Posts Tagged ‘Manchester’

Front & Follow and the Gated Canal Community – 25th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Independent cassette label Front & Follow disbanded a bit back, some time before the pandemic hit. Said pandemic changed a lot of things for a lot of people, and certainly not just those immediately affected by the virus itself, through either contracting it themselves or friends or family. This is, after all the first time in history where governments have quarantined the healthy, and even during the world wars, while artistic activity was curtailed, society did not completely grind to a halt for any sustained period of time.

Having un-mothballed the label in order to release a series of compilations under the title Isolation & Rejection, which gathered tracks submitted and rejected for compilations on other labels, showcasing not only a wealth of amazing material over the course of five releases, but also creating a sense of community a month the rejected during the isolation of lockdown (a simple but effective premise that was a different kind of novel from the one everyone was talking about on the news).

Then, the label fell dormant again – for a few months, before this, pitched as ‘One final final FINAL project from F&F’. It may be a statement akin to Kiss announcing another farewell tour, but I know I’m by no means the only one who’s happy about the arrival of another release on the label, whose exceptional knack for curation has been a distinguishing feature of a thoroughly outstanding catalogue, and this, their sixty-firth release is no exception.

As label founder writes, ‘Another not planned but a nice thing happened so we went for it’. You Can Never Leave offers ‘alternative soundtracks to a luxury apartments advert’ taking its cue from an ad for Deansgate Square, Manchester, ‘comprising elegant spacious apartments across four carefully designed towers’ which ‘delivers a new level of city centre living’. With its slick visuals and sterile technoambient soundtrack, it’s a contemporary image of hell, JG Ballard’s High Rise for the 2020s. I’ve suggested previously that postmodernism is dead, and theorised that the post-postmodern age is marked by the end of irony. The fact this video exists, unironically, is surely proof of my hypothesis.

For their sign-off, F&F have assembled an immense thirty-one artists, many of who have featured on previous releases, including Field Lines Cartographer, Kieper Widow, and Polypores.

So, all of the tracks are around the 2:15-2:20 mark, and are intended to be played simultaneously with the video, and it’s perhaps unsurprising that each presents a different perspective on dystopian horror, from the sterile dark ambience of Bone Music’s ‘Reality Will No Longer Burden You’ with it’s clipped, android voiceover, via the tense trance-inducing electronica of Field Lines Cartographer’s ‘Consume and Prosper’, which is an outstanding piece of marketing sloganeering that we can imagine being a part of the UK government’s post-lockdown reinvigoration promo push (it’s snappier than ‘Eat out to help out’, and is a succinct summary of the late capitalist agenda they’ve espoused over the last decade), and the eerie waves of aural otherness that drift through courtesy of Von Heuser who give us ‘Pass Through The Tear’.

F-Lithium’s take is a cold Kraftwekian analogue rumble that ripples and churns around the solar plexus, while Guerrilla Biscuits’ ‘Manchester, So Much to Answer For’ dismantles the city’s musical and architectural heritage in one fell swoop with its space-age bleepery. WELTALTER bring some pulverising black metal to the party, and its bleak, dingy gloom that pounds insistently paves the way for more gnarly darkness in the form of the industrial ambience of ‘The Assimilation’ by The Metamorphe. Acid Wilhelm’s ‘The Changing’ is particularly unsettling, as rolling piano gradually evolves into a dense rumble of thunder, with ghostly voices muttering, while the cut-up / found-sound collage of Her Majesty’s Coroner for Wirral’ also pursues a haunting vibe, with ‘Contemporary City Living’ sounding like ‘Carmina Burana’ performed by a spectral clamour wailing to break through from the other side. With ‘Find Your Epic’, Friends, Business Colleagues or Family present the most torturous two and a bit minutes going, a howling shriek of purgatorial pain during which every demon rises from the flames to wreak havoc for all eternity on the living.

As is typical for a F&F compilation, You Can Never Leave is eclectic and yet for all its stylistic divergencies, fits together very nicely indeed, and collectively create a document which presents a multifaceted aural interpretation of the next level of gentrified hell, spanning epic prog and industrial. Oftentimes, it’s spooky, unsettling, and the album presents a powerful and ultimately terrifying vision. But is it any more terrifying than the original promo clip? Probably not, no.

