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The MOJO CD - Neu Decade

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This month the MOJO cover CD features sounds from across Western Europe that contributed to the musical zeitgeist that serenaded David Bowie during his brief stint in the German capital in the later years of the 1970s, to tie in with their feature article on Mr Jones' time in Berlin. Twelve of the fifteen tracks are German and the CD forms a loose collection of the less obvious Kosmische Musik of the times, less obvious because more than likely licensing issues prevented the use of the usual suspects. This makes it far more interesting than it might otherwise have been, and Neu Decade seems at times like a trawl through the lesser played slabs of vinyl in my small, yet perfectly formed Krautrock collection.


Developing free from the constraints of a deeply ingrained blues and latterly, rock'n'roll heritage, these bands and artists naturally ventured well beyond those base building blocks of all British and American alternative musical culture to forge something entirely new…

When is a review not a review? When it goes Grrrrnnnnggghh, that's when...

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This started out as a review of an album entitled Synchromysticism by a band of renegades calling themselves Yowie...

Apparently first used after an incident in Prague Castle in 1618 that initiated the Thirty Years War, “defenestration” is the act of throwing someone out of a window. This begs the question that, being Prague, it must have been spoken in Slavic tongue and therefore was not “defenestration” at all, but some semi-guttural utterance us pampered Anglos would have no hope of pronouncing. Anyway, nitpicking at the technical niceties of language while simultaneously having a dig at the limitations of Wikipedia aside, the drummist and de-facto leader of this band of American lunatics goes by the name of Defenestrator. If that isn’t a reason to review an album I don’t know what is, and boy, do I need a reason right now.

You see over the past couple of months I have lost my writing mojo, and no doubt that provokes a sigh of relief from you, dear long-suffering reader. In fact i…

V Ä L V Ē - #1 [the theosophical society]

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With every other member of Knifeworld being involved in at least three other bands as well as having parallel solo careers, as musicians, DJs, and sword swallowers, it would be remiss of the Knives' resident bassoonist Chloe Herington to sit at home putting up shelves, don't you think? She did too, so with the help of "a spectacular array of rather fetching collaborators" adding saxophones, found sounds, and fragile electronica, this somewhat beguiling EP was produced.

It sounds like anything that required electricity to power it was plugged into a single socket in next door's garage while they weren't looking via stacked three-plug adapters, such is the tottering fragility of the music herein. Some say that avant garde music is often unnecessarily indulgent, and wilful for the sake of it, but this is another creature entirely, blown on the winds of a febrile imagination.

If I am forced to describe this music in two words, that epithet is "dangerously c…

Colouratura - Colouratura

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"Colouratura - n. elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody, especially in operatic singing."

So says the dictionary, and thankfully we can ignore what follows the comma, but the rest applies.

An album made in small hours in their spare time by Nathan James, who wrote the music, and Ian Beabout who twiddled knobs in his fast becoming inimitable fashion, this unusual trip throws the genre book out the window. Over the course of its 50 minutes, a seamless journey split into definable songs or tracks for convenience, but playing as one piece, Colouratura in its first three tracks covers spectral if unsettling ambience, plaintive ballad and Faustian space rock, which gives an idea of the "scattergun set to stun" nature of this record.

The height of the realised songwriting on the album arrives on Sea Shanty, which sways along in proto-Procol Harum fashion before a middle eight that rides the swell in triple time. Nathan James is a fine singer with a good range and emo…

The Fall - New Facts Emerge

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New Facts Emerge is the 32nd album from that strange mental institution burning that goes by the name of The Fall. Led by Mark E. Smith, it is entirely probable that you or I is at least distantly related to someone who has been in The Fall, or at the very least is only three steps removed from a plucky musician with a career death wish to back Smith's by now embarrassingly random splutterings. They seem to be drawn to Smith like moths to a flame, and he has got through approximately 70 of the poor fuckers since crawling out of Prestwich with the first line up back in 1976.

