Saturday, 30 June 2012

Making Contact

Have just spent an afternoon at The Spacex Gallery in Exeter learning how to make contact microphones and hydrophones. The workshop was lead by audio/visual artist Louise K Wilson, and myself with Michael Parker made some mic's and went out into the wilds of Exeter to start recording material for the next live assault by Dieter Muh (and some stuff for upcoming releases).
An excellent time in the presence of Louise, who in the past has worked with Ben Ponton and has a shared passion in the work of Chris Watson .. and also lectures at Lincoln University - we have so much in common...I wonder if she knows Sunshine Patterson?
The workshop was part of the travelling "Topophobia" exhibition which unfortunately I didn't get to see, hopefully I can get back in to Exeter before the exhibition ends on July 7. If you are in the area I recommend popping in ...

1: Louise K Wilson (video still from "Hanging Rock", 2011).
2: Two contact microphones.
3: Michael at Exe Bridges.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cheapmachines #3

I thought I had fallen out of favour with the good folk of Beartown Records after I mentioned that one of their latest releases (by Lunn Poly) wasn't really my cup of tea...but I paid up for their latest release by Cheapmachines and with it came a jiffy bag full of thanks Chris, thanks Dave...a pint will be on the table next time we meet.
So, I have a copy of the latest release by Cheapmachines, limited to 10 ... I am certain it will be available in larger editions or download must, like the BBBlood cassette "Destroy, Shatter, Stun, Intoxicate" that came out on Void Seance in an edition of 10 and later ended up on the Baron's website for download, it simply must.
Cheapmachines "Hands Redux" is a remix/re sculpture of an earlier Beartown Records release by a project called Shit Hands. I must admit to liking the name Shit Hands, whether or not it is a play on the William Bennett project Cut Hands doesn't's a good name. When William Bennett (have you seen his lecturing videos by the way? Confidence in public speaking to a crowd of business students in Dusseldorf - weird stuff...anyway, I digress) came out with the name Cut Hands I have to keep saying it in the voice of "Shake Hands" from "Boys From The Blackstuff"...too tempting...stick out the right hand and go "Cut Hands" in a scouse growl...I'm digressing again, but I now do the same with Shit Hands. As far as I know Shit Hands is Chris Bostock of Beartown Records and the man behind Lunn Poly and Phil Julian (aka Cheapmachines) has used the one and only Shit Hands release, the cassette "What Did My Toy Boy Really Think Of Me?" as source material for this 25 minute odyssey.

It starts off loud and live - a voice shouts "Shit Hands", and we are off...noise like a live Cheapmachines performance, cold, angular and very apple mac before silence. After two and half minutes the sound dies and leaves a glistening becomes quite eerie with the sound of insects, crickets, grasshoppers swimming in the long grass on a summer evening. This sound shifts into irritation, like a sound crawling beneath the skin, under the occult noise. Effective. Disturbing. Disturbance broken by zither. Half way through the disc and the sound is of random sequencers making noises like animated Eastern European aliens duetting with echoes from the walls of an insane asylum. It is bedlam which leads to five or six (great band) minutes of Boyd Rice noise-wall. "Back of the net". The noise finally oscillates before implosion and collapse ending in dead noise. If only someone had shouted "Shit Hands" at the finale, it would have made ten out of ten (without grounds).....

Excellent release that deserves (and I am certain will get) a larger audience than ten. I want to hear the original Shit Hands cassette now but I fear that is long gone. I have worked with Phil in the past, he has manipulated and re-constructed the sound of Dieter Muh and taken it to places that I never would have dared nor imagined, Chris is probably sat at home now thinking "Jesus Christ I've got a beast in my hands" ... but that's another story.

The CDr has a subtitle of "Croydon Living/Cheshire Dreaming" and comes with a pamphlet explaining the joys and tourist traps of Cheshire, although I always thought Congleton was in Derbyshire...
Buy this release and if you get a sorry sold out reply - demand a repress!!!!

