fter my previous ‘Rumbles’ had been put to bed late last year, I decided to give my ears a brief holiday and immerse myself in the world of music ’zines instead. Let’s start with the very fine Shindig, edited by John ‘Mojo’ Mills. Now with a punchier distribution service behind it, copies can be found in more mainstream outlets – although unfortunately my local newsagent gave me a blank face when asked, so I used Heyday mailorder instead.
And what a treat the mag is, with an extensive reviews section, incisive interviews with full colour used throughout, and nice paper stock. There’s a good retrospective on seventies rockers Gun in Vol. 2 No. 1 in which, to my utter surprise, I found out that a college friend’s elder brother appeared in an earlier version of the band, after stints with The Druids (Parlophone), The Limeys (Decca and Pye) and The Knack (Decca / Piccadilly). He never mentioned any of this! Why are some folks so guarded? Confusing, innit?! I’m just as confused by the same volume’s inclusion of a piece on the Moody Blues which suggests that this outfit deserved more fragrant bouquets than stink bombs. Nope. A band that was equal parts Mantovani and T. Lobsang Rampa, who made Yes look cutting edge? C’mon! Still, their appearance on BBC TV’s ‘Disco 2’ (during their second incarnation) is something to behold and never fails to raise a guffaw from yours truly. Volume 2 No. 2 hits the spot with a great Moby Grape retrospective and a fairly huge John’s Children / Jook / Radio Stars article type thing. Vol. 2 No. 3 (nabbed in W.H. Smiths!) adopts dapper nineteenth century western style duds with The Charlatans, puts its fingers in its ears while trailing Gonn (“the loudest band in town”) and buries itself in underground film with an investigation into ‘Private Road’ with Bruce Robinson and Susan Penhaligon, some time before the latter’s rise to fame with ‘Bouquet of Barbed Wire’, an ITV series I was too young to understand – was it a debauched study of family disintegration? Well, it’s never been repeated so I shall never know.
Volume 2 No. 4 includes the second part of ‘The San Francisco Scene’ which takes in Quicksilver Messenger Service, Big Brother and the Dead amongst others. There’s also the lowdown on long-haired American power pop combo Blue Ash (should have been contenders, etc) and ‘Ten Sacred Monoliths of Seventies UK Folk’ which puts C.O.B.’s ‘Moyshe McStiff’ in at Number Three – a personal favourite of mine (second only to ‘Trout Mask’ perhaps) ever since I nabbed an Italian bootleg copy in the eighties. It’s one of those albums that appears to be outside of everything you or I know, with its strange mystical concerns and poignant arrangements that could penetrate the heart of the most world-weary heard-it-all cynic. In truth, a small book could be written on its wonders, and indeed its precursor, ‘Spirit of Love’. Volume 2 No. 5 meanwhile is by far the most interesting compiled edition in Shindig’s “overground” series, in that it mixes it up between those in the established cool camp (WCPAEB, Love, Mad River) and those in the obscure league who have a fascinating tale to tell, like Jackie Lee for example. Her career was a bizarre mix of fronting children’s favourites like ‘White Horses’ and ‘Rupert the Bear’ and being a bit of a Northern Soul diva. Oh, and she also sang back-up on Hendrix’s ‘Hey Joe’! A first class issue.
And now there’s Volume 2 Number 6! I mean… do these people ever get any shut-eye? Found within is Tim Forster’s second part of the W.C.P.A.E.B. story (a band name that doesn’t trip lightly off the tongue, even when abbreviated!) and Robby Lewry’s overview of the Youngbloods. Rikky Rooksby reveals the transformation from the elfin manuscripts of Tyrannosaurus Rex to early instances of T.Rextacy, while the ‘zine mixes it up on the animal species front when the hirsute Johnny Gorilla spills a bibful on Buffalo, those yob-glam hoodlums from seventies Oz, whose ‘Volcanic Rock’ album is still a regular visitor to the ol’ deck. There’s a lot of good reading to be had with Shindig and it seriously deserves your attention.
Mike Stax’s Ugly Things, now at Number 26, is also very much in the pink and has been for years if truth be told. It’s a publication that is surely at the zenith of rabid enthusiasm-driven fanzinedom. The reviews department is always bustling, the interviews go into fascinating and minuscule detail and usually end up being the last word on band X or Y – witness the Misunderstood saga if you’re still of a suspicious nature. Add to that the fact that there’s usually pieces by Johan Kugelberg who’s always worth reading. Recent gems include No. 25’s guide to ‘Good Records during the Suck Years (83 – 97)’ (Feedtime! Gories!) and 26’s ‘Punk Before Punk’ splurge focusing on ne’erdowells such as the Kilburns, Hollywood Brats and Lucifer, the latter being evil squatter speedfreak hippies from seventies Britain, not the American hardrockers from the same period whose album was reissued on Void records. So, to sum up the Ugly Things experience? Not so much a ‘zine, more of a book – and not so much a book, more a way of life. I look forward to a new issue in much the same way that I used to look forward to ‘Forced Exposure’, which is high praise indeed.
And in the interim (that’s where I live) a new issue has indeed surfaced. A cursory glance (a cover to cover read would delay publication of this even further) reveals pieces on The Koala, Hilton Valentine of the Animals, Gillian Hills (a singer and actress who featured in ‘The Best Girl’ film alongside Christopher Lee and Adam Faith and the Cursed – don’t ask - ) and deeply weird ITV programme The Owl Service. All previous endorsements of this magazine still hold true.
For a magazine dealing with experimental and out there musicianship, how about Eric Lanzillotta’s Bixobal? I was fortunate to nab the first issue a while ago – three further issues have surfaced in quick succession since – and was immediately drawn to the Alan Sondheim overview / interview which investigates the forty year career of this singular free jazz / psych / drone guitarist in attention grabbing detail. Other articles take in the literary works of octogenarian Fugs-man Tuli Kupferburg, Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and the No Neck Blues Band, while the reviews section racks up a nice selection of obscure fayre. The mag also runs its own record label (www.ribexibalba.com) which is of a vinyl only nature with releases by the Sun City Girls and the No Necks.
