31 August 2014

ROC is here...

ROC is: Robert Oglivie Crombie; the Royal Observer Corps; the mythical Persian bird (the legend and the cracked eggs of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad); maybe a form of the mysterious Redeeming Our Communities (or a lost cousin); the literary initials of an old friend who dragged around donkeys and threw stones at himself.

All and more. No one seriously believes in accidents in this (acid) house.

It's available here

Here's the opener:


Well, this says it better than I could and echoes many of my thoughts on this album so, in lieu of a simple ditto I'd add simply that these songs are delicate yet driven, heartfelt rather than hearty and, importantly in this instance, kept beautifully simple. Mostly, I'm a fan of excess; I like adding things, my favourite colour is rainbow-coloured (actually, I stole that line from my wife), my favourite sounds are the ones you didn't hear the first time you listened. But this album shows the beauty in minimalism, in the same way Ricardo Villalobos shows the beautiful minimalist heart of techno. It's minimal but it feels like it has to be. This isn't a wistful conceit, it's a complete package, exquisitely wrought.

Consider their version of Died Of Love, for instance. It keeps the same slow-hearted longing for death that I recognise from, say, the Kemper Norton version but manages to bathe it in an altogether different light. The same emotion, rendered from a different consciousness, like the song is acting as an aural Rorschach. I'd suggest the two (three) got together for a Sonny n Cher (of the suicide set? - no, that was Chris and Cosey) style rendition, each playing off the others (The Others), each trying to assert their spin, each digging another layer (or each peeling a skin). I dunno, it sounds cool in my head.

19 August 2014

Vessel - Red Sex

Sounds a bit Orbitally to me...

Found via Include Me Out

14 August 2014

Ian William Craig - A Turn of Breath LP Advertisement (Recital)

Found this via @AxisofElvis , who linked it to this review which also has a link to some more of this boundless, rolling beauty. This is what I mean by benevolent music. Think I might buy this because I'm in need of some benevolence right now... 

13 August 2014

Swans - To Be Kind (w/ Cap'n Dinosaur)

Things need placement, more than ever.

Bought To Be Kind in the ever-lovely Other Music (lovely because both times I've been there the guy behind the counter complemented my t-shirt - NWW a few years back, Spacemen 3 this time and, well, I'm a sucker for flattery). And I waited until I was in NYC because they were from NYC (even if they sound like they ought to be from Nebraska or Michigan - I can't place why) and I have a slight (actually, ever increasing) psycho-geographical fetish for buying records appropriate to cities.

In fact, more or less everything I buy now also has to come with some kind of emotional / geographical marker; the effort of buying, of acceding to the Market, requires an extra dimension; it's not enough to simply have, not now that having is just a matter of buying, not now the finding element is gone. A new kind of kick is required.

I also bought the sea-monkey mental Cap'n Dinosaur comic from a comic store there because I liked the idea of this Ameri-caner REALLY Mad Men book being bought in the States. I'm sure Kek would've sent me a copy if I'd asked but... really not the point. It says $3.99 on the cover, pay that.

Anyway, this isn't really going to be about To Be Kind although I'm listening to it all alone in the house really loud and I have to say it's a work of steel and genius; utterly serious and driven and willing itself onwards. It's their best album and I love lots of their albums. It works with a series of almost familiar motifs: there's long glimpses of the very blacklight of The Doors (I realise that this will put some people off but I don't expect them to care) and it kinda bleeds into a terribly compelling (w)hole, like an extended workout on the theme from the Pink Room scene in Fire Walk With Me.

But, if you need just one reason to buy this then buy it for the bit in Just A Little Boy (for Chester Burnett) where Gira (?) sort of softly screams I'm Not Human over and over again... heard loud, in an empty house, this will drain your cheeks and send you spinning. I haven't been this unnerved by a piece of music since I-

24 July 2014

Two Magicians - Derek and Hazel Sarjeant (Exmoor Song)

A magick sung from Somerset. Yeah, the Current 93 version, but this is the (water) Dog's. Without Tibet, the strangeness seems to seep through the walls of this place; the reflections in the mullioned glasses, the smell of pipe-smoke and smoked bracken. This is embedded folk weirdness that can't be replicated or transformed or accommodated. A little digging on the author from here:
William Sparks (1854-1916) was born and spent all his life in Minehead, at 1 Middle Street, Higher Town. His father John was a blacksmith and William followed in the trade, though he is also said to have rented properties to holiday makers. His song ' The Two Magicians' was the only item Cecil Sharp collected from him, but it was unique in Somerset and rare elsewhere. William became ill 1916 and died in Taunton Hospital.
We need our own Cecil Sharp, travelling the hills and glades of Soundcloud and Bandcamp and Rasperry Pi networked microwebs. Hang on a sec, I'll just get me boots...

