Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Astral Social Club #9

I have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Astral Social Club. The CD "Magic Smile" on Japanese label WonderYou. The album is compiled from old material remixed and new recordings. "Rubber Logg" kicks off the album, beginning all Japanese like with the sound of a Koto or Kugo being played by a waterfall (serenity) and finding its way to a North Yorkshire disco dancefloor. Astral Social Clubbing Music. Nearing the end of this 13 minute or so masterpiece celestial wailing takes it all a level higher before dropping straight into track two and "Mach". Let it be known that there are no gaps in this album, it plays like one long piece. "Mach" is a rework of the cassette single track "Ach" that came out last year, limited to 37 copies. It is all random sequencer patterns and "highland" sounding guitar ... but don't think Stuart Adamson. The titular track "Magic Smile" is a lament with phased drone and strumming guitar, it even has lyrics. "Multiple World Speed" is a track that does what the title suggests. It is a high speed guitar noodle piece (GNP) with space synths and a throbbing bass. Does anyone remember Bleep & Booster? "Och" plays like a soundtrack to one of their stories. Alien communication, tapes stolen from the Arecibo Observatory perhaps? "Och" was originally released as the B-Side to "Ach".
It is back on to the dancefloor everybody with "FRWRKX RWRK". The industrial dancefloor that is, with a motorik beat and freestyle guitar noodling (GNP). This is another 13 minute piece that two thirds in breaks down..the beat disappears. Police sirens wail, glasses are smashed, a helicopter circles overhead ... we are left in a void of reverse pulsations and electric panic. Bloody clever stuff. "Tempo Rubber" closes the album. Loops of Tubular Bells chime and fade into a melancholic organ affair bringing it all to silence.
There is a bonus track on the album. "Rubber Logg (Kufuki Remix)". Earlier this year Kufuki released a CD with an Astral Social Club remix and here the experiment is reversed. "Rubber Logg" still has the Koto sound before moving into high octane synth noodling (HOSN) and Japanese Temple music on half a gram bag of speed......we are back in the Astral Social Nightclub where Sticky Foster's wailing is replaced by a beautiful Japanese voice. An excellent end to an excellent and worthy release.
Packaged in full colour digipack style and a must for all. Check Norman Records + Volcanic Tongue for UK distribution, or contact Neil Campbell himself to bag a copy. www.astralsocialclub.wordpress.com


Took another journey across the border (well, the Tamar Bridge) into Cornwall the other day and found a lovely little lager from the St Austell Brewery.
Korev. It may sound like a Lithuanian power electronics outfit or a Polish midfielder from the 1980's but it is in fact a traditional Cornish word meaning beer. (Pronounced cor~eff). It has (apparently) taken the brewers of St Austell 160 years to perfect this lager using ingredients only grown locally, and it is probably worth the effort! A very fruity and smooth drink with a hint and hue of honey. Goes down very smooth, and only 4.8%. A 500ml bottle goes for around the £2.20 mark so if you're down this way (the brewery has pubs and inns littered across Devon & Cornwall) just lean over the bar and check if they have a few bottles of Korev in their fridge, you'll find it worth the look.
Alternatively it can be bought via their website www.staustellbrewery.co.uk but who buys beer online?

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Column One "Records" CDr

Last July (July 2011) I bought an album that I never thought I would own, such is its' rarity, scarcity and price beyond worth. That album was the compilation LP "East" on Dead Good Records. This July (July 2012) the same has happened again. I have bought two releases by Column One that I thought; 1: I would never see and 2: That if I did, I would never be able to afford. But I was wrong thanks to a generous chap that saw I had the two releases listed as "wants" on Discogs and offered them both to me at an incredibly reasonable price.
So this weekend is Column One weekend at Hartop Towers, a marathon Column One weekend of Olympic standard.
"Records" is a 40 minute CDr released to accompany a live performance at the 2002 "Argos Festival" in Brussels, Belgium. Column One were there to perform on the closing night. Here is an extract from the 2002 programme:

