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Music Moment: SuuuuuuuuunnO))))))))))))))) and Ulver, “Terrestrials”

Evening all.

First some general housekeeping. Did a review for the Grapevine on an album by a singer/songwriter called Sveinn Guðmundsson. I didn’t like it, not one bit. But it turned out this was the first negative review the GV has printed for quite a while which i suppose make a change for them. Oh well. You can read it HERE

Now onto .more pressing matters. As I’ve been noting in a slightly apologetic manner over the last few weeks, i´ve been neglecting my blogging duties due to the demands of my new university course. LOTS of reading, fretting about things i’m guessing the other students aren’t worrying about (“Shit I’ve written too much for my home exam!”) and just general WTF moments about why I’m doing this again at the worst moments (i.e. when I’m trying to complete written assignments).

I do listen to music when i can, but often it stuff to help me power my walks to and from the campus, or to help me concentrate on trying to read/write about German expressionist cinema. so that means loads of looong techno and ambient mixes to act like a sonic metronome to ensure my synapses spark away in perfect timing.

But I’m still buying stuff that take my fancy. such as this the latest release from the cloaked ones SUNN O))) in a collaboration with Norwegian avant metallers ULVER. Started listening to it this week. and I’ve gotta say it’s got a pitiless depth to it that has me in danger of floating away into the nothingness of inner space.

But first some philosophy. Casting my mind back to an essay by Eugene Thacker in his book “In the dust of this planet:The Horror Of Philosophy” last year about the horror of the realms of unknowing and philosophy’s inability to articulate it. In an essay on what the “Black” in Black Metal means, he articulates the realms of human perception in terms that there is the world we live in (World-for-us), the planet that exists without human thought and contact but we can articulate (World-in-itself), and then there is the enigmatic spectral world that we cannot see and touch, a world that is completely obvious to our existence (World-without-us). He posits that Black=Satanic in civilisation (world-for-us), before countering it with Black=Pagan, something pre-christian, from nature itself (world-in-itself). He then gives us a third meaning of the “black” in Black metal to mean “Cosmic Pessimism” (World-without-us), the idea of a dark metaphysics of absolute negation, a nothingness that would herald the extinction of life and thought. Like Cthulhu mixed with Schopenhauer if you want.

And it was THIS that popped into my head when the first track “Let There Be Light” was playing. The track seems so pitiless in its lack of human emotion, pretty much oblivious to humankind in general. Just heavy seeping guitar tones and impenetrable brass notes that rumbled and ached over my speakers. Something majestic, but it would send you insane if you tried to think or articulate what it was, like the old one slumbering in his tarry pool of darkness before awakening.

The other two tracks seemed to hark about the other meaning of black as they give off a slightly sulphurous whiff of Bohren And Der Club Of Gore.Tracks of despairing doom-jazz inflections that lay bare the sheer nonsense and unimportance of our lives, while Kristoffer Rygg of Ulver croaks and drawls utterances on the final track “Eternal Return.”. It’s music that exists in an innerworld inside us but we can’t touch or grasp it.

A right barrel of laughs aren’t I? It certainly  made thinking about the subjectivity we displace in viewing the world into a new light.

Goodnight….

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in music

 

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Music Moment: Gavin Miller, “Manuskript”

Ugh….

Suffering slightly from that Post-Airwaves comedown here on the farm. you know how it is. spending several nights with little sleep, living on a diet of beer, speed, battery acid and the discarded remains of hot dogs thrown on the ground by tourists. It’s no wonder that the minute I finally said on Sunday, “Sod it. I’m going home and having a cup of tea under my quilt.”  my entire immune system shut down like the containment field in ‘Ghostbusters.’ The week has since been spent leaking lumpy snot, coughing up chunks of green matter, and heading off to the country to partake in clean air and wild game meat. Generally keeping away from the world for my own good.

But now I’m back in the harsh, real world,of Reykjavik, and it’s time get back into the swing of things writing-wise. And for tonight’s post, we have a new installment of REVIEWING SOMEONE’S MUSIC BECAUSE THEY ASKED ME TO! Tonight’s review episode comes courtesy of Gavin Miller. Nice guy that Gavin. And a rather busy one as well. A wholesome northern lad (He´s from t’Bradford y’know), he’s one half of Manc atmospheric electronic outfit GHOSTING SEASON, as well as running his own label THIS IS IT FOREVER. So several weeks ago, he sent me a message on FB along the lines of, “Hey Bob, I’ve been releasing some of my own solo noodlings on my label for a bit of a laugh. We all know how cool and honest you are in reviewing people’s music. Fancy sharing some of those brilliant blog stats on my latest release?” Well OK, he didn’t say it like that, but that’s how it sounded in my head.

