Friday, 31 December 2010


2010 was the year that Peter Christopherson joined Jhon Balance in the land of the not living, so I'm going to end the year with a fairly substantial upload of some of my favourite Coil tracks. I had a bit of a Coil-fest when I heard PC had died; put this compilation together; then had doubts about whether uploading a load of their music was a fitting tribute, bearing in mind that quite a few other folk made large contributions to Coil's music.
Here it is anyway: there are no more than 2 or 3 tracks from any one album; approx 590mb. This contains some of my favourite music ever.

I've re-upped a Coil selection, in case you are following a link. Follow another link to the post.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Air Liquide - Neue Frankfurter Elektronik Schule

A classic for Christmas. From 1992 this is archetypal Cologne business - deeply atmospheric and trippy. It's all one track, so you get samples of UFO spotters over ultra deep and spaced synth washes and bleepy noises. These blend into speedy acid trance-outs, with pattering drums and squiggling 303s. Swathes of panned static, radio noise and samples are the backdrop. It's a formula I love, and an album I love.


Monday, 20 December 2010

Mordant Music - SyMptoMs

Mordant music are a mysterious and intriguing collective. Their music is fascinating, and they don't seem to be the kind of folk who employ voracious lawyers who are desperate to keep themselves in employment, trying to influence thinking and policy about music rights or legislation about copyright. The kind of cunts who offer nothing creative, who only want to syphon off their earnings from the creative industries. Expect lawyers to be at the forefront of all forthcoming copyright/mp3/pirating debates, trying to save their own bacon, and fatten it up at the same time. They don't give a shit about artists, but they certainly earn a shitload of money from them. But I digress.
This album sees this weird collective sometimes embrace a Pop Group-style polemic; classic Underworld repetition, and an ultra-modern aesthetic that keeps them fresh and strange. The title track is a truly glorious combination of these elements: pulsating epic Berlin techno backgrounds some proper spoken vocals, but also surges into the foreground, with chiming, tinkling melodies. This track is truly magnificent, and is worth downloading for. 'You Are A Door' is another fabulous track, with a wickedly chugging electro beat, and more spaced out atmospherics. Mordant are a curious bunch - definitely worth investigating further.


Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Various Artists - 2009 favourites

I was just putting together a best of 2010, and realised I never posted my 2009 version, so here it is. The picture is unrelated - just a good one I took last year. I probably would have had more to say about these tracks if I'd done this post at the time. I do remember that Various Production ft. Gerry Mitchell 'The Invisible Lodger' was my album of the year - I highly recommend it. Actually, looking at these tracks, they were all from excellent albums - something that cannot be said for my 2010 selection - these were all pretty good albums.
You can find these in itunes by album artist, which is 'White Dot 2009'.

2009 tracklisting:
1-Various Production feat. Gerry Mitchell: This Invisible Blood (The Invisible Lodger)
2-Oneida: Luxury Travel (Rated O)
3-Lord Newborn and the Magic Skulls: Escape From Prism (Lord Newborn and the Magic Skulls)
4-Valet: Blood Is Clean (Blood Is Clean)
5-Bardo Pond: Silver Pavilion (Peri )
6-Fever Ray: If I Had A Heart (Fever Ray)
7-Alva Noto: Xerrox Tek Part 1 (Xerrox Vol. 2)
8-Wolok: Transubs(a)tantiation (Caput Mortuum)
9-Various Production feat. Gerry Mitchell: A Hole In Your Memory (The Invisible Lodger)
10-Alexander Tucker: Bell Jars (Portal)
11-Cave: Made in Malaysia (Psychic Psummer)
12-Oneida: What's Up, Jackal? (Rated O)
13-Shackleton: Let Go (Three EPs )
14-Ben Frost: Peter Venkman Pt II (By The Throat)
15-Bill Callahan: Eid Ma Clack Shaw (Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle)


Since Blogger decided to remove my best of 2010 this posting looks faintly preposterous. Ho hum.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Circle - Prospekt

Another great Circle album: I'm uploading this because they have a new album out called Rautatie which you should buy from Ektro Records, as it's excellent. It's like a summation of all the threads of their sound: it has the weird ethereal avant-metal atmospherics they perfected on Katapult; it has spaced out jams in weird time signatures; plenty of deranged vocals; and in 'Vaellus', a magnificent anthem that seems to perfectly embody the New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal tag that Circle have bestowed upon themselves: it's epic, glorious, slightly weird - with tightly rocking instrumental passages in 7/8 which build the tension before that tune powers back in with fists raised.
Prospekt, from 2000, is definitely from the spaced jam end of the Circle spectrum. First track 'Dedofiktion' has some fabulous freaky vocals as it charges towards meltdown, but the rest of the album mainly consists of Krautified loop-jams with confusing time signatures that suck in your mesmerised brain. Often they will build up a groove with chugging bass and fuzzy synths until you think you have nailed the rhythm in your head; then they bring in some guitar stabs that sound like they are being played to another rhythm. On 'Stimulance', they just pound along in monster fuzz 5/4 until the mind threatens to melt. 'Varhain' confirm's Egg's assertion that seven is indeed a jolly good time. The album ends with a pair of 10+ minute jams, and some chanted vocals, that just confirm Circle's mastery of confounding space rock jams.
Also, this album is out of print and rather expensive.



Thursday, 18 November 2010

Laub - Unter Anderen Bedingungen Als Liebe

Laub were kind of electronica/post rock crossover who fitted nicely into a loose scene alongside To Rococo Rot, Kreidler; and labels like Payola, Kiff SM, and Kitty Yo - on which this album was released in 1999. These labels and artists are German, and the vocals, by Antye Greie-Fuchs are delivered in German, and it shares the live drums favoured by many of their contemporaries. There is a kind of detached iciness to the vocals that fits perfectly with the clean synths, crisp noises and crystalline tones underneath them. Delivered often in half whispered, or half spoken manner, they add a quiet and restrained intensity to the music. This intensity peaks and bursts forth in the epic title track. It begins with gorgeous pulsating harmonic synths, hi hats, and a keening, melancholy descending 3 note trombone line. Antye is joined by one of her male bandmates on vocals, their combined whispers giving the impression of some kind of ominous warning being delivered, or a description of some kind of ruined dream-like world from a Tarkovsky film. My German is poor - it's probably about something banal, but it certainly doesn't sound like it. The bubbling, resonant synths all the while are rising in the background, becoming more acidic. Some nicely understated guitar lines, and more horns propel the song further upwards. It's a wonderful track, not to dissimilar in overall mood to The For Carnation album, and makes an otherwise decent album completely worthwhile.


