PLAYLIST REVUE/Dominic Valvona/Matt Oliver/Brain ‘Bordello’ Shea





Join us once more for the most eclectic of musical journeys as the Monolith Cocktail compiles another monthly playlist of new release and recent reissues we’ve featured on the site, and tracks we’ve not had time to write about but have been on the radar.

The August edition kicks off with a blistering sunny-disposition Ron Gallo,space rock barrage returning Secret Machines and riotous Young Knives. Later on we’ve a host of jazz smarts from Stanley J. Zappa & Simo Laihonen, Charles Tolliver and Donny McCaslin.

As diverse as ever though, there’s a host of genres represented, including ‘Sufi Dub’ (Ashraf Sharif Khan & Viktor Marek) ‘after geography’ ambience (Forest Robots), ‘Eastern European femme fatal punk’ (Shishi) and ‘Euclid inspired polygon techno’ (Kumo).

Matt Oliver furnishes as ever with a host of choice hip-hop tracks from Fliptrix, Helsinki Booze Mercanhts, Loki Dope and Verb T.

There’s also a second despondent melodious grunge-y new wave rocker from the burgeoning talent that is Jacqueline Tucci. Something for everyone, more or less.





TRACKS 

Ron Gallo  ‘HIDE (MYSELF BEHIND YOU)’
Secret Machines  ‘Everything’s Under’
Young Knives  ‘Swarm’
Death By Unga Bunga  ‘Trouble’
Shishi  ‘OK Thx Bye’
Jacqueline Tucci  ‘Sweeter Things’
Elian Gray  ‘High Art’
Loki Dope  ‘Have You Any Wool?’
Stanley J. Zappa & Simo Laihonen  ‘E38 E 14th, City Of Piss, USA’
Charles Tolliver  ‘Copasetic’
Nosaj Thing  ‘For The Light’
Donny McCaslin  ‘Reckoning’
VRITRA  ‘CLOSER TO GOD’
Remulak & Type.Raw  ‘Mad Skillz’
Vex Ruffin  ‘Hinde Naman’
Mazi & Otarel  ‘Staiy’
Fliptrix  ‘Holy Kush’
Sausage Spine & Relentless Exquisite  ‘Skin Diamond’
Verb T & Illinformed  ‘Rotten Luck’
Pitch 92 & Lord Apex  ‘Suttin’ In The Trunk’
Helsinki Booze Merchants  ‘Tokyo Drift’
Fliptrix  ‘Powerizm’
Diassembler  ‘A Wave From A Shore’
Forest Robots  ‘Over The Drainage Divide’
Mark Cale, Ines Loubet and Joseph Costi  ‘Bodies Of Water’
Lucia Cadotsch, Otis Sandsjo, Petter Eldh  ‘Azure’
Paradise Cinema  ‘Possible Futures’
Only Now  ‘Merciless Destiny’
J. Zunz  ‘Four Women And Darkness’
Alan Wakeman, Gordon Beck  ‘Chaturanga’
BROTHER SUN SISTER MOON  ‘Numb’
Brian Bordello  ‘Rock n Roll Is Dead’
The Hannah Barberas  ‘W.Y.E.’
AUA  ‘I Don’t Want It Darker’
Ashraf Sharif Khan & Viktor Marek  ‘Drive Me On The Floor’
Harmonious Thelonious  ‘Hohlenmenschemuziek’
Kumo  ‘South African Euclid’
Cabaret Voltaire  ‘Vasto’
Pons  ‘Subliminal Messages’
Freak Heat Waves  ‘Busted’
Constant Bop  ‘Alone Again (Naturally)’
Josephine Foster  ‘Freemason Drag’
John Howard  ‘Injuries Sustained In Surviving’


Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

 


Written by Rick Clarke/Illustrations by Andrzej Klimowski




As you may know if you’re a regular follower of The Monolith Cocktail, we’ve been serialising a number of new novels and writings from debut authors over the last two years; beginning with Ayfer Simm‘s Istanbul pyschogeograhy A Rumor In Üsküdar in 2019.  Following on Ayfer’s heels we’re now serialising the Lynchian semi-biographical and incomprehensible jukebox set wanderings of Dan Shea (Bordellos, Vukovar and Beauty Stab infamy) and Rick Clarke’s (bandmate of Shea and rallying beacon of the band Vukovar, and Horrible Porn) new novel The Great Immurement: The previous fifteen chapters of which have appeared over the last two months.

We continue with those NSFW semi-esoteric imaginings below, and bring you the final chapters, ‘Infinitum’,‘The Garden Of The Parabolic Mirror With One Thousand Eyes’, ‘The Angels Of Cremation Cremate The Great Immured, and ‘The Body Abdicator’; illustrated as always by the illustrious Andrzej Klimowski


INFINITUM

Whose body is gone? To recount is to doubt. To understand is to un-exist. Whose body is whose?

 

I inserted my penis into the lubrication port – the uncomfortable tickle from the sudden spread of cold gel upon the head of my genitalia remained the same each day, and had done since I first started producing sperm all those decades ago when my body was different, much different, and I was just a boy.

Our leaders made a point of rearing us to be aware and to be intelligent just to show us how stupid we are; farmed bovine only alive for the purpose of being milked for our seed. They kept us justabout- content and satisfied so that we would never chase nor imagine a a grand change. We were fed, sheltered, occupied, cleansed, educated and given a certain amount of freedom. All as long as we provided our milk at least once a day. We don’t need or want to exist much outside of our small but comfortable rooms. One click of a button and you could change the appearance of your room instantly. I kept mine neutral. We had unlimited access to any leisure, any art to occupy the mind, to never feel dulled, to never want more.

The men with defects were destroyed straight away in the abattoir, along with the elderly, infirm and the ones whose milk ran dry, or missed their appointment, or became ill – this was rare as the leaders made every effort to stop the spread or cultivation of diseases.

The enforcers who took the no-longer-productive to the abattoir were to be avoided. It’s hard to understand what they were, whether they were actually human or not. They would appear out of nowhere, seemingly made from a rubbery, shiny burgundy type overall that covered them head to toe, with a gap for the stainless steel framed goggles. They came in armed – unnecessarily so as they would never be attacked – with a 7 foot high steel stick, atop of which a complex, multi-layered metal mesh square was fitted, very much akin to a fly swatter. It gave off a hideous high pitched feedback sound which didn’t have to try very hard to persuade us to stay in our rooms. They walked slowly, like a funeral procession, fly swatter swung ever so carefully like a towering, nodding bringer of torment.

———

 

I pulled my penis from the lubrication port and held the thick, throbbing fleshy tube in my hand. Filled with an odd sort of pride I had never felt before for the glistening succulence of my powerful erection, I moved to the back wall of my room and inserted it into what me and my fellows liked to call the ‘glory hole’ – a perfectly smoothed round hole built into the glossy concrete. The extraction was strong, almost sucking the semen straight from the sack, and the orgasm was weak, as was usually the case.

An alarm sounded as I wiped myself down. I looked up to see my walls flashing red – none of this was particularly uncomfortable; the lights weren’t garish and the alarm was quiet.

Gas.

I awoke briefly to see I was being led by the enforcers towards the abattoir. I caught occasional glimpses of things in fits of occasional consciousness. I saw a female in the flesh for the first time – there was a cluster of them in the sterile room around me. Some busy with machinery, others staring at me in-between furiously taking down notes.

———

 

I found myself in the body of a two year old, my surroundings felt homely and close to my heart. I was surely experiencing the life of an ancestor long forgotten.

It was clear to me that I had misbehaved. I looked down, pouting, in a mixture of shame for my behaviour and defiance in the face of being disciplined. I felt like I’d been sitting on this naughty step for forever, though it couldn’t have been longer than a minute. The moment was broken in the most tender way possible as a hand descended down in front of me towards my own; my Father’s silent indication that all was forgiven and that I should take it, and walk on alongside him, wherever that may be – into the living room… into the wild… into death. At that moment, at that age, at that awe, wherever he would lead, I would follow.

 

 

 

There is a blurring of lines in this immurement. One death is all death and all death brings are these strange fevers.




THE GARDEN OF THE PARABOLIC MIRROR WITH ONE THOUSAND EYES

All romance and romantic ideals, all meeting of souls and all other proclamations of singular love all move their story to one place; it is the place of the height of feeling, and, also the place of the death of it. The Great Immured takes a look from a window that no longer exists.

 

To move quickly, to go with haste.

We dragged our unresponsive flesh to the place where we meet thee.

Corridors of vicious brambles and sharp-end smashed glass – these tours met with insolence and nonchalance. Hands torn in desperate pulls on barbed wire spurs, skin encrusted in assortments of filth.

Always just beyond, always just one more lifetime of effort away… Non-paths seemingly leading straight TO but then away FROM this exalting garden, and if hope had begun in the first place then it would surely end. And time…

Time passes, running in the direction of our next encounter. Oppressive in its overwhelming manner; requesting everything of thee, to offer up thy life, but in turn, thy life becoming enriched by it.

…and still time passes. That is until we and thee clasp hands once more in this sacred place of reflection and refraction.

Not even time can find us there.

The fire of thine eyes, the care of our lips.

Time sighs – it knows it can’t get us. It is nothing. Together we have escaped nothingness.

                                                 X                    X                    X

The parabolic mirror with a thousand eyes, a thousand stars, a thousand stares, stands majestic in its corner of overgrowth, cracking the damp concrete and remnants of another place upon which it now rests.

‘Lord’ we say ‘sever our souls.’

The thousand eyes, thousand stars, stare us down but not without sympathy.

Us vessel-snatchers know the power already.

Our prayer: when we go and meet in the garden of our dreams, let us lose our arms, lose our legs, melt into the air, cut our friends, cut our hair, melt into one.

But in this meeting, in the absence of time, in the weariness of these bodies that were not meant for us, the love of the parabolic mirror before us will give in, we will be entangled, as we already are, but we will be at play; at play freely in every sense of the word, at play always, never again lost and having to be found.

                                                   X                   X                   X

Every eye, every one of the thousand, of the thousand stars, must be stared to and at all at the same moment.

This is done.

The tearing sensation brings peace as much as the pain – the death of pain is swift, with the deftness of the promise of happiness bringing the relief.

As the visions of silence split, as the whole self splits, all sensation becomes far-away – still there but as though distanced by a tunnel; the light at the other end is clearly visible, however incomprehendable it may be, and so filtered by the air and space between.

                                                             X                   X                      X

The court of the parabolic mirror remained still. The eye and the star and the stare of each fragment sometimes darted quickly, seeing everything that can ever be seen, and sometimes looked lazily straight ahead. Nobody would ever find themselves in this part of the Otherlands again. But the promise of the parabolic mirror no longer mattered. It had performed the act of ultimate transformation it was always destined to. The stars would soon return home and the eyes would rest; the cracked glass would be covered with a wildfire moss and the passing of nothing would continue.

