Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Der 2te Freund



Last year I played a gig in Hamburg with (amongst others) Der Zwiete Freund. Der 2te Freund is the project of Bremen based musician Rolf. (I don't know his last name). I asked Rolf to provide material for a session for the MuhMur Radio Programme and he mailed a bunch of CDR's. Thank you Rolf - I plan to do a radio programme entitled "Bremen Nacht" very soon. I plan to play "Der Analoge Feindgefühl" (the hostile analogue). This is an eighteen minute 3" CDR that doesn't seem to be on any label.
It all begins with an analogue sequencer pattern, and then the nightmare journey begins. This is a very visual / hallucinogenic piece. The construct is from half heard sentences, deep rain forest ambience - bird calls and insect swarms, train station announcements to destinations unknown, choirs - a great sense of paranoia as reversed and echoey conversations float around, it is just like losing consciousness as the grip of anaesthesia takes hold. There are noises from behind the door, laughs and screams and then the analogue sequencer pattern returns.
Brilliant stuff that deserves to be heard. www.der2tefreund.de Rolf also has a sound cloud page but the links are on his web site.
Please keep an eye on the MuhMur Radio programme Facebook page for the date of "Bremen Nacht".

Pictures:
01: Cover to "Der Analoge Feindgefühl".
02: Der 2te Freunde on stage at Hamburg Gangerviertel. October 2013.

Michael Muennich #3



This year has seen a couple of great releases from Michael Muennich. Last year there was the excellent "Abbitte" on Banned Productions, and now a split release on the Greek label Noise-Below and an addition to the UK Tapeworm arsenal.
The split is with Tom Smith and called "In Medias Res".. A C30. If a C10 or C15 is a cassingle then the C30 must be a CassEP. I am not too familiar with the work of Tom Smith, I have a tape release he did with Aaron Dilloway "Allien Zu Zweit" that Fragment Factory put out last year but I wasn't too enamoured with his sound. I then found out that he was in the garage rock band Pussy Galore and the noise for noise sake ensemble To Live And Shave In Los Angeles. Tom brings "Bald", some sort of bedroom beatnik poetry with the hook "Death Exhibitionist" … could be "Deft Exhibitionist", I'm uncertain. It is delivered in a David Bowie voice, that's David Bowie during the Labyrinth era.
Michael Muennich presents "Ur-Ahnung" (An idea). The whole piece has the feel of an old record by Gilbert & Lewis (Dome etc) with chopping synth sounds and an orchestra of machinery - fax machines, printers and the like - springs firing. It brought to mind one of Michael's earlier releases "Zum Geleit" from 2011.
The cassette is limited to 100 copies and available through the label at noise-below.org.
The Tapeworm is a UK / London based label with attachments to Touch Records. Last years Colin Potter tape was in my Top 10 of 2013. Michael Muennich release is (again) a C30. The CassEP. "Schamprozessionen" is two untitled pieces, two processions of shame. A: Is straight out of the frying pan and into the fire as sounds pop, squeal, scream and sizzle. Random sounds .. shortly afterwards a dense swarming drone starts the approach and the whole sound gets very visual and pretty similar to the work of Dave Philips. Towards the end there are guttural / internal body fluid sounds that scrape across the room and bring it all into Schimpfluch territory. Excellent stuff. B: Is mainly the sound of stretching wood - a concret piece of contact microphone manipulation. Ripping paper, running water, shaving steel … a well constructed piece.
The release is limited to 150 copies and available in the UK through The Touch Shop for only £4.20 (but beware their P+P prices)! I am sure Rumpsti-Pumpsti in Berlin will have a few.
Michael can be contacted at www.fragmentfactory.com.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Edward Sol


Edward Sol "Adult Friend Finder" on Village Tapes. A C10. Five minutes a side, a cassingle if you like. A great little release from the Ukrainian label. Village Tapes may or may not be operated by Edward. I do know he operates Quasi-Pop, a label of fine cassette releases, and used to play in rock bands about 10 years ago … but now is a solo performer of "electronic" music.
"Adult Friend Finder" comprises of two pieces recorded earlier this year in Kiev (Kyiv) using Reel-To-Reel Tapes, Cassette Loops and Electronics. "Picnic" has a dark subterranean feel, insect and alien sounds that remind me of Lustmord in his "Monstrous Soul" period. It crescendos on a great organ drone. "Nightmusic" is a claustrophobic piece starting with an old classical recording - 4 notes on a piano looped that snap, crackle and pop and merge into the sound of machinery.
Two great imaginary soundscapes.
I have heard Edward Sol on a few compilations, I would love to hear a full length album, if anyone can recommend where to start.
To buy this tape contact Edward at www.quasipop.org

