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Oct. 19th, 2017

cyberinsekt

ZGTO - Long Ass Time

ZGTO is a collaborative project between Detroit-based producer Shigeto and hip hop artist ZelooperZ. Their album A Piece of the GETO was released earlier this year to mixed notices. I hope it doesn't dissuade them from further collaborations because Long Ass Time is great. It's almost entirely done on one note, a dark submerged behemoth that lurks beneath the surface with just ZelooperZ's loose croaking drawl for colour. He's almost got a circular breathing/throat singing thing going on, and the whole thing sounds like a digeridoo of contemporary despair. You really need to hear this.

ZGTO - Long Ass Time
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Oct. 18th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Shannon Lay - Coast

Singer-songwriter Shannon Lay's Coast is a sad and tender dirge. Not what we normally listen to here, I know. But there's rather more to it than that. Lay juxtaposes her mumbly vocal passages with some ferocious tumbling guitar picking. It's not a virtuosic thing, it's a waves crashing over the jagged rocks and smashing your fragile body to bits thing. Raw pain from her 2017 album Living Water.

Shannon Lay - Coast
(alt)

Oct. 17th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Midori - Anta Wa Dare Ya

Now there are two ways of doing this. One is to be very quiet about liking the music of Midori, and let's face it we're off to a bad start here. Quiet enough so that their fanbase doesn't notice. The other is to loud and cheerful and try to drown them out, and reclaim Midori from being a band beloved by fucking weeaboo nazis. The first might be safer, but I'd much prefer the second. Weeaboo nazis don't deserve nice things.

Mind you, it's a tough sell to describe Midori as nice. A Japanese outfit active from 2003-10, they performed a wild intersection between showband jazz and hardcore punk. Listening to the harsh barked yells of vocalist Mariko Goto I'm not sure they could have lasted much longer even if they'd wanted to. She's in great form on Anta Wa Dare Ya from their 2007 album Second, as is keyboard player Hajime, who at times hammers out chords that sound like they're taken straight from a Soil & "Pimp" Sessions barnstormer. But what I think really makes this is the drumming of Yoshitaka Kozeni. He can hold the band in check but also knows when to cut loose and unleash chaos and clatter with total disregard. Great urgency to this one, magnificent noisy fun.

Midori - Anta Wa Dare Ya
(alt)

Oct. 16th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Faust - Lights Flicker

Like your embarrassing uncle, I can be easily provoked into repeating my favoured rants. My predictable ire amuses the young'uns, so I consider it to be irritability well spent and pretend not to notice their stifled laughter. Can you guess which one it is today?

Well, when Faust effectively disbanded in 2004 they split into two separate bands. One, led by Hans Joachim Irmler, was called Faust. The other, led by Jean-Hervé Peron and Werner Diermaier, was also called Faust. Clearly nothing could possibly go wrong with this idea. The latter band, maybe anticipating a few unforeseen problems down the road, decided that while they might be called Faust they would style their name faUSt, because everyone loves and respects errant capitalisation in the middle of words. Oh look really, do I have to go into how unutterably awful this is? I'm not angry so much as I am disappointed; it is bad and worng and frankly we should expect better from Peron.

We get it too, because the music is still great. His Faust released a strong new album earlier this year, Fresh Air. Lots of good moments on it, but like most listeners I was especially drawn to the intense and neurotic post-punk sax scream and jagged riffs of Lights Flicker. It only gets better when guest vocalist Barbara Manning (yes, that Barbara Manning) starts narrating a tale of accidental psychedelia. Edgy and exciting art punk from a bunch of geezers old enough to know how to do it properly.

Faust - Lights Flicker
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Oct. 15th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Susan Christie - I Love Onions

Susan Christie recorded one of the great unreleased psych-folk classics. Her 1970 album Paint A Lady went unheard for 36 years before finally being released to critical acclaim.

This isn't that, though.

I Love Onions is a diabolical novelty record she recorded in 1966. It's 1920s vaudeville, it contains kazoos, Elmer Fudd impersonations, and backing vocals that sound as if they were recorded via an old ribbon microphone. The idea seems to be to cram as many truly horrible noises together as possible to contrast against Christie's breathy vocals as she sings with sweet conviction about her thing for veg.

Susan Christie - I Love Onions
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Oct. 14th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Dans Dans - TV Dreams

Noir-inflected jazz rock is definitely a thing now, isn't it? There was a time when it was just Barry Adamson and his fake soundtrack music, and then before you knew it everyone was admitting that actually they preferred Morricone to the Stooges and then the floodgates opened and everyone started making it.

I may be compressing the narrative a little here, but only for dramatic effect.

Anyway, that's roughly what the Belgian trio Dans Dans are doing here. They make a sound much like those albums that Bobby Previte made with Charlie Hunter in the mid-'00s, though replace the ferocious rock intensity with a more experimental desert blues sensibility. TV Dreams comes from their 2016 album Sand, and it sounds like driving down a long hot road at night with a few lights twinkling in the distance.

