June/July/August/September/October/November stuff

December 4, 2011

Bit of a hiatus over the last few months… oh jeez, where to start with the thumbnail reviews, could be a (relative) waste of an evening…. so in the interests of getting this over with and posted, some have ’em, some don’t.

AMON TOBIN – Isam – gorgeously packaged book format, and an artist I’d forgotten about over the last few years – on the strength of this release though, I might have to backtrack.  No review, but a trailer vid for the live set-up accompanying the album should whet the appetite.

onwards…..

BIOSPHERE – N-plants – an unfortunately serendipitous release in that it takes  Japan’s nuclear power plants as its focus – though conceived and recorded before the tragic events earlier this year (an ongoing tragedy, though it’s largely vanished from western news-ken). It’s an altogether more sprightly and rhythm-focussed work than other recent releases – perhaps a poignant irony there.

TAMIKREST – Toumastin – I’m told this is their strongest set to date. Differently recorded perhaps, but the rhythms remain the same.

And this track (a single, I think) and its video are utterly gorgeous….

A bumper Cluster-related few months, with the following all released/rereleased…..

ROEDELIUS – Piano Piano  & Like The Whispering Of The Wind – two solo piano discs, one new, the other from 1986.

ROEDELIUS – Wasser Im Wind– classic early work, very much after the fashion of my favourite of his many albums, Wenn Der Sudwind Weht – so big thumbs up from this listener.

There’s also been a spate of new Roedelius material over the last few months in duet collaboration with ‘thrusting’ younger electronic players.

ROEDELIUS/SCHNEIDER – stunden

and

QLUSTER – Fragen & Rufen

At the same time, another member of Cluster, MOEBIUS, ploughs a familiarly idiosyncratic techno furrow with Ding.

ALVA NOTO/BLIXA BARGELD – Mimikry – took me a while to get around to buying this, despite my liking for both protagonists. The two talents don’t quite gell – but it’s promising, and it’s hard not to raise a smile to this track in particular…

STEVE MASON & DENNIS BOVELL – Ghosts Outside – part of a film festival goodie bag, so it almost got binned unlistened-to. Which would have been a shame – I understand that this is a dub reworking of a solo album from an ex-Beta Band member (just how out of touch am I getting?). It’s sporadically engaging – though not enough to have me seek out the source material.

ON/OFF – Mark Stewart, Pop Group To Maffia DVD

BRIAN ENO & RICK HOLLAND – Drums Between The Bells – hardback double edition. The spoken poetic word is the new nu-jazz in Eno-world, it appears. This, and its subsequent follow-up EP are a bit… (and I’m conscious of using this word too much at the moment) underwhelming.

MUSLIMGAUZE – In Search Of The Abraham Mosque – single track that weaves its way through low-key beats and ambience, pausing occasionally for respite. Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more decent material left in the archives, a gem slips out. For me, this is one of them, whereas another recent release – MUSLIMGAUZE/THE ROOTSMAN – On-Line Jihad – is entirely forgettable.

TUXEDOMOON – Unearthed – cd & dvd. The completist in me rears its head again – all of the music and video on this is already available with the Crammed 30th Anniversary box set released a couple of years back. The only difference is the cover.

MACHINEFABRIEK – Sol Sketches  & Diorama Vintermusik – you know what to expect – the pick of these three for me is the Bandcamp download of Vintermusik, one of his 3″cdep releases from 2007, around the time of the mighty Laween track that I still love so much.

CYCLOBE – Wounded Galaxies Tap At The Window – finally got hold of the cd version, having had this on vinyl for nigh on a year, unable to play it. Worth the wait though, their most accomplished set to date – the legacy of Coil seems in safe hands.

SUNS OF ARQA – Stranger Music – have I listened to this? I can’t remember. Which pretty much says it all really.

BEIRUT – The Rip Tide – back to familiar territory here, neither under or overwhelming.

ULRICH TROYER – Song For William –  a wee digi-dub gem from Austria of all places. Just when I thought I’d heard all the tricks this genre has to offer, Troyer adds a few unfamiliar ones. Deliciously wonky reggae.

THE RESIDENTS – Talking Light: Bimbo’s – not really been a fan of the Talking Light cycle/suite of albums/performances, bought primarily to keep my completist’s drouth at bay.

