Archives by month/year

Earthling Society – England Have My Bones

Riot Season

Earthling Society - England Have My BonesThis is full hippy in every good way. Hyperdrive hippy. Hippy in excelsis (not in Excel). Godz-driven, primal, ballistic-psychedelic, balls-to-the-wall, throttled/throttling. It’s the hippyish, proggy album that other people think they’ve made. There’s a massive meandering Alice Coltrane cover on here that sounds like it could be/should be terrible but works brilliantly. There’s devastating stoner stuff, a beautifully placed and ever-building soundworld which swirls and ebbs and pushes into you. There’s awkward movements in just the right places. This attempts to blow you away and achieves it in a way that most albums couldn’t even dream.

I’d never heard anything from Earthling Society before and assumed this was going to be one of the those half-heard, half-liked albums

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Moebius Story Leidecker – Snowghost Pieces

Bureau B

Story Leidecker Moebius – Snowghost PiecesNegativland still keep me chortling to myself whenever they pop up on random play. In fact random play seems designed for Negativland, has given them a place in the canon that might otherwise have excluded them – I don’t remember playing their records that much before MP3, though I liked having them and was eternally glad that they were there, in the background, chipping away at egos. I mention this because it’s that Leidecker.

Moebius is the one from Cluster, of course, who I had never actually listened to until young Matt Woebot mentioned them in the Hacker Farm/Kemper Norton/IX Tab article in The Wire a few years back and I thought it wise to seek them out immediately (yes, it turns out

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Kemialliset Ystävät – Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa


Kemialliset Ystävät - Alas Rattoisaa VirtaaLove these guys. Just love them. This is a bubbly, ecstatic mess of an album, in every good way… It’s all over the place; a dig around a wet pit of transcendentalism, an overflowing tub of funny jelly.

There’s moments where the Ghost Box almost appears (in fact a few of the melodies resemble the chord progressions and gentle hauntological swotting/swatting of Concretism) but these moments are always derailed; even the echos and trails at the end of some of the long notes seem full of chattering spirits, laughing gnomes, trillions. Pianos appear, get lost in electrics; odd Wu Tang karate grunts and twitches appear briefly in the background, gulped by trolls; elongated electronic howls jump in and

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Fennesz – Bécs

Editions Mego

Fennesz – BécsThe opening number sounds like the closing track; it’s all about endings with Fennesz; endless endings, everything slowing down and finishing off. These are jet trails, not jets. This is the stuff that clings to rock, not rock itself.

“Static Kings” opens Bécs like it’s the last album he’s ever going to make (cf. the, in retrospect frankly fraudulent, last track on Orbital 1.0’s Blue Album, “One Perfect Sunrise”). It deals with its emotional aggregates and it soars with them; it glorifies in that sense of abstract loss that music can specialise in; the kind of thoughts that gather at the bottom of a bottle at the bottom of the world when you look up and know, beyond all doubt, that things will never

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E.A.R. – All Things Being Equal


Experimental Audio Research - All Things Being EqualA hyper-collectible one-sided ‘hybrid vinyl’ you say? *strokes non-beard* What curious engine is this? *bug-eyed lunatic face / “Soylent Green is people!”* Well, it’s got meaty black vinyl on the audio side and the usual slack-jawed picture-disc vinyl on the other – AKA this is what Leibniz was referring to when he uttered under his wig “Die beste aller möglichen Welten” (“the best of all possible worlds”).

This is the first E.A.R. release since 2005’s Worn To A Shadow and, to tell the truth, not much has changed. He’s still got drone and he’s still up there amongst the greatest exponents of the genre and he’s still got that unfathomable humchattering Spacemen 3 sound in amongst it all;

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Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything


Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on EverythingIt’s hard for record labels. I got the MP3 promos of this ages ago and listened a few times and… nothing. I’d slightly lost touch with Thee Silver Mt. Zion Variations over the last couple of albums – this is seven – but I was broadly a fan, had loved finally seeing them at the Dirty Three ATP in Butlins; had many of their albums, had appreciated they’d sped up over the years but this one didn’t grab me. It seemed an exemplar for neither one thing nor another, fell badly between two schools. I just didn’t get it, couldn’t hear why it had to be. It fell into an

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Ekoplekz – Unfidelity

Planet Mu

Ekoplekz - UnfidelityEkoplekz is almost a priori; you could conceive of him from your armchair. Or at least you’d think you could. He’s come up thick and fast (he’s got a release schedule that shames us all) and I doubt whether his methodology has changed much since he first plugged that Eko organ into a analogue delay way back in the pre-flood (pre-Flood? There’s a thought) years. For once, the press release nails it: “…this is Ekoplekz’s most satisfying album to date and we hope you [think so] too.” This will satisfy in the sense that it won’t disappoint existing fans; the key Radio-Tubby-TG elements are here (on “Pressure Level” in particular I swear I can hear Cosey‘s cornet breaking through the

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Shackleton – Freezing Opening Thawing

Woe To The Septic Heart

Shackleton – Freezing Opening ThawingJust in time for a mordant shot at the Easter Number 1, here comes Shackleton again; his last album was a work of necessarily flawed genius, drifting across lines, missing beats and breaks, losing itself in the mystery of moments. It ought to have been everyone’s favourite album of the year but often got a little missed, as if it was just too singular. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

