Sunday, 27 November 2011

Eden Pure Ale

In the interests of bringing you information on new and exotic beers I ventured to the Eden Project in Bodleva, Cornwall and bought some Eden Pure Ale. Eden Pure Ale is brewed at Sharp's Brewery in Rock, Cornwall and I'm not too certain on its' availability outside the Eden Project but it probably isn't worth paying the £22 entrance fee to try it - go to the Sharp's Brewery web site and buy some online. (
A 500ml bottle set me back £2.50, so it's not a cheap tipple and runs at only 4.5% Vol. It is however quite tasty - refreshing almost, very light and fruity. Sharps brew another ale called "Doom Bar" and Eden Pure Ale is very similar. There is a new ale by Sharp's called "D.W." brewed for the Xmas drinkers market (hello)! and proceeds go to a Cornish Hospice so I'll try and hunt some down. Drinking for Cancer.

1: Sharp's Eden Pure Ale.
2: Myself entering the Eden Project.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Forced Womanhood

I had an E Mail the other day from a friend who had been to the "Colours Out Of Space" weekender in Brighton and his comment on some of the festival was "Everybody thinks they can be a sound artist / poet these days".
"It's not easy, to make you feel uncomfortable, it's not's not just £1.30" to quote Throbbing Gristle's "Wolverhampton £1.30". I get that feeling whilst playing the compilation release "Forced Womanhood" on 23 Productions. A 2xC60 package put out a few years back. A lot of tracks on this release are bland one dimensional noise efforts, pleasing to neither man nor ear....but there are a few gems. I remember getting it on release and playing it and liking some of the tracks and with this in mind I have been revisiting the release over the past couple of days.
Side A begins with Cleanse. Cleanse are are early incarnation of US "dronesters" Hive Mind. Here they present "Angel's Trumpet" a great slice of Industrial pulse and grind. Clew Of Theseus offer a slice of American Power Electronics with distorted shouting and chaotic electronics. Early doors for Clew here. Prurient follow with "Tailor". Well presented stuff with amplifier feedback and metal percussion. Prurient giving an isolated sparse vibe. Prosexist follow. I remember a few years back reviewing the cassette release "Krimkall" on the Krimljud label for "Idwal Fisher" magazine. On the compilation is a project called Assdestroyer - it was some young chap in his bedroom knocking out "naughty" tracks whilst his mother was downstairs doing the ironing...anyway, I did say then that you should never name yourself after a Whitehouse "song". It is too obvious and Whitehouse stand alone in the field of power is pointless. Sure, I've just been talking about Animals & Men and myself naming a band I was in after a This Heat track title but This Heat and Adam & The Ants are not Whitehouse. Anyhow...Prosexist offer amp' feedback (yawn) and shouty shouty vocals. Karlheinz follows with a noise track. Side A ends with "Penal Exile" by Ga-Ne-Tli-Yv-S-Di. (A new name to me). It is layered synth with effects pedals and hidden (subliminal) vocals and probably the best track so far.
Side B starts with Immaculate Grotesque. This is noise that I don't quite understand. I don't understand why anyone would make it or want to listen to it. Eugenics Council follow with two pieces both called "Taint". The first track is horrible noise, the second feature an American voice shouting insults before it all fits around a rhythmic beat and it all seems to fit. Black Leather Jesus hits like a train. Chaos and noise at 125 miles per hour. V.D. give us the excellently titled "No Love For A Bottom". V.D. is a side project of Keith Brewer - he of Taint fame. It begins (again) with insults, and therefore boring...yes I am a motherfucking dicksucker who'll burn in hell...thank you very much...and it is a shame as what follows is a slice of excellent powerful electronics, just a shame it begins all cliched. Loop Retard give a Smegma style tape collage before Sweden's Survival Unit end the side with the best track "Let Me Die A Woman", a dark brooding atmospheric instrumental.
Side C starts with Prosexist (not again!!) with Raquel De Grimstone. "Paint You Up" has a good old industrial noise feel to it, it's not that good, just a pleasant surprise. Moribund offer nothing new with two tracks of slowed down sluggish vocals over distorted noise and The Viodre finish the side with an epic piece of directionless tat called "Phalcam Mancunt".
Side D kicks off with "Slut Torture" by Panicsville. Where do they get these titles from? The sound is forced and poor. A poor de force. Two pieces by Karmanjakan Intonarumori follow and these two slices of innovative, cleverly constructed masterpieces is what makes the compilation worth having. No comparisons to any other artiste / sound can be made here. Slow staggering electronics and spoken madness. K.I. is an early project of Bestializer, and one of Sweden's finest noise makers. Human Is Filth offer up "Penectomic Scission Vivisection", an insane onslaught of pounding electronics and feedback. Concrete Violin follow. It is a strand of thought amongst "noisefolk" that when recording a "noise" track that sticking everything "in the red" sounds good. Misguided fools. A track of tiresome tape splicing tomfoolery ends the compilation. "Bitch Me In" by the strangely titled project Mansfield Deathtrap. Are they from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire?
The release is finely packaged in a DVD type slim case with a booklet of "naughty schoolboy" pictures. Anal penetration, castration, open vagina collage stuff. The tracks were compiled by Clay Ruby and Karen Eliot (the Alan Smithee of noise albums)!
If seen - buy - if just for Karmanjakan Intonarumori, Survival Unit and Prurient.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Animals & Men

