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Staff reviews this week

Good or bad, here's what we think of this week's crop of new releases.

Please note: All views expressed are those of individual staff and not Norman Records as a whole.


8 people love me. Be the 9th...

9/10 according to our Ant on 8th October 2015

I have a strange relationship with the music of Coil. Some of their work I absolutely adore and is among some of my favourite music ever created. Music of unparalleled beauty. Then there’s the other side where there’s tracks I literally can’t bare to listen to, and when I do come across them I have to skip them, as they simply make me cringe. ‘Backwards’ traverses both sides of their music. That’s not to say other listeners couldn’t feel the stuff I don’t feel but their catalogue is so vast; if you loved absolutely everything they did you’re probably some kind of weirdo.

Originally created between their classics ‘Love's Secret Domain’ and ‘Musick to Play In The Dark’ spanning the years 1992-1995, ‘Backwards’ never officially saw the light of day. Instead tracks were remixed and later formed ‘The New Backwards’ as well as being scattered across their masterpiece ‘The Ape Of Naples’. It’s fascinating to hear early incarnations of stone cold classics like ‘A Cold Cell’, ‘Amber Rain’ ‘Heaven’s Blade’. This marked the point where Jhon Balance’s vocals and lyrics were at the absolute peak of their powers. When Jhon and Sleazy made their transition to the next life they each left behind a part of themselves that will continue to resonate with listeners for eternity.

The loss of these two visionary artists is in many ways tragic, and yet ironically, it was Jhon’s awareness and obsession with his own mortality that was one of the absolute foundations of the music of Coil and a key component in the music's power. Their music, specifically in these tracks, you could say is the story of their spirits temporarily inhabiting their human form and the struggle of coming to terms with what it means to be human. Both beautiful and nightmarish, and bloody essential for any Coil fan.

19805. -_ 19905,

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 8th October 2015

You remember those records on Avian sister label Mira right? 10”s from Bleaching Agent, Covered In Sand, Prostitutes, Zov Zov, Worn, Burma Camp and Faugust. Distinctively different from the output on Avian, all great stuff too. Well apparently Mira is no more... but weep not because Avian has now absorbed Mira and will release material that previously may have ended up on as part of that series of 10"s.

The first fruits of the two labels merging into one comes from Lituus; an alias of Chi-town based artist Connor Camburn. A name that’s never appeared on my radar before, and so having total faith in Shifted’s curation of his labels; I’m all ears to hear what this guy gets up to. As expected it’s right up Ant Street. The first track ‘PRTN:_001/.1 /’ rattles round my skull like the hazy memories/ aftermath of what I experienced in a club the night before. Techno stripped and deconstructed into what sounds like the re-manifestation of the physical vibrations experienced remoulded back into sound. So like the feeling you get from techno without the explicit use of its component sounds. ‘PRTN:_002/.1’ uses a sound palate not uncommon in modern techno, working loops into heady hypnotic minimalism for heads rather than feet. Similarly there’s not a 909 or 808 to be found in ‘PRTN:_003/.1’ foregrounding techno compatible synth phrases that subtly transform, the magic happening in a similar way to say a Maurizio loop where nuance is key.

‘RTN:_001/.2’ over on the B-side is industrial music/ mechanical machine music reduced to it’s absolute core. Sounding like a sewing machine with a propeller mapping out microrhythms. ‘PRTN:_002/.2’ does a similar thing with clicky/ bleepy/ liquid sounds that come across as techno created in some insectoid microcosm. Closing track ‘PRTN:_003/.2’ is like the looped whistles of mechanical birds which initially felt jarring but once absorbed in the pattern becomes pretty tranquil.


4 people love me. Be the 5th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 8th October 2015

Samuel Kerridge’s Contort label hits its fifth release, branching out into dark electroacoustic terrain with a four track EP from WSR aka Emanuele Porcinai. So Porcinai’s creative process is both analogue and digital, involving sources from both synthesized and acoustic instruments, manipulated with good old fashioned spools of tape and electronically (presumably computer). The results; a collision of modern classical, industrial music and I suppose techno.

‘Debris’ opens the EP with tape warped piano and tender acoustic guitar phrase, gently and increasingly bathed in saturated tape his before the shudder of tumbling beats kick in and longing slightly dissonant, melancholy keys add an additional layer of beauty, reminiscent in mood of some of AFX’s ‘Analord’ tracks.

The title track gets to work on the lug holes and cerebrum with brooding bass and what sounds like the tinkling of processed Tibetan singing bowls, before hard-hitting drum hits hammer and reverberate alongside groaning, demonic wolf sounds. The brutality is tamed with lush synth --so things feel powerful rather than aggressive or violent.

If Greek chamber doomer’s Mohammad joined forces with Kerridge, Ben Frost and Roly Porter and made industrial edged techno it might sound something like ‘No Horizon’. ‘Inner Oceans’ has something of a Muslimgaze/ Vatican Shadow type Middle Eastern feel, slowly building with mystical drones and a submerged rhythmic skeleton into a cinematic, widescreen piece that closes the EP in fine style.

Donato Dozzy
The Loud Silence

7 people love me. Be the 8th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 8th October 2015

Perhaps reading about this album’s creation before listening would have better prepared me for what on first listen came as somewhat of a shock. I’m a big fan of lots of Italian producer Donato Dozzy’s techno/ ambient/ acid productions and would consider myself familiar with his sound, so never in a zillion years was I expecting what I thought sounded like electrified jaw harps. A post listen read confirmed that was exactly what I was hearing. Then I clocked the picture on the cover and the penny dropped. That first listen was on fairly low volume and so the jaw harp sounds seemed to dominate the mix and all I could think of was Rolf Harris i.e proper twangy sounds. Dozzy know’s what he’s doing so I tried again, increasing the volume and you know, maybe this isn’t such a radical departure from previous works after all. In some ways he’s using the instrument in a similar way to his use of the Roland TB-303. Yes folks mouth harp acid!

