Spring Communication

Freshly made for you! and cynically nicking its name from the Children of Alice’s new record and only slipping in a short exerpt of the track  – this is a mix that takes in a lot of the stuff from the recent EU postcards posts and shakes them like multi coloured sprinkles over the whipped vanilla cone of european unity. or something. Make mine a 99.

harbinger of spring

Jonáš Gruska  –  V dolinách/Píly
Children Of Alice  –  The Harbinger of Spring (excerpt)
Einstürzende Neubauten  –  Hymnen
Sias  –  Spring Communication
Unholy Satan  –  Let Satan Speak Through Your Anus
TapeWorm  –  Nahnitý mozog
Maoupa Mazzocchetti  –  Portion
Microlith  –  Acid in a Church
Pierre Bastien  –  Gnostic Illicit Song
Lumisokea  –  Jenseits (Dub)
Driftmachine  –  Gaukelwerk
Oranssi Pazuzu  –  Luhistuva aikahakki
Black Candle  –  Gray ritual
Mirt  –  Michael’s Theme
Leyden Jars  –  Industrial Estate Revolution
Banabila, Machinefabriek  –  Awake
Machinefabriek  –  Vowls
Jenny Hval  –  Untamed Region
S Olbricht  –  Rien
Gondwana  –  A Gospel Of Dirt
Jonáš Gruska  –  Teba hľadá duša má, pokoja nikde nemá /Pasa II.

 

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Infinite Glance Court – Maoupa Mazzocchetti

brussels

aaaaand finally, here come the Belgians! So, I guess we had to wind up in Brussels, administrative epicentre and continental byword for wrongheaded micromanagement. In unrelated news it’s also home to wonky techno chap Mauopo Mazzocchetti, who appears to be in flagrant contradiction of some EU edict about adding surplus letters to one’s name, the tinker. He’s not much of one for observing genre rules either, more into wandering around giving free rein to his own curious imaginings. This EP is a clutch of endearingly odd little adventures that hold onto the techno tag somewhat absent mindedly. Submerged voices are slowly drowned out by slightly awkward space age bleeps and clonks on first track ‘Infinity A’. The pick of the bunch is ‘I Would Prefer Not To’ which is like some kind of Kraftwerk/Pram hybrid voiced by a speak and spell. Okay, yeah, it is like Modified Toy Orchestra. Although at the same time, it’s not. ‘Gelatin Liposuction Candy’ is a disturbing title and the track buzzes and pulses like some cheerfully awful machine subjecting you to a medical indignity. This is the ungodly robot surgery they have planned for us if we don’t quit the EU and destroy the NHS as quickly as possible. Mark my words.

 

 

Girl Band

dublin

Almost home then. Girl Band were always going to be the Irish stop off on this little jaunt. Probably I should investigate further and find someone/something else. Ah, well. Here’s a free download of some older stuff with a suitably europhile title. A few weeks ago I finally got to see them play the rescheduled dates they cancelled last year. They were absolutely fantastic. Alarming white jacket and all. Although, plainly, not actual girls, they’re probably the best looking and youngest noise rock band we’ve yet encountered, could go far. They’re a pleasing blend of post punk awkwardness and 90’s noise bands and they’re also the only one I can currently think of who have managed to remove all heavy metal trace elements from their sound. It makes a nice change to be honest, there’s a blessed abscence of machismo. They kicked off with ‘Um Bongo’ and ‘Pears for Lunch’ before Dara gets his jacket off and then stuck in the sleeve of his shirt. Yeah, drink may have been taken. I’m pretty sure they played a couple of decent new numbers during the night although no mention was made of it. ‘Fucking Butter’, as on the album, is too damn long and threatens a slump in proceedings but they came back strong for the home stretch. I wasn’t really expecting them to do ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage?’ but it was incredible, stunningly fierce and still funky at the same time it took the set (and their recorded version) up a couple of notches. They ended on ‘Paul’ which was also overloaded and intense. If you’ve never watched the video clip for it, do that, it’s wonderful. Looking forward to their return with new recordings.

