Friday, February 21, 2020

A Hole in the Hand.














Sexton Ming’s Porridge Van / Cromlech Shadow
Coma Kultur.
CDR 40 copies.

Dirty Swords - The Devil’s Paste
CDR

Dai Coelacanth - Pterodactyl Bunker
Chocolate Monk. Choc 451.
CD 60 copies.

Dylan Nyoukis - Nothing to See Hear.
Chocolate Monk. Choc 470
CD 50 copies.

Neil Campbell - Displacement Activity Terminal 2019
Chocolate Monk. Choc 466
CD 50 copies.

Cody Brant - Scratch Music
Chocolate Monk. Choc 467
CD 50 copies.

Cloak + Cloaca - Croak
Totes Format. TOTFORM36
5CM CDR 30 Copies

Cloak + Cloaca - A Common Cavity
Totes Format. TOTFORM37
CDR/postcard/insert. 40 Copies

Rene Kita - Stille Nacht
Totes Format. TOTFORM36
5CM CDR 30 Copies

Caroline McKenzie - The First Snow From Soon
Totes Format. TOTFORM36
CDR 25 Copies

Carnivorous Plants - Mammon
Crow Versus Crow. CVC015
CD/DL. 50 copies.



There’s an unwritten law that states; if you work in a factory environment for long enough you’ll sustain an injury. And if you’ve ever worked in a factory environment you’ll be working alongside people with missing digits, missing ends of digits, missing lower limbs, scars, wheezing lungs, bumps and dents and tales of misfortune that range from the hilarious to horrific. After spending most of my working life in factory environments I’ve escaped relatively unscathed. This continued until Wednesday the 6th of February came around.

I arrived at work to find that during the night my mug had somehow managed to suffer a broken handle. I must state here and now that this mug is of the perfect size, bigger than your everyday mug but slightly smaller than the daft things big enough to boil pasta in. I’ve broken the handle before and successfully glued it back together. We have a history. The handle lay in two pieces from where I must have thrown it too viciously into its overnight drawer. Having an abundance of superglue to hand I first glued the two broken pieces together and once they had hardened I applied glue to all four remaining surface and with piece in place I applied pressure when disaster struck. The piece slipped and my hand hit what was remaining of the handle, a very sharp and unmoving bit of hardened pottery and enamel for which my tender flesh was no match. My initial reaction was, ‘oh thats going to hurt a bit’ and after sticking the wound in to my gob and sucking it, I turned on a cold tap and ran it under that while simultaneously gobbing out the sticky red stuff that my mouth was now full of. On first look the cut seemed manageable, about an inch long at the base of the index finger of my left hand, but it was deep, and this was my downfall. I stuck a plaster on it, bandaged it up and carried on with my work. About half an hour later I just happened to bump in to the first aider and waved my bandaged and bloody hand at him. ‘Your first aid box has been opened’ I told him [all first aid boxes are now sealed with an easily broken plastic tie wrap so as to prevent the casual pilfering of medical supplies], ‘Oh what have you done?’ said he, whereupon I showed him the wound. We both looked at very deep cut and what was obviously a hospital visit and after mild protestation from me, mainly brought on by visions of a morning wiped out at A&E off we went.

First Aider assured me that A&E would be quiet and that I would be back in no time and he was right, the place was deserted. ‘We don’t open ‘till nine love’, said the woman behind reception who’d taken my details and booked me in to the system. I took a seat. After sitting for no longer than five minutes my name was called and I found myself in front of a nurse who looked at my injury, and after careful consideration said ‘thats too deep for me flower, you’ll have to go to Pinderfields and see the hand specialist’. My heart crumpled. And so it was that I found myself at a bus stop outside Dewsbury District Hospital, my arm in a sling and a packet of antibiotics in my pocket, awaiting the arrival of the transfer bus that would take me to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

Pinderfields is half an hour away, I spent my time on the bus texting Mrs Fisher to tell her my tale of woe and realized that it was now ten o’clock and that I’d had nothing to eat since 5.30. that morning. Neither did I have any money on me. I had my phone, some paperwork, some antibiotics and that was it.

Arriving at Pinderfields I introduced myself to the correct department, handed over my paperwork and took a seat. I then assessed my miserable situation: I was still dressed in my works overalls and steel toe-capped boots, I had my arm in a sling, I was hungry, thirsty, without money and had a throbbing left hand that was going to need treatment. I was a tad pissed off that after 20 years of working with sharp knives and having suffered nothing more than superficial cuts I’d managed to end up in hospital after having tried to mend a sodding tea mug.

My name was called and I met a surgeon who looked at my injury. ‘How did you do it?’ he said while pulling apart the opposing flaps of skin and looking deeply in to the gap I‘d created. I told him the story of the mug. ‘So you work in a carpet factory with all those sharps knives and …’ ‘Yes, its hilarious isn’t it’ I said not laughing and trying not to think about where this was going to end. ‘You’ll have to see the specialist’ he said and with that I was whisked back in to the waiting area.

By now it was well past two o’clock and I was very hungry and very thirsty. One of the questions I’d been asked numerous times during the past few hours was ‘when did you last eat?’ and when I told them 5.30 that morning they nodded and said ‘thats OK then’. It now dawned on me that this meant they could operate today as I could handle the anesthetic.

Ten minutes later a nurse passed and took me in to her office. She took some details. I had a plastic bracelet fitted that contained a barcode, my date of birth and various other important information. About an hour later I was called again and this time I saw someone wearing a lanyard, who produced a form and began filling it in, ‘This is a disclaimer form’ she said ‘just in case anything goes wrong during the operation’. I nodded blindly. I was going to be operated on. ‘The surgeons are deciding on whether to administer a local anesthetic or a general one. They need to assess the damage. Are you OK with that?’ I looked up from my seat and nodded silently. A nurse came in and gave me a hospital robe and a flimsy carrier bag that said ‘Patients Belongings’ on it. Again I was asked to go and sit in the waiting area.

A nurse appeared. ‘Good news’ she said, ‘they can operate this afternoon’. I tried to smile even if it was just to convey how happy I was that she was happy, but deep inside I was monumentally pissed off. I waited some more. I looked at my phone with disinterest. I finished a Ballard story on Kindle that I’d totally forgotten about and tried to forget that no food or drink had passed my lips for eight hours now. Misery descended and refused to budge.

