avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 20 May

Genre pick of the week Cover of Ice Cream Soufi by Portron Portron Lopez.

Portron Portron Lopez

Ice Cream Soufi

    Coming on like a mutation of all the wild and tempered instrumentation of the Dirty Three in full flow, the ambling and meandering yet intense desert rock of Scenic via a long and delightful trawl around the mountain tops of the Mediterranean coastline… evocative and exhilarating music that pulls you along for the ride!! although an instrumental record, this album is as joyous as some of the most rambunctious and rowdy pop albums you’re ever likely to hear.

    For fans of Mdou Moctar, Dirty Three, Scenic, Captain Beefheart, Music Ehtiopiques etc// good times!

    “One of us once came in with a guitar riff he’d made alone at home and asked the band to play it the way he composed it. The result was a disaster!”

    Portron Portron Lopez don’t do concepts. There are no great discussions about where they should pull their influences from, or pre-planning about how to structure studio work. The Parisian-formed trio exist in spontaneity, a creative co-habitancy that relies on feel and groove – as evidenced on their three studio albums to-date. Exploratory odysseys that bely the potential pitfalls an improvisational-minded group might fall into during the recording process, they’ve moved between shades of psychedelia and Middle Eastern-inflected drones as well as more electronic and club-based touchstones, doing so in a way that feels effortlessly free. That sense of adventure is furthered still on forthcoming album Ice Cream Soufi.

    “We need exploding ideas that allow us to build tracks that we can emotionally convey onstage” they say. “It's not about being a concept band, but about striking ideas that make sense. It’s not ‘our music’ we’re making - it’s transposing who we are into music.”

    Portron Portron Lopez were formed in 2011 in Paris by guitarists and brothers Marceau and Valentin Portron. High school friend and drummer Lucas Lopez joined after a two-day long improvisation session in a Parisian wine bar. He left after two records – 2012’s beguilingly Beefheart-meets-Afrobeat set of tracks on Uh!, and 2015’s similarly acid-fried Moi Aussi J'ai Des Amis Qui Font Du Bruit – but his position was taken by Olivier Kelchtermans. The Belgian artist had contributed to PPL’s previous studio recordings as a saxophonist but switched to behind the kit in time for the 2016 tour dates and then the 2018 release De Colère et d'Envie’s mix of lo-fi hypnagogia and proto-punk recalling mayhem.

    Ice Cream Soufi certainly doesn’t eschew all the chaos of that record, but the seven tracks that make up the group’s fourth LP lean further into their penchant for cross-pollination across globally inspired styles. Opener Comment Vas-Tu Rossignol’s roots are in western Iran and a recording Valentin made there of local musicians playing in the ethnographic museum of Sanadaj. The material served as inspiration for the resulting track, which leans on Kurdish folk style and structure while the trio whip themselves into a sense of frenzy around it.

    Elsewhere, third track A Stranger I May Be came out of several improvisations based around the group’s goal of “getting to a country-techno song” – an on-paper incongruous mix that makes a hell of a lot of sense when listened to. It’s unwavering kick drum drives through the group’s duelling guitars and unburdened vocal shrieks, supplemented by musician and comedian Charly Fournier who adds a touch of knowing absurdity to proceedings.

    Those two tracks bookend Pensée Sans Tête, which was improvised and demoed in April 2019 during a rehearsal, before being taken to an old barn in Normandie the following year to flesh out. The track’s repeato-riffs gradually spin quicker and quicker as the group underpin it vocally and with rolling percussion.

    Arguably the centre piece of the record, though, is Aubes – an 11-minute-long opus of cacophonic drones that gather and bustle for space amidst each other, a line of tension pulled tight through them. It’s a stirring midpoint that encourages the listener’s mind to pick its own sonic adventure within the different shades of sound.

    “At first, the original concept of the album was to put three straight rock songs in and a 23-minute drone” the band comment. “But the result was not satisfying”.

    Instead, they cut half the drone and added a few overdubs. Valentin added some recordings he’d made during a trip to Iranian Kurdistan where he’d seen Farzad Memar - the uncle of ambient composer Porya Hatami - playing duduk. He also mixed in some Târ playing by his beloved Persian friend Mostafa Heydarian.

