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 [...]
I 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 out most of all as exciting.
Your Victorian Breasts was equally exciting to listen
Continue reading Various – Your Victorian Breasts [...]
The second compilation of artists from the Monty Maggot label is another eclectic mix of music. Put together again by Lee Potts it’s wonderful that the first release was such a hit that it warranted a part two (and maybe a part three is in the pipeline). The love and time and energy put into these releases and the quality of the overall product means that you are getting recordings from this label to treasure. Anyway let’s climb aboard the stairway to the stars and see what’s twinkling out there in the cosmos.
First up is “Trick Me” by Ria, a soaring psych rock revival opener with vocals that cross between Inky Bloaters, Danielle Dax and Kate Bush, its ending drifting perfectly into shoegaze territory, a cracking way to start. Electric Cake
Continue reading Various Arists – Allies and Clansmen: The Next Descendant [...]
Fruits de Mer
Krautrock is a brilliantly meaningless term, full of meaning. Head Music attempts to show why. There’s motorik music (there’s some on here) which is often what people mean when they say krautrock (they mean it sounds like Neu! or the way Can’s drums flip over one another) and there’s the dense wiggy kosmische space music (which means it sounds like Klaus Schulze or Tangerine Dream). But a lot of krautrock is also a lot like heavy metal (in the sense that, say, Hawkwind, are heavy metal, with the emphasis on heavy rather than metal). You’ll hear the phrase ‘krautrock’ all over the place and it’ll mean nothing much. This compilation, this fantastic conceit, attempts to skew things further.
Most of these bands I’ve never heard of (The Bevis Frond is the exception and this is
Continue reading Various Artists – Head Music [...]
In 1961, Harold Pinter was in Paris, attending rehearsals for the French production of his play The Caretaker. Pinter’s critical reputation was starting to gain serious traction at this time, and the literary establishment were beginning to write about him as the natural successor to Samuel Beckett in the same way that they had once referred to Beckett himself as the successor to James Joyce. The play’s director, Roger Blin, was a friend of Beckett, although the two men had experienced something of a falling out, and when Pinter expressed a desire to meet him, Blin used the opportunity to affect both a rapprochement for himself and Beckett, and a necessary meeting of literary old master and young pretender. Pinter later spoke of that night with utter wonder, of hours of talk that encompassed the whole sweep of Western drama, of
Continue reading Various Artists – Out of Silence: Reflections on Samuel Beckett’s Work [...]
OK, let’s start up here with a massive amount of respect to Lee Potts for putting this together. For not only does this CD look great and has some marvellous music on it but it’s absolutely free from the above website, all you have to do is pay the P&P and the disc will wind its way to you from the cosmic reaches of outer space to brighten up your day.
The album starts with the Omenopus track “Call Your Name,” a beautiful melancholic song touchingly sung that taps into the same vibe as some of Led Zeppelin‘s acoustic numbers until it punches in with big power chords and sends you skyward. 1912’s “Please Take Me Away From Here” has lilting piano that hits a more prog rock vein and reminded me of recent releases by Opeth in its execution
Continue reading Various Artists – Allies and Clansmen [...]
To borrow the imprecation that Debbie Harry once sang so passionately in 1978, “Picture this.” However, rather than a sky full of thunder, or for that matter Debs’ telephone number (wistful sigh…), try instead a giant sit-on banjo constructed from an oil drum, a goat, an empty bag of powdered milk and some strings. For a finishing touch, decorate the neck and body of this Heath Robinson musical contraption with band names (in the manner of a rock band’s kick drum), slogans and even designs like a near Magen David. With me so far? Good, because what you are now holding in your mind’s eye is known, in southeastern Congo, as a karindula. Over the border into Zambia they call it a kalindula, but it seems rather churlish to worry about a single stray consonant when we’re so deep into
Continue reading The Karindula Sessions: Tradi-Modern Sounds from Southeast Congo [...]
The ordinary soldier’s tale is a lamentable one full of dark humour born of hardship and kinship in barracks and battle. Here are 15 such laments ranging from the period 1924–1939 from the USA; in Europe a sometimes overlooked participant in the First World War, with its own continental conflicts and a civil war to draw subject matter from.
