Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Paranoid Landscapes

I recently fished out some old photo's of a family visit to Orford Ness a few years back. This demilitarized zone, now owned and operated by the National Trust is a little bit of 'otherness' off the Suffolk Coast.
Now predominantly a nature reserve, it is home to a host of rare animals, birds and vegetable matter, but it was it's previous military background and usage that drew me to it. The beach reminded me of the one in the BBC adaption of the M.R. James story 'Whistle and I'll Come To You My Lad' being largely shingle and pebble, and very remote and windblown. In the distance was the superbly names 'Cobra Mist' array, a series of interconnected ariel's now used by the BBC World Service to transmit their wonderful shows around the globe.
Danger, Danger, High Voltage!

Through A Glass Darkly

Remains of Bouncing Bomb Testing Shed

Ahem, No Photography!

Cap Badge

Ordnance Warnings Near Light House

Nuclear Test Facility

Instrument Room

Shattered Bomb Nose Cone

Exploded Ordnance
Cobra Mist Array
Decommissioned WE177 Nuclear Warhead - As Carried in V-Bombers of the Day

Palindromic Loops

Reading the sleeve notes for 'Musick That Destroys Itself' I noticed the mention of a performance in 'palindromic tyme', at 20.02 20 02 2002 at Greenwich Meridian next to the Thames.
This brought to mind another palindromic performance by one of my favourite bands, the Boredoms. Comprising 77 drummers, this 'celebration' of space and time took place in Brooklyn NYC on 07 07 07 and allegedly lasted 77minutes and 77seconds.
I'd like to take the time to also recommend the albums 'Vision Creation New Sun' and it's predecessor 'Super Are', both freely available to buy, so unfortunately, I won't be posting them here. VCNS, is without a doubt, one of THE most uplifting records I own. The nine tracks eschew tradition names and numbers, instead using symbols or sigils to give them an identity. The idea is to listen to the album in one sitting, but each track builds upon the last, with more layering of sound and rhythm till the final 'release' at the end. Building from strange scratches and loops, the sound quickly develops into multiple layers of rhythm and sound, each of which, if you so wish, can be focused upon independently, or as a whole. If you enjoy walking, this is a perfect soundtrack to your journey, as the tempo is perfectly matched to a quick amble through your favourite thoroughfare. In 'Super Are', we see the genesis of VCNS, with the rhythm and sound technique used on a few of the albums tracks, others, sound a little like the Butthole Surfers, it has to be said, but this is a nod to the dadaist roots of early albums like 'Chocolate Synthesizer'.
Here's a short selection from Boadrum 777 here on You Tube.
There is also a recording of the event Here.

Mount Vernon's Astral Temple - Musick That Destroys Itself (Untitled Bonus Disc)

This post is linked to the earlier Megalithomania posting.

All this recent talk pertaining to Hula of 'industry and paranoia' made me think of Drew Mulholland's appearance at Megalithomania, and I remembered the 'untitled' free CD that came with initial copies of 'Musick That Destroys Itself'. An intensely 'paranoid' meditation of drones, alarms and resonance that (I think) he performed at the event. Superb scatter-shot images of wartime bunkers and abandoned military installations overlayed Mr Mulholland as he performed, adding a real sense of foreboding and claustrophobia to the precedings, which finished with him giving away an 'artifact', a piece of the original 'Wicker Man' salvaged from the final scene of the movie, brought back from a pilgrimage he made to the site shortly before the event. An actual piece of 'Psychogeography' if you will.
Sadly, I wasn't lucky enough to receive said 'artifact', but I've always wondered who has it and what they did with it. The two tracks from this bonus CD are entitled1: We Build A Golem For London2: The Black Noise.

Mr Mulholland performed with VCS3, Theremin and assorted tape loops.
You can enjoy this transmission Here.

Hula - Threshold

Ploughing through my old vinyl, I found quite a stash of industrial funk, sparking my fixation of the minute, so I thought I'd follow up with another Hula post, as they are my favourite of that particular genre.
'Threshold' is a career spanning compilation/collection put out by Red Rhino back in 1988, a few years before the 90's market crash when the Red Rhino/Cartel interdependent distribution network finally folded due to financial pressures, taking many a cherished bands output with it.
I'm not sure if the track 'Walk On Stalks Of Shattered Glass' is some kind of 'industrial' homage or just an adjunct to Dr. John's voodoo funk of 'Walk On Gilded Splinters', but I like to think so.
By today's standards, 'Threshold' is a brief career overview, but it contains some of their choicest cuts if your looking for a short slice though their recorded output. This is a vinyl rip, as the album is currently unavailable in CD format so please excuse the odd crackle, pop, jump or rumble of surface noise. Cherry Red do have a 'Best Of' on CD, but even this seems to be currently unavailable.
Get the Habit

There were a slew of bands in the early to mid 80's following a similar sonic template, Chakk, 23 Skidoo, 400 Blows and the later output of Clock DVA to name but a few. Gang of Four exiles Shriekback followed a similar vein, albeit with a more obvious pop sensibility. Shriekback had a few minor hits too with 'Hand On My Heart' charting nationally just outside the top 40 at number 52 and 'Fish Below The Ice' at around 88.
All bands dabbled in elements of found sound and rhythm, with claustrophobic and paranoid lyrics/subject matter, though Shriekback, having more of a pop sensibility toned this down somewhat.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hula - Murmur (1984)

A discussion thread on Head Heritage the other day about lost 80's bands brought this great record to mind.
Hula formed in November 1980 and hailed from Sheffield, home of such electronic luminaries as The Human League, Cabaret Voltaire and Chakk to name but a few. Hula members Ron Wright, Alan Fish, and Mark Albrow allegedly lived with Cabaret Voltaire in an apartment aptly names the 'Hula Kula', though if this is true or not I couldn't say.
Hula's debut album 'Murmur' was released in 1984, and what a tour de force it is. Taking in elements of found sounds, cut up, primitive sampling and industrial paranoia they sculpted an unsettling but rhythmic 'melange' of sound. In part, industrial funk, elsewhere, an atmospheric stew of dissonance and rhythm. It's sad that the annals of underground music have seen fit to all but forget Hula. 
You can hear this proto industrial electronic masterpiece Here

Julian Cope - Live Edinburgh Festival 25/08/2002

This is a great double disc solo concert by the Arch Drude himself sent to me by a23 from HH many years ago.
It has a great selection of songs spanning Cope's career, with a good chunk from the 20 Mothers, Jehovahkill and the first Braindonor album. This show was the second night of his two appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe and has some hilarious stage banter from the man himself. I'm sure I have the gig of the 24th as well, but that may take some digging about to find. Anyhow, hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Ace Collage Picture, But Not Sure It Fits The Poster Brief

On the way home from a beautiful hike around The Wrekin we saw this fabulous Julian House/Ghostbox style poster on the advertising board in the car park. Amongst the postings for local B&B's and car crime was this unusual picture for an anonymous phone line for domestic violence. Now, far be it for me to make fun of such an important service, but was the 'artist' present at the brief for the poster? To me, it doesn't really convey the importance of the service.
Maybe he/she were trying to convey that most violence takes place behind closed doors and is 'hidden' from plain view, hence being 'Occult' (old meaning 'Hidden') dunno', I'm speculating here, great pic though.