Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Glasgow improvisers Orchestra: First concert of 2006

Saturday the 2nd of September 20:00 CCA 350 Sauchiehall St Glasgow £3

First of an autumn/winter season of concerts by the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra.
Put like that the band begins to seem like an institution. Is it? Is that a bad thing? Is it for anything? Momentous yet quiescent when provoked Free improvisation by people who are curious.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Syd Barrett dies

Seminal guitarist and psychedelic icon, Syd Barrett has died.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


07.06.06 with Pumajaw at the Cube Microplex, Bristol
07.08.06 with Pumajaw and Steffen Basho-Junghans at the Luminaire, London
07.09.06 with Haeti and Longing at CB2, Cambridge
07.10.06 with James Blackshaw and Gareth Hardwick at Bunkers Hill, Nottingham
07.11.06 with Agitated Radio Pilot at Richardsons, Ireland
07.12.06 with Agitated Radio Pilot and Veronica Moran at The Bog Lane Theater, Ballymahon, Co Longford, Ireland
07.13.06 with Agitated Radio Pilot and Papercut at the Boom Boom Room, Dublin, Ireland
07.14.06 with Ashtray Navigation at the Cricketers Arms, Sheffield
07.15.06 with Parts and Labor, I Had an Inkling, Sword Drawings, and Kong at the Klondyke Club, Manchester
07.16.06 with Steffen Basho-Junghans at Morden Tower, Newcastle
07.19.06 with Taurpis Tula at Nice 'n' Sleazy, Glasgow, Scotland

Sunday, April 30, 2006


This just in from Giant Tank:

Giant Tank presents:


SPECTRE ZAIMPH= Magik Markers' Pete Nolan and Double Leopards' Marcia
Bassett unite for a cauldron of American primitivist drone and acidic
analogue drool.

MUSLETUSK= Three-man heaviosity unit slop up ladels of clattering out-rock
and free-noise.

NACKT INSECTEN= Slowly shifting sonic fug of throb and insect chatter by
one third of Temple Of Static Christ.

USURPER= Miniscule free-noise hissy-fits and broken instrument scrape/

Wed 3rd May 2006.
Henry's Cellar Bar, 8 Morrison Street, Edinburgh.
doors= 7:30pm (first act on at 7:45pm.). cost= £5.

Review: Subcurrent 06, final night, Saturday 15th April 06

Hooded, in face blanking shades, Hive Mind , produces one of the real highlights of the festival. Standing behind his moog and bass station rig, he gives a beautifully controlled performance of drone power. Opening filters slowly his sound develops minute by minute until the room throbs to his thick, detailed sound . He is quick to trap any escaping note clusters and force them back down in to mix, bury them amongst the analogue warmth and pedal wrecked haze. I hear the ghosts of warehouse parties, techno residue, cancelled dawns. The sounds dreamed by Ron Hardy, nodding in the dj booth at the Music Box.

Looks Sorta Dangerous. Aaron Dilloway, out on a solo creep from scene kings Wolf Eyes, is inserting contact mics into his mouth. Totally wired. A sludge of hip hop beats detours in to disorientation and an empty lift shaft plunge. Fierce, spit out, lines of force build till the pressure gets too much and ocean size sound is let loose. AD is on the edge, spasmodic, kicking out, hands conjuring figures, drawing in the energy. Like a man caught between performance and the dream of performance. The set is concise and in the closing moments a stream of pure, hi end, hi frequency noise scours the crowd, cleaning out the collective cortex .

The Mouthus sound is cavernous, stadium sized reverb, engulfs the audience. The duo on, pared down drum kit and guitar, howl through their set, locked in the pursuit of more space, continually moving outward. Vocals emerge and collapse in the storm, monochord riffs coagulate with stuttering percussion. Despite being the most conventional rock band of the festival the group are still way over on the far side of the genre, telegraphing reports of free space that remains unclaimed and ill defined.

If there ever was time I hoped that a wired up bootlegger or two was in the audience it was for the peerless set by Joe Mcphee and Chris Corsano. In years to come those fortunate few present will recall an hour of music when it all came together. CC is a marvel to behold. Incredible dexterity, intensity and expression, the most musical drummer I’ve ever heard. JM is a true artist, he knows how to wait and when to strike. Whether it’s breathing soul notes from the pocket trumpet or babbling maelstroms on the sax he is on point every time. When they complete the first section of the set, the crowd roar and stamp, people run to the stage arms waving, shrieking and affirming the connection that’s occurring. They continue with several shorter pieces each met rapturously. One certain passage has JM playing a simple, beautiful, modern melody that begs to be heard again. Please, somebody, release the tapes!

