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  • Review: Fanatism - The Future Past

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Wed, 25 Jul 2018 20:14:00 +0000

    So, here we are....the last post for the foreseeable future...a huge thanks to everyone who has submitted music and especially to all of you who have read my blatherings....but what a way to go out! A wee bit excited about this one....accepted knowledge tells us that some of the best psych music is coming from Sweden these days and the same knowledge tell us that Kungens Män is one of the very best indeed. With this in mind it pretty well makes it a no-brainer that this album from Fanatism is gonna smoke (being as they feature members from Kungens Män, Switch Opens and Automatism!). Add to that the fact that the wonderful Drone Rock Records are releasing it then...well, you do the math! However, I would just add this...although this band has a rich musical heritage between them, I would urge you to forget this as 'The Future Past' is not just a 'Kungens Män offshoot project'...it is a fully rounded entity all of its own..Likewise Fanatism, I sincerely hope, will be spoken about on their own terms....this is a fine, fine album.

    The album opens in the best possible way with 'När man allting sett'...pulsing bass line and motorik drums creating a laid back krautrock feel over which some groove laden guitar imbues the track with some funky psychedelic vibes. As the track slowly unfurls the guitar becomes more and more the focus of things whether it be echo laden psych, more fuzzy, almost stoner, rock or even some proggy interludes. Throughout that rhythm section keeps strict time and provides a solid framework around which the guitars can weave their magic....absolutely storming track. 'Shiv-Li-Yeah' opens with an eastern motif that gives things a languid exotic air. Things get a great deal fuzzier as the track progresses and it all harks back to the giddy seventies and the explosion of all things fuzzy, but it manages to retain a definite krautrock edge to it. With a title like 'Quantum Fuzz' one would expect something heavy, almost doomy, but instead we get a beautiful piece of recognisably Swedish psych with, initially, a hint of folk in its structure. A reverential nod to spiritual forefathers International Harvester and Träd, Gräs & Stenar for the most part but scattered with tracts of heaviness that sits nicely within the track's title. Oh, and the skronky sax that appears is an absolute pleasure; unexpected and giving things a real experimental edge. 'Upon The Cross' is fucking huge....hi-octane from the get-go with a thick layer of glorious fuzz, it is hard, heavy and exhilarating. 'Tiden Rinner' opens with tinkling bells and angelic voices before the bass sets up a slow but steady rhythm. It is a track that could quite easily fit into a seventies film score with those choral vocals and laid back vibes........and when the whistling enters that pretty much seals the deal....very Morricone, very Frizzi, and very, very good! 'Nackögon' continues the feel good vibe with a track that is relaxed but with a real funkiness about it and an underlying layer of fuzz while 'One Of Us Can Not Be Me' sees things back in motorik territory. It has that same feel about it as The Myrrors seem to be able to create but with a definite krautrock bent. Album closer 'The Future Past' is a complete curveball....a track that is almost synthwave in sound, packed with eighties synths and Kraftwerk rhythms....if John Carpenter were Swedish then this is what he would be producing. My only gripe...and it's a small one, is that the sax cameo is a bit 'yacht rock' but you know....it's all so good I'll overlook it! It's a wonderful track that is so different from the previous tracks but it somehow works and could be seen as a natural extension to the motorik vibes that have preceded.

    'The Future Past' threw me at first for the very reason I mentioned in the intro...I was expecting something along the lines of Kungens Män but, to reiterate, this is an album all of its own and a damn good one at that. The variety contained within makes it a real smorgasbord of delights...the way it trips from motorik based krautrock to more pastoral psych and finishing with some retro synth sounds is truly wonderful and goes to make this an album of many dimensions... a trait that is sadly missing in so much music these days. To use a well-worn cliche...it is an album that keeps on giving; after many run-throughs I am still discovering little facets and nuances to the music...a sign of an accomplished album made by accomplished musicians. Pretty damned essential I would say. 'The Future Past' is up for pre-order on the Drone Rocks webstore here and comes as a special edition (pressed on clear heavyweight vinyl with black stripe effect) or regular edition (classic black heavyweight vinyl).

  • Review: Submissions Round-Up pt 18

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 08 Jul 2018 17:05:00 +0000

    So many subs of late....far too many to mention them all unfortunately but in an attempt to cover as many as possible here is another round-up of those that tickled my pickle:

    Addicted Label

    I was contacted by Anton from the Russian label
    This tape release was actually from last year and the physical tapes have actually sold out(I tghink I may have got the last...soz!) but this is available as a download via the Liquid Library Bandcamp page
    Jonny Weathers has appeared in these pages before and so it's a pleasure to welcome him back, this time accompanied by some punk rock royalty..yes, Paul Cook is that Paul Cook! 'Sonic Assault' is a 4 track EP with Jonny's trademark guitar..some down and dirty garage rock all backed with Cook's hard hitting drumming. I said in the previous review that Weather's guitar is brilliant and I would reiterate that here...he really is a talented dude and I'm not quite sure why he isn't better known. 'Sonic Assault' is available as a download (only £3.99) from his Bandcamp page
    Chickn are a Greek psychedelic band who brilliantly channel the spirit of the sixties in their music. It sounds distinctly English, which is weird, but it has that same jaunty, fun aspect to it that typified a lot of the late sixties UK psych. From start to finish 'Wowsers!' is a damn fine listen.....there are no heavy, fuzzy solos or doom laden passages here, just well crafted songs with intelligent lyrics and plenty of vocal and musical hooks. It has been given a release by Inner Ear Records and is available as vinyl and download from the label's Bandcamp page here. A damn fine album!

  • 2018: The Best Thus Far

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 01 Jul 2018 18:29:00 +0000

    Well, halfway through the year and what a year it's been on the music front. So many fine albums released, so for what it's worth here are my fave ten thus far. (These are all new albums so no Heroin In Tahiti, no Dead Sea Apes and no TBWNIAS boxset....but fear not, they will have their plaudits come the end of the year). These are in no particular order....well, vaguely chronological.

    Psychic Lemon - Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay (Tonzonen)

    Review here.

    You really could not ask for a better start to any year than this....the Cambridge psychonauts followed their outstanding debut album with this wonderful slice of fuzzed out kraut jams with dollops of heavy spacerock. It is no secret that Psychic Lemon are one of may fave bands but regardless this album is smoking! (Shameless plug - the guys are playing the inaugural 'Up In Her Room' festival in Chelmsford, Essex this coming August 4th, joining the likes of Helicon and Is Bliss ....see here!)

    The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol - Droneverdose (Cardinal Fuzz)

    Review here

    The band that just keep on giving..and giving. TBWNIAS continue their string of amazing albums with 'Dronverdose' and their own trademark fuzzed out take on all things psych and kraut. This is psych played by people who really know what psych is.

    Anthroprophh - OMEGAVILLE (Rocket)

    Review here

    The Heads who out Heads The Heads....this is fucking huge! An album that bends genres and expectations. An album that starts as one thing and ends another. Genius, no other word will suffice

    Jochen Arbeit​/​Paolo Spaccamonti - CLN (Boring Machines)

    Review here

    This is one of those albums that I keep coming back to time and time again. Jochen Arbeit is a member of Einsturzende Neubauten and Spaccamonti is a guitarist and 'Research Composer' and between them they made 'CLN' an album in which to revel. Cinematic, dystopian pieces that flit between the ambient and the harshly industrial. Absolutely fantastic stuff.

    Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band - Hyper Rituals (Evil Hoodoo)

    Review here

    sheer visceral power and dissonant noise...'Hyper Rituals' hits you between the eyes...and hard! disembodied shrieks, feedback, squealing electronics, skronky sax, shamanic chants, psychedelic guitars and some liberal sprinklings of heavy ritual....this really does have the lot

    Flowers Must Die - Där Blommor Dör

    Review here

    Swedish brilliance here from FMD - an album that channels Träd, Gräs & Stenar (both in spirit and in the form of a song title). "it smashes any psychedelic paradigm...it not so much moves the goalposts as decides to do away with them altogether" ...'nuff said

    Father Sky Mother Earth - Father Sky Mother Earth (Dirty Filthy Records)

    Review here

    As it says on the sticker: "A soul-rending sonic exploration full of arcane mysticism, cavernous drone and heavy-as-fuck riffage. Intensely moody, cinematic and most definitely magnificent.” Don't really need to know anything else!

    Monumentals - Irregular Heads (Eggs In Aspic)

    Review here

    Simply stunning album that takes in kosmische, experimental electronica, drone and soundtracks (and much, much more).....atmospheric, haunting and life-changing

    Lay Llamas - Thuban (Rocket)

    Review here

    Brilliant...no other words necessary

    Prana Crafter - Enter The Stream (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender/Eggs In Aspic)

    Review here

    Organic, free flowing beauty with some fine song writing and lashings of blissful tranquility...easily the most beautiful album of the year so far.

  • Review: Sun Dial - Science Fiction: A Compendium Of Space Soundtrax

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 01 Jul 2018 13:26:00 +0000

    Sun Dial, as everyone [should] know, are absolute legends of the UK neo-psych scene and they now seem to have a pretty sweet thing going on with Sulatron Records; Sulatron not only re-issued 'Mind Control' on CD but released the last studio album 'Made In The Machine'. This band/label combo has come up trumps once again in the shape of 'Science Fiction' and as the subtitle would indicate it is a trippy journey into the world of science fiction soundtracks. 'Made In ...' saw the band head into a more electronic/rock direction and 'Science Fiction' is even heavier on the electronic side of things. Always a band whose music has been in demand by film and documentary makers this album has fulfilled a long term plan to release a collection of unreleased Space themed soundtracks....and it is a real thing of beauty.

    Opener 'Hangar 13' is a delightful melange of low humming drones, some prog keyboard work and spacey electronica that all come together to form something that would not be out of place on a 70's sci-fi B-Movie (and we all love them right?). 'White Stone' takes us right back to the sixties with some lovely organ work while 'Mind Machine' is full of groove and light and anyone would be forgiven for thinking it had been lifted from those wonderful 'Cosmic Machine' compilations of early French synth music...it is a glorious track. 'Saturn Return' lightens the tone somewhat with a lilting spacepop vibe about it...very seventies in feel and attitude. 'Space Travel' is probably the more obviously 'psych' of the tracks on show....vague hints of early Floyd float like gossamer amidst some more cosmic sounds. A neat segue takes into another sixties leaning track 'Alien X'. 'Rise Of The Robots' came as a bit of a shock in that it sounds very contemporary, very synthwave (and I am aware that that is an oxymoron what with synthwave being based on eighties synth sounds!) but it is probably one of my favourite tracks on the album...it has a haunting, desolate quality that gives it depth and gravitas. 'Airlock' is another obviously psych track, the use of sitar and Hammond organ being a bit of a giveaway but it still sits well in the remit of the album. 'Aftershock' is a catchy little number rooted in the eighties and has a gloss that almost takes it into cheesy territory but these guys are way too savvy for that to happen entirely. 'Ghost Ship' is a magnificent track...the electronica and the scattergun drums all add to the feeling of suspense and dread that pervades the track and lifts it into whole new territory. 'Infa Red' opens with some skitterish jazzy drums and the track never settles after that, constantly moving and veering in different directions. Album closer 'Starwatchers' is another that harks back to the early days of synthesised music...it has a retro vibe that is pretty irresistible. Those who buy the CD also get an extended verion of 'Hangar 13' which is heavenly.

    Sun Dial have always been one of the more intelligent of psych bands (I don't mean they can do The Times crossword in five minutes..they may do....I mean they think about the music and the structure of an album and don't just 'throw it together') and this intelligence and nous is brought to bear on 'Science Fiction'. Having an obvious science fiction 'concept' to an album is rife with difficulties; it could become cheesy, irrelevant or, heaven forfend, a novelty album, but the band circumnavigate these difficulties with the skill of experienced mariners. What is most impressive, however, is that all these tracks are fantastic...they have a genuine feel of sci-fi movies about them and where lesser artists may just re-hash 'Bladerunner' Sun Dial have brought their own distinctive personality. I would say that between 'Science Fiction' and Sula's own 'The Ape Regards His Tail' Sulatron have pretty much got the whole sci-fi thing sewn up! 'Science Fiction' is available from the Sulatron Shop on CD or green vinyl (limited to 750)....go get it!

  • Review: Culto al Qondor - Templos

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 18 Jun 2018 21:10:00 +0000

    I think it's fair to say that since their very first release way back in 2014 (Kill West, another South American band) Drone Rock Records have gone from strength to strength...each release adding something different to its ever growing roster. I am very aware that with every new Drone Rock review the words "their best yet" invariably creep in and I make no apologies for this as it is a testament to the label's (well, Adam's to be specific) impeccable taste and ability to capture the psych zeitgeist. So somewhat predictably I am going to state categorically that this IS one of the very best they have put out! Let's start from the beginning - Culto al Qondor hail from Peru and have a pretty spectacular psych pedigree being two ex-members of Serpentina Satelite (I miss them guys) in the form of Dolmo - guitars & delays and Aldo Castillejos - drums & loops and also Chino Burga (bass & drones) from 3am and La Ira de Dios...with experience like that you pretty much know that this record is gonna be a stunner....and it is.

