singled out – missive 225

Singled Out
Missive 225

For Kel n’ Mark

Singled Out – surrounded in sound

Just a quickly fired off Singled Out – hopefully there will be another either later tonight – that is if we can get our finger out – or else more than likely tomorrow evening.

Addresses for communications –


Records and stuff then….. – now we must admit that the sound of Dossano has been filtering in and out of our listening environ for a few weeks now always impishly escaping appraisal until that is – now. Let just say that this is something else. For those much admiring of Cheval Sombre then this acts as a perfect listening companion, to CS’s Velvets Dossano is his Nico, the melodies tenderly serviced are clipped with a daunting and hollowing texture indelibly bruised and crushed of hope while set to a disturbingly arresting landscape of spectrally charged soft psyche folk blues. Its utterly entrancing stuff, all at once fragile, frail and head bowed, Dossano is the work of New York / Paris based enchantress Elizabeth A who has delivered quite possibly one of the best sets we’ve heard in such an age. These fraught figurines of fading romance weave a solemnly surrendering craft, the unreal wood charmed intimacy of the tear stained melancholia of the refined and statuesque ‘September’ which in all honesty dimpled with the soft shimmer of its 50’s reverbs and the gentle tug of opining riffs could have easily fallen from a Lynch film soundtrack which beneath its bitter sweet casuality and inescapable ache sours sensitively. Reference wise Dossano treads a tender and mercurial path previously taken by the likes of Hope Sandoval, Emma Pollack, PJ Harvey – none more so than on the primal scuzzed blues of ‘the rift’ which she describes as a shift towards a more ‘experimental’ sound – and of course without any shadow of doubt – Nico. As said a totally captivating set, cuts such as ‘white falls’ find itself invested with a truly mysterious and touching demeanour that’s carved from a rarefied and lost song craft, ‘hero’ recorded to sound as though some recently discovered and dashed in dust sepia trimmed beauty of humbling 50’s sourced porch lit torch blues will arrest as equally as it will hurt while ‘indigo’ veers in closest proximity to the aforementioned Cheval Sombre applying darkening shades to his light tonalities. All said nothing quite lives up to ‘aracely’ – proving to be the sets defining moment, wrapped in the faintest cascade of key braids this shyly recoiling slice of crushed majesty is lushly laden with the woes of the world’s weary, quietly embraced and cut deep with the inescapable intense tragedy of a 60’s French noir flick, the emotion pouring forth from its unravelling grief stricken grooves is something to behold – utterly beautiful but dark with it, will cut you to the core. A withering head bowed treasure chest of painfully passionate entrancement.

Wire #306 – current issue of the Wire features cover star Madlib in an extensive interview while Coil founder and COUM co-conspirator Peter Christopherson does hearteningly badly in this months Invisible Jukebox grilling. Elsewhere generic buzzword according to Mr Keenan is hypnagogic and if you haven’t a clue what this latest generic fashion marker is then there’s an extended feature on it inside, in addition Keenan also briefly looks at the infamous ’lathe’ format focusing on its principal provider New Zealand based Peter King. Primer checks out the state of play with the british jazz scene ’64 – ’76 the article coincidentally opening to a mention of the Tubby Hayes / Roy Castle interlude in ’Dr Terror’s house of horror’ – Mr Hayes ’voodoo’ as you also should know by now is being given a limited pressing via Trunk – anyhow there are mentions for Lol Coxhill, Alan Skidmore, John Surman, Michael Garrick Trio and more to keep you engrossed and no doubt seeking out in your local record haunt. Review wise not just one but two new Nurse With Wound releases catered for which leads me to suspect that these days Mr Stapleton is timing his releases to Wire’s publication deadline – we ought to be told – while Volcano the Bear’s Daniel Padden quietly sneaks out another album previously unknown to us by way of a collaboration with Sarah Kenchington. There’s also a mention of a potentially tasty 4 CD box set coming from Sub Rosa entitled ’the sound of the underground – an overview of experimental and non academic music in China’ which I’m suspecting we’ll do our damnedest to nail during the coming weeks while size matters has enough must have material to keep us occupied trying to source for the rest of the weekend.

