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Feb. 19th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Duds - No Remark

Classic DIY post-punk messthetics here in the vein of acts like the Diagram Brothers and the Fire Engines. Or it would be, except it's actually from 2016. Duds are a four piece from Manchester who play a stripped down and awkward musique brut, raw and unadorned and laying the structure bare. They're emotionally flat and their guitars are naked, but the pace and invention is thrilling and infectious. Proper art music this. No Remark comes from the band's debut EP, Wet Reduction.

Duds - No Remark
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Feb. 18th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Vels Trio - 40 Point

On this track from the 2017 EP Yellow Ochre the Brighton based trio of Jack Stephen Oliver (keys), Cameron Dawson (bass) and Dougal Taylor (drums) are joined on 40 Point by Shabaka Hutchings. He's not there to steal their thunder though - this track is a showcase for the formidably trippy playing of Dawson. He's got a earthy tone that fills the sound with dry warmth, and a firm grasp of dubwise hesitancy. Great stuff.

Vels Trio - 40 Point
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Feb. 17th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Hiroshi Yoshimura - Water Copy

Hiroshi Yoshimura was a Japanese composer whose music sometimes unfairly gets shoved towards the new age end of the spectrum. It's true that he was fascinated by ambient music, but he got there on a path that led though Eno and John Cage. You can hear some of the Cage influences on Water Copy, the opening track from his 1982 debut Music for Nine Postcards. It's a piece for analog synth and Fender Rhodes. The synth does indeed provide the sonic furniture and wallpaper of ambient music. It's there to sketch out a space. But the piano part is what makes this rather special - it's all single notes that hang in the air and then fall. Not sure if it was based on Cage's Cheap Imitation (which in turn was derived from Satie's Socrate) but it seems more than plausible. Thoughtful and sincere music.

Hiroshi Yoshimura - Water Copy
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Feb. 16th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Szun Waves - Moon Runes

Szun Waves play synths, and sometimes drums and sax. This appears to have led to a fair bit of confusion. It seems that any band who include a saxophone in their line-up must always be playing some form of jazz. Even if it doesn't sound like jazz, it must be, those jazz musicians must have done something to disguise it. Jazz is such clever music after all, not for the likes of you or me.

Well some Szun Waves tracks are certainly jazz, but Moon Runes is clearly not. It's an improvised piece that owes more to baroque and minimalist musical tropes than anything else. It's like pipe organ music, with celestial tones right next to bristly sonic textures and massive 64 foot interruptions. This is music that will genuinely fuck with your speakers if you're not careful. Colossal space music from a different age from the album New Hymn to Freedom (2018).

Szun Waves - Moon Runes
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Feb. 15th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Yazmin Lacey - Something My Heart Trusts

Don't know if any of you will enjoy this as it's not the sort of thing I often share with you. Yazmin Lacey is a young British jazz/soul singer who has a distinctive and charming voice. She sings with a nasal buzz and a studied carelessness, as if she were still singing along with her favourite songs in her bedroom. I think it's terrific. And the music sounds like a smoothly tuned and particularly powerful car, never straining, never showing off, but capable of tight and comfortable turns. It's from her 2018 EP When The Sun Dips 90 Degrees.

Yazmin Lacey - Something My Heart Trusts
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Feb. 14th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Dead Moon - 54/40 Or Fight

Look, I love modern intelligent punk rock as much as the next guy, but punk doesn't have to be smart to be great. 54/40 Or Fight may take its name from a 19th century American political slogan, but at its heart its just a big belligerent rock'n'roll song. Of course, political slogans can also be pretty belligerent as well, especially when they're about sending in the troops to annex foreign territory, so maybe it's a better fit that at first it might seem. Anyway, there's not much historical weight behind this one, just inchoate anger, tension and a fucking great tune. From the album Unknown Passage (1989).

Dead Moon - 54/40 Or Fight
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Feb. 13th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Welf Dorr Unit - Blood

The Welf Door Unit are a US/German quartet led by the titular saxophonist Dorr. They are keeping alive the fire fusion tradition of classic New York acts like James Ulmer, and they're keeping alive the spirit of free funk. I dunno, is it dated to play passionate (if sometimes meandering) electric jazz rock fusion? Blood is the title track of the band's 2018 debut, and it's four minutes of gritty urban harmolodics. It may wear its influences like an enamel badge but it's still really good.

