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"SU POLLARD DECONSTRUCTIONS, A TRIBUTE CD-R"

The VVMCPS virus spreads its tentacles across the seas, or at least afew ponds, and into the memories of those who dare to deconstruct thecrap novelty minor pop abortions of a comedy cleaning woman. SuPollard, who played the dotty chalet mopper in the Great Britishholiday camp 'comedy' horrorshow 'Hi-De-Hi' has been responsible forfilling the mouldy old singles boxes of many a charity shop. She is nowanonymously employed as a cleaner for All Tomorrow's Parties, or so therumour I just started has it.
Meanwhile, in complete avoidance of that event a kid from Manchesterinvited lots of folks to have a go at Su via his website in tribute to The Lady in Big Glasses Herself.There this entire thing can be downloaded in MP3 format but if youcan't be bothered waiting he'll flog you a CD-R for the price of a pint.
The Pollard is put through a glitch grinder with ding dong bells on theopening cut from d-503 who sound like they've been immersed in TheMagic Sound of Fenn O'Berg, which is no bad thing. Next up Jim Kirbytries to get into Su's knickers with a crackled up 'Starting Together'.You know exactly what this bit of V/Vm remouldy doughness is going todo, skipping on the word 'faults' right on cue. Happily not that muchof this ends up sounding like a tribute to V/Vm, but Notphik could beJim trying it on again after Su's ditched ham forever, and is anattempt more likely to get a quick one round the back of the chalet.Jansky Noise breaks the rules a bit by noise butchering the theme to'Hi-De-Hi' which is not strictly speaking a Su Pollard opus. Amongstall the other relative unknowns Binary Being deserves a special mentionfor cobbling together a chirpy and bright happy piano pop sample feastthat La Pollard herself might actually be able to spoil with a bit ofcheap karaoke if she was slipped double bad acid at Sonar and if theBeing was daft enough to let her, which thankfully he's not. TheResurrexit track should keep all fucked up noise heads happy as askinhead on glue, whilst Cho'Pin displays a slightly more refinedapproach to noise construction, reducing Su to a decelerating hauntedgraveyard ghost flutter that can't go on. If you only download onetrack, however, go for the gloomy loop mutations that morph intohilarious manic gibberish sing-glitch pile up from Bess Keloid, someonewho's happy to wear a Nurse with Wound influence on his sleeve andprobably in other less visible places too...

 

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4822 Hits

melvins, "gluey porch treatments" & "colossus of destiny

Since signing to Mike Patton's label Ipecac, The Melvins have gone high concept, releasing a trilogy of albums with a unifying concept. With 'Gluey Porch Treatments' they've gone back to their beginnings and re-released their 1986 record with the garage demos for the record appended as bonus tracks to the album proper. This brings playing time for the album from 38 minutes to a little over an hour, but it doesn't come out as gratuitous, rather as a nice gesture for those interested in how the songs originally started out and how they changed into the final album versions.

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4612 Hits

Spacecraft, "Cybersphere"

The 7th CD from this ambient/electronic/space music collective isimpressive and shows yet again how easily this group can createstunning visual imagery through their often-improvised electronicsynthscapes. SPACECRAFT's evocative and deep-listening music conjuressome really filmic essences, from a peaceful celestial orbit to thephysical and tactile space of the Mother Earth herself. For example,the rustic guitar of 'Anima-Machina' evokes images of a dusty westernscene--complete with quaint ghost towns and tumbleweeds. Yet, later, inthe same track, sequenced percolations resonate with a similar vibe toprime TANGERINE DREAM, and bring to mind visions of free flight. Thistype of journey is what SPACECRAFT excel at, and listeners are able tojoin in, albeit in the comfort of their own personal space. In fact,this music was created for the Cybersphere Planetarium in Tennessee,and I can only imagine the visions the patrons had during theperformance, especially as this music stands so well on it's own.Gorgeous sounds that certainly warrant further investigation by fans ofanyone from ENO to soundtracks to Projekt to STEVE ROACH. (Space ForMusic) contact: http://www.spaceformusic.com

 

4321 Hits

kitchen motors presents "motorlab"

In 2000, the Reykjavik-based Kitchen Motors began a series of monthly events, featuring collaborations with various musicians and artists who would most often not be collaborating together outside of the live venues. The goals were to be somewhat improvisational, yet somewhat tied into each artist's discipline, while most importantly having fun. The curators documented these events and have compiled various moments onto two CDs now available through a combined release effort through Bad Taste.