Opening track ‘Personal Rock’ has the instrument fairly recognisable; a clear statement of intent as to what he’s doing. As it’s split across the stereo field it has a similar strange effect to some of Hecker or EVOL's radical computer music although Dozzy uses processed field recordings/ found sounds lower in the mix to create something far less sterile. ‘Cross Panorama’ is chilled ambient that could have appeared on his brilliant ‘K’ album. Here the harp’s subtler use echoes in the distance and sounds really quite tranquil. ‘The Loud Silence’ slowly builds tension, the harp becomes acidic sounding; like pure electricity and reminds me of the acid on ye olde Source Experience tune ‘Elektra’ from way back on R&S. ‘The Net’ gets all gloopy liquid acid dub. ‘Downhill To The Sea’ could almost soundtrack some beautiful natural world time-lapse film of flowers blossoming and changing weather systems. A deep bassline and trickling acid flowing and branching out into complex spatiotemporal patterns. ‘Concert For Sails’ is so fluidic sounding if you happen to need a wee, you’ll be in serious danger of having a little ‘accident’. The bubbling liquid sounds pouring from the speakers are so tangible I feel I could dive into them and get wet. The super trippy ‘Exit The Acropolis’ closes the album and had me feeling like I’d transformed into some kind of protoplasmic invertebrate jelly hanging out with plankton.

After my initial disappointment/ bewilderment with ‘The Loud Silence’ I’m glad I pursued the album -- third time lucky as they say, although a couple of tracks my ears still find just too twangy. The entire record carries Dozzy’s very distinctive sound despite his use of peculiar tools as sound sources. The results something familiar yet simultaneously original.

Mecanica Popular
¿Qué Sucede Con El Tiempo?

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 8th October 2015

Andy Votel, Sean Canty (Demdike Stare) and Doug Shipton’s Dead-Cert label have unearthed and reissued this curious record from Mecanica Popular. Originally coming out of Madrid back in 1984 and now available for consumption by a new generation. Because of its relative obscurity it’s difficult to say whether this has been influential or not but these guys were certainly ahead of the curve in many ways and were absorbing influences from great sources, remoulding them into their own vision of electronic music.

‘¿Qué Sucede Con El Tiempo?’ is a diverse and vibrant collection of tracks. The concrète post disco/ proto-techno of ‘La Edad Del Bronce’ having something of a feel of Throbbing Gristle’s Hot On The Heels Of Love’. Short interlude ‘Impresionistas 2’ sounds like it was lifted off of Jon Hassell & Brian Eno’s ‘Fourth World Vol 1: Possible Musics’ and reappears later in fuller form on ‘Daguerrotipo / Ambrotip'. The looped up ‘Quiero Irme’ recalls the experiments of early tape music, while there’s moments such as ‘Siempre Tú’ which is a little reminiscent of Cluster. The Musique concrète/ electroacoustic parts of the record recall Bernard parmegiani or even Akos Rozmann. Closer ‘Máquinas Y Procedimientos’ sounds like some gloomy haunted ship building yard on mars. In some ways this manages to sound both ahead of, and of its time; which is a quality I really rather like. Hat’s off to those guys for digging this one up.

Angel Plague

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 7th October 2015

Downwards have remastered and reissued Female’s 1999 ‘Angel Plague’ 2LP on clear vinyl in an edition of 300 copies with revamped Throbbing Gristle inspired artwork.

Female is the moniker of Peter Sutton who along with Surgeon and Regis was one of the instigators of the tough techno sound emanating from the Midlands in the mid 90’s and was indeed one of the founders of the Downwards imprint. I assume he was also part of the Sandwell District collective too -- as he had a couple of 12”s out on the label. He innovated a new rhythmic approach to techno with his releases in 2005 but never really gets credit for it. Producers are still copying his ‘Advanced Bossa’ style now.

So anyway rewind to 1999 when ‘Angel Plague’ originally  came out - this was a period where so many producers were emulating Jeff Mills’ ‘Purpose Maker’ sound it just got ridiculous and tons of disposable tribal techno fodder was coming out. I really lost faith in techno at that point and just closed myself off from it. Everyone was at it, the Downwards guys included although their take on the sound was far more impressive than most. Sixteen years down the line where the techno world isn’t swamped in that sound I can happily listen to ‘Angel Plague’ with pleasure. Sure it is heavily indebted to Mills’ ‘Purpose Maker’ material but is heavier and dirtier. Basically this is a double pack of bangin’ loopy, heavily percussive club tools with endless grooves and great fun to mix with. ‘Surrounded by Enemies’ has an irresistible shuffle and is a highlight but my personal favourite is the final track ‘No Name’ with its stomping off-beat kicks and layered/ looped polyrhythms primed for shaking asses.

Drvg Cvltvre
The Right Knife In The Right Back

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

8/10 according to our Ant on 7th October 2015

Vincent Koreman has been producing and releasing techno/ house/ acid etc. for some years with releases on Bunker, Viewlexx, Mighty Robot, Pinkman Shipwrec, Porn Wax and Perc Trax to name but a few. He’s used many pseudonyms over the years; Ra-X, Junior Rafael, Dr. Rhythm etc. but it’s his prolific Drvg Cvltvre alias that seems to have got his output the recent attention it deserves.

Here he is with a limited stamped white label 12” with 3 tracks of pure warehouse filth complete with a remix from Specter -- probably best known for his killer ‘Pipebomb’ 12” on Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label.

First up is ‘Drone Strike’ with it’s disorientating mid-period Neil Landstrumm flavoured bassline. Building with stomping kicks, the bassline becoming slightly acidic and gradually the track gets drenched in dense, distorted siren like noise - like an army of evil drones tearing the roof off the club and scanning bodies on the dancefloor.

‘Computer Controlled’ thumps hard with looping laser zaps, pitched down darkside vocal and pounding reverbed kicks that’ll have the foundations of any club or warehouse shuddering.

Underneath Specter tackles ‘Drone Strike’ by keeping much of the original elements intact and rearranging them slightly. The kicks are lighter and the noise somewhat tamed adding a playful marimba type melody and generally replacing the intensity with funk.

‘You Will All Die Alone and Unloved’ gets to work with some trippy synth action, occasional pitched up vox that sound like some weird creature and rips along with noise that’s utilized in the form of crunching martial drums. Good stuff for those that like it freaky.

Relax / Relapse

14 people love me. Be the 15th...

