Fascinating Things : Issue 68

It’s been a busy old year and as we are well into the second half thereof there doesn’t appear to be any slackening of pace of new and exciting outsider music. Whilst the mainstream seems obsessed with churning out the same old clones of increasingly irrelevant music or raking over the work of deceased stars, if you get below that into the real world of music you will find lots of exciting things…..

I’m pleased to announce we will be putting on two shows as part of this years Salford Music Festival. On 3oth September and 1st October we are at the excellent Eagle Inn on Collier Street in Salford, just off the Inner Relief Road, and have two excellent line-ups. Both gigs are free entry, Friday will see Cambridge bands Bouquet of Dead Crows and The Scissors up for a visit, as well as techno guru The Junta, and the increasingly legendary Manc/Salf stalwarts Kit B.  Saturday sees Rose and the Diamond Hand, Taser Puppets, Poppycock, JD Meatyard and West Coast Sick Line. More details of the rest of this years Salford Music Festival will follow.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (At The Drive In/Mars Volta) has premiered the video for ‘Running Away’ from the latest in his ongoing series of solo albums, “Corazones”.

The film, which was directed by Violeta Felix and shot by Adrian Blanco, features Omar in a series of Los Angeles-based encounters with friends who might not be terribly happy to see him. Guests include Buzz Osborne, Teri Gender Bender, John Frusciante, Robin Laananen, Tatiana Velazquez, Aura T-09 and Eva Gardner.

Omar, in partnership with Ipecac Recordings, recently announced the release of a series of solo albums, which kicked off on July 15 with “Sworn Virgins”. The previously unreleased albums were recorded from 2008 to 2013, while he lived in Zapopan, Mexico and continued when he returned to El Paso. The titles are released on a bi-weekly basis with the first spate of albums running through the end of the year. Each album will see a digital release with a limited number of physical copies (CD) available on Rodriguez-Lopez’s various live outings. A limited edition CD/LP box set will become available in 2017, once the full run of releases are available.

The releases can be purchased via Bandcamp  and iTunes.

New York City synthesis trio Forma have shared the title track from their third LP, “Physicalist”, which is released via kranky on September 23rd.

Since their acclaimed self-titled debut in 2011, Forma have been perfecting a distinctive style of improvised kosmische and minimalism that blends swirling arpeggios, ambient soundscapes, and driving motorik beats. “Physicalist” is described as a sprawling, double LP journey featuring new member and multi-instrumentalist John Also Bennett, who replaced Sophie Lam in 2014. The first Forma album to include acoustic instrumentation, Physicalist owes more to American composers like Harold Budd or Terry Riley than Klaus Schulze and other Krautrock visionaries. The album was recorded during marathon sessions at Brooklyn’s Gary’s Electric studio, and is packaged in a gatefold jacket with original artwork by Robert Beatty and a liner notes essay by writer and critic Michael Barron. Physicalist was mastered by Bob Weston.

Formed in 2010 by Mark Dwinell in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Forma released their first two full-length LPs on John Elliot’s influential Editions Mego imprint, Spectrum Spools. Physicalist is the first full-length statement from the new lineup, which also includes founding member and percussionist George Bennett. The double LP contains two distinct halves; the first consisting of rhythmic compositions derived from the trio’s formidable array of modular and vintage synthesizers, and the second breaking from the grid with ambient, free-flowing experiments on piano, flute and acoustic percussion. The album marks a departure from “Cool Haptics”, the group’s techno-leaning 2014 EP on The Bunker New York.

Barry Adamson is back in Manchester, he is co-curating and presenting along with Jason Wood (Artistic Director: Film at HOME and Professor of Film at Manchester Metropolitan University) a series of films for HOME’s Soundtrack Season. Commencing on Aug 5th with a screening of David Lynch’s Lost Highway (1997), He will be taking part in an interview and Q&A with Jason to discuss his involvement with David Lynch and the working processes utilsed to score the film. On Aug 6th he will be introducing a screening of Johnathan Glazer’s Under the Skin (2013) and talking about the score by Micachu and the Shapes composer Mica Levi. Check out the other films set to be screened over the next month below and book your tickets HERE.

