Wednesday 31 December 2014

The Chainsaw - Rhythm Section

Was listening to this tune today on me computer and thought 'gee whizz that's a beauty'. This is from 93 and it's gold that rocks da house. It kind of predates Basement Jaxx don't you think? "Are Rhythm Section and The Rhythm Section one and the same?" I thought, and no they're not. The Rhythm Section were Belgian and had a tune I know called Can You Feel which I always thought was the British Rhythm Section who had sold out because it was like happy house. The Belgian group were doing more like nu beat/acid house in a happy stylee, whereas Rhythm Section were more yer UK 'ardcore because they were from the UK and did hardcore. You can check out these geezers below. Loving the guy with the cap, sunnies and mo combo. This tune's a bit darker and dirtier than their other tunes. Anyway The Chainsaw is a choice cut. It might have been their last tune, I dunno. I've seen a comp of theirs and it only goes up to 1992 so maybe they don't rate it.

"What are you lookin at? We're not Belgian you twat!"

Sunday 28 December 2014

Rap Mixtapes - Influx Inertia

They were counting down the days by the second at Datpiff for the release of Luca Brasi 2 by Kevin Gates and I got caught up in the anticipation too. I think I ended up downloading it in the middle of the night. I mean I didn't set the alarm or anything, it just so happened I couldn't sleep. I was looking forward to it though. I still don't get why such quality releases are free. I guess it's hard to stop the pirates so why not? Some of these free mixtapes are for sale as well. In my list of best LPs/Mixtapes of 2014 sixteen of the thirty six were given away free via Datpiff, Live Mixtapes etc. They have become such quality documents I decided to put them along side the proper album releases. I think it was Lil Wayne who started the trend of making mixtapes of such high standard. He even used to say the accompanying mixtapes released around the same time as his proper LPs were better than the official releases.

I've still got around 20 mixtapes in my 'inbox of new mixtapes' playlist that I haven't had enough time to give proper listens to. They're just the recent 2014 ones I've downloaded. A stack more await downloading but it's starting to get ridiculous. Then there are the recommended classic mixtapes as well from like the past 15 years or so. I only got into this scene in the last few years so I've got a bit of catching up to do. I went off hip-hop post Ironman for some reason. I love Ironman so it was probably Wu Tang Forever that stopped me in my rap tracks.

It's starting to get a bit like DJs who I used to see in the specialist dance record shops in the 90s who'd play 20 seconds of a track and have to decide yay or nay, right then and there. I used to think they must miss heaps of good shit especially in the hardcore/jungle scene where the best bits might not happen until 2 or 3 minutes in. Anyway I've had to say nay to Salva, Blanco Huslah Kokane and Og Maco recently so they've been deleted. They may have grown on me but I feel I have to be ruthless. I've said Yay to Kevin Gates Luca Brasi 2, Travi$ Scott's Days Before Rodeo, Zuse's Illegal Immigrant, King Louie's Soprano and YP Spoelstra's Heat Vol 3. Those five artists have good track records though. So once they get the yay they have to await proper evaluation at a later date. Then we've got "the I dunno?" category which is kind of a purgatory for mixtapes. Starlito's Theories, WhoKid Woody's R.E.A.L, Archive Nation a compilation hosted by Lil Silk, AD's Comptonfornia 2 and Dej Loaf's Sell Sole all sound alright but they have to wait until their time comes after the Yays have had their proper listening time. By the time I get around to "the I dunnos" though a whole new batch of mixtapes will be vying for my attention as well as proper rap releases (like Starlito's Black Sheep Don't Grin which sounds pretty good!) and non rap zone releases (The Moon Wiring Club parcel finally arrived). So they may not get a second chance. Hey they are just the ones I've given a go! Still waiting in the wings we've got Archibald Slim, Cheif Keef, Boogie, Future, Sauce Twinz, The Guys, Goldlink, YG, Lil Herb, A$AP Ferg and the list goes on and on some more.

As good as Bullet?

So I can't even give proper reviews to Kevin Gates (sounds good so far, a bit of a cleaner sound but I dunno if it's up there with his past 3 classics: The Luca Brasi Story, Stranger Than Fiction or By Any Means. I mean that's a pretty hard task right there innit?) or Zuse (I don't know if it's as good as Bullet yet). I have finally given King Louie's Soprano a good listen and can say it's the goods. More like a trad rap companion to the more futuristic Tony. That's as deep as I can go at this point.

More good shit from King Louie.

It all reminds me a bit of that story (Sartre maybe?) of the guy who decided to read an entire library but by the time he died he was only up to the authors beginning with the letter E or something like that. This is just a microcosm of the information overload age. I have other interests too (er..well other types of music obviously, footy, wildlife documentaries, philosophy &....well that's about it really) but....

Swamped, inundated, overwhelmed!

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Gabber Christmas

Merry Xmas Humanoids. Here's some lovely Christmas tunes for y'all. I'll paraphrase Jesus here from John 10:10 "Live life in abundance" Check out the theology man! That quote is particularly relevant to Xmas but also for hedonism and existential Nihilism. I better stop there before, you know, I start ruffling a few feathers and my comments box gets filled with nutters. Then again shouldn't it be called the nutter box?

Hardcore Dutch Sylee!

I love the eastern motifs on The Tower it makes it unlike any tune from the era that I can think of. That movie/tv sample has got to be Ice-T but I don't know what it's from nor do I particularly care.

*All three of these tunes were on the compilation Ruffneck Collection Part V from 1995 which I've been listening to today for some reason.

Friday 19 December 2014

Best Of 2014 - Albums & Mixtapes

Pom Pom - Ariel Pink
Heavenly West Coast pop hits, delirious goth, over wrought glam, funk, glitter scuzz rock and demented bubblegum psych (sometimes all within the same song). I can't possibly write another word on the subject.

Black Portland - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Atlanta's stellar nutcase duo make mental rap classic. Demented euphoria.

You Might Also Like - eMMplekz
More funny shit and mental absurdity ranted by Baron Mordant over some of Nick's most accomplished trax to date.

