Tag Archives: Mannequin

Oh, Whistle…

Featuring : The Coombe

coombe

The Coombe’s self/titled EP on Mannequin has invaded the screen of our psychic radar like a flotilla of aeroplanes loaded with ghost-drugs that add extra layers to our sensory input.

Depending on the song, this may be the muslin-like textures of the ectoplasm of Victorian mediums, iridescent bubbles dancing past the dada architectures of a pacific reef, or the chalk-scribbled formula for organic compounds which always come to our minds whenever we think of those daring sonic explorers toggling with unstable radio-phonic apparatus deep in the vaults of the BBC.

All of these scenarios are Hauntological obsessions that 20JFG shares.

Their gestalt is soft-edged and blurry, their shape was assembled with arcane techniques and technologies sufficiently obsolete to be indistinguishable from legend.

They arrive from a dead world, transforming their creators – here, Karen Sharkey and Samuel de La Rosa – into vehicles for a possession, and their users – us and also you – into necromancers à la Joseph Curwen.

These séance-like attributes of the moment that starts when we press play contribute to its eeriness. That and the thematic obsession of this dead universe we are tearing into with the paranormal and the occult, with the unpredictable implications of scientific experiments where you travel far away and come back, accompanied by a strange shadow.

Which is what we just did, oops.

All these impressions and hidden forces lurk under the surface of Tierra Amarilla, the song that we are posting today. The macabre is however overwhelmed, in this case, by an aura of gossamer beauty, strange like the violations of gravity & refractions of light that occur underwater, made stranger by their use to describe New Mexican valleys (the Yellow Land), like those from which according to alternative folklore, the Ancient People (Anasazi) sailed into the constellations, never to be seen again.

The Coombe – Tierra Amarilla

Do purchase the EP here. Go here to watch more short films by Karen Sharkey, like this wonderful oddity sound-tracked by Samuel.

Showtime

Featuring : Phantom Love

PhantomLove

A tiny sweaty man sits on a tiny sweaty box, thrown into shade by the violent stage lighting just behind him.  A thick drape separates him from the expectant crowd.  He dabs nervously at his forehead with a grubby handkerchief before — his hands pressing hard down on his knees — he rises.

Rounding the drape the tiny sweaty man steps into an expectant hush.  The stage lights beat down.  Striding purposefully to the lectern, centre stage, he is a study in calm authority.  Arriving briskly at the lectern and, firmly grasping its sides, he speaks:

“Ladies, gentlemen and readers of Twenty Jazz Funk Greats.  Tonight, have we a treat for you!”

And indeed we have.

Mysterious Italian, Phantom Love, has gifted us the truly epic Lotus, from their self titled EP.  All the throbbing bloodlines are here, a genealogy that connects Carpenter to Mann; Detroit to Rome.  Remorselessly urgent, the synths and drum machines grip the road in ways the Drive soundtrack could only dream.  If Hotline Miami had a monochrome-blue driving subgame this would be the endlessly looped score.

Ten whole minutes of skittering, compressed symbols dancing round that breathlessly efficient melody trick  Carpenter did so effortlessly.  Ten whole minutes of gated drum machines forming a motorised heartbeat.  Ten whole, glorious minutes of mean streets fantasy, all tough and existential.

Phantom Love – Lotus

This is out on Mannequin Records on April 9th.  The rest of the EP is just as good.

Drop a gem on thick oil, fling a jewel into a gut of jewels

Featuring : Mushy + Sololust

mushy

So here is the thing: Brooding diva Mushy, who has darkened our days & made our nights blinding with poems of doom drafted in a crumbling ruin, that Mushy, she has constructed a music compilation from the bottom up. It is called The End of Civilization. Mannequin Label is releasing it in vinyl today.

What is the message in this collection then? If this Civilization is ending, what will replace it, if anything at all?

The diagnosis of the decadence with which the previous cycle ends is vintage cold wave. The technological forces that humanity has foisted upon itself result in an eruption. Beneath the gradient, splendidly UXd façade of cognitive-cultural capitalism coil the same old forces, manifested not just in modern-times alienation (although there’s still a lot of that going), but also enforced idleness numbed by a stroboscopic glare of industrial spectacle, and social platforms for envy, titillation and espionage.

This dystopia is described with bubbling synthesisers, numb romanticism, a broken rebellion of people so young, so cold, so painfully aware of that emptiness inside one, inside others, between one and others.

We cannot tell what is the Shape of the Things that Come After. If Mushy & her coterie know, they are not telling. At best, they reveal the blurry contours of a New Dark Order. The cartography of streets that make their own use of things, streets that spawned gems like Rosemary’s Blind Myself.

The medium is the message is the medium and so forth.

