Festive 50 …..

A little homage to the late and great Mr Peel. The radio has never been the same since his passing and Christmas time just doesn’t feel the same with its lead up being spent hugging the transistor feverishly listening to the Festive 50. I’m well aware that Dandelion have kept up the tradition, but do you know, it doesn’t really feel the same.

This particular Festive 50, like last year’s, is I stress to point out, based on viewing figures per posting and do not in truth, reflect our own favourites or preferences.

So without further much ado, in reverse order, the 2019 Festive 50 ……..

50. Lake Ruth ‘extended leave’

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 affectionate 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 only Broadcast and the Soundcarriers for close company.


49. lapis lazuli ‘low key’

Many to Adam of Lapis Lazuli for getting in touch to give us the heads up on the bands newly peeled full length ‘Brain’ from off which ‘low key’ has been doing a fair amount of damage in the affection stakes. An eleven minute prog headed odyssey that ought to fill the gap left by both Cranium Pie and the Ozric Tentacles whilst appealing to folk who smoke Magic Bus platters for fun. Clearly the work of an hallucinogenic hive mind reading from a different page to everyone else, ‘low key’ is your huge hulking cosmic cooking pot, a weird ear mind frying acid pill that manages with aplomb mind, to flippantly shoehorn in an amorphous array of disparate styles which once under their wig flipped influence are woven seamlessly into their kaleidoscopic coat of colours. For here amid the obvious framing of intensely harvested progressive motifs (VDGG styled fused with Gong), the Lapis Lazuli folk crookedly wire a fracturing palette that’s threaded with needling art rock intricacies (Henry Cow anyone?), mind freaked and tripping dub dissipates and a liberal trace of space boogie all of which leads us to believe that these dudes had a misspent childhood wig flipping to the darker side of reality happenings heading out of the Delirium record label in the mid 90’s, certainly enough zonked out hairy here to encourage and maintain a healthy market in beard growing and manicuring sector whilst simultaneously feeding an overarching desire to perhaps revisiting or at the very least, maybe rummaging through the back catalogues of say, the Cardiacs, the Living Brain and early Apatt for like-minded sonic inspiration. https://lapislazuli.bandcamp.com/album/brain

48. Us and Them ‘when the stars are brightly shining’

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.

47. Polypores ‘additional flora’

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.


46. Bob ‘convenience’

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.

45. Bell Lungs ‘wolves behind us’

Just 52 copies of this ‘un being pressed (well 51 to be a little more precise given we’re in the process of bagging one via PayPal), an enchanting self-released 4 track ethereal from Bell Lungs pressed up on clear 8 inch lathe cut vinyl through Sonically Depicting. Life cycles of relationships and nature serve as the thematic backdrop for this ghost folk dream weaver, those familiar with her previously brief flirtations within these musings, will be all too aware of the spectral brushing she deftly applies to her sonic flutterings via the limited appearances she’s made on the wonderful Sonido Polifonico imprint. That said, ‘Wolves behind us’ reveals the full Bell Lungs creative spectrum, one minute flickering and flittering amid a ghost lit spirit walking twilight shading, the next rubbed with a becoming more earthbound and love noted close intimacy with the latter of these polar opposites being served by both the parting ‘dead earth’ and the demurring ‘falls apart’. Indelibly traced with the kind of starry eyed innocence not to mention the mystery and magic of a youthful Ms Bush, the woodcut wonderland that is ‘dead earth’ shivers and shimmers amid a beautified and regal pageant of ghostly chamber folk yawns and baroque braids. Adored around these here parts there’s a beautiful chill arresting the grooves of the fragile and frail ‘falls apart’ that hints in its initial moments of a hitherto forging of minds between Nico and Sandy Denny before unexpectantly flowering gently into a most beguiling folk spiritual which I guarantee will floor and have you wrapt in its hypnotic spell. Elsewhere cuccooned in caressing chorals, ‘cold wind’ is kissed with an airless grace that much recalls a young Stealing Sheep while just edging matters in the affection stakes and serving as the sets centre piece, title track ‘wolves behind us’. This sleepy headed shadow light is harvested of the kind of haunting beauty that once upon time marked out 4AD, a lilting full moon hymnal lost to the ages and memory found softly rising from its timeless slumber ghosted in all manner of mesmeric and primitive dapples and garlands utterly transfixing. https://bell-lungs.bandcamp.com/album/wolves-behind-us

44. boat to row ‘rivers that flow in circles’

Its worrying to imagine that this might have been lost had not the Static brothers rescued it from the imploding clutches of pledge music who faced a court action for winding up in July. Again, as ever, Boat to Row’s quite breathlessly exquisite second full length ‘rivers that flow in circles’ is up to the usual quietly casual Static Caravan quality control and more. Just 250 of these have been pressed all of which for once, are shall we say, a little underplayed by the usually distantly scholarly in-house scribbled press release. ‘rivers that flow in circles’ is like no album you’ll compare or hear all year, it sparkles and sighs with equal recline sometimes brightly sparky and perky, at times considered and lazily mellow, otherwise perhaps gone and lost in the moment. Touched with a seasoned mercurial you’d be hard pressed to find on their peers output in spite of whatever formidable back story and catalogue stretching back decades they reeled out with yawning regularity. Any fool could recognise in a heartbeat, that something truly special is afoot here. On first encountering, such melodic astuteness and ability to feel and touch their surrounding space would, I’d have said, brought them into the creative environs of the Lancashire Hustlers, of course there are others, though let’s not distract with a list of randoms who they may or may not , sound like, after all its not a who’s who or what’s what exercise. That ‘rivers that flow in circles’ actually exists as a finished physical artefact is itself, a wonder, aside the aforementioned collapse of the fan funding site, the band have been bedevilled by line-up changes, studio closures and corrupted hard drives, yet it’s been both patience and persistence, perhaps a degree of sheer bloody mindedness have doggedly conspired to edge this over the line. The sounds of Boat to Row restlessly shift between twee, folk and a west coast crystalline lulling (even a touch of mellowing Americana cooling doesn’t escape their gaze what with the appearance of the Moviola like ‘stranger of mine’), on their recent teaser trailer ‘on your own’, incidentally featured here, they ghost seductively, embracing a sunny soul smothering which aligned to the brass fanfares, radiates with an airy breezy we’ve not heard since the much-missed Jumbo dropped their ridiculously perky ‘brighten up’ debut for bright orange biscuit. That said and with my arm forced up my back pressed to decide, I’d happily say that their genre bending artistry and ability to craft tuneage that seemingly appear from out of nowhere, is steeled of a rareness which we haven’t had the pleasure of recently hearing around these here parts, since the missing in action of late Snails (which should you need a nudge, we suggest a peek of ‘Spanish Moss’ with is baroque touching). Elsewhere here, you’ll find the gallic drizzle deftly being applied to the softly psych folk surges of ‘moth to the light’ , agreed it’s a tad found wanting looming in the shade of the momentary taking a break pastoral dreamer that is ‘lift your head, made all the more seductive and lilting by the delicate daubing of flute florets. Those failing to be moved at this point will do well to seek shelter from the adorable advance of ‘Fairest Flaws’ pressed here upon a wonderfully convened wood crafted woozing of sighing strings all crushed by the weight of a head bowed forlorn. Thoe fancying something a little mellowed with loosely smoked jazzy time signatures and a noir colouring will do well to checkout ‘simmer down’ while moment of the set surely has to be the four part spirit away that is ‘Fledging’ , again utilising a tripping tapestry of jazz mosaics and Gallic folk charms, its lightness of touch soon morphs into a brief parade of colourfully woven delta folk blushes and scratched rustic rambles. Phew.


