Friday, 15 February 2019

So There's These Records - Summer Edition

On Twitter I often mention records I'm currently listening to and enjoying but I almost never follow that up on my blog. So here's some LPs I've been digging in 2019. This first one is a compilation released on the fabulous Strut Records which I totally missed last year. I discovered it on bandcamp a week ago and tweeted about it that day. The grooves on Disque Debs International Volume 1. An Island Story: Biguine, Afro Latin & Musique Antillaise 1960-1972 are soo infectious. These tunes are very well suited to the absurd heatwave we've been having here in the Antipodes. If you liked that Soundway Records compilation from a few years back,'s 10 years, Tumbélé: Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds Of The French Caribbean 1963-74 you are gonna dig these sweet tropical vibes.

The fantastic record label Awesome Tapes From Africa reissued this in 2016. In need of some healing loose soulful grooves the other day in the immense Australian summer heat I pulled out Wede Harer Gazo and claimed it to be just about the best album ever recorded. I stand by that statement. Wede Harer Gazo is a 1978 recording from Hailu Mergia & The Dahlak Band. This is hypnotic knackered jazz funk with a blurry organ giving it a frayed psych vibe. The LP comes from the golden age era of Ethiopian music so if you like your Mulatu Astatke or Éthiopiques compilations you are bound to appreciate this beautiful laconic music.

Hailu Mergia also played on this brilliant obscure tape from 1975 Asnakech by Asnakech Worku also featuring Temare Haregu, which was reissued last year by Awesome Tapes From Africa. I think it's a bit odd to give something that was originally a hissy 70s tape the deluxe vinyl treatment. Suffice to say I only bought the digital version but they did reissue it on tape as well. This album was included in my best reissues of 2018 list but Asnakech is still in high rotation around these parts. Like the aforementioned French Caribbean music, golden age Ethiopian music suits summer perfectly. Worku, a 20th century icon, was a famous actor, dancer, singer and master of the krar. The krar is an ancient Ethiopian harp that has 6 strings and sounds a bit like a brittle rusty banjo. Asnakech Worku will have you mesmerised with her off kilter free krar playing intermingled with Mergia's blurry organ swirls. Strange and enchanting. Also check out Éthiopiques 16 (2003).

I know I'd heard Juana Molina on the radio before but I just filed her away in the back of my mind as someone to investigate one day. Something on youtube prompted me to finally check her out properly and what a fool I've been for the last 15 years. Son from 2008 is a modern experimental psych folk masterpiece. Musically it's somewhere between Linda Perhacs, the Canterbury Scene, miscellaneous experimental vocal scientists and a whole lot of Molina's idiosyncratic vision. There are a handful of other Juana Molina LPs either side of this one that are highly rated so I can't wait to track those down.

Kamikaze 1989 is the soundtrack to Fassbinder's 1982 film. How the hell did this even pass me by? Anyway I've found it now and it's a bewdy. I rate Edgar Froese's other six LPs recorded between 1974 and 1983. Froese's last classic solo LP Pinnacles was released in 1983 so I am absolutely flummoxed as to how I didn't know this existed until the other day. Kamikaze 1989 is classic early 80s synth soundtrack action from the Kosmiche maestro of Tangerine Dream fame. This puts to shame all of the 2010's synth-wave pretenders. Splendid stuff.

Moon Wiring Club's 2016 LP Exit Pantomime Control is one of their best. I guess it got a little overlooked*, by me at least, as it was released at the same time as their massive triple cd of archival material When A New Trick Comes Along I Do An Old One. Anyway I've been listening to this constantly for the past three months and it just doesn't get old. Their catalogue is full of treasure and I would place Exit Pantomime Control somewhere in the top 5 of all time Moon Wiring Club releases which is high praise indeed.

*Surely they, well Moon Wiring Club are a one man band that is Ian Hodgson, are one of the most overlooked musical entities of the past 12 years. Due to Mr Hodgson's release schedule of always issuing his new product in early December, as a Yuletide treat, has put him in a peculiar critical position. By the beginning of December most music websites and magazines have usually compiled their albums of the year lists. He really is on the outside of things. I'm not fully aware of how often he is reviewed. I've occasionally seen him reviewed in The Wire and @FACT but a quick search @Pitchfork reveals "No Results'. So I'm guessing he doesn't get a hell of a lot of media attention outside of the dwindling music blogosphere (paid music writers, eh?).

