= Rumbles =
= October 2006 =
Rumbles this month is brought to you by Simon Lewis and friends (who he'll introduce as he goes along)
Well here we are again, trying to make sense of the huge volume of music that is slowly creeping across the lounge floor and threatening to evict us into the street. So large has the pile grown in fact, that we have enlisted some extra (and very welcome help) to participate in Rumbles, ensuring you get to read about the music before it is deleted. First up a big Terrascope welcome to Carlton Crutcher (ST37, Book Of Shadows) who will lead you through a couple of choice items in his own personal style. Thank-you Carlton.
MV and EE with the Bummer Road play Ellas McDaniel's Who do You Love!! MV is guitarist Matthew Valentine formerly of the pioneering free-folk collective Tower Recordings and EE is vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Erika Elder and the Bummer Road is Moses Jiggs on harp environments, frontier and lunar drums, percussion, synthesiser, vocal and Willie Lane on the 12 string guitar. This is their fifth CD and it's one 39:56 piece of music, it has an awesome 1970ish Peakin' on Nature CD cover. How to describe the music, Jandek meets Hapshash and the Coloured Coat? There are guitars and percussion, this music is definitely a contact high!!! At around 7:20 you hear some chicken noises, kinda like when your fat insane cousin Verl tried to drown you in the water trough in 1972 while you were listening to Aoxomoxoa on your hi-fi headphones and Verl started crying and apologising and climbed up to the top of that tree and wouldn't come down!!! Yeah, this CD is like that!!! At around 11:57 there is nice hippy trippy guitar with echo percussion sounds but it's never silly retro hippy but "Nipple Awareness Ultra Super Hippy"...16:15 reverbed out female vocal saying/reciting something or other, this is a great CD! I'm relieved there are people making music like this...some glass tinkling, sonic zooms, more percussion...from the back of the CD; "listen erudite born ears hadst thou but song and treasure in the environments where there is love there is hay to roll in otherwise black azure for apollo out of a question orgies we have heard the pines and they whisper in the microlight where some godhead is gored we pack up our bags and worship in the corridor parted before thee"...starts to wander a bit, I'd hoped that they would have skinned a mule Live by now!!! But impressive none the less, some more chanting female vocals...Free your mind and your ass will follow, the Kingdom of Heaven is within!!.... Why, these folks sound like my kin that I've never met!!! Since radio only plays shite, modern bands like MV and EE can play music that's straight from the heart. As much as I love 60's music, most of the bands then never had the luxury to play/record such uncommercial music. I like this CD very much but it does meander in places but with a track that's 39 minutes long you have to expect that I guess? I haven’t heard their other releases but it would be nice to hear the music change gears at some point, but maybe I'm missing the whole point of Bummer Road? I guess that's EE's vocal at about 28 minutes, at around 30 minutes a weird helium voice come in, at 31 minutes it starts to really pick up tempo and for the first time you can tell that it's Who do you Love!!! This CD is on Spectrasound, an environment of outer space love.
Akron/Family is Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton, Dana Janssen, and Ryan Vanderhoof, all on various instruments and vocals. They are based out of New York City and produced by Michael Gira on Young God Records and this is their third LP. BLESSING FORCE 9:29 starts out with intense, pounding Hawkwindish rock, Hippies ready to take over the world goes avant over the top intense psychedelia. Wow! Who are these guys? Goes into insane jazz.... GONE BEYOND 3:22 totally changes into folk music with simple man vocals and lyrics.... MEEK WARRIOR 2:17 more old worldly sing along folk music with American Country vocals...the press release says "Since the debut Akron/Family album came out in March '05 they've played hundreds (and hundreds) of shows across the known world"...NO SPACE IN THIS REALM 5:12 more spacey folk music, The Carter Family on acid, nice drums and percussion, it's pretty...kind of like if the 60's revolution kept going instead of becoming James Taylor and the Partridge Family...LIGHTNING BOLT OF COMPASSION 4:10 lilting, Russian? sounding folk...nice to see that Michael Gira's label is continuing the insanely intense dedication he entertained/frightened us all with in the 80's...what language is this?...If you don't remember Gira's old band the Swans, they were the most heavy, intense band ever!!! Making the 80's hardcore bands seem like bubblegum pop. The most hardcore of the hardcore, like Henry Rollins worshipped the Swans, as did the members of my band ST 37. The Swans gradually went more folky and accessible, which was to me even more interesting, and now bands like Akron/Family take the best of the hardcore, intense, politically/socially aware commitment and combine it with the best of the 60's festival avant folk bands, without the need to ever consider radio friendly songs, since the radio has been playing the same rotation of songs since 1974, Freebird forever...THE RIDER (DOLPHIN SONG) 7:17 very 1969, wow I didn't know people were still doing this sort of thing, where have these folks been and why don't I know them? Drops in short intense Swans bursts and then back to the Festival beat! The singalong on the acid trip you never come back from.... Over the top twisted saxophone skronk.... LOVE AND SPACE 3:37 back to the down home folk sing along with mushroom moonshine. This is a cool CD, it's not boring...."Lord open my heart, make it into a mirror".