Have spent a pleasant while listening to the 2008 LP "Never Bought, Never Sold" by Animals & Men on US label Mississippi Records. Animals & Men first existed in 1979 and were based in Frome, Somerset (When in Frome....). They named themselves after the Adam & The Ants song. A lot of that kind of thing went on in the late 1970's. I remember 1979 and trying to chose a name for my first band (band!!...duo more like), we wrote some names on a bit of paper and tossed them into a (bowler) hat, on one piece I had written "Whips & Furs" a favourite track from the first Vibrators LP. I was thinking "well if it works for Stiff Little Fingers then I'll give it a go", luckily it never got pulled from the hat. (The Attempted Rape Of Dave Kirten and The Arrival Of A Train At La Ciotat Station were both drawn before we plumped for So Commercial). In 1982 we (the "we" is Dave Uden & I) did the same again and became Diet Of Worms. A love of the track from the first This Heat LP rather than any Lutherian leanings.
Anyway, back to Animals & Men.
In the summer I was told of a "drummer who used to be in a punk band in the 70's" working in the bowels of Torbay Hospital and lo and behold I met Geoff the guy who tampers with Medical Devices and somesuch. Geoff is the drummer in Animals & Men and he kindly gave me the vinyl LP and CD re-issues to listen to.
The CD is OK. "Revel In The Static" on the Hyped2Death label. I do feel it is the case of the unnecessary CD. A lot of unnecessary CD's have been released of late - by this I mean full over the hour albums by old bands that only released one or two singles in their brief "career" 4 or 5 songs that last under 15 minutes...and now there's a bloody hour of their stuff - unreleased demos, live tracks, alternative versions etc. In some cases the power and mystique is lost. For some reason I am thinking Steve Treatment, Pseudo Existors and Cyanide here...has anyone released a Gaffa CD?? Anyway, "Revel In The Static" falls into that category for me. The early stuff is great but there are too many "fillers" with stuff that sounds like music that could have been heard on a Sunday night in the back room of The White Horse....If you know what I mean? (great song). So, luckily, there is a vinyl LP available that delivers the goods.
"Never Bought, Never Sold" contains the two Animals & Men 7"'s as well as the 7" "Evil Going On" which they released under the moniker of The Terraplanes. Infact The Terraplanes tracks run at 8, whilst there are only 5 Animals & Men tracks.
The LP starts with the instant classic "Don't Misbehave In the New Age", a highly infectious sing-along from 1979. "Waiting For My Stranger" follows, a John Peel favourite which, again, has an infectious rhythm. Two tracks in and we switch to the Terraplanes and a demo version of "I Never Worry". This is from a cassette that Adam Ant heard and wanted to get involved. I can hear has an Amazulu or The Belle Stars feel about it. 1982 and everything was foppish hair, Bananarama and the Funboy 3 on the cover of "The Face", African chic and music like "I Never Worry". A song that hit the zeitgeist rather than charts. "Terraplane Fixation" follows. Back to Animals & Men and the song I remember them for. I used to have the song on a cassette of Peel favourites - along with Bunnydrums, Pere Ubu and Last fitted beautifully. The next couple of numbers we are back to the Terraplanes sounding like Bow Wow Wow before a Terraplanes version of an old Animals & Men song called "Treasure Of The Damned", a great proto-goth tracks where the bass guitar leads esoteric vocals around a heavy (double) drum beat.
Side two kicks off with sides A and B from the only Terraplanes single "Evil Going On" and "It's Hip". To quote lead Animal Ralph Mitchard's sleeve notes: "(It) was an attempt to create a new genre entirely, fusing blues and punk-we thought we could inspire a movement of blues beatniks digging obscure films but it flopped big time...Even Peeley didn't like it..." It (now) sounds like a strange hybrid of Joy Division jamming with 9 Below Zero and The Young Marble Giants. The B-Side to "Don't Misbehave In The New Age" follows, the excellent teen angst song "We Are Machines". Back in the punk days everyone had their "We Are Machines" song. Factory life, nine to five, white collar working..not for me type of stance. A couple of bluesy pub rock numbers follow before the LP finishes with a demo recording of the Animals & Men track "Headphones" which contains an "Antsian" guitar riff (sounds like "Friends") and then the excellent "Shell Shock", the B-Side to "Terraplane Fixation". Here they sound like Repetition - the band not the Fall song. Beautiful stuff.
The LP is recommended, the CD not so - unless seen for a fiver or less.