Unfidelity/Four Track Mind - Ekoplekz
Two classic double LPs in one year! Maybe Four Track Mind just pips Unfidelity at the post but these albums are inseparable as they came from the same recording sessions, I think. Nick Edwards reigns in his wayward machines like never before to achieve stunning results.

Oxymoron - Schoolboy Q
The title says it all. Killah state of the art sex, drugs and rap 2014 stylee. Oxymoron not only refers to Oxycontin addiction but to the dichotomy of Schoolboy Q's being ie. trying to be a good dad but being a bad ass gangsta.

Reconsider Lounge/Session Man - Rangers
I thought they'd vanished but praise the lord here they are again twice! This time in snippet and snapshot mode on Reconsider Lounge, a bit like they were on 2010's classic Suburban Tours. Session Man is almost like stoner jamz but in a Rangers universe. OMG these are guitar albums! Remember them? It's all about past pasts, past presents, past futures and the present present and future past, present and future. Memoredelia! The talented Joe Knight is a star. Why aren't Rangers as big as Coldplay?

By Any Means - Kevin Gates
King Kev's got the best voice in the game and his flow's incredible. An intimate insight into Kev's life. From being dirt poor with no electrical, being incarcerated, having children and being signed to major record label Atlantic. His life's a movie. Louisiana trap at it's finest.

Gangsta Stripper Music 2 - Beatking
He is the Beat King and he's had a sterling year. This was the Club God doing his Houston ratchet thang which is the best mix of 10s rap and 90s rave these ears have ever heard. Crank this sucker up to 11!

$hmopcity - Kool John
The most underrated mixtape of the year. Bay Area ratchet from the HBK Gang that was all killah no filler. Kool John makes the best HBK Gang recording to date. It's party time, are you putting on 10 Summers or $hmopcity? It's a no brainer.

Underground Tape Cassette Music - Gangsta Boo & Beatking
Fucking great collaboration from 666 Mafia's legendary Gangsta Boo and Club Godzilla Beatking. 80s electro & fucked up 90s rave flavas clash with 2014 Texan Ratchet and 90s creepin Memphis shyt. Rewind!

Life After Death Row - Boosie Bad Azz
Lil Boosie gets out of prison and makes a hell of a poignant mixtape about the experience. True Detective had nothing on this Louisiana rapper's gritty reality.

Tony - King Louie
Gangsta tales from Chicago set to mini cinematic synth symphonies. Louie's a King, a God, a Don and they call him Tony after Tony Soprano. Futuristic sex, drugs, violence and megalomania!

Under The Skin OST - Mica Levi
Best soundtrack since _________. Intensely sinister, harrowing and still. A bit like Bernard Hermann if he'd had a stroke and was wasted on painkillaz. Who'd have ever thought I'd enjoy something by Mica Levi? The world is a strange place.

Beautiful Pimp II - Rome Fortune
Atlanta's one of a kind suave space age rapper makes a sequel better than the original. Cito is on the beat throughout the entire mixtape which was a great move.

Heat Vol. 1 & 2 - YP Spoelstra
Two volumes of choice 2014 ratchet from California's HBK Gang. YP's giving Mustard a run for his money and he's just put out a 3rd Volume, bloody hell!

Leporine Pleasure Gardens - Moon Wiring Club LP 
Hallucinatory, phantasmal and lysergical. This is Moon Wiring Club severed from their beats and it's probably the closest sonic equivalent to dropping acid I've ever heard. Flashbacks man!

Torridon Gate - Howlround
Who'd have thunk a 24 minute recording of a garden gate would be this enjoyable?

R.O.C. - IX Tab
A trip into creepy electronic zones where funny things happen.

A Que Fresco - Que & Mike Fresh
Like Speedy Gonzales, the subject in one of their songs, these guys don't mess about. This is 2014 rap at it's most buoyant and audacious. A pop triumph.

Butterfly Effect - Shinishi Ataobe 
Some of the most enjoyably serene ambient dub tech I've ever heard. There's also some slightly noisier dub tech trax in a Basic Channel stylee (Ataobe once released an EP on the Chain Reaction label). Hypnotic and beautiful.

From Out Here - The Advisory Circle
Perhaps their most fully realised LP to date. A musical interzone somewhere between idyllic and peculiar. An album that plays tricks with your memory.

My Krazy Life - YG
Monster - Future
Fearful Wiggings - Dave Graney
The Power And The Glory - Perc
Bullet - Zuse
The Mobb Tape - Zmoney
Wet 2 - Skipper
Tha Tour Part 1 - Rich Gang
Leporine Pleasure Gardens cd - Moon Wiring Club
Audio Rehab Vol.1 - Various
Definition Audio Presents Vol.1 - Various
Oculus OST - The Newton Brothers
Pavilion - Panabrite
Influkz - Ekoplekz
We Invented The Bop 2 - Various
8 of The Moon Ballades Series - Motion Sickness Of Time Travel

Benji - Sun Kil Moon
20 years since I've listened to anything by Mark Kozelek but I couldn't ignore this album's cult groundswell on the interweb. Holy shit things have changed since Red House Painters Ocean Beach (well mostly, he is still singing about his mum) ie. Mark's way more hokey now, getting back to his Ohio roots. There are no Johnny Marr-esque guitar licks or 4AD flourishes of sound here. This is bare bones recording wise. Less is more, keep it simple and let the words paint the pictures. Who would have thought he could get more morose? Well he has! This is a stunning work of a master songwriter. The words just pour out of him unfiltered and somehow it works. Benji is an insight into a tragedy strewn life and a morbid mind like no other. Although he finally makes a joke on the last track. One does also wonder how much of this is possibly black humour like when he's asking you to think of mass murderers when you're feeling happy. I've always thought he was pretty funny I must admit.

