22 October 2014

Gately / Blixa

which reminds me a little of the section of this:

where everything turns into a Blixa voice and his hums and errs and become orchestral sweeps, slow pulses, traces of guitars, just traces...

(these shots of the sleevenotes from here)

and, of course, bees...

14 October 2014

Buckets of Stuff

Buckets of stuff, great stuff out there... and it just keeps coming. There's an ocean, a slew of new releases (mine is one, mine is one! IX Tab is coming, IX Tab is coming!) that keep things interesting and keep things frighteningly NOW... this is an exciting time folks; a time when everywhere you look (and plenty of places you probably don't) there's something going on, some product to latch onto... everyone's making stuff and it's all stupidly, annoyingly, fantastically essential...

I'm at a space now when I almost want to find something a little dull; something that fails to hold my interest but everything I settle to seems to spark a new vein. I'm like a Leibnizian sculptor, finding AHA! moments everywhere at the moment, finding Hercules inside the marble block, waiting to come out...

For instance, the latest Kemper Norton, Loor, is exactly where you'd want Kemper to go if you'd listened to his releases as they've developed over the years. I think I'm his first fan, heard (t)his stuff back when he was too shy to let it out, back when we all where, even Nick Ekoplekz*. Loor gives us a little insight into Kemper's acid past; just a little insight; he's hardly Astralasia or Shpongle but... there's a little of that creeping in, a kind of trace that now seems associated with Lee Gamble or V/VM or someone but is really just associated, in every sense of the word. He's fucking with folk still, of course and even if he's making slurtronic a thing; Fucked-folk is what I'm always going to call it because, if anything, the great thing about Kemper Norton is that he came late to folk (from afar, from Prog, from Prince, from Coil) and clearly doesn't know what he's supposed to be doing with it. Highest praise ever, in my book. Christ, as if we need more folk experts.

He's a revivalist, I suppose but he clearly has no clue what to revive and so meshes with the folk ingredients and sprays shit everywhere. This is, of course, Folk in it's purest sense because it is engaging with the tiny worlds of actual folk and it works so beautifully because it's utterly transparent that, well...

He's doing it wrong.

And how wonderful it is to be wrong; Loor is worth going back to and going with. It's a calling and a call-out. All Through The Night. If you need to spend your pennies then you will do much worse.

fizzle, crack...

And then there's Hacker Farm, who have a suddenly bewildering amount of stuff out... now these guys are mates too but the tape they released on Feral Debris is just perfect; distilling every performance I've seen them play into two sweeping sides of sometimes awkward, off, sometimes beautiful electronics... with spoken words and whooshes and bleeps that out-think and outrun all the tapes you bought in the 80s that wanted to be this one...

Silver Street is typical by not being:

They're doing it wrong too

Hacker Farm are the nonPop That Eats Itself; a conscious headshake at all that's good and proper and neat. I really love the line from Kek apropos the Crass In Africa Cd:

In 2012, the groups Hacker Farm and Libbe Matz Gang were offered the chance to score a new soundtrack for the 1922 film Haxan, which was to be screened at a small underground festival in London. The groups both declined the invitation, reasoning that rescoring Haxan was lame, boring and careerist – the sort of thing a black turtleneck sweater-wearing group would do.

Because, really, rescoring Haxan is perfectly, unambiguously a lame thing to do, unless you intend to rescore it and then invite your mates around to watch and then make them all take part in a cleansing / summoning ritual, which ends up in some fugged West Country lyncanthropic deluge of skin and hair and eyes and a whole new appreciation of how to destroy angels (yeah, in every sense, even the Reznor one).

So, yeah, I love these guys and the fact that they're doing every fucking thing wrong and the fact that one day there'll be lots of people pretending they were really into Hacker Farm back in the day (I'm getting my pretence in early - hate this shit but, man, it's cool!)

And, of course, back in the day isn't ever possible and they know it and this is really what Hacker Farm is all about... occasionally there's glimpses in their work: Faust, Throbbing Gristle, Coil, Factrix, Plastikman, whatever but there's never a hint that this is knowing and the music is very much theirs, before it is ours... a wonderful thing in this whorl of platitudes and harbouring and currying favour and wishing.

