Experimental lo-fi folk artist re-releases acclaimed album.
Chances are that you've heard Ben Mason and didn’t know it - one half of Human Edwards with the artist
formerly known as Pulco making tracks based on car indicator sounds, the
quirkzotic tasty meaty beat treats of Bagpipe Whiskey or, the lo-fi funk
weirdness of Caru Cariad – either way, he may possibly have already touched
Dogs N Yaaa sees the light again after its initial release
and critical acclaim four years ago. The
album title is an anagram of A Song A Day, a self-explanatory project which
resulted in the highlights being released as this album. What you have on the whole is some fine song-writing
with the odd bit of experimentalism thrown in for good measure. A sonic collage of simplicity and complication,
it is honest and highly enjoyable.
At little over thirty minutes, each of the twelve tracks
represents a part of the Dogs N Yaaa jigsaw – it just wouldn’t work without
everything being here. Album opener Trochilus
Song is lead by birdsong and the faintest of guitar playing in the
background. Imagine coming across a
musician sat under a tree in the middle of the remotest field, his gentle
improvised strumming echoing in unison with the avian sounds and instantly
transporting you away.
It’s A Shame follows and it’s an absolute gem. A stunning lesson in simplicity and allowing voice
and guitar to take control – “it’s a shame, you were born at all” offers some
cutting words and it leaves a mark of sadness as it comes to a close. Willis Williams McJones-Edwards III treats us
to a mish-mash of sampled voices which takes things to another level whilst Mumma
Husk and Embryonic Son take a more ‘conventional’ folky approach.
It’s a mixed bag of an album and one which has something for
everyone, it’s one of those albums that deserves to be revered and fawned over
by the music press. If it isn’t then it
can become one of your little secrets.
Genre hopping musician and artist releases his new album.
He’s back and he’s all jazzed up. Literally.
Well almost – that’s the beauty of Ashley Reaks, always predictable in his
unpredictability. He is, in the view of
these pages, nothing short of genius.
You may not like everything you hear but, you will never have heard anything
like it before.
The Earth Swan Sings Again, apart from being a brilliant
album title, sees Reaks on top form. His
subtle patter integrated with the odd jazz riff and some prog guitar and
musical interludes maybe tips a wink in the direction of early Genesis and
Zappa. His meandering poetry aligning
perfectly to the wandering, often improvised sounding backing is a pure joy.
Once more he is joined by a familiar group of artists in
Nick Dunne on guitar and Joel Purnell on saxophone who are now metaphorically joined
at the hip to Reaks and, the incomparable Maria Jardardottir who sadly only makes
an appearance on one track, The Embers of Tomorrow. Her voice is the definition of original and one
hopes that she’ll come to prominence soon for her quite brilliant vocal
From the opening shuffle of Inside Her Shimmering Agony
(it’s an album worth investigating for track titles alone), it is clear that
Reaks once more has another versatile and eclectic album on offer. This track alone combines element of skiffle,
jazz, blues and prog-rock, a recipe for disaster in less capable hands but with
Reaks fitting together like the bastard jigsaw from hell to create the image of
an artist who will never compromise.
She Stretches Open (Like A Parasites Echo) has one of those
musical straplines that is hard to shake free from and the title track is the
albums proverbial kitchen sink with seemingly everything thrown in for good
measure. Album closer Today Hurts More
Than Mercy is a subdued affair allowing each second to be absorbed with the attention
Once more, Ashley Reaks comes up with the goods. One often wonders where he can go next or
indeed, from which place his inspiration continues to pout from. Wonderful stuff.
We are delighted to bring to you the debut EP by Welsh act Deaf German. With four tracks coming at at just two minutes in total Deaf German is an experimental lo-fi artist using mobile phone voice recorders, apps and email to create these little gems. Comprising of Ioan Humphreys and NV Humphreys together with hiapop favourite Equinox on guest vocals, the Tyres EP is short, sweet and full of promise. Available on Bandcamp as a 'name your price' download. Enjoy.
