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Dec. 11th, 2017

cyberinsekt

John Surman - Kentish Hunting (Lady Margaret's Air)

The Amazing Adventures of Simon Simon was a breakthrough album for John Surman. It wasn't the first he'd recorded for the ECM label, the 1979 release Upon Reflection felt a little derivative of his previous works. No bad thing of course, Surman had spent a decade at the cutting edge of English jazz at that point. But Simon Simon was the album in which he found the voice that would genuinely overthrow the old (and replace it with the even older).

Kentish Hunting (Lady Margaret's Air) has Surman duetting with himself on a traditional folk dance tune with baritone and soprano saxes. It's clear from the offset that he's moved a long way from what's normally thought of as jazz. The coarse spitting of his sometimes fiery past has been entirely lost, likewise the intrusive electronics. Instead he embraces a kind of pastoral minimalism, the steady tread of workboots and the spirit soaring with the lark. It's solid and honest, and full of earthly beauty.

John Surman - Kentish Hunting (Lady Margaret's Air)
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Dec. 10th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Fuzz - Raise

Can't help thinking that Ty Segall's power trio Fuzz is pretty much a dude band. They play psyched out rock music that is definitely rock music. It's unashamedly monster-sized riffing; you can almost smell the patchouli-soaked denim. Here's the thing though, it might be retrograde and a bit dumb, but it's fun as hell and utterly convincing. Falsetto vocals and bluesy as hell: file under guilty pleasures. From the band's 2013 eponymous debut.

Fuzz - Raise
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Dec. 9th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Jari Pitkanen - Lumien

This Is Actually Happening is a long-running podcast in which people tell extraordinary true stories from their lives. There's no commentary, just different voices each episode, telling tales of desperation, terror and exultation. The human spirit, basically. One of the reasons it works so well, aside from the obvious one of curation, is the care taken with production. There's always a musical bed which cuts in at key moments.

That's how I discovered Jari Pitkanen's Lumien (fma link), from the EP of the same name. For what is essentially ambient music, it fills the air with tension, dread and foreboding. It's certainly not Eno's music as wallpaper, this manages to command your attention right from the start. Stunning.

Jari Pitkanen - Lumien
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Dec. 8th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Vernon Lenoir - My Name Is Nobody

If you're going to make your music out of sampled material, chances are you'll have to release it for free. It's not exactly a career path that allows for much longevity. Sadly that seems to have been the case with Vernon Lenoir, who's released very little since his 2011 album Rites of Sausage (fma link). My Name Is Nobody is a dizzying ride through pop culture references in an avant-garde clown car, the dense layering of cartoon and video game cues entirely at odds with its library music melody. Delightful and wonderful.

Also, what's up with that horse?

Vernon Lenoir - My Name Is Nobody
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Dec. 7th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Peder Mannerfelt - Limits To Growth

Devastating piece of minimal experimental techno from the Swedish producer. Limits To Growth comes from his 2016 release Controlling Body, an album mostly built out of vocal samples provided by Cameron 'Glasser' Mesirow. Today's track features her disaffected voice moving slowly from saying 'Create' to 'Growth' over a brooding bed of phonemes, drones and muffled juddering. The description doesn't do this music justice, this is an intense and brooding piece of electronics.

Peder Mannerfelt - Limits To Growth
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Dec. 6th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Huggy Bear - High Street Jupiter Super Cone

Huggy Bear were underground DIY heroes for a generation, the lofi queercore icons of the '90s. I was always suspicious of them, their ideological purity seemed rather too rigid and unforgiving. Still, it was easy to admire a band who refused to be photographed or give their full names to the press. And tracks such as High Street Jupiter Super Cone were way too fucking sweary to make it onto the radio. It's from their debut EP, the very masturbatory sounding Rubbing The Impossible To Burst (1992). It's entirely possible that I misjudged the band, but I was always sure of the music. This rocks.

Huggy Bear - High Street Jupiter Super Cone
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Dec. 5th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Clap! Clap! - Discessus

Cristiano Crisci is an Italian producer with a particular fondness for the music of Africa. He mixes field recordings with studio sounds and guest contributors. Most of his work isn't exactly Doklands-friendly: part trance, part footwork. But Discessus, the opener to A Thousand Skies (2017) is great. It moves organically out of the rhythms of its source material into something rather altogether more hypnotic. Fragile and, as seems to be a recent trend here, very short.

Clap! Clap! - Discessus
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Dec. 4th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Bauhaus - Dark Entries (demo)

It's only right and proper to listen to all sorts of stuff when you're a teenager. Listen indiscriminately, take everything in. To be honest, it might well be a policy to hold on to as long as possible. I can see the argument for discovering what it is that you like and then refining your critical faculties, but what if that all calcifies? You don't want to be stuck with the music of your adolescence for life, surely?