Plastic Toys ’dirty’ (hill valley). much loved in this parish, that said it sadly appears we are little light on their debut album around here. This lot first come to our attention a few years back via a rather admirable and dare we say accomplished demo CD, riddled with the kind of debauched dirty decadence that left us hot under the collar and requiring of copious ice cold showers it was one of the best debut outings we had the pleasure of hearing that particular year. Several years on and they are the talk of the more excitable circles amid the rock / glam community. The aptly titled ’dirty’ is the third cut culled from the aforementioned (and errant) debut full length, primed in their now trademark sleazy scuzz fuzz, this slice of turntable horn is packed to rafters with the kind of club floor wiring that’ll send sizzles purring through your nervous system, salacious and sexy and nailed to a subtle buzz sawed industrial throb which shifts seductively from lulling moments of withdrawn reflection to animated shocks of pulse racing pouting electro struts while simultaneously marking itself aside as of the top of my head the first record since the Vapors ‘turning Japanese’ and ‘one in the hand is worth two in the bush’ to touch with much unsubtly the subject matter of wanking (the second mentioned reference was just our little wheeze that said we’re prepared to split the copyright on any potential usage). Flip the disc for ‘radio’ – recorded live in the studio and without the appearance of synths no less, shifting into territories more readily occupied by the likes of White Rose Movement and shot through with a rampantly rouge splattered makeover of dirty Duran Duran drills though that’ll be an alternate version of Duran Duran reared on the New York Dolls rather than Bowie and Roxy. Its all rapid fire and rampant pedals down to the boards tempreture raising angst type frenzy. Damn smart in our book.

Paul Hawkins and the Awkward Silences ‘I’ve had my fun’ (Jezus Factory). Stunning in a word. Lets not beat about the bush here – their finest moment to date and perhaps most complete release we’ve heard so far this year. Both sides of this latest opus from the much regarded and admired Paul Hawkins and the Awkward Silences are without doubt their finest to date. An uncompromising statement of intent now that they’ve cut their initial teeth and garnered admiring glances from the underground community and beyond courtesy of last years debut full length. ‘I’ve had my fun’ is bloated with an undeniably antagonised and world weary bleakness, at seven minutes in length it goes on a bit, a lot in fact – to some extent you could call it an epic in a futile giving up on life like exit type way, the despondency that drips from its grooves is to say the least an infectious irritant of some measure, no doubting as to its fly in the ointment candour. Built upon an incessantly flat lining thud of monotone beats and a witheringly minimalist austere riff coil this blanked beauty festers with an unrepentant menace choking all in its eye line as it builds towards toxic breakdown. Frankly stunning. Flip the disc for ’the epilogue’ – if ’I’ve had my fun’ was like peaking wearily into the darkened soul of Hawkins and Co then this is the redemption awaiting your passage through. Strangely uplifting and cut with such light tonalities that your literally halted in your tracks and double checking the disc to make sure it really is by Hawkins and his troops, sumptuously drilled and draped with a triumphant edge – it’s a bit of a kick up the arse anthem for all those who’ve been dealt the shitty hand in life’s poker game – mind you just between you and me – had us whistling ‘rise’ by Public Image Ltd a few times, reasons as to why on a postcard to the usual address. Single of the missive.

Voice of the Seven Woods ‘the journey’ (kning disk). First of two releases that we recently managed to nab on a recent record buying reconnaissance mission over at Cargo the other week put out by the much admired from afar Kning Disk imprint of Sweden. Well we say admired from afar because we have long earmarked their releases on various wants lists and yet until now have come away empty handed – seems the blighters fly from the coup at such speed they’ve hard had time for the ink on the receiving invoices to dry. Anyway as said there will be two mentions for the label – the other release we managed to rescue – just in case that is you’re wondering happens to be Peter Broderick’s ‘Docile’ which will rear its head more than likely later in the week or quite possibly later this weekend depending on our mood and whatever takes our fancy. First up though Voice of the Seven Woods who to much embarrassment and deep shock despite being on our ’must check out’ list of things to er – check out has so far remained undisturbed and indeed featureless in these pages. The alter ego of a certain Mancunian by the name of Rick Tomlinson who to date has been peppering the psych folk community for a few years with a by all accounts formidable body of work courtesy of limited issue self released CD’s. ’the journey’ for the first time on vinyl (10 inches of the stuff to be precise and strictly limited to just 999 copies) is one of those self same self releases. An entrancing collection it should be said featuring 6 tracks of faintly drawn minimalist murmurs borrowed as were from the songbook of the late John Fahey (especially on the glassy ‘3am home‘). Armed with just an acoustic guitar, Tomlinson crafts a deeply alluring mellow like woody haze with his sparsely treated deft finger work, these beautifully drifting mirages all at once dusty and demurring are like smoked sun setting apertures that recall at times a seriously chilled and intimately coaxed Neil Young (none more so than on the parting ‘untitled‘ cut – very much nodding to Young‘s ‘Eldorado‘ set). Beguiled rather than brooding, Tomlinson weaves a timeless tapestry whose finite cloth is cut and detailed with the lonesome trail of frail delta blues aspects, from the soft shimmer intones of the reverb opines within the opening ’solitary breathing’ to the wildly rush of the open and unbound cascading pastoral calm of ‘the journey’ the set quietly entrances holding you spellbound in its delicately despatched glare with only ’breaking moonlight’ seemingly seeking to break cover momentarily opting instead for something of a dreamy interlude. We look forward to hearing more.

