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Feb. 6th, 2018

cyberinsekt

LSD March - Black Bouquet

Yes, it's psychedelic. LSD March are the trio of Shinsuke Michishita, Masami Kawaguchi and Ikuro Takahashi, and Black Bouquet comes from their 2004 album Kanashimino Bishounen. It's acid rock par excellence, a lo-fi live recording that strews their inevitable tune with splinters of discord. Like much of the best Japanese psychedelia, it flirts with being genuinely painful to listen to. Raw music, right on the edge.

LSD March - Black Bouquet
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Feb. 5th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Watersons - The North Country Maid

The Oak and the Ash is a Northumbrian folk tune that for years I only knew from sheet music. Yeah, that's how cool I am. I've got an extensively paper library of old folk tunes and dances, and I used to play them all. All the airs, all the jigs, all the laments. Music nerd for life, baby.

Anyway, that meant that I was particularly pleased when I finally heard Lal Waterson's version of the tune, from the 1966 album The Watersons. It's a tune with lots of minor notes and it would be easy to overdramatise them, but she eases off. I mean, if you're already singing about urban alienation then there's no need to rub it in, is there? The person who sings those words is actually going to want a few comforts, a bit of reprise from life's cold shoulder. Lal's voice could teach the world a thing or two about loneliness, but she'd rather she didn't have to.

The Watersons - The North Country Maid
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Feb. 4th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Raime - Passed Over Trail

Nobody knows what genre the music of Raime is, and that suits us just fine. Dark ambient? Goth industrial? Experimental dubstep? Don't even bother picking one. All you need know is that the London duo have been making cavernous and emotionally gripping music since 2010. Come to Passed Over Trail for the sumptuous bass tones, stay for the nervous textures. From the 2012 release Quarter Turns Over A Living Line.

Raime - Passed Over Trail
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Feb. 2nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Dead Kennedys - Moon Over Marin

Moon Over Marin is from the 1982 album Plastic Surgery Disasters. Was that record named after Terry Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes? Genuine question, by the way.

Anyway, this is easily one of the DK's best tunes. There's a clear hooky guitar line from East Bay Ray, and a tune that's full of yearning and sincerity. It's a sincerity born of hatred of yuppie shore dwellers who block access to public beaches with their properties, and a wish that should eco-geddon strike, it'll strike them first. That way, should the rich get covered in spilled oil we'll still be able to burn them as fuel.

Dead Kennedys - Moon Over Marin
(alt)

Feb. 1st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Thee Oh Sees - Keys to the Castle

Yeah, I know Thee Oh Sees decided to call themselves Oh Sees when this was released. They're entitled to do that, but I'm not splitting my music library into fragments for their convenience. Don't care how many times they change their sound. The no wavy garage/psych assault has mostly been left behind, but they're still music's premier D&D-influenced act.

Keys to the Castle comes from their 2017 album Orc, and it's a tale of two halves. It starts as brisk Krautpop with dangerously proggy vocals. The second half though is amazing, a fuzzed out drone that pulses away with electric piano and some utterly gorgeous half-submerged viola. It's from a whole different loot table to something like Carrion Crawler, but of equivalent GP value.

Thee Oh Sees - Keys to the Castle
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Jan. 31st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Somnambulist Quintet - Torchlight

The Somnambulist Quintet was a project led by Darren Johnson. It took moody jazz noir and added programmed drums and horns. Clearly that's a tricky thing to get right, all too easy to veer towards the cheesy or the obvious. It worked best on tracks like Torchlight from the 2008 release Somnambulist. Sinuous and woody arco bass comes to the forefront for some stylish d&b, then gets splashed with explosions of jazz colour. I checked the guy out on Discogs, and this is his only musical output, which given how infectious his rhythmic lines are is nothing short of ridiculous. Collaborate already!

Somnambulist Quintet - Torchlight
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Jan. 30th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sex Positions - Worse Than The Plague

I can get people not liking Sex Positions because of the band name. I can get people not liking them because they've no time for hardcore. And I can get people not liking them because of the deliberately crude electronics they incorporate into their sound. But there are yet others who would tell you that such a thing is incongruous, that punk should never play with production tricks, sonic interjections, or low-tech high-gain electronic noisemaking, and to those people I say, "I would rather listen to Sex Positions than your prejudices, for they sound great and you sound confused."

Worse Than The Plague is from their self-titled 2003 album. It's a splatter of colour in this dreary world, readers.

Sex Positions - Worse Than The Plague
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Jan. 29th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Rusted Shut - End Is Near (Veranda)

Want to hear some nihilistic middle aged punks ploughing distorted furrows in the fields of music? End Is Near (Veranda) is 5 minutes of extreme pounding negativity and noise. Half the time the rhythm breaks down entirely and you're left with a lurching dread as you wonder where everything is going next. It's awesome and awful in equal measures. It's from the 2004 album Rehab, by which point the band had been playing dive bars in Houston for 18 years. They had truly lived the claustrophobia and inertia in this music, though who is to say if they were dedicated or trapped.