Friday, 8 February 2019

We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves - John Maus

This LP was the first to get dissed on my blog, I think on the second post ever. Here's what I said:
Who cares?
John Maus (he is Chapterhouse to Ariel Pink’s MBV)

Anyway since deciding to listen to Screen Memories by John Maus out of the blue last year I've had a change of heart. Dismissing him as a z-grade Ariel Pink back in 2011 wasn't really fair was it? I mean he was Pink's band mate, collaborator and friend. It was a bit like saying Hugo Race was a bit Bad Seeds-y, hell yeah he was because he was part of the fucking original band. So I had to buy We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves again this year and well I love it. It's now giving Rustie and Adele a run for their money as quite possibly my favourite record of 2011. Been diggin last year's Addendum and 2017's Screen Memories too. Now there's some more catching up to do.

Does this also mean a reappraisal of Chapterhouse is in order?

How about this below anthem? Believer gives me the pure pop goose bumps. It's amazing that I could disregard an LP that has now had such an emotional impact on me.

Friday, 1 February 2019


Darqwan - Said The Spider
What is this? Apart from being a wobbly racket, I guess it's proto-dubstep. Is it even garage anymore? More like a drum n bass//bleep/hardcore hybrid. In 2002 this sounded pretty unhinged. Now that the bro-step era has gone by perhaps a tune like this might get a reappraisal or maybe not quite yet. I couldn't find Darqwan's more garage-y tune Pipe Dreams anywhere.

Active Minds - Hobsons Choice
Another terrible project name. Maybe that's why some white labels just say Hobsons Choice. We're back to pure speed garage gold here.

The Dub Monsters - Waiting
Waiting is the flip of Scott Garcia's bona fide speed garage classic A London ThingDub Monsters were a project for Garcia and another bloke. Waiting's all about the sugar rush of the vocal science. This was an odd little double A 12" of the best variety! 

That Month in Movies

I've been a bit off films in January. Maybe watching too many shit ones has made me reluctant to invest my time. It has also been way too fucking hot to enjoy or concentrate on anything. Thirteen days of January were over 40 degrees Celsius, that's 104 Fahrenheit. Or to put it another way for Americans and other Fahrenheit people 18 days this month have been over 100 degrees. Then there's also been way too many migraines in my head. Recent great, and I mean great, British telly ie. Detectorists and Inside No 9 has had my eyeball's attention...oh and not forgetting watching a lot of Muppet Babies with my niece during the school holidays. Perhaps I'll get back into the swing of all things movies next month.

Single White Female (1992)
Alright 90s thriller directed by Barbet Shroeder. Is it a slasher in disguise though? Very stylishly crafted with good performances from Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Stephen Tobolowsky. Allie (Fonda) gets a new flatmate (Leigh) who gradually becomes obsessed with her. 'What ever happened to the very likeable Bridget Fonda?' You ask. She quit the acting game in 2002 apparently.

Game Night (2018)
Fucking stupid crime comedy. It's kinda like a comic version of David Fincher's The Game (1997). You would think these actors have never been in a comedy before as they just keep missing the beats. About five of the jokes in the entire film work. Don't waste your time on this bollocks. Game Night has totally put me off so called comedy movies for the next couple of years at least. Let's face it comedy is better suited to TV anyway.

The Orchard End Murder (1981)
This is a real curio from 80s Britain. The Orchard End Murder was made as part of a double bill to be screened with the much more well known and admired Dead & Buried (1981). It's a mini feature (50 minutes) of unsettling rural horror. In 1966 a young lady goes missing after attending a game of cricket in the countryside with a male acquaintance. Sure it's not a masterpiece but it's strange, intriguing and well worth a look.

Notorious (1946)
Hitchcock noir classic starring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant and Claude Raines. Alicia (Bergman) becomes entangled with espionage and romance in post WWII Rio De Janeiro where Nazis in need of spying on have settled.

The Haunting (1963)
Highly rated Robert Wise haunted house flick that was totally disappointing. The Haunting had some really cool camera angles, direction and a stunning set. Even a young Russ Tamblyn (That's Doctor Jacoby from Twin Peaks) couldn't save this movie for me. Perhaps I was expecting too much from this non-haunting film.

Ghost Stories (2017)
I was very excited at the prospect of finally getting to watch this film as it had been rated by some people I respect. It starts out very gripping but turns out a bit disappointing. Is Ghost Stories a depiction of a crazy nightmare or is it supposed to make some sort of actual sense? Film makers trying to blow my mind with convoluted twists or being 'oh so meta' is fucking tedious, just make a good movie. Great performances from Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse however. Maybe a second look is in order.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

UK Garridge V

Sunship - Try Me Out (Chunky Beats)
Noice. I've heard this before, I mean how could I forget right? The flip of this might even be better. I might post that next time.

Phaze One - Nicole's Groove 
Ooh that bass. You think this is just gonna be a whatever garage tune then all this shit happens. UKG!