    If you have ever settled down with any of The Myrror's outstanding albums and thought "I wish these guys had just a bit more oomph!" then this is most certainly the record for you. Right from the getgo with opener 'Martillo', after a somewhat bass lead introduction, that same twang laden 'Myrrors' guitar opens up and has that same quality, that same ability to conjure up sandblasted vistas festooned sun bleached skulls. The big difference is, however, is where The Myrrors' music is like floating above these landscapes on the back of a graceful condor majestically riding the thermals, with these guys it is akin to being in a big fuckoff B17 about to lay waste to all beneath. There is beauty in this heaviness though...as the track progresses the guitar swirls above and between some pounding drums and a bass that pulses like the very heart of the planet. It is lysergically charged and gloriously intense psychedelia. 'Amanecer en Tres Cruces' has an opening that could have come straight from Floyd's 'The Wall' album before it blooms into another monster of a track. That same evocative guitar weaves another intricate tapestry, offset magnificently by some positively tribal drums and another bass line that takes no prisoners. The opening to 'Antiguos Dioses sobre Chilca' is immense...an almost cacophonous melange of guitar drones, feedback, squeals of electronica and a motorik rhythm that keep the listeners suspended in some kind of psychedelic time loop. When the track eventually moves forward it does so with more graceful guitar that traces sparkling lines over that repetitive beat. It is when the guitar opens up, however, that things really come alive...all vestiges of grace and delicacy are thrown aside and things become truly stratospheric. The brief addition of treated vocals add another dimension, one of foreboding and menace...but it all comes back down to that cosmic guitar and incredible rhythm...it is an absolute fucking monster of a track. The album is closed with title track 'Templos' with more Floydian guitar and another intense krauty rhythm that just refuses to stop. It is this bass rhythm that drives the track, threatening to engulf the mournful, plaintive wailings of the guitar, but never quite succeeding; indeed, the guitar acts as a sobering counterbalance and it all comes together very nicely thankyou very much.

    'Templos' is a simply wonderful album..one which has everything that a lover of all things psych will appreciate....gloriously psychedelic guitar, intense drones and strong, repetitive rhythms...and all done with a panache and an earthy charisma. It does what all good psychedelic records do and that is to transport the listener somewhere else...out of the humdrum drudgery of everyday life and into lands unexplored and untainted by human hand; it is an almost transcendental experience. But this is not some bucolic, pastoral album of whimsy and grace...it is heavy and has some real clout about it; a physicality that belies its beauty. In short it is a masterpiece and one that will grace turntables for a long time....brilliant work all round. 'Templos' can be pre-ordered from the Drone Rock webstore here and is a super limited run of 250 copies all on clear vinyl with silver ‘colour-in-colour’ (blob) effect and black spatters

  • Review: Black Helium - Primitive Fuck

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 17 Jun 2018 21:44:00 +0000

    One of my earliest musical memories is listening to The Sweet's 'Blockbuster' on my Mum's 'Top Of The Pops' album and Brian Connolly's almost pained 'We haven't got a clue what to do'. Why this maudlin nostalgia? Well, because of 'Primitive Fuck', an riff fuelled monster of an album by Black Helium (out in July on Riot Season) that is like the freaky mutant kid spawned by the mad coupling of The Sweet and Hawkwind. It's not all warped glam of course, there is plenty of Stoogian scuzziness and some krautrock influenced psych on offer as well. Most of all though, it is an album that is fun (remember the concept of fun....it was something we had before these dystopian days of egocentric world leaders hell bent on mutually assured destruction and capitalism run rife), an album that sees that warped kid grow up to become everybody's mate. The band are: Stuart Gray (vocals/guitar), Beck Harvey (vocals/bass) Davey Mulka (guitar) and Ben Davies (drums) although Diogo Gomes has now taken over drum duty and they are, to quote the press release, "a band your psychiatrist warned you about."....nuff said.

    Opener 'Drowsy Shores' is a relatively slow burner, a measured rhythm over which a voice intones the numbers 1 to 8 in German. Gradually the track opens up and things get heavier by the minute...drums crash and riffs roil like a restless ocean. About halfway through the guitar seemingly goes into overdrive..like some musical tommy gun and all the while those numbers are repeated...it's like Sabbath recording a Linguaphone tape. 'Love The Drugs' is an awesome track...glam heavy riffs abound and it is a real showstopper. There are some lovely little 'psych' moments that punctuate the glam but it is those riffs...man! 'Wicked Witch' again takes us back to the seventies but the glam is forsaken for some heavy psych....it's down, dirty and as greasy as hell. 'Summer Spells' throws the listener a bit off guard....the intro is hazy and laid back with the vague hint of feedback heard over the ethereal weirdness but it doesn't take long for fuzzy riffs to spoil the reverie and we are firmly back in heavy psych territory. The track is never quite content to chug along, it veers constantly between slow, quiet, mournful periods of haze and heavy 'rock out with your cock out', denim clad heaviness. 'Videodrone' is a short blast of Stooges scuzz, full of verve and spittle and sets the scene nicely for the epic 'Curtains At The Mausoleum'..a track that is pure psych with lashings of reverb and nods to neo-psych bands like The Black Angels as well the kraut stylings of Amon Duul..it is 9 minutes of top class music. The band are not afraid to mess with these well worn tropes, throwing in experimental flourishes and firmly stamping their own personality on proceedings. 'Do You Wanna Come Out Tonight' has everything thrown at it....some glam flourishes, some proto punk riffage and some good ol' fashioned rock'n'roll...what's not to like? The title track 'Primitive Fuck' closes the album in a hi-octane blast of riff fuelled noise rock...feedback and fuzz aplenty and a suitably hedonistic ending.

    'Primitive Fuck' is a solid album with more riffs than you could stake a stick at.....I was never quite sure whether I should be donning my silver platforms or reaching for the patchouli oil but I like that in an album, one that mixes things up and doesn't just plough the one furrow. What is not in doubt, however, is the fact that it is an album that makes you feel good. Regardless of whatever 'scene' tickles their collective pickle on any particular track, it is obvious that these guys know what they are doing and, from what I have read, they put on a helluva show which makes perfect sense because they have made a helluva album. 'Primitive Fuck' can be pre-ordered from the Riot Season shop here on black vinyl (limited to 300) and the download can be got here. Both will be released on July 20th

  • Review: Prana Crafter - Enter The Stream

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sat, 16 Jun 2018 20:45:00 +0000

    Very excited about this release - Prana Crafter is a name that features often on this blog and for good reason - Prana Crafter (or William Sol for it is he) creates the most idyllic, most blissful, pastoral psych around. After a string of top quality releases on tape and CD those wonderful people at Cardinal Fuzz and Sunrise Ocean Bender have given Sol a much deserved vinyl outlet for his music. Like previous releases (including Bodhi Cheetah's Choice and MindStreamingBlessing...see my reviews here and here) Sol takes inspiration from the woodlands of his beloved Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. It is this connectivity with nature that imbues Sol's work with a bucolic beauty and a real sense of peace. *Stop press - Eggs In Aspic are releasing this slice of bliss via tape as well....the fact that 3 of the very finest labels are on board with this album must surely be a sign of its quality.

    Title track 'Enter The Stream' opens the album with the gentle sounds of running water and delicate guitar (both acoustic and electric) before Sol's vocals positively melt our hearts with its rich tones. It is a stunningly beautiful track that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up; part Neil Young, part Nick Drake, all bliss. It segues nicely into 'Moon Through Fern Lattice' and its drones creating a backdrop for some lush guitar work. The drones, water and guitar create between them the musical equivalent of sitting by a bubbling brook in summer...another pastoral piece of bliss. 'Mycorhizzal Brainstrom' a track that is natural in its vibe; more electronica flourishes and Sol's superb guitar that rings out true and clear but there are glimpses of a fuzzy heaviness that hangs over the track like a thunderhead. Musically the irregular structures and experimental basis seems to mimic the organic sounds of the forest...those sounds that appear totally random but come together to form something quite, quite beautiful. 'The Spell' is another vocal track that recalls Neil Young at his most introspective. The clever interplay of acoustic and electric guitar is effective, the former acting as a platform for the heaviness of the latter...not affecting the dynamics of the song but rather adding another dimension that transforms it from a very good song into a stunning one. 'Old North Wind' follows the same pattern as 'the Spell'....subtle layering of guitar over some more plaintive vocals while 'Kosmic Eko' is a belter of a track. Buzzing drones play host to some Floydian guitar to create something meditative, entrancing and deeply trippy. As with 'Mycorhizzal....' there is no regular song structure per se with the emphasis being on evoked emotions and conjured visions. 'Pillow Moss Absorption' is built on a pattern of what sounds like simulated raindrops over which is laid some more wonderful guitar and luxurious drones. It is another organic track...you can almost smell the rain in the air. The album is closed with another vocal track in the shape of 'At The Dawn'...Sol's wistful singing, along with the acoustic/electric guitars, makes for another deep and thoughtful track...a lovely way to close a majestic album.

    'Enter The Stream' is possibly Prana Crafter's least psychedelic album but don't let this hinder your enjoyment..indeed, I found it to be a deeply effective and touching album full of beauty and soul. There are flashes of some psychedelic forefathers...Pink Floyd, Träd, Gräs & Stenar, The Moody Blues...but the lysergic freakouts have been put aside for some intelligent and heartfelt songwriting...songs that genuinely make you stop and think. Nature and the wilderness are obviously very important to Sol and he uses these as influences and muses and the music reflects this beautifully...Sol is a man who is evidently not only in touch with nature but with himself also. Without doubt 'Enter The Stream' is one of the essential purchases of the year (to be fair, all of his releases have been essential). It is available for pre-order over at the Cardinal Fuzz site here or the Ocean Sunrise Bender site here. It comes as a green with white flecks vinyl or CD. The rather wonderful Eggs In Aspic are also releasing the album on tape...go here to purchase if tapes are your thang!

  • Review: Glen - Crack

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 11 Jun 2018 21:32:00 +0000

    Glen are a band out of Berlin - formed in 2015, they create "a synthesis of contrasting textures with different references to No Wave NY, Free Improv, Noise, Doom, Postrock as well as Cinematic Scores" ...well, that all sounds right up my boulevard. 'Crack' is their first album, available via Falling Elevators, and is a cracking album (sorry, no pun intended!). The band are multi instrumentalist and film score composer Wilhelm Stegmeier and Greek visual artist, film maker and musician Eleni Ampelakiotou along with Benita Koschig and Mario Stahn. What they have created between them is an album of eccentricity and verve but all built on a solid base of musicality and an obvious love, and knowledge, of music.

    first track 'Hit' opens with the rise and fall of a guitar and the shimmering of cymbals which create between them a real atmosphere of dread and foreboding. Flourishes of electronica, like otherwordly voices, sit alongside stabs of bass. When the guitar spreads its wings it does so in a mournful, plaintive manner but rich in tone and texture, The sporadic rhythm initially prevents things from settling into anything like a linear narrative but when some semblance of narrative is found it becomes a wonderful thing indeed. There is a real cinematic quality to it but the excellent guitar work stops it from tipping over into full avant garde movie score territory and it remains firmly in the psychedelic post rock area. It doesn't take long, however, from the track to fall apart again, breaking down into its separate components and it all becomes gloriously dissonant once more. The last four minutes or so fly by in a flurry of groove laden post rock. By the track reaches the end of its 13 minute length I'm well and truly sold on this album. 'Go Boy' takes that groove and runs with it, this time accompanied by a lovely motorik rhythm. The krautrock leanings is exacerbated by the very CAN-like vocals.....wonderful stuff...but already I've sussed not to take these fellows on face value. The groove and flow is broken by the heavy hum of static and some heavy stabs of bass and fuzz and entropy appears to take over - things fall into chaotic disarray until the original form is somehow reinstated. 'Crack' sees the band come over all New York No-Wave...it is all sharp edges, unpredictable signatures and obscure spoken word vocals. These guys can obviously turn their collective hand to anything and make it work. 'D' is the longest track at over 16 minutes. After the glorious drone of the introduction a guitar traces filigree lines over more shimmering cymbals and it all sounds beautifully pastoral...but having heard what has preceded you expect the unexpected, just waiting for that twist in the tail. The twist is...there is no twist. The track blooms into a wonderful post rock number and maintains a stately grandeur until the very end. The album is closed by 'Discotheque' which ostensibly sits in the post-rock camp but the noir vocals add a dark edge and more than a touch of noise rock that lifts this above the rank and file and into 'brilliant' territory. As the track wends its way to its conclusions it all becomes a bit weird...the music remains but way back in the background and some manic spoken word vocals disorientates the listener as if it were outside of the music, like a hideous thing looking over your shoulder. Thankfully, 'normality' is resumed and the track is seen out with some fantastic guitar and more groove.

    'Crack' is a real breath of fresh air...it is an album of infinite variety and many surprises; one which keeps the listener on the edge at all times, veering off course into different directions and sometimes doing the exact opposite of what the listener expects. It is all done with a wry grin on its face, not quite mocking us but certainly aware that we are going to be sent on a whole different trajectory with each passing moment. This is a little gem of an album! It is available on vinyl and as download, both can be purchased via the Band's Bandcamp page here.

  • 'Up In Her Room' Video Playlist

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Thu, 07 Jun 2018 18:46:00 +0000

    On August 4th me and my buds at Wet Dream Records will be presenting an all-dayer in Chelmsford, Essex. We are truly psyched to announce that Helicon, Is Bliss, Psychic Lemon, The Confederate Dead, Circus Cannon, Magic Seas, Moon Balloon, Mandeville and Third Dart will all be gracing the stage at Bassment in Chelmsford. It is going to be a

    Tickets are available here and very reasonably priced at just £7.50 adv and £11 OTD.

    By way of an amuse bouche I have put together a playlist of vids (except for Mandeville - couldn't find a video so tghere's a Bandcamp song) by all those participating ...a stellar line-up I'm sure you'll agree...get yerself down to Essex on Aug 4th!

