Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Æther




Æther have released one of the finest cassette albums of 2014. "Tagzig Olmo Lung Ring" is two one hour drone pieces on one C120. Simple looped electronic patterns slowly shifting and oscillating through the atmosphere spreading contemplative calm. Almost as if the cassette cover should contain a sticker stating; This cassette can open portals to a new dimension. It has the sound of a buddha box playing in the corner of the room. Concentrate on the sounds and slowly drift away. Side A and "Straddling two Kingdoms" is ideal music for dream-machines. I used to use Nurse With Wounds "Soliloquy For Lilith", but whole heartedly recommend Æther.
I know little (infact nothing) of this project. There was a split cassette on Belaten with Trepaneringsritualen a couple of years ago so I am guessing that t(he)y are Scandanavian. This cassette is on the Mandragorae label and limited to 50. No contact details are given - which is a shame as I would love them to do a session for "MuhMur Radio".
Ah well.

Pictures.
1: Cassette "jacket".
2. Cassette Sleeve.
3: Me in a dream-machine state of mind (1989).

Monday, 15 September 2014

A Treasured Tape #9



A few days ago a package of cassettes came through from Thomas at Belaten. Included in the package was a "mystery" cassette, a hidden release. No information apart from the labels logo and web address. A search of the Belaten website left me non the wiser. What was I listening to? A short missive to Thomas to ask the usual questions … but Thomas is not telling … I was to listen (and enjoy) without prejudice.
Earlier this year I was invited by Rafal Kochan of "Catcher In The Noise" blog and Impulsy Stetoskopu label to take part in his "Blind Date" series where he mailed me half a dozen tracks without telling me who they were by and I gave my thoughts. It was an interesting experiment where I totally dismissed the works of Bruce Gilbert & Merzbow as amateur and called Sol Invictus a new age rock group and gave kind words to Roland Kayn and Irr.App.(ext). http://thecatcherinnoise.wordpress.com
Giving this cassette its' first listen felt very similar.
Side A seems to be the soundtrack to a documentary on the Eastern Lands. Sounds of India, Pakistan, Morrocco, Thailand are all included and interspersed with commentary / dialogue in a European tongue. The sound quality is interesting. There are moments when the levels bounce into the red, there is an ever-present hum, like the tape is a fourth generation rip off a VHS cassette recorded direct from the TV. Lurid. I am immediately reminded of my copy of the Clock DVA "Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Alternative Soundtrack)" cassette, which itself is a third or fourth generation copy, but the sections where the sounds are lifted directly from the film - with the hum of an old VHS tape - are exactly the same. Sometimes the hum slips and slides giving it all a 1970's feel. Another similarity that came to mind whilst listening was of cassettes that used to be mailed to me by a friend who made frequent trips to India in the 1980's / 1990's. He would record sounds off an AM/FM Radio as well as make recordings on a tiny tinny walkman, stick them on a dirt cheap C60 cassette and mail to me for sampling with. He also used to mail me lightbulbs with swastika elements and bidi cigarettes. Unfortunately his Indian trips ended in the early 1990's. All these thoughts remain whilst playing. It is obvious that i am not listening to an artist / project per se - the cassette is more conceptual. Hanson Records and those Nath Family "Snake Charmer" albums also invoked here.
Side B plays like Brion Gysin's i-Pod. Indian rhythms, African rhythms, chanting, whistling, drones, village songs. Messages from the Aghori. Sometimes the singing sounds Yiddish. Only last week I was listening to a group called Fisherman's Friend, a collective from Cornwall who sing sea shanties, parts of this tape reminded me of this - the rhythms and intensities. At some point the tape seems to get interspersed with "Western" sounds with glistening percussion and trumpets mixing with Tibetan bells and finger cymbals.
Side B ends with Gamelan Music and Tuvan throat singing and sounds slightly familiar.

It is a lovely cassette to have and one that sits on top of the "treasured tape" pile, it has been a good tape to slip in the machine and wander through the daily duties. I can live with this one.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Pietro Riparbelli & Alessio Ballerini


German label Geräuschmanufaktur have just released the C40 cassette "Becoming Sound" by Pietro Riparbelli and Alessio Ballerini. I first became interested in the work of Pietro Riparbelli after seeing him live at The Equinox Event at the Conway Hall in London 2008. He was performing as K11, and promoting the "Voices From Thelema" CD on Aurora Borealis. A great gig. Alessio Ballerini is a new name to me. He is part of the project; El Cijo.
Riparbelli + Ballerini operated a workshop inside Nub Project Art Space in Prato, Italy. Then using the sounds recorded there and from churches in and around Prato performed live later the same day. (April 27. 2014). I have been playing the tape on a daily basis this week, fascinating stuff - hearing different sounds on each play. Side one (I think) is mainly "workshop" derived material with shuffling and voices giving it all a very "E.V.P feel". Ambiosonics as Adi Newton would claim. The mixing and mixture of acoustics giving the piece a unique texture. Side two is a heavier affair and probably (largely) culled from the live performance. There's a lovely guitar sound and electronic drone and a fluctuating thumping beat bringing the sound of Maeror Tri to mind and then about halfway through it transforms into this new-age rave type music with polyphonic key chords and Hillage guitar … none too pleasant. Luckily before the side ends the sounds transform back into the workshop sounds of side one.
I have a similar record in my collection. "Collected Spaces (First Listen)" by Ultra Red/Art Angel/Tin Roof on Public Records. On this LP there is a collection of workshop recordings taken from spaces around Dundee then taken and used in a public performance.