9/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

It’s funny that Phil has just been talking about album of the year when this arrives. Firstly its title is remarkably similar to that of our previous winner Bracken’s ‘Exist/Resist’ and secondly it’s the sort of album that I imagine is in Phil’s hotlist for the coveted 2015 award.
It’s one of those albums that immediately satisfies. If I could gather up all those disaffected Tame Impala fans who thought ‘Currents’ discarded pretty much everything that was good about them and sit them down with this using Melody’s Echo Chamber as a general guide, I think we’d have some happy psych pop nerds on our hands. The record is a powerful, pummelling piece from the get go, showcasing that compressed ’60’s style production that is so de rigueur amongst the psych elite. Most impressively though Drape have actual songs with hooks that head straight into your nerve endings.
The mysteriously titled ‘?’ starts with a whopping great synth and Syd Barrett style glissando guitar before thumping into an ear worm of a chorus where Beach Boys style organ presides over a life affirming hook. In fact the whole A side is a thrilling roller coaster ride of Broadcast on speed pop fun, the drumming is tremendous  - on ‘Round and Around’ it sounds for a minute like Jaki Liebezeit has joined Stereolab. In fact there are too many highlights for my word limit  -this Oslo 5 piece deserve a much wider audience than my ears so please trust me. If you like Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal OrchestraThe Beatles, My Bloody Valentine and Deerhunter you’ll enjoy it. If I’m wrong I will personally turn up at your house and weep on your doorstep.

Drew McDowall

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

8/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

We’ve sold an absolute ton of these on pre-order. It’s the debut LP from former Coil and Psychic TV member McDowall and seeing as though he has been making music since the 1970’s it’s been worth the wait.

The mention of the likes of Coil in his back pages might suggest that this is scary and threatening but I’m finding it a very relaxing listen. The first side is split into three parts of a piece entitled ‘The Chimeric Mesh Withdraws’ which has churning industrial electronics giving way to eerie and grainy organ drones. This is a very textural record, you can hear the influence of industrial music but it’s manifested in a much more subtle way with shards of vintage synth and low end drones providing a dark backdrop.  The most impressive track is ‘Hypnotic Congress’ where pulsing fizzy mini-electronics is replaced by an almost tribal set of vocal chants.

It’s the kind of electronic record that you will need to live with  - it’s tones are quiet but soothing. You can tell a tremendous amount of care has gone into the layering of these tonal pieces. 

Slow Riffs
Gong Bath / Virgo Dub / Peace Arch

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

8/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

Gosh this is nice. After Donato Dozzy’s attempt to make techno music using just a jew’s harp, this is another wildly off piste taste of techno.

On ‘Gongs Bath’ watery sounds cascade over some gorgeous synth pads whilst just sneaking into the mix are some distant tribal beats. Occasionally a bass is added but that’s as ‘dance floor’ as it gets. This is beautiful new agey techno, in fact, I’m wondering why I’m even calling it techno - it has the feel of techno and uses some of the same ingredients but you are never going to be able to dance to it. Overleaf, ‘Virgo Dub’ is similarly beatless has a sweeping circular motion like waves lapping on a shore whilst closer ‘Peace Arch’ changes tack completely with some free jazz drums and Philip Glass style repetitive vibraphone.

I'm hoping this will help me relax. 

Promised Land Sound
For Use and Delight

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

8/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

On the inner sleeve four vaguely stoned looking young men fiddle around on an assortment of instruments. To the right wheezing an organ is a man in a pointy hat and a cape. Every band has to have their own Rick Wakeman.
Promised Land Sound are a raggle- tangle bunch who play a kind of fried take on country rock. They have consumed enough marijuana to not have to worry about keeping to stringent songwriting structures. ‘Push and Pull (all the time)' veers from a pleasant Byrdsian jangle to full on Grateful Dead freak outs. The vocals on ’She Takes Me There’ are Alex Chilton circa ‘Radio City’, as pure and clear as running water and come the instrumental break they re-use a guitar riff of his too. The verses are exceedingly gorgeous with more than as nod towards Buffalo Springfield's ‘For What It’s Worth’.
Elsewhere they veer this way and that through the back pockets of bearded men in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s. ’Through the Seasons’ is a Matthews Southern Comfort delight with watery guitars and delicious harmonies whilst the spectre of the Band is never that far away. I could keep naming progressive late ’60’s songwriters if you like? Ok then ‘Oppression’ sounds like Bob Dylan and Gene Clark at the same time.
Very derivative  - they don’t quite have their own voice but they know their history and can replicate it to warming effect.

Celer & Machinefabriek

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

This is, as you might expect from the title, a compendium of the various 7” between the two ambient heavyweights. One of the 7”s is in fact still available from us making a mockery of my review where I erroneously claimed that “it will sell out promptly”.  To be fair this is music that works much better over the course of a CD, where you can put it on, lie back and drift off into another world. On these collaborations Celer’s soft evocative drifting is tempered (I presume  - I’m no expert) by Machinefabriek’s but scattergun approach with shards of found dialogue and field recordings cutting through the billowy drift.

Unlike many of these types of releases, the pieces are short (presumably to be 7” friendly) and very concise. You get seven original pieces then a series of remixes by the likes of Sylvain Chauveau, Nicolas Bernier and Stephan Mathieu.

Radical User Interfaces

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

Have CPU put a bad record out yet? If so I’ve yet to hear one. They really are the kings of decent underground electronica and hopefully these records will one day be as loved and sought after as the early Warp and Skam releases.

Here, Cygnus releases his fourth record on the label with a 12” of crisp beats, glistening synths and memorable melodies. As with most underground dance 12”s I’m having a hard time discerning the A side from the B side so let’s start with what I think is the title track. This is a very neat slab of electronics starting with some squelchy pulsating synths, carefully added slick beats and lovely melodies plonked on top. A real treat for fans of the late ’90’s/early 2000’s explosion in electronica.

There’s a slight funk element to some of this  - particularly on ’Nexus Telecoms’ with some big fat 80’s synth. I think I’m bang on with my A side/B side decision. ‘Arcade Killers‘ is just that - a shimmering burst of after school arcade electronics. The closing ‘Electronic Slave' is the nearest it gets to Kraftwerk with big bold synths picking out a retro melody.

Sunflower Bean
Show Me Your Seven Secrets

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

I had a dream last night that Laurence from Felt was in the Cocteau Twins. What on earth could have brought that on? Oh and he was a professional footballer too. This record sounds like the Cocteau Twins only because I’ve been playing it at the wrong speed.

