A Mountain is a Mammal




Cheap Demo Bad Science

[Static Caravan,]

The Ruins of Adventure

[Corwood Industries,]

The Great Investigation

[Tomt Recordings,]

Live at White Elephant




Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba, Volume One

[Waxing Deep,]

The Man Who Likes Watching

[Slowfoot Records,]


[Clean Feed,]


[Editions Mego,]


[Sunbeam Records,]

Versions of the Prepared Piano

[Karaoke Kalk,]

The Jarring Effects Home Experience # 2

[Jarring Effects,]

Inner Constellation Volume One

[Nemu Records,]


[Newland Music,]


[Birdy Rocks,]



Bouncing Radar Beams Off The Moon

[Dank Disk,]

In between one trip to the Far East and the next pending only a few weeks from now, I'm left gawking at a large pile of music that is screaming for attention. Due to time limitations, all of these releases will get short but nonetheless honourable mention.
Recorded late 2005, "A Mountain is a Mammal" is a brave duo set from multi-instrumentalists Marco Fernandes and Mike Pride. Along with percussion [which both men play], they also dabble in phonography, glockenspiel, electronics and voice. In large part, the record is an investigation of how two percussionists can live up to sharing a common ideal. Revelatory is the fact that each of the three improvised pieces brings more intricate details. The more you listen, the more you're bound to discover a world that is alien, haunting and strangely alluring. KK Null's collaboration with Chris Watson and Z'ev "Number One" from a couple of years back was an unparalleled success. Blending equal amounts of source recordings and live instrumentation, it went above beyond and above anyone's expectations. Move on to 2006, when KK Null [Kazuyuki Kishino] travelled to Kakadu National Park in Australia's Northern Territory. There he recorded hours of tape of flocks of wild birds, bush fire, insects, frogs and birds. He had no idea what to do with the recordings until he started to work on a solo recording for Touch. Result is a cacophony of sorts - where electronic waves crash dead on with sounds of nature. This is territory where birds co-exist in mutual conflict with electronic barrages of tedious sound. KK Null has proven himself to be a masterful conductor of varied sounds.
According to the CD tray, Serafina Steer was born on April 30th, 1982 in Peckham, London. She currently resides in Hackney. She's 5'10". She's seasonal and work shy. Her debut, ironically titled "Cheap Demo Bad Science" shows her to be a talent that is screaming to get out. Playing the harp and keyboards, she creates a world that is serene, soothing and quirky. Her voice bellows out with pertinent humidity that embalms the instruments around her. Her vocals are light yet they have a weight and years of life experience to them that can't be put into words. Forget about analyzing lyrics as this would require a separate thesis in itself. Quirky sounds for a warm summer day.
World-weary recluse Jandek returns with his 49th release [!!]. "The Ruins of Adventure" will not be a revelation to those familiar with the man's music. Its dour, slowed-down vocals are intoxicating. So intoxicating they are in fact, that in points, the listener feels like they're being suffocated with Jandek's philosophical rants. Much of Jandek's stuff reminds me of someone who is intoxicated beyond belief. Someone who is bound to fall flat on the sidewalk and not recover until the following morning. The fretless bass that he plays helps to make the music even direr. The way he draws out these singular phrases, you're bound to end up in tears and all you really want to do is give the guy a big bear hug. In order to cleanse myself from Jandek's dreary sound, I find Ronderlin to be the perfect cure. Second album from the Swedish quintet spells furious pop fun. Something akin to latter day New Order, with a vocalist that has tender and sweet vocals, the band can do no wrong. The melodies are catchy; the choruses are instantly addictive, while the instrumentation is cleanly recorded. What more could you ask for?
Turning 180 degrees, we come to Michal Osowski's Collective and his live recording from White Elephant Club in Rotterdam. In the liner notes to the download-only CD, Michal Kostrzewa states: "Improvisation is a bearer of truth, which, as the contradiction of falsehood, is an emblem of positive thinking?We observe emerged product in galleries, we listen to on concerts or pass by on the streets. Art is born in sensitive minds and it is gotten back into such - everything else is just labour. Some enjoy it, others can't bear and others don't care about." Orchestrating the whole collective, Osowski looks after electronics, which tend to be swift, direct and splice through finite space. Daisuke Terauchi and Tamaho Miyake supply growling, alien-like vocals that are drawn out for long sections. Rhythm section - bassist Goncalo De Almeida and percussionist Wieland Moeller - are especially effective in bringing others into marching formation. Personally, I enjoy more minimal number, such as "Resonant" where sounds fall into place more naturally, where timbers are more delicate and sonorities more kind. Very strong effort from Osowski, whom I'm sure will throw more offerings our way soon.
