Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Dieter Muh #16

It was after reading the Idwal Fisher blogspot review of Hyster Tapes where he mentions the Hyster Tapes release "Doin' It Dresden Style" by Dieter Muh as a top notch Muh release that I thought I must dig that tape out and give it a listen.
I think it was circumstances of memory that never fully made me enjoy the recording / release but now 11 years after I felt brave enough to slip the recording (I have a CDR of the evening) into the hi-fi, turn it up to eleven and give it an ear or two.

The story (if there is one) of the evening is very hard to tell. Mainly because there are four protagonists involved and two of those no longer speak to me, so it would be a tad unfair of me to relate the whole story.
Dresden AZ Conni was to be gig number seven of a 12 date European tour organised by myself and Steve Underwood featuring Dieter Muh & Putrefier, it ended up being gig number three of a 4 date tour that could have been 5, but we gave Belgium a wide berth and headed back home to England! Not my idea at the time...but like I mentioned I will not go into the whole story.
It was back in late 1999 that Steve and myself cooked up a plan for Dieter Muh and Putrefier to take Scandinavia & Mainland Europe by storm...Steve's theory that Putrefier didn't have a "European Market", but with Dieter Muh we could give Mark an audience. We organised the tour via Fax and letters - this was all pre-E Mails, mobile phone texting and Internet Forums. Old School.
Before Dresden we had spent three days and nights in Berlin. Previously to Berlin we had spent two days travelling from Eastern Finland, through Sweden by train to get to Germany's capital. Two sleepless nights with Steve on the top of a cruise-liner (between Helsinki + Stockholm) and in a train carriage sat shoulder to shoulder with the unarmed faction of the Mujaheddin (between Stockholm + Malmo) whilst the other two found comfortable sleeping accommodation. (It was on this particular train journey that I discovered that Steve knows the catalogue number for every Small Wonder Records release and what is written in the run out groove of every Small Wonder record...it was a long 8 hours). In Berlin we were the guests of Daniel Lowenbruck and Jurgen Eckloff and sleeping on a floor. (I am not complaining here .. I was 100% as happy as a pig in shit)!

So. Dresden. The gig was organised by Markus Koehring (I think that is a correct spelling). I was very excited by the venue, both Troum and Soviet France had played there. The venue itself was a little like the 1in12 Club in Bradford. Live venue, meeting place, restaurant, bar, left-wing / anarchist bookshop all included and the venue came with the added bonus of having a room for bands to stay over so for the first time in five days...I had a bed! There was a shower and washing machine, it was nirvana. We arrived two days before the gig and spent most of the time drinking. Our appearance coincided with the Dresden Beer Festival, either immaculate or bad timing. The weather was glorious and the venue had a garden where we could smoke, drink and relax, and relax we did. It is strange that I was the only one to bring along a camera (which was on its' last legs and taking shitty blurry pictures) to document the tour - most of the tour was documented on my dictaphone. I still have the tapes and Mark Durgan doing his impressions of John Cleese and (especially) Ronnie Corbett in the AZ Conni garden. They always raise a titter. But to the gig - was it any good? After a first play in bloody years I can only agree with Idwal Fisher that "Doin' It Dresden Style" is one of Muhs' better releases.

French artist Ultra Milkmaids were added to the evening. Excellent line-up.

Dresden performance holds bad memories for me because it was the gig where I found out that 50% of my equipment had broken. My CD Player and Effects Box. I still had a tape machine, CD Player and mini-mixer to work with...but not really what I wanted. Bummer. I had to share effects with Dave through his mixing desk. Our set was mixed live by Y:Ann of Ultra Milkmaids and witnessed by around 15 people. After our last gig (in Mantsala, Finland with STROM e.c. and Grunt) we decided to be more "ambient" and did a 40 minute "improvised" set. It all begins very quietly with shortwave radio and tapes. I left a microphone at the front of the stage to pick up conversation from the audience before Dave attacked with a metallic rhythm and we both played with white noise. After 15 minutes we performed "Sea Sick With Sand", an old piece from the mid 1980's, with myself just adding minimal voice loops. Then Dave brought in an electronic pattern of random bleeps and waves - a sound sample of medical equipment / devices he had lifted from either "New York Ripper" or "Cannibal Ferox", he was mutating the sound through a multitude of effects..I tried adding some untreated voice but it wasn't working so I left it all alone. 25 minutes in and we do a live version of "Dumhome" from the "Eponymous" album (on Naninani Records). I found myself doing some strange Q+A type noise bursts against Dave's constructing until he cut all sound to play the sample; "you play with yourself, you play with yourself and then suddenly come". I fucked up big time here and so pissed off was I...I walked off stage to stand at the back. It was a break in the rhythm we had agreed on, but I messed it up. DAMN. Steve Underwood convinced me to go back and carry on but Dave was building a cacophony and it all ended with Dave declaring; "I like sex, I really do like sex and no man can please me".
It truly is a great journey and a listen I had not enjoyed before. Memory has obviously healed.
Mark played a blinder too, jumping on members of the audience who were sat (comfortably) on a leather sofa in front of the stage. I don't remember much of the Ultra Milkmaids set, I was most likely sat out in the garden smoking fags and drinking beer. He did have a bunk underneath Dave for which (if he is reading this) I belatedly apologise.
The next day we headed for Leipzig and gig number 4 of the tour......

