Wednesday, September 27, 2017
12 14 16 18 20 22 = 2
Sofia Records. Cassette. 100 Copies.
Jorge Boehringer & Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh - Swiss Barns + Queef! - Live at the Monk and Nun.
Sofia Records 005. Cassette. 100 Copies.
I was at the bike racing in Scarborough last weekend. No, I do not have any great interest in bike racing but me and Mrs Fisher were given a pair of gratis paddock tickets and it was a nice morning so off we went. Judging by the accents in the paddock it would appear that half of Ireland was there with us too. I never knew the Irish were so keen. And where the Irish go the Guinness is never far behind. Story has it that the Irish were so fed up with having nowhere to go for a pint of Guinness on the Oliver’s Mount circuit that they decided to build their own bar. So one year two van loads of building material and men turned up and they went and built one. Friendly people too the motorbike crowd. Just not much racing going on. In what must have been a jinx on my part there was a serious accident on our arrival whereupon a rider went through the fence and in to the crowd. After another hour or so after the visit of two Yorkshire Air Ambulances and a brief resumption of racing, the same thing happened again, in exactly the same spot. Meeting abandoned. I’ll be back next year though.
I seem to be at one with the Irish of late. And why not, as Barry Norman would say. After doffing my cap to Dublin’s Venusian Death Cell last time around its now the turn of Sofia Records. I’m not sure which bit of Ireland Sofia Records resides in but I know its run by Natalia Beylis who releases short run cassettes containing sounds created ‘by the people around me’. She also makes all the covers and puts bits of dirt and dead leaves in them. At least she did on the latter of the above two releases but more of that later.
Natalia has of lots of friends in distant parts of the globe; New Zealand, Japan, Germany, England and Austria to name a few of them. This explains ‘12 14 16 18 20 22 = 2’ the culmination of the collation of 24 separate field recordings. The following is taken from the Sofia Records Bandcamp page and explains things far more clearly than I ever could and shows Baylis’s apparent liking for numerical symmetry:
I am asking people to record 2 minutes of whatever sounds are happening around them on 14th December 2016 at 18:20 (6:20 pm) their local time. The idea is to capture the sounds happening around you at that exact time rather than create specific sounds during that time.
Why this date? (Because numbers make nice patterns)
In the US the date is written MONTH DAY YEAR so this date was 12/14/16.
In military time 6 pm is 18:00 and 20 past 6 in the evening is 18:20.
A two minute recording starting at 20 minutes past the house will end at 22 minutes past the house so; 12/14/16/18/20/22 = 2
24 people did recordings for this in total. 12 on Side A (24 minutes of sounds). 12 on Side B (24 minutes of sound). Equaling a total of 48 minutes of ...
Twenty four individual examples of Musique Concréte then? Depending on your bendy definition of the term. I prefer found sounds. Sounds as you find them. Which here means someone preparing a meal in Finland with the radio/tv on in the background, someone in TNB mode in their back shed/garage [lots of keys and squeaky doors], kids on buses speaking foreign tongues, traffic, footsteps, birdsong, onboard train announcements in Flemish, a drum and guitar improv band tuning up, the BBC news, a Japanese amusement arcade [maybe] and in one of the more ear popping segments someone playing with their dog its toenails clattering on the hard floor surface its half growls making for a distinctly Schimpfluch-ian like recording. I soon lost track of who’s who on here [Tom Smith, Andie Brown, Elkka Nyoukis, The Doll …] but that hardly matters as this is best listened to as a whole anyway, thus reminding you that everyday sounds are never boring. A concept release then but for once a concept release that works in spades.
Its the Jorge Boehringer/Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh/Queef! release thats filled with bits of dirt, leaves and other crumbs of detritus and the reason why I’m leaving it intact and listening to the download. Sacrilege I know but I have my best keks on and I’m not getting the Hoover out again this week.
Both tracks are recorded live at the Monk & The Nun Festival August 2016 in Leitrim. The Boehringer/Oireachtaigh being a weaving twin violin/fiddle fest that begins in sparse and sombre Arvo Pärt territory before going all improv and beautiful on us. Not so much dueling banjoes as rutting stags. Its a quiet affair for the most part with each player responding to the other as they weave their way through a near perfect 20 minute piece. Running to silence in places the pair lean in to each with great tenderness before climaxing with a full on rasping riff apiece. Not unlike a Tony Conrad scrape only much shorter and far more edifying.
Queef! Meanwhile begin their side with a traditional far eastern melody as knocked out on a Xylophone or some such before going all electroacoustic with rubbed finger cymbals, wind up toys, bubbling liquids, old car horns, the ticking of a clock and much rumbling of a distinct and murky nature. With just the merest hint of music box melodies creeping in to the background this lifts it from its Adam Bohman-esque frottings to something that feels and sounds far more endearing. If such sounds can ever reach such heights. Only the fart of a crackle box shatters the peace.
The detritus is to remind us of the venue. Maybe. I have the urge for a Guinness.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Venusian Death Cell - Venus
No label. CDR. 11 copies.