One of the joys of both releases are the sleeve notes. Funny detail and the story of what it was like to be in a punk/post-punk band in a small town in the late 1970's is hit on the head beautifully by Ralph. Their lack of ambition, their not wanting to move out of Frome, or to London. "Think Art, Act Local" as Grey Park once said. Animals & Men didn't play many gigs but when they supported Toyah and didn't like what they heard or saw they knew the "big time" wasn't for them. They had name changes and dalliances with Adam Ant before packing it all in and deciding to start families and play music to amuse themselves and friends.
And then the Internet happened and interest arose in old punk and post punk bands. I even had an e-mail from Chuck Warner asking if I had any old recordings of ESP Disk-rd (the band I was in after So Commercial that was named after an old Fall song title which got changed to "Psychick Dancehall"...the song title not the band) because I released a cassette back in 1979 and it got a mention in "ZigZag" magazine and "The International Discography Of The New Wave" book. And so, Animals & Men reformed in 2008. They still don't gig much (Paris on December 1) but I would love to see them live, I'd love just to sit around a pub table and share a few pints and chat with them.
The LP is available from Mississippi Records direct (just google it), or via Discogs.

1: Animals & Men, 1979.
2: "Never Bought, Never Sold" Sleeve.
3: "Revel In The Static" Sleeve.
4: Geoff Norcott 2011.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Nigel Ayers: Compost: Live at Tate St Ives

Nigel Ayers: Compost: Live at Tate St Ives: Field Club & Friends - late at the Tate St Ives Friday 25 November: FREE ADMISSION Multimedia artist Nigel Ayers, will perform a live psyc...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Mauthausen Orchestra #3

Today I resumed my playing through the 12xcassette album "Gravitational Arch Of Sex" (Slaughter Productions) by Mauthausen Orchestra, I have reached #5 : "Bloodyminded". (Good name for a band). Originally released in 1984 on the Italian Aquilifer Sodality label.
With its' beginnings, the sound of microphones being left on a deserted beach to record the lapping of the waves and the winds across the sands to the intermittent bursts of powerful synth to a track that sounds like a project called Mauthausen Orchestra should sound like. Harsh tones that cut through the air with manic male agonising screams morphing into a lyrical attack. No idea what is being communicated here (I speak no Italian) but it does sound like The Sodality track "They Never Learn" and Ultra's "I Can't Stand A Bitchy Chick" rolled into one. Excellent track.
By 1984 Mauthausen Orchestra had released on the UK Broken Flag label and maybe the influence of Gary Mundy's work along with that of Whitehouse is starting to show on "Bloodyminded"?
Side two has two instrumental pieces. It starts with industrial grind and rising and lowering oscillations before the chaos sets in. "Carcrash Electronics" is the best way to describe the sound. Manic/chaotic, all over the bloody shop! Radio space and pink noise calm the side down before a chaotic reprise and fade out.
"Bloodyminded" is a bloody good cassette and well recorded too. I suppose it is pretty daft to say that if you ever see a copy - buy! But you never know....there was an unofficial re-issue on the Australian Zero Cabal label that might be easier to find.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Craig Colorusso

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest 7" by Craig Colorusso. "Sun Boxes", which may or may not be on the MUUD label. The single is beautifully packaged in a colourful open out picture sleeve and is on slightly camouflage coloured vinyl. I discovered this release whilst reading the excellent "Dead Formats" blog spot.
Sun Boxes are small boxed speakers generated by solar power. The speakers each contain a different guitar note loop in each box, the guitar notes collectively make a b flat chord. The boxes are then placed in different environs and experienced. Craig Colorusso builds these boxes and installs them across America.
Over the past few days Hartop Towers has been hit by the drone. Firstly with the latest Andreas Brandal album "Eight Secret Messages" on the American Ilse label and then Preslav Literary School's "La Reflexion Du Tir" cassette, this single fits in beautifully. I am playing it at 33rpm. Two pieces recorded at two different locations. "Frozen Pond" in Plymouth Massachusetts and a "Grassy Field" in Newburyport Massachusetts. The sound on both pieces is meditative, calming and all inspiring. Beautiful.
Please go to to find out more about Craig and his sound, the single is available there as well as (gulp) downloads for those who don't like vinyl!

1: "Sun Boxes" Sleeve.
2: "Sun Boxes" Vinyl.
3: Postcard.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Preslav Literary School #2

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Preslav Literary School. "La Reflexion Du Tir", a cassette (C40) limited to 75 copies on the Russian Full Of Nothing label ( and worth the 7 Euros.
The cassette is inspired by the artwork of Benjamin Laurant Aman and Mathias Enard's novel "Zone". The novel centres around a spy/soldier called Francis Servain Mirkovic and his attempt to escape his past and live a "regular" life as Yuan Deroy. The two pieces on this cassette are named after the character(s). Benjamin is the man behind the excellent German label Razzle Dazzle.
"Francis Servain Mirkovic" starts very quietly and builds into a sixteen minute celestial, harmonious drone. "Yuan Deroy" also has a slow fade in, begining its' fourteen minute journey with a choral feel, the atomosphere of Gregorian Monks before adopting (again) a harmonious drone but this time more meloncholic and inward looking. It plays like an old wax cylinder of pumped organ music. Deep and beautiful stuff.

