= June 2011 =  
Master Musicians of Bukkake
Damon & Naomi
Alexander Turnquist
Orriel Smith
Patrick Campbell-Lyons
Sal Valentino
South Coast DIY
Magdalena Solis


(CD from Important Records)

As brooding, mysterious and promising as a pint of emulsified sheep’s eyes, Seattle’s Master Musicians of Bukkake’s ‘Totem 3’ is similarly refreshing – one of those strange, compelling discoveries you long to share with your closest friends. They stray, brilliantly, all over the musical map; like a careening spiritual caravan one moment crashing headlong into oblivion and the next blissfully navigating through hallucinogenic clouds of experimental atonality. The seven movements, for want of a better word, on here draw freely from the music of the Tuaregs (the fabulous ‘In The Twilight of Kali Yuga’ being chief amongst these; the best of it’s kind I’ve heard since the timelessly brilliant ‘Space Prophet Dogon’ from Sun City Girls’ ‘Torch of the Mystics’ – no coincidence perhaps that Alan Bishop is a guest on here), the films of John Carpenter and Satyajit Ray (‘Illuminating the Ten Directions’ being the best if these), and the writings of French metaphysicist René Guénon  - although I confess to being a little suspicious of that last reference myself, and wonder if it was only thrown in to make this largely instrumental album sound more intellectual than a record featuring a song entitled ‘Prophecy of the White Camel’ might at first glance appear… Elsewhere, ‘Reign of Quantity and The Signs of the Times / Patriarch of the Iron Age’ sounds for all the world like the sound-track of a lost Doctor Who episode (this isn’t necessarily a bad thing) whilst ‘Failed Future’ is a dead ringer for a late 80s Hawkwind tour de force. You’ll love it – take my word for it. I confess to not having heard the previous offering in the trilogy but I certainly intend to rectify that before the year’s out. Utterly brilliant and with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, it at long last puts the humour back into experimental music, right where it belongs. (Phil McMullen)




(CD from BROKEN HORSE www.brokenhorse.co.uk)

The eighth (if you include live album release “Song To The Siren”) full-length release from erstwhile two-thirds of Galaxie 500, False Beats And True Hearts marks Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang’s first studio offering since 2007’s “Within These Walls”.

So what has changed? Well not a great deal, frankly, for which fans of this dream pop duo will doubtless give thanks and praise. For one thing it marks a continuation of their fruitful association with guitarist Michio Kurihawa – their fourth collaboration in nine years (their partnership with Dean Wareham lasted how long)? Here, too, are the calm, engaging ballads, which whist possibly less melancholy-sounding than or yore, are, as ever, lyrically evocative of a certain poetic introspection and the silent passing of time.

The sparkling opener, “Walking Backwards” is a case in point, lyrically, a paean to nostalgic reflection, and one of the best tracks on the album, complete with trebly psychedelic guitar, dreamy his and hers vocals and a chorus which evokes a languid “Four Strong Windows”. At this point I was knocked out, but while it would be grossly unfair to suggest that the rest of the album represents any sort of anti-climax, only occasionally do Damon and Naomi approximate the shimmering splendour of early promise. What saves decent enough tunes such as “How Do I Say Goodbye” from becoming winsomely forgettable are the strong arrangements and fine production values although you suspect that not even these can redeem one or two later tracks (“And You Are There”, for example ) from an almost cloying niceness  and the need of a sufficiently strong hook.

The best tracks here, like “Walking Backwards”, tend to be those featuring the combined weight, or possibly weightlessness of Damon and Naomi’s singing, such as the folk-lite ‘60s feel of “Shadow Boxing” and “What She Brings” which again pitches the fragile, gliding harmonies against Kurihawa’s electric guitar. The closing number, a nicely torpid “Helsinki” provides the listener with a typically gentle and well-executed landing.

