Tuesday, February 28, 2006
After a painfully long break, there are some fresh tunes for the offering over at my favourite netlabel - Fronha Records of sunny Rio de Janeiro. The French outfit 'Planetaldol' has supplied an exciting live 3trk , with which the Fronha roster have not only done an incredible job of re-mixing, but those tireless sound explorers have also created yet another faction of the collective - Abilass to pay additional reverence - three releases - all highly recommended...
Monday, February 27, 2006
To Escape, To Breathe, To Keep Silence
Three tracks , three musicians...
Trk1. To Escape
Like the George Crumb classic ‘Black Angels’ the violins gather - a blackening horizon of birds, trajectory shifting with the wind. Digital sounds are dumped like a mass grave of seashells. Structure is built up then torn down.
Trk2. To Breathe
A gathering drone – low-key – spacey flux focused then blurred, tendrils organically expand – unknown deep-sea creatures glow florescent in the gloom causing bright halos that flicker in the murk. Like a blurred memory, sounds reverberate, oscillate trapped in a slow vortex telling of a remote world.
Trk3. To Keep Silence
Snippets of jerky cage-like piano with electronic fluctuations. Seemingly random sweeping n skating electronics building over the piano with electrocute textures softly brushing then swarming – indecisive solo keys caught on the wing...
Don't know whether I see the relationship of the Human and City in all this - more the aftermath of meltdown where mutant insects swarm over the carcasses as ash twists blindly round a blackened figure hammering a broken piano - cybernetic implants fizzing in the acrid air...
but then again I see this in almost everything...
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Wave to Mr. Smith – Akinom
Been enjoying the superb sonic playfulness of this live session recorded at Kornhaus Bern, Switzerland last year. Diggin' those cliché free vibes ... Hats off to yer Mr. Smith for supplying the inspiration.
Wave to Mr. Smith.mp3
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
Monday, February 13, 2006
Zavoloka-AGF - Nature never produces the same beat twice
(click here for sound samples)
Unlike Michael Prime’s more direct use of nature – taking biological traces from actual plants to produce music - Ukrainian musician / producer / graphic designer Kateryna Zavoloka and German poet/vocalist/producer AGF have taken the more familiar root of 'inspired by nature'. It maybe an oft-trodden path, but their modern vision is thankfully didactically opposed to the rainforest drivel that overfills our garden centres …
They produce a binary flux that excites the senses in pattern / shape / texture, mirroring nature - which is in itself is filled with mathematical pattern, and a slightly unpredictable precision, whether you agree with their ultra cold vision is up to you...
The cd is up for grabs from Nexsound for as little as 8 Euros plus p+p (expect a full review when mine arrives)
Those unfamiliar with Zavoloka's work should check out her previous works – most of which dish up a semi-tuneless vocabulary that has all the longevity of the finest in abstract art. One release that's been knocking about for ages is the lovely Suspenzia and there's a recent live electronic collab with Kotra here , and not forgetting her first release from Zeromoon. Agf's site also hosts a fine collection of mp3's to get yer juices flowing.
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Rediscovered some hippy classics this weekend, thanks to BBC4's Folk Britannia series. Although most of it was steeped in morbid tradition for my tastes, two songs hit home - the sitar/guitar of 'The Half-remarkable Question' from 'The Incredible String Band' and the tripped out 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' by Donovan, that was later covered by 'The Butthole Surfers'. Removing the lyrics from the music and strokin' my beard - me thinks poetry...
The Half-remarkable Question by Robin Williamson (excerpt)
And an elephant madness has covered the sun
The judge and the juries they play for the fun
They've torn up the roses and washed all the soap
And the martyr who marries them dares not elope
O it's the never realised question
click here for the rest (scroll down a bit)
The Hurdy Gurdy Man (excerpt)
Histories of ages past
Unenlightened shadows cast
Down through all eternity
The crying of humanity.
'Tis then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love,
Then when the Hurdy Gurdy Man
Comes singing songs of love.
the rest can be found here
Caught an eye full of a 1972 Donovan concert late Saturday as well -
and struck by the blissed out innocence of it all...
...now feel the need for balance... (reaches for a bit of Skullflower)
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Those wonderful peps over at www.archive.org have got a complete recording of the Acid Mothers Temple blistering show at the Ochre festival 2004 and I'm re-living every single sizzled minute...
You can see the rest of my pics from the night over at Flickr.
Friday, February 03, 2006
Picked this up at the Mi and L'au show at the cube , last September. Like their debut this 45 min single trk CDR was apparently recorded in their log cabin in the Finnish woods, I like the minimalist hand stitching of the package that sort of removes it from the realms of the de-personal.
It has a lovely DIY sensibility – not amateur mind – just not sullied by over attentive production… The music contained within is unlike the folksy acoustics of their debut album and takes a more experimental slant - long flowing drones with guitar sketches and other sound debris wound into the fabric and a distanced song that catches you quite unawares – in texture it has more similarities to Michael Gira’s (seemingly aborted) 'Body-lovers' project, especially some of the heavy dronal stuff at the latter end when repetition gives way to shimmering naturalistic folds.
