Monday, November 11, 2019
Neil Campbell - Cloud Drag 1979
As given to me by the man himself in time honored fashion at the St Paul’s Church in Huddersfield on the occasion of Phillip Thomas's triumphant rendition of Morton Feldman’s 90 minute epic ‘Triadic Memories’. Which turned out to be one of the highlights of the year. It was a first time visit for me to St Paul's too. A de-consecrated church that sits on the town center ring road at the periphery of Huddersfield University campus. It has banked seating that gives impressive views of the church insides and Thomas as he slowly works his way through this most elegiac of Feldman’s compositions. As the work progressed time seemed to loose all meaning. I purposely kept my watch covered and phone turned off and the only way I knew that time was passing was that my arse began to ache. People shuffled in their seats, I spied one person checking their phone but most of us, those I could see anyway remained motionless, rapt and enveloped in what we were experiencing. The venue, situated where it is, leaked extraneous sounds throughout the performance; emergency services sirens, rain, traffic, Campbell unscrewing the cap of his whiskey flask and kindly offering me a drop which I have to tell you I declined and at one instance someone presumably connected to the venue who could be heard clanging and banging through several ancient church doors before appearing stage front as it were, us as shocked to see them as they were to see us. Thomas stopped playing, his hands hovered stasis above the piano keys and as the door slowly and quietly shut resumed where he’d left off.
I bumped in to Bald John before the gig and we went for a drink in The Commercial. I’d come on the bus due to a flat car battery and had missed the earlier evening performance because of this but John had come in his car and was kind enough to give me a lift home, or drop me off near home which was good enough for me. As we left the venue the heavens opened to such an extent that the roads became more like rivers. As John edged his car through the dark floods Radio 3 became less and less audible. The talk changed from Morton Feldman to I cant hear the radio to ‘I’ve never seen rain like this in my entire life’ and then to silence as we both tried to concentrate and make out where we were going. John took what I considered a circuitous route which at one stage was actually taking me away from where I wanted to be and I wondered if the rain and fear of crashing, or getting drowned or disappearing down a hole in the road that shouldn't be there had somehow shook his senses. He dropped me at my old school which was near enough in the circumstances and I walked the rest of the way home in full-on drowned rat mode. A memorable night.
‘Cloud Drag 1979’ contains seven humphing, pumfing tracks of the Gallopatter machine going full blast, rubber belts flapping round a six foot diameter drive wheel that's slightly out of orbit and threatening to spin off its axle and through several roofs of Nunroyd Mills variety. Tracks three is all off-kilter crunchy presets with crazy guitar, a sort of lolloping galumphing thing, track four is a John Carpenter track dragged through Lions treacle, track five is a Gameboy soundtrack for a game about Bauhaus instrumental b-sides. I know, I know. Its crazy to think of it like this but its all true. CD stamp says ‘recorded by neil campbell late summer 2019 synth - percussion - toy guitar - radio’. The cover's a square of textured paper that's been smeared with paint.
This is my 485th Neil Campbell review.
And here I must mention the 5 CD Morton Feldman box set from the Sheffield label Another Timbre that people were snapping up on the night. My copy has been on an almost permanent rotation since I bought it with the full version of Triadic Memories [arriving via flac from the label - too big for CD obvs] a constant companion during my nightly PC travels. Every home should have one.
Sunday, November 03, 2019
Enragés Fou Noix
One of the best books I’ve read this year was Sue Prideuax’s magnificent biography of Friedrich Nietzsche; ‘I Am Dynamite!’ Nietzsche could debate for ten hours at a stretch, fancied himself as a composer, was a close friend of Wagner [they eventually fell out], hated Christianity, loved Jews when it was fashionable to hate them, was nearly blind, suffered all his life with terrible intestinal medical complaints and spent his last eleven years on this planet a bedridden madman reduced to drinking his own piss and howling like a dog. His sister and mother [whom he hated] had the good fortune to benefit from his work which started to sell just as Nietzsche found himself clinging on to a starving horse's neck in Naples begging the owner to spare it from further harm. As his health, both mental and physical deteriorated further, his sister and mother displayed Nietzsche as little more than a curiosity allowing visitors who came to pay homage to this most gifted of men embarrassing glimpses of the bedridden wreck. Life can be real shitty at times.
Enragés Fou Noix is a fundraiser for the Mental Health Resistance Network. Madness, or whatever the medical term is [I know nothing of the terminology in regards to mental health] is still with us. As much in Nietzsche’s life as in our own. It will never go away. But at least we know a lot more about it now. Nietzsche’s own ‘softening of the brain’ as it was diagnosed [which was probably the result of a syphilis infection he got while visiting prostitutes, prostitutes he visited on the instruction of his doctor so as to ‘get the monkey off his back’ so to speak - as an aside its also worth noting that Wagner help spread the rumour that Nietzsche’s bad eyesight was a result of excessive masturbation, who needs friends eh?] is now a lot more understood and ‘softening of the brain’ lives in the same recycling bin as balanced humors, the application of leeches and electro-shock therapy.
I have Kelly Reader to thank for this comp. Thanks Kelly. Its been lurking in the inbox for a while and I’ve been dipping in to the Bandcamp version on and off for weeks but it wasn’t until Vicky Langan pointed out that the Disco Mental cover version of Donna Summers ‘I Feel Love’ is the best thing since Hipster rye sourdough that I really took notice and realised I owed it to Kelly and the Mental Health Resistance Network to tell the world about it. And yes Disco Mental’s cover version of Donna ‘Summers I Feel Love’ IS the best thing since Hipster rye sourdough and yes I did play it over and over again too marveling at the way as to how Simon Morris sings like a pub singer with ten pints in him slurring the words as he makes his way to the gents with Several’s synth beat backing bleeping and blopping along as he sings/slurs. Disco Mental being Simon Morris and the now late John Several who in the last days and weeks of his life managed to create at least two [that I know of] of the most outrageous disco cover versions I know, the other being the flip to the Ceramic Hobs Fifty Shades of Snuff single and a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘Never Can Say Goodbye’. One can only hope that theres more in the archives. I am forever greedy for such things.
Lets not stop there though because this gets better. There’s a Homosexuals track on here that reminded me of just how good the Homosexuals were. Are. ‘3AM [Pink Pony]’ is a sing-a-long, grab your mates by the shoulders life affirming slice of pop taken from their 2016 ‘Important But True’ digital only album. Thats why I missed it. And there’s an exclusive Guttersnipe track of such ferocity it’ll leave you rolling around on the floor clasping your eardrums and a Danielle Dax track from her 1983 debut LP thats the epitome of English Folk and makes me wish I had the LP with its cover of rotting testicles and weeping eyes.
OK they’re my favourites but there’s still plenty to admire here; Hawksmoor Brood which is Several again in classic synth sequencer mode with Jowe Head supplying vocal samples, Salford Media City who sound like a loose Half Man Half Biscuit cum The Fall with whistling and shortwave radio, Silver Dick with two minutes of parping improv and Joincey vocals, a fearsome spoken word piece by David Hoyle accompanied by portentous rumbling thunder and in-between all these eighteen tracks the lovely Carol Barton dispensing words of wisdom and witticisms ‘Mental health difficulties is what you get if you’re honest with a psychiatrist’.