Bats for lashes ‘daniel’ video – simply gorgeous….

Infinitus Ensemble ‘sleep of shards’ (frequent sea). Apologies to Al over at Scotch Tapes / Frequent Sea and all concerned but an impromptu spring clean conducted this very morning turned up this release much to our horror (at overseeing it in the first place) and joy (at finding the blighter). Limited we believe to just 99 copies all housed in the now trademark and eye catching hand made packaging – this one in fact being a wallpaper wallet – and be warned they will fly from the shelves given that most of their previous 6 releases to date have long since been sold out. Infinitus Ensemble are essentially German based duo Iri Li and Ralph Rabendorn who have been around some ten years quietly navigating the outer spheres of the outsider pop universe. They prefer to collectively refer to their sound collages as medusada or contra-art which in essence incorporates all the melodic mediums and cross generic references currently sheltering beneath what passes for avantgarde / experimental therefore blending drone, noise, dada, ambience, jazz and musique concrete. ‘sleep of shards’ their seventh release to date runs to forty minutes of eerie chamber ambience, made up of fourteen parts / tracks which despite these time sequenced extractions is essentially one elongated suite. Foreboding stuff it is to, darkly grim and straying just the right side of menacing in both delivery and appeal. Certainly one to be listened to from the comfort afforded from behind the back of a sofa in daylight I should stress and with the lights on for Infinitus Ensemble carve deeply monolithic slabs of withering ceremonial styled ambience, certainly not for the feint of heart, all at once abstract and out there, sometimes unsettling others just macabre, their flair for theatrics albeit steeped towards a grounding in noir tipped tension based horror is quite exquisite, each attending facet of ‘sleep of shards’ brings with it differing degrees of ice tipped blood chills. Deeply atmospheric the set opens with voyaging ‘error message’ – a monochromatic pulse of sheens of glassy swathes of shimmering drone orbiting in the desolate netherworlds of the void (and again on ‘escape’ wherein a haunting and reverential middle eastern vibe is courted) much recalling the spectral elements of Barry Gray’s soundtrack work. From therein the attending make up of ‘sleep of shards’ is meticulously applied each ensuing passage being enhanced and reshaped to evolve in shape, density and mass. Here you find the audio accoutrements of bowed chimes, insectoid clicks and scratches dappling the landscape alongside the momentary daubing of noir tipped key braids, from the fraught wired psychotropic mania of the edgily set pagan folk tablas that is ‘beast of prey’ (a similar ploy is used again on ‘backbone’)and the squirming oddness of ‘abscess of the unreal’, ‘sleep of shards’ manifests with morbid intent, both clinical and cold and equipped with the kind of detached classicism rarely heard around her out of a Bronnt Industries Kapital outing. Coil and SPK are readily brought to mind as strangely are the pre ZTT work of Propaganda (at times) especially on the howling soft psych loop lunar mirage ‘capsule (premonition)’ which marks the beginning of the sets defining triptych – its accompanying allies being ‘laborious’ and ‘capsule’ – the former perhaps the albums most animated and busy of tracks to feature here wrapped as it is in all manner of leviathan like screeches, softly pensive and ritualistic percussive thuds and oscillating shimmers which to these ears momentarily had us recalling Ryuichi Sakamoto while the latter basks amid the hypnotic cascade of celestial chorus’ pierced and scratched by impromptu metal beats and wiring sound manipulated whirrs all washed by a veritable monastic flavouring. Edgy yet consuming stuff.

Various – ‘The history of rhythm and blues 1942 – 1952’ (rhythm and blues). Impeccable and frankly invaluable 4 CD set, the second in fact in an ongoing series tracing the roots of what would become rock n’ roll and ultimately the birth of ‘pop’ music as we know it. This lavishly packaged set follows hot on the heels of last years ‘volume 1’ 4 CD box set which covered the period 1925 to 1942 and examined in detail country blues / spirituals, ragtime, gospel and swing . Adopting a similar presentation format ‘Volume 2’ split’s the mix so that each CD concentrates on a given style / geographical locality so that here you have the big band sounds from Harlem to the West Coast, classic honky tonking blues and doo wop, early foundations of rock n’ roll (featuring a fair few cuts that would find themselves re-recorded by the Memphis Flash himself Elvis) and the New Orleans sound. 101 tracks gathering together a wealth of timeless nuggets, the list of treats are too numerous to mention though a brief summary would highlight inclusions by (pause for a sharp intake of breath) Ella Johnson, the Five Keys, Arthur Crudup, the Swallows, Stars of Harmony, Ella Mae Morse, the Ravens, Treniers, Wild Bill Moore, Roy Milton and the Dominoes to name but a small select few as well as a positive roll call of household names that includes Elmore James, Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald, King Cole Trio, Hank Willams, Lightning Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson and of course Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. In addition to this aural feast there’s also a highly informative 64 page booklet providing biographies and information on each of the selected tracks. All this pitched at a competitive mid range pricing. What are you waiting for.

