the biggest annoyance of having a laptop crash and losing files isn’t so much the fact that all the music and word documents bar a few have been lost, most of these can be retrieved by other means however laborious, it’s the annoyance of losing bookmarks and links to releases you’ve briefly heard with a promise to come back to at some undesignated later point in the day, week or month. Releases such as this one for instance, which had we not happily tripped over again, would have no doubt gone unheeded and forgotten, the latest from Tape Circle entitled ‘Klaus Morlock and the Tape Circle’. Now Klaus Morlock should be no stranger to frequent visitors to these pages, this particular set comes possessed of a more crystalline 80’s vibe as previous (see ‘the gate’) but don’t be easily fooled for all the usual KM presets are present in attendance and abundantly so, the seductively willowy pastoral lines of the divinely demurring ‘entailed’ hint at once of mystery and enchantment as it switches mid-way through to a dreamy heraldic spray that ghosts loosely into the benchmark idents of the Heartwood Institute. Somewhere else, ‘fading light’ with its ethereal symphonic dissolves sweetly haunts with a sighing forlorn loss all crushed and grief stricken in reflection. For us though, the track that pricked and piqued our interest, the set parting ‘Celeste’ comes woven in a wonderfully alluring and tripping tapestry of hazy transcendentals and bliss kissing mesmeric mistrals, an eastern herald shimmered in whispering arabesques and dancing lights combined to evoke a mellowing progressive psychedelic tweaking third eye happening. https://thetapecircle.bandcamp.com/album/klaus-morlock-and-the-tape-circle
latest in the Bordellos ongoing trawl of the rarities archives, this be the 14th volume of the ‘underground tape’ series, as previously, gathering together an assorted quartet of rarely heard alternate edits and various radio session out takes. This particular stroll down memory lane features a cut culled from a recently unearthed rehearsal tape back in the days when the band had a proper live drummer, this particular home recorded session recorded on a, what we used to call back in the old days, ghetto blaster. Ah the ghetto blaster, bring back memories, I mean we wouldn’t have got through the early 80’s without our trusted Silver model, yep the name mightn’t be familiar but boy could this pack a sound, constant heavy use brought about its demise only for it to be replaced by the Hitachi 3D, the first of two we’ve had the pleasure of owning, a model we still use to this day, but I’ll never forget the first one with both the treble and bass enhancers with the fancy graphic lights. Blighter was unceremoniously dumped on the door step by an ex after I walked out … ahem. So where were we, ah home recorded track / ghetto blaster, track be called ‘the kind of girl’ – quite possibly the best thing here if we discount ‘Johnny Petrol’ – kinda the Monkees gone dark side and much attuned to those killer mid 60’s garage grooved complications that festoon the racks of cool record emporiums across the last, all scuffed n’ lo-fi with a detectable nod to the Wailers and the Standells. ‘Johnny Petrol’ though I think, in our much humbled opinion, just edges it, not least because its possessed of some ultra-cool string swirls a la the Del as in Del Shannon, of course this being the Bordellos, there’s bound to be something skewed frazzling the grooves, its abrasive aloof gouged in a Beefheart-ian growl that spits and squirms with a Fall-esque non conformity. ‘crying over spilt coffee’ – incidentally another home recording, is cut with a seriously sparse waywardness, very slacker-esque and again sounding curiously Fall like in a ‘room to live’ era type way. ‘who’s to blame’ wraps up matters, well in truth opens the set, this being the WA12 Radio session version, finds the Bordello folk in contemplative mood, intimate, scratched and somewhat mourning a fading lost memory. https://bordellos.bandcamp.com/album/the-bordellos-underground-tape-14
Immensely disappointed to miss this, our exasperation compounded by the fact that we were over at the hospital when this was due to go on sale, helpless without wi-fi we were stranded. By Dream Division, this is ‘entrance 5’ a track taken from the 30 only cassette happening that is ‘48°55’14.2″N’. these folk you might recall, had a blink and it went outing for the esteemed Polytechnic Youth imprint a year or so ago. This ‘un ought to appeal first call to those admiring of the sounds emerging from the Burning Witch imprint, its glassy horror-phonic etching hinting ever so subtly to Carpenter and suitably chilled in a grainy 80’s VHS shelling which I don’t mind admitting, whose mournful reflection and abandon had us a tad recalling of Polypores. https://dreamdivision.bandcamp.com/album/48-55142n
Deepest apologies to the Bearsuit Records folk for not coming through with the promised mentions of late, I feel particularly bad given the fact that Alex Bearsuit has been very supportive with messages and advise with regard to my ongoing health woes. So it’s with a degree of good fortune and coincidence that a new Haq EP shuffles its way past our listening desk. Of course in no need of introductions here, Haq feature the combined talents of Harold Nono and N-qia, found here captured across a quintet of strangely alluring tracks (gathered together as the ‘Antics in a Maze’ EP) whose sum parts compress a joyous distillation of flirting chamber arrangements, trip hop-ula electronics and skewed rhythmic gyrations which in many respects may well collectively be their most pop orientated outing to date. To set some kind of reference markers, there’s much here to appeal to those fully versed in the late 90’s era happenings of say, Cornelius and Takako Minekawa, to these add a smidgeon of Momus and a liberal dose of the Caretaker with perhaps a tasting of Pop off Tuesday. In truth armed with these as a rough