Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com: Earls Court: ‘You could knock down the V&A and build flats there. But should you?’

A couple who run a cafe near the demolition-threatened Earls Court exhibition centre fear its demise as part of major redevelopment scheme would destroy the area’s character

Deena and Henry Baghdasarian met in London in the late seventies. Both were students from overseas, he from Armenia, she from an Iran on its way to revolution. They opened their cafe, Deena B, in Old Brompton Road in 2007, right at the start of the recession but, they say, it’s getting easier now. They love this part of town. The thought of the Earls Court exhibition centre being demolished fills them with dismay.

“It’s just this big, big part of London,” Henry says. “It’s been there since 1937. All those wonderful shows, and they’re going to just go.” He and Deena do not share the enthusiasm of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham councils for the Capital and Counties-led Earls Court redevelopment project, which they promise will revive the area with 7,500 new homes and 9,500 new jobs.

“You could knock down the Victoria and Albert museum and put flats up there instead,” Henry remarks, rhetorically. “But should you?” Deena talks about returning customers, visitors from far and wide, who are perturbed by rumours of the centre’s demise. She doubts that the transformation would be an opportunity for small traders such as her and Henry. “It’ll be all Costa and M&S, the usual chains,” she says.

The couple say their own business would be hurt. But what stirs them most is the thought of the area losing its character. “People say they like England because it is so different, but it isn’t all the same,” Deena says. For her, losing the exhibition centre would lengthen a sorry list: red telephone kiosks, the old-fashioned black London cabs, she could go on.

As for flats, high-rise, medium-rise, any shape or size, they should be built somewhere else. Henry: “There seems to be no end to them. They’ll just be bought by rich people who’ll let them sit there for years and years. a cleaner will drop in now and then, God knows who for. It will be a huge benefit for the developer, of course. But where does the development lead?

Further reading: my timeline of the Earls Court Project and an archive of my coverage of the scheme.

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Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com: Earls Court: impressions of assent

Backers of the controversial Earls Court redevelopment project have gone to striking lengths to control and limited media attention

When assessing a redevelopment plan described by its champions as a “visionary project” of a type to “lift the UK out of recession” and create “thousands of new homes and jobs” in “the biggest new project in the capital since Stratford was transformed by the Olympics” it is important to stay calm. After all, there may be other ways of looking at the Earls Court Project – ways that its champions would prefer you not to be acquainted with.

The same applies when those champions inform you and, of course, the media that the enterprise is being borne on sweet zephyrs of goodwill from those we might expect to find it troubling. “All our residents can look forward to a new era of prosperity and opportunity,” the leader of Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) proclaims. “The council will be there to help every step of the way.” This sounds comforting. But what of those who consider the council to, in fact, be stepping all over them?

The longer I’ve documented the Earls Court Project – a regeneration scheme like no other in London, and all the more instructive for it – the more enthralling have become the efforts its backers to prevent opposition to the enterprise being known about or getting out of hand.

Some of the clearest evidence for this emerged from documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, relating to one of a series of gatherings of the landowners involved with the scheme, Hammersmith and Fulham council (H&F), Capital and Counties (Capco) and Transport for London.

A report to the “landowners board” meeting of July 17 last year described a “communications strategy” devoted to ensuring that planning applications were approved and supporting a “political strategy” of which a “key part” was “keeping the debate local” rather than seeing it “escalate to a national or even a London level.”

It noted that recent BBC coverage had centred on differences of opinion between groups of residents “rather than on Capco or the other landowners” and said the readiness of these groups to take their cases to the media had had the “beneficial side-effect of making the argument resident v resident rather than resident v developer or resident v council.”

This insight into the effort and sophistication devoted to controlling and monitoring coverage of the Earls Court Project tells us a lot, in my view, about the attitude of those concerned to the people whose best interests they claim to have most at heart. It suggests anxiety about the scale of opposition that might be triggered should the story get around.

And there are further dimensions to this “media strategy”. Unable to work with the two estates’ residents’ and tenants’ associations (TRAs) over the plans to demolish the estates – each has claimed the other is to blame – the council engaged instead with a “steering group” of residents more receptive to its plans.

This group was not elected and, judging its list of email contacts, has never enjoyed great support. Nevertheless its existence has been useful to the council and Capco in pursuing their media strategy. Press releases have quoted long-term resident Maureen Way praising the scheme in her capacity as chairwoman of the group, which has become a limited company.

The steering group has proved helpful with challenging media coverage deemed unhelpful. An article I wrote in March last year about the overwhelming rejection of the demolition plan by the large percentage of residents responding to the council’s consultation drew a complaint from the council and also a request from the steering group for a right of reply.

This was granted and a response duly published under Way’s name, though the relevant Guardian department was not informed at the time of a financial relationship between the group and the council.

As Inside Housing had revealed, the council had given the group £38,000, most of it covering the cost of legal advice received for its role in drafting contracts that estate tenants and home-owners will be required to sign in order to qualify for the council’s compensation package – which includes the offer of a replacement home. Some of the remainder was spent on producing a newsletter for residents. This information was later added to Way’s Guardian article in a footnote.

Recently, the steering group has sent out another newsletter – a professionally-produced, four-page document on glossy paper – and launched a website bearing the message “yes to our future.” Edelman, the public relations firm retained by Capco, has told me that neither it nor Capco have assisted the group with its recent communications activities.

The council says its financial assistance to the group has now reached a total of around £100,000, almost all of it for continuing legal advice about residents’ contracts. The group itself has not taken up my offers to publish an interview with its members or report answers to various questions I have asked it about how the website and newsletter were produced and paid for.

That, of course, is their privilege. The group believes it is helping residents to secure the best possible terms in their dealings with the council and sees the Earls Court Project as a boon for the area’s future. Maureen Way is described even by a resident actively opposed to the scheme as “a very nice lady” and my informal contacts with her do not contradict that view.

However, the objection to the steering group opponents of demolition have is that it enables the council and its allies to further foster an impression that residents of the estates are more enthusiastic about the scheme and more actively involved in shaping it than is really the case. The outcome of the council’s formal consultation of residents produced a resounding rejection of its plans from a huge level of responses. Other local groups and interested parties have submitted a wide range of concerns. Can H&F honestly say it is working with the wishes of its residents rather than simply straining to give that impression?

Of course, both sides of the debate are seeking to control the media agenda. The difference is that the forces of Capco and H&F, backed by Boris Johnson are vastly greater than those of the TRAs and the wider Save Earls Court campaign. That said, David is resourceful and hasn’t bowed before Goliath. Edelman public affairs managing director Chris Rumfitt was among those who received a petition in the spring, delivered personally in lively circumstances.

Saturday’s I Love Earls Court day received coverage from the BBC and ITV as well as me. Perhaps the debate isn’t going to stay so local after all.

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God Is In The TV: Track Of The Day #387: Pearl Jam – Getaway

pearljam2013
Pearl Jam have got a consistently solid record of album releases if you forgive them the plethora of live sets. Well studio album number ten is just out, called ‘Lightning Bolt’ and maintains that standard. If you ignore the obvious alternative candidate for now, they have become the most important and prominent grunge band to have emerged from the rich Seattle soil. Here’s a track for you to chew on.

via TC God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/10/31/track-of-the-day-pearl-jam-getaway/

God Is In The TV: Tales from the Attic Volume XVI- Revolutions of a 33 and 45 kind.

 

Panther__s_Moon_by_JoeJusko

A welcome back to the tales from the attic wing ding, only seems a mere day or three ago since we last visited upon your listening space, in truth your two behind this being rushed out and still not smudge proof given its hot off the presses. So why the fuss and rush, well blame yesterday afternoon for there we were minding our own business suffering the joys of influenza and as ever not being a happy patient and feeling somewhat glum. Without warning or indeed request Halloween related stuff started filtering through our in box and before we got any older we found ourselves on some unwitting mission scribbling frantically fanciful words on said arcane artefacts.

And so here we are with a sort of Halloween missive – at least it is second half down. As to the assembled feast (he impishly chided) a curious mixed bag this one for we have space rock, cosmic rock, nob rock, waltz rock, electro rock, death rock, doom rock, dumb rock, rock rock, candy rock, blackpool rock….the gathering set list reading thus….

Epstein, grudle bay, Katie gately, anla courtis, uton, Saturday sun, stave, laica, solvognen, chaz dolo, rasplyn, dolium, neon windbreaker, marika hackman, widow, winter storm, tomorrow comes with wolves, the hate colony, 8ft sativa, pascal babare, rival consoles, loom, bd1982, the cosines, quiet marauder, sand, yellow6, carl kruger, roger eno, steven Wilson, suspicious beasts, jetsam, Hermione harvestman, the dandelion, spids hogenhut, masiro, hallucinex, sauna heat, she keeps bees, man eating sloth, black rune, mumble dust, blood cousin, dr gasp and the eeks, flaming lips, scary cherry and the bang bangs, bill Callahan, special brew pod cast, creature feature, zombinaand the skeletones, lumin bells, andy miau and mr vampire, camp counselors, cemeteries, Cynthia’s scream, field mouse, Hercules baby, kreeps, pseudo color, psychic twin, seismograph, tender bats and my son the bum.

By now you will be all to aware of the sad passing of Lou Reed. Words I feel are hollow in expressing just how much a maverick and visionary Mr Reed was therefore we’ll leave the words to someone who knew him well – from a press statement released on behalf of John Cale –

‘the news I feared the most, pales in comparison to the lump in my throat and the hollow in my stomach. Two kids have a chance meeting and 47 years later we fight and love the same way – losing either one is incomprehensible. No replacement value, no digital or virtual fill….broken now, for all time. Unlike so many with similar stories, we have the best of our fury laid out on vinyl, for the world to catch a glimpse. The laughs we shared just a few weeks ago, will forever remind me of all that was good between us.’