  • Review & Interview: Father Murphy - RISING A Requiem For Father Murphy

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 04 Jun 2018 20:53:00 +0000

    This is a bit of a bittersweet post for me for it marks the end of a band that I have loved and admired for some years now but this ending is celebrated by a record that may be amongst their very best. On a personal level the Father Murphy, in particular Freddie, have been a source of support in a couple of projects close to my heart; a few years ago I was lucky enough to have a lengthy article published in Shindig magazine which revolved around the burgeoning Italian Occult Psychedelic scene and the debt that that scene owed to the Giallo soundtracks of the seventies....Father Murphy were one of the bands kind enough to give me their thoughts and, in their case, erudite comments on the premise. Sometime after I curated / compiled my own charity compilation (proceeds going to cancer research) and Father Murphy were one of the first to get back and donate a track...something for which I will always be grateful. I am also very grateful for Freddie sparing some valuable time during recent dates to answer a few questions about the album, the band, Italian Occult Psychedelia and the future.

    For those who have never had the good fortune to have heard Father Murphy, they are a band rooted in ritual and religion, a music that is fiercely Italian and yet calls out to everyone. The band describe the music as the "sound of the Catholic sense of Guilt. A downward spiral aiming at the bottom of the hollow, and then digging even deeper." Variously described as Italian Occult Psychedelic, post-industrial, ritualistic avantfolk.....whetever, it doesn't really matter. What matters is that they have left an indelible mark on the leftfield music scene. It is music that can be harrowing and yet joyous at times, the chiaroscuro of light and dark playing with the listener's emotions. Don't get me wrong, it's not always an easy listen but it always satisfying and always a rollercoaster of guilt ridden creativity and imagery rich apostasies. The artful mix of warped chamber music, foreboding drones and clattering percussion is enigmatic, intriguing and damned exhilarating.

    And so to 'RISING...' with all the conflicting emotions therein. Released last month on Avant! Records and Ramp Local in the States, the album sees Freddie and Chiara 'kill off' the titular Father Murphy, the protagonist of their recent albums which have told the story of his rise and subsequent fall into heresy. Musically it is the band at the height of their powers (going out with a bang!), from the sepulchral drum that heralds in the opener 'Introit' through to the crackling of a funeral pyre in the closer ' Libera Me' and a solitary bell that marks the final demise of Father Murphy, it is a musical mass for the dead and full of that twisted imagery and unique musical tropes that made Father Murphy the band they are...sorry...were. It is an album that hangs in the netherworld twixt music and religious ritual... that dark area, illuminated by guttering candles where hidden sins are brought to the fore and are judged. I am not going to give 'RISING..' my normal track-by-track breakdown for 1 very good reason: the album should be considered as a whole...it is not a collection of tracks put together but rather a linear narrative, a book is not reviewed on a chapter by chapter basis and so I will not do so for this. What I will say, however, is that it is possibly the duo's best album. It would seem that they were determined to see Father Murphy (the band and the character) taken to his final destination with a work of solemnity and grace while retaining a visceral power that hits on an emotional level....or maybe that's just me being maudlin at the end of a great band? 'RISING..' by any measure, is a masterpiece and acts as a suitable and moving eulogy to one of the most inventive and thought provoking bands that I have ever had the good fortune to hear. The album is available from the Avant! Records webstore here or the Ramp Local webstore here on double vinyl (and FYI, it's 45rpm!)

    As I mentioned earlier, Freddie from the band was kind enough to spare some time to answer some questions:

    Let's get the big question out of the way first.......Father Murphy is no more....what prompted this?

    We always wanted our music to express the idea of an end to come, the idea that everything ends. We also always thought about this band as a project, with a beginning and an end so both C.Lee and I kept our eyes wide open in order to recognize the sings of said end to come.

    When we started thinking that the obvious step after the Cross (reached by our character at the end of the album Croce) was for us to sing a mass for the dead, we knew that it was the sign we were waiting for. A final album, to be composed starting from knowing that it was going to be the final one, so to better express feelings related to the end. We strongly believe that once you reach the end of the words you don't have to fight it, but simply sit back in silence. With Rising we reached our natural end, so it's now our tun to sit back and enjoy the silence.

    The new album, 'Rising: A Requiem For Father Murphy' - was it always going to be the farewell album or has it morphed into such following the decision to split?

    After recording Croce, we started feeling like it was time to face the idea of working on a requiem. Once we started getting into the idea, we understood that the only way to make it happen was for the album to be the final one. We felt like it was the only way to be honest and sincere, as the best way to express feelings of an end to come.

    Of late 'Father Murphy' the character seems to have become an allegory for some deep personal journey for you guys...is this a fair comment? and will he [Father Murphy] return in another guise in the future.

    I'm pretty sure nor C. Lee nor myself will allow Father Murphy any chance to resurrect... this trick has already been used, and we can all see the results...

    For sure the journey of FM as character, even if being an allegory of our own journey, allowed us to go possibly deeper into ourselves, digging out layers and layers of sounds/emotions/atmosphere that kept echoing from the allegory to our personal lives, creating even some confusion sometimes. Father Murphy's journey is much more dramatic than ours will always be, but at the same time we tried to be honest in expressing some feelings, so we allowed ourselves to go as low as we could go into ourselves, into what we like to call the black tar we need to spit in order to be better people.

    That's also why I like to say we grew up thanks to Father Murphy, we became adults, we actually became the human beings that we are now thanks to FM's journey.

    The lyrical content of your songs have always seemed to have been acutely personal, almost as if you have bared your soul to the world. This must become emotionally draining?

    Even if always trying to be as sincere as possible we always kept our distance from the character of Father Murphy; our souls are well hidden into ourselves, what we allow to show is the result of a dramatization of their outcome, as if Father Murphy was a distopian world we created. You live and feel what you create, but when you create it it doens't belong to you any longer, it starts its own life, it becomes a paradigma, a parable; if too personal it could become much more boring and too ego centered.

    The concept of pain and suffering have always been forefront in the music - is this a reflection of you and your experiences or more of an existential expression of humanity?

    I think both, with our personal experiences being only a trigger, but with a deeper root into an expression of humanity. I think sometimes of Pain as of a light giving clarity to the journey, when you feel for real your limits, the concept itself of a signal that is there to communicate something is possibly wrong. Now, wrong is not the right term, as Pain can be the trigger for deciding to dig a bit deeper on a problem, in order to solve it. It's yet an expression of our body/mind, so instead of fighting it, why not looking more into it?

    I think it's fair to say that FM have been one of the flag bearers for the Italian Occult Psychedelia scene and certainly one that has been responsible for spreading the word outside of Italy....do you see this as a 'legacy' you leave behind as a band?

    I don't know, I think it's more for other people to say, but if I had to give you my impression, I like to think of Father Murphy's role toward the IOP as the one William Burroughs had with the entire Beat Generation experience. A satellite, on its own, but yet with a strong relationship to the core of it,

    What would you say is the highlight of the Father Murphy journey?

    In a sort of weird self celebration, I think I would say the fact that we decided to end it, recognizing the time has come. We spent the last 9 years always on the road, and I could easily see us doing that yet for ages, but you have sometimes to be able to step back and see when it's time to call it a day. Willing to always be in charge, there's nothing more powerful than deciding your own end, not only scheduling it, but also taking care of all the celebrations.

    If someone were to ask what is the Father Murphy sound, how would you describe it and which track from your discography typifies the best?

    I think that description we started to use from around 2012 and onward, the sound of Catholic Guilt is pretty much the best way to describe at least the idea we had on mind; the complexity of the different levels of said Guilt, of the different textures that sonically could be expressed somehow lead us on a (re)search that made each of our releases pretty much diverse from the one before.

    Even if Rising is different, being a mass for the dead, and express a different urge, I think that "Agnus Dei" quite typifies our sonic journey. Another track that both Chiara and I very much feel is "You got worry" from "No room for the weak" EP.

    Do you have any plans moving forward or just gonna kick back and see what happens?

    Having spent so much to build our own imagery, we would be very happy to have the chance now to work writing music to score other people's imagery, being that sounds for movies, installations, theatre...

    We're in fact already working on the soundtrack for "Cadence" the first feature film by Luca Dipierro (the person that throughout the years conceived and realized a pentalogy of videoclips for our music, to the point that if we think of images behind our music we now see Luca's). It's an ambitious project, a feature animation entirely filmed in stop motion with marionettes made of paper and old book cloth. We're writing and recording the music together with the images, so that images influence the music and viceversa, giving Luca even the chance to edit the images following the rhythm, the inner cadence of the music.

  • Review: Seabuckthorn - A House With Too Much Fire

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 28 May 2018 19:47:00 +0000

    There is something rather beautiful about the sound of a guitar played well...I'm not talking about histrionic solos or brain melting shredding (although they are rather beautiful in their own way)...I'm talking about the understated splendour, the unadorned grandeur of playing a la Loren Connors or Dean McPhee. It is in this company that I would place Andy Cartwright’s Seabuckthorn project. For those who are not au fait with these names then you are in for a real treat. 'A House With Too Much Fire' is Cartwright's ninth release under the Seabuckthorn name and was influenced by the mountain terrain after relocating to the Southern Alps. It also sees some new elements added to his normal palette, namely banjo, clarinet & synthesizer. These merely accentuate Cartwright's skill and vision in using the guitar to create cinematic soundscapes and alluring vistas. The album is out on June 1st via the wonderful Bookmaker Records in collaboration with La Cordillère

    Title track 'A House With Too Much Fire' opens the album and straight away we are thrown into a bucolic paradise with Cartwright's tremulous guitar rising and falling and backed with some sonorous drones and melancholic swathes of sound. It has an inherent feeling of suspense...that feeling you get when you know something is going to happen except it doesn't....it keeps you gripped and hanging on to the edge. 'Inner' has a rare thing..a beat, tribal in aspect and complementing the introspective guitar. There are more lush drones that weave in and amongst the beat / guitar combination and it is all rather beautiful. 'Disentangled' sees Cartwright wring some exotic, faltering Eastern motifs from his guitar...something almost flamenco, almost classical but when sitting atop more lovely drones it is lifted into that experimental/ambient bracket that many try and not many achieve...but Cartwright most assuredly does. 'It Was Aglow' sees the banjo make an appearance....not normally an instrument that one would associate with pastoral beauty but such is Cartwright's skill as both performer and composer that the instrument complements the delicate guitar picking. 'Blackout' is an absolute peach of a track...layer upon layer of bowed guitar drone and a slow and steady beat act as a bed on which languish flourishes of clarinet and flashes of guitar strums...it is incredibly immersive and has a power that belies the languid tempo. 'What The Shepherds Call Ghosts' sees Cartwright return to his neo-classical picking; this track really highlights what a superb guitarist this man is! The layering of guitar parts create a sonic tapestry of richness and tone and it all comes together to form a thing of exceptional allure. 'Submerged Past' initially feels like a 'regular' song but it grows and evolves into another masterclass in subtlety and charm - pretty much just guitar for the most part but as it progresses it becomes something more 'folky' with a vague hint of a beat and little cameos of echo and delay mix things up a bit..it is absolutely gorgeous...and paves the way for 'Somewhat Like Vision'. Another drone based track...the bowing of the guitar once again creating an alternate universe, one in which beauty is revered and material possessions are redundant...an idyll for which Cartwright is writing the score. 'Figure Afar' is a showcase of bowed guitar..the resonant drone it can produce is powerful yet refined and adds an otherwordly element to the music, one which is again utilised to great effect in album closer 'Sent In By The Cold' - a track with a sense of the melancholy and the tragic..like the telling of tales of shipwrecks and disaster. A suitably dramatic way in which to close a wonderful, wonderful record.

    'A House With Too Much Fire' is a superb example of craftmanship - Cartwright's use of different techniques - bowing, fingerpicking & the use of slides - and all done adroitly, shows what a true master of his instrument he is. He creates atmospheres that evoke emotions in the listener, transporting them aloft on wings of texture and tonality. As with other great guitarists in this style..again I'm thinking of Loren Connors and Dean McPhee..it is what is left out that gives these tracks their power and impact; there are no unnecessary passages of showboating or superfluous grandstanding. Everything has its place and it is carefully, and sensitively, constructed and yet seems so spontaneously organic....seriously, this guy is a genius! 'A House With Too Much Fire' is out on June 1st and can be purchased via the Bookmaker Records webshop here in vinyl format or as a download from the Seabuckthorn Bandcamp page here. The vinyl can also be ordered via the La Cordillère site here.

  • Review: Lay Llamas - Thuban

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 27 May 2018 16:06:00 +0000

    This is one album that I have been eagerly awaiting since it was first mooted ages ago. As regular readers will know, my love of the Italian 'scene' is deep and of the many bands that are currently wowing people, Lay Llamas are one that can lay claim to being a band that has pushed this scene to the front of peoples' minds. Their debut on Backwards Records back in 2012 was a masterful mix of tribal psychedelia, krautrock and mutated afrobeat...a masterpiece in anyone's book. They followed this with 'Østrø' on Rocket Recordings which exposed them to a bigger audience...throw into the mix a truly wonderful split tape with Tetuan on Artetetra and you have a band with an extremely strong back catalogue. This time around, however, it is a paired down band with Gioele Valenti leaving to follow his own destiny with the (equally) fantastic JuJu and so leaving Nicola Giunta to take the helm singlehandedly...and what a spectacularly fine job he has done! 'Thuban' ("named after the Arabic for ‘snake’ also known as Alpha Draconis, and sometimes as the ‘dragon’s tail’... was the star closest to the North pole from the fourth to the second millennium BC") sees Giunta team up with some musical heavyweights along the way - Clinic, Goat and Mark Stewart all appear and all make telling contributions to what is undoubtedly one of the albums of the year.