I am glad that the Preslav School Of Industry that appear on the latest "Feral Debris" compilation CDr are nothing to do with Preslav Literary School. The 'Industry track is so poor. It is hard to believe that someone/persons could name themselves such - they must know of the Literary School's existence? Still, I played the Venn Festival in Bristol a few years back and on the bill were a band from Bristol called Hunting Lodge! Anyway, I wholly recommend this release, get in touch with Full Of Nothing or Preslav Literary School at buy and enjoy...I even think there is a (gulp) download version!

1: Preslav Literary Scool "La Reflexion Du Tir" Cassette.

Sorry about the poor picture....Scanner is still not working.


As those who know me know - I am no fan of the download. It is an alien concept to me. I don't have the equipment to support such a device. Well yes, I have a computer but it is not hooked up through a hi-fi system or the TV, just two little speakers on the monitor...that'll do. I don't watch films or TV channels on the computer either nor do I own an Mp3 Player or an i-pod, I am not keen on headphones or ear-phones either. Another alien concept is the wearing of ear-phones whilst walking, or travelling. I like to have the full scope of hearing. Three hundred and sixty degrees. "It is not only the deaf who cannot hear" to misquote Mark E. Smith.
I was never big on MySpace, I listened to a few tunes but I never downloaded. I uploaded but withdrew quite quickly, although I think my A:A:K page is still up there because I have forgotten the password I used and quite frankly can't be arsed....I have never been on soundcloud or bandcamp. I cannot see reason. I have friends (that may surprise you) that live off the downloads. They have no record collection or tape collection...nowt to play the things on either. Their collection is a list on a computer screen available at a click. Like I said at the start; alien concept.
So far (to my knowledge) there has been one Dieter Muh track available as a download only, a track on the compilation "Squeezing Being Issue 2", put out by Wholeness Recordings. Although where you go to download a copy I do not know. Probably MySpace.
I am not that keen on blog sites that put up old releases for downloading. There was one site (I forget the name) that had the complete catalogue of The Homosexuals and their related off shoots. These releases exist as actual artifacts, as pieces of work / art, OK in 2011 they are pretty hard to come by and probably cost a days wage...but that's not the point. Before I end up infuriating myself and going on a tirade of senseless reiteration - there was a VW advert on TV today whilst I was watching the football (FC Halifax Town did OK, I thought) that stated something along the lines of; Why have something that sounds like a Golf when you can have a Golf , and that is quite similar to my line of thought.

Saying that though, last week I was told of a blog site called "nostalgie-de-le-boue" that had uploaded Metgumbnerbone's "For The Raven" for download. "For The Raven" was Metgumbnerbone's 1984 follow up to the excellent "Ligelahorn" LP on A:Mission Records and was to be released in cassette format on Nekrophile Records, but the release never came about.
Swedish label Styggelse have some how obtained a copy and put it on the site. I put a call out to my good friend Tim and now have a copy on CDr, and a great listen it is too....mind you I would love to have the "bootleg" cassette.
Metgumbnerbone were the Rupenus brothers Richard and Phillip who later created The New Blockaders along with John Mylotte and Sean Breadin who also (with the Rupenus brothers) recorded under the name of Masstishaddu. Although recorded in 1984 "For The Raven" is still highly listenable, probably because I listen to a lot of stuff recorded in the early 1980's? It sounds a lot like Soviet France...the Soviet France of "Garista" and "Mohonomische". There is a lot of rhythm, drums and metal percussion mixing with flutes, gourds, and (probably) trumpets. Large industrial warehouse sounds of scraping and obsolete machinery mixed with wailing and screaming...and at times what sounds like Geordie "Speaking In Tongues". It would have been a perfect release on the Austrian Nekrophile Records label, it fits in ideally with Korpses Katatonik, LasHtaL, Zero Kama etc. It is very 1984. There were a slew of bands/artists around at this time producing "dark industrial", "ritual" and experimental noises. Hunting Lodge, Current 93, Zos-Kia, Coup De Grace, The Anti Group, Seven Horns Da Ho, Devation Social, The Brides Of Christ all spring to mind whilst writing this. I too took inspiration from these and other projects (as well as other sources) and created Muhviertel with Sean Rorke. "For The Raven" brings this all back.
I think it is a shame that Styggelese didn't contact Metgumbnerbone and offer to put it out on CD or cassette with original artwork etc instead of being a download...but I am glad they did, at least, make it available to my ears and alien (conceptual) brain.

On a similar train. I have decided to book a flight and hotel and go and witness what may be a "gig" of a lifetime. The New Blockaders and Vagina Dentata Organ (another one of 1984's great projects) in Berlin. March 2012. I am quite excited about this one.