                                                            X                      X                    X

They played, hiding and seeking at opposite ends of the universes without fear of loss.

Play without the looming shadow of curfews.

Play without the need for justification.

Play without end.

 

The Great Immured turned from all he had seen before, bored, wishing that one day, true love would resemble something else, somewhere else. To take on a different form than a romantic notion of lost souls finding each other. Something he himself was guilty of.




THE ANGELS OF CREMATION CREMATE THE GREAT IMMURED

We witness
Without sympathy
But with love
Without warning thee from above
Of the terror and the peace that’s about to come

You’ll be our little grey sprinkles
Our magic little sprinkles
Our black and white cinders
Our tiny little presents to God.




THE BODY ABDICATOR

As now, during this final abdication of the body, leaves me unable to regard the room around me with any sense, the urge must lead somewhere.

 

This room… this room, its regard for me held in high contempt, this place itself as torture, this room with its ever changing features. It doesn’t allow me to sit and wait for everything to pass, this room.

 

There is the crying man in the corner. He cried. He says nothing, he cries. His crying un-comforts my inner child. His crying allows no words but I know its from a visceral memory, something he cant escape but I don’t even wish I could wish I could care.

I just want to move. To always move.

 

 

The Three Shades stand in formation, in pose, holding haggard in their stance their intention to lead. We lead each other. We understand each other. They accompany me and I them and then they are gone, or then I am gone; we are all gone. The Third Mind remains.

 

 

There is a ribbon I walk on, bending in and out of shape, in and out of time. There is a distant pounding, a drum march of war, a steady thunder getting further away and closer, concurrently. These are bodies without bodies all in front of me, all behind, all always moving, all moving together on this ribbon.

 

 

Without it, we are nothing. Without us, it means nothing.



All Previous Instalments Below:: Click On Image

Parts 13 – 15





Parts 10 – 12





Parts 7 – 9





Parts 4 – 6





Parts 1 – 3




REVIEWS/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea





The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The Bordellos, Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea has released countless recordings over the decades with his family band of hapless unfortunates, and is the owner of a most self-deprecating sound-off style blog. His most recent releases include The Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’ and just in the last month, The King Of No-Fi album. He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics.

Each week we send a mountain of new releases to the self-depreciating maverick to see what sticks. In his own idiosyncratic style and turn-of-phrase, pontificating aloud and reviewing with scrutiny an eclectic deluge of releases, here Brian’s latest batch of recommendations.


Violent Vickie ‘Division’
Album/4th September 2020


Thank the lord for the splendid Violent Vickie and her love for waving darkly at both inanimate and moving objects, for what we have here is a dive head first into her musical synth art of an album: the place where synths whoosh and drum machines do the noise drum machines make, which on the whole is much preferable to the sounds a drummer makes and without less sweat, unless Prince Andrew was the drummer that is and if that was the case someone should warn young Victoria to watch her back and front and all her other areas for that Prince is a bad un.

But what we have here in fact is a royal treasure of an album; an alternative disco Goth delight of an album; one that builds and interjects with an atmospheric grace most dark wave releases [yes and I hear plenty of those; most I ignore] would love to achieve. What moves this album up a notch from 99 per cent of all the other alternative dark synth dark wave that comes my way is Violent Vickie’s grasp of melody and the catchy synth riff, ‘The Blame’ track being a prime example, a riff that weaves its merry way throughout the track without overstaying it’s welcome.

There is also a slightly “ok I am about to lose it feel” about the songs; the “yes I am teetering on the edge and I am not sure what way I am going to fall” feel; a feel I fully support, recognise and understand and which gives the music a touch of “this is my real life, my art, not me playing at being a pop princess” and I have no doubt pop princess is something Victoria could become if that was her want as she has the panache of a Peaches or Miss Kitten when the dark wave succumbs to the total disco glitterball of all the underlying influences this album possess; all but exploding on the sultry ‘Secret Wife’, a song that reeks of glorious seedy glamour.

This album is a wonderful rare thing not just a dark wave album I will want to listen to again but one I could also dance to, but that is a sight I would not force on anyone or anything living or dead: a dance I would name the Violent Vickie. And yes, this album Division is a true joy… [sorry could not resist].





See also…

Violent Vickie ‘The Blame’ Single Review



The Hannah Barberas ‘Fallow Days’
EP/13th August 2020




All the money made from this lovely jangly EP of sublime summer pop songs go to a food bank Lucy from the Hannah Barberas works at, which is reason enough to give it a spin. Four songs that are jangly and pop affirming: I would have said life affirming, but pop music is life to so many of us and this EP proves what a wonderful life pop life is with songs that have the spirit of C86 running through them. For all lovers of Orange Juice, June Brides even Belle And Sebastian and all those other bands we indie poppers love will in no doubt embrace this fine work of indie popdom.





See also…

The Hannah Barberas  ‘Into The Wild’ LP Review



Death By Unga Bunga ‘Trouble’
(Jansen Records) Single/Out Now





I like this, but then I do have a soft spot for songs with power, fun and melody, and this track has all of the aforementioned. A song that will send you spinning back to the days when power pop was briefly en vogue in the late seventies’, early eighties. Yes it almost has me wanting not to finish writing this short and sweet review and nipping onto Youtube and get misty eyed over the hits near hits and misses of The Motors. A lovely little nugget of the power pop variety.






Occult Character ‘Race To The Grave’
Track/Now





It is great to see that Occult Character is finally getting some recognition and radio play from WFMU-FM in America; a man who I’ve been writing and raving about for a couple of years now: although John Robb will probably claim to have discovered him at some point in the future when he actually gets round to hearing him.

So once again we have a under two-minute slam-dunk of a track spraying piss over the state of America and its current failings. Occult Character releases far too much material to actually stay up with him and is probably doing himself a disservice, so by the time this goes to press no doubt there will be another dozen or so tracks to marvel, laugh and cry over.





See also…

Occult Character  ‘Steve Albini’s Kundalini’ LP Review

‘Cult Of Ignorance’ Mini LP Review

‘Chittering Noises’  LPs of 2019


Various ‘Songs Of The City Of The Four Faces – Cambodian Music Of The 60s’
(Metal Postcard Records) Album/19th August 2020





I admit I know nothing about Cambodian pop music from the 60s, so I jump into this album with a little trepidation. But I’m a great lover of 60s beat music and garage rock and 60s pop and spend many a hour delving into the vaults of time unearthing forgotten gems, so I have high hopes. And I’m not disappointed with what I find. What I discover is that this is a treasure trove of 60s hip swinging beat magic; a treasure trove of groovy basslines enthusiastic backing vocals; wonderful cheap sounding 60s guitars, the kind of guitar you would pay a fortune for today; and warm Hammond organ sounds, the kind Clint Boon no doubt has wet dreams about and in the case of the track ‘Kanha Roup Sros’ by my fave of the 5 artists Ros Seresysthes, a horn led little beauty Dexy’s would release 20 years later. In fact I’d say that but Pen Ron could well be my fave newly discovered artist; pure undiluted pop genius from strange psych to out there beat pop magic to melodramatic horn led soul. On the whole this album is one of pure joyful discovery and one I would recommend to anyone even with a passing interest in 60s pop /beat music.





See also 

The Cambodian Space Project ‘Whisky Cambodia’ LP Review (Ben P Scott)

Various Artists  ‘Khmer Rouge Survivors – They Will Kill You, If You Cry’ Albums of 2016 (Dominic Valvona)



Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

PLAYLIST/Dominic Valvona





Welcome friends to another one of Dominic Valvona’s eclectic/generational spanning playlists; the Monolith Cocktail’s imaginary radio show. In practice this amounts to Dominic picking whatever he sees fit, including tributes to fallen idols and tracks from recent reissues, even newish releases. Joining him in on this journey, volume XLVIII, are Stained Glass, Jackson Heights, Irish Coffee, Suburban Lawns, William Shatner with Canned Heat, Pekka Pohjola, Mosses, Chiha, Renegade Soundwave, King Cesar, Foetus and 25 other eclectic, cross-border, cross-generational tunes.

Listen how you choose, but each playlist is curated in a special order.

As usual, for those without Spotify (or boycotting it, pissed with it, or whatever) you can find a smattering of videos from the set below the track list.



That full track list:::

Stained Glass  ‘Soap And Turkey’
Wanderlea  ‘A Terceira Forca’
Jackson Heights  ‘Maureen’
The Troll  ‘Satin City News’
Irish Coffee  ‘Hear Me’
Primevil  ‘Hey Lover’
Suburban Lawns  ‘Intellectual Rock’
Cold Blood  ‘Watch Your Step’
Darrow Fletcher  ‘What Is This’
Los Datsuns  ‘Ritmo y Movimiento’
William Shatner/Canned Heat  ‘Let’s Work Together’
Pekka Pohjola  ‘Armoton Idyli – Merciless Idyll’
Franco Battiato  ‘Beta’
Cavern Of Anti-Matter  ‘High Street Spasm’
Mosses  ‘Tall Bearded Iris Speckled’
Ashanti Afrika Jah  ‘Ntoboase’
Freedom  ‘Cry Baby Cry’
Tucker Zimmerman  ‘Left Hand of Moses’
Cass McCombs/Steve Gunn  ‘Sweet Lucy’
El Alamo  ‘I Cry’
Dana Gavanski  ‘Catch’
Doug Firebaugh  ‘Only A Dancer’s Dream’
Kikagaku Moyo  ‘Ouchi Time’
Chiha  ‘Healing’
Renegade Soundwave  ‘Probably A Robbery’
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band  ‘My Jamaican Dub’
The Natural Four  ‘This Is What’s Happening Now’
Lee Stone  ‘What Is Life’
Dan Penn  ‘If Love Was Money’
The Goats  ‘Do The Digs Dug (Todd Terry Remix)’
Dream Warriors  ‘Are We There Yet – Medley’
King Cesar  ‘Bloody Knuckles’
Foetus  ‘Calamity Crush’
Pigmaliao  ‘Banzo de Muri’
The Devil’s Anvil  ‘Besaha’
The Ousmane Kouyate Band  ‘Miriya’


Video Selections::::

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.


Written by Rick Clarke/Illustrations by Andrzej Klimowski





As you may know if you’re a regular follower of The Monolith Cocktail, we’ve been serialising a number of new novels and writings from debut authors over the last two years; beginning with Ayfer Simm‘s Istanbul pyschogeograhy A Rumor In Üsküdar in 2019.  Following on Ayfer’s heels we’re now serialising the Lynchian semi-biographical and incomprehensible jukebox set wanderings of Dan Shea (Bordellos, Vukovar and Beauty Stab infamy) and Rick Clarke’s (bandmate of Shea and rallying beacon of the band Vukovar) new novel The Great Immurement: The previous twelve chapters of which have appeared over the last two months.

We continue with those semi-esoteric imaginings below and bring you next trio of penultimate chapters, ‘Moonlight’, ‘The Silent Surgeon’, and Trial By Fly; illustrated as always by the illustrious Andrzej Klimowski.