I’m tempted to write ‘you’d be mad not to buy it’ but thats just cheap. Just buy it instead.
Saturday, November 02, 2019
Fluxus - +/- : Quentin Smirhes / Samuel Beckett by Kommissar Hjuler
LP. 100 copies
Turritopsis Nutricula: Laurent Fairon / Cody Brant & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau / Magnús Pálsson / Louis Jucker / Paul Fuchs & Zoro Babel / Mama Baer
LP. 65 copies.
John M. Bennett & C. Mehrl Bennett / Bryan Lewis Saunders & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau
LP. 75 copies.
Widerstand zu Zeiten Schwarzer Pädagogik: Family Fodder / Kommissar Hjuler
LP. 100 copies
Die Zwei Gefässe: Louis Jucker / Jeroen Diepenmaat / Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer
LP. 100 copies.
The European Impro Facism: Goodiepal + Pals + Kommissar Hjuler + Mama Baer = Penis Pals
LP. 48 copies.
Die Anerkennung Als Beleuchtungstraeger: Goodiepal & Pals / Family Fodder / Jonothan Meese / Kommissar Hjuler und Frau
LP. 71 copies.
Fluxus in the Bathroom: Family Fodder / Kommissar Hjuler
LP. 75 copies.
Homemade Universe: Clemens Schittko / Louis Jucker / The Spyon / Jeroen Diepenmart / Kommissar Hjuler & Mama Baer.
LP. 100 copies.
Franz Kamin / Kommissar Hjuler und Frau / Tentatively, a Convenience
LP. 100 copies.
Fluxus +/- : Peter Ablinger / Bill Dietz / Kommissar Hjuler und Frau / Sven-åke Johansson
LP. 75 copies.
Possessed Anticipation of the Generalized Other: Anla Courtis & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau / Steve Dalachinsky & Nicola Hein
LP. 81 copies
With Shelter Gone: Steve Dalachinsky & Eighty-pound Pug / Politi-Inspector Hjluer w/Polit-sang Kor Flensborg
LP. 100 copies
Science Fiction: Terrible Lizards / Daniel Svandberg Bør / La Scrambled Debutante / Richard Ramirez / Mama Baer
LP. ? copies
Of the many Kommissar Hjuler videos on Youtube my favourite is the one which shows Hjuler playing the split LP he made with Milan Knizak [Psych.KG 181]. In this short two minute video Hjluer guides us through the workings of the anti-player they’ve made using a copy of Morton Feldman’s LP ‘The Early Years’. The cover of the LP is used as the base, the stylus is a small branch with a nail driven though it while the record itself is the actual Feldman release shaved down to around seven inches [“I didn’t measure’]. Turning the disc by hand by way of a small peg drilled into the label the stylus emits a few scratchy sounds. And thats it. As the video ends Hjuler looks straight at the camera and a broad smile emerges.
Psych.KG is a label that I’ve only recently come across. To call it just a label is doing Psych.KG a disservice though, its like calling Picasso a bit of a painter. We’re talking more art outlet for those with heavy leanings towards Fluxus, Dada, Art Brut, Performance Art, Absurdism, Surrealism, Anti-Art and anything that floats around within these spheres. A vinyl only label where the limited runs you see above are only the tip of the iceberg with many releases getting their own art edition that can run to anything from Morton Feldman Anti-Players to light sensor synths to handmade cassette players and beyond. The covers are your guide with most displaying the handiwork of the Kommissar and his wife: Barbie dolls in bondage, homages to rock band Kiss, randomly placed typewriter keys, syringes, plenty of glue, heroin chic, a baby fist with a nail driven through it and Quentin Smirhes standing in a dilapidated greenhouse in his underwear.
The Smirhes side of Psych.KG 491 is as good a place to start as any seeing as how this was the first side of the twenty eight that came via DHL that I played. What I wasn’t expecting from a pile of Fluxus related LP’s with used condoms and chopped up babies on the covers was an eerie glass harp, clockwork and bass recorder version of Satie’s Gnossienne #1. But that's what I got from Quentin. Playing this record was a mistake of sorts though as it meant I fell in to a Youtube wormhole of Smirhes proportions from which it took me many days to reemerge. When I did I emerge it was with the knowledge that Smirhes is the creation of film maker Sean Reynard and that all the tracks on his side of Psych.KG 481 are audio versions of his short, surreal, Vivian Stanshall like Youtube channel videos. So you get ‘Quentin Has Stern Words With The Naughty Egg’ a version of Betjeman’s ‘This is the Night Mail’ and ‘Quentin’s Worm Helmet’ the accompanying video of which shows Smirhes walking around a cricket ground in shorts and Argyle socks while wearing a skull cap from which twirls a worm. All this set to the soundtrack from a BBC 60’s kids TV theme [rather annoyingly I couldn't place it]. While on the flip I got Kommissar Hjuler reciting Samuel Beckett in German while squeeze boxes were squeezed and Sun Ra clusters were struck on keyboards. All of which sounded as if it was recorded en plain air the final section in a noisy car with no brakes going too fast down a big hill. Reader I was in Fluxus heaven.
I dutifully made notes. In fact I started a scrapbook of sorts and doodled as I listened. I internet searched too. I learnt about the NO!art Movement and Boris Lurie. I discovered the amazing American poet Steve Dalachinsky who with the guitarist Marc Campello [Psych.KG 405] did a suicidal Derek Bailey homage in which Dalachinsky repeats the words ‘Go away or I’ll kill myself’ as Campello outdoes Bailey in the frotting department. There's similar on Psych.KG 481 where Dalachinsky teams up with Nicola Hein to pay homage to Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler with some impressive electric guitar improv performance poetry.
But where to start. For I haven’t really started at all. I’ve barely scratched the surface. A better writer than I would be guiding you through the inner workings of the Fluxus movement and how the sounds Joe Jones creates with his machines has parallels with the recitation of a publishing contract as performed by Family Fodder [Psych.KG 471] or how Jospeh Beuys inspired Jonathan Meese to compose something that sounds like someone going mad in a public toilet to a Casio beat [also Psych. KG 471] but I can’t.
Besides the label a lot of these people are new to me: Peter Ablinger, Bill Dietz, Sven-åke Johansson, Franz Kramin, Clemens Schittko, Louis Jucker, Jeroen Diepenmart ... which when you couple to a label that's also new to me means there’s still a lot going on out there that I still don’t know about. What I do know about is Kommissar Hjuler und Frau who appear on many of these releases and are the glue that I feel holds all this manic mixture together. Some of their contributions are culled from live performances including the incredible, exhausting and terrifying ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ [Psych.KG 359] in which the Kommissar shouts his lungs raw with an incessant barrage of ‘wimoweh’s’ until he no doubt collapsed on to the floor of the venue in a fit of shivering madness. Or ‘Copenhagen Magazines’ [Psych.KG 427] in which Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer [I’m never sure where Kommissar Hjuler und Frau begins and Kommissar Hjuler and Mama Baer ends seeing as how they’re the same people] perform the soundtrack to an absurdist production in which the same piano key is hit repeatedly until the lid comes down with an almighty crash.
