Saturday, 5 May 2012

Haino/O'Rourke/Ambarchi - Imikuzushi (Part 2 of 4)


Inside the gatefold: Tribute to the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Woo! Quiet subtlety! Jim playing some clean actual notes on the bass, so slowly that's it's difficult to tell if it's a riff or not. Sounds nice though! Good choice of notes & you can't predict what the next one is going to be. Haino plays some stuff that is pretty discordant but it actually fits perfectly. He is totally listening to the other two guys. I'm sure he always does listen whoever he's playing with but the first time I heard him he was playing a version of Lysol with the Melvins and it just sounded like he didn't enjoy anything they were doing and wanted to cover the entire band in scree.

His guitar sounds very echoey and spindly here. In my head he makes it reverb/octave up using merely the force of his will but in reality he probably has a shitload of effects pedals. His does a bit of reasonably soft singing, who knows what about. Let's try & guess from the song title:

"ready and waiting/ready and tired of waiting/this happiness/hovers for a while/opaque/proffered/waiting/It will not be something for/Just one person"


When he's finished singing about love he starts playing an honest to god repetitive riff that isn't even atonal! Jim and O-Am lock in again. Jim's found a single note that he likes and hammers it accordingly. There might be another note but i'm not sure if my brain's filling that in. Jim O'Rourke is amazing on this record, simultaneously doing fuck all and playing the perfect stuff. He's been living in Japan long enough to have mastered the noble art of grounding a phenomenal guitar wig-out. Ambarchi is doing a sort of Robbie Yeats From The Dead C rhythm which is steady as a rock. As this point it almost becomes funky as another bass note comes into play.

Haino has been pretty silent during the funky up to this point but then he shrieks a bit and gradually builds some high note octave shifted noise up to a crescendo (is that the right way of putting it?) It sounds awesome and huge. If you were dropped into the middle of this sound now (see the first few minutes of the first side) it would probably be no good but when you're privy to the buildup it's mindblowing!

They get EVEN FUNKIER for about five seconds then another shriek and it stops abruptly. Gutted.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Haino/O'Rourke/Ambarchi - Imikuzushi (Part 1 of 4)

This is the first part of something resembling a review. One track per post! Don't worry, there are only four tracks.

Inner sleeve #3 - Shaking Hair
So anyway, this is a live collaboration between HAINO (in capital letters cos he's the loudest, guitar & other stuff), Jim O'Rourke (bass) and Oren Ambarchi (drums). It's a double LP so there are four long tracks. I was talking to someone at the local record shoppe about this and he was saying the previous H/O'R/A album was basically a wall of noise and didn't contain any of the Fushitsusha style free rock bombasticity (not actually a word) that is loved the worldround. I'd read that this album _was_ like an actual rock band so I went for it.

I put the needle down on side A and whaddyaknow? A wall of shit! Haino wringing a sickening torrent of bilge out of his SG while Jim moves his hands around the bass randomly arriving somewhere between a dying elephant and the worst bass flubs of all time. Oren is playing the drums like a cross between animal from the muppets and a seven year old. Haino shouts a bit. It is ferocious but i'm not feeling too optimistic about the rest of the album.

BUT THEN Jim finds a flubbing noise he likes and starts repeating it over and over and Ambarchi joins him playing an actual 4/4 rhythm. Or maybe 2/4? Then Haino starts playing some single notes and it sounds like an actual power trio! Although the record does sound like it's stuck a bit. It's like some super misanthropic desperate krautrock thing and the guitar dissolves into a cloud of static with the odd high note surfacing every so often sounding like a frightened yelp. Some more vocals from Haino.

It just occurred to me that I never have any idea what Keiji Haino is singing about. I don't even know if it's japanese actually. Could just be some made up language like the bloke from Obituary used to do.

The intensity goes up and up! O'Rourke & Ambarchi are still locked into this ridiculous stuck record rhythm thing. Haino is playing high distorted notes and alternating them with pure noise. Then it just stops! 

The editing on this record is great, it almost sounds like they all just stopped at exactly the same time after 13 minutes of totally freewheeling heaviness. But the music is far too wild for them to actually do that. I think someone just cut this excerpt off at the right time.

That's side one. Started off as if shite but quickly became genius. Who knows what the rest of the album will hold in store? I do because i've listened to it a load of times.

Part 2 coming up very soon.