MOONLIGHT




And so to the Moon The Great Immured did non-look. He stared and wished. A spectral figure appeared and approached. He told:

 

The symbols have now shattered.

I was free. I probably lived an unremarkable life and probably still do. But the symbols did shatter, and they shattered for me and my Otherlands – the space between spaces.

 

The backstory:

It could be described as a romance. Lunar. A silent romance. We started to notice each other from afar, as these things normally demand have happen. I learned it could’ve been because of the connection between the dripdripdrip of the bloodbloodblood in the absence of Motherhood.

In vials I collected this space between fertility and held it up to the space between day. With a desperate, knowing affection we bathed in each other’s appearance. It became an obsession to the point where I refused to acknowledge its solar non-equivalent – convinced was I that this was an imposter, evil in its way, casting light on things that ought not be lit.

 

When I thought about my moon, I would think about the mechanics and likeliness and consequences of its perforation.

I could grow a penis. I would sharpen the very end into a point with the veil’s blade and gently press it against the tough silvery surface, like against an eardrum, and hold it in a position just before its desecration. My limbs would twitch in a glorious anticipation. I would enjoy that position for a lifetime; neither in life nor crossing the threshold into death. Its skin, a leathery elastic, at peak indentation.

 

I now feel that sickly feeling in the very pit of the stomach whereby I want to do something with all my might but with all my might know I shouldn’t, like holding something fragile and valuable out of a high window, or stepping from the chair with rope-tight-round-neck. Eventually it’s going to drop, by accident or perpetrator’s design.

I press that little bit further forward with grown, sharpened penis and it begins. A warm ooze coming over me, sticky and thick. It’s only a small opening so I drive myself in and out and in and out and in and out again and the scent is of… the feel is of… the sound is of… the taste is of… the sight is of… I can’t speculate on this.

After a few encounters I lost everything there ever was except for my love’s glow. “I am the light” said it, and “The Light Is My Leader” said I; LVX MEA DVX.

 

It got bigger and bigger.

Each previous encounter it was flirting with other things, dancing with the formless smoke and clouds. But I didn’t mind. However, one clear night it had eyes only for me and me alone. That was the night…

I rose, PM. I would soon be feeling the true force of nature. I don’t know much about so-called cosmic forces and I find ridiculous the way people talk about them. But I felt what I felt.

It was the moon, my lover, my king, my queen and all things in between.

I stepped outside into our eternal garden – I didn’t feel the cold.

I looked up and saw the moon, full, in all its glory.

The clouds were moving unusually quickly.

A hole remained in them, connecting me and my love so that its gaze would not stray, connecting us personally, speaking to me.

I finally managed to give myself over almost completely, ignoring the dark symbols surrounding and being formed by clouds, and, after seeing and feeling the earth upon which I stand moving, I shut my eyes. I felt the pull. I didn’t quite leave the ground. Had I tuned in wholly I’m convinced I would have.

I felt totally at peace.

 

The being collapsed into the atmosphere around itself. The Great Immured, briefly, saw the moon’s glow through the thick impenetrable walls of his Immurement and continued with his self-sacrificed placement with few other questions.



THE SILENT SURGEON




The once-partner and now nevermore makes an appearance through a photograph, through mind’s eye, through misunderstood hazy recall.

 

The Lady Of The Otherlands convinced herself she was now too weighty. Too much indulgence and ingestion of filths, she thought, that’s the reason the things of the Otherlands no longer caved into her charms… but that wasn’t true. She had gotten older, her face and body less structured. And the other things she thought of around her were just figments of the ever greying fog that clouded the rooms and ante-chambers of her thoughts and living arrangements.

In her area a very famous surgeon now resided. So celebrated were his soul and hands that he was rewarded with being kept hidden from the outside world. His skills had not been tested thoroughly in a while. He was unable to practise on himself as his infatiguable enthusiasm had rendered his own body almost useless. So when the Lady presented her broken specimen before him, were he able to express his delight, he would’ve done.

 

“I need an operation.”

 

“…”

 

“It’s for my wellbeing, sexually and physically.”

 

“…”

 

“Can you not just slice some off or whatever you do?”

 

“I can pay you.”

 

“Please, no. Medical well being only. None other surgery.”

 

The lady went away knowing what must be done. Flesh must be gone. She would grow flesh that must be cut away, as the uncontrollable growth would be considered harmful to the well being.

It became all in her power to cultivate and farm the little things that become bigger things until the black mass was in charge of itself.

The rumours that the great surgeon had disappeared or moved on were not true. She found him in the same place. His non-movement and non-breathing meant that the Lady had to undergo the operation by her own hand, under the silent guidance of The Silent Surgeon.

A long and not painless time later, the Lady emerged from her desecrated operating table, clutching the carvings against her breast, tightly and darkly. It represented the heaviness of the weight she had successfully lost. She felt attractive once more and spent her time trying to quench her unyielding thirst for all things to be inside her.



TRIAL BY FLY




A strange noise. Familiar but reminiscent of almost nothing at all.

 

The ceilings tall.

The windows tiny and infrequent.
The rooms infinite.
Everywhere would be white but for the flies and the tape – the tape yellowing on white surfaces no longer visible, covered by masses and masses
and masses and masses and masses

And masses and masses and masses

x7

of flies… tiny little things forming the decoration, little black bodies everywhere.

 

The purpose? The purpose…

Experimentation. No. Engineering.

To build a set of wings from their wings but the power and size to fly a thing of this power, of this size.

Shaped angelic like.

To fly!

No other material is so abundant. No other material is so suitable.

It’s all about appropriation.

Or re-appropriation.

The collecting of flies has taken a long while. But that isn’t something to notice. The ideation is nearly intention.

The process is what it is. Every piece of tape needs to be checked for the newly-captured-still-winged.

A snip and a slice later and the wings to a new place have grown. Heavenly is the warmth of pride and promise of completion. Satisfying is the rip and parting of torn wing from now-torn body.

 

                                            X                            X                         X

 

Only one more set is needed.

A furious search is conducted; hectics, urgent; all previous patience dissipated for this search for new patients. This search feels an eternal thing.

                                           X                           X                       X

 

But now the search is over. A winged fiend. No, a winged friend… is splay on its front, spatchcock, given itself to the triumph of the will.

This last one is to be s.a.v.o.u.r.e.d and savioured.

A martyr for O murta.

Thumb and forefinger are positioned and the operation is begun.

But a quiver.

A quiver?

A quiver and a noise. A tiny noise.

A quiver and a scream?

No.

Pain? Torture?

Everywhere around in this impossible place… flies flies flies… destroyed.

Oceans of it.

Suddenly, very suddenly, it all becomes noticeable at once. A cacophony of minuscule screams rises until the brains feel as though swelling to burst.

There is no repentance that can be done, only a gesture.

 

                                               X                    X                     X

A collection of still-winged flies are manically sought, freed and message conveyed.

The wings of sin are now finished.

This product of despicable engineering and this engineer of despicable engineering are now let loose.

The Otherlands and the sensation of flying is a total peace, a total manifestation of ambient.

                                                X                    X                    X

Flies form a convoy.

They know their seeker of forgiveness will follow wilfully, and follows just so into the nest of exaltation.

The once angelic-wings are torn from flesh, from grace, and taken apart.

 

The body follows soon after.




Previous instalments:

Parts 1 – 3

Parts 4 – 6

Parts 7 – 9

Parts 10- 12

Album Reviews Roundup/Dominic Valvona






In-between lockdowns the only good news is that at least this month and next is shaping up to be the busiest months in 2020 so far, with a significant rise in the number of releases. And so, just scratching the surface, I’ve picked out just a smattering of interesting and brilliant albums from the thousands that the Monolith Cocktail receives each month.

German contemporary electronic music pioneer Stefan Schwander under the Harmonious Thelonious title, creates a new sophisticated polygenesis dance album of itchy scratching no wave, the tribal and industrial for the Hamburg label Bureau B; a survey of various contemporary experimental artists come together for charity to interpret the amorphous Plague Score graphic score of Nick Gill; Japanese underground luminary Phew releases a sort of mixed compilation of new material and unreleased sessions from her 2017 album’s Light Sleep and Voice Hardcore for the Disciples imprint. Lurking in the jazz-fusion subterranean, a new project from classically leaning producer and guitarist Leo Abraham and jazz drummer Martin France and their ensemble of collaborators, is the latest release on Glitterbeat’s experimental instrumental imprint tak:til. Krononaut converges the avant-garde with post-rock, post-punk and krautrock. Sometime Roedelius foil Andrew Heath releases yet another understated ambient sound collage of the real and imaginary for the Disco Gecko label; the patient escapist ‘The Alchemist’s Muse’. The Israeli-Russian collective Staraya Derevnya release a treble album haul, though I’m concentrating on the marvellous culmination of improvised performances pieces and additional material avant-garde krautrock folk Inwards Opened The Floor.

Handling the pandemic and escalating divisive free fall with spite, energy and violence, there’s the new Map 71 album, Turn Back Metropolis, and a barricade breaching, loud and primal return for the Young Knives with their first full-on album in nearly seven years, Barbarians.


Young Knives ‘Barbarians’
(Gadzook) Album/4th September 2020


Hurtling back from a four-year hiatus with a barrage, the brothers Dartnall unleash an angry firestorm of a dystopian album; the first fully realised collision since 2013’s Sick Octave.

The now not so Young Knives have been busy sharpening their sonic disconsolations in all that time, ready to pounce with an attack on the senses; reappearing at a most depressingly divisive time. Not that there hasn’t been more than enough material to keep the Knives awake at night, but they’ve been inspired to light the fuse by reading up on the apocalyptic philosopher/writer John Gray’s resigned tract on the illusions (as he sees it) of self-determination, Straw Dogs, and the controversial professional man-hater Valerie Solanas and her patriarchal death-knell, the S.C.U.M. Manifesto (an abbreviation of the Society For Cutting Up Men). In what’s said to be their most “cathartic” and “noisy” release yet, the self-confessed nihilists and miserablists have channeled the Clockwork Orange borstal of primal savage human nature, as explored in Gray’s polarizing theorem, and Solanas’ (what some critics and commentators consider a clever parody, even satire of “the performance of patriarchal social order it refuses”; though attempting to murder Andy Warhol, and by association the American critic Maria Amaya, puts a damper on that suggestion) utopian pipe-dream to knock seven bells out of the indie-dance and post-post-punk blueprints.

Essentially, as the title makes clear, despite all our graces, technologic advances and awareness, humans have never lost their barbaric cruelty. Is this just part of our nature and makeup? And if so, how do we live with it? It’s a quandary that hasn’t diminished over time, and a fate amplified in the pressing destructive times of 2020; a cold war of ideals, divisive politics kindled by a raging pandemic. And so, you can expect an explosive despondency from the Knives as they tear up and skulk through the debris.