There’s not just one version of Satie’s Gnossienne #1 on here either. On Psych.KG 381 Family Fodder’s reggae version raised more than one eyebrow and then there’s their nod towards The Slits and The Raincoats while on the flip Kommissar Hjuler gives us a bizarre piece that includes a reversed edited female vocal loop that could actually be someone doing what sounds like a reversed edited female vocal loop that ends in the sounds of bombs falling. Its maddening, insane, hypnotic and I’m wondering if I can put in to words what 14 LP’s worth of sounds, poetry, Fluxus events, bondage Barbies with nails in their eyes, Eric Satie, glue, wood, erect penis’s and Morton Feldman Anti-Players all means but I cant. I have failed Psych.KG but in my own way I have worked my way through these releases and come out of the other side a more well informed person. I now know Psych.KG. I now have no more room for anymore records. I do have an idea though.
I feel as if I should make my own Anti-Player. Fourteen of them to be exact. Each one of them carrying its own accompanying video ending with me displaying the finished item with a big grin on my face. Then I'll take them to Huddersfield for the start of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival and leave them lying about the various venues for people to play. I’m sure Psych.KG would approve.
PsychKG on Discogs
Monday, October 21, 2019
Coelacanth - Ghoul Town Tales
After a series of Dictaphopne Gabba dispatches as recorded from the greasy cushion seat of a faded flammable sofa in Stoke on Trent, Dai Coelacanth has turned his talents to authorship and delivered to us a tale involving Suzi, Tony, Daphne, Geoff and maybe a sci-fi movie called ‘Pagan Satellites’. Expect lots of slugs, skulls, tins of scabs, Spanish milk and the mysterious ‘gheng’. Don’t expect structured sentencing, punctuation, capitalization, character development and anything at all resembling a plot. I left satisfied on all counts.
I’ve been reading a lot more of late. I feel I’m qualified to pass judgement on such work after picking up and putting down the novels of Samuel Beckett and a collection of William H Gass’s writing over the last year. I’m also finding the solitude required for reading what some might regard as difficult writing the perfect escape mechanism from Planet Shit Storm. There’s something to be said for sitting in a room for hours on end with only a book for company. Blaise Pascal’s dictum that “All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone” is one I’ve often aligned myself to and one I wish certain people with enormous ego’s who just happen to have the most important jobs in the world would too.
Its gotten to the stage where I now find myself searching not for record shops but bookshops. I find record shops rather tedious places [unless they happen to be in Japan where they become joyous emporiums of heavenly delight but thats another story]. They’re not even record shops anymore. They’re half coffee shops full of tedious blokes with beards and sleeve tattoos telling anybody within earshot just how important David Bowie’s last album was and how they got the see-through flexi disc version of which only 500 were made. Record shops tend to be badly laid out, have meagre stock that never shifts and racks crammed with records that you have to bust a sciatic nerve to sift through. Bookshops, and here I’m aiming mainly at independent bookshops are worlds of discovery run by enthusiastic bibliophiles. A good independent bookshop is a beautiful thing and worthy of your patronage.
But back to D. Coelacanth and his Ghoul Town Tales which I never expected to have anything as mundane as a beginning, a middle and an end. What you get are a series of paragraphs that read like a cut up novel where people do curious things of an uncertain nature all written in a very readable language thats littered with some killer one liners. Its like Coelacanth wrote this on a PC then copy and pasted certain lines dropping them in at random so that they appear like mantras throughout the book; ‘the shemp had a market stall and all they sold was out of date glue’ is but one such example. So you read but you never really get a grip on whats happening or where its going because the sentences have all been cut and double spaced but you can read it and carry on reading it because the writing is kind of delirious and fascinating all at once:
‘look at the sky, what’s wrong with it are you a growth we just need to make it to tomorrow the computerized voice came from a small plastic skull on the shelf I’ve never been interested in it I pushed my hands in deep into my shoes some of them were on fire I’m feeling romantic’
Like the worlds biggest spelling mistake that is Finnegan’s Wake you can dip in and pull out sparkling words of imagination:
‘lung of the nightmare fruit’
‘her forehead a collection of exaggerations’
‘on a sunny day rats love gravy’
‘the mayor was a giant slug eight feet tall’
We can compare to Burroughs and Gysin of course and thats not bad company to be in but did either of them do the Dictaphone Gabba shake?
You can sit and read this in a room on your own, or on a bus, or in the doctors waiting room as you wonder what will become of your lumps. It’ll take you about an hour. As you reach the enlarged, defiant and only full stop of the book your head will be full of strange imagery and the urge to bark stream of consciousness words in to a Dictaphone will be upon you. Ghost Town Tales is coolest thing since Bob Dylan’s Tarantula. I await the Faber and Faber volume with bated breath.
Sunday, October 06, 2019
House Sparrow Settle Back - Embla Quickbeam, Natalia Beylis & Neil Campbell.
Crow Versus Crow. CVC014
Cassette, A5 insert and badge/DL
A Crow Versus Crow tape appears and it coincides once again with the finishing of another Benjamin Myers book. This time its ‘Under The Rock’ and Myers move from London squats to Calder Valley and Mytholmroyd and eventually a house at the foot of Scout Rock. A looming presence that casts a near permanent shadow over those who choose to live under it.
Me and Mrs Fisher were up there the other day perusing the selections in Hebden Bridge’s independent book shop and afterwards for a mediocre meal and then to look for organic black pudding nduja with quinoa crumbs and hemp strands as hand made by the descendants of canal diggers. On the way there we sat in traffic for what seemed an age so as to accommodate the ongoing flood protection work ongoing in Mytholmroyd. Myers mentions the Calder Valley floods of Christmas 2015 in Under The Rock and the instance where he finds himself waist deep in flood waters, in the middle of winter trying to help out those stuck in their homes and meeting a wheelchair bound man in his living room up to his neck in water who sees Myers and says ‘I’ll be reet’.
Its a great book though I’m not sure of the poetry but then I’ve never been a big fan of poetry so don’t let that put you off. What I didn’t expect to find in it were mentions of Edward Wadsworth [born in Cleckheaton], Throbbing Gristle, Jimmy Savile or Harold Shipman but there they were in and amongst the ever present Ted Hughes. Shipman because he had a GP’s surgery up the road in Todmorden, Savile because he seemed to spend a lot of time in the area and Throbbing Gristle because Genesis P-Orridge and Monte Cazazza liked to drop in on Paul Buck to peruse his much coveted colour plated pathology manual. Buck, another Mytholmroyd resident is remembered for his 70’s literary magazine ‘Curtains’ and for giving a voice to emerging French avant-garde writers as well as Kathy Acker, Paul Auster and of course GPO. Some issues of Curtain came with cassettes that contained poetry and performance pieces and thus via a commodius vicus of recirculation back to back to Crow Versus Crow up in Sowerby Bridge and Andy Wilde's most welcome tapes.
If you follow the river Calder for long enough it’ll take you past Campbell’s hometown of Mirfield so there’s some kind of synchronicity at work here. Where Embla Quickbeam and Natalia Beylis live I’ve no idea but I’m hoping it somewhere near the river too like Tod or Brighouse, Dewsbury even.
There’s two lengthy tracks here both featuring Beyliss in collaboration with the other two. First in with Quickbeam at a gig given at the now defunct [I think?] second hand clothing, book and record shop Magic City in Todmorden and lastly with Campbell at a gig recorded at Chunk in Leeds which is nowhere near the Calder.
