Look what we sneaked online while you were sleeping…
Transmission 34.0…. w/e 26/08/2017
Revolutions of a 33 and 45 kind….
Opening credits …
… we begin and end this particular missive with two recent broadcasts by the IMPAtv folk …. this is R Elizabeth ….
…. features …
….r Elizabeth, rotten bliss, eat lights become lights, concretism, the heartwood institute, Syrenomelia, Karen Marks, Fall on Saigon, Danton’s Voice, Ruth, the Fast Set, Moderne, Whirlywirld, Lebanon Hanover, Linea Aspera, pye corner audio, melmoth the wanderer, cathode ray eyes, opel, the barbiturates, gary numan, daddy lion, agitation phi, art trip and the static sound, jumble hole clough, holy family, razor cunts, tomorrow syndicate, ummagma, the murmurists, trupa trupa, miles cooper seaton, qc197, field lines cartographer, vic mars, pulselovers, a year in the country, vile assembly, Nathan hall and the sinister locals, sidewalk society, joanne robertson ….
Opening this edition of ‘look what we sneaked….’ to the strangely enchanting yet hitherto eerily haunting visitation that is ‘two sisters’ by Rotten Bliss, the work of cellist Jasmine Abigail Pender and something that comes pulled from a near imminent set heading out of Reverb Worship entitled ‘the nightwatchman sings’. A thing of disquieting dark beauty rolling in through a ghostly fog on timeless ripples whose ebbing wash peels back the years to reveal a vintage crafted in archaic folk tongues, much like label friends the Hare and the Moon, there’s an out of time primitive expression afoot here that rings to the shadowy enchantment of Preterite, yet fall beneath its fixed stare spell craft and hints of Nico chill with both a magical and macabre unease. https://rottenbliss.bandcamp.com/
Eyed on a posting earlier today, early listening treats escaping the sonic bunker of Eat Lights Become Lights, who at present are holed for the time being crafting kosmische kool that in the course of time will result in their sixth studio full length. This is a demo version of ‘and then she smiled….’ a slo-mo slice of bliss toned beauty oozed in lush lazy eyed lilting star-crossed sprays which by these ears, had us somewhat seduced and smitten, fondly mesmerised by its orbiting oceanic drifts chartering a navigational point on the sonic spectrum somewhere between a latter career Spacemen 3 and a very youthful Spiritualized. https://soundcloud.com/eat-lights-become-lights/and-then-she-smiled
Echoes from the early 70’s courtesy of a few little Concretism curios, first up the holding video used to greet folk in attendance at the recent Delaware Road happenings at the Kelveden Hatch nuclear bunker last month, a gathering that featured various Radiophonic and Hauntologist luminaries as well as a rare appearance by Concretism himself. This 30-minute montage casting a nostalgic glow finds various public information broadcasts wrapped around a stripped down looped mosaic of ‘normal service will resume shortly’. Very eerie.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/227530051″>Holding video for the Delaware Road event, 2017</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/concretism”>concretism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Newly posted by Concretism here’s the Delaware Road video accompanying the track ‘of Frisbees and pylons’ a track which we mentioned a wee while back – somewhere here in fact – https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2016/06/21/concretism-12/ – still sounds superbly FortDax like, surely time for that new album.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/230341518″>Of Frisbees and Pylons – Delaware Road video version</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/concretism”>concretism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
….and just while we were talking of Delaware Road, if you head over to the Buried Treasure bandcamp page you might still be able to grab yourself one of these Kelveden Bunker Maps handed out for the event, included in the pack badges aplenty and a pack of delatabs, useful for staving off the effects of radiation.
Flirting in similar terrains to Concretism, there’s a free to download newie from the much admired around these parts the Heartwood Institute floating around at the moment entitled ‘the bold grenadier’ – a reworking of a traditional folk tune no less given something of wonky heraldic refit and sent parading out of the HI dream factory pirouetting upon a sepia toned waltzing lunar carousel all the time dispatching affectionate love notes charmed in the magical and the mystique. https://soundcloud.com/heartwoodmusic-1/the-bold-grenadier
additional note – keep eyes peeled for some Polytechnic Youth happenings by the Heartwood Institute soon along with a very special Halloween outing….
