Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

Drudion April 009

April 2009ce

10.08am, April 1st, 2009CE; Liverpool St Station, London.

15 minutes later, the police detained the Archdrude and confiscated his burka and all of his riot protection gear.
Hey Brothers & Sisters,

Sorry I’m a day late with this Drudion, but I was in London yesterday at the G20 anti-Kapitalist protests that focused on the Bank of England. Unfortunately, I totally fucked up my plans through sheer yokel paranoia and came away empty handed. Intending to meet up with my dear friends, the writer Gyrus and U-Know editor Merrick, at Liverpool Street Station, at 10.30am, I left our W. Country home at 6am and was in central London just before nine. Nervous that there would be thousands of people milling about, I arrived on foot at Liverpool Street a full hour early, to be confronted by hundreds of police already in place. Of course, I was dressed extremely dodgily, with my hair up in a black wig and dressed in the kind of all-purpose rural chic that couldn’t have been further from my regular Rock God image (!). The police, however, were so fucking paranoid that they conducted a Stop & Search on me at the top of the escalators at 10.20; a full 40 minutes before the march had even started. Of course, I declined to give my name and address and, having no ID or cards on me, they detained me and wrote down a description. Unfortunately, when the main cop read on the report that I was wearing a stab vest, he came over personally and demanded to look at it. I just about managed to take the thing off without disturbing my wig, but the cop told me he believed the vest was part of a stolen consignment of police uniforms and gear, and that I’d taken off the labels to hide this fact. Kiddies, I’ve had this stab vest at least two years and wear it any time I’m in the city, but the cops just used this as an excuse to do a full body search and they soon confiscated my burka, a pair of women’s tights and all of my (expensive) police body armour. All of this occurred in full view of the general public and was clearly done just to make a show of me. When I still didn’t give my name, they sat me in a van to think about it for hours and the fucking protest went off with me detained. In the meantime, dammit, an exultant Merrick was texting me from Bishopsgate telling me the Climate Camp have taken over, while Gyrus had been penned in at the Bank of England. With hindsight, I’ll admit I looked extremely dodgy. But what got me most was how the police discovered all of my gear but still didn’t realize I was wearing a 99p black eBay wig! On the Stop & Search report I’m even described as having ‘Hair: black, short.’ I can’t show you my face on the self-portrait I took as I plan to use this disguise again in the future, but Holy McGrail referred to it as Scargill Chic and pointed out that there are clearly blonde tufts visible from underneath the rug. If McGrail could suss it from the crappy mobile phone photo (shown above), then so much for the West’s so-called War on Terror. What the fuck!

NORTH by To Blacken The Pages

Anyway, enough of my complaining, instead we’re gonna commence this month’s review section by celebrating the return of Ireland’s To Blacken The Pages, whose new Colony Records album NORTH (www.colony-records.com) is something of a departure from when last they appeared here as January 2009CE’s Album of the Month. Retaining their huge ambient cavernousness, the afterburner buzzsaw guitars and all of the ponderous ‘limping storm God’ elements of previous releases, this new incarnation of To Blacken the Pages reminds me of an even more alienated Residents during their ESKIMO period. And although NORTH features several shorter pieces, the odd intoned vocal and a whole new occasional percussive element that sounds like some great beast playing the Polar Ice-cap with pieces of 20-mile-long hollow industrial tubing, by the middle of this lonely record, all signposts have been long lost, the psychic frost and pack ice forcing listeners to bundle up in all their warmest clothing. It’s an essential sound and hugely useful to those of you looking to access your inner Titan without shelling out on the full Gore-Tex, snow mobile and huskies.

GOOD COP by A.M. Shiner

Also of extreme psychic use is GOOD COP by the young Stunned Records’ artist A.M. Shiner, whose ‘music’ reminds me of the bizarre sub-submarine sounds that a friend of mine once captured by putting his microphone down the drill shaft of the North Sea oilrig he worked on. Sounds like this are so alien and so uncomfortable that it feels, at first, like eavesdropping on the groans of the Mother Earth during a heavy menstrual cycle. But once the mind relaxes enough to attune itself to these clandestine happenings, we float free and far above the cultural building blocks of the everyday, and these sounds take on healing elements that are truly essential. Beyond one previous cassette release, I don’t know much at all about Andrew Michael Shiner, except that the good people at Stunned Records (www.stunned-records.com) are on to something, and this release is a great place to start.