The Quickbeam/Beyliss collab is the more floaty of the two. A gentle canal barge ride down the Calder and Hebble Navigation as someone breaks up a rusty coal bucket to the sound of birdsong and mumbled chatter. I’m thinking its Beylis who provides the samples here; self hypnosis guides, snatches of conversation that are treated and looped and cast into bucolic field recordings and electro-acoustic scratch and pluck so that at times it feels like you’re driving a barn owl to Bacup while trying to clear your mind of all thoughts thanks to a cassette you found in Hebden Oxfam. Meanwhile in Leeds the tempo shifts up a gear thanks to Campbell introducing various beats so that at times it feels like we’re almost in Ricky Lee Jones/Orb territory. But fear not for it soon passes. There’s samples of Native American rituals and livestock auctions as drones, pulses and swirls and noises fill the room. With both tracks approaching the half hour mark there’s plenty of time to get your head in to it so to speak. Plenty of room to stretch out your legs and enjoy the scenery. As the Leeds side develops into a collapsing tumble of rocks, drone and wind-chime clatter I wondered which Myers book I’d read next and if I’d ever find black pudding nduja in the Calder Valley.
Monday, September 23, 2019
Hobocop - Hungry Freaks in the Data Mine
Headcleaner Records. Cassette/DL
Anything that comes in the post from America goes straight to the top of the review pile and it will always be so. Mainly because I feel deeply sorry for the person who sent it having to go into the Post Office to have the counter staff laugh in their face when they’re asked to hand over $14.25 to send a small plastic box in a jiffy bag weighing 42 grams across the pond. Using an on-line currency exchange convertor that works out to about £11. E-L-E-V-E-N P-O-U-N-D-S. If its come in the mail from America I’m in danger of beginning all reviews like this but £11? Really.
According to the j-card insert Hobocop are a duo comprising of Owen Long John ‘Cleaner’ Business Man and Cody Blanch Du Bois ‘Clam’ Jumbo Jack Flash. The link to why someone forked out $14 to send this to me may be Max Nordile who’s sent me things in the past and who gets a mention in the ‘special thanks’ section alongside Jhog Nobun, Henry Hal Lannan, Paddy O’Shaw, Will Sprot, Kephera Moonbeam, Pete Slovenly, Danz Z, Ben/Bto, Shannon Shmah, Nate Moman, Lillian Maringing, Bazooka Jah and Peroni Cloutier all wonderful sounding people and no doubt all upstanding members of the American musical community maybe, if my intuition is right, in Oakland California where there seems to be something going on outside of any parameters thats happening here in Brexit stricken Britain. Discogs is where I tracked down Cody Blanch who also goes by the name of Cody Blanchard who also aliases as King Lollipop who after deeper investigation turns out to be a kind of Jonathan Richman for people who like weird drugs, one man doo-wop and American kitsch. There’s a smart picture of him stood to startled attention in his braces, check shirt and black bowtie, a pencil thin mustache setting the whole ensemble off perfectly. Then there’s Shannon and the Clams who sound like they’ve spent a lot of time paying homage to 60’s girl guitar bands but this is going deeper than needs be. The label - Headcleaner Records appears to originate in New York and has no footprint on Discogs unless they’re hiding under the guise of a Greek Thrash Metal band. Facebook may get you there but thats somewhere you’ll have to go without me.
Pulling back from all that Hobocop themselves sound like the they’ve been digging around in the DIY punk racks of the late 70’s and early 80’s with maybe a hint of the quirkiness of The Residents and a heavy dose of Devo. Its all fairly lo-fi and urgent and punky with doubled up reverbed vocals that sound like the were recorded in an empty room and trashy guitars with more than a touch of The Country Teasers in them. Tracks like ‘Nauseated’ and’ I’m a Troll’ having the energy of a synth-less Devo, minor miracles of raspy punk joy ‘I’m a troll, no self control’. Slower tracks conjure visions of the Desperate Bicycles and when they up the sing-along quota The Homosexuals. ‘Ambient Abuse’ gets a mention because the title itself brought a smile besides having a killer bass/keyboard riff. Fourteen tracks in all. Just the thing you need to put a spring in your step. Go and buy it.
After discovering that Hungry Freaks in the Data Mine is available on Bandcamp my new found admiration for Headcleaner Records hit heights I’ve not reached since I got that 14LP box of records in the post two months ago. Which reminds me, I must be going.
Sunday, September 22, 2019
Smell & Quim - The Yellow AlbumTotal Black. Cassette + 5” single.
Its been a good year for Smell & Quim what with the release of the delightful Quimtessence, the reissue of Atom Heart Motherfucker and news reaching these ears of a first time vinyl reissue for Cosmic Bondage that most essential, quintessential, quimtessential [?] slice of mid 90’s Smell & Quim muck. Its the Smell & Quim release in its original format that I don’t have and there I was back in 1995 at my first ever Smell & Quim gig at the 1 in 12 Bradford and there they were on the merch table, a Barbie doll in bondage with a cassette tape hung around her neck. Why didn’t I buy one? Shame on me. There’s been an overseas gig too. Back in March a three piece Smell & Quim played Berlin and in December they’re going to the States for the first time and will be playing the all day/all night Hospital Fest in Brooklyn. Will our intrepid heroes ever return? They came back from Berlin, or at least I think they did, I’ve seen none of them in flesh since but words gets around, sightings in Lidl, propping up the bar in the Barge and Barrel, books published. Getting back from Trumpton Town could prove to be a stern logistical challenge involving unfamiliar underground systems, shuttle buses and taxis driven by Mexicans with no idea of where they’re going. A challenge, especially for those who have supped from the John Barleycorn cup. It could get messy as they say.
The best bits of that thirty minute Berlin gig appear on The Yellow Album in a perverted Stars on 45 medley stylee but thankfully sans clap-a-long 4/4 beats. The video for this unholy section of the North of England meets Germany via Graceland begins with a heavy bout of floor tom pounding before a tired and emotional Srdenovic replete with curly black wig collapses behind his table of gear after a vigorous bout of shaker shaking, only to wake, as if nudged by some inner mechanism towards the sets conclusion with a sloppy grin. Dressed in their Elvi Napoleonic collar outfits long running Smell & Quim members Gillham and Morris [for tis they] carry on the performance, Gillham pounding the floor tom while Morris screams into a microphone with that most remarkable voice of his. Lyrics include straight lifts from the notorious ‘I’m Jack’ letter that threw the West Yorkshire police services off the trail of the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe for many a year and ‘I’m a dirty bastard, I’m a Shakespeare cockroach’. At its end Milosevic is thrashing away a version of Pig Stealing Man while the audience howls approval as Morris tries to explain to one of them that its ‘Doddy’s Cock’ he’s singing not daddy’s cock, ‘He’s a comedian from the North of England’ he bellows.
