The Departure Lounge ….
(still waiting …….. )
An occasional, occasional.
Stuff you might have missed, ignored or just simply hated.
Expect spelling mistakes aplenty …….
Over recent weeks we’ve fallen behind with the amount of review postings, it’s a fact that’s irked us a great deal, yet as much as we try, we are at the mercy of fatigue. It’s quite obvious for all to see, that things aren’t really happening, so with that in mind, we are in the process of possibly retiring the Sunday Experience and related social outlets on New Year’s Eve. It’s with a heavy heart that I’m making this decision, but I honestly think that I’ve pushed this as far as it can go, a fact brought to bear by our overriding disappointment and realisation, that we are letting people down, something which in all honesty, gives us sleepless nights. In addition, we’ve had thrown into the mix, what can only be described as bullying messages as to why this or that hasn’t been reviewed. It’s an incredulous situation that has stunned
As many people have asked, a rather depressing and lengthy health update, sorry it’s a bit grim ….. the more pressing and important music stuff follows …..
I’ve literally just returned from a, for once, proactive consultation that lasted an hour. These last few weeks I’ve been rethinking the whole path I’ve been ‘forced’ to take and due to recent incidents have been minded to review what do I want and not what other people tell me, I want. After a long chat with a most understanding, empathetic and honest consultant wherein I outlined my concerns, troubles and loss of control of my own fate, I have now decided to cease all treatment for now, treatment which would have meant another six cycles of a chemotherapy cocktail which more than likely, would have run on for at least the next five months without the guarantee of effecting my condition. I feel unburdened to have stood my ground. That’s the grim stuff done with, to the music …….
First of all, a heartfelt thanks for all the supportive and wonderfully uplifting messages posted in recent weeks. I wish I had the time to respond to them all personally on an individual basis, but truth be known, some have provoked such kindness that I’ve been overcome with a mixture of deep joy and obvious humbled sadness. Now I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would post my reasons for refusing treatment, understandably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to face, consider and make in my life. But truth is, a realism set in. Since the original diagnosis in February, I have felt clearly omitted from a conversation that was in reality mine. I had no say, no control or understanding as to what was happening. I was offered a treatment without discussion, that being chemotherapy. I was averse to this direction of travel, I’m not stupid, I’d read about various options, chemotherapy considered by some to irritate and aggravate a condition like mine, small cell variety, wildly aggressive with its own want for travel. Not once was a plan discussed, neither where my concerns taken on board or clarity given as to why immune therapy or consideration for cancer trials, even an operation to remove. It was Chemo or nothing. Even on asking how much time I had, life expectancy wise, the response came back ‘how long is a piece of string?’ Though I have no qualms with the nursing side of things, pleasant and sympathetic, there was a coldness with the consultation process. To compound matters, during the second course of Chemo, the deal was usually hat you give bloods a few days before so that they can check your resistance is fine and that your body is producing white cells. If there was an issue, you’d usually get a call in the afternoon asking you to attend a little earlier on treatment day in order to give another blood sample. This all changed whilst on the second session of treatment, I’d give bloods, assume all was fine when I got no call. Would attend for treatment, there would be delays while they looked for my results. On most occasions, it would be two hours before it was established that my bloods had failed, I’d end up giving a new sample and then wait around for hours for the results. It was all very frustrating. Worse still, where the days when I’d turn up, be left waiting only to be told my treatment hadn’t arrived. I’d be sent home advised to re-attend in the afternoon, on one occasion, I’d managed to get the key in my front door, when the phone went to tell me the treatment pack had arrived and could I come back. Now for someone who was relying on public transport, not the best, these errors, delays and omissions where beginning to add up and give birth to a sense of, not so much annoyance, but more a feeling of worthlessness. Things to a turn in the trust side of matters when on attending a consultation there was a degree of confusion over recent scans. Reviewing them and the note from the radiographer, which basically said the image isn’t good but in my opinion the tumour has grown, my consultant wasn’t convinced and was preparing to wave me off with a clean bill for three months. It was only when I started mentioning a few health issues that she re-reviewed her decision and marked it for a second opinion. I was understandably gobsmacked that I could have walked out of the door skipping into the sun not knowing my cancer friend was on manoeuvres. The final nail in the coffin was in October. I was attending Clatterbridge for an appointment with my, how shall I say this, psychoanalyst, not that I’m suffering depression not to say that I haven’t in the past, I mean hell’s teeth when you have cancer stuff like depression happily takes a back seat, it’s the least of your worries. The appointment was running late, the longer I waited the worse I was feeling, by the time my GP was ready to see me, I literally had a coughing fit lasting over a minute or so, apparently I looked awful and my GP was so concerned she suggested we forego the meeting and as I was here with the benefit of experts that she refer me to another team for a check-up. I was rushed up to CDU team – Critical Dispute Unit, booked in and left to wait in a ward side room, a nurse attended to take blood pressure, oxygen and temps and noticed my pulse was racing, she asked if I was okay and I explained I was nervous and anxious being in a ward side room. She left things for a few seconds for me to calm down and took the temps again, they’d come down. She advised a doctor would be in to see me in about 10 minutes and if that I might be kept in overnight as a result of their findings. She then informed me that she’d speak to the on-duty staff nurse to note the urgency due to my anxiety. What you need to know at this point is that I have a serious fear of hospitals and doctors, it goes back years to when I was 15, a doctor accused and reported me to my school stating I was a hypochondriac, truth was I had a grumbling appendix. To cut a long story short, the appendix burst whilst I was in hospital asleep hooked up on a drip running a temp that burnt to the touch. I was rushed the theatre and died, obs brought back, my first memory being seeing Elvis on the telly and thinking in my waking confusion it was Elvis in the flesh and asking the nurse if I was dead. A year later I was back in hospital, the same doctor maintaining ‘well it can’t be his appendix’, why my mum never chinned her is a lasting mystery. Again, while in the theatre there where complications and a lengthy part of my bowel was removed. Since then I’ve been terrified of doctors, I have massive panic attacks, not that you’d know I hide it well. So, to be left in a ward side room with beds with the prospect of being kept in, filled me with an unquestionable dread. The clock ticked away, 10 minutes passed, 20 minutes, half an hour …. by this point I was in inner hysteria mode when in comes (and I’m sorry if this might appear offensive) these two clowns who then in a five minute spot set about doing a comedy routine between them in the process talking down to me, the only notes with them, the observation sheet prepared by the nurse. I was incandescent inwardly, how dare they try to be little me. I’d never encountered such a dire lack of professionalism. On returning home on public transport, two hours plus, time enough then, I reviewed and replayed the meeting, a total forensic critique the result of which had by the time I got home, expanded to bring in all the other concerns and gripes outlined above. A picture had formed and my mind was made up. My final consultation was a few days later, I was determined to outline these concerns and ask questions, the chemo they were planning on putting me on – in effect my third treatment cycle, I was told would not help and that I would not get anything from it. I asked for alternatives and nothing was forthcoming. Once I’d committed to the refusal of treatment it was as though I was invisible to them or else I’d broken wind in their confined company. Further appointments were promised, just to keep in touch, I’m still waiting. I’m now with the palliative team, they are great, straight with me as to questions and have probably done more for me in 6 weeks than the cancer unit did in nearly two years. It’s all very disappointing.
So, bringing things up to date, we have signed a DNR (a do not resuscitate authority) and after months of searching for the answer to a question I already suspected the answer to, that being how long? This will be my last Christmas, that’s a certainty, after that it’s a matter of time, judging by the awkward smile fading on my health visitors face, Easter might be pushing things and any notions of sitting in the garden cheering England in the European Championships while enjoying the summer sun, well we’ll see, but it looks on the face of it like a pipedream. Now before you all start getting down, rest assured I’m in a chipper mood, for once in a good place, sure there’s plenty to do, something I’m dreading and continually putting off, but I’m good. I’ve acknowledged, processed and accepted the cancer, the house is getting decorated, well partly, the rest after Christmas talking of which I’m looking forward to, life is fine at the moment and my health is holding apart from a nagging cough and a wheezing to bad it has me suspecting that in the middle of the night some bugger has sneaked in and added 30 years on me.
And so, I woke up today, (I say woke up, I actually went to bed at 5.30 this morning and was up at 7am), to find the country had been hoodwinked into handing over the Conservative party a manifesto to do what the hell they want. Labour for their part posted their worst election performance since 1935. Where did it all go wrong? On a personal level, I’ve never had any trust for Mr Corbyn, I’ve said on several occasions here, that he wasn’t fit and that he was worse than both Foot and Kinnock, possessing no dynamism and dour beyond belief. Now I won’t deny he’s a decent man, but his involvement with momentum, the prolonged non investigation into Livingstone not to mention the offence caused to the Jewish community, left me deeply uneasy after all both he and his Chancellor were the same old school militants that put the Labour party into a political ice age, more aggrieving to me the recent re-admittance of scum bag Derek Hatton. Four defeats in a row, Labour have to act and act fast, none of the navel gazing that Corbyn hinted in his count speech earlier this morning, it’s clear his dithering over Brexit was damaging as well as his abject failure to reach out to other parties, it was clear for all to see these recent months, that the party was undergoing some form of slow death. Add to this, the party’s utter contempt for the North was acute, taking them for granted and failing to realise that their heartland where hurting and had voted to leave to make a point. This should have been immediately red flagged and they should have connected, instead they thought all was safe preferring to concentrate in London and the South East. I certainly didn’t see any labour activists in my area, let alone had a candidate knocking on the door. It was a disgrace. Moving forward, socialism needs to edge back towards the centre, curb the unionist rhetoric and find a new language or tongue, much like Labour in the 90’s, there needs to be a bottom to top assessment and rewilding of strategy and approach like that faced by the late John Smith. Nationalisation of services was in theory a great idea, but that’s so old school, better to steel up the departments who oversee, police and ultimately fine these institutions, likewise Broadband, enact time lines and severe fines for failures to provide. They also need to re-connect with those outside the London bubble and apologise, learn to become again a political party rather than a student activist group, names I’d throw in the hat – Burnam certainly, Milliband as in David, Starmer and finally to a lesser extent, though I’ve never forgiven her for immediately slagging off Millibrand’s campaign inn 2015, Cooper. But then the blame could be shared to a certain extent with the gross failure of the Liberal message to connect, in truth I had never forgiven them for being part of the coalition, which incidentally included Swinson, but by stubbornly promising to withdraw Article 50 without the say of the public should they win, the Liberals effectively killed their campaign before it began, as much as I like Mrs Swinson, she was naïve her call as a result had the effect of not only disrespecting the public but stopping an effective route to tactical voting which might have assisted Labour. That her party also suffered a nightmare night and she her leadership and seat is, on reflection deserved. As to Mr Johnson, as much as I despise him and all he stands for, I say to him that today he has been handed a very special gift, the trust of the nation, all I say is ‘now don’t goof it up’.
And finally, the sounds ………
mentioned this too much fond fuss a little while back, an awesome head to head pairing together the Cult of Free Love and Magic Seas though the magic love imprint – anyway mentions here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/the-cult-of-free-love-magic-seas/ along with the newly peeled video for the Cult of Free Love’s simply smoking woozy ‘visions’ …..
blissful in a way that it appears to duck, deceive and swallow dive dreamily beneath your defences almost unnoticed. far removed from previous entrants to sonic cathedral’s truly excellent singles club series so far, this coming kissed with a free spirited mellowed radiance and lilting softly brushed speckly woozy psych lightness that simply drifts almost absent mindedly lost in its own brief passing moment. release number 8 it be, I do wish the label would send promos, this is Hannah Van Loon seducing under her Tanukichan alter ego with a cut by the name ‘so gone’. adorable, resistance incidentally, is pointless.
spied this on the Castles in Space band camp page, prompted mainly by a posting from the 345rpm folk mentioning something about a specially limited lathe cut being prepped by the label which they are hand carving as i write, alas no information, but given we missed the Jonathan Sharp limited, we’ll be damned if we miss the cut on this, seriously i just couldn’t cope with the heartbreak. moving swiftly along as I think we are wandering off track, back with current Castles in Space goodness, an imminent CD set from the mysterious the Central Office of Information no less, all packaged with an abundance of inserts and housing that includes a printed manilla string and washer envelope with concomitant faux-photocopied sheets, hand-stamped inserts and lost/recovered ephemera along with a sticker, badge and download card. Phew. Anyhow, the Central Office of Information, sounds very sinister in a Delaware Road recordy type way don’t you think, is the solo project of a certain Alex Cargill who here, appears happily potting away from an undisclosed location, no doubt from a alternative parallel universe, sending rogue subliminal messages through some time fracture. it’s all quite odd, outsiderist and strangely minimalist in terms of previous Castles in Space occurences though all the more appealing for it given its edgy out there cold war palette. Tracks like ‘unknown radar returns’ appear to explore the oblique secret worlds of the number stations while elsewhere there’s a sense of a shadowy insular undercurrent running invisibly beneath, within and alongside an unknowingly populace, discreet, unseen, unknown but ever present and watchful as revealed on both ‘banishing ritual’ and the mooching lurker in the shadows pylon paranoia hum of ‘odic force’. that said, its not all subterranean menace and blank eyed doom distilled down to nothingness for ‘homemade jams and chutneys’ is a wonderfully skwiffy and kooky feast of elephantine chucklesome, gloopy playfulness and rustic airiness set to charm and delight the most obstinate of observers out of their listening tree to connect them with an affectionate and nostalgic child like feel good warmth.
i’m sure somewhere at the bottom of our, must rummage, read and clear out in box, that we’ve a download for this that we’ve erroneounsly missed and mislaid from the folk of Clay Pipe, a slight faux pas on our behalf given we usually jump with haste at anything they issue forth. so with that in mind and while we go off in search for it by cautiously excitable candle light, it is after all four in the morning as i ramble and the in box basement consists of a spiralling cobbly woody staircase unto which the deeper you get the scarier it seems what with all manner of death metalling, heavy stoner and occultist downloads lurking from out of the shadows, this then be the briefest of salutations from the much admired Vic Mars. this is the ‘holloways’, a track from his latest full length ‘inner roads and outer paths’, a beautifully rich and radiant cornucopia of stilled serene and heavenly green wild wide open spaces, its lazy bucolic lush caressed in a nostalgic nutshell of sleepy headed carefree for here be wistful wonder, fond memories rekindled, an old familiar and the sense of a secret safe space never changing, aging or dimming of its beauty in the intervening years of its authors absence, a place where time appears to stand still to knowingly sit and wait for the eventual return of the wandering soul. a most elegant and picturesque pastoral colouring of countrylife signed and sighed typically and majestically with the trademark Mars artistry.
a bit lazy and perhaps a little naughty, we did in fact pick this up from a passing Concrete Tapes twitter posting, incidentally their latest release from Portland Vows arrived on the same day, immaculate looking thing housed in a what looks like a hand stamped leather pouuch. But there you we are getting ahead of ourselves again and rambling off road. on this occasion, we wanted to mention this, by Thrushez through the Tokyo based imprint 梅レコード, a track, the opening in fact from a strictly limited cassette titled ‘transparent mood’, this being ‘透明’. lush indeed, if i recall rightly how the Concrete Tape folks described it, a beautifully serene marriage that manages to effect a bridge between the old ways with the new, melding discreetly to wonderfully create a spiritual woozy of meditative calm and an at one with oneself safe space in so far as the way the would be traditional spectral twinkle toning bowed arrangements form an ethereal coortship with the measured application of minimalist electronic swathes. its all most attractively light and fragile, almost invisible and somewhere else, not unlike I guess, a snoozing ISAN push come to shove.
come on, how did you expect us to resist the offer of a track titled ‘bring back the plague’ by a band called Cattle Decapitation. dragged screaming and scowling from the womb of an imminent full length ‘death atlas’ via metal blade this coming November black friday, ‘bring back the plague’ certainly takes no prisoners, a searing extreme death metal sludge gored apocalyptic, blistered in an armoury of serrated riffage, scorn bled percussive pyrotechnics and a three way, or so it appears, demonic conversation, not for the faint of heart and hellishly suffocated with an end of days rage and war like last stand formidable that’s at once caustic, doomed and defiant.
given the trials of the day our mood was considerably lifted and buoyed by the news of new Lake Ruth groove heading out shortly through the esteemed Slumberland sound house. a two track seven, no doubt limited, forming part of their ongoing singles series that features two newly cut treasures ‘extended leave’ and ‘strange interiors’ the former of which, has been posted on the bands bandcamp site for instant adoring. it is of course typically trademark Lake Ruth fayre, they do this with such seeming effortlessness breezing seductively through a 60’s mirage lost in their own hazy, applying all manner of cosmica and baroque braiding to their authentic sounding vintage shelling, the effect at once casually chic, softly smoked and arrested with an affectionately delicate psych brushstroke that’s both out of time and out of step to fasten and lock them in a unique self-assembled hermetically sealed bubble with both Broadcast and the Soundcarriers for close company.
much welcome email from Neil of Whimsical telling us of imminent happenings incoming in the shape of a newly peeled self-released, i think i might be right in saying, full length entitled ‘bright smiles and broken hearts’. due to land early November, giving us ample chance for adoring, the band have sent out the wistful drift away ‘i always dream of you’ as a teaser trailer. measured, mellow and mercurial, this slice of purring dream pop heaven courts a restrained reverie delicately daubed in lulling overtures of chiming corteges pressed upon sweetly sighed dapples of angel sighs all occasioned by showers of vapour hazed sprays, blissfully surrendering in short.
okay, I’ll happily admit that we hooked upon this rock n’ rawk nugget because it had us firmly back in a younger day pouring fondly over our stash of a Secret released Chron Gen goodies. this be Nervous Assistant with the track ‘Zombie Night’, a little something lifted from their recently released ‘Bitter Pills’ full length for German based label Sabotage records. a brief two minute blast of incendiary punk hijinks that aside catching our ear, manages to finitely swerve the usual hostile chaotic that’s breached the punk partying of late, instead opting for a more straight up direct up close and personal and down your throat pogo toking path which at times, considering our ears do not deceive has the vague strains of a pop melodic more becoming of a very youthful striking out Senseless Things.
staying with Sabotage records for trio Better off Dead, from an EP released earlier in the year titled ‘sans issues’ this be the title track and parting cut of the this brazen 100 mph four track set. best of the quartet by some distance, now this has some giddy up I don’t mind saying, studded and tattooed with a raw three chord scything riff and loveably sugared with a searing in your face brittle beneath whose rampaging gusto a fearsome pop rocket is acutely itching to wrestle itself from its moorings. now tell me what’s not to like?
rounding up this briefly unexpected visit to the Sabotage sound house, latest to their release roster, an imminent full length by No Sugar entitled ‘rock n’ roll ain’t boring it’s you’ from off which opening salvo ‘times up’ has been sent ahead on teaser duty. in another time and place, this might have graced the esteemed catalogues of the mighty Estrus and Sympathy for the Record Industry given its 50’s fashioning and growling 60’s garage pop gouging. cut with a becoming scuzzy twang tweaked vintage, there’s more than enough of a swagger, swerve and coolly prickling pop verve here to interest those souls digging the more dayglo aspects of the Damaged Goods imprint.
promise, we will be returning to this in due course, just what with the backlogs, the incomings and lack of time due to extended sleep / fatigue patrols, we here are resorted to at the moment, just picking at releases as we try to prioritise mentions. Anyway, we’ve heard this more or less, though only grazing casually you understand, the latest immaculate from Yellow6 titled ‘shifting sands of time’. described by its author as ‘….the music is a bit more minimal than recent releases’, which really does beg the question, just how minimal do you want to go Mr Atwood. This double CD set was recorded over a six-month period, December to May this year and gathers together twelve newly forged compositions from out of which, catching our lobes with immediate effect has been ‘honey for the bees’. instilled with the trademark Yellow6 serene, there’s a graceful simplicity attaching here, that’s uncluttered, genteel and absorbed in its own space and time, the slow metered melodic caressed with a reflective faraway, colours a picture of cross-weaving emotions that words or a lyric could never adequately describe for here both reflection and introspection step back from the race to blur, fold and fall into rippling pools of calming tranquility. simply exquisite.
of course we’d love to order the super limited tri-cassette bundle that includes the releases ‘new earth assembly’, ‘pilgrims of the infinite’ and this latest outing for specious titled ‘guru overlord’ but fear with increasing tariff and shipping charges escalating in the states that we’d probably have to donate a body part or purchase shares in the US mail corp. eye catching indeed, the release, not the Americal postal services, we might just have to put it on a back burner for now. Shifting from the waffling, this is Life Education who should be no strangers to regular observers around these here parts, one of many guises of a certain Patrick R.Park also known for sometimes sneaking out under his more familiar Kosmonaut alter ego. As said, out through Specious on limited cassette form, just 100 copies, we must admit a fondness for the track ‘holistic medicine expansion’ whose bitter sweet watcher from afar observance casts a somewhat bleak forlorn whose shimmering orbital carousel and crystalline cascades had us much minded of the hypno grooved psychedelicised electronics of the much missed Palace of Swords who surely must be due out of hibernation any day soon. that said, our affections were found distracted and wandering to ‘agitated altar’ not least because of its slick and slow vapour-esque descent and dispersal of industrial lite phrasing sumptuously trip weaved in a woozy dub doped stoner-ish smoky that together gathers to forge out a superbly serene and off centring dream draped hazy.
Some band names stick in your head don’t you find, a bit like a tiny musical earworm from a long-forgotten obscurity. It’s something that once rooted, refuses, no matter hard you try, to go away, instead intensifying as an echoing voice in the back of your mind. Now, the memory not being its sharpest of late, this was proving a desperately annoying impasse given it was distracting from actually enjoying the sounds within. As is the case with these things, we always find the best way of recall, is to walk away from it for a few minutes, concentrate on something else and sure enough it’ll all come back albeit, in a more than often piecemeal fashion. Of course, they appeared on Fruits de Mer’s ‘Gathering of Fish’ compilation. Shortly due for appearance, on the forthcoming Cassette Store Day roster, no doubt in limited-press through Ballerophon, Das Blaue Palais are shortly to re-issue ‘D-UF 73’ from off which, ‘Dusseldorfblau’ has been sent ahead on scouting detail. In simple terms, a beautiful dream draped drift away all delicately serene and harnessed upon flotillas of sun-scorched riff idles and hazily lazy eyed arpeggios all set sail upon some idyllic faraway exotic. Adorably bliss kissed. https://soundcloud.com/dasblauepalaisduesseldorf/dusseldorfblau?fbclid=IwAR0CI-IOv32IDi8nftUS8GM0NyMZRM8KFc9Ax-D2jOxD3SuIKt_8AEdsyLc
Also due for Cassette Store Day love next month, a killer debut from the excellently named Marmaleene and the Moondusters. Alas we missed the cool looking label sampler appearance on the, we are assuming, hand crafted wooden shelled VHR USB compilation via Valley Heat, fear not though as their debuting self-titled full length is due to land next month along the way, getting a limited cassette press through 4000 records. As a taster, these folk really do hide their light under the proverbial bushel, the band have sent ahead ‘Death Car’ to prime your adoring settings. A surf sassy hip wiggling nugget straight outta Oz all coolly calibrated with a vintage sheen and ablaze in the kind of shock treated riff yelp that might, in another time, have featured on one of those hallowed playlists put together by Lux n’ Ivy. Yet before you all start thinking, I get it and do a roll call of twang thrilled turntable treats from some hitherto underground golden age, these dudes, I should warn you, have a knack of shuffling the pack. For here, ct with a Tarantino spank, this cooking brew comes infused with a funk bitten shimmy that incorporates everything from Salsa orphans to lounge lizards, all with a filmic detailing more in tune with Lalo Schifrin and Henry Mancini than the Trashmen or the Lively Ones.
Against all my best intentions and attempts to ignore it, this blighter just seems to have an incurable knack of getting under the skin, I’ll admit its possibly a little more saccharine than I’m used to and the video, well can we just pass on that for fear of some conversational crossfire opening up. Anyhow, this be Alessio Peck with a track culled from another tape scheduled for cassette store day action, this being ‘baby I want you’ from his ‘Canzonette’ set for Freakout. Now I don’t know about you, but we here are more than a little disarmed by this ‘un’s somewhat feel good effervescence and strutting indie click, certainly something that’ll smother the airwaves should it get playlisted not least because of its easy on the ear sun fried casual bop-ery which to us at least, had us vaguely imagining that Robert Lloyd dude and his Four Seasons holed up in an after-hours studio with a pop playing playful Denim.
Another near perfect oblivion destined shimmer tone from bdrmm via sonic cathedral, this being their official debut release, an EP no less entitled ‘if not, when?’ from off which the strut cooled sublime of ‘shame’ has been sent forth on heralding detail. I mean everything about this just tick’s boxes, the low-slung needle work very pre ‘Pornography’ Cure, its pensive slow burn unfurl, it’s eventual honing into a brilliantine radiant configuration beneath of which, showers burn with white hot intensity. Simply faultless by our reckoning and we haven’t even had a chance to mention the stratospheric sky sirens, the dreamy dissolves or pulsar emitting dissipates or the fact that this is located on an outpost somewhere between the Hookworms and Toy.
I’m fairly certainly that at this point, you are all fancying something to scare the Bejeezus out of you. Might we then introduce you to Pharmakon. Seriously don’t ask how we arrived here, whether it was by a recommendation, a press push or just something we randomly gathered on a cyber ramble. We’re more minded to opt for the curious tripping over it option, apparently this slice of good cheer, incidentally titled ‘self-regulating system’ has been plucked kicking and screaming for a far bigger slab of ominous called ‘devour’. In short, heading out of the Sacred Bones imprint, Pharmakon craft light sucking claustrophobic noise agitant’s both doom draped and garrotted in searing hot industrial gloom, clearly the work of someone with unresolved anger issues, this curdling cauldron of unwavering dissonance howls with a putrid punk squirm that had us recalling those much-missed outings from the likes of the Love Torture and At War with False Noise imprints of a few years back.
Shall we do these in order of appearance, I think we will. I’ve been resisting listening to this until we had a physical cassette in our mitts, the latest Volume of ‘Undulating Waters’ from the very wonderful Woodford Halse folk. As previously, the cassettes are limited and lovingly packaged featuring artwork by a certain Nick Taylor, a cigarette card which to the reverse has your latest instalment of the Woodford mystery. Quality control I’m happy to say hasn’t diminished music wise, if anything the standard has been ratcheted up a notch or three, this particular Volume, gathering a 12 strong tour de force of talent, some familiar some not so. Opening this particular party, the much loved around these here parts, Jumble Hole Cough are an oddly unique sore thumb, oft creatively ahead of the curve, though not necessary on any curve their peers would recognise, they seem happy to wander off in their own hermetically sealed shell. ‘surfing the Sargasso sea’ is a wonderfully fried serving of 70’s styled beardy folk stoner replete with momentary flute floret wanderings and a whole heap of cosmic woozy, more than enough I’m sure you’ll agree, to fry the fringes of any casual passer-by especially those, attuned to the Prana Crafter radar. Finitely balanced as were, on some lunar spinning top, Bell Lungs serve up the sweetly frosted ‘music for jellyfish’, a track so fragile and frail that one suspects the merest nudge might shatter to pieces its snow globed enchantment. Elsewhere and delightfully set to a twinkling kaleidoscopic ghosting, the previously unknown to us Misty Bywater floats past with all the haunted beauty of a love spurned apparition courtesy of ‘the absence’. Awash with the dappling of Angel sighs fused atop a twinkling key cascade that possessed of something of the folk mystic, and something of folk mystic, there’s elegance, neglect and a good deal tearful classicism sweetly burning within this eerie ethereal. Again, a new to us, Slovenska Televiza’s ‘Cuento Polaco’ once tethered, lassoed and wound in from its celestial vacuum, soon begins to descend like some ghostly fog amid which emerges a measured and mercurial futuristic suspense both haunting and bewitching which possessed of an icy grandeur you’d rightly expect to hollow and glacially grace the backdrop to some legendary Hammer House happening. I was certain we’d featured the Widow’s Weeds in previous despatches, but a quick rummage through the archives indicates otherwise. This is simply divine. An airless apparition perhaps more so, a ghost lit hymnal, more mystical folk I’m afraid though on this occasion, darkly daubed and fashioned with a nod to Preterite, also features members of the Kitchen Cynics in the cast. Did we see mention somewhere else, that new Keith Seatman groove is currently simmering on the Castles in Space back burner pencilled for post yuletide release, thought as much. Here found donning his best-est Joe 90 threads for a spot of locked grooved kraut gouged mind-altering trippy. Are you getting the impression at this point that these reviews are getting shorter and a tad impatient, we are fighting fire from two sides if truth be known, on one side, these over-whelming rushes of fatigue, so fast and without warning, it literally take me out of the game and secondly, something far more annoying, the new Omen laptop is now showing keyboard issues when in Word, resulting in stuff coming out like gobbligook. the trials of life. So pressing on before we succumb to sleep onward to Folclore Impressionists whose quite stunning ‘music for television’ arrived delightfully serviced with an 80’s VHS iciness all graced and informed, you’d imagine, by Wendy Carlos’ ‘Tron’ universe. what’s to betting that the Twelve Hour Foundation live somewhere like, say 52 Festive Road, I bet they have a corner shop where you can still buy cola Spangles and Picnic bars and spend their days lost in adventure with only scabby knees, a kazoo and a yellow Chopper bike for amusement. Them’s where the days, the beatings, the canings, the stalking and the flashings and that was just your class mates, the 70’s, how most of us survived it is a thing of constant wonder. where were we, ah the THF folk here with ‘Spiracles’, a vintage slice of childhood bliss, a library lunar very much invested with the influence of Keith Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw I shouldn’t wonder. More please. Fred und Luna, been a while, serve up the slow burning ‘Afrotonikum’, a more measured melodic than previously that incorporates all manner of subtle afro rythmics and noir soul only to infuse it all with a nifty off centred funk bitten grooving all of which had us imagining Herbie Hancock being given a housey kosmische upgrade. I’m sure that Yumah haven’t so far invaded or arrested our listening space prior to this encounter, ‘shadows in the wind’ is a strange dandy, no instruments just harmonies, three part from what i can make out, all lost in their own moment and seductively converging with a lush rootsy folk ghostly that in truth, had us much recalling a very youthful Stealing Sheep. again, another returning long time no hear, Emily Jones steps to the plate with the deftly teased psych ‘Amber Man’, a slow unfurling nugget that freewheels between moments of dream drift woozy to feel good angular animation, a little something that had our Elephant 6 Collective radar tweaking if i’m being honest, though on further reflection one for those pining the overly long vacation by the Haight-Ashbury. final track time I’m sorry to say, utilising the faintest of brush strokes, it’s as if Simon McCorry has the ability to control the very curve onto which the moon and earth forge their celestial courtship, this is ‘surface detail prelude’, it is immaculate, beyond that there are no more words.
