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STATIC

Popol Vuh

Agape-Agape Love-Love - 2022 Reissue

    Born as Florian Fricke’s brainchild, Popol Vuh needs little introduction, the band stayed active between the late 1960s & late 1990s (until Florian’s passing in 2001).

    Regarded as pioneers in avant-garde German electronic music, their early works practically laid down the foundations for ‘Kosmische Muzik’ (Space Music) with the then new sounds of the Moog synthesizer joined with ethnic percussions.

    Later the group evolved to include all kinds of instruments (both electric and acoustic alike) shrouding their music in a spiritual & introspective mystical aura. Popol Vuh influenced many other European bands with their uniquely soft but elaborate instrumentation, which took inspiration from the music of Tibet, Africa and pre-Columbian America. With music sometimes described as “ethereal”, they created soundscapes through psychedelic walls of sound, and are regarded as precursors of contemporary ‘world music’, as well as of ‘new age’ and ‘ambient’.

    Popol Vuh regularly contributed soundtracks to the films of Werner Herzog that include classics like ‘Aguirre’, ‘Nosferatu’, ‘Heart Of Glass’ & ‘Cobra Verde’.

    ‘Agape-Love’ was one of Florian Fricke’s favorites, at a point in his life where he was inspired by 13th century Persian poet Rumi. Still utilizing a choir for Gregorian chant-like ethereal intensity — though they sing in Byzantine scales – the band delves deeply into the drone world of Fricke’s sacred music muse. This is an album of many moods/feelings & is a worthy, devastatingly beautiful outing (both introspective & intense at the same time).


    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Hand In Hand
    A2. They Danced, They Laughed, As Of Old
    A3. Love, Life, Death
    A4. The Christ Is Near
    A5. Love-Love
    B6. Behold, The Drover Summonds
    B7. Agape-Agape
    B8. Why Do I Still Sleep
    B9. Circledance (bonus Track)

    Bassist and composer Milo Fitzpatrick (Portico Quartet) launches new collaborative project with saxophonist Jordan Smart (Mammal Hands)

    Vega Trails is a new project from double-bassist and composer Milo Fitzpatrick, a founder member of Portico Quartet, who has also performed with the likes of Nick Mulvey and Jono McCleary and features saxophonist Jordan Smart (Mammal Hands, Sunda Arc) in a richly powerful duo bringing together two powerfully charismatic musicians. The project which takes its name from Carl Sagan's science fiction novel 'Contact' (a book about signals of new life detected from the Vega system) andwas born out of a desire to bring the elements of bass and melody to the foreground in their rawest form and Fitzpatrick explains that he deliberatelychose the stripped back approach.

    "There is so much in just one musician's sound; the emotional, the intellectual, the vulnerability and power of their character. But often these delicate nuances can be submerged in the quest for a group sound. In Vega Trails I wanted to grant the musicians space to breathe and be heard and for the listener to witness the intimacy and depth of a conversation between two voices, bass and melody. I was also interested in how the limitations would guide both the composition and performance and to push us both to places close to the limits of what we could play, and it is in this place where I believe the character of a musician blossoms and comes forward".

    Tremors in the Static was composed during Lockdown as Fitzpatrick immersed himself in music that had space and sparseness such as Swedish fiddle music and Indian Classical music. Jan Johansson's legendary 'Jazz på Svenska' (jazz versions of Swedish folk songs) was another influence, as was a collection of ancient lullabies by Spanish soprano singer Montserrat Figueras. Through exploring the harmonic and textural possibilities on the bass, Fitzpatrick would cycle riffs and motifs whilst singing melodies, and he began to create the music debuted here. However, it was only after listening to Charlie Haden's album of duets, 'Closeness', that the project would come into focus as a duo, and Fitzpatrick immediately knew that the second musician had to be Jordan Smart.

    "I saw Jordan play at two Gondwana Records events – in Berlin and Tokyo. Both times I was mesmerised by the intensity and conviction of his playing. His commitment to the cause of transcending himself and the listener made a lasting impression on me. When I began writing this record, I knew I needed a strong player who had equal conviction in their playing as me, but also someone who understood the importance of melody"

    It was an inspired idea as Smart brought an openness and positivity which allowed the music to be both experimental and bold. Smart's ability to play tenor and soprano saxophone with equal command, as well as bass clarinet and Ney flute, allowed them to open up the pallet of sound and pull the melodies into varying emotional landscapes.The final piece of the puzzle was the performance space. Fitzpatrick knew that he wanted the two players to react off of a third element. The music was written for an ambient space which interacted with the notes: decaying and disintegrating them into silence. They found the perfect space in a church in Fitzpatrick's local neighbourhood of Stamford Hill.