For me, False Beats and True Hearts failed to make a huge immediate impression, but like so many enduring and appealing works creeps up on you over time until it most likely becomes so comfortably familiar you find it difficult to remember when it wasn’t around. To quote the Quiet One, it’s getting better all the time. (Ian Fraser)



(CD from VHF Records)

Gorgeously resonant, sustained acoustic and semi-acoustic guitar filigrees from the young New York-based composer Alexander Turnquist. One song flows into the next much like a gathering torrent, putting me in mind somewhat of the San Franciscan scholar of Hindustani classicism Ben Kunin (this is intended as being amongst the highest of compliments; Kunin’s ‘Acoustic Adventures’ album on Communion remains a masterclass of its kind) but if pushed I’d have to say that ‘Spherical Aberrations’ really stands out, with some unexpected and understated violin brilliance and subtle vibraphone thrown into the mix; whilst the obvious show-stopper from a Terrascopic point of view is the sixteen-minute tribute to fellow VHF artist, the late great Jack Rose, entitled ‘Waiting At the Departure Gate’ (check Rose’s ‘Black Pearls if you don’t believe me). Meanwhile, just in case all my cack-handed cross-referencing disguises the fact, I absolutely LOVE this album – and sincerely hope you will as well. (Phil McMullen)



(CD/LP/Download from Strange Attractors Audio House www.strange-attractors.com

Buck Curran was the man behind last year’s worthy Robbie Basho tribute “We Are All One In The Sun” and, with wife Shanti as Arborea, provided one of the album highlights in the face of some very serious competition. Well, joy of joys, Buck and Shanti are back with this, Arborea’s fourth album, on which they are ably aided and abetted by cellist Helen Espvall out of Espers.

Red Planet comprises of ten lullabies from the spirit world, an exquisite and ethereal dose  of avant-folk on which Shanti’s breathy, disarming vocal is underpinned (though not grounded) by deceptively simple but atmospheric arrangements that convey at once a fragility and strength. The traditional “Black Is The Colour”, which sounds almost Gregorian here, is followed by one of my favourite Tim Buckley songs “Phantasmagoria In Two” and the gorgeously evocative “Spain” is a triptych that sets a tough benchmark for any act tempted to plough a similar musical furrow. Not that the remainder lacks for quality – if anything it gets better. The majestic, minimalist drone of “Red Planet”, featuring Shanti’s hypnotic harmonium and Buck’s resonant guitar presages the dulcimer and floating vocal of “Wolves”, echoing out across frozen wastes, whilst the use of banjo on “Song for Obol” ensures that, even in flight, Arborea retains an organic, almost pure quality.  “Arms and Horses” nudges us towards folk rock territory where the instrumentation is less sparse, providing that bit of extra texture, but still Shanti’s disarming voice rises above the beauty of the accompaniment – it’s a gem amongst gems and my personal favourite here. Red Planet signs off courtesy of the simple plinky-plonk and Kate Bush-style cooing of “A Little Time”, which morphs into an odd assortment of song snippets, both traditional American and elsewhere, by which time there’s little more to say. Sweet Dreams. (Ian Fraser)



(LP/DOWNLOAD FROM ROCKET RECORDINGS www.rocketrecordings.com)

Manchester’s psychedelic drone collective are back following their twin- header with White Hills last year, with a two track mini-album (well by modern standards, that is) nestling twixt a cover that may well bother the God-botherers of the Roman Catholic denomination, featuring as it does a faceless representation of His Holiness bestowing blessings upon a photo montage of riot cops in head-cracking mode.

So what do we have here? Well two lengthy sonically macabre “meditations” that can be anything but easy listening but rewarding enough for those of us wired into this alternative current of industrial space rock. “Tony’s First Communion” starts with an extended single bass note which occasionally slips into a “Psycho Killer” run and the rest of the gradually builds around this. The minimalist, repetitive hammer-like beats usher in the sound of some infernal contraption being knocked out in a cosmic forge, as a kitchen sink of guitar, synth noise distorted incantations and that bass-heavy riff is manhandled into a grotesque yet oddly appealing shape. Someone somewhere is probably already using this as some sort of alternative primal scream therapy.

“Vatican” perverts, or at least distorts, the Mass and the church organ – the papal incantations evoke dub reggae, the organ invokes a mellatron, while those pounding, insistent beats begin to sound as much tribal as motorik. At one point the “church organ” seems to play the basic three chord/note run of The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” over and over again as the maelstrom lays waste to all around it..

