Posts Tagged ‘Groove’

Radio Bongo

Christopher Nosnibor

The cover art – a photograph of the stump of a recently-felled tree – is one of those exercises in magnificent blandness. It’s the fact it’s clearly in an urban setting which perhaps gives the greatest clue to the music it accompanies; it’s the discarded trainer which actually makes the shot, however. The image really only makes sense in context of the liner notes, which begin ‘The spiral of a record. The routine of life. The growth rings of a tree. The rhythm of a drummer. The groove.’

Production credits go to a President Bongo, and Execution is listed as being the first volume in ‘Les Adventures de President Bongo’ – which, apparently, ‘is a unique work of art that will reveal itself over the next seven years, give or take, in the form of 24 LP’s.’ This is quite ambitious, and while I still have no real handle on the concept or direction after several listens to this album, ‘adventure’ seems to be an appropriate choice of word.

The album contains two tracks, ‘Drama’ and ‘Transmission’. ‘Drama’ certainly fulfils its promise, but in the most unexpected ways. It begins with gloopy electronic pulsations, a sort of semi-ambient dance vibe rippling, soft-edged and mellow. So far, so chillout-orientated, club-friendly mediocre. But then extraneous drones hover and scrape at oblique angles across it, at complete odds with the chilled waves. It takes a while to build, and before the beats kick in. ‘She can make it,’ croons Þormóður Dagsson, over and over again. It’s a cool groove, alright. His voice is so sweet, so smooth, so achingly soulful. He could probably sing a shopping list and still make you melt. But while the vocal sits with the mellow bubbling synth, it’s the discordant noise that swells to dominate the mix. The jarring incongruity of the clash forges less a dynamic tension than it serves as an apparent act of brutal sabotage. And then the drumming goes absolutely fucking berserk, and the whole thing whips into a brain-bending, bewildering mess of sound. The groove is buried in the tumult, from which eventually emerges a driving, bass-dominated jazz-rock groove. Where did that come from? Dagsson’s voice continues to float, untouched, surrounded by a halo of reverb, through the wild wig-out. It all goes jungle with added whistles and bleeps further down the line, and it’s fair to say you’re unlikely to experience a similar seventeen minutes of song anywhere else.

Well, apart from on side two, perhaps. ‘Transmission’ creeps in by stealth before taking a turn for the dubby. It strolls along, bouncing echoes hither and thither. The vocal performance is understated, low-key, yet all the more effective because of it. A note hangs in an echo as a kaleidoscopic spiral of synth notes swirls around the steady, toe-tapping beat. There’s none of the wild experimentalism of the previous track here, the focus instead being on building laid-back atmospherics and a smooching groove that shuffles on unassumingly.

Groove, then, comes in many shapes and forms, and some are less obvious than others. Tilbury take the groove and twist it, bend it, kick it around a bit, push it close to breaking point. The curious nature of the music indicates a curiosity about music on the part of the creators. The end result is pretty damn strange, but also strangely enjoyable. It’s all in the execution….

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Tilbury - Execution

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Leeds quintet The Golden Age of TV have shared their contribution to the Leeds based Come Play With Me 7” Singles Club with new track ‘Television’, which will be released on June 22nd.

The Golden Age Of TV have quickly gathered a lot of momentum with razor sharp, whip smart and perfectly crafted indie pop. Their three singles so far have all earned support from Radio 1 with Huw Stephens playing every song they’ve released. They’ve also performed at Reading & Leeds and with bands like Fickle Friends, Toothless & Alex Cameron, and nailed it at Long Division in Wakefield at the weekend.

Get your lugs round ‘Television’ here:

Joining The Golden Age of TV will be electropop quartet ENGINE. Surfing in from the outer rim of Burley and noisily settling on the Meanwood Nebula, ENGINE continue to blaze an individual DIY trail in Leeds. The group combines sampled psychedelics with introverted song-writing of a bygone era. With their recent debut album Cucumber Water now and an ever growing live reputation including support slots with Connan Mockasin, Infinite Bisous and C Duncan under their belts, ENGINE have moved forward with the driving, infectious, electronic groove ridden new flawless pop song ‘And I Say’.

Golden Age of TV -1

The Golden Age of TV

Neon Tetra Records – 2nd March 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

With a thumping bass groove and trashed-out disco beat backing the sneering mania of the vocals, ‘Soundhaus ‘comes on like some kind of electro/goth hybrid. To liken this to a combination of the knowing dumbness of Zodiac Mindwarp and the hyperstylization of Sigue Sigue Sputnik with a dash of Electric Six probably sounds like harsh criticism, but it’s intended as high praise. They look cooler and a fair more menacing, too (by which I mean vaguely psychotic) – and with an edge that hints at a certain level of aggression, not to mention a nagging guitar line, ‘Soundhaus’ has a lot going for it.

There is a bit of a ‘what the fuck?’ element to it all, but that’s a large part of the appeal. If it’s in any way representative of the album, then they could well be one of the acts of 2018.

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Mickey 9s

London based alternative/indie rock trio Desert Mountain Tribe are releasing the song ‘Interstellar’ from their 2016 debut album Either That Or The Moon as a new single.  It coincides with the band’s appearance at Manchester Psych Fest 2017 on 2nd September. Edited from its original nine minute duration to just under five, the BVB Version of this epic track also boasts a superb video directed by Daniel Turner of Sound & Colour.

‘Interstellar’ follows a pair of digital EP’s, ‘If You Don’t Know Can You Don’t Know Köln’ and ‘Live At St. Pancras Old Church’, plus the single ‘Enos In Space (Top Of The World)’, which was mixed by Youth. The band have also spent much of 2017 on the road, including an extensive spring tour of North America and summer festivals in mainland Europe.