Once you correct this it still has an ’80’s shoegaze vibe but is more in keeping with Spacemen 3. On ‘Someone Call me a Doctor’ The guitars are nicely flanged, the vocals are hazy and everything stays on the same chord throughout. ‘2013’ is pure drones psych with pulverising drumming and doom bass. They have a song called 'Tame Impala’, this is heavy psych with wild bass runs and super effected guitars. Occasionally they get more melodic and this is where I like them best - where they break out the jangling guitars and have the feel of the mid 80’s Dunedin scene. Those guitars are pure Chills.

So like the band Snapper, Sunflower Bean veer between 80’s style plangent pop and full on psych workouts. I know which one I like best but fans of Hookworms, the Cardinal Fuzz label and all things Liverpool psych fest may enjoy the other side of the band.

Jodie Landau / Wild Up
You Of All Things

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 8th October 2015

I'm listening to this while watching highlights of York City vs Doncaster Rovers. So what’s the verdict? Well Doncaster looked to have most of the possession but York got the two all important goals. Oh and the music?  Well it’s complicated orchestral stuff with singing. It’s very arty and sophisticated and I’m the third reviewer to have attempted to write about this though I note that someone has thankfully blacked in Landau’s worryingly low cut top on the promo copy. So think about Antony and the Johnsons or the weirder bits off These New Puritans 'Field of Reeds’ then turn left into what you might think a chamber pop album produced by Valgeir Sigursson  might sound like.

It’s all twists and turns, choirboy like vocals and complicated arrangements. I can hear some late period Talk Talk, Michael Nyman and Nils Frahm. I don’t have a brain or a drawing room big enough to take in all the subtlety this offers but to my lumpen ears it’s far closer to classical arrangements than modern day composition. It’s so sophisticated that amongst all the clarinets, harps and vibraphones in the credits sits a vocal coach. Slaves this is not. 


Fall In EP

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

"New EP by Pixies” announced Phil the other week before quickly correcting himself. Yup. Despite residing on 4AD this isn’t the Pixies but Pixx. Perhaps the Pixies should have changed their name to Pixx to differentiate the original band from their current monstrous configuration. .

Aaaanyway, this is a lot nicer than I imagined. Lord knows why I imagined it to be rubbish  - probably because most music is rubbish - but this is an interesting first effort. It has a haunting ethereal quality which provides me with kind of link back to the original murky, gothy 4AD headed by Ivo Watts Russell. 19 year old Hannah Rodgers (aka Pixx) went to the BRIT school (one has to be legally rich to make music these days) but lets not hold that against her. The opening title track has plangent guitars and confident vocals but that doesn’t do it any kind of justice at all. It’s lovely. Though I found the vocals on ‘A Way to Say Goodbye’ slightly shrill, ‘Flee’ is your classic late night piano weep step whilst ‘Deplore’ has sad vocals and a kind of early Portishead eerie-hop sound.

It’s one of those haphazardly promising EPs that could see the artist go one of two ways…Bjork or Dido. After the excellent ‘Fall In’ haunted me again I have just one thing to say to Hannah…... Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. Don’t become Dido. 

The Bower

3 people love me. Be the 4th...

7/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

The cover photo is of a very timely autumnal woodland glade but……Pigeons? It’s not the most inspiring of names its it? ….I mean.... to paraphrase Edwin Starr "pigeons, what are they good for?"  
As well as the in vogue autumnal imagery they are heavy on another thing you can’t move for at the moment  - the flute. Flutes are currently as ubiquitous as beards and people getting annoyed on twitter. Here they twist around some gentle folk rock on opener ‘Foxglove’ before a massive big man guitar comes in and bludgeons its way to the end of the track. It’s very hippy dippy - the lyrics generally concern woods and trees and stuff. ‘Underneath the Maple tree'  is a glistening delight. The magnificently named Wednesday Knudsen trills in a manner that suggests a cross between Karen Carpenter and Trish Keenan and the guitars when they appear are as sun dappled as you might imagine.
It’s as pastoral as you might imagine an album recorded in a house in the woods. They have that vaguely eerie air that seeps through folk rockers all the way from Fairport Convention to Espers to Trembling Bells. It’s a very pleasant album which has the ability to entrance you in it’s gladed world. It doesn’t slap you across the face but slowly tickles and the next thing you know you are living in a sack in the woods surviving on leaves. 

The Agent Intellect

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

6/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

Did I imagine it or did I really like Protomartyr’s previous record ‘ Under the Colour of Official Right‘? Because listening to this third album it just doesn’t sound like the sort of thing I’d ever champion.
Opener ‘The Devils in his Youth’ sounds like King Krule fronting Interpol. The vocals are kind of irritating  - a Strummer snot  - the music isn’t too bad with John McGeoch style guitars set to ‘mountain pass’ but the two just don’t gel together. This sounds to me like not much more than ok-ish post punk. ‘Cowards Starve’ plods, the verse has just two chords  - they go back and forth  - it could have been sung by anyone - the vocals add precisely nothing.
Apart from sounding marginally like Parquet Courts there’s nothing here that I can really recommend. The whole thing appears to be rather flat and lifeless to me and on initial listening nothing is sticking. ‘Boyce or Boice’ sounds a little like a monochrome Warm Widow with some seriously Mark E Smith aping vocals, . To save my sanity I’ve gone back to have a listen to ‘ Under Colour of Official Right‘ and it's waaaaay more dynamic. Not sure what has happened here  - it’s like they’ve had their balls removed. 

Reverend and The Makers

1 person loves me. Be the 2nd...

5/10 according to our Clinton on 7th October 2015

“Sounds like nothing I’ve heard since the great concept albums of the ’60’s”. Not my words but those of the great Noel Gallagher. With further positive sound bites from Carl Barat and Zane Lowe how can this not be good?

Well because Reverend and the Makers are terrible. Starting out as a kind of bargain bin Arctic Monkeys they have somehow managed to make it to five albums without anyone in authority telling them to stop. I’m trying to work out the appeal in early stomper ‘Black Widow’. It sounds vaguely Arctic Monkeys with an added kitchen sink thrown in. According to the chorus “she’s going to swallow you whole because she’s a black widow”. Nasty. If Gallagher is right about one thing though it’s that this is an ambitious work  - well ambitious in terms of Brit rock stodge, tracks bleed into each other, there’s a myriad of styles on show and production is lively with all kinds of effects thrown into the mix and the odd mariachi interlude added for good measure.

