Category Archives: Mirror Mirror

Best of 2011, part I: Now Then, Now Then

Welcome, welcome, to 20JFG’s fantabulous end of year round up.  Once again we’ll be raiding the year’s archives for the tracks that made permanent homes on our digital/analogue devices.  We’ll also be posting a few things that we loved but didn’t cover at the time: music that had already been blogged to death or music that its owner wasn’t happy to give away…until now!

So, over the next couple of weeks we’ll tease out a stream of songs that made us happy to be writing this blog, year in, year out.

At 20JFg we create worlds.  And one of the worlds we like to create is one where we’ve assumed the X-Factor’s fascist control over the pop charts and have installed Chris and Cosey to provide the theme tunes for all the shows.  But I digress.  In this world the idea of the weird, the mutant and the outre is as unfathomable to the populace as karaoke manequins holding up mediocrity as canonical brilliance.  And so, the following songs storm the public consciousness — without dominating it to the point of numbness.  They are 20JFG Top of the Pops and this year would have been poorer without them.

RIP Jimmy

Roberto Cacciapaglia: The Ann Steel Album (Reissue) Through the gaudy chaos of the imaginary toy procession that Roberto Cacciapaglia soundtracks, we visualise an alternative branch of history where the gloom of the synthetic undead was balanced by the exertions of an odd-wave army of glamorous extravagants fighting for the futuristic utopia. It never happened because being fun is hard, and that is also why this album is something to cherish, maybe its rediscovery will jolt contemporary creators from their abstracted numbness and copycat jangle. We can only hope.

Roberto Cacciapaglia – Media

Buy: The Ann Steel Album.

 

Mirror Mirror: Interiors Stop bickering and listen to Mirror Mirror. Look at them as they levitate over the battlefield like Doctor Strange, and deploy the musical equivalent of the Eye of Agamotto to illuminate the edges of the one diamond where all these spiritual faces are bound, the light thus projected is black not because of a malign tendency, but because it is made of all the colours, the album named Interiors because it sweeps us inside, like a storm.

Mirror Mirror – Interiors (Jamstation Exteriors Remix)

Buy: Interiors

 

The Dreams: Morbido The Dreams (no link soz) are to us the sound harbingers of an abstractedly sexual, matter-of-factly violent religion whose commandments are tattooed in skins, tattooed in drums.

The Dreams – Aloha Miami

Buy: Morbido LP

 

Horrid Red: Celestial Joy: Horrid Red’s  rituals and songs pay tribute to the gods of metronomic velocity, kaleidoscopic bloodshed and enlightenment through beautiful strife, and to the enemy, beloved because it helps resolve their violent algebra. If you were to follow their trail of carnage across the vast steppe, reach their leather tent, slide inside and sit with them during a rare moment of calm spent sipping on stolen elixirs, and you asked them what is best in life, this song would be your answer. And Conan would be proud.

Horrid Red – Horrid Life (Burial)

Buy: Celestial Joy

 

Gang Gang Dance: Eye Contact  There was a brief moment in history when it looked like we were on the brink of a proper bottom-up global pop revolution. M.I.A. had a good go at it. Alas, it was not to happen. The window of opportunity is now closed, and all we are left with are the vaudevillian contortions of lab-designed boy outfits, X-factor derivalia and meat-clad Madonna obsessives delivering mangled italo. Sex like projectile vomiting, no seduction. If we were to fit this scenario into a Grant Morrison template, then Gang Gang Dance would be the Invisibles, integrating splendid riddims, psychedelia, baroque hooks, and future (because it is eternal) soul into a cleansing ritual and inclusive gathering occasion for the rebel factions.

Gang Gang Dance – Chinese High

Buy: Eye Contact

 

John Maus: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves  John Maus is a marginalised political platform with a romantic expressionistic agenda. His posters resemble Cartier Bresson snapshots of an intellectual sombrely contemplating the future of society and culture. His campaign videos, shown in local TV stations in the deepest of the night, are Adam Curtis-esque affairs where slogans float half-formed, adrift a turbulent sea agitated by fierce subconscious streams. His anthems are ectoplasmic parcels that can only be holistically de-encrypted, bearing in mind words, their sound context and their interactions. When we do so, we find lots of horror, but also much hope. We’d definitely vote for him.

John Maus – Head For The Country

Buy: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves

 

Peaking Lights: 936  20jazzfunkgreats love to be surprised. If anyone had told us that we were going to have a white-man reggae/borderline chillwave crossover album in our top of the year, we would have said, No Way Jose. Watch our preconceptions scurry like roaches under 936’s mighty tropical light, a light that is born in a weird crucible of good pop vibes and syrupy echobox exhalations.