    "The recording space is the canvas on which the sound interacts and flows, it is the frame in which notes can live, breathe and die and is as important as the other elements. A resonant recording space, like a church, allows this stripped back sound to resonate, echo and linger, enough to create images and landscapes in which stories can play out".

    This then is Vega Trails, a project that brings together two open-mined and communicative musicians for the first time, to tell beautiful winding stories together and to create something soulful and new.Something bigger than both of them and something that leaves us all richer for hearing it. Enjoy!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Love Your Grace
    2. Train To Kyoto
    3. Spiral Slow
    4. Thoughts Shifting
    5. Closer
    6. New Planet
    7. Red Moon Rising
    8. Epic Dream
    9. Tremors In The Static

    ARA-U & Radioactive Man turn a bad situation into a great collection of tracks with their latest collaborative release “The Houghton Blues EP”. Across two sides of vinyl on ARA-U's NO STATIC / AUTOMATIC label, the accomplished electro innovators once again serve up pure analogue vibes and raw machine funk.

    When cult Norfolk gathering Houghton Festival was cancelled in 2019 because of high winds, this pair had just bought some booze and were already on their way. After a moment's sadness, they decided to turn bad news into good and head to the studio to work on some tracks. For the next two days, they stayed high on music as their Prophet, 101, 808, 303, and the Juno synths whirred and flashed.

    ARA-U, of course, is the UK-based Venezuelan and longtime live specialist. He runs his own NO STATIC / AUTOMATIC label and, like Radioactive Man with whom he has already collaborated on the “Plastic Attack EP”, he is a master of his machines. dBridge, Posthuman and Alienata have all played his music before now and he remains at the heart of underground electro.

    Right there with him is Radioactive Man, who has a career spanning 30 years, labels like Warp and many seminal collaborations from Two Lone Swordsman with Andrew Weatherall, with dBridge as dBRm and Billy Nasty as RadioNasty. He is a hugely prolific producer who has kept the quality levels high across five solo albums and countless EPs. He now heads up his own Asking For Trouble label and continues to innovate in the studio thanks to his live approach to making music.

    The opener “Sounds Like Prince” is electrifying from the off with its neck-snapping drums and perc and squelchy synth lines. It's potent and powerful and perfect for packed dance floors. The superb “Machines Chit-Chat” is a deeper cut with cosmic synths. The drums still bang, but with wide-open spaces around them which are detailed with subtle hits and sci-fi motifs.

    “What Happened To The Stash” is as dark and urgent as someone who has indeed lost their stash. It's got paranoid lines spiraling around the hurried groove in an inquisitive fashion while the booming bass drives forward. It's high-grade dance floor tackle then closer 'The Houghton Blues' brings a sense of machine soul that will melt your heart. The smeared chords, pixelated pads and melancholic robot sounds all coalesce into something as brilliant as it is beautiful.

    ARA-U puts it best when he says, ‘This EP has all the moods and the jam really made sense. It has the funk, the stomper, the deep and the raw.’


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: End boss machine tweakers Radio Active Man & ARA-U get busy behind the circuit boards; coercing a whole manner of squidgy funk and Proper Electro from their accelerated and abused sound boxes. The results, as always, are phenomenal!

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Sounds Like Prince
    A2. Machines Chit-Chat
    B1. What Happened To The Stash
    B2. The Houghton Blues

    Static

    Toothpaste & Pills: Demos & Live 78-80

      Long before John Brannon of Negative Approach cemented himself as a USHC icon, you would hear rumblings about his pre-NA glam group, STATIC. Only a handful of people were lucky/brave enough to see them live. Scenesters spoke of a tape but never seemed to have one. Their most well-remembered song, Toothpaste and Pills, allegedly featured smashing beer bottles against John’s mom’s basement wall as a percussion instrument. Could this be real?

      Fast forward to 2020 and a few months into the covid-19 lockdown, Brannon came across a bunch of tapes he dug out of a box in his Mom’s closet - STATIC “DEMOS ‘78”, STATIC “LIVE AT GROSSE POINTE SOUTH H.S.”, STATIC “LIVE AT PLEWA HALL”. Holy shit! The legend is true! And best of all, STATIC rule!

      John Brannon grew up in Grosse Pointe Park just a few blocks from the Detroit border. John was always into music, but as soon as he heard T-Rex, The Stooges and Alice Cooper, he was obsessed (and still is) and had to start a band to channel his obsessions. With the help of neighborhood kid and collaborator Billy Daniels and a local drummer simply known as “Red”, STATIC was born.

