The much eagerly anticipated ‘official’ full length debut from Scottish space probers Tomorrow Syndicate. I don’t mind saying that this has been a long time coming, for me personally its been akin to meeting my former self as a child whilst I patiently counted down the days to Christmas. Debut you say, and I hear you, but pardon me didn’t they release a limited video cassette type thing a little while back, was that not their debut then, well yes and no, it was more a work in progress tying up and along the way showcasing their video making skills (of course all the while backdropped with their purring astral groove). ‘Future Tense’ appears via the irrefutably cool Polytechnic Youth sound house, as ever limited to just 300 copies (all of which these days have the habit of flying out before you’ve barely had a chance to draw breath). Comprised of twelve (including four linking interludes all of which I’d love to hear expanded especially ‘impulse’ and ‘gravity wave’) distant star fused memories (perhaps galactic call signs) sent forth from a forgotten outpost at the edge of the cosmic outlands, it’s a point that’s brought into sharp clarity by the fact that ‘Future Tense’ is teased in both optimism and melancholy. The former embracing the unknown, pushing the frontiers of space travel and the understanding of the universe, the latter crushed at the prospect of a one-way trip with no means or hope of returning home, in effect making these twelve salvos the equivalent of cosmic messages in a bottle. The sounds of course, are sublime, for Tomorrow Syndicate reveal an adept craft for the harvesting and honing of a kosmische vintage whilst piloting upon an axis that brings it into alignment / configuration with the likes of Wire, La Dusseldorf (most notably on ‘lifeforce’ as it sveltely shifts through the gears free-falling amid spiralling swathes of bliss toning vapour kisses all the time emitting a radiant spray of pulsing arc lights into the darkening voids) , Astronauts (see the lunar love note that is ‘dark matter’ – by some distance the best thing here given its cut to a demurring pop pulsar classicism), a youthful Eat Lights Become Lights and Fuxa whilst simultaneously emitting on frequencies that engage a stream lined crystalline sound palette that manages to sound at once – yesterday, today and tomorrow. Amid these cruise-controlled grooves familiar intermissions re-engage contact with previous PY happenings – ‘altered state’, ‘okulomotor’, and ‘into the void’ peppering the track listing with the latter mentioned still the cause of smitten ripples in the gaff – of which we’ll briefly say, is a nifty spot of fondly nostalgic lunar psychedelia dappled in 70’s woozy. And while we might have already crowned ‘dark matter’ as the albums best moment, the affection stakes are tested by the closing slow burn seduction of ‘a glitch in time’ which possessed of a quietly epic phrasing, manoeuvres with majestic finesse and stealth snaking to a string swathed spell charming astral arabesque.
Many thanks to Dom over at Polytechnic Youth for shipping out the latest batch of sound experiences all of which you will no doubt find populating these pages in the coming days though not before we adjust our radar for two very special incoming happenings shortly to land. First of which from Dialectric finds ERR REC head honcho Gilles Maté stepping away from his usual production and label running duties to the front of the mixing desk to craft a deeply svelte trimmed old school lesson in pure electronic sound. Strictly limited to just 300 copies and certain to vacate the shelves in quick time, if previous PY artefacts are anything to judge by, ‘Phase’ provides for perfect evening listening. That way free from the stresses, struggles and demands of day life you can unwind and momentarily lose yourself in your own headspace with these eight mood murmuring modulations serving as guides or more so, pre-programmed mapping destinations conceived to enhance the cerebral connection. Away from the fashionable engineering of hauntology, kosmische and the cold war politik, ‘phase’ slipstreams with deft grace embracing casually these sub generic sources without ever trapping itself in their confined spaces, its far to clever for that, instead, stilled with an affection for the silver age electronic sound, Dialectric’s brand of retro-futurism is galvanised by a classicist ear and vision that longs and yearns for the space age of the late 60’s and early 70’s with each of these demurring lunar recitals sighing and pirouetting with lulling lonesome wonder. Such minimalist beauty easily draws immediate reference to ISAN’s ‘Digitalis’ with ‘minor melancholia’ and ‘expiry’ particularly tuning in the hive mind of Messrs Ryan and Saville with the former tenderly trimmed with a most alluring and captivatingly chill tripped cosmic symphonia whilst the latter, arrives awash in twinkling flotillas of affectionately gloopy spectral waltzes whose focus shifts with delicate artistry to assume a Carpenter lite VHS era monochromatic which in truth purrs and prowls to a ‘stranger things’ pulse. Much like a passing visitation, ‘Analog Mass’ pretty much does exactly what it says on the tin, located on a fixed axis at the very outlands of the galactic divide, it silently weaves a welcoming homely lunar hymnal whose lulling lilts pulse brightly across the voids like a cosmic lighthouse. Mentioned in previous dispatches – see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/dialectric/ – ‘awakening’ still holds up as the best thing here, its serenely dappled cosmica contours swirled and shimmered in svelte swathes of oceanic lulls, pirouette with an intimate arrest whilst softly sprayed in kosmische garlands. Unless my ears do deceive, the teasingly brief ‘shortcut’ is pure ‘telekon’ era Numan while elsewhere, just to prove that Dialectric can do dark when dark is required, ‘paper sharks’ assumed of a shadowy demeanour silently navigates the cosmic outlands like a watchful leviathan majestically graced in brooding swathes whose magnetic fixed-point glare brings it into the orbital sphere of influence of Polypores and Pye Corner Audio. ‘Polaroid’ ends the side A and indeed this particular set pretty much like Side 1 (‘paper sharks’), could easily be its twin and is something of which it should be noted, is cut finitely with such an economy of sound that you’d swear a form of sorcery was afoot in achieving such cinematic majesty. Still, rather than attach to Polypores et al, on this occasion it recalls the Human League as though re-engineered and re-wired by Carpenter into a beautiful lone dark star here found emitting love note pulsars into the deep depths of the galactic void. Ridiculously essential as though you needed telling.
