Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sachiko + Reiko.A


Thought these two Robedoor releases had slipped back into the eternal darkness for good, but luckily Tanzprocesz have gone and resurrected them, so they can haunt your technology too.

Static Walls - Phroq

A slow burner that makes you all itchy on the inside...
more info over at

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Forest Creature, Burial Hex , Silvester Anfang II

Thursday 27th March - The Cooler, Bristol.

Forest Creature turned out to be an enjoyable noise duo. Their set was full of really physical attacks, as they moved broken glass abstracts into pulsating rhythms and semi-melodic shifts. Smiling at every tasty progression eeked out of their equipment, they swayed to their own creation like hypnotized bunnies. Some of the frequencies they were pushing were really close to bowel opening, as they rippled their zest through the numerous bodies assembled...

Hands groping inside an open suitcase, Burial Hex drew you into his show with Elph-like quivers over which ritualistic hammers broke, suitably bathed in spacey echo. Was amazed by all those details he was pouring into his soundscapes, meticulously layering them over each other, you got a real sense of drama between the differing textures and a fair amount of dread crept over the edges.

His show was a dark and captivating pleasure, oozing a vaporous gothic flavour – somebody definitely worth seeing again. Here’s a peek inside his magic box for the tech curious.

Must add at this point, the musick pouring out of the PA between acts was a perfect complement to the evening, great drawing material too, sounds like the Aurora Borealis label has a great roster of doom, gloom and sinister shadows, I particularly recommend this one, really dig that necro-erotic cover...

I know it’s only the end of March but the Flemish headliners turned out to be the best band I’ve seen all year. This new incarnation of Silvester Anfang really rocked my world with their brand of textural mysticism.

Their first track (dedicated to KEK) was a long miasmic jam of epic proportions; a slowly built momentum that swayed about like a flame caught in a breeze, Belgian radio samples supplying some really narcotic splinters of speech. Leaning on the walls of another reality, the atmosphere they created was ethereal but strangely solid, reaching stratospheric proportions similar to Sunburned’s improv meanderings in an anti-funk mood, coming across like a ‘more focused’ Acid Mothers. The guitar work followed the flow superbly, receding, curving around, sometimes impregnating the sturdy dronic bed of shifting tones that carried the whole …intersected by shiny cymbal shivers and loose drum wavers … druggy keyboard slipped under, barely perceivable bells… the canvas quickly filled up, topped in the creamy sibilant of amp buzz - Incredible stuff!

I shouted into Kek’s ear to the affect that this lot really knew how to rock, Kek nodded back adding, ‘I think they have the potential to be the greatest acid rock band ever!’ From the vibes they were putting out - I found it hard to disagree.

The second track was somewhat shorter, but by no means less enjoyable, bodies lost to the beautiful noise, I glanced over at Kek who was in an equally blissful state – trapped in the hallucinogenic rhythms that swirled on forth - a sensation that was sadly short lived, as the band strictly adhered to their 30 mins set boundaries.

Friday, March 21, 2008

milky scar

one of a series of sonic sanctuary scribblings, this one inspired by the sweet music of Hush Arbors

Lubriphikatttor / Cousins of Reggae LP

Fresh from the Paris record label - Galerie Pache comes another limited 12 inches of shininess, this time wrapped in a screen printed fold-over (liking that elk/mousse imagery very HNAS). A split release between two bands, one side is pure power-tool waywardness and the other a skuzzed up rock toad with some tempting glimpses of Krautdom.

The Lubriphikatttor side - starts off with a slow and heavy booted crash, caught rhythmically in the blades of an extractor fan and etched in a bouquet of random swarf squiggles. Something resembling guitar quickly descends into nose-diving electronics, frequency wheals and some really, really vicious drilling. A scuffed, almost compressed sound, layered over a flat-ended flange rumble…. nauseating multi shifts in pitch follow through, grinding into you as if you were in the dentist chair, sweaty hands clasping the leather. Suddenly, strands of sound begin to resemble something vaguely humanoid – almost crying, heavily distorted, a decayed dalek vocal maybe…or are my ears playing tricks on me? Elsewhere, a two-stroke engine disappears into the distance, followed by shrieks of screaming, motorised saw and deflating latex flaps, like a remote controlled police car endlessly skidding itself into a wall, or a rotor-trim on a killing spree …absolutely evil….