Rustie - Green Language
Peaking Lights - Cosmic Logic
Young Thug - 1017 Thug 2
Skrillex - Recess
DJ Mustard - 10 Summers 

Mr Mitch - Parallel Memories
Apparently this is connected to grime. I have no emotional investment in grime so it doesn't bother me. Like last year's album from Logos I didn't even know it was somehow comin from grime. I just liked the tunes. When I first heard Parallel Memories I thought it was like an electronica LP from 1994. Hey 94 was a great year for electronica and it's pretty good....
Vessel - Punish, Honey
Daft Industrial throwback of the worst kind or kinda cool weird noise? I dunno.

Kevin Gates - Luca Brasi 2 (Only got it yesterday)
Starlito - Black Sheep Don't Grin (As above)
YP Spoelstra - Heat Vol. 3 (As above above)

Ian Crause - The Vertical Axis. I noticed this in Simon's list. I assume it is he of the great Disco Inferno. I totally did not realise he'd released an album this year as I don't read music magazines anymore and only skim the online one (you can probably guess what that may be). I think I bought one issue of The Wire this year. I've gone from being a chap in the 90s who wouldn't miss an issue of The Wire to someone now who can barely give a toss. Sure things change in 20 + years but who'd have thought so many bad writers would be employed there. Sure the music scene's not the same either but there is still great music being made. The evidence is right here in my list but I wonder how many of the above recordings even got coverage in The Wire? The thing is I probably wouldn't want to read it anyway unless it was written by Mark Fisher. Anyway back to The Vertical Axis, fuck I'm looking forward to hearing that. Mark Fisher probably reviewed it. This is actually from 2013.

True Detective
Happy Valley
Orange Is The New Black

Ghosts Of My Life - Mark Fisher
Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop - Bob Stanley (sure I got this for xmas 2013 but fuck it took me 4 months of 2014 to read it ie. many pages)

Ripping off Young Thug is dumb. It's like ripping off Mark E Smith ie. he's so idiosyncratic if you're copying him it's so obviously not you. It makes you an instant joke.

To bang on about artists that are dull, overrated or just plain shite like blanco husalah kokane, salva, fka twigs, beyonce, ben frost, 1001 Young Thug wannabes, popcaan and whoever else innit?

There's only one Young Thug (he's on the left).


Thursday 18 December 2014

Best Tunes Of 2014

Forever Bloody - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Low - Juicy J feat. Young Thug, N Minaj...
Lifestyle - Young Thug, Rich Homie & Birdman
2 On - Tinashe feat. Schoolboy Q
Studio - Schoolboy Q feat. BJ The Chicago Kid
I'm Comin Home - Lil Boosie
Hunter - Total Control
Florida Water - Young Thug & Bloody Jay
Turn Down For What - DJ Snake & Lil Jon
Club Goin Up On A Tuesday (+DJ Snake remix & Drake version) - I Love Makonnen
Area 51 - Theo Nasa 
One Spliff - Hodgson
Gladiator - RS4
Kuang EP - Lee Gamble
Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Flesh War - Total Control
Everything Was Legendary With Robert - Dave Graney
Amnesia - Kevin Gates
No Tears - Jeezy feat. Future
'til we pass out - Raven Felix
Danny Glover Remix - Young Thug feat. N Minaj
No Type - Rae Sremmurd
No Love - August Alsina feat. N Minaj
CoCo - O.T. Genasis
Don't Know - Kevin Gates
Pole Sex EP - Beatking
Fuckin Wit Me - Tinashe (Mustard On The Beat)

* I tried to make sure these were singles, songs with videos, virtual singles or promo singles in some form or another otherwise I would have had like 17 Ariel Pink tunes and like 40 from Beatking & HBK Gang. Those songs are on the albums in the upcoming best of 2014 albums and mixtapes list. Then again I guess anything on i-tunes or Beatport is technically a single, whatever!

*No Type by Rae Sremmurd gets a nod for the incredible vibe created by producer Mike Will Made It (of Pour It Up fame and the above No Tears) and the singing from one of the duo but the other guy is such a Young Thug wannabe he ruins it just a tiny bit for me, but it's soo good.....I can let it slide.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Power Ambient LOL

I couldn't help but have a little chuckle to myself when I read an article at FACT on "Power Ambient". This is some kind of re-branding so the writers don't seem recalcitrant. Terms like New Kosmische, Nu New Age, Hypnagogia,Vapour Wave and even good ole Ambient have obviously become embarrassing and passe for these writers. So Motion Sickness Of Time Travel get a second bite of the cherry under a new genre pseudonym "Power Ambient". Hey I've always liked em no matter what category they've been put in. What about one of my other ambient favourites Panabrite, do they get to be rehabilitated? They released another excellent LP this year Pavilion, or do they remain in the backwaters of passe pigeon holes?

This is taken from Panabrite's 2014 album Pavilion.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Reissues/Archives/Compilations of 2014

Another great year for ye olde music. In this list are only things I missed first time round (or 2nd or 3rd or 17th) ie. it doesn't include Blue Bell Knoll, Doolittle, Spiderland, Cannibal Ferox, Cannibal Holocaust, Friday The 13th, Led Zeppelin Vols. 1, 2, 3 or etc. Oh...and no Bedhead or Mogwai because they Then there's the never really owned category ie. I've only ever had taped copies of The Sunnyboys and Since The Accident or crappy mp3s of Electricity, The Boogey Man, Forbidden World, Chopping Mall etc. so they're included. 2014 was a hell of a year for cult horror synth score reissues! It's like all the soundtracks I've been looking for were all released at once. Labels like Soundway & Finders Keepers continue to unearth fabulous music. Death Waltz, Waxwork, One Way Static, Luxury Products & Superior Viaduct are the new(ish) labels on the block giving us what we want from the esoteric archives as well. So here's 20 great old records.

Sunnyboys - Sunnyboys
The sound of my childhood and my older brother's record collection. One of The classic Australian rock debuts. The Sunnyboys were young, charismatic, troubled and so alive. Their first record is some of the most exciting guitar music from 1981 or any other year for that matter. It came with a bunch of bonus tracks but who needs em with an LP this fanfuckintastic?!

