Thursday, June 14, 2018

Timglaset #8

Timglaset #8 - Lists

Found shopping lists are revealing pieces of social flotsam. If found outside a UK supermarket they may also reveal that even after decades of saturation cookery television across all channels the home nations are still filling their baskets with bottled sauces, frozen pizzas and lard.

Its all Joe Possett’s fault. He’s been posting pictures of found shopping lists on his Twitter feed which has led me to start picking up bits of scrap paper out of supermarket trolleys and off of car park floors. They’re quite revealing. In a psychologists hands a found shopping list would no doubt reveal all manner of human traits. Even the paper they’re written on can lead to exploration and explanation; backs of envelopes for the thrifty, scraps of lined paper ripped from spiral bound notebooks for the studious, post-it notes from the office worker, pre-printed shopping lists with pictures of Peter Rabbit on them for miserable joy suckers. And then there's the spelling or as is sometimes more likely the case, misspelling and then acronyms [WUL], abbreviations [POTS] and shopping lists with added doodles. Shopping lists in blue biro, blunt pencil, felt marker, the shaky handwriting of the elderly, scribble from those in a hurry and of course the items on the list itself which will more than likely tell you which social bracket the list fell in to.

What you put on your shopping list wont be found by Google but if it falls in to the hands of Joe Posset [and me and a few others] the chances are it’ll get passed around, admired, prodded, poked and generally delighted in.

Themed Swedish zine Timglaset went with ‘errors’ last time around but has taken lists as its theme for issue eight. Five long slender sections all wrapped in a Japanese like obi sash some with colour pictures, some with poems, a game you can play using a 20 sided on-line dice and lots of general good stuff in-between.

The editorial is a list. A 21 point list of things that happen when you put a zine together. David Kjellin’s list is all bullet pointed black dashes and lines and baffles me but Johannes S H Berg’s poem 'Apophatic List: finding your place w/o using GPS' contains the wonderful line ‘your 12 year old t-shirt leaves you bit by bit but the holes stay with you’. Bengt Adlers list is called ‘The List of Truths:’ and is of course two empty pages.

And so it goes. Much is baffling though especially Filip Lindberg’s ‘tider tal’ which takes up the whole of section 2 and is nothing but data and the odd bit of Swedish that even Google translate couldn’t help me with but no mistaking alcohol and a series of pictures of lots of lovely bottles of the hard stuff given to us by Malcolm Green in a piece titled ‘Curated Drinking 00 to ∞’. Michael Björn's list is a list of lists; people, places etc … Mirfield’s very own Paul Tone has a collage/diagram that is what? I have no idea. ‘Ear Training Oh Happy Day’ it says.

In section 4 Pete Spence gives a list of of 26 artists and composers all in alphabetical order [Appel to Zog] all given the first name Max with Max Ernst given a red ‘E’ for his surname. The game is in section 5 and is by someone called Ozelot and is called ‘Artistic Action Random Suggestion Table’ where upon you roll the 20 sided on-line dice and pick an action from the first column, then roll the dice and pick another action etc .. Until you have something like ‘You will ‘cut up’ ‘a post-punk’ ‘dance’ then ‘xerox’ it. Hours of fun.

Attention to detail is the thing though. On the back page of section five we find:


‘The List is Too Long’ as Eugene Chadbourne once sang. Or not as the case may be.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Jacques Demierre

Jacques Demierre - ABÉCÉDAIRE/AB C BOOK
Lenka Lente. Book + CD

ISBN : 979-10-946-22-8

Jacques Demierre describes himself as an improvisor and a composer, a person interested in the relationship between language and music. Swiss born and judging by the long list of releases, installations and publications to his name a busy man. One of life's constant workers, always touring, always recording, writing, making noises and notes.

The cover shows Demierre sat at a piano, eyes front, palms on top of thighs, a picture of perfect contemplation. Which is something he does do a lot of. This book could have been titled ‘Demierre’s Philosophy on Improvisation, Methodology and lots of other things In-Between’. His philosophy on philosophy. Roland Barthes, Zhaung ZI, Derrida are all mentioned as is the Swiss born Sinologist Jean François Billeter. Demierre obviously does a lot of thinking and contemplation. A lot of deep thinking and a lot of deep listening.

