After the Archdrude’s late-Feb Cumbria show, several Black Sheep headed south for a photo opportunity at the Peak District’s legendary Neolithic temple Ninestones Close.
Who knows where the time goes? Revolutions all across the Middle East already? These twenty-eight day months is killing me! By the way, salutes go out to everyone who made it to the Manchester and Kendal shows, and huge thanks to David Wrench and Anthrony De La O for such sterling performances up there. Oh, and bravo to all of the other Black Sheep who brung so much to each party - to Michael O’Sullivan, Holy McGrail, Common Era, Acoustika, Vybik Jon and Hebbs. Unfortunately, our intentions to film new sections of De La O’s forthcoming CRAZY HORSE movie at Sunkenkirk stone circle were thwarted by a sudden deluge of unexpectedly foul weather, so we fled instead to the warmer climes of the Peak District in order to score that vibey megalithic photo above. In the meantime, please look out for my retrospective 1993 CE album THE JEHOVAHCOAT DEMOS, which will be available on the Head Heritage merchandiser from March 8th onwards. Featuring a 16-page booklet chock full of notes, quotes and odes from my ’93 notebooks, THE JEHOVAHCOAT DEMOS is a real curiosity whose primary themes of anti-religion, anti-capitalism and land-sharing are reassuringly similar to all of my current obsessions. Yowzah!
THE RED GIANT MEETS THE WHITE DWARF by Chapter 24 and Phillippe Petit
Next, I’m gonna commence this month’s reviews section with a look at THE RED GIANT MEETS THE WHITE DWARF, a vast meditative album by Greece’s Chapter 24 joined herein by Frenchman Philippe Petit. This is a formidable ensemble whose hugely dynamic and ever-emerging pieces are all achieved with a furious arsenal of live electronics, organs, turntables, field recordings, pianos and mandolins. And it’s a combination that drags listeners out of their city mindsets, instead leaving them transfixed and gasping in some sonic rural hinterland, a place where half-light and lack of sleep conspire to create nine long and ever-unpeeling tracks of stellar consciousness. Released on Boring Machines Records (www.boringmachines.it
), THE RED GIANT MEETS THE WHITE DWARF throughout its length sounds futuristic and spacey, disengaged from reality and utterly compelling.
HUNTS AND WARS by Ten Horned Beast
England’s Ten Horned Beast, on the other hand, compels listeners by its earthliness, its dark pagan earthliness that rises slowly in the sap of each listener, dragging us all down into some dark psychic grove and leaving us hanging; the sounds on this new album HUNTS AND WARS lying somewhere between the Black Metal of Furze, the funereal rituals of Wolfmangler and the ambient seepage of Ireland’s To Blacken The Pages, as sawn cellos, far distant electronic percussion, disembodied voices, orchestral gorgeousness and diabolical post-industrial noise create a futuristic and far distant post-apocalyptic scenario in which broken modern technology still bleeps and cheeps in its arduous death throes. Phew. Released on Northampton’s excellent Cold Spring Records (www.coldspring.co.uk
), Ten Horned Beast’s massive reality is just the kind of useful psychic poultice we all need in these post-Doom days.
I CAN FEEL THE MOLD IN ME by Zacht Automaat
Next up, please check out the superb I CAN FEEL THE MOLD IN ME from Canadian duo Zacht Automaat, which brews up some well-stewed W. Coast Sandozian freakout, plenny of nightmarish J. Meek and channels some tremendously mucky sub-‘Ultima Thule’ T. Dream motorik clatter, and all o’this via found sounds, berserk organ’drum duels and peak periods of Bavarian Knees-up. Imagine Holger Czukay and Uwe Nettlebeck constructing a mash-up LP from early German jazz, TV themes and Soft Machine out-takes and yooz close to hitting these druids’ pleasure centres, who (I must add) never outstay their welcome, each sonic foray involving audacious opening moments then fucking off right quick like. It’s a canny approach that leaves listeners still requiring more more more. So score this extremely useful mofo from www.myspace.com/zachtautomaat
, and tell ‘em the Drude sent ya!
NO ROOM FOR THE WEAK by Father Murphy
Now, I know I’m damned late with this latest Father Murphy EP, but I lost the fucker behind my vinyl stack for over a month din’t I and have only now just rescued it. Which was it turns out totally essential because NO ROOM FOR THE WEAK showcases this Italian trio at their absolute best, delivering to our doors twenty majestic minutes of dark organ’n’drum-led ritual and vocally assured weirdness. When this ensemble supported me in Rome a year or so ago, their set was remarkable both for its multiple set pieces and its fairly minimal instrumentation. Herein, Father Murphy once more prove their intense self-reliance, bringing forth four compelling tracks that defy description but bear endless repeated playing. Released on 10” vinyl through New Jersey’s Aagoo Records (www.aagoo.com
) and on CD through Italy’s oft-excellent Boring Machines (www.boringmachines.it
), this is a wonderfully complete and finished piece of work.
SPLIT 12" LP by Gnod/A Middle Sex
Finally, Vinyl of the Month goes this March to Blackest Rainbow Records’ wonderfuel limited 400-edition split between the Mancunian trio A Middle Sex and their Manny brethren – that huge multi-instrumental collective known as Gnod, who commence this trip with their side-long ‘Why Don’t You Smile Like The Other Children?’ Gnod’s monotonous muse is a trudging, unchanging forced march across endless inner miles of scorched earth and OUTSIDE THE DREAM SYNDICATE post-apocalypse. Octave guitars and concussion set up the dirge which plateaus almost immediately, gradually acquiring all kinds of dubious sonic camp followers clustering around its skirts – chanters, pipers, flautists, horn player, triangle players, tambourinists, you gname it. And all the time the bass, guitar and drummers beat out their faithful and timeless monoriff. Magickal, meditative and highly useful it is too. As is A Middle Sex’s enormous side-long rejoinder ‘Polytheism’, which – somewhat in the manner of People’s legendary experimental LP BUDDHA MEETS ROCK – bucks and broncos its way through seemingly endless minefields of live electronics and ragged’n’raging percussion freakouts to achieve a veritable plateau of sonic nirvana. C’mon now! Yes kiddies, this split LP is one superb release indeed. Buy this motherfucker from www.boomkat.com/vinyl/367712-gnod-a-middle-sex-split-lp
, and do hurry before said edition runs out!
Okay, with all that said I shall leave y’all now, safe in the knowledge that the days are growing longer and Spring is so clearly just around the corner.
Love reign upon Y’All,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)