Saturday, 31 December 2011

Aqua Dentata

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Aqua Dentata; "Lesbian Semiotics At A Jewellery Table", a CDr on the new Echo Tango label. This 34 minute album is not too dissimilar from the cassette album "7th Past The Umbrella" that Beartown Records put out earlier this year. And not at all dissimilar from the sound I heard Aqua Dentata produce live at the ILLFM December bash last year. A continuation. Good stuff.
For those who do not know, Aqua Dentata is the solo project of Baraclough member Eddie Nuttall.
"Lesbian Semiotics At A Jewellery Table" ( a very tantalizing title) is 34 minutes of drifting waves of glistening tones and frequencies balancing on the rim of aural comfort. It is a very meditative album with the sounds drifting around from ear to ear, small minutiae synthesis weave across the cranium, sometimes building to a mass organ sound...but not for long. It is very clever stuff and highly infectious. Think of Nurse With Wound's 1988 classic "Soliloquy For Lilith" and you are not far from what Aqua Dentata achieves here.
This release is limited to 50 copies only and available for around a fiver from Eddie at Hurry while stocks last.....

1: Aqua Dentata CDr Cover.
2: "Lesbian Semiotics On Top Of My Bookshelf".

Monday, 26 December 2011

Alternative TV

First of all I would like to apologise for not mailing out Christmas cards this year. I have all my details / contacts etc listed in my "Orange Web Mail" address book but two weeks ago Orange Web Mail decided to "crash" and all my contacts were "lost"...hence addresses be them snail mail or E Mither were gone. Christmas Eve and Orange Web Mail restores the address book - but too late to "wish folk" a happy Christmas etc. I apologise. I know I could use an address book - I did have one but Isabel (our youngest) decided to rip it to shreds, I got an address book for Christmas, I shall keep it hidden from prying fingers!
So, I wish you all a belated seasons greetings and hope that Santa brought you all that you wished for..he did me! Amongst the boxer shorts and copious amounts of port came the Mark Perry book "Sniffin' Glue" a collection of all 12 issues of the punk fanzine. I started reading it today. For reading soundtrack I decided to put on some old Alternative TV records. My favourite ATV single is "The Force Is Blind" released on Deptford Fun City Records in 1979. I am very very partial to the 1981 7" "Communicate" (on IRS), but "The Force Is Blind" is special. There is no other single that sounds like this one. The eponymous A-Side tells of the trials and tribulations of touring with Here & Now and the free festival "circuit". The three members of ATV swap instruments and present a sound not too dissimilar of Gong and/or The Mothers Of Invention. Mark Perry bows a violin whilst Dennis "Side" Burns wanders around a synthesizer and Dave George hits the chime bars. Anno of Here & Now warbles and wails before the sound effect of a police raid comes in and the track wanders off with a plodding bass line courtesy of Dennis and tries to enter a "free-jazz" phase but fortunately the track ends before it all happens.
The B-Side is "Lost In Room". A (post) punk classic. It has one of the best intro's ever! It is up there with the Mekons "Where Were You". Yep! It is that good. Mark Perry drums like Genesis P-Orridge - clumpy and plodding but it fits the guitar riff so well. (Like St James Park will always be St James Park, Genesis P-Orridge will always be Genesis P-Orridge). "Lost In Room" is a tightly built punk anthem with Mark Perry spitting out classic Perryisms such as :
"Spittin' On The Guvnors Carpet" + "I'm Already Numb....Not Any Movement"+ "DJ Mandy played records all night whilst I sat in the corner shivering from fright". It is pure poetry. "The exhibition stopped the moment I entered, the artist refused to talk about their work". Genius.
Mark spits out the saying "A Spent Force". I remember loving this saying at the time and wanting to call my first band this name...but So Commercial was the name pulled out of the hat ( mentioned elsewhere on this blog). Then Skullflower had a single called "Spent Force" and I decided it sounded more like a Norwegian test pilot than a vicious riposte.
The single has a hidden track, a strange version of "Vibing Up The Senile Man" that sounds more like The Pop Group or Rip Rig & Panic than ATV. Jazz blurts on the trumpet and saxophone whilst voices claim that they are vibing up the senile man a la Last Poets....does anyone know who is on this track?
The single is produced by Wally Brill. In 1979 Wally produced this single as well as another great 7"; "Them Or Me" by Medium Medium. Apparently in 1997 Wally released an ambient album as The to hear it.

