Monday, 9 May 2016

Sekotis - For Your Weird Ears

Long-time listeners to my Dandelion Radio show will know that a few years ago I revealed the results of research that showed that Brighton had more good bands and artists per head of its population than anywhere else in the UK.
I'm sure if I carried out further research the same result would emerge, because since then there's certainly been no let up in terms of innovative music coming out of the aforementioned city.  The latest discovery for me is Sekotis, an artist who, I was faintly humbled to find out, has actually been doing what he does for several years.
The musical alias of Tom Stokes, a quick look at his bandcamp site alone reveals musical treasures going back to 2008.  For Your Weird Ears, his latest collection, came out in March this year and it's what, finally, has turned me on to his richly satisfying work.
To say I feel I've a lot of catching up to do is an understatement, although for now I'm finding so much to love in this latest album I really don't feel like going anywhere else just yet.  Sekotis specialises in the kind of churning electronica practised with an inspired and creative hand that's for a long time found a home in my show.  Opener 'Drones' is more than enough to give you a flavour of that, a slow-burning piece of sonic exploration that matches experimentation with the kind of intoxicating groove that pleasingly crops up all over this collection.
Don't get the idea that there's anything one-paced about For Your Weird Ears, though.  'Ravens', which I'm playing in my Dandelion show this month, eschews the considerable pleasures of the slow burner in favour of frantic percussion and richly patterned instrumental lines that take the listener in all sorts of heady directions. 
And after feasting on that, you've still got the album's epic closing tune to feast your ears on.  'Trolls', at twelve minutes plus, manages to add even more to the many diverse elements you've already encountered, its swarming beginnings giving way to spiralling waves of sound to provide a triumphant, lingering close to the nine tracks.
You can get the album as NYOP at the Sekotis bandcamp site here.  When you've done that, you could do a lot work than check out the rest of his fascinating recent musical history while you're there.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Reptilians From Andromeda - Sonic Rabbit Hole (Small Bear)

I don't know of many previous match-ups between the Isle of Man and Istanbul - in fact I'm not sure I know of any - but the concept seems loaded with interesting possibilities.  So, when the Manx Small Bear label announced they'd put out an album from Istanbul husband and wife duo Reptilians From Andromeda, I was firstly intrigued, then delighted, then finally blown away. 
With cap doffed firmly in the direction of the excellent Postcode, I can't think of a release on Small Bear that's thrilled me as much as this.  Although there's a psychedelic spaciness about RFA, it merges and collides with a discordant new wave jerkiness to take it somewhere entirely different.
Take opener 'Psychic Girl' as an example, where a Nico-meets-Grace Slick vocal lies atop a kind of militaristic beat to deliver the kind of triumph of clashing musical sensibilities that makes this collection so instantly unforgettable.  Or take a song that, with a title like 'Wicky Wacky Witches' has no right to work, yet does far more than that, its slow burning melodic growl offering a perfect contrast to the wild cacophony of closing track 'Like the River to the Sea'.
The EP's highlight, for me, is 'Jungle', a frantically meshed together tumble of possibilities where a more up-front vocal line meets meandering guitar lines and, yes, animal noises.  It's the kind of meeting of musical possibilities you really hope will work and which, in the hands of Reptilians From Andromeda, certainly does and I'm playing it in my Dandelion Radio show this month.
Get Sonic Rabbit Hole from the band's bandcamp site on CD or as NYOP download here.