The Cousins of Reggae side is more band orientated and seems to be split into three tracks, although the sleeve notes denote only two. The first is really fucked up and dirty, a bassy beast tied to hissing cymbals and fuzzy beat. The guitars spitting out grainy grooves under which vocals literally wilt and wither. When they lock groove the electronics into a pulsing switch-a-roo on the second track, things really get thrown in a tasty Kraut direction, with everything else literally trailing behind, kicking up the dust, coming across like a polluted Oneida. The last track is overblown and seriously distorted, vocals struggling against a tide of deformed instrumentation and primal ambition – a sweet excuse to flip the record and start over again.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Slow, Hush Arbors and Jack Rose

The sky’s weeping steady tears, that tapping sound on the shoulders reminiscent of a crackling 78’. Walking through town, the water’s everywhere trapping light in a wavy symmetry, as the previous night of quiet music folds on round, divining colours from the grey dreariness...

An optimistic Mark Kozelek could be a good comparison for the main voice of the first act Slow, and the carefully measured music that glinted behind them had a sure softness of touch that bordered on perfection. Loose bass plucking, wavering e-bow slivers, unhurried percussion and ghostly female vox/harmonium interlocking around those lightly reverbed vocals, which seemed to be leaking from somewhere else. Their music was pristine and dare I say it faultless – a gentleness best appreciated through closed eyes.

The oddly constricted vocals of Hush Arbors Keith Wood had an eerie dronic quality, like a golden malt rolling over his sparkling guitar work. New album tracks and old favourites alike oozed a disquieting warmth that curled my toes, the two tunes off his Under bent limb trees release being particular high points. The words seemed to tumble after the medieval sensibilities of Where the black bear hides in the sky... the lines ‘cock crows thrice my darling, when shall we get married?’ turning over and over... Where as the strum / motifs of ...pasture now springs with herbs, was like the foreshadowing of seasons caught in the repeated fret work – resurrectional imagery flickered on through...

In contrast, Jack Rose’s playing was completely instrumental, taking the tunes on a journey, his head cocked for the most part, intensely focused on the next cue from his own handiwork. Each track was ended with a downward finality that signalled applause, his playing so riddled with changes in pace that could have easily have been marred by the audience jumping the gun. Never seen the man play before and it was marvellous to witness him mingling so many styles together, clipping the highs invisibly while his fingers seemed to be elsewhere.

Found myself filling a few pages of my current sketchbook, the pen jumping around to both Keith and Jack’s playing, opening up ideas / suggestions… the end results will probably bear little relation to the source material or the intimacy of the evening.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Placenta Popeye – Yellow CDR

Missed this the first time round, but thanks to Panagiotis Spoulos of Reverse Mouth, it’s been beautifully resurrected with a massive bonus from the original ‘yellow tape’ sessions seamlessly tacked onto the end. The first two tracks are a real stinking festival of migraine, with everything peaking in the red - Mellow yellow this most definitely isn’t.

Screeechin’ candy attacking your ears with toothless mumble and god knows what else collapsing into the blissfully illegible - a power tool carnage for all those that hate the Sunday morning queues at B&Q. Agony to lose yourself in - excellent stuff! The next track is more sculpted, a slow drone with stabbing overdubs of vocal vomit, autistic guitar, and some appetizing brackets of feedback coming at you from ever steepening angles.

The bonus is even better - a 16 + minute buzz-saw lullaby for the lost, with ragged guitar knives coupled with some evil sonics that tear at your head like demented can openers. Don’t miss out this time round, jump over to Phase! and grab yourself a wholesome slice of Placenta.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Strap the Button, Gentlemens Relish, SJ Esau and The Liftmen

On the night I was down with the dreaded lurgy that’s been doing the rounds, but Mr Olivetti was on hand to document the evening:

The Sonic Sanctuary - Sat 8th March

Another fantastic and disparate line-up from Charlie saw a chosen few huddled in the Pump for aural delight. It was worth £4 of anybody’s money just to see the openers Strap the Button, all eight of them crammed on stage in a circle, tipping things down the stairs - seeing where they ended up. Two guitars, bass, two drummers, violin and part time sax and clarinet allowed them to brew up a lush sound which veered anywhere between epic instrumental rock and prog-jazz. They only managed to squeeze four tracks in, mainly improv, but always based around a lovely groove set up by the bassist and two drummers, one sticking to the rhythm, the other throwing some wild shapes at the audience. Over it all a hidden vocalist laid angelic mantra-like lines which weaved in and out of the mix like smoke. They hadn’t played together for months, but it sounded warm and natural, well worth checking out.

