= October 2 0 1 1 =

s summer and autumn dance together through golden trees, it is time once again to commence another epic stroll through the Terrascopic orchard seeking out the finest Rumbles for your delight and delectation, hopefully with a cold beer waiting at the end.

   First up Dodd ferrelle, whose raucous guitar and rough 'n' ready vocal style, ensure that his Americana influenced songs are filled with vitality. Add to that some fine playing and interesting arrangements and you have a disc made to played whilst driving in the sunshine. Opening track “Control”, has some great horns driving the tune, whilst “Sucker Punch Town” drifts into REM territory, a gentler sound with a country twang. These two styles are intertwined throughout the disc creating a charming and commercial work, filled with strong songs. (www.doddferrelle.com)

n a similar vein, but with a more West-coast feel, Bravo Johnson has written a collection of twelve fine tunes on his album “Come taste the Sun”, which features, amongst other things, the sound of a wurlitzer organ. After the drifting beauty of “Spell”, complete with a great understated solo, the excellently named “Hopper/Fonda” gets into a mellow groove, shimmering like a heat haze, whilst “Run” is a nine minute, blissed-out floydian soundscape that works wonderfully well, slowing down time as it does so. Never brash or in-yer-face, this is an understated gem of an album, sweet and more-ish. (www.bravojohnson.com)
    Definitely in-yer-face, The Destructors make some punk/garage noise on their latest album “Media Studies”, which takes a cynical and sarcastic romp through the media, having a go at newspapers, celebrities,, Television and digital life. All this is done with a three chord thrash and some sharp, yet not too intellectual lyrics, the album featuring twelve blast of energy and anger that will be welcomed by those of you who enjoy old style UK punk or 80's garage. As a further incentive, there is a track called “Who Gives a Toss (about Jonathon Ross) ?” , wonderful stuff, just make sure you turn it up. (www.destructors.co.uk)

    Compiled by Allen Adams, vocalist for The Destructors, “This Is Peterborough Thrice” is a compilation of bands working in or around Peterborough. The thing they have in common is their love of loud guitars, although not always, there is a good variety of music on show. As with most compilation, the listener is unlikely to like all the tracks, but there does seem to be a high standard on show, with the punk thrash of Headfuct, the strange creeping folkiness of Pennyless, the thick crunchiness of  Dun2def and the shimmering pop of I Only Date Models all cheering up my ears, nice work. No Address for the label, but try The Destructors for more details.

    Collected over three volumes “1986-1991”, “1991-1992”, and “Live '91-'92” , the complete works of The Thing covers their entire life, highlighting their Psychedelic-punk leanings, their mixture of styles and their exhaustive touring routine. The fact that each of these volumes is a double shows how much material they recorded, with disc one containing their early cassette releases, their first album “From Another World”, their peel session and various singles. It is all intense and inventive stuff, shades of hardcore, the buttholes and post punk showing through, with the peel sessions being the pick of the crop. By volume two, the sound has become more expansive and honed without losing its intensity, the set including a whole host of unreleased songs including the album “Hence”, the band morphing into a stoner band without losing their identity.
   Featuring live tracks from CBGB's and a couple of radio sessions, including a great, if a little rough, version of “Sick Things” (Alice Cooper), the final volume could possibly be the best of the three, the band showing immense power coupled to a psychedelic twist, the live setting allowing them to stretch out and have fun.

  With almost 75 tracks, it is a marathon session to listen to everything on these discs, which could be a problem, maybe a single disc collecting the best parts would have been more accessible, although it is a thrilling ride through a small slice of musical history. (www.littlemafia.com)

    Twisted and bizzare, “Circumstantial Pestilence” is an electronic acid nightmare that makes you smile, a mash-up of noise and electronics, samples and programming that defies logic or convention and is much better for it. Impossible to define Bryan Stancil has created his own universe under the name Cheezface, a planet worth visiting, especially with song titles such as “Don't Look a Duct Ape in the Mouth”, “Let Them eat Urinal Cake”, or “Doing Blow with Foghorn Leghorn” on the menu. (www.downwithsound.com)

   Released on Cold Spring, “Fucked on a Pile of Corpses” is a brutal and primitive slab of harshness, the sound of angle-grinders and deep caves brought to you by Skullflower. After the comparatively mellow grind of “Hanged Man's Seed”, the band turn the screw with “Vipers Fang”, a hint of a tune decimated by the nail on blackboard scream the overshadows everything, a thing of dark beauty indeed. Moving on, the screw is turned again as “Defiling Their Temples With Bestial Lust” descends into hell, groaning a squirming in a ecstasy of  distorted sound, three minutes of sonic cleansing before your internal organs implode. With no let up or chink of light, this is not for the faint-hearted with the seven minutes of “Fairy Knife Hell” being the pinnacle of their visceral visions. It is all relative though and the nervous should tread with caution.