    The album opens with the wonderfully titled "Eye-Chest People's Dance Ritual' and a simple but exotic melody before an irresistible drum and bass (not to be confused with 'drum'n'bass'!) rhythm takes things straight into head-nodding territory. Giunta's vocals, when they arrive, are understated but quietly effective and all is very groovy and dreamy. The drums reminded me a bit of The Stone Roses - that same funky drive and personality and as a whole, as good an opening track as you could hope to find. 'Holy Worms' is simply stunning - the funky afrobeat vibe almost dares you not to dance and the combination, with more of Giunta's understated vocals and some flashes of exotic instrumentation, is positively intoxicating. 'Silver Sun' opens with a computerised beat a la The Normal's 'Warm Leatherette' - robotic but nostalgic - and the track opens up into another 'feelgood' piece of music. That beat continues throughout the track - part motorik and part strident avantgarde - and is joined by some skronky saxophone and some spacey drones that haunt the background. 'Cults And Rites From The Black Cliff' sees things initially take a turn to the more experimental - eerie drones and muted, dissonant percussion as is so prevalent in the Italian Occult Psychedelia scene - but this just prepares things for some wonderful tribalesque drums and melancholy sax. Clinic collaborated on this track and it is easy to see their influence, the analogue vibe and experimental bent. The track is a lot darker than those that preceded, things have a foreboding 'noir' quality that is exacerbated by some wonderful saxophone, the tension only lifted right at the end by a jaunty acoustic guitar refrain. 'Altair' sees labelmates Goat lend a helping hand. Now, I'm not the world's biggest Goat fan and so was initially a tad suspicious at this pairing but I have to admit it works really well. The track has a definite primal aspect to it....tribalistic drums and exotic percussion...over which lay the female vocals and the whole thing has a joyous afrobeat vibe about it. The chantlike male vocals add to the shamanic quality while the guitar is almost tropicalia in sound. It sounds like a real mix on paper but it all comes together well to form something sunny that will bring a smile to the lips. 'Fight Fire With Fire' is a whole different beast - spoken word vocals from Mark Stewart (The Pop Group) add a stark dystopian feel to proceedings..a litany of failings of the human race that is fiercely effective. When the music kicks in, in the form of coruscating guitar and strident drums, it doesn't so much dilute the message as underline it in red. There is a funky quality about it that could belie the seriousness of the lyrics but Stewart's magisterial reading has a gravitas that is hard to ignore. This is a brilliant track that mixes a social consciousness with some first rate music and the result is jaw-dropping. 'Chronicles From The Fourth Planet' is another fantastic track...fuzzy, deep guitar chords and muted vocal hums sit over a languid tribal beat and it all sounds very Italian, it has that cinematic score quality that I dig so much. An acoustic guitar is added to the mix and the vocals are raised above a murmur and sit cheek by jowl with the flamenco/tropicalia guitar and it becomes yet another masterful track. The album is closed with 'Coffins On The Tree, A Black Brain On Our Way To Home', the longest track at over 7 minutes. The restful sound of waves lapping against a beach dissolves into something that sounds like Darth Vader having an asthma attack but it all settles down into another exotic trip. An oscillating drone sits just underneath some primal drums and tropical percussion and this, alongside Giunta's vocals, becomes something that verges on a trip-hop chillout track but thankfully the clever instrumentation and flashes of idiosyncratic rhythm building keep it all firmly on this side of riveting.

    'Thuban' is brilliant...there are no other words that will succinctly sum up how I feel about this album. Giunta has more than handled the shift to being a 'one man band'..there is a sense of artistic freedom that runs through the album. That is not so say that Valenti was in anyway constrictive...indeed, there are parallels between 'Thuban' and Valenti's JuJu material - the same clever use of afrobeat influences and masterful mixing of styles and approaches. However, this is all about Giunta and Lay Llamas....I have no doubt that 'Thuban' will build on the success of 'Østrø' and win over a whole new tranch of fans and admirers...and deservedly so for this is one fantastic album. 'Thuban' is out on 15th June on Rocket Recordings and can be ordered from the label's Bandcamp page here (on limited black & orange swirl or black vinyl and CD formats) or at the Band's Bandcamp page here.

  • Review: Lush Worker - Serum

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 27 May 2018 14:17:00 +0000

    In my previous post, an interview with Aidan Baker, I made mention of "a few musicians......who have an extraordinary ability to produce music in both quantity and quality". Completely coincidentally this review concerns another of those musicians....Mike Vest. As any psych/noise lover would know Vest is integral in a great many fantastic outfits - Blown Out, Haikai No Ku, Melting Hand, Dodge Meteor to mention just a handful - and Lush Worker of course. 'Serum' is the new one from Lush Worker and is "Compositions using Electric Saz, Shruti Box and Guitars" and it is a doozy. What makes this new one so special is the change of emphasis from cavernous, riff-filled noise to something more exotically drone based.

    That being said however, 'Jiangshi Law' opens with lashings of feedback and those trademark roiling riffs that I'm sure Vest can knock out in his sleep, those magnificent waves of sound that are the musical equivalent to the facehuggers in 'Alien' - they are almost suffocatingly dense and make you feel as though your brain is being slowly sucked from your head. But even in this glorious density there are flashes of a more drone based approach that make this more immersive than, say, 'Atmosphere Collapsium' or 'Realms'. It is on 'Haemochromatosis' that these drones really come to the fore..the aforementioned exotic instrumentation lending things an otherworldly feel...the lush drones from the shruti box are incredibly mesmeric, to the point of inducing reverie. Layers and layers of drone are added until it becomes something really magical. The third, and final, track, 'Beyond Architect' is a neat, and long, amalgam of the two approaches; the billowing rollers of riffs are there but sit on top of some dark and cavernous drones and the overall effect is one of a claustrophobic detachment from reality.....you are held suspended in a trance, a place where the dark is split by flickering shards of colour. It is a meditation tape for serial killers.

    This is not so much a departure for Lush Worker, more of a case of more ammunition added to the armoury. As with all of Vest's output it is heavy and dense and deeply psychedelic. The drones are immense and complement the majesty of Vest's guitar beautifully. It is a collection of tracks that demand a listen...so head to the Lush Worker Bandcamp site here and download immediately!

  • Interview: Aidan Baker

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Tue, 22 May 2018 18:59:00 +0000

    There exist a few musicians within our sphere of 'out there' music who have an extraordinary ability to produce music in both quantity and quality....those blessed individuals whose drive and output is matched only by the calibre of their recordings. One such is Aidan Baker who when he isn't creating some sublime ambient doom with his partner (in music and life) Leah Buckareff in Nadja is getting krauty with Caudal (their latest album, 'Fight, Cry, Fight' was a recent release on Drone Rock and this is what I had to say about it)..add to this the myriad of solo and collaborative projects, taking in an equally expansive range of styles, and you have one very busy man. He could be seen as alternative renaissance man...a leftfield Leonardo if you will. He very kindly took some time out to answer some questions...and if you like what you read then check out the various Bandcamp pages.

    Nadja Bandcamp

    Caudal Bandcamp

    Aidan Baker Bandcamp

    Broken Spine Productions Bandcamp

    "Hi Aidan, many thanks for taking the time to do this as, judging by your prodigious output, you a very busy man! It's difficult to know where to start as your music projects are as varied as they are numerous. Does your output reflect a deepset creative urge...the need to translate ideas into action?

    Simply - yes. Less simply - I suppose it is something of a need to externalize the interior. I always have a lot of songs and sounds and fragments of melodies, or whatever, going through my head and while I personally don't think that's a bad thing, it does feel necessary to get them out and, ideally, share them with others. Sometimes that action is more instinctual or automatic, sometimes it is more concrete or intellectualized - so, one could say it is sometimes translating ideas into action, other times it's translating emotion...

    If we can start with Nadja. It was initially a solo project with Leah coming on board a couple of years later...was it difficult to move from solo to a duo without obviously changing the music?

    It wasn't especially difficult, no. The 'sonic identity' of the project was already in place. So, if anything, the project only improved when Leah joined, as it automatically expanded our pallet and brought a second set of ears and another perspective to how and what I had previously been creating alone. And certainly performing live, which wasn't really possible when the project was just me, changed and improved the project, giving it opportunity to grow and evolve, both in terms of the music and in terms of exposure.

    Even within Nadja's discography there is a range of styles and sounds from the deliciously heavy that makes Sunn O))) seem like kaoraoke kings (the intro to 'Jornado Del Muerto' on 'Excision'...wow!!) to warm and cocooning shoegaze fuzz via megalithic post-rock and all points between. Do you have a plan when recording an album or is it an organic process and you just go where the music takes you?

    It depends on the project - sometimes it's an entirely organic process. Other times we have a very specific idea of what we want to do, whether sonically or structurally or just aesthetically. But, in both instances, our techniques and methods are such that the process of playing and recording informs the direction of the song or album, so there is always an organic element.

    How do the dynamics work in Nadja....working, recording and touring as a couple?

    A big challenge of being a musician is finding compatible people with whom to share time and space and creativity and especially on tour. Who better than one's life partner to travel and create with, then? I know that notion probably seems weird to a lot of people, but it makes to us.

    I was lucky enough to catch Nadja live in London a couple of years ago and it was a deeply immersive experience. The emphasis, from my own standpoint, was most definitely on being connected to the music on an almost emotional level but I remember others in the audience being somewhat bemused by the lack of 'action' on stage....is this something you hear often and does it infuriate/disappoint you?

    We've certainly heard that comment a lot in the past. Perhaps this lack of action is a bit more expected of us or known these days, as it doesn't come up quite as much as it used to. That said, in the last few years we have been deliberately attempting to remove ourselves from the performance, so to speak, reducing the lights or showing projections, such that we're less of a visual focal point and it's more about experiencing and being enveloped by the sound. I wouldn't say this kind of response is disappointing, exactly, since I don't want to dictate how people should experience our music or what they might be getting out of it, but it does still surprise me when it I hear it...

    I gather you live in Berlin as a Canadian ex-pat. Berlin is a city that has a long musical heritage and somewhat synonymous with leftfield and experimental music. Has this re-location been reflected in your music (in its many guises). Is there a creative difference between Canada and Berlin?

    I would be making music regardless of where I live, so there's not really any creative difference, per se, between Toronto and Berlin. The difference is more in terms of opportunity - I am able to perform and tour so much more in Europe than in Canada. Which isn't necessarily about a higher appreciate of art and culture in Europe (though perhaps partially - maybe more so in comparison to America), but more about population density. There are lots of great musicians and appreciative listeners in Canada, but thinking proportionally, Germany has a population almost three times that of Canada's in a much smaller area, which means there are that many more places to play and people to play to.

    The Caudal project is another fave of mine, particularly the last album 'Fight, Cry, Fight' . It has a distinct 'krautrock' flavour ...is this a 'nod' to your current place of residence or has krautrock always been on your radar?

    I was a fan of krautrock before moving to Berlin...but I guess I have gotten into it more since moving here. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with geographical proximity or if it's simply because I've come appreciate it more at this point in my life.

    Literature and the written word are important to you I'm guessing....you have written several books of prose poetry and I've also always assumed that the name Nadja comes from the Andre Breton surrealist novel. Does literature influence your music in any way?

    Yes, certainly. Again it depends on the nature of the project - some albums very specifically take inspiration from literary sources (Radiance of Shadows, Invisible Cities, for example), while with others it's more abstract. The name Nadja does in part come from the Breton novel, but also from Almereyda's vampire movie of the same name and it's my first name spelt backwards. Which, in my mind, correlates to the themes of identity and persona in Breton's novel.

    We would be here forever if we were to deal with all your solo projects but suffice it to say that they are many and varied. Many of them have been collaborations with other artists. How do these normally work...in these days of mps/wavs etc does it make collaborations easier?

    I have done a lot of collaborations via file sharing, yes, but in recent years I have attempted to avoid that and focus on doing collaborative work in person. Playing together in the same room is almost always more satisfying, both personally and on an artistic level, and another advantage to living in Berlin, since a lot of people pass through or spend time in this city. That said, a lot of my online collaborations have been quite satisfying - it really depends on the individual in question and their methodology and how it synchs with mine.

    Is it you that approaches other artists with whom you work or do they contact you...or a bit of both?

    Both. I get a lot of people writing me with requests, more than I could possibly take on, so it really depends on how much I like what they're doing and the circumstances of the collaboration.

    One of my favourites is 'Noplace' that you made with Thor Harris and Simon Goff, an absolutely sublime record...how did that particular project come about?

    Simon and I are both based in Berlin and had both played with Thor in other projects, but the three of us had never all played together. So, we found a time when Thor was coming to town with his band and got together in the studio for a few hours in the afternoon and played - quite simple and spontaneous, really. Then we all played together again that evening as part of the Thor & Friends ensemble -- which set was very different than the sessions which resulted in Noplace, but was also a lot of fun.

    A lot, if not the majority, of your records have been drone based whether it be electronic, guitar or loops...what is it about drone that you find so musically attractive?

    I think a big part of my appreciation of drone came from my initial training in classical flute, which is very dependent on other people, whether playing with an accompanist or part of an orchestra or ensemble. Of course, I don't completely eschew playing with groups, but the lack of opportunity or viability of playing flute solo I found frustrating, particularly when I was younger and attempting to establish an artistic identity. So turning to guitar, using loop-technology, and incorporating elements of drone allowed me to play and perform by myself. That isn't to suggest that drone is just a practicality, though - I've always appreciated the universality of drones, the possibility they offer of a shared sense of space and time, whether on the individual or the collective level.

