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TONE IT DOWN A BIT

 

Hello

Brutal week, taking in electrocardiograms, leaky roofs, mangled salads, bus replacements, and - worst of all, and for no good reason - watching the Death Wish remake on Netflix with Bruce Willis (what's happened to his face?)

TIME FOR PUB

Some great stuff through our doors though... see below. 

Be well
LC




Rune Lindblad 
The Death of The Moon & Other Early Works 
Fantome Phonographique | LP | £21.99


Mysterious, ectoplasmic, heavier-than-a-death-in-the-family tone-poems/prophecies by Swedish composer and painter Rune Lindblad (b.1923), recorded in the mid-late 1950s but sounding thrillingly and implausibly now-ish – in all seriousness you wouldn’t bat an eyelid if someone told you they were products of the early noughts UK DIY/drone underground. Dub-pocked, darkly lyrical dramas of assembled sound, studded with hypnotic free percussions that suggest some awareness of Southeast Asian indigenous musics (maybe?!) while also anticipating the sparse, dronal acid-folk investigations of Thuja and their ilk. It wouldn’t be quite right to describe this music as psychedelic, but it has an inky, abyssal, smacked-out allure that is irresistible (although you can be certain Rune was on nowt stronger than black kaffee and unfiltered ciggies). Crucially, it affords you the necessary space to think and drift and dream and contemplate and, when you’ve weighed it all up, crumple into a ball of inconsolable sadness. To carry out his work, Lindblad had to borrow equipment from Gothenburg University in the evening, and return it by sunrise – and sure enough the results exude a dissociative, sleep-deprived blooz that you just can't fake. The unspeakably mournful, glacially-paced lunar jazz of the title work is formidable, but it’s on the subsequent more rhythmic and spatial tape-pieces that things get really interesting, with whispers and intimations of, among other things, Bob Downes’ Open Music, Graham Lambkin’s nocturnal salmon-runs, the fin-de-siecle miasmas of Timo van Luijk and Christoph Heemann, and even – at a stretch - Nate Young’s Regression / Stare Case flesh-crawls. Working outside of any institution or established discipline, Lindblad’s early experiments in sound were largely unseen and unheard, although one critic who witnessed a rare 1957 performance at Gothenburg’s Folkets Hus described what he heard as “pure torture”. He couldn’t have been more right, and more wrong.



 


Nyah Fearties!
A Tasty Heidfu'
Good Energy| LP | £14.99


Eyyyyy-oooh! Feels like someone just installed an open, roaring fire in the shop, slid us all a dram then sconed us over the back o’ the heid with a pool cue - Nyah Fearties! shattering the sometimes lacklustre, modern idealist setting that is Hackney Downs Studios with their primitive-punk / sporron-step and gale-force, folk-wise stompers. The Wiseman brothers’ maverick spirit, finally dug-up from the 80s Scottish underground by Good Energy, rattles through a range of lyrical, HYSTERICAL hyper-violence and social commentaries on day-to-day life in Scotland from Goatfell tae Govan - the chicken shack recorded Ganjo, bass, scrap metal and scaffold-whacking sounding a bit like a young Hasil Atkins rehearsed with Afflicted Man for twenty minutes before commanding the dance at the most raucous ceilidh in history - up to their ankles in cow-pat and blasting out a deranged, pub-wise cover of the Gay Gordons before derailing into a ferocious, avant-garde punk pile-up.

Aye, GOOD FUN, if you have any idea what the fuck we are on about. Sanjay reckons it sounds more like a soundtrack to a Scottish version of Deliverance (Sanjay where’s yer troosers?!) so ye, initially difficult to imagine this jigging-juggernaut having much appeal outside of the feral, Scottish boozer circuit, BUT there’s an earthy, kitchen-sink realism hard set in “A Tasty Heidfu’” - the kind of thing you can imagine Mark E. Smith raving about if he’d ever found time or desire to compile a NWW-style list (aye right!). Great record - cult classic!

 



The Mover
Final Sickness
Planet Phuture | LP | £19.99


Hardcore tekno impalers / mutant waveform transmissions brought back from the grave (1993!) with more bite than ever - the inimitable, ruffneck pressure-sounds of The Mover. Ten swarms of bionic club BONKERS...true kosmic kommando musik. 


 


Unknown Artist
Music of Indonesia
Folkways | LP | £21.99


STUNNING set of 1950s recordings from Indonesia, originally released on Moses Asch’s Folkways Records - a brief but insightful window into the region’s somewhat 13,000 islands and their traditional musics, as well as touching on the many foreign influences that the islands have encountered / endured.

Such is the gravity of the task set, there is so much variance in these recordings - although prominence is given to the spatial, rhythmic shadow-plays of Javanese and Balinese Gamelan, which operate on regional tone scales - such as the “Salendro” from Surakarta and the “Pelok” from Jogjakarta, which is played with seven tones to the octave (a good time to mention / confess that this edition comes with some VERY informative liner notes). These elemental teachings sit alongside sorrowful songs of a loved ones absence, joyous ceremonies of ancestral worship and throughly transportive dream-directions, delicately and intricately played on a host of bronze and bamboo forged instruments and primed to thoroughly spanner yer emotional mechanics.




