Mixpost 6, or soundtracks to the cave

Buses, eh?

So, when I say I’ve been locked away recording, what I mean is that I’m using my upstairs bedroom PC which is not internet enabled. I still have a job to do, and other boring things where I can at least still refer to my music library. I mean, that’s why we have them, right?

I was listening to the first Menimals release after a sweaty session the other night, and tracks 2 and 3 in particular gave me indescribable pleasure. I had one of those moments where I had to give thanks for being alive at the time when this music was made. So it seems apposite to kick off with this:

I’d forgotten about this, found it whilst going through some old CD’s I’d ripped over a decade ago. They almost out-Cave Nick on this one:

Madrugada – Black Mambo

We’ve had what we in the UK think of as a batch of hot & humid weather lately. My crappy weather app kept promising thunderstorms, but not once was a promise fulfilled. Accuweather, for that and many other failures of forecasting, I want to say publicly that you’re shite. (sidebar: what a gig weather forecasting is. If I was as good at my job as the average weather forecaster, I wouldn’t have a job anymore. Yet still we glue ourselves to their predictions. The human need for certainty is probably the root cause of all our troubles, not the crappy explanations we then argue over and start wars over and then say that’s what the problem with humanity is.)

*cough* anyway, here’s a storm related tune:

Little Axe – Storm is Rising

So, as an upshot of that Rusalnaia album I’d blogged about, I did something I occasionally do which is to click on a random fan, follow their taste and see where that led me. It ultimately led me to the collection Wahkeena Sitka, who makes the song below, which also comes with a seal of approval from my daughter, even though it’s of a type neither she nor I listen to much:

Back when Sexwitch first came out, I read a lot of utter bollocks from armchair critics who wanted to tell Natasha Khan she wasn’t allowed to reinterpret music that is of Pakistani origin even though she herself has roots there. I made the mistake of allowing that to put me off a bit and I wish I hadn’t. Music is as music does and will always speak for itself, and I fucking love what she’s done and I say do it again.

Pontiak’s new album is their best, and I really should do a post on it. While I think about that, listen to this:

and I know I only recently banged on about this, but it rules, it really does. Have it now, and have it loud:

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The Soundbergs of 2016

You know, I don’t think this is the best time of year to be saying what my favourite albums of last year were. I mean, I have literally just tried out a bit of the Heron Oblivion album, and my first instinct is that if I’d have got on that when it came out, it would be vying for a place in the list below. And my list last year didn’t give anywhere near enough prominence to Pridjevi and Anna von Hausswolff, mainly because I’d not long got on them – they were to dominate my early 2016. Maybe I should do it at the end of the academic year instead?

We humans do seem to like lists, though, especially those that seem to quantify things. In fact, I suggest a hypothesis – we love lists all the more if their subject matter is inherently subjective and unquantifiable (which is waaaaay more things than you may currently believe).

A funny thing happened to me in 2016. Well, lots of things happened, but this one in particular was that after I put out my album in April, thus finishing a series, I stopped listening to heavy music. Just wasn’t in the mood. There were exceptions – Hey Colossus released a wonderful EP that I mentioned in my summer chat post that isn’t an album but is good enough to be on some sort of year end so at least I’m mentioning it now, and there were a couple of later releases mentioned below, and now that I think about it, Anna von Hausswolff.

This may seem like an order, but it is malleable. Take it all with however much salt you deem appropriate.

Our Solar System – In Time. This album is perfect. Jazzy-Funky-Mellow-Spacerock. Most played album of the year from this year.

Karina Vismara – Casa Del Viento. Acoustic female singer-songwriter isn’t usually my thing. Only, this is wonderful. The vibe is magnificent, as is the songwriting.

Fire! Orchestra – Ritual. The meat of this album is staggeringly ambitious, but doesn’t lose sight of its tribal nature. The sort of trance-like jazz that just doesn’t happen often enough.

Horse Cult – Daydreams and Nightmares. The top 4 of this year could easily all be the winner in their own right, and this is another acoustic one. Like a more medieval/folksy Espers, but again with brilliant content behind the style.

Menimals. In a way I’m using both albums for this entry, saving me repeating it below, because one was pre-this year but I discovered it looking for the later one. Dark and menacing but not depressingly so.

Jon Mueller – Tongues. Another two track album and another with ritualistic drumming and chanting. Pounding trance music.

Narcosatanicos – Body Cults. As mentioned above, not much heavy did a lot for me. This was an exception, and I loved it because it is so very much like their first album, and at the same time it isn’t. I love it when bands do that.

Black Bombain and Peter Brotzmann – Free-jazz meets improvised psych-rock, with frequently brilliant passages.

Zulus II – Loud and in your face. They’ve got hella groove considering the nature of the music they play, really hard to do as well as they do. And Gemini is a drop-dead classic, as agreed by my boy.

Scroll Downers – Hot Winter. Sort of grungey indie-rock, I suppose. I realise that doesn’t sell it. They call themselves both ’90’s’ and ‘not 90’s’ so I think they might have trouble with a description, too. However, it is yet again the songwriting that does it, and it also sounds like they had a blast making it.

City of Djinn – Ether and Red Sulphur . I was going to just miss this out because I was worried it was still a bit too fresh but I listened to it again and it was blissed out brilliant, trance music.

Just missed out:

Muy Biien – Age of uncertainty;  Heavy Moon 7;  Sula Bassana

From before 2016

Pridjevi – For me, 2016 was utterly dominated by Pridjevi, helped also because my now 10-year old son has got with the groove on 2 of their tracks as well, and car trips went through a phase of him playing Pozuri Polako on repeat, which must have spent roughly 3 months in the summer going around my head non stop. Far more preferable to his other taste at the time, Goblins From Mars.

