Friday, 31 August 2012


Excellent, a new cassette from Re-Clip. An eponymous titled C40 on the excellent Ikuisuus label. They released the Magnet North Duo/Grey Park live cassette last year.
Rather like the cassette "Notes" (released in 2009 by Hyster Tapes) Re-Clip presents sketches and work in progress rather than full bloodied tracks (For that I recommend the split 7" release with Kanttoripoika). Recorded on 2 and sometimes 4 track devices there are 5 pieces a side. Track #1 sounds very similar to #10 - an intro and an outro-duction. These pieces are heavy on the synthesized electronics and carry a "prog" feel, whereas tracks #3 - #9 are more experiments in rhythm. #3 has that slapping the cheeks and making shapes with the mouth type of sound (if that makes sense)? Very good. A few pieces are of broken or collapsing rhythms - broken disco is a phrase that came to mind....and it is not entirely successful. Side two has a couple of great grooves wrapped up in there. #9 has a "lost In space" vibe and reminded me of the first time I saw 808 State live at The Boardwalk in Manchester, 1988 I think ...
The last cassette I heard from Re-Clip was the split cassette release with Kanttoripoika and it had that "glitch" electronic sound, the sound Pan Sonic and Mego release, this release a bit more "lo-fi" and abstract (if that is possible).

Re-Clip used to be a part of Grey Park (Finland's finest) but has left this year to concentrate on his solo work. I bought this tape from Hyster Tapes distribution, contact them at It costs about 3 euros. I imagine it is also available from Ikuisuus direct.

Schimpfluch-Gruppe Event in Bristol. November 2012 #2.

Latest: Early Bird tickets are now available for £35. They are available from the Arnolfini web site. Essential. See you there ....

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Burial Hex #6

I have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release by Burial Hex. "For Granted Is His Will" is a C35 released by Polish label Sangoplasmo Records and limited to 100 copies.
Side One plays like a rollercoaster, a three-dimensional soundscape. It is a meditation built on synthesizer drone and amplified metal. The sounds are similar to those that L.A.Y.L.A.H. were putting out on their compilation LP "The Fight Is On". Very Organum, a touch Hafler Trio and extremely Lustmord. There are moments of melancholy calm, moments where the sound goes to the edges of destruction. Vibrations and sonics almost tipping over into an abyss. It is very difficult to differentiate synthesizer and amplified metal - bowed and scraped, never hit ... no rhythms here. The piece is called "A Saintly Death" and (the cassette is) dedicated to Clay Ruby's brother Grant who died inside 12 months of being on this earth...I was reading this information whilst listening for the first time and the piece took on a deeper/personal life.
Side two is entitled "Our Rainbow". A slow meditative piece with tanpura and melodica. It is an Eastern Mantra. Dirge music. Esoteric and quite beautiful - the tanpura has a lovely sound .. this track will get played, played and played again over the coming months.

Quite a Burial Hex week happening here with this (excellent) cassette arriving the same day as the Burial Hex LP "Six Wings" (the edition with 2 cassette tapes).
As mentioned "For Granted Is His Will" is limited to 100 copies, and I bought direct from the label and got copy #99..but who knows...try or Discogs. Well worth the chase.

1: Cassette Cover.
2: Cassette Inner Photograph.
3: Cassette.


It was a rainy Bank Holiday in Torquay...(to paraphrase Throbbing Gristle's "Very Friendly") we decided (as a family) to indulge in an indoor activity.
Bygones is an attraction situated about five minutes walk from Hartop Towers and seeing that in the ten years that I have been living here and have never walked through its' doors , it was decided it was time to explore. That was mistake number 1.
"Something For Everyone" the pamphlet cried out...."Three floors of pure nostalgia for adults and children". Bygones is a very small building, on the day we went the place was crammed with wet and bored tourists. Crammed. Warning. Bygones is cash only, and you will need a lot of cash. It cost £21 for three folk. Two adults and a six year old. Through the doors and you are immediately in a Victorian Street. Slowly shuffle past shop windows, which children can't see into because they are too high and folk taking photographs are blocking the view. Piss poor mannequins with missing limbs and ragged wigs are inside and outside the shop. Bodmin Jail standard is a term we use nowadays. Marvel at the shopkeeper in the sweet shop sucking his till! Pass the stinking toilets (very Victorian) and up stairs to a corridor of Victorian bathroom scenes - babies having a bath and being put to bed - again, slowly shuffling as folk stop to take pictures (there is no passing on the corridor - too narrow). Now we enter the games room and "Fantasy Land". Spend £1 to get five old pennies to put into old arcade machines that do not work, or old chocolate machines that are empty but still accept old coins. Rip-Off. We got a pile of old pennies - that was mistake number 2.
The WW1 Trench was a joke. Again, piss poor mannequins dressed in clean uniforms in dimpsy lighting. Shabby stuffed toy rats littered about the attraction. We were told that this attraction was unsuitable for small children, but if they did not pass through the WW1 Trench then they would miss (or not see) half of "Fantasy Land" or some 1950's/60's toys, so they had to pass through - or lose out.
We didn't stop for a tea in the Bygones Cafe, nor peruse the gift shop. We were out within an hour of entering. Ever had the feeling you've been cheated? In the role of entertainments and tourist guide for the South-West of UK (Devon Division) I seriously recommend giving Bygones a miss. File under Bodmin Jail, and Babbacombe Model Village. If stuck, go to Berry Head Visitors Centre in Brixham - we did yesterday and had a whale of a time.

