MAGIC MIX

avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 3 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of Peoples Motel Band by Chris Forsyth With Garcia Peoples.

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 Necks

    Three

      Previously on The NECKS:

      'The greatest trio on Earth' (The New York Times),

      'Among the world's greatest forces in music' (The Los Angeles Times)

      'One of the most entrancing live acts in the world' (The Guardian).

      On tour in March/April to synchronise neatly with this release.

      Otherwise. This is a new Studio recording. And it's by the same band as it's been for the last 33 years 

      Nurse With Wound

      Rock 'n Roll Station

        A delight of hypnotic rhythms made of slow minimal beats, industrial textures, intoxicating drones and repetitive voices that seem to merge from dreams. Everything built by two of the most brilliant industrial music minds: Steven Stapleton and Colin Potter. Rock 'n Roll Station began life with Steven Stapleton asking engineer Colin Potter to remix some of the more rhythmic elements of 'Colder Still' from 1992's Thunder Perfect Mind. As Potter gradually warped these sections into weirder and weirder pieces, a new album began to emerge.

        Potter himself explained it to David Keenan in England’s Hidden Reverse: “What I sometimes did in the studio was to ‘over-use’ effects and processors to totally mutate a piece into something completely different” while Stapleton observed how “it was almost as though telepathic messages were sent over to Colin. [We’d] started an album [together at IC Studio] that was never finished. He [then] sent me some vague mixes, which were just what I had in mind. So, from that basis, I started putting the album together.” Potter would quickly become a key player in Nurse With Wound’s productions, a position he continues to fulfil to this day. He was first credited as a member on 1992’s Thunder Perfect Mind, a tour-de-force of cold, at times hostile, machined atmospheres, but considers Rock ‘N Roll Station from the following year to still be his favourite. Building on percussion and drone elements, Stapleton and Potter throw in a huge range of bizarre and atmospheric elements: didgeridoos, chanting voices, and their usual selection of unidentifiable sounds. Its strong focus on rhythm was erroneously surmised by some as an attempt to join the then rising electronic dance music scene. But it was Stapleton’s recent obsession with the music of ‘King of the Mambo’ Pérez Prado that was beating at the heart of Rock N’ Roll Station’s heady rhythms.

        The album’s title alluded to two specifically rock-related stations of influence: the song of the same name by Jac Berrocal, of which a surprisingly straight cover opens the album in homage; and the tragic life of the Sixties British R&B organist Graham Bond who influenced bands such as Deep Purple and Cream. Beset by mental health problems (at one point believing he was the son of Aleister Crowley), Bond died under a train at a Tube station in 1989 and it is this tragic scene that Rock ‘n Roll Station’s closing track, ‘Finsbury Park, May 8th, 1:35 PM (I'll See You In Another World)’, sets in sound. "This album arrived somewhere after a dream meeting of several individuals, Graham Bond, Joe Meek, Jacques Berrocal and myself. After a few beers and a heated disscussion of puncture repair we all lay down in a circle and point our penises at Venus, telepathic messages are sent out to Colin saying he can use the two golden microphones. He did, and here we are." Steven Stapleton, 17.1.94. 

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        2xLP Info: Limited one-off pressing with letter press cover and bonus track.

        Perhaps

        7.0

          There was a terrible egregious shift in vibration the day the transmission arrived. It came to me in a dream, as was natural for these particular occurrences, and left no time for preparation. The sound was unmistakable, a low baritone that echoed wildly and reeked of ancient fumes. A deeply monumental and monolithic apparition stood before what appeared to be a crowd of hexagonal beings. The vibrations worked through them in an apparent communicatory way, though would be impossible to translate in any logical linguistic fashion. I don’t know how but I knew they were aware of me, though their disposition was imminent of their consciousness as being collective, rather than individual; and were largely unbothered by my presence.

          Once the transmission had finished it was clear that there had been a tamper. The kind of which Id seen before, and had resulted in definite yet undefinable change in the fabric of reality. I initially stumbled upon the odd and highly dangerous musical practices of Perhaps while on an assignment in Bermuda. There had been rumors of a local tribesman partaking in occult practices, of which I knew was native strictly to the Goat Bleeding Bad Men of the Congolese jungle. These rumors intrigued my journalistic nature, so I took the afternoon off in the hopes to possibly glean something that would be an easy pitch to a tabloid back home.