Ruedi Häusermann
Galerie Randolph

Black Truffle | LP | £21.99

Brittle, beautiful, bonce-rearranging alien jazz geometries… poised yet playful and liable to completely dish your understanding of linear time…like a 3D chess match with some future-folkloric trickster/daemon you’ve bugger-all chance of beating (literally none) yet feel compelled in your earthly arrogance to take on again and again and again. Yeah this is the real stuff. Born 1948, Ruedi Häusermann calls the medieval Swiss town of Lenzburg home. His primary allegiance throughout his prolific and distinguished career has been to absurdist music-theatre – presumably this is how you pass the time in the medieval Swiss town of Lenzburg - and an impish, volkish, very Germanic sense of humour comes across even in these formal, ultra-symmetrical instrumental pieces. But he’s not just pissing about – or if he is, the effect is serious, and substantial, and lasting. Galerie Randolph, originally released on Unit CD in '95 and named after Häusermann’s rehearsal room, is a masterpiece of latterday minimal music. Each piece begins with the same two elements: a scatter of bass-like tones played on a home-built instrument Häusermann made by stretching two guitar strings between the top of his alto sax and an amplified cup; and a series of block chords played on accordion and reeds. This base motif recurs throughout, but on each track different elements are layered on top of it: fractious free sax, modal-melancholic flute and clarinet parts, one-fingered piano melodies, distorted vocals, metal percussion, bells...and a whole array of scrapes and drones and unidentified electroacoustic phenomena. All, it should be noted, played by Häusermann himself, and deftly multitracked. The cumulative intensity of these sequences is incredible. Traditional notions of beginning, middle and end no longer hold water. For the first time in god knows how long you feel LOST. You're up scheiss creek with only an amplified cup for a paddle, and it's exhilarating. Give it the attention it deserves and trust us, Galerie Randolph's strange patternings of repetition, addition and subtraction will alter your spatial relationship to music FOREVER. Fark. Highest possible recommendation.

INDUSTRIAL BARNETS FOR INDUSTRIAL PEOPLE

 

hello, hope the week be treating you well 

no preamble today, and lots of A+ new gear in (including the new Cucina Povera, intense exposure to which has sent us a bit loopy, will have to wait til the next mailout) ...so let's just gerron with it...
xxx
 


AMATEUR HOUR
FRAMTIDEN TILL INTE OSS

HAPPIEST PLACE | LP | £17.99
 

Reclusive, catatonic swamp-pop from the dreaming, dozing shores of Forlag For Fri Musik (again!?) and the somehow infinitely fertile Gothenburg sump. Amateur Hour, a three piece consisting of members of Neutral and Enhet For Fri Musik, play with their hearts slightly further down their sleeves than the aforementioned endeavours - garage band laments are burnt to a crisp here, barely recognisable amidst Dan Johanssons’ swells of noise - yet, somewhere in the charcoaled remains of this guitar band lie some eternal songs. Previously released as a lathe cut - “Jenny’s Place” comes wading in two songs deep - a heavy hearted, haunting and bordering-Lynchian cinematic ballad - one that feels every bit as inflammatory as Blod’s opener on Knutna Navar - melancholic, disintegrated pop prowess, like a codeine-ballroom version of This Mortal Coil (Meg reckons a touch of Chrissy Hynde too!).

 This, swiftly followed by a peaking, reverberant, Swedish sports-bar karaoke cover of the rhapsodic Television Personalities’ treasure “The Girl Who Had Everything” - Julia Bjernelind blowing the roof off this imaginary, low-lit boozer we are now in - her and this humble mob giving it a bash as if no-one is listening - striking an immediate, intimate impact that totally gives Indexs’ IMMORTAL cover of “Keep Me Hangin’ On” a run for it’s money. Ugh.

In between the heart-strings, Amateur Hour show off their fast metabolism and ability to dart from style to style with killer-instinct, whilst maintaining an innocence that makes you feel like you are egg’ing on your mates band - any duff notes (there are a few!) serving only to highlight the moments where it all comes together, these moments often MELTING back in to scorched keys and searing noise passages that we cannot get enough of. While it’s a bit annoying to compare folk to their contemporaries, this music is very much tied to a time and place and “Framtiden Tiller..” undoubtedly gives off the same, drowning, D.I.Y. sensibility as that last Neutral record (which still gets rinsed heavily round these parts) but brings something new to the fore - expelling any scepticism and justifying our excitement and intrigue for whatever this mob have to offer.


ALEKSI PERALA
SUNSHINE 3
DUB RECORDINGS | 2LP | £22.99
 
While there are undeniably times where the theory/rhetoric around the Colundi sequence sounds like a discarded storyline from The Mighty Boosh, we count ourselves among the believers… albeit probably more fairweather CofE than full Opus Dei. Sunshine 3 is an amazing expo not only of the dead-eye-opening psychedelic possibilities of dem mystical glistening tones, but of Perala’s phenomenally assured production - inna purist, stripped-back, post-AFX braindance/electro mode that no one, really NO ONE, can argue with. At its best this punchy, pacey set finds a sweet spot between microdosing tekno-trance and a fresh take on driving Drexciyan aqua-funk, with the overriding mood one of free party / utopian o-blisseration - as opposed to dystopian blah - and all the more fucked-up for it. Outstanding!