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Trepaneringsritualen #4



I have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest album (or the first album as Cold Spring Records would have you believe) from Trepaneringsritualen. "Perfection And Permanence" is available as a vinyl LP - on black and/or white vinyl and also as a CD. All bases covered.
Readers of this blog will know that I like / admire the work of Trepaneringsritualen and the main protagonists previous project Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words. "Perfection And Permanence" is a "commercial" album, it still carries that feeling of what it was like first hearing Whitehouse in 1984 (OK - I was late to the party), but the sound is fully produced, concentrated and … commercial. The album (white vinyl version) starts with the S.P.K.esque instrumental "Venerated & Despised" - that is S.P.K. circa "Leichenschrei" - before launching into "A Black Egg", a song that in a doppelgänger universe would be a number one single. "Likeningen Jord Vill Svälja" is a great dark brooding instrumental depicting alien landscapes, limbo and void. "Alone/A/Cross/Abyss" has the dual vocals on full effect. A cracking 20 (or so) minutes. Anthemic songs, great punching rhythms. Side 2 opens with "Thirty-Nine Lashes". The vocals are a bit too "heavy" on this one, becoming a slight "put off". The sound of random beats dropping over a humming synth drone sets the atmosphere, but the vocals are too much. "The Seventh Man" is another hit single, perhaps the number one in the doppelgänger universe is a double "A" side? "Konung Kront I Blod" has a military feel in both vocal and texture - sang in Swedish it has a Teuton/Laibach feel. An angelic choir blends into a windswept wasteland during the short instrumental "A Ceaseless Howling". The LP (white vinyl version) ends with "He Who Is My Mirror" where I am reminded of Gothic/Industrial bands from the late 1980's (as well as The March Violets)!
"Perfection And Permanence" fits well into the Trepaneringsritualen cannon. It will sell well and project Thomas to new ears. Unlike most of his past releases this album is widely available, just google Cold Spring Records and buy one.




Friday, 11 July 2014

MuhMur SoundArt Radio Broadcast 10/07/2014.





I have just uploaded last nights radio programme on to Mixcloud. It was an interesting broadcast featuring unreleased material from Slavek Kwi / Artificial Memory Trace including the 72 minute piece "Expanzin Saturata". Thanks go to Slavek for providing the sounds ..
It was great to watch the sun go down and the (almost) full moon rise above the fields of Dartington whilst blasting out these sounds! Also managed time for a sit down in the Dartington gardens with a few Pimms before the programme started! With Dave away in Aberdeen Chris Booth (UK Pop Reggae) stood in as engineer. Please take a listen: (copy & paste):
http://www.mixcloud.com/muhsteve/muhmur-soundart-radio-broadcast-100714/

Playlist:
01: Artificial Memory Trace : "Peramorsego (2012)" (Semper Florens) 2012.
02: Michael Prime : "Racked" (RRRecords) 1993.
03: Artificial Memory Trace : "Expanzin Saturata (Information Overdrive Version) 2014.
     (Unreleased piece for MuhMur Radio).
04: Artificial Memory Trace : "Untitled Piece" (Not On Label)
     (Unreleased piece for MuhMur Radio).
05: The Monochrome Set : "Eine Symphonie Des Grauens" (Rough Trade Records) 1979.
06: Artificial Memory Trace : "Piano" (Attenuation Circuit Records) 2012.
07: Panelak : "Theodoroperou" (Anguro Sakuson) 2014.
08: Self Control : "Elastic: (Dancing Sideways Records) 1980.
09: Artificial Memory Trace & Linda O'Keefe : "Untitled Piece" (Not On Label) 2014.
     (Unreleased piece for MuhMur Radio).
10: Mutant Beatniks : "Fourth Wall" (Institute For Alien Research) 2009.

The next MuhMur Radio programme will be on July 24 at 21:00 (GMT) and feature a session from Kevin Sanders / Petals.

Pictures:
01: Artificial Memory Trace postcard.
02: In the studio,
03: Engineer Chris Booth.
04: Pre-show relax (just outside the studio).

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Frank & The Carpet Burns.