 

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4964 Hits

cex, "oops, i did it again" 12"

Childhood, adolescence, adulthood. As humans, some of the most noticeable maturation into adulthood comes in the late teenage years into the early twenties. It's not so different when you observe the works of an artist - whether it be a musician, writer, painter, etc,... Most musicians aren't good enough to be picked up and noticed from a young age, but a person both as talented and fortunate as Baltimore's Rjyan Kidwell has achieved quite a bit of notoriety for somebody his age.

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4775 Hits

BABY DEE, "LITTLE WINDOW"

Antony of the Johnsons served as a liaison between Baby Dee and DavidTibet of Current 93 and now Tibet has brought Dee (as well as Antony)to the world through his own World Serpent distributed Durto label."Little Window" is the debut and it focuses on dramatic voice andprecious piano much like Antony's work and c93's "Soft Black Stars".Dee's voice, possessed of a husky lisp and some operatic tendencies,was an acquired taste for me the first few listens but the lyrics(included in the insert) immediately struck me as wonderful poetry.Prior to some online research, I assumed Dee is an effeminate male likeAntony, but she is actually a post-op transsexual. Her life story isalso otherwise fascinating having been music director of a Catholicchurch, a member of the Coney Island Sideshow and a performer on thestreets of New York City and Europe in a bear costume on a gianttricycle with a harp mounted on the back! Somehow it all makes perfectsense. Dee's piano playing is simply elegant as she sings of beauty andhope with a gospel virtue. "Calvary" in particular takes me back to theSunday mornings of my own childhood. "The Robin's Tiny Throat" is aclever conversation with nature while "Waiting" personifies the verynature of nature. A favored line in the former - "that same hand thatflies a million dawns formed my tiny throat and wrote my songs. Howcould I not sing?" "The Price of a Sparrow" seems to shed light onDee's relationship with her father and is further reflected upon in theextended lullaby of "What About My Father?" The disc begins and endswith solo accordion pieces accompanied by bird song and gigglingchildren. Stunning. The more I listen to "Little Window" the deeper Ifall in love with it. A launch party for "Little Window" will takeplace September 29-30 at Joe's Pub in NYC with performances by Dee andCurrent 93. And oh how I wish I could be there,...

 

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4923 Hits

prefuse 73, "vocal studies + uprock narratives"

Early in 2000, Scott Herren delivered a fine serving of organicmulti-instrument post-Tortoise rock on his Hefty debut, "Folk Songs forTrains, Trees and Honey" as Savath + Savalas. Less than a year later,he surfaced with mayhem electronics as Delarosa and Asora for the"Blacksome" EP and "Agony" LP on Schematic. 'Vocal Studies' is theintroduction of his hip hop persona, Prefuse 73, something he's beentouring the country with and releasing limited runs of 12" singles.Here, Herren flexes his muscles as a one-man wrecking crew, pulling indeep grooves, broken beats, melodic samples and just enough electronicglitchery to make it listenable. It's a mishmosh of influences howeveras elements of smooth low-end grooves, sneak in between the bombasticbeats The disc opens with a bit of hip hop radio scanning and the cutup collage madness begins. Guest appearances are made from rappersMikah 9, Rec Center, MF Doom & Aesop Rock and even Sam Prekop. Ifyou were a fan of the Deltron 3030 Instrumentals but wanted a littlesomething more but not an all-out guest fest, this one's for you. Oncenotable producer/musician types like U.N.K.L.E., Bomb the Bass and Khanhave destroyed their street cred by flooding albums with a differentguest on every stinking track, and in turn minimalizing the quality andimportance of the music itself. Herren's not only got a proven talentas a musician and producer, but is smart enough to know at which pointis enough to make it great without overkill. The disc is just over 18minutes and is truly a fabulous trip, well-equipped for those summerdrives with the windows down and the music loud.