You wouldn't imagine Matthieu Saladin is playing bass clarinet and soprano sax on his release "Intervalles". In fact, the first few times I heard these sounds I though he was playing pure static or even messing around in scraping strings of a cello. Deep breaths, intense periods of silence and calm and tickling of hushed bells all go into making the record an unparalleled success. The deeper you dig into the sounds, the more intensely they'll pay you back. Saladin's sense and embrace of minimalism is unparalleled. With a little bit of patience and open ears, the music will soothe, challenge and motivate you to seek out forthcoming releases from Saladin.
It's rare to hear Cuban compilation that emphasizes the funk aspect of the music. Look no more than "Si, Para Usted", which throws a healthy dosage of 70's and 80's funk, soul, afro and rhythm. Grupo Monumental "Si, Para Usted" rocks heavy in the funk department, while the percussion heavy "Y no le Conviene" by Los Van Van is a wild feast. One of the stand-out tracks is Ricardo Eddy Martinez and his "Tambo Iya". The way the disco-soul rhythms jive inside of this simple funk tune is unbelievable. Jorge Reyes and his organ-heavy funk of "Pocito" is no worse. In fact, everywhere you turn, this compilation is brewing in delicious morsels. Most of these tunes have never seen light of day outside of Cuba, which makes it all the more essential. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Debut from British vocalist Charles Stuart goes under a strange sounding title "The Man Who Likes Watching". Likes watching whom? Likes watching what? Traffic accidents? People in their bedrooms? Football matches? Regardless, Stuart turns out to be an able vocalist who can shake the place down, though in reality he prefers to take a smoother road. Playing a variety of instruments - Rhodes, piano, Hammond, synths, bass, guitars, Casio tone and percussion - he has also enlisted a variety of guest musicians - bassists, guitarists, percussionist, cellist, etc. Result is a mixed bag of soul tunes drenched in dub, and dub tunes drenched in pop mentality. There is also sparks of disco, jazz and world music as the album goes from one end of the spectrum to the next without missing a beat. Stuart's vocals are often non-chalant, which causes much of the music to be laid back and off-key. Even when d'n'b pops in to visit, the guy doesn't miss a beat. Flawlessly executed, I couldn't care less who Stuart likes watching as long as he keeps churning out the music.
Bassist Joelle Léandre and accordion master Pascal Contet had only one previous recording together, which was back in 1994. Since that record is now out-of-print, Clean Feed decided to invite the duo for a repeat session. It's funny how some feel it's necessary to defend an instrument like an accordion as one that is worthwhile. Pauline Oliveros and Guy Klucevsek both have equal stake in the game and neither cares what people think of their chosen instrument. So, why should Pascal Contet be any different. His approach sounds quite circular, as he grasps individual motifs and bends them just a tad to come up with a unique vision. Léandre is amazing at plucking strings and going deep into darkest arco territory. Compatibility level between both musicians is second to none. In fact, whole passages sound as if the two were joined at the proverbial hip. Excellent release from a pair of musicians who long time ago discovered their unique voices. Second efforts tend to be less polarizing than all important debuts. Luckily, KTL's "2" is a far cry from being labelled a weak effort. Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley and electronics guru and Mego label owner Peter Rehberg come together once again to give a truly dark, ominous listening experience. If drones and repetitious motifs are your thing, this record is for you. The electronic cacophony of metallic rain that is built up over 27 minute span on "Theme" is phenomenal. "Abattoir" moves into more dense, whooshing guitar territory. Much more ear friendly than most sunnO))) records, KTL moves slowly into a territory that is layered with intense, dramatic notions of danger and doom.