It doesn't mask the lack of songwriting nous though and the feeling that you are listening to Arctic Monkey’s less tactically astute little brothers. Despite the extra effort, Reverend and the Makers are still firmly in the second division.  Better than before but no cigar. 

Unbeknownst To The Participants At Hand

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

9/10 according to our Laurie on 8th October 2015

Drekka is somewhat of an experimental/ambient/sound art veteran by now. The common thread throughout the years has been the concept - rarely one to release a record ‘cos it sounds cool’, Drekka does things for a reason. A solid, lofty reason. Which is probably a better reason than most.

On this latest, the mysteriously-titled Unbeknownst To The Participants At Hand, Drekka takes people from his past, who he may or may not remember, and makes them the focal point, burying them in industrial ambience and static-drowned drones. Vocalesque textures mimic saxophones and ancient war-horns, echoing the ambiguity of memory and the weird malformed people, events and feelings that the brain dredges up after a few red wines or during a long sleep. Some clanks sound a brutal metallic rattle across the second half - something is crumbling.

Things get really excruciating on side B, with grating sounds stretched out to breaking point, threatening to shatter along with your sanity. Hints of melody edge in, just as foreboding as the rest but far more brief. This side is full of the electroacoustic mind-warp of Lumisokea and the industrial leanings of Coil, finishing this with a really unsettling tone. Help.

Ben Frost
Steel Wound

7 people love me. Be the 8th...

9/10 according to our Laurie on 7th October 2015

A new pressing of the 2012 reissue of the very first Ben Frost album, or ‘Frost’ as he was known then. It tracks his artistic outing pre-rasp, before the wolves snarled and the walls crumbled around him in a pile of rubbled amplifiers.

While the noise onslaughts are yet to overcome him, the iciness is very much present. It’s probably the album where his sound is closest to that of a certain Tim Hecker, who would go on to become a frequent collaborator. Frost even played on Virgins, would ya believe it. Yes. It also has that harrowing feel that would follow him through later releases, and probably will his whole life, a sort of yearning for something once lost or is impossible to find, such bleakness.

Instrumentally, Steel Wound makes fairly heavy use of smudged-out guitars, sometimes twinkling (‘...I Lay My Ear To Furious Latin’) and at others blowing like the wind (‘You, Me And The End Of Everything), but very rarely heard directly. Always through that snowy, Frosty lens. The same goes for the perhaps-strings-perhaps-guitar on the final track.

The whole album reminds me of the story of Oates wandering out of his Antarctican refuge to let deadly snow take him. Dark, but noble. A definitive piece of Frost.

Armando Sciascia
Sea Fantasy

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

8/10 according to our Laurie on 8th October 2015

What’s your fantasy? Take a moment and transplant yourself into that mindspace of desire. Wait, don’t get too carried away - STOP! Jeez, people are predictable. If that area was populated by merpeople joyously swimming around a submerged Paris, then stop reading this and buy this record. Else, read on.

A glance over the rear of the cover sets the whole tone perfectly - a hilariously brilliant excerpt reads ‘Ah! To remain this way, motionless forever, to gaze beyond the horizon, beyond time, beyond the depths of the watery bed!’. You know what you’re in for here, grandiose 70s theatrics from a forgotten concept album. One side of the sound encompasses traditional french street-corner accordion songs played on acoustic/electric guitars and synths, very tightly orchestrated and delightfully cheesy. This must be the peaceful scene before the imaginary peril. When that comes, we enter the dissonant, enchanting territory of more impressionistic contemporary classical, played on harps for xtra mystery. If you’re into that Planet Sauvage thing by Alain Goraguer, as well as general nostalgia music which is omnipresent these days, you’ll probably be into this.

‘It’s more like a '60's Bond soundtrack, that’ - Ian ‘Clown’ Norman.

Paranoid London
Eating Glue

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

8/10 according to our Laurie on 7th October 2015

I don’t know much about acid house and our resident Techno/House maestro Ant probably roars at his keyboard with every 12” I attempt to inform you about. But here goes, this one might work, as a couple of Paranoid London things have whooshed past in the last year, including their debut album and another 12” so they’re really pushing their squelchy bass sound out there.

Mutado Pintado joins them once more to utter nonchalant ramblings over the ‘London’s slinky, steady acidic grooves. This time he’s talking about his love for glue and going east and girls and stuff, it’s half nonsense but when you’re dancing you probably wouldn’t want a lecture too. My brain pushes them to the backdrop anyway and focuses on the sweet, sweet beat. OH SHIT there’s the instrumental version on the flip! Well there you go. ‘CV Bleed’ follows at B2, and it’s got this kinda funky broken beat combined with a freaky synth arp - this is gold, the beat elements shuffling around nicely, Luke Vibert would be proud of this one.

This Side Of Paradise

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

7/10 according to our Laurie on 8th October 2015

It’s 2nd album time for Coma, a duo of smooth, emotional beatmakers hailing from Cologne. Our Ian loved this, remarking that it’s a brighter shift for Kompakt, away from their usual “minimal and dark” stuff. Well there’s a view from someone in the know.

Not sure about Kompakt’s recent history myself, but this is definitely bright, the majority being chill house-tinged electronic that reminds of the club but could never realistically be played there. It sort of sounds like the morning, like waking up and throwing open the curtains in a fit of exuberant inspiration. Production-wise, there’s plenty to entertain - shifting stereo shakers drift about, tiny bells and succinct snares get shoved into the spotlight, and vocal chops shift between transparent and synth-glossed. I’m a bit tired of vocal treatments like this, but it’s house-y and there are rules. The rule of the genre, a tyrannical and restrictive rule, but a stable one. Sort of like Cameron’s Britain.

That’s not a dig at this though, god forbid, this one’s shortcomings lie elsewhere. The chordal and melodic movements are decidedly predictable - a typical symptom of this “at home and in the club” electronic music. Why? Again, the rule of the genre. Always use the standard minor key in house-driven electronic, it’s the only way to convey emotion, right? Wrong. So wrong. Anyway rant over, the flipside of that is that their beat patterns shift constantly over the course of the album, never content to sit with 4x4 or 2-step or whatever.

