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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.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: 300 edition 12” record on classic black vinyl with sleeve artwork by Andy Votel.

    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".

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 7" Info: Lathe cut 7"
      Edition: 100

      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.

      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’.

      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.

        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.

        Tokolosh

        Shapeshifter / Bloodlines

        The new band from Liam Frost and members of The Whip and The Earlies. What’s in a name? Quite a lot in fact, at least for the creative sparks behind new nightmare-pop raconteurs TOKOLOSH.

        Made up of the mercurial Liam Frost and members of fellow darlings of the northern alternative scene The Whip and The Earlies, the band plumbed South African mythology for a name befitting their mischievous, mysterious clash of sounds. “I thought it was a beautiful but powerful and rhythmic-sounding name that matched perfectly with the aggressive drums and Liam's darkly sexual lyrics.

        In South African culture, the Tokoloshe is this mischievous character capable of truly awful things,” explains guitarist Christian Madden. But fantastical creatures aside, there’s a human side to their music too. “All of these songs focus on a slightly different side of adult relationships. The desperate and slightly obsessive aspect maybe, but also how people can change inside of a relationship – for better or worse.” Marrying bruising electronics and keyboard melodies with choral vocals and soul inflections, the Manchester group only recently formed but their stories have entwined since childhood. “Nicky (guitar) is my brother, while Nathan (Sudders, bassist) used to come to our house after school when his Mum was working, probably from the age of five or so.

        We started our first band Sam's Partycles in our early teens but we hadn't learned to play our instruments yet so the project didn't exactly get off the ground,” laughs Christian. Their new double a-side single displays their maddening talent in bright, vibrant colours: 'Bloodlines' is a menacing electronic odyssey, like a heavyweight Postal Service sparring with Yeasayer, with picked acoustic guitar and plaintive piano chords weaving their way around thundering percussion and swirling synth sounds, while ‘Shapeshifter’ spotlights the band's slinkier side, splicing lyrics about dragon hearts in amidst handclaps and seductive rhythms. “A lot of effort has been put into making the record, and I'd like to think that we'll be able to get it out to as many sets of ears as we possibly can,” says Liam Frost. “I'd say that's ambitious enough, right?”

        TOKOLOSH are: Liam Frost, Nathan Sudders, Christian Madden, Nicky Madden and Richard Young.

        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.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 330 edition heavy duty vinyl in a paste on sleeve, with a CDR included.

        Tunng; edgy yet irresistible, songs that slide under your skin or clamber softly into your ear whilst you sleep. Even the very name is designed to confound. 'It must go into peoples heads, scramble and come out wrong... It brings out the dyslexic in all of us.' What then can you expect? "People Folk" lounges gently over a pagan beat, like the Beta Band lost in the Congo; "Fair Doreen" melds scratchy electronica with a pastoral, quintessentially English dynamic and "Out The Window With The Window" is a spooky semi-instrumental, perfect spot music for The Wicker Man itself. In short this is excellent and a big contender for those end of year charts!!!!


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