TARWATER – Inside The Ships – although there’s nothing really new here, this is their most mellifluous outing for a while.  Anyone reading this (hello???) know what the extra tracks are on the recent reissued cds?

ANDREW LILES – The Flesh Creeping Gonzoid & Other Imaginary Creatures: Volumes One to Six – A whopping great 6xcd box set as my introduction to the work of Andrew Liles, occasional NWW conspirator.

NATACHA ATLAS – Mounqaliba Rising – The Remixes – Ten years ago I’d probably have been all over this, and it’s a measure of how much my taste has moved on that I find most of the beats and treatments dated and pedestrian here. All this makes me want to do is bathe in the gorgeous accoustics and un-chopped/glitched voice of the album from which this lacklustre spin-off springs.

MAGAZINE – No Thyself – ‘return’ albums from reconstituted acts are most often pig-in-a-poke territory, you’re never sure what’ll be on offer – a leaden rehash of former glories or a brave strike into fresh territory.  Ultimately this is neither, but does enough to maintain hopes that, should they continue to work together, things will improve.

DAVE FORMULA/CHRISTINE HANSON – The Organ Of Corti – Serviceable kinda song-based jazz-lite, but a warning – the album’s final track is a throwaway embarrassment.

TOM WAITS – Bad As Me –  you know the guy, you know what to expect. And he doesn’t disappoint.

THE RESIDENTS – Coochie Brake/Lying Horse Rock – although hanging on to the Randy/Chuck/Bob conceit of the Talking Light series, this limited edition version of a work that’ll be given wider distribution early next year strikes out in new directions for the RZ – a new mythology to expand on, Spanish language used, a (mercifully to these ears)  retreat from recent song-based outings. First three tracks and Bitter Biter stick in the memory.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – The Return Of Pipecock Jackxson – finally, a cd reissue for what I think has been a great lost (i.e. only available via eBay etc… in its originala vinyl edition) Perry work, cobbled together during his last few months in his soon-to-be-torched Black Ark Studio. It’s brief, six tracks, but worth every penny. Shame they didn’t keep the original cover art, shabby though it was.

THE ORB – C Batter C – lovely book release (which arrived personalised to me, a pleasant surprise) containing a cd of remixes and a film (not watched yet).

DAVID LYNCH – Crazy Clown Time – It’s David Lynch. It should be great. Its not quite.

LITTLE AXE – If You Want Loyalty, Buy A Dog – Skip McDonald’s recent solo shows have been a revelation, but here he’s surrounded by a band and produced by Adrian Sherwood, taking his contemporary blues schtick into reggae-lite territory. It’s a mixed bag, and I’d love to see him solo again at some point.

WIRE – The Black Session – live artefact punted on their recent tour, caught at the Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh mid-November. Filed.

ON-U SOUND – King Size Dub – a mid-price On-U sound compilation, you know the territory.

Finally, as a sign-off, here’s a ridiculous earworm from Japan, Trippple Nippple’s – LSD single. Bow Wow Wow on amphetamines, in a good way…

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September stuff

October 1, 2010

MUSLIMGAUZE – Vampire Of Tehran & Jaal Ab Dullah & Uzbekistani Bizzare And Souk – that’s it with my Muslimgauze catch-up for the foreseeable future. Nothing in these three that particularly impresses, and I have most of the material on Vampire of Tehran on another release already. Should have checked before I bought.

MACHINEFABRIEK & ITHACA TRIO – Par Avion – a highly limited split CDr. You know what to expect.

GRINDERMAN – Grinderman 2 – they ‘rock’. As per.

UNDERWORLD – Barking – if only the music were as colourful and playful as the packaging. Apparently a return to ‘form’, although I prefer their more exploratory digital-only releases over the last three years or so.

ARP – The Soft Wave – well, someone’s been thoroughly immersed in early 70s electronic music, and it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the overt influences here. There’s even a stab at Eno-esque songcraft on one track. An effective homage.

ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVER – Rifts – double cd reissue of ‘early’ works. Some others who’ve obviously immersed themselves in analogue synth music. Although I’ve been enjoying a fair few releases of this ‘genre’ lately, I think this is just about enough for the moment.

