Friday, 31 December 2010

Current 93

I will be brief, it is New Years Eve after all...
Do you know how it is when you hear of a release, a record or CD or whatever that is so rare that you think "well, I'll never see that"?
I cast my mind back to hearing about the S.P.K. bootleg LP "Angst Pop". I never ever thought I would see a copy until about ten years ago. Steve Underwood popped into Lincoln for a visit and a few pints down Badgers carrying a bag o' vinyl (as per usual) and he showed me a copy (an actual physical copy) of the S.P.K. bootleg LP "Angst Pop". I did explain to him before he took the LP out of the carrier bag that if I touch it the LP will be mine, but take it out of the carrier bag he did and now the LP sits resplendent in my collection.
Yesterday I received a copy of Current 93's 7" single "Time Of The Last Persecution", a single recorded at The October Gallery in London on October 5th 2003. This was part of the second Salon organised by Simon Kane & Jack Sargeant and following on from Current 93 that evening was Dieter Muh & Lon Milo DuQuette. A couple of years later and I find that Current 93 press a blue vinyl 7" of recordings from that evening and release it as a giveaway 7" at shows in Toronto. I do have friends in Toronto, but the likelihood of actually owning a copy of the 7" is nil as only 500 were pressed. But yesterday I received a copy, and beautiful it is too. As music, as memory it serves me well.
The Salon event was broadcast live on the internet and German based outfit "Information Needs To Be Free" kept the evening online for about a year...I think it has disappeared now, but I am cock certain that film from the evening can be found on You Tube!
I have the 7". I end 2010 a happy man.

1&2: Current 93 7" Sleeve.
3: Current 93 live at The October Gallery, from where I was sat.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bestializer #2

So far 2010 has seen three releases by the new project from Sweden's noise master Jocke Karlsson Kuren, and this by far is the best. That is not to say that it hasn't its faults, but it contains tracks of pure awesomeness that make it (for listeners of PE and Noise) indispensable.
"Random Threats" by Bestializer on the Swedish label K-Hole (which I imagine is Jocke's own imprint). Catalogue number K-Hole 003 (I have no idea what 001 & 002 are but I would like to hear them).
Treasured moments on this cassette are the three tracks entitled "Random Threats". Slices and samples of threatening voice and attitude lifted from films, everyday life and (probably) Jocke's ansaphone machine. Strong collages that generate their own violence. Clever and beautiful stuff. I have heard similar from the likes of The Grey Wolves and Con-Dom, now Bestializer join the ranks.
The last release I heard by Bestializer was the split cassette with Rumination on the Thorax Harsh label. The contribution there was disappointing, too mellow and synthesizer based. "Random Threats" has those tracks too. Obvious synthesizer sounds and whooshes that do nothing for me, it is when Jocke uses pure sounds, sampled sounds and generated sounds that loop, build and feed themselves where this tape comes alive. I think a C80 - yeah, this album is 80 minutes long - is too long for Bestializer. saying that though, side 2 has an epic piece called "Don't Push It". It is relentless in the extreme, punishing sounds of screams orgasmic and torture bounce around through a variety of effect nodes making it one of the best tracks I have heard all year and pushing Bestializer in to the "must hear" category.
The tape is limited to 30 copies, so chances are that they have all disappeared by now but try for a copy.

1: Random Threats Sleeve.
2: Random Threats Tape.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Sinking Ships

