Thursday 16 May 2019

Mordant Music - Mark Of The Mould

It says this:
'Baron Mordant bows out with MM’s last full-length emission as eMMplekz meet an EMS Synthi-A 'Out of Town'…IBM' at bandcamp. Does that even make sense? More to the point did you expect that to make sense?

While there may not be a forthcoming eMMplekz LP as far as I know, Mark Of The Mould is close enough. It's Baron doing his thing with words and voice, only this time he's doing the music himself. That's no bad bad thing either as this is the gentleman who brought us one of the few all time classic albums of the 00s in Dead Air (2006). He IS a sonic technician as well a man crazy with his use of language. Mordant has a sharp insight into the absurdity of his/our lives. The word onslaught isn't quite as dense as that on those four great eMMplekz LPs as there's breathing space with longer stretches of sonic interludes. Also included in the album release is an entire instrumental version of the LP. Which I must admit I haven't listened to yet so I dunno if he's remixed or dubbed the fuck out the original tunes.

Still Baron Mordant is our modern day melange of Ralph Hutter, John Cooper Clark and Ian Dury except his lyrics have been encrypted into a microchip and then spat out randomly and wrong. We get to picture his/our fragmented decaying minds and attention spans. A bunch of useless/mindless/alienated snippets are heard emanating from Mordant's vocal chords. There are snapshots depicting our ridiculous relationships with the modern urban world and all the weight of technology that goes with it. While Baron remains belligerent, he's slightly more focused, poetic and even melodic compared to eMMplekz like he was on some of the more song oriented tracks from Mordant Music. Musically there's a hundred years of electronic sonic debris spilling out of an infected computerised music machine. However there is no doubt Mark Of The Mould is a 21st Century concoction albeit of the delirious, combustible and noxious kind. Somewhere on the internet they laughably tagged this as dance music, I'd like to see you try.

'There's thousands of LPs like this.' says Ian but there isn't though that's why this is probably THE sonic document of 2019...well It's looking likely.

*I've written about Mordant previously here & there & everywhere & this one.

**Thanks to Simon @Blissblog for alerting me to this in the comments section of that Ekoplekz review.

***I'll probably do a proper review with a deeper dissection of the album at a later date, hey I'm only 10 listens in.

Thank you for the music IBM (Baron Mordant, Mordant Music and eMMplekz)

Wednesday 15 May 2019

Moon Wiring Club - Ghastly Garden Centres

So There's this.

An untimely new Moon Wiring club album which is a cd only release this time, I do believe. The discombobulating thing is that it's not being released at Christmas time. Moon Wiring Club have only done this once before when they issued Somewhere A Fox Is Getting Married in honour of Will & Kate's unveiling of Pippa's arse. Ghastly Garden Centres has just come unexpectedly out of the blue though. Perhaps they're having a release change up at The Blank Workshop. Who knows what's going on. What a delightful mid-year treat. Can't wait for it to arrive.

Sunday 5 May 2019

Ekoplekz - Kirlian Visionz

The most exciting musical news of the year is this here new cassette from Ekoplekz Kirlian Visionz. Only a handful of listens in but it sounds mighty to these ears. I think this is is the first of three new albums to be released by Ekoplekz in 2019. A new eMMplekz album would be good too but I'm not sure if that collaborative project is still operational. Kirlian Visionz is another archival release of Ekoplekz material. According to the Seagrave label's twitter account this tape was compiled by The Fissure Family (?). Described variously as 'studio fragments' and 'several years of audio Shrapnel'. Don't let that put you off though as it's quite a cohesive (well as cohesive as Ekoplekz can be) little set. Track 2 Junction 18 is outstanding, he could do a whole LP of this kinda exhaust-y sonic bass debris and I'd be very happy. Perhaps Nick would have left off certain tracks from proper releases as he might have thought they sounded too close to his influences like Mouse On Mars (Kirlian Skank) or AFX (Nocturnalis) but these two tunes are just Ekoplekz homages that just end up sounding like Ekoplekz, like Ekoplekz doing a cover of these artists and totally making them his own. In fact what I assume will be side two (track 6-10) of the tape is pure fucking gold. Oh and the rest is good too. 