43. Extradition Order ‘no nobel’

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.


42. analogue electronic whatever / the truth sounds different ‘s/t’

I could have kicked myself stupid for nearly missing this, guess better late than never. Now in our self-imposed absence and refusal to connect with the outside world, we did loosely recall an email from the Analogue Electronic Whatever folk, making mention of a forthcoming split release with Truth is Space. Well I say forthcoming, at least it was back in the day, the confusion muddying still further when we realise that we erred somewhat, in the thinking that their co-conspirators were Truth in Space, when in fact, it was the Truth Sounds Different. Just between you and me, I think the two are in fact the same. So, mindful that we are rambling into a poorly scripted and wordy cul-de-sac, let us swiftly move on. Okay as established, split single, super limited press on lathe cut vinyl no less, featuring two tracks, one certainly a cover, the other I’m not so sure, but both cut to coincide with the Apollo Moon landings, indeed, we are lagging a little with this. Still, a damn fine slice of kooky kitsch from the AEW folk who with the guest appearing vocals of Jamie Joseph, re-toot the Sinatra forever-green ‘fly me to the moon’. Lovably affectionate, much like a cosmic seaside promenade, this crookedly lo-fi funk tousled lounge lunar bop comes set across a clock working loop grooved electro pre-set base track atop of which, JJ wanders a woozy flavouring with his oddly out of step croonery. Over on the flip, the Truth Sounds Different allure and adore the listening space in a soulful spectral going by the name ‘the space we occupy’, a beautifully amorphous aural amalgam calling to mind elements of the Drone Club, Eurythmics and the Black Ryder all spun ever so finitely upon a sweetly surrendering starry speckled orbital.


41. Vukovar ‘cremator’

Following hard(ish) on the heels on today’s daily gaff whereupon we incorrectly noted that Dan Shea was formerly of Vukovar (see Beauty Stab review for posterity and stupidity before we amend it), now comes news of new groove, yep you guessed right, from er ….. Vukovar, kind of creepy and premonition like eh? (seriously before you ask, we do not script or plan these things). Two new happenings due to land shortly, a single for quite perfect Sonido Polifinico imprint and an album for the other voices imprint entitled, rather grimly, ‘Cremator’ the latter of which we’ve grabbed a few tracks from for easy listening, like yeah that’ll happen so expect high praise and a fair degree of speaker walloping before the week is out. The album due in May, comes pressed in variations of black and grey vinyl while for tape heads, there’s a limited cassette for drooling over. In the meantime, a teaser video to get you salivating. Glad to see they’ve lost none of their darkly harrowing despair nor their emotion savaging melodic musing which here in brief stints is pitched to perfection, its spectrum ranging from storm calling bombasts to the kind of, now trademark, cathedral-esque anthems that this lot appear to apply and excel in with the disturbing ease of the Chameleons and the Church before them. On this brief recital, a far spacier and atmospherically textured, muscular and advanced palette that pitches them in a room alone piloting a maples trajectory to terrains solely their’s of the making.

40. Kloot Per W/Rudy Trouvé ‘provisoir’

Last up for the evening, this one back footed us 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.

39. Powersolo ‘back stab’

Like WOW, new rumble out of the Slovenly sound shed in Nevada from Denmark’s Powersolo which briefly described by the label as sounding not unlike ‘….Alan Vega blasting as the soundtrack to the carousel in John Wayne Gacy’s fantasy carnival’ had our ears a pricked before we’d even heard a note. This slab of bad boogie is on limited press, just 150 of these babies all on pink wax (and 350 on black)and featuring the inglorious ‘backstab’ here leading the charge and sounding hotwired and decked out in its finest dancing shoes, sharp suit and papercutting quiff n’ just itching to let rip with a whole heap of 50’s vintage rock-a-hula which jives and scowls with the spirit of the Cramps and the legendary Sun studios on its shoulder while ablaze with the demons of the Jim James Revue and the Reverend Horton Heat burning up in its frenzied n’ feral festooning of psychobillying dragster growl. https://slovenly.bandcamp.com/album/powersolo-transfixing-motherfucker-ep

38. Cloudwatchers ‘S/T’

Starts off quietly, so quietly in fact you might want to notch up the volume to a cautiously safe level in anticipation of a savaging skree surge that threatens, though disappointingly, never quite materialises. These dudes, a quartet, go by the aptly named Cloudwatchers who the label, incidentally those folk with a thing for experimental noise, drone and dark ambience Unexplained Sounds, describe as thus, ‘…. an experimental electronic music group, focused on musical improvisation’. Three lengthy (monolithic) suites feature on this, we’re assuming, debuting self titled oddball. Oddball we use deliberately as a cover all description, because seriously this ‘un does, over the course of its 40 minute plus duration, trip with a mutant mindset that draws, drops and assimilates a wide spectrum of generic cross weaves and contradicting sound spaces (eastern arabesques, ritual chants and archaic primordial fugues) which at given points might easy pass for some trippy hippy Elektra funded acid flashback from the late 60’s as the woozily wasted ‘piece 2’ might suggest in the main or else joining some previously unseen dots between the drone mosaics of a classic Kranky / Constellation 90’s era back catalogue with the desert dry spirituals of a mid 80’s Ry Cooder (‘Piece 1’). Whatever the case, one thing not up for discussion or dispute, is this collections curiously amorphous mesmeric and bonged out hit on the senses. Cleverly sly, the underpinning Floyd influence isn’t lost on us (neither the Soft Machine like lilting now that I come to think of it), the waking call from dream tinkerishly dropped at the 10.50 point of ‘piece 2’ is touched with a progressive psych woozy that wouldn’t look out of place on early outings by Porcupine Tree or the Ozric Tentacles. However, if it’s that full on immersive dream drifted hit you’re after, might we suggest a darkened room, headphones and a spare twenty minutes for you to tune out of reality, for ‘piece 3’ is the full morphing mind arranging ticket. A hulking Sendelica-n inner space trip, that’ll be the Sendelica folk in their most out there ambient finery channeling the very fabric of the celestial to rustle up a deeply potent shrooming cosmic deep sleeper in wasted woozies of Tangerine Dream-y colourings and curvatures, an absolutely wig flipped stoner that’s sure to appeal to both Cardinal Fuzz and Boring Machines subscribers and everything / one in between. https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/album/cloudwatchers

37. The Home Current ‘river keeper’

Much like the aforementioned Simon McCorry, you can expect plenty of mentions for the Home Current in the coming days with what looks like being a busy year release wise with outings coming thick and fast for some of the finest sound houses around – Static Caravan, Castles in Space and Polytechnic Youth. It’s the Polytechnic Youth release that we open this briefing. Release date as yet unknown, though we’ve a catalogue number for the completists among you, PY48 which we understand will be a lathe cut two track affair featuring a brace of newly teased treats in the shape of ‘redice’ and ‘river keeper’. Three listens apiece and we here still can’t separate them with a cigarette paper in terms of a favourite, both contrasting in design and delivery, yet each rooted with a silver age electronic pop purring, the former acutely adored with a sepia glazing and something best described as an enchantment. Liberally festooned in corteges of waltzing lunar pirouettes subtly coyed in classical fondants, there’s something of the magical here, the lightly whispered star sighed shimmerings in orbital formation, dance affectionately with a cosy charming that might suggest a Radiophonic fairy dust spraying upon a lost in the moment ‘At Braken’ era FortDax at cosmic play with Art of the Memory Palace with the glitch stepped undertones assuring it of a funky noir nightscape vibing. Over on the flip, ‘river keeper’ is steeled in a nostalgic chic whereupon Jarre-ian alien seaside promenades spin in the glow of the galactic night pulsing and purring to motorik mirror balls and flashing floor spaces sunbathed in snow bursting showers of Europa euphoria.

