Music Reviews



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Artist: Little Annie & Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo (@)
Title: Blue Xmas EP
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
I was unfamiliar with the work of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo, but I had heard Little Annie in her incarnation as Annie Anxiety with Current 93 and Coil. This is, according to the press release, part of the Tourette Records' "We Dream In Colour" series and limited to 300 copies on blue vinyl. Now on to the music. 'A Chinatown Blues' is a nice blues number that talks about 'we have an arrangement' and 'sometimes it's nice to be invisible, know what I mean?' This is a weird track, but you can almost smell the cigarette smoke and stale beer in the dive club you imagine this to take place in. This is not the kind of blues that you will hear on your local radio station. This is trashy and stripped down ' the way blues was meant to be. On to the other side. 'Blue Moon' is a cover of the popular song which is pretty faithful to the original sung by Little Annie. With 'The Ballad of Blue Obsessions,' we have Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo join in on the vocals. We have drone mixed with them singing almost in a round style. This is definitely a weird EP, but oddly compelling. Play 'A Chinatown Blues' for your favorite blues fan to show them what they've been missing.
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Artist: Robin Storey and Mark Spybey (@)
Title: With an Ear and a Why
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
This is another in the series of DVOA collaborations, this one with Robin Storey. Robin Storey is the man behind Rapoon and a longtime member of Zoviet France. I am a big fan of Rapoon and Zoviet France, so this should be a no brainer. We start off with 'With an Ear and a Why,' which is a bit more experimental than I expected, since Rapoon's output has tended toward ethnoambient. However, this is good drone with random elements thrown in for good measure. It does get a bit too monotonous at times though. 'With a Why and an Ear' follows a similar trajectory, with a bit of clanging and what sounds like low growling. Overall this is decent, but not as good as the other two I reviewed in this series. Granted, an off day for Storey and Spybey is better than most people's successes, but with these two I expected a bit more.
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Artist: Robert Hampson and Mark Spybey (@)
Title: The Blizzard Ring
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
This is another in the series of Dead Voices On Air collaborations, this one with Robert Hampson. I was familiar with Hampson's work as Main from quite a while back, but after hearing this he is back on my radar. Mawsons Will is a kind of harsh droning piece with some ethereal, almost unearthly sounds to it. There are moments of dissonance, but it works well. In Martz-Main-Base, the same melodic themes permeate the track, but more stripped down. This is interesting instrumental, and a good collaboration overall. A strong entry into this series.
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Artist: Edward KaSpel and Mark Spybey (@)
Title: The Bowles Given
Format: 7"
Label: Tourette Records (@)
You know why you got this one. It's two amazing artists collaborating. The pedigree is there and if you are reading Chain DLK, you already know each of these artists. For those not in the know, Edward KaSpel is the vocalist and ringleader of psychedelic ensemble extraordinaire Legendary Pink Dots and Mark Spybey is the man behind Dead Voices On Air and a former member of Zoviet France. So let's get right into the music. The Bowles Given Self-Loathing By Numbers features KaSpel's cryptic vocals with a swirling soundscape. The Bowles Given on Air is more along the lines of KaSpel's spoken word work mixed with a piano line and field recordings. The vocals are interesting, with him repeating 'Please help me ' it's my birthday and I need to get home....' In each you have a definite influence by the other. The first would sound quite at home on a LPD album, while the second would be at home on DVOA. This is a great collaboration and would be of interest for fans of either. The only real drawback is that there are only two tracks. I would love to hear this collaboration extended into a full length album. Quite good.
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Artist: Mr.Vast (@)
Title: Grievous Bodily Charm
Format: 12"
Label: Spezialmaterial (@)
Rated: *****
The apparent absence of complementarities between the jumble of shuffled styles of this funnily boozy record cannot really be considered a shortcoming or a bulge of kitsch pop mannerism, an inappropriate association that the hubris of some silly reviewers (there're still a lot of this kind of dummy sample around) could foster as the inebriated sarcasm, half-serious self-irony and the amused and somewhat poisoned persiflage by Mr.Vast, alter ego of Henry Sargeant, frontman of electronic band Wevie Stonder (!), cannot be but protean and nimble like a quick-change artist dealing with a time bomb. Funk, soul, country, dubstep, house, junk, hip-hop as well as a lopsided romanthicism, outburst of shoegazing rage, pastoral lyricism, theatrical makeups, likeable straightforwardness, healthy nonsense, quotidian surrealism and motley coxcombs don't dry out on Mr.Vast's palette, so that he alternatively clucks with funk and toy sounds ("In Terms of Ease and Speed"), laser surgery and hip-hop chops ("Buttercyde"), scorched spicy slapped rock ("The Rug"), occasional everyday (but not ordinary) life idylls (the funny "Bliss" about domestic bliss!), wired "exotic" atonement ("Atlantis"), stylistical adaptations which could make you chortle ("Teflon Country" or the amazing opener of B-side "Process of Illumination", which unhinges a sort of gospel by means of house and tropical cliches in order to describe the ascension of a discotheque-addicted and a possible religious ravishing on the following erotically ironic "First Class"), licentious mock-heroic vignettes such as on the sidesplitting electro-pumping "Family values" or the hilarious lanky metal "Henry the 8th" (an eloquent parody of an historical character and certain stylistical machismo!), unexpected suave summery chilling soul on flip-flops ("Elemental"), imaginary street parades of cows and romedaries ("Ecstatic Caravan"). The digital version includes a couple of remixes (an harsher one of "Buttercyde" and a funny Spanish farce, more than a remix, of "Ecstatic Caravan"), the electronic raspberry trash-disco of "Sticky" and the grief-stricken (in a manner of speaking) final "Where I'm From"! Keep you feet up in the air!
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