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Aug. 20th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Mary Halvorson - Cheshire Hotel

Cheshire Hotel sees Mary Halvorson taking good care of this Noël Akchoté tune. Here's a woman who is known for doing absolutely terrifying things with her guitar, and all she wants to do is wrap it up in some cosy reverb and some of her familiar wobbly tremolo. And maybe there's an unexpected slip and slide in a few places, and maybe she's starting to play a bit more fiercely than is comfortable and OH FUCK IT'S GOING ALL OVER THE PLACE AND IT SOUNDS LIKE THE CASSETTE TAPE IS COMPLETELY OFF ITS CAPSTANS.

I really fucking love Mary Halvorson's music, you guys. This is from her 2015 solo album Meltframe.

Mary Halvorson - Cheshire Hotel
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Aug. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Blind Willie Johnson - It's Nobody's Fault But Mine

It's Nobody's Fault But Mine is a gospel blues song recorded in 1927. Even if you don't care for its Christian proselytising, there are few enough Blind Willie Johnson songs in this world that it would be a shame to miss one. His slide guitar cuts like a knife, and his voice is caked with mud and grit. It's just the perfect combination.

Blind Willie Johnson - It's Nobody's Fault But Mine
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Aug. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Lora Logic - Brute Fury

Always love a bit of Lora Logic, either on her own or as part of Essential Logic. Quintessential post-punk popmaking, with her multitracked sandpaper sax and vocals up front over the scratchy, bouncy tune. There's very little fury at all to Brute Fury, which is sung in a blithely unaffected manner. What there is though is some monumentally uneasy dissonance. It's from the 1982 album Pedigree Charm.

Lora Logic - Brute Fury
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Aug. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Ezra Collective - Colonial Mentality

Yes, I know we had Kokoroko's version of Colonial Mentality just a few months ago. You might rightly ask how many Fela Kuti covers by young London jazz/reggae crossover artists we need here at Doklands, and I would be compelled to answer that I do not rightly know. I don't think we're there yet though.

Ezra Collection approach the tune as if it were a dub classic, and in their hands that's exactly what it turns out to be. A lot of the weight of this task falls to bassist TJ Koleoso, as he establishes the new geometry of the tune. It's strong and warm, and along with his brother Femi on drums he's part of one of the finest rhythm units in contemporary music. The whole thing is full of such mind-opening joy. It's from the band's 2016 EP Chapter 7.

Ezra Collective - Colonial Mentality
(alt)

Aug. 16th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Paul Metzger - Of The Passing

At Doklands we've been fans of Paul Metzger for years now. Have you seen Toy Story? Of course you have, it's a terrible, fucked-up film. The villain is a child who indulges in creative play, taking the toys he was given and building strange new hybrids that had never been seen before. It's up to the officially licensed products to save the day!

Paul Metzger's a bit like that with musical instruments. Sure, a guitar is a fine thing, but wouldn't it sound a bit more interesting if you drilled a few holes in it right here? Four strings isn't enough for a banjo. Wouldn't it be much better with 23? And if you played it with a bow?

Of The Passing is a meditative improvisation on this banjo. It trembles and quivers its way into being before opening up with some monumentally warm drones. But with Metzger those extra strings are always there doing their strange harmonic things, cruel little sonic hangnails that cut through even the richest of sounds. This is wonderful stuff straight from the painful heart from the 2013 album Tombeaux.

Paul Metzger - Of The Passing
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Aug. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Lonnie Holley - I Woke Up In A Fucked-Up America

There's a Half Man Half Biscuit song called Descent of the Stiperstones. In it our narrator comes down from the mountains to find a small chandlers, an everythingmonger, and stepping inside finds it caters to all the worst and basest desires of humanity. Panic strikes in the form of dread and he flees the shop, presumably returning to his mountain retreat.

It is much the same in Lonnie Holley's I Woke Up In A Fucked-Up America from his forthcoming album Mith. It's an experimental blues holler, full of disorienting waves of drums and brass bombast, the sound of a man who has woken into a nightmare. It reminds me of the apocalyptic industrial barrage of Test Dept, both in the violence of the sound and the way they use cultural heritage. But I Woke Up... is perhaps more shocking, with its focus on the personal response to the visceral horror of political discourse in 2018. One of the most significant songs of the year, and also one of the best.

Lonnie Holley - I Woke Up In A Fucked-Up America
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Aug. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Susso Seki Singh - Afro Cosmic

Jally Kebba Susso plays the kora, Andrea Seki the harp, and Kiranpal Singh the santoor on this track, the sound of cultural convergence. I reckon that makes about 140 strings between them, which some might argue is too many. Not a chance though, as Afro Cosmic deftly demonstrates. Harps are often described as sounding like streams of running water, and these three each catch the light of producer Youth's electronics in subtly different ways. No getting away from the fact that you're going to end up getting drenched in sound though. From the 2018 release Orange Sunshine.

