Taking a break from recording sessions for his new album DOME OF THE ROCK, Black Sheep Holy McGrail surveys the distant horizons of Salisbury Plain from high atop the 5,000-year-old Wiltshire longbarrow of Adam’s Grave, the erstwhile Wodensbury of Saxon legend.
While there have been some fine first responses to the initial release of my 720-page COPENDIUM – and even from several kind musicians whose Album of the Month was not chosen for inclusion in the book – I’m still forced to admit that my real excitement comes this month from the news that KRAUTROCKSAMPLER has been translated into Russian! Yup, to this Rûssky-learning ‘70s Son of A Clockwork Orange there can be no higher accolade than seeing my work rendered in THAT alphabet! Other big news is Holy McGrail’s forthcoming double-CD DOME OF THE ROCK, whose sedated grooves – from what I’ve heard thus far – pursue with even more finality his obsession with making time stop utterly. Other impending Black Sheep activity to make note of includes Black Sheep VC’s proposed tour of Severn-Cotswold tombs, and a superb 40-minute-long underground film by the head of our Blasphemous Movie Division. And if all that sounds a little too beguiling, that’s because it probably is…
BLAKK METAL by Fat Paul
Right, meanwhile over at the Reviews Section, there’s a brand new burnt offering just hit the paving slabs from our very own Fuck Off & Di label. And fuck me if it ain’t yet another Black Sheep project springing up. Yup, the Black Sheep’s Fat Paul this time – DJ, synthesist and drummer of Old Bristol – has just brung forth BLAKK METAL, an impeccably executed 51-minute mash-up (lash-up, slash-up, fuck-up, schtup-up, cock-up/mock-up, what have ye), the results being actually a convincing and highly comprehensive conflation of the entire Black Metal genre. Phew. Plundering and sampling uncanny events from over 200 different Black Metal LPs and cassettes, Fat Paul has laid them end-to-end both psychically and sonically, then daubed across its length even more of this harshly unrighteous sonic plaque, creating one hugely useful, and at times even ambient, black meditation. It’s catchy, it’s more-ish, and it’s the last word in annoying any nay-saying neighbours, kiddies! So click here
and grab this here highly limited Fuck Off & Di edition while ye still can, run yourself a bath of blood, and sigh with sweet relief as the pains of the day slip softly away. Yewwww!!!!
SIGNALS TO A HABITABLE ZONE by Long Distance Poison
Another extremely rich essential that should be added to the personal library of every 21st century motherfucker is SIGNALS TO A HABITABLE ZONE by the American trio Long Distance Poison. Released in a sumptuous clear vinyl edition with accompanying CD and DVD, this ensemble truly knows what deals are required in order best to win the Gurdjeffian hearts of their potential audience, and Long Distance Poison delivers its querulous pulsing sonic emanations like three Godlike beings attending to the slow ritual roasting of some titanic sacred calf. Sonic catering? U-Betcha! Released on Fin Records
, SIGNALS TO A HABITABLE ZONE succeeds because it dares to deploy all of the appropriate bleeps and whirrs calculated to send listeners spinning into a deep trance, yet achieves this all with enuff personal style to bring forth an entirely refreshing sonic Weltanshauung. In other words, they don’t sound like anyone but themselves. Bravo, indeed so very bra-very-fucking-voh that we gotta coupla copies of this LP/CD/DVD right here on the Head Heritage Merchandiser
. Righty Ho!
Self-titled by Zulus
Next up, the raucous self-titled debut by Brooklyn trio Zulus delivers eight brief but punishing outsider anthems from these Slades of the New No Wave. Last year’s ‘Midnite Cobras’ by the amazing Tonstartssbandht? This record plumbs those same sonic depthssssssss … sweet! Here as raw as Flipper, there as stentorian as the early Banshees, Zulus is a call-and-answer Shriek Robotique, an alienated aaargh tilting at the windmills of remote governments, eight inchoate yet suppressed complain-o-thons from ant-sized musicians performing in Zeppelinring-size arenas to no known demographic. Zulus’ performances are captured in cathedral-sized antrons of the Greek Gods, in their minds performed to narrow-minded audiences of Totalitarian regimes, whereupon hearing their healing riffage the minions break free and join the band on stage for Revolution and Rioting via yet anutha Holy Moronic football terrace anthem of the sun. Released on Aagoo Records
, this too brief Zulus debut kacks big logs on most current rock’n’roll, and from a big height, too.
HYMNS & GHOSTS by Lost Harbours
I’ve lately been entranced by the stately folk and ambient imbalance of HYMNS & GHOSTS by Southend-on-Sea duo Lost Harbours, who alternately set up vast hillsides of heathen chorales and natural rushing wind followed by dextrous flute and guitar pieces, or Matt Baldwin-style instrumentals backed only by short wave radio and Peter Hammill-alike vocals. Alienating but compelling, HYMNS & GHOSTS takes place in a large glass-roofed museum during rainy hot weather, and projects such an insular worldview that listeners feel ejected from its cocoon at disc’s end. Released on Liminal Noise Tapes
, Lost Harbours might even yield a larger listening audience were they to separate the overblown experiments from the pert guitar achievements. Their real charm, however, is precisely this highly unlikely and surprisingly necessary combination.
