missive 200 (c)
kakkmaddafakka, ocean bottom nightmare, ella montclare, norabelle, biblio, g-spot (various), dad school
Kakkmaddafakka ‘cool’ (sounds gold). No prizes for guessing how and why we picked up this blighter on a recent record buying foray – any of you muttering to yourselves ‘because its on vinyl’ make your way to the top of the class. Hailing from Bergen which I believe is in Norway the hotly tipped kakkmaddafakka – (would that be cack mother f**ker by any chance?) have apparently been causing fair amounts of fuss in their native area (not withstanding the small detail of a population head count of 8 and 5 of them no doubt being members of the bands family – does that really count – revolution not then sir – of course we only joke). Anyhow where were we before we rudely interrupted ourselves – ah yes kakkmaddafakka (try printing that on a badge – be like a bin lid) are a quartet ‘cool’ is their debut release – limited to just 500 copies and no doubt bound to fly off the shelves courtesy of the searching for the next new thing on the block record buying public’. sadly ’cool’ is – how can we put it – a stiff, okay agreed it has some nifty white funk Chic-esque meets Wildbunch moments and an obviously informed ear for late 70’s disco trip wired with a post punk pop sensibility laced with copious amounts of slinky hip hugging grinds that we here are more than a little in favour of though which puzzlingly only reveal themselves half way in, however the problem is it sounds a little cluttered, dislocated and frazzled at the intro and that’s not in a good way. Thankfully we prefer the far sharper flip cut ‘ooo’ – I feel there’s a song title pattern forming here – set at a running pace and laced with all manner of cutely infectious skanking ska rhythms and a rather merrily see sawing drinking song come sea shanty demeanour which to these ears sounds not unlike a seriously crooked and mooching Coral aping Cockney Rebel with an impishly youthful Space fiddling about beneath the mixing desk causing all manner of wiring skewif japery. Those wanting more are strongly recommended to hotfoot it over to their MS page at http://www.myspace.com/kakkmaddafakka where you’ll find the damn fine and ruggedly rouged ’crazy on the dance floor’ packed wall to wall with strutting riffs and mirror balled disco-fied glam tweaked romo twists aplenty – quite tasty admittedly.
Ocean Bottom Nightmare ‘We are serious’ (OBM). Hailing from Nottingham having formed little over two years ago, Ocean Bottom Nightmare or OBM have been currying favourable notices from some of the more attuned underground music web blogs and rightly so as this four track debut EP attests. Adorned and infected with a squalid frustration these agitants are upon and about in the blink of an eye, its almost like being under siege such is the ferocity, bleached with violently acute stop start dynamics and packing a strangely becoming melodically drilled sensibility that courts a cripplingly hollowed and ravaged epicentre that impacts, erupts and splinters with such scalding head bowed resignation that it cuts you low. OBN differentiate a jagged and brutalised path that veers between hammer headed hardcore punk elements and a breed of atonal anthem bearing metal, all at once explicitly intense and brutal yet for all its bludgeoning sonic rhetoric harmoniously free spirited and becalmed. From the opening salvo ’defiling apep with the left foot’ with its aggressively animated full throttle fronted up sparring demeanour replete as were with corkscrewed riffing and interweaving three way vocals OBN adeptly prove their masterful aplomb at being able to concoct from an apocalyptic front line artillery a beautifully intense landscape that happily erupts and splinters between being uber cool and calamitous, none more so does this reveal itself than on the rupturing doom laden opera that is the burning ‘the blade was rusted like aquatic machines’ as it freewheels between moments of festering like inferno baiting carnage and mellowing MOR motifs. That said there’s some slick puss ridden bloated fuzz bass funk mooching attaching to ‘navigator’ – probably the best cut here even if it does stray worrying in territories you’d imagine finding had Faith No More, Jane’s Addiction and Asia teamed up and occupying – and more than worthy of the entrance fee on its own just to savour the point at 2.20 therein wherein everything literally goes tits up. And for those purists among you questioning their rock credentials we suggest you take a peak at the parting ‘itchy.tasty’ dipped as it is with a killer corkscrewing snake wound riffage that nods chiefly to Tom Petty though spiked with a serious full on raw as f**k blues howl much indebted to Zeppelin. http://www.phatphidelity.com