    The one album that really surprised me was 'Already Drowning' ....very much a song-cycle. Is this a format you will revisit....lyrical songs rather than instrumentals?

    Already Drowning isn't the only song-oriented or non-instrumental work in my catalogue, although it is unique in that each track features a different vocalist. Delirious Things, with Shield Patterns' Claire Brentnall as a guest vocalist, might be closest in spirit to Already Drowning (and also released on Gizeh Records), but is much more synth- and cold-wave oriented. The sort of shoegaze/post-rock/sadcore style of the songs on Already Something is something I've listened to and appreciated for a long time as a fan of bands like Red House Painters, Codeine, or Low, and I do find myself coming back to it now and then...

    What artists/records have been an influence on your work?

    Aside from the afore-mentioned, here are a few artists I consider influential: Big Black, Swans, Nick Cave, Stina Nordenstam, Godflesh (Justin Broadrick), Khanate (James Plotkin), Neurosis, Bill Frisell, Legendary Pink Dots, PJ Harvey, Circle, Sonic Youth...I could go on.

    Looking at some of the people with whom you have already worked, the list reads like a who's who of leftfield / outre music (Edward Ka-Spel, Thor Harris, Tim Hecker, Troum...the list goes on)....is there anyone with whom you would really like to work?

    There are lots of people I'd like to work with...I suppose playing with Caspar Brötzmann is still something I'd like to do, but I don't know if it will happen...or Bill Frisell? That might be just as unlikely.

    The world has changed a great deal since you started at the turn of the century......the rise of streaming services, a resurgence of vinyl, social media making the world a smaller and smaller place...have these hindered or helped you or do they not register on your consciousness ?

    I wouldn't say social media and internet connectivity are a hindrance, but certainly they have changed the way people think about, consume, and appreciate music. Not always for the better, since attention spans seems to have significantly decreased, and the amount of music out there now can be overwhelming - but the ease of discovering new music and hunting down older, more obscure music (whether physically or digitally) is something I appreciate. When I first started making ambient/experimental music, the internet and the ability to communicate with likeminded people around the world - and yes, file-sharing - definitely helped the spread of my music. Likewise, the increased level of connectivity has made touring so much easier than it used to be. Now, I can't say I'm especially fond of social media, but using it is a reality for a non-mainstream, largely DIY musician like myself.

    What's on the horizon...any new Nadja work to look forward to?

    We do have a new Nadja album coming out in September on LP our own label, Broken Spine, and CD in Japan with Daymare Recordings. It's entitled Sonnborner and mixes our usual ambient doom with neo-classical (with guest string players Julia Kent, Simon Goff, and Agathe Max) and what we've termed 'grindgaze' - shorter, faster but still atmospheric songs, as we did on our EP Tangled a few years ago. Caudal will be releasing an EP Let's All Take The Yellow Pills in the fall with Kapitän Platte - this was previously only available as a limited tour CD, but this will be a vinyl release. I don't have anything lined up at the moment for solo releases, although I have a few collaborative projects in the works...

    Do you have any more UK gigs lined up?

    Not at the moment. The UK isn't the easiest place for us tour, particularly considering that we need work permits to go there (unlike the rest of Europe - not to mention that Canada's part of the British Commonwealth!), so we don't perform there especially often.

  • Review: Ex Canix - Primi

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 20 May 2018 20:27:00 +0000

    It seems apt that this review follows on from Heroin In Tahiti as it benefits from many of the same tropes and idiosyncratic flourishes - the main difference is that where Heroin In Tahiti channel the collective memory of Italy, Ex Canix have a distinctly Swedish thing going on. The group got together in 2015 but apparently have been playing music together in various guises since the mid-70s - that's an awful lot experience on which to draw. The band are: Tjabbe Anstérus - percussion, Boch - bass, electronics, cello and guitar, Lars Hoffsten (drummer from Flowers Must Die) - drums and percussion and Håkke Müller - electronics, keyboard and bass. I have to be honest and say that I did not know of their existence until I had an email from Rickard from Flowers Must Die alerting me to this release and I'm glad he did for Ex Canix have produced a warm, fuzzy, jazzy piece of experimental music that is a joy to anyone's ears.

    When opener 'Can You Take Me to Tay Umago' gets underway the first thing you notice is the almost dub like bass - its deep pulse reverberates through the track like its very lifeblood. Over this lay all manner of noises; squeals of feedback, the clatter of percussion and flourishes of electronica. The overall result is a wonderful track that is sort of ambient, sort of dancey, sort of experimental but definitely good. 'Feed The Monster' has beautiful sultry jazz sitting over some groovy bongos. The addition of saxophone, courtesy of Shadow, gives things that 'hot summer's evening' vibe but there are enough sharp edges to keep things from being 'smooth'. As it progresses it evolves into something more experimental with layered and hushed choral vocals adding an eerie vibe. 'Slow For You' is, in contrast, dramatic and bombastic - huge bass drum hits and wonderful wailing cello drones sound like an experimental contemporary score to an old black and white film. The tempo gradually increases and the introduction once more of those eerie choral vocals add yet another dimension - a truly wonderful track. 'Out There' starts with some simple but jazzy piano chords that become discordant, and some hypnotic bubbling percussion. Things become cacophonous with the clatter of instruments sounding like the chatter of exited children, but the track is seen out with piano and bliss. 'Minetta' is all jazzy lounge over busy tribal percussion and hauntological electronica until about halfway through when a guitar kicks in with some sparkling prog based psychedelia which beautifully complements the jazzy structure. 'Dreamland' is a long track at 10 minutes plus and is an absolute beauty. Jazz tinged piano is gradually replaced by oscillating electronica over ever present tribal drums. It a track that can suspend reality for a little while...an oasis of peace in this hurly-burly world. 'In The Can' closes the album with a festival of marimba (I think!) and effects over a backdrop of seriously funky drums and the welcome return of the sax adding some alluring undertones to the shimmering rhythm. If this sounds all a bit 'vanilla' then take heart that throughout run unsettling effects to keep things a tad off kilter and then when the guitar returns wailing like a psychedelic banshee ...woah!

    'Primi' came as a real surprise and is little gem of an album. As mentioned in the intro, Ex Canix share some similarities with Heroin In Tahiti, mainly in that uncanny skill of taking totally disparate elements and weaving them together to produce a sonic tapestry of warmth, depth and eccentricity. It is stumbling upon (or more correctly, being directed to) albums like this that make writing a blog worthwhile. It is available from the band's Bandcamp page here and comes in vinyl, CD and digital versions.

  • Review: Heroin In Tahiti - Casilina Tapes 2010|2017

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 20 May 2018 12:03:00 +0000

    Heroin In Tahiti are, without doubt, one of my favourite bands working today - they have this ability to give me that 'butterflies in the stomach' flutter with their records (the only other band that does that on a regular basis is Dead Sea Apes); the atmospheres created and soundscapes conjured can lift me from the mundane, humdrum drudgery of the work/home/sleep cycle....they are my medication and my escape. I do have a tendency to become a tad evangelical about the band and indeed the whole Italian Occult Psychedelia scene as a whole but I offer no apologies for this..the music of Heroin In Tahiti deserves to be lauded.....loudly, often and from the highest rooftops. Anyway, enough of this panegyrical guff...to the album. 'Casilina Tapes 2010|2017' is a "collection of unreleased tracks recorded in their basement studio in Rome in the last seven years while building up their thematic albums." At first I thought it was an 'outtakes' album, a kind of 'catch all' release...but it's not that simple. As those who are familiar with the band's output know, their previous albums have all been held together by a central theme, a motif that draws the tracks from each album together into one cohesive unit. This thematic approach will inevitably have casualties - those tracks that, although musically A+, do not fit in with an album's central tenet...and this is where 'Casilina Tapes...' comes in - it collates all those tracks into one awe inspiring collection which has a cohesion all of its own. The album is brought to us via the amazing Boring Machines, a label that is synonymous with the Italian Occult Psychedelia scene and one that is yet to release a record that is less than superb.

    'Aco Ione' opens the album with a single, strong, almost primitive beat over which grows a drone paving the way for the signature HiT twangy guitar. The guitar melody is reminiscent of some of that upbeat late sixties UK psychedelia but the twang and reverb takes it somewhere completely different. As the track grows more and more elements are added and it becomes a mutated soundtrack piece - wavering between upbeat and dread. 'Bad Auspicia' opens with a spoken word sample before opening up into a delightful melange of eastern motifs and tribal beats...in some ways it reminded me of Futuro Antico, the same emphasis on the primal and the atavistic. The track is classic Heroin In Tahiti and one that dispels all lingering thoughts of the album being a 'catch all'. 'Veltha In C23' is a sublime track - an oscillating drone is built upon, layers of gorgeous synth washes and exotic melodies create something that seemingly takes in kosmische, drone and the B side to Bowie's 'Heroes' album...beautiful and transcendental. This segues seamlessly into 'Larentalia' with its shimmering cymbals and eerie drones lulling us until it becomes something incredibly funky in that seventies jazzy, lounge way. Flute and horns give it the jazzy feel while the rhythm and 'wah wah' sounds give it that mutated 'Shaft' funkiness - surprising and incredibly cool. 'A Tergo Lupi' brings the tempo down with some delicately picked acoustic guitar over which an eastern melody brings us a taste of the exotic .... at a minute and a half it's a 'blink and you'll miss it' track. 'Holy GRA Reversed' sees the band come on like an Italian Tangerine Dream - the same lush synth washes and enveloping spacey vibes....less kosmische, more cosmico.

    The album's 'B' side opens with 'Zziggurat Tempesta' [sic], a prime example of what the band call 'Spaghetti Wasteland'; the twangy guitars reminiscent of a Morricone western and a tribalistic rhythm. These two disparate elements come together to create a track that would not be out of place on a (non-western) soundtrack, it has a real cinematic vibe about it that lifts the listener and takes them to the western savannahs of the US or to chasing around Rome in an old Fiat 500....glorious! 'Lago Finto' brings the atmosphere right back down - melancholic piano and mournful flute combine to make a simple but deeply evocative piece. 'Steve Tamburo Is Not Dead' is another synth based track that, although taking in all the elements of the Berlin school, remains deeply Italian...that nameless element that brings together all of the outstanding artists producing 'leftfield' music in Italy at the moment...it's hard to describe and is less a tangible process or sound and more of a vibe. 'Illamorip' opens with another eastern melody before some warped electronica takes things in a completely different direction. The rapid movement between the exotic and the experimental creates a momentum all of its own but disarms the listener, never quite knowing what is going to happen next. Hauntological electronica bleeds into tribal drums before a strident spoken voice sample intones over a lush drone...a prime example of something being more than the sum of its parts. This breathtaking album is closed with 'Ad Duas Lauros' and a return to what the band do so very well - a playful mix of retro Giallo soundtracks, primitive drums and hauntology - of all the tracks on the album this is the one that neatly encapsulates what the band are all about.

    'Casilina Tapes 2010|2017' maybe nominally a collection of unreleased tracks that didn't make it onto an album, but this is indicative of the way that Heroin In Tahiti work rather than a reflection on the quality of the tracks....indeed, there are tracks on the album that may well be amongst the best the band has made. Yet again HIT show that they are masters of drawing in disparate elements and, via some arcane alchemical process, melding them into music that is bordering on perfection. Each and every track has a life of its own, its own identity and all done with seeming insouciance that belies the skill and creativity that lays behind. Heroin In Tahiti are a very special band and 'Casilina Tapes 2010|2017' is a damn good showcase for those as yet uninitiated and an essential purchase for those already au fait with their majesty and art. It is not released until June but is already up for pre-order at Norman Records here and will no doubt be appearing very soon on the Boring Machine's bandcamp page here.

  • Review & Interview: The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol - Box Set II

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sat, 19 May 2018 19:25:00 +0000

    One day, a few years ago, Dave 'The Cardinal' Cambridge was waxing lyrically about an album that he had just put up for sale on the Cardinal Fuzz webstore. Said album was 'Pathfinder' by The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol (TBWNIAS) and the way Dave was talking about it made it sound like it was a pretty essential purchase. Now, Mr Cambridge is one of those rare people whose musical taste/opinion I trust implicitly and on that basis I bought the record. Record arrived and duly spun and wow! From that day forth I was hooked. This story is one that has been repeated in many, many homes and in those few short years TBWNIAS have become firm favourites of lovers of all things psych/kraut....actually, belay that...not just favourites but one of the few bands that pretty much everyone can agree are something special. Since 'Pathfinder' TBWNIAS have become permanent fixtures on Cardinal Fuzz...'Masters Of The Mole Hill', a repress of 'Pathfinder', 'Elevator', 'Dronverdose' and the the first box set have all been thrown our way. Add into the mix two releases not on CF - 'Live 2010 Dominion Tavern' on Drone Rock Records and 'Cosmic Curios' on The Weird Beard and you have a band that matches other bands (no names, no pack drill) in prodigious output, the only difference is that the quality is never sacrificed for the sake of 'getting a record out there'.

    One of the reasons that TBWNIAS have become so popular in psychedelic circles is the relationship and friendship between band head honcho John Westhaver and Dave Cambridge. It is evident to all that the two hold each other in high regard and there is a genuine bond between the two. John is a man whose knowledge and love of music is legendary, what he knows matched only but what he owns (I never normally get jealous of other peoples record collection but John's....woah!). Match this with Dave's life mission to bring good music to us punters and his obvious love of music (and no slouch on the knowledge front himself!) and you have a team that ensures us psych lovers will never go hungry.

