diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

 Subscribe in a reader

Recent Interviews

diskant Staff Sites

More Sites We Like

Archive for September, 2005

Clear Channel update

Posted: September 10th, 2005, by Dave Stockwell

Hello, regular readers of this ‘blog (you sad bastards) may remember a post on here back in July about the infiltration by media giant Clear Channel into the United Kingdom’s shores. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, click here.

A small part of the original version of this post contained speculation over reports that our indie zine brethren Drowned in Sound were backed by some subsidiary of or a company associated with Clear Channel. I did stress at the time that this was far from hard fact and merely something I had been told. However, I am pleased to report that Colin Roberts, editor at DiS has contacted us to clarify that they are in no way funded by Clear Channel, and nor is their record label. From the horse’s mouth:

“Drowned in Sound Recordings is a wholly owned part of Drowned in Sound, owned and managed by Sean Adams, founder of Drownedinsound.com.”

Colin also went on to confirm reports about their involvement at the CC-funded Wireless Festival that took place earlier this year:

“Yes, we ran a stage in conjunction with the CC-run Wireless Festival and were well-and-truly fucked over. We had very little say in the artists that played, but did manage to use the corporate might of one of the world’s largest media companies to draw a few more people to our web-site – essentially using the rich to bring something to the ‘underground’.”

The lesson to be drawn from this? I’ll let you form your own opinion about that. My personal opinion is that every single one of you motherfuckers should go and buy Universal Sound’s reissue of “Children of Fire” by Hannibal Marvin Peterson & The Sunrise Orchestra. It’s absolutely amazing stuff and the best album I’ve heard this year. No question.

ASJA AUF CAPRI – Novi Ronde (Difficult Fun)

Posted: September 9th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Back when I was 12, my sister was a big fan of Erasure. Her vinyl copy of The Circus came with a Mute Records discography (Documentary Evidence), and it was a revelation to me, full of impenetrably pretentious, mysterious descriptions of strange and sinister electronic music – Einstürzende Neubauten, DAF, Boyd Rice, Throbbing Gristle, Fad Gadget, Renegade Soundwave etc. I spent hours poring over it, trying to image what these things sounded like. Months later, I almost had a cardiac arrest when I found a copy of one of the things I’d been reading about, Holger Hiller’s 1983 album Ein Bündel Fäulnis in der Grube, at a carboot sale for 50p. Having spent my life up to that point listening to chart pop and my dad’s Johnny Cash records, this was something weird and new – a glimpse into a skewed, alien and impish world that I didn’t fully understand.

East London based duo Asja Auf Capri’s debut from last year, Novi Ronde, takes me right back to that time, to the joy of mischievously twisted electronics, itchy rhythms and an exciting hint of taboo. And of course, the fact that both works have German language vocals helps.

The album kicks off with the deliciously insistent Chanson Risk, previously featured on Difficult Fun’s first release, a wonderfully packaged 4 track 7″ of DIY difficult fun. It’s a great start – twitchy, fidgety, old-school electronics and subtly processed, whispery-then-chanting vocals. Happily, the quality is maintained throughout. There’s plenty of variety in the music too, with all sorts of bleeps, bloops, squelches and clangs going off to underpin Anja’s singing. It’s all done with a fantastic sense of playfulness and yet, brilliantly, without getting anywhere near that enemy of good music, novelty. After the wonderful bongo-on-Mars claustrophobia of Prairie, the albums finishes with the riotous knees-up wig-out of Brandstifter. It’s the happy younger sibling to Laub’s more considered, deadpan approach to electronica. It’s how smug, half-baked charlatans like Chicks On Speed and Cobra Killer ought to sound.

Anja had apparently never sung before recording the album (and hadn’t even shown much inclination to do so), but she’s an incredible talent. By turns pouty, sly, cheeky, forthright, mysterious. Translated lyrics are available online, but I’ve so far deliberately avoided reading them because I enjoy the sound they make without having to worry about meaning. Not formidably difficult, then, but certainly lots of fun.

