Posts Tagged ‘Thom Yorke’

Tape Records – 9th December 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Fuck yeah! Purveyors of premium quality grungey no-wave noise Arrows of Love serve up the second taster of their second album, Product, and ‘Beast’ is appropriately titled. A sprawling, squalling mess of chaos, it sums up everything that makes Arrows of Love the band they are.

Now, I was hooked on AoL from the moment I heard the opening bars of ‘Honey’ back in 2012 . That low-slung, dirty bassline and the fizzy guitar racket was one of the most exhilarating things I’d heard in years.

Granted, it’s live that they really come into their own, but their studio recording are a pretty accurate reflection of their wildly unpredictable, full-tilt, performances, and Everything’s Fucked was one of the most courageously raw albums -debut or otherwise – of 2014.

Beyond the music, Arrows of Love have a social and political conscience, too, as the band members’ Facebook postings and the press release in support of the single attest: ‘During the last few months Arrows of Love stepped away from their album recording process to fight a campaign against the ex-Olympic Authority LLDC. With their own warehouse community threatened with demolition as London continues to lose parts of its soul to gentrification, Vittoria Wharf hit local and worldwide news when residents stood up to fight closure. The band and a slew of local artists spearheaded the defence of what i-D called “a thriving centre for cultural and artistic output” during the #savevittoriawharf campaign… ‘Beast’ is a song built for speed. Its anthemic forward march is a sensibility that runs counter to the over-stuffed, of-the-moment world we live in and its context runs parallel with the bands defiant nature. “A lot of people have asked me if I’ve written any songs about this fight with the corporation” says Nima, “This song was actually written over a year ago, but as we’ve been playing and recording it this summer the lyrics turned out to be prophetically relevant”. Proving that Arrows Of Love are one of a rare breed of bands that stand by what they preach when the moment calls.’

All the more reasons to love the band: they’re not your regular egotistical musos, but a gang who give a shit about stuff that matters at a grass-roots level.

Produced with a suitably light touch by Mikko Gordon (Thom Yorke, Gaz Combes), and mastered with a full appreciation of the band’s intent by Bob Weston of Shellac, ‘Beast’ is a bass-driven sprawl of angular racket which indicates that Product will be even more gnarly and uncompromising than its predecessor. I for one am very excited by the prospect. You should be too.

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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)