It has been a quiet summer music-wise for me. Holidays and family commitments have meant that I’ve had limited time to listen to music, let alone write about it. But, as the kids go back to school next week, I’ve started thinking about what the Autumn will bring with, hopefully a few gigs to attend too. Before that, however, I wanted to reflect on some recent releases that I have really been into, but have not had time to feature.
Panyttfodeise by Etherwink and Larwott (vohu manah)
I bought the cassette of this album from Ste over at vohu manah earlier this year and it has hardly left my deck since. Of the three tracks featured below on the Bandcamp link, two are wonderfully chilled out numbers which have an easiness to them which just feels so relaxing, to the point of enveloping you. The birdsong of the first (04.56) gives you that real sense of being out in the open. While the second (05.10) is a wonderfully slowed down jazz track which has you staring into the middle distance in a trance-like manner. After that 02.16 feels like a funky reward at the end, a short but rewarding number which has so much going on it’s almost impossible to keep up. It could be a 60/70s detective series sound track with hints of blaxploitation and a groove that is both smooth and fragmented at the same time. All in all around a quarter hour of brilliance that is well worth the entrance fee alone, but there are another eight tracks to explore on the cassette itself… a copy of which I wholeheartedly recommend that you get before they sell out.
Kosmik Musik by BEAK> (Invada)
““Kosmik Musik is melting pot of 2000ad, Metal Hurlant, Kirby tech, psychedelic 60s art, Doctor Who, Douglas Adams, Kraut Rock, Star Trek and Star Wars. A UK 70s English childhood basically.”
So states the description of this mini-album and, frankly, what is not to like. This represents a collaboration with artist Joe Currie and writer Ben Wheatley as the soundtrack to a graphic novel which is absolutely out of this world. Here BEAK> combine a myriad of different approaches, styles and moods to create something that feels creative and dynamic, and certainly one of the best things that I heard this year. Highly recommended!
Deus Arrakis by Klaus Schulze (SPV).
I am sure that many of you are familiar with Klaus Schulze, who came to prominence as a member of bands such as Tangerine Dream and Ash Ra Tempel, but who continued to produce groundbreaking music under his own name (as well as that of alias Richard Wahnfried). Schulze sadly died earlier this year after what I understand was a long illness, but was able to produce this final album of recordings before he left us.
This has been one of two albums (see below for the other one) that I have played the most over the last couple of months… ‘Deus Arrakis’ is a powerful and elegiac release which hits you firmly in your heart and soul… it speaks to you but also lets you drift off into your own personal firmament. Along with the Mono soundtrack, it is the music that has most helped my mental health over the last few month with its crystal clear sound and a sonic empathy which is just wonderful.
My Story, The Buraku Story (An Original Soundtrack) by MONO (Temporary Residence)
You can take much of what I said about the Schulze album (above) and also apply it here. Japanese band MONO have here created a soundtrack to a documentary about class, bloodlines and discrimination in Japan which is like staring into a deep and dark lagoon as the storm clouds gather over it. It is both beautiful and elegiac but has a constant edge to it which constantly grabs your attention despite the often prevailing ambience of the music.
Along with the Schulze album I have spent many hours listening to this on headphone drifting away into myself and through other worlds and possibilities to the extent that just hearing many of the motifs within them triggers something meaningful and helpful inside of me.
LP.8 by Kelly Lee Owens (Smalltown Supersound)
Kelly Lee Owens previous album, ‘Inner Song’, has been a recent favourite of mine… backed up by an absolutely superb gig at the Brudenell in Leeds late last year… she has become one of my favourite artists… and I have to say ‘LP.8’ (her eighth release) is exactly the sort of direction that I hoped she would go in.
Looking for an outlet for her creative energy she moved to Oslo between lockdowns and teamed up with avant-noise artist Lasse Marhaug (who has worked with the likes of Merzbow, Sunn O))) and Jenny Hval) to create something that was ‘somewhere between Throbbing Gristle and Enya). The result is a series of experimental tracks which manage to both encompass and combine a range of moods and atmospheres, and which… for me… stay just on the right side of accessibility. There is a glacial element to this, no doubt informed by the Norwegian winter, which is offset by a certain Celtic warmth… add in a throbbing mixture of sounds and melodies and you are left with an irresistible set which grows and develops with every listen.
The Unfolding by Hannah Peel and Paraorchestra (Real World)
“There are pieces of music that seek to tell us deeper stories. Others harness the talents of the players at their disposal in adventurous ways. Then there are the rare, generous works that make us think back to our roots as human beings and to our shared beginnings in the universe, that lift us in their melodies, rhythms and textures, that carry us with them….The Unfolding is all of these things.”
After having marvelled at the ‘Orkney: Symphony of the Magnetic North’, together with Her homagé to Delia Derbyshire, I was extremely keen to see what Hannah Peel would be upto next… and this collaboration does not disappoint. Recorded during and around the pandemic lockdowns this is an amazing album is another which just gets right under your skin… the word of the day with these albums seems to be ‘elegiac’, and so it is again here (maybe that’s just the sort of music that I’m listening to at the moment)… with a suite of tracks which are as beguiling as they are compelling.
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