Sunday, April 26, 2009

Night Bloems



Saturday, April 25, 2009

Out of the dark, into the light



…really chuffed to bits, finally seeing my humble scribblings in print, and for one of my favourite bands too, it was a honour to be involved…

A music to line experience, the suggestions were pouring out of the biro… you’d never guess that a screaming ballerina is under all that photoshopped smearing and endoscopic germination…

To me, thoughtforms music always seems to be unfurling, imbued with a constant state of flux… fitting then, that a hatching chrysalis should suggest itself on chopped up polythene wings… drunk on garlands of light.

…Your ears will still have a little while to wait until this baby hits the streets on 4th May, but take it from me, its well worth the wait…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Countlet - Mesopotamia Blues from the Armless Men



Soil mouth moan, a scuzzy drum ride struggling along a Tiberius of haemorrhagic guitar... It’s rough love, croaking gems that bleed out in a mass of mutant limbs and bucket loads of buzzing toner... There’s some seriously fantastic rock carnage spewing out of this new collaboration between Alexander Makarios and Reverse Mouth’s Panagiotis …a feisty collision of clawed guitar and pelted skin seemingly played with the bloody stumps of the Dead C… it’s deliciously misshapen in all the right ways…

I’m really liking this drum addition to Pan’s wayward abuse… really drives it in there, hard n fast…like a stapler on speed dial… as the guitar is all cat stitched suture… embroidering home sweet home inside your head with scratchy metal and chewed sonics.

The disc flows like one massive jam session, Yahweh I and II’ are all garage monoxide dawn as the cro-mag part of you kicks along in appreciation …I love the way that Nevada Martyr has you nodding haplessly along like a total retard, not to mention the metallic aviary / amp saturated moan on The Occult Benefit of Judaism that’s pure post-primitive genius... But they definitely save the best till last… and bow out on a messed up high - an ascetic tongued beauty of scar tissue and burning intention.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wednesday

Went to see Bat for Lashes last Wednesday, just me and Sarah, we had the best of times considering I was a little bit apprehensive due to the new album’s super gloss.

The Anson Rooms were bloody boiling, the extractors only seemed to shift the heat downwards… don’t think I’ve been there since the Tindersticks… seemed bigger somehow … packed in like sardines we were… thankfully no fainting was on the cards…



Natasha was boiler suited up with a white ruff round her neck, the sound souped up and powerful, skating into rave territory in places… plenty of first album reminders during the set, which delighted the karaoke crowd… in fact, the sound was pretty amazing, not exciting my usual psychic ills, more massaging my pop crackle n pop…

The stage was full of fibre optic angels, burlesque lamps and staring animal heads while the tunes unfolded, the girl from Ash was carving up the guitar… somebody else added shifting modulations, and my goodness, drums that were all frozen meat crash…

She spoilt us with two versions of Daniel … that lo-fi beat box version, a million miles better than the radio friendly smooth-a-thon… and it’s not often you get two encores; one almost as long as the first set!

They were supported by Caroline Weeks, who was a folksy pleasure, full of introspective malaise, Edna St Vincent Millay poetry set to sparse acoustics. The other band being School of Seven Bells, a great female led vox /pop, beat box driven affair of guitar and layered synth-lines who some people are comparing to the Cocteau Twins for some reason?

Caroline Weeks


School of Seven Bells

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Kassette Kulture #20 - Time Life - Open to both sides



There was a mix up at the label, so the review I put together previously for Time Life wasn’t Heidi Diehl or G. Lucas Crane, but a future release from a new band called Chapels, funny enough I was wondering why Heidi wasn’t very vocal on it… but I now have the proper documentation of the evening’s show over in Amsterdam last March, so here we go...

The tape starts with lovely rubberised beats, with the odd animus blur cutting across. Everything is saturated in heavy delay, Heidi‘s vocals float in on cloud-like curls, a medicated Lisa Gerrard to a carpet of electronic debris, hazy utterances and corrupted mobile signals… it’s a really comatosed, intoxicated vibe… impressionistic, as if the sound was a Turner-fied water-colour bubbling off the canvas, becoming a snake of smoke from some long forgotten beatnik's shaking fingers.

The orchestration falling out of alignment like a down tempo Casio preset, struggling to find its deft footed cousin… That litany of haunted shapes is divine, like a collapsing world, chaotic mind candy, looped infinitum … it gives me the chills… Heidi's vox seeping through the chaos, an elegy to decay… scissored, then sandwiched between a Lucas Crane groan…a triumphant bleed with a glint of Wooden Wand Vanishing Voice (oh now I miss that band) tantalising you with too many questions, maybes…

Guitar lines are fizzing, keyboard reflections mimicking, growing outward, onward, the narrative a tangle of juddering directions , druggy apertures forcing you deeper into that vampiric drain of definition … piano lines, a metaphoric shift skywards, then inwards on a echoed flux of overdriven bends..