It starts by plowing into a sustained menacing buzzy and harassed krautrock like grooving thrust merger of Techno, Siouxsie’s Banshees and PiL (Henry Dartnall will use will Lydon’s signature cocky sneer and haranguing rage throughout this Molotov hurling album), and continues to caustically cut-up a barreling and marching rant of These New Puritans, Scary Monsters and Outside era Bowie, NIN, the Chemical Brothers, Death From Above 1979 and The Slits. There’s even, I might suggest, a hint of supernatural Alex Harvey, albeit jazzed-up with rollicking Bloc Party drums, on the creeping witchery ‘Jenny Haniver’. I’m not surprised it has a daemonic esoteric feel, as the title refers to the ghastly unnatural looking mummified carcasses of rays and skates that have been dried-out and modified to resemble fanciful creatures like dragons and demons.

Brutality is everywhere, with samples of audio from a bare-knuckle brawl on the tortuous fist-clenched whirlwind title-track, and a squall of harsh and heavy breakbeats and alarms constantly rattle the cerebral. Yet breaking the barbarous grind and bounce are moments of brief relief: the venerable and prayerful female chorus on the ‘Holy Name 68’’ vignette (a distorted calm from the past), and the milder relief of a vague brass band finale serenade on the previously Blurt honking post-punk ‘Slashed What I Saw’ curtain call.

Henry shouts that the “scum will inherit the earth” and other such sloganism, knowing full well his rage will inevitably dissipate as the barricades come tumbling down once more. A future hell on repeat, the Knives at least have a good go at firing up the audience; it’s a noise and row that has been largely missing in the music world, and proves the perfect poisoned tonic for these end times. It’s good to have them back.






Phew ‘Vertigo KO’
(Disciples) Album/4th September 2020





In case you haven’t been introduced to the avant-garde voice iterations and various drone landscaping experiments of the Japanese artist known as Phew, then this new and unique compilation of her personal sonic statements and moods is both an eye-opener and a good place to start.

Phew’s entry into this field started with the instigation of the Osaka psychedelic-punk group Aunt Sally in 1978, which she fronted until their brief but influential burnout just a couple of years later. During the next decade Phew would work with an enviable cast of experimental doyens including Ryuchi Sakamoto, Alex Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten fame and DAF’s Christo Haar, and also making an album with the illustrious Can pairing of Holgar Czukay and Jaki Leibzeit and legendary producer Conny Plank. Fast-forwarding to the noughties and the underground pioneer has performed live and recorded with The Raincoats’ Ana Da Silva, Jim O’Rourke and Ikue Mori and Yoshimi of the OOIOO/Boredoms/Saicobab arc of ensembles. Quite the providence, it’s a back catalogue that can be heard suffused throughout the latest collection of specially recorded new material, unreleased works from Phew’s two most recent solo album sessions (2017’s Light Sleep and Voice Hardcore) and a, removed from its original disjointed source, cover version.

Framed by the artist herself as “An unconscious sound sketch…” and as “personal documentary music”, Vertigo KO is a special kind of compilation. Forward thinking, progressive rather than looking back, the tracks on this album can’t be dated or easily linked back to those previous works. It sounds in fact like a new work entirely, made in the moment, all at the same conjuncture of creativity and thought. The label Disciples has already put out a limited edition cassette, Vertical Jamming, of Phew’s “long form drone work”, but this collection seems untethered, themeless concept wise and musically. Well that’s not entirely true, Phew states that her last two albums from which some of the martial has been lifted is personal and not an attempt at a “worldview”: the overall undercurrent and hidden message being “what a terrible world we live in, but let’s survive”. Phew seems to convey this survival by counterbalancing ascendant crystal rays of nature and heavenly with mysticism, otherworldliness and ominous Sci-fi: The skying drones and refractions that build towards a cathedral in the clouds on the opening ‘The Very Ears Of Morning’ evoke the beauty and enormity of nature’s first light. Yet by the second track Phew has transmogrified the loose post-punk slumbering Raincoats distress ‘The Void’; transporting the bare bones to a neon-futuristic industrial setting, ala Bladerunner.

Some of the more truly “out there” avant-garde moods involve various vocal repetitions and multi layering. These voices, intonations and peculiar annunciations can be in the form of obscured incantations (as they are on the vaporous hive humming consciousness mystery ‘Let’s Dance, Let’s Go’), vowel stretching (on the dial twisting ‘All That Vertigo’) or monastic (on the mystical Buddhist/Shinto call to prayer vacuum ‘Hearts And Flowers’). Sometimes it’s used as a rhythm, at other times as a lingering trace of yearning from the “void”.

Phew’s amorphous sonic sensibilities exist both in the metallic gauze of space and in more concentrated earthly reverence. A pioneer of the form, the Japanese icon of the underground continues to produce some of her strongest work as a new decade beckons, birthed in a pandemic. The signatures, reference points and mode will be familiar to those already well acquainted with the Phew’s varied catalogue, yet Vertigo KO offers some sublime and inventive surprises to be an essential edition to the collection. Those unfamiliar would do well to experience this set of suites and then work backwards.




Krononaut ‘Krononaut’
(tak:til/Glitterbeat Records) 4th September 2020





Out on the peripherals of identifiable jazz-fusion the newly assembled Krononaut ensemble conjure up a mysterious extemporize performance on their debut vision for Glitterbeat’s highly experimental instrumental imprint tak:til.

Instigated, led by producer and guitarist Leo Abraham (who’s contextual guitar lines can be heard on Eno’s sublime Small Craft On A Milk Sea LP) and drummer Martin France (who’s played with, amongst others, Nils Petter Molvaer and Evan Parker) but methodology wise a democratized unit that embraces the atmospherical leanings and peregrinations of its extended lineup of collaborators, Krononaut was created out of a musical disciplinary challenge: To converge Leo’s classical sensibilities and learning with Martin’s jazz background. The results of which linger, spiral and prowl in an abstract subterranean space of hybrid jazz, Jon Hassell’s possible musics, krautrock, post-punk, post-rock and, at least in part, are informed, inspired by the unique rhythms found in the Madoh Shamanic funeral music of Tajikistan.

Recorded in London last year over two sessions, the inaugural featuring multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily (from Tom Waits to Laurie Anderson) on bass, the follow-up, the enigmatic saxophonist Matana Roberts, Swedish trumpeter Arve Henriksen and on bass duties too, Tim Harries, the Krononaut album reimagines a musique concrete Miles Davis, Sam Rivers and Grachen Moncur III skulking a masked, mournful to a point, ether that once in a while floats into the ethereal (in evidence on the diaphanous aria veneration ‘Vision Of The Cross’).

Navigating dark recesses in a spidery probing with the bass on the shadowy ‘Location 14’, and evoking their label mates Pulled By Magnets on the semi-industrial, cavernous and falling ‘Power Law’, this ensemble creep into post-punk; sounding like a transmogrified deconstructive PiL. Yet despite this the Krononaut’s are never so disjointed, dark or brash as to raise the volume above the discordant or even delicate; nothing runs away or untethers itself completely from the musicians’ grip.

Vague bursts of Guru Guru, drifting Eastern horns and filmic qualities drift in and out of serialism vaporuos industrial soundscapes and odd primal lagoons. Sporadic fits of propulsive drummed rhythms materialize from these non-liner recordings, but for the most part we’re strung out in the stresses and entanglements of composed, sophisticated avant-garde explorers: jazz and those classical leanings only really play one of many parts to this conjuncture of elements.

Ponderous, stalking, lolloping, spiritual, fluctuating – an exercise in relearning and discovery in fact – the Krononaut album of fourth world like experiments is free of limitations. It’s a project that escapes, even defies, categorization; another congruous fit with the ethos of the tak:til label.






Harmonious Thelonious ‘Plong’
(Bureau B) 28th August 2020





Fitting congruously within the Bureau B label family, Stefan Schwander’s inaugural album of sophisticated minimalist dance music for the Hamburg platform chimes with its roster of German experimental electronic pioneers; from Zuckerzeit candy era Cluster to the deconstructive Populäre Mechanik and the more contemporary Pyrolator.

More or less ten years into his Harmonious Thelonious alter ego, Schwander now offers a more “industrial sound” made from concrete objects vision of his American “minimalism” convergence with African rhythms and European melodies signatures. Inspired in part by the iconic Basle club of Totentanz, where the German electronic artist spent some of his misspent youth catching performances by the no wave dance act Liquid Liquid, the Gun Club, Jonathan Richman and a very young Aztec Camera, the Plong album channels some of the atmosphere and nostalgic vibes of those formative years. The club is immortalized on the final track; a sort of tribal beat with a barely audible hooted dance track that could be described as “intelligent” techno for the soul. In fact, the Liquid Liquid reference, or at least that vibrant post-new wave dance sound that they excelled at, can be heard permeating tracks like ‘Höhlenmenschenmuzik’; a multi-textural bass pronounced no wave dance of Carl Craig and Kriedler, the title of which translates as “caveman music” and evokes atavistic cave daubings leaping off the dank walls and vibrating, dancing like a host of Keith Harring characters bouncing down a NYC boardwalk.

Elsewhere amongst the deep Detroit techno and house music the tubular and knocking mettalics, tight delayed electronic sequencing and cleverly layered kinetics and mirages of a mysterious Arabia can be detected on the opening desert sands ‘Original Member Of A Wedding Band’. An obscured xylophone or marimba somehow captures an air of Africa on the lightly malleted and translucent itching vibrant ‘Geistertrio Booking’, and the staccato clumsy motioned ‘The Roller’ features a quasi-bobbing West African rhythm.

The tribal is subtly transformed into a futuristic suspense; 80s electro and no wave dance is twinned with lurking industrial electronica; bubbling concoctions float across mechanical refractions on a meticulously constructed deep dance soundtrack of multiple interesting rhythms. Plong, which could be a title Harmonia/Cluster may very well have used, fits perfectly with the Bureau B vibe, yet cuts a clean polygenesis electronic dance sound of its own.




Various ‘Plague Song’
(Via Bandcamp) Album/14th August 2020





A plague has descended on all our houses it seems, with no corner of the globe left untouched by Covid-19. Yet not so much a plague in either the Biblical sense or even a 1000th as destructive as the Black Death that left populations decimated Covid-19 predicted effects and the measures being used to contain it and our civil liberties is proving more destructive and stressful. As lockdown lifts for some, only to be reintroduced as clusters break out in localized areas, and thoughts and anxieties can be translated, we’re seeing creatives release their cathartic impressions and traumas.