Over the winter holidays two slabs o' vinyl have been on the turntable here at Hartop Towers. The epic Hunting Lodge three album + 7" set that Vinyl On Demand put out last October and the 1981 final vinyl release by Sinking Ships.
I may, or may not, talk about the Hunting Lodge release later, but the Sinking Ships 7" has attacked me from out of the blue and become a firm family favourite.
I know very little about Sinking Ships. They existed for a very short time 1979-1982 in Lincoln. Too late for AJ's (Lincoln's premier live venue and my weekend haunt) and too early for .... well, Lincoln. I found this single lurking secondhand on the internet for a tenner (all the way from Oregon, USA. I had to buy it).
So. Sinking Ships, a three-piece from Lincoln. Terry Welbourn on Bass and Vocals, Simon Brighton on Guitar and Nick Green on Drums. I used to know Nick, he worked in Sanctuary Records on Park Street. I used to walk in there and Nick & Bev (Edwards) would chat and tell me what had come in and what I might like.....Nick gave me the first Killing Joke LP saying that if I didn't like it I could bring it back and say it was scratched. Nick was (probably) 2 or 3 years older than me, I have never forgotten that gesture.
The single is a fine slab of 1981 "post-punk" except I don't think it was called "post-punk" in 1981. There was "Indie" that was the same as "New Wave". It is like what is now termed "Goth" wasn't called "Goth" on its release as "Goth" didn't exist. (is this making sense)? Side A is the track "Dream". An opus dedicated to the voyeur. A slow drum and bass line lead the song with staccato saxophone and guitars moving around a haunting keyboard. The chorus goes: "I watch you dreaming / You think I'm asleep / And while you are dreaming / I couldn't sleep". Catchy in the extreme. Side B comes across as Sinking Ships answer to Ultravox!'s "Hiroshima Mon Amour", a live recording of the post apocalyptic themed "After The Rain". Another slow number starting with a rhythm boxed hi-hat and acoustic drums a la Warren Cann (which at times go out of sync). Again, lots of saxophone and heavy guitar chords with a strained deep vocal that has the hook: "For love.....He'd do anything / But for love.....He'd go anywhere / Anywhere at All". Catchy and sing-a-long-able in extremis! Beautiful in fact. I was 18 when this first came out. Loved it then, love it now. It is on the label Recession Records, catalogue REC S1. Was there an REC S2 or S3? I need to know.
If you like "post punk" then of course I am going to say that this single is indispensable. Images of the sound of Fatal Charm, One Gang Logic, Wasted Youth, UK Decay, Magazine all float out of the speakers when I play this single...well worth hunting down.

Back in 1980, Dave Uden and myself were in a group called So Commercial (we wanted a name like The Pop Group and it was the best we could come up with) and we had just brought in a keyboard / guitarist called Rose. (See elsewhere on this blog). With gigs hard to come by for three under 18's I decided to put on a gig at a local school. The North Kesteven School in North Hykeham. About 4 miles out south of Lincoln. The plan was to have ourselves, Collide and local power pop punk band Vox Populi play. Vox Populi were younger than ourselves! Collide had a PA so they were in! Date was set then I was hit by a couple of bombshells, firstly Collide split then Rose couldn't make the date due to family commitments. Kindly John Stafford (of Collide) said we could have the PA for nowt but I had to organise transportage from Lincoln to the venue. In off the subs bench came The Void. Chatting to The Void I asked if they knew of anyone else who would play the gig and they brought in Sinking Ships, who in turn brought along Lincoln's most finest (and John Peel favourites) The Cigarettes.
We had a gig on our hands!
I don't remember anything about the gig other than we made shed loads of money and Sinking Ships brought beer. I do remember seeing Sinking Ships support The Psychedelic Furs at the Drill Hall, and play the New Penny Club on Lincoln High Street with Collide and Fat Chance on the bill but after thirty years, like my hairline and sight; the memory is fading.

If anyone out there has Sinking Ships recordings that they would like to share or offload, please get in touch.

1: "Dream" Sleeve.
2: "Dream" Sleeve Reverse.
3: Sinking Ships live (taken from their My Space site).

