Friday, June 28, 2019


Posset/Ulyatt - A Jar Full
Crow Versus Crow. CVC012.
Cassette/DL. 70 copies.

Back in the 18th century the bleak moors that run out of Halifax along the Calder Valley were home to the Crag Vale Clippers. A group of men who ‘clipped’ coins of their gold to mint new ones. A bit like an 18th century version of Bitcoin carried out by hardened men in remote, windswept cottages with one big exception, back in those days you could expect to get your head in a noose for your troubles. These moors are the bleakest of the bleak, the kind where grass struggles to grow, inhospitable places where according to legend even Satan feared to tread. An area then populated by people who saw themselves as living apart from the rest of society and who chose to ignore the laws of the land when it suited them. Coiners cottages were deliberately set apart on the very tops of the moors the better to spy unwanted arrivals, farm animals would disappear into their soggy black bogs, people got lost never to be seen again and bags of shiny, newly minted coins were secretly buried.

Benjamin Myers novel Gallows Pole is as bleak as the moors its set on and tells the story of King David Hartley, a rough and ready Robin Hood like character, the leader of the Crag Vale Coiners, a hardened drinker, a man of the land who needs no clock or learning book. His descendants still live in the area and may even use ApplePay or contactless. How times change. The moors themselves are just as inhospitable but now there’s restaurants with tasting menus up there, holiday cottages to rent, along the valley bottom lies Hebden Bridge, a veritable tourist destination with one of the best live venues in the country, up the road in Todmorden you cant help but trip over vegan cafes and people making things out of dried sticks, Heptonstall attracts those wishing to find Sylvia Plath's gravestone while decrying Ted Hughes birthplace just down the road in Mytholmroyd while in Sowerby Bridge we find Crow Versus Crow.

And Joe Posset and Charlie Ulyatt. Posset works with Dictaphone and tapes but you knew that already. Charlie Ulyatt is new to me. He improvises on the cello. They did something crazy and met up two hours before a gig to collaborate in the live situation having never previously met or collaborated before. This meeting took place at The Angel pub in Nottingham and is what you can hear on side two of this most excellent release. Its like Keith Jarrett at Cologne when he turns up knackered and the gigs late in starting because the venues being used for another performance and the pianos not the one he’s been promised but some out of tune workaday thing and despite the adversity something magical happens. I’m not saying that ‘A Jar Full’ will go down as the improv Jarret live in Köln but its not far off. A seemingly unworkable coming together of two disparate entities makes for an absorbing listen. Ulyatt’s frotting, shaking and rubbing of the cello and Posset’s deft tape manipulations are suitably at ease with each other. A little like an austere Webern string composition into which someone has sneaked the gargling ultra squeak of tape voices and tape squelch. It last but a mere fifteen minutes but is tense and rewarding and no doubt seen by all involved as an unqualified success.

What surprises me is the depth. You’d think that two people, one working a Dictaphone and the other a cello would run out of ideas pretty quickly but that isn’t the case. On side one you find three tracks that were recorded after the event with each improvising over the others work without further editing. Here Posset slathers on the tape wobble as his fingers deftly feather the Dictaphone keys producing an ever changing vista of interrupted voices and tape squiggle, Ulyatt draws long drones, random raspy staccato attacks and at times there’s silence, each letting the others work stand alone for your delectation.         

Tape labels releasing tape/cello improv don’t feature in Gallows Pole. I suppose Myers found it hard to work it in, especially seeing as how only the cello bit had been invented. Still, its a gripping read. Crow Versus Crow meanwhile have once again chosen wisely. A quality release all round. Find it on the moors. Or through Bandcamp.


Crow Versus Crow

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Arme Nüss Volume 1
Bladder Flask / Kommissar Hjuler
Psych.KG 477. LP

Arme Nüss Volume 2
Bladder Flask & Broken Penis Orchestra / Kommissar Hjuler & Family Fodder
Psych.KG 485. LP

Arme Dornröschen
Bladder Flask & Broken Penis Orchestra / Wolfgang Kindermann & Magda Starwarska-Beaven, Dino Felipe & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau.
Psych.KG 483. LP

Three LP’s of mind boggling Fluxus, Dada, Improv, Sound Art and cut up queasy lunacy as culled from anywhere between the early 80’s and the present day has just landed and its like nothing else matters anymore. Put down your puny instruments of normality and breath in the frenzied fungal spores of Bladder Flask of Family Fodder of Kommissar Hjuler, of Broken Penis Orchestra of Wolfgang Kindermann & Magda Starwarska-Beaven where one speaks in German while the other translates into English to a soundtrack of found sounds recorded from a busy street window.

