Monday, 27 June 2011

Minny Pops: 'Total Confusion'

Just started to read "Shadowplayers - The Rise And Fall Of Factory Records" by James Nice. Hoping it features plenty of Minny Pops!

Death In June

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to "Burial" by Death In June. I managed to pick this CD (the 2006 re-issue from Leprosy Discs/Tesco Distro) up a few days ago at Rooster Records in Exeter. I also managed to pick up some Current 93 on CD too - success. I was saddened to find out that Exeter's other (independent) record shop Martian Records had shut down at the beginning of the month. Martian Records dealt in Rock, Metal, and Black Metal inparticular so my visits there were rare (twice in ten years), but it had a very small secondhand section and it is always sad to see a shop fold and leaves Rooster Records (on Fore Street) as Exeters last secondhand vinyl shop - for the moment. It is to be noted that Fopp recently opened in Exeter.

Back to "Burial". This is my first Death In June purchase since 1985. I used to love the first few releases, the singles "State Laughter" and "Heaven Street" and the LP "Nada". But now (of course) the vinyl costs funny money, so it was good to see this CD for £7. Now (of course) you are made to feel like a criminal in some quarters for liking Death In June, but back in 1981 they were the band that formed out of Crisis and Crisis were one of the greatest punk bands ever. "Burial" includes the track "Fields", this track sounds like an old Crisis number with its' angular guitar and thumping rhythm. Early Death In June had a very "post-punk" sound similar to that of stuff released by Factory Records and 4AD. "Burial" also contains my favourite DIJ song, "Black Radio". This song was originally released on the compilation album "The Angels Are Coming". Released as a double C60 cassette on the Scottish Pleasantly Surprised label. Also on this compilation were The Alarm, Dislocation Dance, Stockholm Monsters, VeeVV and Test Department amongst others - eclectic, but then "post punk" was I supposed before it all got compartmentalised. Here "Black Radio" lasts a magnificent seven minutes. The second half of the CD is Death In June live at the Clarendon Hotel in London in October 1983. The recording is surprisingly quite murky but acts as a fine document of what Death In June sounded like live. Murky, slightly chaotic and too much repeat echo on the microphones. It's great to hear guitars being tuned between songs - that takes me back! The album ends on a mammoth version of "Heaven Street" with four or five minutes of tape rumblings at the end. Good stuff.
I did used to own everything by Death In June up until they released the "Born Again" 12", then they went average.
I wholly recommend this album especially if, like me, you're a fan of Crisis.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Human Trapped Rhythms

I was going through an old file box today - searching for something, but I forget what as I got distracted. I came across some old letters and flyers from Pete. Pete (Surname escapes me) used to run the Slip Records label in the mid 1980's. Slip Records released material by two bands; Human Trapped Rhythms and Blow By Blow, both bands were just Pete. At a time when all sorts of labels are digging up peoples archives desperate to release that 1980's industrial / electronic sound it is a pity that Human Trapped Rhythms have been (so far) passed by. Yo! Frank of Vinyl On Demand...take note.
Human Trapped Rhythms were very synth orientated a la We Be Echo & Konstruktivists, their album was great. A quick internet search finds no information whatsoever!
I met Pete a few times whilst I was living in Manchester. I went for a drink round his house at Christmas time in 1986. Port and crackers and the sound of "Hoisting the Black Flag" and Bourbonese Qualk. Lovely stuff. We shared acquaintances in the NW Hunt Sabs crowd - and then he was gone. Whatever happened to Pete, Slip Records and Human Trapped Rhythms? If you know - please let me know and if you have a spare copy of the Human Trapped Rhythms LP please get in touch.

1: Slip Records Logo.
2: Slip Records Flyer.
3: Blow By Blow Poster.
4: Zeal SS promo paper.