      Before Negative Approach changed the face of punk and hardcore, before Laughing Hyenas scared the world silly and blew everyone else off the stage and before Easy Action started melting minds all over the world, there was STATIC. STATIC was real. STATIC was real as shit.

      Third Man Records is beyond ecstatic to be providing this long-missing piece of the American Underground Music puzzle. We worked closely with John Brannon and Warren Defever, one of Third Man Mastering’s resident wizards, to put together this essential collection of demos and live recordings.

      TRACK LISTING

      SIDE A
      1. Toothpaste And Pills
      2. Punk Nation
      3. TV Show
      4. We're So Cheap We're Divine
      SIDE B
      1. Ain't No Stranger
      2. High School Riot
      3. What's This Thing Called Love
      4. We're So Cheap We're Divine
      5. Video Deficiency
      6. If We Had Brains We'd Be Dangerous
      7. Ugly Teenager

      Daniel Avery

      Together In Static

        With his now sold out, seated and socially distanced live show Together In Static set to take place at London’s recently restored Hackney Church on 29th May across two sittings, matinee and evening, Daniel Avery announces an 11-track album of the same name, comprised of music created exclusively for the performance.

        The London-based artist and producer also announces a live stream from the church on 27th May, allowing more fans to experience the immersive performance of previously unheard music combined with the refined and creatively ambitious production Avery has become renowned for. ‘As with many things this past year, the project took on a power and a life of its own right in front of me,’ he explains. ‘The original idea was to simply play a couple of intimate gigs at Hackney Church during the last lockdown. I started to make music specifically for the shows yet, as plans continued to shift, I fell deeper into the waves. I considered a 12’ or an EP but by the time I came up for air, I realised I had a complete record I wanted to share. I feel it’s some of my best work and I’m gassed for you all to hear it.’

        “Together in Static” comes almost a year to the day after Avery’s surprise third studio album “Love + Light”, released last June in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Where his previous record was hailed by NME as ‘a heartfelt eulogy for the hedonism we’re missing this summer,’ hope and expectation course through the new album. There is joy in communion, and change is coming.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Sil says: A live performance specially written and performed during the madness of the last 18 months gets a nice vinyl release for anyone who couldn't witness it live. I love Daniel Avery so this is a must-listen for me.

        TRACK LISTING

        Side A
        Crystal Eyes
        Yesterday Faded
        Nowhere Sound
        The Pursuit Of Joy
        Fountain Of Peace

        Side B
        Together In Static
        A Life That Is Your Own
        Hazel And Gold
        Endless Hours
        The Midnight Sun

        Stubborn Heart

        Made Of Static

          Returning with their first new music in 8 years, Stubborn Heart have announced their anticipated new album ‘Made Of Static’, released on June 4th via One Little Independent Records.

          Luca Santucci and Ben Fitzgerald, who have spent the last few years developing the ten brooding electro-soul tracks that make up the successor to their lauded 2012 self-titled debut, have once again struck a fine balance between ominous synth-soundscapes and introspective songwriting.

          Balance is the key theme here. With Fitzgerald leading the production and manning the machines, the sound is rawer than on their previous album. Left-field pop with dark, icy edges, it finds a home somewhere in between r&b and cold wave. Santucci brings the heart and with it his aching, obsessive lyrics and a desire for something grittier in its presentation. The duo’s talents complement each other perfectly throughout.

          Santucci has amassed an impressive list of writing and vocal credits in his time, with the likes of XL and Warp signee Leila Arab, Plaid, Riton and Soulwax amongst them. Fitzgerald has also been hard at work at his home studio programming various styles of music for artists and producers from around the world. As Stubborn Heart, they come armed with some serious experience and a wealth of influences. There’s an honest simplicity in the way they create, with lyrics written in an immediate, direct fashion with the aim to catch a feeling rather than emulate one. 


          TRACK LISTING

          1. Talking Gold
          2. Proves To Be
          3. Against The Tide
          4. Mum’s The World
          5. Points Of View
          6. Everything Matters
          7. To Make You Happy
          8. Oh Stephanie
          9. Drop The Ball
          10. Out Of My Hands

          65daysofstatic

          Replicr, 2019

            Sheffield-based experimental stalwarts 65daysofstatic release their anticipated, expansive new album replicr, 2019 via Superball Music. This immersive album highlights a continuation from previous releases and a constant evolution which has been evident since their formation. In 2016, they released their critically-acclaimed score for ‘No Man’s Sky’, the most anticipated game in the world at that time. Their generative, infinitely long, in-game score was experienced uniquely by each of the game’s millions of players.

