Friday, February 03, 2017

How I learned to Live with the Orange Overlord and the Recuperating Effect of Cassette Tapes.

Suffering Profusion - Auditory Hallucinations Unkn

Nothing Band - Close to the Past
24/7 Tapes

Neil Campbell/Campbell Kneale - neil campbellcampbell kneale
Don’t Fuck With Magic

Culver - Fells
Invisible City Records

Stuart Chalmers - In the Heart of Solitude
Constellation Tatsu. PURR 077

Stuart Chalmers - In the Heart of Wilderness
Was Ist Das?

Stuart Chalmers - Loop Phantasy No.3
Beartown Records

Stuart Chalmers/Z. Zsigo - Untitled
Strange Rules. RULE-119

Feral Tapes

TLON - Chapter II
Aphelion Editions. Aphelion 001-K7

There’s a lunatic on the loose in America and he’s doing all this crazy stuff like sending tweets with exclamation marks in them and banging on about building a wall thats going to cost like $75 bazillion. I’m sure he’ll get locked up soon and we can all go back to what we were doing before everything went totally tits up but until then I can’t seem to think straight or get my shit together maan. You know like do what I did before the Tangerine Nightmare dominated my quiet-sit-in-front-of-the-PC-write-some-words-about-music evenings. I now find myself scrolling apocalyptic blogposts written in alarming tones about how the Orange Overlord is nothing but a puppet for a right wing cabal whose thinking seems to revolve around the politics of the Fuck You variety. These are uneasy times.

My duly sapped creative juices have left me a desiccated wreck, left me seeking solace in the familiar and well worn: Bob, Neil, Van, Robert and yes, Art. When I reach for Art I know I’ve reached rock bottom. Not because I don’t like Art Garfunkel’s music, I love him dearly, its just that his music is the soothing-ist of soothing balms, the music I reach for when my fevered mind can’t take anymore. His music is a comfort blanket, a friendly arm around the shoulder, a familiar face in a strange town, a safe room when the loonies are knocking at the door. The review pile doesn’t get much of a look-in in such desperate times.

The loonies have been knocking louder and louder these last ten days. Its getting so that each news item becomes ever more incredulous: can you actually do that?, is that for real, alternative facts, whose on notice again? One day soon I’m going to wake up and it’s June the 23rd 2016 all over again and there’s been an important referendum and its gone the way I wanted and the most insufferable human being on the planet has been shot by someone who himself has been shot but a few hours later. I’ll have my MP back whilst I’m at it as well. Preferably alive.

The tide has to turn eventually though. I think I’m over the worst of it. Recently I’ve been flipping these tapes again. Going round and round on repeat in the twin deck as I scroll the the pages looking for good news. Its a good sign. Things will improve. I know it. Cassettes of wonderment as effective balm. Why not?

I wonder what the Orange Overlord would think of Power Electronics? I wonder what he thinks of music in general? I doubt he has the time for music. Too busy striking a deal to relax with a Mantovani album. I doubt he has any culture in his life full stop. Up to his nuts in money and power. The twin gods of those who care for nobody but themselves. Given the opportunity I’d put the Orange Overlord in a bare white room and play him Suffering Profusion at a volume guaranteed to give him permanent tinnitus. There’d be a CCTV camera in the room relaying his reactions to me as I peruse a selection of nibbles that include toasted almonds, a ripe Epoisses and a lightly chilled Alsace Gewurtztraminer [preferably a Hugel though such would be my good humour I wouldn’t be too fussy on this matter]. There’s only four tracks to annoy him with but they’re of such high PE standard I imagine he’d be screaming for mercy after about 15 seconds. We have full on roar and distorted vocals, no need to go into details, its not a complicated matter and nor is PE when its as base as this.

Suffering Profusion are American [is an American] I hope he’s not a fan of the long tied, short fingered Orange Overlord but with PE you never can tell. One person who I doubt very much is a fan of the Carotene Cretin is Max Nordile of the Nothing Band who is capable of stretching the boundaries of where songs begin and end. On the eleven minute ‘A Good Dog’ we have Nordile in Srdenovic mode singing along with a bullhorn while a giant ogre stomps all over his house, his voice emerging as if from the back of whats left of the rumble room. Some tracks are short minute long things in a Residents vein and even though you cant actually sing along to his songs I have an urge to do so to rid myself of these gloomy apocalyptic thoughts.

Maybe I could try the Carrot Tinged Twat with a smidge of drone? Two sides of a Culver tape perhaps? Who doesn’t like a spot of Culver? Well, one person obviously. ‘Fells’ is Culver in bass heavy drone mode that moves to melancholic bass motes and on the flip something that does it in reverse or continues the thread if you follow. Maybe this is one continuous piece divided over two halves? Maybe this is the face of the Orange Overlord getting pulped? You don’t need me to tell you about Culver.

Talking of which, the winner of the 2016 ‘Stokoe Cup’ [as awarded to those leaving in their wake a cohesive, well loved and totally fantabulous body of work as awarded by the Bearded Wonder over at RFM] was Stuart Chalmers. To say I’ve become a fan of the mans work is true to the mark. I buy whatever he puts out and that recommendation is enough for you. Over the last couple of years his work has moved from mainly sampled based loops to the inclusion of, along with effects pedals, the swarmandal, a type of zither originating from the sub continent. He gets the most out of it on works like ‘In the Heart of Solitude’ and ‘In The Heart of Wilderness’ where the more esoteric edges of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra are mirrored or how about the strangely ethereal guitar parts of the Cocteau Twins. He can be jarring as on ‘Loop Phantasy No.3’ another loop based sample set but when he sets sail for those distant shimmering horizons the results are enough to induce warm feelings of well being and banish all thought of the Fanta Faced Fool.

There’s the collaborations too which is where, as you’d expect, the sound changes. The short but fun Ecstatika takes a page out of the Astral Social Club book and is all bubbling rhythms and energy. ‘Untitled’ with Z. Zsigo is the lonely church bell as heard drifting across a mist covered graveyard in a 70’s Hammer horror that opens out in to a vista of descending church organ and empty building melancholic piano notes. The flip is a shamans rattle, electronic burble, a rumination on the shortwave dial, looped church bells morphed into gamelan. TLON sees Chalmers working with Liam McConaghy for an albums worth of soundtrack like material that is parts ambient, spacey and perhaps the least gripping of this collection but nonetheless a worthy and still essential SC related release. If you like Schulze or the beat-less parts of Tangerine Dream this is where you need to start digging.

After all this do you think Trumpa-Lumpa would dig the almost palindromic Neil Campbell/Campbell Kneale collaboration? Perhaps the name would confuse him? Don’t give him a tin of OXO or wash his duds in OMO then [‘old man out’ - as found on the window ledges of lonely sailors wives]. Two live outings, one a freak beat-fest of mutated lollops the other taking its time to emerge from the miasma before it gets its NC dusted rhythms and KN [I assume] feedback. A joyous thing, just don’t ask me which side is which.

OK I think my chakra has been realigned. I’ve removed everything orange from the house. I’m rationing my Twitter visits. I’m reading good books again. Got to stay focused and channel that good energy. Fuck Trump.

All of the above are cassettes of course and are of extremely limited numbers. If the above haven’t sold out of their physical editions downloads and streaming are available.  

Suffering Profusion

Nothing Band


SC - Heart of Solitude

SC - Heart of Wilderness

SC - Loop Phantasy No.3

SC/Z. Zsigo - Untitled


TLON - Chapter II


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