Tuesday 23 June 2015

Olympic Mess - Helm

HELM - Olympic Mess
I haven't read about Olympic Mess and I can't really recall other people's or even Helm's own ideas about his other records or whether I've read anything about him longer than a sentence. So if this is some kind of of conceptual music that needs theoretical guidelines that is not going to work here. I really enjoyed the Silencer record from a couple of years back, but don't recall what I thought of last year's The Hollow Organ, can't have been too crash hot. I do recall being quite bored by the reissue of his debut LP Impasse from 2008 last year. I thought that was pretty generic. To put it in a nutshell this one is atmospheric loop-ology, the softer side of electronic noise and manipulated enervated drones that roughly traverse similar zones to Tim Hecker. I can't really detect any kind of wake for rave vibes here ala Lee Gamble which I keep thinking will pop up as he's from London. Oh right, it has just clicked, is this some kind of tribute to the scars that the 2012 Olympics have left on his hometown? I know after the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne the Olympic Village became a kind of slum/no go zone after it was turned into public housing.

Anyway it all travels along quite nicely in a kind of rough formal minimalist style with the best parts vaguely reminding me of Labradford and someone I can't quite put my finger on, maybe Philip Glass. Then by about halfway through the thought pops up 'How much more of this stuff do we need in our lives?' I think the answer's in the question. Then by the time we get to Strawberry Chapstick Helm pushes my patience to the limits with some whispering fuckwit prattling on...oh.....I think we're supposed to be intrigued by this. On Silencer Helm had some really good rhythms so I don't know why he hasn't continued down a more beat orientated path. I can't help thinking why don't I just get out my early Main records and listen to those as they were far superior drone-dub-noise-scapes.

*Main: Continuing my recent 90s rediscoveries of arty German electronica and the good end of US post-rock (ie. before the noodling fusionists wankers showed up). Main were part of the first/lost generation of post-rock which was from the UK that also included such favourites as Pram, Seefeel, Disco Inferno, Scorn, Moonshake, Ice, Laika, Bark Psychosis, Techno Animal, Ear and a few more. Main were fantastic for a while, particularly on their first 4 EPs Hydra, Calm, Dry Stone Feed and Firmament. This was a great little run from 1991-1993. I recall feeling really ripped off by Motion Pool their first full length LP though which was only half great. Oh the pre mp3 days of the early 90s when you were young and poor, a cd was a big investment. Man it would get you down if you bought a dud album. That money could have gone towards booze, drugs, tickets or cigarettes. Like Robert Hampson's previous group (before creating Main with another bloke) Loop, some bands suit the EP format much better. Four great EPs is better than most groups manage in their lifetime anyway.

**UK Post-Rock: This was like 100 times better than The US version, 95% of which wasn't even real post-rock anyway. The term somehow got switched and just ended up meaning anything post-Sonic Youth/Stereolab/Tortoise. Godspeed You Black Emperor weren't a post rock band. They were a prog band. Don't get me wrong I like me a little prog and GSYBE started out with a couple of cool records. More on what post-rock really was and the bollocks it became at a date TBC.

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