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Godspeed You! Black Emperor (live at The Roundhouse)

London 30 June 2015

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the once-elusive collective from Montréal, are now becoming an almost regular fixture on the live circuit since reforming in 2010. In addition to live activities, we’ve seen them almost double their late ’90s / early ’00s recorded output with the dual whammy of Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend (2012) and Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (2015).

Godspeed You! Black Emperor live at The Roundhouse

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Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire

Thrill Jockey

Lightning Bolt - Fantasy EmpireThe two Brians from Rhode Island are back with Lightning Bolt‘s first album since 2009’s Earthly Delights and their first for new label Thrill Jockey.

Lightning Bolt are a classic example of an underground noise band who have had some success in the mainstream without compromising their sound or attitude. Their live shows are blisteringly visceral, often violent and incredibly loud experiences, the band playing on the floor surrounded by the audience. An acquaintance once hilariously described them to me as “a really talented drummer and bass player showing off.” I couldn’t disagree more.

The first thing that hits you when listening Fantasy Empire is how well recorded it is compared to their previous output. The make a point of mentioning this in the press release, this record being the first to be made using

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Kontakte’s These Machines track by track

Kontakte – These MachinesLondon-based duo Kontakte‘s 2014 release These Machines brought a blissfully blistering end to their silence of two years between albums. Here, Ian Griffiths and Stuart Low give a detailed breakdown of how and why each of the album’s tracks came into being.

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“Shut Your Eyes And You’ll Burst Into Flames” These Machines – Limited Edition CD by KONTAKTE

Stuart: This track was birthed over a number of years, the original bare bones were written in 2005 – 2006 and it existed in that form for a few years until 2009 when I started recording bits and pieces as a home demo. It was during this time that the idea for a ‘desert’-sounding lead guitar came to me, along with the extremely droney guitars

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Pelican – Forever Becoming

Southern Lord

Pelican - Forever BecomingOpening with a kick drum that could loosen the fillings in your teeth, Pelican‘s fifth full length gets off to a brooding, ominous start with “Terminal,” a dark slab of menacing noise, its first half filled with an almighty bass and wailing feedbacking guitars. The dust then settles bringing in more melodic, dare I say it “post-rock” guitar lines before the ferocious bass re-enters and we ascend outwards on a rather pretty shimmering dual guitar pattern. It’s a strong return from the Chicago post-metal quartet, now featuring a slightly different line-up.

It’s all a peaceful calm before the storm however, as “Deny The Absolute” kicks in and things get faster, harder and heavier. Very fast and very heavy. It wouldn’t be wrong to

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Black Dice/Dominic Butler (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Dominic Butler at Corsica StudiosCorsica Studios, London 24 June 2013

The last time I saw Black Dice was in 2009 at the Tufnell Park Dome when they were joined by fellow uplifting souls Experimental Dental School amongst others. The evening had been a reasonably enjoyable listen of eclectic sounds and rhythms up until the point that the three members of Black Dice took to the stage. From then on in it was absolute deafening chaos of the most enjoyable kind. I was lucky enough to catch the shock, horror and outright disgust on the faces of the north London bar staff as they frantically reached for the nearest set of earplugs to abate the sonic terror being unleashed from that small stage.

It is with quite a bit of

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Master Musicians Of Bukkake – Far West

Important

Master Musicians Of Bukkake - Far WestMysterious Seattle collective Master Musicians Of Bukkake return to the fold after the conclusion of their highly regarded Totem trilogy. Comprising of largely Eastern-tinged soundscapes and ‘ritualised’ music, Totems One, Two and Three are albums that I repeatedly return to, such is the quality and diversity of sounds and ideas on each.

The concept behind new release Far West is the idea that the traveller seeking new sounds journeys so far East that he finds himself West. “White Mountain Return” opens proceedings with a burst of almost Lightning Bolt-esque electronic noise and it’s immediately evident that we are no longer in Totem territory here. Ominous synths appear like some ’70s soundtrack (MMOB have admitted to taking inspiration from various soundtracks from that era,

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Isis – Temporal

Ipecac

A lot has been written and said about the importance of Isis, that rare breed of heavy band who not only garnered widespread critical acclaim in the metal world but also succeeded as a crossover act, appealing to fans of shoegaze, post-rock, avant-garde and beyond. This crossover appeal, combined with vocalist/guitarist Aaron Turner’s (now sadly soon-to-be defunct) label Hydra Head Industries introduced the more curious fan to a whole new world of serious heavy music and did a hell of a lot to add some much-needed credibility to these oft-ridiculed genres (anyone with some spare change should visit their webstore to help them pay remaining bands/bills before they close for good).

The announcement of their intention to split in 2010 was met with shock by

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