Tagged: vinyl

N.E.W. Position

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N.E.W.
Motion
UK DANCING WAYANG DWR008 LP (2014)

So here’s one of those sessions that ignites the nerve endings and immolates the contents of every lenient review ever written, scattering the ashes in the gaping abyss between null and void. This fleeting yet ferocious power trio recording delivers nobly on the promise made by the rear sleeve’s hunt scene cave art.

Responsible parties: English improvisors Steve Noble (drums), John Edwards (double bass) and Alex Ward (guitar) aka N.E.W. have been part of the same circle for Lord knows how long, but still somehow sound like they’re hitting their stride; barrelling out of the gates like greyhounds as the needle touches ‘Betting on Now’ – making and breaking formation at a pyrotechnic pace that would prove perilous if they didn’t know how to pull back and absorb the scenery.

Much of the time, Ward’s guitar is the focal point, performing the feats of an agile surfer on Noble and Edwards’ relentlessly thundering waves; driving through the A side with a searing tremolo that catches fire on several occasions. Better yet: the group pulls off that elusive ‘live’ sound so often absent without audience feedback. Not for them your mannered, by-the-book skronk-noise-dirge malarkey, nor the self-satisfied bonhomie of craft beer emporium jazz – these maniacs still play like they’re in danger of freezing in some tiny basement venue.

Dysfunctional Organs

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The Quellgeister #2: Wurmloch (INTERSTELLAR RECORDS INT039) LP by Austrian artist Stefan Fraunberger is part of his Quellgeister series…he does it by performing on “semi-ruined organs in deserted churches”. At one level what we hear is a fascinating wheezy acoustic drone, as he attempts to force sound from these old, broken devices. He’s not attempting to make music or play hymn tunes, rather create a conceptual form of sound art. The tones he creates are quite eerie, and the distressed keys and dilapidated pipes are clearly generating just the sort of effects he’s seeking. Even the performances are “broken”, refusing conventional form and veering from recognisable modular chords to freely-improvised passages and moments of purely abstract noise. So far, very rewarding and highly unusual set of rather disconcerting half-musical sounds emerge from Wurmloch, and we could probably locate Fraunberger in a lineage with other artists who discover ruined pianos in odd places and try and force a noise out of them, such as Russ Bolleter or Annea Lockwood.

Stefan Fraunberger is doing it in Transylvania, in churches that are about 300 years old. One of the things that interests him is the profound changes history and migration has wrought in this area, whose German population have mostly moved on since the collapse of the Berlin wall, and where the small villages are now inhabited by Sinti and Romani gypsies. The churches he visits were built during one of the many Ottoman wars, and are more like fortresses. Fraunberger sees the buildings, and the organs themselves, as the last surviving remnant of a forgotten purpose, a “pre-modern, forgotten future” as the press notes have it. He proposes to reinhabit and colonise this admittedly rather vague zone with his own modern, radical ideas, through the possibilities of sound…the record is a document of his spontaneously created “organic sculptures”. While “organic” is an overused word in our field, it’s entirely appropriate to the all-acoustic nature of this sound art, music which is somehow aspiring to reach the “abstracted spirit of electronic music”. Not just because it involves wood and other natural materials and the passage of air wheezing its way through the pipes in irregular bursts, but something of the rottenness and decay of the organ itself has passed onto the grooves. You can almost see the dust, smell the mould.

Visit Franunberger’s website for further examples of his forward-looking and rather abstruse ideas about art and language, and its place in society…through his extensive travels, he seems to be trying to discover things about the meaning of contemporary culture through signs of change and decay, and finding clues in the most unlikely places. The photo of heavily-rusted satellite dishes is strangely evocative in that context, for reasons I can’t explain. From 3 May 2016.