One of the most celebrated Halloween japes in radio history celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. Orson Welles presentation of H G Wells’ ’War of the Worlds’ is a broadcast steeped in legend and notoriety, aired one fateful All Hallows night 1938, over the years it has acquired a myth induced cult status. Birthed in an age of paranoia and in the shadow of the very real threat posed by the Nazis across Europe, Welles’ real time transmission interspersed with news flashes and broadcast drop outs was a media trick or treat never since surpassed, a tale of enemies from the skies intent on submitting the mankind to slavery and destruction. What made the broadcast seem so real was the absence of advertising breaks for the first 2/3rds of the show which added to the authenticity. History would have it that the broadcast sent the radio listening Americans into panicked hysteria, reports in the intervening years record how people committed suicide fearing the end of the world, of gun wielding mobs gathered together in drinking halls marching upon grover’s mill prepared to use whatever force was needed to rid these hostiles, that emergency services where stretched to breaking point by reports of death ray attacking invaders from the stars, Welles was even cute enough to set the play around actual places all too familiar to listeners relocating Welles’ original script from London to New Jersey. Research since has looked upon the causes of why this particular transmission holds such notoriety and why the public at large where fooled, a common theory being that it was pitted against the popular ’chase and sanborn hour’ show from a rival network which 15 minutes in ran its first musical interlude, a time according to popular consensus whereby listeners would retire for a brew or else twiddle the dial momentarily to see what else was being broadcast at that moment – hence coming upon these strange news broadcasts from the CBS networks. As to the aftermath the printed press had a field day, both radio and the press had been in a bitter feud for years, the former threatening the hegemony of the latter who in retaliation where swift to seize upon the moment to exact their own trick or treat dishing. If you scour the BBC I-Player there are two related broadcasts aired last weekend – the first via radio 4 xtra being the original broadcast in its entirety while the second originally broadcast Saturday just gone in their archive on 4 slot discusses the myth surrounding the broadcast pouring fresh conjecture on its cult like status – the programme incidentally is titled ‘Orson Welles and the war of the worlds’.

Of concern to those who care about such things, we don’t I’m afraid to say and again keeping with recent broadcasts via BBC Radio 4, you may have been aware of the hullabaloo concerning Morrissey’s autobiography entitled er – ’autobiography’. now aside rumour of bullying various publishing executives so that the tome was afforded the rare honour of being turned out as a ’penguin classic’. seems that this inflamed the ire of the home counties and classicist lecturers the nation through, there has been talk in townships whose names are unpronounceable and invisible on road maps where ritual practices such as cheese rolling, market bartering and the ducking of witches are still considered cheery village events, of masses of personage striding to local village post offices with missives in hand thoughtfully dedicated by nibs of gold dipped in Indian ink waiting for the postal collection service that never come Ah, such is the middle class revolt. What the buggering hell be he on about you may all ask as you huddle around the communal lit match rationed mind to five a day in these grim days of profiteering market forces, I weep as I hear the news that Barclays pre-tax profits are down, just a mere £4.2bn – how will they survive, we will vote to have the funds raised from Saturday’s bric n’ brac sale at the local church hall sent to them forthwith to assist in their hour of need. And so after several detours and a minor one way up a cul de sac back with Stephen Patrick. ’autobiography’ his promised warts n’ all was soundly rounded upon by the assembled cast of Radio 4’s ‘Saturday review’ – the criticism was poetic, eloquent, constructive and constructed – it brought a tear to my eye, was there nothing redeeming about said tome – it appears not, one by one the critics took aim, there were gasps in the gallery – this surely was blasphemy, people scurried about expecting massed storms signifying the world at an end, such talk out of turn was tantamount to standing up amid a crowd of fevered religious fanatics and stating calmly that God didn’t exist or like being from Liverpool and announcing the Beatles are shite – indeed I have the bruises and scars as proof to such utterances. Alas it seems poetic, eloquent, constructive and constructed are not words that readily apply to ’autobiography’ neither are thoughtful, understanding or forgiving for I’m assuming that show host Tom Sutcliffe and guests all live in triple walled concrete bunkers in fear of hordes of tens of Morrissey look-a-likes descending upon them to swat them with daffodils whilst exchanging insults thieved from Oscar Wilde tomes and called their own. ‘worst written book I’ve read in years’ utters one critic, the most damning moment is his put down of Julie Burchill he berates her constant moaning and attention seeking – a case one would think of kettle and pots, his insistence of talking in the third person whilst criticising Thatcher’s famous ’we are a grandmother’ is served up with a deal of tut tut scorn, in short it’s a score settling exercise wherein everyone who has crossed him is cast aside beneath a barrage of venom where everyone else is to blame except him and where as an autobiography no one reaches the end knowing who Morrissey is. These are afterall other people’s criticisms and not mine for on a personal level I lost interest with Morrissey following his return from exile after the union jack waving debacle, the Smiths were the finest of their generation and that unique body of work perfectly documents a band of its time operating ahead of the curve, apart from the occasional flash Morrissey as a solo artist to me has sadly found himself entrenched in a past that he is failing miserably to rewrite, in many respects its sad but there’s a distinct difference in knowing your good and thinking your good and I’d like to think that the Morrissey of ’83 would at this moment be weeping and horrified at the Morrissey of ’13. And no I won’t be seeking out local book shops in the hope of purchasing the book any day soon.

We are considering a brief band camp special for our next missive out much like the occasional my space singled out soirees we used to do back in the day when my space was pretty cool before the money men came along and screwed it up. So with that we are looking for suggestions – we are thinking stuff currently hogging the psych, noise, drone and the strange sonic axis, so if there is something you’d like seeing celebrated in online print and you think it’d be right up our street then holler via the usual contact methods described below.

We love records, cassettes and CD’s send truckloads to the correspondence address somewhere way below (downloads are for wimps don’t you know).

I’m guessing that we ought to be tuning into the ‘murmurations’ album currently doing the rounds by oxford based combo the Epstein. Arriving soon on the zawinul imprint is a double A siding platter that reveals the bands demurring song craft for it seems these dudes have a thing for tugging on the heart strings in a most alluring way shepherded along and blessed by an richly colourised palette that’s crisply weaved in a countrified persona and steeled in a breathtaking panoramic imagining. ‘Chimes’ is sumptuously filleted in the kind of bitter sweet glow that all at once trips an emotional line trembled in yearning, sighing and hoping whilst simultaneously finding itself framed gloriously in bright eyed pastoral posies – hurts like hell it should be said. Talking of things that draw you low and edging matters in the preferred side stakes is the ghostly introspective ‘Sophie Loren’. swathed in reflection and dinked in the mellowing, this sorrowfully torn and bruised beauty is lushly trimmed in the most attractively adorned opining slide riffs you’ll hear in many a while all door stepped by the homely hum de hum of fan faring brass regales and cut to a soothing lazy eyed and lackadaisical caught in the moment aura. Scarcely a dry eye in the house.

More Oxford based loveliness this time from Grudle Bay. This quite something. Three track EP entitled ‘colder’ is a deceptive little cutie, primed packed pop treasure troves turned in genteel ethereal shimmers, crafted with intricately layered haloes all moored and fashioned in sweetly glinting twinkles of dreamy hypnosis with ’colder’ leading out the seduction bedded upon a driving pulse throbbing underpin atop of which the softly beguiled intertwine of hushed love noted harmonies purr with a deeply intoxicating spectral soulfulness. Any notions of that being something of a one trick pony are soon happily put to rest with the arrival of the nocturnally smoked and uber funky seductive prowl of ‘running’ which unless our ears do deceive sounds not unlike a deeply alluring and flighty Dark Captain Light Captain. Perhaps forced with arms up back and asked to choose our favourite moment then hands down ‘fool around’ would take the vote, this shy eyed honey tingles to the love noted twinkle some as that possessed by a thoughtful and bruised Lotus Eaters – need I say more.

Those among with long memories stretching back to say – ooh – September – one of the three pronged tales from the attic adventures that was the exhaustive Volume XII edition – might well recall us mentioning ever so briefly Katie Gately and a track we happened across entitle ‘pipes’ via the ever so small but perfect Blue Tapes imprint. For those asleep at the back there where comparisons to Sadier, Duby and Minekawa, talk off over layered vocal harmonies dream dipped in celestial carousels and dissipating wooziness – in short has to be heard to be believed. Well we return with Ms Gately because the label kindly sent over full downloads to ’pipes’ (blue tapes 8th release) – incidentally available as a 200 only cassette replete with download codes and other such like – which gave us an excuse to run the ruler over the ’bonus b-side’ cut entitled ’acahella’. in such the freakiest thing we’ve heard all year, distorted jazz ju-ju’s, arabesque mirages and wonky Raymond Scott symphonics and that’s just the first two minutes. Best described as a screwball musical fantasia this kooky kaleidoscopic slice of warping weirdness manages to touch base all at once with the kind of stuff being issued a while back by labels such as tigerbeat6 and frank wobbly and sons whilst craftily weaving into the terraforming tapestry elements of Cornelius, Radiophonic Workshop and Residents – I kid you not – its like a musical travelogue pic n’ mixing its way through torch noir, down tempo, dub and music hall organ recitals and hiccupping said DNA strains into an at times a cappella Stereolab hybrid.

There was much embarrassment and that feeling of being mortified when we last happened across something featuring the hand craft of Argentina’s Anla Courtis – I‘m suspecting by way of either Beta Lactam Ring (who‘ve gone strangely quiet on us of late) or FdM (where are those November release promos?), whose name when under the predictive spell check scrutiny of our computer was haplessly changed to Anal, so for those who occasionally whine on about grammatical glitches we say blame fkucing technology. Anyhow the point of this is that Anla has a new collaborative release with Finnish drone dude Uton out about now – in fact just checked its been out since early this year – entitled ‘flokka kur’ via Japanese imprint Musik Atlach which while we go in search of full promo copies we’ll just give the once over on a brace of cuts from the set entitled ‘tupastiarella mirto‘ and ‘pensamiento keilo’. described in passing as (in Wire speak I’m guessing) ’shamanic music in urban context’ and ’sounds for non Euclidean geometry landscapes’ (the plot thickens). This is very heavy stuff, the second mentioned cut of which sounding not unlike a seriously medicated Gong wired up on mind trancing chill pills retooling Ariel Kalma’s ’le temps des moissons’ and carved in archaic Australasian dialects bedded upon a deeply mesmerising psychotropic tapestry that to these ears sound like the unlocking of a lost centuries old sonic tongue unearthed by way of the excavation of old prehistoric settlement sites. As to the former, a hulking monolith stilled in the spectral echo of ghostly Gregorian incantations framed in a dust dry claustrophobically hazy aridness that imagines age old Tibetan rituals all beset with a maddening sense of intense nerve chilling foreboding. Uneasy stuff. http://www.soundcloud.com/musikatlach/sets/uton-courtis-flokka-kur

Prepare to have every last vestige of emotion sucked dry and by its farewell parting sigh for you to be cowed, curled into a ball wondering if you’ve just been visited upon by one of the saddest and most crushing things you’ll hear in an age. Now we were going to say that this had us much minded of the same jaw dropped affection we felt upon hearing Sigur Ros for the first time though reading through it appears they‘ve supported Iceland’s famous sons so such comparisons might seem in hindsight a little obvious. What I will say though is how it manages to sound all at once bruised and bowed and yet euphoric and hope inspired is quite beyond me for shoehorned into a sub 6 minute groove space Saturday Sun manage to arrest, allure and amaze with such cooled tempestuous majesty that its unreal. Elegant, eloquent and elegiac ‘blinded by the truth’ trembles in its hurt, framed by a genteel key cascade, its initial greeting is softly coded in a hushed reverential neo classicism that soon fragments, splinters and unfurls to ignite the listening space in a most glorious rapture with the emergence of ice sculptured crystalline riff opines. Utterly heartbreaking. The band are running a competition at present – among the prizes will be full downloads of their debuting album – incidentally entitled ‘orixe’ which is due for release in January on their own viva la Fleetwood imprint – along with all manner of mystery gifts – full details and links beneath the video linked here….