Clew Of Theseus

For those of you who like their drone, industrial soundscape, ambient, noise loops and deconstruction to be played with analog synthesizers, natural instruments and all to be organically recorded then you can do no wrong with Clew Of Theseus.
Clew Of Theseus is the solo project of New York based (but Arizona born....research) artist Ben Brucato. (Ben also records under the name of Emesis, but I have yet to hear any of this project). Clew Of Theseus is a name rather like Hum Of The Druid and Tenhornedbeast and a name I wouldn't have explored but earlier in the year I was sent the LP "The Death Urge", released by German label Verlautbarung Records and I immediately became a "fan". "The Death Urge" presents two long drone soundscapes and is to be filed alongside Soviet France and Maeror Tri. Earlier this week I managed to get a copy of the "Oran" Box Set. "Oran" is two C50 cassettes recorded between 2008 and 2009. Thirteen tracks of (old school) industrial drone utilising the sounds of prepared piano, guitars, bells, metal percussion, oscillators and harmonica. Each (untitled) piece is perfect in length. No track is too short to have me going "I want more" or too long to have me reaching for the fast forward button. Neither do the tracks sound like extracts from longer pieces edited to fit on the tapes - it is a perfect album. I am brought to mind the sound of Aaron Dilloway, Duncan Harrison and Robert Turman amongst others previously mentioned. Also in the box comes an 8" Lathe Cut, no information but I played at 33 rpm. One long piece of metal scrapings and drone sounding like it was recorded in a disused warehouse and one short piece of guitar frenzy looped. Hey, it's a lathe cut and it played...bonus! To accompany the sounds the box includes a 48 page book of black & white photographs of desolation and ruin amongst (what I think is) Flagstaff, Arizona. (I could be wrong...I've never been).
"Oran" is a beauty. The Box Set version is limited to 20 copies. There is a standard 2xC50 version, both available from Ben's label and distro "Cathartic Process". or E Mail; Two albums that deserve to be heard, and a project I am going to try and find more stuff by.

1: Clew Of Theseus "The Death Urge" LP. (Verlautbarung)
2: Clew Of Theseus "Oran" Box Set.
3: "Oran" Book.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Don't Dance....Collide Tapes

I was kindly sent this press cutting by a friend. It is from "Sounds" w/e July 19th 1980. Document & Proof of my first attempt at being "a label". Ha! Nice to see that I released the tape the same week as some ex Not Sensibles and (if you look hard enough) Funeral Danceparty. I bet that cassette is worth more than £1.50 now. Don't bother sending a pound to the Lincolnshire address as all tapes have been sold! If anyone has a copy we can discuss CD re-issue.

RRR & The Record Store Record

One of the up-sides to having a week off work due to illness (it is nerve damage related, send no flowers) is being able to catch up on some book reading and listen to music all day. (and search for all the Harry Batt clips on YouTube). The down-side is having to take painkillers and avoid alcohol, but still....a week off.
A couple of days back the postman brought the LP "Record Store Record" on RRRecords. The record is a recording from five independent record shops in America, London and Finland. I bought it not knowing what to expect, the concept appealed. I thought, but have since been proved mistaken by Ron Lessard, it was something to do with International Record Store Day which took place last April with recordings from the five shops being done on that particular day. But no - as Colin Newman once said.
The first side starts with the sound of Second Layer Records in London. Highgate, North London, and is the only shop on the record I have been to. 2008 - I saw Testicle Hazard there and bought an Esplendor Geometrico Box Set. Time well spent. Proprietor Pete's voice is predominant on this track, as is his tape gun and bubblewrap. It sounds like Pete has mic'd up his tape gun and recorded himself packing vinyl. Interesting, it had me thinking of what Haters would sound like "unplugged". From this track we also learn that Pete only stocks one Whitehouse album and has a record that sounds like Siouxsie Sue "doing" Deep House. Then we spend a couple of minutes in Dominic Furnow's Hospital Productions store in New York with some guy talking as if the last place he visited was the crackhouse on the corner. Next on is Wierdo Records from Cambridge Mass. USA. More talk about vinyl and noise with a baby screaming in the shop. Side two is Mikko Aspa's side. First in his shop "Sarvilevyt" in Lahti, Finland. For fifteen minutes or so a group of guys talk noise in Finnish. There's serious talk and laughter and some guy gets sent out for "Cherry Coca-Cola", but I don't understand a bloody word of it. Would love to know what "Cock-Schtumpy" means though. Mikko turns up on the second track inside Ron Lessard's RRRecord Store. Here Mikko plays the tape gun like a musical instrument whilst packing vinyl. Loose talk is heard in the background.
Like I mentioned before, the concept appealed and I am not disappointed. It is a document piece more than a novelty one and also proves the record shop to be a 21st century village pump. A meeting place for anal retentives and autistics - like myself. I think the album itself is only available from the shops on the record, but I could be wrong. It is limited to 500 and comes with a tote bag featuring the RRR Squiggle Design (done by some folk from Cold Cave). It's full colour gatefold sleeve too! Yeh, I love gatefold sleeves. Second Layer Records are on the front making it look like (when browsing) it could be an album by John Cougar Mellancamp or Carl Michael Von Hausswolff.