Asja Auf Capri
Difficult Fun

PORT-ROYAL – Flares (Resonant)

Posted: September 9th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

In the world of science and technology, it’s often been the case that an important discovery has been made simultaneously by different people completely independently of each other, as if the thing itself decided that the time was right to be outed and revealed itself to a number of researchers at the same time, so as to avoid accusations of favouritism. This is somewhat less true of the music world.

Flares sounds a lot like a lot of other stuff that’s out there at the moment, and while it might be stretching the bounds of credibility to claim that that’s pure coincidence, it doesn’t mean that Italian collective Port-Royal are unoriginal bandwagon-jumpers. Instead of just being inspired by one or two fairly obvious things, what they do well is take good familiar bits from a number of sources (Manitoba, Mogwai, the Montreal post-rock scene, early Warp Records) and melt them together into an intriguing, well balanced and pretty cohesive blob, and we end up with 78 minutes of epic, sprawling, lush and quite uplifting electronica tinged post-rock shimmering (or shimmering post-rock tinged electronica. Rearrange the terms anyway you want).

Things start off underwhelmingly, it has to be said – the first track is a bit bland, with warm synth sweeps, Mogwai-lite reverby guitar, GY!BE minor piano chords and ‘found sound’ vocal mutterings, and the second track gets my back up because the anthemic drum sample that kicks in after a minute doesn’t quite loop properly, but somewhere during the third track, the three-part Zobione, the album starts to make more sense, and rises above mere unobtrusive pleasant-enough background music to become something genuinely worth listening to. There’s all sorts of stuff going on, from glitchy cut up urgency reminiscent of Magnétophone, to gently strummed acoustic singer-songwritery, to the kind of cinematic synth swathes and downtempo rhythm previously found on B12/Black Dog/Artificial Intelligence era Warp or Apollo Records, with those shimmery, delayed guitars-played-like-mandolins never too far out of reach. The album ends, and I actually feel like I’ve been somewhere. A good effort, and certainly worth investigating if you want a satisfying, late-night, immersive experience. Really nice artwork, too!

Resonant Recordings

PUFFINBOY – Make Motion Matter (Foolproof Projects)

Posted: September 9th, 2005, by Alex McChesney

“Glitch, new-wave, playfulness, art-school, analogue synths, spoken vocals, computer burbles and real drums.”

The first couple of times through this album, all I was left with was a tiny collection of applicable mini-phrases, but no real sense of what the record was actually like. You can’t really describe something as guitar-based and beat-heavy as this as “ambient”, but it’s an effective description of how it slips past you without leaving much of a mark, as though the record’s reasonably dense textures are constructed from some new space-material that looks solid but is hard to get a grip on.

Most of the songs on “Make Motion Matter” establish a groove early on and then are content to riff away on it, hypnotically, until running out of steam. “Lost in Location”, for example, being an hallucinogenic spiral of overlapping spoken-word vocals and angular guitar that barely changes throughout its five-minute-plus length, while the title track nods at the current DFA-led nu-disco-punk fad, but in keeping with the rest of the album the increase in intensity that normally justifies an eight-and-a-half-minute disco tune is glacial.

But while the album may lack cheap thrills, it’s never trite, clearly isn’t desperate for your approval, and finishes before it exhausts its welcome. A pleasant musical palette-cleanser between more substantial courses, then.

Foolproof Projects

CHARLOTTEFIELD – How Long Are You Staying – (Jonson Family)

Posted: September 8th, 2005, by Fraser Campbell

“I want this one back if at all possible.” said Marceline as she handed the CD over to me.

“What If I like it?” I replied.

“I’m pretty much prepared to fight you for it.” came the ominous reply.


I put it on, not sure if it would all end in violence.

And it’s brilliant, just a joy to listen to. I’m not going to compare them to anyone or draw comparisons as I’m want to do. Suffice to say this is jaggy, melodic, dramatic and as energetic and life affirming as anything you’ll have heard in a long time.

It’s just such a pleasure to sit back and enjoy a perfectly balanced band ripping it out, track after track.

If Marceline does want this back she IS going to have to fight me. That’s how good this album is.