 

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4395 Hits

"tigerbeat6 inc."

Gosh, it only seems like last year the 19 yr old kid from San Diego was peddling his compilation with his friends. Hey, it was the beginning of last year! _Almost_ two years later, Tigerbeat6 offices have moved to San Francisco, racked up about 20 releases (and a good amount of press) through various old friends and vicious young upstarts. Taking form of a double CD release, 'Tigerbea6 Inc.' celebrates the incorporation of his booming young enterprise with 44 fresh new hits from a couple old cronies like Lesser, Pisstank, Pimmon, Electric Company, Goodiepal, Twerk, Steward, DAT Politics and Blectum from Bledom along with some fresh new faces like Stars as Eyes, Geoff White, Joseph Nothing, Com.A, Gold Chains, and many others.

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4485 Hits

Mick Harris & Ambre, "Dys"

This is the final installment of the Hushush 'Threesome Series' involving Ambre (members of Snog and Imminent Starvation among others), Mark Spybey (Dead Voices on Air) and Mick Harris (Scorn). "Dys" pairs Ambre and Harris with Harris in the driver's seat weaving together the samples from Ambre into 5 tracks over 48 minutes. The sound is similar to the textured, ambient headphone mindfuck of Harris' Lull project and the more sinister surrealist moments of Nurse With Wound.

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5050 Hits

"kitchen"

Do some noise makers seem to have everything but thekitchen sink? Manchester's noisiest CD-R labelwww.pigdogrecordings.com has spewed a disc over thegrubby tiles that has not only the sink but all theother utensils and fittings slamming and clatteringaway and mixed down to hard drives. Inspired by BananaYoshimitsu's book 'Kitchen', four noise-smiths eachdeliver lengthy constructions made from quite likelythe most ominous sounds to emanate from cookery everrecorded.Anaphalaxis chase a bee swarm stuck in the drainwhilst hot fat gets poured down the plughole. Then thepoor old bees get mashed in a liquidizer, and thingsget bubbly for a bit (warning: do not drink). Thisleads to a cleaner, more efficient kitchenette afterthe white noise whoosh repairman calls. Thehousewife's bleach isn't enough to shift Drozophyllfrom the drains, where they lurk rattling manholes andteapots and hammering on the metal piping, in whatmight be mistaken for homage to early Neubauten. Thismight be made on a computer, but the primitive rhythmssound as corrosive if comparatively clipped. Can theyreally be playing the spoons? Ominous stereo panningoccurs latterly.13th Hour make like Digital Hardcore beats stuck inwinter molasses, taking a slow morning to drip ontocold porridge. They do not like their porridge cold,hence the malicious atmosphere and the tortured shardsof breaking glass in slo mo that rumble over themassive doom beat.Something crawls across the kitchen tiles...With all the windows shattered and the wind howlingin, Phroq is left to flutter about in the breezetrying to make a nice cup of tea. But its no usebecause by the end of it the metal teapot's beenhammered to hell and all the cups are broken, so hejust leaves the taps running and floods the feedbackscream beast out of hiding and fries it on the stovewhich is thankfully still working even if it makes abit of a squeal.

 

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4110 Hits

PHROQ, "PHROQ PLAYS SLEEP"

Phroq has his own release on the same label, featuringanother three long looping post-industrial noisecollages, which are slightly more carefully composedthan his chaotic onslaught that closes the 'Kitchen'compilation. The most amusing is the closingsoundtrack to an experimental Japanese sex film'Pudding, Pudding' with much echoing orgasmic cooingand sing song speech samples set to slow murky beatswith occasional tastefully judged appearances from ourold friend white noise. The one in the middle mixes uppainful sine tones with monochrome clicks and deepdrones and isn't funny at all, especially when itspeeds up and drops a big old lump of raging noise onthe carpet. The epic opening shot is so deadly seriousthat it calls itself 'Music for Photoperformance'. Myracist moron neighbour downstairs could howl 'Dat'snot music' til his cow comes home but music is onlymusic to a receptive mind, and to have a receptivemind you need to have a mind in the first place.Anyway initially the photo performance music has somesimple piano motiffs underpinning the scissor bagrustle and incessant throb, and field recordings cutin and out before the one fingered piano of doom holdssway yet again. The repetitious sound of a camerashutter recurs and some French shouting echoes beforeit all gets mashed into a monotone chug that stopsabruptly to let little birdies sing in the distance.Then everything builds to a camera rewind piano slamfinale. I suppose it's quite likely Phroq has heardNurse With Wound and Ryoji Ikeda at some point.

