MAGIC MIX

psych . krautrock . prog . rock

WEEK STARTING 3 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of Viscerals by Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs

Viscerals

    “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig” reasoned George Bernard Shaw. “You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” True to form, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs have left the wiser of us aware that they are no band to be messed with. This is made manifest on ‘Viscerals’, their third proper, and an enormous leap forward in confidence, adventure and sheer intensity even from their 2018 breakthrough ‘King Of Cowards’.

    Incisive in its riff-driven attack, infectiously catchy in its songcraft and more intrepid than ever in its experimental approach, ‘Viscerals’ is the sound of a leaner, more vicious Pigs, and one with their controls set way beyond the pulverising one-riff workouts of their early days. Yet Pigsx7 have effortlessly broadened their horizons and dealt with all these new avenues without sacrificing one iota of their trademark eccentricity, and the personality of this band has never been stronger, whether on the Sabbathian and philosophical warcry of ‘Reducer’, the debauched, Jane’s Addiction-tinged swagger of ‘Rubbernecker’, the Melvins vs Sonic Youth demoltion derby of ‘New Body’ or even the demented MBV-meets-Twisted-Sister party-banger from hell that is ‘Crazy In Blood’.

    “We’re a peculiar bunch of people - a precarious balance of passion, intensity and the absurd” notes vocalist Matt Baty. Such is the unstoppable character of this unique and ever-porcine outfit; still the hungriest animals at the rock trough.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: 'Drained Of Blood vinyl' (Blood Red vinyl).

    Indies Exclusive LP Info: 'Blood And Guts vinyl' (Blood Red / Guts Yellow Swirl vinyl).

    Mike Cooper

    Tropical Gothic

      CD1 Tropical Gothic
      Mike Cooper studies different approaches to his method of uniting guitar and field recordings into a constant stream of sound, where he delivers chaos and melody – not necessarily in that order. A series of shorter pieces open the album. Each of them offering a myriad of images and sensations, between the enigmatic and terror (“The Pit”), joy, happiness and freedom (“Running Naked”) or pure contemplation (“Onibaba”). The album closes with its 18th minute magical piece “Lelong & Gods Of Bali”. A mix of ambient exotica music, silent film soundtrack and distorted rhythms that dance around Mike’s guitar. It keeps reinventing and transforming itself throughout those eighteen minutes, summing up the dexterity and muscle of Mike Cooper’s music of the last two decades.

      CD2 Tropical Gothic: Live at Café Oto
      ‘Tropical Gothic - Live At Cafe Oto’ was performed as a live improvised version of Mike’s release of the same name. Joined on stage by Clive Bell and Sylvia Hallet and performed alongside three of Mike’s videos - Ko Lanta, Walking In Ubin and a mash up containing excerpts from some of Mike’s favorite ‘tropical gothic’ films ( Onibaba, Opera Jawa, Kwaidan, Tabu & White Shadows In The South Seas). Both Clive and Sylvia play an array of Asian and ‘exotic’ instruments; both are improvisers and have been playing together on and off over many years. Sylvia had collaborated with David Toop on his opera Star Shaped Biscuit, a work that might also be considered tropical gothic(?) and Clive Bell, an international traveller, writer and expert player of the Japanese Shakuhachi flute, as well as other Asian blown instruments, is very familiar with Mike Cooper’s musical excursions into Ambient/ Electronic/ Exotica.

      Chris Forsyth With Garcia Peoples

      Peoples Motel Band

        Over the past decade or so, Chris Forsyth has produced a series of perennially year-end list haunting studio albums of expansive art-rock, from 2013’s Solar Motel to 2019’s All Time Present , in the process becoming one of the leading lights of the so-called “indie jam” scene, musicians combining omnivorous influences with post-Dead sprawl. These critically lauded albums have established Forsyth as one of today’s most unique and acclaimed guitar player/composers - a forward thinking classicist synthesizing cinematic expansiveness with a pithy lyricism and rhythmic directness that makes even his 20-minute workouts feel as clear, direct, and memorable as a 4-minute song.