We are delighted to bring you the online PREMIERE of Ambulance by Granfalloon. Granfalloon is the musical moniker of Richard Lomax and his folktronica group based in Manchester. Folktronica is a mixture of folk and electronica. Instruments include Omnichords, acoustic guitars, Casio keyboards, and 80's drum machines. Their new single ‘Ambulance' is out on Manchester label The Dogan on 23rd February 2018.
‘Ambulance’ is a song about those self imposed rituals that we use to keep ourselves mentally healthy. It features the Omnichord (an electronic autoharp) over a loving combination of acoustic guitar, synths, samples, and a four to the floor backbeat verse that melts into a dreamlike chorus. The chorus line is inspired by a rhyme uttered by singer Lomax’s grandmother upon seeing an ambulance pass by: “Touch your head and touch your toes/If you don’t want to go in one of those.”
Lomax says: “My grandparents write most of my best lyrics.”
Granfalloon's use of lo-fi bedroom recording techniques point to a revelry in beautiful imperfection and a desire to create something very special. There is a real commitment to detail which involved patiently distilling the soundscapes until the elements of electronics, delicate acoustic guitar, and the mixture of lo-fi, folk & psych all fell into place.
The track was mixed by Sydney based Jack Prest (AKA Future Love Hangover) who has most recently worked on Jonti's 2017 album 'Tokorats'.
hiapop is proud to bring you the video PREMIERE of Red by SLF&Co! Taken from the album No Beats In Algebra, Red is remixed by Lord Fluffy and SLF&Co. The album is a collaboration of vocalists and musicians - also known as the lovely folk & friends from around the towns of blighty. The SLF&Co project came to light from a PC, in a flat, in Norwich. Clocks tick, tracks emerge, people lend an ear, a voice, some insight and the occasional slap. Influenced and inspired by many different genres and production techniques. It's all about the LOVE LOVE LOVE …so when it wears off fill it with a little #RED A note from the video maker, Jacob Tomlinson:
"My aim was to bring out the combination of heavy atmosphere and nervous energy which makes this song so special. I assigned different shapes to the skittish drums and drew them frame by frame to the track. I then drew a series of stamp like posters to showcase the lyrics that hide deeper in the mix, setting everything on a blown out time-lapse of a busy junction I took last year.
My hope is that people can watch the video in full screen and zone out, getting lost in the haziness of the synths and dreamlike vocals from Vicky Harrison. Then when they're not expecting it, they get hit by the drums and everything gets a bit weird and cut up."
Cahn Ingold Prelog is an
experimental / avant garde music project by artist and musician Simon Proffitt.
‘Tolerance’ is his latest release and it is an absolutely gorgeous exercise in
field recordings, fluid and untamed experimentation, and a celebration of the
joy of ‘found music’ in everyday situations.
Opener ‘1.1 Pure as Snows Thrice
Boiled in the Northern Blast’ starts with haunting ambient percussion and field
recordings mixed with a sinister drone. The noise is slowly ramped up with
additional effects and sounds. Follow up ‘1.2 Three Unsuccessful Attempts to
Discredit Odlyzko’s Response to Montgomery’s Pair Correlation Conjecture’ has gorgeous
twinkly percussive sounds made by wind chimes and this eerie effect eventually
morphs into a sinister synth throb. Textured noise is layered on top and the
resulting effect is the first thing that remotely resembles a beat.
The gloriously titled ‘1.3 Unexpected
item in Bagging Area’ has a wonky analog synth reminiscent of the recent
wonderful work by Truus De Groot which broods menacingly until it softens into
the haunting echo chamber of the belly
of this ominous electronic beast.
‘1.5 Gentoo Penguins, Elephant
Beach’ is an absolutely inspired piece of field recording of Gentoo Penguins in
their natural habitat. The eerie sound of the ocean breeze mingles with the
naturally strange and unsettling noises that penguins make. You could try and
replicate these strange sounds in a studio, but where would the fun be in that?