Column One
26 okt 20.00/ A.B. Club

The audio-visual collective Column One, founded in 1991 in Berlin, is shored up by its ideological basis: their aesthetic approach critically enlightens on topics like (contemporary) Western icons, societal structures, political points of departure and the media. Earlier the core members René Lamp and Robert Schalinski had worked on film shorts; as Column One the two allow themselves to be accompanied – depending on the nature of the project – by Andrew Loadman, Jerôme Soudan (aka Mimetic), Wojcek Czern (aka Zia Siodma Gora), Jürgen Eckloff (Kein Zweiter, Kino) and Leo Solter (Kein Zweiter and Tornow). The film and video work of Column One devotes – not infrequently via cut-up techniques and synchronised montage – a lot of their attention to sound. In this way the group decodes the audio-visual ‘reality’ of for instance advertising, animated films or video clips in their work, and re-mounts them within a new context. As a result the original dialogues, phrases or treatments are mangled and recast as music. As founding influences the group points to the pop terrorism of Psychic TV, but then also combined with the radical constructivism of the author Paul Watzlawik and a string of film makers including Derek Jarman, Ingmar Bergmann and Alexandro Jodorowski. Next to videos Column One also produces music, a sonorous output where electro, noise and robot-pop interface. At the closing party of the argos festival 2002, the group (represented by René Lamp, Robert Schalinski and Jürgen Eckloff) will be presenting a new audio-visual work. Their performance gives both commentary and ironic critique on the theme of the concert series and exhibition ‘Pitch – Mutating Turntables’.

The CDr is released by 90% Wasser and limited to 20 copies, hence the reason why I never thought I would see or hear the album. The CDr is 40 minutes of turntablism. Creations built / constructed from lock grooves, run-out grooves, needle drops and jumps etc. Beautiful and textured dancefloor electronics, hypnotic and when listening to I get locked into a world of my own making - peaceful and very happy. The sound of Column One is multi-faceted, for 20 years or so they have never remained stagnant in sound and/or personnel. Not every release is immediate as this one, but every release is essential. My first hearing of them was the Tochnit Aleph double cassette "Live Im Hybridraum" released in 1998 and limited to just 25 copies, my old friend Mick McDaid had a copy - we both loved it so much we put out a bowdlerized version on CDr via our The Mouth Label label. This was the other release that came this weekend that I never thought I would see again.

Anyway, Column One = essential. If you do not know where to start please try there "No One" Box set. 3 CD's and 3 LP's with a booklet, all in one beautiful box.


1: CDr Cover.

2: Inside CDr artwork (extract).

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Dead Wood / Phantom Heron Seas #3

Back with another Hairdryer Excommunication release and the C21 (I think) cassette by Dead Wood & Phantom Heron Seas. Since their first collaborative release , the 7" violent blue lathe cut flexi-plate on Dirty Demos I have become all ears for these two projects. Here we are presented with two new pieces. Side A gives us "Boundary Feature", a delicate and lonely piece with a nautical feel (a similar sound can be found on their "Microbes" 3"CDr on Dead Sea Liner Records). A small organ drones like an intro to an Ivor Cutler poem, before the sound of running water, a babbling brook enters. Dull chimes and small percussion rattle in the breeze. A soundtrack to a small seascape painting. File under "Music For Installations". Side B is entitled "Near the Tired Skies". Ten or so minutes of resonance and vibrations with contact microphonery - surface interference and irritation building to a mighty crescend moment. Micheal Muennich's "Zum Geleit" piece was brought to mind - the sound of hard rain on perspex and glass. File under "Music For Performance".
Another fine release. Adam and Alan (Dead Wood & Phantom Heron Seas) deliver the goods once more. The cassette comes encased in an oversized case in its' own plastic tray with insert. Limited to thirty copies this tape is available for £4.75 in the UK. Well worth it! Try www.hairdryerexcommunications.wordpress and follow the instructions.

1: The Cassette.
2: The Insert.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Petals. "Preconcerted", a C20 (at a guess) cassette on the Hairdryer Excommunication label. Rather like the aforementioned FRKSE I have come late to the sound of Petals judging by their entries on the Discogs site. Duncan Harrison did recommend them to me ages ago, but I have never done a thing about it, then two wonderful cassette releases arrive from the wonderfully named label Hairdryer Excommunication.
Petals are (or is) the solo project of Kevin J Sanders, an anarchist type living in Huddersfield. (Big "A" or little "a")? He is also the proprietor of Hairdryer Excommunication.

"Preconcerted" contains two untitled pieces. Side A is a raw recording of a Hammond keyboard sounding like a church organ drone - perhaps Kevin has sampled a church organ, several layers of sound surround the drone before electricity is added, synthesizers, oscillators and thriplers swell the sound to produce an all consuming pulse which distorts to an end. Excellent stuff - I must add here that the tape comes packaged within an old library book of slides entitled "Extraction, Conservation And Pollution". The slides have exciting pictures with titles like: Shallow Open Cast Mining Exposes Iron Bearing Strata. Corby. Northamptonshire and Air And Sea Pollution By Coastal Industrial Plant. Workington. Cumberland. There's 24 of them and if I had a slide projector I would show them with side A as soundtrack.
The untitled piece on side B is a ten minute slice of turntable DaDaism, with a slice of cassette trickery. Loops made with old 78's played at various speeds with the dusty stylus and indispensable vinyl crackle. A:M:K, Severed Heads and Smegma all brought into mind before a collage of found sound on old tapes is brought into the mix, spoken word, classical piano and Petals own drone.

