Articles

  • 2013: the year's finest records as the old baker still bakes a dozen

    14 fév. 2014, 11h51m

    THE OFFICIAL BAKER'S DOZEN 2013

    13: Shaking the Habitual by
    This is an incredible record, more eclectic than the super 'Silent Shout'. I'm not really sure who its anti-capitalist/conformity sentiments actively annoyed (as some have suggested) – Sweden's Donald Trumps tend to reserve their farts for more mainstream critics. I wish it had been analysed widely enough to do that, of course. Some seem to like the pop; others love the ambient sounds. I'm am digging both...spade held high.

    12: Raise by
    Raise is a certified cure for the erectile malfunctions of Stars-of-the-Lid fans, though it is by no means a copy of their work. In order to create disparate sounds for different tracks, Corker dragged his orchestra everywhere from mammoth studios to his local pub for the recordings. Before you whack-out your pretension purgers, consider that this is bloody beautiful stuff.

    11: Traditional Music Of Notional Species Vol. 1 by
    I have no inkling as to what genre we are in for number eleven, but Lastfm has it tagged as 'electronic', 'experimental', 'noise', 'drone' and 'Berlin' if that helps. Look, it resembles a wet dream that one can experience wide-eyed; like each entry on this list, it is thrilling.

    10: Borderland by Juan Atkins & Moritz Von Oswald
    Two pioneers of techno, though MVO (forget MBV) tends to drench his in jazz, this is infectious ****. Sometimes, the jazz pervading 2013 bursts in, but it is always techno.

    9: Government Plates by
    Released 13 months, 13 days and 13 hours after the last instalment of shouty rap and dirty beats, they do it all again – though with less shouty rap and dirtier beats. It still surprises and packs an energy beyond all this year's crops.


    8: No Answer-Lower Floors by
    It is ten years since I first encountered a Wolf Eyes record. Back then, they were a little too experimental for the still youngish moo, only recently having come to terms with Kid A as a collection of songs. The volume control is lower this time, and 'noise' no longer seems an appropriate category, but the driving percussion and effects on 'Choking Flies' had me sold in seconds; the vocals are more considered – singing these days. When it one reaches 'Warning Sign', only maximum volume will do. At first it seems to remove one ears, and then doesn't...it goes deeper. My 2013 senses recognise that 'No Answer Lower Floor is not massively experimental, but that it sounds remarkable.

    7: The Redeemer by
    Seeing Blunt live in September, it was clear that he has lots of ideas, but I'm not sure he could quite deal with visuals. On record, however, every sound (whether calming strings or breaking glass) fits. Perhaps this is prejudice, but I like the fact that he sounds nothing like one would expect form his photo. Demon is one of the songs of the year!

    6: Excavation by
    After 2011's very good debut, Bobby Sands has become more ambitious sonically and conceptually. More strings, and as much drone, there is the supplementary narrative of an afterlife epic to contend with. After hearing this, he still me surprised live – managing to sound different from (and just as good as) the record whilst further highlighting how exciting 'Excavation' is. 'The Mirror Reflecting Part 2' is often in my head as I wake; I imagine it will remain there.

    5:New History Warfare Volume 3: To See more Light by
    In the Quietus' end-of-year-poll blurb, this was classified as a 'calm' finale to a trilogy. I completely disagree! Not only is this easily the best of the New History Warfare trilogy, there really isn't anything calm about it. Yes, the bloke from Bon Iver sings on a few tracks, but away from Vernon, this is rocks harder and hurts more than I though saxophone could. Have you heard 'Brute'?. Until the live show, I had no idea that there was no drummer or bassist – all Stetson's sax and throat mike's work, but this isn't just an impressive trick. It is music as it should be.

    4: Photographs by Graham Lambkin & Jason Lescalleet
    Intrigued by the idea of contemporary musique concrete (it's only this year that I realised how old that genre – and how ahead of its decades it is, I was delighted to discover Photographs. It remains ahead seventy or eighty years on from the genre's origins.

    3: Exai by
    Autechre are back from Greater Manchester with another record that is so extraordinary it warrants its own genre. Ten-minute nightmares such as 'irlite (get O)' ought to be boring (holes in my head) by now, but this is different again. It really, really is. Like every record in the top five here (and almost all present) it really needs to have chat with the ombudsman to mount its justifiable challenge to be installed as record of the year.

    2: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile by
    Well, it is impossible to convey how excited I am by this record...but I think I will give it a go: free jazz in 2013 in the hands, or saxophone-soaked lips, of a woman? Yes, that was a sexist sentence, but free jazz (for all its brilliance) has always neglected the ladies. The same is true of most none-pop/singer orientated jazz – the fondness with which we remember Erica Dolphy, Alberta Ayer, Millie Davis, Joan Coltrane and Annette Coleman notwithstanding (if these joke names passed you by, incidentally, it is time to stop reading). Indeed, Matana Roberts herself has been reluctant to classify her music as 'jazz'. because so many men within the genre still question her right to participate in it.


    Anyway, enough of the historical context that ignores this record's historical content. This record is part of ambitious series to chart the history of African-American women – breaking the experiential jazz mould not only because its by a woman, but because it's experimental jazz about women. The first Coin Coin record was about an anti-slave campaigner of that name, whereas this is chiefly about Robert's grandmother and the black women of Mississippi. Though largely instrumental and saxophone led, an interview with Robert's grandmother is relayed (without the questions) in segments. There are tales of a women being beaten brutally in a cell, but this is mostly a celebration of black women in America, rather than a condemnation of white oppressors. The final words, and indeed sounds, we hear are telling: “Do not weep for me”.