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Satan Is Vegan

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Latvia is the last remaining of the more mysterious, far flung corners on this queasy spin around the European Union. Let it not be said that the Latvians lack humour. Unholy Satan is just under ten minutes of two mates, probably wasted on cheap liquor and glue, deciding to make a satanic black metal record with a tape recorder and an acoustic guitar. It is infantile, debased and hilarious. Lead track ‘Let Satan Speak Through Your Anus’ should leave you in tears of joyous laughter or a fog of utter incomprehension. ‘Satan Is Vegan’ doesn’t quite live up to its amazing title, closer ‘Woods Of Satan’ has some crappy horror organ and amusing growling but despite the brevity of the EP it tails off a bit and I doubt we’ll be eagerly awaiting their album. but for those first two and a half minutes it’s absolute greatness.

Chomsky Chess Club is a sort of funny name. To me anyway. Their music isn’t particularly funny though. Taking a break from all the techno, field recordings and childish noise of the last few posts they’re an actual band with actual songs. As is so often the way, clues can be gleaned from the cover – a flash blown artless family snap of a sleepy child rubbing his eyes. Could be a Sebadoh record. Chomsky Chess Club are indeed a 90’s alt-rock type of deal. Pretty good at it too, the songs are well constructed, well played and recorded and never painfully derivative. I certainly bought worse examples of the genre at the time and I can’t help thinking how well they’d be doing through the established channels if they were from London not Riga. I would probably hate them for it too. Anyway, ‘Knife’ is a pretty good tune.

 

 

meat lichtenstein

Teba hľadá duša má, pokoja nikde nemá

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How about some Slovakian field recordings? Some of them even made in actual Slovakian fields. ‘Chočské vrchy a doliny’ (Choč mountains and valleys) is a ‘Collection of field recordings from north-central Slovakia, capturing soundscapes of local villages Kvačany and Veľké Borové, surrounding meadows and insect population.‘ It’s not all bucolic calm, breathtaking vistas and rustling leaves. The track giving its title to this post is a folk song or hymn – roughly ‘you looking for a soul, there is no peace anywhere’. It’s beautiful, if perhaps lacking in cheer. So it is across this collection, Gruska points his microphones at the people in the villages too and captures a working, populated countryside. The second track is pretty much a minute of chainsaw noises, there are also idling engines and so on alongside the calm and beauty of  ‘Cowbells, prayers, crickets, wind.

Bratislava is also home to Z Tapes, a busy little label putting out weird, lo-fi, bedroom indie pop from the sad misunderstood loners of the world. Somehow I’ve ended up on their email list along the way. This puzzles me because although I find it all quite charming – it has some nice cover art and interesting titles – the music is pretty relentlessly wet and half arsed. I’m not sure any of their impressively international roster is actually Slovak either. Still, bless. You can buy everything they’ve ever put out for a euro if you want it.

Then there’s this. Childish tape collage noise nonsense. A two minute track, which is quite fun and a half hour long one I suspect nobody, not even the guy who made it, has listened to in full. It might become meditative if you stick with it. I wouldn’t know. Although they both appear to have been made using tape recorders and very little else it’s kind of the polar opposite of the Jonáš Gruska stuff at the top.

 

skeleton_fish

cats ‘n’ techno – they love it

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Italian kittens. Let’s press on and round out this tour of EU countries by Friday, get to the pub early. Italy – it ain’t all pizza and bunga bunga. Some more techno here, a couple of releases on Opal Tapes at the end of this week. Both tunes up for streaming are claustrophobic, driving, machine-tooled clank and grind. No messing, no murk, no time wasters. Gondwana is Andrea Taeggi who has put out stuff on Opal Tapes before including last year’s excellent Transmissions From Revarsavr  as half of Lumisokea with Koenraad Ecker. The title track ‘Miccaotli’ has some clattering erratic percussion and builds a unique pile of twisting metal noises up on top.

Domenico Crisci is pretty much new to me but has put out stuff on all kinds of labels including Jealous God, which makes sense, even the title ‘Black Roses’ is like something Jealous God or Downwards would put out – and it has that familiar dark pounding thing going on. It’s splendid.