Two sides of Petals sound, beautifully packaged and presented. I do not know how many of these tapes are around, but please take a look at the Hairdryer Excommunication website; www.hairdryerexcommunication.wordpress.com There are downloads on there as well as a full Petals discography and an excellent "Adventures In A Yorkshire Landscape" blog written by Kevin himself.
In with this release was a cassette by Dead Wood&Phantom Heron Seas....that's me made up then!

1: Hairdryer Excommunication sew on patch.
2,3,4+5: "Preconcerted" cassette.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from American artist FRKSE. "Scholar Drugs" is a C31 cassette released by (the excellently named) I Had An Accident Records label from Annapolis MD in the USA.
FRKSE are a new name/sound to Hartop Towers, I saw the cassette mentioned on the Troniks Forum Board and liked the look of the tape, so I went for it - and damned glad I did. The tape is split into two pieces. Side A is "Scholar Drugs:Diagram 1 (Stereo)". The track starts off slow with a single beat, a slow bass drum through plenty of echo and reverb...a slow single oscillator drone accompanies...a snare offsets the beat on random occasions, oscillator knob twiddling happens building, slowly building. Excellent stuff...studio recording playing / sounding like an old Inade demo. The echoes get deeper, the knob twiddlings rise and fall, the echoes get louder and after 12 minutes it becomes celestial. Downside is the end of side A where for a few seconds it all speeds up...but still it left me eager enough to grab another can of lager and turn the tape over.
Side B is "Scholar Drugs:Diagram 2 (Mono)" and obvioulsy a live recording. It has the same beat but this time is more excited, more urgent and "on the edge", the electronics fill the space more. I was reminded of Hunting Lodge circa "Exhumed" and Last Few Days when they part of the Final Academy. Really enjoyable listen. Again it has a 12 minute mark where this time the sound slows down and collapses and drags on a bit....but still is OK - the come down to Scholar drugs (I suppose)?

FRKSE are a new project, and I know nowt about - they (he) seem to have a few releases listed on Discogs...and I love to hear them all....but with so much coming out lately, I'll have to start my collection here and try and (slowly) catch up on the back catalogue. I recommend you give them an ear - and that of I Had An Accident Records...the jiffy came stuffed with pens, stickers, flyers and a six inch ruler from the local pharmacists! The cassette is limited to 41 copies with artwork by Final Church.
Buy from : www.ihadanaccidentrecords.com or www.divergentseries.info

1: FRKSE "Scholar Drugs"
2: FRKSE. (Looks like Pete Bardens in 1975)!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Duncan Harrison #2

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Plurals main-man Duncan Harrison. "Sleepers" is a cassette limited to 30 copies and released by the Canadian label Poor Little Music.
To bastardize an old Gary Clail lyric "fi-how lo can you go"? This tape is lo-fi in extremis, but (in a strange way) I think it adds to the sound. There are words being spoken at the moment on the Troniks forum board about badly dubbed tapes, old tapes from the mid 1980's being sold as new and in the day of digital enhancering and re-mastering onto CD / digital format folk just aren't prepared to put up with tape hiss...fair enough, I bought some cassettes from a label called Strange Rules recently that were really badly dubbed and it hindered the sound ... but here (I think) Duncan uses the fact that the recordings are to be a cassette release and uses the medium perfectly. Side A contains two untitled pieces. The first has a drone, a hum with occasional pots and pans as percussion. There are sounds of broken leads, bad connections - the sort of snap crackle and pop that makes you think that the tape machine is on its' last legs...the second untitled piece has resonance. Chime bars amidst the murky swill. There are voices in there too. There was a point where I thought, jeez - this label will release anything the recording is so bad and then there's the sound of a dodgy connection, muffled and inaudible spoken words like reading the pages of an old dusty tome and it becomes brilliant. Perfect. If it sounded "clean" (or digital) it wouldn't work, it wouldn't be so disconcerting or haunting. Why make films in 3D?...is football better in HD?
Side B starts with "Jealous People". A glorious murky swill where a bass rumble acts as glue, sticking the M25, whale sound, stretched tapes and EVP together. It all ends suddenly. The tape ends with a 2009 live performance in Westhill. Where the fuck is Westhill? It is an audience recording - sounds like a live performance of side A condensed into 15 minutes. There's a master drone, metal percussion and tempered feedback. Voice is used to add to the haunting ... did I say haunting? I meant performance. It ends on a ghostly breeze..unfortunately the tape ends before the "wild" applause. This piece just makes me feel like I have to see / hear / experience a live Duncan Harrison performance before I die!
Buy this tape.
Poor Little Music is a label operated by Fossils member Rob Michaelchuk from Ontario. Bizarre as the CDr I was "getting in to" before endlessly spinning this tape was the Altar Of Flies/Fossils split CDr on Hasten + Korset. Go to www.poorlittlemusic.110mb.com and bag this beauty.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Epicurean Escapism