If you ever get chance to buy this record...please do!

1: "The Force Is Blind" Cover.
2: "The Force Is Blind" Reverse Cover.
3: "The Force Is Blind" Label.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


One of my all time favourite groups from the past 30 + years are Metabolist. I was playing the recent Storm Bugs re-issue LP "A Safe Substitute" on Harbinger Sound and it put me in mind of Metabolist.
In the past ten years I have managed to pick up the Metabolist 1980 LP "Hansten Klork" and the 7" classic "Identify" both quite cheaply. I am still on the look out for the rest! "Identify" is a classic post-punk period single, independent, catchy, left field and has a great picture sleeve. All of Metabolist's vinyl sleeves look like Rothko paintings.
"Identify" was released in 1980 on their own Dromm Records label. Catalogued DRO-3. "Identify" starts off with bass guitar and drums, sparse/angular - very live...agitated vocals join the mix blurting the chorus "I can't, I can't, I can't identify - I can't identify". Catchy. The verse has a "pub vocal" type lyric. (If you know what I mean)?? Then it all goes off at a tangent. It has a middle eight that sounds all improv. and Recommended Records. All Plain Characters, Transmitters and The Homosexuals before it catches up with itself for one last chant at the chorus. A beauty. I first heard it in 1980 and the delight has never worn away. the B-Side is an instrumental called "Tiz Hoz Nam" must mean something? This track is dark, sinister and weird. Imposing guitar notes plucked over a rumbling synth. Think very very early Throbbing Gristle or a 1960's soundtrack to a Hungarian puppet show and you'll be close.
If listing top twenty singles from 1980 then "Identify" would be in there.

At the time I never knew much about Metabolist, In fact I knew nothing! I thought they were Welsh but don't ask me why. I had no idea Metabolist was a style of architecture. They weren't featured much in the NME or Sounds. They did (however) fit in with what I was listening to at the time. Experimental, post-punk, industrial, electronic music like all the comparisons I have made above...and throw in This Heat, Scritti Politti and The Lemon Kittens and we have my 1980 in a nutshell. The joy of the Internet has brought some information. Metabolist band member Mark Rowlett was a member of Camera 3 and went on to be in Shock Headed Peters. I never knew that! I could never "get into" The Shock Headed Peters at the time...they were too rock orientated for me - I am prepared to give them a new ear. And then Malcolm Lane made an LP called Max & Malcolm in 1982 that I have just bought! It just looks like I'll like it.

Anyway. Metabolist (hopefully) will probably get some re-issue treatment soon, their sound deserves it. If you see any Metabolist for sale - buy it!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Sabbath Assembly

Years ago, I mean years ago, fucking years ago I was at a sleep over with a couple of friends in Sleaford, Lincolnshire. Andy was looking after his younger brother Richard whilst his folks went abroad so myself and Gary took the trek from Manchester to Lincolnshire to help him out - and to ship in supplies. One night we took to watching the Frank Howard movie "The Other Side Of Madness", the low budget 1970 docu/drama explaining the Manson Family. It was here that the three of us were hearing (for the first time) a couple of original Manson songs. "Mechanical Man" stood out as a classic and we (stoned) decided to learn all the Manson Family songs and do a live gig as "The Family" or "Family Entertainment". Like all great stoned ideas nothing became of it...although a couple of years later Andy, Gary and myself morphed into the three-piece Rise.
(As it happened, in the 1990's folk were covering Manson songs willy-nilly, I used to own the various artist compilation 10" LP "Comin' Down Fast" before I discovered E Bay).

