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NIGHT SCHOOL

Consolidating 2 years of solo work, “Hard To Please” is the debut album by Canadian polymath Sally Dige. First coming to prominence in the synth-wave scene with an elusive, meta-persona in a blur of homemade costumes, Dige’s world has grown to encompass visual art, theatre and design elements. Most surprising on her long-awaited debut however is the occasional removal of the various masks and characters Dige has played to date, revealing something more tangible and fragile underneath.

“Hard To Please” still revels in a darkly thrilling, Euro synth-pop music, awash with dry ice and hidden in shadow, most personified on the instant classic 'Immaculate Deception'. However, on the long, nocturnal walk home Dige begins to sing of loneliness, being lost, the transience of our relationships. Attention to detail is paramount. On the title-track the crisp early-80s, swooning bass line duets with Dige’s desperate plea to a lover fading into the distance, a presence lamented with even more pathos on the towering, early-4AD-esque, slow-burner 'Your Girl'. It’s a new fragility that effortlessly manages to convey a luxurious, inescapable sensuality at the same time.

Indeed, 'Hard To Please' portrays a clear narrative, with electronic body movers like Doppelganger portraying an out-of control, self-obsessed persona at the beginning of the record. Breaking down into the foggy murk, the more hopelessly romantic album closers “A Certain Beauty” and “Dance Of Delusion” burn a ghostly image into the listener’s mind, as Dige, or someone like her, over Cure-like swooning reverberations entreaties the powers that be to let her dance. Dige never fully reveals her hand, but the game is worth playing endlessly.

CC Dust

CC Dust

    CC Dust's Self-Titled 12" EP will be available Summer 2016, released in USA by Perennial Records and in Europe by Night School. CC DUST is a new duo from Olympia, Washington featuring Maryjane Dunphe and David Jaques. Channeling an elemental life-force hewn straight from the heart, Dunphe's voice bursts into every melodic line, a cracked, soulful instrument powered by conviction, duetting, duelling and dancing with Jaques' crisp production. A light that casts shadow, CC Dust is doomed, romantic music anchored by Jaques' live bass and the powerful performance values Dunphe has honed both in her punk group VEXX and in various film and performance projects.

    Musically, CC Dust's precedents might be considered the European synth pop originators of the early 80s, there's also an abundance of low-end hooks played on baritone and bass guitars that teases the ear like early New Order productions, but in Dunphe's passionate vocal performances there's a close-to-the-bone reality that bypasses cool detachment. Their self-titled debut explodes with Never Going To Die, an anthem for the seizing of the day, the rush of standing on the edge looking outwards, invincible. Tonopah slithers into view, Jaques baritone guitar weaving patterns around Dunphe?s voice before the emotion swells in the chorus. Baby Boy is decidedly more ominous, a slow burner that climaxes in an incredible falsetto performance. Abra is another high point, a sweeping waltz that spins the listener around into a tumult, a bittersweet accompaniment to the opening track.

    Mutiny feels like the end of a phase in your life "let's be rid of our obsessions, don't you agree" begs Dunphe, sounding as obsessed and passionate as ever. It's an ode to desire, the euphoria it grants and the consequences. CC Dust play and write real songs lived. A desire for desire. What is it? How does it manifest? Is it all worth the tumult? CC Dust offer no answers as there are none, but they ask the right questions in a life-affirming way. Doomed, romantic, unanswerable and vital. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: 300 Copies on vinyl only.

    R. Elizabeth

    Every And All We Voyage On

      R. Elizabeth is the recording name of London-based artist and academic Rachael Finney. Every And All We Voyage On is her solo recording project’s second full length and is a focused distillation of her practice in sound art and her knack for pop minimalism. It follows a long sold out release on Where To Now? Records and a prolonged period in which she concentrated on artist residencies exploring her interest in recorded sound and voice. Immediate and natural, Every And All We Voyage On manages to sound joyful while tackling complex themes, handling everything with an improvisatory touch.
      The songs are full of air and light; infectious, melodic and off-the-cuff.

