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