Thursday, 10 October 2013

Some musics worth exploring

Those of you who know me personally will be aware that I don't listen to music, and try to avoid it when possible.

However, I appreciate some readers of this blog might be interested in the latest news from one or two interesting acts that have crossed my path, long ago in another life.

First up is Phil Begg's Midnight Doctors record.  I had the pleasure of teaching Phil at College as he studied his Music Production degree.  He would later support Future Loss at their album launch under his monicker Hapsburg Braganza.  This new release draws upon a variety of different arrangement methods, a plethora of instruments and a large cast of players to realise his sprawling vision.  Much of it was recorded at Newcastle University, during the period when Phil was studying an MA in Music.

Richard Dawson, whose performances were a regular feature at of Ex Libris shows from eons past, has a new album out.  I was fortunate to hear him play some of this material at Morden Tower last year, about horses being flogged and pheasants being poached.  Coincidentally, Richard provided the cover artwork for Phil's record.

Another band that was courted for Libris gigs (sadly never realised) was Beauty Pageant.  Their debut vinyl release looks to be imminent; I remember buying their first release on tape cassette, housed in a squashed cardboard loo roll tube, containing barely audible tracks.  They have a squelchy, screamy sound that remains one of the highlights of the Newcastle scene during my tenure there.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs and Khunnt both feature the talents of Matt Baty; a talented young man I met while studying at College.  The latter of these two bands once performed at a Libris-curated Narc. Fest stage at The Star & Shadow, where Matt donned a black balaclava and terrified everyone while playing the drums.  His role in Pigs is as a front man-cum-fanatical wizard, replete with his father's vintage embroidered robes, summoning the spirits of glam riffs inbetween screams.

Khunnt meanwhile, reissue their Dead Eyes 12" release from several years back, a record I bought at the launch gig before the ink had dried on the handmade, screen printed sleeve.  The facility used to make the packaging for this record was the same one Brian utilised for the Loss tape cassette covers.

The Tusk imprint houses its 3rd festival this weekend; the last of which I only only managed to catch one day of.  Perhaps it was bad timing on my part, but the selection of noise and doom on that particular day was deeply disappointing:  complacent and emperor's new clothes-esque acts that were boring and safe, despite their noise credentials.  What was more disheartening was how everyone else seemed to be in an appreciative stupor over it all.  Only one group redeemed proceedings:  The Unit Ama, who were hands down brilliant, with improvised segues between songs, that seamlessly dissolved into wiry, minimal pieces that rolled around your brain for ever.  They're an elusive bunch, so it's a pleasure to find that they have a new record out, available here, which is a live recording of that very set I was lucky to witness.

Finally, the last gig I went to that was worthy of note was Moon Duo, at The MAC in Belfast.  It was deeply hypnotic and immersive; good to shake the fringe to and accidentally elbow other members of the audience.