Category Archives: Sack of Streams

Sack of Streams #11: It’s Turning

Fatima Al Qadri

…the world, the tide, the seasons, the wheel, the dial…

Change is a constant. Here we are with a selection of constantly changing releases to change your mind and your habits.

Fatima Al Qadiri is a NYC-based Kuwaiti visual artist and musician. ‘Brute‘ is an album that combines Mark Stewart-like police state recordings with trippy dubstep bits and ethnic flutes. A bit of politics, but cool nonetheless.

BBO’s review of Warning Light’s album XXXI described it as, variously, “just simply beautiful”, “airy propulsion”, “electro-motorisation”, and “sublime awe and cosmic wonder”. D Haddon’s latest EP, ‘Life​/​Death Suite EP‘ is made up of bits left over from his latest CD, which BBO will get to in due course.

The EP’s two tracks deal with such trivial issues as life and death. ‘Often Chance’ matches swirling strings with a deep pulse, then brings in stuttering back-and-forth percussion which sounds to me like the emerging Martians in Pal’s 1953 War of the Worlds. As the track expands, more elements combine until it turns into a literally entrancing wave. 10 minutes passed while I hardly noticed. ‘Dream Lovers Never Dream Alone‘ is a slower but nonetheless powerful piece, bringing to mind a triumphant funeral march through a village, to a meadow where the ceremony ends. Grab it.

I’ve always loved acid house, but I’ve never seen it as party music. I would listen to my TDK D90 cassettes marked “Dance I”, “Dance II” etc in my bedroom and on my bike, but I was never in a position to go out and shake it as was so often suggested by the music. A combination of age, personality, who knows what. Still, the squelch of a resonant 303 always gets me tingling.

To me, Posthuman embody that ‘headphone house’ aesthetic. Their forthcoming compilation ‘Back To Acid‘ is pretty straightforward. A silver box with knobs, a black box with orange buttons, and a white box with grey buttons – what else do you need? (rhetorical question, I know what you need. Indulge me). 12 tracks of caustic pleasure, from the robotic march of ‘Six Hundred’ to the delicious twang of ‘Beat Down’, via my favourite, the atmospheric throbber ‘Mezzotint’. I will be buying.

Baron Mordant is a name well known to those who dabble in the darker reaches of techno/electronics. Here as Phlekz, he’s released an EP of wondrously deep, dark and dubbed machine music. Shards of glitch and chiptune filtered through a hazy recollection. Rattling bass rhythms meld with rave whistles often mangled beyond bare recognition. Throughout, though, there’s a lightness of touch to the melancholic melodies that find their home in the background – glimpses of light on a dark but rewarding canvass.

Is hauntological Rave a nascent genre where half-remembered events that may not have happened are charted through drone and distanced rhythms? Dunno. But if it is then Body Boys, on the ever-reliable Opal Tapes, are ahead of the game. Over six carefully constructed pieces, Body Boys evoke the sound of a full-on club submerged in a heavy fog of recollection and half-formed memories of loved-up abandon. Spectres reach out of these memories to offer water and sweaty embraces, and ghostly DJs push at the levels but are barely heard through the veil of time. Marvellous stuff. Get it here.

Spring will spring, the grass will riz.

matthewpetty and angrybonbon

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Sack of Streams #10: For Hallowe’en

Scry

Time for our annual celebration of the thinning of the veil and all that is, basically, a bit Goff. So happy All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Hop-tu-naa, Nos Galan Gaeaf, Blodmonath or Goth Xmas, to you all. Here’s some music to soundtrack the night, the phantasmagorical, and the darker arts.

First up, the magickal Wizards Tell Lies with nigh on forty minutes of darkly ethereal sonic mesmerism:

Second, we have eighty minutes of necronomiconal drone dedicated to, nay attempting to invoke, the Great Old One. (Eighty minutes, really? Yes, R’lyeh. I thank you. Here all week. Don’t eat the squid):

Next, with its refrain of ‘Through the trees, witches wander there’, ex-Stereolab member Morgane Lhote as Hologram Teen, evokes all sorts of pastoral horror and straight-to-VHS nasties on this top tune:

Celluloid horror flicks are referenced more directly in this mix by Ryan M Todd; one of six mixes he has done made up of soundtracks from the familiar and to the downright obscure. Brilliant stuff and ends on a real, umm, high! (And listen to the rest while your at it):

And here it comes…watch out…the traditional slab of dodgy Goff for your displeasure:

Have an evil one.

