Monday, 31 December 2012

Failing Lights

I have just spent a pleasant while listening to Failing Lights latest LP "Dawn Undefeated" on the German Dekorder label. (Dekorder 063). This LP does have a sense of sadness ~ of melancholy. Firstly in the sleeve, the peeled back 1950's wallpaper showing cracks in the plastering and old photographs. Derelict building deep in the woods, a blond haired girl looking lost by a tractor tyre(?). The track titles; "(We Don't Want A) Death In The Home", "Clear Body At Dawn", "First Made Laws" also carry a question of sadness. The sound is complimentary to all of this. Lonely piano played through a myriad of effects and moribundia, a randomly strummed bass guitar, insects eating away in "To Spring" and the reverse piano treatment in "Mirror Beneath" are as compelling  sounds as they are works of genius.
Not what I was expecting (as the great Crispy Ambulance once said). Failing Lights is a new name to me, I didn't realise they had been releasing stuff since 2005. I don't get out much. Failing Lights is the solo project of Wolf Eyes and Hair Police main man Mike Connelly. I don't know what I was expecting. I bought the LP after reading about it in an "end of the year" review just before Christmas. I bought the LP out of one part curiosity and one part necessity. Whilst having a Harbinger Sound night here at Hartop Towers (that's nothing grand...just me, a six pack of Grolsch and a pile of records) I "re-discovered" the excellency of Hair Police (and Family Battle Snake for that matter), and I remain blinded by the brilliance of this LP.
"Dawn Undefeated" ends with the epic "Our Wild Flight"...a paranoid and ghostly affair, with fast distorto guitar chase sequence style sounds leading into plucked violin a la Throbbing Gristle's "Weeping" from "D.O.A.", and then the whole album being buried beneath the soil ...

Failing Lights "Dawn Undefeated" on Dekorder Records, one of the finest releases of 2012. Apparently the LP was cut at 45rpm but playable at any speed...this "review" is coming to you at 33 and a third....(traditionalist)!

1: "Dawn Undefeated" LP cover.
2: Mike Connelly.
3: Mike Connelly live at Zephyr Bar in Exeter w/Hair Police  2006.
4: Me hanging out with Hair Police at the Zephyr Bar, Exeter. 2006.    

Sunday, 30 December 2012


One of the finest labels to emerge during 2012 has been Belaten, a small cassette label based in Gutenberg, Sweden and operated by Th. Ekelund. 2012 has been a busy year for Thomas, with his Trepeneringsritualen project releasing a number of fine tapes, EP's and album and playing live across Scandinavia and the U.S. he still manages to deliver the goods with Belaten.
December sees a brace of releases. Terence Hannum (of Locrain fame) and Poena. Poena is a Swedish project formed by Kristian Olsson and Christian Godin. Poena provide the cassette "Likboden". A one sided 30 minute live recording from earlier this year. "Likboden" was recorded in a derelict morgue on the outskirts of Sundsvall. Likboden translates into English as Mortuary. Poena use material found within the walls to create a ritual piece, a sort of banishing with metal and chains, with wood and the human voice. It is a dark and (to these ears) a deeply pleasurable listen. It is only natural to compare the sound to early albums released by Nekrophile Tapes, and the 1983 LP "Ligeliahorn" by Metgumbnerbone...also whilst listening I was reminded of the sound of early Hunting Lodge. File under Occult or Ritualistic.
The nature of location gives the sound a booming, echoing "lost in space" atmosphere. The recording is crystal clear. A classic release from a project I am keen to hear more from.
Kristian Olsson is also part of Alfarmania, Kadaver, Survival Unit and Ghoulbog to name but a few - he also produces some fine solo work...directly after playing Poena I played the excellent 2003 CDr "Laudanum". He also operates the Styggelse label. I recommend visiting his website -

Poena "Likboden" can be bought direct from Belaten.  