Picked this up from a twitter posting, no harm in a quick listen i thought as we slowly shed the shackles of slumber to greet a new day. Sadly, accompanied by bugger all information, which these days appears par for the course. due for landing in November, this be Group Listening with one of three tracks from their newie, this being the lead out ‘what’s a girl to do’. given, its a slow burner, won’t grab you immediately, but then aren’t those always the best tracks, this being charmed by a 70’s library like dinking you’d probably expect to hear on some dusty pressing put out by the likes of KPM, Chappell, Bruton etc …. yet scratch a little deeper and an air of smoky mellow frisked with a noir toning rises to the surface seductively armed with a subtle funk undercut that in another time or place, might easily pass off as the end product of some secret gathering of lemon jelly and the Superimposers types
we’ve found ourselves becomng ever more drawn to stuff like this of late, perhaps its the time of the year, the lay of Autumnal leaves and the end of summer. perhaps my own personal dilemma seeking some moment removed, frozen and fixed for just a second, who knows. yet where you might hear a melancholy, a forlorning or a tinge of tearfulness, we hear something revealing, intuitive and comforting. this be Itasca with ‘Lily’, a track lifted from a forthcoming full length titled ‘spring out’ through paradise of bachelors. a beautifully woven slice of close intimacy, a drift away delicately distilled in a woody aromatic and shy eyed yearn all softly cut with the kind of mellowing glow and spiritual hazy that once upon a time, adorned the platters of Mazzy Star and the Delgados. arresting stuff.
From the moment the floral wind pipes that greet the beginning of this give way to dissolve back into the landscape, you are already under its spell lost in joyful rapture. The fourth single from Meadowsilver about to emerge via Miller Sounds entitled ‘the Coronation of the Herring Queen’, finds the trio blending enchantment with the eerie, this softly dappled psyche folk spiritual leads a delirious dance whose heraldic tailoring is finitely cut in the finest of mystical coats and whose magisterial courtship bonds a serene and seductive bewitching you’d be hard pressed to hear better outside of a Lake Ruth platter.
Alas sold out of its two cassette pressings (the quickly sanctioned 20 repress disappeared in nanoseconds), ‘Radiance’, the recent blink and its gone, outing from Polypores, finds Preston’s finest analogue alchemist putting his finite artistry to the test in creating a quartet of dream draped cosmic raptures, our particular favourite being the simply breath-taking and quite magnificent centrepiece ‘Mass’. the slow sweeping fanfares at its arrival instil something of the mercurial, that possessed Vangelis’ monumental ‘Chariots of Fire’. Certainly, the sets grounding centrepiece, at 14 minutes in duration it provides both a mammoth exploration of silken symphonic lush and a masterclass in poise, precision and panoramic texturing, a hulking star gazer which ghosting amid its space consuming palette, do we hear the ever so distant sonic apparitions of Echoboy’s ‘scene 30’ seasoning the mix.
Another of those releases we initially missed a month or so ago, this came attached to a message that got haplessly lost in our face book spam file would you believe. We’re having grief with the download code provided so have had to rely on the bare band camp offerings. Anyway, out through Do It Thissen on 12-inch vinyl, limited pressing of just 200, this be, we think, Mzylkypop, a hive mind collective featuring the combined talents of Messrs Mallinder, Newton and Hope, in other words a Cabaret Voltaire, a Clock DVA and the Hope with the additional bonus on this occasion of a guest remix by Eccentronic Research Council man Dean Honer. Four tracks lurk with the margins of ‘…. presents Xzyles’, all of which in typical fashion we’ve found our ears primed to the minimalistic groovy of Mr Honer’s revisioning of ‘doomerati’ here rebranded as ‘the final party mix’. now perhaps it’s just me, but we are hearing a slick n’ subtle funk sassy snaking and smoking this dystopian dub loaded club land cool note whose strangely off kilter giddy up wouldn’t look to out of place gracing some precious platter bearing the name A Certain Ratio, indeed that cool, incidentally all very annoyingly infectious.
What looks like being a busy period of activity in the Dark Outside camp, word has it that various Handspan, Drew Mulholland, Adderall Canyonly and Delphine Dora and Sophie Cooper works are about to take flight, all mainly through the simply essential Bibliotapes sub print who small bijou number is set to be accompanied pretty imminently, by the arrival of Twenty Three Hanging Trees’ quite dreamily imagined soundtrack for Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Cat’s Cradle’. A wonderfully alluring sound space if that is, the extended excerpt is anything to judge by, a free spirited demurring genteel wonderfully gushed in all manner of murmuring modular mosaics, prettified pulsars and orbital lullaby’s all seemingly falling away to reveal something more organic texture wise with the onset of bowed riffs and the soft hypnotic of a twinkling minimal toning of the type you’d ordinarily expect hatching from an Oliver Cherer desk space. Add to that calming arrest of the subtle defrost of Oriental floral flotillas and well, do we need go on.
You might need to hang on a little longer on the Fruits de Mer winter batch of releases, appears there’s been a delay with the promos meaning that we’ve literally just taken delivery of the freebie CD that you’ll find handsomely tucked in your parcel should you purchase the season’s selections. Titled ‘fruits de Mer conducts Deep Sea Exploration’ the CD features a nine strong gathering of instrumental talents, some we’ve heard others, here in the majority I’m mortified to admit, a mystery though not for long. It’s your typical spray of prog, psych and kraut, most sounding like they’ve been unearthed from the vaults of some forgotten and abandoned label warehouse from the late 60’s, prime example being Cosmic Juice’s quite splendid ‘moon pillow’ which amid its workmanlike nuts down pedal to the floor space crafted wah-wah wooziness loosens up for momentary spots of psyched out trip wiring before jettisoning off in to the great oblivion. apologies aplenty to the Insektlife Cycle whose Gardeners Delight full length ‘temple of our soul’ have long been on our to do list for undying critical love, so while we get our proverbial elbows and arses in to gear, here’s one of that sets key note tack, the title track track, here remodelled as an improvisational jam, a little something that ought to stare the Sendelica folk, for this bad boy is simply way out and flying, a humungous head tripper of galactic proportions, totally fried, freaked and mind fracturing, a total bonged out experience after which through partaking your perceived reality mightn’t be all it first seems. Up next, Silenzio with ‘princess’ , which pardon me for a moment, once locked into our psyche, had me recalling the work of early career Julie’s Haircut, seriously don’t ask why, but there’s something here very much freewheeling into those terrains. anyway, that aside, we must admit to adoring the chamber etchings applied to this slow burning gems, its regal detailing, poise, the reverb shimmerings and sense of drama all swirling within its courtship to some hitherto unseen summit. there was, in days long since passed, whereupon we used to get sent literally oodles of this type of stuff, i guess some might call it post rock, though here with a cosmic spin, the lock grooving fixed point positioning drawing its armoury to it much like a magnet with iron shavings, getting ever denser and growing in mass asssuming definition,all the time prowling with pensive pause until assuming maximum impact, just letting loose in a punishing burn of grizzled white out radiance, something i’m sure that’ll go down well with admirers of the Brew collective, anyway its by Alber Jupiter and goes by the name ‘Flying Turtles’. more stonery shake down in the guise of Ax and Sunhair’s ‘spaceship memoty’, now this is absolutely bliss kissed in a fracturing Floyd type way, all woozy dissolves, a mind melting mosaic whose lush trip toned trimmings are ripe for head phone immersion though i seriously suspect a fair few who embark on the odyssey might not make the return crossing back. i’m certain we poured much fondness upon SEN3 a little while ago, deservedly so given they meticulously fuse a cool line in soul funk mellowing which i don’t mind saying wouldn’t look too out of place on the Wonderfulsound player, this particular track being ‘the Rinse’, exquisitely shows off their versality and somewhat smoky sassy revealing with subtle aplomb, a lineage that draws deep to the workbooks of Budd and Schifrin. how best to describe beyond the dune sea’s ’embryo’, certainly a little something that in a different time, space and location might well have had the folks over at the much missed 90’s Delirium imprint going positively ga ga for, anyway on this occasion shall we settle for sumptuous lounge stoner as a descriptor, oh and while you’re there, roll up a fat ‘un r’kid. rounding matters up with the brace of cuts that book-end this superb collection, Vision Eternal’s ‘killer of giants’ is courted with a stately air and a sense introspection, the intricate weave riff cascades endowing it with a crystalline classicism more redolant of a mid 90’s era Roy Montgomery, which i’m sure you’ll agree, is no bad trick to have up your sleeve. Which all leaves Gregory Curvey’s solo venture Custard Flux to draw these musings to a close with the curiously spring heeled radiance of ‘Echo’, its trademark hints of the Luck of Eden Hall ghosts mellowed in a dream drifting woozy of pop pressed psychedelic breezes and the sunny effervescence of pastoral posies decorating the grooves amid which and to a delicate brushing, a sun dried reflective faraway blossoms.
Rest assured begging letters are out and in circulation trying to secure downloads / promos on this kool kutie. Heading out of the Kyrptox sound-house comes ‘Kraut Jazz Futurism’. Now don’t start getting all chin-strokery and snobbish with your carefully arranged generic boxes, indeed on reflection I’d be the first to pause at the front entrance thinking, kraut and jazz and think, well that’s just more 70’ s OGWT than I’m prepared to commit to in one sitting. But do you know, this works and crucially so, if that is the two preview cuts are to be judged by. The first of which ‘orange man’ by, Karl Hector and the Malcouns, seemingly cuts a loose suited cool note whose tightly worked impeccable late-night soul jazz finesse saunters breezily with an attractive off centering clipping whose arasbesque infusions draw you hazily deep beneath it curiously exotic spellcraft. Approaching matters from a slightly different direction, Karaba’s ‘der inder’ is a more cosmically aligned third eye tweaking head expander that employs a sumptuous wash of Eastern essences and woozy astral tonings into its far-out fineries, it’s all very trancey and stoned but all done subtly so.
to much disappointment and distress, we’ve somewhat neglected the liquid library folk of late, which is a shame all told given they are one of few imprints who embrace the whole spirit of the late 70’s DIY ethic and press their discovered handiwork to cassette form to boot. its with such dedication to the unearthing of the outsiderist minority and ignored underground that we here have a great deal of fondness for. latest to their rather formidable catalogue, a cassette by Angry Exotica here captured for posterity one would imagine at a recent rare live in person gathering. Absolutely no information about these dudes though safe to say they are a quartet whose sightings appear as rare as hen’s teeth. Think i’m right in saying that two extended improvisational workouts feature on this incoming cassette, ‘Angry’ featured here, providing for a densely daubed wiry blighter, a melting pot into which a subtle mutant dance funky bleeds. what first appears as though a rarefied recording relic rescued from a classic era Factory records showcase and here i’m talking Section 25 and the likes with the casual disturbance of Pere Ubu flittering in and out, this hyper active gem is blessed with an authentic late 70’s post art rock timecoding that additionally calls to mind elements of the Fall and Public Image LTD without the baggage and ego not to mention more pertinently, this heat with momentary walk on parts from a slightly distracted A Certain Ratio. mind you that said, infused with a playful oddness at times that’s interspersed with a delightful daubing of dub texturing and pulse raising tripping hysteria, there lurks a play it by ear free spirited no wave cooling that relocates to a looser discipline more becoming of James Chance and the Contortions.
continuing at pace with their highly regarded trek across the continents to discover new sounds, techniques and ways of communicating, the Unexplained Sounds Group collective extend their peripheral touch to Middle East in their latest anthological study. as with previous explorations, this collection spreads its parameters to incorporate a lush and varied myriad of musics to provide a truly captivating curnucopia of mediums and perspectives. the gathering opening to the angel sighs of Ahmed Saleh’s genteely serene and life affirming ‘Feryal’, a spectral rejoicing of sorts ghosted in the minimalist crush of electronic whispers all touched with something of the celestial and the ancient, it really does make way for a trance toning experience both reinvigorating and somewhat soothed in a becoming cosmic eerie. incidentally Ahmed pops up again a little later on with the bliss flotilla fancy that is ‘khitan’ whose looping nostalgic sonics and twinkling courtship cuts some feint hinterland between Steve Reich and the Caretaker. In sharp contrast, Naujawanan Baidar’s strangely swarthy and sultry industrial lock grooving ‘Asir-e Jangi’ immediately evokes memories of Muslim Gause’s ahead of the curve artistry in the 90’s instilled as it is with musical message overloads seemingly approaching at all quarters crafting a smoke scarred heraldic haloing to the proceedings. Utilising an insular palette, bloom tribe’s simply arresting ‘descendance’ is softly ice sculptured with a frail and fragile melancholy, whose lonesomeness both bruised and tormented is crushingly tender and tearful. must admit to being mildly fond of Cenk Ergum’s ‘bir’ not least because there’s a glitchy displacement underfoot that had us much minded to go off in search of our prized Minotaur Shock and Inch Time releases of yesteryear. like Ahmed Saleh, Cenk Engum re-appears at the finale with ‘Amsterdam’ and is found here mixing 8 bit hysteria with vintage radiophonics, its a delightfully skittish and playful in a Louis and Bebe Barron type way. Briefest track of the collection ‘prelude for Orpheus’ by Hasan Hujairi, is cut with an hypnotic earthy, its parched tonings crafting out a mystical mosaic which aside being teasingly short, at least decorating the listening space in a most desirable desert dry woozy. draped in a subterranean eerie, Nilüfer Ormanli’s darkly woven ‘Art of Dying’ freewheels between an ever glooming soundscape deadened in a sparse nothingness chill interspersed with moments of ghost lit electronic earthbeat folk mantras cut from a tongue long lost to the earth which if references should be needed, sits between Nico and Preterite. immersed with an isolationist haloing, Pharoah Chromium’s ‘Gaza Requiem’ is ghosted in a fracturing twilight eerie relocating you to a place, that one suspects, given the choice, you’d probably prefer not to visit, a shadowy land of intricately fused glowering chamber electronics and psychosis, daubed with an edgy and distant outsiderism. with its sweeping orchestrated curvatures, Guy Gelem’s lushly graced snake winding ‘Parallels’ is awash in a mystic mercurial majesty that cuts through the ages to a time long forgotten while elsewhere Tony Eleh’s ‘the dark that matters’ is a lo-fi mesh of modular mutants prowling from out of the shadowy confines of some as were, imaginary toybox. if you fancy your sounds turned with a Tibetan ceremonial cool we’d suggest you fleet foot to Farouk Adil’s quite mesmeric ‘Surface Crack’ and immerse yourself yourself its sky scorched snake charming rhapsody. as to Mazen Kerbaj’s ‘The Acoustic Synthesizer’ can we just say that the jury is still out given Dylan the house cat raised a furry eyebrow and throughout its duration proceeded to claw our sides for grim life, probably the most abstract sounding cut here, involving some form of drainage collage or rain effected oddness, strangely lulling in a wierd way, not for cats though. Some classic era radiophonics from Yousef Kawar courtesy of ‘Nerves’ ought satiated the listening of those Tristram Cary admirers among you which brings us to the stilled elegance peeling away from Dimitris Savva’s shore line serene of ‘Thalassa’, a slowly unfurling drone opine that ought to find favour with the folk over at the Silber imprint, did we forget to mention the meditative spells, the bowed arrangements and hymnal chants all of which leaves Nyctalllz’s ‘The Humanity Demise’ to gracefully gloom matters and draw the event to a close with what can only be described as a tormented symphony for the celestial burn of stars falling and the slow decay of a disintegrating cosmic.
safe to say, if i recall rightly, that we’ve not strayed into fluid audio terrains for a fair while, this one catching us off guard to rekindle our interest. a beautifully packaged set, two CD’s oodles of inserts including library cards and vintage bookmarks, book binding screws the lot, looks quite immaculate, more a work of art than a release I guess. by und_ne this is the plaintively sparse sweetheart ‘chapters’. a collection meek and fragile piano sketches, at once bitter sweet and elegiac and yet contemplative, airy and somewhat cradled in a becoming beauty whose poise, sense of space and finite neo classical artistry had us much minded of those early aural studies by Antonymes. distractively elegant, it offers a moment in the after hours to reflect, ponder and navigate yourself out of the storm of life and onto a more close intimate tranquil inner self plains.
not on our intended listening list, but then my mind and curiosity does have an annoying habit of wandering. in truth we picked this up from the fluid radio twitter feed, through dronarivm, this is Olan Mill with ‘the golden ratio’ a track prized from a full length titled ‘sacred geometry’. as the title might give subtle hint, its something that sits on the spiritual spectrum sound wise, given its divine detailing and its new dawn rises radiance or perhaps more so, a heralding cosmic fanfare, the type of thing whose softly flowering unpeeling and slow sonic ethereal curvature instills a more than welcome feel good inner glow as though being within touching distance of the celestial, reminiscent all said of some very specially hand selected releases that at one time, tumbled on occasion from out of the Kranky label in the late 90’s / early 00’s.
oh how we adore the push pull of the flutterby lolloping pastoral key twinkles falling and tumbling in affectionate play, their lightness and wistful woozy colouring a palette of breathtaking rustic freeness all charmed with a cheery nostalgic toning that seductively unpeels and defrosts from a starting minimalistic fragile and blossoms to a lushly vivid and expansive spraying of reclining sun speckled posies which all told beautifully intersect and join the invisible dots to link together the likes of littlebow, Oliver Cherer and Vic Mars. Anyway, this be Penguin Cafe with the utterly adorable ‘at the top of the hill, they stood….’ a track pulled from their latest full length just out through erased tapes titled ‘handfuls of night’.
had you asked me on any given day I’d have happily sworm blind we’d mentioned the helen scarsdale agency imprint at some point in the near distant past, seems i would’ve have been wrong. so now having established they’ve been doing a neat trick of straying all this time out of earshot, our radar has finally picked them, not least because we’ve been eyeing an an imminent ten cassette wooden box set being prepped to celebrate the labels landmark 50th release. the gathering entitled ‘on corrosion’ features an array of bands previously unknown to us operating on the experimental, noise, post-industrial and minimalist margins and includes spots for the likes of Neutral, Pinkcourtesyphone, Alice Kemp, She Spread Sorrow, G*Park, Relay For Death, Francisco Meirino, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project and many more. sent ahead on scouting duties this be, we think, Neutral with ‘punkt’ or as the case may be, it might be Neutral // punkt, whatever the case that our fractured headspace has given cause for confusion, look it is 3 in the morning and little sleep easily makes you wirey. There’s no doubting that this deliciously slow burning festering sore thumb sounds like the bastard off spring resulting from some early 90’s back alley bunk up between Sonic Youth and bearded beatniks the Walking Seeds, up close, edgy and out there all metered out with a impenetrable white hot wall of sound that teeters on the edge of oblivion. nuff said.
don’t be too surprised to find the occasional emotional response release to pop up briefly in the next day or two, perhaps if you’re lucky, or unlucky, depending on your appreciation or lack off therein, of kookily crafted groove, then later this evening. first up to the plate being unhappy fly whose ridiculously deceptive self-titled nugget we’ve been picking at briefly these last few moments the result of which we’ve unearthed three ear candy treats of the head turning variety and opens with ‘angry in the head’. not a blazing barnstormer as the title might first fool you into thinking, rathermore this just smokes, oozed in a wonderfully wandering slacker-esque detailing, its pulled back, restrained, lazy eyed and deliciously swaggered with a discernible slink to its offset shimmy, it’s cool eyed off kilter woozy trimmed subtly with a weaving funk flitter. ‘holoscene’ by sharp contrast changes down the gears, a strangely attracting curio that flowers and blossoms radiantly in the most unexpected places, its crooked template and musical journey hazily dusted and dizzily doped with an off-road dustiness filtered through flanks of snoozing slide riff opines and wonky electronic warbles. those still I’m need of convincing that this album truly is a quirky though all same affectionately distractive flutterby might well investigate the delightfully breezy ‘singing flame’ with its baroque braiding and 60’s studded swirling mosaics, something that had us recalling the much missed L’Augmentation all said.
here’s a little something to put an optimistic spring in your step, just out through Flau, who i suspect in all the kerfuffle of these last few months, we’ve sadly lost touch with, this be Sparrows with a newly peeled full length by the name of ‘berries’. an utterly adorable sound scape marked mainly by its closing rapture ‘from belle’s to olive’, a track whose welcoming radiance is celestially filtered through a beautifully hushed spiritual lens over which are harvested the dinked dappling of baroque tweaked psychedelics all frosted with a magical wonderland haloing of prettied pastoral peculiar which to these ears at least, had us much recalling Ooberman in all their softly sly sublime pomp.
staying a little longer with the Flau folk, another imminent to their finite roster, a full length from Noah entitled ‘thirty’ from off which sent ahead on scouting detail, the track ‘メルティン・ブルー’ has been seductively subduing our listening space. utilising traditional eastern sound motifs, though strangely enough, removed of the vocals and this moves and snakes slinkily with the smoked half-light sophistication and smooth suave of Japan in their ‘tin drum’ heyday. Still, vocals intact, the track morphs to evolve and realign itself amid an ethereal environ who’s lost in the moment and laid back after hours glow genteelly kisses it with a wandering down tempo soul sigh tweaked ever so delicately in a spectral fondness that’s at once, strangely lush and lovingly lilting.
a true accidental that we are here, right this moment, listening, loving and indeed having the joy of mentioning this because if we are honest this wasn’t the tune scheduled and teed up for inclusion, only we hit the wrong button and up popped this. now i can’t recall for certain whether we’ve had the pleasure of featuring Say Sue Me in these musings, the name rings a bell for sure but i’m idling on the perhaps not side of the fence. a fundraiser 7-inch release with vinyl pressed up by the folk at Optimal in Germany, two variants the standard and a super limited autograph edition, of course both you and I want the latter mentioned. anyway, this be ‘george and janice’ a wonderfully affectionate and ambling affair that just lollops and frolics in its own sunny disposition and something which defies casual categorisation and lazy box marking in a way that marks it out as forming a perfect couplet with those equally distractive souls the Snails, a band whose absence of late has not gone unnoticed. but back to Say Sue Me, the way this gathers in vivid stature, the dinking riff flotillas, the parping fanfares and that whole off centred feel good effervescence which peeling away just catches you unaware and sweeps you upstream is just simply breathless. over on the flip looms ‘don’t follow our van’, a slight toning down of the mood, though for all that this does pack a sly classically cut Mancini / Barry suave as though some lost and forgotten spy noir incidental foolishly abandoned and left on the out-takes floor from some aborted film score. now i’m just wondering, what are the postage charges from South Korea.
oh my, I think I’m in love, another release picked up on one those ‘mmm that looks interesting I’ll give that a quick whirl’ moments, this is the acutely cute and feisty Otoboke Beaver who hail from Kyoto, here sporting an absolutely manically bonkers full length entitled ‘Itekoma Hits’. a compilation by the looks of things, gathering up an assortment of releases from off which we’ve been a tad taken with at least a brace of nuggets that we feel your listening space might be diminished and found a little wanting for not having around. first up to the plate, the rampantly wiring scuzz shredding speed freak that is ‘love is short’, a coolly caustic blistered bubblegum bomb, absolutely mental though appreciably cut with a pristine pop phrasing zeroed in on a 100mph whirlwind of excitable panache. still, it dims with the appearance of the unruly and playfully freaked ‘Anata watashi daita ato yome no meshi’, just way too much fun going on here as the shrapnel flies, the riffs serrate and the quartet collectively hone, hustle and hurry in a molten haze towards oblivion with gusto.
much to our haplessness, this one arrives a little delayed despite having been earmarked for mention a wee while back. By Gavin Miller, head man over at the this is it forever imprint and some time worriedaboutsatan, a digital download set going by the name ‘ruins’ from off which we’ve fallen for the quartet’s exit
track ‘we stood like statues’, which incidentally, at shy of nine minutes in length, provides the gathering with I guess you could call, its centrepiece. Anyway, discussions and arguments aside, this slow drift slice of introspection comes cut with a sweet solitary, alone and embracing a brief moment soon to be lost but for memory, the crystal tipped curvature of the sea breezed riffs lock, loop and linger forming a steadily measured and defining in detail and stature mesmeric mosaic both dreamy and demurring, it’s an effect whose considered poise, atmospheric and texturing draws it into swift comparison with yellow6.
if there’s anything that’s likely to get me grumbling, down cast and crushed by the feeling we’ve either let folk down or worse still, missed something, shall we say, groovy, are the amount of emails and messages we miss or foolishly overlook in an attempt to balance between time constraints and sleep. one ensemble, and there are many more besides, who appear to have fallen foul of this trap are Warriors of the Dystotheque. not this time though because for once we’ve actually dipped into the in box and unearthed not one, but two messages from these mysterious folk alerting us to two well-heeled recalibrations heading this way as October falls. herewith ‘things in the shadows’ trusted to the remix handiwork of both Opus Klen and Tronik Youth, the Warriors folk describing the OK mix in passing as ‘…an acid fest… ‘. a moot point which we won’t deny, has a hint of truth, though i’m more minded to add and further interject, comes superbly pressed like a floor prowling mind expansive cerebral jam greased with a shadow toning of an as were mutant dystopic Moroder-esque dark star. left in the hands of Tronik Youth, ‘things in the shadows’ assumes something of a subtle dub doping psych pierced pulsar meshing to its kaleidoscopic colouring, its trippy trance tailoring weaving ripples of mind morphing radiance, which in truth should by rights, agree with those tuned into all things the Cult of Free Love. on a final note features Adam Leonard who i’m certain we’ve an email from way back from, of which, do i really need to say, we’ve mislaid, so Hi, Hello and can you resend please Ad.
absolute apologies to both the Cold Spells and indeed, Gare du Nord records who actually sent this over a little while back for mention. you’ll hate me for admitting, but it went astray only to be discovered earlier in the day too much embarrassment, shivering and neglected amid a pile of albums. we refer to the duo’s second full length ‘Interstitial’, a delicately drawn folk slow burn it be, prettied in a wistful vintage cocktail of wandering daydreams, countryside riverbank cosies and reflectively scribbled folded post it notes all dinked and fondly fastened to a straying peculiar pastoral whimsy. That said, us being the contrary souls that we are and, for now at least, in recompense, have honed in on the two tenderly formed trailer releases pre-empting the albums arrival. first up the current single ‘Mayday’ which with its lazy eyed lollop, courts a Merrie English vintage that wanders and weaves the silent hedgerows serenading all with its woozy balladeering, its simplistic light dusting recalling Syd Barrett whilst its latterly treks towards its end find themselves tumbling into the same rarified pastures encountered by the Left Banke courtesy of its airy baroque folk spraying. over on the flip awaits ‘colours of death’, not quite dispersing the morbidity that the title might first suggest, rather more something that strange links hands with the Soft Hearted Scientists in their more contemplative mood, the peeling drone of the church bells to rear exacting an eerie aura across which a bitter sweet maudlin nestles crow like observing the still of the church yard. ‘leviathan’, the preceding single, is a sprightly hopping dainty flavoured in a shuffling sun lit cascading whose tumbling rustic meanders had us recalling the much missed Beatglider as though in cahoots with a youthful ‘mother’s daughter….’ era Tunng while over on the reverse, the psychedelically infused ‘it is time’ with its tick tocking sleepy headed Wicker Man dreamscape, hypnotically threads a lilting web of wonder that waltzes, wanders and eventually withers in to ethereal void though not before providing a momentary safe haven and means to escape from a demanding world.
first of a handful of new limited cassette releases that have just escaped the confines of the Cruel Nature sound lab for the wiles of the open, from Waheela this is ‘a wreck so clean’ from off which our ears were pinched and pressed to the slow burn stately of the parting shot ‘dead upset’. a sprawling thirteen and a half minute opus distracted by a cautious mistrust and bruising that sees it hovering in the safety of the shadows, ever watchful though nevertheless intensely guarded, the sound-scapes retuning from an initial greeting point of hymnal stateliness to something gloomed with a primitive desert hollowing overcast bleached dry and decayed, into the nothingness, snaking riff flotillas hover in circling formations like death watch vultures all the time, measured and majestic though torn with melanchol, a softly emerging storm forms burning throughout with controlled frustration rising and withdrawing at moments as though testing and tasting its surrounding plotting a means to untether itself, and untether itself it does in dramatic fashion wherein rising to the eight and a half minute mark it springs the trap to rip and shred amid a wonderfully cacophonous scabbing of festering feedback furies, hissing vocals and searing riff razors gathers to coalesce with a white hot volatile.
alas if you want one of these, then your late to the parade I’m afraid. sold out at source of its 75 cassette pressing, for Cruel Nature’s 125th release a pairing of talents featuring a head to head between Kombynat Robotron and Snakes Don’t Belong In Alaska with the former serving up a neatly mind weaving snake winding arabesque by the name ‘Seltsame Attraktoren’, one of those stoner sorties you’d imagine would be ripe for all those subscribers to the more deeper and dense out there psych head jams put out by the noticeable missing in action of late Eggs in Aspic imprint, this being something that manages to happily squat on a woozy spectrum where sit at one end, the Cult of Dom Kellar while at the other, the incredible Insektlife Cycle. over on the reverse side lurks Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska here featuring a guest appearance by Junzo Suzuki for the epic event that is ‘UFO conjuration’. one best served listening at maximum volume through headphones, starts off quietly enough, a lot of noodling and trip toning woozy, the sounds seemingly buried to the rear give a curious insular, more so dreamy almost apparition like detailing, it’s as though its not real or quite there. then to a softly smoking fuse there descends a saucer-ish hum, its silvery chassis and extra-terrestrial glow pulsing with white hot radiance shimmering outwards ripples of subliminal sensory messages that weave hypnotically recoding and rebooting your head space with fixed point precision, the effect totally blissful, far out and gone, absolutely bonged out.
would i be right in saying two long out of print albums gathered together, repackaged and pressed across two sides of limited number cassette. its a regret that in recent years we’ve lost touch with John 3:16 having championed his Old Testament fuelled apocalyptic atmospherics, from his days with Heat from a Deadstar to his tentatively cautious emergence on the solo road, neither our interest nor enjoyed immersion into his metaphysical journey has ever dimmed or faltered. As previously, this limited release collects together both his debuting ‘John 3:16’ and ‘Visions of the Hereafter’ on one release, 18 tracks in total which though spoiled for choice in cherry picking, may we at least suggest, the start of your road of discovery begins with ‘The Inner Life of God / The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit’ which as I recall in another time and place we described in a passing musing as ‘perfectly crystallizing John 3:16’s storm simmering Old Testament obsessed sonics, bleakly beautiful they resonate with an ancient tongue as old as the sand, to a time where man was but a sacrificial pawn in the eternal battle between light and dark, a brooding panoramic symphonia harnessed upon natures frequenting moods where the magisterial, the macabre and the mysterious all coalesce with apocalyptic portent. enjoy the Rapture.