Kitchen Sink Gamelan

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International Novelty Gamelan
Metalophonia
USA MODERN RADIO RECORDS LABEL MRRL 060 10” (2015)

Packaged like a lost 78 from the early 20th century Java; one that might have earned page space in Robert Millis’ sumptuous vinylist’s coffee table fixture Victrola Favourites, and not unlike an old Sun City Girls 10” is this capable amateur’s effort from the five artists/musicians who make up International Novelty Gamelan. Their work is a slightly ramshackle showcase of the gamelan’s sociability in varied settings and while most members have studied the instrument formally, none would claim steepage in its culture nor would they wish to, instead making a virtue of the resultant Novelties when rampant inspiration collides with the potential of a new medium, as they set out to ‘broaden the range of what gamelan is thought to be’. Purists might sniff ‘dilettante’, but the group has considered its output with care and in the interlocking lines of the early minutes establishes a convincing, mechanical rigour; a conceit pursued so vigorously that the typewriter-like tapping of the titular ‘Adding Machine’ is audible over the gamelan’s gentle, metallic pulse. The group maintains this this premise of gamelan-as-canvas throughout, importing non- (or vaguely) traditional accompaniments such as hand drums, hand claps and scratchy violin to embolden and diversify the mood and syllabic nuance of these five pieces, which culminate rather sharply in a 10-minute shrieking howl of Asian puppet theatre, ‘MonoGatari’, ensuring listeners ringside seats to an affable and exploratory kitchen sink drama.

Open The Sight to a Hidden Reality

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Here’s another new record by Raymond Dijkstra. At least I think it is. This vinyl LP is credited to Bhaavitaah Bhuutasthah, the music is credited to Le Ray, while the artworks and sleeve note are credited to RD. It’s fair to assume that these are all aliases for the same fellow; last time he descended upon our four walls, he was calling himself NIvRITTI MARGA, an act which he realised with the help of Timo van Luijk (from Noise-Maker’s Fifes) and Frédérique Bruyas, who added grisly voice effects. Unwritten rule followed by a few avant-garde acts: keep one step ahead of everyone by throwing them off the scent with exotic aliases. It worked for Fantômas, that pulp fiction anti-hero criminal mastermind so beloved of the Surrealists.

Over the years I keep finding myself in a love-hate relationship with Dijkstra’s work, forcing myself to hear it and drag myself to the writing block afterwards; even he was moved to email me with the observation, “although you don’t really seem to like my music, you’re nonetheless one of the best review writers I know.” Remembering In The Cosmic Manifestation (EDITIONS LE SOUFFLEUR LS111) is, for the first side at least, one of his more approachable records. The two parts of the title track appear on side one, and it’s a couple of moog / percussion workouts that I’d venture to say might even appeal to fans of the first Popol Vuh LP, Affenstunde. Matter of fact the very word “Cosmic” in the title is probably a nod in that very direction. But it’s far darker and colder than the sunlit worlds of Florian Fricke. It’s as though Florian had turned to diabolry and satanism instead of Tibetan Buddhism. I say this because the music is so wayward and distorted; although Le Ray comes close to playing recognisable chords or melodies, it’s as though he deliberately stops short of doing so, refusing that safe resolution into a comforting E-C-G chord shape. Likewise, his sonic treatments keep the listener off balance here; distortion, wayward interventions, and other devices to disrupt the surface calm keep on bobbing to the surface, like so many unwelcome monsters rising up from the bottom of the lake. Even those conga rhythms which could have added a transcendental effect and contributed to a meditative frame of mind are poisoned somehow; they smack of decadence, ether-infused trance states, unwholesome nightmares. So far, “approachable” does come with a caveat or two.

