Last year Mark Barrott’s Sketches From an Island managed to forcibly wedge open a portal to warmer universes and simpler pleasures. At least for those of us stuck on islands with intemperate climates. As we emerge spluttering out of winter Mr. Barrott returns with another distillation of pure, crystalline vitamin D.
Saviours or Savages starts all gamelan polyrhythms — if the gamelan was constructed entirely for pads and synths. Which is delightful in its own right of course but nothing compared to the huge synth washes and string stabs that soon impose themselves on the track. As if the forest was at once impossibly dense and lit entirely in pastel neon. A blue and pink vista stretching out like Miami in the Amazon. If (crazy fascist) Henry Ford’s Fordlândia had taken root in Brazil and birthed a South American Detroit, this is its Techno.
This is taken from Mark Barrott’s new 12″ on his label International Feel. It’s out on April 27th from all quality purveyors of music.
Speaking of Detroit…
MyStEr EEZ has brought us lovely tape distorted Detroit sounds, beamed straight from Cybertron to Berlin. Where Mark Barrott fuses the forest and the night, MyStEr EEZ takes the radar pings of a city at 4am and reflects them back onto themselves until he has constructed a cathedral of isolated sound. An cold, dark, complex isolation that ironically draws all who hear it into its pulsating 4/4 heart. Like a venus fly trap of Techno.
Pour Le Plaisir’sThe Movie is a track that cannot be summarised in words without falling into cliché. We needed to go beyond that.
Upon listening it, we decided that the eeriness of its melody and the relentless progression of its synth-line demanded a narrative treatment. We therefore commissioned, through the friend of a friend, an elevator pitch for the movie that The Movie would soundtrack. The friend of our friend sent us an elevator pitch. It was good. We would probably watch the movie encoded within in a night of insomnia.
However, we realised that that the emotional complexity of the situations faced by the protagonists of this story – that mix of horror and fascination with which they advance towards a beacon which is the reflection of light in the killer’s blade – were too subtle and multi-layered to be summarised with a simple plot summary.
The friend of our friend suggested a visual treatment, and put us in touch with a film-maker friend who would shoot some footage capturing this elusive je-ne-sais-quoi at the hear of The Movie. This is what he sent us:
Down a derelict industrial state, an abandoned warehouse, sucked dry by invisible forces. A formless silhouette in a window, or perhaps a pastiche of shadows anamorphically coming together as we enter a diorama of decay. Think of the evocative videos that provide the McGuffin for Gibson’s Pattern Recognition, imagine, if you can the industrial belt around Stalker’s Zone after the Zone has expanded to engulf it.
We listen to The Movie and these are the things that happen inside our head. There was no friend of a friend, there was no elevator pitch or visual treatment, just the unseen force inside The Movies devising a conduit to invade our dreams like it has invaded our days.
John Carpenter is obviously the granddaddy of this type of music, and one of the holy patrons at the 20JFG church. You must be all aware that this year he released his solo debut album – Lost Themes – in Sacred Bones records.
This is the first time that he wasn’t constrained, in his music-making, by images. He was also collaborating with his son, who has a penchant for prog, and his grandson. Perhaps as a consequence, the music soars higher, more colourful and luminous than his trademark minimal work, dragon-esque and closer to the hyper-chromatic hallucinations of Goblin.
Several of its songs should soundtrack the amazing fantasy films that Carpenter has yet to make (imagine his adaptation of Leiber’s Swords of Lankhmar or something like that), or that he already made in an alternative world which is more awesome than ours (take that Leibniz).
We couldn’t conclude this post in a more suitable way than with the video for Cindy Savalas by Palmbomen II. In it we find a melange of X-Files/Twin Peaks/Altered States/ and dream-like fragments of Michael Mann’s Manhunter: a looping of primeval pulses, subconscious urges and cosmic noises that mirrors the electronic organicism of Palmbomen II’s music, house music sang by amoebas, acid spilling from the rifts in planet-shaping volcanos, the romantic melancholy with which we stare at the blue blue ocean whence all life spilled out, not that long ago.
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.”
[Cosmos, Part 11: The Persistence of Memory (1980)]”
Walls — the dance hydra that is Sam Willis and Alessio Natalizia — are calling it a day. Which is sad. But they’re leaving us with their third LP, a collection of work they’ve completed in the time between their second LP and now. Not that they’ve been slacking. We’ve covered a sliver of their solo stuff is this ‘ere blog.
What I want you to take away from this rambling intro is that this LP is a timelapse of two musicians who love ambient and massive dance music as much as we do. So it’s as full of drifting found sound synth tracks and pastoral Krautrock, as it is absolutely Russom-esque bangers.
Ah bangers. Those tracks we’d look forward to playing in inappropriate venues at inappropriate times on inappropriate PA systems to audiences that were kinda’ into it. We would be, of course, losing our shit in the booth.
