Anna von Hausswolff – All Thoughts Fly

I must admit, when I read the press release from Southern Lord what did say that this was Anna simply playing the organ unaccompanied, no singing, nuthin’ (exact words, guv), I wasn’t filled with hope.

Maybe it’s because I had a bit of a beast of a last month, but when I did play it, all doubts vanished. It was, is, and forever will be perfect. It genuinely does not matter that her wonderful voice is kept in the cupboard on this album (no, it really was, she told me, she had a special box made for it and even provided it with a personal servant while she communicated with people via email, semaphore and carrier-pigeon).

Despite the strange ways my life has turned over the years, I don’t have that many regrets, even now, but one of them is not going to see her play in Leicester late in 2015 because it clashed with the night my ex-wife was going for a weekly visit to a friend and I didn’t think it worth the battle at the time. And then about a week later I got into her second album and really regretted it. Not fighting the battle, I mean. But then I always thought I’m a lover, not a fighter, except that’s been a rather bitter laugh over the last few years…

Enough of my woes, listen to the organ! (and there was me saying I don’t type much these days).

Flowers Must Die – Återbruk

Återbruk

Okay, I’ve just hypnotised myself listening to this.

When you do boring spreadsheet stuff, which involves a lot of repetition, then trancey minimalistic music involving a lot of repetition is really the thing. I mean, really the thing.

Of course, I like that sort of thing anyway. Maybe that’s why I ended up doing the sort of work I do.

Their ‘Greatest Hits‘ from a while back does exactly this too, especially the 55-minute closing track.

I want to live in a universe where a 55 minute trance is genuinely a greatest hit.

 

Fontän – Fontän

fontan

The surgeon burst, just as he was getting to the good bit. Damn, he thought, damn, what a waste of a good bit. So he set about finding the bits and sewing them back together, but this was a time ensuing process, so once he was re-established, he found that he was no longer a surgeon as he knew it, and the task facing him now was almost entirely structural, something alien to a worker of shambola which he now knew he was to be. Give me a needle and dread, he asked, give me the needle, but the needle was possessed, it was moving, whirring, spinwatting and slabbing. Nowhere was this more apparent than on the structure, something made for itself, conceived for itself, executed for political reasons. And people say I’m a bit odd. Well, wouldn’t you be? But the surgeon, why do we always forget the surgeon? I can remove that lump, he said, or at least, I could, back when I knew what it was. No need, these things are brought on by anger, don’t you know, anger and frustration, and the removal of these ills often effects a cure, but you need to journey and to see, it’s a very strange experience, you often are not sure whether or not you had it, though the memory is vivid enough. I can dig that, replied the surgeon, I must admit this is all a bit weird for me, have you ever pieced yourself back together using only a memory of a subjective prior being? Yes. Yes. Yes. Every fucking day. Wakefulness is what gives me purpose, but, by god, it comes at a price, and I’m not sure what’s left in the bank. I have to save some for the son, though I, the father, have a somewhat privilege, and I get to use it, more than I did, especially now I’m beginning to know where to find more of it. The thing is sustainability. Yes, I know it’s a trendy buzzword, and for that I apologise, I dislike having to use words too, but have you ever tried communicating concepts without their context? Context is, and I think I may have said this before, everything. Everything is context. So, do I get better, asked the surgeon. Yes. But only if you want to. Find your purpose and you will automatically. Ignore your purpose and it becomes harder.

Free the computer within!

Idiomatic. My style is idiomatic. That does NOT mean I’m automatically an idiot. Probably.

Fanatism – The Future Past

fanatism

The universe is a perpetual perceptual feedback loop

I’m preaching to the diverted

You cross the line when you play the game

The shape of things to come? Or the things that shapes become?

Work hard play dead

Make sure the opposing possibility has a crossover point, or it’ll be a waste of saturation

Smile for the countdown

You have a fire inside you? Poor thing! How do you concentrate?

