Sunday, 28 July 2019

MIND DE-CODER 88


MIND DE-CODER 88
 To listen to the show just scroll to the bottom of the page


In an empty, unarticulated space our mind loses our sense of time as well. Our mind loses our sense of time and we enter the twilight of the immeasurable. Dämmerung des unermesslichen.
                                              Thomas Mann



PETER COOK AND DUDLEY MOORE     THE BEE SIDE


Quite literally the b-side to their 1967 single The L.S.Bumble Bee, a satire upon all the fuss being stirred up in the popular press regarding LSD use amongst the cognoscenti of the swinging London set, of which Pete and Dud were undoubtedly a part and a remarkably well-informed part at that. The b-side is done in the style of a Dagenham sketch taken straight from Not Only...But Also in a knowing style that suggests the pair knew of that which they were talking about.


THE DIRTY FILTHY MUD     FOREST OF BLACK


The unpromisingly monikered Dirty Filthy Mud were little-known garage act who released just the one single in 1968, a fuzzed-out slice of propulsive rock that I’m pretty sure has been co-opted by Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve at some point or other in their career. It’s just the sort of thing they’d go for - audaciously obscure with an electronic pulse that owes more to the likes of United States Of America and Fifty Foot Hose than Uncle Joe And The Fish who were, at the very least, an inspiration. I just read that last sentence back to myself - I could be talking gobbledegook.

THE CHAPTA     JOURNEY TO THE SUN


New Zealand’s Chapta unleash their inner Spinal Tap (in their Listen To The Flower People phase) for this gloriously dippy track, taken from their debut album, the fittingly entitled THE CHAPTA - ONE, released in 1971 (although, rather disappointingly, their second and final album was called OPEN DOOR). Hailing from Christchurch (one of New Zealand’s least rock ‘n’ roll cities - let’s face it), the band released five singles in the couple of years they remained together and were highly regarded at the time - sadly they’ve been swallowed by the mists of time - you may have to ask your parents about them.


JEAN LE FENNEC     MES ENFANTS D’AUTRE PART


Generally regarded as one of the weirdest French psychsploitation albums to emerge from the 6os, Jean Le Fennec’s PHANTASTIC, released in 1969, is a bizarre mix of spacey instrumentation, distorted vocals and far-out synthesiser effects that comes over like a cross between Serge Gainsbourg and Bruce Haack channeling the spirit of Syd Barrett. Jean Le Fennec remains a tantalizingly obscure figure in your psych-pop circles, although a bit of research reveals that he may have been Belgian and also responsible for the space-age cosmic krautrock release PLANÈTES released in 1981 under the name Jean Hoyoux, if that’s any help.


THE HARE AND THE HOOFE     LADYE LOVIBONDE-GOODWIN PAVANNE


A marvelous, marvelous band - The Hare And The Hoofe are a polymesmeric force of cosmic far-outedness whose eponymously entitled debut album provides a head-spinning mix of bonkers psychedelia which critical opinion places somewhere between The Who, The Stooges, ELO, Sparks, Pink Floyd, Brainiac, Bowie, Judas Priest, and, if I may throw my own tuppenth worth into the hat, Cranium Pie. Available as a gatefold double LP, Disc One rounds up the ‘hits’ so far and includes the mind-bending Ladye Lovibonde-Goodwin Pavanne, whilst the second consists of a rock opera featuring time-traveling scientists and giant laser-eyed robots. So, a proper band then. It really is as good as it sounds.


THE TRANSPERSONALS    TO FIND HER EVERYWHERE


To Find Her Everywhere is a song so transcendentally gorgeous it instills within the listener an almost-state of narcotic bliss, which it pretty much defines as ‘falling in love, drinking red wine and taking strange drugs’ - which is kind of hard to disagree with. Taken from their debut release SAY GOODBYE TO FREE WILL (THE PERILS OF CHEERLEADING), an album of majestic psychedelia, released in 2011, this track is simply sublime and is the musical equivalent of being intoxicatingly loved-up.