Axemen - Derry Legend
The Axemen reissue program continues. After their 1986 mangled pop masterpiece Three Virgins came the follow up Derry Legend which has been long out print. This LP has gained (Derry) legendary status in my brain. Derry Legend is The Spotlight Kid to Three Virgins Trout Mask Replica if you get my drift ie. it's a more accessible pop version of the band yet still retaining all their strange awesomeness. 80s NZ rock doesn't get much better than this.

Andrzej Korzynski - Man Of Marble OST
Groovy soundtrack from Poland 1977. A psych synth disco classic. Soo good....Finders Keepers have done it again!

Boards Of Canada - Hi Scores
Two years before Boards Of Canada released their magnum opus Music Has The Right To Children came the Hi Scores EP which is similarly awesome idylltronica.

Caustic Window - Caustic Window
Strangely unreleased but excellent LP from Richard James aka Aphex Twin from his golden era 1994. Why on earth did this get shelved? A timely reminder of where all your favourite electronica (remember that 90s term?) comes from.

Peter Jefferies - Electricty
He of classic underground 80s NZ group This Kind Of Punishment and Bruce Russell's right hand man at Xpressway Records. He's so idiosyncratic only Peter Jefferies sounds like Peter Jefferies and the world's a better (If slightly darker) place for it.

Severed Heads - Since The Accident
A key LP from Sydney's early 80s experimental scene. Still pretty much ignored here in their home country to this day. Wake up Australia!

Susan Justin - Forbidden World OST
The cultiest synth soundtrack of them all. Issued for the first time since Web Records released it in 1982! A one off unique blend of electronics, pop and soundtrack motifs. Death Waltz continue their roll.

Chuck Cirino - Chopping Mall OST
More cult Carpenter-esque synth soundtrack gold from the 80s. Waxwork Records is all about quality not quantity.

John Harrison - Creepshow OST
I finally got a copy of Creepshow after like it's 5th or 6th reissue. More 80s psycho synth sounds from 1982.

Ralph Jones - Slumber Party Massacre OST
Possibly the best of the post Carpenter cult Horror synth scores from 1982.

Tim Krog - Boogey Man OST
Now this one was rare until now. A much coveted 1980 horror synth score from Tim Krog, a UCLA film composing graduate. Horrortastic!

Bruno Nicolai - All The Colours Of The Dark OST
Italian Giallo score from the great Bruno Nicolai. Nicolai was a frequent collaborator with Ennio Morricone. It doesn't get much better than this for spooky Italian 70s soundtracks.

Bruno Nicolai - The Case Of The Bloody Iris OST
This is from 1972 as well (see above) and it's another slice of Italian horror soundtrack weirdness. Haunted yet bizarrely jaunty at the same time.

Hungry Man - Keyboard
More crazy keyboard action from West Africa in the late 70s. If you thought William Onyeabor was the last word in spazz synth psych afro funk you were wrong. Some of the best sounds ever squeezed out of a synth and put to tape. Is there more of this shit yet to be discovered? I hope so.

Various - The Sound Of Siam 2
A splendid second serving of Luk Thung & Molam tunes from Thailand. This time from 1970 through to 1982. Incredibly distinguished, beautiful and laconically groovy.

Heldon - II: Allez Teia
More tripped out 70s space frog prog from Richard Pinhas and co.

Pye Corner Audio - Black Mill Tapes
4 albums worth of horrorological atmospheres and old eerie synthesiser goodness. Perfect to while away wintry afternoons.

John McCallum - Surf Nazis Must Die OST
Classic 80s drum sounds, synths in overdrive and anthemic guitars. There's even a wayward noisy sax at one point. It even becomes poignant and a little melancholy at certain stages. Surely this is where Mark McGuire got all his ideas from.

Various - Suburban Base Records: The History Of Hardcore, Jungle, Drum & Bass 91-97
Hardcore you know the score and if you don't check out this compilation from one of the best labels of the era.

*Other Years

Sunday 7 December 2014

The Advisory Circle - From Out Here

GhostBox seem to be releasing less and less. I think the last one I bought was early 2013's Elektrik Karousel by The Focus Group (We'll just forget about The Sound Carriers shall we). The Advisory Circle's From Out Here came out yesterday and well the sound of brown continues. The Mrs says "Someone playing with their Casio in 1983." She lived in a small seaside village in North Wales at the time. She adds while Escape Lane is playing "Lovely use of minor falls." During Causeway Ballet she offers "This is very soothing and gentle and somehow familiar." This LP isn't anywhere near as jaunty as their previous LP As The Crow Flies from 2011. We're heading into much stranger zones on From Out Here. For every melodic and idyllic tune there's a peculiar one. It wouldn't be an Advisory Circle album without a couple of logo tones would it? There are two here. Gee whizz, he's even in 'Ekoplekz for babies' territory on Experiment. While the usual hauntological themes are present and accounted for such as 70s TV, library music, eeriness, information films, found dialogue and Radiophonica, this album captures the stillness, innocuousness, melancholia and the metaphysics of being. I dunno if it's just me today (impending birthday) or what?...but this album has signalled to me like no other that we are trapped (even though it's fleeting) in time. Lost in a time-warp and vaguely bewildered. Zoloft world....

Speaking of great batting averages John Brooks, the man behind the moniker The Advisory Circle is almost up there with Moon Wiring Club's Ian Hodgson, his collaborator on the Woodbines & Spiders record from earlier this year. Whether Jon is in solo mode (The excellent Music For Thomas Carnacki, Music For Dieter Rams and Shapwick) under the pseudonyms D.D. Denham (The terrific Electronic Music In The Classroom), Georges Vert (An Electric Mind) or making Advisory Circle albums his strike rate is high. The intriguing debut Advisory Circle mini-album Mind How You Go came out in 2005 and the masterpiece Other Channels was released in 2008. Wow, Mind How You Go is nearly 10 years old. It seems so much older and yet it also seems more recent at the same time. Is this atemporal stasis? It's some kind of paradox befitting the music of The Advisory Circle anyway.

*These soundbite things on soundcloud are rather annoying aren't they? That's the first & last time I'll embed them in a post!

