psych . krautrock . prog . rock

WEEK STARTING 26 Feb

Genre pick of the week Cover of Prosthuman by Camera.

Camera

Prosthuman

    With the band’s tenth anniversary in their viewfinder, CAMERA release “Prosthuman”, their fifth studio album. As befits an age in which realities can change in the blink of an eye, from one day to the next, the Berlin band never tire of changing themselves, their music or personnel.

    As Karlheinz Stockhausen noted: “New methods change the experience. New experiences change man.”

    Taking this as their lead, Michael Drummer (the drummer) and CAMERA surprise us once more on “Prosthuman” as they reinvent and reformulate their sound without sacrificing the project’s identity which has matured over the past decade. Less surprising is the fact that some record stores give CAMERA their own section, alongside Krautrock pioneers like NEU!, Can and La Düsseldorf. “Emotional Detox”, the predecessor to this album, was distinguished by the presence of two keyboard virtuosos (Steffen Kahles and CAMERA founder member Timm Brockmann). Finding replacements for “Prosthuman” was, as Michael Drummer stresses, “a difficult process.” The two keyboardists had – in different creative periods – formed the backbone of a band structure otherwise prone to fluctuations. Decisive input came from an unlikely source: Tim Schroeder, who first teamed up with CAMERA as a performance and video artist on their six-week tour of the USA in 2017.

    Over the course of various jams and recording sessions, he was able to offer ample proof of his synthesizers skills. Alex Kozmidi, a musician and composer with a flair for experimentation, completed the triumvirate on guitar, with Michael Drummer adding his own guitar riffs here and there. Change and friction can be useful allies in pursuit of creativity, something to which Drummer has grown accustomed as the only ever-present member of CAMERA. The pleasures and pain of isolation – suddenly a mass phenomenon in pandemic times – are well known to the quasi frontman of the group. Over the years, he has spent many hours alone or with a shifting cast of co-musicians in the band’s basement studio, beneath a former factory site in a less than hip southern district of Berlin. Virus-induced social distancing and quarantine measures that came into force during the recording process (June 2019 to June 2020) thus posed no great challenge.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: It's always a delight when something hits the shelves from Bureau B. This time sees Camera revisiting their familiar heady kosmische groove, albeit with different staff. Drummer and Schroeder here perfect the warmingly organic duality of synthesiser and live percussion, resulting in a fluid but cohesive build and release narrative and a hypnotic, rhythmic nod.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xDinked Edition LP Info: • Orange vinyl *
    • Exclusive bonus 12” with remixes by Lloyd Cole, The Telescopes, Love-Songs, Dead Skeletons, Extnddntwrk (Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods) *
    • Neon orange print sleeve *
    • Limited pressing of 400 *
    * Exclusive to Dinked Edition

    Here Lies Man

    Ritual Divination

      Four albums in, the convenient and generalized catchphrase for Here Lies Man’s erudite sound — if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat — might seem a little played out. But Ritual Divination is perhaps the best rendering of the idea so far. Particularly on the Sabbath side of the equation: The guitars are heavier and more blues based than before, but the ancient rhythmic formula of the clave remains a constant.

      “Musically it’s an opening up more to traditional rock elements,” says vocalist/guitarist/ cofounder Marcos Garcia, who also plays guitar in Antibalas. “It’s always been our intention to explore. And, as we travelled deeper into this musical landscape, new features revealed themselves.”

      The L.A. based band comprised of Antibalas members have toured relentlessly following their breakout 2017 self-titled debut. Their second album, You Will Know Nothing and an EP, Animal Noises, both followed in 2018. Third album No Ground To Walk Upon emerged in August 2019. All of them were crafted by Garcia and cofounder/drummer Geoff Mann (former Antibalas drummer and son of jazz musician Herbie Mann) in their L.A. studio between tours. Ritual Divination is their first album recorded as the full 4-piece band, including bassist JP Maramba and keyboardist Doug Organ.

      Ritual Divination continues with an ongoing concept of HLM playing the soundtrack to an imaginary movie, with each song being a scene. “It’s an inward psychedelic journey, the album is the trip,” Garcia says. “The intention and purpose of the music is to create a sonic ritual to lift the veil of inner space and divine the true nature of reality.”