      Recorded using a single 80s Casio keyboard, reel-to-reel tape manipulation, piano and vocal, Finney’s practice with R. Elizabeth belies a studious attention to detail. Her academic work is often focused on analysing sounds – particularly voice and language – divorced from meaning and R. Elizabeth challenges the listener with overtly emotional tropes: sweeping portmento lap-steel guitar keyboard tones on Back From Ten suggest a nostalgic melancholy when it intersects with the narrator closing her eyes, realising she has nothing left to give. The lilting vocal cloaked in reverb is disarming, with an almost child-like surrender to the undertow of the song. On Tragedy And Trade there’s a rough grace to the mixing with visceral, manipulated tape sounding like the artists’ hands are literally in the speakers wrenching the melodies in mid-air. When it intersects with chants about the “gaps and the silences” it has an eerie, hauntological effect. R. Elizabeth is constantly playing with sound and song: a Wonderland of perceived emotion, the listener’s perception of what they’re hearing constantly in flux, it’s deceptively simple and deserving of repetitive listening.

      Cut Piano opens the album and introduces a documentary-feel which the album upholds through-out. It’s the sound of the artist mangling a tape of her own piano recording, twisting it out of shape and suggesting a bend in reality. We’re listening to the artist becoming a ghost in her own machine, a 3rd or 4th generation copy of an emotion rendered a long time ago, chilling and playful at the same time. An Image Is Different bursts out of this with a sunny Casiotone beat, a melodic contrast that also introduces Finney’s vocal. It flitters between a gorgeous repetitive melody ruminating about the nature of reality and a seemingly careless, conversational tone. The effect is joyful, but you don’t really know why. The lyrics instruct someone (you? The artist?) to “go outside and break someone’s neck, make it feel so real” before ending with R. Elizabeth nonchalantly stating “I dunno, to be honest I don’t really care” as if on the phone to someone they’re bored with. It would be jarring if it wasn’t so catchy and uplifting. The title track is a slow-tempo meditation with droning synths providing the background to slow, dragging tape sounds and
      grounding, just-out-of-focus vocals bunkering down in the mix. The methodology suggests the work of Broadcast: there’s a loping bassline that propels the track forward but the duet/duel between Finney’s haunted vocal and the soloing tape warble provides aural snakes for the listener’s ear to follow. Spiritual To Symphony is the brightest, most unabashed example of what R.Elizabeth achieves on Every And All We Voyage On. It’s utopian, bright and hypnotic: over a repetitive hook, a double tracked vocal intones a kind of post-structuralist, feminist manifesto: “A different kind of intimacy, a kind of female masculinity, I sense how to be, from vision to visuality.” It’s the perfect example of a piece of music that can be taken on its own terms, enjoyed as pure sound massaging the receptors in the brain or as something that can be dissected, it’s a microcosm of the album as a whole. Effortless and endlessly playful, the album is constantly shifting in and out of focus, from airy imagination to earthy reality. R. Elizabeth invites you to take the sound however you want it. Maybe she doesn’t really care, maybe she does. Who really knows? 

      J. McFarlane Reality Guest

      Ta Da

        “Ta Da” is the debut full length from J. McFarlane Reality Guest, the collective name for the trio headed by the eponymous McFarlane. As a member of the group Twerps, McFarlane has traversed guitar-centric, melodic pop music for some years while honing a highly unique, personal musical language. Ta Da is the first recorded unveiling of McFarlane’s affecting, oblique songwriting panache. Originally released in her native Australia on Hobbies Galore, Ta Da will be released worldwide by Night School in June 2019.

        Wheezing into view with a troubled reed instrument set against a s of whoozy synth lines, Human Tissue Act is a foggy curtain the listener is invited to peel back. The dissonant notes are left to dance entwined, with clarinet heralding a Harry Partch-esque mallet percussion interlude. It’s a mood. With no resolution in sight, an audience dragged closer into uncertainty is suddenly drenched with the light of inter-weaving wah wah synth and saxophone. I Am A Toy introduces us to McFarlane’s vocal, an effortless and matter-of-fact, accented statement that quietly takes the reins. While McFarlane’s previous work in Twerps might reference 80s UK and antipodean guitar pop, Ta Da showcases a different influences immersed in psychedelic music and synths. It’s a brilliant, deft concoction swimming in Young Marble Giants-type minimalism washed with bare pop and harmony similar to Kevin Ayers making sense of a Melbourne suburb full of faces half-recognised in the blanching sun.