PRODUKTION 
PRODUKTION FILM SOUNDTRACKS

MENSTRUAL RECORDINGS | CD | £13.99

SOCIETE ANONOMIE
NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY 27.3.83

MENSTRUAL RECORDINGS | CD | £13.99

Those of you well acquainted with the FRINGES (sorry) of the original UK industrial culture and/or readers of David Keenan’s England’s Hidden Reverse will know the name Produktion. This likely trio - Australians Christine Glover and Paul Hurst and Tasmanian Ross Cannon - moved to London from Sydney in 1978, setting up Produktion Hair salon in Kensington Market, administering industrial dos for industrial people (they called them “supercuts”).

“Produktion was a hub of energy,” Glover would later tell Keenan. “The decor was industrial, the front door was covered in sheet metal studded with four inch nail spikes, a tractor tyre tread as flooring in the back room. Old barber’s chairs and the discarded fittings from a 50s Knightsbridge salon. We sold tapes such as the EQUiNoX evENT, United Dairies, Whitehouse and Club Moral music, magazines and fanzines. We created a round metal film box set with Whitehouse recordings, film, photos and collage art works. True, we played industrial music all day at Produktion. Favourite was the 24 hour Throbbing Gristle box set and Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion....”

As well as disseminating extreme music and print from their friends, Produktion made their own super 8 films, animations, zines and tapes, collaborating with the likes of John Duncan, Merzbow, Toshiji Mikawa (Incapacitants) and Nurse With Wound. Their self-released tapes from the era are all highly sought after today; two of the best have now been reissued officially for the first time, courtesy of Menstrual Recordings: Produktion Film Soundtracks and, credited to Societe Anonomie, a recording of a live performance at Newcastle University on 26.3.83. Raw, wretched, Ultrasadist machine music, CD editions of just 200 and 100 respectively>>>>

 


VIBRONICS
CONQUERING LION OF JUDAH
JAH FINGERS | 12" | £12.99

Check “Dub Mix II” for a pacey, percussive / sub-rumbling MOVER in finest Earthquake / TNT Roots style. If you have been into more recent John T. Gast endeavours, this one's a no brainer>>>>

 


ECTOMORPH
SUBSONIC VIBRATIONS

INTERDIMENSIONAL TRANMISSIONS | 12" | £13.99

UNIT MOEBIUS
BUNKER 007

BUNKER | 12" | £11.99

DING-DING! Debut Ectomorph release from ‘95, now reissued on their own label and imported to bring you some unbeatable ‘club tackle - both “Subsonic Vibrations” and “Parallax View” offering classic pressure-cooked beat-downs, on the flip, amidst some disorientating locked grooves lies “Skin” - a hallucinatory synth meteor shower that precedes our pick of the bunch - “The Last Days Of Skylab” - which sounds like Stingray is flying the last space shuttle outta some frantic planet evacuation - dance u mutha!! AAAND in the brown corner we have the Dutch acid techno militia, beyond hitting their stride on 007 with their inimitable machine-seizure / Bunker snarl. Ye, it’s hard to move for all the reissues these days and we’re all dead annoyed, but it is a JOY to see another release in this series of anti-classics come back into circulation - Unit Moebius somehow always managing to carry as much frustration and urgency in their music as they do FUN. Kwality gear. 


ST/NE
ME/WE

LAURA LIES IN | 12" | £8.99
 

Further joyous bewilderment from LLI and ST/NE in the form of cunning computer rhythms, transcendent R&B delirium and - if any of these tracks were gonna get this lazy Laura character out her scratcher - it's the ferocious, grime-leaning beat-blizzard and rowdy, vocal incantations of “We/Me”. Wild, wild, wild EP of new mutant sound design and futuristic war-dances, highly recommended.
 

Warehouse find of a tragically overlooked, turn-the-heater-on UK art-pop gem from 2004 - an all-time personal favourite. Avrocar, the duo of Perry McDonagh and Antony Harding, formed in the Midlands in the late 90s, coming out of that same inward-looking British post-shoegaze  / space-age-bedsit-music milieu that also numbered people like Hood, Apples In Stereo, Magnetophone and Ma Cherie For Painting (they released their debut LP on Earworm, at the time a major hub for all this stuff), but their best stuff has a sparseness, and depressive intensity, that sets it apart. Everything they released is pretty interesting, and pretty varied, but they really struck gold with Guidance, a 12" EP for their own (?) short-lived short.sharp.shock label. There are some echoes of Disco Inferno and Bark Psychosis in the marriage of mumbled confessional and intrepid, painterly sonics, but Avrocar also bring a colder, machinic, almost Kraftwerkian feel to their vocals and productions - a kind of retro that was, in a sense, about 10 years ahead of its time. Unrelentingly bleak, but in a dialled-down, drug-numbed way, it's unsurprising that Guidance counts Tropic of Cancer among its admirers. Such an amazing record, if you missed out on this or weren't around first time, can't recommend it highly enough. 