Susso Seki Singh - Afro Cosmic
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Aug. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Human Experimente - 21st Century Schizoid Man

The Human Experimente is a mostly stalled musical project of the percussionist and composer Jeffrey Fayman. They only recorded a handful tracks, years apart, and with significantly different lineups. Here's one of the first.

I've always been a sucker for decent covers of 21st Century Schizoid Man. Hell, I even enjoy cheap knockoffs. This one, with Maynard James Keenan on vocals and Robert Fripp on guitar is pretty good though. It crams in a lot in under four minutes, full of industrial metal flourishes, jetwash phasing, and Fripp's liquid guitar scream. Possibly overproduced, in that it often sounds like the entire song is being performed inside a turbine engine, but undeniably impressive.

The Human Experimente - 21st Century Schizoid Man
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Aug. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Charles Mingus - Original Faubus Fables

Charlie Mingus first recorded Fables of Faubus for his classic 1959 album Ah Um. It was only two years since Orval Faubus, the segreationist governor of Arkansas, had sent the National Guard against schoolchildren. Colombia Records informed Mingus that he could include the song, but it would have to be an instrumental. He wouldn't record for Colombia for 12 years after that.

The full version of the song appeared the next year on the album Presents Charles Mingus, now entitled Original Faubus Fables. It's absolutely dripping with scorn. Faubus isn't just a racist fuck, he's an ineffective racist fuck, the village idiot of Dixie. And with that, the drunken circus swagger of Mingus' music finally makes sense. No wonder he thought the lyrics were such an important component of this track. It's one of the artistic highpoints of the American civil rights movement.

Charles Mingus - Original Faubus Fables
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Aug. 11th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Bombino - Deran Deran Alkheir (Well Wishes)

Omara Moctar is a Tuareg guitarist who goes by the name Bombino. Deran Deran Alkheir comes from his 2018 release Deran. He sings and plays classic Sahel guitar, his intricately picked ur-blues style has the slightly detuned sound that makes it so immediately recognisable. What I really love on Deran Deran Alkheir though is the drumming of Corey Wilhelm, dry as baked clay and tight has hell. This one won't scare the horses, but it's still so good.

Bombino - Deran Deran Alkheir (Well Wishes)
(alt)

Aug. 10th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Who Cares? - Doctor in Distress

Do They Know It's Christmas? was released at the end of 1984. It set a trend for campaigning songs that were completely unlike the protest songs that had gone before. There was no protest involved. They existed only to raise money and "awareness".

A few months later, the BBC announced that it was going to cancel Doctor Who. The response was immediate. Fans rallied around, wrote lyrics, assembled a host of cast members and professional musicians and rushed to the studio. If famine could be relieved by music, surely they would be able to get their favourite programme back on the telly?

As it happened they did, but no thanks to this astounding ill-judged song. It's wrong on every level, from concept, through execution, right down to its existence as a file on this computer. It's heavy-handed electropop, with a tune more suited to something a school choir might perform. Most of the singers can't, often spectacularly. And of course there was a 12" dance remix. That's what you're getting here: more attempts to hammers that banal refrain into your head. I'm a cruel man.

Who Cares? - Doctor in Distress
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Aug. 9th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Special AKA - War Crimes

The row about anti-Semitism within the Labour Party has thrown up some pretty ugly examples. At first, it was something that you didn't want to believe was really there; it's easy to forget what utterly awful shit people will say if they think their clan has their back. However, the row wasn't kicked off by a few dipshits mouthing off on Twitter, but rather by Labour's refusal to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of the term.

There are a number of points that the two bodies differ on, but one of the most notable is the IHRA's claim that drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is in itself an act of anti-Semitism. Comparing Gaza to a WWII era ghetto would be right out, for example.

You couldn't get away with a song like War Crimes in this era. It was written in protest against the Israeli bombing and terrorist attacks on Beruit during the siege of 1982, and didn't bother the charts in the slightest. Lyrically it was a hamfisted polemic in its Israeli war crimes/Nazi war crimes analogies, and you can see why the IHRA worry about such things. The tune however is one of Jerry Dammers' best, a minor key Egyptian reggae number with overlapping time signatures.

The Special AKA's more successful protest song was Nelson Mandela. It's okay to criticise apartheid, but the mass murder of civilians is off limits.

The Special AKA - War Crimes
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Aug. 8th, 2018

cyberinsekt

MMOSS - Epistle to Shon

I like MMOSS enough to respect their desire to capitalise all of their letters. They're a New Hampshire based psych outfit. Sometimes their songs are extended jams, sometimes wisps of light, and sometimes they're like Epistle to Shon, from their 2011 debut i. It's an unresolved fanfare, an organ drone, a single chord that hovers like a sinister cloud. It gradually shifts from 1/1 time into 4/4, but there's no story here, just heavy rain. Admirable in its vision and determination, stunning in execution.