My name was called again and this time I found myself with the surgeon and the Hand Specialist. The Specialist shook my good hand, ‘So you’re the bloke who cut his hand on a mug?’ We all laughed. I felt stupid for wasting their time. The surgeon sat next to me and took hold of my injured hand. ‘Can you feel this?’ he said as he ran his index finger up and down the side of my index finger. ‘Yes’. ‘Can you make a fist?’ I made a fist. They looked at each other. ‘How do you feel?’ I wanted to say that I could eat a soggy mattress and drink what gathered in rain puddles but all I wanted to do was get out of there. ‘I feel fine’ I said. ‘I’ll take it really easy and promise not to make my injury any worse so long as you set me free and let me go home’. Actually I didn’t say any of that. The Hand Specialist said ‘It looks like you haven’t damaged any major tendons or nerves and if you take it easy for a week or so it should heal up by itself’. I felt blessed. My injury was attended to and I was allowed to go home. Or back to work to report the damage and wolf down two bananas and an energy bar before gingerly driving home without having to use the handbrake. I had the beginnings of a headache but I was looking at a week off work minimum.

This results in me having lots of free time on my hands. Well, my right one at least. Time to spin little shiny discs during the hours when I should be at work, watch three hour documentaries on iPlayer, shower with a rubber glove on and if it hadn’t have been for the nauseating effect of the antibiotics it would have been all the more enjoyable.

Where to start though? A not inconsequential pile of review material has been building over the last month or so and while I play something virtually every night of the week the words haven’t been forthcoming. I peruse but prevaricate preferring instead to watch restoration videos on YouTube with the sound down. Its amazing what people can do with worn out shoes and old pistols.

Totes Format got a mention last time around when a few of their cassettes got involved in a cassette review session. Along with those cassettes came releases by Cloak + Cloaca, Rene Kita and Caroline McKenzie. Cloak + Cloaca are a trio consisting of Kek-W, Matt and Totes Format head cheese GRM. ‘A Common Cavity’ is the far superior work and not just because it comes in a laser etched, hand sewn, recycled tar paper cover with postcard and manifesto based around the concept of accepting frailties, limitations and when to give up as the basis towards liberation. ‘Croak’ is good even if at times it sounds like Consumer Electronics having a coughing fit but ‘Cavity’ is the real meat. A full hours worth of Industrial Machine Malfunction Drone Dub Electronica with ritualistic undertones and just the merest hints of Spacey Techno Ambience. It really does have it all. If you’re in to that kind of thing of course. Rene Kita is the Finnish based artist whose mission it is to draw one million faces before he dies. You can follow his progress here: one of his faces comes with Still Nacht [I have number 224,390]. It appears on a small slip of paper as accompaniment to a black cdr of manipulated noise that sounds like it was made from processed gabber. Like a multitude of Phil Mintons doing the noise thing. Far more stille nacht is Caroline McKenzie whose dreamy synth soundscapes help with her ongoing insomnia problems. Its the first time I’ve encountered McKenzie’s work and I’m impressed. Think Eno at his droney best, a simplified Emeralds, drones that develop, morph and help calm the troubled soul. Three tracks that come in at just under an hour with the twenty-two minute third and last being the one on which to point the good ship Silent Night. Whether this is representative of all of McKenzie’s work I shall have to find out for myself. It seems I have some catching up to do.

My notes have Sexton Ming’s Porridge Van as sounding like God listening to Classic FM while having a bath as someone in the next room throws steel pipes out of the window. Listening back now thats exactly right. God droning on about his trip to the supermarket and how shit the weather was, washing up with R1, talking to himself about washing up as jazz records spin. Totally unclassifiable. Sexton Ming’s Porridge Van is Sexton Ming and South Coast agent provocateur Jason Williams, a man for whom the moniker No Audience Underground is completely irrelevant.  By track seven we’re in to Cromlech Shadow territory. Here we find lo-fi noise, groaning bones, dying mammoths, glass harps, stylophone squeaks and TNB junk-outs, wheezy drones, the jingling and a-jangling of trinkets and ankle bells. After some digging around I discovered that Cromlech Shadow is the collaborative work of Andy Jarvis and Chandor Gloomy who both sent me a copy such was their determination that I have one. If anyone wants one, drop me a line.

Dirty Swords is Andy Jarvis and Marky Loo Loo. Two who make noises in various bands and projects but come together here to make two tracks that are then put in plastic a sleeve with cardboard artwork as cut from a larger piece of artwork as maybe made by Jarvis issue. I’m guessing. Here we enter the experimental, improv noise arena once again. Stoke-on-Trent that is. It houses a handful of hardy souls who can see no other way than to create these noises. To purge the soul, to do what others fear. The two tracks on The Devil’s Paste are quite soothing in a not very Caroline McKenzie way. Maybe she could try this for her insomnia? ‘Kazaki Neptus III’ becomes a continual throb of murk, a rumbling grumbling noise, an invocation to the Gods of Beetling, dirty bubbles, dirty grubbles, a-slithering and a-sliding thing. It segues into the second track, ‘Masters of Seas [The Lung Worm]’ and the kind of noise as created out of the back of broken radios where circuit boards are explored with strips of bare metal and divining rods, where the noise gets louder and more ecstatic as it progresses and ends up sounding like the Yakuza shooting up a noodle kitchen. I wrote ‘ A house is falling down and a record player is spinning Japanese Noise records that haven’t seen the light of day in 20 years’ and thats how it sounds.

Fast forward a few days and I’m back at Dewsbury District Hospital to have my wound looked at. I find myself sat in a too hot waiting area of the old hospital where R2 and Steve Wright blasts at a too loud volume to me and a bored looking couple and a man who’s waiting for his son. I divest myself of various items of clothing so as to become accustomed to the temperature as Talking Heads become the first track on the Golden Oldies section. I’m led to a curtained off area where a spotty youth asks me lots of questions I’ve already answered many times before, the answers to which he dutifully records with more concentration than seems necessary. My grubby bandage is cut off by a chatty man who tells me he’s had his tyres slashed by angry residents and that there’s a four year waiting list for a car park permit at Pinderfields. A small, clean plaster is applied and I’m back outside waiting for the 268 with a sick note in my pocket.