            This crash course in algorithmic music led to the band building their own procedural musical systems and generative soundscapes, crafting custom synths, live coding and writing software to make music for (and against) them. This new way of working they called “Decomposition Theory” — decomposing from the infinite possibilities their systems churned out instead of composing from the ground up, a dialectic between the band and their machines. From the eventual smouldering wreckage of their broken software systems and entropic algorithms, the band realised their next record needed to be the opposite. An album born from the debris, but stripped down to its most focussed, intentional form. replicr, 2019 is the album carved from the wreckage. Forty two minutes of dread. A record that stares head on into the abyssal futures of late capitalism and refuses to blink. A melancholic, tireless soundtrack of acceleration. A feeling of frayed-nerved, time-smudged, light-speed drifting through cities built upon cities. Neon seen through rain-riddled windowpanes. replicr, 2019 is a stark, angular, stripped back slab of focussed noise. It wastes no time because there is no time left to waste.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Pretext
            2. Stillstellung
            3. D|| Tl | | |
            4. Bad Age
            5. 05|| | 1|
            6. Sister
            7. Gr[]v-_s
            8. Popular Beats
            9. Five Waves
            10. Interference_1
            11. []lid
            12. Z03
            13. U| || | Th | R| D
            14. Trackerplatz

            Last time out Lil Static added a little extra energy and a whole lotta bass to Kraftwerk classics 'Numbers' and 'Computer World 2', and here they flip the script a little, taking a ganja leaf out of the 5 Borough Breaks playbook with a sampledelic 7". Giving much props to Q-Tip and his press pause production method, the label slap Illmatic classic "One Love" on the A-side, then switch vibes  on the flip for the original sample, evocative jazz opus "Smilin' Billy Suite" by The Heath Brothers. Hot!

            TRACK LISTING

            A. Nas - One Love
            B. The Heath Brothers - Smilin' Billy Suite

            65daysofstatic

            No Man’s Sky

              Laced Records have teamed up with 65daysofstatic and Hello Games to bring you No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe across digital, CD and vinyl formats. After the track ‘Debutante’ accompanied the first reveal of No Man’s Sky in 2013, the band spent over a year composing original music for the game’s soundtrack. No Man’s Sky’s procedurally generated universe is unlike anything yet seen in the gaming world, and 65daysofstatic’s sonic assault is equally ambitious. The release itself comprises 10 tracks of original music, plus a second collection of 6 soundscapes and sound design, an all-encompassing journey of almost two hours. The 6 additional soundscapes are exclusive to the Laced Records release.

              No Man’s Sky: Music for an Infinite Universe is equally grand in its ambition, an experimental and overwhelming sonic experience that pushes 65dos into new territory while retaining their innate sense of relentlessness, driving rhythm, and a tune you can hum.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: It's been a while, but there really is no more thrilling an experience in the computer gamesphere than jetting through the stars to an unknown destination with the machine gun percussion of 65DOS pumping in your lobes, or cataloguing completely undiscovered subterranean caves with trickling ambient washes and synth swells filling your ears. This soundtrack is a perfect balance of the heft we've come to know from the band and a distillation of their ambient mastery, all in one beautiful double LP. Essential purchase.

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Monolith
              2. Supermoon
              3. Asimov
              4. Heliosphere
              5. Blueprint For A Slow Machine
              6. Pillars Of Frost
              7. Escape Velocity
              8. Red Parallax
              9. Hypersleep
              10. End Of The World Sun

              Art Of The Memory Palace

              Dusk At Trellick Tower

                Four years after their critically acclaimed debut on Static Caravan Records, Manchester / Dundee based duo Art Of The Memory Palace announce their highly anticipated new EP, ‘Dusk at Trellick Tower’. With this new work, the duo accelerate their trajectory since 2015’s incendiary debut, ’This Life Is But A Passing Dream.’ Upon its release the latter was called “Fresh and euphoric…an incredible debut” by The Quietus and “Fantastically addictive” by The Sunday Herald, while Shindig! Magazine proclaimed, “A spine-chillingly satisfying journey into kraut-influenced electronica”. In the years since, AOTMP have released a split 7” with esteemed Welsh psych label Fruits de Mer Records, a long sold-out spoken-word collaboration with acclaimed Scottish author James Robertson, and a limited-edition cassette-only French Noir soundtrack album on Horror Pop Records.