Rusted Shut - End Is Near (Veranda)
(alt)

Jan. 28th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Mombu - Orichas

Mombu are the pair of Luca T. Mai (of Zu) and Antonio Zitarelli. You know all of those super-intense guitar/drum duos like Black Dice and Lightning Bolt? Think of something like that but with baritone sax instead of guitar. Part jazz, part metal, part grindcore, part Burundi beat, and 100% growling power. At times raw and disjointed, at times a surging current of sheer volume, this is not for the faint of heart. Brutal fun from the 2012 album Zombi.

Mombu - Orichas
(alt)

Jan. 27th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Eugene Chadbourne - Big John Loves His Dick

Talk about Watergate and some people would have you believe that it was a low point in American history. It was a dark, shameful episode. I'd like to posit the theory that it was the precise opposite, that just this once the bad guys got caught, and got at least a little of what they deserved.

But that it were so. In Big John Loves His Dick, former Attorney General Big John Mitchell dies in shame and scandal. Actually the ratfucker was buried with full military honours. Gotta appease those patriots, I guess.

That aside, this is as great an outsider avant-country singalong number as you could ever wish to hear, full of musical chaos and political bitterness. Who knows, it might even be timely if we're lucky. Just gotta do something about all those patriots first. From the 1990 album Country Music in the World of Islam. There's never been anyone else even remotely like Eugene Chadbourne, and this is absolutely one of his best. Don't let the 'country' tag put you off.

Eugene Chadbourne - Big John Loves His Dick
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Jan. 26th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Swami Lateplate - Malignant Cloud

Okay, let's get the disclaimer out of the way. We all know that there's no such thing as a "jazz musician" or a "rock musician". It's a meaningless distinction. That said, it's quite a useful one in. Most doom jazz, for instance, is made by rock musicians who also like jazz. Swami Lateplate are quite the opposite, of course, being jazz musicians who like rock. An entirely different thing, obviously.

The duo of Jamie Saft (piano and bass) and Bobby Previte (drums), only made one album together, but it's a beaut. Doom Jazz (2007) is a record that ramps up the foreboding and anticipation to almost unbearable levels. If you ever needed a piece of music to soundtrack creeping evil you could not pick a better one than Malignant Cloud. It's deep listening at 60 beats per minute, as every new tap of Previte's cymbals is greeted with a fresh sense of dread.

Swami Lateplate - Malignant Cloud
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Jan. 25th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Fall - Rowche Rumble

Well fuck. The Fall were my favourite band for more years than I like to consider and now they can't be any more. Like so many people I've been listening to old songs for the past few hours. Always thought the band suffered from some really shoddy recording in their early years, often hollow and anaemic. Peel sessions and live recordings sound far better, and that's why this is the version of Rowche Rumble from Totale's Turns (1980) rather than the 1979 single.

It's an album that often gets a lot of stick for its ragged, antagonistic approach, but I love it for the self same reasons. It is properly furious music. You know how in The Blues Brothers Jake and Elwood win over a hostile crowd by playing Rawhide? There's none of that on Totale's Turns. It starts by insulting the audience, goes on to insult the promoter, and ends with Mark E. Smith insulting his own band. It's one of the finest things ever recorded.

So here's that groovy number Rowche Rumble given proper life for once. Just because the song was about a generation wasting the years away on valium didn't mean the band had to sound half-sedated too. Edgy has become such a tryhard word these days; this is when it still carried some weight.

RIP Mark E. Smith

The Fall - Rowche Rumble
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Jan. 24th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Håkon Kornstad - Streamer

The stereotype of Nordic jazz as a soulless thing is one that's gradually fading. Powerhouse player such as Mats Gustafsson have put an end to that. But there are still some who hold on to the clarity of tone with which Jan Garbarek revolutionised jazz in the early '70s. One such is Håkon Kornstad, who when he's not playing saxophone also doubles as an operatic tenor. And while there's a certain iciness to his tone, and he uses the Nordic bag of live electronics, there's also a definite sensuality to his music. Streamer comes from the solo album Dwell Time (2009). It's an extended piece recorded live in studio where he brings a particularly wide array of electronic textures to his sound, including a particularly great Terry Riley-esque shutterstock flutter. What sticks with you though is the passion, and how music this clear and still can be so damn sexy.

Håkon Kornstad - Streamer
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Jan. 23rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Drunks With Guns - I Got The Gun

The 1980s were good years to be stupid. You could disguise your arseholeishness with stupidity and get away with it, at least on some scale. At least that's the lesson that I take from Drunks With Guns. This may in itself be a mistake, as the last thing anyone should do from these St. Louis punks is learn lessons from them, unless it is to never lend them money again. I Got The Gun is a dumb little number about car races, beer, and giving drugs to children, but at least it doesn't have a fucking moral.