THE EWOKS OF YESTERYEAR ARE THE STORMTROOPERS OF TODAY



Evening folks, 

With January and related taxing matters (sorry) dispensed with, there's been little to be miserable about round these parts. Sure we could find summat but in the interest of time let’s ignore the shop's minor flooding (again!) and the outrageous price of rail travel in the United Kingdom AMONGST OTHER SHIT. The past week's highlights a news article about the powers that be sending penguins into a care home in Berkshire, and Dennis Tyfus’ 20 minute sing-a-long extravaganza at Cafe Oto... discreetly sliding into self promotion: we’ve got our next night at Oto SORTED, kind of. Either way it’s on Saturday March 16th and will no doubt be the best night of your life, a Fyre festival for fans of the mystic Belgian drone underground. Save the date++++++

 

PIOUS FAULTS
OLD THREAD

PENULTIMATE PRESS | LP | £17.99


Harder-than-post-hardcore headstretcher / dream-stealer that owes nothing to no-one - feral youth-rising with a discordant, modern day psychosis that runs riot on the streets of Brisbane, slinging ten burning trash fireballs through your windows in a frantic denouncement of, er, EVERYTHING. Penultimate Press via Aimless Wonder cough up a triumphant and disorientating take on the confines of hardcore punk, “Old Thread” goes at it tooth and nail, our main man rasping over his clattering bandmates like he’s just snorted a line of fire-ants on “Cope” and “Site”, before the whole unit get drowned in a rippling puddle of the muddiest bass-drones and distortion in closing minutes of “Worship The Surface Pt. 1” - tones so dense and contorted they’d freak the squatting population of a Den Hague bunker into cleaning their act up. Despite all the rag-dolling - what stands out most on this recycled, lino-cut, hand pasted (out to the poor c*nt on the assembly line!) slab of D.I.Y. anguish, is the ‘Flats ability to snag a “groove” and ride it out, but with NAE frills. Not any kind of rolling, kosmiche repetition - this stuff is skeletal -  strung out suspensive passages feel like the dismantling perceptions amidst a sleepless night - unable to gain control of the flailing, repetitve thought patterns that barge around up in the ol’ dim and restless attic. Zero pretence or anything-sensibilities on offer ‘ere - wild dog business. 100 rough n’ ready copies, comes with wee book detailing their journey into madness / lyrics and a picture of some kiddos holding a mangled rat.

 

SVITLANA NIANIO
KYTYTSI
KOKA | CD | £11.99
 

Pellucid, visionary, shatteringly beautiful deep-space folk/art-song from Ukrainian seraph Svitlana Nianio, available again for the first time since its initial release in 1999. Some of you will be familiar with Nianio's privately-released 1996 tape Lisova Koleciya, thanks to Skire’s revelatory reissue a couple of years back. Here, as there, the diaphanous purity of her melodies and vocalisations suggest ancient Slavic folk roots, but in fact the only tradition Nianio is wedded to is 20th century American minimalism: cycling, cellular compositions, Riley-ish keyboard arpeggios and tone-clusters, repetition as xpressway to the sublime. That time-stopping, otherworldly voice is perfectly poised between affect and affectlessness, exuding both girlish wonder and the gravitas, and melancholy, of someone who's lived for a thousand years. It’s a voice you would follow anywhere, a key that opens up a wide and contemplative space in your heid where you long to remain indefinitely. Using Casio MT-200 synth, harmonium, flute, piano, Fender Rhodes, all self-played, plus the medieval guitar patternings and barely-there percussions of Serhii Hotyachuk, Nianio creates skeletal yet astonishingly vivid settings for her magic-realist, death-preoccupied lyrics; ‘Trzęsienie Ziemi (‘Earthquake’) is the show-stopper, opening out into languid, lunar but every so slightly spiky jazz abstraction that gestures in the direction of Ruedi Hausermann, Karl Lindh, and John Taylor’s most postal contributions to Azimuth. Cut at the aptly named Impossible Sounds studio in Warsaw, Tadeusz Sudnik’s recording is exemplary, crisp as an ECM, and Koka’s CD reissue is also on-point – its sleeve made, like the original issue, from rough-hewn papers, with an 18pp booklet of lyrics and liner notes, and an inner pocket containing several small art prints. Can’t quite get over how in love with this wee disc we are.

 

 

MARINA LUSSI
DIFFUSION IS A FORCE

LATENCY | LP | £16.99
 

Feel like we are completely daydreaming in the present with these unpredictable, imaginative compositions of computerised sound-art / sampler-symphonies and vocal manipulations - deftly judged, artfully assembled pieces that couldn’t feel more like SONGS of modified lament from a planet untouched by the storm-troopers of computer music or coding or whatever that stuff is, “Diffusion Is A Force” borrowing the hisses and creaks of the real world and letting them paint a background for breath-taking, pitch shifting computer soul / bedroom blooz movements. Full, vibrant articulation of the harmony and dissonance of everyday life’s integration with technology, feeling like the emotional content of the planets most heartfelt e-messages escaping their cold, binary confines - coming to life and developing a new, real-world tangibility, or something. You seen that film where Joaquin Phoenix fancies his computer? Aye, me neither.

Didn’t really know where we were after Side-A had ended (on the floor, as it happens) but now we’ve flipped it over - “Diffusion..” just doesn’t let up, the B-side offering more astounding, emotional-futurism - digitised glass-bead games dance over low end mechanics and delayed, female whispers on “Classic Intense” before rolling into Innovative Communication style synth / guitar skylines of “Anarchy For Her” and “Movement In Mono” - ending on the most innocent, internalised moment of ecstasy via some sorta hardcore / UK-rave reduction - “Opening”.

