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Apr. 20th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Ruins - Gold Stone

I'm never quite sure what to make of Ruins, the duo of Tatsuya Yoshida and bassist Ryuichi Masuda. On the one hand there's the intricate heaviness, the embracing of chaos, the ability to incorporate funk phrasing. And on the other hand there's the half-yodelled vocals. And they're not just any old vocals, no, they're done in an invented language, just like the dodgiest of all prog merchants, Magma.

(Why was it okay for the Cocteau Twins to do this, but not Magma? I don't know, just that one was breathtaking and the other was hideously embarrassing.)

Ruins at least had a sense of humour about what they were doing. After playing with their distorted rhythms and eccentric vocal patterns for a few minutes, they chose to close Gold Stone with the sound of the blues. It's wonderfully out of place. From the 1991 album Burning Stone.

Ruins - Gold Stone
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Apr. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Bobby McGees - Kabhi Khushi, Khabie Gham

Whatever happened to the Bobby McGees? They released one full length album in 2009, L'Appropriation Bourgoisie De La Bobby McGees, and were set for a followup in 2013, but it never emerged. The Brighton-based quartet played jazz-tinged antifolk on ukuleles, and would surely have been insufferable were it not for the rarity of their poison and the depths of their irony. Certainly one of the finest bands ever to write songs about Wittgenstein.

None of which really prepares you for Kabhi Khushi, Khabie Gham. It sits as a quiet moment of reflection amongst the artifice, fragile and pastoral and vulnerable. For a band more prone to mocking their own emotional pain, this picture of depression is quite hard to take. Beautiful though.

The Bobby McGees - Kabhi Khushi, Khabie Gham
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Apr. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Boredoms - Super Are

Classic bit of Japanese psych from the album Super æ (1998). Super Are comes on like a piece of late night Terry Riley organ improv, but an alchemical scream from Yamatsuka Eye transmutes it into furious electric sun worship. Boredoms sound as if they are trying to play themselves into a higher state of consciousness through exertion and exhaustion, especially drummers Atari and EDA. Should be part of everyone's music collection.

Boredoms - Super Are
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Apr. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Andrew Wasylyk - The Howff

Give me an album with a title like Themes for Buildings and Spaces and I am going to be all over it. Perhaps that's the problem, as my raised expectations left Andrew Wasylyk's musical psychogeography of Dundee seeming a little slight. Thankfully the closing track, The Howff, is a bit special. Named after the city centre cemetery, it's a serene piano and drone meditation with the just the right lingering edge of chill and menace. The everyday is built upon layer after layer of subdued horror.

Andrew Wasylyk - The Howff
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Apr. 16th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Oregon - Beppo

Look, all I'm saying is that IF you're going to listen to world jazz fusion music, at least listen to something that'll put a huge smile on your face. And that's Beppo, the lead track of Oregon's album Always, Never and Forever. What it lacks in edge or soul it more than makes up for by having every single note sound like happiness. You can tell how much fun Ralph Towner and his band had in playing this. Or does everything have to sound miserable, I forget the rules.

Oregon - Beppo
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Apr. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Hexa - There Never Was

Now this is very much my shit. Hexa are the duo of Lawrence English and Jamie Stewart from Xiu Xiu. There Never Was is taken from their album Factory Photographs (2016), recorded to accompany an exhibition by David Lynch. If your idea of a good time is walking over oil-stained floors, past crumbling concrete and under looming H-beams looking for a stray patch of light, then is this ever the soundtrack for you. Cavernous industrial ambient filled with giant drones and the ghosts of machinery.

Hexa - There Never Was
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Apr. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Canterbury Clerkes & London Serpent Trio - Sportive Little Trifler

Pleasures and Treasures is a compilation of recordings on the Saydisc label, and it might just be the least rock'n'roll album ever made. It's crammed with handbells, singing nuns, musical boxes, wax cylinder recordings, and weird vintage instruments. Sportive Little Trifler falls mostly into the last category.

The serpent is an amazing musical instrument. It's made of wood, or sometimes cured leather, and is basically a long tube that's curled around into the shape of a snake. It has woodwind fingerholes like a woodwind, and a brass mouthpiece. It's also exceptionally difficult to make a noise with it that doesn't sound like fart escaping from a dead cow. Very few people play it well, but if you're interested check out Michel Godard accompanying the great Linda Sharrock.

Anyway, the London Serpent Trio are an entirely different matter, as are the Canterbury Clerkes. This is heritage music, preserved against all the odds from its 18th century origins (probably, I'm no expert here), with little regard as to whether it should be remembered. It's the sort of music that was enjoyed by the University classes, therefore it was printed, therefore it has survived. And yet once you get past the mannered jollity of men who are clearly in period costume and singing in voices far posher than is good for them, there's just something about this tune. I've had it lodged in my head for 30 years now and it's not going anywhere, so I'm passing it on. Treat this with caution.

Canterbury Clerkes & London Serpent Trio - Sportive Little Trifler
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Apr. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Black Dice - Seabird

Amazing to think that Black Dice have been making music together for over 20 years now. Seabird is the opening track to their 2002 album Beaches and Canyons, by which time they were leaving their earlier confrontational noise music behind for a much broader sonic palette. It's a piece that sounds like a studio field recording, as if the band had assembled a collection of small noisemaking devices, wound them up and hit record. A small electronic bird chirps to itself; a half broken radio bursts into static booms; a gentle semitone ripple washes over the soundscape: as far as noisemaking goes, this is a really painterly approach. Difficult noise music, it's not just for tuff guys.

Black Dice - Seabird
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Apr. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Clock DVA - Sensorium (original single mix)

Industrial music isn't supposed work on the dancefloor. It isn't supposed to have tunes. It certainly isn't supposed to have saxophones. Nobody told Clock DVA any of this, because they were from Sheffield. Adi Newton had been part of the mid-'70s electronic music scene there that gave birth to so many unorthodox bands, but even there he was an outlier. He wanted music that was more experimental, less easy to label.

Sensorium was certainly that. It would be a snappy enough bit of post-punk funk, tuneful and fun but probably forgotten if not for one thing: the extraordinary soprano sax contribution of Charlie Collins. He goes from playing simple arpeggiated figures to full blown free jazz improvisations. You might know the rule where the sax stops playing while the vocalist sings, but not Collins. He inhabits almost every single moment of this, and more to the point this isn't some harmonically limited rock sax, it is wild and free and pure. This is the version that appears as the b-side to their debut single, the 1981 release 4 Hours, but it can also be found on their album Thirst.

Clock DVA - Sensorium (original single mix)
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Apr. 11th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - The Sun Roars Into View

The Sun Roars Into View is the opening track of Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld's 2015 collaboration Never Were The Way She Was. It races into being with Stetson's multi-tracked pulseriding reeds while Neufeld's violin sketches the landscape around them, a monorail flashing past lonely streetlights. Bursting at the seams from too much emotion.

Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld - The Sun Roars Into View
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Apr. 10th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Jurica Jelić - Gray and Blue

Jurica Jelić is a Croatian musician probably best known for his use of the fretless guitar. From there, it's an inevitable step into the world of microtonal music, of xenharmonics, and the granddaddy of all music synthesis languages, csound. Gray and Blue comes from his 2011 release Microtonal Instruments, and it's a surprisingly beautiful piece. Using only simple electronic instruments it contrasts cool, clear melodies with some really bluesy, Louisiana style slurs. The formal primitivism won't appeal to everyone, but I think he handles the limitations of his resources very finely here.

Jurica Jelić - Gray and Blue
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Apr. 9th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Noura Mint Seymali - Soub Hanak

Here's another track by the Mauritanian singer Noura Mint Seymali. Her voice is something that you don't often get to hear, an emphatic and commanding instrument that keeps a slight mischief about it. Soub Hanak comes from her 2016 album Arbina, and it's a real mix of influences. The bass and drums come straight out of Western rock, the guitar is pure desert, and Seymali also contributes the fluid-sounding arbina harp. It's a song that's forever being pulled between the supple and the rigid.

Noura Mint Seymali - Soub Hanak
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Apr. 7th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Bill Frisell - Pipeline

Ah, the unmistakable sound of Bill Frisell. The moment his sunlit guitar cuts through the psychotropic drone that announces Pipeline is a genuinely great moment. From thereon in it's an instrumental exploration of surf guitar and musical lens flare. Sounds to blow your mind from the 2014 album Guitar In The Space Age!.