    “The initial idea of three songs and one drone was boring because it was a rational concept” they say. “All of a sudden, a new album started to take shape in front of us, as a rosebud growing under our very touched eyes. It was a beautiful surprise.”
    Aubes’ peak allows the two following tracks to giddily scramble down the other side of the record, with Fin De Partie perhaps the most garage rock-inspired track on the album, its rawness the result of a direct lift from the outro of a live set that took place in a small basement in Bordeaux. Tayau rounds things out, a short two-minute finale recorded at home on Marceau’s phone in his bedroom.

    Recorded across six different locations over a period of 20 months, sessions saw the trio set up everywhere, from various rehearsal studios to band members respective homes, a large church in Sète and an old barn in Normandie. The three group members are now spread out across Paris, Corrèze in the central west of France and Sète on its south coast. All that meant, though, was that the sessions for the album took on even more of an improvisatory vibe as they sought to make the most of their increasingly limited time together.

    “One of the greatest achievements of these sessions was being able to put up an album that is like a house with lots of different rooms” they say. “You never want to stick in the main hall when you're visiting someone, and that's the feeling you may have when listening to a record fully recorded and mixed in the same place and time. For us, the live nature of the tracks and the different moods they take on make it feel more like a journey through us.”
    And beyond the feeling of it, nothing else matters.


    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    01 Comment Vas-Tu Rossignol
    02 Pensées Sans Tête
    03 A Stranger I May Be
    04 Trois-Cent-Dix-Huit Poussettes
    Side B
    01 Aubes
    02 Fin De Partie
    03 Tayau

    Dinked Edition Bonus 7”
    A: Train Bluc
    B: Kula

    Dinked Edition 
    13 TRACK BONUS CD IN SLEEVE

    A Bakers Dozen: PPL Primer.
    1: BICHETTE
    2: SOL MAMMOUTH
    3: JEROME
    4: VELVET TARGUI
    5: UNE BARQUE SUR L'OCEAN
    6: LEELOO
    7: ADIOS JUAN NAVIDAD
    8: BICHETTE II
    9: EVERYBODY'S GOT A NUMBER IN THE NECK (LIVE)
    10 LA CHAUVE SOURIS (LIVE)
    11 CIRCUS
    12 TRAIN BLUC
    13 KULA

    - The most comprehensive vinyl edition of the original motion picture soundtrack for John Carpenter’s first feature film, Dark Star (1974).

    - For the fans of John Carpenter, sci-fi movie soundtracks, electronic experimentations, and strange vinyl releases. Also, for surfers.

    - Includes the sought-after "When Twilight Falls on NGC 891" by Martin Segundo & the Scintilla Strings, for the first time ever on a John Carpenter-related release.

    - Limited Edition LP + Colour Vinyl 7”

    WRWTFWW Records is ecstatic to bring back the original motion picture soundtrack for John Carpenter’s Dark Star (1974) with added bonuses that are sure to satisfy all cult sci-fi soundtrack completists of the galaxy (and beyond).

    This limited edition double combo comes with a LP and a 7". The former is a remastered version of the original motion picture soundtrack consisting of incidental music, sound effects, John Carpenter’s synth experimentations, dialogue excerpts, and vintage interferences extracted directly from the film roll.

    The 7" is red with a yellow label circled in black (in pure beachball alien fashion) and contains "Ode to a Bell Jar" remade by loyal Carpenter collaborator Alan Howarth (Escape from New York, Christine, Big Trouble in Little China, They Live…), the fan favorite "Benson Arizona" remade by Dominik Hauser, the very sought-after "When Twilight Falls on NGC 891" by Martin Segundo & the Scintilla Strings (in the real world *James Clarke’s Spring Bossa), as well as endless loops of sound effects from the movie to turn your house into your very own scout ship. Oh and there is a very secret hidden bonus track too!

    It all comes in slick thermostellar triggering packaging with a brand new artwork and invisible hyperdrive electronics - the best way to relive the Dark Star adventure and celebrate John Carpenter’s first directorial feature film released in 1974 and co-written by (and starring!) all around legend Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Lifeforce, The Return of the Living Dead). Let there be light!