Trensmat time, forthcoming on Ireland’s finest imprint is a limited vinyl outing by Stave who for the uninitiated is Chicago based sonic alchemist Jonathan Krohn who can usually be found shimmying up to fellow aural experimentalist Karl Meier as talker. Alas where so ahead of the curve on this that there’s no full on press release information on this just yet safe to say it’ll arrive on heavy duty wax replete with the usually digital codes that includes two additional suites not featured on the final wax version. ‘the trust’ EP follows hot on the heels of Stave’s recent ‘reform’ release for RSS and is comprised of seven slabs of monolithic groove whose lineage dips ever so darkly in to the brooding backwaters of Alrealon Musique’s doom dripped psyche. Not your fluffy dreamy cascades here, this is instead stark, desolate and detached, a chilling future vision of mechanised servitude and a humankind hope bleached and blistered in a gnawing futility. Best described as deep industrialised technoid drone dub, Stave ventures the fatalistic sound-scapes of label mates Astral Social Club albeit as though retooled by the bleak apocalyptic hand of Black Saturn, quality grade machine grind dimpled in hypnotic tides of Dadaist pulsars. Opening cut ‘trust’ sets the scene ominously equipped with the greeting visitation of foreboding drone fanfares before quickly descending into the depths of the aural abyss and in so doing evermore dragging the listener into nightmarish wastelands presided over by the extremities of a land locked ice cold grip. Equally foreboding and entering stage left ’Anon’ does little to lighten the grim mood, atmospherically tense and choked by a claustrophobic abandonment whose detachment and hope crushed desolation peels from the grooves like some life threatening sickness as it unrelentingly charges along tripped to a heavy industrial locomotive rhythm. Originally appearing on the aforementioned ‘reform’ set (from what I can gather) ’Tower9’ is given a makeover by Israel Vines and emerges from the process sounding not unlike something that missed the final cut on Muslm Gauze’s ‘lo-fi India Abuse’ set, fortified by a hulking artillery of speaker punching beats and serviced by a busying series of subterranic sub plots the overall effect is played out as though a sumptuously earthy and realistic rephrased 70 Gwen Party with Depth Charge tagging along on location in the deepest hinterland of some middle eastern bazaar. Up next the panoramic sounding ‘erox’ is an uber cooled shape shifting trance-a-phonic solitary star emitting melancholic distress calls into the cosmic voids, the track features again in its ‘version’ mode with its sorrowful phrasing buried deep in a playfully bug bitten psychotropic groove whilst simultaneously acquitting itself as being the most accessible cut of the set. Saving the best until second to last ‘break’ offers something of a mesmeric slice of glitch gouged deep Detroit house all built upon an incessant mind morphing clockwork rhythm, punishing, unrelenting, it flatlines across a monochromatic axis evermore shifting to some pre appointed end game point wherein it snow bursts into one brief furious eruption.

And there we were just mentioning Alrealon Musique in passing and along comes the labels latest release. Now we suspect we might owe apologies to the label, mainly due to the fact that we’ve kind of gotten a little lost with what we have and haven’t reviewed in recent times – we are certainly aware of a possible Rasplyn track that requires seeking out and a John 3:16 critique that currently sits stranded on a defunct hard drive. So while we sort out those matters the latest offering from Alrealon HQ is a download only release from Laica. The name ought to ring a bell to the more sharp eyed among since we mentioned this in brief passing last month whereupon we commented upon its distinct ability to somewhat marshal the subtropic territories more commonly explored by Justin Wiggan under his roadside picnic guise notwithstanding the fact that it was occasioned to survey landscapes once visited upon by the Radiophonic Workshop and a youthful Cabaret Voltaire. So with that in mind and the release considerably prepped, let me introduce you to ’environs’. comprised of two elongated suites, sonic sculpturer Dave Fleet, for it is he who is Laica, plots a trajectory into the distant realms of pop’s outer most posts. ’environs I’ is immersed in tidal swathes of leviathan like chamber drone waves that ominously prowl the inner space voids interspersed in birdsong cut upon an Aphex-ian matrix. Utilising cavernous textures and with the deft application of space Fleet crafts an aural palette that’s both serene and delicately trance like yet all the same etched in an undercutting disquiet, abstract electronica threaded from manipulated field recordings are applied in alternating cycles that free flow between natural sound habitats (what sounds like waterfalls and rain showers) and mechanoid dubtronics (wherein sounds come across like a slowed down misfiring ignition). If ‘I’ was mood and texture wise plugged into Aphex then ’II’ voyages the Autechre wave. Repeating the processes on the more minimalist minded ‘I’ the more weightier and hitherto more responsive and animated ‘environs II’ is heavily induced with a woozy dubbed out dreamscape. Possessed of something strangely tripping, these amorphous signatures dissolve, fragment, reform and dissipate into ghostly apparitions of their former selves, it’s a most alluring spectacle as though a variant of Wagon Christ strung out on chill pills barely managing to operate at murmur level, wire to the matrix hissing shards of industrial glitch and you get the sense of something in perpetual transition shedding its skin and morphing anew.

More seamless links, this here cassette release we found our way to via Laica’s face book page. A split tape release no less that’s strictly limited to just – 15 copies. Put out by disco insolence – their first as it happens – this release features a total of three cuts – 2 from Solvognen and one from Chaz Dolo. Alas no information on either except to say that as far as I can detect both hail from somewhere in Canada and the US. and quite frankly if you see this release loitering anywhere then grab it without pause, question or second thought. Why you might well ask, in truth because it features two strangely acute artists both of whom – if these tracks are anything to judge by – deserve closer investigation. ‘lysergic alabaster’ is the first offering from Solvognen – a little beauty tripwired in all manner of celestial flotillas and lounge cosmically which if we didn‘t know better we‘d liken to an uber chilled and playful like dub drilled lunar waltzing Isan jabbed with seducing disco steroids. The all to brief ’bismuth vapour’ on the other hand is a more sedate affair, a lonesome key canter wallows away to a sepia trimmed framing upon a whirring pulsar, very introspective and sorrowing if you ask me. As to Chaz Dolo, what can I say about ’000’ – slightly disturbing, a little on the freaky side if truth be told, heavily sedated and wired to a warping matrix the likes of which you’d have to dig out your casino vs. japan and kimonophonic platters for comparison for this little honey skips, hops and jumps through an array of genre bending styles to include a smoked out selection of mutant futuro hip hop grooves spliced with glitch gouged trip hopping beats, sci-fi fanfares and minimalist blip core dub electronica. Well cool. http://www.discoinsolence.wordpress.com

Was it not a few reviews ago that we mentioned alrealon musique and Rasplyn in passing. Well I’m happy to say that we got a message from Carolyn O’Neill – better known to the musical cognoscenti as Rasplyn, who kindly resent the brace of cuts that we had suspected correctly we’d overlooked and indeed mislaid. There’s a moment within Huston’s superb cinematic telling of Kipling’s short story ‘the man who would be king’ where ‘Danny’ played by Connery is preparing to wed, having already been bestowed a Deity like status by way of a freak occurrence and the playing to the naiveté of the elders, where Maurice Jarre’s orchestrations suddenly groan and glower with menace where once the entrancing almost kindled in a spiritual haze and empowered by the stifling heat assumes something approaching a mystical mirage which though turns abruptly from the beautified and the reverential to something doomed and foreboding to rupture as though the very heavens and nature itself unite in congress to howl with indignation in some warring pact. I mention this because there’s a moment here wherein the self same sonic fates appear with equal oppressive foretelling. Prized from her debuting full length for the aforementioned Alrealon Musique imprint ‘priestess of the Goddess’ emerges from a dreamy haze courted and ushered by hushed bowed silvery shimmer tones, a sub 8 minute snake charm invested with a heritage as old as man and at one – or so it would appear -with the very elements, a mini operetta seduced with weeping strings, tip toeing harps, whispering wind recitals and sun scorched droning blazes. Deeply transcendental, the framing and the opposing sonic positioning of light and dark shades is breathless, one minute luxuriant and sultry the next brooding and ominous whilst equipped in a full on cinematic wrap that comes replete with Ofra Haza like motifs. For ‘yexter ra / derech hashem’ she teams up with fellow Alrealon-er John 3:16 to craft something that has the air and feel of reaching forth to a given point, to some hitherto karma like plateau. Much like those cavernously stilled melodic mosaics crafted by Yellow6, this straying melancholic mistral is sorrowfully inscribed in a free spirited aura. Side winding long abandoned and lost and forgotten civilisations, its opining overtures are draped and couched in ice cold detachment and bleached in a tearful introspection whose head hangs in the shadow of lost godspeed and the grails glories with both protagonists complimenting each other perfectly.

Now maybe its our ears that are playing tricks but we’re kinda smitten by the opening cut from Dolium’s soon to be released third full length ‘brother transistor’ via sister9 so much so that we’ve fired off begging missives in an attempt to twist the arm of their press folk into sending us a full on CD copy of the album for extended review. For now though we’ve been parking our ears alongside ’get off my machine’. as said the albums opening salvo which if I’m honest – stripping away the nagging psychosis – sounds not unlike a group of dudes who’ve unwittingly tripped across and found their way to a dirty variant of T-Rex via Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Mutant garage glam grunge to go I hear you cry. The blighter just purrs with sleaze much like Relaxed Muscle although edged, fuzzed out and glittered by a youthful Specimen / Alien Sex Fiend hybrid and preened with a sneering fuck you strut as it seers through the gears to growl and grate superbly strung to a side winding riff gnarl that sounds like its fallen off a prized Gringo / Brew platter. The bollocks in short.