1: Bygones (on a sunny day).
2: Bygones leaflet cover.
3: Total Rip-Off (to the tune of ATV's "Total Switch Off").

Monday, 27 August 2012

Aaron Dilloway #7

If there was such a thing as "Single Of The Year" (like in the old days of Sounds & N.M.E.) then Aaron Dilloway's "Stomach Pump" would be a great contender - if not winner. (Hey this is's not a competition).
I have been listening to Aaron Dilloway releases for about three years now - I know, late again - and I thank whoever it was who turned me onto his sound. I have yet to be disappointed with any of his output and/or live performances. "Stomach Pump" was released earlier this year by the Italian Von label. It is limited to 300 copies only, comes in a gatefold sleeve and is pressed on black vinyl. My copy came poorly packaged in a jiffy bag, no stiffener or protection, just a flimsy over sized jiffy - damaged sleeve but the vinyl is OK. Just mentioned this as a warning to prospective buyers.
Side A kicks off with "Stomach Pump". Raw and loud and sounding like an early Non piece mixed with some Severed Heads. Instant classic. The looping construction, the layering of sound to create the madness is a work of genius. "Stomach Pump" is why I listen to Dilloway. "Convulse Syncope" is pure blitzkreig. A Stuka dive bomb dance track! Crash and burn ending too...Side B starts with "Crow Bar", and it is that this point when I realised I could listen to Aaron Dilloway all day, the EP ends with the shortest piece; "Flash". "Flash" is basic loops, a kind of Aaron Dilloway "unplugged" piece, it is almost like Aaron is saying - here are some loops, help yourself and build a track...I know he is saying that, because I will!

Like all Dilloway releases, this one is essential and I advise to get now whilst Von still have copies to buy.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Modern English

Whatever Happened To ... Modern English.....

In Totnes the other day and managed to get a copy of Modern English's second album "After The Snow" on vinyl. Import copy on Sire Records (not 4AD Records) and still got change from a two pound coin. I left the charity shop a very happy man.
Whatever Happened To ... Modern English ...
They were a great band back at the start of the 1980's. A great band with a great sound. A touch Joy Division, a bit Gang Of Four guitar but the synth/keyboards and bass line lead songs with hook, line and sinker lyrics made them stand out. They released anthemic singles. They were essentially a singles band, beginning in 1979 with "Drowning Man", put out on Limp Records and following up the following year with a debut release for 4AD Records and the superb "Swans On Glass". "Gathering Dust" soon followed, another great song with a powerful intro and sing-a-long chorus. "The pressure's on, no time to lose".
I (somehow) didn't like their first LP "Mesh & Lace", strangely enough there were no singles on the album, a big mistake for a singles band. The opening track "16 days" should have been a single, the song has all the qualities...but perhaps Modern English or 4AD Records weren't pushing for an indie hit at the time(?).
By the time Modern English came round to producing a second album a few "indie / alternative" bands had made roads into hitting the big time. Psychedelic Furs, Simple Minds, Bauhaus, Echo & The Bunnymen, Thompson Twins all spring to mind. They went to record in Rockfield Studios and produced the album to project them into the big time with rock producer Hugh Jones. Strangely enough Clock DVA did the same a year later and although releasing what has become my favourite DVA LP with "Advantage", they kind of plummeted into obscurity for a few years afterwards .. anyway, I digress. "After The Snow" was released in 1982 and was the last half decent record Modern English made. There are three singles on the album, the rest is bland 1970's rock...watery pseudo-folk Cat Stevens out-take type tracks...sad but true, but being a singles band - the three tracks that were 45's shine like diamonds in a (....well you know the rest).
There is "Someone's Calling" with its' jagged guitar and dance-tastic beat and poppy keyboards, followed by "Life In The Gladhouse", one of my all time favourite Modern English tracks. The production is superb and the editing (dropping the instruments in and out) is a little of its' time, kind of "we have the technology and we are going to use it" approach but it has not dated the power of the track. Heavy drums and bass, tweaking and screeching guitar with the hook line "Life In The Gladhouse Is Never Dull". I am sold. The final single off the album opens side two. "I Melt With You" is perhaps their most famous song, being used on adverts - and getting them an appearance on "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch". (Honest)! Eight tracks on the album, five bilge three classics. The Peel Session that was recorded to promote the LP included a track called "Being Peeled" - I have mentioned this track elsewhere, but it is a fine example of DaDaist composition and tape machine foolery...that was one thing Modern English stopped releasing early on - their "experimental moments"..perhaps the B Side to "Gathering Dust", the superbly titled "Tranquility Of A Summer Moment (Vice Versa)" was their final foray.