                Radio support has come from Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft on 6Music, Vic Galloway on BBC Scotland and Andy Weatherall on NTS. Raz Ullah (synths / tape loops) has become an intrinsic part of Jane Weaver’s touring band, while Andrew Mitchell (vocals / synths / guitar / bass / drums) has released two albums under his ‘Andrew Wasylyk’ moniker. ‘Dusk at Trellick Tower’ is inspired by Hungarian Brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger; a towering presence in Modernism who courted controversy throughout his life. Known for being a humourless man prone to vicious rages, as well as the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s most notorious Bond villain, Goldfinger. Across the six tracks, Ullah and Mitchell channel the darkness and dystopia which grew from much of Erno’s work, building synth-heavy sonic edifices evoking lonely night time walks along empty echoing corridors, urban decay and towering, impassive concrete monoliths. Using analogue synthesizers, drums, bass and tape loops processed through long chains of effects pedals, Art Of The Memory Palace strive for greater depths with this release, weaving menacing hooks and icy vocals together with droning chords and ambient soundscapes and creating their own shade of dark, beautiful melodies in the process. 

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Barry says: There really is no better duo of thoroughly excellent people and oustanding musicians in the UK right now that Raz Ullah and Andrew (Wasylyk) Mitchell. It's an outstanding combo, with beautiful melodies and evocative synths shining any idea of winter out of your head. A beautiful, rich tapestry of sound and a huge progression than their already mindblowing cassette debut from 2017. Absolutely stunning.

                MTO (Modified Toy Orchestra)

                Mary = X / The Breath They’ve Been Holding Released

                  Birmingham’s iconic audio scientists, Modified Toy Orchestra, are back. This time as mto and with a new single on their old label.

                  Hand cut in an edition of 100 copies by PhilM at 3345 this return sees the band in a casio only landscape watching the mathematician Richard Feynman sit alone at the top of a light house on mars contemplating calculus and aspects of his life.

                  ‘Mary = X’
                  A haunting lament of what might have been from the perspective of Richard Feynman's ex-wife Mary, her plaintive voice keening for her husband’s attention, a hopeless attempt against the infinite mysteries of calculus.
                  "He begins working calculus problems in his head as soon as he awakens. He did calculus while driving in his car, while sitting in the living room, and while lying in bed at night." —Mary Louise Bell divorce complaint.

                  ‘The breath they've been holding.’
                  The Title is taken from a news broadcast observing the faces of the doomed astronaut’s families during the space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986.

                  Since touring the world performing their 2nd album Plastic Planet, which culminated in sell out shows at the Hong Kong Civic Hall, mto have been commissioned to perform Stockhausen and to collaborate with composer/conductor Richard Baker on "Game" by Faster than sound performed at Aldeburgh Britain's oldest classical music festival.

                  The 2 tracks are part of digital EP called "Feynman on Mars" which shows a darker, colder distant side of mto an aspect of the band which will be further explored as they blast off in to the outer reaches of the cosmos on what will be there 3rd album "Silfurburg".

                  Goodnight Lenin

                  In The Fullness Of Time

                  Goodnight Lenin are pleased to announce the details of their forthcoming debut album, In The Fullness Of Time which is mixed by Californian guru Jonathan Wilson and set for release on November 24 via Static Caravan (VAN273).. Having been building to the album since their formation in 2011, Goodnight Lenin have released two singles, one double a-side Record Store Day 7" and two EPs along the way, all of which sold out of their limited physical run upon release. The band have worked with Nick Drake producer John Wood, Broadcast's Tim Felton and Modified Toy Orchestra's Brian Duffy as well as artists Clare Rojas, Mark Edwards and Nathalie Daoust, whose photographs accompany In The Fullness Of Time. Front man John Fell said of the album: "It took us a long time to find our sound... years in fact! We scrapped the record two or three times until we were happy with the songs. We recorded the bases of the tracks live onto analogue tape to give it the 70's feel we wanted plus we were honoured to have one of our greatest influences, Jonathan Wilson, mix the album. It's something we are very proud of and we feel like it's the start of something special."

