The beginning of Rumbles for March 2007 found me in the good company of Cageian scholar Dan Cohoon’s Moral Crayfish, so to maintain a semblance of continuity, it seems only right to open this splurge with the follow-up to his self-released ‘Catastrophic Success’ 3 inch CDR. ‘The Month of the Dog’ was produced for the NaSoAlmo contest, which required an entire LP to be recorded in the month of November. Instead of relying on President Bush’s shorted-out electric head for titles, this release, his first for another label, employs randomly selected, although equally puzzling, headings from the online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia. Using roughly the same sound sources as before (prepped guitar, violin and household knick-knacks), those once free-falling noise pixels have, with richer production values, found themselves forming into more ordered and in some cases more unsettling shapes. ‘Euthalia Nais’ is a good example of this development, as the faux railway goods yard backgrounds present a vast backdrop against a bank of zithered longstring textures. Echo units play an important role this time round too, especially in ‘Lato Regia’ and the nightmarish ‘Asopus’ where obscured / unearthly sighs are found leaking from its laptop-adjusted surroundings.
And the further we head into this collection, the darker things become – the closing tracks, the aptly named ‘Broom Filefish’ and ‘Camarophillus, inhabit a peculiar undersea dronescape which is as claustrophobic as it is strangely compulsive. (Rumpus Records, Notteberg 12, 7500 Stjordol, Norway www.rumpus.no or Moral Crayfish, PO Box 171, Glen Mills PA 19342 USA
The reinvented ‘Great Pop Supplement’ ( www.thegreatpopsupplement.com ) is a newish concern curated by Wandsworth-based Dominic Martin, formerly of Earworm Records (and before that, Enraptured Records, who released a beautiful and now quite rare 7” EP in celebration of Terrastock 1). Dom quite obviously understands the romance and fascination that the seven inch single can still generate – previous issues being numerous lathe cuts and limited edition artpieces (hardboard sleeves held together by nuts and bolts, anyone?). The three singles that came my way a while back contained a caveat mentioning that some were “long sold out” and were basically submitted as a promo exercise to get the label into the Terrascope Onliners’ minds. I am assuming that refers to ‘Where to Begin’ by Eidas Mai (GPS11) and Phospherescent’s ‘I Am a Fully Grown Man (I Will Lie in the Grass All Day)’ (GPS14) but even if they are both now unfortunately out of reach, they’re most certainly worth noting just in case either cross your path at a later date. Eidas Mai are a brother/sister duo from Bristol who construct a sombre-toned downtempo world from Sadie’s sensitive doubletracked vocals and Ben (aka Epok)’s string synth, acoustic guitar and piano. Subtle pop balladry (one girl, one stool, one spotlight…) that converges on the smooth retro-futurist veneer of Broadcast or Saloon. Phosphorescent (also to be found on Misra and Warm Records) is Matthew Hauck and whoever he ropes in at a week or so’s notice. On this occasion, a muzzy-headed, acoustically driven hymn to the science of loafing is augmented by a down at heel temperance band whose huffing parpage reveals itself to be a horizontal half brother to Cuneiform’s Alec K Redfearn & The Eyesores. Redfearn was last to be seen at Terrastock 6 playing along with Sharron Kraus, I believe. A Canadian outfit who seemingly tweak and subvert the Flying Nun canon. Bringing us nearer to the present day ‘Vicious Attacks’ by Anenomies (GPS18) reminds me of the finer points of Goblin Mix, the Verlaines and the Great Unwashed, yet moulded into something a little more off-centre and big city decadent by virtue of Remo Gisman’s laconic, shadow hugging vocals and the reedy rhythm guitar flurries of Lionel Sid Suca.
Have you recently been involved in a culinary disaster in which the soufflé obstinately refused to rise? Well, ‘Bite the Capsicum’ details an incident that will surely make that pale in comparison. The defeat of an anonymous contestant on a Japanese TV cookery programme caused so much shame and humiliation to this Mr X, that he resorted to obtaining the master tape and wiping it. Unfortunately for him, the audio signal remained (in a severely mangled form) and now resembles a hellacious mixture of Merzbow / Solmania-tainted noise. In a callous bid to open up old wounds, Shame File Music ( www.shamefilemusic.com ) have now issued this as a three inch CD along with the dreaded ‘Autumn Medley’ recipe (ingredients: pig’s bladder and sea urchin roe) which caused all the heartache in the first place. I daresay that even an emphatic plea from the man in question urging you not to buy this will fall of deaf ears? Thought so. Another release on Shame File (which includes a bizarre track with Barry Humphries involvement – made years before Dame Edna, and Sir Les for that matter) can be found in the reissues section on the brow of yonder hill…
Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) always hoped that his most famous epic ‘Battleship Potemkin’ would, through the years, continue to receive new soundtracks in order to help keep the film fresh and contemporary. For some strange reason the Pet Shop Boys obviously interpreted this as more of a distress flare than a casual request, and were found featherdusting the crew’s quarters with their own version in 2005. A classic case of artistic delusion if ever there was one – equal to that ‘Lute Album’ of Milord Sting and the ill-advised adaptation of Carol Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ by Girls Aloud. So… to avoid another potential trip to Davy Jones’ locker, Jackson Del Ray & The Sun Kings (aka Phillip Drucker of Savage Republic / 17 Pygmies) have done the right thing and looked over Sergei’s wishes re. ‘Potemkin’ a little more closely – that melodies should not necessarily follow the screen action, and that the pieces should be written in such a way as to develop a certain tension between the five sections of the film. And there is plenty of the latter to be found when a classically inclined (and uncredited) string section is bookended by such evocative sounds as morse code blips and echo sounders which then bleed into primo industrial jackhammerings when least expected. In fact, with careful programming, you could find yourself with one contemporary classical piece worthy of ECM, and another set documenting an invasion force of eighties metallurgists led by the mighty Test Department.