Where one might experience something of the eerie, we hear a thing of spectral beauty, this be Syrenomelia who I believe hail from Belgium, this being ‘weight of a beautiful mind’ – a wonderful slice of stilled noir elegance ghosted in a shadow traced neo classicist frosting, bruised and secretive its sublimely framed in a porcelain atmospheric that sits with prowling intent between the Neighbourhood and No Ceremony. https://soundcloud.com/syrenomelia/weight-of-a-beautiful-mind
interlude … cold wave … Karen Marks, Fall on Saigon, Danton’s Voice, Ruth, the Fast Set, Moderne, Whirlywirld, Lebanon Hanover, Linea Aspera …
Karen Marks ….
Fall on Saigon …
Danton’s Voice …
The Fast Set …
Lebanon Hanover …
Linea Aspera …
Up next a bit of a treat for those of you who love their headphonic happenings somewhat sounding like escapees from soundtracks found littering the opening credits of forgotten stock found in 80’s video shops. This is Pye Corner Audio captured live, these recordings taken from a recent rare appearance across the pond, the Brooklyn Bazaar to be a little more precise in May of this year. A full on immersive head tripping experience into the darker more shadowy terrains of 90’s techno culture – see Biosphere and Plaid interspersed with dystopian future visions and oceanic odysseys a la Zombi, quite mesmeric if you ask me and what’s more available to freely download, what’s that saying about mouths, staring and gift horses. https://soundcloud.com/pye-corner-audio/pcalive-at-brooklyn-bazaar-nyc-20th-may-2017
I’m fairly certain we may have mentioned this in earlier transmissions. Still, nothing like a revisit especially if it evokes childhood memories of sleepless nights literally paralysed at the macabre feasts of fantasy that spooked the goggle box and made it such an inviting, albeit watched through the cracks between fingers with hands over the face, visual carnival of weird delights. Are these not the roots of hauntology where folk magic, custom, strange craft and alternate realities coalesce, a nostalgic trip through the shadowy quarters of a 70’s child’s Television haunting courtesy of your master of creepy ceremony Melmoth the Wanderer. Pull up pouffe, closer to the open fire, so close you can almost see your reflection in the flames and watch as the sparks snap, crackle and dance to these ghostly visitations and you connect to the forgotten chill of your younger self, for here themes from lost and long forgotten oddities stir once again into life, classics such as the Tomorrow People, Timeslip, Grinnygog, Picture Box, Chocky, Armchair Thriller or Theatre – I can never remember rightly – was so scared of the opening credits to get any further. https://www.mixcloud.com/Melmoth_The_Wanderer/the-after-school-club/
…and staying with Melmoth the Wanderer his latest listening chill ‘when the lights go out’ finds inspiration from 1981’s ‘Christmas Spirits’ – a festive haunting featuring Elaine Strict as the tormented Julia. Amid this spectral supernatural séance, a gathering of Radiophonic Workshop souls flicker in and out of the shadows weaving their eerie disquiet alongside a formidable guest roster that includes Mark Korven, Acanthus and the much-admired Will Sergeant. https://www.mixcloud.com/Melmoth_The_Wanderer/when-the-lights-are-out/
Fancy some darkly woven psychosis choked shadowy psych, frankly they don’t come as wired and wyrd as this ‘un, a track culled from Cult of Dom Keller dude Ryan, this be him in his Cathode Ray Eyes solo guise who if you dig around here you might find us fondly mentioning a year or so ago. Anyhow this is his new thing, ‘how we lost the 21st century’ be its name from off which, causing mild smitten forming tremors around these here parts, we’ve been a tad taken with ‘we sleep till we rust’ which unless our ears do seriously deceive has something of a manic teeth bared scuzzed out and beaten around the edges Edward Ka-Spel about its ways hurtling as were into some black hole oblivion. https://thecathoderayeyes.bandcamp.com/album/how-we-lost-the-21st-century