1: "For The Raven" sleeve (according to Discogs)
2: TNB/VDO Live In Berlin 2012.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Ekca Liena

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Ekca Liena: "Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement" a double CDr on Dead Pilot Records. It was after I had played the latest and excellent Plurals LP a few times I thought I'd see what else is out there by Plurals and/or their label (I assume it is their label) Dead Pilot Records and the name Ekca Liena kept appearing. A solo project from Plural member Daniel Mackenzie with a few releases to his name and one on the excellent Small Doses label. I had to explore.
"Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement" is just that. A concept album. I was pretty uncertain as to what sound Ekca Liena produced as solo releases by another Plurals member; Duncan Harrison sound nothing like Plurals. The album starts with "Unfolding" acting like the introduction round before "Fire Emerging From Mist" comes in all acoustic guitar and drone. Wow, I was not expecting this! "Post Altitude" follows with reverse electric guitar that melds into acoustic...excellent stuff and crystal clear production. I am three tracks in thinking I have discovered a classic. "Reverse Erasing" has a choppy pulse with a Chinese thumb-piano rhythm and bowed strings, it is all beginning to sound rather Eno. "Post Altitude" has an Equatorial feel, as does the following track "Missing Weeks" a slow trek through the Amazonian Rain forests, now the sound has become "pleasant". Pleasant music. "Music For A Dream-Catcher" I thought, and then I was put in mind of Horizon 222.
Horizon 222 was an off-shoot from Soviet France (or Zoviet*France for late comers). Back in the early 1990's (1992/93) Andy Eardley of Soviet France put out a couple of LP's and an EP of New Age trip-hop psychedelia. It wasn't cutting edge experimental and raw like Soviet France, it was nice coffee table Guardian reader stuff. I still have the "Spirit Level" 2x12" but it hardly gets a listen.....
Anyway, "Missing Weeks" brought them to mind before it went off on a tangent with some keyboard sound that brought to mind CBeebies and "Waybaloo". Having very young children at Hartop Towers means I see alot of Kiddies TV and I can spot that dreamy keyboard sound anywhere! "We Are Dying Flames" is a cinematic piece of ethereal glistening, it brings to mind fast-frame editing and time span footage which is clever stuff seeing that the concept is "Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement". Full marks. "Into The Wind" is pleasant with dulcimer tones and an electric guitar through chorus pedals. "Further Longer" is too long by far working on about five different levels - nice looped guitar effect a la Vini Reilly...but it does change too much and seems never-ending. The final piece "Missing Ending/Unfolding Revisited" has an end credit feel with its' "old 45" crackle and ghostly drone.
"Slow Music For Rapid Eye Movement" was originally released as a single CDr on Dead Pilot Records in 2008, this 2011 edition includes a CDr of covers and remixes. Very Fjernlys I thought. Nick Hudson provides a couple of covers of the same song: "Reverse Erasing", where he adds a placid lounge jazz organ and awful vocals to the choppy pulsating rhythm. Clem Leek & Kixotex make tracks sound like The Orb whereas Pupilar complete the 1990's feel with a bit of Meat Beat meets The Orb type remix. I was looking forward to the Duncan Harrison cover of "Into The Wind" but the track just went on for too long and Aidan Baker's remix of "Fire Emerging From Mist" with 1970's prog style guitar had me searching for the skip button. Shame.

The album has its' moments but they are too far between to grab full attention, and for some of us (very old) folk it does sound like stuff I have heard before.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Feral Debris

