singled out – missive 237

Singled Out
Missive 237

For Kel n’ Mark

Singled out ‘fumbles in the great sack of pop’

Endometrium Cuntplow / Zebra Mu / Clitoris Less Cunt ‘split’ (love torture). Time young folk to find your favourite duvet to hide under because what we have here is a broodingly eerie 8 track three way face off between some of the finest exponents of the out there sound currently operating on the scene today all pressed up on a dinky 3 inch CD and strictly limited to just 20 hand numbered copies – our incidentally is numero #15. Think I’m right in saying that all three have at some point featured in these pages previously – Endometrium Cuntplow having certainly caught our attention following their appearance on I blame the parents and Scotch Tapes. Again the work of that man – David Lucien Math eke – head honcho over at love torture who variously appears as assholemouthead (see last missive) and internal improv (whose album will appear here soon-ish). Boasting some 80 plus releases / compilation appearances to his name alone as Endometrium Cuntplow, this particular outing sees him stumping up four cuts mischievously titled ‘075’, ‘136’, ‘092’ and ‘146’ – all short sharp shock treatments that explore the micro worlds of noise / ambience which we must admit in the instance of the first three mentioned sound not unlike some devilishly devious mesmeric dream machine whose sole purpose it seems is to wipe the mind clean with its sequence of progressive hypnotic hums, its very wired and weird and clinically executed especially ‘136’ wherein we swear at one point the kitchen appliances where getting a tad frisky – how strange. That said the mood turns to something bordering oppressively dark for the parting ’146’ – scathing vapour trails of hissing artificial intelligence communiqués blister and splinter, howl and scream in a most decidedly unsettling way either that or it’s the magnified sound of a Mandrake screaming – whatever the case its certainly one for viewing fro the safety afforded by the rear of the sofa with all the lights on. Described by as a ‘circuit bending project’ Zebra Mu is the brainchild and creative noise alter ego of British sonic experimentalist Michael Ridge, here found gracing the grooves of this particular releases with three slabs of seriously distorted and fractured frequency manipulating, ’closely shaved mane’ is pushed to such high end sounds that it literally deteriorates in a white hot mass of fragmented goo that for the best part is barely audible to the human ear – though we must add here that our cat was seen to bolt at speed down the garden in a blur. ’well fed’ on the other hand is so violent and up front you fear your speakers will melt under the weight of the extreme attrition pouring through the monitors as the aural carnage of imploding swathes of skree and powered electronic brutality seek to exact their inhume primitive trepanning exercise upon your very personage. Those thinking of seeking solace with the parting ’human food pellets’ ought to consider their options, agreed its only a mere 91 seconds in length – though its more than enough time to reduce your listening space to rubble with its scalding onslaught. Rounding up the pack Clitoris Less Cunt – where do they get these names from we wonder – and er – worry. Already making himself fully known to us following his sonic branding upon our very person when we happened across his my space page one cold winters night shortly before Christmas, the mysterious CLC hails from Montreal and on this occasion unleashes ‘piste 1’ which we will start by describing as just f**kin evil before moving afoot at pace, a dread clipped holocaust of sound, a total resigned to the fates hollowness reigns, as with previous cuts mentioned here in the past something that should first and foremost appeal largely to admirers of Kylie Minoise and the At War with False Noise crew, deeply unsettling stuff that frankly just fills you with the most extraordinary disquiet and sense of hopelessness, not quite as extreme as the other butchered sonic bodies in his canon though were it might lessen in terms of the manic it more than makes up for in the macabre. Absolutely chilling stuff.