And after all that trancey woozy out there stuff fancy a little something liable to bring back to earth with a crash, bang wallop. Be warned this is totally deranged, literally punching its weight out of the pressing plant the ’new sky’ EP from Canadian caustic lords Neon Windbreaker is likely to rip you a new pair, out via we are busy bodies ‘pink suit’ prized from the set is a 90 second shock therapy sortie wired with dumb fuck ambition and scowling with a greased up gnarling garage boogie throb, a kind of acutely angular aural action painting that jabs, jars and spars with an unholy lunatic intent and primed for maximum carnage as it rallies to a scalding art pop freak out.

Moving picture evidence here…..

Beguiling, this honey shimmers in under the cover of a twilight shade, the forthcoming EP from Marika Hackman entitled ‘sugar blind’ is due to arrest sometime in December. Already praised in various quarters of the musical press and oft compared with both Nico and Joanna Newson, we alas missed her debuting mini album, Ms Hackman cooks up an affectionately shy eyed and flighty cornucopia of spectral folk dashed in wheezing electronics and trimmed in mystery and magik. Heading up her aforementioned EP is ‘cinnamon’ and ghostly psych folk siren dimpled in a magicalia mosaic that silently treads delicately spun to a spectral carousel, the textures amorphous and ethereal arc and genuflect to an enchanting and fragile apparition like wooziness to flower into a crookedly hazed dream coat whose lazy eyed lilt traces gently the groove lines of Linda Perhacs ’parallelograms’ whilst wrapping the feast with a parting refrain that slyly nods to Radiohead’s ’all I need’. www.soundcloud.com/marikahackman/cinnamon

We here fear we’ve been somewhat neglecting in the bringing to your attention twisted groove that’s been summarily charged, judged and damned that we felt it was high time to remedy the omission. Now hopefully in the coming days we should be able to nail full copies of these 5 darkly warring nuggets for closer inspection. Alas for now we have absolutely no information with which to impart upon you safe to say though that on initial listens Widows appear to have taken up the charge ahead of the chasing pack.. Described as ’hardcore with a Kyuss twist’, Nottingham’s Widow serve up the fierce some ‘Green Tsunami’ – a septic locked grooved beast whose intricately gouged blues tattooing is adeptly wound to a tightly coiling snake winding riff through whose apocalyptic eye a deeply funky brooding matrix unpeels that to these ears sounds not unlike a distant member of the Killing Joke family tree. Tomorrow comes the wolves step up to the plate with savaging ‘torn thin’ – angry blackened punk is how they are described by their PR people, in truth our favourite of the quintet mainly for the fact that this warning call isn’t quite your usual shock tactics caustically served up at 200mph spite and spit fair rather more its framed in a dread headed suffocating atmospheric that looms heavy with a glowering hope sapping disquiet. Equally pushing things in the affection stakes are Winter Storm – not to be confused by the German metallers of the same name, this lot number in five and hail from the west midlands brandishing under their collective arm from what we can gather a second full length titled ‘within the frozen design’ – for now though we’ve got ‘wasted feelings’ up on the inspection table and damn fine it is to, all brooding end of days symphonics veering on the side of dark wave goth and sounding not unlike we must admit like a second wave storm calling ‘turn to the sky’ era March Violets. The aptly named the hate colony are upon you and swarm disease like with their doomy sickness ‘cottonmouth’ – so bleak and bleached of any hope, this battle scarred bastard emerges from the depths of hell to strangle the light and reign down to revel in some apocalyptic vacuum – possessed of a formidable aural artillery these dark hearted doom dudes have an album just out by the name ‘dead or victorious’ which is causing fevered chatter on the thrash / doom core blog-o-sphere. Last and by no means least 8 foot sativa’s ‘as it burns’ is your ever dependable slab of old school nu metal, no stone is left unturned in 8FS’s epic crusading purge, not the for the feint of heart for the vicious skin peeling ferocity to which this exerts is simply blistering and unforgiving, an unrelenting tour de force of serrated riff artillery scalped in retribution fanfares.

Widow are here www.soundcloud.com/tom-brumpton-pr/widows-gree-tsunami
Tomorrow comes with Wolves – http://www.soundcloud.com/tom-brumpton-pt/tomorrow-comes-the-wolves-torn
Winter storm – http://www.soundcloud.com/tom-brumpton-pr/winter-storm-wasted-feelings
The hate colony – http://www.soundcloud.com/tom-brumpton-pr/the-hate-colony-cottonmouth-3
8 foot sativa – http://www.soundcloud.com/tom-brumpton-pr/8-foot-sativa-as-it-burns

You won’t be too surprised to hear that we’ve lost the press release on this, new thing from the blackmaps sound bunker from Pascal Babare in the form of a sophomore full length entitled ‘sorry, morning’ all of the tracks from which we’ll give closer attention to in the coming days when we are off from 9 to 6 hell and cobble together into a neatly digestible critique. For now so a your put on alert as to what to expect we’ve been tuning in to the sweetly arresting ‘heaven clubs’ the albums opening cut. Cutely compared to Sufjan Stevens, the Microphones and the Animal Collective all of whom prove to be a good call, the sleepy headed tonalities which stretch, yawn and woo their way through these grooves are delicately calibrated in a smoky prairie like lilt whose winter worn shimmered riff lines nod ever so delicately to a ’durable dream’ era Moviola. Yet peel a little deeper away at the top skin and a gorgeously homely albeit crookedly wayward softening psych folk campfire glow rises up to mellow and melt as though some secret summit whereby affectionate notes exchange between the hands of the Summer Hymns and the Doleful Lions. Gorgeous in short.

So much adored here that we’ve fired off missives requesting – nay begging – full on copies of this so that it can seduce our turntable. Latest from Rival Consoles – better known as Ryan Lee West to kith n’ kin is a rather nifty 5 track 12 inch set via erased tapes. And while we were tempted to opt – for now – for the parting ‘soul’ which incidentally featuring a guest call for Peter Broderick it’s the opening title cut ‘Odyssey’ that had us all here a flutter. Takes us back to the days when our little hearts used to skip and miss a beat upon the arrival of packages from the likes of smallfish, rednetic and expanding, with its fluttering pulsar tremors and adrift in space night light moonage murmurs ‘Odyssey’ sounds to these ears like a slowed down to resting ‘I feel love’ lunar projectile relocated to some cosmic outer post and sweetly seducing some isolated star belt steered forth by a command task force made up variously of Cheju and Minotaur Shock types under the watchful earthbound guidance of Plaid. Adorable and adoring wouldn’t mind its not even the best cut here.

Similarly getting admiring glances is the latest from BD1982 entitled ‘casings’ on diskotopia, info alas is a little sketchy but there appears to be two different variants – one vinyl and the other digital – we’re assuming if you opt for the former you get the download codes to the latter. Anyhow this time we’ve opted for ‘clear walls’ from the vinyl release whilst we busy ourselves trying to nab a full on promo copy for closer inspection. This little beauty appears to have nipped into its own little travelling machine and turned the dials back to the early 80’s, all tripping beats and dislocated signatures that appear to have been tuned into the ear ware of Arthur Baker and the heady NY club scene emerging at the time and later relocated to Manchester courtesy of New Order whilst simultaneously having been cooked to their inimitable style by a ahead of the curve Cabaret Voltaire, in short minimalist pre technoid futuro robo funk that’s liable to send toasters and kitchen appliances into rapture.

Oh yes – we are loving this. Older readers of our old time singled out missives from many years back would have to rummage hard and deep to recall the days when the happy happy birthday to me imprint figured regularly amid these musings, somewhere along the line we lost touch with head honcho Mike and with that we lost sight of the waxen groovies he was adept at releasing. Happy to say that might be at an end with us catching sight of HHBTM’s latest lovely – although that‘s not strictly true as it appears via their press arm and comes courtesy of the fika recordings imprint. A new 7 inch no less from London based beat pop combo the Cosines entitled ‘hey sailor boy’. sadly we haven’t a link for the a side however we do have one for the flip side ’the answer’ and a damn cutie it is to, bit like Stereo lab’s ’french disko’ refracted through a Sarah records lens, this little honey is equipped in all manner of boy / girl harmonies shimmering shy eyed atop a strum stung fuzz kissed c-86 riffage that’s wired atop an acutely 60’s flavoured sun pop motifs all arrested by a hypnosis inducing motorik underpin. Fear not young folk missives with words a begging are being despatched as we speak in an attempt to secure copies to be heaped upon with undying affection.
www.soundcloud.com/crashingthrough/cisines-the-answer

Bugger me this is good to. The latest offering from Loom is a volcanic beast that hits the ground running shrouded in a searing sinew seizure stricken sickness, limited to just 300 copies all plastered upon 12 inches of heavy wax – a copy of which we want – and coming via the hate hate hate imprint, this ballistic bastard features four slavering strut grooved imps with the devilishly demonic ’lice’ leading out the charge from the fore. Both brutal and blistered, ‘lice’ kicks like a bad ‘un, the psychosis literally squirms off the wax to strangle the life out of you, the melodic atmospheric all darkly submerged and choked in an acute austere post punk tension which to these ears sounds as though it been ripped from a Burrough’s nightmare and primed with siren scowling riff charges and kissed at the 1.46 moment with one of the best riff phrasings we’ve heard all year wherein for one brief moment the mood lightens to the stratospheric shimmer of a chiming motif only to be extinguished in the hail of a storm erupting surge. Quite frankly shows more ambition, spirit and craft in its 2.10 duration than most bands get to achieve in a career. www.soundcloud.com/hate-hate-hate=records/loom-lice/s-FhtMT

Those of you with goldfish memories may (or may not as the case may be) recall us mentioning Welsh comically crooked combo Quiet Marauder last missive out when entertainment and hilarity abound we pondered long and hard upon the joys and woes of facial furniture. I’m suspecting that we never included their video presentation cobbled together to serenade said daft delight so scroll a little along for an instructive broadcast from these wacky Welsh wizards. If you like that then prepare and stash cash aside for a 5 volume 111 track debut set ‘men’ arriving at all good record stores just after the commercial chaos known as Christmas….goes without saying reviews will appear here…..