George Parson’s Dream magazine has reached it’s lucky number 7, and as always is a solid read with hundreds of reviews – no exaggeration – written in George’s unique impressionistic penmanship. Ivor Cutler, Bert Jansch, Powell St. John and Mayo Thompson are amongst the featured interview highpoints. The accompanying CD collects unreleased material from seventeen different names, including the great lost Nevada City band Absalom and a ‘Trad. Arr.’ by Sharron Kraus in the form of ‘Whittingham Fair’. Issue number 8 has now surfaced too, and contains interviews with more Terrascope favourites, namely Damon and Naomi, Charalambides, Dredd Foole and others. As ever the accompanying CD is a corker with exclusive tracks from a host of the western underground’s finest. For the record, Slow Poisoner, Arborea and further extracts from Absalom’s tape archives regularly float my boat. Copies can be had from Rustic Rod’s mail order emporium ( www.achingcellar.com )
Something else that has me hitting the superlatives button has got to be ‘Bomp’ (“Saving the world one record at a time”), a hardback supertome that details the pioneering publishing work of the sadly missed Greg Shaw. Edited by Greg’s widow Suzy and our old friend Mick Farren, the reader is taken on a culturally rich, seat of your pants ride through beautiful reproductions of the once renowned (and rarely seen, I might add) ‘Mojo Navigator’ and the more pro layouts found in ‘(Who Put The) Bomp’. This is combined with essential and insightful preambles by Suzy, Mick and Greg (the principles) with secondary pieces from the pens of Brendan Mullen, Peter Case, Lester Bangs, Alan Betrock, ‘The Ig’ and Lenny Kaye! Add to this a truckload of evocative photos (like when “ a Weirdo” met members of The Germs on page 246 for example) and Bomp #22, reproduced on its original paste-up boards, which if you’re a zine-o-phile will know, was never actually issued. Wow. This comes as a glorious and fitting epitaph to one of the founding fathers of the underground music press. Without Greg’s endeavours over the years, I’d guess that this opening splurge on music publications would be considerably smaller or even non-existant. Bomp (the book) is a veritable treasure trove of left-field rock ‘n’ roll history which clearly avoids the chemical tang of coffee-table lit. Check out the publishers on www.ammobooks.com asap!
OK, that’s the paperwork over with – onto the plate-spinning. The first good handful of items actually emerged last year and just missed my last ‘Rumbles’ instalment by the proverbial whisker. Obviously it would be nothing short of a crime to pass them over, so let’s start with Acolytes Action Squad, consisting of the pseudonymous duo of ‘The Essence’ (also of the Broken Blackbird Ensemble) and ‘Ditchus’ (also Big Eyes) who’ve been recording for ten years on their own Terraas label, based in Sheffield. For their latest venture they’ve teamed up with the very fine Early Winter imprint (home of James William Hindle and David A. Jaycock) and crafted a certain something that’s (very) strange indeed. A shivery, twitchy feel is concocted from piano guts, customized electronics and miscellaneous percussives. However, it’s the vocal impressions and smudges that cause the maximum in sonic disquiet, ‘Against Old Masters’ being a good example. Sung in a disturbed childlike patois, it’s a sickly ‘round’ for a new generation of Midwich Cuckoos, stuck in the most hopeless of sink estates. ‘Letters for the Master’ finds itself in much the same locale until the hollow-eyed waif vocal line is cleanly sheared off by an Exuma / Night Tripper edged voodoo drum frenzy – and that’s about as far from Yorkshire as it gets. Much like the Mordant collective and the Lemon Kittens (especially ‘Hammer for Daddy’), this comes as a rather compelling extract from the book of ‘English Sinister’
Limerick-based Peter Delaney sells himself a little short – lights under a bushel, etc – on his MySpace site, where he mentions that he “sounds like someone playing a ukulele”. His self-released ‘Duck Egg Blue’ CD-EP certainly digs a deeper groove than that. You’ll find a rather disarming collection of singer/songwriterisms where sparse instrumentation goes hand in hand with Peter’s introspective and poetic vision. For me the subtle shades of ‘If You Become Impossible’ and ‘The Healing House’ stand out from the pack as this fan of Blind Willie McTell and Alan Lomax is augmented by the rich, nut-brown thrum of Robert Casey on acoustic bass. Fans of Rob Sharples and Wiltshire’s mystic bard, William Elmore, would certainly want to stop off here. Contact Peter via
The first time I encountered Alexei Borisov was with the uncompromising electronic gush of the innoculously titled ‘Polished Surface of a Table’ on Electroshock. And the same goes for Angela Manukian who provided the guest vocals on that album’s most arresting cut, ‘Dew’. They also comprise fifty per cent of the Moscow-based unit Volga, alongside Messrs. Lebedev and Balaskov. Formed in ’97 with releases on Sketis and Lollipop Shop, plus a cut on ‘Extreme Music from Russia’ (Susan Lawly) comes ‘Pomol’, their first CD for the Lumberton Trading Co’s imprint. The trio’s austere, windswept synthetics and strident electropulse locks in to Angela’s traditional folk drenched voice (a one woman ‘Voix Bulgares’) pretty much perfectly. On ‘Rubaha’ and ‘Detinushka’ indigenous instrumentation makes its presence felt – the former with some kind of surrogate musette action and the latter with its Anton Karas ‘Third Man’-styled zitherings that flit in and out of a Kraftwerk-slanted construct circa ‘Electric Café’. So, all in all, ‘Pomol’, with its unnerving looking turquoise-sculpted pig sleeve art, provides the listener with a challenging and inventive series of experiments, expansive and nerve tingling at one and the same time. ( www.lumbertontrading.com )
Next up comes ‘Love for Debbie’, a shared 3” CDR by Tetsuo and Brondie. The first mentioned comprise two “Bryan Ferrys”, one on drums the other on guitar and vocals who in times of need are augmented by another guitarist going under the name of… (this could get tedious) “Bryan Ferry”. Hailing from Glasgow, they are apparently a splinter group of Seppuko (isn’t this Japanese ritual suicide via disembowelment?) who describe their sound as “short, sharp sound shocks” – an M.O. pretty much the same as their offspring, I guess. Their ‘My Love For You Is Like a Claw’ is stained with low-rent guitar wreckage, screaming fits and drum tantrums, much like a more feral Harry Pussy (as if that were possible) with a firework tied to its tail. A strikingly petulant blast no less! Brondie meanwhile come from Northern Japan and are, as you would expect, a Blondie tribute act. These rehearsal tracks which include ‘Heart of Glass’ [grass? – Ed.] and ‘X-Offender’ are pretty faithful versions, but much like pulling a cord on a life-sized, all singing, all dancing Debbie Doll which has seen better days, her defective voicebox somehow brings a notable distance between ear and disc.