Friday 3 May 2019

N Chambers aka Panabrite

I've been wondering what happened to Panabrite. I think I did a search like a year ago and found nothing. It turns out he's now just using his own name instead of the Panabrite moniker. So now he's the artist formally known as Panabrite aka N Chambers. He's choosing to leave out his full first name which is Norm. Norm Chambers used to run the fabulous Lunar Atrium blog back in the day which introduced me to loads of great music. Panabrite released a spate of terrific albums from 2010 to 2016 including Nordsee, Contemplating The Observatory, Soft Terminal, The Baroque Atrium, Blue Grotto, Cortex Meridian Pavilion. I've only just realised he's released 5 albums under his own name since 2014, so that's rather exciting news. Air Example, from initial listens, sounds like Norm at the top of his game, giving any of those aforementioned Panabrite albums a run for their money. This is really cool meticulous electronic stuff and yes there are aquatic moments for your atmospheric listening pleasure. It even gets a bit dubwise in places. The best thing these ears have come across in 2019.

This glorious tune is taken from the N Chambers cassette Idea Region released in 2018 via Muzan Editions. I've just managed to track down a digital version of Idea Region at bandcamp, the tape is now sold out. Idea Region is just one of three albums he released last year. It might even be better than the new record. This aural splendour features bliss-scapes that turn sinister, underwater metagalactic drones, celestial oceans dripping with empty space, 5th world miniature toy gamelan orchestras and even something that sounds like Genesis P-Orridge leaving a static-y cosmogonic phone message.

Just discovered this recent marvellous dj mix from Mr Chambers too. Synth & Percussion Zones Vol. 1 was uploaded a month ago and it's an all vinyl set featuring avant-garde, electronic and experimental fringe dwellers such as Cleve Pozar, Daniel Palkowski, Giusto Pio & Mike Vickers. This made my day. Hopefully he will continue going down this musical path with more crate diggin deep cut goodness.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

More On Movies - May

But British Telly Though...

Over the last month movies old and new have really been put on the back burner as I've re-watched Line Of Duty again from season one through to the new season which is its fifth. That's a hell of a lot of telly. I could go on and on about the actoring, the amazing nefarious and clandestine storylines, the incredible tension created on screen and the masterful production but you probably already know all about that otherwise you're missing out, get on board! I've said this before and I'll say it again Line Of Duty is quite possibly the best cop show ever.

Oh and then there was Bodyguard (2018) which is another Jed Mercurio creation (He being the creator of Bodies & Line Of Duty). I missed it last year so I watched this six part series too. That was some spectacular telly right there. No wonder it was the highest rated drama in recent British TV history. Keely Hawes, who plays Julia Montague, has got to be the greatest living actress right now.

Also binged the first season of Derry Girls from 2018 which is fantastic unlike the embarrassingly unconvincing teen comedy-drama of 2019 Sex Education. Derry Girls is set in Northern Ireland in the 90s. It's about a bunch of catholic teenagers, their families and the troubles. Very bloody funny, great acting, terrific little plots and convincing characters. Sister Michael the unpredictable, negative and sardonic nun is without doubt my favourite character. It's great to see some Irish telly (yeah I know Northern Ireland is technically the UK but you know what I mean) which is rare for me. The only other good Irish TV shows I can actually think of from recent memory are The Fall and Father Ted. I'm sure there must be other good stuff but it just doesn't reach me. Bring on season two.  

Terror (1978)
I thought I'd never seen this before but it turns out I had. A sleazy good fun 70s British horror film with red herrings galore, family curses and bloody murder. The sound design is vey Suspiria-esque with its stormy weather, loud electronic score and noise. A giallo/slasher/supernatural/haunted kinda thing. Well worth checking out.