When I get home there’s been a Chocolate Monk delivery. It seems appropriate to follow on from all that Stoke noise by mentioning Dai Coelacanth first. That’s if he is from Stoke. Greece has been mentioned. Nobody knows. Smoke and mirrors. No promotional material for us just the raw sounds therein. This one runs for an hour and is the best one I’ve heard yet. It begins with Dai shouting the word ‘rabid’ numerous times before disappearing into a vortex that is the audio equivalent of being shouted at by a loony in the bus stop queue. Dai amasses this hours worth of audio from Dictaphone recordings and in the process gives us Milovan Srdenovic channeling Adam Bohman through Hasil Adkins whose sat at home playing his Mixed Band Philanthropist records. Dai shouts, he growls like a succubus but the shouting’s the best, things like ‘Dog Glue!’, ‘Mutant Queen Terror Baby!’, Rat Baby!’, Venus Creeps!’, ‘All I’ve Got Is Coffins!’ all this Tourettes like jabber coming at you between blasts of lo-fi noise, slowed down pop songs and general audio verite noise. At times there are fumbling stabs at getting the riff to The Ace Of Spades right on an out of tune acoustic guitar, ultra decayed tape mulch that once contained easy listening music, at times it just Dai repeating the word ‘worms’ over and over again, there are songs, sort of and mantra’s like ‘Lost my shirt in the meaty fumes’. The sheer glory of it. Nobody comes close. I am in awe.

Follow that I said to Dylan because he was next up. In a plain cardboard sleeve too, eschewing the recent beefed up, all colour, fold-out cards that Chocolate Monk have been adopting with much success of late. ‘Nothing to See Hear’ seems to be a pun thats been too long coming. The wait was worth it. Do we have a South Coast voodoo ritual then? A Homage to Adam Bohman perhaps? I hear his voice coming to me through the looped miasma, through the grubby tape and slurred vocals, the warbling oddments that are the results of dubs over dubs over dubs over dubs, a smeared window that can only give you an idea of what lays behind it, the palimpsest of a Dictaphone addict. Nyoukis weaves his creation with a skilled hand, his voices, or whats left of them becoming a series of inchoate babbles. We finish with simultaneous boos and applause and someone striking a match. There’s a message in there but I’m damned if I can work it out.

I wonder if Cody Brant has ever cut his hand? Maybe he cut it while making Scratch Music? Maybe he scratched his hand and this led him to make Scratch Music? A scratch is not a cut though and I definitely have a cut, or is it a puncture wound? Maybe I have a puncture wound? Whatever. Cody Brant comes to mind when I think of the Bren’t Lewiss Ensemble and Seymour Glass and all those glorious oddball musical geniuses who make music out of unicorn breath. I think they could be linked. Not by an umbilical cord but by the same kind of thinking and reasoning. About making music. About making noises and noise which is what Brant does here with twelve tracks of noises that may be some use to him as therapy. On ‘Repressed + Inhibited’ you can hear him [just] saying ‘I’m so goddamned inhibited I can’t believe I’m talking in to a cassette recorder’ but maybe this isn’t him? I found it hard to get a hold of Scratch Music. It flits and flirts. At times its a noisy Pan Sonic at others radio noise, at others highly processed digital techno noise, at others amp buzz, as on Holy Crap! when someone is heard saying holy crap! There’s a live track of droning sounds [at least it sounds like it was recorded in the live situation] thats decent enough but it feels like an oasis.

One man who’s no stranger to drone is the Munificent Mirfield Maestro himself Neil Campbell, here with four tracks as recorded at the fag end of last year. ‘Jingle Fucking Bells’ is the last and slowest of the quartet on offer; a wheezing, struggling to get going sample of bells that sounds like Ornette Coleman trapped inside a Grandfather clock chiming midnight. If you listen to them in reverse order the drones get more hectic with ‘Displacement Mood’ having an almost Hare Krishna-like vibe in and amongst the Stylophone gone bust squiggles and shaker shaking. The first two tracks are unmistakably prime NC though; ‘Albion Terminal 2019’ is a five minute gem of shimmering vibes and a looped electric guitar while ‘First/Last Blast’ is a shoulder rocking, head nodding, lolloping joy, filled with sparkly-ness that soars and glows and flows and roars and lifts the mood no end

The wound is now a scar. The flesh may still be a bit mushy beneath the skin and I doubt I’ll be twisting the lids off any stubborn jam jars for a while but this is now nothing. I have traversed the field of pain, fought terrible battles with rubber gloves and the nauseating effects of penicillin. A surgeon has rubbed my finger and I have escaped surgery. I am whole again.

My time off work coincided with the arrival of two very destructive storms within the space of a week. Each of them bringing misery for many. Particularly the residents of the Calder valley. Crow Versus Crow finds itself in close proximity to these storms and floods they created, yet as far as I know has managed to escape unscathed. Its a wild place at the best of times never mind when a full blown storm hits town. I’ve been listening to Carnivorous Plants release ‘Mammon’ with increasing curiosity. Its been around since pre-wound days. Blurb on the CVC Bandcamp page tells us that this release came in to being as a request from CVC to Carnivorous Chambers to record something with Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in mind. Apparently this is something that Owen [Carnivorous Plants] Chambers has done before, i.e. record a pair of tracks for a limited number of people using a predetermined theme. Here this becomes three tracks, two of heavy drone with a piano interlude of a most delightful and pretty hue, as if the grandson of Debussy himself recorded a light air, en plein air with birds chirruping at the onset of dawn on a warm spring morning. Giving it the title ‘Pandemonium’ is tongue in cheek of course. Its sandwiched between ‘The Second King of Hell’ and ‘Blood Orange’ with the latter starting like the opener but soon opening out to envelop a keyboard drone within its grungy arms. In-house artwork by CVC is as beautifully crafted as ever.


I look at my scar. I look outside at the trees bending in the wind. Its been an interesting week or so.
   




Coma Kultur



Chocolate Monk

Totes Format

Crow Versus Crow

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Lenka Lente







Hanns Heinz Ewers - Sorcière Ma Mère
Nurse With Wound - The Top of the Left Ear


Lenke Lente. Book + CD
60 PAGES. 10 X 15⋅5 CM
ISBN : 979-10-94601-31-0


Hanns Heinz Ewers has been described as the German Edgar Allen Poe and the reason you’ve probably never heard of him [that includes me until this dropped through the door] is that few of his works have been translated into English. His books began to appear in the early 20th century and with them numerous [and notorious] short stories, there were plays, critical essays, poetry, librettos, and a correspondence with lifelong friend Aleister Crowley. Hitler commissioned him to write a biography of Nazi martyr Horst Wessel, something he might have regretted had he known Ewers was a philo-semite with homosexuals tendencies, but hey, whose perfect?