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Treasured Tape

Stuck away in the corner of the gimp room in Hartop Towers is a case of cassettes. 216 of them to be precise. I know this because they are stored in groups of 24 and there are 9 separate groups within the case. I did say I was being precise. The case is very hard to get at mainly as it is hidden down the side of the sofa and has "The Complete Works Of Gilbert + George" books the Tate Modern put out a few years back and a couple of Stimulus LP's leant against it as well as Throbbing Gristle's "32nd Annual Report" LP (the one in a glass frame) and the box set "TG+" resting on top of it. Perusing the contents takes effort and determination. The reason the case is situated so is because it is full of cassettes over 10 years old, they have been in there since I moved down here to Devon and passed by with new arrivals. Some cassettes in there I have had since the late 1980's.
It is mainly cassettes that other folk have compiled for me as "official" cassette releases get filed elsewhere and are more accessible. (Hey! these ones cost money)!
A couple of weeks ago grit and determination fell upon me as I was after a cassette with a piece I needed to sample for the Dieter Muh gig in London and I found a cassette given to me by an old friend over 20 years ago. This is one of my most treasured cassettes. A real desert island job. It features five John Peel Sessions from 1979 through to 1981, and probably five of my favourite Peel Sessions from all time.
The cassette is over 20 years old, and although not seeing much of the outside world (or the inside of a cassette deck) for the past ten years it still sounds damn good quality and has very little "tape hiss". That says a lot for the quality of TDK "D" cassettes. The cassette did have a lot of playtime throughout the 1980's and 1990's!
First up is the first John Peel Session by This Heat. OK, this one has been re-released a couple of times on the "Made Available" CD album (also included on the "Out Of Storage" CD Box Set) but it is great to hear it all on tape...with the "hiss" and the hesitant breath of Peelie just before the last second of each track. All 4 tracks are from the first This Heat LP. I remember buying the LP upon release. It was filed in the "Avant Garde" section of Sanctuary Records in Lincoln along with Throbbing Gristle , A. More and Hatfield & The North. It could quite simply be the best album ever made, the way it splices between studio(s) and live recordings is inspirational. This Heat were inspirational. Next up on the cassette is A Certain Ratio's first Peel Session. Along with SPK and Psychic TV, A Certain Ratio are one of my "most seen" bands of the 1980's. Incredibly under-rated and overlooked, mainly because they went totally pants fairly early on in their career span. First two LP's are sure fire classics (especially "To Each"), but "Sextet" and "I'd Like To See You Again" are incredibly patchy. Lyrical geniuses and a little ahead of their time. "Sometimes I feel so big, my head brushes against the roof. But my thoughts are just hotels, full of other people's ideas...ideas". I love that line from "The Choir".
Modern English. Colchesters and (one of) 4AD's finest. The sleeve lists only two tracks from this session, but there is also a track (I think) called "Silence & Solitude" slotted in on the end of Side A. Modern English were a great singles band. 4AD was a great singles label. Their singles were anthemic but unfortunately their albums were poor. From 1979's "Drowning Man" (on Link Records) to 1983's "Someone's Calling" every Modern English single is a must have. Remember this was all before the term "Goth" was used. Heavy bassline, drums and swimming guitar around a polyphonic synthesized keyboard with vocal hooks "to die for". Modern English. Colchester's answer to Scotland's Scars. Excellent band. The third track on the session "Being Peeled" is a great piece of avant garde. Reversed bass and drums against spliced vocal, telephone conversations and screaming. If only they had carried on in this vein.
A memory as if it is a dream, but it could be real. Ten / twelve years ago I was watching the kiddies TV Show "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch", don't ask me why because the answer will probably offend. Anyway, I was watching the programme and there was a college party scene with a live band playing and the band was Modern English doing "I Melt With You". Did Modern English go chasing the US Market a la A Flock Of Seagulls, Simple Minds, The Police et al in the mid 1980's? Where they really on "Sabrina: The Teenage Witch" or was I so strung out I just imagined it?
I never saw Modern English live. Like all "early" 4AD bands they hardly ever ventured up North. 4AD Nights taking place in London more often than not. After the amazing "Being Peeled"track comes the first Peel Session by 23 Skidoo. Untracklisted here but it does feature songs from the "7 Songs" LP, plus a track that starts off like "Kundalini" but goes somewhere else completely. Why this hasn't been put out on CD or vinyl I do not know. Like the aforementioned A Certain Ratio 23 Skidoo went fairly pants early on in their recording output. Can anyone like "Coup"?? Put it against "Tearing Up The Plans" or this Peel Session and it sounds like "Being Boiled" against "Don't You Want Me Baby". Or "Too Much Is Not Enough" against "Your Love Is Super Funky"! I blame Sketch of course.
The cassette ends on 2 songs from the only In Camera Peel Session. Again (like This Heat) the session has seen the light of day before, on the 4AD 12"EP "Fin".
Like A Certain Ratio, In Camera were lyrical geniuses. Vocals were spat out over heavy rotational drum beats and two bass guitars. "Pausing for your conscience gets you slaughtered". A chosen epitaph and strong belief. In Camera only released 2 singles in their lifetime. A posthumous Peel Session 12" and compilation CD followed after their demise. I recommend the CD "13 (Lucky For Some)" released by 4AD in 1992. Like Mass, Rema Rema and My Captains In Camera are a part of my youth I shall never forget.

