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Faust and Omar Rodríguez-López – Live at Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill

Faust and Omar Rodríguez-López - Live at Clouds HillOn the many occasions I have seen Faust live over the last years, the original krautrockers have played many favourites and songs from the ’70s classics, although mixed with some improvisations. But other times they grasp the opportunity to collaborate with other artists, letting them colour the expression, or even get a feel for a different setting creating new fresh music.

This time it is the core members of Faust, Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi Diermaier, who have teamed up with Omar Rodríguez-López from The Mars Volta. Ultimately it sounds like a good idea, as the latter is well known to be capable of thinking outside a traditional song structure-like box, even though he now is making pop music

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Gallon Drunk – Live at Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill

Gallon Drunk - Live at Clouds HillFor those who have waited for a recent live document of Gallon Drunk, I’ll say it’s halfway there. As a part of the Clouds Hill live 10” series, only five songs fits on this white vinyl record and the good thing is that the fans can stay hungry for more.

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Bosnian Rainbows – Live at Clouds Hill

Clouds Hill

Bosnian Rainbows live at Clouds HillBosnian Rainbows is the recently-formed group of Omar Rodriguez-López from The Mars Volta, and supposedly a more pop-like approach to music than he did before. I haven’t encountered Bosnian Rainbows’ studio versions yet, so I was curious to what to expect of this live recording from a series of 10” vinyl documents by Clouds Hill studios in Hamburg.

What did I immediately hear? A record of powerful pop, energetic vocals and what sounds like a good live document. The band play very well together, and even though it is pop songs, it is easy to hear the kraut-prog influences. Not in a pompous way, as the songs are minimal and very much to the point. But still some of

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To Live and Shave in LA – The Grief That Shrieked to Multiply


To Live and Shave in LA - The Grief That Shrieked to MultiplyWhen listening to noise, collages, field recordings or other kinds of abstract music, new compilations have always been a welcome listen. Mainly as it is usually very diverse, and for me almost never tiresome. The Grief That Shrieked to Multiply is of course not a compilation as such, but a collection of remixes, done by a big number of well known and some unknown artists from the said scene. Sounds and recordings from the not-belonging-to-any-genre collective of To Live and Shave in LA (TLASILA) are run through the whatever various aesthetic or focal point the individual remixer has. As there are more than 60 various entries over 3 CDs (and one more CD available for download, if you like),

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Various Artists – Your Victorian Breasts


Various - Your Victorian BreastsI love compilations; you never know what you’re gonna get. But not only that. I hear a lot of new experimental music, and some of it has as a sound or quality that will wear you out if you listen to full albums. Not necessarily on account of the music itself, which can be very interesting and varied, but some experimentalists tend to use the same approach to the soundscape or palette of sound throughout an album. If this is the case, and even more so if the music is very minimal, or in lack of layers or frequencies, I find myself getting tired after a while. Not so with compilations, as I hear so many varied-sounding tracks that it comes

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Pombagira – Maleficia Laminah

Black Axis

Pombagira - Maleficia LaminahPombagira‘s last album Iconoclast Dream was a revelation to me with the immense dirty darkness they presented. Upon receiveing a brand new CD from the duo, hopes for more dark dirtyness appears in my mind. But after the first spin, I was in doubt. I am not sure if it was the day, or anything else, but it didn’t do anything for me at the time. I was especially unsure about the second track. But when in doubt, it makes for doing something else; take it for a road trip!

Maleficia Laminah are two long tracks, and by the first look, appear to be about death and underwordly matters. The darkness in the music is not that apparent, although the sound is very

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NXP – Notes From the Field of Guilt

Requiem Productions

NXP - Notes From the Field of GuiltNXP is a solo noise project from Norway, focusing on ambient noise, sometimes rythmic, sometimes just dirty noise. He collects samples, field recordings and various sounds and instruments to create his world of darkness.

I see this album in two parts. The first three tracks are quiet dirty ambient noise. So quiet from the start that you have to go and check whether you have turned the volume way to much down. But ultimately this makes you listen even more, and I notice the murky darkness of a future sound of a barren landscape. The second half is also three tracks, and they come out much more apparent, and easier to relate to. Not that this is easy listening,

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Cassiber – The Way It Was

ReR Megacorp

Cassiber - The Way It WasMany years ago, I laid my hands on the Der Durchdrungene Mensch/Indianer Für Morgen LP by the multi-instrumetalist duo Heiner Goebbels and Alfred Harth, a fantastic avantgarde -New Wave/Neue Deutsche Welle/improv record. The way they blended jazz and improv with avantgarde classical and new wave style music triggered me to wanting to hear more of the work of these guys. The duo formed in 1975, and later met up with Chris Cutler from Henry Cow, and guitarist Christoph Anders to form a band that incorporated punk rock, free jazz and classical music, and thus formed Cassiber in 1982. Harth left the band in 1985. The Way It Was is a collection of live recordings and studio sketches from 1986-1989,