Moon Wiring Club - Leporine Pleasure Gardens

Does any other artist do the sound and vision combo better than Moon Wiring Club? Loving this tune, the film clip and the artwork as usual. This year it's a cd/LP set. Happy Xmas. Does anyone actually like mince pies? Now the wait. Will the parcel arrive in time for my end of year poll or Christmas for that matter? He's had a bloody good run hasn't he. I think of his output so far 7 of the 8 records have been true delights. That's a hell of a batting average though. Here's hoping he scores a century with this one.

I think this one is the LP cover

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Tinashe With Mustard Again

Just saw this. This is what we want Tinashe working with DJ Mustard. I dunno if this is anywhere near as good as 2 On but then again how many tunes are?

I did like this one from her album Aquarius. Mustard not on this beat though, but he might as well have been.

Sunday 30 November 2014

IX Tab - R.O.C.

Well we've been waiting for this for a while haven't we? Loki teased us 12 months ago with a video from his soon to be released album R.O.C. but it hasn't arrived until now or a month or so back when it got released. The previous IX Tab album Spindle & Bregnut Tree was an outstanding debut that made my best of 2012 list. I think I wrote that it was a spooky, disorientating, magically psychedelic and rustic industrial album. The noise farming gumboot industrial sounds continue on R.O.C.

R.O.C. begins in new age territory with Parhelion and just as it's lulling you into a false sense of security with its blissful vistas it quickly deteriorates into creepy zones. Mangled voices enter with electronic bleeps reminding you of what IX Tab is all about. A Drunken Bone (of chrome) drifts in with an ominous drone and 5 minutes later a strange synth enters while a sonically warped poet starts reading. It's some kind of poem about being drunk as electronics gurgle underneath, ending with haunting clatter. These jams are capricious and malignantly psychedelic. Blasted is a clangorous drone that ebbs and flows, accompanied by a rusty beat and a manipulated woman's voice. I M Wh U Mk Ov M is all birds in a garden followed by threatening keyboards. A voice over from some kind of 70s occult wildlife documentary (Did they make those?) slips in while the synths then shower you in glowing sunshine. The man is talking to a tree that seems to talk back to him? A Wasp In The Queens Skull is ye olde electronics that swirl and buzz and ends with a deranged repetitive sample.

St James & The 28 Pieces is the tune I mentioned in a previous post with the hypnotist/meditation guru telling you to "relax, let yourself go and sleep." while you stare at a spot on the album cover. Electronics float in and out as the guru keeps guiding you through the hypnosis. A lady's voice appears like a mirage at the peripheries of your listening experience cloaking the tune in mystery. Then like the previous track it finishes with a contorted repetitive sample, this time, of a man perhaps saying "He is/was queer." The sounds of children talking dissolve into foreboding electronic drones on The Sutton Wytch Found-Fox, this is followed by a man discussing a talking fox who has a bloody hand print or something like that(?). Funnily enough my dog freaked out at this tune. A plucked harp begins The Sweet Track. Interstellar swirling electronics rise and fall away as vague foreign chanting flows into the mix then the harp continues its merry way to the end of the tune. Erratic electronics veer out of control on A Prayer To The Head. Amongst this aural madness is a media sample frenzy. It's hard to decipher what's going on, making this composition quite disconcerting. Blurred bass throbs, even blurrier sampled ethereal female murmurs, intense noise that builds to an ultra slow technoid dub beat and samples of a ranting psychotic twit are all part of the apocalyptic epic Blowm. The beat then picks up as the twisted voices are smeared against it. Finishing the album with a nut job's diatribe about god knows what.

R.O.C. is an aberrant and shadowy affair. Get the family to gather round the hi-fi and let the good times roll.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Ariel Pink....Again

ZRW pointed out this tune to me via twitter @zrwilson. This is one Ariel Pink did with Gary War as Gold Digger around 04(?) Totally missed this at the time. So this is another usage of the Dayzed Inn Daydreams chorus, this time under the title Liquid Sun. This was taken from a compilation called Light Dead Sea:Volume 1 which seems to be very rare. It can be found here in mp3 form though. It features another Gold Digger song Destined For Greatness plus Omen from Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti as well as two solo tunes from Gary War. Worth checking out for fans of Pink and War who missed it.

This is the version mentioned on this previous post from Odditties & Sodomies Vol. 1.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Ekoplekz - Four Track Mind

Nick Edwards aka Ekoplekz is busy as ever. I'm still getting my head around eMMplekz's You Might Also Like, his third collaboration with Baron Mordant, and here comes another Ekoplekz double LP. He's already released an excellent album this year Unfidelity. How he never lapses in quality is a testament to his musical vision and talent. This could be his most ambitious project to date. In the past it was like his music machines were out of control but now he seems to have reigned them in and gained astonishing results in the process. Four Track Mind is a dazzling album. There is undeniably something that sets this LP apart from previous Ekoplekz releases. I can't quite pinpoint what it is. Maybe it's the bass placement in the mix? This is Ekoplekz at his most sprawling and diverse. Four Track Mind is the sound of the continuing metamorphoses of Ekoplekz, heading further into the unknown. I reckon Edwards could have a second act where he becomes a soundtrack composer. The record cover is somewhat reminiscent of a Scorn album. Make of that what you will.

It all begins with Ariel Grey (funny eh?) that is like a kosmische tune gone awry. Initially ambient it gives way to a mechanical beat then its like Augustus Pablo shows up for a moment followed by what I think is a space ship crashing through some kind of meteor shower and perhaps off into oblivion. Tantrikz is a bit lighter with its motorik dub pulse which has me envisioning a lunar autobahn for moon buggies. This is some great stuff. Meek Street is a jaunty little electronic ditty, good times. Interstice has a cold lost future vibe. Then it's the glowing sci-fi of Reflekzive. Next we're in gloomy territory with Death Watch, which is cinematic in its darkness. This is all quite a trip.

