Glitch, deep house, shoegaze, EBM and other matters of note

This weeks recommended listens:

Thriftworks – Fader – Bandcamp – 17th November 2014 :  34 tracks washed with rich synths and ‘glitchy’ melodies, featuring a few collaborations with fellow Californian producer Russ Liquid.

Solid District – Moon Anomalies – Emerald and Doreen –  Release Date Unknown : Cancun’s Fernando Mendoza is fascinated by the moon and its effects on mankind, this release reflects that. “Lunar Madness” is a  psychedelic deep house opener that makes clear that somebody’s “thinking of you”. The answer is an “Automatik Reaktion”, a Statickman-esque synth-house roller with cowbells & handclaps . “Thyone” is a slow, heavy, techy-funky space house chugger. “Lunar Madness” gets two remixes. Headpocket provides a beautifully progressive cosmic Balearic Kraut trip with a smoothly rolling bassline, the stand-out track on the release. Airsouth provide a twisted, fragmented and strangely amazing piece of dubstep-infused electronica.

Sounds of Sputnik – New Born – Ear to Ear Records – 21st November 2014 :  Sounds of Sputnik (aka Roman Kalitkin) redefines his listeners’ expectations of Russian music by tastefully mixing post-rock, shoegaze, dream pop, and noise. With a love for The Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Sonic Youth, Happy Mondays, and Slowdive, these bands have exerted their influences over Kalitkin’s own compositions, forged through twenty years spent in various post-punk, alternative and shoegaze bands.

Atomzero – Symbioisis – Analogue Trash – December 2014 – was initially a UK-based music project by Peter Godziszewski.  A 3-track demo was recorded in 2001 with the track “Metaverse” included on Elektrauma Vol.6 compilation released in 2002. Relocated to Canada the project continued with remix work for other bands and further compilation contributions, culminating in Gord Clement joining forces with Peter in 2004 and a new phase of Atomzero was born. Drawing the best elements from influences such as Kraftwerk, Depeche Mode, Front 242, Nitzer Ebb among others, the new songwriting partnership brought strong vocals, thoughtfully-crafted lyrics and a more melody-driven brand of electronic music, fusing classic electronic influences of early electro-pop, industrial and EBM into a polished and modern mix. After self-releasing Symbiosis in May of 2014 to positive reviews from the alternative music press and fans alike, Atomzero signed a European label deal in September 2014 with Manchester-based independent label AnalogueTrash Records to release a special edition of their debut album in December.  The European edition of Symbiosis contains sixteen tracks including ten tracks from the original edition of the album, two exclusive original songs and an array of remixes from Assemblage 23, SkinjoB and label-mates Advance and Neonsol.

….and watch out for the following in forthcoming weeks, months and indeed new year….

  • alansmithee feat. Marklar – Checking Out/Plain Sailing – Flowers In The Dustbin
  • Six Organs of Admittance – Hexadic – Drag City – 16th February 2015 (herein a preview thereof)
  • Klozapin – Klozapin – Conquest of Noise – 5th January 2015 (check them out here)
  • Moff Skellington – Marine Sugars (locally glimpsed) – German Shepherd Records – 5th December 2014
  • KP2 – A Cabinet of Curiosities – German Shepherd – 5th December 2014
  • West Coast Sick Line – Wasp In The Car – German Shepherd – 28th November 2014

UC  Marine Sugars- Cover

 

 

 

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Blurring the genre lines

And the excellent new music keeps flowing into the Aural Delights Bunker – sometimes I can’t keep up – what is impressive with this latest selection is the innovation and the blurring of the traditional genre boxes to provide some interesting listening ……let’s kick off with some crust

Trollhättan, Sweden-based Gust, in preparation of the upcoming release of their self-titled second LP, and their first with Southern Lord, have released a preview called “Reality Chokes”….

Self-recorded at Fvck Life Studios, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Warcry, From Ashes Rise, Deathreat, Audiosiege Engineering), who also supplies guest vocals to the album, I am advised that “Gust” (the album) is a crushing but incredibly dynamic album, displaying a unique style of crust-infused hardcore and talented songwriting from the young act.  Hopefully I can get a copy and share it on the Sonic Attack Podcast.

