Music Reviews

The Machine Gun TV: GO->

 Posted by Andrea Vercesi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 12 2007
Artist: The Machine Gun TV
Title: GO->
Format: CD
Rated: *****
I've always thought that the Japanese music scene (noise & experimental) is populated by aliens and Machine Gun Tv are the proof that I am actually right. The first half of the cd is an unusual amalgamate of catchy jpop jingles raped by bursts of noise... and surprisingly it works fine! The second part of "Go" consists of a 12-minute, well executed but not so exciting drone. This cdr was released 2 years ago and I couldn't find any recent info on the web. I've never heard anything similar but they will surely appeal to japanoisu junkies and maybe even intrigue some fearless shoegazer lovers (in which I include myself). Stunning!

The Legendary Pink Dots: Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves

 Posted by Perry Bathous   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
Dark / Gothic / Wave / New Wave / Dark Wave / Industrial Gothic
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Jun 10 2007
Artist: The Legendary Pink Dots
Title: Your Children Placate You From Premature Graves
Format: CD
Label: ROIR
Distributor: Massive Music
Rated: *****

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Edward Ka-Spel regrouped his Dots last year (including long-time members Phil Knight and Martijn de Kleer) for a 25th anniversary U.S. tour, releasing this album for the occasion. Premature Graves is as darkly minimal as a stage set for a Beckett play, calculated to induce an existential complex upon the uninitiated. From the grave, dub-inflected second track "No Matter What You Do" through the hungover susurrations of "Please Don't Get Me Wrong" to the sad acoustic guitar of "The Island of Our Dreams" and beyond, Ka-Spel takes you on a broken-brained journey in his trademarked, affected English lilt -- as only the likes of Syd Barrett or Peter Gabriel in his Genesis days could have previously embarked upon, perhaps with Genesis P-Orridge driving the bus. "Stigmata (Part 4)" is the deepest, darkest spot on the record, a slow, grieving hymn set to piano, synth and organ. There is an oddly folky, nursery-rhyme quality in places; you hear a schoolyard full of children keening behind a childlike piano melody on the opener, "Count On Me." This and its twin with an identical piano line, "Your Number Is Up," bookend the whole disc, but this merely establishes the institutional, asylum-like setting within which Ka-Spel's reveries of quiet, personal desolation and madness unfold.

The lyrical theme is a disturbed stew of musings on redemption, forgiveness, and the ravages of time on mind and body, mumbled and whispered from the point of view of a disturbed man's memories. A few of the sing-song and narrative elements are whimsical enough to hearken back to '60s psychedelia; the more lighthearted track "Feathers at Dawn" makes it tempting to think of this album as a darker, more dissonant and somber cousin to the Small Faces album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. But a broad range of percussion, instrumentation and sonic textures covers an equally broad range of styles, making this disc difficult to categorize, and justifiably so.

Toward the end of the CD, "The Made Man's Manifesto" lifts you up with arrangements and effects anomalous to the rest of the record, from its staccatto distorted-organ riff to its lazy, lolling slide guitar. From mid-song it all jells and goes riding into the sunset, culminating in an extended jam, a genuinely inspiring bit of relief from the gloom. Imagine a more perfect union amongst Industrial minimalism, psychedelic guitar and a better, more virtuous touch of New Age, and we pretty much have the picture.

As far as the tour and this record is concerned, the LPD remain an item to watch, for refusing to be put in a box all these years, and fans ought not to have been the least bit disappointed. A long, strange trip indeed.


 Posted by Eugenio Maggi (@)   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Jun 08 2007