I have just read two books within a week. Two books in six days. A miracle, this must be a first in fifty one years. I am a notoriously slow reader. I feel pleased.
Two "musical" autobiographies featuring members of the Frank Sidebottom Oh Blimey Big Band and The Inspiral Carpets. I am not a "fan" of either nor do I own any music by them but I do like reading "musical" auto/biographies. Owt from Led Zeppelin, Simple Minds, David Cassidy, Throbbing Gristle or Bauhaus .. I'll read it.
Last April I was in London and I saw (on the Northern Line) posters for a film called "Frank" with Frank Sidebottom's masked face looming large. I was dumb struck, there was a film about the great Frank Sidebottom? This became a "must see" straight away. The next day I was at Paddington Train Station ( a place where they should have the Gang Of Four song "Outside the trains don't run on time" playing through the PA System on a loop), and in W.H.Smiths I saw a copy of the book "Frank" by Jon Ronson. Jon Ronson is one of my favourite journalists / author types. I used to love his late night conversational TV programme on Channel 4 and his books; "Them" and "The Man Who Stared At The Bush Of Goats" - great reads. Double gobsmacked when I find out that Jon used to be Frank's keyboard player in the Oh Blimey Big Band. I was tempted to buy the book there and then but found the volume slim and slender in size and at £7.99 big in price.
Last weekend I found a secondhand copy for  pound.
Back home I researched them film "Frank" and felt disappointed at what I was finding out. Frank was being played by Michael Fassbender (no relation) and with a deep American accent, not a Chorley twang. Frank was playing some festival in USA and this is the story of Frank "hitting the big time". Words of disbelief and disgust were left on a variety of forum boards! As I said to the wife "I wouldn't even watch that if it came on TV". And then I found the book for a pound.
Jon had been asked by Frank (or his creator Chris Sievey) to write an article about Frank's "comeback" in The Guardian. Jon writes fine articles for The Guardian…or at least he used to, I must admit I don't buy The Saturday Guardian anymore, I haven't for nigh on eight years … The article / essay is the main bulk of the book and is highly entertaining. A great insight into the world of Frank and life in late 1980's Manchester - always nice when the Hulme Crescents get a mention. Stories about life on the road, DIY rehearsals and Frank turning the Oh Blimey Big Band into some super-funk group and losing his audience. It is a sad story and one that inspired the film "Frank" to be made. The book mentions Frank Sidebottom as one of life's marginal characters, he likens Frank to The Shaggs and Daniel Johnstone. Outsiders - and that is what the film "Frank" is about. Not the life and adventures of Frank Sidebottom but using Frank to tell the story of marginals in society.
I read this book in one sitting and it took me just over an hour.

I know nothing (or I should say I Knew Nothing) about Inspiral Carpets when I picked up the book "Carpet Burns" by Tom Hingley. Well, I knew they were from Oldham and they had a song called "This Is How It Feels" in the charts in the early 1990's and I was told by a friend about ten years ago  that their keyboard player Clint was a cleaner in a Manchester nightclub. Probably the same nightclub where a former Bedlamite was a bouncer, but I can't confirm that.
I was keen to read about the rise of Inspiral Carpets and their role in the Madchester "scene". Although I lived in Manchester 1985-1990 the whole Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets, CandyFlip thing just passed me by. I remember (not much, but I remember) being in a video for James that was shot on the grass outside Charles Barry Crescent in Hulme - but they weren't really Madchester were they?
The book is written by the lead singer Tom Hingley. The first couple of chapters cover Tom's childhood in Oxfordshire, being on of seven children and having a fondness of singing - doing all the stuff like miming to TOTP with a tennis racket and forming teenage bands. Albert Park & His Playmates. For me the book got really fascinating when in 1983 Tom moves to Manchester and lives in the Hulme Crescents. Robert Adam Crescent. I lived in the next Crescent 1983-1985. Tom was in the band Too Much Texas. Like a lightening bolt - there's a name from my dim and distant past. Too Much Texas flyers on Hulme walkways and lampposts. They were a student band, all guitar and melodies. 1984 and most of Hulme Crescent life were in bands. Home of Karl Burns, Cath Carroll, Edward Barton, A Guy Called Gerald, Inca Babies, the guitarist from The Passage, Metal Monkey Machine, Swivel Hips .. and of course the mighty Dr. Zarkhov's Waiting Room (ahh well never mind). Tom and his group used to drink at the White Horse, the "student" bar in Hulme .. I would frequent The Spread Eagle - and later The Spinners and Red Admiral .. so chances are that we never met, but if he had "parties" on Robert Adam Crescent then chances are that I was there poncing drinks and spliffs!
Tom was a glass catcher and bottle fetcher at the Hacienda around this time too - nice recollections of how great the place used to be before the drugs and shite music moved in. The best way to describe it? Empty. Empty and (therefore) exclusive. Nice to know that the live performance by The Residents blew his mind too. And then Tom auditions for and gets the gig as lead singer of Inspiral Carpets.
It is around this part of the book that it becomes disinteresting, it took me a few chapters to realise but I was reading nothing - stories that were basically non-stories. How they forgot guitars to foreign gigs or spent time in Dutch brothels or wrecked tour busses .. memories of reading Hugh Cornwell's memoirs "A Multitude Of Sins" came into my head. Childish pranks by band and crew members - including Noel Gallagher. Lads with too much alcohol and drugs in the system and surrounded by "yes" men. So, when the story of their downfall becomes apparent and they are well and truly shafted by Mute Records and their manager I begin to chipper up. The Carpets took it for granted instead of feeling privileged.
The story does pick up when Mark E Smith becomes involved with a guest vocal appearance on the "I Want You" single, and the tale of time at the TOTPs studio in London. But all in all, it is quite a dull read - even Tom's tour diary is so bland I think it has been edited to unoffend and what is the point of that? "Graham went off and did something I can't write about here" why not? It's your fucking diary - who else is going to read it - or "Binsey wrote _____/_____ is the biggest wanker in Manchester on the dressing room wall". Who? If you're putting blanks in your diary for fucks sake……
Anyway. A book about the Inspiral Carpets is interesting until they start to feature in it.
Tom is now in a band called The Lovers and Clint is a DJ (not a cleaner) in a Manchester nightclub.