Hacker Farm keep giving. Suck it all in folks...

crackle crackle fizz

and there's more coming... great stuff exuding from Libertatia Overseas Trading (enjoying the dementoes of Degenerate Waves, for instance, which rolls and hums in all the right places and seems to find new organs to grind on every listen - it's also got my favourite sleeve art for a long time; silly, tragic and disturbing and immediately redolent of a very long presentation I was given about Health and Safety in Dry Cleaning... we didn't invest.

and kind of Hacker-related there's also a great album by Concrete/Field which intersects all kinds of interests and almost sounds like stuff you'll have and like but somehow does them better and deeper and with a real sense of being behind it; these waves won't just sweep right through you, they'll try and be you for a little while and then they'll try and show you something interesting and then they'll sweep you away again...

This is music, then, that sounds like places but places where humans have been, sound trails of where things have lived and played... not in a Stone Tape way, not remotely hauntological** but in a... oh for God's sake, it's not that dear; buy something for someone you love or, if you really can't afford it, write in and engage and some fucker will sort you out... this is a community and the product is the process is the product... these are real, beautiful things made by real and beautiful people and engagement of any sort is all they are asking...

Have to say, the way this is recorded is lovely too... really wish I could get IX Tab to sound so pristine. Nurse, I need more power...

And more and more and more. I've got stacks of stuff I haven't properly listened to yet so don't want to comment on but will comment on because it needs to be out and about and needs to be heard by everyone, perhaps, or else just kept, hooked, in these brilliant little circles of influence...

*who now releases like he's going to die soon (really hope that isn't true, Nick!) and just keeps making and making and playing and playing and getting better and better at most turns he takes and must be near to a bona fide superstar these days and I feel bad about not mentioning his records and performances more but there's just so much I've already written about him and I'm waiting to hate something he does so I can write something different... :) Okay, that's probably not going to happen... He's come a long way and yet a lot of his stuff is as raw and bloodied now as it was when it was just a little CDR sent to mates...

**and on that note there's a CD coming from Concretism, who works in a pretty strictly hauntological vein but does so in such a perfect way that his music feels completely right. I understand that most of the stuff I've been rambling implies I don't like right but I guess that isn't quite all the picture because I love the music that hauntology loves and Concretism gets it beautifully; adding a slight new to the very old and thus bringing the old back into focus... i.e. does what hauntology is expected to do in a way that most of this genre no longer does. It never feels like pastiche, always feels like it's meant and felt. Incorrigible, as Hume would say. More on this when a CD happens because I can't really be done with downloads only. Give me the thing, the product, the artefact, the artwork. I need to feel you.

22 September 2014


and the stuff keeps coming and this sort of reminds me of the funked karate music that Kek put out on his 19F3 label a while back (which I'm now going to go and listen to again because it might be nothing like that at all, just that same old Gaussian blur messing with my smudges) but I'm not even sure that there's anything here and that remains intriguing, if only for a while because an absence in the Sartrean sense seems to mean SOMETHING in moments where everything HAS TO HAVE SOMETHING, some, er, X-Factor...

Plus, there's an interesting article by Philip Sherburne at Pitchfork of all places

plus there's the GFOTY instagram ( just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? )

15 September 2014

Simon Reynolds on QT / Messing With Kitsch

completely agree…

I thought this when Jame Ferraro went too far… you could almost feel that he’d looked too long and hard at this stuff… the kitsch had won; was no longer ironicized… couldn’t be…

Here's that piece...

and I’ve tried with vapourwave, I really have because it seemed like a nowish genre and some excellent writers were wrangling with it and seeing it in a way that seemed interesting.. but then, before I was even properly looking, it very quickly it ate itself, as the poppies said it would...

vapourwave is the new punk etc

the fact that it's a Wave as well as a vapour is telling, of course.

Because messing with kitsch is like trying to be a revolutionary capitalist; flawed in its very conception and so tempting and apparently so easy to stand aloof and giggle as the waves crush over you; the sea smelling so good, so fresh, so Coke...

The funny thing is, I probably will keep trying with vapourwave for reasons that make me feel ill thinking about them. I'll keep at it and I won't get it until... well, I give it four or five years and I'll find an old hardrive full of vapourcrap that I've downloaded and no doubt then I'll flashbulb memory my self into it again and laugh at my childishness: a retro future retro future... same with Hauntology (Kek removes the a): the then sound of now which is bound for Rough Trade compilations, for features in Record Collector (those Ghost Box sleeves!), for Q Magazine astral travelling...

This is not to say... anything. We've been here long before:

and Can's ethnological forgery is now a new kind of ethnic forgery. Or, rather, the old kind, given a new set of tropes. No doubt j-pop(will eat itself) will be not looking at this stuff and just carrying on because here it is not old-school or new school but (more or less literally) school and already has its commentary as its product, with no distance and (perhaps) little irony or attempt at persuasion.