MMOSS - Epistle to Shon
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Aug. 7th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Neckbeard Deathcamp - Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis)

The best joke band of 2018 aren't exactly funny. Neckbeard Deathcamp are the perfect black metal response to post-Gamergate online life, and their satire is so spot on that it goes straight past funny and into depressing. Whether it's the alt-right, chan culture, meme warriors or incels, Neckbeard Deathcamp have a grisly spot put aside for their targets. Their album White Nationalism is for Basement Dwelling Losers dropped last month and riled the expected audience. Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis) takes aim at trilby-wearing miladyers and consequently turns the pomp to 11. Chances are you'll need to check out the bandcamp page for the lyrics though.

Neckbeard Deathcamp - Please Respond (I Showed You My Penis)
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Aug. 6th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Blind Cave Salamander - Magma

The Olm is native to Slovenia and Croatia, and frequently lives its life in total darkness. It has no eyes and, in its natural underground habitat, has no skin pigmentation. Although similar in appearance to the American axolotl the two species are not related. On the rare occasions when these blind cave salamanders made it to the surface world they were believed to be the spawn of dragons.

These helpless little dragonlings are also an international post-rock/ambient band. The best known member, certainly here at Doklands, is probably cellist Julia Kent. We loved her 2015 album Asperities. Magma has the same sombre mood as much of her solo work, but describes a much flintier landscape. It's full of abrasive surfaces that finally crack open, revealing the abyssal depths beneath. That's the other thing people used to believe about salamanders though, isn't it? From the 2009 album Troglobite.

Blind Cave Salamander - Magma
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Aug. 5th, 2018

cyberinsekt

John Abercrombie - Timeless

I know we all like to pretend to be musical purists here, but we all have a few skeletons lurking somewhere. Take me for instance: there was a time when I actually owned not one, but two Marillion albums. You don't want to know what lurks at the bottom of my singles box. So with that established it's time to tell you that playing on this jazz fusion classic are John Abercrombie (guitar), Jack DeJohnette (drums) and none other than Jan "Miami Vice" Hammer.

Forgive, but never forget.

Timeless is the title track from Abercrombie's 1975 debut album. His playing is lugubrious and introspective, DeJohnette is sparse beyond all measure, and Hammer, well, Jan Hammer plays some of the warmest and most uplifting keyboard drones you'll ever hear. Listening to this is a 12 minute warm bath for the ears.

John Abercrombie - Timeless
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Aug. 4th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Soweto Kinch - Centricity

Saxophonist Soweto Kinch straddles the parallel worlds of jazz and hip hop and attempts some kind of synthesis. For his 2016 album Nonagram that came through a rigorous mathematical approach, though you wouldn't necessarily know it from the album's funky opener Centricity. It flits between dancefloor beats with some that are altogether tricksier, but the track's greatest achievement is the astonishing detuned sinkholes it periodically collapses into. They start off sounding shocking but after a few listens they become utterly inevitable - it's masterfully done.

Soweto Kinch - Centricity
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Aug. 3rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Hookworms - Away/Towards

Okay, I need your help with this. I decided to put on Hookworms' 2013 album Pearl Mystic, and Away/Towards was doing its familiar psychedelic post-rock thing, and then I noticed something I hadn't heard in the song before. When the song enters its euphoric rock'n'roll endphase, it starts off Sympathy For The Devil and then becomes Sister Ray. It does, doesn't it? Never noticed that before, but what a fucking superb pedigree.

Hookworms - Away/Towards
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Aug. 2nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Stereolab - Moogie Wonderland

I love the perversity of Stereolab. Moogie Wonderland is an early track of theirs, but the band had already found their kosmische lounge mojo. Here they are in session for the John Peel show in 1993 playing what by all accounts should have been a charming little retro homage, with Laetitia Sadier in full "ba-ba-ba" space age pop flow. And it would have been too, had not pincushion feedback been scattered throughout. It's a spiked whine that sits in total contrast to the mellifluous sounds beside it. Some other versions of this song play down the tension and discomfort between these two, but this is the one I return to. You can find it on the ABC Music - Radio 1 Sessions compilation.

Stereolab - Moogie Wonderland
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Jul. 30th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Wytches - Gravedweller

Here's a hard-edged garage surf horror story from Brighton-based DIYers The Wytches. This 2014 single should grab you in the very first second with its perfectly judged reverb. Treat Gravedweller as the sort of cinematic gothic camp the title suggests and you'll have a great time with it.

The Wytches - Gravedweller
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