          Upon arrival it was clear there was a strange foreign intervention within the community of the tribe, which was largely uninhabited upon first glance. Much of the surrounding foliage had been strung with the entrails of various animals and there were several disturbing fixtures composed of bones and various organs lining the commune. I managed to track down the tribesman, who appeared to be in some deep trance and was entirely unable to communicate, though seemed to be fixated on a single task: the drawing of a peculiar symbol. My researching the symbol resulted in only one hit, a piece of musical literature by a band Perhaps, who I later found to be recording in the area just weeks before.

          It didn’t take long for me to become fully fixated on Perhaps, who were anything but coy about their whereabouts and metaphysical practices. Wherever they went a small commune followed, which was typically composed of deranged acid freaks, occultists, and Norweigian dairy farmers who had sold all their assets to follow the band after “hearing their music speak from the mountains”. After managing to crack into one of their camps that was stationed in an abandoned motel, I spoke with Jim Haney of Perhaps regarding their cultish practices, who gave little in way of detail but claimed to be working towards a deconstruction of reality through a linguistic utilization of vibration.

          My stint with the cosmic beings through the telekinetic transmission had lead to one conclusion; that Perhaps have been in the works on something new. It seems as if they may have landed on the result which Haney had mentioned years ago. Through my continued interest I’ve procured the names of other members of this current project, which include: Sean Mcdermott, Tom Weeks, Ricky Petraglia, David Khoshtinat, Ben Talmi, Makoto Kawabata, Lucas Brode, Isiah Mitchell, Olivia Kieffer, Tyler Skoglund, Chang Chang. Though I can’t say exactly what is to come, it seems as if the ideas that were proposed during my initial meet may have been surpassed. Perhaps’ plans have begun to surface, and we are all at risk, for whatever that means. The great column and the vibrational prismic beings have shifted their attention to earthly matters, it would be foolhardy to not heed their warning. Though, self-preservation may be an impossibility. - Sam Hailstone 

          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).

            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.

                Colin Stetson

                New History Warfare Vol. 1

                  No better is his virtuosic ability heard than on New History Warfare, Volume 1, Stetson‘s first full-length solo recording from Aagoo Records. On this album, the vast musical experiences that Stetson has accumulated over a short period of time have been crafted into 12 songs that defy genres, establishing a sound that is Colin Stetson in full bloom.

                  Stumbleine

                  Sink Into The Ether

                    As the title suggests, UK producer Stumbleine’s seventh album ‘Sink Into The Ether’ offers a deep submergence within a celestial upper region somewhere beyond the clouds. Thriving on the space in between things, ‘Sink Into The Ether’ is chilled, heavenly and thought provoking. It’s another multi-faceted creation of glowing sonic vistas that are set to enrapture in 2020. The album envelops the listener from the outset with the soft, pitched sway of “Sonder”. The track ebbs through calming shadows, showcasing Stumbleine’s warm, electronic glow and gamut of influences, with hushed hypnotic delayed sounds, vocal samples and snappy beats. Stumbleine’s skill at blending an array of electronic timbres washes over the largely instrumental record, exemplified in “Supermodels”, with its lo-fi chorus-drenched haze building to an emotional, percussion-driven climax.

                    Here, and scattered about the album, RnB vocals are chopped-up, but glistening a dark, dreamy hue. A cover of the Hole song, “Malibu” features Elizabeth Heaton of Midas Fall. Her delicate, dream-like vocals waft over the hazy instrumental waves like tendrils of smoke, as they both grow ever more desperate, and slowly crash. Elsewhere on the album tracks like ‘Lost To The World’ come together more immediately with flourishing synths and soaring backdrops overlaid by a heady bass and intricate beats, while ‘White Noise Therapy’ invokes a cinematic Tokyo-set film score peppered with playful soft pianos. “Lost To the World” swings in addictive pitched-vocal punches, circling itself into a spiral. “Your Angel Was Fake” has a hopeful darkness about it, recalling electronic shoegaze and witch house artists of the early 2010s. It scales and then pulls away, at once breathing and stopping, full of blanket synth pads and subtle snaps of percussion.