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Toshimaru Nakamura and John Butcher – Dusted Machinery


Toshimaru Nakamura & John Butcher - Dusted MachineryA couple of years ago a friend took me to Café Oto to see Londoners John Butcher and John Edwards teaming up with US guitarist Elliot Sharp. Not knowing what to expect, I was amazed by the gig, especially learning that Sharp never met the two others before, not to mention never played with them. This ended up being one of the best improv gigs I had seen for years. The interplay and attitude towards the music and each other was some of the things that moved me the most, as I recall. Later it came as no surprise having learned that Butcher has been very much sought after as a session musician or collaborator.

So getting a

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Colin Stetson and Mats Gustafsson – Stones

Rune Grammofon

Colin Stetson & Mats Gustafsson - StonesThe Swede Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Fire!, and also appeared with Sonic Youth, Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, etc.) and the Canadian resident Colin Stetson from the US (Arcade Fire, and has also appeared with Laurie Anderson, David Byrne etc.), met for the first time on stage at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in 2011. The performance was recorded, and the result is these four tracks on Stones. Both are young, inventive and uncompromising improvisers, having done remarkable work with their own bands.

When this album dumped in my mailbox, I was not sure what to expect. I am not an historian of jazz music, but the fact that Stones is an album of two saxophones duelling must make it a bit

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Pere Ubu – Lady From Shanghai


Pere Ubu - Lady From ShanghaiBeing a late explorer of Pere Ubu, my first encounter with them was The Tenement Year album from 1988, and I was sure I had found a pop band, but with something out of the ordinary still. Going back into their discography – to more experimental releases such as The Modern Dance or Dub Housing, not to mention the boxed set Datapanik in Year Zero, which also contained the early singles – showed me a band quite far from a pop kind of attitude, but still it had rhythm and beats and catchy pop songs in between all the experimental weirdness in their rock music. So when David Thomas – the only constant through all these years, and probably the main creative force –

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Lean Left – Live at Café Oto


The Ex has been around on the edge of Dutch punk and improv since 1979, veterans in the explorations of sounds and music on the wide outer side of mainstream. So when the modern energetic avant-jazz-improv duo of the US saxplayer Ken Vandermark and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, who has been performing together since the year 2000, meets up with The Ex guitars of Andy Moor and Terrie Ex, expectations of sonic fun rises above most gigs, at both separate punk or jazz venues can present to their audience. Café Oto being one of the busiest improv or avant-garde spots in London (and a friendly place it is!), makes for bands wanting to record their performances there. Lean Left did not come as a

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James Johnston – Hassan Falls To His Death


When James Johnston releases a solo album, it is really difficult to know what to expect. To my knowledge, this is his very first solo album. Being a bluesy rock star front man of Gallon Drunk, guitar hero in Lydia Lunch’s Big Sexy Noise, or session and live musician with The Bad Seeds is only one side of this multi-talented Englishman. Collaborating with Philippe Petit, and a couple of years as part of the line-up of Faust, has also proved him very capable of staying at the experimental-improv side of musical things as well.

So when I first played Hassan Falls To His Death, and at first heard his blues harp, I thought for an instance that

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Terrie Ex/Paal Nilssen-Love – Hurgu!


Terrie Hessels of the Dutch anarcho-punk-improv orchestra The Ex has never stopped with his raw punk attitude, but rather collaborated with numerous people over the years to get inspiration from and absorbing all elements of all music, but continuing to being raw and unpolished. In meetings with the Norwegian hard-hitting avant-garde drummer, Paal Nilssen-Love, two souls of similar attitude meet, although from very different background. Being a jazz drummer, Nilssen-Love holds his sticks well in the improvised area of music, much more than the average jazz musicians do today. Never letting any jazz-rules, however, decide who to collaborate with, has led him to perform with numerous exciting people, outside the jazz box. This makes for some exciting meetings, and exciting

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Slugfield – Slime Zone


A ping hits my mind, over and over again, record crackle from the turntable, strange voices talking to me, giving me unheard messages, drums moves frequencies back and forth in all kinds of directions. Subtle periods mixed with what sounds most people would argue does not belong in music. Repeat-loop train-tracks going to a playful sound together with jungle musique concrète. Stressed out or going through the motions with weirdness. Like a battle of the machines, a wall of sound, three people pushing the limits of what sonic space is left in my brain, rhythmic, not rhythmic, chaotic, almost sounding random but still focused. This time, the stage must have been packed with sound and noise.

The trio of Maja Ratkje,

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