Sack of Streams #9

Front sheet

I’ve been so far from here. It’s good to feel you again.

It’s been a long long time.

Hasn’t it?

Anyway…

We reviewed the wonderful Fresh Snow back here. On hearing their new album one track stood apart from the title alone – ‘Don’t Fuck a Gift Horse in the Mouth’. On realising that the dulcet tones were those of Damian Abraham from Fucked Up the whole thing jumped to a new level of delight. A perfect motorik wig out with Abraham screaming “It melts away” and other angered insights. Astonishing. Last track on the excellent new album Won. Available here:

I think it fair to say we’re a little tired of post-rock as a genre (and even more so the ‘just because you know all the notes you don’t have to fucking play them’ sibling, math-rock) However, some bands know how to tweak the buttons of epic pleasure and Caspian are such. A propelled arp to start, a perfectly realised long build, a clattering heavy ending…sometimes you have to ask ‘what’s not to like?’ From their new album, Dust and Disquiet. Available here:

Despite having self-professed limited keyboard skills, Casiomtb has produced something with a beautiful simplicity on The Devil Take Your Stereo. Taking one old keyboard, playing one note at a time and chucking a load of effects at it might displease the musical purists, but such an approach is more than welcome round these parts. It’s an album of evolving and intriguing drones and oddly percussive refrains, with space to think and feel, and aids a drift away into the deep. It’s ace. Available here.

Another artist we’ve championed before in our completely regular Sack of Streams feature is Hanetration. Back with a new release entitled Waldsterben, he’s taken something of a departure in style as rhythms and beats are brought to the fore and the cerebral drone to the back. Innovation is here by the bucket load and the EP provides an atmosphere that is both captivating and pleasingly difficult to locate. Available here, for free!

Right. I’m off to extract the marrow from your backbone.

Sack of Streams #8

SoS 8 UrbEx (2)

This instalment is long overdue. Life (or more accurately its opposite for one of us) keeps getting in the way of BBO’s desire to share the music we enjoy and love. Yet let us not dwell on such things. Let us instead focus on the present and future.

Immediately contradicting that determination is the fact that most of these tunes have been around for a while. Does this matter? Well, one thing must be remembered: being the first to blog or ‘air’ something doesn’t make you a better person.

Music is not a race.

Anyway, let’s get on with it.

Haiku Salut are from Derbyshire and there’s something deliciously delicate and lovingly original about this glitch-accordion little tune ‘Glockelbar’ taken from their debut Tricolore album [BUY]:

From Winnipeg, Boats present us with a building skewed pop tune that hold all sorts of interests from its backing vocals to its big brass, and from its speeding keyboards to its bubbling weirdness. This strange take on indie pop can only be a result of the bastard Winnipeg cold (and having been there I know this). ‘Animated GIFS’ is from their A Fairway Full of Miners album [BUY]:

2_F are based in New York and that’s as much as I can find out about them. ‘Grandma Song’ is airy dub with cut-up South Asian samples that heralds a joyous summer if you let it. The other two tracks on their Soundcloud are worth your ear space as well:

AK/DK are fashioned from analog-8-bits of pop-punk and are from Brighton. They sit somewhere on the barely recognised continuum of Devo/Add N to X/Polysics. This, of course, is a very good thing [BUY]

And finally, UrbanExploration are part of a collective from Leeds that go beyond just music. Collectives are good things (cf GNOD) being composed of interesting parts that take them in all sorts of artistic directions, including soundtracks to hidden, underground or forgotten spaces:

So there you go. Let’s not leave it so long next time, eh?

Sack of Streams #7: For Hallowe’en

To quote me colleague “Must be a lot of war memorials missing their goths tonight.”

And so we give you a series of tunes that can soundtrack an ungothed war memorial. A series of tunes that have the potential to dissipate the smell of cider and worn-in patchouli and disrupt adolescent fumblings behind gravestones.