    On the same label and based on the secret oral tradition of the African Dogon tribe (who seemed to possess astronomical knowledge beyond their means), comes “Atavistic Dreams and Phallic Totems”, an unsettling and mysterious work from Emme Ya. Filled with deep, textural drones and chants, the disc could be a lost early seventies German electronic band, or maybe an unreleased album by My Cat is an Alien, such is its power and beauty. Over five long tracks the band maintain the mystery and power with the final “Pre-Evat Atavisms (Gods of Shadows) finally releasing the tension taking the listener onto another plane. A remarkable album that need attention. (www.coldspring.co.uk)
    Vibrating with energy and manic intensity, “Electronically Rechanneled Band and Street Choir” collects together two live pieces, with added overdubs, from Ashtray Navigations. First up “Outside Toilet Blues”, a rehearsal for the 2010 British Wildlife Festival,  is a shimmering fifteen minute piece with writhing guitar and a repetitive metallic sequence, that is hypnotic and intense. Up next is a trilogy “Machine Talk-Heads” / “At Last... The Duck” / “Machine Talk-Tails”, with the first part leading us in with a drifting haze of electronics and sweet notes that blend together beautifully. Part two (recorded at the Dewsbury Social Club), then kicks in with bass, drums and sleazy guitar, creating a throbbing beast of a track that needs plenty of volume for maximum effect, sounding like the perfect “Ladbroke Grove” band, down and dirty. Finally, part three slows thing down again, returning to the cool psychedelia of the part one, a hint of Pink Floyd and a wide grin, brilliant stuff indeed. (http://apollolaan.blogspot.com/)

    Staying in experimental mode, two more live excursions can be found on the latest release from Mike Tamburo and Matt McDowell, this time working under the name Psychic Frost, whose self titled disc is a treasure trove of slowly swirling psych beauty, featuring guitar, dulcimer, banjo and a load of effects. Opening with “Hey Enis Dance”, the tracks slowly builds, notes climbing over one another, reaching for the sun, the whole a rising serpent that that delicately devours you with love taking amongst the stars before finally releasing you, twenty plus minutes of meditation and sound. Shorter, at only seventeen minutes, “Taste the Frost” opens with some cosmic banjo, bringing to mind Stonebreath, A hammered dulcimer adding its own tones to the piece, the instruments blending together and sparkling with life. As the track Progresses, it slows and becomes more drone-flecked, an Eastern feel evident, the tones becoming harsher, before the sweetness returns, leading us out to clear waters.

   On the same label and featuring label boss Kevin Moist comes “Holy Ghost Explosion” the latest release from the ever wonderful Evening Fires, recorded live, in a barn, to two-track in 2009. With six musicians playing Violin, Theremin, Synths, Recorder, Drums, Bass, Accordian and Guitars; the bad have plenty of scope to stretch out and play, something they do brilliantly over six tracks and 54 minutes. This is Appalachian space music, the violins adding a homespun feel, whilst the synths, bass and drums pulse in ritualistic joy, music for dancing around the fire, lazy days in the orchard, or a home-cooked moonshine and mushroom festival with good friend and old spirits. Either the track are nameless or I have lost an important piece of paper, it matters not either way, especially whilst track 2 is cooking your brains in a psychedelic electronic stew, a brief mind-scrabble before the majestic track 3 slays you with its beauty and power, some wonderful guitar making your eyeballs vibrate with colour. Every time Evening Fires release a disc they become my favourite band for a while, and, by God, they've done it again.

  Utilising loop pedals, percussion, guitars and her fine voice, Marcella Riccardi, working under the name BeMyDelay, has created “TotheOtherSide” a trancey and satisfying album, that is filled with drones, repetition and chanting. Opener, “YouandMeandtheSunshine” sounds like Nico fronting The Spacemen Three, a driving tune that includes the title repeated over and over, until it becomes a mantra. On “TowardtheSun”, simple bass and precise rhythm, give the piece a joyous feel, the voice and guitar again looped to perfection. With a ragged and spacey demeanour, “CobraSun”, is a small lysergic gem, sweet and beautiful to the ears, whilst “TearsandVisions” is a gossamer cloud of sound as delicate as the morning sun through a misty vale. All wonderful stuff, worth investigating. (www.boringmachines.it)

    Also on Boring Machines comes Rella the Woodcutter, whose “I Know When it's the Time to get the Fuck away”, mixes experimental semi-chaos, as in the opener “Apochryphal”, the sound of instruments tumbling out of a tree, with Lo-fi songs, such as the wonderfully titled “Are You Expired?”, a world weary lament that reminds me of early songs by Ring, with its laconic drums and emotion filled  delivery. The same textures are to be found on “Coward” and “Bodies”, although the latter has distorted guitar adding to the general air of sadness that permeates this disc, the song almost grinding to a halt at some points. Finally, a lonesome harmonica heralds the arrival of “Wrong Affection”, a slow sprawl of a song that is achingly poignant and beautifully realised.