TANGERINE DREAM     FLUTE ORGAN PIECE


This track is taken from Tangerine Dream’s recent 18-CD boxset IN SEARCH OF HADES: THE VIRGIN RECORDINGS 1973-1979, a lavish and, indeed, definitive statement of this period in the band’s history. It features newly remastered versions of all the albums released in this creatively fecund period and includes a number of bonus discs, including a selection of out-takes from their PHAEDRA sessions, recorded in 1973, from which the rather lovely Flute Organ Piece is taken. PHAEDRA pretty much marked the end of Tangerine Dream’s truly experimental stage - after this album they would veer more towards the Vangelis scheme of things, but here they largely eschew melody for experimentation and atmosphere, the music creating an introspective soundspace of colour.


ROKUROKUBI     TARKA


Rokurokubi is the stage name of Brighton based singer-songwriter Rose Dutton whose debut album, SATURN IN PISCES, is an astonishing collection of lush acid-folk songs redolent of times spent jamming in woods and otherwise getting it together in the country. The songs explore kaleidoscopic fairy tales of love, lost innocence, longing and revenge that exist somewhere between the traditional folk canon found in Cecil Sharp House and the psychedelic folk re-imaginings of the 1970s. Absolutely spell-binding.
 

SOFT HEARTED SCIENTISTS     PLEASE READ ME


This track sees the welcome return of Soft Hearted Scientists with a cover of the Bee Gees 1967 psych-pop gem Please Read Me, recorded especially for the wonderful Fruits De Mer record label. An understated flourish of sitar introduces the song, which then soars like a magical white kite on the gentlest of lysergic breezes. It really is quite captivating. The b-side is just as lovely and features an SHS original which will, no doubt, find itself in the next show. Croeso yn ôl, bechgyn.


I’m playing this song for my good friend Rhys who loved this band and who sadly passed away before I could play him this record. Wherever you are now, brother, I hope it’s full of stone circles, magic mushrooms and comely maidens with pupils the size of dinner plates.


MEG BAIRD AND MARY LATTIMORE     IN CEDARS


Ambient folk gorgeousness from Espers’  Meg Baird - who could sing a shopping list and make it sound celestial - and acclaimed harpist Mary Lattimore, whose enigmatic, spectral experimental harp sounds move and unfold like nature itself. Their first album together, 2017’s GHOST FORESTS, plays to both their strengths, but rather than produce the album of exquisite pastoral loveliness you’d expect, the pair have made an album that’s altogether stranger, exploring the sound of light on water here and seismic geopolitical anxiety there, both ethereal and earthy, bucolic and avant-garde, in which Baird’s voice is as much the instrument as Lattimore's harp. Beauty, previously unimagined, awaits.


JUSTIN HOPPER & SHARRON KRAUS WITH THE BELBURY POLY     WANDERER


This track is from the latest Ghost Box release, CHANCTONBURY RINGS, a spoken word and music project by Justin Hopper, author of the book ‘The Olde Weird Albion’, folk musician Sharron Kraus, and Belbury Poly’s Jim Jupp, whose production permeates the album with a hauntological ambiance that takes in distorted pipes, ghostly morris dancers, accordion groans and dark synths. Equal parts folk, electronic music, poetry, prose and found sound, the album is a poetical, autobiographical and psychogeographical account of Chanctonbury Ring, a pre-historic hill fort that sits atop Chanctonbury Hill on the West Sussex Downs. Evocative, to say the least, and completely compelling.

CARL TURNEY & BRIAN CAMPBELL    LO SATURNALIA!
“Mid-winter is the low ebb of the year, the heart of the lifeless season when the sun describes a wearily flattened arc across the sky: its luminosity dimmed and wan, its passage brief. Shadows lengthen, branches grow bare and bony, temperatures drop and darkness prevails. There is a need for cheer, for hope and conviviality, for reminders of Spring’s renewal to come. Old mid-winter rites and rituals...bring a little warmth and light to this chill time of scarcity and spiritual despond”.
Thus reads the accompanying notes to THE FOLKLORE TAPES CALENDAR CUSTOMS VOL.III - MID-WINTER RITES AND REVELRIES, the label’s exploration of the other side of winter. Each of the artists contributing to this limited edition cassette compilation from Folklore Tapes - an open-ended research project exploring the myths, mysteries, magic and arcana of Great Britain - researched a particular mid-winter ritual and, informed by their findings, conjured a soundpiece in response. The Clinic’s Carl Turney and Brian Campbell looked to Saturnalia, the ancient Roman festival of Saturn - a period of general all-round merrymaking and good cheer, and, otherwise, a pagan pre-cursor to Christmas - as their inspiration, and take us on an hallucinogenic sleighride through the season with acousmatic carolling, text-sound collage, composed music and augmented field-recordings. Perfect for these crisp evenings when the smell of woodsmoke fills the air.