And on and on...

How to just make sound?

How to just make sound?

How to just make sound?

08 September 2014

Prayer To Ixtab (not IX Tab)

This has nothing to do with my IX Tab but I like it...

07 September 2014

John Balance - Wooden Wand

Just saw this posted up at the Coil Facebook page. Neatly combines two musical heroes...

03 September 2014


Well, this looks pretty fucking exciting doesn't it? Seriously, this has all the makings of being the best thing Kemper's ever done and he's already got a whole series of spectacular releases behind him. Like the slightly more acidic approach highlighted here, hope it's a sign of things to come...

Can't wait for this.

31 August 2014

ROC is here...

ROC is: Robert Oglivie Crombie; the Royal Observer Corps; the mythical Persian bird (the legend and the cracked eggs of The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad); maybe a form of the mysterious Redeeming Our Communities (or a lost cousin); the literary initials of an old friend who dragged around donkeys and threw stones at himself.

All and more. No one seriously believes in accidents in this (acid) house.

It's available here

Here's the opener:


Well, this says it better than I could and echoes many of my thoughts on this album so, in lieu of a simple ditto I'd add simply that these songs are delicate yet driven, heartfelt rather than hearty and, importantly in this instance, kept beautifully simple. Mostly, I'm a fan of excess; I like adding things, my favourite colour is rainbow-coloured (actually, I stole that line from my wife), my favourite sounds are the ones you didn't hear the first time you listened. But this album shows the beauty in minimalism, in the same way Ricardo Villalobos shows the beautiful minimalist heart of techno. It's minimal but it feels like it has to be. This isn't a wistful conceit, it's a complete package, exquisitely wrought.

Consider their version of Died Of Love, for instance. It keeps the same slow-hearted longing for death that I recognise from, say, the Kemper Norton version but manages to bathe it in an altogether different light. The same emotion, rendered from a different consciousness, like the song is acting as an aural Rorschach. I'd suggest the two (three) got together for a Sonny n Cher (of the suicide set? - no, that was Chris and Cosey) style rendition, each playing off the others (The Others), each trying to assert their spin, each digging another layer (or each peeling a skin). I dunno, it sounds cool in my head.

19 August 2014

Vessel - Red Sex

Sounds a bit Orbitally to me...

Found via Include Me Out

14 August 2014

Ian William Craig - A Turn of Breath LP Advertisement (Recital)

Found this via @AxisofElvis , who linked it to this review which also has a link to some more of this boundless, rolling beauty. This is what I mean by benevolent music. Think I might buy this because I'm in need of some benevolence right now... 

13 August 2014

Swans - To Be Kind (w/ Cap'n Dinosaur)

Things need placement, more than ever.

Bought To Be Kind in the ever-lovely Other Music (lovely because both times I've been there the guy behind the counter complemented my t-shirt - NWW a few years back, Spacemen 3 this time and, well, I'm a sucker for flattery). And I waited until I was in NYC because they were from NYC (even if they sound like they ought to be from Nebraska or Michigan - I can't place why) and I have a slight (actually, ever increasing) psycho-geographical fetish for buying records appropriate to cities.

In fact, more or less everything I buy now also has to come with some kind of emotional / geographical marker; the effort of buying, of acceding to the Market, requires an extra dimension; it's not enough to simply have, not now that having is just a matter of buying, not now the finding element is gone. A new kind of kick is required.

I also bought the sea-monkey mental Cap'n Dinosaur comic from a comic store there because I liked the idea of this Ameri-caner REALLY Mad Men book being bought in the States. I'm sure Kek would've sent me a copy if I'd asked but... really not the point. It says $3.99 on the cover, pay that.

Anyway, this isn't really going to be about To Be Kind although I'm listening to it all alone in the house really loud and I have to say it's a work of steel and genius; utterly serious and driven and willing itself onwards. It's their best album and I love lots of their albums. It works with a series of almost familiar motifs: there's long glimpses of the very blacklight of The Doors (I realise that this will put some people off but I don't expect them to care) and it kinda bleeds into a terribly compelling (w)hole, like an extended workout on the theme from the Pink Room scene in Fire Walk With Me.

