Saturday, 30 January 2021

Madlib ‎– Sound Ancestors (2021)

Genre: Hip Hop
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label:  Madlib Invazion

01.   There Is No Time (Prelude)
02.   The Call
03.   Theme De Crabtree
04.   Road of the Lonely Ones
05.   Loose Goose
06.   Dirtknock
07.   Hopprock
08.   Riddim Chant
09.   Sound Ancestors
10.   One for Quartabê/Right Now
11.   Hang Out (Phone Off)
12.   Two for 2 -For Dilla
13.   Latino Negro
14.   The New Normal
15.   Chino
16.   Duumbiyay

Arranged By, Edited By, Mastered By – Kieran Hebden
Producer – Madlib

There are more ways to fall in love with Madlib’s myriad music projects than not. For many it’ll be his charismatic beats for the late, great MF Doom, his collaborations with fellow sampling pioneer J Dilla or more recently, his sleek instrumentals for rapper Freddie Gibbs. Then there’s his remixes of the Blue Note Records archive, his one-man-jazz-band Yesterdays New Quintet, and Lord Quas – his satirical, pitched-up alter ego MC. Madlib’s ability to speak a universal language through so many modes is hip-hop in technique but something much broader in essence. On Sound Ancestors, his creations are arranged by producer, DJ and longtime friend Four Tet. It’s through the idiosyncrasies of this collaboration (such as an abnormally clean mix with uncharacteristically prominent drums) that Sound Ancestors achieves its mission to deliver a no-guest vocalists, start-to-finish-listen Madlib album experience.

Reggae toasts, lo-fi riffs, jazz interludes and snippets of vocal skits pepper the record. Breathtaking lead cut Road of the Lonely Ones combines two tracks from Philly soul progenitors the Ethics to marvellous effect, and follow-up single Hopprock’s strings-and-answering-machine interplay is comparable to Dean Blunt’s The Redeemer. Tribute track Two for 2 – for Dilla is split in half: one part chopped up to conjure a cosmic surrealness while the other’s all soul and groove, with a time-stretched transition lying as a liminal space in between. The album cools off on the density and eccentricity typically expected of Madlib in favour of a more poignant, sincere vision. Madlib channels a deep, intertwining lineage of Black music through Sound Ancestors like folklore oration, storytelling with the sorcery of a beatmaker who knows how to make an instrumental really sing.
Tayyab Amin / The Guardian

Friday, 29 January 2021

Gigi ‎– Gigi (2001)

Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD
Label: Palm Pictures, Voice

01.   Gud Fella
02.   Mengedegna
03.   Tew Ante Sew
04.   Abay
05.   Bale Washintu
06.   Guramayle
07.   Sew Argeñ
08.   Aynama
09.   Kahn
10.   Zomaye
11.   Abet Wubet
12.   Nafekeñ
13.   Adwa

Vocals – Gigi
Accordion – Tony Cedras
Bass – Thomas Gobena
Drums, Percussion – Hamid Drake, Mikias Abebayehu
Drums, Tabla, Keyboards – Karsh Kale
French Horn – Mark Taylor
Trombone – Art Baron
Guitar – David Gilmore, Nicky Skopelitis, Zakki Jewad
Keyboards – Abegasu Shiota, Amina Claudine Myers, Dereje Mekonnen, Herbie Hancock
Percussion – Abdou M'Boup, Aiyb Dieng, Melaku Gelaw, Setegne Satenaw
Saxophone – Henry Threadgill, Pharoah Sanders, Wayne Shorter
Backing Vocals – Abonesh Adenew, Dawit Melesse, Hebest Tirunehe, Imani Uzuri, Mizanekristos Yohannes, Tigist Shibabaw
Producer, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards – Bill Laswell

There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to world music: the purists who believe that ancient musical traditions must remain undiluted to survive, and the fusionists who believe that it is the ability of artists to adapt their cultural traditions to modern tastes that will allow them to survive. Though often blasted by traditionalists for his trademark world music collusions, bassist/producer Bill Laswell has done a remarkable job of straddling the lines dividing these two camps, working with world music favorites like the Master Musicians of Jajouka, Simon Shaheen, and Foday Muso Suso to concoct heady stylistic brews that update their respective traditions for 21st century audiences. Laswell's latest discovery is 27-year-old Ejigayehu "Gigi" Shibabaw, a stunning Ethiopian singer whose self-titled debut establishes her as one of Africa's most accomplished young artists. Her mellifluous vocals are backed by an impressive multicultural lineup that includes Laswell on bass; guitarist Nicky Skopelitis; saxophonists Wayne Shorter, Pharoah Sanders, and Henry Threadgill; and percussionists Aiyb Dieng and Karsh Kale. But the emphasis here is on Gigi's voice, which moves from soaring melodic passages to a breathy falsetto over songs that combine her native traditions with elements of funk, dub, soul, and West African and Indian sounds. From the exuberant buoyancy of "Gud Fella" to the syncopated urgency of "Aynama" to the beautifully soulful balladry of "Adwa," this is the rare debut that sounds like a fully formed artist, ready and eager for her time in the international music spotlight.
Bret Love / AllMusic

Guru ‎– Jazzmatazz Volume II: The New Reality (1995)

Genre: Hip Hop, Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Chrysalis, EMI, Capitol Records

01.   Intro (Light It Up) / Jazzalude I / New Reality Style
02.   Lifesaver
03.   Living In This World
04.   Looking Through Darkness
05.   Skit A (Interview) / Watch What You Say
06.   Jazzalude II / Defining Purpose
07.   For You
08.   Insert A (Menthal Relaxation) Medicine
09.   Lost Souls
10.   Insert B (The Real Deal) / Nobody Knows
11.   Jazzalude III / Hip Hop As A Way Of Life
12.   Respect The Architect
13.   Feel The Music
14.   Young Ladies
15.   The Traveler
16.   Jazzalude IV / Maintaining Focus
17.   Count Your Blessings
18.   Choice Of Weapons
19.   Something In The Past
20.   Skit B (Alot On My Mind) / Revelation

Engineer – Carlos Bess, Dennis Mitchell
Mastered By – Tony Dawsey
Co-producer, Arranged By, Mixed By – Guru.
Producer – Carlos Bess, Guru , Mark Sparks, Nikke Nicole, The Solsonics, True Master