And here’s some much needed live footage of CLC…….scary stuff…

Classic Rock presents Prog #3 – superbly presented and packaged quarterly feast for the self respecting prog rock enthusiast in your gaff – no doubt lurking under the stairs in some pantry afraid to come out for fear of skinny tied wits mocking his admiration of all things Genesis and er – Yes, indeed this is a publication wherein both Wakeman and little Phil can see their name fondly emblazoned in print without being followed by snide comments. This issue is a Rush special of sorts, the sleeve artwork of rocks aristocrats adorn the specially commissioned cover – there’s four to collect – ours as it happens is #4, inside Alex Lifeson guides the Prog crew through a potted history of Canada’s finest – and just for the record we always loved ’moving pictures’. Elsewhere Fish is drafted in for an extended chat about his Marillion days while Captain Sensible brings along his record collection for closer inspection revealing that the Damned where in fact Caravan fans in spiky clothing. There’s a feature on Italian prog and something about pomp rock which we managed to fast forward rather quickly after seeing the names Styx, Magnum and Kansas in the same paragraph – scary. Elsewhere there are spots for Tool, Queensryke and Voivod while Henry Cow discuss in typically confused terms how they came to be known as Henry Cow. Prognosis checks out Quantum Jump’s top 5 peaking ’lone ranger’ while Kiss’ ’music from the elder’ is the subject matter for ’its prog Jim but not as we know it’ – a saying that was often used here at one time when we were very much younger – thieving bastards. Olav Vyper shoots the shit about Vertigo’s affinity with the early 70’s prog scene while unearthed treasures drags Dave Greenslade’s conceptual classic ’the Pentateuch of the cosmogony’ back under the spying glass for another quick peek. Jeff Wayne’s ’war of the worlds’ opus is the subject matter for this months ’masterworks’ while undoubtedly proving to be the issues star attraction is a rare interview with Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson. Included inside the envelope jacket you’ll find a stunning 8 track CD featuring cuts from Porcupine Tree, the Resonance Association, the Wishing Tree, Konchordat and Knife world (who’ll we mention separately later) – best of the set though the drop dead beautiful ’clear’ from Breathing Space, the divine 13 minute opus ’indigo’ from the recently resurrected Pendragon and the frankly stunning emotion crushing Rush like Darwin’s Radio.

Robin Guthrie ‘carousel’ (rocket girl).What can we say. Well I think it’s a given thing that anything bearing the name Robin Guthrie tattooed upon its hide is going to be nothing short of sublime. And so to ‘Carousel’ which sees Guthrie’s continuing odyssey into filmic sound-scapes, following on from his acclaimed ‘continental and imperial’ set this ten track outing finds the former Cocteau Twins atmospheric alchemist at his most relaxed, most radiant and most romantic – in fact so radiant is this release that we swear the sun emerged to take a peak literally 5 seconds into the hi-fi connecting and translating the binary sound coding contained within this CD’s grooves. Lovingly wrapped and bow tied amid the hushed brush of crystalline tipped syncopating riff cascades, ‘Carousel’ is all at once majestic and mercurial, tenderly expressive and entrancing, uncomplicated and free of fuss, like a magician’s slight of hand, Guthrie’s craftsmanship is one of the acute application of the intricate with the intimate. These beautifully coded love tipped swansongs yearn and seduce amid the alluring rays of pocket sun bursts, each blossoming resplendently giving up its mysteries and inner most desires while bathing your listening space in bliss fuelled halos, typically of Guthrie its quietly epic and consuming not to say stately and measured, the tapestry weaving of the chiming jubilations and cascading shimmer toned riff progressions is done to such exquisitely finite detail that you barely see the joins, from the moment that the opening ’some sort of paradise’ connects and kicks into life the coalescing bitter sweet flurries and streamlined contours are about you intoxicating the air with their aching arcs of desire. That said ’carousel’ is about mood and atmosphere, the effects brought to a chilled timbre by the softly seducing ’delight’ whose delicately purred opining murmurs mirror the obscuring beauty of the more introspectively poised moments of both John Barry’s and Roy Budd’s back catalogue while ’Autochromes’ edges ever so subtly into the soothing noir tipped elegance and mystery more countered within realms more associated with Krzysztof Komeda. Elsewhere there’s the breathlessly lilting star hugging figurine pirouettes of ’the girl with the little wings’ while the snoozing ’close my eyes and burn’ with its mellowing tonalities is a spectral elegy that taps directly back to the lulling gracefulness of the Cocteau Twins of yore dappled and dimpled as it is with the same heaven bound heart skipping silken opulence that made his former charges something approaching the unreal and ethereal. The shy eyed ‘mission delores’ eases ever so slightly off the effects pedals to opt for something desperately touching and head bowed, the noir detailed atmospherics much recalling of Gnac arc and caress eventually unfurling at roughly 1.35 in to reveal a beautified dream-scape of vapour trailing curvatures and dissipating reverb halos. That said the sets best moments come courtesy of ‘search among the flowers’ and the parting ‘little big fish’. the former wrapped in a kind of statue-esque effects pedal euphoria at its most seductive, the bathing of stratospheric strobe lit opines, the ice sculptured bliss sheens, its slender though panoramic calibrations is simply heart stopping – much reminiscent of Yellow 6 and Manual at their most vulnerable – so succulent and beckoning you can lose yourself in the folds of its vivid tapestry. And as to the parting ’little big fish’ – well lets put it this way – if I didn’t know any better I’d have said this was a distant half cousin to Morricone’s sumptuous score for Jill McBain as found on his epic score for ’once upon a time in the west’ – its hymnal resonance both heartbreaking and numbing and guaranteed to leave you feeling a tad humbled. Nuff said. Perfect.

