Tuesday, 31 January 2012

In session in my February show: Dementio13

Given the sublimely varied electronic forces at work behind the music of Paul Foster, aka Dementio13, it's hard to explain his music and even harder to explain why I've never featured it in session on my show before. Four years on from the first appearance of his music in my show, I decided it was time to do something about it. The results stream for the first time tomorrow at noon (UK time) on Dandelion Radio, with repeat streamings on most days throughout February.

I first played Dementio13 on Dandelion Radio in February 2008, so Paul was one of the people at the very top of my list to appear in our 'Five Years' anniversary compilation last summer, and I knew he would produce something extraordinary. With the (forgive me) quixotic 'Quixote' he duly obliged and a sneak peak of his forthcoming Crash St album (due on 1 May) reveals him to be still moving forward in invigorating and never predictable directions, his exploratory electronica more varied in texture and mood than pretty much any of his contemporaries.

All of the tracks in the session mix will feature on Crash St so I'm pleased to say that my show will be the first chance to hear much of what's on it. You can, however, pre-order the album for an unfeasibly low price at http://dementio13.com/. While you're there, may I suggest a valuable use of your time would be to peruse his fascinating back catalogue. Unless you've got it all already, of course, in which case presumably you know what I mean.

I don't do this sort of thing very often, but I thought the occasion called for a personal top ten of Paul's EPs and albums, both as Dementio13 and, with the equally extraordinary Pixieguts, in Cwtch. I know Mojo or Uncut or somebody would probably call this a 'buyer's guide' or something equally prosaic and consumerist, but I'm just going to label it a list of great music which, remarkably, all comes from the same inspirational fount. To be honest, it's all amazing stuff and I'm sure I'll want to change the order as soon as I've posted it, but here goes:

1. Dementio13 - Blacklung Mixer (2008)
2. Cwtch - be.ep (2010)
3. Dementio13 - Snackshack (2011)
4. Dementio13 - Blank (2009)
5. Dementio13 - The Hobbyist (2011)
6. Cwtch - Cwtch (2009)
7. Cwtch - Beyond Transgression (2011)
8. Dementio13 - Rebop (2010)

9. Dementio13 - Malt (2011)
10. Dementio13 - The Ballad Of Milton Friedman (2009)

Mark W

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Labels To Love Top Ten - February 2012

It's been a depressing feature of 2012 thus far that so many individuals who run some of my favourite small labels have expressed the concern that they can't be optimistic about still being around in 2013. Obviously I hope they're wrong about that, but it got me thinking that, however much I value good websites and blogs in their efforts to discover and celebrate new music, a number of these small labels consistently come up with the goods and remain the most reliable source of such stuff that they'd leave a hell of a hole in my listening experience if they were no longer there.

Feeling a bit powerless, I felt all I could do, in addition to continuing to feature their releases in my Dandelion Radio show, was to keep a monthly log of those labels that, in a current snapshot in time, are flying the flag for innovative new sounds most vigorously, and do this on a more or less monthly basis.

February 2012 features my first such stab. What follows are the ten labels whose music I'm playing most both privately and in the show right now and in recent months. Some are still relatively new, others well-established. What they have in common is their contribution to the discovery and promotion of great tunes.

Inevitably, many of my favourite labels won't make the list in a particular month, often because they've gone through a period of relative inactivity or simply that I've found myself listening to something else of late.

Anyway, for now, I reckon these ten labels are doing the job as well as anyone at the moment, and roughly in this order. Long may they thrive.

10. Bristol Archive Records:
9. Audio Antihero
8. Warp
7. I Blame The Parents
6. Probe Plus
5. Metal Postcard
4. Fruits De Mer
3. Bleeding Gold
2. Daddy Tank
1. Melting Records

Many of the above feature in my February show on Dandelion Radio, with more, including tracks from some great forthcoming releases, to follow in March.

Mark W

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Vert:x - 1947

If you heard the first Vert:x release for Unwashed Territories you'll know what to expect: sonic overload, where guitar and electronic pyrotechnics crash around psychedelic/krautrock drones destroying patterns that you suspect may not have existed in the first place as they go. It's an exhilarating experience, so when it comes in the form of 15 and 21 minute tracks, as it does in their new 1947 release, the effects of the bombardment are longer lasting and even more pleasing.

This time the textures are even more intense, lulling the listener into downtempo peaks and valleys of sound until you come out the other end like a traveller from a voyage both mesmerising and disorientating, like Odysseus emerging from the land of the lotus eaters not entirely sure whether he's been drugged into bliss or had his senses blasted into oblivion by some crazed hallucinatory demon.

Vert:x are a pretty special experience live, so every time they play a gig or a festival a bunch of people who've been there always rush out and grab a copy of their first release for us, the glorious transmission u.t., making it easily the most popular release on Unwashed Territories thus far. Each release is available for less than the price of a pint, with the effects considerably more pleasing and the hangover an absolute delight. Get the two releases here: