alison cotton

heading out shortly via a collaborative undertaking between Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube records where it’ll appear on limited issue vinyl, this is Left Outside’s Alison Cotton on solo duties with ‘all is quiet at the ancient theatre’. Originally appearing on the Bloxham tape imprint where demand and word of mouth has been such that its currently on its third edition pressing. Hopefully, time allowing and downloads acquired, we’ll be back with this for a full appraisal. For now, we’ve been a tad smitten with the parting shot ‘a tragedy in the tithe barn’. An enchanting though nonetheless melancholic visitation, ‘a tragedy in the tithe barn’ is crafted in the old ways, a ghost lit folk hymnal cursed to play out its mourn on a nightly loop when all is at rest  The trees, the night glowed breeze and the very land itself swaying, swirling and sighing in collective sadness amid the moon turning twilight mists whereupon a dark dance of despair plays out to the cruel choreography of saddened strings and the immaculate intervention of a crying choral. One for admirers of both the Hare and the Moon and Preterite.

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even by our forgetful and somewhat lazy standards, I seriously suspect that we’ve been neglecting of Moon Glyph things of late. So to remedy the omission, here’s IE – pronounced eee – who hail from Minnesota, number five in the ranks and with them, comes carrying under their collective arm the rather deceivingly delightful ‘Pome’. As ever with these releases, pressed on limited number cassettes, ‘pome’ – and this is just to give you a flavor you understand, is described in passing by the Moon Glyph folk in full text, as ‘sonic rituals from the future and ambient, desert soundscapes. Their shows feature sustained tones, electronic whirrs, slow beats, video and film projections, metaphysical recitations, and carefully crafted atmospheres’. Indeed, at first reading, you might well think, the usual hyperbole from a label trying to big up their latest coup, in truth, well lets just say, Moon Glyph are certainly artful in understatement. ‘pome’ is quite something else, one of those rare releases that just falls from nowhere and something that does indeed hint of ritual yet is fused obviously with minimalist electronic murmurs rephrased by the subtle weaving of folk, psychedelia, jazz and a chamber toning. The sounds are teased with a sparse airy ghosting, in fact it’d been true to say airless, they just form from nothing, gravitate as though sealed and compacted in some kind of bubble orbiting on their way totally nonchalant as to their surroundings. Case in point, ‘moon shot’ a curious murmuring woozy, that appears to take an age to find its feet and focus, its rhythmic patterns tapping out a spectral mantra softly sighed in lounge-y electro-baubles, then in arrives a shadow lit smokiness whose svelte and softly sensual jazz noir sultriness mooches sumptuously and dreamily casting subtly nods to a 90’s era Pram. Veering on the outer edges of the chin stroking kosmische spectrum of sound, ‘idol horizon’ is immersed in fracturing arcane atmospherics, its subtle 60’s flavouring pitching a bliss toning trip pill both wiry and wayward, almost like a psychedelic spaghetti western under the bong pipe influence of Master Musicians Of Bukkake and a very youthful Grails. Then there’s the dream weaving mysterio ‘gloam’, a spacey ancient Eastern echo whose somewhat hallucinogenic tracing and ghost dry atmospherics beautifully spell weave a hypno-grooved mantra whose third eye tweaking hints to recall Elektra’s legendary ‘cosmic sounds’ set. For us though, best moment of the set, is opener ‘Amulet’. What might first appear like an electronically sparse rephrasing of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘tusk’ soon recalibrates and in its place something truly wow emerges whose strange prog preening blossoms amid floaty electro lulls to sound like a youthful Broadcast remodeling White Noise’s ‘an electric storm’. In our humbled opinion, one of the finest things we’ve heard all year.

