Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

October Drudion

October 2013ce

The Archdrude at home, above his head Black Sheep artist Hebbs’ rendition of Scottish anarchist Ethel MacDonald. (Photo: Avalon Cope)

Hey Drudion,

Dammit, there’s never nearly enough time for a man to live. Who knows where the time goes? It seems almost yesterday that the Sun was rising northeasterly, now it struggles at the south and still my novel ONE THREE ONE remains unfinished. Hmm, I never have written fiction before but how important it’s been to keep a lid on these characters. Hardly. Still, please be aware that my Drudion this month is – due to the behaviour of certain fictitious characters – less of a chance for personal comment and more of an opportunity to sell you on some new sounds. So here goes:

DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER by Orthodox

First place in this month’s Reviews Section goes to those three True Practitioners of Spain’s Orthodox, whose new live cassette album DER FLIEGENDE HOLLANDER represents these motherfuckers better even than KISS ALIVE captured the Gene & Co. I’ll tell you this, brothers’n’sisters, I’ve never before seen such a specific and long term rock’n’roll programme enacted as that one currently being laid out for us by Messrs. Serrato, Jiménez and Díaz. They’ve always been way ahead of my predictions, and then some. Marco Serrato’s solo projects and collaborations are often as essential as the main act, and even his sorties into free doublebass produce always genuinely spectacular outbursts. Released on the new Knockturne Records label, Orthodox are joined occasionally on synthesizers and laptops played by Serrato’s collaborator David Cordero. But the overall effect of this Seville concert is of a band at the peak of their powers, not unlike Can in many ways. For although these dazzlers could easily turn their hand to Olympian displays, they’re never dextrous for dexterity’s sake, always playing harder and harder and ever ready to unleash Venom’s ‘At War With Satan’, should that unlikely need arise.

ONLY DEAD BIRDS SING OVER GRAVES OF FALLEN KINGS by Albatwitch

Yup kiddies, the smoke and flames of these early 2000s will soon clear, and the true practitioners of those times will stand righteously head-and-shoulders above those merely talented ones who were too easily diverted. Right on. Orthodox will most serpently be there as will TiMOTHy Revelator, whose latest Insider Transmission will appeal to all of those with a penchant for experiencing their ecstatic Ur-folk at the interface of Black Metal. Kiddies, you most assuredly gots to check out the fabulous ONLY DEAD BIRDS SING OVER GRAVES OF FALLEN KINGS by Albatwitch, the Revelator’s latest put-together. Hell, these Druids sound as though they all share a single long caravan in Somerset, overlooking a 4x4 tuning park, whilst next to them a silo hums throughout the day and night. How does this work? What is its Creator’s endgame? In what Christian world do such trolls get to play their part? Search me, my kiddies! Better just let him get on with the autojumble if the results are this good! Released on TiMOTHy Revelator’s Dark Holler Arts, and containing (as-often-as-not) that Ur-banjo from Hel, it is a truly uplifting to experience the Revelator unsullied even whilst roosting amidst this metal nest.

OBSOLETE by ZX Electric

Moving on, I’ve been very moved lately by the tragically lonesome sound of ZX Electric, whose too brief 10-song debut LP OBSOLETE showcases as tragic a bunch of psychedelic soul songs as I’ve heard in an age, and all sung with truly beautiful anguish by lead singer Ben Mawdsley. This is an intriguing combination indeed, as Mawdsley croons, intones, even gets down on his hands and knees to deliver to listeners – across such despairing titles as ‘Attrition’, ‘Crisis Point’, ‘Darkest Fears’ and ‘Final Feeling’ – every morsel of his agony. But all the time behind him rage Mawdsley’s own gremlins, every one of them wielding ring modulators and banks of synthesizers and clearly visible for all but the artist himself to see, conjuring up a cranky Joe Meekian post-punk production and Dalek I Love You cinema sound of such novel dropout proportions that their FX even occasionally overwhelm their singer’s grand performance. No, I am not complaining – it’s too rare nowadays to do anything else but cheer such behaviour! Check out ZX Electric at zxelectric.bandcamp.com and let’s hope some discerning vinyl label takes their chances on this beautiful debut.