The Making Of Halloween (2010)
I found this on an old hard-drive so I have no idea if it's some kind of Blu-ray extra or a stand alone doc. The production quality is high though. This is a pretty good look at the the paradigm shifting 1978 horror classic Halloween directed by John Carpenter. We've got all the right talking heads including Jamie Lee Curtis, PJ Soles, John Carpenter, Debra Hill etc. Documentaries like this either interest you or take the magic out of film making for you. If you're in the former camp you'll probably enjoy it although you might already know much of what is being regurgitated here and if you're in the latter camp it might just be a little bit too boring, demystifying and/or annoying.

Bay Of Blood aka Twitch Of The Death Nerve aka Carnage aka Blood Bath (1970)
Mario Bava's proto-slasher giallo that comes unencumbered with the usual police procedural plot device. It's been documented before that Friday The 13th movies must have definitely ripped off some of these kill scenes. The phones, the fashion, the cars, the interior design and the bucolic setting all add to the incredible aesthetic of this stylishly put together movie. Bay Of Blood is a cohesive giallo plus it has a great ending. You don't need me to tell you this is a classic.

House Of Mortal Sin aka The Confessional (1976)
Wow I've never seen this before and what a little beauty it is. Where do I start? A Catholic priest (Anthony Sharp) gaslights a beautiful woman (Susan Penhaligon) who accidentally becomes an obsession of his. A brutal bloodbath ensues but you never quite know where the plot is going. House Of Mortal Sin is a total revelation for me. English horror from the 70s just keeps surprising me. We've got some very groovy 70s interior design, cars and fashion just before punk happened. Interesting take on Catholicism, that is now just as relevant if not more so than ever. I was brought up a catholic (now lapsed) and I never understood why priests couldn't get married. They should have women priests and married male priests and gay priests and whatever Jesus would ok that's my rant. Watch out for the sensational uniquely Catholic death scene, all I can say is incense is involved. Highly recommended.

The Swimmer (1968)
Pretentious, corny American shit that reminds me of all the awful American literature we had to put up with in school (That shit was not a patch on Russian, English & French literature was it?) This film looks and feels more like the early to mid 60s than the late 60s. I'm going to use a phrase previously used in another Frank Perry directed film review: This is arty-farty navel gazing horse shit of the worst kind. Ned Merrill (Burt Lancaster) has the lame idea of swimming a lap of everyones pool in his neighbourhood on his way to eventually reaching his home on top of the hill. It's telegraphed early on that perhaps Ned's home and life mentioned may not be waiting for him when his stupid backyard jumping adventure is complete. Or that maybe this whole film is all in Ned's head. The film hits rock bottom with possibly the corniest scene in the history of film where Ned and some kid pretend to swim a lap of an empty pool. This made me want to poke my eyes out, chop off my ears and sever my head. Am I supposed to get emotional about these smug shallow upper middle class wankers? Why I watched the whole thing is a mystery to me. It gets even more awful as the soundtrack is incongruous and just plain bad music. The Swimmer's definitely strange but not in a good way, more of a naff way. If you wanna spend an hour and a half watching a fit 50-something year old Burt Lancaster in just his swimming trunks (he gets nude too) then this film is for you. Not for me.

Don't Go In The House (1979)
I needed a fire cleansing after the bourgeois travesty of the previous film. An old favourite like this was never going to disappoint. It starts out with a man catching fire in the first minute and it doesn't let up as it zips along at great pace. Much pyromania throughout as the disturbed Donny (Dan Grimaldi), who is hearing voices, goes mental with his flame thrower. Not forgetting the classic disco scene where Donny, in his brand new disco threads, sets his date's hairdo on fire. The soundtrack is excellent with mucho disco, some rock and the legendary Richard Einhorn supplying the score of delirious electronic interludes. Now this is what I call a movie worth watching!