As you would expect with Savage Republic related works (their Independent Projects label produced some of the best ever sleeve designs of the 80s and 90s), the artwork is a delight, with a stylish digipack adorned with mock Cyrillic lettering housing a vintage postcard repro and a sheet of postage stamps. Great. (Trakwerk Records, PO Box 1467 Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 USA www.trackwerk.com )
The ‘Supernaturals – Record One’ CD opens a series of recording projects helmed by The Malleus Rock Art Lab, creators of handmade, silk-screened artworks for Monster Magnet, Sigur Ros, The Ig and Sonic Youth amongst many others. It documents a speaker-dissolving improvisation, recorded in a day between Italian sludge-lords Ufomammut and ambient postcore quintet Lento. Downtuned guitars in quadruple form, primordial bass / drum pound, Dettmarian synthi-squall and buried vocal smudges bite down mighty hard onto a series of inordinately dense, light-extinguishing riffs which stand like gaunt-faced sentinels, guarding some vast catacomb out of which the occasional vocal sample of a lost soul emerges. Or, as a certain title of theirs would have it, ‘Painful Burns Smoke as the Presence Sets us Down in Supersonic Waves’. What is delivered here is one finely balanced, integrated sonic union whose lumbering power, with its hints of Orthodox, Sleep and Harvey Milk, has its echoes in the steady gnaw of coastal erosion and the threatening rumble of the landslip. (Supernatural Cat Records – www.supernaturalcat.com)
After a good handful of well-received CDR albums (including the downloadable ‘Prosperina’ on their Harmful Records imprint, Nottingham-based Formication (either alluding to ‘man on ant’ action or the application of Formica…) step up a rung on the availability front with their ‘Icons For a New Religion’ CD on the ever fascinating Lumberton Trading Company label. Comprised of Alec Bowman and Kingsley Ravenscroft (what a great name! – Ed) who share duties on various guitars, keys and drums, and the more obscure djembe, electron ‘tootling’ horn and ableton, their genuinely disconcerting soundscapes gather strands of darkly glistening electronics and faux orchestral skree which are garnished with skittering, elusive beats and insinuating vocal abstracts. Their surreal chain of dream-inducing pieces are mined from a quintessentially English motherlode which runs in a parallel course to Coil and Cyclob, but never intersects. Ambient musik with a spiked collar and a whiff of paranoia, as ‘Arise or Originate’ or ‘In the Kingdom of the Electronic Eye’ (a possible reference to the UK’s overloaded surveillance culture?) will certainly attest. (Lumberton Trading Company, Ul. Krolwej Jadwigi 133/5, 30-212 Krakow, Poland www.lumbertontrading.com )
Band reunions and anniversary tours aren’t really my cup of Earl Grey. Long lost combos with a few original members trying to rekindle past glories, playing to crowds who in the main were clueless first time round. The only exceptions to this rule are the Magic Band, where players from completely different eras of Uncle Don’s family tree sounded as if they had been playing together for aeons, and Faust where, even with major bitchery in their ranks which resulted in certain pivotal players jumping ship, are still undoubtedly Faustian in every way, shape and deed – 2007 has already seen the release of Dirter Records’ live triple CD / DVD combination ‘In Autumn’ (www.dirter.co.uk) and now from the aforementioned Lumberton, in collusion with Poland’s AudioTong imprint (www.audiotong.net), emerges ‘Od Serca Do Duszy’ a double live CD that covers Faust’s first ever concert in Poland at Krakow’s Loch Ness Club in the latter stages of 2006. As a trio of Jean Herge Peron (bass, vocals and horns), Zappi (drums and metalwork) and relative newcomer Amaury Cambuzat, ex Ulan Bator, on guitars, keyboards and vocals, the band’s repertoire here is a three-way split between tasters for the forthcoming studio album, lengthy improvisations and revamped back catalogue material, which we’ll look at first. ‘It’s a Bit of a Pain’ (retitled ‘The Asshole’) originally from Faust IV is given a tougher, more metallic coating and rocks out in an unstoppable manner, in no small way due to Zappi’s extraordinary drum pound, where man truly is machine, the benefit of this version being that you don’t have to endure that “engaged telephone” blast that destroyed the momentum of the original. ‘Fast Head’ (alias ‘The Sad Skinhead’), again from Faust IV, was always regarded as a slight, novelty doodle, but here this song about violence and ignorance is immediately lead away from its past by dint of jean Herve’s declamatory howl. As for the tasters, the ‘Salauds, Salades’ with its stiff jointed funk motion immediately appeals. ‘Our Soul to Your Ears’ (is there perhaps a hidden pun here?) mixes pastoral guitar elegance and distant choir figures with drills and grinders which obviously shouldn’t work, but does. ‘We are not here.. and this is not Music’ employs more industrial tools and metal sheets, and gets even more wayward when calls of “Nothing! Your Tea’s Ready!” and “This is Serious” greet the ear. The second CD (improvs and encores) is where the trio really stretch out and flex Faustian muscle simultaneously, and as a consequence of that is getting more action at the moment, but I daresay it’ll even out. ‘Impro-Krakow I & II’ sees the rhythm section’s blunted and dark diddley beat supporting an epic fuzz/wah guitar volley that eventually disintegrates into a crackling bed of distortion. For the encores, ‘Rainy Day Sunshine Girl’ comes on like a VU experiment circa ’66 mixed with the nagging quality of the Softs’ ‘We Did It Again’ and could even be seen as a father figure to ‘Orphans' by Teenage Jesus - if they’d’ve stretched the intro. ‘Schempal Buddha’ closes in much the same vein, taking repetition to new, unheard of levels. Another example (and finely recorded, too) of Faust’s undeniable timelessness. An essential purchase.
