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Oct. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sudan Archives - Come Meh Way

Brittney Parks is a self-taught violin player and singer who draws inspiration from Sudanese violin playing. Recording as Sudan Archives she has released two EPs, and Come Meh Way is from her self-titled 2017 debut. It's an alluring and experimental r&b number of incredible sparseness and grace. Reminds me of hearing Young Marble Giants for the first time; quite remarkable music, very much from its own world.

Sudan Archives - Come Meh Way
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Oct. 16th, 2018

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David Tudor - Pulsers

If, like me, you are a complete and utter pranny you're forever getting your avant garde Davids mixed up. David Bedford was the one who worked with Cornelius Cardew and delved into dodgy prog, David Tudor was the one who worked with John Cage and didn't. David Toop is just David Toop and no-one is ever going to forget it because he's got a brilliant surname.

Pulsers is a David Tudor piece from the mid-'80s. He controlled a bank of oscillators which fed into analogue synths to create rhythmic lines. Some of the voices sound like drumsticks, some like insects, some like plumbing, but they all sound completely alive and organic. It's all down to the way that Tudor's oscillators interfere with each other, creating waves and troughs of rhythmic possibilities throughout the piece, and it's all done at enough remove that he's not entirely in control of his own creation. It's like Reich's Clapping Music crossed with an giant tangle of thread. To give some relief from the atonality, the piece also includes the heavily doctored violin of Takehisa Kosugi, who joins Tudor via tape. It's a thrilling piece of experimental music that seems way shorter than its 20 minute duration.

David Tudor - Pulsers
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Oct. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Brainticket - Radagacuca

We all love a bit of vintage krautrock, right? And we know all of the clichés about it: the founding of a national identity, the synths, the motorik beat, the sparse design. In fact, we have such a strong image of the music that it's hard, at this distance, to remember what it arose in reaction against. Y'see, much of the European music of that era is not subtle. It's wildly derivative of the US and UK scenes. It's maximalist almost by accident, taking every musical idea of the time and throwing them all into a blender. And of course it was way more popular than most of those bands we now love.

Still there's something to be said, years later, for those messy recordings. No band typified that aesthetic more than the Swiss/German/Belgian act Brainticket. Their debut, Cottonwoodhill is one of the most overblown freakouts ever put to disc, a preposterous collage of every psychedelic cliché around. Oh don't get me wrong, I love it, but there's no artistry there. Rather more interesting is the band's second album Psychonaut (1972). Listening to the opening track Radagacuca you'd be forgiven for thinking them an entirely different band. Hammer horror organ meets echo-laden flute meets hand drums, and before you know it the song has become a laid back and dreamy jazz/folk number. Don't worry, everything goes back to full on batshit for the climax, full of shrieks and cackles. It's as if Brainticket knew how to make all of the sounds, but hadn't intuited any of the rules; less an act of musical daring than the work of outsiders. While I can totally understand the reaction against it, this still deserves attention.

Brainticket - Radagacuca
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Oct. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quartet - Strawberry Fields Forever

I've never heard an Otomo Yoshihide track I didn't like, and as far as I can tell this can only mean one of two things. One is that I am not an unbiased listener, and two is that they're all brilliant. I choose to believe the latter.

I mean, just listen what he does to Strawberry Fields Forever from the 2003 album Tails Out. It's a rough sea of woozy brass which gets echoed to fuck and back, starting off sounding astral but quickly become the sort of free jazz racket that makes half your friends run for cover. Oh it's glorious. I must admit I'm a total sucker for the tape delay feedback here. If you're going to bury a tune, you could not want for a better casket.

Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quartet - Strawberry Fields Forever
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Oct. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Psapp - Tricycle

Is it okay to like the music of Psapp? I mean, their Sunday supplement toytronica is legitimately the most middle class thing there is. It's music for people with Pinterest accounts, vintage clothing, and a shelf full of children's literature. It's music that had the privilege of never growing up. Is it okay to put all of that aside and approach the music of Carim Clasmann and Galia Durant with open ears? I certainly hope so, because otherwise you'll miss out on tracks like their 2006 hit Tricycle, which despite its clip-clop beat is actually a brilliant tune with Matmos-level cleverness in its sound engineering. Suck on that, pop haters. From the album The Only Thing I Ever Wanted.

Psapp - Tricycle
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Oct. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Nutley Brass - Chicken: Impossible

According to the book Brass Bands of the British Isles - a historical directory, the Nutley Brass were formed in Sussex in 1911 when members of the Ashdown Forest Temperance Band decided that abstinence wasn't for them, so they split off to do their own thing. It mostly involved playing all the same songs as before but then passing out drunk in the woods.

According to everyone else, The Nutley Brass is a project of Sam Elwitt, and involves Sam creating brass cover versions of popular songs. Most of the time it's fairly obvious how to radically transform a bunch of songs by the Ramones or the Misfits, but what do you do if the original already has brass on it? The answer, according to Sam, is to do a fairly faithful rendition of it, but then have chickens cluck out the melody. That's how Chicken: Impossible from the WFMU compilation Greasy Kids Stuff came to be. Whether or not he passed out drunk in the woods afterwards isn't actually recorded.