This gets complicated but bear with me: ‘Arme Nüss Volume 1’ is Bladder Flask’s ‘The Groping Fingers Of This Vulgar Intruder Have Strummed The Toppling Byzantine Organ Of His Mind’ which was a track that never made it as a United Dairies release [long story]. On ‘Arme Nüss Volume 2’ you have a reworking of ‘The Groping Fingers Of This Vulgar Intruder Have Strummed The Toppling Byzantine Organ Of His Mind’ by Broken Penis Orchestra and on ‘Arme Dornröschen’ a Broken Penis Orchestra reworking of Bladder Flask's ‘One Day I Was So Sad That The Corners Of My Mouth Met & Everybody Thought I Was Whistling’ [originally issued as an LP by Orgel Fesper Music in 1981]. Got that? I think I have. Just. My mind is fried after all this. You try descending into this world and leaving it with your senses intact.

What works for me is the coupling of Dada-esque Bladder Flask cut ups with the Fluxus improv of Kommissar Hjuler. The Kommissar has been off my radar for a while but appears to have spent the intervening years releasing material at a rate that makes Merzbow look a slouch. Hjuler, whether solo or mit frau are artists, multi-media artist and by that I don’t mean they use crayons and watercolours on the same bit of paper. Performance artists, sculptors, makers of anti-turntables, improvisers, provocateurs. Just look at those covers, looks like Hjluer’s work, Lego people watching a Kiss cassette concert, dismembered Barbie dolls [Arme Dornröschen translates as ‘poor sleeping beauty] covered in melted candle wax, Arme Nüss [poor nut] and cashew nuts strewn among the Barbie limbs. I once saw Hjuler und Frau play Colour Out of Space with a performance that made  most of everything else that weekend seem like stale ready salted crisps in comparison.
This is the world of German label Psych.KG where Fluxus meets Dada meets Anti-Art on a Hans Belmer landscape shaped from bits of twig and frayed bits of string. Take the coughing fits of ‘Groping Fingers …’ here we have the mysterious sound of out of tune pianos, French dialogue and from Broken Penis Orchestra the introduction of American spoken word samples and with it an intensifying of the general weirdness that the work generates. Listening back to back to the original for comparison what we now have is a far heavier, much weirder drug trip, an old zinc top Parisian bar where the punters are stoned and slumped, where the gaslights emit ether fumes and the accordion wheezes a sad lament, an unsettling atmosphere cut and edited to achieve remarkable levels of unease. Out of tune pianos are a common theme here appearing as they do on ‘One Day I Was So Sad …’ along with snatches of dialogue, fierce kazoos, clackety-clack machines, parping trombones, spooling tapes and uncontrollable bagpipes.

On side two of ‘Arme Nüss Volume 1’ Kommissar Hjluer thrashes around on a forest floor while trying to cut his binds with a junior hacksaw, reducing himself to sobbing piteous tears as he does so. On ‘Das Streben Nach Aberkennung’ it sounds like he’s taking his kitchen out using a lump hammer. Rhythmically. ‘Blue Orchid’ is a White Stripes cover banged out on an upright piano with two voices one of which is a deranged Pee Wee Herman the other being an officious German. All recorded to condenser mic. ‘Jazz Stuck’ is improv of the rawest kind, piano and sax with cut edits of the same put to tape and squelched to death. When collaborating with 70’s freaks Family Fodder we get six tracks of piano tinkling while someone chops up wood, pipes are clanged down deep mines, theres female French spoken word to the accompaniment of electronics, traditional French folk tunes squeezed out of accordions and on ‘The Kommissar Will see You Now’ a track that has an almost Residents feel.

Unfamiliar to me are Wolfgang Kindermann & Magda Starwarska-Beaven. Starwarska-Beaven describes herself as a ‘multi-disciplinary artist’ who works mainly in sound. Wolfgang Kindermann is an Austrian poet. ‘Who/Wer’ is the audio taken from an installations of Starwarska-Beaven in which she translates the text read by Kindermann to the sound of passing cars and general street noise and on ‘Daswessender’ manipulates vocals to the sound of angry machines.

Now for the bad news. All these highly desirous LP’s are pressed in small numbers. If I’ve got this right there’s only 48 of each with the 48th copy made in to an unplayable art edition. No downloads of course. What were you even thinking. There are copies available but be prepared to dig deep. 