Ben Reynolds is a solo guitarist, improviser, noise, and psychedelic music composer based in the city of Glasgow. He's an occasional participant in Phil Todd's long running project Ashtray Navigations and a member of rock band Wow. Oustmospheric Arts of the Outmosphere seems to be his sixth release. I'd probably have more to say about this CD if I could get it to play!! OUTMOSPHERIC ARTS OF THE OUTMOSHPHERE this sounds pretty great, total improvisational atmospheric drone, with marimba? It's hard to tell all the instruments. CRACKS SWOON MOON more of the same, some thumpy guitar, uhmmmm...this isn't so spectacular or is it? Overall interesting racket but the guitar is somewhat unimaginative, sounds like sitting in the window of a large city listening to the traffic sounds down below, along with some loud thumpin' guitar...UNMIGHTY PLUMES OF TO MOON SHIT pretty great title! Music, more of the same, no guitar on this one! Or just a different sounding guitar? TELECOPTER ORDINARY CENTURY some nice dronage...SWEET MISTY skewed, slanted, Haunted Lunatic Asylum!!! Oh, the madness of it all, what does it mean? Same/similar instrumentation from track to track but Oh!, this one has some vocalisations!!! Tragic mosquito sound...HAVOC YAWK more more more of the same, like an underwater, experimental recording of a hockey game?! Air Hockey maybe? Anti-Gravity Air Hockey game in space,,,,, more nice dronage, almost like chants, slowed down chants? What is the enchanted chanter chanting? COMBING CLUSTER IT'S THE REAL SPEED THROUGH SPACE short!!! CLASSIC AT THE SOUND WORLD fluttering, chirping, droning, weird moans in the background, pretty cool. Some bell tinklin' which is always nice. This stuff isn't really groundbreakin' but pretty great for what it is "experimental, improv, drone". Nice chord organ melody, they always sound so cool, the less you know how to play them the better they sound. Trippy tinklin' guitar, gurgling and burbling keys? Uh, Oh, now it's a guitar, chord organ dual! This CD seems to get progressively better, or maybe I get progressively more into it?
Thanks Carlton, more to follow in future Rumbles I hope.
Dennis Most has been playing punk/garage inspired music for over thirty years, gaining a cult following and releasing a string of albums under a variety of names. His latest offering “I’m Not Dead Yet!” sees the resurrection of The Instigators (only other album released in 1979) a band who play noisy and brutal songs of the three-minute variety, although they do break the five minute mark whilst covering “Down On The Streets” (Stooges). Other covers include “Teenage Head” (Flamin Groovies) and “Angela” (The Pagans), giving you an idea of the Instigators sound. Turn it up, you’ll be glad you did. www.dennismostinstigators.com . More garage punk insanity can be found on the self-titled debut by Atomic Buddha, featuring the vocal/guitar talents of former Sanity Assassin Adam Schwartz. Containing twelve slices of prime noise the band have produced some killer material that is marred slightly by a muddy production, although after a few beers this doesn’t seem to matter anymore. I bet they are a ball of energy live, possibly their natural environment. Kgrave2000@hotmail.com
Opening with a hail of echoed guitar and synths, the debut album by SSM is packed with dense guitar riffs, sing-a-long chorus, strange keyboard interludes and enough attitude to carry it all of in gloriously confused style. The first two tracks maintain a power pop manifesto with “Exit Strategy” being particularly strong. Third track “Ain’t Love” changes the focus however, sounding like a UK new wave song, all angular and keyboard driven. From then on in, it’s no-holds barred, as the band suck in influences from all points from the last thirty years and blend them into a melodic, unexpected and cohesive whole, creating a highly entertaining album for your ears. www.alivenergy.com. Also on Alive Records The Buffalo Killers play mid-paced guitar driven songs that are both melodic and fucked up, The Beatles meeting Neil Young for a very productive recording session. Whatever the comparisons, this is classic three-piece rock with tight harmonies, solid rhythms, and enough flair and passion to lift them above the herd, and is definitely an album that creeps up on you over time. Treading a similar path and also on Alive Records, Trainwreck Riders, play twisted Americana, with a hint of madness and lots of goodtime energy, that ensures the songs rock along with vigour and purpose. Highlights include the wonderful “Your Sisters And Your Sisters Friends” filled with great guitar, the Johnny Cash stomp of “Wine Stains” or the violin soaked ballad “To The Grave”. Fans of The Band Or Buffalo Springfield should check this album out.
Laden with more hooks than a fishing shop “”In Search Of” is another collection of power-pop gems from The Doxies, whose last album “Weight Of Gold” still gets regular plays as I drive around the countryside. The strangely named “Goat” opens thing with style, the crunchy guitars grabbing your attention immediately, the joyous keyboards injecting just the right amount of lightness into the song. Next track, “Every Once In A while” has a sugar coated chorus with succulent vocal harmonies from latest recruit drummer Phylshawn Johnson, whilst “Take You Anywhere” has classic radio pop written all over it. This is a great record that is simple and effective, as good things often are. www.co-optrecords.com
One of the finest of the west-coast bands was the mighty Spirit, whose “The Twelve Dreams Of Dr Sardonicus” is considered by many people (including myself) as their finest moment (I know Phil disagrees with this, I guess it is all down to when you heard the Spirit albums and the memories attached, music does not live in isolation for anyone). Anyhow, now a group of spirit fans calling themselves 13 Dreams, including friends of Randy California, have got together to re-record the whole of the “Sardonicus “album, with a few extra unreleased spirit songs added. To be fair they do an excellent job with the material, capturing the feel of the original and updating it with effects and samples. The playing is strong and assured throughout and the album is not only enjoyable, but also far better than I expected when I first opened case and put the disc on. I guess the problem I have is that I love the original so much that I see no point in messing with perfection. Those of you with less emotional attachment to the record may well find much to enjoy however. (Anda Records 13110 NE 177th PL, suite 121 Woodinville, WA 98072).