    Furthermore, Mississippi Moon is a about black-American music. Roberts maintains that opera was never the preserve of the white middle-classes in America, and so an opera singer serenades us throughout.

    Listen. It sounds incredible!


    1: Long Story Short Curated by

    So, 2013's greatest release is some six-hour (and five-disc) compendium of a 2011 free/avant-garde jazz festival collecting unholy collectives dragged over from Africa, Scandinavia, Japan and America and glued together by a German septuagenarian saxophonist? What else?

    How does one listen to hour upon hour to this **** and want to start over again... every time? Brotzmann features heavily – though often not the only saxophonist in the hen house – and he's is joined by legends old and new (especially Bill Laswell, the boys from the The Thing! and the super Toshinori Kondo) – alongside some fuckers so obscure that one couldn't train a dog to return a stick to them. Whatever style of experimental (and sometimes borderline) jazz we are treated to (I'm told that we even venture into African trance), it vital sound after vital sound hour after hour.

    Somehow, even though it commemorates a different year, it reminds me of how great this year and has been and that free jazz never really went away. Now it is the best stuff of the year once more. 2013 is the year jazz broke, because it feels like in the midst of the Davis/Coleman/Cherry/Ayer heyday right now. Right here - even though most of these chaps have been around forever.

    Just click here and start life afresh: Various Artists – Long Story Short





    Oh, this other stuff is fucking fantastic too...

    26: The Island Come True by L. Pierre
    25: Exit by The Fire! Orchestra
    24: Dansktoppen Møder Burkina Faso I Det Himmelblå Rum Hvor Solen Bor, Suite by Frisk Frugt
    23: Immunity by Jon Hopkins
    22 Loud City Song by Julia Holter
    21: Run the Jewels by Run the Jewels
    20 R Plus Seven by Onehtrix Point Never
    19: Character by Julia Kent
    18: Boot! by The Thing
    17 Music for Private Ensemble by Sean McCann
    16: History of the Visitation by Guapo
    15: Virgins by Tim Hecker
    14 1/1 Moritz Von Oswald
  • The Old Baker's Dozen: Finest Records of 2012

    3 jan. 2013, 8h07m

    13: Quakers by
    Sheer scope delivered this to the edge of my chart: as Fuzz Face, Barrow and his Stones Throw regiment plucked dozens of rappers from Myspace accounts (others were established, of course) and set their merry musings to samples from the likes of Radiohead. Musically and lyrically it borrows so heavily from hip hop’s history that its library fines date back to the eighties, but its consistency in the head-paroxysm department is insane.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wu8chHLSCj4

    12: AUN by
    Soundtrack records, and this is one, can generally sod off, but one must always allow the music to do the shouting; this sod deafens me – despite its calm. Bolstered with beautiful piano melodies, it is more straightforwardly musical than most Fennesz records. Ambient at its finest! I can imagine listening to this when my last wisp of hair has ****ed off. Next year then, eh?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWRF_uUemAE

    11:“Jhonn”, Uttered Babylon by t
    The musical marriage of David Tibet and James Blackshaw ties many knots around any tedium creeping into either’s recent projects. Tibet joins Walker in contesting the lyric of the year: “…the vagina-lack mother who clacked and clattered in the trembling towns of haunted winkies”. Blackshaw clearly takes his guitar into the bathroom each morning whilst he gargles. He is that good.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ3i9s2tw7g


    10: Quarantine by

    I only just realised (an hour ago, in fact) that I have witnessed Laurel Halo live without knowing it: She supported Squarepusher back in October, and she stank – almost as if smothered in Brut. It was essentially a disk-jockey set, a common euphemism for a **** performance, and couldn’t have sounded less like the record. Yes, ‘Quarantine’ has its muddy moments, but they sound lovely. It is prodigious, and my discovery is not going to alter this selection. Alright?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ3i9s2tw7g


    9: The Seer by
    Incredibly vital and more muscular than any fantasies anticipated. A little daunted by the disparity between the vinyl and CD tracklisting, ‘Lunacy’ heralds the onset of a record whose cover is adorned by a big hairy mammal. The backing vocals do it for me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ro6hT652vzM

    8: Paralytic Stalks by
    Critics slammed this as dense and purposeless.


    That is precisely what I love about it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-8QkKikapk


    7: Hallelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! by Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    Their best release since the debut! Whilst marking exams, I’d listen to it – assuming the largely-instrumental status rendered it a minimal distraction…
    …one moment, I would be trying to decipher the depressing detritus produced by this year’s cherubs; then, the guitars and strings would bore into my bonce so that I would be forced to flee the flat to regain calm enough to recommence my work. Okay, so one cannot concentrate whilst listening to it, but the fact that the absence of stunning live-performance projections fails to detract from its brilliance is a stronger endorsement. Post rock has become a twenty-first-century standard, but this is different. Would it really be in my list if it were not?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEOUNdX_LQI

    6: The Money Store by
    I have written the blurb for this three times, but my cut ‘n’ paste technique keeps wiping the sod. It is probably better than ‘Ex-Military’. Anything else you need to know?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74NA48f66kk

    5: R.I.P. by
    The title track is glitchy; I have never tried drugs, but ‘Ascending’ makes me feel like I have always been high on something; ‘Holy Water’ soaks me like only the church brews can…

    Nah, I won’t continue with that ****.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F-v9RZt1Z8


    4: Queen of the Wave by
    Rough Trade’s CD purveyors classified this beauty as Nu-jazz. I do not know why, but I appreciate that its genre is problematic to place. Initially-superficial-sounding ditties amble into dense proggy/electronic dirges. If God can tell me what kind of music this is, I promise embrace Christianity – assuming it is their big guy with the goods.