This tape - compiled and given to me by Tim Bayes is one of my most treasured tapes - and I have a feeling I shall be buried with it. It has also encouraged me to dig deep in to this case of cassettes of old - see what gems are lurking.....

John Foxx

I have had this John Foxx single spinning on the turntable for most of the weekend. "Endlessly" is a beautiful song, sounding very much like a George Harrison song of old, kind of George Harrison "Blue Jay Way" mixed with Ultravox! "When You Walk Through Me". Floating sitars and pronounced strings, it is a beautiful sing-a-long-a-Foxx-song.
Released in 1982, this was the last John Foxx single I never bought. From the first solo outing; 1980's "Underpass" (bought on the same day I went to see The Clash in Leicester) through to 1981's "Europe After The Rain" I bought and loved everything John Foxx released. Well I say "loved" but I did find parts of "The Garden" LP a bit patchy. Still, compared with what the other three "C's" left in Ultravox were producing (that's Currie, Cann & Cross) with Midge Ure - taking the great name of Ultravox! in to the mud, "The Garden" is a classic album.
I now have the 7", and it acts as a leveller on two fold. I say it was the last Foxx single I never bought because I saw him perform this song on TV (probably "Top Of The Pops") before listening to it properly i.e. in the full stereo effect which it deserves. Reverse sitars and drum machine..the song has reversed sitars and drum is beautiful. But I would have seen John dancing around all new romantic (like) on the TV and thought, no! the man's past his sell by date. I am now after the "Golden Section" LP the single is culled from. Second fold. I once tried to buy this single on EBay (many years ago) and chased it up until I got outbid at around a fiver. A few weeks later I found the single for 20 pence in a secondhand record shop in Barnstaple, Devon and 20p is just about how much the single is worth. I stopped EBay buying very soon after.
The B-Side, "Young Man" is pretty poor. Sounds like a Thompson Twins out-take, a Thomas Dolby album filler, but at the same time a song I could imagine finding on a Death In June LP from the late 1990's.

I am now back on EBay - I had to buy some old Nekrophile Tapes, but this single has served me well - I have just backed out of a bidding war with a couple of people over a single by The Smirks. I found myself bidding over £4.50 for what is (essentially) a ten bob single. I have been outbid (thankfully). I shall keep searching the secondhand vinyl shops, charity shops and record fairs for The Smirks "Rosemary"...and I bet I'll find it for under a fiver!

1 & 2: John Foxx "Endlessly" Sleeve. Virgin Records, 1982.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Dieter Muh #43

The fourth and final live performance of 2010 by Dieter Muh took place on the 9th of December inside The Others at Stoke Newington, London, an evening organised by ILL FM.
Earlier this year I went to The Others to see Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim (see June entry) and really liked the venue. It is situated above a snooker hall off the main road that runs between Stoke Newington and Stamford Hill, serviced by various bus routes but a bit of a walk from the (overland) tubes at Stoke Newington + Stamford Hill, so a bit "remote" by London standards. I had a word in the ear of the ILL FM organiser (Tamon) and he was only too happy to add Dieter Muh to a bill. ILL FM operate a live show on the first Thursday of every month. The whole affair is very relaxed. Professional (with out a doubt) but relaxed.
Years ago Dieter Muh played events in London called "The Salon". They were organised by Simon Kane and Jack Sargeant. The whole idea was not to perform as if we were promoting Dieter Muh but to perform for our pleasure and to let the audience explore our sound - through the act of performance and conversation: "Aut Delectare Aut Prodesse est". It was at the Salons that a friendship with Lon Milo DuQuette was born. This evening, at The Others, gave me the same feeling, none of the performers were out to push merchandise (a pointless exercises as most folk in the room seemed to know each other) but just to explain where they are at at this particular moment in time. It is a very liberating feeling. I had a feeling that 99% of the audience were themselves artists / performers on some level.

