Today I released the second installment in my Space Wars-series of imaginary soundtracks for never made sci fi movies and television series. Space Wars Vol. 2 differs from Vol. 1 (released in November 2012) in that it relies much more heavily on hardware synthesizers and drum machines. Vol. 1 was a bit of an oddity for me these days in that it contained quite a lot of tracks done with mainly software synthesis. Vol. 2 also features more rhythms and drums than Vol. 1 and is probably a bit more melodic too, well I'll let the listener be the judge of that.
Anyway Space Wars Vol. 2 is out there to stream or download for free. So get it now.
I used to be in a synthpop band called Radical Tea Party. That was before that name would lead people to associate to certain American political movements. I thought it was a really clever name when I came up with it sometime in 2001: one quite un-radical thing (drinking tea) mated with the word radical. I'm not quite as fond of it nowadays. When I decided to put our old demos up on Bandcamp I played with the idea of shorten the name to something like RTP to avoid any misconceptions, but eventually decided against it. Radical Tea Party is a part of my musical past, and I feel I have as much right to the name (and interpretation of it) as anybody else. When we retired Radical Tea Party in about 2009, the name issue was very much a part of the decision. By then I had started to get very weird invitations from people on MySpace, urging me to "help take our nation back", people who obviously hadn't listened to a word of our lyrics, read our song titles or even checked which country we resided in.
Radical Tea Party is a part of my past, the type of music we made doesn't really interest me today, but I decided it was time to put up some of our stuff on Bandcamp, if for no other reason than to bring some structures to our back catalogue. So far our second demo album "Frostland Mysteries" has been published. I also aim to present both the first "Radically Yours" demo from 2003 as well as the 2006 "Earl Grey OD" soon, along with some kind of outtakes/archive collection.
This sequence from an episode of The Avengers (actually think it's from The New Avengers, but haven't really beem able to verify it) almost plays as a commercial for the Dubreq Stylophone. Either product placement was a lot less expensive in those day, or the Stylophone business was really booming in the mid seventies.
It's been a while since I posted anything, so I've a bit of catching up to do. One of the acts I have been getting in to and been enjoying immensely during the start of this year is rural industrial sound explorers Hacker Farms two albums "Poundland" and "UHF". Hacker Farm and some affiliated acts (IX-Tab and Kemper Norton) got a well deserved write up in The Wire Magazine this fall. I had been meaning to check out their stuff since then but it wasn't until the DL version of "UHF" turned up on Boomkat that I took the plunge. Well, what can I say, after that it wasn't long before I had ordered the CDr of "Poundland" from Norman Records as well.
Both albums are wonderful examples of everything I wish for in industrial/electronic music. When I first heard "UHF" it was like listening to an album I had hoped to hear for so long. What I particularly like about Hacker Farm is the inherent playfulness in their approach to the genre. Whereas way to many industrial/experimental tale themselves way too seriously. With Hacker Farm there's a true sense of exploration and, dare I say it, fun. By this I don't mean to imply that their work shouldn't be taken seriously, it most definitely should. Well, I feel a bit out of practice here so let's conclude by saying that these two albums are an absolute must if you have the slightest interest in TG, early Cabs or anything of that ilk. Totally contemporary and utterly arcane at the same time.
A year ago I had just started a three month tenure at a children's book publisher in Chichester, and it was with some annoyance that I noted the Hacker Farm/IX-Tab/Kemper Norton-event at the Outer Church a couple of weeks ago. Had it taken place a year ago it would have been easy for me to attend ...
A short list of some reissues that have caught my attention during 2012. In no particular order, and as with the other best of 2012 list it only includes stuff I've purchased and have had the time to listen to properly. Looking at these five titles I realize that I own four of them in physical form, compared to the Top 20 list where I've bought the absolute majority only on digital. There's of course a logic to this, in that reissues quite often include a lot more interesting liner noter than more contemporary releases ...
anyway here goes, five unmissable reissues of 2012:
Laurie Spiegel – The
Amazing reissue of computer
music classic from the early eighties with a full albums worth of extra
material from the same sessions as the original. Incredibly fresh sounding
compositions that put most of the current neo-kosmishe/pastoral electronic
scene to shame.
Compilation of tracks by
less aknowledged pioneer of british early electronics. Way up there with Oram
and the rest of the Radiophonic bunch.
Daphne Oram – The Oram
Tapes Vol. 1
A more comprehensive
collection than the Oramics collection and a huge step in the right direction
in order to make Orams legacy available to the public. The exhibition at the
Science Museum in London along with this made 2012 a very good Oram year.