    I really love this, by the way.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfYw9nxQdB8

    3: Cancer 4 Cure by
    As a rapper and producer El-P is nothing like Death Grips, but somehow their 2012 records drink form the same grotesque goblet. ‘Drones over Bklyn’ was the song that hooked me, made me realise what my ears had on their hands. It could have been any of the tracks, of course.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umua_0yYvTE

    2: Ufabulum by
    Dark Steering is my tune of the year.
    I tire of proclaiming how all of these records subvert expectations, and I do not use a Thesaurus, so synonyms of ‘superb’ are low. Just take this record daily before committing carnal acts, or slumber, and come back to see me in a fortnight.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvLAKrVbCBM

    1: Bish Bosch by
    Bish Bosch is inferior to The Drift, even if Scott’s voice is more nimble this time, but hear the words of the Walker:

    “Sorry, I’m so clumsy… Take that, accidentally, in the bollocks for a start”.
    “Blowing up bullfrogs with a straw. Staring into their eyes just before...”
    “I severed my reeking gonads; fed them to your shrunken face”
    “If brains were rain, you’d surely be a desert.”



    Most will hate it, I fear.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ih7KzKLLWA



    Those not quite hot enough for the baker:

    ‘Ekstasis’ by Julia Holter
    ‘Novaya Zemlya’ by Thomas Koner
    ‘Intermezzo’ by Sir Richard Bishop’
    ‘Legowelt’ by The Paranormal Soul
    ‘R.A.P. Music’ by Killer Mike
    Landlines’ by Starving Weirdos
    The Something Rain’ by Tindersticks
    ‘WIXIW’ by Liars
    ‘Smierc W Miekkim Futerku' by Niechec
    'Drokk' by Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury
    ‘‘Until the Quiet Comes’ by Flying Lotus
    'The Cherry Thing’ by Neneh Cherry & The Thing
    ‘‘Posthuman’ by JK Flesh
  • Anyone play guitar, can't they, Thom?

    24 oct. 2012, 21h15m

    Sat 20 Oct – Squarepusher, Laurel Halo, Kelpe


    I should preface the review with the news that my ‘gig buddy’ (as Lastfm dubs such sycophants) was less enchanted by the evening than I was.

    Those of us who have been left disenchanted by electonica gigs – wherein a cap-flaunting disc jockey bobs his head behind his laptop as he reproduces a record, badly – over the years will forever approach these events with the niggle of colonic irritation.

    However, there was the promise of a light show from Squarepusher here, so perhaps it is understandable that our gig buddy’s expectations were lofty. Mine, so often puked upon by the blandest of laptop-wrestling displays, remained retarded.

    The proceedings punched-off with a fellow known as Kelpe, accompanied by a drummer. After a mildly meandering opening, the sexy beats had us where they wanted us. I liked it so much that I bought a double Kelpe LP from the merchandise man. Good eclectic stuff, complemented by a deft percussionist who had wisely left his baseball-cap uniform at home!

    The next act was of ambiguous gender, and his/her/its beats were even more confusing. Despite being in close proximity, the muffled sounds seemed to be fighting their way through mammoth malls on their way to our ears. They needn’t have bothered.


    Okay, the main event. Just prior to Mr. Pusher pushing off, the lights suddenly blinded us and a repetitive blare – neither Tony nor Lionel – halted our hearing. Our senses besieged, everyone’s Essex boy of choice lumbered on with an elaborate helmet. Soon, helmet and stage were bathed in lights forming a huge chess-board like pattern.

    The Ufabulum tunes were unleashed.

    I had long considered Sqaurepusher’s prime to be consigned to the most remote of pasts; I had thus been suspicious during early Ufabulum listens. I was wrong! This record sits proudly amongst the year’s champs. Nevertheless, I’d rarely listened to it on the stereo, despite buying the sod in the old-fashioned manner, and made do with Itunes on a cruddy laptop through the muddy prism of Skype headphones. This mistake became obvious on hearing the songs live: they sound fantastic, and – even if the light show would have failed the Blackpool-illumination variety test – the vigorous visuals were the perfect foil.

    Having hundreds of unusually-considerate giggers dancing manically to the delectable “Drax 2” came close to an all-time concert highlight.

    Okay, he fucked the whole thing up when he reached for his six-string bass (complete with tremolo). For at least 20 minutes he plagued us with wallowing string slapping as if it had long been his dream to crucify the atmosphere at the end of an otherwise excellent show.

    And that was the finale.


    Even my stupidest students know enough about structure to go out with a pop at the very least.


    Still, my expectations had been tethered and – for the most part – surpassed.