Anna von Hausswolff – The only album that came close to the dominance of Pridjevi in the first half of 2016. Not a concept album but sounds like one because of its wonderful atmosphere. That organ sound is transcendent. I keep forgetting how heavy this actually is.

Sungod – One of those all-over-the-map kind of artists. Kind of a less proggy Ozric Tentacles, if you want an inacurrate but lazy easy comparison.

Big Blood – This band have such a huge back catalogue, and this year has seen me mining the earlier years of it, which were just as good as the later years, but a bit different, naturally. They don’t seem to have done much this year. I noticed on their blog about an album coming out on Turned Word records, but that’s been up for ages and there seems to be no sign. Also, where are Turned Word records? They seem to have no presence since 2012.

Phil Cohran & Legacy. This thing took me by surprise, but probably shouldn’t have. It is stunningly beautiful music.

Pharoah Overlord – Lunar Jetman. Mainly because of the second track, which appeared via a Dusted magazine listing, but the whole album turned out good too. They seem to have finally got with the idea of easier access to their albums though the discography is incomplete.

Bitchin Bajas – Vibraquatic. Really mellow and meditative, and amongst the most regularly played albums of the year.

Gram Rabbit – Braised and Confused. Reading my original post, I’m struck by how much I seem to want to justify the fact that this album is fun. It is fun. But that doesn’t need justification.

Death Blues – Non Fiction. Part of Jon Mueller’s ongoing project, which I’d completely forgotten about since the first Death Blues album came out, so I’ve been trying to catch up when I get the chance. If anything, I like this even more than Tongues.

Fela Kuti – I returned to Fela Kuti, particularly Zombie, and have been playing his stuff regularly since the summer. It was brought on by the B-side of a single by Goat which had a really snaky groove but was only 3 and a half minutes long. I was instatntly reminded of Fela, and had a hankering for that kind of groove, but not the shortened version so I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. I also bought He Miss Road which is frankly wonderful.

Nudity is God’s Creation – This issue came out this year, but the music is from mid way through last decade. Yet another reason year end lists are crap, and yet here I am writing one which is taking me a lot longer to write than it will take you to read. Another reason I didn’t put it in the main list is because I didn’t like the bonus tracks much. They were obviously unreleased for a reason.

So. In conclusion, that’s it.

 

 

 

Sargent-Major Waffle

Or: here are some things that are not albums, or maybe they are.

athalcSo, we likes Hey Colossus, we do. And earlier this year they did something right out of the 90s, they released a single backed with 2 ‘remixes’ (strictly speaking, ‘versions.’) And what versions they are – the version of In Black and Gold is like a deconstructed drum’n’bass / free improv mashup, whilst the 11 minute re-take of Wired Brainless is pure repetition bliss, with added electronic noises (I can’t tell whether some of the added noises are vocals that have been very harshly treated).

Oh, and the actual single track isn’t half bad either. Go here and listen.

Rise of the Echo Drone seem to be largely doing Ep’s. Since I last mentioned them, another couple have hit the wires and they are definitely worth checking out. sotdThey seem to have camped in a field which touches on psych, shoegaze, dreampop, electronica, tribal rhythms, that 90s techno that included people like The Orb, and sensual vocals. Needless to say, I’m a bit hesitant of trying to reduce them to one sonic label. I also want to draw your attention to this track off one of the ep’s for two reasons – Milo used a shorter excerpt of the same Lennon speech on the second Patterns of Faith album (which I can’t currently link to because it’s no longer available anywhere), and secondly because seriously, listen to what he is saying. It is really very simple, a bit scary, and very liberating.

nunsValerio Cosi seems to have dug out many collaborations and older works for his Bandcamp. You won’t like everything unless you happen to like every single instance of recorded sound, anywhere, ever, or maybe I’m just narrow minded. My favourite is the split single he did with Fabio Orsi (their collaborative album is also worth your time). Sadly he has yet to put up Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock – maybe he is not at liberty to. One of the greatest albums ever made, that is, to this mind, but if you like that kind of mind-bending psychedelic-jazz  featuring saxophones with tribal rhythms – and who doesn’t? – then you’ll also want to check out Pulga Loves You.

iiiAlso, Rakta.  When I first typed this paragraph, I typed ‘They have also not yet done another album but have put out some songs.’ So I go to do the links, and the page for III – which was roughly two songs long when I bought it –  now describes what is either an album or a long EP. Ditto, Intencao had one track and now has two, and there’s Rakta em Transe as well. Odd marketing. However, the Rakta energy is still very much present, and they still tag their cavernous sounding tribal post-punk as ‘World Music.’ Love it.

 

zeissElectric Moon – two and a half hours of live psychedelic jams. Technically it’s an album, yes. You are no doubt different to me, but I am unlikely to listen to it all in one go, because two and a half hours, and that’s why I’m not treating it as an album. Anyway, I didn’t write this post to be argued with. Just go and listen to it. Whilst I’m on the subject of Electric Moon, bass player and graphic designer Komet Lulu put out this song, and this also comes with a hearty Soundbergs recommendation.

mnmlsAlso, when I did the Menimals post, I mentioned that there may be another album with the same title and opening track and yet be a different beast altogether? That there is. It is also very, very good, and I invite those of you who enjoyed the first of their self titled albums to go and listen to the second.

Little tidbit – I did my first ‘general chat‘ type of post on July 28th 2015, the second one not long after. This here third instalment is brought to you by July 29th 2016. This was not consciously intentional. I wonder if it’s a time of year thing?