Sunday, 24 June 2012


Just spent a pleasant while listening to one of this months releases from the German label Vinyl On Demand: "Time Will Say Nothing 1982-1984" by Sema. I heard about the plans to release this four album box set a few weeks ago...and I have been counting the days for it to hit my turntable.
The box set includes four albums from the early 1980's as well as some bonus tracks tacked on to the end of "Extract From Rosa Silber" and "Three Seasons Only". The albums tell the story of Sema from early experimentalism a la Nurse With Wound on 1982'2 "Notes From Underground" through to the neo-classical piano and acoustic 12 string guitar on 1984's "Three Seasons Only".

It is hard to describe this box set, but as soon as the needle hits the record on track one side one of album one "Notes From Underground" I am back in 1982. It's like the real sound of the time. There are films about - "Control" comes to mind, and TV series like "Life On Mars"/"Ashes To Ashes" that depict life in UK in the late 1970's/early 1980's, but they can never tell or show what it was really like because they are modern day actors in wigs and corduroy driving Ford Cortinas, the same as when I hear a sound from a "modern" project / artist (whatever) and I think that reminds me of early Nekrophile releases or Throbbing Gristle with a touch of Eric Random...but it doesn't take me is not the real deal, but playing these four Sema albums I am back there with a Because you are here...I am at home moment. Pre digital computer madness, pure experimentalism, dadaist noise. Beautiful. It is the sound of me, early twenties listening to what I wanted to hear in the quiet of my room (great song).
The records also conjure up two old friends who were really "into" Sema and the works of Robert Haigh. Sean Rorke and Peter Elliott. I used to have a cassette, unmarked, sleeve lost in the history of time that I always thought was Nurse With Wound, this weekend I discovered it was "Extract From Rosa Silber" LP by Sema.
Sema is acoustic, acoustic piano, acoustic clarinet, acoustic guitars and voices. There is masterful tape editing, crashing, creeping and crawling around in the sound...surprisingly (in parts) easy listening. The final album "Three Seasons Only" has a 1930's Berlin Cafe feel to it with meandering piano keys and guitars. Also included in the set are three pieces from various compilations and a track from the "Best Of Robert Haigh" cassette that United Diaries put out in 1987.

Just in case....Sema is the solo project of Robert Haigh, who after releasing four albums on his own Le Rey Records label recorded under his own name for releases on United Diaries, Dom and L.A.Y.L.A.H. Antirecords. Pre Sema Robert was a member of The Truth Club(with This Heat member Trefor Goronwy) and Fote. Ten or so years after his last release as Robert Haigh he became Omni Trio, a Drum n' Bass type thing that disgusted me at the time! Listen to "The Over Yellow" on the compilation "Ohrensausen" for early hints that Robert was going to move into this area.
The last I heard of Robert (post Omni Trio) was that he was running a secondhand record shop in Hertfordshire...then I heard he had moved down to the South-West of the UK...near me...if this is so, I wonder if he wants to play live again????

Anyway. The box set is beautifully packaged with artwork by Paul Takahashi. Limited to 500 and completely necessary. Buy now.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Treasured Tape #8