One such contextualization, instigated by the North Yorkshire based composer, multi-instrumentalist, solo artist and member of Fireworks Night and The Monroe Transfer ensemble, Nick Gill brings together a international cast of experimental artists and composers to interpret the project leader’s pencil-shaded abstract ‘Plague Song’ graphic score. Following in the footsteps of John Cage who first pioneered the concept, Gill sketches a roughly hewn amorphous score that offers a freehand to those invited to respond. With no instructions as to duration, instrumentation or performance style it’s entirely down to the artists to conjure up something evocative; a sonic representation from the elongated funnels and arched lines found beneath sharper cross-hatching scribbled noise. The author of that graphic score does offer his own interpretation however; offering a suitably atmospheric and watery composition of Craig Ward like multi-textural guitar reverberations.

Erring towards the perimeters of ambient, neo-classical and experimental music the guests on this charitable compilation (proceeds going towards Médecins sans Frontières) produce some searching visions of the present mood. Carrying on the imbued literary (Anthony Burgess to Joseph Heller) cross chatter and abstracted resonance of his many sonic adventures in India and Southeast Asia, Oxford polymath Seb Reynolds cuts-up and morphs a recurring “not as fatal” line with the sound of veiled Orient and tram clatter on his take of the score. Others, such as the renowned NYC stage, film and even opera composer Nico Muhly, produce something more sublime and trembling; the composer behind soundtracks for The Reader and Marnie glides towards a skying ascendance of rippling ambient beauty.

In the quasi Sci-fi mood, electronic composer and performer Hainbach generates some strange off-world atmospheres and primal lunar threats with his interpretation: evoking, I think, Bernard Szajner’s Dune imagings. The spherical Canadian team-up of musician, activist and producer Rebecca Foon and Polaris Prize winning singer-songwriter, producer Patrick Watson prove a congruous pairing, offering up an almost cosmically heavenly searing soundtrack of voices obscured in the vapour.

The track list is numerous; too numerous to mention everyone, so I’ll just mention a few more highlights and standouts. Tiece beckon with a signature “witchery” and “smoky” trip-hop soulful jazzy vision that evokes a warped Four Tet, whilst vocalist, sound artist David Michael Curry goes for something more supernatural, strung-out, with his added locational cryptic post-rock bluesy “scene report from Somerville Masc.” And perhaps one of the oddest interpretations, double-bassist and organist composer, arranger Ben Summers takes the listener through shades of South America, jazzy cocktail hour club soiree and 60s Italian soundtracks: a million miles removed from the compilations leitmotif of shared mysterious ominous drones and recondite ambient carpeting.

Gill’s original graphics are lent a swathe of interpretations, some less somber than others, from a cosmology of contemporary composers. A survey of mood pieces, from science fiction augurs to introspective concentrations. Yet seldom does the soundtrack wallow in the darkness, or creep into nightmares, which considering the title seems both optimistic and a relief. Plague Song is a worthy embrace of the uncertain; a translation of abstract stress and danger given an expansive treatment.






Map 71 ‘Turn Back Metropolis’
(Foolproof Projects/Fourth Dimension Records) Album/4th September 2020





Just the sort of J.G Ballard and Anthony Burgess flavoured dystopian claustrophobia we need in these pandemic striven times; the estuary high-rise colliding duo of disillusioned poet and artist Lisa Jayne and pounding sonic foil Andy Pyne deliver a skulking barrage from the edges of the inner city and suburban wastelands. Under the Map 71 cover they release a fifth album sound-clash of post punk electronica, no wave, post Krautrock and tribal industrial music.

Turn Back Metropolis finds the urban-planners of derision and concrete hardened social realism back in the stairwells and landings of a decaying omnipresent city, dreaming of escapism: “The fields are in sight of the city, but there’s a curfew and the city waits for your return.”

Against the stench of this imposed backdrop of societal misdemeanors, the grime of everyday existence is lyrically and starkly drip-fed by Lisa over beating toms, slinking dub, sporadic drumming, alarmed synths, contorted metals and London swagger. Lisa channels a petulant Ari Up and Viv Albertine, whilst Andy, at any onetime, conjures up an accompaniment of Cabaret Voltaire, Fad Gadget, PiL, The Au Pairs, Lonelady, 80s Rick Rubin and The Classical.

Seething yet composed, they stalk their subjects like prey through the entrancing, spiraling and more cutting on a futuristic punk album of malcontent. Tracks such as the squalling, speed-shifting, arcade-fire over-surge ‘Highrise’ can induce vertigo, and the rattling ‘Stitches’ evokes a seedy switch-bladed administered trauma. Descriptively as livid as it is poetically brilliant, with a musically edgy, harrowing but crafted sonic accompaniment to match, Map 71 delivers another sinister violent architectural imposing shockwave.





Related posts from the Archives:

Map 71 ‘Sado-Technical-Exercise’ Review



Andrew Heath ‘The Alchemist’s Muse’
(Disco Gecko) Album/4th September 2020





Carrying the torch for the kind of ambient and neo-classical swathes and calmly evolving ruminations pioneered by such luminaries as Roedelius, Andrew Heath is a maestro of, what he calls, “small-case minimalism”. Lucky enough to work with the self-taught acolyte and co-founder of the electronic music and kosmsiche legends Kluster/Cluster/Qluster arc, Heath has obviously picked up some ideas from the best in the field. The English composer of refined, understated evocations collaborated with Roedelius on both the Meeting The Magus and Triptych In Blue suites.

The “magus” pupil has become the “alchemist” on this latest exploration of minimalism, texture, tone and the “sonic detritus that litters our environment”. Using, as ever, a kind of English pastoral and esoteric poetry to reference moods and locations, as well as the sources of some of his field recordings, Heath counterbalances his naturalistic settings with delicately played (but deeply felt) piano, resonating electric guitar, and on the album’s title track the swan like and sonorous bass-clarinet of guest Bill Howgego, and of course the various apparatus that transmits those soft, veiled ambient tones and gossamer atmospheres. This translates into translucent compositions that merge the intercom chatter of a pilot’s radio with dropped bauble piano notes and stratospheric gliding, on the opening piece ‘Observers And Airmen’, and the squawk of a woodland menagerie and running water with Eno-esque pining scenic mystery and alien wiry quivers, on ‘Of Mill Leats And The Walter Meadows’.

Hints, traces of voice can be found throughout, but its Heath’s second guest, Romanian poet, writer and journalist Maria Stadnika, who offers the most fragile and emotional. Returning, after appearing on heath’s 2018 Evanfall album, Stadnika’s sighed wistful whispery ‘The Garden Reveals Itself’ receives a ‘Night Mix’ re-run. The senses of those waiting on the inevitable cycle of life and other such poignant chimes on the passing of time are soundtracked with an accentuated magical dreamy night garden score.

Recorded at his home in the Cotswolds’ earlier in the year, and framed as an album that provides a certain sense of calm and tranquility, Heath’s idyllic set piece is indeed rich with moments of stillness and contemplation. It all sounds serenely beautiful. From the announcer on the subway vignette ‘A Good Service,’ to the wooing undercurrents of ‘The Muse And Her Dreams’, both echoes of daily life blend with more mysterious surroundings in a superb sound collage. Ambient music it seems is in good hands, Heath’s seventh album for the Disco Gecko label is a sublime patient suite that offers a rest in these most troubling, intense times.





Archives:

Andrew Heath And Toby Marks ‘Motion’ Review

Andrew Heath ‘Soundings’ Review

Andrew Heath ‘Evenfall’ Review tof068



Staraya Derevnya ‘Inwards Opened The Floor’
(Raash Records) Album/4th September 2020





A culmination of Café OTO Project Space recorded performances from 2017 and additional material from that same year to 2019, the latest avant-garde inter-dimensional experiment from the Russian-Israeli straddling Staraya Derevnya is part of treble release schedule. Alongside the featured Inwards Opened The Floor there’s also a duo of improvisations recorded with Hans Grusel’s Kranken Kabinet entitled Still Life With Apples, released on cassette by Steep Gloss, and more live material under the OTO/Tusk title, released as a double CD spread by TQN-aut. A veritable bonanza of imaginative, much improvised albums from the St. Petersburg metro stop adorned group; though I’m going to concentrate on just the hallucinatory doors-of-perception opening opus, an expansive set of traverses, deconstructive marches and post-punk harangues built around lyrics inspired by the poems of Arthur Molev.

Expanding to accommodate up to twelve musicians, and an assemblage of musique concrete apparatus, radio waves, voices and more conventional instruments the Staraya Derevnya inhabit a shrouded soundscape of kosmische, post-punk and what can only be described as a kind of krautrock folk – think a meeting of The Faust Tapes and Can’s Unlimited scrapes and incipient windows in on cut short experiments but extended and more rhythmic.

Developing, magically entitled tracks such as ‘On How The Thorny Orbs Got Here’ drift off almost dreamily to a hushed narration and strung-out jazzy clarinet, brassy sonorous vibrations and short drum rolls, whilst the attic toy box clockwork march of ‘Chirik’ Is Heard From The Treetops’ chugs along at first like a wooden top Ballet Russes but then takes on a more traumatic force of industrial hooting and ripped, revved guitar: Russian folklore goes bananas.

Kazoos, rocking chairs, a not so “silent cello” help create a mysterious aura throughout: one that moves between the strained and distressed, the ambient and biting. For instance garroting wire cello and wooden tubular like percussion tangle with speed-shift space void effects and scrapes on the menacing ‘Hogweed Is Done With Buckwheat’, and on the almost swooning existential romance ‘Burning Bush And Apple Sauces’; soup plops, a radio broadcasted talky duet and a collage of piano and strings echo with hints of late Popul Vuh, OMD and the Pale Fountains.

The poetry is as whispery, haunting as it is erratic and harassed on these most probing clattery, screamed, rasped but equally fantastical tracks. I’m hooked. This is an astonishing set of cross-city amorphous urges, lingers and deconstructions like no other; an avant-garde wandering into the tapestry of Russian folklore and magic dream realism.




Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

ALBUM REVIEW/MATT OLIVER




Elian Gray ‘Awkward Awe’
Album/14th August 2020


“We got blogs to tell us how journalism lost its essence/and Urban Outfitters are hosting ayahuasca sessions” 

 

Dystopian is too convenient a sonic description. Claustrophobia is a given. Conspiracy theorist is a bit on the nose. But there’s no doubt Elian Gray is revelling in a no man’s land just shy of pitch black. At various points referencing The Lasso, Aesop Rock, Acyde, Tinie Tempah, Ed Scissor, Riz Ahmed and Ghostpoet, Awkward Awe is music for the fibre optic generation trapped in a tangle of their own wires, relaying scenes seen through CCTV that have its lookout warning that you’re still not seeing the whole picture. It’s all-knowing, antiestablishment, reality too skewed to become fantasy, hip-hop/grime from someone with the world in the palm of his hands, whose attitude means he’s likelier to toss it back and chuckle villainously upon its implosion. His sometime involvement with the DefDFires crew makes sense as well, given the days of reckoning permanently ringed on that particular outfit’s calendar.