Speaking of the F-men, I found it nigh on impossible to nab a copy of the excellent Faust biography, ‘Stretch Out Time 1970-75’ by Andy Wilson. Waterstones and Rough Trade both drew blanks, until I struck lucky with Independent Books Direct (PO Box 60, Helston TR13 0QD) – any book in print, free post and packing! That’s the commercial break dispensed with and it’s back now to Lumberton’s sister label Fourth Dimension Records with a new solo project from Theme’s Stuart Carter (also formerly of Splintered and Heroin), under the name of The Fields of Hay. The ‘Songs for Nine Ladies’ CD successfully locates the perfect middle point between the plastic and the organic, grass and tarmac, the five bar gate and the automatic door – I’m sure you get the picture by now. This largely solo instrumental outing, although Stuart is aided in parts by Sonic Boom and Theme’s Richard Johnson amongst others, seems to adopt a pastoral mindset, although I can’t help thinking that by dint of the left-of-centre machinations of labelmates such as Thighpaulsandra and Andrew Liles, surely everything can’t be as green and leafy as it’s painted? The cover art, which might act as a clue, showing a sapling in full colour suggesting vitality and growth is held in check by the back sleeve’s depiction of a crumbling factory building ready for demolition. A puzzling and yet satisfying collection of question marks and mysteries that requires a number of plays for it to really get its hooks in. Speaking of which, the first three tracks, read backwards with a slight adjustment or two, can be found to read “Early Morning Mantra to Welcome Saints and Miracles”. Taken as a concealed suite, its sombre bass meanderings and chattering digital eddies work to bewitching and hypnotic effect and seem to acknowledge and develop certain nuances of Harmonia and mid period Popul Vuh. (Fourth Dimension Records, Ul Salwatorska 29/2, 30-117 Krakow, Poland www.adverseeffect.co.uk)
Time now for a confession, I think. Nothing too scandalous… The thing is, I have never knowingly heard any Bob Seger. I’ve always thought of him as someone rooted in blue-collar A.O.R. breast beating, much like Springsteen but minus the gold bathroom taps. Perhaps he’s perceived differently in various pockets of the States such as his home state of Michigan, where a certain Gerald J. Schoenherr started his gig going by attending a Seger bash with his dad in the Detroit area back in ’79. As an exercise in capturing that “pivotal moment” (mine was ‘Down by the Jetty’ era Dr. Feelgood, if anyone gives a stuff), Gerald, currently lap steeliest with Mount Moriah, has, in between serving time with Liquid Desires, the Bog People and Rhinoscope, recorded many Segartunes to celebrate Fathers Day and his dad’s birthday. The ‘Turn the Page’ seven-incher (on 7&T Records) marks the vinylized debut of this tradition and comes under his Sound of Singles pseudonym. And in the zone of low-rent croon and thrum, it’s not so dusty – presumably turning the songs inside out to reveal a lot more intimacy, which no doubt removes the stadium-derived inertia of the originals. His use of the baritone uke is Ed Askewsian while the letterpress on bare cardstock artwork (c/o Horse and Buggy Press) is Savage Republican on an austerity drive. If this covers concept is set to continue, it’d be good if the more possible lure of a Segar contemporary like… Foghat (Foghat!) be passed over in favour of more outré plunder or an obscure slice or two of pre-war Americana.
The Mason Jones and Subarachnoid Space story has thrown up an interesting sidebar recently in the form of Transitional Phase’s self-titled CD which covers a, uh, transitional phase in the life of the latter unit. Recorded in one evening circa 1998, the line-up of then current Subarachnoid Space members Mason Jones, Melynda Jackson (guitars) and drummer Chris Van Huffle were joined by ex-member Jason Stein on bass and the guitar, vocals and cornet (on ‘Phase 5’) of Geoff Walker, formerly of the immense Gravitar (go find the ‘Edifier’ CD on Manifold). Made up of seven phases, it’s ‘No 4’ that encapsulates their collective state of mind during this session, highlighting their ever growing dynamics that come assembled from discarded starcharts once used by the likes of classic “into the void” spacerockers such as Vokokesh and F/i. The closing phase differs in method inasmuch as being a salvage and splice experiment where previously recorded debris is nipped and tucked (in a virtual sense) to form a far more imposing construct compared to the rest of the set. Surprisingly these tapes were lost for years, but their eventual discovery and release successfully joins the dots that you or I didn’t really know were missing. (Last Visible Dog Records, PO Box 2631 Providence RI 02906 USA www.lastvisibledog.com)
As with the Great Pop Supplement stuff, mentioned at the beginning of these jottings, releases on the House of Alchemy label (www.thehouseofalchemy.com) are of a strictly limited nature. So, CDRs by Stone baby, Sleepwalkers Local 242 and Amber Lions have probably been snaffled up by various collectors by now. Nevertheless, these are names that should be retained in the memory banks of anyone into the more bent out of shape corners of the US avant garde underground. Search engines find our Stone Baby rubbing its tiny shoulders with a British metal act and a detailed report of a calcified foetus – which makes for a nice change. Hailing from Rochester, New York it’s the working name for a duo consisting of Cory and [n.] who make music for people who live under bridges. The ‘Black Blossom Blues’ full-lengther follows a path of blunted fidelity with constantly shifting framing devices, either employing maudlin centenarian string quartets on ‘Open’ or a dusty Rileyesque organ / electronic score on the curiously titled ‘Sometimes I’d Rather be In The Kitchen’. Not to be confused with the sorely missed Thinking Fellers Union 242 (but then, why would you?) Sleepwalkers Local 242 is again a one man versus technology operation, this time it’s Grant Capes, also of VxPxC, (Phil’s faves) The Circle and the Point, and Thousands. His manipulation of various guitars, casios, pedals and tapes on the ‘Dreamlands’ set radiate military and industrial frequencies that scar and chafe the precious atmosphere over anytown, USA. The distorted contrails of ‘Boxing the Buddha’ are dogged by alien reverberations moving as if created by stop frame animation, while the rightly monickered ‘Horrorshow’ is set at a speaker threatening twenty seven minutes and answers the poser as to what an MB/Come merger would have resembled.
At first, hearing the opening bird sanctuary ambience on The Amber Lions’ 3-incher ‘Pink Panther Blood’ I thought we might be in for a spot of Chris Watson-informed field recording. But, as this sixteen minute piece develops, the tinklings of a musical box lead us into a gently unfolding solar ritual where the golden glow of alto sax, synth and strings form a beautiful repetitious motif which, quite frankly, could go on for another half hour or so without any argument from me. The Lions consist of Valerie Cosi and ‘The Solo Joint’, come from Lizzano (near the heel of Italy’s boot) and have collaborated with Ashtray Navigations and North Sea’s Brad Rose amongst many others.
Irrespective of whether the cover design of ‘Earblink’ shows a bioluminescent deep sea “thing” or the mythic mistletoe tree, its unearthly presence is still a fitting image for the mysterious Irish soundsmith known as Magnetize. According to his MySpace entry, this fan of Suicide, Can and AMM “makes noise, sometimes it has beats, sometimes not”. The ‘Earblink’ CDR chooses to sit in the middle ground while extracting the very most out of severely minimal sound sources. The slow undulating pulse of ‘Sigil; and its slightly more active twin ‘Constantly Becoming’ are beautifully observed examples of electronic drift, while the whirring grind of ‘Race to Signal’ and ‘Hazing’ will cheerfully take your favourite hand off in a noisesome feeding frenzy, where elements of the Mordant Music collective and mid-period TG are brought to mind. This can be found on the Trensmat label, which is based in the charmingly named town of Trim in County Meath, Eire (www.trensmat.com) – as can Burton-On-Trent’s Telescopes. After forming in 1986, Stephen Lawrie et al became contemporaries of Loop and Spaceman 3, but unfortunately missed out somewhat on the recognition that those two bands enjoyed and dissolved in the nineties. They did however reconvene in 2002 with the ‘Third Wave’ album. Their ‘Psychic Viewfinder’ two-part single, which was briefly available as a lathe-cut, is an all too quickly over exercise in piercing feedback which evolves or devolves into a more gnarled and incident-laden take on ‘Metal Machine Music’s noise-stream classicism.