This 12” is less fluttery, more robust, a return to Form (as opposed to a return to form which would demean him and this and is, anyway, duckfuckingly wrong in all ways). This has a sheered off quality, like the inside of a chainsawed cow. It seems likely

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Compound Eye – Journey From Anywhere

Editions Mego

Compound Eye - Journey From AnywhereThis’ll be the second Freq review where I start with “I miss Coil” but I do miss them, they felt necessary, at least in my bubble. They didn’t seem in the least contingent and thus neither of them being here – still – is vaguely preposterous, almost illogical. That said, there’s still hints, around the corners, in not especially dark places, under stones, inside the wind. There’s still stuff out there, just not enough. There’s still genuine lost things, popping up occasionally on YouTube, things that make sense (or would have one day made sense with a little tweaking, with some Balance). But there’s never enough and it’s… irritating. It feels like you wanted Jhonn

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The Doomed Bird of Providence – Blind Mouths Eat

Front & Follow

The Doomed Bird of Providence – Blind Mouths EatBefore I knew anything about them (I still don’t know much about them), I heard The Doomed Bird Of Providence (on the excellent Collision/Detection compilation of EPs) and assumed they were Eastern European Death Marchers. They seemed a little like the mini-tradition clustered around A Hawk and a Hacksaw with, perhaps, a sideswipe of Dirty Three (yes, I know how utterly dismissive that sounds); seesawing violins, heaving accordions, breathless amateur tap-dancing like the guys in Neubauten’s “Ein Stuhl In Der Hölle.” Well, I even got the continent wrong.

This album sounds different. Those sounds are still there but they are blackier and bloodier. Tap-dancing on broken nubs of flesh and bone. It’s themed around the

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Xylitol – Kunst Ist Tot

Peripheral Conserve

Xylitol - Kunst Ist TotA few predictions: you like sleeves by Babs Santini. If you’re my age you’ll have spent a fair amount of time in obscure record stores and fairs staring at Nurse With Wound covers and wondering if it’s worth the 25 – 100 quid they were asking for the original vinyl. You’ll have grown to love those sleeves even if you didn’t shell out at the time. They’ll have stuck with you, like a berry rash. You’ll probably also like Peter Strickland who directed films that you’ll like called things like Berberian Sound Studio and Katalin Varga. Even if you haven’t seen those films you’ve probably already figured out that you’re bound to like them. Even if you don’t like them you’ll have

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The House In The Woods – Bucolica/Maeror Tri – Meditamentum

Exotic Pylon/Zoharum

The House In The Woods – BucolicaThese are separated by time and space (never separable, never suited) but are nevertheless kin – in Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color they would be pigs and people, skin-bonded, worm-tailed, consciousness-sharing. I guess they are both broadly branches of that jagged, never truly existing, tree called ‘dark ambient’ (a tree that confounds at every twist, that seemingly can’t die because it has roots in the infinite itself) but don’t let that put you off; there’s dark magic in these woods.

There’s a lot of terrible music released in this genre and lots of normally pretty good dark ambient bands put out the odd duff release (yes, you could say this about every genre but in my world, where this

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Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum

Recollection GRM

Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura SonorumDe Natura Sonorum seems an impossibly private affair. It feels a little like spying on an old guy as his mind is going and he’s trying to make sense of his belongings, looking at them with old-new eyes, touching them and trying to match the creases, smiling faintly because maybe that person in that clipping might be someone he once new, had a muscle memory of, an autonomic spasm in his DNA, his skin conducting new symphonies. It seemed a Krapp route, making Parmegiani a foil for some alchemical theory or other and trying to shoehorn Beckett into things because I kept thinking how perfect those guys would have been for one another; Bernard dragging Samuel around a soundworld, forcing him

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Various Artists – 70 Years Of Sunshine


70 Years Of SunshineOkay. Let’s get the press over with; as a press release, this is actually pretty sweet:

Given the bleak times we find ourselves in today, Cascone felt that another (he’s referencing the 50 years of Sunshine DBL on Silent) tribute to Herr Hofmann was in order. To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the first LSD trip, a batch of etheric lysergic soundscapes were contributed to this project by Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mother’s Temple, Robert Wheeler of Pere Ubu, Legendary Pink Dots, Andrew Liles (Nurse With Wound), Andy Rantzen (Pelican Daughters), various artists from the Silent label and some newer sound artists as well. Consider 70 Years of Sunshine to be a much anticipated software update. One that will hopefully make your auditory operating system run smoother and more

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COH – RETRO-2038

Editions Mego

COH - RETRO-2038COH intrigues because he seems to go elsewhere into the light. Most elsewheres are darkness-bound, content to continue stirring the ambient-stew given to them by their industrial ancestors (so many have made a cuckold of Lustmord) but COH’s music turns away from the darkness and pulls you into the light. This release is perhaps the most beautiful yet and works like a prettier, more sophisticated cousin of Rustie; both make music from cut class, COH’s shapes are simply more finely tuned, less bombastic. You can’t imagine COH listening to Bentley Rhythm Ace.

To be honest, COH doesn’t particularly evoke any sonic signatures; the music is minimal, but it has only a very passing resemblance to Alva Noto and sounds nothing like the Basic Channel

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