Trying to create electronic music influenced by Eric Dolphy and Birdsong seems like an interesting idea, and is one that is beautifully realised by Connor Bell working under the name of Shedding. Utilising field recording, samples, drums and bass, the approach works perfectly, giving the pieces a delicate touch, full of lightness and grace. You can almost see the birds, as the music gently drift around the room, the sympathetic samples and arrangements ensuring the music is exotic without becoming harsh, interesting without becoming too clever or difficult. Called “What God Doesn’t Bless, You Won’t Love; What You Don’t Love, The Child Won’t Know”, this is a understated delight that will soothe and relax you as it floats through the air. www.home-tapes.com. Also on Home-Tapes is the uplifting sound of Feather whose latest EP “Synchromy” manages to sound like a mix of easy-listening and kraut-rock, creating weird instrumentals that weave all over the place yet retain their melody and structure. Giving an extra brightness is the excellent production that brings the songs to life, enabling the listener to hear everything that is happening within the tune. Music to make you happy and much better for it. Finally on Home-Tapes Scott Solter de-constructs his own production of “Stowaway” by Pattern Is Movement to create a completely new collection of songs that have now been released as “Canonic”. Using nothing but the original recording and his own skills Solter has produced a pulsating dub-inspired album that contains elements of drone, experimental, dub, electronic music, as well as retaining a harmonic basis and a danceable heart. Music for a “herbal moment”, I would love to hear the original album to see how they compare. All three of these albums are housed in beautiful packaging, adding to the quality of the release, something that is to be welcomed in this throwaway society.
Working out of Los Angeles The Antiques demonstrate some excellent songwriting skills on their debut album “Nicknames And Natives”. Featuring timeless melodies, and a rock and roll heart, the songs update classic themes and remind me of The Orange Humble Band in their sound and approach. Standout song include the rockin’ “Pigless”, the Stonesy groove of “Dawn”, and the emotional pull of “Near Yorktown And At The X”. So take a pinch of stones, a touch big star, and a little bit of the byrds and you have a tasty musical stew that is warm and fulfilling, and as welcome as you dearest friend. www.banterrecords.com
On his latest album Elijah Wyman manages to sound like the cure if they had been American instead of English. Using a wide array of instruments including clarinet, banjo, trumpet, dulcimer, guitar and percussion, the song are heartfelt and dripping with emotion, no more so than on the percussion led “Doves Blood Desert Sand”, a slow tribal stomp of the highest order. Rich with counter harmonies and exquisite musical flourishes every song on the album is a joy to listen to, telling a personal story with wry humour. Now I think about it, the cure comparison is slightly suspect, but I am reminded of them in the song structures and the fact that the vocals do, at times, sound like Robert Smith (without the Goth haircut I imagine, but I could be wrong). www.elijahwyman.com
Every time I have listened to “Fire Breathing Clones On Mobile Phones”, the latest album by Dan Melchior, I have been strongly reminded of another album in my collection, without actually managing to remember what that album is. Well, today, just in the nick of time the name popped into my head. Both albums feature spiky guitar riffs, angry yet humorous lyrics, off-kilter lyrical subjects, saxophones that squonk in the background and an assured vocal delivery. The Name of the album is “The Maximum Effect”, and the band is Inner City Unit, the outfit led by Nik Turner (Hawkwind). So, if you own this album go buy “Fire Breathing Clones”, and if you don’t, go and buy both of them, quality items the pair. www.danmelchior.com also available on the Italian label “solid Sex Lovie Doll” is a wonderful 7” single entitled “Span Of Attention”/”To The River” that comes with a picture single and everything and is the only piece of vinyl to grace this edition of Rumbles, God bless ya Dan.
With a voice that is halfway between blues and folk, although the songs are delicate acoustic affairs, Pepi Ginsberg can mesmerise you with ease as she sings her personal stories. Featuring sparse accompaniment, percussion and some wonderful guitar playing that has a West Coast feel in its delicate runs, the songs are dominated by the voice, rich and evocative, bringing the tales to life in a delightful way. The title track of the album “Orange Juice: Stephanie Stephanie”, is possibly the strongest track part two being particularly gorgeous. www.myspace.com/pepiginsberg
For his second album (Duncan Sumpner) Songs Of Green Pheasant has moved away from the folksy feel of his debut into a more personal and expansive sound that recalls such act as Galaxie 500, Ride and a relaxed stone roses. Opening song “Pink By White” displays a wide sonic palette and soars majestically out of the starting block, setting a standard that is easily matched by the rest of the album. The sound of plainsong meeting Talk Talk is brought to mind by “Remembering And Forgetting”, a truly sumptuous song, that haunts the room it is played in. For “Wolves Amongst Snowmen” a fragile drone is invoked, underpinning the delicate melodies that tiptoe above, whilst a trippy cover of “Dear Prudence” adds yet more textures to the album. www.fat-cat.co.uk . Also on Fat-Cat, but walking a totally different path is Welcome, whose latest album “Sirs” mixes the 60’s freakbeat of The Creation or Johns children with some more modern sonic terrorists, such as Deerhoof or Pussy Galore. To my ears it is this blend that gives the album it’s twisted appeal the guitar sliding and skittering in seemingly random shapes before crashing back just in time for the vocals. Containing 10 tracks in 28 minutes, the album flies by in a paisley amphetamine haze, each song crashing into the next, although "First" and “Sirs” can be picked from the wreckage as perfect examples of the bands sound. Presumably in an attempt to crack the top 40, Fat-Cat have also released a couple of singles in the shape of vetiver’s “Won’t Be Me”, a jaunty countryish song taken from the rather fine album “To Find Me Gone”, backed by the previously unreleased “Busted” another countryfied song complete with steel guitar loveliness. Also released is “Hurt To Try” one of the best songs by Tom Brosseau (from the album Empty Houses Are Lonely) backed with the gentle melancholy of the unreleased “Portrait Of George Washington”.