36. Twink ‘brand new morning’

Fancy a smidgeon of old peculiar, then may we suggest you pull up a pew for something a little special from Twink entitled ‘brand new morning’. Featuring members of both Picturebox and Papernut Cambridge, this nostalgic nugget, incidentally heading out of the esteemed Gare du Nord imprint (there’ll be more from these folks in the coming days – promise), arrives in a strictly limited pressing of just 200 7’s and comes primed from the fore by the legendary Twink of Tomorrow and Stars fame. A dream drizzled slice of vintage lysergia is the return on your hard earned cash, cut finitely in the finest threads of English psychedelic eccentricity, it makes for a wistful woozy etched in rainbow ripples and village green pastels all set in a becoming backdrop of hallucinogenic harpsichord haloes replete with echoes of Syd playfully skipping the abstract and surreal with the Purple Gang and the Murmurs of Irma. Nuff said. https://garedunordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/brand-new-morning-b-w-dreams-turn-into-rainbows

35. Plastic Moonrise ‘papier mache’

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 far aways 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.


34. the blue herons (feat. thierry haliniak) ‘another chance’

Literally just landing in our listening box, this is the blue herons featuring guest vocals by thierry haliniak (my raining stars) on a track going by the name ‘another chance’. A bit of a dandy this one, in part helped along because our headspace is currently knee deep and reliving 90’s scene mainly due to our ongoing digital transferring of our hulking and obsessive tape collection, which aside turning up treats aplenty by bands we’d forgotten about, has simultaneously served like a diary throwing up memories good and bad along the way. Only this morning, listening to the World of Twist which I’ll admit this ‘un has a stray aura of. Yet scratch a little deeper and the affectionate indie shoe shuffling soon gives way to a mellowing cool whose hushed harmonies, shimmering jangles and beat bleached sun glazing had us imagining the High in cahoots with the Paris Angels with the criminally overlooked 18 Wheeler noodling magically at the mixing desk. https://theblueherons1.bandcamp.com/track/another-chance-feat-thierry-haliniak

33. Cary Grace ‘sacrifice’

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.


32. kings andqueens of the do it now ‘comp’

We’ll be back at ya in a day or so again with this one, once that is, we’ve had time to peel our jaw from the floor. Literally just dropped in our in box, a new compilation serving due warning of the dansette delights heading down the line this year from those impish souls over at Emotional Response. Entitled ‘the kings and queens of the do it now!’ – the gathering features eleven turntable teasing treats which on this brief pass by we’ll restrict mentions for just two of their number, those being Possum Moods and the Fear Merchants. Now I don’t mind admitting that we here are still recovering from withdrawing trembles brought to bear by the adorably warming ‘Captain’ (see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/possum-moods/) and so approached this ‘un with caution, surely lightning doesn’t strike in the same spot twice. Wrong. Agreed ‘northern times’ tickles you with that same tingling indie appeal, though were previously there was that lilting Belle and Sebastian bruising, here there’s something that softly arrests with a coolly understated shimmer that unexpected takes bite like nothing we’ve heard around here since the delayed impact of Quickspace’s bowing out ‘death of Quickspace’ set, indeed that good. In sharp contrast though equally essential and quietly infectious albeit in a wonderfully fractured way, the Fear Merchants’ ‘U boat Captain’ runs a crooked post punkish line that comes adored in a sparse disconnection between whose ad hoc and ground beneath you shifting morphing (dub, earth beat, eastern mantras…. ) something peculiarly perfect emerges whose somewhat off the page naturalism roves beneath the influence of ….and the Native Hipsters and the Slits. https://emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com/album/kings-and-queens-of-the-do-it-now

31. Anthology of contemporary music from Middle East ‘comp’

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.


30. you don’t have to be fashionable – volume 7 ‘comp’

As promised back earlier in the week, rounding up that latest and very excellent ‘you don’t have to be fashionable’ compilation from the folks over at the with a Messy Head sound house, this incidentally Volume 7 (see https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/you-dont-have-to-fashionable-volume-7/ for previous visits). Picking up the threads with Chiens De Faïence whose slow burning dream pop drizzled ‘When I Ask’ is kissed with a curiously affectionate rash both awkward and cute. Taking matters somewhat, down to a murmur, Matthew Hattie Hein’s ‘High High’ provides for a strangely wheezing listening experience that’s schooled in woodland spirituals and beset with all manner of slow forming lolloping creaks the type of which whose off kiltered and airy creeping resonance had us recalling a very youthful Black Heart Procession. I must admit to being mildly taken with Liquorice’s somewhat skewiff sounding ‘Schiff/Schaf’ which aside being blessed with a most desirable carefree head in the clouds rainy afternoon metering, the kind of which, itches with a Sarah-esque bedroom DIY lo-fi lilt, is here served with a delightful warping matter of fact casualness. Elsewhere, there’s a most becoming ghost rider-esque cool attaching to Ray Kosmische’s smoking desert ghosted ‘The Glow Of The Sun’ that radiates with a late 60’s classicism while Adventure Team turn in the wonderfully distractive though irrefutably upbeat buzzing effervescence of ‘Summer Friends’, a little something I’m sure will prick the ears of those much attuned to the back catalogue of June Panic. Best of the batch though without doubt is by our reckoning Broken Jokes’ ‘light night’ – something of a slow burning gem that admittedly takes a little while to draw you in, its quietly hushed spell charm both intimate and intricate, weaved with a spectral tenderness delicately entrances with a dream like resonance that could easily imagine it be the joint handicraft resulting from a studio notes swapping session between the Butterflies of Love and Low. https://withamessyhead.bandcamp.com/

