Various ‘CAM 1’ (Peski Records) Available Now
Emitting its anti-pop electronica manifesto since February 2013, the Cam o’r Tywyllwch (A Step From The Darkness) radio show has acted as a beacon for Wales’s avant-garde soundscapes and kosmiche indebted experimental community. The weekly programme, broadcast on both Radio Cardiff and London’s Resonance FM, indulges in the sort of ephemeral, vapored, and often sketched, sound ideas from a mostly ignored group of bedroom studio fantasists and obscure maverick composers. Curated by Gwenno Saunders and Peski Records, the show has just released its first annual compilation album, suitably entitled CAM 1 – a homage to the first ever Welsh language alternative compilation LP, released by Rhys Mwyn on the Recordiau Anrhefn label in 1985.
An inimitable, if congruous somehow, mix of both newcomers and established artists, the collection moves along in the manner of a fluctuating peregrination, thrusting and meandering through cascading space paeans, brief sound clips and ominous industrial paranormal soundtracks. Sucked through the rattling cyclonic introduction of the titular vortex into the pleasant, magical Zuckerzeit disco bounce of R. Seiliog’s motorik stardust covered, ‘Pysgod’, then transported to an earlier age of punch-holed computing with the analogue data feeding ‘Cymylog Ddu’ by David Mysterious, we’re already experiencing a veritable sonic palette of escapism and evocation in just the opening seven-minutes.
Another leap and the next trio of tracks evoke Throbbing Gristle scoring a burbling Ridley Scott dystopia (Location Baked’s ‘Caution’), Polygon Window’s missing link (Horses’ ‘Kephyläu’), and sedated time-stretched disco-noir (Y Pencadlys’ ‘Diolch Am Beidio Ysmygu’).
Mining the fertile epoch of Krautrock via the early to late 80s explosion of ambient, trance and intelligent Techno, many of these featured artists produce a strange future-past link backwards. Even more tenable, Lembo and Carcharorion Riddim embrace history. Lembo’s ‘A Las Barricades’, mischievously mashes the Spanish Civil War’s Anarchist cry, ‘to man the barricades’, with Afrika Bambaataa’s re-appropriated Kraftwerkian, Planet Rock. Whilst Carcharorion adds a poignantly nuanced electronic wash of omnipresent low menace, industrial whining guitar and tight handclaps to the folkloric Welsh ballad, ‘Beth yw’r Haf?’.
Side B, as it is fashioned and presented, drifts between the Harthouse imbued nebula daydreaming of Recordiau’s ‘Corwen’ and lo-fi no-wave, stripped Moon Duo meets Greg Boredom, nonsense of Llion Swyd’s ‘Lludw’.
In all senses of the term, ‘out there’, this compilation of space oddities and earthy primal investigations lure the Welsh underground to the surface, if only for a short breather. The quality control has been used sparingly, as the curators opt for a challenging mix, with some tracks inevitably more memorable and interesting than others. It’s a positive step in the right direction however, and we hope to see this burgeoning series continue to illuminate the much forgotten music scene across the boarder.