NO by Old Man Gloom
Now what can I say about NO by underground U.S. supergroup Old Man Gloom, other than it’s a compelling and seamlessly sequenced concept metal album full of shuddering, tectonic heaving, furious troll vocals, burned-out axe feedback and massively over-recorded black anthems. Disorientating as any choice psychedelic album, NO leaves listeners groping for the door, unaware of the time of day, the name of the song, or even what instrument is making THAT noise. Sure, there’s plenny of dynamics in here, so much so indeed that loose jawed moments of true cunted Ambulence are occasionally achieved. However, those helpful signposts are too few and far between to save us, some even being painted over in order to aid Old Man Gloom’s extended guerrilla war with its audience. That hard. Released on Hydrahead Records
, this dark one hour masterpiece should best be experienced by listeners with the correct attitude, ie: you just gots to sit down and watch the world disappear before the wind tunnel of Old Man Gloom’s onslaught.
THE LOST TAPES (1968-75) by Can
Okay, next up, Krautheads worldwide should rush to get their grubby mitts on the fabulous 3CD box THE LOST TAPES (1968-75) by Can. Released on their own Spoon Records
, in a handsome 10” reel-to-reel style box, with excellent notes by Irmin Schmidt, real Caniacs are guaranteed at least ninety minutes of essential and ‘brand new’ Can, plus a whole slew of workouts, live vershes of classic album tracks and ‘behind-the-scenes’ proto demos of what was to come. Holy Shit, brothers’n’sisters, this is some good stuff they’ze dealing us. From 1968, seemingly out-of-nowhere come three amazing Malcolm Mooney stone classics: ‘Midnight Sky’, ‘Waiting For the Streetcar” and ‘Deadly Doris” are all compelling, musically brilliant, and eerily sum up Mooney’s bizarre conflation of Lou Reed-type stories with a delivery straight outta the Last Poets. From 1969 emanates the quarter-hour-plus vengeance rock of ‘Graublau’, a massive series of cut-up avant-motorik jams somewhat like the Doors playing FUNHOUSE. From 1971, the similarly enormous “Messer, Scissors, Fork & Light” captures the band at the end of their TAGO MAGO-period actually in the alchemical process of building the bridge to the following year’s EGE BAMYASI. From 1972, comes the exhilarating 9-minute Damo-led fuzz frenz-out ‘Bubble Rap’, along with the intricately themed 12-minute brilliance of ‘Dead Pigeon Suite’. Oh, this box is just Plethora City for shit damn sure. Sure, there’s a coupla weaker tracks here’n’there. But (fuck me), this band was a Force of Nature like no other; tell me who else has similar pole-position championship contenders lounging unreleased and unappraised on their toppermost, forgottenest archive shelves? No other fuckers, that’s who.
COPAL FLOW by Wakinyan
Vinyl of the Month must surely go to Italian commune ensemble Wakinyan, whose startling debut COPAL FLOW sounds like the work of some hermetic commune who perform their rituals only in fissures in the rock, in caves and great antrons, and who successfully (and long ago) abandoned organised society. Wow, this is one superb motherfucker, motherfuckers! Like Zodiac Mountain and TiMOTHy Revelator, Wakinyan walk with the dead, atavistic conjurors barfing up long lost chants from long outlawed cults. Massed percussion, analogue synth drones, sleigh bells, an anvil, hand drums, all collude with golden voiced female singers and droning folk instruments to create an ever tumbling, stumbling avalanche of glorious ritual heat, a huge human tingel-tangel of fire spirits. And over all of this spouts a male MC, summoning up the ancestors in a truly effective way. Imagine Excepter had been reared not in the electricity of New York but in the foothills of some Meso-American Ur-culture, and you’re reaching Wakinyan’s bucolic pleasure centres. Resplendent in its sumptuous gatefold sleeve, COPAL FLOW is such an extraordinary debut that I felt obliged to secure a few copies of this compelling work for our own Merchandiser (AND a couple of the special limited edition of 50, too). So those of you kiddies who NEED the transformation should now press this heavy Head Heritage lever
and let our Merchandiser do its righteous work.
Finally, I’d just like to make mention of Head Heritage’s Vinyl Sale #2 – the second of our one-price Clearance Sale of fine underground albums from the last decade. Many of these LPs on offer made it to my Reviews Section, and most have been played no more than twice or thrice (some once only). So do click here if you’d like to receive the list (or haven’t received it automatically).
Finally finally, in preparation for my forthcoming September/October mini-tour, I’ve decided to release my enormous Ambulent 72-minute work WODEN, a 1997CE recording made with just VCS3 synthesizer, field recordings and a Mellotron 400. Although I had always intended to release this album ‘sometime’, the unexpected success of 1999’s ODIN shunted this equally mysterious sibling to the back of my mind, and it was only recently that I rediscovered just how dang useful the thing is! And I shall, of course, add as many Woden poems and bits of pertinent Woden info into ye packaging.
Right oh, that’s me done for yet another month. And as I’ve absolutely nothing at all to say about the London Olympics, I can only wish you good luck with what’s left of this 2012 ‘summer’.
Love be upon y’all,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)