This is one of the oldest tapes I have. It is a curious little tape that doesn't get played very often but still remains a treasured item. I must have got the cassette from Dave Uden - the Diet Of Worms is a giveaway clue - but where he came across the DVA stuff and Konstruktivists Demos remains a mystery....John Everall??, Simon French??'s a (rarely played) classic.
The tape is high in tape Dolby NR can save this beast but I think Side A is fifth or sixth generation copy. Clock DVA "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (or "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Alternative Soundtrack") is a strange listen. It all begins with a voice from the trailer describing the horrors of the film before violins are scratched and cymbals smashed through a variety of echo and reverb effects...and the old WEM Copycat no doubt. The DVA material lasts for just over half an hour and the "music" plays very much in the background as tape snippets from the radio (played in the van ... if memory serves) and dialogue from film...the chases through the house and the describing of the slaughterhouse are high "in the mix". The sound, the alternative soundtrack is almost like a fog, a cloud of echo amongst the buzzing chainsaws and slamming doors.
The Konstruktivists Demo tracks are of the same (tape hissy) quality. 4 tracks. "Free Form Fetish" with Adi Newton on vocals, and a different version to that on the recent DVA Vinyl On Demand collection and the "Psykho Genetika" album is followed by a novelty rendition of The Crystals classic "Then He Kissed Me" ... altered to "Then He Shot Me". Two very short synth noodle pieces finish off the Side A.
Side B is a curious beast too. History lesson. Diet Of Worms were formed by myself and Dave Uden in January 1983 after the demise of Wallpaper Paris (mentioned elsewhere on this blog). We did take our name from the This Heat track! I left being a full time member a few months later and Andrejz K and his partner Sarah became full time "Worms". I did record the odd track with Dave and Andrejz afterwards....I appear on one track that appears on the only "official" Diet Of Worms cassette "The Burden Of Proof"...and sometimes tracks Dave and I did for "fun" ended up credited as Diet Of Worms. "Burning People" is almost unlistenable. It is all Roland SH101 and Drumatix lead pieces. I find it hard to believe it was recorded in 1989 (as mentioned on the sleeve) because Dave was doing this kind of stuff in 1986/87 ... but I could be wrong. Back in 1986 I did record the tracks "I Want To Kill (Again)" and "W.S.B. Is Very Clever" with Dave and versions appear here...but whether or not I am on them .... well, let's just say I hope not! The "W.S.B. Rap" is a sequencer mixed with Burroughs reading "Place Of Dead Roads".
I remember a quote from Chris Carter saying that Chris & Cosey "invented" Acid House back in the mid 1980's ... well it is obvious that Chris had never heard of Diet Of Worms and their repetitive looping rhythms and sequencer patterns. Pre 808 State and their "New Build" album too.
It is not for me to tell the Diet Of Worms "story" as I was only involved for a short span of their time.

1: Tape Sleeve.
2: Cassette.
3: Tape Tracklisting.
4: 1985 Diet Of Worms flyer.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Second Layer Record Shop

It has come as a great surprise to learn that the Second Layer record store in Archway, North London is to close this weekend. I have only been there on a couple of occasions, Archway being just that little too North for my visits to the capital but it was a great shop....It put on "in store" shows, my first visit there was to witness a live performance by Testicle Hazard in 2008. It also featured on the great RRRecords album "Record Store Record", perhaps a curse of that LP - with Hospital closing down in New York ... conspiracy theories please....
I am to understand that Second Layer will continue as a mail order outfit and a label and freeing up Pete's time (Pete J .. the owner) to venture into pastures new....of which (I of course) wish him the best. It was Second Layer that organised the Dieter Muh / Skullflower gig at St Giles In The Field Church just off the Tottenham Court Road in 2009, one of the finest venues I have ever played live in.
Anyway. RIP Second Layer Record shop. Thanks Pete.

1: Second Layer Records. Archway, London.
2: Peter (on the right) chatting with Paul (on the left).
3: Testicle Hazard live at Second Layer 2008. (Dieter Muh 7" in the background).

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Germany Vs Greece

Hasten Och Korset

As mentioned earlier I have been listening to a lot of stuff that has come out of Sweden lately. This weekend has been Hasten & Korset weekend, where Hartop Towers has been resonating to the sounds from the small label operated by Mattias Gustafsson of Altar Of Flies.