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Phantomsmasher - Phantomsmasher

Phantomsmasher is the pet project of avant guitar master James Plotkin, who has collaborated with a large and fine array of weird-beard musicians, including harrowing mega-doom merchants Khanate. This album couldn't be further from Khanate's crawling, crushing music: it's often hyper fast, with the beats ranging from metallic blast beats to splattercore drum & bass style, played by grind master extrodinaire Dave Witte. It's severely ADHD, manic and brilliant. Smeared across the top are harshly edited and scratched vocal loops, and Plotkin's spangly clanging guitar and bass - often heavily processed, playing queasily grating riffs, and chords that tremble like metal pylons in an electrical storm. It's pretty harsh, and totally unhinged, but is great fun. Plotkin's level of invention on his instruments, and the crazy range of noises and brilliant editing keep up the interest, although the music can be challenging.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Salaryman - Salaryman

1996 album on City Slang by this bunch of geeky-appearing bods (I saw them live), that seems to have disappeared into a historical crack. Sumptuous psychedelic grooves abound, with a plethora of overdriven synth lines and a heavy, over-arching sci-fi ambience. Live drums are the driving force, with a backdrop of whispered speech loops, but the trippy looped synths are the stars - pulsating blips and burbles alongside moody throbbing tremelo waves. A live band feel adds a sense of urgency to the sci-fi paranioa soundscapes, and indeed they were pretty good live. It's all good, but closer 'Hummous' is a highlight, with its squalling harmonics and heavy drone dirge; bettered only by the magnificent 'Voids And Superclusters', which lives up to its stellar title: a swirling black hole of churning synths, that has an almost Electric-Wizard-heavy moment as the pounding bass kicks in to glorious, stomping effect.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Mick Harvey - Intoxicated Man

Yes! An album I can post and get away with writing very little about. An album of Serge Gainsbourg covers by Bad Seed and all-round top man Mick Harvey. Terrific interpretations in a grooving, boozing, Bad Seed/Lee Hazelwood kind of style - hugely enjoyable. Also, check out his last solo album - 2007's Two Of Diamonds - it's rather good.


Friday, 22 October 2010

Weird War - If You Can't Beat 'Em, Bite 'Em

From sublime space-scapes to the futuristic plastic sleaze-freakery of Weird War. This is a concoction that didn't grab me on the first couple of listens, but then its brilliance shone through like a revelation. Much like the grotesque cover - which initially looks dreadful, but then becomes perversely wonderful.
Weird War mainly consist of Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae, and Royal Trux's Neil Hagerty, and this album is from 2004. It's a pretty unique sound, with elements of The Stooges, swamp rock and acid funk put through a sleaze-blender, topped off with wired-sounding, quasi-deranged vocals from Svenonius (I think) and terrific lyrics. It's driven along usually by tight grooves, and peppered with superb wah riffs and other mutant guitar lines, with some magnificent vocal interplay. On the terrific 'AK47' the fade out grooveathon is perfectly completed with a beautifully vulgar and spangly keyboard riff. Everything makes perfect sense on this album, it's such an inspired combination of sounds that seem casually thrown together but work so perfectly. There are times listening to this album when Weird War seem like a lost political cult/cultural subversive outfit from the 70s, and this is their manifesto.


Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Emeralds - Solar Bridge

There's a fair amount of hype about these space/psych dronesters at the moment. Is it deserved? If you like rich, syrupy waves of gorgeous synth; rasping and rippling space reverberations; the sound of consciousness cast adrift in the singing cosmos, then yes, it is. Utterly lovely, spaced-out and mesmerizing: this is a two track, 27 minute release from 2008.
Do yourself a favour and buy a copy of this, or more of their releases from Hanson Records - the self titled album and 'What Happened' are both highly recommended, and are pretty cheap, especially if you're in the States.


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Mercury Rev - The Hum Is Coming From Her

Another of my treasured bits of vinyl, this came out in 1993, when Mercury Rev were still dedicated to being weirdos. Or maybe they just couldn't help it. The title track is brilliant: it's just David Baker over a piano vamp, with some distant flutes, and I wonder if it's possible for anyone to sound more like they've had too much acid than he does here. It's rambling, incomprehensible, and totally monged. B-side 'So There' consists of poet Robert Creeley reading one of his poems over a jaunty rag/trad-jazz influenced number, and his strangely phrased delivery and weird words fit utterly perfectly into the whole Mercury Rev scheme of things. What a great single.


Kiyoshi Izumi - Effect Rainbow

I've been a bit slack recently, so I'm going to post a couple of EPs tonight, and not write much about them. First up is a brilliant EP from this obscure Japanese gent. This 3 tracker was released on Rephlex in 1997. I don't remember if it caused much of a stir, but I bought it on vinyl and was blown away by it. It's full of oddball melodies, wonky drums, and crazy arrangements. There is some great drum programming, and some strange little samples and vocals thrown into the mix for extra trippy effect. There is a real eastern feel to this, from the chiming, ringing sounds that evoke old Japan, and also from the 8-bit game noises bleeping about. Fabulous stuff, that really peaks on the last track 'Bedroom Glow', which is a bit of a rocker.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Harvey Mandel - Cristo Redentor