1: The AZ CONNI, Dresden.
2: Gig flyer.
3: "Doin' It Dresden Style". Myself, Mark Durgan + Dave Uden in a Dresden bar.
4: Markus.
5: Dave relaxing in the AZ CONNI garden.
6: "Terminal" listings magazine that promoted the gig.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Force Mental : rvstd

If the gimp room in Hartop Towers had a coffee table then this book would take pride of place. A collection of Force Mental magazines from 1982 through to 2005 all in one book. I was surprised the magazine ran up to 2005, but there y'go.
Force Mental "rvstd" provides as document the works of mail artists, performance artists, aktionists, literary terrorists, noise musicians and avant-garde thinkers for this 23 year period. Fascinating stuff. Groups and artists from my distant memory keep popping up (such as Seven Horns Da Ho and Ashenden) along with a couple of issues I remember because I used to own them. (Bought from Birthbiter). The works of Club Moral (naturally) feature as well as Produktion Hair, Con-Dom, Whitehouse, Victor/im, Coup De Grace, Metgumnerbone, Bourbonese Qualk, Giancarlo Toniutti - it's a veritable mine of fascination + information...great to dip into whilst spinning the discs / rolling the decks etc.
Produced by Club Moral and available from www.clubmoral.com. As essential as ALAP!

Now has anybody thought of compiling old issues of "Just Glittering" & "Idwal Fisher" into one hefty tome? I'd buy it.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Astral Social Club #4

On Monday a package arrived from darkest Mirfield, or Wakefield 14 as I like to call it, and its contents have not been out of the hi-fi system since.
I was reading the blog of Idwal Fisher at the weekend (for those not aware of the work and writing of Idwal please go to www.idwalfisher.blogspot.com) where he mentioned the releases of Hyster Tapes and how he loves it when artists release what is probably their best material on independent labels and in very limited quantities. He brought up Dieter Muh's "Doin' It Dresden Style" tape which was limited to 50 copies and Hyster Tapes first release. I agree with Idwal - about the fine gems being released and almost immediately destined for the obscurity vaults not about "Doin' It Dresden Style" being one of my "better" releases...good, but there is better. (It serves nice as document). Last year Astral Social Club released the C30 cassette "Capitals Collapsed" on the American Neon Blossom label. Limited to 50 copies it is one of my favourite ASC releases and certainly one of his best.
This month sees the release of "Ach/Och" a C30 cassette on the (I imagine) Astral Social Club label. Packaged like a 7" single, there is no catalogue number - there is no information. (A trend I hope soon to end)! Produced to be sold at some upcoming Astral Social Club live shows, but also available through the ASC web page - http://astralsocialclub.wordpress.com/ - priced at £3.00.
"Ach" is a 15 minute piece that cuts straight in - very fast, highly rhythmic and pulsalamic (I just made that word up) it sounds like Eddie "Fingers" Froese, Focus and Didier Marouani all cut up and spliced through various effects before a Chris Carter sequencer takes over and independent head movement becomes a must. Fine Astral Social Club. "Och" has more of an easy listening "vibe" to it - maybe Neil is sampling James Last or Walter Carlos? Moments remind me of Putrefier circa "Simulated Vapours".
This tape (or Cassingle as Neil calls it) is limited to 37 only. Buy now to avoid disappointment.

Also in the package was the CD "Your Song, My Foot" where artists such as Steve Roden, Doo-Dooettes, If. Bwana, Volcano & The Bear, Jowe Head and Astral Social Club amongst others cover songs they loved in their youth. It is an amazing album. Steve Roden performing Bauhaus's "Bela Lugosi's Dead" on banjo, and Volcano & The Bear producing a nightmare out of Ultravox's "Vienna" are compulsive as they are works of bloody genius. I don't think I can listen to Bauhaus's original again. Simon Joyner sings "After The Gold Rush" with such passion and heart it supercedes the original like Devo did to the Stone's "Satisfaction". Astral Social Club provide a Dead C song called "Sky", but I am none the wiser being a Dead C virgin. Ashtray Navigation's "Ride A White Swan" that follows though is another gem! To own a copy of (probably) the best (album) release of the year so far go to www.wfmu.org

1: "Ach/Och" Sleeve.
2: "Ach/Och" Reverse Sleeve.
3: "Your Song, My Foot" CD Sleeve.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Treasured Tape #3

A treasured tape, one which plays beautifully and holds great memories, the compilation "Porterhouse Blues" (compiled by Tim Bayes) is one such tape.
(The Porterhouse in Retford (or East Retford as it was usually listed in the music press) was a favourite venue of mine back in the late 1970's - early 1980's. Retford is a small market town on the Nottinghamshire / Lincolnshire border).