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On September 23rd, Neurosis release their eleventh full-length, “Fires Within Fires”. Three decades in the making, and following 2012’s Honor Found In Decay, the album is a testament both to the history and future of Neurosis. In true Ouroborean style, Fires Within Fires gives due to its predecessors while progressing forward into the unfamiliar and formidable. Striking the band’s signature balance between light and dark, beauty and repulsion, dense sonic heaviness and reflective space. Fires Within Fires is succinct, raw and deeply soulful, an all-encompassing reminder that transfiguration in sound remains their most commanding and inimitable strength. The first and only glimpse of the music on this record, prior to release date, is sampled in a new video which has emerged, here you can also marvel at the exquisite album artwork from the renowned Thomas Hooper…

“Listening Matter” is the sixth kranky album from Thomas Meluch under the nom de plume Benoît Pioulard. It arrives on the 10th anniversary of his first LP “Précis”, and offers a rekindled focus on self-examination, as well as a return to vocal-based pop structures following the mostly instrumental “Sonnet” (2015). Recording for the Listening Matter began during a period of grief, turmoil and self-medication, and continued throughout two years of growth and healing. Reflections on vice (“Layette”, “Anchor as the muse”), virtue (“Narcologue”) and death (“A mantle for Charon”) feature equally in this concise release.

Austin, Texas-based Bellringer, founded by guitarist/vocalist Mark Deutrom, releases new album “Jettison” on August 26th. The live vehicle for the music of Deutrom – formerly of West Coast hardcore punk outfit, Clown Alley, and Melvins, and others – the bandcurrently also incldues the contributions of musicians James Flores, Aaron Lack, Monique Ortiz, and Brian Ramirez. Recorded in Austin earlier this year, the album was fully written and produced by Deutrom. The six  tracks cover several genres with nearly forty minutes of action, fusing elements of psychedelic and exploratory rock with bluesy and jazzy jam elements, all coalescing in the signature Deutrom style.

Flying Machines play emotive and dramatic music, drawing upon influences as diverse as jazz, pop, progressive rock and metal to create an utterly unique and modern sound. Formed by guitarist Alex Munk in 2014, Flying Machines feature some of the most innovative young musicians to emerge in recent years from the UK jazz scene – Matt Robinson on piano/keyboards, Conor Chaplin on electric bass and Dave Hamblett on drums. Centred on Munk’s unique compositional approach, the band fuse visceral improvisation with anthemic melodies and lusciously textured soundscapes. A decadent mash up of prog rock energy, free-wheeling improvisations and ambient meditations that never detract from the emotive lyricism at the music’s core. Their eponymous debut is released on 14th October coupled with a gig at the Vortex. A lengthy tour follows in the New Year with a gig at The Wonder Hill on Shudehill in Manchester on 16th February.

Shoegaze electronic crossover trio Vibrissae have signed to Italian label Vipchoyo Sound Factory to release their debut LP ‘Somewhere Away’. In advance of the album’s release, they are releasing their first reverb-filled driven single ‘Need’. Formed and are based in Portland, Oregon,but the three members of Vibrissae hail from different continents. Vocalist Imber Lingard comes from Australia, Emma Bell was born in Malaysia, and Aaron Bell is native to the USA. The trio found common ground in their shared love of shoegaze, electronic music, and modern rock, . Vibrissae’s debut output is the result of over three years of rehearsal and recording. Their music crosses over multiple genres, combining and alternating elements from electronic rock, synth pop, dark wave and shoegaze.

And finally I’ve been working closely with Manchester musician Boz Hayward to promote the latest release from his excellent Bozchestra project Watch this space for more details pending that here’s a taster.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 15

Magic Bullet Records are releasing  ” Deathkamp Ov The Skull + Funeral Embrace” from West Coast hardcore nihilists, (The Infamous) Gehenna, collecting both of the outfit’s two latest 7” titles in convenient CD and digital formats.

The bands healthy back catalogue of sixteen releases can be found on Bandcamp and you can follow them on Facebook.

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Neurosis has just announced the band’s plans to celebrate three full decades together with their fans on two continents in early 2016, including shows in their native Bay Area and at Roadburn Festival in The Netherlands. Additionally, the band will release deluxe vinyl reissues of two of their most revered and long out-of-print titles; “Through Silver In Blood” and “Times Of Grace”.
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Album “Nº3” from Christina Vantzou is the result of a two-year process of composing, arranging, rearranging, experimenting, and melding classical instruments with synths and electronics. Recorded in Belgium with a 15-piece ensemble of strings, horns, woodwinds and micro-choir, the tracks vacillate between orchestral, ambient soundscapes and more structured works that the composer refers to as “pillars.” The internal core of the record, however, is unwavering. All tracks head in the direction of otherworldly drones surrounded by soft, subtle and sometimes intense veils or points.The structured tracks mark a new direction for Vantzou. Whereas 100% of the music on Nº1 and Nº2 was composed without time structure or steady click, the pillars on Nº3 adhere to a solid mathematical scheme. Perhaps Vantzou’s day job as a maths teacher is starting to have an influence.Nº3’s virtual instruments and voice samples hearken back to Vantzou’s time with The Dead Texan, specifically tracks like “Aegina Arlines” and “When I see scissors I cannot help but think of you”. The synths on Nº3 were given special attention and were recorded over a two week period using a DX7, Yamaha CS20, Roland Juno-6, and a selection of eurorack modular synths, making Nº3 very much a hybrid record, both symphonic and synth-based.
The album is released on Kranky on October 3rd.
Following hot on the heels of ‘The Witch House’ EP Flowers In the Dustbin have announced that this Halloween that they will  be releasing a new compilation album from The Creeping Ivies – ‘Your New Favourite Garage Band’. The album features 13 single, ep and album tracks with many appearing on cd for the first time. Here are some tasters