1968's classic "Reality" by UK outfit Second Hand has finally seen the light of day. Freak-out music is what I would call this stuff. Prog rock meets weirdo lyrics and shimmering layers of percussive orgasms make this re-issue a cause for celebration. A bit disjointed in place, but still, a wildly organic ride through a haze of late 60's that will not disappoint anyone. Remixing other peoples work can be a joy only if you truly enjoy the artists' music. Such is the case with "Versions of the Prepared Piano", where twelve variations are proposed on Huaschka's "The Prepared Piano" project. This is mostly quiet and laid back music - where electronica meets folk sounds. Traffic's abrasive take on "Rocket Man" is brave, while Nobukazu Takemura's "Assembler's Mix" is filled to the brim with squeals, gentle pops and soft, stunning strumming. Mira Calix takes my breath away each time I hear her take of "Without Morning Mix". Absolute perfection in every phrase and loveliness that is bare and fragile. Wonderful stuff and highly recommended! Jarring Effects is one of France's best dub/hip hop labels. Their new compilation "The Jarring Effects Home Experience # 2" goes a step beyond and above and showcases the many talents signed to its roster. From the break-beat of Twelve's "Jimmy's Ghost", deep mid-tempo reverb of Wangtone's "Kouai", through to some rap and smooth break-beats of Reverse Engineering and their wonderful piece "Koto", the album goes from strength to strength. Nowhere do I hear any weak links or throw away tunes. Solid from beginning to end. Guitarist Bruce Eisenbeil doesn't waste any time. After the great "Carnival Skin" project from last year, he follows up with an equally incredible "Inner Constellation Volume One". This time around the sextet is made up of violinist Jean Cook, trumpeter Nate Wooley, alto saxophonist Aaron Ali Shaikh, bassist Tom Abbs and percussionist Nasheet Waits. Eisenbeil's jittery, stuttering on the strings leads the others in an equally jugular session. The music sounds free [even though Eisenbeil is credited with composer credits], the rhythm section is tight, while the duelling trumpet-alto sax exchanges are oftentimes jarring. Cook's violin mastery adds a particular contrast to the proceedings. An exciting session from beginning to end, one that confirms Eisenbeil as a major talent. Along the lines of a softer Roger Eno, Evan Bartholomew transcends the universe with a nicely balanced recording. "Borderland" is an excursion into the realm of ambient, soothing and the less rushed sounds. Trickles of oboe, bits of flute, and a ton of synth create an atmosphere that allows the listener the luxury to dive right into. Serenity pervades every single pore as the sounds wistfully seep in and out of your ears. Like a gentle prairie wind and the sound of the flying crows up ahead, the music is a tranquil oasis for the mind and soul.
Dav, Tim, Mark, Greg and Monty. These are the characters behind Birdy. Quintet's self titled EP does enough to convince me that perhaps, just perhaps, there is some real gut and some feeling in what they're playing. Dav's vocal chords are an interesting mix of the roaring, blasé and raunchy. The rhythm guitar played by Greg is as intense as it is driving, while the rhythm section [Tim and Monty] perk up the rest of the outfit to outdo each other. Great debut for a start. Now, let's see if they can follow this up with something equally as interesting.
Coming straight out of Nazareth, Eitan Carmi [aka Fatali] prefers the more progressive side of house. In fact, his mindset is on what I would call the minimal trance. Problem is the minimal is wrought with dance floor clichés. The beats are not ones that I would call innovative and the formula gets tired rather fast. By the third track, you know where the album is heading. Perfect listening for the younger club crowd, for those just getting into the scene. Otherwise, give this one a pass.
Ending this mish-mash of a review from just about every genre is Canartic. Jon Coats and Randall Peterson are responsible for a variety of sounds, noises and aural landscapes on the fine "Bouncing Radar Beams Off The Moon" release. Guitars, bass, loops, samples and effects make their music akin to dub, but somewhat much more breezier. They could be compared to a lazier Orb, but yet they pack a bigger punch. The duo gracefully navigate between numbers sticking to a formula that has been bludgeoned to death by other artists - think a lighter Laswell riding a dub beat while tripping in a blue room somewhere. Despite its familiarity of sound, an excellent release nonetheless.