    Like an electronic version of Can,bent on having a good time and pushing the Envelope, the joy of Snorkel is there for all to hear on “Stop Machine” their latest album. After the lively title track, a mess of rhythm and post-funk, “Dead Skin” begins with an electronic rumble before a precise beat opens the song up to possibilites, a pulsating bass suddenly uplifting the track into a finally crafted electro-pop classic, with soul, whilst the vocals are weirder than you first think, the whole thing recalling Thomas Dolby's excellent “The Flat Earth” album. On the more experimental “Edgar's Hoover”, the band walk into Krautrock territory, or possibly the work of Silver Apples, but with their own twist on the sound, nothing too retro here. Over eight tracks the band never let up the energy or enthusiasm, fans of Appliance or Zukanican should check them out and it sounds great drifting over a sun-filled garden. (www.slowfoot.co.uk)

    Walking the place where indie becomes shoegaze, becomes psych, becomes experimental post-rock, becomes damn fine music The Japanese war Effort, cover all bases with ease on “Surrender to the Summer”, their excellent five-track EP. With a lilting riff and chiming guitar/bells, the title track grooves its way into your heart, displaying a songwriting maturity and an ear for melody, whilst “Beach Buddies” is a guitar haze, with reverb vocals and a precise gaze. That haze remains for “Pool Attendant”, although it is used as background ambience, and you can detect a love of Eno in the songs construction and sounds, no bad thing, of course. With the warmth of summer all over it, “Bucket and Spade” is a favourite, employing the right balance of electronics and melody, before “Yr Tanlines” closes the disc in similar style, with some lovely vocals thrown in for good measure. (www.songbytoadrecords.com)

Named “Jonny Common's Deskjob” is a compilation from the same label, which covers the song writer genre and does so with aplomb. There are some great songs on the disc, shades of the Beta band or the Fence Collective to be found running through all 10 tracks. Stand outs are the sweet voice of Panda Su, the excellent lo-fi loveliness of Adam p. Gorman, and the sonic clatter and smile of The Oates Field, whilst the closing seven minutes of Eagleowl is a delight from start to finish, soft and gentle as an owl's feather.

   Finally from the same label Trips and Falls write strange and quirky songs with style and panache on their album “People have to be Told”, which opens with the excellent “I'll Do the Dishes, You Do the Laundry” a slightly pessamistic ditty with some noisy bits and some quiet bits, King Creosote re-writing Nirvana for the post-folk generation. Filled with razor sharp arrangements and inventive riffs and melodies, each song is a plethora of ideas with the short akwardness of “Marginally More Than Mildly annoying” being a personal favourite, whilst “That is a Big Door” is introspective, haunting and practically perfect. (www.songbytoadrecords.com)

    Next up an album that is hard to categorise but easy to listen to as Josh McIlvain and the Generals of SEXCOP, take us to another planet on “The Supermodel who Loved Me”, with the appropriately named “( Come Ride My) Flying Saucer” starting thing off, sounding like Sun Ra meeting Daevid Allen during the making of Camembert Electrique. After this we get the early punk riffery of “H.D.M.B”, all snarl and anger, before “Real Estate” is a sweet pop song, albeit with some strange lyrical twists. This is just the first three songs, which could make the whole disc a bit of a mess, except it doesn't, they all flow together held by a lyrical sharpness and a distinctive voice, the same varied sounds making for an interesting ride over 17 tunes.  Other highlights include the excellent twang of the title track and the Zappa-esque humour of “Porn Hot”, whilst the closing “Manfish”, will make you laugh with its 50's horror movie meets Devo feel, good stuff. (http://mellowfarmer.wordpress.com/about/)

   those of you who occasionally like some mellow songs and a glass of wine, could do a lot worse than listen to Roadside Graves, whose tunes are melodic, easy on the ear and stuffed with quality. Opener “Outside” is a great start, soft and magical allowing you to relax and smile, whilst even the relatively noisier “Double Feature” will not cause offence or the raising of blood pressure, unless you decide to dance, of course, which is quite possible. Over eleven songs there are hooks a-plenty, some melancholy, some happy smiles and a good feeling running all the way through, like a stick of sonic rock goodness, enjoyable indeed. (http://www.autumntone.com/)

