Reset –  Grinded Grin (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Aleksandar Vrhovec is certainly a name that we have come across on this site before. We have encountered his more accessible and perhaps even chart friendly side with LucidFer and the more intricate and progressive moments with Acid Hags. And if, as you step from one to the other, you find yourself moving into ever more experimental realms, Reset is the stepping stone that takes you  even further into more intriguing and wonderfully strange sonic landscapes.

Continue reading “Reset –  Grinded Grin (reviewed by Dave Franklin)”

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Lydian Haiku – Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

ZGTC has always been a beguiling and fluid prospect. Live shows seem to be free form and largely improvised, or at least they give that impression, often dependant on what other musicians are around to collaborate with and what instrument takes the whim of the man at the heart of the operation. But sometimes it pays to tie things down and this is what we have here, though it is probably only really representative of what was in the air on the specific day that the tape was rolling. Good, music doesn’t need to have a definitive form, bands don’t need to be restricted to the idea of being hamstrung by a recording, artists should be free to explore their own potential rather than pander to those around them. That way cover bands lie….

Continue reading “Lydian Haiku – Zero Gravity Tea Ceremony (reviewed by Dave Franklin)”

Quick Beat Save  –  Buildings and Food (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Despite the possible Talking Heads reference that makes up Jen K. Wilson’s nome de plume, Quick Beat Save leans much towards smoother, more subdued and languid sounds. If there is a connection at all it manifests itself in a similar non-conformist mind set rather than in the music itself. The same desire to merge the avant-garde with accessible pop, the same blurring of generic lines, the same exploratory nature but where Rhode Island School of Design’s finest were known for anxiousness and angularity, not to mention later world music dabbling, Quick Beat Save plays with dance vibes and minimalist synths, classical sounds and glitchy deliveries. Wrap all this in muffled and muted production, throw in vocals that seem to lie just out of earshot and her beguiling songs find their own unique spaces to inhabit.

Continue reading “Quick Beat Save  –  Buildings and Food (reviewed by Dave Franklin)”

Stay Together For The Cats  – The Inner Party (featuring Erin Poppy)

haknnjdllnledhlnI can’t work out if this is poignant, sad or just plain silly. It might be all three at once which would then actually make it quite brilliant. I’m sure there are childless couples whose life revolves around their pet cats but would those surrogate children be a reason to stay together in the face of a failing relationship? I guess the fact that many people would have to think long and hard about the answer to that is the reason that the song is so great.

There isn’t much in the way of music going on behind, a beat and a whole heap of melancholic sounds, the perfect accompaniment for the world weary and worn out vocals that they frame. In fact after a while the song starts to make the listener feel a bit down too, such is the power of music I guess but somehow you find yourself wondering if he did come home, did the relationship survive and what sort of a life a cat could have coming from such a broken home!

Inner Party

Foxing begin UK tour in support of new album

mailCreated over the course of nearly three years, ‘Nearer My God’ was produced in St. Louis and Montreal by Walla and Hudson, with additional help from Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Modern Baseball).

It’s an apocalyptic melodrama about control in a world that really, really feels like it’s falling apart. Expertly-executed by vocalist Conor Murphy, guitarists Eric Hudson, Ricky Sampson, and Jonathan Hellwig on drums, Foxing shines their collective brightest on this record, especially on tracks like ‘Gameshark,’ or the title track, recorded and released in 5 different languages. Here, they combine elements of anthemic indie rock, avant-garde R&B, classical and more to create some of their most original and strongest material yet.

Foxing’s discography, including their 2013 breakout debut ‘The Albatross’, is one that can be slow-moving but with purpose. ‘Nearer My God’ took the band nearly three years to complete, but that time was well spent re-focusing on the future of Foxing. What preceded ‘Nearer My God’s newfound energy was the emotional and physical fatigue that came from years of their relentless drive. Their last album, 2016’s ‘Dealer’, helped push the St. Louis group to entirely new heights; Pitchfork instantly dubbed it “an artistic triumph,” it debuted at #3 on Billboard’s best-selling vinyl chart, and the band spent nearly 2 years off and on the road in support of it. The patience pays off, though; ‘Nearer My God’ feels like an entirely refreshed Foxing, even if they never really needed much refreshing in the first place.