CHRONOMAD – Sayeh –  shades of Muslimgauze here, modern ambient and electro-Arabic stylings. Shame it’s so brief.

NATACHA ATLAS – Mounqaliba – A more laid-back and jazz-inflected album than her previous work, Natacha still questing and pushing at the limits of her craft. Utterly gorgeous stuff, and although a couple of reviewers have railed against ‘spoken word’ interludes, they’re delivered in tandem with engaging soundscapes and become one with the flow of the album.

SWANS – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky – still not listened to this yet, saving it so that I can immerse myself in it in the run-up to their Glasgow show at the end of October.

WIN – Freaky Trigger – a new expanded edition containing singles B sides and remixes. Now can we please have a similar job on Uh! Tears Baby?

ABERFELDY – Somewhere To Jump From – whatever it was that I found attractive about the first two Aberfeldy albums (and I’ve not thought too hard about this) feels absent from this one. Something to be sold on.

DAVID BOWIE – Station To Station – boxed set. The cheaper version, bought primarily for the official release of a Nassau Coliseum show that’s apparently been heavily bootlegged in the past. Underwhelming, unfortunately.

Having been entertained at his book festival appearance last month, I finally got around to reading Jah Wobble‘s autobiography ‘Memoirs Of A Geezer‘ (I’m with him on the title, it’s rank). He’s not about to win any awards for prose style, but it’s hard not to warm to him – and he’s certainly lived through a lot. Also devoured Chris Connelly‘s skimpy but entertaining first novel ‘Ed Royal‘ a chiller set in early 80s Edinburgh. It’s a strong evocation of time/place, and memories flooded back – not all of them pleasant. Decent film adaptation potential too, and I’d bet someone’s already on the case.

Late in the month I saw Antye Greie/AGF play and perform in a new version of Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando at the Traverse, starring the extraordinary Madeleine Worrall. (yes, I actually went to a theatre).

Whatever material Craig Armstrong crafted for the soundtrack Antye Greie has certainly made her own, an extraordinary versatile laptop soundworld that amusingly included the amplified scratching of quill pens as the audience filtered into the venue pre show.  Lighting design and projections were mesmerising throughout. It’s been a long time since I’ve wondered ‘how the hell did they do that?, and with seemingly minimal resources too – technology works, technology delivers. If this piece gets a tour, it’s certainly worth making the effort to go along. Fingers crossed that there might be an associated soundtrack release from Antye at some point.


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.


December stuff

December 30, 2009

A month treading well-worn paths, since I’m spending most of my time watching BAFTA screeners.

CLUSTER – Qua – a GIANT release snuck out on a tiny US label earlier this year. Was happy to see Cluster active and treading the boards again and was hoping they’d record new material, though I admit that my expectations weren’t high.  What a surprise – both referring to their past achievements and suggesting future avenues, this is already amongst my favourite Cluster releases.

CLUSTER – One Hour – had a cassette of this for years, worth getting again on CD.

HARMONIA & BRIAN ENO – Tracks & Traces 76: Shackleton remix – download of two tracks reworked from the ‘lost’ Harmonia/Eno classic. Passes the time, nothing special.

MUSLIMGAUZE – Uzi Mahmood – download of this triple vinyl only release on Soleilmoon – Muslimgauze’s attempt to go dancefloor.

MACHINEFABRIEK & TIM CATLIN – Glisten – no drop in quality, as per usual…..

MACHINEFABRIEK/SOCCER COMMITTEE – Clay – 3″cdep – ditto

MACHINEFABRIEK/GARETH DAVIS – Ghost Lanes – 3″cdep – ditto

MACHINEFABRIEK – Take A Closer Listen – book of brief ruminations on the favourite ambient sounds of selected correspondents.

THE RESIDENTS – Arkansas – limited Ralph website CD containing stuff that didn’t make it onto the Bunny Boy CD.


Threshold Houseboy’s Choir @ Stereo, Glasgow 3rd May 2009

May 4, 2009

Well?

Well?

I was lucky enough to be at a rare Peter Christopherson/Threshold Houseboy’s Choir solo show at Stereo in Glasgow earlier tonight, following an entertaining catch-up dinner with Jo at the venue’s vegan restaurant.