Each letter of the alphabet gives Demierre the opportunity to pass thought on things that matter to him most so ‘A’ gives us ‘A Piano Tuner’, ‘Amorous’, ‘Amity’ each piece a page or so of musings and philosophising, on everything from linguistics to Luciano Berio cooking pasta [Pasta] to his work with the LDP Trio and the DDK Trio to his method of working to his thoughts on listening;

‘The ultimate state of listening, if it exists at all, is in no doubt void of emotion, or rather it entails neither the presence nor the absence of emotion. It is a kind of evenness of mood that refers us back to ourselves immersed fully in the experience’.
Expand and discuss.

Demierre also give us his views on Capitalism [this after seeing someone begging outside an Armani store], his feelings of being denied access to a concert hall’s Steinway at a prestigious event [and being told that such a grand instrument would be unsuitable for such avant garde machinations] what its like to play improv under time constrictions [it takes away the need for an ending] and so forth. Its all very readable [and dual language, the first half of the book is in French] and gave me a better understanding of Demierre who becomes yet another improviser/artists/composer that was unknown to me before Lenka Lente's introduction.

The CD contains a thirty minute vocal work called ‘Ritournelle’ a work that Demierre expands upon under ‘Y’ and ‘You’ [You, yeux, eye, I. Geddit?] and within which he attempts to capture the cyclical nature of Franz Schubert’s ‘Winter Journey’ and the last ‘lied’ of that cycle ‘The Hurdy Gurdy Man’. Winter Journey being Schubert’s take on Wilhelm Müller’s poem cycle comprising of twenty four vocal/piano compositions.

After having listened to Schubert’s ‘The Hurdy Gurdy Man’ and then to Demierre’s version I wondered how Demierre could take such a minimalist, bleak, austere and haunting composition and transform it into something totally unrecognisable. Its an exhausting listen, as exhausting as it must have been to record it with each series of words emerging staccato like in a constant morphing stream, Demierre trying to gulp down air as each word transforms form one to the other before being replaced by yet another. Exhausting yes, but exhilarating with it.


Thursday, June 07, 2018


Skullflower - Werecat Powers of the Crossroads at Midnight
Nashazaphone. NP25. LP

Someone pointed out that in the last roundup of Nashazaphone releases I forgot to include even a mention of the Skullflower LP ‘Werecat Powers ...’. This may have been subliminal. I did play it. It buzzed around my head but me and Skullflower sort of kind of don’t get on. Me preferring Bowers more contemplative work with Marcia Bassett under The Hototogisu moniker and specifically that splendidly titled De Stijl triple LP 'Floating Japanese Oof!' A 3 LP set that still manages to float my oof.

Back in the 90’s I saw Skullflower at the 1 in 12 in Bradford. Bower played his guitar with his back to the audience, all knobs on 10, for what must have been an hour, which at its end was just me and Paul Harrison. I once saw him in Manchester in a room above a pub [twas ever thus] knelt on the floor in front of a set of speakers waving two microphones about creating equally damaging, swirling waves of noxious feedback [which didn’t empty the room].

So I think I’ve got Skullflower sussed. Prejudice is a terrible trait though and blind prejudice is the worst of the lot. So there’s a very big chance that I may have had my Skullflower blinkers on when I penned that last Nashazaphone review realising subconsciously that I had left it out and not caring that I did.

My respect for Nashazaphone and its founder Hicham Chadly means that I now beg all your forgivenesses and give you my most humble opinion of ‘Werecat Powers …' which despite the title I find myself warming to. I may go further. I actually deeply like it. Not love it or want to marry it but if I heard it while at a friends house I would inquire of that person as to its origins and where I could purchase a copy. I even like the Bacon-esque cover.