I am reminded of this (babysitting) weekend (fucking) years ago whilst I am listening to the album "Restored To One" by American band Sabbath Assembly.
I love this album. It came with the recently published book "Propaganda Of The Holy Writ Of The Process Church Of The Final Judgement". A sort of follow on from 2009's "Love Sex Fear Death:The Inside Story Of The Process Church Of The Final Judgement". Both published by Feral House. I have yet to find the time to read "Propaganda" - it is a glossy repress of the Process Church magazines from the late 1960's - but "The Inside Story" was a fascinating read and an unputdownable book. Undoubtedly The Process Church were a cult, and like The Manson Family, David Berg, Jim Jones, Aum Shinrikyo and David Koresh; I find cults and the operation of cults fascinating. So, with the book came a signed postcard from Timothy Wyllie and this CD by Sabbath Assembly, a group I know nothing about. It is on the Ajna Offensive label. The only other release I own on this label is the Ultra 7" "Dedicated To Hans Bellmer", I think I need to discover this label more.
Sabbath Assembly have got hold of some original Process Church songs and arrangements and recorded them as if it was 1969. On the whole the songs sound like The Partridge Family mixed in with The Young Generation / The 2nd Generation and maybe The Swingle Singers. It is fantastic sing-a-long stuff with the touch of cult madness, and of course there are some great lyrics in there. "Come Children Arise".
"And The Phoenix Is Reborn" sounds like a Gloria Mundi song recorded in 1970 by Merrliee Rush whereas "Judge Of Mankind" has a full psychedelic rock-out section that would not be out of place on a live Doors bootleg. The album ends on "The Time Of Abaddon". Not (unfortunately) a paean to the drummer Tony Bray of Venom but a warning about a journey into the pit of hell! It has a great 60's Spaghetti western feeling to it.

I own Charles Manson's "Lie" album as well as the soundtrack to "The Wicker Man" and love and play them both (regularly). I own/have nothing else like these albums in my collection. Sabbath Assembly's "Restored To One" joins this list. I love it. I can imagine myself, Gary and Andy attempting and playing these songs back in the mid 1980's. It's a classic and a welcome addition at Hartop Towers.

1: Sabbath Assembly CD.
2: Process Church paper cutting.
3: "Propaganda" Book.
4: Signed card from Timothy Wyllie.
5: "Love Sex Fear Death" book.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Patrick Simons

Always a sad day when you hear about a loss of a friend and today is a sad day. Today I learnt of the passing of Patrick Simons.
In 1986, after a year away, I moved back into Hulme Manchester and met Patrick. He was the bass player with Swivel Hips. Patrick was always funny, the sort of chap for which nowt was too much trouble. He leant Muhviertel equipment and got us rehearsal space. (Metal Monkey Machine's squat in Robert Adam Crescent).
Patrick lived in Whalley Range, by Victoria Park and always looked cool in his beret and long dreads - Patrick was a cool guy! It was Patrick that introduced me to the sound of Hijack (the terrorist group) with the 12" "Hold No Hostage" in 1988, back then it was all Hip-Hop/On-U Sound and Dub Reggae. I still have a copy of "The Horns Of Jericho" LP...the only "rap" record I own. I last saw Patrick in the early 1990's, probably in some swanky bar on Whitworth Street or the Dry Bar in Manchester, I can't remember which or when.
Anyway, Patrick has left the studio, and like when I heard about the murder of "Mad" Dave Hughes a couple of years back I am saddened.

R.I.P. Patrick Simons.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Haxan Cloak #3

In the past seven days (great band, classic 7" "Raindance" on the 4AD label) I have been reminded that as a record and cassette buyer I am bit of an outsider...or at best a relic. A fellow sufferer (that's what I call folk who work at Torbay Hospital) asked me "where do you buy records from"? A strange question. I had to ask what kind of record he was after and he said that he wanted a copy of Deep Purple's "Machine Head" album, but it had to be on vinyl as his Dad was getting back into records again. Records are (apparently) "so retro". It just seemed strange that someone would not know where to buy records from - I told him about Torre Records, Torquays' only secondhand vinyl emporium.
A couple of days earlier a fellow sufferer was telling me about Feeder and how they are releasing their new single on cassette format. Limited edition cassette! "How 80's" he exclaimed! Seems about right for the bastard sons of The Alarm who have played "Slade In Flame" too many times, but there y'go. It is good that a stadium rock troupe are putting stuff out on cassette, but I fear it has a novelty / gimmick value, as the Feeder fan said - he doesn't own a cassette player anymore but he's going to buy the cassette anyway. It just seemed strange that a "music fan" would not know that folk still release on cassettes - there are cassette labels...ah well.