Powerful, dystopian, energising and a wee bit scary and, if your tastes incline more towards the sunnier slopes of psychedelia or the wistfulness of avant-folk, this could seem a bit hard going at times. It certainly isn’t for the faint hearted which to my mind makes it a challenge, and we like a challenge here at the Terrascope, particularly one as fulfilling as this. (Ian Fraser)




It was almost exactly four years ago that we had the pleasure of interviewing Orriel Smith on the heels of her appearance on the Fuzzy-Felt Folk compilation. In the intervening years, Ms. Smith has released several albums of “cluckoratora”, wherein she clucks famous arias from the likes of Mozart, Verdi, and Puccini. However, her heart has always been close to the folk songs she sang on her debut album, A Voice In The Wind released by Columbia nearly 50 years ago. At the end of our interview, she expressed a hope that one day she would return to those types of songs and this similarly-titled release is the long-awaited result. As she says in her liner notes, she has “always kept a special fondness for the poignant melodies and diverse characters in folk music.”
                  Accompanying herself on guitar and with sparse orchestral arrangements performed by Don French, Smith delivers an impassioned collection of traditional folk songs from Ireland, Britain, America, Mexico, Russia, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. The backing ranges from a softly intertwined guitar and orchestra on opener, ‘She Moved Through The Fair’ to her gently plucked acoustic guitar on ‘Lady Mary’ and ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’, to the a capella marvel, ‘Come All You Fair and Tender Ladies’ that finds her in as fresh and fine a voice as those early recordings.
Throughout, her crystalline voice tickles the heavens, occasionally operatic, but never less than emotionally enthralling. Think back to that voice wafting from the radio towards the end of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers and you’ll get an idea of the immaculate purity and emotion in Smith’s vocal pyrotechnics. ‘Danny Boy’ is as heart wrenching as any version you’ll ever hear, and her other tales of death, forbidden love, and lost virginity snuggle warmly up alongside songs of faith and devotion, including the a capella ‘Were You There When They Crucified My Lord’ / ‘Amazing Grace’ medley that’ll bring tears to the eyes of angels. Record companies don’t release albums like this any more, which may explain why Ms. Smith has elected to release it herself. You can find it at the link above. It’s one of the summer’s earliest treats.  (Jeff Penczak )



(Global Recording Artists)

Campbell –Lyons was one half of the cult ‘60s psych band Nirvana, who along with partner Alex Spyropolous released eight albums between 1967-1997, including what he claims was the first concept album, The Story of Simon Simopath (which did predate S.F. Sorrow and Tommy). A few years ago, he wrote his autobiography (Psychedelic Days) which details his hijinx in the music biz, rubbing (and raising) elbows alongside the Ealing crowd and the likes of Mitch Mitchell, Donovan, Terry Reid, and producers Mickie Most and Guy Stevens. He also describes in hilarious detail his French TV appearance alongside Salvador Dali, which may have contributed to the title of this, his fourth solo album. (Dali is surrounded on the album cover by a dozen Dalai Lamas to complete the album title’s visual pun. There are also a baker ’s dozen tracks, so you can choose your own explanation!)

The mood is sedate and relaxed throughout, with Campbell-Lyons’ nearly 70-year old dulcet vocals to the fore and not buried beneath production trickery. This adds warmth to the tunes that feel like he’s invited you to a private performance in his living room (although Vuyellwa Njoonge’s light and airy female backing vocals provide a nice lift). An occasional synth effect on tracks like ‘Reach’ and the Floydian ‘Fallen,’ (which also sounds remarkably like an Ade Shaw – Bevis Frond bassist – solo effort, as do ‘Nothing Changes’ and ‘Sad Song’) suggest that Campbell-Lyons has embraced the 21st century tools that’ll appeal to the younger generation who may not be familiar with his remarkable pedigree or back catalogue.

Campbell-Lyon’s partner Spyropolous co-wrote and sings backing vocals on three tracks: the funky ‘Murderland’ will appeal to Dire Straits fans; ‘Flowers For Friday’ is a wonderful hippy-dippy singalong that evokes Spanky & Our Gang, Mamas & Papas, and the Peanut Butter Conspiracy; and the album’s most psychedelic track, ‘All I Do Is For You’, with its phased (and spoken word) vocals, shamanic chanting and trippy fx. For variety, there’re even a couple of jolly country sashays courtesy such  homespun as ‘Address Book’ and the aforementioned ‘Reach.’

