Sunday, 13 August 2017

DAVE COCKS/MONOLITHE NOIR - BLACK’EX SPLIT SERIES #1 (EXAG Records 10” Vinyl, D/L).

New from the Belgian label EXAG Records an exciting new project that transcends borders and genres. The concept of the BLACK’EX Split Series is to take groundbreaking/innovative new music from two artists, from two different countries and then press it on to a limited edition 10” vinyl record, creating connections between artists from around the world, building bridges between countries that otherwise may never exist. BLACK'EX Split Series #1 brings together Dave Cocks from Italy, better known as one half of the duo Throw Down Bones with French artist Monolithe Noir who now resides in Belgium.

Side A features ‘Borders’, the first solo effort by Cocks which focuses on his personal journey of fleeing the centre and finding himself in the peripheral places. Cocks makes use of Noise Militia equipment, handmade pieces by Throw Down Bones partner Frankie combing primordial beats, looped electronics and noise to create something that falls between a dark ambient soundscape and a deeply psychedelic drone out. Hazy vocals courtesy of Nadia Daou (TAU) lace through the rhythm amassing a veritable tapestry of rich texture within the sound. Side B features ‘La Bégum’, a more experimental piece using old school modular synths to create a track that has echoes of early 60s/70s adventures into electronic music. The track reverberates with a hypnotic energy whilst exuding a catchy countenance that has the feel of proto-techno as imagined in a 60s Musique Concrète workshop.

BLACK'EX Split Series #1 is out NOW and available from either the EXAG Records store or their Bandcamp site here……………………………….
where you can stream the tunes. Keep ‘em peeled for further releases from this series.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

JOSS COPE - UNREQUITED LULLABIES (Gare du Nord LP, CD, D/L).

New from the delightfully quirky, thoroughly English Indie/Psychedelic/Whatever label Gare du Nord Records is the first solo album from the Arch Drude’s little bro’ Joss Cope. Although generally best known for his contributions to Julian Cope’s albums Fried and St Julian where he co-wrote the songs 'Pulsar' and 'Christmas Mourning' with Julian and Donald Ross Skinner, Joss Cope was part of the mid 80s Creation Records “psychedelic scene” playing with Crash, The Weather Prophets, Rose McDowell and Biff Bang Pow before putting out two albums of his own work with Something Pretty Beautiful. In 1991 he formed the psych band The United States of Mind with Ashley Wood(Chemistry Set), Dave  Morgan and Greenwood Goulding (Rockingbirds), (only one eponymously titled album of blistering British psychedelia was released on the appropriately titled DyscFunctional imprint, before the band split in 1994) and in more recent years he’s played guitar with psychedelic soulsters Dexter Bentley and bass with Sergeant Buzfuz, as well as becoming inspired to write songs for himself again. Unrequited Lullabies is his first collection of his own work since the late 80s………… recorded in Finland with with a trio of top Helsinki musicians, guitarist Veli-Pekka Oinonen (Nights of Iguana, Leningrad Cowboys), bassist Esa Lehporturo and percussionist Ville Raasakka with………..erm……….. Irish keyboardist O’Reilly O’Rourke (which we are convinced is a Julian Cope pseudonym on the lines Double DeHarrison), it’s an album of 60s inspired Neo-Psychedelica which combines English whimsy with an acid fried intensity of the more subtle Nuggets influenced bands of the 80s and has already been described as Syd Barrett fronting The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band.

Cut from the same cloth as Julian Cope’s first two “Tamworth” albums and the Creation Records mid 80s output, Unrequited Lullabies is a riot of jangling guitars, Psych Pop smarts, fuzz freak outs and off the wall psychedelia that, along with more current influences, channels Kevin Ayers and the “Canterbury Scene” possibly more than Syd Barrett and the hip London bands from the Sixties. It’s a wonderful record that proudly shows off all it’s influences………………the stand out tracks among a bunch of really great tunes have be the supercharged jangle pop of ‘Learn To Float’, the beatific and tripped out ‘Cloudless Skies’, 'Started Something' and ‘Turned Out Nice Again’, a very groovy ‘Nobody Knows This Is Everywhere’ and the bucolic album closer Streaming’. It’s fair to say that many of the songs here would not sound out of place on the early Julian Cope solo albums and fans of those records are really going to love this, however with a record packed with beautifully constructed Psych Pop songs Joss Cope has shown that both the Cope brothers are brilliant songwriters. Check it out People.

Due for release 6/10/17, Unrequited Lullabies will be available on vinyl, CD and as a download. Pre-orders are being taken here…………

Saturday, 5 August 2017

GALACTIC EXPLORERS - EPITAPH FOR VENUS (Mental Experience LP, CD, D/L).

New from the Spanish crate diggers Guerssen Records is the latest re-release, via their Mental Experience imprint, in their ongoing reissue program of the willfully obscure Krautrock records originally issued by the Pyramid label. Galactic Explorers' Epitaph For Venus is another album shrouded in mystery from Pyramid (The Psych/Space Rock label Psi-Fi produced six "reissues" of albums by this supposedly long lost label around 20 years ago. In some circles, these releases were generally considered to be a hoax and it was widely believed at the time that the albums were recorded in the mid '90s in the UK during the height of the Krautrock revival) and a candidate for being dubbed 'Ambient' way before Ambient existed as a genre.……………..produced by Toby “The Mad Twiddler” Robinson in Cologne, circa 1974, Epitaph For Venus is an album of minimal Kosmische sounds that bring to mind the meditative ambiences explored and developed on the early Tangerine Dream Ohr releases, with plenty of Minimoog, analogue synths / keyboards, effects, loops, tape manipulation and treated percussion.

Although two of the the three long tracks have previously surfaced on Virgin Records hard to find Unknown Deutschland compilations, however this is the first time any of these tracks have been widely available on vinyl and whether or not this record is an “authentic” Krautrock album does not diminish the quality of the music presented here. The album opens with the gentle pulse of ‘Lunarscape’, a nearly 20 minute bliss out of extended minimalistic atmospherics with subtle jazzy touches added to the mix ,where the trio of Johannes Lutz (Mini Moog, Hammond Organ and……err….Lunatron), Holst Seisert(Synths, Fender Rhodes and Effects) and possibly the best known of the band due to his work with the German Prog Rock/Free Jazz outfit Dzyan, Reinhard Karwatky (Synths, Percussion and Organ) pilot a trip of translucent beauty, surfing on sine waves across the rugged surface of the moon. The other two tracks on the album are very much in the same style………….’Ethereal Jazz’ is much more of an abstract, 60s/70s European Free Jazz influenced piece that ebbs and flows with the cosmic tides while ‘Venus Rising’ is a exercise in Kosmische soundscaping, it’s a trip to the centre of the brain where you can see ancient solar systems forming and listen to the vibrations cosmic winds as you are transported to the furthest out parts of the minds eye. For fans of minimal, experimental cosmic sounds and krautrock pioneers such as Popol Vuh, Sand, Peter Michael Hamel, Tangerine Dream, Baba Yaga, Cluster, Cozmic Corridors and Brainticket, this is well worth your time.

Remastered from the original tapes and with liner notes by Alan Freeman, head boss at Ultima Thule and author of The Crack In The Cosmic Egg, Epitaph For Venus is out NOW on vinyl and CD from very cool record stores and all the usual suspects on line. Also available directly from the Guerssen Records website or from their Bandcamp page here.............