April 22, 2014

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Unknown Surroundings

It’s been a while but I’m back with good news. Those lovely folk over at basic.fm have been kind enough to grant me air time on their excellent little station. Tune in every Tuesday @ 2300 and every Saturday @ 1700 for all you noise/ambient/abstract sound needs. Often it will be loud, sometimes it will be subdued but I can guarantee that it’ll always be strange, intriguing and mind melting. For me, this will be a chance to look through my music collection and share some gems that I’ve in the past as well as highlighting the bestir in current underground musical output.

The first episode of Unknown Surroundings airs tonight (Tuesday 22nd April) and will feature tracks by Enfer Boreal, A.M/Uton, Skull Mansions, Soon and Tsone.

New episodes will air every fortnight and will be on hour in length. I’ll get back to collecting sounds for the next show. Until then, enjoy the weird.

Unknown Surroundings

Basic.Fm

 

Mononoké-Tom Finigan EP

April 2, 2014

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Sometimes it’s nice to revisit the past. To hear those sounds that have such a vivid association with certain points in your life and take you back to that atmosphere. It’s as much about the music as it is about how it made you feel. After giving the instrumental post hardcore genre some distance, Mononoké have allowed me to go back to it with fresh ears. It’s like rediscovering music all over again.

This EP recalls the instrumental post hardcore/math rock sound that the likes of Don Cabbalero championed. Jittery guitar notes, complex, off kilter drum beats and powerful, crunchy riffs are your points of reference here. Yes, it’s derivative and yes, we’ve heard this done quite a lot before, but I’m struggling to remember a band in recent years that has done it quite so well as to feel completely fresh. Razor sharp music all the way through. Hats off to the band here though. A sound that has a multi textural composition has the risk of feeling encumbered, but Mononoké manage to play this to their advantage as it feels almost breezy while still having such depth to the music. I’d like to listen to it again and again. I want to see these play live in the smallest possible setting at the high possible volume. I’d urge you to do the same.

Tom Finigan EP is out on 21st April 2014 as a CD & download, self released by the band.
Check out a trailer for the EP below.

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BLOWN OUT

March 14, 2014

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Seems like there’s quite a few new bands popping up around Newcastle. This one, not surprisingly, features Mike Vest who is in around 90% of underground bands in the city. Alongside him are Matt Baty and John-Michael Hedley who you’ll have probably seen in the likes of Khuunt, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs or Spokes. Take parts of each of those bands, put them through a mincer and the mess you have on the other side somewhat resembles the music you hear now.

Strong but mellow bass lines paired with cymbal heavy drums keep the whole thing together. A central line for everything else to hook onto, making sure that the music doesn’t descend into self indulgent amp worship. That being said, the guitars here are drugged out, hazy waves of distortion, feedback and wah that feel like a bottomless hole. Dark, damp basements, blurred lights, spinning heads, massive amounts of psychedelics. It’s all a beautiful subterranean melting pot of delicious liquid noise. They’ve only been a band for a short while but already have two EP’s out. That’s a pretty impressive feat, especially since there’s so much substance to them. Go on, take a ling, hard look into the sinkhole that is your life and rejoice in the hazy bliss.

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It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised by a piece of music, even more so if it inspires you. The new release from Trans/Human is such a piece. It’s been on heavy repeat since I first caught wind of it and I’ve been trying to dissect it and learn from the noisy glory.

At first you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re listening to something else. A stray radio broadcast of old country americana starts off the first track amidst a wave of static hiss. This hiss soon takes over and stays with us for the duration. Dings and chimes, tapes and fuzz all interweave into this strange melting pot of aural goodness. At times we have gentle, meditative repetition which calms and soothes your mind into a false sense of security then,  without warning, swathes of radio static and glorious feedback belt out the speakers in a thick warm hue. Within these scenes are lone radio broadcasts, seemingly lost in the static void only to find refuge at this certain point in time. There’s something strange going on here. There’s a new world being create, one full of abstraction and obscurity. It feels uneasy and frightening, but it’s almost intriguing and I want to delve deeper into the recess to find what truly lies beyond. I’m going in for another listen.

 

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Penned as a sculptural performance, this record is the attempt to transpose the art of live performance into a studio space. A very personal record that gives you some sort of insight into the strange minds that create this wondrous dirge. Repeated listens and full concentration are the ideal listening scenarios for this record to give you maximum pleasure.

The (UN)Expected  is out 7th March on The Audacious Art Experiment.

http://www.theaudaciousartexperiment.com

LIVINGVOID

February 3, 2014

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The living void compilation, which I contributed a piece to, is now up for free download.
It has also been made into a beautiful physical package in the form of a wooden, engraved memory stick.

The compilation features 80 tracks, each one minute in length, which are sonic self portraits of each contributor. Each piece of music is accompanied by an image from the artist.