The end of last week and I was getting retro with my listening, I was finishing the book "This Is My Generation" by Tony Beesley, the third and final book in his trilogy about his pre-teen & teenage life in South Yorkshire in the late 1970's - early 1980's. It is not that good a book actually, the first was OK albeit badly composed, the second is about a couple of venues in South Yorkshire and the writing / experiences are of folk older than Tony so it taps more in to my own recollections. I wasn't going to bother with the third book as it covers Tonys life as a mod and that doesn't interest me but I was offered it cheap by the author as thanks for mentioning the first two volumes on this blog. (Phew)!
As the book traipses into the 1980's the venue Retford Porterhouse gets a few mentions. It was a classy venue known locally as "The Slaughterhouse". I dug out the first LP by Dead Fingers Talk and the second LP by The Cure and then remembered this cassette.
The compiler and maker of this tape was an arch tape bootlegger in the day.
Apart from Punishment Of Luxury and Soft Cell I have seen all the bands on the tape live and quite a few of them at The Porterhouse. TDK as Memory. The first time I went there was as part of the band Collide, I had arranged a support slot with The Fall on their "Dragnet" tour. DAF had backed out and they were using local bands as support - I got the call from Kay Carroll.
I think this was Autumn 1979. Whilst Collide were sound checking (I was their "roadie" and newly promoted "agent") I wandered around the venue. The live bands played at the top whilst there was a mezzanine level where DJ's spun chart hits of the day - on the night I was there, new radio 1 DJ Steve Wright was spinning the discs. The Porterhouse had a capacity for about 200, walls were black, small stage that measured about ten feet by four and a six foot ceiling. It was superb! Small, dark, sweaty and always (because of the "straights" disco downstairs) with an aroma of violence.
The tape begins with The Slits in 1978, I have a feeling this is from the Slits/Rich Kids tour, I saw the show in Lincoln. Ari Up complaining about the spit. The sound quality is negotiable but I can put up with badly recorded history! The Punishment Of Luxury track is the opener from their set and is the first gig with Malla Cabbala on guitar. Somewhere in Hartop Towers I have this full gig on tape. The Crispy Ambulance track is a corker and a great sing-a-long. This was my second visit to the Porterhouse. The Crispies were supporting New Order. I was never a big "fan" of New Order in the early 1980's but they always had great support like Minny Pops or Section 25 or A Certain Ratio...hence I saw them a few times. "Power, Corruption And Lies" was the end of our relationship though. The Cramps came to Retford on their "Psychedelic Jungle" tour. Lux at the Porterhouse with The Wrecking Crew brought by their support; The Meteors. I remember being shit scared, same with Fad Gadget and The Birthday Party at the Porterhouse. That is one thing I miss about gigs nowadays, the feeling of being shit scared about what was going to happen. Not the violence brought on by a few twats or skinheads (same thing) in the audience but by what the band were going to do. I have done a few gigs (as Dieter Muh) where I have handed my guitar to folk or simply launched it across the venue just to jolt the audience and remove them from their "comfort zone".
Bill Nelson was a strange gig, previewing his Red Noise material the audience was mainly mulleted rockers shouting "Wally" and "C'Mon Billy...Show Us Yer Willy". The support was the West Yorkshire Actors performing "The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari" - in the Porterhouse!!
23 Skidoo performing a mixture of "Seven Songs" and "Tearing Up The Plans" was probably the best gig I saw at the Porterhouse. Films by TG and Dave Tibet on live mix and trumpet.
By the time I start side two I was going to gigs with Tim Bayes, he had a lovely green Ford Capri. "Thirst" on the car stereo cruising shotgun down the A57, Sean and Bernie in the back seat with the pennies ready for Dunham Bridge toll...ahh the memories. One thing that is noticeable (on side two) is my voice. At the end of most tracks it has me (as I was usually stood next to Tim) clapping and shouting out my fathers name. My father is called Rae.
The tape ends with "Where Were You" by The Mekons. The 7" version (not live)...I never saw The Mekons live - saw The Three Johns loads of bloody times though! This could be the greatest single ever put to vinyl and played loud reduces me to tears (even when sober).

"Porterhouse Blues" as I amusingly christened the tape (amusing to me anyway) is a treasured tape.
Tim also compiled a cassette of live recordings from Nottingham Rock City, I'll have to dig that out now...I think Matt Fretton is on there.