One of the tracks omitted from the final edit of the recent goodie bag gathering given to all attending the FdM summer soirees was ‘more like roses’ by Opel, which you can now find on a beefed up enhanced edition of ‘The Bough At Jacobs Rake’ Demos’ via the ensembles bandcamp page. The set features a selection of archive recordings dating back to the 90’s, their progressive folk sound and no doubt ultimate demise suffering at the hands of the twin tedium that was grunge and brit pop. Described as ‘wicker rock’ these recordings are sure to spark a degree of interest not least because of the fact that the word ‘progressive’ has in recent years been afforded respectability after decades buried in the wilderness. However back to ‘more like roses’ where indeed we started this rambling text. It’s easy to see why the folk at FdM took to this, for the whole set at large has the original FdM folk ethos scored through it like letters in candy rock, applied sublimely with a 70’s vintage folk awareness while hitherto courting with a transatlantic flair, ‘more like roses’ is finitely crafted with a vibe of prime era Curved Air albeit transplanted onto the first album era beautified intricacy of Levitation. Okay the sound might be a bit muddy and warped, the result of dust gathered tapes, but still the crystalline craft purrs through with adorable affection. https://opel1.bandcamp.com/track/more-like-roses
While most recovering 80’s icons are plugging directly to connect with their past selves, most notable of recent times being Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Numan has in recent years emerged from the wilderness of the late 80’s and early 90’s reforged and reborn, upgrading his sound and forcibly shifting it into an apocalyptic climate both personalised and obsessed with mortality. With the eagerly expected ‘savage songs from a broken world’ lurking on the horizon, another track gets leaked for early listening pleasure, ‘and it all began with you’ with its ‘I die you die’ ghostly flotillas at the start is a spectral love note spooled in a closely woven intimacy whose revealing vulnerability is ghost moulded to the blue print contours that gave birth to ‘Telekon’ whilst pressed upon a quietly shadow torn majesty the likes of which graced both ‘my last day’ and ‘a prayer for the unborn’.
Fancy some stoner fuzz, course you do, then let us introduce you to the Barbiturates who do a neat line in vintage voodoo groove courtesy of ‘no pity’. This slab of bad boogie growls and grooves with the kind of beatnik-y big bearded and wasted swing that recalls Sabbath with a certain Jack Black aping around from the fore, something which unless I’m very much mistaken ought to find favour among the rise above loving folk among you. https://soundcloud.com/thebarbiturates/no-pity
Another of those ‘uns that somehow sneaked beneath our radar when we weren’t looking from way back at the start of the year, this is Daddy Lion with their debuting single ‘maslow’ – alas annoyingly, no info on these folk, but safe to say this pop primed nugget veers into the kind of terrains that one time or other had us counting down the days till the appearance of the next single from the likes of the High, the Clouds and the Power of Dreams way back in the late 80’s / early 90’s, here resplendently radiant in the adoring of softly euphoric sunbursts. https://soundcloud.com/daddylion/maslow
Another gem somewhat overlooked earlier in the year, this comes peeled from an EP by Agitation Phi entitled ‘The Psychick Tropical Prismatic Tones Ov’ through Cior, this being ‘Astramentalis Dub’. As the title might well hint, this babe comes doused in dub flavours, the kind of thing which if I’m being honest sounds as though its eked its way from out of the Boring Machines sound house. Dripped in mind arranging psychotropics and darkened by the swell of brooding disquiet, this blighter mooches around the listening space with ominous intent spraying forth chill seasoned hazes of noir trimmed disquiet. https://soundcloud.com/agitationphi/astramentalis-dub
I’m fairly certain we’ve missed a shed load of release happenings from the Art Trip and Static Sound folk of late, so to make up for this error laden oversight here’s the cool cold chill that is the stare you down isolationist flatlining ‘no fly zone’. This sore thumb plugs itself directly into the whole austere post punk late 70’s scene, sounding here not unlike a particularly icy Controller Controller in cahoots with Ludus, in truth coming across like a lost Peel mix tape from 1980 which incidentally, is no bad thing in our book. https://arttripandthestaticsound.bandcamp.com/track/no-fly-zone