Max McFerren

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

7/10 according to our Laurie on 7th October 2015

Well, if this isn’t madder than Brian giving up his happy pills then I don’t know what is. Perhaps Ian shooting Chewbacca in the face. Or Kim letting her dog be trained non-spiritually. The point is, NY’s Max McFerren makes bizarre, off the wall clown techno, like the odd uncle of Beau Wanzer or the deranged offspring of Ceephax Acid Crew. The titular track on here titillates with a lead synth line that goes into spasms sporadically, the total energy of the track moving from relatively minimal to totally bonkers when some squeaky noises join the melee. What a racket. It edges on housier territory on A2’s ‘Der Funke’, places more emphasis on a chopped cymbal break and a duller thud of a beat, allowing McFerren to play some lovely choral pad chords over the top. Broken beats and more regular arps hit on ‘Ya Bad Sister’, but she walks away unimpressed. It’s probably the repitched vocal sampler that ruined it.

There’s definitely the argument that this is TOO crazy, but judging by the sound of the stuff Ant and my housemate Techno Tommy listens to, this is tame. This is for the manic, jumpy heads out there.

Bass Communion / Freiband

3 people love me. Be the 4th...

7/10 according to our Laurie on 7th October 2015

Steven Wilson’s got his fingers in all the pies. He’s collaborated with all the cool cats, but what about Mr. de Waald aka Freiband? I mean, he’s worked with Machinefabriek, but then, who hasn’t these days? Truth be told I’m not familiar with the Freiband stuff but I bet they’re both gonna get noizy here.

Yup, they did. The A side features a wailing, feedbacking guitar completely lost in a cyclone of static and recorded fields that are probably not fields but shopping meccas and vehicle streets. As I said though, static. STATIC. Some spectral imprints of sounds like mechanical shaker loops and melodic bleeps hang about for a bit before dying of static poisoning once more. Near the end, Steve tunes the radio to a different station, lowering the static to a hollow roar before unveiling the raw sounds themselves, and they’re nuts. Weird cycles of locomotive repurposed technology rise and fall, stab and bristle. It’s the sort of harsh electronic noise tortures that Merzbow indulges in - imagine Pierre Schaeffer being forced to make music after a heavy night on the wine with nothing but a guitar amp and a trolley for instruments.

The B side is more subtle and flowing, with only one weird sound object at a time occurring atop a yawning drone. I think they’re actually better when they strip it back like this; the first side seemed a bit haphazard. Some noise here, a metallic loop there. Too busy. This one holds tension and intrigue like a good cup holds water.


15 people love me. Be the 16th...

9/10 according to our Robin on 6th October 2015

An accurate, if crude summary of Unwound’s final years of rock nihilism -- now an apathetic shrug rather than a distraught salvo -- comes in this review by a person named Zach: “In their past, Unwound would scream and shout to anybody that would listen: “HEY YOU GUYS REALIZE THIS ALL EQUATES TO NOTHING, RIGHT?”. But on their final album, Leaves Turn Inside You, they finally realized that nobody was listening, so vocalist Justin Trosper decided to moan and wail so dispassionately even Thom Yorke would be taken aback.” It’s stuck with me as a way of understanding and accepting the band’s untimely dissolution: Unwound’s early hardcore might’ve sounded like they were trying to grind their way towards a turning point among the numbing repetition, but their final days as a noise rock band are the sound of inevitable decay.

‘Empire’ collects two of noise rock’s greatest ever records -- though in true Unwound form, one is totally shrouded, nigh on forgotten. Coming too close to ‘Leaves Turn Inside You’, an album later exalted as a classic, ‘Challenge For a Civilised Society’ has been largely shrugged off. It’s not that surprising -- this is one of the band’s least accessible records, an incredible slog that only occasionally opens up to melody the way it successor did, a record that rarely even finds comfort in noise: the distortion swirls and suffocates as Justin Trosper’s voice bleats monotonously, wrapped up by a tangling web of riffs. It may begin on two punchy, well navigated songs (the yelp-frenzy of “Data” into the classic “Laugh Track”, which stomps out words and chords one step at a time), but it begins to challenge its audience of presupposed haters with quiet slow jams like “Sonata For Loudspeakers” and the soul-sucking “What Went Wrong”.

Nearly every song on ‘Challenge’ attempts to take the prize for Unwound’s bleakest moment: on a record filled with loneliness, disappearance and despair, it’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” that wins out. Over a weeping guitar tone Trosper gives out three simple verses (chief among them: “We regret to say / it is indeed a shame / that while you weren’t around / no one noticed”), eventually reiterating them atop a bed of ambience a la the song played backwards -- the ultimate sign of the band’s Who Cares mantra.

Unwound did not make ‘Challenge’ for streamlined consumption, but they took its sourness and reassembled it for a cinematic, borderline post-rock record in ‘Leaves Turn Inside You’. The record has the same beautiful subtlety in its production values: Trosper is barely heard, his vocal often processed into mushy wallpaper paste (as on “Demons Sing Love Songs”, where he’s married to grumbling guitars and a whizzing synthline); the gorgeous “Below The Salt” carves out a hundred unique spaces for its riffs to go, underneath a haze of reverberating guitars and distantly thrummed piano; “One Lick Less” is suppressed so that Sara Lund’s drumming sounds watery and elegiac, like Grouper in a rock quartet.

At this point, Unwound certainly gave way less shits, and played way less loud, but there was a different kind of drama wanting in their music: ‘Fake Train’ might have seen them making ten minute hypnosis punk jams, but ‘Leaves’ gave us “Terminus”, a track that folded outwards into an epic of Godspeed proportions and aesthetics -- strings dangling from above, drum fills running through the underground and crescendos crashing. Trosper might have dug into himself and found a place nowhere else could go, but his band became more expansive, open to the dead ends their melodies might take them. Among the demos and Peel sessions that come with ‘Empire, there are demos that suggest the band at their most explorative: the title track itself meanders through separate entities of repetition, weaving through riffs and melodies like one might lead to something.

Amidst all the claims that No One Cares, Unwound’s music always made me believe there was a next step.

Alex G
Beach Music

9 people love me. Be the 10th...