Imminent happenings arriving shortly through the Dark Outside’s very excellent aural literary sub print Bibliotapes from Adderall Canyonly. a re-imagining of Philip K Dick’s dystopian ’74 novel ‘flow my tears, the policeman said’ to a newly peeled soundtrack. Perhaps to date, Canyonly’s most realised work in so much as the flow, the metering and attention to mood, sonic contouring and visionary shaping that he has invested to this nine part dream suite. The sounds light and affectionately draped and decorated in milky mosaics of spectral cosmica, best experienced on ‘a little life trying’ are superbly refracted to a large part, through an 80’s Radiophonic lens (most notably nods aplenty to Paddy Kingsland one would imagine are due), the story is after all set in what was at the time, the future, 1988. Cuts such as ‘deep in a brown study’ are appreciably serviced with a trip toning proggy woozy that admirers of Tangerine Dream will warm to in an instant while elsewhere ‘seared by psychedelic tiger claws’ is graced with a sublimely realised panoramic glazing that neatly free flows into the rain shocked shadowy subterranean of Ridley Scott’s bleakly detached ‘blade runner’ adaption (again another Dick novel). Mix in some 80’s VHS lite sci-fi symphonia courtesy of the parting ‘unto to us a hit is given’, the best end credits from this generic box as everyone knows, are those scored with a bleakly optimistic vibing. However all said, its the prettying bitter sweet pastoral opines of ‘the betrayal state’ that had us a tad smitten, drawing as it does, a common touch with Thomas Newman’s quite exquisite score for another of Dick’s books brought to the big screen, ‘Adjustment Team’ (the Adjustment Bureau’), further evidence indeed of Canyonly’s intuitive grasp of the writers universe as advanced, explored and created by others).
Indeed we did mention this release, only briefly mind, a few days ago, but then this dropped in our laps and well, we’re quite fond of it. heading out of the Flau imprint, this is ‘像自己’, a track pulled from Noah’s ‘thirty’ full length, here accompanied by a freshly peeled video. As previously, an exploration through the metropolic labyrinth’s by night, Noah’s abled craft at fusing a pristine pop affection upon a glacially chic primer both serves seductive and serene, this nocturnal wanderer cut to a freeze dried soul vibe all equipped with a subtle 80’s abandon stirs wide eyed pacing a tangent where intersects the youthful effervescence of a first encountered the Knife and the lush spectral ghostings of the late Susumu Yakota.
we do love the way this slinkily mooches, set to a sultry down tempo haloing that’s pressed to a bitter sweetly soulful ache, this is the current from people club titled ‘kil scott’. at once softly seductive and hypnotic its swirled noir crushed palette purrs to subtly nod to a mid 90’s sonic time coding whose after-hours night quiet chic tunes to the frequencies of a distant Bristol scene populated by the likes of Portishead and a chill pilled Massive Attack.
21st November – Club Acud, BERLIN
28th November – The Islington, LONDON
I’ll be honest in saying that we lurched in the blink of a eye for the play button on this, the mere mention of synth pop in the press release inadvertently drawing our interest. Alas not, I do so wish he’d do more stuff with the Bureau B imprint, instead something a little more reflective, considered and dare we say, bitter sweet. we refer of course to ‘the over under’ the latest track to be peeled from Lloyd Cole’s recently acclaimed ‘guesswork’ full length. now I don’t know about you, but for me, I’ve never heard Cole sound so vulnerable, exposed and honest, it almost hurts in a way you rarely hear done with such subtle brutal measuring outside of a Orbison ballad minus the intensity of course, but still all the same, cradled and forlorn by a haunting where are we now full stop all set to a delicate melodic pulse light. bruising stuff.
Lloyd Cole is currently on tour ……
8 ABERDEEN Tivoli Theatre
10 DUNDEE The Gardyne Theatre
11 HAMILTON Townhouse
12 EDINBURGH Queens Hall
14 LIVERPOOL The Philharmonic Hall
15 LEEDS Town Hall
16 BUXTON Opera House
18 BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
19 GUILDFORD G Live
20 SALISBURY City Hall
21 NORTHAMPTON Derngate Theatre
23 BASINGSTOKE The Anvil & The Forge
24 LONDON Union Chapel
25 LONDON Union Chapel
29 KILKENNY The Set Theatre
30 DUBLIN Vicar Street
1 CORK Live At St Lukes
2 LIMERICK Dolans Warehouse
3 GALWAY Roisin Dubh
4 BELFAST The Belfast Empire Music Hall
there’s a ghostly dead heading to these past life visitations, fixed with a stilled solemn, these silent watchers rise like spectral sentries from the twilight shadows of neglected moorlands and woodlands under the blanket of night. sparse and spectral, this haunted gathering of five might on first encounter, instil a supernatural eerie fractured with a sinister hollowing, but scratch away and what becomes all too apparent is a burdening bruised forlorn sentenced to patrol for eternity a cruel emptiness. this be the Northern Lighthouse Board with ‘the Wych Elm’, a beautifully bleak tethering of such sorrowed apertures, where the ancient heraldic of the Heartwood Institute like ‘spirit slates’ meets and mourns with the despairing drift of the graven opus ‘the green children of woolpit’ and where to its exit, stage left, the droning morose of ‘Postlude’ tearfully waits, hoping beyond hope, an end might be nigh.
To hell with the restorative nap we were planning, there’s just too much music out there guilt tripping us to mention, we could go mentioning a familiar quote, but hey let’s not tempt fate. Now this dropped in our laps yesterday via an email from Roger Reverb Worship, took us a while linking up to it mind and anyway, we now mislaid the email, i mean hapless doesn’t cut. heading out of the Ivy Vine sound house a superb compilation titled ‘IVY: home recordings’, a little something that ought appeal to those among you admiring of the outsider folk listening spaces once upon a time occupied by the likes of the Terrascope folk, the Hobby Horse collective and Cold Spring. gathering together ten specially invited guests, it was the Karen Zanes track ‘infinity vine’ that initially attracted our interest, a haunting seductress whose siren like beckoning ghosted our listening space with a becoming bewitchment in the twilight hours (like 3 in the morning or there abouts earlier today), all desirably dreamy, intoxicating and spectrally dozed, something that one imagines might well adore the listening of a certain Alison O’Donnell if i’m not much mistaken. in contrast, there’s something of a flutter by-ing nature attaching to Allysen Callery’s pollen hopping flighty ‘sweet golden bee’ with its wonderfully lilting quick silvered finger picked rustic riff yearns. by sheer coincidence an email whilst spinning the Rob Noyes contribution ‘the square planet’, that reverb worship are re-releasing his 2014 home recordings in a limited 40 only pressing. i must admit i do admire the range of emotion and meter he manages to extract from his six string, here found one minute gliding radiantly, the next spiralling downwards rushed with a reflective pausing, it really is quite serene and entrancing. previously unknown to us, Justin Burkett turns in ‘along the way’, a distractive delight that bears a charming awkwardness whose somewhat out of focus lo-fi cradling had us much minded of Simon Joyner, surely no bad thing then. next up to the plate, a sublime spot of eastern mysticism in the shape of ‘Every Thing in the Dim Night’ from Joseph Allred, all intricately layered raga motifs and drone drifting reverbs give it a most desert dry hazy demurring. those fancying their sonic side order served with a touch of tender Gaelic spirit awaying might be advised to sit in the intimate softly spun glow of Rachel Riverwood’s ‘crow song moonlight’, a shy eyed fragile teased with a thoughtfully distracting yearn all hushed, heartfelt and cast with a genteely smoky cascading riff rippling tingle. must admit, the competition here excepting, that we’ve forged a little soft spot for reticence’s dream dappled and disarmingly airy ‘Intersolsticial’, its drifting kite flying glide warmly coaxed with a wide screen aspect amid which a statuesque swelling of arcing crystallines and a moment paused is briefly captured. the case be the same for Ava Callery’s quite adorable ‘Blue Eyes (I’ve Never Hid From Anything But…)’, its haunting 60’s lite haloing and softly spectral country psych tinging, gracing it with a tortured and bruised smoky noir soul seasoning that one suspects wouldn’t look to out of place in a Lynch / Tarantino face off. nice to see Moonbloom revisiting his past, several years out of earshot, the silence interrupted, i think last year, when we stumbled across some new groove, this ‘un titled ‘procession of Chimera’ finds him, as said, back where we like him scorching the dry husked terra firma with a neat slab of late 80’s inspired NZ angulated noise that brings to mind an imagined gathering of Bruce Russell, Flying Saucer Attack and Roy Montgomery types. dark sunny land, anything but if the aptly named ‘the drifter’ is anything to judge by, the sets sore thumb and that’s not to be disparaging, this is eerie stuff, both dreamy and nightmarish with an undertow of Radiophonic out thereness which i’m mindful to say had us much recalling Mount Vernon Arts Lab’s ‘the seance at hobs lane’ in so much as it relocates you as were, to a place far off from your comfort map. more please.
Fear not folks, not another impromptu and randomly posted message telling you of a release which by the time you pick up and read the email to find out more, has long since departed the shelves off into the obscure of well-heeled record collections. its getting to the point i’m on maximum anxiety alert, i do blame those polytechnic youth folk for starting all this, these days i’m sleeping with one eye trained surveillance like monitoring for such occurrences, which reminds me – note to self ‘must check in with PY it’s been at least two weeks since a release’. As said, rest easy, just a heads up on a free to down load track by The Dark Outside folk titled ‘the care giver pt. 2’. apparently a lost track, perhaps rescued and rewired from a dead laptop, then again perhaps not, something forgotten who knows, still this mysterious track is quite a treat if that is, you like your electronique listening sounding like celestial waves of jubilance emitting from some distant heavenly pulsar at the centre of the great cosmica.
kicking ourselves furiously trying to track down this blighter for fear of missing it on cassette store day where no doubt it’ll get a stupidly limited pressing and we’ll no doubt miss out and spend the rest of the day veering between grumpy and teeth gnashing. a track from ‘Döppel’ therein entitled ‘copies of copies’ by Stefan Bachmeier through the much admired spun out of control imprint. this creeping cosmic wanderer comes steeped and stilled with a watcher like portent, an advancing eerie reclaimed from abandoned 80’s VHS library cases and left stirring through a dystopic atomic mushroom cloud onto an landscape located in an alternate reality, bedded upon a nostalgic 50’s sci-fi silver age symphonia.
Again, another imminent heading out through the spun out of control collective, this is bryce miller with ‘vision line’, a track culled from his November incoming full length ‘monochrome daydream’. this slick dystopic dark star might first appear to emerge through a nostalgic chemical haze of lost VHS horror film scores and reveal an acute as were, schooling in all things John Carpenter, but scratch beneath the ‘Stranger Things’ currency and something more attaching to the futuristic opuses of a classic era Zombi are reborn anew.
All this talk of Zombi brings us logically to Steve Moore. Still yet to hear his recent for Temporary Residence, but in a moment of lull earlier today, we did unearthed this. Just out through the New York LIES imprint, a four track self titled twelve inch, really just a digital download from off which we’ve been smitten by the parting cut ‘future 86’. very much tuned in to the time of his brief residence with static caravan of a few years back now, this binary bopping trance toner arrives kissed and pressed with a coolly mesmeric and deeply buried in the mix, subterranean grooving all harnessed with an acute fixed staring head expanding club floor cerebral chic that’s matched only here by the re-invigorating and restorative meditative radiance pouring out through the low lit purring orbital pulse waves of the super chilled ‘future 99’.
Hell’s teeth, can’t imagine how I’m going to nail down one of these. After a period of hibernation, it seems the Cult of Free Love have been hotwired to life propelling them in a creative fury whereupon there’s the small question of a rather stunning split head to head with Magic Seas currently attracting admiring glances through Magic Love while word reaches us that a full length is completed and ready to descend shortly while over the weekend the band have nailed, what they’ve collectively come to describe as something sounding like ‘a lost psychedelic James Bond theme’. Before all that though, there’s this, a limited cassette press for Cassette Store Day through the Italian label 1Q84 featuring three radically rephrased variants of the ‘Substance’ cut featured on that aforementioned twelve inch split with the Magic Seas. Drafted into to assist, the collective have engaged the talents of MegaHeadPhoneBoy to explore, as the press release asserts ‘….. the darker territories occupying the space where Stranger Things meets Warp Records’. As said then, three extended and out there re-visions of ‘Substance’ the first of which ‘substance 1’ opens up busily as though veering at some point of critical meltdown, the sounds expansive, fill the listening space in an instant and come possessed of an air of the binary chip coding that greeted the opening of Carpenter / Howarth’s superb ‘Halloween 3’ score albeit with the panic settting set at maximum within which, deep into its heart, a slow forming core pulses and a white hot glow emerges patched onto a solar blasted slab of impenetrable wall of intensely frying trance tripping, the effect very much imagines a cosmic head hit between Astral Social Club and the mighty Gnod, though scratch beneath chassis, locate the centre of operations and at the helm you’ll find the of late, missing in action Eat Lights Become Lights tampering tyrannically at the core matrix. By contrast, the astral gliding ‘Substance 2’ arrives firmed upon a metronomic skip there’s a strangely inward spiritual seasoning afoot here, a kaleidoscopic trip into the inner self haloed in all manner of dissipating vapour-esque shimmerings, subtle Moroder motorik fleet footing flotillas and solar flared whispers, very much something that coalesces and nods pristinely with the hidden from view, pulsing psych wired trance ambient opuses of the late 90’s subterranean sound scene. Last but by no means least, ‘Substance 3’ incidentally our favourite of the trio, is a glorious galactic herald, a sub 14 minute slice of wide screen solar symphonia from out of whose initial dystopic eerie emerges a jubilant radiant morphing from a point of lilting serene whereupon a bitter sweet lullaby like twinkling orbital shyly encroaches to mutate with a hazing dream draped detailing to absorb the space in a drone dissolving demurring whose graceful galactic gearing had us imagining a reanimated fortdax relocated in the outer spheres of the boltfish universe (see Obfusc, Zainetica, CV313 and of course, Cheju). I want.
Another expected Cassette Store Day essential, a limited second press of Dream Division’s desirable ’48°55’14 . 2″N ‘Enter / Exit” set. Originally released last year, truth be told i’m not entirely sure i’ve a copy myself, this edition comes as a limited issue of 50 with new artwork and all copies housed in black and white shells. twelve incidentals feature here on what is described by its creator as ‘… an audio journey through the Black Lodge. Two pieces of music ‘Entrance’ and ‘Exit’ Written and recorded over one evening, one take direct from the mixer to tape.’ Stark and icily enigmatic, the ‘Entrance’ side of proceedings draws you, oncoming to the destination, the score mysterious and foreboding is part stilled and glacially fashioned with a sparse and spectral sinister solemn. It’s eerie otherly casting lengthening shadows that conspire to create a sense of the timeless and the majestic, though all together likewise, something darkened, sinister and damned by an unholy past life, a forevermore looming large on the horizon like some brooding blood bathed mythical sentinel. the sound scape prowls with exacting precision, edgy and gloomed, an overcasting predator traced in tensely wound macabre motoriks suffocated by a claustrophobic chilling, the sounds strangely gauzed in a dream like is anything real neutering, its slick supernatural pedigree drawing a keen kinship with the classic 70’s era Italo horror scene, most notably Fabio Frizzi while similarly trekking similar terrains as those previously ventured by Simon Magus and Klaus Mortlock as the Unseen. As to the ‘Exit’ side of matters, well let’s just say we’re not quite at safety point yet (though the crystal kissed vapour serene of the Carpenter ‘lost themes’ like ‘Exit 8’ will surely see to that), that said, it as though some obscuring cloud has passed, the mood though measurably lightened is still etched with an uncanny aura, these dancing apparitions, seven in all, are mourned in an eerie elegance with which of particular note, ‘exit 4’ manages strays down a wrong turn and in to the shadowlands crafted by Keith Seatman while similarly, ‘Exit 5’ easily recalls those magical and measured twilight forlorn’s sculptured by a younger Heartwood Institute.
Damn this takes me back to, if not happier days, then considerably younger ones. Who remembers Bob, audacious rapscallions of distractively dinked C-86 jangle pop whose simple heartfelt courtship of sing-a-long toe tappers, pristinely prickly melodics, feel good vibes and a strangely un-wholesome dollop of breezy effervescent cheer, never failed to raise a smile and a quick two stepped jig in our gaff back in the day. a regular fixture on the John Peel nightly wingding, they achieved Festive 50 legendary status when ‘convenience’ creeped into the listeners end of year loves in 1989. the track has now been given a second life, opening the credits to Optic Nerve’s second season of singles club madness. this time, as with previously Optic occurances, in a limited 7-inch pressings on a choice of red, amber and green wax, over on the flip you’ll find the previously unreleased ‘Coquette’ recorded in ’92 adoring the groove space. each single is accompanied with all your standard indie retro gubbins, postcards, poster and sticker, methinks they are spoiling us.
to coincide with the festivities Bob are on the road one last time ……
23/11 Birmingham Flapper
24/11 Kingston upon Hull New Adelphi
26/11 Leeds Wharf Chambers
27/11 John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, Stowmarket
28/11 100 club, London support from the Popinjays ……
we’ve been resisting beyond resisting this gem all day, knowing full well our fondness for it might well obscure everything else we’d hope to hear today. seriously, we are smitten. another heading out on cassette store day, this time by the utterly adored Analogue Electronic Whatever folk. two tracks within then, the first ‘how to fly’ nails down perfectly what I love about these dudes, the way they can turn a track on its head in a flash, it’s something that draws a loose kinship with the Midwich Youth Club in so much as the reference markers from which they flow, aren’t cemented with a full stop and that their impish flights into the stranger terrains of new wave, like you say Devo, like we say Gerry and the Holograms are run in direct opposition to their unerring knack for the crafting of, by degrees of kookiness, a spontaneous pure pop appreciation of say Pop Musik or M (Robin Scott). But back to ‘how to fly’ a second longer, what starts very tomorrow syndicate (and indeed continues so) is occasioned by DAF meets Space like interruptions that cleverly subvert it or should that be, adore it with a playful dayglo punk abruptness much recalling the Rezillos. As to ‘the Owl Service’, seriously I can’t split affections as to which I prefer the most, this though is the other side of the AEW persona, culturing pristinely serene electronic interfaces, this ‘un delicately daubed in all manner of pastoral kaleidoscopia’s the type of which a decade or more ago, Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve used to fizz out with impish delight, vintage kosmische threaded intricately with a most demurring Kraftwerkian serene flowing through its celestial heart, a wandering woozy dimpled with an affectionate nostalgic fondness of Plone / ISAN lite twinkling. Essential by our reckoning, new Sparks anyone, not that there’s anything found wanting with the old Sparks.
And as we were talking of Midwich Youth Club, or at least mentioning him in passing (see Analogue Electronic Whatever), I know, you think these musing are randomly plucked together, truth is we labour for a seemless flow. Alright then, randomly it is. Been out for a month or two, a limited cassette through the Manchester based label, the Clap, titled ‘the return of Mr Citrus’.
Now I’m suspecting that this was flagged up to us during one our impromptu periods of absence, though by way of a little digging we did manage to give it a brief heads up, somewhere here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/midwich-youth-club-9/ – so we’re not totally feckless, just a bit lazy, late and stupid. Waffling aside, we’re admiring of the Midwich Youth Club, rascals that they are, they live in the 70’s, in children’s land for the best part, not quite double deckers, tomorrow people or the hugely annoying folk in ‘the box of delights’, but next door, or at least in the same street as, Hector’s House, Mr Benn and Tony Hart, spending the days listening to seriously warped copies of ‘Replicas’, ‘pleasure principle’ and ‘Telekon’ on a home made turntable built with the aid of a collect monthly easy to build flowchart sellotaped together from the Gramophone and Wireless Digest. The sounds are often a peculiar kaleidoscopic frying, very much vintage electronics of the type that wheezes and splutters, a condition caused by endless Sunday’s spent hoping for rescue from the frequent weekly trips to rain sodden car boot sales. At once wonky, sometimes kitsch, forever appealing and affectionate, though at times skittish and off the map, these sonic salutes from a surreal land rekindle a glowing fondness in this weary heart. Sitting on the margins of the Bearsuit spectrum, the Midwich folk did for a time find kindred spirits and a welcome shelter at the latterly departed soft bodies imprint. Is it just me or is this sounding like an epitaph.
Okay back to the cassette, which if I’m honest, sort of sounds like the above but then again doesn’t because strictly speaking according to its author, its not exactly a Midwich project. So with that in mind there is this curious balancing act working underfoot here, where several sonic worlds are colliding, the above – the kooky and kitsch and the rest, a little more dark, distantly dystopic and stretching the MYC palette into previously unexplored territories. Features fifteen tracks, some lovably deranged, others just deranged and all touched with a sense of the strange, the weird, the out of focus and if you really listen carefully, the occasional slap you around the chops surprise like for instance, the Byrds-ian effervescent rush, yes you read right, of ‘confessions of a hippy vicar’ a little something from the sneaky hat and a wonderfully homely retro pastiche just missing an early 70’s TV show featuring annoying kids – double deckers anyone. even when they are trying to be demonic and scary, that playful side still peaks from behind to corrupt the effect – see ‘the exit strategy of Mr Citrus’ while if you really want to be blunt, stuff like the oddly shape shifting playful sinister of ‘the magpie converter’ is enough to give Scooby the doo doo’s. for us, a soft spot is forming for both ‘density zones’ a weaving hullucinogen woozed out on mesmeric ripples and the subtle haze of Eastern motifs and the fuzzily crooked calypso ‘obstacle face’ which one suspects, lying untouched in some TV basement cupboard, an aborted wacky cartoon waits patiently to be be discovered and paired with an equally strung out theme track.
Been a long, long while since he graced these pages, no word, no postcard just silence, and then he pops up with two releases in quick succession. We refer of course to Welsh wayward wanderer Pulco who has just land an EP and full length, titled ‘the Gargoyle EP’ and ‘Artzoo’. apparently plundered from the archive, if you can call recordings from 2017 archive, I don’t know, young folk today. Anyway, these recordings date back to just before his transformation into Chow Myng, the EP by all accounts, recorded under the influence of listening to Blurt, no bad thing then. it’s typical Pulco fayre, wiry collage, scabbed strums and that sense of, distractively being somewhere else, appreciably very lo-fi, wasted, the noodling angular accents adoring ‘at the racecourse’ is occasioned by all manner of shuffling, stuttering and shambling antics though once it settles into groove, a curiously glowing psych pop wistful breezes its grooves, kind of God is My Co Pilot and Guided by Voices. ‘feral foods’ is treated with a sparsely cut post punk edgy, as though something fallen off a Peel playlist c. 81/ 82 while ‘toof’ is your straight ahead squirrelling sore thumb all contortionist rhythmns and fried jazz spikes, the kind of stuff, that a few years back, you’d have found gracing the Foolproof Projects imprint. Best of the lot though, by a country mile, ‘chip shop blues’ is touched with a Fall-esque crusty that sighs with a could’t care less wandering while filleted through the awkward lens of a youthful Half Man Half Biscuit. cherry picking my through ‘Artzoo’ we arrive at ‘don’y adjust yourself’, a wiring slice of peculiar anti pop conditioning pressed upon oodles upon oodles of skittish and wonky lo-fi electro motifs, its all very discombobulated. there’s always the quite wonderfully demurring ‘non existant’, a shimmering orbital studdded with a beautifully lulling radiance upon which Mr Cooke waxes lyrical, almost had me of a mind to go rooting out those precious Rooney releases from the late 90’s. more Fall-esque psych soft crookedness drops courtesy of the title track ‘Artzoo’ with its dimpling of weezy car boot keyboard while pushed to shove to pick an overall favourite, hands down it’d have to be the scratchy surreal of ‘sinister corners’ with its yuletide glow, hymnal hushes and its oddly off centred whispered haunting, uneasy stuff like with the isolationist parting shot, ‘reptiles’.
I really don’t get it, I mean we nearly had to double take this. Nine views this videos had, it’s been up a month, what’s up with people. Admittedly, this is one of those slow to catch light cuts, but stick around and rewards are aplenty. This be the Catenary Wires with ‘tie me to the rails’, a track pulled from an incoming set ’til the morning’ through Tapete. featuring former members of the likes of heavenly, marine research and tender trap, there’s no questions as to the musical pedigree of Amelia and Rob, their second album, according to the press folk, shifting ever so slightly in dynamic and sound, reveals a growing maturity first dappled in with their debuting ‘red red skies’. ‘tie me to the rails’ is deceptively dainty and distractively light, so light its liable to flutter by away before you even had a chance to fall into its breezily country rustic. I mean let’s not paper over the fact that in the initial moments (and indeed throughout), that there’s a seriously subtle apparition like smoky drift underfoot here, that loosely strays into Lee and Nancy terrains with its deeply lilting and lolloping 60’s country noir cascades peeling away from their melancholic shell to harvest a strangely radiant splash of cheery-some fluffy haunting.
it’s as though there’s a cloak of invisibility wrapped around these brief occasional’s by Cheval Sombre, without warning or advanced heralding, as though suspended in animation, they descend momentarily, in a disarming state of smoky opiated bliss. the sounds thoughtful and closely intimate as much as they are, fragile and frail, softly spin a dream like tapestry both graceful and hushed and bitter sweetly blushed with a woozy subtle psych blues brazing. And then, like some apparition or visitation, it’s gone with only a vague memory of it lingering. it’s all very measured, murmuring and above all majestic, something I guess, for all you Spacemen 3 devotees. Anyway, before we forget, this is out through market square records, in a limited of 300 each coming accompanied by a postcard, it’s called ‘been a lover’ and if you are really good, we’ll be casting an ear across the flip side track ‘the calfless cow’ tomorrow.
if i’m being brutally honest, I’ve been really looking forward to hearing the new Pulselovers full length ‘cotswold stone’ through castles in space, since the day Mat from the band hinted they were applying the finishing coat a little while back over the summer recess. alas we might have to wait just a little longer yet, if that is Colin Castles in Space has sent an early copy, ihope he hasn’t because if he has, then i’m afraid that Royal Mail has lost it and several other items to boot – a Norman’s order, something from Dream Division and a package from Bibliotapes, and that’s just for starters. but let me get down before i get on my high horse, mere mention of Royal Mail just incurs my ire and frustration and brings out a side of me I’d rather keep locked away. so onwards to more reliable things. Four tracks available on the band camp preview pane, the album scheduled for release next week, a more lighter toning than previous visitations which if you’ll forgive me due to the lateness of the day, for now we’ll concentrate our minds on the opening pathway, ‘autumn arrives again’. adored with an airy free spirited serene, the rustic rambles un-weaving here, colour a picture of innocence, wide eyed adventure and an untouched timelessness, it’s something that musically, draws a close kinship with Jonathan Sharp’s recent ‘divided time’ set, incidentally for the same label whilst similarly falling headlong in the sound worlds, once upon spun by a youthful Melodic imprint with its softly adoring day dream like aspect and stilled graceful texturing bringing it directly under the influence of say, both Leaf Library and the Memory Band.
arriving in time for Halloween, a creeping cautionary spread across two extended suites. From the Clay Pipe folk, this be Alison Cotton with ‘the Girl I Left Behind Me’. Arriving in a limited hand numbered pressing of just 500, all pressed on 10 inches of pale transparent blue vinyl and housed in reverse board covers replete with download cards. the two tracks within were inspired by ghost stories penned by Murial Sparks, Ms Cotton accompanied by an array of intruments that include her trusted viola along with harmoniums, recorders, Omnichords, shruti boxes and a piano discreetly weaves a forlorn shadow lengthening mysterio dappled in a most impressive courtship of chamber folk shimmering’s, which settle to fall away at the 6-minute mark, whereupon ushered by an ethereal glow, a hymnal of sorrow briefly rises and in an instant what was initially haunted and foreboding, the stricken strings sigh with a caressfully solemn ache, the arrangements shivering with a silent melancholic both bruised and respectful. over on the flip, ‘the house of the famous poet’ similarly explores the same sonic demograph, an orphaned cry ghosts like a siren emerging from a twilight fog, the slow drone of the harmonium serving only to deepen the mystique, settles the landscape in a sweet magical chill, the tongue is gaelic, the atmosphere neutred by a bitter sweet solemn more so a stillness or maybe some nightly visitation set for an eternal by a spiteful cursing, whatever the case it’s tender though altogether tortured, safe to say by these ears, a beautifully realised eerie.
back with that promised Cheval Sombre flip side, you’ll find this neatly tucked to the back of his market square outing ‘been a lover’. titled ‘the calfless cow’, it’s a dusty penning originally recorded by Alasdair Roberts, not the first time these folks have crossed, didn’t they cut a lathe release with Static Caravan a few years back, perhaps i’m dreaming. Still this is our preferred cut of the duo, not least because it’s teased and crushed with a radiantly 60’s honeycombed haloing that curiously sits somewhere left of centre, between the Left Banke and Rodriguez as though under the studio influence of a spiritually serene Dylan. adored with pauses and a feint like charming that draws you close into its whispered farewell web, there’s an immaculate to the precision in the way this sweetly stings.