Great compilation of Ciani’s
early output. Not a dull moment in it’s arguably quite short running time. One
of those albums you wish would be longer, because a listen always leaves you
wishing for more. Thankfully there's also the great reissue of Seven Waves that was released this autumn.
There's rumours doing the round about Korg being about to release new MS-20 with a micro keyboard at NAMM in a couple of weeks. Though it's about time for something new in their Monotron/-tribe range, this almost seems to good to be true. A full MS-20 in a case the size of the Legacy collection controller of a few years back. Projected cost at about 700 dollars would put it squarely in Minitaur/Minibrute territory competition-wise. Apparently it's a site at an Argentinian music store (Import Music) that's the source of the rumor. When trying to access the page now it seems to be removed. Still, I'm awaiting official word until I allow myself to get really excited about this. There has been a lot of fake rumours considering analogue Korgs before and doesn't it seem a bit odd if they would call it a Mini MS-20. It ought to be called a Micro MS-20, surely?
Well, here goes. My humble shot at a top 20 list of my favorite albums of 2012:
1. Ricardo Donoso –
Assimilating The Shadow
The follow up to last years
great Progress Chance from Ricardo Donoso turns mellowed down trance arpeggios
into lush kosmische explorations. Donoso has taken his sound and ideas to a new
2. Nick Edwards – Plekzationz
It was a bit hard to pick
which Nick Edwards/Ekoplekz/Ensemble Skalectrix release to place highest on
this chart. But after a prolific year this debut under his own name feels like
the most accomplished one.
Amazing live recording from
a Roundhouse gig in 2011. Meditative and aggresive at the same time. One of the
most refereshing albums of the year from a couple of legends in the industrial
scene teamed up with a representative of the best of the new generation.
Last year the Jürgen Müller
”archival” release stunned me. This year the man behind that alias has
captivated me with his Panabrite releases. This one is the best of the lot.
Totally unmissable if you’ve got the slightest interest in neo-kosmishe library
8. No UFO’s – MPC Tracks Vol.
The second release from
Nice Up Int’l in my top ten, along with Cloudface. This one is an amazing
collection of chilled out rhythmic tracks all created on an Akai MPC.
11. Outer Space – Akashic
Record (Events: 1986-1990)
Outer Space is John Elliot
from Emeralds, and after a bunch of more obscure releases finally put out not
one but two proper albums this year. This is my favourite of the two, and in my
mind the best album to come out of the Emeralds camp this year.
Miles from Demdike Stare
put out this collection of noise/drone-oriented tracks recorded during the
Emelental sessions, and for me an even more essential listen than the
nevertheless great Demdike album.
KFW puts jazz drums through
his modular and turn out this absolutely stunning shocker. Noisy and arhythmic
but highly enjoyable at the same time. An album that make’s you feel cleansed
after listening to it.
15. Pye Corner Audio – The
Black Mill Tapes Vol. 3
PCA’s debut on Ghost Box is
great, but it is this album that I have been listeing to the most. A truly
unique voice in the hauntologic field
16. Ekoplekz – Skalectrikz
There just had to be a
least two Nick Edwards albums on this list. It could have been Snuff Mill Tapes
as well, but I think I have to chose this one, for it’s utter unwillingness to
compromise. Beautiful improv.
17. Motion Sickness Of Time
Travel – Motion Sickness Of Time Travel
The prolific Rachel Evans
releases her greatest work to date with this double album on Spectrum Spools.
The epic quality on this one is second to none in the neo-kosmische field.
18. Lee Gamble – Diversions
This got quite a bit of
hype when it was released in November. It made me a bit sceptical but then I
gave in. And I’m glad I did. Gamble’s hauntological approach to rave chill outs
is strangely fresh and rewarding.
Radiophonics has been a
great influence on many electronic experimentalists over the last couple of
years, but few have managed to make something as fresh and interesting of it as
Robin the Fog did with this. Chilling and soothing at the same time.
20. Andy Stott – Luxury
There’s quite a few artists
from Modern Love on this chart. This competed with Vatican Shadow’s Ornamented
Walls and Demdike Stare’s Elemental for the 20 spot, but since those artists
have other representation on this chart I settled for this one.
As always it is kind of
silly to make lists like these. As if a year constituted any kind of unit
musicwise, as if anybody’s music experiences could be quantified thus. This
chart is best regarded for what it is, a picture of myself trying to recollect
my listening habits for the last year at the end of the year. Other artists I
also highly enjoyed new releases from this year was X-TG, Demdike Stare, Raime,
VCMG, Andrea Parker, Georges Vert, Head Boggle, Rob Lowe, Silent Servant, 1991,
Sand Circles, Dungeon Acid, eMMplekz, Mordant Music etc. etc. etc.