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Mar. 22nd, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Brotherhood of Lizards - Rusty Iron Sun

Psychedelia in the UK had a unique and distinctive style. It was parochial, and it was nostalgic. It was quaint. It was a gentle music, in the same way that twee pop was gentle music a couple of decades later, the least rock'n'roll of all the genres. When the '80s psych revival came around, much of that style came to be repeated. In part it was a love of the music, in part it was a sociopolitical rejection of American politics and with them American cultural influences.

I'm not sure which side of the line The Brotherhood of Lizards fell, but they were without a doubt as cobbled street and hanging basket as fuck. They toured to promote their 1989 album Lizardland not by van but by bicycle, a 600 mile round trip of busking and gigs with their instruments strapped to their backs. You've got to admire that sort of dedication; performative eccentricity be damned, this was ecologically motivated praxis.

Here's my favourite number from Lizardland. Rusty Iron Sun is nostalgic, yes, but it's nostalgic for an industrial past. It subverts the Edwardian yearnings of the subgenre into something much more directly political. And it doesn't hurt that it's a great tune either, drawled out indie raga folk that catches the weak British sunlight.

The Brotherhood of Lizards - Rusty Iron Sun
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Mar. 21st, 2019

cyberinsekt

Michael Gordon - Industry

I've written about Industry before. Just a few days ago, in fact, but somehow neglected to post it. Rather than have you miss out on this extraordinary music, I'm giving it another go.

It's a work for solo amplified cello and distortion pedal, written for Bang On A Can All Stars member Maya Beiser. This recording is of her playing it, taken from the 1995 BOACAS album named after this piece. It turns out that fx and the powerfully emotive cello are a natural pairing. Industry rises in tension to an almost unbearable level, whereupon rhythmic pustules of noise burst from the music, abrasive as a rusty cheesegrater and awkwardly mechanical. To hear the cello tear away from them at Industry's conclusion is a sickening relief. Dramatic as fuck.

Michael Gordon - Industry
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Mar. 20th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Momus - I Was A Maoist Intellectual

So I was browsing the British Museum catalogue and this Maoist teapot caught my eye. Nothing special designwise, it's just that you don't tend to think of Maoist teapots as being a thing. Neither, I would guess, would you think of Maoist intellectuals in the record industry as being a thing, and if Nicholas Currie, AKA Momus had his way they certainly wouldn't be.

Taken from his 1988 album Tender Pervert, today's song is a delicate and savage satire on those who consume fashion dressed up as ideology, and those who pander to them. And for all its wordplay and erudition, it's also agreeably silly: witness the lightness of the internal rhymes and rhythms, the novelty whistles. Find a copy of the lyrics and sing along to this perfectly deadpan ironic synthpop, I recommend it.

Momus - I Was A Maoist Intellectual
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Mar. 19th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Vampire Rodents - Toten Faschist

The only good fascist being, of course, a toten faschist. Vampire Rodents tackled this subject with their usual collage disorientation techniques. In this case they combined dark metal with frenetic orchestral strings, half heard spoken word fragments and somehow manage to fill every part of the sonic spectrum with unbearable dread. Overwhelming, confusing, slightly nauseating even, but undeniably powerful, Toten Faschist is from their 1993 album Lullably Land.

Vampire Rodents - Toten Faschist
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Mar. 18th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Vecchio - Megaton

To write history is to colonise the past. Stay alive long enough and you'll see it done all over the place. History tells us that Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, which is a surprise to anyone who was awake during the 1980s. Unlike Reagan, who spent most of his time napping; also consulting astrologers, forgetting the difference between his life and his film roles, acting as a frontman for the military industrial complex and blaming pollution on trees. The guy was a cretin, and giving him any credit whatsoever stops us from recognising all the work done by the Eastern Europeans who actually freed themselves. But hey, saying Bozo Polypface did it all is a better story, amiright?

Likewise, compilation albums tell us that Vecchio were an Afrofunk band. Well, they were, sort of. But they were a Spanish Afrofunk band, signed to a library music label. Oh don't get me wrong, the music is top drawer stuff: just listen to the mighty organ and bass riffs on Megaton and you'll soon hear what's what. It's just... well if I didn't think knowing the context for what you're listening to was important I wouldn't have been writing this for 12 years.

Vecchio - Megaton
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Mar. 16th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Chicago Afrobeat Project - Talking Bush

One of the key facets of Afrobeat is that it's a beat that never stops. Just about every great song sounds like it could go on forever; all that it is is a slice of eternity. It is by nature very alive. But even within this very busy genre the music of the Chicago Afrobeat Project stands out. It takes musical density to a new level; layers stacked on layers stacked on layers like some kind of polyrhythmic cube. Some interesting instrumental choices here too - I'm not sure about the keyboard sounds, and certainly not the vintage mic treatment for the horn intro. But the beat is so solidly unbreakable that this feels like the weakest of complaints. Find this on the band's self-titled, self-released 2005 debut.