- Tom Sekowski

<<< poprzednia recenzja następna recenzja >>>


+ Marek Styczyński - Cyber Totem
+ Uphill Racer - You Will Understand
+ Asmus Tietchens - Notturno
+ Sonar Kollektiv - Ten Years, Who Cares?
+ Slam - Human Response
+ Shriekback - Glory Bumps
+ The Black Seeds - Into The Dojo
+ Plant43 - Grey Sky Cracks EP
+ Troy Pierce - Gone Astray
+ Outlines - Our Lives Are Too Short
+ The Orb - Orbsessions Volume Two: Finest Quality For The Connoisseur
+ Exploited Presents: Shir Khan - Maximize!
+ Magnum 38 - Old Europe Strikes Back
+ Magnum 38 - Disko Toni EP
+ Lady Aarp - Soma
+ Oliver Koletzki - Get Wasted
+ Laurent Garnier - Public Outburst
+ Fovea Hex - Allure
+ False - 2007
+ Asmus Tietchens & Richard Chartier - Fabrication
+ Brian Ellis - The Silver Creature
+ Boxer 50 Jubilee
+ DJ 3000 - Blood & Honey
+ Current 93 - The Inmost Light
+ Cepia - Natura Morta
+ F.S. Blumm meets Luca Fadda - F.S. Blumm meets Luca Fadda
+ Eva Be - Moving Without Travelling
+ Alien Entertainment feat. Furious Steez - Tight Beatz EP
+ Nemezis - Inbetween
+ Tarwater - Spider Smile
+ Spoils of War - The Spoils of War
+ V. A. - Simla Beat 70/71
+ Death Ambient - Drunken Forest
+ Attilio Mineo - Man in Space with Sounds
+ International Harvester - Sov Gott Rose-Marie
+ Keiji Haino/K.K. Null - Mamono
+ Evan Parker - A Glancing Blow
+ Sabir Mateen's Shapes, Textures and Small Ensemble - Prophecies Come To Pass
+ David S.Ware Quartet - Renunciation
+ Sten Sandell Trio + John Butcher - Strokes

- - - - - - - - -

+ DECLARED ENEMY - Salute to 100001 Stars - A Tribute to Jean Genet
+ SCOTT TINKLER - Backwards
+ MIKHAIL - Orphica
+ BETTY DAVIS - Betty Davis - They Say I'm Different
+ PORT-ROYAL - Afraid to Dance / STAFRAENN HAKON - Gummi
+ A.M. - Orla
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Rumble in the Jungle
+ FABIAN GISLER - Backyard Poets
+ GENARO - Genaro
+ JEAN-LOUIS HUFTA - Halfway Between The World and Death
+ PHIL MINTON / VERYAN WESTON - Ways / PETER BROTZMANN / BILL LASWELL + LAST EXIT - Low Life / Koln / UWE KROPINSKI - Berlin, New York and Back / ALAN SKIDMORE QUARTET - Impressions of John Coltrane / S.O.H. - Live in London
+ THILGES - La Double Absence
+ JIM DENLEY - Through Fire, Crevice + The Hidden Valley
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sidewalk Songs & City Stories - New Urban Folk
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Essential Dub
+ FORMICATION - Icons for a New Religion
+ STEALPOT - Indian Salon
+ PEOPLE LIKE US & ERGO PHIZMIZ - Perpetuum Mobile
+ ROBERT VINCS - Devic Kingdom
+ MICHAEL ZERANG - Cedarhead
+ CARTA - The Glass Bottom Boat
>> MARCO FERNANDES / MIKE PRIDE - A Mountain is a Mammal / KK NULL - Fertile / SERAFINA STEER - Cheap Demo Bad Science / JANDEK - The Ruins of Adventure / RONDERLIN - The Great Investigation / MICHAL OSOWSKI COLLECTIVE - Live at White Elephant / MATTHIEU SALADIN - Intervalles / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Si, Para Usted: The Funky Beats of Revolutionary Cuba, Volume One / CHARLES STUART - The Man Who Likes Watching / JOELLE LEANDRE / PASCAL CONTET - Freeway / KTL - 2 / SECOND HAND - Reality / HAUSCHKA - Versions of the Prepared Piano / VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Jarring Effects Home Experience # 2 / BRUCE EISENBEIL SEXTET - Inner Constellation Volume One / EVAN BARTHOLOMEW - Borderlands / BIRDY - Birdy / FATALI - Re:Construct / CANARTIC - Bouncing Radar Beams Off The Moon
+ AKI TAKASE / SILKE EBERHARD - Ornette Coleman Anthology

- - - - - - - - -


+ Here I am! - rozmowa z DJ Shirem Khanem
+ The huge amount of energy - rozmowa z Peterem Horrevortsem