 

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4005 Hits

dianogah, "Old Material, New Format," "As Seen From Above," and "Battle Champions"

This week I am spotlighting two bands that are currently in the studioworking on their new releases by looking back on their back catalogs. Ifinally rounded up dianogah's first proper album, "As Seen From Above,"recently, thus completing my dianogah CD collection (they have a few 7"singles I've yet to collect, but soon...). dianogah, named after thetrash compactor beast in Star Wars - but with an "h" added to avoidcopyright issues, I imagine - are a three-piece rock band comprised oftwo bass players Jason Harvey and Jay Ryan, and drummer Kip McCabe.This makes for an interestingly melodic sound for primarily low-endinstruments. Yes, kids, this is instrumental indie rock, but with a farmore impressive range then you might expect from such limitedinstrumentation. The name is certainly fitting, as the music pulls youin seductively, but has a punch to it that you'd never expect. My firstexposure to dianogah was their track on the fantastic "Reach The Rock"soundtrack, "Dreams Of Being King." Having also seen the film (worth itonly to see how the soundtrack is used, mind you), the song isperfectly placed, underscoring the sole "moment" in the whole piece.
I immediately had to hear more from this band, so I purchased theirfirst CD release, actually a compilation of their first singles called"Old Material, New Format" on My Pal God. I slipped it into my CDplayer, and waited for that melodic glory to come out of my speakers.Sure, it was there -- for the first few seconds of the first track,"One Hundred Percent Tree." Then: vocals. Not very good ones, either.Drowned in the mix, and more spoken than sung, the vocals by Jay Ryanseemed awkward when paired with the music. Or they would, if the musicwas on the same level of "Dreams Of Being King." This was dianogah attheir early stages, and it showed. After repeated listens, though, nowthe songs have a certain charm to them. It's like enjoying Mogwai nowfor what they are and do, then listening to the awkward loud/softmissteps of "Ten Rapid." It's got its moments. Next in order of releaseis the proper album "As Seen From Above." This was certainly closer towhat I expected to hear. Driving, intertwining basslines, stable andfirm drumming, and little variations that build and strive to astunning climax. Yet another band that appreciates that the silence andbreaks in the song are just as important as the moments where allcylinders are firing. "What Is Your Landmass?" thumps right along,before settling into the cymbal-crashing tirade of a finale. Stillthere were vocals, but they seemed to have improved over the firstrelease (go figure). Jay becomes more confident with his voice,reaching a delivery half They Might Be Giants/half The Inbreds.
Then there is their second full-length, released after the "Reach TheRock" soundtrack, "Battle Champions." My god. The dream is fullyrealized on this release. dianogah occasionally record with othermusicians, releasing the results as "Team Dianogah" releases. Thistime, they add to their own sound, augmenting it with guitar and piano.From the second track, "At The Mercy Of The Mustang," I was hooked.Steve Albini just lets the boys rock out, and doesn't affect therelease at all, leaving us with the driving rhythms and gorgeousmelodies that make "Dreams Of Being King" pale as Willem Dafoe in"Shadow Of The Vampire." The album's centerpiece, "Indie Rock SpockEars," is playful and poignant, starting off slower than most dianogah,but building on right into an accomplished groove and great interplaybetween the bassists. Lovely. There are still vocals on a few songs,but they're no longer as jarring, and actually complement the musicwell. I would recommend "Battle Champions" to anyone who likes greatinstrumental indie rock. If you like that, move your way back. Alsolook for a new album next year. There's a lot to be discovered underthe surface...

