Monday, 30 December 2013
There have been a few great re-issues released this year, Small Cruel Party triple CD set on Harbinger Sound and the box sets of "Rising from The Red Sand" and Un-Kommuniti on Vinyl On Demand, as well as the CDR of Nocturnal Emissions live at Brixton Ritzy Cinema in 1983 on We Can Elude Control spring to mind - and up there with them is "Biohazard/Isolation" by Shame, Exposure.
Shame, Exposure was the project of Port Huron, Michigan musician Paul Steinborn. Paul later went on to join Skott Rusch and Lon C Diehl and form Hunting Lodge. Shame, Exposure only appeared on cassette compilations and one cassette on S/M Operations. This is the S/M Operations tape. I didn't know about Shame, Exposure until seeing the name mentioned in the Hunting Lodge box set booklet that came with "Shadows Out Of Time '82-'83" (Vinyl On Demand). "Biohazard/Isolation" is a C60 cassette split into two halves … "Biohazard" sounds like a live recording. Initial copies of this release did come with a 14 page booklet that probably explained recording spaces and track titles etc … but more on that later … Three pieces on Side A that have the distinct "Hunting Lodge" sound of "Nomad Souls", the seminal LP released by S/M Operations in 1984 and re-issued by Side Effekts a year later. It is mainly in the synthesiser sound and tape splicing technique that this is most evident. Track one has the ghost of "God Loves The Rock Stars" about it whereas track two has the drilling synth, tape cut-ups "In the name of jesus" and metal percussion that was so much the Hunting Lodge sound back in 1984. Four pieces on Side B. The first with clean oscillating frequencies, dark synth waves and cheap beatbox that has a sound of early 1980's Italian DIY cassettes and Broken Flag releases. Track two is a live excerpt of metal percussion and sequencer - plays like a "Nomad Souls" out-take. Two instrumentals finish off the side with the last, a slow funereal paced piece cutting off mid-flow - which is a shame.
A great tape that deserves to be heard - especially if you are an admirer of early 1980's post-industrial sound - Lustmord, Test Department, SPK, Portion Control, Die Form etc. Dark areas are explored here.
But "Heres The Rub" as both Shakespeare and Wishbone Ash once said. Despite being limited to 100 copies and still available at the touch of a button on the Green Record & Tapes web site you will (almost as sure as shit stinks) not get a copy. "Biohazard/Isolation" cassette by Shame, Exposure is a tape I should not own. Released last summer and advertised on the Maniacs Only forum board, I paypal'ed my 18 dollars for a copy (with booklet) but over the coming weeks nothing was sent. So I fired off a few E Mails asking if the tape had been posted etc, but no replies. So approaching cut off time (for getting my dollar back) I gave Green Records & Tapes 24 hours to respond, which they didn't so I filed a claim with PayPal and got my money back. Then came the witless and abusive E Mails from Green Records & Tapes owner, a guy called Knox Mitchell. Knox laid into me with venom, telling me what an annoying fuck I was and that he's been in hospital with a hurt wrist (insert own punchline here) so he couldn't respond to E Mails and I should never have filed a claim with PayPal but seeing that I did he will make sure I never get a copy of the tape or even hear it. Fast Forward to October and I ask my good friend Mark (Idwal Fisher) to buy me a copy, the tape is still for sale and I gathered the wrist of Knox should be on the mend … by the end of November Mark was filing for a PayPal claim as no tape was forthcoming and Knox had not responded to Mark's E Mails. I thought it was time to get in touch with Hunting Lodge and let them know that Knox Mitchell was "ripping off" folk with the attempted sale of the Shame, Exposure cassette. Hunting Lodge were easily contactable via Facebook. Skott was totally unaware of what was happening with the release and was kind enough to mail me one of his artist copies with a copy of the latest Wolf Eyes / Hunting Lodge split live CD! Problem was that the cassette was totally blank. There are possibilities that Knox is just sending out blank tapes. This really pissed Skott so he got in touch with Jeff Chenault (label owner and friend of Hunting Lodge) who mailed me his copy .. which is the copy I have now…the copy in my hands in the photograph above .. the copy I should never own…
It is a great tape, just a shit and a shame it was (un)released by a complete amateur. I posted the fact that I was "ripped off" by Knox Mitchell on the Special Interests forum board and lo and behold out came a few more folk saying this guy had ripped them off over tape & vinyl releases and secondhand effects boxes.
Apparently there are dozens of Shame, Exposure cassettes in Paul Steinborn's possession and hopefully they will be released by some reputable label.
1: Shame, Exposure Cassette.
