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Archive for April, 2007

THE WIRE ORCHESTRA – Futuristic Hymns & Broken Down Gospels Vol. 1 (CD, MT6 Records)

Posted: April 28th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Ten tracks of bizarre, semi-electronic strangeness from this mysterious outfit who sound like they’re improvising under the influence of a furious combination of amphetamines and hallucinogenics. Apparently this CD is the result of many hours of freeform experiment, subsequently chopped down – but not overdubbed or remixed – to form these ‘songs’.

Initially this makes me think of the band in Driller Killer – confrontationally strange, whacked-out punks hammering relentlessly away at some kind of groove, with yelped vocals echoing all over the resultant mess. The music is made with, in the main, a standard instrumentation of drums, bass and guitars, but augmented with electronic swoops and glitches, trumpet, turntable noise and a rich variety of effects.

By the fourth or fifth track, it becomes clear that The Wire Orchestra are mainly about rhythm – either in the form of syncopated drum patterns, vaguely funk-driven basslines or super-repetitive guitar lines. This makes me line them up along with bands like Silver Apples, Can, early Soft Machine or This Heat!: standard pop music dissected and repeated into a form that’s highly experimental yet strangely approachable.

Like Sunburned Hand Of The Man or Vibracathedral Orchestra in spirit more than in sound, The Wire Orchestra seem to happily exist within the moment of their own tunes. It’s not consistently successful or even – at times – musical, but there are many moments on this CD where things lock in to something primal – a fuzz bassline, or an alignment of instruments into pure rhythm. For these moments alone, I can happily listen to these tracks over and over.

MT6 Records

I don’t have time for fannying around.

Posted: April 28th, 2007, by Pascal Ansell


George Bush, dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnnM4C7q_zA&mode=related&search=

Boris Yeltsin (RIP) smashed, dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5FIoocja4k

Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush, dancing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYZre8kEsuw

Thanks a lot.

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – April 26th

Posted: April 26th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Well, I seem to have finally recovered from my illness and I’m now getting quite enthused about the diskant redesign. Simon has the unenviable task of recoding the entire site while I am sitting here like an Overlord coming up with ideas. New things that look likely include a news page (for both diskant news and out there in the real world news), a film blog and some kind of exciting events page. If you’d like to help out with diskant either as a writer/reviewer or with things like news, events and links then do get in touch. We’d also still like an official diskant Geek at some point for when our technical abilities fail us.

>Otherwise, things carry on as normal. I’m busy crafting away for another Miso Funky Market in Glasgow on May 12th and have just purchased a Japanese gocco printing machine which I’m extremely excited about. I’ve also booked my holiday to Tokyo for this October and I’m so excited I’m not sure I can wait another 6 months for it to happen. Before then, the diskant massive will be taking a trip to Birmingham in July for Supersonic (and a Botanic Gardens jaunt, hopefully). If you’re off to ATP these next weekends have fun and let us know how you get on, especially if all the queuing problems have been sorted out. I hope you get some sunshine so you can report back on Minehead beach, it not being at its best in December.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to help us figure out The Future of diskant then do fill out the DISKANT READER SURVEY. We really appreciate your feedback. It only takes a few minutes and there’s a great prize on offer!

Current listening: Girls Aloud, Margaret Berger, Tortoise, Trans Am, Findo Gask.