8/10 according to our Robin on 6th October 2015

The peaking whispers of Alex G return for all to enjoy on ‘Beach Music’, and while it might have seemed like the boy was doing nothing but releasing albums for a moment there, this is his first original material in a minute. After reissues of pre-’DSU’ albums ‘Trick’ and ‘Rules’, this record slots in as his seventh fucking album. Same as it ever was, though: these nimble indie rock songs revolve around a world where Pavement’s low-key tunes were the greatest pop songs ever and everything is recorded as quietly and economically as possible -- with a surplus of strange to spend afterwards.

‘DSU’ and its Bandcamp counterparts had some proper, high-achieving pop songs, from the spry “Harvey” to the melancholy mini-epic of “Boy” -- this record, in comparison, is shaded in gray scale, a suppressed, sad and extremely subtle record on which Alex continues to pitch his voice high but plays all his instruments with a dose of morose. As ever, minute experiments take place, with “Salt” using programmed drum fills and a guitar tone so bleak you’d think our dude had transfused his sound into Trent Reznor’s. “Look Out” begins on a wobbling bit of ambience before becoming one of the quietest, most sideways songs Mr. G has done: louder than anything is the shaking percussion, which overrides vocals and melody ‘til they give up. “In Love” posits the idea of a sombre balladeer version of our indie rock idealist; his wobbling voice is coupled with with sonorous piano and bleating sax, as if Daniel Johnston had just been kicked off the force for doing the right thing.

Among these snapshots of misery, Alex G proves himself to be a bolder songwriter towards the same ends, with “Britte Boy” opening on a chord sequence courtesy of the Beatles before finding the kind of unique melancholic hum he possessed on ‘DSU’. There’s even a bit of Low-styled slowcore on “Walk”, if you’re ready to deal with it. This might be Alex G’s most sombre moment, and while it’s almost off-putting to hear the quirk evaporate in front of your eyes, repeated listens will elect this a very, very special record.

Weyes Blood
Cardamom Times

7 people love me. Be the 8th...

8/10 according to our Robin on 6th October 2015

You may well remember Weyes Blood, AKA Natalie Wiseblood, as a contributor of rackets in Jackie O Motherfucker -- at this point, though, you’d better start considering her startling opposition music in its own right. Having proved herself as a fledgling new age artist as well as a folk aficionado with the wonderful ‘Innocents’, she now returns for buffer EP ‘Cardamom Times’. Beginning flushed with the kind of lush revisionist ‘70s folk Lykke Li perfected on ‘I Never Learn’, she proves her songwriting to have many dimensions, as long as it’s steeped in an abundance of patience. “Take You There” sees her sing long, stretched refrains as hands occasionally move between chords on an organ.

The picking of title track “Cardamom” is as striking and gorgeous as early Smog, but it’s coupled with the self-seriousness of a Lotte Kestner record; a voice that sounds crystal-clear and numb at the same time, with production that sounds clean but suppressed. Ultimately, though, it’s “In The Beginning” that sees each component of this EP come together as a whole: a beaming organ rapture, emotive guitar picks and a voice carried along a seabed of harmonies. As far as singer-songwriter standards go, “In The Beginning” might be the year’s greatest treasure. Go in, please.

Sam McLoughlin / David A Jaycock
Devon Folklore Tapes Vol. III - Inland Water

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

8/10 according to our Robin on 5th October 2015

The folks who make the luring tapes are back with the folklore tapes, now in its third edition for Rule Of Three propriety. As is custom for this series, each release offers contributions from a host of different artists, and the purely musical side of this two-part third part involves aquatic spookster Sam McLoughlin alongside fellow half-droner David A Jaycock. What ensues is a cabaret of ambience, full of toy twinklings, fluttery sea recordings and accidentally melodic embellishments.

Though it sounds like it’s been created under the sea, McLoughlin’s side is often woozy and disorientating, invoking sirens, oddly toned acoustic instruments and squirted synth sounds. It’s a take on aquatic musical tribute that’s pioneered by Dolphins Into the Future, the kind that reminds us of the incongruity, strangeness and ugliness that often occurs: the bogs and puddles to go with the rivers and oceans. This release was inspired and recorded around a pool of water in Dartmoor, and the droplets of water collected here -- seemingly with unflinchingly close mics -- are supplemented by pulsating electronics and the occasional Krauty figure. On the flip, a romantic horror-flick of a tune plays over the top of the same watery ambience, bringing to mind a terrible scenario in which the Ghost Box office floods.

We’re nothing if not avid gimmick suckers, having previously loved collaborative records about trainlines, and there’s something gorgeous inherent to the natural atmospheres captured within these electronic experiments. David Jaycock continues the fine work by building the quiet into loud amongst near-silent minimalism, tinkering with piano notes, shimmering drone fatigue and the occasional emotive climax, such as a collation of synthlines, piano chords and plucked guitars. It’s gorgeous, illusory music that brings to mind dense, animated environments, the kind that disappear behind you as you step into them. Gorgeous stuff; essential for the sonically dehydrated.

Sapropelic Pycnic
See Sun Think Shadow

5 people love me. Be the 6th...

8/10 according to our Robin on 5th October 2015

Of Spires In The Sunset non-fame, Kathleen Baird has created some of New Weird America’s most nuanced works, honing traditionalism into psychedelia and vice versa. In their most recent incarnation, ‘Beasts In the Garden’, the Spires duo made a record of motifs and droning segues for flute, alto sax and loooooooooooops -- at times it recalled Julia Holter’s surrealist chamber pop gardening on ‘Ekstasis’, and at others it sounded a lot like the soundtrack to a long lost video game like the Zombinis. On ‘See Sun Think Shadow’, Baird removes herself from the hallmarks of her band’s sound -- lushness, naturalism, deja vu -- and creates abrasive improvisations for piano.

Baird’s style is both meandering and harsh, though its sense of displacement is tethered by a comparatively generous repetition of motifs: after a jaunty and terse set of movements on “Current of the Kosmos”, “Water” sees separate melodies repeated in turn to slowly break down the piece for its listener. It sounds like lounge music created for panoramic viewing. “No Boundary” is comparatively rapid-fire, notes bursting out front and centre before Baird settles the piece into a juxtaposition of silence and busied melody.