1: "Likboden" Cover.
2: Kristian Olsson live at The Fylkingen, April 2012.
3: Belaten stamp.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Small Things On Sundays

It seems to be this time of year that folk are writing up their top ten / twenty lists of 2012. But there's still a couple of weeks to go...steady on chaps. I was reading one list that mentioned Mike Connelly's project Failing Lights and the LP "Dawn Undefeated" on Dekorder Records, I never knew that existed...ordered straight away, it probably won't arrive until 2013 so I am not going to be hurrying with my top twenty..isn't there a Trepaneringsritualen LP out on New Years Eve?
An album that has been hogging the turntable over the last few days (great band) will not be in the 2012 top twenty isn't out until next month. Danish duo Small Things On Sundays have finally made it onto vinyl and produced a cracking album called "Searching For". (Skrat Records:skr~011). "Searching For" is the third part of a trilogy that began in 2010 with the CDr "4 AM" on Moving Furniture and followed by "More" released by Striate Cortex in the same year.
The album starts with "Enceladus" (an Earth like moon that orbits Saturn). A very atmospheric piece, layered and drifting drones giving the soundtrack of deep space with echoed guitar. I am immediately drawn to compare Small Things On Sundays to Origami Galaktika and Manipura both who released similar sounding albums back in the late 1990's. (And both on the Speeding Through My Hemisphere label. Whatever became of them)? "Enceladus" could be called Inade Light. The Cocteauesque titled "Liquid Mirror" follows with its sound of floating ethereal drone and guitar echoed to the max. This kind of guitar strumming is always going to make me drift off into Durutti Column territory. "Isthmus To Oblivion" ends side A in a peaceful manner. Viola and toy piano and a Soviet France style chopping guitar. (Think "Mohonomische").
Side B starts with "Echo Lake At Night", a sad piece that just floats...hangs in the air, low like an Autumn mist...distant discordant keys of a broken piano is haunting and beautiful. "Terracotta Fragment" breaks the ambiance of the first four pieces with its' loud piercing drone. It operates at a different tempo and in a different time. A shame, it sounds like a "filler". The final piece is one of the finest pieces I have heard for a long time. "Two Instruments". Fast strings meet slow strings. Very clever. It builds like a jigsaw...a soundtrack to an awakening, a shamanistic ritual, realisation. A track that makes me want to turn the record over and start all over again. Brilliant.

Small Things On Sundays are from Copenhagen, comprising of Claus Poulsen and Henrik Bagnar. They have a website as does this albums label I strongly advise folk to pay a visit, get in touch and put your name down for one of these LP's        

1: "Searching For" Cover.
2: "Searching For" Reverse.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest 7" release by Arkhe. Much anticipated. Over the past three or four years or so I have been listening to the work of Swedish artist Pestdemon. Industrial occult like releases, I have mentioned the name before on previous blog entries, but now Pestdemon are no more. Laid to rest. Out of Pestdemon comes Arkhe and this 7" single on the Swedish Solformorkelse label. Two tracks that don't veer to much from the sound of Pestdemon. The A side: "Kryptakravlarn" is a slow building piece that creeps out of the mire to create a swirling vortex of lo-fi sludge with Demonesque voices and guitar feedback. B Side: "Hungertornet" is a more ambient piece, or at least a piece that carries less urgency and more calm. Both sides are around the six / seven minute mark and a great introduction to Arkhe. I suppose time will tell why there was a project name change. 
Limited to 150 copies only and available direct from the label.

Friday, 14 December 2012

MuhMur (SoundArt Radio Broadcast 13/12/2012)

Last night was the sixth and final broadcast (of 2012) for MuhMur on SoundArt Radio (102.5 FM), no exclusives or "sessions", just me and a bag of records and tapes (and the odd CD). The show had an extra 30 minutes tagged onto the end due to the 11 0' Clock show turning up late to the studio .. it was awful weather out there! 
The playlist for the show:

1: Thorsten Soltau : "Grun Wie Milch" (Corvo Records) 2011.
2: Neil Campbell : "Why Don't They Let Us Fall In Love?" : (Fusetron / Giardia) 1997.
3: Metgumbnerbone : "Death" : (Not On Label) 1984.
4: Stephen Meixner : "Texture/Montage/Sequence" (Black Rose Recordings) 2007.
5: Aaron Dilloway : "Infinite Lucifer" ( Hanson Records) 2007.
6: Muennich/Esposito/Jupitter-Larsen : "The Green Room" (Firework Editions) 2012.
7: Double Nelson : "Der Mussolini" (WFMU) 2011.
8: Trepaneringsritualen : "Edifice Of The Nine Sauvastikas" (Belaten) 2012.
9: Psychic TV : "White Nights" (CBS Records) 1983.
10: Za Siodma Gora : "This Is My Dream" (OBUH Records) 1999.
11: Ultra : "And....Forgotten" (The Anja Offensive) 1999.
12: Sinking Ships : "Dream" (Recession Records) 1980.
13: Lust For Youth : "Behind Curtains" (Sacred Bones Records) 2012.
14: The Wake : "Something Outside" (Factory Benelux) 1983.
15: Crispy Ambulance : "Black Death (Life Is Knife)" (Factory Benelux) 1984.
16: Ultra Red : "Ladies Who Loop (Dub)" (Not On Label) 2012.
17: Ashtray Navigations : "Ride A White Swan" (WFMU) 2011.
18: Column One : "Dream-Box" (A.N.Column Release) 1994.