The follow-up to the heavily acclaimed Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1. This album might not have quite as much jazz-rap power as the first volume did, but it's still quite good. Some of the big guns of jazz found their way into the album, including Branford Marsalis (who, of course, had already experimented with urban beats a bit with his Buckshot Lefonque project), Freddie Hubbard, Ramsey Lewis, and Kenny Garrett. Underground rapper Kool Keith (at this point still a member of the Ultramagnetics) also makes an appearance. Dancehall reggae princess Patra is included on a track, as are Chaka Khan and Me'Shell N'Degeocello; Jamiroquai helps out in another. In some ways, the personnel on this album may be slightly superior to the first outing, but the music also seems a tiny bit blander. Still, what makes the Jazzmatazz albums special is the live synthesis of jazz and rap. With Guru's vocals over the top of live jazz performers (as opposed the usual samples), interplay is facilitated between the two, and thus a whole new dimension is added to the fusion. For someone interested in jazz-rap in general, the first album is a higher priority (as would be Us3's albums, with extensive Blue Note sampling), but this album is still high on the list.
Adam Greenberg / AllMusic

Massacre ‎– Funny Valentine (1998)

Style: Avantgarde, Free Improvisation
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Tzadik

01.   Leaf Violence
02.   Down To Five A Day
03.   Lizard-skin Junk-mail
04.   Ladder
05.   South Orange Sunset
06.   Six-cylinder Sinister
07.   300 Days In The Vacant Lot
08.   Say Hey Willie
09.   Talk Radio
10.   Well-dressed Ripping Up Wood
11.   Further Conversations With White Arc

Bass – Bill Laswell
Drums – Charles Hayward
Guitar – Fred Frith
Mastered By – Allan Tucker
Recorded By – Robert Musso
Producer – Massacre 

In 1983, Bill Laswell's Celluloid label released a minor masterpiece by a downtown power trio called Massacre; the group consisted of Fred Frith on guitar, Laswell on bass and Fred Maher on drums. The album was called Killing Time, and it was a brilliant combination of quirky but composed avant-gardisms, experimental noise and post-punk funk. That album remains one of the great monuments of the downtown scene, right up there with A Taste of DNA and No New York. Fifteen years later, Frith and Laswell reunited (replacing Maher with Charles Hayward) for a second shot at the same magic, and didn't quite succeed. But that doesn't mean that Funny Valentine isn't great, just that it isn't quite as great as Killing Time. It opens on a weak note, with the sprawling and noisy but somehow anemic "Leaf Violence," then steadily improves. By the third track, Laswell and Hayward are laying down a propulsively swaying groove and letting Frith do his inimitable voodoo on top of it. "Ladder" flirts with a funk/reggae feel; "Talk Radio" and "Further Conversations with White Arc" show the sense of humor that animated so much of Killing Time. And "Well-Dressed Ripping Up Wood" seems to be, er, rock & roll. Overall, you wish there was a little more discipline and a little less length, but not much more discipline and not too much less length.
Rick Anderson / AllMusic

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Human League ‎– Hysteria (2005 Remastered) (1984)

Style: Synth-pop, New Wave
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Caroline Records, Virgin

01.   I'm Coming Back
02.   I Love You Too Much
03.   Rock Me Again And Again And Again And Again And Again And Again (Six Times)
04.   Louise
05.   The Lebanon
06.   Betrayed
07.   The Sign
08.   So Hurt
09.   Life On Your Own
10.   Don't You Know I Want You
        Bonus Tracks
11.   Thirteen
12.   The World Tonight
13.   The Lebanon (Extended Version)
14.   Life On Your Own (Extended Version)
15.   The Sign (Extended Version)

Bass – Ian C. Burden
Drum Programming – Martin Rushent
Keyboards – Philip Adrian Wright
Keyboards, Guitar – Ian C. Burden, Jo Callis
Lyrics By – Philip Adrian Wright, Philip Oakey
Programmed By, Percussion, Vocals – The Human League
Vocals – Jo Callis, Joanne Catherall, Philip Oakey, Susanne Sulley
Producer – Chris Thomas, Hugh Padgham, The Human League 

The Human League, although still regarded as an influential band, had the potential to be absolutely huge. Dare was a massive hit worldwide, a perfect synthesis of experimental electronics and sugary dance-pop. "Don't You Want Me", it could be argued, was the defining moment of the entire synth-pop scene, a piece of epic bombast that captures the spirit of the times while transcending it. The band followed this up with two classic singles, "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" and "Mirror Man", that moved the band even closer to the pop mainstream, whetting appetite for Dare's sequel. After a two-year gap, an eternity in the pop landscape of the '80s, Hysteria finally arrived, and despite some chart success, it effectively ended the Human League's existence as a dominant musical entity. Hysteria, in effect, has been forgotten about in the term's of the group's career, treated as sort of a rehashed, watered down Dare.

Caroline Records has now reissued Hysteria with additional bonus tracks, and the album, free of expectations, actually turns out to be something of a minor gem. This was the last release of the "classic" version of the Human League, their later albums would venture far off from the synth-pop course, and, if it's lacking in the vision and experimentalism of its predecessor, Hysteria makes up for it with a series of well-crafted new wave singles. Oddly enough, Oakey's growing concession to the pop world was probably what doomed Hysteria to minor league status. Dare's success lied with its ability to craft powerful pop songs that had a dark and bleak undercurrent. For every "Love Action", there were songs about "Darkness" and the assassination drama "Seconds". Hysteria only features one dark song, the guitar-driven "The Lebanon". This stark tale of life during wartime filled with huge drums and soaring guitars, when released as the debut single, alienated the Human League's core group of fans with its attempt to ape anthemic bands like U2 and the Alarm. Even if it did not go over well with the synth-pop crowd, perhaps because its highly politicized lyrics were so alien to the dance culture Human League appealed to, "The Lebanon" is a clear album highlight, a jolt of serious rock and roll in an album that occasionally dips into cheesiness.

And, yes, a listener can find plenty of head scratching moments of pure cheese on Hysteria, most notably the dance floor wannabe entitled, deep breath here, "Rock Me Again and Again and Again and Again and Again", where Phillip Oakey, laughingly, attempts to use his detached croon to carry a half-hearted stab of pointless Hi-NRG nonsense. The concluding "Don't You Know I Want You", which ought to have confused the heck out of dyslexics looking for the album that featured "Don't You Want Me", with its pseudo-African rhythms, is perhaps one of the most dreadful songs the League ever recorded, ends the album proper on a flat note. (The bonus tracks, as well, are fairly regrettable: an instrumental, a dull outtake, and three "extended versions" of Hysteria's hits that fail to convince me that the 12-inch single was a groundbreaking creative medium.)