Rising from the ashes of Ctrlaltdelete (whose album we rumbled in a previous edition) Mt continue to play drone/ noise orientated guitar rock, although this time there is more melody and the quiet/loud dynamics have matured and ripened so as to be more effective and unpredictable. All this is beautifully demonstrated on “Decline Into Shadows”(my favourite track), whilst final track, the 11 minute “Sense Of Wonder Still Intact” is a slow-burning monster, the tensions tightly controlled as the noise slowly engulfs you, until there is a sudden and unexpected change and the last two minutes are taken over by drifting electronics, ending the album as it began. www.motivesounds.com
Playing a much darker and less structured brand of music Templo Diez have created a brooding velvets inspired ambience on their latest album “Winterset”. After a brief and atmospheric opener, “Sparkle” kicks the band into life, with some venomous violin writhing over the dark torch-song sentiments of the words, whilst hypnotic guitars keep the tension high. A more Delicate is paraded on “No Matter What” although the undercurrent of uncertainty is never far away, and becomes unmissable on the brooding piano led “Calavera #2”. In fact, the whole album has a dark sonic heart, something that lends the songs a regret nothing/live for the moment ambience, everything on the verge of collapse and there is nothing we can do. An album for late-night whiskey session rather than a 9:00 am reviewing marathon, but a quality release never the less. www.templodiez.com
Limited to 80 copies and packaged in handpainted sleeves ”Goin’ Down Slow-Music for Acoustic Guitar, is a mighty fine compilation and the first release from Finnish cd-r micro label Harha-Askel. Featuring a cast of musicians from Europe, New Zealand and North America the compilation highlights a variety of style ranging from the scratchy drone of Tom Carter through to the blues wizardry of Andy and Michael Futreal. Other players include Robert Horton, with some wonderful discordant chaos, the fragile beauty of Mike Tamburo, the deep space exploration of Sindre Bjerga, and the random scraping of Armpit. Truth be told however, if you have a Terrascopic heart you are gonna love all these tracks, a small essential purpose. Ville_forss@yahoo.com
Talking of random scraping and Robert Horton, both these fine things can be found on Eastern Fox Squirrel, a recent collaboration between Brad Rose, Eden Hemmings and Robert Horton. Opening with the free-form joyfulness of “Eastern Fox Squirrels At Play”, the album makes an unexpected left turn with a cover of “2 Hours” (Christina Carter), a tune that starts off sounding like the opening music to “Withnail And I” before slowly dissolving into a welter of noise, most enjoyable it is too. From then on, it’s back to the abstract painting as sound approach to composition, with a pleasing autumn coloured palate being used (must be all those squirrels!), the album has a warm feeling and some delightful touches that make it one of the most accessible albums of this type. www.lastvisibledog.com Also on LVD Geoff Mullen conjures up images of desolate moors and the kind of fog you don’t want to get lost in, on his drone-laden album “The Air In Pieces”. The opening track is about as dense as you can get, almost suffocating in its own sound and whilst there are touches of lightness amongst the other pieces (none Have Titles) the overall themes are disintegration, denseness, and disorientation. Finally on LVD comes the extraordinary earth spirit sounds of Shujinaba, a Japanese folk singer, although folk is not word enough for the intense passion that spews from this album, the songs alive with worship and ferocity. All you need to know is summed up in the extended opening song, where voice and guitar are intertwined in their quest to wring every ounce of emotion from the performance. It may be a subversive thought, but I would love to see this man with an electric guitar backed by Comets On Fire in full sonic devastation mode, definitely something for the next Terrastock.