 

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4045 Hits

Wheat, "Hope & Adams" and "Medeiros"

Amazing what can be found from just surfing around on occasion. Afriend who is a huge Beulah fan once asked me to look at their labelSugar Free's website, and see what other bands recorded for the label."Any label that would sign Beulah has to have other good bands," hesaid. He couldn't have been more right. We listened to a few samplesfrom Wheat's second album, "Hope & Adams," and we were hooked. Itdoesn't hurt to have the involvement of Dave Fridmann, mind you. TheFrid-mann has the ability to bring out the best in every band. A greatfan of his work with The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev already, I knewthis would be a great release and ordered it immediately. What I gotblew me away. It's crafty pop with a primary message of loss, whetherof love or youth or what have you, with the standardbass/drums/guitar/vocal formula. Thanks to Fridmann, however, the bandplays nicely with electronics, bringing out a fuller sound with thebeeps and whistles. Well-placed piano lines on "Don't I Hold You" and"Body Talk (Part 1)" bring more strengths to the table. Wheat willnever have to worry about becoming tired: there's so much they can doto throw you a curveball.
Being fond of this CD, I decided to give their first, "Medeiros," arun. Missing is the Fridmann influence, but the songs are still there,along with a healthy dose of nerves. Scott Levesque's vocals are moreechoey and subdued, bringing to mind the feeling that he's still notcomfortable with that role in the band. Songs like "Summer" and "GirlSinger" impress with their picturesque lyrics and directness (samplelyric from "Girl Singer": "I believe I'm touching you, 'specially whenI'm fuckin' you, but you're a little on the tenative side"). Somekeyboard appear now and then, but the album works best without them, asopposed to "Hope & Adams." Both good releases, and well worthtrying out. Look for their latest, "Per Second Per Second Per SecondEvery Second," also with the Fridmann influence, this fall.

 

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4207 Hits

nic endo, "cold metal perfection"

As part of the burgeoning Fatale movement which is ""a force againstthe male-driven music industry and its great heroes" Nic Endo hasreleased an electronic work of great scope here. I'm not really certainhow political / feminist messages are contained in the bleeps,squiggles and beats of this instrumental work but I'll leave that tothe armchair pundits to squabble over. A far cry from the Massona/Haters scree of her first EP 'White Heat' and more a continuation ofthe spacey, removed feeling of the eponymous EP as She Satellites hereEndo takes off from that platform and adds 80's electro-styledkeyboards, casio drums and a variety of samplings from pop culturestaples. The disc's highlights are many ? from the Bauhaus beginningoff 'Man Eater' which quickly changes into a poppy, Kraftwerkian numberto the lost in the ether feeling that 'The Program and the Brides'gives off, this discs pleasures are many. The structures run the gamut- your usual music concrete, free jazz improvisations and tribalrhythms all processed through Endo's sensibilities and lo-fi equipment.Also included is a video for 'White Heat' which is the first time I'veseen pure noise feedback being marketed as pop music ? hot chick inleather bra and fishnets and everything. Easily worth the price ofadmission.

 

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4169 Hits

stereolab, "captain easychord" ep

The 'Lab are back and boy do they love The Beatles (well, they'rereally ripping off George Harrison's "When We Was Fab" from the 1980s,which is much lower on the cool-meter). Actually, it's rather nice thatthey're song-based again as opposed to the overtly wanky qualities oftheir last few releases. The faux-country acoustic guitar noodling andpedal-steel solos kill all enjoyment of this song started in the firstminute. Track two, "Long Life Love" might as well be a stoned outversion of the first track: it's slower and almost twice as long andmelodically and structurally begins almost identically. There is aprettiness factor but it's not enough to make it a good song, plus Pramdo it ten times better these days. The third track, "Canned Candies"sounds like a nod to an unreleased Mamas and Papas Christmas outtakecombined with chiming vibes, flute and la-las from 'Dots and Loops'while the last track picks up the energy but doesn't provide anythingcatchy to leave me with. Sadly I feel the group's seriously gotthemselves in a rut, using the same producers for the umpteenth time ina row, coupled with the strong feeling they have inhaled so much potthey can't write a good song any more. On the other hand, I might be abit too critical on an EP of songs which didn't make it to the album.(Or perhaps too grouchy about spending $10 on four crappy songs.) Therewas a time and place where I thought this band could do no wrong: aminimal amount of instruments wasn't a hinderance to their abilities tomake something magical and catchy. Their current sound may have a lotof shiny ornaments, but at the roots are rather empty songs. The bandhas become what they were seemingly anti in their beginning days:they've traded in low-fi for high fidelity low-distortion recordings.They once were trying to say they weren't 'adult oriented' or 'M.O.R.'but they're now primed for elevators in shopping malls. I haven't heardhorns like this since Chicago's "If You Leave Me Now". This EP is outnow through Duophonic in the UK and preceeds the full-lengther due nextmonth. Start twirling your finger.