Perhaps appropriately we get to smell Smega before we see them. Their advance warning, a green herbal fug that winds into the auditorium, is strong enough for a contact high. They are a reassuring sight then they appear. Silver threaded hair with hoar frost on their brows, t shirts with “smile” and “keep music evil”. Their demeanour suggests that 30 years at the edge of sound keeps you young in the soul. They begin with a medicine show romp through Mule Skinner Blues, highlighting the great guitar sound and no frills drum attack. Other members play a diy theremin, a reed like mouth flute , a seemingly random turntable and delay selection and , oh yeh the drummer doubles on trombone. Guest star Aaron Dilloway does his oral electricity thing fitting right in to the psych/drone/garage blend. For me they are at their bests when hitting the three chord punk rush, the guitar just sounds so great, the percussion heart stoppingly real. The downer tone flows that punctuate the set are a real treat too and the extended disintegrating blues, featuring Joe Mcphee, is a beauty. They end the festival by leading a sing-along happy birthday to curator David Keenan who punches the air in righteous delight.

SImon Ross

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Review: Subcurrent second night, Friday 14th April 06

Standing obliquely to the audience, with a wooden electronic box placed on a lectern, Jessica Rylan cuts a neat figure in fitted denim and neckerchief. She speaksings in to the sonic deconstructor kit to create wild ,bubbling ,insistent sounds. Her long fingers reconfigure the parameters of the fx unit, from shrill and cracked to dense and pulsing.

She is possessed of great self-confidence. Between songs, she tells us a recent trip to Belgium left her with the disconcerting feeling she had become a US patriot, and then counts of the next selection in Flemish. Midway, she sings it straight, and her voice is real and true, an old folk lyric invested with the kind of sincerity that would have had Alan Lomax hitting the record switch. She has a curious trick of making her outsider performance seem accessible and friendly. The human voice, even after the spectacular elisions and transmutations wrought by Rylan, remains human.

Prurient takes the stage. Dark clad, stocky and leather gloved. Velvet distortion oscillates. His back is turned and he signals the lights to be lowered. Like a revelator from the psychic dungeon he hurls forth bolts of aggression, excavating the sick oil slick caverns of the shadow self. His mic lead is coiled like razor wire, he spits on the stage, throws his head back and rails to a cracked open sky. From nowhere a beautifully damaged melody loops and leaps from the amps. Wave on wave of distended electronic entrails envelop the audience. He sings from an apocalyptic heart, Kurtz recast in the Theatre of Cruelty.

A lot of credit has to go to the sound design for the festival opting for two small speakers plus a couple stage amps as opposed to the usual wall of sound stack. Though still ferocious there is huge amount of detail in the output, the full frequency spectrum is released allowing the inherent musicality of an artist like Prurient, among others, to be revealed.

Burning Star Core masticates his way into the zone. Bespectacled and smartly dressed, he is seated next to a table, overflowing with alchemical audio apparatus. The chewing gum intro is followed by a deep space navigation of real beauty and invention. Wide open, multi-layered drones chart orbital geometries and galaxy implosions. If there are aliens out there listening in to earth I sure hope there tuned to C Spencer Yeh’s frequency, he makes our planet sound like a good solar system citizen. The audience applaud as his signal moves out of reach but he bids us quiet as he produces a violin and effortlessly balances it between shoulder and chin. He then begins an extended improvisation of great dexterity and skill. Cultivating the spores John Cale set loose 4 decades ago BSC walks the line between conservatoire and Lower East Side loft effortlessly. He closes out with a split personality, comedy mouth piece that sends the people home smiling.

Simon Ross

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Review: Subcurrent 06, first night Thursday 13th April 06

Astral Social Club crack open Subcurrent 06. Neil Campbel,.Richard Youngs and Tirath Singh Nirmala comprise the tristar line up. Kind of like Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, and Gerhard Richter stepping up to the canvas simultaneously. Buzzes and blasts from home made electronics, kids keyboards and penny whistles cut us loose and delayed vocals zoom in and out of the swells… a lull midway and a wholly unlikely piped instrument appears that looks sort of like Tatlins Tower... then the clatter, wail, and blast continues ..beats manifest , some of this wouldn’t sound out of place booming from the bass bins of a customised car culture freak… a violin squeals and moans and the stratocaster noise sheets swirl into hypno-zone drones. There is a thrill in watching the performers too, Youngs jolts and twists the sound from his machines, body rocking to the shocks , TSN a balanced meditative presence centre stage and Campbell, all grins and frenetic energy, constantly realigning his tabletop trickshop. They sign off and NC lets us know the performance will be on sale later. An instant energy memory to take home.

