…and back with Silber for another of those seasonal fancies, fear not as t’other three will mentioned before the weeks out. This one is a strange ‘un, entitled ‘Greensleeves’ – it features three interpretations of, you guessed it, ‘Greensleeves’ by a gathering of invited souls with familiar to the Silber community, among their number – Remora, Small Life Forms and  Grand Kali Ma. It’s the latter mentioned who we start with, any discernible recognition of ‘Greensleeves’ in the slightest might be a tad difficult to detect, which on reflection, recalls the immortal Morecambe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn, big Eric being asked by Mr Preview, ‘You’re playing the wrong notes’ quickly retorts with the classic ‘I’m playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order’. Not to in any way, shape or form mean to deride the Grand Kali Ma folk, for here, one assumes, deciding to resist any notions of a faithful re-treatment, instead go off on their own merry way crafting out a dark star navigating leviathan coolly chromed in a shadowy statuesque and a cavernous chamber turned stillness, the effect really is darkly alluring and somewhat minimalist and mystical. Small Life Forms no doubt having read the script dust down and retune the originals regal poise to charm it with a deeply beguiling and magical flashing of bowed chimes whose initial lullaby like lull is soon replaced by a mildly trippy tapestry as the interweaving looped layers seductively dissolve into each other. Remora bring up the rear and with it serve up the sets shortest suite, though not before terrorising your listening space with a rendition as were, impishly bastardised by some psychotic Phantom of Opera, the result a skewed and schizoid cauldron of manic menace submerged in oodles of white hot attrition.

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Those of you with long-ish memories, might well recall us falling for a (rarely seen these days) pickled egg release by Tom O C Wilson going by the name ‘the ones’ a little while back. Well it seems these days, Mr Wilson moonlights under the name the Beetles who as it happens, have just released their debut single ‘finding fault’. In truth, something that ought to come pre-packed with jabs, for this distractive delight is infectiously wired with a becoming kookiness that’s adorably threaded loosely upon a crooked and angular post punk curving replete with stop start stuttering rhythmic patterns and a slow to fast fusing that’s blessed with a clean cut power pop friction that channels a curiously quirky off the wall craft much reminiscent at times of a youthful Joe Jackson.

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Certainly in no need of introduction around here, though lest you should, then perhaps you have visited the wrong web page. Yellow6’s yuletide tradition, the ‘Merry 6mas’ offering, this one, I think I’m right in saying, the 20th, have in our gaff been as synonymous with Christmas as say, turkey with all the trimmings and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.  Serving as sonic Christmas cards, these releases were originally given out as a thank you to various folk who had, in some small way, helped spread the word of Yellow6. Upon their grooves, selections of works in progress, alternate takes and occasionally aborted takes lulled the listening within. This years gathering features seven deeply alluring, sometimes tortured, often introspective, slices of intimacy that are pretty much revealing of the wide screen spectrum of sound, atmosphere and mood that Mr Atwood conjures. To that end, I’m certain we haven’t as yet mentioned ‘Autumn Breeze’, oops in fact we have, still, its worth another listen as it’s the best thing here by far, a near 14 minute journey within which the whole emotional reach is touched upon whether that be isolation, reflection, introspection or just simple laid back bliss. The artistry measured and, though given its spectral footing, lush and vivid, which from the initial blank canvas a full and colourfully intricate landscape is meticulously brought to life with this in the main, bruised deliciously with a spy noir shivering that spirits away tentatively on a youthful albeit thoughtful, godspeed axis.    

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I’m assuming this one is part of the Silber seasonal selections, six in total to sample with Nonconnah’s ghost droning delights finding themselves stepping up to the plate. Featuring nine twilight charms, ‘Winter EP III’ is not the glooming grimness that some of the titles might first betray or hint towards, neither so does the very brief liner note add with any glimmer of hospitality, simply preferring to note ‘freezing dreams & frozen nightmares from Nonconnah’. That said, there’s no doubt that an overcoming air of mournfulness attaches in a large part to these cavernous ice sculptures, the ominously titled ‘body horror’ a shimmering pulse wave of parched and poised porcelain pristine is despatched with a finite frailty while ‘nightmare at the end of the tape’ is crushed with bruising ache whose spectral monastic mosaics pot mark it with a sighing and desperate despair. But then from the deepest wells of lonesome solemn emerges the radiant visitation  that is ‘Laments Cross Open Land’, with its bliss blistering and heavenly haloing, a beautifully serene renewal veers into view bathing all in a deeply spiritual oneness, really is most beguiling.