Harvey Mandel is a fantastic guitarist who never settled in a band, although his talents would not have been out of place in virtually any rock band of any kind of the late 60s or 70s. This was his debut album from 1968, and is an intrumental psych blues rock bonanza. The opening track, a version of the old gospel blues track 'Wade In The Water' shows off a variety of styles: he comes in with a filthy fuzz tone over a strings and rhythm groove, before switching to a clean tone to demonstrate his trademark liquid style of play, using volume pedals, panning and delay to awesome effect. This is a real guitar-heads album, with some glorious guitar tones, and some ridiculous sustain that out-Santanas Carlos Santana. It's also beautifully recorded, with a crystal clear mix, and is a joy to listen to. There are great string arrangements aplenty, and the layering of Harvey Mandel's guitar lines is genius: the wah stomp of 'Bradley's Barn' has some scintillating backwards guitar over the top as well as some unusual low end dive bomb noises. The gloriously expressive 'You Can't Tell Me' is even better, as sweet phrases flow into and over one another over a great groove. The sound palette is expanded on a few tracks: the title track has a female choir, and sounds like a prog synthesis of Nelson Riddle and Santana. Then 'Before Six' comes on like fuzzed out acid jazz, with some tremendous horn section blasts and Jimmy Smith type organ duelling with the guitar, and the best bass and drum rocking out of the album. Looking at the sleeve notes, this appears to have been recorded all over the place, and the producer credit says "Believed to be produced by Abe Kesh'. It's amazing that there is such a unity of (fantastic) sound, and that the album has such a strong identity.
Harvey Mandel released a few more solo albums in the following years, and the one I've heard are all pretty decent - they toned down the psychedelic elements a bit, and became slightly more jazzy - Feel The Sound, Shangrenade and Baby Batter are all worth checking out. Lastly - check that classic cover! I'm pleased I've also got this on vinyl.
I haven't included the bonus tracks - buy the cd!


Saturday, 25 September 2010

Locust - Natural Composite

A classic example of electronica from 1994. Mark Van Hoen has been responsible for some excellent music over the years under his own name, as Locust, and as a part of Autocreation amongst others. Some of his later work became more lush in texture, incorporating vocals to great effect (The Girl With The Fairytale Dream from the Morning Light album is a beautiful example) – but this album is rooted firmly in the realms of dark, moody abstract electronica. Pattering percussion, low-pulsing bass and restrained metallic rhythms are integral to the sound, but secondary to the dark, sombre and disquieting soundscapes enveloping them. This is mainly synth based, but sunk into depths of reverb; and accompanied by loops and samples, an alien and claustrophobic feeling is evoked on the darker tracks. There are some more driving, rhythm based tracks that call to mind similar artists from the period like Reload and Aphex Twin, but the best stuff is the more ambient material. It’s a soundtrack to paranoia, dissociation, mental disintegration in a flotation tank. My favourite, ‘Good God’, has a repeated sibilant whisper of a sample – a woman repeatedly intoning the words of the title. This is incredibly effective, summoning up some kind of abstract nameless dread.


In reply to the comment, this was ripped from the old cd. The version available on itunes is remastered, and has extra tracks, so go and purchase them. Check out Mark Van Hoen's website - it has a soundcloud mix of selections from his discography, as well as details of all his releases and their availability.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Grails - Burning Off Impurities

Grails are a psychedelic instrumental band from Portland, and this is one of many excellent releases by them, from 2007. They specialise in a hazy, drifting, shuffling kind of post rock forged from ostensibly cliched components - reverby psych guitar, eastern cadences and a smattering of acoustic instruments (sitar, mandolin, piano); all held together with gummy resin from the inside of a bong. The whole adds up to much more than the sum of the parts, convincingly delivered at a perfect pace, with a masterful grasp of ambience and dyamics. They often rock out as a counterpoint to the glowing ambient parts, but never with a wall of heavy guitars, which is quite refreshing, despite how much I love heavy guitars. Brilliant stuff - you can buy loads of Grails stuff from Temporary Residence.


Wednesday, 15 September 2010

James Plotkin & Mick Harris - Collapse

Excellent slab of ominous, industrial dark ambient from these two purveyors of fine sounds, released in 1996. Both had beginnings in far heavier musics - Napalm Death in the case of Mick Harris, and although this is superficially a long way from metal, it could also be seen almost as its logical conclusion. This is uncompromising, and very heavy; but also beautiful and meditative: it can be used for wholly immersive listening, or as a background wash. It responds to the volume level - if you turn it up you are shaken by the wall of bass; at lower volumes it becomes spectral and sepulchral. The exception would probably be 'Collision', which reflects its title with some clashing industrial noise, but on the whole this is a brilliantly executed and intriguing exploration of dark soundscapes. The best example of which is the 20 minute title track, which manages to convey both dread and exultation at once with its churning sonics.


Monday, 6 September 2010

Olivia Tremor Control - Dusk At Cubist Castle

Also known as Music From The Unrealized Film Script "Dusk At Cubist Castle", from 1996, this is a lovely, unashamedly retro slice of kitchen-sink psychedelia, of a similar variety to Dukes Of Stratosphear - particularly their '25 O'Clock' mini LP. Like the Dukes, OTC display a massive Beatles influence, with some terrific harmonies, and some gloriously tuneful songs. There are also loads of counter melodies on fuzz bass, little backward tape loops, weird intrumentation, phased vocals, and that's just on 'Define A Transparent Dream'. Things reach a peak with a wonderful trio of songs in the middle: 'Memories Of Jacqueline 1906' is a fab song that could have come from Ween's Mollusk, which breaks down in to the deeply psychedelic jam of 'Tropical Bells', with chugging raga fuzz and hookah bubbles. This segues into a classic Nuggets type eastern tinged groover called 'Can You Come Down With Us'. A suite of 9 tracks, all called 'Green Typewriters' follows, comprised of ever weirder sketches, where they indulge their more experimental side, with some chaotic and trippy moments - treated vocals, drones and sci-fi noises with a pulsing and spooky 9'40" track that sounds like the tour of the bowels of an alien spaceship, which is full of weird things hiding.
A hugely enjoyable combination of smoked out psych and great pop. Also recommended is 'Black Foliage'.