This can be found on the ‘At War With False Noise’ imprint (www.atwarwithfalsenoise.com ), a label whose catalogue, synonymous with heavy drone electronics in the raw, has for their twenty second release taken a detour into the world of totally illogical black metal warpage with Zarach’ Baal’ Tharagh – this being the work of one Lhukkmer’ Thz, the “French master of bedroom black metal”(!). His ‘Eternal Darkness’ CD is an utterly i-n-s-a-n-e and bewildering thing, especially the closing ‘El Borak’ section, where the clattering, stumbling drum machine exists only as haphazard accentuation, never successfully bolstering the mass of buzzsawing riffs, absurdly frazzled soloing and reptilian hiss. Despite the bottom end being surprisingly muted or, occasionally, non-existant, it wouldn’t be much of a leap in the dark to align this with certain blazing Japanese hardcore outfits of yesteryear such as Gauze or even Gism. Only ye olde English typography and death-fixated artwork might suggest otherwise.
More from ‘At War…’ – the duo of George Proctor (also of Mutant Ape) and Lee Stokoe (also of Culver – check out the Culver / Curtis LP on Riot Season) form Inseminoid, named in honour of a splendidly awful alien rape-themed sci-fi horror flick from 1981. Their one-track CDR ‘A Mask for Jennifer’ gravitates towards a low slung and overloaded engine throb which should carry a disclaimer for potential speaker damage and levitation. This could almost edge into the “much turbulence / low incidence” genre, but for a looped chorale that heroically attempts to make itself audible midway through this harrowing 34 minute noise onslaught.
In between the starting blocks and the finishing line of this bi-annual round-up, severely limited editions are prone to disappear el pronto, as is the case of the Inseminoid release which has sold out from its primary source. But, quit your blubbing: these things happen! However, the “Crucial Blast” webstore (www.crucialblastshop.net) does appear to stock copies of this brute, at least last time I looked.
Still with ‘At War…’, the ‘Luizig’ CDEP by Belgian experimental metal outfit Alkerdeel first saw action as an extremely limited (66 in number) demo cassette on the Funeral Folk label. Its welcome reissue finds this four-piece now sleeved in ‘Salome’-era Beardsley decadence, seemingly blending the sound of a wild bull let loose in a room full of oriental percussives, with slabs of gnarled mid-paced chording and troll growls. Their MySpace entry namecheck Autechre, the Velvets and Burning Witch as faves, while band instrumentation lists banjo, samples, special fx and ‘Keel’, whatever that may be. So, as you might guess, much like Z.B.T., this is something from the very outer regions of the metal republic and for that reason might, just might, have serious crossover appeal for those with a taste for beautiful ugliness on a grand scale.
A joint venture by WahWah (www.wah-wahsupersonic.com ) and Vampi Soul (www.vampisoul.com ) finds ‘A New Exciting Experience’ album by The Free Pop Electronic Concept given its first official reissue, which offers several exploded views of something like Pierre Henry’s ‘Psych Rock’ single, where disco-a-go-go rhythms were duly swamped by an electronics overload. Masterminded by Belgium-based r’n’beat brothers Tony & Fernando Lam (aka Jess & James) and their producer Roland Kruger, thinly disguised tracks such as ‘Chewing Gum Delerium’ (a refurbished ‘Shakin’ All Over’ by Johnny Kidd), ‘Cosmos Rhythms’ (a segmented ‘Da Do Ron Ron’) and ‘Planetary Gospel’ (a sniff or two of Ramsey Lewis, perhaps) undergo a post-production blitzkrieg by composer / musique concretist Arsene Souffriau. His vocabulary of analogue wheezes, chirps, trills and whooshes are definitely of their time and don’t really measure up to the lofty ideals of the liner notes, but – so what? It’s still, nevertheless, an interesting diversion. The heavyweight kitsch element though is somewhat countered by the presence of American jazzers Scott Bradford (keyboards) and percussionist Stu Martin, the latter eventually occupying the drum stool in The Trio (with saxist John Surman and Barre Phillips on bass). Anyone wishing to investigate this next step in Stu’s career should be prodded, poked and pushed towards a John Surman retrospective called ‘Glancing Backwards’. This triple CD set on Castle Music takes in two Trio albums and Surman & Martin’s masterful ‘Live at Woodstock Town Hall’ album (www.sanctuaryrecordsgroup.co.uk). One missing piece in the Surman jigsaw from this era is the self-titled album by Michel Portal / John Surman / Barre Phillips / Stu Martin and Pierre Drouet on the French Futura label. This has yet to receive a CD (or vinyl) reissue, but we can line in hope can’t we?
Oper’azione Nafta are an Italian free rock trio whose ‘Càvuru’ LP on the American label Siltbreeze reveals a seven strong set of blaring, skittering improvisations, one titled with weird symbols instead of real words, that at times almost threaten to vault into slightly more linear and tangible constructs. But when lucidity appears on the horizon, diversionary tactics such as the employment of clarinet / alto sax blurt or tape screech signals a further round of bafflement. Think of fellow countrymen and forefathers of the mystery note Gruppo di Nuova Consonanza, albeit with sackloads more electricity and a dada-informed group mind… ( www.siltbreeze.com )
Those wide-open spaceways and cinematic post rockisms cultivated by outfits such as Sigur Ros, Future Kings of England and the Red Sparowes come under further scrutiny from The Pirate Ship Quartet. Their self-titled CD mini-album employs the soft/loud, placid/raging bipolarity beloved of post-rock, but enhances this potentially limited way of thinking by the inclusion of ‘Moo’ the Trumpeter’s lonesome-sounding hornwork and the neo-classical lines described by celloist Sandy Bartai (also of the B.S.O and the L.S.O.). Of the three instrumentals on show, the most fully realised track must surely be ‘I Kina Spiser Der Hund’ where moody piano and atmospheric string work meets crunching guitar pummel in a series of somewhat emotionally derailed exchanges. Extra plaudits for the Beardsleyesque artwork (second mention for Aubrey and counting…) c/o Emily Golden and Lucy Oldfield in which a number of female heads form the fruit and vegetation of a rather gnarly looking tree ( www.sounddevastation.co.uk )
The enigmatically titled ‘He Is No Longer Here Entirely Among Us’ seven incher comes as the end result of a number of postal exchanges between John Weise’s Bastard Noise and the lesser-known Antennacle. The gauzy/grey tonal flow, redolent of Wire offshoot Dome caught in the haze of a short wave transmission, supports an eavesdropped phone conversation, which, although banal in nature, gradually assumes more of a grim and edgy appearance, with red-rimmed eyes and five o’clock shadow, through the deployment of various hand-built electronic devices. As per usual with New Jersey’s Kitty Play releases, the sleeve art and packaging has something special in reserve, in this case a hand-crafted, silk-screened cover which is offset by a rather nifty yet imposing Bastard Noise skull logo ( www.kittyplayrecords.com )
Now it’s on to Japan, where we shed some light on the life and times of Yoshi Wada. A part of the Fluxus movement in the late 1960s, he, like La Monte Young, studied under the great Pandit Pran Nath and eventually carved out a niche in certain experimental circles by performing his various drone pieces at extreme volumes. Also around this time, he began to develop a fascination with solo human vocal disciplines and everything and anything to do with the highland bagpipes. With the skirl of the latter in mind, he developed ‘The Elephantine Crocodile’, an instrument / contraption which consisted of multiple bagpipe-like tubing that was powered by an air compressor. The only other artists working in this field that I can think of are the Ghent-based Logos, whose ‘Pneumafoon Project’ LP on the Igloo label was a collection of belches and drones that were squeezed out of inflatable objects by the feet and other assorted body parts of numerous Belgian oddballs.
