Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Glintshake (or, the Fishbone perplex)

Recently I was in Estonia for the Tallinn Music Week. Saw a bunch of interesting bands  - this is the first in a series of posts (probably) on them.

Probably the most pure entertainment-!wow! was this Russian outfit Glintshake.

The video above is the best of the ones I could find on YouTube and it doesn't go anywhere near to conveying their force-of-personality live - although you do get a glimpse of singer / guitarist Kate Shilonosova's charisma and her repertoire of facial expressions and hand gestures.

That shortfall reminded me - even though they have nothing in common musically or in terms of stage presentation – of Fishbone: an astonishing entertainment onstage but they never seemed able to bottle it on record.

Live, Glintshake was obviously a lot louder and in your face (it was a small space in Old Town Tallinn, astonishingly crammed - there's a big buzz about the group - and hot, steamy, and actually a bit smelly). But also the band's wiry punk-funk sound just jumped and writhed and swerved and sparked so much more. Shilonosova's arch "startled" expressions and steadying-my-balance body-moves conveyed perfectly the feeling of being jolted and tumbled by the music. It looked like she was perpetually skidding on an icy pavement and only just managing to stay upright.

The name "Glintshake" puzzled me a bit and that minor mystery was revealed when I went back to check out their earlier material from 2014, which is shoegaze-derivative both sound-wise and image-wise. Thankfully they seem to have chucked all that in the bin and embarked upon intensive studies of the works of the Fire Engines, Contortions, possibly Big Flame, maybe even Stump. But  all that antipop angularity and friction is sluiced through New Wave aesthetics (little bit of Lene Lovich in the mix, maybe, but without the operatics) and the result ends up very pop: catchy, boppy, fun. 

Kate Shilonosova also has a solo career bubbling away and was given a mini-profile in the New Yorker recently, would you believe.

The approach couldn't be further from  Glintshake -  21st Century hip eclectronica with a pop finish.

The dainty/dinky/airy quality is almost Japanese in sensibility.  Those breathy buttery Sarah Cracknell/Sally Shapiro vocals. Nice, but I much prefer her rolled r's and more jagged delivery in Glintshake.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

once upon a time my favorite band #3

Yes, I'm a Bob Mould man more than a Grant Hart man. Both great, though - but the Mould melodies cut a little deeper, ache a little keener.

(Never got into Sugar, though).

No, I don't really rate, don't really dig, New Day Rising. Dunno why (I know it's some people's favorite). Prefer Flip Your Wig far more, and even Candy Apple Grey is better I reckon.

No, never really got into the early hyper-speed amphetamine-blur records.

Here for historical curio interest is the first single, though, when Du were PiL-damaged, before they saw the hardcore light

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

go get fluxed

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

turning Jaapanese

off of

s/t cover art

scion of Utrecht's Institute of Sonology

from this name-your-price memorial release

the blurb / bio for the Recollection GRM retrospective 
(must say, I do wish they would make their reissues available as compact discs, or even as FLAC downloads - cannot be arsed with the bulk and inconvenience - nor expense, frankly  - of the vinyl releases, and i don't think this kind of music is especially enhanced by vinyl's alleged warmth. Ironically you can get it digitally but only if you buy the vinyl - which gives you access to the download codes. which probably means that in practice most purchasers listen to it digitally anyway!)

