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Apr. 23rd, 2019

cyberinsekt

ZX Electric - Tricyclic

No band was a better sonic representation of the isolation and fear of the late '70s/early '80s than the Young Marble Giants. Everyone knows this though; I can hardly go digging through their tiny back catalogue and tell you of the amazing obscurities on offer. If by some chance you don't know this, just ignore everything else today and go listen.

So ZX Electric are a callback to that music in two ways: the consumer product name (only ever equallyed by the local and much forgotten Casio Viletones), and the haunting and lonely electronics. ZX Electric is the work of Ben Mawdsley. While I can't honestly recommend his singing voice (that emoting turns me right off) Tricyclic from the album Fixed Unknown (2014) is like a refreshing glass of haunted water. Strummed guitar and clean waveforms seldom sounded lonelier.

ZX Electric - Tricyclic
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Apr. 22nd, 2019

cyberinsekt

Colleen - Soul Alphabet

Always a pleasure to listen to the music of Cécile Schott, who records as Colleen. She fills that Penguin Café shaped hole left by the passing of Simon Jeffes. On Soul Alphabet she adorns the corniest old blues bassline with cascades of delay lined and looped plucked strings. All the obsessive focus of minimalism and all of the daft joy of country dances. It's from her 2015 album Captain of None.

Colleen - Soul Alphabet
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Apr. 21st, 2019

cyberinsekt

Stripey Zebras - Sgt. Bilko Plays Pop

At Doklands we are tremendously fond of bands who never learned to play their instruments properly. They just didn't see the point of it. It was an entirely unnecessary barrier to getting to play gigs. The Southend punk act Stripey Zebras were once such, an enjoyably messy outfit who had a guitar and little else. Their earliest recordings don't even have a drummer as such, just one of the band banging on whatever came to hand as they sang their offbeat childish nonsense. It's outsider music played with genuine joy and enthusiasm. Every teenage band should be as unafraid as this. Sgt. Bilko Plays Pop is a Diagram Bros.-esque delight from the New Criminals, Volume 1 cassette (1981).

Stripey Zebras - Sgt. Bilko Plays Pop
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Apr. 20th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon

As far as decades go, the 1980s were pretty much the pits. It did significant damage to music, many once great artists embraces its tawdry pop and in some cases never recovering. The synthesisers of those years are something I can never bring myself to willingly listen to.

That's why over the years I've steered clear of Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sure the guy's got a great rep but if I never have to hear Behind The Mask or his theme to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence again I won't be sorry. But I gave his 2017 album Async a try and I've got to tell you, it's a whole other story. It was written after his recovery from throat cancer and it's a thoughtful and mature ambient work. The most emotionally impactful piece is probably Fullmoon, which opens with Paul Bowles reading from The Sheltering Sky. It's an excerpt that deals with mortality and how little time we have left, how seldom we will ever do again those things we love. And so when it finishes, Sakamoto brings his friends together to read the thing again, translated into their own languages, layer after layer of them. It could be frantic but it is not, there is space among the piano and the the drones for them all. It feels elegiac rather than rushed. A work of great love.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon
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Apr. 19th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Dedekind Cut - MMXIX

Here's an ambient soundscape for you full of throat singing, monastic reverb, field recordings, and synths covered in haze and dust. MMXIX comes from the album Tahoe (2018), and as such it was looking towards a better future. Can't blame Fred Warmsley for a bit of hope, I guess, and if you'd rather live in the world depicted here than the one outside your four walls I cannot blame you.

Dedekind Cut - MMXIX
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Apr. 18th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Abdel Gadir Salim - Nujum Al-Lail

With the overthrow of the Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir looking like it might actually stick it might be time for a small celebration in the form of some music from Sudan. Here's the singer and oud player Abdel Gadir Salim with his 1989 work Nujum Al-Lail (Stars at Night). I've heard a few of his songs, some with his band the All-Stars and some solo. His group work is more high energy, but if like me you're unfamiliar with the traditional musical forms he uses it's probably better to start with his sparser music. Today's track fits the bill, with violin, drum and Salim's spare strings and long and winding voice.

Abdel Gadir Salim - Nujum Al-Lail
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Apr. 17th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Twig Harper and Daniel Higgs - Clairaudience Fellowship 2

Do you like your electronics to sound properly electric? Like something that you plug in and it immediately fills every sonic frequency with psychedelic confusion? Then this could be your thing. Primal sonic arts here from the experimental superteam of Harper and Higgs: the pace is restrained, the melodic content is reduced to a few simple patterns, but the harmonics are absolutely ungodly. As is Daniel Higgs, with his repeated proclamation of "like a gnashing tusk, stirring the universe". From the 2010 release Clairaudience Fellowship.

