Thursday, October 19, 2017

Daniel Thomas - Keep The Red Kites Flying





Daniel Thomas - Keep the Red Kites Flying.
Cherry Row Recordings. CRR 010. Black CDR


I’ve been reading David Toop’s book ‘Haunted Weather’ mainly in a futile attempt to make myself more familiar with the nether regions of this [and Toop’s] musical planet. The pages did turn and the lad can write, as easy on the eye when extolling the virtues of people like sound artist Akio Suzuki or the 70’s improv scene in England or Pan Sonic and then, just when I’m getting a grip on him the words ‘stochastic resonance’ spill from the page and I’m once more the thick kid in the maths class chewing the end of his pencil, brain gone to mush when faced with, what for everybody else, is the answer to a simple maths question with brackets in it.

Still, I quite like the sound of stochastic resonance and now that I’ve seen it on the page and know that its a ‘thing’ I plan to use it whenever the opportunity arises; ballads about the sea sung by retired fishermen, ambient Merzbow releases, the new YOL, the possibilities are endless. Stochastic resonance even has a Wiki page and according to it its an ‘area of intense research’. What it actually is ‘is a phenomenon where a signal that is normally too weak to be detected by a sensor, can be boosted by adding white noise to the signal’. Theres more to it than that of course [why else would it be the subject of intense research] but for the uninitiated [me] I see it more as fiddling around with some buttons until a sound appears.

Can I use stochastic resonance in regards to what Daniel Thomas produces? Why not. There’s loads of it or, as is more likely the case, none at all. It makes no odds, its still one of his best releases.

I’ve not been the cheeriest of champions towards Thomas and his Cherry Row imprint of late. The last couple have been distinctly below par and I was beginning to think he’d blown his wad creative wise. I gave him my version of a mercy killing by not reviewing them. But like the solid citizen that he is he doesn’t take his bat home and instead carries on sending me them. This pays off in dividends when after what must be many a month since its initial release, I finally get the to invest in Red Kites the time it deserves and find within its black frame three tracks of contemplative sci-fi spaceship beating heart mainframe electronics that just about pops my socks and gets the five repeat max treatment.

I’ve seen him play live a few times but not recently. Mainly down the Wharf, each time creating atmospheres where time slows to a sludge pace, a crawling soundtrack containing movements that move at a glacial place that may or may not have been once upon a time termed ‘extraction music’ by the Bearded Wonder.

The best track on the album is ‘Enjoy Defiance’ a broken down analogue signaling machine emitting random sunspotted ‘toks’ to a steady 4/4 snare [or the electronic equivalent of] that puts on weight and density like a bodybuilder on steroids. Not unlike the aforementioned Pan Sonic with Leeds and its suburb Sheepscar standing in for Turku and Tampere. A far remove from earlier DT works and the not to be mentioned Cherry Row release that I fear contained some stuck out like sore thumbs 50’s movie samples. No doubt there are labels dedicated to such electronica but I couldn’t tell you the name of one of them. Thomas deserves to be on one of them though. His work has matured and judging from ‘Kites’ its worth you and other labels, seeking out.

‘Float’ and ‘Construction’ are no fillers either. The former a Forbidden Planet outtake that you could almost dance to, a subtle drone underpinning mutated ethnic rhythms before various fizzing ectoplasm's emerge. The latter a lone drive home through Ballardian underpasses, TG like grime smearing the windscreen, cars passing in the opposite direction leaving behind glowing tail light flares.

The online dictionary definition for stochastic reads thus; ‘having a random probability distribution or pattern that may be analysed statistically but may not be predicted precisely’. Resonance I know. I could have turned a corner here. I quite like the sound of the both of them. Literally.




Cherry Row Recordings

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Vokera Fan Bearing













Culver - Negative Gate
At War With False Noise
ATWAR 182. Cassette
50 copies.

VOM - Initiation
At War With False Noise
ATWAR 188. Cassette/DL
100 copies.

Vampyres - Astral Sacrifice
At War With False Noise
ATWAR 189. Cassette/DL

Schlaken - Veneration of Relics
At War With False Noise
ATWAR 186. Cassette/DL

BRB>Voicecoil - Containment
Muzamuza. 18. Cassette

BRB>Voicecoil - Reconfigure Moments
Muzamuza. 19. Cassette

Expose Your Eyes - Disintergration
Dokuro. DK67. - Cassette/DL


I’m not one to get sentimental about inanimate objects but after 21 years of trusty service the sight of our old boiler getting chucked in the back of a van was a sad one. Not just because it gave us 21 years of trusty service but because of the noises it made. The new boiler makes no sound at all, except when its making hot water, the rest of the time its a white box on the kitchen wall with copper pipes coming out of it. The old one, for the last two years of its life had a worn fan bearing. A worn fan bearing that drove ‘Alan the Boiler Man’ almost to distraction ‘you can hear that fan bearing halfway up the street’ he would say as he entered the house with his compressor and rolls of tackle preparing for its yearly service and I would say ‘yes it sounds rather nice’. A response which, judging from the look on his face I can only assume he found rather baffling. But I did like it. Both me and Mrs Fisher liked it and now when I come down for my breakfast the kitchen is deathly silent. Its just not the same.