opening this particular evenings listening soiree with the latest hatchlings from the stupidly talented weird ear imagination of Jumble Hole Clough. Clearly a dude whose wiled away many a lost night digging the zounds of the mighty Zappa, ‘Nutclough and elsewhere’ takes recordings from a recent appearance at the Nutclough Tavern in Hebden Bridge for a spot of tinkering and sprucing. Featuring seven tracks, the watchword here is smoking for here are to be found the spraying of funked out mellowness interspersed with soft sheens of tripped out psych toning with ‘I shuddered like a horse’ setting the ears to smoulder whilst simultaneously sporting its finest Gary Wilson grooving. Somewhere else there’s the jazz doodled early 70’s wigginess of the beardy off its box smokiness that is ’unlucky man’ to flap your flares and sideburns to, certainly something which unless these ears do deceive, had us much minded of a youthful Herbie Hancock. That we must admit to being a tad mildly smitten by both ‘lines in the landscape’ and ‘notes in the margins’ which, coincidentally are the sets shortest tracks, with the former deliciously yearned in sleepy headed flotillas of super chilled south sea island breezes – see the Sea and Cake for references – with the latter deliriously demurred with nods aplenty to the whisper like dreamy tones found lurking on Brian Eno’s ‘another green world’. Which all leaves ‘he laughed at Bryan Ferry’ to round out matters though not before bathing your listening space in a seductive seafaring glow tripped out by some nifty Math-ian intricacies a la Tortoise with a side serving of Arthur Russell. https://jumbleholeclough.bandcamp.com/album/nutclough-elsewhere
Don’t mind admitting that we’re a tad overly smitten with this ‘un. Prized from an album heading out later this week the name of which escapes me just for the moment, on reflection it might be called ‘values’. Anyhow it’s heading out through the admired melodic imprint, it be by Holy Family who hail from Gothenburg. The cause of all the hoo-hah here being the effervescently peeled pop pretty ‘Colibris’ which initially heads out sounding like a studio love in concocted by an ‘in vivo’ era Wire sparring with Kitchens of Distinction before something of an unpeeling is afoot and everything goes radiantly Flaming Lips-y with momentary detours into the pulsing riff strobe of bliss bruised euphoria where upon they veer into the terrains of the unsettlingly quiet of late Crimea. http://www.spex.de/2017/08/17/dimensionen-von-zeit-und-raum-holy-familys-album-values-im-vorabstream/
Been a long while since anything from kitchen leg records came a calling to set our listening space in states of disarray. This is the charmingly named Razor Cuts, a duo who obviously delight in the discordant, the deranged and the quite damaged. ‘Nature’s pocket’ is a sumptuously skewed if not schizoid eleven track art bombed freak out, the kind of thing that ought to appeal to the Sonic Youth admiring folk among you. Both frenetic, barking and wayward, Razor Cunts occupy a frayed lo-fi post everything space that nods, as the press release rightly notes, to the Raincoats, the Slits. Au Pairs et al with a side serving of L7 for good measure. That said it’s clear they are under the influence of …and the native hipsters for here, amid the little in jokes and goonish tomfoolery, are found moments of disquieting genius as served for instance on the frenetically wired wood crafted noir psychosis of ‘justin time’ and the sinister stare of the shadow scratching ‘nightmares’. That said there’s more than enough scab picking squirrelling amid the choking hysteria of the poke in the eye jabbing like ‘turpentine’ to suggest times spent pouring obsessively over the grooves of Sonic Youth’s ‘Goo’ until they’d near worn through with repeat play. In terms of favourite moments, there’s the no can do wrong dumbed down and damaged kicking applied to their REM’s ‘it’s the end of the world’ styled ‘die die die’ and the angularly wayward ‘telephone’ to contend with, the latter forming a curious kinship with Deux Furieuses. https://kitchenlegrecordsberlin.bandcamp.com/album/razor-cunts-natures-pocket
heading out of the polytechnic youth sound house next week, if reports posted on the 345rpm website are to be believed, (well they should know as they’ve been graced with the enviable task of lathe pressing them by hand), new groove from the adored Tomorrow Syndicate. An album looming on the near distant horizon, this double A sided turntable trembler pairs together ‘altered state’ and ‘Okulomotor’, both these tracks featured with much fondness in previous dispatches earlier in the year (see below) and are now set to arrive in a strictly limited 111 lathe cut pressing. These psci-fi-tronic kosmische kapsules purr with a pristinely turned retro-futuro glow. Ghost lit love notes emitted from distant refuelling points located on the outer edges of the galactic highway, at once sounding yesterday, now and tomorrow, these cruise controlled melodic missives come tailored in a silver age fashioning that joins the invisible dots to link Wire, La Dusseldorf, Astronauts and Fly, which just to sum things up, makes it an essential occurrence.