On the cassette there are four versions of ‘Twat Out Of Hell’ and ‘More Piss, Vicar?’ on one side and the live stuff and ‘THWAK! on the other. ‘THWAK!’ being some kind of perverts manifesto or the transcripts of an interview with Our Pete or some other misguided soul who isn’t getting enough and should have bought a copy of Razzle on the way home so as to better relieve their frustration. All this set to the sound of steadfast marching military feet no doubt a lift from some Leni Riefenstahl footage. There then follows the enigmatic ‘HH PP [Abuse Your Allusion] AOBTD’ which is all drum machines, weird beats and unexplained acronyms. Expect noise, the sound of pissing and the destruction of Gillham’s bathroom on the four ‘Twats’ with some exceptionally vigorous noise that slowly builds in volume and tension before more pissing. The sound of someone pissing into a galvanized bucket is a running motif here as is Peter Sutcliffe [last track is ‘Ripper Remix’], all famous [infamous?] Smell & Quim tropes and fingerposts to where you need to go if you like your noise low down dirty and smeared with grisly Northern humour.
What of the five inch single though. An unusual and rarely seen format due to automatic return turntables struggling to play them and the number of pressing plants willing to press them being rarer than blind art dealers. I did have but two in my possession; the one that came with Merzbow’s ‘Green Wheels’ and the Evil Moisture/Cock E.S.P. split that has an incredulous 381 tracks on it. Now I have three and with it the fifth installment of ‘Twat out of Hell’ and ‘Braun Stains’. Braun of the Eva kind, those are her knickers you can see on the cover as recently sold at auction to a ‘collector’. Two tiny tracks on a thick slab of die cut vinyl that contains about thirty seconds each side of the good work above. The last words you hear [depending on which side you play first of course] are the computerized Speak and Spell words detailing the soiling of ladies underwear. Twat-tastic.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Vibracathedral Orchestra - Squeezes The Lids Through Coming Window
Oaken Palace Records. LP clear red vinyl.
Neil Campbell - Filthy Masters/Rainbow Vespers
While driving I tend not to listen to my own choice of music preferring instead the comfort of the spoken word of R4 or the classic hit of R3 [as long as there no howling Brunhilde going at it] and if that doesn’t work there’s always the off switch and recurring thoughts about how the majority of people who drive high powered German cars are almost without exception absolute tossers. Daytime R2 is only there for the traffic news, R1 I never visit due to it being incomprehensible to me and local radio is the lunatic asylum full of moronic chatter about sports teams you don’t care for and Doris from Shelf complaining about her bins not being emptied.
A couple of years ago I hit heavy traffic on the M62 while driving to Manchester airport and turned on R2 only to discover that Steve Wright in the Afternoon, a man for whom the word ‘annoying’ had been invented had been playing Edgar Winter’s synth funk prog monster ‘Frankenstein’. I caught about the last minute of it and wondered if we’d driven though some kind of black hole over Saddleworth Moor. As I looked at the slowly moving traffic and the sodden bleak moors around me I thought to myself Steve Wright is playing Edgar Winter. Steve Shite in the Afternoon is player Edgar Winter and I’m in danger of missing a flight. Annoying Steve Shite in the Afternoon is playing Edgar synth slung around his neck Winter? Life is full of surprises.
On Friday afternoon I dropped Mrs Fisher off in York and having the drive back on my own and not wanting to listen to Steve Wright in the Afternoon just on the off chance that he might play a ten minute prog epic I took the above two discs. I know, I know but I was in the mood and felt that I’d been neglecting the review pile of late. So I thought throw caution to the wind and blast some Vibracathedral Orchestra on the return journey and to hell with Edgar Winter and the afternoon play on R4. Listening to drone at a high volume while in the car on your lonesome can be an exhilarating experience and its one I don’t often get the chance to experience. So why not. At this point you have to bear in mind that I don’t drive a Bentley equipped with a NAIM audio system. I drive a small hatchback with a whatever it is audio system that doesn’t sound too bad but is never going to overcome the road noise generated by a 1.2 liter car doing 70mph on bog standard tyres and springs. Then you have to factor in that I’ve been having a bit of ear trouble. The left ear to be precise. I’m not sure whats causing it but after having poured various chemist bought unctions down it it has cleared up somewhat but I’m still suffering from random deafness. It come and goes and I’m hoping its one of those things that goes away on its own me not wanting to burden an already burden NHS with a ‘oh I’m having a bit of a problem with this ear here and can you stick your torch down it and see if you can see anything’ complaint.
Ten seconds after dropping Mrs Fisher off at York University Exhibition Centre I stuck in the Vibracathedral Orchestra disc and let it rip all the way back home. Ten seconds after inserting the disc my ear went all funny again. Then I hit the A64 and put my foot down. All this while blasting Vibracathedral Orchestra as loud as I could stand it. I reckoned that I could take this volume all the way home which I’m proud to say I did. A journey of about forty miles that I concluded before the fifty minutes of this disc had elapsed. And then I got to wondering how long I’d been listening to Vibracathedral Orchestra and reckoned it must be twenty years now. Can they have been going that long? I may even have been at their very first gig which was in a gallery space in Leeds where Smell & Quim played one of their worst ever gigs. Once upon a time you couldn’t go to a gig in Leeds without Vibracathedral turning up. Noise gigs, drone gigs they’d usually be half a dozen of them leant on the bar with their equipment round their feet, toy pianos, electronic gubbins, drums and shaking things, electric guitars and fiddles. All of them looking for a gap in the bill or a no-show and off they go sawing and fiddling and banging and crashing and moaning and shouting like people possessed. Its quite a sight. And sound.
By now I’d passed York Racecourse and my ears were starting to buzz. The left one at a slightly lower hertz tone. What happens to Vibracathedral Orchestra at 70mph on a busy road with the sun hitting you in the face on a Friday afternoon is that any nuance is replaced by a piercing whistling noise. Listening back at home under normal circumstances I realized that this was in fact a treble recorder [or some such similar instrument of torture] being played as if by a drunken busker on the Edinburgh Mile. Its not all like that of course. There’s a moment on the first track that sounds like a police siren and someone clapping two halves of an empty coconut together but then again this might have been the conditions under which I was listening. Which caused me a moments worry but no fear.
‘Squeezes The Lids Through Coming Windows’ is a two track album, ‘Squeezing The Lids’ on one side and ‘Through Coming Window’ on the other’. Its an LP but I have a burn thanks to Campbell who knows I like to be kept abreast of such things. The first track, depending on your mode of listening, is the grittier one, the one that sounds like Vibracathedral Orchestra at the back end of the night when they’ve had too much beer and its all falling apart. In a good way of course. I’m pretty certain its a live track too and if not live then live to tape. The second track hits the tarmac running and soon comes together with various bits of Eno-esque synth droning and those coconuts halves. This is where they find their ecstatic groove. The groove that cant be written down or taught or noted. That groove is a joyous thing full of moans and groans and bashing and twanging and electronics that squiggle and blurt swirl all of it coming together and lifting and falling. I guess you just have to listen to it yourself. Or go see them. They’re still kicking round.