Gust - (photo credit: Magnus Larsen)
Gust – (photo credit: Magnus Larsen)

The Dan’l Boone album, which will be featured on next weeks Aural Delights Podcast is a challenging listen – and to give you a taste of what to expect here’s a video from the band:

The release date is September 22nd via Drag City.

Reptile Youth are releasing a free download in advance the  official “Structures” single which is released next week – it’s called “Clouds” and is previously unreleased.

Since 2013, Ufomammut have been slowly working on a video project which will be released on DVD via Malleus this October. The DVD features over three hours of live footage (including “Magickal Mastery Live”, a 12 song live act), interviews, and outtakes, all documenting these first 15 years of the band. Titled XV, this audiovisual experience will also be available as a special wooden 8GB usb drive. In addition to this DVD release, Ufomammut have confirmed that they shall be heading into the studio to record their seventh studio collection this September. The new album should see the light of day in Spring 2015 via Neurot Recordings. They will return to the US for their first proper tour, as well as a promise of more European live shows. You can preorder XV here – http://supernaturalcat.bigcartel.com/category/xv

The always busy Stuart Estell has released a new bandcamp EP “The Hearer, the Listener and the Blank” under his Lachenalia project – which demonstrates again his virtuosity and willingness to explore a range of different sonic forms. Both ambient and hypnotic the EP melds busy percussion with surging keyboard sounds to create an extremely pleasurable listening experience.

The Lachenalia album “Acts & Monuments” and the single “Leveno” are still available from German Shepherd Records.

“M” is the latest track to be released from Obake’s upcoming second album, “Mutations” , which will be released this October from  Rare Noise Records. Like a number of the new album tracks, it begins with a familiar sound, a thick, sludge- like groove recalling multitude numerous titans of the Southern Rock scene, however it soon it breaks down all conventions with a game-changing voice unsettling interlude which segues into mind-boggling progressive rock, replete with minor chords and epic crescendos.

​​Following hot on the heels of free single Demonstration , and appearance at Song By Toad’s ‘Pale Imitation’ festival, those lovely at Flowers In the Dustbin have announced a new single – “Checking Out” ​​- from Alansmithee, this time recorded in collaboration with Marklar.  Sounds damn fine to me:

And to conclude this round up a couple of new releases from German Shepherd records.

First up another KP2 collaboration, this time with Luana’s Black Reptiles – comprising three excellent tracks which explore phobias about insects, provide a tribute to the great jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, and muse on the thoughts of people waiting to die at Jonestown, Lyrically rich and with a  vital sonic palette this is a must listen release which is called “Taken To See The Tiger”

The second is the sophomore outing from Modal Roberts called “Motion Blur” which could be subtitled adventures in dub and self deprecation – Modal mixes things up with a, sometimes, tongue in cheek exploration of dance/electronica tropes, post punk moves and funky workouts all wrapped up in a neat little selection of five tunes which demonstrate variety in sound and lyrical content. Always impressive is his ability to somehow subvert the genre norms, mess around with them and create something which is both entrancing and thought provoking.

 

 

It’s A Dog’s Life

Two more releases from the ever busy German Shepherd Records – the first from KP2 and Ding examines popularity in track one and bemoans the passing of the early spirit of the Stooges in track two. Pumping beats, skidding synths, and great production values make this one of the best releases from the label so far.

The second is from Lachenalia and is a marvellous set of instrumentals built around whole-tone musical vocabulary (cf Debussey and Ravel) via guitar, bass and drum machine, all placed in a delightful kosmiche/post-punk world. Some utterly glorious playing from the very talented Stuart Estell on this one, mastered by the omnipresent Brad Boatright.

Highly recommended

Acts and Monuments Cover

 

Sugar and Salt

KP2 and Nemo

Fruits and Roots

German Shepherd

fRUITS AND ROOTS COVER

KP2 and Nemo were in rival bands in the Manchester area in the late 1970s,  though the rivalry was friendly enough for Nemo to deputise as bassist on several occasions in KP2’s band.  By the mid 1980 s they found themselves collaborating in the writing of and recording of a series of lo-fi musical adventures , they reached a point where they felt they had achieved what they set out to do and simply stopped.