    The first album from Fuzz Manta was a heady blast of seventies rock, guitars turned up and swaggering attitude. I am pleased to find that their second album has lost none of that swagger retaining the bands earthy charm, whilst upping the heaviness just a notch. The only dissapiontment is the fairly dull title “Opus II”, something that becomes of no consequence once “Motumann” kicks thing off, Sabbath guitar riffs and some fine solos topped off with swirling organ and female vocals, giving the band the sound of Frumpy or Aguaturbia. To be honest, you all know what this is going to sound like, Uriah Heep, Budgie, May Blitz, it is all here and you will either love it or hate. Personally, I love it, like listening to a section of my music collection all mixed up and in a new way. Of course, the songs have to be good for it to work, and they are, with “Lithia's Box” and “Let Me Walk” (the two longest tracks) taking the honours, letting the band have a really good time, that energy transferring itself to the listener in bucket loads. (www.myspace.com/fuzzmanta)

  Like a female fronted Galaxie 500, heading on a open top bus to the land of shoegaze, the music of Karen Zanes (The Freeways, Second day Venom) is gentle, fragile and highly listenable, softly strummed guitar and a gorgeous voice augmented by the sympathetic guitar playing of Frank.E.Butkus, whose restrained style suits the tunes to a tee. Over seven songs the mood remains calm and unhurried, with the pop sensibilities of “Lover Boy” really catching the ear, whilst the sweet ache of “Falling Leaf” slows thing down even more, like drops of water in an ancient stone pond. On the title track “Radio Flyer” it all comes together to perfection, the epitome of the sound, whilst a fine mellow cover of “Mystery Train” is the perfect icing on a delicious and very more-ish cake. (www.karenzanes.com)

     Next up a handful of offerings from the always interesting Static Caravan label. On 7” and sounding like the perfect Canterbury band, Magic Bus make me smile with their self-titled single, a mellow song filled with swirling organ and very English guitars, the track a delight for the senses, the whole vibe sounding like an outtake from “Land of grey and Pink”. On the b-side, a lilting flute just adds to the charm, with “Milky Way” keeping the Canterbury theme going and proving to be another excellent tune.

     Also on 7”, Zombi enthrall the ears with a sequence driven piece of electronic music as “Slow Oscillations” rolls out of the speakers, the synths underpinned with some fine drumming, giving the track a Tangerine Dream feel. The B-side contains a demo version of the same track basically the same, but with a rawer  feel, the bass more prominent in the mix.

    On the same format Lux Harmonium, sound like a leftfield version of Leo Kottke, a beautiful guitar melody, strange lyrics and some lovely instrumental backing giving “The Bones You break” a delightful, pastoral feel, the softly sung vocals adding to the warmth of the recording. The flipside “Camel Bones” is a solo guitar nodding in the direction of Glenn Jones or John Fahey.

   Finally on Static caravan, Goodnight Lenin, play folk infused songs on their “The Wenceslas Square EP”, the gentle folk elements offset by rockier moments, the two elements blended well and augmented by psych influenced keyboards and arrangements. After “Ode to Rebellion” the excellent opener, the title track is a wonderful song, a strummed riff and harmony vocals combined to perfection With all six songs on the disc having something to offer, this is a fine release that sits gently, relaxing and unwinding your mind. (www.staticcaravan.org)

  Right, that's me done for now, time for Ian Fraser to take over, thanks Ian.

    Regular readers will doubtless be aware of the esteem and affection in which we Terrascope scribes hold Sharron Kraus. A delightful surprise, then, to find nestling twixt the clutch of releases in this bundle a rumbles an unassuming home produced CD featuring Sharron and another old friend of ours, Michael Tanner (Plinth) entitled “In The Rheidol Valley”. Basically a collection of improvisations, tunes with a folk structure and field recordings, this was recorded outdoors in beautiful Mid Wales and except for a brief wordless vocal is an entirely instrumental affair. Titles like “Lambs” and four variations on a theme of “Valleys” (curiously numbered 1,2,3 and 5) hint at the spontaneity of the occasion. The result is pleasingly pastoral pinging and plucking, ideal for early morning solitude with just that first pot of tea of the day and the stubborn remains of yesterday’s cryptic crossword for company. Those expecting Sharron’s trademark (lazy label alert!) dark-folk, look away now, or rather don’t, but embrace this for the undemanding, unpretentious slice of organic rusticana that it is intended to be.

