Posts tagged ‘Post-Rocktoberfest 2010’
Bubblegum Cage III sincerely hopes that you enjoyed Post-Rocktoberfest 2010. If you haven’t been keeping up with the action, be sure to at least read our overviews of the work of Kevin Martin and The Third Eye Foundation. You might also be interested to learn that all six volumes of the UK Post-Rock compilation series are now permanently available for download via this here link. Maybe there will be another volume available this time next year. But who knows?
Disco Inferno – “Next Year”
Volume Five in the UK Post-Rock compilation series (available again as the bonus feature for this very post) presented a pretty thorough overview of the genre’s key acts, most of which had already been featured on previous volumes. Consequently, the original idea for Volume Six, was to compile tracks by bands that hadn’t featured on any of the previous volumes.
In reality, there may have been a little cheating on that front and some of the (even) more obscure British bands from the period may have been left out, as have some of the more recent descendants of the original scene. Oh well, maybe Volume Seven will explore those murky corners a bit more thoroughly. For now, you might consider this volume to be the bonus disc to Volume Five – the “DVD extras”, if you like.
Having said that, the first half of this compilation is pretty tightly packed with hits. Tracks one-through-eight probably represent the poppiest sequence of tunes to appear in this series so far. Things get distinctly darker and more abstract in the second half.
3. Ian Crause – “Head Over Heals”
Solo single from the Disco Inferno main-man. Hardly as revolutionary as the classic DI material but a stirring tune, nevertheless.
4. Broadcast – “America’s Boy”
Hard to pick a favourite track from Broadcast’s Tender Buttons album but this is probably as good as any. The sound of a band coming into its own.
5. Bows – “Uniroyal”
It’s the bloke from Long Fin Killie, innit? Nice mix of drum & bass and dreampop. A bit dated but still lovely.
6. Screeper – “Can Fever”
Very, very obscure band from Portsmouth. Recalls that brief moment when shoegaze decided to “go dance”. Only good. Great, actually.
7. Echoboy – “Canada”
Led by some bloke who was briefly the bass player in Oasis! Surely the only example of a UKPR/Britpop crossover?
8. Electrelane – “To the East”
This band could be a bit samey but when it got outside the comfort zone (which usually meant including some vocals), things could get pretty interesting.
9. Bovine Over Sussex NE – “Rock and Chock”
This is where things start to get weird. Massively obscure lo-fi act, with an annoying habit of slightly changing its name between releases.
10. Rothko – “For Danny”
What was it with post-rock bands and having multiple bass players? Usually worked out okay, though. Lovely, atmospheric stuff.
11. Juicy Eureka – “Air”
Much better than the band name suggests. A solo project of Neil McKay of Loop and The Hair & Skin Trading Company.
12. Experimental Audio Research – “California Nocturne”
Sonic Boom and friends. Main to Spacemen 3’s Loop, if you catch the drift. The (essential) album this is from (Mesmerised) was recently re-issued. Go get it!
13. L i ght – “Tale of White Passage”
One of the lesser known bands from the Bristol scene. Associated with Flying Saucer Attack. Lovely rural space-rock.
14. Crescent – “Star”
Another lesser-known Bristol band. Associated with The Third Eye Foundation and appropriately gloomy in tone. This track would seem to be the basis of…
15. The Third Eye Foundation – “Crescent, Superconstellation”
Okay, so The Third Eye Foundation has already appeared on more than one of these compilations but as previously discussed, this remix is astonishing.
UK Post-Rock Vol. 4.
1. Bark Psychosis – “The Black Meat”
2. Disco Inferno – “Keep it Together”
3. Hood – “You Show No Emotion at All”
4. Amp – “Get Here”
5. Moonshake - “Gravity”
6. Flying Saucer Attack – “The Drowners”
7. The Hair & Skin Trading Company – “Kinetic”
8. Long Fin Killie – “(A) Man Ray”
9. Papa Sprain – “U Swell”
10. Butterfly Child – “Juice”
11. Piano Magic – “The Fun of the Century”
12. Spoonfed Hybrid – “The Sun Always Changes My Mind”
13. Earwig – “Every Day Shines”
Today’s bonus feature is this here blog’s recent “shoegaze” (and “proto-shoegaze”) compilation Dream Rock & Noise Pop 1985-93 (Vol. 1). This mix specifically doesn’t feature any actual UK post-rock but it does act as a handy guide to some immediate precursors and related innovations.
Click here to download part one of Dream Rock & Noise Pop 1985-93 (Vol. 1) and click here to download part two.
