Sunday, 27 October 2013
My mother used to say "If you can't say anything nice then don't say anything at all" but I have had such a disappointing time listening to the latest album by The Haxan Cloak I thought I'd mention it. The eponymous debut LP and preceding 12" (both on Aurora Borealis) were excellent releases, so much so I went and bought the T-Shirt but this LP has to be the last straw.
Very polished. The album (I bought the 2x12"EP version) has a very polished sound, a computer generated sound that carries echoes of mid 1990's Scorn and a bit like Zoviet*France when they weren't that good. Side A (which carries the title track - parts 1&2) sounds like a condensed soundtrack to a "Resident Evil"esque film. There are lots of sounds, tweaks and beats and little piano doodles but the tracks don't go anywhere. I realised I was just listening. Side B is very similar ... nice pulsebeat fades on the "Miste" track, but it is like listening to an audition recording for a video game soundtrack. Side C is "The Mirror Reflecting Parts 1&2" and is quite simply a poor man's Coil. Side D starts with "Dieu", and a violin can be heard in the distance. The violins on the first LP were so good, skeletal and orchestral playing like the Mauthausen Orchestra but here they are hidden behind a very poor rhythm. "The Drop" started with a bad five note keys pattern .. needle off the groove.
So - A big let down and a shame. The last Haxan Cloak I shall buy - unless (of course) things pick up but at the moment it is music for The Wire readers.
Thursday, 24 October 2013
I have always enjoyed the sound of A.M.K. I came across them about twenty or so years ago and have always bought their stuff when I've seen it. My favourite being the "Mecca" 12" that Harbinger Sound put out a few years back. On my trip to Germany last week I managed to pick up a copy of "Spur N" a cassette release by Hamburg based label Fragment Factory.
A.M.K. is the project of turntabablist Anthony King, based on the West Coast of USA and owner of the Banned Productions label. (Or "Bent Productions" if you are German). The theme of "Spur N" is railway tracks. "Spur N" is a C22 (11 minutes a side ... can't help thinking that this would have made a lovely 10" single). "N. Gauge" is lock groove and rolling stock with an occasional ghostly bell clanging in the distance. Lock groove(s) which you can close your eyes and travel / journey the distance. (Marval at the construction of sounds). "Rapido Memoria Technico" is side two. "RMT" is more of a sound collage with more elements and a faster pace - less hypnotic. The piece begins with the sound of an old steam train with a "Casey Jones" whistle. Loops are built from the sound of stream. The occasional bell is there again clanging through the fog, faster and less..."ghostly".
An interesting release on what is becoming a highly collectable label. Artwork is by Michael Muennich.
Go to www.fragmentfactory.com and purchase.
Monday, 21 October 2013
Have just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest release by Circulation Of Light, the solo project of Kinit Her member Nathanial Ritter. I really enjoyed last years "Emersal Tracings" cassette released by Black Horizons and Kinit Her have become staple favourites here at Hartop Towers.
"Winding/Winded" is a C30 (could be C20) on Sangoplasmo Records. Information on the tape is scarce, to be honest the packaging is pretty poor, an unlabelled cassette with a small piece of card folded in the case. It is as if the artwork was an afterthought. The print that is there is so small (unreadable to these 50 year old eyes)!
"Winding" is the sound of resonating bells (church bells) with prepared piano and auto-harp. Very meditative, it is easy to get lost in the resonance. The track has slips and clicks like it is an old vinyl recording, whether it is deliberate or not? It doesn't harm the track though. "Winded" has gentle chimes and xylophone. Very peaceful with a Tibetan / Gamelan vibe. 23 Skidoo (obviously) brought to mind.
Limited to 100 copies and costing just $6 from www.sangoplasmo.com
Apologies for poor photograph!
Thirteen years ago Dieter Muh played two gigs on consecutive nights. Dresden and Leipzig, and we did not like it. It was at the end of the "2000 Harbinger Sound Travelling Circus & Freak Show" tour of Scandinavia and Europe. By the time we played these two shows our equipment and patience had reached the end of its tether .. Recently - well the last few performances - my feeling after finishing is "I want to do that again". The night after Bremen I got the chance to play at the Radio Gagarin Festival in Hamburg, and after a great night out in Bremen I was itching to play live again. The company of Jurgen, Chris and Helge helped. I haven't enjoyed myself so much in quite a few months!