Continue reading “Foxing begin UK tour in support of new album”

Back to Beck (The Crucible of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’)

642454This year marks 40 years since the formation of Bauhaus. To mark this occasion, founding member David J has announced two one-off solo UK concerts, to occur in between several festival dates with Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy and their newly-announced world tour. The second of these shows, ‘Back to Beck (The Crucible of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’), is a historic intimate event preceded by a larger London date.

Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction once described David J as the Avant of the Avant-garde, with good reason. Since Bauhaus disbanded in 1983, David has enjoyed a long and varied solo career. The first of Bauhaus’ members to actively step outside of the comfort zone of his original band, he released his debut album ‘Etiquette of Violence’ that same year and has since released numerous solo albums, founded the hugely successful Love and Rockets, produced and played bass with The Jazz Butcher, and joined the reformed Bauhaus again twice for world tours.

Continue reading “Back to Beck (The Crucible of ‘Bela Lugosi’s Dead’)”

Of Codes Off Course – Piotr Sobolczyk (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

3b375cf585ccba145e153cd3d66b1233b7f557f1If the worlds of EDM, dance and electro-pop have always been seen as a place where style over substance is the norm, where the shallow and shiny out ranks the deep and meaningful, where the quick fix is preferable to music which makes you think, then Of Codes Off Course is something that you need to listen to. Opening with an intense and industrial-electro reworking of Bowie’s Hallo Spaceboy might, to many, seem like a clever and revolutionary move, but in light of all that is to follow, this seems like one of the albums less astonishing moments, relatively speaking.

Face Different shows just how widely referencing and deeply thoughtful Sobolczyk’s music is, taking fragments of a letter from William Blake, a constant source of inspiration, and turning them into a strange musical theatre soundtrack for a futuristic avant-garde production complete with a small sampling of Kate Bush as the song draws to its conclusion. More literary references abound with T.S. Elliot being the starting point for Smitten Kitten and more contemporary samples littering the tracks, from John Lennon to Tim Burton and from Jake Shears to cult group Maanam.

Living By My Flow is a beguiling reinterpretation of Freddie Mercury’s Living on My Own and Adamski’s Killer and if you are going to head into the mash-up/re-work territory you might as well end up with something new and radically different to offer. And this is certainly that. But despite the re-works and references, the samples and source material, Of Codes Off Course is nothing if not highly original. From the growling grooves of Rebel Swine to the compelling and creative Codes of Victim Behaviour suite of songs, it is an album that is ever musically shifting, that is chameleon like it its nature that apart from fleeting points of comparison to early post-punk electronic pioneers, alternative classical composers and off the wall soundtrack creators, it is hard to easily sum the album using generic labels or soundbites.

But that has to be a good thing, right? Music that hard to pin down is moving everything forward, taking radical new ideas and running with them into uncharted territory of potential and creativity. It also means that if you really want to understand what is going on in this gloriously uncompromising music, then you will have to go and listen to the album. Something that you should do right now.

Scene and Heard – CCCLIII : Wagon Wheel – Marianne Nowottny and Her All American Band  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

21271146_10154997475942496_6929953947203135935_nMarianne Nowottny does a very interesting thing on Wagon Wheel and walks a fine artistic line between the familiar and the fresh as she takes a sort of established, country template and subjects it to a touch of avant gardening. It’s a bit like looking at something from a distance and understanding its overall shape and nature but then being surprised on closer inspection as to what it is actually made of. For Wagon Wheel sounds like a long lost, old-time music hall country tune but it is built from as many strange sonic pieces as it is expected sounds.

Steel guitars soothe and soar, banjos pluck hypnotically but the constant kick drum echoes contemporary dance beats, there is musical detail provided by unexpected electronica and the way the snare comes and goes as it walks its wonderfully wonky path creates another unexpectedly new element. There is more than a hint of this being a country record made by someone who doesn’t want to be too closely associated with the genre, someone exploring its ideas but doing so from a distance. In fact, musically it sounds to me like Violent Femmes had they thrown more country sounds into their mix…well, sort of. The great thing about this track is that it is hard to find useful handles and labels to describe it, and that is always a good thing.

