Hope you’re all rallying in preparation for this Yuletime celebration; I know I’m ready to receive all and any puddings that get thrown my way. Yup, I’m still recovering from the thrill of finishing my novel ONE THREE ONE and even basking somewhat in its positive reception by Faber & Faber’s Head of Fiction. No, I’m not crowing about having concluded this motherlode, but ‘Hunter S. Thompson meets Robert Graves’ was the description flying out of Faber’s offices last week, so – er – Look out! In the meantime, the end of this project – five years in the conceiving and writing – ensures that we can now leave Yatesbury after 18 long years. My daughters Albany and Avalon have most serpently enjoyed growing up in comparative seclusion, but all of us have a yen to get out and travel again! Yowzah!
PODEROSO SE ALZA EN MY by Pylar
Righty ho, let’s get over to the December Reviews Section, where Pole Position goes to PODEROSO SE ALZA EN MY by Spain’s epic quartet Pylar. Kiddies, if you have one CD’s worth of cash spare this X-Mass, make this your only goal. For this magnificent record – released on the superb Knockturne label
– brought me close to resurrecting my old Album of the Month! That good? Yup, THAT good! Exhibiting that same vast Mithraic sense of ritual that made the Orthodox debut so incredible, PODEROSO SE ALZA EN MY moves through such a deft series of Mediterranean moves that it seems to me that Pylar have left any northern rock consciousness behind. Instead, Pylar inhabit a soundscape closer to Japanese or even Chinese performance music. Monkish vocals, demonic vocals, shamanic dervish vocals: but always vocals lie at the heart of their sound. Yes, there are seven tracks. But as each segues seamlessly into the next, the effect is as fluid and complete as The Residents’ epic ESKIMO, though about five times better. Bravo gentlemen! Superb and essential!
SICK ON MY JOURNEY by Haikai No Ku
Next up, take a listen to the sonic devastation of SICK ON MY JOURNEY by power trio Haikai no Ku, whose wall-of-noise and Titanic celebrations of Midrange are a joy to behold. Despite their fake Japanese name and scrupulous attention to overdubbing, this bunch is entirely itself, bearing all the Matamps-Thrown-Down-Elevator-Liftshafts sonic attack of Les Rallizes Dénudés, but without the supremely IQ-lessness of Mizutani’s cohorts – truly the Billy Talbots of the Underground. Indeed, although the Dutch record company Burning World
claim that this band plays ‘Death Toll Blues’ in the vein of Mizutani’s finest and Kawabata’s Mainliner, please be aware that this is something of a red herring. For musically at least Haikai no Ku exhibit none of the pre-teen pedestrian Lümpenhippy Velvetsisms that Mizutani requires in order to clear his psychic custard (hell, this drummer sounds like he’s got a whole kit!), nor even any of the post-Blue Cheer, sub-High Rise wipe-outs of Kawabata Makoto’s transcendental Mainliner. But fear not, my kiddies, for instead, Haikai no Ku present us with their very own brand new trip AND it’s just as stupid and petulantly ramalaming as any of the aforemenched. So grab this slice of brown vinyl with its free CD and dig dig dig it! Stuperb debut LP, gentlemen!
INCOGNITA by K.K. Null, Israel Martinez and Lumen Lab
Those of you with a need for all-enveloping ambulant mindwarp should rush to grab a copy of the fabulous INCOGNITA collaboration by Tokyo composer K.K. Null, and Mexican experimentalists Israel Martinez and Lumen Lab. Fucking hell, kiddies, this is a bastard of the good! Released on the excellent Aagoo Records (www.aagoo.com), this untitled quartet of vast instrumental epics sound like field recordings patiently collected by Soviet scientists aboard a rather manky space freighter whose built-in studio accidentally dumped random amounts of static mung atop the results, which clank and simmer with all the sonic seasonings of CLUSTER 1. Digital distortion anyone? U Betcha! Catterwauling clouds of analogue oe’rwhelmingness? Most assuredly! Beastly living-space invading generators of monolithic Nicht Backing Off-ness? Natch! Smartly clad in a black gatefold sleeve with old gold lettering, this is one party pack to take everywhere this coming season. Check these gentlemen out via kknull.com
. Fuck ja, mein hairies!
Self titled by Niton
Also of exceptional use (and of considerable beauty) is the Live In Concert self-titled debut by Italian ensemble Niton, released on Switzerland’s Pulver Und Asche
label. Showcasing a veritable orchestra of analogue synthesisers, samplers, gongs, Chinese cymbals, bowed cellos, baritone saxes, Spanish guitars, organs, etc., Niton’s music involves the creation of umpteen different tableaux of sound simultaneously, yet exudes at all times the feeling of the recording space itself i.e.: not a regular recording studio. One moment seemingly abandoned to the heavens, the next displaying extremely subtle control, Niton’s experiments with chance and the concert moment shares many characteristics with Japanese meta-ensembles Tetragrammaton, East Bionic Symphonia and Group Ongaku, whose own recordings in art galleries also relished the actual environment in which the sound was laid down. A highly beautiful experience, Brothers’n’sisters.
LET'S HANG OUT by Quttinirpaaq
Finally, December’s Vinyl of the Month must surely go to those miscreants of stumbling inchoate noise: America’s Quttinirpaaq, who’s new LP LET’S HANG OUT should satisfy everyone from the most lugubrious of Liquorball fans to aficionados of the dislocated post-HALF MACHINE LIP MOVES Chrome moves of ‘80s Factrix. Highly disorientating and incandescent abruptures of Mung Worship issue forth with neither attention to beginnings, endings or even the correct speed! Beautifully shafting the listener into a coma of What-The-Fuck-ness. Guitars at 16 rpm are accompanied by drums at 78 rpm, cadaverous voices that sound correct at no speed dominate the proceedings, somebody roasts Von LMO over a spit in the near distance whilst members of Monoshock and the Butthole Surfers do battle over who should supply the most inappropriate song titles. Betters still, kiddies, this doleful collection arrives on clear blood-splatter vinyl with some muzzied-up pre-Lord Kitchener on the label. Sergeant Pepper this ain’t. Get your own copy from the excellent Rural Isolation Project
, or zoom over to quttinirpaaq.bandcamp.com
, and get a load of that midrange! Phew!
Right, all that is left now is for me to wish you all a truly Odinist X-Mass full of truth and poetry and moments and physical release and deep deep passion. Let’s hope the Man who controls our Greater Collective Ass dies in the night, or at least lapses into a seasonal coma, opts out at last with ‘Sweat The Small Stuff’ overload. Let’s hope for generosity in this darkest of seasons, let’s all hope for that – beautifl (sic) people.
JULIAN (Lord Yatesbury)
ARCHDRUDE OF WESSEX