On histories of Rosenberg ‘s/t’ (function). Alas we were meant – by all accounts – to have a physical copy of the debut release from Brighton / London based quintet On Histories of Rosenberg but it appears to have gone somewhat west in the ever unreliable postal system we laughingly call ‘Royal’ mail. Not to worry though their wonderful PR kindly sent over an MP3 zip which features all four cuts featured on the aforementioned CD – well we say four tracks in actual fact there are only three that we’ve managed to salvage given that ‘danger danger’ the EP’s second cut keeps flashing a ‘broken script’ message. Ah well 3 out of 4 is nothing to sniff at I suppose. An abundance of information on this lot yet none of it bearing any real relevance as to who, were and how they all come to be, just veiled hints that they were all individually members of other ensembles no doubt long ceased. Anyhow On Histories of Rosenberg craft the kind of sound that plays peek a boo with your defences all the time unpeeling them like layers of skin from an onion, in essence it’s a good wholesome slab of emotionally swept noodling post rock-ist loveliness that parks its backside somewhere between I like trains (as on the world weary opening salvo ‘am I awake’ with its crestfallen downcast demeanour, needling riffage and twinkling bell braids pitted and pierced by a calamitous surge of wall pinning abrasive angst) albeit removed of their bleached ache and in its place found swapping notes with a quietly subdued Billy Mahonie. Its all beautifully head bowed and shy eyed that persists in the curious knack of one minute raining down on you it fits of torrential rage while the next drawing you close enough so that you can feel the trembling pulse of its resigned persona. That said our favourite moment by some distance is ‘a calendar year’ – all the time exacting its intensely snared gaze whilst seemingly shifting onward by a sheer and determined force of will against adversity along the way metering out a momentary storm lashed impasse before re-assuming its aching wallow some introspection – a thing so touching you feel obliged to offer it a re-assuring hand and a heartily comforting pat on the shoulder. Bruising though strangely beautiful stuff.