Peaking Lights – All the Sun that Shines

Buy: 936.

 

Chevalier Avant Garde: A Difficult Whole/Heteropias Chevalier Avant Garde curate an exclusive store with artefacts ransacked from a variety of periods. In each of these converge powerful vectors of context and imagination, defining new possibilities full of weird spin and momentum.  These are not songs but the stuff that songs are made of – the cheeky melody of a Throbbing Gristle lullaby, the poetic cycle of a Kraftwerk automaton, Chicago’s soul machine code.

Chevalier Avant Garde – Canyons

Chevalier Avant Garde – Over the Fountain

Buy: HeteropiasA Difficult Whole

 

Echo Lake – Young Silence  One of 20JFG was asked to make a video for ethereal/Nu-gaze/really nice folks Echo Lake late last year.  This is the result.

If only we could afford to describe every band using points of light.

Nu Time Religions

Gallic dynamo-psychedelean shadow pigmy outfit The Dreams stalk parks, forests, woods and sparsely populated rural areas at night. They carry blowpipes loaded with darts containing a poison that produces epileptic seizures where the victims twitch on the floor while their astral selves slide into a voodoo netherworld of twisted paths and general nefariousness.

What a place!

  • Fruits with cadaveric faces hang from the trees, dancing to the whistles of an invisible wind!
  • Malevolent clouds shoot tendrils of black ink into the swarm of black birds that populate the sky!
  • The surviving birds hunt for the eyes of those newbie astral ramblers!
  • The selfsame eyes are offered as a tribute to bloated behemoths that crouch atop mountains of mud!
  • Blinded, the astral ramblers have to find their way guided by the sounds of this ghastly place!

Guided by the music that the Dreams play!

Some walk into the lairs of zombie grizzlies. Some walk into quicksand. Some are snatched by the things that lurk in the putrescent swamps that stain this blasted country, while the skull-faced fruits cackle away.

And some ride the wave of spasms until the effects of the poison pass, run from all dangers like Japanese schoolgirls in a lo-fi survival horror trip. They make it back to our world, they get up, they dust their clothes and walk away watching over their shoulders, haunted by flashbacks of grimacing faces, drums banging in the distance, liquid silhouettes camouflaged in the darkness behind, sniggering.

They will come back, to hunt with the tribe. Once you have been touched by the Dreams, there is no going back pal.

The Dreams – Aloha Miami

The Dreams (no link soz) are to us the sound harbingers of an abstractedly sexual, pragmatically violent religion whose commandments are tattooed in skins, tattooed in drums. They are rocking our world a lot right now. Go get their Morbido LP from Kill Shaman.

If you coded up all of mankind’s creative and declarative exertions and productions into key themes, and uploaded your notes into a social networking software package able to link up the selfsame themes on their basis of their conceptual proximity, you would find, in one corner, a topical spider-web comprising things such as ‘beauty’, ‘sex’, ‘religion’, ‘mysticism’, ‘death’, ‘resurrection’, ‘the uncanny’ and ‘the supernatural’.

One of the main hurdles to the eventual enlightenment and sublimation of our species is that advocates of individual areas within this aural province have sought to elevate their pet theme above the others, dominate these other aspects, or suppress them.

Religious dogmatics, mindless hedonists, naff gurus and peddlers of crystals, carpe diem bitches and eschatological bores, I am looking at all of you.

Stop bickering and listen to Mirror Mirror.

Look at them as they levitate over the battlefield like Doctor Strange, and deploy the musical equivalent of the Eye of Agamotto to illuminate the edges of the one diamond where all these spiritual faces are bound, the light thus projected is black not because of a malign tendency, but because it is made of all the colours, the album named Interiors because it sweeps us inside, like a storm.

Mirror Mirror – Interiors (Jamstation Exteriors Remix)

It will be released on the 16th of August by the awesome folks at IGETRVNG. In the interim, we are leaving you with the sweet ghost-dubbed/bass-wobbled remix of the majestic title track by Jamstation (i.e. Bruno from Light Asylum), and the utterly stunning video for it, starring Rumi Missabu from the legendary Coquettes, who takes the screen by storm like the Diva for a Bond film dreamt by a feverish coterie of Czech avant-garde cineastes and Polish fantasy paperback illustrators.

You can get the song here.

Location location location

The house dips in and out of the frenzied waters of the late 20th century property market like the obstinate detritus of a calamitous shipwreck. If you examine its contractual life, you will find a recurring pattern over the decades: property title found in the state of the late A, bequeathed to B, and eventually sold to C. Property title found in the state of the late C, bequeathed to D, eventually sold to E. Rinse and repeat, a vaguely unsettling transactional drone that should prick the ears of anyone listening, like the buzz of a carrion fly crawling over your pillow.