Watch the video here (and tour dated are below):

live UK

02.09.17  MANCHESTER Psych Fest 2017

live Europe

08.09.17  SANTAREM Reverence Festival (Portugal)

12.09.17  LLODIO Orbeko Etxea (Spain)

14.09.17  BARCELONA Sidecar Factory Club (Spain)

15.09.17  ZARAGOZA Psych Fest (Spain)

16.09.17  BUDAPEST Vanishing Point Festival (Hungary)

17.10.17  ASCHAFFENBURG Colos Saal (Germany)

18.10.17  KÖLN Underground (Germany)

19.10.17  MÜNSTER Gleis 22 (Germany)

20.10.17  BREMEN Lila Eule (Germany)

Village Green – 13th January 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

For those who aren’t down with technospeak, a ‘soft error’ is computer language for a faulty occurrence in a digital memory system that changes an instruction in a program or a data value. And so it is that the duo – known simply as Tim and Rupert, both of whom have musical backgrounds in dance music/DJ culture and composition for film, theatre and TV respectively – who make up Soft Error, strove to evoke the idea of happenstance and serendipity in the naming of their collective output.

I’ll not squander space scoffing at the middle-class connotations of a hipster electro duo called Tim and Rupert, and shall instead concentrate on the fact that Mechanism is very much an album born out of experimentalism and improvisation, and balances organisation with random, contemporary with vintage as it folds together modern electronica with classic Krautrock.

While delicate piano notes hang in the air to create a serious, ponderous air at the start of the albums first track, ‘Silberblik’, the introduction of cinematic synths, with tightly modulated oscillations and soaring sweeping expansive notes spreading to forge a richly-coloured panorama, the tone soon changes.

Mechanism demonstrates a preoccupation with contrast and evolution. Gloopy synths bibble and bubble in looping motifs to create a muzzy atmosphere. Synthetic strings sweep and slide over the busy electronic sequences, and it’s this juxtaposition of the (ersaz) organic and mechanical which defines the album’s sound. But Soft Error are by no means content to tie themselves to any one genre. Propelled by a classically 80s drum machine beat, and as such a much sturdier, straight- ahead groove than the album’s other tracks, ‘You Caught Up’ is a post-punk electro stormer with gothy shadows around the corners.

‘Turncoat’ brings some sturdy beats against a monotonous, undulating bass groove, and contrasts with the hypnotic sway of the desert electronica of ‘Motorbath’, which has a smooth spaceyness about it.

Surging, swelling synth abound, building rich layers of sound over interlooping, shivering shimmering rhythmic backdrops, but the tracks ae neatly clipped, trimmed and pinned back to exist within remarkably concise time-frames. And this is good: when a track locks into a grove, sometimes it’s fun to get carried away, but often, it can become tiresome. Soft Error don’t flog a groove indefinitely or push it past the six-minute mark and there’s never a sense that they’re looking to simply fill air here.

That doesn’t mean every track’s a gem: the closer, ‘Everybody Run’s is a bit of a standard, smug analogue-tweaker Krautrock dance effort, but that’s more a criticism of the soft-edged sounds used to render an accessible and rather hipsterish looping motif than the overall shape of the tune. And across the album, Soft Error show they’ve got a knack for decent tunes, as well as for textures and subtle melodies. Smarter than your average, and a whole lot less indulgent.

 

Soft Error

Ritual Productions – 28th October 2016

11Paranoias do heavy psychedelic with the emphasis very much on the heavy. Their fourth album, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World is a downtuned, ultra-low frequency, mega low-tempo doom sludge trudge through the darkest places of psychedelia. The crushing riff that lands halfway through ‘Peripheral Metamorphosis,’ the album’s first track, registers around the same sonic zone as Swans’ ‘Cop’. There’s an eternity between each pulverizing drum smash, which lands with the force of a planetary collision, and the power-chords are heavier than is conceivable for mere instruments to make: this is music that’s nothing short of galactic in its enormity and weight. It’s the sound of dark matter combusting.

Five minutes into the 15-minute mammoth that is ‘Destroying Eyes’, a whip-crack treble-topped snare snaps through the dense murk of noise to propel a vocal track, layered in delay and reverb to plough a New-Wave inspired furrow before it all explodes, unexpectedly, in a blistering wig-out centres around a driving goth-tinged groove.

After the hypnotic ‘Avallaunius’ chills the intensity – at least for the first three minutes or so, at which point it brings the noise – ‘Mutus Liber’ brings it low and slow and goes for the crushingly heavy in a big way, the mangled vocals all but lost in the tsunami of immense power chords. ‘Meditation on the Void’ is the darkly hypnotic workout the title suggests, whipping up a cyclone of psychedelia which threatens to collapse in on itself. After the slowly spiralling ‘Phantom Pyramid’, the brevity of the final track, ‘Milk of Amnesia’ is unexpected. In fact, a squalling barrage of feedback a snarling, ripping bass from which emerges something that for all the world resembles a distorted segment of Fields of the Nephilim’s cover of Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’, it’s unexpected in pretty much every way imaginable.

Conjuring mental spaces and a hallucinogenic, mirage-filled alternative reality, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World conjures a world that’s s much a nightmare as a dream. It’s a powerful album which, while heavy – and oftentimes, monumentally so – displays a remarkable knack for a deep groove. It’s an album that will bend your brain, while crushing it by sheer force at the same time.

 

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