Dans Dans - TV Dreams
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Oct. 13th, 2017

cyberinsekt

'68 - Eventually, We All Win

We get used to using words like 'stripped down'. It gets so that it could refer to anything a bit dry, a bit sparse. Eventually, We All Win is properly stripped down. Drummer Michael McClellan brings out the woodblocks from the bottom of his bag, and Josh Scogin puts the mic way too close to his mouth. It's uncomfortably intimate, like you were sitting on the toilet with him. Yeah you want off, but your exit is via an eruption of crazy hardcore feedback. Way too experimental for the garage rock label the band sometimes attract, and way too metal as well. Testosterone-fueled to an unhealthy degree, but bloody great. Find this on the 2017 release Two Parts Viper.

'68 - Eventually, We All Win
(alt)

Oct. 12th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Oko Ebombo - Black Bowie

I heard Black Bowie by chance, and immediately delved into Obo Ebombo's other tracks. He's a French multidisciplinary artist who presents an immaculately cool and stylish surface. The trouble is, most of his other music tends to be a bit smooth and overpolished.

Black Bowie though, what a great number this is. Jazzy and soulful, but absolutely full of the outer limits reaching that made Bowie himself so great. If only he'd done something like this himself instead of the hokey Young Americans. Hell, I'd love to hear Ebombo do more in this more experimental vein. It'll make your eyeballs pop.

Oko Ebombo - Black Bowie
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Oct. 11th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Paul Blake & The Blood Fire Posse - The Pink Panther

Look, no-one's going reinvent theme music. It's a thing of the past and that's where it's going to stay. Anything that delineates between programming and advertising cuts into the bottom line.

Here's Henry Mancini's classic music for The Pink Panther films and tv shows, as played by Jamaican crew The Blood Fire Posse in 1984. You don't normally get dancehall reggae with this sense of cool detachment. Slightly dubby fill-in-the-gaps kind of thing going on here: plenty to do here as a listener. Lets itself down a bit when the vocals cut in, but still way too good to be consigned to the novelty covers shelf. Give it a go.

Paul Blake & The Blood Fire Posse - The Pink Panther
(alt)

Oct. 10th, 2017

cyberinsekt

V/Vm - There's A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He's Merzbow

There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis was the first hit single for Kirsty McColl. Great title, obviously, but that homely bathos always left it a bit of an open goal for parody. You could score on that even with two left feet, but Leyland Kirby, AKA V/Vm was always a rather more skilful player than that. There's A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He's Merzbow comes from the 1999 compilation AuralOffalWaffleTenPintsOfBitterAndABagOfPorkScratchings. That was a time when Kirby was cutting up and repasting other artists, culminating in his infamous Relax remixes that mimicked the original cover art so effectively that lawyers forced them to be withdrawn. With this track, I'm not sure if Kirkby is saying that anyone could make a noisescape that was indistinguishable from Merzbow, but he was certainly saying that he could. Just some bloke from the chip shop indeed.

V/Vm - There's A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He's Merzbow
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Oct. 9th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Stock, Hausen & Walkman - Flagging

Stock, Hausen & Walkman were always the bad boys of plunderphonics. In the beginning they made people suffer though frankly unpleasant musique concrete, and towards the end they became a bit too beat influenced. But in the middle they were a fucking delight. They ramraided the '90s obsessions with lounge and exotica and made off with the best bits. Flagging from the 1997 album Ventilating Deer sounds like Otis Fodder or People Like Us with grease smeared on top, and makes jokes about Steve Reich's compositional methods. The world's a better place for this.

Stock, Hausen & Walkman - Flagging
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Oct. 8th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz - Erich Zann

For the record, while I have grown to love Free Nelson Mandoomjazz, I still reckon it's an awful name.

Here's the Edinburgh trio from their 2015 release, the suspiciously nationalistic sounding Awakening of a Capital. Great music though. Erich Zann has the band at their most obviously Sabbath-influenced; tightly restrained eldritch horror gives way to vast lumbering doom riffs and skronk. At times FNM could almost be considered a novelty act, but when you hear Rachel Sneddon in full alto sax flow you'd have to think again. One of the most emotionally literate saxophonists this side of Kaoru Abe.

Free Nelson Mandoomjazz - Erich Zann
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Oct. 7th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Ensemble Economique - I Light My Cigarette, I See You There

When Starving Weirdos output ground to a halt, Brian Pyle found himself still with more music to make. Out of that need came his next project, Ensemble Economique. I Light My Cigarette, I See You There comes from a 2013 split release with Heroin in Tahiti, No Highway / Black Vacation. It's a rumbling slice of noir, heavy on the percussion and smeared with narcotised guitar. Vocals are so far back in the mix that they exist solely to exude menace. Familiar ground perhaps, but seldom done with such commitment.