    TRACK LISTING

    Tracklist LP:
    A - Music, Sound Effects And Dialogue Excerpts Part 1 (Remastered) 25:10
    B - Music, Sound Effects And Dialogue Excerpts Part 2 (Remastered) 25:51

    Tracklist 7”:
    A1 - Martin Segundo And The Scintilla Strings “When Twilight Falls On NGC 891”
    A2 - Alan Howarth - Doolittle’s Solo (Remake)
    A3 - Loop #1
    A4 - Loop #2
    B1 - Dominik Hauser - Benson Arizona (Remake)
    B2 - Very Secret Hidden Bonus Track
    B3 - Loop #3
    B3 - Loop #4

    Godflesh

    Streetcleaner - 2022 Reissue

      Drawing from post-punk and industrial acts like; Swans, Big Black, Killing Joke and Throbbing Gristle as much as the more metallic and punk influences that informed guitarist/ vocalist Justin Broadrick's previous band Napalm Death, the pounding, drum-machine powered sonic assault of 'Streetcleaner' sounded like nothing else at the time, breaking down people's perceptions of what a metal band could sound like. You can still feel the album's broad influence everywhere from the dense atmospheres of post-metal to the abrasive beats of modern industrial and techno outfits, but despite its many imitators, there's still nothing else that quite captures the feelings of paranoia, anxiety and urban decay that 'Streetcleaner' so deftly articulates.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Like Rats 
      2. Christbait Rising 
      3. Pulp 
      4. Dream Long Dead 
      5. Head Dirt 
      6. Devastator 
      7. Mighty Trust Krusher 
      8. Life Is Easy 
      9. Streetcleaner

      David Grubbs & Jan St. Werner

      Translation From Unspecified

        First album by this duo, known separately for their work in Mouse on Mars and Gastr del Sol.

        Two long-form pieces, utterly different from one another: one hyper-detailed electronic music and sound poetry, and the other live-in-the-studio electric guitar and laptop paint-peeling.

        The exciting first chapter in a long-anticipated collaboration David Grubbs and Jan St. Werner met in the mid-1990s when Grubbs was playing with Gastr del Sol and The Red Krayola and St. Werner in Mouse on Mars and Microstoria. After years of exchanging ideas, ‘Translation from Unspecified’ marks their first time locking horns as a duo, and it’s clear this deck-clearing collaboration was long overdue.

        In January 2020 Grubbs arrived at Mouse on Mars’ Berlin studio Paraverse with a guitar and ‘Translation from Unspecified’, an open-ended, seemingly self-generating poem suggesting AI, one of the themes in St. Werner’s recent work. This became the side-length title track, a winding corridor of electronic fanfares and spontaneous musical miniatures urging Grubbs’s slow and steady recitation to grow wings and graduate into song. Who knows where this idiosyncratic mise-en-scène - day-glo, extrovert electronics and task-oriented human - came from? Reference points - distant ones - might include Robert Ashley and Paul De Marinis’s ‘In Sara, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven...’ and the sound poetry of Anton Bruhin.

        Flip the record and you have ‘Soixante Ooze’, a live-in-the-studio duo for guitar and computer more recognizably St. Wernerian and Grubbs-like that reconfigures elements of the title track before finally morphing into needlepinning monoliths of sound. David Grubbs has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 200 releases. He was a member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait and has performed with Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, Will Oldham, Loren Connors, the Red Krayola, Royal Trux, and many others. His newest book is ‘Good night the pleasure was ours’ (Duke University Press, 2022).

        Jan St. Werner is an artist and electronic music composer best known as one half of the group Mouse on Mars. He has collaborated with Oval’s Markus Popp as Microstoria and written music for installations and films by visual artist Rosa Barba. In 2013, St. Werner released ‘Blaze Colour Burn’, the first of a series of experimental recordings called ‘the Fiepblatter Catalogue’. Recently his work has prioritized installation and interventions with spatialized sound, including a number of collaborations under the name Dynamische Akustische Forschung (DAF).

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Translation From
        2. Unspecified
        3. Soixante Ooze

        Kill Your Boyfriend

        Killadelica

          Kill Your Boyfriend are a two-piece psych tinged, post-punk outfit formed in 2011 in Venice, Italy. They are Matteo Scarpa on guitar and vocals, and Antonio Angeli on drums. In Killadelica, the focus of the songs shifts from the person being killed, to the killer. It is the band's first album that features female names as track titles, which are taken from real female serial killers. The band explain that “the tracks are inspired by their stories and attempts to unravel the feelings that led them to make such extreme gestures, their motivations and emotions - revenge, hatred, search for power, lust, avarice.” They further explain that “the themes explored point to an unfortunate fact, that most of these forces ae still present in modern society.”