back with the pulselovers as promised, to gather up those three errant tracks sitting silently on the preview pane of their band camp page. As said previously, from what we heard so far, it’s an album that forges a perfect listening bond with Jonathon Sharp’s ‘divided time’ set from earlier in the year. the tracks dappled in a nostalgic hazy, both wistful and yearnful, serve as a memory box for Handley to wanders back into his childhood, oozed in a dreamily arresting pastoral percolating, tracks such as ‘the green leaves of shildam hall’ stray airily into the secret pastures of Littlebow while ‘on the wold’ is cut with a crystalline caress, a genteelly farewell-ing faraway tinged ever so slightly in dew dripped magicalia which ultimately leaves ‘badby ’80’ cutting the mustard with some neatly murmuring kosmische pulse toning, which all said, has something of the Palace of Swords about it albeit as though piloting some prog electro La Dusseldorf mothership.
now at this point it was our intention to go visit the Unquiet Meadow, after all its been its a long time since their broadcasts featured here. however best laid plans so on and so forth, we’ve hit a stumbling block for now with the link we sourced – see https://www.ashevillefm.org/show/the-unquiet-meadow/?fbclid=IwAR3iTONOlxInkdG1f7KQBZcl_jjB3CDS8Yqo-pDnDzAdXB6_Tif0CWNJZiU getting us slightly befuddled, as to whether the issue is with them (tracks playing, if they play that is, for only 10 seconds) or with us, given that a recent windows update (see what they do now, there is no choice, you either restart or shutdown both options force you to update, I hate you Windows with a passion), managed to disable our media player. So while we message Cyp to see if there any other playable link, we haven’t been sitting idle in the meantime, no siree, selecttng at least two of this playlists number for further sourcing, the first of which being by Klaus Morlock. originally recorded in 1979 and just out now on free to download, well i’m not certain about all that, the vintage appears right, but what with all this hauntologist skewering afoot at present and the current social media trick or trap (your choice), for rewriting recent history to fit its own agenda and the constant tirade of lies, falsehoods and the laughable, false news retorts( hello Dumb and Dumber – a tale of a president and a prime minister), its getting all the more difficult to see the wood for trees. still, little grumble back in the box, this is ‘dialogue assembly’, a track peeled from the currently available, ‘dead maids assembly’ full length, a little something we fell fond with in an instant. courting a beautifully hypnotic library folk dreaminess, the kind of thing you’d find on one of those classic KPM releases – see Hawkshaw, Mansfield, bennett and Limb. that said we do love the interweaving of filmic dialogue with the murmuring ghost lit atmospheres, all the time deepening that sense of the uncanny, the mysterious and ultimately, the sinister, its something that draws a neat comparable parallel with the Owl Service’s quite stunning ‘Cine’ covers set, then without warning, as though a switch has been tripped, the whole colouring and mood of the track acutely upends and were previously there was a fracturing woozy, suddenly evaporates and in its place a Jarre-esque cosmic forms. now had we avoided or at least come through, this fatigue cloud that’s currently blighting our days, the ‘Witchcraft and Black Magic in the United Kingdom’ compilation through the unexplained sounds sub print eighth tower would have well by now, been listened to voraciously and indeed posted with much fondness. as it, it remains for now on a very pressing back burner. An excellent gathering, featuring both very familiar and not so familiar names, not a duff track on initial listening, that i can assure. from that set, to oil the interest lets say, Grey Frequency turn in ‘elegy for vinegar Tom’. a mammoth fog bound mysterio, if this doesn’t unsettle you and cause the temperature in your listening space to drop perilously low then you are already marked. hovering icily, this ghost lit apparition solemnly walks some eternal night patrol, both mournful and tortured, the sounds though spectral and sparsely weaved manage to make use of the space to reveal a lightly spared and conserving brush stroked creativity at work here that makes use of limited applications to craft a hugely cavernous and expansive wide screen palette.
it might be just a happy or indeed, unhappy coincidence as the case might well be, that this is due to land the same week as the long awaited Scarfolk Annual drops. Both existing outside of a time line or reality that both you and I remember, though caring to dwell for a moment or two to consider, find ourselves overwhelmed by the feeling of a deeply indescribable chill and a haunted dread. this is the incoming Smile Eyes and the Children Folk set through polytechnic youth and horror pop sounds, an imagined, or is it, soundtrack to a lost and forgotten Polish children’s TV show from the early 80’s composed and arranged by the mysterious Szczepan Buckowski (though checking the credits and you’ll see on mastering and restoration credits, a certain Stephen James Buckley – hello Polypores). given this has the prints of horror pop sounds all over it, this should at least give you an indication of where this going even before the stylus has had a chance to settle into its groove. of course its odd, fun and cleverly authentic with just the required tingle of the sinister and surreal. Anyway, this is the TV shows ‘theme tune’. set to a pulsing pastoral electronische palette, this crookedly kooky eerie is invested with an off centred playful peculiar whose Midwich Cuckoo-ery’s, analogue warbles and lite radiophonic lounge scoping will drive you to strange distraction.
don’t mind admitting that this ‘un has been flickering in and out of our listening space these last few days, again another picked up on one of those random strolls through bandcamp, annoying I know. this is floating spectrum of whom I believe, hail from Berlin with a track titled ‘the early green outburst’, a little something serving as a teaser, pulled from their recently released ‘a point between’ full length. i guess the first thing to note here, is that, despite its shadowy eerie and occasional doom draped dystopic opines, that these attributes are not the sonic detailing likely to form a chill upon you. rather more the remoteness, the unknowingness and that over-arching sense of isolation are in place from the get go, long before this leviathan like monolith scarcely has a chance to flex and stretch its icy shadow.
Likewise, with this ‘un, another plucked from a random bandcamp rummage, that’s been burrowing deep into the headspace laying all manners of eggs and earworms. by the reboot joy confession, this ‘1999’ a track from a far bigger three track collectively called ‘spirit of the planets’ EP. Alas, not a cover of the Gray composed theme tune for the Anderson’s sci-fi adventure of the same name, instead you might want to stick around with this in order to give it a chance to seep in deep and settle, because once rid of its loosening up noodling, give it about a minute or so, whereby its trying to find its feet, something touched with a distinctive 808 State styling starts to step to the plate and it doesn’t stop there, morphing with subtle precision, it soon incorporates elements of smoky after hours jazz noire to its aural artillery which off-set by a mellow funk bitten vibing, cut the kind of chic coding that imagines emperor penguin flirting with edwin moses. that said, we here are a little fond of the title track as well, this time enlisting the talents of Dwight Trible, this hallucinogenic cosmic tripper is coolly kookified with a head freaking dub doped jazz soul frying the type of which, in another time, place or dimension, would have found a welcome home at both the tummy touch and frank wobbly and sons imprints.
by our reckoning, this’ll be the third mention in as many days for pulselovers, well they will keep hitting us with nuggets, though more specifically in this instance, we wanted to draw your interest to a 70 only lathe cut 7-inch of their’s before they all end up in the domain of online auction house with their original price clipping considerably inflated. through the soon to be very busy Castles in Space folk, this limited outing features a track that barely missed the ‘Cotswold Stone’ final selection and a rephrasing of another that did make it by Panamint Manse, so that’s ‘on the green’ and ‘in the marsh’ respectively. the panamint manse side of the event comes elegantly pressed with a wonderfully mellow toned statue-esque, measured and slick not to mention, sleek, its seductively sprayed in a low lit after hours sultry, a wandering ethereal touched with the elegiac, patrolling as were, the metropolis by night. as to previously rescued from the cutting room floor cut, can we settle for, a sweetly lulling ISAN-ic lunar lullaby sighed with syncopating mesmeric’s and the genteel daisy chaining orbital of subtle arabesque apparitions and pastoral posies.
the first of three Autumnal treats from the Fruits de Mer soundhouse, the other two will, I promise, feature here tomorrow at some point. serving as a preview to loveliness expected to arrive early next year in the guise of a mammoth 3 CD quite possibly 4, compilation follow up to last year’s acclaimed ‘the three seasons’ triple vinyl set. this time, the label have reset the clocks to rediscover lost sonic moments from the ’66 – ’69 putting out the call to labels extended family to help out in nailing down, what promises to be, the essential 60’s covers sets of the year. ‘sunny spells’ EP features four such cuts, as previously, in a limited pressing on coloured vinyl, it opens with an ‘unplugged’ version of ‘rest in peace’ by Chad and Jeremy which initially comes across wonderfully cantered in the vintage of the day, a honey spun homely and then, you realise, the narrative’s not so sunny at all, given it appears to be about a mortician, I blame Syd for all this, it really is a peculiar eccentric that’s adored with a dizzily arrested a village green quaintness and a subtle psyche folk seasoning. been a while since we heard anything from Schizo Fun Addict, word reaching us that they are putting the finishing coat on a new album expected sometime next year. wel, well, well and you thought the Mamas and Papas ‘dedicated to the one I love’ was pretty much untouchable. Think again. Found here accompanied by Ilona V, Jet and Co fall headlong into the kaleidoscopic hazy re-emerging on the other side to relocate this classic gem in some ethereal wonderland, really is something else trimmed as it is with a wonderfully worked 50’s teen angst vintage, softly psyched dream draped shimmerings and a haloing of Spector-que classicism, what’s not to adore. previously unknown to us, I think. Hanford Flyover serve up a cover of Neon Pearl’s ‘just another day’ which i must admit are a band that have thus far escaped our listening love. this I guess, you could happily refer to as a slow burner, certainly something that ought to be on the radar of folk admiring Crystal Jacqueline, this arriving touched with the spirit of Renaissance, a dreamy faraway dappled in the warm filtering of baroque folk motifs all teased with a mercurial artistry. last but by no means least, Us an Them claim Neil Young’s ‘what have you done to my life?’ as their own, what can we say, whatever these folk touch, it’s as though it’s been kissed in magic dust, this proves no exception so shall we keep it simple, disarmingly understated and immaculate.
look I know it’s been out for a while, but this ‘un has had a habit of resurfacing into our listening space and spraying its radiant cosmica. this be memory keepers with the silver age futuro ‘disturbed pair’, a little something that should these ears not deceive, clearly shows its operating under the sphere of influence of both Daft Punk and the Art of the Memory Palace whilst simultaneously being equipped with subtle motorik surges and a haloing of spiralling hypno grooving celestial fanfares.
there’s a jaunty 80’s aspect to this understated gem in its initial greet, a playfulness and a mildly dinked kookiness that draws kinship with ISAN’S iconic ‘Digitalis’ set. it’s something that at the one-minute mark, suddenly loosens itself of its skin and blossoms amorphously assuming to its terra-forming palette, an 80’s styled soft chic slickness dimpled in low lit oriental nocturnal’s all of which had us minded of a youthful variant of both Maps and Diagrams and Cheju. contrast this with the close intimate cradling of the parting track, its tender and tortured bruising bitter sweetly head bowed, vulnerable and tearfully touching, a moment alone. these are the two tracks that book end a quietly irresistible cassette release by Yves Malone titled ‘Cicuta Maculata’ through the ERR REC imprint, ‘asterids’ and ‘Vale, Vera Fuit Eius’ be their names respectively.
okay two more from ERR REC for the evening, these would have featured earlier only we got distracted by a bundle of parcels (it was a strike by our local sorting office that resulted in no post for two weeks, which while i’m here let me say thanks for, because we’ve only just received appointment notifications that we’ve now missed …. grrr). In addition, we spent two hours we’ll never get back watching ‘Mortal Engines’ and then in annoyance went for a restorative nap. so that was our day, how about you? Now i’m going to stick my head above the parapet in saying that this may well be one of the oddest releases put out by the label, a curio titled ‘papier mache’ by Plastic Moonrise (better known to kith n’ kin as Catherine Norris. available as two variants, a limited cassette numbering just 50 and the more essential cassette and 54 page book package, edition number unknown, but if I were you, i wouldn’t really hang too long on the should I or shouldn’t I fence. featuring twenty tracks, all briefly beguiled apparitions, with only one of their number touching the two minute ticker tape, Ms Norris appears to frequent a surreal space where at one end, exists Petunia Liebling MacPumpkin whilst to the other, those mysterious folk Quimper, in the middle, creating an as were, wall of resistance, Jodie Lowther (free of her Quimper skin). utilising all manner of instruments, from musical boxes, xylophones, analogue keyboards, sticks and more, she creates an affectionate over which to work her poetry, it really is most serene, with tracks like ‘all the shapes’ sounding as though they’ve sleepily nodded off a vintage Postgate / Firmin stop animation. And that’s the point to this, what with the twinkling rustics and dreamy faraways not to mention, the lyrical continuity, there’s the nostalgic whiff of an early 70’s afternoon classroom story telling session sweetly engaging here. utterly charming.
last for now from the ERR REC soundhouse, now we will be coming back to this in a day or three, don’t want you all thinking there’s favouritism or that were on the labels payroll or anything. truth is, we want to sit with this a while. culled from an incoming set ‘GRRR?’ by Tigre Tigre, this be the parting track ‘Tokyo Parade’. the work of a certain multi instrumentalist, Vincent Taeger, his CV boasts working with such celebrated folk as Air, Damon Albarn, Sebastien Tellier and Charlotte Gainsbourg, his mercurial artistry veering into our listening spectrum early last year with the release of ‘MIAOU!’- see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/04/08/tiger-tigre/ – this time around his musical trickery is expanded to incorporate something very much cued for early 80’s clubland chic, those impish Art of Noise itches of previous seemingly firmed up by a Yello-esque underpinning, the oriental motifs tweaked with momentary flashes of afrobeat rhythmics soon dissolve and dissipate at the 2.50 minute, their place taken up by a head morphing motorik mosaic that builds ever densely and hypnotically around a kosmische pulsar, the new Moroder anyone?
Brought to our attention by Mat Pulselovers by way of note simply saying, ‘thought this might be up your street’. Indeed it is, by way of the Lisbon, Portugal based Russian Library imprint this be a mighty fine lathe cut 7-inch split pairing together Folclore impressionista and Ondness. Folclore Impressionista should be no strangers to those keeping tabs on groove heading out of the Woodford Halse community, having featured on the labels third volume of ‘undulating waters’ gatherings, incidentally mentioned here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/undulating-waters-3/- found here dropping ‘remember’, perhaps an eclipsing cosmic herald or a celestial fanfare, whatever the case may be, this star gazing serene comes tripped in an affectionate array of mesmerically murmurred kosmische flotillas and pulsars, really quite lulling and I dare say, desirable. Previously unknown to us, at least prior to now that is, Ondness drop ‘Volta da Ajuda’, a little something that you might want to crank up the volume for because this is seriously cut with an ultra minimalist phrasing, the spared glitch chattering, the oddly disjointed jazz motifs, the chamber like briefings and ethereal tethering all colluding to usher in the kind of micro tech sparseness that in another time or place would have found a welcoming home on the fringes of the Smallfish, Rednetic and Boltfish community.
With Russian Library a little longer for another superb split lathe cut 7-inch, this one pairing Aural Design and Supernova and limited to just twenty copies. Opening with Aural Design who serve up ‘Pentagram’, a serious slice of dream machine hypnosis, cosmically cosied by rippling sprays of dancing lunar lights emanating from a pulsing central core, all wonderfully nostalgic and very much teased by the blissful echo of Raymond Scott. As to Supernova, they serve up ‘Dare’, a nifty slice of futuro funk bitten space junk whose clock working gloopy binary bops might well strongly suggest, they were schooled in the ways of Cluster.
This was intended for mention yesterday but hell’s teeth, these fatigue lapses are kicking the fun out of our enjoyment of life, not to mention being the sole reason we’ve a crisis point back log of releases to get through and hear. Anyhow, stand down, just a grumble. Part of the Fruits de Mer Autumnal selection, though by the time they actually appear, surely they’ll be the Winter parade, this be Crystal Jacqueline, on this occasion aided and abetted by the Honey Pot with ‘I talk to the Wind’, another killer covers set, five in all, spread across two seven inch slabs of coloured vinyl and something sure to fly off the racks on pre-sales alone. What I love about these folk is that, give them a covers project and they won’t disappear for a few days, only to return with a lazily faithful routine without any personal identity. No, these folk are likely to run off, strip it down and rebuild it in their image, proof in the pudding being these five reworked nuggets. A set that opens with Traffic’s forgotten (at least I’d forgotten it) ‘Dear Mr Fantasy’ here reframed and totally tripped and sprinkled in just the right amount of magic dust and all cut with such an acute, of the day vintage, that you double take swearing blind its awoken from some chemically assisted coma. Left in their hands, King Crimson’s ‘I talk to the wind’ is flashed through with a touching dream lke woozy, a magic wonderland blossomed with spell weaving psych folk charms and a genteel tethering both bewitched and beguiled in the surrendering wrap of prettying pastorals. The next two, I’m embarrassed to say are a loss to us, originals wise, an obscure b-side from Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich titled ‘sun goes down’ here given a serious garage freakbeat workout and a wonderfully far out hallucinogenic haloing, just out of it. Somewhere else, there’s Rare Bird’s ‘Sympathy’ on this occasion applied with a tormented and haunted Chanteuse toning, leaving Tonton Macoute’s ‘Dreams’ to exit stage left at the run out grooves, though not before lighting your way superbly, frankly this just smokes, a stately out of time, out of step 8 minute opus, stripped down and cut loose with everything from ethereal chorals, progressive whispers, momentary trips and some of the finest stoned out crystal riffage you’ll hear this side of an Insektlife Cycle platter. absolute class.
Don’t know about you folks, but these Brexit squabbles are really beginning to grate, I mean, are our political commentators and the general poplace at large blind to the fact, that regardless of the Letwin vote lost today, that this was what Johnson and his followers wanted all along. There was no deal, it was a smoke screen, they had no intention of seeing it through, this now finally brings into play what the Blonde Bufoon has promised all along, leave in a rush with no deal and blame the fall out on everyone else except himself and his contemptable colleagues. So, what’s provoked this reaction, you usually steer clear of the petty arguments and yes, on any other day, I’d agree with you that it’s not worth commenting on, it’ll only eat you up. But then earlier today, there dropped a new teaser track from Revbjelde, breaking a long silence with news of an imminent album titled ‘Hooha Hubbub’ to come. the track ‘the Forks’ came to us via a little message ‘seeing as we are at a crossroads today…..’, I’m suspecting a stand alone track given that this appears to be an austerity cut line up of the band featuring just Alan and Jim all threaded and stitched with haunting sound apertures ripped from the mainstream media. It’s typically trademark Revbjelde groove, starting off quietly, it slowly begins to assume something of an approaching storm cloud carrying a message of impending portent, its gloomed apocalyptic underbelly confused, fractured and set at odds with an almost neutered, inevitable, abject and bored relief brought to the fore by the lightly flashed flute florets that serve to sugar the bittering pill.
Haven’t a clue where we got this from, we have tabs within tabs now with stray tracks we’re obviously saving for mention at some future point. What we like about this can be summed up easily, so simple, so steady and just veering on the right side of sublime, that is of course, if your listening loves purr to the sounds of the Breeders, Belly and the Sundays. Anyway, this particular cutie, incidentally called ‘summer’ is culled from an imminent full length set titled ‘future from here’ through Onomatopoeia. The solo project of one, Jen Macro here operating under the guise of Hurtling. Possessed of a serious early 90’s lo-fi swing, in many respects this nugget has something of split personality about its persona, the first two minutes harnessed upon a trancing lazy eyed looping riff lollop occasioned by momentarily brief showers of rupturing distortion. It kinda ambles along cheerily carefree like this until the 2.22 whereupon matters start to blister, fracture and fragment, the effect crystallising when out the grunge growled melee and confusion, emerges a serene sky soaring stratospheric.
The third of those trio of recents from Russian Library, sure we could have mentioned it the other day, but then we didn’t want accusations of favouritism heading en masse our way. Again a ultra limited 7-inch lathe cut split, I think each number 20 in total, this particular release pairing together Demónio António and Vuduvum. The fact that these releases often pit something cosmically vintage with something, shall we setlle for, off the wall and abstract, is a point that hasn’t been lost on us, only none more apparent than on this particular outing. Demónio António services the stable side of proceedings with the lock grooved hypnotic ‘Psssst!’, a silent celestial observer, this orbital pulsar simplistic and minimal, is touched with a silver age analogue nostalgia whose cosmic carousel / ice cream van remoteness touches base on a sound spectrum where are located, Palace of Swords, Sonic Boom and Sunray. over on the flip awaits Vuduvum with the skittishly goofed out ‘Au fim au cabo’, now this is seriously old school Radiophonica featuring a cleverly kooky use of cut ups, locked grooves and speed manipulations, its oddness and strangeness affectionate and playful for the best part reveals an impish surrealist talent at work working to an anything goes palette that wouldn’t look to out of place on either the Bearsuit imprint or the much missed Frank Wobbly & Sons label.
Been a long while since Cary Grace adored these musings. A new, as yet, untitled album set to land December time with this ‘un ‘Sacrifice’ being sent ahead on reconnaissance duties. A sly old smoker it be, slow to burn, it’s one of those tracks that catches you off-guard, at once mellow yet deceptively magisterial with it, an epic sub eight minute prog folk drift away that snakes with a dark sultry all the time flanked by shortening shocks of sky parting riffola amid whose mystical spell craft, Hammond haloes and slick soulful wooziness is interspersed some seriously stoned riffage.
The third of those fruits de mer end of season releases, which we hear from label sources, have arrived ahead of schedule from the pressing plants, no doubt trying to clear the decks for that Robbie Williams Christmas album, can’t wait (yawn). Not your bog standard covers EP, although you do get a coloured vinyl extended play, no, no, no as it seems the Past Tense were having such a ball in the studio, they amassed a further CD worth of nifty cover grooves which the label have collected together, slapped a bargain price stamp on and sent them out called them ‘time stands still’ and ‘across the pond ….. and back again’. Fourteen tracks within, reads like a Pebbles collection, hell’s teeth I’ll even admit to never hearing of at least 5 of its number. It’s a set that shows chiefly the versality of these dudes and the fact that they need to get into the studio more often, I mean stuff like the Glass Family’s ‘house of glass’ is such a dizzying kaleidoscopic authentic you’d swear it’s had fallen off some ‘back to grave’ compilation. That said, what makes this collection of faithful’s stand out, is that the Past Tense run through the gamut of styles, it’s something that easily brings to mind Naz Nomad and the Nightmares’ ‘give Daddy the knife Cindy’, a fact kicked home upon hearing their version of the Syn’s ‘grounded’ sounding here very Vanian-esque. it’s the running of differing styles that gives this set a tireless appeal, that cross wiring of freak pop (Crystal Chandeliers’ ‘Suicidal Flowers’), garage punk (The Moving Sidewalks’ ’99th floor’), flower power (the Wild Flowers’ ‘more than me’), mod beat (No Entry’s ‘behind the moon’) and pure psychedelia. Hell’s teeth, it’s a task and a half trying to pick a favourite, but forced to decide, SRC’s ‘black sheep’ takes some shifting in the affection stakes as does the Bossmen’s ‘brainwashed’ and the Move-esque flower pop of ‘magic in the air’ originally by the Attack.
Arrived yesterday with much thanks to the folk at Castles in Space, for now just a glimpse of Lo Five’s (Neil Grant) latest sensory surround symphonia ‘Geography of the Abyss’ this being ‘stream entry’, fear not, we will be returning to fully engage in a matter of days. Superbly packaged this CD release comes housed in a hardback book within a stickered slipcase envelope complete with download code. Intended for listening in one sitting, this release is actually divided into eleven interlocking suites all of which we suggest you immerse yourselves by way of the donning of headphones, that way you can fall headlong into these expansive, oceanic astrals and follow your own path to mindfulness.
Another of those, tripped across on a random wander around bandcamp, this one heading out of the LA based Free the Robots collective, after that sadly, all information dries up. Anyhow, this be the single ‘Magarib’, a strangely becoming Afro / Earthbeat nugget whose hypnotic rhythmic’s curiously create an irresistible psychedelic hazy of sorts, alas ends abruptly, but you can’t have it all ways it seems, unfortunately.
We really are going to have to condition ourselves in picking up these Tiny Engines releases when they come through. Latest from the much loved Illuminati Hotties finds them somewhat coy and cute not to mention, pristinely pop purred for the affectionately candy coated crush of ‘ppl plzr’. Adorably kissed with a 50’s teen pop bubblegum grooving with hints of Spector, this disarming gem tip toes to a fizzing feel good effervescence occasioned by momentary outbreaks of riff rupturing blisters. The release is available as a ‘name your price’ downloads, all proceeds being donated to the Trevor Project to help assist and fund their stirling work as a young persons support service.
A little longer with the Tiny Engines folk not least because we found this straying orphan looking a little disconsolate on the labels sound cloud site. Plucked from an imminent set due November titled ‘through a coil’, this is Pendant with ‘rubber band’, alas not the Mr Bowie one, but rather more something bitter sweet and a tad forlorn. Oozed in the afterburn of dream draped showers of riff shimmers, this slyly sighed heart heavy nugget comes rubbed with a classicist dayglo glam teased etching as were as though left on a hot spin setting by an impish and youthful Elephant 6 Collective.
New album due January (‘mind hive’) with a UK and Stateside tour to coincide, Wire have sneaked out ‘Cactused’ as a teaser. In essence, Wire by numbers. Now hang on a second, some of you will be complaining, isn’t that a bit dismissive, well yes in certain quarters but in Wire’s case, no. I mean let’s face it, they’ve occupied a sound space uniquely their own these last five decades, resistantly followed their own path undeterred by whatever else fashion wise surrounded them, even during times when they’ve loosely gone their own way to explore and experiment, ultimately there have been trace elements of Wire lingering amid the grooves like ghosts in the machines, after all they share a hive mind (no pun etc…..) and though there have been pretenders and copyists, when the smoke and mirrors are done with, no one sounds like Wire. nicely maturing with age,’Cactused’ is your buzzing pop prickling sortie fired through, or so it would seem, with dead eyed precision back to the classic 78/79 fold of ‘chairs missing’ and ‘154’. At once slick and stupidly cool, this gem comes possessed of all the classic Wire presets, a distant cousin of ‘outdoor miner’ perhaps, ‘Cactused’ shimmers and simmers with equal measure cooled with a subtle bite and a superb fixed stare knowingness
WIRE live dates:
January 27 – Bristol, UK @ The Fleece
January 28 – Manchester, UK @ Band on the Wall
January 29 – Birmingham, UK @ Hare & Hounds
January 30 – Glasgow, UK @ G2 (The Garage)
January 31 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club
February 1 – Brighton, UK @ Chalk
March 3 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
March 4 – Chicago, IL @ Metro
March 6 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
March 7 – Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
March 9 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
March 10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
March 11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
March 12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
March 13 – Boston, MA @ Sinclair
March 14 – Ottawa, ON @ Bronson Centre
March 16 – Toronto, ON @ Great Hall
May 21 – London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall
Ah ….. the House of Love, there’s always been a soft spot held for these folk. Darlings of the musical inkies and the coolest of ambassadors spearheading the latest breed of riff slingers heading out of ultra-hip Creation label, for an 18 month period or more, they were IT. In their ranks a wordsmith in Chadwick who could hang heavy on the heart strings (‘Soft as Fire’, ‘blind’ and ‘the girl with the loneliests eyes’) and quite possibly, the finest guitarist of his generation, in Bickers (see ‘Safe’), they had it nailed. Lured to the majors, what could go wrong? Bickers left or was he fired, rumours afoot of disagreements as to where the band were heading, Bickers clearly not happy with the exposure that a major deal would bring or was it the guitarists’ temporary burn out as word would have it later. Whatever the case, once the ashes had settled and a new line up was in play, the momentum had shifted, Madchester was upon us and the House of Love’s star had passed. Just in case you were thinking I was just rambling on for fun, there is a point to all this, for Optic Nerve are set to release the original mix of ‘Shine On’ as part of their second season of their acclaimed singles club. As previously, limited to 1000, all on coloured vinyl replete with postcard and poster, the superior version of the lead cut intact with its original flip sides ‘love’ and ‘flow’ finally gets a deserved day in the sun, for most, the classic line up, the less Smith-ery sounding variant (see the later Fontana re-recording), is tighter, brittle and the more primal take of ‘Shine On’ and comes coolly edged and etched in a classicist post c-86 vibing pristinely forged with a hollowing statuesque like haloing awash with Bicker’s siren studded crystalling, better things would come a little later in the shape of the shades adorned Velveteen glacial of ‘Christine’. Essential.
pretty mortified to admit, how the hell did we miss this ‘un. released in August, the only explanation to the oversight that we can give, is that we were in a haze of indifference due to other matters overtaking our life and that this skipped past when we were doing one of our absentee from posting routines. we refer to Junkboy whose “Trains, Trees, Topophilia” full length we are busily catching up on and from off which the delightfully demurring drift away ‘Fulfil’ has just been sent forth as a single. available on the usual digital platforms as well as CD and a limited lathe cut pressing (a copy of which we really must bag as our own). An opportunity to step back for three minutes, deeply inhaling a second or two to just let the moment wash over you, both simple and effective, there’s an immaculate restful calm about ‘fulfil’, the craftmanship and detailing both deftly delicate, its airy genteel dappled in a faraway simplicity that’s lightly freckled in a dozing oceanic serene as it bobs along in its own little space undeterred by the outside world and somewhat insulated in the moment, utterly lulling.