Yoshi’s ‘The Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile’ album was originally released on the American label India Navigation, home of Arnold Dreyblatt and Pharoah Sanders, back in 1982, and nails both his pet concerns in truly epic form. The first track of the two, ‘Singing’, takes on the appearance of cro-magnon yodelling – an experiment in lung capacity set in a vast cave system. As for ‘Bagpipe’, the self-same ancient sounding utterances are now joined by ‘The Croc’ to form an ultra minimal Terry Rileyesque soundscape, its overtones and ghosting somehow occasionally navigating towards the blare of an air raid siren’s all clear signal. On this occasion EM Records ( www.emrecords.net ) with their usual care reissue this with both tracks restored to their original timings (31 minutes 7 seconds and 33 minutes 17 seconds) as the previous vinylised cuts drifted off after 20 minutes or so. Four years down the line, the pneumatics were put back into action at the New York Hall of Science during Winter 1987, where Yoshi’s ‘The Appointed Cloud’ was premiered. A recording of this was issued as a limited cassette only release on the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien label and was long unavailable. EM’s restoration project now finds ‘Cloud…’ in full (unbroken) form. This time around, Yoshi (pipe organ, pipes, siren, thundersheet) is augmented by David Rayne (computer interface), Bob Dombrowski and Wayne Harkin (bagpipes) and percussionist Michael Pugliese. A series of almost cacophonous peaks and brooding troughs occur where the bomber command megadrones (emitting from the hand-built pipe organ) and struck metallics meet the occasionally systemic blare of the pipers three. Massed Rufus Harley clones in a Walls of Jericho scenario if I’m not mistaken. As a post-performance installation ‘The Cloud’, which could now be activated by a keypad, enjoyed considerable interest among noise-hungry sections of the populace and became one of the most successful set ups at the Hall of Science. Looking at the inside sleeve though, the then cutting edge technology bizarrely looks for all the world like a long lost photo of Harry Partch’s instrument workshop.
Still with mr. Wada – the ne plus ultra of his career has now finally been reactivated by EM – there is a god! And he/she has a fondness for avant pibroch! I refer you to the aptly named ‘Off The Wall’ album which was originally released through the German experimental FMP label back in 1985. And, as above (so below), the bagpipes still constitute the hub of this minimalist / maximalist spectacle. A mid-paced blow-out in sustained tones is built on bass organ drones and a primitive Mo Tuckerized drum beat which combine to evince secretive rituals enacted within moonlit stone circles whose origins are lost in the mists of time. Surely a major peak in the history of weird-ass composition (organic division), ‘Off The Wall’ is still, clearly, a “w – h - a – a - t the fuck?” moment even now. There’s also a bonus track in the shape of the 27 minute ‘Die Konsonanten Pfeifen’ which like ‘The appointed Cloud’ was previously available on the ‘K.B.’ cassette label. This sees a brightly shimmering constellation of higher-register blowing that morphs into more sustained blares which are then spurred on by the grim trudge of advancing war drums, courtesy of Kevin Newhoff’s tympani. A very important P.S. – all EM releases are now distributed in the UK by Honest Jon’s Records – contact www.honestjons.com as soon as you like.
After discs by the Rudy Smith and Modern Sound Quintet (see January’s ‘Rumbles’) comes yet another entry in the EM Records Steel Pans themed series of CD reissues. Steelpanista Earl Rodney, a former musical director for The Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener, emigrated to the States and recorded the afro-funk / jazzed ‘Friends and Countrymen’ LP (on Charlie’s Records) with a seven strong group of ex-pats in 1973. On a bed of hyperactive Caribbean percussion, alto pans and chanted vocal mysticism combine with horn-propelled funk stridency which is superbly marshalled by Renwick Cayenne’s inventive bass groove. Unusual wah-wahed shapes and skittish lead outbursts also come to the aid of the party as in ‘Strife in the Village’ where guitarist Freddy Harris playfully slips in a phrase from ‘Winter Wonderland’ for reasons best known to himself. Thoroughly steeped in Caribbean folklore (one glance at the Exuma-like cover and accompanying poster will bear this out), this bolt from the blue only takes a drop in quality with the title track, where a certain gaudy, tourist postcard perkiness finds itself somewhat out of step with the band’s modus operandi. Quite how EM dig up these finely honed obscurities is beyond me – long may it occur though ( www.emrecords.net )
Further explorations into the catacombs of planet drone continue with Duane Pitre & The Pilotram Ensemble, whose vinyl album opens the account of the Trome label (the name being short for The Remains Of My Estate) based in London. The ‘Organized Pitches Occurring in Time’ set contains two pieces, both based on an ensemble called ‘Ensemble Drones’. This score is then used as an eventual test-bed for the nine instrumentalists’ skills in improvisation and tonal shading. ‘Ensemble Chord in Eb w/ a Minor 7th & a Pump Organ Base’ is an exercise in gently unfolding elegance where shards of sunlight are imagined streaming through huge, highly decorated stained glass windows. The equally snappily titled ‘Ensemble Chord in C w/ a Major 7th & a Guitar Base’ takes on more sombre and reserved tones; the light of the previous track is now lost in a particularly dense fog bank in which Craig Colorusso’s bass clarinet seemingly acts as a rather sonorous warning to those in unfamiliar surroundings ( www.tromerecords.com )
Also from the same source is the debut album, vinyl again, from a Scottish outfit called Small Town Boredom which is centred around Fraser McGowan and Colin Morrison who, for the purpose of gigs and recording, are bolstered by a quintet of hired hands from other local groups in the Paisley area. The carefully measured spoonfuls of (mostly) acoustic guitar, breathy vocalese, sparse keys and minimal percussion make the ‘Autumn Might Have Hope’ collection a brittle-as-a-leaf-skeleton series of melancholic vignettes where even the merest hint of extra instrumentation would surely tip the delicate balance that the duo have perfected. Small Town Boredom have certain similarities to some Postcard bands from the near past, but in this case the standard, received allegiances that Edwin and Roddy pledged (Love, third album Velvets etc) are somehow overturned in favour of Terrascope favourites Hood (in earlier times), The Clientele and even a favourite obscurity of mine, Crabstick. Another point of view regarding the rather fine Duane Pitre and S.T.B. discs can be found etched by Simon Lewis in August’s ‘Rumbles’ – what other internet ‘zine gives “twofers” and “bogofs”?