The gig was organised by Radio Gagarin. Thomas Beck (AKA tbc) was the coordinator. The venue was close to the St Pauli district of Hamburg known as Gangeviertel. B*Tong played as did Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim and local project Der 2te Freund. This evening was my first hearing of 1000 Schoen, the project of ex Maeror Tri member Helge Siehl. Helge manipulated sounds generated from a sculptured piece of metal, a transfixing performance .. and after the weekend I am now addicted to the sound of B*Tong & 1000 Schoen. The sound on the evening was perfection. Monitors (yes ... monitors)! like wearing headphones. It made my sound easier to perform with the minutiae voices and delicate frequencies.
The evening was recorded for broadcast, I will put up a link when available.
DJ for the event was a lovely chap called Martin who spun some Column One, Laibach and Scanner. He should have been working the Asmus Teitchens gig on Friday night.
1: Bringing 'em in off the streets!
2: DJ St. Martin.
3: Der 2te Freund.
4: Jurgen Eberhard of Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim.
5: 1000 Schoen.
6: Dieter Muh (photo by Chris Sigdell).
7: Radio Gagarin crew. Harald on the left and Thomas Beck on the right.
8: Chris Sigdell of B*Tong.
Sunday, 20 October 2013
Bremen. This was Dieter Muh's 50th live performance and The Elefant was the ideal venue for the occasion. A huge statue situated just outside Bremen railway station the venue lies beneath the beast. A crypt. Maximum capacity is 30. Ideal. The evening was organised by Jurgen Eberhard of Feine Trinkers Bei Pinkels Daheim.
It was a rainy day in Bremen. For a while it looked like the evening would be cancelled. Waterlogged venue .. but fortunately the show went on. Also on the evening were Tarkatak and B*Tong. (I know B*Tong should have a "degree" symbol and not an asterisk but I can't seem to get one up on this keyboard)!
The evening started with Tarkatak, the solo project of German artist Lutz Pruditsch. Lutz performed delicate sounds, minimal drones before having some "level/volume" problems with his laptop. The sound/volume seem to roller coaster. I don't think Lutz enjoyed the space.
B*Tong is Chris Sigdell from Basel in Switzerland. Chris composed a set using bowed metal, hand massagers, vibrators and the sturdy Roland SP 404 sampler. Creating and building loops of fantastic sound - weaving a great pattern bringing in voices and textures - looping and layering. Great to watch and fascinating to listen to. This was my first introduction to the sound of B*Tong and now I am hooked!
Dieter Muh set. I decided to use voices, small voices, whispered voices and the half heard word. I thought this would fit the space/venue. I created a couple of new "rhythmical" loops to bring in and paint the word samples around. It worked - it was fun .. even played some of Lon Milo DuQuette's "The Call" over a wall of baying Hyenas to end the set.
Bremen Elefant is one of the finest venues I have played. It was great to see it full to the rafters, t'was also great to meet up with Martin and Steffen (aka Troum) again after 15 years ... and another rain sodden night, although that time it was Belgium. M&S took me for a drink or two afterwards with Helge (Mr. 10,000 Schone). Great way to celebrate 50 years in the business. Ha!
01: The Elefant.
02: Inside The Crypt.
03: Table of Elements.
06: Dieter Muh. (Picture by Chris Sigdell).
07: Dieter Muh & B*Tong outside the Elefant. (Picture by Jurgen Eberhard).
I am no Asmus Tietchens aficionado. I have been listening to experimental electronic music for nigh on thirty five years now so of course I have some Tietchens dotted about my collection. Tracks on various compilations, the odd 7" single etc .. but I do not have great knowledge of his work. This aside, I was very excited to learn that Asmus was playing a "free gig" at Hamburg University the day I arrive and have a free night.
Hamburg University was celebrating 100 years of being in business and tonight saw loads of Hamburg's finest perform on various stages on a variety of levels inside the great building. To get to where Asmus Tietchens was performing I passed through a performance by Palais Schaumberg. (Who, according to my host - Michael - are quite good but I always grouped them in with Aha and Fra Lippo Lippi). The building was a sea of people. It was a free event but I have never seen such an amount of souls in such a small place. The building was thick with folk and thick with smoke. I don't know if Germany has a smoking ban but the people smoke inside buildings and the air becomes thick with acrid fog, it is not pleasant.
