The following editions of Monolith Cocktail’s regular ‘Our Daily Bread’ postings include: Kratos Himself, Horse Party, Cloud, Tapeheads, Psycho & Plastic, The Machsimo’s, Higamos Hogamos, Samuel L. Clarke, Vieux Farka Toure, Atlanter, Field Harmonics, Julian Cope, Magnus Ostrom, Strumpets and Tamikrest.
NEW MUSIC: Kratos Himself ‘A Town Called Imaginarium’ EP
Diaphanous sprinkles of twinkling percussion, slow but meticulous beats, cooing choral voices from the middle and far east, hymn like melodies and the odd amorphous dub step drum all conspire to produce the worldly Kratos Himself soundtrack.
Through the soulful, jazz fused label of choice Jus Like Music, the unassuming Dutch musician Jethro Hopmans unfurls his new downtempo collection of instrumentals for free via Bandcamp. Accompanied only by Marc Machielse on additional bass guitar duties and the swooning vocals of Ditte de Muynck and K.J.B, this introductory seven-track EP glides easily and loosely between ‘imagined’ soundscapes.
NEW MUSIC: A round up of musical discoveries.
Recently delivered through the Monolith Cocktail porthole (I of course embellish what is in fact a rather unremarkable letterbox) or through the vague technological waves of the internet, this small batch of musical offerings contains a heavy dose of the Bury St Edmunds, ‘the sound of young nowhere’, Strum Und Drang label releases alongside some languid and unusual discoveries.
Horse Party ‘Scarlet & Blue EP’ (Strum Und Drang) Out Now
On the radar since their formation last year, the power trio Horse Party produce a gravelly form of chugging, spiky, and sometimes dirge-y blues rock. Their latest broadcast, the Scarlet & Blue EP, features a trio of stripped garage band raw ditties that include the titular track from the debut LP, ‘Back To Mono’ and live moody renditions of ‘Scarlet & Blue’ and ‘Six’: both recorded at The Hunter Club (Saturday 4th May 2013).
Cloud ‘Mother Sea’ (Audio Antihero) 5th August 2013
More embittered, distressed and woeful bedroom pop from the Audio Antihero stable. Under the singular Cloud moniker, our progressively emotionally harangued troubadour from the States does his best to put a positive spin on the deluge of wallowing pop, communal psychedelic lament and heavy lilting piano accompanied anti-folk: think a dreamy mix of Lo-Fi and low maintenance surf noir Beach Boys and less insanely polygenesis Animal Collective.
Taken from the upcoming Comfort Songs LP (due to drop on the 5th August), ‘Mother Sea’ is offered as both a taster and introductory download.
Tapeheads ‘Bricolage II’ Out Now
Talking of bedroom Lo-fi, the less produced and amorphous musings of the madcap Quebec musician and cassette tape complier, Theirry Larose’s music comes across as either the deluded clumsy sound collages of a lone gunman, or inspired outsider art: you choose! Under the alter-ego of Tapeheads, Larose sets his ‘boss loop station’ into action, mixing up riffs, melodies and even song titles from appropriated songs (Mobile Girls ‘Real Tears’, Rhythm Bandit‘s ‘Vintage Pop’) with his own strung out dreamy psychedelic pop and snippets of captured dialogue.
Almost interchangeable, Larose’s quartet of synthesised releases are all pretty much loose and soporific, with certain piqued moments of melodic brilliance and chaotic effects. The most recent of these is the Bricolage II, which really is strangely interesting and at times mischievous.
Psycho & Plastic ‘Matekater’ (GiveUsYourGOLD) Out Now
More of a follow-up this one. A few months ago I featured the acid-glicth rapping Teutonic outfit Psycho & Plastic in my regular ‘Tickling My Fancy Revue’ for God Is In The TV. Their Shibuya Beach EP was a suitably odd and rambunctious affair – a tropical haven where rap meets techno and pop – and the madcap, pill popping cartoonish ‘Matekater’ was among the most ‘out there’ tracks on it.
