Fascinating Things : Issue 42

Part two of this weeks rush of new material…..

Neurot Recordings have announced a full-length collaborative debut between apocalyptic doom duo, The Body, and grindcore/harsh noise outfit, Full Of Hell, this March. Fittingly titled “One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache”, the album includes eight new offerings along with two bonus tracks.

2015 was a busy year for SUNN O))). Following the recent release of  “Kannon” – their first full length album since 2009’s “Monoliths and Dimensions” – a series of European appearances, culminating in their curation of four days at Utrecht’s Le Guess Who? festival, news has emerged that their live album DØMKI RKE will be re-released 5th February 2016.

Kannon, in its earliest incarnation, was inspired from live compositions of SUNN O))); elements of which were present at DØMKIRKE. DØMKIRKE was recorded at the Bergen Cathedral in Bergen, Norway during the Borealis Festival in 2007. The four-song double album was initially released in September 2008 and is available on vinyl only, with one track featuring on each side of the records. This performance features intrinsic members of SUNN O)))’s line-up, including Attila Csihar (vocals), Tos Nieuwenhuizen (Moog), Lasse Marhaug (noise), Steve Moore (organ, trombone) with Greg Anderson (guitar) and Stephen O’Malley (guitar) vitally remaining at the centre of the SUNN O))) constellation.

Sunn 00000
Artwork by Tania Stene

The sixth Black Market Karma album “The Sixth Time Around” is now out and is very good……

Ritual Productions follow up their signing announcement of Helsinki’s primitive elementalists Horse Latitudes with the first insight into the sound of their forthcoming full-length, “Primal Gnosis”, by way of an album trailer. The Finnish four piece are known for their slow, primordial and powerful music, combining suffocating doom, black metal and hypnotic psychedelic repetition.

The near seven-minute trailer offers sonic snippets of three songs – ‘Incantation’, ‘Spirals’ and ‘New Dawn’. The dark ambient textures and solemn, sombre moods are cut with pummelling bass lines and howling. Very atmospheric.

Beauty Sleep, a new 3-piece from Belfast have been drawn to my attention. Born at a local house party, the three musicians bonded over spelling naughty words on a fridge magnet crossword. Made up of Ryan McGroarty, Cheylene Murphy and Aimee Williamson, the naughty words led to musical discussions that required further investigation, post-hangover. The hashtag says “dreampop”, and it’s one of those annoying ones that your forebrain says you shouldn’t be liking but your hindbrain says keep listening,

‘Facepunch Transport Layer’ sounds like a name Mark E.Smith would have come up with in around 1982 and is the appropriately-titled first single to see public release from Black Shape Of Nexus’ impending fourth LP, “Carrier”.  The best description is probably slightly unhinged, and rather flippin’ marvellous, a bit like Arthur Brown with a motorik bass line. Unfortunately it’s one of those occasions where Soundcloud hasn’t got an embed option but you can listen to it here. I recommend you do.

photo credit: Bernhard Hoell
photo credit: Bernhard Hoell

Conny Ochs‘ forthcoming third solo album, “Future Fables” – set for release in late February via Exile On Mainstream – has been trailed, Interesting stuff. Future Fables will see release through Exile On Mainstream on February 26th, 2016. Preorders have been made available through the label, on both CD and LP

Mamiffer (the duo of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner) forthcoming LP, “The World Unseen”, is officially confirmed for release via SIGE Records on 1st April. Here’s a snippet from the album, Ethereal and dreamy with a hint of GSYBE, Sadly no embed again  but have a gander here.

A few snippets of forthcoming releases from German Shepherd Records to close….

One half of Staggs, m.t. scott  has a new release.   Pending new Staggs material he has delved into his archive and enhanced a collection of excellent tunes which merge trip-hop, ambient, cinema soundtracks and sprinklings of guitar and piano. Blessed with the usual Scott world weary and sardonic narrative the songs capture a feel somewhere between Before and After Science era Eno, John Barry and european neo-realism.  Entitled “The Broken EP” it will be released on 19th February via Bandcamp and the  usual digital outlets.

Intelligent, emotional and thought-provoking this is one not to be missed for lovers of fine music.

Iron Mouse (formerly Ion-Morph) and Space Museum celebrate the next phase in their partnership with a five track EP “Treatments” released on February 12th. This is their first release under the new name.

The duo’s usual obsessions are in play with tunes about the treatment of mental patients, abusive patriarchs, religion, retro music and cover bands, and politics/duplicity, all wrapped up in layered post-rock electronica.

Here’s a video of lead track “Treatments”,

Salford/Manchester/Chester band Kit B will be releasing an EP  this year.  Featuring “The Junta” aka Monty on bass as well as other local music legends Danny Cusick (The Hidden Gem), Mike Powell (Exchange, Night Operations) and Peter Slater (Vee V V, Tunnelvision) the band deliver cutting edge Manchester indie and are gaining a growing reputation since their self-released EP “Be Your Own God” from 2015. It will feature this track “It Always Rains (On Sunday)”.

In the parallel universe where the folks who run German Shepherd live Moff Skellington is a national treasure, spoken of in the same hushed tones as such notables as Ivor Cutler, Vivian Stanshall, and Mr Fong who used to run the chinese chippy on Lower Broughton Road in Salford (probably the best Spring Rolls in the known universe). In the “normal” world he is steadfastly ignored by the great unwashed mass of Adele. Coldplay and Mumford fans. I firmly believe this must change . “Neither Whiff Nor Spoor” is Moff’s 28th album and continues the tradition of the blend of music, art and performance known as Eddodi. Bringing together such diverse influences as Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, The Fall, The Mothmen, and Captain Beefheart with his own particular form of traditional english music, Moff once again delivers a heady stew of words, sounds and emotions. Simply put there is no other artist in the world who is producing material like this. The subject matter is. as usual wide and varied, and very unique. Here is a preview track.




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.