Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Do You Remember The First Time?

I have just been sent the above photograph. It is a picture of E.S.P. Disk-rd live at The Punch & Judy Bar, Newark Palace Theatre, December 7 1980.
The chap with a certain savoir faire and the dress sense of Mark E. Smith playing the bass guitar is me. I find this very hard to believe....I never wore jeans!
This was my first gig. I thought I remembered it well but if you told me that I was wearing jeans as first trouse of choice I would have called you a liar! I always wore corduroy! It was also the time where we had the decency to leave our drinks at the side of the stage. if it had been a gig now the table with the synth keyboard would also act as the "drinks table".
We played as part of the "1980: Waking Up Newark" festival organised by local musician John Bingham and the man behind the Newark & Southwell fanzine "Cautious Talk Seduces Young Children" fanzine; Tim Bop. (Not real name). We got the gig by mailing a demo tape to "Cautious Talk" or "Catsick" as it was known back then...thinking back, they must've been short of bands. I also recommended Lincoln band The Void and they got the headline spot on the night. Apart from ourselves and The Void, there was D+7 (John Bingham's band), Passive Resistance and Subway Razor. Later (in the 1980's) members of the latter two became O Yuki Conjugate. I think the only reason The Void got the headline spot was because they could do the longest set. Ours was 10 minutes. 3 songs = 10 minutes. We were booked as, and billed as "So Commercial", but between booking and performing we had changed our name to E.S.P. Disk-rd.
It was our first and last gig with Rosemary on synth keyboard, she later went onto join The Void for a few gigs. We were asked to play the "1981: Waking Up Nottingham" festival at The Ad Lib Club a few months later but we declined.

I love the picture. It is so 1970's (although it is 1980)! Brown curtains, old beer glasses, nicotine stained ceiling tiles. Beautiful.
I wish I had a recording from the gig. 10 years ago I met John Bingham again. he was working as a barman in a pub near the theatre. He didn't say much. Infact he seemed a little freaked by Dave and I hassling him for memories and recordings...poor bloke, he's probably left the country by now!

Picture: E.S.P. Disk-rd Live. (L-R: Steve Cammack - Bass. Dave Uden - Drums. Rosemary Ingleton - Synthesizer).

The Cortinas

The word went out a couple of weeks ago. There was to be, for the first time ever, a compact disc of The Cortinas singles, album and Peel Session release. Hard to believe that no-one had thought to put all the recordings on to one CD before, but there y'go. Excitement reigned...well me and Steve Underwood were happy. And the 29th of November saw the official release. I found a copy on the internet for £4.50.
As a youth I loved The Cortinas. Never saw them live, never had the first LP but the first two singles are classics. They are here on the CD, tracks 1-4. Classics. My favourite being "Defiant Pose". Teenage anthem for 1978. I remember buying it on 12" format from a great record shop in St. Austell in 1978 whilst holidaying in Cornwall. I've always remembered where and when I bought the classics.
As a youth I "suppose" I liked "punk rock", although I was never a fan of the "biggies" like Sex Pistols or The Clash or Buzzcocks. I liked The Damned for a couple of LP's and The Jam had a few good hard chord songs, above all I liked The Stranglers up until and including their "Black And White" LP. I went more for the independent single, the stuff John Peel was playing the most and was 10p cheaper in the singles bin on Sanctuary Records (Lincoln) counter. Stuff like The Cortinas, Eater, Cyanide, The DP's, Menace, Outsiders etc along with steadfast labels like Rough Trade and Factory and Fast Product - that was my stuff.
After the single tracks comes the Peel Session. Quite weak apart from the two tracks that were the single "A" sides. The album follows. I hadn't heard the LP since 1980. I never owned a copy. A friend (Mark Collins) bought it and on first listen we declared it crap! Listening to it now 30 years later (and thirty years older) it still sounds pretty crap. Very weak and the songs have not stood the test of time. Unlike, say, The DP's "If You Know What I Mean" LP or Eater "The Album". I think the problem with The Cortinas is that they only had 5 and a half good songs and an album that only featured one and a half of them.
The booklet notes are a good read and really it is about time some person took it upon themsleves to write a book about the Bristol Music Scene in the late 1970's, early 1980's akin to the Sheffield tome "Beats Working For A Living", there were some great innovative groups / labels around then. (It has a "Where Are They Now" section (which I love) and Nick Sheppard is a DJ in Perth, Australia. Tim..hunt the man down)!! The booklet kind of alludes to the band running out of steam when they signed to CBS, but the songs on the LP are really bad. What it reminds me of is......there must have been an interim when The Leyton Buzzards became Modern Romance. They must have had some tracks/songs and thought...these don't really work as high energy punk tunes, why don't we try and add a salsa or rhumba beat and lighten the guitars, and then thought sod it - let's change our name and go all out pop. Well, The Cortinas LP is like The Leyton Buzzards in their interim period!