But he’s a kindhearted soul, so after a long time of him asking me, I though yeah OK, why not give his stuff a spin? So his current release is titled ‘Manuskript,’ the third and last in a short series of solo releases (hot on the heels of  the ambient ‘Fotograf’ and the krautrock fused ‘Instruktion’). Split into two tracks, the first track has a 10 minute long meditative drone throb as it’s spine through which slightly pugnacious bass sounds and rhythmic beats ping and bounce off the soundwaves. And it sails on this mode for a while till the junglist beats suddenly come into play and snap everything into shape towards the end. Possibly the modern definition of mean and moody. Music for those who have Demdike Stare on constant repeat on their turntables.

The second track is a shorter, more laidback in its approach. A simple bass motif and arpeggiated synth riff which is augmented by some underwater electronic meanderings. OK that stuff is rather soothing actually. some shades of  nighttime dipping in the South Asian sea with some glowing Manatees on mushrooms. At least that was the firs thing that entered into my head.

So yeah Gavin, I’ll give it to ya. You did pretty good on this one, and at only £1.50 for the digital purchase, you’ve got a bit of a bargain there. When the next Ghosting Season album coming out??

Goodnight….

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2013 in music

 

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Music Moment: Ben Frost, “Black Marrow,” “FAR,” & “Sleeping Beauty”

Ben+Frost

(OR…. Werewolves gonna fuck your face all y’alls!!)

As the black doom of Airwaves draws itself closer and closer to a reality, I always seem to find myself drifting towards the music of Iceland’s premier contemporary music label/collective the BEDROOM COMMUNITY. I’m always up to my neck in doing interviews with one of the members, or listening to their albums and such. Funnily enough, I’ve never  been able to seen them officially at Airwaves, only catching the odd snippet at Kaffibarinn. Maybe that’ll change this yeah… or what will likely happen is that I’ll be forced to listen to some dreadful electropop on a laptop.

Oh well. While I’ve been dipping myself in the new album from DANIEL BJARNASON, one BC artist I’ve yet to have the pleasure of meeting is everyone’s favourite antipodean ex-pat, BEN FROST. The purveyor of superior glossy, metallic soundscapes that make directors of nighttime car commercials and moody neo-noir crime dramas go weak at the knees, right now he seems to be working the candle at both ends. Recently he was causing psychotic breaks in audiences all over Europe with his opera adaptation of ‘The Wasp Factory,” which by all accounts is as wild as the prospect sounds. But he’s also been keeping himself active with a whole load of soundtrack commissions for plays, films and dance performances. And he’s recently uploaded them all to his bandcamp for our listening pleasure. Well, pleasure is one way you could describe it….

The first album up on our list is the score to BLACK MARROW, a dance performance piece from Lazyblood matriarch Erna “Joan Crawford is my spirit totem” Ómarsdóttir. A piece about the trauma and pain in the creation of new life out of the poison of chaos, where “Humans are machines and it seems the end of life is near.” From that description, you can expect the score to be just as unspeakable and grisly. Hey, this is Ben Frost we’re talking about here! visceral is his middle name. In this score (With help from Oren Ambarchi, Borgar Magnason and Erna Ómarsdóttir) he takes the motifs created in ‘By The Throat,’ and amplifies them to reality-splitting levels, making sure you get the point by naming sections with titles such as “undulating Beast,” and “Carbon Vessel Motherfucker.” Heavy breathing humans transform into growling werewolf chimeras, red in tooth and claw. Cellos heave and surge, discordant instruments are plucked, and subatomic granular bass notes splinter bone, while the degradation of human machinery is laid bare in the sounds of industrial pig iron furnaces, clunking, smashing and scything across your ears. Music made from the black, putrid pus of the Earth. Sunn o))) would be proud.

 

The next piece, while sharing some of the same sound tools, offers a lighter, more contemplative perspective. FAR is in many ways a fairly orthodox album from Frost (Well as unorthodox as can be expected). Some of the tracks even contain lyrics and actual humans singing. But some things are still evident, such as the wobbling bass, the disturbing growl and digital engine noise blasts, alongside minimal piano/string lines and beats. Hints of Pan sonic are spring to mind in some places, Björk in others. Probably the closest Ben will come to an actual pop album, until that is of course, you have the moments when the cavernous drones make you wish for death!

 

Last up, is his soundtrack to the 2011 film SLEEPING BEAUTY. Compared to the previous two scores, this feels a little more like a coda, a short, sharp, but perfectly formed object of sound. Snapshots of twinkling notes and more grumbling drones and sustained string notes, that doesn’t outstay its welcome. the treated guitar howl on the track “Fear Of Death Is The Number One Hoax,” pretty much created a singularity in my frontal lobe and I was able to see all strands of time and all possible outcomes and permutations. The outcome wasn’t pretty.

