Experimental, li-fo, noise artist releases new EP via TQ
There’s never any reason to not visit the world of Chow
Mwng. It may be weird, it may be
slightly scary, you may not want to stay there too long but, you will not be
able to dispute its originality and, any discerning alternative music/noise
enthusiast will soon realise that he borders on genius.
Ash Cooke has been around a while – one time member of
Peel-supported Derrero who later morphed into Pulco has been around for over
twenty years making music that questions everything you’ve ever heard before
and teases as to what may be around the corner.
Can all noise be interpreted as music?
You bet your bottom Euro it can.
For the Nunavik EP, Chow Mwng ‘visits’ (as the title may
suggest), the Inuit people of the Artic regions for inspiration. Known for their traditional throat music, the
sounds are primitive and unusual as they mimic everyday sounds of nature. And so, Cooke pulls apart the regular theorem
as to how voices should sound and re-assembles them in often intense musical
collages described as mouth music for the mouth.
The results are fascinating.
The almost automated sounding loop of Yupik coupled with the screeching
electro effects that step perilously close to unlistenable open the proceedings
and the intention of Chow Mwng is evident – no instructions, no guidelines,
break down the barriers. Inuktun follows
in a similar vein, an enthralling repetition of completely indecipherable
voices and melody (sic), and possibly even an attempted dog bark. It’s possible that the kitchen sink is in
With Thinuit comes one of Cooke’s brilliant recitals
sounding like a cross between John Cooper-Clarke and Mark E Smith if ever there
was one, his infectious poetry induces aural contagion that is difficult to be
anything other than drawn in to. More
repetitive voices and guitar plucking form the basis of Katajjaq, a manic three
minutes that sounds almost automotive in construction and EP closer Thule
brings a haunting, almost horror inducing wall of sounds.
There’s no doubt that Cooke is one of life’s free-thinkers –
knocking down obstacles and deconstructing walls – and his current guise of
Chow Mwng brings originality beyond compare.
Possibly the punk music of our era it is lo-fi, D.I.Y. and free from any
corporate chains. Amazing stuff.
Website Twitter Published on Louder Than War 22/01/18 - here If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.
North Eastern folk collective release their third album.
The title of the first two albums by The Ree-Vahs! will
possibly give a hint to what to expect from Man Overboard – Geordieland (2014)
and Yee Ha With The Ree-Vahs! (2016) were, not surprisingly, modern day folk
albums sung in a Geordie accent by lead vocalist and songwriter Andy Lee. But, each album came with a twist as behind
every beautifully and superbly played instrument was a tale of everyday life
Man Overboard in many ways is no exception but the sentiment
is far greater than ever before and one which no-one wold ever want to find
themselves faced with. In May 2016, Paul
Lee, brother of Andy, sadly took his own life at the age of 46. Days before, he and Andy had been rehearsing
songs which would have formed part of this album. They had written and performed
together for over thirty years. What is
interesting about Man Overboard is that with the knowledge of Paul, each song
can seem to reference him even when the intention maybe isn’t there.
This eight track album, weighing in at less than twenty
seven minutes and performed by a total of twenty members from the borders of
Durham and Northumberland gives as much social commentary as it tells about the
loss of a brother and friend.
Opening with one of two versions of the title track, Man Overboard
is a four-track home recording by Paul. It is eerie to say the least and sends
shivers down the spine. His dulcet tones
providing haunting words of a soul clearly tortured and struggling to stay
together. What follows is a song that
the brothers were working on three days before Paul’s death, Pack Your Bags
tells of moving on in life and not clinging to the past. With added cello and fiddle, Andy’s vocals
are heartfelt and genuine and, as his final vocal closes the song something
else creeps into view – his quite superb vocal range and quality is something
that is not to be underestimated at any point during the album.
Acoustic guitar by Ben Helm is the main instrumental feature
of Stronger Than Me (Non-Binary), a song of bullying and non-conformity nestles next to an upbeat track about the love
of music in Sing Our Songs In The Dark complete with trumpet accompaniment and
a goose-bump inducing singalong finale if ever there was one.
Under The Wheels pays tribute to Paul’s life with words by
Andy and Dan Kilford. It sympathetically
takes inspiration from the things Paul lived through with the song title taken
from a text message he sent to his brother shortly before his death. “Watching telly, eating ready meals, thinks
no one knows how he feels; he fell of the wagon and under the wheels.”
Jigsaw sees a rockier approach with added bass and guitar
and Go See describes a people watcher in a town square as fiddles and acoustic
drums join the fray. Ending with a reprise
of the title track in its full format, this album is special. Special not only because of its sad story but
also because of its uplifting outlook and very special content. Paul would be very proud – rest in peace.
Former Bad Seeds and Walkabouts members release their fifth
The sheer quality of Bu Bir Ruya is staggering, perhaps more
so given that their previous two albums – Troubles (2013) and Lion City (2014)
– were also of such incredible superiority.
The journey through Mali that heavily influenced their last two albums
has now taken a wider, more cinematic path and Dirtmusic have come up with the
goods once more.
This new album sees Chris Eckman (formerly of Walkabouts)
and Hugo Race (ex Bad Seeds) team up with Turkish psych visionary Murat Ertel
of Baba Zula fame to produce a darker, heavier, more reverbed magic. Its seven tracks covering forty-two minutes
provide certainly one of the early contenders for album of the year in 2018 but
more importantly, an album of such staggering intricacy and meticulousness that
it continues to impress listen after listen after listen.
Album opener, Bi De Sen Soyle sets the standard, and it’s a
high one. Echoing guitars and tribal percussive
patter blend wonderfully with Ertel’s baglama saz, Race’s vocals are as raw and
gravelled as ever adding intensity and suspense to the proceedings. Its hypnotic certainly, as much of the album
is, and gripping rhythms are difficult to shake off.
As the album continues into The Border Crossing with its
post-punk funk and reverb, the immortal line “don’t you know the world is
getting smaller” resonates deep within.
Recorded in a converted mechanic’s studio in Istanbul, the sound is one
of a live feel but with a clinically organic edge and as the lovely guitar
pluck ends and fades it’s onwards and upwards.
The stunning vocals of Gaye Su Akyol feature on Love Is A
Foreign Country providing a haunting interlude which grips the listener with
every note. It’s simple and
enthrallingly monotonous and provides a quite wonderful halfway mark for the album
before Safety In Numbers breaks free and almost explodes onto the scene. Deep bass grooves and one of those annoyingly
catchy straplines that just won’t go away.
Album closer and title track Bu Bir Ruya uses sound bytes
and voice samples over what can only be described as an experimental piece with
screams and screeches and possibly even dog barks along the way being married
with some timely dub effects. It all fits
comfortably into place on an album that continues to impress from the very
first notes. Four years in the making
but worth every second.
Facebook Published on Louder Than War 12/01/18 - here If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.