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Thursday, 30 April 2009

Allinson / Brown - 'AV1' (Resurgence)

Source: A used CD, bought somewhere locally around '98 or '99.

Dave Allinson (who?) and Phill Brown (the producer of the Talk Talk masterpieces) collaborated for this one-off CD, a curiosity for Talk Talk fans as it features Mark Hollis playing piano on one track under the 'John Cope' pseudonym as well as Mark Feltham who played harmonica on and Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. Do you like ambient music? Cause this is probably best described as such - deep listening music where you gotta crank the stereo to hear the layers, which are delicate and beautiful of course. If you dig Rafael Toral's Wave Field CD then you'll love Track 1 (though this is a great deal whispier than Toral's shoegazer tribute). There's ringing bells, very subtle instrumental gestures, and only at the very end does a drumbeat come in. Unfortnately track 2 takes that beat and builds a track around it, turning it into a "chillout" ambient experience. If you're looking to come down after a long night of raving this might be a good time, but I couldn't wait for it to be over. After all, track 3 is the 'John Cope' piano jam which is credited to just Cope and it's like making breakfast with only one stale piece of bread and some old cheese. It's super duper minimal yet it still feels kinda jazz (pronounced with soft sibilant 'yass' sound).   When you cough up some blodd into a napkin, if you look at it the right way it kinda looks like Paul Bley.  Last track returns to the ethereal emptyness of the first one though who's likely to be awake by this point?

Monday, 27 April 2009

Aksak Maboul - 'Un Peu de L'Âme Des Bandits' (Crammed Discs)

Source: Received from Recommended mail oder on July 8, 2006 for £9.

Belgium! Land of rich wonderful beer, vertical archery, and waffles sold on the street. Aksak Maboul's second album is their maximalist one: there's traditional folky jams, weird prog-ambient beatdowns and some Broadway passages too. Frith and Cutler are all over it and occasionally steer it into Henry Cow territory ('Geistige Nacht') but that's not a bad thing at all. Everything imaginable is stuck into a blender here but it' stays on the Appolonian tip. This is essentially the last anyone ever heard of Aksak Maboul (apart from the Crammed 'Made to Measure' comp which'll be reviewed on Dislocated Underbite in about 2 years); soon after this (which was 1980, if yer wondering) they turned into the Honeymoon Killers (who made some great jams of their own). This (and their first record) are just enough to build a legacy on, if you ask me. There's some weird shit: 'Inoculating Rabies' which sounds more like the other (NYC) Honeymoon Killers except with a bass clarinet and bassoon way too forward in the mix; the improv parts of the second half (labeled as 'Cinema') are like Curlew covering Dead Machines. I think Aksak were originally started as an offshoot of Univers Zero, though I could be wrong - but this disc goes far beyond any UZ I've ever heard - like balancing the most aggressively strident art-rock-prog compositions on the same spoon as 'outsider' music. More Catherine Jauniaux would have made a great album even better, though I guess I can always turn to Fluvial for that. CD version tacks a Honeymoon Killers track on the end which is cool but breaks up the purity of the album like these f'ing CDs always do.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Air Guitar Magazine - 'Bass is the Place' (Enamel)

Source: got from someone in the band, 2005.

Air Guitar Magazine channel the spirit of the mariachi band that hounds you on the patio of a Mexican restaurant for spare change while you're trying to enjoy your enchilada, perhaps crossed with a bit of momentum-driven late 90s white Midwest rock. With two trumpets, electric bass and a speedy rock drummer they bear no resemblance to Spaceheads, Chicago Underground Duo or any of that atmospheric scrawl - it's all about riffs, snare drum, ride cymbal, and jumping up and down. At times it's a contrapuntal slugfest, with thee trumpets magnetically repelling each other, slightly detuned over the frantic rhythms. Other parts are like the car chase scene in The French Connection - long, relentless, and framed by an overpass. When it gets into a groove there's the very slightest tendency to read a Tarot card, but before long a rawk riff slaps the cigarette into your mouth and turns on the track lighting. The compositions are well-crafted, and makes me wonder what happened to these guys.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Absolutely Freak Out (Zap Your Mind !!) (Static Caravan/Resonant)

Source: Purchased used, from Paul's CD's for $12, on 16 Aug 2002.