                  Goodnight Lenin are a West Coast Americana five-piece who formed in the West Midlands in 2011. An independent outfit with an old school attitude to music, the band celebrate the DIY ethic of the late 80s / early 90s grunge approach and combine with influences including Neil Young, Jonathan Wilson, Phosphorescent and Wilco. Goodnight Lenin have released two singles and two EPs, all of which sold out of their limited physical run upon release. The band have played over 60 festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival and Green Man and have been on tour with Dry The River, First Aid Kit, Stornoway and Beth Jeans Houghton.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. You Were Always Waiting
                  2. Weary
                  3. Another Day
                  4. The Tell-Tale Heart
                  5. A Cautionary Tale
                  6. Carry The Burden Of Youth In Your Heart
                  7. In The Fullness Of Time
                  8. Old Cold Hands
                  9. The Constant Lover
                  10. The Reason
                  11. Electric Leaves

                  Following the instantly sold out release of The Duke St Workshops debut album. "Lexicon of Paragon Pines" and the doozy of a 7” that even Clint Mansell liked comes the first widely distributed work from the Dukes. Recorded at ‘Polyester’ the bands studio in Wigan. Cabin 28 is the soundtrack to a cold case from 1981. Set in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California in a remote rural setting. The album soundtracks the case from the dawning of the day to the midnight and beyond. From sanctuary and austere to threatening settings taking in influences from the likes of Final Program, Conrad Schnitzler, Bruton Library Music and Michael Small as well as sombre, melancholic films like Coma and Rabid.You might also reference the Birmingham scene of such lost ensembles as Broadcast, Pram and Plone.

                  “The white noise crackle when the white dot fades from the TV. They are essential listening – but then if you miss out this time, hang around about 15 years or so and ‘Cabin 28’ will no doubt appear on Trunk records – yeah that good.” Mark Barton ’The Sunday Experience’.

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. The Keddie Resort
                  2. April 11th
                  3. Spanish Oaks
                  4. Sue & The Kids
                  5. Cabin 28
                  6. Night Draws In
                  7. Hitch Hikers On HWY 70
                  8. Midnight
                  9. Feather Falls

                  The Memory Band

                  Further Navigations

                    THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2014 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

                    The Further Navigations EP is a continuation of the themes which informed The Memory Band album On The Chalk (Our Navigation Of The Line Of The Downs) also released on Static Caravan. Featuring remixes from Belbury Poly and Grantby and a brand new Memory Band track the EP draws inspiration from the ancient "lost road" that is the Harrow Way. The choice of collaborators are two producers who have had a profound impact on The Memory Band sound in different ways, but both bring to the fore the cinematic elements of Stephen Cracknell's approach to traditional music. In the decade since The Memory Band began one of its greatest contemporary influences has been the fine collection of work released by the Ghost Box label, in particular the Belbury Poly aka label boss Jim Jupp. Spectral, haunting and yet vibrant and knowing his work has established Jupp as a truly English original, making some of the essential electronic music of the new century. For "Hobby Horse" Belbury Poly takes the blueprint from the Memory Band's version of the traditional funeral march "When I Was On Horseback" transforms it by speeding it up, flicking the swing setting and produces something that sounds like David Munrow making music for schools on analogue synthesisers. Grantby aka Dan Grigson has a mysterious history, famed for the Timber EP and tracks for labels such as Mo-Wax in the mid ‘90s, his work defined and exceeded trip-hop and garnered a loyal international underground following who spoke of him as an English version of DJ Shadow. Memory Band leader Stephen Cracknell worked alongside Grigson on a one or two of those early recordings and when Grigson withdrew from music after an ill-starred move to Creation Records, Cracknell moved to focus on his own projects which lead to The Memory Band. Recently Grigson returned to music, working on music for film and television music before returning to remixes and production. Here Grantby takes the traditional ballad "As I Walked over Salisbury Plain" leads it into the military zone and the result is "The Ballad Of Imber Down" named after the "lost village" of Imber upon Salisbury Plain, from which its inhabitants were evacuated by the Army during the Second World War only to learn that after the War that it had been decided the village would remain the property of the military and that they could never return again. Their ultimately doomed campaign to return has itself passed into legend.The Memory Band original "Walk Along It" is a hymn to majesty of walking in the open air. It borrows heavily from the anonymous and haunting version of the traditional English tune The Lincolnshire Poacher, broadcast from a shortwave numbers station and believed to be operated by the British secret services.

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side 1
                    1. The Memory Band & Belbury Poly - Hobby Horse
                    2. The Memory Band - Walk Along It
                    Side 2:
                    3. The Memory Band & Grantby - The Ballad Of Imber Down

                    Distant Correspondent

                    Shatter / Badlands

                    “Nothing but the fall of ashes from which no phoenix can rise,” say Atlantic-straddling outfit Distant Correspondent. The band’s helmed by David Obuchowski (Goes Cube), who recruited Emily Gray (Meanwhile Back in Communist Russia), Michael Lengel, Edith Frost (signed to Drag City) and Tyler Wilcox to what was originally a completely secret project. Their songs were written largely by collaboration, albeit separately – David sent the vocal and guitar parts to Michael, who provided the bass and drum parts. Those tracks have grown and evolved since the addition of the other members, including Oxford-based Emily who added moving lyrics and narrative touches.