Intrigued by Ewers, I sought out a translation of Sorcière Ma Mère [My Mother the Witch] and found one courtesy of Frans de Waard. An online PDF translated by fans of Ewers perhaps, and those keen to read his works in English. Its a curious short story in the form of an epistle written by the strangely named Dr Kaspar Krazy Cat to a rarely seen brother begging him not to get married. His reasoning being that if they have children they will become witches, assuming that the witch gene misses a generation. What follows is the doctors evidence that his mother is a witch; she cures warts, has poisoned mushrooms in her garden, has a closet full of brooms and curses those who cross her, literally and usually with terminal effects. These observations go further to enforcing his suspicions, which culminate in him seeing his mother transform in to a cat and receive an injury from a dachshund while in a graveyard. When she wakes up in the morning in human form the injury is still there and its this that makes him write the letter. There’s a twist in tale too, albeit a slight one. 

That injury occurs at the top of the left ear which is where Nurse With Wound come in. I’ve been listening to a bit of Nurse With Wound of late, especially Soliloquy For Lilith which I took to the stereo while full of lurgi over the festive period. There really is something to be said for being so ill that all you can do is put one CD after another in to the player. You may be ill, but on the plus side it is possible to soak up hour after hour of drifting, droning music all without having to move hardly a muscle. ‘Top of the Left Ear’ is a gamelan-esque twenty-minute exactly Nurse drone where finger cymbals ring out amid scythe like cuts, digital jibber-jabber and someone sharpening a knife on a whetstone in rhythmical fashion. It’s eeriness makes a good match for the story it comes wrapped in and runs to around the same time it’ll take you to read it.

A match made in hell? Hardly, but another suitable obscure author/Nurse With Wound match from Lenka Lente.


http://www.lenkalente.com/

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Cassettes.













Claus Poulsen & Stuart Chalmers - Fictions in the Age of Reason
Aphelion Editions.APHELION014 - K7
Cassette/CD/DL.

Abattoir & Satori - Megaloschemos Live
Unsigned. US058
Cassette/DL. 50 copies.

Rovar17 Vs Xpldnglke - Miracles of Orbanistan
Unsigned. US053
Cassette/DL.

Max Nordile - Primordial Gaffe
Paisley Shirt Records. PSR24
Cassette/DL

Max Nordile - Confusion Deodorant
Cassette

Olliojohanna / Coldsore
Totes Format. TOTFORM40
Cassette/DL
20 copies.

Coldsore - Pollutant 3
Totes Format. TOTFORM37
Cassette/DL
30 copies.




There are those who claim that cassettes were just getting into their stride when the CD came along and stomped to death the living daylights out of them, vinyl, Minidisc, eight-track and whatever other format dared stand up to it. As the ever greedy recording industry geared up to make even more money than every before by dazzling us with shiny little discs, cassette duplication went from analogue to digital and the leap in sound quality was remarkable. Nobody cared though, we’d all fallen in love with the shiny discs and the record industry sat back and watched their bank accounts grow fatter by the second. That they cost a small fortune didn’t seem to worry us. We happily shelled out £15 for each and every one of them and when 2 for £20 came along it was a good excuse to max out the credit card. They wouldn’t scratch, jump or crackle and you could play both sides without having to get up off your arse and change the record, or flip the cassette over. Entire symphonies could be heard from beginning to end without interruption. You could skip tracks that you didn’t like and if you could be bothered, programme the CD to play the album in any order you liked. The LP record went on to life support with the cassette on the bed next to it.

Fast forward twenty-five years and by some quirk in the space time continuum cassettes and vinyl are still with us and its CD with its head in the noose. Cassettes live on as addendum's to hip rock stars release schedule, as a way of giving their fans a taste of ‘this is what it was like back in the day kids’, as the physical side of a digital release. They nearly snuffed it but thanks to a few die-hards they managed to limp along into the 21st century.

All this because I seem to keep getting lots of cassettes. They just keep on coming. Its like CD never happened. I have no room for them anymore, and a cull must come as sure as night follows day, but let us leave that for another day and the thought of one lucky punter, who just happens to be in Cleck Oxfam on the day they put out a box of cassettes marked ‘50p each’.

December sees the appearance of the Best of Year lists and a glut of articles written by people eager to tell the world which releases gave them the most aural pleasure during the previous twelve months. I don’t do those lists, but if someone said to me ‘choose a favourite release or you’ll have to spend January in a room with Katie Hopkins’, I’d choose the Claus Poulsen & Stuart Chalmers release, ‘Fictions in the Age of Reason’. Mainly because its the most gorgeous, achingly beautiful, fill me with helium and let me go two sides of tape I’ve heard in a very long time. 

I saw them collaborate on a wet and windy night in Bradford a few months back and it was obvious from the off that they were at ease with each other, Chalmers with his swarmandal, cassettes and FX, Poulsen with tiny keyboards, sax and sawed cymbals. ‘Fictions …’ is the proud echo of that evening. Its first track begins with an Alan Lomax field recording, of what appears to be children bathing in a river and shouting to each other joyously in foreign tongues, there’s a short reversed loop of a strummed intro over which comes an Eno-esque drone of sheer majesty, over which comes the breathy key flaps of Poulsen’s sax and on it goes, folding in on itself and expanding, bringing in older elements and reshaping them anew, until all we are left with are vistas of a shimmering heat-haze and in it Poulsen’s dying sax’s last breath, birdsong and children, stillness and peace. After picking myself up off the floor, and walking around the house open mouthed for an hour, I pressed play and carried on. ‘Earth Dance’ where the multi-tracked gentle plucks of Chalmers swarmandal are joined with the tuneless and random plucks of some other unidentified instrument and the result is dizzying and mesmeric. ‘Eclipse’ is sullen, the swarmandal hit into a giant bell as Poulson does his best to resurrect the ghost of Chet Baker, the whole edifice becoming ever more dreamy as heavy duty tape swirl is introduced. There are but four tracks, the last being a low key drone which on someone else’s release would be the standout track, but here works as gentle balm before you flip and dive in again.

After such gorge-iosity I must ying the yang and subject myself to some full on noise. Which is where Megaloschemos come in. Megaloschemos being the collaborative work of Lorenzo Abattoir [Abattoir] and Dave Kirby [Satori]. Two blokes sat at a table in front of a mountain of gear that must have cost thousands, making a shit load of noise. Whats not to like? Crunching blasts of detonating depth charges, Godzilla footsteps, burning Stukas falling out of the sky at volume one hundred, deep throat singing. As recorded live in Budapest. Via the same label comes more wailing and gnashing of teeth courtesy of a collaboration between Italian noise merchants Rovar17 and Xpldnglke. A single sided five tracks worth of Industrial landscapes, brooding menace, drone, dub-like reverb and the scattered flotsam, jetsam and detritus that you’ll find in many a noise related release. Both players are credited with ‘electronics’ which tells me nothing. Some of it is self-indulgent and wearying and I don’t recall having a  moment where my knees went weak or I felt the urge to break open the thesaurus, but it passed on a pleasant 40 minutes or so.

