Rape Tape – Прочь

rapetape.jpg

So this is another Russian bus, with a few more stops this time.

Some people don’t like getting on this bus because of what they named it, but when you look into their reasons for doing so, then it seems to me that these are thoughtful human beings who are ultimately amongst us good guys, so the ride has to be worth a go.

Now, I don’t speak the lingo so I don’t understand the signs and frankly I can’t even map the cyrillic symbols even slightly to sounds that I associate with words. So, I’m going on overall sound and feel alone, and let me tell you, I really enjoyed this ride.

Russia make good buses. I’m particularly looking forward to the next multi-stop ride from Shortparis.

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The Bug vs Earth – Concrete Desert

bugearthI have long loved both The Bug and Earth, obviously for very different reasons. The Bug’s London Zoo in particular was righteous in its wrath and groovy in its execution, whilst Earth’s catalogue (particularly since the comeback) is one often inducive to deep relaxation and meditation. You might not think they would make obvious collaborators, in other words.

Of course, if my finger ever came out of its shell-like and went and tried to find the pulse, then I might have been aware that this has been brewing a while since they did a single a little way back.

On this release, Kevin Martin seems to work to Dylan Carlsons’ strengths, letting the guitarist dictate the pace whilst he complements the tones with a sound that I find myself calling glacial paranoia. The grooves are there, but they’re dialled back. It’s about the atmosphere, which is dark and resonant. Ambient industrial grime, if you want a label.

Despite the fact that the times we live in are frankly a riot of chaos, I could imagine this as a surreal soundtrack to them.

 

 

Gnod – Just say no…

gnodIn complete contrast to the previous two posts, here we have a whole heap of ‘AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!’ aimed right at your face.  And what a fine heap of grumpy-old-man stuff it is, too. Mind you, they’re probably a bit younger than me (I’m 46).

Gnod have made it their recent mission to try and re-politicise the alternative music scene. My own feelings on this are mixed because I have to admit I’ve never seen a tsunami turn back because of protesters on the beach, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be encouraging people to pull their heads out of their ****book feeds and actually look at the world around them and try to re-engage with other actual people, instead of relying on some commentator you will never meet to tell you that things are actually one way that suits them better than you. Also, people are actually nicer to each other when they talk to each other instead of when they argue on the internet, a pastime which only brings out one thing in people and that is the worst.

It reminds me in spirit of the last great outpourings of political music that I was aware of in the 1990s, particularly around the Criminal Justice Act that came in around that time. One of the main reasons for my mixed feelings is because the discontent from those times was one of the main reasons for Tony Blair, and I don’t believe I need to explain why we don’t want a repeat of all that, now. For all that we decry the current wave of so-called populism, it seems it was alright when he did it. But now I’m going all political and frankly I should leave that to this album, and I’m also giving the impression that I think political music is mistaken when I don’t actually think that at all.

So anyway, musically speaking, this is five tracks of loud done in the way that Gnod do loud, which is to say very well. There is rhythm and groove as is their wont, loud guitars, snarling guitars and vocals, and, er, well. You get the message.

I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if you weren’t to see this on a t-shirt or ten before the year is out.

But whilst we’re talking Gnod, I’ve also just discovered The Somnambulist’s Tale from 2012, which is completely at the opposite end of the sonic spectrum from this and demonstrates just how fucking good they have always been. And did you notice that I asterisked a particular web-resource, but left the word ‘fucking’ uncensored? Have it.

GNOD – Infinity Machines

Bit obvious, really. To be honest, I was secretly hoping it was going to be a bit of a letdown… no chance.

a3393023699_16It does take some listening, though. Even taking off the 38-minute bonus live recording that I got for pre-ordering, it will account for a large portion of your evening, assuming you want to listen to the whole thing in one go.

Interesting aside: I don’t have a vinyl player nor the means or practicalities for getting one. If I did, I would certainly consider buying the vinyl, and then I would probably be happier to play the album in chunks. Has anyone else found that whereas they used to happily play one side of a vinyl album, they now think that they have to play the full tracklisting when it’s on CD or MP3?

Back to the album: it is relentlessly ambitious, the sheer range of music contained therein is enormous; everything from Albert Ayler style free jazz to harsh noise, industrial beats, dubby breakdowns… oh, and the occasional blast of psych-rock too!

That 38-minute bonus track? It’s actually my favourite thing on there. It’s not the only piece on the album to make me think of my own personal favourite jazzy artist (Valerio Cosi, if you haven’t been paying attention) but remind me of him it does.

and any band who call one of their best, most epicest tracks ‘White Priveleged Wank‘ have to have your respect. They certainly have mine.

This album is so good it might even challenge the awesome Hey Colossus for best release of the year (I said ‘might…’).