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from the Belgian label Silken Tofu. The cassette / DVD package "Epicurean Escapism" released to commemorate the "Epicurean Escapism Festival" that took place in Berlin earlier this month.
The package comes housed in a deluxe blood red bubblewrap pouch with a flyer, C50 cassette and six and a half minute DVD-r and is limited to 100 copies.

On July 7th projects from Germany and Sweden performed at a venue called "The Feed", there was a video installation by Martin Bladh, films by Jupitter Castrol GTX and Dissecting Table and DJ's from Holland and Germany manning the decks. The whole event was organised by Stefan Hanser of Anemone Tube / Transfixional Entertainment and the NK Gallery. This release was available on the evening, an excellent "memento", package to take from the event. I (unfortunately) wasn't there but managed to grab a copy, there are still some floating about on the Internet...Discogs etc...
The cassette starts with Krank. Krank is the Berlin based project from John Murphy, here they provide "Drain Sounds In The Well", a fine slice of "gothik-Industrial" featuring light-metal percussion, springs, radio interference, occult wailing, speeded tape spools and various bleeps and boosters. Good stuff. The live set up featured Till from Gerechtigkeits Liga and Annie Stubbs (a name from the past....I have memories of her being a hair dresser in Hulme back in the early 1980's ... but then again, my memory is shite). Anemone Tube follow with a remix of "Dream Landscape" from the "Dream Landscape" album. Harsh ambient a la Troum and/or Maeror Tri. Good stuff. IRM follow, a live track and one of those "had to be there" pieces, coming across like a poor Swedish Con-Dom. Fellow Swede Jarl closes side one with a great hypnotic rhythmic piece called "Succubus". A great construction of bells, alarms, strings, electronica ... a great ending. I like Jarl, I have the CD "Parallel/Collapsing" that Segerhuva released in 2003 and find it a pleasant surprise every time I dig it out.
Side two opens with Human Larvae from Germany. Two tracks of PE. Nothing outstanding, listenable, but nothing special. Last year Idwal Fisher mailed me the Human Larvae CD "Home Is Where The Hurt Is" with a you may like this note attached. I did. I do - but not these two pieces. Dissecting Table follow with the eleven minute live track "Human Sacrifice". Live improvised electronics that doesn't really know where it is going, fortunately the tape ends on a classic slice from Anemone Tube. "In A New Light", electricity sparking in an empty room - the aftermath of chaos, desolation, desperation, dutiful despair. Beautiful.
An interesting cassette - would love to sample more Krank, Anemone Tube and Jarl and experience IRM live.
The short film by Martin Bladh (one half of IRM) is a take it or leave it affair with a small child, a girl talking about how she abused by he father...show me on the dolly how he.... type of thing. "It's 2012" and "Oh dear" were my thoughts - it lasted a couple of minutes...still if it's in your system I suppose you have to get it out before moving on ...

A worthy release and great artefact. I would have loved to have been there..try and hunt a copy down before it starts fetching funny money.