Ella Montclare ‘between islands’ (seawater). Admittedly another release that we’ve so far managed to inadvertently mislay and indeed delay in reviewing. Debut outing for the youthful singer song writing talent that is Ella Montclare who it seems has proven to be something of a darling with the my space set following her topping the sites trip hop chart with plays extending past the half mill mark and frankly its easy to see why. ‘between islands’ is slick and sophisticated, sumptuously seductive and sublimely stately. Need we say more. Indeed we do, obviously in rapture with all things early 90’s Bristol scene a la Portishead, Massive Attack et al, Ms Montclare here weaves a mesmerising melodic myriad sweetly harnessed by down tempo lounge like curvatures within which the finite flashing detail of sweetly orbiting nocturnal noir essences elope and escape from the groove fixtures to craft a deeply alluring ethereal siren-esque like intoxicating potion that we here are thinking is ripe listening fopr those much admiring of the caress fully cultivated shimmering tones of Musetta. http://www.myspace.com/ellatrip
Norabelle ‘come the bluest dawn’ (static caravan). Another of those ultra limited affairs from the ever impressive Static HQ, limited to just 100 copies and not – we believe – officially out just yet but sure to sell out on pre orders alone we wouldn’t be to surprised. No information on Norabelle other than to say that they are a duo – Ken and Shane – who hail from Dublin and this achingly fragile four track beauty is we gather this is their debut EP. One of those releases that we suggest you find a quiet spot, fetch yourself a brew, maybe some handkerchiefs (believe you me when I say you will be thankful for them), pull up your pew nice and close, close your eyes and let yourself drift away to the tingling timbres unfolding within. Pretty hard trying to avoid getting caught by this release, beautifully bruised and tenderly crafted, its drifting airiness pursuing a demurring nature bound and free spirited Gaelic rustic-ness as it mellows and meanders to bypass your defences. But that is only half the story, what makes this release so captivating and indeed alluring is that its cast adrift with a ceaseless and frailly fragile melancholic undercurrent that if we didn’t know any better would have to say it’d had been the work of a less intensely and emotionally crippled Red House Painters – it’s the kind of bitter sweet awe that makes you want to throw your arms around it in sympathy or at the very least have you numbed, biting your lip and humbled in its company. Anyway its all touching stuff, the breezy carefree acoustic strums and the affecting laid back precision afforded to these shyly traded nuggets at times belying the same recoiling light headed romance as found softly water marking Nick Drake’s more thoughtful and less tortured moments especially on the woody aromatic braids of ’pins and needles’ while ’still’ similarly touched and treated is graced with a hymnal elegance. Yet despite both cuts being grazed by a simply affecting murmur like classicism they admittedly hide in the shade of the sets centrepiece ‘underpass‘. with its twinned vocals and tip toeing key cascades there’s a frosted symphonic signature at work here that aside being both quietly majestic and hypnotic literally cuts you in half with its surrendering love noted serenade which leaves the idyllically sea faring ’lemon’ to pick up the pieces and bid farewell though not before casting you under its lulling and looping porch lit pastoral spell. Till next time then. http://www.staticcaravan.org
Update – just had word – Norabelle has indeed sold out at source
Bibio ‘oval emerald vertigo’ (mush). Doesn’t really take much to confuse us lot here, though on this occasion I think you’ll agree that we fair grounds for appearing a little shall we say – befuddled. Recently mentioned in dispatches when we cast a more than fond eye and indeed ear over his absolutely gem like ‘vignetting the compost’ full length – just released via Mush records, it seems Mr Wilkinson (Stephen James to give his full name from the Midlands) just can’t stay out of the studio and leave his assorted array of toy instruments alone because no sooner does his third full length hit the racks then along comes this rather dinky 10 inch EP fast on its tail. Six tracks feature within – all exclusives to this set. Those much loving of the weirder more carnival-esque meets kaleidoscopically psych-illy warped and wonky toy noir tinkered lullabies on that aforementioned set will positively flip your wig over this. Here you’ll find the crooked lunar fried library lounge treatments of the dream weaving opening salvo ‘oval emerald vertigo’ – deliciously dinked and dimpled in soft centred lysergic fondants and sounding for all the world like a recording left out in the sun and proving a little worse for wear for the experience. A distant cousin in some respects is the skewed and clearly out of it dissipating dream coat ‘polycoulrophon’ – a gorgeously psyche shimmered aural canvas and a dizzy fringe ruffling example of what happens when you start mixing your smarties and space dust and inadvertently get the Busy Signals in to re-wire the Go Team’s debut seven for Pickled Egg with the inclusion of some strange ethereal choir – clearly barking stuff and perhaps the best thing here – certainly without doubt the most deranged in a glassy futuristic fairground visited by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop type way. Those of you relishing your sounds spiked with a free spirited unbound village fayre setting replete