Meanwhile, back at the the ranch, I took in the Campbell disc under conditions that I’d consider more suitable to audio pleasure. Though I did once spend a week in Corsica with the glovebox of the hire car stuffed with Astral Social Club discs and used them as aural calm while the locals did their best to run me off their mountainous roads. Where Astral Social Club ends and Neil Campbell begins is something you’ll have to ask the man himself though because I have no idea. I find that his work under his own name is much more freeform, less beat orientated, more organic, more open to experimentation. Take ‘Rainbow Vespers’ in which Campbell transforms loops of some rock drumming and a grungy arm swung electric guitar chord into a rolling mass of turmoil that eventually opens out into something far more beatific. A rolling wave of crashing drums and a never ending guitar chord thats forever dissolving into something else until ultimately it becomes a gently plucked acoustic guitar that drops off the edge of a ledge with a silent plop. The flip has more in common with Terry Riley Poppy Nogood era than sampled rock riffs and after one of those synapse bursting starts where a tin plate is hit with a spoon and a table full of electronics explodes into firework like bursts, there’s piano and hand drums and a thing that goes TWANG before it all opens up into droney bliss land and oh well you know delight and all that.
Saturday, August 31, 2019
(((vlubä))) - A-Mu-Kia (fur Future)
Nashazphone. NP-29. LP. Green vinyl.
I have no idea how to pronounce it either. Maybe ‘flubber’ with a thick Slavic accent? Why don’t you practice saying it now ... floobar. It came from Argentina via Egypt that much I do know and that I don’t have the luscious green vinyl itself but a download file which has me slightly baffled as the first track, the title track itself, a crazy cosmic drone where Alejandro Jodorowsky meets Phil Todd after two toots on a bifter and six halves of barley wine, is a thirty minute mind melter that by rights shouldn’t fit on one side of vinyl. Has Nashazaphone chopped it in two? Have they let it run over two sides. I cant tell you. I can tell you that it burnt my neurons to frazzled black lumps and that the hairs in my ear canal are now cheerleaders for all things wonky. But then weren’t they always.
(((vlubä))) are a long running project with 45 albums to their name. All of them released without me knowing of their existence. Müriscia Divinorum and Aphra Cadabra, for it is they, are composting [on this outing at any rate] the kind of out there unidentifiable, uncategorizeable, genre defying leaf mulch from which grew the seeds of Nurse With Wound. It must be quite some feat to get 45 albums in and still sound as fresh as that.
That momentous title track, that thirty minute monster ticks all the cosmic drone boxes you care to mention: reverb-ing chains of gadgets, tick, wheezing shruti boxes, tick, sawing violins, tick, tinkly bells, double tick and this is just the start, from here ‘A-Mu-Kia’ pulls over to the side of the road and picks up all kinds of weirdos including the guy who mumbles, the person who begins to scratch quill on parchment, the hand drum banger, the ringer of tiny bells and the whistling tuneless treble recorder player. As the ride picks up miles and dust and dead bugs on the windshield someone opens a bottle of something that must be stronger than Mescal and takes a stiff drink. This is the point where you start to wonder if the person in control of this vehicle [in this case two people - Divinorum and Cadabra] are the same kind of people who take hitchhikers home to get drunk. When you wake up in the morning the sound you hear is of someone trying to get ketchup out of a bottle by thumping it with the flat of their hand. Indeed.
The other four tracks, if nowhere near as long or mind-bending are equally as weird; ‘Flower Vimanas’ is another spacey drone of sorts filled to the brim with squeaky pipes and scratchy electric guitar, ‘Grape Nation’ is a floating in aspic song sung by someone with a years supply of Largactyl in them, ‘DlenQnnerv Ffwd!’ is a lolloping, locked groove in which a crisply struck finger cymbals is an accompaniment to someone extracting juice from a melon. ‘Mü Camel’ is Martin Denny for bad drug people, a subterranean Tiki bar crawl through a swamp full of people looking for their bamboo xylophone, a voice ‘sings’ like a witches ghost and casts spells that turns eyeballs into runny jelly and ears in to dried banana.
Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Richard Youngs - Bad Words
Chocolate Monk. Choc 436
Blood Stereo - Two Drams
Chocolate Monk. Choc 437
Dan Fröberg - The Common Error of Ordinary
Chocolate Monk. Choc 438
Mike Dilloway - Any Old Time Tastes
Chocolate Monk. Choc 439
Todd W. Emmert - A Serpentine Summer 
Chocolate Monk. Choc 440
Laugh Stains - Gaze Into The Drain
Chocolate Monk. Choc 441
Mr. Duke Pinch - Mud Hen, Prick And Green Belt
Chocolate Monk. Choc 442
Music comes in lumps these days. Like rice in Japanese restaurants. Seven albums from Chocolate Monk that once transferred to playable form got so jumbled I became a tad confused. And some people say that it makes things easier for them. At least the Richard Youngs tracks were easy to spot seeing as how the titles all came in caps and had swear words in them: FUCK IT, HE’S A BASTARD, PISS_FUCK_WONK [and no thats not a spelling error] and my favourite GOBSHITE [EXTENDED VERSION]. A track that goes on for what seems like three days but is in fact a tad shy of the twenty five minute mark. Whats happening here is that Mr. Youngs, a man whose penchant for testing the limits of his listening publics patience has recorded himself swearing. ‘Bad Words’, should you have the stomach for it, is a constant pitch tweaked multi-tracked babble of profanity that should not be played within hearing distance of a vicarage or sheltered accommodation. Smell & Quim fans will love it.
Chocolate Monk has been one of the most eclectic, out there UK labels for many years now, constantly pressing out ur skronk of a standard that makes other labels look like they aren’t even trying. Plenty of it defies categorization. How to describe five tracks of Easy Listening Pop classics knocked out on what sounds like either a tiny player piano or a zither courtesy of Mr. Duke Pinch? I have no idea. When Mr. Duke’s imperious version of The Last Waltz started it was all I could do to stop myself getting to my feet and cod waltz an imaginary partner. These schmaltzy classics [Crazy, Quando Quando Quando are my other faves] are the last thing I’d expect to hear from Chocolate Monk but that makes me like the label even more. And there’s only five tracks which leaves us all [well me at any rate] begging for more. Todd W. Emmert meanwhile has eleven tracks of far out repetitive, ramshackle, mainly acoustic guitar, keyboard instrumentals that are some kind of crazed Amon Düül outtakes. Work that one out.
From here on in you get the impression that we’re back in Kansas or at least somewhere near Brighton. It goes without saying that there’s some twisted tape manipulations in here, thats Blood Stereo’s name you see up there ain’t it? But first Laugh Stains who swing from electronic gabba to all out Faust with a stunning track called ‘Scanning Bulbous Ruminations’, think tortured howling vocals over slave boat thump and howling sax. ‘The Rhubarb Man’ is someone telling the story of The Rhubarb Man, a local weirdo by the sounds of it, to a background of a wind-up street organ and someone hitting empty milk bottles with a stick.
Dan Fröbergs composition ‘The Common Error of Ordinary’ steers us towards calmer waters with a gentle 47 minute long melding of collaged drones that weaves into its weft a gentle piano and a recurring organ blast that sounds like Keith Emerson’s been at it with a carving knife. Tapes go in reverse, loops are built from stuck records and the mood, despite the stabbed organ is one of serene melancholy.
Further in we find Mike Dilloway and two ten minute tracks of similarly edited sound collages. One track is a weird Eraserhead like loop of muted, oscillating tubular bells, cymbals crashing in reverse and plasterboard being riven from walls with a claw hammer. The next is all ultra lo-fi res underwater burble and lonely piano with taped vocals going v v v v slowly backwards, a decomposing tape fest of sizeable proportions. Mike Dilloway is a collaboration between Aaron Dilloway and Mike Collino. So now you know.