Here’s Louis Jordan performing ‘caldonia’….

The Orioles ‘it’s too soon to know’

Jacke brenston and the delta cats ‘rocket 88’

Lloyd Glenn ‘chica boo’

Classic Rock #135 – Classic Rock posts one of its best issues this month, cover star Jimi Hendrix provides the headline act courtesy of an extended feature that considers whether his death was the result of murder involving his manager, the late Mike Jeffery. There’s also a specially commissioned and quite pricey fan club package being offered to all Classic Rock which features live recordings dating back to the halcyon days of 67 and 68 and includes performances in Paris and Ottawa. In addition this attractive package includes all manner of art prints, post cards, a ’way out’ badge – whatever that is – exclusive Ipod skins and a laminated backstage all housed in a box. Well smart. ’why doesn’t radio 1 play rock’ considers the dilemmas of young rock bands being frozen out of the daytime play lists of the BBC’s one time flag ship youth station – mind you a more pressing question might be ’why the hell are you listening to Radio 1’. elsewhere there’s a classic interview from 1980 with Van Halen while Magnum arfe the subject matter of this months ’buyers guide’. Add in some lunacy from Hawkwind, first hand reports of the first british rock festivals at bickershaw and weeley, a q and a with Ray Davies, Ash’s ’girl from mars’ under the story behind the song spotlight and something of a Michael Jackson free obituary section (reasons are given in the editorial) plus a cover mount 16 track ‘heavy blues’ CD featuring groove gear from buffalo kings, pink snowflakes, white witch canyon, fuzz manta, planet Gemini and more besides.

Sex Beat #2 – picked this up the other week – well I say picked up rather more ordered it via the wonderfully weird web – much attracted in the first instance by the freebie cassette that accompanied it – well we are suckers for cassettes around these here parts and we should add here and now – vinyl. A DIY fanzine no less – sadly it appears we’ve missed issue 1 – oh well – it’s a London based A5 sized (is there any such thing as A6 – okay you get the drift its small in an arse pocket sized type way) features some strange artwork contributions most featuring naked parts of the body and the occasional usage of the word cunt which is slightly disturbing, the youth of today eh – there’s a feature called ‘songs they never play on the radio’ which chooses as its target the Crystals’ ‘he hit me (it felt like a kiss)’ some poetry and two my space band recommendations – which indeed we will be checking out. However it’s the cassette you want, housed in a hand made pink card box fastened up in pretty ribbons it features the debut release from Aussie femme trio (that’ll be Isobel, Tara and Kim) the Icypoles entitled ‘getting ready‘. ten tracks feature within, its all very brief in fact so brief that in time it took us to make a cup of coffee and get a few blasts of a cigarette side one was done and dusted. A quite demurring and dinky release featuring a total of 10 tracks – side one being the affectionate twee part of the proceedings with side two – admittedly the favoured side – being a more considered and more mood based offering. Obviously attracted and informed by the Shaggs and Free Design in some small respects, these love tipped truffles find the Icypoles crafting all manner of fluffily daydream styled bubblegum twists, reminiscent it should be said of those early Magic Marker label releases from the late 90’s there’s an affectionately clumsy approach adopted by these ladies, the twinkling yearns and the radiant sun kissed delicacy all armed to a sweet alluring innocence make the twee side of events a tender rush of curdled candy pop with ’round and round’ providing the pick of the bunch mainly for the fact it loosely adopts the delta blues mindset of John Fahey and dizzily relocates it to a reclined porch lit setting. That said it’s the five cuts found snuggled on side two that are the entrance fee paying nuggets. Opening with the mooching twang of ’Cassandra’ and sounding to these ears like a seriously chilled out Shangri La’s which soon disappears as fast as it appeared to be replaced by the sultry instrumental ’Karl’ itself sumptuously tail gating a coda recalling ’love is strange’. then there’s the tail feather teasing mambo calypso ’connie’ and the breezy fanfares of the coolly smoked and purring L’Augmentation like ’sacha’. which leaves the parting ’Dwight’ to provide the set with its defining moment – a lounge jazz cutie that strays at times into the bachelor pad territories of a mid career Stereolab as though found shimmying up to Le Mans on the set of some Leone inspired spaghetti western backdrop. Nuff said – buy on sight.

All that leaves me to say is a hearty thanks for tuning in – take care of yourselves and hope to see you soon.


published originally July 2009

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