Might be down to the fact that we’re not sleeping and its exactly 4.12am in the morning, its dark outside, there’s a chill in the air and all around are safely tucked up to slumber. From out of nowhere pops up this – well strictly speaking we happened across a link – but hey lets keep with the magical mood we’re trying hard and failing miserably to create. New thing from Oscillation man Sam Healy is about to break cover via k-scope with the arrival into earth orbit of an album and this head turning slice of alluring ear candy entitled ’clay’. operating under his side project alter ego Sand, Healy has crafted in ’clay’ an amorphous dream coat that sumptuously caresses and ties together the melodic aspects drawn ostensibly from an 70’s sourced AOR landscape and weaved said sonic species into a gloriously demurring progressively psych cosmicalia which sounds as though its hitched a galactic ride on the tail smoke left from the affectionate after burn of a ’stupid dream’ era Porcupine Tree in lunar docking with Mikrokosmos, utterly perfect – we will do our damnedest to nail full copies for further mention. www.sandtheband.bandcamp.com/track/clay

Two new releases via the much loved silber imprint finds a welcome return to these pages of Yellow6. Released as part of the silber’s ongoing 5 songs in five minutes series and simply titled ’5’, yellow6 re-affirms his exquisite deft application for the craft of the touching, the melancholic and the atmospheric. For a musician usually free to express and fill a limitless canvas with cavernous emotional stirring epics, this restrictive time constrained five in 5 work ethic finds Mr Atwood repositioning his usual song craft process to having to hit the ground running. Applied to a sparse water coloured palette this quintet of short interludes manifest fully formed with such melancholic frailty as to leave you trembling, the ice trimmed sepia flow of ‘#1’ is a tenderly turned upon a classically tweaked looping piano motif that calls to Roger Eno in contemplative moods, the hazy side wind that greets the all too brief ’#2’ is old school Y6 of yesteryear, dry, hollowed and enigmatic portraits of dust caked vast lands scorched by blazing skies – reference wise like a compressed godspeed. Introspective poise is the order of the day for the bitter sweetly trimmed ‘#3’while ’#4’ sees him emerge from the shade animated though pensively perched in a fuzz showering stand off as though an updated Morricone spaghetti western styled dual dance leaving all to coalesce resplendently on the blister kissed finale ‘#5’ wherein for a brief moment a cavalcade of shimmer toned arpeggio haloes rupture the stilled skies and bathe the arid dead lands beneath in a deathly foreboding tension.

Again appearing as part of the aforementioned 5 in 5 series – this being the 24th instalment in case your counting, Carl Kruger steps up to the plate with ’Sexist Tranny’ described in passing as ripe for admirers of John Weise and Daniel Menche all of which is fine by us and created by way of the looping of manipulated field recordings that by our ears collectively gather a strangely trippy aural voyage with opener ’death biz novelle’ appearing to peep sleepy eyed from some strangely cavernous exotic neverland like lair and something which descends evermore into stranger and weirder landscapes the further you go with ‘bead hell oven zit’ sounding not unlike the breeding hatch of some super A.I. hive collective. Somewhere else ‘ball zoned thieve’ serves up the kind of deconstructed glitch funk more commonly found at one time or another on the tigerbeat6 imprint while ‘able dozenth evil’ with its disturbing insectoid clicks, skree scowls and strangled white noise communications is reason enough to seek the assistance of a passing sofa to hide behind leaving ’venalize the bold’ to merrily send you off into dark wondering to yourself what the buggering hell was that – file under deranged bad trip.

A musical interlude – from the ultimate psych prog collective……this is just out there…..

I fear that requests for promos have so far gotten lost in the server or more worryingly lost in the post. You may recall us mentioning a missive or three ago of an impressive re-issue campaign by the all saints imprint kick started with the release of long out of print recordings by Laraaji with promised pickings from such celebrated back catalogues as Harold Budd, Brian Eno and John Cale to come. Hot on the heels of Laraaji is a double disc compilation entitled ‘the little things left behind’ – an extensive selections of chosen works by Roger Eno featuring material culled from ‘between tides’, ‘the familiar’, ‘lost in translation’, ’swimming’ and ’the flatlands’ – to whet appetites here’s not only a teaser trailer but a cut from said set – the bruising and evocative ‘winter music’ – the set incidentally is due early November……

www.soundcloud.com/all-saints-records/roger-eno-winter-music

Here’s one of the live tracks you’ll find shoehorned upon the grooves of the blu-ray package that features the awesome ’drive home’ video animation….this is ’the watchmaker’ captured live earlier this year in Neu Isenberg….

Information is a little sketchy on these dudes but we nabbed this on a reconnaissance trip around cyber space and well quite frankly it’s a little bit nifty. Not quite sure but I think I’m right in saying that this is lifted from the bands debuting full length platter ‘used to be beautiful’ which upon its release a little while back caused something of a rumpus amid the alien snatch listening community. They’ve a new album ‘never album’ just out which we’ll try and nab copies of but for now this little gem. Suspicious beasts hails from Japan, their serving of ’pretty horse’ is cutely wrapped in a golden age 50’s bubble grooved pop vintage that twangs and shimmers and coos as though some lost Meek at the controls nugget refracted through the kooky psychedelic viewing lens of a youthful elephant 6 collective dream team made up of members of neutral milk hotel, apples in stereo and of montreal. Classy. www.soundcloud.com/aliensnatch/suspicious-beasts-pretty-horse

The work of Gareth Rees here paired up with Jetsam to present musical accompaniment for a short story featured in a collection of fictional short prose offering differing perspectives of London life by an invited gathering of twenty five writers entitled ’acquired for development by’ through influx press. The track featured here – incidentally called ’flight’ is take from a soon to be released album being put out by clay pipe music entitled ’a dream life of hackney marshes’. the skewed tale very much impressed in a Welles / Verne heritage tells of the first manned flight over Walthamstow marshes in July 1909 by Finkley in his lightning bolt. As to the music accompanying it, the ensemble will be performing the suite live on 6th November at the ye olde rose and crown, E17 wherein they will be accompanied by short films, surprise guests and the liminal Londoner. As to ’flight’ – a gorgeously woven slice of dinky chamber folk arrangements floral in design interspersed by narration and very much hushed in the yawning and stretching as were spirit of Vernon Elliott sweetly dimpled in reflection and a minimalist electronic teasing. For more information go to www.themarshmanchronicles/marshman/2013/10/a-dream-of-flight-over-walthamstow-marsh/

Every so often whether by sheer accident or some skewed design of fate something comes along to make you re-evaluate your point of view, its not quite the road to Damascus moment you always hope you’ll be fortunate enough to one day stumble upon but rather more something that leaves you stunned with a silence only broken by the little enquiring voice in your head puzzled and perplexed and left wondering why haven’t I heard this before. Obscurism doesn’t get more obscure than this, reclusive and elusive and a true outsider in every sense of the word, Hermione Harvestman may not be a familiar name save to the close circle of friends and church going community of County Durham, but if these recordings are anything to judge by as far as cultural sound status goes she is up there in terms of vision and creativity with the likes of Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram. Befitting of someone so secretive and outside of the curve, the story relating to the discovery and the unearthed archive of recordings currently being mined and prepared for wider public appreciation is every bit of mysterious as the author herself. Into her 70’s a chance meeting with Sean Breadin (Sedayne) whereupon during a conversation Hermione discussed – after some initial hesitancy – at length her affection for analogue electronics, she was set up with a PC and various recording programs and set to work transferring her tapes to digital and sending them to Sedayne to be cleaned up. What resulted was an extensive library of recordings dating back to the infancy of electronics, most of which were unknown to a wider audience except for the aforementioned close friends who had been trusted with entry to her secretive sound bunker. The works often commissioned for local theatre productions or simply for self enjoyment lay hidden from public view until now, in fact Sedayne even comments in the notes of how he was blown away to hear said suites blasting through open windows while Hermione tendered to her front garden when he called upon to visit her. A classically trained pianist, for the best part of her life Hermione played organ at her local church, introduced to the clavivox in 1956 she was amazed and inspired by the potential that such technology afforded to which as a result she set about converting her home which she shared with dogs, cats, geese, pigs and goats into a studio adding piece by piece to it every new found bit of sound hardware that arrived on the market. Describing her work as looking back rather than forward, her suites where often cultured in medieval classicism and sweetly glazed in religious spirituality – of the sets currently available – totalling half a dozen perhaps the most evocative and beautifully serene is ‘Hail bright Cecilia’ – an installation / performance recorded live in November 1974 in celebration of St Cecilia the patron saint of music – a beguiling set of shimmering drone orbs recorded with the aid of a poptative synthesizer. Alas she died in 2012 though not before entrusting Sedayne with a formidable body of recordings with which to archive. For now though it’s the 15 minute colossus that is ’reliquary of light’ from the articles of an imaginary faith’ that’s took our affectionate ear, a gorgeously orbiting suite adrift in the celestial heavens that seemingly draws comparison with the early 70’s kraut heads – Neu and Can to draw the invisible dots existing between the vast cavernous mind morphing epics of tangerine dream and the Arthurian pageantry of Wakeman. Absolutely mind blowing. We will of course be despatching missives to secure said releases with a view to a fuller critique in coming missives.
Band camp – www.hermioneharvestman.bandcamp.com
sound cloud links – http://www.soundcloud.com/hermione-harvestman
While for information go to http://www.ploughmyth.blogspot.com for enlightenment, biographies and various resources.