Mind you, it can be worth revisiting the stuff you found so exciting first time round. This demo version of Bauhaus' Dark Entries was an unlisted extra track on the Bela Lugosi's Dead 12". It's muffled, it's minimal, and it's absolutely fucking savage. No bass line, and a fade out after barely more than a minute, but I'm glad to say it still sounds as urgent and menacing as ever.

Bauhaus - Dark Entries (demo)
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Dec. 3rd, 2017

cyberinsekt

Terminal Cheesecake - Bladdersack

Wasted kings of bad trip noise rock, pounding headache beats, a surfeit of feedback. Terminal Cheesecake made a sound that was truly horrible, and became much loved for it. Bladdersack was the band's first single, released in 1988. Hard to believe that just one year earlier, co-founder Russell Smith had been one of the Rs in MARRS, the collective behind Pump Up The Volume. Or maybe it's not. After all, Terminal Cheesecake were formed in the prime years for the dance rock crossover in the UK, and I always thought you could hear that in their early sound. They may have had a live human drummer, but there was more than just an echo of those early acid rhythms in their sound. Fucked up nastiness that can be found on the 1989 album Johnny Town-Mouse.

Terminal Cheesecake - Bladdersack
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Dec. 2nd, 2017

cyberinsekt

Geraldo Pino - Heavy Heavy Heavy

Remember last week's complaints about Monomono's Tire Loma da Nigbehin being too damn short for an afrobeat track? Well, Geraldo Pino knows how to do get it right on the six minute long Heavy Heavy Heavy. And so he should. The Sierra Leonean Pino was one of the true afrobeat pioneers, and a major influence on Fela Kuti. His band The Heartbeats were active from the early '60s onwards.

Heavy Heavy Heavy can be found on the 1974 album Let's Have A Party, though evidence suggests it was recorded a couple of years before that. It's delicious percussion heavy psychedelic funk, with Hammond B3 craziness and plenty of wiki wiki guitar. Terrific stuff.

Geraldo Pino - Heavy Heavy Heavy
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Dec. 1st, 2017

cyberinsekt

Bill Orcutt - An Account of the Crimes of Peter Thiel and His Subsequent Arrest (excerpt)

Earlier this year I mentioned that Gnod's Just Say No to the Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine was on course to win album title of the year, and it was. It was a terrifically strong entry, and I don't think any of us thought it could be beat. Then along comes Bill Orcutt, fresh of the critical success of his self-titled album of guitar interpretations, lighting up August with the frankly astonishing An Account of the Crimes of Peter Thiel and His Subsequent Arrest, Trial, and Execution.

Thiel, in case you didn't know, is a Silicon Valley billionaire, a culture warrior who has taken libertarianism to its illogical conclusion and now stands looming over the world dispensing assistance to anyone who can help him make the world an objectively shittier place. He's a propagandist and an enemy of the democratic process. Naturally, he's a big supporter of Donald Trump.

So that's a provocatively tasty title right there. Inside, if you were expecting more of Orcutt's soulful guitar discord, you'd be in for a surprise. Instead it's algorithmically generated tone sequences. Each starts on the same base note and plays a rapidly rising scale, then extends the sequence length by one and starts again. With some minor variation, that's it. It can be an infuriating listen. The two stereo channels seem to have completely different timbral profiles, yet they blend together to create a seamless whole, a dreadful and terrifying sonic edifice.

Perhaps most interesting of all is the way An Account... was made. Orcutt wrote the software himself, a csound-like interpreted language he calls cracked. It was released in an edition of 100 LPs on his own Fake Estates label. I am unsure if payment was possible via PayPal.

An Account of the Crimes of Peter Thiel and His Subsequent Arrest, Trial, and Execution (excerpt)
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Nov. 30th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Judee Sill - Jesus Was A Cross Maker (live)

Judee Sill was always deeply uncool. Even for the early 1970s, her intricate folksongs were just too sincere and her Christianity too overt. By the time she got to her second album the production seem a little too ornate. And that was it. Just two albums, and she'd be dead of a heroin overdose by the end of the decade.

Rhino released a retrospective compilation, Abracadabra, the collects these and a few bonus tracks. I've become mildly obsessed by this live take of Jesus Was A Cross Maker recorded in Boston in 1971. It's just Sill on acoustic guitar singing about misplaced love with a voice that goes to extraordinary places. I think part of it is just her looking for places to actually breathe but she uses this to mark her confusion and desperation like an absolute fucking champ. This is so good.

Judee Sill - Jesus Was A Cross Maker (live)
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Nov. 29th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Lilacs and Champagne - Made Flesh

I'm a complete mug for anything that mixes up old library music and crate-mined obscurities. Lilacs and Champagne are Emil Amos and Alex Hall from Grails, and their downtempo psychedelic hiphop is full of worn grooves and baking heat. Made Flesh comes from their 2015 album Midnight Features Vol. 2 and has a lazy grace that builds towards cannabinoid shutterframe time skips.