D'vectiv is intergalactic melancholia that turns to brittle funk, ending in a squall of white noise. In Teak Effect is pastoral technoid dub. Edwards could do a remix of this and have a dance floor hit on his hands. The title track is an off kilter doomed dub composition complete with squelches, clanks and a bass that's doing its own thing (possibly another song entirely). Return To The Annex is all seething swirly electronics and distant haunting voices (some kind of family tape from 1977). It's hypnotising. This is an outstanding track on an outstanding album. Four Track Mind closes with the lovely dubbed out melodic electric circuits of Fox Eyes. Fox Eyes is heading in the direction of idylltronica zones and that's a very good thing here.

Maybe I was a little hasty when I proclaimed Unfidelity as the album of the year back in March as Four Track Mind is even better!

Thursday 20 November 2014

Ariel Pink - Pom Pom Part 2

Pom Pom was finally released this week. I got it at the record shop. As I said in my original review Pink Raincoats, which I didn't like at the start, has become one of my favourite tunes. This is the tune that reminded me of They Might Be Giants. When I mentioned They Might Be Giants, King Missile, Ween, Nudge Squidfish and Regurgitator it wasn't a sledge against those bands as I'm quite fond of many of their recordings. Hey I own(ed) They Might Be Giants, Ween & Nudge Squdfish records. I was referring to the comic elements in those pop groups. I never had a King Missile or Regurgitator record but I didn't hate hearing them on the radio.

*When I wrote 'Goth Bomb is grunge meets goth meets metal meets space rock meets scuzz.' I had in mind for metal Black Sabbath, for space rock Hawkwind and for scuzz read Royal Trux. That kind of cancels out the other 2 genres doesn't it.

There's also a kind of English homage going throughout the whole record. Many a Brit accent is to be heard throughout Pom Pom. Oh...its just twigged its called Pom Pom which could be a reference to all you Prisoners Of her Majesty. I think he mentions Portobello Road in the first track. There's a sonic reference to the end section of A Day In The Life on Exile On Frog Street. The name of that tune obviously invoking The Rolling Stones. Alice In Wonderland gets mentioned along the way. He'd definitely be a fan of Swell Maps, The Homosexuals et al. I tried not to mention Pink Floyd, glam, Mr Bowie at his most overwrought and thespian & Mr Ronson in the original article. Did someone say side 2 of Diamond Dogs?

No matter how much he may be influenced by things from the UK, America and the rest of the world (read NZ ie. the great Axemen) there is always something so intrinsically LA about his whole vibe. It's in his blood. Having Kim Fowley and ex-Germs drummer Don Bolles on board doesn't hurt either.

*Cleaners From Venus.
I think Ariel Pink may have been instrumental in the reappraisal of this classic 80s under underground band from England. I have a vague recollection of someone (maybe a member of Ducktails or Emeralds) saying Ariel Pink introduced them to Cleaners from Venus via a mixtape and this was way before the reissue program of their oeuvre started. 

*Writers Block.
There are at least three songs with references to writing or writer's block on Pom Pom. I know he had a bad case of it for a while there maybe between Worn Copy and the first 4AD record in 2010. Many believed Before Today (2010) was mainly old songs from his vast archive. Indeed his first LP on 4AD included Beverly Kills which had already appeared on FFWD, L'estat was from Odditties Sodomies Vol 1, Hot Body Rub was on the Added Pizazz EP and Little Wig which had already been on a cdr sold at concerts in 2005 apparently. Before being remodelled for Pom Pom an early no-fi acoustic version of Dayzed Inn Daydreams (really just containing the chorus) was on Oddities Sodomies Vol 1. under the title Before Today/Dazed In Dreams. So he's still dipping into his backlog of tunes to this day. He's also turned writing about writer's block into unblocking writer's block thus creating a paradox.

Pom Pom has me wanting to dig out Cure, Bauhaus and Killing Joke albums. Strangely it had me wanting to listen to bands I never got into and in The Sisters Of Mercy's case, actively hated. Its got me thinking 'Were Fields Of Nephilim or Christian Death any good? Did I miss out on others as well?'

*The Bewlay Brothers is the final track on David Bowie's Hunky Dory. Gouge Away concludes Doolittle by the Pixies. This is a great topic actually - Best final tracks of albums. One has already been mentioned above ie. The Beatles A Day In The Life. I've got a list somewhere I should post it. Suggestions are also most welcome.

*'So that's 9 in a row then.'
9 Ariel Pink classics in a row. That row is very wayward and I doubt anyone got them in the order that they should have been in. Anyway what I mean is from Haunted Graffiti 2: The Doldrums onwards, which includes Sacred Famous, FFWD, House Arrest, Lover Boy & Worn Copy. Then his 4AD Years Before Today, Mature Themes and now Pom Pom.

*Haunted Graffiti 1: Underground
I've listened to this 1998(?) album (although I've never seen a physical copy) and it was ok but no classic. The quantum leap from Underground to The Doldrums was astounding, like he had signed a pact with the devil Robert Johnson stylee. I hope so. That'd be so LA.

This is strange don't you think? Are they all meant to be Ariel?
Only the yellow one has any resemblance. 

Friday 14 November 2014

Where To Begin

There's been a stack of new things recently that I just haven't got around to listening to yet. There's been a batch of new releases from the west country noise farmers doing their mad cow diseased electronics and gumboot industrial ie. IX-Tab, Kemper Norton, Howlround, Ekoplekz but I think I've missed Hacker Farm's tape as it sold out before I even heard about it. Plus there's more on the way soon from their hauntological cousins The Advisory Circle and I assume the usual season's greetings from Moon Wiring Club. Some very old faves have been busy too The Church, Einsturzende Neubauten (must admit haven't listened to a new record of theirs since Ende Neu) and Scott Walker (no I haven't listened to it yet! Perhaps tonight's the night). Some slightly younger old faves Fennesz and Vladislav Delay (remember Multila?, he was also Luomo) have new records too. When the hell will I listen to all these? Mike Fresh, Vell, Future, Cheif Keef, Salva, Lil Boosie, King Louie and many others have new mixtapes over in the trap/ratchet zones. Then we've got Beatking Presents Houston Vs Everybody which is a compilation featuring Houston's finest plus Beatking's Club God 4 is on its way too! I can't wait for the new Kevin Gates album The Luca Brasi Story II which is also coming soon.