Aspects of gallic folk cocktail doom

Posted: April 16th, 2007, by Chris Summerlin

Deep space gloomp and wind-tortured drone-silence. A total purging of the nervous system in four iron-clad movements populated by machine gun phase, rib-throbbing microphone feedback, whole orchestras of alarm codes and the kind of sensory blitzkreig that brings to mind Lester Bangs on LSD and Metal Machine Music dominated by ludicrously monolithic psychedelic guitar gravities and blow after blow of tone-fractured bass groan reigning down through a maze of fuzz and contemporary noise muscle that comes in splattered sprayed case with insert artwork by French… totally sick. Hand numbered edition of 35 induces foul heart exploding spasms dominated by ludicrously monolithic psychedelic guitar gravities.
First side is a wheezing grunt through spliced and glued shards of rock noise, B-side is a beautiful dart shot straight through the heart of Aerosmith. They fucking deserve searchlights probing deep beneath walls of flesh while expressway trains hum and sing in your veins and huge steel jaws draw protesting blood straight from the air threaten to dissolve into luminous feathers of breath and flatten themselves against the sky. Very beautiful. On shrimp coloured vinyl.
Oppressive levels of amplifier torture given the shape of massive raptor blades via the psychedelic application of ribbons of reverb and fuzz “recorded through a refrigerator and toaster oven”. Combines monstrously degraded post-NWW chance electronics with an extreme Godz/Hijokaidan approach to free clatter and an almost autistic relationship to smeared noise detail.
Honey comb like fly visions slow motion ascent flying into a candle moving into thin beams of flickering steel-filed brain-drilling that matches tiny ECG eruptions with the chatter of instant mechanical sculptures with individual pockets of time that are so mutually incompatible that you feel your mind peeling apart in an octopus of directions.
Growing out of the motorik clank of knuckles rapping on a giant disintegrating metal structure, contact mics are thrust head first into the gut of a gurgling furnace, reporting back whole macro-systems of unknown tonal potential. Waves of amplified insect tongue swarm around bass frequencies bloodier than an exhibition of glistening abattoir victims, while disembodied palms hover over hot-wired theremins like phantom faith healers. The side unravels into a slow motion wheeze of bronchial electronics offset against lightening flashes of degraded walkman rewind that sounds like ticker-tape electronic SOS voices broadcasting from fleets of submarines lost somewhere beneath the ice and elbows of pure aural threat. This is ambitious, florid psych that should please anyone who digs the more dramatic UK sugarcube moments as much as the more enjoyably complex Euro prog shit. And if that ain’t you, who the fuck is it? All sounds generated using an epilator designed for removing leg hair, albeit with the source sonics manipulated to new depths of infernal dreamtone. Sounds great.
High-energy acrobatics with guttural, devolved beast talk that has as much to do with Link Wray, Hasil Adkins and The Legendary Stardust Cowboy as it does Marion Brown, Han Bennink and Alan Silva. Features “The Physical Brain As The Tomb Of The Ancient Clairvoyance” and peaks at a whole new level of barbarous sludge with what sounds like a fleet of electric razors burying steel raptors in six feet of concrete while the Angus MacLise Orkestra play pre-Lapsarian Morse codes on a handbuilt steel drum containers and whole choirs of ghosts sing madrigals somewhere just over the horizon where hypnotic vapour trails of solo synth dissolve like tiny coronas of smoke in a way that feels as ancient and otherwordly as the earliest of scientific Americans, with a sci-fi dance-of-the-Pleiades feel and the kind of soft, mushroomy, organic logic that makes you wanna wrap it around your ears and sink straight to the bottom. Highest recommendation: strap this fucker on and get gone.
Huge lungs of void cut up with diamonds of percussion and lone metal tone in classic globe-gobbling style weed-damaged monolithic free rock blare, post-Blue Humans strings/drum-think in studded leather mittens and stained Bob Marley shirts. Who the fuck would’ve believed it? Another killing side from this devastating free rock monster. Very limited.
Head harvesting.
Unrelentingly heavy on the high end; electrified dog whistle shocks are intersected by explosions of enraptured primal balling and drum machines collapsing due to their own sheer animal urgency. Locomotive bolts of damaged FX discharge from makeshift mixing desks birth slow drugged processionals that sound like huge butterfly wraiths coiling slowly around your spine, phased drone-spikes that mirror the sun coming up on a field-full of stop-motion poppies and some beautifully wasted testimony-to-oblivion arcs of rotor drone, shadowy bursts of non-specific machine friction and what sounds like a fleet of iron lungs sailing lonesome through an infinity of NWW-styled cold dark space: the first in a projected series and features a side of distressed solo vocal murk that crosses distraught wordless codes with loops of desiccated tongue and a side of solo guitar that sounds like a sky-full of cathedral organs.
Limbs forced deep into the kinda bastions of freedom associated with a buncha exclusive outside music streams like psych rock, hardcore grunt, primitive field blather and – of course – fire music and beyond looped metal teeth tearing tiny holes in saturated analogue tape to the sound of raw circuitry invaded by light and flesh.
Packaged in a hand-sewn and hand-stamped onionskin sack with insert.