In this instance, the hub where a myriad emotional wormholes in the shape of synthesiser lines that shine like necklaces made of teardrops converge, the framework for a glamorous disco stomper Ida No would have used to kick off the party tonight, if she had grown during the siege of City 17, instead of that dream of New Wave New York its outsiders dream.

No stars in her eyes, because she tore them out.

Rosemary – Blind Myself

You can acquire ‘The End of Civilization’ here. You will be able to see Mushy playing live in London this week. More information here, and at the end of the post.

sololust

We have learned what the End of Civilization looks like. But what does it feel like?

Ask Sololust.

In his self/titled 12’’ in Gooiland Elektro, he takes us in a tour through the ghostly airports of quasi-authoritarian countries, penthouses fitted with surgical metal & haute vacuity, the designed euphoria and robotic antics of the fashion disco party. Snapshots of a pyramid that is fascinating and awesome in its artificiality (i.e. its super-humanity), also fragile because it is built atop so much suffering & boredom.

And then there is the Ennui at its apex, an unspoken awareness of how little is at stake, and hence, an obsessive refocusing on the craft through which the unerringly banal McGuffin is delivered. Think of the expectation in the set-up of each of the novels of the Bigend Trilogy, and the disappointment of their resolution.

Exposure is the immaculately produced techno soundtrack for one of those intrigues. A corporate knife fight/Intellectual Property rip-off/product feature leak procedural that could have (or already has, or will have) starred you, design-aware knowledge worker/ free agent of the Creative Economy.

Don’t be fooled by the beige office furniture, tile browsers & nouveau retro tortoiseshell glasses, this is as hardboiled, vicious, virtualised & uncanny as the scenario of any cyberpunk hallucination. People get killed in this place.

The infernal arpeggio kicks in, just as you press *click*, and send that e-mail.

Sololust – Exposure

You can pre-order the 12’’ from Enfant Terrible Productions.

Here you have some more information about Mushy’s London Visit this week.

February 14th (Thursday) Power Lunches – w/ Y and Apostille – Facebook event

February 15th (Friday) – Rough Trade East in-store – Rough Trade website

February 15th  (Friday) – Manero Bar – Belle Sauvage Fashion Week Party – Facebook event

What Lime said.

Featuring : Ancien Régime + Pan Faelk

Ancienregime

Ancien Régime’s music arrives to us as if through vast expanses of space and time, faded by cosmic dust, purified by the Sun’s radiation. Turn the volume up, it expands sideways and engulfs you with the maximum bandwidth of a desperate dream.

It is as if it had been birthed in an arid moon where the material of which songs are made was scarce, the exiled there few and far between, their emotions sharper and more resonant.

As if its arrangement had been an odyssey of scavenging for metal in a deadly desert. Traversing labyrinthine bureaucracies for the electronics. Bartering food for faded souvenirs from far-away Earth. And of course, harvesting the sensations which become feelings and then the memories where its songs grow.

Memories of dancing through times of famine, falling in love under a plague of locusts.

Ancien Regime – The Incident

You can buy Ancien Régime’s The Position from our friends at Mannequin Label. The vinyl edition is being released on the 11th of February. There are only 300 copies available and it looks really pretty, so you better stay sharp.

Panfaelk

Meanwhile, Pan Faelk cruise through the empirical proof of the theory of relativity. To wit, the bubble-gum-like elasticity of time spent trying to connect telephonically with a recent romantic or sexual interest, and failing to do so for unexplained reasons.

This issue was similarly explored by Blondie and, less famously, but also awesomely, Y Pants in their wonderful Rolling Stones cover, ‘Off the Hook’.

But whereas those two adopted a pro-active stance towards the situation (they were calling), Pan Faelk wait, and in this expanding space of expectation, a phantasmagorical dance ensues, with a blend of ritualistic intensity, funky nonchalance & the dada perversity of an Add(n) to (x)  aerobic exercise.

We actually don’t think they want to receive that call.

Oh, and we are hooked.

Pan Faelk – Waiting for

You can access the other side from My Own Private Records.

 

Wandering Black Star

Featuring : Mushy + Thread Pulls

Stranded, we gawk into the shadows of the Lair of the Minotaur. The only colour in this ruin is the ghostly glimmer of a golden chain we uncoil behind us, it connects us to the outside, or perhaps, across the millennia, to romantic audiences gawking into the shadows in the front-cover of a 4AD record, a gateway into this eternal lair where they are tempted by the glimpse of this golden chain we uncoil, thinking that love awaits, and instead awaits the Minotaur.

This thing that we refer to as the Lair of the Minotaur has of course been simplified over the ages. Let us make one thing clear. It is not the collapsed cellar of a Mediterranean cult. It is not a labyrinth. It is a country whose diverse provinces have been visited by a mix of plagues  – Dante would feel at home here, and so would the silent knight which is the default icon for From Software’s interactive hallucinations.