Just brilliant stuff.
As the album progresses you get slow
burning builds from moody gong manipulation (‘1.6 Make Vaalbara Great Again’) into
crescendos of noise with again the tiniest hint of a beat thumped out.
More field recordings of what sound
like crackling fire (??) (‘1.8 Ysbrydnos’), interweave with gong sound
manipulation. The results, like a lot of the tracks on this LP, are almost
meditative in their disconcerting way.
One of the standout tracks of the
LP has to be ‘2.2 Car Wash’. In the liner notes, the matter of fact details of
“Silver Wash at Sainsbury's, Wrexham, from inside a Toyota Aygo” is what makes
the process of assembling these sounds, so inspiring and fresh. The mechanical
and mundane process of a car wash manages to produce a beautiful piece of music
that makes the ordinary, extraordinary.
Including pieces that were recorded
as part of art installations and commissioned performances as part of National
Science Week, ‘Tolerance’ is a sublime and joyous piece of work that challenges
the possibilities of what constitutes ‘music’ and art. Throughout this album
there is triumphant sonic manipulation, and dense atmospheric field recordings
that find beauty in the most unassuming places. ‘Tolerance’ has echoes of Godspeed
You! Black Emperor and flashes of genius. Crammed full of ‘found’ noises that
are turned into both ‘music’, and pieces of sound art, ‘Tolerance’ is also a
beautifully contemplative lesson in meditative collages. I can’t wait to hear
what Cahn Ingold Prelog has in store next.
The Skull Defekts - The Skull Defekts (Thrill Jockey Records)
LP / CD / DL
23 February 2018
8 / 10
Review by Jay.
Start off like a Voodoo tribesman having a balls-to-the-wall shamanic experience, foot pounding the ground while screeching distorted guitars or synths (it’s hard to tell) scream in the background and you’ve got the beginning of The Skull Defekts album. ‘A Brief History Of Dub, Life and Death’ builds and builds into an almost tribal, crunchy gamelan fest of brooding darkness that feels like you’re tied down and surrounded by monsters ready to eat you, before ending with some nice jingle bells. ‘Clean Mind’ has a thudding bassline and rootsy toms covered by the distorted vocals of Daniel Fagge Fagerström and cracks into an almost Sonic Youth meets Marilyn Manson orgy. It’s simple and tasty.
‘The Dance’ has some late Bowie vibes to it mixed with its clanging, creaking percussion and soundscapes and really pulls you into the dark doom of the void it creates. ‘Slow Storm’ has those bashing, thumping toms that make you want to strip and shag into the early hours and we hear Mariam Wallentin’s sultry vocals speaking over the top of this psychedelic, hardcore chug fest. It’s almost sad that this is their departure album because it really feels like the kind of music that’s missing from today’s predominantly sugar-sweet love hits. It’s unnerving, gutsy and uncomfortable in places and transports you to shadowy places full of sin and sacrifice with the spacey echoes and relentless drones and rhythm.
This is an album that doesn’t give a shit about what people think, it has its feet firmly rooted in that 90’s hardcore garage / experimental rock scene and pushes itself into modern times with a thick, rich production and monotonous grinding gears of distortion. ‘A Message From The Skull Defekts’ is pretty much what you would say in music, if you were telling the world your time is up and there will be no more. It’s like the mountains are collapsing, like the floor is opening up to swallow us all and there is nothing we can do about it. Huge exploding drums and distortion and screaming screeches destroying the planet one beat at a time; hypnotically satisfying.
The Skull Defekts ends with ‘The Beauty Of Creation And Destruction’ which is a droning synth, drums and guitar track telling us that this is really the beauty of destruction and it literally feels like it really is the end with the sporadic, bashing piano chords at the end. Let’s hope they change their minds and make more albums like this because it would be a shame to lose this kind of creativity we so desperately need in these auspicious times of Grime, Future Bass and Trap. Website Facebook Published on Louder Than War 31/01/18 - here If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.