Bill Frisell - Pipeline
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Apr. 6th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sonar - Structure 3.7

It's been too long since we've had any Swiss minimalist groove jazz, or zen funk, or whatever the slightly disturbing kids are calling it. Sonar (Sonic Architecture) are a quartet led by guitarist Stephan Thelen, and they play their locked-down rhythmic explorations with exemplary seriousness. Everything interlocks so precisely that even the slightest wiggle by one of the band causes huge ripples. Structure 3.7 comes from their 2012 album A Flaw of Nature. It's dry as old woodchip, filled with some serious harmonics, and manages to somehow be as sinister as balls. Bloody great.

Sonar - Structure 3.7
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Apr. 5th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Gasper Lawal - Witch-Dance

Gasper Lawal is a Nigerian percussionist, Witch-Dance is taken from his 1985 album Abio'sunni. At first you might think that it was little more than a showcase for his talents, light on the song but heavy on the pyrotechnics. Give it time though and it becomes some of the most intricate and amazing Afro-funk you'll ever hear. Could it have got there 5 minutes sooner? Well probably, but if Lawal wants to line everything up before he knocks them out I'm not going to get in his way.

Gasper Lawal - Witch-Dance
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Apr. 4th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kit Downes - Black Is The Colour

Kit Downes usually plays jazz keyboards, but his latest album for ECM records takes him to some particularly austere territory. Obsidian is a record of church organ pieces, partly composed and partly improvised. I've been listening to it a lot of late, finding myself intrigued as to how something so alien-sounding can still pack such emotional heft. It's filled with dissonant overtones, fragile hesitancy, and terrible pain.

I'm also perplexed as to how it can sound so much like '70s avant-garde doyen David Bedford, who I normally cannot stand.

Here's Downes' instrumental treatment of the old Scottish folk song Black is the Colour (Of My True Love's Hair). I don't know if he was listening to the version by Luciano Berio, but they both find similar threads though the tune. Amazing stuff, totally in and of the moment.

Kit Downes - Black Is The Colour
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Apr. 3rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Park Jiha - All Souls' Day

Park Jiha is a musician who mixes traditional Korean instruments with one more familiar to a western audience. She's just released her first album, Communion, and its jazz-inflected minimalism is exactly what we like here at Doklands. But even more up our alley is the track All Souls' Day, in which Jiha gives her predilection for acerbic dissonance free rein. Whether it's the ominous buzz of the strings of her yanggeum dulcimer, or the screaming reeds of her piri, she is able to tear through the veil of orderliness. It's fiercely emotive, powerful stuff.

Park Jiha - All Souls' Day
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Apr. 2nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Trumans Water - All Wet West Of Washington

Trumans Water stood out from their 90s indie noise punk contemporaries with music that was altogether looser and more free. They combined the jangling discord of Sonic Youth with the open possibilities of The Fall and Captain Beefheart. All Wet West Of Washington comes from their 1994 album Godspeed the Punchline, and it's as close to swagger as you can get with those mutant genes.

Trumans Water - All Wet West Of Washington
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Apr. 1st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Balanescu Quartet - Wine's So Good

Maria Tănase was a Romanian singer who died in 1963, but that didn't stop Alexander Balanescu from collaborating with her on his 2005 album Maria T. Her vocal recordings are woven seamlessly into his music, music that is often a world away from the broken hearted folk chansons of the the originals. The original Romanian music is still there of course, but at the same time it's both classical minimalist and jazz. Check out the brilliantly witty interpretation of Wine's So Good, Tănase's ode to sexy drinking. Sure, it might be all over the place and embarrassing its more sober associates, but it's music that becomes complete through all of its broken components rubbing against each other. They're all so terribly wrong, but put them together and the magic happens.

Balanescu Quartet - Wine's So Good
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Mar. 31st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Noxagt - Soft Sugar

Chunky architectural industrial noise rock from this Norwegian trio. Don't be fooled by the title, Soft Sugar is cast in purest concrete, its post-punk funk bassline making oblique corners that refuse parallel lines. Massively enjoyable sonic brutalism from the album Noxagt (2006).

Noxagt - Soft Sugar
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