Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Harbinger Soundclash #2 : De Kreun, Kortrijk. Belgium.

Perhaps the best gig I have been to this century. Harbinger Soundclash #2 took place in the small Belgian town of Kortrijk. Border country. Twelve bands in twelve hours with selected DJ sets thrown in.  The big pull for me was the appearance of The Urinals, the West Coast US punk rockers appearing live in Europe for the first time ever. I know little about them but I really love their "I'm A Bug" single and have done since I first heard it as a spotty teenager back in 1979. They played it live too … along with another familiar "Ack Ack Ack" and played a great instrumental that sounded just like prime Savage Republic. Watching The Urinals made me feel like a teenager again. The Parabelles reduced me to tears with the ūber-friendly disco kitsch. A female duo of Ute Waldhausen and Doreen Kutzke bounced around, waved scarves, hula-hooped and sang songs of love over a thumping disco backbeat..was this performance art? It made me feel immensely joyous and unlike anything I have seen in years, it made me want to dance.
The day was split into two halves, first three hours was open for the more experimental and noise based artists. It was decided (just before the doors were to be opened) that I should be the door man. The chap who zaps the barcoded tickets and puts wrist-tags on the punters…Well, I was there to act as Steve Underwood's glamorous assistant. Luckily the door opened into the performance area so I got to see/hear most of what was going on.
Belgium's own Vortex Campaign opened the proceedings with solid industrial style electronics. Spoils And Relics added more of the same, but this time with more spoken word manipulation amongst the grating and scratching. I was open to Cremation Lily. I have heard a lot of good reports on cassette releases by Cremation Lily in the past year or so. The 7" single on Harbinger Sound is OK perhaps murky in sound and direction, but a vinyl LP on Alter Records and positive words on blogs … Cremation Lily did not disappoint. Grand synth chords, melancholic and polyphonic. Touching Goth almost prog … the sound swamped the venue and swept me off my feet. Beautiful stuff….it did get a bit "shouty shouty" towards the end of the set but that didn't detract. I am now a Creamation Lily convert. Two New Blockaders collaborators were on next. Julian & Durgan and to no surprise the sound was very much … New Blockaders. Loud, multidimensional and studious. The "noisy" part of the soundclash finished with a magnificent set from Treriksrøset. Tommy Carlsson in full offensive (which included the sweatshirt)!

Inbetween acts Joke Lanz and Danny Groflin played punk tunes to drink to. The interval belonged to conceptual artist Alice Kemp. She walked the perimeters of the venue head to toe in soot and mud tapping her stick and spitting teeth. Unsettling.

The evening was the turn of the Roxette. Mark Wynn performing tunes from his last few CDR releases, none of the antagonistic bull he was trying on down the 100 Club a few weeks back. This was "No Fun" for real (no not that one). Mark spent part of his performance on the shoulders of Chris Bress from The Lowest Form - an excellent double act. The Lowest Form were to play along with Junko but due to circumstances they couldn't, so Junko performed solo. It was at this point I was relieved of door duties and like a rescued badger was allowed to go out into the wild and run free. I headed to the fridge with the free beer and food upstairs therefore missing Stormbugs. (I saw their soundcheck).
Sleaford Mods headlined. The best set yet, better than Bristol. This was the first time I have seen Sleaford Mods on foreign soil. The audience listen…and dance. Dance. Not mosh about and push each other and shout the sweary bits back. Sleaford Mods just keep getting better and better - they'll be big one day. Mark my words (whatever happened to Mark Miwurdz)?

I suppose the sheer joy of the event - apart from the performers all giving top performances - was the complete lack of "ego" or "rock-star" attitude. Something that there was a hint of at the 100 Club the other week and was certainly prevalent at the last Harbinger Sound event I worked at … The Broken Flag Festival. There was more of a family atmosphere, no more apparent than at the end of the day - at half past one in the morning when most folk were dancing like twats to DJ Johan Loones and his amazing collection of punk rock sounds. Memories of "dad dancing" with Jase and Durgo to The Cramps (or was it SPK)?? The party went on until 5 in the morning…me…I was like cinderella and in bed by four!
Best gig in years - I haven't laughed so much, danced so much and drank so much in years. It was about half two in the morning and I was at the bar getting the Chimay in when I was told I couldn't have any because we'd drunk the place dry of the stuff. A sense of pride ……

01: Running Order.
02: Arriving in Kortrijk.
03: The Urinals soundcheck.
04: Spoils & Relics soundcheck.
05: Paul Watson texts his agent asking why wasn't he on the bill!
06: Cremation Lily.
07: The Parabelles.
08: Joke Lanz.
09: The Urinals.
10: Mark Wynn.
11: Sleaford Mods.
12: Spoils & Relics discuss dance moves backstage.
13: Harbinger Soundclash poster.
14&15: The morning after….

Friday, 14 November 2014

MuhMur Radio SoundArt Broadcast 13/11/2014.

