Christopher Owens ๐ŸŽต  “It's the good life to be free and explore the unknown/Like the heartaches when you learn you must face them alone.” - ๐ŸŽธ Neil Hannon Moon.  
      

Horns Up

New Horizons 

Deathfiend – Beyond Life


Another blistering release from Johnny Doom, this time coming from the metal spectrum (hell, the name comes from Hellhammer). With influences ranging from Celtic Frost right through to Deviated Instinct, this is a remorseless record. ‘Rise From Decay’ begins as an up-tempo, d-beat style number before slowing down for maximum filth, Autopsy style. An essential release and I’m looking forward to hearing a full album from Deathfiend.


The cassette can be streamed and purchased here.


Puce Mary – You Must Have Been Dreaming


One of two releases from Copenhagen’s finest underground noise merchant (not that the market is flooded in that regard), ‘You Must…’ is more of a mixed bag owing to the variety of landscapes evident throughout the tape (ambient, sinister, classical) but they all blend together to create a lush listening experience with an undercurrent of darkness, such as ‘Faith Dealers’ hitting the listener with samples of gunshots over a backdrop of sky surfing etherealness.


The cassette can be streamed and purchased here.


 Bleakness – Life at a Standstill


With an impeccable cover reminiscent of the work of Steve Stapleton, these French punks pick up where The Wraith (RIP) left off: blending punk rock with gothy post-punk. And you know what? It makes for an enthralling listen. ‘Mechanism of Death’ leans more on the anthemic punk side, but a number like ‘Resignation Kills’ almost veers into Fall like melodies! An eccentric release but highly exciting and, I have to reiterate, an impeccable album cover.


The album can be streamed and purchased here


Merzbow - Animal Liberation Until Every Cage Is Empty


Once unfairly described as someone who had taken Boyd Rice’s “…sub-Futurist 'instant karma for kids' noise-racket…” and turning it into a brand, this album offers up a much more claustrophobic atmosphere, akin to being tortured in Guantanamo Bay (undoubtedly a deliberate parallel) due to the use of oscillator knobs creating high pitched frequencies and the booming, clanging percussion that permeates throughout. One of his finest releases.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


 The Utopia Strong – International Treasure


Former snooker player (and prog rock aficionado) Steve Davis and Cardiacs member Kavus Torabi team up again for another sonic exploration. With bagpipes drones, arpeggiated synth lines and even a guzheng (Chinese plucked zither) thrown into the mix, the end result is a deeply trippy, sombre yet ritualistic record that pulls these varying strands together in such a compelling shape. One to be played during a sky burial in winter solstice.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


Kitchen Cynics – Strange Acrobats


Having released albums every year since 1989, Aberdeen’s Alan Davidson has amassed quite the catalogue. Operating in terrain similar to Current 93 (with much more of an emphasis on the folk side of things) and Ivor Cutler, this is a darkly intimate album which feels like it was recorded in a damp forest after a rainfall. Standout track has to be ‘Dropped from the Dark’ owing to it’s intricate guitar lines, backwards flute and overall ambience feeling like a potential soundtrack piece.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


Plattenbau - (=2021)


Berlin based Plattenbau (real name Aleksandr Chiesa) indulges in some Richard H. Kirk and Orb worship here by creating a tape of cerebral dance music that can be as equally appreciated as a soundtrack to and from the club as well as IDM dancefloor material. ‘Step 4’ in particular has an intensity about that is reminiscent of Fuck Buttons at their best and ‘Step 5’ feels like a heavier Chris and Cosey number.


The album can be streamed and purchased here. 


St James Infirmary – Archipelago


One of two releases this year for the cult Northumberland group, this cassette (using the term for an area that contains a chain or group of islands scattered in lakes, rivers, or the ocean for a title) is as airy and paradisiacal as its title suggests, with songs like ‘Unquiet Villa’ and ‘Shades of the Parish Hall Dance’ evoking the image of being on a paradise island, overwhelmed by the beauty and silence on display and wondering if a storm is afoot.