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol. 2

Alva Noto is a recording alias of Carsten Nicolai, one of the founders of the excellent experimental electronic label Raster-Noton: a label that embraced the aesthetic of clicks-and-cuts but forged its own distinct identity which was expressed in both the music and visual design. Obviously minimalism is an important factor in compositional terms, but the sounds on this album also include lush and epic soundscapes, as well as churning waves of noise. 'Xerrox Soma' has a bed of ambient Eno-esque synths, over which string-like drones swell and recede, amd some processed noise crackles like electricity. It creates a sense of massive space, and is rather beautiful, too. This fades into 'Xerrox Meta Phaser', which sounds like you are descending into the depths of some gigantic generator building, with throbbing humming and metallic drones building to a noisetastic peak.
The album is laden with glorious string drones - on 'Xerrox Monophaser 1' sounding very much like Cliff Martinez's amazing soundtrack to Solaris. These are adorned by crusts of static, or they throb in unison with distant, booming noises; drones, or airy ambience. Although occasionally bordering on harsh, it is a mostly lovely combination - a marriage of abstract, experimental electronica with lush classical ambient.


Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Bardo Pond - Set And Setting

I love Bardo Pond - a fuzz/drone/psych/space ensemble, heavy on the bongtastic distortion and wasted atmospherics. Their particular formula is a lush, sludgy, hedonistic sounding one that especially appeals to me. Isobel Sollenberger's drawled vocals aren't too dissimilar to Kim Gordon's, and perfectly fit the super-loose, bluesy psych-fuzz riffs. First track, the 11 minute 'Walking Stick Man' sets the tone in wonderful fashion: a swaying groove churns along, with perfectly damaged vocals, and a wall of glorious fuzz, helped along by Sabbathy harmonica: it's a woozy worshipful hymn to the power of distortion and the guitar. Actually, the whole album is. 'This Time, So Fucked' steps it up a notch, with some wailing wah fighting off feedback. There is a bit of variation - the disembodied and detached 'Datura' is on the verge of descending into shaking-eyed psychosis, and is following by the chugging and thunderous rock out of 'Again', before the 9+ minute 'Crawl Away' returns to the meandering, head nodding fuzz waves. If you like this, check out 'Peri' and 'Amanita', although all their albums I've heard are pretty good.


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Tricky - Angels With Dirty Faces

Tricky's 3rd album from 1998 saw him retain his unique production style, but removed a lot of the lushness and melody that were apparent on the first two albums, especially on Maxinquaye. This upset a few people, and a lot of critics complained that it was too dark, uncommercial etc. Whilst this isn't quite the joy to listen to that the first albums are, it's still brilliant, just a bit more intense - the miasma of wobbly guitars, sax parps and assorted weird samples that throb along under the beats of 'Singin' The Blues' is a perfect example. This is definitely music of the bong - Tricky's smoke addled, rasping vocals just about intelligible; layers of relentless, weird-noir loops; loping beats. There is a tangible sense of both claustrophobia, and paranoia - Martina Topley-Bird's vocal contributions sound vaguely distressed and strung out. All that may sound slightly negative, but each song has a hypnotic and enthralling wall of sound effect, almost alchemically conjured out of the sounds and samples. Strange, offbeat rhythms and patterns work their way into solid grooves by way of repetition. 'Carriage For Two' has an amazing backing track that, except for a tolling bell and some weird guitar, almost defies analysis - it's almost like an organic being pulsating in a dark room. Last track 'Record Companies' is a glorious psychedelic swamp beast.
I thought Tricky has lost the plot with 'BlowBack', which I pretty much hated instantly, but 'Knowle West Boy' was a return to form, with some really excellent stuff on it, and is well worth checking out. Also, if you've never heard 'Maxinquaye', do yourself a favour and buy a copy.


Sunday, 8 August 2010

The One Ensemble Of Daniel Padden - The Owl Of Fives

2003 solo album by one third of Volcano The Bear. This more of a psychedelic world-folk brew than VTB, and has less of the derangement of that band. That is not to say that this album does not contain it's fair share of weirdness; just that crazed vocals are more restrained, for example on the excellent French-Arabic sounding 'Farewell My Porcupine' they are just part of the backing rather than the main focus of the track. Most of the songs on here are lovely sketch/compositions based around piano, fiddle, guitar and other acoustic instruments, and embellished with found sounds, drones and odd vocals.
There is a dusty aura of otherness, that suggests lost archive folk of some corner of Europe that doesn't actually exist - perfectly encapsulated in the music and title of 'Baltic Chunks Of Antiquity'. This album is imbued with a skewed charm, and just enough oddness to keep it interesting without interfering too much with the music.
Volcano The Bear were another band I saw at the sadly missed venue Spitz, and they were very entertaining indeed. Check them out if they play near you - they toured less than a year ago.


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Deadbeat - New World Observer

Deadbeat is Scott Monteith's electronic dub project, and this 2005 release perfectly encapsulates the gorgeous blend of surging bass, sweet melody, and shimmering ambience that is his trademark sound. Right from the beginning 'Slow Rot From Rhetoric' has a wispy, delayed weave of electronic sounds that builds up to the introduction of a gloriously monstrous bass throb, upon which a sweet, simple melody is introduced on a panned electric piano type keyboard, before the gently rocking rhythm sweeps the track away. The effect is head-nodding, blissful and spacious; yet the manipulation of reverb and delay, and various other knob twiddlery keeps the ears on their toes, so to speak, and keeps things interesting like the best dub should. 'Port Au Prince' introduces some spacy female vocals, some more glitch, and some chopped acoustic guitar samples. A faster, dancehall-styled beat gives the track a more propulsive edge, as it does on 'Texas Tea', but neither track really enters clubbable territory. The multi layered glittering, pointillistic bed of ambient sound that cocoons every track reaches a dense climax on the final, virtually beatless closer 'Habitat For Heavy Hearts', as cavernous and slightly mournful stabs fade into silence.