As founder member Rob Mazurek (cornet, electronics, percussion, flute, celeste) now lives in Brazil, it’s not too often that the Chicago Underground Trio meet up to cut a new disc. So, Delmark’s release of their ‘Chronicle’ CD comes as a bit of a major event in the field of … errr … improvised electro/acoustic space bop jazz? With long-time member Chad Taylor (drums, percussion, vibes etc) still on board, this recording, captured last year at Chicago’s Germany Cultural Center, sees the debut of Jason ‘Bloody Hands’ Ajeman on bass and electronics and it’s his clawing, grasping approach to the upright bass that dominates the opening track ‘Initiation’. A totally involving introduction to the band that picks up extra weight and momentum with the eventual addition of a swarm of ticking drums and dribbles of mutated cornet blart. Post-production duties are shared by Mazurek and TV Pow’s Todd Carter, the latter’s presence coming to the fore by gate-crashing the somewhat measured proceedings of the twenty eight minute centre piece ‘Power’. His modus-operandi being one in which the three players are almost obliterated in a nightmarish maelstrom of twisted and buckled, honest to goodness noize. And also coming as a first for Delmark, the entire concert is also available in DVD format – filmed by Raymond Salvatore Harmon, whose blend of images and primary washes were projected during the performance. Delmark records, 4121 N. Rockwell, Chicago IL 60618 USA www.delmark.com ) also have two other C.U.T. releases available, in the form of ‘Possible Cube’ and ‘Flame Thrower’, both in CD format.
Next up, a very choice selection of reissue fayre, of which the first entry Zweistein might possibly be regarded as legendary in some rabid collector circles – legendary enough for one K-rock/kosmische uberfan to lash out nigh on 700 euros for an original copy of their one and only ‘Trip-Flip Out – Meditation’ album. Initially released by Philips records in 1971, its relatively small run of six thousand copies was (aside from vinyl costs in triplicate) probably due to possessing one of the most elaborate sleeve designs of that particular decade. This meant a symphony of embossed swirls on a heavy silver foil background with a small mirrored disc attached to the front cover, which has no been perfectly reproduced for the CD format by the backroom boys at Captain Trip Records of Japan. A label who really should be applauded for seeing this labour intensive reissue project through. After all, they were hardly buoyed up on a tide of enthusiasm from other sources. ‘Cosmic Dreams at Play’ gave a ‘Not Recommended’ caveat and Hinge & Bracket, editors of ‘The Crack in the Cosmic Egg’, hedged their bets by calling it “an interesting mess”. Hmmm. Perhaps it’s time to put some flesh on the bones of this marginalized enigma. In order of appearance, they comprised of the very un-German sounding Jacques Dorian (vocals, percussion, keys, guitar and sound manipulation), engineer “plus” Peter Klamper, Jacques’ wife (vocals guitar) and the voices of a group of pre-teen schoolchildren. However, all that could be rubbish, as the only band photos reveal two women in a miniature landscape and, perusing sleeve info, it looks like Jacques / Zweistein is now also known as Suzanne Doucet! So we’re really none the wiser, are we? Anyway, to the discs.
Part One’s ‘Trip’ is a teeming mass of hollow clunking, scratchy noisemaking in which a long trail of strange vocal tics emerge and eventually dissolve to welcome fragile female vocalese which are followed by processed effects manhandled into an echo chamber of seemingly gargantuan proportions. The next section (‘Flip Out’) though is a far more challenging listening experience. ‘Children’s Golden Garden’ begins with an exploration of bathroom sonorities and then lodges in a sticky toffee melange of children’s gurgling chatter, recalling some of the quirky splicings found on Joe Meek’s ‘I Hear a New World’ LP. Also, like Faust’s hi-jacking of the Stones and the Beatles on their debut album, Zweistein can be heard plundering the Tommy James and the Shondells catalogue! Quite how they both escaped the copyright police is anyone’s guess. ‘Meditation’, the closing disc, eschews the lure of overloaded sound processing and instead heads for Dr. Strangely Strange and Incredible String band territory, albeit on a more primitive level, with its lo-fi emissions consisting of wheezy harmonica, primary school sounding recorders, bongos and a rather stately church organ. ‘I’m a Melody Maker’ and the bare bones folk of ‘A Very Simple Song’ pull the curtains on this singular release. The former’s tribal folky-boot stomp recalling nothing more than Hotlegs’ ‘Neanderthal Man’! Only in Germany – only in the early seventies.
