Hoping to curry favour with anti-capitalists around the world, the Archdrude chooses this month to unleash his revolutionary dining-set! Oi, sit down at the back! (Photo: Avalon Cope)
After the wettest, coldest spring in 50 years, I’m delighted to say that my new album REVOLUTIONARY SUICIDE appears to be acting as the wake-up call I’d hoped for. First reports regarding the 15-minute epic ‘The Armenian Genocide’ come from the film-maker Zareh Tjeknavorian, whose family I stayed with during my 2003CE sojourn to Mt. Ararat, and whose copy of the song arrived (no shit!) on the official first day of the Genocide: April 24th. Zareh is going to make an accompanying movie for the song, and there may even by an Armenian EP on the way. Of the song: Mr Tjeknavorian writes: “The Bosch-like landscape of your words-as-images … the sing-along, choreomanic chorus ... the counterpoint of words so dark and searing with music so bright and sweeping is what makes this indelible ... There is an unspeakable heartbreak at the center … with genuine compassion for those women and children that pass, vulnerable and naked, through our ears and before our eyes. And for all the unfathomable sorrow it divines, its gorgeousness, its sweetness, it's transcendent major-keyness, is the noblest form of tribute to them.” Brothers’n’sisters, I don’t mean to harp on, but this particular song is as searing and painful a piece as I’ve ever attempted. That it works at all is only due to the life of recording experience I’ve gained these past decades, and the song still requires a quiet room and low lighting for me to listen without breaking up. Of the rest of the album, Quest List subscribers will soon be receiving a link to a Head Heritage RADIO SPOT which showcases excerpts from several of the new songs and also helps to bring context to this (ahem) unusual record. In the meantime, let’s all hope for no more ritual slaughter on our own streets and send our thoughts to the mother at the end of that final, loving text. New levels of not getting it, or what?
EPILOGUE M by Marcus Fjellstrom
Okay, let’s move on now to the Reviews Section, which commences with a look at the superb film music of EPILOGUE M, a half-hour long EP released on the Rev. Lab. Label
by Swedish composer Marcus Fjellstrom. Ranging from Clusteresque sound collages to full-on orchestrations of brass and strings, Fjellstrom’s music herein often occupies a semi-ambient, between-time arena in which endless chromatic gagaku rituals of water percussion and ox horns are here subverted by rounds of solemn strings, and there tripped up by lavish Carl Orff-like outpourings of gloriously rich sonorous nature. Lazy atonal Scott Walker strings (‘Such A Small Love’) are invaded by brash Saxon heralds wielding poorly played trumpets. And all the while rampant electro-tuned percussion rears up on the very edge of feedback as electro-tympanis pound. Phew. Indeed, it’s the shimmering early Japanese nature of music of this EP that makes it so repeatable, and makes me wish for a long album of such stuff. Check out Mr Fjellstrom via aagoo.com
, and look out for the posters that accompany this superb work. It’s the rock.
REPRISEN UND INSTRUMENTALSTUECKE by Jahrtal
Next up, I was shocked to receive the excellent Jahrtal album REPRISEN UND INSTRUMENTALSTUECKE as a re-issue! Dammit, how did I miss this gorgeous fabulousness when it escaped as a Sloow Tapes CD-R back in 2009CE? Sure, I’d reviewed their debut one year earlier, but this is an absolute joy. Imagine a low low church organ fölk music of a very un-Gallic variety, orchestrated here-and-there with flutes and acoustic guitars in a somewhat austere Dansk-meets-Orkneys vibe, but all recorded by a producer intent on pulling psychedelic sonic moves when least expected. Lovers of Steinklang’s errant Alpen muse will most likely be drawn into this icy Odin’s web, even Dark Folkies arriving from a metal haven might well jump aboard Jahtral’s crisp, windless sojourns, while – if only because of their singular choice of instrumentation – ‘70s Underground spectres such as Nico’s DESERTSHORE and MARBLE INDEX and Ivor Cutler’s two Virgin Records LPs hover banshee-like above this entire record. Re-released on Merlin’s Nose Records
, this is a tremendous record both for the ears and for the mental health, brothers’n’sisters, and its 52 minutes should be subsumed into the melted plastic minds AND record collections of all of you demanding psychic relief from this modern world. Oo ja!
