UK digi-dub veterans Alpha & Omega have taken on the task of remaking Om‘s track “Addis” from their recent Advaitic Songs album, transforming the original’s hypnagogic swell of doomy bass and mournful cello into a dub workout in two parts. Side A weighs in as “Ababa Dub,” Kate Ramsey‘s haunting vocal lifted into the echo chamber while the strings vibrate below, riding on a coasting undercarriage of sampled drums and bass.
Alpha & Omega snip out a syllable which sounds exactly like “Om” and send it bouncing off on a trail of delay while other sounds emerge as haunted sirens, and as far as dub mixes go, they could hardly have found better source material. On the reverse, “Addis Ababa” continues the meditative mood almost seamlessly (apart from the need to flip over the vinyl). Here the words
Continue reading Om – Addis/Gethsemane dubplates [...]
Like the music of fellow synthpop freak Jimi Tenor, that played by the duo of Rättö ja Lehtisalo seems to come from a strange otherworld of their own devising, one where off-kilter percussion and jazzy notes sidle at the beck and call of Mika Rättö‘s distinctively weird vocals. It’s not even because they’re in Finnish, because Mika has an international delivery offset by the trademark tendency to surprise at any given turn which he also brings to his vocal work in Circle alongside Jussi Lehtisalo.
So while there’s none of Ed Benttonin briljantti stabilismi tai taivaallinen kylpysaippua‘s eccentric synthpop mania, nor even Kopernikus Hortoilee Näkinkengässä‘s archly motorik‘n’melodic pop, there is plenty to marvel in here, from the shuffling rhythms and soaring organ to the chorale swell which brings the title track to an
Continue reading Rättö ja Lehtisalo – Spiritismi [...]
Second in the series of Fourth Dimension Singles Club 7” releases, Into The Dark represents Sion Orgon‘s first new music to be released in a good while. Like his previous album, 2008′s The Zsigmondy Experience, the A side of this 7” features appearances from Thighpaulsandra, Seb Goldfinch and the late Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson of Coil, Throbbing Gristle and The Threshold Houseboys Choir infamy.
The title track opens with an ominous nightmarescape of resonating gongs, scuttling electronics and layering drones. When Sion sings, it is in a lilting manner, at once elegiac and strangely triumphant as synthesizer squirls flip and whirr around him, together making an oddly poppish number which might once have been decorating the interior of a certain sort of dark-clad club while shadowy figures vogue softly in among the dry ice.
Continue reading Sion Orgon – Into the Dark [...]
(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 [...]
Rise Above (12″)/Coptic Cat (CD)
It was 1974 when Comus, after two truly blood-curdling albums (1971’s First Utterance and 1974’s To Keep From Crying), retreated to his woodland bower, lay down in a mossy hollow and went to sleep. Those recordings had been barely understood at the time, their power and strange attraction undeniable, yet somehow they remained too demonic, too priapic, to be embraced by those frightened of the twisted, leering face and the danse macabre melodies. The time of Comus had not yet come.
Before the decade was out, though, the landscape around the forest had changed beyond all recognition, whether through the angry thunderhead of Punk ripping apart Rock’s progressive trajectory, or the emergence of Chaos Magick leading away from the old gods and towards the deepest layers of the unconscious mind.
Continue reading Comus – Out of the Coma [...]
To celebrate 20 years of Dead Voices On Air, Mark Spybey is in the process of releasing a series of 7″ singles in cahoots with a variety of friends and accomplices. The first appears under the name MzMz LalaLa, and consists of Spybey and Simon Fisher Turner.
Together, the two sides of the 7″ offer glimpses of passing soundscapes in almost haiku form, so (seemingly) brief is their span – seemingly, as the A-side is in fact a shade of five minutes in length. “For Peace” features piano becoming progressively cut up and disrupted by snippets of words and sounds of warfare and/or crisis snatched from the headlines, and the rippling beats which slot briefly into place chug in with a confident swagger. But nothing is let to hold in place for long, as the wind-whipped recordings from the
Continue reading Dead Voices On Air – The Bowles Given/MzMz LalaLa (20th anniversary collaborative 7″ singles) [...]
Cozmic Onion Express are one of those bands it would be far better to see live than listen to on this record. There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with it at all; in fact it’s a great introduction from one of the most zanily accomplished head-messing bands in London right now. The recording quality is fine, the dynamics are sharp, the energy conveyed is high – but they just need to be witnessed live, is the thing.
The sight of lead yelper and bassist Taishi Nagasaka (formerly of They Came From The Stars, I Saw Them and also just as essential to catch live in his even more wibbly Cosmetic Onion Shield guise, complete with silver-suited glow-stick dancing aliens), all gowned up in ceremonial robes and letting rip with a tableful of electronic devices while simultaneously giving the bass some is a start
Continue reading Cozmik Onion Express – Cozmik Onion Express EP [...]
Taken – kidnapped, stripped, re-educated and reborn, even – from Mugstar‘s heavyweight slab of spacerocking goodness Lime and given a thorough going over by Robert Hampson of Main and Loop fame, “Serra” reappears in a 39 minute extended format on clear green vinyl (split in two parts) and CD. And what a re-imagining this is. Hampson extracts the essentials, then reprocesses, extends, twists, unravels and distends them until he returns with something which has many affinities with Steve Stapleton‘s much-more-than-a-remix of Stereolab as the highly-lysergic Simple Headphone Mind.