"Tapeworks Volume 2" is a compilation of groups/projects that record and release on cassettes. It acts as a sort of work in progress, small sketches and experiments, a cassette tape salon. Each side starts and ends on small pieces with the body of the cassette being noises made by Sewer Election and Idea Fire Company. Dan Fagerstrom (of Optic Nest & Cryme) starts side one with a small industrial awakening before Sewer Election present "Ga Forlorad". This piece has a lovely warm electric hum, an eardrum buzz throughout. The sound is of looping tape being pulled back and forth over tape heads and adjustment of reverb. Side one ends with Altar Of Flies and "Do Not Trust A Memory". Some of the noises here sound that they have been recorded underwater, some under a train! Beautifully constructed, parts sound like a (mental) collapse with crashing junk noise. The more I hear Altar Of Flies the more I like.
Side two starts with US outfit Preggy Peggy & The Lazy Babymakers and a short piece with an incredibly long title. Preggy Peggy is the project of Angela Sawyer an artist who works in the free-improv. noise arena. A stretched and strained voice reads a poem. As mentioned the main bulk of side two is by Idea Fire Company and a piece called "Oslo". I know IFC have been active for over 20 years but this is my first exposure to them....A friend (Simon Kane) did play me some Scott Foust recently and I really liked what I heard (I think it is a forthcoming Entr'acte release)...and now I think it is too late to discover their catalogue - I'll forever be buying Idea Fire Company records, but "Oslo" is quite brilliant. It is a (live) stereo recording of piano and cornet. I got lost in this piece. Beautiful and serene. Instantly reminded of the section of "Tearing Up The Plans #1:7.18 Version" by 23 Skidoo where the rhythm breaks down to piano and trumpet and a voice repeating "who can tell us what force is", that is exactly what it sounds like. The cassette ends with a short analog sequence/synthesizer piece by Dan Fagerstrom.
"Tapeworks Volume 3" is byMattias Gustafsson. This cassette is a C31 and made up of four pieces of random noises recorded using various types of microphones and locations, sometimes there is a synth noise, sometimes various equalizers and effect pedals are sounds like source material for an Altar Of Flies CD. It is abstract and concret and not the easiest of listens.
Both volumes of "Tapeworks" are packaged with quality colour sleeves and full information. Volume 2 has a cover that reminded me of the Felt 7" "Penelope Tree".

A couple of years ago Hasten & Korset released "The Skull Transmitter" by Joachim Nordwall. Joachim owns and runs Swedish label "Ideal Recordings", is a member of the band The Skull Defects and also has a great blog called "Deep Shit". "The Skull Transmitter" is a half hour pleasure ride beginning with a motorik pulse (sounds like an old Korg sequencer to me) that moves with speed and pace like an old Tangerine Dream soundtrack (therefore early Throbbing Gristle) dropping depth charges along the way before entering battle with soaring synthesizers, admitting defeat and disappearing off down a side road. Side two is an ocean of frequencies, piercing waves spill and collapse around the ears. The notes on the cover tell me to "play loud ~ the skull is a transmitter". I play loud and the sound is all consuming...the frequencies break into a murky morass...a calming vibe. Thoughts of The Anti Group and their Meontological Research Recordings come into mind. The sound is still pulsating, still throbbing, still waving. Sonambulistic and more like a Popul Vuh soundtrack. This could have easily been an hour long CD. Cracking stuff.
The cassette is "for Leif Elggren"..perhaps he used the sounds for a performance? This cassette is catalogued as number 39. "Tapeworks Volume 3" is catalogued as number 49, I can't believe I have discovered this label so late!!! Along with the excellent Henrik Rylander cassette and Altar Of Flies CD (mentioned in an earlier blog) this label is one to watch and consume.

Contact Mattias at

1: "The Skull Transmitter", "Tapeworks Vol.2", "Tapeworks Vol 3".

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Terror Magazine #2

Terror #2 is out today. Magazine, oriented to noise/power electronics/industrial.
Martin Bladh (Sharing thoughts about IRM, Skin Area, performance art, art in general, sound etc.)
dogfart Aspa (Huge interview about Special Interests and other magazines, Freak Animal, Grunt, Nicole12, Northern Heritage and many more things)
Slogun (USA true crime power electronics legend. Answers from back then to what's up now)
Sick Seed (One of the greatest from Finland. About imagery, releases, what and why)
Dieter Müh (UK industrial veteran. From early days to now - more than 30 years of activity)
Barrikad (Chat with one of quite a few anarcho-noisers in here. War?)
Remlap (Canadian HNW artist. Art as Intent label owner. Why the sound should be free and other nuances)
Impulsy Stetoskopu (Label from Poland - Encyclopedia of Industrial music, DIY releases.)

Bunch of reviews.