1: LP Cover (Second Layer Records).
2: LP Inner Sleeve (RRRecords).
3: Oscar M. with the Tote Bag. (I got him out of bed this morning to take the picture, hence "strange" look).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Astral Social Club #5

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release by Astral Social Club. "Wheezy Paradise" on Sonic Oyster Cassettes. "Wheezy" is a live recording from a 2010 performance at The Northumberland Arms in Newcastle, not a mixing desk recording either..there's lots of shouts, chit-chat and clapping during "Wheezy Paradise", which I prefer. (Not many Geordie accents in the crowd though.....).
It is a pro-dubbed tape, but I reckon it's a C46 - 23 minutes a side. Side A starts off with electric guitar, stuttering the theme tune to "Chigley" before getting interrupted by whooshing synth sounds panning the room, and then before my brain could communicate with my ears I was locked into a multitude of hypnotic loops. It was like I was listening to moto-perpetuo. Frippertronics. Robert Fripp had entered the building! Classic Campbell, beautiful sound. The "come down" is back to a stuttering guitar before some mutated 1970's soft rock a la Marshall Hain, Starship or Heart is crudely looped. This ends side A. I had a thought that this "piece" of "Wheezy" might have meant to be a "bridge of sorts" between tracks but Neil went with it for a while. The beauty of improvised noise. Could be wrong - usually am. Side B begins where Side A finished. The first five or six (great band) minutes are messy. A Cabaret Voltaire rhythm hidden by a multitude of synths. The sound doesn't really go anywhere - and then, out of the blue a pulse, a throb, that Chris Carter would be proud of enters the room and the journey begins again, this time with TG 'esque' improv. sounds. (Think 1970's TG not the 21st century re-incarnation). Twenty or so minutes later it all collapses to much whooping and a-hollering. A great Astral Social Release.
"Wheezy Paradise" is limited to 50 copies only, packaged in a wrap-round A4 sheet of paper. Available from Volcanic Tongue and Norman Records in the UK. Highly recommended. There's a new studio Astral Social Club LP in the pipeline too, and an LP by Neil Campbell's old 1980's Goth Band ESP Kinetic due out on Harbinger Sound in the summer. Busy year so far for Neil.

1. "Wheezy Paradise" Cover.
2. "Wheezy Paradise" Information.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Burial Hex #4

It was this month last year that I started the mission to get hold of as much Burial Hex as possible. I had witnessed a great live performance (in 2009 in London) and just heard the Brave Mysteries released cassette "Fantasma Di Perarolo" and thought it time to hear more of the mind and works of Clay Ruby.
So a year has passed and I now have a great selection of tapes, CD and vinyl. I must admit that not all is to my liking, but one bad album, "In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni" out of half a dozen is a sign of an artist worth following, and "The Tower" 7" on Release The Bats label was one of 2010's "singles of the year". I was in correspondence with Graham from the Alt.Vinyl label and it came to my notice that he had found a spare copy of the (sold out) Alt.Vinyl released LP "Vedic Hymns" by Burial Hex and Kinit Her. I bit his hand off for a copy! Earlier in the year I found a copy of the Kinit Her 8" Lathe Cut EP that Alt.Vinyl released but unfortunately the vinyl doesn't play. I have three Lathe Cuts on the Alt.Vinyl label and none of them play. My needle simply jumps, skips, scratches and farts its way across the vinyl. I have other Lathe Cuts - like the Lathe Cut series that Harbinger Sound released a few years back; Mo*Te, Culver, Government Alpha and an excellent double 7" Lathe Cut by Putrefier on Birthbiter - they all play fine, but the Alt.Vinyl Never mind. "Vedic Hymns" is a proper press.
"Vedic Hymns" are the words of Gustav Holst set to music. Gustav wrote nine hymns based on the Vedic Civilization of India in the early 20th Century. The album presents five.
Burial Hex has two tracks on side one. These are the first Burial Hex tracks I have heard with Clay Ruby vocals. The first track ; "God Of War And Battle" is built around the piano. Clay plays the piano like I play the piano, pretty random and free-form (Just as an aside. The piano on the Dieter Muh track "Bethlehem" that appeared on the compilation album "8", released by Carnifex Recordings & Harbinger Sound, was played by Tamsin Cammack). The vocals sound like Clay is belching his way through the alphabet. I was not expecting that! Same with the second piece; "Stormclouds", the vocals are shouted by a man in excruciating pain, it kind of ruins the piece. The words are printed on the sleeve - so small and compact that I can't make head-nor-tail, but then it is not actually sing-a-long-a-hex here. Kinit Her own side two. They provide three tracks and whereas Clay played the piano, Kinit Her provide strings to the lyrics. The music is folk, not the neo-folk folk that seems to be played by people dressed as Mussolini's postman and telling tales of old Albion, this is folk of Collins, of Comus and (Fairport) Convention. With a little Jake Thackery thrown in by the way of guttural vocals. Clay also belches and screams for Kinit Her.
I am disappointed with the album, but I shall still carry on my mission.
Clay is performing live in Europe later in 2011, hopefully the UK is on his itinerary.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Getting It Out Of Your System