guide, you’d still be no nearer pinning down a satisfiable description of Haq, they just freefall and cross weave symphonic collages of sheer ethereal beauty. Opening title track ‘Antics in a maze’ is pure Bearsuit kookiness that’s awash in hiccupping arrangements, dancing ghost lights and wonky enchantment, in truth not so dissimilar to the more lighter tones of Quimper as though impishly remixed by Midwich Youth Club. ‘Norvell’ on the other hand is quite something else, once escaped of the ghostly noir strings and the accompanying dream drizzled mourn, something utterly beguiling and beautiful emerges with the advance of swathes of baroque orchestrations – all very early 80’s Nyman-esque. As to the remaining three tracks, these are given over to remixes with Utu Lautturi’s interpretation of ‘Jikan Ga Nai’ best described as playfully pickled with Senji Niban’s reenactment of ‘are you the elephant factory’ sweetly hazed in a joyous senses overriding toys after dark parade whilst leaving an adorably dreamy Autumna rephrasing of ‘bees in my feet’ to arrest and seduce with its vapor whispered ghosting. https://bearsuitrecords.bandcamp.com/album/antics-in-a-maze-2
Slightly late to the party on this one, released to coincide with the visit of the Trump to these shores whose so far tasteless egotistical, sexist and racist we’ve managed, to not so much excuse, but suffer silently mainly due to the fact that he’s over there and not here. Hell’s teeth, we in this country have enough to put up with politically with the indignant lying and grabbing fops that take up, once privileged, space in the House of Commons to have time to criticise other leaders from afar. However, I like others, have seen a no-no line crossed with the fool’s recent visit to Russia, has there ever been a more embarrassing and cloying spectacle by a so-called leader of the free world. I guess with this in mind, Small Bear decided in their own warped way that we needed a little cheering in releasing a free to download live set taken from a recent Vukovar appearance. Fear not there’ll be more Vukovar in coming days, their new album has been sitting patiently all the time glaring hot holes in our headspace. Not the cheeriest of souls are Vukovar, ambitions achieved in making Joy Division by comparison, sound like light relief. The sound of Vukovar is brutalist, scabbing and soured, a whirlwind of primitive energy negated by psychosis and self-loathing, at its darkest both the Birthday Party and their early more feral persona the Boys Next Door draw immediately to mind, at their best, anthemic overtures fitting enough to wear the grooves of those essential early B-sides of Bunnymen platters. Captured live, the Vukovar experience is far removed from their recorded work, at once wired, frenetic, cut loose and bordering on chaos and collapse, its theatrical and darkly so, mired in desperation and damaged by an unravelling unseen turmoil and a scarring tension, these folks play for keeps. Recorded last April at Popcrime, ‘Artifact 003’ provides for a just shy of 40 minutes rollercoaster ride wherein all your emotions good or bad will be put to the sword. For the main incendiary, Vukovar’s close to the bone attrition and examination of the human condition pulls no punches, its sharpening focus bearing down contagion like as they scratch, implode and shed their skin across a mutant musical landscape touched by both outsider awkwardness and brooding genius. https://artifact003smallbear.bandcamp.com/album/artifact-003
Upon us like a rash with its euphoria weaving synth swathes causing seismic wobbles to what is our usually calmed and reclined listening axis. This be Menace Beach with an infectious poppet called ‘crawl in love’ culled from their forthcoming Memphis Industries full length ‘black rainbow sound’ which, aside coming over all bright eyed and irrefutably pop toned has by these ears, a kind of Fat Truckers in cahoots with Add N to X vibe about its wares, had they, that is, colluded to revisit Tubeway Army’s ‘Replicas’ and give it glamified giddy up make over. Does it for us.
Up next, something from Sleepyard’s Oliver Kersbergen found here paired up with Katje Janisch for an Autumnal scheduled full length entitled simply ‘Kersbergen & Janisch’. Herewith, a divine and teasingly demurred sample off what to expect in the shape of this beautifully beguiled three track trimming. Fusing elements of spectral folk, minimalist electronics and chamber folk classicism, these mellowed miniature portraits are carved with a deceptive sparse touch whose ghosting sublimely detracts from their unerring ability to colour a deeply mesmeric though all the same vivid landscape, none more so is this the case than on the parting 10 minute visitation ‘outer wave’. Emerging as were, from some foggy ghost light, the stilled almost frosted atmospherics and sense of bewitched ceremony collude to conspire a mystical landscape eerily spirited away in twilight dream drifts, the effect at once trippy and woozy oozes delicately much like a fabled gathering of mythical sirens beckoning with their spell charms through a magically trancey haze, something which I suspect will appeal first port of call to those admiring of Preterite Likewise teased in a spectral murmuring, the cavernous hollowing of the chamber noir entrancement of ‘indigo skyglow’ softly melts to reveal a beautifully ice formed floral posy shimmered tenderly in hymnal like glassy string sighed bowed refractions. For us though personally, best moment of the three-track teaser showcase is ‘sunrise cycle’ which set to a lilting clock-work framing, trades to an alluring gathering of ice tipped garlands, angelic frostings and sepia tweaked sleepy headed yawns as it delicately stirs from slumber, its an utterly disarming listening experience with the tip-toing recitals and cooing chorus’ almost drawing to mind the work of Jodie Lowther. Need I say more. https://kersbergenjanisch.bandcamp.com/album/kersbergen-janisch