News reaches these ears that Steve Stapleton is reworking Bladder Flask material as I type. This could complicate that second paragraph even further.

All three releases available here.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Smell & Quim - Atom Heart Motherfucker
Wonderland Media. LP

Smell & Quim - Quimtessance
Total Black. Cassette.

Two Smell & Quim releases that originally appeared on Juntaro Yamanouchi’s Vis a Vis Audio Arts label in editions of ten. Yes, ten. Unless you are Juntaro or Milovan Srdenovic or married to him or are someone very lucky you don’t have a copy in your house. Which is a pity as I consider Atom Heart Motherfucker to be one of thee best Smell & Quim releases. Up there with Jesus Christ in the Quim canon as far as this humble scribe is concerned.

I reviewed Atom Heart Motherfucker via a download that Lawrence Burton made available on his most wonderful Ferric Archeological website. Thanks to some incredibly astute American people person with superb taste in music we can now wallow in an 180 gram vinyl version. It really is the very thing, a thick black slab of black heavyweight vinyl capable of lopping off toe joints should you drop it. Juntaro may have a cassette copy with a poo smeared man on it but I have it on 180 gram vinyl.

In case you missed it Atom Heart Motherfucker is piss and shit pub toilet noise as narrated by someone with a thick West Yorkshire accent who isn’t Peter Sutcliffe. That would be Milovan then. ‘Fuck it, kill it, eat it’. The Quim war cry. A madman let loose on a hotel reception desk bell. The noise is deliriously powerful and wonderfully wrong in all the right ways, ‘Wrong Hole in One’ is a blistering re-entry into the West Yorks environs with a pint of Websters Green Label in each hand, there’s Michael Gillham destroying his bathroom in ‘Careful with That Axe Michael’ and the new mantra ‘Bucket Fulla Piss’ which has Milovan and Simon Morris screaming ‘BUCKET FULL OF PISS’ until their lungs rupture. Listening back to it again you cant but marvel at Srdenovic’s technique in putting all this together. Smell & Quim make noise albums that aren’t just one play shelf fillers, they’re some of the best noise records you will own. You can read the original review here.

Quimtessence arrives in one of those folded A5 pieces of card that has a cut and paste collage cover showing a grainy picture of someone having a good time/suffering for their cause. A form of release that I haven’t seen in many a year and produced in me not exactly a Proustian Madeleine moment but certainly a small twinge of nostalgia. All this thanks to German label Total Black who judging from their Big Cartel page may have already sold out. Or maybe they just haven’t got around to putting it up there? No info on how many of these exist but I’m guessing there’ll be more than ten. 

Here we have four essential Smell & Quim tracks with a blistering live version of Bucket Fulla Piss as recorded in Lisbon 2016 in which Morris and Srdenovic take it in turns to make the words ‘bucket full of piss’ sound like someone trying to exorcise demons. The bladder emptying frolics continue on side two with the sound of a bucket filling with piss and god knows what else [Pissypoo] while both the title track and ‘Noize on Feel The Cum’ are the kind of full on grinding noise blasts that do you actual good.

All this Smell & Quim activity had me digging around YouTube where I found their most recent Berlin gig and the band still in fine, chaotic, drunken form. Gillham, Morris and Srdenovic in Elvi suits, cock and balls strapped to the fore, Srdenovic collapsing to the floor where he spends the rest of the set behind their set up until he eventually surfaces, alone on the stage, with the most euphoric grin you’ve ever seen. Long may they reign supreme. 

Wonderland Media

Total Black



Friday, June 14, 2019

Simon Morris - Watching The Wheels
Amphetamine Sulphate.
84pp. Perfect bound.
ISBN 978-1-7337567-3-0

The accompanying blurb on the back cover of Simon Morris’s latest Amphetamine Sulphate publication compares Morris to Philip K Dick and Thomas Pynchon. Dick I’m not so sure about [I’m no big fan to be honest] but Pynchon? That’s a big claim to make. He’s been cropping up with unnerving regularity of late. Pynchon that is. I was in a pub in Halifax a few weeks back, a gathering of the Bald Heads of Noise, when Morris walked in and dropped on the table Christopher Hitchens memoir ‘Hitch-22’. ‘If anybody wants this they can have it’ he said and being partial to a bit of Hitchens I took it home and read it. In it Hitchens mentions Pynchon in relation to the ‘Rushdie Affair’; Pynchon rings Hitchens, confirms that it can be only he and a conversation ensues. At the conversations end Hitchens asks Pynchon if he can have his number to keep him updated to which Pynchon laughs down the line and hangs up. No 1471 in those days.

