June buys

June 29, 2010

One avenue of the exploratory aftermath of 70s ‘Krautrock’ is further delved into this month as I fill gaps in my knowledge and rebuy sold vinyl on CD.

HARMONIA & ENO 76 – Tracks And Traces Remixed – Smooth but inessential contemporary set of remixes that I struggle to relate back to the original release in either execution or intent.

MOEBIUS & PLANK – Material – Inventive 1981 set showing a Krautrock template expanding in style and scope. Includes a lovely track (Osmo Fantor) that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of the Cluster/Eno albums.

MOEBIUS-PLANK-NEUMEIER – Zero Set – At its Wikipedia entry has it – “Zero Set is one of the earliest extensions of Krautrock’s possibilities on the dance floor, pitting the profoundly electronic sequence patterns of Plank and Moebius against the hyperactive percussives of Guru Guru drummer Mani Neumeier.” Not sure I agree with that assessment – it’s more stylistically diverse than that, and you’d need three legs and impeccable rhythmic sense to cut a convincing rug to it.

MOEBIUS & PLANK – En Route – their last (and uncompleted) album together prior to Plank’s death in 1986.  A real curate’s egg of a proto-techno album, with shades of Les Vampyrettes (Czukay & Plank) and DAF amongst others.

DIETER MOEBIUS – Blue Moon OST – 1985 film soundtrack that for some reason bears a passing resemblance to some of The Residents instrumental work over the years. And yet it’s also quintessentially Moebius.

DIETER MOEBIUS – Blotch – originally recorded and released in 1999 (I got hold of a 2009 US reissue), Moebius by now following his own curious techno path.

ROEDELIUS – Lustwandel – I’m also exploring the Roedelius archives with keen interest , and this is another extraordinarily beautiful release (again courtesy of Bureau B) of predominantly mellifluous piano-centred chamber pieces. Sad that my younger self likely dismissed this as being radically out of step with the UK’s post-punk/new wave explosion of creativity.

ROEDELIUS – Offene Turen – although these tracks are from the same period as favourites Jardin Au Fou, Wenn Der Sudwind Weht and Lustwandel, they’re more ‘experimental’ and imho the synth palette employed has dated poorly  – unless, perhaps, you can’t get enough of the current new wave of 70s analogue synth music. Not a classic, although it does have its moments.

And speaking of the current nwo70sasm, two recent releases…

ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER – Returnal – still to listen to this.

MARK McGUIRE – Tidings/Amethyst Waves – a solo set from someone from Emeralds – abrasive floaty yum!

DAVID THOMAS AND TWO PALE BOYS – How’s Things In Your Town? – paid download album from Hearpen. It’s simply not possible to have too much DT&2PB. This is another live set with more abrasive moments than typical, and Thomas is on sparkling form in his between-song banter.

KING MIDAS SOUND – Waiting For You…. –  An offshoot project from the guy behind The Bug, this draws on Rhythm & Sound’s hiss-dub and (arguably) the lugubrious Tricky of Maxinquaye, moving beyond both to craft a deep dubby batch of songs that feel both contemporary and timeless. To these ears, this is much preferable to his work as The Bug – I hope there’s more on the way.

LITTLE AXE – Bought For A Dollar, Sold For A Dime – the first three Little Axe albums are already classics of contemporary blues/dub manipulation, but since then, to these ears returns have diminished with each subsequent release, as the source inspiration of blues, funk, soul and gospel become ever more obvious.

NURSE WITH WOUND – She And Me Fall Together In Free Death –  seems there’s always something I’ve missed in the nooks and crannies of the vast NWW discography, and this limited ‘silk purse’ edition’s good to get hold of.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – Mad Alien Dub – not sure of the provenance of this at all – according to its Amazon blurb it was originally released in the mid-70s, yet Boomkat states it’s recent work. Certainly, more than half of the set sounds modern – and I certainly don’t recall Perry sounding like this in the 70s, or the palette of dub sounds being as broad then. Not a classic, but not without interest.



June 27, 2010

A round of sustained applause for Twitch, who’s brought The Threshold Houseboys Choir and Throbbing Gristle to Scotland in recent months, providing me with an opportunity to see both entities for the first time – and now he’s hosting the mighty Nurse With Wound. Result! I might be wrong (I’ve lived abroad at various points), but this appearance may well have been their first in Scotland. What took ’em so long?

Anyway, Nurse With Wound – an early evening show at Glasgow’s Tramway art space that was the culmination of a glorious sunny day’s art events operating under the banner of ‘A Midsummer Day’s Dream’ (I missed them all due to prior commitments, arriving in time for the NWW set).

Sonically, we were treated to a single lengthy piece that began quietly, slowly incorporated distorted elements of previous releases (most obviously the vocal lines of Black Teeth from Huffin’ Rag Blues), building inexorably towards a rhythmically thumping wall of skronk noise that reached a sustained fever pitch before collapsing and morphing into a version of Rock And Roll Station to conclude.