Name your price Halloween treat time from the Suncharms, this one inspired by both Sheffield’s long since departed ghoul / goth club, the Limit and the Vincent Price headed ‘Monster Club’ film from the early 80’s from off which, this ‘un grabs its name. Now, is it just me, or does the spirit of Marc Bolan run roughshod across this, certainly the vocal is touched with a primitive cool, the sounds to, stripped of their trademark jangle and in its place a smoothly sultry refining that smokes to a late 50’s crooning teen ballad vibe and a loose ‘death disc’ smouldering replete with swooning riffs, eerie sounds effects and a Witching Hour woozy
Why oh why am I getting an uncontrollable urge to dig out the Snails ‘safe in silence’. For certain, aside the fact that Snails coincidentally have a track by the name ‘Jennifer Jones’ – see album title / track here, there’s a wonderfully breezy innocence that draws a comparable line between the two, that sense that you can’t immediately pick out the influences with ease, each opting to subtly weave a tapestry that draws on the many yet in fact draws on the none. This is Mr Ben and the Bens of whom we did in fact, trip across way back earlier in the year, an accidental but most rewarding discovery during one of our random bandcamp jaunts (see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/mr-ben-and-the-bens/). An album, debut in fact, released today through the Bingo imprint titled ‘who knows Jenny Jones?’ from off which we’ve found ourselves a little smitten with ‘the gravediggers dance’. Possessed of a wonderfully sunny disposition, there’s a melting bitter sweet dialogue afoot here that hugs and consoles in equal measure, a fragile vulnerability flowered in a strangely becoming off kilter radiance rarely heard around these here parts since those debuting platters from Jumbo way back when we were much, much younger. Add in the softly yearnful 60’s freckling and the subtle airiness of the delicately dimpled lightly dusted psych folk seasoning and you have yourself a distractive earworm of some quietly spun measure.
There’s also a tour type thing going on calling in at ……
Sat 26 October: Huddersfield – Northern Quarter
Sun 27 October: Newcastle: Cumberland Arms
Tue 29 October: Manchester – Gulliver’s
Wed 30 October: Nottingham – Rough Trade
Thur 31 October: Cardiff – The Moon
Fri 1 November: London – Sebright Arms
Sat 2 November: Sheffield – Delicious Clam
Must admit I do prefer the BigFlower sounding lost in the moment and immersed in all manner of hazily opiated freakery. October’s offering in these monthly sonic servings is the newly cut ‘the other place’. Available as previously, on one of those ‘pay what you like….’ sorties, this ‘un is drenched in the kind of feedback saturated sweet oblivion that these days appears to find favour with both the Sonic Cathedral and Club AC30 sound houses, albeit here stoked with a subtle stoned and drifting blues seasoning whose tripped out haloing had us recalling the Telescopes or at the very least, like something hoodwinked from a c. 91 Hit the North playlist, no bad thing there on both counts then.
Imminent happenings shortly to emerge from the well-formed Woodford Halse stable, a new limited cassette release (just 60 pressed) from Life Education titled ‘soul examination’ from off which a trio of select cuts are available for advance hearing on the labels band camp page. Not so much inspired but rather more, haunted by his time serving as a medic for the USAF in war torn Iraq, as the title gently hints, ‘soul examination’ is the human condition’s fight to preserve, adapt and forge new ways to connect with its inner spirit in the face of adversity, loss and life changing circumstances. ‘cold slab floor’ opens the preview, to a hypno-grooving motorik beat, this locked in tripper cuts a purposeful blank everything out monotony that constricts and tightens, it’s as though walls within walls are being built in some attempt to achieve a meditative levelling. By sharp contrast, there’s an airiness and lightness fused to the sonic chassis of ‘Trauma’ it’s expansive detailing and dream weaved dapples, perhaps suggesting a plateau has been reached and an inner calm is at play. All said, our favourite moment comes with the arrival of ‘Travellers on the Quantum Matrix’ – very fried and out of it, there’s certainly a whiff of Beefheart running deep at its heart, that forever riff looping entrapment creating a most desirable, hypnotic woozy to proceedings.
Was it not the good folk of the Fruits de Mer community that persuaded out of hibernation lost folk souls Opel and Reverb Worship too, releasing a handful of vault finds spliced with newly peeled recordings in typical limited edition variants. It seems fitting that these two sound houses should feature latterly or should that be currently, in the Opel story, both seemingly known and indeed, praised for their championing of those who’ve fallen between the cracks and beneath the radar of would be like minded admirers, whether that be through remaining in the shadows, being sadly ignored, following a musical flag commonly derided like say, for instance Prog or indeed simply being in the wrong place and the wrong time as is the case of Opel, both labels have provided a safe haven for the orphaned. These days paired down to a duo, Claire and Warren, have taken the original sonic template of Opel and gently guided it into more mystical and magical terrains. Forging alliances with the Future Wizards imprint with the release of the ultra-limited 100 only one sided vinyl happening ‘Wicker Hymns – parts 1 – 3’ they’ve afforded their craft a chance to expand, mutate and immerse itself into to their unique take on, what is referred to by some as, Wicker Rock. This fifteen minute triptych finds the duo working within the spectrums of acid, stoner, soft psychedelia and Brit Folk Horror, together weaving a gloriously hypnotic tapestry whose mercurial stare is noticeably fashioned with a particular eye for Curved Air and a little less obviously, All About Eve as revealed on the tripped out hazy ‘the Witch’ which, with its authentic vintage glazing of Woodstock like, lost in the moment trancey-ness, the impeccable cascade of riff dissolves opine seductively melting and morphing to form a kaleidoscopic cloak of stoned out blissfulness. Book-ending the main event are ‘dance of the fire blower’ and ‘Mugwin’s tune’, the former a breezy entree turned and trimmed by the carefree and delectable lolloping play of deftly spun rustic charms, while the latter, as teasingly brief as it, emerges from the dream draped opiated fog bathed in a dawn breaking radiant optimism coolly replete with Who-esque threads.
Perhaps it’s just me, but are you one of those folk, who if not careful, can easily find yourself being sucked down various rabbit holes on the internet, ultimately ending up in a good place wondering to yourself, how on earth did I get here. Case in point here, a journey that started with an email update of Cheval Sombre happenings including news of an expanded reissue, first time on vinyl mind, of his debut full length ‘Diamond’. Originally released on Dean and Britta’s Double Feature imprint, the collection celebrates its 10th anniversary with a twin disc makeover through Fat Elvis that features not only the original mix intact but will be bolstered by the inclusion of a host of previously unreleased cuts and early takes, all this accompanied with Ben Javens original artwork and a coloured vinyl pressing. Heartening news indeed, but then within two or three hops or clicks (if you really want to be pedantic), we found our trip momentarily pausing at the Section 26 sound cloud page whereupon we were greeted by a cover of Purple Mountains’ humbling ‘snow is falling in Manhattan’ by, who else but, Dean Wareham. Apparently pulled from a far bigger compilation titled ‘approaching perfection – a tribute to DC Berman’, which we will try to source for further mention in the coming week or so. As said, a tribute to David Berman who died by his own hand in August, the Silver Jews man had retired from music in 2009 after an extensive career stretching to some two decades. Announcing he was recording and writing again in 2019, he chose the name Purple Mountains, an album was completed and released shortly before his death through Drag City while plans for a stateside tour were at the point of finalisation. From that album, one of the stand out tracks, ‘snow is falling in Manhattan’ here retreated by Dean Wareham, is served with his trademark immaculate spectral, stripped back, fragile and majestic, Wareham sprays his frosted forlorn hush to strangely endow the track with a coolly caressing celebratory warmth imparting a radiant stateliness that cuts deep to the bone and fills you with a bitter sweetly shivering inner glow.
Strange how certain tracks take on a whole new meaning / perspective in the light of a tragedy. This is the Purple Mountains’ original of the track, sorry for having to use a sound video that’s clearly been posted as an unrelated advertisement by some chancer. Grumbles aside, this version comes kissed with a hymnal glow, there’s a homeward bound misty intimacy attaching here that sends a clear message of hope and yes, its dusted and charmed in a yuletide tingle trimmed in a sepia sighing nostalgic, which collectively grace it with a peaceful seasonal genteel.
Was it really nearly a year ago that we first encountered the frazzled talents of Churn Milk Joan, ah we still suffer flashbacks from the video see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/11/07/churn-milk-joan/ Fast forward to now with the release ‘I’m nearly 60 miles high’, quite possibly the last recordings the duo will ever make given the sad news that Richard Knutson was diagnosed with motor neuron disease in June of this year. Over the summer there’s been a frantic attempt at Knutson’s request, to record as much as possible before the effects of the disease made it impossible to carry on playing. And this here is it. A wonderfully skewed and scrambled slab of strung out surrealist stew, we here particularly adoring of both ‘teatime in space’ with its barking off centred Beefheart-ian jazz stoked blues and the parting ‘I’ve never seen a film without you in it’ which even mellowed and curved with a degree of ‘normalised musicality'(read – woozy lazy eyed chamber noir last chance saloon type sultry) still manages to waywardly drift off the songsheet in search of mischief. But then tucked in between these two loves, the duo’s creative oddness is acutely fried and fractured in a way that suggests they’ve collectively had a listening overdose of Zappa, case in point being the wasted n’smoking and far out and gone ‘hand me the jump leads’ while the crookedly playful ‘trading cards on the balcony’ with it skewiff and remote kraut surfed electro erratics imagines the Flying Lizards in a face off with a seriously flippant Bill Nelson hogging the lead vocals. Somewhere else, admirers of both Petunia Liebling McPumpkin and Tuxedo Moon, indeed, you couldn’t get more contrast, might well find yourselves delightfully distracted by the becoming wyrdness of ‘Spanish Graduation’ while there’s certainly a whiff of Barry Adamson orchestrating the chamber atmospherics of the shadow playing gem ‘the second day of creation’.
Quick message from their press folk reads ‘where you ever a fan of this lot?’ Couse we were, a handful of singles from the late 90’s will attest to that, but then life takes over, listening habits change and then in the blink of an eye you wake up one morning to find twenty years have flown by while you slept. Making it more annoying, the fact that while your eye was off the ball these folk continued kicking out albums for fun. With the 20th anniversary of their ‘a week away’ debut about us, Spearmint are set to release ‘are you from the future’ through hitBACK from off which, ’24 hours in A and E’ has been sent ahead on scouting detail. Hell’s teeth it’s a good ‘un, it seems as last minute late entrant on the albums final settled tracklist and something that ought to appeal first hand, to those dudes of cool over at Wonderfulsound given that this is brushed with the kind of slickly smooth panache of the Superimposers in all their pomp and majesty, mind you add in a little Edwin Moses and Emperor Penguin and the glitzy glitterball lounge funk vibes wonderfully drenching these grooves with their citric tones, spray your listening space in an adorable sunny feel good radiance. Resistance as they say, is useless
And since we mentioned Wonderfulsound records a minute or so ago, a little nugget from that label. Somewhere about our person, I know we’ve recently received a copy of RW Hedges quite wonderful full length (slightly delayed due to a two week strike at our local postal sorting office – don’t ask), which I’m sure is called ‘the hills are old songs’ though don’t quote me on that just yet as right this minute I can’t lay my hands upon it. Anyhow, hang fire a few days and much fondness will appear here. For now, those subscribing to the labels Wonderfulsevens series, (i’m not certain we’ve got ours yet) should have received a copy of James McArthur and the Head Gardeners’ irresistible ‘tourist town’. As previously, the subscription variants come with all the usual inserts, a complimentary ticket, a label coaster, one of those spindle inserts (what are they called – spiders or something daft like that) for playing jukebox sevens all housed in autographed sleeves. beautifully understated, there’s a sweetly mellowed subtle West Coat tang shining through ‘tourist town’ as it hops, swerves and succulently weaves its honeyed lazy eyed hush all the time tumbling tenderly to a warmly tweaked palette trimmed in pastoral posies and porch lit purrs. Over on the flip, the equally engaging ‘plane sailors’ softly drifts nonchalantly forming an invisible line that links together a youthful Tunng with the much missed and criminally underated Beatgliders.
Another release annoyingly found trying to tuck itself down the side of the sofa. In truth, this should have been fondly dispatched with weeks ago, but due to one thing or another, found itself left neglected on the back burner. From out of Unexplained Sounds sister imprint lurks ‘Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom’, a chilling collection of All Hallows’s Eve horrorphonia, a little something touched with a hauntologists bleakness and certainly ripe for companion listening with similar audio manifestations escaping the A Year in the Country, Woodford Halse et al soundhouses. Initially conceived as a collaborative undertaking with Daniel Williams, it has now taken on the grim mantle of a tribute since his sad passing. ‘Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom’ features a gathering of nine supernatural suites with both Mr Williams and Howlround both featuring twice with the collection available on the usual digital download platforms as well as a limited 200 CD press. in no order of preference, starting with Mr Williams brace of selections, first up being ‘Do you believe in Witches’ which utilising an array of spoken word cut ups and various found sounds is dropped in a dislocating hazing of macabre dream like confusion, the effect being the listener is isolated and somewhat lost in a myriad of tones and textures that serve to disorientate and chill with their sinister outsiderism, in truth something that might (or then again, might not), appeal to long standing admirers of Muslim Gauze. Similarly dispatched with an ice cold displacement, ‘You can do almost anything with them’ assumes a subtle seasoning of trippy Eastern mosaics, more focused on this occasion, there’s a stoner half awake awareness about the way the melodies drift and float like fleeting apparitions. ‘Crypt of St John’ marks the first of two appearances by Howlround, this ‘un an eerie subterranic drone-r not unlike the more outsider-esque moments from the Wizards Tell Lies back catalogue, much like some haunted echo from the past it imparts a cold and harrowed bitter sweet aura that imagines some annual ceremonial gathering of the lost. Equally graced in the macabre, ‘Peck in the Crown’ is shadowed by an unsettling sinister touch that many familiar with the Aetheric imprint, notably the Kindred Spirits and Hole House releases, will feel a familair isolationist tug. I’m quite certain we’ve had Sky High Diamonds gracing these musings previously though, if I recall rightly, never sounding quite like this, set upon a sparse sonic shell, the dark ceremonial that is ‘the Discoverer’ is seasoned with a ghostly twilight etching over which an ancient poem or perhaps, account is retold, a disturbing and haunting experience possessed of the macabre majesty of M R James. Ever had that uneasy feeling that you’d mistakenly taken the wrong path, Satori I suspect may well be waiting in the shadows for you for ‘Hag of Hair’ is curiously beset by a creep fest nothingness, its the not knowing that achieves the greatest effect here, its seemingly doom draped atmospherics and stilled edginess imagining a gateway to a wasteland where even the departed fear to tread. I’m certain we’ve mentioned Michael Bonaventure in passing previously, a strong suspicion being that it may have well come via one of those excellent Unexplained Sounds anthologies. Herewith ‘Coronach’, an 8 minute slice of chamber electronic disturbia which with its fixed point etching manages to achieve a somewhat surveillance like watchfulness along with a clinical and spectral toning much recalling those late 60’s alien world mosaics created by the Radiophonic Workshop for Dr Who. Elsewhere, Rapoon serve up ‘the Village’, perhaps all said, the sets lightest and least threatening track in terms of chilling and disturbing, still that doesn’t distract from the eerie emerging within, the ghostly peel of a church bell, the hazy sultry of jazzy interludes and the echoing of a riff orphan adore it with a minimalist craft more commonly found lurking on the Silber imprint, still, a welcome odd sore thumb. Last but by no means least Grey Frequency steps up to the plate with the wonderfully genteel drone draped ‘Elegy for Vinegar Tom’, a twilight traveller trimmed with a Gaellic ghosting and dusted and solemnly soured in regret and despairing introspection, utterly bruising stuff.
Staying a while longer with the Wonderfulsound collective, due to arrive first day of November (today in fact though confusingly enough, we did pen this three or four days ago), ‘waiting rooms’ from Samantha Whates from off which, so far at least, ‘old coat’ has been detailed with attracting casual earlobes. Sitting on the Nancy Wallace side of the fence, that’ll be a youthful Nancy Wallace via her initial recording appearances on Hobby Horse. A becoming cut, what you’d call a slow burner, which despite its intimately drawn mellowing folk rubbings is brushed with an acutely subtle noir jazz flowering that snakes, saunters and slinks amid a coolly fragile framing whose rustling rhythms, are charmed with an autumnal airy. Letting curiosity get the better of us, we’ve re-visted the bandcamp page, wherein the whole album is now available for listening, which after a quick little delve of, has unearthed the quite adorable ‘Daylight Savings’ whose delightful festooning of a jaunty recorder adores the cut with an irresistibly delectable and playful floral wistfulness all tingled with an affectionate lightness and longing.
A quick message from Steve of Negative Response giving us the heads up on a new free to download covers compilation put out by the Doncaster Electronic Foundation folk, which the NR collective have contributed two tracks to. Serving to shine a light on those operating on the outer fringes of the electronic spectrum, ‘a defseventh masquerade’ may well provide something of a listening distraction to those much fond of the sounds icily thawing to fall out of the Polytechnic Youth community. As said, Negative Response’s twin set is capped by a totally revamped and re-imagined take on the Lady in the Radiator’s ‘in heaven’ from Lynch’s iconic ‘Eraserhead’ flick, admittedly not as strange as the original, but then the original was helped by the haunting film footage it accompanied. Instead, on this occasion, a strange pop warmth is at play, beneath the glacial gospel tonings, the slowly peeled trip hop beats coolly usher a slick down tempo phrasing whose slick sophistication had us, momentarily imagining EMA channelling Grails. Somewhere else they serve up ‘I’m with the In Crowd’ and into the bargain retune and calibrate it with a suave and coolly aloof futuristic fashioning that wires directly into the mainframe of a ‘no 1 in heaven’ era Sparks albeit as though fronted or at least, under the guiding influence, of Karl Bartos. Okay guilty pleasures time, I’ve always had a soft spot for Amii Stewart’s cover of Floyd’s (Eddie not Pink) ‘knock on wood’, here left in the hands of the Jan Doyle Band they culture an insanely infectious and frantic freakstorm gouged with a killer glam grooving aplenty all smoked with a Blitz club electro shocking. Has there ever been an electro version of the Undertones immortal ‘teenage kicks’, I certainly don’t recall one, so it might be that Icicle Boy can easily claim it as a first. Very much timelocked in the early 80’s, there’s a slick electro pop minimalism that strangely veers into a Depeche Mode stirring variant of the Assembly (indeed, the Vince Clarke off shoot that featured … er …. Feargal). Going to stick my neck out into admitting I’ve never heard the Britney original of ‘Toxic’ here recovered by Jeff McCall and given a darkly shadow playing soul toning that has more than a whiff of Marc and the Mambas about its wares, which i’m sure you’ll agree is no bad thing, so why oh why do I keep humming Duran Duran’s ‘the Chauffeur’. Stir Fry Pop Star turn in an immaculately soul scarred version of Radiohead’s ‘bullet proof…wish I was’, a little something trimmed with a softly stirring hidden optimistic uplift. Elsewhere, 2 Unlimited’s ‘no limits’ is drastically re-scaled by Claire, I must admit I had a quick double take of this, its pretty much unrecognisable, reduced as it is to a life support pulsar replete with, I must say, an attractive snaking motif. Those fancying there’s listening sounding like a classic era glam graced Soft Cell c. ‘mutant moments’ albeit as though remixed and remodelled by a cold waving Pet Shop Boys should immediately press select on the Webb utterly perfect take on the Smiths’ ‘what difference does it make’. Somewhere else, tracksuit managers scuzz fuzz up the Knack’s ‘my sharona’ in a mock up punk-ish lo-fying Devo-esque stylee leaving Autorotation to go head to head with Republica’s ‘ready to go’ emerging from the other side rewired with a scabbing minimal technoid industrial re-tuning.
Sold out of its limited 50 only self financed lathe cut press, a tribute of sorts by Dream Division, a covers set featuring reworked hauntings by Bruno Nicolai, Fabio Frizzi and Riz Ortalini. These live recordings, incidentally collectively titled ‘Alla Vigilia Di Halloween’, were taken directly from the rehearsal sessions for Death Waltzes’ recent Halloween party and features four cuts, the gathering opening with ‘Veglia funebre e macabro ricardo (la dama rossa uccide sette volte)’ (‘The Red Queen Kills Seven Times’), originally scored by the prolific Niclai, it was one of many of his forays into Gialo, this cover version particularly making use of the composers trademark ascending keys, giving the overall atmospherics an eerie dreamlike aura, not unlike, it has to be said, those imagined soundtracks one time creeping out of the Villa9 Studios. On a personal listening level, I’ve always found the Horror Gialo soundtracks and the Spaghetti Western classics sounding as though they’ve been cut from the same cloth, case in point being perhaps, Frizzi’s score for ‘the Beyond’, those dramatic and tense tropes all present, the difference being the use of arpeggios and ethereal brushes of twisted chants and hymnals to create a dream draped disturbia, and so it is with Dream Division’s flawless and faithful take. the bleak disquiet that adored the score of Frizzi’s brooding ‘Zombie 2’ is here subtly toned down and in its place a lighter though considerably more sinister sighed VHS vibing that in truth had us minded of Add N to X. Last up, ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ which I’ll admit I’ve always had something of a soft spot for mainly because Ortolani’s theme does little to warn you of what’s afoot, the original as a stand-alone sounding like some the soundtrack to some season long feel good homely prairie saga. Left in the hands of Dream Division, they subtly re-tweak it ever so slightly to the effect it ends up coming across like some ghostly 50’s lounge lilting you suspect having fallen on the cutting room floor of some lost Lynch surrealist smoker.
Not out officially for a week or two, latest limited cassette pressing (just seven still remaining last time we checked) from those nice folk over at Spun out of Control, this be Hattie Cooke with ‘the Sleepers’ a dystopic chiller that imagines a future world disturbed by the an unseen and unexplained malaise that causes people to never wake and a sinister group called the Sect who sacrifice such souls to achieve absolution. That’s the grim bit done with, I say that because from what we’ve briefly heard, Cooke crafts a sound world that’s far from dystopic or doomed, instead, dreamlike and serene, selections such as ‘Run’ are cut to a curvaceous chassis threaded in a beautified ethereal adorning while even the shadowy prowl of ’emerging’ is touched with a wonderment whose isolationist aura is peppered with a genteel frosting that betrays its darkening context. Best moment though by a country mile, the enigmatic and elegant ‘something’s watching you’ teased as it is, in a lilting mesmeric lull, part forlorn part introspective, an eerie ethereal sparsely ghosted with a becoming widescreen velour.
Only played it twice and I’m smitten to bits. Seriously, where do I begin with this? Just the right side of fried, we did at one point wonder whether we’d been sent a misspress, surely not the Lancashire Hustlers. Never ones for the obvious, Thorley and Pakes skewer the psychedelic parameters with this magical mischief making meditative mushroom, crooked and woozy, helped with a degree of playful ingenuity, the duo wilfully tear up the rule book and wander down the rabbit hole with their forthcoming ‘mindcrawl’ leading the parade. A slow burner, in fact strike that, instead read, an oddly wonky sore thumb smokily stoned amid a mystical musical mirage of Tablas, Mellotrons, finger cymbals and Taishogoto (a Japanese stringed harp replete with typewriter keys – don’t ask), all very trippy, out there and acutely off centred, its looping grooves and sense of not being quite on the same page as everyone else, somewhat forging a loose kinship with that recent Garcia Peoples current cut ‘one step behind’. But then, at the 49 second mark, as though someone has retuned the dials of an old transistor radio, something truly wonderful emerges and out of the haze the delicate dusting of a honeyed soulful early 70’s MOR pop pristine blossoms with an effervescent radiance swirling all in Harrison-esque riffs and a wonderful feel good woozy, even if it does impishly stray closely into the coda of Robertson’s ‘kool in the kaftan’. Over on the flip, a familiar Lancashire Hustlers footing can be found courtesy of ‘the song of P.Fernandez’, an ode to Brent’s pet cat all lazily weaved and distractively charmed in an affectionate 60’s psych folk fashioning that in truth had us recalling the Zombies at their most mercurial. An as yet, untitled fifth album, looms large on the horizon with a pencilling arrival date sometime Spring ’20.
Really must set a bookmark for Sheffield’s Do It Thissen band camp page, that way we won’t spend the rest of the evening kicking ourselves senselessly whilst grumbling and uttering long lost Anglo Saxon cursings at having missed their occasional blink and their gone forays into distribution. Latest to their esteemed roster, a double 7 inch lathe cut happening from Adam Zejma. Just 15 of these were pressed and flew out before the label glue and print ink scarcely had a chance to dry / set. Four tracks in total here of which, we’ve taken a little fancy to ‘III’. Turn the clock back, say twenty years, and this would have been classic Chemikal Underground fodder and no doubt, would have sneaked into the Peel Festive 50 with a deserving top end showing. And while it mightn’t perfectly sound like Arab Strap in a face off with Mogwai, it certainly pisses in the pool, hell’s teeth i’m even getting godspeed flashbacks, but anyhow starts off quietly, bruised and withdrawn, there’s an undeniable ache here seasoning the grooves, a reflective hazing bitter sweetly ghosted with a haloing hymnal warmth. Pretty much sounding like the stuff that the much missed Bad Jazz imprint were chasing in their days which just when you think it’s lost its way a tad and decided to head up some post rock cul de sac, suddenly fractures and splinters in true pyrotechnic style, blistering sun scorched amid a sky firing sea of bliss kissed white out.
Hell’s teeth, if you thought the previously mentioned outing from the Do It Thissen was special, then you better hang onto to your hats for the Mourning After. Again, annoyingly sold out at source, a 60 only jukebox styled double b-side lathe cut 7-inch replete with turntable adaptor. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear these dudes had been awoken from some late 60’s cryogenic freeze, garage punk / psych done so authentic is a pretty neat trick to have up your sleeve, but we here were totally blown away by ‘you’re no good’. This ‘un is cut with the kind of vintage cool that in recent years has only been out matched by the likes of the Wicked Whispers, the Past Tense and the Hanging Stars. Festooned in Hammonds aplenty, this nugget burns and smoulders with a potent psych framing that hints ever so acutely, that one or two of these chaps might be 13th Floor Elevators admirers, however scratch a little deeper and a scuzzy soul blues vibing begins to surface revealing these folk wear their Wimple Winch affections clearly on their sleeves.
And there we were running a casual earlobe across the current Do It Thissen groovers whilst grumbling and uttering forgotten Anglo Saxon curses for missing out on and up pops their latest release. Strictly speaking, not officially out till the end of November, but if pre-sales are anything to judge by, you better get a wiggle on if you want one cos they are going fast. this be the Ganglions with a rather nifty twinset collecting together ‘curious crystals’ and ‘simian airlines’ all pressed on lathe cut 7’s in an edition of 50. Now this real is a dandy, ‘curious crystals’ jabs, pokes and stutters in a most disarming and acutely angular fashion, its shouty lo-fi schizoid grounded with a potent and spiky art pop adoring that spirals and teeters at the point of chaos yet is stamped with contortionist mischief. Wonderfully dusted in a sunny indie crush radiance, the lock grooved ‘Simian Airlines’ is cut with a Math gouged pop flavouring that seesaws between the frenzied and the feel good. Crucial by our reckoning, incidentally, on last check, just 4 copies remaining.
Isn’t this the most gorgeous thing you’ve heard in a fair while. Tripped across on a sound cloud link, haven’t a clue how we got there in the first place, but now we’re here, I’m glad we arrived. By Bloom de Wilde, this is ‘Rock Plant & Animal’, a beautifully unfurling masterclass in jubilance, seriously we defy you to resist its charms. From a point of quiet curious reflection, this gem within the space of 3.25 manages to blossom into a colourfully vivid bouquet which from its opening shy eyed and enquiring rustic genteel, blooms with each verse cycle softly assuming stature and an awareness that by its finale with the aid of trumpets, twinkling keys and all manner of other accompanying attractions, engages a fulsome and prettying parade of affectionate feel good effervescence. Available through dream society records.
Back with Do It Thissen just a wee while longer for a little something they released a few months ago and mischievously slipped beneath our radar. Still copies of this knocking about in the shop you’ll be glad to hear, 6 lathe cut 7’s out of a 30 only pressing. Anyhow, this is Duck with a killer twinset which ordinarily we’d fall backwards over for anything sounding remotely wiry, post punk and edgy as is the case with the lead out track ‘Lip on the Floor’, that said, the real nugget here you’ll find tucked on the slip via the frankly wow happenings of ‘Stereo’. A super chilled austere automaton kissed with a coolly glacial late 70’s futuristic disco under-pin that’s superbly occasioned and invaded by moments of hot-wiring post punk frenetics, does it for us.
With much embarrassment, its been a fair while since we strayed into Third Kind territories our lobes being pinned by a limited blue vinyl set from Nicholas Langley titled ‘final wave’ about to surface. Just 100 copies of this being pressed the tags indicating it be awash with IDM signatures, electronica and something called braindance, I’ll leave your imaginations to wander as you ponder on that one, but I guess I know where he’s coming from. From that set, we’ve been somewhat distracted by ‘Cat’s Eyes’, incidentally the longest track of the set. Certainly, something graced with a classic late 90’s era Warp fashioning, the dream like dissipates, the panoramic detailing, the skittering beats and stuttering disconnection all conspiring to gather and usher in a futuristic portent harvesting a subtle industrial / AI age, yet scratch beneath the cosmica flotillas that weave mid-way through therein applying a charmed lightness and the imagined invisible influence of Add N to X in a studio bunk up with Plaid cannot be overlooked.
Still with Brighton’s Third Kind, new cassette about to emerge from MAbH titled ‘on being pollinated’, a limited release as is always the case with these TK outings this one pressed on an orange C60 in book style packaging all hand numbered in an edition of just 40 which per pre-release stats only seven remain looking for good homes. From off the set, we’ve taken a shine to ‘keep breathing’ a little something which incidentally, we are more than keen to carry on doing, for the forseable future at least. Appearing to be spliced into three interlinking movements, this seven minute slice of musical mindfulness delicately sheds its skin, with each passing cycle its drone drifting detailing, shifts with fixed point accuracy, through a wave forming genteel that softly touches base with early EAR, the minimalist etchings more commonly found on Silber Media and the elegiac fragile of the Eilean Recs stable, the latter particularly evidenced by the departing two minute finale wherein a somewhat numbed jubilance is encountered with the dreamy feel good emergence of a Sunday morn Church like celestial celebration.
Back with both Third Kind and Nicholas Langley for just a brief mention for this. A little something released earlier in the year in a cassette edition of just 25, all sadly sold out at source. Seriously this was just to cute to leave alone. ‘Nix Six New Plus Two’ features a gathering of tracks that missed the final edit for inclusion on his current ‘Final Wave’ full length along with the bonus of two cuts rescued from the vaults that were recorded way back in 2001. From off the tracklisting, we’ve been smitten with the track ‘Koropiko Chime’ of which, we’ll just simply say, could well be the love child of a late 90’s meeting between Plone and ISAN.