I was in Toulouse in 2006 where I found a lovely little second hand vinyl shop, and I found (for 10 Euro) a copy of the "Heartache" 7". I had to buy it. B Side is their classic "Ask Mr Waverly". And if you are wondering, the half decent track is "Radio Rape" (which could have been a DP's song if you ask me).
The CD is a good document of a band with five and half decent songs who after one LP had the decency to call it a day...how many albums did The "bloody" Clash make? (whatever the number it was, it was that number too many). If seen for a fiver and you know of The Cortinas I say "buy it".

1: CD Sleeve.
2: The Cortinas Live in Bristol.
3: "Heartache" Sleeve. (10 Euro)!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Mark Durgan With Spoils & Relics

After witnessing the live performance of Mark Durgan with Spoils & Relics at the Lowest Form Of Music Weekend last month in London I was all questions to whether or not the set had been recorded for future release, then somebody commented that the set was better than the cassette release on Mantile. What! How did that one slip through the radar?
I managed to get in touch with Mantile MD and future sound of Plaistow Johnny Scarr through the My Space site....but it took a while...should have gone straight to the "official" Mantile site. Doh, the glory of hindsight. The cassette was with me within days. Great service,
So, is it better than the live set in London? The live set in London came straight out of leftfield. It was loud, bloody loud as sounds came out of the speakers arched around the ceiling, brought their own silence and hung there waiting to be used. Scratching sounds, irritant sounds, tense sounds. It was not worth watching the performance (they played in front of the stage and were virtually invisible) to see how these sounds/noises were created, that would have been too much of a distraction. I stood rooted at the back staring at the ceiling.
So, is it better? No. But it is a nice companion - played as memory.
I am not at all au fait with this genre of sound. Musique Concret. School of Stockhausen etc. I did see Alvin Lucier live in Exeter a few years back (strangely enough with Mark Durgan) and that too was simply amazing. I have Mark Durgan solo releases, but they don't sound like this. I have a Spoils & Relics split LP (on Harbinger Sound) but it had an empty feel....together they make a beautiful noise. Closest comparison ("music" wise)? Das Synthetische Mischgewebe on side A. Side B (there are no track titles) brought to mind 1970's Smegma and The Residents...there was something more cognitive about it all.
Johnny put in an extra Spoils & Relics cassette, saving that for the weekend.
£6.00 in the UK. Bargain. BUY!

1: Mark Durgan With Spoils & Relics sleeve.

Thursday, 25 November 2010


95% of what I read is "music" based whether it be autobiogs, biogs, critiques, genre based books (like Alex Ogg's "No More Heroes" or Ian Glasper's "The Day The Country Died") or simple information like the "Discography Of The New Wave" by B. George. Then there's the magazines, fanzines and small tracts. What makes up the other 5%? Well, there's always the "Radio Times" (weekly listings mag for those non UK readers) and recently some Lon Milo DuQuette, the Nocturnal Emissions "Network News" anthology and an Alan Davis (auto) biography of sorts. It was the mention of Nigel Ayers that drew my attention to "Antibothis:Occultural Anthology Volume 3" writings selected by Fernando Cerqueira.
"Antibothis" (No idea what it means) is a 138 page A5 paperback book with a memory of "Apocalypse Culture" or "Rapid Eye" books of old, but carrying more humour in the pages than any of those two publications, and a compilation CD.
Fascinating from page 1, and quite unputdownable from page 6! Chad Hensley writes about necrophiliacs in the piece "Dead Lays". The confessions of those who sleep with and fuck the dead, the ones who like to cuddle up with cold bodies, the ones who like a warm dead orifice to fuck. In America there are only a handful of States that treats necrophilia as an offence, in other Sates it is classed as "breaking and entering". Ewen Chardronnet writes about the use of drugs in warfare throughout the ages. Iona Miller has a great piece on Dr. Alexander Shuigin, the father of MDMA and his role in the Illuminati. Conspiracy theory abounds. John Zerzan on "Silence". Nigel Ayers piece "All Killer, No Filler" is random writing. Googling words at random and documenting what comes up. Reads like 21st Century cut-ups. Frank Rynne writes about his time with The Master Musicians Of Joujouka and the troubles with the opposing Musicians Of Joujouka that is operated by the Paul Bowles estate. (You see there was Mud, then there was Les Gray's Mud). The book finishes with writings by Adi + Jane Newton for TAGc.