Kingbastard ‘good things come in 3’s’ (Herb / download). We don’t mind admitting that we’ve been totally smitten by this three track release the minute it shuffled its way into the line of sight of our turntable via an enquiring note from Kingbastard himself as well as a highly praising recommendation from Herb recordings head honcho Craig Murphy – of Solipsism and Shoosh fame. Kingbastard better known to friends and family as Chris Weeks has over the last few years sneaked out a handful of releases via CD and download all of which we here are disappointed nay aggrieved to report that we’ve somehow missed though that said we rather suspect that he’s featured at some point or other in these very pages courtesy of some remix duties for various Herb persons. Anyhow ’good things come in 3’s’ indeed features – as you’ve probably already gathered – three cuts. Admirably crafted its seems Mr Weeks has something of a want for cross wiring genres, operating on the parameters of electro pop he diffuses and cannibalises all manner of playfully perky Radiophonic Workshop accents, game console glitches, trip hop motifs, funk calibrations and down tempo mirages to his vast palette of sound, from what we’ve heard so far via the cuts posted on his my space player ’good things come in 3’s’ may well prove to be his most accomplished work to date. Ridiculously infectious this three pronged set is served with a rounded full bodied lushness seemingly lacking previously, the excellently titled and dare we say impish ’beardscratcher’ opens the account – a kooky slice of woozy goofiness that to these ears sounds not so dissimilar to something you’d imagine Joe Meek knocking up had he been tasked to re-wire Lipps Inc’s ‘funky town’ with Tele:Funken on hand to add in the promenade parked ice cream van motifs and Art of Noise in an advisory capacity just for the hell of it undoing every thing he laid down and re-plugging it all with crookedly funky patches. Those of you preferring your sounds somewhat reclining and uber chilled may well find yourselves suitably satiated by ’I’m waiting for my head to explode’ which unless I’m very much mistaken takes its cue somewhere along the baggy axis of the early 90’s and hooks upon it some neatly fat and spongy floor swooning grooves before taking it on a well earned vacation to somewhere with sun to get bronzed up, seriously trippy and ready to return to Blighty as some deviously distracting bliss glazed bugger with a penchant for ’Screamadelica’ era Primal Scream. Rounding up the set is ’IDK’ which in our much humbled opinion is the EP’s defining moment not least because its blessed with one addictive beast of an R L Burnside styled snaking riff strut that’s quite possibly the catchiest thing since the Knack’s ’my sharona’ – then weld on some modular meltdown rhythms borrowed as were from Herbie Hancock’s ‘rock it’ and spin in some Go Home Productions wizardry and then tell me again – what exactly is there not to like. – are you sure we haven’t mentioned the man from another place in passing on a previous despatch we pondered to ourselves, (it is a most disturbing past time and ill gotten side effect when you spend the free moments of your day with the earphones glued to your ear holes and count as your best friend your faithful I-pod – but that’s the life of a music obsessive). This really is quite the sweetest thing, TMFAP to give him his shortened title hails from Edinburgh and beyond the fact that his latest blog entry notes his recent taking of receipt of the master copies of what we assume will be his forthcoming debut EP – we know absolutely bugger all about. That said who needs names and other such tittle tattle when the music speaks for itself after all its only mere decoration for the hapless scribe to use to pad out his / her review (cue another pot / kettle moment). Six tracks feature on his showcasing my space player and gorgeously timid creations they are to and while the obvious reference called to mind may well be the Beach Boys – or more precisely – Van Dyke Parks, scratch a little beneath the surface and you’ll be warmed to something that have a nearer shared affinity with the work of Neil Simon, Mike Post and the much admired Oddfellows Casino for TMFAP is blessed with a most mercurial pop flair whose sound phrasing touches on something innately familiar and intrinsically locked into our psyche from a youthful age, both attractive and dippy these little cuties seem unperturbed by genre, era or fashion. From the lolloping ’Mr Hill’ with its gorgeously quaint porch lit bitter sweetness as though relocated to some rustic green belt village setting all the time pushing and pulling tenderly punch drunk on the essences of the Heartstrings ’try fly blue sky’ album, Edwin Astley and the choo choo chug like softly stirred sereneness of Vernon Elliott – to ’spleunking part 1’ which after its introductory dream sequence soon assumes something of a Stereolab ’dots and loops’ slinkiness albeit as though re-phrased through a Studio 54 view finder. As to ’the loneliest cowboy’ – now at this point we are swearing we have heard this stuff before though persistent and relentless googling to source our own work (sad eh?) if throwing up zilch. We just love the Mike Post sighs and swells and the off set perkiness of it all, its lazy eyed flavouring and that sense of something very much stumbling off an early 70’s TV soundtrack – much recalling we have to say the flip cuts of Go Team’s debut release via Pickled Egg and the very excellent Brigadier who if we recall sent us a comment quite recently that we ought to reply to soon and who if he’s reading this we should say ’Hi’ to – bet he’s fallen off his perch in shock. At this point in the write up we finally discovered that errant review – thus confirming our long held feeling that we had indeed come across these gems so instead of scrapping this we’ll post it along with the original – hell we are just too nice aren’t we and anyway it deserves two bites of the cherry – in the meantime we’ll try and blag a copy of that EP – that earlier review them – apparently from last September – how time flies – – stumbled upon this while researching stuff about the ’88 tapes’ set on Kesh, absolutely gorgeous, based somewhere in Edinburgh the mysterious the man from another place applies the same deft pristine melodic caress to his craft as a certain Brighton musician known as the Brigadier. Four gem like treats feature here, amid the irrefutable affection for Bacharach and Van Dyke Parks best served we feel on the sophisticatedly smoked ‘iys’ there’s some crafty nods laid in the general direction of Morricone especially on ‘the loneliest cowboy’ which sumptuously adopts the stylised individualistic character scores applied to the chief protagonists of ‘once upon a time in the west’ in this case notably Jason Robards ‘Cheyenne’- inebriated banjos, slyly twinkling noire-ish arrangements all bedecked with an affecting and alluring porch lit prettiness – how can you resist. ‘Spelunking part 1’ is lavishly decorated with a tasty cosmic disco wrap much reminiscent of ‘dots and loops’ era Stereolab albeit spruced and tweaked by a mellowing Giorgio Moroder while ‘a recluse goes ice skating’ is as the tin says, just close your eyes and the image you get is undeniably the genteel floorshow of soft sheens of beguiling gliding pirouettes arcing among airy tear stained 60’s styled kitchen sink montages. ‘Nuff said – more please.”

