Saturday, 5 May 2012

Llamatron - Mirror Of War

If you work in the kind of artistic territory that Llamatron does, for it to work fully you have to achieve something like the impossible.  You've got to churn up your electronica in a cement mixer of sound, take it as far as it can go and then, somehow, crank it up that notch further.  To a notch that, in any common sense idea of the world, doesn't exist.  That's when the tune seizes and assaults your brain in a mad fucking frenzy with an intensity you never suspected existed.   Into a world in which the rules of over-rated common sense don't apply.

And the great thing about Llamatron is he does this not only in pretty much every tune I've ever heard him put out, but also over what you might (madly) call his career.  That is, every time I hear something new from him I expect, and receive, that enormous sonic drive hitting unfeasibly perverse levels but, with each track, something still more amazing.  Astonishingly, the stuff just keeps getting better.  On his Mirror Of War EP, out recently, we get five tracks that breach the apparently unbreachable to stand as the finest expression of Llamatron's art thus far. 

This is not, you may already have gathered, easy listening.  Nor is it listening for people who want things to be easy.  The title of Mirror Of War gives a stark illustration of visceral death beating like a stillborn monster at the pulsing heart of his masterpiece.  In Llamatron's hands, the treatment of war isn't via allegory or delicate artistry, but as a slab of human death laid bare, masterfully delineated in tracks like 'Slay Her' and 'Hymn To The Death', where harsh electronica mutilates its subject brutally and leaves nothing left to be said.  Real death, in other words.  The absence of being.  With nowt taken out.

I love Llamatron's honesty of approach almost as much as I love his work, the sheer joy of which is found lurking in the most graphically violence subject matter.  I understand another EP, Ave Llama, is due to be released very soon on the Peace Off label.  It will, if precedent holds, be even better than this, which is something I can scarcely believe is possible while simultaneously knowing must be true.  Whatever is the case, it will find this remarkable French artist dealing with such paradoxes with a crushing assertiveness that I can never get anywhere near, and nor, as far as I can see, can anyone else.

Hear 'Hymn To The Death' in my May show on Dandelion Radio, streaming at various times throughout the month.

Free Llamatron: Remix of Flatliner by Sinister Souls here

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Celebrating five years on air with Dalmatian Rex & The Eigentones in session

It's always difficult to know what to do about anniversaries, if you do anything at all that is.  I spent Saturday night watching amazing sets from Vert:x and Red Elektra 69 at the Jolly Tar in Wardle in the company of a few pints of Directors and the locally brewed Cheshire Cat ales, but I would have done that anyway so that doesn't really count.

So what came to mind as an option to celebrate five years on the air with Dandelion Radio was a fairly obvious one: to invite exclusive sessions from some of my favourite bands of the last five years.  Realising I couldn't fit them all into one show, without sacrificing all the great new music I wanted to play - which wouldn't have done at all - I opted to spread it out a bit.  Thus last month saw an astonishing live set from Extradition Order and next month we'll have a session from one of my favourites of the last twelve months, the wonderful Snailhead.  In July we've got a particularly special one-off and at the moment I'm not going to say what it is for fear that it doesn't come off.  Not to be missed though, I promise you that.

For the month of the actual anniversary itself, it really had to be Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones.  Their 'Geek' single featured in one of the very first batches of CDs I received via Dandelion and I loved it instantly, using it as a springboard into what at that stage was already a well-established back catalogue from this fascinating band.  Since then they've got better and better, their repetoire still underpinned by a kind of private world surreal humour that comes out of oddball left-field obsessions, the backdrop to which is a weird tunefulness and enigmatic hummability that some of those pricks who sit in a recording studio discussing with their producers how to make their shit 'marketable' would kill for.  

The last five year would have been worthwhile even if Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones had been the only band I'd encountered via my involvement with Dandelion.  That they are only one of several hundred such bands makes me feel very privileged indeed.  If you're a listener to the show, I hope you've found at least a portion of these bands to your liking.  If you're not a listener, check out Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones and find out what you've been missing

Free download: A water vole contemplates the heliopause as a snowflake slowly falls upon Loch Assynt: OSGB36 NC208250

Mark W