It seemed to take an age for Asmus to perform. A DJ span discs by Dome, Throbbing Gristle, Chris & Cosey, Kraftwerk and various Euro EBM merchants but I was tiring after an hour or so of her playing. I was now hearing stories of previous Tietchens performances, Sets of blistering noise, sets of silence. What we got tonight was a set of rising waves of sound. Looping and returning to wash over the audience. Extracts of tweaking and bubbling littered the "set" but it was a sound to "get lost in" over about thirty minutes. Loud crashing waves of electric bliss. Downside (apart from the smoke filled air) was the audience, a vast majority of which were not there to witness Asmus but to drink and "party" thus shouting through some of the quieter moments. Always a possibility at the "free concert".
Asmus was swiftly followed by fellow Hamburger and founder of Cluster Dieter Moebius. After five or so minutes of great loud abstract scraping and clanking the sound morphed in to "techno" beats ... we left.
A great experience and a gig I shall never forget.
1: Hamburg University.
2 & 3: Asmus Tietchens.
5: Dieter Moebius.
My shopping time in Hamburg was very limited and the weather did seem against me for a brief while but I did manage an hour or so discovering the secondhand vinyl emporiums of the Saint Pauli district of Hamburg. Saturday morning is "flea-market" morning in St Pauli and there are lots of stalls selling vinyl LP's (not so much the 7" single). Boxes and boxes of New Wave stuff all priced roughly around the 10 euro mark. If time and weather had been on my side I could have easily have spent an hour or so wandering around the stalls flicking through the boxes. There is however two shops of note in St. Pauli, two shops well worth the visit.
Hanseplatte at Neuer Kamp 32 sells a variety of new and secondhand albums. A modest experimental / electronic selection, where I bought vinyl by Column One and Ditterich Von Euler-Donnesperg. There were also racks for German bands, new wave and world music artists and a corner selling clothes.
Close by is Feldstrasse and at number 48 is Ruff Trade Records, a shop run by former Geisterfahrer member and creator of Zick-Zack Records Michael Ruff. ("Muffy"). This shop is (quite simply) the bollocks of the dog and needs time and euros to discover. Huge punk /new wave / independent / industrial sections - lots of label and band sub divisions and a great load of 7" singles on the counter. It was like shopping in Selectadisc (Nottingham) 20 years ago. I managed to grab a mint copy of the Mass 7" "You & I" with poster for only €14! It put me in a great mood for the rest of the weekend. Next visit I shall take a packed lunch.
Unfortunately I didn't get time to discover the secondhand record shops of Bremen, time was not on my side there either but I did see some interesting shops along Osterdeich. But (as was pointed out to me in Hamburg) I was following in the month old footsteps of Steve Underwood so chances of finding any beauties there would be slim!
1: Hanseplatte Postcard.
2: Hanseplatte Records (with Michael Muennich).
3: Ruff Trade Records.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
Tonights broadcast featured an exclusive piece from Phil Julian. "Tower Science" is a ten minute piece drawing inspiration from:
I also included a couple of great tracks by fellow Croydonites Ramleh. Please give the show a listen on: (Cut & Paste).
01: Phil Julian "59/20" (CMX.Org) 2012.
02: Ramleh "Trapped Aircraft" (Sympathy For The Record Industry) 1993.
03: Andrea Borghi "Vetrale #1" (Observatoire) 2013.
04: VipCranco "Molize" (Lisca Records) 2013.
05: VipCranco "Tropico #5" (Lisca Records) 2010.
06: Tibetan Red "Scanning" (Freedom In A Vacuum) 1985.
07: Zaghurim "The People's Temple" (Atonal Records) 1985.
08: Ceramic Hobs "Hong Kong Goolagong" (Must Die Records) 2013.
09: Ramleh "Say Fuck" (Dying Earth Records) 1993.
10: Cheapmachines "Culture" (Adeptsound) 2010.
