Playing Records – June 2014

I began writing this series of articles last month to document some of the platters which had entered heavy rotation on the unsubscriber hi-fi during May (here). There will inevitably be crossovers from month to month but I won’t keep covering these in detail just give them a mention here. I’m still enjoying The Soundcarriers LP very much, it’s duly been transferred to my iPhone so I can play it in the car or on headphones. I’m also continuing to enjoy ploughing my way through the Electric Wizard back catalogue which brings me neatly to this month’s list of records;

Electric Wizard – Legalise Drugs And Murder
2012 – Rise Above Records

Legalise Drugs & Murder

I managed to purloin a copy of this rather fine 7” not too long ago and despite the fact that its two tracks have a running time of barely twelve minutes I’ve been hooked ever since I first heard it. Heavy as a skip full of bricks and as direct as a sawn-off shotgun to the ribs, the lead track kicks off with a lighter striking and a bong bubbling before the massive doom riffage descends – The Wizard love their green! I don’t know how much of a statement of intent this is, the band are very open about their somewhat controversial beliefs but as a tune, it fucking rocks and rocks hard! The flip side blends whispered voices with what sounds like the incidental music from some lost Euro horror flick from 1972. Extra points are awarded due to the cover riff on Sabbath’s Master Of Reality album.

Three Legged Race – Rope Commercial, Vol 1
2014 – Underwater Peoples

Rope Commercial, Vol. 1

Robert Beatty of the Hair Police is at it again under his Three Legged Race moniker. I love his work because it’s just so out there, so completely different to anything else. I wrote about his music (here) as it helped me through some tough times working from home. This EP is another confounding, confusing whorl of sounds and ideas that needs a few plays before things finally settle into place. He has broadened his sonic palette somewhat with touches of treated piano and a dulcimer which on Aside From Each Other and Together Overnight sounds so heavily submerged it could have been recorded from the bottom of a lake. There are manipulated voices, metallic clangs and discordance all over the place but I seriously wouldn’t have it any other way. Beatty has promised a full series of future EP releases for Underwater Peoples, If they’re as good as this then it’ll be one hell of a collection of tracks.

Rodion G. A. – Misiunea Spațială Delta
2014 – Strut

Misiunea Spațială Delta

Last June, I reviewed a fantastic compilation album by Romanian musician Rodion Ladislau Rosca (here) which was released on Strut. This month sees the release of this fifteen minute EP which was apparently recorded by Rodion for an animated TV series before being shelved. Unlike the compilation album this is all played on synths and in places sounds not a million miles away from something that Belbury Poly or Pye Corner Audio might release. There are also plenty of lysergic squiggles and bloops to wig out to as well as a section which reminded me of the old early 70s TV show The Clangers. I wonder how much of this stuff Strut are sitting on, I’d sure love another compilation right now.

Ekoplekz – Unfidelity
2014 – Planet Mu

Unfidelity

What’s this? Ekoplekz in accessible album shocker! Sell out I hear you cry? Well, this certainly is the most straightforward LP that Nick Edwards has crafted thus far but it’s still an Ekoplekz album in the true sense of the word. The old reference points of early Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and dub dynamics are all still present but there seems to be a new found swagger to the overall sound. There are also beats all over this record, not the predictable kind of preset beats you find on almost everything coming out these days but the sort of blunted and hissing snare/hi-hat combo you might find on an old Belgian or Italian minimal wave 12”. There isn’t a weak track anywhere, it’s all strangely hypnotic in a retro-futurist dystopian kind of way. Some people wrote off Edwards as a one trick pony after his first clutch of releases, this should set the record a little straighter. I can’t wait to hear what his next move will be.

Album Of The Month – June

V/Vm – The Death Of Rave (A Partial Flashback)
2014 – History Always Favours the Winners

The Death Of Rave (A Partial Flashback)

Oh my word, this is revelatory stuff. Leyland James Kirby (A.K.A The Caretaker) releases ten tracks under his now defunct V/Vm guise culled from the mighty Death Of Rave series which was given away as free mp3 files in 2006. That series was composed of 205 deconstructed tracks from the 1988-96 rave era which has now almost entered into music mythology. This isn’t a million miles away from his work as The Caretaker to be honest, it even has a symbiotic kinship with Lee Gamble’s utterly brilliant Diversions LP which essentially did the same kind of thing using battered old cassettes of early jungle records. Kirby has deftly stripped out the beats and tunes from his source material and left a wafting, ghostly vapour trail of euphoric hooks, rushes and stabs that the original music was built around. Kirby is a master of this kind of sound manipulation and this is no exception. I have been playing this solidly for the whole month and it’s made me feel very melancholic yet somehow strangely satisfied. It’s the sound of backlit fog slowly moving through a wood at night or blooming colonies of bacteria in a petri dish. It’s actually the sound of thousands of disembodied ravers up and down the country, arms aloft in flickering slow motion as they jack their sweating bodies in unison. Quite simply an astonishing release.

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