The first band I was in were called The System. This was in 1977. It was my band, my imaginary band. Whenever I donned the headphones and cranked up the Amstrad Hi-Fi to 11 put my guitar strap over the shoulders I became "The System". We were a good band - did all the classics. Why The System? It is from the Gloria Mundi song "Victim". "Hypocrisy, it's all hypocrisy to get you and me to fit this system". Great song. Sounded vaguely menacing, vaguely political. I was very vague on politics at the time getting most of my knowledge and way of the world through "Look-In" magazine, and the odd music weekly. I did once give a pound to CND for a badge, and bought a copy of the SWP paper from a vendor in Scunthorpe market one Saturday, I really wanted a Anti Nazi League badge but he wasn't selling any. I graffitied my local village with The System logo. A big question mark with The System written through the straight stem. Cool. It stayed in the 'phone box by a place called "The Conker Trees" for bloody years...becoming a personal embarrassment in later years....but no-one knew it was me. The System never ventured further than my bedroom.

Last week I bought the cassette "Death's Head" by Martial God Mask. It's not a bad tape but it did remind me (very much) of an old track of mine from 1986 called "We Pissed A Piss That Was Pure". "Death's Head" is a 30 minute piece in four parts, "We Pissed A Piss" was a thirty minute epic. Like I said, the sound is very similar. I had two Korg Synthesizers running on white & pink noise, one going through a DOD Sonic Distortion Pedal, I stuck a microphone out of the "studio" window to record street sounds (Monks Road, Lincoln) and mix it all in. Recorded it live onto a TEAC 244. Quite often I'd let the machines play themselves and walk around the room, sporadically clenching the fist. I haven't heard the track in 25 years - there was only one copy on cassette and that has long gone. Shame, but the Martial God Mask cassette brought it all back to me. I imagine Martial God Mask to be a one-man outfit with a table of effects pedals and a primary noise source. It doesn't sound like laptops. I am not saying that "Death's Head" sounds dated nor am I saying that I back in 1986 was years ahead of my time, I am just drawing on similarities in the sound. The artwork too is of an age when.... Which is why I think Martial God Mask might be the project of a young chap. (Could be wrong and at 48 most chaps are young chaps to me). The sleeve of "Death's Head" is of men being shot in the back of the head and falling into a mass grave, one that (undoubtedly) they have dug themselves. Could be a Balkan, Soviet or German atrocity. Victims and aggressors. Uncertain, but very tired and unnecessary in 2011. Surely a better image could have suited the sound - or perhaps Martial God Mask were just getting it out of their system with this being first cassette release and all?

Back in 1986, and when I was recording "We Pissed A Piss That Was Pure" I was using the moniker A:A:K. It was my solo project whilst being a member of I.B.F. (Ideas Beyond Filth) - we went for the abbreviated to a letter in those days. A:A:K was a noise project, although back then it would have been called "Industrial Music". I was living on a diet of electronic / industrial sound at the time, had been for five or six (great band) years and through A:A:K I was producing my own interpretation to what I had learnt in the great information war. The fascination at that time (thanks to artists such as Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, S.P.K., Nocturnal Emissions, Crass, Boyd Rice, Whitehouse amongst others) was with sub-culture, and what really went on in the world - not just the tabloid/BBC/ITV/government tales, so I had an interest in war and the politics thereof, of the occult, the media blackout of information, of atrocity and murders by person and persons unknown. My life interests were begining to shape. In 1986 everyone I knew had a book by Colin Wilson, Aleister Crowley and David Yallop on their shelves.
Previous to A:A:K I had recorded a couple of tapes under the name of The Streetcleaner. I have mentioned this elsewhere on this blog. The Streetcleaner was a knee-jerk reaction. A:A:K was more cerebral a project, but still I used the imagery of serial killers, medical operations and soft pornography to accompany the tapes. "No Hard Feelings", "Death Blow" and "Sa-Dis' ". I was simply getting it out of my system and perhaps Martial God Mask is doing just the same? But then again...perhaps not.
A few years back (1998) I was at the house of EE Tapes and Eriek (EE Tapes head honcho) picked up a cassette he had just received, it was in an A5 wallet and the sleeve was a black & white collage of a foetus wrapped in barbed wire. Eriek tutted, showed me the cover and (correctly) threw the tape in the bin. I think of this whenever I see tired or languid imagery accompanying a release.

It is a damn fine tape though, limited to 50 copies only. Released by Dead Wood Recordings and available for £1. I have #47 so it has probably all sold by now but give Rich Nook at and see what reply you get.

1: Martial God Mask "Death's Head" Cassette Cover.
2. 3 & 4: A:A:K in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, Nottingham & Delft (1985-1986).

