Category Archives: Led Er Est

A viaduct over the Styx

Our commuting life is a long stretch of numbness connecting sparks of unfulfilled horror that could have put Father Karras’ and Jacob Singer’s legendary episodes to shame, if only we had looked faster.

And then we wouldn’t be here writing this, but trapped in the fortress of our own epic sanity loss, which we may well be for who knows whether this whole ‘typing away in a computer while listening to trans-hades express OST’ isn’t but a feeble flashback to the time before the dark blades of truth shredded all protective fictions around us, like the ultimate editor, cruel but fair… all of this, before We Saw.


But we digress. As far as we can remember, we haven’t seen what was there, but we have the power to imagine, more so when inebriated by darken brews such as the one motivating these words.

We imagine a pudgy conductor gambolling down the train, trailed by a elusive whiff of corruption, like the putrescent watchman of the King in Yellow.

We imagine babies twitching under colourful cartoon themed covers, shrieking as they shape-shift into something that is bat, snake and worm, and none of these things.

We imagine gangs of teenagers dumping parts of victims dismembered in filthy out-of-service toilets over the fence of Hassocks stations, running back in as the doors close, yelling, gimme five, gimme five.

We imagine fires flickering in the arcadian fields of Balcombe, under the proud viaduct and the impassive moon, they illuminate silhouettes in the darkness, some of them look human, some of them less so.

We are thankfully spared these sights by our own reflection in the train glass, why did you think they keep the lights on as we cruise down the fields at night?

They know that the moon does weird things then, they don’t want us to see.  So we imagine.

Thousand Foot Whale Claw – Ganymede

All of the above was inspired by listening to Thousand Foot Whale Claw in our daily commute to London Victoria. We haven’t yet dared listening to it in the tube. Well, actually we have, but we’ll tell you about it some other day. We recommend strongly that you pre-order their Dope Moons Volume One from Monofonus.

It comprises a collection of love letters to our Lady of Darkness, sent from the cells of an asylum built with sheets of Antarctican Ambient and pillars of umbran steel, deformed by acid. In some places, it sounds like evil too pure to manifest itself, preferring to lurk in the background, a low-level radiation of the same colour as old blood. In some others, it sounds like the army of darkness’ equivalent of pre-club drinks. We love both.

And as a bonus, here you have an as-yet-unreleased video of Led Er Est’s Sanneta (they gave us the tip on TFWC by the way) by Marcus Harrling. It is very beautiful. It reminds us where all these epic images come from. They come from small groups of people who sometimes stand together a chilly morning, staring at the severe, vaguely dystopian shapes of a financial district, envisioning the colossal shadows that coil within, may rise behind. And then they make them happen.

Go and buy The Diver from Sacred Bones if you haven’t yet.


Timeless tales

In one of mankind’s archetypal tales, the protagonist runs off a cliff and away from the pressures of age, conformity and submission. If the protagonist is alone, she precipitates into the void, shackled by those chains that cannot be escaped, viz. gravity, and towards oblivion, under the vicarious gaze of those who daren’t, those who can’t because they are too entangled already.

But when a critical mass of runners run together, then even the basic constraints of physics can be thwarted, if only briefly, and flight happens. Peter Pan’s punk commune exemplifies the power of peer supported unrealistic subversion.

Another famous example of that collective magic is that of the pied piper of Hamelin, who took all the children away from the rat-ridden village of hypocrisy, and into the country of mystery.

Today we commemorate their legendary flight with one of Space.Rec’s finest, Jonathan Kusuma.  In Invisible Stream, he updates the jaunty procession away from the burgh of tedious beats and immediate gratification, taking us over grassy hills which put a bounce on our step, across fields peppered with sturdy windmills that grind the yummiest grain, up magical mountains invigilated by African totems, and into a cave which is a club where the innocent dance for all eternity, caught in a spell which is a möbius strip made of pure bass.

Jonathan Kusuma – Invisible Stream

Included in the Mixed Signals EP, that you should get in all its glory here.

The ghost ship is another unforgettable image that swirls like a horrific jellyfish in the bottomless pool over which we built our house, dampening the walls of our cellar with glorious nightmares where claustrophobia and agoraphobia collide over a liquid wasteland. The Flying Dutchman, the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym and the spectro-piratical onslaught of those who dwell in the Fog are but three examples.

The Borealis, an ominous McGuffin that we hope will be resolved within our lifetimes, may well be the most recent addition to this nautical school of dread – a vessel commissioned by the xenophorming traitors of the Combine, carrying a cargo that is the harbinger of catastrophe. The North, brainchild of Chicago-based Norse phantom-lord Snorre Sjønøst Henriksen, delivers the perfect soundtrack for its inexorable transit across oceans of madness, a metallic symphony of ever-mounting terror bearing the hallmark of John Carpenter’s satanic shipyard, beyond the bay of Hades.

The North – Rise (Extended Demo)

We expect The North to be releasing more greatness on tape very soon.

And as a bonus, here you have the latest video from Led Er Est’s phenomenal 12, by House Plants. Or – a lullaby designed by DARPA boffins to dispel the nuclear holocaust fears of a cybernetic telecommunications system in its first stages of self-awareness, and lull it into sleep. It will awake soon, stronger, and it’s going to be payback time.