Back in the day, I used to wear the grooves off of Zappa / Beefheart’s ‘Bongo Fury’ album, especially ‘Debra Kadabra’ in which the Captain begged his date to “dance the pachucha hop and let me twirl you”. Not an unreasonable request, and for years I thought the dance in question was a product of the magnificent Van Vlietian imagination. Not so! In fact, the “…hop” in question was a beltin’ slice of tenor-sax fuelled r’n’b from the early 1950s by Mad Mel Sebastian (a possible Chuck Higgins alias) and was, more than likely, a formative choon during the teen cruisin’ years of Uncle Don and Frank the Zee. So it’s a treat to see that this number can now be found on the ‘Dr Boogie Presents Rarities From The Bob Hite Vaults’ compilation LP / CD which, as you can guess, is sourced from the vast collection of bluesy 78s which belonged to Canned Heat’s Bob (The Bear) Hite. After his untimely death, a good percentage of these were inherited by band-mate Fito de la Parra. The lion’s share of the groove time is taken up by Chicago slide guitar legend Elmore James and concentrates on the more obscure sides found on the Checker, Flair and coolly named Meteor labels. Backed by his trusty Broomdusters (including the excellent J.T. Brown on sax), the best on offer must surely be ‘Sinful Woman’ who “woke early Tuesday morning with wrong doin’s on her mind”. Not the most obvious choice of girl to bring home to mother, then.
Still in the Windy City, the stinging lines of Hendrix favourite Otis Rush feature on his rare big city stomp ‘Jump Sister Bessie’, cut in 1957.Of course, no r’n’b collection could really be complete without something by Johnny Otis and Miss Etta James. The former’s ‘You Got Me Cryin’’ – a “my baby left me” after hours heartbreaker – dates from 1955, and that vibraphone is a real nice touch. Etta’s ‘Good Rockin’ Daddy’ dates from the same year – and her vocal seems to be double tracked. Correct me if I’m wrong, on a postcard if necessary, but I thought Buddy Holly introduced this trick of the tonsils a few years later? Regardless of that, let’s hope ad agencies won’t latch on to Etta for a second time… ‘The Itch’ by the aforementioned Chuck Higgins is another greasy instro, while Eddie Hope’s ‘Fool No More’ (1956) is more of a loose-limbed shuffle by comparison, and is very Canned Heat-like in its forward motion. Only thing is that this waxing happened when Bob and the boys were still being edjamacated and could only dream of luxuriant facial hair… Naturally as for blues comps, ‘The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of’ and the two ‘American Primitive’ albums are the ones we judge all others against, but ‘Dr Boogie’ on the Sub Rosa imprint ( www.subrosa.net ) certainly comes within a good hairsbreadth.
Keyboard experimentalist, fine wine enthusiast and friend to the teddy bear nation (maximum respec’ to the Steiff Massive) Charlemagne Palestine’s ‘From Etudes to Cataclysms’ double CD, also on Sub Rosa, is a fifteen part workout in which ‘The Borgato’ is put through its paces – being a specially designed double decker piano keyboard, the bottom deck’s pedals operating a second piano. The initial approach in which Charlemagne’s playing evokes tiny, twinkling stars on black velvet, gradually builds and blossoms during a finger-numbing two hours into a bullish occupation of the bass keys. Daredevil stamina and outsider artistry intersect on a release whose hypnotic qualities really deserve to be experienced in one sitting if at all possible.
Past leading lights of Denmark’s jazz scene are uncovered with Ricky Tick Records’ ‘On the Spot’ LP and CD compilation. Its second volume’s earliest entry, from 1957, is one of the collection’s most striking pieces, in that the use of conga drums in the previously unreleased ‘Bennie’s Groove’ by The Finn Mickelborg Quintet gives the arrangement a distinct air of the astro-lounge jazz stylings that permeated the earlier recorded works of Sun Ra. As to the Sixties material, the earlier entrants are predominantly small, vibes and piano driven combos, reined in slightly by certain notions of U.S. based black polo neck “cool” (see Jazz Quintet 60 and Finn Savery). However, as the decade moved on, influences on the scene became more eclectic and wide ranging, as witnessed on Max Leth’s ‘Taboo’ with prominent electric bass lines and busy, bustling vibraphonics, both seemingly energised by rock music but carefully avoiding certain fusionist pratfalls. Cy, Maia and Robert (from England, France and Belgium respectively) have the excellent ‘City Blues’ unearthed and come on like a politicized version of The Free Design! Cy Nicklin later formed two of Denmark’s leading prog bands, namely Day of the Phoenix and Culpepper’s Orchard. The superb arrangement on ‘City Blues’ is by ex-Thelonious Monk sideman Sahib Shihab (sax / flute), whose own ‘Charade’ is an example of a dense bossa nova jazz anomaly filtered through a pre world music dynamic. The splendidly named DJ and TV presenter Pedro Biker closes the set with ‘Wives and Lovers’, Bacharach & David’s patronising hymn to Stepford wife subservience which, when even dressed in a tux and wrapped in lush orchestration, has probably been blacklisted in radioland for fear of reprisals over a thousand breakfast tables ( www.ricky-tick.com )
Next in line comes Dave Cloud & The Gospel of Power whose backing combo includes certain members of Lambchop and the cream of Nashville’s garage fraternity. ‘Pleasure Before Business’ CD is his fourth album, the second UK release through Fire Records, and is a gruff ‘n’ ready set of Blues Explosion-like confrontations like ‘You Don’t Need Sex’ and ‘Hopelessly Addicted to You’ which rub shoulders with arse backwards deconstructions of unlikely covers. His ‘Prowler in a Nudie Suit’ vocal characterisations and fragmented backing arrangements are applied to these reworkings with almost the same frazzled vigour that was found on ‘Third Reich & Roll’. Dave teams up somewhat incongruously with Nina Persson of sickly sugarpopsters The Cardigans for ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’, mugs the Beau Brummels’ ‘Just a Little’ and Mike (Governor) Curb’s ‘Mary Jane’. Then he thoroughly destroys Yvonne Elliman’s ‘If I Can’t Have You’ and rewires ‘Yummy Yummy Yummy’ into a sliver of bubblegummed lechery. Only thing is, Dave and his strangely uncredited gang weren’t the first to paraphrase the Ohio Express with a blunt “I’ve got love in my tummy and I feel like fucking YOU” – that honour goes to American no-waver Novak, who got there first on his ‘Too Many Girls’ EP on Dumb Records back in 1978. Regardless of my nit-picking gentle reader, ‘Pleasures’ restores my faith in guitar / drum / vocal set-ups and just might do the same for you. But… is this really the type of artiste that Budweiser Beers should be choosing for its recent TV ad campaign? ( www.firerecords.com )