DJ Andrew Trail, ex of Knifeladder / Anti-Valium and now of Inertia kicked off the evening (and between sets) with a fine collection of sounds, mainly 1970's "industrial" stuff, with a bit of Krautrock + EBM, the stuff I like to hear. I seem to remember Andrew holding down a DJ spot at the London niterie "Heaven" a few years back...I could be wrong. Good stuff though. I told him that if I ever get married "again", he can DJ at my wedding! (my last wedding had an all star DJ cast with Idwal Fisher and members from The Duds, Putrefier and Appliance leading the decks but I don't like to brag).
Aqua Dentata is the solo project of Eddie Nuttal. Eddie is also a member of London trio Baraclough. Aqua Dentata were the first live performance of the evening. Eddie played with a backdrop film of the BBC programme "The Blue Planet". I thought it was assisting the "Aqua" theme, but I was wrong, it was the choice of ILL FM. Parts of Eddie's sound fitted the film beautifully, cascading keyboard chords, rippling minutae at times mesmeric, but as the film drifted in to talking heads and it became apparent that this was not a film to assist the sound but just something "visual". It was being shown could.
Now, it was during the Aqua Dentata piece that one of the negative sides of the venue became apparent. And I noticed this last June too....the way to the toilets & fagamamas (outside square of the Faggamuffins) is situated behind the area the artists have set up, thus causing A; Visual distraction and B; Noise distraction with the clumping of toilet doors. A shame.
I will buy Aqua Dentata releases when I hear about them. Keep an eye on
Next up to the oche was Cheapmachines, the solo project of Philip Julian. Cheapmachines really need no introduction. A stable London presence for .... well this century anyway. This was my first witness of a Cheapmachines live set. I was expecting Philip's table to be full of (well) Cheapmachines. A table top sponsored by Fisher Price & Tandy but no, it was a table top advertising an Apple Mac. (Perhaps Philip bought it cheap)? Phil started loud. Very loud. To my ears it sounded like a multi-layered, multi-looped bass guitar through distortion and effects rolling about the place. Think early Non. Then it cut to sinusoid silence. It was excellent stuff - but once again the toilet door became a distraction - along with the same David Attenborough film being shown! Cheapmachines played for as long as his Apple Mac battery lasted which was around 20 minutes. Good set.
For Dieter Muh I wanted to do something completely different to September's Paris gig and treat the evening like I was displaying work in progress. I, again, played along with the film "Armenia 1913" by Tim Bayes. (So long David Attenborough)! I presented three pieces. The first using samples of the Muh 7" "We're Not Happy...Until You're Not Happy" with a heavy church like organ sound supplied by Schuster, I mixed that in to an old Dieter Muh piece called "Middle Of Silence". This was a collaboration project that was started in 2001 with Swedish performer Ingrid Engaras and her group "Vibrasag". The collaboration came to nothing ... unfortunately. With this track I played around with a variety of samples, mainly effected bowed cymbals and the pulse from "Everything Stops" from the "Tertium Organum" LP. What was coming through the monitors (yes! monitors...I said the set up was professional) was crystal clear and I had two ways for the sound to go. One way was to bring the sound down, and the other was to crank it up to 11. I went for the latter and brought in a rhythm (again supplied by Schuster) called "Stubborn" and shouted a stream of conscience in to a micriophone. Joy.
23 minutes.
The final live performer of the evening was BBBlood. Baron Bum Blood aka Paul Watson. Like Cheapmachines BBBlood has become a staple on the London live "circuit" over the past few years. This year I have grown to like the sound of BBBlood through a varity of releases on a variety of formats. Tonight Paul sounded like a 1990s ( a late 1990's) Putrefier. Lasting as long as his energy level held out Paul entertained us with contact mic wrapped in bubble-wrap and kidney bean down the throat and contact mic in cigar tin bounced across a wooden table through a multitude of looping and distorto devices. It was an unforgettable piece of audio-visual art and one I won't forget in my lifetime. An excellent piece of improvised noise - and no David Attenborough!

And so the evening was over. All recorded by ILL FM and to be added to their website shortly. The evening was supposed to be streamed live across the internet but due to a technical problem folk who tuned in (including my wife) got the sound of bad heavy metal (is there any other type) and jungle music (that is not a racist term, but an actual genre) live from Manchester. Any way it will be available for download soon. (Please download and mail me a CDr as I don't have the capabilities here at Hartop Towers)!
I would recommend playing The Others to anyone. I would also recommend getting in touch with Tamon at ILL FM and asking the possibilities of playing. It is also nice to see that Max at Transient Constellations is also using the venue.

I also got to meet the guy behind the label The 7:17 From West Wittering Is Late Again ... and it ain't Steve Fricker!