HOUSES OF THE UNHOLY by Church of Misery

Now normally I’m not much of a fan of music obsessed with splatter and gore, but I just gots to make a big exception for HOUSES OF THE UNHOLY by Japan’s Church of Misery. Why? Because the music takes the post-post-Early Sabbath fetish to its logical conclusion AND includes a stuperb rendition of Sir Lord Baltimore’s timeless classic ‘Master Heartache’. Awl-fucking-right! Replete with samples of radio broadcasts about such unsavoury characters as mass murderers Richard Trenton Chase, Albert Fish and Richard Speck, HOUSE OF THE UNHOLY pitches listeners back into that time when your ma stood outside the bedroom door scared for her kid’s future. Better still, mush mouthed growler vocalist Yoshiaki Negishi takes full advantage of the linguistic problems that beset any direct English to Nihonese translations, slurring and schloeuring his words in a manner that couldn’t possibly be achieved by a native English speaker. Loverly! Score this behemoth from Nottingham’s excellent Rise Above label (www.riseaboverecords.com) and step on it, Motherfucker, before the Misery stash yer torso in the woods!

PSY FREE SONIC by High Rise

Still hard-on the Japanese trail, it’s wonderfuel news indeed to report the release of a whole slew of limited editions spewing forth from those buzzsaw giants High Rise. Yes, after what appears to be years of silence from Nanjo & Co., they’re back with half a dozen high quality studio and concert CDs, most of which belong to a huge series dedicated to the Japanese Underground. And while TRIP 92, PSYCHEDELIC SPEED FREAKS and the prosaically-titled’93-96’ are all fucking whey-hey, my particular faves from this new batch are surely PSI FREE SONIC and an album of so-called ‘out-takes’ from the DISALLOW sessions. This first mentioned album is a 2CD version of the band’s long-gone-but-legendary live set SPEED FREE SONIC, here available – Sex Pistols stylee – on bright pink and bright yellow CDs. Other essential releases from the same series include five albums by Kawabata Makoto’s Mainliner, four from those Free Tantrum exponents Musica Transonic, and a coupla genius compilations, of which the double-CD BLACK TO COMMUNIST is for me the most essential, showcasing several of the many festival bands I discussed in JAPROCKSAMPLER and dredging up many more that I didn’t know. We’re almost sure to be selling some of these high kwoll items at Head Heritage in the coming weeks, so … uh, look out!

WHAT PLEASING THE LORD LOOKS LIKE MARRIAGE by Various Artists

Now, I generally try to avoid reviewing compilations if I can, as it’s always been my main intention to use this column as an opportunity to shine a light on individual bands or artists that could, otherwise, get overlooked. However, as regular readers will already know what a total cunt I am for Israeli noise, you can understand how it would be impossible for the author of JAPROCKSAMPLER to ignore any compilation with the sub-title ‘Extreme, Noise and Terror from Japan & Israel’! So when Tel Aviv’s very excellent (and highly consistent) Heart & Crossbone Records (www.HCBrecords.com), dropped WHAT PLEASING THE LORD LOOKS LIKE MARRIAGE through my letterbox, I was soon drawn deep into the swirling epicentre of this Hellish maelstrom. Featuring epic sounds from such faves such as Cadaver Eyes (‘BaHoref Karr’), Pootchlatz (‘A Stairway to the Scars’), Ryokuchi (‘Miezarumon no Kage’), Moneyisgod (‘Cancer’), plus a whole host of names previously unknown to me, this is one useful motherfucker of a release. Play this sucker in the right company, and you’ll soon sort out who should be mates and who should be inmates. It would be quite wrong of me to point out personal favourites, for this compilation is in itself hugely necessary and should find its way into the collection of anybody Jonesing for Noise but perplexed about how to start shelling out. Come on!

RTZ by Six Organs of Admittance

Let’s conclude this review section with Vinyl of the Month, and special praise for Ben Chasny’s magnificent triple-LP of early Six Organs of Admittance recordings. Has it really been a decade since Chasny’s laid that first album on us? Yup, a full fucking decade already what the fuck? Entitled RTZ, this sumptuous triple-gatefold album is chock full of early lo-fi experiments, porch recording, bedroom stuff, all of which taken together makes clear just what a huge contribution Ben Chasny has made to shaping the current Underground scene. Score this loaded sucker from www.sixorgans.com, and thank the fertility Gods for such lush musical vegetation. Yowzah!

Finally, I’d just like to acknowledge that there is still no exact date named for THE UNRULY IMAGINATION, my planned evening at Manchester University’s Whitworth Gallery. However, as I know most Cope heads will be unable to attend, I have in the meantime decided to release – via our Merchandiser – some advance copies of the evening’s commemorative CD programme. Following in the footsteps of earlier CD programmes for 2000’s CORNUCOPEA, 2001’s DISCOVER ODIN, and 2003’s ROME WASN’T BURNED IN A DAY, this sumptuously packaged Head Heritage limited edition features two new Cope poems, two explanatory texts, and just over 50 minutes of music (including the first digital availability of last year’s 7” PREACHING REVOLUTION EP, and two tracks from the un-released DIGGERS, RANTERS, LEVELLERS E.P.) Look out for this sucker appearing on the Merchandiser around the middle of the month. And there – my lords, my loves, my ladies – ends another month of drudical opinions and information from this motherfucker. Dig the increasingly long evenings and dig life itself.

U-Know,

JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)