44 a4 pages. Offset printing. 5 euros (+postage)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

: Heterodoxie : #3 (Reviews)

DIETER MÜH - HETERODOXIE (LP by Verlautbarung)
Its fair to say that Dieter Müh is one of the older groups from the
third (fourth?) wave of power electronics that came to us in the mid
to late 90s. Too late for the cassettes of the 80s, too obscure to be
part of the whole retro noise scene and perhaps, simply (but better
yet), not enough power electronics/noise based. So over the years
there have been a bunch of releases, but not a lot, and they are
always quite interesting. Dieter Müh played at the Broken Festival in
London last month and its not difficult to see where they did in. Not
because they play very loud music, but rather densely knitted, rough
patterns of drone noise, along with primitive (casio) sampling of
rhythms and cheap sound effects. Not that their music is cheap, by now
means. Its music that takes out the best of industrial music and
combines it with the more adventurous sounds of ambient music. Layered
sounds of those wind pipes that children swing above their heads (no
craze these days but I am sure
some day
it will return), along with the sampled percussion of something highly
obscure, a bit of sound effects - music that stands in one form or
another in the long tradition of Giancarlo Toniutti, Andrew Chalk and
Controlled Bleeding, or, but this requires an in-depth knowledge of
the Broken Flag catalogue, say Ain-Tow. It doesn't sound like them,
but its part of the whole esthetic of working with ambient sounds and
electronic music. Music with a long tradition, like cogs in a machine.
Dieter Müh is one of those cogs. Not the most essential one, but
nevertheless one that forms part of the family, so that you have the
complete picture. 'Heterodoxie' is a nice record. Not great, just
pleasant electronic music - noise but then one I like. (FdW)

This is a review by Frans De Waard at Vital Weekly.
Just to clear any confusion, I did not perform at the Broken Flag Festival in May I just helped out on the door, humping tables and spinning discs on the Saturday night.....
Cari Saluti Frans.

Another review.

After the departure of Dave Uden it was unclear as to whether Steve Cammack would take up the Dieter Müh reins or just jack it all in to spend more time with his family, disgraced MP style. Having been involved in the same bands since the 80’s it was quite some schism and then news began to filter through of gigs being booked, new works in the pipeline. A live appearance at this March’s Nottingham’s Rammel weekender sealed it when Cammack treated us all to what we knew Dieter Müh did best; industrial ambience, ritualistic rhythm and the sound of Maureen Long describing how she survived a Ripper attack in Bradford.

Since Rammel Dieter Müh have returned to Stockholm and the Fylkingen but more importantly have released their first serious vinyl outing since the 2008 classic ‘The Call’. I felt ‘The Call’ to be one of their best works; featuring the dulcet tones of Enochian OTO’er Lon Milo DuQuette it created a deeply mystical feeling that mixed subtle industrial rhythms with some superb production work. it was also the last to feature Uden so when I got Heterodoxie shoved under my arm at the last night of the Broken Flag event I was curious to hear how, if at all, the Dieter Müh sound had evolved during these last four years.

Gone has the ‘I really like sex’ sample, along with it the eerie ‘We’re not happy, until you’re not happy’, two decidedly unnerving motifs that lit up many a DM show but which I assume are best left int he past. Gone too are the frantic rhythms that made up one half of the live bootleg ‘Stockholm Monsters’. In comes ‘Illuminati Humillati’ an opener that somehow manages to evoke a medieval banquet due to its neo-folk like drumming and the use of two slightly phased acoustic guitars. Eerie vocal samples are still there of course as are the muted, pulse like industrial rhythms; on ‘Intruder’ a distressed female 911 call begins the piece by telling us how she thinks there’s somebody in the building, in come the feint beats, voices break up and become indistinct, the denouement comes when the caller finds she really isn’t alone. Voices return on ‘Helescum’ a short display of Arctic waste wash that ends with an American B-movie actors muffled voice looping the words ‘you sons of bitches’. Urgent factory rhythms push ‘Mixed Discard’ along as do more of those distressed voices, presumably all real, presumably meant to convey distress and heighten the feeling of unease.