DJ ZINC - 138 Trek
I dunno if this one is strictly garage but I like it a lot. It fits in that liminal space of not quite drum n bass and not quite garridge either and it's a bit aaciiidd. Like it matters right.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

More UK Garridge IV

Antonio - Hyperfunk (Steve Gurley Mix)
Magical. You can never go wrong with Steve Gurley at the controls.

24 Hour Experience - Together
Such a bad band name. That second keyboard line that comes in at 1.18 is strange. It would usually be an octave or two lower and be the bassline but it feels too high to be the bass giving this tune a light headed off kilter quality.

Sunship - Cheque One-Two 
Wicked man. Cheque One-Two is pretty in yer face innit? Those eastern keys are very odd for speed garage, aren't they? Classic 1998 UKG beat though. I could totally imagine this tune getting a remix in the wobble era if indeed it didn't.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

More UK Garridge Gold

G.O.D. - Watch Ya Bass Bins (1997)
Another tuuuuune from 97 I didn't know until this week! I'm a sucker for time-stretching and reggae/ragga samples. Oh and then there's that fucking bass. Watch Ya Bass Bins!

Box Clever - Treat Me Right (1998)
This one might not seem immediate but just hang on, it's insidious and by the end of the track it will be under your skin. This is meticulous, mesmerizing and magnificent. Love that organ sample.

Zak Toms - Bring Me Down (1998)
Another state of the art speed garage nugget that I don't recall. Worth it for the bass drop at 1 minute 29 alone. Bring Me Down is another lovely, slinky and hypnotic production.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

UK Garridge

Ruff Driverz - Don't Stop
The following three tracks were the ones I discovered for the first time on that top mix from the previous post. This is pure gold. I cannot believe I missed Don't Stop. How good is the 1 min 13 moment?  When that steppy bass enters. Then the 2 minute 27 bass change. Two tunes for the price of one in the true spirit of hardcore. Mental tune. Menacing.

Danny J Lewis - Spend The Night (H-Man Dub)
How's that beat, bass and vocal sample? There's an Australian connection here, Nissan Cedrics singer Dannielle Gaha recorded a dance tune Secret Love that was a minor hit in the UK in 1993. Five years later Danny J Lewis sampled it here.

Jhelisa - Friendly Pressure (Midnight Mix)
I cannot believe this was not a number one chart topper.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

On the UK Garridge Tip

& A Bit Of Ye Olde Jungle

Found this choice UK garage mix today. It treads that fine line between classy, trashy, rootsy and poppy. The rhythms and sonic innovations are undeniable though. It's got classic faves Find The Path, It's a London Thing, RIP Groove etc. Maybe I haven't heard or don't remember half of these tunes which is refreshing. There are some revelations here like Don't Stop (Deeper Mix) from Ruff Driverz, Spend The Night (H-Mans Groove Dub) by Danny J Lewis and Jhelisa's very commercial Friendly Pressure (Midnight Mix), which I can only assume was a big hit in the UK. I think this gear stays really fresh because I wasn't into the scene at the time and only came to appreciate the music much later. It's not like 'ardcore/darkside/jungle where I've heard, you know, Mr Kirk's Nightmare, Bombscare, Finest Illusion, Terminator, Here Come The Drumz, Renegade Snares et al. 1000 times. Anyway this was a really spot on mix until the final three tunes which didn't seem to fit, starting with that Tori Amos track which was more like funky house. So I'd fade out the mix at around the 1 hour 12 minute mark.

Double 99's speed garridge gem RIP Groove from 1997 led me to the above mix. I'm pretty sure this is the original 6 min track.

DJ Gunshot's 1994 jungle tune Wheel 'N' Deal was sampled on RIP Groove was it not?

Wheel 'N' Deal put me in mind of this all time classic jungle Amen smasher Drum N' Bass Wise from Remarc. Wow this still sounds fucking remarkable (pun intended) and current and future... It's from bloody 1994. That's ages ago! I don't even wanna say the amount of years that is. Is 94 when the future died?

This whole sonic journey started here with Grant Nelson's classic Step 2 Me because this tune was posted at Energy Flash several hours ago.