Another close Terrascopic friend of long standing, Glenn Phillips has something of a reputation as the guitarist’s guitarist earned over more than 40 years in the business, stretching back to 1967 when, as a precocious teenager he helped found the legendary Hampton Grease Bound. Four and forty years later, and Phillips again teams up with Hampton colleague Mike Holbrook and, with Jeff Calder on vocal duties has released “Sun Hex”, credited to Supreme Court with Glenn Phillips and Jeff Calder. The result is 10 Calder/Phillips compositions and a perhaps unnecessary inclusion of a 10 minute cover of “We Gotta Get Outta This Place. The latter notwithstanding, this is a perfectly agreeable collection of mature AOR, flecked with country and blues and which evokes the likes Little Feat, Jackson Browne and, thanks in no small part to Calder’s delivery on tracks like “400 Pound Vibe”, “Millionaire in Rags”, the peerless Neil Young.  The cornerstone of this fine effort is the superb, slow-burning nine minute title track but the bellicose “CIA ‘66” and “Down in Chickenswitch” (the Feat fronted by ol’ Shakey) and danceable “Can’t Afford to Fall in Love” also deserve special mention. Throughout, of course, Phillips’ playing is exemplary to the point of jaw dropping, but this is no one man band and much credit is due to Calder and co for injecting “Sun Hex” with such a sense of fun and vitality.

The Terrascope is nothing if not international in its appeal as confirmed by this next release by Translit. “No.2”, recorded in Haifa, Moscow and in London, and featuring 12 songs from the pen of singer Andrei Smourov are all sung in Russian so I don’t have much idea of what is going on (which come to think of it has never stopped me enjoying Ali Farka Toure or for that matter opera). This has the feel of both early Gong and University of Errors, with its playful, angular juxtaposition of lo-fi slapstick psychedelia and crypto-new wave/art rock complete with wonky sax and chirpy flute, so much so at times that you wonder if Daevid Allen might not be advised to research a Russian branch to his family tree. It all sounds like they’re having fun and it certainly makes for some diverting entertainment – and how on Earth can you resist something that is dedicated to Traitors, Liars and C***s?

D. Lang is the motivating force behind Magic Hero Vs The Rock People and for whom we have to thank for two helpings chockfull of psyche pop nuggets that bring to mind half-forgotten near-hits, often tantalisingly hummable. Melodic and finely crafted, well performed, and only slightly let down for the want of a bit of quality control and some judicious editing in places, “Begin Thee Again” is the most consistently enjoyable of the two offerings. That said, “Odd Zen Ends” may prove more interesting and varied for Terrascopic tastes – “Hole In Time” is a minor psych/prog classic, complete with extended flute and violin workouts, while everyone’s favourite garage goon, the late Sky Saxon, turns up on “Acid Greets Ya Ho Wa (Songs From The Mountain)” banging on about Father Yod as was so often his want. All very intriguing and both in Mono, too.

We’ve also lots of low frequency rumbling and high register piercing, this month, to probe the outer limits of musical experimentation and, occasionally, test your reviewer’s pain threshold.

Norway’s MZ.412 offer up a terrifying twofer. “Infernal Affairs” explores Lord of The Rings sub-score territory, albeit one depicting a scene permanently populated by orcs and which holds out no possible hope of a happy ending. Check out “Point of Presence” if you want to hear the sound of someone being (and pray to God this is simulated) tortured. Brooding, cold, hard and occasionally nasty, I’m afraid I found this all a bit charmless. “Domine Rex Infernum” mines similar dark territory but is a bit easier on the ear and the nervous system generally – but then these things are all relative after all, and speaking of which, let us hope they are at least kind to their mums.

Japan’s Tetragrammaton present another interesting aural challenge with “Point Of Convergence” wherein Acid Mothers Temple go all drone, and Eric Dolphy gets the fingers down blackboard treatment. Strap yourselves in, feel your face implode, then afterwards relax with a stiff drink, some cotton wool dabbed with olive oil for the old shells, and half an hour or so of Mantovani, or some such. Go on, I dare you. Come on, dare me back.

Three mysterious looking packages from Section XIII: Coma label, each presented in a long box , suggested that I was copping for some DVDs. That’s not the case, and what in fact we have here is three offerings from the labels’ dark roster, variously Gate to the Void (“Black Empty Void”), Daina Dieva (“Leaving The Garden”) and Ignis Divine (“Creatures of the Abysmal Night”). By turn soothing, spectral and sepulchral, and variably audible and interesting, these are crepuscular soundtracks for crumbling crypts in Gothic cathedrals, not to mention your theme party, maybe (dance floor not required). Turn those lights down and break out the Dungeons and Dragons.

High Tea, aka Sarah Ellissa Marquee, produces mellow, trippy, ambient psychedelia on this self-titled release which certainly doesn’t lack merit. Heavily redolent of The Orb organically synthesized with sub-Hillage guitar noodling and splashes of Ashra’s “New Age of Earth”, repeated themes/motifs recur across 9 conjoined tracks, often featuring indistinct, hallucinatory vocals that add to the twilight feel of this curiously gratifying effort. The mushroom season is upon us once more, then.
No contact details were available, Sarah please get in touch...