Whatever Happened To ... Modern English ..
And then they were gone...resettled in USA and signed to TVT Records, and became (to me) equated with the likes of A Flock Of Seagulls and ... well, just A Flock Of Seagulls actually. I never got to see them live at their "indie" height. They played locally supporting Japan, but I just didn't fancy going to see Japan. Wish I had now - but that was thirty years ago.
There is a singles compilation CD album, put out by 4AD Records in 2001 called "Life In The Gladhouse", if you see a copy and like the sound of "post-punk-pre-goth-posi-pop" then I suggest you grab it. I'm happy to have the single tracks on the LP.

1: "After The Snow" LP Sleeve.
2: The first 3 singles. ("Gathering Dust"/"Drowning Man"/"Swans On Glass").

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

MuhMur To Hit The Airwaves!

I have been in negotiations today with Chris & Lucinda from Soundart Radio and MuhMur will hit the airwaves this autumn, with a two hour show on alternate Thursday evenings.
The show will feature in depth profiles (and in some cases ... shallow) of present labels as well as artists, cities and countries - hopefully I'll get some exclusive material and the odd live session in there too., and I'll be digging into my own vault to present a Dieter Muh / IBF / Muhviertel / Carnifex Recordings "special". Also expect some random noises, squeaks and verbal bollocks (all in a Lincolnshire accent).

Soundart Radio is a community radio station set within the grounds of Dartington Hall, a mile or so South of Totnes, and has been operating since 2009. It can be found on the FM band in the Totnes / Torbay area at 102.5FM or via their website at At the moment it is covering sounds from the Totnes Festival. Well worth a listen.

1: Soundart FM postcard.
2: The Soundart FM studio. Lucinda in doorway and Chris in reflective mode, and Oscar of course (in foreground).
3: Relaxing in the grounds of Dartington Hall.

The Vaginal Blockade #2

Just found this set of wonderful pictures floating around the internet ....

Thank You Horsey!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Nocturnal Emissions

Two releases in a very short time from Nocturnal Emissions and both of them recorded live in Germany. Last month saw the release of "Spinal Correction Shred" ( very Fallesque title) a cassette release on the Emissions own Earthly Delights label recorded earlier this year in Berlin and last week saw the release of "Compost" a CDr on the Attenuation Circuit label. A new label to me but I see that they've released stuff by b*tong, Doc War Mirren and Artificial Memory Trace in the past so they may well be worth discovering.
I do like a live Nocturnal Emissions album. My favourite Emissions albums are the live ones, only last month I bought a copy of "Deathday", a cassette Sterile Records put out in 1981 recorded live in Corsham, Wiltshire. "Chaos" and "Befhelsnotstand" are very regular plays here at Hartop Towers. Although (admittedly) the sound of the Emissions (coming through your speakers) has changed since these "classics" were released.