First up is Oscillitron’s Eclipse, an analog trip of Carpenter-Goblin horrorscapes produced by David Johansson of Swedish doom-sludge metal types Kongh. The whole album amounts to an extraordinary SF-horror score upon which you can draw and carve your own nightmares [out on 2nd of November. Pre-order/details]

Next, FINAL’s Burning Bridges Will Light Your Way. FINAL is/are one of Justin K Broadrick’s – he of Godflesh fame – many aliases and projects. Due to the sheer pummeling horror, my only interaction with Godflesh in the live arena (sometime in the early 90s) seemed to have been successfully repressed over many years, but this outing of chilling atmospherics and dark ambience is enough to see these memories erupt with uncanny abandon [buy/details]:

Umberto, a true modern hero and master of the horror synth, is a big favourite round these parts. His new album, Night Has A Thousand Screams, is out this week (and may get a review here at some point), but this ten minutes of floating screamatronica will send the shivers down the right places until the former has been absorbed [buy/details]:

And then there’s Nick Lyons’ Songs of the Asylum composed of multiple reversals of sounds and voices that never quite cohere into anything tangible, but still circle round you in their less than material presence. The fact that these near-presences swirl through an abandoned asylum only adds to the unnerving feel of this cinematic outing [buy/details]:  

And finally The Eye of Time’s S/T: an album so bloody dark, foreboding and menacing in its affect I’ve managed one full listen since I bought it months ago. I might try again today given the portent of the date [buy/details]:

HANG ON! This has been all a bit too tasteful and serious for a Hallowe’en post. It has become traditional to post some dodgy goth to tempt those poor souls back to their war memorials. So it doesn’t get any dodgier than this (from one of the few albums I’ve ever sold). Enjoy:

And remember…he who fears death cannot enjoy life.

Sack of Streams #6

Let us begin this rummage into our bountiful sack with the always hirsute and sonically progressive Trojan Horse. Their Fire EP has had a troublesome gestation and birth, but the baby, we can announce, is bouncing. The title track (something of a live favourite round these parts) reveals an often hidden and forgotten aspect of their ‘prog nouveau’ moniker: their ability to snarl in your face and snap at your earlobes with a ferocious punk sensibility. And whereas the political in the punk has long evaporated amongst butter adverts and parody, the Horse aren’t afraid to opine on the state of society here through an aptly timed yet somewhat curve-ball cover of ‘Ohio’ by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Opening the launch of the EP in Salford a few months back with this, the proud multi-instrument talent of these hairy-faced upstarts – drummer on guitar, guitarist on drums – was plain to see. Join them in their adventures, including a crackling remix by From The Kites of San Quentin, here.

Drifting to the outer zones, next up is a composition in drone. Released on C20 cassette tape via the Manchester based label The Geography Trip, both tracks on Hot Cygnet Tape by Now Wakes the Sea are as imaginatively evocative, brooding and glacial as you can get. Order it here.

Next and I have to admit to be somewhat, if not completely, out of my depth in terms of reference points and criteria of judgement for this one. What I can tell you is that Peter Adams is a keyboardist and composer and ‘Pt 1 Dreams’ from Half-Light Suite (pts 1-4) is orchestrated through minimal keys and skeletal, barely audible, electronics. The result is truly poignant and moving. A free limited download of this track before the full release can be found here.

On this track ‘Fanfare’, Buttonhead come over on like a backstreet bastard art-school Arcade Fire or Spree. Elsewhere on their album 3D Opera Whale they are impossible to fully categorise as they skip through, filter and immolate a whole series of genres (even bucolic folk). Such skittish processing always impresses the senses and heightens attention:

 

And finally, the description “shambling pop” doesn’t even come close to ringing true for ghostandthesong. Instead I would go with catatonic-electro-lounge to describe this Berliner – although that’s hardly catchy. Available as a free EP on the ever brilliant Bad Panda Records, ghostandthesong deliver that thrill and pleasure of music teetering on the edge of collapse and implosion.