I've only just got around to listening to The Interweb Halloween bonanza of mixes. There were two from Death Waltz which I managed to download but I think you can only stream them now. They are both as you would expect excellent. Andy Votel from Finders Keepers put in a sterling effort as well with his Histoire Dhorreur Mix. I don't know if you can still download that but have a search. Then there was something a bit different over at Blog To The Old School. They usually do a darkside jungle mix at Halloween but this year they put together a compilation of recent jungle on the dark tip. Check it out if you get the chance, although they seem to be offline presently.

What Have I been listening to then you may well ask? Ariel Pink's Pom Pom is pretty hard to get off the hi-fi, i-pod etc. But when I do get it off I'm trying to figure out what the hell the attraction to Gucci Mane is. I've got a selection of like 10 of his recommended best mixtapes and I'm giving them a go. I have to say I don't think it's going well for me and Gucci so far. I can't really understand what he's saying but the beats are stellar. He only registered on my musical map after seeing Spring Breakers. Then I only listened to him this year because of his collaborations with Young Thug. These mixtapes with Mane & Thug were not a patch on Young Thug's 2013 mixtape 1017 Thug or Young Thug's brilliant 2014 collaboration with Bloody Jay Black Portland or even his more recent collaboration with Rich Homie Quan & Birdman as part of The Rich Gang whose mixtape Tha Tour I've previously posted about. I'm wondering if Gucci should stick to acting but that might be a bit hard as he's doing some time for assault and firearm charges. The only one that's stood out so far is The Movie 2: The Sequel released in 2012. This could be due to it's guests though Snoop, Trey Songs, Nicki Minaj, Waka Flacka and Shawty Lo. There are choice beats and many hooks though. We'll see, although I might retire that project for a bit to catch up on what's going on now.

"Spring Break...." Gucci Mane.
Now I have had a few listens to IX-Tab's R.O.C. (get it here) and it's sounding pretty good to these ears so far. More thoughts on this later. One track has a sample of a hypnotist/meditation guru and I swear it's put me to sleep three times, sure I've been in bed and on painkillerz but....

The only other thing I've given a quick listen to is Vell's Stay Down To Come Up. Don't know much about him except he's a young chap from Oakland and he's doin some fine ratchet. He's got Mustard on the beat on 5 trax here as well as YP Spoelestra on a handful of tunes. So he's in good hands. His rap delivery is occasionally a little too close to Jay-Z but he sings as well giving him enough originality to get by. Perhaps this is what 10 Summers should have been. YP is on an unbelievable roll at the moment. So Vell is definitely a rising star, whether he can transcend his influences or not time will tell. Stay Down To Come up will be getting more air time round here as opposed to Salva's highly rated Peacemaker which left me cold. Can't understand the fuss about that one but who cares?, I suppose.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Horror Soundtracks Part 13

  Released for the first time soon. Can't wait.
They love a list over at FACT and here's another fabulous one. This time it's the 100 best horror soundtracks. Although having this posted at Halloween time kind of cheapens it a bit. So I've left it till now to talk about it. I'm not just into horror soundtracks at the end of October. I like them in December, May...... 25 of these I don't own, mainly the more recent ones. But that means I'm into 75% of the list. I didn't realise what a horror soundtrack buff I'd become. Although I have occasionally written about them here and there. For me it all started in the 90s with Morrricone, Spaghetti Westerns and Italian composers really. Discovering later that many of these Spaghetti Western guys also did scores for horror movies which were just as good if not better. Then also discovering that these Italians composers also did a lot of library music as well but that's another story. Having said that the quintessential Italian guy, with the best name in the biz, Allessandro Allessandroni comes in at number 9 with his classic score to The Devil's Nightmare. Everything this guy touches seems turns to gold, whether it's Spaghetti Westerns, Horror or library music. Next I got into Goblin and well it all spiralled out of control from there. So of course my top 100 would be top heavy with Italian composers and hey there's quite a few here including such favourites as all of the previously mentioned plus Fabio Frizzi, Libra, Bruno Nicolai, Giuliano Sorgini, Pino Donaggio, Stelvio Cipriani, Walter Rizzati, Francesco De Masi, Franco Micalizzi, Carlo Maria Cordio, Riz Ortoliani and probably a few I missed.

My only revelation here is Martin (both film and soundtrack) a 1977 film by George A Romero with a soundtrack from Donald Rubenstien. Watched the film on the t-box for $3.99 and enjoyed it. The soundtrack was excellent too. I've tracked down a copy and it hasn't been off the stereo since.

The list contains many recently reissued classics (tilting the list somewhat, but hey its 2014 nobody cares) like Creepshow, Surf Nazis Must Die, Witchfinder General, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Last House On The Left, Blood On Satan's Claw, Canibal Ferox, Re-Animator, House By The Cemetery, La Frission Des Vampires, Street Trash, Possession and many others of which I can vouch for. You can thank Trunk, Finders Keepers, Death Waltz, One Way Static, Waxwork et al. for reissuing these thus making them heard and in turn put on this list. There are a few obscurities though that haven't been re released or even released such as Carlo Maria Cordio's Rosso Sangue (Absurd), Klause Schulze's Next Of Kin, Burial Ground scored by Elsio Mancuso & Berto Pisano and Let's Scare Jessica To Death by Orville Stoeber. I'm not sure if the Lets Scare Jessica To Death OST has ever been released. I have a funny fan made mp3 of it which goes for like 17 minutes. I would have downloaded it from one of those old horror score blogs like Inferno Music Vault. I have this rubbish mp3 version of Absurd with like faulty tracks three quarters of the way through, the music's good though. I've never been able to find the Next Of Kin OST in any form and it's an Australian movie. Surely Burial Ground will be released by one of these Horror OST specialists, the bootleg and the fan made mp3 have eluded me so far.