Hard to bosh out a description of something this fertile, so full of ideas with all that is going on at the shoppe just now - but there is a great sense of longevity here. “Diffusion Is A Force” has really floored everyone aboard this sorry ship and this will surely not be the last you hear of Martina Lussi and this very special record. Highest possible recommendation.

 

 

FFT
IN-SIDE 
SUPER HEXAGON | 12" | £9.99

Liquid-crystal braindance splackers from our boy FFT. Delivers all the can-crushing dancefloor G-force of his 12” last year Uncertainty Principle, but also expands into more abstract and melon-twissing digital-ambient climes - sci-fi tekno very much fit for the 21st century displeasure-palace. Woof. 

 

 

ANDREW CHALK
CIRCLE OF DAYS 1
FARAWAY PRESS | CS | £10.99
CIRCLE OF DAYS 2
FARAWAY PRESS | CS | £10.99
CIRCLE OF DAYS 3
FARAWAY PRESS | CS | £10.99
 

Years of following him and we’re no closer to pinpointing what exactly Andrew Chalk’s hushed musical creations are… daydreams, landscape paintings, elegies, prayers? Ever since exorcising his noisier demons as Ferial Confine in the mid-80s, his works have become – ostensibly - ever calmer and quieter, the dense dronal fog of Mirror and ORA begetting a kind of brittle, blurred, bucolic chamber-music eternally on the brink of erasure. Its ambient qualities are obvious, but it could never be dismissed as merelyambient… it has the nebulousness and restlessness of free improvisation, and despite the delicacy and pastoral prettiness of the instrumentation, there’s pain in it…Circle of Days 1, originally released as an LP in 2014, traverses high-lonesome, deathly-sparse guitar-blues a la Loren Connors or Roy Montgomery and eerily sustained keyboard nocturnes. Circle of Days 2 and Circle of Days 3, both released here for the first time, consist of recordings made between 2004-2008. They pick up the textural cues of the first volume, but also stake out ground of their own: plangent violin-drones and reverb-slathered synthscapes with an edgeless, endless quality that surely speaks to, and of, the flatlands of the Humber estuary where Chalk has lived and worked his whole life. Each tape works as a discrete entity, but there are also interconnections, recurring motifs, and a consistency of tone and mood across the three. Issued via Chalk’s own private Faraway Press, each hand-dubbed by the craftsman himself, and with exquisite artwork as we've come to expect.  

 

 

HENRI TEXIER
VARECH

JMS | LP | £21.99
AMIR
JMS | LP | £21.99

Limited reissues of sumptuous and sought-after earthworks from French double-basscadet Henri Texier.Varech, originally released in 1977, sees him conjuring hypnotic, undulating, modal dream-scapes / arabesques from a complex, virtuouso but completely intuitive-sounding weave of wordless, chant-like vocals, minimal percussions, and his supple, ultra-textural acoustic and electric bass pexhora. Astrally-inclined, but with soil under its fingernails, there are parallels with countryman Areski’s folkwise flights and, more tangentially, Arthur Russell’s whirls of echo. Amir, released a year earlier and a little less widely feted, is every bit Varech’s equal; the vocals here are dialled down, the overriding mood is starker, less celebratory, and more potently noir - so, so good. In both cases producer Jean-Marie Salhani (tellingly, a bass player himself) creates an atmosphere of almost supernatural intimacy - you feel as if you’re listening from a wee nest within Henri’s beard - and paradoxically, a sense of infinite space. Scorchers. 

 

 

A.S.D.
DEAD TO YOU

DEAD GODS | CS | £9.99

SCANT
DIMINISHING SPIRIT

DEAD GODS | CS | £9.99

STRESS ORPHAN
SHOOTING AN ELEPHANT

DEAD GODS | CS | £9.99

DNR 
URN AND ORGAN

DEAD GODS | CS | £9.99
 
Four new tapes of molten torment from NY's Dead Gods label. Unbeatable noise / dirge ready to set about your internal organs like a mouthful o' broken glass. 

 

 

CHALKY VORTEX

Morning, and huge apologies for intruding on your wknd>>>>

Yeah it's a bit late VERY LATE out of the silo, this week's newsletter, thanks to last-minute tax return dramas plus overexcitement at Sanjay's return from the mutti-land plus a flash-bout of mystery illness (feeling much better now but for some reason can't stop hiccupping. It's very undignified.). 

Anyway, life goes on...and on and on and on. 

And now that the fun part of the year is over, we wish you well for the true slog that lies ahead (hic)
xx


 

SHIKEN HANZO
THE CENTIPEDE

A14 | 12" | £8.99

 

Four bullets to the head from a shōgun assassin with roots in dnb but fast evolving his own custom strain of minimalist sound-murder. ‘The Centipede’ wears its junglism lightly, but is heavy in all other respects: a kind of low-slung, paranoid gangster-tekno, ultra-dread and dub-cratered, driven by churning subs, batwing-flapping snares and acres of negative space...yeah this owes as much to Skull Disco, duppiest early DMZ and Raime’s Hennail as it does to drum ‘n bass. ‘Menpo’ and ‘OathKeeper' are just as murky and prickly-palm tense, but stretched and flexed and primed for the dance - bass-drones flaring up like mardy cobras, beats fashioned from some impossible alloy of bamboo and hanzo-steel – before all shackles are shaken (shiken?) and total blast-off is achieved with the airtight breaks and teetering death-star synths of 'Oni'. Still living in the hope that Vincent Ward’s insane abandoned treatment for Alien 3 might yet one day be filmed – er, xenormophs vs a brotherhood of 14th century monks orbiting the earth in a wooden space station – and this would be the perfect soundtrack. But let’s not overemphasize its darkside: The Centipede traffics in suspense rather than doom, its violence is carefully portioned, it goes about its biz with stealth rather than brute-force. Execution-style… You’re dead before you know what hit you.