Please note that these are the original temporary links, so they will expire at some point. Hopefully, they’ll be replaced by permanent links, before too very long. (The links are now permanent.)
Dream Rock & Noise Pop 1985-93 (Vol. 1)
1. The Jesus and Mary Chain – “You Trip Me Up”
2. Cocteau Twins – “Aikea-Guinea”
3. My Bloody Valentine – “Slow”
4. A.R. Kane – “Baby Milk Snatcher”
5. Loop – “Arc-Lite”
6. Spacemen 3 – “Revolution”
7. The House of Love – “Destroy the Heart”
8. Ride – “Chelsea Girl”
9. My Bloody Valentine – “Loomer”
10. Slowdive – “Catch the Breeze”
11. Pale Saints – “Throwing Back the Apple”
12. Lush – “For Love”
13. Medicine – “A Short Happy Life”
14. Black Tambourine – “Throw Aggi Off the Bridge”
15. Swirlies – “Pancake”
16. Secret Shine – “Temporal”
17. The Boo Radleys – “Upon 9th and Fairchild”
18. Lovesliescrushing – “youreyesimmaculate”
Sidelong by Ui.
It didn’t quite squeeze into last-year’s US Post-Rock Top Five but it was pretty darn close. Ui was (and possibly still is) a New York-based band led by Sasha Frere-Jones, who is currently employed as the New Yorker’s pop music critic. The New York-ness of all this is highly significant as Sidelong, the band’s 1995 debut album, was (and most certainly still is) very much in the tradition of Big Apple post-punk and mutant disco.
With a line-up consisting of two bass players and a drummer, the version of Ui showcased on Sidelong made a sparse, funky, mostly instrumental sound – very similar to the one produced by NY legends like Liquid Liquid and ESG. All this, you should note, years before the post-punk revival kicked in. Perhaps Sidelong‘s sheer prescience explains why it has stood the test of time so well. Fifteen years on, it still sounds fresh.
Having said that, the stripped-down, bass-focused sound can get a bit wearing over the length of an entire album and the band’s white funk workouts do tend to lumber occasionally. Oh and sometimes, it really just sounds like something’s missing. Which might be why Sidelong‘s most successful tracks are those that add an additional element or two – vocals and synth on “Sexy Photograph” (a not-too-distant relation of Can’s “You Do Right”) or vocal and banjo on “Golden Child”.
Given the quality of this material, you can’t help wishing Frere-Jones would stop wasting his time writing books about Michael Jackson (or whatever it is he’s up to at the moment) and just pick up the ol’ bass guitar again.
UK Post-Rock Vol. 3
1. Disco Inferno – “The Last Dance”
2. Transformer – “Outdoor Miner”
3. Adventures in Stereo – “There Was a Time”
4. Stereolab – “Fluorescences”
5. Snowpony – “Golden Carriage”
6. Moonshake – “Second Hand Clothes”
7. Scala – “Remember How to Breathe”
8. The Third Eye Foundation – “Universal Cooler”
9. Movietone – “We Rode On”
10. Papa Sprain – “Flying to Vegas”
11. Bark Psychosis – “I Know”
12. Scorn – “White Irises Blind”
13. Terminal Cheesecake – “Oily Hot Knife”
14. Main – “There is Only Light”
15. The Hair & Skin Trading Company – “*”
Today’s bonus feature is Papa Sprain’s Live at the Marquee 91 bootleg, which sees history’s most tragically under-appreciated avant rock band on absolutely storming form and surpasses anything the band ever actually released. Click here to download Live at the Marquee 91.
Papa Sprain – Live at the Marquee 91
3. “Flying to Vegas”
4. “You Are Ten Million Needles Pierce”
5. “I Got Stop”
Matt Elliott was one of the prime movers in Bristol’s early post-rock scene. He was a sometime member of scene cornerstone Flying Saucer Attack, as well being involved with lesser-known acts like AMP and Movietone. But Elliott is most recognizable as the fellow behind The Third Eye Foundation, one of those acts (see also Scorn and Main) that typified the artistic trajectory of UK post-rock, by starting off rock and ending up post- (“post-” usually being a broad euphemism for “electronic”). In Third Eye’s case, the catalyst responsible for this transformation was the then-revolutionary sound of drum & bass/jungle.
The first Third Eye Foundation album was called Semtex (also, confusingly, the title of a 12″ Elliott released around the same time). Aptly named indeed, Semtex certainly was explosive. The album’s opening track, “Sleep”, was what brought Third Eye to the attention of many listeners – a combination of massive, churning guitar riffs and stuttering faux-drum & bass beats. It sets an air of menace that Elliott manages to sustain very effectively for the rest of the album.