When it comes to visiting imaginary countries, why not investigate San Kazakgascar? It’s just a thought away and you won’t wind up losing all your luggage in the process. The concept comes from the minds of Jed Brewer (guitars, vocals), percussionist Paul Takushi, Mike Woo (clarinet specialist) and bassist Greg Hain. They’ve supported Neung Phak, Pink Reason and the mighty, mighty Sword Heaven and, ever mindful of their Sacramento roots, their ‘Greetings from San Kazakgascar’ CD seems to plant itself on the same east/west borderline that the Savage Republic straddled back in the late Seventies to mid-Eighties (and of course, Devil’s Anvil a decade or so before…) Distinctly psychedelic guitar and clarinet interplay insinuate themselves around the bustling and powerful rhythm section with only the angular no-wave stylings of ‘Tuk Tuk to Nowhere’ straying from the quartet’s engaging template. ( www.latherrecords.com )
Artist-in-monochrome Jess Peper sure wields a macabre pen. His depictions of what appears to be a cadaverous messiah, a blackened skeleton and a girl through a windshield (post op) adorn CDs by Edward Kaspel, Un Festin Sagital and Anakrid respectively, and form part of the “black series” of discs from Beta Lactam Ring ( www.blrrecords.com ). Edward’s ‘Melancholics Anonymous’ is a collection of elusive odds ‘n’ sods from numerous ten-inchers, compilations and singles that the Legendary Pink Dots’ founder member released in the last eight years. Like the happy ever after story of ‘Clara Rockmore’s Dog’ in which the pet of this theremin virtuoso is driven screwy by the high-pitched frequencies employed during her many concert performances; solace is at hand though, by the eventual fostering of said pooch by the “blue angel” herself, Marlene Dietrich. Could this be a true story? ‘Meltdown’ (from a gallery exhibition EP) and the warped orchestrations of ‘Karis in the Spring’ come as sharp contrasts, both offering pay per view intimations of an apocalypse near you.
The ‘Epitafio a la Permanencia’ CD is the debut American release for Un Festin Sagital, a Chilean five-piece who label themselves a psych band. For me though, suggestions of a prompt or two from fellow countrymen of yore like Los Macs or Los Amigos de Maria are difficult to accept when their sound is so clearly rooted in “rock in opposition” outfits such as Henri Vache, Art Zoyd and the Etron Fous. Their dark, ever changing moodscapes and musique concretions vie with suspenseful Euro-thriller scores while the ominous vocal lines occasionally recall those found on Magma’s debut, especially on ‘Epitafio al Delerio de Permancia Part One’. Further dark pleasures are located on ‘No Hay Coristas’ where a bizarre barber shop convention is upended by acoustic and electric jump cuts and daunting violin riffery. A disc that finds the perfect middle ground between fiery invention and non-cloying eccentricity and founded on the finest neo-prog principles.
Anakrid are a South Carolina-based experimental project led by Chris Bickel (once, surprisingly, of nineties hardcore outfits In /Humanity and Guyana Punchline, HG Fact and Prank Records respectively). Their ‘UnoDos’ double CD reissues the ‘Father’ and ‘Rapture of the Deep’ LPs, previously issued as limited edition albums on Stereonucleosis Records, and shows the stark contrasts between abrasive, pounding synthetics such as the airless ‘Wet Blanket’ and the end time gamelan patterns that form the superstructure of ‘Sacred Geometry’, ‘Mon Morundi’ and ‘Narcolepsy: Theory and Practice’. The latter track’s ethno-metallurgy is surely the set’s finest moment, resembling a bug-eyed SPK/Hunting Lodge hybrid. So, I can now sleep soundly in my bed knowing that not all of the nineties punk / hardcore division have become sad burnouts or walking wounded on endless revival tours to nowhere… Further Anakridian produce is as follows: ‘Banishment Rituals of the Disenlightened’ (CD on B.L.R.) and ‘Putrid Minds’ (cassette(!) on the Black Horizon label).
Staying in the cotton belt for a while longer, Raleigh (N.C.) is home to Slicnaton Publishing ( www.slicnaton.com ) and Nicholas Slaton (bass / electronics). His debut album, described as a three-way split between Eno, Cage and Ornette Coleman is followed by the ‘Trio Slicnaton’ CD by Glinkowski, Slaton and Sparacino, an electro-acoustic project in which he is joined by Mietek Glinkowski (violin / vitar) and Julian Sparacino (flute, bass clarinet, piano). Recorded live at four venues earlier this year, their composed and later processed melody lines operate as building blocks for further group improvisations. This is a concept that is similar to that of the Duane Pitre Ensemble, mentioned earlier, albeit in a less measured setting. The opening ‘All in Time’ and ‘Still Still’ resemble a joint AMM / Third Ear Band exercise with the Mascara Snake guesting, but as the clock ticks on the backdrops begin to take on a more grainy and / or royally fucked up appearance. ‘Blown Out’ pitches the funereal tones of the bass clarinet against the sounds of a distant war, while the bizarre ‘Cape Craft’ has enough threatening buzz and drone to be regarded as the first ever tone poem for the beekeeper set. As with Un Festin Sagital, a distinctly European feel is in evidence, with traces of Art Zoyd (again), Frank W. Fromy and perhaps Un Drame Musical Instantane found within, making for a laser ride into refreshingly unusual and challenging territory.