        What Has He Bought begins with a Casio-keyboard rhythm pattern, palm-muted guitars and immaculately enunciated vocal give way to a burnt melodica part that elevates the spirits. Simple patterns repeated, like a well-tempered pop song that does what it needs to do and no more, build into the sound of summer leaking orange juice. They’re moments of joy, layered on top of each other like a melting cake. Do You Like What I’m Sayin’ recalls Marine Girls covering a classic ‘66 Garage nugget, organ lines fighting funk with guitar chords played just behind the percussion. “In a talking world, meanings are the same. Words want to hold on to the people they contain. Do you like what I’m sayin’?” We’re in a Beckett play perhaps, obtuse absurdities rendered pretty. Alien Ceremony is a heart-melter, given a melancholic timbre by bowed double bass it’s a tragi-comic piece that almost reeks of Robert Wyatt at his mid-whimsical twisting a fugue completely out of shape. Beneath the layers of harmony and twinkling instrumentation you sense there’s a genuine sadness somewhere even if it remains veiled.

        Through out Ta Da, McFarlane plays with counterpoint and contrast to sometimes delirious effect. On Your Torturer, a simple, upbeat chord progression is hard panned, underpinning a flute solo which seems out of place, hence making it completely in place on this warmly surreal album. My Enemy is a slowly swinging eulogy to a failed relationship punctuated by analogue synth burbles, with our protagonist simply asking, in the aftermath, “can we be nice?” Here McFarlane’s vocal is straight forward, lyrically conversational but still not completely in focus, a surreal kitchen sink drama filtered through a dream where everything is in the wrong place. It’s a fine precursor to Heartburn, which similarly borrows BBC Radiophonic Workshop-style noise synths and the use of space to carve up the simple “You Will Make My Heart Burn” line. At this point, the listener has been in such close proximity to McFarlane’s show, the reality guest in a performance where they’re the sole audience member, that when Where Are You My Love rises on the horizon as a sleepy, psychedelic send off it’s uplifting. The vocal drifts away into the sunset, simple and direct. It leaves the listener slightly confused, perhaps, but grateful for the gentle surprise.

        Long overdue reissue of this Molly Nilsson early release (her fourth), now repackaged and reissued via Night School / DSA.
        “I hope you die by my side, the two of us at the exact same time, I hope we die not long from now, the two of us at the exact same time”

        By the time Molly Nilsson released History, she had already established a fledgling cult status built on homemade YouTube videos and home-burnt Cdrs. Writing from a distance, it’s clear that History is the first classic album in her canon and arguably a classic of the 21st Century underground music panorama. While the methodology on History hadn’t changed from Nilsson’s previous 3 albums – it was recorded solo at The Lighthouse, Nilsson’s home studio based on a Berlin crossroads – on this record the songwriting reached a new peak and the emotional scythe cut deeper. Here, Nilsson managed to combine a cosmic, outward looking perspective with an intimate knowledge of the human condition and its place in these turbulent times. In truth, no other songwriter has excavated the modern psyche so clearly and perfectly.

        The tracklist to Nilsson’s fourth album reads as an early greatest hits for Molly Nilsson followers and also serves as the perfect entry point to a whole world the artist has been building for the last 10 years. In Real Life crystalises the millenial obsession with relationships built online, with a generation paying for the baby boomer’s excesses with their anxiety towards the harshness of every day life. It’s a call to arms for a generation who fell in love on Skype. On I Hope You Die, one of Molly Nilsson’s most iconic songs, the songwriter flips the song title into a tale of doomed romance, a relationship based on miscommunications and the thrill of the other. It’s also one of the most heartfelt songs full of pathos written by anyone, an ode to obsession. Doomed romance, life lived on the flipside of day and the role of the outsider in society are themes that crop up through-out History. On Bottles Of Tomorrow, the narrator is sweeping up, in love with the night and examining the remains a society leaves behind.

        On City Of Atlantis, Nilsson veers from the plaintive balladry she had begun to make her name with, embracing trance-like synth and dance music details to create an unlikely anthem using the mythological city as a means to comment on the patriarchal rendering of history by power. With by now trademark panache, she turns complicated subject matter into a glorious song that transforms into an ecstatic pop moment.