Wednesday, 4 April 2012


How's it going? I lost the password to this blog and to my dismay a drunk teenager hijacked it after Christmas and posted a typically childish Oh Sees review that it won't let me remove.

Since I last updated the blog MYSELF I've been enjoying MUSIC possibly more than ever, but I just haven't had the urge to WRITE about it. I just prefer to lie on the floor and listen to it. Or dance to it. Or play air drums along with it embarrassingly. Music exists because words are insufficient sometimes. Trying to sum up music and how it makes you feel using words is hard most of the time. And just saying stuff is 'good' is a total waste.

I thought of deleting this whole blog and starting all over again but I don't think my reviews have been too bad. All the substandard ones were written by persons unknown when I accidentally left myself logged in at the library. That is the absolute truth.

I will write a bit more about music soon.


Friday, 30 December 2011

2011! PART ONE

some Oh Sees stuff in my flat L>R Total Control split, Castlemania, Singles 2LP, Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP

Hi! The Best Band of 2011 award in my flat must go to Thee Oh Sees, for releasing a whopping ten sides of vinyl that were all excellent. John Dwyer has much past excellence form with Pink & Brown & Yikes & Coachwhips & MANY MANY MORE but I think he outdid himself this year, especially with probably the best three sides of vinyl that he pretty much produced on his own! Those three sides are called 'Castlemania'.

Castlemania has this mad exciting multicoloured dayglo art with a strange demon hand answering a toy phone and it fits with the music nicely! John Dwyer is playing all kinds of instruments from the guitar to all of the drum kit to a flute and then sometimes a trumpet. Pretty much any instrument that's been thrown at him. And it makes the thing so technicoloured! You can maybe hear the influence of people like Skip Spence and the 60s in general on the album but the wildness of the flute and noise of his guitar playing brings it right up to 'timeless'. As do the lyrics which contrast a lot with the jaunty music and melodies. It's all about blood and tedium and death but if you weren't listening to the words you'd have no idea.

The other thing that could sort of be called an LP that they released was the Carrion Crawler/The Dream EP which is two EPs smooshed together into an LP. This shows the full band of five people playing together which is a different thing entirely. On this LP the Can side of the band shines (a semi-cover of a Can song is half-included even!). They go very groovy and repetitive and there are a few songs that stretch out nice and long without getting samey or boring. Some of them are reworks of very old songs that have been improved immeasurably. If you listen to the old version of 'Crushed Grass' from the past and then put on the high octane exciting version from this LP your head will probably fall off. I saw them live this year on my birthday and I was dancing like an idiot to that song. I know this because people were making weird faces at me while I was doing the dancing.

There were two other major Oh Sees releases this year also, the singles collection including nice Ty Segall covers and the Oh Sees Massive Hit 'Tidal Wave'. The cover is excellent too if you're a fan, two eejits with old Oh Sees album covers felt-tipped onto their chests. If you're a fan of the band they are more rewarding in that way. See on the split with Total Control there are two full band versions of Castlemania songs so anyone a bit disturbed by the one man Oh Sees can hear what the same songs sound like played by the entire band. Again the songs sound very good indeed. Total Control are a fine band too, moodier punk stuff feat. a member of Eddy Current Suppression Ring. I love ECSR too much to be totally wowed by a related band sadly but their side of the split is very much worth a listen.

David Shrigley who is a fine artist and a big fan of the band also created some artwork for a 7" which is stupidly expensive. The music is available on the MUSIC SITE OF 2011 Soundcloud and the song 'Girls Who Smile' is particularly great. So here it is

If you would like to buy four different excellent 2011 releases from a single band there's nowhere else to look. OR IS THERE PLEASE COMMENT BELOW IF THERE IS


Thursday, 2 September 2010

ROUND-UP. Far too much time has passed

Blink and you miss five months on this blog. Needles to say music has been so much fun I haven't wanted to stop listening & waste valuable time writing about it.

UNTIL NOWWWWWWThe Chris Corsano Band put out its first cdr a while ago! A cdr on thee Hot Cars Warp label is always welcome, possibly because there is a perfectly reasonable amount of time between releases. You can fully digest them before something else appears on the horizon. Once again Chris Corsano (with the help of his completely anonymous guitarist and bassist [and The Wizard on occasional bongo{s}]) - has unleashed a right one. Vishnu on drums is flanked by some other guys & they are so telepathically linked they might as well be Extra Arms Four Through Eight. Free rock transcendence gives way to funky (!) noise beats yields to space likembe leads to ripping Sun City Girls cover. 100% Corsano. Now his solo LP 'Another Dull Dawn' needs to be repressed so the slow folk (no post for FIVE MONTHS) can pick it up.