        Pitchfork has called his music “a near-perfect balance between 70s rock tradition and present day experimentation,” NPR Music named Forsyth “one of rock’s most lyrical guitar improvisors,” and the New York Times calls him “a scrappy and mystical historian… His music humanizes the element of control in rock classicism (and) turns it into a woolly but disciplined ritual.” But the studio records are just the tip of the iceberg. You see, in a live setting Forsyth’s music is never really finished. He hasn’t had a fixed band in years and plays with a rotating cast of characters. Regulars in Forsyth’s bands have included bassists Doug McCombs (Tortoise) and Peter Kerlin (Sunwatchers), and drummer Ryan Jewell (Ryley Walker, too many others to mention), among others - basically, whoever is available for the given gig or tour.

        These are not groups that rehearse, exactly. Operating more like a jazz band, Forsyth and his players treat the songs as frameworks that remain identifieable but morph based on who’s playing them, like weather to a landscape. Embracing this flux has become a cornerstone of Forsyth’s live sets, rendering every performance special and thereby catching the attention of tapers from his home base in Philly to New York City, Chicago, and Minneapolis. In fact, most of his live performances over the last few years are recorded and posted on the Live Music Archive site. But the taper recordings, though many are high quality and full of character, are not professionally recorded and mixed multi-tracks.

        Which brings us to Peoples Motel Band , the new live LP culled from a set that Forsyth played with NY-based group Garcia Peoples as his band, and is self-releasing on his own Algorithm Free label in a limited pressing of 500 copies. Recorded September 14, 2019 before a packed and enthusiastic hometown crowd at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia, Peoples Motel Band catches Forsyth and Garcia Peoples (plus ubiquitous drummer Ryan Jewell) re-imagining songs from Forsyth’s last couple studio albums with improvisatory flair.

        Forsyth and Garcia Peoples played a number of 2019 shows together, beginning with a semi-legendary jam set at Nublu in NYC in March, through a couple dates on Forsyth’s month-long weekly residency at Nublu in September and concluding with a five-date tour of the Northeast in December. The chemistry between the players is tangible. As is often the case with Forsyth shows, the gloves come off quickly and the players attack the material - much of it so well-manicured and cleanly produced in the studio - like a bunch of racoons let loose in a Philadelphia pretzel factory.

        Recorded and mixed with clarity by Forsyth’s longtime studio collaborator, engineer/producer Jeff Zeigler, the record puts the listener right in the sweaty club, highlighted by an incredible side-long take of the chooglin’ title track from 2017’s Dreaming in The Non-Dream LP (note multiple climaxes eliciting wild shouts and ecstatic screams from the assembled). This is not the new Chris Forsyth album, exactly, but then again, it kinda is because whenever he sits down to play, something new comes out.

        The Goners

        Good Mourning

          The Goners feature former Salem's Pot vocalist/guitarist Nate Gone and former members of Swedish rock band Yvonne. Don't make a big deal about it. This is something new:

          Rock bottom. A place you have to throw yourself over the edge and burn all your bridges to reach. A place where the devil is laughing as a constant reminder of everything that went to shit. A place where you owe.
          As the echoes of the past get louder and the forget-me-now's no longer work, you have to pick up the remaining pieces and try to make them fit. You can only wake up in an unknown bed with aching intestines and a throbbing noise inside your skull, still craving more, so many times until you realize that your life didn't quite turn out to be what you expected it to be. The killing floor is crowded and when the smoke starts to clear you start to notice just how bad you've been letting yourself go. It's Monday. You are on your own now.
          And even as you start to do the right, start paying your dues and bills, doing the 9 to 5 and saying your sorries, you're still standing there like a sack of dead meat in a stinkin' world of decay where nobody cares. Gone but still aware. Ain't that something? Ain't that grand!

          There's no remedy, no working cure but at least you got loud guitars, thumping bass and bashing cymbals to ease the pain. And as you stumble into your thirties, scorched earth policy-style, you can at least smile at the fact that you finished first. At last you succeded in something. Now you can just lay back, back where the sun doesn't shine and ask everybody else "aren't YOU gone yet?”

          Don't worry, you soon will see that Gone is just a four-letter word. We're all heading south and again, no one really gives a fuck.
          It's Sunday. Join us.