 

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4210 Hits

reconnecting the dots

The first four reissues of Legendary Pink Dots have surfaced onSoleilmoon's Caciocavallo imprint. For those who have the entire PIASback catalogue already, it's unnecessary to buy these again, as themusic is exactly the same, but for the few who never had the chance,your time has come as they're now readily available again. The discsare packaged with a little extra special care with notes, layout, andartwork while mid-priced for your convenience. Unlike other Soleilmoonreissues, these feature the original covers and also include an insidetray card with artwork from 12" singles whose tracks appear on thealbums.

 

'Asylum' (their first deliberate Tarot card reference) firstmaterialized in 1985 and was considered by the group to be a troubledtime. The group's lineup had been fairly steady since the early daysbut their home base had recently moved from the UK to Holland. Songswith titles "Prisoner", "The Last Straw" and "This Could Be the End"symbolify the sentiments of a writer feeling trapped and a group on theverge of calling it quits. Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound wasbrought in to perform various production and editing duties. Popularfavorites include the violin-heavy "Fifteen Flies in the Marmalade,"the epic multi-part madness of "So Gallantly Screaming" and the classicsignature LPD sound of "Golden Dawn."

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'The Golden Age' was originally released in 1989 and was the first longplayer to feature guitarrorist Bob Pistoor. While many LPD fans don'tconsider this one of their fave releases, it did give clubs the popularhits "The More it Changes" and "Blacklist" (included as a bonus trackfrom the 12" of the same name). The album features a couple of theirrecurring themes with the gorgeous "Hotel Noir" and swirlingneo-classical signature LPD style of "Lisa's Separation". The album wasproduced with Hans Myre and primarily featured a stripped-down lineupof the core three members at the time: Edward, Phil (the Silverman) andPatrick Wright on violins. Thus the sound was completed more byelectronics than conventional rock instruments. Rarely throughout the90s until now has the group performed any of these songs in concert.

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Therecordings for Crushed Velvet Apocalypse began in 1989 with the albumsurfacing in 1990. Between 'The Golden Age' and this disc, theLegendary Pink Box surfaced too, a 3xLP set with 2 LPs worth of newmaterial. The Dots were on fire! Bob Pistoor, now a full-time memberopens the album with the familiar guitar work of timeless LPD classic"I Love You in Your Tragic Beauty." On other tracks Pistoor gracefullyadds sitar and wonderful bass lines. Saxophonist, clarinet and fluteplayer Neils Van Hoorn is also now part of the full time lineup but theviolin virtuoso of Patrick Wright has departed from the group. Thisdidn't inhibit the Dots from turning out what many point to as theirfavorite full-lengther. 'Crushed Velvet Apocalypse' showed a maturedsense of writing ability, coordinated musicianship, and a stellarproduction which can conjure emotions of love, awe and horror withinseconds of each other. Songs like "Green Gang," "Hellsville," "Just aLifetime," "The Death of Jack the Ripper" and "Princess Coldheart" areoften played live to very warm receptions. The back of the CD featuresa newly surfaced image, a stunning tribute to Pistoor (by means of abeautiful live picture), who died the following year after a shortbattle with cancer.