But, if you need just one reason to buy this then buy it for the bit in Just A Little Boy (for Chester Burnett) where Gira (?) sort of softly screams I'm Not Human over and over again... heard loud, in an empty house, this will drain your cheeks and send you spinning. I haven't been this unnerved by a piece of music since I-

24 July 2014

Two Magicians - Derek and Hazel Sarjeant (Exmoor Song)

A magick sung from Somerset. Yeah, the Current 93 version, but this is the (water) Dog's. Without Tibet, the strangeness seems to seep through the walls of this place; the reflections in the mullioned glasses, the smell of pipe-smoke and smoked bracken. This is embedded folk weirdness that can't be replicated or transformed or accommodated. A little digging on the author from here:
William Sparks (1854-1916) was born and spent all his life in Minehead, at 1 Middle Street, Higher Town. His father John was a blacksmith and William followed in the trade, though he is also said to have rented properties to holiday makers. His song ' The Two Magicians' was the only item Cecil Sharp collected from him, but it was unique in Somerset and rare elsewhere. William became ill 1916 and died in Taunton Hospital.
We need our own Cecil Sharp, travelling the hills and glades of Soundcloud and Bandcamp and Rasperry Pi networked microwebs. Hang on a sec, I'll just get me boots...

23 July 2014

Dyon Anaswa

No reason needed except that celebration is needed here, more than ever. Holy holy holy.

The Upsetters - Dyon Anaswa

Donnie & Joe Emerson - Give Me A Chance

This ebbs & flows & finds an otherness in its very grooves so much so that I thought for ages that this was some kind of Can session outtake; the drums keep everything in a kind of perpetually slow check, as if the other instruments works slide off & start doing unspeakable things in dark corners... That said, this has the essential lightness of touch of Can (a much underrated quality in that band & one massively missed in bands who think they're imitative). This breezes by, flutters across sludge, feels not a million black stars away from the likes of Shuggie Otis circa Ah Uh Mi Hed...

09 July 2014

Judee Sill - The Donor

Because this rises like a hymn to something never there in a way that lots of things only think they do. I've never had any truck with 'authenticity' as a concept or theme or necessary virtue but this is what people mean, I suppose. This is a shattered artist, shattering. 

28 May 2014

25 May 2014

Sinnerman / AB/7A

You come back to this and you stay with it. Not simple, but propulsive. Everyone's heard the abbreviated, House-cat version (a house cat indeed) but not enough (i.e. not everyone) have heard it in its full glory. The message is the medium; these tinkling pianos and drums are just tinkling over 4 or 5 or 6 minutes; they need oscillation time, time to stop you breathing. Some tracks are bigger than others.

In truth, Sinnerman probably needs longer than this 10 min version but this is all we've got (that might not be true). The words need to be leeched out of the rhythms; extension is the primary quality (I think Locke said this first), the duration is its intensity.

25 years ago, a friend of mine, now sadly departed (not shuffled off, never that - roared out into that terrible room next door) made a long long long ('Europe Endless') version of Throbbing Gristle's AB/7A by cutting up and redubbing tape cassettes and it took him ages and we probably only listened to it all the way through once but if you can understand why it was necessary (I hope Chris Carter understands and finishes the job) then you can also understand that Sinnerman isn't the shortened version they use in films and adverts. That song is pretty, can sell scenes and things, can slip itself into the marketplace but isn't Sinnerman. Sinnerman is this.

Nina Simone - Sinnerman

18 May 2014

Current 93 in St John's Church

Well, Current 93 played up the road at Glastonbury and ever since I've been in a wormhole of Coptic optics, spinning back into Tamlins, Faerie Queens / Old Spencer lies, digging deeper into Gnostic philosophy (those guys are bobbing mental) & medieval psychoanalysis. I got seriously into this stuff years ago when I lived in Brighton and just dossed around second hand stores chatting to the owners and finding new places to search for alchymical routes. The gig brought it all back. It worked.

I go in and out of Current 93 obsessions; sometimes whole months go by and I'm just not in the mood for them but, as ever, you see a band live and even some of the minor tracks are bathed in new light. The new piano player is a revelation live and those guys from The Groundhogs rock worlds. Lovely to see David Tibet so in awe of his band, as well. He clearly loves them and they elevate him.

As ever, as Above.


Been really loving this stuff: simple and gently intense, with unsettling 'Children Of The Stones' vocal murmurs that actually unsettle & turn into odd little earwurms when you're not looking. The sound of places that you can only see out of the corner of your eyes. Unheimlich and lovely, all at the same time.

17 May 2014

Tokyo Reverse

TOKYO REVERSE - EXTRACTS #01 from Simon Bouisson on Vimeo.

Such a simple idea, with the right place & pace & at the ideal time.

14 May 2014

Kemialliset Ystävät - Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa (w/ slight detours)

As ever, the proper version of this has already been featured over at Freq but someone might have missed it and this is just...