I have always found the work of Nigel Ayers (aka Nocturnal Emissions) fascinating and essential listening, admittedly I haven't liked all of it - with such a canon and arsenal of regular releases I think it is impossible to like everything the Nocturnal Emissions have released. Some of their albums are too personal for me, but recently with "The Quickening" CD and the split release with Wyrm the Emissions are producing an essential sound (again).
Nigel is also a visual artist. Sculptor, collage, photography - so it comes as no surprise that "Compost" is a very visual piece. The first twenty minutes or so are built of short sections, mixed into one piece - delicate electronics - before the sounds drift into one long twenty minute piece that can only be described as "cosmic spaced out psychedelic electronica".
It all begins with found sounds, field recordings, synthesized waves and washes, random pulse patterns laying like a soundtrack to a Nigel Ayers installation or short animation film..before the spaced out electronics begin. Somehow I can imagine the audience all sat with eyes wide shut and listening to their own visuals. The sound is less rhythmic and more "comfortable" than the Berlin performance (recorded about six months apart), but at the moment I am enjoying both equally.

"Compost" was recorded in Augsburg, a great German city and where Dieter Muh recorded "Sutreworde" - the piece that appeared on Side B of "The Call" LP, although I think the venue the Emissions played; Die Ganze Backerei is a little bit different to the one Dieter Muh played; Der Kantine. We (Muh) stayed an extra day in Augsburg because we loved the City's bars so much.
With a live sound that is very similar to Soviet France "Compost" is well worth a listen. Packaged nicely in an A5 slimline plastic case and available for £6 direct from Nigel himself. Buy from or (mainland Europe) from Attenuation Circuit. - they both have paypal.

1: "Compost" album cover.
2: Nocturnal Emissions Augsburg flyer.
3: "Like A Rolling Stone". 2007 photograph by Nigel Ayers.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Trepaneringsritualen #3

I have just spent a pleasant while listening to the cassette album "Septentrional" by Trepaneringsritualen. The cassette was released by Hanson Records back in January 2010, but I've only just managed to find a copy floating about for sale on the Special-Interests forum board. Trepaneringsritualen releases are limited and usually sell out within weeks rather than months ... or years in Dieter Muh's case.
"Septentrional" (which, I think, is the name of the seven stars within The Big Dipper or The Plough) is a tape of two halves. Side A is very reminiscent to the sound of old releases by Side Effekts Records back in the mid 1980's. That is not to say that the sound is dated - au contraire - the sound is very vibrant and fresh, especially to old farts like me who still regularly play old releases on Side Effekts Records from the mid 1980's. It is as if Thomas Ekelund (aka Mr. Trepaneringsritualen) has studied the sound and given it a new lease of life - moving the boundary. "Askr Ok Embla" opens the album with a nod to S.P.K's "Leichenschrei" sound. A pounding slow pulse beat with occasional metal spring resonance, a distorted voice with indecipherable speech. "Den Blodtunga Jorden" follows with the grinding synth pulse of Gerechtigkeits Liga / Hunting Lodge. Punch the air! Hanson Records has become Side Effekts Records. This track leads into "Etern" with its' guttural drone, human voice / gourd? Low moan and drone similar to Lustmord and "Paradise Disowned". Somewhere in this piece is the voice of Crowley (maybe Ezra Pound) reciting poetry, but it is well disguised by distortion.
In writing about previous releases by Trepaneringsritualen I have compared the sound to UK outfit Mazuraan. That thought / comparison returns on Side B. "Maran" is a seven minute piece, a "the beast awakes" type of track that is usual of tapes where the artist/musician(s) have a history of listening to and/or performing "black metal". Back in 1988 I remember (as part of Muhviertel) having an old Dansette record player, sticking a microphone to the front speaker and playing a Venom LP at 16 rpm, then dropping candle wax on the record so the needle hit the wax and jumped back on to the vinyl at random points. Great fun, and some great loops were found ... I do have a tape somewhere ... this all came back to me whilst playing "Maran". Two short pieces finish of Side B. "Vite Krist" has an early Portion Control feel/rhythm and "Adils, Aun Ok Egil" is in a nightmare world or swirling, panning, electronics with a 3/6 pulse and "Golemesque" voices.
Side B is not as enjoyable as Side A, but then again I'm not too certain that it is supposed to be!
"Septentrional" is another classic in the Trepaneringsritualen release cannon - long may it continue.