Big up and thanks again to all who have listened in over the past few weeks and have been tuning in to the programme via MixCloud...Much appreciated. I will leave a note/link at the bottom of this post when I have uploaded this broadcast. Thanks again to engineer / photographer Dave Mutch who this time kept me out of the pub for two hours before the show ... yeah, thanks Dave! The next MuhMur broadcast will be on January 10 2013 at 9pm and will be a "special" on the sound of Sweden. "Let Me Tell You About Sweden" ...

  ***** *****

LINK FIXED!!! (cheers Richard)....

1: Ready to rock DJ!
2: Mirror Ball in the studio.  

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The Ultra Red Soviet Duck In A Tree

Since starting the MuhMur Radio programme on SoundArt FM Radio and subsequently uploading my broadcasts onto the Mixcloud site I have discovered a world of sound and music that I did not know existed. There are loads of radio shows out there and one of my favourites is Zoviet*France's "A Duck In A Tree" on Basic FM. ( It is broadcast three times a week, best caught (in my opinion) on a Sunday afternoon at 14.00 GMT and listenable via mixcloud or The programme lasts sixty minutes and Ben (Ponton of Zoviet*France) mixes / collages sound from a variety of artists and sources. It is all explained here: "60 minute continuous mix of some of the best genre-refining, zero BPM, hypnotronic and maximinalist recordings that have grabbed our attention". Each programme has a title and/or theme and this week we have "Still The Surface, Captured". It features; Aeronaut, Dieter Muh, Voice Of Eye, Chris Watson, Zoviet*France, Boxhead Ensemble, Sigur Ros and Ultra Red in the mix amongst others. The Dieter Muh piece is an extract from "Bacteria 2 Live" from the "Bacterium" CD on Adeptsound. Even though the speakers on my computer are pants this radio programme sounds good to these ears.
A strange coincidence that Ultra Red were played in the same mix as Dieter Muh. Ultra Red are a co-operative, an umbrella for a group of sound artists based in America and the UK. One of the UK artists lives in Torquay. Saint Marychurch, Torquay. Just across the way from me. Elliot Perkins. A couple of weeks ago Elliot gave me a white label copy of the latest Ultra Red LP and 7" single. "Collected Spaces (First Listen)" is a collaboration with Dundee based art collectives Tin Roof and Art Angel. Recordings made by a group of volunteers of the surrounds of Dundee. The enviroment, the architecture, the spaces. The recordings were then listened to and the volunteers were asked what the sounds and spaces meant to them. (This is a poorly written description by the way). The construction and editing on this LP is as fantastic as it is fascinating. Elliot and fellow Ultra Red member Chris Jones have built this LP by bringing out the mundane (be it voice or field recording) and manipulated it into a masterpiece. It's like listening to a jigsaw being built. Inspirational. The LP is being released (I think) by Ultra Red's own label Public Record, but looking at their website there's no release information yet...but I do very strongly recommend all to get this LP. My copy came with a 7" called "Ladies Who Loop", not certain if this comes with the LP or not, but the B-Side features a dub version just to remind us that Elliot has recorded and released some fine techno dub glitch once in a while under his pseudonym Phonem.

1: A Duck In A Tree.
2: Ben Ponton. (Exeter Nov. 2012).
3: Ultra Red "Collected Spaces (First Listen)" LP (gatefold sleeve)!
4: Elliot Perkins. 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Births, Deaths & Marriages #4. 2012

I have reached an age I never thought I would be. Today is the day I turned fifty, and the kids bought me a Lust For Youth CD album ... The humour is not lost on me! Bloody good album too. I also got a John Peel Sessions double CD "1977-1979" and some bits and bobs, a lovely lunch at the Venus Cafe on Blackpool Sands (just South of Dartmouth), if you are down this way I thoroughly recommend - they do veggie and vegan meals. Here's to the next fifty.....

