Eyesight to the Blind

A double LP by The Caretaker has been propped up by my sofa for days – it will probably turn out to be a beguiling spin, and not before time as I’m nearly at the end of playing my limited edition subscription-only 6 x CD set by The Caretaker (Theoretically Pure Anterograde Amnesia) which I bought last year. The Caretaker first came our way many years ago as one of the more musical and even somewhat ‘sensitive’ projects to be associated with the otherwise harsh, sarcastic and garish releases of V/Vm; he mostly reworked old 78 rpm records, but with judicious use of chamber-like echo effects, the better to transform his very English starting point (the original records were mostly corny old dances, foxtrots and what have you). The new double LP is called Deleted Scenes / Forgotten Dreams, a title I consider to be slightly unfortunate, and it’s number 009 on Wé/Mè Le Disque records out of Belgium. The cover art reproduces a painting on canvas, a large crimson-stained face with eyes shut and a general cadaverous appearance, with ‘distress’ marks making it look for all the world like a Protestant-defaced icon which may have survived on an English church wall painting, if you’re lucky. “The cut, as you would expect, has been done beautifully,” muses the creator from his stately home with a sherry at his elbow, “and has been set a little lower volume-wise than normal to allow for additional surface noise from vinyl playback over time to individualise your own experience.” Pre-order copies (ie before 30 April) were signed and numbered!

The closed eyes of ‘Mr Cadaver’ as above may prompt a revisit to those age-old questions about how we actually perceive sound. According to Ulrich Troyer, we see with our ears, and his new CD Sehen Mit Ohren (TRANSACOUSTIC RESEARCH tres006) may attempt to state the case for this unusual creed in a highly conceptual way. Booklet and press are all in German for this one, leaving me guessing for the time being, but I think it involves spoken-word contributions from a number of performers, and the cover is stamped in Braille. That’s the second Braille CD cover I’ve seen in two years! In earlier times, this would have been taken as an omen.

Coupla new hot ‘grapefruits’ have popped out from US label Public Guilt / Implied Sound around this time. The first is a solid seven-inch picture disc by Zu, called Observing The Armies in the Battlefield. This band purport to offer something new in the hotly-disputed field of jazz-rock, going several steps further than you might expect with their wild free jazz and metallic-funky influences. This may turn out to be a ghastly listen, and the grotesque drawing of a top-hatted leering skull with curled locks, pointy beard and moustaches does not bode well; I can already sense these sweaty Italians rolling up sleeves to brandish tattoos in a vulgar way. However, this label scored max points with their previous vinyl singles, so we mustn’t lose hope. Their other release is a 3 CD box set survey of contemporary noise and drone, simply called untitled (PG007) and so formidable that it took the help of two other indie labels to release it. Sealed in a nifty cardboard box (my copy remains unopened at time of writing) such as you might purchase at Paper Tiger or the like, the set promises much in the way of anti-social and intestinal-wrangling diversion from its 55 contributors. There appear to be some nice artworks inside too, and discs decorated by certain musicians (such as Christopher White of Magicicada) who also happen to double as eyeball-merchants. I can tell all this simply by gently rattling the box around in my hands. This red-and-gold timebomb hits the streets end of May 07.

erikm played at a French festival in 2005, where he was meant to be doing it with the venerable Luc Ferrari, one of the “old guard” of electro-acoustic music. Ferrari couldn’t make it, so Thomas Lehn stepped in, and the results are now released on Les Protorythmiques (ROOM 40 RM417). Luc’s absence has not prevented his name being used on the front cover, but he is here in more than just the spirit of the game. Erik had been working with the master and collected some samples from a project apparently called Les Archives Sauvees Des Eaux, said samples subsequently deployed in the live setting. This could turn out to be pretty good…erikm’s a pretty substantial fellow in the avant-festival scene these days, and he’s moved on from his cruder days of turntables and cassette tapes; and Lehn’s promised work on the Synthi A also has me twiddling my own jackplugs in anticipation.