with may poles and all manner of archaic folk fancies will do well to fall longingly into the rambling rustics of ’carosello ellitico’ while once emerging from its pastoral opening the brief but beautiful ’six string marenghi’ is a frankly woefully short though lushened slice of ambience. ’Segee and the Indian’ applies the parting signatures to much euphoric and dare we tear stained and humbled joy a frost tipped garland of sepia traced celestial swathes replayed through what sounds like either a promenade stationed ice cream or some mind weaving dream machine. In short absolutely faultless and specifically for admirers of Emperor Penguin‘s ‘mysterious pony‘ set from a few years back – just need to get our mits on one of those 10 inch slabs of vinyl – I fear sleepless nights until we do. http://www.mushrecords.com
G- Spots Studio G
And so the postman came a trundling with our daily stash of sounds and grooves among them a twelve inch sized cardboard mailer. That’ll be the latest Trunk release we thought. Tearing it from its packaging it was on the turntable in a flash. Much merriment abound there was an abundance of frivolity and dancing in the streets as we all celebrated the kooky sounds of Jonny Trunk’s latest raid of the vintage vinyl vaults. Then the fuzz come to move us along and so we did only we’d moved along to far and couldn’t hear the sounds piping from the house hi-fi. We sighed, someone cried another broke wind. On that note we agreed to call it a day.
Of course incidental music obsessive’s, fans of retro TV and those small number of you who assume strange identities once a month usually a Sunday and prefer on that day to be called Gilbert, Cedric, Hetty and Gertrude and meet up in the crookedly unsafe confines of a tree hut somewhere in Wiltshire adorned in matching tank tops and flashy looking snake belts for an afternoon’s japery (and young folk that isn’t a euphemism for the exchange of bodily fluids) and the guzzling of lashings of pop and ginger beer may well recognise or at least have a strangely knowing familiarity of these sounds given that for a post space age generation weaned on early 70’s children’s TV most of this type of stuff was as standard a fair for the day as spangles, long hot summers, weird wallpaper and ‘watch out there’s a Humphrey about’ adverts (younger readers might like to ask your ma and pa about those).
‘g-spots’ is a brief glimpse into the wonderful world of Studio G a library facility set up for the supply of jingles and incidental motifs. Called into being by a certain John Gale (who incidentally scored ‘Dr Phibes Rises Again;) in the 60’s who at the time employed as an advertising music finder was finding it increasing frustrating trying to source sounds of an out of the ordinary flavour and more in keeping with the then current trends of forward thinking modernism. Deciding to set up his own library music company Gale surrounded himself with an in house team of composers, engineers and producers alike – among the roll call Frederick Judd, Douglas Wood, Harry Pitch and Cliff Johns. Initially starting out with the issue of 7 inch EP’s the libraries release roster soon expanded to incorporate full length albums wherein over the course of the next decade and a half over 40 plus titles would be released individually covering various aspects of advertising / film and TV requirements and employing all manner of generic species (as far and wide as night music made up of dinky piano suites – to religious – replete with choirs and organ solos – and powerhouse – not quite a la Raymond Scott c.1930‘s but impact tuneage used mainly for sports and news network shows) as well as heavily focusing on the use of electronics and studio wizardry to do with tape loops and sound manipulations.
It’s a good chance that you’ve happened upon the sounds of Studio G at some point or other, both children’s TV shows from the 70’s Doctor Who and Vision On frequently made use of Gale’s catalogue in fact both ‘Goofy’ and ‘elephant dance’ used on the latter feature here as did the back dropping score to the Chesty Morgan soft porn / comedy flick ‘double agent’ – the one – I believe – where she suffocates the bad dudes with her over ample and voluptuous assets – mind you we will have to get a copy to check – the score that is – purely research you understand.
Given the range of sounds provided by the Studio G company Mr Trunks’ ’G-Spots’ admirably covers all the bases giving you more than apt a teaser in order to wet your appetite and have you happily venturing out to seek and source more. Here you’ll find cheesy moments (I mean would a Trunk release be worth its salt without at least some curio slices of kitsch – try Ivor Raymond‘s ‘wild cat walk‘ – dig that fat funk struck double bass man – far out), children’s stuff (see above), horror things, future peaks via sci-fi avenues (the aching ambient overtures of Eric Peters‘ ‘space service‘), ethereal sophistication (say no more than the demurring cocktail coolness of waiting for Nina’) and weird gear (the smoking jazz head psychotropics of ’moving parts’ and the proggy psyche stew of the minimalist atmospherics of ‘foggy dock‘ – for admirers of Add N to X perhaps).