Six year in the making, Connor Way and Samuel Laubscher serve up a series of serious instrumental fast and slows and loud and quiets on this self-titled release by Of The Vine. At its best when nudging Explosions or Mogwai territory this occasionally lets itself down by a tendency towards the mid-tempo trudge of an instrumental Coldplay and a hundred and their imitators. Curate’s egg.

Tecumseh’s “Return To Everything” features three doomy dollops of drone that occasionally seeps into son o’ Sunn 0)) territory, thanks to some primal riffing, and features the occasional snatch of ethereal cooing, Book of Shadows-style. A worthy offering, in fact this gets my Drone Zone Black Rose award for this month, but there’s nothing so remarkable here as to inspire much to be written that hasn’t already been penned about this highly singular genre or this particular interpretation of it. Quite simply if, like me, you’re partial to this sort of thing then you’re bound to appreciate this mini-album’s worth.

Just before embarking on a European tour in April of this year Urpfe Lanze, Edgar Wappenhalter and Hellvete each contributed one track to an EP which clocks in at just under half an hour. The Urpfe Lanze effort, entitled “The Wandering Sick”, is a discordant collage of detuned strumming and atonal mumblings and the result is something like what you might imagine a musical workshop for long term diagnosed clinically depressed or schizophrenic souls to sound like. This is probably quite fitting as I believe Lanze’s brand of primitivism is what is termed “outsider folk”. Wappenhalter’s two-part contribution is, by turns, a dreamscape of shimmering beauty and drenched in reverb and a denser, uneasy affair heavily reliant on tape loops. All very much ying and yang, and one I liked very much. Hellvete is a member of the unerringly interesting and rather fine Sylvester Anfang II. His “Droomoog” is ambient minimalism to tickle the synapses, which it manages to do quite profoundly, as a result of which I’m sorely tempted to check out his 2009 solo effort “De Gek”.

Portuguese based The Joy of Nature is a band that we’ve featured a fair bit in Rumbles thanks to the three part cycle “The Empty Circle” and is a bit of a personal favourite, so it was gratifying when “Rehearsals for Departure” found its way to the top of the pile. It is in fact a split release with Teatro Grotesco and available as a download from J of N’s bandcamp website (see below). However, after the warped and at times delirious Elizabethan banquet feel of Empty Circle II and its gorgeously gloomy follow-up, this is a very much stripped down, improvised affair taken from rehearsal tapes with much bowing and scraping of strings, plonking of keys and a tendency towards over-familiarity with the musician’s own navels.  The recurring and soporific “There Is No End” is a about the best of a collection which may appeal to completists but is unlikely to win the band too many new followers. The Teatro Grotesco side presents a fuller, more structured and atmospheric sound, albeit a pretty damned sinister and even scary one in places. Of the two sides, this is the one most worthy of investigation.

Finally from this consignment, to our dear friends Fruits de Mer, that wacky little label specialising in 7” vinyl covers by today’s hot and happening psych/left field artists, many of which as is the case in point on this occasion, are much admired by those of us at Terrascope Towers.

Earthling Society serve up a rollickingly retro yet still vibrantly fresh take on Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi (With The Two-Pronged Crown) backed by a cover of an obscure slice of 60s Aussie garage/psych entitled “And I Heard The Fire Sing”, which I had to admit I was hitherto ignorant of. Well I’m glad I’ve made its acquaintance and assume that Fred Laird’s boys do it justice as if the original is way better than this then it is in urgent need of exhumation and release. In fact this is some of the best I’ve heard of Earthling Society, who are on fire on this release, so what are you waiting for? Get yourself around to that Fruits website now.

Oh and while you’re at it you may well want to check this one out as well. I yield to no one in my admiration of The Chemistry Set’s 2010 album “This Day Will Never Happen Again” and bitterly regret having been unable to see their first gig in these shores in a few millennia when they played London back in June. In fact “Impossible Love” is reputed to be closely aligned to their live sound which mixes sublime 60s-influenced melodic psychedelia with horns and a smiley Screamadelica-era Primal Scream vibe. It serves as a useful entry point to a great band deserving of wider exposure and acclaim, and then do yourselves a big, big favour and seek out the aforementioned album as well (from which their cover of the Stones’ “We Love You” is featured on the flip side).

  To round of this mammoth Rumble, it is the turn of Steve Palmer to shed some light on the enormous amount of music released recently, Thanks Steve.