MALEFICA LAMIAH by Pombagira

Another essential purchase this month, kiddies, must be the epic MALEFICIA LAMIAH by doom duo Pombagira, whose two side-long dark celebrations both triumph utterly because of guitarist P. Hamilton-Giles’ near Iommian ability to unleash perfect and perfectly moving hard rock riffs at the drop of Odin’s Hat. What? This druid is one canny beast, coming on all raw Amon Düül 2, as Teutonic dark as you could get, then pushing into dark SABBATH BLOODY SABBATH overdubbed richness, then falling down and down into gas guzzling sub-Pink Fairies, sub-Terry Ollis-period Hawkwind territory. Hell kiddies, this motherfucker even challenges Death Comes Along for their sacred use of the sheer bleeding obvious, here fetched up as the daringly obvious. The spectack overall effect created is one seamless succession of compelling and inspiring moves upwards, the trajectory always upwards. Then, upon building as far as is possible, the tempo rough cuts and a new low-strung axe-wielder whisks the Persian rug from under us. Released on their own Black Axis Records, Pombagira take up Sleep’s own tattered banner, ride it into some great Goddess trilogy and make the stones of Avebury their prime motif. An epic Yowzah! An epic album!

EMANATIONS FOR A RETURNING by Dark Sunny Land

Also, do try and search out the delightful and highly useful EMANATIONS FOR A RETURNING by Boston’s Dark Sunny Land. Released on One Hand Records, this limited vinyl edition shakes and sparkles with that same shimmer as Japanese Gagaku ceremonies, all Timeless and Hazy and Almost and Nearly. It’s probably those singing bowls that throw time off so, or perhaps the household objects, or maybe even the subtly rendered Theremin. Indeed, I’m loathe to compare this vinyl LP with anything too specific, for it is entirely itself. Yes, the music of Dark Sunny Land occupies mostly a peculiar heat haze hinterland, a semi-permanent perch that always appears to threaten a massive increase in volume, but never does. But EMANATIONS FOR A BURNING is a fine LP housed in a delightful art sleeve, and it don’t half endlessly repeat well, Motherfuckers.

NOCTURAMA: VISTAS OF SOMBRE by The Underground River

For those of you searching for that particularly English and highly emotional kind of psychedelic statement, try the intriguing NOCTURAMA: VISTAS OF SOMBRE by The Underground River. Accompanied by a monochrome 20-page A5 booklet and all dedicated by its English creator John Heron to the World War One landscapes around the Low Countries, this is an independently produced PEGGY SUICIDE, a wide-ranging and highly repeatable experience that would – back in the ‘70s – have seen a release on Harvest or maybe Virgin’s Caroline label. Endlessly listenable and rich through and through, NOCTURAMA: VISTAS OF SOMBRE is chock full of bucolic 12-strings doling out extra-terrestrial Burt Bacharach chords, S. Barrettian excursions, rich English pop lead vocals, spoken poetic declamations, imbalanced mixes that throttle your synapses barely moments after causing your tears to be shed, post-post-Wire 154 psychedelia in the Of Arrowe Hill tradition. This Gnostic 4-sided avalanche succeeds so well because it is ultimately powered by the melted plastic mind of one Visionary songwriter. And boy did he keep an eye on things. Released on The Underground River’s own Ur-Conduit label, I suggest you all dash over to u-river.bandcamp.com and demand both CD and booklet, and pronto, Tonto.

GAMMA by Vip Cancro

Vinyl of the Month must surely go to the epic GAMMA by Italian quartet Vip Cancro, whose startlingly out there performance pitches the ensemble against such Krautrock epics as German Oak, Yatha Sidra and early Guru Guru. Indeed, for anyone requiring brain tissue abandonment GAMMA will entirely do you justice. Their peculiar line-up of two synthesists, bass player and samples places Vip Cancro into a pure avant-garde territory, allowing splendid outbursts of canon-like percussion, and cinematic levels of monochrome noise. Released on the excellent Lisca Records label in a superb textured gatefold sleeve, this band understand their metaphor so well that they luxuriate in it, steep themselves for as long as possible then stretch that sucker out as far as they can. Bravo, gentlemen. Many thanks for such a beautiful outburst!

All right all you kiddies, that’s about it for October. One near final personal note goes out to Scotland’s Paul Kidney Experience. Gentlemen, your new album is fucking excellent, highly useful and needs nothing but a proper patron behind it. Of course we could offer you a highly limited Fuck Off & Di release should you need it to fall back on, or even to use as a springboard as did Comets On Fire, Slomo and Cadaverous Condition. But beyond that, all I can suggest is keep digging and some visionary with the necessary dues with prevail. Righty ho, mein motherfuckers, now I’m off back to the grindstone for another burst of ONE THREE ONE.

See y’all soon as possible,

Love on y’all,

JULIAN (Archdrude of Wessex)