1: The Retford Porterhouse in 2011.
2+3: Cassette Sleeve.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release by German project Erdlicht (Earthshine in English). "Urlicht~Erster Kreis" ("Primordial~First Circle"), a limited to 120 copies CDr on Russian based label UFA Muzak.
Erdlicht is one of a number of projects from German artist Mario Lohr. Mario also operates the label Licht Und Stahl and records as N.Strahl.N and Strahlenzentrum. "Urlicht" is a sort of story so far release as it comprises the 2009 album "Morgenrothe/Abendroth" and the 2009 mini-album "Erstes Licht" (which I have and love).
The album kicks off with two unreleased tracks recorded in 2009 and dedicated to Miguel Serrano. I am afraid I had to "google" Miguel to find out he was a Chilean philosopher and author and founder of "Esoteric Hitlerism". Interesting. "Mittnachtsrosr 1" is a heavily synthesized anthemic / nationalistic / militaristic piece. Think (early) Laibach. "Mittnachtsrosr 2" is more minimalistic with a random sequenced frequency creating a rhythm with a harmonious drone. This track builds and drifts and had me thinking (to myself) "This is bloody good music"! "Ertstes Licht" is organ drone is soundtrack music. Points of reference: Philip Glass, Tangerine Dream, John Carpenter..they are all in there. "Die Wilde Jagd" carries on in the same vein, with some excellent looped acoustic guitar coming in the mix...reminded me of Nocturnal Emissions "Stoneface" recordings.
The "Morgenrothe/Abendrothe" tracks could be classified as "Dark Ambient". A journey into subterranean "other" worlds. (A)tonal frequencies meet with bowed and bashed cymbals, small irritable noises creek in stereo, it has the same approach / feel as Lustmord's 1992 album "The Monstrous Soul", it is all very slow, heavy and sonambulistic but then by track 9 and 10 it all gets a bit lost, directionless and kinds of fizzles out into a nothing which is a great shame for an album with such a promising start.

The CDr is luxurious packaged with gatefold sleeve and postcards with pictures of naked ladies taken from a 1950's German edition of "H+E" or stills from a Harrison Marks film. The artwork / packaging bears no resemblance to the sound contained (apart from track 1...maybe), that and the dedication might deter some and disappoint others. A worthy listen though and ideal soundtrack for reading.

1: "Urlicht" Sleeve.
2: "Urlicht" Inner Sleeve artwork.
3: "Urlicht" Sleeve (reverse).

Secondhand Record Shops. #11. Liskeard

"Crossing the border...Changing the menu". (Dome)

The joy of travelling across into Cornwall from Torbay is the chance to cross the River Tamar, either by the ferry at Tor Point or across Brunel's Tamar Bridge, it is a joy. First stop out of Plymouth along the A38 is Liskeard, a small mining / market town with a handful of charity shops, a lovely little licenced cafe called the Fat Frog that does all-day veggie breakfasts and one and a bit secondhand vinyl shops. I say one and a bit because "Dave's Music" on Lower Lux Street isn't really a vinyl shop. Dave sells guitars and amps and plectrums and stuff, and has got so many records he has decorated the wall of his shop with them. Some are for sale if you offer a price (the guy is saving up to move to France) but all I could see was Def Leppard, Anthrax and Iron Maiden picture discs, the Lynyrd Skynyrd LP "Street Survivors" and a picture sleeve copy of Eddie & The Hot Rods "Wooly Bully" 7". Dave is a chatty chap and recommended a visit to "Taurus Vinyl" on Fore Street. The shop sign reads "Taurus Books" but upstairs is the vinyl shop with thousands of records all in boxes, on shelves, on tables, under tables and on the floor. An Aladdin's Cave. All well and good, but the owner has only categorized the "Easy Listening" and "Film/TV Soundtrack" albums and then seemingly got bored - some are alphabetically boxed, but not all. To go through all the vinyl here would take hours! Bonus...all 7"'s are 50p, all 12"'s/LP's are a pound. I bought a copy of Lithops "Uni Umit" 12" on Sonig.

Also went into a junk shop selling furniture, pictures, household items, books, stuffed tigers - house clearance type of thing and bought a mint copy of "Mondo Cane" by Riz Ortolani & Nino Oliviero on United Artists for a pound. Bargain.
If heading South, Liskeard is worth an hour of your time.

1: Dave's Music.
2: Taurus Books with Taurus Vinyl (the window upstairs). Proprietor hovering just inside doorway to get into camera shot!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Schuster #3

Just found this visual for "Bound By Time" by Schuster.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Fragment Factory #2

