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Nov. 24th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Leo Kottke - The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie

If you ever see a list of the best guitar albums of all time that doesn't feature Leo Kottke's 6- and 12-String Guitar feel free to ignore it. It's as fine a presentation of the steel guitar as you will ever hear, and somehow with enough broad appeal to have sold half a million copies since its 1969 release. Much of the record is played in the hard and muscular fingerpicking style that was to wreck his hand and arm with tendinitis. The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie though, that's a much more wistful thing. It's rich and steady and precise, filled with the buzz and rattle of strings and slide, and a peculiar mechanical sadness. Recorded in a single studio take, Kottke doesn't stop even when he (noisily) breaks a string. I reckon everyone who covers this song should do the same.

Leo Kottke - The Sailor's Grave on the Prarie
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Nov. 23rd, 2017

cyberinsekt

The Comet is Coming - Nano

Most times when I recommend The Comet is Coming it's because Shabaka Hutchings is so fucking great. I couldn't even tell you if he's on Nano or not. I certainly didn't hear any sax in the minute and a bit that it lasts. What I did hear however was some amazing retro electronics, like something Pierre Henry might have brewed up in the 1960s, staccato raindrops of sound. Somehow they managed to get subsumed by a stoned beat, as if the BBC Radiophonic Workshop had relocated to Bristol and gone native. From the 2016 album Channel the Spirits.

The Comet is Coming - Nano
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Nov. 22nd, 2017

cyberinsekt

Monomono - Tire Loma da Nigbehin

You'll know from the very first note of Tire Loma da Nigbehin if it's for you or not. It's a classic piece of Nigerian afrobeat from the 1970s, and while it holds few surprises it's got absolutely everything you want. Great congas, great organ, and even a bonus bit of freakout buzzing wasp guitar at the end. Should probably run for double its actual length - it's gone in under 5 minutes - but we'll have to take what we can get.

Monomono - Tire Loma da Nigbehin
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Nov. 21st, 2017

cyberinsekt

David Nance - Negative Boogie

What if Pere Ubu showed up with a wall of amps? Like really giant amps, and they got a sound engineer to make sure that the mix and all the EQs were tweaked so that the fidelity was perfect and everything was as loud as possible. And then they played all of their old songs, the ones you always loved but never expected to hear because David Thomas is so cantankerous. Well that's what it's like listening to Negative Boogie by David Nance. It's a big manly slice of scratchy guitar and a stomping, heroic snarl. So very, very good.

David Nance - Negative Boogie
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Nov. 20th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Eberhard Weber - Langenhagen

After his stroke in 2006 it seemed that Eberhard Weber would never make music again. Thankfully this proved to be untrue. While he no longer had the strength to play his bass he found himself able to play keyboard and sit behind a production desk. And if he wanted bass, well there were hundreds of hours of his live performances that had gone largely unheard.

Out of this came two albums, Résumé (2012) and Encore (2015), largely taken from live solos from his time touring with Jan Garbarek. Langenhagen comes from the latter, and it's a genuine delight to hear Weber's supple, fluid playing once more. It's a single melody, long and sinuous, given shape by a simple syncopated piano part. Right at the end, with all of that unresolved tension just about ready to break, he's joined by Ack van Rooyen on flugelhorn and it's possible to breathe again. It's more than a musical memoir or piece of digital curation, it's a genuinely gorgeous hybrid creation. Weber was one of the pioneers of the delay pedal as a sampling tool, and this continues that tradition on a far grander scale.

Eberhard Weber - Langenhagen
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Nov. 19th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Zion80 - V'Shamru

You might think there was no way to do big band jazz any more. No money in it, don't you know. Hard enough to pay the rent on one roof, let alone ten. That's why it's all the more remarkable that bands such as Zion80 can exist. They're a 10-piece outfit mixing Afro-Cuban rhythms, traditional Jewish melodies and scales, dirty 1960s gospel blues and even dirtier 1970s funk. You can hear most of that on the towering V'Shamru from their newly released Warriors. Brian Marsalla's organ sets the mood immediately, mixing with wah wah guitar licks in classic 'sploitation style. Total summer music, ripe with warmth and rich tones.

Zion80 - V'Shamru
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Nov. 18th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Danny and the Dressmakers - John E Begood

This one goes out to everyone who was ever in a terrible band. You may have been dreadful, but at least no evidence of it still exists. Well apart from that one CD that you burned for your mum that she keeps on the shelf and has never listened to.

Some people aren't so lucky. Spare a thought for Graham Massey, the linchpin of the Manchester music scene. His DIY punk band Danny and the Dressmakers played a few gigs, entertain a few kids, and released a few tapes. That should have been it. The trouble is, Massey and his band were too well connected. Dressmakers tapes were released on Fuck Off, the handmade label started by Keith Dobson from UK free festival stalwarts Here and Now. The other problem is that their ambition outstripped their talent by an unheard of degree as evidenced by their triple C90 200 Cancellations.

