Saturday, 7 December 2013
"Not What I Expected" as the great Crispy Ambulance once said. A new brace of releases from one of the finest Swedish labels, Belaten, included a collaboration project between Joachim Nordwall and Mika Vainio.
I am not that familiar with the work of Mika Vainio, I haven't heard any of his releases in nigh on twenty years. Bits & pieces pop up here and there and I did have a copy of the Panasonic / Alan Vega album on tape, but I wasn't keen. Way back in the 1980's Mika used to correspond with a friend of mine called Dave. They met through the Bill Nelson Fan Club. Dave and Mika swapped cassettes etc, he had a project called Corporate 09, they produced an album on the To The Finland Station label. It was good stuff, then Mika either joined or formed Sahko Records and with Ilpo became Panasonic / Pan Sonic and the rest (as they say) is history. Mika mailed me a copy of his 1994 CD "Metri", minuscule electro glitch stuff..then there was a collaboration with Noto, again sparse and "glitchy". Then Mika and Dave stopped corresponding so I never heard anymore…..
Joachim is an artist I have only been "getting into" recently with his Alvars Orkester and Skull Defekts projects. I have yet to hear something by Joachim I don't like … Well, until this release.
"Monstrance" is a re-issue of a 2013 CD originally put out by Touch. Recorded in one day in a Berlin studio in 2010. To my knowledge this is the second re-issue put out by Belaten, earlier this year came the excellent Sutekh Hexen "Monument Of Decay" double cassette. As mentioned, the sound is not what I expected.
I was expecting electro, sparse dance beats twitching through distortion and loops. Belaten have been releasing some fine electro-pop, dance beat, post punk tapes in the past. The sound of Panasonic meets Alvars Orkester.
Seven tracks that play like sketches, unfinished and in some cases half-hearted ideas. "Alloy Ceremony" kicks off with prepared piano before moving in to a throbbing electric bass guitar pulse and free-form electric guitar that dips and builds on feedback. First impression was of Psychic TV and their "Themes" work but then it didn't do anything…thoughts of Skullflower and Total. Second piece is similar with its' buzz saw tone and guitar feedback. Track three "Midas In Reverse" is made of bells and strings through a multifarious amount of effects in reverse. Fast editing gives it a sound of chance. "Irkutsk" ends side one. I think "Irkutsk" is Scandinavian for "filler".
Side two opens with "Prasedymum". Guitar and vibraphone. (There must've been one hiding in the studio). This is bland. It ends like a track from a Pete Bardens conceptual album from the 1980's. It begged the question - is this experimental "noise" for folk who read The Wire or Mojo magazine? "Promotheium" had to be fast forwarded until it came to a Hammond Organ drone piece with tempered electric guitar feedback.
A release that should never of happened - or maybe have been a CDR that was passed amongst friends … A shame as expectations were aroused. The first glitch in an otherwise outstanding catalogue of releases. (And a reminder why I don't listen to or buy Touch stuff). Also released was a cassette by Johan G. Winther. Yet to play this one…I think there was a Proiect Hat side project called Wintheer - I wonder if they are related?
Monday, 2 December 2013
Have been spending a pleasant while listening to the latest release from Hamburg based sound artist Michael Muennich. "Abbitte" (Atonement to us English speakers) is a C22 cassette released by American label Banned Production.
The last Muennich release, "Zum Geleit" was very elemental, very wide open sound and using the elements to create a magnificent sound-piece, side one of "Abbitte" is more "domestic" and leaning towards musique concret. A few weeks ago I was in the house of Muennich and chatting about recording techniques when the door to his living room closed with a slow "creak" … "I have recorded that" said Michael and then went on to describe other places around the house and appliances that he had sampled and used. I am uncertain to whether or not these recordings are on "Abbitte" side one but the sound is very contact microphone based so I can only guess that I can hear the creaking doors, dripping taps, the rummaging through the sock drawer and sizzling mushrooms. Very much in the realm of Spoils & Relics, Mark Durgan and Column One.
I was expecting the same again for side two, and I would not have been disappointed if that was the case, but side two is a psychedelic looped wall of sound that takes me on a journey and never to the same place twice. Out of the blue and incredibly addictive. Think classic Dilloway and it is not far from…..More of this please Mr. Muennich!