Side two turns out to be the hideous twin brother of the relatively benign side one. Both parts of ‘Kosmische Vernichtung’, especially the interminable part I, are the sort of indigestible and unsettling music I usually associate with Dijkstra. The title says as much. You may be cheered by the sight of the word “Kosmische” and assume we’re in for some more Popol Vuh related treats, but it translates as “cosmic destruction”, indicating at least three related aspects to Dijkstra’s fiendish plan. He aims to destroy krautrock music; he aims to completely reverse any benefit that may have been conferred by his efforts on side one; and he aims to create a soundtrack for the apocalypse. Yes, I know there’s probably not a single Industrial musician who hasn’t boasted about their apocalyptic ambitions since 1980 onwards, but Dijkstra comes pretty close to opening the Seventh Seal with this horrifying melange of sound he’s unleashed. Produced I think with mellotron added to the moog and percussion, said mellotron probably contributing the ultra-queasy string effect that sounds like a hundred classical musicians being sick at once, ‘Kosmische Vernichtung Part I’ manages to stay just on the right side of coherence long enough to pull you in to its hateful vortex of chaos and despair. Every discordant moment is probably planned and executed with a ruthless precision, the composer knowing exactly what buttons to push to induce existential terror in the listener’s head. You’ll think you can stand it at first, then after ten minutes you’ll be begging for mercy. I can’t really say I enjoyed listening to this side of swirling, monstrous noise, but it’s a work of genius. Evil genius, that is.

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The cover art to this record continues the series of photo-collages we have already seen on Nivritti Marga and the Santasede 10-inch, also on this label and another Dijkstra collaborative project. Through the simple expedient of cutting up images of a lushly-furnished room, the artist strikes cold fear into the heart of the onlooker. It’s a deliberate attempt to subvert the normality of the bourgeoisie, through a direct attack on “good taste” and the traditions embodied in fabrics, wallpaper, and antiques. In the same way that the music challenges you to find a way into its illogical patterns and pathways, this impossible room looks at first sight like a place where a human being could enter, but the more you examine it the more you realise it’s an impossible, nightmare dimension, full of broken perspectives and awkward shapes. It’s not too far-fetched to suggest a connection could be found with the music on ‘Kosmische Vernichtung Part I’, those parts where classical orchestral traditions are being parodied and grotesquely mutated into a sickening noise. What these collages do for a hundred stately homes and luxury hotels across Europe, Dijkstra’s music is doing for the conventions of classical music. Once again I must liken him to that most famous of 20th century art movements, and consider him one of the most outright Surrealist artists working today. From 10th February 2016.

The Road To Red

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Red Square
Rare And Lost 70s Recordings
SPAIN MENTAL EXPERIENCE MENT003 LP (2016)

Here’s another excellent item from Mental Experience, the sub-label of Guerssen who also brought us the two reissues of Circle, the lesser-known 1980s post-Krautrock band. Red Square were an English art-rock free-jazz combo who were first active in the 1970s, and had a serious political edge to boot. The name Red Square refers not to the plaza in Moscow, but to the work of the Constructivists painters (especially El Lissitzky), but I’m sure these Marxists found it was a good way to signal their intentions to promoters and organisers alike. Nothing like booking a commie pinko band to play to the radical young students of the day, who wanted some light relief after a hard day occupying the University faculty with their sit-ins and strikes. They also made a grand old racket, as is evidenced by Rare And Lost 70s Recordings, an album which salvages a studio session from 1978 where they played live to create four blistering cuts, and another three recordings from a gig at Lindisfarne Hall the same year.

It’s fairly clear Red Square had at least one foot planted in the rock music enclave, as the guitarist Ian Staples heaves out a delicious heavily-amped swirl of noise, proving he fears neither loud amplifiers nor feedback effects, and makes few concessions to conventions of free jazz (or rock, for that matter). In fine, by 1978 Staples had already evolved himself into an English Sonny Sharrock, which isn’t bad going if you consider that Monkie Pockie-Boo was only 8 years old at this time, and I sincerely doubt if many people in England had even heard that record. Then you’ve got the drummer Roger Telford, who has a fairly relentless attack…I usually don’t care for drumming that attempts to fill in every available space with unnecessary rattles, bangs and triple-notes, but for some reason this maximalism is just perfect here. Manic, excessive drumming appears to be a big part of the Red Square sound. One might even say it’s the lifeblood. If nothing else, Telford’s bass skins do give the band their “bottom end”.

