Friday, August 28, 2009


A master class in hermetic art rock screwiness, Philippe Doray's debut album (his follow up Nouveaux Modes Industriels was posted by Jim ages ago) is one of the de rigeur mindfucks from as scene overrun with them, it's specific sickness emerging from a dimension that you could reference to the likes of Birge Gorge Shiroc, Heratius or Jean-Francois Papin, with artfully disjointed and spare arrangements full of squirrely vocals and chants and an abundance of Faust-ian surrealist charm discreetly mangled by savvy effects processing.
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Carving a uniquely idiosyncratic niche for itself,  the French Nato records imprint was, during it's 80's heyday ground zero for the zone where free improv began consorting with post punk art pop strategies and generalized genre disrupting malarky, much of it with a strong line in humor and irreverence, though their standing affection and recurrent homages to Henry Mancini and supper club piano jazz are certainly baffling enough. Amongst the freak fringe demimonde to be found at this nexus one could count the Toop/Beresford/Eastly/Day U.K. contingent responsible for General Strike/The 49 Americans/The Flying Lizards/Alterations, here running headlong into the wing of the French underground whose avant-rock-into-improv strategies descend from the May of '68 spirit of Red Noise, Mahogany Brain and Futura Records (read: Jac Berrocal, Jean-Francois Pauvros, Pierre Bastien Within those parameters, the contents of the epic length LP (32 odd minutes per side!) constitute a virtual state of the union and offers a compelling rebuke to those who think the torch of fringe innovation was at a low flicker during the mid to late 80's.

Track listing:

1. Steve Beresford/Terry Day/Deb'Bora-The Nato Calling
2. Louis Sclavis-Pour Memoire
3. Violeta Ferrer-Les Chats
4. Tony Coe-Les Bourgeons Du Temps
5. Annick Nozati/Fred van Hove-Complaisance
6. Michel Doneda/Phil Wachsmann/Benat Achiary-Au Magasin
7. Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky/Andre Jaume/Johannes Bauer-Pavane
8. Alan Hacker/Karen Evans-Sketches From a Bagpiper's Album "Salute"
9. Jean-Francois Pauvros/Arto Lindsay-La Pointe Aux Oies
10. The Melody Four-The Three Caballeros
11. The Recedents-Oiseau Pour Nato Et Chabada (Bon Appetit!)
12. British Summer Time Ends-Running Bear
13. Lol Coxhill-Grope
14. David Toop/Kazuko Hohki-Shin Shin
15. Gerard Siracusa-Drole D'Endroit Pour Regler Sa Montre
16. Kahondo Style-Floor Polish Tango Et The Mohel
17. Jac Berrocal-Pacific
18. Raymond Boni/Max Eastley -Art Moderna Cha Cha Cha
19. Denis Levaillant-Les Menteries Du Style
20. Daniel Deshays-Ma Blanche

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Damn fine Spanish fusion with a Nurse With Wound list pedigree and, to my ears, little or nothing to do with the work of their Spanish contemporaries, instead owing a significant debt to the airily relaxed Italian fusion model of Perigeo, Napoli Centrale or Duello Madre.  
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Wild, sprawling and very damaged sounding software fucked acid rock experimentation from this New Zealand one man band, who's also had his work issued by imprints like Foxglove and Celebrate/Psi/Phenomenon. Ambitious in its scope, this takes in aspects of everything from soupy Sunroof!-like swarming acid mesmerism to blearily cyclical grooves that seem distantly Seefeel related to spare finger-picking post-Fahey/Takoma acoustic meditations, all tempered by radiant veins of gossamer atmospherics rippling, trailing and decaying away.

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Maneuvering within somewhat similar R.I.O. parameters to those heard on the Zypressen album that I recent posted, the work on this Belgian unit's debut album is sublimely lovely chamber rock with a strong whiff of both Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic via the tight as a drum pointillistic/systemic arrangements and the aspect of late model Urban Sax and late model Art Zoyd that's focused around eerily chiming key themes, though with a pronounced counter tendency toward folkloric merriment of a vaguely East Euro stripe thats common to a lot of R.I.O and some fantastic sax work with overtones of ROVA styled hocketing call and response.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Following on from my post of this tremendous synthy post-punk unit's Happiness And Contempt EP from two years earlier, here's their absurdly rare follow-up, that interim having seen them subtly shift their sound from the Nash The Slash-like slant of their debut, supplanting that album's snarkily profane and somewhat more fun loving (if jaundiced) thrust with something that feels both more rockist and more emotionally visceral; a trashy post-Velvets edge fusing here with elements of early Ultravox, Tubeway Army and Dark Day, it's more raw and primitive recording quality actually quite befitting the other aesthetic choices made here, whether it was intentional or not.
Note: Included in this upload are an additional four live cuts (tracks 7-10) which were originally included by the band on a private CDR reissue of this EP. I'd initially decided against it's inclusion as there's a decent bit of line noise evident, but it felt stingy not to make it available if I'm sitting on it and others want it. Just understand that it's a wholly separate affair from the contents of the EP proper...