Now another rope ladder descent into the bottomless pit that appears to be the U.S. sixties / seventies garage psych scene. The ‘Lost Souls’ (Vol. 1) CD compilation curated by musician and record collector Harold Ott would immediately suggest that its release was the culmination of countless hours of burning the midnight oil, when eating and sleeping (and other essentials) fell by the wayside in deference to making an absorbing trawl through the musical heritage of Arkansas. These reactivated 45s, acetates and master tapes, 29 in all, are thoughtfully sequenced in chronological order and detail the bratty ripostes, and, in time, the more weirded out responses made to the then booming British invasion. When it comes down to influences and innocent ghosting, a good percentage seem to acknowledge Them in favour of Stonesy swagger and Zombies-esque sensitivity, witness The Yardleys, Barefacts, the excellent Xciters with ‘Upsetter’ and the edgy delivery of Gene Burnett on ‘Hey Come On Now’. However for me, the more interesting combos look to their own. The Shades (featuring Bob Fly) offer a sublime moment in Young Rascals-shaded white soul in ‘Hit It’. L.D. Mitchell and The Amalgated Taxi Cab Service’s plea for racial harmony (‘Planet of Union’) is a Doorsy mid-pacer, less portentous and doomy than those other Jimboclones Phantom’s Divine Comedy. Amps are turned to eleven with Blackfoot’s ‘Bummed Out’, an embryonic hard rock / psych crossover where Steppenwolf are put in a blender with the Damnation of Adam Blessing. As for the weirdest “thing”, well it just has to be ‘LSD’ by the Suspension of Belief. A stream of consciousness infused folk rock exploitation disc in which the producer, a man out of his time, dropped in recordings of a female opera singer at timely moments. A low tech precursor to sample culture? Maybe! As a number of US /Euro comps I’ve chanced upon recently have a “just make do” policy – no sleevenotes, smudgy band and label pics – ‘…Souls’ comes as a clunker-free breath of fresh air and clearly goes that extra garage mile in the research department. ( www.psychofthesouth.com )
Pinch me because I must be dreaming. Did you know that a collection of assorted rock “experts” have recently put together a top 100 list of the greatest LPs to have come out of Canada and only awarded Simply Saucer’s ‘Cyborgs Revisited’ a paltry 36th best of breed! Wha?! Now I’ve got as much time for Plastic Cloud, Troyka and Mahogany Rush as the next man, but c’mon… here’s a band that is the equal of avant garage combos like Chrome, Debris, Pa Ubu and the Twinkeyz. ‘Cyborgs…’ is a timeless work of art: I’ll brook no argument here. As the title of the latest from the Saucermen would suggest, the ‘Half Human / Half Live’ CD finds the band revisiting a set list written during their infancy circa. 1973/74, which is combined with a live recording from June 2007. The first half opens with a desperate cyberprog instrumental ‘Exit Plexit’ and then almost adopts a lank-haired greasy rock veneer with ‘Takin’ You Down’ which has a “shot my baby down” line that seems to reference ‘Hey Joe’. ‘Now’s the Time for the Party’ tells us to get our jollies in before “they” drop the big one. Pretty good advice from vocalist / guitarist [and all-round good egg, as anyone who witnessed Simply Saucer’s tremendous Terrastock 7 appearance will bear witness – Ed.] Edgar Breau, as the Cold War was in full swing at the time this was written. I’ve never heard the words “fun, fun, fun” sung with such grim determination.
The closing ‘Clearly Invisible’ and the 10.41 minute ‘Dandelion Kingdom’ go against type, being Floydian Syd-like and a toytown psych apparition of Doctor Strangely Strange respectively. The live side, on the other hand, contains reworkings of Cyborgian material in which, on numbers like ‘Mole Machine’ and ‘Get My Thrills’, David Winterman’s analogue hardware uncannily mirrors the alien synth wail that was so superbly manipulated by Ping Romany in a previous Saucerian age. Look, I’ll come clean: for me, Simply Saucer simply (sorry) can do no wrong. If you still haven’t investigated their wares (including Edgar Breau’s ‘Canadian Primitive’ solo), you really should rectify this immediately. Fingers crossed now for an album of new material. ( www.sonicunyon.com )
Much like ‘Half Human…’, the Black Sun Ensemble’s latest release ‘Across the Sea of Id: the Way to Eden’ (CD from Camera Obscura) also recalibrates material from a rich back catalogue. The crackling electricity that coursed through its predecessor ‘Bolt of Apollo’ has been set aside for a “largely” acoustic set-up with founder member Jesus Acedo’s Coral Electric sitar (?) being a more dominant voice alongside the sun-baked psychedelic patterning of his now regular backing outfit, Tuscon’s Sun Zoom Spark. Reworkings and new material compliment each other in a very special collection indeed. One can never tire of old favourites like the stately ‘Blues for Rainer’, with its violin / sax unison lines (c/o John Axtell and Brian Moloney respectively) and the 12:54 minutes of the ‘Sky Pilot Suite’. The latter actually improves the original’s considerable allure, one which is still redolent of exotic beaded curtains being brushed by sighing desert winds. Of the new material, it’s only ‘Angel de la Guardia’ that nudges the needle towards the red zone, the general mood being one of languid and sultry lyricism, especially on the C.S. Lewis-referenced ‘Perelandra’, and as always the arrangements and atmospheric settings crafted by Sun Zoom Spark’s Eric Johnson are right on the money. R.K. Knighton (who he?) wrote in his review of Black Sun Ensemble’s ‘Starlight’ in Ptolemaic Terrascope issue 34 that Jesus Acedo is “quite clearly on fire” – ‘Across the Sea’ by comparison comes across as more of a smoulderer, but look at those embers closely and you’ll only see colours like that once in a blue moon, so to speak. ( www.cameraobscura.com.au ) As a postscript, one which I hope can be resolved, it’s rumoured that after 25 years in the saddle Jesus Acedo just might hang up the peacock feather acoustic and quit music. Now, what a loss that would be. Register your concern at
(NB a “quick brown fox” jumped over my lazy dog review of the Black Sun Ensemble and can be found in August’s main reviews section, written by Jeff Penczak no less…)
With the release of Amp’s ‘All of Yesterday Tomorrow’ 3CD boxed set of outtakes and rarities on RROOPP Records, it might be thought that any more leafing through the back pages might be exhausted. Not so. ‘Soul Remains’ (CD) on their own Ampbase label ( www.ampbase.net ) is a remastered pairing of ‘Reminiscence’ with ‘Heart and Soul’. Both were initially issued on Darla Records, the former being a shared release from 1998 with another of the Terrascope’s favourites, Windy and Carl, the latter a 12”/CD that emerged the year before. Vocals from Karine Charff become forlorn angel sighs on the two part ‘Reminiscence’ which glide over a constantly billowing cloudscape of kozmik echo guitar (from Richard Walker), recalling k-rock experimentalists such as Gottsching, Schickert and Achim Reichel. ‘Heart and Soul’ is divided into three segments, the first of which ‘Dissolves’, devised by Ralf Wehowsky (RLW/P16 D4) adopts strange bubbling liquid analogue settings that stream towards more wordless vocalese in ‘Resolves’ and ‘Untitled Soul’. The atmosphere becomes decidedly uneasy with the gradual introduction of clanking and ringing metallic timbres resembling the clatter of neglected space junk in an overcrowded orbit. There will be more (eventually) from the Amp library in the shape of ‘Motus’, a CD which will include the final batch of unreleased tracks dating from 2000 to 2007.