Max Nordile’s frequent blasts of improvised racket continue to draw breaths of admiration and not just because he’s willing to brave the outrageous prices charged by the US Mail. Two releases here, one that appears to have come from Nordile’s own hand and a thin blue xeroxed paper insert in which a recycled, sprayed on cassette lies. All the sounds therein are explained by the track titles, so ‘Sax’ is Nordile honking like his lungs are fit to rupture and ’10 Bells' being the sound of ten bells but with all the clappers taken out. I like Nordile’s knock ‘em out style. Get it recorded, get it done. That’ll do for a cover. What are we messing around at here. Lets get it out. ‘2 Bolts’ is two bolts being rolled around inside a biscuit tin, ‘Control’ I have no idea but it sounded like a violin being played with a guitar as Nordile sings ‘Control, it fits, it fits, it fits’. ‘3 Drums’ is a tribal rhythm, just the same unchanging rhythm that goes on for about 30 seconds, ‘CD’ is another Nordile song sung over some exploding electric guitar improv. He sings in a talking voice and the only comparison I can make to this kind of thing is early Joincey. If you like early Joincey this is where you need to be. ‘Primordial Gaffe’ like a more out of control Smegma, like Nordile [sometime accompanied by five of his friends, including someone called ‘Snake’] howl and stomp and frot and squawk through eleven tracks of delirious improvisation. I say improvisation but there are lyrics here. Let us suggest that Nordile has the lyrics and improvises over the top of them, mainly with a swirling, jagged, hammered to within an inch of its life electric guitar and then with band on tracks like ‘Decaying Tab [with mirror]’ where you can not help but intone the words ‘SCREAMING DEATH PARP’. Glorious, life affirming stuff. Like if Husker Dü took the wrong pills and got sectioned and were given busted instruments to play on. Where you track down Noridle’s work I know not. I believe both Nordile and Paisley Shirt may be on Facebook.  Say hello to Zuckerberg while you’re there. There’s a Paisley Shirt Bandcamp page but much of what Nordile releases seems to be elusive and digital free. Its part of the appeal.

That Paisley Shirt cassette gets a shiny silver J-card insert too. It beefs the release up somewhat. Totes Format do the same thing while adding small, desirous items of handmade-ness to lift their release out of the ordinaire. There’s recycled cassette cases too so as to fit with the labels environmental ethos.

Totes Format releases have always gone down well here and these two are no exception. The Coldsore/Ollijohanna split has two tracks of heavy drone based on the theme of anti-gravity. The kind of slowly shifting, low-hertz thrum that sounds as if it was recorded inside the ventilation duct of a future city on Mars. The Ollijohanna side is full on drone while Coldsore introduces bowl-like ringing and space-y synth like bombs and drones, and at midpoint, a spoken word movie sample, which I thought slightly jarred, and whose only purpose in being there seemed to be its mention of anti-gravity. The third installment of Coldsore’s ‘Pollutant’ series finds a number of processed environmental sounds as recorded in the fallout zones of Russia's nuclear power plants. Rain features heavily. And heavy rain, rattling on a tin roof like a ball-bearing attack. There’s that eerie, echo-y sound of water dripping in an empty building and the roaring sound of, of what? That’s ‘Acrid Reigns’, on the flip lies ‘Pollination [of a corpse]’ and bee sounds writhing amongst a disorientating swirls of an analogue nature. This is much in line with what Dave Philips is achieving and a reminder that without bees we’re buggered.

Cassettes then? It looks like they’ll be with us for a while longer.          


Aphelion

Stuart Chalmers

Claus Poulsen

Unsigned

Paisley Shirt

Totes Format

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Snowflakes are Text-Sound







Text-Sound - Snowflakes
Sham-Repro. SR-001. CDR



Chicory Tip’s 1972 number one hit ‘Son of my Father’ sounded good even through the shitty little speaker of my three band Hitachi transistor radio/cassette player with built in condenser mic and carrying strap. That synth riff did it for me. It was the song that introduced me to synthesizers, even though I’d no idea that it was a synthesizer I was listening to. The song was co-written by Giorgio Moroder and the synth was a Mini Moog. Moroder released his own version of it a year earlier where it did nothing to trouble the charts and would have probably died a death until Chicory Tip’s manager suggested they do a cover version of it. On such moments careers are built. You should check out the primitive video of Moroder singing his version in a barely disguised ‘lets get this all over and done with as quick as possible’ fashion, all while sporting the most enormous and unruly black mustache seen in pop history until the emergence of the Village People. Something to aim for there. Then you can go and look at Chicory Tips version as filmed on the seafront in Southsea. Did synth pop begin this far back? It probably did.  

Three years later Japanese synth wizard Isao Tomita released his album of haunting Debussy covers, ‘Snowflakes Are Dancing’. Which at the time cropped up regularly as incidental music on Radio 1. I seem to remember Dave Lee Travis having a liking for it, though this would probably have been a few years further down the line. When I eventually got my own copy of ‘Snowflakes ...’ it not only piqued my interests in synths further but in Debussy too and then on to piano music itself. Wins all round. Thank you Tomita and DLT, or as he’s know around these parts, the man who got a three month sentence [suspended for two years] for indecent assault during Operation Yew Tree.   

So imagine my surprise to receive in the post, totally anonymously, without a word of warning the above CD with the Tomita’s fizog on the cover. I recognized him immediately as the image is taken from the back of the Snowflakes LP. The person taking in applause on the flip I didn’t recognise at all, but a reverse image search came back with Sten Hanson, an obscure Swedish experimental poet and composer. Sten Hanson released an album called Text-Sound and what you see is its cover minus some of the wording.

The CD lasts for twenty minutes and is the first side of Snowflakes with various sounds layered over it. These sounds range from irritating animal squeaks to vocalisations to electronic burbles. After listening to some Sten Hanson via YouTube, including a live performance recorded in Essen in 2004 where sounds such as these exist, I’m making the assumption that this CD is Hanson and Tomita layered over each other. The result is that rare thing, something virtually unlistenable. I really struggled to finish it and all the while kept asking myself, why? Who would do such a thing? I’ve tried searching online for this release but have come up with nothing. Then I realised that the word ‘snowflake’ has more than one meaning these days and that this may be a wind-up. I really don’t care. This may be a complete waste of resources and twenty minutes of my time, but it introduced me to Sten Hanson and got me listening to Chicory Tip again. So all together now SON OF MY FATHER dee dee dee di di di di dee.