      Likewise, musically and sonically, the album is self-reflexive. “On this album the feel changes within a song,” Garcia says. “Whereas before each song was meant to induce a trancelike state, now more of the songs have their own arc built in.” Similarly, the guitar sounds themselves herein eschew the fuzz pedals of previous recordings, going for the directness of pure amp overdrive and distortion using an interconnected rig of 4 amplifiers. And, here, the well-versed live band is able to record as a unit, giving it much more of a live and dynamic feel.

      Rough Trade named the band’s self-titled debut in their prestigious Top 10 Albums of 2017. BBC 6 & Classic Rock Magazine deemed it among the year’s best, as well as countless other press outlets singing its praises. Each subsequent album furthered the band’s reputation for genre-smashing rhythmic experimentation, topping many year-end lists as well as earning features from countless metal and indie rock outlets, plus cover stories in weekly papers.

      “We’re very conscious of how the rhythms service the riffs,” Garcia explains. “Tony Iommi’s (Black Sabbath) innovation was to make the riff the organizing principle of a song. We are taking that same approach but employing a different organizing principle: For Iommi it was the blues, for us it comes directly from Africa.”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: Here Lies Man amp up the groove on their latest outing 'Ritual Divination', taking them from a more percussion-based sound into the stoner drawl and half-speed Sabbathy grind that suits them so well. Psychedelic and heavy without being wandering, a brilliant step forwards for the band.

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: Coloured vinyl edition limited to 666 copies.
      Includes a blue vinyl 7"

      LP Info: Black vinyl.

      Carole King

      Tapestry - Vinyl Reissue

        Originally released in 1971, this classic album was the second studio album from American singer-songwriter Carole King. It is the 81st best selling album of all time, with over 10 million copies sold.

        Ranked by 'Rolling Stone' as no.25 on the list of the Top 500 greatest albums of all time. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP includes MP3 Download Code.

        Skinshape

        I Didn’t Know (Extended) / I Didn’t Know (Dub)

          With over 15000,000 (yes, fifteen million!) plays on YouTube and over 2,000,000 on Spotify we thought it was only fair that Skinshape’s most popular song was released on glorious vinyl. The track is already on the ‘Filoxiny’ album so Skinshape extended the mix and backed it with a dub version for the flip. Skinshape is the project of British musician William Dorey. The sound has roots in many genres but in particular 1960s Funk, Soul, Reggae, Psychedelic Rock, Afrobeat and Folk.

          Aside from the Skinshape project Dorey was bassist for the band Palace from 2014-2017 and also runs a reggae label called Horus Records based in North London. About I Didn’t Know from Dorey himself: “This is the most 'pop' song I've possibly ever made, and possibly the most 'modern' sounding. It is about being in a difficult relationship and not knowing how to deal with it and making mistakes as a result. I wrote and recorded most of the song around the drum pattern, and created some (terrible sounding) digital orchestral parts temporarily whilst I created the body of the song. I recorded the strings and horns in the last part of the recording process before doing the final mixes. The horns were recorded separately with the help of my long-time friend (since school) and master arranger Jon Moody (of the group Franc Moody).”

          Throughout music history a few bands and artists have succeeded in creating their own universes for their on stage-personas and music to evolve within. Ultra Satan is one of those bands: in their anti-rock, packed with rock aesthetic in a classic DIY-format, you find a distinct but also defiant concept which frames the bands revolutionary and anarchistic output. You could say that Ultra Satan has created an own space to be unpredictable within.

          Golden Bug and Peaking Lights, friends with and released on Höga Nord Rekords, have made remixes of Ultra Satans second 7” and the result bares traces of Patrick Cowley, Brian Enos World Music explorations and some hints of dub. The lonely reverberating and echoing guitars contribute to the apocalyptic vibe that comes clear to you in these remixes - Golden Bug and Peeking Lights have both drag out more darkness of the songs than you get in the original versions. Still, none of the polyrhythmic excellence of the original versions is lost in the process - you can still dance through the apocalypse.

          Ultra Satan is one of few concept bands today that manages not to be ridiculous or pretentious and always stays on the right side of the abyss, not falling in, getting eaten by darkness. The good always wins in the end!

          Rik Van Boeckel

          Deze Hoofden Praten

          New label on the block Raakvlak returns for its second release, this time branching out into more local territories. Deze Hoofden Praten is a vast recollection of the idiosyncratic work of spoken-word guru Rik van Boeckel.