23 July 2014

Dyon Anaswa

No reason needed except that celebration is needed here, more than ever. Holy holy holy.

The Upsetters - Dyon Anaswa

Donnie & Joe Emerson - Give Me A Chance

This ebbs & flows & finds an otherness in its very grooves so much so that I thought for ages that this was some kind of Can session outtake; the drums keep everything in a kind of perpetually slow check, as if the other instruments works slide off & start doing unspeakable things in dark corners... That said, this has the essential lightness of touch of Can (a much underrated quality in that band & one massively missed in bands who think they're imitative). This breezes by, flutters across sludge, feels not a million black stars away from the likes of Shuggie Otis circa Ah Uh Mi Hed...

09 July 2014

Judee Sill - The Donor

Because this rises like a hymn to something never there in a way that lots of things only think they do. I've never had any truck with 'authenticity' as a concept or theme or necessary virtue but this is what people mean, I suppose. This is a shattered artist, shattering. 

28 May 2014

25 May 2014

Sinnerman / AB/7A

You come back to this and you stay with it. Not simple, but propulsive. Everyone's heard the abbreviated, House-cat version (a house cat indeed) but not enough (i.e. not everyone) have heard it in its full glory. The message is the medium; these tinkling pianos and drums are just tinkling over 4 or 5 or 6 minutes; they need oscillation time, time to stop you breathing. Some tracks are bigger than others.

In truth, Sinnerman probably needs longer than this 10 min version but this is all we've got (that might not be true). The words need to be leeched out of the rhythms; extension is the primary quality (I think Locke said this first), the duration is its intensity.

25 years ago, a friend of mine, now sadly departed (not shuffled off, never that - roared out into that terrible room next door) made a long long long ('Europe Endless') version of Throbbing Gristle's AB/7A by cutting up and redubbing tape cassettes and it took him ages and we probably only listened to it all the way through once but if you can understand why it was necessary (I hope Chris Carter understands and finishes the job) then you can also understand that Sinnerman isn't the shortened version they use in films and adverts. That song is pretty, can sell scenes and things, can slip itself into the marketplace but isn't Sinnerman. Sinnerman is this.

Nina Simone - Sinnerman

18 May 2014

Current 93 in St John's Church

Well, Current 93 played up the road at Glastonbury and ever since I've been in a wormhole of Coptic optics, spinning back into Tamlins, Faerie Queens / Old Spencer lies, digging deeper into Gnostic philosophy (those guys are bobbing mental) & medieval psychoanalysis. I got seriously into this stuff years ago when I lived in Brighton and just dossed around second hand stores chatting to the owners and finding new places to search for alchymical routes. The gig brought it all back. It worked.

I go in and out of Current 93 obsessions; sometimes whole months go by and I'm just not in the mood for them but, as ever, you see a band live and even some of the minor tracks are bathed in new light. The new piano player is a revelation live and those guys from The Groundhogs rock worlds. Lovely to see David Tibet so in awe of his band, as well. He clearly loves them and they elevate him.

As ever, as Above.


Been really loving this stuff: simple and gently intense, with unsettling 'Children Of The Stones' vocal murmurs that actually unsettle & turn into odd little earwurms when you're not looking. The sound of places that you can only see out of the corner of your eyes. Unheimlich and lovely, all at the same time.

17 May 2014

Tokyo Reverse

TOKYO REVERSE - EXTRACTS #01 from Simon Bouisson on Vimeo.

Such a simple idea, with the right place & pace & at the ideal time.

14 May 2014

Kemialliset Ystävät - Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa (w/ slight detours)

As ever, the proper version of this has already been featured over at Freq but someone might have missed it and this is just...

Love these guys. Just love them. This is a bubbly, ecstatic mess of an album, in every good way. It’s all over the place; a dig around a wet pit of transcendentalism, an overflowing tub of funny jelly.

There’s moments where the Ghost Box almost appears (in fact a few of the melodies resemble the chord progressions and gentle hauntological swotting/swatting of Concretism*) but these moments are always derailed; even the echos and trails at the end of some of the long notes seem full of chattering spirits, laughing gnomes, trillions. Pianos appear, get lost in electrics; odd Wu Tang karate grunts and twitches appear briefly in the background, gulped by trolls; elongated electronic howls jump in and out of mechanical music boxes; these ballerinas are children of the chemical underground, burst knees full of serotonin deposits, spinning like a slow Sufi. Some tracks fall into the imagined genre zone of mediæval electro, others are clearly plainsong for machine elves. Everything in this album gets itself into a right pickle.