29. Truth in Space ‘s/t’

Now for that unofficially official Polytechnic Youth release from Truth in Space, alas this arrived and went in an instant, just 82 cassettes with accompanying badge set. A crystalline cosmic overture described simply by its creator as ‘excerpts from an electronic space opera. No voices, just machines’. Already the cause of much adoring around these parts and mentioned previously here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/truth-in-space/ Truth in Space buck the trend in the recent ice cooled cold war dystopia designed minimalist murmurs that have appeared to warp the time lines of the electronic pop history, where others have pre-occupied themselves with the sculpturing of a vintage in the likeness of Factory, Mute, Industrial, Rough Trade and beyond, Truth in Space’s solar fired heart has instead chimed to a more optimistic utopian setting where the advents of hope, enlightenment, adventure and discovery have yet to be soured by the greed, gluttony and want for self-destruction of human kind. ‘Truth in Space’ is more Dan Dare and ‘Journey into Space’ than Quatermass and the bleak isolation of JG Ballard’s apocalyptic narratives. Married to a retro silver age space exploration vibe, Truth in Space’s sonic symmetry, streamlined and silken, purrs playfully with a beautified brilliantine bathing wherein the melodies pout, pirouette and pulse with a star glazed warmth and cruise-controlled contouring. The effect, though minimally touched and deftly phrased with a simplistic awareness, tunes itself in to the more free spirited pop toning that’s best exemplified on the swoon crushed bitter sweet astral title track whereupon the classicist alignment of Jarre’s exquisite future gazing cosmic odysseys are utilized to recalibrate and inhabit the persona of Hot Butter’s version of ‘popcorn’ (indeed Richard, you’re right more Hot Butter than Kingsley) all this under the watching influence of Joe Meek. Pierced with a longing close intimacy, ‘Vince’ arrives teased with an attractive night lit pop pristine that settles around the sound world of Robert Miles, while ‘heading for the sun’ is pure Debussy refracted through the lenses of the much missed FortDax. Which leaves ‘the solar children come out to play’, all said, perhaps our favourite moment of the set, its tingle twinkling cosy and lunar lulled lullaby flotillas sumptuously whirring and waltzing in the airless astral like some lovelorn gathering of ISAN and Plone folk concocting Clanger-esque serenades to the cosmos. https://truthinspace.bandcamp.com/album/truth-in-space

28. Ioan Morris ‘the magician’s nephew’

I owe my love of the printed word and indeed the appreciation of classical music and its majesty to my junior school teacher, Ms Quirk, those trips to the Philharmonic Hall (not the Pub that would come later for a time while studying Law whereupon I would frequent its warm hospitality more than my lectures across the road at the now, gone for posterity, Foster Building). Aside being the pianist for the Liverpool Phil, the quietly spoken ma’amish Ms Quirk opened up a magic land of story- telling, most notably, ‘the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and ‘the wind in the willows’, the latter of which has never dulled or been far from my occasional lulls into simple whimsy. Why am I telling you this, well those folk at the Dark Outside have seen fit to resource a series of spectaculars that’ll have variously invited guests scoring imagined soundtracks for fantasy adaptions of childhood narratives. The series, titled ‘Bibliotapes’ are strictly limited in pressing, just 50 copies of each volume, all housed in nostalgic looking long box cassette trays that look like classic Penguin etc… fayre. The first of these releases, ‘the Magician’s Nephew’, part of CS Lewis’ extended ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ opus, an imagined score therein for an animated serial pencilled for production in the early 80’s but never realised. The soundtrack written and composed by Ioan Morris is embraced of the mythic, the magic and the reverence (see the beautified and regal awakening captured within ‘the first voice’) of the novel, Morris exquisitely captures the mood and the atmosphere of this founding stone in the Narnia legend, both elegant and elegiac, the set opens to the dream like jubilant folly of the uplifting ‘Digory and Polly’, its pastoral shimmering caught in a nostalgic hazing that’ll find admiring glances from pretty much anything heading out of the much adored Clay Pipe imprint. It’s that sense of the undisturbed, the untouched and the free that pretty much sets the musical stall for side 1, the beauty of unfettered isolation, the land wild and untamed, the noble mystique brought forth by ‘the attic and uncle andrew’ and ‘the wood between the worlds’, both draw a demurring kinship with the Heartwood Institute while the mystical haunt of ‘the Rings’ is glazed in a deeply alluring night lit curious that hints of Keith Seatman, the similarity furthering due to its enviable ability to teeter between both the sinister and the serenely sighing. Morris excels to the craft of the enchanted, the beguiled and the bewitching with much aplomb, identifying that child like eye of wonder that the stepping from reality into fantasy promises, ‘the founding of Narnia’ pretty much exemplifying all these facets in one stirring moment of majesty even cleverly impish enough to tweak the sonic tapestry to reveal an almost Goblin meets Oldfield progness to the proceedings , something best evidenced by the track that draws the curtain on side 1 of the cassette, ‘charm and the deplorable world’ whilst elsewhere add in the obvious influence of Wakeman that occasionally emerges from out of the grooves over on side 2. Somewhere else there’s the divinely cut regal pomp of the ceremonial ‘King Frank and Queen Helen’ whilst the mellowed rustic triptych signing out the collection (‘the planting of the tree’, ‘the apple of life’ and ‘the end of the story and the beginning of all the others’) seasons matters in a wistful dappling of harmonious heraldry. Simply out of time.

27. Derrero ‘space suction’

Some bands just have it in their locker, that cool thing. It’s something that courses through their tracks unguarded and not quite immediate yet all the same, invested with a sucker punch. I’m tempted to name names, but with the lateness of the evening the list would probably end up being found wanting as a result of a host of glaring omissions. Step up Derrero, one such band I’d have personally included, sure their sounds never pushed the envelope of pop, yet there was an melodic attraction and a deft artistry to their craft that crept up on you that was blessed with a tuning and a fashioning that pricked at the ears to separate them from their peers. Twenty years since calling it a day, or as the band mischeviously prefer to call it, a hiatus, they are back with a new album (‘time lapse’) in tow being readied as I write for March release through the Recordiau Cae Gwyn imprint. The album, well lets leave it to the band to fill in the blanks ‘…..self-recorded and produced over an intense alcohol fuelled weekend back in May the album contains 12 songs that weave tales of crustaceans, filthy flotsam, sobriety fear and house relocation in Missouri around Derrero’s trade mark art noise sound’. Alas no links as yet on this, but Dan happily sent over a teaser taster in the shape of ‘Space Suction’ which I won’t deny, has been on heavy rotation since arriving in our drop box. Possessed of an adorably homely fizz, there’s a subtle soft psychedelic lilt permeating here whose sunny lysergia had us recalling that classic Elephant 6 collective vibe of yore, Of Montreal being a prime suspect should you need a reference marker, its lazy eyed inclines and softly sugared shimmering assuming a mellowing seasoning until that is, a momentary fracture occurs wherein everything wonderfully unravels with a discordant delight before heigh-hoing nonchalantly to the end groove, all of which reminds me, we really must dig out our prized Magoo stash. Any questions?

26. Analogue Electronic Whatever …. ‘frozen milk’

Assuming we don’t fall prey to anymore of what can only be described as, laptop malfunction monotony, now there’s a title that the late Mark E Smith would have no doubt conjured mirth, madness and melody to. Still fingers crossed and the blighter might even allow us to hear the track in question sometime this side of winter (we gave up the ghost yesterday evening, it is now morning), us sat here following three changes of clothes – from sleepwear to work wear to lounge wear waiting for this masterly slice of technological advancement to boot up, boot up a phrase more relating in the parlance of our school youth to meaning, to administer or receive thereof, a sizeable kick up the backside, which should this excuse for (incidentally laughingly called by its makers as) ‘state of the art technological convenience’(– please HP I’ll die laughing if that is the boredom of boot up doesn’t get me first) give anymore lip, we shall indeed be taken to with much gusto. Anyhow, grumbles aside, new incoming on the celebrated Polytechnic Youth, soon-ishly he says fearfully, given he missed the last proclamation, this be Analogue Electronic Whatever, much loved around these here parts, two more tracks taken from their adored cassette full length ‘since year dot’ being readied for limited lathe pressing with the frosted minimalism of ‘frozen milk 77’ heading up the charge. In short, a binary bopping tribute to the spirit of free expressionism brought to bear by the insurgent DIY ethic ignited by punk. This ‘un a mutant mirror-balling motork dinked with a delightfully kitschy undercut that has you imagining an impish meeting under the shadow of night where gather the pogoing monochrome of The Normal being sweetened with the screwball odd obscurest pop glazing of a strangely edgy Flying Lizards under the watchful eye of Plastic Bertrand, tis all wonderfully scratchy, monochrome-y and psychotronic.