These old school Industrial motifs are the clues that give away Dieter Müh’s heritage. A background in which the eighties output of Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse are the leading lights. its seen not just on ‘Intruder’ but on ‘Mixed Discard’ too and more prominently ‘The Culling is Calming’ not only a nod to 23 Skidoo but the longest and most involved track here. Taking up most of side two its a slow ascent courtesy of some arterial like throbs submerged beneath an analogue groan that builds as it goes. The rhythm’s are chest deep, recordings amplified just loud enough for you to get a feel for thing, at its start you hear what appears to be the sound of a piece of plastic tubing being whirled around over somebody’s head, it could be aboriginal or it could be a Glaswegian sink estate ned fucking about with his mums Dyson vac. Muddying the waters is all part of the appeal.

And lets not forget all the whistles and burrs, the weird humming that brings in ‘Illuminati Humillati’, the cicadas on ‘Intruder’, the flow of blood through ‘Mixed Discard’.

Adding to all this mystery is the fact that this record appears on a German label that appears not to exist except as a name on this record. Distribution is through a Swedish company. There’s some meshed copper wire on the sleeve. Mines already disintegrating through wear.

Review from Mark Wharton of Idwal Fisher. Cari Saluti Sir Mark.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Flyers In The Attic

Spent a great afternoon sifting through some old files and boxes (and box files) and listening to the Column One CD/CDr "Dream Time Limited" release .... found these two flyers amongst the morass, one made me think that I would love to see Pornosect get the Vinyl On Demand treatment and the other - whatever happened to all these bands listed on this comp!!


Saturday, 9 June 2012


So now it is time for the Euros, and that means that my listening time will be drastically limited, and now the fools at the NHS have decided to put me into the 21st Century and install a computer in my "office", so where I used to listen to CD/CDr's and tapes and jot down thoughts, memories, ideas on what I was listening to I shall now mostly be scouring the noise forum boards and playing spider solitaire...oh yeah, and working a little.
So, I shall be rooting for Sweden in the Euros. Well, Hartop Towers has become part Svenska over the past couple of weeks with packages of sound arriving from Stockholm, Mjolby and Malmo.
Cryme are a (super) duo made up of Mattias Gustavsson from Altar Of Flies and Dan Fagerstrom of Optic Nest and The Members Of Tinnitus (amongst others). Their only release so far is the C30 cassette "The Gentle Way" on the Kosmisk Vag label (Cat No: #16). Six songs in thirty minutes. Yes ~ songs. "Raging Dogs" opens, an instrumental made from looped incidental film music and dialogue. Cryme in "sc-fi" mode. "Eyes Melting" has a crunchy synth sound masking an equally crunchy rhythm. "Running Corpse" has lyrics, vocals, beautiful female vocals. Not what I expected. I haven't heard anything like this for ages. ("Like This For Ages" by Cupol on 4AD of the greatest records ever made...but I digress). The whole sound now has the feel of Chrome, of mid to late 1970's U.S. West Coast indie electronic music. The Residents certainly come to mind during "Running Corpse" with an old 1970's beat box and synth. Conceptual lyrics from an effected voice...think "The Moles Are Coming".
This tape is FUN. It sounds like it was fun to make and that makes it bloody good fun to listen to on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
Side two opens with "Rat People". I first came across this track on You Tube a couple of weeks ago. The video starts off with two (Xanadu era) Olivia Neutron Bomb look-a-likes exercising in a home built gym, all exercise bikes, dumbbells and head bands. The film is fast cut, movement in one second looping. Both sound and visuals work together well but then the video went slightly soft porn and I was watching it with the kids so I had to switch it off ... I haven't seen it all the way through but it did make me want to hear a lot more of Cryme. (Awful name by the way). "Rat People" has a synth drone with a fast electro throbbing pulse and electronic metal percussion and excellent vocals with deadpan delivery. "Rat People Just Moving Around In Circles". Again the sound is evocative of Chrome, Ralph Records and (early) Minny Pops.
The final two songs are slow pieces. "Class Room Totem" has a sound like a Japanese "Z Grade" monster movie and a vocal delivery like Melanie's "Brand New Key" (I'm not making this up). "Born Never Asked" is plodding keys wandering about all over a casiotone beat and bedtime story vocals.
"The Gentle Way" is a great tape that made me smile and want to play again and again and I want to hear more Cryme. Wanna do more Cryme!
Now I shall move on to a pile of Hasten & Korset releases. I have already had a curious first listen to the latest Altar Of Flies CD on Hasten & Korset "Let New Life Rise In The Face Of Death". This CD sounds (at times) like two albums in one. Some of the analogue equipment sounding very Throbbing Gristle and wild synth pieces playing alongside elemental/field recordings.
All this stuff from Sweden, diverse stuff, being put out at the moment is very exciting...all on small operations, and often ultra limited. I have missed out on so much - always behind the time, me...I like to think I am catching up though. There's a new compilation cassette out on Elbogen Fonogram called "Nordostra Malmo" that will be a must have, and a cassette of Swedish Synth-Pop has been released by Trepeneringsritualen label; Belaten. Entitled "Belaten:A Somatic Response". I played some tracks on the computer at work (those fools at the NHS have given me a computer) ~ bizarre early 1980's UK new romantic electro....Now that was definately not what I expected.