Here Skullflower is Matthew Bower and Samantha Davies with their ongoing part of a Nashazaphone trilogy that according to the press release revolves around investigations in to the ‘Darkness of Aegypt’ which leads me to believe the pair may have been taking succor from Norman Mailer’s Ancient Evenings, a book I’ve never got around to despite it getting the thumbs up from William Burroughs and being sat on my to read pile for years.

If this is what Skullflower are up to know I’m interested. All three tracks bear a similarity with the first side long track ‘We Move on Points of Shattered Mirrors’ a ceremonial like, buried deep, high end drone containing what I’m taking to be heavily processed guitars that constantly crash against each other in collapsing waves of Stygian gloom. The flip ‘Charnel Ground’, is a bass heavy throbbing oscillating drone that masks all manner of guitar skitter while last track ‘Departure Lounge’ has a more cinematic appeal, the drone surging and falling, forever being pulled out of shape to an undercurrent of soaring ritual rhythm.

How this fits in with more recent Skullflower work I have no idea but I now fear I've been missing out. I'll put Floating Japanese Oof! to one side for a while. I have some catching up to do. 


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Chow Mwng

Chow Mwng - Perforation Function
Self released CDR + booklet.

We left Chow Mwng at the back end of 2017 after he [Ashley Cooke] delivered one of those total left field slugs to the jaw [that almost didn’t make it because it arrived as an email and almost got deleted] that left my head ringing with the sounds of Dada improv, cassette abuse, abstract noise and all other manner of good stuff.

That was the enigmatically titled ‘ULOT-CA’ which contained songs. Yes, songs. Not ones that you could sing to, unless you were very drunk or had taken some strange kind of drug but songs none the less. I liked it because it sounded fresh and invigorating, the work of someone working quickly when in truth it probably took a lot of effort. I was glad I didn’t delete. I’m glad I have this too for it carries on in much the same vein except these aren't songs. But I reckon I could spot it as a Chow Mwng release after ten seconds such is its singularity.

Here we have a thirty minute sound collage composition the source of which was a broken cassette tape that was itself a recording of Nurse With Wound playing last years Tusk festival. The cassette in question coming from a certain David Howcroft whose instructions to Cooke were ‘do something with it or destroy it completely’. Deciding not to destroy it completely our man put it back together and constructed something that you might describe as TNB meets Jandek meets Derek Bailey meets John Cleese doing his Monty Pythons squeaky woman voice meets Ashley Cooke reciting ‘poetry’ in a maelstrom made from carnival sounds and Dada performances. With added Adam Bohman.

I think I mentioned Bohman in the review of ‘ULOT-CA'. It has that feel to it. Of anything can happen. Of joei de vivre. Esprit de coeur and lots of other things that probably need italics. What starts out like Derek Bailey trying to work out the chords to Sultans of Swing morphs through radio noise, capstan abuse, throat singing, smokers coughing and toneless chanting to ‘improvised prose’ the text of which you’ll find in the booklet.

A big part of the appeal, even if it is only for a short duration is Cookes speaking/singing voice where words like soil become a stilted ‘so-oil’, a matter of fact voice that at times is a bark and at others softens and comes down a semitone as if whispering in your ear. How much of that half destroyed Nurse With Wound tape survived on here is open to scrutiny but there’s plenty in here that is decidedly Nurse-esque; samples of ancient TV shows, lunatic accordion squeezing, plucked bridge strings, un-sourceable rhythmic loops, whether this is Nurse or Cooke I can only guess. Only the man himself will know.

As good as last years ‘ULOT-CA’ was a part of me hoped that this was going to be more than another collection of off-kilter songs. I'm happy to report that this is the case. The man has surpassed himself.

Monday, June 04, 2018


Nurse With Wound - Changez Les Blockeurs
United Dirter. DROMLP138

Nurse With Wound reworking The New Blockaders first album provides the opportunity to  dig out the original just to remind myself of its uncanny ability to remain as fresh and invigorating as it did on the day it was released thirty five years ago. Not that I should look for an excuse. In a just world the playing of ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’ should be a yearly ritual carried out by any discerning noise fan, the pulling of the record from the sleeve with dainty fingers, the settling of the needle, a gentle, appreciative rub of the sleeve, all a preamble to playing what will always be regarded as one of the best noise albums ever made.