I don't have a turntable set up at the hospital. It's straightforward CD's and cassettes. I would love to have a couple of decks set up, rock the Pathology Department as were but I don't think I'd get away with it. So, thank you to Aurora Borealis label for re-releasing the excellent Haxan Cloak "Observatory" single on cassette. This is the second cassette release by Aurora Borealis this year. 2011 started with the release of "A Night With Two Moons" by Burial Hex, and ends with "The Observatory" by The Haxan Cloak. It is a cracking single. Hypnotic looping electronics and rhythms playing and dancing through the ears. I have mentioned the single a couple of times before in earlier blogs so I won't bore...I just love the fact that the tracks are out on cassette, beautifully packaged with the Joseph Beuys sleeve. The cassette is limited to 50 copies and available by googling Aurora Borealis.

1: Oscar and The Haxan Cloak.

Friday, 9 December 2011


At the start of the month I read about the Italian project Shiver on the (excellent) Dead Formats blog. Damien of Dead Formats was writing about the cassette "They Will Feed On Us." This is what he wrote:
"Pretty creepy stuff. Starts out very minimal with a sparse, lo fi loop. It then builds up with the sounds of crashing and possibly human wails. It has this vintage sound i have been loving that is similar to Pregnant Spore. Where the sound almost feels like it was created in the 1960s but this was recorded this year. The tape continues with grinding concrete, tuned down guitars and short burst of feedback. It's pretty awesome and very hypnotic. I am already impressed with this Italian label, Diazepam. I believe they are related to the great Ur from Italy. They have just started releasing tapes so I would recommend picking these up right away. This cassette comes in a burlap pouch with some actual bones inside. Eerie".
The cassette has to be heard.
"They Will Feed On Us" is a C-30, and comes in two parts. "Parts 1 & 2". "1" starts off with a sound that makes me think that the tape is chewing up inside the machine, or my tapeheads are fucked...slipping and chewing...the effect is looped into a dark wall of noise (DWN), a cacophony of evil before it cuts to silence, and then the sound of a single be joined by a sonic rumble and the voices of the dead. It all ends with beautifully panned ampnoise - the amp sounding like a Roland Jazz Chorus 50. "2" has temple bells and saxophone blurts weaving in and out of a mesmering bass guitar pattern. Riff, for the want of a better word! The piece slows to the point of scratching and blowing of various metals and bone until it builds into a(nother) cacophony of bass and screaming vocals. The whole finale is not too far from the sound of "early" Bodychoke....think "Mindshaft".

Damien was correct. The sound harks back to the early 1980's (not 1960's...unless .... ), the sound of Nekrophile Records and Ain Soph and Metgumbnerbone and also the recent Mazuraan project of Lee Stokoe. It is all in there.
Available from Diazepam, or direct from Shiver - visit it costs roughly 5 euro and my copy came faster than a Christmas card from Hartlepool!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Aaron Dilloway #5

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to "The Rope And The Dogs" by Aaron Dilloway. Originally released as an 8-Track cassette in a limited edition of 8 copies back in 2008 and now re-released by Osaka (Japan) based label "777 Was 666" on CD format and in an edition of 100. 9 tracks and 40 or so minutes of prime Dilloway, the reason why I like to listen to and experience the sound of Aaron Dilloway are all here on this album. Fascinating and hypnotic.
"White Hair" is a great opener. The ideal curtain lifter. It has a submarine "blip" (depth charge) sound going through it - voyage to the bottom of the sea - there's treated voice and keyboard thrown into the mix. "A Spell List" is a master of tape loopery, synth noise and masked vocal. A very powerful piece. "Collapse" is a small two minute piece with delicately built loops, made with the care of surgeons. "Prayer Flush:Scum Black Edit" follows. This track sounds like work in progress, or maybe I'm not used to a track shifting on so many levels from Aaron Dilloway? The title track is another short work of tape manipulations and looping before "The Casket Sinker". This excellent 6 minute track is layer upon layer of electronic junk loops and crazy edited saxophone blurts. It takes me beyond pleasure.
"Return To Xanex: Final Days Of Marshall" (any clues to what this title is referring to?) is the albums magnum opus, lasting a whole twelve and a half minutes. It has a Bruce Gilbert feel to it with ampnoise and tape loops, it kind of self disassembles itself before going off on a tangent - I feel it is a conceptual piece but I have no idea what the concept is. "Modern Demonologist" has echoed loops acting in a question / response way. Experiments with a Roland Space Echo. The album finishes on the excellently titled "A Funeral With Music". Putrefier-esque synth destruction and noise. The album ends with a breakdown. Classic.