As mentioned the tape is on the US label Hanson Records, I think it is sold out from source - pressure Aaron to do a second pressing - if you see it for sale .. buy it!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

The Granary Club (The Rock Years)

I have been back in Bristol where I managed to find a secondhand copy of the book; "The Granary Club (The Rock Years 1969-1988)" by Al Read. I love reading books on music, it doesn't matter what style or genre I just love reading about "the industry". At the moment I have just started Clive Selwood's autobiography and have a couple of books lined up for when I have finished that. David Cassidy's (ghost written) autobiography and a book on the NSK by Alexei Monroe. I think you catch my drift.
When I saw this book I opened it and immediately saw the name of A Band Called "O". Now there's a group I had forgotten all about. Their eponymous debut and subsequent album "The Knife" were staple favourites in my record collection 1973-1977! I cannot remember what they sound like (at all), but at the time I was well into stuff like Camel, Greenslade, Judas Priest and Widowmaker so ....
The Granary Club was situated in the heart of Bristol Dockland, now an exclusive apartment block, and back in the sixties it was a swinging jazz club owned by Acker Bilk and his brother Dave. In 1968 it allowed a promotions outfit called Plastic Dog to hire the club out for rock gigs and light shows (light shows were big in the late 1960's) and the whole thing exploded and soon Plastic Dog were operating (sometimes) seven nights a week and running a magazine called "Dog Press".
In the beginning there was ... Griptight Thynn and Stackridge Lemon and other local bands and musicians - such as Keith Tippett before the bigger names came to entertain, names like Caravan, King Crimson, Wishbone Ash and Lincoln's finest The Amazing Blondel. By 1970 the club was well established and the book lists the amount bands got paid. Fascinating. Slade and Curved Air were £50 in 1970, and Gentle Giant were only £30. The aforementioned A Band Called "O" got £80 in 1975 - and £200 a gig by 1977.
By 1975 Trapeze and Trickster were big club favourites (favourites of mine too), but what is interesting is the showing of "New Wave" groups such as Squeeze and Helium Kids (aka XTC). I never realised they were gigging that early. When reading the book I discovered that the owners (not the promoters) were against "punk" bands playing The Granary. They turned down The Sex Pistols in 1977, but did manage The Cortinas in 1976 - playing a benefit gig for Southmead Hospital Intensive Care Unit. Although in the late 1970's the club was promoting heavy rock, pub rock, beer + blooze type stuff a few interesting names slipped through the net. Suburban Studs, Bethnal, Rich Kids, The Yachts...even The Lounge Lizards played for £50 in 1978, but it was mainly the diet of Sassafras, Budgie, Vardis etc. Did Bristol have its' own punk club like Nottingham had Sandpipers and Lincoln had AJ's?

All fascinating stuff and it is written like a diary listing. Sometimes there are memories from the promoters written amongst the listings, and memories from local bands and audience members giving it all a great touch. My one criticism is that the pictures don't match with club nights. Promo pictures of Phil Lynott from 1980 to go with a Thin Lizzy listing from 1975 - this type of thing is rife throughout the book. It should have pictures of the bands / musicians performing at The Granary Club.
Anyway, I learnt a lot from this book, especially about mid 1970's (grass roots) rock and the history of music close to an area where I now live, and that A Band Called "O" came from Jersey (the Channel Isle, not district of New York). It is published by Broadcast Books of Bristol, compiled by Al Read and cost me a fiver.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Dale Cornish

Back into the world of Beartown Records, and the sound of Baraclough member Dale Cornish. Recently Dale has been releasing solo material on labels such as Entr'acte and Beartown Records as well as appearing on Duncan Harrison's excellent "Young Arms" CDr released earlier this year by Chocolate Monk.
I was fortunate enough to receive a jiffy full of Cornish last week and have now started enjoying the contents. "Voluntary Redundancy Salad" is a C35 cassette released last year in an edition of 35 and is long sold out. (Copies may still be available from the artist though). The sound on the tape is more installation than entertainment, the work of an artist rather than a musician, which makes the cassette more document than release. Two pieces. Side A is titled "w6". The background sound is very "Eraserhead". (The soundtrack to which has been re-released yet again, this time as an album in gatefold sleeve with bonus 7" on the Sacred Bones label). The sound is the grey sound of foundries, of steam, of factory bells and distant gongs. The foreground is closely mic'ed movement..uncomfortable shuffling. Side B is titled "w8". Whilst listening to this piece I noted: The sound is of someone shredding a lettuce with elan, whilst next door someone sandpapers the bannister and listens to the album "3R4" (by Gilbert & Lewis) at the wrong speed. That's what it sounds like to me.

I now have the Dale Cornish CD "Glacial" to look forward to, although being on Entr'acte it is in a heat sealed package - the sort I loathe to open, and the Baraclough CD "Hello Animal". If anyone out there has a spare copy of the cassette "Maxi" for sale, please get in touch.

1: "Voluntary Redundancy Salad" cassette cover.
2: Dale.

