8 October 2013

Musician's Planet in Stockholm

I visited the first Musician's Planet musical instrument fair in Stockholm two years ago. After missing last years event I decided to pay it a new visit this year to see what it had to offer this time. Since the first occasion it was held it has moved from the rather more central Münchenbryggeriet to the large Stockholm Fair in Älvsjö, albeit in one of the smaller of the halls.

When I arrived, among the multitude of visitors heading for other events such as the home, children and chocolates fair (all drawing much larger crowds) it was quite apparent that not much had changed. At the fair two years ago, the booth arranged by Stockholm music store Jam, was one of the few interesting parts, and it would turn out that their (this time much smaller booth, rather a table than a booth really) was one of the few highs of this years event.

All in all the majority of exhibitors presented painfully predictable products and the level of technical innovation did little to impress. Booths like the one presented by Genelec could just as well had been the booth of some insurance company or obscure lobbying organization. The big guys was represented by Roland, which was about as interesting as could be expected (not, that is) and Yamaha. Both of these was dominated by the predictable selection of digital pianos and drum sets.

Clavia had a place in one of the bigger music store booths (4Sound, if I'm not mistaken) with the Nordlead 4 and the Norddrum 2 present.

The Fitzpatrick booth had a grand selection of Moogs. Among the things on display were the newly announced minimooger pedals. I don't know if these were prototypes or the real deal, but they did look a bit cheap in finish compared to other Moog gear. The most interesting of the series, the delay, was not on display.

Moog also had one of the 30 gold Voyagers on display, which probably was one of the more photographed exhibits at the fair.

One more interesting booth was the one by Stockholm pedal/guitar store These Go To 11. They had a vast selection of pedals on display.

I did discover the Catalinbread brand that I hadn't heard of before. Their Echorec emulation pedaled seemed interesting for example. These Go To 11 had special fair prices on some of the pedals but not all. (One weird thing about this fair is it's reluctancy to offer things for sale. It is a fair geared towards the public, but is set up like a fair for representatives from the business.)

Then of course there was the most interesting table, the one hosted by Jam, that also housed modular on-line store Escape From Noise, german pedal/module producer Koma Elektronik and swedish gear manufacturer Teenage Engineering. All of these were present on one table. Jam had brought an Analogue Solutions Vostok Deluxe and a 9U eurorack with modules from Ananlogue Solutions and Malekko among others. These were hooked up to an array of Koma Elektronik pedals, and what was probably the crowd pleaser or novelty piece of the fair, the Kommander. (It was quite interesting to watch the reactions to passersby when they saw different synth noises being triggered in the air from this little device. The novelty effect of this seems to be just as great in this day and age of Wii and Xbox Kinect as it was when Lev Theremin introduced his instrument in the first half of the 20th century.)

Jam also had one of each of the Korg (who didn't have a booth of their own) Volca series on display (as far as I know it's the first time they've made a public appearance in Sweden. The Volcas are as yet not available to buy here. Since I have two of them on pre-order with Jam (the Beats and the Keys) it was nice to finally get to see them in the flesh. Can't wait to get mine, but will probably have to wait at least a month, probably more.

On the other side of the table Escape From Noise had a rather substantial eurorack setup containing modules from Mutable Instruments, Make Noise, Metasonix and a whole bunch more. One piece that was particularly interesting was the Micromac module from Macbeth. Despite it's high price, it's probably the most bargain oriented module from Macbeth so far.

So alla in all I spent a couple of pleasant hour at Muscian's Planet this year. It's a fair that needs to think about who it's geared towards a bit. It would be nice with a wider selection of smaller more edgy exhibitors. I also think it would be a good idea to encourage the exhibitors to have more items on sale. I didn't buy anything at the fair, but seeing the Koma Elektronik Kommander in action made me order one, that I picked up from Escape From Noise today.

6 October 2013

The House in the Woods

Martin Jenkisn has been making quite a name for himself in the murkier side of the electronic music scene over the past year or so. Or at least a name for his main project Pye Corner Audio. He himself often hides behind the moniker Head Technician. From his first two Black Mill Tapes volumes that got a release on Type last spring and his debut on Ghost Box "Sleep Games" last autumn to this springs tape and EP releases there's been two clear strands to his productions, one brooding techno influenced side and one more ambient (on occasion almost kosmische) side. On his latest full length release, this time under new nome de guerre The House in the Woods it is the side that's taken over the proceedings completely. Or at least almost,

When I listen to "Bucolica" I'm reminded of those GAS albums Wolfgang Voigt put out in the nineties. They were like hazy chill outs after that eras raves, sonic pictures of Voigt relaxing after a week long trance trip in the Black Forest. The beats from the rave still echoing in the distant. "Bucolica" is more like someone trying to come down after a full night of shaking the booty at the Belbury Youth Club, and having retired to the haunted woods nearby, just next to the old abandoned cottage of that seventeenth century witch.