Drunks With Guns - I Got The Gun
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Jan. 22nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Nagrobki - Co Z Nami Będzie

You have no idea how lucky you've been until now. Up to this point, chances are you had never heard of disco polo music. Imagine the sort of banal colourful graphics that accompany sub Eurovision disco. Now imagine the sort of crude cheerfulness that would allow accordions and polka rhythms to enter the fray. Now imagine it at 110db blasting out like happy fucking hardcore.

Sorry to ruin things for you like that. But at least you didn't feel the need to go listen to any, like this bloody mug.

So it's pretty much the worst thing in the entire world, right? And it's also why the Polish act Nagrobki (Gravestones) jokingly refer to their music as Nekropolo. There's even a track called Nekropolo on their album Granit (2017). All the songs seem to be named after various post-life affairs, and the only reason we're not getting that one is that the album opener, Co Z Nami Będzie is even better.

Now you've got to understand that Nagrobki don't wear their necrofandom in any portentous sort of way. They're not goths, for Christ's sake. Rather it seems to be the key to a very distinct black humour that is immediately evident in their music. They started off as punks, made their way though post-punk experimentation, and now they've added rough hewn horns to properly catch the rhythmic offbeat so you might almost believe it was jazz. Co Z Nami Będzie sounds like a power trio version of This Heat covering 21st Century Schizoid Man. It really is that good.

Nagrobki - Co Z Nami Będzie
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Jan. 21st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Stefan Wesołowski - Hoarfrost II

Stefan Wesołowski is a young Polish composer who mixes the power of Ben Frost with the liturgical grace of Arvo Pärt and a medieval melancholia all of his own. Here's the enormously impressive Hoarfrost II from his 2017 album Rite of the End. This electronic/classical crossover is a lot less emotionally stable than the meditative Pärt, however. As the sorrow passes it reveals the turmoil left beneath. Some people may wish to overlook Wesołowski because of his overt Christianity, but whatever the case there are certainly no easy answers to be found in his music.

Stefan Wesołowski - Hoarfrost II
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Jan. 20th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Merzbow - Promotion Man

You think you know Merzbow, and then you hear Promotion Man.

I'll admit, my knowledge of the music of Masami Akita is hardly encyclopaedic, but everything I'd heard had led me to expect more of the same: harsh unrelenting noise. What I wasn't expecting were sampled rhythms, albeit distorted ones. I wasn't expecting interplay between the drum sounds and the electronics. I wasn't expecting the suggested melodic content. But that's what you get for not taking the opening track of Merzbeat (2003) at face value. Not inconsiderable fun.

Merzbow - Promotion Man
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Jan. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Blyth Power - Goodbye To All That

There aren't many songs in the historical literary folk punk subgenre, and I suspect all of them may have been performed by Blyth Power. Here's one such from the band's second album, The Barman and Other Stories (1988). The sound is tinny and the lyrics rather oblique, but this biographical portrait of Robert Graves packs an immense emotional wallop. Sometime the written history is so false, such brazen propaganda, that it must be denied. How do you find yourself again after you've destroyed those foundations? There never was a band so concerned with the long arm of culture as Blyth Power, and this is one of their finest.

Blyth Power - Goodbye To All That
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Jan. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kazumoto Endo - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)

Well this seems all rather unlikely. Who would have expected a harsh noise version of a chart topping Abba song? Then again, if you've paid attention to Kazumoto Endo over the years, this suddenly doesn't seem quite so unlikely. He's always approached his noiseworks if not with a pop sensibility, then at least with a light touch. There's no reason something shouldn't sound like pitch shifted screaming weasels and also be fun. That's what creativity is for.

And there's no doubt that Endo has consistently been one of the most creative noise musicians over the years. He's always shied away from padding his discography. His cover of Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! comes from the compilation Masters of the Scene - The Definitive ABBA Tribute (2003), Abba songs as rendered by experimental musicians. The only other name I recognise on there is irr. app. (ext.), so we're probably not talking the most commercial of releases here. But Endo's take on the song is unalloyed genius - if you've ever thought that noise was just a monolithic wall of sound, you need to give this a listen. Ever single instance of the riff is different: by turns it's tense, silly, magnificent, audacious, painful, but the adherence to the disco beat never wavers. So many liberties taken, so worth it.

Kazumoto Endo - Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
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Jan. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Fred Frith - Norrgarden Nyvla

Norrgarden Nyvla is an oddly quaint and delightful track from Fred Frith's solo album Gravity (1980). Henry Cow had been and gone, and Frith was now working with songs as part of the Art Bears. Today's track has some of that renewed melodic interest, but it's very much a dance piece, although anything but a contemporary one. Rather it sounds like some kind of very formal 17th century number - I want to say a gavotte, but don't take my word on that, and beside it sounds like there's all sorts of metrical tricks going on here. It's just a great tune.

The album version runs straight into Year of the Monkey, this edit loses a few seconds at the end to fade out to avoid an abrupt finish. It works much better as a standalone track this way.

Fred Frith - Norrgarden Nyvla
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