As fellow countrymen German Oak’s self-titled sole LP (now reissued in both formats) is generating fresh interest, I don’t see why Zweistein shouldn’t follow suit. Pretty vital for collectors of the ‘Creel Pone’ oeuvre, Basil Kirchin’s ‘Worlds Within Worlds’ and possibly Friendsound’s ‘Joyride’ album (RCA ’69), where a trio of Paul Revere’s sidesmen, finally free of the revolutionary schmutter, went spectacularly apeshit in a poor unsuspecting studio. (www.captaintrip.co.uk )
Captain Trip is curated by members of the Marble Sheep, and a couple of releases of theirs are explored further on. For now though, it’s back to the past. When it came to digging audio history from Australia’s rich musical heritage, something seemed to be missing. Sure there are cartloads of psych and garage comps, but reissue activity on the experimental side seemed to be almost non-existant, until the emergence of Shame File Records’ ‘Artefacts of Australian Experimental Music 1930 – 1973’ CD. A collection that has taken label boss Clinton Green three years (!) to prepare, its contents can be loosely divided into three genres: amorphous free form, electronics and magnetic tape collage. We open with Jack Ellit whose musique concretions complimented the films of the mighty soundsculptor Len Lye (see June 07’s ‘Rumbles’) in the early thirties. His ‘Journey № 1’ being a hectic splice fest (complimenting a film on space travel) of birdsong, shipyards, train noise and crowd hubbub. It’s boggling to think that when this was recorded, King George V was still on the throne, Pluto had only just been discovered and Frederic March won an oscar for ‘Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde’! Moving on a couple of decades comes a piece by internationally acclaimed composer of American / British derived folk settings, Percy Grainger. He also collaborated with Burnett Cross on the “Free Music Machine” which produced “gliding tones” like the theremin. It’s use on ‘Free Music’ produces klaxon-like surges which remind me of John Cale’s ‘Sun Blindness Music’ experiments. His entry in that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia, puts meat on what my ex-boss’s secretary used to say about him, in amongst pronounced throat clearing and raised eyebrows: in a nutshell, Perce was a bit of a fuck-up, being an s’n’m lovin’ racist anti-semite who admired the works of Duke Ellington and George Gershwin. Huh?! Can you see what’s wrong with this picture? Let’s move swiftly on with the Melbourne Dada Group from 1952, an early neo-dada (Goonish?) quintet fronted by gladdi enthusiast Barry Humphries. Their ‘Wubbo Music’ (an aboriginal word for “nothing”) is probably one of the earliest experimental recordings made in Oz and its hiccupping incidentals, involving piano stabs, wayward saxes and recorder trills. For this piece to be completely fulfilling I think you’d need access to the visuals. I’d love to know what they were getting up to – as I would with Sid Clayton. His ‘Yehudi’ which was written for “musicians to become actors” where coughs, handclaps and fiery trumpet volleys are interspersed with classic examples of the pregnant pause. ‘Duo 3’ composed by Robert Rooney and played by the MRC Trio was deemed too hairy for an intended radio broadcast in 1965. Its impro over scored background concept is certainly as wild and uncompromising as any avant garde jazz unit emanating from the US. ‘Of Spiralling Why’ is a purely synthetic creation – devised by Stockhausen devotee Bruce Clarke. A slice of ‘Forbidden Planet’ styled voodoo where trails of swooshing and blooping electronics surround an emotionless but very trippy female voice-over searching for “an answer to why” much like a pre-echo of Brainticket’s ‘Cottonwood Hill’. Val Stephen was the first Australian electronicist to have work issued outside of his homeland. His ‘Fireworks’ saw release with the American Folkways label (home of Henry Jacobs and Barton Smith), and through tape alteration, a steady procession of household utensils and throat spasms achieve a new unsettling voice. Barry McKimm, also of the MRC Trio, had the daunting task of introducing penguin-suited classical players to impro. His ‘Monotony for 8 Trumpets’ having a weird tinge of eastern European radio collisions mixed into its somewhat academic approach. Film maker Arthur Cantrill devised his own soundtracks to his early works in the documentary and experimental spheres. The curiously eerie strains of ‘Soundtrack to Eiken’ concentrates on his wife (and fellow film maker) Corinne’s pure vocal lines, which are looped around a multi-tracked audio diary of self-dismantling violins. Tully are the only “rock” group on show and were a trailblazing psych / prog unit who found their raison d’etre during their tenure as house band for the musical ‘Hair’. Where their extended improvisations (informed by the USA’s West Coast) opened a veritable Pandora’s box for the nation’s burgeoning rock and roll underground. Their onomatopaeic ‘Phsssst’ is a set of interlinking drone scuds built on Hammond organ tones and Moog wobble. See Tony Dale’s review of their glorious ‘Sea of Joy’ reissue in October’s main review section. Felix Werder’s ‘Oscussion’ finds this transplanted Berliner and one of the country’s leading avantists for over 40 years in dark electronic / percussion mode – much like Conrad Schnitzler’s work post Tangerine Dream. ‘And Tomorrow’ (excerpt from an opera) by Keith Humble traces equally sombre tones with a distinct air of cozmik dread usually accepted as being the province of Russia’s Artemiev (senior and junior). It’s difficult to align these damp and foreboding frequencies with their origins in a land of such agreeable weather conditions! ‘Excerpt № 2’ from mid-seventies jazz improve unit Niaggra employs scrambled shorthand blasts of wind and keys, where colourful splashes of AMM-like vivid tonal colour are squeezed out of thin air. And to close the collection, Ron Nagorcka who is the only artist I’m familiar with as I was lucky enough to snaffle up both volumes of ‘New Music’ (released on Innocent, home of the Chocolate Grinders amongst others) some years back. The performance of this excerpt from ‘Apathetic Anomaly 2’ is dictated by flowcharts and its overflowing sonic jumble centres solely on conversations between TVs, radio and record players.
This project (assisted by Australian Arts Council funding) is a true labour of love, one that’s intelligently curated and successfully makes a comprehensive exploded diagram out of a far too sketchy past. Great!
I think the very last appearance (on vinyl) of ‘Do The Ostrich’ by the pre-Velvet Underground combo The Primitives was to be found on ‘The Velvet Underground – etc. Volume 1’ LP on the Plastic Inevitable label back in 1979. Strangely enough this hysterical ode to the joys of stomping on your dance partner’s head has come out of hiding again on part 4 of the ‘Twistin’ Rumble’ compilation album series. This takes in a whole host of belting vintage novelty r’n’b and failed dance crazes like ‘The Splib’ (J.C. Davis) and the nutsoid ‘Wa-Wabble’ by the Debelaires. Equally as satisfying as the Jungle Exotica and Las Vegas Grind comps, it can be found on the imaginatively named Twistin’ Rumble label.
Now, if you have a yen for the lesser known branches of the Os Mutantes family tree, in amongst J.B. clone Toni Tornado’s hyperventilating ‘O Journaleiro’ and the weird falsetto strains of ‘E Necessario’ by Tim Maia, you can find a rather fine Rita Lee and Tutti Frutti track shining out of the ‘Brooklyn Beats Brazil’ vinyl (or CD) compilation, released on the Mr. Bongo label (www.mrbongo.com). ‘Agora a Moda’ comes from 1978’s ‘Babalonia’ album and is a sultry mix of clavinet driven glam funk, some sub-orgasmic Donna Summerisms and an attractive morse code motif which the liner notes suggest has its roots in Bowie’s ‘Starman’ but if you go back a few years from that, you’ll find the very same thing da-da-ditting its was through the Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me hanging On’. Hardly revelatory I know… it’s only recently I noticed the glaring similarities between a recurring phrase in Hendrix’s ‘Dolly Dagger’ and the opening stages of Alice Cooper’s ‘Elected’.