The CD is very entertaining, containing stuff I would not (as a rule) usually listen to. Lydia Lunch & Phillipe Petit, Checkpoint 303, The Master Musicians Of Joujouka, Kal Cahoone and Orbit Service to name but 5 out of 12. There is a track called "The Denizens" by The Anti Group, I am uncertain whether or not this is a new + "exclusive" piece, but certainly one for the Adi Newton collectors. The CD (overall) has a feel of one of those compilations that come free with "The Wire" magazine. Good in parts but pants in others.

The magazine comes from Portugal and cost me fifteen euro (inc P+P to the UK), and I feel I have a treasurous bargain.
Well recommended.

1: Slogan Sticker.
2: Book Cover.
3: CD Cover.
4: Postcard.

Sleazy RIP.

Very sad to hear the news of the passing of Lord Peter Christopherson. His art and sound has been a great inspiration from my first hearing of Throbbing Gristle and discovering his work.
I consider my self blessed to have met the man and chatted (albeit) briefly when we shared the stage at last years Equinox Festival in London.

Thank You Peter.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

ACL/Schrage Musik

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the new 7" by Schrage Musik + AntiChildLeague, (ACL),
released on the Einsatz label earlier this month.
Schrage Musik (sorry, there should be an umlaut over the "a" in Schrage, but I don't know how to put it there on this computer) are a new one on me. It is the latest project from Patrick Leagas. I know Patrick was the original drummer for Death In June back in 1980, leaving in 1985...about the time DIJ went a little "pants", but I have never "followed" his output through 6th Comm and Mother Destruction. Probably because DIJ went off the boil a bit I thought Patrick's material would too....it's the way my mind works...add to that he was calling himself Patrick O'Kill (Or to give the full Irish name Patrick O'Killy Killy Killy Kill), made me give his work a miss. 2010 sees him finish with 6th Comm and start Schrage Musik (the sound of firing cannons or "obscure music" depending on which translation tool you use), and also teaming up with AntiChildLeague. "Eternity" is a good track. Very militaristic in rhythm with a vocal that is very similar to Adi Newton of Clock DVA. With a hook line of "I don't want to live for eternity" sang out over a steady beat it becaomes instantly likable + sing-a-long-able. Good stuff, I'd be tempted to hear a whole album.
Gaya Donadio and her AntiChildLeague can do no wrong. Like Nico, I just love her voice and vocal. The ACL track "III Me, Me, Me" is like a following on from last years "Big Fat Arse" 7". Self obsession is no bad thing especially when accompanied with a great synth keyboard "riff".
I saw AntiChildLeague live back in 1999 at The Red Rose in London and have followed the output of Gaya ever since, even asking her to contribute live vocals to a live performance of Dieter Muh "Stella Polaris" at the 291 Gallery in Hackney years back. I love her voice so much! (A shame that performance was never "properly" recorded..it would make a great release).
I saw AntiChildLeague live in 2008 at the Grovesnor in Stockwell, London..Excellent gig.

The 7" is limited to 300 copies and all copies are signed (don't know why)? Buy It!