Then there’s the woodwind player, Jon Seagroatt, also a member of Comus and sometime performer with Current 93, who plays bass clarinet and saxophone and may at times seem to be in danger of being wiped out by the guitar noise, but retaliates with everything he’s got in his lungs, heart and liver. While he too may have picked up some of hell-for-leather sensibilities of the all-out free blowing such as you find on the 1969 BYG records, Seagroatt has also somehow evolved his own English take on the genre. There may be anger and fury bubbling under the surface, but whereas Archie Shepp and Clifford Thornton directed their anger against white racism in America, here it’s channelled into an audible Marxist dialectic, laying out a sustained critical argument against the iniquities of society in 1970s UK. At any rate, that’s my take on the matter. I invite the listener to hear for themselves and see if they agree.

All of Red Square’s music carries this particular directed energy, so the music is not just an exercise in “free blowing” or “extended technique”; they were probably young idealists itching for change, and I would suggest they intended to pass on their restless state of mind to the listener, and thereby activate the brains of the audience towards critique, towards questioning. I have often expressed the same view regarding certain Post Punk bands, most notably This Heat. It’ll come as no surprise when you learn Red Square played with Henry Cow, and were part of a movement called Music For Socialism. On the other hand, while I can imagine Chris Cutler personally welcoming Red Square as fellow Marxists, I’m not sure how far they went with participating in the Rock In Opposition thing. For balance, we should also point out they shared bills with other jazz and jazz-rock combos with no discernible political agenda, such as National Health and Lol Coxhill. There’s also some vague allusion in the press notes here to general conflicts which arose in the band’s lifetime: “their extreme sound and attitude were too much for both audience and record companies”, an evasive remark if ever there was. “Too much”? What happened? Were there audience riots? And could you be more specific about why they didn’t get a record deal?

Even if you’ve no interest in politics, which can be a jolly boring subject, the music will energise and amaze you. At their best Red Square created a kind of fierce tidal wave of sound, which was absolutely untrammelled by any tedious conventions such as rhythm, metre, structure, chord changes, or any of that stuff that gets in the way and restricts movement. Yet they did not simply spew out a hideous, self-indulgent racket, and the internal dynamics of this trio must, I assume, be something that these three men alone were capable of creating together. The press notes blither on about how Red Square were pioneers of things that “have become common practice today”, and doing this before Sonic Youth, Last Exit, and contemporary noise combos like The Thing, as though these “common practices” were fixed values and fixed goals, and “getting there first” was the important thing. I take issue with such lazy thinking. Such thinking also assumes that all these bands and musicians are all trying to do the same thing, which might not be correct. I realise we all need these labels like “noise” and “avant jazz” to help us get our bearings, but we shouldn’t trust them to the extent that we fail to listen to the music itself, and appreciate the real differences between things. Music is a living culture, not a map pointing to things we already know. And while I’m prepared to grant pioneer status to any brave musician in history who took risks and followed their instincts, I don’t think it’s helpful to see musical evolution as some sort of race to the finish line or a competition to invent something “new” before everyone else. But there I am criticising the press release, which is a bad way to write.

Red Square existed from 1974 to 1978; apparently they created two private press cassettes at this time, probably for selling at gigs, and as far as we know no “official” records from this period exist until now. However, they reformed in 2008, and albums were released on FMR Records and Fo Fum from this date, including a document of s gig at the Vortex released in 2010. Very happy to hear these fragments of buried treasure from 1978 and this record is highly recommended. From 18th April 2016.

Dig We Must

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Here be the latest dubby sound-art suite from Portugal’s finest contemporary composer Jonathan Uliel Saldanha, called Tunnel Vision (SILO003LP) and released on the Silo Rumor label. He recorded it in various caves and caverns around Porto. I had no idea there were caves in Porto, though when you Google for information abou this you mostly get guided tourist visits to wine cellars, which makes sense, or at any rate is something that’s bound to be popular. On this dramatic and dynamic music, Saldanha revisits his preoccupation with dub music, which has previously been evident on the record he made with HHY & The Macumbas, called Throat Permission Cut, in 2014. The composer boasted of his “space-age voodoo dub constructions”, and referred to the echo studio effect as “Skull Cave Echo”, a fanciful term he continues to use on Tunnel Vision.

