Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Harry Cloud - Red Barn

LA's Harry Cloud is at it again.  His Cry Now, Cry Later EP with Cops was one of the highlights of 2013 - if you like music that slides muddily around your brain, soaking up here and picking up bits of mental debris there until what you end up with is a massive pile of amazing stuff that's half them and half your own fragmented, blasted preconceptions - which I do.  

Now he's back, with another NYOP release on his bandcamp site and, if anything, it's an even more volatile and arresting collection, spanning as it does a bewilderingly broad spectrum all the way from woozy introspection right the way through to manic bursts of  energy.  Exactly what you'd expect from Harry Cloud, only moreso.

My favourite of the six tracks on Red Barn is the longest, 'WOrmhole', mainly because it seems to cover every inch of that spectrum and somehow make room for several more besides.  You can hear it in my February show on Dandelion Radio.  Because it's Harry Cloud, I can't leave it there though, so I've got the arresting melancholy ache of opener 'Dermatillomania' coming up in my March show, which starts streaming on Saturday.

Harry Cloud is necessary because, should I forget, he reminds me that the world is a crazy, warped and utterly irrational place and that I should like it for being just that.  Red Barn may be their most crazy, warped and irrational record yet and I find myself utterly devoted to it.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Qualchan - All My Friends Are Going Visceral

I'm generally OK at pub quizzes but one thing I'm really bad at is identifying tunes from brief extracts or intros.  That's probably why I struggle to identify anything that finds its way into Qualchan's All My Friends Are Going Visceral release.  Or maybe it's because he draws the whole thing together so brilliantly that you stop playing any guessing games within seconds and just let the magnificence of it wash over you.  Which is how it should be.

All My Friends Are Going Visceral is almost nineteen minutes of chopped up extracts and loops of all kinds of material: it feels like it shouldn't hang together at all well and that, in doing so, it defies some kind of musical logic.  That's a hugely liberating experience.  I've no idea whether Qualchan just piled it all up instinctively or whether he took weeks painstakingly stitching this veritable sonic patchwork quilt together.  If the first, then he possesses an astonishing level of artistic instinct; if the second, he is a brilliant musical craftsman.

It's probably a bit of both.  All My Friends Are Going Visceral is split over two 'sides', both around nine and a half minutes in length and the whole release is available as NYOP here.  You can hear 'Side A' in my February show on Dandelion Radio, streaming at various times during this month and discussions are underway hopefully for Qualchan to do something for the show in the near future.  Give this release a try, but leave your preconceptions somewhere else, because this is unlikely to be like anything you've heard anywhere else.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Dementio13 - VTOL

Yes, one of the most prolific and consistently excellent electronic artistes of our time is back again, and he's not alone.  VTOL, the latest masterpiece from Dementio13, aka Paul Foster, consists of a collection of collaborations with a bunch of other artists, many of whom he's worked with on and off before.  And the result?  Another triumph.

As I've said on more than one occasion, the most pleasing thing about Dementio13's work is its sumptuous variety: not for him an easily tagged album of trance or synth-pop or drum n bass; instead, you're likely to find all of these and much more thrown into a pot heaving with vitality and groaning with epicurean delight ('epicurean' in the original, philosophical, sense, that is) under a heady mix of disparate ingredients.

So, add into the mix a whole load of partners, all of whom make great music in their own right, and you get an even denser, even more desirable outcome.  Pixieguts, who usually works with Paul as Cwtch, brings her enigmatic vocal stylings to 'Rodeo Days', while that fine modern troubador Ian Thistlethwaite adds a delightfully laconic touch to 'Self-Doubting Thomas'.  

There are contributions also from Douglas Deep, Alone and Alun Vaughan, all of which add further delightful range to a collection that's as fun to listen to as it is absorbing; a reaction borne out even further by the galloping 'Alcohol', which brings Snippet to the party, a cheerfully rampant eulogy to booze that, placed between a couple of fine tunes featuring Dementio13 on his own, enforces the feeling still more than this is Paul Foster at his most playful: while a sense of enjoyment is hardly rare when listening to this remarkable artist, it's given a certain centrality when company join him at the production table.

Finally, it's only fair to give particular attention to the three collaborations here with Nita Disaster.  Her vocals always lend something gorgeous and almost transcendent to his work and here perhaps more than ever before.  'Pollution' is my personal favourite of the year so far, by anyone, and it features in my February show on Dandelion Radio; the three tracks, plus another, will all appear in an exclusive session mix they've done for my show in March.

But there's no need to wait for that.  Get VTOL as NYOP here and get yourself an invite to a great party where partners are optional, but inevitably bring something very important to the proceedings.