Love these guys. Just love them. This is a bubbly, ecstatic mess of an album, in every good way. It’s all over the place; a dig around a wet pit of transcendentalism, an overflowing tub of funny jelly.

There’s moments where the Ghost Box almost appears (in fact a few of the melodies resemble the chord progressions and gentle hauntological swotting/swatting of Concretism*) but these moments are always derailed; even the echos and trails at the end of some of the long notes seem full of chattering spirits, laughing gnomes, trillions. Pianos appear, get lost in electrics; odd Wu Tang karate grunts and twitches appear briefly in the background, gulped by trolls; elongated electronic howls jump in and out of mechanical music boxes; these ballerinas are children of the chemical underground, burst knees full of serotonin deposits, spinning like a slow Sufi. Some tracks fall into the imagined genre zone of mediæval electro, others are clearly plainsong for machine elves. Everything in this album gets itself into a right pickle.

I’m struggling with this. It’s not something that lends itself to description. It’s not something that finds itself easily represented. It lies to you and makes you laugh and throws so much at your brain that you need time to pick it apart. It needs unthreading perhaps but for that you’d need a half-decent dose of acid. It reminds me vaguely of being young and playing three Shamen albums at the same time and hoping that the LSD would figure it out for me. Clue: it sometimes did.


...which in turn reminds me of that OH/EX/OH track 'Isolate' where Hal kinda flips into Foucault... and that's another great album which would work great as a comedown to this one; which would be perfect since it is not busy, perfectly so



Jan Anderzén and his group of merry munkins claim to celebrate the “transcendental power of ecstatic music” and in Alas Rattoisaa Virtaa they’ve nailed it. I like a lot of Kemialliset Ystävät’s music but this is perhaps my favourite thing they’ve done; it’s just so joyously unhinged. The press release suggests it’s like an “orgy of light” and it really is; it’s utterly colourful, almost synaesthetic. There’s aspects in this of art being surrendered; you say it was a kind of Pop Art collage, a Rauschenberg/Koons sandwich, if that didn’t sound so lame, so dully reminiscent of all those tape artists from the ’80s. This isn’t The Tape Beatles; this isn’t stealing soundworlds, this is a soundworld. This is playing in a childish way, in the best way. No doubt some of these people can actually, technically play their instruments but this is playing with them.

This is an advert for forgetting musicality and for replacing it with double-dose Ritalin and listening skills...

Like a lot of their stuff, it sounds like the country, feels part of the trees and the landscape but it also careers into the town and the city, and is awash with life and choice and the existential nausea of being. The freedom here is overwhelming; it always wins. Your only option is to hang on for the ride. It’s transcendental in the sense only that there’s always another corner; it’s like a garden of forking paths, if Borges chuffed some happy fungi and found himself inside a Bridgwater fairground (look it up and never, never go). It’s delirious and not afraid to be a little dumb at times; it’s sometimes naïve in its refusal to be accommodated, a refusal to be Boards of Canada (I love BoC but they aren’t this and wouldn’t even think of being this; this would be beyond them).

You’re not going to hear this on a movie soundtrack or a TV show (I would love to see that movie, I’d watch that show). This doesn’t allow itself to be other. It even allows itself to be kind of annoying in parts** but then jumps ship and starts a fight in another direction altogether.

<<<<>>>>>it might be laughing with you<<<<<>>>>

It’s been four years since Kemialliset Ystävät released an album and it is the album we’ve been waiting for. You can now rejoice. Hang on, hang on, hang on.

*who has put together an extraordinary stream and string of classic hauntology but somehow keeps getting overlooked. He needs to put out a definitive double-cd, gatefolded extravaganza soon because he's on the top of his game at the moment but sticking with the sludge of downloads just gets things lost - contrast the actual Ghost Boxers, who have released some great fantastical, stirring stuff and some okay stuff in great fantastical, stirring covers...

**this trait seems rarer and rarer; whole albums seem like they are designed to please, to satisfy, not not go on too long or be too invasive of your energies. Whole albums seem to accept that you'll need to love them instantly or forget them forever; this makes a great baby fuss about needing attention, it being a brat about it even, is challenging you like a rolling 3 yr old to keep focused or it'll roll off a cliff and die.

05 May 2014

Spheres - Kiss me my love

This is like the freaky folk that edged out past the minds of Christina Carter or MV and EE, shot through with odd moments & with an undertone of grainy filth. If the Overlook was a cabin in the woods, on the lost trails.
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