Vago Sagrado – Vol. III

vago

The theme for this week is buses, as I have a week off work just because. This means I get to ride many more buses than usual.

The first of this weeks buses comes from Santiago, Chile, a country rightly famous for Follakzoid and also for sounding like a cold place whilst simultaneously  sounding like one of my very favourite hot foods of all time. Almost all of my stir fries have chopped chillies in them. I particlarly like the ones called Birds Eye Chillis though they do not look like birds eyes, or even mass produced frozen food. Maybe a native of Santiago would find my attempted humour even less funny than my usual peer group do.

This is what comes of looking at many buses.

So this bus has a picture of some old ruins on the front. I don’t know what to make of them. Nothing, I suppose. They’re ruins. Let them be. Let them fade with all those other failed constructs from past times and spaces, a reminder of something you never knew in the first place.

This bus sounds like it’s motoring along smoothly, and the journey it takes you on is a pleasant one. It doesn’t get in your face with how much of a good bus it is, it just drives along at an appropriate speed for the environment in which it travels through.

I heartily recommend this bus to all who would take a bus journey.

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Zement – Werk

zement So, my way around using that descriptor of music that I really don’t like* is to use a different one – or two, or three, or many – instead, because I just love when genres get divided and subdivided and so on. But stay with me on this.

“Krautrock” (the last time I will ever type that word) can arguably be said to comprise of (at least) two elements – motorik and kosmiche. So, without further ado, I hereby tag this particular music motorik, because it has that driving rhythmical quality to it so prevalent within the field. I would argue that it isn’t particularly kosmiche – I personally am more likely to ascribe that quality to the output of Ash Ra Tempel, Gunter Schickert, etc. But that doesn’t mean this music can’t transport you, it is heavy on repetition after all, and repetition rocks. When done well, anyway. Though I suppose an argument can be made to call it something like industrial drone. But I’m not going to do that.

Other reference points for this include but are not limited to Minami Deutsch, Follakzoid, a more up-tempo Appliance and there’s also a riff they use quite often that can be found on Hey Colossus‘ magnificent Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo (those of you familiar will know what I mean, it’s on the track English Flesh).

*just to clarify, because the sentence is not all that clear, it’s the descriptor I don’t like, not the music. If I didn’t like the music it wouldn’t be here.

The Soundbergs of 2015

So, by and large, I’m excluding albums I only discovered the last couple of weeks. But not consistently. Also, I’m going to go on about older stuff that thoroughly rocked me this year, so the aforementioned stuff has a chance for next year. Also, confining stuff into years is arbitrary, because years themselves are a bit arbitrary the way we count them nowadays, although they do represent a real cycle. Also, there is no ‘order’ to this list except for the fact that I ordered it into existence because I am a ruthless bastard like that. Also, this paragraph just gained an extra sentence that added nothing to it except extra letters and words.

So: Stuff released in 2015.

Hey Colossus – In Black and Gold : Having just written that this is in no order, this is most definitely the album that brought me the most joy in 2015. I played it incessantly. My subsequent time with their back catalogue brought me just as much joy. And they played a brilliant gig in September. For such a heavy band, they have an incredible way of making their music swing.

Laughing Eye Weeping Eye – Once Was You : This is an album that is utterly unique. It sounds like nothing else, ever. Unless it does, in which case it behooves someone to tell me what that something is. Eerie, droney, a world of its own.

The Myrrors – Arena Negra : Meditative, spacious, at times ecstatic, and they were just as good live.

Les Sorciers Du Theil – Polyte Deshaies : This album came out of nowhere. I think that I may have to give a hat tip to the person who does the psych round up at The Quietus as to where I discovered it. Four heavy and at times insane songs, all bliss.

Follakzoid – III : Kosmiche meets techno, although very heavily in favour of the former. Pulsating, driving, relentless, and very high quality.

Black Bombain – Live at Casazul : Heavy-psych improvisation at its best, with added saxophone. Nuff said.

Alif – Aynama-Rtama : Middle eastern music with an ear for rock-style arrangements. Some of the riffs, the rhythms and arrangements are just mindbendingly good.