It’s almost jarring hear Baird create an atmosphere this stripped back and dreamless, considering the density of Sunset’s music, but she’s able to make the piano her own: “Who Dies” sees a figure swirl in before being dramatically cut off at the edges, like chords falling off a cifff and then bungeeing back up. It’s rare that assembled improvisations can contribute to such a cohesive whole, but as Sapropelic Pycnic, Baird has proved herself a knowing whim-taker.

The Decemberists

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

7/10 according to our Robin on 7th October 2015

On their most recent full length, the people of December learned to self-validate, loving their brand of Portland-contingent indie folk for what it’s always been. Fair enough, I say: at this point, they occupy a singular place in the legend of indie rock, and they’ve never stopped sounding like their slightly proggy, mostly plaintive selves. As such, you barely need a review of EP ‘Florasongs’: it leans towards symphonies and strings, twang and heartthrobs, but it sounds much like it’s older sibling ‘What a Beautiful World’, an ode to the troubadours of yore

These five songs were cut earlier in the year, so their quality isn’t assured, but they speak to the same contented folk sound: on “Riverswim”, an accordion gently stretches out over brushed drums, twilit guitar riffs and a slow, measured vocal duet. Later, they burn barns with aplomb (“Fits & Starts”, which jambles around like the Men on their country punx hype of ‘Tomorrow’s Hits), waltz in empty rooms (the anxieties of “The Harrowed and the Haunted” echo gorgeously outward, Meloy’s voice escaping the walls as guitar fills their room), and go full unplugged (yes, “Stateside” is fine). Nice indie rock Americana, lowkey as it ever was. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve gotta go listen to a thousand Okkervil River songs -- or as I call it, “Wednesday”.

With The Dead
With The Dead

4 people love me. Be the 5th...

7/10 according to our Robin on 7th October 2015

Some people from Electric Wizard hang out with dude from Napalm Death and fail to cover “You Suffer”, 0/10. Alternatively, some of extreme metal’s earliest proponents (on different ends of the spectrum) make a record that feels relatively quite pleasant: chunky lethargic chords, yes, a fair bit of evil guy taunting (like the cries of “No turning back!” on the first track, which are reverberated to sound something like Limp Bizkit), but the occasional squeaky riff eeking out of the low end. With the Dead, who are obviously not affiliated with the Dead, have actually made one of the year’s most entertaining doom trips.

Compared with other Wizard outings, these songs are short and sweet, structured around short lyrical mantras that allow riffs to wind around them, serving as extra flourishes among steady-hands rhythm and gruesome distortion. The solo that trails out of “Crown of Burning Stars” feels perfectly ordinary but quite nice indeed, while the whimsical string bends of “The Cross” intersect with a discordant sequence of sludge and a “fuck you!” for your patience.

“Living With the Dead” is the band’s most crushing incarnation, slowed to the lowest heart rate while guitars swirl ahead and drum fills get maneuvered like drying cement. The Dead are cool; while not too silly, this is good doom pulp. What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Radar Men From The Moon
Subversive I

6 people love me. Be the 7th...

7/10 according to our Robin on 6th October 2015

You stumble into this record thinking it’s an EP, but what’s the word I’m looking for here, “lol”. Nope. Radar Men From The Moon are scoping out the sky in search of space, crafting longform tunes that assemble endless psychedelic suites of music: “Neon” alone goes from a flatlining rhythmic pulse to a shredded jam based in the same frame of repetition, climaxing slowly by overlaying more guitars, more synths, more drums, more universe. The band’s ideas are sparse but crucial, showing them off as excellent builders of way-easy structures; importantly, though, is their love of detailed bait and switch, the way they suddenly switch tone or let a melody burst open, as on the sparkly end-game riffs of “Neon”.

Bless these dudes for making ‘Subersive 1’ sound weirdly like psych’s answer to goth music: the guitars are often cooked up smoky and doomed, as if random person with baritone is about to jump on the mic (they never do). “Hacienda” seems to coalesce these gloomy atmospherics with the heavy, stoned out adulations of the Heads, while “Deconstruction” is jaunty and hypnotic in its grooves but has tones to dispirit the Cure. So… a record of grinding repetition that sounds like it’s tearing out of its body in two different directions. Okay.

John Grant
Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

3 people love me. Be the 4th...

6/10 according to our Robin on 7th October 2015

Welcome to The Review, wherein Clint gets scared of not digging a lauded indie pop artist’s music in the way he always does and instead parses him off to me. Who’s afraid of John Grant? I’m bloody not. He’s got a haughty voice, a witty repertoire and a lot of fuckin’ problems, but he’s also got a bleep bloop symphony behind him. Bring it on, uh, ‘Grey Tickles, Black Pressure’.

In truth, some of Grant’s music is very nice and his overshared lyrics can be compelling, making small moments feel devastating the way you might crack in the last bad moment of a terrible day. He’s doing that for about two percent of this record’s very real nonsense. First, I’ve gotta cut the fat away: Grant’s best as a melancholy crooner with a sidelining of humour, but much of this record is him doing full on comedian, as on the really, shockingly terrible “Snug Slacks”, where he combines squeaky electronics with smooth percussion and very inappropriate behaviour -- it doesn’t help that the final verse reads like Mark Kozelek getting Jemaine Clement to read lines from his diary of smug. There’s no hook centering this mess, so it sounds like lethargy as a sensory overload. 

“Guess How I Know” -- with its full roster of indie electronics borrowed from a melt-downing Sufjan on Age of Adz, sanded down with the snark of TVoTR -- sounds as cluttered and baseless, deviating into meandering synth that sounds like it’s trying to escape its maker. “You and Him” is an attempt at Grant writing a diss track with the same squeaking mechanics behind him -- it sounds horribly loud and nauseating, though its lyrical content seems to warrant it (Grant even invokes Godwin’s Law in an attempt to be mischievous)

Mostly, this record is just fucking jarring: Grant takes the premise of a serene, orchestral album (where he certainly feels at home) and smashes it like glass into this record of sickly electro-pop. If you can deal with an overwhelming, tangling mess -- like, the total opposite of a Majical Cloudz record -- then you’ll find a lot to love, but for me it’s only choice cuts that do it, like the lilting first verse of “Magma Arrives’, whose weightlessness is soon destroyed with gloopy effects and a marching beat. I’d love to hear him pedal it down just a little but, but you gotta appreciate how far his sonics can go.

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Timestamp: Saturday 10th October, 06:13:00