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Next to Spratleys Japs, The Sea Nymphs were the primary offshoot vehicle for Cardiacs' principal Tim Smith, here alongside fellow Cardiacs members Sarah Smith and William D. Drake. I stated in one of my previous posts of their tape material that I wanted to have Smith's baby, which should clue you to the degree of reverence I afford these cats (now horrifyingly laid low after he suffered a tragic and incapacitating stroke/heart attack combo last year). Alas, The Sea Nymphs received zilch in the way of distribution on this side of the pond and if anyone's madness deserves a wider airing, it's these resolute oddniks. All the Cardiacs' operatives, whether in solo mode or in these offshoot ensembles are deeply encoded with the DNA of the mothership, and The Sea Nymphs are no different. As was the case with Spratleys Japs, they dial back the histrionic stop/start cartoon pop/prog/punk aggression of The Cardiacs proper, though where Spratleys Japs light out for more structurally expansive and mellotron laden pastures, this is more off the compressed eccentric song form tip of Smith and Co.'s collective aesthetic, allowing the brilliance of his sui generis psychedelic song constructions to clearly reveal themselves, with sprightly sing song pop psych whimsy lacquered in a patina of syrupy grandiosity a mile deep and shot through with the visionary structural (il)logic that is the signature of this extended musical family.

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Another unimpeachable selection of synthetic distentions from this German electronic guru and founding member of Kluster, Eruption and Tangerine Dream, and despite this having been released during the same year that found him exploring some of his most constructivist material via his Con 3 album for Sky, this one's all pretty much lost in the ether, and it ever bubbly up there! Just two side long epics here, both epic bloop-fests and each subtly threaded with odd nagging sequences that that chatter away at right angles to the rest of the slurry.

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Featuring a line-up that some 17 years on reads like a who's who of the Cologne experimental electronic and electronica scene, this early aggregate featured the combined talents of Markus Schmickler (Pluramon, Wabi Sabi etc.), Sonig label avant gardists Hajsch and C-Schulz, Entenpfuhl label experimental electronic meisters Frank Dommert and Monika Westphal (who records as PFN) and A-Musik label/distribution head Georg Odijk. But what about the music? Drop dead stunning, and a clear roadmap for where this mob would be sonically heading in the coming years, perhaps most specifically for Schmickler. Comprising one vast and amorphous slab of approximately 38 minutes, the profoundly transportive and eerie ambience engendered stealthily evolves through veils of occult atmospherics ala Japanese psychedelic improv mystery movers Toho Sara before wandering into a fathoms deep tidal pool of isolationist atmospherics. Essential.

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The musical project of Sami Virtanen, brother of Finnish underground prime mover Keijo Virtanen and co-conspirator alongside him in Keijo And The Free Players, the material at hand departs somewhat from the wandering and vaguely processional free folk maneuvers of his principal concern, floating in as it does on an intuitive drift of Zoviet France-like cod ethno mulch and buried kosmiche key themes, but before long Elfin forrest folk heard through transistor radios and desynchronized loops of rough hewn improv clatter begin asserting themselves, the sum total sounding like a clash between Uton and Tomutonntu. It's all really commanding work, but unlike his prolific sibling, this eponymous gem has been all that Sami's seen fit to gift the world with under his own steam. A shame, as based on the evidence here, his touch is every bit as keenly attuned as Keijo's.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Silly me, I completely forgot that Mysteryposter had already posted all buy one of the first 99 copy LP Prescription series on his superb blog, which can be found Here

Thus, I'll only be upping the one that he doesn't have posted, i.e. Holy Angels, which will go up with my next round of posts.

