Browsing All Posts published on »September, 2014«

Stars In Battledress – In Droplet Form (avant-folk)

September 30, 2014

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Music needs to be comprehensible; it is, after all, a form of communication. The more readily digestible it is, however, and the more easily it slips down, the fewer hooks there are to hang any unique meanings on it. There is an inherently unstable dialectic between the familiar and the novel, and somewhere around the mid-point of that duality’s oscillations are the sites at which it resonates with its listeners. The strangeness with which Stars In Battledress tend to strike the listener’s ear is not that of complete unfamiliarity; indeed, their music’s harmonies are primarily built

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 25, 2014

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Mark Harrison and his very capable band (whose members include the extremely talented duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker) play a curiously English take on American roots music. Their stylistic materials mine the cracks between country blues and old time country music, continuing a UK tradition that began with skiffle and was nourished by the likes of Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and the pop-jug-band sounds of Canned Heat. There’s a sense when listening to American performers in such styles, particularly the older ones, that they are singing from beneath a heavy encrustation of …

Arch Garrison – I Will Be A Pilgrim (avant-folk)

September 17, 2014

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A sense of native place is a sentiment most associated, in music, with folk styles, or with the strong blood-and-soil nationalist current in black metal, for example, and such sounds have sometimes been taken up by those with particularly unpleasant political agendas. Craig Fortnam is here to remind us, through his acoustic Arch Garrison project, that an autochthonous sense of identity, a strong sense of connection to the landscape on which one lives, can be inclusive and nourishing. These songs are informed by an awareness of the difficulties and ambiguities around such ideas …

Kevin Pearce – Matthew Hopkins And The Wormhole (indie)

September 10, 2014

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There’s a lot of quality songwriters out there, ones that write sincere and sophisticated songs, and that, without necessarily straying too far from the kinds of musical materials that audiences find digestible, manage to say something particular and illuminating. Trouble is, they all sound the same. I mean, however good the material is, and however great the performances, there are an awful lot of relatively similar voices clamouring for the listener’s ear. Although what usually happens is that audiences gravitate to artists who resonate with them for reasons extraneous …

Various Artists – Album Roundup

September 8, 2014

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Richard Pinhas and Yoshida Tatsuya are legendary figures in the French and Japanese experimental rock scenes, respectively. ‘Experimental’ is a term that implies a bit of diversity, and the projects they’ve been involved with have covered quite a range of approaches, so there is nothing predictable about this record, and nor would there have been, whatever it sounded like. Pinhas is a guitarist with a penchant for live looping technology, which he uses here to create shimmering skeins of sound rather than hard-edged rhythmic repetitions, mutating colour fields with texturally filigreed surfaces and pelagically roiling depths. He uses quite pronounced distortion, which takes the music into the fringes of noise, but it is soft and warm, amniotically …