Showing posts from May, 2013

Kayo Dot pre-order

Those nice people at Kayo Dot celebrate their 10th anniversary of highly individualistic noise creation this year. They also have a new album in the works that comes in Deluxe and Standard 3-LP versions, and for those of us stretched of wallet, a download only version. The preview below, an unmastered 13-minute snippet of tantalising sound, only serves to up the anticipation.

The band are taking pre-orders to pay for the cost of mastering and manufacturing, and one hopes that they reach their target.

Now for the bad news:

Thanks to some eye-watering price rises by the US Postal Service, p&p to anywhere outside the North American continent for the 3-LP package is a hefty $35. That's $3 more than the stand alone cost of the Standard package!

Of course, the only other way a potential purchaser could get their hands on the artwork and lyrics, and whatever else is on offer, would normally be in CD format, which is not being offered here because the band tell me they actually lost…

The course of true love

Robert Fripp & Toyah Wilcox on All Star Mr & Mrs...bless!

Sanguine Hum - The Weight Of The World

Sanguine Hum are now on their second album, and the first to be recorded under the Esoteric Antenna wing. Their debut, the rather fine Diving Bell was initially released in November 2010 through the Troopers For Sound website before being picked up by the label.

In between the two studio albums was Live In America released last October. A busy period for this young Oxford band, it would seem, and one that has produced some quality music.

With Diving Bell, the band gave us a confident statement of polished art rock that fits in well with the modern zeitgeist. There is definitely something in the air, for bands like this, and Brighton's inFictions/Diagonal/Baron collective, and from over the water groups like The Tea Club and Dissonati all share a common feel, if not a sound. They all use post-rock and prog influences and all have come up with something fresh, and Sanguine Hum are certainly up there with the best of the current crop.

Less ebullient than the debut, The Weight Of Wor…

Bly De Blyant - ABC

Bly De Blyant are another one of those bands one stumbles across while looking for something else entirely. In fact I had completely forgotten I had sent the band an email asking if they wanted their work reviewed here, such is the pace of life at ABS Towers.

Anyway, when Norwegian drummer Øyvind Skarbø kindly replied to my request in the affirmative, I had to remind myself what I was letting myself in for.

A quick perusal of the album sampler on Soundcloud allayed any fears I may have had at making a possible rash choice, as ABC is a fine and wonderfully undefinable work.

As well as Øyvind on drums we have Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, who has played with John Zorn amongst others, and a rather fine Icelandic guitarist by the name of Hilmar Jensson, and together they produce a glorious racket that will have the more conventionally attuned music fan running for the hills. It must be getting crowded up there, is all I can say.

Lurching into the prismatic vision …

Bosnian Rainbows

If you have too much time on your hands, trying to run to keep up with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's prolific output could turn into a full time occupation.

With six studio albums released under the now defunct banner of The Mars Volta, not to mention a mere 34 albums counted on his own Bandcamp page (ok - some of these might be EPs or singles, you're welcome to find out!), chasing after Omar is the pursuit of an obsessive, and he's, (and it will be a "he", I've no doubt) welcome to it.

The easiest thing to do is stand still, there will be one along in a minute...and here it is, hoving into view, soon to be in our anticipating hands in the form of the first self-titled album by the cryptically named Bosnian Rainbows

There were too many brackets in that last paragraph but one, which neatly sums up Omar's convoluted musical passage. After a brief re-union of pre-TMV band At The Drive-In, Omar, along with the last drummer for TMV, one Deantoni Parks, got together…

Steve Hackett Genesis Revisited - Symphony Hall, Birmingham 16th May 2013

I do not indulge in watching cover bands as a rule, as I find them pointless and they act to restrict access to audiences by current bands making new music by diverting the funds of us hard-pressed gig goers in these economically bleak times. In fact, the last cover band I saw was The Australian Pink Floyd, way back in 1993.

So, what, you may rightly ask am I doing here, then? Well, firstly Mr Hackett had a major part in crafting the best songs of that most quintessentially English of all the original prog bands, Genesis; so if anyone has a right to play that music again, it's him. The fact that Rutherford and Banks choose not to play the old songs, and Collins has been struck down by illness and so could not indulge in pastures old, even if he wanted to, is neither here nor there. And yes, it may well be correct that Gabriel has resisted the urge purely for artistic reasons, and therefore retains his integrity, but who did he go running to when WOMAD almost bankrupted him in th…

Jumble Hole Clough - Two Days In April

Two Days In April (in my imagination it is called Flip-Flop, Despot & Omnibus) is the third album from Hebden Bridge obscure minimalist improv ambient project Jumble Hole Clough, named after a local beauty spot near the Yorkshire town. Colin Robinson is the man behind the madness, and he is slightly better known to the world at large as one half of alt-pop duo Churn Milk Joan, fawned over in these very pages not so long ago.