A dry, beady-eyed delivery made spiteful when at full speed/spiked by microphone distortion, is further enhanced when it drops down into skulking, night vision reportage (the aromatic ‘Mango Lassi’) and mounts a throne while predicting death by screen burn with a quiet relish. ‘Haters Will Say Its Photoshop’ proclaims, without a hint of irony, “with this access to boundless information/I’m sat in my pants, on my phone, judging strangers”. Gray’s occasional, intentional running into dead ends nicely sums up society’s mindset of misaligning deeds and thoughts. Thing is, some of his rhymes are so biting that they sound ideal for a hipster to scrawl across an overpriced tote bag. Maybe Gray has been burned by the lifestyle he now admonishes, or is inexplicably trying to bring civilisation down from the inside while the oblivious keep calm and carries on. Virtually praying by candlelight on ‘Awe’ while fallen angels read their own last rites, Gray is dismissive of the vulnerability he can show (“I’ve been so afraid of love it’s made me bitter inside”) – the world order will flippantly take care of that particular caveat anyway, citing the fact that everyone’s made their bed, so all’s left is to lie in it.

 

“It’s no secret the world’s outgrown its own leaders/yet I can’t help feeling our defects might go deeper” 

 

Interrupted beats, of broken, backfiring connections to trip hop, are all digital oil drum fires and London wastelands with irregular electronic heartbeats, infrequently flashing back to slick moments in time akin to a black box recorder spewing out something pertinent. The thoroughfare ‘Mary J Poppins’ allocates time to get your head together, and ‘Meanwhile’ surprises with its bursts of glam rock guitar. The restored glamour of ‘High Art’, and ‘Leonards Got Bars’, occupy life at the sharp end – or at least live with the idea of doing so – the latter in particular nut-shelling the fallout of high def beats and alternations between the balance of ignorance and bliss. ‘Another T Shirt’, trap booms grappling with blinking 8-bit neon and a lone songstress wailing, is Gray developing an Infinite Livez incision, but burying the slapstick with a cold stare and trigger temper, cultivated and remaining coiled since the rooftop shouts of opening track ‘Awkward’ give a momentary impression of just another loudmouth shooting their five minute shot.

In these current times – and that includes the stick-to-the-sheets temperatures of late – there’s no better soundtrack, and Awkward Awe becomes more and more a perfect description of Gray’s caustic detailing. Throughout he is undeniably passionate and articulate, but as on ‘Pisces’, able to tear down the façade of life, the universe and everything without breaking stride, not looking to gain constituents and not particularly caring whether you take his word as gospel. It’s hard to argue with the logic that “once the lie detector detected itself lying/the polygraph it seems is not without a sense of irony”. And with the world showing no signs of doing anything other than going through the motions, Gray won’t be short of work anytime soon.

His is an inner circle operating as a force field keeping out the rabble, so good luck trying to offer your admiration: even his most amplified call-to-arms, ‘Come Down with Me’, isn’t an entirely convincing statement of brotherly love. Sharpen the scalpel for repeated dissection of Gray’s 50 shades of antipathy.




Premiere/Dominic Valvona




Junkboy ‘Salt Water’


(Fretsore Records) Download only single, released 14th August 2020. Taken from the upcoming digitally issued/reissued Sovereign Sky album, released on the 25th September 2020

Attracting a sort of cult status over the years since it’s initial release back in 2014, the Estuary soft psychedelic and pastoral beachcomber Hanscomb brothers’ unassuming Sovereign Sky album, it seems, was limited to only a select few despite its critical acclaim: especially by the Monolith Cocktail. A culmination of Mik and Rich Hanscomb‘s experiments with a number of styles, Sovereign Sky adopted a relaxed attitude to the pastoral, cooing frat-folk, surf music, psychedelia, Britpop and the hip sound of Tokyo’s Shibuya Kei district. That album gave fair voice and a wistfully charmed backing of tenderly picked acoustic guitars, stirring strings and hushed, almost whispered, vocals to both the pains and loves of maturity, the brothers mellowed tones and introspection offered a mature observation on the world around them: especially, at the time, their new found home of Brighton. It’s a place in which Marc Eric meets Cornelius, and epic45 make friends with Harpers Bizarre; a place where Hawthorne, California is transcribed to the English downs and seaside.

One such convert to that most peaceable of songbooks is Fretsore Records’ Ian Sephton, who signed the brothers back in 2019, releasing their South Coast topography imbued Trains Trees Topophilia album that same year. He suggested re-releasing the album on all digital platforms and on digipack CD; augmented with liner notes written by Parisian record collector, vinyl archivist and fellow believer, Quentin Orlean. The boys rightly jumped at that suggestion, as Mik explains: ‘We used this as an opportunity to go back to the tapes and improve the sound for digital release utilizing our home studio’s new outboard gear and tech acquired in the interim period. And the benefit of hindsight!’





Sovereign Sky channels the kind of music Mik and Rich have listened to since their youth. A Thames Estuary take on the lo-fidelity, budget -baroque of the first Cardinal LP and the vintage mellifluousness of The Lilys. There’s also a healthy dose of British Romanticism – an imaginary Albion in their heads somewhere between the socialist utopia of William Morris and Bob Stanley’s Gather In The Mushrooms compilations- while their hearts lie sun-kissed and blissed in Southern California like a pair of burnt out troubadours in deck shoes sourced with meticulous discernment from the Shibuya Kei district of Tokyo.

‘And yes’ confirms Rich, ‘we were enamoured with so many (often) home studio cooked and lost West Coast psych records – A Gift from Euphoria by Euphoria, Save for a Rainy Day by Jan & Dean, Another Day, Another Lifetime by The David, Initiation of a Mystic by Bob Ray, The Smoke’s self-titled album, Marc Eric’s A Midsummer’s Day Dream, and anything by Merrell Fankhauser….’

Presented here in an enhanced format that manages to transcend even the original vinyl’s beauty, Sovereign Sky is a Nugget that deserves to be a little less lost and a lot more loved.

 

Taken from that revitalised album we have the video accompanied teaser, reminder, and downloadable single, the relaxed soulful Love-esque rhythm guitar played lapping tidal reflection ‘Salt Water’. A concise, post-sike ode to the soul replenishing nature of sea side town existence, the brothers made field recordings at Hove Lagoon, East Sussex and wove them into a song built around a circular riff Rich devised after he woke up from a dream in which a version of ‘Yacht Dance’ by XTC produced by American Beauty era Jerry Garcia was on the radio twenty-four-seven. Sweet dream, man!

For the video, the boys sought to juxtapose the gaudy, grim reality of Brighton beach with the soothing calm waves of neighbouring Hove by means of a gently psychedelic, deep chilled Zen trip undertaken by an origami boat: Music and visuals in perfect harmony. Lap it up while you can.





Related posts from the Archives:

Junkboy ‘Sovereign Sky’ Review

Albums of 2019: Junkboy ‘Trains, Trees, Topophilia’

Premiere ‘Waiting Room’

‘Fulfil b/w Streets Of Dobuita’ Review


Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

 


Fiction/Selection/Dan Shea






The Monolith Cocktail has coaxed a number of guest spot contributions from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this week released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan has been providing us with a weekly series of ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror and increasingly unfathomable Lynchian, cloaked autobiographical, fictions.



#5

Xiu Xiu – The Wrong Thing

 

Ronnie was dead to begin with.

I dunno if it was years or days or weeks between the resurrection and her disappearing into the plug hole. Truth be told I remember it being a bath and I may have had one for a while but I don’t know. I just know that me and Gretchen always look into the drain in case she catches us at it. That’s also why I stand G over the drain: so R could peer straight up and maybe consider that I was right and that heterosexuality is just a lie.

“It’s just a lie she tells to her friends”

I move then she moves. An electric purple shuffle stains my eyes and fingers. I told her the Back To The Future nonce joke. She told me the only crowd I’d ever attract was flies.

I told her about the yellow dog then we discussed whether or not dogs could be blonde. This woman will make me a better human being even if I’m not sure that she exists and the feeling is mutual. I don’t want to chance putting Lynch films on around her. Xiu Xiu is close to the bone enough given the connections.

“(My name redacted)”

“Yeah Gerst?”

“Do you remember the princess who lived on the hill? Who loved you even when she knew you were wrong?”

I take her hand and look into her eyes but they’ve gone and she is looking back at me with my eyes. I hate it when this happen. I attempt to stick my fingers through my eyes into my brain to change the channel. She prevents me from doing so with an offhand murmur of “fuck’s sake”.

Performative support aside no one is “always there for you”. It’s a truth that should be more widely spoken. Sleep, death and things more important than my whining will always take precedence. I get it. And it’s a two way street, obviously. I can’t possibly always be there for you. I can try but it’s unlikely in the extreme. Even if I could, would you actually want that?



Tindersticks – A Night In

“I know you’re hurting, and I can’t be there for you”.

She lies her almost translucent head on my lap and asks me about the parts of that film she can’t see that keep sluicing into my brain. The kindness of her smile makes me feel less sick than usual. I feel instant nostalgia for this moment knowing that it will rush through our minds when one devours the other that final time while still admiring the Other’s beauty.

I tell her it as it unfolds with no forethought. How the film troubled me when he found a tape in a fridge abandoned behind his flat. Well, he’s American (albeit of Polish extraction) so he said apartment. But whatever the point was it stands. The girlfriend was then insistent that he transcribe what was on the tape.

He did in this long florid monologue that contained a lot of songs that meant a lot to him and his girlfriend. Then turned over the content of the words between the songs to Ellroy Steers. The guy who did himself in in the movie and bled on my fucking carpet. Lucky it’s a red carpet.

“Hey Tom this is just a voicemail I’m leaving so I can ask for your number so I can phone you. It’s important. It’s about the factory, and what’s left.”

That was the first entry on the tape and it’s the same in the Pulaski movie strangely. It’s the same voice: maybe it’s a prank call using a soundboard. Maybe whoever made it on the tape liked the film so used it as an intro. Maybe they related to this film as much as I do. Who can say?

I despair at the fact I can’t get Riesling from the corner shop anymore.



Cindytalk – Circle of Shit

 

“So many people are too loud. Needlessly so. Over enthusiastic about the fact they’ve remained unmurdered another day. Servile, simpering, unthinking and incapable of thinking beyond that which is in the interests of their “betters” who make in a week what we do in ten years. Every workplace I’ve had the misfortune of exchanging my precious time for money in its been the same. People who create nothing, produce nothing, and consume a steady diet of nothing. Surrounded with them. Substitute one for another and who would even know or care?”

I’m listening to goth records and drinking in the shower again as I spew this pointless angry screed into the plug hole. I’ve not even turned the water on: why pretend it’s about cleanliness? If you’ve been the places I’ve been you know you’ll never be clean again. Trust me, I’ve been places you wouldn’t shit.

Dylan had been locked in that bathroom for a long time but time has ceased to have any meaning. It was a strange thing. He had no need to eat or drink. Not that there was anything to drink: you turn the tap and all you’d get is shadows. Outside the window BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT. I break the glass til I bleed shadow. The darkness seeps into the bathroom and I am drowned in black milk, briefly comforting me with its reminders of her velvet void.