Included within the excellent ’icicles’ by Douglas Wood which some of you may well remember featuring on the Trunk compilation ’now we are ten’- a lulling symphony of ascending and descending tip toeing plinky plonky key reverbs that sound like a strange waltz for an eerie nocturnal toys at play montage that’s best filed under lounge tinged monochromatic psyche. In fact on this collection (featuring 20 on the vinyl version and 26 – we believe on the CD) Mr Wood services approximately a third of the groove space, all the time his mood arrangements doing exactly as the title hints so that ‘moon nightclub’ is a softly chilled slice of lights out bossa-nova noir laced amour while ‘boy on space’ is a dinky slab of orbiting cosmic kookiness. One for the Plone fans among you methinks. Elsewhere the fried ethnic fractures of ‘voodoo tronics’ frankly just needs to be heard to be believed given we suspect some strange tobacco was being smoked that particular night. Those of you much loving your lunar styled ambience will do well to check out the brace of cosmic scores – Ashers’ ’cosmic dust’ very much a starry eyed glassy variant of Tangerine Dream helped out by a mellowing and youthful Mr Jarre and Mr Vangelis while Afzelius’ ’cosmic blues’ sounds ripe to have its own ’Tomorrow People’ styled TV show commissioned around it (though obviously some wit will now email me saying ’in fact bollocks it was the theme tune to…..’) – we are but hapless and useless in such matters. Though all said and done we’ve happily spent the day making strange shapes to the fat and wobbly whirring sounds of Mr Peters ’freak blues’ which has resulted in us incapacitating ourselves and no doubt being the subject of the complaints letter page in next week’s local village herald. Ah well such is life. Purchase on sight – preferably the vinyl version if only to truly savour the striking retro cover artwork.
For further information about Studio G and a chance to sample that 48 part catalogue go to http://www.studiog.co.uk/
http://www.myspace.com/dadschool – damn fine stuff we must admit and something that’s had us all a swooning here in the bijou confines of the record shed, and bijou it is I can tell you, barely enough room to swing a cat which we’ll admit we’ve tried with failing degrees of success and some strange looks from our feline mate Dylan who has since gone into hiding fearing that he’s the unwitting guinea pig of some experiment to propel objects into space by means of propulsion alone. Only joking Dylan is safe and sound and currently on fox watch which involves him hiding in a bush (and when he spots me) pretends to be top cat pouncing out from said hiding place in some sort of piss poor act of bravado trying to give the impression that he’s just scared off a pack of savage foxes when in reality they’ve already rumbled him (and me) and done the off some five minutes since. Of course you gotta give him credit, a pat and some biscuits and tell him what a brave boy he is only for him to blot his copy book by leaping some distance into the air on seeing his own shadow. Ah well. Where were we – ah yes Dad School which isn‘t as you‘ve probably already twigged some establishment for failing fathers in which case I‘d never be let out – instead it’s a musical journey in some respects undertaken by just one person – a Massachusetts resident by the name of Andrew Nolan who it appears is much informed by all things Durutti Column, Roy Budd, Codeine, Gnac (especially on the Twin Peaks-esque ‘Dimes’ with its dimpling of feedback burns) and Roy Montgomery which in our book is something to be both applauded and indeed admired. There’s much to love here, that is if you’re easily persuaded by the lulling bathing of lonesome and desirably pensive portraits of intimately woven intonations longingly drilled by the delayed detonation of sparsely wound slow core aspects of post rock and the occasional feedback eruptions. All at one touching, tragic and dare we say at times tumultuous Nolan’s aural landscape is a thing of bruised, brooding bleak beauty, to date he’s released a handful of – we assume – self released CD’s namely ‘womb’, ‘clouds 4’ and ‘Sydney as ghosts and fall’ – all of which we’ll endeavour to nail and inspect a little closer in a future missive. For now we suggest you dive in and savour the cuts available via the showcasing player here, from the hypnotic and trance like wistfulness of the oceanic sounding ‘signals’ which at roughly 2 minutes in sweetly terra forms from its initial entry point of arcing cascades of interweaving riff spectres into a mellowing and fragile storm passing sereneness. Best moment of the set though by some distance is ‘Plus Froid’ – exquisitely detailed and pepper corned by a night sky lightshow of forlorn arpeggio crests and scratched softly with a solemnly sweet though hitherto aching abandonment with its controls set to break your heart. Inspired.