaining the “Intastellar Overdrive” era Pink Floyd groove (you can almost hear the oil projections). In fact, what I like a lot about Brainticket is the very thing that I feel holds them back from joining the Can(on) of other Krautrock ‘legends’ – they sound like they don’t really know what they’re doing and are just… doing it anyway. In
Continue reading Brainticket – Cottonwoodhill [...]
Front & Follow
There’s buckets of finely congealed empathy here, beautifully presented. Front And Follow is an unusual, old-fashioned label, not quite made for these times. And thank God for that.
This box set is a collection of nie EPs from a host of incredible artists, all working within the confines of some strange call & response routine which sees invited artists submit audio clips into a central pot, which is then distributed around the group for them to do with as they see fit. At least, that’s what this box set is supposed to be. In another reality this is Front and Follow’s collective phantasy, an arc of triumph. This is the illusion of a series of collected EPs, an illusion so pervasive/persuasive that even the artists and the label think that it’s true.
Continue reading Long Division With Remainders – Collision/Detection [...]
This is what Time-damaged sounds like and I’m not sure this is a good thing. I don’t believe the sleeve notes any more than I believe the record. Something is very wrong about this record.
Actually, that’s not true at all. In fact, there are too many things that are just right about it. It’s just too… convenient.
A quick confession (for most of you this will come as no surprise): I know nothing about this group and I’m not going to try too hard to find out (clue: I’m not going to try at all). It would make a difference, slightly, as to how I feel about this but no difference at all to how I think about it. If this was a lost classic from 1973 I’d like it a little more
Continue reading Ant-Bee – Pure Electric Honey [...]
“Concret PH” begins with glass splattering, not in a Vagina Dentata Organ way, but made to seem like static, or phrases in static – those late night TV static patterns that only emerge when your brain is looking the other way. With Xenakis, your brain often has to look the other way. I know nothing about Xenakis as such but he seems like a tough guy: a hard philosophy. He doesn’t seem like he’s the kind of guy who values compromise. “Concret PH” acts as an introduction to Varèse’s soundworks at the Philips Pavilion at the World’s Fair in 1958, but it’s also an introduction to another world, and acts like this here. These tracks aren’t soundscapes you need or ones you even want. You can’t really look upon them fondly, even in
Continue reading Iannis Xenakis – GRM Works 1957-1962 [...]
(self-released)/Front & Follow
It makes sense to review these together, since whatever the actual chronology of these songs, one begat another. They are linked to each other by a strange umbilicus, a slurry wurm of flesh. The self-released Carn shows us the Coilish side of Kemper Norton’s sound; the voices here are muttered, liminal (everything’s liminal these days), lurking around in the dark. One track in and the loops are occasionally intersected with electronic scribbles and then leavened with added orchestral drone and beautiful hums. This all makes a perfect kind of sense if you imagine this is as a direct extension of the attempt at folk on Coil’s Solstice releases. “Dorcus” is a premonition of the Collision/Detection EP, a song I first heard when Kemper sang it live at an Exotic Pylon event. It wavers
Continue reading Kemper Norton – Carn+Collision / Detection v6 EPs [...]
This is evidence of time travel. Not in a good way.
In the future, we’ll still be in thrall to the past, still looking back and longing. We’ll still be unable to understand the terrible now. We’ll read and re-read Simon Reynolds’s Retromania (really must get round to that; it’s on my Christmas List. The irony of not reading it yet is killing me) and we’ll use it as a guidebook rather than a warning. Then, in 2033, Planas will be born and, in the confusion caused by the First Animal Rebellion, we’ll confuse it with retro-cool, will raise it, will make it good.
No one will mention Emperors or Clothes.
We’ll see the pilfering (from Burial, from Massive Attack, from Rustie – Christ, Rustie was only last year!) and yet we won’t see
Continue reading Planas – The Long Game [...]
Front & Follow
This gives me the gargles. It reminds me a little of the tone behind James Ferraro’s Far Side Virtual (it doesn’t sound much like it at all) in that it’s like Roman Bezdyk has found himself unable to distance himself from the music he’s riffing on. This seems respectable, seems right, seems like these aural artefacts (I’m talking about library music, mostly) ought to have a little bit more respect in themselves, rather than simply as cultural signifiers or soundpools for discerning (pillaging) Hauntological hordes and wraiths but… then we’re faced with the slightly uncomfortable question: do these sounds by themselves really offer us that much?
This album is great in parts and then in parts it’s (mere) library music. Maybe the ‘mere’ is snobbery; maybe there’s gems to be
Continue reading Sone Institute – A Model Life [...]