Side two …starts with slow organ pulses eddying round wobbling furniture… sparse percussive scatterazzi … humming drone amongst a crazy brew of messed up sound, spewing out highlights of fazer violin. A dot to dot of copper beetles and squeaky hammers… moaning sub-currents pulling at your legs, stitching your eyelids shut…returning to normality on warped guitar, and tidal wash…

A wailing house of lightly scored paper spirals, distortion clamped… a gorgeous scarification from the pick-ups… guitar lines resurfacing, meandering out pleasant reminders…doubled over an echoed single key….cutting to a dronic die away.

The perfect prescription…

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Joey at the Croft



evilllllllllllllo hex meister

Monday, April 13, 2009

Ghedalia Tazartes - Repas Froid



Culled from Tazartes own archives, this is like a global opera in which Henri Chopin has been reanimated by Bedouin tribes people. It manages to sound strangely nostalgic but simultaneously modern. It’s also incredibly addictive…the more times you listen, the more you have to relive the experience…

Housed in a jet-black digi pack, blank, apart from album title and label… no inlay, no track titles, nothing to distract from the contents... Mr. Tanz has spoilt us rotten with this first Tanzprocesz offering on proper CD…

Starting with a Kurt Schwitters domestic/submerged motorcycle splice, sonic mischief is rife during the whole 45 minute duration. The majority of it vocal…the sheer oddness of the sound fascinating; a muddle of influences that in anybody else’s hands would fail miserably, but here woven together with a collector’s mastery. Orchestrated loops pop into your head like a well trained flea circus… the leakage globe trotting between French, German or more Arabian flavours… Whether its a cut up tango swagger or leaky roof, accordion accompaniment … the whole thing flows with a beguiling grace.

There’s a magic moment when the sounds of tweeting birds seems to float on the plumes of a child’s inquisitiveness… and this isn’t an isolated incident either, the quality moments continually bursting open throughout, with a metamorphic quality, a duality of texture that is literally inspired …composed or just pure accident, it’s anybodies guess. In places, the whole thing seems to leave it’s body altogether and astral plane on a saffron cobra of pure hypnosis – a lush treachery of cracked throat varnish and drifting rumination.

I’m guessing there must be a treasure trove of unexplored gems hiding with the spiders in Tazartes’ Paris apartment that are just as remarkable, if not more so… begging for release… here’s hoping further supplements crawl towards the light.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 09, 2009

FMG - Sings the Blues Mini Cdr



This dinky 3 incher from FMG is less 'full on' than his previous release, but by no means lacking in essential va-va-voom. Flowing out with that silky smoothness of post production, you’d never have guessed this was recorded straight to mini-disc if it wasn’t printed on the back; the pace really intuitive, the sonics just falling pleasingly into place…

The disc starts with a Boyd Rice huskiness, the narration, stammering, stuttering, the edges slipping on a fizzy digitized synthesis. Percussive guillotines erupt, cutting out chunky hard edged beats between the industrial squelch / shear underlay. Hydraulics crashing through the speakers collapsing back into the lap of the narrator…

Caught in the Act is all tasty elasticised guitar, novelty pencil heads flicking yo yo signatures. Startled pulses of pixelated blues (could this be the title track?) overlaid by a hyperactive Beaker speed reading morse code.

Unwound, starts with a piano key interlude sucked through a series of plastic straws… tubular distortions stretching out on elastic. This is in turn, chewed over by the noise goblins zapping dirty great craters - slightly akin to SY’s ‘Starfield Road’ intro…as a muted chorus of gas escapes like the exhale of a 30’s ocean liner. Your eyes are literally everywhere, the tracks crammed with activity. Granny is choking on her false teeth as a parade of gyroscopic bubble bath is bending shapes and crumbling cans, throwing out grated backwash all over the Laundromat window like a sudsy horror-show.

That narcotic slip of the zither on the last track Confidential is lovely; a tumbling delay coupled with some crispy rasp from the industrial department… a roosting of metallic crows with a slight murmur of vocals. A semi melodic pleasure that fades out all too soon.