Friday, January 24, 2020

Mlehst - More Punishment



Mlehst - More Punishment
Oxidation. CDROT060
Cassette/DL


Welcome to the Outrageous Packaging Programme where today we’ll talk about whats on the outside of a release in far more detail than whats inside it. In a feature packed, special hour long episode, we’ll take you back in time to a pre-Internet world where record labels tried to outdo each other in the outrageous packaging department by releasing musics in ever more bizarre and unwieldy fashions. We’ll be talking to the man who sealed a permanently playing Merzbow CD inside a Mercedes Benz motor car, Phil Todd and his sponges and from beyond the grave, Nigel Joseph who proposed sewing a hundred Noise cassettes into the insides of an eviscerated dog.

But wait, whats this? Mlehst? Surely not? Thee Mlehst? All Brentall’s Mlehst? The very same Mlehst that soundtracked the 1990’s with a continuous supply of eerie experimental noise cum dark ambient electronics? Can it be? Could it be? Lawksamussy, if my eyes don’t deceive me it is indeed. Like a Whitehouse album that you play for the first time in donkey’s years the memories immediately come flooding back; all those Japanese noise CD’s, the poorly attended noise gigs in parts of London that you’d never otherwise visit, the one sided LP’s that came out on Brentall’s Bandaged Hand Produce label, the many beers, the camaraderie and above all, the outrageous packaging.

So Santa brought me some Mlehst. I couldn’t have been happier. Oh, hang on, its a rather large jiffy bag. Inside it there’s a seven inch square wooden plaque with a cassette and a miniature leather whip nailed to it. The craftsmanship and skill involved has to be admired for it could not have been easy to knock those nails in without cracking the cassette case. Or maybe a jig was made and the cassette inserted afterwards? The leather whip is held in place by nails that have been bent over. The plaque itself appears to be made from a light, softish wood thats had a decorative chamfer applied to all four edges before being stained a light coffee brown. It is rough hewn and it is as daft, and as pointless a piece of outrageous packaging that you will see, and the likes of which I haven’t set eyes on since the Hungarian label Unsigned sent me something similar last year. Apparently 44 of them exist. In a hour that will be 43 for I have anywhere to put the such things, so I will de-nail it, keep the cassette, burn the wood for fuel and leave the whip in the gents toilet of The Duncan in Leeds with a suggestive note and the phone number of my ex-gaffer. If you think this is excessive, imagine you are the owner of one of the fourty-three left. Yours have just become that bit rarer.

I could have got the download of course or the stand alone cassette version and then all of this could have been avoided, but All sent me the the Big Kahoona, the mothership, the Mount Rushmore version so whats a man to do? Ignore it? I’m more than happy with the sounds that lie buried within and the fact that the dust-sheets have been taken off Mlehst, which when you get down to is the crux of the matter.

More Punishment is two, fourty-five minutes sides of unsettling vibes, buried voices, all out noise and looped rhythms formed from grisly electronics, reversed tape muck and butchered gadgets that are kept from falling apart with solder and Sellotape. Some tracks unfold from their dark, minimalist beginnings and gain depth as they progress, others are just plain noisy. Voices appear through the grime, the speaking clock maybe, the business end of a powerful suction pump. One sprawling noise fest is the attack of the killer electronic termites. A serious amount of tape wobble on one outing had me wondering whether it was intentional or whether the tape was actually stretching, either way I enjoyed the experience. There are soaring drones and rattled steel pipes and the judder of jackhammers and always the feeling that this is the mid 90’s. Its no bad place to be.

Those rusty old nails. The black and white imagery. Illinois label Oxidation is home to such things. If you missed the Experimental Industrial Noise 1990’s and have room in your home for such as this, here is where you need to be.  


Oxidation






 

Friday, January 17, 2020

Simon Morris 1968 - 2019




The last time I got in the car and drove to Blackpool on my own was six years ago. It was the fag end of 2013, the last Sunday before Christmas, and it couldn’t have been any more cold, wet, windy, shit and miserable than it actually was. At around three in the afternoon I looked out at the trees and rain-lashed bushes bending in the wind and then I looked at my comfy armchair, felt the heat from the radiators and then I put my coat on. It’s only about a ninety minute drive to Blackpool after all, and the Sleaford Mods were playing a charity gig that got shifted from its original venue to some scummy Dickensian-themed pub in a less than salubrious part of town. When the gig was announced I had the grand idea of booking a room for the night and making something of it, but at the last minute I thought who wants to spend a soggy night in out of season Blackpool? Who wants to wake up in a crappy Blackpool boarding house on a miserable Monday morning in December with a hangover and have to drive back over those windy, winding moors with the windscreen wipers lashing away and a pounding head? Bloody Blackpool.

I forget what the charity whip-round was about, but fivers and pound coins were dropped into a hat. I don’t think they made much for whoever it was. The pub was up some stairs as I recall and had little rooms with words like ‘hum-bugs’ written above them. There was no stage just a small space on the floor. The venue had a ‘no drums’ policy so the Ceramic Hobs couldn’t play and instead a side project of theirs filled the gap. I’m not sure if Simon sang but he was certainly there soaking up the surreal atmosphere. The Sleaford Mods were just getting into their stride and the music press were beginning to sniff a story, so some journalist from London had turned up buying everybody drinks on his expense account. He was pissed out of his head and spent the entire set waving his iPhone about and repeatedly dropping it. Dr Steg turned up with pockets full of brightly coloured stickers and was drunkenly covering tables, chairs and walls with them. He had a Dictaphone with him into which he shouted nothing but the word ‘cunt’. About twenty-five people turned up, plus a few bored locals who took absolutely no notice of what was going on and carried on watching darts or football on the television. I’m glad I went. It was one of the best nights out that year. Ever, maybe.

On Wednesday the 15th of January this year I once again got in the car to drive to Bloody Blackpool, only this time it was for Simon’s funeral.

Simon’s legacy will grow with the coming years. Of that there is no doubt. He left behind him a body of work that he can be immensely proud of and which will delight, baffle and intrigue future listeners for generations to come. We can read his books and watch the countless YouTube videos, remember the drunken nights, the crap pubs, his deep love of literature and music, and how he instantly became the centre of attention in any conversation. People who knew him are already beginning to tell their Morris-related stories. About how they first met him, or the bizarre Hobs gigs they attended and the time someone tried to shove something up his backside at that Smell & Quim gig in Manchester. The Smell & Quim days may need a whole new chapter in itself, yet for now this will have to do. This is my bit.