The Nutley Brass - Chicken: Impossible
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Oct. 11th, 2018

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Blah Blah Blah - In The Army

One of the best things about the post-punk era was the licence it gave people to experiment. Blah Blah Blah's manifesto was against music, against fashion and for the most part against meaning. In The Army was released as a single in 1980, and applies absurdism and snarling menace to what is otherwise NDK-style synthpop. Or would be, if synthpop had little grasp of melody, chords, structure, rhythm or the like. You know how a lot of punks were first take best take people? Blah Blah Blah were first take only take. They only improvised, nothing was ever repeated, or polished, or turned into proper songs. It was a rigorous methodology to say the least.

Blah Blah Blah - In The Army
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Oct. 10th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Tower Recordings - Other Kinds Run

In the 1990s The Tower Recordings were pioneers of loft improvising freak folk. It couldn't last, of course. Before long other people caught the sound and the scene burnt out faster than you can say "not commercially viable". Here's the final track from their final album.

Other Kinds Run had been heard before, but that was a wispy thing, more in the mould of their furniture music recordings, a notion borrowed from Satie. When it came to the 2004 album, The Galaxies' Incredibly Sensual Transmission Field of the Tower Recordings, they went all out to provide something more memorable. It became a cavernous lo-fi piece of weird blues folk, everything turned up to 11 and sounding as if it were recorded in a metal box. It more than fills the available space with crashing atonal piano, backwards masking, and a guitar that sounds just about ready to short circuit at any moment. Almost impossibly dated these days, but it still sounds amazing.

The Tower Recordings - Other Kinds Run
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Oct. 9th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Tigrova Mast - Pustinjski crvi jašu po trebe

Tigrova Mast (it means Tiger Balm) are a trio from Zagreb who go by the names Gut, Heart and Brain. That's what their Bandcamp page says, but those names don't count if nobody else uses them you guys. They play a sort of chunky, vigorous mathy prog, filled with odd little interjections and musical quotes. It's rather more appealing than I'm making it sound, I assure you. Here's the swirling acid funk and '80s arcade game sfx of Pustinjski crvi jašu po trebe. Made with a refreshing denial of genre expectations, from the band's self-titled 2005 debut.

Tigrova Mast - Pustinjski crvi jašu po trebe
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Oct. 7th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Reg Tilsley - Susan Q Pink Cloud

Reg Tilsley was a bandleader who recorded library music, mostly for De Wolfe. As such he was by necessity pretty prolific. I've heard a number of his pieces, and where he shines is when he's being frothy. Susan Q Pink Cloud is definitely that, a lively and purposeful jazz piece that absolutely doesn't take itself seriously. Probably the soundtrack to a montage of sped up footage, with its wah mute brass and jaunty organ. Part Prisoner, part Carry On.

Reg Tilsley - Susan Q Pink Cloud
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Oct. 6th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Bernard Parmegiani - Du Pop À L'âne

Du Pop À L'âne (1969) is one of Bernard Parmegiani's late '60s sound collages. While Pop'eclectic features mostly acousmatic pop music sources, Du Pop's palette is far more diverse - it ranges from jazz to classical, from Bernard Herrmann film scores to The Doors, all treated as musique concrète elements. And this isn't some simple cut and paste job either, Parmegiani provides a continuous electronic counterpoint to his quotations. He considered himself a sound engineer long before he was a composer, and that shows here. This is the birthplace of remix culture as much as it is of plunderphonics. Crucial listening.

Bernard Parmegiani - Du Pop À L'âne
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Oct. 5th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The KLF & Extreme Noise Terror - Deep Shit

Nobody who knows anything about Deep Shit is has ever stated on record how it came to be, and as far as I'm concerned that's a good thing. My favourite rumour is that it was the KLF's response to a conspiratorial letter an old friend of mine sent them. It's plausible, and I refuse to confirm or deny any more than that.

Anyway, this is allegedly a recording of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty playing with members of original crustpunks Extreme Noise Terror. I guess this makes this instrumental situationist metal. From 1987, as the story goes.

The KLF & Extreme Noise Terror - Deep Shit
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Oct. 4th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Mr. Partridge - Madhatten

Time to make a return to the 1980 album Take Away/The Lure of Salvage. Credited to "Mr. Partridge</i>, it is in fact Andy Partridge's collection of dub remixes and radical reworkings of XTC songs. There's a glum absurdity to the whole affair, the heavy bass more redolent of dark grey skies than leafy greens. It's a fascinating record, one that's kept me revisiting over the years, in no small part because very little since then has ever sounded remotely like this.

Here's Madhatten, where the time skips are shrouded in a dank musical fog. Dick Cuthell, who played alongside Rico Rodriguez in The Specials, provides a few darts of light on trumpet. He sounds like a bioluminescent fish shrouded by the weight of the ocean.