1: ACL.
2: Schrage Musik.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Helm #2

Have just spent a pleasant week listening to Helm's 2007 cassette "Last Journey To Her Altar" on the Scottish Sick Head Tapes label. That's right, I said a week. Time at work now allows me to take in my own music (I don't mean Dieter Muh, but yes...some has been played) and blast it out and varying volume. This week I have been mainly listening to...The Pop Group, Nocturnal Emissions, Neu, Faust, Blood Axis, Borbounese Qualk, The Door And The Window and Bauhaus but always a daily play of Helm.
I recently got the Helm album "Optimism" (Trans-Dimensional Sushi Recordings 2007) and was not that taken with it, a shame after the vinyl LP "To An End". After hearing that I was desperate to get my hands and ears on the works of Luke Younger - I bought the split 7" with Family Battle Snake (Luke in his Birds Of Delay outfit) on Tome Records but that fell short of a decent listen/experience. (Problems with pressing)? So...I bought "Last Journey To Her Altar" as a kind of litmus test...if I thought it pants, then I shall leave Helm alone and wallow in one classic LP.
No need.
"Last Journey To Her Altar" is a C40. Two 20 minute journeys. Instrumention is hard to fathom. Side A brought the phrase: Keyboards assemble themselves at dawn to mind. Think TG's "Industrial Introduction" or "Damaru Sunrise" and we are along the right lines. Side A is very much an awakening, start of the journey, it builds in to this steady drone and leads us in to Side B. Whereas Side A has a begining, side B continues to build into this all consuming drone. A journey, again, what is actually being played is hard to fathom. Keyboards, synths, guitars? Sitting and listening whilst the autoclaves are burring and hissing and the distant traffic rushes along the Riviera Way this album is a beauty and has restored my "faith" in Helm/Luke Younger. When chance occurs I will buy more and encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

As Loud As Possible.

After the long wait, the tears and sweat of anticipation "As Loud As Possible #1" is with us. I picked up a copy in London last month and until a couple of days ago I have had my nose and eyes firmly stuck between the pages at every possible moment. I am a notoriously slow reader.
So. What is it like? It is the size of a "Sound Projector" or even "Progress Report" of old. Not pocket sized like "Special Interests", "Feral Debris" or "Terror" magazines. It is as big and hefty as it is definitive, authoritative and oraclatory (1).
To have a bad word against this magazine is like criticizing The Bible or The Koran or something, such is the high esteem and kudos ALAP has picked up since it's release. And pointless.
This (necessary) project has been a labour of love for it's editors (Steve Underwood & Chris Sienko) for the best part (to my knowledge) of three years. This is no rush job or badly researched and written tome. A benchmark has now been set for folk who are serious about "noise" / underground music......