Semtex was followed by In Version, basically a remix album, with Elliott going to town on songs by a handful of other Bristol post-rock luminaries – Amp, Crescent and Flying Saucer Attack – plus Hood from Leeds. In Version is often overlooked when the Third Eye story is being told, which is a crying shame because its best moments are truly excellent – especially “Amp, Short Wave Dub” and the monumental “Crescent, Superconstellation”.
The next album proper was Ghost. The remixes on In Version suggested that Elliott was taking an increasingly electronic approach – and Ghost confirmed that impression. Essentially a collaboration with Debbie Parsons (aka Foehn), Ghost twists found-sound samples (creaking doors and chairs feature heavily) into nightmarish webs of minor-key melody. The still-rather-ham-fisted drum & bass rhythm tracks, meanwhile, sound like they’re trying to beat a hasty retreat. Overall, the aesthetic of tracks like “The Out Sound from Way In” is suggestive of My Bloody Valentine’s “Touched” getting kicked to death by hooligans then eaten by zombies.
If things in Third Eye’s world seemed to be getting darker and darker, goofy titles like “The Out Sound…” and “I’ve Seen the Light and It’s Dark”, showed that there was at least some gallows humour leavening the gloom. This element – and indeed all the elements – came into clearer focus with the release of You Guys Kill Me. Featuring cleaner production values and noticeably improved drum programming, this album did a great deal to expand Elliott’s worldwide audience.
You Guys… is still pretty unrelenting but the overall effect is energizing rather the enervating, as it could occasionally be on his previous albums. The opening “A Galaxy of Scars” is one of those tracks that makes you feel strangely compelled to break into a spontaneous round of applause. Impressive.
All of the good work Elliott had been doing up to this point was effectively consolidated with the 200o release of Little Lost Soul. On this album, samples are woven into Gothic tapestries, much as they are on Ghost but with greater sonic clarity and musical sophistication. The drum programming, meanwhile, makes another quantum leap, with Elliott building and releasing tension brilliantly (almost like a proper jungle producer) on the absolutely storming single “What is it with You?”
Unfortunately, by this point in time, jungle/drum & bass was running out of steam and UK post-rock had been pretty much consigned to the dustbin of history. Little Lost Soul was to be the last proper Third Eye album, for the time being. The following year’s I Poo Poo on Your Juju offered a ragbag of collaborations and remixes (including a bonkers head-to-head with Christopher Morris, an excellent Blonde Redhead remix and an absolutely gorgeous cover of Jonathan Richman’s “When I Dance”).
Matt Elliott has continued to release albums under his own name. These have documented a surprising return to the more song-based approach he seemed to have abandoned after Semtex. His first solo album, The Mess We Made, is a fairly effective collection of sample-based sea shanties, psychedelic Gypsy folk dirges, and Kid A-style avant rock anthems. By 2004’s Drinking Songs, though, the samples had given way to a fully organic, fairly conventional folk sound and many listeners simply lost interest.
Still, the work Matt Elliott did throughout the ’90s stands as some of the most truly individual, passionate, funny and often downright scary music of the era. Don’t doubt that he’s got another great album in him yet. And in fact, there’s a new Third Eye Foundation album – titled The Dark – scheduled for release next month. Can’t wait!
Another UK Post-Rock compilation re-up for y’all. Click here to download UK Post-Rock Vol. 2. And as a by-popular-request bonus feature, you can click here to download a Butterfly Child Peel Session.