Blood Stereo’s release ‘Two Drams’ is, in another world, a cassette. And a badge. The Richard Youngs release has a badge too. It has the words ‘Fuck It’ on it but then it would wouldn’t it? The Dan Fröberg release comes with a book. I only know all this because I’ve been looking at the Chocolate Monk website which is where I should have been at the start of this trip. I also now know that some of these are sold out. Tough busters baby. I don’t see no Bandcamp page. ‘Two Drams’ is two ten minute truffle hunting tracks of rattle, parp, squidge and moan. This is a squeak. This is a firework display. That is a sneeze. Those are two empty milk bottles getting knocked together. There’s the walk home from the pub at midnight and all the voices and scrapes and shuffles. This is a an alter boy recoding his heavenly voice in an underpass. This did happen. This is weird even by Blood Stereo standards.
All that remains now is for you all to buy a £6 pint of Brighton beer and raise it aloft intoning the words; ‘without Chocolate Monk this world would be a sadder place’. Repeat ad nauseum, record it and send it to them. You never know.
Saturday, August 10, 2019
Pierre Loti - La Chanson des Vieux Époux
Quentin Rollet & Vomir - Vengance
Lenka Lente. Book + CD.
ISBN : 979-10-94601-30-3
Describing Pierre Loti as obscure author may be doing him a disservice. The French government did afford him a state funeral after all. He was born in the 1850’s and joined the navy as an officer. No doubt to pass the long hours at sea he began to write novels, short stories and essays on his travels. He married in to wealth and had opulent tastes. His house in Rochefort [now a museum should you ever be in town] was decorated in the style of the many places he’d travelled and contained a fountain surrounded by the coffins of five desiccated corpses. You don’t see that in Laura Ashley do you?
His most famous work his Madame Chrysanthème which pre-cursed Madame Butterfly and Miss Siagon as a novel regarding Japanese relationships and manners. La Chanson des Vieux Époux [The Song of the Old Couple] is a short story about an elderly vagabond Japanese couple called Toto-San and Kaka-San. He’s blind and she cant walk so he pulls her along behind him on a small cart that holds all their possessions while silently begging for food. My schoolboy French isn’t needed to interpret the moral of the story but [spoiler alert] it doesn’t end well.
How this relates to Quentin Rollet and Vomir you’ll have to ask Lenka Lente. All you need to know for now is that Vengance is an eleven minute Apollo 5 take off noise blast that mutates in to a shamanic honk and howl session courtesy of Rollet’s not inconsiderable honking skills. The way he flays those notes around suggests that he struggled to keep both feet on the floor at the same time while recording this and that he was knackered afterwards, Rollet having done all the lung busting hard work while Vomir [Romain Perrot - known for making walls of noise with a black bin liner over his head] stooped over a table belting the shit out of some noise boxes.
Its perhaps only through Lenka Lente that you will find an obscure French author, a Wall Noise artist and someone who has blown sax with the likes of Nurse With Wound and Eugene Chadbourne all in one small CD and book combo. Its this kind of juxtaposition I like. It keeps Loti’s name alive and gives curious readers the chance to indulge in some all out avant skronk noise that they would otherwise be unaware of. Win win.
Friday, August 09, 2019
Anne-F Jacques & Tim Olive - Tooth Car
Intomena. int020. CD
Doreen Girard/Tim Olive - Boro
845 Audio. 845-12 CD.
Tim Olive/Martin Tétreault - Faune
845 Audio. 845-11 CD.
I like to think of listening to electro-acoustic sounds as the aural equivalent of looking down a powerful microscope, the revelatory detail becoming more apparent the deeper you go. But this is the important bit, you have to pay attention. I know I’ve banged on about this before but what we have here is the perfect antidote to too much commercial radio and inane DJ blather this is your go to genre for escaping from the chaos of the modern world. Arvo Pärt, John Tavener and Montiverdian vespers have their part to play just forget all that Goan Chill Out Volume 6 the Panjim Mix shite and Classic FM Relaxing Moods CD's, get yourself some improvised experimental electro-acoustic sounds. Its the place to be.
The beauty of it only becomes apparent with much concentration. With extraneous sounds banished. I prefer headphones and a little above normal volume settings. I’m not advocating booking an hour at your local universities anechoic chamber, just pick a quiet time of day when your mood should suit and prepare to have your ear channels filled with all manner of fascinating sounds. I’m not advocating full on Fransisco López immersion here either [though maybe that would be no bad thing] just stick your head in the bag and inhale deeply now and again. Its good for the soul.
The Anne-F Jacques/Tim Olive collaboration came courtesy of a kindly soul who realised I didn’t have enough Tim Olive collaborations in my life. Tooth Car arrives on a Russian label that's new to me and comes in a splendid fold out slip case designed by St Petersburgh noise maker Ilia Belorukov that's covered in the striking black and white lines of the notorious/infamous Canadian comic artist Julie Doucet. Anne-F Jacques is credited with ‘rotating surfaces, objects and mastering while Olive is of course on his ever present magnetic pickups. Its two tracks are taken from live performances as recorded in 2015 in Washington and Boston, its where magnetic pickups working with rotating surfaces and objects makes for an ever revealing listen, its like having an army of ants crawl all over you as slowly melting glaciers grind up giant granite boulders. Gentle loops of degradation weave in and out of the grime and there's tension and within that tension calm and if that sounds like a contradiction then so be it. The second outing is much more subdued with tiny scratching and scraping though this is no less gripping and there’s gaps, yes actual gaps, silence that slowly becomes filled with the looping sounds …. of what? Who knows? Thats a major part of the appeal.
Tooth Car was released a couple of years back but according to the Intomena website is still available. Please feel free.
The two releases on Tim Olives 845 Audio label are more recent and still available via Bandcamp and hopefully in hard copy. I urge you to investigate but only if you have the time and patience. Yes, yes, yes, I know, shut up with the patience thing. We know we’re not here for a beery sing-a-long. This time around Olive collaborates with Martin Tétreault and Doreen Girard, or vice-versa if you prefer. Tétreault working with turntables and electronics and Girard on prepared tsymbaly, that's a dulcimer in case you were wondering [I was].
On Boro’s single 26 minute track this results in a wash of scraping, droning, twanging, frotting, tink and howl as Girard tugs, shoves and maybe for all I know breathes across her strings creating a crumbling world of zings and crashes. Faune [recorded in 2013] is full of skree, tiny machine sounds, throbbing drone. Loops from Tétreault’s turntables speed up and slow down, gentle knocks and rumbles and through all this Olive works his magnetic pickups, strings are pulled through guitar strings, tiny wire brushes are deployed, coils, violin bows, tuning forks maybe circuit boards from dusty PC towers were crushed between weighted palms? All marvelous.
So why the collaborations? Why not fly solo? I suppose the answer to that is to see what happens when two [or three or more] get together and start making sounds that have never been heard before. These are collaborations of pure improvisation of course. Its alchemy on the hoof and extremely rewarding.
Friday, August 02, 2019
Royal Hungarian Noisemakers & Fixateur Externe - Split
Unsignedlabel US060. Enhanced CDR.