All of this makes a lot more sense when you realise that Nowottny is a musical magpie, someone able to flit through genres taking what she loves as the ingredients for her music, which has included everything from jazz, blues, pop, avant-rock—and even classical Chinese and Indian music. It is obvious, therefore, that the established rules are only there as a guideline of what to avoid, to help her to swerve away from the mainstream pack and head off to paint her own musical landscapes.

It’s music that seems to be one thing but upon closer inspection is something else entirely, music that reveals more and more upon every play as you try to work out how she has forged all of these odd musical approaches and strange modus operandi into something that, from a distance at least, sounds so familiar. I guess that’s how subversiveness works best. Very clever indeed.

A Nostalgic Dream Captured In The Reverb We Made – Naked Animals (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

200x200-000000-80-0-0How can you not love a collection of songs whose name is longer than the music it signposts. Five songs, the most extravagant clocking in at barely two minutes and a title that even The Cocteau Twin’s would have ditched for being too weird, a sound that wanders between hazy acoustica, strange ethereal street philosophy, psychedelic coffee shop folk revivalism, alien space noise and lo-fi garage pop. Like I say, how can you not love the very essence, the total idea, the total being and mercurial nature of what this is all about?

Musically it plays through like a strange musical stream of consciousness, one track evolving into the next, one idea reinventing itself and evoking another musical thought process as an ever changing song cycle until we end up in the strange, intimate and emotive acoustic place that we started from.

It is brilliant in its strangeness, I love the fact that it wilfully avoids offering up anything remotely releasable as a single, music made for more artistic, non-commercial reasons is always the most interesting anyway. Actually this goes beyond merely interesting but instead points the way to a whole new genre of anti-pop… musical art-attack…weird-core…avant-gardening music…I really don’t know what to call it. Isn’t that great?

Scene and Heard – CCLXIII : Everything’s Fine  –  The Wyatt Act (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

19642455_1673073942748918_6664681269932253385_nThe Wyatt Act seem to sit in the common ground of a Venn Diagram where music, performance art and poetry all connect. Yes, Everything’s Fine is a quirky pop song, but it is more than that too. A statement, a post-ironic rant at the world around us, a spoken word art-attack put to minimal music…a whole new genre? It’s a genre, or at least a movement that the band themselves have laid down in the Slamrock Manifesto, a loose statement of intend for their unique approach. SlamRock is a philosophy, a lifestyle, an attitude, a swagger. SlamRock is a reaction to a society of detached, automatic, alienated, civilized play-acts. SlamRock values process over product and interaction over isolation and expresses itself in the form of street-corner style poetry meets transgressive rock. In short, spontaneity, variety and putting on the damned show. This is a band and a mission happy to do its growing up in public, how refreshing!

Pop music seems to have got serious of late, too serious. Everyone’s concerned with their image and ego, followers and (anti-)social media likes; remember when pop and rock music, and the people who made it, had time and inclination to be self deprecating? When the likes of Beefheart and Zappa deconstructed the whole idea of the pop performance and used it to undertake strange, cryptic autopsies on the state of the world? When Gong or The Cardiacs invented parallel worlds to inhabit and use to point out absurdities? Even The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah occasionally made valid, if slightly surreal, observations about everyday life. So many questions!

The Wyatt Act – weird, perhaps – original, pretty much -torch bearers of a fascinating thread of alternative music as art, most definitely!

Structures and Behaviours EPv1 –  The Mayhem Lecture Series (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The_Mayhem_Lecture_Series_(cover)If most people pursuing musical endeavours are the equivalent of commuters rushing about town looking to pick up the tools and equipment needed to fashion sound into what most people recognise as acceptable and fairly conformist forms, Dave Wesley is more like an astronaut, deep sea diver or caver, someone who finds inspiration and creative building blocks in the furthest of reaches. Mercurial could almost be a word invented to try to encapsulate how different his various musical projects are from the normal scheme of things and in a way it is often easier to define his music by what it isn’t rather than what it is.