    That evening was proof positive, though, of the folly of early-day Thom Yorke…










    …not just anyone can play guitar.

    SquarepusherKelpeUfabulum
  • The Old Baker’s Dozen: the finest records of 2011

    6 jan. 2012, 10h08m

    Oddly, this year’s crusty whites not only proved harder to compile than previous oven loads', they are also a real shit to write about. Fearing the approach of the next millennium, however, I hereby release the complete baker’s dozen (also known as – I have just discovered – devil’s dozen) with the commentaries a work in progress.

    Still, I suppose the list is always in progress. For instance, as I type, I am listening to a record for the first time that may be the finest of 2008. Thus, there are bound to be many 2011 riches yet to touchdown within reach of my considerable ears.

    Nevertheless, I am rather pleased with the following haul.


    Behold:

    13) ‘Viscera’ by Jenny Hval
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dF6hvxQBDSo

    “At the very beginning, I was influenced by the harsh, repetitive and pornographic language of Elfriede Jelinek and Pauline Reage, and then at some stage the focus shifted completely to Virginia Woolf’s Orlando”.

    Jenny Hval’s first record under her own name (as opposed to her Rockettothesky moniker) is massively ambitious, but always seems to escape pretension. Some how.

    Being a small-town boy at heart, I have always been interested in the vagina dentata legend, but few have presented it quite as Jenny Hval does in the record’s opening lines:

    ‘I arrived in town with an electric toothbrush
    Pressed against my clitoris’

    There is a sense of farce here, of course, but also a serious exploration of the body – beginning with the female.

    At times, ‘Viscera’ feels like the record that Joanna Newsom would have made had she severed Bill Callahan’s member with her ravenous organ, flipped him over and penetrated his various orifices with a blunt breeze block. Yes, it is perverted Newsom (though often restrained and understated too) blended with a little nonsense (and Virginia Woolf’s best novel) for good measure. Feminism at its finest – and a major a strike against conventionality!


    The music, somewhere between folk and industrial, forms the perfect complement.


    12) ‘Who Kill’ by Tune Yards

    11) ‘A New Way to Pay Old Debts’ by Bill Orcutt

    10) ‘As the Crow Flies’ by The Advisory Circle

    9) ‘The Constant Pageant’ by Trembling Bells

    8) ‘Space is Only Noise’ by Nicolas Jaar

    7) ‘New History Warfare Vol 2: Judges by Colin Stetson

    6) ‘Ravedeath 1972’ by Tim Hecker

    5) ‘Black Up’ by Shabazz Palaces

    4) ‘Welcome Abroad’ by People Like Us


    3) ‘Feed Forward’ by Sandwell District
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW2wNFHUcR4&feature=related


    2) 2) ‘Ex Military’ by Death Grips
    The most aggressive rap known to any ear community – deliciously warped!


    1) ‘Biophilia’ by Bjork
    Whilst our inner-socialist can Justifiably lament the extortion of her Apple apps, Bjork’s voice (interwoven with the filthiest beats of her career – beats that Richard D. James would soil himself over – and beautiful strings) sounds amazing.


    Jenny HvalPeople Like UsBjorkSandwell DistrictShabazz PalacesTim HeckerColin StetsonNicolas JaarTrembling BellsThe Advisory CircleBill OrcuttTuNe YarDsDeath Grips
  • Simply Sunday

    27 jui. 2011, 16h52m

    Sat 23 Jul – ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror curated by Portishead

    We aging addicts have occasionally witnessed live shows that have transcended mere oral stimulation – offering music that stiffened/moistened (delete as appropriate) our sexual organs and performances that permanently stained our undergarments.

    On occasions, however, Sunday’s I’ll Be Your Mirror mined far beneath the carnal…


    Godspeed You! Black Emperor kicked-off the sultry afternoon with the most potent sounds music can offer. Violin, cello (I think) and every conceivable breed of guitar combined to hypnotise the entire congregation – hundreds of heads rigid one moment, then swinging savagely in unison the next. A stage cluttered with seated, listless figures (the vivacious violinist aside) was married with striking projections that juddered with each clamorous note. No one could wrench their ears, or eyes, away.

    Seemingly comparatively conventional, Liars opened with the intricate percussion of
    ‘Drum and the Unconventional Can’ – aptly named to render such assumptions ridiculous. Song after momentous song, the biggest surprise was Angus Andrew’s charisma: a towering frontman fresh from the Nick-Cave academy, his infectious energy transformed good songs such as ‘Scissor’ and ‘Here Comes All the People’ into true greats. On hearing the opening words of the former, it was amazing how many punters turned to their friends and smiled: “They’re playing it, they’re playing it,” hollered one especially ecstatic pensioner.

    After an unavoidable respite, I next witnessed Sunday’s incessant sun beating down upon Acoustic Ladyland. This was to be, or so they said, the end for ‘Om Konz’, ‘Sport Mode’ and the likes. Indeed, Pete Wareham began by confirming this, and that they would shortly be regrouping as Silver Birch. This was it.

    Having seen electric performances by Acoustic Ladyland at Leeds’ Wardrobe, I perceived a relative lack of comfort here as they followed a frivolous pub quiz, with Wareham batting away omnipresent boulder-sized balloons with a grimace; perhaps it did not help that his saxophone seemed drowned in the hubbub. Nevertheless, after a relatively slow start (continued through an extended ‘Mighty Q’ which grounded them a tad), the frantically eclectic ‘Have Another Go’ suddenly belted out new life before the aforementioned ‘Om Konz’ (possibly the finest set-closer known to Moochoo) rampaged through the unhelpfully sun-soaked room.