11: Phil Julian "Tower Science" (Not On Label) 2013.
(Exclusive piece for MuhMur Radio).
12: GX Jupitter-Larsen w/ Cheapmachines "Tunnel Clock" (Anarchymoon) 2011.
13: In Camera "The Conversation" (4AD Records) 1980.
14: Troum "Symbiosis #3" (Transgredient Recordings) 2002.
Next programme will be on October 31 at 21:00 (GMT) and will be a two hour Smell & Quim show with some "exclusive" material.
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
Soundhart is Seven
13 November Studio 20 Space from 7pm
ticket price is £10, £8 concession or half price for Soundart Radio Members
We would like to invite you to our Birthday celebrations, this Autumn.
Seven years ago, as the news was breaking that Dartington College of Arts was going to Falmouth, we bought a massive 2nd hand broadcast desk and squeezed it into a little room at the back of the college. None of us had ever made radio before, and we made it up as we went along. The opening broadcast came live from Dartington's Roundhouse Cafe, with student performances.
On Wednesday 13th November we showcase the talents of our members and programme makers with an evening of electronic and noisy performance in Studio 20, from around 7pm – this will be going out live on air as well.
Grymbart with Marg and Byrt - A little welcoming ritual.
The Oima Orchestra - Electronics with singing bowls from Soundart regulars.
Germseed “May a Germseed her burning, plant in your self's area to create bright time for your black golden listening face musics. Accept and be seized.”
Dieter Müh - Created as a two-piece in 1994, Dieter Müh has been a solo project of sound artist Steve Cammack since 2009. The sound has developed over the past 19 years, with walls of noise constructed from samples and loops creating a dense soundscape with surprising consequences.
Shokku - An audio visual collaboration between Hannah Drayson (Sorry) and Ben Hudson (Baconhead). They have performed at the BFi, Big Chill Festival, Simplexity Bristol, Bangface Weekender and Cafe Concrete (Plymouth) Contains flashing lights.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
Wednesday, 9 October 2013
One of the great surprises of 2013 has been the reemergence of Tactile. Silent since the release of "Bi-Polar Explorer" on the Else Product label in 2008. This year has now seen two new Tactile albums. Earlier this year came "Assault on M19", and now there is "Logics Of Disintegration". Both titles are on the Sentrax label and available at www.sentrax.co.uk - paypal available.
"Logics Of Disintegration" is a CD limited to 75 copies only and is presented in metal case (with postcard). 40 or so minutes of pure noise. As head Tactlian John Everall says; ""Logics Of Disintegration" is, in my way, my "Metal Machine Muisc" moment." and indeed it does sound like the seminal Lou Reed LP - I haven't heard that album for over thirty years but I think my memory serves me well.
High end synthesized noise loops (infinity ring modulator) layering across and against each other and a bank of guitar-wall noise and amplifier feedback. Clear as a bell - no distortion....for 40 minutes. Immediately the early works of Boyd Rice (Non with Turman) and Whitehouse spring to mind ...
An art piece? A curio? Concept album? If you want to hear how the sound of Tactile has developed and progressed during the silence then I strongly recommend "Assault On M19". If you like noise then bag this album now.
Hopefully Tactile live dates will follow ....
Sunday, 6 October 2013
It was Andrew Hartwell of Aurora Borealis label that first recommended Sutekh Hexen to me. A kind of "If you like Burial Hex you'll love these" recommendation. The name came up a few times but their releases were either ultra limited - the cassettes on Fragment Factory seem to sell out before release or were only available from US Distro's - and I try and avoid them due to crazy P&P prices. (Not the distributors fault I know but when P&P costs more than the item itself it all seems a bit daft). Anyway - Sutekh Hexen now have a release on the Swedish Belaten label, so I made certain to put myself down for a copy. Belaten have been consistent in releasing some of the finest quality electronic avant-garde and pop tones for the past couple of years.
Sutekh Hexen are a duo comprised of Andrew Way and Kevin Yuen and are based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"Monument Of Decay" is a re-release of a 12"EP put out by US label Black Horizons and comes in the 2xC10 format. 4 tracks / pieces of dark atmospheric ambient drone. "Lastness" sounds like it could be used for the opening credits of a "horror" film with its atmospheric low moans and drones, stone and metal raspings and scrapings. Dark .... very dark. "...Of Emanation" is loud! Imagine one thousand Venom albums all played at the same time at 16rpm through sonic distortion pedals and then have Th. ToT of Trepaneringsritualen vocalize over the top and you have the sound of this piece.