Twig Harper and Daniel Higgs - Clairaudience Fellowship 2
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Apr. 16th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Andrew Bernstein - Broken Arc

There's a professional wrestler who goes by the name of Pete Dunne and he's got a very unusual move in his arsenal. Most submission wrestlers go for holds that, while they look impressive, it's hard to imagine what it feels like to be on the receiving end of. We've got no frame of reference for the figure four leglock or the Boston crab. But having a big strong lad grab our fingers and snapping them apart? It makes our eyes water just thinking about it.

So it is with the saxophonist Andrew Bernstein, best known for his work with Horse Lords. He limits himself to one signature style: full of busted overblowing and dissonant minimalist arpeggiation. All music making is a physical act, but we can't imagine what it would feel like to be Albert Ayler or Sonny Rollins. But with Bernstein we can feel ourselves in his position, the sax resonating in his hands full of life. It's visceral music, seldom pleasant, pushing the limits of his instrument. But more than that, Broken Arc makes you wince. It's from his 2018 solo album An Exploded View of Time.

Andrew Bernstein - Broken Arc
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Apr. 15th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Laughing Eye - Thorild

Laughing Eye is a band formed by drummer Hanna Östergren. She's played with both Hills and Träden, the band formed from the ashes of legendary Swedish psych act Träd, Gräs Och Stenar. Thorild is taken from the album Laughing Eye (2019) and you can hear her precise breaks throughout the track. It's hard to stay focussed on them for long, as before long they're joined by thick detuned piano, tremulous atonal sax and a collage of choral singing that takes this right back into the menacing past. European culture on a shoestring.

Laughing Eye - Thorild
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Apr. 14th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Gøggs - Future Nothing

I think Gøggs are one of those bands that very few people get excited about. But I'm one of those people. I like Chris Shaw's gale force vocals, I like Charles Moothart's lofi drumming, I like Ty Segall's abstract shredding. Gøggs have adventures in punk, and I've come to believe that the 90 seconds of Future Nothing is just about perfect. From the 2016 album Gøggs.

Gøggs - Future Nothing
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Apr. 13th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Farai - National Gangsters

Farai Bukowski-Bouquet came up through London's underground jazz scene. Not many chances there for a singer to show what they're capable of though, so it's good to hear her fronting her own band now. Teamed up with Tone Harewood she's now gone full on post-punk performance art poet and the results are sensational. National Gangsters is from the 2018 album Rebirth, and pairs ghostly hip-hop collage with her strident singsongish voice. An absolutely fearsome track, as raw and crashing as withdrawal.

Farai - National Gangsters
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Apr. 12th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Call Super - Arpo Sunk

Doklands has been updated at various times of the day throughout the years, but mostly it gets written last thing at night. You'd be justified in wondering if that influences the music that gets featured, it seems it inevitably must. It's certainly the right time of day for the groggy electronica of Joe Seaton, AKA Call Super. On Arpo Sunk the actual beats may be crisp and experimental but they're layered in a welcoming duvet of fluffy warmth and the exhausted meander of a clarinet, all under a sky filled with hand-drawn twinkling stars. From the album Arpo (2017).

Call Super - Arpo Sunk
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Apr. 11th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Pierre Cavalli - Chasse à l'homme

The library music composer Pierre Cavalli has three things to say young people growing up in the psychedelic world: turn on, tune in, and drop out. In other words, he was an absolutely shameless hack, but that's what was needed to capture the spirit of a hackneyed age. His Chasse à l'homme dates to 1971 and is one of the greatest bits of instrumental psychedelia ever written. No guitars ever screamed shriller, no backing singers ever did operatics more fruity, nothing ever dove so quickly and so urgently down into the swirling morass of full studio sound. Sheer bloody madness.

Pierre Cavalli - Chasse à l'homme
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Apr. 10th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Stereolab - Pack Yr Romantic Mind

Here's an old favourite from the 1993 album Transient Random-Noise Bursts With Announcements. Even with Laetitia Sadler turning all brexity I'm still very fond of the power lounge stylings of Pack Yr Romantic Mind. Part of it is her utterly idiosyncratic phrasing that leaves the vocal refrain indecipherable, but a lot of it has to do with the way that the post-structuralist pop is given unexpected urgency by the insistent guitar that keeps breaking through. Allusory stuff.

Stereolab - Pack Yr Romantic Mind
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Apr. 9th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Ayalew Mesfin - Hasabe

Time to hang up our boots for another year and get back to music that has very little to do with pro wrestling. Here's some 1970s Ethiopean funk from Ayalew Mesfin. His records were suppressed by the Derg junta and have only seen reissue this past decade. Some great stuff to be found in his discography including Hasabe. Maybe it's to do with the shonky production or maybe it's the vulnerable tremor of his voice, but nothing with ostensibly big brass sounds and fuzz guitar should sound this light and graceful. It's as if Mesfin is airwalking on top of this big beast of a tune. Really great effect.

