Reel Torque returns for 2016 with NPLGNN’s raw, sore AF debut album written over the last 3 years in dedication to the Paesaggi Periferici, or Suburban Landscapes, of his home city, Naples in southern Italy. Big recommendation if you're into Basic House, Sand Circles, Andy Stott etc.
After a pair of hoofing 12”s for Where To Now? and OKNO, this album stakes out NPLGNN’s widest parameters between severely knackered techno, hip-shot breakbeats and sun-cracked noise panoramas, and all paradoxically generated or drawn-out from from one small piece of relatively outmoded, untrendy gear; the Korg Electribe EMX1.
Each track was recorded live in one take, wringing out a series of slamming, broken rhythms and thistly textures; each drum hit and pad modelled with an in-built noise applied from the machine’s tactile on-board FX, resulting a rudimentary but gripping development of 10 bittersweet, discordant grooves with a perhaps surprising amount of emotive payload and turn of phrase.
In a sense it could be said to follow Mark Fell’s minimalist mantra of getting the most out of one bit of kit, or working within self-imposed limitations, as opposed to accumulating more and more gear and losing yourself in illusory process and exercise. And funnily enough, it also sounds like a personal cassette compilation of experiments from the early daze of Sheffield rave, albeit one left to marinate in a derelict tower block thru the seasons for the last 25 years.
The tape format definitely suits the album’s fidelity best for a thorough listen - we imagine jamming it your car or while cooking spicy grub - but, for the first time on Reel Torque, the tracks are also available to download as a set of individual tracks for club rinse outs.
Intimately captivating collages from Sam McLoughlin (Samandtheplants, N. Racker) and David Chatton Barker (David Orphan) on the Hood Faire label they run with Dean McPhee.
A basket of tangled, imaginary yarns, rustic rap, Yorkshire-accented poetry and wavering accordion reveries, Show Your Sketches Vol.1 reveals the musical fissures and fault lines that don’t usually make it onto finished releases, but collected together form a quietly vital other side of musical practice that’s richly alluring in its own right.
With a faded midday/midnight, midweek, mid-distance quality, Sam McLoughlin’s side feels out the spaces between folk ditty and percussive ritual with a rusty tape blade and confessional lyrics from himself and other, as yet unnamed contributors, strafing from what sounds like Yorkshire’s answer to Lil Kim, to some wicked, doomy accordion wheezers, shuffling pop and seemingly wind-powered drum pieces.
By contrast David Orphan’s side is more wayward, lysergic, distilling fragments from 23 cassettes recorded between 2004 - 2015 into a sensitively layered yet unpredictable sequence of half-heard memories, moments of wistful folk motifs and buckling tape FX. If Cosmic Dennis Greenidge and Wanda Group hung out and listened to lots of wyrd folk and Sahel Sounds, it may sound a bit like this ace side.
Sour, uncompromisingly obtuse ear-bender from Slip’s new pick-up.
“’SK√-1' is the debut Slip missive from British composer Matt Rogers: a suite of solo scorchers belched straight out of the jack of a GravesEnd Casio SK1. Veering between fissured arabesques and apocalyptic anthems, SK√-1 is pumped with a singularly psychotic optimism. Keener ears might detect a manic relation of Oneohtrix Point Never or Heatsick; an eccentric prophet à la Nancarrow or Robert Ashley; a Gameshow Outpatient.
Matt has won the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers; held residencies at London’s Southbank Centre and at Tokyo’s Wonder Site; and produced large scale works for the Royal Opera House, Aldeburgh Music, and the New York Metropolitan Museum Of Art.”
Brilliant, challenging solo debut by one of the Slip masters - employing objets, electronics and vocals; channelling Keiji Haino, Trevor Wishart and OPN via Martyn Ware.
“'Heat, War, Sweat, Law' [SLP029] is British composer Laurie Tompkins’ debut solo recording: a desperate stomp on the bones of Heaven 17’s ‘The Height Of The Fighting’, replete with rabid voices, cracked pots, faltering pipes, spent IKEA bags and egg shakers, and spasmodic ghosts of Martyn Ware synths.
Part foaming rant, part exercise routine, 'HWSL'’s incessant shaking, hammering and yelling wear down soloist, tools, and the tolerance of an audience put upon by a dispersed mob seeking to recruit them in their inane howling and clapping.
Laurie has been commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, the LSO Soundhub Scheme, and the ddmmyy series; performed HWSL in London, Aarhus, and Berlin; made radio programs for Resonance and NTS; and collaborated with Oliver Coates, Otto Willberg, Suze Whaites, and Dori Deng. He co-directs Slip with Tom Rose and Suze Whaites.”
Andy Votel, Sean Canty and Doug Shipton don their overalls for a 2nd volume of Popular Mechanics, rendering a Haynes-worth of synaesthetically-diagrammatic, diffused obscurities, and arriving one year on from the first instalment.
They get right under the bonnet this time, traversing myriad zones of far-flung and esoteric influence recognisable only to the demons/angels on their shoulders overlooking their digging quests. Eerie church bells, early vocoder voices, squealing psych guitars and horror synth vamps writhe over and thru each other for 60 minutes of combustible and unidentifiable sonics; convulsing, arcing and looping into one another with a logic that treads the fine line between unhinged and supernatural.
It’s all spannered in the best way imaginable, and a rare treat for any insatiable heads who require their annual psychedeliconcrètelectrocoustic MOT.
Free Pirelli calendar packed with sexy pics of the trio to anyone who can send us a full tracklist.
Stuart Chalmers (DJ Crackle) and Michael Holland (DJ Skip) make melodic friction from broken and stanley-knifed wax in Broken Records Phantasy for the JCDecaux wing of Ono, dropping hot on the heels of Tom Boogizm’s excellent Posh People Make Me Ill slab.
Plunderphonic frolics to scratch a sampledelic itch; shards of easy listening, R&B, classical music, and whatever-the-chuff-else they could find are screwd, slopped and spliced into place as fractious sequences owing as much to Burroughs and Gysin’s cut-up techniques as much as early Severed Heads’ unorthodox sampling techniques.
The Brandy Song For Supercat cut-up is particularly cheeky.
C42 cassette in polythene bag, stapled to screen-printed board. Housed in white 7” sleeve with A5 colour lino print. Hand-numbered edition of 20. Mastered by Stephen Bishop.
With the arresting drone vistas and fleshly ritual percussions of Sedentary Pigs, Manchester-based illustrator, screen-printer and musician, John Powell-Jones commits the first in his very covetable new Abyss Series.
Conceptually proceeding the bleakly abstract drones and noise of Abyss, and Into the Abyss - both issued by Sacred Tapes in 2015 - here he really begins to adjust to the absence of light; picking out the silhouetted aura of phosphorescing synths and toiling, sparking drum machines with much greater definition than we’ve previously heard from his work.
Where he might previously tend to billow and rage without parameter, these tracks mine a depleted energy reserve of glowing, crystallised condensation, locating a fathomlessly layered and spacious sort of psychedelia that lulls and hypnotises rather than abrades.
But these six cuts aren’t numbed: they’re just more stoically emotive; economical and organised; steeled for bleak futures yet belied by a certain sense of optimism that comes from a lesser known, and often overlooked place.
RIYL Raime, Demdike Stare, Basic House, Conrad Schnitzler, Coil