Vagina Dentata Organ Live @ NK Gallery, Berlin. March 2012 #2

Back in the April writings on this blog I mentioned the Vagina Denata Organ performance at the NK Gallery in Berlin, I described the action and the effect. Thinking about it I reckon that the performance was "probably" one of the best live shows I have ever been to over thirty five years of going to live gigs. Certainly top ten possibly top five...and now Tochnit Aleph Records have released "Allegory Of Cosmic Violence". A 12 minute CDr featuring the whole Vagina Dentata Organ performance in beautiful crystal clear stereo. Rarely a recording captures the sound of the venue, the event, the sense of being there, but this release captures the performance beautifully. The CDr comes packaged with five photographs from the performance along with a "Hyper Cylindric Cross" drawing / action score print signed by Jordi Valls. These items are glued to the back of a frame housing a piece of bloodied mirror signed by Jordi resting on a blood red velvet background. An art object.
This was the kind of thing I was expecting as the "momentum" item that was available on the night of the performance. The TNB/VDO 12" vinyl and "art-piece"... only it wasn't ready for the evening, and only available weeks after the event. Don't get me wrong, the TNB/VDO box is a fine release and a must, but this release is special...it captures the evening superbly. "Allegory Of Cosmic Violence" is limited to 21 copies (and I know where 5 copies are) and available from Tochnit Aleph only. www.tochnit-aleph.com
I also hear that The New Blockaders are releasing the recording of their performance on the night, coupled with the performance from the "Never Say When" festival in London. Shall be interesting as Berlin was the finest I have seen and heard TNB play whereas London, May 2012 was probably (no...definitely) the worse. It will be interesting to see the packaging....

I'm now going to play some "stuff" and think about listing my "top ten" gigs...ever! Off the top of the head, Psychic TV Hacienda '84, Ultravox! Lincoln '78 & Plurals at the Wattsfest 2010 .... let me think.....

1: Art Object.
2: CDr
3: Two photographs from the evenings performance.

Sunday, 15 July 2012


I very rarely buy CD re-issues of vinyl albums, especially vinyl albums that I already have but "California Babylon" by Factrix/Cazazza is one of those exceptions to the rule. The CD re-issue comes with a DVD of the "Night Of The Succubus" performance from which part of the album is culled, and previously only available through stills on the original album cover. I don't think the video was ever commercially available - and if it was it would have only been on NTSC format thus rendering it useless to me. The CD also includes five unreleased Factrix songs from 1981 ... but it was the DVD I was after!
Released back in 1982 on Subterranean Records "California Babylon" is a fantastic document of two live performances where Factrix and Monte Cazazza collaborated. Back in 1982 Monte released "must have" vinyl mainly due to his history of collaborations with Throbbing Gristle and his work as an artist within Survival Research Laboratories. Industrial kids of the 1970's bought Cazazza and I was certainly one of those, travelling 40 odd miles to Nottingham and Selectadisc Records to get a copy. The original LP came with an insert - art collage to accompany the song "Nancy's Little Gun" and a poster. The re-issue has neither, which is a shame.
So was the film worth 30 years wait? Hell, yes! The live performance filmed in a dance studio, perfectly shot with interruptions from Charles Manson and footage from the San Francisco Peoples Temple..."The Nursery"...ticking all the early 1980's boxes. I have lived with "California Babylon" for 30 years now, know every sound - and to see it being performed is beautiful, and I get to see what the "Monochord" strings are. Monte is credited as vocals, strings (monochord). What we have is a body of the guitar, no neck, hit through and echo effect. A slight disappointment is the pointless animal carcass robotics from Mark Pauline, tagged onto the end of the live set like some sort of after thought.
A pity that the DVD didn't also have film from the Berkeley Square gig that features Z'ev and Tana Emmolo-Smith, their version of Brion Gysin's "Kick That Habit Man" is a highlight on the album.

Back in the day I always associated Factrix with Tuxedomoon and Chrome coming out of San Francisco at around the same time...This re-issue is on the Superior Viaduct label and they've also re-issued the one and only Factrix studio LP "Schientot". This CD features a booklet with an essay by Julian Cope.
Well worth hunting out. www.superiorviaduct.com

1: "California Babylon" CD (Superior Viaduct)
2: "California Babylon" LP (Subterranean Records) LP
3: "California Babylon" LP reverse cover - section.
4: "Nancy's Little Gun" insert.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Vibracathedral Orchestra

