Archive for June, 2016

Southern Lord – 15th July 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

With a name like Asschapel, they were never going to trouble the mainstream, although stranger things have of course happened. And producing the ferocious din that they did, regardless of their name, Asschapel were still never going to bother the mainstream. But during their lifespan, Asschapel made an impact, and are equally noteworthy for the fact that following their demise, various members moved on to the likes of Pelican, The Swan King, Tijuana Goat Ride, Hans Condor, amongst others, enhancing the band’s legacy retrospectively.

This legacy was given a boost last year with the reissue of their cassette-only Chapel of Ass demo cassette, and now Southern Lord (who else?) are putting out a mammoth compendium containing their entire catalogue. So here it is: a release (double vinyl and digital) containing a mighty 31 tracks of full-throttle, screaming, raging nihilism, on which the bulk of the song clocks in at under two minutes.

Hailing from Nashville, the output of the five guys who were Asschapel couldn’t have been less country in their leanings: as Total Destruction documents, they were prime purveyors of high-octane, uptempo thrash riffery, underpinned by brutal bass and ballistic drums. Their bio reads like a legend, recounting how ‘over the course of seven years [they] played all over the Western world, leaving in their wake crippled vans with wheels flying off, shattered heels, broken noses, torn out nipple rings, maxed out credit cards, on-stage arguments, collapsed house show ceilings, everyone’s clothes falling off at the show, and more, while impressively avoiding search and arrest from the authorities.’ Small wonder they imploded after seven years.

Still, they managed to release an album and three EPs during their career, and into each release distilled a violent, venomous fury paired with a kinetic energy that still sounds fierce over a decade later. The song titles give an indication of what Asschapel are about: ‘Carcass Bloody Carcass’; ‘The Sledgehammer Assault’; ‘Mutilated Black Carcass’; ‘Burn the Eyes’; ‘Let’s Kill’; Dismember the Memory’; ‘Rotting the Body’. Gore-fixated, violent and dark, the music is the perfect reflection of such bloody, brutal obsessions, and this is indeed gnarly. Primitive, uncompromising and brutal as fuck, Total Destruction reminds what thrash can be at its most uncompromising, undiluted and antagonistic best.

 

Asschapel-Total-Destruction-artwork

Sub Rosa – SR388

Christopher Nosnibor

As significant as the fact Cristian Vogel has worked with the likes of Radiohead, Maxïmo Park, Chicks on Speed, Thom Yorke, Jamie Lidell, Neil Landstrumm and Dave Tarrida is the fact that the CD and vinyl versions of this release have completely different track-listings, with only two tracks featured on both. That’ probably quite an expensive pain in the arse for hardcore fans, especially as the versions here are remastered, and the CD release features a previously unreleased version of ‘Around’.

So, as the title suggests, this compilation picks the best cuts from Vogel’s 90s output, and presents them, remastered in 2015 by the artist himself (indeed, he’s been systematically remastering the majority of his early work, offering tweaked versions of his extensive back catalogue through BandCamp).

In terms of sequencing, the CD (the focus of this review) makes more sense than the vinyl. With the exception of the very last track, the material is sequenced chronologically, with Disc One spanning 1993 to 1995, with tracks culled from Beginning to Understand and Absolute Time, and Disc Two spanning 1996 to 1998, from All Music Has Come to And End and culminating in Busca Invisibles. It may be an obvious point, but it’s significant, in that it does mark a clear linear evolution of Vogel’s music.

Repetition lies at the heart of the compositions, with looping motifs running end-on-end with shifting layers of instrumentation on top, and with explorations of tonal shifts providing the focus and points of interest over progression or changes of key or tempo. ‘Machine’ combines techno robotix and Krautrock with drifting ambient currents, while ‘Beginning to Understand’ contrasts echo-heavy metallic, treble tones with thumping bass frequencies. Minimalist beats and stark bass grooves define many of the tracks, particularly on Disc One.

The tracks from Absolute Time showcase denser sound, the dominant beats making for a harder feel, more driving and propulsive. On tracks like ‘In’ and ‘Absolute’, it’s all about the frequencies; the bottom-end tones sit in the frequency range that really batters the eardrum, while the higher frequencies are cosseted in dense aural cushions while stomping 4/4 beats bump and grind hard.

The output from the years ‘96-‘98 are given less extensive coverage, with, for example, only two tracks apiece from Specific Momentific, Bodymapping, and Busca Invisibles featured (in contrast to the six cuts from Absolute Time and five tracks culled from All Music Has Come to an End . Nevertheless, it more than gives a flavour of Vogel’s output, and Disc Two begins with ‘Absence of Fear’ which marks a rather different approach from the earlier works. With a much looser, less claustrophobic sound, it’s built around contrast and juxtaposition, and with complex rhythm patterns criss-crossing one another to quite disorientating effect. In many respects the twelve tracks on this second disc are the more interesting, in that they show Vogel’s experimentalism pushing to the fore. While firmly positioned within the parameters of techno, these recordings document a desire to expand the territory of the genre, and it’s not difficult to hear in these nuanced pieces why Cristian Vogel is so respected, both within is field and far beyond.

Vogel

 

Cristian Vogel on Bandcamp

Cristian Vogel – Classics at Sub Rosa (with audio)

Anyone who says that there’s no exciting new music any more is talking bollocks and simpy isn’t looking in the right places. And that’s precisely why Aural Aggravtion exists.

Bringing together contemporary dream pop vocals, fuzzy 90s-influenced guitars, and an infectious live energy, Loco Ono is an electric ukulele and guitar-driven powerhouse, based in London. Fronted by Texas-born Grace Zacarias and South African-born Pieter Stone, the two-piece combines addictive pop melodies with heavy garage rock intensity. Drawing influence from artists like Best Coast, Wolf Alice, and Pixies, Loco Ono delivers a unique sound laced with modern apathy and teenage rebellion.