Culled from a previously released series of cd-rs, “Bluster, Cragg and Awe.” Is a wonderful collection of spiritual drones, meditative landscapes and eastern sounding instrumentals from Ytirath Singh Nirmala (previously known as John Clyde-Evans until a commitment to Sikhism). After the chanted drone of “Nagg Clef Seatpoint”, the album hits its stride with the slow motion transcendence of “ Moor Edge Hush”, sounding like a dedication to the gods of the breeze, soft chimes and woodblock adding punctuation to the gossamer drones that rustle beneath. The silence is broken by the chattering sweep of “The Burning Moon”, the sound of monkeys moving through the forest, before “Ravine Mists Rising” returns us to the heart of the mystery, offering us infinite paths to travel. The reverie is broken by the arrival of “Sehaj” a lively dance of butterflies that catch you attention the piece slowing down once more as they move out of vision. All too soon "Faleaflowstreem" soundtracks the arrival of dusk, the sound of water flowing with restless certainty, before, final piece “RYTSN” lights candles in your mind, bringing you back to the now. www.digitalisindustries.com Also on Digitalis The Lost Domain set their remarkable visions loose on some blues standards, giving new meaning to the phrase “down and out” and making Tom Waits sound like a top 40 contender, so fucked up are the results. A quite astonishing “In My Time Of Dying” opens proceedings with slowly stomped percussion, repetitive two note sax skronking and vocals recorded in the basement of someone else’s house, and, quite remarkably, it works perfectly wringing out the emotion and making you realise how sterile the blues can sound in the hands of more polished performers. Apart from the occasional electronic treatment and some instrumental variation, the method is repeated for the rest of the album as the band stumble through “Bollweevil”, “Pearline”, Charmin’ Betsy”, Frankie and Albert” and “Two Trains Running”. You will either love or hate this album, once heard it will never be forgotten, however you vote.
Working with a far more commercial, but equally intriguing vision is the husband and wife duo of David Gould and Caroline Schutz whose self-titled debut The Inner Banks is crammed with shimmering pop nuggets well worth discovering. With chiming guitars and soft pealing bells “Electric” is a mellow delight underpinned with delicate string and a candy heart. The same sweet touch is employed on “Glittering Sky” but this time some aching vocals bring everything into focus in delightful fashion. Elsewhere “Siberia” has a rockier sound, although this is softened by the strings, as well as some fine electric piano playing, whilst “Anthem” is the sound of Americana played by Air. Those of you who live in places where summer is arriving should pick this up to play in the sunshine, those of you who don’t should pick this up to remind you of the warmth. www.dagrecords.com
It’s not every day that an experimental jazz album played on woodwind and percussion falls through your door, and while that is probably a good thing, the one that did is sufficiently entertaining to warrant a quick mention here. Featuring Jeremy Strachan (woodwind) and Gus Weinkauf (percussion) “Goodbye Lucille”-Feuermusik is a lively and inventive album with precise playing and an exploratory heart. The spot-on percussive rhythms, allow plenty of scope for the woodwind to roam at will, without the risk of bumping into other instruments, whilst the interplay between the two protagonists will take you breathe away (if you like this sort of thing!). For those of a musical persuasion, the lead sheets are included, Good Luck. www.feuermusik.ca
Quality songwriting will never go out of fashion and on “Waiting For The Light To Find Us”, the debut EP from Amandine, there is quality a-plenty. Filled with bitter-sweet songs and some beautiful arrangements, the music has the feel of the solo work of Jeff Kelly, managing that trick of taking something simple and making it sound majestic. One listen to “All Hearts Fail” and you will be hooked for life, the emotion washing over you like the rays of the morning sun. Another fine release from Fat-Cat Records. www.fat-cat.co.uk . Proving themselves a label of quality Fat-Cat have also released the serene dream music of Max Richter whose “Songs From Before” is a beautiful collection of compositions that feature strings, piano, electronics and occasional snippets of Robert Wyatt. With the songs kept short and focused, the album has the feel of Phillip Glass, the minimalist approach allowing the pieces to gently charm you.
Moving swiftly on, we suddenly dive into the realms of the absurd where we find Orriel Smith and her “The Worlds Favourite Cluckoratora Arias”. The important word here is “Cluck” as Orriel does just that, working her way through Mozart, Offenbach, and Verdi (amongst Others) with surreal purpose and abandon. Just hang you belief at the door, ideal for drunken evenings, compilation cd’s and scaring the vicar (or any other over-serious person), this is comic genius, surrealist art, or a load of nonsense, depending on your point of view. Bet you would love to hear some though. www.orrielsmith.com
One of the most intriguing packages to arrive here in the last couple of months was from www.room40.org and contained three delicately packaged CDs featuring music by Keith Fullerton Whitman, Philip Samartzis/Kozo Inada and Philip Samartzis/Lawrence English. First up, the long ambient piece by Whitman is beautifully realised, the subdued and harmonious, bringing to mind visions of a Japanese garden, carp swimming through the lilies, the ripples softly fading. Even Deeper meditations are to be found on the piece by Samartzis/Inada, the sound seemingly focusing on a single ripple, a single scale on the fish. This is Zen philosophy made sound and a compelling piece of music that needs your full attention. Finally Samartzis/English offer four shorter track that crackle and pulse with life, a flock of birds rising from the lake, the drone of bees, an unexpected caller breaking the spell. Taken together these three releases offer compelling evidence the experimental music is a valid and ever changing musical form that is more relevant than ever in our 24 hour a day society.