More bliss kissed dream pop-ery from the Tiny Engines folk courtesy of Pendant. Another slice of cutesome in advance of their full length ‘through a coil’, this be ‘name around my neck’ a sugary shoegaze sortie sighed with the kind of feel good radiance that used to adore those classic Chapterhouse outings, this one lovingly brushed in all manner of honeyed harmonies and shimmer toning showers not to mention momentary detours into a nostalgic sepia sighed rustic serene.
Been a while since we had anything by the Orielles seducing our listening space and my, my how they’ve matured since that time. Just out through Heavenly, the slyly infectious ‘Come down on Jupiter’, a wonderfully worked slice of lounge pop which unless my ears do deceive, had us at the point of rooting out our stash of Le SuperHomard groove for close comparison given its radiant funk bitten sun kissed sultry. Quite perfect if you ask me.
Pulled from their forthcoming, February 2020 pencilled ‘a new kind of sky’ full length set, the Hanging Stars return to the fray with a superbly crafted slice of sun glazed summer of love 60’s vintage in the shape of ‘(I’ve seen) summer in her eyes’. The real danders, this nugget comes shimmered in soft sprays of kaleidoscopia and the breezy cocoon of honeyed harmonies and a trippy tailoring which to these ears, collectively gathered sound like some secret West Coast get together featuring an assortment of Byrds, Left Banke and Strawberry Alarm Clock folk. Essential, as though you needed telling.
We deeply suspect that if Shore Dive Records continue to persist in releasing gems like this, then we fear we might consider a move to Brighton to stalk them. This, their latest, comes courtesy of Superdrone and it goes by the name, the aptly titled, ‘the Creation’ EP. I say aptly because there is the tasting and fashioning of all things late 80’s / early 90’s Creation records swirling within these grooves. On first spin at least, we’ve been somewhat taken by the parting shot ‘spirit me away’ which amid its shimmer toning showers of dream draped drenching, the coolly subtle shade adorned light psychedelia detailing permeates the hazily glazed effervescent sheens of the wall of sound radiance giving the impression you’ve stumbled upon a lost studio tape featuring a forgotten late night studio soiree c 91 or thereabouts, where folks from Ride, Chapterhouse and Boo Radleys were present. Quite perfect if you ask me.
We’d have mentioned this yesterday following the fondness heaped upon Superdrone had we not been overcome by an overwhelming bout of fatigue, another from the current crop of Shore Dive essentials. Peeled from a collection titled ‘no fear in love’, this be Primitive Heart with ‘Ghost’, a track which I must admit, has found itself sneaking beneath our usually robust defences. One of those tracks that mightn’t hit home immediately, there’s something frail and bruised encountered here, a lone star hushed and dappled in softly sighed down tempo electronics all caressed in a closely intimate spectral torch framing.
I’ve a feeling we may be calling in again at the blackjack illuminist imprint as it seems they’ve a few well heeled releases kicking around at the moment, not least, this little nugget from XTR Human. This little dandy caught us on the hop mainly because it has a lighter toning than previous blackjack sorties, so light in fact it quite appreciably poppy on first encounters, not that we here are grumbling. Yet in all seriously, ‘on a greater scale’ is touched with a late 80’s indie gusto, the smoky vocals and the softly spun reclining riff chimes adore it with a shades adorned hazy that had us recalling in an instant Robert Lloyd and the New Four Seasons. In addition here are remixes from Detuned Radio and Vlimmer, the former taking the mix even further down the indie rabbit hole this time stripped bare with a bruised and homely lo-fi crush that in truth wouldn’t have looked out of place showcasing the seasons Sarah batch of releases. Totally deconstructed, detuned and detoxed, well what did you expect from the Vlimmer folk, fear not it strangely works, despite its disconnection and almost Cathedral like cooling, there’s a jubilant albeit shadowy post punk vibe afoot here to suggest one or two of this collective might well be secret Wild Swans admirers.
First of a trio of cute cuts marking the seventh season of sonic festivities heading out of the Snowflakes Christmas Singles Club sound house. As previously, the deal here is that all participating entrants record two seasonal tracks, a cover and something of their own. This year’s selections, three in total, each in a 320 only edition all lovingly pressed on snow white vinyl. As advertised, LA based Livingmore open proceedings with the self-penned ‘Christmas with Livingmore’, a warming countrified purring power pop sortie kissed with a ridiculously off centred hook savvy melodic line amid whose misty the subtle traces of a much missed ‘durable dream’ era Moviola fuse with Blondie. Over on the flip, the wonderfully snow globed ‘winter wonderland’ here re-tweaked with dusty and mellow homely recline whose sepia sighed nostalgic touch has it sounding as though its walked straight from a 50’s silver screen.
Same desl as previously, limited snow white vinyl in a limited 320 pressing, second of the seasons Snowflakes Christmas 45’s comes courtesy of SuperBravo.
Again, another delightful tinsel twinset featuring an original penning and a cover, the latter of which we’ll mention first. A bit of an obscure one this, ‘Chanson Pour Les Enfants l’Hiver’ is served with a wonderfully playful tinkering innocence, at once goofy and childlike, its lo-fo lulling chiming with an affectionate toytronic naivety and something which, to these ears at least, is graced with a shy eyed wonder that creaks and wheezes to a similar minimalist mirth as the much missed Le Bleu. As to the lead out cut, a strangely contrasting sortie might be the best way of describing ‘La Nuit’, no questioning its infectious tugs, yet listen close and what might first appear to sound like something with a winter wonderland electro folk phrasing, instead shape shifts with an ethereal spectral haunting to reveal amid its huskily matured and woody soft psych resonance, an as were curiously response song from Nancy or Brigitte to Lee or Serge respectively.
Last up from this Snowflake Christmas 45’s, a little something from the immaculate Us and Them. Now I’m going to stick my neck out here, so just hold back with the gasps and the pointed pen letters in response. But for a long time, certainly the last few Us and Them singles that we’ve had the good fortune of hearing, we have been minded to say, how much of Abba I hear in them, I’m talking about the songwriting, the emotional wells and that sense of closeness, which, before you all start blinking with dismay, let us not forget, that Abba before Abba, each cut their musical teeth in the realms of traditional / acid / psych folk. For their self penned Yuletide treat, ‘When the Stars are brightly shining’ Us and Them share a songcraft lineage, both simplistic yet effective. like Abba, their ability to step out of a moment of distant reflection and pick up the pace with a joyful uplift is simply exquisite while their range of emotion is next to none. Here spun delightfully in a warming nostalgia kissed in a close intimacy, there’s a most desirable homely arrest afoot here just awaiting to be adored. Over on the flip, their version of Tori Amos’ ‘Winter’ is reduced to a magical murmur, angelic and bruised, they keep to the original’s script remembering Christmas’ with her father as seen from a child’s perspective, it’s something that’s touched with a bitter sweetly becoming nostalgic misty. Irresistible.
If you are in the hunt for this, the latest out of the Eilean Recs sound factory, then you’d better get a wiggle on and fast, as just 6 copies remain of its limited 130 CD press. ‘Einstape’ is the debut solo set from Inga-Lill Farstad from off which we’ve been somewhat taken with the track ‘Skjørlok’. Utilising an array of field recordings and various instruments at her disposal which through the intricate application of loops and overlays, Ms Farstad creates a slow to evolve atmospheric canvas. Sounding like some slowly awakening twilight wilderness, ‘Skjørlok’ is paused in silence and dinked in minimalist murmurs, the glitching clicks, the delicate scratches and the distant fog bound fanfares are collectively gathered to create a sense of the solemn, the forgotten and the remote, something one suspects best experienced through headphones, that way you get the measure of its glacial vastness and sorrowed silent majesty.
Many thanks to Dom Polytechnic Youth for sending along one of these, our head has been in such a haze these last few weeks that we missed the crucial mailout of its arrival due to an extended restorative nap. Anyhow, not sure if these are all gone just yet, given the speed of disappearance of previous lathe cuts, I’m guessing we err on the sold out. Just 111 copies, all on clear lathe wax, hand numbered replete with typical eye catching acetate sleeves, this be the Home Current, of whom we must comment upon, has had a very industrious year release wise, what with outings for PY, Static Caravan, Castles in Space and more besides. This release features, I think I’m safe in saying, two exclusive pens – ‘Red Ice’ and ‘River Keeper’. Now please don’t complain if we get the sides tangled up, our eyesight isn’t what it was due to various treatment and though we could don glasses, well quite frankly i’ve never been a glasses person and the ones i have, not i hasten to add, the ones i wanted (I could name the nationwide high street rip off franchise), really do nothing whatsoever except make me look like a secretary from an old 50’s b/w flick. Hopefully we’ve got the sides correctly lined then, first up is ‘River Keeper’, a track that wanders between two musical rooms, might well, in its initial flourishes, be best styled and described as pure un-adultrated retro synth pop the type very much cut and fashioned in the coolly retro lines of a ‘new life’ / ‘photographic’ era Depeche Mode, its courted with a wonderfully familiar playfulness all overtly light and soothed in a classicist electro vintage, until that is, midway through whereupon with the lights lowered, it withdraws into its shell softly marooned on an dreamy and milky ambient axis. In sharp contrast, the beautifully cosmic waltzer ‘red ice’ is tip toed in magic dust, again another track that manages to sumptuously shape shift throughout its duration, the book ending symphonic courtship that both greets and bades farewell, teased with a sugary neo classicist fluency that draws it into alignment with fortdax’s cruelly ignored ‘at bracken’ debut, the playful pirouettes ghosted with an as were ice frosted Debussy / sugar plum fairy mirage, an effect soon dispersed by arrival of some slickly woven noir tinged techno idents.
there’s also a rare invitation to peer into the inner workings of the Polytechnic Youth hive mind by way of an extensive interview with label head honcho Mr Martin.
Those of you fortunate enough to be on the Electronic Sound subscription list should have, by now, received issue #59. A Delia Derbyshire special, which alas, we’ve scarcely had time to read yet, safe to say it focus’ on her time with the Radiophonic Workshop, her work and involvement with White Noise and the wilderness years following her departure from the BBC in ’73. Aside the usual cool to know gubbins featured in the magazine there’s also the small detail of an accompanying 7-inch record, this one pressed on yellow vinyl features on its lead side the original iconic theme for Dr Who, indeed yes, the creepy outer-worldly one responsible for children of a certain age, parents alike, diving backwards for the momentary safe haven promised by the rear of the settee. How those hollowed reverbs spooked this impressionable youngster, it was to me at least, the soundtrack to the nightmarish unknown. Over on the flip you’ll find and unique and exclusive mix. ‘Strange lines and distances’ assembled by Dr David Butler of Manchester University with the assistance of the Workshop. It features a collection of intricately woven tape edits / loops / idents arranged by Delia Derbyshire during her post BBC period over the top of which floats the voice of Matt Berry reciting pieces from Francis Bacon’s ‘New Atlantis’. It makes for a disorientating experience, more dream like than nightmarish, much like one of those meditative / hypnosis programs you often see around to aid with stress / depression etc….. typically radiophonic ear wear, it manages to sound at once, remote, distant, alien and strangely disconnected, that’s not to say eerily charming.
Not sure what happened to the first one, but this is the second single to be lifted from a delayed (scheduled for mid January) EP heading out through Cafe Superstar by the quite exquisite Remington Super 60. ‘Fake Crush’ be its name, available on all digital platforms as of tomorrow (15/11), it’s a typically chicly tailored affair from the Remington folk, their less is more pop application meticulously honed and dead eyed for maximum adoring is kissed with a breezy late 60’s honey toned shimmering, the sounds suave and prettied with a longing effervescence, affectionately wander with a faraway casual so close yet so far from reach as they join the invisible dots to sit somewhere between Le SuperHomard and Lake Ruth on the irresistible scale after that is, passing through and dropping by at Le Mans. Quite perfect if you as me.
Absolutely no information on this other than to say, its annoyingly infectious. This is Poodles Caroli, who before you ask, we have absolutely no information about except safe to say that, to the more forgiving of you, this ‘un ought to cheekily charm you and put a puzzling though appreciatively contented smile on your face. Chipped and chirped with a cosying cuteness, there’s something playful and childlie about ‘Kan jeg bli med dit? (Ft. Magnus Abelsen)’ as it skitters around in a daydreamy haze that’s soundtracked by a goofy and gloopy electronic oddness. Mind you, those preferring their pop punctuated with a more subtle substance might well find ‘Fiken På En Tirsdag’ a more engaging experience, not least because its kosmische speckling and celestial shimmering connects ever so subtly to the secret sonic universe inhabited by Faten Kanaan. Still not convinced, well this one slinkily fits between the two extremes, apparently featuring the Remington Super 60 folk, always a good thing, the chuckling cosmic carousel that is ‘Ooohiajajaj’ is kissed with a kooky though altogether warming far east frosting all set across a wonderfully snow tipped and perkily pretty lo-fi electronic palette.
Sounding loosely, like something you might find wandering the outskirts of the Somewhere Cold spectrum, stranger still that the tags on its soundcloud page describe it as disco, which okay yes, I can see where they are coming from, but then to these ears, perhaps it’s the flotillas of calming oceanic sprays and the drift away ebb and flow of the sea sighing serene that positions this lulling gem somewhere in the hushed spectrum of say, Junkboy. Whatever the case, it serves as a much-needed moment to step out of the chaotic of modern life to lazily watch the clouds pass by. This be Boblebad with a track through Eskimo titled ‘Kontemplasjon’, quite a gem.
We’ll hopefully be back with this in full once our hard copy drops through the letter box. Already sold out out of its first press, fear not, there’s is a limited second press afoot fresh out of the Concrete Tapes stable, this be a rather essential 21 track compilation titled ‘red flag 2019’. ‘red flag’ you ask, what’s that all about, well it seems proceeds from this release are going to assist the Labour party to fight in marginal seats. Tempting as it is, I’m not going to commit to a political conversation, just safe to say wrong leader and a concern that the party are returning to the bad old days of the militants, I mean, accepting the odious Derek Hatton back into the fold, what next Livingstone. Moving swiftly on, as said just a brief stop by while we wait for our personal hard copy to arrive, among the track listing some familiar folk from the Dark Outside collective as well as exclusive cuts from the likes of the pulselovers, polypores, lo five, the leaf library and midwich youth club, though one name that did draw a gaze of expectancy is that of the Astral Social Club of whom I must say, it’s been a long while since featuring here. Herewith ‘Scarlet Sink’, a seven minute slice of mind melting psyched out technoid, a strangely dislocated and white hot mutant funk happening overheated in oodles of scrambled subliminal coding, absolutely fried. Elsewhere, we won’t deny to being a tad charmed by the serenely sighed Oriental drone drifting folktronica of Phexioenesystems’ ‘skies undried’ which I have to say of whose genteel toning and softly peeling defrosting, had us recalling a secret meeting point between ISAN and Inch Time. Last one for this brief stop off, ‘entrenched positions’ by Paul Nagle, a slow to emerge cosmic best experienced through head phones with the volume racked up to maxima. Takes a while to shift into full focus, though that’s well worth the wait, for when it does, the minimalist kosmische threading heralds, what might be best described as, a passing galactic watcher.
One of the finest releases to escape the short lived Bad Jazz imprint (and there where many) was Metrotone’s ‘be like the stars’, an airless and effortless slice of cool crystal pop that drew its references from Spaceman 3, Galaxie 500 and the Velvets, wonderfully fragile and hymnally hushed it was cut from something that these days might acquire the description, blissful. Twenty years on, the duo known as Metrotone, John Brenton and Anthony Harding, have been working together under the reactivated guise Landshipping. A limited lathe single last with Mugwood for the much respected Static Caravan imprint sold fast while there’s word of new recordings set to emerge next year. For now, the duo have reshaped ‘be like the stars’ in acoustic form and in so doing have brought it down from the heavens and into the warmth and upon its slo-mo phrasing repositioned its lyrical sentiment as a love note and delicately daubed it with an airless arresting that admirers of Cheval Sombre will instantly swoon to.
There’s a cooling sophistication attaching to this, as though a night eye watchfully floating in the sky covertly observing an after-hours busy city populace as they go about their ways blissfully unaware. What might, on first encounter, sound like something touched with an Oriental genteel is more akin to the very pulse of that unnamed night lit metropolis, the sounds and melodic phrasing interweaving and interlocking with a seductive shift of fluency as they slickly saunter to craft a palette that’s alive, in tune and embraced in the moment. This be ‘Join’ a track culled from the current full length ‘memory record’ by Danny Scott Lane through the ever-dependable Moon Glyph sound house.
So, we are going for magisterial then? Incoming on the much resspected Black Illuminist imprint sometime next week, new groove from the mighty Vlimmer. The ‘XIIIII’ EP finds them turning through the gears for what might be their most expansive and accessible release to date. Sure, they still adore their sonic palette in a cold wave weaving that’s both shadowy and daubed in an early 80’s post punk threading, yet across these five tracks there’s a becoming awareness and maturity slow fermenting in their collective creativity that’s anchored, bookended and brought to focus by both the opening and closing salvos ‘Augenlicht’ and ‘Unnachtung’. Both clearly touched and inspired by the Cure, the former particularly brandished with a cooling jubilance that at times had us desperate to rummage from record shelves, our prized copy of Danse Society’s ‘Seduction’ for comparison. ‘Unnachtung’ on the other hand and incidentally, the best thing here, has all the wherewithal and darkening beauty as to suggest its sonic ancestry draws directly to the Cure’s ‘pornography’ albeit as though remodelled by a classic era Fields of the Nephilim as though in cahoots with Zerra 1. That said running it close in the affection stakes, ‘Rasenstarre’ is steeled with a glacial stately magnetic whose chiming corteges had us imagining a reflective and bruised Chameleons in all the imperious majesty.
One half of a new limited split feast from the Polytechnic Youth sound factory. Pressed on standard vinyl, gold in case you were wondering and featuring a bespoke label design by Nick Taylor all hand numbered in an edition of 300, the release features a head to head between Alexandre Bazin and Wladyslaw Trejo. For now, there’s a video doing the rounds accompanying the Wladslaw Trejo track, surely no accident that its awash in 80’s nostalgia with the liner notes clearly noting the original footage being taken from ‘VERLIERER’ a late 80’s cult movie set in Germany about two warring gangs. ‘Movida’ is a much pacier affair than has come to be expected from the PY collective, amid the cold war attrition a post punk chill that clearly nods to Clock DVA and Cabaret Voltaire rises, it’s blank colourless detachment finding itself harvested, dissected and remodelled as were, under a shadowy industrial cloak by a conspiracy of folk Skinny Puppy, Play Dead, DAF and Front 242. Pretty cool all said.
Back with that ‘Red Flag’ cassette release as promised earlier in the week. Our physical copy secured and currently sound tracking our wintry listening space. Through Concrete tapes, this release is fast to selling out of its second press, all proceeds going to the Labour Election Fund, which as noted previously, I’ve no qualms with except to say three issues I have with the party, the leader, the return to militant days Momentum group and that pillock, Derek Hatton. Twenty one tracks feature here, three of which we’ve covered in a preview mention – Paul Nagle, Astral Social Club and Phexioenesystems. The gathering opens with lo five who incidentally, is currently sporting a rather smoking and immersive mindfulness mosaic via Castles in Space from which you’ll find the full extended happening that is ‘m-path’, this version a slightly remodelled and truncated edit that perfectly encapsulates the alluring dream like safe space mesmeric crafted by the LF hive mind, did we mention the ever so subtle Laraaji lines. Spaceship should be no strangers to the Dark Outside community, herewith the bowed beauty ‘in the murky woods’ a little something both hymnal and quietly uplifting and trancey yet equally steeled with a regal ghosting and a haunting distance in a ‘Box of Delights’ / Heartwood Institute way. I’m fairly certain we’ve encountered ‘Nanobot City’ in some previous life, but don’t quote me on that, a welcoming return from Midwich Youth Club, ever impish and creatively crooked and kooky, this fried mutant funk binary bopper is typically sore thumbed and cut with a playful late 70’s / early 80’s electro palette that some might sense flashbacks of 4am in the morning Ceefax wonkiness and wierdness upon hearing. New to us, Kieren Mahon serves up the coolly vintage sounding kosmische orbital ‘for the many’ which on reflection, sounds to these ears like some hulking mind re-mapping hypno dream machine. Staying with things serene and dream drifty, the aptly titled ‘meditation’ finds Giants of Discovery seducing the synapses with a slice of deeply lulling Tibetan trance toning. Apologies are overdue to the Leaf Library, their current full length ‘the world is a bell’ for WIAIWYA has been high on our to do list for mention. So while we address matters and ready ourselves to make amends here’s the celestial ‘a gap in the trees’. In short four minutes of blissful unfurling which in truth sounds not unlike a majestic symphonic parting back dropping the heavens falling silent and the stars going out, beautifully stilled and enigmatic. Think I’m right in saying,the shortest track of the compilation, by five seconds mind, this be Keener with ‘last candle end’ which in all honesty appears to follow a similar trajectory as the previous Leaf Library cut in so much as it sounds like some kind of eternal epitaph and lovely it is to, its brief visitation timed to perfection. Again another name unfamiliar around these parts, Steve Hadfield drops the pulsing mechanoid eerie that is ‘Ordinary Prime Mon(i)sters’, alittle something cooked straight from the John Baker sound book one would imagine. Ah, Polypores, just so happens we’ve got his imminent release for Miracle Pond getting readied for posting, probably at the weekend, it’s called ‘brainflowers’ and due early December. For now, there’s the small matter of ‘Sominum’ featured here. Now we were going to mention how much this reminded us of mid 70’s kossmick forward thinkers Embryo as well as a good deal of stuff heading out of the Constellation Tatsu sound house these days, but then scratch beneath the minimalist airing of vintage kosmische modulars and dissolved into its sonic fabric you’ll find the delicious daubing of an snaking Arabesque faraway out of which, amid the wonderfully hypnotic tryst, whereupon forms a mirage of bowed beats and sun scorched sultry, elements of Laraaji (again) and Ariel Kalma disperse. Another new boy, well to us at least, Sir Real with ‘Margins’ which I must admit we are quite partial to. This locks itself with a dead eyed precision into terrains occupied by the likes of Kreidler and Automat, the slow steady propulsive grow assuming mass, intensity and focus across a maddening motorik paranoiac priming, really is menacing stuff. The much admired Pulselovers are next with ‘Spirits’, not so far removed from the sounds found dwelling on their recent Castles in Space lovely, a pastoral woozy set upon a wonderfully breezy clockwork framing found wandering the overgrown secret lanes and paths where live Vic Mars and Littlebow. Next up, the playfully sinister ‘a gift of tongues’ by Reel might well be the most skewed cut of the set, a curious sore thumb at once shadowy and gloopy yet strangely engaging not least because of its oddly ominous and isolated detachment. Another of those who’ve recently featured on the Dark Outside’s roster, specifically their off shoot Bibliotapes print, this is Rupert Lally with the tear stained and bruised ‘the many’, teasingly brief it may be, this beautifully worked neo classicist forlorn is shivered with the emotional reach of both Antonymes and Simon McCorry. Another track befitting of that ‘end game’ distinction, Runningonair’s ‘we are where we are’ has a bleak beauty attaching to it, the sounds distant and to a degree, stirred with a coolly cold clinical chill, infuse the listening space with a distinct AI austere. Portland Vows on the other hand, work their eerie enigmatic across the ice sculptured porcelain of ‘spectacular items’ spraying the proceedings in minimalist toned murmuring magic dust. Those remembering those early career electronic hatchlings put out by Cheju many, many years ago are advised to rush without pause or thought to Concrete/Field’s delicately dinked dreamloop ‘stay sharp’ while the disturbingly named Body in the Thames serve up the spectral ‘Blues for Nye Bevan’ which kissed with a slowly snaking and subtle 80’s soft cinematic phrasing, is harnessed upon a deceptive and distractive nocturnal suave that surely indicates further listening / investigation is required. Last, but by no means least, Night Monitor chip in with the sets briefest and parting track courtesy of ‘the energy you call money’, a brooding ghost light, perhaps an echo from the past or a foreboding apparition, you decide, tread carefully.
We will be coming back to this for a fuller mention soon, for now here’s the 8-minute excerpt of variously linked exerts from a new cassette hatched by the Dark Outside community by Delphine Dora & Sophie Cooper. Sadly, sold out at source of its tape variant, the collection titled ‘Greywood Miniatures’ provides for an eerie and ethereal chamber scored shadow play, a ghost lit magic land of fog hazed primordial folk woozy’s and forgotten woodland spirituals, at once haunting yet deeply alluring.
Not sure whether I’ve said this previously, but Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ has always been a firm reading favourite around these parts, it’s just Kubrick’s film adaption of it that I’ve never cared for, same for ‘the Shining’ and ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’, I’ve always felt, as a director, he over egged matters. But hey, let’s move on before I start a social media bunfight, I can already hear the distant sounds of furiously beaten upon keyboards screaming with disbelief and scowling anger. In an edition of 100 cassettes through the Dark Outside’s sub print Bibliotapes, Drew Mulholland turns his sonic creativity to recreating the aural backdrop to this literary icon. Again, as with the previously mentioned delphine dora and sophie cooper release, we will return with a fuller account in a day or two. For now though, an excerpts extract to which to whet your appetites. Dark, brooding and deeply isolationist, Mulholland crafts a blank and remote soundboard, interposed with harsh industrial motifs that serve as a bedrock that hitherto create an intense feeling of a chilling distance and paranoiac disconnect, something which perhaps presses home the cold and detached brutalist landscape to which Burgess’ novel is set, the effect is hollowed, harrowing and deeply grounded with a coldly calculated emotionless edginess.
Think we’ll sneak these in quickly while we wait for the steroid script to kick in, ‘these’ll give you a bit of pepping up’ said the GP, ahem, still waiting. New groove from the Cruel Nature imprint, as ever limited in nature, just 75 of these all pressed on cassette and probably destined for a quick sell out. This be Nathalie Stern with ‘Nerves and Skin’ from off which we’ve more than mildly smitten (on initial quick listening) with both ‘Spectre’ and the pursuing ‘Stig in Lucia’. The former a shadowy spectral visitation part haunted part hymnal, a primitive spellweaver sounding much like a fabled siren drawing close all who hear her bewitching love call. The latter, chamber electronics of a clearly classic and becoming 4AD / Mute variety that’s very much turned and tuned into the mystical and ethereal worlds of Dead Can Dance, Nina Hagen and a youthful Fever Ray albeit as though channelling Nico.
My word, the surging intense ricocheting from this ‘un is quite something else, lifted from a January scheduled full length titled “A glimpse of light in the darkness” via patetico recordings, this is Stellarscope with the immense solar soul burn that is ‘shining light’. Admittedly lyrical wise, a little close to the bone, this one really does touch nerves, but that said, a euphoric forlorn it be hazed in sheens of dream drifted shimmering that rage and rise with bitter sweet jubilance all the time shifting headlong into a celestial rapture.
Oh my, this is a welcoming blast from the past. Initially pricking our ears way back in the youthful years of a newly formed turntable teething i blame the parents imprint, Extradition Order cut a curiously crooked swagger unlike anything else around at the time, awkward, astute and arty, they confused and compelled in equal measure, a cut above the rest. But then as with these things, we lost touch, they shifted onto other things and ultimately became a memory, albeit a fond one. Some ten years later, they’re back on our radar with an imminent full length scheduled for February release entitled ‘American Prometheus’ through a co-conspiratorial gathering of labels that include some of the finest sound houses operating on the outer margins of the sonic spectrum – Gare Du Nord, Blang, Jesus Factory, Helen Llewellyn Product 19, and I Blame The Parents. Dedicated to their founding member Nick Boardman who sadly passed away last year, the full length, according to the band, ‘is a Northern Soul album about the atomic bomb’. Boy they weren’t kidding for at present just two tracks loom large for listening love on the preview player, ‘no nobel’ perhaps just edging it in the affection stakes comes kissed with that much loved skittishness of old, though here honed delightfully with an up close in your face vibrancy whose funkstruck soulful hiccupping hip swerve is acutely cut from the same art pop template that graced those early Talking Heads and Modern Lovers platters. Add into that palette a transfusion of the Sinatras and Fire Engines’ contortionist pop, some keenly fused moments of classic foot flapping Two Tone-ism and a smidgeon of the Dexy’s ‘searching for the young soul rebels’ and you have yourself a neat hysteria fuelled hotpot of infectious groove.
Is it just me or upon digging down past the post rock contortions, there’s a subtle 30’s style mooching cabaret swing afoot here. This be the new thing, well oldish given its been out a month and somehow got lost amid a shed load of messages that have mysteriously just this minute appeared in our Fb in box. Anyhow, moving swiftly from our befuddlement this is ‘Prora’, a track lifted from their third full length ‘Zone Rouge’. A curiously mutating affair which as said spawns from its initial affectionate art noodled jabs a rather natty nostalgic swing that soon evaporates, dissolves and manifests into something far darker, edgier and dislocated not to mention cut with a coolly brutalist funk gouged grooving that spikes, spars and sizzles with intense frustration.
Okay I’ll admit this is a little more lighter and sugared than what you’ve probably come to expect here, yet it stopped us in our tracks illuminating this near witching hour approaching listening room chill in a warmly radiant feel good glow. From Sonny Winnebago this is ‘take me for a ride’, alas no information attached reporting on the current activities of Mr W, safe to say this distractive and dizzyingly pop purring sea-faring idyll is teased with an affectionate radio friendly flavouring whose sunny disposition subtly masks a bye-bye break up note.
Last up for the evening, this one back footed as we were powering down for the evening. Heading out of Jezus Factory right now (who incidentally are seemingly going through something of a purple patch of late and again are another label overdue for fond mention), this is the sinister suave that is ‘provisoir’ by Kloot Per W/Rudy Trouvé. A track culled from ‘cassette number 3’ in conjunction with heaven hotel records, this cut is possessed of the welcoming whiff of Captain Beefheart in so much as that same quirky slink though here fried, wired and mutated by a cool monochrome blissing of schizoid electro shocks that serve to usher in an edgy shadow playing disconnection.