UK Post-Rock Vol. 2
1. Papa Sprain – “See Sons Bring Some More Out Tomb We Enter”
2. Flying Saucer Attack – “Everywhere was Everything”
3. Bark Psychosis – “Blue”
4. Disco Inferno – “Sleight of Hand”
5. Moonshake – “City Poison”
6. The Third Eye Foundation – “What is it with You?”
7. Experimental Pop Band – “Universe”
8. Pram – “Cumulus”
9. Fridge – “Long Singing”
10. Techno Animal – “Flight of the Hermaphrodite”
11. Piano Magic – “I Came to Your Party Dressed as a Ghost”
Butterfly Child – The Peel Session
2. “Led Through the Mardi Gras”
3. “Ship Wreck Song”
4. “Neptune’s Fork”
“OK, so you won’t be entirely surprised by this from my recent posts. After much anguish and deliberation, I am resurrecting MAIN. I know it seems like going backwards, but I promise it won’t be. Yes, it will feature guitars for starters and yes I know the name is old, but I can’t find a new one I like…”
“Of course, I will still be releasing solo material as Robert Hampson, but the new Main guise will be full of surprises, hopefully some of my friends will come along and join in too… (?) Sort of a collective so to speak (I hope). Anyway, let’s see where this all leads eh? A new adventure, but never forgetting the path…”
Main – “Spectra Decay”
Main – “There is Only Light”
Kevin Martin is a real survivor. It’s genuinely hard to think of another musician with such an extreme and personal viewpoint who’s managed to build a decent-sized audience, through sheer persistence, without compromising one iota. Apparently oblivious to the dictates of fashion, genre exclusivity and (occasionally) good taste, Martin has continued to follow his star for more than a decade and a half.
Doubtless, much of this time was spent as an outsider – wilderness years of poor sales, audience bafflement and critical neglect. In recent years, though, things have really started to look up. It’s been great to see Martin’s recent work – particularly the albums he’s released under his alias The Bug – gaining such a warm reception from critics and record buyers alike.
K Mart is a monstrously eclectic musician, producer, label head and music critic, so it’s impossible to tie him down to a single genre. Still, his relevance to the original post-rock scene is undeniable. It’s a simple historical fact: his God, Ice and Techno Animal projects were among the first musical endeavours to be lumped into the nascent post-rock genre. At a deeper level, his music has always been saturated with the questing, barrier-breaking spirit of the original UK post-rock.
Aside from that, the main hallmark of Kevin Martin’s diverse discography is his trademark intensity. While his current work might reasonably be seen as an offshoot of post-acid-house electronic dance music, he got his start at the most extreme fringes of avant rock and metal. The deep, dark intensity of his early work is still very much present in his current work. Even the recent Kind Midas Sound album – easily Martin’s most accessible LP to date – is loaded with oppressively heavy bass detonations, from start to finish.
It’s an inspirational story, really. Kevin Martin, the Bubblegum Cage III salutes you! As a tribute of sorts, this here blog would like to present a quick guide to the great man’s best (or at least, his most significant) albums. So, without further ado…
God – The Anatomy of Addiction (1994)
The project that first brought Kevin Martin to public notice in the early ’90s was God, a jazz-metal behemoth with a membership often pushing double figures. Notably, this line-up included Martin’s long-term collaborator, Justin Broadrick, of Godflesh infamy.
Whereas early God releases were highly organic and chaotic, The Anatomy of Addiction, saw Martin experimenting with digital editing techniques to create dense payloads of cathartic fire-power. The multi-part “Body Horror” is a superb show-piece of this post-production-as-composition approach.
Anatomy is far darker, heavier and more intense than any of the other classic British post-rock albums (even Scorn’s Evanescence) and yet it is still definitively post-rock in terms of the specific influences and techniques it encompasses. The dub-rock pulse of “Bloodstream” should be enough to convince you of that.
Techno Animal – Re-Entry (1995)
One of Martin’s more long-term projects, Techno Animal was a studio-centric duo with Broadrick. This project represented a move away from God’s rock-band format, to something more purely electronic. And with it’s mix of slowed down hip-hop beats, spooky samples, dub FX and mind-evacuating noise Re-Entry is perhaps K Mart’s most definitively post-rock project.
In its own way, this album is just as intense as Anatomy. Stretched across two CDs, Re-Entry is weighted down by its monomaniacal commitment to hypnotic monotony. All of the tracks on CD1 are heavy, repetitive and long, long, long – culminating in the mind-blowing 19 minutes and 15 seconds of “Demodex Invasion”. CD2 delves deep into the dark ambient sound that Martin helped to define when he compiled the legendary Isolationism compilation for Virgin in ’94.
Ice – Bad Blood (1998)
The Ice project existed in a middle ground somewhere between God and Techno Animal – mixing live instruments with electronics and – crucially – dubwise mixology. Martin made his obsession with dub reggae explicit when he compiled two volumes of Macro Dub Infection compilations for Virgin. Both volumes explored at length the influence of dub on mid ’90s avant rock and electronica, with K Mart’s own contributions being among the most convincing.
It’s the dub influence that really makes this album work. An apparently failed experiment in mixing hip-hop vocals with industrial rock aesthetics (guests range from Blixa Bargeld to Priest from Antipop Consortium), Bad Blood isn’t generally considered to be one of Martin’s better albums. Many people would point to Techno Animal’s The Brotherhood of the Bomb as a more successful mix of the same elements. However, where Brotherhood relies overly on sheer heaviness, Bad Blood uses dub magic to open a portal into a more spacious realm – a realm that K Mart has moved into rather more comfortably with his recent work.