Welf Dorr Unit - Blood
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Feb. 12th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Nisennenmondai - Ikkyokume

"One chord is fine. Two chords is pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz." - Lou Reed
Lou Reed would have approved of Ikkyokume. It's from Nisennenmondai's 2005 EP Tori, later collected as half of the Tori/Neij (2008) album. The Japanese trio take a very personal approach to noise rock, and at time let their psych influences show through. It's caustic and repetitive riffing, with drummer Sayaka Himeno and bassist Yuri Zaikawanot finding plenty of fury to occupy themselves with even as they cut the unit length down to a single beat. And at every moment you can still dance to it.

Nisennenmondai - Ikkyokume
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Feb. 11th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Hamid Drake, Albert Beger, William Parker - Funky Lacy

Funky Lacy comes from the album Evolving Silence, Vol. 2 (2006). While it's credited to all three guys, it would certainly be acceptable to call it an Albert Beger record: he wrote three of the four tracks, and he's the main melodic voice in the trio. Unfortunately, on this pick he is probably the least interesting performer - not to say there's anything wrong with his sax playing. Quite the contrary, some of his leaps are daring and exhilarating fun, it's just that anyone would be blown away by the amazing rhythm unit that is Parker and Drake. William Parker has been on so many records that it would be easy to take him for granted, but here he really shines with a bass that is both bone dry and sinuous as hell. It's impossible to stay still to, and having Hamid Drake sketching around the edges makes it even better. Top quality body jazz.

Hamid Drake, Albert Beger, William Parker - Funky Lacy
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Feb. 10th, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Flatlands Collective - Five to Twelve

The Flatlands Collective is not a band name that inspires confidence. It sounds as if it should belong to an insipid Mercury-nominated conservatory jazz outfit who wear terribly nice shirts. Thankfully - though I cannot speak for their shirts - The Flatlands Collective are nothing of the sort. The band brings together Dutch saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra and a bunch of Chicago-based collaborators.

They only released two albums, Gnomade (2007) and Maatjes (2008). Five to Twelve comes from the former, and it sounds like a broken mechanical device swinging in and out of sync with itself. Is it being played in multiple time signatures? That would be my guess. It's an satisfyingly bewildering experience as you latch on to the various threads that run through this knotty piece.

The Flatlands Collective - Five to Twelve
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Feb. 9th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Exploded View - Summer Came Early

Anika, the singer with Exploded View, is a phenomenon. We've listened to her music here before, and no-one has sung with the expansive blankness she does since the days of Nico. With her band Exploded View she doesn't have quite the same starkness that she did recording under her own name, but that's no bad thing: it's less sprechgesang and more actually sung. Maybe it's extra confidence on her part, but the extra melodicism is a success. Summer Came Early is the title track of the band's 2017 EP, and it's a sort of pastoral krautrock. Love the sonic textures at play here, finely grained and sleepy, and of course that remarkable voice.

Exploded View - Summer Came Early
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Feb. 8th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Geraldo Pino & the Heartbeats - Power to the People

Back in 1974 you could call for revolution and for the funky drummer in the same damn song. At least you could if you were Geraldo Pino. Emma Goldman would have loved him. Here's his classic Power to the People, the hot sound of Sierra Leonean insurrection from the album Let's Have A Party. Messy and intoxicating.

Geraldo Pino & the Heartbeats - Power to the People
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Feb. 7th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Sunwatchers - Nose Beers

"Sunwatchers stand in solidarity with the dispossessed, impoverished and embattled people of the world." That's a quote from the cover of the band's second album, the 2018 release II, and it's a great sentiment. That'll only get you so far though, I mean George Michael had fucking great praxis and his music was still everything that was wrong with pop. Sorry George, I'm sure you would have been gutted to hear that from a critic of my stature.

Sunwatchers though, they're on another level. When they're not psychedelic they're noise rock, and when they're not noise rock they're liberation theory free jazz warriors. And all the time they are filled with the power of punk. What is the power of punk? Well, it's a curious thing. It makes one man weep, and another man sing. It can change a robber baron into an ascetic monk. It's more than music, that's the power of punk.

Nose Beers is the opener from II and it's Sunwatchers in their most distilled and powerful form. It sounds like Amps For Christ meeting 75 Dollar Bill meeting Albert Ayler. 2 minutes of intense delight.