How it was recorded is a secret thats been carried through those thirty five years by the Rupenus brothers who created it. When played it as part of this months Wire Invisible Jukebox selection Storm Bug’s Steven Ball remarked that it sounded like someone ‘building a shed’. I myself have described it as two elephants fencing on squeaky bicycles, or something like that anyway, that it sounds like nothing else before or since is the reason why I and lots of others keep returning to it.

Back in 2004, on its 21st anniversary, Vinyl-On-Demand gave it the reissue treatment and thats the copy I go to when I need my chakra realigned after listening to too many mediocre noise albums. It puts you back to where you need to be. Its construct is simple but yet devastatingly effective; it could be two elephants fencing on bicycles and it could be two squeaky wheelchairs fighting over a slack spring, it could or an army of tin men dismantling a Jean Tinguely sculpture while bouncing around on pogo sticks in need of 3-in-1. Is this the result of hours worth of studio work or did two people really once go down to the shed at the bottom of their garden and chuck some rusty metal about for 40 minutes? We’ll never know and thats half of the appeal.

I’m informed that Steve Stapleton was the first person to hear ‘Changez Les Blockeurs’ and it seems fitting that he’s the first of several numerous notables to give us his reworking of it [a 3CD set of interpretations called Changez Retravaillé via Italian label Ricerca Sonora lies imminent] or as it says on the back of the sleeve ‘NWW Plays TNB’. So what do you get for your hard earned apart from an excellent cover by Babs Santini the back of which features someone getting a custard pie in their face, an insert that mimics the Nurse With Wound list with the bands and artists replaced by the TNB manifesto and a piece by Paul Hegarty that weaves the pair of them into the Surrealist, Dada, avant-garde ethic? You get ‘Hallelujah T.N.B.’ which sticks closest to the original and a black hole dense ‘T.N.B. Amen’.

On ‘Hallelujah T.N.B.’ the squeak, grind and groan of the original appears to have been intensified, an intensity that is eventually joined by the heavenly choir of the Latter Day Saints their angelic voices emerging from the tumult until they themselves become subsumed, morphing their way into new structures and sub-harmonies. ‘T.N.B. Amen’ is a dense lower down in the mix loop, the high end buried flat going around in an industrial dryer becoming ever more hypnotic as it progresses. In their somewhere is Changez Les Blockeurs, with all its shuffles and clangs and scrapes and screech. And that's it. Simple but effective. A palimpsest of sorts. You can’t improve on a classic though. This is a new work and should obviously be seen as such. Comparisons are futile. Nurse With Wound bring us back to the original via a much darker route. It's Nurse with Wound's main road. Raise a glass, or a hammer and give thanks.

I hope I’m still here for the fiftieth anniversary where I will perform my own personal Changez Les Blockeurs ritual once more, with the same LP I have now, maybe a slightly more worn copy by then but one still capable of revealing its deepest mysteries.

Dirter Nurse With Wound The New Blockaders  Ricera Sonora



Monday, May 14, 2018

Smell & Quim - Atom Heart Motherfucker

Smell & Quim - Atom Heart Motherfucker
Vis a Vis Audio Arts. Cassette. 10 copies.

At least MP3’s [and their variants] allow you to download lots of music for nothing. No more forking out actually money to someone in return for a physical format that you can form some kind of a relationship with. Begone foul physical format and darken my door no more. Its now possible for you to download Bob Dylan’s entire back catalogue in less time than it takes to get to the bottom of this page [that’s if you live in South Korea not North Yorkshire] and not one penny to the man himself. I don’t know how some of you sleep at night. 

