Monday, May 12, 2014

Michael Flower and Neil Campbell - Wharf Cat

Michael Flower and Neil Campbell - Wharf Cat
Golden Lab Records. Rowf 40. 7” + CD + 20 page silk screened book.

What joys. A flying visit to the Wharf but no beer as the limo awaits but home soon enough with this beauty in hand sipping Rioja and a fine end to a fine weekend and even Mrs Fisher is digging the psych groove, from the cheery beery banter at the beginning of track one to the seagull goodbyes and bovine moans that are backward tapes bowing out at the end of track three.

Flower and Campbell make for a fine duo. Flower with guitar in hand spitting dots of electricity over everything, mingling his fuzzed out spurts with Campbell’s plug it in and see what this does man mantra. A day release from Vibracathedral Orchestra and for my money shoving them in to second place in the psych head bob stakes.

I’m thinking Reed [Lou not Austin] and Fripp’s searing runs on Swastika Girls, the way Flower gets his guitar to dissolve on track three is nothing short of down on your knees miraculous, a Yorkshire Young [Neil not Angus] but with better drugs in his veins [Sam Smiths] letting the chords wash over Campbell’s dense thicket of electronic mush, a warm of static that eventually gives out to bovine moans and the gentle trickle of bridge strings.

The single is pure Velvets, a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug-a-chug.

One side of it at any rate. The single is brief, an aperitif, an amuse bouche an added dimension to the stunning booklet that this comes wrapped in with Manchester artist Lucy Jones artwork wot she did whilst listening to this.

But its the CD and those three live tracks as captured at the Wharf Chambers when I wasn’t there, that gives them room to breathe and journey into the psychedelic undergrowth.

Each track runs in at around the 20 minute mark, each capturing a different mood. First track is more head expanding, full on. Flower's string frots are wows of bended notes, string hangs that help build sustain whilst behind him Campbell throws everything he’s got into a shuddering, climaxing wall of ever increasing, destabilizing, off kilter, she’s gonna blow, lids coming off, duck for cover, head between your knees orgasm of the century. Second track kicks off with a louche Hendrix lick that mutates as Campbell feeds in stabs of electronics. A slower piece that initially finds Campbell in Keith Emerson mode before moving in to Sun Ra territory with some all over the shop dappled synth dabs. The way it grooves out on a sea of Fripp-esque motes is truly beautiful. And the slowest of the lot is the last. Perhaps they just couldn’t maintain the tempo, the beer kicking in, sweat running down backs, vision blurring. Perhaps the crowd rushed in clamoring for autographs, grabbing equipment for souvenirs, tearing at shirts and hair [Mick’s not Neil’s] for this is joyful stuff, a whiff of incense and buzzing amps and swirling notes which begins with wobbly ASC-ish off kilter rhythms before Flower’s guitar moves in with a TG blast of deadened strings.

So that's Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Sun Ra, Robert Fripp, Throbbing Gristle, The Velvet Underground and ELP all coming to mind within one release and I dare say that if you listened to this several more times you’d unearth several more influences.

Such is the state of play in Leeds as of 2014, a continuing psychedelic hotpot of drone and noise quietly bubbling away on nothing much stronger than Pale Ale.

According to the Golden Lab Records website their last outing here sold out within an hour of being announced. If any of these still exist I urge you to purchase immediately. One of the best things I’ve heard in months.


1 comment:

Steve said...

One of the first to pre-order this but I still have not received a copy. Anybody else in the same boat?