There are quite often sounds present which are akin to radio static and disc-drive detritus interfering with the playback – and there are plenty of moments where a double-take on whether the fidelity of the audio reproducing equipment has been compromised. But it was always that way with Hampson’s work as Main in
Continue reading Mugstar – Serra (Distant Sun remix) [...]
This will play out. This will be roundly buggered, sliced and diced and shat out all over the lightflashes and discofloors of your local sleaze pit. It’s good music for dancing girls, car chases, hedge-trimming, car-jumping. Chris Carter has the Abba fixations, of course, but the Devil’s in the disco. The Neurotic Drum Band remix (reimagining) maybe slows the beat down a little to create something that feels vaguely reminiscent of Spacemen 3’s “Big City;” a disco slur, narcotized but just danceable, if you’re prepared to shamble and wave. It’s not Italo; only partly Homoerotic. The press release tells you it’s “ultra cosmic-a-fying it for an ultra-headtrip psychedelic spaceflight!” but it feels a little earthier than that, Northern even; the sound of a Rugby or Widnes disco-bar with a headful of research chemicals (their twinkly names encoded into the music) and
Continue reading Chris Carter – Moonlight [...]
Simon Reynolds has a great new book out entitled Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to its Own Past, in which he argues that pop culture has been killed off by its obsession with its own past and that we are now trapped in a mire of tributes, reissues and revivals. It’s his opinion, and being a music journalist, he has a fair chance of being wrong but hey! – he talks a lot of sense, and who could really argue against that? It’s a self-evident truth surely, without even going to the effort of reading his argument?
Well yes, but…
Factory Floor are heavily addicted to their culture’s past, and perhaps ironically, to those parts of the past that were the most forward thinking and futuristic of their time – Georgio Moroder, Throbbing Gristle, Chicago House. They recently even hired TG’s Chris
Continue reading Factory Floor – ~(REALLOVE) [...]
Two oddities from the pacific North-West USA’s favourite oddball ethnodelic forgers of all things conjured up from an alternate world music scene. Side one’s “Themes From The Motion Picture Man With The Green Gloves On” is a slice of solemn gamelan’n’drone in their usual temple of the weird mode, all chimes and rumbling percussion interspersed with feedback and other signs of electronic life. As the drift becomes choral and the motion fritters into stoned wafts of sound, it’s almost possibly to smell the incense, inhale the smoke machine tendrils and feel the confusion which greets the many-robed ensemble as they continue their vocation to befuddle and bemuse.
But flipping to the other side of the 7” finds that “Theme From The Science Fiction Television Show
Continue reading Master Musicians of Bukkake – Themes From The Motion Picture “Man With The Green Gloves On” [...]
Given a penchant for vintage analogue synthesis, Goblin and motorik drumming, and having named themselves after a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer game, it is not only appropriate, but almost de rigueur, that Zombie Zombie should find themselves tackling the oeuvre of a key progenitor of electronic cinema soundtracks. John Carpenter‘s themes and incidental music for the groundbreaking low-budget and high-thrills genre movies was pioneering, and hugely influential on a generation of teenagers who probably came into contact with the form for the first time within the sparse soundscapes of the sort he composed to accompany his own distinct brand of muscular action, SF and horror films.
Certainly as far as the mainstream of US horror and science fiction films went in the late seventies and eighties, no-one was really foregrounding synth pulsations
Continue reading Zombie Zombie – Play John Carpenter [...]
The first part of the first track on Brooke Sharkey‘s A Taste Of Truth EP provides something of a conundrum for the monolingual reviewer, being in French. However, in some ways it’s a bonus- the backing is fairly traditional guitar-based stuff, though undeniably pleasant, and I have no idea what the lyrics are about, leaving my whole first impression entirely dependent on two things- the melody and the voice. Both of which, I am pleased to report, are awesome. By the time she’s returned to English, I’ve been reminded of pretty much everyone from Joni Mitchell to Björk; not in the sense that she’s derivative of them at all, but more in the sense that her voice is pretty mercurial and constantly shifting, one minute a soaring balladeer, the next a Liz Fraser-esque vibratoed-up angel, then
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London bliss-rockers Kontakte continue their journey into the outer reaches of motorik rhythms and chimingly elevated guitar work with an EP which works around the theme in differing ways. “Superbug” itself boils over with tightly-wound energy, surging from twinkly psychedelic guitar melodies which dive off into shoegaze metal territory on a bedrock of cascading, weighty beats and a buzzing undertow. It’s reminiscent of the way Bowery Electric took the sound of ecstatic soaring guitars and made them throb to drum machine rhythms, but updated for a new century of technological beat-making, pulling off switchback returns until the final crash out.
“The Light Shining From A Window Behind Us” brings a benign uncoiling piano solo to the fore to introduce the final push into the reverse-engineered electronica of “Flight Paths,” where crossover keyboard reverberations trickle Harmonia-like into a langorous
Continue reading Kontakte – Superbug EP [...]