Second pre-release serving of lunar loveliness from Ummagma’s forthcoming ‘LCD’ EP. This is ‘back to you’ as re-imagined and re-tweaked by the legendary Dean Garcia here given a simply smoulder forming frost flecked dub detailing that’s seductively smoked in spectral noir essences which softly thaw to reveal a nocturnal love note sophisticat sprayed and shimmered in the likeness of ROC. https://soundcloud.com/ummagma/sets/ummagma-lcd-ep
Not that we wanna make a habit of this, then again blessed with a craft such as this, I can fairly say without a shadow of doubt that Agitation Phi will be popping up at regular intervals in coming missives. For now, though, second shot this missive alone, here she is in cahoots with Myrh courtesy of ‘round and round’ for what is essential a fracturing torch toned mysterio which reference wise, steps on the toes of both Virgin Passages and Carina Round. Both dark and seductive, this primitive slab of spectral soul blues wiles, mooches and stirs from sinister shadows, its fraying and twisted riff opines hinting of the dark hearted grooving of a ‘junkyard’ era Birthday Party albeit found scabbing the monochrome teasing of the Creatures amid disconnecting flotillas of woozy detachment. https://soundcloud.com/agitationphi/round-and-round-with-myrh-1?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=facebook
Free form fury a go go anyone. I must start by apologising for losing the press notes introducing this, a happening in November, location – Manchester, a call out by the Murmurists in order to gather, I guess, a 100-strong roll call of variously out there talents inhabiting the fringe markers of their chosen disciplines for a free form extravaganza that’s sure to dement, distract and delight in equal schizoid extremes. This here is a trailer giving details and I guess, simultaneously giving hint of what to expect, quite frankly serious out there.
Additional notes ….
….. here’s that press release …..
For Saturday 11th November 2017, in Manchester, I’m putting together a very special ‘100 Murmurists’ version of my established Murmurists project, and seeking interesting and interested artists from across any and all disciplines to take part in a mass multi-media live event …. everything from musicians, dancers and spoken word artists to comedians, actors, performance artists, VJs, film-makers and visual artists. Performers work from graphic scores, containing instructions and timings, set to a stopwatch which is included as part of a projected film. It’s basically structured improvisation, wherein everyone involved gets to be themselves and do their own thing; the score and its timings serving to maintain the balance between space and creative cacophony and prompting specific collaborations taking place within the whole. Performers are dispersed throughout the available space, with no demarcation between them and the audience. The music itself is an admix of free jazz and intelligent noise elements; and there is a strong spoken word component, including massed voices, as performers read my prose from cards which I prepare. These events are at once immersive and overwhelming, and Murmurists has earned a reputation as a unique live project worth seeing.
Do get in touch if you are interested. Full details in the trailer.
Prepare to be arrested and smittened, for looming on a distant horizon, a new full length from Trupa Trupa waits in patient quiet majesty. With its dials set for stun, ‘Jolly New Songs’ is due for release this Autumn via blue tapes and x-ray records, from what we’ve heard so far, this set may well prove to be one of the albums of year and will into the bargain, blew many away in terms of its impacting reach. So, while we get to prepping a full review, there be the small though essential matter of a pre-teaser download only single heading out at the end of next week in the guise of ‘to me’. a heavenly visitation which from the start is shrouded, peppered and turned in a sepia tipped celestial love note framing, its opining adoring bathed in a softly shimmered spectral kiss that soon begins to fracture and emotionally unravel in a thunderous bliss burning haze of anxious urgency. As stunning as it is emotionally draining. Alas no sound links just now, rest assured missives are being fired.
