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.