"Becoming Sound" is number three in a series of "Live" recordings. The Dead Mauriacs and Fantom Auditory Operations preceding this tape. Geräuschmanufaktur have an interesting catalogue with the likes of Vomir, Francisco López, Michael Esposito and C.M. Von Hauswolff on the books. Worth exploring: www.gerauschmanufaktur.bandcamp.com

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Alfarmania / Proiekt Hat




Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest cassette release from Alfarmania & Proiekt Hat. A collaborative recording called "Astral Slaktmask". The cassette is released by Chefsideologens Boleg.
Alfarmania are the Sundsval based project of Kristian Olsson, and Proiect Hat being  … mysterious. I did once meet the man behind Proiect Hat / Hatband whilst in Stockholm a couple of years back, we had a very drunk and engaging conversation and I don't think he told me his name then.
Quite recently there have been releases on bijou labels coming out of Sweden that contain a sound that is building on (progressing with) the old "industrial" sound of the late 1970's / early 1980's. The sound of S.P.K., of Non and of Nocturnal Emissions. Recent releases by White, Sewer Election, Treriksröset and Trepaneringsritualen spring to mind and now add "Astral Slaktmask" to the list. I think equipment has a lot to play here, no computers are used, tape loops of machinery, analogue synthesizers and old fashioned 4/8 track tape recorders are the means and method.
The cassette is a C43.
Side A starts with "Unending Nothingness", built as the kraken awakes. A Lovecraftian vision realised with its' wailing synthesisers and dripping piano. "Sondmatad Med Blyragel" is an industrious cacophony of sonic drilling. "Cut Feeling" is a great hark back to the "Befhelsnotstand" sound. The reverbed drone, the dark abyss of distorted drills and wailing sirens. Beautiful stuff, and amongst it all is the sound of death throe screaming. The title track ends side A like a transmission from a broken device left buried in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.
Sde B kicks in with "Full Tank" and "Forgerat Livsal". Both pieces sound as if they were recorded live  in an abattoir with the swinging chains and machinery churning through the big metal doors, whilst all around and beneath are the voices from the dead. "Eldergangelsen Apositiar" fits in more with the old school of power electronics. (Kristian did used to be part of the wonderful Survival Unit back at the turn of the century). The piece has a driving force with its' looped rhythm and crunching, crashing, colliding electronics and distant deranged distorted vocals. There's even some calls from the thigh bone to end the piece. "Venom Of Ages" is in a similar vein. A sonic wall is constructed before the album ends with "Cut Feeling II", and extension of the piece on side A.
All in all and excellent tape release. Research tells me there is an Alfarmania / Proiekt Hat vinyl LP, if anyone is selling then please let me know.
I am uncertain about the availability of the tape although the best place to try would be the Chefsideologens Bolag website.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Dieter Mūh #54



Dieter Mūh will be performing alongside Le Syndicat & Cent And De Solitude at El Diablo in Lille on November 29. 2014. I will update on times & prices when they are known.

Pictures:
01: El Diablo.
02: Le Syndicat tape from 1985. (First time I heard Le Syndicat).

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Sleaford Mods #2



It is very difficult to write about the 7" single - the perfect format - the ideal copy. Three and a half minutes of (in)disposable noise…unless you're releasing on Drone Records then it is six minutes of prime time (well…..) drones.
Proving that they're more than a one trick pony crudely shoved into your back pocket the Sleaford Mods have released "Loan Shark" on Felix Kubin's Apolkalypso label. I did (at first) think it a strange connection .. Felix Kubin the Hamburg based ex Klangkreig member and master of minimalistic tanz-a-techno, but I read that his Apolkalypso imprint is a seven inch label for "anti-hits". It makes sense. It makes more sense after repeated plays of "Loan Shark" with its electro lounge feel, the Sãhkȏ vibe, the ghost of Jimi Tenor. A great progression in sound for Sleaford Mods - the breakdown, the stumble in the middle of the piece is beautiful anarchy … turns to camera and smiles. The B-Side is "Slug Tub", and is more of a dance track, an album out-take. Stream of conscience lyrics punched and barked - a free guided tour round the backsreets of Nottingham. There's a hook line, a punchline a the two for the price of one line. Cracking duck.
Some pages say that's limited to 100 copies, some say 300, some say 500 - it doesn't really matter just go out and bag the fucker …

http://www.gagarinrecords.com/?str=apolkalypso

Friday, 29 August 2014

Deffektegg



I have just spent a pleasant while listening to the debut release from Bulgarian project Deffektegg. I have no idea what the name means / signifies as no translation is available via my Google Translate! Deffektegg seems to be the project of sound artist and photographer Yasov Grancharov and "Weightless" is a conceptual piece brought from the influences of The Black Sea.
It is a tape of two halves. Side A is constructed of 4 short pieces, floating drones and undulating waves of sounds - the voices of a hundred sirens and drowned souls, lost transmissions from sinking ships are all there reminding me of early Maeror Tri recordings. Highly listenable construction that in parts is orchestral and other parts disturbing. Side B is a different barrel of fish with a ferocious beginning, a growling voice manipulation bouncing around the space, it has a poor recording quality and a live feel. Was side A the calm before the storm? The first two pieces don't quite seem to fit … by track 3 (all the pieces have Bulgarian titles which are lost on me) we have headed back into calmer waters. The final piece has a piano drifting and shifting along with a sliding drone - quite violent in parts, and then the tape runs out like the piece has been severed in its' prime. (Or sunk). Side A is excellent but I am struggling to pick up on side B. There are moments of this tape where "Shipwrecks" by Andreas Brandal was brought into mind.
"Weightless" is a C60 cassette and a co-release by two Bulgarian labels. Amek (operated by Angel Simitchiev from MyTrip) and Abandonment (operated by Nikolay Mitev from Nihilistic Front).

http://amek.bigcartel.com/product/deffektegg-weightless-2014