Campbell-Lyons also delivers some interesting cover versions, including a heartfelt reading of Tim Hardin’s ‘Unforgiven’ (his raspy voice crackling with emotional tension), a bouncy, raggaefied trip through Arthurly’s ‘Live And Let Live’, and a heart-tugging rendition of Richard Thompson’s ‘Galway To Graceland’ that must have brought a tear to his eye in the recording studio (Campbell-Lyons was born in County Waterford in Ireland). While not as heavily orchestrated or outright psychedelic as his earlier Nirvana albums, all 13 of these Dalis will appeal to fans and novices alike.
( Jeff Penczak )



 (Global Recording Artists)

In case you missed it the first go round, GRA have reissued the Beau Brummels’ vocalist’s debut solo album, originally released five years ago following Valentino’s thirty-year recording hiatus. The ten-song set was produced by and features his former Stoneground guitarist, John Blakeley and opens with a tender ‘Love Song’, highlighted by Blakeley’s catchy mandolin and a soft-show shufflin’ backbeat. ‘Snowman’ is a laidback effort that finds Valentino’s smoky tenor nudging into Dr. John territory and ‘Weakness In Me’ is a heart-tugging rendition of the Joan Armatrading weepie featuring another sparking Blakeley solo.

The backing is relaxed, with Blakeley shining on mandolin, dobro, mandola and tasteful electric guitar solos peppered throughout and Valentino is in fine vocal form, although if you played this for your friends they’d never guess he was the voice behind such classics as ‘Just A Little’ and ‘Laugh, Laugh.’ He cuts loose on ‘Valley of Woe’, a snappy little country-blues number written (and originally recorded as ‘Down In The Valley Woe’) by his friend, Jackie Greene, with whom he has also recorded and toured. I also dug the swampy, rockabilly groove of ‘Looking For You’ featuring what Blakeley calls “some of the best modern rockabilly I’ve played” in his liner notes. Parrot Heads will surely dig the Jimmy Buffett-styled calypso cha cha of ‘Catherine I Do’ and the closing ‘That Way’ is another warm and cosy love song that melds Ian Hunter to John Prine and delivers the best of both.

So if you’ve managed to catch any of the periodic reunions and wondered what Sal might sound like on his own – untethered from the Brummels’ back catalogue, Dreamin’ Man is a fine introduction and worthy edition to his discography. Now I’ve got to hunt down his two follow-ups, 2006’s Come Out Tonight and 2008’s Every Now and Then.  (Jeff Penczak)



( C.D. from Hyped to Death Records, P.O. Box 351, Westminster, MA 01473, U.S.A. www.hyped2death.com )

To the best of my knowledge, I don't think that any of the "Messthetics" series of CD compilations have ever been covered by the Terrascope. So, it might be wise to offer up a bit of background info on this laudable and fascinating project masterminded by American archivist Chuck Warner. 

This series has been in existence for a number of years with the prime directive being to unearth obscuro Brit post-punk/d.i.y. recordings vinyl/tape) from 77 to the mid-eighties. Cottage industry's golden age, if you will. So far these comps have dug deep into the underground scenes centred around the London area, the Midlands, South Wales, Scotland, Manchester and, not forgetting of course "Messthetics Greatest Hiss" - a nationwide trawl through the annals of the "Cassette Culture" mini-explosion, which involved the likes of The Jelly Babies, Instant Automatons and many, many others. Folk who were willing to send you their wares in exchange for a blank C60 and return postage (!)

    And now comes the latest installment, which collates a (beyond) motley selection of outfits that originated and plied their trade along the "English Riviera". In other words, a line plotted from Bournemouth to Brighton, stopping off at a coupla points in-between. And it's one of those points, namely Havant (Hampshire) that I'll cover first, seeing as I was, ahem, "there" at the time and, having to declare an interest, was a fringe member of "The Pink Flamingos", who can be found here sandwiched between the Vitamins and Joe Dash. But, more on them later. So, there will be a few anecdotes - but for the real info, you really should refer to the excellent, detail-rich sleevenotes - which can also be found on the "Pompey Punks" website.