 

I think that should be enough music to act as your soundtrack to your perfectly curated lives of of despair and quiet anguish.

Goodnight…..

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in music

 

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Music Moment: Le Thug, “Ripping EP”

*burp*

Apologies as I think this is going to be a bit of a lazy ass post this evening. Not really my fault. Back at work today so am feeling grimy and tired. Have also just eaten a MASSIVE bacon sandwich which has sapped my ability to do anything meaningful. But I will try to keep my brain active just long enough to type this. I promise somethig a little more substantial in the coming week….

As with more online/digital culture norms these days, a lot of new music that comes my way is in the form of hints, tips and recommendations. In many ways it’s replaced what used to pass for me making an informed decision from reading a decent music press. 

So when a friends (Cheers Graham) posted a link on FB last week about a band called Le’ Thug, I initially thought that they were referring to the seriously underrated and unknown French punk band Les Thugs.

 

But no. Instead Le’ Thug are a 3-piece from my old neck of the woods in Glasgow. And they’ve released a free EP out into the wild to be picked up by our grasping little hands. Straight off you can hear the shimmering/ambient/shoegaze worldview. Many people will go for a MBV/Cocteau Twins call, but these guys owe more to the likes of Nadja. with the use of electronics providing the rhythms along with huge, washed out guitars, and female centred vocals. Continuing the fine Scottish tradition of emotional noise. I suggest you grab a copy.

Goodnight…

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2013 in Download, music

 

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Music Moment: Morð, “S/T”

Well if you by any chance know any Icelanders at all, then you will have had your social media clogged by them today stating what an absolutely BEAUTIFUL day it was in Iceland. Oh man, the sun was out, people were at the beach, and in a shocking twist, we were told by our boss at work to finish at 12 noon today to go and spend the afternoon in the sun!

Well with an offer like that, I knew exactly what I had to do.

I went straight home… and stayed indoors!

It’s too hot and sunny out there. Better to stay indoors in the cool and shade, where it’s safe. Also had a chance to catch up on reading while listening to some lovely mixes on FACT magazine’s Mixcloud. I regret nothing you reptilian bags of leathery skin.

But as the sun sets, my mood to turns to things that are darker and more menacing. Now I really don’t cover enough metal on this blog, despite loving a heavy dose of the good stuff now and again. and it’s not that I hate most of it, it’s just that I already have good friends who cover the metal scene in Iceland and abroad well enough already, HERE,HERE, and HERE:  In many ways I wouldn’t be adding that much more to what they’re already doing.

But of course I will make many exceptions to this, and MORÐ is one exception. They’re another new band to emerge from the primordial soup of Icelandic metal in 2013. Containing at least one member of the BEST BAND EVER TO COME FROM ICELAND, (That’s Celestine btw) and one of the most squidly blast beat drummers in Ægir Sindri, they’re making some rather nasty sounds out there. Birkir at Halifax Collect has already got his dirty claws into to them to find out how they tick.

Already they have a debut EP out on Bandcamp. ‘Morð’ definitely seems to exhibit a lot of the influences/styles from the former bands of Morð’s members. No “genre” runs prevalent throughout. One moment your introduced to Death metal intros, before you´re deluged with great hunks of classic black metal with blastbeats aplenty (“Svart,” “Eyðilegging”). But even then there’s moments when the tracks show some full on trad metal riffing, or Eyehategod style sludginess with heavy sludge metal/hardcore screaming that’s not your usual “creep hiding in a cave” sound. Love the squealing at the end of the record, LOL!

One thing that’s for sure is that there’s no gilding the lily on this record. It doesn’t bother trying to be all atmospheric and elemental as if they’re wood nymphs from an abandoned forest in Germany. ‘Morð’ is spartan and economic in it’s production so that while all the elements are distinct, the sphere of sound is that of a tight enclosed space. You only hear the slightest flickers of effects being used on the odd occasion, such as the vocals in “Holdfúi.”

“Morð” is a straight up, black, brutal chimera of a record that is all things to all people, but the pieces are spliced and sewn together in a way that you don´t notice the changes in flesh and textrue. Grrrrrrr….. I spit at you sun god…

Goodnight….