Here’s the video that inspired all of this….

Deansgate

As an aside, for the record, the project is not affiliated with Deansgate Square in any way – the video was our inspiration for this project, and for each artist’s soundtrack.

All sales from this release will go to Coffee4Craig, which provides vital support for Manchester’s homeless and people in crisis. Find out more here – coffee4craig.com.

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F&F065 - YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE - cover

Big Stir Records – 4th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Well here’s a wakeup: The Speed Of Sound are into their fourth decade, yet are so underground they’ve bypassed me all this time. I feel a certain sense of both guilt and shame for this. Obviously, no reviewer can know everything about every band going, but sometimes, a band will slip under the radar and leave you kicking yourself. The Speed Of Sound is one such band.

The fact they’re releasing a double A-side says something about their vintage. 7” singles may still be a thing, but they’re a niche, collector thing rather than the thing you’d experience as a youth. I was in my early teens – perhaps younger – when I’d go into town and visit WHS or Boots or perhaps Woolworths and pick up a 7” single for 99p, and the B-side would often be as integral a part of the experience as the A-side, while a AA said sometimes meant the second A-side – the one less likely to be played on the radio – was the better one. Hearing it would be a revelation after you slipped it over the spindle and onto the turntable. It was a magical experience that words struggle to convey.

The two tracks on this release are thematically-linked in that they’re all about the band’s love for sci-fi soaked in reverb and with some hints of dappled sunlight mellowness.

The inspiration behind ‘Replicant’ probably requires little explanation as it draws the comparisons to the world of Bladerunner and the contemporary corporate world. The Hearing Ann-Marie Crowley enunciate ‘Replicant’ calls to mind Johnny Rotten emphasis on ‘Pretty vacant’, but more than anything, the uptempo acoustic guitar that leads the track has a distinctly 90s indie flavour to it, and it jangles along nicely.

‘Melancholy Rose’ is a spacey indie-psychedelic folk effort with the jangle of the early 90s and some mellow shoegaze meanderings, sort of like The Fall covering The Charlatans. There are hints of sleepy, summery funk to the track, too.

Together, it makes for a nice single that does very much evoke the experience of yesteryear’s 7” purchase.

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The Speed Of Sound Artwork

With their recent single ‘Going Nowhere’ taking a lunge into darker, surfy/gothy territory (while retaining the garage/grunge style of their debut album and the ‘In The Mouring’ EP), Weekend Recovery are a band who clearly aren’t content to stay in one place for too long – musically or geographically.

With their second album, False Company, just around the corner – and the indications are it’ll be a belter – the recently streamlined power-trio are hitting the road later this month with a handful of shows to showcase some new material. No doubt there’ll be a few older rabble-rousing favourites, too.

Since the release of their debut album, Get What You Came For in 2018, they’ve garnered radio play, played at Camden Rocks, and expanded a committed fanbase through some hard gigging. We’ve covered them enough times here at Aural Aggro to give a two-thumbs-up recommendation to get down and see them.

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Dates are as follows:

20 March – Blackpool, Bootleg Social (supporting Cut Glass Kings)

21 March – Leeds, Headrow House (w/support from Carry the Crown)

28 March – Manchester, Retro (main support to Joan the Wad)

Event details and tickets are on Weekend Recovery’s Facebook page.

GIZEHFEST 2019 will have two very special editions, taking place in Eeklo, Belgium and Manchester, UK.

The inaugural Gizehfest launched in February 2018 as a special event in celebration of the labels diverse roster, bringing together a selection of artists involved with the label over the years. We are delighted to be able to push forward with this idea and take it to a new country and a wider audience. Gizeh is now well known for not being attracted to any one genre of music and we are proud to be able to bring together an assorted collection of the current roster for what promises to be a stunning evening of boundary-pushing sonic pleasure featuring one-off collaborations and exclusive performances.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS IN MANCHESTER