Over the years this band has belted out some stonkingly classic records, and even now and well beyond their prime have until fairly recently managed to pepper their albums with blasts of righteous indignation that make the former fan such as I still occasionally part with readies for a shiny disc. Yes, we still buy CDs, for like Mr Smith we are now quite old. The last time I did this was back in 2008 for Imperi…

Jumble Hole Clough - Go and play quietly by yourself

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Foreclose on the definite, obliterate all expectations. From the building blocks start anew. Reconnect the heart to the mind via the spidery funk line. Dangle a proposition and attach it to the running board of a runaway bus, for this is the start of a new adventure. The unknown is not un-named, it is Go and play quietly by yourself, the 758th album this epoch from Jumble Hole Clough, a possibly imaginary concept that exists both before and after Schrodinger opens his box in the troubled hamlet of Hebden Bridge yesterday. The tree fell in the forest, no-one observed it apart from Colin Robinson who wrote a tune about something else entirely called Skin & Hide that combined pop and the fractured dissonance of our troubled souls. "Goat and gland, Autonomy in hand, Don’t fill your ear full of sand".

Colin's work will engage your noggin as well as make you smile, possibly at one and the same time. This is the kind of multi-tasking I can cope with. Colin's hovercraft…

Schnauser - Irritant

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Madness, they call it madness...
In my fevered imaginings I would like to think that the annoyingly over-capable DIY Sturmführer Dick Strawbridge, he of the unfeasibly humungous moustache and loveable teddy bear persona was playing the Midi-kazoo for Schnauser, the wonderfully strange yet cuddly combo from Bristol, as they cavort around the stage playing Have You Got PPI?, a particularly loose-limbed number from their fabulously tumescent new album Irritant. In my peculiar fantasy, Dick looks proudly over to his son, guitarist and singist Alan as he belts out the wonky wonderfulness that comprises Schnauser’s weird yet perfectly self-contained universe, as strange tiny creatures synchronously writhe about in Dad's bristling upper lip hair monster.
In other news it turns out that "We are the brainworm" as the Nutty Boys play klezmer, and enquiries are made by chanting girl choruses asking "Have You Got PPI?" while a craftily purloined cheesy synth line from Bow…

faUSt - Fresh Air

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"All we need...is fresh air in our brain" declaims the propulsive opening title track to this driven and tribal album, recorded on a tour of the USA in 2016, and Faust...or is it faUSt..., the rhythmic engine room of Krautrock are back on my radar after an absence of some years.

Seems like I have some catching up to do, as true to their anarchic spirit, there appears to be two versions of the band currently in existence. The version we find here, spelling themselves faUSt, no doubt after their long American connection, are steered by bassist and singer Jean Hervé-Peron ("jhp.art-terrorist") and drummer Werner Diermaier ("Zappi"). They are the most active of the two versions, having released a handful of albums since 2009, and they tour fairly regularly.

Fresh Air kicks off with the mammoth title track, which for the first half of its length is a dreamy synth-led ambient wander through a Polish translation of part of a work by French poet, painter, musicia…

Juxtavoices - Warning: May Contain Notes

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Warning: May Contain Notes is the third release from Sheffield-based Martin Archer's Juxtavoices, described by Martin, quite succinctly I feel, as an "antichoir". While the largest proportion of the strange collage of sounds emanating from this CD derives from the large ensemble of human voices, this is not choral work in traditional sense.

If you arrive at this album having never heard Juxtavoices before, you may well be shocked, but also hopefully intrigued by its sheer otherness to indulge its excesses for a while. I am lucky for I knew what to expect, having already experienced their first album Juxtanother Antichoir From Sheffield some four years ago.

Juxtavoices is a large conglomerate of singers and performers from the Sheffield avant music and arts scene, and it includes both trained and untrained voices. Although the pieces they perform are scripted, the finer details of the works are improvised, with whistles, chattering, moans, whoops and hollers coming at you…

The Fierce And The Dead - Field Recordings

The new album from Rushden musical sensation The Fierce And The Dead was going to be called That'll Lern Ya, Me Ol' Booty, but Bad Elephant label boss 'Ard Man Elliott weren't havin' none o'that, me duck, o no. Mr Elliott, issuing dictats from his lair down in That London weren't havin' no peasants 'avin ideas above their station, and so the more prosaic and cash register-friendly Field Recordings it is.