Golgotha Communications LTD ‘Galgen’ (scotch tapes). More essential ear gear from those loveable folk over at Scotch Tapes, think you know the deal with these releases by now – reclaimed cassettes, limited issue all hand numbered and desirable, this one arriving in a pressing of just 20 – our copy for the keen note takers among you being #6. Again another ensemble who’ve been treading the sonic landscape making boards for sometime now without ever having previously had cause to delight and worry in equal measure our stereophonic listening device. GCL are a trio hailing from Pennsylvania and have been something of a curio among the underground’s more alert and more considered populace since making their first melodic murmuring way back in 1996. We won’t at this stage dig any deeper into their past because the information we’ve so managed to unearth appears both complicated and bearing a tendency to lead you up variously impish cul de sacs, safe to say they are a mystery and a mystery worth investigating further. Selective parts of this set originally saw the light of day as part of an ’mp3 installation’ way back in 2007 while others found themselves released by Dadaist Audio as part of the ‘galgen – the definitive collection’ set. As ever with these cassettes it’s a little hard to differentiate where one track ends and the next one starts. All at once woozy, wooing and just plain old weird, this release comprises of 18 sub plotting suites that viewed as a whole combine to create the effect of a dream sequence, its strangely eerie stuff at times bordering on the disturbing and should appeal in the first instance to fans of the early work of Bronnt Industries Kapital. After the inviting lull of the opening ’dolfus dirt penis’ – with its looping day dream motifs seemingly being pulled through the ether and sounding not unlike it has to be said like a seriously chilled Shortwave Set enduring some wired and gothic Disney experience, the Golgothas then endeavour to take you on a most curious voyage wherein the atmospheres become somewhat isolated and apocalyptic, the dislocated and menacingly suspense edged ’sera Naire’ (we think) where the mood is set to ice cold and tingling with the oddly cast eye winking gleefully at Stockhausen while attempting to recreate a noir skin tingling Hitchcockian montage. Elsewhere there’s the flat lined austerity of the youthful Cabaret Voltaire meets BBC Radiophonic Workshop electro Dadaism of (again I think) ’the keepers foal’ and the glassy doom dripped dronal ambience swathes of ’galgen’ to contend with while (again – it could be) ’moravian rhapsody’ literally terra-forms and shape shifts in the most unnatural of way – one minute regal, the next immersed in arabesque swirls only to file out to the sound of jumbling binary chatter – its most disorientating. At this point I think its best to just dispense with the song titles as I’m sure we’ve managed to get ourselves way off the mark in terms of the sequence. Between the looping drone cycles and the storm scorched barren landscapes there are moments of strangely becoming beauty as on ’galgen’ (possibly – yep same track title – though different track) wherein moments of exotic down tempo opulence weave to the fore briefly, add in some elements of post apocalyptic industrial grimness, some mind expanding flashes of lysergic lulls and plenty of wig flipped out there sound-scapes and you have yourself a release that in terms of its ability to both puzzle and creep you out should have those of you much admiring of the more saner moments of Dreams of Tall Buildings back catalogue suitably vexed and satiated.