GRAUZONE
LIVE AT GASKESSEL, BERN - APRIL 12, 1980
NO LABEL | LP | £21.99
 
Summat special this… LP of mystery provenance capturing Grauzone’s initmitable brand of death-ray NDW / uptight funk at its powerful, pistoning best, live in 1981. Whilst what you both DO and DON’T want is a collection of ‘Eisbar’ encores, what is forced upon you is an untamed document of the thumping, unhinged Swiss power house slugging through their signature, high velocity, ultra-frigid synth-punk with a ferocity and vitality that no studio recording could match, a performance probably only beheld by few but part of a legacy that changed the game for so many. If you know..you know. Once these are gone, they’re real gone, don’t say we didn’t warn you. 
 

DANIEL VALLANCIEN / PHILIPPE MATE
DANIEL VALLANCIEN / PHILIPPE MATE

SOUFFLECONTINU | LP | £16.99
 
TOP tier sound exploration from saxophonist  Philippe Mate and Daniel Vallancien; Mate submitting his beloved saxophone to a thorough sieving and steaming by his pal DV and his maverick engineering prowess - Vallancien, a seeming lynchpin of the whole 70s French / BYG debacle and all round control room IDEAS GUY, finding himself plonked behind the glass for a TON of heavyweights - Dharma Quintet, Don Cherry, Brigitte Fontaine ++. This particular session sees his sonic know-how being brought very much to the foreground and allowed to fully hallucinate - rolling, playful progressions on tracks like “Sanza Sallee” sounds like three marimbas in a house of mirrors, or a dubbed out Daniel Schmidt LP, one of a few uplifting percussive daydreams that are scattered throughout, before the guys sombre up and descend into paranoid brainstorms like “Campus” - ol’ Mate’s saxophone set free to slowly lose it’s mind and make up the general studio mood - vicious, absorbing free-jazz melters that totally blow the beard off so much else from that world. Another DEADLY reissue that we’ve been scrambling to get our hands on for quite some time - highly recommended.

 


CÉLINE GILLAIN
BAD WOMAN

DRAMA | LP | £17.99
 

“Movement is too expensive / breathing is cheap…for now.” Surreal, theatrical, crypto-autobiographical and unexpectedly SLAMMING techno-pop meditation on gender, work and the fraught and perma-compromised act of mere BEING in the late capitalist pleasure-palace/prison. Tons of fun but with a simmering rage just below its surface, Bad Woman seems almost too good to be true – how has Céline Gillain gone from one (admittedly ace) 7” on Lexi Disques to this full-bore future-classic LP which, from its amazing/'orrible Snapchat-filtered cover art and oversharing lyrics on down, speaks to and embodies the present condition in all its garishness and confusion and awfulness while also, somehow, being GOOD.

Gillain's vocals, delivered in a vinegary and volatile English (managing to sound vulnerable and feral and vampish and alien-nation WISE all at once...Grace Jones came to mind a few times) are a joy, performing (and parodying and dismantling) at least half a dozen typical “female” roles along the way, but honestly, like Phew's first LP (!) or Lolina's The Smoke, none of this would land so well if the production wasn’t as staggeringly on-point as it is. Spiritually it harks back to that early 2000s sweet-spot when front-line minimal techno and electroclash converged with a mutant/art-pop impulse in the work of people like Safety Scissors, Soft Pink Truth, Gudrun Gut, Felix Kubin - but updated with 2019-calibre rhythm/bass weaponry and armour-plating … seriously these tracks are heavier, sparser, steelier, GULLIER than you'd ever expect – euro-dance mascara running to reveal the kind of ruff, succinctly psychedelic soundsystem-techno stylings you might expect from, I dunno, a Batu or a Heith. BAD WOMAN indeed. Such a killer, listened to little else all week, don't say we didn't tell ya>>>>>>

 

 


DYNAMITE HEMORRHAGE
ISSUE #6

ZINE | £6.99
 
Issue #6 of Jay Hinman's zine out of San Francisco. Features on Brannten Schnure and our very own Carla dal Forno, a very welcome post-Garbage & The Flowers discography, guides to Velvet Underground bootlegs and LA punk compilations, plus reviews and more. 44 pages. A right good read.

