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Apr. 3rd, 2019

cyberinsekt

Gowns - Rope

Gowns feature members from The Mae Shi and Doklands favourites Amps For Christ. You might call their music lo-fi industrial folk, although the first two elements come more from a sound art perspective than anything else. Tiny home-made noisemakers is the aesthetic here; there is static and feedback aplenty, but it is all very quiet and distant and yet perfectly audible over the guitar and multi-tracked vocals. It sounds like one of the tricks the band are using here is circuit bending some old processors, but not actually having them connected to any output speakers, instead picking up the RF interference with a nearby radio. Love the sounds of desperation at play here. It's from the 2007 album Red State.

Gowns - Rope
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Apr. 2nd, 2019

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Executive Slacks - The Bus

Exectuive Slacks were a Dutch industrial/EBM group from the 1980s. They released a handful of records but never received much acclaim; in retrospect they were ahead of their time. The Bus comes from their first release, a self-titled EP from 1983. The first thing you'll notice is the squelchy acid bassline, a sound that will in no way prepare you for the scraping atonal noise guitar and nightmarish vocals. It's primitive, it's bonkers and it's intense, but once you get past that it's a great pop song about personal space on public transport. Yes, really. What were you expecting?

Executive Slacks - The Bus
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Apr. 1st, 2019

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Desert Island Dicks - Love Will Tear Us Apart (simultaneous mix)

In 2010 the Desert Island Dicks released two mixes of Love Will Tear Us Apart. What had begun as a dive into the pain of having an emotional life had by then become little more than another song to cover and get a few St. Valentine's Day sales. According to their research this had been done just over 100 times. Armed with this data, a few spreadsheets and some file sharing software they then proceeded to make their mixes. One would have a slice of each song played sequentially, the other would play every single one at once.

It sounds pretty much as you'd expect, but you've got to admire the audacity of it. It's a mashup on a scale never before seen, an artifice-free and unsullied mess, the most bastardly of all bastard pop songs. And on some level it's a force for egality. You can no more make out the contribution of Poon Up! than that of Fall Out Boy. They're all voices shouting in the darkness, and the only force on earth that can bring them together is a single pop song.

Desert Island Dicks - Love Will Tear Us Apart (simultaneous mix)
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Mar. 31st, 2019

cyberinsekt

Gang of Four - I Love A Man In A Uniform

I Love A Man In A Uniform is not often of people's lists of best Gang of Four songs. I think those lists are in error.

Let's admit what it's not: it's not a post-punk classic. Andy Gill's fearsomely abrasive guitar is nowhere to be found. In fact for the most part the song rather bland. It's got something of that polished white funk of appalling '80s acts like Robert Palmer. There's good reason for that, though. The song adopts that styles so that it can slip under the radar. It's camouflage - something that is even directly admitted in the lyrics. It's a song so deep into irony that it's necessary to do this to tackle its core theme of male disempowerment under patriarchy. The BBC banned it from the radio during the Falklands war for its overt anti-militaristic stance, but that's only a very small part of the story. Taken from the 1982 album Songs of the Free, this one is most definitely not about freedom.

Gang of Four - I Love A Man In A Uniform
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Mar. 30th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Elias Rahbani - Dance of Maria

Here's a question for you: would we all be loving Dance of Maria quite so much if it hadn't been featured in What We Do In The Shadows? Who can tell. I mean sure it's quite cheesy, but it's also the sort of impeccably timed cod-orientalist funk that you just don't hear enough of. Elias Rahbani is a Lebanese bandleader and this comes from his psych-tinged 1972 album Mosaic of the Orient. A gloriously slinky number with a long descending chromatic melody that's just to die for.

Elias Rahbani - Dance of Maria
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Mar. 29th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Zu - Chthonian

I don't know if Zu intended Chthonian to refer to some generic underground dweller or to the Cthulhu mythos monsters, but it seems a moot point. What the word now surely refers to is heavy lumbering math-metal/jazz. The alternating time signatures are genuinely unsettling, and the detuned harmonics combine with massive overdrive to create an awe-inspiring guitar sound. What's even worse is when this massive beast stops in its tracks, and all that can be heard is the clicking of mandibles. Zu at the top of their game from the 2009 album Carboniferous.

Zu - Chthonian
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Mar. 28th, 2019

cyberinsekt

The Birthday Party - Zoo Music Girl

I've got a fondness for "bad" live albums. You know the sort - the amps are full of pops and crackles, the recording itself sounds like it was recorded on a cassette recorder inside a rucksack. For a lot of music that would be a hindrance. But a band like The Birthday Party with their distorted gothic cabaret make all of those factors work in their favour. Such is the case with this version of Zoo Music Girl from their often maligned posthumous live release It's Still Living. It's the band at their most Beefheartian, playing music that had stared at the sun for far too long.

The Birthday Party - Zoo Music Girl
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Mar. 27th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Janko Nilović - Drug Song

Now that's the sort of library music title that's always going to attract attention. Janko Nilović is a composer from Montenegro who wrote instantly familiar music from the unconscious collective, being used as TV backing music around the world. Drug Song comes from his funk phase and has some properly sexy flute playing. Nothing here will surprise you, but that's perhaps the point.

Janko Nilović - Drug Song
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Mar. 26th, 2019

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Cindy Lee - Burning Candle

Cindy Lee make fraught musical vignettes, haunted chansons, songs spare of sound but brimming with tragedy. There's not a lot to Burning Candle, just guitar, vocal and the air from a room that had been sealed for the last 60 years. The band is currently a solo project of Patrick Flegel who applies a twist to antique formalities with his falsetto voice and drag performance. From the 2018 album Model Express.

Cindy Lee - Burning Candle
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Mar. 25th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Boris - Pink

At Doklands most of the time we listen to Doklands we go for their doomy stuff. No-one drags out those drones and hits you with the heavy bass quite like Atsuo, Takeshi and Wata. But we're forced to admit that when they go full metal they're as good as anyone this side of Motorhead. Here's the sheer howling madness of their classic Pink from the 2005 album of the same name. If juddering rhythmic power is your thing, this is what you want. It's just about perfect.

Boris - Pink
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Mar. 24th, 2019

cyberinsekt

Surfbort - Sunshine

At Doklands we love Parquet Courts and Idles can be very fine, but we still can't bring ourselves to say that in the world today there is a better punk band than Surfbort. They play with guts and passion, but the main draw is the amazing presence of singer Dani Miller, dripping in damaged charisma and emotional availability. She's stupid when you're stupid, she's angry when you're angry, she's depressed when you're depressed and she makes music for all of those times. Sunshine comes from the album Friendship Music, and it clings tight to the people who matter while fucking the government any way it can.

Surfbort - Sunshine
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Mar. 23rd, 2019

cyberinsekt

Roberto Musci - Nexus on the Beach

Tower of Silence was a 2016 album that collected many of the hard-to-find works of the Italian ethnomusicologist Roberto Musci. Working from field recordings taken from around the world, he made dreamlike soundscapes from vocal loops, timeless keyboards and percussion that shimmers and clatters. It's low key and tasteful yet refreshingly experimental. Nexus on the Beach sounds like Jon Hassell drifting down a tributary of the River Congo.

Roberto Musci - Nexus on the Beach
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Mar. 22nd, 2019

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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

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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

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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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