Thursday, 24 March 2016

Mikimo Sosumi - Disco Kill Disco (Daddy Tank)

I've no idea who Mikimo Sosumi is and the Daddy Tank biog seems content for that to remain the case.  If this is another moniker of the excellent Michael Valentine West, that wouldn't come as a great surprise as it's got the same kind of bewitching style underpinned by menacing beats that you find in so many of his releases for Daddy Tank.
All such attempts at detective work, if you're so inclined, quickly become superfluous when you begin engaging with the music itself.  Because wherever it comes from, this is great.  Opener 'Stop Being Strange' has a confrontational yet laid-back Grace Jones-type quality to it.  Huge fan of Jones that I am, that's probably why I've chosen to play it in my Dandelion Radio this month.
It would be a mistake, however, to overdo the comparisons.  Disco Kill Disco, as its name might suggest, seems as keen to bury any influences as it is to praise them.  'You Are Melting' flickers into your consciousness on the back of some demented take on Moroder, picking apart and demolishing any prevailing eurodisco proclivities before your ears have a change to engage with them.
The breathy, intoxicating 'VU Meter' is another highlight, dripping with sexuality while somehow blasted to within an inch of any resonant human urges disappearing within the same laconic, roboticised delivery.
You get the picture, I hope.    The Daddy Tank label is back to its best and to say that this release bears comparison with the Twiggy & The K-Mesons and Social Studies albums that so enrich their back catalogue is the highest praise I can possibly give it.  Get it here.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Thomas W - Long is the Night (Myhand.thanx)

Thomas W's 17th release for the excellent Myhand.thanx net label has all the hallmarks that make all of his works such a consistent pleasure.  There's a semi-improvised element to what he does that allows Thomas W to slide from discordant to delicate and back again in a manner that's striking, and sometimes unsettling, yet entirely natural.
The song titles here give a clue to the personal notes struck in this new collection.  'Sisster', which I'm featuring in my Dandelion Radio show this month, offers early moments of easy fluency before 'Feather' (drop out the -e for a the clue) almost stalls into spoken word reflection as a guitar trembles in the background.
Yet such reflective tunes are bracketed between 'Intro' and 'Outro' tracks whose violently loose structures offer a sense of melodic collapse that's elsewhere only really hinted at.   It means that the harsh moodiness of a track like 'V' doesn't so much come out of the blue as bring elements into sharp relief that are elsewhere suppressed.
I've never heard anything from Thomas W that didn't fascinate me on at least one level.  This one manages to do so on many.  Long is the Night is the work of an artist at his most honest and intimate and as such it's an excellent introduction into his intoxicating musical world.   Get it for free here.


Monday, 7 March 2016

Crowdrock - Music For Dances

Little is known of Crowdrock, a hugely important band from the Dusseldorf underground scene who, among other releases, were responsible for this gem, a vinyl copy of which was discovered in a loft recently.
Of the band's members, Klaus Ein apparently hasn't been seen in public since going out for cigarettes in Berlin in 1981, while Dieter Zwei lost his life in a plane crash in Switzerland the following year.  Hans Drei moved to England and is responsible for the running of the Crowdrock archive, while Albus Barom went off and became a Franciscan month in the mid-eighties. 
Their recording output consists of four albums, three EPs and five singles, all released between the years 1972 and 1979.  The music?  You can hear that for yourself now that their Music For Dances EP (or Musik fur die Tanze) has been digitised and made available by the wonderful Phil South, who you may have heard in my Dandelion Radio show due to his involvement in such fine outfits as The Sinatra Test and Anonymous Bosch.
You can download it as NYOP from here.  I'm playing 'Nummer Zwei' from the EP in my show this month. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

Monster Surprise - Chhh... (La Souterraine)

Pierre Chandeze is responsible for bringing us the excellent With A Messy Head label, so he really didn't owe us anything else in terms of great music.
Thankfully, however, he didn't see it that way and has not put out his first album as Monster Surprise in partnership with the La Souterraine label.  Turns out it's a masterpiece of quirky pop stylings, sub-psychedelic playfulness and brilliantly idiosyncratic instrumentation.
The short opener 'Absence Minocturne' gives you a good idea of where it's going, woozy harmonies morphing eventually in the kind of wayward guitar lines that so many recordings should make use of and so few do.  'Ravale Tes Serpents' unrolls a collage of spoken word lyrics and twinkling instrumentation, while 'Bien a Toi' crashes its way into your head via a buzzing guitar that leaves behind the unexpected presence of gorgeously lilting tunefulness.
'Merde' is the album's masterpiece though, which is why I'm playing it in my Dandelion Radio show this month.  The harmonies are irresistible, underpinned by weaving guitar injections and moving off in so many directions the track becomes nothing less than an exhilarating sonic assault course.  It's one of the best things 2016 has given us so far.
As for the album as a whole, its many stylistic diversions and lovingly crafted eccentricity make 'Chhh...; a delight from beginning to end.  You can get it as a CD or download it for free here or here.   

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Ippu Mitsui/Annie & The Station Orchestra split (Bearsuit)

Bearsuit is one of those labels that just never lets you down, so I suppose it's entirely possible you'll not bother with this review and just get yourself a copy of this as soon as you know who's responsible for putting it out.
For those who still need to be convinced or have never encountered them before, however, this album covers classic Bearsuit territory of wonky electronics birthing melodic yet brilliantly off-kilter tunes. 
Ippu Mitsui does that amazing, classically Japanese thing of pulling together a load of diverse elements and putting them together in a way you suspected wasn't possible, but hoped it would be.  I'm featuring 'Doramyu Kick-Off' in my Dandelion Radio show this month, a typically frenzied stab of mad beats and colliding electronica
Meanwhile, Chas Kinnis, aka Annie, offers something more spacious, at times delicately textured, at times anything but.  'Time', in particular, is a sprawling six minute opus of the smoothly atmospheric and defiantly catchy.
Above all, it's a great listen, Annie's less manic tunes offering a sublime contrast to the frenzy dished up by Mitsui yet somehow complementing it brilliantly.
Get it here.