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Recorded in 1990 and released in 1991, the lineup remained constantfrom the year before and the group's bonds had grown stronger throughvarious tours all over the world. Initially released as a single LP,double-CD (70+ minutes and a limited edition w/a bonus 3" CD single),this album went on to become their most successful release ever.Popular favorites include the tear-jerking surrealistic dark ballads"Third Secret" and "Belladonna", the pretty yet spooky "Charaderama" orsax and sequencer filled "A Space Between," which has given way to manyemail signature files with the popular EKS lyric, "we all have names."The apocalyptic nightmare of "The Grain Kings" has become a frequentlyused last song or encore number on recent tours and even "Disturbance"rears its head occasionally. The Maria Dimension was the first albumreleased on the newly forged partnership between PIAS and Caroline.Guilty only by association, the releases that were co-issued byWaxTrax! may have gained the LPDs some cred with the gothpost-industrialists but with the new deal on Caroline the space rockersand indie rockers now had better exposure to the crew. One of themagical things about the Dots is going to a concert and seeing allsorts of fans present. This period the Dots seemed to be flying high,1991 saw the US-release of the Pink Box and the recordings of 'FourDays' took place. The passing of Pistoor later in the year shook theband's foundations, the band soon recruited Martjin de Kleer and thelegendary Ryan Moore as they entered a new phase and called up oldfriends (Steven Stapleton and Patrick Wright) for the subsequent ShadowWeavers.

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4578 Hits

DEAD VOICES ON AIR, "LIVE"

How's that for a concise title? Culled from five shows in the U.S. andEurope between late 1999 and mid 2000, Mark Spybey and friends werecommitted to digital tape by Michael Rother (Kraftwerk, Neu!), amongstothers. The bulk of the ten tracks are drawn from the last two DVOAalbums "Piss Frond" and "Frankie Pett..". The basic structure of thesemostly instrumental songs is about the same, the sequences sometimesextended or edited, then embellished upon by Spybey and collaboratorsNiels Van Hoorn (The Legendary Pink Dots), Dave Wright (Not Breathing),Ryan Moore (LPD at the time, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System), DarrylNeudorf (Abintra), Darren Phillips (Hellen Keller), Mark Gunderson(Evolution Control Committee), Frank Verschuuren (also LPD at the time)and Aimee Lane. All those extra improvised horns, keys and beats perkup many a song and help give DVOA a sturdy and fun live band feel andsound. "Sulphur" is the only one that Spybey really steps up to the micwhile Van Hoorn adds flute to the cello part. "Lost in Deming, NM" isapparently new, essentially Spybey solo on bass and sound debris loopswith longing wails from Van Hoorn. "Muffel", originally found on therecent Spybey/Harris 'Threesome' series disc "Bad Roads, YoungDrivers", explodes again here with sax squawking and Moore's heavy livedrums. "Redkerre" is extensively drawn out for nearly 17 minutes aselectro blips and beats skitter about like firecrackers beneath densepadded loops. "Puppet Show" is the finale and something tells me itneeds to be seen rather than heard to be fully appreciated - it wasn'ta feature of the 2 shows I saw on that tour. Unfortunately, forwhatever reason, Spybey chose not to include his celebrated d 'n brenditions of the Download instant classics "Sidewinder" and "BaseMetal". Darn. Otherwise, it's a fine document of live DVOA circa theend of the 20th Century .

 

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4135 Hits

THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, "AVEC UN PESSIMISME LUCIDE"

Krzysztof Kieslowski's film "The Double Life of Veronique" has beendescribed as a romance about moments when we think we see ourselves ata distance; could there be more than one me? Well perhaps that's whatwas at the back of the mind of David Bennet of the heavily Sonic Youthinfluenced Stray Light when he chose the name, because this projectgives vent to his other persona, of e-bowed guitar dronescapes. Of thefive long, immersive yet spacious tracks, two are scored for bowedguitars and dedicated to minimalist painter Mark Rothko, whilst theother three are guitar improvisations that give a nod to Rafael Toraland Jim O'Rourke albums like 'Disengage'. The titles suggest that eachpiece could be a synaesthetic reflection on a particular colour. Eachtrack takes a constant drone as it's base and gradually unfurlsdrifting harmonics like watching the first rays of light creep over amisty morning horizon, until light engulfs the senses. It's a calm,reflective and beautifully blurred music that ought to appeal to fansof the less anchored members of the Kranky roster, particularly Starsof the Lid. In live excursions TDLV is augmented by a second droneguitar and violin, but for this disc it's all guitars. Hopefully thiswill be just the first step in a long and fascinating trip from deepestdarkest Manchester to head expanded eternal orbit around the planetJupiter. Available from: www.nameless-records.com

