Currently searching for larger premises from which to stage his Revolution, the Archdrude – on January 3rd 2010CE – visited the legendary Hampshire village of Freefolk. (Photo: Avalon Cope)
The Black Muslim leader Malcolm X once wrote from gaol: “The only difference between us and the outside people [is] that we got caught”. Well, after my January plea for a far more rigorous style of Multiculturalism, how deeply distressing it was to see ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair representing Western Democracy not with facts and figures about the morality of the Iraqi Invasion, but indignantly protesting his ‘belief’ in its ‘lawfulness’. Brothers & Sisters, Democracy has always intended to operate at a far higher level than that which is merely ‘lawful’, only tyrants such as Hitler resorting to the law to fudge their outrageous claims. Blair the Papist, however, is a lawyer by profession and, worse still, a practising Catholic whose beliefs seemingly exempted him from accurately surveying the facts of the matter. The whole world knows that Bush and Blair are both war criminals, and their continued personal freedom makes fools of us all. Tony Blair sanctioned the invasion of Iraq because he “believed it was the right thing to do”. With 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead and no evidence that Saddam Hussein hoarded any Weapons of Mass Destruction, it beggars belief (ho hum) that this tyrant remains at large in our community. Should I desire to shoot Blair to death because of his war crimes, I’d hope that my belief that it was ‘the right thing to do’ would keep me out of gaol, too.
PRESIDENCE by Excepter
Right, let’s now blast forth into the Underworld of Reviews, wherein we are about to be jumped by the splendours of PRESIDENCE, the vast new double-CD by that astrally jiggy NYC alt-crew Excepter, whose two glamorous stage crawling MCs have, this time round, shunned their former helium Althea & Donna roles in favour of becoming the fully-fledged idiot bastard daughters of the Residents’ Pamela Zeibak, both intent on dragging their E-Men Groovin’ into a last ditch showdown with cutting edge technology and re-constituted ritual. Yup kiddies, PRESIDENCE presents us with umpteen new levels of Deep Ambulence, Sub-Basement Medications & Sonic Lunar Standstill. The 33-minute title track successfully resurrects the spirit of CYBORG-period Klaus Schulze, whilst the near half-hour epic groove of ‘Og’ shares that same Eternal Spirit as Sor’chenn’s creepy epic ‘Dodsdansen, Life of an Island Lad’ and Agitation Free’s legendary ‘Looping’. Skanks there be, but the skanks contained here on PRESIDENCE are drenched, nay, systematically steeped in gloopy baths of inky static inchoate non-ness, each CD being a vast eternitie of Post-IRRLICHT, post-ELIZABETH VAGINA cosmic medication the likes of which rarely surface. So do be sure to score your own copy of this killer package from the good people of Car Park Records (www.carparkrecords.com
), and contact Excepter via www.paw-tracks.com
, just to wish them a Happy New Year, and tell them all what an essential job they’re doing.
SUB LOAM by Thomas Shrubsole
Next up, I was very taken by the ambulant shake appeal of Thomas Shrubsole’s latest E.P. entitled SUB LOAM. Released on his own Dissolving Records, Shrubsole’s a-rhythmical & mercurial muse apes the sound of aliens opening the Christmas presents, while BBC sound FX guys party in the background with an extremely limited arsenal of devices. One-man ensemble’s from Klaus Schultze to Anal have, down the decades, attempted to describe that oneness that sums up in a single sound everything the artist is feeling. Mostly, it’s a fucking shocker it’s so boringly under-achieving or, at the other extreme, so satisfied with nowt you wonder why they even put it out. But SUB LOAM is a rare thing: one of those complete entities that works in its Puritan form only, needy of nothing but the ears of the audience to behold it. Indeed, when SUB LOAM caught the ear of my early T. Dream-obsessed 18-year-old daughter Albany, she immediately compared its zoned-out formlessness to ZEIT: awl-right! So please do search out this winner at firstname.lastname@example.org
PAPERCUTS THEATRE by Burning Star Core
Next up, those fiends from Cincinnati, Ohio known as Burning Star Core have just unleashed an outrageous motherlode overload, a live album entitled PAPERCUTS THEATRE, released on the excellent No Quarter Records (www.noquarter.net
). Deploying that same low grade, slow burning intensity as Rallizes’ BLIND BABY HAS ITS MOTHER’S EYES, but surfacing across four quarter-of-an-hour-plus musical actions, this epic was actually culled from over 60 concert performances of frightening intensity. Obviously fearing that this ‘live’ album would be overlooked, leader C. Spencer Yeh has publicly proclaimed his belief in the concert format as an opportunity for extra important experimentation. But from the dumbfounding sonic evidence thrown up throughout the length & breadth of this magnificent disc, Yeh’s paranoias are more than unfounded. For the sixty performance tapes have been re-edited with all the dexterity of THE FAUST TAPES and Neil Young’s ARC, presenting us with a true Outcast Broadside of colossal proportions.