    Again Again and Mike Malignant & The Parasites were other members of the "Havant Garde". The former came together at Southdowns college/Purbrook where V.U./Roxy fans Rob Hutchings and Roger Payne teamed up with art lecturer Jeff Pountain (guitar) and Drummer Mark Broad, Mark Mason joining soon after. Numerous well attended local gigs and support slots to X Ray Spex and The Boomtown Rats saw them moving to the smoke where they did a well received Peel session and released one 12 inch single on "Do It" records. Their track her, "Wrong Again" is a pretty fiery slab of 77 style new wave, in which the twin six strings have distinct traces of influences from across the pond in the shape of Uncle Lou and early Television.  Again Again formerly rehearsed in a ratty old building at the back of The Museum Gardens pub (now gone) where ivy used to cling to the inside of the building! Very bijou.

    Mike Malignant & The Parasites and The Pink Flamingos were both, give or take a few miles, from the Emsworth/Havant region. The tracks on offer were culled from their shared seven incher "These Things are Sent to Try Us". (Paramingo Records). Mike and cohorts, namely Plog (bass), Ant (untuned guitar) and teen prodigy drummist Nickerneck (who was tutored by Brit free jazz giant John Stevens), could best be described as an audio equivalent of a set of explosions in a food factory with globs of unknown substances flying every degree out of three-sixty, the only constant being Nick's drum pulse. "Free Punk" I'd guess if you need a handle. Their "O.D. Baby" does rein in that energy a tad and strains of The Prats, Half Japanese and what I'd imagine Manchester's The Worst to sound like rise occasionally to the top of the goo.

    The Pink Flamingos' "Oh Isn't it Wild" (isn't that a line from the Ig's "Nightclubbing"?) marries the near deadpan vocalese of Petersfieldian (and future "Snub T.V." co-creator) to ping-ponging guitar dischords which almost dip a toe or two into the waters of the burgeoning cold wave movement. Annoyingly for me, I missed out on the P.F. recording session as I couldn't get the day off work and, having a dim bulb moment, never thought of "pulling a sickie"! Damn Damn Damn. One gig which sticks in the mind was where all the group/instruments/entourage travelled to a rainy Hayling Island in the back of a lorry, all concealed underneath a musty-smelling tarpaulin, and all fearful of being nabbed by the local constabulary. Heather (the bass player), by the way, did the gig decked out in authentic-looking hula dancer gear...coconut bra, grass skirt...the works! Aaah halcyon daze!

    Now onto Portsmouth (8 miles west), we have an early cut from Renaldo & The Loaf. "Scottish Shuffle" is taken from the first (and best) Pompey compilation l.p. "South Specific" and remains one of their strongest and indeed crankiest numbers. The main subject here is only getting the girls after walking backwards, talking with a Scottish burr and doing the highland fling (!). It just goes to show what can happen when one pledges blind allegiance to Doctor Findlay (not forgetting Janet). The Thought Police's modish/new wave "Mr Sad" seven inch didn't quite fit in with those over reverential sons of the Jam like the Chords and the Purple Hearts, but to me these St. John's College old boys edge far closer to London's Times and The T.V. Personalities during their Steed/Twiggy-sleeved phase at Rough Trade. Scene stalwarts The Attic's nervy "War, We're at War" is given an extra dimension with its emphatic keyboard stabs, while "Through to You" from The Chimes veers towards all things Buzzcock - but only if there were four Garths (not a bad thing in my book...). Portsmouth's entries close with The Right Profile. Their "Alien" taken from a cassette comp, contains some really assured/punchy vocals courtesy of Michelle Cockerill, making it a kinda Rezillos/Shop Assistants type thing. Nice.

    Now aside from Svensk (from the sixties), Unrest, Work & Play and The Tours (who played at Portsmouth Locarno), I thought that was it for Bournemouth. Wrong. I missed out on The Intestines!!! and even though their pseudonyms verge on the pantomimic (Harry Scrubber, Sid Bladder and Richard Moth-Photography (!)), their "Boy With a Gun" is a needles-in-the-red, ultra primitivo scuzz classic. With knobs on.
    Southampton is our next port of call. I had no idea that In Tape Records' Stitched Back Foot Airman hailed from this area. Their previous incarnation Greeting No. 4 are included with the scaled down Magazine/Passage-like "Photos". "Foetus" by Almost Cruelty is equally swirly/atmospheric, due in no small way, to their penchant for faux electronics and claustrophobic ambience.