Hell’s teeth, this is totally outta the park, stupidly infectious and up close and personal. Get ready to nail feet to floors for this is a pulse racing anxiety inducing razored rollercoasting art punk riot which in truth sounds like some impish gathering of Plastic Bertrand and early Adam and the Ants types all overseen and punkishly puppeteered by the B-52’s. Any questions?
Nearly lost in the annoying spam box, an early yuletide gift from Yellow6 with the bandcamp streaming of this year’s Merry6Mas gathering, this one going under the sub-titled heading of ‘Decay’. No press notes included here as yet as to where these tracks originate though previous end of year festives have included all manner of outtakes, lost moments and alternate pathways. This edition comes in a 104 CD pressing with a choice of sleeve colours – black, white and cream, sadly the ultra-limited latter variant long since sold out. Eight tracks feature within, the parting salvo ‘no ideas’ catching our ‘lobes on first hearing, typically atmospheric, like the calm before the storm there’s a stillness and expectancy brewing here, the contouring ever so delicate and measured all the time superbly elucidating in the mind’s eye a patient wait as the air around begins to heave and shiver with an expectant intensity, reference wise it draws much from Montgomery and Heaphy’s imperious ‘True’ full length. That said, rather than delve deep into expected fiery furrows, ‘no ideas’ rather more genteelly radiates to softly turn on a softly gliding arc of restfully quiet jubilance.
Described by their press folk as a killer slab of ‘glam punk’, well we here always in the frame for a spot of good wholesome punked out glam tuneage, this ‘un by Telgate titled ‘cherry tight’ arriving equipped as advertised. Indeed, cut with a 70’s vintage, there’s a distractive scowling decadent vibe oozing from this as it pouts and prowls with indignant sleazy swagger that lurches between purring and mooching amid shock treated shards of sneering hysteria hisses, screeched blues fired intensity and scuzzed out oblivion.
Okay yes, it’s been out for a while, but we couldn’t resist giving it a mention having had it sneaking up on our radar with much adored fondness. This be we melt chocolate with ‘golden eyes’, beyond this the clue track goes quiet. Seriously though, this is just immense and intense, a dream pop snow storm that literally just ghosts, or so it would seem, beneath the radar, its initial untethering softly stirring, shy eyed and longed in a bitter sweet gauzing, however that serene ethereal hush is momentarily cracked at the 2.23 moment with the brief blistering of feedback surges before settling back to it daydream drift which come the 3.43 juncture, for the remaining five minutes you are hurled headlong into a showering stratospheric inferno of lovelorn bliss bathed brilliance, crushingly beautiful.
Love the way this swerves, sighs, shimmers and swoons, how they’ve escaped being mentioned here previously is beyond me given tracks like ‘landing’ have adored our listening space with the kind of dream pop hazing reminiscent of early outings by Dead Leaf Echo and more importantly appear fertile groove for the likes of celebrated sound houses such as Sonic Cathedral and Club AC30. Latest to their setlist ‘waiting’, a surging pop dream weaver kissed with a hazing effervescence locked to a stratospheric arcing that swims seductively lost in its own sweetly caressed and love noted oblivion.
Interlude ….. poly styrene ….
Straight from the press release …….
‘Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliché is a forthcoming documentary chronicling the remarkable life of Anglo-Somali artist and punk maverick Poly Styrene, one of the first women of colour to lead a successful rock band (X-Ray Spex). The filmmakers, Paul Sng and Celeste Bell have launched a Patreon campaign to help them finish the film and bring it to international audiences.
“I set out with a clear goal to share my mother’s story as widely as possible because her story needs to be heard. In making this film, I have uncovered aspects of my mother I hardly knew before and also discovered that she made a huge impact on culture that is still being felt today. The fact that her legacy has not been properly acknowledged is something we are seeking to redress with this film.” Celeste Bell, Co-Director
Poly’s life was fraught with difficulties: poverty, racism, misogyny, and chronic mental health issues. After suffering a nervous breakdown at the height of her success, she left music to join the Hare Krishna movement. The film follows Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell as she examines her mother’s unopened artistic archive and uncovers the legacy of a woman whose lyrics were described by radical musician Billy Bragg as, “a slap in the face” to male artists and journalists. The filmmakers have recorded more than 30 interviews with people including Neneh Cherry, Pauline Black, Kathleen Hanna, Lora Logic, Paul Dean, Vivienne Westwood, Thurston Moore, Glen Matlock and many others. In addition, Poly’s inner thoughts from her early years are brought to life in diary entries narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Ruth Negga.
Despite the brevity of her career, Poly’s influence has reverberated throughout music, fashion, and feminism, from the Riot Grrrls of the 1990s to FKA Twiggs and the global Afropunk movement of today.
“Poly Styrene was one of the most original and dynamic voices in popular culture, yet her importance is known to a relatively small number of people. To raise the funding required to finish the film and share Poly’s legacy with the world, we’re offering patrons exclusive access to unseen content from the film, unique merchandise and invitations to special events.” Paul Sng, Co-Director
Paul Sng has previously won widespread acclaim for his films Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle and Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain. The film is co-directed by Poly’s daughter Celeste Bell, whose book about her mother, Dayglo: The Poly Styrene Story, co-authored by writer Zoë Howe, was published in March 2019. Also working on the film are producers Rebecca Mark Lawson (UK) and Matthew Silverman (US).
Official site: http://polystyrenefilm.com/
An insightful archive Arena documentary from 1979 …..
….. and finally, some archive OGWT from 1978 …….
A little something sneaked up on bandcamp which we happily tripped over, a digital only twin set from Thomas Ragsdale who if memory serves right, last graced these pages via a damn fine outing for burning witches – see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/thomas-ragsdale/ Pretty nearly a year to the day since that mention he’s back with a brace of club cooled chill chic courtesy of ‘mocking bird’ and ‘hope sandoval’. Both cut from the same classic Detroit tech genus and each somewhat submerged in a minimalist subterranean phrasing that silkily provides for a deeply immersive experience that prowls and glowers in the shadows, something one suspects best filed next to those prized Smallfish, Rednetic et al releases of yore.
Still available on digital download though long since sold out of its two limited edition CD variants, something which we must have missed the mail out for by Maps and Diagrams entitled ‘Ottova’. A darker and dare I say, more reserved affair as to what we’ve become accustomed, our focus concentrating on the parting track ‘waska’. Possessed of a sparsely ultra-minimalist palette, there’s a shadowy texturing navigating this low charged cinematic, not so much dark and gloomy but more so, unknown and mysterious, much like the encountering of a gateway to some thought mythical, lost religious structure, for here a sense of abandonment and awaiting snakes and stirs in the dust scarred wastelands.
Greeted by an unexpected though wonderful suprise earlier today, for waiting on our welcome mat a test copy of a limited 60 only lathe being prepped by the Fruits de Mer folk as a Christmas treat for those fully subscribed to their members club (details on purchasing TBA). Sent over by Phil at 345RPM who incidentally followed it up with a very touching and lovely message, the release entitled ‘an absolute shower’ is a slight departure from the usual acid folk / psyche / space rock road that we’ve come to love and adore from the FdM sound house, instead instilling a selection of light relief and nostalgic fun in the company of some of the finest and much missed comic moments and talents of the Golden age of British comedy heading out of the Gainsborough, Pinewood and Ealing studios. Four tracks feature on this lathe 7-inch with cool cat Leslie Phillips opening the proceedings with a ’59 cut entitled ‘the Disc’, a tale of a one off DJ appearance, a faulty record and an ‘electric geetar’ all dispatched with that typically trademark lounge lizarding sophistication atop a little jazzy coda over which an of the day hip-ish teen trimmed trebly groovy shivers and shimmers. Next up, the top cad himself Mr Terry-Thomas with ‘send for me’, a smoky if not at all, slice of kitschy lounge adorning cut as a romantic mood setter as our erstwhile ‘rotter’ sets up the love nest for some unsuspecting lady. ‘gobbledygook’ and ‘unwinise’ where descriptions used to describe Professor Stanley Unwin’s tongue twisting crooked language corrupting (see also Worzelese from Worzel Gummidge played by the much missed master of voice manipulations Jon Pertwee), ever the eccentric and the impish (a working class foil I guess you could call him to Viv Stanshall’s blusterous and pompous blue blooded Sir Henry Rawlinson), here surreally narrating Goldilocks in his own spoken fashion. Last but no means least, Sid James and Liz Fraser collaborate for the title theme from ‘Double Bunk’ the film that reunited Ian Carmichael with Jeanette Scott (see one of the classic comedies of all time ‘school for scoundrels’ with Alistair Sim and Terry-Thomas and featuring the infamous tennis match and car swap scene, puts the Martin / Caine remake in the shade). A rare though amicably jaunty seafare-ish sing song from Sid James, apart from a few out of tune and impromptu word forgetting goes in the radio versions of Hancock’s Half Hour to which ‘the Lad’ would always jump on with mirthful merriment (usually the Christmas specials in memory serves right) comes replete with the legendary James’ laugh, among the songwriting credits a young Mike Pratt who would go on to play one half of private eye duo Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).
A lot lighter a listenening experience than their last appearance in these pages when ‘enthusiasm’ chilled our nerves on its limited cassette outing for the ever-dependable Dark Outside collective. On one of those name your price download deals, ‘hello honky tonks’ is a cutely playful 80’s styled cheeky slice of blip funk boppery that ducks, dives and squirms affectionately getting under the defences all the time taking its reference point from a moulded modular template of Lipps Inc’s ‘funky town’ and then running the resulting club chilled charmer by the crookedly kooky impish art dudes the Flying Lizards who in turn do a neat spot in minimalist insularism. New album expected to land in Spring.
There’s more than a whiff of the odd and deranged to the peculiar palette of Territorial Gobbing, short sharp slices of discordant disturbia aimed to put you squarely on the back foot. Through Opal tapes comes the splutter and splatter fest that is ‘Capitalist Art Is Cartoons Fucking’, a nine track weird ear full of disconnection, scowling and squalling power electronica and butchered cut up collages, everything and the kitchen sink is here. Far darker and distant than previous visitations to these pages, this collection is traced with an uneasy and dysfunctional disquiet, wayward sonic incisions skittishly capturing moments and then frying, twisting and bludgeoning them so that they mutate anew disfigured, disjointed and unrecognisable from their original self. Part caustic and crude (see the freakish ‘Necknominator’)there’s a wilful impish blankness stomped across this gathering that easily recalls the off the spectrum noise manipulation experimentation committed to tape and vinyl by the likes of soundhouses such as the much missed scotch tapes, at war with noise and tesla with ‘ampit bear’ particularly spiking the ear with its inclusion of throat grunts as well as the nag nag nag nark of the brutish ‘Upholstered Chair Guevara’.
Not wishing to pop anyone’s balloons, but having heard this compilation just once, in our opinion, perhaps the finest collection we’ve heard all year mainly because it hones, nails and encapsulates that 70’s wonder, dread and mystic that connected imagination and nightmare alike for the 70’s child and his and her relationship with the gogglebox. None more so was the threat of the cold war, the random but very real dangers of the outside world and future dread and wonder of new futures to come felt more, than that hidden in the shadows of children’s tea time TV viewing.
Governed by strict moral codes that to wander from would arouse disapproval and disdain, the family unit was societies trumpeting boast, its brief was simple, children should be seen and not heard. But as the 70’s ushered in to replace the dour monochrome conservatism of the 60’s there began an age of pre-realism, an awareness of the beyond the fence of understanding. Early 70’s TV especially children’s, was a watershed moment, experimentalism in visualism, animation, puppeteering, sound and of course, most importantly, story telling along with a fast growing and maturing comic culture, had led the nations school children through a prism whereupon they were given a voice and a unique space that seperated them from the rigid confines of the family unit. Here the seeds of free expression, science fiction and dystopic conversation flowed into their inquisitive being, a soft and subtle messaging, an awareness of the ecological, the magical and the fantastical cross weaved and where old belief systems where momentarily remembered and adhered to before being challenged eventually to be lost and forgotten from the 80’s onwards.
‘Scarred for Life’ is a collecting together of nineteen electronic suites that serve as a unique soundtrack for those times, a mammoth and momentous gathering of the finest talent operating on the hauntological margins of sound and I mean momentous, just look at the invitation list – Polypores, the Heartwood Institute, Keith Seatman, the Home Current, Dalham, Vic Mars and many, many more. Lurking on a outer spectrum that finds it tying into the literary consciousness of such tomes as Greg Healey’s ‘not in front of the children’, the invaluable reports collated by the A Year in the Country collective and of course, the Scarfolk organisation. To the crackle and pop of static interferance emerges ‘scarred for life’ by the Soulless Party, an ethereal mysterio graced and ghosted in chamber chants and the chill of ice set pulsars, it makes for a grand entrance setting the collections atmospheric charge superbly in a shadowy shelling. Vic Mars ‘the time menders’ pulls things back considerably, it’s bucolic blossoms arrested with a sense of adventurism and mystery amid secret sleepy village haunts while the Heartwood Institute hatches a wonderfully dreamy pastoral posy enriched with a spring hued carefree courtesy of ‘women against the wire’ beneath which a subtle macabre stirs whilst in opposing formation an unearthliness forever observes and protects. Next up, the Twelve Hour Foundation serve up more of their gloopy kaleidoscopia with the affectionately turned and trimmed ‘Belmont’, a warbling wonderland of impish imagination sitting somewhere between the spy school sounds of Joe 90 and the arts n’ crafts zany of Vision On. ‘Words from the Wireless’ provides more pre teaser evidence of sounds to come after the festive time with his new full length being readied for Castles in Space love with this strange sonic delicacy wired for paranoia pleasure whilst additionally arriving as though dropped from one of those Melmoth the Wanderer eerie’s. Unknown to us previously, Swimming Lessons’ ‘superhighways’ is cut from the same sonic cloth as the aforementioned Twelve Hour Foundation cut, all lovably layered in funk tech lounge loveliness and the minimalist merry of binary blippery. Umpteenth outing this year for the Home Current, hitting a purple patch of late, every release bettering the previous, is there no stopping him, anyhow here with ‘summer in marstand’ which finds him sharing terrains usually occupied by both the Heartwood Institute and Concretism, an edgily brooding shadowy desolate finitely sculptured with a majestic ghosting all scratched with a cloaking cloud of techno traces. Handspan’s ‘fear follows shortly’ is seductively shepherded with a breezily pastoral Roger Limb phrasing all lightly infused with a distractive dainty daubing of wonderment while Cult of Wedge’s ‘the Gamma Children’ takes its cue from the Tomorrow People and Sapphire and Steel as it steps into the eerie. Like the Home Current, its been a busy year for the Pulselovers folk, herewith ‘nice view from up here’, a teasingly jaunty cutie tripped with a delightfully willowy rustic harvesting whose sonic scenting is possessed of the same lazy eyed as accompanies those ever so lovely treats from Littlebow. Monroeville Music Center, another name I’m ashamed to say previously unknown to us deliver the cutely quirky ‘hack and slash’, a gloopy stoner treat awash with mischief and oddness, something which can easily be said of the Central Office of Information’s radiantly cartoonish cheery upper ‘puzzled’ with its squelching playfulness and lilting child like charm almost having us in immediate need of going out and rummaging for our Gulliver platters. Managing to make the dystopic the magical, Dalham’s ability to sonically deceive is a rare creative tool, emerging from a glooming overcast the empirical and beautiful ‘2-3-74’ inhales and morphs with a widescreen impacting that softly stirs with a jubilant classicism while the much loved around these here parts Quimper set aside their usual awkward surreal acuteness to apply a ghostly folk rustic whose lightly toned mysteriousness might find favour with folk subscribing to the output of the esteemed Clay Pipe imprint. Been something of a quiet year for the Listening Center I’m disappointed to say, herewith ‘nowhere, nowhere, we should have known’ which we must admit really does set its reference radar squarely in the Paddy Kingsland back garden of sound, this ‘un steeled with a sense of the dream like unearthly all coiled to a partly obscuring and unsettling fleeting cortege of mind fracturing twists. Another of those remaining absent from these pages these year, Panamint Manse step up to the plate with ‘leftfield intoxicants’ a curiously cute and waspish waltz of rustic orbitals which I really must say had us of a mind to dig out the Go Team’s debuting 7 inch platter for Pickled Egg if only to measure up to that releases nostalgically fried flip sides. Providing something of a day dream hazy, there’s a wonderfully warped playfulness attaching to the Bentley Emerald Learning Resources’ ‘programmes for sick days’, a lysergic lazy eye where all is not as it seems and where the melodies dissipate and dissolve down an ethereal rabbit hole. Just ahead of a limited lathe release for Castles in Space and an excellent showing on Memory Pond, reviews arriving soon, honest, Polypores cuts a calming dash with ‘memorabilia’ an unfurling epic lone star sculptured in porcelain pulsars and radiating across the galactic wilderness feel good call signs. Last but by no means least, Carl Matthews run up the end credits with a spot of oscillating optimism courtesy of ‘be like a child’, an engaging starry eyed faraway twinkled with a magic dust lost in the moment fondness. Phew.
All proceeds for this album will go to aid Cancer Research UK, a charity which is close to the hearts of some of our artists, one of whom is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
Think I’m right in saying there’s just 60 cassette copies of this very special release heading out of the Miracle Pond imprint later this week. Arriving days after an ultra limited lathe cut 7-inch for Castles in Space that collects tracks that missed the final cut for the excellent ‘Flora’ full length, ‘Brainflowers’ marks the final outing for the year by Polypores, a beautiful ambient awareness sympathetically stroked in an elegant, moment paused genteel caressing. Just shy of 60 minutes in length, ‘Brainflowers’ is a strangely insular yet all the same expansive dream weave, a journey of sorts navigating ten sonic routes that arrive delicately invested with a ice glowed intimacy and a touching inner warmth opening perfectly with the defrosting daybreak draping of ‘Fractals’ which with its shyly sewn twilight rustics, ushers in a stilled serene both mesmeric and measured of the likes that the Second Language sound house court as a trademark. Both ‘the Great Wizard of the New World’ and ‘kind’ are shimmered in a forlorn frosting, the former a silent moment impacted with a tearful tenseness at once lonely and reflective, cocooned in its own sweet space, a moment of close intimacy forming a blissful connection between just you and your surroundings. The latter, likewise shrouded in a maudlin majesty is framed with an eerie head bowed epitaph like seasoning, touching and emotionally bruising, there’s a sadness and sweet solace splintering from its orbiting core that’s softly lifted in radiant sprays of ice burning flotillas of fanfares whose slow sculptured curvature had us recalling those hollowed aches crafted by both Hood and a ‘dazzle me with transience’ era Tex La Homa. ‘Why on Earth’ lightens the load as it draws Side A to a aleepy close, dinked in lulling showers of bowed arrangements, it shyly wnders and woos into close view, a passing snow draped visitation twinkled and swaddled in a starry kosmick cosy all seductively sprayed in a life affirming jubilant rapture.
Best experienced for maximum effect with eyes closed headphones donned and volume hiked to infinity that way you get float in its demurring folds, Side B offers a more measured, looser and organic approach with the joyful effervescence of ‘Sagan’s Voyage’ greeting the opening proceedings amid a host of peacefully purred oceanic waveforms and modular murmurs that disipate and dissolve with a dream drifting hermetic hush. It’s a similar tact used on the equally arresting ‘glittering enigma’ wherein bathed in airless spectral formations and a minimalist carefree sigh, there’s the recalling of the faintly drawn and clipped classicist overtures much beloved of the Eilean Recs label
a moment paused. Sandwiched between the two, there’s the shyly shimmered opining celestial pastorals of ‘Lelen’ and the porcelain prettiness of ‘Tadpoles’ with its Oriental prayer garden mystique to subdue you not to mention the meticulously crafted and spatial ‘brainflowers’, a lilting lone star trimmed in drift away solar sailing fades. All said though, hands down best moment of the set, the parting ‘dreamshapes’, a farewell call sign of spectral celestial loops and radiating pulsars that pinpoints on the sounds vast sonic spectrum the missed margins between a youthful Eno and Bowie’s ‘Low’ whilst simultaneously tapping into the very heart beat of the great kosmick eternal.
Indeed, more Polypores, this one coming ahead of that superb Miracle Pond escapee. A 7 inch lathe cut via Castles in Space titled ‘additional Flora’. The story goes like this, released earlier this year, ‘Flora’ was on the final editing table, during discussions over tracklisting it was felt these two cuts ‘Clonal Colony’ and ‘peculiar growths’ didn’t quite fit with the albums overall narrative. This brace of orphans now find themselves with a chance in the sun on a limited 100 only (95 on black, 5 on white in random selection) release replete with eye catching inserts, an enamel badge and artwork by the in demand crafted hand of Nick Taylor. As said then, two cuts occupy the grooves of this platter, ‘Clonal Colony’ emerging delicately into view, a playfully tinkered toning attaching this time, that said considered, measured and thoughtfully crafted, in truth very de-stressing, a blossoming arrival, perhaps more so a new dawn, peppered with a mooching cast of what sound like sleepy eyed Clangers-esque oompahs all shuffling slowly as though assembling to jubilantly greet a bathing sun rise upon their moonscape winterland. Both graceful and serene, ‘peculiar growths’ astral glides with silent stealth amid the cosmic hinterlands sweetly opining like some bruised leviathan calling for its soul mate, utterly blissful.
To the length and breadth of these fair Isles, you’ll find abandoned railway lines. Most if not all, condemned to memory and history by the infamous Beeching Reports of 1963 and 1965. The golden age of rail had long since passed in its place a new obsession came to be with the growing affordability, convenience and dependence offered by the motor car. Losses and the costs of upkeep were blamed for the closures, it seems timely that certain political conversations are talking of rolling back on the Beeching cuts and reclaiming these forgotten arteries. For now ‘the Quietened Journey’ reflects with both mourn and celebration on these derelict and decaying memorials to a lost age, over the years, their neglect has been sorrowed in a ghostly silence, these once pathways to progress and harmony where the very symbols of unity, connection and the triumph of engineering, the economy and the Empire, a testament to not only industrial advancement but to the architectural prowess and sculptured beauty of these isles with structures seamlessly forging a courtship with land and nature reflecting perfectly the lush genteel and the beautified contours of these green and brown pastures. Their eventual abandonment pre-empted the decline of the industrial age and with that, left communities adrift and neglect, left alone these landmarks became the prey of the vandals and the shadows slowly but surely submitting themselves to the receptive reclaiming arm of the same land and nature that decades before they had formed a symbiotic relationship.
And so, to ‘the Quietened Journey’, the last audiological posting for the year by the A Year in the Country resource. The assembled cast provide a perfect sonic journey documenting those empty spaces and decaying echoes of what once was, between the haunting and the nostalgic, all aspects, shadows and memories are uncovered, discovered and recalled anew with Pulselovers taking steer of the opening greeting. ‘Woodford Halse to Fenny Compton in five minutes’ is a pure and pristine Kraftwerkian misty, Handley and Co forge forward spirited upon a golden age voyage of discovery and wonder all the time powered by a coolly careering motorik motif dazzled in cheery celebration. Sproatly Smith’s ‘the 19.48 from Fawnley’ once emerging out of its haunting spectral haze, softly weaves a ghostly mystic merrie that’s accompanied by a bewitching gathering of siren sighs, the effect lulling and hypnotic and very much tailored with a Brit folk horror classicism. Beautifully daubed in baroque shadings, The Seance drop the elegant tug that is ‘Elm Grove Portal’ which graced with a eerie classsicist chamber coding, is spirited and gently steeled in the loss and ache of a faded romance. More like a farewell perhaps more so an epitaph, there’s something of the silent stately of OMD’s ‘Stanlow’ steeled within the epic expansive that is ‘the ghosts of saltzcraggie’ by Widow’s Weeds albeit as though filtered through the lens of Bowie’s ‘Low’, an ethereal hymnal whose stately pose, expression and sense of head bowed majesty is touched and traced with the gracefall of Dead Can Dance, Popol Vuh and Coil. Don’t know about you, but I always feel that the Heartwood Institute provide perfect backdrops when it comes to sounds nostalgic and abandoned, that sense that you’ve fallen through a crack in time and found yourself relocated back through time. Herewith ‘the solway viaduct’ a stepping through some mystic portal, here the eerie beauty of abandonment is brought vividly into focus as the ghostly song of the tracks and the spectral trains relive one last moment of remembrance. Up next, the disorientating ‘the beets at Wellington Bridge’ from Depatterning provides for a gloopy woozy with added Broadcast-y moment before going quietly minimal and glitch ticked as though someone has vacated the recording room for a crafty smoke, one for those well attuned to the more approachable moments from V/VM’s back catalogue. Ever the awkward and obtuse, Howlround opt for a spot of cut up power electronic shock treating for ‘thrown open wide’, fierce, fried and just a tad frayed, all manic blip skrees and delightfully deranged. ‘Nuff said. Silent Treasure on the other hand offer the despairing ‘A year in the country’ which downed in an aching solemn is momentarily rescued from its tearful trials by the ascending arrest of a brief but beautiful, joyful radiance before being swallowed again by the saddening shadows. There’s a haunting but altogether tenderly tamed tremble attaching to field lines cartographer’s ‘ghost of the wires’, another of those hazy spectrals though here sweetly harvested in an ethereal bathing of woozing ghost lights. Sparsely toned and threaded through with a slow but ominously chilling procession of meditative chimes, eerie shadow gloomed atmospherics and the crunch of pebble scratched footsteps, Dom Cooper and Zosia Sztykowsk lead the funeral march for the bleakly forged macabre of the ‘summonings’, let’s just say, seriously disquieting and leave it there. An album due, we believe just after the festivities or thereabouts for Castles in Space, Keith Seatman serves up ‘along the valley sidings’, something of a kaleidoscopic curio unless of course, these ears do deceive, trading tripping propulsive train tugs with swirling orbs of dissipating analogue whispers, a mind bending mosaic unfolds disconnecting you from reality or what you at least, took for reality while bringing matters to rest, Grey Frequency with the quite enchanting ‘an empty platform’ which to a genteel key refrain, a memory lived in and paused shatters and a mellow murmur reflectively turns with a mournful gaze tear stained and torn by the cold harsh light of the day.
Am I sensing the frenetic tension, art gouged energy and wiry erratic of a youthful XTC bleeding through the proto pop grooves of ‘cock of the walk’, I’d like to think so, the ricocheting razor riffs riddled and rapid fired with a rash forming manic whose schizoid serving nails a Cardiacs like waywardness, why who can it be I hear you scream, why it be those loveable loons of frazzled freakdom, Midwich Youth Club herewith, we’re led to believe, a Christmas digital decoration for your tinselled listening space. Of course, ‘Cock of the Walk’ isn’t your festive feast that’ll be the flip cut ‘the Holiday Song’ and even then, though as hard as I’ve tried, I still can’t find any trace of snow, a twinkling star or a chiming bell with which to urge me to throw open the windows and sing loudly and share merry tidings for the season. Still, it sounds Stump-ish or at least something very similar which presently I can’t recall to mind because my hips and feet are colluding to busily weave a contortionist path across the kitchen floor in time and step to the jagged and noodling bass line, whatever the case, it comes seasoned with the overwhelming whiff of C-86 to which alone is cheer enough, at least in this residence. Yarooh!
Must admit that I’m a little disappointed in myself for missing the previous ‘visitations’ in this series, this being the fourth entitled ‘the Shoreside Visitation’. Collecting together a quintet of softly serene suites, it was ‘at the mouth of all rivers’ which piqued our initial interest when checking the track listing on pre-playing, guest vocals by Dom Cooper, of course fresh from his appearance with Zosia Sztykowsk on that imminent ‘a quietened journey’ set through the a year in the country folk. Beautifully choreographed yet forlornly bruised there’s no escaping the ache that glides to rest upon this most tearful and wounded of listening moments, a gracefall glacial shrouded in a silently withdrawn haloing whose fading glimmer dims with each passing pause as it departs into the ethereal mist to rest with the softly solemn sighs of Mr Cooper leading from the front. That said by our much humbled reckoning, it’s ‘phantom signal’ that provides the pick of the pack, an entrancing eerie strangely absent from that aforementioned A Year in the Country gathering, not least because its haunting and nostalgic call signs are bathed with a glow of regret and solace
that perfectly captures the stilled, quiet majesty of the land whilst simultaneously serving as their song of neglect.
A curious though intriguing two track outing entitled ‘seven simultaneous sunsets’ that manages to fall between the cracks that seperate Radiophonics, kosmische, lounge and pure hullucinogenia, This be Lucite Plains who hail from Missouri, beyond that the information trail goes a tad cool. A little something we unearthed by sheer accident a little earlier today during a moment of down time, two extended slices of smoking drift away with which to accompany yourself as you don the headphones, whip up the volume and float in your own head space, I mean there are some moments within the deeply immersive ‘SSS1’ that are just pure vintage kosmica while at other times, especially the spacey interlude preparing to dock at just past the 12 minute mark, which is just pure Jarre-ian, elsewhere the genteel contouring of the purring electronics and motorik murmurs power to slow propulsive pulsars whose swirling light show of dissipating dissolves serve as astral guide lights, there’s no doubting that some of their number have spent an inordinate amount of listening evenings lost in the orbiting scapes crafted by Tangerine Dream and the likes. ‘SSS2’ is similarly filtered this time through a lysergic lens designed and contoured for club floor seduction, the sleepy hypno grooved tempo shimmered with a silken chic soon evaporates to be replaced by a wonderfully woozy Lemon Jelly-esque gauzing itself mutating and morphing into dub doped drowsy wired upon the subtle seasoning of jazz funk weaves that had us minded of a psychedelic variant of those Emperor Penguin dudes and then sadly you’re heading home, the journey at an end, back to normality and reality, life really is crap eh?
Sneaky blighters these Lancashire Hustlers folk, some weeks after taking safe receipt of both the limited lathe and cassette variants of their latest happening ‘Mindcrawl’, our ever so slightly though usually on the ball eager eye, spotted an additional cut titled ‘Gliding Mind’ that we initially missed that you’ll find tagged to the end of the tape release. A brief interlude it be, a carefree lolloping dream away that’s harvested and potted with a tinkering rustic toning that ambles thoughtfully, secreted in the undergrowth amid the sun stroked hedgerows.