Equally perfect and something that I don’t mind to admitting, has been the reason for us hitting repeat buttons frantically is a little thing of beauty heading this way via the Ascension Hall recording folk. This be Miles Cooper Seaton with an incoming set entitled ‘phases in exile’ from off which ‘I am that’ has been sent ahead on scouting detail. An absolutely stunning cut whose sparsely weaved minimalist electro symphonia is graced with a ghostly air whose eerie enchantment treads to a hitherto schooling of the lush mesmeric orchestrations of Bernard Hermann over which, comes pressed the nocturnal seduction of a prime time Aloof in cahoots with David McAlmont, in short an intimately bruised shadow falling 90’s ghost light of soul noir sophistication. Again, no sound links just yet, but we are working on them.
Justin Timberlake, Ace of Base and Static Caravan. Unlikely bedfellows you say, yet it proves a point that we’ve been banging on about for ages now, that being that over the course of the last few years, as subtle as it might be, no two Static Caravan releases have been alike. This is a label that’s as likely to follow up a killer kosmische release with something bordering on neo classicist or even featuring a brass band rendition of a progressive cornerstone. In short Static Caravan has moved from that all too often fateful genre boxing in. instead these releases all share one thing in common, the Static seal of approval, and with that the assured trust, that no matter from what genre or sonic shadows from whence forth they fall, that those long-time subscribers to the label will relish and adore. So where then do Justin Timberlake and Ace of Base fit in to all this, well simply as authors of the covers re-appraised and gracing these grooves by the QC197 collective. A gathering of souls – singers, songwriters, producers and musicians who, according to the press release, appear to have ‘gravitated towards one another through the strange pathways of the industry’. Framed with a cinematic presence, both ‘all that she wants’ and ‘cry me a river’ are steeped in an amorphous dark seduction, the former arrested to a feint sophisticated pulse tone whose nocturnal noir ghosting endows it with an attractively alluring sparsely scored smokey torch soul recasting. As to the beguiling haunting that is ‘cry me a river’, shrouded in a moment of withdrawn intimacy, its brutal bruising and souring separation is sublimely brought to a scarring fore that’s perched and poised upon a deathly chilled no more finality, absolutely crushing.
Expect mentions in full at the tail end of the next week for this one, the latest audiological research publication from the libraries of A Year in the Country. ‘the quietened cosmologists’ turns its telescopic eye to the heavens to ponder the forgotten space missions, abandoned projects and man’s earliest attempts to sever the earthbound shackles and step forward into the cosmic void. Appraised of a running theme and tone that switches between hope, sorrow and abandonment, ‘the quietened cosmologist’ features a dozen spectral suites, each exploring the various aspects, forgotten histories and what ifs of these golden age adventures. On this preliminary voyage will be taking in the mysteries explored and pondered upon by Pulselovers, Field Lines Cartographer and Vic Mars, the former mentioned of whom serve up ‘lonely puck’ – a wonderfully serene and affectionate love note mailed out from across the outer edges of the cosmos, a transmission from a long lost and forgotten outpost if you like, twinkle toned and radiantly awash in what sounds like shimmering cosmic church bell celebrations. Vic Mars opts for some empirically brooding bruised beauty for his salvo ‘X-3’ – a hymnal harmony of the spheres traced in the finest threads of majestic Vangelis tapestries, guaranteed to lay you low with its sorrowing detachment. While last one for this brief ride, Field Lines Cartographer’s ‘OPS-4’ with its binary shimmer tones and vapour rubbed ethereal detailing, cuts a finite line between the enchanting and the eerie, a ghost flotilla perhaps a sonic spectre of sorts or rather more, an orbital occurrence with past visions looped on endless replay, quite remote and sinister if you ask me. www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk
Incoming this October through vile records, second single followed in hot pursuit by a debuting full length from the hotly tipped Vile Assembly. With ‘fattened by the horrors of war’ looming large in the shadows the withering ‘gone’ precedes it. Locked by a fixed dead eyed stare, the scab picking ‘gone’ glowers with despairing agitation, reference wise sitting somewhere between Lupen Crook and David Cronenberg’s Wife, a lone voice rising from the street shadows, dispirited, cheated and stripped of hope, to a suffocating malaise a fist hammers down, a waking call to those denied and without voice all pressed upon a vice like suffocating scowl who maddening disconnection of sea sawing riff jabs elicits subliminal tones of disquieting intent.
