Haw Par Limited Edition 2CDR + ART BOOK

The physical artwork in which this arrives is amazing, a beautiful hand bound book, with searching eyes on the cover and a selection of amazing artwork within, the line images framed on the small pages and extended onto the surrounding paper trying almost to reach out of the pages like the evil in a fairytale tries to get out of the book/object that contains the story . One of the best presented artefacts of music in my collection.

And the sounds. Surprisingly, to me, immediately into beats, instantly drawing you in Astral Social Club style. More frenetic a start than previous releases and quite joyous almost - of course joyous in an unsettling way. This morphs (and I do mean this in clay character slithering and changing and at times alarming you, devoid of the constraints of the 'normal' world) into something more industrial beat wise, vaguely reminiscent, to me, of early 21st centrury beat driven Merzbow, but never as harsh, though this set as a whole I guess to me is more 'noisey' than previous, even with the beats. Again (and again) into something much more beautiful, and descends then into the familiar weirdery to fade us out of the first disk. Quite a 45 minute ride, and it's over too soon. Good then that the special edition comes with a second disk from the same Haw Par sessions.

The second disc starts more familiarly, with the strangest of audio objects flying around ones head, like in a gravityless room full of ones untethered possessions, but again structure emerges, repetitive, insistent. I know Haw Par Villa in Singapore (a bizzare and slightly decrepit theme park, with dubious 'themes') informed this, but I can't stop helping myself from finding this set beautiful, but then finding beauty in ugliness has always had more power. Deep crashes, repeated phrases, ringing (in my head or coming into my head?). This is big. And then, space, filled with these whirring audio objects. Everytime I listen to this I am struck by what I think of as the 'airport interlude where a voice vaguely attempts to draw you into (away from?) the strangeness that has enveloped you via your ears. You are however stuck in this NFM strangeness for a good 20 minutes longer - and it feels good. Ending with crashing, crashing, and an almost whistled tune like you're happily wandering, whistling your way into the underworld.

The first disc presents a more insistent, driven, NFM and it speeds by, the second disk though referring to that initially dissapates more into those ominous Non Ferric Memories sounds that float and loom and tug at you. A fine pair.

aW hOOn hAw / aW bOOn pAr Standard Edition CDR

The latest installment from NFC finds them taking inspiration from a busy park on the bustling metropolis that is Singapore.

The 40 minute disc seems divided into three distinct sections of varying degrees of paranoid intensity but the whole is tied together by the utilization of various metallic sounds but put to a bewildering array of uses and abuses.

After a short opening salvo of dissonance, the first section starts quite calmly; the gentle rhythmic squeak of cart axles merges with the sounds of water spraying the grimy streets and generators hum as a lady in a secluded corner of the park gently intones a cyclical accompaniment to her morning tai-chi session and as the track progresses, this lulling gives way to an influx of screeching, mewling creatures, cats, dogs, rats all intent on searching out a scrap or two of leftovers as birds noisily squawk and flap amongst the branches, amidst the general hubbub of everyday life.

Before the cacophony gets too much, we descend below the park for what sounds to all intents and purposes like the experience of somebody having a heart attack in a subway station of the future. Everything is heard through a gauze of unreality, from the swoosh of the trains as they pass through the station to the voice of the disembodied platform announcer. All is woozy and uncertain, playing at half-speed and at odd angles. You feel bodies around you and experience the sounds of doors opening and closing but it is impossible to reach out as you slowly drift into unconsciousness.

This is eminently satisfying as we head for the final section which finds us on the far reaches of our atmosphere, where a lonely satellite rotates gathering data from the park. All starts off calmly and the whooshing, rushing pieces of information come at regular, reasonable intervals but as the day hots up and commerce begins, the emissions become more harsh and jagged, more numerous and less manageable. The bombardment of all this severe, binary information knocks the satellite out of orbit and sets it off on a voyage of no return. As this journey continues into the darker realms, so the emissions become weaker until the inevitable silence envelopes you.

This is an uncompromising feast of electronic sound deconstruction and manipulation, twisting the everyday into something uncomfortable yet it communicates something and works well as a whole suite. If the outer reaches of imaginative sound collage are your cup of tea, then take a long swig of this heady brew.

Mr Olivetti

Live at Joey's Basement CDR

Psychedelic Basement - From the Sound Projector
Received two CDRs and a cassette from LF Records in Bristol at the end of June. One of them is the 30-minute workout of sullen electronic phased rock noise by Non-Ferric Memories, called Live at Joey’s Basement. (LF018). The NFM may or may not be an entire band from Swindon, producing a glorious psychedelic racket using over-echoed guitars, tremendous distortion, whistling feedback tones like the breath of an angry raincloud spirit, and a vocalist who whimpers and wails some luscious unintelligible murk in a soprano approximation as though mouth is filled with stale Minestrone soup. Chaotic, incompetent and weighed down by stoner acid-head inertia, this is like a garage-band approximation of the first LP by Amon Düül II executed by someone who had never played the record and only ever seen the cover art, and is describing it to the other band members by megaphone. Formless and dirgey psychedelic glory, a lightshow made with magic markers and drugs issued from a tube of Smarties; this is absolutely great!

Second ever live gig by psychic avenger duo Non-Ferric Memories. From LF Records
100% witching hour sounds birthed deep in the basement of Joey Chainsaw. Dank weird unit out of Swindon no less who are totally aware of the lay-line configuration of Wiltshire and have been known to cause said energy foci to bend at will. I saw the temporal shift myself when they hit Bristol one sultry evening (see LF015), causing the architecture of the pub to melt at the same frequency as their cackled howls. They’ll move you in degrees of decades forward or backwards in space/time, pretty much obliterating all reason and logic in the search for the parallel tongue.

While I wasn’t there when this was put to the magnetic, one participant of the evening (by all account you couldn’t help but participate) called it a ‘marriage ceremony of spite and seduction’. The disconnected TV in the corner of the basement was said to have come alive mid-gig with ‘some crude & grainy images transmitted from the local mortuary and the Wetherspoons next door’. Post-gig, observers reported a spinning disc in the sky above the town, repeated sightings of a ghostly amnesiac and an un-attributable fugue lasting for days. Like I said, I wasn’t there, but I can vouch that this cdr will give yer telepathic transportation to these savage and foreign lands and alter your bodily crystalline structure for the duration.

Night Terrors 1 - Various artists From Freq
Next, Non-Ferric Memories providing a bit of spatial and spacey relief from joinedbywire’s onslaught. Crunchy basslines deftly orient sparing scratches and scrapes of battered instruments, and their junk psychedelia draws the listener in nicely. There’s a tendency to use a dub-like reverb, which means notes hang in the air without clogging up the sound for too long (as with the infernal delay pedals of a lot of this sort of music) so there’s plenty of room for notes to manoeuvre. There’s a minimum of instrumental pyrotechnics, and their grasp of letting sounds develop means this sounds like a much more accomplished duo than their low gig count would suggest.