However, the rest of the album features the band following the amazing pop smarts that informed "Mirror Man" and "(Keep Feeling) Fascination", none more so than the lost classic "The Sign". I feel that if "The Sign", rather than "The Lebanon", were the lead-off single from Hysteria, the album may have fared better. "The Sign" is pure sugar, it makes "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" sound like "Hurt", Philip Oakey had always made his intentions known that he wanted to prove that electronics were not just for experimentation but they could be used in the service of pop music. Nobody in 1986 needed to be told this, but the shimmering, good time, "everything will be fine" message of "The Sign" should have hammered home the message. It is, in fact, a perfection of the Human League pop formula, capitalizing on beautiful and alien sounds that could only be coaxed out of synthesizers, as well as the powerful tension between Oakey's deep alienated croaks and the female singers' naïve chirpiness.

Did I mention something about the Human League having a "pop formula"? Well, I am not kidding. Listening to Hysteria I was struck about how each of these songs seemed to be following similar patterns using specific tricks, but, on the other hand, I was noticing about how well it worked even when you noticed how formulaic the album was. Although the album took a long time to create, Hysteria seems effortless, as if the band could rattle of big hooks and catchy songs at a whim. There isn't much range on the album, it's filled mostly with call-and-response pop songs that rely on heavy concentration of choruses ("I'm Coming Back" and "So Hurt" being the best). There are two ballads, "Louise" and "Life on Your Own", which appear mainly because they felt they needed some ballads in the mix, where they sound a little like a rougher version of their Sheffield peers ABC. Overall, this is just a simple album, where the band sacrifices the complex arrangements and darker undertones of Dare in order to worship on the altar of Pop Muzik. For the Human League, the shiny, unvarnished, plastic noise of Hysteria represented an artistic step down, but the album still holds up as a beacon of synth-pop bubblegum.
Hunter Felt / popMATTERS

Asher Gamedze ‎– Dialectic Soul (2020)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label:  On The Corner Records

1.   State Of Emergence Suite
2.   Siyabulela
3.   Interregnum
4.   Eternality
5.   Hope In Azania
6.   The Speculative Fourth
Bass – Thembinkosi Mavimbela
Drums – Asher Gamedze
Tenor Saxophone – Buddy Wells
Trumpet – Robin Fassie-Kock
Vocals – Nono Nkoane

South Africa has been responsible for some of the most forward-thinking jazz of recent years. This is largely the work of experimental Johannesburg label Mushroom Hour Half Hour, whose roster of artists including free jazz collective SPAZA and duo Dumama and Kechou have helped establish a discography of uncompromising and emotive improvisations. Cape Town-based drummer Asher Gamedze continues in this lineage with his spiritual, jazz-inflected debut LP Dialectic Soul.

Dialectics, the idea of two opposing arguments working in concert, has much in common with the loose and at times contradictory arrangements of spiritual jazz, pitting instrumentalists’ individual expressions seemingly against one another within the unfurling structure of the song. Gamedze harnesses this tension perfectly, opening with his Emergence Suite, the atonal harmonies of Antithesis and shrieking exultations of Buddy Wells’ tenor sax on Thesis before reaching the oceanic calm of ballad Siyabulela, which references the tranquility of fellow countryman Abdullah Ibrahim’s work.

The uplifting Ibrahim references continue on the anthemic Hope in Azania – a reflection of Ibrahim’s hopeful apartheid-era hit Mannenberg – before reaching the chaotic breakdown of Outro. By weaving these flashes of history through the textural impressionism of his drumming and fellow band members’ forceful soloing, Gamedze acknowledges his respect for the past while dismantling its hold on the present. This push and pull makes Dialectic Soul a challenging listen, but one that continues to push forward South Africa’s new jazz sound.
Ammar Kalia / Crack Magazine

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Ron Geesin ‎– A Raise Of Eyebrows (1967)

Style: Abstract, Spoken Word, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Earmark, Strange Days Records, Transatlantic Records

A1.   A Raise Of Eyebrows
A2    Freedom For Four Voices And Me
A3.   Psychedelia
A4.   Positives
A5.   It's All Very New, You Know
A6.   A Female!
A7.   Certainly Random
B1.   The Eye That Nearly Saw
B2.   Two Fifteen String Guitars For Nice People
B3.   From An Electric Train
B4.   A World Of Too Much Sound
B5.   Another Female!
B6.   We're All Going To Liverpool
B7.   Ha! Ha! But Reasonable

Recorded By – Ron Geesin
Voice – Adrian Harman 
Voice, Instruments, Written By – Ron Geesin
Producer – Nathan Joseph

Ah, Ron Geesin. What a weird and loveable Scottish talent. He’s not Brion Gysin, Burroughs’ mate, as some people occasionally get confused about. He’s generally known only for his collaborations with Pink Floyd on ‘Atom Heart Mother’ and Roger Waters on the 1970 soundtrack to ‘The Body’, but his solo albums (at least the ones that I’ve heard) are little-discussed gems that, in my opinion, surpass these collaborations in creativity and general strangeness. The first of these was ‘A Raise of Eyebrows’ (although his first solo release was the privately-pressed EP ‘Mr. Mayor Stomp Your Head’ in 1965, containing piano solos, and he’d released some EPs with his first band, Original Downtown Syncopators Jazz Band), also the first stereo release on Transatlantic. And listening to this, you could almost believe that stereo was conceived purely so that Geesin could mess around with sound more effectively. 
The liner notes to this album gave a pretty good idea of where Geesin is coming from. “Ron Geesin makes music that is not like any other music. He uses words, sounds, music, electronics and other people, in fact everything that is to hand. Ron Geesin is a new and startling experience. Ron Geesin fits into no existing category or neat pigeon hole. He and his sound creations are of next year not this. Ron Geesin has a loud voice with a Scots accent. Many of Ron Geesin’s compositions are improvised. Most people don’t know what to make of Ron Geesin. Some are bewildered, some excited. Ron Geesin intrigues and involves you.” The cover is great too in a kitschy kind of way, with stock-psychedelic lettering and a photo showing the young Geesin looking like a maths teacher, sitting on a stool in his studio. Nothing mind-blowing, but enough to get you thinking that this album may well contain some interesting sonic tinkering – or if that doesn’t come off, maybe just some bad folk instead, at the other extreme. There’s no bad folk to be found here though, and plenty of off-kilter tinkering, so don’t fear. The reverse features a white-lined drawing on red showing Geesin with microphone in hand, rising genie-like out of his ‘red machine’, a red petrol can he used for jug-blowing (or, as Geesin has put it, “the ancient Black art of jug-blowing”!).