        Hotel Home, another Nilsson classic, paints loneliness not as a debilitating anxiety, but as a powerful tool that propels the artist forward through her travels. It’s a song that hints at an endearing self-awareness also; the writer is never at home, living life on the road, content that “the world will find me when the time is ripe.”

        Cucina Povera

        Zoom

          Zoom is a verité collection of situational recordings made by Cucina Povera - aka Finnish-born, Glasgow-based sound artist Maria Rossi - in intimate spaces full of acoustic or ideological intrigue, primarily using a capella voice. It is a document of different locations and moods that interested the recorder, a postcard look into the stream-of-consciousness processes of an artist developing her own language.

          Using little else other than a Tascam Zoom recorder and loop pedal these are highly personal recordings originally intended as notes for future compositions that ended up becoming the purest rendition of this first phase of Cucina Povera's music to date. Originally presented as WAV files named simply ZOOM---, these on-the-fly compositions are a perfect distillation of Rossi's practice. With no augmentation, not even a song-title, these bare, beautiful tracks become a materialist document of the wonder of the every-day.

          While Rossi's previous album, Hilja, was a sculpted whole that at times used post-production techniques and electronic instruments, Zoom presents acoustic sound as a source of joy and discovery largely without artifice. Rossi's voice is used a searchlight, shining into the crevices of a room's dark corners, or as on ZOOM0005, projected into a Coke bottle aperature, for an almost Shakuhachi texture. Voice dissapates into texture, with rhythms created by simple hissing sounds and the interweaving of loops. ZOOM0001 interlocks 4 different a capella melodies to create a chorus, an improvised solo hymn that seems to rise and rise. ZOOM0010 uses staccato vocal bursts, like Meridith Monk huffing out Steve Reich rhythms, while the soloing Rossi expertly ducks in and out of the frame.

          Like the most celestial moments of her debut Hilja it is a religious experience but rendered more powerful in its naked, secular form. Indeed, there are shades of Hilja in the sounds, with some strains resurfacing from that album, insinuating that Rossi's practise is a continuing form, a series of sentences in the artists' personal language that mutate over time, bending into new shapes. On Zoom, Rossi’s minimalism is fully stark, a process fully transparent and all the more celestially powerful because of it.

          Amor

          Sinking Into A Miracle

            Sinking Into A Miracle is the debut album by Glasgow’s AMOR, a quartet of musical travellers exploring the sonic open-ended-ness of dance music. Following two critically acclaimed 12-inches, this is a fully developed treatise on ecstasy and transcendence. Here, Richard Youngs, Michael Francis Duch, Paul Thomson and Luke Fowler are more honed, razor sharp in focus and timing, testing their instrumental prowess on condensed song structures and new, enlightened feelings of expansive hope and bliss. From the outset, it’s an ambitious yet ultimately inclusive journey. Recorded to 24-track tape at Chem 19 and mixed by Paul Savage and Richard McMaster (Golden Teacher), this full length retains the elastic grooves of Paradise and Higher Moment, the group’s previous singles, but relinquishes the classic Philadelphia International-tinged sound in favor of looser rhythmic patterns. There are new depths to the compositions: a more free-flowing approach to percussion and deft experiments in hybridity make for a full and rounded, emotionally tinged record. Indeed, there are times when AMOR sound like the lost house band from David Mancuso’s Loft parties: Richard Youngs’ uplifting, gospel-tinged lyrics talk about moving beyond, universal truths, sailing through the horizon. It’s a wideeyed optimism Mancuso would perhaps have approved of and which is embroidered with spectral details that begs to be auditioned on large, tweaked out sound-systems.
            Fantastic cover art by Robert Beatty.

            Rose McDowall

            Our Twisted Love

              The Our Twisted Love E.P. constitutes the most contemporary recordings by Rose McDowall available, heralding her return to live performance and songwriting. Building on the groundwork laid by McDowall with her group Sorrow, and various collaborations with key figures in the post industrial landscape, it features a full band recording and long-form songwriting that draws heavily on both McDowall’s keen sense of pop melody and melancholy.