Thursday, 16 June 2011

A Treasured Tape #5

This is a great compilation tape and is a treasured item because it was the first time Dieter Muh were played "on the radio". OK OK there was that time where our recordings were played by Tommi Grundland of Sahko Recordings in Finland on National Suomi Radio, but I have never heard a document from that show and Dave (at the time) was very ambivalous about it all that it may just be a myth in the history of Dieter Muh - like the Harbinger Sound 1 second loop flexi-disc and the .... well the Harbinger Sound flexi-disc anyway which Dave said he had a copy of but I have never seen.
Back in the late 1990's I was sharing a house (in Lincoln) with Outsider Records supremo Mick McDaid. Outsider Records released some fine vinyl and is well worth checking out. The final vinyl from Contrastate, a great 7"EP by Project D.A.R.K. that I mentioned earlier, a classic split 7" by Meixner + Band Of Pain and a little grower by Lincoln's answer to The Legendary Pink Dots Cacophony '3.3'. Good stuff. Anyway (forget the Delphium stuff...they're shite) Mick was always getting requests from folk to mail his stuff to them to play on their radio shows, usually US College Radio stuff, but I took a shine to the request from Radio Banzai of Barcelona. This was all in the days before internet radio - live streaming broadcasts or whatever this was "run your fingers across the dial and tune in radio". Proper job. I mailed them a copy of our first "official" CD "Black Square" and asked them if they ever did play a track from the album on the radio could they please mail a cassette of the broadcast and they did.
I extended the correspondence by trying to get a live gig in Barcelona but nothing came of it.
The tape starts with a track by Contagious Orgasm - the track from the split 7" with Third Organ (it's a beauty) and that is mixed in with Dieter Muh's "Morche". "Morche" was our most rhythmic piece on the album, heavy on drum machine and guitar. I used to play the guitar back then! Dave had written the drum pattern and Tim and I worked bass and guitar (respectively) around the beat. It was recorded at ICR Studios by Colin Potter and he commented on how much it reminded him of Chrome - so I just made the title an anagram, and sound like a Soviet France out-take. The tape also features tracks by Plant Bach Ofnus, Yona Kit, Splintered, Mainliner, Smell & Quim, Onomatopoeia, S*Core, R:H:Y, Dissecting Table and tracks from the RRR Records compilation "America The Beautiful". I did say it was a great tape and all interspersed with some guy speaking Spanish - really quickly.

Back in 1997 I was working at Walkers Crisp Factory in Bracebridge, Lincoln. Not a glamorous job by any means but certainly a nice wage earner. "Shift-Work". The Fall wrote a song about it. Working at the same time was a Spanish student called Alberto, I cautiously asked Alberto to take the cassette home and translate what the DJ says about the second track, the one by Dieter it was me! I am glad I did as a 13 year friendship started that day. (The DJ thought we were psychedelic by the way). Alberto has given me tapes by Will Oldham, Mogwai and God Speed You Black Emperor and I have put him on the guest-list for our London gigs. Fair exchange (he moved to London shortly after - and I left the crisp factory). Alberto is now back in Madrid. I don't know what happened to Radio Banzai, probably went onto the internet. Dieter Muh never got the Barcelona gig. A shame as we'd've been great at SONAR.

1: Radio Banzai Tape Sleeve. (The DJ did this).
2: The treasured tape.
3: Alberto Munoz at The Windmill in Brixton 1999. (Dieter Muh + Colin Potter gig).

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Sunshine Gray

I see that Sunshine Gray (Ex Gloria Mundi + Eddie & Sunshine) is curating an evening of audio / visual art in my home town of Lincoln. Wish I could be there.
Where is the Collection? Can anyone tell me?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Praying For Oblivion #2

Earlier in the year I was having a conversation with an old friend, I told him that I was participating in the cassette compilation project "You Are Playin' Like A Fuckin' Pub Band" for Record Store Day and that Hanson Records were to release the Dieter Muh London and Paris performances on cassette in the summer. They seemed surprised that I was putting out my material on cassette, stating that the cassette format is very "1980's" and nowadays folk release stuff as downloads or put it on Soundcloud or Facebook or put out CD's. I sigh a sigh of despair and just think that the old friend has no idea of what happens in the "real world" - probably still reads The Wire and listens to 6Music to keep in touch with "the latest" sounds.....I love cassettes. Vinyl is my preferred medium with cassettes running a close second. Has been since I was a lad and shall remain so. CD+CDr's are OK, no problem there but my 'pooter is not set up for listening to music. No speakers. If someone tells me to go to Bandcamp or Soundcloud or MySpace and asks me to listen to their noise I just tell them to put it on a tape or CDr and mail it to me through the post.
Ranty bit over.
June has been cassette frenzy at Hartop Towers with releases by Cheer (mentioned earlier), Textured Bird Transmission and a 1993 release by Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim coming through the letterbox and a tape by Martial God Mask should be on its' way. Also this week came the 2010 cassette release "Aktion T4" by Praying For Oblivion on US label Phage Tapes.