2: Myself with cassette (photograph especially for Knox)
3: Knox Mitchell
Wednesday, 25 December 2013
Just to let you know that on Sunday January 5 at 13:00 (GMT) I shall be presenting a five hour festive special on SoundArt Radio. (102.5FM / www.soundartradio.org.uk) It is billed as "A Very MuhMur Xmas" on the schedule … so it shall be! The programme will feature exclusive mixes from Column One and Neil Campbell as well as sounds that have come through the doors of Hartop Towers in 2013. I hope you can drop in for a listen ….
Illustration by Steve Underwood.
Thursday, 19 December 2013
The other week I managed to find a copy of Human Trapped Rhythms LP "Falling And Drowning In You". I had been after this slab of vinyl for many many years, and it turned up on Discogs. I have mentioned Human Trapped Rhythms before on this blog. Manchester based project from the mid 1980's run by Pete Elliot. He used to release tapes and (one vinyl) album on his own label - Slip Records. HTR were an extension of Pete's political views, I know Pete through Direct Action Manchester (DAM) and the Hunt Saboteurs of the North-West and various meetings I attended (with my then partner who was part of all this "stuff"), we also popped in on Pete on a few occasions where Pete would play me his Whitehouse and Nurse With Wound rarities. Lovely chap.
The same chap who was selling the HTR was also selling the second and final release by Slip Records. "A Single Stroke" by Blow By Blow. I had to buy. A record that I have only seen adverts for in flyer & poster form. Blow By Blow is the duo Anne Stubbs and Pete Whitedog (AKA Pete Elliot). Anne used to be a hairdresser in Hulme (at the time) living on Charles Barry Crescent just a few doors down from me - recently she appeared on the compilation album "36 Aus 430 Von 30" that Berlin based Edizioni Passarotto put out earlier this year … Pete's whereabouts are unknown.
Blow By Blow are very much of the time. The sound (predominantly a Korg MS20) has the hard electronic rhythms of (say) Portion Control or Esplendor Geometrico but also the synth "pop" sound of (say) Bushido or Attrition. Very very very influenced by SPK. The SPK of "Machine Age Voodoo" and Side B of "Auto Da Fe". I think the term used these days is Cold Wave.
The mini-LP opens with "Blow By Blow" where Anne sings and Pete chants sounds like an SPK out-take. "Your Shoes" is Portion Control lite - I can imagine Dean growling out the vocals. "Fire Flies" sees Anne crooning out some Ballardesque lyrics that evokes Soft Cell. Two tracks on Side 2. "Never The Time" is "Synth-Goth" - again SPK circa "Machine Age Voodoo" or "Gold & Poison". The final piece features HTR vocalist Maria Hycz on harmonies. Electric bongos and flute accompany a choral piece sang in Latin.
The LP was recorded at The Kitchen. The Kitchen was a 16 Track studio situated at 511 Charles Barry Crescent. If memory serves it was owned by the band Dub Sex. I did some recordings there as Muhviertel. The engineer(s) were not set up for "experimental" music at all .. Indie was big in Manchester back then. James, Inca Babies, Edward Barton, Big Flame etc (all big `Hulme Favourites").
It would be nice to know what ever happened to Pete. It would be great to see some HTR / Blow By Blow / Slip Records retrospective (if your reading Frank)...
Wednesday, 18 December 2013
Sunday, 15 December 2013
Last week I bought a copy of the excellent Human Trapped Rhythms album "Drowning And Falling In You", and this made me dig out some old correspondence I had with HTR main man Pete Elliot, also in the box of letters were some old flyers, magazines, posters, stickers etc … here are a selection that made me smile …
01: Pornosect Flyer.
02: Pornosect Postcard.
03: ESP Kinetic Flyer.
04: Bloedvlagprodukt Flyer.
05: Bloedschande Flyer.
06: Idolise magazine Sticker.
07: Jung Analysts Flyer.
08: Bourbonese Qualk Postcard.
09: Bourbonese Qualk Poster.
10: Man's Hate Productions Flyer.
11: Adventures In Reality Promotions Poster.
12: Cause & Effect Catalogue Cover.
13: Slip Records Poster.
14: Bourbonese Qualk Poster.
Hartop Towers is William A Davison central at the moment. Whilst he was in the UK last month playing at the Colours Out Of Space festival in Brighton he mailed a package of his latest releases and now I am slowly devouring and savouring them all. His Six Heads project is a sextet of improvised sounds brought from unconventional places. Last years album "Cardboard Oracle" on Wantage Records & Tapes was a highlight of 2012. 2013 brings "Toothless Pronouncements" a C30 (could be C35) cassette on Readymades Tapes.