              Breaking into a harmonium drone and Rose’s instantly recognisable, vocal, the epic title song unfurls at a glowing, glacial pace. Never hiding her love for the Velvet Underground, Our Twisted Love reminds the listener of 70s-era Nico, but McDowall’s fragile vocal has a spine-tingling fragility of its own. Guitarist Dru Moore provides shimmering chords that dress the melody, itself framed with multi instrumentalist Eilish McEvil’s plucked violin strings. Rose’s gorgeous twists with the vocal erupt into a full band jam, with bassist Clay Young, acclaimed cellist Jo Quail and drummer Lloyd James joining in for a neo-folk, dronist excursion that elevates the song into psychedelic territory.

              Molly Nilsson

              Single

                Molly Nilsson is in a mood: the mood for love, perhaps? For an artist who has spent almost 10 years skirting the issue of love, almost addressing it, taking it out to dinner only to stand it up, “Single” almost lands a sucker love-punch to the listener’s heart. About Somebody seems to be about somebody, or maybe even somebody’s body, about desire too, perhaps. How else to interpret the line “Babe I want to party with you every night, and have a hard-on for the rest of my life?” But this is a Molly Nilsson song, and this is Empowering Content. Over a rousing, even anthemic, verse/chorus one-two, a soaring synth-string hook that rides the handclaps beautifully, we‘re soon left wondering whether our beloved narrator is really focusing on the “other” at all. Love lets you down: treat it mean, keep it keen, and remember if you can’t love yourself how the hell are you gonna love any body else?

                On the flip, Quit (In Time), is a classic minor-key Nilsson elegy to obsession and addiction, sounding almost close to an early 80s Springsteen love-story. Here we imagine Nilsson at the piano, her heart a resounding bell for all longing. If About Somebody is the tumultuous onset of an affair, here we’re hopelessly drawn to the flame, unable to leave alone that which causes the sweetest pain. It’s a universal theme, the longing for something we shouldn’t have, and Nilsson seems to elucidate the feeling with a precise, razor-sharp lyrical nous that fans will instantly recognize.

                “Single” is about the self and the other; about navigating the love of others that tries to trip us up. But it’s also about you. “Single” is because you’re worth it.

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Laura says: Sublime hook-filled, synth infused pop from Molly Nilsson.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                7" Info: Limited to 800, handmade Lino-block stamped sleeves, Hand Numbered, with Download Card and Insert. Preceding her epic new record Imaginations, due May 29th,

                That we live in a world changed is beyond question. Since 2015’s Zenith, Berlin-based songwriter Molly Nilssonhas surrendered to the world, traveling from Mexico to Glasgow, observing the changing socio-political landscape and imagining a better world. For an artist who has so successfully created her own environment and gradually let others in, her 8th studio album Imaginations sees Nilsson directly engaging with her surroundings, engendering change and allowing love in.

                Molly has built an almost 10 year career on perfectly summing up how we feel and this is no different... W ho else could write a song about privilege (Let’s Talk About Privileges) and make a heart-r endi ng c hor us of “It ’s never being afraid of the police, it’s expecting every thank you, every please.” The artist’s vision on this album is perhaps more forceful than the emotionally fragile moments of previous album Zenith, at times exemplified on songs like Memory Foam, a bright, driving pop song that belies themes of nostalgia and the past, reminding us that Molly alone can make us feel so welcome in loneliness.

                If there’s overt anger in songs like Money Never Sleeps, an anthem for a post-capitalist utopia if ever there was one, there’s also seams of optimism sewn into the album’s genetic code. A ny revolutionary will tell you that anger alone achieves nothing - Nilsson’s mission on Imaginations is to offer some alternatives we can hold close. Not Today Satan is a song about accepting love as the agent of change; “D on’t be sad, but do get mad at all the small men who act so tall, in the end they always fall; there ain’t no sin in giving in to love, that’s just how we’re winning the f i g h t . ”

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Sil says: This is perhaps the poppiest album we have had in the shop this year. Catchy and sweet yet unique and elaborate in its message. Swedish Molly Nilsson transports you back to the 80s with her synth drenched compositions. This is not polished glossy plastic mainstream pop. ‘Imaginations’ has an overall home-made feel to it, reminiscent of the cold wave genre and dark side of post punk 80s aesthetics. The melodies are smart and ingenious in places yet they manage to pull together a great result when coupled with the potent lyrics and themes covered in tracks like “Let’s Talk About Privileges”, “Not Today Satan” or “Modern World”. The main characteristic in this great LP is the balance in place between evoking an array of emotions whilst sounding carefully detached from it all. As a whole this is an album where intensely personal music and universally understood pop converge successfully. A future classic indeed.