Friday, 7 December 2012

Feral Tapes

Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the debut release from Feral Tapes. Feral Tapes are an off-shoot from Feral Debris magazine. They have started with a brace of releases, a double CDr by Aqua Dentata and a split cassette from Ekoplekz and Ensemble Skalectrik. (Catalogue number Feral 001). 
Ekoplekz is the project of Bristol based electronic composer Nick Edwards. His style for Ekoplekz is Electro-Dub (for the want of a better description), not deep bass dub...more in the area of recent Nocturnal Emissions releases or old Zenopede tracks..involved and intricate. Ekoplekz present five pieces that range from complete item "Ekonomikal-G" to tracks that sound like work in progress / sketch pieces, "Militant Tendency". It is a C40 tape and the 20 minutes presented here make me want to hear more Ekoplekz.
Research tells me that Ensemble Skalectrik is also the work of Nick Edwards. "The Bianchi Code" is a twenty minute soundscape, a homage to the work of Mr. Bianchi. Maurizio not Kenneth. It does play and sound like how I remember the sound of MB ~ all I have at the moment is an old copy of the "Industrial Murder/Menstrual Bleeding" LP that Banned Production put out twenty years ago (great song). Drifting alien soundtracks colliding with white noise and feedback. It has made me feel like digging out that old LP!
This is an excellent tape, and a great debut release from a UK label that has to be watched. I have the Aqua Dentata release too ... The tape is limited to 75 copies only, it is pro-dubbed with nice thick J-Card designed by Daniel Ward. (He does the posters for The Rammel Club events in Nottingham). Go to and get a copy for around £6 all in.
Looking at the blog, there are upcoming releases from Cheapmachines, BBBlood and Dale Cornish so it is well worth a browse.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Extreme Rituals:Arnolfini, Bristol. Nov 30-Dec 2. 2012.

"I am neither competent nor qualified to speak of such things"........
Well, it happened. It happened over a cold and wet weekend in Bristol. It happened and I was there. One of the, if not the event (to happen in the UK) of the year. A festival of extreme music and performance celebrating the work and legacy of the Schimpfluch-Gruppe art collective. I had been looking forward for months...waiting....and it was all very much worth the wait.
My role in the event took a turn over the weeks of first buying the weekend ticket then becoming part of the Vagina Dentata Organ performance, then having the idea of making a 60 minute radio piece from sound recorded in and around the event and being given the thumbs up by Richard Whitelaw to do so.

There will be words written by scribes that are far more eloquent and wordily wise than me. Other blogs, magazines, forum boards, flickr pages, YouTube clips'll all start kicking into action soon. I am still slowly coming to terms with what I heard and by what I saw and with whom I met. It was one of those events...artists asked questions, gave us meaning and a variety of choice answers.
With making recordings over the weekend I missed alot of what was happening. Concentration on recording rather than performance. An inept train service forced me to miss the opening six hours...the discussions and talks and Wolfinge performance. Phurpa "opened" the first evening with a brief guttural drone-in. Daniel Lowenbruck (from Raionbashi) assisted Leif Elggren in some performance that featured poetry and noise. I am not too certain what was going on here - I unfortunately entered a third of a way into the performance - but the breakneck speed of the pulsating noise coupled with Leif writhing in agony around a 1970's leather chair whilst Daniel poured ever decreasing amounts of milk into bottles formed into a clock face was stunning. I watched stunned. (i did say I was neither competent nor qualified)! The New Blockaders teamed with GX Jupitter-Larsen to give a blistering performance of nihilism. The fourth time I have seen TNB live this year, not quite as stunning as Berlin...but still - classic. In approach, construction, action and destruction. Some idiot threw an empty plastic pint pot at the hooded figures, TNB threw a metal dustbin lid back into the audience. Excellent. Dave Philips opening performance ... darkness, back-lighting, manipulated voice, strobe-lighting, screams, darkness, chaos, balloons bursting, figures running around the blackout. When all was finished I stood and shouted out; "For Fuck's Sake".
I only managed to see two performances on the following day. Rehearsals for Vagina Dentata Organ started at 10am. Intense drumming....followed by a record fair at The Colston Hall. M Vanci Stirnemann had set up a frame of intravenous drips and created rhythmic patterns by letting them drip onto microphoned metal plates. With VDO I was given the instruction to "go to war" and we did. Alongside Vicky Langan, Michael Gilham, Mark Durgan, Tommy Keranen, Robin Dickinson and a few others we drummed as if we were entering battle. Personally this was one of the finest moments of my adult life. I am still in some state of disbelief that I actually was part of it all....but I there y'go.
Joke Lanz and Christian Weber performed as Sudden Infant and told the story of a child who wanted to become "a crane driver" before Rudolf gave a magickal performance, some shamanistic ritual and filling the auditorium with the acrid smell of burning vinegar. 
The final day was more low key, after a second night drinking until the wee hours - after show drinkies at a lovely little Italian bistro called Renate's on King Street - the audience were still weary and battle scarred. Dave Philips presented a soundscape of insect sounds performed in complete darkness. G*Park created a sound sculpture of sonic magnitude. Joke Lanz performed with Ute Waldhausen and Alice Kemp presented a study in static discipline.
The event closed with GX Jupitter-Larsen, Mike Dando, Rudolf and Joke Lanz seated but with microphones attached to their skulls creating sound from deep within thier brains.
By six thirty it was all over and time to retire for a curry and a pint...and an early night!