 

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4253 Hits

k, "new problems"

The distinct writing, singing and playing styles of Karla Schickelefirst appeared in the trio Beekeeper, where Karla played alongside herbrother, Matt. The next step was in Ida where she joined the group,already in progress, and rounded the group out quite nicely with alower voice and a pianists touch. Finally, with the project known as K,Karla is in complete control and the results are breathtaking. "NewProblems" collects 12 tracks totalling just over 30 minutes, includingmost of the songs from the first CD-R that was being sold at lastyear's K concerts (the remaining one appeared on the split EP with Low)as well as a demo version of the now classic Ida tune "Poor Dumb Bird".Karla's a multi-skilled performer/player, with her fingers pluckingguitar and bass strings, tinkling the ivories and even wrapped aroundan oboe for the song "Figther Dove." On the disc, Karla is joined bysome of her closest friends including Tara Jane O'Neil of Retsin, Rodanand solo fame, Cynthia Nelson of Ruby Falls and Retsin, Michael fromIda and Ida Pearle, who's violin playing has graced Low, Ida, MagneticFields, Retsin, Naysayer and many others albums. Rose Thompson joinsKarla on the vocals for a couple tracks, and if you've seen the K showin the past few months, you'll know Rose is another top-notchmulti-instrumentalist, a force to reckon with and possibly the nextperson to surface from the scene with her own material. The songs rangefrom the gracefully subtle, melodic, minimal instrumentation of "Got aFeelin'" (a Mamas and Papas cover) and the album's openers, "*"/"NotHere", to the jam-rockin "Knoxville" (which sounds like it had to befaded, else it'd go on forever), the four-track charm of the "Poor DumBird" demo and "Telegram" to the bang-up production jobs on theinfectiously catchy "Reminder" and "Regular Girl" tunes. I wish theyhadn't faded so many songs out however, as I love to hear songs truly'end' without being cut short. Fans of any of the aforementioned bandsshould already have this, and if they don't they're truly missing anessential piece of the picture. Karla Schickele is truly one of myfavorite contemporary rock/pop writers.

 

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4202 Hits

PHIL WESTERN / TIM HILL, "DARK FEATURES"

Phil Western has at least a decade of experience in electronic musicand is currently a member of Download and platEAU. "Dark Features" isthe debut release from Vancouver based The Record Company and it picksup right where Western's 1998 solo album "The Escapist" (co-produced byTim Hill, who has also played with platEAU) left off. This is premiumtextured techno: a thick mesh of synth and sample ambiance andprogrammed beats with additional organic elements like voice andguitars. Phil's vocals appear on half a dozen tracks - they're moreunnecessary than they are annoying, ditto for many of the numerous,seemingly random spoken samples. "Fight No More", "Dirty" and "DMT"ride strong bass and guitar grooves, the latter one being as active asthe psychedelic substance it is named after with Western singing theword 'dimethyltryptamine' over a bright and bouncy pop riff. Gorgeousambient moments endure in several tracks, most notably the tail ends of"Embryo" and "Duke". "Bring That Home, Buffalo" is downright peculiarby throwing banjo playing into the mix. But the most surprising andstunning track of all, the one which will surely confound many alistener, is "Be the Fool". Here Western sings and plays acousticguitar solo for an emotional and atmospheric song that approaches thesound of late '80s American Music Club. Great stuff. I hope Westernfurther explores these heretofore unrevealed singer songwriter and popproclivities. Act now and three more techno oriented tracks areavailable on a bonus orange marble 10" with the first 300 orders directfrom the label at colourspeaks.com .

 

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4041 Hits