Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Reverse Mouth in the UK

One of my favourite guitar manglers ‘Reverse Mouth’ are hitting London this weekend, hopefully I’ll be getting over there to experience some RM in the smouldering flesh.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kassette Kulture #7 - FMG and Shearing Pinx Split C20

Fx – peddler and lovely neighbour to the Cloudboy clan - F.M.G, and noise devoted Shearing Pinx have shored up their collective talents to give us an excellent slice of split tape action…

The A side is ‘discokillerjunkyblitzkrieg’ biscuits crumbling into your lap. A sonic fist-fight for space, as colliding digital scribble works itself over rhythmic stutters with a dispossessed mania. An excursion into automatic drawing, with a skull cut mutton bird spraying arterial patterns up the walls. The B side is quasi-ritualistic; echoed yells and restrained flickers of digital distress. There’s Popol Vuh type keyboarding going on in the background as things start to incinerate / breakdown in gorgeously fuzzed outlines. Feedback seeps and other disharmonies creep, the only way is collapse, spiralling downwards in blurred and incoherent detail.

Cool squished face on the insert, I’m off to check if it’s FMG's…

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

M-Birds gather in the twilight

Mr Olivetti had a listen to our debut and here are his impressions:

The first Ice bird Spiral recorded outing finds a myriad of drones, tones, scrapes, skronks, voices real or imagined, drums n brushes, guitars and hoop-la being sent through the Wessex ether finally converging on this disc. Two extraordinary sound suites which find familiar aural landscape left behind and new territory discovered, uncovered / overturned, beneath the waves and high in the sky. It takes your imagination by the hand, sets it free and watches it scarper.

Suite one is perhaps the story of a man on the brink of madness, we discover through a series of distorted digital flashbacks and radio static that his life is the perfect disaster, leaving him alone, desperate. His attempts to form a surrogate family by abduction with the aid of a child-seducing converted ice-cream van lead him to the stormy and deserted coast.

We learn that at some previous point on an illicit diving expedition searching for dolphins and rays, he had stumbled across the abandoned Icebird submarine, a plangent siren song drawing him toward this perfect lair. Once ensconced with his family, our sad captor begins the slow spiral into madness; the children are left and in desperation learn to communicate with the sharks and snapping turtles, which in kind transmit the distress through the water to be picked up by the search vessels passing overhead, their sonar seeking vainly.

As the signals are received, divers start to enter the water. Are the distorted human voices somehow carried through the hull to the rescuers, or are the sharks and turtles capable of more than we realise? The sub is uncovered and under violent attack from drills and explosives the hull is breached, while the captor appears to crack under the magnitude of his folly. Is this the end? Is it reality? What is this placid fishing vessel bobbing just off the coast, monotonous foghorn sounding innocently? Are the sides being beaten by tiny fists, as the sonar / radar signals jam and the sea begins to roil. A motor starts. Is it the sub, the trawler or are the chains and disembodied voices some further menace? Are the children being slowly poisoned? Is the troubled soul at the centre of all this begging for forgiveness, or betraying further sins? The menacing sounds leave the water troubled, events inconclusive, minds ruffled.

Forsaking the density and oppression of the seas, the second suite of tracks are light and expansive. This story is of the M-bird, cast adrift through his desire to communicate with humans. We hear him circle the school, metal wings vibrating, trying to disrupt the flow of learning in his voracious desire to know, even though it leaves him an outcast. The words of the children though are like barbs and spikes, keeping him at bay. We hear juvenile words spoken, the M-bird pouncing and ravaging them. Some children try to befriend him, come outside to try and teach him, but the words are like ashes or acid in his mouth. It’s like torture for him, as we hear his brethren circling above, pouring down a mixture of pity and derision, their movements in comparison a beautiful wavelike rhythm, showing up his clumsiness.

Has he forgotten his roots through this obsession? M-birds communicate by supersonic travel, by the song of the air streaming from their wingtips, as they dip, turn and tumble, speed and direction generating this most essential & expressive language. Rather like Jonathan Livingston Seagull, M-bird finally finds his place in the scheme of things and as he regurgitates / expels what earthbound language he has amassed, he soars away replete, the wingtip language finally all he needs.

And just to give us a little something extra, these two works are separated by the Turkish Song. Imagine some West African kids, using tribal instruments to cover a Wire song. Is this a taster of a whole other Icebird direction? Let them keep us guessing.

By Mr Olivetti

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Kassette Kulture #6 - Shitty Vibe Smasher

Nocturnal emissions from an abandoned factory, mechanoid bird chatter on distended springs, arthritic joints dowsed in sparking elixir, phosphorescent purple n blues fingering the darkness. A yawning drone, awash in flaking rust, snakes through the chilled air – a haunted chorus of faded histories. The ground is encrusted in yellow ochre, pyres that vibrate in double exposures – everything tastes metallic. Radio broadcasts from beyond the grave skim across the dark and briefly illuminated space. From outside, the windows glow with intermittent colour, as shadowy figures are incised in the corners of eyes... switching the lights off for this one is thoroughly recommended – a scratched n impressionistic joy.

ProceSsION TApeS

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Ice Bird Spiral, Neon Dinosaur Brain and Team Brick @ The Sonic Sanctuary

Saturday 1Oth November 2007 - Trowbridge

First up, we were more disconnected than during Monday’s show and came at everything from more of a ‘noise’ perspective; my guitar set up was a bit awry, so I tortured it as best I could. Kid Shirt’s nose flute was great this time round, and the ‘effects driven’ Casio was monstrous combined with scraped pick-up, smashed cutting disc and whisk chime. Feedback filled the air, boxes were multi-levelled to infinity - low frequency waves broke on a metallic shore...