I’m struggling with this. It’s not something that lends itself to description. It’s not something that finds itself easily represented. It lies to you and makes you laugh and throws so much at your brain that you need time to pick it apart. It needs unthreading perhaps but for that you’d need a half-decent dose of acid. It reminds me vaguely of being young and playing three Shamen albums at the same time and hoping that the LSD would figure it out for me. Clue: it sometimes did.


...which in turn reminds me of that OH/EX/OH track 'Isolate' where Hal kinda flips into Foucault... and that's another great album which would work great as a comedown to this one; which would be perfect since it is not busy, perfectly so



Jan Anderzén and his group of merry munkins claim to celebrate the “transcendental power of ecstatic music” and in Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa they’ve nailed it. I like a lot of Kemialliset Ystävät’s music but this is perhaps my favourite thing they’ve done; it’s just so joyously unhinged. The press release suggests it’s like an “orgy of light” and it really is; it’s utterly colourful, almost synaesthetic. There’s aspects in this of art being surrendered; you say it was a kind of Pop Art collage, a Rauschenberg/Koons sandwich, if that didn’t sound so lame, so dully reminiscent of all those tape artists from the ’80s. This isn’t The Tape Beatles; this isn’t stealing soundworlds, this is a soundworld. This is playing in a childish way, in the best way. No doubt some of these people can actually, technically play their instruments but this is playing with them.

This is an advert for forgetting musicality and for replacing it with double-dose Ritalin and listening skills...

Like a lot of their stuff, it sounds like the country, feels part of the trees and the landscape but it also careers into the town and the city, and is awash with life and choice and the existential nausea of being. The freedom here is overwhelming; it always wins. Your only option is to hang on for the ride. It’s transcendental in the sense only that there’s always another corner; it’s like a garden of forking paths, if Borges chuffed some happy fungi and found himself inside a Bridgwater fairground (look it up and never, never go). It’s delirious and not afraid to be a little dumb at times; it’s sometimes naïve in its refusal to be accommodated, a refusal to be Boards of Canada (I love BoC but they aren’t this and wouldn’t even think of being this; this would be beyond them).

You’re not going to hear this on a movie soundtrack or a TV show (I would love to see that movie, I’d watch that show). This doesn’t allow itself to be other. It even allows itself to be kind of annoying in parts** but then jumps ship and starts a fight in another direction altogether.

<<<<>>>>>it might be laughing with you<<<<<>>>>

It’s been four years since Kemialliset Ystävät released an album and it is the album we’ve been waiting for. You can now rejoice. Hang on, hang on, hang on.

*who has put together an extraordinary stream and string of classic hauntology but somehow keeps getting overlooked. He needs to put out a definitive double-cd, gatefolded extravaganza soon because he's on the top of his game at the moment but sticking with the sludge of downloads just gets things lost - contrast the actual Ghost Boxers, who have released some great fantastical, stirring stuff and some okay stuff in great fantastical, stirring covers...

**this trait seems rarer and rarer; whole albums seem like they are designed to please, to satisfy, not not go on too long or be too invasive of your energies. Whole albums seem to accept that you'll need to love them instantly or forget them forever; this makes a great baby fuss about needing attention, it being a brat about it even, is challenging you like a rolling 3 yr old to keep focused or it'll roll off a cliff and die.

05 May 2014

Spheres - Kiss me my love

This is like the freaky folk that edged out past the minds of Christina Carter or MV and EE, shot through with odd moments & with an undertone of grainy filth. If the Overlook was a cabin in the woods, on the lost trails.

23 April 2014

Spoek Mathambo - Control

Cheers for this, Justin. Everyone's favourite Joy Division track spooked up and (despite the video) given all kinds of colourcaps. A potential Easter No.1 which just missed by a mile.

19 April 2014

Uschi-No-Michi - Ameratsu (Hacker Farm RMULCH)

This is even better now.

16 April 2014

Fennesz - Paint it Black

It's one of about three Rolling Stones songs I like and doesn't go any of the places you'd expect it to go. Seems respectful and irrevererent at the same time (which feels right for this song, or this kind of canonical murmur) and has a kind of lurching, conjoined-twin groove which keeps it sane.

13 April 2014

Asva / Burning Witch

Mostly, metal acts like an off switch to my Central Nervous System ("Es tanzt das Zet-En-Es,tanzt das Zet-En-Es, tanzt das Zet-En-Es tanzt! etc) but occasionally I dig some out and let it fly. Well, I say fly...

Actually, choosing a drone / sludge / doom supergroup feels wrong now that I think about it. A Partridge choice.

