Thursday, 30 October 2014

The Associates

Fourth Drawer Down (1982) ...

A compilation of tracks released in the previous 12 months...

Fourth Drawer Down ...

The Associates work best in small doses, a single or two, and an LP's worth can be heavy going. Given their liking for oppressively weighty rhythms and a dense pudding of a sound it needs a big appetite.
'Fourth Drawer Down' is a German collation of some of their numerous A and B sides. Hardly a month seemed to go by last year without a new Associates 45 appearing: a hunger to display growth or a compulsive's diary of work? The best entry, maybe, was 'Tell Me Easter's On Friday'; here it's dressed in a bass heavy mix that plunges the carillon instrumentation into a dungeon. The following 'The Associate' goes even deeper, a circular tune gradually overwhelmed by clouds of pain.
This might be construed as the nucleus of Associates music, with Billy Mackenzie's booming prophet vocals, the frugally rationed space and the grisly metallics of songs like 'A Girl Named Property' or 'Kitchen Person'. As that terrific onrush winds on, though, you wonder if there is humanity left there. Play 'Fourth Drawer Down' very loud and it assumes the dimensions and ambience of a breakers' yard in an abandoned metropolis.
No, wait, I like The Associates. There is more here. 'Q Quarters' calms down and discovers consternation in oriental chords. 'White Car In Germany' and its instrumental half-brother 'An Even Whiter Car' depict wanderings in an alien-nation which accurately evoke a spectator's fascinated forebodings. 'Message Oblique Speech', with its fractured jigsaw of rhythms and mutant electronic asides, musters a weird exultation.
There is no let-up from the first to last. The Associates delight in insistence in these songs. Lyrics are often scarcely decipherable; when they are it's fruitless trying to unravel the songs. The Associates brutalise form with a purpose, though. In trying to dismantle the accepted notions of organised playing and reconstructing with uncaring regard for accessibility - all these tracks are cluttered, confused and strewn with near-random noise - The Associates reassert their humanity in electric music.
At the centre of 'A Girl Named Property' Alan Rankine has his guitar repeat a chord that sounds like a baleful cry. The Associates must go on in this vein and achieve a greater clarity yet... Richard Cook review 1982 ...



White Car In Germany ... 


Tell Me Easter's On Friday ... 


Message Oblique Speech ...


Kitchen Person ...   

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

John Maus

Love Is Real (2007) ...

Retro electronica-pop from John Maus.  His second solo album, a pastel 'goth' sound, reverb drenched, lo-fi keyboards with an 1980s vibe...

Love Is Real ... 


JOHN MAUS lives in his birthplace of Austin, Minnesota. Whilst working towards his PhD in Political Science he also composes music that taps into melancholic fantasy and affirms that we are all truly alive. Questing synthesisers, tensely strung bass lines and chasing drum machines provide the perfect backdrop for John's deeply resonant reverb-drenched vocal.
Born in the decade of synth pop and sharing his birthday with George Frideric Handel, John started making music when Nirvana posters went up on every teenager's wall. It's this curious conflux of influences that partially helps to describe John's music. It's a world where the Germs jam with Jerry Goldsmith, Cabaret Voltaire relocate to Eternia and Josquin des Prez writes a new score for RoboCop. The confrontation of punk, the fleeting poignancy of 80s movie soundtracks, the insistent pulse of Moroder and the spirituality of Medieval and Baroque music all find salvation in John Maus... upsettherhythm.co.uk ...
pitchfork.com ...

 

Saturday, 25 October 2014

John Cale & Terry Riley

Church of Anthrax (1971) ...

John Cale returns from Velvet Underground to his avant garde background joining up with arch minimalist Terry Riley ...  Early 'rock-based' minimalism group ...

Church of Anthrax ... 



Ides of March ... 

This album marks a cross-pollination. Cale may have been returning to his Minimalist roots, but he still had the sound of VU’s white noise ringing in his ears and as a consequence managed to produce a brilliantly messy, repetitious rock record. Early Minimalism had much in common with rock anyway: the ensembles which Philip Glass and Steve Reich were establishing, as well as the previously-mentioned Theatre Of Eternal Music, resembled rock groups as much as they did traditional classical ensembles... headheritage.co.uk ...
The Hall of Mirrors In The Palace of Versaille ...

  
This album is a fantastically raw piece of music which is unlike any of Cale’s other solo albums. It also has an strange ancient-ness to it comparable to Amon Düül II’s ‘Phallus Dei’. The combination of its general lack of conventional song structure and its street-suss edge makes it rank alongside much of what was being produced in Germany at the time, in that it was pushing the limits of rock music’s sound in a similar direction. Cale’s comment that “‘Anthrax’ is just an improvised gig with Terry” shows that he himself may not have regarded it as a particularly important album. However, it stands up as an inspired exercise in minimalist rock music... headheritage



 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Helene Grimaud

Brahms: Piano Pieces Op. 116 - 118 (1996) ...

Hélène Grimaud, pianist ...


Fantasias for piano Opus 116 ...


Drei Intermezzi for piano, Op. 117


Klavierstücke, Op. 118 ...


Klavierstücke, Op. 119 ...


Recorded: 28-29/11/1995, Reitstadel, Neumarkt, Germany 

Bournville Carillon

Canadian carillon tunes (2014) ...

 

Recorded this summer at Bournville.  Carilloneur is Trevor as usual ...