Category Archives: Water Borders

20jazzfunkgreats best of 2010: Friends & Family Special

We close out 2010 with a series of shout outs to the great and the good that have a special bond with 20JFG.  From guest writers who’ve put out spectacular albums to alumni that have hopped the fence and started their own labels, with this post we salute you because we love you and we kinda’ feel all proud about what you’ve gone and done.  20JFG doesn’t do nepotism.  If we did you’d see through it a mile off for we would present the damning mp3 proof with every post.  So, this isn’t an infected zone of back slapping, this is a collection of music that would have slotted neatly into the other sections (free-form as they are) but we thought, if anyone’s going to cast aspersions on these picks we may as well make a big song and dance about it.  Guns blazing, at it were.

It’s appropriate then that, a year on from his last words for 20JFG (helping us collate last years lists in fact) we begin with Tri Angle records.  Arriving at our black gates in 2007, Robin strung together the gothic folk soundtracks of Luboš Fišer with the necro-bass of early Cassie – a genre agnosticism that we hold very dear in the 20JFG citadel.  Tri Angle began their vinyl life with the Balam Acab 12″ which ends with one of the most beautiful pieces of music we’ve heard all year.

This year was also the first full year of operation for the label owned by half of 20JFG: Hungry for Power.  We managed to get our act together long enough to put out two disparate 12″s from two disparate duos.

Peepholes are Brighton/London pair Nick and Kat who kindly gave us three tracks to form the A-side of the Lair EP which we then invited people to remix for the B.  This is what we said about E*Rocks remix:

E-Rock slows it down into some sort of amaze communion of tribal stomping and holy riffarama which comes across like Gang Gang Dance and Fucking Champs massacring Daft Punk’s Veridis Quo, literally banging.

Peepholes- Lair (E-Rock’s remix) (posted February 22nd)

Water Borders hail from San Francisco and brought along their friend Glasser for our third release: the Akko EP.  We described the Petals remix as:

This is terrifying music. The pure heart of every Giallo disco scene. This is the vision of the killers. Grooving to their own murderous 4/4.

Water Borders – Akko (Petals remix) (posted September 17th)

And finally, we journey to the land of occasional contributor Taraka Larson.  Prince Rama of Ayodyha had been featured in these pages long before Taraka started contributing (indeed their inclusion was how she started contributing) which, in all fairness, should have prepared us for the tidal wave of drum centric synth infused psychedelic landscapes that unfurled from within the Shadow Temple LP.

Prince Rama – Raghupati (New Post)

Which is a wonderful way to end the year.  If you’re in Brighton come party with one of us here.  If you’re not, have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing.  We’ll be back in 2011.

Post script:

We’ve stuck here to people that have written on these dark pages this year or who we’ve worked with so directly it’d be absurd not to include. There are vast, vast swathes of the other lists that — hoping we were not being too presumptuous — we’d consider ‘friends and family’ of this shuffling electronic zine.  We salute you all and eagerly anticipate devouring your 2011 wares…

Dreams of the Club House

Featuring : E.M.A.K. + Water Borders

If the remake of Clash of the Titan’s had shifted its preconceptions about which particular brand of hyper-masculinity its teenage target audience desired, had instead relocated its mishmash of ancient myths to the basement clubs of hades and, oiled up boys in tow, had unleashed the Kraken upon an unsuspecting dancefloor…it’d sound something like the terrifying, deep bass that opens Petal’s remix of Water Border’s Akko. The thumping looped intro quickly gets stalked by the vocal screams that encircle it. Reverb’d melodies dance around with the darting screams, words glimpsed briefly in the distance, all the time building to the drop as if awaiting some Argento-ian release of horror. Which comes. With the drop.

And we’re back in the Hades club, hands aloft, the kick/snare telling us we’re listening to something we understand, pretty much everything else telling us to run. This EBM by way of Coil by way of Bristolian Bass. This banger for the tortured souls, luxuriating beneath the laser lit stalactites that pass for the club’s merge decoration.

This is terrifying music. The pure heart of every Giallo disco scene. This is the vision of the killers. Grooving to their own murderous 4/4. This is one of the tracks included on the latest release from our very own Hungry for Power Records. This is the Petals’ remix of Water Borders‘ Akko. This pounds…it’s also out on Monday.

Pre-order/buy it here.

Water Borders – Akko (Petals remix)

A very different environment forms around the analogue synths of E.M.A.K.’s untitled Ohne Titel. Bleak and driven in its own fashion. The quasi-Krautrock, propulsive, fuzzy drum machine anchors the concrete/utopian melodies that lock to the mechanical, automated autobahn. The low key synth chords hover in the background of this alluringly bleak sonic world. And yet the oscillating, almost acoustic, synthetic rhythms offer up something more playful than a simple Cold-Wave miserabilist fantasy.

Elektronische Musik Aus Koeln were a Cologne based group who put out what would now be termed Minimal Wave records in the 80s. Soul Jazz have just done their (always welcome) reissue treatment on their back-catalogue. You can get it direct from Soul Jazz here.

E.M.A.K. – Ohne Titel

This is from a vinyl rip of the 80’s original so apologies for the quality.

20JFG will again be journeying up to London to play records at The Old Blue Last on Saturday evening (21:00-01:30).  Come say hi if you can.

The Howling Fantods

Remember last time you woke up suddenly, vomited from the cavern where our lady of darkness hatches her deformed spawn, pupils dilated, aware of the presence of a shark circling your precarious raft under the deceivingly calm surface of darkness?

Then a roar down the road outside sudden, sharp tubes of light exploded in a lattice of white over the walls to reveal animal, human and unspeakable shapes surrounding your bed, sitting in the floor and in the chair and hanging from the ceiling, mute and staring at you with blank eyes.

Then it was dark. And it all began again.

Never build your house above a desecrated cemetery. Not worth it.

Psychic Ills- Secret Flower

Psychic Ills are another of those ace bands that have haunted the pages of this blog since our early days, their dirge wave taps direct into a tortuous well of murky energy where the essence of gnostic secrets filters from damp cellars and eerie hillocks deep in the neck of the woods no-one dares visit, and you know what happens to those who do. Their new 12, Catoptric, released by the Social Registry in June, sounds like the aftermath of a cosmic battle where different factions of the occult fought for control over this tract of the sky, as far as we know none of them had a place for mankind in the scheme of things to come.

Even in the Dark might be the closest Water Borders have come to delivering a club banger yet, it definitely did threaten the soul of our feeble 13Monsters speakers when we slipped it on at the club last weekend.

We throw around concepts like ‘dirge step’ or ‘haunted dancehall’ around with excessive abandon, but then we would be forgiven for resorting to stylistic shorthand when confronting beasts as numinous as this one- panic buttons for awed scribes, that’s what they are.

It works at two levels, first as a nocturnal chase through wild woods agitated by Satanic winds of Neubateian provenance (there), Evil Dead sans the slapstick. Second, as the dissonant soundtrack for the exploration of a derelict cabin, each stab of the synthesiser an eerie revelation, think of grainy photographs nailed to the walls, and bones, like a subtler version of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

These two scenarios are overlaid, wrapped together by the wraith-like vocals, an undead the Knife or Scott Walker’s balladry as sang from the gut of a vulture swirling in Tibetan skies. The interpretation of this scheme is that the ghost chasing you down the forests is the same that inhabits the cabin you just slipped into, and both things happen simultaneously. The perfect synchronisation of these two situations is the sort of challenge to space-time conventions that music with power is able to produce.

Water Borders- Even in the Dark

Even in the Dark is included in a forthcoming EP in Disaro. And more good stuff to come from them, very close to home.

Running with fools

Featuring : Balaclavas + Water Borders

Cast adrift, bobbing, gently atop thick black waves. Discordant guitars drifting in from some No Wave fight between their angular selves and James Chance’s rejected saxophone – still smarting and throwing her weight around. Stars fill the loft’s decaying rafters. The building creeks with the mass of the black waves; crashing apologetically into its crumbling interior walls. The halls echo with the far off call of a high-priest, caught out by time and stuck at right angles to this world. His insightful sermons trapped in the space between doorways.

Dull Knife, the label behind the wonderful Indian Jewelry / Future Blondes split 12″ from last year, are delighting once more with the dub-infused gem that is the Roman Holiday album by Balaclavas. Full of the sort of urgent rhythm section that haunts Liquid Liquids dreams and sax solos straight from the Ze Records book of just-the-right-time-to-be-deployed plays. Get it here.

Balaclavas – Night Worship

image by David Jien

Space black dub, glimpsed through the ragged hole in the ancient, accursed church. Gothic spires reaching their slate tips towards an impossible confluence of angles like so many claws grasping at the heavens. The church heaves on its precipitous hilltop with the coming of the drums of industry. Shaking the stones in their ancient slumber yet devoid of mechanical source. As if the air were geared and the stale moisture were its fuel. From its damned catacombs the nameless voice of anguish lends its dulcet tones to the cacophony until the building itself is oscillating with the irrepressible music of the night.

Water Borders come from San Fransico.  They’re everything your provincial English scribe DOESN’T think about San Fransisco. Like Coil putting out records on Hyperdub, lost to the temporal seas and found, washed up in that pastel coloured port to haunt its wharfs – a West coast Miskatonic region. For all its demonic pomp there seems a smile, sometimes wry, sometimes ecstatic behind that processed vocal. A great wink from the vastness of deep, unknowing space.

Water Borders – Akko