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eurovision

hickraine-sonicWell my fellow eurotrash, after a busy weekend enjoying myself and ignoring this irritating blog it’s looking increasingly unlikely we’ll actually make it around the 28 EU member states in the 28 days of February. It’s pancake day for one thing, and I’m not about to give up my weird not exactly catholic national heritage day of feasting just because I have pancakes every saturday, no indeed. Not to fret, having dug through some favourites from 2016 to shake out the first half I’ve quite warmed to the challenge of what can be found in the further corners of the euro musique-mart if you set out to looking for it. Now, searching for music by nationality is a curious way to go about things but it does throw up stuff you might otherwise never have found. A lot of it pretty bad. That thing about not judging a book by its cover? Maybe people worked hard to make that artwork fit with and represent the music it accompanies. Or maybe they just used a bunch of shockingly pervasive and easily read genre clichés to save time. Black Metal and Techno are among the worst offenders in this respect, if far from the only ones. Lets just say there’s a stronger subcultural identity there shall we? Anyways, as I pointed last week that one of the many things that bind us as a continent was black metal, so it is with techno (and, lamentably, all kinds of psy-trance and electro pop horrors). Now, let’s have a good, stiff, drink and get out there amongst it eh?

bulgaria

This is only the fourth release from Sofia’s DVNTT –  a new techno/experimental imprint. First track takes the crown for best title with ‘Prone to Verbosity’ (I know a guy like that, don’t you?) it kicks in with a claustrophobic pulse slowly adding elements until it dissolves into a rather lovely melodic noise meltdown that hovers for just as long as it can before everything comes smacking back in eventually building up to a worrying swarm of bugs knocking itself off kilter. The other tracks are good too but that ones the pick of the bunch. Annoyed by the apparent missing S in Diaster I found myself googling it so you don’t have to – it may, or may not, have something to do with Diastereomer who knows?

malta-bones

Hot off the presses people! Microlith has a new EP arriving presently on Sheffield’s CPU. Only one we can stream at the moment is called ‘8oh8 Freight’, which is a shame ‘cos who doesn’t want to hear a tune called ‘Acid In A Church’ right? The clues are right there in the titles, couldn’t make it more plain really this is all the way squelchy, wibbling, wobbling acid. Everything on what I guess are now the retro or vintage settings, endearingly rubbish electro handclaps – all that business. It’s bright and breezy and interesting enough not to be pointless, made in a clean, white space that dreamt of a bright future that we lost along the way. It’s a bit like that recent pHarmerz record only without all the agricultural filth all over it. The bright clear skies of the mediterranean not the west country mud. Not as wildly inventive as the Analord stuff but in that area. Whole album’s worth from last year here too, includes the splendid ‘Bouncy Castle’ . . .

croatia

Croatia proved a little trickier at first but behold the marvel that is the Low Income $quad. ‘A record label for the true folks’, a local label for local people, if you will. They’ve a taste for the crappy pixelated imagery of old video games and this is their fourth compilation of rough and ready techno that sounds like it was made on similarly dated and wheezing gear. There’s plenty of murk and distortion, buckets of hiss and grating sheets of noise. Mmmm, delicious. Throughout the whole thing there’s a strong live on hardware vibe and a general ‘waking up in a dank basement when the party is over but not dead yet’ mood. ‘Dank’ as the young people allegedly say. None of the names here are familiar to me and the aesthetic is so consistent you can’t help but suspect some, if not many, aliases are at work. Turns out Ford Foster and Drvg Cvltvre have appeared on the previous installments knocking down both the theory of one core group or individual and of it being exclusively drawn from a shadowy Croatian underground. Nonetheless – it’s an enjoyably dysfunctional ride. The best title nod goes to Qnete for ‘Balls Hanging Out Of Pants’, Yeah, cheers for that one mate.

tallin

Meanwhile, in Tallin Estonia . . . last Friday saw the arrival of this latest EP from the insanely prolific Oudeis. It’s more a sci-fi synth thing than actual techno to be fair with you but it is lovely and full of warm, swooshing, dramatic synths. As best I can tell this is something of a new development although he seems to like tinkering with a variety of forms, (‘Electronica, hard- and darkcore, dnb, IDM, derpstep, techno, Slavic and Middle-Eastern folk, mental delusions, noise, dark ambient, drone’) there’s loads and loads of music on his bandcamp site and most of it is name you price if you want to investigate. Here as a bonus is the much darker, colder, moodier ‘Premonition’. oooooh, spooky.