‘A Raise Of Eyebrows’ [2:16] opens the album with shattering crockery and the disturbed giggling laughter of a right nutter, getting more and more multi-tracked, panned and crazy, collapsing midway with a big crash and segueing to weird gargling and blubbering noises over a radio sports broadcast, before another crash and an upper-crust voice telling us all deadpan “there are bricks in your garden, go and throw them at your neighbours...” 
‘Freedom For Four Voices And Me’ [2:25] has Geesin groaning and singing to himself in pre-language sounds as though he’s just woken up from a huge bender on glue and paint thinner, as weird and funny chants emerge forming a choir of nitrous oxide crazed barbers over which Geesin scats nuttily and wordlessly, now more (or less) conscious. 
‘Psychedelia’ [1:08] consists of crazed organ fiddling (keep your minds out of the gutter now, folks), settling quickly into a repeated motif and silly monologue consisting of all sorts of semi-connected lines and finishing with “Humans pulsate! (where?) Somewhere else...” 
‘Positives’ [2:15] is another bizarre disconnected monologue in Geesin’s distinctive Scottish voice, warbling with comedy although you can’t really pick what’s so funny about what he’s saying – perhaps that it’s just so juxtaposed and odd, holding together despite being apparently meaningless, delivered in an amiable lilt, and humorous due to kooky bamboozlement rather than the presence of a punch-line. Who knows if there’s any reasoning behind this jumble of mad poesy? But who cares, it’s fascinating to listen to. 
‘It’s All Very, You Know’ [5:37] opens with unsettled jangling and throbbing piano stabbings, suddenly morphing into a crazy bebop routine (still just piano) before getting all dramatic and tense like a silent film musical accompaniment hinting that something unexpected and possibly scary is about to happen, then collapsing into seemingly random improvised plonks and fractured mini-melodies, though still holding a degree of tension and sparse drama, and finally returning to a rollicking up-tempo finale and fading to a gentle ending. 
‘A Female!’ [0:22] is a short poem recited dramatically – “A female walk-ed down the street, her knees were bare, her ankles neat, her eyes did flash with false preparations, but in her head...” and ending almost embarrassed – “well, I didn’t manage to finish that line, but I daresay she wouldn’t have been able to, either...” 
‘Certainly Random’ [2:49] opens with improvised banjo ruminations, soon joined by a weird clucking and cooing voice as though emulating some small farmyard animal on good drugs, as the banjo picks up a thread and jams with it, going into a tune joined with wordless lunatic scat singing that sounds like a demented old lady who doesn’t remember how to speak any language, but has great fun just making funny noises in (and out of) tune. 
‘The Eye That Nearly Saw’ [4:29] begins as a solemn slow beat and unsettled quiet droning groans that grow and become nearly recognisable, perhaps as a slowed-down snore or animal grunt, sounding like a heavily-doped dinosaur or some other large beast lying on the ground and drooling over itself as it lurks on the very cusp of a coma. Soon this recedes and a free-form piano enters, though sounding more harpsichordish, then echo effects are added with sounds now bouncing all around, and the groans and slow thud beat return and disappear. The intoxicated treated piano ramblings take over as some drunken bum you’ve never seen before walks out of your bathroom, muttering and dribbling curses you can’t understand and leaving a trail of dank debris as he walks down the hall and out your open front door. 
‘Two Fifteen String Guitars For Nice People’ [2:28] consists of freeform acoustic guitar explorations, with resonant attacks inside a piano occasionally sending discordant vibrations across the mix. The two guitars intertwine and spindle away, descending to a close. 
‘From An Electric Train’ [3:23] has a discordant organ drone with another nonsensical monologue, and the organ soon takes off on a semi-coherent gothic interlude before Geesin delivers some more lines – “people are burning their souls in their fires, from out of their chimneys comes smoke... TV is burning their eyes and their brain, brown bricks crumble, and the people? They collapse...” The organ dominates again, going more nuts and freeform this time. “Mother gives sweeties to Robert! Will he throw himself on the railway line? Father’s not puzzled, four pints he’s just guzzled, and Robert’s not his, anyway!” Closing on a more extended and together organ improv, the track fades out on a final drone and a mischievous single light note reminding you not to take any of it seriously. 
‘A World Of Too Much Sound’ [2:07] begins with fractured electric guitar spinning fucked-up webs like those famous spiders doped up on caffeine, as a croaky old voice requests “oh, talk to me, guitar!” and the music descends into a nutjob fast dance at an old folk’s home as a demented old crone skronks away with her vocal cords, then fading out for a brief monologue. The dance continues as Geesin blows on his ‘red machine’, sounding halfway between a jug and a kazoo. “Throb your guts out... Pound the strings! Pound the microphone diaphragm, pound your mother when you get home!”. The dance stops and a crazed Salvation Army coot enters banging a tinny drum, as Geesin squawks demands of “louder! louder!”, and the Salvo slips and falls into a rubbish bin with a clatter. “Not loud enough!” is Geesin’s judgement. He sighs “another hundred pounds gone, on a more powerful amplifier...”. “Where’s it gone” he asks himself in a different voice. “To the manufacturer of course, to make more powerful amplifiers, to make more powerful amplifiers, to make more powerful amplifiers...” etc. ad infinitum, fading and finishing with a tropical banjo theme that’s then gone, too. 
‘Another Female!’ [0:06] is just one short poem, “Trot trot old lady, how was your body in the bath, or were you just disgusted?” 
‘We’re All Going To Liverpool’ [3:57] is more freeform piano dramatics, interspersed with another crazy monologue, this time about train travel in some way but soon extending to bizarre existentialist ponderings and more seemingly meaningless disconnected ramblings. Suddenly Geesin spots a heart running down the road, and a crazed chase begins, until having to stop for traffic and, instantly forgetting about the blood-pumping organ on the run, returning to the public transport-related babbling. 
‘Ha! Ha! But Reasonable’ [1:37] closes the album with a jaunty and nutso good time romp led by piano and harmonica, and again sounding improvised except for the start and end. And that is the end to a quirky and unusual listening experience.