Getting a copy is worth taking an ass-kicking from a girl.



Posted: September 8th, 2005, by Fraser Campbell

I’ll come out with what I don’t like about this record straight off. On a couple of tracks, there is some plinky-plonky, clean strat-style guitar that kind of sets my teeth on edge.

And that’s about it. Other than that, this is a very good, occassionally great collection of taut, stripped down country numbers.

Apart from some excellent songs, Lee’s great strength is his voice, half Layne Staley growl, half Neil Diamond melodrama, which he couples with a sharp instinct towards presenting his work in as uncluttered a fashion as possible.

It’s a good formula. The spartan production values allow both his soaring voice and deceptivley graceful songs to come to the fore.

Miles displays some fairly obvious singer/songwriter influences here, most notably on “Cold Wind Blowin'”, which borrows heavily (and knowingly) from Dylan’s “Isis”.

But there are signs here that Miles could develop into a genuinely significant songwriter, with cracking tracks like “My Protector My Punisher”, “Canned and Jarred”, “Mrs James” and “Mama They Made Me Beg” leading the line.

I’m a huge fan of Kris Kristofferson’s early records and that’s who Lee Miles reminds me of the most, a little less pithy maybe with a little bit further to go. On this evidence, I’m pretty confident he’ll get there sooner rather than later.

Lee Miles

Name That Tune

Posted: September 7th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

Today I unearthed an old cassette marked only with the words ‘John Peel’, scrawled hormonally in teen-angst biro on one side. Side A, it transpires, is taken up with Mudhoney’s Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge. Side B, the ‘John Peel’ side, is a compilation of stuff I taped off the radio. So, we open up with Mercury Rev’s Trickle Down, then there’s some Unsane, some Jacob’s Mouse, Pitchshifter’s (A Higher Form Of) Killing, a bit of Verve, all of which timestamps this at round about mid to late 1993. But – there are three tracks on there that I have no idea who they are, and I’m very very keen to find out. This is where you lot come in. Listen to the following, and tell me please, who the hell are these people? I need to hear more. Especially Track 1, which is awesome.

Track 1 | That Was Really Funny by Gag.
Track 2 | Indie-rock hopefuls Unwound, apparently.
Track 3 | Slightly ponderous, sludgy, with histrionic megaphone vocals.

THE POPE – The Jazzman Cometh (Wäntage USA)

Posted: September 7th, 2005, by Simon Minter

I’m not on the payroll for Wäntage USA, in case my continual reviewing of their releases seems suspicious. They just keep releasing stuff that I want to give some wider exposure. Anyway. This five-track, thirteen-minute CD sounds like it was recorded five hundred miles underground in a lava-filled bunker. To strip The Pope down (no religion-baiting pun intended) would be to reveal, maybe, a pretty average hard rockin’ grunge outfit. They have pounding drums, riffs emerging out of sludgey, overdriven guitar lines, and yelping, tortured lyrics. What gives them their edge – on this recording, at least – is the incredible noise they’ve piled on top of everything. It’s all feedback, grime and intensity. I’d be interested to see the more Wolf Eyes-like direction they edge towards with some more abstract mid-song passages, but then again, I’d be interested to see them continue to batter the hell out of music, existing in their own peculiar fuzzy pit.

Wäntage USA
The Pope

Richard Youngs’ Garden Of Stones

Posted: September 5th, 2005, by Simon Proffitt

If you haven’t yet done so, get yourself over to The Wire and download Richard Youngs’ previously super-limited CD-R Garden Of Stones. Wow wow wow. It’s knickers-wettingly wonderful. If this isn’t top of the diskant Audioscrobbler chart next week, there’ll be some difficult and searching questions to answer. Go now!

diskant charts!

Posted: September 5th, 2005, by Marceline Smith

Hurray, we finally got our group quota on Audioscrobbler a couple of weeks back so you can now view our weekly charts of top artists and tunes. I’m not entirely sure what kind of maths they use to calculate these charts (I assume how many of us are listening to the same stuff) but it’s as wilfully non-overlapping as usual. I’m sure this can only get more exciting as the weeks progress…