Wild Wild Sound #11 – a tail feather tassel twisting boogie woogie slab of good wholesome hoochie coochie 50’s styled drive in sassiness hosted by Jim Stark a man with one crepe soled shoe tapping in the past, fifty glorious minutes of jive happy sweetness and forgotten dust shook oldies from pop’s golden era, here you’ll find hip wiggling shoe shuffling do wopping bubblegum treats aplenty from the likes of the Kansas City Playboys, the awesome Larry Hale, the Pirouettes, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Melvin Smith, the Counts, the Gladiolas and quite possibly one of the dirtiest cuts we’ve ever heard in the shape of ’hey shine’ by (we think) Snash and the Poutanes (please feel free to correct and enlighten me). – while we’re busy trying to root out our copy of the Bordellos forthcoming ’Debt Sounds’ set which for reasons most embarrassing we’ve managed to haplessly mislay – I know – how can you mislay so many CD’s you may well ask – well truth of the matter is as well as being stupid and lacking in any kind of want for a regimented filing system – be honest that would just be plain boring and border psychotic – hell what do take me for an accountant – we here thrive on chaos and yes its most disturbing when we come across CD’s that have apparently been around for yonks but hey that’s the way things are done – or not done as well the case may be as was the course of a recent conversation in a local watering hole just the other day when I perchance cast fond words on our latest find the Stone Roses – have you heard of them by chance not so sure about the front man with the monkey features though. So as I was saying before I rudely interrupted myself – while we go forth in search of that errant Bordellos release here’s something of a little side serving treat as were from (dad) Brian and (son) Dan from the band. Apparently recorded in three afternoon’s on a rickety four track its mooted there is an albums worth of material kicking around that will shortly see the light of day. Threadbare, frail and bruisingly intimate, hell these head bowed blistered beauties of parched lo-fi blues leave lasting scar marks upon your psyche much recalling and evoking in the first instance the same sensations encountered when we first heard the work of the Palace Brothers eking through the transistor valves courtesy of the much missed and late John Peel radio show. The fact that ‘sketches of pain’ is so solemnly and sorrowfully cut isn’t lost on us either, its wallowing sighs and aches both disturbing touching and emotionally crippled and detached possess an almost vague flavouring of ’Stupid Dream’ era Porcupine Tree as though tumble dried with a seriously damaged and resigned Radiohead. Creaking and hazy and sounding not unlike something recently unearthed from a lost vintage past all replete with a scratchy shellac hue, ‘watching the garden grow’ is a mellowing lonesome cutie braided by tear swept strings detailed to pull and peel away your protective barriers leaving its fog bound shanty blues to work its mercurial shy eyed magic in a way that admirers with a fondness for the willowy water coloured portraits provided for by J Xaverre in his George Washington Brown guise ought to find much to swoon about. That said its not all noose searching misery as the fuzzy knocked kneed proto new wave thrust of ’coy’ so ably demonstrates, a scuzzy slice of primitive agitative boogie which if we didn’t know any better would happily gather its parentage to be the result of some scabby tryst between Half Japanese and the Swell Maps – while rounding up the pack is the dour and er desperate – ‘desperate man’ – perfect for those of you who’ve ever laid awake at night wondering what a studio meeting between Nick Cave and Daniel Johnston might sound like – I know we have.

And that’s your lot for a day or three – back soon with more of the same though obviously with different records – hell who do you think we are Artrocker. Thanks to all who’ve unwittingly aided and abetted these musings – names will be provided in return for a small finders fee.

Address for communications – – now with updated play list….

Till next time – take care of yourselves


first aired – August 2009

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