Last summer, after taking a wrong turn on the way to the Ceynty Teyn to buy a sheep, Farmer Stevens and his ragtag bobtail hayseed dixies ended up at some noisy fair goin' by the name o'Ramblin' Man where they thought they may as well set up stall to display their wares. As we all know, this involves making a mighty fine racket with them electric guitars, amplifiers, and pedal thingies.

But...there was a problem. Just before they mounted the stage, an almighty argument ensued over the ownership of the last bar of Crunchie in the bottomle…

The Bob Lazar Story - Baritonia

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You do realise that yesterday the owner of Everton FC bought the Liver Building, and the Liver Birds will be painted a rightful and justified Royal Blue, to go with our new ground nestling by the Royal Blue Mersey don't you? It's enough for those folk over at Big Stand FC to get their unwashed boxers in a twist.

...sorry, we have to take our small pleasures where we can. Now, where was I? Oh yes, the new album by Christchurch, NZ based ex-pat Scouser and Mad Koppite Matt Deacon and his American drummist buddy Chris Jago, who record under the name The Bob Lazar Story. Firstly, who was "Bob Lazar", and what is his "Story"? Whomsoever he may be, and whatever be his story (Ed's note - summat to do with UFOs...have you not heard of Google, ya lazy bugger?), this latest chapter entitled Baritonia is more than worthy of your attention, and it is more than fitting that this disparate "band" have ended up on that amorphous collective based in That Lon…

A collection of misfits and awkwardness...

Permanently snowed under with review downloads, sometimes you need a good virtual enema to clear out the crap...so here's a collection of shorties. some by guest reviewers:

Dr Watson's Sphincter Assignment - Blessed Are The Proctologists

Based in a hut halfway up Mt Snowdon, these Welsh sheep worriers occasionally come down the mountain to gather in a studio to make incomprehensible noise with acoustic instruments, including the Swansea Nose Flute, the aluminium beat box (otherwise known as "a bucket"), primal shouting, banjos and an acoustic guitar with an action that would snap the fingers of lesser men. One track consists of singist Dai Ovine-Evans-Williams screaming "Arse!" in five different local dialects over guest Steve Hackett's coruscating solo, on a loop. Matt Stevens was never like this.

Roger McNasty


Blinkywinky Possibility - Me, A Flower

Blinkywinky was once known as Susan Chives, which apparently was her real name until she changed it by dee…

The MOJO CD - Pigs Might Fly

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With a sub-title of "MOJO Presents A Compendium of Progressive Sounds", how could I resist a deeper look into the latest cover-mount CD from probably the best mainstream music magazine here in the UK? Ostensibly compiling tracks that MOJO claim are inspired by the progressive spirit of Pink Floyd's Animals album, a mere 40-years old this year, the cover note rightly makes the distinction between "progressive" and the sometimes pejorative
term "prog".



So far, so good...let's take a look to see what they have come up with...


Public Service Broadcasting - The Other Side
Last year's flavour of several months, the prog PSB never quite resonated with me. While individual tracks work well enough, like this pleasant synth melody underneath the soundtrack of Mission Control and Apollo 8 losing communication and then regaining it, as that first manned flight around the Moon disappears round the dark side and then re-emerges, the album as a whole may pro…

All Them Witches - Sleeping Through The War

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"Ain't nobody gonna tell me howda run ma town"
All Them Witches are purveyors of desert rock, for want of a better term, but that's a way too limiting a description for this classic album that combines many strands to weave a dazzling day-glo fabric of mind warping rock'n'roll. Formed as recently as 2012, Sleeping Through The War is already the band's fourth album, they don't hang around. Despite looking incredibly young in their promotional photos, they are imbued with the wisdom of justified and ancient ur-rock, chanelling Blue Cheer, Hendrix, The Stooges, right through to Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age.

They were a name unknown to me until a few weeks ago when one of those rambling online music-related conversations I've been having of late with my American mate and fellow scribbler Shawn Dudley, a man who likes his rock to be heavy and righteous, mentioned this band. Connections were made and Shawn has now penned a review of the Nashvill…

Prog Sphere Promotions - Progotronics

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It is thanks to Nikola Savić of Prog Sphere Promotions that six or seven years ago my ceaseless witterings about music no-one listens to got a wider audience, for it was via his site that my reviews first found an outlet beyond my then near-invisible blog, customer reviews on Amazon, and occasional contributions to Prog Archives.