INTERNATIONAL TIMES by Various Artists
In the meantime, those loons who brought us BLACK TO COMMUNIST and NIHON NIHILIST are back with a wonderfully pop-art compilation entitled INTERNATIONAL TIMES. Delivering 73-minutes of garage and psychedelic music from between 1967-74, this compilation features bands from Japan (Golden Cups, Mops), Spain (Madera de Ciprès, Expresion), Denmark (Stomps, Steppeulvene), France (Tac Poum Système, L’Assemblée), West Germany (Spermüll) and umpteen others from the Phillipines, the Netherlands, Peru and Brazil (see our Merchandiser). The album opens with Swiss band Krokodil, whose haunting 1971 Mellotron-led ballad ‘Greenfly’ comes on like Amon Düül 2 meets Traffic. Also particularly exceptional is the Greek band Socrates Drank the Conium, whose proto-metal protest song ‘Starvation’ was recorded in Parisian exile during the years of the infamous Papadopoulos fascist regime. Yes, this riotous compilation burns’n’bursts with international obscurities, and even delivers the Ultimate proto-metal trip via Japan’s Mops, whose 9-minute 1971 tour de force ‘Town Where I Was Born’ unites the darkness of Alice’s LOVE IT TO DEATH with the cumbersome grandiosity of Grand Funk’s version of ‘Inside Looking Out’. For shit-damn-sure, this is one heck of a disc, kiddies. Score this sucker from our Merchandiser
and save on the medication bills. Yowzah!
BACKATCHA POD PEOPLE!!! by 5-Track
Right, up in Seattle, there’s a longhair singer/guitarist who calls himself 5-Track, whose excellent collaboration with Abalone I bigged up back in my October 2008CE Drudion. Well, 5-Track is back with his own solo album BACKATCHA POD PEOPLE!!! (www.5-track.com
), which showcases both 5-Track’s role as natural instrumentalist freebluesman, but tends to overlook/underplay his excellence as a singer of freaked out-yet-enlightened field holler. Now, it’s not that I’m against erudite pastoral blues guitar romps, but I don’t half get sent a lot of them nowadays. What I rarely get sent – and what makes 5-Track so unique – are songs of such calibre as ‘Floating Around’, ‘It Could Be Time’, ‘Hot Potato Pie’ or the be-all-and-end-all epic ‘He’s not Dead, He’s Just In Texas’. You can imagine the sound of 5-Track if you can imagine Kenneth Williams’ bucolic bard Rambling Sid Rumpo attempting a performance of something from STANDING STONE, Oliver’s spirited 1974 LP of Oxfordshire barnyard blues. Elsewhere, 5-Track’s‘Bring Me the Skin of the Fire Rat’ is so replete with the spirit of Michael Hurley’s ARMCHAIR BOOGIE that this listener expected him to conclude his performance with, ‘Now, you play one’. And however much the 5-Track of BACKATCHA POD PEOPLE attempts to hoodwink us into believing he’s just another freak, it’s highly possible that a full album of truly adventuresome 5-Track ballads are just around the corner. Mercy!
VIEJO MUNDO by Arnica
Right, let’s now look at VIEJO MUNDO, the hypnotic new album from Barcelona’s
Arnica. Unlike much, nay, most of the so-called Apocalyptic Folk genre, Arnica refuses to engage in generically strummed minor key knees-ups and all purpose German-ness, much of which sounds just too funny to we Brits, and certainly too humorously post-Nazi to be taken seriously. Instead, Arnica plumbs the depths of its archaic Iberian Culture and brings forth an album that unites the brash braying reeds of the Breton bombarde bands, the stunning multiple percussion of fellow countrymen Sangré Cavallum, all built around a spooky spoken narrative of the bruxo/shaman shepherd, apparently relating his life’s experience from the door of his megalithic hut. Released on Austria’s Steinklang Records (www.steinklang-records.at
), Arnica’s VIEJO MUNDO works not because of its authenticity, but because of its fine arrangements, its adept deployment of field recordings, its fine musicianship, and its bucolically lax attitude to tuning. Git down!
SCHATTENLEIDER by Sturmpercht
Okay, so while we’re in Apocalyptic Folk mode, it really must be time for another knees-up in the Rhine, because those madcap Austrian Alpen Folk Sturmpercht are back, and with a delightfully unbalanced (and lavishly packaged) new album entitled SCHATTENLIEDER (www.steinklang-records.at
). In truth, even Sturmpercht still all to often fall into a too-generic ‘bandonians-round-the-sacrificial-fire’ routine. However, SCHATTENLEIDER is a scorching achievement, melding the entirely traditional with the supremely novel. At times, the pagan sounds brought forth on this arresting album remind me of nothing less than Walter Wegmüller’s 1972 epic TAROT, ECHO by AR & Machines, and even some of Faust’s madder, more impressionistic moments. Moreover, Sturmpercht’s deployment of their massed marching percussion is molto impressive and unique, especially when accompanied by hordes of churlish and vocal mountain men snarling along in Austrian dialect. Oo-er missus, you gotta love their colossal nerve! And you gotta buy this colossal album.
Right, there completes another Drudion, brothers and sisters. Wear layers and stay warm during this right old continental freeze-up: we Brits are a temperate people who chill far too easily. I’ll close by mentioning that David Wrench’s Black Sheep album SPADES & HOES & PLOWS has been slightly held up at the pressing plant. However, as it’s a righteous & iconoclastic slab of Insurrection, the wait will be worth it, (as Tony Blair would say) ‘Believe me!’
Love on ya
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)