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timothy fife

now if my memory is serving me right, the last time we were graced with Timothy Fife groove was courtesy of an ultra-limited happening through polytechnic a year or so ago. Since then there have been a plethora of brief sightings for selected sound houses such as Burning Witches, Death Waltz and now the Minneapolis based imprint lighten up sounds. Already sold out of its limited 8 track issue, yep you read right, 8 track, a feat that trumps the Victory Gardens record for producing the last ever 8 track cartridge way back in ’99, of course a special cassette version is still up for grabs. Inspired by the Japanese horror film Kwaidan – a ’64 made anthology of ghost folk tales, this extended version of ‘Hoichi The Earless’ – one of the tales featured centered around Hoichi a blind musician – was, according to the liner notes, originally conceived for a live screening event hosted by Holodeck records at last year’s SXSW. Now expanded to ten lushly toned star suites, these silent heralds are trimmed with a svelte amorphous toning both glacial and widescreen. Much like ambassadors of portent, these deathly chilled vapour-esque ghost lights, perhaps more so, icy blasts from an unspecified future nightmare or point in reality, strip the landscape dry with their hollowed isolationist atmospherics to such extent that even when proceedings do lighten somewhat as on ‘part 3’, a sense of unease still prevails, behind its shimmering glass toned curtain, a subtle menace purrs. That said, the star kissed symphonia at times is touched with the immaculate, the dream machine mesmerica encountered on ‘part 4’ ushers a stilled and graceful soft psychedelic phrasing that recalls the deeply immersive ambient odysseys of both Craig Padilla and Tangerine Dream while for the best part of its 11 minute visitation, ‘part 5’s kosmische caresses find it piloting the futuristic terrains of Vangelis’ original ‘blade runner’ landscapes with a simplistic symmetry, its something that serves in sharp contrast to its interweaving spectral mosaics wherein a darkening foreboding stricken its wares much like something unearthly and nightmarish composed by Tristram Cary. Elsewhere, etched in a strangely alluring gothic framing, the slowly prowling dark leviathan ‘part 7’ by its 6 minute passing, manages to wrestle from its brooding blackness the serene blushing of grace fallen angel sighs to its vast pensive bow, the effect is both hypnotic and hitherto oddly blissful, it’s an effect repeated with more fluency on ‘part 8’ wherein the fusion of oceanic flotillas and weaving waveform whispers carve out a demurring astral pulsar. The fragile and crystalline ‘part 10’ duly accompanies matters to their final act, very much trimmed in the ways of classic 80’s styled horror / sci-fi VHS end credits, this ice sculptured epitaph thaws with a sweet solemnness beneath its parting melancholia. One for close head-phonic intimacy methinks.

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Penciled in for January release on the Gardener’s Delight imprint, another future happening cut by the 345rpm folk, this is Brighton based Sairie with ‘the gairdner’. An utterly beguiling visitation that sounds for all the world as though its stepped out for a moment from a Paul Giovanni led Magnet recording session cutting the ‘Wicker Man’ soundtrack, the tender turn of traditionalist folk rambles are adorned with the spiriting elements of Mellow Candle and Fairport Convention pinned gently to its prettified pastoral bow, its ghost like touch frail and fragile recalling instantly the cooing serene of Lisa O Piu’s lulling lost soul ‘Whisperers, Wavers, Hunters And Sailors’ for the much missed Autumn Ferment label.

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staying with the folk from 345rpm, word has it that this ‘un is due for a limited repress, this time a 5 inch lathe picture disc. From Haq123 this is ‘ugly baby’ – a charm defenses down slab of hell spawned scuzzing and scabbing schizoid slow core boogie all at once wayward and wicked that comes flame frosted from extreme shreds of Earache styled sonic shrapnel all butchered, battered and grounded down into a wig flipped skin scorcher that scowls with a take no prisoners discontent.