And a video that captures this process:

Right, onwards and ever sideways we go…

Sack of Streams #5

Right, here’s the plan: take all your jumpers, fleeces, woolly hats and the like and place them in a circle in which you stand wearing your best speedos or bikini. Next shout ‘You are not part of my life for 3 months’ at your nearest radiator or fire. Then listen to the following blast of instrumental joy and wonder from The Voodoo Trombone Quartet (released on Download/limited 7”/CD, on July 30th, on Braces Tower Recordings). This will bring in summer. Repeat and soak up the Vitamin D. In future years the whole process will become known as ‘The Great Both Bars On Working of 2012’:

Obviously this will work. But just in case we need a tune with a more direct reference to the life giving orb that has been so obscured this apparent ‘summer season’ then try this slice of growling garage and brooding blues from DC/Virginia Beach based duo Blankus Larry entitled ‘Fall Forever Intha Sun’ (from their upcoming debut LP Hell or High Larry):

If, by this time, this working is getting too much for you there’s always the option to flip your wig and gorge on something brief but oh so very sweet. Such sugar rushes are two-a-penny these days, but this from Stagnant Pool stands apart from the competition and should do the trick (from their debut album out August 7th):

Of course you could also take solace in the darkness, studiously avoiding anything brighter than the 15 watt bulb that illuminates your living room. Zulu’s ‘Bloody and Rare’ would be an apt soundtrack to this course of action – bat cave, psychobilly, b-movie punk-trash-pop that it is (download the whole EP for free here):

If rituals fail there’s always imagined elsewheres. And the sublime turntablism of Slowpitch will take you there. His free EP out on Bah Doom Recordings (here) is the sound of cognitive processes melting into dissonance and biorhythms becoming transformed:

And finally there’s always the hauntological to transport you to that other place. Georges Vert’s ‘An Electric Mind’ (taken from his upcoming album on Café Kaput, released 25th June) summons up possible histories and memories of when every summer was as blistering as Mars and we were all promised teleportation:

…and reach for the sun…

Sack of Streams #4

You know the score and you’ve heard all our moaning about not having enough time to keep this publication as updated as we would like, so let’s cut right to the chase shall we?

First up, some skewed and morphing analogue action from the wonderfully named Giant Claw. Out on Wool Recordings as limited edition 12” you can get ‘Haunted Planet I-II’ here from 30th of March.

Drone is as drone does. Well that’s what we’ve started thinking until we heard Hanetration who moves the field on with subtly and without fanfare. With a free EP called Tenth Oar here, this is a sound that can alter head spaces, local spaces and spaces far beyond. ‘Rufus’ the track below ushers in strange visions of Highland crafts and the nights drawing in.

Taken from their incoming album A Monument (out 7th May 2012), Tu Fawning’s ‘Bones’ builds from (arguably literally) skeletal beats and guitar swipes, through threatening chords, to something with an enviable groove. Introduce striking harmonies and you’ve got a beauty of a track:

Tagging themselves as ‘Cinematic PoP’, Safe Barracks are a melt of less-mathy Three Trapped Tigers and howling hooks and vocals. Rhythms are constructed from all sorts and there’s enough peril and explosiveness in the samples and composition to keep you on the edge of your seat like the best action-movie. Free download here.

And finally, whilst we’re talking movies, a video and a track that made us smile from Portasound. Is there a better way to enhance your pumping synth-led rocker, all Carpenter-esque in its distant past, than to use Terminator 2 battle scenes as the visual accompaniment? We’re thinking possibly not. You might do, but you’re probably wrong. You can pre-order their debut EP here.


Sack of Streams #3

Snot, booze, PRESENTS, snot, booze, snot, booze, hacking cough, booze – pretty sums up Xmas for both of us. Still, happy new year to all and sundry. Here’s some tunes that might just lift that early January doom.

Mike Watt has joined up with Yuko Araki and Hirotaka Shimizu to put music to 63 Richard Meltzer spoken word pieces – or spiels, as Watt calls ’em, making the project spielgusher. The album’s out 17th January from Clenched Wrench, you can read more about it here, and you should buy it because Watt is a genius and Mr Meltzer may well have invented the metal umlaut (for Blue Öyster Cult). This track is hilarious but NSFW!