    The upshot of all this is that the pre-'Pathfinder' work of TBWNIAS has been hunted high and low to the point of almost extinction - at one stage the prices on Discogs were astronomical...if available at all (most were initially limited to 100 copies..rarer than rocking horse shit!) And so up stepped Dave, a man never to see his customers go without, and 'Box Set I' was born - lush represses of 'Versus The Purveyors Of Conspicuous Authenticity', 'Scrappy Little Jaw' and 'Pathfinder' all together in a tasteful box....a product that not only sounds good but looks good as well. It became one 'the' purchases of that year, winning new admirers and wowing existing ones. Still this did not sate the hunger for material of us vinyl freaks and, a couple years later, 'Box Set II' was born and what an absolute fuckin' banger it is. If purchased direct from Cardinal Fuzz you get: 'Superficial Marks', 'Biker Smells', 'Punks, Twats and Urban Cowboys' and 'Basement Blowouts' LPs (the latter a collection of tracks from the August 2010 and March 2012 Rehearsal Recordings); 3 x CDr's (August 2010 Rehearsal (CDr1), March 2012 Rehearsal (CDr2) and 'Shed Sessions 2010' (CDr3); full colour 12 Page booklet and a full colour double sided A3 Poster. All of this presented in a foiled outer box. It truly is a thing of beauty. Now, you will have to forgive me if I forego my normal 'track by track' review for this because we will be here all day and frankly you will lose the will to live...needless to say it is ESSENTIAL.

    'Superficial Marks' was the band's first album, originally released back in 2008. As the band progressed it became more of a 'collective' with a very fluid personnel roll call..those present on 'Superficial Marks' were: John Westhaver - drums, Bill Guerrero - guitar, Nat Hurlow - guitar/keys, Mark McIntyre - bass & Carol Lane - keys on 'Dusty Groove'. As an album it is full of superlative playing (natch) and encompasses such a variety of styles and influences it takes the breath away...from the heavy psychedelic krautrock of opener 'Subterranean City' thru the mutated bluesy/southern rock of 'The Devil's Lettuce' and to 'Proglodyte', an awesome piece of improvised jamming that, at that time, would be the pre-cursor to what came later. It becomes clear that from the outset TBWNIAS were a band who played psych for people like us...the hard working 'man in the street', not for the 'Johnny Come Lately' poseurs with pointy Chelsea boots and flowery shirts.

    'Biker Smells' is notable for me personally because if features possibly my fave TBWNIAS track 'Raga Quo-tation' - an eleven minute fuzz fest that sets the hairs on the back of the neck a-tingling. Released originally in 2010 it pretty much picks up where 'Superficial...' left off; full blown and full-blooded jams and improvised freakouts that exhilarate and leave the listener slack-jawed in admiration. Those present (John Westhaver - drums, Bill Guerrero - guitar, Nat Hurlow - guitar/keys, Mark McIntyre - bass) seem to have some kind of telepathic link that brings them all together...a cohesive unit that instinctively know what to play and when. But it's not just the accomplished playing, it's the sheer breadth of influences and 'styles' that inform the tracks - those like 'Circle Of Disharmony' positively reeks of seventies heavy psych while 'Blues In Goddamn' takes in drone, blues and throws in some 'out there' experimental flourishes..opener 'Once We Were' is pure proto-punk..the spirit of MC5 lives on.

    'Punks, Twats and Urban Cowboys', as well as having possibly one of the best titles ever, sees even more dimensions added. Opener '7 White Guys and An Arab' comes off like the bastard offspring of Muslimgauze and Can. The track is a nod to the personnel; Hesham Attya providing the middle eastern vibe vocally and with the oud alongside John Westhaver - drums, Bill Guerrero - guitar, Nat Hurlow - guitar/keys, Mark McIntyre - bass, Jason Vaughan - keys/percussion, Dave Reford - guitar, Jan Lis - violin and Erick LaRock on electric lap steel. What about Jazz I hear you scream...well yer covered with 'Jaz-per Normal', a sultry, free jazz odyssey followed by 'At The Gates Of Ra' which adroitly melds the eastern vibe with a jazzy structure....a work of genius. The rest of the album sees 'normal' TBWNIAS service resumed with 'Gatineau Breakdown' Pts 1 and 2, 'Sno-Cave Movement' and 'Inertia Syndrome' providing the kraut tinged flights into the cosmic void. This, as a whole, is one of my favourite albums of theirs.

    'Basement Blowouts' is a fascinating document...a collection of rehearsal takes that show that nothing these guys ever do/have done is below par. The tracks have nearly all made it onto albums in a different form or guise and it's fascinating to see how they have evolved through the rehearsal process. 'God II (Eastern Bloc Version) with its free jazz flourishes and pastoral, folky psych breakdowns is a freakin' masterpiece and the last 3 minutes is like 'The Devil went Down To Georgia' played by a krautrock Sabbath...huge and magnificent. Other standouts are the deliciously heavy 'Neu Sedan (Metal Mayhem Version) and a version of 'Sour Kraut (re-imagined)'. Despite it being a collection of rehearsal tracks, this album should be considered as a fully rounded one in its own right...the tracks are not rough and ready like some other 'Outtakes' albums but fully formed and well-rounded and should be firmly in the TBWNIAS canon. If this album were a bootleg, it would be going for ££s (or $$s). Truly brilliant stuff.

    'Box Set II' is a triumph...not only is it a collection of absolutely top class music but it is a audio document that brings us the earliest recordings of a band that is the very definition of a 'Cult Band'. It is released on June 8th and there a few left for pre-order over at Cardinal Fuzz here. For a product of this quality, £70 (or £25 for the CD version) is a price that seems ridiculously low - 4 LPs, 3 CDrs, that is hours of quality music - but as mentioned above, Cardinal Fuzz is about love and spreading the good word.

    John Westhaver - drummer and head honcho of TBWNIAS - very kindly spared some time to talk about music, Cardinal Fuzz and the band.

    So here we are at Box Set number 2....when TBWNIAS started, did you ever think you would reach a point where Box Sets were not only viable but pretty much assured selling out?

    Ha! No chance! When Mark McIntyre and I first jammed after the demise of Four ‘N’ Giv’r, we had no real goals other than to start something a little more “out there” and instrumental. From the get go, there was never any thought regarding releasing an album, much less a pile of them over 10 years culminating with not 1, but 2 box sets !!! I mean, that’s fairly crazy when it comes down to it! We had both been in tons of bands, FNG was a 4 year-ish project that yielded two albums, Mark had Weapons of Mass Seduction (2 albums) and prior to that I was in a few bands that had released quite a bit of material. The only reason there are box sets of tbwnis is because of the visionary: Dave Cambridge of Cardinal Fuzz over your side of the pond!

    For those who don't know, what is the general ethos of TBWNIAS?

    Well…we started out intending to play improvised instrumental rock oriented music. It draws, as is well documented, on a huge swath of styles and influences that come from all members (past and present). Every single player has a deep understanding, respect and love for music and history. All of us have rather huge record collections which we all draw on for spiritual inspiration. We do not copy anyone ever, but our influences are many and can be heard I believe. The idea of tbwnis was built on “let’s have fun”. We are all good friends. These 2 things fuel the collective.

    Your knowledge and record collection is legendary and the rest of the guys in the band are exceptionally savvy music-wise as well - it must be a very broad palette of influences from which to work....is there an 'unwritten' code as to what your music should reflect?

    Well I kind of mentioned that with the last question. I’m the senior in the group and musically was mentored in the 60’s by an older cousin who played hand percussion in an acid rock group as a teen. He had a killer record collection and I was bitten, with regard to everything by the time I was 7 years old. Incense, the color purple, drums and percussion, long hair, paisley shirts etc. Been doing radio for 38 years sharing my knowledge and working in record shops for 40 years doing the same. I met everyone in my band through my shop (Birdman Sound) and or I was known to them through my radio programs over the years. I’ve known Nathaniel (currently the youngest in the group) the longest as I sold him wax at another shop way back in the late 80’s…Yes we all, even past members of tbwnis, are huge music freaks and all have “deep” collections. The code is “respect the rock” {:>))))

    The line-up is a very fluid thing and it seems as though every release will have slightly different personnel involved (with a few mainstays)..is it fair to say that TBWNIAS is a collective rather than a band? With such a fluid membership does it affect the improvisational base of the band?

    Once there were four…yes it has been more or less collective oriented. I learned to function in this environment from being a part of the exploding meet for nearly 2 decades, who were based in eastern Canada. All people in the “meet” were the same as tbwnis – deep shit into music and we, the exploding meet never rehearsed, we just played live shows , the majority of which were recorded. Lots of releases there and tons that could be and all professionally recorded. The mentor in that out was my longtime close friend Mark Carmody, who by most people’s opinion is a true musical genius. I modeled tbwnis after the exploding meet in many ways. There are also very many mutual influences….”surrealist-ethno-underworld-jazz/rock fusion”

    The other day I saw the band referred to as a 'cult band' ....thoughts on that?

    I see that for sure…we are fucking obscure, we don’t play lots, we’ve never toured, local bands and people we know in our hometown never ask us to play shows with them. We get snubbed by festivals (all of which are rubbish anyways), we have released more physical music than any artist from here ever to my knowledge and rarely “chart” at any of the community radio stations either. Charts are largely bogus shit anyways…here today, gone tomorrow…wfc! Guess though if we really wanted to play “the cult” card we’d need some hooded robes, although there’s an awful lot of that going around these dayzzz…. {:>)))) HA !

    The Box Set includes previous albums 'Superficial Marks', 'Biker Smells'& 'Punks, Twats and Urban Cowboys' ...firstly the titles??? Anything specific you recall from the recording of each?

    “Marks” and “Smells are us as the original 4 piece and they are Live off the floor, no overdubs and are heavy! Love these for the raw punk/psych/prog energy…. “Punks Twats” was an idea I asked Bill Guerrero to help me with and is made up of entirely at the time improve, 1 offs from our dense catalogue of rehearsal recordings, which Bill made. He and I sat down and told nobody else we were “making” this LP…I sorted the goods before hand and in 1 afternoon we assembled that record. I came up with the title which is a fairly “fuck you” sort of statement on tbwnis opinion of much of the same old shit that goes on around town regarding music in general…nasty maybe…however….

    I recall you mentioning a while back that 'the tape is always playing' in rehearsals etc and thus the 'Basement Blowout' LP/CDs....there must be a huge wealth of unreleased material just sitting around...can you see the 'Basement Blowouts' becoming a series?

    Tons in the vault, since liftoff…ridiculous and daunting…have not even heard it all!!! I find shit all the time from our various methods of recording…Reford with his cassette methods, Bill’s various rigs and now Jason’s zoom….easy to lose track of shit…lately trying to get back on top of that with recent stuff. A series of Blowouts could happen…Weird Beard in the UK did “Cosmic Curios” IT’S THE SAME IDEA AS Blowouts and Punks Twats for that matter….think there’s at least 2 or 3 others already as Bandcamp only albums…anyone want to do a waxing of these let me know. The box set and “Blowouts” in particular is all down to the Cardinal! When he was over here fall of 2017, he hatched the idea. I sent him, a boatload of material and told him I wanted him to choose all the music and do the jacket (with Brett Savage of the Dead Sea Apes). I had no concern whatsoever with that process or with whatever outcome as I respect Dave and trust him without question. His baby, he nurtures it. He did a whackin’ good job as “Blowouts” is ferocious and it looks wicked, Brett knows his shit and also of course did the artwork and layout for our latest album “Droneverdose”.

    Like most of us over in the UK, 'found' the band via Cardinal Fuzz ('Pathfinder' for the record) and the relationship between you and Dave 'The Cardinal' appears to be based on mutual love, trust and respect...silly question I know but for the record, how much do you owe the ever growing reputation of the band to Cardinal Fuzz?

    Well there’s history covered in the first box set booklet that proves that the relationship goes back beyond “Pathfinder” by a big stretch as Dave was a fan of the radio show where he first heard the symbol. We already had a bit of a reputation with ltd. self releases with the first few, well underground in the usa, Greece etc….Cardinal Fuzz broke that bigger with Pathfinder, no way around it. The flipside of that was me following Cardinal Fuzz releases since day 1 also. Think our relationship seems to be maybe destined in a weird way. It’s great relationship with no strings attached. We are friends in the real sense of the word. We plan on moving forward as a band and continue to record. Cardinal Fuzz is not a guarantee as the vessel and we all are aware of that. If the band tanked tomorrow or Cardinal Fuzz ceased to exist, Dave and I would still be friends and excitedly talk about, music, dogs, world events etc., the same as we always have.

    To you personally John, that you love music is an absolute given and you and I have chatted for hours about krautrock, kosmische, punk, heavy psych and experimental shit (to name but a few 'genres') but if push comes to shove what do you look for in an album?

    I’m a person going to the grave that believes that all the very best music was made between 1968 and 1974. I have a bucket of favorite groups. When I hear any new shit, it always has to speak to me with an understanding that has to be relevant to the history involved in getting whoever to where this work is at as presented. There’s fuk loads galore of contrived, “same old, same old”…it ain’t rocket science to play music, let’s not mince words, but there has to be reverence to the old masters and the best in any genre or I simply get bored by it…edge and heart are always evident in any of the good stuff as well. If you know music, you can feel that stuff, right of the get go!