I thought at first I would read ALAP as I would any magazine/book. i.e. from cover to cover (call me old fashioned), but after reading a few pages of "opinion" I started to skip paragraphs to find myself at an article called "The Politics Of HNW". At last I can say I now know what HNW stands for "Harsh Wall Noise" a genre within noise named by the Harsh Noise World".
"Here's another marketing ploy, typical girl meets the typical boy".
It was all getting a bit Wire-esque at this moment, so I skipped the Sewer Election piece (I only have one piece of Sewer Election, a track on the double cassette compilation "Krimkall" that Krimljud released in 2003 b.h.n.w. (2) ), and started to read what I was interested in....The Haters, followed by a piece on Alien Brains. Ahhh Alien Brains, a rare name from my dim and distant past and from the days that I used to write to people like Instant Automatons, Nag & Bendle and Richard Formby. DIY at it's grassy and rootiness. An excellent researched and beautifully informatively written piece by Steve Underwood. I know Steve and his love and passion for this oft ignored but at the same time fucking genius and better than owt else that was going around at the time music comes through in his writing. It is a joy to read. Cheapmachines gets a good hearing and I am looking forward to seeing Phil live in a few weeks time...my collection is pretty thin on his output...but I skipped pages to read the John Smith interview.
Back in the days before the internet (I know, it is hard to imagine isn't it) magazines like John Smith's "Interchange" were the ALAP of their day. Indispensable oracles and jammed packed with information on the bands/artists I wanted to listen to - or be listening to. Small adverts from bands about their tape releases etc got me to hear Seven Horns Da-Ho and Metgumbnerbone and I shall never forget paying for a Mmme Sadie cassette that never showed up. These things stick. I had an inkling John was Ward Phillips (I also thought he was a member of Soviet France...wrong there then), I have the double cassette compilation "Wolfsangel" that Nihilistic Recordings released in 1986. (Yeah...I'm on it too)! It is a fascinating read as is what follows; Thee definitive Putrefier interview by Steve Underwood.
By now (and a week or two in to immersing myself in the writings) I am whetting myself for the mammoth piece on the Broken Flag label. R+G piece looks interesting, later...Giffoni can wait (is he HNW)? I have to read the Broken Flag Story. The collation of research of this piece must have taken years. This piece is a book - a bloody book - it deserves to be a book. The whole Broken Flag story, it's agitants and participants needs the same "treatment" as say "Wreckers Of Civilisation" and/or "England's Hidden Reverse".
It was back in 1983 when I became aware of Broken Flag. Strange story. There was this chap who lived in a squat on the top floor of Charles Barry Crescent in Hulme, Manchester. His squat was the flat that later became "The Kitchen", but then (1983) this guy was just your average Hulme speed dealer. He dressed like a member of A Certain Ratio, Khaki shorts, Hawaiian Shirt - maybe even a whistle(?), I (and my friend Sean) used to like going about in black army drill. This chap approached us, asked us if we liked "Industrial" music. "Yes"! He invited us to his flat. He used to be in to noise stuff but was getting out of it (too dangerous), he was getting in to psychedelic surf sounds like "Pebbles" and "Nuggets" and The Seeds, Link Wray that kind of stuff so he gave us (Sean and I) some Come Org. Kata's and cassettes, some Consumer Electronic and Ramleh tapes. Sean and I split the goods, sniffed our goodbyes and went home to hear this "new" sound. I remember I got "Fur Ilse Koch" and "Live At Nailsea" tapes. Beautiful stuff. It was maybe then reading an "Interchange" that I found an address for BF, or perhaps I just wrote straight off - I can't remember that part. I kind of became disinterested in BF around the time of the Toll release (1986) and didn't really pick up again until the Ramleh "Grudge For Life" LP (I know, it's on Vis-A-Vis, but I'm talking about an interest in Ramleh and that lead me to buying BF tapes again), so to read about what went on in those intervening years is bloody fascinating and essential information.
Now somebody wants to do the same profiling on:
1: Sterile Records.
2: Hanson
3: Harbinger Sound.
It still makes me titter to think that 400 Blows were to be on the "Neuengamme" compilation, but got bumped. I now want the Vinyl On Demand Box Set! (And Steve, if you are reading this can you ask Tim Gane about his band Ingrid Slugs (3) and if he has any recordings, please)?

The sub culture of underground noise music, from a grass roots level, from the 1970's to this day desperately needs to be researched and written about. Sod TG, Cabs, Clock DVA etc they have had their tomes, it is about time the "real" meat was documented, the Broken Flag and Putrefier piece together prove this.

By now weeks have passed and so I skipped the "Classic Albums" section - apart from The Lemon Kittens, it is a bloody classic but I do prefer "The Big Dentist", and delved in to the reviews. Thanks Chris for the kind words on the Dieter Muh 7"EP, and honest opinion on the split release with Mnem. Whelmed is a great description, it's not a favourite of mine..but then again, I'm not on it! And if I'd only been a quicker reader I would have found out about Emaciator before buying a couple of his tapes....
Now ALAP is a dipping mag. Something to take to the toilet or flick through whilst spinning discs, playing tapes etc. Nothing wrong with that - all the best magazines have homes in the forakers.
Was it worth the wait? Yes! Even to wait longer and it still would have been worth it! Steve + Chris know their history, it shows and as of today when the greats like "Interchange", "Flowmotion", "Grok", "Industrial News", "N.D.", "Force Mental" are mentioned with saintly breath in the future "As Loud As Possible" will join that list.


(1): I made this word up.
(2): Before Harsh Wall Noise.
(3): Tim Gane's band that used to rehearse in The Carnifex Recordings HQ, William Kent Crescent, Hulme, Manchester 1985

1: Front Cover of "As Loud As Possible".

Sunday, 14 November 2010


Just spent a pleasant while listening to "Penal Harm" by Bestializer. A new C40 cassette release from the Sexkrime Arts label. This was my first hearing of Bestializer, the (almost) new project from Joakim Karlsson Kuren formerly known as Karmanjakan Intonarumori, Ju;X and former member of Survival Unit.
Joakim's releases as Karmanjakan Intonarumori were really the dog's bollocks in the mid-00's. His CDr "Vermin Vortex Futura" release in 2004 on the Karmanjakanintonarumoriprodukt label is a top 20 decade release. Low drone rumblings with lots of space and interesting vocal samples that looped throughout the tracks - like old school "industrial".
"Penal Harm" brings to mind electronics by Survival Unit ("Fentanyl Martyrs" is a must too), Genocide Organ and The Haters. A murky swamp of noise loops and hooks that drive along at great speed and power. Excellent stuff played loud. Despite the track listing the tape plays like two long tracks. Unforgiving, compelling and essential PE.
I've a couple more Bestializer cassette releases to get through...looking forward.
Contact Joakim and get a copy: jocke@mellow.net (It is that easy)....