                    The quartet’s first single for Static Caravan, ‘Shatter’, is the first offering from an album they’re releasing in October on Hot Congress/Old Flame Records. It underlines just why they’ve been hotly tipped by websites such as Oh My Rockness and Vice’s Noisey blog. The 7” features two songs of woozy, atmospheric indie rock, combining gentle melancholy with brooding yet beautiful melodies. The Cocteau Twins are an obvious touchstone, but at times the four-piece also recall Red House Painters’ enchanting melancholy and song craft.

                    Lead track ‘Shatter’ is a bittersweet song whose ethereality and pop hooks dovetail gracefully, in a way reminiscent of Besnard Lakes. Topped with Edith Frost’s fragile, world-weary vocal, it then breaks down into expansive guitar pop propelled by a driving rhythm section and the kind of swirling, dream-like melancholia which reminds of Do Make Say Think, while Emily Gray’s closing monologue is stark and poetic, complementing the song’s epic sheen.‘Badlands’ on the flip is another slice of gauzy dream-pop which wouldn’t have sounded out of place on 4AD in the 1980s and early 1990s, all glistening guitar melody, throbbing bass and hypnotic, interlocking vocals. Its haunting refrain – “Death is not an option that I can afford” - adds to the spectral feel; all these ingredients combine to result in sparse but lilting, summery pop with a hint of darkness underneath the surface. On the evidence of this pair of songs, they’ll be burning brightly for a long time yet.

                    Strictly Ltd to 300 copies on 7” wax only.

                    Releases by Stephen Cracknell and his acclaimed project The Memory Band have always lent themselves to journeys and landscape: dream-like stumbles through stony megaliths, wintry climbs along snow-covered hills, drunken dashes through sun-splashed fields with a summer love. Their records have always been more pre-occupied with external narratives than internal emotions. But perhaps never before quite as literally as on adventurous new album On The Chalk (Our Navigation of the Line of the Downs), a beguiling musical tribute to a mythical ancient pathway crossing a Southern England shrouded in mystery and withered by time.

                    Made of eleven songs spread across haunting horn noises, crackles, drones, blissed-out beats and tender piano melodies, this fourth studio album marks the tenth anniversary of one the most invigorating and much loved folk acts around, a group described by NME as “a disorientating, drugged-up soundtrack for the 21st Century… genuinely beautiful.” And speaking of monumental journeys, it’s been quite a road to this moment for Cracknell and his ever evolving cast of collaborators.“I’ve had a decade of marginal poverty, nice trips and the company of wonderful dreamers,” laughs the mercurial composer, formerly seen fronting much loved outfits The Accidental and Balearic Folk Orchestra. “The idea with this record was it to be sort of a road trip along a mythical track way, an irreverent and episodic journey across a landscape inundated with history and the marks of change and transformation, some striking and immediate, others slow and imperceptible.”

                    He may as well be describing his own sounds to be found in On The Chalk… – for every jaw-dropping shimmer of harp or arresting moment of reed organ, there’s an avalanche of clever quiet detail to be unearthed, with cinematic overtones that recall his Wicker Man touring soundtrack that Cracknell has taken to fields everywhere from Glastonbury, Green Man to a castle in Jersey.Cracknell says: “There’s been a real revival of interest lately in old roads and green lanes, in literature, art and film. This has run parallel to so much of the renewed interest in folklore and folk music. One supposedly ancient trackway that I'd hear referenced again and again was the Harrow Way, which stretched from the Straits Of Dover all the way to the west country by an overland route on chalk ridgeways. I grew up in a place supposedly along its route.”What followed was a period of extensive research, digging deep into his own past and the World around him, listening to a strange combination of traditional folk-songs and seminal British landscape music such as Chill Out by acid house pranksters the KLF, tracing old roads and creating ambient recordings on site for use on the album. ”It was all a lot of fun, running round the country playing at psycho-geography,” recalls Cracknell. “Like the landscape that inspired it, it’s an album that at times is dark and imposing and at others more peaceful and serene.”Recorded in the songwriter’s home studio in East London (“an empty schoolroom overlooking a park… quite a peaceful place for London, really”), this is an album by a group who, like their subject matter, have changed and grown over time, but remain every bit as vital as ever.

                    Sauna Youth

                    False Jesii Pt. 2 / Oh Joel (Repress)

                      London’s Sauna Youth follow up their acclaimed debut lp 'Dreamlands' with a two track single on Static Shock, but those who are only hoping for Dreamlands Pt.II are likely to be disappointed. This is (for this release, at least) Sauna Youth reborn as a c86 indie pop band. These two female fronted tracks (one being a unique interpretation of a Pissed Jeans song!) sound so good they could have been released back in the day on the Subway Organization or 53rd and 3rd. The music is raw and simple like a slowed down Ramones but the vocals are sugar sweet with lots of backing harmonies. If you love the Fizzbombs, The Flatmates or The Rosehips you will instantly fall in love with these two perfect under three minute indie pop gems.


                      Manchester-based six-piece Table are led by songwriter David O'Dowda, who combs together different strands of modern folk music to create something new and wonderful on this, their first seven-inch titled "Songs You Can Sing". The two tracks on this single are sumptuous delights, airy and ornate while being oddly familiar. Marshalled by David, Table waltz through quietly elegant folk-pop with minimal guitar, stately piano and low-key vocals on what sounds like an endearingly sweet single, despite the deceptively barbed tale woven throughout. If "Songs You Can Sing" is beguilingly understated, then "Most" is multi-layered and bursting with ideas where electronic and organic sounds collide. It's a many hued delight which pulls together disparate elements and twists them into a myriad shapes, blurring excitedly before sweeping to a beautiful climax. Music that reaches into you and pulls out your soul, personal and frankly as dangerous as it is fragile. Imagine East River Pipe covering a Richard Hawley penned lullaby and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.

                      STAFF COMMENTS

                      Laura says: I can't really think what to say about this, other than I really like it! Two slices of cleverly constructed folkiness which despite the addition of electronics, maintains a real warmth and charm. Lovely stuff!

                      Ass

                      My Get Up And Go Just Got Up And Went

                        Ass is the work of Andreas Soderstrom. Soderstrom plays all of the instruments found on this quietly intoxicating 10 track record, the follow up to his astonishingly assured, eponymous debut – both released on Headspin Recordings. It finds him hacking through the folk undergrowth, his fluid dynamic underpinning a stark melancholy which simmers throughout. From the Britfolk fingerpicking of "I've Been Here" to the austere "Cool Water", the self taught multi instrumentalist wrings a plaintive beauty from his fingers; penning profoundly moving, largely non vocal entities, augmented at various points by electronic gurgles, horns and an accordion. Channelling a hypnotic style which is at times reminiscent of folk legends such as Bert Jansch, John Renbourn and John Fahey, his crisp compositions nevertheless have an ultra modernist edge to them, digital elements seeping through and sounding perfectly at home, but with a softly engaging feel rather than the clinical hum of technology. "My Get Up And Go Just Got Up And Went" is that rare kind of record; bewitching and thought provoking, comforting and challenging. It's a real treat, and a chance to hear the whispered charm of a subtly disarming performer.

                        George Washington Brown

                        On The Night Plain

                          This release contains the finest songs the old man has ever committed to tape - a smorgasbord which encompasses expansive sonic meanderings, unselfconscious indie-rock thrashing, sad-eyed melodrama and the kind of wised-up humour we might expect from a statesman and scholar with such a track record, but which is a rarity in these youthquaking, moronically-earnest and docile times. Here we have George Washington Brown comprehensively topping his past endeavours, having created a truly cherishable thing - a humanistic modern record, a gift from one adventurer to others. For fans of Guided by Voices, Animal Collective, Van Dyke Parks and the Elephant 6 collective.

                          The Static Waves

                          Blast

                            Static Waves influences include The Fall, Swell Maps, Stereolab, The Yummy Fur, The Monks, The Ronettes and Trumans Water. Live and on record they sound like a garage band playing English folk songs for release on a scratchy DIY label.

                            Sugarcult

                            Start Static

                              Sugarcult may look like the Jam but they sound like typical Californi-yay surf punks. Named after seven lesbians who lived across the hall from singer-guitarist Tim Pagnotta, the band have their own brand of clever wretchedness, constantly veering between hardcore and pop punk. The band subscribes to the don't-bore-us-get-to-the-chorus approach to power pop, fused with the spirit of 70s punk.

                              The Catheters

                              Static Delusions And Stone Still Days

                                The Catheters bring real energy back to a genre all too often plagued by bands simply going through the motions. For fans of The Dwarves, Dead Boys, Murder City Devils & The Germs...


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