25. the Suncharms ‘monster club’

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


24. tomorrow syndicate ‘pre cog’

Very privileged to get a sneak peek of the four tracks that’ll be adoring the flip side of the next Tomorrow Syndicate release. Provisionally called ‘Precog’ (the other track going by the name ‘Stranger in Space’), these cuts find the Tomorrow Syndicate sound elevated to a new level that ushers in a more cinematic intimacy and emotional bonding with the B-sides opening to the previously swooned over ‘Captain, I am fading’. A celestial epitaph initially mentioned here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/tomorrow-syndicate-14/ and something so crushingly heart breaking and beautifully ghosted in spectral longing that I’m certain many a tear will be shed upon hearing, in our humbled opinion, their finest moment to date. With its Vangelis-ian tailoring, instrumental ‘contact’ is a vast sublime swathing hyper craft astral gliding the heavens and beyond, both stately and statuesque, its futuristic shimmering part ‘lost themes’ Carpenter and part Pye Corner Audio lunar eerie, there’s an ageless majesty at work here touching base with the ‘Stranger Things’ community that’s fused both of sounds of the past and of sounds reaching into futures to come. Just while you’re peeling your jaw from the floor along comes ‘Auto Pilot’ burning with the same bitter sweet harvesting of serene isolation and bruising introspection, the likes of which, adored those early transmissions from Dan Carney’s early Astronauts exploits though here sorrowfully sighed in a coolly cradled cosmic crystalline. Which leaves the aptly titled ‘Exit Guide’ to steer matters towards the end groove with purring pulsar precision, a kind of celestial Watcher if you must, silently observing the Galactic nothingness from a hitherto, remote observational post.

23. Folclore Impressionista / Ondness ‘s/t’

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.


22. Splixtape ‘s/t’

Think we may have mentioned in some place or other that there was Prana Crafter to come and indeed here they are, two tracks as a matter of fact sitting prettily on a cassette compilation, of which there are just 60 copies, put out by Hypnic Jerk entitled ‘splixtape’. Five tracks on the bandcamp preview page, which frustratingly for now, we are having to rely on since our fantastically stroppy laptop decidedly to cause an issue with zip files (yes we’ve tried everything redownloading win zip once expired, 7zip etc….) so you may have to hang on a tad if you’ve sent files while we go a tinkering. Anyhow as said, two tracks from the Prana Crafter one, first of which is ‘creek born mind’, the shortest of the two as things would have it, a slow and intimate unwinding desert echo, a lone star cooled with a stirring though albeit stilled atmospheric that simultaneously touches base with both Ry Cooder and Godspeed, the latter’s influence falling away the deeper in the track digs for then a stoner smoked calm before the storm is channelled that much recalls ‘True’ era Montgomery / Heaphy. That said it takes the mellowed and lengthier titled ‘Daydream in the Arvo Sun (Vision of Captain Trips Cruisin’ Shotgun in Sun Ra’s Ship)’ for the Prana one to really set out his stall and kick into his bliss cooled groove whilst similarly revealing his knack of occupying an insular space in the great psych firmament located on the very edges of sonic spectrum, from wherein like a Magpie, he’s able to subtly draw what he needs from others and wire those elements into his own eclectic image, all of which, here you’ll find elements of the Frond, Young and the mighty Bardo Pond spooled into his reality warping realms of wyrd vagueness. Equally tasty here, ragenap might well deserve a little patient chasing if ‘mag-nette drags thru’ hints at the standard they set for themselves, granted it takes an age to blossom, but stay with it for this gem takes you on a journey, granted that journey is inwards into your inner space still, we can’t think right at this moment of a better way to bliss away 13 minutes. Opens to a murmuring meander, a needle lite snaking trail leads down a path of genteel mellowness before pausing a moment at some portal through which, to the ethereal hum of a silvery pulsar, lulls you in a white room serene, very transcendental and trippy as the reverse looped mystic eastern charms set to work weaving their hazy hallucinogenia much like some hulking mind erasing dream machine. Not to be outdone, Tarotplane serve up the monumentally majestic ‘The Hallelujah Rain, Or Sky Mountain & Masking Tape in Endless Agreement’ – I guess at this point you might be advised to skin up for this is so old school vintage chem-rock / ambience that we’ve happened upon several quick glances to make sure it isn’t some recent vault discovered lost nugget from the Brain or Vertigo catalogues of the 70’s. a graceful slow moving colossus, very trancey with just a touch of the Tangerine’s dream weaved drift smoke attaching to its lonesome core, its unnerving serene state both stately and spacey comes bruised with a melancholic scratching with an understated beauty rising from beneath its bonged out woozy revealing an affectionate and amorphous airy astral spirit walking the celestial voids. Last up for this formidable gathering, Horse Apples with ‘A, C, A, C, A, C, A, C, B (x4)’ which on first encounter we suggest you don your headphones for, that way free from external distractions and life’s temptations, you can simply dive in to its floaty seas of sonic shape shifts and lose yourself in its hermetically sealed lysergic inner space. A murmuring kosmische that had us recalling a super chilled Craig Padilla if truth be known and certainly something ripely primed for those of you adoring your sounds trimmed and tripped in cosmic flotillas and all manner of inner self recharging. https://hypnicjerktapes.bandcamp.com/album/splixtape

21. Searing Piss ‘s/t’

Look, I’m sorry, but if you must insist on calling yourself Searing Piss then it’s a guaranteed given that someone like me is going to come calling. Heading out of the Washing Machine imprint of Grand Rapids, Michigan this is the noise niking self-titled debut twin set from the ever so angry Searing Piss, three dudes with obvious unresolved issues who across two short but blistered tracks, incidentally simply titled ‘A’ and er ‘B’ might well split and polarise the listening community into two defined camps – those of the ‘what the f was that’ brigade and those of the ‘hell yes’ camp, who at this very moment are probably scrambling around for their variously prized Nepalm Death and Earache platters. There’s no niceties here mind, just a blistering and bludgeoning tidal wave of primal scorn scorched with a speed freaked hostility and an impacting incendiary that threatens like an all-out assault, free form festering freakery and caustic sand blasting replete with growls n’ grunts all shoehorned into a pair of two minute sonic headbutts. https://washingmachinetapes.bandcamp.com/album/searing-piss

20. Red Flag 2019 ‘comp’

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 kosmick 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.