          Next in line for Raakvlak is a recollection of the wicked work of poet, spoken-word expert and all-round expressionist Rik van Boeckel. Deze Hoofden Praten is the result of two mid- eighties tapes released on Kubus Cassettes, the same label that accommodated the work of the mind- stretching ambient of subterranean-chill pioneer Enno Velthuys. Although van Boeckel’s oeuvre contains some similar elements, the outcome here is much wilder; a musical hodgepodge of new wave pop, ambient and quirky dub. What’s more, emphasis is just as much on the Dada- bordering poetry at present as on the sonical equivalent. Think Ton Lebbink’s cousin if he would’ve been into new age instead of punk. Certainly one to turn heads and ears alike, this may serve as a (re-)introduction of a singular mind to the wider universe.

          STAFF COMMENTS

          says: After turning us on with the kosmische grooves of that Overflow reissue for their first release, Raakvlak are back with more archival excellence, combining a couple of mid-80s cassettes from Rik Van Boeckel. Operating in dada-ist mode, Rik stiches spoken word vocals over experimental compositions which drift between dub, wave and C86 guitars.

          Vapour Theories

          Celestial Scuzz

            New album from brothers John and Michael Gibbons, the guitarists from psychedelic drone legends, Bardo Pond. A “heavy ambient” instrumental masterpiece that explores the symbiotic relationship of the duo as they build and dismantle sounds on a unique ethereal trip.

            A full-length follow up to ‘Joint Chiefs’ from 2006, ‘Celestial Scuzz’ is a monumental sound piece created from hours of jam sessions and crafted into a cohesive mind-blowing trip. The result has a heavy ambience, like Eno locked in a dark room with Sunn-O))))) rehearsing next door.

            While Bardo Pond’s trajectory takes them deep into rock music’s ever-imploding sound, the brothers Gibbons surf a more ethereal and eclectic plain; from a heady and consuming space, a “sanctuary; balm for the soul.” Describing the writing process, Michael Gibbons explains it as “a kind of spiritual experience. Most of the time it leaves us stunned; the more stunned we are the better the jam.”

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            Coloured LP Info: Limited edition gold vinyl.

            Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

            Neil Young & Crazy Horse

            Way Down In The Rust Bucket

              Recorded on November 13th 1990 in Santa Cruz, CA, where the band were rehearsing for their upcoming Weld tour, Neil Young and Crazy Horse played a club show at The Catalyst which is now released here for the first time.

              The show comprised three different sets along with a 12 minute encore of Cortez The Killer and all 3 sets including that encore are brought together here in over 2 hours of music.

              Said to be one of the great live shows that Neil Young and Crazy Horse performed, the album includes live versions of songs from their Ragged Glory album, released just prior, along with classics from across their catalogue.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              4xLP Info: 4xLP edition.

              Ltd Box Set Info: 4LP/2CD/DVD in foil numbered box set.

              FREE SHIPPING This item has FREE UK shipping!

              Various Artists

              Keb Darge Presents Atomic Rhythm!

                Fantastic collection of rockabilly compiled by Keb Darge.

                Stag-O-Lee is proud to continue the DJ-Set Series with compilation by cult DJ and master of many compilations Keb Darge.

                Rockabilly didn’t cross my world until the early nineteen eighties at a Dirtbox weekender in Bournemouth, until then I was a pure northern soul boy. I didn’t really get stuck into collecting the stuff until a decade later, but when I did what a wonderful world of tunes opened up to me, and I went wild on it. I was very lucky to be doing a record stall in Camden market at the time just across from Boz Boorer and Neil Scott’s stall. They along with other serious collectors Dave Vickers, Barney Koumis, Cosmic Keith, Jim Fox, Dave Crozier, and many others taught me all I needed to know. I only ever made one great rockabilly discovery which none of them knew, “Little Bit Lonesome” by Charles Ross, but I was happy enough buying all their recommendations as they were all new and exciting for me. I have done several rockabilly comps before, but sadly the Philippines typhoon in 2013 destroyed my village and forced me to sell the bulk of my collection. Here are some of my favourites that I never got round to putting out before that happened.
                Keb Darge, London October 2020.


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