Jenkins has tapped in to that same sphere of beat centered ambient. The drones are in the center but the rhythms are never far away, slowly building and coersing the listener along to an almost trance like state. So enough with the contrived descriptions: this is a great ambient piece, brooding yet somehow strangely uplifting. (There's links to radiophonics and Howlrounds excellent "The Ghosts of Bush" album as well.) It's richness in detail rewards the patient listener. This is an album that needs to listened to repeatedly, to be fully appreciated. Something I've already done, very little else has made it into my iPod over the last week. It's an amazing album that manages to build a sonic world all it's own with seemingly simple elements. This is surely an album that's destined for my personal top ten albums of the year.

2 October 2013

Physique Sedition

The first band proper I was in was called Physique Sedition. We commenced operations sometime in 1990, when we all started 9th grade in school. The members were myself on vocals (because I couldn't really play anything, neither could I sing, but I dared to do it anyway), Lars-Erik Pettersson and Martin Andersson, both on programming, synths and drum machines. I also did the occasional programming chore, but I seem to remember that my efforts were not always heralded with accolades from my band mates ... The band's activities lasted probably about until 1992, after which we rarely worked as a three piece again. Me and Lars-Erik did a couple of further tracks during the 90's until we continued working as Radical Tea Party along with Sebastian Fannon in the early 00's.

I'm in the middle of the process of transferring most of the surviving tapes from the early Physique Sedition era to digital in order to make them (or at least a selection) available on bandcamp. Most of these recordings are very primitive, recorded in mono on one of two stereo channels on a standard tape deck. Most also recorded to normal grade ferric tape, so some are starting to show their age. One exception to this was the latest real recording we did were all three of us were present. Towards the end of 1992 we managed to borrow a 4-track Tascam porta studio from a friend of mine's brother's friend ... and recorded four tracks (no pun intended) made a cover for it and then never really released it. This tape is available to download or stream at the Physique Sedition bandcamp site. Soundwise it's probably the most advanced we ever achieved. The instruments that are most prominently featured on the tape is probably the Yamaha TX16W sampler and the RY-30 drum machine.

Right now I'm putting together some kind of collection of earlier recordings. These have a much more primitive and minimal sound and will be available soon.

Cray "Delta Wahn"

The Australian tape label Rocket Machine is a new acquaintance for me. I only discovered it through a tweet from Brad Rose about their release of Ossining's "Company Men". Having ordered their latest batch of 4 tapes, of which all are good. 2 of the tapes were real standout to me however. I already had the download version of the Ossining tape, so was prepared for that to be great, but what really blew me away was the "Delta Wahn" tape from Cray.

Now, I must admit I know next to nothing about the artist, but sometimes that's a good thing. Free from context you have a tendency to listen without prejudice and preconceptions. And I'm really moved by this tape. Musically it could be described as somewhere between early nineties Warp electronica meets Conrad Schnitlzer in a high fidelity future. The tracks are quite varied and just as you've thought you've got it figured, something turns up to confuse you and amaze you yet again.

The tape edition of 38 copies or so, quickly sold out, but it's still available to get as download. Don't miss out.

1 October 2013

John Foxx and the Belbury Circle

When I first learned last year that John Foxx had been recording something together with Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) for the Ghost Box label, I assumed it would be another entry in their Study Series, i.e. two or three tracks on a 7" single. That in itself was enough to have med longing for it. When it turned out to be a six track 10" EP instead, I was, well not quite ecstatic, but pretty damn close.

When I'm this excited about something I quite often feel a bit disappointed when I eventually get to hear the actual record. In this case that wasn't to be the case. "Empty Avenues" is a stunning piece of nostalgic synth pop at it's best. All the three main participants signatures are there clearly on each track, and yet they seem to fit together so snugly that they seem made to be working together. Even though I greatly appreciate Foxx's collaboration with Benge as John Foxx and The Maths, this is just one step ahead of those albums for me. The lyrics and their mood fit perfectly with the general sense of melancholy and retrofuturism that permeates the proceedings. The links to Foxx's lyrics on Metamatic is obvious, but these are more mature, more settled down takes on the same topics: urban desolation and man alone.

Apart from the five main tracks Pye Corner Audio also delivers a remix on the title track, which perfectly rounds out the EP. What I supposed would be a single turned out to be an EP that I wish would be a full album. Would it be too much to ask for some kind of follow up?