Etat Brut

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the album "Mutations Et Protheses" by Etat Brut. Originally released as a double cassette back in 1981, the excellent Belgian Sub Rosa label has re-issued it in single vinyl LP format. Precious.
Very little is known about the sound/art project Etat Brut. They seem to have operated between 1980 and 1983 before disappearing. They collaborated with fellow Belgians Club Moral and appeared at the London Equinox Event back in 1983...but other than that information is scarce. Allegedly a duo with both members called Phillipe.
Perhaps it is the association with the Equinox Event that the sound of Etat Brut is thought of as harsh electronics / power electronics etc. "Mutations Et Protheses" album proves this to be far from the truth. The sound has more of a DaDaist approach / feel to it reminding me of early Cabaret Voltaire cassettes and Clock DVA, especially on "Hommes Nus" with its treated vocal, flowing bass, tweaked synthesizers and Dr. Rhythm beat-box.
Most tracks here are constructed from slow bass lines, tape manipulations, factory machinery electronics with repetition and pulsations from a primitive drum machine. The closest Etat Brut come to (what is now known as) power electronics is in the piece "Bande Sonore Du Film Paysage Mental" with a synthesizer being operated like an electrical power drill. This track may or may not contain elements of DDV & AMVK.
"Mutations Et Protheses" is a great example of how experimental electronic music sounded in the late 1970's / early 1980's. Post industrial (certainly) but pre any other categorisation for the experimental electronic genre. The opening track "Informations" sounded remarkably familiar. I don't remember owning any Etat Brut back in their days of operation, perhaps this track appeared on some cassette compilation ... anyone know?
As mentioned earlier - this LP is precious and essential.

Back in the mid 1980's I started collecting releases by the Belgian label Sub Rosa. They started out in 1984 with the excellent "Myths" series. Compilation albums mixing William Burroughs with The Camberwell Now and Eyeless In Gaza and S.P.K. with Hula and General Strike. Then they put out records by William Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge and Test Department, it was a great label to collect. By 1988 I had lost interest in collecting records and such. Poverty, a drug habit and not really hearing what I wanted to listen to all added to my ennui. But now after buying the Sub Rosa CD/Book release by Baudouin De Jaer/Adolf Wolfli I am on their mailing list and salivating over their back catalogue! Their mail order prices are extremely reasonable, and Fred (the guy who runs Sub Rosa) is very friendly.
"Mutations Et Protheses" is available in black or green vinyl and limited to 500 copies. Visit and get a copy!

1: Etat Brut (Brutal State) logo.
2: "Mutations Et Protheses" LP Cover.
3: Picture of Etat Brut from "Force Mental" magazine.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Nowhere Man #2

On a rainy day in August Nowhere Island visited Torquay giving a chance for us citizens to have a look at our homeland. A touching moment for us Nowhereians.

1: The Embassy.
2: The Island.
3: Tamsin reading the Island propositions and adding one about all children to be taught knitting from an early age.

Half An Abortion

I don't think that I would ever buy a release from a project called Half An Abortion, in the valley of shite names Half An Abortion is down there. I feel the same way about Filthy Turd and Mutant Ape, I just can't see me listening to their releases because the name puts me off .. which is a great shame as the Turdster used to be a Cosmonaut who hailed Satan.
Half An Abortion reside in Leeds (rather like Filthy Turd and Mutant Ape ... well...West Yorkshire anyway) and is the solo project of Pete Cann. I have met Pete on a few occasions, first time in Exeter at the Dieter Muh / Silver Apples gig and he is a very decent chap. Decent enough to mail me a copy of his debut cassette "Anarmorphic Household Whelmer" and I am glad he did as otherwise I would never have heard his "sound". Once over the appalling name (I was in a group called Anagram Of Clit back in 1979...soon changed it though. I always think a project should have a name you can say in front of your mother) the tape is not a bad listen, a valiant first effort. Recording wise it has a touch of Duncan Harrison about it. (pink cassette too). The sound is vast, a live recording in an empty cellar with a twenty-foot ceiling.
The whole of side A is a piece called "Unraveller". Eighteen minutes long. Back in the early 1980's Z'ev performed in Derby, he had lots of pieces of metal tied to his body (pots and pans) and they were mic'ed up. The performance was Z'ev throwing himself about the stage .. and this is exactly what the first five minutes or so of "Unraveller" sound like. The vast emptiness of space give the track a dirty sound. Soiled. After the metal shenanigans the sound is of an untuned radio through a varity of effects pedals - frantic dial twiddling. Is this circuit bending noise? A high-pitched frequency noise slam? Has Pete listened to just a tad too much Putrefier?
Two tracks fill up side B. "Bewildered Squire" is a fantastic Yorkshire title. This piece is more abstract, Pete is doing something here ... but I am not quite sure what. Bottles smashed in anger, wood is sawn, metal is scraped and chains are rattled. Chaos in the crawlspace. Contact microphone madness. "A Rough Sunday" is a noise piece. Pure and simple (as Hearsay used to sing).