Last month saw the debut release from Muennich, a beautifully crafted cassette called "Rugged" on the Hamburg based Fragment Factory label. Muennich being the solo sound project of label MD Michael Muennich. This month sees the second release from Muennich, the 7" "Der Arbeiter Von Wein" a stark contrast in sound and approach from the cassette, but still as beautiful.
"Der Abeiter Von Wein" is a collaboration with GX Jupitter-Larsen, a US noisician / artist who needs no introduction here. The sound is pure "Power Electronics". Old analog synthesizer sounds rumble and tweet through a variety of sonic distorto effects whilst an angry voice venomously spits out the lyrics to an old socialist battle poem from 1920 calling for the workers of Vienna to unite against their oppressors. It is stirring stuff, very "old school" and very European. Straight away I was put in mind the works of Con-Dom, Consumer Electronics and Genocide Organ. I even dug out an old 7" I hadn't played in years; "Autoficial" on Noisopoly (GX Jupitter-Larsen's own label) to hear the sound of The Haters and Con-Dom of old. The single is from 1996 and for the first time I noticed that Con-Dom were miss-spelt on the sleeve!
If (like me) you love the sound of harsh electronics or power electronics (of old) then this slice of vinyl is a must have. Limited to 250 copies (125 on Red / 125 on Black Vinyl) and available from:
Michael at www.fragmentfactory.com- there y'go...no excuses.
I am now interested to hear what sound Muennich will create next after two really strong releases as an opening salvo.

1: Fragment Factory address.
2: "Der Abeiter Von Wein" 7" Sleeve.
3: Red Vinyl copy.
4: "Autoficial" sleeve with spelling mistake.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Ball, Bat & Wicket.

And now the month of May is upon us so the (English) cricket season has begun. Between now and October weekends will be filled (when time is available) travelling around Devon finding small villages where The Erratics will be playing. The Erratics are an Exeter based cricket team for whom both I and the wife have played for in the past. Tamsin's Dad, Bill, was also an Erratic for over 30 years. The Erratics are not a league team, just a band of strolling minstrels who'll give anyone a friendly when they've no match to play.
It's great fun and a great way to discover Devon. So far this month I have been to 3 matches and discovered the delights of the Tamar Ferry going over to Tor Point and a couple of games at Lower Netherton - home ground of Stoke-In-Teignhead and the lovely pub "The Wild Goose".

Both Tamsin and I come from "cricketing families". From birth to mid-teen I used to spend summer Sundays watching my Dad play for Lincoln based team Hartsholme. Mum doing the teas whilst me and a few "sons of cricketers" went exploring around Hartsholme Park and the surrounds. Cleethorpes was a great away match because we got to go to the beach and the zoo!
It was at the pavilion I discovered the delights of stout and a strange alcoholic drink called "Pony" - a bit like Babycham as I remember, so Tamsin and I are passing on our family traditions to Oscar and Isabel F.

1: Isabel Frances on the Tamar Ferry, Plymouth.
2: Oscar at Defiance Field, Tor Point.
3: Tamsin and Oscar in the nets at Lower Netherton.
4: The Erratics batting against Stoke-In-Teignhead. 14/05/11. (A38 and Dartmoor in the distance).