Rob Mazurek : Alternate Moon Cycles : Pure, meditative drone. Insanely relaxing.

Big Blood – Double Days II : They actually released two albums simultaneously. Double Days I is a very rare beast – a Big Blood album I’m not overkeen on. But Double Days II is as good as ever, and they finish it off with one of their very best songs. Apparently they’ve got another album ready to go but I see no evidence of it out yet.

People of the North – An Era of Manifestations / Oneida – Positions : Two albums in one entry? I must be having a larf. Essentially the same masterminds though, which is how I justify it. The POTN album has a more jazzy feel, whereas the O album is closer to their classic sound. Both are essential in my life.

Pharoah Overlord – Circle / Circle – Pharoah Overlord : Wot, again? Well, when masterminds use different monikers, it would just be indulgent of me to give them separate entries in a year end list, n’est-ce pas? Repetition, repetition, repetition. It’s what they do best, and it’s what I like best.

Pridjevi – Pridjevi : I never got around to posting about these, and I should have done. So I may still do. This is sunny psych-pop from Croatia, nearest reference point I can think of is Jefferson Airplane, but sunny psych-pop isn’t usually my thing so you may think of more appropriate references.

Anna Von Hausswolff – The Miraculous : Another album I didn’t post on, only bought it in December. She’s brought a band with her this time, as well as an epic church organ. Droney and heavy, and I do like her voice.

Favourite non-2015 music:

Big Blood – The Wicked Hex : Still processing their mighty back catalogue. This is most similar in style to the incredible Unlikely Mothers, and probably as good although Unlikey Mothers contains ‘A Watery Down part 2’ which, if pushed, I’d probably name as my favourite ever piece of music.

Selim Lemouchi & his Enemies – Earth Air Spirit Water : A very varied album featuring probably one of my favourite ever songs in ‘Chiarascuro’ which is probably best described as ecstatic darkness, especially given subsequent events.

Dahga Bloom – No Curtains : There was a time in late Feb and much of March when I barely listened to music due to bad-sinus induced discomfort. This album was one of the few I did, which is odd because it isn’t exactly mellow…

Hey Colossus – Cuckoo Live Life Like Cuckoo / Happy Birthday / RRR : This has been their year as far as I’m concerned. All three of these albums got some very heavy rotation, heavy being the operative word.

Verma – entire discography : I went through a phase in the summer of playing a Verma album every night, without an obvious favourite emerging, so I simply kept rotating them because it is all THAT good.

Follakzoid – II : I now consider this superior to the successor. This is very high quality up-tempo driving kosmiche.

Espers – II : for years I only thought their debut album was really all that good. in 2014 I finally got the follow up, and continued getting it in 2015. I still haven’t quite got the third one; maybe that will come yet.

Puffy Areolas – In the Army / Dishonorable Discharge : although I’ve known the albums for a few years, it was actually this year that they really grabbed my throat, possibly an echo of my discovery and love of Narcosatanicos.

Malayeen : Middle eastern psychedelia at its very best, ecstatic, trance-inducing.

The Wharves – At Bay : this album completely ruled January 2015 for me. Outrageous harmonies supporting great songwriting.

I haven’t included every single thing I’ve posted about, because this is quite long enough as it is. 2015 was an odd year for me in many respects, but absolutely brilliant for music – why else would there be an album from Thee Oh Sees that is as good as ever but doesn’t make the year end? I absolutely luxuriate in the sheer amount of high quality stuff there is out there, and in that respect 2016 has already got off to a superb start.

Minami Deutsch

I am going to do a best of 2015 round up, for what it’s worth, although my trawling through other people’s round ups is giving me a feast of new stuff to try, which is coinciding with me getting back into recording new stuff so I consequently have less time to check stuff out… in many ways, this is a great problem to have.

md

So anyway, Minami Deutsch. They first came to my attention via the venerable bandcamp hunter, and have been sat in my wishlist for several months since then. Their appearance in at least 3 end of year lists reminded me to go listen again, and listen again I did, and buying the album I did too, subsequently.