It isn’t about the song, it isn’t structured, not in any way that is obvious from the outside, though I’m sure there is more maths and measurement going on under the skin than I could even hope to comprehend. It isn’t lyrical, though there are voices and it certainly isn’t designed with hook, melody or ease of access in mind. But what it is is intriguing and thought provoking in the same way that other artistic forms often are but contemporary music rarely is.

Structure and Behaviours music, if it even is music, talks to you in the same way the likes of Laurie Anderson’s or Philip Glass’ might, challenging and confrontational, strange and all the more exotic because of it. Its combination of conversational speech and eerie echo’s of industry or radio interference is reminiscent of the between song parts on Vangelis’ original Blade Runner Soundtrack or the incidental passages from The Wall. But whereas those were the short link between the more recognised tracks, these strange, almost eavesdropped collections are the whole raison d’être.

I don’t pretend to understand it, maybe that is the point, but I always want to hear what comes next, muse on its meaning, get confounded by its impenetrable shell and ponder the whole reason for its existence. When was the last time a three minute pop song gave you all of that?

Wouldn’t It Be Nice – YYY – Ft. deM atlaS (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

YYY_Pet_Sounds_Cover_photo_by_Elena_StantonEven in this day where cover versions, sampling and reworking of classic songs is the norm, there are some artists, to me anyway, whose music you plunder at your peril. Do not touch the Leonard Cohen collection unless you are going to find something new to bring out of his dark, sensual visions. Open up the  back catalogue of Tom Waits for no man (geddit?) unable to match his wacky majesty. And don’t go near The Beach Boys, after all, who in their right mind is arrogant enough to think that they could improve on their masterful musical creations? But then again I have been wrong so many times before. That’s the problem with creativity, what might seem like a disaster on paper can turn out to be genius in actuality.

So who is up for a warped, electro-drone version of the Brian Wilson penned classic Wouldn’t It Be Nice complete with tribal Glitter Band drums, 80’s synth washes and crazy Kosmische overtones? No, well, I now what you mean but you should try it some time. YYY’s vision is ambitious to say the least and is so wonderfully avant-garde that you forget that Austin Carson has just put a beloved musical icon through the blender. Separate this version from the original and you have a bone fide piece of exploratory futuristic retro music. If you are unable to separate this from the original then you might see it more as a plundering of the crown jewels, broken down to make a strange musical montage. And if that’s the way you see things then you probably want to have the man behind it tarred and feathered and run out of town. It just depends on how rose-tinted your glasses are and just how sacred your musical cows. Music is like that, its a funny old game.

Afloat – The NJE (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

34936118260054Even on paper, The NJE, standing for Near Jazz Experience, is a fascinating concept. Horn led, jazz infused, pop/rock instrumentals, largely unrehearsed and improvised but built on some solid yet supple underlying grooves. But jazz for the purist this isn’t, unless that particular purist also has a hankering for strange proto-Krautrock meets Motown grooves, skittering back beats and rock music on Avant gardening leave.

The album wanders between some big-beat, groovy floor fillers, albeit best-suited to a strange dance club where anything goes and minds are broad when it comes to the generic what is and what isn’t, and music which just seems to pull the floor away from under you. It inhabits the world of the freeform jam but just as easily snaps into a more focused, more song driven mind set and it’s highlights are just as likely to be found in long form rambles as they are in concise hook laden jazz-pop blasts.

This isn’t an album to approach like the usual collection of songs, although undoubtedly each song is a separate train of musical thought. It is at once a holistic album following a singular musical idea and a scattergun deliver of songs within songs, musical tangents and boundless experimentation. It is also one that whilst based in a loose jazz setting spills over into any number of other genres, re-appropriating the best ideas, forms and sounds and bending those into the Near Jazz Experience.

In short approach with caution, an open mind and willingness to have your generic preconceptions shattered…and then some.