    Onto West Sussex, Chichester, to be precise, where I used to work in the nineties/noughtties. During that time I was never really aware of anything much going on AT ALL, save for hordes of Blues Brothers wannabees and tribute bands (though I did see Sluts in Trust play at a poorly attended gig in East Street). Think of the city walls as a tightly fastened corset and you're not too far short of the truth, I'm afraid. However, in the late seventies there was a spark of independence in "Chi" with The Indifferent Dance Centre and Forward Edge. The former's "Flight & Pursuit" (recorded live to tape at Lavant Village Hall), having a Marine Girls/Fatal  Microbes flavour with spaceous guitar filligree. The latter's "Statements" meanwhile, assaults the ear with an insistent, treble-loving punk ramalama.  Moving further eastwards, we hit Worthing. Once host to the "Phun City" festival (1970) and one time home to The Bloated Toads and their eventual spawn The Legendary Tenfoots. The Toads' ironic "Happy Home" and indeed The Tenfoots' "Just an Excuse" both being good enough to sneak into, say something like the Josef K songbook.

    And lastly but not leastly, Brighton - whose healthy post punk scene centred around the highly regarded "Vaultage" comps issued through the Attrix label. I'm a little surprised that their Johnny & The Lubes' "I got Rabies" got sidelined, but I can take comfort in discovering the joys of April & The Fools' bad girl-styled 60s pop/punk hybrid. There's also a live demo from The Poison Girls, great folkish femme vox from Helen McCallum's Chefs, who should've been big! A striking dual vocal trade off amid abrasive riffage in The Objeks' "Negative Conversation" and 3D's "Emotions" a grim, weird, sludge-filled mid-tempo piece with submerged vocals. The notorious (to the local press anyway) Lillettes' "Air Conditioning" is another terrific piece of (then) commercial punk pop, even with an 'old crone' style spoken interlude worthy of Monty Python's Chapman and Jones, while the Relatives' "Organisation" is a telling character study, where the 'ordered life' of a big city businessman seems to be fraying around the edges.

    Saving the best until last, a warning in bold type to those awaiting medical treatment. Joe Dash's "Truth About Surgery" is a real sick hoot, beginning with a Mark E. Smith body double yelling "Cut it Out!!", it opens out (sorry) into a snazzily worded glossary of medical terminology and a "surgery kills!!!" pay off. A great thing. And....that's it!

    Remember John Lydon's sneering attack on the "satellites of London"? (that's me and possibly thee). Well, the ex-pistol and recent butter ad whore got it so dreadfully, dreadfully wrong didn't he? (Steve Pescott)



(CD FROM DFBM www.dyingforbadmusic.com)

Named after the priestess of an obscure Mexican blood cult of the 1960s, Belgian three-piece Magdalena Solis play the kind of mystical psychedelia that sounds appropriately transcendental yet with an edge of menace that befits their rather sinister source of inspiration. Musically though, Hesperia is less Latin American and more Babylonian and North African influenced, although the undeniably exotic rhythms are complemented by enough clanking industrial noise to draw favourable comparisons with the likes of Terrascopic favourites Teeth of the Sea and Gnod.

Nowhere is this esoteric melding of styles better exemplified than on “Cities Crumbling Planets Growing” a pulsating, writhing snake pit of a track and on “Prosperina’s Garden” in which Salome dances under the full moon to the howls of wolves and to a grinding organ that’s less Doors than Seeds (think “900 Million People Daily All Making Love”) as the Valkyries descend; Yes I know the imagery is confused and the global references a wee bit scattergun, but hopefully it gives you an idea of how colourful a kaleidoscope of an album this is. And it gets weirder and more and more “out there” as evidenced on the standout track “Sisters of the Twilight Mansions” and the absurdly, no brilliantly, titled “Crown Your Whores and Burn Your Kings”, which sounds exactly as orgiastic as you’d expect. It’s a shame they don’t make hippie exploitation or hammy horror movies anymore because you’d be hard pushed to find a better soundtrack than this.  (Ian Fraser)