Working in that area where rock music and drone collide, although drone does seem to have the edge here, Shalloboi have produced the sound of a slow descent into confusion on their album “Petals”. Using only guitar, bass, percussion, voice, cello and the occasional piano loop, the band have produced a startling array of sounds that engulf the listener like sudden fog, the thickly layered sound so dense it places that it becomes impenetrable noise. This is a good thing, creating a cohesive mood that means the album is more than a collection of soundscapes, and gives dynamic tension to the sudden break in the clouds, that appear from time to time. Definitely a labour of love, this is an album that defies time, working its magic at its own pace. www.shalloboi.com
I’m sure I may have mentioned this before, but I am now convinced more than ever that Kawabata Makoto never sleeps, cos’ here he come again, this time as part of three piece band (The unpronounceable) Xyosfbigkou. Featuring Nanjo Asahito on bass, Yoshida Tatsuya on drums, and the insomniac Kawabata on guitar, the trio kick up a righteous storm of noise as they work there way through Acidmothers noise, jazz-tinged improv and plain old Psychedelic chaos. Although there are separate tracks, the gaps between them just seem like punctuation as the band amphetamine their way through the album in a Hendrix meets Coltrane meets Sun Ra kinda way. Mad but brilliant. www.vivo.pl
Although my memory may be failing, the last album by Mt Gigantic was far less sonically harsh than their latest offering “Gleanings And Gatherings”. Opening track “Get Well Cougher” has all the intensity of Sonic Youth as it batters you into submission, with even the quieter bits sounding loud, whilst, by the second track “Blessed Be The Bicycle” you become convinced that there is a creeping madness at work. Even reading the lyrics offers no clues, just what the fuck are they on about, rambling streams of consciousness that sound brilliant. Come to think of it, when do lyrics ever make sense, it’s just that in this case the music matches them. And so it goes on, an unrelenting swarm of confusion that is startling, chaotic and bloody marvellous. Go get one. www.harlanrecords.org
Right, time to sneak under the radar and review some prog whilst Phil is out digging over his allotment ready for winter, personally we are going to sow Phacelia on ours, you can dig it into the soil come springtime providing useful nutrients, plus it keeps the weeds down. Anyway, I digress, Gosta Berlings Saga, are a Swedish band whose latest album “Tid Ar Ljud” sounds like a cross between early Eloy, Anglagard and a more relaxed Yes (I can see Phil cringing behind the sofa as I type). Choosing warmth over complexity the band are accomplished musicians, with guitarist Mathias Danielsson displaying a fluid style that is ably supported by the rest of the band. With practically every tune over eight minutes in length, the band have every opportunity to explore different moods and textures, something they do brilliantly. Oh, they have a mellotron as well, prog heaven methinks. www.recordheaven.com . Also on Record Heaven and sounding like a cross between Robin Trower and The electric Nubians, Magnolia do the seventies guitar thang with great style on their self-titled debut. There is nothing very original on the album, and the trainspotters amongst you will have great fun recognising where the riff came from, but the band play with passion and energy, with mainman Ronny Eriksson giving his fretboard a right good workout. Play it loud and get the beers in.
Delicately poised between new-folk and acoustic improvisation, “Thrush Chimes In The Field Haunt” –Cursillistas is a wonderfully alive collection of songs and soundscapes that sounds (for some reason) as though it was recorded on a clifftop. Songs like “Leaves” have almost whispered vocals and a transparent feel, whilst the more abstract pieces are like a rustle in the hedgerow, as fragile as the ever changing clouds. If you like the Finnish folk scene or Jewelled Antler, then this music is for you, and the band win title of the week award for “Assembled From The Mangled Cardboard Of Refrigerator Delivery Boxes”, a gentle guitar improv which lasts only slightly longer than the time it takes to say the title.
Inhabiting a fucked-up landscape of post rock, free-noise, psychedelic chaos, Lunch With Beardo, employ every effect known to man (and possibly some that don’t) to create the unholy racket that is “Surrealistic Picnic”, a spaced out, euphoric and unsettling album that creeps and writhes from the speakers. Seeking nirvana through oblivion the band take no prisoner, Tibetan Ritual music colliding with ATM and Sun Ra in undiscovered corners of the galaxy. Final Track the 26 minute “Space Is The Plate” starts of in deep meditation drone mode before exploding into a dissonant howl of psyched out fury, that threatens to re-arrange your molecular structure, low magic of the highest order. www.lunchwithbeardo.com
Taking scuzzy distortion to a new level of excellence, London duo Shit And Shine make music for people who like bad trips, everything messed up, disorder from chaos, and nothing in it’s place. Incredibly it sounds compelling and is also more varied and textured than it first appears, with shades of the Buttholes, early sonic Youth, Merzbow, and the Boredoms sprinkled throughout. Repetition is obviously a favourite tool, with most song finding a pattern and just staying there, something that is most effective on the 30 minute cover of “Practising To Be A Doctor (The Strangulated Beatoffs), which rolls like a thousand ton train, relentlessly beating you into submission. Apparently, when they play live the band augment their line-up with as many drummers as they can find, sounds like the perfect night out. www.riotseason.com
Opening with the electronic stoner classic “Heavydale”, with a guitar riff so heavy that you would think that only Iommi could have written it, Kraut-punks Kling Klang have finally collected all their various releases together and assembled them into “The Esthetik Of Destruction”. Riddled with distorted electronics, seventies sci-fi sound effects and real drums, the band sound like The AphexTwin recording a duet with Delia Derbyshire, and while the sounds can become a little repetitive across the whole album, there is much to be enjoyed amongst the electronic storm. www.rockactionrecords.co.uk
Starting your album with the line “It’s already too late to bring you flowers”, gives the listener a good idea of where the album is heading, and so it proves with “Reservations”, the fourth album From Australian duo Sodastream. Filled with emotional songs, sung with quiet authority this is a gorgeous album that is tinged with sadness, even on the livelier moments such as “Twin Lakes”, where the jaunty shuffle belies the downbeat lyrics. Throughout the songs, the uncluttered arrangements allow the rich imagery to shine, the musicians responding with gentle and delicate playing. Reminding me of King Creosote or James Yorkston, this is an album for those quiet moments, an autumnal flavoured treat for the senses. www.fortunapop.com
“Furrowed Brow”, the latest album from Alexander Tucker, is an enchanting mix of acoustic riffery, wyrdfolk vocals, instrumental textures and electric guitar trickery, that makes for an intriguing album. Ranging from gentle harmonic songs, such as “Spout of Light” or “Rotten Shade”, through to the Experimental drone of “Broken Dome” , Tucker shows himself adept at creating mood and atmosphere, with the minimal arrangements allowing the songs to bleed from the speakers. Closing track “Pannemaker Doms” is a slowburn instrumental, that slowly rises engulfing the room in sonic splendour, a million miles from the picked guitar of opening track “You Are Many”, yet definitely related.