Anyway, back on the train of compilations: one of the best examples of “various artists eclectica” I’ve encountered in a long while has got to be the ‘B Music’ double vinyl set coming from Manchester’s Finders Keepers label (www.finderskeepersrecords.com) This “cross continental record raid road trip” finds resident DJs Andy Votel and Dom Thomas plus ten guests (including DJ Cherrystones, Bob Stanley and David Holmes) in unwavering pursuit of esoteric vinyl treasures that have never been comped before. In certain cases, that won’t come as a surprise as both the Rodway Leyland Duo and Amral’s Trinidad Cavaiers Steel Drum Orchestra are pretty much white elephants when it comes to finding them suitable homes. The former’s ‘Caravan’, a working men’s club scampi in the basket styled club standard, is tackled in such a hurried way that would imply that there’s a couple of rum ‘n’ blacks with their names on waiting at the bar. The latter’s cover of War’s ‘The World is a Ghetto’ is fairly unusual inasmuch as this is the first time I’ve ever heard steel pans caught in such a downcast frame of mind. A rained off car-ni-vaaaaal in other words. Representing the UK front, we’ll start with Chwys, a Welsh glammy hard rock outfit whose gigs during the seventies usually had their frontman cavorting with a snake a la Alice the Coop. If it wasn’t for the native language sprechsang, ‘Gwr Bonheddig’ could be mistaken for a slice of gritty American seventies graunch from Tinhouse or the Illinois Speed Press. One time Cornish psychsters The Onyx entered a hairier phase with ‘Air’ (on Parlophone) in 1971, brimming with guitar and Hammond dogfights and closing with a glorious massed percussion break. The Nashville Teens’ ‘Wydicombe Fair’, written by vocalist Ray Phillips, is as you’d suspect a surly and threatening piece of mid-paced r’n’b that fully deserves its reactivation – as this alternate version was only ever available as a Hungarian import single. A criminally undervalued band – see also ‘Watcha Gonna Do’ and ‘Poor Boy’ (from the film ‘Gonks Go Beat’), both of which can be found on the old Broken Dreams compilation series, but have probably snuck onto other collections by now. Other highpoints, worldwide this time: ‘Waterworld’ by Sam Spence seems to be a ‘Hot Butter’ with croutons where the switches are glued on the thweep and gurgle. Jerry Williams’ ‘Crazy ‘Bout You baby’ is a greasy, bluesy strut reliant on the cowbell. I wonder if this is the same Jerry Williams who became the funk legend Swamp Dogg? The sleevenotes don’t mention any link, but listening to this numerous times it could well be the man himself unmasked.
Fellow Americans Indoor Life’s ‘Archaeology’ featuring JJ Deane and Patrick Cowley (the man behind Sylvester’s ‘You Make Me Feel Mighty Real’!) gives voice, with a Bryan Ferry-like intonation, to the dead beneath our feet. “Dig and dig and dig, the future world’s beneath, until they excavate, until they set us free.” Unusual textures abound with scads of cold analogue circuitry and JJ’s doctored trombone figures. There’s also Daniel Schell / Dick Annegram’s chamber jazz fusions, a e bizottsag’s Dadaist ‘Uncle Meat’ feast and Charlie & Esder’s ‘Da Klagor Mina Grannar’ – mind expanding sitar prog from a Swedish duo whose eponymous LP has been reissued recently in CD format on the Mellotronen imprint (www.mellotronen.com). Now look, I don’t want to be thought of as a slavedriver, but is a volume II on the cards?!
Also seen doing the rounds in a number of vinyl outlets is a reissue of The Superfine Dandelion’s self titled LP, originally released on Mainstream Records in 1966. Its front sleeve captures the four piece togged out in all their best Sunday finers, looking fifty per cent Charlatans and fine tenths Lovin’ Spoonful. I guess that pretty much sums up their sound as well, although they fall slightly short in the divine inspiration stakes that those two groups basked in. But it has to be said that their sole foray into neurotic garage territory with ‘The Other Sidewalk’ would be a high point of any sixties themed mixtape. This band, with links to the Stone Poneys, also had within its ranks bassist Rick Anderson who, in the next decade, I would see at Southampton Gaumont propping up the backline of the Tubes, with vocalist Fee Waybill (that scamp!) invading the front rows with a chainsaw and then “accidentally” allowing his old man to poke out from under his kecks.
Apart from a brief mention in the Scented Garden europedia the Pop Instrumental de France LP seems like the Zweistein repro to have only garnered interest amongst the closed orders since its initial release. It was brought into being by one Laurent Petitgirad, a pianist, composer and orchestrator who already had well over a hundred scores to his credit before getting into pop / rock composition. His first foray into this genre as Aleph saw two singles released on the Disques AZ imprint. The Pop Instrumental project followed a year or so later in 1971, was written in three days (!) and was issued on the Vogue label in apparently small numbers. Recebtly Vadim Records (www.vadimmusic.com) have given it a reissue on vinyl and CD formats which now finds this seven piece outfit in conundrum central, being neither one thing or the other. Their melodic progressive moves seem to constantly seesaw with music library, bachelor pad grooviness, so for every extended keyboard excursion (‘Musique Rose’) or string driven homage ('Albert Ayler in Memoriam') there’s also the Pearl & Dean funk of ‘Soho’ and the breezy, freewheeling ‘Clavier Clafoullies’. So, to get things in perspective, this is FAR better than Catharsis, on a par with Pulsar (or Ange), but falling short of the Moving Gelatine Plates. Other ‘square pegs in round holers” recently enjoyed (French division) are self-titled reissues by The Baroque Jazz Trio and La Formula du Baron, released on L’Arome and Dan Dare Records respectively.
As a follow on from my scrawl on the reissued Farm LP in July’s main reviews section incidentally, EM Records, as part of their ‘Under Water’ series, have also given a second roll of the dice to Tamam Shud, who, in their previous incarnation as r’n’b beat combo The Sunsets, also pieced together soundtracks for Paul Witzig in the shape of ‘Hot Generation; and ‘A Life In The Sun’. Eventually their collective heads were turned inside out by the waft of ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ and ‘Da Capo’ which resulted in a complete transformation and name change (which is a Persian phrase for “the very end”). They hitched up with Witzig again for the soundtrack of ‘Revolution’ which was released in 1969 under the CBS imprint. It came from two session,s the first of which also employed two members of fellow Aussie prog-psychsters Tully, in Robert Lockwood and Michael Carlos (winds and keys respectively), was used in the actual film. The second, recorded live in 2 and a half hours, was not, but nevertheless was developed from the ‘Evolution’ concept. Their brand of rough-edged psychy r’n’b rooted in (late) Misunderstood, the Attack and The Mike Stuart Span shows that their apprenticeship in the Sunsets obviously paid big dividends as their debut album showcases an oufit that’s at the very top of their particular game. It’s certainly a head scratcher in trying to select a few highlights from this self-assured set, as their filler quotient is a definite zero. ‘Mr Strange’, a medium-paced slap in the kisser to the old “straight” order must be mentioned and shows vocalist / songwriter Lindsay Bjerre at his best in both departments while the fuzztone and sustain bursts in ‘Falling Up’, they Hey Joe-iness of ‘Rock On Top’ and the bluesy ‘Feel Free’ (with its false start left in) show, to anyone with half an ear, that Zac Zytnik, the guitarist with a name tailor made for the Zolar X reunion, would definitely be a suitable candidate for inclusion in the “guitar gods” series of trading cards from Galactic Zoo Dossier magazine. Fellow antipodeans Vince Melourney (Bee Gees), Daevid Allen, Billy TK and Pip Proud have already been honoured, so Zac’s the next logical step – petitition now!