Chicago Afrobeat Project - Talking Bush
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Mar. 15th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Paavoharju - Patsaatkin Kuolevat

Of course you come to Doklands for music by ascetic Christians from Finland. Why wouldn't you? Paavoharju are at the very least on extended hiatus. We've heard nothing from them since their last release in 2013, the album Joko Sinä Tulet Tänne Alas Tai Minä Nousen Sinne which mixed their familiar lo-fi avant folk with medievalisms. Patsaatkin Kuolevat is full of crunchy detuned electronics, field recordings, operatic backing singers, and up front the spoken rap of hip-hop artist Paperi T. The modern world is being dragged down into the band's dark subconscious, and it may never emerge unscathed.

Paavoharju - Patsaatkin Kuolevat
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Mar. 14th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Crime And The City Solution - Six Bells Chime

Six Bells Chime was released in 1986 on Crime And The City Solution's debut album Room of Lights. It's best known from its performance in Wim Wenders' masterpiece Wings of Desire.

At that time the band was formed of Simon Bonney and the former members of The Birthday Party. Based in Cold War West Berlin they made the perfect music for the time and the place: isolated and aching. Six Bells Chime comes over as surf noir, with the melodrama of gothic cabaret. It is a musical wound, suppurating with emotion.

Crime And The City Solution - Six Bells Chime
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Mar. 13th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Kelly Moran - Helix

Some more prepared piano music for you today. On Helix Kelly Moran alters her instrument to give it a music box quality, naive and childlike yet tumbling with minimalist arpeggiated urgency. This is paired with muscular, structural synths. It's a classic pairing, and what it lacks in drama it more than makes up for in dizzying charm, especially when the electronics start to fizz and hiss. Fans of Anna Meredith should certainly give this a listen. From the 2018 album Ultraviolet.

Kelly Moran - Helix
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Mar. 12th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Floating Points - Kelso Dunes

It's been quite a few years now since Sam Shepherd AKA Floating Points broke onto the scene. In that time he went from deep DJ sets, through a love of free jazz and minimalism and emerged blinking with his 2017 album Reflections - Mojave Desert in the light of post-rock. The lengthy Kelso Dunes is not a guitar-led piece though. There's an everpresent wash of pellucid synth tones but the track is dominated by the drumming of Leo Taylor. He's a tireless presence throughout, restlessly seeking out new spaces to fill. If I've one complaint it's that he gets somewhat lost in the mix as the inevitable crescendo arrives - damnit, the guy's earned his place centre stage by that point. Recommended for wild and crazy flower children everywhere.

Floating Points - Kelso Dunes
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Mar. 11th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Oko Ebombo - Niggality

Oko Ebombo's music exists somewhere in the melting pot of hip hop, jazz, and pop, part dance and part poetry. His only release so far is the 2016 EP Naked Life which opens with the brilliant Black Bowie. The song it closes with is the rather more sombre Niggality. Ebombo wrote it on returning to Paris after spending time in the Congo. He was appalled at the racism he found there, and created a new version of the motto of the republic. In addition to Liberty, Equality and Fraternity he added Niggality, an ethnicity-free spirit of solidarity created for all specifically so that no accusations of appropriation could be made. Hey, good luck there. Niggality is a minor key slow burner of real quality, and it's a crime that he hasn't released anything since this.

Oko Ebombo - Niggality
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Mar. 10th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Irmin Schmidt - Klavierstück V

Irmin Schmidt spent 13 years making music with Can. After they split he then spent another 40 composing music for films and writing operas. That's just a way of letting you know that you won't hear a lot of Tago Mago in his recent release 5 Klavierstücke (2018). Instead in has Schmidt going back to his avant garde roots and improvising Cage-ean prepared piano.

Klavierstücke V is the final track on the album, and it's a work of terrible desolation. It's the sound of abandoned boats rolling in the night sea. It's the sound of still, lifeless streets and forgotten architecture. And, as an unprepared instrument joins in at the death, it's the sound of compassion and humanity. This is music of sensitivity and experience.

Irmin Schmidt - Klavierstück V
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Mar. 9th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Majid Soula - Win Terram

Majid Soula is an Algerian guitarist. He mostly plays popular Berber music for local audiences. But back in the early 1980s he was playing music in France, and believe me you can tell. Win Terram is the opening track to his 1982 album Massinissa. It's got the clean sleek electronics of a Daniel Miller project, a bit of early '60s rock'n'roll rumblings, is laden with North African modal stylings, has more handclaps than anything this side of Steve Reich and is played about 50% faster than anyone else would dare. It should not work. Even while you're hearing it and are being blown away by this musical tour de force you are thinking it cannot be. Stunning stuff, a piece of constant music, just steer clear of his World Cup song from the same year.

Majid Soula - Win Terram
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Mar. 8th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Randi Pontoppidan - Arctic

Randi Pontoppidan is a Danish vocalist who has previously worked in the free jazz and classical field. Her 2019 release Rooms has her working with a number of exciting electroacoustic pieces.