Both sides are 10 minutes and a few seconds a piece. A great release. I have no idea about the limitation but try www.bannedproduction.com or (in Europe) www.fragmentfactory.com and bag a copy. Side two is certainly one of the best sounds I have heard this year.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
After last years superb releases on Tochnit Aleph and Harbinger Sound Records comes this years Vagina Dentata Organ live document release. To celebrate (and document) the VDO performance at the C.I.A. Gallery in Hong Kong earlier this year in July, the Hong Kong based label Ultra Mail Productions have released the 7" single "The Administration Of Physique".
It's a split single with UK performance art troupe New Noveta who also appeared on the evening. New Noveta is Keira Fox & Ellen Freed whose noise is a harsh wall with frantic screaming. Vagina Dentata Organ brings us smashing glass, cello, rhythmic beating of the drums and chaos. The sounds have been edited / compiled by Michael Gillham and mastered by the master, Phil Julian. All pressed on lovely clear vinyl. With the 7" comes a 3" DVD - again a split affair with the New Noveta performance and a documentary of the 2012/2013 actions by Vagina Dentata Organ. The VDO footage is compulsive and beautifully shot in black & white and intense colour. Just a shame it only is 11minutes and 11 seconds long.
Initial copies are available as a lavish gatefold box set that includes a hand numbered & signed "mugshot" by Jordi Valls and a collage of detritus that was collected from the C.I.A. Gallery floor post performance. Both are beautifully housed behind glass, but the box does smell - burnt tyre rubber and industrial glue - I haven't found a decent case to display my copy yet, and every time I want to spin the record or admire the artwork I have to light the incense sticks!
Truly is a great artefact, and only 50 of the box set will see the light of day, I do not know the limited number of just 7"/3" DVD. Worth having. For enquiries try E Mailing Wah Yuen at firstname.lastname@example.org
3: Gatefold Box (open).
5: 7" Single Cover.
6: Gatefold Box (closed).
Friday, 29 November 2013
This evenings broadcast was an Anla Courtis "Special" and features a 28 minute piece especially presented to MuhMur Radio by Anla. It is an untitled piece recorded live in Serial Space, Sydney Australia in February 2011.
It was a strange evening with no Dave to act as engineer - and take the obligatory photo! Therefore a bit of the previous show bleeds into the MixCloud download, and for that I apologise, just fast forward about 5 minutes.
The programme is now on Mixcloud. Please take a listen.
01: Dual : "Klanik" (Drone Records) 1999.
02: Ralf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis : "Tenia Arronette" (Ultra Mail Prod.) 2013.
03: Ditterich Von Euler-Donnersperg : "Schnullerbar Des Kleinen Fritz" (Walter Ulbricht Schallfollen) 2006.
04: Amnertia : "Glimpse The Twitching Of Veils" (Transient Constellations) 2013.
05: Ure Thrall : "Premonition 9/11" (Drone Records) 2003.
06: Anla Courtis : "Untitled"
(Exclusive piece for MuhMur Radio).
07: Culver-Courtis : "Aurraei-Ravena #1" (Riot Season) 2004.
08: Leif Elggren : "Twenty One Twenty Two" (Fragment Factory) 2013.
09: W>A>S>P>S : "Untitled Number Track & Curves" (Nunwsp) 2013.
10: Ralf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis : "Rekmos Ursten Lonco" (Ultra Mail Prod.) 2013.
11: Duncan Harrison : "Honeying" (412 Recordings) 2009.
12: Wire : "Mr. Suit" (EMI/Harvest) 1977.
13: Plain Characters : "Man In The Railings" (Final Solution) 1979.
14: Current 93 : "Lucifer Over London" (Durtro) 1994.
15: Vagina Dentata Organ : "The Administration Of Physique" (Ultra Mail Prod.) 2013.
16: Ralf Wehowsky & Anla Courtis : "Epiwchig Telan Etrenora" (Ultra Mail Prod.) 2013.
17: Anla Courtis : "Onco Cecilido" (Quasi Pop Records) 2013.
18: Reutoff : "Veiled" (Drone Records) 2000.
19: Sudden Infant : "Iranian Boy In Vienna" (Quasi Pop Records) 2013.
Next programme will be broadcast live on December 12, I have no idea what the playlist will be - depends what I get for my birthday!!!!
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
A clutch of new releases from Neil Campbell AKA Astral Social Club, AKA one of the busiest men in show business! First to play on the hi-fi is the 23 minute CDR "Glamanimals". This is the third in an ongoing series of Astral Social Club extended plays that also includes "Scudding" and "V.E.N.U.S".
