Fascinating Things : Issue 46

Another busy week so a second dose of Fascinating Things …..

Sofia Härdig is a Scandinavian export who has been dominating the music scene back home  for a while now. Having worked with household Swedish names like the Grammy Award winners The Hellacopters and Bob Hund, as well as having collaborated with Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and Pussy Galore’s Julia Crafitz on Free Kitten, she is now going world wide  with the release of her upcoming new single “Sitting Still”.

Part of her new 2-part EP collection called “The Street Light Leads To The Sea” which was recorded only in three days with a few musicians specifically known and hand-picked for their improvisational skills. The moment the record button was on, each musician was encouraged to simply go wild and the result is amply demonsrated by the single , a Sonic Youth,  Pixies and Le Tigre inspired track which is released n 26th February 2016.

Girls with guitars making lots of noise, more of if say I….

The opening track from “Bacteria Cult”, the second collaboration album between Norwegian composer John Kaada and the omnipresent Mike Patton, is available to listen now, ahead of the record’s release on April 1st on Ipecac Recordings. Sergio Leone on steroids?

Joy abounds, a new Cannonball Statman release, seven songs in 15 minutes, the trademark hyper-speed stuff from Jesse….remarkable

Released last September Drew Worthley’s “Crucible” album has just appeared in my in-box and is a good listen. He will be on tour soon and well worth checking out. Echoes of Bowie in some of the music, but with some nods to more recent contemporaries, very clever indie pop with a skittish edge.

A lot of bands sound like Neu! these days. The spirit of Klaus Dinger lives on in the minds of young musicians searching for some sort of holy grail. Throw Down Bones, again released last year but there’s only so many hours in the day, embrace that psych krautrock route with a degree of reverence but also explore other avenues of drone/ repetition/ electronica/ texture. There’s just the two of them in the band and they are able to make a big sound. Another one that would have made the best of list last year had I found out sooner.

 

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……displaced, almost vaporous intensity

tētēma, a new duo featuring Australian composer/pianist Anthony Pateras and Mike Patton release their debut album, Geocidal, on December 8th via Ipecac Recordings.

And here below is the first insight of the music on the album via the track ‘Tenz’, which is described by Anthony Pateras as follows…“This track experiments with a palimpsest of rhythmic microcosms, consisting of drums, voice, arp 2600, contrabass recorder, nylon string guitar and marimba. The orchestration attempts to create kaleidoscopic barber pole effect : a constantly rotating electro-acoustic cross-pollination which culminated in some kind of brutal polychronic trance music, albeit with a glockenspiel coda…”

The promo material for the new release reveals:

Geocidal is very much Anthony Pateras’ vision realised over one and a half years of recording. The record combines various musical elements from analogue electronics, strings, winds, brass, orchestral percussion, and vocals – each recorded in a different location which as Anthony describes creates a “displaced, almost vaporous intensity – it comes from everywhere and nowhere”. Every one of these musical elements on Geocidal was also played live, with no samples, hand-crafted and performed by a human – stemming from a desire to base everything on feel and instinct. Ultimately then, it represents universality and timelessness in music.

On Geocidal,  Pateras balances these kaleidoscopic elements from controlled brooding electronics to unrestrained explosive outbursts. Frenetic, trance-inducing percussion punctuates much of the record, making way for more spacious grooves and jazz rhythms. Elsewhere, widescreen string compositions rouse and stirring piano parts creep in, shifting into film noir atmospherics. All the while, this expansive sonic architecture allows Mike Patton much freedom to display his vast array of vocal techniques.  

  Combining this method of live recording, and the cross-pollination of an array of musical talent, Pateras allows for absolute stylistic freedom which makes Geocidal a very dynamic and unclassifiable album, where quality is never compromised by the quantity of ideas on display. As Tiny Mix Tapes said of Pateras’ music, it offers a look as to where “trailblazers of avant-garde are heading,” adding music lovers will “be captivated by his bold creative foray.”