Improvised music with six folk … dangerous proposition as each person tries to grab their sound. That doesn't happen with Six Heads. Each piece is allowed to breathe and grow "organically", each listen brings something new to the ear. It's wonderful stuff. Side A is "Harmonica Solo In A Black Bean Sauce/Necretized Organ Favourites. The sounds are built from harmonica and organ, and there are guitars, chains, de-tuned radio and tape splices all in the swill. A great vocal sample loop of : "I know who did it"….."Who did it old lady" ends the piece. Humour is large in the work of William A. Davison either with punnery in the titles or samples. Check out "The Popeye Scat" tape. Side B of this tape brings "Cartoon Crematorium", a ghostly incidental soundtrack with tuneless banjo plucking and a looped back beat. It all ends in a symphony / cacophony of cartoon noises and special effects.
If I did album of the year lists Six Heads "Toothless Propositions" would be on there.
There's no contact for Readymades Tapes but go to www.recordism.com and travel around the world of William A. Davison.
Friday, 13 December 2013
It gives me great pleasure to play the sounds of William A. Davison, mentioned throughout this blog and the last post! Also played a trio of pieces by the recently deceased Aube (Akifumi Nakajima). He died in September this year but news of this is only now appearing on the Internet. Please note the SCKE//. 7" was played at the "wrong" speed, according to Ben of SCKE//, but I disagree .. both sides sound great at 33rpm.
I do not know when the next broadcast will be. The station closes for Xmas and New Year on the 22nd but there still has to be a limit of "live broadcasts" and I have put my name forward so to speak - I have some exclusive Column One & Neil Campbell to share. I shall keep listeners updated via the blog. Last nights show is already uploaded on to MixCloud - fast work…I have just returned from seeing Scooch live in Torquay!
01: Six Heads : "Smaller, Larger, Lighter (Incantation Of The Naugahyde Witch)" (Wantage Records) 2011.
02: Songs Of The New Erotics : "Bobby" (Disembraining Songs) 2006.
03: Gastric Female Reflex : "Untitled #18" (Gold Soundz/Hum Bug/Absurd/Beniffen Editions) 2006.
04: William A. Davison : "New Works Studio" 2005
(Exclusive piece for MuhMur Radio).
05: Aube : "Reminded Elements" (Kaon) 1997.
06: Spoils & Relics : "Sins Of Omission #1" (Harbinger Sound) 2013.
07: John Duncan : "Workboy" (All Questions Music) 1980.
08: SCKE//. : "Ornaments No. 2" (Kiks/Girlfriend) 2012.
09: Aube : "Into Haze" (EE Tapes) 1998.
10: Medium Medium : "Them Or Me" (Apt Records) 1979.
11: Bodychoke : "Suffer" (Freek Records) 1994.
12: Peter Fengler : Deep Cuts & Auditory Matters 2" (De Player/Les Albums Claus) 2011.
13: Dronaement : "Gestern Nacht" (EE Tapes) 1998.
14: Aube : "Untitled (Using Material From Blazen Y Sharp)" (Solipsism) 1997.
01: Showing my Gastric Female Reflex!
02: William A Davison CDR
Monday, 9 December 2013
Above is the link for a podcast on Moscow based radio station IEM. It is operated by Dmitry who also runs the excellent Monochrome Vision label. I am honoured to have an hour programme dedicated to Dieter Muh … I hope you enjoy.
Saturday, 7 December 2013
"Not What I Expected" as the great Crispy Ambulance once said. A new brace of releases from one of the finest Swedish labels, Belaten, included a collaboration project between Joachim Nordwall and Mika Vainio.
I am not that familiar with the work of Mika Vainio, I haven't heard any of his releases in nigh on twenty years. Bits & pieces pop up here and there and I did have a copy of the Panasonic / Alan Vega album on tape, but I wasn't keen. Way back in the 1980's Mika used to correspond with a friend of mine called Dave. They met through the Bill Nelson Fan Club. Dave and Mika swapped cassettes etc, he had a project called Corporate 09, they produced an album on the To The Finland Station label. It was good stuff, then Mika either joined or formed Sahko Records and with Ilpo became Panasonic / Pan Sonic and the rest (as they say) is history. Mika mailed me a copy of his 1994 CD "Metri", minuscule electro glitch stuff..then there was a collaboration with Noto, again sparse and "glitchy". Then Mika and Dave stopped corresponding so I never heard anymore…..
Joachim is an artist I have only been "getting into" recently with his Alvars Orkester and Skull Defekts projects. I have yet to hear something by Joachim I don't like … Well, until this release.
"Monstrance" is a re-issue of a 2013 CD originally put out by Touch. Recorded in one day in a Berlin studio in 2010. To my knowledge this is the second re-issue put out by Belaten, earlier this year came the excellent Sutekh Hexen "Monument Of Decay" double cassette. As mentioned, the sound is not what I expected.