Subsequently Nemo built an extensive portfolio of library music and KP2 went his own idiosyncratic way until 2011 when they came together to create the tracks you hear now on this release , sounding unlike anyone else and worlds away from the mainstream.

What you have here is the product of many months and years of collaboration compiled in one tasty little package. And there is a unique and remarkably fresh feel to the music. The instrumental element is predominantly guitar lead – with a series of interweaving riffs and melodic lines creating a distinct and other wordly feel – the biggest compliment I can give is to say is I haven’t heard anything so unique since I first chanced across the sounds created by Jeff Cotton and Bill Harkleroad in Woodland Hills in the late 60s. There is the occasional use of keyboard and percussion to create tension and release but mostly this is about very clever use of the guitar as an orchestral instrument.

KP2’s lyrics on this release are not as rooted in realism as his other work. There is a more esoteric feel to the lyrical content on this occasion, almost as if the words are being used as an additional musical instrument in the overall sound-scape.  Rather than a polemic or indeed a didactic approach the words offer a series of impressionistic narratives for the listener to interpret in their own way.

The recording is intentionally lo-fi – sometimes the words are almost lost in the rush of guitar sound – this adds to the overall feel of the pieces creating a dynamic listening experience drawing you into the overall mix. Those listeners who are used to KP2’s recent mutant rap escapades will find new avenues to explore here, this is more spoken word than traditional vocal.

Because of the particular approach being employed here, which allows for personal interpretation I will not specifically analyse each track. Suffice to say I enjoyed them all.

The EP comes with a bonus track – the Space Museum remix of “Jump Into the Water” which brings in busy percussive element to the core of the original tune and adds a lengthy dub coda.

Utterly unique and highly recommended.

The EP is available from German Shepherd Records from 31st March 2014.

 

 

Shelf Life and Water Level

KP2 Meets Loop Aznavour

Justin Bieber (Must Die)/When The River Rises

German Shepherd Records

It has to be said that when I first saw the title of one of these songs I had pause for thought. I mean, calling something “Justin Beiber (Must Die)” is pretty much an open challenge for all those “beliebers” out there to descend en masse on the German Shepherd website/Facebook page in paroxysms of incandescent rage. Fear not dear lovers of JB all is not what it seems.

Cyrus Beiber Final

As usual with the lyrical wit and wisdom of the multi-nomenclatured spirit of Moet,  the title holds a far deeper and more significant meaning. Of course neither KP2, or indeed Loop Aznavour, are seeking the demise of the pop starlet. They are instead, and in a quite poignant fashion at times, actually trying the give the young man some worldly wise advice about the pitfalls and hurdles of the Music Industry. Todd Rempling’s artwork for the piece indeed shows the metamorphosis from JB to MC (Justin to Miley for those of you not hip to these things) and the song demonstrates that once any young pop star fails to meet his or her sales figures they will be cast aside and the “management” will focus its’ wherewithal on the “next big thing”. So indeed young Justin will not die but the brand image and concept he embraced for much of his teenage years will wither and pass away into the dusty 50p bin of history, as Miley or whoever is next, fills the slot in the arena tour calender.

It was the good offices of Salford City Radio DJs – Tony Thornborough and Steve Nicholson – that brought together KP2 and Loop. The marriage was indeed made in some punk/post-punk heaven somewhere or another. Probably half-way between Ashton Under Lyne and Bury. It was quite obvious really that a theremin toting ranter with an eye and ear for the absurd in daily life would work well with Moet’s particularly sideways view of the world.

Both songs are crafted to propel KP2s mutant rant to the front – but the music and arrangement is solid. strong and supportive.

Track 2 is timely – with Gideon delivering his own particularly odd view of the future on Wednesday – but which on close examination of the detail was a pre-election stunt to attract votes – a song about the abject failure of the current administration to cope with the recent extreme weather until the stock-broker belt was at risk hits the con-dems where they need to be hit -both metaphorically and factually. The deliberate inclusion of the break-down in the recording adds to the fun going on behind the serious message and Loop’s “J Rotten” quote in the chorus is both playful and a nod back to the heady days of the mid-70s.