    This tearful farewell, made me late for Swans, but ‘Eden Prison’ and the other new songs sounded fantastic as Gira and company danced insanely for ninety minutes. The generous set times, compared with the average festival, proved to be one of I’ll Be Your Mirror’s finest features.

    I should really have legged-it over to the West Hall for Alan Moor and Stephen O’Malley, but…I did not. One has to prepare for Grinderman, after all – even though this was my third time in their company. Earlier in the day, I had thought that Andrew Angus might just have out Nick-Caved Nick Cave, but – naturally, the god himself had something to yell about that. If Cave was enigmatic in past performances, he was positively possessed by Satan’s older, more demonic brother this time around. I really have never seen stage presence like it. This brings us back to my opening motif of sexual epiphany and beyond; it was songs such as Kitchenette (good, though far from classics on record), which rendered the entire audience spellbound, whether head pumping, giggling insanely, screaming or staring wide-eyed and transfixed. In this extended version of the song (someone has posted it on Youtube), Cave added extra rambles and chants. Incredible!

    Whilst Grinderman’s canon of songs cannot match Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ back catalogue, as a live spectacle Grinderman’s contagious verve and vitality, with Cave somehow liberated from the shackles of his piano, surpass his previous masterworks.

    One of the best performances I have ever seen, Grinderman’s shows will eventually earn legendary status.


    Well, on to the curators; if you are imagining a crusty chap with a monocle polishing his exhibits with a freshly-laundered pocket hankerchief, think again. Though I loved ‘Dummy’ at the time of its release, it is ‘Third’ (with the elaborate percussion and bleeding guitars of ‘Silence’ and ‘We Carry on’ through to the dance tremors of ‘Machine Gun’) that really showcases Portishead’s range and deftness. These songs dominated the show, which (aided by alternating projections and fuzzy live footage) became more emotionally resonant and powerful than ever before. ‘Sour Times’, ‘Glory Box’ and ‘Roads’ served to recall their big-song prowess, and ‘The Rip’ (alongside gigantic projections of its video) left my usually incontinent mouth speechless.

    Sure, they made a boar’s breakfast of ‘Chase the Tear’ – bizarrely unable to progress beyond its opening bars, despite countless attempts – but this set seemed too inhuman prior to that anyway. No, this was about as perfect as its gets.

    Then, a very tired Mr Moochoo, grooved away to the pleasant strains of Caribou – who, like everyone here, sound stronger live. An hour for Caribou around midnight was just what the medic ordered.


    As the free shuttle bus transported me home from the beautiful, palatial venue and its surrounding park (and I talked to a man from Denmark who had travelled especially to see Portishead), I contemplated how incredible the day had been. Of course, the one-way system was comically absurd and they should relax the policy on outside food (one astonished fellow appeared delirious as his Monster Munch was wrenched from him), especially when one has to part with £6.50 for pie ‘n’ mash.


    Nevertheless, if one wishes to be mobbed by implausibly fantastic music for thirteen hours, with no crap allowed, I cannot contemplate anywhere else on Earth they would go.
  • The Old Baker’s Dozen: Finest Records of 2009 (Worse late than never)

    26 avr. 2011, 9h50m

    Stumbling upon this during a perfunctory prowl through Word documents, I thought it should (obscenely belated though it is) be brought home to Last.FM. Like the other two Baker's Dozens on here, it requires updates, but it's vital to keep records of, err, records.

    13: Crownsdown by Themselves

    12: Rated O by Oneida

    11: Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age by Broadcast & The Focus Group

    10: Tarot Sport by Fuck Buttons

    9: Orphaned by the Ocean by Teeth of the Sea

    8: Monoliths and Dimensions by Sunn O

    7: Fever Ray by Fever Ray

    6: Totems Flare by Clark

    5: Waiting for You by King Midas Sound

    4: Manafon by David Sylvian

    3: Living with a Tiger by Acoustic Ladyland

    2: Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain by Current 93

    1: More Heart than Brains by Bike for Three


    Fuck! All of my beautiful formatting is lost. Guess who cannot be bothered to redo it.
  • Mr Moochoo’s Old Baker’s Dozen: the finest records of 2010

    31 déc. 2010, 10h47m

    Thirteen has never been an unlucky number where freshly rotund baps are concerned; it is similarly appropriate for the selection of each year’s most righteous records. Moochooish folklore proclaims that each calendar year spawns one score (minus seven) of true musical masterpieces. In 2010, however, there was room for one score (plus six), with the likes of The Fall, The Emeralds, Janelle Monae, Arcade Fire, Holy Fuck and many others finding themselves litigiously excluded.