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Hex n' Her

I got a nice package through from Brave Mysteries the Wisconsin (USA) based label this week. I must comment on the speed with which they mail their stuff out, it is very impressive, if the jiffy bag didn't have a postal mark saying Wisconsin USA on it I'd've thought it was posted within the UK..it was that quick!
At the start of the year I bought a few releases by Burial Hex, some CDr's and tapes that were going cheap in the January sales and I must admit to being a tad disappointed with some of the sounds. The two CDr's on Skulls Of Heaven ("MaHaBoNe" & "In Girum Innus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni") were not a scratch on the stuff I was getting throughout 2010. Strangely enough the most pleasurable release was a tape on the UK label Turgid Animal ("Blood Between Her Lakes"), I say strangely because I relate the Turgid Animal output with cheap noise stuff. Put my hands up - I was wrong. Anyway, I was kindly sent the cassette "A Night With Two Moons" (Aurora Borealis:ABc02) and it restored my interest in the works of Clay Ruby. "A Night" plays like the soundtrack to a silent movie. Huge organ / Wurlitzer sound. I have not heard anything like it before. I listen and marvel. Last year Brave Mysteries released the Burial Hex cassette "Fantasma Di Perarolo"; a recording of a live performance on church organ recorded in Italy, the "Two Moons" cassette is similar - not the same...it is more frantic - but similar. "Haxan:Witchcraft Throughout The Ages", "A Night With Two Moons" would make an ideal soundtrack. So when the Troniks board advertised a new Burial Hex release, the tape became a must.
"Eschatology 1" (Brave Mysteries:CQBL 016) is a C60 limited to 100 copies. It is a tape of two halves with Side A: "Twilight Visitors" sounding very much like an old Nekrophile release in parts. Heavy echo effected electronics inter-twined with piano and percussion. It sounds like a live recording, if not then recorded primitively. I could be wrong! Whilst playing the track (at work) today a courier from DPD told me that it sounded like early Pink Floyd. Side B: "Book Of Delusions (St. Hilary's Day Mix)" is trance like with a pulse like beat floating throughout and some excellent guitar patterns - mixed just at the right level. The pulse is very Throbbing Gristlesque, immediate and compulsive. (persuasive)? Thinking back the The Haxan Cloak 12" I was writing about earlier, this track is very similar to his sound but it carries a more raw edge, less new-ageist and more ritual. (as if I'm making any sense).
Also in the jiffy was the cassette "Living Midnight At The Harvest Abbey" a C37 by Kinit Her. I have seen Kinit Her live, two years ago at The Equinox Festival and I wasn't over impressed but going with the chance that after the Compass Hour cassette release (a Kinit Her side-project that Brave Mysteries also released) and the addition of Clay Ruby to their ranks, and it was only 37 minutes long, so what is there to lose(?) I bought the cassette. I am glad I did as it makes me smile. The first side is an eighteen minute "jam" that took me back 25/26 years. It has the same atmosphere and sound as stuff I was recording back when. Honestly!
The Hulme Crescents in Manchester was a magnet for students, squatters, junkies, misfits, artists, anarchists and musicians. (I scored 5 out of 7 there)! It is where Carnifex Recordings were based and two of the groups I was involved in - Rise & Muhviertel. I have written about these times before so won't bore you with the detail...but there were days when a lot of folk would gather at a squat situated in William Kent Crescent (1st floor - 143 I think) where the Carnifex "rehearsal space" was. Drums, percussion, 2 guitar amps (A Roland Jazz Chorus + Vox AC30), a Bass amp (Peavey and/or Orange...memory fails), a few keyboards, a Roland Space Echo, a couple of mic's and half a dozen guitars.
Numbers ranged from 5 or 6 (great band) to 8 or 9 (not so popular), the first ritual would be the (hot) knives..sometimes the addition of magic mushrooms but as a rule it was knives through a galliano bottle. Pipes, Chillums and a packet of "Rolled Gold" would be taken up to the rehearsal room where we would choose an instrument and "play away". I always liked sitting behind the drums! (Sitting being the operative word there). More often than not I would record the session and label the cassette "The Initiates Ov Carnifex". I shall always remember the time when I was playing a one-note drone on a Casio keyboard, lost in the drone and sound when I opened my eyes looked over my shoulder to see everyone else in the room wearing huge beaming cartoon like smiles. Christophe Lebasque sat behind the Vox strumming the bass guitar and Andy Wright next to him chanting "I Love The Sun". Beautiful moment and that is what side A of the Kinit Her cassette sounds like to me. They have the sound of an electronic saw mixed in with the sound. Genius.
The second side has a 'spaghetti western' feel to the sound, almost Ennio Morricone in texture. (I haven't seen a cowboy film in ages - it's been all quiet on the western front). The tape is a great release and will get many a play at Hartop Towers.
Hopefully both groups / projects will make it to the UK soon. I see that Nurse With Wound and Current 93 are treading the boards this summer in the UK...after last years disappointment I shall not bother, I'll save my money and just hope that Clay + friends make it over.

1: Brave Mysteries Logo.
2: Burial Hex "Eschatology 1" Sleeve.
3: Burial Hex "Eschatology 1" Inner Art.
4: Burial Hex "A Night With Two Moons" Sleeve.
5: Kinit Her "Living Midnight At The Harvest Abbey" Sleeve.
6: Kinit Her "Living Midnight At The Harvest Abbey" Inner Art.
7: Kinit Her. Photograph from "Equinox Festival 2009" programme.

Monday, 9 May 2011

bokor / DARUIN

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the album "Melbourne / Osaka" by bokor / Daruin released on the Japanese label Neus-318 in 1999. I got hold of the album (CDr) in a "Bjorn Tapes" trade-off back in 1999, I also got some Neus-318 compilation CDr's but they have been passed on over the years. I like this album.
It is a basic track and remix track affair with Daruin providing a track which bokor remixes and vice versa. It works because both artists are quite dis-similar in approach and makes for interesting listening. Track 1 is the opener from Daruin (AKA Kazuya Ishigami), it begins very "industrial" to me reminding me of the sound of Smith-Clayton Forge. For the first 7 years of my life (mid 1960's) I lived in streets off Monks Road in Lincoln (UK). Horton Street & Hillside Avenue for those with some geographical knowledge of the area and the sound I could hear for 24 hours a day was that of Smith-Clayton Forge and its' repetitive hammering as metal met metal to do whatever is done when metal meets metal. We then moved to a small town outside of Lincoln where all I could hear was the roar of Vulcan Bombers at RAF Waddington warm up their engines throughout the night readying for war. Is it any wonder I am partial to "industrial" music? Anyway, track one begins with the industrial foundry sound before samples of conversations in Japanese Shopping Malls and telephone ansaphone messages come in to the scenery creating "Eraserhead" imagery. A melodic cheap Casio sound then floats over the collage of found and field sounds. Track two is the bokor interpretation. boker is Australian musician Zac Keiller. Zac forgets the field recordings and takes the industrial sounds to build a rhythmic hypnotic track of clicks and crashes.
Track 3 is the bokor solo piece "Melbourne". The sound is of European Harsh Electronics. (EHE). Think Art Konkret, Soldnergeist, Netzach...not beefy enough for Cold Meat Industry..but certainly powerful enough for Art Konkret or Tesco Org. Then for the final track Daruin reduces the sound and adds the sound of the Osaka subway. Trains and station announcements.
The album slowly burns, peaks then dies to embers then dust.

