Friday, December 03, 2004

I finally got some more goodies from the primo Finnish CD-R empire 267 Lattajjaa recently, the same people responsible for Avarus's astounding "A-V-P" a year or two back (and due for reissue I believe). Another one worth getting in on the hunt for is The Buried Civilizations' "Tunnels to Other Chambers" CD-R. Half of Thuja, with a cpl other lovely souls, weave levitated tone poems of long passed tribal elders in 14 short tracks, all bathed in the translucent glow of primitive mysticism that comes with virtually all Jewelled Antler releases. Equally evocative is Davenport's 3" CD-R "Little Howling Jubilee," which starts with a murmur of free clatter and drones and builds to quite a mind-blowing barrage of the kind of tribal jam insanity that Amon Düül used to churn out with some consistency at the end of the 60s. By the time those moaning chants come in and that damn dog starts to barkin' inspired mess it is. I raved about Grey Park way back when here, and 3" CD-R "A Preparatory Course for Agents Going Abroad" is just as good, and a bit different. Instead of trembling dissonance and deep drone, at first we get a languid, quasi pop melody (think Low) beset with moog drones. The other two tracks explore a more post industrial space with minimal synth and tapes noise, a bit closer to what I'd expect. "Soon With the Sun" is another recent disc (I think he's released about 5 so far this year) by weird noise elder, Keijo, and it's a gorgeous echo-drenched whirl of springy drones, chimes, tapes of streaming water and bubbling electronics, but it's not electronica, no sir-ee, Bob. There's a roughness to it all, but mixed as a fully formed ethnic drone collage, so that it goes down ever so smooth. And last but never the least from 267 Lattajjaa, Anla Courtis (of Reynols) gives us the "...y el resplandor de la luz no conoce limites" 3"CD-R, a searing beam of aural sunlight that builds on wave after wave of fuzz guitar, organ, mouth harp and hawk-bells to a primo wall of textural drone, and fasten your seatbelt at about 11 min. in when the the shaft gets lashed with conduits of shrieking distortion.

"Wire on the Box: 1979" (Pink Flag) is a CD/DVD package that offers the rare priveledge of seeing Wire (probably the best "punk band" to come out of England) in their prime in a live show that was originally recorded for German television, making us the lucky ones when the setlist includes classics like "The 15th," "Practice Makes Perfect," "I Feel Mysterious Today," "French Film Blurred," "Map Ref," "A Touching Display," "A Question of Degree" get the idea. Incredible. Nice sound quality, effective proscenium style production on the video, and the songs are the songs--as good as minimal art punk and pop gets--yet more stripped down than the studio classics, revealing the explosive energy as well as the depth of Mike Thorne's production on those studio originals. There's even a 20 min sit down with the band. Seems like I've been waiting decades for this, and I've even seen Wire live, but not in '79. Mute has finally reissued the early albums by the most excellent Virgin Prunes, pick of the litter surely being the Colin Newman produced "If I Die, I Die," one of the most atmospheric, caustic and totally right on post punk albums ever. Joy Division and Wire appreciaters need it asap, but don't go expecting any copy-catting. The Prunes had a unique vibe that simply puts them in the same league. Another band the Prunes are worthy of comparison to is Australia's The Birthday Party, whose former lead singer, Nick Cave, has taken to writing gothic literatur and playing sad, beautiful ballads with his band The Bad Seeds in recent years, but not so much this year. 2CD set "Abattair Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus" (Mute) is a barn-burner, but not of the raw, art damaged variety that marked the B'day's, more of the classic steamrolling gospel tinged big band blues punk variety. On tracks like "Get Ready For Love" and the amaaaaazing "There She Goes, My Beautiful World," Cave and his band (short one Bargeld, whose own band released a monster earlier this year) pick up where they left off on last year's "Nocturama" (the awesome extended noise raveup, "I'm On Fire"), and throw in a gospel choir and plenty of hooks, awe-inspiring dynamics, and some of Cave's most, er...worldly lyrics to date. Heavy as shit and utterly essential (and I should mention there are some beautiful pop moments here and there, a few sad slow bits too; it's simply more varied than the last 4 Bad Seeds albums). It actually sounds like a punk rock Spiritualized in places, and I thought that long before reading it in Arthur. Makes me feel like you really can die and be reborn. A must-see live proposition.

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