1: BBBlood (stood) + Aqua Dentata set up tables.
2: DJ Trail.
3: Aqua Dentata.
4: Cheapmachines.
5: Cheapmachines.
6: BBBlood.
7: Dieter Muh.
8: Dieter Muh.

(Pictures 4, 7 & 8 taken by Lidya Gunawan. Cheers Lidya).

Sunday, 12 December 2010


A few days back I was chatting to Philip Julian of Cheapmachines and I asked what he thought of the compilation CD "Bacterium"? We both have tracks on the album (copies still available ... please get in touch) and I was interested to hear his thoughts. Phil came back with the reply "I haven't played it yet, I've got a piles of stuff to listen to". I nodded in agreement. To tell the truth I have only played it through a couple of times, usually staggering the enjoyment, but I too have such piles. One of the joys of being a "fan" of "music"!
I buy stuff, trade stuff etc thinking that somehow this magical space of time will appear and I will be able to just sit down in the Hartop Towers gimp room and listen to a Hunting Lodge vinyl Box Set, a double Survival Unit CD pack and the latest Neil Campbell release. But it just doesn't happen. I am not complaining though! Thinking about my piles I put on a CDr I have had for a while but never played called "Rituals".
"Rituals" was released earlier this year on the Russian Cold Graey label. (Catalogue number mf17). Limited to just 57 copies and packaged in a sleeve that would confuse Robert Harbin. It is a strange release as it is by a "no named project". I must admit that this is the first time I have come across this "concept". The Alan Smithee principle applied in "industrial music"? I don't know why the people behind "Rituals" wish to remain anonymous, to me it sounds like a LOKI Foundation release of old. Maybe Predominance or Inade, or maybe Origami Galaktika or Lustmord. It does have a feel / sound of being written, performed and recorded on a computer and therefore (for me) loses an element or two, but it is not that bad to remain "anonymous".
Dark synth like drones shift around the speakers playing like a soundtrack to a yet to be made film. That's my best attempt at a description.
I don't think I'll venture in to the Cold Graey catalogue, but discovering the sound of "Rituals" was worth the time. Now, where's that Cheapmachines CD Philip gave me?

1: "Rituals" Sleeve.
2: Cold Graey Logo.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

LF Records

Living in the South West (of the UK) I am always interested to hear what is happening in this area in the field of "experimental" music. Searching out the occult, the sub-culture if you like. Whilst trawling the internet I found out about a project called Joined By Wire from Bath. Royal Bath. Bath Spa. Trawling deeper i find that Joined By Wire have released a CDR on Bristol label LF Records. Time to take a listen. Now I know that the easiest way to hear unheard of bands / sound / music etc is by clicking on their My Space site but in the past few weeks My Space and me have fallen out, big time so I don't go there anymore. So I bought the CDR direct from LF Records ( ) ...who kindly mailed me 3 CDR's with no explanation as to why, but I am eternally grateful. LF Records are not up there with the great labels of Bristol like Fried Egg or Heartbeat but I suppose these are early doors for the folk and it'll take time to find their feet. Listening to all three albums in one go (Joined By Wire got played twice) I was thinking of the Canadian VHF Records label and/or the London based 1990's label Freek Records.
I shall explain.
Duncan Bruce "New Glass Tapu" (lf005) from 2008 comes with no information in one of those horrible clam case thingies...The name sounds Scottish but somehow I knew this guy was from New Zealand. There are a few good tracks on this album. "Salem's Loft" (great title) standing out. Lovely church organ drones and multi-layering of effects filled the room where I was. A lot of tracks are what I would term Jazz-Skronk. There was a lot of it about 15 or so years ago. I didn't like it then and I am not all that keen now. Ascension. Skullflower (VHF years). Scratching amplified guitar strings, sax blurt and tippy-tappy (bloody) cymbals. Annoyance. Discordant piano. Musicians with double barrel names record albums like this. Nine tracks. Three out of Nine.
Garnett James "Protect And Survive" (lf006) was recorded live in 2003 at The Cube in Bristol. Having played live there myself I must say...beautiful venue and one of Bristol's finest. The Cube is an independent cinema with a stage in front of the screen, seating about 200 folk and a bar that has Wasabi Peas as well as crisps. like I of Bristol's finest venues. The Garnett James album is musique concret. I could imagine it was great loud and live with visual stimuli, but it doesn't hold up as a (on its own) release.
Finally I got to Joined By Wire and quite frankly was not holding great expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. The CDR is called "Black Axis 1-4" (lf 008) and comes in a choice of silver or gold sleeves. Like Henry Kelly, I was always going for gold. Joined By Wire fit in to the drone. sonambulent, noise, industrial genre. Tracks 1 and 4 are great. Track 1 starts off like an awakening, an assemblage building in to a gathering. I could visualise sunrise across the African and Artic tundras as the sound built like a call to arms. Reminded here of Helm and Zoviet*France. Track 4 is like a battle. It sounds like track 1 processed through a multitude of effects, again very Helm, very attention grabbing and listenable. tracks 2+3 seem to be radio disturbance, problems with the wires. Of the three releases I certainly would get more Joined By Wire stuff. Garnett, and Duncan Bruce...well....