Read full review of Empty Avenues - John Foxx and The Belbury Circle on Boomkat.com ©

Donato Dozzy plays Bee Mask

I've never been one for remix albums, but this is one that has me intrigued. As in many modern "remix" situations Donato Dozzy has quite freely interpreted the original by Bee Mask. Vaporware was released on vinyl last year and one of that years highs in modern kosmische. When Dozzy was asked to do a remix of the track he got so inspired he didn't just make one remix but seven, and all of those remixes are what makes up this album on Spectrum Spools. What I particularly like about the album, apart from the fact that I get further takes on a track I love, is that this actually works as an album in it's own right. Dozzy manages to create a epicly flowing album that's part inovative dronish electronica and part lush neo-kosmische in an almost neo-classical way, almost Steve Reich-ish. Anyway, enough with silly name dropping, just listen to it.

Read full review of Plays Bee Mask - DONATO DOZZY on Boomkat.com ©

15 September 2013

Willow Court Audio

Today I've put up the pre-order for the first release on my tape label Willow Court Audio on bandcamp. It's a cassette edition of my (previously only digital) AB Lundberg album Space Wars Vol. 1 and contains 2 bonus tracks. I plan to make a few other choice albums (both old and new ones) from my output available in physical form on this label in the near future. It's a really small scale affair, and the editions will be limited. I have decided not to go for numbered editions at this stage, but suffice to say that the editions will likely be in the range between 25 and 75 copies. The tapes are all dubbed in real time straight from the masters in Logic.

The tape edition of Space Wars Vol. 1 comes on a yellow C40 ferric tape housed in a matching (well, almost) yellow library case with an insert printed in black on red 130 gram paper.

The cassette is available to order through my bandcamp page now.

11 September 2013


I couldn't resist making a short stop at Kollaps records in Stockholm this last Saturday on the international Cassette Store Day. I didn't pick up any of the CSD specific releases but went away with two tapes nonetheless. One of them was the tape version of the self titled album by Sommet, that I had been contemplating getting for a while. This concept album focused on Mount Everest consists of seven thematically named instrumental tracks of quite accessible synthesizer music. There's obvious links to the nostalgia soaked tunes of the Ghost Box camp and various incarnations of early eighties library music. It's sometimes quite simplistic in nature, but Sommet manages to make it work beautifully. After a few days listening to this I'm very impressed. The tape edition (of only 50 copies) seems to be sold out at source (though if you're in Stockholm, Kollaps seem to have one copy left) but there is a vinyl edition and a cd edition available from Desire Records. So if you're into Ghost Box, Steve Moore or the more melodic side of kosmische be sure to check this one out.

Maurizio Bianchi on bandcamp

Part of the allure of the slightly eccentric italian noise pioneer known as Maurizio Bianchi or simply M.B is the difficulty in getting hold of his work. Both because his back catalogue, at least the privately released tape part of it, is a bit hard to survey, and the lack of authorized downloads and more commonly available editions on cd, vinyl or cassette. However with the launch of the At War With False Noise bandcamp page recently their 2CD compilation of the Computers S.P.A. and Com.SA tapes is available to stream or buy at a very reasonable price. Both cassettes were partly released on the Vinyl on demand box set Archives in 2006, but are here given a full release in all their glorious 2 hours worth of vintage noise drones. As with many early M.B. releases the tracks seems to be 2 channel recordings panned hard right and left. Some of the early M.B.s stuff is quite contemplative in a dark ambient kind of way, but this one is much more confrontational and well, quite disturbing. If you're after the more murky ambient stuff go hunting for The ACVI tapes box set or the AWWFN 2CD edition of Technology 1&2 on Discogs. But if you're interested in the origins of noise and industrial be sure to check out the stream of Computers S.P.A/Com.SA on bandcamp, and you'll probably find you'll want to order a copy before they run out.

3 March 2013

Space Wars Vol. 2

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.

Radical Tea Party

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.

28 February 2013

John Steed and his white Stylophone

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.

25 February 2013

Hacker Farm

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 ...

Read full review of UHF - Hacker Farm on Boomkat.com ©

4 January 2013

5 unmissable reissues of 2012

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 Expanding Universe

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.

Read full review of The Expanding Universe (2012 Expanded Edition) - LAURIE SPIEGEL on Boomkat.com ©

F.C. Judd – Electronics Without Tears

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.

Read full review of The Oram Tapes: Volume One - DAPHNE ORAM on Boomkat.com ©

Lego Feet – Skam001

Reissue of the very first Autechre album with double playing time compared to the original. Strictly speaking released on cd in 2011, but the vinyl version came out this summer.

Read full review of Ska001CD - Lego Feet on Boomkat.com ©

Suzanne Ciani – Lixivation

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.

Read full review of Lixiviation - Suzanne Ciani on Boomkat.com ©