It is a good listen. I am uncertain to whether or not Zac and Kazuya are still producing sound. A shame if not, but if I see any more releases by them I'll investigate.

1: "Melbourne / Osaka" CDr Sleeve.
2 - 5 : CDr Inserts.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Gloria Mundi

Still reading the excellent "This Is Our Generation" by Tony Beesley and one of my favourite bands gets a rare mention. Gloria Mundi. The fact they get a mention in a book written about life as "an outsider" in Northern Britain in the late 1970's made me smile and remember their brilliance. As soon as I got home (I was reading at work) I dug out the 7" single "Dangerous To Dream" (RCA Records, 1979) and gave it loud spin. The single is a bizarre choice coming from the second album "The Word Is Out" from which the catchy "Y.Y." had already been released. Bizarre because it has no catchy or disposable elements that fitted a "new wave" single at that time. By 1979 commercial punk, ska and power-pop were sweeping the nation and Gloria Mundi put out a single that harked back to the conceptual 7" of the mid 1970's. It does have a break of swimming synth and slap bass (almost Level 42) two thirds in..but catchy radio play it ain't. It is however a classic single just not a commercial one. The B-Side "Temporary Hell (Part 2)" is a guitar solo leading to jazz-chaos with keyboard, drums and saxophone. Beautiful stuff. Different, but then again even in their time Gloria Mundi were different.
I have all their releases and a few of the spin-off Eddie & Sunshine records. Gloria Mundi were primarily a Rock Band, mixing Krautrock with elements of early Genesis and the energy of punk. I have seen them being described as the "First Goth Band" by Mick Mercer...but this description is shit! I always associate them with Ultravox! They played a few live shows together (I think the singer Eddie Maelov + John Foxx went to Birmingham University together...could be wrong) and the GM saxophonist played on the Ultravox! song "Hiroshima Mon Amor". A great regret was that I never saw them play live. They played Lincoln in the summer of 1978 but I was holidaying with the parents in Cornwall at the time - I think Patrik Fitzgerald supported. I (again) could be wrong but I think they had all but split when the second album was released.

So, very few words have been written about Gloria Mundi - there must be a book waiting to be written? Nobody I know has any Gloria Mundi records. I have always been the only one! A few years back I was spinning "I, Individual" LP when a friend called round and was convinced it was Amon Duul I was playing. I used to be a member of their fan club, receiving newsletters and a small tract every so often.
So whatever happened to....Gloria Mundi? The keyboard / vocalist Sunshine Patterson is now a working installation / visual artiste based just outside Lincoln. Eddie Maelov I have no idea, and the second bassist Nigel Ross Scott joined Re:Flex and had a big chart hit with "The Politics Of Dancing". Original bassist "Ice" formed a group with Ultravox! guitarist Stevie Shears but nothing became of it. C.C. joined Glen Matlock in The Spectres and then disappeared (rather like drummer Mike Nichols and guitarist Beethoven).
If you ever see an old Gloria Mundi record buy it - you may be pleasantly surprised. I am thinking about lobbying RCA Records for a retrospective CD Box Set.

1+2: Glorai Mundi's final release.
3: Gloria Mundi Live.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Two things conspired me to play the album "Six Eyes" (Striate Cortex) by Plurals today. Firstly I was starting a new book ("This Is Our Generation" by Tony Beesley. The third in his trilogy of growing up in South Yorkshire in the late 1970's) so I needed some "reading music". By this I mean stuff with no distracting lyrical content or owt with a beat that is going to make me leap up off my chair and want to dance, I don't mean background lift muzak but something that stimulates the brain aurally whilst stimulating the brain visually. (If that makes any sense)? I also picked out a CDr of Throbbing Gristle live in Brooklyn Masonic 16/04/09 - it is like a live recording of "Third Mind Movements". Excellent stuff. Secondly, I glanced at the line-up of this years Wattsfest. Last year I saw an amazing live set from Plurals there and got a copy of "Six Eyes" from Duncan Harrison. This years line-up doesn't inspire the drive up to North Devon to spend a day in a field drinking warm beer and inhaling the marijuana air whilst trying to stop the children from throwing sticks at "weekend" hippies. There is no Plurals. Last year I sent off an E Mail to the organisers telling them I was interested in playing and would do so for free (I do live close by) but they never got back to me. So Plurals "Six Eyes" it was.
"Six Eyes" is split in to two tracks, two tracks built on saxophone, synthesizer, strings and voice. (It could be a clarinet, but saxophone sounded cooler)! The tracks sound improvised and sound like "live studio" recordings. The sound is mellow, calm...I can throw in names such as Popul Vuh, Clock DVA (during their "White Souls In Black Suits" period) and Soviet France...all are invoked here, but then again it has a unique fresh approach which makes me marvel at Plurals. Another thing that lifts the album above the morass is that although the sound comes across as improvised in it's construction, no one sound takes the "lead". All sounds are complimentary, all members of Plurals are tuned in to the same channel. Beautiful.
I notice that copies of this album are still available on Discogs for as cheap as a fiver. Please buy. It is a classic and you will not be disappointed.
I think I'll take it back to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Nikki Sudden : The Last Bandit