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Iceland, music

 

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Music Moment, The Implicit Order, “Cults”

One of the more interesting trends to be seen with internet music over the last 18 months is the phenomenon of the “Time Stretched” music track. Put simply, it’s when you take a track and with some simple software, stretch it to near astronomical levels. The end result is something that’s actually rather extraordinary. It’s the taking of a piece of sound and pulling it apart to the point where you’re hearing the gaps between the music. You’re listening to music at a granular, molecular level, where the sound waves take such a time to change, it has the sensation more likes dunes of sand shifting in the wind.  

Some of the tracks made create an extra level or spookiness onto something that is already dark and menacing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An-_WttF490

 

It can make almost any track sound decent…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QspuCt1FM9M

 

It´s this level of time being pulled apart, of a central fixed point of focus that I hear when I listen to the music made by THE IMPLICIT ORDER. The (now solo) project of Anthony Washburn, he´s been diving through the realm of underground tape music in the US for over two decades now. Here’s the bio (So i don’t have to parse and retype it)… 

The Implicit Order started in 1989 as a Mail Art project and by the early 1990’s it developed into a full-time musical project incorporating many of the early Industrial/Experimental ideas of the late 70’s, 1980’s and beyond. The band always tried to inject a sense of the Occult, humor and an off-kilter view into the image and recordings. The Implicit Order was active in the Cassette Culture of the 1990’s up to 2001. In 2002 the band took a break from recording and resumed in 2008. I/O have released many recordings on Cassette, CD, CDR, and digital download and have appeared on various compilations. ..

This off-kilter look at the world can be heard in one of their recent release on their Bandcamp page, ‘Cults.’ Taking its inspiration from the myriad of cults and sects that contaminated the western world in the ’70s & ’80s, many of the tracks utilise aspect of granular, timestretched sound to create a woozy, listless undertow that sets the listener adrift from their surroundings, pulling you gently into its sphere of influence…. Just like a cult you would say. I can imagine this is how it must be like in the head of an indoctrinated member anyway.  All the while you’re gently bombarded with sermons/chants/ohms from the great and good, beckoning you to drink the aural kool aid and join them in their alien paradise.

After listening to this, I for one now accept my new lords and masters as they’ve promised me my place in technocrat heaven, where the Angels have metallic wings and clouds are made of strings of condensed data.

Goodnight…

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in music

 

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Musicmomentinfodumpfeling Extra. Trying to get that head of steam going again!!

Ughughugh!!!

Well after nearly 2 weeks away, it’s time to scrape the rust off the valves, chase out the rats from the dark crannies and fire up the generators to get this blog running again.

There will be a post or two in the coming week about the old exploits in the big smoke, plus a possible semi-interview or two. But until then, here are some links/mixes/titbits that should interest you….

- An interview with our delightful friend KEMPER NORTON in the Quietus. It’s really good to see him getting some well proper attention for the music he does. Loki (AKA Saxon Roach) offers some extra insight into the life of Kemper here.

- BIG NEWS from our portal masters in Brighton, THE OUTER CHURCH. Double album compilation as well as four big ass nights to celebrate the release in August. Go over there and check out the news.

- We have some nice new friends over at KIT RECORDS. They have radio shows, mixes and lots of nice tunes. Here’s a new mix from a mysterious fellow named THE NAGS HEAD. Listen here.

- A really interesting old school techstep mix over at SONIC RAMPAGE. Contains all the greats from the likes of Ruffige Kru, Dillinja, and Source Direct!.

- An even more interesting/mysterious mix over at READYMADE RECORDS, Titled “Irazu – Jealous God 01″ it’s available to stream/download for free, and it’s chockka with tracks from Tangerine Dream to suicide to British Murder Boys. On further inspection, it turn out that it’s by none other than those dark lords REGIS and SILENT SERVANT! Whoo!! Go here to check it out before they shut it down!

- Finally… just before I went on holiday, I received a message from local friend Sævar Markus about some new music on the horizon. Like me Sævar is a bit of the fan of the uncanny parallel life forces that exist in society today. But while I’m more into the symbiosis of urban and rural electronica, Sævar has a thing obsession for true pastoral folk, ’60s psychedelic pop, and spooky film/TV from the last 50 years. A true Hauntoloigist, there is no way he was born in Iceland!

Anyhoo, this release is from an outfit who call themselves CHILDREN OF ALICE. closer inspection reveal themselves to be none other than Broadcast’s James Cargill and former member Roj, as well as Ghost Box impresario Julian house!.

The release (on Bandcamp) is also seemingly part of a wider, even more enigmatic, project called Folklore Tapes.Concrete info on the track, as well as the tape release it’s supposed to be part of, is rather hard to come by, but from those who are really into the transmission from the likes of The Focus group, and later era Broadcast, then this is right up your street.

Goodnight…

 

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2013 in live music, mixes, music

 

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Music Moment: MASS “s/t EP”

Forests are fucking creepy, aren’t they?