Tried to drown himself in the bath and woke up again on the floor, as if it matters anymore. Tried to drown himself in the toilet and woke up back in place. Tried to hang himself with his belt and woke up in the same place. Downstairs the mask on the wall kept screaming and he screamed along with it. Smashed his face through the window bleeding shadow into BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT BLACKSHEETSOFNIGHT.

The mask was a gift from Farrow for the work he’d done on Thomas Communication. Strange gnarled smile that out of the corner of his eye he noticed twitched when he didn’t think it was looking. How long need I wait for my angel? Every second yawns open for her prize. The apple I stole rotted before my eyes. I blink and I see a dignified old man with his hands folded. I smell disinfectant and the familiar stabbing pain returns in my very core.

The only way to soothe this pain is to use a vibrator: I never put it in fully just let the pulse soothe and numb til I no longer feel him inside me. But as I do this, lay on my mattress with my eyes closed I can’t but help think of Dylan stuck there. And I’m ashamed of the physical response the thought of him produces.

“If I cum thinking of a dead boy is it necrophilia?”

My art is bleeding into my surroundings again. Muttered obscenities under my breath. Thinking of that smug balding prematurely midlife faggot and his simpering entreaties to open my legs. Of the coke fuelled unpleasantness with the mole woman. Of that evening I lost my favourite jacket. I lost two notebooks, my favourite jacket and a sleeveless t shirt. Cunt.



Ceramic Hello – Binary

 

How about this one? You’ve not heard it before. I’m so jealous that you get to experience this for the first time! Such a beautiful song. My romantic ideal to both listen to minimal wave records with a headphone splitter. In a stupor in a hotel room somewhere. Eating pastrami sandwiches, naked in bed as a mute TV shows the end of a documentary on railways. We will put the sound on when the Bowie doc comes on and I’ll bore you, G, when I won’t stop going on about his cheekbones.

L showed up and was magnetic as usual. One of the few people who just the appearance of makes me a bit happier. I keep having dreams where I’m pregnant somehow and she’s delivering my baby. Well I say it’s a baby. She is kind enough to always look amused by my prematurely senile rambling but I get the feeling she’s worried I may try to kidnap her at some point. Lunch with her and the swastika girl.

I brought up the ritual to her and she ushered me out into the smoking area where we sat nursing pints of Cwtch. Inside the bar a live Van Halen drum solo played: the place was really going downhill since it changed management. The bar staff were sartorially disappointing. We talked about this for a bit and I again mentioned my enjoyment of her Jessica Fletcher t shirt then we returned to discussing the ritual.

“So Dan what did you do in this ritual? This is all very vague. Reminds me of the story about you drinking two bottles of white wine, staring into a scrying mirror and the woman from some 80s goth band showing up in your living room.”

“You know full well that happened you came round to check I wasn’t lying”

“It sounds like you got pissed and took the wrong dosage of your meds, which you shouldn’t be drinking anywhere near the amount you do with, then started having hallucinations again. It’s like when you shaved all your hair off, kept it in a box and then covered every reflective surface.”

I described what happened, the bloated foetal figure that raped my mind forcing me to submit to the ritual. The floor of flesh criss-crossed with veins. And other things around the same time. The hairless inside-out dogs that prowled outside in my back yard when they thought no one was looking. The swollen faced children that I saw washing Carter’s car. And how I had no choice but to lose her again down the plug hole.

She sat watching me explain this with a curious expression. Sphinx like. Then she calmly unbuttoned my shirt, put her cigarette out on my chest and kissed me harsh as barbed wire. Told me I’d kill for her and I agreed. A kiss that drew blood. She forced me to kneel under the table, twisted her fingers round my hair and then right then and there I ate her out in the cold sea air.

That didn’t happen. I wish it did. A crazed public sexual encounter would have been far less troubling. The curious expression part was true. She leaned in close:

“When did we first meet?”

“When I moved here two years ago. I walked into this bar because Lou Reed was playing.”

“No. It was in the snow. You lay your head in my lap and you bled to death. When you mentioned Carter then”

A pause.

“It took me back to that classroom. 2008. Do you remember?”

“You tell me, Ariel”

“In that reality the holes opened wider than ever in the sky. You lay with what was left of your head in my lap, bleeding. I kissed what was left of your face then blackness. We began again.”

I draw a line under the rest of that evening. Even as naked as I leave myself writing this there are some secrets need to be kept.

That Ceramic Hello track isn’t on the CD reissue copy I’ve got, annoyingly.



Psychic TV – The Orchids

 

Her winter kiss won’t leave my skin.

4

1

5

Don’t come home with that smell on your breath. Don’t beat your head over and over into walls out of self loathing. Don’t blame me for your sickness. I’m ill too. I’ll always be there for you as the unbearable closeness becomes a prison limbo as desire is gone.

Her winter kiss imprinted bruise. Monochrome preferably a room almost empty. We turn the volume up. Double knot, double cross. I’ll show you loss.

The smell of incense in the air the smell of her on my finger tips. I pull back the curtain and I see him there. Carter. A swollen, red faced man. In beige slacks and a blue shirt, buttons strained by his fat hairy stomach. Look I need you to see him in your mind’s eye. Slip ons. Grey thinning hair, strands falling onto that baboon face. He “speaks” in bestial groans, grunts splatter the world. The bruise faced kids in their underwear cleaning his car, til he smacks one of them and they all file back into his house.

I think of what he was in the Other World and what he is in this one two and know what I need to do. This is an important decision I do not make lightly. Please don’t understand me too quickly.

I confided my intentions in her but I did it silently and I cannot be sure she knows what I mean. This is a common issue.

3

4

3

 

30

-24

4

L/G slides into view. Her winter kiss won’t leave my breath.

“Dan?”

“Yeah.”

“The world is growing louder”

She saw the holes widen in the sky. She knew all that had happened. Once I broke the barrier of her resistance she believed me about the ritual. Something is happening here. Something new. Her name meanders through the echoes of mine. She’s seen the movie, you know? She’s seen it.



Fleetwood Mac – Gypsy

 

“SHOUTING. I was. In the street. I had no idea what was going on. I went to the Conti for a beer and it was shut. At 2 in the afternoon on a Saturday, I ask you. I mean last time I went there I did get my dick out and have a widdle on Hugh Cornwell but my shoddy behaviour is no reason to punish everyone else”

G/L laughed.

“Is that a woman laughing? You could’ve told me. I shouldn’t be on speaker phone with a young lady present. I’ve no trousers on! It’s not right!”

She laughed so much that if I really studied her I could see individual muscles contract. I did and I did yeah She is saving my life.

“So I checked at the Ferret as well. Beer Snob Billy told me they had Cwtch on and the jukebox is pretty good. It’s a digital bitch, you can have Nina Simone or Skullflower on. All sorts of loud penis music like your band. That was shut as well so I went home. Then I looked at my neighbours doorstep paper. There’s this disease that makes people act like poofs and not leave their house.”

 

LIGHTNING STRIKES MAYBE ONCE MAYBE TWICE.

I told Mad ‘Mad’ Tony about the ritual and he told me about his latest imaginary girlfriend. He said he was going to have an imaginary affair with Gersten. He told me he’d have an imaginary threesome with us then I could hear him raising his eyebrows as he dropped his burner phone in the bath.

“One day we need to meet Mad Tony then go to Lonely People. You can do your Gordon Cole voice and yell at people pretending to be a tourist.”

She did that “expectant canine” expression American women do at you and then smiled, half her face first then the other half warming up when I laughed and told her how cute it was. Bless her she always looks confused. I wish I was an American. An American woman in particular. Everything’s new to them. Showing a Yorkshire pudding to an American woman is the most fun you can have legally.

A middle class family sat in their dining room talking in hushed tones of the horrific injuries the survivors had sustained. Talk of fissures and gaping, horrific injuries. Fog is slowly filling the dining room. A Duke Ellington record plays but the needle is stuck so it sounds like NON. They don’t seem to notice the noise or fog. They prattle on in stilted RP tones about how awful the whole thing was but they can’t stop talking about it, cunts.

G wakes me up.

“Carter. You know what you have to do don’t you?”

I have to pause as it’s a big decision. But if this is what is necessary to keep Louise/Ronnie/Gersten then I’ll do it. Fuck it. I’ll do it twice. While she watches. Then we’ll go home, still a bit bloodied, and watch a rerun of a mid 80s Top of the Pops in her bed. Just another hit and run.

“Do you want to be there when it happens?”

Her eyes go full circle and her grip on me tightens. Every breath a silent movie heroine. Trust me enough to deem me translucid. Your eyes widen and I’m snagged in your leopard print and wide eyed enthusiasm. I can’t face watching you disappear.



Tom Waits – Alice

 

I told her about the dreams where I’m pregnant and she asked was it with her genius or what? Reality moves faster than experimental fiction. Sometimes slower but if you know you know.

Suddenly I feel the pain pulsing in my head as I lay my head in Ariel’s lap. The blood gushing rushyrushrushyrush from my wound as the CRISP CLEAR snow falls. She strokes my remains before the moment of calcification. She tells me I did the right thing and I’ll do it again. I flash forward to her drinking a gin sour in leopard print before Ritual Night.

Addiction is the anus of art.

Death is the absence of work.

L pegs me in my living room. Whispering in my ear “he has to go”. She puts cigarettes out on my nipples when the moon talks. She refills my glass. When we’re out of booze she pisses on me, as delightful as ever. I yawn for her prize.

Shambling unshaven neurotic wreck. But she sees something in me.

Burn me again and again.

The sun spills over her in all her eye popping enthusiasm. I normally hate this but I’m being suckered in. Has she seen what I have? I believe she has. I believe she has. The dogs pace rotting back and forth. She’ll stroke them. Til Carter is gone and, presumably, they disappear. Then we will harness the frozen moon til delirium kills me.

I crawl through the passages under Dylan’s home. I bleed shadows into insignificant interior. No one and nothing is unforgettable.

Sometimes in my mind’s eye she is cowering and shivering at the sounds I pull from her. Inciting silence, compassionate construction. Nothing is granted my Mermaid but my submission. Crash in and take over my life. Let’s do this.

Previously 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four



Written by Rick Clarke/Illustrations by Andrzej Klimowski




As you may know if you’re a regular follower of The Monolith Cocktail, we’ve been serializing a number of new novels and writings from debut authors over the last two years; beginning with Ayfer Simm‘s Istanbul pyschogreograhy A Rumor In Üsküdar in 2019.  Following on Ayfer’s heels we’re now serializing the Lynchian semi-biographical and incomprehensible jukebox set wanderings of Dan Shea (Bordellos, Vukovar and Beauty Stab infamy) and Rick Clarke’s (bandmate of Shea and rallying beacon of the band Vukovar) new novel The Great Immurement: The previous nine chapters of which appeared last month in July and early August. We continue with those semi-esoteric imaginings below and bring you next trio of NSFW chapters, The Door To A Broken World’, The Lost Sheep’, ‘Absorbing Genius’; illustrated as always by the illustrious Andrzej Klimowski.