 


BRITISH MURDER BOYS
FIRE IN THE STILL AIR 

DOWNWARDS | CD | £11.99

CD in deluxe 6 panel gatefold digipak. Whatever you think you know, don't underestimate how original and insurrectionary Regis and Surgeon's initial run of British Murder Boys 12”s and live aktions were, before their first break-up. At a time – hard to imagine now – where techno and industrial/noise/scum-punk couldn’t have felt more at odds, BMB married genuine performance BOTTLE – that is, a pissed Regis barking cult-leader/drill-sergeant commands (Jim Jones by way of Windsor Davies) and semi-murmured self-loathing non sequiturs at typically unsuspecting and generally outraged dancefloors – to roiling, dubwise, heavy-as-a-death-in-the-family but devilishly SWUNG and syncopated rhythms. They smuggled a then much-needed dose of discomfort and negative energy into the club, and what they played passed the acid-test of avant-garde dance music, which is to say, people didn’t know HOW to dance it, but felt compelled to try (couldn’t tell you, but I imagine pogoing at Fabric is as rare a sight today as it was 15 years ago). BMB essentially answered a (seemingly mad) question that Surgeon’s DJ sets had been asking for years: what if Basic Channel and Whitehouse were in fact the same band????

It’s 2019 now though, and as the way of things, their innovations, and incitements to riot, have been largely assimilated. Production-wise, a whole new generation of producers across the techno and dnb spectrum have ransacked them for inspiration. The sight of a man shouting garbled obscenities into a mic over sheets of metallic noise and sledgehammer breaks is no longer reason to call security and have him ejected from the club. And yet and yet--

Fire In The Still Air is a ferocious reminder of how out on their own BMB always were, still are. It gives a far more satisfying account of their music, and the havoc it can wreak, than any of the 12”s (or, indeed, the 2015 retrospective boxset), those dense, monolithic productions gleefully, mercilessly ripped up and reconstituted for maximum aggro/ecstatic effect. Info about the disc is deliberately scant, but whether it’s a recording of a live set or composite of several or a premeditated studio session, it doesn't really matter...for us it kinda functions as a kind of greatest hits, subtly updating, and in a couple of cases radically overhauling, their back catalogue, making you hear classics like ‘Hate Is Such A Strong Word’ and ‘Don't Give Way To Fear' afresh, and also showcasing recent/new material in the best possible context. The kings of chicken-in-a-basket techno cabaret are dead...long live the kings.  

SNAPPING UP THE SENILE TWANG

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Hello dears, hope dis finds you well 

Regular readers please forgive us twatting on about it yet again, but seeing as it's little more than a week away we HAVE to mention for the umpteenth time the LOW COMPANY XMAS PARTY, which takes place next Saturday 8th December at Bar A Bar - 10 minute trot from the shop - and runs from 10pm-6am. We're bringing in our own sound and guest DJs NKISI (NON Worldwide, Doomcore, UIQ, Arcola ++) and MARK (A Colourful Storm, Unterton) plus EXTENDED SHOPPE CREW (Kenny, Meg, Jim, Sanjay ++). Advance tickets are available online here, and also in person from the shop. We'll be having a wee pre-party at the shop - free entry, all welcome, BYO - from 6pm, with tunes from man next door Paco LA VIDA ES UN MUS. Gonna be a hoot...o come all ye faithful>>>>>

OK, this week's picks as follows. Quite heavy on archival business again this week, presumably because any current, career-minded label/artist - i.e. NOT KOMARE - is biding their time til January to peddle their wares now, cos let's face it, we're all running down the clock now - 2019 can't come soon enough eh (NEW YEAR NEW YOU). We'll be casting our eye back over THE YEAR THAT WAS soon enough, but right now we have to go and get this party together, plus the rest. See ya! 

xxx

 


KOMARE
KOMARE
ROUND BALE | CS | £9.99


Brittle, burbling, opaque minimal synth sufferahs from two moonlighting Mosquitoes, offering a more reduced, scum-electronic take on the fractious decentralised out-rock we know and love them for.

Far from throwing out the baby with the bongwater, this self-titled, six-track cassette offers a pretty thrilling x-ray/intensification of the Mozzies’ yellow-fever abstraction - easier to pin down, perhaps (think Storm Bugs, or TG, or the Mark Perry of Snappy Turns / Vibing Up The Senile Man / Detailed Twang - Snapping Up The Senile Twang???? ) but also more immediate, with its dread keyboard oscillations, muted machine-gun drums, and monotone, hold-onto-ID vocals that manage to sound sardonic and detached but at the same time pretty exposed and vulnerable - capturing that feeling when you're at a wedding and the pissed-up ex-boyfriend of the bride decides that HE would like to stand up and give a little speech thank you very much and the entire room holds its breath waiting for him to say something massively inappropriate or possibly try to self-harm on-stage and wondering whether to intervene but in the end he just politely wishes her and the groom well and staggers meekly back to his seat and the band start up with an awkward 'Sexy Thing'.

I’m not sure there’s anything released this year that will top Mosquitoes' instant-classic Drip Water Hollow Out Stone, but for pursuers of ULTIMATE ENTERTAINMENT this is your next best fix, and vigorously recommended by us. London's insect population continues to survive and thrive under the floorboards...cassette edition of 100 from Round Bale of Minnesota (!). 


MAAT
THE NEXT

PACIFIC CITY SOUND VISIONS | LP | £23.99


Following on from those important and far-sighted revivals of Vox Populi’s Half Dead Ganja Music and Frank Dommert’s Kiefermusik, Spencer Clark turns his occasional arkival attentions to the cenobitic electronics and water-snake concrète of Hamburg artist Dörte Marth, aka MAAT, pulling from her two album releases of 1993, Sie and Konstruktionen, for the tracklist of The Next.