"Glamanimals" kicks off floating somewhere between a Chris & Cosey studio out-take from the late 1980's, elevator muzak, Popol Vuh and the chill out room at G-A-Y Disco. Around a third of the way in to the journey and the sound morphs. We are now riding the Japanese bullet train. Locomotive rhythms and electro-noodles. Half way along and we're squelched and travelling backwards, back on to the Mirfield dance floor. Throbbing bass beats and handclaps. Slowly it all descends in to a disco fug. "Glamanimals" ends beatless as machines talk amongst themselves Neil Campbell - a 21st century schizoid man - recordings of automata - manifesto for astral socialism. Superb.
Astral Social Club has a big cartel page - go and buy. Neil has also put up his back catalogue on band camp and is available for donations. Be generous - this man's a treasure!
Sunday, 24 November 2013
At the beginning of 2010 I was invited to play a gig in London, well not exactly London per se but a pub in the district known as Nunhead. The Ivy House. An old Victorian theatre turned in to a pub. Not a bad little venue but just a tad … remote. The evening was being organised by an outfit called Transient Constellations, an outfit that included Max Leonard Hitchings. Max was also in the group Lion Lies Down who were on the bill that night.
Over the next few years Transient Constellations have put on some interesting evenings in and around London, they've also become a small and compact label.
Amnertia is the solo project of Max Leonard Hitchings and "Spider Hashish" is his first release. A 22 minute 3" Cdr. The Cdr is accompanied with a small piece of fiction called "Luman". The two pieces are linked but can be digested separately .. which is good because although I have played the sounds a few times I have yet to start the book, I am a notoriously slow reader and "Friedrich" by Hans Peter Richter" is taking my time. The synopsis of "Lumen" is such;
"Lumen is a disquieting insight into the mind of a man for whom the boundaries between waking life and dreams become blurred in such a way that notions of free will, sanity and even the basic command of motor functions are seemingly replaced by paralysis, possession and delirium - all due to a moment of 'inspiration'."
The sounds are quite conceptual, very visual and very "electronic".
Four pieces beginning with "Glimpse Of The Twitching Veils", a slow starter where a synthetic insectual sound probes and makes spaces before becoming a huge groundswell, a tsunami of sound. Wailing ends the piece. "Spider Hashish" (great title) is a meeting of looped and random electronics. It is how I imagine circuit bending to sound like. A chaotic and addictive piece. "Limen" follows with (again) the sound of insects. A sense of unease. I mentioned the sound as visual, "Limen" brings in the carcass or corpse of a dead animal being devoured by insects shot in fast frame / rapid motion film. Seven minutes plus and very intense. "The Return, Changed" comes in with no respite or chance to gasp fresh air. This finale sounds like the previous three pieces layered and mixed as one.
Great sounds from an interesting man. Better than Lion Lies Down! I shall be playing some of this release on my next radio show on the 28th. I do not know if the release is limited but take a trip to www.transientconstellations.co.uk and have a look.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
Another fine cassette (to assist the Aspa cassette) is "The Bridge" by Murder Cult. As a rule I would pass on a project called Murder Cult but this cassette was recommended on the Idwal Fisher blog, and a general rule of thumb is that if Mark Wharton raves about it - then it's worth a listen.
Murder Cult are from Nottingham and consist of Ben Hallatt and Rashan Sabet. Ben also releases material under the moniker of SCKE// and Wasps. (Not The Wasps of "Teenage Treats" fame but Wasps - sometimes spelt W>A>S>P>S).
"The Bridge" is a c20 (maybe c23) tape consisting of two parts, both recorded live in London. Part One and bells,bowls,cylinders and junk metal are all hit to create a magickal sonic pattern. Very slow tempo that is almost touching Gamelan, the piece journeys on at a steady pace - no rise and fall or crescendos - a lovely meditative piece. I say "touching" because the rhythms are very "Western" .. if that makes any sense? Part Two is more ritualistic and builds to a fast tempo, I feel some instruments are introduced here - maybe glockenspiel or prepared acoustic guitar (?). Fantastic stuff and well worth investigating, as are Wasps. I got the split 7"EP with Nacht Und Nebel the other week too. High class electronics. Please pay www.kiksgfr.net and/or www.waspswasps.blogspot.co.uk a visit.
(Sorry about the poor image scan),