After this Geesin collaborated with Pink Floyd and Roger Waters, as well as releasing his ‘Electrosound’ on the KPM library music label in 1972, consisting of short vignettes of weird electronic sound sculptures each with its own feel. The following year he released ‘As He Stands’, for which see the separate review. Both ‘A Raise of Eyebrows’ and ‘As He Stands’ were reissued together on one CD by See For Miles in 1995, but I believe it’s no longer in print, so if you’re interested in checking these albums out it’s probably best to grab a copy without hesitation if you get the chance.
achuma /  Head Heritage

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

The Human League ‎– Dare / Fascination! (2012 Deluxe Edition) (1981)

Style: Synth-Pop, New Wave
Label: Virgin

1-01.   The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
1-02.   Open Your Heart
1-03.   The Sound Of The Crowd
1-04.   Darkness
1-05.   Do Or Die
1-06.   Get Carter
1-07.   I Am The Law
1-08.   Seconds
1-09.   Love Action (I Believe In Love)
1-10.   Don't You Want Me

            Bonus Tracks
1-11.   The Sound Of The Crowd (12" Version)
1-12.   Don't You Want Me (Extended Dance Mix)
1-13.   The Sound Of The Crowd (Instrumental)
1-14.   Open Your Heart / Non-Stop (Instrumentals)
1-15.   Don't You Want Me (Alternative Version)

2-01.   Hard Times / Love Action (I Believe In Love) (Instrumentals)
2-02.   Mirror Man
2-03.   You Remind Me Of Gold
2-04.   (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Extended Version)
2-05.   I Love You Too Much
2-06.   Mirror Man (Extended Version)
2-07.   You Remind Me Of Gold (Instrumental)
2-08.   (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Improvisation)
2-09.   I Love You Too Much (Dub Version)
2-10.   Total Panic

Synthesizer – Ian Burden, Jo Callis , Philip Adrian Wright
Synthesizer, Vocals – Philip Oakey 
Vocals – Joanne Catherall), Susanne Sulley
Producer – Martin Rushent, The Human League

Dare by The Human League resurfaces for another reissue, and whereas the 21st Anniversary re-release in 2002 combined the album with its instrumental remix partner Love And Dancing, this time across two CDs we get Dare and the EP Fascination! with a fair few bonus tracks thrown in for good measure.

The Sheffield band’s 1981 album has long since established its reputation as a synth-pop classic – best known for the transatlantic number one Don’t You Want Me – and it still sounds as fresh, vibrant and essential as it was over 30 years ago. With producer Martin Rushent, The Human League ushered us into an era of vibrant club culture with their pulsing synth constructions and Phil Oakey’s rich booming vocals. Crucially, Dare remained melodic, commercial pop, with your Mum just as likely to be singing along to the likes of Open Your Heart as you were, while you prepared for a Friday night out on the town.

CD one in this package adds twelve-inch versions of The Sound Of The Crowd, Don’t You Want Me to the standard Dare album, as well as instrumentals of Open Your Heart/Non-Stop and The Sound Of The Crowd. This disc ends with an ‘alternative version’ of Don’t You Want Me which sounds like an early mix of the standard album/seven-inch version.

Fascination! was something of a stop-gap between Dare and the follow-up Hysteria. The six tracks from the EP are all repeated here save for the seven-inch of Hard Times. That track does make an appearance, but only as in instrumental form fused to the instrumental of Love Action (I Believe In Love). The Dub version of  I Love You Too Much is included (in addition to the standard version), having been a 2008 bonus track on the digital version of the Fascination! EP. Total Panic at the end sounds like a dub/instrumental mix of an early version Don’t You Know I Love You (a track which ended up on Hysteria).

The Fascination! EP has so many strong tracks – You Remind Me Of Gold, Mirror Man and (Keep Feeling) Fascination (in both extended and ‘improvisation’ versions) that it ultimately works better with Dare than the Love and Dancing remix release, even if the later obviously shares DNA with the album proper.

The reissue is packaged in a ‘lift off lid’ box – this will be familiar if you have bought any of the Duran Duran, Radiohead or David Bowie reissues in the last few years. Inside are the two CDs in card sleeves, plus a series of postcards with single cover art and a disappointing booklet which lacks any real detail about the tracks and could have been more extensive.

This ‘deluxe’ packaging is starting to feel very generic, and we have reservations about these boxes where you have to tip out various bits of content. When a real effort is made with the format, such as the recent glossy Smashing Pumpkins reissues, or the textured, stickered box used for David Bowie’s Live Santa Monica ’72 back in 2008, it works, but for this Dare box there is no spot varnishing, or a gloss finish and ultimately it looks a bit flat and boring.

There is no denying however, that this is the best all-round Dare package released to date. Although it appears something of a hodge-podge of remixes and album/EP tracks, it is, in the end, fairly comprehensive, apart from omitting a few seven-inch versions.
Paul Sinclair / Super Deluxe Edition

Massacre ‎– Killing Time (1981)

Style: Avantgarde, Free Improvisation
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Celluloid, ReR Megacorp, Spittle Records

01.   Legs
02.   Aging With Dignity
03.   Subway Hearts
04    Killing Time
05.   Corridor
06.   Lost Causes
07.   Not The Person We Knew
08.   Bones
09.   Tourism
10.   Surfing
11.   As Is
12.   After
13.   Gate

Bass, Pocket Trumpet – Bill Laswell
Drums, Percussion – Fred Maher
Guitar, Voice, Keyboards – Fred Frith

Formed in 1980 and only in existence for a year or so (till ashortlived reunion in 1998), Massacre would walk away with the gong for 'Best Art Rock Power Trio of All Time', if such an award existed. Comprising English guitar experimentalist Fred Frith and New Yorkers Bill Laswell and Fred Maher on bass and drums respectively, they imagined an unholy union of The Shadows, Captain Beefheart, Derek Bailey and Funkadelic. All of this was delivered with a punkish intensity that was very much of the time (and place - this was Downtown New York).

But this is no mere antique or curio. Now finally issued on CD (and at the right speed), Killing Timereveals Frith at his most hyperactive and unfettered. With Laswell and Maher snapping at his heels,he uses his (literally) stunning technique to completely subvert any conventional notions of guitar heroics; wiry jazz chording, screams, rumbles and scratches woven into strange, hummable melodies. It's an aesthetic that would still give most guitarists nightmares. Genius.
Peter Marsh  / BBC Review
Avant rock in the early 1980s was a very different beast than in the preceeding decade. After punk and new wave, DIY experimentation, electronic music, and a healthy cross-breeding of scenes via all manner of unlikely collaborations and manifestos-- playing six degrees of separation with musicians from the late-70s and early-80s could easily make bedfellows of a pop star and a no wave anti-celebrity-- bands who might've been content to play just prog or free improvisation or deranged blues began throwing everything into a blender and skronking out whatever they could. Predating today's noise-rock scene-- and earlier acts like Boredoms, Ruins and John Zorn's Naked City-- the first wave of 80s experimental rock musicians had few precedents for their brand of noise, but they did have the ability to choose amongst a huge variety of source material to integrate into their cacophonous attack plans. Heads of the class were This Heat, Material, the Work, Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, James Blood Ulmer, Last Exit, and the international trio Massacre.