The group have at last found a befitting video to accompany this loony tune: a mushroom inspired trip into a cheap landscape of strobe lighting and cardboard cut outs characters. Utterly mad of course.
The Machismo’s ‘Good Things About To Happen’ (Strum Und Drang) 4th August 2013
Former singing-drummer of the highly rated alternative rocker’s Jacob’s Mouse, Sam Marsh’s solo experiment, The Machismo’s (misplaced apostrophe intentional!), finally get’s a release after languishing in the wilderness for the last twenty years.
Markedly estranged from the Mouse musically, Marsh’s solo work was looser, D.I.Y and more melodious, recorded as it was onto a cassette portastudio. Whether un-nerved or unsure if its quality, the original Good Things About To Happen album was shelved whilst Marsh distracted himself with more pressing projects.
Akin to a languorous Squeeze riffing with the back catalogue of Yo La Tengo and Beck, The Machismo’s sound is textured and sophisticated, stopping off on route to breather the allure of post punk reggae, country and even Brit pop. Better late than never!
NEW MUSIC: Higamos Hogamos/ Samuel L.Clarke
Higamos Hogamos ‘Inwards Empire EP’ (via Upstairs Recordings) – Out Now
Smoothing out new musical peregrinations into the expanses of a well-travelled Krautrock imbued cosmos, Steve Webster’s, nonsensical moniker, Higamos Hogamos troupe are back with yet another ‘fuzzy majesty’ release of live instrumentation and diaphanous analogue twiddling.
Championed over the years by Monolith Cocktail, each sonic variant of Webster’s psychedelic/ kosmiche funk blueprint has met with gasps of delight:
For his – introspected alluded – latest jaunt, Inwards Empire, Webster with fellow transient travellers, Dr. Andrew Robertson (guitar) and Whetham ‘Whethmo’ Allpress (drums), looks to Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Hans- Joachim Roedelius and Ash Ra Temple for inspiration. Though the titular track is imbued with both elements of quasi-Funkadelic cosmic slop jungle wah wah, and a growling bassline that wouldn’t sound out of place on Brain Eno & David Byrne‘s My life In The Bush Of Ghosts.
However the orchestral stabbing ‘Dendron’ sails closer to Hawkwind, and the jilted vocal featured, lead guitar strangulated hoot, ‘Cold 100’, is anyone’s guess. The main thrust as usual is quality.
Get your kicks where you Can!
Interested????!!! Purchase details here:
Samuel L. Clarke ‘Train Station’ – Available Now via Soundcloud
From the very same, ‘so far under the radar, as to barely exist’, world of bedroom experimentation, as Daily Bread 007 featured sound collage manipulator, Tapeheads; the unimposing Samuel L. Clarke produces similar minimal vignettes of mystery.
Posting minor confused ambient, one chord musings, onto Soundcloud, Clarke’s quartet of strange jettisoned EPs may on the surface sound like quiet subtle, underwhelming affairs, yet a certain ominous sense of miscreant behaviour filters through to give it a amorphous suspense. The Train Station EP is itself a twisting languorous soundtrack, that lies between haunting tomfoolery (‘Alpha Wolf’) and menacing, India via the generator core of the forbidden planet silliness (‘OH MY GAWD, MIDI!!!).
The bio promises a weird conjuncture of The Beatles, Local Natives and Modest Mouse, handed a cheap microphone and 80’s synthesiser. Well Clarke ticks at least a couple of those boxes. My only glues, cheap and Modest Mouse.
Go discover, you may even scratch below the surface to find something curiously sublime from it.
As the recent territorial disputes in Mali evaporate from our TV screens, all too miserably eclipsed by tensions in Egypt, civil war in Syria, another oppositional opponent assassinated in Tunisia and demonstrations throughout Turkey; the artists and musicians from that west African state are finding – at least – their music is still gaining momentum and a sizeable audience; even if the politics has lost favour. As a poetic, cultured stance against a regime that threatened to engulf the desert lands, Mali’s talented diaphanous songsmiths and instrumentalists have sought to bring an atavistic voice to their plight.