We hear such a wide range of instrumentation and vocals on Tunnel Vision I found it hard to believe that it was indeed recorded in caves, as doing so would seem to entail assembling a small orchestra of percussion instruments and a large choir packed in a cramped narrow space, under conditions where most musicians would start charging double rates. In fact it was made by a small ensemble. It might be the mixing and editing stages which contain the processes that are most relevant. What ends up on the tape – I continue to regard him as a “sound painter” along the lines of Teo Macero – is a strange intoxicating melange of wailing choruses (vocals by Jessika Kenney, Mike Ladd, Catarina Miranda and Raz Mesinai), performing like a demented Greek chorus; trumpets and woodwinds (played by Álvaro Almeida) producing forlorn fanfare effects that are the exact opposite of triumphant music; and no end of wild percussive and drumming moments (João Filipe and others), punching home the excitement of the musical narrative. Where previous works of JUS have owed some debt (large or small) to the dancefloor, this one is all art-music through and through. It comes within an ace of being an avant-garde opera, compressed into some 40 minutes; perhaps Saldanha should attempt such a project, unless it’s in danger of being too pretentious, and assuming he can find a suitable text.

There’s a movie of the same name, an experimental science fiction film directed by Raz Mesinai, said film endorsed by John Zorn and released on his Tzadik label. The present release is a “re-edit and remastered version of the original soundtrack”, originally released in 2013. Tzadik’s blurb for this stresses the infernal nature of going into caves to make music, and relishes the thought that Mesiani and Saldanha “descend[ed] far below the earth’s surface into some of the oldest, and darkest underground tunnels in Europe.” In like manner, the label Silo Rumour cherish the “use of resonant spaces”. From 19 April 2016.

A Certain Ratio

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Ted Lee is co-owner of the Feeding Tube Records label in New England, that part of the United States generally associated with a resurgence in underground noise, free rock jamming and freaky-folk of all stripes over the years…as regards his own musical contributions to culture, we were less than impressed by the Zebu! record in 2014, tho’ had more time for the scrambled gibberish of the Curse Purse record in 2015 where he appeared as one part of a trio. Seems he’s also performed with Egg, Eggs (though one cynical riposte there might be “who hasn’t?!”) and Sunburned Hand Of The Man. Now Ted Lee has made a solo record, and a fine statement of mystifying art-drone-noise shoutery it do be. Appearing here as No Sod, Lee has seen fit to press his record in blue vinyl, manufacture only 100 copies of it, and call it 1:11 / 11:11 (FTR 223), a mystical numerical equation that may mean he’s inviting us to find parallels with Alan Sondheim’s Ritual-All-7-70, or not…it’s something to do with ratios…he’s also included a monochrome printed booklet of baffling artwork daubs, some of them resembling human heads, most of them distorted and stretched in the computer in some way…so far, a lot of “artiness” abounding.

I enjoyed what’s in the grooves, though. Each side equally abstract and puzzling, but packed with dense noise, drone, and feedback…the first side opens with some beautifully delicate chords, which is a way of ushering us into the main event…said main event being a protracted bout of free drumming and semi-crazed vocal yawping, an entity writhing like a trapped fish in the sea of humming noise and distortion…it’s a much more successful bid at what I always expected Sunburned Hand Of The Man to deliver, but they never did. As No Sod, Ted Lee has evidently decided that the best art music is primitive, inexplicable, and utterly spontaneous. Don’t look for hidden messages in this primal goop, but enjoy the warm, blood-filled presence while it still throbs and vibrates your torso…if we’re still dropping ESP-Disk references, maybe the Cromagnon or Mij LPs would align themselves at this juncture too.