Das Ram – Rachel Mason (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Rachel_Mason_-_photo_credit_Jeff_Vespa.jpgI’m not normally a particularly nostalgic person when it comes to music, far happier to explore the “what next” than the “back in the day.” But there is something beating at the heart of Rachel Mason’s latest album that we don’t seem to encounter much in the contemporary music scene. But then it is more than just the sound; it is an approach, an attitude that directs the creative process. Alongside the actual sonic qualities there are elements drawn from theatre, cabaret, film score and more than a touch of Avant-gardening.

It comes as no surprise then that along side the making of music, 13 albums to date, Mason is also a filmmaker, animator, puppeteer, writer and holographer and it is tempting to think that there is more than a small element of artistic bleed at work as one discipline informs and affects the next. Woe betide the person who tries to compile a Venn diagram to explain the intricate relationships between her various art attacks.

It is easy to spot that same theatrical thread that ran through The Banshees dark visions or Kate Bush’s scene driven narratives, Nick Cave’s apocalyptic parables or Patti Smith’s performance poetry. But anyone can be non-conformist; the art is having an alternative set of rules to build with rather than just a nihilistic absence of ideas. And Rachel Mason is nothing if not full of original ideas and uses them to sculpt a soundscape that wanders between alternative-pop, post punk weirdness, staccato indie and a pretty much post-everything style.

 

It’s always refreshing to come across and artist who has a “if you can’t join them, beat them” attitude, not that I imagine Rachel Mason ever joined anything in her life. Kookiness, it would seem, is next to godliness!

 

Are You Having Fun? – Martyrials (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

16441217_10208641348011351_1194125994_nHow many bands does it take make a movement? Maybe two is enough, it is certainly enough for a pincer movement so for now let’s consider this less a gathering of the like-minded clans and more a two-pronged attack on complacency. Alongside their fellow West Country art-noise pedlars, Diagonal People, Martyrials raison d’etre seems simple – to rouse the musical proletariat from their somnambulistic stagger. Both bands seem to use music like a Rubik’s cube, spinning the squares into weird random patterns and occasionally finding the answer, but if you are more interested in the answer than the question then their music is not for you.

 

The colours on Martyrials cube represent punk and industrial dance, electro-clash, krautrock and scuzzy garage creations, they look like they hang out with The Doors, if The Doors had carried on long enough into the seventies to have a bleak, experimental Berlin period and they sing in satirical sound-bites and poke avant-garde sticks at the bear of conformity. If we hadn’t lost track of this sort of revolutionary way of thinking we’d still be defending Guernica from Franco! Or something…

Odyssey – Diagonal People (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

14713520_737407156400387_3542779309565239859_nThe choice of title for Diagonal People’s debut release seems quite resonant considering what is found within. Classical scholars will know The Odyssey as that meandering ten-year adventure which took its homeward bound hero through unexpected trials and tribulations. Readers of more modern works might recall Ulysses (the Roman name for the same) a challenging and meandering book, which took most people almost as long to read. So it is quite apt that within the wonderful abstract daubing of the albums artwork there is a musical journey just as creative, adventurous and confrontational as its name implies.

 

Whilst many of their fellow musicians seem content to play by the rules and head off down commercially viable indie avenues, fame and fortune and maybe even a Maida Vale session glittering in the distance, The Diagonals are happy to make noise-art for art’s sake. They play musical magpie liberally plundering anything and everything that takes their fancy, r’n’b grooves, overdriven Zappa-esque urges, squalling post-punk experimentations, classical subversions, broken synth pop and beyond but it is in the re-assembling of such building blocks which is where the true brilliance lies.

 

As one form, genre or style is gently shifted, layered, segued and subverted by the next, the whole history of pop music is ripped up and stuck back together before your very ears. Some bands take a career to complete such a task, others whole albums…these guys do it in just one song. That song is Ballad (Screaming Through Milk White Teeth.) As a centrepiece of the album it is perfect and sees them at their most searching, most challenging, most subversive, most brilliant.

 

But this is merely the most dominant point in a musical landscape of lofty peaks and strange and beautiful vistas that surround it. Some, such as Heaven, Hold Me Down Here are soothing and easy on the eye; others such as Child of the Interdimensional Landscape are more twisted and angular but never is the view the same in any given direction.