Massacre formed in New York City in 1980, after British guitarist Fred Frith had moved there following the demise of his former band, Henry Cow. After hooking up with Material bassist Bill Laswell and drummer Fred Maher, the band recorded a single record in 1981 before disbanding. And they totally killed it: The tunes on Killing Time represent one of the greatest possible ends for the concept of a power trio circa early-80s downtown NYC. Taking hints from no wave, Massacre's music had a generally chaotic, breakneck pace, focusing each member's considerable musical abilities on jagged, squealing "melodies" and an angular yet blurred attack. Some of the music sounds improvised (reminiscent of earlier Henry Cow live stuff, or even mid-70s King Crimson), but the pulse never wavers; momentum never falls below a menacing rumble.

"Legs" is a hybrid of early Devo and Discipline-era Crimson, with atonal guitar lines, pointed phrasing and that unmistakable proto-dancepunk pogo beat. Laswell's rubber band punch underneath the head makes an already feverish tune seem all the more ready to burst, and when "Aging With Dignity Takes Over", the trio dives headfirst into apocalypse-beat. Frith sounds like Derek Bailey gone punk, and the primal drums and Laswell's strings being abused are certainly in keeping with the aggressive, primitivist aesthetic. Perhaps that's the strangest thing about Massacre: They sounded as immediate and unsettled as a no wave act, but played everything like rabid musos.

The title track blows everything out of the water, again hitting the hi-speed beats and ultra-dissonant guitar leads, sounding like submarine chase music-- paranoid and destroying anything in its path. ReR's reissue adds several live bonus tracks, including dark ambient pieces like "You Said", "Carrying", and "Know" that predate Frith's Death Ambient project of the 1990s. Conversely, "F.B.I." is something of a metal cowboy song, and reminds me of tracks on the first Naked City record where the band would start out playing a fake television theme only to erupt in splatter noise at seemingly random intervals.

Suffice to say, Massacre are not for the faint (or musically conservative) at heart. After a long layoff, the band did regroup in the late-90s, though working with ex-This Heat drummer Charles Hayward instead of Mayer. The results were interesting, but to my ears, they never matched the focused intensity of Killing Time. Nevertheless, this record belongs in a pretty select group of great, instrumental avant-rock albums, and is one that should find a fan in anyone who doesn't mind a few shards of broken glass mixed in amongst their riffs.
Dominique Leone / Pitchfork

Lejaren Hiller ‎– Computer Music Retrospective (1986)

Style: Modern Classical, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: WERGO

        Expo '85
01.   Circus Piece - A Cadential Process
02.   Transitions - A Hierarchical Process
03.   Toy Harmonium - A Statistical Process
04.   Mix Or Match - A Tune Generating Process (5 Examples)
        Quartet No. 4 "Illiac Suite"
05.   Experiment One (Presto, Andante, Allegro)
06.   Experiment Two (Adagio, Ma Non Troppo Lento)
07.   Experiment Three (Allegro Con Brio)
08.   Experiment Four (Tanto Presto Che Possibile)
        Computer Music
09.   Decisively
10.   Briskly
11.   Lyrically
12.   Allegro
        An Avalanche
13.   Getting Ready For It
14.   The Avalanche
15.   Cleaning Up The Mess

Cello – Lee Duckles
Flute – Robert Dick
Oboe – Nora Pos
Viola – Theodore Lucas 
Violin – David Rosenboom, William Mullen
Percussion – Jan Williams , Robert Rosen 
Performer – Composition String Quartet
Synthesizer, Computer, Electronics – Lejaren Hiller
Vocals [Pitchman] – Royal MacDonald
Vocals [Prima Donna] – Norma Marder 
Composed By – Charles Ames, G. Allan O'Connor, John Myhill, Lejaren Hiller, Leonard Isaacson

Questa raccolta di musiche composte da Lejaren Hiller attraverso un computer, fu pubblicata all’indomani della presentazione da lui presieduta in Giappone per conto della United States Information Agency all’Esposizione Universale di Tsukuba, il cui tema era incentrato proprio sull’uso della tecnologia.

Per questo motivo l’album prodotto dalla Wergo si apre con alcuni brani che furono realizzati in quell’occasione da Lejaren Hiller e il suo gruppo di lavoro, che comprendeva Charles Ames e John Myhill. Va detto che si tratta per lo più di esperimenti finalizzati a dimostrare al grande pubblico dell’Expo i tanti modi in cui il computer poteva essere utilizzato per comporre musica, sia da solo e sia interfacciandolo con altri dispositivi. Hiller tentò di abbracciare stili differenti, dalla musica popular a quella d’avanguardia, al fine di enfatizzare l’intento dimostrativo.

Nella raccolta presentata dalla Wergo, sotto il titolo Expo ’85 (1985) sono presentati in realtà quattro brani, dei quali non tutti firmati da Lejaren Hiller: il primo, tra quelli del compositore americano, è Circus Piece realizzato con un sintetizzatore Kurzweil 250, in cui Hiller ripropone delle procedure di selezione del materiale secondo delle procedure già adottate negli anni Cinquanta per la Illiac Suite.

La seconda traccia, Trasitions, è stata realizzata da Charles Ames con un Oberheim Xpander. In questo lavoro l’uso del computer doveva dimostrare la possibilità di utilizzarlo per la composizione di strutture complesse oltre che per la selezione degli elementi musicali.

A questo segue Toy Harmonium per pianoforte sintetico, il cui titolo è un omaggio ai lavori di James Tenney.

Chiude la serie dell’Expo, un altro brano firmato da Lejaren Hiller, in collaborazione con Charles Ames, Mix or Match. sostanzialmente un programma in grado di generare un numero indefinibile di melodie jazz, basate sulle regole fissate durante la fase di programmazione. Si tratta di una metodologia anche questa ereditata dalla Illiac Suite, con la differenza che in questo caso anche l’esecuzione è affidata al computer, quindi totalmente automatizzata.

Se c’è un brano che non poteva mancare in questa raccolta è senza dubbio la Illiac Suite (1957), non solo perché si tratta delle prima opera musicale realizzata attraverso un computer, ma anche perché il successo di quest’ultima convinse Hiller ad abbandonare la chimica per dedicarsi esclusivamente alla musica.

Per ascoltare tutti e quattro i movimenti vi rimando alla voce Illiac Suite della sezione argomenti.