THE COMET IS COMING     TIMEWAVE ZERO
The Comet Is Coming inhabit a boundaryless world in which cosmic jazz, grime, dubstep and psychedelic rock wash over each other to create a potent brew that owes as much to Slimzee and 808 State as it does The Mahavishnu Orchestra or Sun Ra’s space(d) excursions. Taken from their second album, TRUST IN THE LIFEFORCE OF THE GREAT MYSTERY, released in 2019, Afro-beat rhythms carry Timewave Zero, pushing the limits of jazz beyond conception, but in a good way.

GRAND VEYMONT    UPIE
Grand Veymont are one of those bands that we fans of Stereolab and Broadcast turn to when we’re looking for a percolating hauntological  fix, although Upie, taken from their eponymous debut album, transcends the band’s influences and shows just how far-out they can go when they become untethered. Taking their name from the highest peak in the Vercors Regional Nature Park in South Eastern France, this French band excel at combining a pastoral kosmische vibe with the rhythmic pulse of Can and Neu! and the more off-kilter moments of Air to create what they call a krautrock salon.

MOON WIRING CLUB     PHANTOM FUNGICIDE

Ian Hodgson’s Moon Wiring Club picks up on a latent oddness and hauntological nostalgia associated with GHASTLY GARDEN CENTRES for his latest release. Phantom Fungicide is a woozy, discombobulating trawl through the ramshackle aisles of your nearest Placemakers gardening section.

THE OTHER WITHOUT     NATURE HAS MADE A GARDEN IN THE WILDERNESS AND ITS NAME IS BEAUTY
I came across this track on Day 7 of Julian Cope’s SydArthur Festival  - the world’s first psychic rock ‘n’ roll festival - in which the archdrude invites us to celebrate, indeed, cerebrate, the full lunar month that separates the deaths of those two psychedelic giants - Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee - who passed away within 28 days of each other in 2006. The awesome tranquility of Nature Has Made A Garden In The Wilderness And Its Name Is Beauty is presented by Wiltshire duo The Other Without from their current release THE OTHER WITHOUT 2, a collection of four long blissed-out trips of quiet motion, field recordings, keyboard swells, birdsong, waves, motifs a-tinkling, and slow planetary turns.
  
NATHAN HALL AND THE SINISTER LOCALS     GHOSTS ARE NOT AS STRANGE AS BEING ALIVE
Nathan Hall is emitting - not only do we have a new single from the Soft Hearted Scientists, yesterday saw his new album with The Sinister Locals, SCATTERSPARKS, arrive in my mailbox. The album features 24 songs that cover a lot of ground, from psychedelic lullabies, communing with dead Roman soldiers on a boring Bank Holiday, sentient scarecrows, the death of smugness, vile blood soaked royalty, yummy mummies, hallucinations in a garden in Devon, a smack down between Winter and Spring, a requiem for Laika the space dog, a modern take on the House of the Rising Sun theme of corruption in bad places, a horrible prelude of winter during an August walk in Cardiff Bay near a deserted fairground, and an Ivor Cutler influenced end of the album song.
As usual, we’re offered a cornucopia of psychedelic delights, wistful imagery, baroque flourishes, bucolic whimsy and analogue electronics, and whilst the spirit of Syd is never too far away, these songs owe more to the visionary soundscapes of Brian Wilson; spacious and light, with swirling melodies, inventive touches and a lysergic sense of playfulness, this is an album to charm the senses and entrance the mind.