Painted from a glistening palette of electronic drums, cooing Eastern melodies and perverse classical motifs, MAAT’s work is somehow also brooding and oneiric and full of occult suggestion - and is perhaps most easily understood in the context of exploratory industrial music, especially its intersections with the post-classical avant-garde, idiosyncratic genre-movie soundtracks, and the then-emerging numb-wave of Isolationist/ambient techno. Clark invokes H.N.A.S.,  Limpe Fuchs, Anima… you could happily add to that list Phew, Rapoon and Black Light District, while there are passages of computer-controller string-judder and AI synth drift that anticipate, respectively Konrad Sprenger’s Stack Music and Autechre’s Amber, and Marth’s sparingly deployed vocals - eldritch and dramatic yet distant and detached and artfully off-key - invite the standard Christa Pfanger comparison.

In its more playful passages the music’s influence on Spencer Clark’s own recent work - Typhonian Highlife, Fourth World Magazine - is obvious. But whereas Clark’s work assumes, and relies upon, some understanding of his early 80s/late 90s VHS myth-kitty, MAAT seems to exist in its own hermetically sealed world, in thrall not to the lurid dreamworks and image-making of late capitalism but simply to Marth’s own curious and implacable id. Really been knocked for six by this record, it's properly out on its own. Forget everything you thought you knew! Edition of 280 and an essential purchase.

 

XYLOCAINE
GRACELAND
OLD ROPE / BLOODY FIST | 7" | £7.99
 

Thought we’d throw a spanner in the works of the glut of Oz wave pyjama gear with this pile-driving breakcore straight outta the Newcastle badlands. This Xylocaine 7” is the latest in the series reliving the unemployed, white middle-class boredom relief that became the Bloody Fist glory days on this fit-for-purpose 7” label, Old Rope, run by the big fist himself, Mark Newlands of Nasenbluten. Coming in welcome BF, ruffneck style, Aaron Lubinski (who also ran the excellent dEAdGirL label around the same time) yaks up three tracks of heavy, antisocial mid-90s beat science / aggro bush-doof like a squad of antipodean Geordies shoving DJ Sy down the stairs of a double-decker bus on it's way to Bangface, all boiled down into a frantic, but ultimately, BLOODY good fun, sampledelic sensory overload. All Oz grime donking aside, a refreshing lack of pretension catapults this record into this week's mailer as we race to the bottom of the 2018 EOY wastebin - it’s a nosebleed time machine and middle-finger counterpoint to the polished post-internet branding of everything - everything - today. 
 



NU CREATIVE METHODS
NU JUNGLE DANCES

SOUFFLE CONTINU | LP | £15.99
 
 
Luminous, undersung LP from Pierre Bastien and Bernard Pruvost, billed by Souffle Continu - whose reissue lovingly replicates the original 1978 release on Jac Berrocal and Michel Potage’s d’Advantage label - as a kind of French riposte to Max Eastley and David Toop’s New And Rediscovered Musical Instruments, “combining research and tradition in a quest for a new imaginary folklore”. The name Nu Creative Methods - sounds like something off Warriors Dance!  - was a nod both to Don Cherry’s ‘Nu Creative Love’ and to Francis Ponge’s book My Creative Method, and its take on free jazz is playful, rangy and unusually lyrical, full of the kind of unusual timbres and powerful, provisional ambiences that only the cream of improvised music can generate…Highly recommended for fans of Fontaine/Areski, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Jacques Thollot’s Intra Music, Berrocal’s La Nuit Est Au Courant ++++
 

MICHAEL SNOW
THE LAST LP

SONG CYCLE | LP | £16.99

 

Man, they don't make Ethnic Forgeries like they used to! Canadian fine artist Michael Snow is best known for his film work, but as a trained jazzer landing in 60s New York, he inevitably became embroiled in the city's mushrooming musical avant-garde, releasing an LP (Musics For Piano, Whistling, Microphone and Tape Recorder) on Philip Glass's Chatham Square label and generally becoming a bit of a downtown mover and shaker and (thoughtful) piss-taker. Some years later - 1987 to be precise - he came out with The Last LP, an album for Art Metropole purporting to be a documentary recording of the dying gasps of ethnic musical cultures from around the globe including Tibet, Syria, India, China, Brazil and Finland, with copious, insanely detailed supporting sleevenotes.

It was, however, a wind-up, an elaborate fiction - all the sounds you hear were the work of Snow himself. The eagle-eyed (or indeed anyone who bothers to read) will spot a number of clues - i.e. some good jokes - buried in those sleevenotes, while the eagle-eared (do eagles have good hearing? Do eagles have ears??? I truly know nothing of the world) might spot the Whitney Houston song embedded in 'So Napa (By What Signs Will I Come To Understand)'.

Positioned later as an "investigation into the effects (both negative and positive) of Western recording technology on the world's few remaining, at the time of recording, ancient pre-industrial cultures", The Last LP could legitimately be accused of cultural appropriation - I mean COURSE it could - but really it's a vicious parody of that very impulse...each track claims to be not just a recording of its subject, but the "last possible" recording (as when the intrepid “Michael Snow” wipes out an entire Lapland tribe by introducing them to the Hong Kong ‘flu.) Genius record, all told, and the perfect Xmas prezzie for that easily offended special someone in your life!

 


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