I like the way that Arabian chap (Hadji srifi?) on the cover looks like he’s playing Sponge-bob’s head, it some how makes perfect sense…but be warned world music fans, the sounds within could seriously upset your expectations for the better.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009

man rock and other stuff









Wildbirds and Peacedrums, Matt Eliott, Gary Smith, Nat Baldwin, Silver Stairs of Ketchikan and Silver Pyre

The Arnolfini, Bristol handcrafted by qujunktions

Arrived just in time for the frustratingly early performance, ditching the car on the outskirts of Beddy and walking the rest… the heat of the day lingering nicely with the birdsong and the rattly exhausts of homebound traffic…

Last time I was at the Arnolfini my kids got told off for attempting to play with the exhibits, they’re still struggling with the concept of conceptualism … but all the artwork seemed safely tucked away for the night… never realised the place had venue possibilities, always seemed a bit too clean and studious… but behind those stage doors the factory modernity tended to melt away…

The Darkroom was just that, floor, walls, ceiling all sucking the light out, the performance spot lit…throwing out séance like double shadows… Charlie’s show was pure magic, and gleamed with a pearlescent finish… the low ceiling transforming that biscuit tin rasp of previous into a rusted metallic ache, growing immense and powerful, rattling out a dangerously loose rub of train axels, the speakers full of rivets n gravel sheeting, smoothed out on a gradual violin drone… bells, a bowl ring and a voice that curls in your head like a plume of opiate smoke…







Yiddish, middle eastern flavours poured out of the violin then transformed to a Nico ‘Valley of the kings’ harmonium, phasing out slowly into guitar lines that bit along their fading shadows. Coloured treads caught on an incoming tide, full of bass chasms and exquisite chord recovery, those vocals falling between the gaps… the chords forcing the emotion open then closing it with coffin nails…or trying to get the feeling right and suffering the mistakes…all ending in expelled breath like a sudden gust of wind cut dead.

The auditorium was more stadium like, heaving with bodies for the next act Silver Pyre – a fairly new outfit (well to me at least) featuring G. Fawle on guitar /vox and Bristol’s Tom Bugs swapping his usual electronics for a drum kit and Tibetan finery… a yummy ethnic crumble awash in evocative percussion, particularly liking those tribal beats that fell like paddled water.





A multitude of brassware textures, blended with the drone of the E-bowed guitar, the vocals squeezed out like toothpaste…a tangle of folksy qualms. The screen, washed in shifting masks, colours and grainy coastal distortions… the music bleeding out after-images as that squeeze box and quaking digital pad combo lit the way towards more danceable territories…

For Wildbirds and Peacedrums, I was up in the gods on a nice comfy seat so excuse the shitty long distance snap…



they were all over the place but in a good way…
one minute gospel tinges of Nina Simone, next Bat for Lashes breathy expressions, then Voodoo washboard blues, the words full of snakes and blackened wings… Super charging the place, their energies spreading like a virus… the drums were fantastic, like Budgie on those early ‘Creatures’ albums and at other times, pure full tilted trauma, even the singers legs or feet seemed to be mic(ed) up, adding to the percussive overload… her vocals ‘taken over’, oozing with enthusiasm, the words resonating meanings, connecting… Sarah would have absolutely loved this lot…






Back in the darkroom, Nat Baldwin was one voice and a double bass. Starting from abstract flutterings, he created a rub of rhythm, a semi-apparent glue to that heartache of vocals falling from his mouth. It was incredible hearing so much flowing out of so little… I thought the double bass was a bit redundant in the avant equation, but this chap was a certainly a master of resuscitation.

Gary Smith – Astounding guitar playing, pure originality melting from his hands …crumpled, scraped textures, broken bones…a lot of crap is said about guitarists that make their instruments speak but this man’s literally did, in a never ending stream of alien tongues, magnified insects, bird chirps and others, sounding like over wound clock workings skipping, clicking and whirring through serrated cogs. There was a hell of a lot more in there which certainly conflicted with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution… suddenly a ring tone goes off… ‘Ah, fuck off’ snaps Gary, breaking concentration… The structure all loose but accommodating, sometimes exploding in ear piercing volume..





the sound wascrystal clean, very little effects in there apart from a volume pedal, the glory of lite steel bouncing along your inner ear like a malfunctioning fairground attraction opening up fresh channels of inquiry, leaving me with the stupidest of grins.

Squeezing in mid-set, Matt Elliot was a real Cocteauesque moment, ghostly white hands guiding me across the darkened room… Oh this was another jewel in the night’s events… loop-o-matic … ‘abyss black’ screaming…



a melancholic delight and a superb guitar player, his plucking hand a crumbling swastika of activity… I’ve been loving this ‘jaded mistral’ direction his music has been taking lately… his ‘Drinking Songs’(2005) was a sepia saturated downer of the highest order, aching like the creaking spine … a library of infinite sadness…. I was overjoyed that a few tunes from that album crept in to the set, suitably tear soaked, and full of angsty energies…





the ending was killer, a Third Eye Foundation click of beats and warped tempos… an over saturated beast that transformed to a sloth dub before dying to muted abstraction.



A night of lovely people, and great music… I left before the Dirty Projectors, still feeling the burn of the time change…the river possessed an eerie shiver that night… the trickling sounds prickling the skin with it psycho-plasmic ways , traffic blissfully absent… the buds on the trees, looking like speared snow in the pissy yellow lights.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

City Lights