I am certain there are lots of cassettes like this one floating around the "noise" ether and Troniks Forum Board, and that does not make it a bad release, I enjoyed the first listen. Isabel F. (my three year old daughter) entered the room during the playing of side B and declared "I like noise" with a beaming smile, and I shall play it again...soon. I just hope by the time Pete puts out a second cassette he has changed his mind about the name.
The cassette is pro-duplicated and released on Pete's own Crater Lake label, it's a C40 with cover art by Travis Johnson - he who operates the excellent Ilse label. I'm not giving a contact address - I want interested folk to google "Half An Abortion"!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Nowhere Man

Ich bin ein Nowhereian.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

IBF (Ideas Beyond Filth) #3

As a follow up to the "HuAsh" review, here is a clip of IBF performing a track from the cassette. "Baby" at the YMCA in Lincoln, January 1986. (Yeah, that's me with hair and terrible rhythm). The film was shot by Greg Rorke of Systemlaw Violator.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Victorian Electronics

I equate the Yorkshire label Striate Cortex with Basses Frequences and Apollolaan because they take time and care over their packaging of CDr's, not just putting it between to folded pieces of paper and sticking it in a PVC bag ... no, each release is itself a work of art and for that .. more power to them. The Plurals "Six Eyes" album on Striate Cortex is one of the best packaged releases I have.
So, Striate Cortex have just put out the compilation "Victorian Electronics" to celebrate their fiftieth release, and it is beautifully packaged. Four 3"CDr's in a small box with fold out insert and a small mat with a picture of the night sky over Leeds. The compilation even had a release party in Leeds last Saturday night where all the participants played live...would love to have been there, but this album will have to suffice for us non-driving Southern dwellers.

I have been playing the discs in alphabetical order ... not as listed on the insert. That's just the way I am. Ashtray Navigations provide two pieces. "Day Of Thor" reminds me of Skullflower during their "3rd Gatekeeper" period...but played on toy instruments. There's a lot of treble (where's the beef? I still don't get it)*. "Day Of Thor" is a kraut-rock-wig-out tune that ends on a field of wailing and pounded keys with guitar feedback and amp-noise. Lovely. "Wren Became A Wimpy Bar" starts off all pots and pans percussion, it has an Eastern Mantra feel with the introduction of zithery sitar guitar and shakers. It made me want to dig out my old Eric Random LP's. Admittedly the keys do go a bit "Ray Manzarek" towards the end but it keeps a hypnotic pull. I have mentioned before that I saw and heard Ashtray Navigations about 15 years ago and Phil Todd (head Ashtray) kindly gave me their "Four Raga Moods" album, but I wasn't too impressed so I have not payed too much notice, then last year I saw them live in Cambridge and they damn well blew my socks off ... too late now to start on their vast back catalogue, but I am liking what I am hearing now.
Astral Social Club provide the single piece "Sinister Depilator". Here Neil Campbell is assisted by Foldhead member and Early Hominid Paul Walsh. The track comes straight in - it is a straight jump onto the spinning carousel. A blanket of pulsing drones and wild guitar frenzy (GNP), a fantastic piece that lasts seventeen minutes and fifty four seconds and is worth listening to for the great last four seconds....a masterpiece.
Midwich provide the twenty one minute piece "Verdigris". The green moss like residue that grows on old copper coins and pipes. The piece starts with old pipes, bells, pans and gongs being hit to create a resonance. Resonance and vibrations are throughout this piece, with the introduction of a Casio keyboard drone and phazered pulse. It's not a bad piece, just (to my ears) gets a tad "new-age". The spirit of Ian Boddy.
Playing this album set in alphabetical order leaves Daniel Thomas to last and the strangely titled "Beneath It All, Desire Of Oblivion Runs". Another twenty one minute piece that starts off with tonal frequencies, high running old computer cassettes through a pitchshifter. ("IBM" by Throbbing Gristle) The sound changes into a machine driven guitar loop which changes into muffled lo-fi sub-aqua drone which changes into all gets a little lost and loses its way....Daniel is no journeyman. The weakest of the four 3"'s.