Ayalew Mesfin - Hasabe
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Apr. 8th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Lightning Beat-Man & His No Talent - Wrestling Rock'n'Roll Girl

When filmmakers try to do everything themselves, imposing their vision over an entire project, we think of them as auteurs. When a musician picks up a guitar and sits in front of a kick drum set we tend to think there's something a bit wrong with them. One-man bands have a really bad reputation, though a lot of that is probably to do with the harmonicas.

None of those here, just Hasil Adkins style primitivism turned punk. Beat Zeller gurns and yells his way through primitive outsider rock'n'roll. Wrestling Rock'n'Roll Girl is not done in the name of art, it's raw and untamed rockabilly madness. From the 1994 album Wrestling Rock'n'Roll.

Lightning Beat-Man & His No Talent - Wrestling Rock'n'Roll Girl
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Apr. 7th, 2019

cyberinsekt

FCT (Francesco Cusa Trio) - Sun Ra vs Donald Trump (Wrestling Bout, Refereed by Roland Barthes)

So the way it works is like this: there are good aliens and bad aliens. The good aliens come to Earth to have sex with us (like David Bowie) and teach us how outer space music works (like Sun Ra). The bad aliens just come here and want to eat the planet (like Galactus, Alf, and Donald Trump). Somewhere in the middle of this you either get free jazz or wrestling, depending on who's doing the mixing. Barthes was a big time wrestling fan but his analysis is now pretty out of date, relying on more clearly delineated good guys and bad guys. That's why it works better with aliens.

The Francesco Cusa Trio are Cusa (drums), Gabriele Evangelista (bass) and Simone Graziano (piano), and they're joined in this by sax player Carlo Atti. Not exactly radical but still noisy fun, and Graziano in particular sounds like an interesting player. From the album From Sun Ra to Donald Trump (2017).

FCT (Francesco Cusa Trio) - Sun Ra vs Donald Trump (Wrestling Bout, Refereed by Roland Barthes)
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Apr. 6th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Incapacitants - Term Structure of Professional Wrestling

Sometimes professional wrestling is an act of grace and sometimes an act of violence. Sometimes it is a clown show, and sometimes it is a broken body crawling around in a pool of blood. Term Structure of Professional Wrestling dates to 1994 and the compilation Extreme Music From Japan - possibly other sources too, but Discogs isn't very good on obscure Japanese noise releases. 1994 was the heyday of the Four Pillars of All Japan Pro Wrestling: Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada and Taue. They defined Japanese wrestling for a decade with their hard-hitting technical prowess. Misawa was the senior of the group, debuting in the early '80s and spending 6 years as an athletic youngster wearing the famous Tiger Mask. It was the first era of truly great women's wrestling, with a proliferation of innovative manoeuvres drawing crowds in the tens of thousands. The ultraviolence of deathmatches was just on the horizon, but it was there and then for Incapacitants. Toshiji Mikawa and Fumio Kosakai made music that was unrelenting. Today's track opens with the crash of a cymbal and then continues the sound with static, feedback and electronic destruction like a giant spinning maw devouring several tonnes of scaffolding. And that's wrestling too.

Incapacitants - Term Structure of Professional Wrestling
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Apr. 5th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Evil Usses - Amateur Pro Wrestling

One of the best groups of the 20th century was the incomparable Nihilist Spasm Band. You could say they were pioneers of noise music or free improv, and on one hand it would be true. But mostly what they were was a bunch of friends who got together once a week to create a godawful racket. It wasn't because of some theory of art or because they had an agenda. They just liked the sound it made, and the best of their recordings have a sort of pantomime lunacy about them.

I get the same feeling from the Evil Usses. Their rock music is all about the performance. They are a band who clearly love to play, and it just so happens that they do it with musical instruments. Most of the time, anyway. You get the impression they'd still be doing this even without them, making do with detuned noisemakers and broken toys. Amateur Pro Wrestling is the title track of their 2017 album, and you can hear the fun they are having with their spasmodic prowling, their avant-sax fury and their hammerlock rhythms. It's better than that thing you like.

Evil Usses - Amateur Pro Wrestling
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Apr. 4th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Gonno x Masumura - Mahorama

In Circles is the 2018 release by DJ Gonno and drummer Kazuhiko Masumura. Much of it progresses along familiar lines, mixing space age synthesisers and sharp jazz beats. Actually, that's faint praise: it's exciting, propulsive and often downright irresistible. The track that keeps drawing me back to the album though is the moody, barely tethered Mahorama. The cosmic highnotes of the rest of the album are gone and are replaced by Terry Riley-esque pulsing organ drones and hand percussion. You've waited all night for the stars to disappear, and now it's time to welcome the sun. It's gorgeous.

Gonno x Masumura - Mahorama
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