The exact date is lost in the mists of time of time, but when I started putting zines together back in the late 90’s, Ceramic Hobs tapes started dropping through the door and then flexi-discs, seven inch singles, and one day the gloriously incomprehensible first Ceramic Hobs album proper: ‘Psychiatric Underground’. A twenty-eight track, seventy-three minute giant splodge of indecipherable multi-tracked vocal madness, full of insane voices, noise, West Coast psychedelic riffs, Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday Mr. President, synth blurt, samples taken from local radio and total silence that nobody working a regular 9 till 5 job could have ever put together if they’d stuck at it for fifty years. The sheer madness of it all. The lunacy. The total bonkers of it. It was the total bonkers bit that slowly drew me in. And Simon’s singing voice. Anybody who had the balls to write a song called ‘Islam Uber Alles’ was somebody I wanted to get to know. Which is what slowly happened. And then the voice. A thing of magnificent, raw beauty. At times a stomach-deep howl barking out ELO’s ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ at the end of Ceramic Hobs sets [that always got a few smiles and scratched heads], at times a soft Lancashire spoken-word drawl, and then the feeling that I never quite knew what was going on. Not just beneath the surface, but there, on it. There are depths to Ceramic Hobs releases that defy explanation. You could dive in there and never come out, and if you did you’d never be the same person. People have tried. They have the scars to prove it. Not just physical, but mental. That lunacy was all part of the appeal to me: the conspiracy theories regarding the Illuminati, the Freemasons, obscure religious cults, Guns N’ Roses, Queen, the rivalry between Preston North End and Blackpool Rovers fans, this was all one glorious, big, jumbled world of craziness that I wholly embraced, yet which at the same time left me more than a little baffled and intrigued. It was no bad place to be. This was not R.E.M.’s Greatest Hits I was playing. There’s not many bands that can grip you like that.

In the late 1990’s Simon invited me over to Blackpool with the idea that I could interview him for the zine. I got the train over one Saturday morning and we spent most of the day on a pub crawl with Nigel Joseph, who at that time was playing the guitar and the Hoover for the Hobs. After many nondescript backstreet pubs and pints, we ended up back at Simon’s house on Condor Grove, where the only thing to eat was a bag of frozen roast potatoes. While they cooked in the oven, it was Joseph that I interviewed. The answers to all my questions seemed to involve the amount of frighteningly strong painkillers he was taking. Drugs which would eventually take his life. The audio from the inquest into his death making it onto the Hobs single, ‘33 Trapped Chilean Miners’. Well, why not.

In 2003 I booked the Mead Hall for my 40th birthday and asked my two favourite bands if they’d do me the honour of playing. They both said yes, and so it was that Dieter Müh and the Ceramic Hobs both played Cleckheaton one Friday night in 2003. The Hobs turned up in a transit van driven by the ginger-haired Stan Batcow, who at that time wore brightly coloured striped tights and mismatched beetle crushers. Mingling with those who had come to see the bands were my family and friends from outside this Hobs/Dieter Müh world most of whom were rather confused. The Hobs sound-checked with a Neu! track and ‘Raven’. The latter written with Smell & Quim’s Srdenovic, a song that includes the sing-a-long chorus ‘I’m gonna fuck you up the ass tonight’. What happened next I remember very clearly. The Mead Hall was a function room above the George pub, which at that time was being run by a former second-rower for the Bradford Bulls. This was a man with shoulders like bridge supports who had no need of bouncers in his raucous full- of-drunks pub. As Simon Morris let rip with that bloodcurdling chorus, this bull of a man burst into the room like he was looking for the man who’d raped his wife. He made a beeline for me, and when he found me he looked me directly in the eye and said ‘Is this your party?’ I think I may have nodded slightly while trying to keep eye contact and answered with something that might have sounded like a whimpering ‘yes’. My mind reeled at the thought of me having to tell two bands and around 50 people that they weren’t welcome and that they’d all come a long way for nothing. ‘Oh thank fuck for that’ he said, and with that he left. When I later asked what had caused him such consternation it emerged that he’d been expecting a double-deck DJ, some flashing lights and and four hours of Black Lace, and it was with some relief that I realised he’d been paying no close attention to what it was that Simon was singing and was just glad that the venue hadn’t been double-booked. I took some photos, but none of the Hobs or Dieter Müh. I have no idea why. Just people sitting with drinks, looking happy. The Hobs played a blinder and for one song were joined by Srdenovic. Dieter Müh were joined by Steve Underwood on bass who in nonchalant rock star fashion played with his back to the audience. It was one of the best nights of my life.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I saw the Ceramic Hobs play over the years. Sometimes they were a complete shambles and sometimes they reached levels of greatness that didn’t seem possible from the the loose collection of misfits who were stood on the stage. The ever-changing structure of the band meant that you were never quite sure who was going to turn up, and if they did turn up you were never quite certain as to what they were going to get up to. They were in a constant flux, mainly due to members either being sectioned, committing suicide or leaving due to circumstances that must seem seem mundane by comparison. At the Wharf Chambers in Leeds I remember talking to Simon as the rest of the band humped their gear from the van. ‘Aren’t you going to help them?’ I asked, to which he laughed and replied ‘I’m the singer’. I saw them play shitty rooms above pubs and later when Harbinger Sound found success with Sleaford Mods, support slots with them at bigger venues. Me and Campbell drove to Liverpool to see them play in front of some bemused Sleaford Mods fans at a time when the Hobs had a dog in the band.

The last time I saw him to speak to was when the Ceramic Hobs played TUSK in Newcastle. After 35 years at the bottom end of showbiz [Simon’s words not mine] it had come down to this one final show, and they had a big crowd and a decent PA to see them out. As became the norm during later shows, Simon took to the stage in nothing but his underpants and sensible black shoes. His huge, and getting huger by the year, beer gut was there for all to see. Planting one foot firmly down on the stage in front of him he’d throw himself into the microphone and pull a sound out from somewhere that may have started in his colon. It made you wonder if it was humanly possible for someone to make such a sound. I firmly believe that he could have had an alternative career as a vocalist in a Death Metal band. After the gig I saw him wandering around the venue with a pint in one hand and a few of the latest Hobs albums in the other, all of which he was selling with no problem. ‘Black Pool Legacy’, a collection of Hobs material as curated by Philip Best, and released by Harbinger Sound, is the one you should seek out if you should wish to enter this crazy, most wonderful world of the Ceramic Hobs. I was more than happy to provide some words for the back cover, and in typical Hobs/Morris fashion he had them printed in a font and colour combo that made it virtually impossible to read. Its one of my proudest moments.