Le successive tre tracce presentano un lavoro articolato in tre movimenti: Computer music (1968) per nastro magnetico e percussioni. Quest’opera fu realizzata in collaborazione con il compositore americano G. Allan O’Connor, molto più noto per la sua attività didattica. Non è menzionata tra le opere più significative di Hiller, anche perchè Computer Music è un riadattamento delle strofe I, II e IV di Computer Cantata, realizzata con la collaborazione di Robert Baker ma non presente in questa raccolta

Le ultime due tracce sono Persiflage (1977) e An Avalanche (1968). Quest’ultimo è un lavoro che si basa su un testo satirico del commediografo Frank Parman, che svolge un’analisi sulla situazione dell’arte negli Stati Uniti sul finire degli anni Sessanta. Persiflage, invece, è un lavoro strumentale per flauto, oboe e percussioni, la cui partitura fu ottenuta attraverso l’utilizzo del software Phrase.
Alex Di Nunzio /

Monday, 25 January 2021

The Human League ‎– Travelogue ( 2003 Remastered) (1980)

Style: Industrial, Electro, Synth-pop, Experimental, Disco
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Virgin, Caroline Records

01.   The Human League - The Black Hit Of Space
02.   The Human League - Only After Dark
03.   The Human League - Life Kills
04.   The Human League - Dreams Of Leaving
05.   The Human League - Toyota City
06.   The Human League - Crow And A Baby
07.   The Human League - The Touchables
08.   The Human League - Gordon's Gin
09.   The Human League - Being Boiled
10.   The Human League - W.X.J.L. Tonight
        Extra Tracks
11.   The Human League - Marianne
12.   The Future - Dancevision
13.   The Human League - Rock 'n' Roll/Night Clubbing
14.   The Human League - Tom Baker
15.   The Human League - Boys And Girls
16.   The Men - I Don't Depend On You
17.   The Men - Cruel

Remastered By – Simon Heyworth
Written-By – Marsh, Ware, Oakey, The Human League
Producer – Colin Thurston, The Men 
Producer, Engineer – Ian Marsh, John Leckie, Martin Ware, Richard Manwaring, The Human League

Featuring the band’s signature hit ‘Don’t You Want Me’, 1981’s multi-platinum-selling Dare will forever be the album most closely associated with Sheffield synth-pop pioneers The Human League. Sleek, melodic and still formidably radio-friendly, it’s frequently cited as one of electro-pop’s benchmark releases, yet its enduring appeal has often unfairly eclipsed the band’s innovative early recordings – not least their 1979 debut, Reproduction, and sublime sophomore set, Travelogue.

With charismatic frontman Phil Oakey ably supported by his newly recruited vocal foils Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley, the Mk II, Dare-era, Human League exuded glamour and sophistication, yet this was a far cry from the band’s early days, when founder members Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh rehearsed in a disused cutlery factory with just two rudimentary Korg and Roland synthesisers.

Formed during the foment of punk – which also galvanised Sheffield contemporaries such as ABC and The Comsat Angels – The Human League were originally known as The Future; Ware and Marsh hooked up with vocalist Phil Oakey after their original singer, Adi Newton (later of Clock DVA), departed and their first choice of replacement, Glenn Gregory, proved unavailable.

Rechristened The Human League, the trio recruited fourth member, “director of visuals” Philip Adrian Wright, whose slide projections added a futuristic extra dimension to the League’s live shows. Virgin Records signed the group after Bob Last’s Edinburgh-based indie imprint Fast Product released two reputation-building 45s, ‘Being Boiled’ and The Dignity Of Labour EP, yet while their Virgin debut, Reproduction, and attendant single, ‘Empire State Human’, were critically acclaimed, both sold slowly.

With fellow synth-pop trailblazers Tubeway Army having topped the UK charts with ‘Are “Friends” Electric?’ in June 1979, The Human League were under pressure to deliver commercially. A breakthrough was, however, just around the corner. The band performed their stripped-back cover of Gary Glitter’s ‘Rock’n’Roll’ (from their Holiday 80 EP) for their inaugural Top Of The Pops slot, in March 1980, while second LP, Travelogue, peaked at No.16 in the UK Top 40 in May.

Co-helmed by future OMD producer Richard Mainwaring, Travelogue, released on 23 May 1980, was considerably more cohesive than the cold, austere Reproduction, and while the fragile, cyclical ‘Toyota City’ and poignant, Apartheid-related ‘Dreams Of Leaving’ retained the League’s original experimental edge, the bulk of its content was highly accessible. The swaggering ‘Life Kills’ and a playful yet economic cover of Mick Ronson’s ‘Only After Dark’ lent especially heavily towards the dancefloor, while ‘The Black Hit Of Space’ (a mordant tale of a record so bland it consumed the entire universe) displayed a wicked, Sparks-esque sense of humour.

Travelogue hinted at an auspicious future, but ultimately its success couldn’t resolve The Human League’s internal contradictions. Their personnel subsequently split into two camps in November 1980, though this schism later produced two new world-beating pop groups. Oakey and Wright’s Mk II Human League returned refreshed with the insurmountable Dare, and Ware and Marsh formed the stylish Heaven 17 with vocalist Glenn Gregory.
Tim Peacock / uDiscovermusic

Metabolist ‎– Hansten Klork (1980)

Style: Avantgarde, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Drömm Records, Eye Of The Storm

        Hansten Klork
01.   Curly Wall
02.   Alien On Sunday
03.   King Quack
04.   Lights
05.   Hoi Hoi Hoi
06.   Merchandise
07.   Hansten Klork
        Bonus Tracks
08.   Drömm
09.   Slaves
10.   Eulam's Beat
11.   Zordan Returns
12.   Chained
13.   Thru The Black Hole

Bass, Vocals, Synth – Simon Millward
Drums, Percussion – Mark Rowlatt
Guitar, Synth, Vocals – Malcolm Lane

Metabolist were a UK experimental group forming in January 1977, consisting of Malcolm Lane (guitar, synth, vocals), Simon Millward (bass, vocals, synth), Mark Rowlatt (drums, percussion) and Anton Loach, with Jacqueline Bailey dedicated to designing the band’s record covers in a Suprematist style.

Can you elaborate the formation of Metabolist?

Malcolm Lane: The band was always London based. I started the band with Bob Goffman in 1975.

Were you in any other bands?

Malcolm Lane: I was in a few unknown bands: Green Gilbert, and the Performing Cardinals. Lots of jamming.