This track by Bear Driver sounds like something you’ve heard before a thousand times, but the melody is so strong and the guitar line so damned earworm that it would take stronger men than us to resist its charms [website]

Boogie Monster are a noise-mongering duo from Vancouver possessing all the necessary skills to sear your face off with their torrent of fuzz and distortion. And they’d do so with a smile and grin what with their penchant for an uplifting melody here and there amongst the beautiful sludge.  This track ‘Bullfrog’ hints at this, but the album Zechimechi is a splendid mix of Lightning Bolt meets Fang Island:

Clearly, Chicago based Fotosputnik are cut from a similar cloth to Cave and Eat Lights, Become Lights with this slice of psyche-motorik. With a gratifying hesitancy to the guitar lead and a threatening undertow, ‘Turnpike (Death Valley Driver)’ tightens the haunches for much needed escape [website]:

And finally the seemingly apocalyptic and eschatological warnings of the voice on Another Neglected Hobby’s ‘Listen Up’ seem particularly apt given 2012 has just dawned. Marching beats and frosty sweeps of drone accompany to make something very special [Soundcloud]:

Until the (end or) next time(s)…

Sack of Streams #2: For Christmas

There’s an awful lot of Christmas tunes out there this year beyond the usual gubbins of Carey,  Como, et al. Some deserve to sit lonely and ignored in the further reaches of the interweb, like some cyber version of Eat Me dates, but some have piqued our Yuletide cravings and misgivings. Hence we’ve given over the second instalment of Sack of Streams to some big baubled tunes.

Santa’s perspective on the season he gives so much to is often ignored amongst the cacophony of pissed up jeers and board game family disputes. The Narrows have taken his viewpoint and filled it with yearning melancholia. The line “And in only a few years, you won’t love me. I won’t exist” can only bring a lump to the throat and a heaving of the chest [Bandcamp]:

Whilst we’re on the topic of work at Christmas we doubt you’ll hear a better lament to having to supply your labour on the day itself than this by The Wind-Up Birds. Although this seems to have been a voluntary move aimed at avoidance of all the people and pretence, the lyric “I forgot my packed lunch and all the shops are shut, but there are tins of chocolates provided by the bosses. So that’s my dinner right there” tickles the sentimental bone once again. Go buy it here – proceeds to charity.

Let us not forget that Christmas is also a time for the ghostly. Whether that be M. R. James’ supernatural orations or Andy Williams singing “There’ll be parties for hosting, Marshmallows for toasting, And caroling out in the snow, There’ll be scary ghost stories, And tales of the glories of  Christmases long, long ago”, the coincidence of  this jolly season and the spooky is one that we at BBO treasure. And somehow Tribal Fighters have tapped into or subconsciously channelled this tradition on their (as yet entitled) ‘Xmas Song’: a frisson of the night and a decking of the haunted halls fills this little apported gift [Bandcamp]:

Next up is BBO fave Benjamin Shaw, covering  ‘It’s Christmas Time For God’s Sake’ by original Audio Antihero heroes Nosferatu D2. Shaw has somehow managed to make Ben Parker’s sardonic lyrics about poundshop Santas even more xmassy; maybe it’s all the sleigh bells. “Call me sentimental, or maybe just mental, but I can’t get through this time of year without you.” Free download, on a free xmas album from the excellent HI54LOFI Records.

Finally we get to Paul Hawkins, another AAH recording artist, this time in the guise of Paul Hawkins & The Bleak Midwinters. ‘Tonight I Will Be Santa’ is a duet between a woman (Mary Boeker) who is woken in the small hours of Xmas Eve by a man who claims to be Santa, though she’s dubious: “You’re not a mythic figure, just a man who’s very drunk” Despite the ominous setup ‘Santa’ appears to be genuine about taking the big man’s place, rewarding good people, and cheering up his depressed hometown. From ‘Christmas in Haworth‘, a musical advent calendar from Darren Hayman, Fika Recordings and others with loads of free songs.

Paul Hawkins & The Bleak Midwinters: ‘Tonight I Will Be Santa’

Merry Xmas, and thanks to everyone who’s read stuff here or on our facebook page this year!

angrybonbon & jkneale

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