Some genius, some beauty has plumbed in a working cassette deck to the motherboard at SoundArt Radio studios. I learnt about this a couple of weeks ago so I tentatively put in a couple of "cassette" tracks by Aural Hypnox and Dave Phillips just to see if the machine was quality .. it worked! So, expect more cassette releases being played in the coming weeks.
This programme featured a few artists who will be playing at this weekends "Harbinger Soundclash 2" in Belgium as well as a couple of Psychic TV classics to commemorate the release of "Force The Hand Of Chance" which was released "on this day" in 1982. Eternal thanks to Dave Mutch for engineering duties and eating all the crisps!

01: Closing The Eternity : "Autumn Lights, Cold Decay" (Vegvisir Music) 2014.
02: Aural Hypnox : "Séance II/2014 (March 2014)" (Aural Hypnox) 2014.
03: Phil Julian : "Open Form" (Harbinger Sound) 2014.
04: Yasutoshi Yoshida : "Substance" (Xerxes) 2014.
05: Dave Phillips : "Walk Out" (Aaltra Records) 2014.
06: ZFAMP : "Tri Signan" (Alt. Vinyl) 2014.
07: Moral Holiday : "No Forks" (Smokers Gifts/Memoirs Of An Aesthete) 2013.
08: Blah Blah Blah : "In The Army" (Absurd Records) 1979.
09: Psychic TV : "Themes 1 (Part Two)" (Cold Spring Records) 2011.
10: Psychic TV : "Terminus" (Some Bizarre) 1982.
11: Treriksrøset : "Eating Tarmac" (Segerhuva) 2004.
12: Sleaford Mods : "Double Diamond" (Salon Alter Hammer/Anker) 2014.
13: Mark Wynn : "Tabby Cats Instead" (Not On Label) 2013.
14: Mark Wynn : "She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern" (Not On Label) 2013.

Copy + Paste : http://www.mixcloud.com/muhsteve/muhmur-radio-soundart-broadcast-13112014/

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Turbulent Times @ The 100 Club.

The final weekend in October and I was asked to DJ at a gig festering Consumer Electronics, Sudden Infant, Mark Wynn and Sleaford Mods at The 100 Club in London. Quite an honour … it also gave me the chance of meeting up with my eldest (Huw) who I hadn't seen in about six years ..
It was at the gig I was handed a copy of "Turbulent Times #10" by writer in chief John Eden. A hand with a beaming face shortly behind it came out of the 100 Club darkness and gave me a copy, then retreated back towards the "happening" throng. The magazine became a godsend for the long train journey back the next day.
"Turbulent Times" is not an irreverent read but at the same time it is not "The Wire". #10 centres around the words and works of Simon Morris and Theeeeee Ceramic Hobs, a great interview about the production of the "Spirit World Circle Jerk" album and a supplement tract where Simon explains his feelings towards fascism / anti-fascism in subterranean culture (always interested in this subject as i have been labelled a fascist by a few because of my association with Tesco Org), as well as an attempted interview with a man who walks the streets of Stamford Hill with a swastika sandwich board strapped to his torso - I have seen this man walking the streets myself whenever I have stayed in Stamford Hill … on the way to Stoke Newington but never had the balls to engage with him…
The rest of the magazine made the journey fly by with an insight to the works of Peter Um (who I took a great dislike to when I saw him live in a field in Cambridgeshire four years ago) and Adolf Steg. Two Steg postcards are inside …. There are reviews of live events such as the Extreme Rituals Event that took place in 2012 and words on releases by Re:Clip, Small Cruel Party and Ekoplekz amongst others … a great and easy read that makes the unknown and unheard worth investigating.

The DJ slot at the 100 Club was a great pleasure, spinning the likes of Rema Rema, Steel Leg, Public Image Limited, 999, The Cramps, Animals & Men and Il Y A Volkswagens amongst others … there were times when the needle on one of the turntables took a dislike to the vinyl, but a great lock groove was created and used as a bridge … turntable technique! Thanks to all the folks who wanted to shake hands because I was spinning my favourite tunes. I am available for weddings, birthday partys and house removals.
The gig was quite a classic too with Sudden Infant blowing my mind. I was not expecting the full on tight post punk no wave sound of Sudden Infant. Loud, violent, personal and exotic, a sound and approach I haven't experienced since Swans first made it over to the UK in the early 1980's. Mark Wynn was OK, I have a Cdr of his "songs" but tonight Mark took the stage as an angry young man with a mission to annoy rather than entertain. I don't know what has happened to Consumer Electronics over the past ten years. I saw Phil Best perform as CE in Bristol and Nottingham a few years ago and he was on top form, great sounds built of extreme textures and noise in-depth, but now … with his wife  Sarah and Russel Haswell they have entered the world of the cheap noise act. His set at the Broken Flag Festival in 2012 was laughable, tonight I found the answer to the age old question : is a turd polishable. Sleaford Mods were on form, bitter, frenzied and top entertainment …

01: Turbulent Times Cover
02: Turbulent Times Back Cover.
03: Turbulent Times supplement.
04: Steg Postcard.
05: DJing at The 100 Club.
06: Russel Haswell soundchecks.
07: Mark Wynn prowls the stage.
08: Joke Lanz of Sudden Infant.
09: Sleaford Mods.
10: Backstage with Mark & Joke.
11: Huw admires the Graffiti.