All in all a great release, worthy for the Ashtray Navigations disc alone....ASC + Midwich tracks are bonus. "Victorian Electronics" is limited to 50 copies.

* Bart Simpson quote.

1: The Box.
2: The CDr's.
3: The Insert.

IBF (Ideas Beyond Filth) #2

The other day I received an e -mither from my good friend Tommy in Sweden. He had been out buying stuff and found a secondhand copy of the old IBF cassette "HuAsh". He snapped it up for 50 SEK - about a fiver in English money. A couple of things surprised me here - I am pleasantly surprised that the old IBF releases are still out there, slightly surprised that there are still copies around...after 27 years and a big surprise that the cassette was so bloody cheap! Bargainus.
The cassette was released in autumn of 1985 originally on the Manchester based Carnifex Recordings label but copies were shipped to various other distribution labels and it is my guess that this copy came from Peter Zinken/Bloedvlag Produkt. Unlike today it was general practice to mail a "master" copy to an overseas distro outfit and it was for them to copy the tapes, photo-copy sleeves etc. Supply and demand, so it is hard to say just how many copies are floating about. Today cassette releases are limited to 10, 20, 50 or whatever then withdrawn from circulation. Also back then a tape used to come without labels, just an ordinary TDK, Sony, BASF or whatever - never Memorex! All IBF cassettes through Carnifex Recordings were on TDK AD's. (A by word for quality back in them days). I remember Peter spray painting a lot of IBF tapes.
Anyway, the e-mither made me dig out my copy of "HuAsh" just to hear what Tommy was hearing, 27 years after the release! I remember five or six (great band) years ago ploughing through old IBF tracks to see what could go on the Harbinger Sound 12"EP, but I haven't sat down and listened to much since then. "HuAsh", or "Hammers Used As Hearts" to give the release its' full title was recorded and released in autumn 1985 - where Tim and I were on phase 2 of Ideas Beyond Filth. We had set up a studio in Monks Road, Lincoln using borrowed equipment from John Stafford (TEAC 244), ex-Diet Of Worms member Crabby (Synths & Sequencers) and local band DOD (Effect Pedals and Roland Drumatix). Tim and I had our own guitars, saxophone and shortwave radio. We began what Tim called "A Daily Regime" where we would build tracks in the studio five days a week...nine in the morning until four in the afternoon. Some days were creative - and on others mass ennui was evident. Sometimes Crabby and sometimes DOD member Simon Kane would join in .. but mainly it was just me and Tim. "HuAsh" took about five weeks to create.
Two tracks from the cassette; "Anal Sacs" and "Ka" made it to the Harbinger Sound 12"EP and it is obvious that these tracks are a cut above the rest, mainly due to their improvisatory creation and lack of the Roland Drumatix, the drum machine dates the sound. "Anal Sacs" uses an old "Dr Rhythm" drum machine and is a far superior sound, giving the piece a more "industrial / Cabaret Voltaire" feel. There are three tracks on the cassette - "Rollercoaster", "On:Mission 2" and "Subtle" where the lead sound is the Roland Drumatix and each track falls because of this. Very 1980's! But, we were experimenting, trying to discover a sound and we learnt that drum machine rhythms were out and looping sounds to provide rhythm and/or pulse was the way we wanted to go. The studio had a digital delay ~ joy! There is a great track on there called "Yellow Room" which is all amp noise and percussive chaos - I think it was called "Yellow Room" because we recorded it in the kitchen and the walls were yellow. The track "Coercion" is miss-spelt and became "Cohersion" due to my comprehensive school education, but the biggest embarrassment to me is the track "On:Mission 2". A solo attempt at disco, of funky guitar and slap bass with a lyric paying homage to the antics of Peter Sutcliffe. (Talk about getting it out of your system)!

The cassette has two sleeves, both Tim and I had a go at designing the cover and we couldn't decide on whose fitted the tape more, so we plumped on two covers. Tim wrote the sleeve credits and notes.

As mentioned, the prime tracks appear on the eponymous Harbinger Sound 12"EP that was released in 2009, but if you do see a copy of "HuAsh" about please snap it up and if you don't like it, I'll buy it off you ... it's worth about a fiver.

1: "HuAsh" Sleeve.
2: "HuAsh" Sleeve.
3: "HuAsh" Flyer.
4: "HuAsh" advert for Peter Zinken's "Material" magazine.
5: "A Daily Regime" Live. Ticket for 1986 Lincoln performance.