Saturday, 31 July 2010

Khan & Walker - Radiowaves

I haven't posted anything involving Khan for a while, so here's another excellent album beamed down from the acid bleeposphere. There's super-minimal packaging on this one - they usually tell you what kit they have used to make their records, but I'm pretty sure it's the same equipment they were using on all their other releases around 1995 when this one came out. Actually, my album cover is different to this one, but I can't seem to find a decent image of it. This has the usual crispyRoland percussion pattering away; phased and dazed synths sweep across the background while acid lines, bass and the odd syncopated mid range line bubble and swing in the centre of your headphones. Throw in the odd bit of speech sample, some high wispy frequencies, twiddle the knobs a bit, and there you have it - a classic snapshot of the Cologne sound which is glorious to my ears: deep, spacy and trippy. The beats are all fairly light - no pounding 808s, here - ranging from slow breakbeat rockers, to jittery electro, and 5am trance-out on the splendid and epic 'Radiowaves 4'.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

White Rainbow - Prism Of Eternal Now

Rather superb space-psych from one man band Adam Forkner. The fabulous opener 'Pulses' is a real statement of intent - bongos and shakers usher in a fat analogue synth riff, which is soon accompanied but some fantastic looped vocal ejaculations - referencing the kind of 70s art rock/serialism of Laurie Anderson, and some kind of ecstatic stereo pan sect. Then in come the stratosphere-scraping lead synth and guitar(?) and the track takes off into space, with some more chanting for company. Gorgeous and sublime freakery. Although it's possibly the highlight, every track on this album is excellent - there are lushly cosmic ambient washes like 'Waves', 'Awakening' and 'Middle' - flotation tank splendour. There is more wild and driving psych in the shape of 'Mystic Prism', and further expansion of the sound in the electronic dubby textures of 'Warm Clicked Fruit', which brings to mind the warmly enveloping digital pulsations of deadbeat and Vladislav Delay. There is another fantastic avant synth exploration in 'For Terry' (Riley), which has a similar fat mid range analogue synth wobbling along in a strange out of time sequence, while a high pitch line oscillates and flutters upwards. Then some beautifully processed lead guitar comes in, recalling mid-70s Fripp, and a more rocking take on his collaborative albums with Eno.
Luscious and deeply psychedelic, this is a real recent favourite of mine. This and the more recent White Rainbow album are available from Kranky: what a brilliant label - so much good music. Go there and buy something direct from them.


Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Sensational - Loaded With Power

1997 debut album by this very idiosyncratic rapper, on the Wordsound label. This may be the most mashed hip-hop album ever recorded, from his superb, lurching, deranged rapping style, to the ultra low fi beats. The vocals on this album were recorded through headphones, and the music with a four track and not much else. Whatever was used - it usually sounds like it's malfunctioning, with stumbling beats and massively overdriven bass. It's an album full of wrongness and experiment, but works brilliantly. It does sound like the product of a demented brain, and I remember reading in The Wire that later in his career he sold his equipment to buy crack, although I should add that he sorted himself out again and has continued to record.


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Ghedalia Tazartes - Tazartes' Transports

Back to the weird end of the spectrum! This contains music written between 1977 and 1998, and despite being firmly in the experimental/avant-garde camp, this is extremely listenable and enjoyable, if you are open to strange music. This is a real psychedelic jumble of found sounds, tape loops, odd snippets of speech, as well as a variety of instruments. It is masterfully created, using abrupt introduction of sound as well as cogent and structured phrasing. The clashes of sounds work brilliantly - like the bleeping analogue meltdown, with mongo percussion, and bird chattering panned across the top of it on track 5. Of course, it is virtually all deeply weird, but can also be very beautiful: track 6 is composed from wisps of backward tapes - voice, piano and possibly orchestral samples, to create an ethereal and otherworldly hymn to something quite likely beyond human understanding.
There is also a healthy sense of mischief - you would think that some of the blurting vocals on track 7 are purely designed to freak out stoned heads: there are definitely echoes of some of the weirder bits of Revolution 9 off the White Album. This is an inspired and freaky gem of an album, and I have Dimitri to thank for it. Check out his blog for a selection of amazing and far-out compilations.


Friday, 9 July 2010

White Dot Electronica 2

Another wad of superb electronica for you. Slightly more upbeat, lush and tuneful this time, epitomised by the glorious opener by Four Tet vs. Pole. This also contains what I think could be the finest piece of electronica ever: Autechre's remix of Beaumont Hannant. I'm sure there are proponents of Carl Craig's 'At Les', too - a total classic. The other Autechre remix is completely awesome, too, and the Balil track is one I never tire of. Two hours of niceness: hopefully there will be some revelatory discoveries within.
1 - Four Tet vs. Pole - Cload (V/A - Osmosis Leaf Sampler)
2 - Apparat - Limelight (Walls)
3 - As One - Meridian Max 404 remix (Reflections On Reflections)
4 - Softballet - Jail Of Freedom Autechre remix (Softballetforms)
5 - Bersarin Quartet - Mehr Als Alles Andere (Bersarin Quartet)
6 - Mouse On Mars -Owai (Instrumentals)
7 - Dabrye - No Child Of God (Instrumentals)
8 - Kettel - Any Waken Sly Bonda (Whisper Me Wishes)
9 - Balil - Parasight (V/A-Artificial Intelligence 2)
10 - Kiyoshi Izumi - Bedroom Glow (Effect Rainbow 12")
11 - LA Synthesis - Agoraphobia (Matrix Surfer)
12 - Nonplace Urban Field - Roll Over Ehrenfield (V/A-Deutsche Funk)
13 - Boy Robot - Magic Toys For Girls & Boys (Rotten Cocktails)
14 - Principles Of Geometry - Golem (Lazare)
15 - Vulva - Kellog's Corn Circles (From The Cockpit)
16 - Cristian Vogel - The Time Lock (Station 54)
17 - Carl Craig - At Les (V/A - In Order To Dance 5)
18 - 16B - Falling: Two Lone Swordsmen remix (Falling 12")
19 - Beaumont Hannant - Psi Onyx Autechre remix (Psi Onyx 12")


Roy Andersson - World Of Glory (Härlig är jorden)