Over the years Prog Sphere Promotions has released many compilations featuring bands from all over the world, covering all the countless musical tributaries that feed into this thing we call Prog. The quality of the participants in these Progstravaganzas, as they were known, varied wildly and much fun was had over at DPRP reviewing these unruly monsters as part of a small team of scribblers.

Gradually, Prog Sphere and I parted ways, as I found new outlets for my incessant ramblings, and Prog Sphere disappeared below the horizon, no doubt due to the intervention of the real world into the life of its founder, following his nuptials.

In recent months, Prog Sph…

Taylor's Free Universe - Family Shot

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"Prog" is a word derived from progressive, so I have always found it somewhat ironic that a lot of prog fans are very conservative in their musical outlook and view anything that wanders even a tad from their comfy parameters with at best suspicion and at worst instant dismissal. A few years ago in the process of reviewing the fine modern fusion album Worn Out by Danish guitarist Robin Taylor's Taylor's Universe, in the course of research - yes, some of us amateur scribblers do actually do that - I stumbled across a dismissive non-review on the prog review site DPRP of an album by the name of Family Shot by the improv extension of Robin's band, Taylor's Free Universe. The review consisted of three words, these being "Noise, not music". That kind of dismissive statement by a cloth eared ignoramus and probable Genesis-clone loving fool only served to pique my interest, but unfortunately I failed to track down the album in question.

Time passed and I …

Dementio13 - Broxen

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A link somewhere on that sprawling canvas of opinions, paranoia, ignorance, daftness, and cute animal pics that is Farcebook connecting the prolific alien funkmeister Colin Robinson with an album by a chap going under the name of Dementio13 led me here.

"Here" is another of those vast discographies by someone I'd never heard of before, not being the slightest bit au fait with the modern electronic music scene. Demetio13, or Paul Foster as he is known to the machinery of State - describes himself on his profile page as a "Musician, producer, remixer, blogger, visual artist", and a highly inventive, not to mention prolific chap he seems to be. Based in Cardiff, he has made, either in collaboration or on his own, a large number of albums, and they are all dangled temptingly before us with a "name your price" tag. Sadly, another case of so much music, so little time.

Broxen presents off-kilter beats and punishing rhythms, alongside skewed ambience and Kra…

Deke Leonard - "When we weren't playing, we did some serious lolling about"

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Way back in the day, there were two types of music. Pop music and rock music, and I knew from a disquietingly early age that it was rock music for me. Pop music was good for a laugh, but hey, this is serious stuff, man. One of the first rock bands I got into was the Welsh band Man, always at their best when both the ever-present Mickey Jones and his on-off partner in West Coast (of Wales) guitar wizardry, one Roger "Deke" Leonard were flying through the riffosphere, riding cascades of gorgeously molten notes to far edge of infinity. Deke Leonard was in and out of Man during their 70s heyday more times than Rod Stewart was in and out of the divorce courts, but they were something else when he was in the ranks.

Always a much better prospect live than in the studio, my first encounter with Man was via the double live album Greasy Truckers, a recording of a United Artists showcase and benefit concert for a charity for the homeless, held at London's iconic Roundhouse venue i…

Riza Arshad, a true talent gone too early...

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Not so long ago, Riza Arshad, a visionary Fender Rhodes player who mixed jazz fusion with Indonesian roots music with his band simakDialog passed away far too soon. He leaves behind a legacy of some truly innovative fusion music, and that part of his catalogue that was released through MoonJune Records is being offered for free until February 14th, in an effort to spread awareness of his burgeoning talent. 5 ALBUMS FREE DOWNLOAD (valid until February 14, 2017)
https://simakdialog.bandcamp.com/music

Here is MoonJune's full tribute to Riza Arshad...
"Distance, geography, and marketplace are the only reasons for the Indonesian Rhodes maestro Riza Arshad not being prominently mentioned in the same coversations as Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul, Jan Hammer and other jazz keyboard greats." - Mark Redlefsen, contributor to All About Jazz Dear Friends in Music
On January 13, 2017, I have lost one of my closest friends, the Indonesian piano and Fender Rhodes maestro, an accomplished compose…