The main reason for tracking this release down (found at Nuit Et Broulliard of France) was the chance to hear the 1999 remixes by N. Strahl N. Another favourite and producer of fine cassettes. I like Praying For Oblivion, AKA Andrew Seal, the American in Lille. I have a few of his releases. I prefer his "instrumental" (ha) sound to his vocal treatments, where he ends up sounding like a poor man's Con-Dom with a bad Slogun. No worries with "Aktion T4" - nice to see the "K" back in use again. "Aktion T4" is a C33. Side A is a recording from 1999, recorded live at The Continental in Buffalo, New York State. (I think this is Andrew's home town). "Aktion T4" is a 16 minute onslaught on the senses, masterful noise / Power Electronics a la Haters or The New Blockaders. No vocal treatments, just layer upon layer of blistering electronics, high speed, crystal clear energy. I was fortunate to share the bill at a gig in Paris with Andrew and Praying For Oblivion never sounded like this on that night. Side B is a different kettle of crisps. Two pieces of Praying For Oblivion sound sources reworked by N. Strahl N. "Tonspur-Einz & Zwei". (Soundtracks 1 & 2). These tracks were recorded in 2009 and N. Strahl N. approaches the sound from a very minimalist level. "Einz" is cavernous in sound with low rumbles and echo. Synth loops build the track to some kind of apex, but its' beauty lies in its' mesmerism. It pulled me in. "Zwei" slowly builds with static and dischodia. There are repetitive samples of metal percussion and static sound bringing the track to a great crescendo. Masterful and already a regular play here and at work. I don't know whose idea it was to bring these two artists together, but the collaboration works. Limited to 100 only & probably getting rare, so buy on sight!

1: Phage Tapes Sticker.
2: "Aktion T4" Sleeve.


Just spent a pleasant while listening to "Singing Sand" the 2009 cassette release from Cheer. I must admit now that I have stalled in the past from getting stuff on the "At War With False Noise" label because their logo "put me off"! For ages I thought it was a Scottish Doom Metal label. It wasn't until I got some Nackt Insecten releases that I realised I was wrong. Still, I know better now. Cheer is the solo project of Glasgow based (but Orkney Isle born .... research) musician / artist Al Cheer. As well as At War With False Noise Al has released on labels such a s Benbecula, Lefthand Pressings and Distance Recordings. "Singing Sand" is my first exposure to the sound of Cheer. (Thanks Tom)!
"Singing Sand" consists of five ambient pieces. If I entered a room and heard this tape playing and was told it was a 1973 concept album by the keyboard player from Aphrodite's Child and the guitarist from Glass Hammer I would probably have believed them!
Light polyphonic keyboard layered drones through a delay, accompanied by phased and delayed guitar notes. Beautiful for a summer's day (or at least it was when I was playing it last it is Sunday, I am still playing it but it has been pissing down all day - Scottish weather). It has a Durutti Column come Bill Nelson feel about it all. Very good and highly listenable. Side 2 is the same as Side 1 - saves rewinding I suppose.
I have yet to hear a bad release on At War With False Noise, give them a browse; or explore the works of Al Cheer through;

1: The awful AWWFN Logo.
2: "Singing Sand" Cover.
3: "Singing Sand" Inner Art.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Slug Bait

"slug bait.......can't wait".

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Helm #3

Just spent a pleasant while listening to "Impasse", a 22 minute 3" CD by Helm. It was released in 2008 by Low Point but has just found its' way to Hartop Towers. Last week I got wind of a new vinyl LP from Helm (aka Luke Younger) and trawled the internet for a UK distributor. The LP "Cryptography" is being released on Canadian label Kye Records and P+P being what it is these days I needed a UK seller! I found a copy through Luke's own distro "Alter" - why ask the monkeys when I could have gone straight to the organ grinder? Why? Because I found this little three inch gem hiding in the alt.vinyl list for a few pounds, that's why!
Ever since getting a copy of the excellent "To An End" LP I have been searching for Helm releases. Impressed with the "Last Journey To Her Alter" tape on Sickhead, not so much so with the "Optimism" CDr on Trans-Dimensional Sushi Recordings. But the recordings of Luke Younger have interested my ears enough to let my brain know I need to hear his sound.
"Impasse" is a great release. A fantastic release. Two tracks. "Fields" is a fifteen minute magnum opus, an all encompassing sound, an aural delight...layers upon layers of masterful noise that make it sound different on every listen. Boyd Rice used to do this to me in the 1970's!! There's guitar noise, polyphonic keyboard drone, spooling tapes, voices - I am certain there are voices in there calling me towards the temple - it is wide open Sensurround, the kind of sound Astral Social Club are so good at..with 5 minutes to go the sound winds down - the come down - grinds, splutters and fades...track two "Glazing Over An Autumn Pastoral" is a keyboard piece. The title kind of gives it away, the perfect following track. "Impasse" is 5/5 and now I cannot wait to hear the new LP.