I used to like reading "Just Glittering" then it changed its' name to "Idwal Fisher" and I used to like reading "Idwal Fisher" and then it stopped. Well it stopped being an ink and paper publication and returned as a blog. and it is still a damn good read it's just that you can't take it to the toilet with you to read...unless I printed it off (but the printer/scanner ain't working at the moment) or sat a laptop on my knee (but I don't own a laptop). "Idwal Fisher" (the magazine) used to give the lowdown on all things; reviews of fags that sat on the shelves of tobacconists in Moscow, 30 pence albums bought at the Bingley Mare & Foal Charity Shop, beers from around the Greek Islands sat amongst the pages of reviews of the latest Merzbow CD or Terry Riley reissue or Smell & Quim gig. It was (the magazine) classic reading. I used to smile when I came home from a hard days slog at Torbay Hospital and found an "Idwal" sitting on the mat..the BD19 postcode reassuring me that what lay inside the plain brown paper envelope was the evenings entertainment...slip into something comfortable. A Neil Campbell or maybe an early Nurse With Wound album and spend the next few hours wallowing in the world of Idwal. Then it would sit on a pile of back issues in the crapper until it needed drying on the bathroom radiator and be filed in a box in the gimp room.
I shall never forget sitting on Daniel Lowenbruck's toilet in old East Berlin feeling like a stunned heifer with a hangover of twenty men reading a copy of "Just Glittering" laughing and shitting and quickly feeling like taking on the day. A great hangover cure!
Since the demise of "Idwal Fisher" there has been very little to take its' place. Sure, there are "noise" / "experimental music" based magazines but they are pretty serious stuff. Nothing wrong with that...nothing at all...but nothing to follow Idwal in printed form. "Niche Homo" is pretty good, excellent Bruno Wizard interview in the last issue I saw and coming up to "essential" is the Nottingham based magazine "Feral Debris".
"Feral Debris #5" is out now! There are no reviews in "Feral Debris" just essays, insights and interviews. A big big selling point for me was an interview with Gerry & The Holograms..I thought this may be a rehash of an old Manchester Fanzine interview...but no...this interview with C.P.Lee by an unknown journo brings us up to date with all things Gerry and Absurd. Excellent. There is also an interview with Nate Young and John Olson talking about their new band Stare Case (awful name) and with Graham Lambkin of Kye Records and Shadow Ring. Also featured is an superbly written overview of filmmaker Jose Ramon Larraz and pieces on artists Steve Swarek and Scott Treleaven. There are no CD/LP/gig reviews. The feel of the mag reminds me of when I started reading "Headpress" at the turn of the 1990's. Remember "Headpress"? Is it still going? Will have to do some research.
I originally found out about "Feral Debris" a couple of years ago because one of their issues came with a CDr featuring Astral Social Club. All copies of "Feral Debris" come with a free compilation CDr. Issue 5 is no different. A downside to this is that the magazine neither features or mentions any of the bands/artists/projects on the CDr. I have to find out about these artists myself! And I hate going on MySpace! At least "Impulse" magazine used to write articles or interview the bands they featured on their giveaway cassettes. Issue #5 starts with Nacht Und Nebel and a track called "The Thousand Young". It all begins with looping and locked grooving before drifting off into some lo-fi drone and feedback and then drifting back into a locked loop. Usurper follow with a short attempt at musique-concret and a frequency that would make a dog laugh at fifty yards. Preslav School Of Industry follow. I am at this point uncertain whether or not this project is aligned with Preslav Literary School but I think coincidence would be too strong if not. The track is called "Fever Triangle" and is not very well constructed which did make me think that the world has two Preslav Schools. There's shortwave crackle, slowed down voice, amp hum, radio voices, meandering drone all put to no use. The next three groups / projects are all new to me. Brittle Foundries bring "Homecoming" to the CDr. It is a slow melancholic piece with sounds of escaping gas and piano notes. The whine of an engine brake floats across the speakers like an incoming tide, the track could have been called "Dancing With Robert Haigh". ABYSSES (Their capitals not mine) track is called "Violent Trust" - it is a moribund song (with lyrics) that made me write down (I make notes y'know) that this person/these people own Throbbing Gristle albums, but then again so do I, which is why I have fallen quite partial to this track. I have since found out that half of ABYSSES is Johnny Scarr of Mantile/Spoils & Relics. The track is far too long. Inner City end the CDr with "Space Forest". I thought it a bit of a coup if "Feral Debris" had got an exclusive track from the infamous 1980's Detroit techno crew. (I do remember dancing...yes their Big Fun and Good Life tunes in various nightclubs and strip joints in Salford & Manchester in the late 1980's). But no.....this track is awful new age keyboardery that even Dave Greenslade would have been too embarrassed to release! Might be Belgian.
Anyway. "Feral Debris" is worth £3.50 inc P+P (or exchange equivilent anywhere in the world). Get in touch with them at: . The folk also run the Rammel Club in Nottingham so if you're in the East Midlands go along and support.

1: Feral Debris #5 Magazine.
2: Feral Debris #5 Cdr.

Apologies for the poor quality of picture...but like I said, the scanner isn't working so i had to take photographs.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Cheapmachines #2

Last weekend I received a copy of "Debris" a 7" test pressing by Cheapmachines. Due to the test pressing being unsatisfactory the 7" never was released, a shame because I really like what Cheapmachines were doing here. As a rule, and as far as I understand although let it be known I am no expert, I thought that if one test pressing was unsatisfactory the pressing plant would then run off a few more copies with the problem (hopefully) solved but in the case of "Debris" the single was never released. The project was never realised. A real shame.
I have another "faulty" test pressing, that of Defektro's "Hard Luck Heart" EP...after many moons the single was finally released, maybe that's be the story with "Debris". Anyway, I contacted Phil Julian (AKA Cheapmachines) to a: thank him for the vinyl & b: probe him on the test pressing.

I am playing the single loud and at 33rpm. Is that correct?

It's cut at 45rpm both sides, but I'm not precious about it if you prefer the slowed version :)

You are not happy with the pressing. There are moments when (on side A) it sounds like a pause button is being held in for a micro-second, also there is a massive drop and rise in volume towards the end....was this the problem?

Yes, those are the main problems, along with the mobile phone blips on side 2 from the guy doing the cutting, evidently texting someone while he should have been concentrating...

Side A has some great "old industrial" style sounds and textures, making me think of 1975-76 Throbbing Gristle (the Giftgas CD on Dossier for Eg), what was the instrument line-up for this track?