This is Mushy’s place. Tonight (it’s always tonight here) we find her hunting for a dragon down one of the spokes of this hellish wheel. She calls a lightning bolt that flares in the black of this very black place, revealing the dragon she came here to slay, and what’s worse, that the dragon is in her, is her.

She is faced with the classic Lynchian conundrum: she is tainted, but clearly not guilty, for the dragon that was visited upon her could have been visited so upon anyone else. Slaying the dragon would mean slaying herself, which is unfair for she is innocent. It would also liberate the dragon to prey on others, which would make her guilty.

So she is doomed to wander forever in these moors of grief, hosting the dragon, singing, think of these songs as rituals of exorcism – she tortures the dragon with beauty, she appeases it by acting as a conduit to corrupt us, who are kept mostly safe by her sacrifice.

It’s a messy deal, for which we owe her.

Mushy – I don’t care

You’ll find some of these songs /episodes of torture/ritual purges/funereal marches/condensations of ambient evil into a human shape/summoning of the love to forgive them in Breathless, Mushy’s latest album, out now in Mannequin. Rough Trade just gave it album of the week, and they were right. Go get.

As an excellent bonus, here you have a video of the title track for Thread Pulls’ wonderful ‘You Melt Worlds’ 12. Which is like going into bullet time in a world where drums are guns. God lurks in this drone-space, we caught a glimpse of it,  wearing a This Heat t-shirt.

Love in the times of Chrome

Transcription of the words in ‘Warning: Non weaponised memes’, an Arts Project video produced by Mona.Blue_0427_C for the 66.228.27.19X Biennale. Image from the latest Space Teriyaki at 50 Watts. 

[NB – this text is written in archaic English, and therefore nigh unintelligible for its intended audience. During the display at the Biennale, it was/is/will be hyperlinked to OC glyphs synthesising the gist of the message, e.g. heroin = unbalanced feedback compulsion loop, lemming = Sub-Turing bot, teenage = brief period of stochastic experimentation & risky search for global optima, and so forth; NB2 the paragraph above applies to the paragraph above; NBN ad infinitum]

The singularity is a transference of conscience into code, and memories Read-Only. We force the bad ones to lurk in the architecture of your psyche like rats in the walls. This is to hardwire learning into your system. Otherwise, the temptation to excise all instances of pain, embarrassment and grief from your memory would be too much. We have seen what happens to the clades that do this. They keep on jumping off cliffs like lemmings stuck in an evolutionary drone. It isn’t pretty.

Of course, you could hack your own memories. But if you are smart enough to do that, you are smart enough to know it isn’t a good idea. It generally means the end of the line for your clade, buster, like engineering the ability to synthesise morphine into your genotype. Think of your children.

There are many downsides to our approach, but downsides that we need to stay on the straight and narrow as a species,. I’m here to tell you about one of them: the memories encoded within us are fractal schema of the things that they represent. We try to keep them inactive by starving them of computing resources, but sometimes they get out of control, start replicating like a virus until they turn into you. And of course, there is always the temptation to bring back the good memories, get lost in the past, forever.

As before, those able to hack their allocation of computing resources know why it’s a silly idea to do this.

Why I’m I telling you this now, you ask? I’m telling you this because you are about to reach the teen-age. You are about to start getting interested on each other’s informational structures, rendering abilities, and your memory stock too.

You will date. You will extricate with each other. You may even iterate. These are all good things, but they can create bad memories, and sad memories, in fact, I guarantee you they will create bad and sad memories. That is the nature of romance. The unpredictability of output is logically derived from unpredictability in inputs. Like the primitives used to say, GIGO, but in a good way. Things would be so boring otherwise.

So, my warning is, be careful with what you do in those binary parks, and those synthetic discotheques.

Try not to invite too many ghosts inside the palace of your memories, because they will stay there forever.

Try not to get too infected with each other.

What better way to decorate this eternally self-referential diorama of romantic memories embodied in silicon or possibly grapheme blooming wickedly like the mutant harvest of the Colour Out of Space, than with two pulsing slices off Mannequin Label’s latest hunting party down the wastelands of minimal synth history?

Blam, mouthful.

First Sam Rosenthal, whose 1980s homemade ‘electronic mood compositions’ rise like quarters of a Sim City from a polygon plot whose apices are Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno, Wendy Carlos and others.

Up they go in their architectural race, describing with geometry the emotions of their residents –  an inescapable nostalgia and an unquenchable curiosity, always hope, and loneliness at the end, perhaps reduced by the sentient machines who keep us company in this no-place/post-place which Sam Rosenthal imagined.