Gringo Records 10th Anniversary Spectacular

Posted: April 15th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Finally confirmed and pretty darn exciting! In full:

2007 is Gringo’s 10th anniversary year. Although the exact date of birth is of some debate. Some argue that as the future leaders of Gringo met on 21st October 1996 at a Urusei Yatsura / Eska gig, this was Gringo’s conceptual birth. However, I prefer to take the birth date as 9 June 1997 when we picked our first release from the pressing plant and then drove all the way to Norwich to see Mogwai and Navigator. Heady days.

So, 9 June 2007 it is. A big party is being organised in Nottingham, with Gringo stars past and present, poppers and streamers, that sort of thing.

Gringo Records and Damn You! present…

Saturday 9th June, early start
The Art Organisation, 21 Station Street, Nottingham [map]
£7adv [buy ticket]

+ possibly more tbc

More info at Gringo

BRIDGET HAYDEN – The Night’s Veins (CD, self-released)

Posted: April 15th, 2007, by Simon Minter

This five-track, 36-minute collection from Vibracathedral Orchestra’s Bridget Hayden is something of an aural companion to the scrawled, handmade dream diaries to be found on her website. It’s random, messy and hints at hidden messages and meanings behind a childlike scribble of ideas.

‘My steel game’ opens proceedings like a distorted, spliced-up blues jam – subtly-treated stabs of fretboard exploration butting up against fuzzy, wandering low-register notes, before opening out into layers of drone and broken-up noise. The effect is disorienting, especially when the first snippets of speeded-up tape (later to return throughout the CD) are thrown into the mix. ‘They’ve sent me to a trust Assylum’ is more of the same, albeit in a heavier, more aggressive-sounding form, with thick slabs of fuzztone and screech underpinning the sound.

‘Your heart is your thumb’s usher’ switches mood to something akin to the Eraserhead soundtrack – odd, humanistic wails and childlike melodies floating above smeared, distorted sheets of sound. It segues into ‘Cracked open’, which is a lighter, super-high-tone take on the same components, before abruptly turning into the nineteen-minute finisher ‘Do I have to speak in heat?’. This final piece takes its time to grow, beginning with eight minutes of churning, low-key feedback and echo before drifting off into a stack of speaker hums, tones and supernatural voices before gradually eating itself into a dense finishing point, reintroducing the tape snippets from earlier on and ultimately dissolving into a mess of guitar.

This is pretty opaque stuff – there’s not much in the way of melody, strict rhythm or convention to guide the listener along. However, the intimacy of the home recordings, reflected in the homemade tissue paper and paint envelope it’s packaged in, is charming and intriguing. As an exercise in feedback and guitar manipulation, or perhaps the earlier-mentioned aural manifestation of dreams, it’s very effective.

Bridget Hayden
Buy the CD at Volcanic Tongue

From the desk of the diskant Overlord – April 14th

Posted: April 14th, 2007, by Marceline Smith

Trust me to welcome the arrival of Summer with my first proper illness in literally years. I have been sadly bedridden this week and have missed out on much, not to mention being too ill to actually make any use of not being at work. Since I famously have no concept of relaxation, this has been very difficult for me. It may also account for any delay you’ve experienced in contacting us. Sorry about that!

If you are extremely eagle-eyed (or particularly nerdy), you may have noticed that things are a-changing here at diskant. We have actually completely recoded the homepage but so well that it looks exactly like the old one, hah! It should be a lot quicker, more stable and easier to work with now. We are (slowly) working on the rest of the site and once these behind the scenes changes are complete, we will push on with plans for additions and improvements that will be more obvious. Simon Minter has been doing the bulk of the code changes and it’s been an enormous weight off my mind after nine years of being the sole coder at diskant. We are still looking for some geek help though so if you know anything about PHP, RSS, XML etc. please do get in touch.

Don’t forget, if you’d like to help us figure out The Future of diskant then do fill out the DISKANT READER SURVEY. We really appreciate your feedback. It only takes a few minutes and there’s a great prize on offer!

Current listening: bis, Deerhoof, Huggy Bear, Tortoise, Trans Am, Errors, Findo Gask.