As to that promised second newly peeled sound clip, a richly lush beauty from the workbench of Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals. Taken from his new, dare we say, essential set ‘Tungska Tydfil’, this is the quite perfect ‘the Phoenix of Albany Road’, by our reckoning the albums best moment not least for its beautified baroque florals and disarming dinks of rustic idyll which when gathered together nods respectively to the late Greg Lake.
Think we’ll just squeeze these two newly pressed sound clips on here while we mourn a disappointing sporting afternoon that has so far seen Novak lift the tennis and France, with a helping hand from a very poor referee, looking certain to ruin the World Cup. Ah well here’s to the next four years. Grumbling aside though, here’s the Man & Machine track ‘ ‘Earthman (Lost In Space)’ – one of the highlight moments from the special instrumental compilation ‘a gathering of the fish’ that you’ll find tucked inside your July / August releases parcels which we mentioned somewhere here …. https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/a-gathering-of-the-fish/
many thanks to Mark out of the Gold Needles for steering us in the welcomed direction of this. Available at the forthcoming Fruits de Mer festival soiree ‘the 16th dream of Dr Sardonicus’, among the plethora of specially pressed releases and various limited-edition artefacts on sale over the weekend, you’ll find a scarce lathe pressing featuring two tracks from the Gold Needles, one of which a cover of West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band’s ‘smell of incense’, the other a self-penned psych cosmic entitled ’60 watts of light’ for which a moving picture show has been faithfully gathered together. Annoyingly, not on their current and dare we say, superb ‘Pearls’ set (mentions to come incidentally), ’60 watts of lights’ finds the Needles in a darker and more stoned n’ beardy mood to previous outings all the time coolly coalescing and tripping a trajectory that recalls old school Bevis with an infusion of ‘Bad Orb…..’ era Walking Seeds for good measure, total third eye boogie.
I clearly remember the night Peel played ‘into the abyss’ by Sex Gang Children, luck would have it we were in hand reach of the tape recorder. I can tell you now, those two weeks waiting for the single to actually land at our local record emporium where probably the longest I can recall, in that time the TDK D60 cassette it was recorded on was near worn thin through repeat plays. Of course, we were familiar with the Sex Gang Children, the ‘beasts’ EP was an essential acquirement for all those who swam the sonic currents of positive punk (I so hated the term Goth). Everything about SGC just screamed wrong, from the name to their theatrical happenings (art / drama / chaos): outsiders, sore thumbs call them what you like, they fronted a darkening wave where the musical climate of the day was as fractured and uncertain as it had ever been, their sound a bastard offspring of Killing Joke and Public Image in some small respect, wired from a dysfunctional no wave hybrid partially nodding to Throbbing Gristle yet more so to Brecht / Weill. All said, I’m all too aware that the hip retort to naming your favourite Sex Gang track would be to reply ‘Sebastiane’, but I’ve always been a tad contrary and while it’s been fun resuming our lost forgotten love for ‘Deiche’ – which all these years on, 35 or so, still sounds up to the mark and now, for me ‘Into the Abyss’ has always been the one. Gouged with primitive electricity, its splintering earth beat rhythms untamed and frenetic gravitate with feral discontent emerging from the dark side of the Virgin Prunes and Southern Death Cult to devastating and delirious effect. Now available via band camp, ‘the singles collection’ gathers together a host of lost sonic delights from that halcyon 82 -84 period including extended mixes of ‘Mauritia Mayer’ and the aforementioned ‘Deiche’ (currently on repeat play). https://sexgangchildren.bandcamp.com/album/singles-collection
There was a time, many years ago, when these pages where peppered with Edward Ka-Spel sounds. In that time, we’ve regrettably lost touch with this prolific alchemist, so you can imagine our joyful surprise when whilst rummaging through the backwaters of band camp we unearthed this one. ‘800 saints in a day’ finds EKS teamed up after what seems like an eternity with former Legendary Pink Dots drummer Ryan Moore for what is a colossal head expanding trip pill. Us being awkward, we’ve opted for the parting bonus track ‘the haze’ which had been slated for inclusion of the aborted vinyl edition. In truth it finds both operating outside their respective comfort zones to uniquely forge something not only immersive and trippy, yet strangely rejuvenating in a transcendental way. Into the belly of the inner cosmic beast, this sharing of mind sets pilots a similar trajectory to both Sendelica at their most way out and woozy and Da Captain Trips. Delicately daubed in all manner of subtle dubtronic fusing, amid it floaty astral trance waves and woozy Floyd dissipates, a peacefully airless and spiritual state of grace ascends.