A-SUN AMISSA
A-Sun Amissa is a music collective founded and led by Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns, Glissando) that has featured an array of members and collaborators since it’s formation in 2011. Their sound touches on elements of post-rock, doom, dark-jazz and drone. Recorded output has been released on Richard’s own Gizeh label as well as Belgium’s Consouling Sounds. A new album Ceremony in the Stillness was released in September – the projects most focused and structured output yet.
Dense and heavy atmospheres provide the backdrop to the sound. Layers of mournful, melancholic and ethereal melodies weave amongst the thundering beats and intense, heaving guitars.
The band has toured Europe several times and performed with the likes of Amenra, Nadja, Helen Money, Jozef Van Wissem, Jucifer and Telepathy.
Members and collaborators in the project include; Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, Shield Patterns, The Rustle of the Stars, Glissando), Angela Chan (Tomorrow We Sail, Lanterns On The Lake, The Rustle of the Stars), Owen Pegg (Hundred Year Old Man), Claire Brentnall (Shield Patterns), David McLean (Gnod, Tombed Vision Records), Aidan Baker (Nadja), Colin H. van Eeckhout (Amenra), Gareth Davis (Merzbow, Oiseaux-Tempete), Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempete, The Rustle of the Stars, FareWell Poetry, FOUDRE!), Aaron Martin, Christine Ott and Jo Quail. www.slowsecret.com


HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN
A ferocious and immersive listening experience, delivering an epic, monolithic voyage through masses of atmosphere. Full of texture, depth, aggression and emotion, HYOM deliver a sound that is unique, crushing and mind-altering. Having gradually crept into the collective consciousness of the European post-metal scene, this Leeds-based collective is on an ascent that has gained an almost unstoppable momentum. Debut album Breaching was released in April and relentless touring in 2018 ensued including festival appearances at Bloodstock and Damnation.
https://hundredyearoldman.bandcamp.com

A.R.C. SOUNDTRACKS
A.R.C. Soundtracks is an audio/visual duo based in Manchester, UK. Marrying bleak drones, doomy beats and FX-heavy spoken-word to ritualistic visuals, they are an unsettling encounter. They have released via LCR and Sacred Tapes and a new album recorded at Islington Mill (home to GNOD etc) in Salford is out now via Gizeh Records‘ Dark Peak series (also home to Christine Ott, Aidan Baker & Claire Brentnall and A-Sun Amissa). Their current live show was premiered at London’s Cafe Oto in 2016 and works as a soundtrack to prepared visuals.
www.arcsoundtracks.bandcamp.com

AGING
Aging are a gloom heavy jazz band whose music unfurls as slowly as cigarette smoke. Directly inspired by Film Noir, Hardboiled Detective Fiction and the weepiest of Torch Songs, their sole purpose for making music is to make you cry into your drink and look stylish whilst doing it.
https://tombedvisionsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/suitable-for-night

Tickets are on sale, available here.

Gizehfest-2019-Web-Manchester

Gizeh Records – GZH67 – 1st April 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Last Harbour aren’t exactly renowned for their prolific output. They may have released six albums, but it’s taken the best part of 17 years, and the gap between the last two albums was a full four years. So, for Paler Cities to follow less than a year after their last long player, the immense Caul, feels like a real step-up in terms of momentum. The 7” single is accompanied by a brace of digital-only tracks, and the quality of the material is both consistent and superlative.

They’ve struck a rich seam of gloomy post-punk folk music, and ‘Paler Cities’ indicates a further evolution, showcasing a new-found stripped back approach to the compositions. A tense, chorus-heavy guitar provides a suitably stark backdrop to K Craig’s intonations of mournful longing delivered in his signature cavernous baritone.

Flipside ‘The Curved Road’ is a brooding, introspective effort which goes deep inside while evoking dark late-night imagery and conjuring psychological drama. The stealthy, almost subterranean, wandering bassline really makes it.

The digital tracks are of an equal calibre: ‘A Better Man’ is beautifully lugubrious and understated, dripping with minor-key violin, and with its chiming guitars and sad-sounding string arrangements, the darkly dreamy ‘Witness’, with its sweeping vistas, displays post-rock tendencies (or, more specifically, it echoes I Like Trains at their most melancholy).

There’s an overarching theatricality to the four tracks on offer here, and while they’re downtempo and downbeat, the aching beauty that lies in their shadowy depths is utterly compelling.

 

Last Harbour - Paler

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244857832&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true

Last Harbour Online