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pye corner audio

Is it just me or do you find there’s a distinct lack of cold war electronic cuts serving the season, believe you me we have scoured the analogue terrains with our trusted rusty radar and diddly. What gives, do synths not do the silly season, perhaps they hibernate their chilly chipboards, who knows. That said, you can always count on Pye Corner Audio to pull the festive plugs, this years free to download ch-eerie being the ominously titled ‘Satan’s little helper’ – best described as ‘some dark portent approaching this way’, of course I jest, what first appears to be some dystopic future gazing soon recalibrates and emerges remodelled and bathed in a heavenly radiance that suggests its hypno-grooved hush hum be some jubilant celestial herald sent from a higher consciousness which amid its purring pulsars a distant though hitherto recognisable kinship is forged with Echoboy’s much adored ‘Scene 30’.

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Mark Peters

‘all proceeds will be donated to the homeless charity Crisis, whose work at Christmas is invaluable. Mark will also be joining us to sell the song in a chocolate-based format from our stall at the Independent Label Market in London on Sunday (December 16)’. Okay that’s the pre-amble greeting this affectionately cut yuletide treat from Mark Peters via those cool folk at Sonic Cathedral. Herewith a faithfully frosted instrumental version of ‘jingle bells’ rephrased here as a delectably dinked cosmic crooning carousel sighed with dream draped fuzzy highlights all blissed kissed with a heavenly stratospheric serene. Essential. Need I say more…..

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flesh eating foundation

Again many thanks, this time to Jonathon Watkiss whose absence of late from these musings has been duly noted with concern, herewith some seasonal grimness in the guise of a seven track holly prickling horror show from the Flesh Eating Foundation and friends entitled ‘I saw mother ….’ We say friends, more so fiends who’ve been gathered for a dark ceremonial summit, to each mutate and feed upon the macabre utterings of the Flesh Eating ones and curdle their own unholy interpretation upon ‘I saw mother…..’. in truth, this ought to appeal to those whose seasonal preferences edge towards ‘Black Christmas’ as opposed to ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, the sinister set beginning with the original mix, a solemn slab of isolationist chill recanting the tale of an accidentally slain Santa and a host of neglected Reindeer, the narration flat lined and sombre comes gloomed by the withering accompaniment of an ice scabbed wasteland, its dead heading dry spirit swathes etched with a prowling macabre that chuckles darkly from the shadows. Akoustik Timbre Frekuency’s retelling ‘Santa’s Slayed’ does little to ease the disquiet, hollowed to its barest form, these folk craft a disturbing and eerie vacuum that’s petrified in only a way that seems to attach to releases bearing the label name Aetheric upon their hide. Even less likely to draw you out of your hiding place, Non Bio’s warped and weirded landscape adorning their re-visioning, is fractured and fried in all manner of cold wave manipulations and frequency skrees much recalling, it has to be said, the more abstract edges of the Wizards Tell Lies spectrum. Alien electroids and dystopic daubs blooded in a minimalist synth wave fashioning c.1980 hollow and haunt the sparse psychotronic paranoia of Sideblinder’s fixed stare variant. Pandemonium’s take on matters, finds them seemingly taking the tapes beyond the veil or else a place where most folk would dare not stray, distractively dark the vocals somewhat disembodied are retooled as an eerie foretelling from the beyond. Thankfully not everyone is un-joyously macabre with Reprodestruxión cutting something of a trip inducing mystic psych woozy replete with mutant beats and an oddly out of sync dream weaving. Futile escapist front bring matters to a curious close into the bargain disregarding the remit to do their own thing sonically, treating all to an edgy and foggy collage of deeply insular modulations and skewed n’ unhinged psychic subliminal surges, all very strange.  

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