When I started this blog I had grand plans to post loads of short films, but for some reason I never seem to get around to it. Here is a remarkable and brilliant short by Swedish director Roy Andersson, from 1991.
It is a series of still-camera vignettes, based around the wan, distant and tormented figure you can see in the stills above. This character speaks directly to camera, and the combination of his measured voice (I find the Swedish language inexplicably lovely); the washed out colours and the ghostly and brilliant music to be totally mesmerizing. I don't really have the mental energy to go attempt an explanation of the themes and meaning within: it deals with guilt, with ones engagement with the world: basically life, the universe and everything - yet in a series of often painful, sad, short scenes that are laced with pitch black humour, but which deal with the minutiae of everyday life. However, there is a horrific opening scene that obviously calls to mind the dominant historical happening of the 20th century, one that is possibly more prescient to a Swede. It also defies a perfect reading, so that's my excuse - you have to interpret it yourself. Not only that, but it is as much about an emotional reaction as an intellectual one.
I am a huge fan of Samuel Beckett, and to me this film dovetails nicely with his latter novels and short prose - the way that the narrating character breaks down the relationship with the reader/watcher and author; with the characters inhabiting the grey area in between. Literally grey, too, calling to mind the foetal characters inhabiting the wastelands in Beckett's short prose. But it's the dark humour that mostly connects the two. And if you're a Beckett fan, the same desolate beauty.
This is a .avi, with a .srt subtitle file, whatever that means for mac users, as I'm a pc man.


Thursday, 8 July 2010

Susumu Yokota - Sakura

Susumu Yokota is a prolific electronic musician, and this is a fabulous offering from 2000. Highly recommended for fans of Eno, Cluster, and early ambient music, this displays strong influences from this scene right from the beginning. Opening track 'Saku' has gently pulsating synths, phased drones, and gently tinkling electric piano lines all wrapped up in a cosy cloud of reverb. This would be good isolation tank music, but is gorgeously engaging, too, as it develops organically into throbbing bass. 'Ucho Tanjyo' adds some grooving ethnic percussion, with some gent from distant shores mumbling cryptically, which works excellently with the tremolo, phased synths soaring in the background. 'Genshi' even has a kick drum and cymbals driving it along, but the same lush and lovely synth melodies are present throughout the album: this is almost a set of variations, until 'Naminote' rather strangely injects a bit of a swinging jazz vamp. Highly recommended.


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Alexander's Dark Band - Dobutsu Bancho

A 2005 album by J Saul Kane, aka Depth Charge. This is a loose and dirty beast of an LP, full of rough and drunken beats - mostly breakbeats, distorted bass, and rotten analogue keyboards held together with sellotape. There's plenty of influence from dub - check out the rude, throbbing bass on 'Dead Metal Dyno Rock', with nasty backwards sounds and some expert knob twiddling. There are some terrifically monged sounds on here - tweaked beyond the realms of good taste, and ending up crashed in a smoking heap at the end of brainfuck road. Virtually every track exudes a bad attitude, and has the rough beats to back it up, and twisted editing/brain prodding sounds poking you in the chest for extra provocative effect. It also rocks mightily, and has plenty of raised-fist triumphant moments, some lino-polishing retro grooves (The Immortal Squirrel), as well as some menacing frequency assaults (Baka Monkey Doll, EH O400).


Saturday, 19 June 2010

Sonic Boom - Spectrum

Sonic Boom's first solo album after leaving Spacemen 3 continues in pretty much the same vein, and has some really great stuff on it. The kind of wasted-on-drugs/gospel vein runs through virtually all of Sonic and Jason's work, borrowing liberally from blues music (Lonely Avenue); although in this case the presentation is pretty lo-fi, with drum machines and trashy organ accompanying the fuzz and reverb guitar. The formula is often incredibly simple, as on 'You're the one' - a simple riff is repeated, and the layers of fuzz guitar/organ are gradually turned up until the tune is rocking nicely. The only track that deviates slightly is my favourite track on the album, a masterpiece, and a worthy successor to 'How Does It Feel' from 'Playing With Fire'. It has a flotation tank feel, with a heartbeat-like pulse, some guitar loops, and distantly spaced keyboards. Occasional descending bass notes, chimes, and some brilliant use of reverse echo embellish this moody yet blissful track. It really does evoke the feeling of someone drifting off this mortal coil in an incredibly smashed state.
I saw Sonic Boom perform this a couple of years back - it was pretty special, even though his vocals haven't really improved over the years ( I like them for what they are). I can also recommend seeing the current incarnation of Spectrum. I saw them last year and they were excellent: it was a joy to behold excellent live versions of 'Transparent Radiation' and 'Revolution'. I was lucky enough to see Spacemen 3 once, and I must have seen virtually every spin off band since, including Spectrum in 1990, and even The Darkside. I seem to recall that Sonic supported My Bloody Valentine at ULU, accompanied by some bloke with a harmonica.


Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Chronomad - Chronomad ep

A rather lovely 4 track ep from 2003 on the Alien Transistor label. These are 4 tracks with a sombre beauty, driven along by tuned ethnic percussion which keeps a driving rhythm, but also manages to be intricate and intriguing. The ep was co-produced with Markus and Micha Acher from The Notwist by Saam Schlamminger, a Turkish born student of eastern music. This accounts for the excellent complex rhythms, and the understated, moody use of melody. The second track 'Sabs' is a brilliant combination of twisting percussion loops and the half-obscured sounds of a dusky bazaar - a use of ethnic music samples that could not possibly be further from cheese. Shady strings surge and retreat as a rhythm is picked out on an Oud-sounding instrument. Although the native drums are played, they are also manipulated with some chopping and timestretching, and although the tunes elicit a kind of sweetly doleful ambience, this is good head-nodding gear.


Thursday, 10 June 2010

Boredoms - Chocolate Synthesizer

Another band I saw recently, although their current incarnation sounds quite different to this album from 1994. They currently play with varying amounts of drummers (7 the other night), and churn out a kind of bludgeoning performance art space rock. Main man Yamatsuka Eye had a pretty cool multi-necked guitar totem thing, which he would bong occasionally with his wand.
Ideally the picture of this would be here, and not at the top, but I can't get blogger to upload pictures where I want them to go, which fits in nicely with the general air of retardation that imbues this album. It's full of greasy mong-riffs and guttural imprecations, screaming derangement, bursts of noise, hardcore style rock outs and general freakish lunacy. Probably best not listened to with a raging hangover, at all other times this is great fun, and often hilarious - generally for the nutty vocals: 'Smoke 7' is a particular favourite. The cover gives a good impression of the music, prompting the question 'What the fuck is going on?'