CONOCE LOS CAMINOS by Orthodox
Hmm, I reckon this month is something of a re-issue frenzy, kiddies. First off, please check out the totally mind manifesting double-CD CONOCE LOS CAMINOS, by Spain’s most inventive and adventurous trio Orthodox. Released on the excellent Alone Records
, this marvellous and lavish package showcases the Orthodox rise from that startlingly arid and Mithraic doom self-titled debut, through their daring dance with free jazz (!) to their current neo-religious awesomeness, via their sub-Venom and (quite compelling) ‘At War With Satan’ obsessions. Orthodox occupy a latitude all their own. Indeed, so often is singer Marco Serrato o’erhung with the burning shroud of 666-period Aphrodite’s Child that even the AOR-steeped Demis Roussos would, on hearing this bunch, genuinely wonder (if only for an itchy micro-second) what his own larynx could be capable of if only a suitably Orthodox-esque ensemble could be assembled. And who but Orthodox could be relied upon to provide a new take on Black Sabbath’s hoary title-song. No fucker, that’s who. Chock-a-block with ideas and Orthodox’s far-fetched-yet-plausible notions of what Heavy Metal can be, this double-CD is a valuable and thoroughly entertaining overview of a band that is true. I know because I still have their first press release. At the time, I muttered ‘humbug’ under my breath, but these three adventurados have remained true to the trail. Salutes, gentlemen. What riches your next decade shall undoubtedly bring!
WE ARE UCHU NO KO by Afrirampo
Yup, it’s deffo a re-issue month this June 2013. For next up I gots to inform you of a fearless Japanese band, a bizarre and truly fabulous female duo whose acquaintance I made only after they went kaput! Ja, mein hairies: dissolved already! Going by the name of Afrirampo, the record I wanna wax lyrical over is a luxuriously-packaged 2CD final release entitled WE ARE UCHU NO KO and released on Mogwai’s fairly new Rock Action label
. Where to start? Brothers’n’sisters, this duo were two motherfucker tiny Nihonese ladies with the energies of miniature Friggs and Freyas, and the voices of the Ancestral dead (just check out ‘Hoshi No Uta’). Afrirampo’s music appears to be born of: 1) a fraternal love and endless hanging out, 2) a robust and coherently propellant Vision that manifests on these discs as a determination to play far far outside their apparent restrictions, and 3) a journey into Africa several years ago whose tribes genuinely affected and inhabit these artistes. No holds barred, these two warriors perform heavily arranged vocal ritual duets whilst simultaneously orchestrating themselves with just guitars and percussion/drums. Bravo that it works, bravo that this daring is caught on record. Without warning, beautiful vocal duets will collapse into guitar berserk-outs of considerable force and power. Sonic overload is never far away. Even seemingly cute ballads threaten to bubble and volcano-ize, and there is a permanent edginess to everything these ladies turn their hands to. The near quarter-of-an-hour of ‘Whyto’ takes a Krautrock drone into classic Tractor-meets-Pete Banks-period TIME & A WORD Yes, the blazing and strident choral vocals always to the fore. Elsewhere, an epic such as the vast ‘Umi’ so relishes its basslessness that the interplay between drummer/singer Pika and guitarist/singer Oni takes on that same B-29 sub-sonic roar as Randy Holden’s epic duo throughout POPULATION 2. Elsewhere, these two effortlessly bestride No Wave adolescent tantrums of real sustained belligerence, ride scree slopes of free rock, manufacture displays of truly Dervish rock’n’roll musicianship at the drop of any number of hats, and still come up smiling, and singing like nothing I’ve heard before. Scorching music, me babbies. They had such a spirit and I missed it! Still, better late than never as Arthurly sung. What what? And this 2CD set is a perfect place to begin your worship.
NO VISITORS by Quttinirpaaq
Finally, Vinyl of the Month must surely go to that bunch of Texan ne’er-do-wells Quttinirpaaq, whose blood-red vinyl LP NO VISITORS dances indelicately and unconsciously between inchoate and stumbling no chance Geetar (pe-)riffery one moment and sub-sub-Suicide ROIR cassette-level lo-fi instraludes the next; between Monoshock v. Working Man Noise Unit microphone feedback wars, and/or interspersed with random cut-ups of Kramer’s Shockabilly rehearsals. You wanna Spahn Ranch hoedown by the wind and its most rock’n’roll mates? You goddit? You need need need more Liquorball but their release schedule stinks? Come to these guys… the only show in town, currently. Released on the immaculately titled Rural Isolation Projects
label, this is one of the best 45rpm LPs of recent months. Come to think of it, it’s also one of the best 33rpm LPs of recent months! Dammit kiddies, that useful! That fucking useful!
Right, before I go, I should make a few comments about my forthcoming novel 131, which I’m aiming to deliver to Faber & Faber in August. Kiddies, I may have mentioned this before, but this is the first novel to have been commissioned with a soundtrack. Those of you who attended the Manchester COPENDIUM event will have already heard several songs from this project. But, kiddies, I’m aiming to have hits! Chart hits! Fuck yeah! This novel takes place in a whole other realm but there are so many similarities to our so-called real world that your head will spin. I’ve intended to do this novel for several years now, but the addition of a 2CD soundtrack is gonna make 131 a thrilling vehicle! Awl-right!
Until next month,
Love Upon Y’All,
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)