Shiver me timbers, roll up roll up for the psychedelic carnival that is ‘effigies’ by Nathan Hall and the Sinister Locals. Stepping out of the shadows of his more recognisable Soft Hearted Scientists guise, incidentally the band are on a year sabbatical, Mr Hall follows his recently well received ‘the Volga Sturgeon Face’ EP with this vivid and lush dream coat. In many ways, ‘Effigies’ provides for classic Soft Hearted Scientists fayre, those remembering the band’s first three EP’s from many years ago that appeared on the sadly defunct my kung Fu will be instantly drawn to its richly threaded tapestry of strange delights and hurdy gurd-ian mysteries for this ultimately is a wondrous voyage to secret villages, strange lands, forgotten folklores and distant dreams all kaleidoscopically coloured and radiantly abundant in a peculiar peppering of yarns, bewitchment and heraldic tales.
As noted in previous dispatches, ‘Effigies’ is a seafaring mysterio amid whose crew the ghosts of XTC, William D Drake (see ‘spider skin’), the Cardiacs, the Soft Boys and Syd Barrett sail, here you’ll be affectionately taken by hand to familiar sightings and settings for the tracks appearing on that aforementioned EP feature here in their entirety. ‘like a setting sun’ – the best moment of that set by several yards, comes prettily purred in a breezy pastoral airiness that instantly recalls the celebrated musical craft of a ‘mummer’ era XTC albeit here impishly daubed and inked by the waywardly woozy charms of a ‘gigglegoo’ era Freed Unit. ‘Catacombs of Camden Town’ arrives adoringly lilted in lazy eyed rustic sprays which gently scratched reveal a cornucopia of haunted memories and sorrowed introspection. Elsewhere there’s the fan faring pomp and hurrah of ‘everybody’s burning effigies’, a stirring and effervescent sun bathed joyous parade of jubilant fairgrounds and afternoon brass bands gathered in merriment for a weirdly surreal mayday festooned village green carnival. Lest we forget mention of ‘song for the flowers’ which still, all these months on since first hearing, is to these ears a dead eyed nod to the bliss toning softly turned campfire psych of a youthful Earlies.
So that’s the EP tracks done with, now onwards to the other hidden gems lurking within, such as, for instance ‘plant your flag’ – a Meek tweaked psych pill, its baroque ghosted steam punk sonic inventory providing a vintage echo much in tune with the Victoriana detailing applied to wax by Paul Roland. ‘the sighing song’ – the shortest track here bar the end credits farewell salute that is ‘song from the haunted pavilion’ – shimmers with dreamy delight traced all the time in a vividly bright posy of pastoral cascades and lightly layered crystal tipped drift washes. For us though, best moment of the set by a short head is ‘the unholy ghost’ for here amid the eerie enchantment and the whiff of old English peculiar, eccentricity is in abundance with the spirits of the Barrett, the Cardiacs and Giant Paw conspiring to reign all manner of wizardry, waywardness and olde worldle ne’er do well’ing in concocting a ghostly brew of macabre musical hall merriment. That said, ‘stained glass girl’ is no slouch in the affection stakes, swashbuckling high seas adventuring replete with ghouls and supernatural visitations make this a jaunty jamboree. Into the final straight, ‘your name in flames’ with its crystalline cosmic unworldliness has an air of the spectral symphonia beauty that piped through the core of Porcupine Tree’s ‘stupid dream’ while the hymnally hued ‘we’ll go walking (please don’t let us lose the things that make us who we are)’, (good luck with the t-shirts for that one), is dappled in dreamy swirls upon a wonderfully sleepy headed hypnotic campfire charming,, think Clinic in cahoots with a debut album era Toshack Highway. Which all leaves ‘song from the haunted pavilion’ to set its course for the disappearing horizons and with it bringing a wheezing close to the proceedings courtesy of a sepia scratched Sunday bandstand soiree. Irresistibly out of time, out of fashion and out of this world.