Two hours of Acid Mothers Temple is a lot but they brought along the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. again, so
you know it's going to be the freaky-deakyest jams this side of Nagoya. Lots of fast stereo panning suggests that they've discovered the HyperDraw feature; when they really get cooking with the boogie-psyche, the panning's enough to make your brain melt (which is exactly the idea). The middle of each disc features solo vocal pieces by Suzuki Chisen, and they're an awesome center to each half: the second time, some fucked up guitar feedback sings along like the ghost of disc 1 and it's wonderful and insane. These discs are put together well, as there's a lot of attention paid to sequencing. Each track is made up of several shorter movements but the discs work as a unified whole. We get lots of rock, usually riff-heavy and effects-laden as you'd expect, but also some smaller, more exploratory pieces. Whenever Cotton Casino gets on the mic it's like the record has been taken over by syphilitic lizards (at a laser show). 'The Incipient Light of the Echoes' opens the second CD by going the classic minimalist composers route, and it's nice (if viewed as a tribute to Riley, Reich and/or Glass) to calm down a bit before the next rollercoaster ride. Also, while staring at the awesome cover art, the xylophony stuff is a nice mood setter. Of course it woulda looked better as an LP but then we wouldn't get the CD bonus tracks (one of which is disc 1 track 1, so the LP must have a totally different "feel").

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso UFO - 'New Geocentric World' (Squealer)

Source: Promo copy received from Squealer, I'm guessing August 2001.

Acid Mothers Temple already feel like a million years ago even though this came out less than a decade back; they produced such a glut of releases over the next five years that I had to cut myself off at some point. That said, I couldn't remember anything distinct about New Geocentric World as compared to any of their other releases; that said, I can't remember anything distinct about any of their other releases as compared to any of their other releases (you follow?) except for maybe La Novia cause it has the Italian singing on it. A shame, because I'm sure any and all of their records contain great great moments but they all fall into the dark chasm of my memory, chalked up to "too much, too soon". New Geocentric World opens with a tease of synth and voice but then expodes into the total freakout that you expect, sounding a Sister Ray taken to the next dimension (and also sounding like a lot of other things, but we won't go there). It's a bit too free jazz for me to trance out and stare at the album artwork (which is too small in the CD format but still cool cause it looks like it was created using the ol' IMPROCES.EXE for DOS).

I don't know if Acid Mom's would have aroused much interest if they were, for example, just a couple of fat dudes from Texas or Ohio making the exact same music and releasing the exact same records with the exact same artwork. I'm not saying this to be condescending or cynical, but Nipponese exoticism certainly was worth a bit in my world of 2001. I caught them on the tour for this album, which I remember being powerful and overwhelming and a bit cathartic (occuring just after 9/11) but then again, I was looking for art to be powerful and overwhelming and carthartic then. I do rememer them playing one repetitive, melodic riff for about 25 minutes straight to open their set, and then later doing it again as an encore. Which is kind of what 'Psycho Buddha' (the opening track) is like, except minus the focus or melody. And it finally ends and we get into some of the smaller group tracks, like 'You're Still Near Me Everytime' which is a dissonant soul song with Haco wailing overtop. It's totally like Kenneth Higney fronting Dzyan. 'Universe of Romance' is centered around a melody on some traditional instruments but with fucked up synths and in-and-out vocals; in some way it anticipates the free-folk trends in mid-decade American underground music.

But then 'Occie Lady' takes you to a Nagoya bar-b-q where they octopus balls are cooked well-done. 'What Do I Want To Know (Like Heavenly Kisses part 2)' is the big ambient organ jam that sorta ties everything together - maybe the mirror image of 'Psycho Buddha' or maybe it's just everything else from the record put into a blender. Shades of Terry Riley, Fursaxa, Windy and Carl, and most of the early Kranky Records roster, all culminating in some tender ambient guitar work that is probably the most traditionally lovely sounds on the whole (long) disc.