Here is one such, the windswept Arctic. She moves from voice to electronics and back again seamlessly, one informing the other. It is full of desolate hollow breathiness and shivering, introspective contralto crooning and tiny cracks of sound. She builds her sonic landscapes with a rare poetry, with experimental vocal techniques used always as part of a much larger picture. Highly recommended.

Randi Pontoppidan - Arctic
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Mar. 7th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Meatbodies - Disorder

Meatbodies were a key part of this decade's garage rock revival. It's the sort of music that at first seems too simple and dumb, that the only thing going for it is its massive horsepower. But it's quite a lot weirder than that. Take Disorder from the band's self-titled 2014 debut. There's those sudden dips in volume that sounds like someone was dicking about with the knobs in the studio but they kept it in anyway. There's the sea of screaming ghosts feedback that starts to engulf the music towards the end. And there's the way it ends by just slowing down and grinding to a halt. Purposeful psych fun.

Meatbodies - Disorder
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Mar. 6th, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Incredible String Band - Nightfall

It's time to write in praise of musical dead ends. You can sometimes hear the influences that made their unique take on psychedelic folk. Classical ragas are uppermost, but there are whispers of old blues, folk and gospel acts, particularly in the unashamed outsider quality much of their phrasing had. But while the Scottish duo would undoubtedly be cited as an influence my many acts, nobody ever go the whole hog and actually try to sound like them. There was a time and a place when it was permissible to sound like that; that time has long passed and that place was hard to get to even then.

Nightfall comes from what is often consider their greatest work, The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968). I love the way it transitions from introspective folk arrhythmia into blissed out and relaxed blues time. It's exquisite, but more than that it's entirely masterful: despite appearances to the contrary Heron and Williamson knew exactly what they were doing.

The Incredible String Band - Nightfall
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Mar. 5th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Doormouse - Dizzay

Breakcore producer Jon Doormouse quit the record business in 2008 to run a gym. For a decade he'd been making provocative, annoying, and defiant musical nonsense. It was music that pushed at boundaries of style and taste, easier to admire than to like. For me one exception to this is his 2005 release Stanley Yershinowski Presents... Xylophone Jism As The Ridiculator. He takes his sixpence turns and gabber beats and uses them alongside vintage jazz, and they're oddly convincing bedfellows. Dizzay is his foray into the birth of bop, and while it's as full of digital fury as ever it's also got proper flow. Fun times.

Doormouse - Dizzay
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Mar. 4th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Cucina Povera - Avainsana

Maria Rossi makes quiet, contemplative loop based music. Not your flashy loops, all bright and glistening with rhythmic crackle or modal brilliance. Nothing too polished or calibrated. Instead her raw materials are primarily acoustic, not conventionally musical. It's a musical style that gave rise to her performance name: Cucina Povera is the Italian name given to cooking whatever you've got lying around in the kitchen. Avainsana comes from the album Hilja (2018), and it is the intimate sound of wooden machinery, bowing cadences, and Rossi's own detaching and wandering singing. It's very minimal with plenty of space for everything to be heard, which makes it all the more startling when some tightly delineated drums get tossed in as seasoning. Genuinely mysterious, and quite without contrivance.

Cucina Povera - Avainsana
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Mar. 3rd, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Durutti Column - Katherine

One of the more inexplicable stories of post-punk is how Vini Reilly went from playing guitar in Ed Banger and the Nosebleeds to finding one of the most distinctive sounds of his era. The Nosebleeds were precisely as gormless as their name suggests, and Reilly left after their first and only single. He was replaced by Billy Duffy, later of The Cult. The band also swapped lead singers at the same time, and played briefly with new frontman Steven Patrick Morrissey. No recordings survive. After dropping the band Ed recorded the semi-legendary football song Kinnel Tommy. What a strange little scene that was.

So a few years after all of that along came the extraordinary The Return of the Durutti Column album. I guess some people might have been mixing classical motifs, jazz phrasing and the sparse unaccented style of the UK underground, but they weren't doing it on a label as prominent as Factory. And they certainly weren't releasing their LPs in sleeves made out of sandpaper, designed to ruin all of the other albums on your shelves. The story goes that they invited a load of friends around to make the sleeves. Ian Curtis glued everything together while the rest of Joy Division sat in the other room watching porn. You want to believe it, don't you? Here's one of the album's standout tracks Katherine.

The Durutti Column - Katherine
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Mar. 2nd, 2019

cyberinsekt

Hatis Noit - Illogical Lullaby (Furepe edit)

Hatis Noit is a Japanese singer who takes her cues from Japanese traditional and Western art musics. Think if Meredith Monk sang gagaku and also multitracked her own voice. Soaring velvety tones ride over monkey call emotional breakdowns and cold clarions to create a emotional tapestry out of what might otherwise be process music. Noit (not her real name, it comes from a folk tale about the stem of a lotus flower) is entirely self-taught. Absolutely first rate stuff, and I really look forward to hear where she goes from here. From the EP Illogical Dance (2015).

Hatis Noit - Illogical Lullaby (Furepe edit)
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