This exactly what we like here at camp AA. Loco Ono look great and sound geat, and ‘Sunny Day’ is a killer tune. Check the video here:

 

Racing Glaciers return with a stellar new single ‘Samadhi (So Far Away)’, out this June, and ahead of their debut album release through Killing Moon this August.

With well over 2million Soundcloud plays on just their first four tracks, their track ‘First Light’ featured on the Transformers 4: Age of Extinction movie and won the band support from BBC Radio 1 and BBC 6Music DJ’s including Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Greg James, Fearne Cotton and Steve Lamacq.

The band have also performed at the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend, Liverpool Sound City, The Great Escape Festival, Secret Garden Party, London Calling in Amsterdam, Berlin Music Week, Y Not Festival, Wakestock and Beacons, as well as a 35-date UK tour late last year.

Racing Glaciers will release this new single ‘Samadhi (So Far Away)’ this June, the first exciting glimmer of what is to come from their debut album release ‘Caught In The Strange’ this August, and a track that pulls together all that is great about the 5-piece from Macclesfield, as gloriously cinematic, inventive and essential as we need right now.

Racing Glaciers release their debut album ‘Caught In The Strange’ on August 5th 2016 through Killing Moon.

 

Get your lugs round he psychdelic-tinged shoegaze belter that  is ‘Samadhi (So Far Away)’ here:

 

Entertaining Violence

Christopher Nosnibor

I am often drawn to duality of interpretation or meaning, particularly when that interpretation hinges merely on emphasis. As such, I think ‘Entertaining Violence’ is a great name for a publisher / label, and looking over their small but select catalogue to date suggests it’s highly appropriate. Essentially, Entertaining Violence is concerned with art, and the principle functions of art should be both to entertain and to educate, or, perhaps more accurately, to provoke thought. Art and entertainment are by no means mutually exclusive, and nor should it be considered untenable for art to both entertain and provoke. Their latest release achieves this, although it does very much depend on one’s perspective as to just how much entertainment it provides.

To provide some context from the press info: in the summer of 2015, Sergio Calderón – founding member of London-based avant-garde band 無 (MU) – was invited to participate in the exhibition Not a State, But an Artists’ Colony at Intelligentsia Gallery 智先画廊, Beijing. Sergio conceived STEREO as a transcendental and meditative experience compromising a Two Channel-Video and Sound Installation. As such, STEREO is a soundtrack piece, which was recorded as a live improvisational work of guitar sound and texture recorded at Entertaining Violence Gallery, London the 15th August 2015.

It is not a work which builds at any point: there are no crescendos or bursts of sound, but there are infinite textures. STEREO is a work which explores tonality, in the subtlest of ways. The track drifts on, concentrating on the ebb and flow, the wash and drift as notes struck rise and fall, decay and reverberate in the space in which they’re created. It doesn’t ‘go’ anywhere: that is not its purpose or aim.

What this 47-minute piece really conveys is the tonal range of the electric guitar, when played minimally and given room to breathe. Some may call this drone, ambient; and certainly, the notes and chords stuck are left to hang in the air for an eternity. The tones, the sounds are in themselves muddy, hazy, murky; this is no crisp digital replication of a guitar’s sound, but a fading analogue sound, fuzzed and degraded by environment, by space, by recording technology. It reminds that the listener is never truly ‘in the moment’ when listening to a recording, they are not ‘present’ and the recording is just that; a captured version of events; a recording is not the event itself. A recording may accurately convey the sound, or at least he sonic experience, but it can never fully convey the environment in which the recording was made, it can never capture and convey the experience of being present in the moment the audio was captured. It will never incorporate the experience of whatever may be going on around simultaneously, it can never capture the emotion or the mental processes contemporaneous to and triggered by, the moment.

For all of this, however great the listener’s separation from the moment, a work like STEREO, or, indeed, specifically STEREO affords almost infinite space for the listener to lose, and find, themselves.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/165013545?color=ffffff&title=0&byline=0&portrait=0

STEREO — 無 (Excerpt) from Sergio Calderon on Vimeo.

 

mu01_stereo1

MU at Entertaining Violence Online

Criminal Records – 1st July 2016

We dig The Kut around here. Personally, I’ve been digging The Kut since the release of their debut single ‘It Doesn’t Matter Anyway’ way, way back in 2009. Since then, they evolved, shedding their post-punk leanings in favour of a more up-front grunge-based rock sound. Last year’s Rock, Scissors, Paper EP was more than convincing and again emphasised the rock, and as we learned from their appearance at Camden Rocks, this very much translates live. So it’s pleasing to see them crash in with a fairly swift follow-up in the shape of a single release from said EP, namely ‘Bad Man,’ described as ‘a gnarly song about revenge’.

It packs a hefty riff based on a classic descending chord sequence, driven by some sturdy drumming. The production emphasises the rawness of the track and gives it the density and intensity it deserves, calling to mind Hole at their best – combining the pop dynamics of Live Through This with the gut-wrenching vitriol of Pretty on the Inside. With a vitriolic raw-throated holler of ‘fuck off!’ this is music with passion rather than engineered for mass-market radio, and that’s precisely why it appeals.

The 30-date tour scheduled for August should be a belter.

 

 

The track has also been synced to this ‘London guy fights for cash’ prank video which is quickly becoming the unofficial video for the track on the net- https://youtu.be/VRGUCSH-P9A – who doesn’t love to see the lines between acting and reality blurred in public?

 

The Kut - Rock