   If you like piano, ambience, film and mountains then the CD/DVD package "Mountain" by Anni Hogan will be right up your street. A collaboration between composer Hogan and Robert Strachan, film maker Bob Wass and mountaineer Cathy O'Dowd, the work is created from remixes of Hogan's original piano compositions, with extra soundscapes added as required. The album's fourteen pieces are extracted with great skill from the originals, manipulating their sounds, often in harmony with the Indian/Himalayan inspiration, eg a "flute" sound on the second track 'Lost Intense,' to impossibly different ends. Most of the tracks are fairly short, but some, notably 'Deathzone,' which includes a spoken commentary from O'Dowd, are longer, and these acquire a certain intensity of mood. Other tracks, such as 'Mother Goddess,' remain quite faithful to the solo piano originals. The films are amazing, though there is a slight over-reliance on special effects, eg. double-exposures of mountain scenes - gilding the lily. But the later shots of mountaineers climbing, and the extraordinary sight of white mountains against deep blue, almost black sky, generally win through. A notable and artistically satisfying package.

Vlady Vivaldi's new EP "aB-6" is electronic music of the strange and sampled variety, opening with 'Thank You Sound Asleep,' which sounds not unliked the Indo-based loops created by Rapoon. 'Bankruptcy' is more of an electronic lullaby, while 'Sovereign' is a kind of Burroughsian cut-up track; very minimal. 'Slide' plays with recorded slot machine sounds, while 'Routine1' is a weird, lo-fi Casio-lite looped cut. 'Symbiosis' mixes inarticulate voices, while 'I Wuv You' is more cut-up voices. The EP ends with a looped track of choral voices. One for those in love with the avante garde side of electronica.

From Unsung Records comes the third album "The Cult Of: Bibbiboo" by Centrozoon, a duo comprising Markus Reuter on guitar and electronics and Bernhard Wöstheinrich on synths and percussion. The opening track 'The Golden Lamb' cements the musical landscape as a loping cut of glitchy beats, soaring synths and weird effects inhabits the spaces between loudspeakers and ears. The mood and tone constantly changes, from strange to ethereal to strange and ethereal. 'Healing The Land' is a fine example of well-judged ambience, while 'All The Time It Is Using Us' mashes insane beats with more glitchy electronica. It's a kind of Boards Of Canada without the voices and that characteristic BOC analogue wooziness. The twenty one minute title track seems to pass through every sub-genre of electronica, yet, for all this bizarre chicanery, the piece stays true to itself, which is no mean achievement. Album highlight 'Deliverance/The Divine Beast' pits swirling pads and dense chords with perfectly judged sounds and synth solos, while the closing cut 'Thusgg' is a lighter, lengthy piece with some excellent guitar intrusions. I'd say the latter half of the album works rather better than the first half. Recommended to those of an electronica persuasion. 'Lovefield' by the same band (and same partnership) is an improvised work for guitar and FM synthesizer comprising five pieces, the first three lengthy, the final two short. The mood is subdued, with pin-sharp synth textures occupying the same minimal space as the pin-sharp guitar. More difficult to listen to than the absorbing "The Cult Of: Bibbiboo," but where the music does come together, as on 'Field 4,' it is rather good. A curate's egg, this one.

On Ian Boddy's DiN label (purveyors of fine electronica) comes "Conundrum" by Hoffmann-Hoock & Wöstheinrich, the former being Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock, who plays guitar, the latter being one half of the aforementioned Centrozoon. "Conundrum" takes standard synth and Berlin School tropes and plays with them to pleasing effect. Opener 'Virupaksha' matches an ever-changing sequence with some wonderfully distorted guitar playing to create an entrancing cut. 'Bowed Visions' focusses on the guitar more, setting it against a subtle backdrop of synths - nice change of mood - before more drum machine patters emerge. The title track follows the same template, then 'Phased Realities' is a slow electro-stomper, with delayed synth-percussion and dubby delays. At ten minutes 'Swarmandel' is the longest track on the album, and the highlight: great mutating rhythms, more subtle guitar and synths, with the cut just about the right length. A hint of FSOL in this track, I think. 'Flavia's Paradise' is an ambient gem with "guitar bellscape", then the closing 'Moonlit' slows the mood down in slide-guitar augmented style. Lovely. An accomplished and absorbing album.

Simon Felton will be well known to readers of these reviews, and here comes his second solo album "Surrender, Dorothy!" which features none other than psycher-than-thou US dude Anton Barbeau, whose recent "Psychedelic Mynde Of Moses" is a great little album. Opener 'Peepshow' nails Felton's indie-psych colours to the mast, with tricksy backwards effects, indie guitars and Felton's very own lugubrious vocals, while uptempo bopper 'Marbles' mixes tunefulness with wistful lyrics; only two and a half minutes, so I expect that'll be the single. 'Surprise' is soft and subtle, 'Lying Down' is a kind of waltztime lament, while 'Finally' changes the audio palette for acoustic guitar, tinkling bells and mournful vocals; I detect the hand of Mr Barbeau here on production duties. 'Novelty' is nostalgic and tuneful - another single! - and 'Slowing Down' reminded me of some of the slower Pugwash songs; great cut, this. A 'sixties flute 'tron opens 'Compatible' to retro-ears, while 'Psychedelia Smith' is another track with Barbeau's fingers all over it. The album closes with a surprisingly dark song, 'Day Dreams & Broken Bones.' This is certainly the most engaging release so far from the house of the pink hedgehog, and is recommended.