    This is a really unfair question bearing mind the size of your record collection but.....Desert Island Discs time....what 5 would you rescue from a fire (and that's based on the music rather than value!)

    > Hawkwind – Space Ritual, Can – Delay, Captain Beyond – S/T, Gong - Camembert Electrique and Miles Davis –Dark Magus.

    Your 'fanbase' over here is growing daily and so the question we all want to ask is ....will you ever make it over here for a gig or 2?

    Think about it every day Andy…maybe next year…hope that ain’t too late !

  • Review: Hot Knives - Static Bloom

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 07 May 2018 18:15:00 +0000

    Sweet Jesus..this is major league brain frying stuff! When a submission falls through the virtual letterbox saying it is "part MC5, part Funkadelic, part Butthole Surfers" you kinda sit up and take notice and one of two things happens: 1. it is none of those things and the delete button is pressed or 2. it is simply a-mazing stuff... Hot Knives are definitely in the latter category. Before I get on to the nitty gritty of things, let me put this into some kind of context: whether by fortuitous timing or some kind of musical spidey sense (probably the former if I'm honest) I decided to listen to this minutes after the email landed....for those that know Monoshock, this hit me like the first time I heard them...that same rawness, that same 'fuck with us at your peril' and, more importantly, the same righteous noise.

    'Alhambra, Baby' goes for the jugular from the get go with some Sabbath meets MC5 riffage..it's as heavy as all fuck and twice as exhilarating. MC5 are the obvious touchpoints ..as much as they are lauded as being proto-punk their music was very much based in ramped up blues rock and this is no different except ramped up that little bit further. From the spacey psychedelic swirl at the beginning to the very last note, this positively exudes late sixties counterculture....I love it! 'Sfincioni Dreams' takes a different route..the riffs are just as heavy but comes across more as a post-punk/Sonic Youth track but it is the last of this short set that is the real killer. 'Dank Zappa' has riffs that make Blue Cheer appear like Mumford and Sons...you can positively feel the electricity humming from the cables. It's probably a bit more 'stoner' than the rest but it has that same heavy psych vibe going on.

    Not gonna lie...the sound quality could be better and normally that would detract from the overall effect but in this case it is that very rawness that gives these three tracks a down'n'dirty 'live' nastiness that is impossible not to love. The good news is that the guys have apparently recorded their first long player...now that is one album I cannot wait to hear. 'Static Bloom' can be streamed / downloaded (Free!) from the band's Bandcamp page here.

  • Review: Vibravoid - Vibrations From The Cosmic Void

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 07 May 2018 15:54:00 +0000

    Vibravoid are one of the most prolific, and consistent, bands working today. As well as releasing a steady flow of top notch albums they also run a record label (Stoned Karma) and contribute regularly to Fruits de Mer (their 'Steppin' Stone' 7" on FdM is still one of my favourite cover versions ever!). The aforementioned flow of music shows no immediate sign of abatement with the release of 'Vibrations From The Cosmic Void'...an album that, while I am no cognescenti of the band, must be one of their strongest to date.

    'Vibrations From The Cosmic Void Part II' kicks things off with a heady swirl of 60s tinged psychedelia. Layers of fuzz complemented by some groovy organ set the scene for some heavily reverbed vocals...it's deep and it's trippy and a fine start to any album. 'The Modular System' is where things get really good. An instrumental, the track cleverly takes in more sixties psych and some seventies krautrock...a strong motorik rhythm sits behind some psychy and repetitive riffs and the result is something akin to a groovy spy movie soundtrack except ramped up by several notches. A neat segue sees the introduction of 'Melodies Of The Stars' which is an absolute monster. Again rooted in krautrock, it has a real sense of space, both literally and figuratively, with some cosmic electronica and some lovely psych guitarwork coming together to create something rather special. 'The Intergalactic Playground' is a huge, meandering number that really does have it all. Following a heavily electronic intro, all drones and oscillating rhythms, an eastern melody (a Vibravoid staple) is introduced, giving everything a real 'in the ashram' vibe. What follows is an immersive and trippy journey taking in spacerock, prog and krautrock...all intensely psychedelic. Nearer the end it takes another turn and veers off into something far more pastoral with the spacey synths and whirling guitars giving way to a more bucolic, folky atmosphere...moving from intergalactic to something earthbound and organic..it truly is a magnificent piece of music. The LP is rounded off by the (much) shorter 'Frequencies Of The Cosmos' which is more of a spacerock/psych cameo. For those that get the CD there are two bonus tracks - 'Mirrorspace' which is a captivating and experimental track full of oscillating electronica and crashing percussion and 'Milchstrasse 14, Koln' which sees the band channel their inner Tangerine Dream / Vangelis in a sublime kosmische workout. All in all, 'Vibrations From The Cosmic Void' is a fantastic album, and as I mentioned, possibly one of the band's strongest to date.

    It is worth mentioning that at the same time the band are releasing 'Live At Rheinkraut Festival' on CD and download. 2 CDs and 2 tracks...you do the maths! Huge live versions of 'Your Mind Is At Ease' and 'Ballspeaker' show that the band are an awesome prospect live. The album is also included in the super limited package of 'Vibrations From The Cosmic Void'.

    The album is available from Stoned Karma here and comes, as mentioned, with the live album in a special edition; a standard edition on special coloured vinyl as well as CD and download.

  • Review: Charlottas Burnin' Trio (CB3) - From Nothing To Eternity (Drone Rock update)

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 07 May 2018 12:20:00 +0000

    Without doubt, on a personal level, one of the musical highlights of 2017 was the debut album from Charlottas Burnin' Trio (CB3) 'From Nothing To Eternity'. Originally released on tape by Eggs In Aspic, the good news is that the ever bountiful Drone Rock Records are giving this a very well deserved vinyl release. I reviewed this last year and I stand by my words so this is a blatant repost of that review. For those who don't know CB3 are a Swedish instrumental psych jam band who have been plying their trade since 2013. The band comprises of Charlotta Andersson (guitar), Jonas Nilsson (double bass) and Nathanael Salomonsson (drums)

    Things start off nice and slow with 'Meditation', two minutes of sheer bliss, all shimmering cymbals and folky guitar and acts as a lovely amuse bouche for the monster that is the title track, 'From Nothing To Eternity'. A lot has been made of late, on these pages and others, of Swedish psychedelia...the likes of Kungens Män, Hills, Flowers Must Die, among others, all releasing fantastic material and channeling the spirit of their spiritual forefathers Träd, Gräs & Stenar. With 'From Nothing To Eternity' CB3 show that they are more than up to the task, surpassing it even. This track is a wonder...psychedelic jamming at its very best...the ease and expertise with which Charlotta wields her guitar is something to behold and is more than ably backed by Nathanael's crashing drums and the double bass of Jonas. My question is this: if these guys have been playing music of this quality since 2013, why are they not held with the same reverence as Kungens Män, Hills etc (deservedly) are? 'Rogue' sees things take a slight turn towards progressive rock...the structure and vibe is pure seventies prog but with a distinct psychedelic edge and an almost jazzy feel to it, especially the groovy pulse of the double bass. Again the guitar is the star, veering between white hot riffage and more sedate atmosphere building. 'Beware The Wolf' is all about the drums...a resonant pattern is beaten out over which Charlotta traces spacey lines with her guitar. It opens up after 3 or so minutes into another top class psychedelic jam with some prog overtones but the guitar remains muted somewhat to allow the drums to shine through. 'Elixir Of Life' is heralded by some bucolic, evocative guitar that continues to weave a filigree tapestry throughout the track. After the power of the preceding tracks this more gentle psychedelic outing is an oasis of calm and beauty but then segues into the frenetic opening to 'Awakening'. Taking its cue very much from the title track, 'Awakening' is another lesson in jamming...spacey guitar, crashing drums and throbbing bass...for psych lovers this music is manna from heaven! There is a neat little breakdown midtrack that allows Jonas to really show his prowess with the double bass...an instrument not oft heard on in these circles. A truly great track. The album goes full circle, closing with 'Meditation II' - another blissed out instrumental that verges on psych folk and is another 3 minutes of sheer beauty. A fine way to close an exceptional album.

    'From Nothing To Eternity' is a real gem of an album...an album that once again shows that Sweden is the place to be with regard to top notch psych jamming. The original tape blew my mind and so to hear it on vinyl is gonna be a real treat. As I said in the original review "any traveler along the psychedelic highway NEEDS this in their life...... how this band are not lauded is beyond me but hopefully this release will change that and CB3 become permanent fixtures on psych's top table." Much credit to Adam over at Drone Rock for a. recognising some superb music when he hears it and b. for bringing this album to a whole new audience. It can be pre-ordered over at the Drone Rock webshop here and comes as a special edition (tri-coloured heavyweight vinyl) and a regular edition (transparent sky-blue standard weight). The legend that is John McBain has been drafted in to provide his expert mastering to boot!

  • Cruel Nature - 5 Glorious Years Of Noise

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Fri, 04 May 2018 22:14:00 +0000

    This is not so much of a review as an appreciation. As regular readers will know I have unabiding admiration and love for Cruel Nature Records....entirely tape based, it releases some of the most interesting, thought provoking , and in some cases, challenging music around. It is a label that has no agenda re: 'genres' or 'tags' - a point gloriously brought to light by the latest batch of releases - the scratchy, lo-fi kraut/garage racket of nunofyrbeeswax ('Music Don't Matter'), the mesmeric kosmische of Life Education ('Beyond The Red Waste') and the intense and frankly terrifying noise of Bodies On Everest..(more about that later).

    The Bodies on Everest release...'A National Day of Mourning'... not only coincides with the fifth birthday of the label but is their 100th release. For any label these are noteworthy landmarks, but when one is talking about a label whose releases have been predominantly cassette based (a much under-loved format) with highly limited runs and music that sits in the murky hinterland of 'normal taste' it becomes all the more admirable. In an interview with head honcho Steve last year, he recognises the very niche appeal -" I think CN already limits its audience through the music it releases...some releases are more accessible than others but the majority aren’t 6Music fodder (or would be overlooked even if it was), so I don’t think using tape is limiting it that much further". What is patently obvious, however, is the genuine passion and enthusiasm that drives the label.

    From a personal point of view CN has introduced me to artists and sounds that have become firmly entrenched in my own musical outlook...Snakes Don't Belong In Alaska, Mudguts/Vampyres/Culver (and other Lee Stokoe guises), Woven Skull...as well as some that have that 'what the fuck is this?' quality. But, that is the genius of the label, releasing something intensely powerful and noise based next to something mesmeric and hypnagogic....the only connection being that they are all good!. I, for one, celebrate the five years and 100 releases and wish the label many, many more.

    I cannot write this without saying a word or two about the Bodies On Everest tape. Even by CN's high standards 'A National Day Of Mourning' is exceptional. A double tape with over an hour of what the band call 'dungeon wave', a "a caustic mix of drone, doom, noise and cursed psyche-sludge". Over the six tracks we are treated to some of the most uncompromising music around..distorted basses plunge to sonic depths that Sunn O))) can only dream about while glitchy and hissy electronica provide the backdrop for vocals that have been summoned from the very pits of Hades. It is brutal and punishing but also enthralling and exhilarating...it is the soundtrack of a disturbed mind, but like a disturbed mind it makes its own kind of sense. It is fitting that this particular release marks a pivotal landmark in the label's history as it is an metaphor for the label....individual, uncompromising, challenging but capable of providing that 'butterflies in the stomach' feeling. It is nihilistic and dystopian and pretty damned fucking good.

    'A National Day Of Mourning' has already gone on to a second edition, the initial run of 50 selling out quickly and the second edition is up for pre-order on the Cruel Nature Bandcamp page here.

  • Review: ZOFFF - FFF / Crayola Lectern - Happy Endings

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Mon, 30 Apr 2018 17:58:00 +0000

    Two albums, two opposite ends of the psych spectrum, both excellent....and both from the same stable. ZOFFF were undeniably one of THE standout acts at the Liverpool Psych fest last year, following on from the superb 'Kozfest MMXVI' album on Drone Rock last year. May sees the release of a new album 'FFF' and this time it is the wonderful Deep Distance label that plays host. Crayola Lectern is the "piano-based oddness" of Chris Anderson ("a vehicle to see Chris Anderson through to the (hopefully not too) bitter end. A creation to grow old inside. A safer place where nurture, kindness and generosity of spirit do not go punished and where creating a thing is unfettered by convention, where opposites attract and where nonsense holds its own wisdom") who also wields the bass in ZOFFF, indeed the line-up for both is pretty much the same: Alistair Strachan, Damo Waters and Bic Hayes with Jon Poole and Bob Leith being drafted in. For the best description of what they sound like - "what psychedelic music would have sounded like had the Edwardians invented it." ...intriguing. The new album, 'Happy Endings', is "an optimistic look at death" and is out on June 1st via Onomatopoeia Recordings.