Further reading ….
one we missed in earlier dispatches ….
Last up for this particular Fruits de Mer soiree, be warned there will be more later this missive, a truly extraordinary listening event. A set of raw unmastered demos, hints of greatness within that were lost and forgotten in the melee of the late 60’s and gathered together and released on limited issue in the early 90’s. enter a group of dudes from Long Beach, who hear the album, fall in love with it no doubt puzzle as to how these nuggets go unheralded while their peers seem obsessed with bands of that era obviously more well known yet sadly lacking in the creativity of their new found find. The band go on to record a covers EP peppered with faithful tastings after which, due to the attracting quiet acclaim, a plan is hatched to rework that much adored demo stuffed CD. The band from the 60’s are the Action while the band with the burning plan are Sidewalk Society, the album in question ‘rolled gold’, the revisited variant ‘Strange Roads’. Of course they’re not the first band to recreate an album by another, they won’t be the last, but such a process always involves dilemmas, you can always trash it up and stamp a totally different interpretation on matters, you can cut yourself adrift lose your way and make a shambles of it all or, and this is the more difficult option, create a faithful re-reading, which ultimately involves you getting under the skin of the sounds and wiring yourself into not only the authors creative mindset, but the moment, the place and the prevailing vibe and that’s before you’ve gotten around to adapting your style to the point your living, breathing, thinking and playing like your chosen subject. Happily, enough, Sidewalk Society fall into the latter category. Yet what makes this release all the more remarkable and perhaps errs on their side in terms of room to manoeuvre, is the fact that the core material is clean, raw, naked and free from productive processing thus capturing the creative prowess, for want of a better word, naked and free from tinkering and trappings. Sidewalk Society probably wouldn’t thank us for saying this, but they’ve made these 14 cuts their own by rounding out the edges, faithfully adding to and smoothing these iconic recordings, I mean worthy of the admission price alone, ‘something to say’ is finitely cut with the kind of 60’s after glowing power pop precision that nods to the likes of Kevin Tihista and a supporting cast of Autumn Leaves folk. Somewhere else the manic ‘love is all’ arrives aglow in a subtle psych shelling that’s sumptuously refried in Mod-ish wigged out freak outs, in truth not a million miles in style and fashioning as that of a pre ‘SF Sorrow’ era Pretty Things. Creative cool is in abundance on the radiantly lush ‘Icarus’ throughout which classic era Who-isms pour forth while the effervescently fizzed ‘strange roads’ – perhaps all said the best thing here by a short head, is acutely nipped with a needling motif whilst flavoured in a hip wiggling 60’s freak beat dandy grooving. The purring pop symmetry of a first album era Bee Gees are instantly recalled upon hearing the breezily sun toned close harmony hued ‘things you cannot see’ – a wonderfully lazy eyed floral flotilla replete with parping brass posies. Those fancying something a little kissed in a mushrooming kaleidoscopic swirling might do well seeking out ‘I’m a stranger’ which warped with a nifty blues swing that at times veers towards the Faces simultaneously fractures to an olde English eccentricity while the tightly wired and fried ‘follow’ just smokes with a coolly coalesced garage beat grooving. Which leaves ‘in my dreams’ to swoon its way to the end grooves though not before bathing the listening space in a gorgeously psych tweaked dayglo wigginess replete with moments of baroque breathlessness, pulse jangling euphoria and mind expansive lysergics. The happening danders as far as we are concerned.
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…. as promised, we wrap up this missive with the most recent IMPAtv transmission … this is Joanne Robertson ….