Mr. Partridge - Madhatten
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Oct. 3rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Nicolas Collins - Tobabo Fonio

Tobabo Fonio is a avant garde composition dating back to 1986. That the time that people were really starting to hack MIDI tech, to test just what could be done with it. In Collins' case, it involved turning a trombone into a sampler. A controller attached to the slide would pick the sample to use, the slide would affect the acoustic properties, and the horn would project the sound about the performance space. When the samples are only a handful of frames long, it would produce a magnificently rich drone. That's how Tobabo Fonio, collected on his 1992 album It Was A Dark And Stormy Night starts. However as it goes on the samples become longer, and soon it becomes possible to hear more of their provenance. The austere simplicity we have been listening to does indeed come from brass instruments, but the raucous and vibrant ones of a Peruvian marching band.

Nicolas Collins - Tobabo Fonio
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Oct. 2nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Laurence Guy - Claudi

Here's a lovely little bit of lofi electronica, made from surface noise, tired jazz and vocal samples. It's made with a DJ's sensitivity to the moment, stoned and out of time. Gentle and as inconsequential as a lover's touch. From the 2017 album Saw You For The First Time.

Laurence Guy - Claudi
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Oct. 1st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sexteto do Boca - Kiuá

2017 saw the release of Outro Tempo, a mammoth compilation of Brazillian new wave music. For many people, one of the highlights was Andréa Daltro's Kiuá, a rather beguiling bossa tune with her chilly soprano soaring over it. It's a brilliant tune, the production is amazing, but personally I just cannot get on with those 1980s Yamaha DX7 keyboard sounds.

That originally came from her 1988 album Kiuá, but fortunately it turned out it wasn't the first time she recorded the song. Here's a performance from the 1980 self-titled album by Sexteto do Boca. If you find jazz flute easier to take than '80s synth patches this might well be the one to go for. In either case, Daltro's voice is an amazing instrument which you owe it to yourself to hear.

Sexteto do Boca - Kiuá
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Sep. 30th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Okonkolo - Yemaya

File this one under never heard the like before. Abraham Rodriguez is a priest of Santeria and a master drummer, and Okonkolo is his band. They play explicitly religious music that isn't a million miles away from qawwali in its rhythmic bliss and sweet transcendence. And that would be all good on its own, but the very strangest thing about Yemaya and its album, the 2018 release Cantos, is the production. Jacob Plasse has added strings and woodwinds, sometimes trembling beneath the beat unconvincingly, and at other times taking on a life of their own in oddly fitting Philip Glass-like passages. It's a deeply odd record, and one I'm as yet unconvinced by. But fascinating.

Okonkolo - Yemaya
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Sep. 29th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Moskus - Anslag

Anslag is a lonely morsel from the Norwegian jazz trio of Anja Lauvdal, Fredrik Luhr Dietrichson, and Hans Hulbækmo. Lauvdal's keyboards provide a wandering melody that seems vulnerable and lost at times, but her bandmates help her bring it home. The aesthetic is lo-fi and indie, and this is a tender and charming improvisation from the 2018 album Mirakler.

Moskus - Anslag
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Sep. 28th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Louis Cole - Mean It

Wow. This Louis Cole guy can play music. Mean It starts as staccato mechanical funk, with mall-tastic Bill Wurtz style keyboard breaks. Half way through, Cole is joined by saxophonist Sam Gendel for a fiery jazz solo while Cole accompanies him on drums. Ridiculously fast, almost parodically intense, and doing its damnedest to appear ironic. A lot of posturing going on here, but beyond that it's like a hot wind has blown in from the desert to strip all your paint away.

Louis Cole - Mean It
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Sep. 27th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Groundhogs/Andrew Liles - Split - Six

You might know sound artist and musician Andrew Liles from his work with Nurse With Wound or Current 93. What you probably didn't know was that on the quiet he was a fan of '70s rock band Groundhogs. Or maybe it wasn't on the quiet. It certainly shouldn't be a matter of shame, both Split (1971) and Thank Christ For The Bomb (1970) are brilliant albums, blending muscular cheapness with sonic experimentation.

And perhaps the key word there is cheapness. You'd have needed a small fortune back then to do anything to your guitar other than add a bit of wah or chorus. The outer limits were reserved for those with financial support, and Tony McPhee and his group were very much a working band.

These days the whole process is a lot more accessible. Even so, imagine that you wrote some of the greatest rock tunes of the early '70s and were approached by someone who thought he could update them. Thought he could bloody improve them, the cheek of it. Thought he could help create the original sounds that only ever existed in your head. Most people would have sent him packing.

Thankfully, Tony McPhee seems to have had enough curiosity or humility to do neither. Instead he worked with Andrew Liles, contributing new guitar material which would be combined with the original recording of Split for Liles to rearrange. The resulting album Groundhogs Split-Up. A Exhumation (2016) is nothing less than stunning. McPhee was always reckoned as one of the greats of hard rock guitar, but to hear him revitalised like this is incredible: front and centre, and with a roar that finally matches his control and technique. This blew me away - an absolutely must hear release.

Groundhogs/Andrew Liles - Split - Six
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