1: "The Gentle Way" cover.
2: Mattias.
3: Dan.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Ten Years After

Myself and Simon Kane at The Fylkingen. November 2001 and April 2012.

Monday, 4 June 2012


This spring saw a new brace of vinyl releases from UK's finest Harbinger Sound Recordings. Both releases are double albums (wow, it's just like the and I am left with the feeling that neither of them need to be. Firstly I listened to the eponymous release by Death Magazine 52. I am familiar with the name D Mag 52. I never knew it stood for Death Magazine, but D Mag 52 were a short lived noise band from the West Midlands active during the mid 1980's ... or so I thought. There is a famous picture of Phil Best putting a black marker line through their name that is on a poster when they were supporting Whitehouse in Birmingham. 1984-I think....but D Mag 52 never released anything. No tape no nowt and then two former members Sean Dower and Mike Dando went on to be famous. Sean as an installation artist and member of the Bow Gamelan Orchestra and Mike as Con-Dom.
Anyway, Steve Underwood of Harbinger Sound got hold of some D Mag 52 tapes and has released them, on a double album. One album is studio, posh and proper studio recordings. Polished tape hiss and digital remastering or baking of TDK D90', proper studio stuff and it sounds like a cross between A Certain Ratio (circa their Stevie Wonder phase), Cabaret Voltaire (circa their Microphonies stage), and 23 Skidoo..or (to me) 23 Skidoo if Mark King was in the band, not Fritz Haaman. The other album is of live recordings. Three gigs from 1983. Quality of these recordings are not too clever...the set from The Equinox Event is mostly audience chatter.... I think that D Mag 52 should have remained a cult name from the past.

The other half of the brace is the double album "Teenage Fantasy 1987-88" by JfK. This release comprises of two old tapes put out by Broken Flag and some unreleased tracks and compilation appearances. I never knew Steve had this release planned, first I knew was Steve selling copies at the Broken Flag Festival in London last month. I know very little about JfK, I bought the 7" "Sexodus" back in 1992 because it was on Fourth Dimension...and back in the early 1990's they were knocking out some decent stuff (Cosmonauts Hail Satan, Rake, Null). I liked the single, fitted into what I used to call "The Glitter Band" sound ~ Skullflower's "Third Gatekeeper" being prime exponent of and Exhibit A m'lud. I then bought a split cassette with Grey Wolves on Artaman Tapes, but that was just unlistenable lo-fi noise and so lost my interest in JfK.
JfK is the project of Anthony Di Franco, since the creation of JfK in 1987 he has also been in Skullflower, Ramleh, Putrefier and recorded as AX, Novatron and Ethnic Acid. His first release is Side A of this album. "Il Parch Preserve" was put out by Broken Flag in 1987. 1987 is roughly the time that I stopped listening to Broken Flag cassettes. Total "Hard & Low" I think ended my affair back then. The three tracks that make up Side A sound dated, non-directional and have a bloody annoying Yamaha DX drum machine that is played so badly that the needle doesn't last long on any of the tracks. Sides B & C comprise of the 1988 Broken Flag cassette "Woelf". Sides B & C are excellent and no annoying Yamaha DX...well if there is it is played by someone who has found a sense of rhythm. "Follow Me 1" sounds like a slice of Zero Kama, or Ain Soph or Korpses Katatonik, dark and occult. "Follow Me 2" is Psychic TV's "Terminus" speeded up, and the side finishes with "Sunset Smiles" where JfK slip into industrial sludge terrain, the aforementioned sound of "Sexodus" and the likes of Skullflower, Husk, Ramleh, Headbutt, Dying Earth Europe et al. All the sounds, the guitars, the vocals, the Yamaha DX drum machine are all swirling around and buried deep in (space) echo and reverb.
The final side is comprised of three unreleased pieces and a track from the 1988 compilation cassette "Inna Inner Amen" released by Sound Of Pig. "Intro" is OK. Punchy tape splicing, clever technique in an age before the digital sampler. "Nipple Ain-Tow" sounds like a Gary Clail out-take. And reminds me of Roxette Ramleh at the Broken Flag Festival where timing and tuning didn't matter. "Feel The Weight" (a great unused Skullflower title) is a building wall of noise. "Come Thursday/Come Monday" is made me dig out my Come "Come Sunday" 7" and I enjoyed that 7" to the whole of Side D.