1+2: "Penal Harm" Sleeve.


One of the highlights of the year has been the reimmersion (of sorts) of Onomatopoeia.
The UK label The 7.17 From West Wittering Is Late Again (perhaps the worst named label in operation at this moment in time) has re-released the 1997 cassette "Irrelevant" on vinyl format. I do not know if it is a straight cut from the tape release or a remix / remaster by Onomatopoeia but it is an excellent album, and if it is 13 years old...then it is a timeless classic.
5 Tracks that journey along a rumbling electronic drone track each one having a dominant instrument in the driving seat. Hunting Horn, Cymbal, Piccolo, Bass Guitar + Home-Made Zambomba. I don't know whether or not the release heralds a new phase of activity for Onomatopoeia or whether this is a one-off boot, like the recent factor X LP, or if the person or persons unknown behind the label is in fact Steve Fricker...my paypal monies went to a guy with a suspiciously Greek sounding name.
When in operation Cheeses International (home label for Onomatopoeia) was one of my favourite labels, with catalogues to rival any small noise fanzines review section. Journeys to London often meant a meeting up with Steve (and more often than not Mark Durgan + Steve Underwood as my visits to London would be for gig reasons only), finding a cheap pub and drinking ourselves in to oblivion...laughing all the way. I got drunk with Steve the first time I met him (at a Der Blutharsch gig at The Slimelight in 2001) and I was drunk the last time I met him (at a Con-Dom gig in Stockwell in 2008).
I only managed to see Onomatopoeia live on one occasion, the gig wasn't too clever either. On a cold winters night in Bristol Onomatopoeia played with Consumer Electronics, Grunt, Emil Beaulieau + Jessica Rylan. The evening was running hopelessly late and some folk had soundchecks and others didn't. I don't think Steve did and his box of noises and tricks seemed to betray him that night, resulting in Steve telling jokes and smashing glass on his fists. It was like when I saw Fad Gadget in 1984 at Manchester Hacienda in front of about 20 people..he smashed his guitar and ran in to a brick wall giving himself a nosebleed (+ perhaps a broken nose) all because his microphone and/or monitors weren't working. You had to feel sorry for the chap. Onomatopoeia in Bristol was like that + soon after Steve went completely off the radar. No response to E Mails and a cessation of Cheeses International.
Like I mentioned, I met Steve at a Con-Dom / Pain Nail gig in 2008 in The Grovesnor, Stockwell, and as I left, walking for the night bus to Tottenham Hale in the freezing winter fog so too did Steve disappear...no sightings since.

"Irrelevant" is limited to 300 copies. Each cover has a different sleeve - a small flag stuck to the cover, and in my mind is essential. BUY!

1: "Irrelevant" Flyer.
2: "Irrelevant" Sleeve. (Taken from Discogs site).
3: Steve Fricker at the bar, The Grovesnor, Stockwell. Winter 2008.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010