Thursday, 3 June 2010

Dungen - Ta Det Lungt

I'm posting this while the experience of seeing Dungen live 3 nights ago is still fresh, even though I'm sure I will remember it for a long time. They were absolutely fantastic - tight when appropriate, and jamming marvellously. They absolutely nailed the sound of this album, with it's hazy sheen of reverb and sun-drenched psychedelic atmosphere. The songs on this album are terrific, adding harmonies and a unique folky element which is perhaps a result of the groups Swedish origins.
Dungen are the brainchild of Gustav Estes, who writes and produces, as well as playing sundry instruments (it was great to see a bit of flute playing live!), but this incarnation of the band has been playing together for a few years, and the live sound they generate must contribute in some way to the songwriting process now. Not least the scintillating guitar playing of Reine Fiske, who is an acid rock maestro - one of those guys who knows his instrument (a well battered strat), amp and effects inside out - it was awesome to be stood right next to him by the side of the stage the other night.
This 2004 album is a glorious introduction: go to Dungen's website for mp3s of lots of rare and obscure non-album tracks, including some epic jams.


06/09/2010 - a Dungen live alert for those in London - they are playing at the Islington Academy on November 16th - get yourselves down there!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Various - White Dot Electronica 1

I went through my itunes recently and picked out enough tracks for a couple of electronica compilations. Therefore, this is all amazing. I was going to divide all the tracks into 4 playlists, but there was no thematic cohesion to any of it, and I ended up with two lists, called 'down' and 'up' at roughly 200mb each. Even those descriptions are fairly arbitrary, although I suppose this one is slightly moodier than the next one, tending slightly toward the glacial, trippy, isolationist, or just plain abstract.
I absolutely love all of this stuff: there are some all-time favourites in here, so check it out - you may discover something incredible.
1-Burnt Friedman-Platin Tundra (Nonplace EP1)
2-Alva Noto-MM (Archiv 1)
3-Anders Ilar-Illusions Of A Summerbreeze (Everdom)
4-Autechre-Weissensee (V/A-A Homage To Neu!)
5-Bionaut-Wild Horse Annie: Pluramon remix (V/A-Harvest In Technicolour)
6-Biosphere-Mir (Patashnik)
7-Black Faction-Modanese (V/A-Voices In My Lunchbox)
8-Console-Untitled (Pan Or Ama)
9-Dabrye-Infinite Wavelength remix (Additional Productions 1)
10-Funkturm-Shimmer (Urban Mantras)
11-Cepia-Wavebnc1 (V/A-Meadow, Cottage Industries 4)
12-Grain-Untitled (V/A-Across Uneven Terrain)
13-Jake Mandell-Beartrap (V/A-Wanna Buy A Craprak?)
14-Julien Neto-Shiney Eyed Gal (V/A-Meadow, Cottage Industries 4)
15-Max 404-Quiddity Last Visit (Eevolute 12")
16-Nonplace Urban Field-Chilled #6 Muslimgauze rmx (Golden Star)
17-Air Liquide-Homicidal Diary (V/A-Harvest In Tecehnicolour)
18-Psyche/BFC-Neurotic Behaviour (Elements 1989-1990 by Carl Craig)

It's hard to pick favourites out of these: there are timeless classics like Quiddity and Neurotic Behaviour; The Anders Ilar track is a relatively recent discovery that blows me away; the Autechre rocks (is that actually a 303 I can hear in there?), and the Black Faction track is a sublime offering from a really unsung talent. Actually, I ought to rip some of the vinyl I have by him. Anyway - treat your brain.


Thursday, 27 May 2010

Skullflower - Orange Canyon Mind

Utterly glorious noise psych-out from Matthew Bower. Euphoric, blasting, coruscating waves of fuzz; juggernauts of pulsating bass. Warping witches' fingers of liquid sound lick at your ears like cold flames while crashing planets destroy the gravity in your brain. That's just track 1. Despite being cacophonous, this is beautiful to my ears: it's a richly harmonic maelstrom of overdriven analogue. I'm not sure how it was created, but it's super-effective: all kinds of power-electronics mayhem, plus some acid guitar, and barely audible percussion in a thick, lurching, surging syrup of cosmic goodness.
Sometimes the tracks are underpinned by spacy nodding grooves, sometimes there is just a clenched roar of sound, an electrical storm of wild sonics; but there is always a dense and captivating tapestry of noises, tunes and distortion.

Buy it from crucial blast


Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Exile - Pro Agonist

Nutty drum & bass from 2005. Chock full of crazy edits, wild sounds and, of course, multitudes of chattering breakbeats. Oh yes, and some monster bass sounds - plenty of the ravetastic hoover variety. Completely in your face, but also head twisting, euphoric, hilarious, and ultimately jolly good fun to listen to. Not much else to say, really - some genius production on show. Recommended for fans of Venetian Snares, and everyone else in the world.


Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Gong - You

This blog has now been going for a year! There is no better way to celebrate this anniversary than by posting one of my all time favourite albums.
This was released in 1974, and is third in a trilogy of albums that also includes 'Angel's Egg' and 'Flying Teapot', both of which are excellent, and highly recommended, as is 'Camembert Electrique' which precedes them. This album, though, I think is the pinnacle, both of Gong's output, and psychedelic/space rock in general. The playing throughout is absolutely masterful; and the arrangements are completely brilliant. There is a fair amount of silliness, it is true, but I love every second of it, and it helps create the dramatic dynamics that drive the album along. The way that the two short whimsical opening tracks segue into the very spaced out chanting of 'Magick Mother Invocation' which becomes the blistering, heavy progged out space rock of 'Master Builder' is magnificent. Steve Hillage is on fire here, and the bass and drums pretty much rival the heaviness and technical excellence of early 70s King Crimson. Also, the horn/wind playing of Didier Malherbe is an absolute delight. The key element that completes sound is the brilliant use of synths, which are particularly showcased on the next track 'A Sprinkling Of Clouds', where they beautifully build up a trippy spacescape which leads into another heavy freak out. The interplay of Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth's vocals, another great feature of Gong, is shown on the next short track 'Perfect Mystery', which also has some awesome drum fills from Pip Pyle. The last two tracks are an excellent long jam with a terrific groove, allowing some extended solos; then a real Gong masterpiece in 'You Never Blow Yr Trip Forever' winds down the album perfectly. Awesome stuff. I still get pure unadulterated joy from listening to this, 18 or so years after I first heard it.