Thanks, that's a big compliment. Both sides are semi-improvised computer pieces recorded at the same time as the tracks for "Secede":

No "instruments" as such - real-time computer synthesis, granular samples, some pulsar generation, sinewaves, internal feedback...

The two tracks sounded better side-by-side than crow barred into the album so the intention was to make it a 7". Never happened as a proper release, only these test pressings exist. I might come back to it at some point... using a different pressing plant of course.

I like Side 2, it sounds like there are three different levels happening here all at the same time. Abstract textures, drone pieces and contact mic' recordings. HNJW! (Harsh Noise Jazz Wall) - it also sounds like a live to comment?

Both tracks were improvised, then some layering and then editing mainly for length. Don't recall any direct contact micing but there are a number of samples being yanked about in there which could well have been derived from a contacted mic-ed object or two. Jazzed-up Punk Shit Wall ;)

If you could respond to one or all of these questions, I'll put them on my blog - if you can't be arsed, fair do's.
Thanks (again) for the package.

No problem.

Also with the 7" came a new C20 cassette release "Accessory". This was made to support Cheapmachines live events in October. Left over copies are available directly from Phil at I've enjoyed a couple of plays but I'm slowly letting it into my psyche....

1&2: Cheapmachines test pressing.
3: Defektro test pressing sleeve.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Carnifex Recordings

Just going through a box of old stuff and came across a couple of Carnifex Recordings flyers from 1986/87. Artwork by Sean A. has put me in the mood for listening to some old Rise/Muhviertel tapes....

In A Flat Field

Over the last few days (great band) a couple of "field recording"releases have found their way to Hartop Towers. Firstly came the Chris Watson CDr "The Sea Ice Border" released earlier this year as part of issue #2 of art journo book "Corridor8". The book also has an overview of Chris's work in field recordings as well as a short explanation behind the CDr. "The Sea Ice Border" is two recordings made on the Artic Sea Ice at 89 degrees north. The first recording was made overground and has the sound of snow filled bin liners blowing in the polar winds. The bin liners mark the 1Km runway at Ice Camp Barneo. The second recording was made using hydrophones to record the sound 2 metres below the sea ice. Here the sound of sea is cracking ice and minutiae whistles. Fascinating stuff. This the first "album" (it lasts a little over 17 minutes) I have by Chris Watson; I have plenty of Hafler Trio stuff and virtually all of his releases as part of Cabaret Voltaire but his "solo" work has passed me by...this needs correcting.
A few years ago I bumped into Chris in Stockholm, he was performing a few days after Dieter Muh at the Fylkingen and was in town with Mike Harding to take in the atmosphere. I had Bells Palsy at the time so we just exchanged "hello's". I wasn't in the mood.....
Also through the Hartop Towers letterbox this week was the double CD by Stephane Garin & Sylvestre Gobart "Gurs/Drancy/Bobigny's Train Station/Auschitz/Birkenau/Chelmno-Kulmhof/Majdaneck/Sobibor/Treblinka". (Catchy title). Released on the German Gruenrekorder label as part of their "Field Recordings" series. Here is the promotional synopsis.

The extermination perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborationist countries against those undesirable populations (Jews, homosexuals, tziganes, mentally and physically handicapped people…) provoked a real cataclysm within our civilization because of its method, its singularity and its extent. What memory do we keep alive today of those events, at the time of multiple commemorations, memorials and other enclosed memories. Our artistic move aims to break off with the iconography which conditions our collective memory as much by the medium as by the contents of the pictures and the sound. What matters here is to attempt to recover and to reinvest that memory. The distance that separates us from the past tragedies increases the risk of a ritualization or a “monumentalization” of the memory, and that is the reason why we need, through art, to feed the visual memory of extermination. The deliberate choice not to work on any visual element that refers to the systematic iconography of the camps endeavours to create, with the sound, that restraint which is essential to reverence, as it is the signature of what happened.

Stephane recorded the places whilst Sylvestre took photographs, there was then an installation of results. The sound on the CD's are of distant traffic, children playing, trains on tracks, birds in trees etc. The pieces could have been recorded anywhere. The sound has no stigma. Like the Chris Watson release the recordings are fascinating and the accompanying essay and pictures are excellent. I shall be using the CD's as sound source.
Ten years ago I tried to record certain sites on Dartmoor, my extent of "field recording"...some of the results can be heard on the "Tertium Organum" LP.