The B side feels kinda more refined after that caveman gorge-fest of fire, blood, and bones, emitting a strange multi-layered chilling drone for some 15-20 minutes that feels like a glimpse of infinity, or least a view round the immediate upcoming corner. Somehow it manages to evoke very mixed emotions, of simultaneous dread and happiness, without really doing much to vary its general continuum. While not as roary as its flip side, this No Sod endorsed drone is nowhere near the over-processed, polite and synthetic drones that tend to emanate from mainland Europe and the million and one laptops that pass for musical instruments in these grim times. Instead, it’s as rough-hewn and cranky as a Claes Oldenburg slab of painted plaster, or a Rauschenberg canvas packed with found images and detritus. Good stuff. I always wondered why Alvaro kept on mentioning Ted Lee and his ever-present bottle of maple syrup, and now I know. From February 2016.

The Warsaw Wives

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Quite exhausting and hyper-kinetic record Polish electronic bounce and electropop bashery from LXMP, a duo from Warsaw. Their Żony W Pracy (LADO ABC Lado A/18LP) was made using just keyboards and drums, but Piotr Zabrodzki and Macio Moretti have a particular inclination towards Korg synths (indeed, they actually seem to have bonded over the matter) and the glimpses of their equipment set-up on the front cover may cause many a hardware fetishist to salivate in sympathy, particularly the view of the Roland SH-101 (if such it be), a famed monophonic job from the 1980s that has caused many a man to twitch with a slack-jawed expression.

These ten tracks of theirs amount to an unholy blend of sources and inspirations – cheesy easy-listening records, cute shiny electropop, and some mutated strain of disco fever that has not yet been released from the laboratory, and they’re mostly played at a breathless rate which pounds the listener into surrender in short order. There’s also something rather airless about the sound that betrays the studio-bound origins of all this work. Between the tight, compressed compositions and the gapless notes, it’s a wonder a man can breathe here at all. I’d like to say the duo have a gift for a strong melody, and while some tracks do shine and even uplift the spirits with their melodic sparkle (assuming you think TV theme tunes and space-age pop albums are a good template), every other track misfires with its slapdash technique and relentless insistence on putting the unpleasant synth “squelch” right in your face. It’s a case of allowing fun-loving “retro” sensibilities get the better of your aesthetic good sense…there’s a shade too much irony and insincerity, suggesting that LXMP are more glitterball than substance.

The title translates as “Wives At Work”, and I have no idea what that means in this context. This is the third LP they’ve made for Lado ABC and a follow-up to 2013’s Back To The Future Shock, which appears to be a set of cover version of Herbie Hancock and Bill Laswell tunes. Ingenious, aggressive, but the fun factor comes with a very limited guarantee. From18 April 2016.

Caladrone

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The Salt Of Deformation (KLEIN Klein 05 / TUBAPEDE) is another great LP featuring the superb Dan Peck and his tuba, this time teamed up with the Belgian player Joachim Badenhorst with his bass clarinet. I’ve had a lot of time for Peck’s basso-profundo resonant growls ever since we heard the classic 2009 LP Acid Soil by the Dan Peck Trio, surpassed narrowly by his “acoustic doom metal” project The Gate. Recently I had to put Nick Hoffmann right on Twitter, when he casually asked “why no tuba improvisers?” (Other acceptable replies he received pointed him towards Robin Hayward.) Peck and Badenhorst met up in 2009 and formed this duo in 2013, sharing common interests in improv and classical music, and composing new works for their chosen instruments – a task which Welsh genius Rhodri Davies has had to take on also, finding very little in the way of modern avant-garde music scored for the harp.