Have spent the last few weeks reading the autobiography of Nikki Sudden, published posthumously this year by the Italian publishers Arcana. As anyone who knows me knows I am a rather large Swell Maps fan. I forget how and where I first heard the mighty Maps, Mark Collins bedroom or my own whilst listening to John Peel (I remember an early tape with a Swell Maps track called "Bleep & Booster Come To Tea" that I simply loved), but for sure the first time I ever heard Swell Maps I fell in love with them. A book written by their lead singer and guitarist then becomes a must.
I must admit that after the Swell Maps split in 1980 I have never listened to or bought anything by Nikki Sudden. I have the Jowe Head LP "Pincer Movement" (Hedonics Records) and the excellent (every home should have one) 7"EP "Jelly Babies" (Rough Trade Records) by Epic Soundtracks, but nowt else - I am desperate for the Phones B. Sportsman 7"EP "I Really Love You" (If you have a copy to sell...please get in touch), and I have a couple of Swell Maps spin-offs; Steve Treatment and Cult Figures...but nothing by Nikki Sudden.
I bought the book mainly for the story of Swell Maps.
Is it a good book? Well, I read all 609 pages so it can't have been a bad one. there were times I got fed up with it and at the epilogue I didn't feel greatly satisfied, but I read it with books waiting in the wings, so it can't have been a bad read. The story of the childhood of Nikki Sudden (Adrian Godfrey) and his younger brother Epic Soundtracks (Kevin Godfrey) is a familiar story. The love of TV, of cartoons of Gerry Anderson, of Hammer Horror films and Carry-Ons. The love of Top Of The Pops and the world of music, I can identify, I can relate..rather like the autobiographies of English journalist and satirist Andrew Collins. Childhood recollections were becoming a jolly yarn. Nikki's love of Glam Pop and Prog Rock, of Slade, Camel, T-Rex and Genesis all makes perfect sense.
The birth of Swell Maps covers the birth of "punk" in Birmingham and is absolutely fascinating. This chunk of the book is the reason why I bought it. Recognisable characters like Spizz, Stephen "Tin-Tin" Duffy and Rob Lloyd pop in and out, Nikki and Epic form bands every week with various and interchangeable line-ups, and with a new line-up comes a new band name. The Spizz / Epic / Jowe Head group - now there's a tape I want to hear!
I can see why Swell Maps split. Only Nikki wanted to be a "Rock N' Roll" star, all the others wanted to return to academia, to university. On their final few dates in Italy 1980 Nikki went AWOL to Venice with a girl he met in Rome for a couple of days. Perhaps the rest of the Maps saw what lay ahead and didn't want to spend a few years in his presence?
The problem is, although he may have thought on the contrary Nikki Sudden comes across as not a very nice bloke, infact he comes across as a bit of an annoying drug addict, be it cocaine, crack, amphetamine, acid or weed he seems to be always on it or searching for it. I don't want to sit here and pick out holes in the man's character but whilst reading I always had in the back of mind the quote : "There are only two types of people who wear sunglasses indoors - blind people and twats", and Nikki Sudden wore sunglasses indoors...the book has the pictures to prove it.
Throughout the 1980's and 1990's Nikki lives what he thinks is the Rock N' Roll lifestyle. Chain smoking, taking drugs, treating women like passive objects (they are chicks), and using folk for his own needs. I have watched footage of his 1980's / 1990's career on YouTube and it is so bloody bland, at some points I didn't know if it (the book and the videos) were comedy or for real. I carried on reading because I wanted to read about the death of his brother, which is interesting. Again, a drug addicts death but interesting and then I wanted to read about the Maps reunion and the Epic Soundtrack benefits but there is little written here. What we do have is pages and pages of names and places that all get muddled up in to one big miasma and melting pot so names and places mean nothing. Tired old non-stories that make Hugh Cornwall's autobiography seem like Keats. One night stands, active glands, xenophobia over Deutschland, crack pipes in LA, yadda-yadda-yadda.
Contradiction runs throughout. I really liked the comment that he hated support bands because they take up too much soundcheck time, that is the language of a real cunt.

So. Is it a good read? Not really. Necessary for the history of Swell Maps but beyond that story comes the story of an arrogant, ligging, freeloading irritant with very little to say.
I could say more, but won't. The book hasn't put me off listening to my Swell Maps records, but maybe tainted the enjoyment a little.