Which brings us to Moon Eye. A track I was compelled to write to Mr. Willis about after listening to it on repeat for about 20 minutes.
Well, Moon Eye’s a banger isn’t it.
No question mark, as that wasn’t a question. It was a statement of full-bodied arpeggiated fact.
There’s something so seductive about the Banger. It creates a vortex in the usual push and pull between the outsider and the communal. It creates a singular space on the dancefloor where every atom in the sweaty atmosphere feels as if it belongs to you and everyone at once. The music speaks to you on a physical, singular level and you look around and find yourself in a crowd of people having the same, singular experience. Come the machine revolution they’ll be carrying us to our energy tanks to the pulsing cones of Function Ones.
Moon Eye is the slice of dance music colonised by our lord and saviour Gavin Russom (who’s released music on Willis and Natalizia’s label). A pulsing, insistent bedrock of techno, feedback laced synths and beautiful, beautiful arpeggios. Walls are tuned right into that line where mind altering drugs and enough co-ordination to still move, briefly co-exist. Prime Banger terrain. It’s as if a million paths of light converged as one and then…dropped*.
It ends with the synth equivalent of heat death, a mournful loop — like a funeral procession for ecstasy. Always implicit in the Banger, the comedown, but here it’s faced rather than shunted into the next morning.
This is taken from Walls last LP, Urals. It’s out on May 5th on their own label: Ecstatic Recordings. It’s very good.
* this whole post may be an attempt to reclaim the Banger but I may have over-reached in attempting to reclaim the ‘drop’ from its EDM bog of eternal stench.
A circle is a simple shape in Euclidean geometry. It is the set of all points in a plane that are at a given distance from a given point, the centre; equivalently it is a digital currency company that makes it easy to exchange, store, send and receive bitcoin. Circle is Europe’s largest healthcare partnership, operating a network of NHS and Private hospitals co-managed by the clinicians and staff who work in them. Centra Homes, part of Circle Housing, has now launched a limited collection of 25 stunning three bedroom properties in Rainham, near Barking and are always looking for high calibre staff to help us enhance the life chances of our customers. In return we see the current businesses in need of investment. View all of the investment opportunities on our peer to peer lending marketplace for small business loan last year. Get a business loan. Join 7,100 businesses already borrowing. Loans of safer communities through local volunteers working with sex offenders to minimise alienation, support open to anyone over the age of 50, supporting individuals and communities to lead the circles, you already know how to find the area and circumference of a circle. Now we are going to explain how to calculate the length over the age of 50, living within the geographic area of a local Circle. Its mission is to build and support the premier organisation, in the world, for magicians. This site has information about the society, the headquarters in London, and also Cartesian equation: x2 + y2 = a2 or parametrically: x = a cos(t), y = a sin(t) Polar equation: r = a. Click below to see one of the Associated curves.
Holy Roman is a record label that specialises in outsider R&B, blank funk, urban noise and modern classical music. Their most recent release is Speaking in Snake Tongue by BLKLN, a Queens-based musician who has previously worked with Jon Hassell, John Zorn, and Henry Kaiser among others.
To say that this release is pretty special is a bit of an understatement.
It sits coiled up waiting for the opportunity to strike within the perimeter defined by the funky modality of NYC post-punk, the abrasive modality of NYC post-punk, the life-affirming modality of NYC post-punk, the modern modality of abstractedly emotional ectoplasmic soul, and some as yet unnamed modality of modern gothic musick that sounds as if, having replaced the Joker in the Killing Joke, Scott Walker had decided to melt Commissioner Gordon’s cortex with an organ onslaught which is pure satanic terror.
Having laid down some reference points, we can get on with the much more important business of gazing into the void they bound to fathom what lurks inside, and try to convey it to you.
It is not so easy though. BLKLN’s music does not lend itself to the narrative genres we major on here (notwithstanding the comic-book comparison above). Its martial kinetics, complex textures, and the sense of disorientation it induces as it splices ideas, techniques and sounds under its hood might be more aptly described with exotic mathematics, or models for the morphogenesis of alien predators.
We are not experts in those disciplines, so we will simply say that we sense BLKLN’s Speaking in Snake Tongue like some potent force shadowboxing in the shadows ahead of us, evil, jazzy and furiously alive.
We overcome our fear and advance. Maybe it will strike us down but we don’t care, getting closer is the only way we’ll have a chance to know.
We couldn’t offer you a more conclusive example of the risk-reward quandary we find ourselves in than the track above, Kemistry and Storm, a fitting tribute to the legendary Jungle DJ duo who introduced Goldie to hardcore drum’n’bass in the 1990s, also a tribute to the memory of Kemistry, who died way too young in a freak car accident in 1999.