Posts Tagged ‘Interstellar Records’

Interstellar Records – INT043

Christopher Nosnibor

And suddenly, one cold, wet, dark, depressing November night, an album arrives that slaps you round the face, hard, and makes its presence known. And within three songs, you know it’s probably one of the best things you’ve heard all year. And it’s a concept album.

I’d been thinking that 2017 hasn’t been a great year for music, while chewing on the irony of the fact I often berate people making the same complaint for their failure to look in the right places: there is always good – awesome, exciting – new music emerging from somewhere. Admittedly – and this shouldn’t be about me, but I find that reception of music is an intensely personal and individualism – I may not have in the most receptive of moods, or have kept up with as much of the music passed my way this year, but 2017 simply doesn’t feel like one of the greats, despite having a handful of clear highlights. But these highlights are less about objective merit and commercial success, and what’s actually stuck. This, however, is an album with immediate impact. It grabs the listener by the throat in the opening bars. And it doesn’t let up.

According to the liner notes, ‘Calamitas deals with danger babe Ruby, who stole Silvio Berlusconi’s heart, Satan deceiving us all by using the purgatory doctrine, dictator Kim Jong Senior (II), the sexiest man alive back in the days, beautiful femmes fatales with a look that kills, the man who cut off his own leg to get disablement pension (he didn’t succeed), personal misery, the best days of my life, the abyss that is staring back, etc.’ So, it’s a true story, albeit one where the narrative is buried beneath a strain of sinewy guitars and barked vocal delivering impenetrable lyrics. And that’s all good.

‘Calamitas’, we also learn, means ‘loss, disaster, damage, harm, defeat and misfortune’. These things, the album’s ten tracks convey with crystal clarity through the medium of raging, guitar-driven noise. And as much as Calamitas is a snarling, gnarly mess of brutality, it’s gritty, tense, and cut from a different cloth from so much murky metal thrashing.

I’m reminded as much of anything of the swagger of Girls vs Boys on their debut album, Hey Colossus, and Henry Blacker, and there’s a strong flavour reminiscent of Helmet and The Jesus Lizard and the Am Rep / Touch and Go label styles. There’s noodly, Shellac-meets-Tar math-grunge on ‘A Knife for Every Heart’ and ‘Best Days of Our Lives’, which builds a tripwire tension. ‘Fuck me Blind’ is darkly claustrophobic, built around a cyclical riff, sinewy top guitars and ballistic hollering. There’s also a gnarly blues undercurrent to many of the songs here, and for all the messy guitars, the bass is pure thunder and lays down some irresistible grooves over the course of the album’s ten cuts. There’s a dark, gritty vibe and a gloriously ragged edge to it all, and Markus Dolp’s gruff, Cookie Monster vocals have hints of Tom Waits and JG Thirlwell.

Some cuts do venture into all-out hardcore punk / metal attack, like the squalling black mass that is, opener ‘Anti’ but what makes Calamitas such a corking album – beyond the fact that it simply is a corking album – is its range. Yes, it’s all a bloody, brutal, guitar-driven mess of noise, as becomes a band who’ve spent two decades exploring the terrains of noise-rock, but it’s sonically articulate while it rages blindly and incogently. It’s the perfect balance, and the frenetic and the furious drive that defines Calamitas makes for a gloriously intense listen.


Interstellar Records – INT040 – 1st November 2016

James Wells

Two years on from the release of the album Nomads, Tumido return with xaxim – an EP of remixes of the track from Nomads. That’s two years to assemble four remixes, one of which they’ve done themselves. There’s nothing like working at a leisurely pace. Was it worth the wait?

Nik Hummer’s remix goes for the slow build, shuddering bass throb and flashing electrode treble rumble for an eternity, building tension and expectation. It’s three minutes before the bumping beats slide in and kick out a devilishly low-down groove. Stefan Nemeth strips it back to a bare bass loop, all subsonic tones and burred edges, grinding out a monotonous yet majestic dirge. The Buenventura remix offers some relief, with an uptempo, beat-led reinterpretation. Hectic rhythms bump hard, and the bleepy analogue synths over the top have a classic vintage vibe about them. The tracks builds and expands, layering up and growing in density until it obtains an optimum groove.

Tumido’s own reworking is perhaps the most radical of all, accentuating the darker tones with elongated, organ-like drones which swell and crackle with overloading low-end frequencies. Rippling waves of metallic-edged sound tear through the deep, wide expanse to create a vast swathe of pulsating sonic space. It’s a towering display of magnificence which ends abruptly and rather disappointingly.

Was it worth the wait? For the final track alone, yes.


Tumido - xaxim