The sandal of A solitary sandal, seen floating on the Rochdale Canal near Mytholmroyd gives rise to all manner of post-industrial ambience and spookiness, sprawled over a quarter of an hour's worth of dredging the dark nooks and crannies of Colin's imagination.

Synthetic echoed bleeps over looped feedback bubble and wail like Dik Mik arising from Dr Frankenstein's operating slab. A simple and strung out early Gilmour-like slide guitar is looped and struggles but ultimately fails to escape the sludge at bottom of the canal but still sounds heavenly.…

Taylor's Universe - Worn Out

Robin Taylor is a "composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound manipulator, arranger, producer and record label owner, born 1956 in Copenhagen, Denmark", as it says on his website.

He has been releasing music since 1991, and this is the 12th album bearing the name of his band, Taylor's Universe. In that time he has also released many albums under his own name and as Taylor's Free Universe, an improv extension of the group we are scrutinising here.

In fact it was chancing upon a "review" of one of the Taylor's Free Universe albums over on DPRP that made me search out this guy. The review was short, but not sweet at all; here it is, verbatim:

"Noise, not music, by Pierre Tassone (processed violin, percussion); Kim Menzer (clarinet, trombone, “strange flute”); Robin Taylor (guitars, loops, “manipulations”); Peter Friis Nielsen (bass guitar); and Lars Juul (drums, “objects”)

Conclusion 1 out of 10

That's what happens when you let something str…

Bjorn J:son Lindh - Från Storstad Till Grodspad

A buried obcscurity from Sweden, this is the sort of thing that would have remained well hidden were it not for ye olde interwebby. Recorded in 1971 in Stockholm, apparently using a lot of the musicians who were also associated with Bo Hansson, this oddity mixes classical, funk, pop, avant garde and funky jazz fusion on the side long track Music From A Big City, whichseems to be a depiction of the never ending battle between nature and urbanisation. I make this guess as the album title roughly translates as "From Big City To Frog Broth", which may or may not be a subtext from a battle between nature and man, something confirmed once I checked out the liner notes (see below).

Side Two is a collection of avant-pop vignettes that could well be snippets of incidental music for film and TV, and intriguing though it is, Music From A Big City is the only reason to get hold of this, if you can. If you can't here it is in all its glory on YouTube:

For further info, here's an…

Blow Up Hollywood Need You!

Yes, that's you...and you...and your mate, and his wife and her mates, ad infinitum.

Blow Up Hollywood are one those bands who deserve to be big, for in singer Steve Messina they have a songwriter of much merit, as the video below proves.

As is the way with low profile modern bands BUH have launched a Pledge Music campaign, but with a difference. This is not to fund their album, as it's already in the can; no, this is to fund the marketing and advertising, something a band without a label or daddy's chequebook is always going to find economically difficult if not impossible. Steve explains all in the link and video below:

Pledge Music campaign

So if that tune above hits the right spot, do yourself a favour and pledge as little as $10 to get your hands, or more likely your ears on the this new waxing by this fab band.

If you're cash rich, then for a mere $10000, Steve will fly over to your country, drive to your house and serenade you personally for a whole week while yo…

Pokerface - Silver Heart - Part I

Pokerface, aka Stefan Heidevik has made a big stride with Silver Heart - Part I, his second album. Progressing is the word, and here it applies, Stefan and friends concocting an avant-progressive mix for the modern world.

The clattering beats of the first album Transeoare still present, but reined in a bit, which opens up the sound, allowing the listener to concentrate more on the weird instrumentation on offer.

Retaining the services of guitarists Mattis Karlsson and Bryan Baker and reed and wind instrument player Per Ericsson from Transeo, the other guest musicians are new players, the cello and violin are gone, to be replaced by an accordion. Not that this changes things significantly, as the dominant sound source is always Stefan's collection of unfathomable electronica.

Silver Heart - Part I by Pokerface

Probably the most well-known guest is drummer Morgan Ågren (Mats/Morgan Band, Devin Townsend) who contributes some dazzlingly furious contrapuntal drumming to Thank You Wendy