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GGAllan Partridge

currently at the pressing room where the good folk at 345rpm are hand cutting sold out pre orders, this is the deliciously deranged GGAllan Partridge with a cutely caustic and calamitously kooky 5 track ear popper going by the collective name of the ‘eyesore’ EP through the Ack! Ack! Ack!. Clearly the work of a wired and alternative sounding classic era Blondie had they opted to feed themselves on a diet of late 70’s Peel track listings rather than go for the disco / sun pop route. This set is, pardon the description, all over the shop, that’ll be in a good way of course, the rampantly infectious lead track particularly grabbing us by the proverbials to cut a coolly sharp and decidedly schizoid garage growler that to these ears sounds like a manically fried variant of a very youthful b-52’s colluding with an equally scary Dolly Mixtures. Irrefutably ghosted with a post punk vibing, the slinky and sassy ‘skips’ emerges fully formed flippantly parading a lineage which strays undeniably to a vintage that recalls Delta 5, Au Pairs, the Slits and the Rezillos while those of you with a thing for seductive early 80’s soul soaked white funk minimalism might do well to seek out Creatures-esque smoking ‘I feel lobe’. Best moment by far, the warping and somewhat fracturing ‘visitors’ is a strangely warping psych fused post punk bad trip whose hallucinogenic tethering and fuzzily fried crookedness belies within its peculiar palette elements of Syd and the Native Hipsters albeit choreographed and wired from the fore by Lene Lovich..  

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pieces – vol 2

The second ghoulish chapter in burning witches trio of horror anthology cassettes entitled ‘pieces’ pairs together all of them witches and Espectrostatic. You might need to be quick with this, that is if the speed that Volume 1 vanished last week is anything to judge by. A strictly limited 125 pressing of this with the third and final account due to rise from the grave next Friday. Espectrostatic occupy the fear laden ferric fractures of Side 1, which after the ethereal dissipates gracing the eerily vapour-esque ‘a dream about the lake’ the mood frosts to the onset of an as were, ceremonial chill presided over by glooming chamber tones (‘Balete drive’), it’s an effect that’s crystalized more tellingly by the psychosis shredding ju ju ‘Simulacrum’ wherein any vestiges of sanity and the ability to tell apart reality and illusion are painfully and slowly peeled like the layers of an onion. The sense of the unnatural continues to permeate with dread ease to the disquieting arrival of ‘the odd estate’ with the effects deepened in a penetrating shadow forming macabre and mystery by the spell weaving spectral that is the blood curdled ‘El Oso’. Ever deepening its descent into the despairing unknown, ‘kowloon apartment’ is dispatched with a deathly celebration of the fracturing mind that’s ghosted in all manner of disturbia whose somewhat primeval dread draping casts a hollowing and harrowed emptiness. ‘tendrils’ wraps up matters in lighter moods relying on those age old Horror flick tropes of happily dancing away from the macabre much like a parting soundtrack end credits for an aborted Fulci frightener. Over on the reverse of the cassette you’ll find All of Them Witches harvesting their own brand of brooding 80’s sourced VHS cult sci-fi horror-phonia. In sharp contrast to Expectrostatic, All of them Witches’ sound palette is primed with a pensive detailing that reveals a glimpse into an undetermined point in the point, a post-apocalyptic world perhaps resulting from the after effects of an extra-terrestrial invasion / occupation teased in a stark techno-terror edginess. These nine suites arrived sighed in a widescreen aura, hulking swathes of synth lines ‘pursuit’ particularly catching the lobes doing what it says on the tin and crafting something epically shadow like that by these ears comfortable sits between Goblin’s ‘Zombi’ sets and Carpenter’s ‘assault on precinct 13’. Amid these svelte ghost light pulsars a hidden menace looms with patient glee shifting and shape shifting between eerily stilled prowling night walkers (‘24/7’) to orphaned orbitals whose dark heart emit a detachment more prevalent on platters bearing the name Pye Corner Audio and glowering isolationist monoliths as on ‘attack ships’. Best of the set is left to the parting ‘existential despair’ – the only vocalized track here, a frosted hymnal soured in loss and a tortured tear stained desperation that’s hollowed in a darkening hopelessness.


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