The album can be streamed and purchased here,

 

Golden Oldies


The Fireman - Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest


Made up of Killing Joke bassist Youth and some Scouser called Paul McCartney, the first Fireman album is a spiritual companion to the Orb’s ‘UF Orb’ album in that it’s as much a chill out record as it is a club record, with tracks like ‘Arizona Night’ suggesting a more pagan, ritualistic side to the music. Comprising of samples from Macca’s then recent ‘Off the Ground’, not only did it see him revisit his experimental side, but it also helped solidify Youth’s reputation as producer extraordinaire.


 

Sweet Exorcist – CCCD


Another collaboration, this time between Cabaret Voltaire legend Richard H. Kirk and DJ Parrot, this is a record very much of its time (the bleep techno that helped Warp make their name as THE label for IDM) and sounds quite simple in comparison to Kirky’s later releases. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the record stands up a lot better than other releases from that period (like, say, the first Prodigy record). ‘Trick Jack’ sounds great over whatever PA is available.


 

Lust for Youth – Perfect View


Although not their most polished LP, ‘Perfect View’ is the best encapsulation of their modus operandi: to make dance music for alienated hipsters. Tracks like ‘Breaking Silence’ conjure up images of the morning sun rising on an all-night party and the scattered vocals suggest someone trying to articulate the potency of the moment but lapsing into repeated phrases. The musical equivalent of a faded Polaroid: evocative and imbued with melancholy.


x

 

New Order – Complete Music


A collection of remixes and extended tracks from the 2015 ‘Music Complete’ album, it’s surprisingly effective as a listening experience (undoubtedly due to the remixes not venturing too far from the original songs). Songs like ‘Restless’ are given more room to breathe (allowing for a grander scope) and others strip back the excess and up the tempo (‘Plastic’). New Order should do this more often. And Peter Hook is never missed.


   

Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist.

Predominance 18

Christopher Owens ๐ŸŽต  “It's the good life to be free and explore the unknown/Like the heartaches when you learn you must face them alone.” - ๐ŸŽธ Neil Hannon Moon.  
      

Horns Up

New Horizons 

Deathfiend – Beyond Life


Another blistering release from Johnny Doom, this time coming from the metal spectrum (hell, the name comes from Hellhammer). With influences ranging from Celtic Frost right through to Deviated Instinct, this is a remorseless record. ‘Rise From Decay’ begins as an up-tempo, d-beat style number before slowing down for maximum filth, Autopsy style. An essential release and I’m looking forward to hearing a full album from Deathfiend.


The cassette can be streamed and purchased here.


Puce Mary – You Must Have Been Dreaming


One of two releases from Copenhagen’s finest underground noise merchant (not that the market is flooded in that regard), ‘You Must…’ is more of a mixed bag owing to the variety of landscapes evident throughout the tape (ambient, sinister, classical) but they all blend together to create a lush listening experience with an undercurrent of darkness, such as ‘Faith Dealers’ hitting the listener with samples of gunshots over a backdrop of sky surfing etherealness.


The cassette can be streamed and purchased here.


 Bleakness – Life at a Standstill


With an impeccable cover reminiscent of the work of Steve Stapleton, these French punks pick up where The Wraith (RIP) left off: blending punk rock with gothy post-punk. And you know what? It makes for an enthralling listen. ‘Mechanism of Death’ leans more on the anthemic punk side, but a number like ‘Resignation Kills’ almost veers into Fall like melodies! An eccentric release but highly exciting and, I have to reiterate, an impeccable album cover.