Venusian Death Cell - Athair Spawn
No label. CDR
David Vora is to Heavy Metal what Hasil Adkins is to Rock ‘n’ Roll. He’s what the Ceramic Hobs would sound like if there was only one of them left and that person, probably drunk, possibly half crazed with drugs and rotting brain decided to make a career from playing nothing but Punk/Metal with a broken Gibson SG copy and a Bontempi organ.
VDC are a one man Irish Metal outfit [insert specific sub genre here and good luck with that] who has graced these pages for many years now. His unique take on all that is black, tattooed and ‘uuuurrgghh’ has made slim jiffy bags from Dublin the pride of the doormat. His is a world of crude hand drawn covers on ruled notepaper, guitars that sound like malfunctioning wood chippers, everything recorded straight to one microphone in David’s home studio. No mixing. No editing. Pure raw Irish Heavy Metal as heard through a tatty paper cone pumped straight in to your deaf lug earholes. Which to these ears is the best that Metal can offer. It’s heartwarming [check out his pean to Irish woman and search for a girlfriend in ‘Fines of the other World’], splenetic [thirty second one note guitar solo tracks] and raw in the rawest of raw forms. You may get off on Metallica riffing Anti Nowhere League and shoving your head in the bass bins down the local gig space but give me some of Vora’s stripped back condenser mic growling and I’m happier than a Metal fan on Metal Day. If such a thing exists which it probably does.
On' Venus' Vora throws the proverbial curve ball by ditching the drums, the horror film samples and recordings of him busking in Dublin, replacing them with heavy reverb and a whammy bar. Just Vora and his guitar playing either simple single note instrumental tunes that run to less than half a minute or Metal classics like the eponymous ‘Venusian Death Cell’ or the raucous ‘Moons’ with its painful guitar solo and lines like;
‘Moon is high
I say bye
I see its glare
On her hair
Moon makes me mad
Because I’m still bad
Exonerate her soul
I fuck her whole
Now a child is born’
‘Athair Spawn’ may yet prove to be Vora’s masterpiece. Back come the drums and the rawk and yes can it be true, do my ears deceive me, songs sung in Italian [‘Petrarch 189’] and Gaelic [the title track as played on an un-amplified electric guitar with a sloooow kick drum back beat and a solo made from five notes]. We get everything from full on growling vocal thrash to freeform guitar churn. ‘Jewish Blaspheme’ shows Vora’s distaste for animal sacrifice, ‘Dark Gold’ may include drum patterns as found on John Shuttleworth’s keyboard and is as wonky and blissful as anything I’ve heard since I put that Chow Mwng release away.
Eight tracks done and dusted in fifteen minutes flat.
I looked up VDC on Encyclopedia Metallum. At the bottom of the page there’s a link to ‘similar artists’ and when you click on it it says ‘No similar artist has been recognised yet’. That's because VDC are unique. They [he, David Vora] may never sell out stadiums or get to chuck tellys out of hotel windows [do they still do that with 50” 4K jobs?] but to a small number of fans he’s the best that Ireland has to offer.
I rest my [Motorhead stenciled] flight case.
davidvora10 [@] hotmail.com
Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Royal Hungarian Noisemakers - Don’Trump / Chillary. The Remixes
Unsigned Label. USO35. Cassette/DL. 48 Copies.
Royal Hungarian Noisemakers - Overdoes
Poor Little Music. PLM150. Cassette/DL. C48. 26 copies.
My memories of Budapest are of walking across the Charles Bridge early one summers evening only to hear the the doleful wail of Bonnie Tyler singing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ from atop Buda castle across the Danube. A festival of 80’s rock pop in full throng, the locals swilling beer and singing along with gusto. Oh what fun. This also explains the flyers for Jethro Tull and if it’d have been that pile of shite atop the hill I’d have walked back to my hotel room, jammed a toilet rolls worth of tissue in each ear and gone to bed for the night. Its not nice having your night ruined like that. They should warn you.
Filthy Turd once played a gig in Hungary but apart from that I know of no noisemaking activity from the country itself. There must be some. Everybody’s at it. Anywhere where there’s a plug socket there’s bound to be a noise merchant plugging things in, making noises, banging things together or seeing if their cheaply bought and long forgotten Spanish guitar can be adulterated in some way so as to get an interesting sound out of it.
I also lost 10,000 forints in Budapest. Well, not exactly lost, more gave it to a barman thinking it was a 1000 forint note. Mistook it for a 10,000 forint note and probably told the barman to keep the change. The pain will leave me someday.
The rather grandly named Royal Hungarian Noisemakers are therefore by default, my first exposure to Hungarian noise and very good it is too. I don’t know what I was expecting, perhaps an hours worth of full on rattle, some Merzbow wannabee chancing their arm with a couple of cassettes to the UK for online dissection by gnarled old noise hack but these two releases are far, far more nuanced than what I was expecting. Shame on me. Maybe what I was expecting was the result of too much plum brandy and cheap cigarettes? Instead I have the results of active minds with discerning tastes. ‘Overdose’ lives, for the most part, in noise/drone territory and kicks off with a six minute example of their sound as recorded live at Karolyi’s Crypt, perhaps too short for those who like to go for the full on head down amp melt but the way those cycling drones take off is well worth hearing. ‘National Women’s D Day’ evolves through its thirteen minutes gaining volume and added nuance with Clanger like vocals appearing amid its churning, roaring finale. But this is merely the entree.