Eric Copeland has/had a fine 7" on PPM which might have his poppiest ever thing on the b-side. It still has the skewed samples and vocal mulch of his last 'Alien In A Garbage Dump' album but this isn't going to get on anyone's wick. It's like there's an aerobics class at the other end of your five star hotel and the sound of a veritable pop hit is wafting across the pool but your brain is too fried to make sense of it.

One of the (so far) two Moon Unit LPs for 2010 is 'New Sky Dragon' on Krayon Recordings and it is a whopper. Starts off with your usual 'uh-oh' tamboura drone type thing then proceeds to levitate so high and rain so much amazing down on you that you will be thoroughly embarrassed that you doubted them after only thirty seconds (I blame the fucking internet and BLOGS). They rocket towards the sun & directly into it so you don't have to. You'll definitely want to after you've heard this. Incredible cover art from Zeloot. Listen to em. And enjoy a bit of the set I was privileged to witness on Record Store Day!


Sunday, 25 April 2010


This record (that I acquired for the bargain price of £2.99 "this might have a bit of surface noise but you won't notice it") was in the small box of records that John Peel would've grabbed had there been a fire in his house. A fire in his house! That means he liked it a lot I would guess. It's funny cos it's a record that you could describe as a bit damaged. If I may link it to all the tape type stuff on the go now it sort of reminds me of a James Ferraro 'KFC as energy temple' huuuuge double cdr release but with everything compressed into two minutes. Something like two minutes. A short time.

It's like a rock record that has been smashed into little chunks that are then sliced up a bit more and put back together again. By some guy with very poor manual dexterity. Or like a six year old. Their manual dexterity sucks. Don't force your six year old to start playing piano, he will be rubbish and it will sound awful. She could be the next Tony Royster Jnr and play the drums instead! Drumming in the Timberlake band, imagine that. All your childhood dreams successfully projected onto your own child!

There may be some places in North America where parents are forcing their children into taking up Drag Racing, I don't know. This is a song about and involving the sounds of Drag Racing. It's like a documentary that someone has edited down into a sound collage. But it's still a rock song. The girl sounds like she's being interviewed and the bloke is the tannoy announcer. Then there's this muppet sounding bloke saying 'hello baby hello baby'. The rhythms are all broken and the guitar is absolutely mangled until there's only the slightest hint of a riff left. The drag racers rev, threatening to drown out everything else. It was a hit! Which I can totally understand because it's brilliant.


Saturday, 13 March 2010

Alan Moore/Stephen O'Malley: Simultaneous Conjugation of Four Spirits in a Room (AV10 Newcastle)

Today I went to another AV10 festival event pairing legendary graphic novelist Alan Moore with Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))), Thorr's Hammer, Burning Witch, The Lotus Eaters, KTL, Khanate, Stephen O'Malley (solo), Gravetemple, Ginnungagap, Aethenor, Teeth Of Lions Rule The Divine and Fungal Hex. Among other things.

"Alan Moore will write and perform a new text responding to the energy of the two paintings: John Martin’s infamous The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (1852) and a key painting by JMW Turner from the Tate Collection. Stephen O’Malley will create a new ambient soundscape, sonically melting in the radiance of the paintings."

It was heavy stuff and compared the paintings with the Romans coming to the North East among other things. Looking at the paintings it's easy to see similarities but Moore really linked them together. He was leaning over a lectern and spitting the words out with much gravitas. He sounded like he was at least 500 years old. He also looked like he was at least 500 years old. I was too scared to ask him to sign my League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen DVD*. I could have been killed.

Stephen O'Malley expertly soundtracked the proceedings with two half stacks and a lot of pedals. What looked like him stretching his guitar strap produced some ominous creaking noises. The poem was broken up by some loud heavy riffing which did a lot to justify the large amps. We were about two metres away from him sitting on the floor having come in just about last. On the conclusion of the spoken word O'Malley leaned his guitar against a speaker cab and went over towards the door, letting long loops (seemingly created earlier while he was doing everything else) ring out. It was like the instrument was playing itself. Everyone was left staring at the amps and you could feel that a connection between the paintings and the living artists in the room had been made. Awe inspiring stuff!

*I would never do such a thing


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