But today we'll give a listen to their take on Johnny B Goode. It was a tradition for UK punk bands to do covers of classic rock and roll numbers. Half of the appeal was to make them sound as dreadful as possible, giving two fingers to the past, and few1 did them as dreadfully as this. There's some if not all of Planet Gong still on stage when the band start their assault on this song, which mostly consists of the word "Johnny" being shouted again and again. This track stands as evidence that hippies and punks had more in common than most of them would ever dare admit. It appeared on the 1979 compilation Back Again To Sing For Free Again Soon.

1. But not all. Nothing ever beat Jon The Postman's brilliantly bad Louie Louie.

Danny and the Dressmakers - John E Begood
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Nov. 17th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Jürg Itten - 1st Particle, 2nd Particle (remix)

1st Particle, 2nd Particle (remix) is not a very helpful title, but that tends to be the norm with releases on Swiss minimal jazz label Tonus. It's from the 2009 album Linda Mentioned, a selection of compositions by Jürg Itten. It played entirely on solo double bass by Simone Schranz, with occasional electronics from producer Ben Fay.

For such spacious music, 1st Particle, 2nd Particle (remix) seems to be rather more about time than space. Schranz plucks at her instrument, playing a series of two note figures that hang in the air and decay. Only when the air has almost cleared does she move on. It's very sparse, very slow, and almost unbearably sad. After about 12 minutes Fay gets involved and we get some harmonics and deep woody resonances. Amazing low tones here. Not sure how well the two parts sit next to each other, but individually they're both terrific. Really feels much shorter than its 17 minute runtime.

Jürg Itten - 1st Particle, 2nd Particle (remix)
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Nov. 16th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Rip Rig & Panic - The Ultimate In Fun (Is Going To The Disco With My Baby)

Here's another debut single for you, or at least the b-side of it. Rip Rig & Panic were formed by Bruce Smith and Gareth Sager after The Pop Group wound down. I'm not sure how many fans they carried with them - Pop Group songs, no matter how avant-garde, always had an identifiable post-punk sound to them. Rip Rig & Panic on the other hand were far breezier, and had more free jazz in the mix.

The Ultimate In Fun (Is Going To The Disco With My Baby) appeared on the flip side of Go! Go! Go! This Is It in 1981. It's got the loose swirling of early '70s Pharoah Sanders, but the saxes are comically thin and cheesy, almost kazoo-like. It's no frills, budget avant-fun, infectious and genuinely happy. No-one with a smile on their face ever got taken seriously in music, and within 3 years the band had gone their separate ways.

Rip Rig & Panic - The Ultimate In Fun (Is Going To The Disco With My Baby)
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Nov. 15th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Surfbort - Hippie Vomit Inhaler

Here's a promise for you: if Hippie Vomit Inhaler does not make your personal top 5 punk singles of the year you can come to Chez Doklands and personally give me £5. No quibbles, no prevarication, no hidden catches. YOU can give ME money. Or I suppose you could give it to Surfbort, either way is good I guess.

Nothing to do with Beyoncé, they're a four piece act from Brooklyn, equal parts witty, stupid and intense. Hippie Vomit Inhaler is the lead track from their Bort To Death EP and it is so dumb that it might just be genius. A jet-fuelled feedback ride, 80 seconds of perfect noise.

Surfbort - Hippie Vomit Inhaler
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Nov. 14th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Sudden Sway - Jane's Third Party

Sudden Sway were probably one of the strangest bands of the 1980s. Musically they seldom moved terribly far from electropop, although their Peel sessions had them appropriate the style "Music and Movement" lessons given to schoolchildren in the 1960s and '70s and invent the hypnostroll. What set them apart from their peers was their interest in music as a functional product, recording fake jingles, issuing huge numbers of remixes, and installing themselves in the ICA as performance robots.

Before all of that came Jane's Third Party, their self-released 1980 debut. It's a snappy little piece of minimal synth pop made with sophistication and irony, if not yet the full artistic ambitions they would develop.

Sudden Sway - Jane's Third Party
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Nov. 13th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Art Lande - Bulgarian Folk Tune

Bulgarian Folk Tune is 60 seconds of frantic melody and rhythmic trickery in the middle of Art Lande's mostly improvised 1976 jazz quartet recording, Rubisa Patrol. Most of that record is quintessential ECM restraint, but for one glorious minute Lande, Mark Isham, Glenn Cronkhite and Bill Douglass run like the taxman himself was at their heels. A traditional number.

Art Lande - Bulgarian Folk Tune
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Nov. 12th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Zs - Concert Black

Concert Black strong experimental number from Zs's fifth album, the 2010 release New Slaves. It's a brutal piece of chamber music that layers treated strings with a whirring, tremulous stridulation that ranges from a background clatter to an intense high-pitched potential mechanical failure. Rather less forbidding that I'm probably making it sound, definitely recommended.