19. Shrimp ‘light as hell’

Depending on how fixed we are for time today, we might actually get around to sampling the full trio of releases shortly to head out of the Panurus Productions imprint especially if they all stand up in the kind of searing stature as Shrimps’ colossal self titled head drill. Due to descend sometime later this month but then again, possibly February time, this twin set juggernaut arrived with the ominous press ranting fanfare ‘……improvised Free jazz/grind/psych from members of Snakes Don’t Belong in Alaska/Lovely Wife/Smoking Coconuts and Fushitsusha / Sete Star Sept. It’s one frantic whirling studio track and a similarly full-on live recording on the other side’. Hell’s teeth, they weren’t kidding, for ‘light as hell’ provides for a brutal 31 minute battle to keep your wherewithal intact as it bears down against a squalling tide of scab forming blister kissed bedlam. Possessed of a total disregard for structure, song craft or indeed, as the experience reveals, sympathy, Shrimp drag you down the rabbit hole of insanity to a place where chaos and confusion rage, there’s no diplomacy here just pure bad tripping white out discordance wired with the kind of primal ferocity you’d imagine has been schooled in the finest tradition of Alchemy records (see incapacitants, hijokaidan et al). A bludgeoning experience whose unrelenting frenzied assault to the senses takes no prisoners as it curdles a skewing and searing caustic cauldron of psychotropic oblivion to drag you screaming into the frightening and nightmarish realms located at the dark side of despair. Approach with due care. https://panurusproductions.bandcamp.com/

18. Green Seagull ‘simeon brown’

Is it just me, or are those Mega Dodo dudes going through a rather vivid purple patch at the moment. No sooner do we manage to prise the ‘Wyrd Kalender’ compilation from our over affectionate turntable, then along comes a wowzer from the Honey Pot and now the Green Seagull. Fear not for the Pots’ are simmering nicely on the review back burner just now, but damn, this Green Seagulls twinset is a dandy. Pressed in a limited edition of 300 7’s all on green vinyl – like what else, the band are currently holed up in a secret location applying the top coat for what will be their, as yet untitled, second full length, pencilled in for later in the year release through Mega Dodo. By way of a taster, ‘Simeon Brown’ and ‘Belladonna’ have been sent ahead to do the necessary falling down with dizziness and arresting duty, truth be told we’re still reeling from their Left Banke like Christmas 7 for the Snowflakes Christmas Club last year. However, typical of these things, we’ve been immediately taken by the latter mentioned, the ‘Belladonna’ flip if you like, a festooning of fuzz stoked grooviness immediately drawn of a love for the Zombies, swirling keys kissed with a shades adorned authentic 60’s beat pop savvy which not for the first time during this evenings listening thus far, has sided a kinship with the Wicked Whispers with a tracing hint of a younger Hanging Stars. As to the A side, an olde English eccentric psychedelic peculiar, for ‘Simeon Brown’ is adored with a radiantly cheery bandstand blossoming that’s charmed with a c. ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ era McCartney-esque artistry dovetailed with a Kinks meets Tomorrow vibing which all said is similairly seasoned with the same precocious soft psych pop pristine that you might find yourself encountering on releases by the likes of the Brigadier and the utterly disarming Beaulieu Porch. https://megadodo.bigcartel.com/

17. the Mourning After ‘you’re no good’

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.


16. Witchcraft & Black Magic In The United Kingdom ‘s/t’

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 subterannic 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.


15. Sairie ‘the gairdener’

Was it really as long ago as October that we mentioned the hauntingly beautiful ‘the gairdner’ by Sairie, a bewitching apparition demurred in a Wicker Man like folk ghosting as though willowed and wooed by a woodland gathering of Owl Service, Tunng and Pefkin types. Indeed it was, a quick little recap in case you missed it first time of asking can be found here https://marklosingtoday.wordpress.com/2018/10/19/sairie/ Officially out on the Gardener Delight imprint, just 53 hand numbered lathe cut copies of which, last time we checked only 2 were left to maintain a lonesome vigil hoping for a happy and loving home to join. Sairie feature the elegantly collected talents of East Sussex residents, Jon Griffin and Emma Morton, both of Lutine who together here, have summoned up the mercurial mastery of ghost folk at its most exquisite and divine which just to remind you, while you are busy picking up your jaw from floor following the spell casting of ‘the Gairdner’, steal whatever vestiges of your wherewithal you hoped to hide with the equally adorable flip cut ‘the clinging vine’. A silent spirit away beneath whose somewhat mesmeric cloak there harbours a deeply bruised and aching solace whose forewarning spectral coo masks a head bowed harrowed and haunted scar showing intimacy. Thoroughly recommended. https://sairie.bandcamp.com/releases

14. Jonny weathers and Paul Cook ‘sonic assault’

I’ve a huge plate of humble pie to get through because of this next one. This was actually flagged up to me early last year, yet due to various reasons – excuses or otherwise, has so far failed to surface until now. Now being prepped for picture disc vinyl action through the Belgium based Lynch Law imprint in May, this is the ‘Sonic Assault’ EP – the latest tasting of grooving from Jonny Weathers. Here hooked up with legendary sticks man Paul Cook – yep that Paul Cook, the EP features four cool cuts of shade adorned stomp with the uber cooled ‘man at the Orleans’ opening the charge ablaze in an incendiary cocktail of fuzz strobes and razor sharpened slashing riffage all of which converge and collide into an urgent punch you out and thunderous super psychedelicised white out. Somewhere else, everything about ‘take it back’ just screams lust n’ desire, from its seductive sleaze prowling to its old school heaving n’ howling snaked blues fashioning, there’s suggestion at every turn as it slavishly coils with tense temptation to something you’d imagine falling out of a more together and less wired n’ discordant John Spencer studio session. ‘mongo shaker’ completes the set, a searing white hot rumble wired to the teeth aplenty in oodles of stupidly underused and seemingly these days, unloved wah-wah’s all suited and booted with a mule kicking giddy up and the kind of street wise sassy and Hendrix schooled cool that occasionally flies from the riff ribbed fingers of Lenny Kravitz. That said, after much debate and wrestling with the conscience, just edging it in the affection stakes, truth be told you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between the four, we’d have to go with the pure rock-a-hula served up by ‘mother shotgun baby’, a festering slab of fuzz scalped grunge blues boogie replete with a burning fixed stare and a subtle smoking psych shimmering that to these well-worn ears, had us recalling John Moore and the Expressway. Essential in case you needed to ask.

13. the Heartwood Institute ‘devil’s rider’

And as though that wasn’t enough, a little later into the future, release date unknown, the first stirrings of new happenings from the Heartwood Institute sound house. Again primed for PY hosting, this be ‘devil’s riders’ a teaser from an incoming full length titled ‘tomorrow’s people’, a strangely entrancing ethereal which while ghosted with a darkly beautiful aura is simultaneously distanced and locked in a forgotten 70’s time stamped yesterday below whose wistfully nostalgic sepia seasoned pastorals, there lurks a macabre subtext moving in the shadows and the mists, that whispers with a hushed menace, one for the Assembled Minds admirers among you I would have thought.

12. IVY: home recordings ‘comp’

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 Infinity 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.


11. tiger tigre ‘grrr’

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 we’re on the labels payroll or anything. truth is, we want to sit with this a while. culled from an incoming set ‘GRRR?’ by Tiger 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?

10. scarred for life ‘s/t’

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.


9. tomorrow syndicate ‘citizen input’

Back with the rest of this a little later I shouldn’t wonder. In truth, we’ve been spending the intermittent weeks since our last posting, dreamily mind waltzing to this latest astral adventure from the much-admired Tomorrow Syndicate. Just out via Polytechnic Youth in a 10-inch edition of 500, ‘Citizen Input’ comprises six stellar suites, the first of which, for now, ‘stranger in space (Part I and II)’ has somehow burrowed its way into our affections, whatever the case, there’s no denying that this is the sexiest thing on vinyl right this moment. Traced with a simplistic lush lilt (that incidentally ruptures, cracks and fizzes into psych shredding life at the 4.14 point) ‘stranger in space’ is proofed with a distractive demurring that’s caressed with a head in kosmick sultry. Amid the pulsing sirens, a vintage 60’s time coded cool crushes and purrs dissipating a silver age stream of consciousness that imagines Leary telegraphing telepathic treaties to a hypno-grooving space age soundtrack logica composed by a gathering of Silver Apples and David Vorhaus types. Nuff said (for now ……).

