The rain's here now anyway, so moving on...
News forthcoming on RSD 2020 plans - watch this space (and/or social media). Will probably post something about it on Monday. Loads of other good new stuff otherwise, and may i add that the second hand is looking exceptional right now (if that Rosa Yemen doesn't go quickly, it's coming home with me - ALL TIMER!)
Down we go>>>>
Malvern Brume - Tendrils
Nick Klein - No Shortage of Rope
Double hitter from ALTER this week, who continue their relentless march into the odd corners of modern electronic music with two neatly opposing releases. First up is the debut long player from Malvern Brume - aka London resident Rory Salter - who's been slowly turning out cryptic, introverted experimental electronics through his Bandcamp and a few cassette releases for a while now. Tendrils is an abstract affair, songs drift and glide with an indefinite origin, kissed with the same ghostly textures of Pye Corner or Roly Porter at their most diffuse, and dub-flecked in a manner mildly reminiscent of some of the lesser known, more subtle Shackleton collaborative LPs of the last few years. The Ghost Box association isn't too misleading, at least in terms of concept - this feels like the music of a fading memory, hit with a Sebaldian like vertigo. Quixotic, distinctly human and incredibly engaging. Can see this one sticking around for a good while.
Nick Klein's No Shortage of Rope is an entirely different affair. Where Tendrils aims for the head, Klein hits you straight in the stomach. Like label mates Container, this is fierce and physical, music that never lets you forget you're a body, no more apparent than on second track A Bundle and Some Speakers, an obnoxiously primitive and metallic tweaker that could unsettle brickwork. Klein now lives in Den Haag, and it shows. And yet closer, French-Property.com, flips the entire record on its head, a beatless, glacial drone akin to Hecker's Hatred of Music. Consider it reward for the punishment of the preceding 30 mins.
Senyawa & Stephen O'Malley - Bima Makti
KTL - Live in Krems April 07
Editions Mego, 2007
Psychic meltdown of a collaboration between your man from Sunn O))) and Indonesian duo, Senyawa. Often thought that O'Malley does truly great work when he's got someone else to bounce off, as with the Scott Walker, KTL, Atsuo and Oren Ambarchi collaborations from a few years back (not to mention that Sunn itself is the ultimate partnership!), and here Senyawa coax him down some nicely darkened back alleys of the night. It makes sense this was originally written to accompany a piece by choreographer Gisele Vienne (whom O'Malley has previousely worked with via KTL), the six tracks mostly grouped into parts and the whole collection oscillating between the dead air inertia of drone and the movement of improv, underscored in moments by Senyawa's black metal referencing vocals (mainly Atilla!). If there's a dance to this, it likely represents a breakdown. There's a storm a-coming... Oh and I love that this has turned up on iDEAL (Kali Malone, Jay Glass Dubs et al), a label that seems to expand with each release. ANOTHER Swedish label. Say no more.
Additionally, we've five dead stock copies of the incredible KTL live album recorded by Throbbing Gristle in 2007 in store now.
BUY HERE - SENYAWA & O'MALLEY / KTL
AMM - AMMMusic
Black Truffle, 2020 reissue (orig. 1967)
!Pivotal Avant Garde Text Klaxon! First widely available vinyl reissue of one of the key moments in early UK improv, strangely first released on Elektra, though not entirely sure there was a clear place for this anywhere else in '67 given its radical tear-up-the-rulebook nature. ReR Megacorp put it out on CD a few decades later, which probably provides a little more guidance as to where AMM fit in. Two tracks, 40 minutes, five different players (including Cornelius Cardew!) going wild and abrasive on sax, clarinet, guitar and various electronics and percussion, this is quite the ride, doing what all good improv does by allowing you to arrive at a place without ever really knowing the journey in spite of multiple listens. Stockhausen and Cage loom large and the vocal samples remind me a little of Reich on City Life, but ultimately they are writing their own language here, one we're still trying to bend our heads round now. Must have been quite the experience to have been in the room when these fellas were feeling this one out. When's Oto opening again?
Christina Vantzou - Multi Natural
Edicoes CN, 2020
Kranky affiliate and Stars of the Lid collaborator (alongside a good few others), Christina Vantzou returns with a wonderful collection of elegant minimalism that oscillates sweetly between abstract drone and deft passages of beauty. Some obvious kinship with Okkyung Lee, Kara Lis Coverdale, Sarah Davachi, and the whole Shelter Press stable, and it's obviously great to see such music being made quietly in high volume. Shared sensibilities, grand ideas spoken softly and all that. Multi Natural does feel more overtly avant, too, the vocal elements in part reminding me of Robert Ashley's focus on the human voice, and Vantzou doesn't rush to any conclusions, the music shifting into unusual shapes and spaces, at times rich with a filmic drama. Consider these strange little narratives with no obvious resolution, and Multi Natural's charm is in its suggestive mystery.
Roger Eno & Brian Eno - Luminous
Deutsche Grammophon, 2020
-- limited yellow vinyl press --
Seven track collection of previously unreleased material taken from the same sessions that resulted in the excellent Mixing Colours album from earlier this year (i think?). The same themes are apparent here - even down to the continuing detail of having all tracks named after a colour - and it does make you wonder how they decide what to include and what to leave out, what makes the cut, what doesn't fit. And that extends to the compositions themselves, which continue to move slowly while holding solid form in still air, floating obelisk's of elegant minimalism. No excess, no fuss, just effortless design. The refined, stately consistency to their collaboraton makes you wonder, do these brothers ever argue? You might not ever again after listening to this. Calm that disturbed spirit.
Lol Coxhill & Morgan Fisher - Slow Music
Aguirre, 2020 (orig. 1980)
--DUE MID AUGUST--
Made reference to this last week, but no info, so here it comes now.... Another knockout release from Aguirre with the reissue of Morgan Fisher's collaboration with Lol Coxhill, originally released on Fisher's own short-lived Pipe label in 1980. It remains one of the best pieces of music Fisher has put his name to. Coxhill's always expressive sax playing is more diaphanous than ever here, as Fisher processes, stretches and loops it into new, deeply mournful shapes, clearly revelling in the freedom afforded by a new studio built thanks to an arrangement with Cherry Red. Opener Que En Paz Descanse sets the tone, an 8min+ funeral march into the sunset, set deep with cinematic existentialism. Indeed, the rest of side A has a distinct filmic quality, verging on the sound design of Luc Ferrari, the ornamental titles themselves feeling like descriptors of a wider narrative arc - there's some kind of psychoterror at foot here. More so, Fisher's sampling of Coxhill's saxophone is truly masterful, often sounding nothing like a saxophone while still retaining its rich timbral quality. The entire B side is taken up by one track, the 26min Slow Music/Pretty Little Girl, which seems to tie together all of the ideas explored on the A into one knotty, seasick drone that's among the saddest pieces of music I've heard in some time. Fisher's often seen as a bit of a prankster, the fox in the chicken coop of the avant garde, but on Slow Music he made something truly pure and elemental. Can't recommend this highly enough.
CHOICE SECOND HAND
Rosa Yemen - s/t (ZE, 1979 UK press) -- more info
David Toop/Max Eastley - New & Redisovered Musical Instruments (Obscure, 1975 UK press) -- more info
Steve Reich-Kronos Quartet/Pat Metheny - Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint (Elekta Nonsesuch, 1989 Canadian press) -- more info
Iannis Xenakis - Electro Acoustic Music (Nonesuch, 1970 US press) -- more info