                “The closest we’ll ever get to heaven, with a stolen six pack from 7/11, and though the city sleeps I better she never dreams, she never dreams like you and me.”

                The beginning moments of Molly Nilsson’s second album Follow The Light now seem like the start of a personal mythology that was to reach further than she could have imagined. Few contemporary artists have so seeped into the underground pop psyche than the Stockholm-born songwriter. After releasing her debut These Things Take Time on hand-made CDrs, Nilsson’s follow up was a leap in scope and ambition. Of course, the personal takes on a tumultuous life in Berlin and the journeys to and from it inform the songs as before, but there’s a growing maturity in the songwriting in evidence. From the diary pages of These Things Take Time to a growing stature as a songwriter in touch with the universal, Follow The Light contains many of Nilsson’s now firm fan-favourites.

                The Closest We’ll Ever Get To Heaven is classic Molly Nilsson. Over plaintive piano chords and little else, Nilsson narrates a story of doomed friends lost, the onset of an East German winter reminding the singer of a time lost, nostalgia frosting the windows to the past. Meanwhile In Berlin, perhaps a passing nod to Leonard Cohen in the melodic refrain, opens up the sonic palette, with synth strings fitting Nilsson’s delivery perfectly. Never O’Clock is a pure pop moment, with a lilting funk and percussion adding a carpe diem immediacy to the album’s flow. Last Forever, which remains a staple to live encores now, seven years later, is fist-pumping melancholy that only Molly Nilsson knows how to do. It’s over before it begins and begs eternal repeat. Truth, a synth pop song that sees Nilsson exploring the upper and lower registers of her voice, feels like a lost chart hit from the mid 80s. I Hope You Sleep At Night, a vitriolic lover’s admonishment gives way to one of Nilsson’s most popular songs: I’m Still Wearing His Jacket. It’s a sentiment that needs no real explanation: the mementos of a completed love affair remain in our wardrobes waiting to hurt us all over again. Hello Loneliness could also be an updated Leonard Cohen song, a peon to melancholy which reminds us that Nilsson has a knack for distilling the complex into sharp epithets. We end on one of Nilsson’s greatest songs. A Song They Won’t Be Playing On The Radio is so finely loaded with emotion that it’s the singer’s reserved delivery that makes it so powerful.

                Follow The Light is the second installment of an ongoing Molly Nilsson reissue campaign and is the first time the album has been available on vinyl.

                Helena Celle

                If I Can't Handle Me At My Best, Then You Don't Deserve You At Your Worst

                  HELENA CELLE is the synth work and multi-dimensional audio practise of Glasgow-based musician Kay Logan. A 21st century polymath, Logan’s interests lie in the power relationships inherent in technology, how to harness aleatoric practise in a discipline that is often rigid and in exploring the interface between computer science (Logan is also a computer programmer) and sound. Originally recorded in 2014, "If I Can't Handle.." is the first step on the wander, a deliriously sun-burnt foray into abstract techno and a very personal take on an electronic music language that remains obscure to outsiders but here rendered a unique form of emotional communication.

                  While Logan’s interests are powered by academic exploration, what’s most striking about Helena Celle’s approach to electronic music is how effortlessly she deconstructs it, makes it personal: the results are emotive without being explicit, raw and engaging, a true outsider music. The taking apart of norms can be heard on the squelched solo on "I'm Done With 666", governed by the love of noise, the wave is eviscerated, smothering the track in a glorious disregard for convention. The crashing, ultra-compressed chords that flatten opener "Streaming Music for Biometrics" re-wire the listener to appreciate chance, to break the loop. Recorded exclusively using a faltering MC303, live in a room straight to consumer dictaphones, the breadth of texture and depth of ideas on these tracks is truly astonishing. "Miming Swinging Baseball Bat" manages to submerge a bass-line straight into the tape heads, grounding a celestial synth arpeggio that flutters overhead.

