Sunday, March 29, 2009

ˈflεm

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Iroha and Mono



Weds 25th March - The Croft Bristol

The support act was a pleasure, Jesu-like swollen bass and harmonic wash, the vocals drifting through that swaying forest of sonic purr and fuzz - cool and sophisticated stuff with slight doomic leanings...slow burners of the highest order. The live elements seamlessly blending with the backing tape of percussive explosion, ambient texture and slivers of foreign dialogue.





The lead singer sharing an un-canny likeness to Harry Hill, collected lyrics at his feet… Mr O convinced that Justin Broadrick had undergone cosmetic surgery… Both impressed, we collared the guitarist on his way off stage; apparently they're called Iroha and have an album out in June on Invada… An interesting point for all you fellow anoraks out there, is that some band members were also involved in Broadrick’s experimental side project Final...

Mono, were anything but… firmly in the school of Godspeed (sans strings), building dynamics and wall of sound release, the foursome dishing out plenty of colourful textures and guitar pyrotechnics. Starting from gorgeously restrained exchanges, guitarists swapped realtime ideas over a sparse bed of drums and bass, growing expedientially until everything was gnawing at the ears like scratchy sandpaper, strange double helix impressions ghosting the head as two moths collided under the red lights.





The two guitars melting in a rhythmic blur to the vibes they were creating, all that hair flowing as if seaweed on a violent sea, the sound etched in diagonals, collapsing origami, and bass rumble…







I bet the drummer was wishing the mellow bits were just that little bit longer, all those relentless explosions seemed to be taking their toll… A few tunes were keyboard led, a warming dapple of sunshine to the post-rock landscaping…finally the set concluded in a burning storm of feedback, throwing an octopus of twisted pasta, the drummer collapsed over his kit, the bassist stood motionless in front of the amp, the two guitarists a jumble of limbs, forcing teeth, knives and other jagged graffiti through their pedal’s roots …







On the way out we met up with the Thought Forms posse, which is always a pleasure, smiles a plenty but sadly my 6am start to Oxford was pressing too firmly into my mind, distracting… curtailing the conversation, the downside of mid week gigging.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bicycle Recycle



as promised straight from the Yatesby musical archives

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sun smears







Circle of rats



Finally, my stereo came back from the repair shop, gave the new El-g album a spin to celebrate… it couldn’t have had a better baptism... It’s lush, full of strange diversion and twisted melody, with fellow Kraak(ster) Ignatz sharing the albums guitar action, something I’m really itching to write about…

... holy shit, looks like Jake Chapman is coming to Swindon as part of the town’s annual festival of lit(trash)er in Mid May, he’s even spicing up Old Town’s sleepy gallery space… lets hope none of that tongue in cheek offensiveness will be erased.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Kassette Kulture #19 - Chapels - Days of Sleepless Night



This tape starts like a sedated Mozart filtered through the ventilation system… a slur of tiny expressions pressing the air in a slow seduction… luring you in with crystallised edgings.

A latticework of moths making small cross-pollinated patterns, a flex of muted colours spreading out in dronic ripples and shards of 50’s sci-fi…

Raspy technology, trapped in treacle, oscillating out double images, as warm tongues connect from each side of the head… eyes flipping back into the skull….

Oh this is a pleasure, as delayed mascara surges, then spills out in apparitional fanfare or smears of aquatic life…

Tubular chairs drag themselves across linoleum followed by other domestic debris, hard metallic tastes riding the crest of the drone. Vocalised tremors start to lap at your ears in distended moan, a ghostly amp choir imbued with soft distortion and limping destruction. A percussive vibe, like the crumbling of cold wax but super loud, following a underbelly of power-line snakes sparking, caught up on barrage of descent… Profoundly physical, feedback spikes become empty underground trains conveying their sickly yellow interiors… screaming….a screeeeeeeching litany of luminosity.

The textures here are both lush and scary, weaving out the light and slowly replacing it with ill ease and traumatised shapes… serrated spectres and half perceived animals…

On side two everything is shaking out a possessed vibe. A queasy sickness as noise faeries tear themselves apart… the sub harmonics are simply gorgeous, narcotic, spun around that heavy claustrophobic air, like a dull ache turning cancerous… staining your psyche in continual collapse… This side is definitely louder, altogether nastier than the first, quakes of distortion, sawn up in cackles of electrolysis… I wish I’d been in the audience when this was kicking off, soaking up that unholy roar…

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Patriotic Window Klings



This album’s all over the place… reeks of pure whacked genius… sketchbook electronics stitched to effect driven guitar fancies… each track having its own flavour, some tracks giving out the sensation that’s achieved when you chew too many flavoured jelly beans at once, your brain desperately trying to get a grip of the fx blurred combinations. The sounds here are really animated, sometimes comic, winging around yr head in strange and exciting tangents, the electronics snagging the guitars, eking out an array of impressively fried dynamics.