The Institute of Sonology in Utrecht has earned its international reputation mostly for pioneering work in the field of computer-assisted algorithmic composition and digital sound synthesis by composers such as Gottfried Michael Koenig, Werner Kaegi, Paul Berg and Barry Truax. Anyone familiar with the music of these composers would have to admit that even within this ‘genre’ there were no stylistic dogmas. The stylistic range of Sonology’s artistic output becomes even broader when the work of other staff and frequent guests is taken into account, for example the compositions based on field recordings and audio-visual projects by Frits Weiland, the radiophonic works and pieces for tape and instruments by Luctor Ponse, the cybernetic tape compositions by Roland Kayn, or the experiments with computer graphics by Peter Struycken, to name just a few. And then there was Jaap Vink.
Jaap Vink (Den Helder, 1930) studied engineering at first, but then became interested in electronic music. He attended courses in electroacoustics at Delft University of Technology and installed a pedagogical studio for electronic music in 1961 at the Gaudeamus Foundation in Bilthoven with the help of the Nederlandse Radio Unie (NRU). He was a staff member at the Institute of Sonology as a teacher in analogue studio techniques from 1967 until his retirement in 1993.
Jaap Vink always tried to break out of the periodicity of the sounds so abundantly available in the electronic music studio. Although his music was entirely produced with purely electronic sound material, its textures resemble the richness of orchestral sounds, or large natural sound-complexes, as a result of recursive processes. The density of this sound material increases and decreases by careful control of feedback networks with configurations of analogue tape recorders (delay lines), filters and modulators. It should come as no surprise that his work is being rediscovered at a time when a new generation of musicians has conquered the stage with modular synthesizer setups and ‘no-input mixers’, in which feedback of audio and control signals plays an important role. And although Jaap Vink’s music wasn’t performed live but produced and recorded on magnetic tape in the studio, it is exactly the human interaction with feedback processes that connects his work with the current generation of live electronic music performers. To some extent Jaap Vink’s pieces are indeed recorded live improvisations, and extending his patches and ‘rehearsing’ with them was an ongoing process. To see Jaap Vink at work in the studio was to hear the studio coming to life. After his composition Screen (1968) had been performed at concerts and released on the famous Electronic Panorama LP-set (Philips 6740 001), Jaap Vink was asked regularly to contribute to Sonology’s concerts in the Netherlands and abroad. It was for these occasions that his recorded studio improvisations were brought to the level of fixed compositions and given titles. The selection presented here gives an overview of Jaap Vink’s works made in Utrecht, ranging from his first composition Screen up to Tide 1985, produced during the Institute of Sonology’s last year in that city.
Kees Tazelaar

Monday, March 27, 2017

jumping & parping

"the most important band in the world" - Eno

"I suppose there is some kind of nebulous central core of ideas, which may to do with us all having come out of systems music and our interest in foreign music but actually we are influenced by Frank Zappa, James Blood Ulmer, Bach" - Orlando Gough, Man Jumping keyb.

the precursor group, the Lost Jockey - much more Nyman-y

"and I'm Ian"

the last pretty-decent thing they did?

well, the lyrics are good on this

otherwise the album is a desert

and then Dury solo... i can't even remember if I checked it out once or not, but if I did left little impression, except for this

such a tragedy that he and Chas couldn't keep it together

that was supposed to the Important track on his solo debut album, the one with the message - a self-conscious epic at just shy of 15 minutes long - and as i recall rather different on the original LP than this contemporized edit...  As music quite urgent and driving, but you can only imagine how  it might have sounded with a commanding Dury vocal rather than Jankel's subdued and mousy effort

when it all went on the turn... turning back into pub rock (Wilko was never right for the Blockheads)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

m'oceanic (un)rock

Liquid Nights and Desert Sands

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

music-maker maker

on vinyl -

4th world

release rationale

"Optimo Music presents "Miracle Steps (Music from the Fourth World 1983 - 2017)", a 2 x LP compilation of Fourth World music compiled by JD Twitch & Fergus Clark. Also available as a digital release.
This compilation had been on the label’s to do list for ages but it was only when Twitch and Glasgow’s Fergus Clark started crossing swords over what actually constituted Fourth World music that the project really got going. Twitch decided that co-compiling the release with someone who had a slightly different take on things might make for a more interesting finished release, and so it came to pass that a cohesively thrilling compilation quickly materialised as each of them drew from a wealth of different artists and eras.
For the uninitiated, here’s an extract from Fergus Clark’s sleeve notes honing in on how the term Fourth World (an idea conjured up by Jon Hassell in the early 80s) might be defined -
“What we have attempted to gather across this compilation is a body of work which we feel directly resonates with both the literal definition of ‘Fourth World’ music and indeed our own interpretation of this unique sonic vision; from the work of the late Jorge Reyes, a Mexican musician who combined pre-hispanic instruments with synthesisers and digital sampling, through to the work of organic ambient ensemble O Yuki Conjugate. There are tracks which utilise custom, home-made instruments and there are tracks built from scratch using the latest in digital technology, but the undercurrent tying each piece together is this deeply personal feeling of intrigue and mysterious elation. Strange and unparalleled, this feeling manages to eschew geographic borders and rigid genre movements in favour of something which manages to evoke an inner sanctum, a musical private place for both reflection and assessment. This is music grounded in nor the past nor the present, music which manages to sound futuristic yet remarkably nostalgic. “
JD Twitch is one half of Glasgow’s Optimo (Espacio) and runs the Optimo Music and Optimo Trax labels.
Fergus Clark is a writer, occasional DJ and avid music fan. He is a founding member of the music and art collective 12th Isle."