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Vibracathedral Orchestra, the eponymous double album re-release on VHF Records. Originally released on their own label back in 2004, VHF have re-issued with the same cover but with a bonus DVD.
I have come late to the work of Vibracathedral Orchestra, they used to be a bug bear of a very close friend and included a member called Stream Angel of whom we should only avoid...I think a woman was involved...but anyway VCO were strictly verboten and I missed out. Discovering the work of Neil Campbell & Astral Social Club over the past five or six (great band) years it is only natural that I would get to hear Vibracathedral Orchestra.
I have been picking up bits and pieces, odds and sods here and there - 7"'s and live tapes and as soon as I saw this album advertised I knew it had to be heard. The original sells for funny money on the Internet!
The sound of Vibracathedral Orchestra here is the sound of Section 25 circa their "Key Of Dreams" album and of Neu! and Popol Vuh (and undoubtedly a host of mid 1970's Krautrock troupes that I have never heard of). There is also a hint of mid 1980's Soviet France, the time when they were producing "Eostre" and "A Flock Of Rotations".
Surreal moments of July 2012. The other day I found myself singing along to the song "I Ran" by A Flock Of Seagulls with Frank O'Farrell's grandson. A couple of weeks ago I had to shout at my kids for running around the legs of Ray Reardon at a charity garden party whilst he was trying to give a speech. Surreal.
But I digress.
Four sides include extracts of pieces culled from larger improvised pieces. At times the feel is Eastern, zithers and sitars mix with tablas and maracas ~ although I know non of these instruments were used in the recordings ~ and at other times it is pure head down no nonsense mindless trance. The sides are edited as if the tracks were recorded in one long session. Rather like Section 25 and This Heat used to do. It is sheer genius. I have played this album loud so it rings throughout the house and I have played it blind drunk on the headphones and it remains a classic release, and easily file-able along side the releases of Astral Social Club and Ashtray Navigations.

The sound, delivery and approach takes me back to 1985 when a group of friends used to gather in a room in a squat in Central Manchester and make a noise. We used to have a "rehearsal space" in John Nash Crescent in Hulme, Manchester 15 and we would gather once in a while and make a noise. There would be half a dozen or so of us with guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, drums, microphones... a pre-ritual of hot knives, chillums, bongs, spliffs and/or alcohol would take place then we would pick a chosen instrument and "jam". I used to record every session. I used to mark the tapes either "Filth Family Incest" or "Initiates Of Carnifex" depending on the mood of the jam. "F.F.I." tapes were harsh like Einstruzende or Swans whereas "I.O.C." tapes were like....well, were like Vibracathedral Orchestra. Non of these tapes exist now of course. Living in Hulme in the 1980's - everything was temporary.
One day I shall (again) make a noise like VCO.

Buy this LP/DVD. Go to vhfrecords.com

1: Vibracathedral Orchestra LP.
2: Oscar & Isabel F. run rings round Ray Reardon.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Schimpfluch-Gruppe Event in Bristol. November 2012.


30 November - 2 December 2012


Arnolfini, Bristol

Produced by:

Sound and Music in partnership with Arnolfini, Tusk Music, Harbinger Sound and Second Layer Records

With the foundation of Schimpfluch in Zürich in 1987, Rudolf Eb.er created a platform for extreme and outsider artists and the generation of highly disturbing and irritating audio/visual works. Gradually expanding to the Schimpfluch-Gruppe art-collective, Eb.er and Joke Lanz have channeled grotesque humour into an ongoing series of confrontational radio broadcasts, physically demanding performances, ‘abreaction plays’ and ‘psycho-physical tests and trainings’.

Rejecting any given norm and genre, tearing down mental barriers, unlocking all gates to the nether regions of the human psyche, their celebrated work aims to unlock an awareness of existence and encourages the audience to get off the plane of miseducated adulthood.

This weekend festival acts as a long-overdue retrospective and a celebration of the now. Through an extensive programme that highlights the influence Schimpfluch has had since the late 80s, the audience will be treated to a selection of performances, sound-installations, films and photographs. Alongside core Schimpfluch acts such as Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck, Sudden Infant, G*Park and Dave Phillips this carnival weekender features rare UK appearances by international guest artists such as GX Jupitter-Larsen, Phurpa and Vagina Dentata Organ.

Essential - The New Blockaders are also performing in collaboration with GX Jupitter-Larsen, making this probably the greatest event of the year - see you there!

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bristol Nacht

On a mild but wet evening in the centre of Bristol a small corner of North London came to entertain. When I first heard about this gig I thought it must be a Beartown Records evening, but apparently not - just a group of friends getting on the 4:50 from Paddington to Temple Meads and bringing their art to the South-West.
The Cube Cinema is a small cinema (a cineplex when Dieter Muh played there a few years back with Putrefier + Stimulus) in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, a beautiful venue and ideal for the four performers. Compact and bijou and seated.
I have been getting the releases of all four projects for the past couple of years, with each of them releasing some of the most essential (to these ears) sounds and to get them playing in the same venue in one evening was just too good to miss.