This is easily the finest Dilloway I have heard since......well since I last played some Aaron Dilloway - but not the "Door With No Handle" CDr on Chocolate Monk...I didn't like this album so much. As mentioned the CD is limited to 100 and available from Hitomi Arimoto via

The 49th Parallel

Thanks for all the cards and birthday wishes! Much appreciated. Got a few nice surpises too ... a copy of the Paul McCarthy "Tidebox/Tidebook" from Tamsin and a Homer Simpson Mug Set from the kids...excellent, and the Shiver cassette came through to post too.
I knew it was going to be a good day thanks to F.C.Basle.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

The Here & Now Experiment

I love live albums. Ever since I started listening to and collecting records I have loved the live album. Before year zero I had live albums by the likes of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep ("I've got chewing gum on my boot"), Kiss ("Alive 2"...with stickers) and even Lynyrd Skynyrd - and loved them all, then along came Throbbing Gristle and took the live album into another arena. Alongside This Heat and then Nocturnal Emissions these groups were mixing live recordings with studio recordings. Not first track studio/second track live/third & fourth studio etc but mixing them all together into one big whorl of sound.
Then there was the split live LP and none better is 1978's "What You See...Is What You Are", a split LP by Alternative TV and Here & Now on Deptford Fun City Records.
I love the work of Mark Perry. Mark P. From his life after life through to his strange kicks his body of work is genious. I even love his rant at Miles Copeland that is on the (strange) "Mission Is Terminated" double LP. You guessed it - I'm a fan. (I must point out here that I have not seen or heard any ATV or Mark Perry after the 1981 "Strange Kicks" LP). On "What You See....." ATV offer "Action Time Lemon", a bitter lemon, the furious "Going Round In Circles" and the epic "Fellow Sufferer" - classics to a man each and every one of them.
Back in 1978 the LP introduced me to the sound of Here & Now. Here & Now were a strange beast, a carry on from the free festival era of the mid 1970' Nik Turner's Inner City Unit and The Pink Fairies - bands that us newbie punk types should be "into" and pay respect. Spawners of Crass and The 012, and yes I did like the Here & Now tracks. They were/are kind of "punky" and sing-a-long and had a touch of humour but (in 1978) I could never bring myself to buy a full studio LP by Here & Now. "What You See.....Is What You Are" cost £1.75, Here & Now LP's were selling for £3.00 plus! And they were filed in the "prog" section in Sanctuary Records (Lincoln's finest) and "prog" was a section that was OK for browsing but not for buying. (Unless it was a Christmas present for a friend).
Earlier this year I found the Here & Now "Floating Anarchy" 7"EP secondhand on a Market Stall in Cambridge. It was unpriced. I already had the B Movie picture disc album "The Dead Good Tapes" in my hand (priced at £7) when I asked the chap "how much"? He said "tenner the both" and I said "sold"! It is a brilliant EP with two studio tracks from the "What You See...." album. Great versions of "Addicted" and "Dog In Hell". I found myself playing "Dog In Hell" repeatedly when I came home from work...I was singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star...What You See Is What You Are" to the kids at bedtime. I decided to experiment was it time to buy the album from whence the tracks came?
The album is called "Give & Take" and I remember the sleeve so well from flicking through vinyl in the 1970's. The names associated with the LP were familiar too, Dave Anderson from Rough Trade (Red Crayola/The Pop Group) on the mix with Kif Kif who had worked with The Instant Automatons, 23 Skidoo and The Androids Of Mu. So I bought the CD version on the Cherry Red Records subsidiary Esoteric Recordings because it included the three tracks from the "Floating Anarchy" 7"EP as well as a studio version of "What You See....Is What You Are".