Lilacs and Champagne - Made Flesh
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Nov. 28th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Count Five - Psychotic Reaction

You know this of course. It's a garage classic from 1966, and very much a song of two halves. The verses are pretty much cornball beat music and could have come from any number of popular '60s combos. What makes this stand out are the freakout sections, with John Byrne's acid guitar being one of the foundations for heavy psychedelia. It's frenzied scratchy intensity with added harmonica, just so you remember what decade this is. Still sounds great 50 years on!

Count Five - Psychotic Reaction
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Nov. 27th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Dktr - Elbow Thing

Okay, if I'm poking fun at someone else's Fall cover songs it's only fair that I show my own. Again from the late '90s this is a take on Telephone Thing done in minimal style with a few cutup vocals. Quite like the prowling bassline, which just as well as it unfortunately doesn't change throughout, and god only knows what I thought I was doing with the percussion. Still a fun little throwaway thing though, saved by the eh-eh-eh-eheheh-eh vocal replacement bit that keeps popping up. Wish I could remember how I made it.

Dktr - Elbow Thing
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Nov. 26th, 2017

cyberinsekt

King of Woolworths - Post Nearly Man

I was winding down after a long day with the soothing tones of The Advisory Circle, and was suddenly reminded of today's track. Before he went by that name, Jon Brooks called himself the King of Woolworths. He did well to change it, to be honest. Post Nearly Man predates any of his commercial releases under that name, dating back to some time around the end of the '90s. Can't find any record of this existing anywhere else and I forget where I got hold of it, though we may have crossed paths on Fallnet, the old listserv for fans of The Fall. If so, hey Jon, how are you doing you old fuckface?

Post Nearly Man heavily samples Mark E Smith's spoken word album The Post Nearly Man. It's pretty primitive stuff, sounding like it was done on a midi sequencer with an immediately recognisable set of filters. But it's certainly got charm, even if there's little hint of the retrofuturistic worlds he would go on to recreate. A real curio.

King of Woolworths - Post Nearly Man
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Nov. 25th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Negativland - True/False Tour Radio Ads

By the year 2000 the band Negativland had jammed culture for 20 years. They'd plied misinformation, subterfuge and plain honesty for so long that it had become hard to tell where one ended and the next began. They had become post-truth. They had alternative facts and fake news.

The band needed to share this confusion with an audience, so embarked upon the ambitious True/False tour, full of music, video and puppetry. Here are the six radio ads they created: Electric Mud, Insult, Stealing, Wrong Place Wrong Time, Day In Day Out and I'd Rather Be Wrong. They're cute and clever snippets of audio and media artistry and would have made for a nifty little EP, but I think they were only ever available via the band's website. Enjoy!

Negativland - True/False Tour Radio Ads
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Nov. 24th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Leo Kottke - The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie

If you ever see a list of the best guitar albums of all time that doesn't feature Leo Kottke's 6- and 12-String Guitar feel free to ignore it. It's as fine a presentation of the steel guitar as you will ever hear, and somehow with enough broad appeal to have sold half a million copies since its 1969 release. Much of the record is played in the hard and muscular fingerpicking style that was to wreck his hand and arm with tendinitis. The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie though, that's a much more wistful thing. It's rich and steady and precise, filled with the buzz and rattle of strings and slide, and a peculiar mechanical sadness. Recorded in a single studio take, Kottke doesn't stop even when he (noisily) breaks a string. I reckon everyone who covers this song should do the same.

Leo Kottke - The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie
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Nov. 23rd, 2017

cyberinsekt

The Comet is Coming - Nano

Most times when I recommend The Comet is Coming it's because Shabaka Hutchings is so fucking great. I couldn't even tell you if he's on Nano or not. I certainly didn't hear any sax in the minute and a bit that it lasts. What I did hear however was some amazing retro electronics, like something Pierre Henry might have brewed up in the 1960s, staccato raindrops of sound. Somehow they managed to get subsumed by a stoned beat, as if the BBC Radiophonic Workshop had relocated to Bristol and gone native. From the 2016 album Channel the Spirits.

The Comet is Coming - Nano
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Nov. 22nd, 2017

cyberinsekt

Monomono - Tire Loma da Nigbehin

You'll know from the very first note of Tire Loma da Nigbehin if it's for you or not. It's a classic piece of Nigerian afrobeat from the 1970s, and while it holds few surprises it's got absolutely everything you want. Great congas, great organ, and even a bonus bit of freakout buzzing wasp guitar at the end. Should probably run for double its actual length - it's gone in under 5 minutes - but we'll have to take what we can get.

Monomono - Tire Loma da Nigbehin
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