These Feathers Have Plumes kicked off the evening, with bowed glass and laptop. A sound that filled the small venue beautifully...small problems with the acoustics at the start were soon ironed out and Andi performed a great piece of drone music. Cheapmachines performed next with a quieter experimental piece from Phil Julian. I had warned Tamsin (the present Mrs. Cammack) to bring earplugs for Phil's set...but they weren't needed. Cheapmachines provided a set in three parts. A static live performance with the sound of hums and vibrations crawling around the buildings interior walls before creeping up behind and attacking the senses, moving into a dark space with tweaks and rumbles. Sensory deprivation. The final part sounded like a treated sample of a badger trying to escape from a large metal barrel, again an almost binaural experience was achieved..excellent stuff. I believe ennui set in as Phil moved and attempted some circuit bending electronics. Best Cheapmachines live set I have seen.
The brilliantly named Aqua Dentata followed. Aqua Dentata performed to film. It did surprise me somewhat that the performers were playing a cinema and only one had brought along visuals, the opportunity of visual equipment is rare enough these days and to get to project on a "cinema-sized" screen is too good to pass. Aqua Dentata performed a slice of minimalistic drone, layered textures of electronica to a great hypnotic piece of animation, a stark black and white pattern shifting film that put the two words solar anus into my head.
BBBlood completed the great evening with (again) a quiter assault than anticipated. With a sound that isn't too far away from that of Putrefier Paul performed with a table of effect boxes, contact microphones and sample loops for just under half and hour. The longest BBBlood live set to date? Hard to describe other than all consuming noise. 20 odd minutes in the world / mind of the Baron Bum Blood. Excellent.

All four artists are regulars on the London "circuit", I recommend you catch them all soon. If the evening lacked anything it was audience and a set from Duncan Harrison.

The following morning I made it down to the Bristol Harbour for a breakfast pint and a stroll amongst the book stalls and secondhand record stalls~where I found a mint copy of Ada Wilson's "Tattoo Hosts Vision On" LP. Now is that the name of the album or band?

1: The Cube Cinema Poster.
2: These Feathers Have Plumes.
3: Cheapmachines.
4: Aqua Dentata.
5: BBBlood.
6: Down At The Dockside. (Sunday Morning).

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Lethal Dose 50

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to LD50 and their last release ~ the CD "21st Century Awakening" on Nuit Et Brouillard. (Cat no. NB CD 05). I saw the album floating around secondhand and cheap on discogs a couple of weeks ago and thought I'd give it a listen. I like LD50, or Lethal Dose 50 as they are called here. I first came across them in 1998 when we shared billing at the 11th International Independent Music & Arts Festival in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium. It was a great evening and LD50 gave a great set using equipment that we (as Dieter Muh) had once used. Roland JD800 and Drumatix if memory serves, so their sound was similar to early Dieter Muh...only dark ambiance approached from a different route (if that makes sense). I got their "Out Of Dimension" CDr there and then.
I am not too certain whether or not LD50 are still active, they are a hard one to find on the Internet, it did surprise me that this album was released in 2006.
"21st Century Awakening" with sleeve quotes by H.G.Wells is sixty four minutes of soundscapes. Ten pieces in sixty four minutes. The sound is purely electronic. Synthesizer, keyboards, electronic rhythms and pulses and voice samples. The style (the genre) is dark ambient, dark ambient electronica a la LOKI Foundation with a slice of Kraut 70's progressiveness thrown in. It is an album of two halves, the first four pieces are too busy, too much happening in too shorter time, pieces are not given time to breathe or settle. Each track has an excellent part - the titular piece with its' compass readings for example - but it is all hurried along. I notice that this album features a third member for the first time. LD50 were always Stefan & Tom, but this album also credits Bernard Herstens as a member...has this made the sound too busy? Also the levels seem to be "all over the place", I was thinking the album was probably cut direct from cassette, but there is a mastering credit. Christian Renou (AKA Brume)....
By track 5 the album didn't have much going for it and then it all changed. "Dose IV.v.586" is a great slice of post nuclear ambiance. "Anti Dose IX.s.265" has a great bass lead rhythm and hand clap..the track moves at a great pace. Faith is restored. Tracks five through to ten would have made a great 12" mini album. I think the artwork is bloody awful though.
I'm glad I spent time and money and bought this album, but I'll stick to "Out Of Dimension" or "Quiescent Shadows" next time I want to hear LD50.

So, are LD50 still active? Have Stefan Scheers and Tom Adam moved on? It has been six years since this release. I know Nuit Et Brouillard are still active~I've just bought the Maison Close CD on their Force Majeure label, but what about LD50? Can anyone please answer?

1: My Lethal Dose 50 collection. (CDr/CD/Tape).
2: Flyer for Belgian Festival. 1998.