Dai Coelacanth - A Condemned Debtor Does Not Recognise The Horse
Crow Versus Crow. CVC013. Cassette/DL
Art That Came From The Artist Chandor Glöomy Who Runs The Coma Kultur Label.
Venusian Death Cell - Holycaust
Attila Vlad is a portmanteau name that like Marylin Manson and Fred Boycott sounds better than the names it was derived from. Sort of. I imagine Attila Vlad to be the sort of person who signs fan autographs with a quill dipped in red ink. Maybe he signs important documents in the same way? Ah Mr Vlad so pleased to see you, we have a few papers for you to sign, I see you’ve brought your own quill how marvelous. Maybe Attila has another name, a name that he was born with that doesn’t fit within the framework of a noise project and he decided to change it to make himself sound harder? Maybe his real name is László Moholy-Nagy and he didn’t want to be confused with the Hungarian artist of the same name. These things happen.
Attila Vlad is all over the Royal Hungarian Noisemakers & Fixateur Externe release as is Rovar17 [real name Marcel Lajos Breuer]. This being a multimedia release we have an MP4 video showing a reel to reel deck and lots of ants doing what ants do to a soundtrack of noise and vocals that may well sound like Fred Dors doing what Fred Dors does best, or was it Diana West? I forget. What these mangled vocals and searing noise blasts do sound like is Costes. A Hungarian Costes then. Sort of. The first three tracks are all versions of ‘Anyu: kád = ki-o-káá’ and these are the three noisiest tracks on the disc. Not bad either with that lunatic vocal getting stretched, looped, slowed down and Daleked over various elements that include clanging metal and machine gun noise. For whatever reason the last three tracks take a detour into more sinister territory ‘Der Hund’ has a low volume thump covered in distant voices, radio comms delivered at a barely audible level, ‘Elég Volt A Látomásból’ passes in a similar style and sounds like the conversations heard in the control room at Chernobyl just as all the dials started going full melt. Last track ‘Isten Szeme’ is almost Faust-ian with a distant honking sax and Hungarian voices slurred into one big Goulash. All tracks recorded live. Unicum may have been involved.
Dai Coelacanth. Half Welshman, half prehistoric fish. The last time we met was on a Greek Island. It all seems so long ago now. I found the tape at the side of my pillow in the morning. A delivery from the Milk Tray man of Dicta-noise. There was a piece of paper inside the cassette box that said ‘greasy space’, the words were written in pen twice over and then again with orange highlighter. A piece of paper inside the box said ‘don’t lick it’. Glued to the inside of the insert were scraps of a found shopping list [swoon], the cassette itself had once belonged to Earl Hines but had been recycled which is a must for Dai or Canthy as he’s known to his mates. It was indeed a greasy space. But is it a he? Or a She? Or a them? We have a thousand dodgy Dictaphone edits each one half a second long and culled from outdoor situations where the bleed through of buffeting wind sounds like a fireman's hose directed straight in to your ear canal. Snatches of words appear and budgies and announcements in foreign tongues, radio broadcasts are destroyed, conversations between people with middle England accents come and go, whistles and oh the madness. On yet another piece of paper there comes a type written story in which Nancy at Wiggly Green gets a ray gun or something. My brain was fried by now. That Radio 4 New Weird Britain programme never called at Dai Coelacanth’s door. A missed opportunity for both parties. Maybe they just couldn’t find him. Her. Them.
Gallooner I like to think of as a mild form of derision, as in ‘you gallooner’ something you get called when you’ve spilt egg down your shirt, a little bit like ‘you fucking gloyt’ which is the one I use at work. Gallooner is Gateshead based Graeme Hopper and is charged with constructing ‘heavily layered and complex sonic evocations and excavations’, words, which after listening to Chlorine, I agree with wholeheartedly while simultaneoulsy nodding my head ever so slowly. Where to begin? There’s Industrial Techno Noise and wide open spaces filled with dry strummed electric guitar, delightful tape squelch, Nurse With Wound creaky oddness, dogs barking and me trying to think up words to describe this disparate release. Apart from the rather abrupt ending of track one which made me think that this was edited with a machete to fit this is an engaging and eclectic gathering of sounds that leads me to believe that Mr Hopper has yet to find the groove he feels most comfortable with. This is no complaint. The long honking repetition of ‘Confessions of a Broken Temperament’ had me returning many times.
What of Chandor Glöomy [would that be one umlaut or two sir?] who sends me paper from the Netherlands that includes a little A5 black and white art book full of treated photographs, a small plastic bag with an all-seeing eye and a two inch button badge containing a geometric image that looks like Bridgette Riley’s take on the Stars and Stripes and decals [stickers to you] but no music so I go searching his Bandcamp page and find a Glöomy/Paul Harrison project called Hairs Abyss and an ep called ESP which is the first thing I’ve heard from Paul Harrison in quite some time [and if you’re reading this Paul I still have ALL those CD’s you bunged me that time in Dirty Dicks in Halifax that time and I swear to god I’ll listen to them all one day]. Mr Glöomy is an artist, a net label and a zine printer. He’s a busy Netherlanders by the looks of things and has collaborated with all manner of people including Adam Bohman, Andy Jarvis, Smell & Quim and lots of people I’ve never heard of. The Hairs Abyss ep is all subatomic electronica with patients in American hospitals being interviewed by their doctors which is no doubt taken from a disturbing 1950’s documentary about the effects of LSD. A definite retro noise feel which is no bad thing.
Last but definitely not least comes David Vora with Venusian Death Cell’s latest pean to all that is black and ungodly; ‘Holycaust’. This is where Irish Heavy Metal meets Hasil Adkins meets Wild Man Fischer meets whichever outsider one man project you care to mention. David’s been releasing his idiosyncratic brand of Heavy Metal for what seems like a very long time now (twenty five years at least) and I’m honored to have been there all the way and to witness how little his sound has altered during that period. VDC is David and a drum machine and sometimes real drums and samples from horror films, David’s vocals which are sometimes ‘vokills’ and David’s electric guitar which for the most part thrashes about like a mad thing but on ‘Holycaust’ appears to have taken on an almost Derek Bailey-esque turn. Heavy Metal Derek Bailey style played directly into the condenser mic of a 1970’s Hitachi cassette/radio and on to a wafer thin Boots C120. I’m quite sure that David hasn’t been dipping in to the Incus back catalogue but there it is at the back end of the opening track ‘Curse’ a song written in response to an unkind email, all twanging and wanging and sounding like no other guitar I know. He puts himself into his lyrics too, you can read them on the hand written insert. ‘Revenge of the Witches’ almost goes full on experimental as the drum machine goes drunken Robby the Robot as Vora’s guitar goes all tremolo-y and out of control. ‘Popeslaughter’ leaves me thinking I need not add anymore ditto ‘The Inverted Cross’. ‘No Human Cross’ is a mini classic of existential angst and a search for inner peace. They tend to be over and done with rather quickly these VDC releases and this is no different, eight songs all done and devil dusted crusted inside twenty church hating minutes. The covers are hand drawn as they always have been as are the lyrics. This time around I even got a hand written press release. I feel honored. This is the 32nd Venusian Death Cell album.
Crow Versus Crow
davidvora10 [at] hotmail.com