A CD of songs taken from private collections of out of copyright 78s, starting with Zeke Morris‘ “Just As the Sun Went Down” and featuring the amazingly named Red Patterson’s Piedmont Log Rollers telling of “The Battleship Of Maine,” an event of sabotage or subterfuge controversially precipitating the Spanish-American War; its inclusion tempting comparisons with politics behind the Gulf War. Scanning past the flags and eagles on the artwork and showing the record company’s sympathy with the
Continue reading Various artists – Bloody War: Songs 1924–1939 [...]
In Search of Hawkwind is a tribute album, whereby nine venerable old battle hymns originally cranked out by the veteran psychedelic cosmonauts are re-interpreted by younger, hipper bands, mostly from the US (at least I think so- I’m not actually hip enough to have heard of all of them). There have been other Hawkwind tributes, but they’ve tended to be low-budget releases featuring deservedly obscure free festival-type acts, though the likes of Acid Mothers Temple (of whom more below) and Wire’s Colin Newman have popped up on them too. This looks to be a bigger-league affair, nicely packaged and featuring a couple of biggish names in Mudhoney and the aforementioned Acid Mothers, alongside established neo-psych stalwarts Bardo Pond and a clutch of younger acts: Kinski, Mugstar, White Hills, Magoo, and Wooden Shijps offshoot
Continue reading Various Artists – In Search of Hawkwind [...]
This takes me back. Sometimes innovations can be pinned down to very specific musical moments. In the same way that Eddie Van Halen‘s tapping on “Eruption” spawned a legion of followers, Mick Harris‘ death blasts on “Scum” set the pace and tone of metal drumming for decades to follow. Its hard to overstate the impact of “Scum” and late 80s UK hardcore. Suddenly everyone was listening to it (well maybe not the 80s pop dullards with their heads burried in the sand) because it was just so extreme. Napalm Death and E.N.T. records (yes records) cropped up in unlikely places like the collections of goths and indie kids, as well the collections metalheads and punks. It was hard not to admire hardcore’s aesthetics of extremity.
Various Artists – Grind Madness at the BBC [...]
Various – Advance 2000.3 Label: Mute Format: CD
What are the folks at Mute up to right now?
Advance 2000.3 isn`t really an album as such. It’s a compilation of the up and coming Mute (and Novamute) releases. You won’t find it in the shops, unless you work in the shops.
2000.3 has new releases from Erasure, Goldfrapp, Add N To (X), Cristian Vogel, Echoboy, Holger Hiller, Foil, Luke Slater, and Recoil. That’s a pretty varied mix, better than many compilations for sale. But this is Mute Records, after all.
Here’s a rough digest of the CD. Erasure are back with their first single in three years. “Freedom” is boppy House number with sprinklings of Kraftwerk-y vocals. Beneath it all the tune is still driven by a Synth Pop heart. It’s like the Eighties never went away. Goldfrapp’s “Utopia” is generally pretty epic track with lots of big synths.
Continue reading Archived reviews: Various artists [...]
Label: Cleopatra Format: DVD
Yet again, it’s a Goth revival. Only a couple of weeks ago, one of the broadsheets began proclaiming black as the new black. The old black obviously not having been quite black enough. So here’s Cleopatra, with a bunch of nostalgia and some newer stuff too. Companion to their immense Goth Box, the DVD opens promisingly enough with Switchblade Symphony‘s “Clown”- some Goth chicks wailing over some chugga-chugga guitar with a whiff of electronica… I kinda liked it.
Truly, this compilation ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous… Alien Sex Fiend‘s classic “Ignore The Machine” rubs shoulders with Christian Death‘s “Romeo’s Distress”… actually, scratch that… “Romeo’s Distress” is one of the good Christian Death songs. Having so many bad ones to choose from, I’m kind of impressed at the selection. Elsewhere we get Red Lorry Yellow Lorry (incidentally the first band I ever saw live) doing
Continue reading Various – Goth Box [...]