          Mojo

          Issue 318 - May 2020

            COVER STORY: FOO FIGHTERS Twenty-five years on, Dave Grohl and co return to the mid-’90s’ post-Kurt crunch, when success was far from assured. Plus! US alt-rock’s broader crisis, the Foos’ new film (with Ringo!) and new album news.

            1970: THE GREAT DIVIDE James Taylor or the MC5? Supine singer-songwriters or revolting rockers? Jon Savage relives 1970 – the first year rock seriously considered its past, and future.

            ART GARFUNKEL The eccentric top end of the disharmonious duo rues his Bad Timing and regrets S&G’s untaken Irish direction. “I’m trying to be normal,” he insists.

            MARGO PRICE Obscurity and family trauma were the neo-outlaw country star’s formative ordeals. But neither is success stress-free: “I still don’t know why I’m here!”

            JARVIS COCKER Sex, cave art, Britpop: an eclectic smorgasbord of topics is served by the ex-Pulp frontman, back with his best music since the mid-’90s.

            JOHN ENTWISTLE Fellow musicians regarded The Who’s bassist with awe; fellow carousers thought him unfellable. But the rock star life he loved had his number in the end.

            THE JESUS & MARY CHAIN How the battling bros of ’80s UK indie survived the Psychocandy shitstorm to prove doubters wrong on Darklands: “We thought, Let’s make an album about the songs.”

            PUNK IN LONDON Sheila Rock’s photographs of Lydon, Strummer, Siouxsie (and incinerated human remains?) recreate a scene shot through with innocence and idealism.

            Ulrich Schnauss

            A Long Way To Fall - Rebound

              Ulrich Schnauss, the highly respected German electronic music composer, has taken the opportunity to remaster his entire back catalogue having recently had all his recording rights returned to him. Reissued on his own Scripted Realities label. The fourth of five albums, ‘A Long Way To Fall - Rebound’ was originally released in 2013 and has been rerecorded and reworked as well as being remastered. It now sounds the way Ulrich had intended, hence the new additional ‘Rebound’ title.

              For fans of Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Tycho

              Ulrich Schnauss

              Far Away Trains Passing By

                Ulrich Schnauss, the highly respected German electronic music composer, has taken the opportunity to remaster his entire back catalogue having recently had all his recording rights returned to him. Reissued on his own Scripted Realities label. The first of five albums, ‘Far Away Trains Passing By’ was originally released in 2001 and was the album that introduced Ulrich to the world. It is generally regarded as a landmark electronic music statement and now comes with 9 bonus tracks.

                For fans of Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins, Tycho.

                Shindig!

                Issue 102

                  Features

                  Barnabus Warwickshire ’70s heavies unearthed

                  The Hollies Bobby Elliott’s Californian memories

                  Neil Innes The remarkable career of a singular talent

                  Rod McKuen The many sides of a true musical maverick

                  Supersister Brilliantly bonkers prog, Dutch-style

                  Regulars

                  Shindiggin’ What’s hot on the turntable

                  Thoughts & Words Your letters, tweets and emails

                  It’s A Happening Thing Espers, The Sonic Dawn, Michael Rault, A Girl Called Eddy, Eyelids, elvinyl, Pink Floyd, Jack Sharp, Saba Lou, competition

                  Happening Right Now Brand new music from The Small Breed, Extraa and Magick Brother & Mystic Sister

                  Family Album The Rain Parade’s influential 1983 LP Emergency Third Rail Power Trip

                  Deep Cuts Sixties Cat Stevens

                  20 Questions Graham Day’s modest recollections of The Prisoners and beyond

                  Reviews The best in reissues, new releases, books and live shows

                  Vinyl Art Astrud Gilberto’s I Haven’t Got Anything Better To Do

                  Sir Richard Bishop

                  Oneiric Formulary

                    Five years after Tangier Sessions, Sir Richard Bishop, we presume, is back from his travels around the world. With Oneiric Formulary, he’s dug deeper into his bag of extra-musical gestures from the eternal and unknowable, along with a few sounds we might recognize, all transmuted for our mortal ears’ enjoyment. The last couple of Sir Richard Bishop releases on Drag City were genre exercises of sorts — The Freak of Araby explored the musical legacy of late Egyptian guitarist Omar Khorshid while Tangier Sessions explored the sound of an obscure 19th century guitar that Rick had acquired from a mysterious Swiss luthier.