Trying to describe the music is difficult as - although the music is created by simple means the way it’s been processed and warped out of recognition makes for too many question marks…but here goes.
Loose reverb-ed chords, stabbed bass – oh soak up those atmospheres…
Muted car alarm with slipping guitar lines – the fingerings of ice along a river,
skating towards a song then retracted from your ears into soft abstraction
Deep resonating strings with a glimpse of country – chugging then falling into piano and pastoral noodling with a taut darkness that is fragmented in light for the briefest of moments then scattered to shadow...
Submerged sounds - fidgety fingers sustained. Echoed vocals break through like ghostly spectres then gipsy violin and slow scrapes of fret board to dripping kinetics, like over taut rigging sounds that lap achingly back and forth.
Twinkling chords be-speckle, then bowed strings saturate the canvas – another song promises to blossom – flows round your peripheral vision - soggy helicopter rotors cut it down, then in a gentle lull, within a steady hypnotic rhythm faint vocals from Mi are just audible.
These are poetically photo sensitive as the palette slowly becomes over-exposed to that sluggish rhythm, then snap - severed - and it’s at this exact place that I just fall in love with this disc…abstraction continues with processed dripping like the thawing of the tundra around a warm log cabin in the deep forests of Finland.
Please Young God Records this needs a proper release and soon…
Never did get a signature from L'au in the end...
by the time they finished their set they just vanished...
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
at the Cube, Bristol 28th January
The clogs interestingly, all classically trained musicians gave a wonderfully fused performance. It was novel to see the use of sheet music at a gig! The violinist passionately swayed, the guitarist huddled over his instrument coaxing some lovely notes, a low key percussionist subtly tapped stuff in the background and a bassoonist played from the wings - giving the deep accent to the whole.
My closest comparison would be 'The Penguin Café Orchestra' as this was picturesque semi – classical music without the snootiness – tranquil landscaping that possessed a loose drifty quality. When the drums were more evident the tunes were given a supplementary punch especially the track about a French village that jolted around the rich sounds of the bassoon. Mostly instrumental when an actual song did materialise in the form of the beautiful ‘Lantern’ it was a pleasurable surprise. That gentle Caribbean steel drum, silky violin lapping against the guitar and the bassoon swelling up, threatening to drown the whole delicate song was just beautiful and just one of the tracks off their soon to be released fourth album.
The Clogs did a few new tunes with The Books - loved the plucked violin and cello combination. In fact the live cello from 'The Books' was a complete surprise, as I thought they were a product of a computer.
After a short intermission The Books duo returned for their solo set, they genuinely seemed glad to be here, riding high on the crest of being the favourites of 2005 in The Wire magazine (didn’t see that coming).
Toe tapping stuff – I highly recommend the 2nd album – ‘Thought of Food’ and latest offering – ‘Lost and Safe’ the latter being the majority of the show, and what a terrific job they did of it - taking pleasure in modestly sharing their kleptomaniac compulsions for collaged sounds – producing an effortless jigsaw of sound and vision, completely dispelling any doubts that they could pull off their sleek studio finish live. Highly entertaining, with an ever-present intelligence, hidden in the partly obscured vocals of Nick Zammuto – something you could take or leave without ruining your enjoyment of the music.
Liked the way they spilt their lyrics on screen in to groups of three - in sync to the gentle vocals of Nick – giving a sub-plot that was just out of grasp - guess my brain wasn’t quick enough but I swear those dadaesque fragments were saying something very clever. The anagrams of the word meditation (and boy there were loads) were a more conventional word play but funny none the less… The compilations of images were amusing , collected snippets from the 30’s onwards - some ingeniously spliced for extra weirdness, especially like the tuneful hand farter from the 30’s and his story of his unusual talent…bloody comical.
It’s funny how so much other sample heavy stuff often ends up a hollow construct, maybe a sign of inadequacy of musicianship but not here - the combination of live cello, guitar and gentle vocals and those beautifully sequenced electronics liven up those found bygone sounds giving them new context. Something of dust is re-animated, energized... filled a few pages of my sketchbook, auto-scribbling, skipping, etching and looping to the rhythms - filling the pages in quick succession – look good in the half-light, felt good at the time too - but in better light they were just crap…oh well
The final songs were some more collaborative shenanigans with the Clogs – the progressively shifting lunar landscape behind reflective of the sound surrounding us.
Loved the very mellow 'Owl with Knees' dedicated to Nick's little brother - Mikey Zammuto. Home movie madness accompanied the sounds on screen - a perfect ending.
The packed room roared with applause at the finish, and by the way the merchandise stall was shifting units – they stoked up a lot of interest too. Picked up a few free posters on the way out that turned out to be DIY origami frogs, the kids had lots of fun racing them next morning.