Like all small (very) independent labels LF Records (3 Ashgrove Road, Bristol. BS3 3JP, UK) needs support and encouragement. I wholly recommend Joined By Wire and if free-style jazz-skronk-concret-exquisite is your gold then please visit their web site.

1: Duncan Bruce "New Glass Tapu"
2: Garnett James "Protect & Survive"
3: Joined By Wire "Black Axis 1-4"

Monday, 6 December 2010

Fordell Research Unit

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Edinburgh based dronesters Fordell Research Unit. The cassette "Heavy Petting" on the Krapp Tape label. It is hard to tell, time slips by whilst playing the cassette, but I think it is a C30.
I group FRU in with fellow Scots Nackt Insecten and Usurper and the At War With False Noise folk, their sound and approach is fairly similar. Think also Culver and Astral Social Club and you are in the right area.
Organic sounds, plenty of effect boxes looping keyboards and guitars (electric + acoustic), tape machines and lots of leads, that is Fordell Research Unit. No laptops or computer trickery (to these ears anyway). Good stuff.
Side A is the long track "Under The Black Church" subtitled "A Fucking Blatant Lee Stokoe Rip Off" has a looped acoustic guitar riff bouncing over and around a heavy rumbling church organ. Does it sound like Culver? (I'll have to dig some of their stuff out now)! Side B has three pieces. Reverb heavy electric guitar and stuff on "Schmeisser" brings in a Astral Social Club vibe. "Hot Chocolate Eucharist" could be a spoken word tape splice/collage or that could be the intro to the longer piece that follows. Uncertain now as the tape plays and I just sit back and enjoy. It all ends on a fine drone piece "(Aw)Kward". A good cassette and certainly one worth hunting down.
The only information I could find on FRU was the fact that they have a My Space page, but since that site went titsy skyward a few weeks ago (in the name of progression) I don't go to My Space no more.
I shall keep an ear/eye on Krapp tapes, if they carry on delivering the goods like "Heavy Petting" then they'll be a label worth following.

Fordell Research Unit join the likes of Bad Manners and U.F.O. in having an album called "Heavy Petting"....the power of google!

1: Heavy Petting sleeve, designed by Anna Copland.
2: One of FDU live.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Doctor Mix

I finally have (back in my collection) one of the greatest 7" singles ever released. Doctor Mix "No Fun" on Rough Trade Records. (RT 017 - 1979). This is a beauty I have searched high and low for since 1983. (and the burglary that we do not mention). I have had to resort to EBay to get a copy...but 27 years is long enough.
Doctor Mix is the non de plume of French musician and Metal Urbain member Eric Debris. The single is so simple it is beauty itself. One man, a 4 Track studio, vocals, guitars and a Dr. Rhythm drum-machine on phase. Less energetic than The Stooges but more lethargic then the Sex Pistols version. There are only two ways to dance to this record - play it loud and you have to dance - either rock like a weeble or go insane like Ian Curtis! I do both. The B-Side is an instrumental version...with vocals.
Released at a time when some interesting covers were being released. I am thinking of Devo's "Satisfaction", Spizz Energi's "Virginia Plain" and Bombay Duck's "Sympathy For The Devil" here, perhaps one of those times where the cover is far better than the original?

Strangely enough, today I played the Zos-Kia track "Muggy the Staff" that samples the Sex Pistols "No Fun" track.