Somebody came over when our set finished and bought us both drinks, said we deserved it; another invited us to play at their wedding, an offer that we just couldn’t refuse…got me imagining a confetti of broken birds.

Listening to Neon Dinosaur Brain was like running through a thicket, the sound thrashing around like a boxed animal, lacerating and clawing. The vocals were a transfigured atonal crucifixion wrapped in coloured cellophane, peeling in dented depth charges of perverted shadow. The lyrics reverted to larynx tearing screams, a punctured and flanged oasis, echoes of electricity snaked round like a tarnished halo.

Gilded and vivid, burning neon transects and fiery staggers, the floor is sucked up into the air in streaks, a displaced vacuum round which nothing escapes. This was Rock leaning towards a psychotropic ‘Birthday Party’ spectrum. During a tuning gap the vocalist went into a hip-hop vibe, vocal cluster to a drum backing, reinstating a faith in ‘urban music’ that I never know I had – LOL…

The last song of the set collapsed into a beautiful agony, an over-driven death slide awash in effects, folding in on it’s self to silence… ears left a buzzing nest of insects - excellent stuff. We’d love to play with you guys sometime, you rock!!!

Team Brick was a self contained one man band, utilising an array of fx boxes daisy chained together on a seat in front of him, kettle drum to the side, two mics floating either side and a guitar in easy reach. Deep Nordic chant of the semi-religious kind started the set, ghosts of an alien language buoyant and spectrally clinging in dismissing circles. Boy this man had a great voice, and was a convincing linguist too, flipping from what sounded like Latin / Eastern European and Greek with surprising ease. Wrapping the words in luxurious drone, bellowing the next - constant vocal colourings that gripped you. Soft and cavernous drum beats rolled around– ‘I’d like to see you burn’ he sang repeatedly emphasising the word BURN, almost relishing in it…

Combined with the drums, visions of Death in June or Non flickered through my head briefly, to be cut up by some insane Arto Lindsay spazzed guitar tangents, soaked in delay then cannibalised in overload. Barely audible lyrics were oblivion fed, as if whispering secrets. The show ended with Team Brick walking sternly off. This was personal, introspective and bloody wonderful… he didn’t seem to care if you liked it – he just needed to get it out - turn the inside out. I discovered later, amazingly enough, his set was completely improvised!!!

… respect goes out to Charlie whose impeccable ear was responsible for putting together another great show, long may it continue…

More Later...

...Another amazing Sonic Sanctuary has just disappeared into the ether. That's Neon Dinosaur Brain above strutting their dramatic thang, but more on this and our Trowbridge finale to Ice Bird Spiral's 'Swineville' tour a little later, for the siren of sleep calls too seductively...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ben Reynolds, Ice Bird Spiral and Sunburned Hand of the Man

5th November @ The Croft, Bristol

Ben Reynolds short set was 'scarred and drugged' blues showcasing some superb evenly balanced guitar work. The sound was nicely blurred around the edges by a chain of effects, but it was his harmonica / mic that really stole the show for me. Coming across like a battered 78 resurrection, the vocals under decades of dust left me with archaeological chills that fired sepia splinters into the cranium - delicious but far too short... liked those echoes of Chris Isaac’s slipping strings between each song...

Our Ice Bird Spiral set was all amorphous drone, nihilistic debris and a great excuse to let loose a few of our skull’s demented children. Ukulele smears and guitar flux, electricity blurred in fluid distortion of pot marked chasms, gaping holes and rungless ladders - a hazy dream - primal, subconscious.

For our first proper outing we think it all went rather well, considering I kept losing the things I wanted to play and certainly judging by the applause we received. The 'Swineville' concept worked well in a live context with both of us getting carried away by the sound jigsaw we were assembling (over running by 10mins) - A harrowingly distended and warped version of our studio based tour CDr of the same name - A big thank you to everyone who bought one and are now enjoying that live / studio synaptic leakage / dis-connection sorta thing we are trying to articulate.

Lovely to meet up with Loki, Doppelganger (the canvas cyberman rules, man), Gutter and apologies to all for the lack of conversation I was a bag of nerves before the gig, and after bathed in a detached sense of myself, like some post gig zombie... or was that just relief? Special thanks also goes out to all the people who helped us on the night and the mighty Qu-Junktions for putting us on the same bill as ‘Sunburned’

Sunburned were really tight and groovesome, the more chaotic elements reined in by taut rhythms. After an amazing opener that literally took off skyward, everything went strangely relaxed, and a golf based stream of consciousness soup lapped the ears as a bizarre fishing contest of stick, polystyrene heads and horse mask took place.

Guttural moans and vocal spasms charged the atmosphere as the beginnings of a tune were formed, like flecks of colour, oil on water dilating in thin slivers slowly gathering together then ooooomppph the baseline was hit upon and the rest followed around / inside the framework. It was a possessed knitting machine creating a pattern of electric blue and deep crimson that shimmered all over the place, each member seeing his/her own visual path, feeding off each other in the thick elastic of reparation, morphing in strange directions, in and out of focus like some mad tower of audio jelly trapped between dimensions.

This band could have gone on like this all night as far as I’m concerned, burning their infectious groove all over your body, leaving you little choice other than to swing and lunge madly around in reply. KEK screamed into my ear ‘this is the best they have ever been’ and I agreed whole heartedly. Fucking awesome...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Crofting it

Apologies for the lack of updates recently, getting ready for Ice Bird Spiral's mini-tour has been a teeny bit time-evaporating... Hopefully see some of you tomorrow for plenty of inner ear fireworks.