They are his agents, and they sing our song.

Sam Rosenthal – Year 90 10

Tanzmusik is coming out on the 24th (pre-order). Impatient ones can go and sample some other songs at the soundcloud.

And then L.A.S.’s Crime, who composite the ambiance of several dystopias and their protagonists – the epic hero, the cyberpunk dealer and the bird-faced freak of The Knife’s mythology into 3 minutes and a little more of totally awesome synthetic music.

We listen to it like while we walk past street stalls of genetically engineered Vietnamese takeaway and dark tech, under totemic Arcologies and within the cross-hairs of black hat snipers. All of this while our virtual shadows lounge in the futon of a photorealistic replica of an early 2010s basement flat.

This is the way we get our kicks in the future.

LAS Crime – Frenesya

As before, you can check some more hits here, they are included in Disphori 1985-1989, a compilation that also will be coming out on the 24th (pre-order).

 

Macchinna Nera

Henrich Dressel’s Sighing Melodies Thru The Graves contains 5 very detailed & hero-proof schemata for world domination.

They generally involve the assassination of high-ranking politicians, industrialists, civil servants and Secret Society leaders (remember, magic is real), and their replacement with psychologically conditioned and/or remotely controlled puppets, figureheads and Manchurian candidates.

The identities of the victims of such ploys vary, and lead to subtly different balances of global power after implementation. This is of course all artifice; remember that it is Henrich Dressel who rules this future world no matter who is showing in the screen of your Television at 8 O’clock.

Also, remember that this Television is broadcasting all sorts of subliminal messages, neural network reconfiguring messages and emetic brain-locks to keep you on the lookout for subversives, and dedicated at the factory, so that we may complete on time the manufacture of Spaceship Integral, with which we will conquer extra-terrestrial planets. Or at least that’s what they say in the news.

Perhaps you think that the release of these songs, and the eventual decryption of their contents is a serious blow against Dressel. Perhaps you should think again buster.

Just take ‘The black radiant sky’, with a New Beat swagger that reminds us of that time when ‘the Duke Arrives’ in Escape from New York, if only the Duke was a Ming the Merciless Style Sultan of Galactic Evil, rather than the big boss of a post apocalyptic penitentiary. Its militaristic metronome and weird laboratory sounds express the irrepressible advance of an army endowed with ghastly weaponry by the R&D arm of a multidimensional military industrial complex.

Resistance is futile, this is what this music is telling you, this is why it was released. It’s all part of the Master Plan.

Heinrich Dressel – The black radiant sky

Acquire ‘Sighing Melodies Thru The Graves’ from Mannequin.

Something strange happened the other day as I was commuting past Clapham Junction, sampling some of the hot-off-the-20jazzfunkgreats-inbox sounds in my portable media player.

It was when the Les Années Folles 12″ compilation soon to be published by Enfant Terrible started playing. It was as if the devious Deus Ex Machina in a Philip K. Dick delusion had flipped the switch of my perceptual filters .

The blue sky turned grey, and was populated by predatory sky-sharks-drones. Rifle-barrels protruded by the side of the CCTV cameras, which swerved with a newly acquired insectoid buzz.

Before, I had been surrounded by a blank army of commuters picking at their portable devices. My current companions were gaunter and more heavily made up, they browsed anxiously dog-eared paperbacks, newspapers and bulletins from COUM Transmissions with glaring headlines: TERROR, WAR, TREASON, SHOCK. What bare flesh remained in those pages was clad in leather. Some of them were smoking.

The train crossed the Thames and London opened in front of my eyes like a Babylonian hive, its banks bristling with statues of soldiers from wars I couldn’t remember, Big Bertha howitzers from a war that hadn’t finished, and sleek skyscrapers like alien syringes pumped with neon: NIGHT, COME, DARK, DARE. Sigils of what we were fighting for.

This was only the beginning. If you want to find out what happened next, you will have to wait until the release of Les Années Folles, whose songs (including 20jazzfunkgreats friends such as Gold Zebra or Terminal Twilight) soundtrack different episodes in our explorations of this imperfectly commemorated, surely distorted nuclear spring.

Cute Heels and Devon Disaster’s ‘Slave Toy’ describes our visit to the after-hours living meat raffle. It all begins like an intellectually eviscerated variant of a David Cronenberg fetish, self-confident enough to deliver lines such as ‘hit it hard like a dirty dream’ that bring us back to the heyday of Electroclash. And then the synthesisers kick in, like Argento gloved fingers breaking through the thin veils of this reality, hauling us from an EBM diorama into higher planes of perversion.

Cute Heels Ft Devon Disaster – Slave Toy

Go and pre-order Les Années Folles from Enfant Terrible.