THE PULSELOVERS     THE EDGE OF THE CLOUD
For its latest release, the very fine A Year InThe Country brings us ECHOES AND REVERBERATIONS, a field recording-based mapping of real and imaginary film and television locations that is, in part, an exploration of their fictional counterparts’ themes - from apocalyptic tales to never-were documentaries and phantasmagorical government-commissioned instructional films via stories of conflicting mystical forces of the past and present; scientific experiments gone wrong and unleashed on the world; the discovery of buried ancient objects and the reawakening of their malignant alien influence; progressive struggles in a world of hidebound rural tradition and the once optimism of post-war new town modernism.
Each track contains field recordings from the spectral will-o’-the-wisps of locations’ imagined or often hidden flipsides. The Pulselovers present The Edge Of The Cloud, inspired by K. M. Peyton’s book ‘Flambards’, which was  filmed for television in 1978, and tells the story of Christina Parsons and her struggle to find her place in a world of Edwardian tradition (a privileged life in the titular country manor where servants, horses and fox hunting are a way of life) and modernity (suffrage, aviation, emancipation and independence). The track features field recordings made near Sawley Hall, Yorkshire where the series was filmed, but I do wish they’d been able to include snippets of David Fanshawe’s stirring Theme For Flambards - I always enjoyed it and don’t think I’ve heard it in 40 odd years.

MOON WIRING CLUB     AN ETERNITY IN GARDEN RETAIL
Room for one last trip around the garden centre as spectral presences dip in and out of earshot like potentiality just beyond grasp.

Owl Service end titles music

 AL STEWART     MY CONTEMPORARIES
Al Stewart was a key figure in your British folk circles. He played at the first-ever Glastonbury Festival in 1970, knew Yoko Ono before she met John Lennon, shared a London flat with a young Paul Simon, and hosted at the Les Cousins folk club in London in the 1960s. His debut album, BEDSITTER IMAGES, released in 1967, is an engaging but slightly twee recording, replete with observational storytelling, poetic lyrics and baroque orchestration. He would go on to better things but the album is not without a particular charm all of its own. I include the outrageously throwaway My Contemporaries because it brings a smile to my face each time I hear it.

Monday, 24 June 2019

MIND DE-CODER 87





MIND DE-CODER 87

To listen to the show just scroll to the bottom of the page 

To me, the psychedelic experience is the experience of trying to make sense of reality.
                                                           Terrence McKenna 


THE TRANSPERSONALS     GOING OUT


 While this may not be their best track, it is, indubitably, the best track to start the show with (I’ll play their best track during the next show). In truth, I’ve only just discovered The Transpersonals but they are the psychedelic business (although sometimes they sound like The Pixies filtered through The Who’s SELL OUT). I believe they come from Bristol and this track is taken from their debut album KISS GOODBYE TO FREE WILL (THE PERILS OF CHEERLEADING), released in 2011. Singer Tim Hurford had his mind blown and then took an interest in that sort of thing, developing a sound that’s equally at home to Plato, Aleister Crowley, Noam Chomsky, David Icke, the odd conspiracy theory, hallucinogenic drugs, UFOs and aliens as it is to garage-tinged psychedelic finery. Fortunately, they manage to do this without sounding like Kula Shaker. I am a fan.


CATHERINE HOWE     PROLOGUE




A trifle - the prologue to the album WHAT A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, the debut album by Catherine Howe, one of the great unrecognized voices of British folk, who was England’s Kate Bush before Kate Bush came along. She would go on to become only the second female artist to win an Ivor Novello award, but it all began with this 1971 release.


ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE AND THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O.     DARK STAR BLUES




For their 548th release (I’m joking, of course - I believe that this is actually their 133rd album) the mighty Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. have re-booted the band with only two original members remaining. Founding member Kawabata Makoto sees the first 20 years of the band’s existence as merely chapter one of their pineal-gland stroking story, with the new line-up representing chapter two of their journey into the sonic worm-holes of your mind. On their last release of 2018, REVERSE OF REBIRTH IN UNIVERSE, Acid Mothers Temple Next Generation set about re-recording some old classics from their extended repertoire - fans of the band might recognize Dark Star Blues from their 2004  release DOES THE COSMIC SHEPHERD DREAM OF ELECTRIC TAPIRS, but the song is very much its own beast, transformed far away from its original version. Jump on board the mothership and enjoy the ride - it’s going to be one cosmic head-fuck of a journey.