Alas, those who would listen won’t, state agents rewarded for throughput rather than customer satisfaction, oblivious to the preposterous ranting of an old man in a retirement home, the warning notes tremblingly scribbled and stapled to the property title of the house, as it precipitates back into an unwary property market.

What might have happened in the house stays in the house, and connecting the dots between the ‘might’ and the ‘did’ would require some sleuth work that few have the time or patience for.

That is what your 20jazzfunkgreats detective squad is for, and these are some musical insinuations of what happened in the house.

(image by Paul Tragus)

Brassica’s remix of Gareth Cheshire’s Galaxia (out soon in Audio Parallax Recordings) suggests forbidden exchanges between the house’s first owner and mysterious correspondents in mostly mountainous and wild regions of Europe, the southernmost extremes of South America, dishevelled outposts in the boundaries of deadly African deserts.

It rattles like heavy parcels being delivered to the house, and fearful complaints from the couriers that handled them, and neighbouring families soon after, about bad dreams, about strange lights shooting from the house and into the sky, about strange lights shooting from the sky and into the house.

It echoes of disquieting sermons in the local church about those who congress with devils, and act as conduits for a cosmic plague.

It foreshadows the disappearance of the puritan pastor that uttered them, and the finding of his mangled remains in the distant fields.

It screams like he did when the strange lights caught up with him.

It’s such a tune.

Gareth Cheshire – Galaxia (Brassica Remix)

Go to Gareth’s Soundcloud for more superb stuff.

Mirror Mirror’s New Horizons, and their The Society For The Advancement Of Inflammatory Conciousness album were recent and definitive hits in 20jazzfunkgreats’ cultic circle, daring (and having the wisdom) to go beyond the abstraction of many a witchcraft apprentice and budding warlock to articulate in words (rather than chanting) and wonderful 1960s psychedelic tropes the commandments of a post-hippie, pre-new age religion where mystique melds into emotion like the psychic aftermath of a Roman Polanski hallucination. If Krzysztof Komeda’s theme tune for Rosemary’s Baby had had lyrics, Mirror Mirror would have been the ones to summon them from the place whence such subtly satanic things come from.

Which makes it rather meaningful for them to be the next participants in IGETRVNG’s forward thinking mythological FRKWYS series, featuring personnel from Ike Yard and Young Marble Giants amongst others. Nau Sau Ser Bil Uma Rah Rab, which we are leaving with you today, may well be the climax of a mass of impossible colours taking place in the forbidden cave complex which stretches under the house which is the theme for this post, like the roots of a tree made strong by cosmic rays way beyond our puny sun.

Mirror Mirror featuring Stuart Argabright – Nau Sau Ser Bil Uma Rah Rab

Go and get it here

A celebration of the oscillation

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Mirror Mirror’s music is a crypt of mystery and sex, a moist opening on the side of a rock wall, enticing entrance to a cavernous corridor darken illuminated by feeble red candles down which you walk surrounded by cloaked figures, eventually reaching a grotto where naked bodies lie, silver amulets, strange flowers and sharp knives gleaming under the light of the moon which reigns supreme in the centre of the black dome of a sky covered with the medieval script of ancient constellations.

Mirror Mirror are indeed special, they drink from esoteric sources, the pagan drone of psyche folk is brought back and reconfigured to soundtrack ceremonies of quasi-satanic languor, shadows of wild-eyed teenagers rendezvousing on hidden places to beckon forbidden forces, a Goyaesque hallucination, or the sound of Arthur Machen’s twisted scripts. It is beautiful stuff, imagine Deerhunter’s cryptic incantations turned inside out to tell us about those who shan’t be named, those who live in the green outskirts of wild paths, those who play strange music that leads lost children astray, dancing joyous never to be seen again.

Mirror Mirror- The Inward Way Out (Retrotrip)

Mirror Mirror’s debut album, ‘The Society For The Advancement Of Inflammatory Conciousness’ is out now in Cochon records, Half Machine records take care of their releases in the UK, which they will be visiting really soon to play some shows in London, including Upset the Rhythm on the 24th. Magick.

magma.gif

I’ve been hot on the heels of one Mat Colegate, trying to get him to write for us about Magma, alas, he is too busy these days, I imagine engaged in indescribable transactions across the portals of space and time which have been known to occasionally appear in certain back alleys of the Big Smoke, possibly under the shadow of a Hawksmoor Church or the like. All commendable activities which justify his neglect of us, so you will have to do with my inadequate prose when trying to address the topic of one of the greatest bands that ever existed.