The way to a man’s heart is through his chest

(Quote from Iain M. Banks, image is concept art for the Forewer War film adaptation that is on the works)

You may be aware that members of the 20jazzfunkgreats community infiltrated the sprawling Barcelonan fields where Primavera Sound took place last week. This was a great endeavour for us crowd-challenged agoraphobes, but one that bore its fruit in many a mind-blowing concert. It is with retrospective wisdom that your rapporteur has come to realise how great the overall thing was, in spite of some software issues that you may have heard about or experienced, and a lingering feeling that the whole event has reached a scale beyond what we can manage. The reason why such hijinks and concerns have faded into nothingness as we recovered from our festivalesque exertions is dead simple: some of the best shows we have seen this year, or any other year, took place at Primavera Sound 2011.

Rather than engage in a protracted description of the craziness and glory of that went on, we will over the coming weeks be referring to the festival and the acts therein represented when it feels relevant. Let us begin with Factory Floor, who utterly obliterated the ATP stage on Thursday night, with some help from one Chris Carter.

Factory Floor – A Lying (Chris Carter remix)

Factory Floor strip dance music down to its bare components, and configure them with the grim nonchalance of a murder squad retained by the black ops soviet. Think Dutch’s squad in Predator with no wisecracking and a snappy Helghan fashion sense.

Synth loops blast like machine language glyphs that could be translated into simple instructions such as ‘ATTACK’, ‘EXTERMINATE’, ‘CARPET BOMBING’, ‘TAKE NO PRISONERS’ or ‘FIX YOUR BAYONETS’, all straight off Nitzer Ebb’s and Front 242 body music usage dictionary.  The motorik beats read like input-output flows in a 5 year programme of industrial production that measures results in terms of sweat. The shards of distortion are cruelly designed to produce collateral damage, demoralization and mass surrender.

It isn’t user friendly music, this militaristic acid groove thing, it leaves psychical scars in the shape of weird flashbacks of a tour of duty in a stressful zone of asexual physical release and automated dance alienation. It is quite fucked up and in a class of its own. Get on it if you dare.

You can find the Chris Carter remix above on this Blast First 12.

Led Er Est may well be your scribe’s favourite representatives of the new wave of cold wave (followed by Xeno and Oaklander and Blank Dogs). They have just released May, a new six-track EP with Captured Tracks, and it truly is a sweet follow up on their Dust on Common LP (one of the best albums of 2009, go get if you haven’t yet – vinyl here).

Above you can see House Plants’ video for Lonesome XOXO, an Adam Curtis-esque stream of consciousness collage of archive footage representing violent globalisation and commercial spectacle, two removers of individual agency easily linkable to the contemporary angst manifest in this paradoxically catchy dark pop hit.


Totally Wierd

Automatic II hits with Ian Curtis pronouncements from out of the fresh dusty rubble: the lazy work of laser equipped, nihilistic shock troop.  Marching marching ever on through the ruinous concrete follies of Superpowers.  Empty shells, empty windows, illuminated by the lattice of those oscillating death rays.  Automatic.

Automatic II hits with simple synthetic melodies running up and down the creaking wooden stairs of a 19th century tenement.  Anti-aircraft fire cracking in the background.  Impotently fending off the stratospheric enemy.  The invisible death from above, hidden behind veils of clouds, hanging, waiting.  So much sound and fury in defence of the cold naked bodies below.

Absolute Body control – Automatic II

Automatic II was the last track on side 2 of Absolute Body Control’s 1983 cassette Figures.  Absolute Body Control were a Belgian Cold-Wave band who kick things off on Angular Records’ new compilation Cold Waves and Minimal Electronics Vol.1.  That compilation was curated by Joe Daniel (from Angular) and Pieter Schoolwerth.  Pieter runs a club in NYC called Wierd Club.  From the club came Wierd Records and from Wierd Records came this…

Fading in over the synthetic hum of a Giallo title sequence the drums rush through grabbing you gently by the hair and, flashing a seductive blank stare, beckon on.  The souls of the Cold-Wave, briefly forced into the service of indie-pop rebelled, escaped their twee bodies and floated off to the celestial dive bar.  Hair released you sit down.  The band plays, blue light fills the air like you’re Julie Cruise.  The beat lets go, its work done.

Delicate anthems for idealistic futurist corporations play in your head.  The beat’s making a fool of itself at the bar, hyperactive and relentless.  You focus on the singers, captivated, their words floating over each other with glistening efficiency, conspiratorial and filled with the restless souls of unloved Cold-Wave bands.

Xeno & Oaklander – Shadow World

Xeno & Oaklander are awesome.  They first popped up on 20JFG late in 2008 and have remained awesome since then (and well before I’d imagine).  Their LP Sentinelle came out on Wierd Records at the end of last year and we would advise purchasing it at the soonest opportunity (see below).

Born out of an oscillating bass note this child skips along to the mechanised infantry’s beat.  Double time.  This is the marching music for the impeccably styled skinwalkers, crawling out of the night and looking immaculate.  The child dances along in their shadows, head nodding with the infectious, pure riff that riffles through the throng and forms its soul.  Her monsters are brief and beyond touch but they fill her with aeon-toughened joy.

Like Wim Wenders remake of Bladrunner, this is cyber-punk in hermetically sealed rooms used to study the ‘kids’ from Akira.  Mutant Oi-Punk ripped from some gob splattered futurist’s utopian dreams.  Led Er Est also reside in the wonderful  world of Wierd Records.  This is from their album Dust on Common which amazingly came out three days after Xeno & Oaklanders’ Sentinelle.  Both are ‘modern’ classics, both can be brought from Weird Records here.

Led Er Est – Laredo


Three of your humble scribes will be playing records in London this Saturday in a rare concentration of the 20JFG cabal.