I missed a few performers, missed the discussions and didn't even find the films...but this was (for me) such a necessary event. It was a very social weekend and was great to catch up with Mark Wharton - check out the Idwal Fisher blog spot...he's bound to spill his words of wonder and wisdom on the weekend soon, Duncan Harrison, Phil Taylor, Adrian Smith, Anke, Michael Muennich, John Eden, Daniel Lowenbruck, Paul Watson, Phil Julian, Chris Bostock, Chris and Wendy Sienko and .......ahh fuck it........too many to mention...  

1: The Arnolfini. Bristol.
2: Leif Elggren.
3: The New Blockaders.
4: GX Jupitter-Larsen.
5: M. Vanci Stirnemann set up in the foyer.
6: Part of the display of Schimpfluch-Gruppe releases. (Not For Sale).
7: In the "Green Room" after the VDO performance.
8: Alice Kemp.
9: (L-R): GX Jupitter-Larsen, Joke Lanz, Rudolf, Mike Dando.
10: Meeting with Michael Muennich. (Rudolf in background).
11: Duncan Harrison finds the show is over (and the bar is closed).

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

MuhMur (SoundArt Radio Broadcast 29/11/2012)

The playlist for the show :

1: Hive Mind : "Untitled" (RRRecords/Hanson Records) 2009.
2: Coil Vs. The Eskalator : "Nasa Arab" (T&B Vinyl) 1994
3: Astral Social Club : "Stig Fucking Anderson" (Neon Blossom) 2011.
4: Cosmonauts Hail Satan : "Satan, Yuri & You (Part Two) (Shock Records) 1992.
5: Filthy Turd : "#1" (Exclusive piece for "MuhMur") 2012
6: Volcano & The Bear : "Vienna" (WFMU) 2011.
7: Diagram Brothers : "Discordo" (New Hormones) 1982.
8: Thossian Process : "Slum Hymn" (Striate Cortex) 2012.
9: Filthy Turd : "#2" (Exclusive piece for "MuhMur") 2012.
10: Lemon Kittens : "Shakin' All Over" (Step Forward Records) 1979.
11: Journey Of Mind : "Sea Sore" (Sound Holes) 2012.
12: Cosmonauts Hail Satan : Hellraiser 1 (Fourth Dimension Records) 1993.
13: Filthy Turd : "#3" (Exclusive piece for "MuhMur") 2012.
14: Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words : "I Am Hermetic" (Ideal Recordings) 2012.
15: Grey Park : "Carpenter" (Planned Confusion) 2008.
16: Dennis Burns & Mark Perry : "You Cry Your Tears" (NB Records) 1980.
17: Filthy Turd : "#4" (Exclusive piece for "MuhMur") 2012.
18: William S. Burroughs & Gus Van Sant : "The Hipster Be-Bop Junkie" (SOL) 1990.
19: The Hafler Trio : "La Chanson DaDa" (Raft Records) 2002.

Thanks go again to Dave Mutch, the engineer who held the show together with a screwdriver and a roll of electrical tape....honestly...and sang along to the Mark Perry song. Also a big thumbs up to Filthy Turd for providing four excellent pieces. The next programme will be at 9pm on December 13 and will be the final programme of 2012. (I'll be back in the new year).
The programme is up on mixcloud for your listening pleasure:

***** *****