‘Revolution’ does have its extras (as mentioned ad infinitum – it’s an EM tradition; no skimping!) – aside from a lyric sheet, detailed sleeve notes and related interviews, there’s the ‘Bali Waters’ EP, recorded in 1972 on Warner Brothers. With only Bjerre and bassists Peter Barron surviving from the original line-up, and featuring 16 year old winderkind Tim Gaze, the three tracks veer towards a goodvibesy west coast state of mind. With their undoubted dynamism blunted, any traces of their debut and indeed ‘Goolutionites & The Real People’, their equally great follow up from 1970, are virtually non existent and I have to disagree when Bjerre mentions that this particular line-up of the band was their “best ever”. Naaaah! ‘Falling Up’ and its friends come up trumps every time.
Also on Em, is a splendid retrospective featuring the work of Idris Ackamoor (aka Bruce Baker of Yellow Springs, Idaho USA). ‘The Music of Idris Ackamoor (1974 – 2004)’ double CD set documents a little known career in afrocentric avant jazz that fully embraces the ecstatic and fire music sub genres. Volume 1 begins in 1971 (bang goes the album’s sub-title!) with ‘Shepherd’s Tune’ by The Collective, formed by Idris while at Antioch College. A fine piece that comprised of flute, French horn, piano, drums and Ackamoor’s wild, joyous soprano sax. The next phase came whilst on a year’s break from academia with the Pyramids, who formed in France and then soaked up the culture of Ghana, Kenya, Morocco etc. Eventually the quintet returned to the States to cut their debut album ‘Lalibela’. The African influences on the three tracks included here coming well to the fore with an exotic percussion overload that’s suffused with indigenous instruments such as the Ugandan harp and the plywood violin-sounding strains of the mesenko. Keepings things grounded though is Kimathe Asante’s Hagstrom bass, a company name I haven’t heard of in years. ‘The King of Kings’ album followed in 1974. The line-up was augmented by Jerome Saunders on piano and cellist Chris Chaffe and finds the unit occupying more tranced out, glassy-eyed territories, the chant dominated ‘Mogho Naba’ being a prime example of this development with some gloriously soaring alto sax adding to the wonderment. Disc Two takes in a couple of numbers from their third and final LP ‘Birth / Speed / Merging’ and signals the end of the vinyl releases – all of which are no doubt at the top of the funk / jazz cratediggers’ wants lists.
Cloaked in old mysticism, the ‘Birth / Speed / Merging’ suite with shakuhachi on part two, is shaded by a definite afro-oriented tinge, which then makes way for a couple of previously unreleased barnstormers – ‘Africa’ is an ebullient field recording Idris Ackamoor and his wife Margaux, on flute and percussion, made with the King’s Drummers of Tomade, Ghana in 1973. With its conch-shell-sound-bamboophone, ‘Black man of the Nile’ is undoubtedly head and shoulders above all else on offer here. The bellowing “Nubia Nubia!” chant threatens to claw its way out of the speakers while an extended maniac blast of alto sax from Idris is classic “lungs out of the bell / studio reduced to a vacuum” stuff. Even Albert Ayler pursued by rampaging elephants doesn’t come close. The last four tracks, culled from CDs on the Cultural Odyssey imprint, finds Idris involved with slightly smaller ensembles and shows the African continent’s sphere of influence to be waning in deference to more conventional, starchier collared stateside jazz refs. More linear, less exotic, but still cooking nonetheless. Any followers out there, or indeed any “Out There” followers, of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Manu (‘Soul Makossa’) Dibango, (Oneness Of) Juju and Yuseef Ateef must surely heed the call of Ackamoor!
In a previous review of Amorfon Records’ Yoshio Machida, I mentioned that the steel pans were an instrument that made very few forays into contemporary musics in the last forty years or so. Well, since then EM records (who else?) have shot a few holes through that statement by releasing two CDs under the “Steel pan & jazz funk” banner. They revolve around the career of Rudy Smith, a steel pan player from Trinidad who formed a couple of free jazz combos namely The Modern Sound Quartet and then The Rudy Smith Quartet. After moving to Sweden in 1968 a second incarnation of the MSQ regularly toured Scandinavia and released the ‘Otinku’ album on the Finnish Odeon Records label in 1972. It would seem to be a difficult task for the pans to sustain interest throughout a whole LP, but they hold up surprisingly well and never drag the material into easy / cocktail lounge territory. However, for me the most successful tracks are the ones where other band-members are given their space, such as the loping Afrocentric groove of the title track which is held together by the prominent electric bass of Siegfried Macintosh and the cool piano stylings of John Roachford. Glimpsed at their most striking on the Arabic / flamenco-themed ‘Ursia’. This can also be found in more measured surroundings on the ‘Still Around’ album by the Rudy Smith Quartet. This was recorded in Denmark (Rudy’s next port of call) and released on the S&P label in 1984. It’s a partly smooth, partly busy set where the band jazzify some imaginary Bach in ‘Be Bach’, charm the birds right out of the trees with elegant ballads like ‘Elise’ and, this is unusual, cover a Johnny Dyani (ex-Blue Notes, Steve Lacy / Don Cherry bassist) track, ‘Blues for Bradick. This release features a different line-up from the previous disc, alongside Ole Matthiessen (piano) and bassist Niels Prastholm comes the drum mastery of Gibert Matthews, ex of Archie Shepp and Johnny Dyani. EM Records, 5-11-37-503 Yamasaka Higashisumiyoshi-Ku, Osaka, S46-0035 Japan www.emrecords.net