Try alt.vinyl, they may have a copy or two left. I am uncertain on how many copies exist. Or go to Luke's blogspot "Alter". Helm need to be heard. I'm waiting on news of a live show - I need to hear this shit LOUD!!

1: "Impasse" Sleeve.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A Treasured Tape #4

When I was a teenager, aged 14 or 15 I used to play a game with my friends. They would come round to my place of an evening and I'd test their knowledge on music by playing snippets of tracks and seeing if they could guess what the song was. 2 seconds of intro or 2 seconds of the needle being dropped anywhere on the vinyl, that kind of thing. "Name That Tune". Although a tune was hardly ever involved!
Twenty years ago (great song) I got this cassette from (my mate) Tim. It had no sleeve or track listing, it came with the challenge of track list this yourself. I love a challenge and this cassette has been a treasured item in my tape collection ever since. Most of the tracks are compiled of records that I used to own before the fateful day in 1983 and the burglary we don't talk about. I have managed to re-buy a vast majority here...but some of the vinyl now goes for funny money. Where once I payed 49 or 79p at Sanctuary Records Lincoln, the "p" has changed from pence to pounds. Not to worry - I have this tape.
Tim tried to make it more difficult by making all the tracks "B" Sides but I got 'em all except for The Mental & The Machines. I seem to remember thinking The Mental were The Blanks - how naive! One thing that does "stick out" is the variety of sound that I was listening to back then, it is impossible to lumpen "punk" into one bracket of sound, and there's some bloody good songs on this tape. The tape kicks off with The Tea Set, I used to love The Tea Set, unfortunately saw them live too late; they had signed to United Artists Records and were trying to have a chart hit with "Keep On Running". Never mind, at least they didn't release a crappy album like (say) Scars who after a quartet of fine 7"er's put out a really weak album. The tape is also a fine map of what I was listening to in the late 1970's - early 1980's. I much preferred songs by Menace, Swell Maps, The Tights to what was being pumped out by the likes of The Jam, The Clash, Sham 69 or Sex Pistols. I would rather listen to "Escalator Hater" by Raped than "Complete Control" by The Clash or "Street Kid" by The Depressions than "Holidays In The Sun" by Sex Pistols any day. One of my favourite bands is The Depressions, not a bad release in their arsenal. Their second LP "If You Know What I Mean"? (where they had shortened their name to The D.P's) is a new wave classic and head and shoulders above "Give 'Em Enough Rope" or "Tonic For The Troops". Every (and I mean every) track on this cassette is a gem, a classic, it is a treasured item.
Whilst playing the tape today ( singing along with Crisis and The Monochrome Set), I was brought back to a comment in the Ian McCulloch book where they went into a cheaper studio to record (in a day) a "B-Side" to the soon to be released single. I don't think any track on this cassette was recorded "for the B-Side", every track on this tape is strong and powerful enough to be "A" side. Obviously by the mid 1980's and bands like Echo & The Bunnymen cheapened the single by recording novelty or weaker material for the "B" Side.

I have no idea why I cut out a picture of a hand grasping a wrist for the sleeve. It comes from a GMB tract / pamphlet....No idea.

1: Tape Sleeve.
2+3: Track Listing.

St. Mungo

Found a booze hole in Plainmoor that stocks St. Mungo lager, and quite frankly it is one of the best lagers I have tasted in ages, well since my return from Finland. There is nowt finer than Koff. It is a tad expensive, with two bottles being the same price as four cans of Grolsch at the local supermarket but sometimes I like to relax with a premium taste. Evening in, "Mighty Boosh" on the DVD, a large bag o' Big D nuts and a glass of fine brew. What attracted me to St. Mungo (brewed in Glasgow) was the fact that it has a uniqueness - it is the only lager brewed in the UK that adheres to the Reinheitsgebot, an ancient German Purity Law and I have always thought that if you are going to adhere to a law it might as well be the German Purity Law.
St. Mungo is 4.9% and now my special Sunday tipple - if you see it on draught anywhere, please let me know.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Lucas Abela's "Mix Tape" exhibition. June 2011.

I have provided two 30 minute loops for Lucas Abela's exhibition "Mix Tape". The loops were recorded live in stereo direct onto a TDK C60.
It is an honour to be part of this work.

“Balloons will be filled with helium with the tape tied to each like a ribbon. When released the balloons will ascend to the ceiling and the tape will unspool from the cassettes, turning the room into a forest of exposed audio tape that will provide the raw material for an interactive mash up of all the works. Visitors to the gallery will then be able to play sections of tape by manually running it across exposed playback heads mounted onto custom built plinths situated throughout the gallery.”