                    The title Oneiric Formulary, may sit contrarily on the tongue — but we may refer to it as representing “a collection of dream states” — which means we like it! With such a lofty goal in mind and at his fingertips, Sir Rick returns to the approach of his DC debut, Polytheistic Fragments — a different sound, a different instrument, for nearly every track, drawing from the music of all nations, including and especially that infamous republic with only one person on the census roll (initials SRB). It’s got mad variety, the kind you don’t see much of anymore — an Ed Sullivan kind of evening out, with some spinning plates, dancing mice, and of course, an appearance from Zippy the Chimp.

                    What it means is that when you drop the needle/raise the laser/press the head to tape/or do whatever happens when you stream it, you’ve got sounds that don’t sound at first like guitars — because they’re not! Then you’ve got sounds that sound initially like guitars — because they are! Sir Richard found joy in not only finding unlikely sounds, but also writing a fake jingle, soundtracking an unreleased film, reflecting on Southern origins, going concrète (Beatles-style!), using computers (Sir Rick, no!), and accidentally juxtaposing Frippian electric guitar drone against the grit of ol’ school acoustic guitar while thinking of sci-fi, as well as revisiting (t)rusty old forms such as Americana, classical, gypsy and raga. It’s all trotted out to phantasmic effect, as it brings to us with the freshness, the roar of the old crowd as they see, smell and hear the greatest show on earth. What a night! Thank you, Sir Richard Bishop.

                    Sun Araw

                    Rock Sutra

                      ‘Rock Sutra’ is the new space rock album from Sun Araw. ‘Roomboe’, the first track, illustrates this process. Experience is elastic. Humans alive right now tend to think there is some sort of ‘baseline’ experience of a thing, a room, a person, a feeling, some version we all agree on. This isn't true at all: experience is completely dependent on the quality of attention of the experiencer. There is a granularity to experience that, when tuned up, reveals deeper and deeper space inside of things. When you zoom in (by pure observation: by not-articulating, not-thinking), you create ‘room’, you make space. Just like that. For instance, ‘Roomboe’ has an extremely limited tonal framework; about 9 notes for the main guitar melody. As the guitar pushes against these melodic limitations with continually renewed attention and energy, it begins to create space around itself. And all of the sudden (at about 4:57), out of this constriction, space balloons up from everywhere simultaneously. ‘Roomboe’ is a clue about how to open a portal outwards into free space.

                      ‘78 Sutra’ is about orbital motion. ‘Catalina’ is about taking a walk. ‘Arrambe’ is about a peculiar feeling you can get when you zoom in far enough. The music is offered in a spirit of generosity and adventure; it doesn’t stay put and it keeps zooming in to reveal more and more. The album was recorded live-to-midi with the band and this is the first Sun Araw album recorded like that. That band is Jon Leland on drums and percussion and Marc Riordan on synthesizers and Cameron Stallones on synthesizers and guitar and vocals.

                      It is a cliché to describe music as a trip or an ocean or whatever, so this album, Tecwaa’s album “Beyond the Altai” released on Höga Nord Rekords, will in part be described as a snowman: the snowman has its characteristic familiar shape. He is cold yet there is something warm and cuddly about him, something that makes you feel happy and safe.

                      The A side on the album goes from that warm/cold cosy feeling but elements of destruction like melodies in minor keys slowly transforms the album to become only cold and not so cosy - the snow turns grey and the snowman’s smiling mouth becomes a twisted grin. Its contours disappears and the shape dissolves as the snow melts and floats out on the ground beneath its body. As the album develops, the sound gets harder and darker and the York based DJ moves closer to his roots in electro and Roland-machine knob-turning.

                      In some ways, “Beyond the Altai” is a call from the eighties and nineties dancefloors like in the tracks “Back To The Atomic Ether” and “10 Swords” on the B-side but all melts together in Tecwaa’s music to create his own obstinate and loose sound!


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