I was expecting electro, sparse dance beats twitching through distortion and loops. Belaten have been releasing some fine electro-pop, dance beat, post punk tapes in the past. The sound of Panasonic meets Alvars Orkester.
Seven tracks that play like sketches, unfinished and in some cases half-hearted ideas. "Alloy Ceremony" kicks off with prepared piano before moving in to a throbbing electric bass guitar pulse and free-form electric guitar that dips and builds on feedback. First impression was of Psychic TV and their "Themes" work but then it didn't do anything…thoughts of Skullflower and Total. Second piece is similar with its' buzz saw tone and guitar feedback. Track three "Midas In Reverse" is made of bells and strings through a multifarious amount of effects in reverse. Fast editing gives it a sound of chance. "Irkutsk" ends side one. I think "Irkutsk" is Scandinavian for "filler".
Side two opens with "Prasedymum". Guitar and vibraphone. (There must've been one hiding in the studio). This is bland. It ends like a track from a Pete Bardens conceptual album from the 1980's. It begged the question - is this experimental "noise" for folk who read The Wire or Mojo magazine? "Promotheium" had to be fast forwarded until it came to a Hammond Organ drone piece with tempered electric guitar feedback.
A release that should never of happened - or maybe have been a CDR that was passed amongst friends … A shame as expectations were aroused. The first glitch in an otherwise outstanding catalogue of releases. (And a reminder why I don't listen to or buy Touch stuff). Also released was a cassette by Johan G. Winther. Yet to play this one…I think there was a Proiect Hat side project called Wintheer - I wonder if they are related?
Monday, 2 December 2013
Have been spending a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Hamburg based sound artist Michael Muennich. "Abbitte" (Atonement to us English speakers) is a C22 cassette released by American label Banned Production.
The last Muennich release, "Zum Geleit" was very elemental, very wide open sound and using the elements to create a magnificent sound-piece, side one of "Abbitte" is more "domestic" and leaning towards musique concret. A few weeks ago I was in the house of Muennich and chatting about recording techniques when the door to his living room closed with a slow "creak" … "I have recorded that" said Michael and then went on to describe other places around the house and appliances that he had sampled and used. I am uncertain to whether or not these recordings are on "Abbitte" side one but the sound is very contact microphone based so I can only guess that I can hear the creaking doors, dripping taps, the rummaging through the sock drawer and sizzling mushrooms. Very much in the realm of Spoils & Relics, Mark Durgan and Column One.
I was expecting the same again for side two, and I would not have been disappointed if that was the case, but side two is a psychedelic looped wall of sound that takes me on a journey and never to the same place twice. Out of the blue and incredibly addictive. Think classic Dilloway and it is not far from…..More of this please Mr. Muennich!
Both sides are 10 minutes and a few seconds a piece. A great release. I have no idea about the limitation but try www.bannedproduction.com or (in Europe) www.fragmentfactory.com and bag a copy. Side two is certainly one of the best sounds I have heard this year.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
After last years superb releases on Tochnit Aleph and Harbinger Sound Records comes this years Vagina Dentata Organ live document release. To celebrate (and document) the VDO performance at the C.I.A. Gallery in Hong Kong earlier this year in July, the Hong Kong based label Ultra Mail Productions have released the 7" single "The Administration Of Physique".
It's a split single with UK performance art troupe New Noveta who also appeared on the evening. New Noveta is Keira Fox & Ellen Freed whose noise is a harsh wall with frantic screaming. Vagina Dentata Organ brings us smashing glass, cello, rhythmic beating of the drums and chaos. The sounds have been edited / compiled by Michael Gillham and mastered by the master, Phil Julian. All pressed on lovely clear vinyl. With the 7" comes a 3" DVD - again a split affair with the New Noveta performance and a documentary of the 2012/2013 actions by Vagina Dentata Organ. The VDO footage is compulsive and beautifully shot in black & white and intense colour. Just a shame it only is 11minutes and 11 seconds long.
Initial copies are available as a lavish gatefold box set that includes a hand numbered & signed "mugshot" by Jordi Valls and a collage of detritus that was collected from the C.I.A. Gallery floor post performance. Both are beautifully housed behind glass, but the box does smell - burnt tyre rubber and industrial glue - I haven't found a decent case to display my copy yet, and every time I want to spin the record or admire the artwork I have to light the incense sticks!
Truly is a great artefact, and only 50 of the box set will see the light of day, I do not know the limited number of just 7"/3" DVD. Worth having. For enquiries try E Mailing Wah Yuen at firstname.lastname@example.org
3: Gatefold Box (open).
5: 7" Single Cover.
6: Gatefold Box (closed).