          The album’s story starts with ‘Anula’, a slow building track that explodes into cacophony with an ethereal vocal that remains long after it’s gone. ‘Jean’ and ‘Natasha’ offer a frenetic pace that captivates from the opening beat, with an instant desire to move along, in whatever fashion, exuding from the depths along with the hints of something dark and dangerous. ‘Nancy’ wastes no time in asserting its influence with the lyrics “Fear fear fear fear fear” and then the duo of ‘Agave’ and ‘Belle’ work in unison to add a little theatre; with extended background drone rising to new heights in the haunting synth melody that could repeat forever. ‘Marie’ and ‘Elizabeth’ offer a distinct industrial vibe, with the latter being the perfect lead single choice, attracting attention across the globe. Together they are powerful, creating something that can’t quite be named, just below the surface. You know it’s there, but you can’t quite place it. The intrigue is intense. This is only compounded by ‘Eve’ which ramps the tempo up to the max, leaving you breathless and wondering what happened. ‘Aileen’’s countenance is more subtle in its execution before the concluding ‘Kathy’ knows how to mark its presence, ensuring that the stories relayed here, are not easily forgotten.

          There are no two tracks alike, just as is the case with the people whose stories are being told. There is no doubt that Killadelica is dark, and yet whilst exploring a topic that most would consider macabre, Killadelica's sound explodes into kaleidoscopic and luminous reflections of light, creating a weighty juxtaposition that makes the album a must listen to for anyone of a psychedelic, post-punk or even industrial persuasion.

          FFO: The Soft Moon, Suicide, Sonic Youth

          TRACK LISTING

          A1 Anula
          A2 Jean
          A3 Natasha
          A4 Nancy
          A5 Agave
          A6 Belle
          B1 Marie
          B2 Elizabeth
          B3 Eve
          B4 Aileen
          B5 Kathy

          Thomas Leer And Robert Rental

          The Bridge

            Thomas Leer and Robert Rental’s The Bridge is re-issued on vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1979 and on CD for the first time since 1992. With Robert unfortunately passing away in 2000, this record, Leer and Rental’s one and only album together, stands alone in capturing the duo’s pioneering capabilities. The Bridge was originally released on Throbbing Gristle’s Industrial Records label in 1979 and is considered to be an early electronic avant-garde synth-pop masterpiece, seeing the likes of John Foxx, Propaganda, Art of Noise and ABC citing the pair as key influences.



            TRACK LISTING

            1 Attack Decay
            2 Monochrome Days
            3 Day Breaks, Night Heals
            4 Connotations
            5 Fade Away
            6 Interferon
            7 Six A.M.
            8 The Hard Way In And The Easy Way Out
            9 Perpetual

            Pan American

            The Patience Fader

              The glacial distillation of Pan•American aka Mark Nelson’s “romantic minimalism” achieves unique fruition on his latest Kranky collection, The Patience Fader.

              A suite of solo guitar instrumentals accented with lap steel, harmonica, and twilit atmospherics, the strings smear and sparkle in elegant, windswept swells, a guitar mode once described by Brian Eno as “Duane Eddy playing Erik Satie.” These are elegies as much as songs, lulling and lilting in private currents of beauty and bereavement. Nelson speaks of the notion of “lighthouse music,” radiance cast from a stable vantage point, sending “a signal to help others through rocks and dangerous currents.”

              Composed during the highly isolated summer of 2020, the pieces took shape as meditations on “roots and mourning, trying to connect with those deep hidden rivers that lead to a greater communality.” There’s something ageless, scarred, and American about this music, both displaced and devotional, the ghost of rust belts and dust bowls looming in a horizon of deepening dusk.


              TRACK LISTING

              1. Swimming In A Western Motel
              2. Outskirts, Dreamlit
              3. Corniel
              4. The North Line
              5. Baitshop
              6. Harmony Conversion
              7. Memorizing, Memorizing
              8. Just A Story
              9. Nightwater
              10. Wooster, Ohio
              11. Almost Grown
              12. Grounded

              Plankton Wat

              Hidden Path

                The music of Dewey Mahood is steadfast in its pursuit of transcendence.