MIGHTY BABY     EGYPTIAN TOMB




Mighty Baby grew from the ashes of The Action, North London mods who, despite an electrifying live set, couldn’t get arrested by the record buying public. These days, of course, they’re regarded as one of the great lost bands of the 60s (Paul Weller was a fan and so, bizarrely, was Phil Collins, who performed with a reunited version of the band in 2000). Might Baby were slightly more successful and had a couple of albums in them - the first an eponymously titled psychedelic soaked affair released in 1969. After this several of the band members converted to Islam and they took on a Wishbone Ash/Grateful Dead element which led to a number of freeform jamming sessions. Egyptian Tomb, however, is a stone-cold classic single, released in 1969, a wonderful blend of jazz, rock and melody that confused any mods left in their audience, but sent the hippies off into patchouli-ridden raptures.


PURSON     THE WINDOW CLEANER




Purson are the sort of psychedelic rock band that draws in the indie crowd alongside seasoned heavy metal kids, each of whom find something to enjoy in the band’s lysergic tendencies, gothic horror tropes and sturdy riffing. Their second album, 2016’s DESIRE’S MAGIC WINDOW (or DMT, which pretty much tells you all you need to know about the contents therein) is less of a band affair and more of a solo album in the way of Kevin Parker, with guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Rosalie Cunningham pretty much writing and playing everything save the drums and a few guitar solos. The band have said that the album is a tribute of sorts to “our good friends Sarge Pepper and Zig Stardust”, although The Window Cleaner has a sensuous, narcotic vibe that puts me in mind of a 90s tribute band - Khruangbin covering a late-period Lush b-side, perhaps. This, of course, is no bad thing at all.


BIFF BANG POW     FIVE MINUTES IN THE LIFE OF GREENWOOD GOULDING




Biff Bang Pow was the band formed by Alan McGee before he came to realise that he was better at discovering new bands than he was as being in one. Nevertheless, all the reference points that would come to define a nascent Creation Records can be found in Biff Bang Pow - a jingly-jangly guitar sound indebted to The Byrds, played by earnest white boys in stripey tee-shirts. This, of course, is also no bad thing at all. Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding, taken from their 1987 release THE GIRL WHO RUNS THE BEAT HOTEL, shimmers beneath a shambling lysergic haze - all backwards guitars, reverbed vocals and a neo-psychedelic sensibility that lacks the ambition of the band’s reference points (Love, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield) but which nevertheless suggests a lovely way to spend an idle afternoon.


THE BEAU BRUMMELS     MAGIC HOLLOW




There’s a legend surrounding The Beau Brummels that suggests that they chose to name their band after the Regency English dandy so that their records would follow the Beatles in the LP racks; unfortunately, it’s a story they all deny. Apparently, they just liked the sound of the name. Still - never let the truth get in the way of a good story, that’s what I say. The rather pulchritudinous Magic Hollow is taken from their fourth album TRIANGLE, released in 1967, an album described by principle songwriter Ron Elliot as a ‘mythological cartoon about love written from some weird spaces’. The wispy and wistful single failed to chart but remains one of the loveliest things the band ever did, capturing in its essence something of a lysergically-enhanced stroll through a woodland glade, and is rightfully considered as something of a psychedelic classic.


THE HONEY POT     AWAIT YOU HERE



Bucolic loveliness from The Honey Pot - a band that appears to be made of two solo artists, the engagingly monikered Icarus Peel and Crystal Jacqueline, with various attendant musicians - with a track from their latest release, the marvellously titled BEWILDERED JANE. Between the two of them, this is a band well steeped in psyche history and the lush harmonies in Await You Here owe much to a certain West Coast charm. The album is a hugely enjoyable listen, combining pop melodies with understated prog influences and occasional touches of surreal experimentation. It really is quite gorgeous.