Asva - Caprichos 180

11 April 2014


Lots of the ASC stuff is excellent (full of ravebits & savaged and dried and boned machines and loose wires and broken wheels / wheals) but this one is like you're dying and falling off the edge of consciousness and wondering where the buggery all these bunnies came from.

10 April 2014

Farmers' Markets / Hacker Farm / Boreddrillard

Well it was a little mini apology on the endnotes of an article on Spring Breakers that appeared on the comments of this via the increasingly filmic Reykjavik Sex Farm that got me thinking...

Certainly the term "Farmers' Markets'" and their associated direfolk - the Mumfords, the AlexBlurs - has now become an dreary code for a new form of hatred; the one shared by Hipsters, the accepted one and, until fairly recently, this seemed odd for someone living in a rural(ish) location, surrounded by ACTUAL EXISTING FARMS (TM) on all sides, for a number of reasons:

1) farmers' markets as I knew them were scruffy, broken affairs, punctuated by people who couldn't spell or count with frightening 'Burt Reynolds and Jon Voight in a canoe' expressions...

2) they were cheap ways to buy vegetables

3) chilli-jam was sold, but only to those who's taste buds had been blasted with cigarettes and

4) they mostly just sold very cheap scrumpy and, er, calvados, which flipped yer eyes inside yer head (and which was probably just cast-offs and bad pints from the Babycham orchards)

Now the irony, of course, is that even these farmers' markets are starting to become "Farmers' Markets" and this seems almost too Baudrillardian to be true. A quick look at some of the prices in a market I used to go to all the time because it was cheap and you can settle on the terrible inexorable march of progress capitalism - now dirt on carrots signifies 'authenticity' (as, indeed does the term Earth itself, which seems to have nothing to do with earth), now the distortions in shape are Art, and Art is anything structured to not look like Art.

Digital tics are bonfires, of course. We all fall for it. IX Tab crackles are fire crackles AND sampled fire crackles. There's a Merry Go Round that you can't get off because it refuses to accept it exists at all.

Once the last ACTUAL EXISTING FARM has been flooded out the market (replaced by a Bangkok style floating market - *quick clap* how niche!) the simulacrum will have taken over entirely and places like Somerset will themselves be flipped over into a Hyper West Land, perhaps even using and accommodating IX Tab and Hacker Farm et al as a new sign of the Old-E West.

It's exhausting keeping behind the game.

06 April 2014

Spring Breakers

The really odd thing about this minor dayglo, dangling little softporn is how lacking in excess it is. It seems to be about excess - spring break foreva, an endless mantra, a slow-witted prayer - but continually shies away; this is less excessive than the computer games that inspire the girls, wrench their volition, besmirch them. There's almost a scary lack of sex itself; it feels like the end of the world because no one is actually bothering to abandon themselves in coitus.

When Alien and the girls say "I think I might love you" or whatever this isn't just a qualifier; they genuinely have no way of knowing...

This is about articulating the (deliberately, motivated) inarticulate and laughs at and with gangsta culture (and reminds us that the difference between Scarface and, say Goodfellas or The Corleones was culture itself), thus having its cake (Cake) and eating it.

The non DUB dubstep of Skrillex, with its pastel whoops, it's attenuations, it's breakdown down downs is apt.

It feels like a baby Noe film (a No! film). It looks like one, wants to be a bigger picture. It could be as desolate as that, you sense it wants to lose itself in the neon (it almost does; it's beautifully photographed) but whereas Gaspar Noe drags us slowly into black-light (and no one watches his movies twice, surely?) Spring Breakers feels itself sucked back towards the whirlpool of breast-indifference where Piranha 3DD et al (and before that Girls Gone Bad trailer trash) dwell and decides the only way is to dissolve the tragic logic in time, to fracture the relentless drive towards gamifying life into distinct chunks, glimpsed like a trailer.

If this was a trailer, or a collection of out-takes on the 2 disc collectors edition, you might not notice and this is ostensibly its Art and its commentary; the fragments are real, that is how time is. This is ADHD slowed down on Ritalin (that old paradox - speed making everything slower). It's a slow slap in the face, a wake-up call to no one at all.

An email isn't a communication; it's someone shouting alone in a room.

The girls look beautiful, of course and they spend the entire film in bikinis, which are beacons, which are strip lights. I'm not sure how anyone BUT me is supposed to feel about this. This feels like the film maker is my age (he is). This is for me and against me. I wish their African American lecturer had chased them to Florida, harangued them in situ, understood what it was that He and they were up against. I wish he'd turned into Travis (Bickle, though the Scottish Brit band would have been even better) instead of them. This film didn't need these avenging angels. Their vengeance is lost, is trickling, is already apparent. There doesn't need to be realisation. The real isn't needed at all.

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