                  Informed by limit yet sounding limitless, If I Can't Handle Me... evokes a personal space, a rewired take on electronic music, convention seen through the prism of anti-tradition, a wonderfully careless disregard for electronic music dogma before Logan's next phase as Helena Celle. After several releases under various other pseudonyms (Rick Ross, Larks) Helena Celle sees Logan focusing her ideas into a coherent whole, questioning the hegemony of neo-liberal ideas and their intersection with capital, culture and social practises, how these ideas inform the music we make, the choices we buy. Indeed, while Logan's current practise is moving further into the field of an open-source musical programming language, developing a truly democratic music practise set adrift from capital, here Logan's intent is to make sense of the nonsense we take for granted.

                  Apostille

                  Powerless

                    Apostille is the solo musical guise of Glaswegian DIY protagonist Michael Kasparis. Initially a creative harbour from his groups Please and The Lowest Form, Apostille has grown into an explosive synth-punk project unafraid of both physicality and emotional leakage. Powerless is Kasparis’ first album proper, following exploratory works on Goaty Tapes and Clan Destine, and is Apostille’s first release on his own Night School Records. Fiercely independent in practice and execution, Apostille’s stated purpose is to bridge the gap between audience and performer, to connect through the fog of power structures and post-modernism; to ferment a direct pop music unconcerned with control.

                    Powerless explodes with Life - a rage of brilliance that acts as a communal outlet of shared frustration and confusion at the world. At moments haiku-like mantras lament over a damaged industrial de-composition as in The Collector, at other times there’s a Depeche Modish fragility as in Side 2 opener Deserter. In warped, subterranean ballad Olivia’s Eyes an almost decapitated duet details criminal instincts, while live favourite Slurry demolishes proceedings with a Suicide-like take on Chicago house; a mammoth journey into the psyche of a ‘Falling Down’ prototype, lost in a world of perpetual motion, speeding up and uncaring. Touchstones of early Mute artists like Fad Gadget can be found in Apostille’s overwhelmingly physical live performances but like Tovey’s best work, or perhaps that of Crash Course in Science, there’s a depth on record that paints in more complex colours.

                    Terror Bird is the songs of Vancouver artist Nikki Never. Beginning with naive but affecting songs hammered into primitive recording apparatus and released on handdubbed cassette releases, Terror Bird soon attracted the attention of intrepid independent labels such as Night People, La Station Radar and Adagio830. Each release has documented a growing maturity in songwriting and emotional scope. “All This Time” is Terror Bird’s 3rd full length and is by far the most personal, emotionally affecting and musically developed.

                    Recorded at home over a period of 3 months, the 10 songs on “All This Time” document a period of intense emotional upheaval, a period wherein Never underwent major shifts in her personal life, rediscovered the solo recording process (previous albums having used live drumming and studio production) and married a raw, personal music with a straighttotape aesthetic most intone with her early recording experiences. The difference this time is that Never’s unique voice at turns operatic and fragile, untutored and wearing its heart on its sleeve serves as the perfect conduit for the emotional turmoil in the songs. Never’s voice has grown into a formidable instrument, a towering, unabashed vocal whose resonance curls around the synth and drum machine production, at times duetting with itself, at times scaling the vocal register to reach new dramatic heights.

                    Brought up on the music of the 80s “studio” The Smiths, Siousxie, The Cure Never’s music exists beyond modern zeitgeists or considerations, subverting “big production” music into a personal DIY aesthetic. It’s a pure songwriting that outgrows genre and thrives purely on the merits of direct communication between songwriter and listener. Each song on “All This Time” serves as a chapter in a narrative that is universal; from the selfdoubt and loneliness of opener “The Wrong Way,” to the doomed bedroom romance of “Try To Break Me,” from the masochistic guilt of “Locket” to the nearanthemic “Lust & Violence.” Each song speaks directly, plainly, to the listener, dispensing as much as possible with the unnecessary augmentation of modern pop music; “All This Time” is simply the deeply romantic, partdoomed / parthopeful songs of a singular, unique talent.


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