    Nevertheless, the lore is the law, so here are thirteen absurdly intoxicating releases (each followed by my words of senility and a Youtube sample track for your displeasure):


    13) Your Mercury by Teeth of the Sea
    Listening to this sod yesterday, I was ready to bestow the record-of-the-year title upon it there and then, trousers tangled about my ankles and white foam spouting…from my mouth. After last years’ incredible ‘Orphaned by the Ocean’, my expectations resided in the heavens. Though very different, its increased scope – spanning drone metal, prog and psychedelic rock with a mild jazz infusion (all lovingly mastered) – makes for a masterly sequel.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VBjs-9u158k

    12) Have One on me by Joanna Newsom
    This record’s inclusion is painfully simple: a combination of gargantuan lyrics (wherein eccentricity and complexity tussle for supremacy) and cranium-cracking piano-harp conflations. It’s the way she tells ‘em.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_47_CHdzHI




    11) Grinderman II by Grinderman
    Whenever Nick Cave and co. release a record into the wild, I am always nonplussed for the first few listens. Why? Because they never conform to my expectations. After all of these years, Delia Smith is likely to classify such a recipe beneath ‘genius’ on the kitchen wall. The presence of the disparate joys of “Evil” and the ‘Palaces of Montezuma” is a fiendish feat for any record.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIgLDLHiYUs

    10) Splazsh by Actress
    My significant other was certain that my stereo had broken down when I last played this – usually a sign of musical mastery. Though my hyperbole monitor has already self-combusted three-thousand times (there she goes again), the dub-stepish beasts derive from a deep dimension beyond my experience – the sort of record that rearranges one’s brain cells and replaces them in the wrong order. A mind copulation.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VcvagMULOA


    9) False Priest by Of Montreal
    If all pop music boogied like this, my lusty lugs would be plastered religiously to Radio one – especially for the Sunday service. ‘Eclecticism’ has long been Of Montreal’s middle name; False Priest expands on Skeletal Lamping’s cunning amalgamation of experimentation, popability and potent song-writing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2dHheEgYDA


    8) Age of Adz by Sufjan Stevens
    The process of chucking 'Enjoy Your Rabbit' into a blender with 'Illinois' is unlikely to feature in Oliver’s or Worrell-Thompson’s latest cash-ins at Waterstones, but it turned out far more delicious than anticipated. Everyone knows that ‘Impossible Soul’ is one of 2010’s dearest descendents ¬– so why should I bother typing any more? ‘Ambition’ – that takes care of this record.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnycQL6UTow


    7) Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus
    After seemingly waiting several millennia to hear this hyperbole-imbued record, I was certain that I knew exactly what to expect from it. You know what’s coming, but it genuinely was an ear-opener. Whatever subgenre it is ascribed to, ‘Mmn Hmm’s ilk and company, no set of tunes infiltrate the subconscious like these. Three of this week’s nightmares fesaured songs from this record – don’t mix with aspirins.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ht5VaNI-RfA&feature=fvst

    6) My father will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky by Swans
    It is impossible to marry Christian-notions of salvation with suicide and sexual depravity without descending the satanically serpentine rope of self-consciousness – down which these reviews long since slid. It is inconceivable that a record can cover these ideas seriously, whilst churning powerful, emotive tunes that never abate.

    Welcome to My father…A lesson in conceiving the inconceivable, a lesson I’ll be learning decades from now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkR66Q-UdYA&feature=related


    5) King Night by Salem
    It is hard to put one’s sweaty digit on the specific sparkle of King Night. Like practically every record in this list, it gouges-out the eyes of simple classification, but achieves this without loss of accessibility, aesthetic, and song craft. For once in my miserable life, I will quote the BBC: ‘dark electronica built on glimmering vocals and mutilated bass’. Suitably succinct, this comes closer than most descriptions – even if the tepid review is largely the equivalent of dropping several testicles in a nunnery. Yet there is more to this.

    ‘Asia’ and ‘Sick’ clearly belong to different records. There are so many sounds to grapple with.

    Truly amazing (yes, I’m running out of time).


    4) Sisterworld by Liars

    “I found her with my scissor”

    In a righteous universe – perhaps one in which Shane MacGowan was in charge of the mineral waters and Robert Wyatt was a sprinting champion – the above would be celebrated as the finest opening line bestowed upon any record.

    For me, it has improved with every spin. Due to the record title, I initially misheard the final word as “sister” – connoting both odd filial violation and lascivious lesbian lust; ‘scissor' works even better. Initially, one merely gasps at the notion of a suicide attempt and then giggles at the singer’s peevishness that some harlot nicked his most treasured trinket – presumably vetoing any engagement or after-studio shag.

    Following this eccentric croon, the strings kick-iin like a perversion of the Wind in the Willows’ soundtrack sanctioned by Peter Stringfellow before the guitars and drums outrock all conmers.

    Some songs sound lightweight initially, but – in its totality – Sisterworld rocks harder than the Stooges and spouts more gloriously eccentric nonsense than a Robert Wyatt/Willy Wonker Confab. What a band.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04domJ7F0oY



    3) Baalstorm, Sing Omega by Current 93

    Apocalypse again? Naturally. What else would post-second-millennium David Tibet gargle about? Nevertheless, without ripping-off Jon Peel’s Fall fondling – and the Quietus reviewer who did just that in praise of this masterwork – the manically serene music and delivery were simultaneously a bombshell and a confirmation of expectations, despite contrasting heavily with the crashing guitar cracks of last year’s alluring Aleph on Hallucinatory Mountain.