Had a couple of Emaciator tapes arrive today. Both from Los Angeles; packaged in one of those beautiful camel brown / golden sandy brown envelopes that the Americans have been posting lovely cassettes to me for years. Los Angeles to Torquay.
I was spurred on (intrigued) by a review of the Emaciator "Possessive" C30 tape on Hanson that appeared on the Dead Formats blogspot that I tried to find out more. First port of call is always Discogs (forget MySpace and Wikipedia) and there I saw a fine catalogue and tapes for sale. I went for the "Possessive" tape and "Merit"; a C15 tape released by New York based label Arbor back in 2007. The guy in L.A. was selling for mere pence at today's exchange rate. UK folk take note.
If I had not of read the Dead Formats review and just seen a tape on a table at a gig or in a shop like Second Layer I probably would not have given the name the time of day, it has that cheap U.S. noise type of sound to it, but I am always willing to learn. Emaciator is the project of Jonathan Borges, an American musician of many varied instruments and styles. Discogs lists a slew of projects he is or has been involved in but I put my hands up when I say I've heard of none of them. His description of Emaciator is Scum + Prog Rock!
"Merit" is a C15. Seven-A-Side. I love C15's. I used to buy them all the time in the 1980's. 1985, when I lived in Sheffield, there was a computer shop that opened selling Sinclair CX's and C15's. I bought by the bulk. Ideal for doing samples. The first release by The Streetcleaner on Carnifex Recordings was a C15. "Merit" is a C15 and therefore took priority. The sound of Emaciator has totally thrown me. Not What I Expected (great Crispy Ambulance song) at all. Side A: "Rue, For Widow" is multi-layered guitar chords through a variety of effects. I hear violins, I hear heavy keyboards, I hear voices crying in the aural fog all hidden in the curtain of guitar noise. For seven minutes I was taken in and lost. Great stuff (play loud). Side B: "Resilient Shadow" is a continuous Harmonia drone. Like the first second of a track by Nico or (what came in to my head) Ivor Cutler. Lovely. The playing took me back to when I first heard Boyd Rice and/or Lustmord and immediately I got into the layers of sound and the noises that were there swirling around and hiding within. A very personal sound as the person sat next you may or may not be hearing the same thing.
I've yet to play "Possessive", but I'm going to try and hunt down more Emaciator. Vinyl would be nice.

1: "Merit" Cassette Sleeve.
2: Jonathan Borges Live.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Burial Hex #3

Just spent a pleasant while listening to the latest 7" offering from Burial Hex. "The Tower" on the Swedish label Release The Bats. (Probably one of the worst named labels in operation at the moment). Limited to 100 copies, so act fast if you want a copy. Side A is a dark swirling electronic ritual. Very claustrophobic, very subterranean. Playing at 33rpm and stretching to seven or eight minutes, this cauldron of dark matter is created, visualised and experienced. This is "Ritual Music". Flip the disc, expecting more of the same (and by no stretch of the imagination would I be disappointed if there wasn't some continuing sound) and I am met with the sound of drum machine and a jazz style bass-line. The "Gothic" electronic swirl is still present, along with primal synth sound, but there's this jazz rock "freestyle" bass line - fingers exploring the fret board - and then there's a Wishbone Ash style guitar riff buried in the mix...This track - the B-Side is the title track took me by surprise and I love it. Continuous plays. Beautiful. In the ever growing saga of discovering Burial Hex this is a pivotal release...I shall carry on my search. I declare Clay Ruby a genius!

7" available from Release The Bats (www.releasethebats.com) : But hurry.

1: Burial Hex 7".


I have been living down here on The English Riviera now for a little over 8 years and I must admit I have only been to see staged plays at the local theatre three times. Well twice really because I went to see the same play twice! (The excellent "The Play What I Wrote").
Torquay doesn't really stage cutting edge theatre or get the stuff that I would pay money to go and see. "Spamalot" like "The Play What I Wrote" are rarities. Not surprising though as all the times I have been to see plays there the theatre has been only a third full whereas for the stand-up comedian Dara O'Brien ( whom I saw at the same theatre 4 nights earlier) was a sell-out. A shame, but what audience is there in an out of season decaying seaside town like Torquay? I would love to go the theatre more often but the Princess seems only to have stand-up comedians (Julian Clary, Mark Watson and the bloody awful Stephen K. Amos are all due over the next few weeks) and stuff like "Peppa Pig" or "Blood Brothers" or "Buddy" as stock and trade. I was quite tempted by last years pantomime as it starred Britt Ekland and to see an original cast member of "The Wicker Man" in the flesh would have amused me, but Tamsin took Oscar instead.
It may come as a surprise to some when I tell you that I am no stranger to treading the boards. Roar of the greasepaint, smell of the crowd and all that. I do have a B TEC ND in performing arts. My Erpingham in Joe Orton's "Erpingham Camp" had the audience in stitches I tell you, whilst my portrayal of Matthew Hopkins for a TIE production around the primary schools of North Yorkshire in "Vinegar Tom" had children crying! (I played him as an Irishman...I can't "do" Vincent Price).
So you see...I like the theatre.