Untreated, Colin Wilson’s voice might be Paul Vaughan, the narrator of Coil’s “The Golden Section”; it has the same, slightly clipped, slightly cold authority but we don’t get to hear enough of it on this album. There’s a lot of processing here and the voice is often unrecognisable, sent off into shivers and hums and blurs. This is a strength of most of the music I like (the disembodied voice is a well-loved trope and one I use a lot – too much – in my own music) but for this album, ostensibly about Colin Wilson (or a glimpse into him) it seems an odd choice to remove so much of the man, since that cold reason is what Wilson fans like about him.
If this is an attempt to
Continue reading Anthony Reynolds – A World Of Colin Wilson [...]
This seems chunky and real compared to the other Ekoplekz releases. You can buy it at Sainsbury’s. It’s out there, in all senses but it also feels like something of an end, like Nick Edwards is drawing a line, er, under the sand; it’s like a statement of where he’s been and how far he’s come. Nick’s always been very willing to give up his influences, both in conversation and in the music itself but on this release it seems like he’s offering each of the influential strands a long track of their own.
“Chance Meets Causality Uptown” keeps his Upsetter riddim king thing going and is almost… mellow in places, with a slowpoke bass guitar sound amongst the patented eko squiggles and screeches. Eventually the mellowness slows and the track becomes airless, unlocking and
Continue reading Nick Edwards – Plekzationz [...]
Sometimes, smaller and quieter is better, is perfect. This slender little piece is 20 minutes exactly, a precise slab of (ahem) Lovely Drones that shows Stephan Mathieu at his serious, studied best. Beauty slowed down. The WK is legendary “quiet” pianist Wilhelm Kempff, whose 1927 recordings of Beethoven‘s Piano Sonata No. 26 Les Adieux are used as some of the generative material here.
Mathieu’s process sort of sucks the DNA from the recordings, steals their soul and emphasises their tones, letting you hear history unfold. It really feels like he’s investigating the sound here, attempting some kind of forensic unpicking of where these sounds have been. His signature gramophone + laptop set-up works a little like Janek Schaefer or Phillip Jeck of course though is, if anything, even more composed (in all sense
Continue reading Stephan Mathieu – Coda (For WK) [...]
It was a total surprise to find out that Golden Diskó Ship is really one person, Theresa Stroetges, a Berlin-based multi-instrumentalist – because I was struck by how much this sounds like several different bands, all vying or attention and all too polite to really push their ideas to the foreground. The production seems to place these bands in different sound chambers, so that they’re marginally aware of the intensity of the others playing but not the sounds themselves… This seems more visual than aural in its construction which again made me think that someone somewhere was wrestling with the others to retain a visual identity above and beyond the music… “That ugly guy at the back; get the hell outta my frame!” As it turns out, Theresa is a video artist as well
Continue reading Golden Diskó Ship – Prehistoric Ghost Party [...]
It can’t be a mistake that Red = Rot since this is electronic music rotted one note at a time. As a debut solo album – its actually more complicated than that – it’s a singular attempt to define a new genre of bubbling, messy, electronic music… Rot is propulsive/compulsive; as dark and shiny as a Scribing Mirror. You can hear the tangles that Conrad Schnitzler gets in and he leaves them there, testing the boundaries, daring the listener to accept these notches and whirls as actual music…
Today, I’m sure it makes way more sense than it did when it was originally released. I’d imagine this came of a sudden shock to the floppy haired 70s and it’s clearly more aligned with Throbbing Gristle than the Ambient/pure Kosmische angles which, ostensibly, he belongs.
Continue reading Conrad Schnitzler – Rot/Blau [...]
I’ve been way behind with my listening recently; still got a bucket of stuff (actually, some of it is in the old washing basket) I’m supposed to review, still got piles of albums and MP3s idly ticking over, mangling the datashields of my iPod… When DSM V finally comes out there’s bound to be some new disorder based around the triple anxiety felt 1) by having too much potential information, too many things that might be your favourite things ever, that might change everything, 2) by having the ever increasing, ever intense feeling that every single thing you listen to, new or old, might simply be adding another brick to the tiresome ‘heard it all before’ wall… and 3) by being frightened (and opposed) to the very idea of your musical education ending and having to
Continue reading Woebot – Hallo [...]
Woe To The Septic Heart!
I miss Coil.
If that seems like speculative disrespect in this context then it’s not meant to be. Lots of this might even be Coil, since I’ve never been convinced that they’ve gone. The meat may have died but the spirits remain, flying. I hate the phrase channelling because it’s not true; those that think they’re channelling are often merely copying, repeating spectral phrases without spectral phrasing but… there’s a touch of Coil around the eyes. Someone else missed them too, perhaps.
I got this as a solid, bandwidth-worrying lump of MP3s so didn’t come to it in the ‘right’ order; I don’t think it matters. Each piece slides in and slides away again; some tracks are full of space, some crammed with content.
Continue reading Shackleton – Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ EPs [...]