Monday, March 13, 2017

ancestral invocations

"Luis Pérez was born in Mexico City on July 11, 1951. Since 1971 he has dedicated much of his time to the research of pre-Columbian musical instruments. He has traveled over the years all over the countryside of Mexico in order to study the living musical traditions and learn directly from the living sources while collecting samples of musical instruments, music and songs. His collection of native Mexican instruments include archaeological artifacts representative of the different cultural groups in the area known as Mesoamerica, some dating more than 2000 years ago.

"His early work while still in Mexico, was a mixture of sounds from his vast array of pre-Columbian and ethnographic wind and percussion instruments which he managed to blend with electronic devices such as; tape based delay units and analog synthezisers; in 1981 his work was heard and described in the U.S. by Archie Patterson as, "perhaps the ultimate fusion of ethnic and modern music, a stunning effect as the two different styles merge superbly into a mystical musical tapestry". Luis simply called it: Musica Experimental Mexicana. During that year the Mexican government became interested in his work and sponsored the production of what came to be the first recording of this type entitled: Ipan In Xiktli Metztli ( En el Ombligo de la Luna ) which made a big impact among the media and established Luis Pérez as a precursor in this field followed by a new generation of Mexican musicians" -  Sacred Summits

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Electronic Music From York / ICES '72

strangely unCreeled as yet...  a holy grail for electronic / tape collectors, this 1973 triple LP box of pieces made at the University of York Electronic Music Studio ..  so I had a bash at virtually reconstructing it in its entirey, using the riches of the internet - and didn't get very far

A1Andrew BentleyMoan

No luck
A2Martin GellhornCompression ICES '72

No luck
B1John CardaleDionysus

No luck 
B2Richard Orton (2)

No Luck
C1Richard Orton (2)For The Time Being

No luck
C2Richard Orton (2)Clock Farm

No luck

however I do have a copy of this

D1Martin Wesley-SmithMedia Music

No luck, but did find this other work of his

D2Richard PickettLight Black

No luck at all
ETrevor WishartMachine Part 1

F1Trevor WishartMachine Part 2
F2Trevor WishartMachine Part 3

the whole of Machine at the Other Minds archive

so that is in fact - Wishart aside - a complete bust

if you've got one, do us a burn will ya?

HOWEVER bits and bobs from Electronic Music from York are said to be part of

this long mix (int two parts) called Epsilonia Mix: Trevor Wishart and Friends
It's an excellent listen (includes things from Trev's Journey Into SpaceRed Bird
Mouth MusicSing CircleBeach Singularity, etc + stuff from another incredibly
 rare release from York Electronic Studios, the more song-oriented 
All Day - York Pop Music Project.

 But be warned: nothing is identified or in discernible sequence so who knows
 how much or which components of the elusive triple LP are in here.

in my search for properly tagged and identified Electronic Music From York tuneage

 i did find a few other  Wishart odds 'n' sods that i'm not sure
 i've got (i have nearly everything that's available on compact disc and a few files besides)

oh and here is an extensive obituary of Richard Orton

Andrew Bentley, Martin Gelhorn, John Cardale, Richard Pickett and Martin Wesley-Smith are, however, so obscure that they don't even have entries in Ian Helliwell's Tape Leaders book  
(Wishart and Orton do)

Wesley-Smith seems to have left the most traceable spoor of compositions behind him

Martin Gellhorn's piece "Compression ICES '72" is partly named after this event - International Carnival of Experimental Sound aka "ICES 72", an avant-garde music festival held at the Roundhouse, Chalk Farm, London, England, 13-26 August 1972,

poster design is by Gee Vaucher - later of Crass!

Oh, for a time machine!

The festival is discussed here at Other Minds

"Charles Amirkhanian talks to Harvey Matusow about the International Carnival of Experimental Sounds (ICES ‘72), an avant-garde music festival, based on the theme of myth, magic, madness and mysticism, that was held in August 1972 in London. Featuring 46 concerts in 14 days, including marathon performances in an refurbished railroad roundhouse, a music train to Edinburgh, films, happenings, and performances by avant-garde artists, dancers, and musicians from around the world, ICES ‘72 could be considered as a spiritual progenitor of such extravagances as Burning Man. That it was the brain child of Matusow, (with help from John LIfton and the editors of “Source Magazine”), is of little surprise as the man was part clown, part con man, and full time promoter of all things weird and wonderful. Once known as the “most hated man in America” for his role in informing, or misinforming, on Communists, including Pete Seeger, during the McCarthy Era, Matusow was a consummate show man and artistic visionary. In this interview he describes the Carnival, and introduces a number of recordings from it, including two works featuring the electronic music of Takehisa Kosugi as well as a sort of classical muddley by the Portsmouth Sinfonia. The Sinfonia was formed by group of students at Portsmouth School of Art in Portsmouth, England, however, unlike most student orchestras this one required that all the participants either be untrained or at least playing an instrument with which they were unfamiliar, all with very predictable results. A further description of ICES ‘72 and a recording of many of the pieces performed at the Festival can be found at"