Next up, another outing for Gentlemen’s Relish, once again down to a two-piece, Gary the howling drummer and the splendid baritoned guitar player, alternating between Spanish and electric guitar, the warm theatrical voice mildly reminiscent of Jonathan Richman, telling tales invoking surreal yet everyday imagery. With tracks such as ‘Pencil Time’ and ‘Wig city’, the band gets you grinning, yet the playing is tight and with the help of a digital loop is a little fuller than you might expect. A band that makes you smile, as well as tap your foot.

Dropping to one person on stage, SJ Esau was up next, a one–man band Bristol hero accompanied by his trusty guitar, a cymbal, some pitch pipes and a very complex looking digital contraption with which he builds vivid soundscapes to accompany his at times languid, at times psychotic but rather charming songs of frustration and life in general. It is great that he doesn’t just rely solely on the box of tricks as a couple of lovely little guitar / voice tracks slip out and you realise this is a very real talent, yet modest and winning. The whole set felt urgent, alive and I would seek him out again.

Finally, an outing for Rasha Shaheen’s new band the Liftmen. Whether The Hard Returns are still going I don’t know, but this was another direction for her, a wickedly urgent post-punk trio with a fab guitarist who looked a lot like Ian Mackaye (who also sang) and another great drummer for the evening. I tell you, this event was the evening of drummers who seem to possess about one third of most drummers kits yet get the optimum sound from what they have. The drummer was superb, matching the pace of the guitar with ease while Rasha with her knowing vocals and unique bass playing (a lot played at the top end) made everything look deceptively simple. The duets worked well and it was a pretty storming set.

So, another under-attended yet hugely appreciated event organised by Charlie, which even though the crowd was not huge, the ambience of the venue and the enjoyment shown seems to enthuse the performers. Make it next time if you can, it’s worth it.

by Mr Olivetti

Monday, March 10, 2008

Kassette Kulture #9 - Unicorn Hard-On - Sweet Teeth

In the Fix of the Fox
– really loved this track first time I heard it, a gorgeous sonar-drowsed ache, a lycra cat’s cradle through which a machine wrought wind whistles. Sexy contractions, a languid heart beat under semi opaque suggestiveness, the light spreads tiger stripes, the wall seems to breathe eerily...

Big Rodents - Surveillance bleep scrawl - layers of pattern buffering up and over each other, as brittle branches eddy out of sight, a buried beat makes it to the surface in sticky bubbles. Flickering diodes create a visual score in pox red spikes, q-base subversions, an irrigation of fairy lights amongst cold logic. Vinyl squeaks n rotating mirror balls of sound, scrunching computed regularity into ever bizarre tangents.

Warm Coats - brings to mind Kas Product / NDW type synth pad deductions, all slinky, distinctively urban, paddles of slippery beat and compressive motion. Laser beamed splatters and muted emergency siphons, a tune seriously in need of some Germanic vox.

Cold Claws - Preset bleeptronics, invaded by insect chime n semi formed fuzz that builds into an additive listen - a displacement of texture that plays tricks on the mind.

Buck Shot - a songlike escalation of soft quirked brackets and obliques, frenetic aesthetics and squiggled directions, rubbery rotations cut across with mechanoid sheen and wide open stabs. A chase of crazy angles and loose road chippings, the camera all divisive.

The tape eases you out with a toyland organ, haunted and grainy, like an old photo yellowed with age that fades in the morning light...

Unicorn Hard-On gets the thumbs up from me, taking the raw materials of dance and doing something infinitely more interesting with it. Mixing the patterns and beats into some awkward collusion, over impregnated digital patterns knitted together in repetition. The bleeps, glitches, sweeps and other decorative effects spraying brightly coloured rainbows between the ears.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Don't miss out

get on down to this if you know what's good for yr!!!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Young Knives, Johnny Foreigner and Venus Bogardus

Moles Club, Bath - Monday 3rd March

... finally got to see the Young Knives last Monday night courtesy of some freebies via Mr Olivetti. A very groovesome evening it was too, even if I was plagued by a snap happy loon who kept obscuring the view. Funnily enough, turned out to be a night full of drum, bass and guitar trios - with the Knives being the highpoint. They were jagged n electric, firing out sarcastic quips at each other between bouts of frenetic guitar with weighty bass chug and drum follow through. The action was thick n fast with plenty of superbly spikey tunes - gauging from the explosiveness of their set, the new album is going to be a fine slab of post punk/pop/??? - as good as the previous... crammed to the eyeballs with singable hooks. Respect must also go out to the support from Birmingham’s very own Johnny Foreigner who made a shouty and energised racket, thrashing their guitars for all their worth, and to local Bath band Venus Bogardus who shot out some delicious SY type vibes, both high calibre acts.