Zs - Concert Black
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Nov. 11th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Pissed Jeans - I'm A Man

Why Love Now is the fifth album by sludge punks Pissed Jeans, and it's a particularly timely release. Few bands have skewered male sexuality quite so precisely and depressingly. Their world is an ugly one, full of desperation, futility and disappointment. It's uncomfortable listening, perhaps never more so than on I'm A Man featuring guest vocals from Lindsay Hunter, who recites her Karen Finley-esque tale of workplace sexual aggression over a forbidding drum solo. Sleazy, funny and scary as hell.

Pissed Jeans - I'm A Man
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Nov. 10th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Alice Coltrane - Er Ra

Divine Songs is a little-heard album released in 1987 by Alice Coltrane, then calling herself Swamini Turiyasangitananda. To be honest, there's a reason few people heard it. It was issued on cassette by the Avatar Book Institute, the ashram in which she spent many years. Most of it is devotional songs played on the organ, sung by Alice and her students. The spiritual interest probably outweighs the musical.

But buried in there is Er Ra, which sees her return to the harp. It's stately, composed, full of thoughtful pauses and cosmic reaches. Clearly a personal piece and utterly transfixing, Er Ra deserves a wider audience.

Alice Coltrane - Er Ra
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Nov. 9th, 2017

cyberinsekt

The Body - To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me

Portland sludge metal duo The Body get oppressively weighty on this track from their 2014 album I Shall Die Here. Production duties are taken by Haxan Cloak's Bobby Krlic, and layered around the buzzing guitar of Chip King and Lee Buford's drums are sampled screams of terror and and the sound of a murderous production line. To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me is both arresting and properly disturbing music.

The Body - To Carry The Seeds Of Death Within Me
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Nov. 8th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Shit and Shine - Bus Station

It's been an age since we last listened to Shit and Shine, and it seems that they are out of their phase of making confrontationally unpleasant music. This may or may not be a good thing. I always respected their seeming unwillingness to entertain their audience. Their music is still drenched in a sickly amber glow. It's still the sound of rain and fags and late night kebabs. It's just... sexier.

Here's Bus Station from their 2015 album Everyone's A Fuckin Expert. It's diffuse and murky, a city centre Piss Christ. Rolling beats like the rush of alcohol and blood through your head, and maybe there's a melody coming from a distant tannoy or radio. You can almost smell the diesel.

Shit and Shine - Bus Station
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Nov. 7th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Wonk Unit - Awful Jeans

Wonk Unit are middle aged punk stalwarts, noisy and completely without pretension. I spend my time listening to music and being sarcastic on the internet, but even so I recognize thoroughly decent when I hear it, and they seem like the sort of guys who never never stop trying to make the world a better place. Well, for the definition of "better" than includes full of muscular, catchy punk songs at least, and that works for me. Awful Jeans comes from their 2016 release Mr. Splashy and it's a responsible song about bad trousers.

Wonk Unit - Awful Jeans
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Nov. 6th, 2017

cyberinsekt

Richard Youngs - Open Ray

It's not hard to love the songs of Richard Youngs. He's got one of those classic English folksinger voices, plain and unadorned, and yet he does more with a single note than would seem possible. Always good to hear him against a crunchy bed of noise, so here he is on Open Ray from his 2012 release Core To The Brave. He proclaims his simple refrain again and again, over classic metal power chords and the sort of sonic chaos that might just be percussion. Experimental, entirely accessible, and genuinely moving.

Richard Youngs - Open Ray
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Nov. 5th, 2017

cyberinsekt

David Teie - Cozmo's Air

Having written about music for so many years you get to know your limitations. At some point you've got to step back from that ego of yours and admit that a certain piece of music has merit, even if it wasn't written for you. But at least you usually have the advantage of it having been written for your species.

When I heard about David Teie's Music For Cats project, my initial response was that the musicians were back on their bullshit again. Music for cats? It sounds preposterous. So I tried to put my prejudices aside and give it my attention. Well let me tell you I was not convinced. It sounded like relaxing classical music with a few twirls and whistles, the occasional something that might have been birdsong, and a great low bass purring. I was ready to dismiss it entirely. Then my cat Sweeney ran into the room, sat bolt upright and turned his ears towards the speakers. He loved it. Well, he certainly seemed to love the purring parts.

David Teie has been working on his cat music for a few years now. Cozmo's Air is one of his earlier pieces, and doesn't offer much for human listeners. It's pretty hardcore cat music. He's since released the first album of his 4 album Music for Cats project, and it offers a lot more of interest. You could probably enjoy with your feline pals. But you know Doklands is all about keeping it real, ahem, so Cozmo's Air it is.

Oh, and for full disclosure I should state that while Sweeney certainly seemed to be listening, Dewey just fell asleep, so don't trust my bullshit either. But I'm still half tempted to buy a bluetooth speaker for their bed.

David Teie - Cozmo's Air
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