Definitely Psychedelic and full of experimental space-madness, The Marshmallow Staircase is a climb worth making, as lazy basslines and solid drums are clouded with echoed electronics, synths, guitars and weird vocal infusions, to create some fabulous paisley excursions for your head. Squeezing 17 songs into 58 minutes means that the band never over-indulge (some of the pieces are actually too short), instead concentrating on a playful tumbledown feel that is strengthened by the occasional foray into Hawkwind styled guitar riffs. One for space cadets everywhere, it’s time for a jazz cigarette. www.summerstepsrecords.com . On the same Label comes “The Corwood Variations” a collection of Jandek songs covered by a variety of bands including Cookie Pusher, Static Films, Kemialliset Ystavat and (the wonderfully named) Ape In A Tank. Having already released two albums in the series, this collection is the best of the rest. Sadly, I know nothing about Jandek, so it is hard to comment on these covers, however I found the album to be a highly enjoyable experience with the pieces ranging from straight forward guitar songs through to far weirder pieces, creating a nicely wide-ranging whole. Much more useful information from Summerstep Records.
Much as I hate to be reminded of Christmas, those psych-pop funsters The Jigsaw Scene have brought it into the lounge by releasing their traditional Christmas offering “What about Christmas?” a lovely rolling tune with some great guitar work and an annoyingly catchy chorus. Also included are three live tracks “First Of May” (The Bee Gees) “Jesus” (the Velvet underground), and “Sleigh Ride” (the Ventures) plus an acoustic version of the main song. It’s all good stuff and possibly the only festive song you will be able to stomach this Yuletide. www.vibro-phonic.com
Having almost reached the bottom of the Rumbles Pile (so that’s what colour the carpet is) I came across two more albums from ambient drone label Room40 (www.room40.org ). Commissioned for the Huddersfield contemporary music festival 2005 and recorded live in the town hall, “In The Last Hour” contains four pieces of experimental ambience played on organ, clarinet, piano and vinyl, that flow from the speakers and wash the room in a tide of sound. The opening title track is a light as a morning mist, whilst “Between the Two” offers a slightly discordant and scratchier ethic, although is as equally transparent, before “Half Submerged By Each” introduces a wider range of textures and volumes reminding me of early seventies Tangerine Dream in it’s 20 minute ebb and flow. Final Track “The Ruined City” (again over 20 minutes) continues the Tangerine Dream comparisons the second half mixing up huge organ sweeps with birdsong samples to great effect. With “Current” Richard Chartier has managed to capture the essence of stillness in sound with an ambient soundscape so quiet that it is imagined rather than heard. Turning up the volume reveals a ripple of sound that slowly builds with the addition of the occasional electronic pulse until it becomes barely audible. Finally the ripple dissipates and you are aware that something has vanished from the room.
After all that ambience it might be time to jump around to some sleazy rock and roll, this time provided by The DT’s featuring ex-monomen Dave Crider on guitar and the vocal talents of Diana Young-Blanchard, a lady who sound like Janis Joplin, and who gives the songs a sweet soul groove throughout. Entitled “Nice ‘n’ Ruff” the album is basically a collection of covers laden with mean guitar, soulful vocals and a solid rhythm section provided by Phil Carter-drums and Scott Greene-bass/sax. This combination really knows how to rock as the band pound their way through “Ninety Nine and a Half” (Wilson Pickett), “The Hunter” (Booker T), “Pagan Baby” (John Fogerty) and a host of other including “What’s Next To The Moon” (AC/DC). One of the things I like most about the record is the fact that the guitarist has lost none of his sting, the songs carrying the ferocity that worked so well for the Monomen, although this time it is softened by the sweetness (in a rock ‘n’ roll way) of the vocals. So, a good-time record, unpretentious, uncluttered and very very good, turn the fucker up and let’s rock. www.gethip.com
Mixing Syd Barret/Floyd whimsy, early Gorky’s Playful surrealism and the oddball genius of The Beta Band, plus a sprinkling of electronic frippery and sing-a-long tunes, They Came From The Stars I Saw Them are a band who defy description, as they launch their brand of psychedelic pop weirdness on an unprepared world. Having appeared on various compilations the band are now ready to release their debut album “We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Are Looking At.” Having sent me a bewildering amount of information, all I can say is that these people deserve to be stars, and their live show looks like an absurdist treat well worth attending. www.isawthem.com
Finally, from me, an apology is in order to Joe Frawley whose wonderful “Wilhelmina’s Dream” album I reviewed in the last edition of Rumbles, and then failed to put the correct contact details in place. Sorry about that Joe, here they are now www.joefrawleymusic.info, hope that clears that up. (Simon Lewis)
Now it’s time to introduce another member of the Rumbles team, a man who is well known to Terrascope forum users and someone who seems to live and breathe music. So a big cheer for Dave Caperton , also known as Nashville Dave, as he leads you through some more “difficult” music.