The Tuareg Bedouins of the north boosted by the Islamic rebels from outside the country, fought ferociously for autonomy. A fight that before 2012 had been confined to the northern boarders, but now crept ever deeper south, towards even the Mali capital of Bamako itself, was spurred on by a military coup, instigated by fractions of the army displeased with the management of the Tuareg campaign. Calling themselves the National Committee For The Restoration Of Democracy And State, they forced the than president elect, Amadou Toumani Touré into hiding. Condemned by not only their neighbours and the wider world, this committee had the much respected news agency, Reuters, call their misguided move, ‘a spectacular own-goal’, as sanctions were duly imposed, and the Tuareg took advantage in the mayhem. Sporadic governments were set up to varying problematic degrees of incompetence. All the while the Tuareg enjoyed mounting successes as they ploughed on taking territory.
So overwhelming and brutal was the insurgence – spurred on by the tyrannical outsiders who weren’t content with backing their Tuareg brethren but insisted on total domination of Mali and the imposition of Sharia Law – that the old colonial masters, France – backed up with some logistical support, training and supplies from Britain – felt compelled to defend the more moderate indigenous muslim population from a disastrous onslaught. In the last year that intervention has won – to some degrees – ‘hearts and minds’, as French troops helped to stem and push back the insurgents. Even certain members of the Tuareg community have voiced opposition to their hardline Islamic partners, whose totalitarian extreme of the faith placed a ban on music; pulled down parts of the world heritage protected Timbuktu; and brought back a resurgence in slavery. For a bedouin group of tribes who pirde themselves on their own strong tardtion of song – playing host to the now famous and legendary Desert Festival -, the totalitarian doctrine of their partners has left a bitter taste.
Various voices from the Mali music scene have sought to plaintively protest whilst celebrating the soul of their often gentle, beguiling traditional rhythms and song. We’ve already had a successful run of stoic album’s from the likes of Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba (Jama Ko) and Samba Touré (Albala) – to name just two. And now the latest concomitant release from Vieux Farka Touré, Mon Pays (Six Degrees Music); a beautifully plucked and lamented call for peace from the guitar maestro.
Translated as ‘My Country’, this peaceable album was inspired by Vieux’s work with the Israeli pianist and vocalist, Idan Raichel, who acted as the catalyst for what would initially be a project honouring the acoustic blues tradition of both northern and southern Mali. However it has now taken on a wider appeal, tackling as it does the destruction, mayhem, and erosion of the country’s heritage; all played out to drifting, ‘calabash’ rhythms and fiddly, hypnotic Kora flourishes (played by the distinguished Sidiki Diabate).
Picking up the baton from his celebrated father, Ali Farka Touré (who sadly passed away in 2006) , Touré Jnr. returns spiritually – on tour since the coup d’état on March 21st 2012; Touré has returned only sporadically – to the homeland; combining the Mali delta blues with traversing emotive intricacy.
SELECTION: ‘Tickling My Fancy Musical Revue’
Featuring Atalanter, Field Harmonics, Julian Cope, Magnus Öström, Strumpets and Tamikrest.
Atalanter ‘Tree Song’ – August 26th 2013
Borrowing both the drum fills and surface sounds from Can‘s ‘Halleluwah’, the Nordic Atalanter troupe recycle one of Krautrocks totem anthems for their own fjord pining version of the desert blues. Taken from their debut album, Vidde – both a document of their self-christianed ‘viddeblues’ musical template, and a reference to the Norwegian vistas expanse – ‘Tree Song’, has a redolent air of Grizzly Bear and Cool Runnings about it. Soulful with rustling percussion and balalaika plucked chimes, this often hypnotic trance of a tune reveals more on every listen. As those more inferior blogs would say, ‘one to watch out for’.