You could imagine those bears on the cover jigging along to the tunes like true acid casualties, maybe struggling to find the groove of Black Mary, whilst holding on to their little white hats mid noise maelstrom… that track really does pack a punch, especially as the previous is so deceptively subdued.

Trying to pin this satisfying collection down in words would be pointless as there’s just too much to take in and impressions always seem to be shifting; transforming themselves… something that makes this one of my favourite albums of the year (so far)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sunday, March 15, 2009

All Dayer (almost) - Deej Dhariwal, Ice Bird Minus Spiral, Don Bear, Hell Death Fury, The Haiku, Geisha, Headfall, Gnod

Sonic Sanctuary - Saturday 14th March



First up was Deej (of Thought Forms fame), he working up some real stormy weather, very different from his recent Croft outing… more contained… multi layers flowing out in nauseating drifts, a Flying Saucer Attack type wave of static... full of crackling skin. That day’s match action filtered through the pick-ups, the commentary all inter planetary, ghost spun lightness in that heavy fx soup... one continuous build, overwrought in concrete guitar and monstrous keys... burning bright and head spinningly beautiful.





It was strange doing a solo set (as Joey had an emergency situation to deal with on the day) not quite Ice Bird Spiral or Autotistic, more like a strange shamanic halfway house... I’d notched up a large bank of spooky loops that I intended to work over and around but plumbed for live action instead… culminating in lots of differing textures vocal smears, and mini Korg explosions …the kiddie bike horns finally getting in on the squelchy action. Somewhere in the midst of it all I lost myself to the delay and reverb, energy surfing… hopefully Paul recorded the whole thing so I’ll post a mp3 or something… it was a fun experience and I think the reactions were positive… nice to see fellow noise monger Rajinder there…





The hunger pangs were soon kicking in... we ended up at the kebab van down the road, waiting for the food I sifted through the neglect, I’m always fascinated by the way discarded things have an almost poetic vibe... that fridge n tree combo has a whiff of Matthew Barny about it...







Back at the Pump, Don Bear were giving out an excellent slice of processed keys and guitar melancholia – songs that just hit the target , the words and music building around each other, a total conveyer of mood and situation… spaghetti western vibes curling round sparkling chords… filmic atmospheres of city reflections trapped in wet concrete the abstract brush of traffic, endless images caught in a mirage of electricity.





Hell Death Fury turned out to be a semi-Hardcore / Ska(ish) fusion, a description they’ll probably hate… heavy guitar breaking out into two tone stomps, the sound solid, straight up, honest and really, really satisfying...





Power folk described The Haiku (the next act) best…well crafted and incredibly tight, probably the best acoustic / drum act I’ve had the pleasure of hearing in years… oozing out an infectious energy...









Geisha were total noise whores, absolutely luved em! They’d preamble across some pleasant riffs then tear it all apart in barbed and fisted overload... An over-wound clockwork monkey burning all sulphurous and metallic… Melting down into a multicolour of petals strung through the eyes of some long dead deity ----> sonic death of the highest order – happy death as Charlie put it... I often think more than I say... no soil under the fingernails or salted eyes as notions of melody were re-scribbled in twisted caricatures, foetal tremors... like the wires nourishing a new born...







Headfall had a few technical probs but worked through them to deliver a great finale. The female vox having a Piano Magic type dialogue, the male - a weird treble like a helium enriched Marky Smith... The fx violin towards the end was too gorgeous for words, the music fitting snugly around...





Gnod were next up, now this was a band I really was eager to hear more of, after taking in their The Somnambulist’s Tale on Sloow Tapes... they hail from Manchester and on the night were a true cosmic phenomenon, with a light show to match their psychoactive output... thoroughly satisfying this old kraut-hed of mine.

Two lengthy excursions that grew organically… a twinkle of hand bells that were synth piloted into guitar riffs that literally lit runways straight into your brain... The last track rippling with a seriously insistent riff that the keyboards feed upon in jutting jigsaws... all rivers have their source… vocals slurring the mixture in mellifluous shadowing or delayed to fuck on an infinite broken mirror, peaks of feedback angling across in random pirouettes, the drums nail-gunning that fluid duvet down in a steady soak of adrenalin... If you ever get the chance to see them… take it... would have left Kidshirt with a massive grin of satisfaction...