It seems to me that the genius in many of today’s Japanese bands and solo musicians lies in their ability to take disparate genres of (mostly) Western music and combine them into tasty sausages. The separate ingredients can be a bit of a mess, but mashed and mixed together one is presented with an extremely savoury treat. Ruinzhatova have been busy cooking up a steaming plate of links in the form of their new release “Liveinsomewhere” on the Polish Vivo (www.vivo.pl) label. Bringing together members of Ruins, AMT, Rovo, Boredoms, Omoide Hatoba and countless other permutations it is well within reason for one to expect amazing mayhem and that’s exactly the result. The trio – Yoshida Tatsuya, Yamamoto Seiichi and Tsuyama Atsusha, slimmed down from the four piece of the previous “Close To The RH”, present us with 6 long tracks that certainly caused the muscles of my mandible to cease functioning. High five drum antics, skittering guitar, fast flowing bass forming prog complexities, free jazz shadow boxing, full on everyone-together-now rocking, fuzzy psych, blissed out space journey and a touch dub. All of this, often within the same song. Sausages anyone?
If you are like me, sometimes you wanna break free from the ball and chain of the 4/4 beat. Smear a slow moving, microtonal drone between your ears and just, y’know, unwind. The problem for me is that this stuff can be a bit cold and glacial. The world is cold enough already, so try the latest release by Wellington’s Seht, a.k.a. Stephen Clover, “The Green Morning” (Digitalis Recordings, www.foxydigitalis.com/rec_index.html). Maybe it’s space of the Pac rim…the heat and smell of tar, but the beats are minimal and the cinematic sweep of drone, static and distant winds bring to mind slowly shifting sand and not slowly moving fields of ice. If that makes any sense, then fill your canteen and let’s go.
It would be a full time job to keep abreast of the many Ben Reynolds releases, so the recent “Book Of Beyond” (Last Visible Dog, www.lastvisibledog.com) left me a touch agog after the first listen. I was familiar with Ben’s formidable fingerpicking, which is absent here. Mostly comprised of sonic sci-fi explorations rubbing against flute laden, bell tinkling drone jams. It fits nicely between Ashtray Navigations, Vibracathedral Orchestra and perhaps Astral Social Club. No overt guitarisms, aside from some string plunking during the track ‘Heavy Masks, Wheels, etc.’ amid buzzing electronic flies and faulty submarine engines running on cough syrup. A few moments of noisy, overdriven tone generators aside, a very cosy psychedelic ride.
I am finding it increasingly difficult to approach each new release by Keijo Virtanen with any semblance of restraint and my slobbering is most often well founded. His new “For A While” (Last Visible Dog, www.lastvisibledog.com) proved to be well worth the drool. Recording as simply Keijo, the Finnish multi-instrumentalist mixes a very psychedelic libation from ethno-folk, repetitive bluesy guitar, sweeping electronic washes and that certain mystic, otherworldly quality that life in Finland seems to provide. Another in a long run of excellent Keijo releases.
Rounding out the triple threat from Last Visible Dog (www.lastvisibledog.com) this month with yet another first class self-titled release from The Free Players. Formerly Keijo and the Free Players, Keijo has been absorbed into this organism that also includes (at least) three members of Vapaa. The results are at times greater than the considerable individual strengths. Free style guitar, percussion and keyboard jamming giving way to space blues stomp along with a few saxophone fusions that seem to originate from a locale of the collectives own creation. These fine Finnish folks create a communal vibe that might just open your third eye with playfulness and outward bound exploration that will have you cruising the interstellar low ways in no time. More please.
Lys Guillorn her first appearance on my radar with an obvious effort of passion with the E.P. entitled “Three Songs” (Little Cowgirl Records, www.littlecowgirl.com). The simple hand typeset and printed packaging is perfectly representative of the economical, almost stark folk arrangements within. With Plaintive vocals and confident acoustic guitar with touches of mandolin and electric guitar, Guillorn cites Galaxy 500 among her influences and that indeed shows especially on the second track “When I Was A Tiger Lily’. Well done and worth watching.
On this dreary, rainy October evening I found myself enjoying Manchester’s John Twells and his release as Xela, “The Dead Sea” (Type Recordings, www.typerecords.com). Described as some sort of homage to Italian horror films and sinking ships, it seems to capture a bit of both somehow. But then again I’m a sucker for Goblin, John Carpenter scores, broken music boxes (they’re scary!) and sound of a Moog under water laced with the occasional field recording. Xela deliver all of that, and just in time for Halloween. (Dave Caperton)
Written and edited by: Simon Lewis Producer: Phil McMullen.