    'FFF' has 6 tracks, all with one word and somewhat esoteric titles - speaking to Chris from the band about this and the title of the album, he remarked "The title FFF hints at ‘very loud’ in musical terminology and is a bit of a light-hearted, subconscious prod to people to spell the name right (lots of people spell it ZOFF).The titles of the tracks are phonetic spellings / pronunciation of the letter F in different languages." So now you know!. 'Ye' gets things going, opening with some pulsing electronica and blasts of melancholic brass which combine to create an atmosphere rich in dread and foreboding. This scene setting is a bit of a red herring truth be told; a tattoo of drums interrupts the warbling electronics and heralds the onset of a sublime ten minute epic that flits between groove filled kosmische jams and mind-bending electronica. It is a track that never settles, instead constantly morphing and evolving...it is a real trip (in whatever sense of the word you care to choose). 'Vav' takes that same basic recipe of kosmische jams and synths but sprinkles it with lashings of motorik goodness and the result is a delicious and deeply hypnotic track that is as erudite as it damn groovy. 'Har' is a short (3 min) affair but seems to pack a great deal into a short amount of time....pulsing bassline, metronomic drums, oscillating electronica and enough spacey effects to soundtrack a year's worth of NASA docs. 'Dig' opens with some eastern tinged horns and a fizzing hum redolent of vinyl static. The track as a whole has the feel of a groovy, jazz informed krautrock number with the skittish drums and melancholic horns but the little flourishes of electronica and subtle underlying drones add a different dimension. 'Ca' is a short but uptempo track with a glorious motorik rhythm and a spacerock vibe going on, my only complaint is that just a tad over 2 minutes it's way too short. 'Zeta' closes the album with a laid back jam - a pulsating bass dominating things and providing a groove laden framework over which the guitar weaves its spells and some cacophanous electronic effects give things a spacey vibe. The electronica grows in intensity until it is very much centre stage, throwing the listener off-kilter and the track becoming akin to the soundtrack of a psychotic mind, but then sanity is restored and the chilled jam of the beginning sees the track to its logical conclusion.

    'FFF' sees ZOFFF doing what they do best, namely improvising around a theme and playing with the tropes of psych and krautrock - there is nothing predictable about this album and certainly, to me, that is a very good thing. That the guys in the band are superlative musicians is a given (again, if you've ever seen them live...wow!) but what is heartening to me is this willingness to bend and build on 'accepted' structures and sounds. In short, 'FFF' is bloody good! It has pretty much everything you need from an album. The word on the street (well, Dom from Deep Distance) says that 7th May is looking likely as a release date so keep your eyes firmly affixed to the Deep Distance Facebook page here for details.

    As mentioned, Crayola Lectern and ZOFFF are pretty much interchangeable personnel wise but they really do sit on the opposite end of the psychedelic spectrum but both extremely engaging. While ZOFFF are big on improvised jams, Crayola Lectern are very much based on the 3 minute song, however both play with and stretch the parameters of their chosen structure. 'Happy Endings' opens with 'Rescue Mission' and what a delightful to start it is...piano and horns combining to produce one of those exquisitely English pastoral psychedelic songs that made the late sixties such a joyous time...the vocals have a distinctly Robert Wyatt vibe to them that lift this from being what is essentially quite a melancholic song into something else completely...lovely stuff. From there on in we are treated to a succession of bittersweet musings which go from the stark melancholy and piano based 'Submarine' to the whimsical and jolly 'Lingeron' calling at all stops between. There are some real oddities thrown in for good measure - 'Barbara's Persecution Complex' is based on some old fashioned ragtime piano which is accompanied at varied time by brass, high pitched buzzing like a wasp caught in a glass and some electric guitar. It's conclusion is a cinematic opus of crescendo, brass and emotion...a genius piece of songwriting disguised as something frivolous and light. Elsewhere we have the folky 'Giant Moon Up In The Sky', the bombastic and prog based 'Lux' and rounded off with the short but dense and multilayered 'Finale'.

    I really enjoyed 'Happy Endings', it is an album that, despite its subject matter, constantly brought a smile to my lips. It harks back to a simpler and more innocent time and for that I salute Crayola Lectern, however it has more ideas on one album than some artists have in a career and Anderson is totally unafraid to just go with his instincts with regard to structure and instrumentation. Lyrically it has liberal doses of humour, whimsy and irreverence while also having a keen edge at times. For those who avidly collect everything that Fruits de Mer put out, cast your nets a bit wider and feast your ears on this - it has that same wide-eyed splendour that a lot of the FdM artists have. 'Happy Endings' is out June 1st via Onomatopoeia Recordings. Whilst there is no media available just yet for 'Happy Endings', you can get a good idea of what to expect from this, the debut album 'The Fall And Rise Of... Crayola Lectern'...enjoy!

  • Review: Bong - Thought and Existence

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sun, 29 Apr 2018 13:24:00 +0000

                             "The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood"

    Sorry to any eschatologists out there but those bible dudes weren't foretelling the end of the world and the eternal damnation of humanity but rather they got wind of a new Bong album. Round these parts any release that involves Mike Vest is happily, nay greedily, recieved but a new Bong release is another level of special. I can't think of any other band like Bong...yes, there are many, many bands that play 'doom' and many, many, many that profess to be 'psychedelic' and even some that successfully marry the two but Bong are a unique beast..not so much doom as glacier-like and, depending on your own personal interpretation of psychedelic, a band that can mentally take you anywhere. In fact, sod it, let's throw out those tired and worn tags and just say Bong are....Bong!

    A mate came round the other day whilst I was listening to this album and said "are these the same guys who did that Dopesmoker album" and I can sort of see that...the sloooow percussion and glacial tempo but...and this is a big but...bands like Sleep etc are riff based...long, heavy and slow riffs but riffs nonetheless, Bong don't have riffs. Vest is a man who can riff better than most (hear his work in Blown Out, Lush Worker etc) but in Bong the riffs are put aside and rely instead on a solid wall of noise, any melody is put to one side in favour of atmospherics and heaviness. This is what gives the band that hypnotic and hypnagogic quality that keeps you mesmerised. And the heaviness...hell yeah, this stuff can level mountains. The album is just the two tracks: 'The Golden Fields’ and ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’, 17 and 19 minutes in lengths respectively and between them they lead us a shamanic journey...after listening and immersing ourselves we feel like we have been taken to an altered state of consciousness and ritualistically healed. 'The Golden Fields' opens with a quote from Dostoevsky's nihilistic classic 'The Dream Of a Ridiculous Man':

                    " it happened as it always does in dreams when you skip over space 
                       and time, and the laws of thought and existence, and only pause
                       on the points for which the heart yearns."

    As for why the band chose to use that particular story as a touchpoint is for them to answer - to surmise would entail something approaching a PhD thesis - but on face value one can identify the nihilism in Bong's music - crushingly heavy, selpulchral and devoid of light. However, much the same as the story, the dreamlike reverie into which one can fall via the music does leave one open to introspection and insights. Both 'The Golden Fields' and ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ have this effect, by the time the low and funereal vocals come in we are deep into a fugue state where all aspects of personality are put aside in a kind of disassociative amnesia - we are one with the music and there is only the music....in many ways it is the very epitome of mindfullness. I kid you not...such is the power on Bong!

    'Thought and Existence' is out May 4th on Ritual Productions and there is a clear blue with glow-in-the-dark splatter heavyweight edition, housed in hand silk-screened sleeves (blue & silver editions) and hand numbered too that will be exclusive to the Ritual Prods. site. There will be, however, a black heavyweight LP available everywhere.

  • Review: Monumentals - Irregular Heads

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sat, 28 Apr 2018 19:05:00 +0000

    At last, a band with a name that reflects the music.....how much simpler would the life of a music lover be if all names gave an indication of the music itself ('The Sound a bit like The Black Angels', 'We've got a Sabbath Album' or 'Twee Indie Bollocks' anyone?)....and make no mistake, this music IS monumental. Monumentals are Ryan and Neil from The Cult of Dom Keller and are a 'krautrock-inspired soundtrack duo', the press blurb mentions names such as Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Morricone, Vangelis, Nick Cave and Eno...that is an awful lot to live up to. 'Irregular Heads' comes to us from Eggs In Aspic, a label that consistently brings us music from all corners of the psych world with nary a duff release but I've gotta say, I think this is the best yet!

    'Circadian Oscillator' opens this collection with some beautiful analogue electronica...rich drones flow around some low key synths and it all sounds rather lilting and lovely and one can see where the Vangelis reference fits in. The addition of some snippets of eerie voices gives everything an otherworldly aspect....sublime! 'Catlifedead' opens with what sounds like mutated gamelan before a piano is introduced playing some dread laden chords and one is instantly taken back to the wonderful Giallo film soundtracks of the seventies - the same mix of the atmospheric with the experimental, almost bordering on musique concret..indeed it reminds me of a lot of the brilliant left field music that is still coming out of Italy. Seriously, this track is worth the entry fee on its own. 'Zeg-001' continues with the soundtrack vibe but moving the location from haunted suburbia to the lonely openness of space via the sunblasted prairies of the old west. A distinct Morricone spaghetti western influence can be clearly heard under some black hole dense drones and echoes. 'Celestial Pangs' comes as bit of a shock...a guitar!! Said guitar is sedate but rich and mellifluous and acts as a sound bedrock for some more analogue loveliness. Again Vangelis would be the obvious touchpoint but at this stage I'm thinking less of an influence but more of jumping off point. The shimmer of a tambourine heralds the mark at which the guitar becomes more strident whilst still retaining its initial, inherent melancholia. 'Dawn Colossal' is a slice of iridescent kosmische very much in the mould of Tangerine Dream...the same rich washes of sound and delicious drones while 'Alice In Wonderland Syndrome' takes a more experimental approach...guitar chords backed by some oscillating electronica morph into a cacophony of instruments and hellish voices. It all changes again with the introduction of some psychedelic leaning guitar before the cacophony returns and it continues in this way until the end. Musically this has a lot of Father Murphy about it (which can only be a very good thing). 'Codeine Caves' is a real beauty...filigree wisps of melody interweaving with some delicate drone set the groundwork for some lachrymose but irrestible piano, the result being a mix of horror soundtrack and musical eulogy. 'Berliner', as implied by it's title, is a krautrock inspired number or maybe the B-side of Bowie's 'Heroes' album I would say...it has the same vibe as 'Sense of Doubt', 'Moss garden' et al....and is stunning. This wonderful, wonderful album is brought to a close with 'Collapse Of The Ghost Regime' and this time around it is Vangelis circa 'Bladerunner' that comes to mind, it has that same dystopian atmosphere and those deep, resonant drones that so easily conjure up mental images of decaying futuristic landscapes.

    'Irregular Heads' is definitely going on the growing list of best 2018 albums so far. The guys in Monumentals have created something that is truly awe inspiring in its scope and quality..they have taken disparate influences and moulded them into a collection of tracks that show creativity, ingenuity and craftsmanship. Musically it never sits still, the range is staggering and yet it is seamless from start to finish. It is, in short and to come full circle, truly monumental. Grab the tape while you can from the Eggs in Aspic Bandcamp page here because they are going fast and you really do not want to miss out on this.

  • Review: Father Sky Mother Earth - Father Sky Mother Earth

    dayzofpurpleandorange.blogspot.com | Sat, 28 Apr 2018 16:45:00 +0000

    You've gotta hand it to those south coast reprobates Dirty Filthy Records they can't half pick a winner! For their sophomore release they have picked up on Father Earth Mother Sky's self-titled debut and given it a well-deserved vinyl release. For those who are not au fait with Father Earth Mother Sky they are a doom/drone duo from Germany - Nico Seel on guitar and Niclas Gerull on bass - who "combine elements of doom, sludge, psychedelic rock and meditation music.". This particular album was originally released digitally back in 2016 and was closely followed by last year's 'Across the River of Time'. However, this is no ordinary vinyl press of an existing album - it has been re-recorded and re-arranged and so, whilst essentially the same album, it has a new vibrancy about it that makes it pretty damned essential.

    The album is comprised of just the two tracks; 'Father Sky' and 'Mother Earth' but clocks in at in 36 minutes. Those reading this who do happen to be unfamiliar with this powerhouse duo, can I just say that I, personally, find the epithet 'Drone Doom' a bit of a misnomer...sure there is plenty of drone and it certainly has enough downtuned heaviness for doom but there is so much more happening in that 36 minutes. From the outset 'Father Sky' shows this....the first thing that hits you is the mystical eastern motif and this exoticism carries on throughout giving the track a life and spirit that goes far beyond 'drone doom'. The drones themselves are glorious, they swirl and eddy around the track like a leaf caught in the wind. The fact that everything is played at a funereal tempo gives things that doom aspect but, unlike most doom, it has a meditative quality that is positively blissful. The guys themselves say that the album is an environmental analogy: "This is what keeps mother earth alive. Father sky in the cosmos is a guard and looking at his child – this planet's ecology" and there is certainly an organic quality to proceedings...the slow, unstoppable movement of plate tectonics and the sunbursts of flourishing life. Most of all, it is incredibly immersive....put the record on the turntable and be prepared to give over a portion of your life to this. 'Mother Earth' opens with an even more overtly eastern vibe which is gradually joined by some glorious guitar drones...and then the heaviness hits and boy is it heavy! The bass resonates around your head like the very voice of God and beautifully complements the psychedelic laments of the guitar. This is, however, more than the sum of it's parts...it all comes together to create a beast that is as heavy as fuck and darker than Trump's soul but there are still glimmers of joyousness and sheer beauty...and that sort of fits in with the whole environmental stance of the band...we live in a world that we are slowly destroying, laying waste to rainforests and polluting the seas but there still remain pockets of indescribable beauty and jawdropping grandeur...much like this album.

    'Father Sky Mother Earth' is a absolute monster of a album - I was asked to write a few words for the cover sticker and so I will leave this review with those words: "“A soul-rending sonic exploration full of arcane mysticism, cavernous drone and heavy-as-fuck riffage. Intensely moody, cinematic and most definitely magnificent.” .....'nuff said! The album is up for pre-order at the Dirty Filthy Records webshop here..you really, really need this record in your life.

    Below is the original version of the album, but gives you a taste...if you wanna hear the re-recorded and re-arranged version you'll just have to buy the record!

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