 

For a debut album it contains such complexity, broad range of reference and widescreen musicality and their learning curve seems to have been hidden from view and what has been delivered is already a fully formed and mature sounding album. They rant on society, the human condition and strange existential thought, life, the universe and …well, everything. They mix seriousness with satire, obscurity with clarity, poignancy and pretention. But pretension is fine when it is done knowingly (…and I should know) and this gang of creative misfits know exactly what they are doing.

New Music of the Day – CXIV : Heaven, Hold Me Down Here – Diagonal People

13346237_673764472764656_6613352410234499418_oIt may seem as if I am writing about a new Diagonal People song every week. I generally am, their rate of output is pretty impressive to say the least. And the fact that they come packaged as wonderfully weird DIY videos shows that whilst some bands are happy to produce slick, high production but ultimately vacuous and generic videos, this bunch of art-pop weirdoes are content to rove the streets filming their own antics and creative expressions. That’s right, they are wandering the streets…lock up your dressing up box and face glitter.

 

Musically it jumps off of the back of an 80’s Cure song but nothing is that straight forward in their world and so everything goes through the blender along with swelling Hammond organs, chiming glocks, skittering drum beats and a swirling morass of guitar and synth sounds.

As for what is going on in the video itself? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

 

 

New Music of the Day : LXXIII – Dada For Spring Radio – Zita Swoon Group

189593_133769943361644_3544254_nA band who take creative inspiration from performances at Cabaret Voltaire (the venue not the band) nearly a hundred years ago are obviously the sort of band who are going to regard the equally wonderfully weird and mercurial Jezus Factory Records as the perfect outlet for their music. So a band who mix surrealism from another era with the creative explosion of 70’s new wave and particularly bands such as Talking Heads, Kraftwerk and Brian Eno is just another day in the office for the London based label.

Taken from their latest full length release Nothing That Is Everything, here the bands love of the avant-garde and multi-discipling approach blends costume and music, rhythm and poetry, mischief and confusion into a wonderful array that to assault the senses. And I mean assault in a good way,obviously.

What The World Needs Now is The Grubby Mitts – The Grubby Mitts (Lost Toy Records) reviewed by Dave Franklin

Grubby_Mitts_Spelling_Mitts_latitude_landscape_highResAt the start of the year a wonderful little art attack called The Worm of Eternal Return popped up on my radar as a teaser for an eight years in the making album. Well, the waiting is over and if that strange song, built from equal measures quirk, wit and a Mighty Boosh induced wisdom, offered a tantalising peak into the weird world of The Grubby Mitts, it certainly didn’t prepare me anything like enough for the expanse and originality of the album to come.

 

Firstly this is not just a debut album, a record of merely where the band is now, but a musical history of the path that got them to this point. It also takes an album of 18 tracks to even  begin to cover the wonderful scope of the band as a myriad of different sounds and styles jostle cheek by jowl for your attention. Quintessentially English, baroque pop songs, ambient electronica, classical and choral pieces, spoken word poetic lists, subverted krautrock, late-night, bar room jazz, weird-folk and a bag of strange sound effects are just the tip of this iceberg, the remaining, sunken nine-tenths being almost impossible to put into words that will convey any real meaning.

 

The bands artistic background comes as no surprise as here they treat music in the same fashion, making sound collages, hopping generic boundaries without a backward glance, plundering recognisable forms and merging them into chimeric hybrids. If modern music can be seen as chemistry, a formula followed to obtain an expected result, then The Grubby Mitts are the last alchemists, a more mystical, intuitive and experimental force of nature.

 

Referencing everything from The Kinks to The Bonzo Dog Band, Neu! to…well, seemingly anything that crosses their path, using everything from regular instruments to children’s toys and home fashioned creations, this truly is an album like no other you have heard and if it takes another eight years for a follow up of similar scope and quality, then I will deem it worth the wait.