After I’d finished reading ‘Watching The Wheels’ I picked up my dropping to bits Penguin Classics Deluxe Version of Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ with its deckled edges and V2 artwork to peruse a few lines of the mans most difficult book. That was this morning. I read a few lines and marveled once again at how a writer could even begin to put together such a tome. A few hours later I found myself stood in Mirfield Co-op in need of sustenance and after exiting the check out stood perusing the charity book sale where Pynchon’s ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ sat there looking like a fish out of water. I have to admit that no small amount of pleasure ran through me at this point and wondered if ‘dark forces’ were at play. This for a book that I’ve already read. Its not like the mans keeping Dan Brown off the chazza shelves is it?

Pynchon appears twice in Watching The Wheels. In the final chapter ‘Putting The Record Back In The Sleeve: Greatest Hits USA Edition’ Morris admits that he’s feeling deadline pressure ‘for his next book’ and gives us a minute by minute account of how his evening is panning out, including the temptation to hit Lidl for a bottle of gin and cancelling the gardener [?] all while entering in to an online conversation with someone who asks him;

“Tell me a favourite writer of yours. And be honest if it’s fucking Rowling. I enjoyed one of her Galbraith crime novels.” 22:45

“Thomas Pynchon.” 22:46

“Fuck, you serious?! Have read every word. Many of which I didn’t understand fully but I tried.” 22:47

Copying and pasting online conversations in to your manuscript when deadlines loom is never going to get you a contract with Faber and Faber but in a non linear work like this it fits like a stiffy in a featherlite. And is entirely in keeping with the way Morris writes. I get the feeling that Morris spends a lot of time on online forums; sex forums, Queen forums, G N’ R forums, conspiracy theory forums and forums where only the bravest [or desperate] dare tread. 

This is the fourth book of Morris’s to have appeared through AS and like the previous volumes weaves Morris’s existential angst, suicides of past friends, drugs, relationships, both sexual and platonic and childhood years in to the back catalogue, not of Guns N’ Roses this time but Queen. Starting with their ninth studio album ‘The Game’. Which was recorded at Musicland in Munich, a building linked to many suicides. Blackpool, Hoylake, Liverpool, Manchester and Bolton go toward making up an anarchists ‘A’ of a leyline of sorts. Hoylake being a one-horse town on the Wirral peninsula where Morris is convinced this is all going to end one day. Somehow this all mirrors with the movements of Mark Chapman in the run up to the murder of John Lennon. Lennon used to holiday in Blackpool as a child and married Cynthia who came from Hoylake. You see?

In Watching The Wheels Morris writes about his childhood, his drunken parents, looking up girls skirts and losing his virginity. He takes one of his fathers sleeping pills just to see what would happen [he falls asleep], there’s a flirtatious encounter with an aunt, a fetish for nylon is revealed, inspired by punk he forms childhood bands using ice cream tubs for drums and drawing pins for studs, fire extinguishers are let off. Blackpool landmarks the Magnolia Cafe and The Purple Penny arcade are frequented, a cherubic young Morris is chatted up by gay men on Blackpool seafront. A whole childhood of novelty joke mugs, pale ale, orange crush and sexual frustration scattered among the Queen back catalogue.

At the beginning of book Morris admits that:

‘Sex is just something I don’t understand, swear to God’

A sentence that not only encapsulates Watching The Wheels but the entire Morris oeuvre. Sex. And death. The big two. They haunt Morris’s work. And madness of course. True madness. Not just a bit bonkers madness but madness madness, the stuff that drives people to drink and drugs and sexual humiliation and suicide. The casual references to drugs and porn are still here and continue to unnerve but at its core Watching The Wheels is Morris looking in to his childhood for answers. 

The comparisons to Pynchon are relevant in that both he and Morris litter their work with numerous characters but then so did Charles Dickens. I think Morris is far nearer to Brett Easton Ellis in style and delivery and while that particular author appears to have left his best days behind him, this one seems to have his best ones in front of him. Like his other books its not an easy read. Not if you’re squeamish or easily offended that is. His matter of fact writing style, openness and erudition bely the fact that for years he fronted the Ceramic Hobs, probably the most unstable band in Britain. Now that The Hobs have gone the way of all flesh [after thirty odd years - we can forgive him] we can only hope that Morris continues with the pen. Or the copying and pasting. I'd be more than happy with either.  