Field Harmonics ‘Everyone’ (Wayside And Woodland Recordings) – Available Now
Already flagged up by your ernest critic for the leading independent online zine, GodIsInTheTV, the former ‘track of the day’ (read here http://bit.ly/12L7POB) choice is now granted an official video. Mirroring the trance like drift and glowing electronic glitter pop of the song, the Mark Cartwright directed video weaves a visual tale of dreamy ‘disco’ escapism, set against the humdrum realities of life. Despite the injection of realism, ‘Everyone’ is a diaphanous ‘heartwarming’ paean taster from the equally glowing LP, Walls.
Julian Cope ‘Revolutionary Suicide’ – Available Now
Despite its promise of caustic spit and harmonious melodic nature, Julian Cope‘s latest ‘call-to-arms’ doesn’t hold back on the condemnation. As the title of both the leading track and album alludes, Cope’s revolutionary pride leaves the listener in no doubt. Not so much hectoring, or even bombastic, the arch druid of counter culture picks apart his prey with élan; attacking both failed revolutions from the here and now; lambasting the church; and bravely taking issue with the perceived – though the evidence does suggest that there is indeed a silent conspiracy – erasing from the history books, media and political stage of the horrific Armenian genocide of 1915, by the than Ottoman government: an episode, it must be said, that is hotly contested and hushed up to this day; the organised extermination of the country’s christian minorities – which also included numbers of Assyrians and Greeks too.
Cope’s message may be confrontational and often blunt, yet its delivered via the influence of rebellious Detroit rock, quasi-Love, and even, the Sunset Strip – circa 1967.
Magnus Öström ‘Searching For Jupiter’ (ACT) – 2nd September 2013
Time for some smouldering, seriously, progressive jazz now. Former drummer of the coveted – and fellow ACT label signing – Esbjörn Svensson Trio, Öström leads his own tumultuous, experimental rocking quartet out for this traversing new album, Searching For Jupiter. Laying down a mixed wave of patterns and investigative rhythms on the title track – joined by guitarist, Andreas Hourdakis, pianist, Daniel Karlsson, and bassist, Thobias Gabrielson – our host picks the bones out of a myriad of genres, whilst taking an emotional interstellar ride to the behemoth of all planets, Jupiter.
Strumpets ‘Tamara’ (Jezus Factory/ via Rough Trade in Europe) – 2nd September 2013
Taken from the upcoming second album by Antwerp’s – self proclaimed – ‘psychedelic dadaist pop group’, the Strumpets return to the fold under the guises of the sunshine prog love song, ‘Tamara’. Like a South American, LSD tainted version of Jeff Lynne swaying over a subdued quasi-Aphrodite’s Child backing, the tracks computer animated fantastical video apes past glories from the halcyon ‘electric kool aid’ days of yore.
Centred around the group’s instigator, Miguel Horacio, the Strumpets have evolved from a studio project to fully fledged band; inspired and informed by a love of the revolutionary absurd Dada movement and metaphorical dreamers, the Surrealists. If any allusions to fate were needed, Miguel’s home studio was broken into and the original recordings for their new album, Rubies & Ruffians, were stolen, leaving the band having to re-record the LP from scratch. On top of that, a power cut during the mastering process meant that all the CDs had to be remastered and repressed due to jumps in the original pressing. Even in the face of such adversity, the band have squeezed out an amorphous suite fit for a baroque dandy.
Tamikrest ‘Imanin Bas Zihoun’ (Glitterbeat Records) – 16th September 2013
Mali’s rich musical culture isn’t confined to just the central and southern regions of the country, the northern Tuareg desert lands also evoke some passionate, soulfully rhythmic surprises too. Despite the unfavourable attention meted out to the Tuareg in recent years, many voices from that community have offered their services to peace. One example is the nomadic, sub-Saharan rock’n’rollers Tamikrest, whose Hendrix meets desert blues template proves there are two sides to every story; the new album, Chatma – which translates as ‘sisters’ – a tribute to the courage of the Tuareg women and spirit of an atavistic people.
Forced into exile in Algeria, Tamikrest plaintively, but with an ear for a good melody, reflect on the imposition of Sharia law – by those outsiders who at first lent help to the course but soon dominated with their own destructive agenda – and the loss of there heritage. Producing beautifully cooed laments with a kick.