Strange Relations – Karda Estra (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

71gChsJ1j9L._SL1000_Karda Estra is like a box of chocolates. Okay, Karda Estra is like a box of chocolates that has been through a blender and then served up on a plate whose colour, texture and even dimensions seem to mutate even as you eat from it. The point being that every time you press play on a Karda Estra record, you really don’t know what you are going to get. Past offerings have veered from symphonic Prog epics to pastoral dreamscape pop, from gothic film score to experimental jazz, often within the same album.

 

From a review point of view I found this their most challenging to put into words. Past reflections of composer Richard Wileman’s journeys into realms of classical grandeur or ambient drifts through space opera soundtracks are still noticeable but like 2007’s Last of The Libertine; here there are slower, free jazz vibes, tangential modern classical meanderings and avant-garde cinematic structures.

 

But for all its lack of generic conformity, or its creation of whole new ones, the composition is powerful, hypnotic and eminently listenable and should be experienced the way all such mercurial creations should, with a totally open mind. It is baffling and beautifully, musically poignant yet a wonderfully open canvas of sounds and above all it is uniquely Karda Estra or maybe just Karda Esoteric.

 

Everything you need to know about KE can be found HERE

The Drive to Taxonomy – Craig Ward and Radboud Mens (Jezus Factory) reviewed by Dave Franklin.

Craig_TapeI knew it wasn’t going to be an ordinary day. Not only did I manage to pick up some Philip K Dick anthologies in Oxfam and Karda Estra sent me their latest release inspired equally by 14th Century writer Giovanni Boccaccio and Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, but I also find the latest Jezus Factory offering at the top of my “to do” pile. Maybe today just exists in some sort of parallel existence, which would be very fitting indeed for what issues from my speakers.

 

Although not familiar with Radboud Mens, a quick search reveals his work is as much based in the area of audio-instillation-as-art, as much as it is in conventional recordings. Craig Ward, however, I am familiar with and associate his name with such a wide genre of music that you have to go into any album he is part of with a totally open mind.

 

Drive To Taxonomy is a five chapter sound painting, the concept of conventional song structure is abandoned in any shape or form and what remains is an ever evolving sonic shape, dynamics that rise and fall at a glacial pace built round a central droning core sound. You could try to label the music but even terms such as ambient and mood music fall far short of what is being explored, here. This is sound manipulation rather than conventional composition, though there are more structured moments that could easily provide an alternative soundtrack to the ahead of its time Vangelis Blade Runner soundtrack.

 

This is really music with no middle ground. To one set of music consumers it will act as the perfect background sound, music to chill out to and consume through osmosis. At the other extreme the techno-geek will sit listening intensely, stroking his beard as he tries to figure out a way to emulate such otherworldly machine music. Either way it is like little you have heard before (other Jezus Factory releases excepted) sitting somewhere equidistant between the background hum of the universe, alien signals, the soundtrack to an acid trip and music as art.

 

Buy it here.

The Worm of Eternal Return – The Grubby Mitts (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

dommoore_2014_karst_grubbymitts_2048px-1117As a music writer I’m always up for a challenge, years of trying to find new ways  to describe the latest indie kids with skinny jeans and complicated hair or a revolutionary new punk band who are going to change the world by shouting first world annoyances over those same three chords certainly takes its toll. That’s why writing about bands like The Grubby Mitts is a breath of fresh air. The Worm of Eternal Return, the first release from their forthcoming and eight years in the making debut album, is a strange affair to say the least.

Listen to The Worm of Eternal Return HERE

Musically you could be forgiven for thinking that you have accidently opened two music files at the same time and those off kilter background sounds are an over spill from a different song altogether. Lyrically, phrases, which seem to have been penned by Noel Fielding, such as “The dodo of longing” and “the polecat of clarity” hide a wonderfully poignant message and a charming pay off.

 

Will it appeal to the ears of mass consumption? (Blimey, they have got me doing it now.) The short answer is, no! The long answer is, no…thank god! If ever there was a band designed to be a cult act, a wonderful secret to be spoken about in hushed tones in dark corners and shared with a discerning few, then this band is it.

 

The title of the debut album to follow really does make a very valid point, What The World Needs Now is The Grubby Mitts, but it is a very small avant-garde world inhabited by a wonderfully strange and surreal people, a world I definitely want to be part of.

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