Inca Ore, tall, dark in a short cotton dress, use song as incantation, as protective magic. Building up the tracks harmonies are created and collapsed. Tones float and revolve and return. Between songs she wears a sweet ecstatic expression as if she sees and feels a little more after each performance. Midway through the set she drops in a straight, non fx number and her voice, untreated, has hints of the blues and a fragile warmth. She walks the spacious stage as she sings. It is as if she is lost in a forest, surrounded by the spirits and voices. Rather than looking to escape, she is seeking communion with the sprites and shades. At the close, she apologises for not finding a scream tonight, however, the audience has been charmed and do not complain.

Wearing a Grand Canyon T shirt, Axolotl take us down to the riverbed where folk hits psych. The set opens with the spluttering crunch of misfiring technology but the artist skilfully uses the found sound as a base for his zither dream beams, he then turns to percussive playing and primitive gamelan melodies and rhthmyms bounce around the wooden walled room. The set closes with a thick, pulsing violin and pedal lurch. Though he cuts out earlier than scheduled due to equipment failures, his sound succeeds and reveals another facet of the current American folk form reinvention.

Word from on high has it that skaters soundcheck was a killer. Audience and performers cluster round the stage as the duo squat over their mics and kit. I can see a couple of drums and a ceremonial necklace laid out beside the super tall guy stage right. Within minutes a cyclone is whirling in the CCA. I swear you can see a dirt brown dust tower emanating from between the musicians, swaying to the corners and the heights of the hall. The sound fills every angle of the space, it is a wholly elevating experience. I guess everybody hears something different when the sound is this dense, this combustible, but for me there was something religious about the moaning vocal. Like a séance in a Midwest unchurch or a funeral dirge for someone dying a second time. This is revival music.
They end and it’s hard to say how long it’s been, you could even say it was short, but walking out in to the street you feel that the energy they channelled is really all around us, you just need to be the right kind conductor.
Simon Ross

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Review: Fingering the Devil; Sir Richard Bishop

Just received a copy of this beautiful limited edition release on Southern Records' Latitudes series. Bishop toured the UK last year and recorded this session on his day off. Fingering The Devil is a snapshot of the tremendous improvisations I raved about in my review at the time. In spite of less than ideal circumstances (travel hell, impending flu) Bishop's playing is every bit as stellar in the studio as it was in person. The pieces here run the gamut of Bishop's vast array of styles, from flamenco to raga with echoes of the blues, jazz and American primitive fingerpicking. It's a clean recording, with none of the pedals and effects he was using live and it comes over as more considered and measured than the barnstorming live gigs. That said, it's a fine set and an essential document of the continuing growth of a unique player.


Giant Tank & Harbinger Sound Presents:

RUNZELSTIRN & GURGELSTOCK= spluttering Swiss free-noise nausea by Gruppe Schimpfluch founders Rudolph Eb.er and Joke Lanz AKA Sudden Infant. completely unpredictable live actions.

C SPENCER YEH & DYLAN NYOUKIS= Burning Star Core violin scrapist and Chocolate Monk warlord/ doofus unite for a tag-team of free-gob and slobber. "Garbagemen style."

HOCKYFRILLA= demonic ladymong hoedown noise music by ex-Decaer Pinga and CK Dexter Haven hellfarm rodeo queens.

BIRDS OF DELAY vs. USURPER= Leeds/ London noise pin-up young things tear Edinburgh disabled instrument grumps a new arsehole. or vice-versa.

Sunday 23rd April 2006.
Henry's Cellar Bar, 8 Morrison Street, Edinburgh.
doors= 7:30pm (first act on at 7:45pm.). cost= 6/5 (tbc).
tickets available fae Avalanche Records or by contacting Giant Tank directly

Kite Flying Club

Glasgow's Kite Flying Club presents a concert at the Street Level Photoworks gallery on 20th April.

Performers include free improvisers from France and Glasgow: Bug duo: Nicolas Desmarchelier (guitar) and Olivier Toulemonde (electro-acoustic set) with Aileen Campbell (voice) and Neil Davidson (guitar).