If you must have an obsession, do try to have more than one. It’ll make you so much more interesting at parties.

 

Our Solar System – Origins

origins

You’re only dead once

The only way forward is backwards

Can you call someone blind if they don’t see what they’re not looking for?

All that I do know is all that you know
As I was saying to myself the other night

Waiting for the punchline so that we can die laughing

She walked through the hall like an earthquake
I could tell things were about to get real

This time I decided to err on the side of gluttony

If you want to win the war on drugs, destroy all humans
oh, that’s what you’re trying to do

Seeing as it’s my blood, I suppose I should clear it up

Lamagaia

lamagaiaI mentioned of late that new/contemporary music is teasingly unlikely to make its way into my collection in the near future, but fortunately I’ve been sent 3 promos of late and they’re all good, damn good.

Lamagaia do this kind of repetition thing unto epic proportions, and the two tracks on here are feasts of sonic content, destined to unfold further upon each listen. The opening ‘Aurora’ is easily the heaviest thing I’ve heard them do, but they then go and do one of their more mellow moments on what I assume will be side 2 if you buy the vinyl.

Although they don’t sound like them particularly, they remind me of Oneida before their improv inflections began to dominate, what with their incredibly disciplined yet loose repetition, repetition, repetition. This is excellent music; perfect for our interesting times.

Goat – Requiem

requiemstill don’t quite know how to handle Goat, which may be a sign of genius on their part and/or stupidity on mine. I even wrote a 4-part opinion inspired by them not long after I started this blog. And continuing that relationship, I had this album in my Bandcamp wishlist prior to its birth and once it was out, I went to listen to it. After 6 songs, I removed it from my wishlist, but kept it playing anyway. By the end of the album I’d done a 180 and bought it.

What you may gather from that is that the best stuff is on the second half of the album, although my subsequent repeated listening has opened up many of the treasures to be found in the first few songs too. Not surprisingly, it’s the longer tunes that are my favourite; Goatband in particular emphasising a kind of Fleetwood Mac-having-a-jam feel, and is currently up there amongst my favourite tunes of the year.

The styles range from psych-tinged afro-pop to the aforementioned 70s behemoth approach, with occasionally hypnagogic moments to the melodies and regular snake-like rhythms. Indeed, one such rhythm it was that inspired my dive back into the Fela Kuti catalogue a few months back when it was the b-side on a recent single.

The back story might be a load of old bollocks, but the music is often great, as well as fun and thought provoking. I also think it would make a great soundtrack for dancing around campfires, something I need to do more often.

 

Fire! Orchestra – Ritual

2182-fire-orchestra-ritual-2lp-cd_19_2016-02-23-15-42-57 Honestly, what is it about Sweden?

You know when music is special when you listen to something whilst in the midst of a fairly drawn out grumpy period, and that music makes you feel alive, positive, and like all the petty crap really just does not matter, which it doesn’t.

People, I give you Fire! Orchestra.

I’ve been more and more of a jazz head, I must admit. This is where the genre really does it for me. It isn’t about technique, it’s about consciousness exploration. That’s why it’s a ritual. That’s why I consider music like this to be psychedelic, and a million revivalists who call themselves that to be not, although everyone has to start somewhere.

The opener, which you will find embedded in this post somewhere, is 10 of the fastest moving minutes in history, it feels like less than half that duration. To me, at least. This is music to get completely lost in. Throw maps in the bin.

There is a strong emphasis on the groove, the many horns don’t get in each others way, and the two vocalists are absolutely incredible.  The album is both propulsive and meditative, noisy and musical.

There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe how I feel about this album. A true ritual, and a triumphant one at that. A perfect illustration of why humans picked up objects and started hitting, plucking and blowing them. Its purity makes it impossible to pigeon-hole.

This also makes for two posts in a row where the album cover seems somewhat random, although I think art purists will probably prefer the term collage.

Those who are inspired enough to want a physical copy will find one here.