A couple of excellent tunes say I.

The single is available  for £1 -or more if you want – from German Shepherd  from 21st March……

Mutant Rap

Following the first release on German Shepherd records from the new musical collective KP2 I took time to catch up with the collaborator on the project the “sound artist” Space Museum. We met in an abandoned ratchet fettling factory in darkest Patricroft and he took me through the genesis of the project.

HEM : So what can you tell me about KP2?

SM : KP2 is the brainchild of multi-functional performance artist Percy Pretty. He, in another guise, is currently the lead singer of a band called Kill Prettyand as a  member of that combo he was becoming artistically hampered by the traditional format of bass, drums and guitars and wanted to explore other avenues of musical endeavour. He is calling these explorations generically KP2 and they will involve live performance, radio appearances, spoken word and collaborations with a number of different artists. Mr Pretty has set up a specific record lable via Bandcamp to share this work with the wider world. He is essentially exercising and extending his oeuvre.

Smack Head Band Image

HEM : What has the project delivered to date?

SM : Apart from this first release on German Shepherd records there has been music with  Nemo and PrjctXY both of which have been made available from streaming via Soundcoud. Further work is expected with both of these artists. There has also been a dance performance with improvising duo 2 Koi Karp  and some radio appearances.

HEM: So what can you tell me about the Smack Head Band/Humble Bee Single?

SM : I was idling my time away in a bistro in Jakarta when I was introduced to Mr Pretty by the mysterious figure going by the name of Doyle. We struck up a lengthy conversation about music and various matters of that ilk and it was soon apparent that we had similar ideas about sound and such like. He promised me he would send some words through for consideration. He duly obliged a month or so back and I set to work to create some sounds to go with the lyrics. He did give me some broad musical parameters to work to – which I mostly ignored – Hank Williams was posited at one point. As I tend to work rather quickly I was able to send him some early sound sketches which he approved. He then suggested bringing the Simms-Luddingtons from Monkeys In Love  as additional vocalists for the project. Having limited recording facilities at my studios – most of my work is lap-top based – we asked Steve and Laura if they could assist and we eventually ended up laying down the vocals at the Monkeys in Love rehearsal space in Stockport. After that is was a matter of fitting it all together, sorting out some art -work and getting it uploaded to Bandcamp.

HEM : What does it sound like?

SM : Well it’s probably best described as electronica with a strange amalgam of mutant rap and english eccentricity thrown in for good measure. The addition of Steve and Laura to the project definitely added something intangible and rather special to the whole thing. Underlying it all is Mr Pretty’s self described “bellow” which gives it its’ own specific identity.

HEM : So what are the songs about?

SM : Well you would need to ask Mr Pretty direct about that but from my observation “Smack Head Band” is a bit of a rant about “nostalgia circuit” bands and a swipe at the glorification of drugs in the industry; and “Humble Bee” deals with confinement/claustrophobia and the attendant issues that arise from that.

HEM : What musical influences were brought into this set of tunes?

SM : For “Smack Head Band” the intention was to create an early VU riff tension and take it from there. Basically keep it simple and see where it goes. I tend to rely on organic “on the fly” composition methods, I am not particularly fond of traditional tin pan alley song structures – you will very rarely find a middle 8 in my music – so it just grew from the riff and layers of synthesis were added. For “Humble Bee” the words suggested Don Van Vliet/Tom Waits so I went for an off kilter rhythm feel and again added various textures and layers on top. All of the music was written using Ableton Live.

KP2 Humble

HEM : So what’s next?

SM : We are waiting to see the reaction to this set of tunes and we will take it from there. Mr Pretty is intending to release most of his back catalogue from previous bands he has been involved with and to that end next week will see the release of the seminal (and I use that word advisedly) album from Sicknurse from 2008 called “Nightwatch”, after that there will be a new album from Eccles based synthesist Passage of Time. Talks are underway with a number of legendary industry figures to put together some new musical collaborations.

HEM : How do people get hold of the new single?

SM : Just follow the link below. German Shepherd  are asking for a payment of £1 which will help them fund future projects.