1: "The Sea Ice Border" by Chris Watson.
2: Corridor8 #2.
3: Myself & Chris Watson at The Fylkingen, Stockholm. 2001.
4: Recording on Dartmoor, Winter 2001.
5: Stephane Garin/Sylvestre Gobart CD Sleeve.
6: Drancy, 2007.
7: Bobigny Train Station, 2006.
8: Auschwitz Krematorium 1, 2006.
9: Sobibor, 2006.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Treasured Tape #6

I have had this cassette for roughly 13 years now and really it should be at the bottom, or at least near the bottom, of the pile of cassettes that rarely get an outing. Non of the groups/artists on the cassette are favourites. I own nothing by the groups/artists on the cassette. I did used to have a Labradford 10"EP back in 1996, but a chap called "Mad" Phil Benton borrowed it from me (along with some Stereolab discs) whilst we were sharing a house in York and I have never seen it since.
In early 1998 Dieter Muh were played on a Spanish radio station called "Radio Banzai", it was early doors for Dieter Muh and a play on a Spanish radio station was an excitement for me, I asked for a cassette of the show on which Dieter Muh were played and true to their word I received a C90 with Dieter Muh on the playlist. It's a great tape. Muh is played in between Contagious Orgasm and (I think) Small Cruel Party. During the broadcast the two DJ's chatted about Dieter Muh and the chosen track; "Morche" from the CD album "Black Square". It became a mission to discover what the two Spanish hombres were saying - did they like it? Were they taking the piss? Were Dieter Muh the new name to drop in post industrial and noise circles? I had to find out!

1998 and I was working at Walkers crisp factory in Lincoln. I packed bags into boxes, I put little boxes into larger boxes, I played cards at break-time. It wasn't glamorous but it paid the rent and kept Dieter Muh in business. On the production line was a Spanish chap by the name of Alberto. Alberto was the male part of a trio of Spanish workers who were also training to become language teachers at the time. Alberto was (and indeed is) much younger than me, but he was the only Spanish male I knew and I needed a translation of the DJ speak on the Radio Banzai cassette. During a break along the production line I approached Alberto and asked if he would translate the cassette for me. Luckily he agreed and thus began our friendship.
Let me point out here that food factories are very strange places to work - I should know, I have worked in a few - and to go up to a complete stranger (work colleague or not) and present him with a cassette of "weird noise" and ask for a translation was a very very "risky" thing to do.

Shortly after the translation / getting to know you situation I left Walkers factory and Alberto graduated from teaching school and moved to London. It was during this time that Alberto started to mail me cassettes. A Mogwai tape, an excellent God Speed You Black Emperor tape (I love that name) and the compilation tape "Mu-Sick For S".
I am not a real fan of the genre that is on this cassette, mention the names to me and I would (at the time) probably of retorted cynically about shoe-gazery "Guardian" readers, arty-farty pseudo left-wing students and their chosen style of music and how it is not really my cup of tea but this tape squashes all that and throws it back in my face! Somehow Alberto has mixed all the pieces into one "megamix" so where Tortoise end and Will Oldham begins I have not got much of a clue. Well, Will Oldham sounds a little like a modern day Leonard Cohen and Mogwai songs start off pretty minimal and build in a "Velvetsy" type way to a Swansesque crescendo and The Beta Band are a little Lou Reed meets the Buena Vista Social Club with "Eastenders" drum I suppose if I threw a little guess work into the listen I could work it all out. But there is no need to do the guess work, the cassette flows so beautifully it lets the mind wander and become nonchalant! "Death To Everyone" by Will Oldham is a beauty.
A great thing about the cassette, and why it has become a treasured item is that it has given me enough Mogwai, Will Oldham and Lambchop to listen to. It is a beautiful play and anymore songs by the same artists would be (for me)'s not my genre.

Alberto disappeared at the turn of the millennium, random messages came from Madrid, Dusseldorf and Milan. I did get a brief message at the beginning of 2011, Alberto is now a suit and tie white collar jockey in Madrid. He did mail me some Esplendor Geometrico CD's (the sweety) - hopefully we shall meet again.

1: Tape Sleeve.
2: Tape Traclkistig.
3: Tape.
4: Alberto Munoz in The Windmill, Brixton. 1999.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Sudden Infant:Noise In My Head

In the "every home should have one" section comes the book "Noise In My Head", an overview and insight into the workings of Swiss artist/noisician Joke Lanz. The book is packed with photographs from Sudden Infant performances and Joke's art aktions, as well as some of Joke's paintings (in colour). There's a comprehensive interview and some "essays" written by Sudden Infant aficionados and fans. "Road To Ruin" by Steve Underwood is a great piece...there's a book in that guy too! I wish I had a Sudden Infant "story" to tell, but unfortunately not. I have met Joke a couple of times at various gigs in the capital and I sampled his "Broken Glass" 7" to buggery - I think there's still one sample on my Roland SP 404. I have seen Sudden Infant live (on the same bill as The New Blockaders, Merzbow and Putrefier) but I cannot remember it at all (never go for a drink with Steve Fricker before a gig).
The most fascinating part of the book (for me) is the pages and pages of Sudden Infant performance posters and flyers, an excellent collection and a great pictorial "history of noise". I have books that are collections of album sleeves and single sleeves, it would be great to see a book dedicated to the "live" poster / flyer. Is there one out there? There's also a pictorial history of Sudden Infant releases. A great book that once read can be dipped into for pleasure and inspiration. Published in an edition of 300 by Marhaug Forlag (so don't hang about) and available (as all good things are) from Second Layer Records in the UK.

1: Isabel F. reads the synopsis of "Noise In My Head".