Chaired by electro-acoustic musician (plus) Martin Archer, the Sheffield based Discus Records ( www.discus-music.co.uk ) is a resolutely independent concern whose selective catalogue is imbued with a pioneering and free thinking set of values. One of the label’s most recent releases is Martin’s double CD ‘In Stereo Gravity’ which certainly looks from where I’m standing to be some kind of landmark solo statement, as if everything beforehand was in some way a preparation for this. ‘In Stereo Gravity’ uses various permutations drawn from a large, five-decade rich pool of players plus scatterings of reprocessed input from the great lost folk voice of Anne Briggs and mod jazz bandleader Art Blakey. Within the depths of ‘In Stereo Gravity’s sixteen tracks that comprise an album that took three years to complete, we can also find contributions from Chris Cutler (drum loops on the east/west hybrid ‘Picofarad’), Charlie Collins and Terry Todd who you may and should recall from eighties Sheffield-garde bands Clock DVA and The Box. There’s also an all too rare sighting or four from Julie Tippets (nee Driscoll), her rather unusual remit on ‘Severed Me’, ‘A Daredevil in the Forest’ and ‘Spun Suger Barbed Wire’ being to recite fragments of spam email messages, which is surely one of the first positive uses ever to come from the computer blight I’ve ever encountered.
‘Army of Briars’ is inspired by the cowled order of Sunn O))) and instead of the expected metallic drone saga, an intense drum barrage and church organtone make their presence felt (and how!). ‘Nach Schriesheim’ meanwhile is an excellent open road motorik piece where traces of La Dusseldorf and Neu are given a very thorough overhaul, while still with a Germanic theme ‘Stockhausen Ascent’ gives a tip of the cap to “the master”, Karl Heinz. It’s sad though to think that this guitar /electronics based tribute to this avant-garde giant is the only one I’ve encountered. A superbly sequenced chain of events, crammed with invention and mind boggling sound sources. Look for the disarming ‘Radio Station at Metroland’ sleeve art and dive in!
Martin’s predecessor in this series ‘Heritage and Ringtones’ seamlessly mixes reinterpreted songs of times past with a handful of almost unclassifiable moderne abstractions (‘Ringtones 1-4’). The disparate set of covers, including Duke Ellington’s ‘Come Sunday’ and Bert Jansch’s ‘It Don’t Bother Me’, are so radically reworked that only the melody remains intact. The ancient Trad. Arr. ‘Let No Man Steal Your Thyme’ is the only track that retains a vocal line, a suitably spooky one courtesy of Julie Cole, chaperoned by a throng of babbling and murmuring treatments. The ‘Ringtones’ series with harpist Rhodri Davies and double bassist Simon H. Fell as constants comes to an undoubted peak with ‘Part Two’ which sees a soprano sax solo manfully dodging random lightning strikes and blipping synthery. With its staccato keyboard stabs, running against a fast b.p.m. heartbeat, I’d guess that ‘Angelus Vander’ might just be a tribute to Magma’s leader Christian Vander, however the eventual systemic warp and weft payoff manages to steer it away from CV’s Orff/Coltrane worship for a while. So, who knows – regardless of that, it’s a great track and no mistake.
‘The Formulary of Curses’ CD by Ask was another Discus item received recently, which finds processed / treated sound meshing together with living, breathing horn and rhythm sections, the latter including the monster double bass presence of Simon H. Fell. It’s an album of deceptive feints, unexpected twists and turns, helmed by Martin Archer (keys, wind instruments, processing etc) and guitar improviser John Jasnoch (ex- Bass Tone Trap, whose reissued CD is also available through Discus).
‘…Curses’’ vocabulary dips into English avant prog textures (catch the Frippian /Frithian six-string on ‘Watercourse’) and Carl Stalling-shaded cartoon squawks and screeches that seem to invade the InaGrm studios in ‘Mirny’. Changing the mood somewhat, a Ron Geesin-like library music sepiatone fields a poignant recorder melody amid the everyday hubbub of a busy railway café in ‘Pier Groups’. The set’s most towering peaks though, must definitely be ‘Strawberry Blue’ where mutated trails of Mike Rateledge-toned organistics (circa. ‘Soft Machine 2’) encircle a lone tenor banjo recital and ‘Song for Roscoe Mitchell’ whose exuberant big hand signatures somehow echo “the two Mikes”, Gibbs and Westbrook, in their prime – only this is a far wilder proposition. Great! Ask’s debut CD ‘Disconnected Bliss’ is available through the label’s mail order service at £5.00 including P&P, as is the ‘Ghost Lily Arcade’ CD by Martin Archer.
By the by… ‘Formulary’ was to have been titled ‘Senseless Acts of Beauty’ until Nurse With Wound beat Ask to the punch. So, that links up nicely with our very last (for now) subject Aranos, a multi-instrumentalist from the Czech Republic who has played with NWW in the past along with Current 93 and Crouton. Employing a kit of multidubbed double basses, violins, violas, drums and assorted “noisemakers”, the ‘Koryak Mistress Stakes Golden Sky’ CD (on Pieros Records) is a compelling hour long exercise in electro-acoustic drama where the heavy atmospheric content is immediately suspenseful and expertly downtuned. The silver screen at the back of your mind can’t fail to be kicked into action, the high end violin skreek that rips open the shower curtain of a certain room in the ‘Bates Motel’ and the all-enveloping orchestral drone swell that becomes a perfect sound homage to the doomed maiden voyage of the Titanic. Ear cinema of the warped such as this should surely interest those who have investigated Graham Bowers, Aethenor’s debut disc and / or Jackson Del Ray’s recent soundtrack work. ( www.brainwashed.com/aranos )
Rumbles written this issue by Steve Pescott
Artwork and layout:
(c) Terrascope Online, September 2008