“X-1″, featuring Nosaj from the underrated New Kingdom, is a pretty thrilling opener but things really peak with “Trapped in Three Dimensions” featuring the then-relatively-unknown El-P. Bad Blood is patchy but it’s definitely worth hearing, partly as a precursor to Martin’s more popular recent work but mainly because its peaks reach as high as anything in Martin’s mountainous discography.
The Bug – Pressure (2003)
Pressure was K Mart’s real commercial/critical breakthrough. At the time, one might have assumed that Martin was a mere relic from a little-loved era of British avant rock. However, taste-makers like the Aphex Twin and Kid 606 were fans, which was enough to get Pressure prominent releases on both sides of the Atlantic.
The album itself applies Martin’s trademark hardcore sonics to the template of dancehall reggae and ragga. The results are absolutely explosive, especially when Daddy Freddy steps up to the mic for “Run the Place Red”. Oh and “Killer” is pretty aptly named – as one-supposes is the track’s guest vocalist, He-Man.
Pressure is as concise as Anatomy, as unrelenting as Re-Entry and as spacious as Bad Blood but rather more accessible than any of those albums. A winning formula, all round.
King Midas Sound – Waiting for You (2009)
It has been noted many times that contemporary dubstep explores a great deal of the same sonic terrain as the dark-side of UK post-rock – particularly the work of Scorn and Techno Animal. Martin (like Scorn’s Mick Harris) has shown himself to be very comfortable sharing this common ground. King Midas Sound is, broadly speaking, K Mart’s dubstep project and Waiting for You is possibly the best thing he’s done since the Anatomy of Addiction.
In most senses, tracks like “Lost” and “Meltdown” could hardly be more different from the likes of “Body Horror”. Waiting for You is as influenced by early-’80s UK lovers rock as it is by dubstep and almost all of the tracks are fairly straightforward love songs. But there’s a common thread linking Waiting to Martin’s mid-’90s creative heyday.
In those days, K Mart worked closely with Justin Broadrick under any number of guises. Most of his more recent projects have seen him working solo, with guest vocalists dropping in. One of his regular vocalists, Trinidad-born poet Roger Robinson, has essentially become the lead singer of KMS and seems to be taking up the position vacated by Broadrick in the late ’90s. While Martin and Robinson are, on the surface, ridiculously different characters, they are clearly very much of one mind. Reading the interview they gave for FACT magazine last year, you get the impression that they’re at the finishing-each other’s-sentences stage of friendship and artistic collaboration.
As previously mentioned, the other thing linking Waiting to Martin’s old work is his continued commitment to heaviosity – although, in this case, the heavy weight is located entirely in the bass range. Turn this bastard up loud and it’ll make the foundations shake. The vocals, the samples, the beats even… they’re all just tiny boats tossed hither and thither on a titanic ocean of BASS. Apparently, the world at large is finally ready for this level of turbulence.
That’s what you get if you stick to your guns.
You’d be surprised how often this here blog gets asked to re-upload previously posted rarities and compilations, the links for which have long expired. Well, the time has come to institute a program of RE-UPS! Over the coming weeks and months, a bunch of old favourites are going to be uploaded to a permanent, non-expiring Mediafire account, for your downloading ease and pleasure, dear reader.
By popular request, The Acid Folk Remix Project Vol. 2 has already been re-upped. Click here to download The Acid Folk Remix Project Vol. 2. Now, throughout the month of Post-Rocktober, the legendary UK Post-Rock compilations will be made available once again. Or as many of them as it’s practically feasible to re-compile and upload, anyway. Obviously, we’re starting at the beginning, with UK Post-Rock Vol. 1. Click here to download UK Post-Rock Vol. 1 and take a look at the tracklisting below, to see what you’re in for.
UK Post-Rock Vol. 1
1. Disco Inferno – “Summer’s Last Sound”
2. Butterfly Child – “Nymphs Sing the Blues”
3. Insides – “Darling Effect”
4. Laika – “Marimba Song”
5. Moonshake – “Your Last Friend in This Town”
6. Flying Saucer Attack – “Feedback Song”
7. Bark Psychosis – “Street Scene”
8. Scorn – “Silver Rain Fell”
9. God – “Bloodstream”
10. Main – “Reformation (Expansive)”