Mark Rowlatt: Metabolist was my first band. I was self-taught and was already in contact with Malcolm Lane’s brother Duncan through our mutual love of Magma. After Metabolist, I joined Shock Headed Peters teaming up with ex-Lemon Kitten Karl Blake, then Ectomorph with ex-Event Group Michael McDonough-Jones playing on an LP for each. ‘A Perfect Action’ was a cricket opera written by Michael which toured UK with a dance company and spawned an LP. Joined Howard Devoto’s band Luxuria for their UK & US live tours in 1988. I formed Bugblot with bassist Karl Leiker from the Luxuria touring band and Dave Maltby, ex-Jah Wobble’s Human Condition. We gigged, but didn’t release anything, unfortunately.

It’s really hard to describe your music. Do you consider yourselves as being part of the punk generation?

Malcolm Lane: Punk was a different generation, although I did meet up with various people, as did other members of the band, as we were based in central London.

Who were your major influences?

Malcolm Lane: I started playing long before the others, and went to gigs in London in 1967. The most remarkable of which was “Christmas on earth” at Earls Court Olympia. Bands who played Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett, Tommorrow, with Steve Howe, Soft Machine with Robert Wyatt and Kevin Ayers, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix … a total inspiration, especially what could be done with a mobile band [one where all the musicians etc were important, not a lead singer with backing band. I had seen Magma by this time too.

Mark Rowlatt: For me, Magma, Faust, The Fall. No surprises there!

So the local scene had impact on you?

Malcolm Lane: Living so near to London meant that I got to see bands like Cream and the Stones easily.

“Metabolist summed up the way we went about creating our music.”
How did you decide to use the name “Metabolist”?

Malcolm Lane: Metabolist summed up the way we went about creating our music. An idea which passed through the metabolism and accumulated stuff.

You were active for about two years before you recorded your album. The punk scene was growing at the time.

Malcolm Lane: The punk scene was parallel with the indie scene, and we were never a Punk band, but it was impossible, especially as we lived in London, not to be inspired by the punk ethic. This is why we made all our own records, and screen printed “Dromm” at home.

How did the crowd react to your music?

Malcolm Lane: The punk crowd saw us as another band, but didn’t want to share our taste in clothing!

Hansten Klork was released in 1980.

Malcolm Lane: Anton Loach, our lead singer, bought a Wasp, it was very basic and unpredictable but took us to new places. This is probably what inspired Morgan Fisher to put us on Miniatures [after a gig at the Subterranea]. Can had started to influence us, and I was a big Picasso fan, so didn’t see any barriers to what we could do. Mark Rowlatt bought along a free music approach to drums, so we could have industrial chains and hub-caps. Anton Loach also used pre-recorded tapes of noise [see Dromm].

Please share your recollections of the sessions.

Malcolm Lane: A typical session would start with Gerald Kingsford, or Mark Rowlatt playing a drum riff, the tape would be going and people would add whatever they felt fitted. A session would last about 4 hours, and between rehearsals Anton Loach, would select juicy bits, which became pieces.

Where did you record the LP and what can you tell us about Drömm Records?

Malcolm Lane: Drömm Records was about the Desperate Bicycles saying “it was cheap it was easy do it” on their The Spiral Scratch EP. We did all our recording at Trentishoe mansions recording studio, run by Anton Loach.

“Making the album was a continuation of the process of exploration.”
What are some of the strongest memories from recording and producing your LP?

Malcolm Lane: It was exciting to know that people in Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA, etc. had heard our music, and would come and visit us. Making the album was a continuation of the process of exploration. I can recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to be a factory made pop-star.

How was the record distributed?

We visited distributors like Rough Trade, Caroline, Zircon etc., some took 20 others loads more. As we don’t drive we got very long arms carrying the records on public transport.

7-inch “Drömm” was self-released. There’s also Goatmanaut.

Malcolm Lane: “Drömm” was our first vinyl and had Gerald Kingsford on drums, Goatmanaut had Mark Rowlatt. “Drömm” was very exciting and featured recordings from the games arcade. Goatmanaut has a great track which is Simon Millward on bass through a Watkins echo unit [analogue] that sounds like the minutes before the end of the world.

Did you play any shows in support of your LP?

Malcolm Lane: As we didn’t have a record company, this was not an issue, we got gigs when we could, and found that as we did Fanzine interviews and Sounds and Melody Maker pieces, the fans increased. John Gill from Sounds stumbled across the band, and got us exposure [he was a big Residents and Can fan].

There was the scene that included Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, This Heat (interview here), and Daniel Miller. We did gigs with them even organising a benefit gig with This Heat.

How many copies were made?

Malcolm Lane: Hansten Klork, about 10.000.

“Creativity and playing too loud.” 
Was there any concept behind the band?

Malcolm Lane: Creativity and playing too loud. Also the belief that we were going somewhere, no-one had been before. I had looked at psychology, and was keen to show that Watson and Skinner were wrong Koestler was on the right lines!

What can you say about minimalistic cover artwork of Metabolist?

Malcolm Lane: Jacqueline Bailey, our manager had always been a Mondriaan fan and wanted directness and apparent simplicity.

In 1981 you made a split with Die Form.

Malcolm Lane: We met Philippe Fichot in Rough Trade at the suggestion of Geoff Travis, and agreed on many things. I would also like to have done something with Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft. They were in their instrumental phase at this time.

What’s the story behind Stagmanaut!?

Malcolm Lane: Stagmanaut! was a project assembled by Simon Millward and was a continuation of Goatmanaut. After Anton Loach had left the band, production fell to Simon Millward, who was very gifted in this area [he went on to write the Cubase manual]

“Music transcends everything” 
What happened next?

Malcolm Lane: Being in Metabolist was a very intense experience, with no immediate hope of making a living from it, if a magic fairy had given us a lot of money… We were very tired as we all had day jobs, Anton Loach for example worked in the fruit market. Mark cleaned toilets and had to walk everywhere. This meant that people began to crack – Anton Loach was the first, then me. Lucky we all lived to tell the tale.

What currently occupies your life?

Malcolm Lane: I teach band music in school, I have introduced 100’s of London children to noisy music, so that when they grow up they will form other Metabolists and reject facile industry fodder.

Mark Rowlatt: I discovered travelling and spend most of my life with a backpack on now.

Was there any official reissue? Would be great to see it happen.

There have been Japanese and other bootlegs, so it would seem pointless.

Thank you for taking your time. Last word is yours.

I hope that the experimental spirit will always stay with rock, the last gig I did was at Batofar in Paris with Batchass in 2012, and showed that music transcends everything.
Klemen Breznikar / It's Psychedelic Baby