*Some previous posts on UK Garridge:
Proto Dubstep, Speed Garage & Recreations.
UK Garridge With Simon Reynolds.
UK Garridge 101 Part 1.
UK Garridge 101 Part 2.
Uk Garridge 101 Part 3.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Best of 2018

2018 LPS
Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 5 - The Caretaker
Pastoral - Gazzelle Twin
Make Me Know You Sweet - Pendant
Mandy OST - Johann Johannsson
A Laughing Death In Meatspace - Tropical Fuck Storm
Everywhere At The End Of Time: Stage 4 - The Caretaker
Psychedelic Spirit Show - Moon Wiring Club
Mother - Xylouris White
On Drugs - Primitive Calculators
Sleepmassk - Sleepmassk
Double Negative - Low*
Culture II - Migos 
Insula - Proc Fiskal
Cocoon Crush - Objekt
Unfold - Gabor Lázár

This list is not as authoritative or comprehensive as it usually is (go to FACT, OPIUM-HUM or The Wire for that) because I didn't check out hundreds of albums this year like I normally do. Severe debilitating migraines caused my life to be lived at about a 3rd of its capacity. So I was rarely in a jovial mood to even entertain the thought of listening to the latest pop tune or experimental opus. The above records are just the handful I managed to enjoy in 2018.

I didn't mind Addendum from John Maus, Sleep's The ScienceLate Electrics by Rangers, Young Thug's Slime Language/On The Rvn, Future's Beast Mode 2Kazuashita by Gang Gang Dance, Laurel Halo's Raw Silk Uncut WoodThe Invisible World Of... by Beautify Junkyards, Neville Watson's The Midnight Orchard, Duppy Gun's Miro Tape etc. They might have ended up in my main best of 2018 list but I just haven't listened to them enough to rate them properly. I can't even recall if I liked Let's Eat Grandma's I'm All Ears or Sophie's Oil Of Every Pearl's Un probably not.

There were new records from GasOneohtrix Point Never, Alvin Lucier, Eli Keszler, Chris Carter, Bruce, Pusha T, Cardi B, Travis Scott, Rico Nasty, Playboi Carti, 21 Savage, Chief Keef, Gnod, Dead Can Dance, Julia Holter, Autechre, Supersilent, Jon Hassell, Hailu Mergia and a bunch of others that I just didn't get around to listening to let alone buying. FACT even have a list of the best 13 ambient LPs of 2018. None of which I've heard either and that's probably where my head should have been at more than anywhere else this year. I'm sure some of this unheard music is good stuff but that's the way my 2018 cookie crumbled.

On the soundtrack front I enjoyed Rob's Revenge OST and Colin Stetson's Hereditary OST but I didn't even get around to that Scott Walker/Sia soundtrack or the new Halloween from John Carpenter & Co.

I nearly fell into the nostalgia traps of new releases from Space Afrika, Beta Librae, Barker... all perfectly adequate facsimiles of past high water marks in innovative electronic music.

...apparently rave is the new old thing...hasn't it been the new old thing for at least seven years now?

...apparently speed garage is also the new old thing...

...liquid Drum'n'Bass, seriously people?!

Was The Sons Of Kemet album really all that?  *Rhetorical question.

I wonder what Mark Fisher would have made of Guttersnipe's My Mother The Vent? Being Mars wannabes in 2018 is kinda trad, innit? Talk about not killing yr idols. Mars formed in 1974! Another case of a band picking up on the sonic aesthetics of a band but not understanding the revolutionary ideas behind them.

I don't even know who Twenty One Pilots are or what they same goes for Amnesia Scanner and Tirzah. Do I need to know? Am I missing out?

I enjoyed track-y tunes like Ramos from Ploy and Agua Y Puerta by Lechuga because they sound like I could have made them myself on GarageBand if I could have been bothered.

What would Mark Fisher have thought Part 2: Vessel's Queen Of Golden Dogs? I mean I get what they are doing but why would you want to do that? It feels like a thesis for a music degree doncha reckon?

Oh...and who gives two fucks about Kendrick Lamar when you've got YG serving up Californian gold ala Big Bank! YG is West Coast's main man.

This record is a bit like Sun Kil Moon's Benji album from a few years back, it was hard to ignore due to the groundswell of popularity on the internet and even from the archaic printed paper people. I first heard Low on the legendary Witch In The Colours radio show hosted by Jason Reynolds on Melbourne's 3RRR when I Could Live In Hope was released in 1994. At the time they were described as an American answer to Slowdive, which was a little misleading. I still remember hearing Lazy for the first time and its Slint meets Twin Peaks reverbed vibe had me mesmerised. To me, Low reached perfection in 1995 on their 2nd album Long Division. That LP was a three piece doin electrifying minimal rock with their signature threatening, gloomy and slow burning jamz that sounded like they were recorded in a cold and lonesome echo chamber. Sure they had very good records after Long Division including the following The Curtain Hits The Cast (1996) and a couple recorded with Steve Albini. I lost touch with them after that though. So it was weird listening to them this year but also a joy. Double Negative is like a Low chopped & screwed tape. I don't know how they ended up in this sonic terrain (although they have always had an experimental bent) but it's great that they did. Low are still Low of old ie. lovely yet intense melodious close boy/girl harmonies. Its just that the sonic textures have been beautifully fucked with. Stuff drops in and out, gets slowed down, gets chopped, gets sent into the red, goes glitch-y and disintegrates then swells back to life in a swathe of distortion. The outstanding track Always Tying To Work It Out sounds like DJ Screw could have been at the controls. This all might sound like a strange juxtaposition but it works to an impressive degree. Enthralling.