Given the nature of said instruments in this instance, The Salt Of Deformation naturally exhibits a whole bundle of long deep tones which produce much vibrant rattling and resonating. Their sound fills up the room in 0-60 seconds (your mileage may vary), and the substance it fills it up with is not unlike a form of solid tapioca you could swim inside. But this fanciful image may overlook the precision with which Peck and Badenhorst deliver each measured puff, an attention to craft which gives every note a very specific weight and gravity. Each note hits the target, they land right in the pocket, but instead of firing arrows from a crossbow these two fellows are hurling lead spheres in slow motion, like shot putters who have turned that idiotic sport into a cross between performance art and ballet.

So much for the quality of the respective tones. The music itself is deliciously gloomy without being fusty, suggesting the creaks of age on an old-time sailing ship or well-seasoned beams in an old wooden house while friendly spooks tramp about upstairs. Many cuts feel like ancient rituals of some sort, primitive prayers that are little more than despairing groans to an unheeding deity which our ancestors may once have uttered. Indeed ‘Broken Stop’ is described by the press notes as following a “quasi-medieval chant form”, an analogy which makes sense to me. The sound of monks at prayer rendered as woodwind and brass; all we need to complete this conceit is for these two to record a set of Phurpa cover versions, or vice versa. However, in pursuing that line of speculation, we may simply be taking a cue from the cover art; that vague shape to the right of the tree trunk might be a sinister cowled figure escaped from a monastery of the bizarre.

Click on to ‘Aders’ if you want to hear an actual human voice alongside these sonorous puffs. On it, Badenhorst is reciting a poem in Flemish, getting back to his origins as a Flam or Floon. This is eight minutes of slowly measured cryptical hell doled out by the teaspoon; Joy Division-styled lyrics set to a deconstructed Morton Feldman composition, and sung in a deathly-pale recit by an unplugged Xasthur. Plus it has Evan Parker-like circular trills adorning the surface in places, but this evil birdsong effect does nothing to lighten the grim mood. ‘Aders’ is but one stand-out on this strong LP of black sludgy drone. Recommended! Many thanks to Dan for sending this…from 18 March 2016.

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Poison Letters

Album of the month, assuming your month is one filled with pain and frustration, would be the vinyl edition of Alien Nation: Collected Singles Thus Far (FEEDING TUBE RECORDS FTR237) by Burnt Envelope. This is a superb dose of poisonous, scuzzy and hateful punk music by Tony Pasquarosa, who is Burnt Envelope, and the songs were originally released as a cassette in 2014 on Burnt Out Tapes.

Pasquarosa presumably plays and sings everything on these short, lumbering bursts of apathetic nihilism, performing in a style not unlike the great US punk band Flipper; I detect the same hollowness in the vocals, and a similar clunkiness to the instrumentation. He sounds bored and listless for every waking moment, yet somehow still finding the gumption to struggle against his condition, while even the lethargic playing of the instruments (especially the elephantine bass guitar) seems to weigh him down like 18 albatrosses around his scrawny neck. Every lyric is filled with broken images of disconnection, alienation, hatred and despair; he describes the daily grind as a pageant of triviality, and no situation is so banal that it can’t be turned into another instance of gloomy fatefulness and utter futility. Even the “Burnt Envelope” turns out to be one of his key images; on the song of the same name, it’s a perfect symbol for how communication fails on just about every level, mainly because he hates all his friends and can’t wait to sever all ties with them, regardless of whatever helping hand may reach out. When they send him letters, he’s doing all the burning, in other words.

Pasquarosa also performs as Crystalline Roses and Snake, and is a member of Aerosols, Frozen Corn (with Joshua Burkett), Fugitive, Gluebag, Heaven and Earth Magic, Mudlark, Viper, and World Domination; most of these bands (I never heard them) appear to play variant forms of nasty punk rock, though there may be a folk and psychedelia side to his many talents. This release includes cover versions of songs by The Doors, The Ramones, and Lazy Smoke, and contains various illustration scrawls and crazy collage artworks. “The first imaginary seven singles by the band”, notes Byron Coley. “May well prove to be one of the most important blurts of New England’s sub underground.” From 2nd February 2016, limited edition of 300 copies.