I have found another advantage though. Its what happens when you come across something by Vis a Vis Audio Arts, the home of Juntaro Yamanouchi, known to his friends and colleagues as The Gerogerigegege, arch masturbator, releaser of ridiculously limited output, putter of noise inside Ramones LP sleeves to confuse Ramones completists, who has decided to release this and two other Smell & Quim releases, [Cuntybubbles and Quimtessence] in editions of ten. Only one of which has made it to these shores and now resides, quite rightfully, in the hands of Milovan Srdenovic. All is not lost though. Thanks to Lawrence Burton, his excellent Ferric Archeology blog and the blessing of MIlovan Srdenovic there’s a link to a download where you can not only enjoy the bone crushing, Sutcliffe swooning sounds of Smell & Quim you can also blow up and enjoy in all its sick glory the suitably nauseous cover that features a poo smeared coprophagic maniac sticking his head down a toilet [a man who it has to be said looks remarkably like a sans tat Srdenovic but whom, I am assured, is definitely not him].

Such is the quality of Atom Heart Motherfucker that over its eight tracks I find it hard to select a standout but ‘Careful With That Axe Micky’ comes pretty near. A rancorous frame built of things being smashed, its destruction on a par with the best TNB can muster. Such is the clarity of the recordings you can actually feel the debris flying around your head [rumour has it that this track contains actual recordings of said Micky [Gillham, Smell & Quim provocateur] smashing his own bathroom up but I couldn’t comment any further]. ‘Cut Your Fucking Head Off’ sees a demented Srdenovic distorting the title over another blizzard of noise, ‘Westworld’ [Jamie Oliver Cromwell Mix] is at the opposite end of the spectrum and the sound of an attention getting reception bell being repetitively hit with Srdenovic intoning the words ‘fuck it, kill it bury it’, the first line getting looped into all manner of absurdity, all of it delivered in that trademark blunt and flat West Yorkshire brogue. ‘Metal Cunt’ is a fractured noise loop with the word ‘cunt’ coming at you like pies out of a custard pie gun. ‘Bucket Full of Piss’ begins with long suffering Quim resident Simon Morris asking if they’re going to play ‘Bucket Full of Piss’? And yes they do mixing in church bells and maybe the hand dryer in the Grove too. ‘Wrong Hole in One’, ‘Rock in a Sock’ and ‘Careful With That Axe Micky [slight return]’ make up the rest of this shit smeared one on ten with ‘Rock in a Sock’ continuing Smell & Quim’s continued fascination with the Yorkshire Ripper.

After all these years you could forgive Smell & Quim for knocking out something less fulfilling but age has not withered them. Atom Heart Motherfucker contains enough full on harsh noise perversity to help make Smell & Quim as relevant today as they’ve ever been. In a noisy world and after thirty years stood in front of Pete’s pisser that's quite an achievement.

Ferric Archaeology

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Lie Dream of Ice Cream Crow

Olivier Brisson - Horizon Capiton
Nashazaphone. LP. NP24

Skullflower - Werecats Powers of the Crossroads at Midnight
Nashazaphone. LP. NP25

Alberto Boccardi & Stefano Pilia - Bastet
Nashazaphone. LP. NP26

Trou Aux Rats - Amour & Sepulcre
Nashazaphone. LP. NP27

Sister Iodine - Venom
Nashazaphone. LP. NP28

Left Hand Cuts Off Right - Deserted Place

Simon Šerc – Bora Scura

Unlike other formats it would appear that MP3’s are unlikely to disappear only to reappear years later on the wave of some kind of nostalgia run brought to the fore by geeky teenagers with first generation iPods in their pockets. They’re here to stay forever, just like fascism and gonorrhea. Not that there’s anywhere for them to go. You can’t see them or hold them, they’re just there. Wherever there may be. They’re the Bic pen of the stationary world, the plastic fork at the dinner table, the Boris Bike of the transport world. Disposable, irreverent and serving a purpose without being truly loved or held in the highest of steems.

My inbox continues to suffer from them but the pain doesn't just stop there. Some MP3’s aren’t MP3’s at all they’re WAVS or FLACS or some other incomprehensible acronym, some of the emails they arrive in are so long they take a full minute to scroll through, links and URL’s flying by in a whirl of blue and fuzzy jpegs, some emails aren’t just links to MP3’s either but to streaming sites and websites where you can sometimes buy a hard copy or sometimes not at all.