That he was creating all this while he was an integral part of Smell & Quim is remarkable. That he fitted into Walklett’s/Srdenovic’s perverted noise band with ease doesn’t surprise me one bit.

Once he told me that he’d started seeing a girl whose mother lived opposite this really rough pub, and when he told me where this pub was I told him that it was the pub I used to live in back in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Blackpool and where I used to live are 80 miles apart. It just seemed one more insane bit of the Ceramic Hobs/Morris jig-saw puzzle that gave grist to his mill.

Then there’s the writing. ‘Bang Out of Order’, a fictional account of a Power Electronics band that has never been accredited to him, yet couldn’t have been written by anybody else. What began as a series of posts on Facebook, dismissing and praising the entire oeuvres of writers and bands with spectacular wit, erudition and nonchalance eventually morphed into writing of a much more personal nature. The man could write as well.

Over the last few years a group of us have been meeting up in the Royal Oak in Halifax for a drink and a chance to find out how people are getting on and what they’ve been up to. Simon always made the train journey from Blackpool and enthralled us with what seemed like an inexhaustible supply of gossip and outrageous stories. As the pints disappeared with increasing regularity he became ever more gregarious and the stories ever more salacious, and when he went outside for a quick smoke there was always a lull in the conversation and a feeling that a big part of the group was missing.

When his first book, Consumer Guide came out, I bought a copy from him and asked him to sign it for me. We were in the Royal Oak, or Dirty Dicks as it was known then. I virtually had to beg him to do this for me. I’ve just looked in that book and it says ‘Thanks for buying one, Mark - Dirty Dicks 2016’. Perfect.

Even though I knew him for all those years I didn’t know him that well. These are just anecdotes and memories. Yet during those beery afternoons in Halifax and Blackpool, at Ceramic Hobs and Smell & Quim gigs, and through his writing, I like to think I got to know him at least a little.

I’ll remember him for his humour, his intelligence and that gurgling laugh of his. His songwriting skills, his singing voice, his writing, his fearlessness on stage and his music. It goes without saying that I’ll miss him terribly.







 


Sunday, December 08, 2019

Stuart Chalmers and Taming Power









Blue Thirty-Two - Stuart Chalmers and Taming Power
Blue Tapes. Cassette/DL
50 copies.

Let us cast our minds back a few years to a Friday night in the Old Hall, Heckmondwike. Built in 1472 this magnificent, exposed timbered Sam Smiths pub is the kind of place capable of weakening the knees of any passing American tourist. Admittedly thin on the ground around these parts but still, its a building thats a pleasure to drink in and one that has you marveling as to how its survived for over 500 years when all around it has changed beyond measure. It was here that on that momentous evening Neil Campbell, for tis he, passed from his hand to mine a Taming Power release. A release he passed with a missionaries zeal, extolling the virtues of a man in Norway who made this incredible music that nobody had ever heard because it never got any further than sodding Norway which is where this enigmatic person called Askild Haugland, who was Taming Power, lived. Except for the odd release that found its way to New Zealand of all places and then Mirfield, West Yorkshire.

This Taming Power release I took home and played and wondered as to what the fuss was all about. Squally walls of feedback? What was this? Surely not some feeble Power Electronics release? But when Campbell tells you somethings good you better pay attention. So I went back and slowly, slowly the beauty began to reveal itself. It was a revelatory experience. They don’t come often.

That release contained Taming Power work from as far back as 2001 and was the result of two reel to reel tape decks feeding back on each other. What lay beneath that seemingly ordinary slim case CDR and piercing feedback was a wondrous back catalogue of almost exclusively vinyl releases, a mother-lode of barely heard outsider music of such stunning originality and beauty and it was doing little more than gathering dust under Haugland’s bed.

When those Taming Power releases started filtering through it was with awe that I sat and listened to them. Haugland was creating sounds of a ragged, haunting purity using nothing more than an electric guitar and a pair of reel to reel tape machines and then to a lesser extent radios, glockenspiels, singing bowls all of them coming together to form landscapes of emptiness and loneliness that I had never experienced before. Ever. And here it was, all on vinyl with sleeves covered in Haugland’s own enigmatic photos and drawings and labels designed and drawn by his own hand and every single track recorded given nothing more than the time and date it was recorded on. Mind blown.

Fast forward to a few weeks back and to a gig where I went to see Stuart Chalmers and Claus Olson collaborate. Chalmers isn’t as reclusive as Haugland. He doesn’t live in Norway, he lives in West Yorkshire. I’ve been a fan of his work since I first heard him so was eager to hear of how this release had come about. That it did come about was one of the most exciting bits of release news I’d heard all year. Two of my favourite artists in collaboration. As far as I’m aware Haugland has never collaborated before. He’s not exactly putting himself about either and by all accounts had to be tracked down and threatened with lump hammers … gently prodded in to seeing the benefits of working together.

Blue Thirty-Two [I’m assuming all Blue Tapes releases get a number for a title] begins with Haugland gently fingering a few notes on his guitar and looping it in to Apocalypse Now soundtrack territory before Chalmers comes in with his swarmandal and it all goes gorgeously light headed and dreamy and woozy in a slow, limpid whirl of effortless serenity. Its a thing of outstanding beauty and charm and had me in need of some kind of moral support as I struggled to confine my joy to the four walls that I sat between. It would have been easy for them to keep this is up for the entire release and there are those amongst us who would quite happily sit through an hours worth of such sublimity but instead they insert a track between the three that has a much more abrasive edge. ‘SCTP - 028’ uses tape recorders and ‘FX’ with Haugland’s feeding back tape recorders and Chalmers tape splurge and electronic-y warbles merging to push you deep down into pulsing, info chatter territory before eventually washing you ashore on a pebbly beach filled with radio white noise. The last track brings the release back full circle emotionally but this time with Chalmers playing a bowed swarmandal thats rasping off notes and gentle squeaks against Haugland’s increasingly frenetic guitar playing.

You don’t need me to tell you that the collaboration works. Such riches and with the track titles being; ‘SCTP - 030’, ‘SCTP - 028’ and ‘SCTP - 026’ we have to assume that there is more where this came from. I’m betting its all of an equally high standard too.

There can't be many [if any] of the fifty cassettes remaining but the digital will still take you there. Its a special place. A bit like the Old Hall.

     
Blue Tapes

Stuart Chalmers Bandcamp