Sunwatchers - Nose Beers
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Feb. 6th, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Stranglers - Walk On By

What, the fucking Stranglers? What the hell has this blog come to? Yeah, I know what you mean, they were for the most part a load of sexist rockist shite. The thing is the other day I listened to the extended version of their cover of Walk On By (1978) for the first time ever and was totally blown away by it. Doing a Bacharach/David song the band come alive, freed of the compulsion to pretend to be punk all the time. They have so much fun with the tune, filling it with chunky riffs and crazy discursive organ. Think back to every fond memory you might have of Stranglers songs, and I'll bet you Dave Greenfield's keyboard is right there in the middle of it. What an underrated musician, what a total joy.

The Stranglers - Walk On By
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Feb. 5th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Wipers - Potential Suicide

Wipers were a band who never quite fit in the conventional punk narrative. They came from Portland, Oregon and sounded nothing like their Cali contemporaries, let alone the NY or DC scenes. It's a sound that has aged really well: Potential Suicide is a rich bass rumble, a tightly compressed spring. Perfect roadtrip music from the band's 1979 debut album Is This Real?

Wipers - Potential Suicide
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Feb. 4th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Universal Indians w. Joe McPhee - Skullduggery

I'm a total sucker for the sort of free jazz that sets down a solid groove and has the horn players spitting fire like they're trying not to swallow Satan's cum. Skullduggery is just that eventually, although the road there is a rough scramble through breathtaking territory. Universal Indians are the trio of John Dikeman, Jon Rune Strøm, and Tollef Østvang. They're joined in this live set by veteran horn player Joe McPhee who started his career playing fire, spent a while in gnarly academic jazz, and these days is enjoying a second flush of youthful vigour. This is the title track of their 2015 album, and listening to it is like climbing a mountain, taking in the scenery and then powering on down.

Universal Indians w. Joe McPhee - Skullduggery
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Feb. 3rd, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Space Lady - Ghost Riders In The Sky

There is no music more serene than that of The Space Lady. She sings pop songs accompanied only by her Casiotone keyboard, full of low budget swooshiness and inbuilt rhythm tracks. Her voice though, that's the key thing. It's clear and precise and it tells you not to worry, it tells you that she had a little smoke this morning and everything's okay. It's easy, it's sweet and it's the most charming sound there is. Here's her version of the western classic Ghost Riders in the Sky, with a few bars of Rawhide slipped in for good measure. You can find it on her 2013 greatest hits album and you should, because it's one of the finest outsider music tracks.

The Space Lady - Ghost Riders In The Sky
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Feb. 2nd, 2019

cyberinsekt

Charalambides - Into The Earth

What starts in tiredness and death grows into sorrow and strength. Into The Earth is a song from Charamlambides' 2011 album Exile. It begins as an acoustic contemplation with the weariness of Tom Carter's guitar weary into its very bones, while Christina Carter sings with compassion on the inevitable end of all things. And after the death, the strength begins: a massive warm electric drone to offer comfort in this world of sorrow, and and electric guitar skirling like funereal pipes. It's tragic music, but imbued with the certainty of a new dawn.

Charalambides - Into The Earth
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Feb. 1st, 2019

cyberinsekt

Emperor Penguin - Mysterious Pony

Primitive sampling, synth-struck vocals, mall-tastic lounge funk, childlike electronics, goofiness, geekiness, stupidity: all of these in equal measure made up Emperor Penguin. The duo of DJ Lazlo Minimart and Melvoin Stanke cut a deep pile shag rug through the millennium with cheesy outfits and even cheesier production, but there's a real joy to their inventiveness and commitment. Mysterious Pony (2000) is the title track of their third and final album. The title was chosen by the band's fans which is a fine testament to their taste. Homebrewed music, loaded with creative juice.

Emperor Penguin - Mysterious Pony
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Jan. 31st, 2019

cyberinsekt

Ralph Stanley - Will The Circle Be Unbroken

If, like me, you are a complete and utter pranny know Will The Circle Be Unbroken via the Pentangle version from 1971 then you probably think of it as a psych/folk number. It's far older than that though, originally written as a hymn and then popularised in the country tradition by The Carter Family.

Here's the late and very great bluegrass musician Ralph Stanley tackling the song. It's a late recording, dating back to 2007 and the compilation album Anchored in Love: A Tribute to June Carter Cash. Stanley sings and plays banjo backed by his band: no fanciness, no pretension, but there was no better singer of a funeral song than Ralph. He had a voice that was on first name terms with death, and an instrument that was life personified.

Ralph Stanley - Will The Circle Be Unbroken
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