If I say ‘krautrock’ then that will basically tell you everything you need to know. But as I despise the term ‘krautrock’ nearly as much as I despise the term ‘world music’ I’m instead going to say ‘repetition, repetition, repetition.’ You like Can? Harmonia? Follakzoid? You like these.

 

 

Major Chat (and Lieutenant Gripe)

Actually, I’m going to start with the gripe.

I really want to buy this album. I mean, you’ve just listened to the excerpts right? So now you do too, obviously. The only options I have are vinyl (not possible; don’t have record player or supporting infrastructure) or Itunes only digital download (not possible; don’t have Itunes and don’t fucking want it). I did send a message to the person at Eremite records but he no replied in the two months or so since I did it. There’s loads of other digital shops, why not make it available to them too? Or even make a CD version, I’ll buy those at a pinch.

Grrrrr.

So any suggestions are welcome!

I discovered a new release from the awesome Electric Moon; it’s every bit as good as everything else they’ve done although this time it’s entirely instrumental.

I went to see the mighty GNOD at The Cookie in Leicester. Talk about an awesome immersion of sound! I didn’t recognise anything whatsoever, although there were familiar bits. I don’t know if they’ve reworked material for the ‘stripped down’ 4 piece rock band that they presented us with that night or whether this was entirely new material, and I don’t care. All I know is it was marvellous. So it got me playing them lots again – I’ve rediscovered Full Moon Ritual, and they also released a live CD just after Infinity Machines called Gestalt, which is well worth your listening experience. Also, bass player Marlene releases music as Negra Branca and the first track on this is just brilliant.

I can’t do an update without mentioning Hey Colossus, who have new stuff via split releases. There’s this split with the Hotel City Wrecking Traders and they’ve also done one with White Manna which I’ve not yet bought. And whilst searching for these links I found this, which soon I shall check. Also, they’re playing Leicester at the end of this month and I really want to go.

Updating on previous things I’d discovered and linked before deciding whether I liked, Valerio Cosi made a release that I thoroughly love. There’s a particular track that makes me think he’s got what Swans have been trying to get since their comeback, certainly in intensity. Not for the faint hearted.

And finally, I’ve listened to and loved Follakzoid‘s previous release. It’s just as good as III. I think I really need to check their first two releases now.

General blah

Although unstated, I realise that the majority of Britons and other humans have in fact been inhumanly worried by the fact I’ve barely posted a thing for a while. Fact is, I’m still mostly listening to the bands who I’ve already posted this year, especially where they have a back catalogue that I’m lapping up. So that would mainly be: Hey Colossus (and boy do they have a back catalogue worth exploring), Verma (ditto), Big Blood, Follakzoid and Malayeen. Also, an album from last year by Circle called Leviatan. They’ve just released an album called Pharoah Overlord, and their side project Pharoah Overlord have just released an album called Circle and I want to buy them both but am currently finding it hard to do so in the same way I struggled to get the new Thee Oh Sees album – none of my usual digital providers seem to have it. I’ll hondootedly post about it once I do manage to acquire it. I may have to buy the CD from somewhere when I find someone that isn’t charging vinyl prices.

Anywho, it would be rude to post without some noise so here’s something from said album.

See, I’m just not one of those people who demands something new all the time. The reason I tend to make most of my discoveries in the early part of a year is because that’s when I trawl through the previous years best ofs according to overinflated opinions. There’s no way I could do what someone like SpaceRockMountain does – I mean, when does he get time to listen to music he already likes?

That insanely long compilation I mentioned some time back is yielding fruit in the name of the Roz Bruce Infusion. I may buy the album although the two tunes on their soundcloud aren’t quite as good as the track on said compilation, which is one of my fave tunes of the moment. Fellow midlanders too – Are you reading, Roz? First, get yerself a Bandcamp, and then get a gig over in Leicester! (or wait until us mighty Sons of Itto have finished re-stirring and invite us over to a gig in Brum!)

Laters x