                For the past two decades as Plankton Wat, Mahood has contoured his melodic guitar playing into wholly transfiguring pieces.

                His fluid compositions apply ethereal, elastic textures to grounded rhythmic grooves that recall the cosmic and the earthly in equal measure.

                ‘Hidden Path’ is an album built on reflection and discovery, turning the thrill of exploring obscured passages into inward revelations.

                Originally presented as a limited cassette in 2017, and now presented on vinyl for the first time, remastered by Amy Dragon, ‘Hidden Path’ is a distillation of Mahood’s musical practice as a way of life, a patient celebration of the unexpected, unhurried and exhilarating.


                TRACK LISTING

                The Inward Reflection
                Dream Cascade
                A Window In The Mirror
                Hidden Path
                The Everflowing Stream
                Solitude Amongst The Trees
                Awaken
                Fields Of Remembrance

                Webbed Wing

                What's So F***Ing Funny

                  Following a decorated career with Philly rock group Superheaven, singer and guitarist Taylor Madison meanders into newly-refined songwriter territory with the inception of Webbed Wing in 2018. Joined by Jake Clarke (drums) and Mike Paulshock (bass), the band fully realizes their innate genre-blending musicality.

                  Webbed Wing’s somewhat simplistic approach to songwriting explores what it means to birth a sad song without fully killing a mood, paired with a soundscape laden with nostalgia and a tasteful pop-rock resurgence. Taking notes from the likes of The Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub, Webbed Wing encapsulates everything lyrically gripping about indie and everything vibrant about modern pop. While also expertly intertwining the heaviness of metal and the earnesty of country, the band blends all these different aspects of their craft into something highly palatable and new.

                  Between early Webbed Wing releases, like 2019’s Bike Ride Across the Moon (Disposition Collective) and forthcoming recordings on 2021’s What’s So Fucking Funny? with Grammy-nominated producer Will Yip (Code Orange, The Menzingers, Mannequin Pussy, Circa Survive) via Memory Music Label (Bartees Strange, Anthony Green), there’s an obvious level up in production, honing in on Webbed Wing’s natural maturity as both an artist and a creative. 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Side A
                  1. Years
                  2. Jesus’s Age
                  3. Make A Dime
                  4. Dream Come True
                  5. For Real
                  6. Need You Around

                  Side B
                  1. Old Times
                  2. Same Thing To Me
                  3. Taylor’s Theme
                  4. Saturdays
                  5. All I Could Ever Want
                  6. Shed A Tear 

                  Chelsea Wolfe

                  Apokalypsis - 2022 Reissue

                    Chelsea Wolfe's sound is best described with broad strokes: elemental, intense, radiant, ancient yet modern, intimate yet expansive, dark and sparkling. Hues of black metal and deep blues inform her ever-evolving electric folk—a warm force that wraps itself around the listener, encouraging uplift, seeking triumph. Her voice similarly haunts and soothes, with words that illuminate life's darker corners in order to reveal the unlikely truth and beauty hidden within. Originally hailing from Northern California, Wolfe's formative years were spent tinkering in her country musician father's home studio, however, she long lacked the confidence to share her work. Then, in 2009, an overseas excursion as part of a nomadic performance troupe ignited her passion for performing and initiated a renewed interest in writing and recording. After performing in cathedrals, basements and old nuclear plants to whoever would listen, she returned home with a new drive. She began toting around an 8-track and recording as the mood hit, eventually editing her findings into a breathtaking debut album, 2010's The Grime & the Glow. Marrying the gentle intimacy of folk, the atmospheric voodoo of death rock, and the bleak, sullen nihilism of black metal, Wolfe's sound effectively cast a genre all her own: a cavernous rumble, marked by stuttering drums, ethereal synths, and a wash of guitar, all very much in the service of one of the most hypnotic, celestial voices in modern music. Described as both healing and harrowing, enchanting and narcotic, the album established Wolfe as a force on the rise.

                    Inspired, Wolfe then relocated to Los Angeles and recorded her second album, 2011's Apokalypsis, which found her in an actual studio with her live band. The songs captured therein maintained the strikingly visceral elements of her debut, further showcase Wolfe’s unique songwriting ability, while adding a serious heaviness of sound that balanced eloquently with her transcendent voice. Its release was subsequently met with critical adoration, and rightly landed on numerous best of 2011 lists.


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