This was accompanied by a disturbingly surreal and strongly elemental visual projection that left more of an impression on this viewer than most of the films I saw at the film festival in neighbouring Edinburgh this year –  a dreary domestic interior slowly oozing pulsating guts over its recumbent residents; a ‘how-on-earth-did-they-do-that’ sequence from the same domestic space in which the residents casually ignored flames springing up across the walls, the furniture and their own clothing and bedding; an underwater dinner table sequence with folk gnawing on raw fish and fighting; mattresses rising into the sky from a field of grass; furniture tumbling down a hillside; chipboard houses plunging over cliff edges. This, from dil23’s blog, gives a good flavour…

Stunning stuff.

I moved much closer to the stage for the five minutes of encore – perhaps a mistake as the vibrations made the hair on my legs stand on end, and a full day later my ears are still ringing – possibly not a good sign at my age.

A powerful performance all round.  Perhaps too powerful for some audience members though – although enraptured, I wasn’t unaware that the audience was slowly thinning throughout.

After the show, I was approached by someone I’d not seen in over twenty years, from my time behind the counter of one of Edinburgh’s prime second-hand music stores. Good to see he’s still going strong.  Hi John! How the feck did you recognise me, I wonder?

Anyhoo, haste he back NWW!

Wish I’d remembered to pick up a flyer in the foyer as a momento.  – EDIT – many thanks to the Tramway’s marketing department for sending me one (above).

Incidentally, Twitch – can we please have Soisong if they ever perform live again? Or The Residents in Scotland for the first time since the Queens Hall in 1983?

May – deafness encroaching!

June 1, 2010

A busy audio month, probably reflecting the time I now have on my hands – time rich but money poor. Ouch.

Let’s get the reissues/archive delving out of the way first.

JAC BERROCAL – Fatal Encounters – vague NWW association (Berrocal is on ‘the list’) led me to this release, having also checked out his MySpace page. Perhaps this isn’t the one I should have tried first – so if anyone knows a CD album consisting entirely of stuff like “Marie Antoinette Is Not Dead”,  give me a shout.

SEVERED HEADS – Adenoids 1977-1985 – 4 CD set. Their discography has become incredibly convoluted over the years, with overlapping and versioned releases aplenty. Not sure about the release origin of these early tracks – probably limited cassettes for the most part. No matter though. Primal Sevs are a taste I acquired a while back but haven’t ‘fully’ investigated until now. Enough.

SEVERED HEADS – Haul Ass – from the late 1990s. My recollection is of their going through a really appalling period of dark and plodding disco in the 90s, but this is a step away from that low.

JOE GIBBS – African Dub Chapters 1,2,3 & 4 – boxed cd edition.  3 & 4 are the classics.

THE GO-BETWEENS – Before Hollywood & Tallulah – both double cd reissues. My two favourite Go-Betweens albums, last seen in my collection on vinyl over a decade ago. Nice to hear again. Tallulah in particular just gets better and better to these ears.

ROEDELIUS – Selbsportrait VI: the diary of the unforgotten – Another new Roedelius ‘favourite album’ for me. Surely Bureau B will run out of amazing rereleases soon…

…but not quite yet.

MOEBIUS & PLANK – Rastakraut Pasta – Another Bureau B reissue. Didn’t really go for this at the time, but looking back it’s hard to believe this is from the very early 80s.

VARIOUS ARTISTS – RobsRecords – yet to listen.

And so on to the current stuff….

THE RESIDENTS – Dollar GeneralApparently the last of their numbered limited edition cds, pre-show instrumental music from the Talking Light tour. Immediately forgettable, and I can’t help but compare this unfavourably to the peerless Intermission Music from way back in the Mole Show days.

Also shelled out for the The Bunny Boy Comic at a (plus shipping) cost of more than $35, testing my Residential commitment to the full. Note to Ralph America – please don’t release anything else for a while – enough is enough.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – Sun Is Shining (Live) – Jazz cafe show from early in 2010. Perry at his childish best, though the band leave something to be desired – particularly the guitarist, some of the most annoying solos I’ve heard in a long time (caveat being that I don’t generally listen to guitar/rock music at all)

COLIN POTTER & MICHAEL BEGG – Fragile Pitches (ltd. edition inc extra CD) – performance from St. Giles Cathedral on 30th December 2009. I should have been at this show, but went to see HMFC play Dundee Utd. instead. Poor call. Drone a-g0-go though, which would have been captivating in situ but bores at home.

COCOROSIE – Grey Oceans – their newie, picked up from the merch table at their show in Glasgow.

So enjoyed the show – and the new album – that I bought the rest of their back catalogue.

COCOROSIE – La Maison De Mon Reve

COCOROSIE – Noah’s Ark

COCOROSIE – The Adventures of Ghosthorse And Stillborn

DAKOTA DAYS – Dakota Days – bought on the strength of Ronald Lippok’s (To Rococo Rot, Tarwater) involvement. A move towards more conventionally ‘rocky’ song-based tracks, this is nevertheless distinctive enough to appeal.

EMERALDS – Does It Look Like I’m Here? – slowly getting more intrigued by the current trend for  1970s-flavoured analogue synth explorations, and this doesn’t disappoint.

JAH WOBBLE – Japanese Dub – yet to listen.

JOCHEN ARBEIT/ALFONSO ALFONSO – Malas Tierras 1 & 2 – yet to listen.

STRANGE ATTRACTOR – Youth – cdep – yet to listen.