a thorough account of the event and its participant performers by Dave Thompson

1972 Rolling Stone piece on Harvey Matusow, ICES organiser - and former McCarthy-ite!

Ices ‘72 (aka International Carnival of Experimental Sound) (1972) by Anonymous

Thursday, March 9, 2017

beak music

courtesy of Oskar Sala

bonus tweets

[birds at about 3.20 minutes in]

bonus screech

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

twinkle crinkle tingle shingling

feel like these are source records for everything from The Focus Group to 4 Hero

All three volumes of De Wolfe Music's The World of Percussion and Tuned Percussion (Eric Allen & Frank Reidy) can be heard here in full




Allen & Reidy also responsible for these dark glinting beauties, beloved of the haunty crew

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Civic Magicians and Engineers of the Imagination

"Lol Coxhill was the musical director for this travelling troupe from 1973 to 1975. This is functional music, adapted to the multi-dimensional performances of Welfare State, Welfare State was a nomadic consortium of artists, makers, musicians and performers. As said by John Fox in the liner notes, the WS envisaged themselves as Civic Magicians and Engineers of the Imagination, devising rituals and constructing images for particular times, places and seasons. They travelled throughout Europe with a mobile village of lorries and caravans, creating and animating outdoor events with sculptures, theatre pieces, celebrations, dances and processions. Consisting of 16 adults and 7 children, WS would stop for shorter or longer residences, whenever the opportunity arose to "make poetry concrete". The record captures the functionality and the ceremoniality of the music, though listening to it one inevitably misses the other sensory elements needed to make it a full spectacular experience, but one might conjure up suitable visual images from the sounds captured on this album, not the.least the front cover pic which reminds me of the cult film "The Wicker Man".  Obvious referneces here to medieval ceremonies and rituals and old-age mythology. It might bear some resemblances to what in the UK has become known as the Travellers movement, dating back to the festivals of the 70s and ideas of alternative life styles, ironically at a certain distance from the welfare state, one might think."  - Inconstant Sol


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Musica Electronica Libre

and from one of Polonio's electroacoustic operas

"One of the characteristics of his work since 1969 is the almost total abandon of traditional instruments in favor of electroacoustic sources. He generally interprets his own work in concerts, combining magnetic tapes, synthesizers and processors in real time - often accompanied by videos or other elements created by visual artists. 

Among the most imposing examples of this cooperation with these plasticians are: “Calidoscopi” (1976), an audiovisual spectacle with lights sculptures by Eduardo Magliano, Sala Zeleste, Barcelona ; “ Per a Matar·ho ” (1977), a performance with the painter Ferrán García Sevilla, Mataró, Barcelona ; “Dempeus Assegut Agenollat” (1981), an action with Rafael Santamaria, Espai 10 - Foundation Miró, Barcelona ; “Sottovoce” (1983), musical environment for a video installation by Rafael Santamaria, Metrònom Gallery, Barcelona ; “Vilafranca-Eclipsi” (1985), video installation with Carles Pujol, Sant Joan’s Chapel, Vilafranca del Penedès, Barcelona ; “El Lloguer del Miraller” (1987), performance with Rafael Santamaria, Tramesa d'Art en favor de la creatividad, Palau de la Música, Valencia ; “Alteraciones” (1989), a spectacle with sound sculptures and lights with the painter Toni Rueda, Encontre de Compositors X, Palau Solleric, Palma de Majorca ; “Electroacústica, Visuales y Grand Chapeau Chinois” (1991), performance with photography by Santiago Torralba, 4 Minimalismos 4, Autumn Festival of the Madrid Community ; “Tócame una poloniesa” (1993), Foundation Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona and “Ressó, Imatges • Performance Electroacústica” (1994), Foundation Pilar y Joan Miró, Palma de Majorca, concerts with slides by Santiago Torralba and videos by Carles Pujol ; “Música imaginada” (1996), spectacle with films and slides by Santiago Torralba and Pablo Arribe, Reina Sofía Museum, Madrid ; “L'Arc” (1997), installation with Carles Pujol, Caixa de Manresa, Manresa, Barcelona; "Einai"(1998), video with Eugeni Bonet; "Sugar Cane" (2000), Instalation with Xabela Vargas, Huelva Museum. 