Pre teaser heads up for a full length arriving through Stolen Body sometime February going by the name ‘endless voyage’, this is Sunflowers with ‘Dreamweaver’, a garage psych blues roustabout ripped and rolled in scuzzy rifferamas all hazed through a lysergic lens and greased with a strut gouged galloping chug shock treated with a manic urgency that literally drags you slam dancing while blowing your mind with its psychotronic pulsars all the time gnarling and snarling with the kind of unhinged rabid reverie that recalls those much missed legendary Estrus cuts from yesteryear.
Another essential heading out of the Stolen Body sound house, this one released in conjunction with the ever so cool Burger imprint. Again, another pre teaser for a debuting set ‘Silhouettes’ arriving February time by the Shadow Show, this being ‘Shadow Box’. Lush with a 60’s pysch pop fluttering and an adorable shade wearing shake, ‘Shadow Box’ manages to blend its coolly 60’s vintage sheen and melodic prowess in a subtle effervescent paisley twirling and marry it to a punch you out cutesy ‘so what’ pout, the likes of which, that had us imagining the likes of the Priscillas under the influence of a youthful Heart Throbs albeit with Brix Adult Net taking up lead duties.
Whether it’s a case of the meds finally kicking in or else we’ve gone all madly happy following a bang to the head in the night from which we have no recollection or bruising with which to go on or recall, but we just keep falling in love with everything music wise we hear at the moment. Case in point this ‘un from duo Deutsche Ashram titled ‘Stumbleweed’ a link to which I’d love to share but alas we’ve just got a dropbox download type thing. Pulled from a forthcoming full length ‘Whisper Om’ incoming January end, ‘Stumbleweed’ is one of those rare tracks that literally had us firmly rooted on the back foot (and still has if I’m being honest, even after hearing it three times) in so much as you wonder where the hell did this come from, I’m mean there’s a curious 60’s thing rumbling here, a kind of ghost rider-ish effecting that shadow drops its urgent lost in the moment burn, yet on the other hand there’s a restrained though intense dream pop engaging its flavouring fused with a sonic tongue that stretches long and back into the deepest recesses of the collective memory which as the press release rightly notes, is positively shamanic in approach. All we do know is that the seduction settings are at maxima for this hollowing ghost lit slice of snake dancing bewitched spell craft.
an 22nd London Oslo
jan 23rd Bristol Thekla
jan 24th Newcastle The Cluny
jan 25th Nottingham The Bodega
jan 26th Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
jan 27th day off in Glasgow
jan 28th Glasgow The Hug and Pint
jan 29th Leeds Brudenell
Such an odd number 32, not so much the actual number but the pressing quantity, usually stacked in 5’s or 10’s, really it doesn’t deflect from the actual release and come to think of it, I’m not even sure why I mentioned it in the first place I mean the world hasn’t stopped or anything and anyway there are now just 7 copies of that initial stock of 32, another odd number, but a favouritish one which for the record, now that i’ve trapped myself in this self made cul de sac, mine is three. Anyway, it’s on cassette ‘Europe’ be its name by Uon Duh whose mystery is further enhanced by the fact that this comes accompanied with bugger all information, further hopes of clues when listening to the sounds within, only serve to deepen the curiosity. Two tracks grace the bandcamp preview page each forging a deeply contrasting persona from the other, ‘Sand’ a wonderfully mindful, immersed in a slow unfurling nowhere drift that’s delicately daubed in lazy inclines and day dreamy dapples of cloud watching soft serene all of collude together to offer a secret moment to step back, connect and just for a second let go. As previously noted, ‘Under’ is a more contrasting affair, gone are soft symphonic weaves and in their place the melodic root arrives established by the intricate patterns of the sparsely contoured percussive patters, a little something that admirers of the early catalogue outings of Andy Pyne’s Foolproof Project imprint might well warm to without hesitancy.
Heading out on the Portuguese based Spiritual Triangles imprint in a cassette pressed edition of 50 of which only one remains left in the store seeking a safe home, this is the latest outing from Whalt Thisney, an eight track happening by the name ‘Thistetica’. No stranger to these musings, Thisney is captured here at his most vulnerable applying lonely after hours whispers to a melancholic neo classicist channelling whose mournful spirit is sighed with a rare immaculate you’d find hard to match outside of the work room of Antonymes. Tender and intimate, each of these suites cuts deep with a bruising after glow, I’m not going to press to offer up a favourite as each comes cut from the same branch, the only difference being the healing perspective that each arrive before they sail off into the airless night, one I suspect primed perfectly for those much admiring of the output of Hidden Shoal imprint.
I must admit, a wry smile has formed each time I’ve heard this slow weaving nugget. Incoming February time via Rollercoaster, ‘A Northern View’ finds itself heralded by the arrival of the pre teaser ‘Taxi’. Drawn with a simple and unfussed crafting, the free spirited and lazily lilted ‘Taxi’ appreciably sits back, takes stock and leads you down a memory lane within which, a lulling story telling narrative is un-casked and allowed to weave atop a delightfully genteel wood carved waltz that whispers with fond recollection before being spirited away by a spiralling home farm wooziness and a hilariously unexpected, abrupt full stop. Class.
Excuse the memory lapsing, but wasn’t there a time way back through the mists of time, like about 12 years or so, that Jim Noir was pretty much a regular visitor to these pages or at least similar such pages that predated this wordpress format. As with most things like life, moving, defunct email accounts and other such annoyances and heartbreaks, we kind of lost track on the ensuing years until that is, this ‘un popped up on our radar. Anyhow, enough with the waffling, this be the aptly named ‘Good Mood’ a track culled from his current ‘AM Jazz’ set for Dook. A wonderfully ambling lazy eye so loveably languid it barely leaves its porch seat, instead caught in the moment cloud sailing and cheered by the lolloping cascading of airily pristine pop prickles hushed and hued in fond sprays of sunny spectral radiance and tripped in momentary hazes of joyful speckles of rustic lysergia. Does it for us.
Yes, yes, yes … look it’s been out for a while, get over it, spotted or more truthfully, heard it piping up all elbows and shoulders pushing its way into our affections immediately taking up the space left vacated by the previously mentioned Jim Noir cut on sound cloud. Through New Professor, this is Cheekface with the rather dandy ‘listen to your heart – No’ which I must admit superbly manages to shoehorn into its rapid fire, jabbing and jarring see-sawing vintage new wave 2.20 sound span, something that sounds very much as though its guiding reference points might well be They Might be Giants albeit here, as though fronted by a Police skulking Stewart Copeland donning his Klark Kent guise, Dare I say essential listening.
Just love the wandering listlessness of this, by Proper Ornaments and lifted from a forthcoming full length for Tapete called ‘mission bells’, this is the searching and seeking silent aware of ‘black tar’. Haloed with a faraway airlessness, a plaintive coda unravels drawing you in to its casual matter of fact nothingness webbing, its lulling simplistic rustic coiling traded in a weave of snoozing opines which on reflection had us much minded of those subtle defences sneaking salvos crafted by Beatglider.
Absolute apologies to both label and band for initially missing this and for the inordinate amount of time it’s taken to remedy the oversight. Out through the ever wonderful and beautifully bespoke Sonido Polifonico imprint, these are the touching sounds of Waterless Hills. As ever, an eye catching affair all beautifully packaged arriving lovingly hand pressed on 8 inches of lathe cut vinyl by Phil over at 345RPM and ‘housed in hand-stamped velum envelope with screen-printed single-sheet sleeve, postcard insert, and hand-stamped envelope containing a Waterless Hills badge, a handmade Sonido Polifonico clay token, and a Sonido Polifonico badge. Just 99 of these available all of which, I sadly suspect, have been snaffled. Pressed upon the grooves two tracks of stark crafted contrast, the snaking middle eastern raga that is ‘waverley cross’ leads out and weaves a beautifully trance like state of neo psychedelic hazy, the sonic tongue cut with a lost ancient voice rises with a restless intensity amid whose storming swirls and maddening dance, summons the very attendance of nature’s furies, formidable listening. By comparison, ‘The Empty House Of The Son Of The Vali Of Pusht-I-Kuh’ is a readily more considered and settled affair, there’s a sense of neglect, a silent solemn for something forgotten that bruises here, its yearning progressive post rock nuances very much shadowing the ache of the likes of Set Fire to Flames and the Future Kings of England of yore as it wearily stirs with almost spiritual reverance to stagger and stumble slowly ascending to a quietly majestic calm of understated and intricate beauty.
Sneaking up on our radar earlier today, the last release for this year at least, from the self described ‘small record label for future music’ This is it Forever imprint, a free to download / name your price compilation titled ‘TIIF 2019’ that gathers together a host of cuts from the likes of worriedaboutsatan, field lines cartographer, polypores, veins full of static, umber and Gavin Miller. Not one of those hastily thrown together sets, indeed there’s not a duff cut in the house with each of the invitees stepping up to the plate to deliver to their full potential, both Umber and Veins full of Static in particular, previously unknown to us (if our memory and ears serve well) both turning in performances that’ll guarantee our keen eyed radar will be rippled in expectancy about future happenings all of which, with that in mind, we’ll begin this particular missive by mentioning. Veins Full of Static, alas no further information, come cut with a bruised neo classical pedigree, desirably intimate and sorrowfully shouldered in a withdrawn mournful, ‘and when I turned back he was gone’ is touched by a desperate dappling that fixes you firm in its narrative. Graced in choral falls and hollowed with a ghosting ‘what if ‘silence, an onset of unravelling reflective decay drizzles the haunted loneliness. No slouches in the repeat listening department, Umber’s ‘every corner of a new day’ arrives bathed in radiant sprays of new dawn rising call signs all of which serve to daub it with a ice chimed celebratory context, a celestial plucked straight from the stars far above which amid the slow settling layering of ethereal eddies, a tearful though inner warming jubilance emanates. Next up, a brace from Gavin Miller with both ‘3 days (fourth)’ and ‘we stood like statues’ being plucked from previously released TIIF outings earlier this year, the former immaculately steeled with a reflective sculpturing which once freed of its pausing genteel upon its opining arrival, sweetly soars skywards traced with the kind of contemplative quiet free spirited solitary stature more becoming of Yellow6. As for ‘we stood like statues’ very Gnac like I must admit, (who on the subject of which, might be popping up here a little later in a differing form at least), it’s all to do with that coolly affixed rain drizzled after hours spy theme noir-ism that ghosts its grooves. In his worriedaboutsatan alter ego, Miller serves up two exclusive nuggets in the guise of ‘falling in slow motion’ and ‘there is no bonfire’, the former a hypno-grooved techno lite doozy sprayed in pulsing cosmica radiance all superbly crafted and chivvied in a mind roving back to Detroit discipling. As to ‘there is no bonfire’ a brooding proto epic grounded with a steely and hollowed wide screen weary that manages to walk between the finite corridors that divide nightmare and dream all equipped with a subtle darkly cloaked shadowy beauty. Having just concluded a perfect year of releases with outings for Miracle Pond (a limited cassette today) and Castles in Space (a lathe 7 last week) the immaculate ‘those infinite spaces’ whirrs into view, a hulking call sign sent straight from the message centre of the great cosmic intelligence, which for arguments sake, can we candidly call it, a galactic variation of ‘Sailing By’. Field Lines Cartographer complete this account with the deeply immersive and dare I say, dream weaved ‘the Tides’, a mindfulness mesmeric of motorik murmurs, inner space astral glides and head expansive trip toning, does it for us.
Proceeds incidentally, going to assist the admirable work provided to the homeless by Shelter.
here’s a little something appealingly odd and strangely off the wall, sneaked out on the Miracle Pond imprint where you can grab it cheap while you purchase your must have Polypores tape. There’s just 40 of these left, well 39 to be more precise, given I bagged one while rescuing an aforementioned Polypores treat, Prufrock feature Dolly Dolly and Steve, it gets creepy when I tell that Steve is the musical one and that the accompanying Dolly Dolly is a poet who may well be, but keep it to yourself as we don’t want to freak out the kids with the floppy fringes, a dolly dolly (of course we are messing with your heads, its that chap from the extended Buried Treasure collective). Whatever the case, surrealism and deep psychosis’ aside, Prufrock occupy a genre free wilderness, like where om earth do you place this, if indeed safe little musical tick boxes are your chosen bag. ‘Liquorice Fish’ features four curiously abstract accounts, its stagecraft borne partly of musical hall and theatre is absorbed in dream like streams of narrative consciousness, opening cut ‘Chip Shop’, much like a sea side promenade Church sermon is peculiarised by cut up realities and Lear-ish abstract, it’s all very puzzling and welcoming so, though squirmed in a hallucinogenic distraction that recalls the off the wall narrative of Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones. The criminally brief and eccentric ‘liquorice Fish’ is better still, its dinked medieval musing and theatrical tethering sitting somewhere a brief monologue scribed by either Vivian Stanshall and Keith Michell. Somewhere else, ‘LDN Pleasures’ provides something of a Dylan Thomas-esque monologue on the joys and sorrows of a casual about your way capital life while the parting ‘Staircases’, incidentally the lengthiest track here, is moored to a waltzing sinister chamber chill that’s not unlike the punctuating piano scapes used to adore old silent black n’ white films, the narrative / prose jagged and twisted seemingly having the effect of a sliding carpet underfoot, has you constantly displaced in your attempt to make safe sense of the darkening imagery rising like industrial smog conspiring to spirit you away.
Expect a full review of this, once that is, we’ve remedied a tiny glitch, Monday or Tuesday judging by things. Trying to squeeze this in between dampcourse and decorating, so as you can imagine, the usually sedate listening room is in a whirl of chaos at the moment. Anyhow, this be Stovepipe who describe themselves in passing as ‘groovy soulful rock’n’roll ghoulies’, with an incoming four track 7 inch heading out through Jezus Factory shortly, a label who at present, appear to be going through an ear hugging sonic purple patch of late. As said, we’ll be all over the 7 inch release in a day or so, for now a rewired remix of ‘born to love’ to open the account. One of those cuts that’s coolly crafted and coded with a subtle low level itchy infectiousness, the sparse and minimal post punk angular’s and the pressing earthbeat rhythmic’s collide and converge to forge and fuse a joyous schism of optimism and acutely trippy floor groove that slyly strays, hiccups and slinks into softly hazy psychedelic terrains, something which I’m minded to say, ought to chime with folk admiring of both a C-81 era A Certain Ratio and Was (not Was).
Staying with the Jezus Factory crew, picked this up along with the Stovepipe and the rather nifty PerW/Trouve cassette. On a limited issue tape press, just 50 all in, this is TROIA = Pascal Deweze + Helder Deploige + Sjoerd Bruil with, what we are assuming to be, their self titled debut full length release. Now this is quite wiggy and noodling, no information attaching here alas, one thing that is obvious first encounter, is that these dudes have a thing for the funk struck quirky weird ear for ‘TROIA theme’, currently looming on the band camp preview page, is a stupidly cool mutant moocher which on initial introductions almost had us bagging this in the Legendary Pink Dots box all of which we’d have happily done and been done with that. However the more you listen, and yes the LPD influence still strangely looms only larger so, then that improvisional grooving craftily freewheels all the time oiled by a connected musicianship who, obviously in the flow and in the moment are happily blissed and all drawing from some hidden hive understanding, the result of which, the further you scratch and immerse in their craft, the deeper you fall in its rabbit hole thinking is there a Zappa like thing cooking here. Ridiculously essential.
Should have included this yesterday but in an abrupt and briefly hailed brain melt we totally forgot. Again, more essential groove from the Jezus Factory sound stable, a little festive fuzz felicitations from the Snake of June, apparently their first release in over ten years, this being described by the label as a nifty slab of ‘festive doom metal’ and who are we to argue, save to say that the lead out happening ‘I Just Can’t Quit You Xma$ ‘ courts with an offset swagger cool that has all the hall marks of a big beardy stoner Ramones sarcastically grinning with grim greeting, the effect is twisted and oddly despairing yet appreciably and wilfully weaved with a shadowy seasonal sigh replete with gnarled glam gouged blues motifs and a dooming sense of decoration. Over on the flip, the far more urgently formidable ‘don’t fear the water’ is about you like a rash, a bruising head butt of speed scabbed hardcore scorched in agit core all force fed with a searing 100mph gusto.
would it be safe to say that it’s been a fair while since Majeure graced these pages, indeed I think so and with that, the deepest disappointment in ourselves that we’ve neglected him so. Majeure of course, is the compositional alter ego of AE Paterra who once of the much missed Zombi, forged a legendary sonic connection with Steve Moore. Released a month or two ago, ‘Mass Flashback’ provides for a quietly epic stately that’s comprised of six deeply stirring and mesmeric sonic search lights from off which our adoring affections strayed with instant attraction to the parting ‘universal out’. Underpinned by a hypnotic pulse light, a desert dry drift wind rises and arcs, at its tailing fade the ghostly advance of haunting Eastern mystics stir as though awoken from an ancient spell and with a snaking, spectral and spiritual reverence, summon forth the very elements of nature into a deeply tripping dance of mesmeric majesty.
Those with memories far more robust than my own, might well recall us mentioning the debut 7 inch by Vetchinsky Stars. A collaboration bringing together members of Gnac and the Montgolfier Brothers, the Vetchinsky ones have come good on their promise of more to come with the arrival of the limited to 250 ‘underneath the stars, still waiting’ full length. From that set, we’ve been much smitten by ‘passenger’, a shadowy romantic draped in a 60’s haunt that’s teased in a deeply attracting noir-ish looping that craftily draws a gathering comparison of Mancini, Barry and Astley types, add to this a subtle baroque grazing that’s beautifully braided and ghosted with an over-arching reflective regret and a sense of withdrawal, a quiet distancing or a letting go, spirits its way to the mysterious fore. If there is a desire or need for references may we suggest and, not for the first time in recent memory, that Beatglider might well be your first port of call.
Loosely connected with my treatment, or should I correct that, lack of since I’m currently on strike and refusing it, I’ve managed to get myself on to a eight week mindfulness course, you know the kind of thing, connecting to the now, the moment, not reflecting or mind wandering, but more stepping back to be aware and observe your surroundings. Swiftly though, in case we lose the other reader into thinking they’ve mistakenly arrived at some ‘science now’ blog as opposed to a hapless music missive. I mention all this because ‘in your head’ by James Murray, taken from a co-opted release put out between Slowcraft and KrysaliSound entitled ’embrace storms’, has all the assisting attributes of a mindfulness meditative. At just shy of 21 minutes in length, ‘in your head’ is afforded the chance and space to connect and caress the synapses, its dream like harvesting delicately toned and almost invisible in detail, ghosts with a divine demurring occasioned by the destressing feel good calming tender of hazily radiant pulsars which, as the healing repair manual (mindfulness)trains and teaches, root you in a moment of connectivity with the eternal consciousness, the effect of which is both healing and strangely inwardly cleansing.
Staying a second or so longer with the Italian imprint Krysalisound, us being enquiring folk, decided to take ourselves on a brief wander to their bandcamp site to see what else they had in their locker. Literally just released, we eyed Nāda Mushin’s ‘Mono No Aware’ from off which the track ‘to flow like water’ had us suitably smitten and indeed spiralling in its bitter sweet grace fall. Like a dying star slowly imploding in slow formation, there’s a one last hurrah sentiment scoring here as the cascades of sun bleached shimmering’s swirl with head bowed majesty summoning forth one last concerted effort to part amid a glorious rapture of radiant jubilance, utterly heart breaking.
Seems only fair that since we checked out the wares of Krysalisound that we should likewise extend the same courtesy to Slowcraft who incidentally, call it a happy coincidence, are set to officially release ‘Slowcraft Presents: The Muse 14 . 12 . 19’ in a day or two. The release brings together Neotropic and Anne Garner, upon the grooves, two original mixes of their own self penned compositions accompanied by the same tracks only remixed by each other. On the bandcamp both these remixes are available as teaser tasters. Left in the hands of Neotropic, Anne Garner’s ‘unhand’ is stripped back to a silent sigh, a reflective slice of astral torch soul kissed with a sparse and tender yearn that’s lulled and layered in a seductive serving of airless neo classicist tethering. Repaying the compliment, Anne Garner’s retuning of Neotropic’s ‘the restless’ is ghosted in a bitter sweet frail that’s cut with a shadowy adorning and a pulsing noir seasoning whose demurring down tempo treading hushes and haunts with the kind of softly smouldered chic that recalls the finest from the Bristol scene of the 90’s.
Seriously, a very over productive and hitherto extremely rewarding 2019 it’s been for the Home Current, prolific doesn’t come into it what with outings for Static Caravan, Polytechnic Youth and Modern Aviation along with a few rogue compilation appearances. Seemingly unable to rest easily for the overriding want of recording, it seems he’s managed to sort himself a fixed home with the esteemed Castles in Space sound house who themselves, have this year, been flying out releases like nobody’s business, most with, often like the sounds of their output, minimal fuss and sparse promotion. Two late in the day releases for Castles in Space wrap up this prolific year (though seriously, I wouldn’t for one, be too surprised if he turns up again on some ultra limited cassette collection between now and the final chime of the year as it falls to silence). Pressed on twelve inches of heavy duty orange vinyl, ‘Liquid Lovers’ comes pulled from a limited set entitled ‘Palermo Traxx Vol. 2’. Notwithstanding his gravitational pull in the chill wave / hauntologist, electronic and ambient scene, like Polypores and Lo-Five, Mr Jensen is an admiring student of 90’s techno and below the radar club sounds, all three have revealed beneath the counter the adoring inspiration that acid / techno and the whole 90’s Warp ethic has held over them with ‘liquid lovers’ nailing such loves to the mast. A tight and slick head turner, ‘liquid lovers’ comes spooled together by three delicately transforming sequences, with the first two each gradually affixing to mutate into the third for a head expanding finale. Initially looped upon a metronomic beat, it playful svelte dream drift chimes amid a ghosting Oriental motif that soon morphs and shifts the momentum from one of ethereal to something busily grooved with an irresistible zig-zagging hip zipping buzz bomb before completing its final transition by dissolving one into the other to create a hypno-honed subterannic shroomer.
As to that other previously mentioned HC happening, again through Castles in Space, a limited hour long CD set titled ‘an evening with the home current’. Altogether a more fully immersive soundboard that highlights perfectly the length, breadth and depth of the ever expansive HC sonic universe, certainly knows how to shift through the gears, likewise bringing and flipping the mood and atmosphere alike in progressing the playlist palette on a fluid terraforming not to mention, deeply tripping flight through the backwaters of a classic techno schooling into the bargain part running the gamut through the Home Current spiritual ley lines.
These folk are set to make an appearance on the ever perfect Fruits de Mer imprint early next year with an album titled ‘the omeroyd sound’. Impatient as ever, our ever enquiring ear itchy to hear more went on a wander in the absence of sound files and unearthed this little gem looming on their bandcamp site. Principally orchestrated, at least I’m assuming such, by a certain Greg Healey, indeed the author of one of last year’s finest reads, ‘not in front of the children’, a little something that managed to forge a curious loose line that joined the dots between ‘the Scarfolk Annual’, those brace of A Year of the Country’ tomes and Dominic Sandbrook’s coffee table heaving ‘seasons in the sun – the battle for britain 1974 – 1979′. ”Queenie of the Desert’ featured here is a wonderfully sunny floral waltz down the secret and hidden rustic avenues of the late 60’s and early 70’s, a nostalgic woozy ghosted by the artistic library craft of Douglas Gamley, Paddy Kingsland, Edwin Astley and Roger Limb, its pastoral braiding and willowy water-colouring drawing deep from the same kind untouched and undisturbed landscapes and frozen in time fondness that has formed something of a back dropping aesthetic followed religiously by the Clay Pipe imprint, of course we could add in its cheery feel good carefree but then I feel you already get the message.
Just nabbed the last copy of this on a quick ‘well I was bored’ online record shop purchase moment, fear not I’m guessing there are still oodles of copies elsewhere, just not at this particular store. This is a split release heading out of the Leeds based Come Play with Me imprint, a label who you may recall tripped out a killer 7 by the Weddoes. Anyhow, this one pairs together two highly regarded outfits currently cutting their teeth in the local scene, Dense and Sea Legs, the former serving up the muddy scuzz of ‘fever dream’. A fiercely brooding slab of potently wiring agit gouged groove that several years or so ago would have had both the Gringo and Brew imprints sitting up slavering for more not least because of its reverb festering impacting slo-core brutalism and sonic similarity to the ways of an old school early 80’s Killing Joke which all said, does it for us. Over on the flip and in acute sharp contrast, Sea Legs’ ‘favourite doll’ is the far less confrontational of the two, instead possessed of a pop purring and a mellowing melodic attractiveness that instantly recalls a more openly revealing and vulnerable variant of Dark Captain Light Captain, add to that a fondness for classic indie tropes and the applying of adoring hooks and you have something that’s guarded in its immediacy preferring instead to deliciously dish a subtle sucker punch.
Cut from the same soundboard though five or six years apart, hands down in our humbled view, the two best TV Themes ever where John Barry’s ‘the Persuaders’ and ‘Vendetta’. Both possessed of that rarefied cool chic and a graceful Italo suave, each arriving adored with shimmering arpeggios for added classicist investiture. I mention all this because while on a rare walk around on facebook we eyed a posting by Mt Handley with a link to a video or rathermore a still image accompanied by sounds, those sounds being Pulselovers rewiring of that classic ‘Theme from the Persuaders’. Now bugger me if anyone had firstly, the audacity and secondly, be honest what could be added, if anything, to improve the original, I mean we are talking John Barry here, who let’s be honest, made perfectionism a craft on its right. But credit where credit is due, that Handley chap does wonders, crafty mind but still, achieves the impossible, for here he relocates the original sound source, no longer St Tropez or Cannes etc …. losing the cosmopolitan connect along with the millionaire paradises imagery, he scales down on the glitzy adventurism to focus and instil a degree of mystery and eerie unearthliness to the tapestry and so touches it with a sense of the beyond and unknown by way of the application of a shadow toned spectral harvesting.
On the eve of the most divisive, duplicitous and democracy damning election that this once proud country has ever suffered comes a cry from the Socialist heartlands. Man, this is nasty, good nasty mind. Here’s a little festive un-cheer and Christmas commiserations all wrapped and bowed nicely with manifesto paper wrapped around a brick from Salford’s Flesh Eating Foundation courtesy of a ‘name your price’ download titled ‘Santa Claus wears red not blue’. Grizzled with all manner of fuzz festering scuzzing and scabbing electronics all waywardly wired with a hardcore precision atop terrace chant shouts, there’s a blistered early 80’s second wave punk mindset afoot here that merrily seethes away, whether seasonal or not, consider it an added option, all said, something I suspect, that ought to loosely appeal to admirers of Evil Blizzard. A pox on the House (of Commons).
Newly peeled Quimper four tracker ‘rollo bollo jumbo’ incidentally available on one of those name your price deals. A real doozie, less of the skittish crookedness that we’ve come to love and expect of previous releases, this quartet being played with a straight bat which really does pose the question, is this essentially Ms Lowther steering the reigns because truth be told this comes silvered in the kind of hush gracefulness that’s adored her solo work. With it’s lightness of touch and minimal application, ‘Endless sunless skies’ the opener, is without question or doubt, the main event here, a wonderfully spun vapour whispered astral searcher silently orbiting the cosmic outlands draped in dream drift demurs spraying lunar love to the lonesome. Elsewhere, the stealth like stilled eerie of ‘Kom Er Maar Eens Achter’ blossoms mid way through to reveal a dreamily trippy soundboard upon which starry shimmerings dance and flutter while a misty eyed bitter sweet courses through the coding of the sighing star walker ‘Belgian Camouflage’. I won’t deny to having something of a soft spot for the parting salvo, with its sparse but nevertheless hypnotic ethnic earthbeat rythmic ‘rollo bollo jumbo’ is dozed by occasional appearance of a ghosting gospel / spirituals, it’s all very entrancing.
First of a trio of well-heeled releases heading out the Static Caravan shed of sonic delights just after the Christmas impasse, all of which we’ll be covering over the next day or so, the first being from the very excellent Matters. Available as both a download or the more impressively sounding option of vinyl, 12 inches worth on this occasion, ‘Hannah’ leads out a twin track head shroomer and finds them back stepping with the guitars in favour of a more mind immersive ambient trip toning. Operating from some unknown and unlocated fixed point deep in the recesses of your inner consciousness where by way of the delicate incorporation of layer upon layer of bliss bathed looping mesmerics, the densely dreamy ‘Hannah’ calls quietly. Hypnotically fashioned with a classic kosmische colouring that instantly calls to mind, those meditative mosaics crafted by Eat Lights Become Lights (their prolonged absence from record land has been duly noted and concerned upon – though hang on to your hats, we may have just unearthed a treat …. more soon), as it steadily builds in both stature and focus with stealth like serene drawing you inwardly for a full immersive inner self hit all the time approaching an inevitable full stopping critical intensity before falling away.
Oh my. Now there we were, loosely commenting on the worrying absence of Eat Lights Become Lights activity in these pages and then without any expectation we unearth this. A rough mix of a track that’s figured to appear on a silence breaking set due next year tentatively titled ‘6’ at present, this be ‘Olhos Verdes’, Admittedly one of those ever so rare ‘words fail’ moments and not, I should hasten to add, in a negative way. It seems in his absence that Mr Branquinho has expanded the ELBL collective to include a viola and string section and with that a lushness has been incorporated as well as a sign that the creative text and overall soundboard is shifting away from the trademark kosmische footing. That said, this should come as no surprise for if you listen keenly, from as early as ‘modular living’ this gradual sound re-alignment has been subtly sowed into the ELBL vocabulary with trace elements of pastoral nuances appearing to muddy the mesmerics. Turning to ‘Olhos Verdes’ then, elegant and elegiac, atmospheric and amorphous, a daybreaking herald shivered, sculptured and shimmered in tender key refrains all softly lifted and cradled by the accompanying cortege of demurring drone drapes, a seducing spectacle all sweetly rested with a life affirming rustic radiance. Breathlessly beautiful in short.
A heartfelt thanks for dropping by.
12 Stewart Avenue, BOOTLE, Merseyside, L20 9JD, UK
love and Peace xxx