Torquay Princess Theatre opened in 1961 with a gig by Tommy Cooper and Morecombe & Wise (oh to have been there that evening). It's a modern building with a policy that lets you take your pint in to the stalls to drink and watch...unlike Babbacombe Theatre (where I saw Tim Vine earlier in the year) which doesn't have a bar. (Visitors beware)! Sam Miguel on draft is £3.50 and a small bag o' nuts'll set you back a pound.
"Spamalot" appealed as I am an admirer of Monty Python, it is a programme I watched religiously in my youth along with the spin-offs "Fawlty Towers" (I know, set in Torquay) and "Rutland Weekend Television". "Spamalot" is basically the play of the film "Monty Python & The Holy Grail"..which is one of my favourite films. Not the funniest film yet made, I think that honour goes to "Blazing Saddles", but it is certainly up there. Top 10. For our tour we got James Gaddas as King Arthur (he was also the star of "The Play What I Wrote"...strange), a lass from "Emmerdale" as the lady in the lake and Todd Carty as Patsy...the Terry Gilliam role in the film.
Ever since I started "going to the theatre" back in the 1990's ( for my B TEC ND) it became an in-joke that at least one member of the cast would have appeared in "The Bill"...not really a competition with Todd Carty (former star of "The Bill").
The play is superb - funny...laugh out loud funny, the cast were very energetic in all song and dance routines, despite the very poor audience numbers, and if it comes to a theatre near you I recommend you go and see it, unless you don't like "Monty Python", then it is pretty pointless.

Afterwards (great song by Artery) at the bar I managed a quick chat and photo op. with the great & (must be said) humble Todd. Nice man.

1: Torquay Princess Theatre.
2: Flyer.
3: £34.00 Ticket!
4: The Merch' makes it back to Hartop Towers drinky shelf.
5: Todd and I at the bar.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Digitariat

There is certainly something to be said for time and place, or finding a sound to suit the surroundings. The Digitariat's album "Morgan Stanley Overdrive" on Luggage Records (Lug014) was something that arrived early summer (with some other fine Luggage Records stuff). I put it in the disc player and gave it a minute or two before filing it away in the box of CD's marked "A-N". (Yes I have a big box marked "A-N").

Now I have a new job. A new post within the hospital. I have my own room, a room where I am master of my surround. Good stuff. I have taken down all the previous owners collection of paper cuttings from the tabloids and dusted down the shelving and disposed of the crappy little radio that could only receive PALM FM and replaced it with a seriously loud portable CD/Cassette player. I work in the bowels of the hospital dealing with pathological samples, and strange substances...nobody likes to come near where I work because of the odour, which to me smells like over boiled magic mushrooms. A fine repellent.
So now I can take stuff to work and listen to it. The pile is ever growing (not a bad thing) and seeing that there's a Hunting Lodge triple album box set and a Pyramids five cassette box set thingy loitering in there, having the extra time now at work to play stuff is crucial. A few days ago I received the Dachise 7" "Sugar Path" on Tochnit Aleph...yet to spin, but I remember it from the time I shared a house with Mick McDaid and really liked it, then I met Paul D. (Dachise + The Digitariat protagonist last but one weekend ago) and I thought I would give The Digitariat album another go....so I took it work.

The Digitariat "Morgan Stanley Overdrive". 2010, Luggage Records. (Lug014). Completely black CDr, black is beautiful. I had to google who or what Morgan Stanley is. Turns out to be a global finance company. Hence the opening title "Credit & Debt". An opening salvo, a short sharp introduction. "Intimacy Problems" is the main piece of the album. Hard to describe. Chip & Pin (?). Electronic mischief, abstract composition. Noises, electronic noises gurgle, whistle and wheeze sometimes fart their way in and out of a tonal blanket...a monotone Casio note is ever present but hiding in there. This could be the work of a Scandinavian student of Stockhausen, some high art construct. To me (as I sat attentive listening whilst messing with tubs of Formalin) it was ideal, an ideal sound to work to. Prurients' "Cocaine Death" (the previous play) was too "angry".
I'm looking forward to hearing more The Digitariat, although I shall tread carefully as I remember the 2001 CDEP "I Created Over One Million New Jobs" on The Locus Of Assemblage being a poor slab of gabba junk.
Visit www.luggagerecords.co.uk there may be copies still available.

1: Sleeve of The Digitariat CDr "Morgan Stanley Overdrive".