    Whether on “Passenger Aleph in Name”, I dreamt I was Aeon” or “Tank of Flies”, never before have lilting piano drills, soothing xylophone patter and melodic acoustic caresses sounded so fucking satanic. At risk of resembling some renegade from the NME, or – worse still – Pitchfork (or – worst of all – The Wire), Tibet’s voice simultaneously compels and terrifies in its nightmarish theatricality. The more over the top it soars – high above credibility, however, the better it becomes.

    Finally, “I dance Narcoleptic” – the musical equivalent of colonic irrigation – consistently fucks the faeces right out of me ere the final strains of the album and the paedophilic pangs aroused by the overly-eager youngsters screaming and laughing over the record title for the final time.

    It took me ten listens to stop dubbing it a disappointment; just wait till your ears dance with it for the thirtieth time – party time, Bobby, party time.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAcDpLhABEk&feature=related


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27pRb5gtb6w

    2) An Arc for the Listener by Phillip Jeck
    The Wire put me off this kitten for years, but his latest record’s atmospheric meanderings transport one to a very dark place – albeit the polar opposite of South Yorkshire, a place not unlike (for some reason) William Blake’s Songs of Experience. I’m currently listening to “Ark”, for instance and am drifting off to pre-pasta world of despair, but that despair is somehow a support. “You’re making no fucking sense, Moochoo”, I here you bellow – or perhaps it’s an exasperated sigh. I know it sounds like nonsense, but late at night, when you’re alone in a cold house, try listening to this, giving your full attention.

    Like Endless Summer or Black Sea but more dense, more potent, less safe, this is the sort of record that kills part of you. If you’re unsure about a relationship, don’t listen to this: you’ll never see your partner again.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHZVkO37CF4


    1) Made Flesh by Extra Life

    Every year I, alongside professional reviewers – those inferior, but rather richer and more-widely read pen pushers – proclaim a particular record to sound like nothing else, to be utterly unique. Every year my battle-battered Thesaurus lies in tatters after our grapple for that most apt superlative. Every year…


    Oh, sod that!

    Made Flesh, ignored – to my knowledge – by every 2010 list on Planet E and shunned by almost every one I’ve touted it to, urinates upon music’s rule books with the most bloated bladder-arsenal known to Moochookind. Despite being a former member of the relatively mainstream Dirty Projectors, Charlie Looker blends Medieval/Renaissance English folk – both musically and vocally (melisma used to great effect in evoking disturningly warped images) with math and psychedelic rock in a concoction that really ought to implode.

    Only it doesn’t.

    Let’s make it simple: “The Ladder”, possibly 2010’s finest export, is gorgeously perverted; it has plenty of competition from the other tracks. Only the single (‘The head Shrinker’: displays a marginal quality dip, perhaps because it retraces the rulebook somewhat. The closing track? Too good for you pricks.

    Of course, most ears will balk at his vocals simply because they break the rules. Remember, however, music is not like some sticky black sandwich filler that polarises: if it sounds wrong to you, it is probably right. Just as William Shakespeare is unquestionably Alan Ayckbourn’s superior, so this wipes the table with your High Violets

    The Manic Streets Preachers, and George Orwell, once suggested that the truth is still the truth even if the truth teller is in a minority of one.

    Truth-telling is, apparently, a revolutionary act, so here goes…


    Made Flesh sounds like no other record, and is the most powerful release of the year; it seems ridiculous that I even have to point that out.



    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPvLRruCJYA (a nice live performance: persevere till the end – the rendition of an incredible album track (‘The Ladder’) starts after tow minutes have been filched from the clock, and takes time to reach boiling point – but watch your fingers when it does. The sound isn’t perfect, but it’s enough for glimpse of genius).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LwQoVjrFWI (a different song (‘Easter’), with better sound quality).
  • The Lighting guy and the mixer says it...

    18 oct. 2010, 19h13m

    Sat 16 Oct – 3 Decades Of Einstürzende Neubauten

    No pre-performance tracks blasted from the muted speakers, no support act whetted our appetites, no t-shirts cheaper than thirty pounds warmed the backs of the impoverished; despite being billed as a thirty-year celebration, at least half of the songs reside on the most recent record.

    This is the way of Einsturzende Neubauten.

    Nevertheless, this was an incredible concert. Having long admired the records, the live spectacle – each song showcasing a disparate piece of, generally-percussion, equipment (present on the records but not always fully discernable) from cutlery and dry leaves to drain pipes and sanders – was a most memorable experience.

    Songs such as ‘The Garden’, ‘Let’s do it a Dada’, ‘Die Interimsliebenden’, ‘Selbstportrait mit kater’ and ‘Silence is Sexy’ rank amongst music history’s greatest ambassadors. Saturday night’s renditions rank amongst performance history’s finest friends.

    As testified by others, many of the crowd lacked the patience for the more tender tunes – apparently arriving a day early for Brandon Flowers – but Blixa and his brilliant brethren conjured-up what must undoubtedly be the second best London Forum-fest of 2010 (after the incredible Current 93).
  • Mr Moochoo mumbles Omega

    1 juin 2010, 23h43m

    Sat 29 May – 25 years of Current 93
    Only the promise of two events – a Current 93 birthday ballistic and the release of Baalstorm, Sing Omega into the wild – have maintained my fragile flame a flickering in recent months. Pauper that I am, and two nights being beyond me, I selected the lengthier fiesta of Saturday evening, foregoing the new record for an unnecessary twenty-four hours.

    All very nice, but what was the event like?

    Unlike any concert I’ve ever attended.