Friday, 7 May 2010

Kev Hopper - Whispering Foils

Excellent release on Stereolab's Duophionic imprint from 2000. Kev Hopper was the (fantastic) bassist in 80s musical-weird-beards Stump ('Chaos' on Youtube). He went on to release mostly instrumental albums, featuring samples, bass, and lots of musical saw, which he plays.
The results vary from the totally brilliant 'Return Of The Bung', with it's basslines slithering and rolling around weird ambient textures and some clean tremelo guitar - this could almost be an outtake from Eno's Another Green World. 'Lamalou Les Bains' is a combination of saw, acoustic guitar and vibes, and is very High Llamas-y; and I could even imagine Monsieur Hulot wandering around with this in the background. 'Canary Lights' is another excellent track based around the tumbling sound of Hopper's percussive bass - tapping and popping over a shuffling groove while mandolin, accordion and vocals add the melodic textures. The whole ambience also reminds me of Tortoise, and this could obviously fit into the post rock category, but comparisons do this album a bit of a disservice (even though I've made loads), as it sounds quite unique. Also, it is rather lovely sounding.
Check out Kev Hopper's Website. It's pretty interesting, and also he is giving away all his music - so download it and donate him some money: I recommend 'I Saw Spoombung's Daughter Consumed By Kirby Dots'.


Friday, 30 April 2010

Ulaan Khol - I

Ulaan Khol is an alias of Steven R. Smith, who is a prolific guitarist in the realms of ambient/psych/drone. I didn't know anything about him until I decided to post this album, whic I have been enjoying immensely for quite a while. Composed from layered guitar and feedback, enveloped in an atmosphere of reverb. It begins with a full band fuzz psych-out sound, but most tracks have minimal, distant percussion, or none at all. There are ringing overtones, angelic choirs and space horns singing in the mix, conjuring an epic devotional vibe of mystic depth. This is the first part of a trilogy, which I must acquire now that I know about it, especially as the last track is like a laser of distilled and focused Popol Vuh at their most ecstatic. Beautiful and cosmic.


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Ween - Push Th' Little Daisies +

I love Ween, and this 1993 Ep was a bit legendary amongst me and my chums. This has a few extra tracks thrown on, various b-sides etc, and I thank the proprietor of whatever blog I got it from a few years back. I have this on 12" and the three b-sides from this are brilliant. This single preceded Chocolate And Cheese, and a period where they recorded a lot of songs in certain musical styles. Not necessarily always a pastiche - there seems to be a genuine love of the original forms. Thus you have 'Mango Woman', a ludicrous(ly brilliant) reggae track - a style they would revisit (King Billy, The Fruit man). My favourite is 'Puerto Rican Power' - a kind of teen power rock anthem, with bad drum fills and inept guitar leads. This so beautifully evokes a bunch of spotty hispanic teenagers rehearsing in their parents basement it's unreal. It's also a great song. Then there is 'Ode To Rene', where they effortlessly offend Francophones with a load of nonsense lyrics in a breezy easy listening style that used to dominate French airwaves. Excellent stuff. All the tracks demonstrate Gene Ween's brilliant vocals in many styles, which just seem to improve with age - there are some amazing performances on their most recent album La Cucaracha.
1 - Push th' Little Daisies
2 - Mango Woman
3 - Puerto Rican Power (Pts. 1&2)
4 - Ode to René
5 - I Smoke Some Grass (Really Really High)
6 - I'm Fat
7 - I'm Fat (Remix)
8 - Sky Cruiser
9 - Cruise Control (Sky Cruiser Remix)
10 - Cover It with Gas and Set It on Fire
11 - Silent Night


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Black metal compilation

I know I've just posted the Wrnlrd album: this is a request/dedication to Steve, to cheer him up. Because black metal was invented to cheer people up.
This is not supposed to be definitive, even of my taste - it's just some of my favourites, and I am aware of glaring omissions. Lots of harshness, noise, violence and general nastiness; but also some great, triumphant tunes and riffs, as well as an assortment of amazing vocalists. You also have the two best BM drummers - Frost (1349) and Hellhammer (mayhem), but also some pretty inept work (Judas Iscariot - great track, though). It all sounds great to me, from the strange and technical compositions of Deathspell Omega and Mayhem, right down to the primitive thrashings of Bone Awl and Ildjarn-Nidhogg. Also, plenty of outrageous speed.
1. 1349 – I Am Abomination (Hellfire)
2. I Shalt Become – Fragments (Wanderings)
3. Gorgoroth – Wound Upon Wound (Ad Majoram...)
4. Belenos – Tal Ifern (Spicilège)
5. Bone Awl – In Eternal Dark (Magnetism Of War)
6. Darkthrone – A Blaze In The Northern Sky (A Blaze...)
7. Funeral Mist – Sword Of Faith (Maranatha)
8. Nehemah – Nehemah In Vulba Infernum (Light Of A Dead Star)
9. Gorgoroth – Procreating Satan (Twilight OF The Idols)
10. Judas Iscariot – To The Black Tower Of Victory (Distant In Solitary Night)
11. Burzum –Dunkelheit (Filosofem)
12. Mayhem – Whore (Chimera)
13. Diaboli – As I Walk Through The Shadows (Anthems Of Sorrow)
14. Leviathan - Fucking Your Ghost in Chains of Ice (The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide)
15. Ildjarn-Nidhogg - Svarte Hjerter (Ildjarn-Nidhogg)
16. Satyricon – Dawn Of A New Age (Nemesis Divina)
17. Blut Aus Nord – Choir Of The Dead (The Work Which Transforms God)
18. Endstille – Monotonus II (Navigator)
19. Triumphator – Heralds Of Pestilence (Wings Of Antichrist)
20. Watain – The Limb Crucifix (Rabid Death’s Curse)
21. Deathspell Omega –Sola Fide pt. 1 (Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice)