Annelies Monseré – Mares

I think this one went on to my ‘things to check out’ list as a result of my Bandcamp feed but can’t be certain because there are many sources to me checking things out and the gap between getting onto said list and me actually listening to the full work can be really quite long indeed.

Anywho, this comes at you from the experimental end of things because I bet you’re all really fed up with all the mainstream stuff I keep posting, right?

As it’s me, it’s from the angle of catatonia inducing mong-trance, which is totally a genre in its own right, with it’s own rite and everything, and probably a section in HMV. Assuming HMV is still going, I heard a rumour it actually still is. Probably my favourite genre these days.

I note that she has an upcoming collaboration with the also very wonderful Jessica Bailiff, which I am very intrigued to hear.

Sex Swing – Type II

Now, this one is probably old news to most of you.

I actually ignored these for quite a while for reasons that all say more about me than the band. 1) Don’t like the band name. 2) I see the word ‘supergroup’ and I just think swearwords about people phoning it in. 3) What is that cover? Fucking disgusting.

So God Unknown records put it out recently after I’d ignored it’s initial issue on Rocket, and for reasons I don’t know why I decided to listen to it. Actually, I do know why. It was a Monday and I was in a Monday mood so wanted to listen to gnarliness and I thought these might tick that box. And they did tick that box. They ticked it righteously. But they did more than tick that box, they turned that box into a well of unfathomable depth with their riffing, repetitious, droning, hypnotic gnarliness.

And it turns out that one of them has visited these parts before, and that also had a ghastly cover.

Dwellings – Power is Blind in Both Eyes

Despite my frequent claim that genres are essentially bullshit concepts, I kind of have to grudgingly admit that they can be handy as vague guidelines. Mainly because when I come across something like this which is absolutely nowt like the stuff I usually post (question: what is the stuff I usually post like? There’ll be an exam later) then I suppose I should be able to say what it is like. And with this, I don’t think I can. By that I mean that I am even more at a loss for descripttors than usual.

It’s probably dubstep adjacent, but more gnarly? Reminds me somewhat of Demdike Stare but, again, gnarlier? A bit like The Bug? Gah! But then, maybe there is no real handy label for this? I think that is ultimately the fate of all music, anyway.

I believe the cheeky chappy on the cover of this is also a member of Gnod, however. That I am confident in saying.

Elsewhere VXIII

Many years ago – about 15, I think – I was chatting with someone who was guesting at a library I was working at and the subject of the fact I make music came up. When describing his own approach to music, he said that unlike me, he only consumes music…

It is impossible to consume music. You can engage with it or you can ignore it, or somewhere in between, but you cannot consume it. The music will remain unchanged, although your perception of it won’t.

Imagine thinking like that? I was too nice to debate with him about it, plus I think my thoughts on it took a while to become coherent even though it jarred me immediately. But it speaks to a mindset that believes it is only in existence to consume things because of much larger sociological factors that are not even wrong, that would be giving them waaay too much credit.

I was reminded of this exchange by all the giddy hype about what AI (sidebar: it’s all A, no I) can do for us to save us from the drudgery of, like, leisure and stuff, and reading, and writing, and creating, and making, and, and, and… all we have to do is give some prompts and it do all that for us! And then what do we do? More free time to merely consume things, I suppose.

A compilation like what I bring to your attention today simply could not be made with that kind of approach to music and discernment. There is a thread running through this that can only be done with human judgement. And indeed, DJ soFa, for it is he who has compiled this, has made several compilations and all of them have a particular feel to them though it would be an insult to insinuate they are in any way the same as each other; they are not.

This is why an algorithmic approach to music discovery will never throw the surprises at you that other humans can. You simply could not build in the coherent unpredictability required. In fact, all the best compilations, DJ sets, mixes – what they have in common is a coherent unpredictability. And probably all great art, for that matter.

If you want merely functional, then go ahead and knock yourself out with your AI approach to creativity and novelty, which will be neither creative or novel unless you assign a depressingly low value to what you consider creative or novel. But if you want the great, the sublime… you need the human touch.

Ivan the Tolerable – The Aleph

This one came from the bandcamp feed, someone I follow had bought it and I salute them. They have impeccable taste.

Looking at the blurb, there is a connection to the wonderful Haress, but there is very little similarity between their sound and this. This comes under umbrella term of ‘jazz that I like,’ which is a small but growing field. I think ‘jazz that I like’ is where jazz meets psych, drone, groove and repetition. In fact, any genre that has a party in that area will probably do it for me.

This fella’s catalogue needs exploring, I feel. Just as well I haven’t got much else to listen to at the mo… oh, wait…

And also, this is the first time I have used ‘Middlesborough’ as a geographical tag.

Marlene Ribeiro ~ Negra Branca – N.B. + Touched

This was in my Bandcamp wishlist for years, literally. I finally bought it a couple of months back after playing it again, and it has done seriously hard labour on my speakers since then.

I want to type the phrase ‘Marlene used to be in Gnod’ because I haven’t seen her listed on their more recent stuff. BUT – you listen to Faca do Inberno on this here album, and then you listen to Faca de Fogo from Gnod’s recent collaboration with João Pais Filipe and you tell me that the one isn’t a proto-type for the other. Go on. Can’t do it, can you? So maybe she’s still in Gnod.

Water Damage – But the Rat was Very Smart

Ok, serious mong time.

Two tracks, extremely repetitive, with an insane guitarist making noise over it, and I mean noise. I assume it’s a guitarist. Could be anything, really, with all the tech these days. I’m only assuming it’s guitar as I can make similarly insane noises when I want to, and it’s fun. They could also be labelled a super-group if you wanted to do that (ok, you’ve made your point – ed). Also, two bass players and three drummers? I just looked at the line up. There’s synth involved too. I have also made insane noises via synth. They too are fun. Anywho, it works.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I may be mildly catatonic. This sort of music certainly makes me glassy eyed, but I happen to really like that sensation. Or maybe it’s just the music that does it. And spreadsheets. They never fail.

Naujawanan Baidar – Khedmat Be Khalq

So I did the first thing they put out under this name, but forgot to keep track. You know how I am.

So listen to this one as well, as it’s well good, innit (technical musical description). Then listen to the ones I missed in between. And given that this one is more overt in the anti-imperial tone, I urge you even more. Just because The Empire Never Ended, doesn’t mean it can’t.

And then go and listen to The Myrrors, with whom there are ties, and who are also well good, innit.

Haress – Ghosts

Haress are a bit good. Their wonderful debut album has been a regular on the Soundbergs Stereo since I bought it at the beginning of the pandemic so I was very pleased when they decided to be one of those bands that do more than one album. Even better, it’s all paranormal and shit; at least, the stories they tell of its recording are. Not really listened to the lyrics that closely yet.

As someone who likes well written words and even tries to write them well at times, I oddly don’t pay much attention to lyrics. Not initially, anyway. It might be because my favourite music is all about transportation of the spirit, so I get lost in transporting my spirit with the music. Haress are really good at making music that aids that thing.

Here’s hoping they decide to be one of those bands that make a third album.