God Told Me To (1976)
I started reading Men, Women & Chainsaws: Gender In The Modern Horror Film (1992) by Carol J Clover the other day and one of the first movies mentioned was this Larry Cohen directed effort. If I'd seen this film when I was a teenager I would have loved it but I first saw it only 15 years ago by which time my love for sci-fi had pretty much ended (and don't get me started on message films). Not that God Told Me To is straight sci-fi. In fact I don't know what the fuck it is. It's horror, drama, police procedural, upside-down biblical epic, message movie etc. All I know is: it's weird for weird's sake but not in a good way, for me anyway. This film has many admirers and a cult following. The self importance of the film just rubs me the wrong way. Even the Bernard Hermann music makes this film just much more dated than it is. A bunch of spree killings across New York are investigated by Peter Nicholas (Tony Lo Bianco) who finds out all the killers are saying God told them to do it. This is just the beginning of the strangeness. This film could be read in a number of ways and perhaps you should watch it at least once to see what all the fuss is about and for Andy Kaufman's first appearance on celluloid but don't blame me if you hate it. You might also want to see where Panos Cosmatos got his inspiration for Mandy (2018) from.

Sleepaway Camp (1983)
This was another movie mentioned in the first few pages of Men, Women & Chainsaws. It had been a while since I'd last watched it so I thought why not? Sleepaway Camp is an endlessly enjoyable and re-watchable flick with that memorable ending. Anything set in modern times that includes a death by bow and arrow is well worth watching I reckon. This is a teen angst slasher film of the highest order. We've got accidental death by boat, Paedophiles, nerds, crazy Aunties, bullies, realistic nasty dialogue, dads having sex with other men, men beating children, actual young actors playing young teens, death by a swarm of bees, mental 80s fashion, brutal curling tong violence... I mean it's got the lot! Many slashers don't stand the test of time but Sleepaway Camp seems to have gained in reputation over the last 35 years to become one of the all time classics of the genre that it is today. Who am I to disagree? This movie would be in my top ten best slashers of all time. Get out your quarter length t-shirt and let the good times & body count roll. One of the most unforgettable films in history.

Madman (1981)
From the golden year of the slasher comes this below average generic flick. They forgot to add in suspense or were just so incompetent they couldn't figure out how to. The legend of Madman Marz (similar to that of Cropsey) is told around a campfire at a summer camp which summons Marz back into crazed action. Marz goes on a slightly gory rampage and most of the camp's adults are killed. There are some odd moments like the lady playing a recorder on her own in a boat in the dark, the long hot tub love scene while a cheesy slow jam plays as Marz pervs through the window etc. One of the movie's saving graces is the very cool minimal electronic score. The best thing though is the excellent dark electro folk tune Madman Marz that plays over the closing credits, which is like Human League collaborating with Comus. Madman is for slasher completists only.

Blood Rage aka Nightmare At Shadow Woods aka Slasher (1983/87)
Now this is an entertaining slasher depending on what you consider entertainment that is. If you are mature and middlebrow forget it. This not necessarily a good film, it's the sort of silly movie you should watch off your head with your mates or when it's 1.00AM and you can't sleep or when you're 15 or perhaps never. Tonally Blood Rage is all over the place. Some actors are fully camping up the melodrama while others are severely underplaying their roles. Sometimes it's a little bit funny and other times it's a bit grim. There are exciting passages then really fucking boring ones. The gore and Richard Einhorn's soundtrack however are quite spectacular. A couple of identical twin children are involved in a murder at a drive in. The wrong twin Todd (Mark Soper) is sent to a mental institution. Ten years later Todd escapes causing his twin brother Terry (also Mark Soper) to go into a murderous frenzy. Special mention must go to Louise Lasser who puts in a splendid nutsoid performance as Maddy, the mother of the twins. I can't beleive David Lynch has never cast her in one of his films. All I've got to say is 'That is not Cranberry sauce'.