                    Also known for his work in post-dubstep trio Swarms, Stumbleine has steadily built a cult of admirers around himself following collaborations across his varied albums and EPs with the likes of ASA, Shura, Violet Skies, Birds of Passage, Steffaloo and more. His sound, if it can be compared to anything at all, straddles post-rock shoegaze soundscapes with ambient electronica and experimental movements into something that can be both an ASMR hug to the ears yet also similarly arresting, fractured and off-kilter depending on which way things flow. As different sounds shift in and out, narratives become clear slowly and disappear quickly throughout Stumbleine’s kaleidoscopic visions. 

                    FORMAT INFORMATION

                    Coloured LP Info: 180g Cream vinyl.

                    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.

                      Victories At Sea

                      Everybody's Lost And All I Want Is To Leave

                        Victories at Sea follow the release of two singles in 2019 with their second studio album Everybody’s Lost and All I Want Is to Leave on 21st February 2020. Recorded on the shores of Loch Fyne and mixed in their native Birmingham, the album refines and redefines the sound of Victories at Sea.

                        The location of recording has had a marked influence on the album. The vast landscapes of Loch Fyne are there in the grandeur and sky scraping ambition of the already heard ‘Quiet House’, the changeability of the weather mirrored in the skittering melodies, looming builds and sudden explosion of ‘Late’; the shift from calm to cloud to downpour made melody. The switch from what JP White, lead singer and lyricist describes as being, ‘far from the electric daylight of city evenings’, during recording to that very cityscape created a tension within the album that confronts this nature seeped creation with mechanics and artificiality.

                        So, the sweeping melodies and delicate piano interludes of album opener, ‘When The Dark’, are abruptly interrupted by a crescendo of closing noise that brings to mind the hectic, circular motion of rush hour traffic on Birmingham’s inner ring road. Current single, ‘Follow You’, delivers a seemingly straightforward and direct verse / chorus moment of ear worm brilliance only to abruptly skip and slide into a locked machine groove, the sound of Birmingham’s industrial past breaking through the sheen of modernity.

                        If this sounds ambitious, maybe even a little pretentious, then that is a charge that Victories at Sea are happy to rebut. Everybody’s Lost and All I Want Is to Leave was conceived and realised as a statement. A permanent marker of the pinnacle of the trio’s possible creation, an honest and direct expression of the collective power of the three band members. This album is more than a collection of songs, it stands as a collective of artistic work designed at every point to demonstrate a belief in the power of the album, the power of music, the power of words. Something beautiful that would remain forever.

                        Victories at Sea follow the release of two singles in 2019 with their second studio album Everybody’s Lost and All I Want Is to Leave on 21st February 2020. Recorded on the shores of Loch Fyne and mixed in their native Birmingham, the album refines and redefines the sound of Victories at Sea. The location of recording has had a marked influence on the album. The vast landscapes of Loch Fyne are there in the grandeur and sky scraping ambition of the already heard ‘Quiet House’, the changeability of the weather mirrored in the skittering melodies, looming builds and sudden explosion of ‘Late’; the shift from calm to cloud to downpour made melody.


                        We’re very sad to hear of the passing of Bill Withers here at Piccadilly Records. Your music and its influence will… https://t.co/KfZyoEAbEn
                        Fri 3rd - 7:33
                        Well, that’s the discovery we can get behind. Thanks for sharing. Artwork is amazing isn’t it?!… https://t.co/r6u9paixOF
                        Fri 3rd - 6:15
                        Even more releases here from @WilmaArchers Loose Fit, Stumbline and a reissue from Nurse With Wound. Labels… https://t.co/t7uXY0WVVc
                        Fri 3rd - 11:52
                        More new music this way from @RenHarvieu @YvesTumor Everything Is Recorded @loppylugsOG aka Richard Russell and… https://t.co/QP626TLa26
                        Fri 3rd - 11:10
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