French prog gods Magma’s grandiose opus concerns the colonisation of planet Kobaïa by Earthen refugees, as sung in the language from that place. This sort of psychedelic dystopian vision would be sufficient to get the attention of your delusional 20JFG scribes, but it is perhaps anecdotal, marginalia on the sides of an epic scroll crafted with blinding energy. We shall be writing about Magma in the future (or perhaps Mr. Colegate will!), possibly focussing on their earlier more Zeuhl stuff, but today we leave you with music from Attahk, one of their most accessible albums.

Magma- Lirïïk Necronomicus Kanht (In Which Our Heroes Ürgon and Gorgo Meet)

Which is I guess as close as Magma got to making disco. Frankly astounding stuff, a swirling vocal maelstrom spinning demented and exhilarating over the scaly body of a fierce funk dragon as it hovers majestic over the sands of an Arrakean landscape (that’d be Colossus 13!) to the beat of a drum that vibrates with the same sort of martial yet free energy that animated the movements of that behemoth Can. Now is this the most exhilarating piece of music ever thrown up on the face of the Earth or what.

Also from Attachk, you can hear Nonono featured in the rather incredible mixtape that Joe put up the other day at Silkytooth. Cheers to Chris Pell for the tip.

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Gang Gang Dance’s Saint Dymphna must be one of the most eagerly awaited albums of the year. And it so fucking delivers. Not the way we expected, check out Princes’ grime synth ride, but then that’s what we expected, we are talking Gang Gang Dance here, one of those rare outfits who manage to remain duly out there, like some sort of weird organic satellite floating in the interstice between atmosphere and a black space which is the place, feeding on mestizo transmissions from all over the globe which are then condensed into a primeval halo of muscular percussive energy shot back to make us speak tongues, imagine a booty version of the Sun City Girls and you aren’t there, but then you never will be there, until you press play and the ghost radiations enter your body like technological loas in a Gibson dream of the future that is here and now.

Gang Gang Dance- First Communion

Nigerian guitar melodies, the metronomic stomp of the beat of life and a bassline shining with that ecstatic glory !!! sadly lost converging wild into a pop apotheosis which is layer after layer of sound growing into a tidal wave that they master like God-crazed riders of the storm, or maybe fragments of a perfect piece of mutant soul you might have heard coming from a distant radio while roaming lost in the coruscating labyrinth of an Algerian bazaar, just before you turned a corner and the unexpected sun blinded you with its stroboscopic radiance.

Saint Dymphna is out on October the 21st in the Social Registry/Warp Records.

Psyche kaleidoscope

Featuring : high places + Mirror Mirror

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The beautiful guitar melody with which Mirror Mirror’s ‘New Horizons’ begins contains in the revolution of its tones the complete structure of what is to come, like a strange flower slowly unfolding its crimson petals to reveal a wonderful piece of psyche-folk that seduces us with the scent of the United States of America, Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd and early Brian Eno balladry, stuff that never fails to tie our hearts into a knot reminding us of Liars at their sweetest, or the esoteric chrysalis of an enigma metamorphosing into a butterfly fluttering in the edge of our consciousness wondering what to become next, something pretty and pregnant with possibilities and mystery, a metaphor & a spell blown off the face of reality with a puff of smoke as the song finishes, all we are left with is metaphors skirting in the periphery of the weird and lovely transparent radiation it creates, why bother with words, just press play again.

Mirror Mirror- New Horizons

Mirror Mirror features lovely Ryan from most excellent Telepathe, who one of the 20JFg types had the pleasure to meet during the Great Escape festival. Get their 7″ on Half Machine Records from the 16th of June.

highplaces.jpg

Upset the Rhythm is one of the record labels we love and respect the most, what with the impeccable stream of fancy coloured vinyl releases of their glorious catalogue, always delivered with the taste and attention to detail which love entails, what with the excellent shows they keep putting out so that the foggy streets of the megalopolis which raises satanic to our North might remain exciting in spite of the dubious voting preferences of its inhabitants. Anyhow, Upset the Rhythm have just released the Vision’s the First/Namer 7” by High Places, a band that have enthralled us with their swirling spirals of ornate lo-fi folk since one Mr. James Nascent brought them to our attention some time ago.

In ‘Vision’s the First’ they keep it astounding with a dizzying lullaby that rocks syncopated with the rhythm that Timbaland would have come up with if he had decided to leave all the bling behind and spend a couple of years meditating in a hut hidden by the shores of Walden Pond, gathering nuts, exchanging significant glances with blackbirds of impervious gaze, and generally living his life according to the cycles of nature, carefully attuning the mechanisms of a dusty 4-track recorder so as to pick the crystalline voices announcing the arrival of the spring, voices which sparkle beautiful to deliver a message of warning and disobedience.

High Places- Vision’s The First