Black Mass - Lucifer
The Unexplained: Electronic Musical Impressions Of The Occult - Ataraxia
Memoire Magnetique Vol.1 1966-1990 - Bernard Parmegiani
The Girl From Chickasaw County - Bobbie Gentry
Goodbyes And Beginnings - Suzanne Menzel
The Music From Bagpuss - Sandra Kerr & John Faulkner
Impressionz - Ekoplekz
Chronolyse - Richard Pinhas
East West - Richard Pinhas 
Rhizosphere - Richard Pinhas
A Dream Sails Out To Sea: Get At The Wave - Takashi kokubo
Coochin Moon - Haroumi Hosono & Tadanori Yokoo
Orient - Hiroshi Sato
Asnakech - Asnakech Worku feat. Hailu Mergia & Temare Haregu
African Scream Contest Volume 2: Benin 1963-80 - Various
Two Niles To Sing A Melody: The Violins & Synths Of Sudan - Various
Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie In 1980s South Africa - Various
Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94 - Various

These records are obviously in no particular order. Apart from those first three LPs mentioned, by Lucifer, Ataraxia (both Mort Garson pseudonyms) and Bernard Parmegiani, I'm pretty out of the loop now when it comes to ye olde pioneering electronics reissues. God I even missed an Aussie Creel Pone release this year! How many live recordings of Throbbing Gristle do I need? Well all of them so I guess one more wouldn't hurt. Then there was a whole deluge of Japanese electronic, ambient, city-pop, image albums and Ghibli soundtracks from the 70s & 80s, a lot of which are getting issued in the west for the first time. Have all the good electronic and horror soundtracks now been reissued? I don't even know if great labels from the 00s like Trunk, Omni Recording Corporation, Strut or Finders Keepers are still reissuing interesting esoterica in 2018. On the African tip there were choice compilations on SoundwayOstinato Records, Awesome Tapes From Africa and Analog Africa, that stuff seems to be petering out now that they've reached the 80s Post-Boogie/R&B/Pop phase. What comes after that? Probably not much. Then again maybe in Africa they did noise-rock, indie, grunge, riot grrl, acid house, 'ardcore rave, techno, ambient, jungle, speed garage... who knows? Uh-huh! I just saw on the interwebs that this compilation Pantsula! The Rise Of Electronic Dance Music In South Africa 1988-1990 was released last year on on Rush Hour Music.

The anthology show that is sometimes horror, sometimes black comedy, sometimes drama and sometimes all of the above. Most film-makers get 2 hours plus to tell their story and it's usually not a masterpiece. Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton give themselves 29 minutes and make a twisted ripper every time. Only comparable to The Crown in consistency and quality. Their genius is breathtaking!
Even better than the first season.
Pretty good but hey, I guess you can't top The Wire can you?
Fascinating true crime documentary series. Did the justice system get it wrong? Surely Michael Peterson is guilty but yeah I get it, there's not enough solid evidence against him though.
Disturbing four part true crime documentary about a bunch of fucking nutters and their strange hair-brained heist scheme that culminated in the murder of the pizza bomber. I don't know who or what to believe. You do not want people like this in your life.
Alison Brie is so charismatic as is Kate Nash and surprisingly Marc Maron is very good. Best telly soundtrack of the year ie. bunch of terrific old 80s radio songs I haven't heard since the 80s.
Bananas OTT crime drama/soap opera/comedy with the best wardrobe in TV since the 70s. Very 2018. This was entertainment.

Evil Has A Name: The Untold Story Of The Golden State Killer Investigation. 
This is an Audible exclusive. Six hours featuring audio from key detectives, profilers, criminologists, forensic experts, victims etc. in the saga of The Visalia Ransacker/East Area Rapist/The Original Night-Stalker. Fascinating insight into the revolutionary ways of catching old evil cunts ie. Joseph DeAngelo the man who raped over 50 women & girls and killed over 13 people in California from 1974 to 1986. Paul Holes is the rock star of detectives! and the escalating technology surrounding DNA is the catalyst that is the icing on this case's cake. Amazing story.

Happy New Year!