Unfortunately had to leave before Mr Brick and the rest of the bill hit the stage, but I’m sure they were just as phenomenal as the acts they followed… on the way out one of the musicians spying my guitar case asked if I had a tuner, my reply being 'Sorry mate, I’m always detuned'...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kraak Fest 2009



Brussels was really groovy… everywhere you looked graffiti shot though your head, like flash photography …urgent suggestions, blueprints yet to be discovered… atrophied trees everywhere… the city was an album cover waiting to happen… A drug opera stuffed into a cuckoo clock… stacks of enticing books, and endless racks of quality vinyl biting at your pocket. Me and Kek floating along, taking it all in, our beards caked in the cultural fallout.



Everyone at Kraak was bloody lovely… Tommy, Steve (who picked us up from Centraal Station), Kurt and all the rest of the gang, the food, that gorgeous rustic type you used to get in Bath before those evil chain-stores n over-priced coffee bars destroyed the fragile eco-system… meatballs the size of bull’s eyes…

We dumped our kit off at Faro early Saturday and wandered about the city in search of exotic booty… semi dazed by the total lack of sleep during the night before, our enthusiasm wasn’t blunted…The universe was churning as the conversations became more surreal and the salami set my mouth on fire… the church bells had this insane clatter about them, recorded a few minutes on the camera for future IBS misuse… Kek found this Neo-Folk shop down a winding side street… I was literally in ‘World Serpent’ heaven… toyed with the idea of buying a rare ‘Moon Lays Hidden’ live CD…but never did…





Back at the venue, the artists were piling in…



Geoff Leigh was a real character, full of endless stories - island communes in Rotterdam, recounting his days in Henry Cow and Univers Zero… a rich stream of histories flapping round our ears, apparently Hastings was really rough back in the 60's...

His set a lush looped carpet of gong and bowl shimmers with stretched flute caresses, then getting all comically cut-up with bird chirps and stubble rash and Lord knows what else… a smeared drum and rolling monologue follows, I’m hooked up on his words...



Caught a bit of Köhn in the Recyclart venue, churning his guitar into dizzy directions, creating gravelly loops that cut into the skin… a very agreeable noise… deep, droney, oozing with substance…

Back at Faro, Burton Green nearly electrocutes himself, attempting to fix his 30 year old Korg… Vomir are throwing out harsh waves of unrelenting noise, I’m behind the stage door doodling away, taking in the back stage atmosphere in inky line… me and Kek get ready, equipment test, paranoid the x-ray machines have messed with the circuits…

Our sound check goes too fast... one day we are going to have a relaxed one…



Then Ken Butler hits the stage, and he’s a one-man dynamo, throwing out a rich stream of infectious grooves from his converted tennis rackets and garden spades… My nerves are turning, Kek plies me with alcohol to charm the growing monster… but Ken is working that audience into a frenzy of pleasure, pushing the boundaries further out, piling on the textures as the audience roar with appreciation, I’m wondering how we follow that…





but we do… and it feels good! Started slow n satanic then branched into some busted speaker noise insanity… dueting in broken jazz sticks and delayed zither kernels…and pretty much everything else… we were dripping by the end of it… and luckily the audience seemed to love it, although I spied a few ‘what the hell happened’ faces out there in the gloom… Lovely to catch up with The Great Baarsini… he’s been a fan of ours for sometime now, and really chuffed he had the opportunity to take in the live experience… The Funeral Folk / Anfang posse were all mad about it too… Alan Silva said we created 'musical cancer' and I loved this expression so much …all I could do was grin back… We were even asked to sign one of our cdr’s !!!…



Post gig I’m chatting with El-g… telling him how much I love his music, he tells me he was in the toilet for about a quarter of our show due to the bloody cous cous – LOL… and of his Tazartes collaboration with Jo Tanz… His set is mostly song based, with interludes of heavily looped vocal noise - I’m soaking it all up like a rare pleasure, swaying along scarecrow like…





Caught a bit of Fabulous Diamonds, who are just so danceable, then went record browsing in the surreal blade-runner environment at the back of Recyclart



Everything is there, an unbelievable collection of outsider musick... rarities I’d given up hope of ever finding just slipped passed my eyes… I grabbed Kek and we browsed through the goods together… Ame Son were doing their sound check from the other side of the building… Oh they sounded so good - I was determined to see them later, but sadly never did…











Back at Faro Alan Silva and Burton Greene were just amazing, and a real highlight of the festival for me... Greene's fragmented piano lines were like desolate tears… Alan moving in between the notes with synth sampled spreads…really connected and heart breakingly sparse… the red/yellowed lighting making twilights of their bodies… beautiful… intensely so… and then I start to crash…