Sunday, February 20, 2011

Early Hominids

Early Hominids - Alkali / Dilate
Total Vermin cassette. Total Vermin 38

Now that Campbell has ditched mywasteofspace and started his journey into blog-land I can reveal the inner workings of the Early Hominids work cycle; they drink beer and shove pizza down their necks. And then, over the course of an evenings experimentation, sounds appear that would be equally at home in Mirfield’s Panache [long gone 80’s cheesy disco - plasma on draught, punch in the face on leaving] and a Berlin art space. What appeals to me is the fact that Early Hominids are now beginning to find their feet. Their first release [Metatarsal] sounded more Mego than Mirfield, the second [Batley Bathz] more art space than spacey, this is the one that clicks - Campbell’s Astral Social Club vibes and dance/pop head bobbing enthusiasm fits foot in sock with Walsh’s gadget box glitches and oscillations. Layering noises and waves onto looped dance backgrounds of varying BPM’s was always going to be a winner with me. And its filled too. Filled out, fleshed out, full of everything all going off at once delirious and loose like an epileptic on whizz having a fit in front of a strobe light.

So; ex-members of Smell & Quim produce noise dance shocker. Or ex-members of Smell & Quim lay it down phat and noisy after supping ale and shoving pizza down their necks. Or I could dance to this if I’d had enough to drink. Either way I always wanted more dance orientated noise crossover releases and this is definitely one of them. There’s two tracks on here but there’s essentially six segued tracks, one of which feels like it was the plucked from the middle section of an intense jam when A somehow managed to slot into B and the head was right and the body was right -  a perfect piece of unscripted experimentation - that's the epileptic on whizz. There’s slower sections too where it feels like you’re trying to make your way across a muddy field in divers boots but even these feel unctuous and warm like drowning in a lava lamp, you’re a small glycerin bubble being warmed and cooled to the sound of weld spatter hitting a wet floor and bits of Rihanna. Well, almost.

Total Vermin meanwhile, carries on its good work. Ignore it at your peril.


earlyhominids [at]

Night Science IV CD

V/A CD that comes with Night Science IV magazine.
500 copies.

Magazine reviewed elsewhere - here’s the CD review.


Hum of the Druid
Golden Serenades
Kazamuto Endo
Dieter Müh
The Haters

I have a theory that a CD stuck to the front of a music magazine will either have one great track or be a huge pile of one listen only shite. And as the amount of magazines with CD’s stuck to their covers grows larger by the month it seems the less interesting the music contained within them [or the more useless the software if you’ve just bought PC Almost The Same As Last Month monthly]. When the British weekly music press was in its prime, [that would be when guitar based music was actually worth bothering with] an issue that came with a free single or cassette usually carried something worth hearing. The NME’s C86 became a landmark release in its own right, heralding the death of post punk and the birth of jangly angular guitar angst. Now that the music weeklies have been replaced by the nostalgia music monthlies it feels almost obligatory to stick on a loudly praised but poorly executed cover mount. A friend lent me about half a dozen of these things which at first sight looked immensely appealing but on closer inspection revealed nothing more than a series of shoddy live tracks and various nobodies doing cover versions of their wet dreams b-sides. The Wire joined in the fun too, I sat and listened to the first 15 of their Wire Tapper series before retaining a handful of tracks and eBaying the lot. Social Networking and the availability of peer to peer software have further diminished the impact cover mounts have but thats never going to stop the music monthlies using them as customer bait.

Whether the disc accompanying Night Science IV becomes a touchstone for future listeners remains to be seen but even if it doesn't its still a great stand alone release. For those already familiar with Industrial, Noise, PE and experimental genres you’ll no doubt be familiar with most of the acts here but if you’re not its great gateway.
Dieter Müh’s Burning Bodies is a fire crackling pean given added eeriness with the introduction of two female voices, one moaning, the other a prim 50’s BBC voice intoning the words ‘you are burning people’. Chilling stuff indeed. Raionbashi’s sub four minute contribution contains all manner of organic sounds, ranging from an executioners swinging axe to slurped water to a bell that rings so clear that it seems to resonate into infinity. The Haters track ‘Spinning Spade is nine minutes of radio static, hum and swirling noises which if I’m correct was made using an antique turntable and a toy spade. Haltham provide the PE element with a well executed stretch of grinding despair whilst Endo and Golden Serenades both chip in with quality noise tracks, the former encased in a treated Japanese junk noise arena whilst the latter ends up in a more freeform, high-end European firmament. Which leaves Hum of the Druid. Teetering between brilliance and mundanity would imply that HOTD are still a sound in search of maturity. The last thing I reviewed by Hum was a bold array of electro-acoustic sounds that bore comparison with TNB and Mark Durgan. It also had some crap on it. The same thing happens here - given two tracks to elaborate with Hum confound and delight. The first track contains the exquisite sounds of steel pins being rolled down distant concrete steps coupled to a ghostly drone whilst the second is a piece of ordinary noise rumble, OK in itself but in the light of whats gone before hardly thrilling. I’m still holding out for Hum of the Druid to come up with something really special though.