Ensemble Economique - I Light My Cigarette, I See You There
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Oct. 6th, 2017

cyberinsekt

The Bug vs. Earth - Don't Walk These Streets

On the 2017 release Concrete Desert producer The Bug and veteran drone rockers Earth collaborate on a dirty, claustrophobic tribute to Los Angeles. Sure the city may be vast and sprawling, but on Don't Walk These Streets the air is so heavy and the visibility so poor that the listener is hopelessly adrift. Stifling and utterly inhospitable.

The Bug vs. Earth - Don't Walk These Streets
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Oct. 5th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Psychotik Tanks - Let's Have A Party

This is, I believe, one of the most perfect bits of nonsense ever released. It showed up on the 4AD sampler Presage(s), released in 1980. Portentous, plodding instrumentation, and then, in comically blank voice:
Some people like to rock, some people like to roll
The movin' and the groovin's gonna satisfy my soul
Let's have a party
It's the total renunciation of music as fun, which is obviously why it is so hilarious. No idea who the Tanks were, but Let's Have A Party is glorious.

Psychotik Tanks - Let's Have A Party
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Oct. 4th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Happy Meals - 432hz Resonant Activation Tone

Always good to hear a new generation take up responsibility for continuing the drone. Happy Meals are a pranksterish duo from Glasgow, equally at home with synthpop and 7 minute long held tones. Very bare bones stuff this, but the intensely trippy way in which the two drones in 432hz Resonant Activation Tone roll over each other in the soundscape is quite a rush. Total sunrise sound from the 2017 release Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony Volumes IV-V.

Happy Meals - 432hz Resonant Activation Tone
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Oct. 3rd, 2017

cyberinsekt

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - Freud in Flop

I've got an unpopular opinion I'd like to try out on you: Lydia Lunch was kind of a jerk. I don't know the woman, I've only got her art to go by blah blah blah but it all tells me she was so much of a jerk that her jerkiness got in the way of her being interesting. Oh, and the fact that she fronted no wave outfit Teenage Jesus and the Jerks? Totally coincidental.

This goes some way to explain why my favourite TJ&J track is still the 45 seconds of Freud In Flop, as it's the one of which she doesn't sing. Now I'm not saying that Sonic Youth would later rip this off for 'Cross The Breeze from Daydream Nation, but I will say that it was written by Jim Sclavunos who just happened to later play drums in an early Sonic Youth lineup. Would Freud in Flop sound better if it had Steve Shelley drumming on it? Well yes, of course it would, so would 95% of all music. Just take what you can get though, as this is still raw, rough and brilliant.

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks - Freud in Flop
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Oct. 2nd, 2017

cyberinsekt

This Immortal Coil - Red Queen

This Mortal Coil was a musical project started in the 1980s by Ivo Watts-Russell, boss of 4AD records. It consisted of an ever-changing array of artists, mostly signed to 4AD, who would record dreamy, spectral covers of pop songs. The collective is best remembered for Liz Fraser's truly unsettling version of Song To The Siren.

After the death of John Balance, Stéphane Grégoire of the Ici d'ailleurs label decided to attempt a similar project. This time, they would call themselves This Immortal Coil, and would cover only songs by Coil. That's a bit of a tough sell. Coil were never really known for their songs. I've always enjoyed them, but as a casual listener, and would have difficulty naming anything past Anal Staircase.

That doesn't feature on the resulting album, the 2009 The Dark Age of Love. One that does though is this stunning version of Red Queen by Yann Tiersen and Matt Elliot from Third Ear Foundation. It's intimate, elegant and chilly, less obviously creepy than the original and possibly all the more effective for it. More to the point, it's a song that could be read as being about the very act of covering another band's music, of hiding behind appropriation. It's abstract, awkward territory, but Teirsen and Elliot equip themselves very well.

This Immortal Coil - Red Queen
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Oct. 1st, 2017

cyberinsekt

Howlin' Wolf - Evil

Evil is a song about jealousy and infidelity, and there's not much more to it than that. With Howlin' Wolf singing it, you can let that slide because the way he sings those words is just the best. That man knew how to ruin his throat every time he opened his mouth, and this recording is from 1954 when there was still plenty of damage to be done. The man sounded like a road gritter under a street light. Dirty, dirty blues.

Howlin' Wolf - Evil
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Sep. 30th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Ben Vida - Damaged Particulates XII

Damaged Particulates is some of the most physical music there is. It's meant to be listened to while wearing a vest filled with subwoofers and transducers. When the bass punches you in the gut, for once it isn't a metaphor. But even outside of that performance setup, it's really quite lively and needs to be heard using headphones. A fascinating piece of electronic sound sculpture. Ben Vida released it as a single 18 minute long track on the 2016 album of the same name, but this iteration of it comes from a 2014 Wire magazine compilation CD. Everything's rather more atomic and discreet and it's easier to work out what's going on. It's also a lot shorter. I'm always looking out for you folk.

Ben Vida - Damaged Particulates XII
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