A Somatic Response

There is still a small corner of Hartop Towers that will forever be Sweden, with three packages full of tapes and badges and CDr's coming from that country in the last 24 hours.
I am on the Belaten mailing list. Recommended as their output is usually ultra limited and sells pretty damn fast. I learnt my lesson with the Michael Idehall "SOL" cassette, so now I am a fully paid up member of the Belaten "fan club" ... membership is free.
Belaten is the label operated by Thomas Ekelund of Trepaneringsritualen, their output (so far) has been in the dark ambient, occult territory with cassette releases from the aforementioned Idehall, Trepeneringsritualen and Aether, so "A Somatic Response" has come as a bit of a (pleasant) surprise. The tape is a compilation, a mix tape curated by the project Soma Sema, and if I had been told that it was recorded 30 years ago (1982) I would have believed it. The cassette is mainly electro-pop. Electro-pop music, electronic music made as if hardhouse, rave, jungle, drum n' bass, gabba, chip n' pin, gazebo thrust and cornfeed hadn't been invented. ( I made those last two up...OK). Also it is electronic music with electronic instruments...no laptops or apple macs on this tape.
I am in no authority over these projects. Apart from Soma Sema and Lust For Youth I had not heard of any of the participants and I have only heard of Lust For Youth because Paul (The Baron Bumblood) Watson recommended a couple of their releases to me last month. I know that Thomas is the "musician" in Soma Sema, and I recommend their 7" "Artificial Heart" on the No Emb Blanc label...but don't expect Trepeneringsritualen! Check out the promo video on YouTube. So the tape kicks off with Blitzkrieg Baby, who I believe is Norwegian. "Your Happy Place" has a militaristic beat and very dramatic synthesizer. Think early Ministry with very early Portion Control and a pinch of Laibach and that is the sound of Blitzkrieg Baby. Television Set provide a track that has "bedroom" written all over it. Guitars with a casio keyboard and drum machine. "Staveley Shed" could be a Stuart Moxham demo for Rough Trade in 1981. Instantly likable, as is "Expose" by Vita Noctis. I knew nothing about this band other than they sounded Belgian, they sound like Repetition. Remember Repitition? Their 1981 "A Still Reflex" 7" is one of my all time favourites. The sound is pre-goth..I have a feeling that this could be "minimal wave". Excellent stuff and I want to hear more..I want to hear more Repetition as well. Club Amour are a Depeche Mode tribute band, and have me dancing. Excellent stuff, I can say that I like the odd Mode track "Photographic" from the 1981 "Some Bizarre Album" being prime example and Exhibit "A" m'lud. Nimam Sregleda sound out of place here, too experimental with their sheet metal beating and voice manipulations.Makina Girgir are French and bring us back to the 1980's with "Alpha". An electro-motorik beat, a sci-fi soundtrack that brought the sound of Cerrone back into my life. "Kord" end Side A with a 1970's vocoder disco track, back to Cerrone with a hint of Telex and Kraftwerk. Side A is excellent, retro-lectro but still fresh. Side B begins with Estroboscorpio ~ no me neither. "Slugs" has a great synth pulse with random electro squeeblings before acoustic drums and echo (in a void) vocals come in and fill the track out. Pure Danse Society and it sounds like Estroboscorpio were having great fun playing it. The next couple of pieces bring the cassette down somewhat. Lust For Youth provide an aimless and flat instrumental which is a shame...and Goz Mongo Alliance lose the plot a little with bad drum programming and a monotonic vocal. Like Television Set, the track could have been released (as a B Side) on a Rough Trade Records single from 1980. Estonian vocalist Xiu follows with swimming synths and harmonies, very ethereal and the compilation (sorry, mix tape) ends with Soma Sema and "Dream Baby Dream". This song could win Eurovision for Sweden (never mind "Euphoria"!). A beautiful female voice repeats "Dream Baby Dream" over a tight sequencer pattern that travels through a plethora of studio effects. Simply beautiful. Just a shame this track is at the end of Side B and not on Side A with the "other" great electro-pop tracks. Ah well.

It is great that Thomas wants to share his love for 1980's electro-pop and bring to the fore projects that deserve a listen, a fresh ear if you like. There are a couple of projects on this tape that I want to hear more from and in some cases will part with my hard earned to get my ears around it. The tape is limited to 200 and comes with a password to download the tracks from the Internet and into your ipod, or Mp3 player or whatever.....worth the money. Spend a few pennies more and get the new Belaten badge set. I did!
To get this cassette and on the Belaten mailing list go to www.belaten.se

1: A Somatic Response tape.
2: Inner Sleeve Artwork.
3: Belaten Badge Set.