The CD kicks off with a cracking studio version of "What You See...Is What You Are", guitar riff and drumming is superb, and then what follows is 5 tracks of pure self indulgent hippy-trippy sub Barrett era Floyd mixed with the worst Steve Hillage album you can imagine. In my days I have been to many a house/flat/squat (delete as applicable) to score some draw, and there was always one place that was the last resort, the grin and bear it, the bite the fucking bullet we're off to Rainbow Pete's, or Itchy Dave's or Mick Man's pad. You knew you were going to be there a while and you were going to have to listen to endless Gong, Hillage, Hot Tuna and Velvet Underground and say that you love it, just to score the eighth on tick and pray you never see the guy again (even though you owe him a tenner)! This CD is the soundtrack to my early/mid 1980's nightmares. But it contains studio versions of three tracks from one of my all time favourite live albums.
Tracks 1, 7 & 9. Ignore the rest, the experiment was an interesting one.

1: Here & Now "Give & Take" CD Cover.
2: Alternative TV + Here & Now relax, 1978.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Preslav Literary School #3

Live at Wysing Festival, Cambridgeshire. September 2011.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Dead Wood / Phantom Heron Seas #2

A couple of weeks ago I went to The Great Hall in Dartington to watch Annie Gosfield perform the world premiere of "Floating Messages And Fading Memories". It was a very enjoyable evening in a great venue (the place where 23 Skidoo recorded "The Culling Is Coming") but the sound produced did not live up to the sound promised. "Floating Messages" was to feature the sound of clandestine radio transmissions of European resistance groups alongside radio static, shortwave oscillations and Morse code. And yes the sounds were all there but they were superseded by strings and wind from the Athelas Sinfonietta the minimal guitar work of Roger Kleier and the drums of Chris Cutler. It was a rich and rewarding performance, and to have Chris Cutler play in your back yard so to speak is nowt to complain about...but the sound I was looking for was lost amongst the instruments. "Microbes:Parts 1&2" by Dead Wood and Phantom Heron Seas delivers the goods where Annie Gosfield failed. No masking, no pretensions, the release could easily be called "Floating Messages & Fading Memories".
"Microbes:Part 1&2" is a 3"CDr released by the Dead Sea Liner label in an edition of 45. The major part is "Part One" with its' radio static and crackle and visions of messages lost in the ether. To Arecibo by Brian Williams came to mind as did a track Dieter Muh produced back in the 1990's called "S.O.L.A.S." (Safety Of Life At Sea). With the sounds of the static coming in waves the piece(s) have a very nautical feel. If you like the "Shipwrecks" cassette by Andreas Brandal then you will like this CDr.
"Part One" ends on a great loop, rhythmic, hypnotic before developing into "Part Two" and its' building static / dead air space sound. At times it has an underwater feel about it, the creaking and the oscillations/undulations. Excellent stuff.

"An Underwater Experience Would Come In Handy" (I have had this on the brain since Wednesday night)!

This is the future sound of Dorset and great follow on from the "Sunshine Daily Commercial" 7" flexi-plate release that came out in the autumn on Dirty Demos. Both need to be heard.
Contact straight away, at 45 copies (mine was #42) this beauty will be gone fast.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Wire: Exeter Phoenix Centre. 30 November 2011

Last night Wire brought their "Red Barked Tree" tour to Exeter. Needless to say it was an excellent gig with Wire (on form) mixing the old with the new. Excellent version of "5/10". Support was from New York duo Talk Normal and Dave Myers DJ'ed in the lounge.
And Ross, if you are reading this......hello!

1,2+3. Wire.
4. Dave Myers and friend.
5. Chatting with Colin. (Thanks Michael).