THE DOOR TO A BROKEN WORLD

 

A knock upon the door? Answer it. No. No I can’t be doing that. I can’t be letting the outside mix with the inside. What if it’s important? It can’t be that important. But you don’t know that. I do. No you don’t, it could be an emergency. From the tip of my head to my furry cunthole, and then down again to the floor-space, I know it isn’t that important, and besides, if it were so bad, they’d knock down the door and come in unasked and uninvited.

I shrink away and slink away from the door, happy that my fetid home-place remains without contamination. The aromas have become so that I struggle to tell apart my groin-scent, my sweat scent and any and every-scent else. And I like it that way. To not be able to differentiate between filths; rot, body, mould, waste is to be clean. Everything is equal, everything is one, everything is cleanliness, everything is godliness.

 

I have earned my divine right. My divine right is to be allowed to remain with my divine right, earning my divine right and forever may it remain that way, to be able to enjoy my divine right.

 

Eat. But what shall I have? Shave a little flesh from the bottom of your foot. I’m afraid. Afraid?Afraid of disappearing, not of the pain, that doesn’t even come into it. Once you eat it and digest it, it’ll return back to its rightful place. That’s how it works, you are your food, this is the joy of being a person. I don’t know, I’m unsure. I look at the rest of me and see bumps and ditches where my flesh has left me forever. I told you about the dangers of not ingesting your egest. Sometimes I’m not hungry. Then you will disappear, death to cowards! Alright.

I acquire a cutting instrument of some description. It probably isn’t a grater. But it’s dyed a dried blood- brown and it’s still just about sharp enough. I hack it into my lower heel and there it stays for a second, wedged. There is no blood and there doesn’t need to be. I wriggle the cutting steel up and down a touch to get a hold, but I do it too enthusiastically and it comes out. Without touching, I can feel the separation between the two kingdoms of dried up skin and sinew, and I can feel the flap-flapping of half-island that’s trying to escape into a full republic; the grotesque ridge of discontent.

 

Eventually I have my meal and then I stand in a space and wait there. My body shuts down – I don’t need it.

 

I think for a while. I think of well dressed ladies looking at their twat in a hand mirror, sitting in a carriage on a train. Maybe they’ll masturbate. I look down at my own naked body and my own dirtied breasts and my own dirtied twat but there is no stimulation. The filth is ingrained deep into my skin.

 

My mind shuts down – I don’t need it.

 

A knock – a THUD – at the door. I mustn’t answer it but I mustn’t not watch the door from the hall in case I miss anything. This is all very strange. I don’t know how to deal with it all. I just stand, swaying on the spot in an alien attempt to balance a new imbalance, constantly trying to right my wavering stance.

I know something is going to happen.
I know something is going to happen.
I know something is going to happen.
I KNOW SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN.
I KNOW SOMETHING WILL HAPPEN.

 

I don’t know what.

 

I find out what.

 

A beam of light forces itself through a new rectangular hole in the door; it blinds me. It blinds my precious muck and stink, each being reintroduced to each other in this evil half-light, the second impressions being made are those of repulse and repugnancy.

The light vanishes as quickly as it appears, only it doesn’t feel like it, and in with it comes something… else. It lands on the floor like an intruding leaf, so light that it skims across the floor surface first before coming to a dead halt.

I sneak my way to the shape lying, unmoving on my floor. I keep my distance though. Pick it up. I don’t think being so cavalier is wise. How else will you find out what it is?

 

Now here I kneel, paying respect to the shrine I did construct for the paper-shape. The grime around me doesn’t seem so sterile now, and I feel uncomfortable being stuck under the weight of the heavy air that is all around me.

The paper is my new life and I’m now curious as to its source and how it came to be with me. I wonder what that second contains, that second of light. I wonder what’s inside it. It must be something tangible or it couldn’t appear in my eyes. Is it a place? I want to know more.

 

I forget my allegiance to dirt. I want to go where the light goes. I think about it every time my body and brain isn’t off. How do I do it? It’s a mystery and it makes my skin crawl with anger. My forearms open and bleed. Still I kneel at the shrine, at all times.

A KNOCK UPON THE DOOR. I run. At the door, I speak and the figure speaks back. He will wait there. He opens the letterbox and the light comes in once more, only for this time, it’s there for longer. I bask in it, eyes close and arms open. My legs weaken. I touch between my thighs and bring my sex to my nose and my mouth. I have to go, I have to get into the hole of my new joy.

I persuade the figure to help me; he doesn’t want to but I use my persuasion and I convince him.

 

I hear machinery.

 

A piece of string comes through the letterbox. I tie it around my waist, very high so that it cuts into me. I stand with my front to the door.

 

I hear machinery, I hear it grind.

I hear machinery and the string pulls me up against the door. Its strength and vigour cause me to acquiesce happily and I smirk with my mouth.

It keeps pulling and pulling and grinding away. It wants me so badly to come into the light, into the

better-place but it seems to be difficult. I’m against the letterbox but my shape isn’t right and my shape is too big. The string is cutting me until it cuts to the bone where I can feel it finally get a grip after scraping a little. I rub my clitoris on the splintered wood of the door and tingle.

 

It’s pulling more.

 

I snap.

 

I now look at the ceiling with my heels as a headrest. I vomit up some stomach acid all over my front, uncontrollable and done so as a subconscious expression of my cathartic experience; the act of the vomit is almost an ejaculation, forced outside of my mouth upon seeing my pubis completely broken. The shattering means my vagina is now split up to my belly button and up to my coccyx on the other wise and I imagine how much pleasure this means I can have when I get to the light outside. The top of my leg bones have found a new home no longer inside their homes of blood, sinew and skin. I’m sure I can smell the exposed bone and cartilage of my hip. It’s like a damp towel, left on the bathroom floor for too long. Yes, that’s it. I start to think about my new way of walking in my new home. I picture the comical sight and snigger; at least I will make others laugh, I will surely make lots of friends. I keep being pulled in a regular rhythm. Pull, pull, pull, pause on an infinite repeat. It’s a little too forceful but I take it with a good nature – maybe the machinery is eager to see me.

 

My broken midriff is now in the light-land. I get a pang of jealousy that it’s out before me but I let it pass as I won’t be long after it.

The light gets more intense. I’m so close.

I get down to my breasts, but combined with my knees, I can’t fit. I dig my nails furiously into the join between my breast and upper stomach and it creates tears. After the pause, the machine pulls again and my breasts are torn off from the base and, hanging on by a bloody hinge, they come back nipple-down on my shoulders.

 

I’m almost out, the light almost bleaches my whole vision.

 

I’m out.

 

I’m in the light.



THE LOST SHEEP

 

Who is the one who is living him now? Keep themselves to yourself.

 

I am a little lost sheep says I – this is violent. I can’t find my way back home. I have lost the trail that I put down myself, for myself, for myself to reach the beginning of the path I started down.

Everything moves itself around here. My shepherd cannot see me and equally so, I cannot see him. My shepherd is my Father is my teacher is my lover is my victim is (sometimes) my own self. Nothing stays the same.

I’m so tired – this is violent. Things are split in half in an almost automatic way; a production line of symmetrical brutality. In the village, where doggers unrelenting and unrepent, I found a peephole of sorts in an old moss covered, discarded length of timber around the back of a row of garages, which belong to the block of flats that then-existed, now-don’t (moved to the Inner Otherlands.)

 

The peephole showed me my home… but only sometimes. I couldn’t see the way back, though.

Also through the peephole stood another lost sheep just like me. It tried to play to my sympathy… I watched as it did creepeth… crept… creeped… it did creepers in an insectly way, out of sympathy and into repugnance. I took breaks between my peeping so as not to lose myself completely.

I saw many things and many things repeated. In my breaks, I took to keeping food/warmth/shelter with a handsome man who appeared – but not to himself – to be the King Of The Strangers.

The handsome man only appeared in sight as a visual aura, descriptions could follow the course of a tumoural warning; a prelude to death, or at the very least, a distortion of the living, such was the visual aura. I was not his most recent freedman but more like a friend or companion.

(He nursed me back to health as it wasn’t my time. He insisted the old piece of timber – peephole and all – were for the temptations of another and not for me. I was a lost soul, not a dead one.)

I am the little lost sheep, says I. I stand and I watch and I wait for my shepherd so I can bleat myself back to his loving protection – this is violent.

 

And now The Great Immured recalls:

Experience the world as I experience the world.
I thought it was of importance, of significance,
That thinking what I thought and existing as I exist held coherence.
But now I see it’s ridiculous and I’m ashamed.
Every thought I have dissolves to nothing.

So exist as I exist.
Cunts splay open like wildflowers
And the scent of their labian spring
But no colour
The moistening into grey mist with pleasure, but no feeling.

Man made stones dance,
Casting shadows as intangible monoliths
In permanent winters that bleach the vision into delusions.

Accidental opiates rise from black puddles
Rise in flesh from inherent coldness.
Exist as I exist.

I am the little lost sheep says I
And my shepherd is fucking;
Fucking bodies into bodies
And surroundings into nothing,
All decayed and barren.
My rose of blood
But I still don’t know who sends them.
Exist as I exist.
So that I don’t have to let slip
Meaningless words from my mouth
Or act-out affection,
So the fucking is automatic
And the emptiness is shared,
That ruins stay ruined and don’t have to be sold.

Exist as I exist.

Now the symbols wilt
And all the lies can be true.
Mothers mothering without the cruelty
Their clouds loom
And skin melting skin.
Exist as I exist.
All the secrets align.
A witness to the feeding of the fool
Bone crushing bone
From the spool hangs limp
All that should.

Exist as I exist.

Sacrifice yourself on the altar of my glory.

Exist as I exist.

 

This is what is through the peephole, this is the figure you are and you aren’t.



ABSORBING GENIUS

The holes are funnels, channeling the strength of the creamy-white concentrated genius that is propelled out in their moment of weakness. Foolish to let go of essence of greatness, whether willingly or not. SEMEN EFFUNDIS VENENUM EST…

 

Wise are those who catch this purity in their canals, crafted by a theft’s ingenuity. It sticks to the sides of these canals, growing and pulsing, forming new layers over lost ones. Old, tired, retarded membranes now replaced by the immortal. Sometimes the giver gives through sacrifice. Sometimes pity. Mostly wilful ignorance borne to simple, ill-disciplined pleasure.

 

This interlocking and outerlocking circle and cycle can only come to those who acknowledge it, even if the forfeiter forfeits without having to have the knowledge. And so the internal bukake is knowledge, and knowledge is power, and power is all.



Author: Rick Clarke
Illustrations: Andrzej Klimowski



Parts 1 – 3

Parts 4 – 6

Parts 7 – 9

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