    Formal and foreboding, London’s HMV’s Forum was transformed into an opera house – all pleasantly seated – taming the pageant of purple/pink/puce bonneted punks, happy hippies and sullen psychos in seconds. Against this subdued backdrop, Rameses III ambled on. Very nice too. That no one could discern the boundary between sound check and performance mattered not, as these three’s ambient lullabies lulled us further towards a restful repose.

    Then Comus, the so-called ancient folkies, blasted us awake with…acoustic instruments. Gosh they can play: the likes of “Diana”, utterly unpredictable with Satanic vitality, sounded amazing. Then, the ominous promise of the first new Comus song in 39 wilderness years, proved even greater. A beautiful bevy of flute, viola and saucy breathing lifted the fluctuating guitars and voice of Roger Wooton. Incredible. Some more lilting, gentle fledging songs dragged somewhat, but here was a genuinely unique, muscular sound – replete with nicely disturbed lyrics.

    However, Comus’ minor legion of supporters were clearly bemused when the darkest of folk was substituted by the darkest of dance, These-New-Puritans style. How jarring can one get? As usual, they were good, even if few here appreciated them, and our seated selves struggled to shift beyond the odd pathetic paw pounding. Not a band to peruse seated, perhaps, but this simply served to complete the terrifically twisted contrasting nature of the line-up. Their lights bloody blinded me, though.


    Sure, this had all proved rather nice, but golly was I glad to see the Current 93 family – Andrew WK or no Andrew WK – take their places almost 4 hours after the kick-off.

    On they poured, twelve of the buggers, covering lute, four guitars, bass, violas, cello, piano, percussion and backing vocals (I know that doesn’t add-up). Then came a top-hatted Sebastian to introduce David, as a soothsayer of modern music.

    Finally, he hopped on – brown suited, bare footed and a zebra-striped-woolly-hat bonneted. David Tibet.

    Many moaned at the new numbers in place of classics, but these hatchlings matched the more mature vintages of one of the most prolific artists of recent times. “Passenger Aleph in name” sat so perfectly alongside “A Sadness Song” that few ignorant of Current chronology could classify them. Tibet would rampage at the most tender melodies and stand statue still at the most raucous roars. His performance was frighteningly unhinged, and then controlled. The nightmares will never abate.

    “Not because the Fox barks”, almost unrecognisable at times, was the highlight for Mr Moochoo – perhaps alongside the rousing finale of “Lucifer over London”.

    I’m deeply in love with Baby Dee’s piano pyrotechnics at present. No one else plays quite like that. Once, I believed The Bad Seeds whipped-up the finest musical backdrop for the poetic musings. How wrong I was. This bunch is penis-poppingly breathtaking.

    Bill Fay’s guest appearance – his potently simple verse – jarred beautifully with Tibet’s umpteenth – but welcome – Gnostic rambling.

    The crowd, seemingly asleep during the early stages, awoke as the set progressed, but only between numbers – otherwise stone-like as their bottoms reshaped the seats. After “A sadness Song”, one previously shiftless gentleman unsheathed his torso and brandished his shirt aloft as a lasso, whirling it wildly in the dusky hall. For me, I desired to be on my feet, and to lunge in time with the beat. Many seemed to think it was a conference, but I still managed to dance (seated though I remained).

    All exceptional things must meet their end, and Tibet was the first to abscond - gathering up his voluminous lyric book and discarded jacket, with a final wave. One by one, the musicians downed tools till only the backing singer remained. Beautiful.

    Now bereft, the new record rumbles on – despite my scrobbling function ceasing (I promise I’ve spun it ten times already). Like most of its predecessors, it’s remarkable.

    Apologies for my ramble: I just allowed the words to pour out as they occurred to me, and, err, there were rather a lot of them. No amount of Moochoo verbiage, however, can obscure a simple fact: this was the most momentous musical meet in history. Thank you, Mr Tibet, thank you.
  • A brief sample of my wily wares:

    26 avr. 2010, 23h45m


    Taken from my (as yet unpublished) book comprising 69 accounts of love:

    Numbr 14
    Radical role reversal rites rationally recollected.



    “Will it not be less perplexing for our children”, proclaimed the immeasurable diaphragm of my beloved wife, “if we swap? I will be their Daddy, whilst you mother them”. Her coarse fingers unclamped my penis…for the final time…

    Following that fatal arm-wrestling blow – a guiltless family bonding session invaded by those whores of providence – our erstwhile domestic bliss surrendered itself to bewitching bewilderment. But not for long. Our love never in question, my wife’s superior biceps outmuscled her beauty; I, her Tiresias, was compelled to comply.

    Was there a counter argument? No

    Would tiny Tony and timid Toni’s fragile conception of the world be devoured by the vortex of disorientation? Yes.

    Could some latter-day Frankenstein teach her diminutive stature to dwarf my hulking frame? Yes.

    Resounding successes though they were, both operations spawned pangs of regret…but they were fleeting. Despite a skin graft being recommended, my husband – whilst still my wife – had insisted on installing my penis – from whence our children’s lifeblood had dripped – as his own.

    Menstruation isn’t feasible, but I believe blood bleeds brightly from my battered uterus, my wanton womb.

    I just wish that Mrs Appleby would avert her gaze as I prune back the wisteria. She’s asking for a smack in the eye.