They’ve already wowed these pages with that awesome Telstar Sound Drone set which we’ve mentioned in passing and will root out for a fuller review shortly. Not content with that there’s a new thing by Spids Nogenhat that needs closer inspection and features members from Baby Woodrose on sabbatical which nicely leads us to Bad Afro’s latest find the Dandelion. And now they are spoiling us, due for release in January where it’ll come pressed and plastered on heavy duty slabs of wax of the 12 inch variety – the first in a series of planned 12 inch releases no less, the Dandelion is the solo project of Daniel J Poulter ex of the Dolly Rocker Movement whose wares featured in these pages at one time or another. The set features 6 tracks with all the instrumentation being handled by Poulter with ’I turned on as you turned around’ being sent out as a teaser messenger giving warning as to what to expect. In short the dogs danders, it doesn’t get any cooler than this, shade adorned lysergic lounge pop that smokes blissfully across the turntable with a drop dead swagger and strut oozed in head tripping Hammonds and bliss kissed with a slinky 60’s styled garage grooved authenticity that nods ever so subtly to the elevators, misunderstood and wimple winch. www.soundcloud.com/badafrorecords/the-dandelion-I-turned-on-as

A brief mention then for Spids Nogenhut then who grace the Bad Afro catalogue with their second full length ’kommer med fred’ roughly translated for those of whom Danish isn’t their mother tongue as ’we come in peace’, described by the band as an album forged in psychedelia albeit as refracted though the speakers of early 70’s Danish styled acid rock. The band originally formed as a duo celebrating the sounds of Roky, love and spirit before solidifying by the mid 90’s into a trio – a kind of extra curricula side project of on trial featuring hobitten, aron and Lorenzo. After much promise an album was recorded, bagged and released via Orpheus along with a limited 7 inch. Both bombed and disappeared without trace. At that point the band was no more with each of the three going their separate ways with on trial, baby woodrose and in arons case pursuing a solo career. Since then that debut album has achieved almost cult status and such has been the fevered chat on the underground in the passing years that the band reformed albeit expanded in 2009 wowing audiences at Roskilde in 2011. Buoyed by the success of a spin off live album the band returned to the studio to record their first album in over a decade – the aforementioned ’kommer med fred’. the album arrives in a limited wax first pressing of just 1000 copies with a strictly limited cassette version being put out restricted to just 100 copies. while we try to nab copies can we draw your attention to the simply superb ’lolland falster’ – a gorgeously woven slice of brooding progressive psych dipped in a darkly spectral trip-a-delic wooziness upon whose shoulder sits the spectre of Arthur Lee – simply class. http://www.badafro.dk

Out via Crash records shortly, starts off quietly enough, slivery shimmers alluring drone cascades on the opening ‘intro‘ – but don’t be fooled for this monolithic bastard packs a cranium crunching punch. Debuting EP from Masiro is a fierce some calling card, a trio made up of ex members of Dr Slaggleberry and 50ft panda is a squalling blighter ripped in intricate math gouged time signatures and stop / start zigzagging rhythmic seizures that belches between soaring bliss ruptures and furiously dislocated belches, particularly formidable is the rampantly off radar quick fire assault of ‘decayer’ equipped as it is in a restlessly feral caustic coda that nods to a highly strung and seriously wired billy mahonie. The mellowing ‘sky burial’ admittedly our favourite here is super cooled in brooding atmospherics piqued in post rockisms that splutter and fragment in seismic fits as though somehow trying to uncover the distant invisible dots existing between san Lorenzo and the workhouse whilst admirers of all things foolproof projects may find something of interest on the noodling no wave, art scuzz freeform frazzled jazz noise niking freak out that is the parting ’kpanda’.

Okay y’all ready for some Halloween served groove, just a few treats mind with the occasional trick, first up…..

Tripped across this whilst having a nose around band camp world. Split single featuring hallucinex on one side and sauna heat on the other, alas we have absolutely no other info with which to impart save to say we think this is heading out of Virginia on the furious hooves imprint and is the third release in their Halloween split series – sad to say I’m not sure what became of releases one and two but hey I’m sure someone out there will holler back fairly swiftly. oh yea its quite gorgeous. Hallucinex serve up ‘spooky world’ a gorgeous lazy eyed dream weaned lo-fi lovely that tingles ever so softly to an affectionate twee trimmed bubble core motif that sits shy eyed and yearning somewhere between a very youthful and playful Go Betweens and an early career Doleful Lions, certainly something for those whose record listening delights are peppered with the sounds of sarah, bus stop, matinee and happy happy birthday to me to name but a select small few. Over on the flip the strangely disconnected Sauna Heat woozily woo with ’whisper in the wind’, all dissipating motifs, dissolving mirages, out there late night torch tuneage, not quite a weird as say Gary Wilson but certainly mind fracturing in the same kind of off kilter way. www.furioushooves.bandcamp.com/album/ghost-vibrations

Okay lets cut to the chase here. I know its been out for ages – last July in fact – that’ll be July 2012 – its long since sold out of its limited 7 inch pressing – which I’ll be the first to admit has somewhat dampened my spirits I’m even more disconsolate in discovering it was pressed on coloured vinyl and features an absolutely drop dead gorgeous flip cover. More about that in a second. From She Keeps Bees who appear to be a duo Gasper Claus and Stephane Milosevic – this we believe to be their debut release entitled ‘counter charm’. now I’ll dare you to hear something as fine as this from now till the end of the year and beyond, this sits there with that amazing Devastations single from a few years ago and rushes to the senses like the early demo outings from the Smoke Fairies. Perfectly primed for the old school Mazzy Star / Delgados admirers among you, this beauty howls to a ghostly spectral psych blues matrix suffocated in passion and blooded in a macabre shadow lined dusting that could have fallen from a David Lynch score, sparsely magnetic and blessed with the most unreal sonic spell craft that you feel transfixed and frozen upon its glare. Remove all notions of this being a one trick pony turn for on the flip is a savagely hollowed cover of that perennial nugget ’blue moon’. always been something of a favourite in our gaff yet occasion upon occasion each new version I’ve stumbled upon always arrived lacking that vital x ingredient until now that is. I’d like to think that She Keep Bees’ version is closer in spirit to writers Rodgers and Hart’s original design, for this is last chance saloon stuff, the sorrow and end of the pier despair being mellowed by the distant sound of a lolloping motif all hushed sumptuously in ghostly sepia apparitions, utterly crushing and divine if you ask me. www.shekeepsbees.com/skb-007-7-record

And there we were just mentioning the latest furious hooves release and querying about those errant releases making up their Halloween split series and along comes a super speedy response from fur hoof HQ with the necessary goodies. Those thinking more of the same, think again for number 2 in the split series is a behind the sofa quivering chiller headed up by Man Eating Sloth who better known to friends, family and the local record loving community of Virginia as Gabriel McFarland. ‘depths’ is dark, disturbing and above all demonic, as though stumbling upon some satanic order wherein beasts convene and hatch out apocalyptic nightmare scenarios, this is brutal, unloved and deeply chilling, the ambient slithers hooked together by groans, deathly shimmers and dread headed drone recitals – not for night time listening. Over on the flip loom large Blackrune with ’oracle of night’, a duo featuring the talents of PM Goerner and Andrew Snope who between them craft up a brooding ambient horror phonic feast ripe for back dropping some lost Lucio Fulci 70’s blood curdler and into the bargain sounding not unlike a rather animated Goblin full tilt. www.furioushooves.bandcamp.com/album/devil-do-you-dare-approach-me

Number 1 in the seasonal split series from furious hooves – originally released in 2011 – pairs together Numbledust and blood cousin, the former arriving upon the grooves with the daintily dinky ‘last night I walked with a zombie’ – in truth an alluring feast of campfire coos, prairie opines and sleepy headed opines all demurred by corteges of lolloping riffs which give it a kind of dusty wonky feel that you’d expect to trip out blurry eyed from the esteemed elephant 6 collective hit factory one time or another. Equally cute and equally sleepy headed is blood cousin’s ’day 2’ which by these ears sounds not unlike a dozing Damon and Naomi which as I’m sure you’ll agree is more than enough recommendation to persuade you to take time to invest on. www.furioushooves.bandcamp.com/album/last-night-I-walked-with-a-zombie

Only going to mention this briefly while we go in search of downloads or better still a copy of the limited 1000 only vinyl edition which apparently according to the blurb comes fashioned in a rather fetching screen printed and numbered gatefold sleeve replete with a misshapen jack-o-lantern poster. This really does deserve a full review at a (not to)later date. Perfect for your Halloween hi-jinx, ’vampire fish for 2’ is I think I’m right in saying the debut full length from Dr Gasp and the Eeks a collective of musical souls, 9 last count lead from the fore by head mischief maker Dr Gasp or Dan Blakeslee as he’s known to Bostonian friends and acquaintances. This merry bunch of Victoriana pranksters delight in cooking up a mirthfully murderous jamboree of seasick shanties, penny dreadful pretties and peek-a-boo posies in the finest tradition of music hall nay freak circus weirdness which ought to appeal first hand to admirers of the much missed Viv Stanshall. Strange tales, peculiar people and tearful treachery are the bread and butter wherewithal of the Gasp et al canon, macabre mosaics drizzled in rag time folly and murder ballad music hall melodia, from the creaking croon of ’vampire fish’ as it see saws ominously to crookedly spook like some variant of Tom Waits in a wearying preacher from the dark side get up leading from the front pied piper style a band of n’er do welling imps. Somewhere else there‘s the delightfully off kilter rag time funkiness of ‘teeth of candy corn’ to woo and amaze replete with comic cacophonic crash mid way through all blessed with a cartoonish ambition as it huffs and puffs at full tilt to a calamitous finale. www.doctorgasp.bandcamp.com/album/vampire-fish-for-two

There is a God after all no doubt playing synths on this the latest from Flaming Lips. Out on digital via bella union this Monday (that’ll be the 4th of November note takers) and released on limited slabs of wax in December where it’ll arrive on 12 inches of smoking vinyl all housed in ‘dazzling LIPSian’ gatefold sleeves, new Lips single ’peace sword (open your heart)’ was per the press blurb written exclusively for for Orson Scott Card’s ’enders game’ movie, so smitten by the by book from the which the film was spawned that the band went on to record five more tracks all happily housed on this 6 track EP. For now the title cut is being aired as a teaser, what can we say, general consensus on the sound cloud message board appears to be awesome and who are we to disagree. Quite something else, sounds as though its descended from above, all celestial showers prided to a symphonic mirage that’s all at once quietly euphoric, ethereal, majestic and bliss kissed whilst embellished with a demurring feel good radiance which in short translates like a trip-a-delic kaleidoscopic magic carpet ride through a landscape colourfully mushroomed in 70’s lounge pop. Exquisite in short. I want one. http://www.soundcloud.com/bella-union/the-flaming-lips-peace-sword

Utterly adored here since arriving in our mail box less than an hour ago, alas we’ll admit that the press release kind of wrote the review for us giving us scant room to manoeuvre that said there’s an album kicking around entitled ‘girl’ which we’ll busy ourselves making polite requests for. While we are doing that you lot can get your ears around the delightfully impish and a tad worrying ‘cut your head off’ from glitter punksters Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs. A freakish sepia doodled slice of old time murder mirth clipped on cutesy cute 40’s styled lollipop lilting butter wouldn’t melt kookyness which as the press release rightly notes sounds like a wired and sinister psychotic Betty Boop or an axe wielding Shirley Temple replete with screwball banjos and crooked kazoos all scratched indelibly for maximum yesteryear authenticity onto shellac. How cool is that. www.soundcloud.com/planetaryonlinepr/cut-off-your-head-scary-cherry