The old fan bearing sounded a lot like Vampyres, a steady drone noise that if listened to closely alters pitch and wavers a little before settling down to a steady bearing grating hum. A simple hum and one which seems to mirror the house’s own circadian rhythms. Coming up the street now all is silent. I have no worn fan bearing to greet me just the squeak and grind of a metal gate as its bottom strut scrapes against concrete. Which sounds a little like brb>voicecoil and a little like TNB. Maybe I’m replacing the sounds of the house with this pile of tapes that sits in front of me? Maybe I’m hoping for a band or noise artist to replicate the sound of the old boiler fan with its grating bearing and welcoming hum? I think the Bearded Wonder may have beaten me to it. To be honest Vampyres are far noisier than the worn fan bearing and chuck in plenty of cold feedback in their bid to make lo-fi noise for Generation Z. I’m just making the comparison because pretty much every noise/drone outfit I’ve ever come across did at one time sound like the worn fan bearing. Its an easy analogy to make but one that bears repeating.

Vampyres are Martyn Reid and the Lee Stokoe, he who sits aloft on the throne of drone, he for whom no bad words have ever been written. I much preferred his Culver release here though. ‘Levitational Pull’ is a three track drone recorded seven years ago and scheduled for an LP release. The mad fools never put it out. So its another Culver release you say, and I say whats wrong with that? Have you heard a bad one? No. There is a lot of them but each one is like having Newcastle brewed laudanum poured down your ears. Genuflection is the only response. Best track here is ‘Negative Gate’ with a chiming, shimmering heatwave chord progression coupled to a cycling drone thats pure menacing horror film soundtrack territory. ‘Levitational Pull’ is the close up sound of sledge runners being dragged across frozen lakes at breakneck speed.

The house actually sounds more like brb>voicecoil. Especially from the outside where most of ‘Containment’ appears to have been recorded. The wind whipping against various man made objects to the accompaniment of passing traffic, meshed fences rattling in a buffeting breeze. There’s nine ‘containments’ here each one exploring a different sound, some are early TNB-ish, mystery sounds, shuffling, clatter, hard to pinpoint sounds which makes for an intriguing listen. And no after recording dabblement either. These are the sounds as captured, pure raw sounds; ‘The recordings capture natural reverbs, clipping distortion and phasing as a result of mic placement within and around subject matter’. This means you get the scrape of shovels, the tinkle of broken tiles, crows, skylarks and that natural reverberation. On one track it sounds like the mic has been dropped in to a huge empty vessel and after it rocks and sticks the resulting echo and clang being glorious and noisy. Top stuff.

‘Reconfigure Moments’ is a ‘collection of audible time frames cut - manipulated - reset - reprocessed’ and contains in last track ‘Refine’ a moment of indelibly great industrial rhythm. This appears amongst a sea of decaying structures, silences, decomposing electronic matter and all out general knock your ears off electroacoustic greatness. Much better when listened to on the download so as to capture the crispness of the recordings, the detail, the leaf mulched footsteps, the bag of marbles being gentle fondled, the gasp and flutter and wow of the artist at work. Who is Kev from Newcastle. Thats all I know. Its all you need to know.

VOM are early Cocteau Twins without the vocals. A three piece with a drum machine doing their best to keep the early 80’s vibe alive. Bauhaus even. Well almost no vocals, I did detect a smattering of electronically adjusted moaning but its wasn’t enough to get me too excited. Same for Schlaken and ‘Veneration of Relics’, a post apocalyptic, dystopian soundtrack as wrung from an electric guitar and many effects. Like dark clouds gathering on the horizon it filled my ears with dread. Sturm and Drang. Black and grey. Music to fill your bombed out house with.

Expose Your Eyes has filled this house with sounds for many years now. More years than I care to think about. Unusually for EYE ‘Disintegration’ has found a home on a label. Most of Paul Harrison’s work usually arrives here in clumps of CDR’s, hand painted jobs, hand stamped, the result of no doubt intense passages of creative energy after which he goes all quiet and hibernates or makes films that recapture what its like to walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park off your tits on acid. His latest delivery contained just the eight CD’s [of which more later] and this cassette which is pure EYE; thirteen tracks of mangled noise, slowed down voices, road drills, swirling psychedelica, looped shortwave transmissions, pounding rhythms and, of course, grating fan bearings. As primitive as noise gets. After that, everything goes quiet again.



    

AWWFN

MUZAMUZA

DOKURO