8. Rocket girl ’20’

Like wow, this is going to turn heads. Last year the much adored Rocket Girl reached its landmark 20th anniversary, an achievement that’ll be celebrated with the release of the eye catching and lavishly packaged Rocket Girl 20 compilation. The set, a 16 track CD gathering folk past and present (rare mixes etc….. ) from the labels eclectic back history also includes a flexi featuring Mogwai, an rare 7 inch with Bardo Pond on one side and the Azusa Plane on t’other all accompanied by an extensively detailed book plotting the labels history written by Brian Millward. Described in passing as ‘a technicolour scrapbook’, Millward was given rare access to Vinita Rocket Girl’s collection of rare photographs, press clippings and treasured archive. The celebration is rounded off by the inclusion of an exclusive print by Anthony Ausgang. Again as with the previously mentioned brief from the Telescopes, we’ll be returning to this collection in a matter of days for full review though not before a little nod to perhaps the celebrations most anticipated moment, a rare and previously unreleased track from the Television Personalities. Recorded prior to Dan Treacy’s brain trauma in 2011, ‘all coming back’ is here appearing with the blessing of Dan’s sister, a peculiarly jubilant shuffle applied with impish introspection into a radiant jamboree that’s teased with a dizzily disarming and affectionately genteel chorus hook all layered upon a musing Velveteen twinkle toning. Guess while we are here, also worthy of a quick mention is Silver Apples’ ‘Susie’ here retrimmed anew as the ‘rocket mix’, Silver Apples shared the sides of the first Rocket Girl release with the Windy and Carl back in the day, this track if I recall rightly appearing initially on a benefit CD put out by Enraptured of a gathering of folk at the Garage in 1997. A mind warping slab of remoteness and deranged and disorientating Dadaist head frying all equipped with wonky fairground motifs, totalling screwball and delightfully imagined of a would be secret ’78 era head to head between the Residents and Devo. As said, back with this lavish sortie in a few days, now if only they’d included a cassette and a fanzine…….. https://rocketgirl.co.uk/news

7. Active Noise Area ‘comp’

Much like the previously mention the Blog that Celebrates Itself folk, we’ve been regrettably neglecting the plethora of well heeled releases issued forth by Italy’s esteemed Unexplained Sounds imprint. Latest to their considerable roster, a seismic compilation going by the name ‘Active Noise Area’ which according to label head honcho Raffaele, promising to be a feast of noisy experiments and harsh electronica. Noise as a genre has always had an uncomfortably strange relationship with the consumer at large, sitting at the outer edges of the populist spectrum, its odd that this free flowing without borders, rules of engagement or confines ‘style’ is so marginalised and somewhat sniffed at by the mainstream. Strip it down to the barest basics, noise is perhaps the most natural of all the sound species, whether harsh or serene, noise plays an integral part of our living life, from birth to death we are surrounded by sound whether that be the industrial hum drum drone of the metropolis or the calming tranquil of the countryside. Of course we take all this for granted, the development and speedy growth of technology has reduced our life to an endless chatter of consumerist / device conversation to which we’ve naturally learnt to block out, aware or otherwise we are innately informed of our surroundings through the positioning of sound – the wind, the sea, bird song or the repetitive drag of the disappearing factory floor to name just four, each has its own language, pitch and dialect whether automated or natural, its just a case of retuning your ears to their frequency and relearning the art of listening and hearing.

‘active noise area’ encompasses the length and breadth of these sometimes pioneering, often quite terrifying and just sheer brutal developments in the arena known as noise. Admittedly a collection that does sit more on the harsh noise side of the fence, that said, across its 20 tracks play list, every trait and persona is found exemplified, from the opening brutish scald of Georgios Karamanolakis’ ‘Children of the Gods’ itself impacting an end of days harsh holocaust that penetrates the formidable inner sanctum of Merzbow with its unrelenting tide of oblivion bringing destruction, to the parting ‘TergiKristo’ from Nicola Locci which icily marries the eerie with the ethereal by utilising all manner of abstracted aural accoutrements – at one point sounding like a Tardis in resting mode – atop an intertwining and looping albeit, melancholic pastoral echo. Between this brace of bookending maxims, there’s the fixed stare dystopic industrial surveillance of V.O.E.R. foreboding ‘Curse 7’ sitting starkly next to Lorena Grey’s ‘Psychic Nomadism (fUCK Merchandise Fetish Slow Mixx)’ which for the best part, when that it, it isn’t attempting to burrow holes into your psych with its mind altering want, sounds as though its caught in some kind of dead air resulting from a momentary solar flare shower. Those fully versed with experiments and the supposed messages found within the realms of the white noise phenomena might do well to seek out Cupis’ seriously creeped out ‘impro work 3#’. Swiftly along, Joel Gilardini’s bleakly solemn and futile majestic ‘black machineries’ is turned with an edgy apocalyptic adoring, a hulking drone leviathan back dropping some hitherto landing of advanced alien intelligence which is marked sharply by the contrasting caustic of the pure white hot aural atrocity of Jason Crumer’s ‘b. After Betrayal’ which if anything, apart from the sonic sand blasting, is a punitive and cruel a cauldron as anything emanating from the much missed Alchemy imprint of Japan. Bringing things back to a more orderly fashion, well loosely, the ominous cold war manoeuvring of Sonologyst’’s ‘Russian freq. 6525 kHz’ does little to ease the disquiet, more surveillance tinged eerie here trimmed with transistor hums and flatlining waveforms, all very sinister and technophobic. Deeper down the track listing you’ll encounter the deeply isolationist shiver of Dal Verme’s ‘Word wrapped in poisonous letters’ upon whose tensely tethered palette silvery shimmered apparitions and petrified pulsars morph to cut an eerie landscape made up of shadowy epitaphs of lifeless and barren wastelands. Those attuned to the chilling standards set by the Aetheric imprint ought by rights to warm to the gloom draped macabre that is ‘unburial’ by Nihil Impvlse while through the techno-fog of critical meltdowns, Terretektorh’s ‘Vision’ might easily appeal to those subscribing to the darker edges of the Burning Witches catalogue or else those who entrance to the sounds of hypno-grooved mind dissolving drone cycles. There’s something strangely guttural and primitive about Nyctalllz’ unearthly ‘Dipolarium’ a demonic herald as were, sent forth from the very bowels of hell replete with a sickeningly uneasy rabid coarseness, the defeated and surrendered air of futility from off which is only compounded by the brutish and clinically terrorising screeching frequency manipulations gouged into Mario Guida’s ‘TiLT {serie2} n.06’. if ghost lit apparitions with an end of days text on loop is your chosen listening poison, then you may want to direct your preferences towards Sarah Mega-Hertz’s harrowing ‘Synopsis’ all very chilling and displaced and very reminiscent of an imagined retooling of 70 Gwen Party by Muslim Gauze. Now with something calling itself / themselves Scorched Earth Policy Lab you’d rightly expect a bit of hostile terror phonics yet instead, ‘Soul Bender’ sure yea pre-packed with enough sonic gelignite to blow your speakers is here tamed and equipped with an impenetrable wall of feedback whose brilliantine sun bursting showers forge an impacting super nova akin to some fiery fanfare resulting from the last radiant burns of the stars as they collectively assemble in dying formation. Would I be a trite unkind in saying that Knop + God Pussy might well be impishly playing with your heads because by these ears ‘n0156_c01143 Part1’ is flippant, frenzied, warped, wired and just a tad [playfully wonky in a scary skree scowling way while we suspect the asbestos gloved glitch gouging of Circuitnoise’s ‘Live from Hawaii (Honolulu Airport) via Klirrphone’ might not be instantly recalled for Sunday lunch with the family play listing unless of course you fancied a quiet afternoon. Rounding up matters, No Nitz’s aptly titled ‘bad trip’ provides for a six minute serving static burning, a kind of morose Morse coding coiled from old school modem chatter that’s liable to tease various circuitry devices and the odd kettle yet acquire the odd distrusting look from an enquiring pet cat. https://unexplainedsoundsgroup.bandcamp.com/album/active-noise-area