DANA GILLESPIE     LONDON SOCIAL DEGREE




Although known these days as a blues singer of some repute, Dana Gillespie’s career began in the sixties as a folk singer where she flirted with pop/rock, folk-rock, and mildly psychedelic baroque pop, all of which can be heard on her wildly obscure 1968 debut album, FOOLISH SEASONS which, for some reason or other, was only issued in America, and not the U.K., despite featuring several key figures of the British counter-cultural scene - Donovan, Jimmy Page and Billy Nicholls for starters - on production and arrangements. Whilst not quite the psychpop/Swinging London/Folk Rock masterpiece it's sometimes made out to be, it is, nevertheless, an exhilarating slice of late-'60s Swinging London-tinged sunshine pop, with Nicholls’ London Social Degree a particular stand-out. Gillespie would go onto record with Bowie, work with Dylan and star in the stage production of Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar,  but she would never be quite this groovy again.


THE BEATLES     SEA OF TIME




It’s not The Beatles, of course; it’s George Martin conducting a 41-piece orchestra at Abbey Road for the soundtrack to the YELLOW SUBMARINE. His contributions make up side two of the original album, which some people got quite sniffy about at the time - John Lennon was particularly unkind - but I’ve always enjoyed them and these days I find I’m more inclined to play this side than the other, which features The Beatles’ last dalliances with psychedelia (and is not to be sniffed at by any means).


THE WILSON MALONE VOICE BAND     PENNY LANE




One of the more curious records I own (and I hope that still means something) is FUNNYSAD MUSIC by The Wilson Malone Voice Band, essentially Wilson Malone, in-house producer at the semi-legendary Morgan Sound Recording Studios and one-time member of Mind De-Coder favourites Orange Bicycle. The album, released in 1968, is a true oddity: a kind of strangely strange- but oddly-normal - collection of spacey pop instrumentals which succeed in muddying the waters between MOR and the avant-garde. What is one to make of this cover of Penny Lane? One is meant to be simply grateful that it doesn’t last any longer than it actually does. The rest of the album makes for a superb accompaniment for any swish, psychedelic soirees you may be thinking of hosting.


40 WATT BANANA    NIRVANA




Deep vibes from New Zealand’s 40 Watt Banana, one of the more experimentally esoteric bands of the country’s psychedelic period. Formed 1968 as a jazz combo playing in restaurants, they underwent a period of soul searching and spiritual experiences (a euphemism if ever I heard one) and soon began incorporating elements of Indian and African music to their sound. The result was an atmospheric, spacey, improvised sound which culminated in the release of their only single in 1971, the sitar-drenched Nirvana, a psyched-out cool mantra of a song, aimed straight at the third eye.


MOON EXPRESS     WILDERNESS, OCEAN AND SPACE




...as is this, taken from the album PROPHETIC SPIRIT, recorded some 50 years ago but only released earlier this year, by Moon Express, essentially a tripped-out project by Paul Arnold, the mastermind - if that’s the right word - behind THE INNER SOUNDS OF THE ID. Known only in legend from their appearance in ‘33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee’, the Moon Express weave music that ebbs and flows with unusual time signatures, sonic baths of wild, exotic percussion, echoey voices and weird hypnotic sounds of the Eastern variety, all of which documents a period when the hippie dream of West Coast America reached its very apex, and just before it begun the slippery slope that would culminate very shortly with its nadir. By turns spooky and groovy, this is very much a lost 60s treasure that should accompany your next trip.


THE ID     THE INNER SOUNDS OF THE ID




Beings as I just name-checked the album, I thought I’d include the title track from The Id’s only alum, 1967’s THE INNER SOUND OF THE ID, essentially a studio creation from Paul Arnold and surf guitar hero, and session man, Jerry Cole, whose chops include playing on The Byrd’s Mr. Tambourine Man when the band were too inexperienced for the studio, and PET SOUNDS. Sadly, Cole’s hip credentials and legendary skill in the studio couldn’t elevate this album beyond the psychsploitation project it clearly was, designed more as a quick cash-in on a fad rather than a sincerely ambitious musical endeavor. Some strange guitar reverb and distortion, along with dashes of sitar and pseudo-Eastern musical and mystical influences, can’t disguise the shortage of good songs and ideas and the overall aura of a strained attempt to be freaky. That being said - I don’t think any truly psychedelic radio show could really refer to itself as such without including this track in a show, and under your fully enhanced conditions (as it were) it is not without a certain disorientating charm all of its own.