The work was exhibited at the Tin Sheds Gallery, from June 2nd to 23rd 2011.

Tin Sheds Gallery
154 City Rd
Chippendale NSW 2008
(02) 9351 3115

Devised by Lucas Abela
Playback Plinths constructed by Hirofumi Uchino and Lucas Abela

Photos by Keg de Souza

Featured Artists included:

1. Yan Jun, Beijing
2. GX Jupitter-Larsen, Los Angeles
3. Rod Cooper, Melbourne
4. Andy Ortmann, Chicago
5. Igor Ninu, Corsico
6. Michael Esposito & Bryan Saunders, Johnson City
7. Tim Cunningham, Katoomba
8. Navin Thomas, Bangalore
9. Wizard Bong, Sydney
10. Th W Rbl R, Toronto
11. Michael Muennich, Hamburg
12. Yoshihiro Kikuchi, Sendai
13. Vialka, Thiers
14. Geert-Jan, Berlin
15. Sudden Infant, Berlin
16. Sebas Kirmaies, Lincoln
17. A.D. Machine, Melbourne
18. Phil Julian, London
19. BBBlood, London
20. Green Mist, Saskatoon
21. Andy Rantzen & Rachael Chaos, Sydney
22. Future Death Toll, Portland
23. Stalaktos, Mexico City
24. Jared Balogh, Bethlehem
25. Onno Ennoson, Vienna
26. Napalmed, Most
27. Zone Of Alienation, Thessaloniki
28. [C. T. D.], Beograd
29. Chris Abrahams, Sydney
30. David Smithaber, Prague
31. Steve Cammack, Torquay
32. Michael Minchington, Christchurch
33. Sivanesan, Sydney
34. Mikkel Rørbo, Copenhagen
35. John Hegre, Bergen
36. Oren Ambarchi, Melbourne
37. Mike Haley, Delaware
38. Michael O’Dwyer, Melbourne
39. Graham Moore, Atlanta
40. Gary Butler, Wollongong
41. Alex Mitcalfe Wilson. Wellington
42. Olle ‘Oljud’ Aberg, Gavle
43. Pimmon, Sydney
44. Fun, Philadelphia
45. Fun, Philadelphia
46. New Waver, Melbourne
47. Mattress Grave, Melbourne
48. Mattress Grave, Melbourne
49. Clang Quartet, Stokesdale
50. Scratch My Nose, Santiago
51. Rory Hinchey, Toronto
52. Jim Denley, Sydney
53. Terracid, Kyogle
54. 6majik9, Toowoomba
55. Sister O, Hobart
56. Skot Stikla, Melbourne
57. Martin Safar, Pardubice
58. Francisco Alvarez, Santiago De Compostela
59. Christina Harvey, Sydney
60. Lucas Abela, Sydney
61. American Cherry, Tokyo
62. Dj Urinal Cake, Sydney
63. Dave Phillips, Zurich
64. Seymour Glass, San Francisco
65. Cock ESP/ Al Qaeda, Minneapolis
66. Cock ESP/ Al Qaeda, Minneapolis
67. Agit8, Logan
68. Loop Orchestra, Sydney
69. Mould, Tokyo
70. Timisoara, Tokyo
71. Poot-A, Brisbane
72. Facialmess, Chiba
73. Naked On The Vague, Sydney
74. Alternahunk, Sydney
75. Lloyd Honeybrook, Melbourne
76. Samuel Bruce, Kurrajong
77. Samuel Bruce, Kurrajong
78. The (real) Perfect Lovers, Brisbane
79. Isomer, Flagstaff Hill
80. Teen Ax, Sydney
81. Rank Sinatra, Las Vegas
82. Fukno, Detroit
83. Loki, Thirroul
84. Yecid J Ortrga, Bogota
85. Nathaniel Brennan, North Adams
86. Twisted Subterranean Deathtrap, Adelaide
87. Vulgar Tonic, Lismore
88. Pizdets Vsemu, Adelaide
89. Plumping The Underbelly, Adelaide
90. Julian Williams, Melbourne
91. Coco Pizarras, Sydney
92. Alex White, Sydney
93. Keg de Souza
94. Julian Knowles
95. Gary Bradbury, Blue Mountains
96. Defektro, Sydney
97. Stu Olsen, Sydney
98. Nhomea, Sydney
99. Nhomea, Sydney
100. Rev Kriss Hades, Sydney

Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Exhibition - Play-Stations
Mix Tape Drawing
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (Opening Night)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)
Mix Tape Exhibition (The Morning After)

Pictures taken from Phil Julian's Flickr site.