All of that sounds enticing and the combination of serial jazz-leaning structures  and varying layers of  Patton’s menacing vocals makes for an interesting taster for what could very well be an excellent album.

The timelessness of love and mourning

Mike Patton, joined by the Brussels-based Ictus Ensemble, pay tribute to pioneering composer Luciano Berio with the July 2 release of Laborintus II via Ipecac Recordings.

Berio, a groundbreaking Italian composer whose lengthy list of compositions revel in experimentation and intuitively fuse classical, jazz and electronic music, created Laborintus II in 1965 to mark the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth.

The composition is based on the “Laborintus” poem by Edoardo Sanguineti. Laborintus II highlights the timelessness of love and mourning and is told in three voices. In 1972, Berio performed Laborintus II at the Holland Festival, the Dutch premiere of the piece, with a set that included a giant blow-up doll and old car tires.

In 2010, Mike Patton joined the Ictus Ensemble and Nederlands Kemerkoor at the Holland Festival for a performance of Laborintus II, which is featured on this release. Lieven Bertels, Holland Festival’s former Artistic Director, said of the recital, “Loyal to the historical context of a repertoire piece from the previous century, we were also aware that this project could attract a much younger audience, for whom Laborintus IIwould be a first-time discovery of Berio’s work. In reintroducing this piece, we added new touches — foremost being the refreshing combination of narrator Mike Patton, regarded as one of the world’s most versatile and astounding vocalists, with the fine vocal filigree of the Nederlands Kamerkoor and the musical volcano that is the Ictus Ensemble.”

Patton, who has continually paid tribute to Italian composers, most recently with his 2011 Mondo Cane album, discussed the differences and similarities between Berio, Morricone and Nono in an interview with Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, ” I can listen to Berio and Nono as easily as I can to Morricone but like all modern music of Italy, it is unfortunately marginalized. Maybe because of the language barrier, maybe because it’s not easily understood. Berio, who was teaching in California when he wrote this piece, was listening to jazz, pop and folk music and incorporated all of it in his works without prejudice.”

Aural Delights Radio Show – 14th December 2011 – Albums of the Year Part #2

Part the second of a rapid scurry through the best releases of the year as nominated by some Salford City Radio DJs and a select band of followers of The Fall

Deerhoof – Secret Mobilization – vs Evil (January) – the slow drip release technique was either a clever marketing ploy or the sign of a band that knows it’s audience. In any event their best yet in that it retains the quirky nature of the bands work to date whilst adopting a more accessible approach. The selected track merges a funk approach with astringent rock in a sort of 1970s aesthetic.

Gnod – Visions of Load – Chaudelande Volume One (November) – the second album this year from our local space rock monsters. They started their last European tour by spending a couple of days in the Studio Chaudelande, a small house in the Normandy countryside. The sessions will be as a two volumes LP series on Tamed Records, of which this is the first. I sense a slight change in direction here but the core Gnod manifesto still persists. Unfortunately due to the need to fit a lot into the show only half of this track could be played.

Dum Dum Girls – Bedroom Eyes – Only In Dreams (September) Does the Raveonettes production wreck the original lo-fi wonderment of the Dum Dum Girls?  Well you can hear Dee Dee’s voice a lot more clearly and the production is clearly more “professional” as it were. Adding a proper band for this album tends to shift the emphasis away from her as musician and develop her more as vocalist/lyricist. The original charm of the band may have been lost but this is a fine album, and the selected tracks is a fine piece of American pop.

Girls – Alex – Father, Son, Holy Ghost (September) – some grumpiness about this in the reviews – too polished and not as adventurous was one comment. Disagree completely – this is original brain flipping stuff – almost subversive in it’s adoption of pop mores into the area of psych and prog. Owens and White write well and put some effort and thought into the music.