Posted: April 12th, 2007, by Chris Summerlin

American author Kurt Vonnegut died yesterday aged 84.
I don’t read that many books because I have the same problem with them as I do with a lot of films: by their nature and the length of time it takes to ‘consume’ one, there is inevitably a certain amount of flab, or filler to wade through. I don’t like being reminded that I need to be more busy and books and films usually have this unfortunate effect on me. I suppose it’s hard to make everything count in something that takes so long to experience.
This is why Kurt Vonnegut is my favourite author. I always feel I’m wasting my time when I stop reading his books (or looking at his drawings). He had a way with the most minimal amount of words of conveying something staggeringly huge. Indescribable even. So it works better to approach the subject from a different angle, to suggest the reader thinks of it exactly how they want to, safe in the knowledge that if the reader engages with it then their own interpretation cannot be anything less than perfect.
Someone once said that there is no humour without cruelty, or that there is no such thing as victim-less humour. It’s true. Vonnegut is the only author who can make me laugh out loud reading a book about the bombing of Dresden in WWII. Alongside James Baldwin, he is also the only author that has made me re-read pages of a book as I go along because I thought they were so good.
His style of writing, with it’s cross referencing of characters, self awareness and the brilliant touch of adding his own drawings into the text, sounds uninviting perhaps if you’ve never read him before. Like some knowing, post-modern nightmare. Nothing could be further from the truth, Vonnegut was a supreme humanist. The inevitable tradegy of human life and the absurdity of it all versus the ways of dealing with it and dealing with your fellow humans.
He would have made a good president.
Like John Fahey I can now begin the period of regretting that I never met him and didn’t buy one of his paintings when they were cheap.
So it goes.

New Queens of the Stone Age album

Posted: April 8th, 2007, by Simon Minter

Here is some fun footage of QOTSA working on their new album Era Vulgaris. And here’s the track list:

01. Turning on the Screw
02. Sick, Sick, Sick
03. I’m Designer
04. Into the Hollow
05. Misfit Love
06. Battery Acid
07. Make It Wit Chu
08. 3’s & 7’s
09. Suture Up Your Future
10. River in the Road
11. Run Pig Run

Isn’t that nice. I hope all of the songs use the synth sound featured in that footage, as it’s a good sound.

VARIOUS – All Apologies (CD, Universal Japan)

Posted: April 7th, 2007, by JGRAM

In theory this is the dream ticket for me – Nirvana songs as covered by Japanese rock (J-rock) bands! In theory it is. I was not sure when specifically this compilation came (being an accidental Soulseek find) but the results are most definitely something interesting, if not exactly as desired. Fortunately as most Nirvana cover versions tend to be metalised abortions of classic songs, these versions actually appear to tap into spirit of the band. And dare I mention that I had never noticed before the sheer amount of words Kurt Cobain used beginning with the letters “L” and/or “R”, causing in these examples often several unintentional cultural quirks (eg “Lape Me” anybody?)

It all begins really well with a storming cover of “All Apologies” by Lunkhead, not too dissimilar to the original musically if I am honest but with bass sound several times more brooding than Krist Novoselic was ever allowed. The real early treat comes in the sheer enthusiasm of Mo’some Tonebender’s version of “Very Ape” in which they repeat another chorus adding another third to the song just because you sense they are enjoying playing so much. As mentioned above, the sting of “Rape Me” is taken out of the song as a lady sounding like Lydia Lunch in lounge mode in the guise of detroit7 inadvertently renames the song “Lape Me”.

The more experimental side of proceedings provide the most joys as HIGE’s demented attempt at “Scentless Apprentice” sounds akin to a countrified, delta blues Ween might call a cover version. Semi Shigure manage to whip “Molly’s Lips” into an even poppier state akin to the Lilys before B-Dash sing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in a far too upbeat manner dragging it into Lemonheads and Mega City Four territory. And the less said about Yoshii Kazya turning “Polly” into “Porry” the better.

In a happy turn of events Miyavi ends the record with perhaps the best tribute of the batch as he chips in with a speedy, acoustic version of “Blew” in a pleasingly gruff and gravely manner.

Something of a strange concept but ultimately a very fun reality, this is key example and reminder of how much meaning and energy were in the songs of Kurt Cobain and just how many hidden gems there are tucked away on Soulseek (and other file sharing sites) that would otherwise go unheard by a genuinely appreciative and subtly baying enthusiastic audience.

Thesaurus moment: omoshiromi.

CD Japan