6. Undulating waters ‘s/t’

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.


5. Pye Corner Audio ‘hidden earth’

If like me the mere mention of Pye Corner Audio and Ghost Box records being uttered in the same sentence has the effect of having you sitting bolt upright with the expectant look of wide eyed child around a present laden Christmas tree, then the news of both forging an alliance braced upon the imminent arrival of a new solar suite ‘hollow earth’ might just send you into frenzy. Set for release next month, ‘Hollow Earth’ may yet prove to be Pye Corner Audio’s most realised and quite possibly, most listener friendly release to date. Somewhat serving as an affectionate homage to the cosmic transcendentals of the 70’s, this kosmische orbital at once draws deep from the vintage future gazing opus’ of Vangelis (both ‘hollow earth’ and the parting ‘the hidden city’ being cut with the same warming tech treated emotional touch as belies the Greek composers more intimate suites, the latter especially assuming a dream drifting divine like radiance with the former immersed longingly in rippling pools of pure synaesthesia), Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre. As though achieving a state of self-awareness, Mr Jenkins comfortable in his sonic skin plugs into the futuristic nexus to calibrate these silken solar symphonies with a language / sign code that’s shimmered and informed of a golden age tongue that’s both yesterday, now and tomorrow, the sumptuous serenade of huge wide screen synth lines and the sparing application applied in ensuring maximum return on minimalist input is simply audacious and inspired. Liberated and free thinking, ‘hollow earth’ wrestles back electronicas ability to dream from the genres more darkly dystopic quarters, both joyful and optimistic it rephrases the old ways of 90’s techno for a new hope, ‘mindshaft’ particularly finding Jenkins hankering for his younger clubland days – FSOL anyone while the sheer majesty and celestial poise of ‘imprisoned splendour’ will simply floor you in its grace fall. Then of course there’s always ‘surfacing’ with its hypno weaving pulsars and VHS styled grooving leaving only ‘dancing shadows’ to perhaps buck the trend and evade the script to emerge as a darkly dinked sore thumb much mirrored in the image of a ‘the box’ era Orbital . https://soundcloud.com/ghost-box/sets/hollow-earth

4. the Home Current vs. Tomorrow Syndicate & the Heartwood Institute ‘remixes’

Upcoming on the Polytechnic Youth imprint, this Sunday we believe, a very special 99 only lathe copy pressing of a brace of remixes by the Home Current featuring a sublime re-dreaming of past Tomorrow Syndicate and Heartwood Institute happenings. First up on the blocks and fresh from acclaim lavished upon their kosmische classic ‘future tense’, left in capable hands of the Home Current, Tomorrow Syndicate’s ‘Okulomotor’ is stripped back and streamlined whereupon refitted with a sveltely shimmered spectral chassis, that in truth, with its galactic ghosting and coolly calibrated drifting demeanour, has a delectably demurred Dark Captain Light Captain brushing about its persona, is adored with a silken solar surfer-ish charm. Over on the flip, the Heartwood Institute’s ‘Arcadia’ (initially appearing on his PY debut ‘Secret Rites’ full length last year) is, as hard it is to contemplate, more sinisterly toned than the original and here found gloomed with a warping remoteness whose shadowing pulse-tronic iciness heightens its grip losing fight as it descends into a haunting paranoiac eerie where nothing is quite what it seems as realities blur with a disquieting mind decay.

3. Smile Eyes and the Children Folk ‘s/t’

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.

2. Territorial Gobbing ‘gubbins’

Second up from the Cruel Nature sound factory, a 50 only cassette press of the excellently named Territorial Gobbing’s ‘gubbins’, a more edgier affair this time of asking, which in truth is the kind of thing you’d imagine hanging out on the Tesla tape label. A haunted micro world moreover, a wasteland of fractured memories and orphaned ghosts lost in a hazy wilderness of skittering beats, dysfunctional dialects and fractured electronics who together forge an abstractly misshapen mosaic that’s dampened and gloomed in a detaching shadowy macabre. A clever and intricately weaved palette, origins principally spooled from an industrial terrain though coded with a glitching subterranean flavouring that instantly locates you in a deeply menacing and unfamiliar environment with opener ‘where wolves fuck’ setting the ground rules with its glooming kaleidoscopic chill. ‘every other day. A sneer’ does little to lighten the listening pleasure, its disfigured and fracturing psychotropic palette weaving a claustrophobic madness of nightmarish proportions with the mind harvesting eerie of the dub doped ‘eat your manager’ serving only to accentuate the unease and displacement. Both ‘moniker’ and ‘glass melts like spit’ are pure insectoid frequency twiddling, (the former on a more threatening noise arc) the type of which that had us mourning the much missed days of Scotch Tapes and its sibling Frequent Sea while strangeness abound subsumes the dark dream like isolation that grates the minimal nothingness of ‘Trod Into Carpet And Smeared Up The Wall’. https://cruelnaturerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/gubbins

1. silver apples vs. andrew weatherall ‘RSD19’

I’m guessing one of this years Record Store Days list attractions surely has to be a super limited lathe press heading out of the Enraptured stable. Not entirely sure how you’ll get a copy or whether indeed this is like those Horror Sounds / Polytechnic Youth sorties exclusively done through Norman records these last two events. What we are certain about is that it features two tracks from Simeon of the legendary Silver Apples, one a new revisioning of ‘Oscillations’ the other a mind melting floor slippery by way of a remix by Andy Weatherall. ‘oscillations’ as remodelled here, is grooved to replicate his live performances. A hypnotic mantra weaved from mind probing psychotropic pulsars and shamanic shape shifting sorcery, intense and fried, deeply mesmeric and tripping, a critical meltdown in the message centre hazed and haloed in tranced out auto suggestions and analogue mystics that converge in gloopy pools of lock grooved tech turn ons all of which imagine a seriously wired and freaked out White Noise. Left in the hands of Mr Weatherall, ‘the edge of wonder’ is lightly harvested and sprayed in oodles of mind morphing magic dust that delicately trip to a deeply alluring orbital flight path a-glowed and evolved anew in the cosying swirling corteges of cosmic dub dapples and bliss bathed spectral shimmerings. Need I say more ‘cept to say, class.

Many thanks for all your support and here’s wishing you all a superb Christmas …. normality resumes tomorrow ……

M x

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