Some of these tracks are then remixed on an American election themed release, one side Republican, the other Democrat. Track titles like ‘Golden Showers’ and ‘Trumpillary’ give you some idea of what’s going on here. Who the remixers are I have no idea but they have names: Pol Mod Pol, RHN, Noisesculptor and the more prosaic Chris Sidgell who all get two tracks each, one on each side. If anything there’s more space on Remixes, more clarity, more going for it, thus the empty spaces of Zoviet France [or Soviet France if you must] are to be found amongst the drone roar of ‘Atom for Korea’ while Unit Moebius like panned and disorientating rhythms are applied to the chopped up noises of ‘Trumpet of Deafening Truth’. ‘Time Machine’ has that ambient Aphex Twin feel complete with psychedelic swirls and dying beats as beaten from a rotting, termite infested log. This time around ‘Chillary’ has even more drone, more noise with only the lo-fi nature of the cassette robbing me of the high fidelity my body so eagerly craves at this time of day. I’m sure the downloaders and streamers will hear improvements.
According to Discogs the Royal Hungarian Noisemakers are Attila Vlad and Kálmán Pongrácz. With these two releases they’ve put Hungary on the noise map [for me at least] and that can only be a good thing. All together now ‘Turn around, every now and then I get a little bit lonely ….’
Poor Little Music
FB for RHN
Friday, September 01, 2017
CHOW MWNG - ULOT-CA
CDR/DL. 25 copies come in handmade box with booklet. NWSAS C2017
Described in the accompanying booklet as ‘D.I.Y. found sound dysfunctional guitar cracked electronics weird wordplay tape music sound collage noise avant-garde abstract improvisation industrial’. Which if you’re in to that kind of thing is quite a find. Fortunately for us CHOW MWNG have somehow managed to make sense of these accumulated genres, mixed them and used them as they [he, Ashley Cooke] sees fit. Its an astonishing achievement. Something that in lesser hands would have become a horrible mishmash, a smorgasbord of disjointed, juxtaposed sounds. Instead, we have one of the most remarkable dozen songs this year. Shit ... any year.
Think 90’s era Joincey and any of his myriad solo projects spitting out songs at the rate of one a minute, think Mark Wynn, YOL, Adam Bohman, Hugo Ball, Smegma, Blood Stereo and the gurglecore crew, think The Residents fronted by an acid crazed Bob Dylan whose been reading too much Lewis Carol, cutting up the lines of his poems and gluing them on to random columns of the TV Times. Think songs sung in a spoken voice by someone who [on Tara of Banana at least) sounds like a cross between HAL and Genesis P Orridge and on others like a laconic Mark E Smith. Hear stunning lyrics like ‘Beyond the north where electricity grows on dead trees’ and smile your widest smile.
Think Stylophones, think clinking clang, think feedback, clatter, struck zithers, the bleep and bloop of malfunctioning speak and spell machines, think Dada, think outsider songwriting par excellence:
‘Use your sense of smell to attract representatives of the musical establishment’
‘Baby son coated in alien bears’.
‘Never, never, never have a plan. Be on the non plan plan’.
‘No one wants to change the world anymore it seems, we all want to be on Marc Riley’s Radio 6 music show’
Pig Head appears to be a story. Albeit a surreal one accompanied by a random banging loop. Loops appear on Shark Attack USA where Cooke is in conversation with a child, a snippet of the conversation looped to the sound of hit pots and pans.
On we Stole Your Soul While You Slept’ Cooke delivers his lines as if straight from an instruction manual, all above a racket created by a hundred wind up toys; chattering teeth, Duracell bunnies, the lot. Beneath it the gentlest of melodies.
Stop Feeding Me Emoji is the killer with a killer last line, ‘Sod off’. It shows the humour that runs through ULOT-CA [whatever that means].
We’ve even got a manifesto:
‘For me music/visual art & poetry have always been about how far a piece of work can be pushed outside of its expected boundaries and about finding new ways to experiment using found sounds/images and minimal means to produce work that draws upon the immediate world around me’.
Not since the days of those myriad 90’s Joincey one-off projects have we heard the multifarious outpourings of one man and a thousand instruments put to song. Twelve of them, each one as unique as a knobbly carrot suffused with sapphires mounted on the Queen’s carriage; Kong Replica, We Stole Your Soul While You Slept, ULOT-CA, Crum Surplus Sequence, Screed, Pig Head, Shark Attack USA, Stop Feeding Me Emojis, Pop Music is Dead, They Moved to the Cities, The Sound of Skin, Tara of Banana. I include the track titles here because for once they’re worth repeating.
This is pop music for 2017. The future of pop music. Cooke has done for pop music what Pop Art did for art. Its been under your nose the whole time. Noise. Tunes. Pop music. Its what we’ve all been waiting for. Pause your Taylor Swift Spotify stream for just one minute, look up from your smart phone, cast your eyes over the booklet of lyrics. Randy Newman just shat his pants. Give CHOW-MWNG a chance.