Then there’s my favourite kind of email. The one that leads to the promos. The promos that are for solid releases. You know the ones, the ones you can actually hold in your hand. Which is where Nashazaphone comes in. Egyptian label Nashazaphone is a vinyl only label and while I would be very happy to receive all five of their latest releases I’m more than aware of the ridiculous outlay this would involve. Its the label owner’s most common complaint ‘I’d like to send you my latest offering but I live on the other side of the world and I’ve only got so many copies and I’m skint’. Which is why I’m starting to soften on the MP3 front. They’re still at the back of the queue when it comes to formats but yes OK I’ll admit it, they do serve their purpose. 

Of the five albums that Nashazaphone sent me the one that blew me away was by Olivier Brisson. I know nothing about Olivier Brisson other than he’s involved in psychiatry and has recorded the kind of LP that Tom Waits and Faust would have made had they got together in a Montmatre back street after several rounds of Pernod circa 1973. Its not only one of the best records I’ve heard this year, its one of the best I’ve heard in a very long time. Horizon Capiton is a continually unfurling somnambulistic trippy dreamy hypnogogic Gallic trip par excellence, a series of melancholic mini works segued and held together by a myriad of sounds; wheezy Gitane stained accordions, opera singers that emerge from hand wound gramophone players, badly tuned talk radio [in French obvs], gun shots, random shouts, Wurlitzer organ, pianos played in empty rooms full of mad people, electronic spazz, slowed down voices, multiple voices, muttered voices, the voices of children, unidentified machinery, musical boxes, drones, tape squelch, electric guitar squeals. The list is endless my enthusiasm not. I’ve played it on repeat many times now and its still giving something to me. A remarkable release and one I shall be buying on LP.

The rest isn’t too shabby either with French three piece noise heads Sister Iodine going full bore with an album that, according to the press release, took five years to put together. Expect something nearer the Industrial/Power Electronics spectrum with plenty of blasted synth noise and succubus like vocals. Trou Aux Rats is more pre-Industrial SNES experimentation with an organ that stopped working properly a long time ago. This being the work of Romain Perrot who you may know as the man behind bin bag head noise outfit Vomir. Andy Bolus likes it so thats good enough for me. Alberto Boccardi & Stefano Pilia give us four electro-acoustic compositions full of overdriven guitar doing passing overhead Jumbo jet impressions and then there’s the clang of strings, ripped out jack plugs, aching dronewaves and gentle cymbal brush.

Left Hand Cuts Off The Right is the work of Robbie Judkins whose looped piano works on Desired Place were composed as therapy after a recent suicide attempt. I think it may have been a certain Mr Cammack who alerted me to the prowess of Mr. Judkins many moons ago and whatever I’ve heard by him has been solid and worthwhile. Like that Mr. Chalmers he seems capable of making something out of very little, be it thumb pianos, field recordings, melodicas, radios, transforming whatever is at hand into something else completely. Here the piano is hit lower register the resonant hums being looped to create deep feelings of melancholy. Mordant and beautiful at the same time. The cassette has gone but the MP3/FLAC etc lives on.
Simon Šerc’s release Bora Scura contains pure recordings of the high winds that plague the town of Ajdovščina in Slovenia. Due to geographical slight the cold winter Bora winds can reach speeds of up to 200 kmh regularly taking lots of things with them. I guess the local roofer’s a busy man. Šerc’s unadulterated recordings not only reveal passing tractors and church bells but the obvious ferocity of the winds, both outdoors and in. The ‘in’ being far more terrifying than the ‘out’ as the force of nature finds the gaps between windows and brick and forces itself down chimney breasts and through doors screaming along and threatening to tear everything down with it. An hour and fifteen minutes was plenty though but nowhere near what the locals have to put up with. Quite how they cope with such terrifying winds is beyond me. I’d expect this kind of extreme weather on the South Pole not in Europe. What makes it work is the juxtaposition of these extreme winds with the more mundane sounds of everyday life, those tractors and church bells, a dripping tap, a creaky floorboard. Life goes on.


Left Hand Cuts Off The Right

Simon Šerc