Right! That’s the end of then, here we are back at the sharp end of now again with Unimother 27. That might seem to be the brand name of some dubious gadget (like the Orb!) from ‘Sleeper’, Woody Allen’s glimpse into a future world, but in fact it’s a space / prog / psych / whathaveyou project spiralling out of the Pescari province in southern Italy under the control of a certain Piero Ranalli. The eponymous debut from 2006, which was recorded at the Pineal Gland labs, namechecks an eclectic litany of seventies headtrippers like Dzyan, Annexus Quam, Hapshash and Ash Ra, and heads towards a darkly lit cityscape with phantom of the (space) opera keyboard settings and trails of crunching, rattling fuzz signatures, strangely redolent of Helios Creed. From the discordant and jagged ‘Prelude / Delay’ to ‘Without Centre’s warped organistics, this largely instrumental collection (aside from Piero’s “Voice From beyond”) is a difficult one to pin down. Wafts of Peter Frohmader, The Passage, Jasun Martz and a garage-based R.I.O. collective are brought to mind, but then how about a Jesus Acedo, or St Mikael? Unimother27’s follow-up ‘Escape from the Ephemeral Mind’, again a solo op, comes as a more fully realised work compared to the above. But intimations of the macabre and the devilish are still there, which is underlined by the front cover’s photo of a smiling skull wearing a floppy straw hat. Its eight numbers come into two forms, the cozmik six-string explorations of, say, ‘Crying in the Violet Room’ and ‘The Last Train’ (are you ready?) or ‘Pray With me’ and ‘Homo Sapiens’ both approximating a psychedelicised ‘red’ era King Crimson-like crunch. The latter is especially fine with its synth-swirls and fx-distressed chants of “dig yourself... the body doesn’t forget”. Piero’s eighteen year career has zigzagged wildly from the acid psych moves of the City Sewer System to the early nineties power trio eruptions of Insider (CD releases ‘Insider’, ‘Journey for Smiling Gods’, ‘Land of Crystals’ and ‘Simple Waterdrops’) and then to the dark prog of Areknames which preceded Unimother by a couple of years. Which is where we came in... (www.pinealgland.it)
As a result of global warming (arguably) the weather year has now shrunken down to a moderate grey winter and a forgetful, indifferent summer. However, Sharron Kraus, a folk voice that’s dear to the ears of many Terrascope contributors, is on hand to reintroduce and reinforce the individual characteristics of the four seasons with the ‘Right Wantonly a-Mumming’ CD. With the cream of Oxon folk behind her (step forward members of Bellowhead and GMW) the sympathetic portrayal of Trad. Arrs. Like ‘Barleycorn’ and ‘The Hawthorn Tree’ neatly compliment the beautifully sparse arrangements of Kraus-written pieces like the charming ‘Wedding Song’ and the creepy “depleted Mr Fox on a ghost train” feel of ‘All Hallows’. Some have rubber stamped ‘Right Wantonly’ a “pastiche” but that all too common tongue in cheek / postmodern behaviour where one is afraid to reveal his/her true self is not shown here. Sure the wordage and imagery veers towards the archaic but, do you really want folk songs detailing the Nine to Five of a data entry clerk from Surbiton? Murder ballads and mythic qualities are what’s required! The set’s age old themes of “toil and reward” still hold water with (cough) modern day living and all that entails. By the way, the accompanying blurb comes with a recommendation from Shirley Collins: well, if she can’t identify great folk music at close range then we may as well abandon all hope (www.boweevilrecordings.com)
(Phil rather cheekily interjects with a review of his own here...) This seems like a suitable moment to recommend if I may ‘The Crow Club’, a various artists compilation released by the People Tree Records label in support and celebration of the London folk club of the same name (i.e. the Crow Club). Featured artists, all of whom can be associated with the club in some way (some from having played there, many through having had their records played there) include Roger Bunn, whose stream-of-consciousness words set against jazz rhythms and 60s acid-psych punctuated by occasional horns echoes nothing so much as Ken Nordine; high praise indeed. Sadly Bunn passed away in 2005 without his one and only solo project – 1969’s ‘Piece of Mind ‘, from which ‘Road to the Sun’ is lifted – being heard by more than a handful of people, most of them Crow Club habitués. Talking of Nordine and his ‘Colors’ LP, also featured are Fuschia - who are represented courtesy of a gorgeously frivolous psych-folk gem entitled ‘Me and My Kite’, and Jade (which unlike Fuschia wasn’t a colour chosen by Nordine for his album, but easily could have been), a.k.a. Marianne Segal with Silver Jade and their ‘Mrs Adams’ lifted from the ‘Fly on Strangewings’ LP. Marianne Segal herself has recently recorded a new album with members of Circulus which is allegedly well worth hearing (Circulus themselves are featured here with a song entitled ‘La Rotta’, incidentally). Funky, jazzy chanteuse Jaki Whitren asks ‘Which Way Do I Go?’ and Clive Palmer (who presumably needs no introduction whatsoever) answers with an ‘Old Maid’s Song’. The gorgeously voiced Charlotte Greig sings the aptly titled ‘Crows’, while it’s left to Katy Carr to deliver, as it were, the obligatory for any self-respecting folk compilation highwayman song, ‘Turpin’. This is a fine compilation which is well worth hearing. (www.myspace.com/peopletreerecords)
Back to Steve, now. As mentioned back-a-ways, Japanese power psyche cadets the Marble Sheep have added a couple more CD releases to their ever swelling back catalogue (now in its 20th year!) The ‘Message From Oarfish’ CD / DVD combo is a studio based collection that is one of the most powerful sets from them that I’ve ever heard. ‘Skull Cool’ and ‘Egyptian Queen’ are fine examples of their XS upon XS equation. Ken and Tak’s guitars scream the place down. Rie’s bass functions at thunderous levels, while the double drummers make me wonder why too many other outfits haven’t adopted this set up. Punk / acid madness that fans of Earthless, Plastic Crimewave, Nebula etc should seize without delay – you can always eat tomorrow. That one’s on Captain Trip, meanwhile their document of a European tour of Germany and Switzerland (‘Raise the Dead’) can be found on Fuenfundviersig Records of Germany. A great live recording, with frantic versions of ‘Rain’ and others culled from ‘Demolitions of a Spiritual Framework’ CD – lauded to the skies by Phil in PT issue 35 (www.fuenfundvierzig.com)
And still with ovine-related matters, guitarist Ken Matsutani’s Mickey Guitar Project reaches its fourth instalment, with the ‘Flowers’ CD in which ambient guitar textures, in the vein of Robert Fripp’s ‘At the End of Time’, are gently coaxed from a contemplative studio environment at Peace Music in Tokyo (Captain Trip).
And that's it! Until next time...
Rumbles for January 2008 was brought to you by Steve Pescott. Artwork, layout & editing: Phil McMullen. © Terrascope Online MMVIII