Must admit we’re getting a tad weepy eyed with this one, with the announcement of UK dates set for January 2014, this honey comes pulled from the latest Bill Callahan full length for drag city entitled ‘dream river’. ’small plane’ is a beautifully touching love note that’s intimately hollowed and sweetly crushed in a quietly demurring warmth here paraded by an equally affecting monochrome video dinked as a homage to the silent films of yesteryear….enjoy…

Welcome re-airing of a Halloween special put together by those dudes over at Special Brew HQ, all hallows happenings aplenty from this 2011 broadcast, the usual rummaging around in the vaults for lost ear candy though this particular edition is indelibly grooved with a spooky side serving. Among the thrills n’ spills the obligatory ‘monster mash’ cover – this one by the bonzos with the mighty Mr Stanshall in situ, an absolute drop dead amazing psych cut from Fortes Mentum entitled ’Mr Partridge passed away today’ – admittedly something that we’ve not previously heard and with that absolute barking stuff. Somewhere else there’s the must hear ‘haunted’ by peter thorogood, some prettified floral pirouettes courtesy of the beautifully carefree ‘graveyard’ by forest – again another ensemble who appear to have slipped beneath our radar, a rarity from Sam Gopal featuring in their ranks a youthful Lemmy all this and an exclusive Jeff Christie demo cut ‘nightmare’ – one suspects more treats than tricks. http://www.strangebrew.co.uk/http:/thestrangebrew.co.uk/halloween-macabre-show

Here’s a little something that ought to appeal to admirers of Zombina and the Skeletones, frantic wierdness all the way from Los Angeles courtesy of Curtis Rx and Eric X who collectively go by the name of Creature Feature and describe their sound as an amalgamation of nightmarish Danny Elfman styled gothic steam punk which all sounds fine and dandy to us until that is ‘the netherworld’ kicks in. hysterically acutely angular art horror phonic panic pop which unless our ears do deceive is possessed of a skedaddled mindset as though a ’kimono my house’ era Sparks had applied their fried operatics to a furious ska shoe shuffle and took charge of a steam roller coasting ghost train, I’m gathering we need to hear more. www.creaturefeature.bandcamp.com/track/the-netherworld

And did we just mention Zombina and the Skeletones in passing, ah Liverpool’s finest and freakiest b-movie brood and purveyors of scare-o-phonic surf twang ska goo groove, been a while since they spooked these pages with their tomb knocking twister-rama though we are happy to say that word rising from the dark depths reaches us with whispered news of a new album in the can – its name be ‘charnel house rock’ and its being readied for release in February. In the meantime no Halloween festivities would be complete without the Skeletone ones running amok across terrified turntables and with that ladies and gentlemen we bring forth a little visual delight entitled ‘Vincent price’ – a steam punk smoking soul skull rattling rag time rama-lama bleached in a crackling old time monochromatic sepia vintage. Nuff said.

Fancy something a little lovelorn and smoked in an embracing homely warmth, picked this up via a face book update type posting whilst knee deep in Halloween related trick n’ treat tuneage. Hailing from Merseyside (where Liverpool is southern jessies), Lumin Bells are a quartet and aside that we have bugger all else in terms of information with which to impart other than to say ‘hold you inside’ is one of those gently spun treats wrapped in pure gold that woozily ushers into your listening space like a spectral hymnal intent on bathing you in a honeyed glow of a feel good radiance which by rights ought to appeal first hand to those much admirers of the earwear of futur primitif, low anthem and the leisure society. www.soundcloud.com/lumin-bells-hold-you-inside

I’ll start by saying ‘I want one of these’. a by all accounts limited cassette compilation put out by the snow beast imprint who based in Buffalo have to date put out three tape releases by the Camp Counselors, Seismograph and this their latest ‘Halloween compilation no.1 – rituals’ which gathers up eleven sinister sonic fates for your listening delight. Alas no information on the individual ensembles themselves but I dare say some qualified net searching should rustle up the necessary contact points. First up on the inspection block Cynthia’s Scream who do some nifty terror-phonic turns on the ice cold macabre that is ‘the good news is your dates are here, the bad news is they’re dead’ – not quite your hand holding carefree walk in the park rather more your oblique dread drilled industrial ambience coded in a darkening psyche of Landscape albeit as though flipped through the visor of Coil. We’ve pondered long and hard as to how exactly the camp counselors have so far managed to evade our ever watchful radar, ‘incantations’ is eerily carved in the most beguiling night sky spectacle of aural apparitions dissolving and dissipating dreamily in the cosmic ether amid myriads of murmuring electronic sirens. Those fancying your listening ear gear dimpled and coolly coded in dinky orbital pirouettes that sigh lovelorn at the outer markers of pop’s vast hinterland may well be advised to check out the desirably sumptuous ‘ghost toast’ by Hercules Baby while ‘la luz’ from Andy Miau and Mr Vampire is an ever so brief though sweetly enchanting slice of fog bound wood crafted psyche folk that hovers and shimmers teasingly like some siren-esque spell craft. Rounding up the compilation in fine style are psychic twin whose ‘never let it die’ sounds like its been time tripped from some pre pop golden age, sparsely coded and traced in ethereal twinkles, this sepia dipped torch soul beauty tugs delicately upon the heartstrings whilst simultaneously finding itself fashioned in a ghostly monochrome beauty that teases ever so subtly to an as were woozy waltz of Shakespeare Sister styled serenades – enchanting in short. ‘spooky moulder’ wasn’t that the weird dude out of X-files who saw conspiracy theories at every turn, we have them here in blighty they’re called UKIP – a political Euro sceptic party, led by a left winger with a French sounding name whose political agenda at varying levels appears somewhat cosied between bigotry and edged to the right – that’ll be inside right of the working class bashing privileged backsides sucking on silver spoons Tory party – even Rowan Atkinson couldn’t script this. What do you mean he has already. Anyway where were we – ‘spooky moulder / x files etc….etc…we preferred ‘Dark Skies’ any day. Back with it Field Mouse stump up ‘spooky moulder’ which is strangely alluring in an ice sculptured moment frozen type Ex Post Facto shimmied with the Cocteau Twins way, easily filed as spectral shoe gaze and something that admirers of the early 4ad catalogue ought to seek out. Drawn out of a ghostly half light ‘the fear’ by Seismograph is a shadow playing atmospheric beauty, tripping beats, dissolving riffs and the tingle of twinkling keys motifs gather together to conspire a deeply bewitching and fragile sonic canvas of understated majesty which reference wise calls to mind the declining winter in cahoots with tex la homa. Steeled upon the merest of purring opines cemeteries ‘sharpen your knives, sharpen your teeth’ is finitely cut from the same mallowy stuff that fixes the stars in the heaven’s sky, brushed and melancholia it drifts solemnly in a cosmic nothingness as though drawing together the dots joining together a mellowed and reflective grails with a super chilled and frost tweaked Church. Time for a teary moment, pseudo color disconsolately stumble in with the sorrowfully hymnal and head bowed n’ crestfallen ‘chance’ which ought to strike a regretful chord to those of you who never struck while the iron was hot in the fateful game of love – must admit though that should you be going through such a trial at the moment then avoid this like the plague or at least steer clear of kitchen drawers and sharp objects. must admit we are a tad bit smitten by Kreeps’ rollicking Ramones-a-rama 50’s high school bop a hula ‘vampire girls’ as it swaggers and swoons teased up in kiss curls all housed in the purring roar of a flying v v12 chassis. Rounding up the compilation in fine style are psychic twin whose ‘never let it die’ sounds like its been time tripped from some pre pop golden age, sparsely coded and traced in ethereal twinkles, this sepia dipped torch soul beauty tugs delicately upon the heartstrings whilst simultaneously finding itself fashioned in a ghostly monochrome beauty that teases ever so subtly to an as were woozy waltz of Shakespeare Sister styled serenades – enchanting in short. Best of the set by some distance all said is ‘séance’ by the Tender Bats whose spectral chime chamber torch pop is couched in an alluring soft 60’s psych hollowing that recalls the unworldly majesty of Broadcast refracted through the cinematic lens of Krzysztof Komeda to an immense overpowering chilling beauty. www.snowbeastrecords.bandcamp.com/album/halloween-compilation-no-1-rituals

More nuggets ripped from band camp world, not sure how reliable the info is here but I’m thinking that my bum the son are a duo hailing from long island – Michael and Brian be their names – they describe their sound as being influenced by the ramones, the misfits and the offspring. Must admit ’everyday is Halloween (in my world)’ is a bit of a grower, cut through the choking paranoia and abandonment not to mention the cold detachment and you have yourself something couched in the razor sharp dialects of a warping post punk void scalped and scalded by surges of flat lining fuzzed out riffage all gutted in subtle industrial accents and spiked by a darkly suffocating psych bite that admittedly had us recalling some hybrid DNA resulting from the fusing together of March Violets, pre house era Shamen and the Mission essences. Has to heard I’ll warrant. www.mysonthebum.bandcamp.com/track/everyday-is-halloween-in-my-world

And that’s it for a few days – next time out will be a fruits de Mer and related soiree, including the labels winter wonders along with treats from the bordellos, mega dodo, the luck of eden hall, palace of swords, beau and loads of other stuff. As ever correspondence, records, cd’s, tapes and jolly old complaints can be directed if you so wish to the following –

For archives and other happening gubbins – www.marklosingtoday.wordpress.com
For email – marklosingtoday@gmail.com
Networking – www.facebook.com/thesundayexcperience
Or finally – good old fashioned snail mail –

71 Pennsylvania Road, Liverpool, L13 9BA, UK

We’re also on sound cloud and twitter but I’ll be buggered I know the address that said if you really need them then send an interesting record or tape and we’ll root out the details.

As ever take care of yourselves…..xx

Marklosingtoday
©

via Bill Cummings God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/10/31/tales-from-the-attic-volume-xvi-revolutions-of-a-33-and-45-kind/

God Is In The TV: Arcade Fire – Reflektor

It may be all very well to attract your celebrity mates (Bowie, bearded womble James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem) in off a New York back street into your studio to sprinkle some angel dust over proceedings, but really Win Butler, couldn’t you have written some songs first?

‘Normal Person’ and ‘It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)’ (for fuck’s sake) are the most convincing moments here, with the old Pentecostal borderline schizophrenic Butler at least sounding like he means something, though with his oh-so-Piscean lyrics we could be talking about anything from the Bible to ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, how much sense he makes.