The album can be streamed and purchased here


Merzbow - Animal Liberation Until Every Cage Is Empty


Once unfairly described as someone who had taken Boyd Rice’s “…sub-Futurist 'instant karma for kids' noise-racket…” and turning it into a brand, this album offers up a much more claustrophobic atmosphere, akin to being tortured in Guantanamo Bay (undoubtedly a deliberate parallel) due to the use of oscillator knobs creating high pitched frequencies and the booming, clanging percussion that permeates throughout. One of his finest releases.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


 The Utopia Strong – International Treasure


Former snooker player (and prog rock aficionado) Steve Davis and Cardiacs member Kavus Torabi team up again for another sonic exploration. With bagpipes drones, arpeggiated synth lines and even a guzheng (Chinese plucked zither) thrown into the mix, the end result is a deeply trippy, sombre yet ritualistic record that pulls these varying strands together in such a compelling shape. One to be played during a sky burial in winter solstice.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


Kitchen Cynics – Strange Acrobats


Having released albums every year since 1989, Aberdeen’s Alan Davidson has amassed quite the catalogue. Operating in terrain similar to Current 93 (with much more of an emphasis on the folk side of things) and Ivor Cutler, this is a darkly intimate album which feels like it was recorded in a damp forest after a rainfall. Standout track has to be ‘Dropped from the Dark’ owing to it’s intricate guitar lines, backwards flute and overall ambience feeling like a potential soundtrack piece.


The album can be streamed and purchased here.


Plattenbau - (=2021)


Berlin based Plattenbau (real name Aleksandr Chiesa) indulges in some Richard H. Kirk and Orb worship here by creating a tape of cerebral dance music that can be as equally appreciated as a soundtrack to and from the club as well as IDM dancefloor material. ‘Step 4’ in particular has an intensity about that is reminiscent of Fuck Buttons at their best and ‘Step 5’ feels like a heavier Chris and Cosey number.


The album can be streamed and purchased here. 


St James Infirmary – Archipelago


One of two releases this year for the cult Northumberland group, this cassette (using the term for an area that contains a chain or group of islands scattered in lakes, rivers, or the ocean for a title) is as airy and paradisiacal as its title suggests, with songs like ‘Unquiet Villa’ and ‘Shades of the Parish Hall Dance’ evoking the image of being on a paradise island, overwhelmed by the beauty and silence on display and wondering if a storm is afoot.


The album can be streamed and purchased here,

 

Golden Oldies


The Fireman - Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest


Made up of Killing Joke bassist Youth and some Scouser called Paul McCartney, the first Fireman album is a spiritual companion to the Orb’s ‘UF Orb’ album in that it’s as much a chill out record as it is a club record, with tracks like ‘Arizona Night’ suggesting a more pagan, ritualistic side to the music. Comprising of samples from Macca’s then recent ‘Off the Ground’, not only did it see him revisit his experimental side, but it also helped solidify Youth’s reputation as producer extraordinaire.


 

Sweet Exorcist – CCCD


Another collaboration, this time between Cabaret Voltaire legend Richard H. Kirk and DJ Parrot, this is a record very much of its time (the bleep techno that helped Warp make their name as THE label for IDM) and sounds quite simple in comparison to Kirky’s later releases. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the record stands up a lot better than other releases from that period (like, say, the first Prodigy record). ‘Trick Jack’ sounds great over whatever PA is available.


 

Lust for Youth – Perfect View


Although not their most polished LP, ‘Perfect View’ is the best encapsulation of their modus operandi: to make dance music for alienated hipsters. Tracks like ‘Breaking Silence’ conjure up images of the morning sun rising on an all-night party and the scattered vocals suggest someone trying to articulate the potency of the moment but lapsing into repeated phrases. The musical equivalent of a faded Polaroid: evocative and imbued with melancholy.


x

 

New Order – Complete Music


A collection of remixes and extended tracks from the 2015 ‘Music Complete’ album, it’s surprisingly effective as a listening experience (undoubtedly due to the remixes not venturing too far from the original songs). Songs like ‘Restless’ are given more room to breathe (allowing for a grander scope) and others strip back the excess and up the tempo (‘Plastic’). New Order should do this more often. And Peter Hook is never missed.


   

Christopher Owens was a reviewer for Metal Ireland and finds time to study the history and inherent contradictions of Ireland. He is currently the TPQ Friday columnist.

3 comments:

  1. In New Order above Christopher did you not detect a U2 influence from New Year's Day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AM,

      I did not. However, U2 are on record as being massive fans of New Order so I would imagine it's the other way around!

      Delete