Download living void here: https://archive.org/details/LivingvoidMp3

But living void here: http://livingvoidcompilation.bandcamp.com

BIN

January 31, 2014

BIN

Here’s some new filthy, sludgy noise from Newcastle with members of Foot Hair/Khunnt/Haikai No Ku/PigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigs. I’m actually surprised that the infamous Mike Vest doesn’t feature on this one. Blood curdling screams and slow, heavy guitars hidden behind a mammoth wall of tape hiss. It sounds like I’m listening to it through a tin can phone with the rusty edge scraping away at my skin. ‘Edgelands’ and ‘Treat’ use slow and super heavy guitar crunch to push your speakers and ears to their absolute limits. On the other hand, ‘Mainline’ and ‘club’ are two heavy as hell, fist in the air, chunks of noisy punk that punch you straight in the face while simultaneously making you put holes in the floor due to excessive foot tapping. Maximalist guitars feeding back straight into your brain in the lowest fidelity possible. Beautiful noise.

BIN are playing their debut gig at Leave Me Here’s second all day event in Newcastle on 4th May. Be there.

Dhow – S/T

January 17, 2014

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No idea where this came from. Can’t remember how I stumbled across it, but it sounds incredible. Rich, dense drones covering gentle guitars and heavy, industrial drums. A placid wave of noise flows over the entire record, bringing itself to the forefront whilst still letting other elements seep through. Behind the hiss, there’s some beautifully delicate and repetitive guitar lines mangled in with slow, pulsating drum beats. Sometimes you can hear them surfacing, trying to squeeze through the overwhelming drones, then they disappear again, sunken below the surface. A serene, ambient exterior starts off but then begins to develop and disintegrate into a harsher, more tense feeling as the songs progress. Stark, black and white images spring to mind. Brutalist buildings of the sixties feel somewhat similar as they’re beautiful in their own right but still manage to have a hardened exterior that people tend to feel uncomfortable around. There’s something I find so reassuring and relaxing about it all. Let the noise seep into your brain, let it play out loud while you romanticise straight lined buildings and harsh, concrete exteriors.

Out now on Inam Records.

Just got myself two new cassettes from Opal Tapes and I’ve been trying to come up with ways to explain how much I like the.

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COIN’s Inside Palace starts of with a light meringue of wispy ambient notes floating around in a chamber of reverb. Forgive me for thinking this is some sort of instrumental Beach House track, I do like it though. From then on, the initially floaty sounds are stretched out into an abstraction of themselves. Pulled between arms like a fuzzy elastic band, remnants of that soft sound seem to blend in with the background, not wanting to stand out from the crowd. You can still see them though, just catching a glimpse before the blend in with the others. This is a hazy stroll along a beach. A holiday in a dream world. Opening your eyes to a blurry landscape that’s both beautiful but desolate, not quite knowing where you are but enjoying the experience nonetheless. Like the cover, you can feel yourself sat beside the monotone leaves, blown around in the gentle breeze. Inside Palace is an excellent piece of gentle ambience that I’m going to let guide me to sleep as many times as possible. I think this tape is sold out at source, although you can still stream it over at the band camp page.

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Lumisokea’s Contrapasso on the other hand presents us with a one track, five part mound of industrial rubble. Recycled beats ride alongside metallic soundscapes in a scrapyard of sound. Sounds rummage around, scraping against walls, banging into each other. A lone beat struggles to find air, stays afloat for a while then disappears into an abstract void, reappearing after it’s had some times to rest. Stark, black and white, depression ridden ambience. A perfect slice of post industrial techno.

opaltapes.bandcamp.com

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Henry Blacker are made up of two thirds Hey Colossus and an additional brother. Their debut effort, Hungry Dogs Will Eat Dirty Puddings, is a 30 minute punch in the face. Hey Colossus’s 2013 release Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo was a personal favourite of mine. It was the perfect amalgamation of heavy riffs and strange psych air. Henry Blacker stay exclusively in the heavy riffs category. Album opener Crab House recalls dreams of driving a beaten up car around a run down city while managing to feel absolutely unstoppable. Rust and dust. I feel exactly the same way as I did when I watched the video for Wires by Red Fang. Something along the lines of “hmmmm, maybe I should stop being a pretentious shit and enjoy some beer, beards and guitars. I can listen to some obscure sound art later.” I just want to play air guitar where I hammer imaginary chord shapes rather than mime fickle guitar solos. Could there be a better way to start a new year than with some trusty noise rock? Possibly. But for now I’m content with this. Maybe pretend you’re not trying to be healthy in January by listening to this, it’s certainly better than a salad. That’s the least I can say. Go on, let the distortion explore the crevices in your skull. Let the fleghmy vocals seep into the deep recesses of your tinnitus ridden ears.

Hungry Dogs Will Eat Dirty Puddings is released via Riot Season Records on January 20th.