Friday, July 27, 2007

Kassette Kulture # 4 - Arklight - Hell's Black Intelligence

Side One – Anatomy of hell - A typewriter forces voodoo pins into glass. Corpse shadows rise up, soil dripping off their bony shoulders, swaying robes, carrying plastic bags full of metal. A chorus of tongue-less moans drift like heavy toxin, as the contents of the bags are tipped into the jaws of an ever hungry typewriter spitting sparks of gluttony. This rain of motorized limbs twitch and scrape the horizon, making shapes - a haunted geometry of dying spasms. Head-butted guitars to the kzzzzzz of cymbal, behind every vocorded deflation crashes more mechanical debris as animal heads float on a carpet of lice. Gnarling electrics creep though the undergrowth like wire brambles, knotted petals that rot under their own weight.

Side two – Beyond Hypothermia - is a broken beatbox, its batteries leaking into guitar string claws and giddy disorientation. Drill piano death and dented wood, vocals drowned in creamy scorch. Wire-wool tea cosy of illegible keyboard and rotting reverbed gloom. My skin creeps in a tide-like motion to the carnage, all those textures jostling for attention, making new sensation, awaking perspectives. Fuck this is a gloriously strangled tune.

Never heard of Arklight before but that mix of Robedoor(esque) texture and murky experimentation is a winner with me. Pushing doom metal beyond the one chord reverb, all wrapped up in a suitably tainted gold slipcase that is marred by slug trail scribble.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paul's Accordion Voyage

Some years after promising me some music, Paul thrusts this into my paws on the way to see Directing Hand. The charity shop 'naff' cover had me in stitches, I can tell you. (face blurred to protect the innocent)

Played from his exclusive residence set in the heart of the Wiltshire countryside, this gem of DIY enthusiasm showcases the last breaths of a battered old accordion picked up for a fiver from a car boot.

Its really slow n melancholic with some nice moments of sonic destruction as the instrument coughs n splutters to produce a tune.

I think some of this may find a home on the second Ice Bird Spiral long player, suitably gnawed and reconstituted ... after all, as Paul states on the copyright 'any bastard can use it'.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Roxanne - The Early Years, Hmna and Directing Hand

Friday 20th July - The Cube, Bristol

Roxanne – The Early Years

Roxanne – The Early Years was all sweet delivery and simple strumming, with the gentle support of some subtle woodwind from her Mint Imperials sitting either side of her. Great observational songs, superbly understated and quite a delight to my closed eyes.

Roxanne – The Early Years


Hmna - a Bristol collective, mixed generous sprinklings of lyrical genius wrapped up in tuneful conventions to give us a great collection of songs. Their sprightly tunes raised a fair few smiles along the way, the ex boyfriend based ‘vivisection’ song being a real lyrical laughter engine.

Directing Hand

Directing Hand
were Alex Nielson (of Tight Meat Duo fame) and Vinnie Blackwell. Here two separate worlds knitted together in collision. High pinched female screams with clattering and pounding skins. Scraped, clawed dulcimer and abstract throat dynamics were thrown over Nielson’s hammering rain, rubs and cymbal scathe. This wasn’t an easy listen, but I think that was the whole point.

Directing Hand

Directing Hand

Vinne’s witchy wails mostly fought over / against Alex’s broken beatings, they mingling sporadically on the lighter percussive moments like a silky fabric of harp water, under which beetles scurried. For the most part they produced moiré patterns for the ears that stuck awkwardly in my head, jagged corners of possibility that were quite a contrast to the dronic textures found on their recent(ish) album for Secret Eye (more on that a little later).

Directing Hand

Directing Hand

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ice Bird With Spirals

iCe bIrD wItH sPirAlS - TM

Just re-listening to the master disc of our debut album… it’s a real pleasure to experience it in its completed form. I’ve always dreamed of making an album worthy of inclusion in the NWW list, and I think Kid Shirt and I have given birth to something really special here. It not only fits the wayward profile but also seems to be still mutating, throwing spanners into the musical engine and creating its fair share of surprises. Oh and on the subject of surprises, expect a live manifestation of Ice Bird Spiral in the not so distant future and maybe a small tour – shit, the realisation dawns - we’re a baaannnnddddddd - hope we don’t scare yer!