Earlier this year I reviewed the excellent "Will Ever Pray" by The Doomed Bird Of Providence, whose "The Fedicia Exine Remixes" now requires attention. Comprising six radical remixes of the track from the aforementioned album, the opening cut 'I Am A Vowel' inhabits the space where drifting electronica can usually be found, and very successfully. The 'Mark Beazley' remix is slow and doomy, accentuating the bass and the extraordinary vocals; also successful. The too-brief 'Position Normal' remix is a kind of accordian/synth tone poem, while the lengthy 'Cloud In The Shape Of Klaus Schulze (live)' mix, as its title suggests, evokes the legendary Teutonic grandfather of electronic music - from the days of 'Cyborg' and 'Blackdance' judging by the sound-world - and is for me the best track on the album. The 'Zoon van snooK' mix is a curious bouncy electro-folk, while album closer 'Robert Logan Diazapam' mix is a glitchy Berlin School monster of a track; very good indeed. Given the variety of the mixes and the genre of the source material, this is a remarkably successful and enjoyable work.

On the same label and following the same template (although only EP length at 16 minutes) comes "Sorry About Your (remixes)" by BLK w/BEAR. 'Casey Jnr' drones and warbles, 'Sumimasen' drones and bleeps with some tasty violin added, 'BLK Apples' drones and drifts, while 'Blue Apples' doesn't drone at all, instead goes all weird and random. A mostly successful EP.

"Provocative Dramas" by Arch Oboler is essentially two radio plays written by Oboler, one of the most successful and artistically lauded writer/producer/directors of the early radio age, whose work here is re-recorded with modern actors (the A.R.T. players). Oboler was at his peak in the 1930's, and his first play on this disk, 'Catwife,' details the horror of a marriage descending into feline chaos. To this is set an original score by Marianne Nowottny, whose "Divine Cantos" I reviewed last year. The music is subtle, tense, and adds to the verbal drama considerably, making the whole 27 minute piece involving listening. The second play 'Baby' details a woman coming to terms with the possibility of a pregnancy before a looming World War 2. Both pieces make for marvellously atmospheric listening - sheer drama!

"Turnip Famine" by Tattie Toes, a Scottish four piece, is a mixture of world influences, jazz/improv music, pattering virtuoso drumming, solid bass playing and a kind of indecipherable punkish spirit that allows this half-improvising, half-preparing quartet to create a unique tapestry of tracks. Accordions float, strange time signatures confuse and enthrall, and the fiddle sweeps and soars. Over all this lies the unique singing of Nerea Bello, whose voice can change from operatic to soulful to almost Japanese sounding, sometimes in the space of one track. Two or three times a year you get an album where all you can do is listen and say, "What the hell is that!" This is one such. Not every track worked for me, but those that did ('Radio Liberacion,' 'Amapola,' the spooky 'Taiko Lullaby' and 'Minneto') are very good indeed.

Nik Freitas is an alumni of Conor Oberst's Mystic Valley Band and Broken Bells, and now plays in Bright Eyes. On "Saturday Night Underwater," his debut solo release, the man collects ten poppy, boppy, sometimes soppy songs, opening with the jolly title track, which merges Simon Felton's pop sensibilities with a bit of a quirky electronic mix, as does the following cut 'The Light.' 'Hold That Thought' shows the man can write a tune (something a tad lacking on the two openers), while the tune, expansive production and backing vocals on 'Middle' make an album highlight. 'In The Frame' adds joyous brass to the mix, while the slow, stately 'Affected' is a very nice singer-songwriter style track, with more quirky production touches and some very nice strings; another highlight. Album closer 'My Only Sail' is a wistful ballad. A handful of fillers bring the album down a touch, but overall this ain't bad.

"River Ghosts" by Moonwood comprises ten avante garde instrumental compositions in highly experimental mode - John Cage meets an ethnic musical instrument collection. Of the four collections of tracks, one is for prepared guitars, one for hammered strings and metal objects, one for kitchen utensils and brass goblet, and one for thumb piano and bells. The guitar tracks are just about listenable, the hammered string tracks are hypnotic and listenable, the kitchen-based tracks sound like an explosion in a bicycle factory, and the thumb piano track at the very end is the best and most enjoyable. As ever with "difficult" avante garde releases, you pays yer money and takes yer choice. As I didn't pay any money to review this, I'll take that closing cut and be off. Ta ta!

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