The Hauntological Parish are represented on the list with the pagan, magikal, clunky and occult sounds of Basil Kirchin, Delia Derbyshire & Brian Hodgeson, Paul Giovanni, Mark Wilkinson and Paul Ferris

It's good to see OST gems in the hiding in plain sight category such as Nightmare On Elm Street by Charles Bernstein (How good is that one?), Rosemary's Baby from Krysztof Komeda (Tres creepy), Evil Dead, Harry Manfredini's Friday The 13th (love that), Amittyville Horror and I guess the one that started the modern era Berrard Herrmann's Psycho. Psycho would have to be the most influential and recognisable horror film score ever, still being referenced by composers today. All the cultiest post-Goblin/Tangerine Dream Carpenter-esque synth scores are here Chopping Mall, Slumber Party Massacre, The Boogey Man, Maniac, The Deadly Spawn, Inseminoid, X-Tro and The Entity.

Bruno Nicolai makes the cut with All The Colours Of The Dark but at least 3 others in his horror canon could have just as easily been here La Coda Dello Scorpione, The Case Of The Bloody Iris or Nightmares Come At Night. Pino Donaggio's Tourist Trap is a classic but many would think his uncanny score to Don't Look Now was even better. Stelvio Cipriani is in with Tentacles but he has many other horror greats like Incubo: Sulla Citta ContaminataBay Of Blood, Un Ombra Nell Ombra (the one he did with Goblin's Claudio Simonetti) and Solamante Nero with Goblin. Nico Fidenco's here with the cult soundtrack Zombie Holocaust but I reckon Porno Holocaust is just as good or even better. Donati and Maglione's Eaten Alive didn't make it but their equally brilliant Cannibal Ferox did. Riz Orloliani's Cannibal Holocaust is here but he has other classics that always get overlooked like Nella Stretta Morsa Del Ragno and Non Si Senzia Un Paperino. Morricone appears with Spasmo but could have surfaced with half a dozen classics including Four Flies On Grey Velvet, Cat O Nine Tails, The Bird With The Crystal Plumage, A Lizard In A Woman's Skin, The Exorcist II etc. Franco Micalizzi is here with the score to The Visitor but it could well have been the superior Chi Sei?.

Never Seen Sorority House Massacre II but love the score
Some omissions that would have made my cut include Terminator composer Brad Fiedel's over the top and ghastly Fright Night, Masahiko Satoh's choice Belladonna Of Sadness, Angelo Badalamenti's Nightmare On Elm Street III, Joe Delia's Driller Killer, Giorgio Morrodor's disco horror Cat People and Chuck Cirino's delightfully doomed Sorority House Massacre II. I'm sure if I saw the actual movie it would ruin it for me. Killer Clowns From Outer Space is an alarming and strange soundtrack like someone tracing over hardcore math rock with a horror synth. If Susan Justin's Forbidden World is on the list I don't see why Tom Pierson's haunting Quintet OST to Robert Altman's dystopian nightmare flick couldn't be included. Madeline: Study Of A Nightmare by Maurizio Vandelli is a pearla featuring a 70s euro pop smorgasbord along with eerie synth and spooky ethereal lady vocals, sorta proto 4AD/This Mortal Coil at times. Nekromantik doesn't make it. No Messiah Of Evil! Gene Moore's sinister and evocative organ score to Carnival Of Souls is one of my all time favourite soundtracks. I think Carnival Of Souls would have been the first soundtrack I bought purely on the music having not seen the film. That trend would continue. I probably haven't seen half of these films. Perhaps the more recent Oculus (which I did see) OST from the Newton Brothers could have been included too.

The most seriously experimental and intellectual work included would have to be Howard Shore's Videodrome which sounds like it could have been made today. Not forgetting Mr Glass and his score to Candyman. Richard Einhorn, a graduate from Colombia Princeton who studied under the legendary Vladimir Ussachevsky, appears with the unheard (by me and most people) Shock Waves. I am eagerly awaiting that reissue which is apparently on its way. He also did the awesome 1979 sounds for the movie Don't Go In The House.

Phantasm is one of the all time great horror soundtracks, which I pointed out should have made that other excellent FACT list 100 LPs of the 70s. Good to see this spectacular yet underrated gem made the list. The collaboration between Fred Myrow and Malcolm Seagrave was a one off I believe which is a real shame. I know Myrow worked with Alan Howarth (John Carpenter's right hand man) on the Phantasm sequel. Seagrave was apparently a professor and a serious composer (classical & Opera) as well as a rock producer. Anyone heard of Aviary? Well he produced them. Myrow composed the OST to Soylent Green amongst others. He was also a serious composer and conductor working with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and did some recordings for the prestigious Nonesuch label. He even worked with Jim Morrison on an abandoned film project.

Jerry Goldsmith is one composer I have never been able to get into. He's recorded hundreds of soundtracks. People rave about Planet Of The Apes and he's got two scores on this list Poltergeist and Alien. Well you can't be into everyone I guess. He's for other people to listen to. 

Sunday 9 November 2014

No Love - August Alsina Feat Nicki Minaj

Just saw this. Me like a lot. Slow jam this time from Alsina unlike the bangin Numb. It's so good though. You could make an awesome compilation of Minaj guest spots couldn't you? She kills on these verses. Below could be her best one. What's that about an oven mitt? Me likey the black hair better though. In depth analysis from Space Debris!

She's got the Midas Touch.

Uh.....hang on this could be her best feature. The coolest Guy and Gal in the game. How could you lose? 

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Black Ballerina - Ariel Pink

Just one of the outstanding tracks on Pom Pom.

This is the second single probably wouldn't have been my choice. I'd have probably gone for Dayzed Inn Daydreams or Lipstick or White Freckles but anyway there you go. Not a bad tune by any means but it just doesn't stick in my head like the catchy Not Enough Violence or Dayzed In Daydreams. Video had me racking my brain about what it reminded me of. It finally twigged - LA artist/photographer Cindy Sherman am I right? It's been a few years since I've seen her work though.

*These are the only two youtube things I could find from Pom Pom as well as the previously posted Put Your Number In My Phone.