That was the intro to the classic children’s TV adaptation of the classic children’s book The Owl Service, back when children’s TV was more in touch with its avant-garde side.


HARMONIA     KEKSE




Gorgeous electronica from krautrock supergroup Harmonia. Kekse features a charming piano melody and possibly the psychedelic use of a duck pond to create a bucolic, ambient vibe that provides a sedate closer to their 1975 release, DELUXE - an album that pretty much does for a blissful stroll through the countryside what Kraftwerk did for a quick day out on the motorway.


VANISHING TWIN     EGGS




More than any other band, Vanishing Twin provide the missing link between Stereolab and Broadcast, which makes them all the more precious given Broadcast’s untimely demise following the tragic death of Trish Keenan eight years ago, and the lack of any new material from Stereolab since 2010 (their current welcome re-issue of a brace of albums from their imperial phase notwithstanding). Drawn to many of the same influences and hauntological reference points (outsider jazz, Italian library music, ethnographic field recordings and things of that nature) the band use forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. Their album, CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE, released in 2016, marries oblique English pop with a palette of arkestral sounds that are both experimental and haunted by loss - founder Cathy Lucas named the group after her vanishing twin, an identical sister absorbed in utero, when they were both still a cluster of cells. 


MOON WIRING CLUB     OLD WATER GARDEN WORLD




For his latest release, Ian Hodgson’s Moon Wiring Club picks up on a latent oddness and hauntological nostalgia associated with GHASTLY GARDEN CENTRES, released earlier this year, and in doing so provides 70 minutes of clumpy, dubbed-out trip hop and wyrd soul musick to soundtrack your next visit to Placemakers. Prim voices-in-your-head and ghostly sales assistants trying to flog you shatterproof greenhouses dominate the creepy Ballardian drowned world feel of Old Water Garden World, elsewhere well-mulched ghostly-beat slammers from the top 40 c1993 Quagmire Dimension abound.


KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD     ACARINE



FISHING FOR FISHIES is the fourteenth release from King Gizzard And The Wizard Lizard since forming in 2012 and for this outing the band explore a short-lived moment in rock history - namely boogie rock, a genre dominated by the likes of Canned Heat, Status Quo and possibly Suzi Quatro. What it lacks, then, in zany, mind-bending, sonic experimentation, it more than makes up for in its chug-a-lug adherence to the groove and some unabashed boogie-oogie-woogieing. Stand-out track Acarine takes a slightly different route, imagining a world where Giorgio Moroder meets The Who’s Baba O’Riley and takes it to the disco to give Donna Summer’s I Feel Love a good listen to. Marvellous.

AMON DÜÜL II     HAWKNOSE HARLEQUIN



Compared to their three earlier albums, Amon Düül’s fourth album, CARNIVAL IN BABYLON,released in 1972, is a chilled-out gem, replacing the wild side-long improvisations and sonic explorations of inner and outer space of their previous recordings with, well, proper songs, with an emphasis on song-craft and structure - at some point they even have a go at melody. The acid freak-outs may be gone, but what you get instead is acid folk pastoralism reminiscent of the flower-powered sixties. Hawknose Harlequin, edited down from a 33-minute jam session to a mere 10 minutes, closes the album with one toe in the improvized psych-explorations of former releases, with another in the more progressive albums to come.


MARTIN NEWELL     THE GREEN-GOLD GIRL OF SUMMER/AN ENGLISHMAN’S HOME




Martin Newell, former member of the glam-rock band Plod, enjoys the sort of obscurity that befits an English psychedelic eccentric who crafts perfect little toffee-sweets of pop and then willfully releases them on tape cassette. His first vinyl release was the now semi-legendary THE GREATEST LIVING ENGLISHMEN, recorded in 1993 and otherwise produced, engineered and mastered by XTC’s Andy Partridge in his shed. It’s a bucolic collection of whimsical pop that, as you might expect from the title, basks in the intrinsic qualities of Englishness in a way that suggests a fondness for both Elgar and The Kinks. The brilliant Green-Gold Girl Of Summer transforms from a pastoral folk ballad into an electric shred-fest that evokes both Albion pagan ritual and the aerial bombardments of World War II. It drifts away into the following track, An English Man’s Home to close the album and, alas the show.

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