What does it sound like? I hear you irritatedly bellow. It sounds like Talk Talk with Chris Martin mumbling vaguely over the top, with a couple of Talking Heads’ most tired hired bongo players brought in to make the hoodwinked audience thinks anything is ‘progressing’. In the words of the esteemed Dominic Valvona, ‘hard work’.

As with ‘MGMT’ earlier this year, Arcade Fire are a big glittery alt. rock name, who appear to have run out of steam. There is no ‘Rebellion (Lies)’ or ‘Sprawl II’ here. What there is is a vast, stomach-churning, nauseating wall of effluence, boring even the most optimistic listener. Win and his cultish winners appear to have run out of anything to say.

It was very important that the massively pre-hyped ‘Reflektor’ (for good reason now, we see) would be better than Lady Gaga’s forthcoming gash-fest, The Strokes damp squib earlier in the year, or MGMT‘s disappointment. The fact is, the new American heroes have run out of steam. Stop, or change, fast.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars

via Sean Bw Parker God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/10/31/arcade-fire-reflektor/

God Is In The TV: Bill Callahan new album taster ‘Small Plane’ & UK Dates

billcallahan

Must admit we’re getting a tad weepy eyed with this one, with the announcement of UK dates set for January 2014, this honey comes pulled from the latest Bill Callahan full length for drag city entitled ‘Dream River’. ’Small Plane’ is a beautifully touching love note that’s intimately hollowed and sweetly crushed in a quietly demurring warmth here paraded by an equally affecting monochrome video dinked as a homage to the silent films of yesteryear….enjoy…

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The Dream River world tour spills from one continent to another come early 2014 – Bill Callahan and band travel to Europe for a hefty jaunt through ye olde world. Mark your calendar, and save the dates!

1/31/14 Gateshead, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, United Kingdom
2/01/14 Glasgow, United Kingdom
2/02/14 Dublin, United Kingdom
2/03/14 Manchester, United Kingdom
2/05/14 Leeds, United Kingdom
2/06/14 Bristol, United Kingdom
2/07/14 London, United Kingdom
2/08/14 London, United Kingdom
2/09/14 Copenhagen, Denmark
2/10/14 Amsterdam, Netherlands
2/11/14 Brussels, Belgium
2/12/14 Paris, France
2/14/14 Cologne, Germany
2/15/14 Berlin, Germany
2/16/14 Munich, Germany
2/17/14 St.Gallen, Switzerland
2/18/14 Bologna, Italy
2/19/14 Lyon, France
2/21/14 Valladolid, Spain
2/22/14 Lisbon, Portugal
2/23/14 Porto, Portugal
2/24/14 Madrid, Spain
2/25/14 San Sebastian, Spain
2/26/14 Barcelona, Spain

via Mark Barton God Is In The TV http://www.godisinthetvzine.co.uk/2013/10/31/bill-callahan-new-album-taster-small-plane-uk-dates/

Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com: Earls Court: wrecking balls and marmorino walls

The owner of a beautifully-decorated home on a west London estate fears that all the effort and he has invested in the property is doomed to demolition thanks to a Boris Johnson-backed redevelopment scheme

The West Kensington and Gibbs Green housing estates are sometimes called “council estates” but the term deceives. The former was initially the project of a private builder and 170 of the 760 homes are owner-occupied. The gentleman whose desk is pictured above is one of those homeowners and has lived there for about 15 years.

“I chose it because it’s in a complicated neighbourhood,” he says. “I liked the mixed-up quality, and still do.” He is proud of his home and it is easy to see why. In his own words he “gutted and rebuilt” it after moving in, renewing the electrics and heating and having the ceilings and walls gorgeously re-plastered in stucco marmorino , the Italian crushed marble technique best known from renaissance Venice.

The house is filled with handsome furniture, fine books and works of art. He’s a lawyer who specialises in arts-related matters, including literary estates. He’s also in delicate health – heart trouble – and worried about the future. “As far as I can tell, nothing will stop these people,” he says of the council and its developer partner Capital and Counties (Capco) who want both estates knocked down to make way for their massive Earls Court Project redevelopment scheme, marmorino walls and all. “I don’t know what will happen. It’s pretty scary.”

In an information booklet sent out in July, the council says that resident home owners will receive the “full market value” of their property plus compensation of 10% of that value, capped at £47,000. If they sign up early to accepting a replacement home offered in the redevelopment area, they might get a 10% discount. However, the booklet makes clear that every penny received for owned homes to be knocked down will need to be used to buy the new one and if it doesn’t cover the cost, the council will “hold the remaining equity.” It sounds as though the offered replacement will be more expensive and that unless you can find the difference somewhere, the new home won’t all be yours.

Our concerned homeowner has visited the council’s regeneration office at the edge of the estate, in Mund Street. “I told them I want a like-for-like house in Farm Lane.” The site in question, a few minutes south of the estates, currently contains the now former Tamworth support hostel for people with mental illnesses. The old buildings are temporarily occupied by a group of short-life tenants on low rents, pending an application by Capco to redevelop.

“Who knows if I’ll end up there? The woman at the regeneration office said nothing. I told her, ‘Well, you seem like a decent person. Let’s see if that’s true.'” He says the situation makes him feel terrible: “I’ll respond to their offer, but I have no idea whether I will respond politically and say ‘no’, or practically and say ‘yes'”.

His dwelling is one of those that became privately-owned because of Margaret Thatcher’s right to buy policy. It is a rich irony – perhaps “poor” would be a better word – that beneficiaries of that flagship home ownership policy are now in line to be penalised by her spiritual heirs in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Further reading: my timeline of the Earls Court Project and an archive of my coverage of the scheme. Comments are closed on this article.

theguardian.com © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

via Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2013/oct/31/earls-court-project-london-marmorino-walls

Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com: Earls Court: mysteries of demolition phase one

Procedures for demolishing 760 homes and re-housing their residents as part of a controversial, Boris Johnson-backed redevelopment scheme in west London are raising many unanswered questions

For some weeks I’ve sought clarity about how David Cameron’s favourite council Hammersmith and Fulham (H&F) and its developer partner, the property giant Capital and Counties (Capco), intend to execute Phase One of the planned demolition of the homes of roughly 2000 people and provide them with the replacement dwellings it has promised. It’s all part of the controversial Earls Court Project, which also aspires to levelling the important Lillie Bridge London Underground maintenance depot and bulldozing the famous Earls Court exhibition centre.

The council, I believe, has made a patient effort to assist, but been unable to do so with everything – some of the details of the process, I detect, have yet to be worked out. Meanwhile, the globally-renowned public relations firm Edelman, which represents Capco in media affairs, has not provided any answers to my questions for the best part of a fortnight.

Consequently, some parts of the Phase One operation, so vital to the credibility of the scheme in the eyes of those it would affect most dramatically, remain opaque to me. Guided by the spirit of open journalism I shall therefore share the matters that still puzzle me and hope that their mysteries will unfold.

A booklet distributed by the council to residents in July contains information about “moving to a new home – what will happen and when.” Diagrams show that most of the 151 homes earmarked for bulldozing in Phase One stand right in the middle section of the West Kensington estate (one of two that Capco and the council want expunged, comprising 760 dwellings in all).

Why have these homes been designated first in line for the wrecking ball? Why not start only at the edges, thereby directly subjecting only one set of immediate neighbours to the dust, disruption and noise that demolition invariably produces? There might be some simple, logistical explanation for this. There might be an economic one arising from the fact that the patch of the estate selected contains the lowest density housing, making it quickest and easier to clear and redevelop. I’m in the dark. I would seek enlightenment from Capco – by way of Edelman, that is – but as things stand I wouldn’t receive a reply.

Back to the demolition diagrams. One of them shows the four Phase One “re-housing sites” which include part of the now former exhibition centre car park on Seagrave Road. It is intended that 200 out of a total of 808 homes will be replacements for those lost to demolition. These 200 “affordable” homes will be clumped together at the southern end of the site, separate from the other 608, which are for market sale. Why that separation?

The Evening Standard recently revealed that a new tower block near the Olympic Park in Newham was being marketed in Malaysia with the boast that it contained “no social housing”. Last week, Green Party AM Darren Johnson highlighted a development in Elephant and Castle where residents of its “affordable” homes and those of the more expensive rest would have separate entrances. Was the same sort of thinking applying here? No answer has been forthcoming.

Intriguingly, one section of the replacement homes part of the Seagrave Road site is shown as not being included in Phase One. It’s a rectangular block on the eastern side of the site and is marked “Phase Two, 2017”. Why has it been excluded from Phase One? Does the fact that it’s the part closest to the West London railway line, which carries trains between Willesden and Clapham Junctions, explain it? After all, it seems possible that someone offered a home in such a spot would, justifiably or not, find its proximity to train traffic off-putting. At risk of seeming cynical, the prospect of residents resisting the offer of a flat beside the tracks might be an incentive to exclude properties positioned there from the first re-housing phase. Call it good public relations, if you like. I asked Edelman about it. Silence.

The more I ponder the – undoubtedly unavoidable – complexities of Phase One and, indeed, the demolition and re-housing process as a whole, the more questions spring to mind. The 151 homes that would be knocked down in the whole of Phase One include, I’m told, 101 houses. Will the four small sites (and parts thereof), indeed the much larger re-development area as a whole, be able to accommodate that many? If not, what becomes of the council’s promise to supply what its cabinet member for housing Andrew Johnson has described as “like-for-like” replacements? I have heard reports of Phase One house-dwellers being invited to consider an upper floor maisonette at Seagrave Road as a replacement home. Would that be “like for like”?

Returning to the diagrams, is it OK that the boundary for Phase One demolition (marked in red) cuts right through a terrace of houses? Pondering the words of the information booklet, does “your rent will continue to be calculated in the same way it is now, for the new property,” means that rents will rise? Reflecting on concerns I have heard from residents, how extensive will the use of compulsory purchase orders be and will they, unusually, be applied to tenants as well as homeowners? Looking at the council’s obligation to compensate tenants financially – they are committed to the smallest sum the law allows – how might this affect any entitlement to benefits?

In its information booklet the council says it is “confident that residents are benefiting from one of the best deals ever negotiated compared to similar regeneration projects across the country.” Leaving aside for now the small matter that the deal was not negotiated with the residents’ official representatives – are opposed to the estates being knocked down – it remains to be seen if the council’s confidence is justified. I will endeavour to keep readers informed.

Further reading: my timeline of the Earls Court Project and an archive of my coverage of the scheme

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via Global: Dave Hill | theguardian.com http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog/2013/oct/31/earls-court-project-estate-demolition-mysteries