I’m sure all these tracks are exclusives too.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pre-Dating The 13th

Pre-Dating The 13th - Drifting Away

The Way - Station Between Ecstasies

Contact:  kdogbox [at]

It takes a special kind of person to call themselves Morbid. Steve, Joe, Fred, Michael, Wayne, Ian and Kenneth are all workable names but I’m assuming Morbid wanted a moniker that stood out. He really is called Morbid too. Lots of people change their names of course, there's nothing hard about it; Derek Dick didn’t like his given name so he changed it to ‘Fish’ and started Marillion [although I’m not sure which name is the most embarrassing and why change one embarrassing name for another?] John Cleese’s father changed the family name from Cheese and Eric Clapton just doesn't have the same guitar God ring to it as Eric Clapp. So I wonder what given birth name lies behind Morbid? Maybe an obscure Biblical name like Ezekiel, a name lumbered on someone by over zealous Zionists parents perhaps or maybe its plain old Jack or Alan or Mohammed? Who knows. I used to correspond with Morbid back in the 90's and I seem to remember that he became fixated with an obscure Romanian artist called Victor Brauner and then maybe he changed his name to that. He started a band and called it Killy Dog Box and then we discovered we shared a passion for early Genesis. Not the early, early Jonathan ‘my lovely boys’ King Genesis but the stuff that started with Trespass. He wrote and printed a zine called Navigator which ran to a few issues and was full of trips to the coast and other ramblings and then as sometimes happens, we drifted apart.

Until last week when an email arrived from Morbid and on the back of it a download to Pre-Dating The 13th’s eleventh album. Now I may have been getting my Pre-Dating’s and  my Killy Dog Box’s mixed up but I’m pretty sure Pre-Dating is a collaboration with someone unknown to me and that KDB was Morbid all on his own - but I could be wrong. I seem to remember KDB being all dark ambiance but I could be wrong on that count too. There was a tape on Rob Haylers OTO label but nothing much more than that plus a few home spun jobs. I dare say I had some Pre-Dating in my hands around then too but the mists of time play tricks with my brian, I mean brain.

Drifting Away is an hours worth of segued tracks no doubt intended to induce some kind of altered state. Whilst listening to it I tried to think of what it sounded like and I came up with the following list; Aphex Twin’s ‘Selected Ambient Works’, Throbbing Gristle’s ‘In the Shadow of the Sun’ and  everything I heard by La Bradford in the early 90’s. There’s also bits of Ennio Morricone - which turn out to be the best bits. The worst bits are when the moaning vocals come in and then I got very angry. The Morricone bits are scraped strings, twanged strings, simple but effective. The opening is churning bass and seagull swoops of electric guitar, so much like La Bradford that I nearly swallowed my mentholated pastille. Great things are coming I thought but it wasn’t to last for Drifting Away is [fanfare of trumpets] a bit of a curates egg. At times the music does carry you, there’s a swarming over-driven buzz around the 50 minute mark that almost drifts into C.C.C.C. territory but these highlights are few and far between. With a bit of spit and polish though [and some judicious editing] Morbid could have this down to a decent enough 20 minute piece but as it stands its a wandering assemblage of moods and ambience that only rarely engages the listener. Well, this one anyway. I dare say that if you spend lots of your hard earned giro at Cold Spring then this may just have enough in it for you.

I forget where The Way came into things but if you want an hours worth of really bad Tangerine Dream, wounded vocals, thrumming bass guitars, tortured cattle and distorted twangs blasted out over a frozen plateau then get emailing. 

I like you Morbid I really do but sometimes your music just doesn’t do it for me.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Zines - Niche Homo/Hiroshima Yeah!/Night Science

Night Science IV
A5 zine + CD. 136 pp. 500 copies.

Niche Homo
Issue 4. A5 zine. 80pp approx

Hiroshima Yeah!
Issue 72. A4 zine. 6 pp.

I used to write a zine. Lost days spent with your head in a pair of sweaty headphones listening to CD’s with your finger on the fast forward button. It was Simon at the [still] famously Luddite DDDD zine who pioneered this approach and when time is against you I can honestly say it works - badly dubbed home made CDR’s with scribble on them can be despatched in a matter of seconds. The only hard part is thinking up words to say about them afterwards. And then eventually one day you wonder why you’re bothering and out come the Art Garfunkel LP’s and the Genesis LP’s and you think to yourself why, this is much more pleasant.