The two pieces on tape two have Arabic titles - written in Sanskrit? Side "C" is "Dhumavati's Hunger". A crushing wall of static with great bass frequencies swirling around beneath the awareness. Deep in the woods a Satanic Mass is swinging to paraphrase The Birthday Party. "Dhumavati's Hunger" ends too sudden - like this is just an excerpt - this slightly annoys me. "Dakhma" is the final piece. Guitar drone with waves of (c)rippling noise flooding the ear space, again Th. ToT is involved in the atmosphere.
Cracking stuff indeed and I'll try and get some more Sutekh Hexen.
This release is limited to 200 copies, 23 of which come in a special box with cards, a download key and two vials of blood and ash. Another superb Belaten release.
Available from www.belaten.bandcamp.com
1: The Box.
2: Tapes & Vials.
3: Sutekh Hexen Postcard.
Friday, 4 October 2013
A stormy night in Dartington & a great programme featuring sounds from the excellent Freak Animal Records catalogue. (Apart from Spizz Oil's "6,000 Crazy" which was the classic from the new wave era and the on this day feature release ... killing two birds etc). Lucinda (if SoundArt) paid a visit to edit one of her broadcasts and invited myself & Dave to take part. Our voices now appear on her programme! Copy & paste and please take a listen: http://www.mixcloud.com/muhsteve/muhmur-soundart-freak-animal-broadcast/ Big thanks to Mikko and Hal for supplying great exclusives.
Next programme is after my German tour and will feature an exclusive piece by Phil Julian.
01: MNEM "Eastern Tunnel" (Freak Animal Records) 2000
(From the compilation CD "Degenerating Finland").
02: Cloama "Death Certificate" (Freak Animal Records) 2009
(From the 7" EP "Death Certificate").
03: Peenemunde "Maruta" (Freak Animal Records) 2013
(From the CD album "Peenemunde II").
04: Grunt "Junkie Cunt" (Freak Animal Records) 2001.
(From the 7" "Welfare").
05: Grunt "Paid Victims Of Modern World Fetish" (Industrial Recollections) 2012.
(From the CD album "Long Lasting Happiness").
06: Grunt "Saarto" (Vinyl On Demand) 2006
(From the compilation LP "Viva Negativa!").
07: Grunt "Innocence Kills" (Freak Animal Records/Jazzassin/Bonbon Records) 1998.
(From the compilation CD "Scandinavian Noise Manifesto").
08: Grunt "Shovel Attack" (Not On Label) 2013.
(Exclusive piece for MuhMur Radio. From the "IOPS#7" film).
09: Putrefier "Pray For Fire (Wolf Hour)" (Birthbiter) 1992
(From the 7" "Pray For Fire/Body Hole").
10: STROM e.c. "Neuroscan" (Freak Animal Records) 2000
(From the CD album "Dogs Of Total Order").
11: Cloama "Fierce Wrath" (Freak Animal Records) 2011
(From the LP "Municipality Of Marionettes").
12: Budrus "Will Push Into The Storm" (Freak Animal Records) 2013
(From the CD album "Canine Visions II").
13: Tiermes "Infinite Possibilities" (Freak Animal Records: 1997
(From the 10" EP "Tiermes").
14: Hal Hutchinson "Factory Of Metal Sound (Corrosive Treatment)" (Not On Label) 2013
(Exclusive piece for MuhMur Radio).
15: Spizz Oil "6,000 Crazy" (Rough Trade Records) 1978
(From the 7"EP "6,000 Crazy" - a classic from the new wave era).
16: Jaakko Vanhala "The Original Violence" (Freak Animal Records) 2013
(From the CD album "Here Be Lions").
17: Nicole 12 "Sado-Child" (Freak Animal Records) 2003
(From the 3" CDR EP "Lolita Love").
1: In the DJ chair.
2: Lucinda edits whilst Dave chills.
3: Thanks to Hal & Mikko!