He has composed two electroacoustic operas: “Uno es el Cubo • fantasía kepleriana en cinco sólidos perfectos” and “Dulce mal”...", 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

synth city

memoradelia (short term flashback)

missed this when it came out (April 2014)

always a little taken aback when I find that yet another recruit to the oddly undwindling and undisbanded H-battalion has slipped under my radar

in this case the outfit self-describe as "landscape folk, fond of field recordings and strange technologies"

release rationale:

"We are living... in an period of immense and rapid change. After thousands of years of simple almost unchanging life patterns, we have been catapulted into a world of hitherto undreamed of technical complexity. This sudden acceleration in the speed of advancement has left us slightly bewildered and while in the main we welcome the new, we also regret the passing of the old. the process of change is by no means yet complete and though we are adapting well outwardly, our hearts remain stubbornly unmoved, Rather like a pie in the baking when the crust is crisp and golden but the meat inside is still uncooked" 

Bob Copper - Songs & Southern Breezes, Country Folk & Country Ways 1973 

The Further Navigations EP is a continuation of the exploration of the ancient Harrow Way the "lost" road of Southern England, which informed The Memory Band album On The Chalk (Our Navigation Of The Line Of The Downs) also released last year on Static Caravan. It features remixes from Belbury Poly and Grantby and a brand new Memory Band track. 

The choice of collaborators are two producers who have had a profound impact on The Memory Band sound in different ways, fellow travellers on the journey between an eternal past and technological innovation. Both bring to the fore the cinematic elements of The Memory Band's approach to traditional music and landscape in the digital age. 

In the decade since The Memory Band began one of its greatest contemporary influences has been the impressive catalogue of work released by the Ghost Box label, in particular the Belbury Poly aka label boss Jim Jupp. Spectral, haunting and yet vibrant and knowing, his work has established Jupp as a truly English original, making some of the essential electronic music of the new century. The "hitherto undreamed of technological complexity" which Copper described of his time has itself seeped into our folk history and become the source of that strange mixture of nostalgia, discomfort and wonder which the past evokes in all of us. It is this seam of contradictions that informs the core of the "hauntoligical" sound critics have ascribed to the Ghost Box aesthetic. For "Hobby Horse" Belbury Poly takes the blueprint from the Memory Band's version of the traditional funeral march "When I Was On Horseback" transforms it by speeding it up, flicking the swing setting and produces something that sounds like David Munrow making music for schools on analogue synthesizers. 

Grantby aka Dan Grigson has a mysterious history, famed for the Timber EP and tracks for labels such as Mo-Wax in the mid ‘90s, his work defined and exceeded trip-hop and garnered a loyal international underground following. Memory Band leader Stephen Cracknell worked alongside Grigson on some of those early recordings and when Grigson withdrew from music after an ill-starred move to Creation Records, Cracknell focused on his own projects which led to formation of The Memory Band. Recently Grigson returned to music, working on music for film and television music before returning to remixes and production. Here Grantby takes the traditional ballad "As I Walked over Salisbury Plain" leads it into the military zone and the result is "The Ballad Of Imber Down” named after the "lost village" of Imber upon Salisbury Plain, from which its inhabitants were evacuated by the Army during the Second World War only to learn that after the War that it had been decided the village would remain the property of the military and that they could never return again. Their ultimately doomed campaign to return has itself passed into legend. 

The Memory Band original "Walk Along It" is a hymn to majesty of walking in the open air. It borrows heavily from the anonymous and haunting version of the traditional English tune The Lincolnshire Poacher, broadcast from a shortwave numbers station and believed to be operated by the British secret services.

They have quite a discography, The Memory Band

From last year, featuring titles like "Children of the Stones" 

That album comes with a bibliography attached! 

'Poly-Olbion, A chorographicall description of all the tracts, rivers, mountains, forests, and other Parts of this Renowned Isle of Great Britain' by Michael Drayton (1612 &1622) 

'English County Songs' by Lucy E. Broadwood and J.A. Fuller Maitland. (J.B. Cramer 1893) 

'Frensham Then and Now - An Informal History' by Harry Baker and H.C. Minchin (Langham 1938) 

'A Voice Through A Cloud' by Denton Welch - (John Lehman 1950) 

'English Fairs And Markets' by William Addison and Barbara Jones (Batsford 1953) 

'Mercian Hymns' by Geoffrey Hill (Andre Deutsch 1971) 

'Gilbert White, a biography of the author of The Natural History of Selborne' by Richard Mabey (Century 1986) 

'Map of a Nation: a Biography of the Ordnance Survey' by Rachel Hewitt (Granta 2010)

This from 2013

and earlier

indeed actually predating Ghost Box et al with the very earliest, more or less folk records