Monday, August 10, 2009


The extraordinary second release by this semi-legendary Japanese underground troupe was this sprawling (and I do mean sprawling...there's well over 2 1/2 hours of music here) 3 LP boxset concurrently issued as a 3xCD set as well and it's without a doubt one of the cornerstone documents of Japanese outsider musical thought of the last 15 years. Spearheaded by longtime Japanese underground mover Tori Kudo, who emerged from the same Minor club environs as did Keiji Haino, Kousokuya and a good bit of the PSF-endorsed noise psych crowd, MHSB have latterly gained a goodly bit of exposure via releases on Pastels member Stephen McRobbie's Geographic label, collaborations with Bill Wells and a handful of well received international festival appearances. The approach of most western reviewers has been almost uniformly to celebrate MSHB as a wholly unprecedented phenomenon, something that those of you who've scoped out the work I've previously posted from both Pungo and Katra Turana will know just ain't so, both having set the stage for this sort of whimsical and wheezily askew theatrical rock fragmentation. Kudo's masterstroke was in mating this modality to a poignant and (for all their calculated "offness") flawless command of the syntax of garage-y West Coast psych, with a superficially naif Cornell box-like fragility morphing in a few wobbly bars into uncannily accurate approximations of the sorta fuzz psych bombers that could have been pulled straight from the grooves of a Nuggets comp. It's an aesthetic that sees no problem with integrating everything from delicately shaded Pascal Comelade-like miniatures to surf guitar and the limply pastel and winsome with sojourns into the sort of detuned circus-y quease that Tom Waits started getting at circa Frank's Wild Years, with off key tubas and euphoniums affably wheezing and parping away with all the earnest effort of a first year school orchestra.

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Best known for his work in Sun Dial, Gary Ramon and his Acme Records imprint have been flying the flag for advanced psychedelic musical thought under various guises for ages now and this epic set was evidently the third installment of his micro release subscription series on Acme, though I've neither seen nor heard a peep about a second (the first, an LP series in an edition of 99 copies will be coming soon). For those not in the know, Sun Dial were responsible for one of the three greatest psych albums of the 90's (at least of those not made by us...[ahem]...), "Other Way Out". The material collected here from Sun Dial and a series of satellite units was issued on CDR in an edition of a mere 66 copies and covers a goodly bit of material that was gathering dust on his shelves. I posted the vinyl debut of Ramon's side project Quad a while back (a true mindbomb, that!), and it's Quad that initiates the series at hand here, so...taking it one by one:

Disc 1: QUAD-LIVE ICA 1991
less ethno (no sitars this time out) and more saturated on the analogue abuse end than their stunning vinyl debut, this time, it's all black holes, solar flares and aurora borealis'. When Ramon's exquisitely poised guitar finally punctures this synthetic hymen at about the 20 minute mark, it harks right back to the most hushed moments of beauty on Sun Dial's Other Way Out. Really fabulous stuff and not entirely far off from some of what Atsushi Tsuyama of Acid Mothers Temple gets up to on some of his solos either.

This pre-Sun Dial crew (though no idea precisely where this lands in the lineage) sit at an odd juncture between down in the mouth post-Factory Records motion, and grittily urban sounding psychedelic jams that wouldn't have sounded out of place on the Ralph Records Subterranean Modern compilation. Quite nice.

Slurry, trashy dystopian acid pop lovliness here, from a power trio format that shares a member (other than Ramon of course, who appears on all these discs) with The Modern Art. There's a choice Rocket From The Tombs/Cleveland underground heft at work to these formulations and it's a rich vein their tapping, elsewhere calling to mind everything from Gallon Drunk and Dutch psych popsters S.T.

Disc 4: WER7-S.T.
Most peculiar and fascinating cosmic electronic agressiveness that operates at a distinct remove from the blissouts Ramon gets up to with his Quad compadres, here it's all rude surges and astral hailstorms, Kluster, Seesselberg, Moolah and the aggressively loud zapping and surging bits from Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri being the most obvious antecedents for the sounds achieved here.

The Ordinary's psych format of choice is the long form jam, with the 27+ minute opening gambit "New England" approaching Acid Mothers Temple-like zones of distended lysergic excess, though the chassis that these psychotropic runs are yoked to gives this affair a whole other center of gravity than the doings of the AMT crowd, it's cadence a post punk-derived carry-over from his work in The Modern Art.

The inverse of the immaculately honed perfection of their studio recordings, this is blaring mid-fi acid psych ramalamma with a corrosive patina to it. Very audience recording in it's fidelity, it's wouldn't necessarily be my pick for the ideal point of entry into the Sun Dial universe (but then this series was only aimed at those already in the fold), but it's a compelling bit of acidic guitar excess regardless of it's place in the larger Sun Dial picture.

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