Christopherson mostly ‘played’ stuff from the Amulet Edition, accompanied by projection of a disparate yet entirely appropriate selection of video.

Opening with a lengthy clip from The Thief of Baghdad, there was also variously; a video ‘prayer’ for some Thai boys enjoying themselves; footage of a ceremony in which young trancing Thais attempting to breach an army cordon in order to reach a tattoo artist/priest; some gay mobile phone porn ‘heterosexualised’ by way of solarisation; a Liberace performance; some (mercifully) distressed phone video footage of beheadings that were part of the Thai/Malaysian border conflict; film of ceremonial masked dancing at a Thai royal funeral; and ending with phone video footage of sex acts. A nice lengthy noise-bath improv on ‘Distonto’ – one of the Amulet tracks – accompanied the latter to finish proceedings.

All of this punctuated by Christopherson’s avuncular wit. Waki was very taken with what she described as his very fetching ‘cows-moo’ dressing gown.

From the Threshold House website “Sleazy reserves the right to add an extra disc or mini-dvd to a small number of Amulets he will be selling at solo THBC shows in Europe during May, though IF he does, the extra disc will be also available alone, to include in the Amulet you already bought.”

Was slightly disappointed to discover that the 3″ disc of additional Amulet Edition material didn’t materialise on the merchandise table – not enough time to prepare it, apparently. Ach weel…..

But I did snap up one of an edition of 100 Soisong ‘xAj3z’ promo booklets/folders complete with the new disc. Haven’t read it yet, but it seems to expand around the selection of photos gracing the album pages of the Soisong website.

A good night, and I also heard through the grapevine that there might be a Throbbing Gristle show at the Tramway in Glasgow sometime in June – have to keep my eyes peeled for that.


January joys

January 27, 2009

BRIAN ENO/DAVID BYRNE – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today – already have audio files for this, but this limited edition circular tin complete with extra dvd disc, 4 extra tracks, dice, pill etc… is a little design joy.

SYLVAIN CHAUVEAU – The Black Book Of Capitalism – missed this first time round – eclectic, beautiful.

HENRI BOWANE – Double Take Tala Kaka – one-off genius of Congolese rumba. Mellifluous mmmmmm.

NURSE WITH WOUND – Man With The Woman Face – bought for its disc of remixes, including a stonking lengthy ‘groove’.

ELEGI – Varde – arctic soundscapes.

ERGO PHIZMIZ – Pie Hateaux – online free download.

VARIOUS ARTISTS/RUNE GRAMMAFON – Money Will Ruin Everything 2nd Edition – gorgeous book, not sure when I’ll get round to listening to the two audio discs.

LEE ‘SCRATCH’ PERRY – Live At The Jazz Cafe – completists only.

and last but by no means least, the wonderful

TUJIKO NORIKO – Penguin 2009…

available from her website as a free download – get it before it’s gone

http://blog.tujikonoriko.com/?eid=795053


A day out….

October 31, 2008

Came across some amusing signage/odd juxtapositions on a day out sightseeing in…… erm… Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.

A quaint mix of ancient and modern to begin with

A quaint mixture of ancient and modern to begin with...

throw some political history into the mix...

Throw some political history into the mix...

C is for Customs House. The cuddly face of officialdom.

'C' is for Customs House. The cuddly face of officialdom.

Now I feel like climbing something...

Now I feel like climbing something...

a bit small - and dammit, I cant play my trumpet at the top.

A bit small - and whatdayamean I can't play my trumpet at the top?

ah well, I couldnt have gone anyway

Ah well, looks like I couldn't have gone up there anyway.

shitehawks

Now I'm getting a bit peckish - but some shitehawk's had my sandwiches.

Ill just have the curry, thanks...

Erm... I'll just have the curry, thanks...

and some pea flavoured ice cream to follow please.

and some pea flavoured ice cream to follow.

After that little lot, the crapper should be particularly fragrant

After that little lot, the crapper should be particularly fragrant. Oh...

No, you book off!

Nice, but no - you book off!

just how much nuisance could one be on a wall?

Just how much of a nuisance can one be on a wall?

but standing still while you puff is apparently okay.

Thought I'd stop somewhere for a cigarette after all that.

When will I be able to get home?

When can I go home?