I’ve been reading Chris Donald’s book about his 20 years as editor of Viz. Chris Donald took Viz from a 100 run comic hawked around the pubs and clubs of Newcastle into a publishing phenomenon that at its peak sold over a million of every issue. It made him and a few people around him very rich. It also lead him to clinical depression. Because thats what zines can do to you. They take over your life to such an extent that instead of having a life you find yourself at home in a dark room with a pair of sweaty headphones on trying to think up interesting things to say about a piece of kak from Zagreb. It all starts as a bit of harmless fun; the joy of getting free music, seeing your work in the hands of others, people talking about it, some of them even liking it and then comes the down side; the queues at the Post Office, the teetering review pile and then the letters and emails, why do you hate my music when its so obviously the best thing ever and you missed one of the ‘t’s’ out of my band name and when’s the next issue out and can you do this and that and blah blah blah and you’re looking at the clock and thinking I could be doing so many other things with my life and then one day you wake up and realise you just don’t have the time to do it anymore and you stop and you write a blog instead.

Zines are a great way of filling spare time and finding an outlet for your passion. If you’re on the dole and you’re of a creative bent then zines are good way of killing dead time. If you’re working a regular job then kiss your spare time goodbye. Hello zine, goodbye life.
Which is why I really do appreciate zines, even if the interviews are slightly banal and predictable or the writing is a tad poor because more often than not if the hearts are in the right place it’ll work - enthusiasm can conquer many obstacles.

Having three zines land on me in the space of a few weeks also goes to prove that the internet hasn’t entirely slaughtered them either.  What alarms me most though is the fact that Niche Homo got to issue four without me being aware of its existence, even though its produced in nearby Leeds and covers bands and acts I care about. Niche Homo is in classic zine territory; band interviews [with issue 4 you get Ramleh, The Homosexuals, The Pheremoans and Thee Oh Sees] and articles including the diary of a local swimmer, a three-way mix tape discussion, an odd piece on record collecting and something called Geocaching in which you spend £50 on a gadget that helps you locate film canisters with 50p’s in them on canal banks in London - at least you get plenty of fresh air I suppose.
Its a zine, the quality is up and down, the interviews could do with editing but its put together with much love and attention and that’ll do for me.

Night Science IV has been kicking around for a few years now and during that period has established itself as a serious weighty tome. Due to its sheer volume its going to take me a while to get through it but at least for now I can recommend the accompanying CD [in fact the CD could merit a review of its own - I’ll post one at a later date]. Sole editor and writer Chris Groves has my utmost admiration in putting out a zine that runs to a 136 pages and contains over 200 reviews which as far as I can see have all been penned by his good self. In fact with its prefect bound spine and high standards you could argue the case that this is as good as a small book. Chris interviews Kazumoto Endo, Halthan, The Haters, Dieter Müh, Golden Serenades and Raionbashi and then puts them all on to a CD for your listening delectation [all exclusive tracks I believe]. There’s also two live reviews featuring Dave Phillips and Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock along with KK Null. With Chris living in Tasmania I guess the opportunity to witness much in the way of noise and experimental behavior is hard to come by but this doesn’t stop him taking K.K. Null to task for being predictable. Which is some indication of how critical Chris can be. Chris’s writing can be a little clinical at times but there’s no denying he knows his stuff.

One quality that all true zines should exhibit is regular availability. The only way to go with a monthly zine is to make it cut and paste and go with what you’ve got come the deadline - which is exactly what HY does. I’ve been with HY since its inception and its monthly deliverances are welcome missives. HY works because both of its contributors come from different musical backgrounds; Mark Ritchie lives in Glasgow and likes singer songwriter stuff, his live reviews begin when he wakes up then take in all the food he ate, all the buses he caught, all the pints he sank and all the Glasgow pubs he sank them in with the band sometimes getting a mention in the last sentence. His reviews of everything from John Martin reissues to books and films are short and precise. At the other end of the spectrum comes Gary Simmons. Simmons London based misanthropic rants mixed with Whitehouse lyrics aren’t to everybody's tastes but when he gets on a roll he’s unstoppable. In issue 72 he reviews Pendercki, Gorecki and Charles Manson then gives us a blow by blow transcription of a text war he had with fellow HY reader Jimmy Little which ends with Little being arrested by the London Met. HY is a crude, photocopied, few pages of cut and paste A4 stapled in one corner zine and its perfect. If the writing is good enough cut and paste will suffice.

[HY is available for the cost of a few stamps though I suspect that hard cash wouldn’t go amiss - email for contact details as Ritchie tends to move about a bit. Niche Homo has no cover price whilst Night Science IV is available via the Cipher website for $15 Aus/$16 US plus postage]


Night Science
℅ Cipher Productions
PO Box 169
Australia cipherproductions [at]

Niche Homo

Hiroshima Yeah!
donbirnam [ay]