(we’ll be pretty terrified ourselves)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Oso El Roto - Mojon Po'l Agua

There’s too much insane genius crammed into the grooves of this record to take in just one sitting. A crazy clashophonic clownishness that plays drunken spiders with the rhythm, multi coloured playdough sounds that defy the laws of physics as off key musings slip into gorgeous tangles of style n texture. Nutty vocals quarrel n collide with the scribble, descend into throat sung wobble and tourettes abstracts. Sounding French, Portuguese, Chilean and god knows what else, forcing everything in erratic directions, like viewing life through a shaky camcorder or on a multi-dimensional fast forward - the scenery full of jaggy shapes and gaudy jostles that suddenly go all idyllic, only to blast you in belched noise further down the lane.

Insert-wise each track is illustrated in comic book style that confuses and amuses in equal amounts, a many armed guitar, pooed out babies, gleeful demons invading a vulvic saint. There’s logic in there somewhere, maybe a warped lament on love looted, but it’s probably best abandoning yourself to the hilarity and accepting this crazy piece of work as a shining grin in a 40 watt world.

As the only English says – You vomit on my shoes to prove your love, now my shoes are clean and you’re gone.

Enfant Caca.mp3

A great vinyl release worthy of your attention.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Broken car prompts scribbled reaction

Vomit Wormed - penned while waiting for roadside rescue

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lacuna album launch

Saturday 30th June, Lansdown Hotel, Clifton, Bristol

Lacuna, was the headliner, unusually on first because she wanted her young daughter to see her perform. She was a bag of nerves, maybe because the family were present but this was quickly lost to the lovely vibes she was sharing out. Loved the way her voice was skipping between two separate personalities, one child-like the other all aged reflection, like the music that was built up around her being both tingle n sinew.

The trumpet (bugle/cornet) figured more this time, staining the vibe in an unique Englishness that’s nothing to do with afternoon tea but something more metaphysical that English heritage would definitely struggle to pin down. An Albion / brass fusion that was astoundingly authentic, seamlessly mingling with her folk tinted undulations. Memories and feelings amber trapped in delicate songs, she dirtied some tracks up in effect driven scrawl but never abandoned them to it, purely explorative toes in the water, felt like she was adding more sides to the geometry. Primarily a one girl operation she was joined at numerous times by backing violin, tuba and male voice, but these were subtle counterpoints with Ruth’s fragile essence always shining through.

oh almost forgot to mention that i liked this new drum addition to the sound

Chipper, part of Bristol based North Sea Navigator, employed a laptop and live cello setup. She worked over computer snapshots of rhythm, swirling it around in raspy accents, plucks and bowed sweeps. My eyes followed the wooden floor’s history as the music unfolded in smooth succession. Sometimes I felt the laptop rhythm was too unrelenting for the flesh she was giving to it, but for the most part it was simply blissful.

Bird Engine projected a trinket world through a distorted folklore lens – hybrids of animal and human slipping off the tongue with mystical economy, feeding the imagination in half shadows. This strange narrative was successful due to that alchemic voice of his and his ‘curling smoke’ wail that flexed around those Spanish tunings, the sort of thing that wouldn’t be out of place in a Del Toro film. The warmth of those nylon strings giving up more than just tune alone.

Picked this EP up as a little Birdengine reminder, but more on that and Lacuna's debut a little later on.

Don Bear was a duo of electronics, vox and electric guitar. The music was angry but never fuming, great wobbling textures mixed with a pointed song style, supported by some addictive chords. A folk rock fusion, which has its roots in a more punkish vibe, rooted in the lead singer’s shouty delivery.

I was dog tired, almost nodding off (in a good, overly relaxed way) at one point, not having much sleep the night before, but I was glad I came along, discovering new treasures and adding to previous delights.