Amphetamine Sulphate

Friday, June 07, 2019

Dieter Müh

Dieter Müh - Mutus Lieber
EE Tapes. EE40. CD
200 Copies.

Dieter Müh - The Bjørn Tapes
Force Majeuer. Force009. LP. White Vinyl.
320 copies.

Dieter Müh were one of the first bands, if not thee first band that I got to know personally - the mists of time can play tricks on the brain but they’re definitely up there if you don’t count the scroats I used to knock about with in pubs when I left school. The first time I met them they were playing the Fenton on a Sunday night when I had to be up at 4.30am the morning after to start a new job [I turned up to work half pissed, hungover and had to endure a tedious and never ending twelve hour shift but it was worth it]. I once went to London to see them play a gig in a church and missed them because I’d got my dates mixed up. That one still hurts. I saw them play a pub in Manchester with Con-Dom and The Grey Wolves and was one of about three people who’d paid to get in. I may be exaggerating there but we were thin on the ground. I once drove to Lincoln, where they were then living, and spent a memorable sunny summer Saturday getting slowly pissed in crap pubs, talking music, books and films. All memorable days and gigs. They’d once been a trio but by the time I got to know them they were down to two and then Dave Uden did a Reggie Perrin leaving Steve Cammack at the helm. He’s still there now with almost thirty Dieter Müh years under his belt. Tempus Fugit and all that.

Back in the mid 90’s I was soaking up any kind of ‘weird’ music I could get my hands on. I’d just discovered Whitehouse and had a thirst for the noisy and weird stuff that my bank balance took a battering for. One thing led to another, a flier here, a meeting at a gig there and before you could say RRR 10LP Box Set I began to get know the people who made those noises. Happy pre-computer days where letters and jiffy bags came on an almost daily basis and where every night was a night spent playing tapes and discovering new music. A new world.

I took to Dieter Müh because they provided me with a link back to Throbbing Gristle. In another life I’d have pursued my TG likings and met Dieter Müh side on so to speak and not at a crossroads having spent many a year listening to music that I now realise was very much of its time and is best left there. This was all part of ‘The Great Immersion’. A year zero of musical taste when pretty much all that had gone before was consigned to the chazzas and new battle lines were drawn. Which is where Dieter Müh come in.

If you’re in your mid twenties and you don’t have parents that are in to Ritual Industrial Ambient Noise then there’s a every chance you haven’t heard either of these. Both of them are reissues which is OK by me as I don’t have Mutus Liber and this is the first time for The Bjørn Tapes on vinyl too, sumptuous white vinyl at that. Mutus Liber contains work from the early 90’s and was given away as a cassette in 1995 to like minded souls, The Bjørn Tapes originally appeared on Yasutoshi Yoshida’s superb Xerxes label in 1999. Those where my Great Immersion years.

I’m not sure if Ritual Industrial Ambient Noise is actually a ‘thing’ but its the words I’ve been using to describe Dieter Müh’s sound over these last … gulp ... twenty years. Proudly wearing button badges of an obscure nature they took all the dark bits of TG and SPK and made them their own. Heavily electronic with occasional bass and samples they create a music that is sparse, repetitive, ritualistic, disconcerting, certainly Industrial and forever unsettling. As the years went by they refined these qualities but Mutus Liber especially captures them at first flush when they still had that rawness about them. Tracks like ‘Ibrukin’ sound like they were recorded in empty grain silos, the droning and brooding live track ‘Introjection’ [the only track to feature original member Tim Bayes on tape machines] is a low down dirty drone that teeters on the abyss of an overloaded bass guitar. In later years sampled voices became more prominent and were used almost as rhythm but here they linger mainly in background as on 'Introjection' where a school playground is barely audible as the track enters its dying stages. Fast forward a few years and we find The Bjørn Tapes and  Dieter Müh live in Nottingham where their sound has already become sparser, more ritualistic, more subterranean - if it could be such a thing. The highlight here is the side long ‘Aghor’, a transmission from somewhere deep within a Cold War bunker where information is given out over small wall mounted speakers as the echoes of small electronic machines bounce off the concrete walls. A bass riff of P-Orridge like proportions tries to escape these confines all while trying to carry you off to an uninviting, lonely, dark place where empty rooms contain broken wooden chairs and the evidence of torture. On the flip we have ‘Low Feed’ and a dense vortex of distorted military comms and Herma. All grist to my fevered mill.

Everybody now, those were the days my friend ...


Info [at] eetapes [at]