The album is available to preorder on Bandcamp with an immediate download of 4 tracks – ‘The Witch House’ plus all 3 tracks from the Ghost Train ep.  Singles featured on the compilation include ‘What Would Joey Ramone Do?’ and ‘Spinning’.

The album is out Saturday 31st October, available on cd and digital from Amazon, itunes, online stores worldwide and selected record shops via Scottish label Flowers In The Dustbin.

 

Well honed extremes of rock noise……

Artist :Neurosis
Release : Honor Found In Decay
Lable :Neurot Recordings
Release Date: 29th  October 2012

Time : 01:00:31
The promo says:

“It is said that great art has the power to take us outside of ourselves and bring us closer to ourselves simultaneously. Few bands have accomplished this rare feat on a more profound and consistent basis than NEUROSIS. For nearly three decades, their music has touched the hearts and minds of men and women seeking contact with something beyond the physical world, something intangible, something that expresses the inner tumult of the human condition in a way that transcends time and space. Something that not only provokes questions but maybe even hints at answers.

Since 1985 this matchless force has surpassed the boundaries of any genre, never ceasing to mutate and progress their songwriting and sonic delivery, and never failing to mesmerise audiences both in the studio and onstage. And as the anticipation from their diehard fan-base reaches a boiling point, NEUROSIS unveil details of their tenth full-length studio creation, Honor Found In Decay.

The follow-up to their acclaimed 2007-released Given To The Rising album, the music on Honor Found In Decay is both torturous and transcendent. It is the ongoing exposition of a vast internal dialogue that seems to carry the weight of eons. With the right kind of ears and eyes, it can seem like the trials and tribulations of mankind are being channeled through five individuals: Steve Von Till, Scott Kelly, Noah Landis, Jason Roeder and Dave Edwardson. And yet? They will be the first ones to tell you that they are just regular people trying to make sense of the world around them. Aided by Josh Graham, their resident visual guru, they transmit their interpretations through multiple sensory planes. The degree to which Neurosis allows them to step out of their everyday lives is the distance between one and zero, the distance between thinking and doing, the distance between this minute and the one that may or may not follow. Which is to say: NEUROSIS takes them outside of themselves and brings them closer to themselves. Simultaneously.

For the new album, Neurosis have again forged an alliance with honoured engineer Steve Albini, with whom they have a longstanding relationship, who captured their monolithic sound at Electrical Audio studios, Chicago, then mastered by John Golden at Golden Mastering in Ventura. This marks their fifth collaboration with Mr Albini, unsurprising then that Neurosis have been invited to perform at ATP’s Nightmare Before Christmas on 1 December which Shellac are curating. They will also perform with Godflesh in the UK on 2 December.

Like an eclipse, a brand new Neurosis album is not a frequent occurrence and when it comes around, every last moment must be savoured. For this momentous event, all the forces are aligned.

TRACKLISTING
1 We All Rage In Gold
2 At The Well
3 My Heart For Deliverance
4 Bleeding The Pigs
5 Casting Of The Ages
6 All Is Found… In Time
7 Raise The Dawn”

I say:

It starts gently enough with lightly strummed post-rock like chords but there is a worrying keening sound and then it kicks with some venom – after that there is a balance of intense hard rock/metal riffery mixed in with found sounds, visceral ambient tones and some pastoral revery type stuff.  It doesn’t really get out of a mid paced march feel for the most part but there are occasions where the tempo picks up and these were the times I felt the band got more interesting. Stand out track for me was At The Well which certainly grabbed the attention. There is a sort of doom feel to it in parts but the vocals are far too audible for it to be classed as strict doom/death . Some very acceptable keyboards permeate the mix every once in a while taking the whole affair out of the general genre camp and all adding together to make a very good listen. Fans of this band and the general hard rock genre should have little problem with this as it is well played and written and engaging for the most part. For some reason I was reminded of Slint in places. I’m not a big Albini fan but he has done a good job here with the production.

Recommended for lovers of hard metal/rock with audible, albeit intense, vocals.