For all our wonderful technocratic lives that we lead, we still can’t escape the pre-industrial pull that the forest exerts on us. It been the central place of supernatural carve-ups since time immemorial. From poor little Red Riding Hood nearly becoming a part of some inter species murder roleplay, to Hansel & Gretel, The Blair Witch, The Evil Dead, Southern Comfort & Rambo, the dark forest is a psychic environment in those places causes basic humanity as a construct to be weakened and something nastier, more primal rules the roost.

For example, I’ve been watching for a while now a long running YouTube channel titled MARBLE HORNETS. It´s a chilling supernatural video serial centred around the myth of “The Slender Man” and a man trying to piece together a mystery of a missing film student friend. Most of the action take place in heavily wooded areas. It´s so quiet and eerie that even when the scenes are filmed in broad daylight, there is an undeniable tension in the air.

MASS would be at home in that world. A simple night dwelling duo, their “sound” is a primal scream of tearing red-lining noise, as if the forest itself is giving birth to something not quite animal, not quite human. From the cortex tearing feedback at the beginning, the four songs in their debut EP of crust covered hardcore just tears at you to find out what is truly at the centre of your being. Riffs crash and flail, while the drumming comes across like a someone throwing their whole weight into a puddle. I played this to Mrs Sex Farm, only for her to wince in pain after 5 minutes. she said “They just sound as if they are in pain.” I’m not surprised at that comment. here’s definitely a knotted, twisted aspect to the vocals. Think of a fox caught in a bear-trap

Eventually the noise finally breaks down into a heap of fiery crackling drones. They then walk back into the blackened forest, with only their silhouettes visibly against the backdrop of the flames.

Fucking hate forests I do….

Goodnight….

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2013 in music

 

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Infofelch: Listening Library, June 2012

I’ve been buying things today. Cue big ass long list.

It´s going to be a busy month ahead for my ears….

PHOSPHOR, Youth & Immortality

VARIOUS / KEYSOUND , Keysound Allstars 2

ORPHX, Boundary Conditions

VIRILE GAMES, Wounded Laurel

LOCKED GROOVE, Rooted

PAULA TEMPLE, Colonized (w/ Digital Bonus Tracks)

IKE YARD, Remix EP 2 (Tropic Of Cancer)

BLESSURE GRAVE, The Flashing

O13 (IKE YARD/BLACK RAIN), Time Wave Zero

DIRTY BEACHES, Drifters / Love Is The Devil

F.C. JUDD / VARIOUS, Interpretations on F.C. Judd

RP BOO, Legacy,

_UNSUBSCRIBE_, Spek Hondje

PHARMAKON, Abandon

KODE 9, Rinse:22,

MATT WHITEHEAD, A Is For Acid

ALEXANDER LEWIS, A Luminous Veil

MATER SUSPIRIA VISION,Serenity 

DALHOUS, An Ambassador For Laing

J BEATZ, Quality Control EP

ROYAL T, I Know You Want Me

 

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2013 in music

 

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Music Moment: Uschi-No-Michi, “Ameratsu – The Remixes”

Gah!

Summer!

Gah!

Unlike those fools around me, I hate summer. I can’t sleep, so I’m always tired and down. It’s sunny, but I’m a poor prole scum so my eyes are always squinting. I want winter. I want cold and 3 hours of daylight. At least I can be depressed in the dark. Embrace your inner goth!

Sigh… It´s not been a good week to be honest. endorphins and serotonin are flashing “empty” in my brain, and everything and everyone just leaves me cold emotionally. I need something to make me goo “Woo!,” or at least that can be used as a shield against the fools.

What’s this? “Ameratsu” A single from the writer and musician USCHI-NO-MICHI? This could work. Some Bristolized bass heavy electronica allied with chiming  percussive coil-like chimes. And  delicate breathy vocals. Betwitching!

 

But wait! What’s THIS? There’s more! Uschi-No-Mishi has also released a free EP of remixes for the single. And there are some truly awesome sounds contained within. Of noteworthy listening is the creeping dub remix by Adrian Carter, and the gloriously cracked and chunky remix by Hacker Farm. But it’s the opening track, a sprawling epic reworking by Production Unit that’s worth your time this evening.  In doing a remix in the classic form, he’s completely broken apart the track into little pieces, thrown away the parts that don’t interest him, and stitched the essence of the remaining pieces back together into a new mutated form as well as clipping and stretching her vocals till all that’s left is a heavy breathing mantra stating “I want to FffffFFFFfffFFF!” Haunting and moody. Go and listen.

Goodnight..

 

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in music

 

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