I reckon Harbinger Sound should have stuck to putting out "Woelf" as a single LP, like they have done with the Kleistwahr re-issues, but I am certain there are enough BF nuts and collectors out there to make the double album worthwhile. (That's Rock N' Roll...Part One).

1: JfK "Teenage Fantasy 1987-88" LP Cover.
2: JfK live at the Broken Flag Festival. London May 2012. (Anthony on the right).

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Henrik Rylander

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release by Swedish composer Henrik Rylander. Henrik has a synthesizer (and an ear) for a glorious bass sound. It is textural, gripping and it feeds my bones. With this (and other elements) he has produced the mini-album "The Horror". Parts play like a soundtrack album, Sci-Fi elements (think John Carpenter) and visions of empty deep space. "The Horror" is clever stuff.
"Malodorous Motion" kicks the album off. I pressed the play button and was rooted to my seat; where the fuck did that sound come from? To describe this piece would be like giving away the murderer in a clever whodunit. No spoilers here...just get this tape. "Teeth And Talons" has a great bass tone loop. Hard, looping, swirling and scraping. Instantly grabs the attention, and by now the great joy of listening and experiencing has taken over. Not many similarities came to mind whilst playing the tape, but there are sections of this piece that brought to mind the 1984 collaboration between Frank Tovey & Boyd Rice ~ "Easy Listening For The Hard Of Hearing". (one of the all time great album titles). "Deconstructure" is more horizontal and flat, the sound of shifting sands...and again it is the bass texture / frequency / whatever that makes this piece a joyous listen.
Side two starts with "Eminence Fracture". Side two starts with a hammer, a hard hammer. Side two starts with a forge hammer and the sound of escaping gas. The (now) obligatory synthesized bass drone and frequencies along with scrambled communication lines. Lost in space aboard the Dark Star. "Any Tongue Now" is the end of the journey - electronic lines creating patterns. Still walking, just drifting....

Swedish label Hasten & Korset (sounds like a Scandinavian comedy duo) have put out this C30 cassette. Beautifully and professionally packaged / designed. Glossy full colour fold out sleeve and pro-dubbed and labelled tape. I am liking what I have heard from Henrik so far. That's this tape, the CD "Power Model X" on Ideal Recordings (thanks Morten) and a DJ session at X Club #2 in Stockholm in April. Henrik used to be part of 1980's/90's Swedish psychedelic rock group Union Carbide Productions (never heard any) and is also part of the Swedish avant rock group The Skull Defects (never heard any)...but if found I will be tempted...and also goes to show I do some research!
The Hasten & Korset catalogue looks interesting with releases by Altar Of Flies, Joachim Nordwall, Optic Nest and Black River Pregnant Band amongst others and an interesting compilation series called "Tapeworks", have a browse at this stuff comes recommended.

1: "The Horror"
2: Henrik Rylander.

Leif Elggren was here

Saint Marychurch, Torbay, Devon. June 02. 2012. Noon.