Feist – Caught A Long Wind – Metals (October) I’m not completely sold on this nu-folk stuff (especially the UK end of things) but Leslie Feist is able to take the core elements of this genre and develop it into something a little more compelling. There is a gentle feel to this album which provides a nice counterpoint to a lot of the stuff I listen to. There are times where is gets a tad chocolate box cover in parts but generally more agreeable.

Thurston Moore – Illuminine – Demolished Thoughts (May) In which Thurston works with Beck to go in a Nick Drake direction – well to my ears anyway in the string arrangements if nothing else. Some said it was similar to Murray Street, which as far as I am concerned is damn fine, as that’s one of Sonic Youth’s best albums. With the dissolution of his marrage to Kim, and the future of the Youth uncertain one wonders where he will go next.

Tom Waits – Get Lost – Bad As Me (October) a common theme of the albums in this exercise is artists coming back to form after a long lay off – this time seven years. Tom is back to his gnarly, bluesy, jazzy best on this album.  An enjoyable set of songs proving he still has it in him to deliver cutting edge music.

The Jar Family – Debt – The Jar Family (November) a collective of five singer-songwriters from Hartlepool – this is their debut and rather impressive it is too. There is a variety of excellent writing and styles on this album. I would guess world domination is not far away for these as they certainly have the  tunes.

Efrim Manuel Menuck – I am no longer a motherless child – Plays High Gospel (May) debut album from the chap behind Godspeed!You Black Emperor and A Silver Mount Zion. Some serious guitar distress on this album with walls of heavily processed sound allied to Efrim’s trademark keening vocalisations (my good lady leaves the home when I play ASMZ tracks she thinks he is in pain). Some nods back to early Eno material with Frippisms appearing in places.

Mike Patton – Calculus of Finite Differences – The Solitude of Prime Numbers (November) Patton’s third film soundtrack to date and his most accessible. Simply put its sounds nothing like he has done before, in his many incarnations in the business.  If you like his more extreme work be in for a shock, this is formally constructed, ambient in parts, and definitely highly listenable.

Perplexa – Tribal – Gone Beyond (January) – Detroit’s space-rockers moving into entirely new territory with a bold world music sound.  There are links to Spaceman 3 here with Caruthers on bass and some stunning cello work from Phil Myers. Marvellous!

Peaking Lights – Hey Sparrow – 936 (February) fascinating stuff – drifting, dub, space-rock psyche from Wisconsin. Drum machine, basic keyboards,  guitar, and   bass grooves make for gorgeous low-fi pop. Vashtu Bunyan guests on this selection.

This City of Takers – This City is a Pipe Bomb – The Felt (November)  Indie-Rock band from St. Louis playing Post-Punk music not dissimilar to Sonic Youth, Cursive, and Spoon.  Self released album on Bandcamp which is free also…..mightily impressive sound.

Psychic Ills – Midnight Moon – Hazed Dream (October) and to close a beautiful piece of dreamy psychedelia…….

To listen to the show click on the link

Aural Delights Radio Show – 5th October 2011

On this show :

  • Half Man Half Biscuit – Left Lyrics In The Practice Room – 90 Bisodol (Crimond)
  • Ryan Adams – Dirty Rain – Ashes & Fire
  • Audio Asylum – Into the fire – Demo Track
  • Silent Cities – All These Winds – Dream
  • Honey – Nowhere Floating – Single
  • Mike Patton – Cicatrix 11 – The Solitude of Prime Numbers
  • Bailer – Sometimes – Single
  • Firesuite – Sci-Fi Lullaby – You’re An Ocean Deep, My Brother
  • Gong – Perfect Mystery – You
  • Half Man Half Biscuit – Descent of the Stiperstones – 90 Bisodol (Crimond)
  • Bonny Prince Billy and the Phantom Family Band – Suddenly the Darkness – The Mindeater
  • Ryan Adams – Do I Wait – Ashes & Fire
  • Death In Vegas – Black Hole – Trans Love Energies
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – 4 + 20/Helpless – Deja Vu