The Best New Music You Missed In March
, March 31st, 2017 09:44
After a short break, we're back with a selection of the best new music you might have missed in the last month – and some of the very best that we managed to miss too
Improbably, it's the year 2017; against all odds we're already a quarter of the way through it and we're still here.
And so time marches on to the tune of a million streams, CDs, records and imperceptibly large zip files. It's consistently encouraging just how much music we're sent across every format every single day: The Quietus will soon have been kicking around the internet for nine years and amongst all the trials and tribulations that necessarily brings, the thrill of discovering something new and the sheer joy of brilliant music are the things that keep us keeping on regardless. On the flip side of this increasingly devalued coin however, the vertiginous amount of new releases that come our way, combined with our fast-fading humanity also means that sometimes – despite our best intentions – we can miss things.
In a bid to rectify this, and after a brief respite, the Quietus office staff are back to putting together this brief monthly list of the best new music that – for whatever reason – we missed out on covering over the course of the last twelfth of the year. And, of course, we've also included some of the very best of what we covered that you, dear Reader, might have missed yourself.
$hit & $hine – Total Shit!
And of course, it isn’t total shit at all but then you already knew that. To sum up; $&$ are $ui generi$, often called noise rock but far too unusual to be that really. Formed in 2004 by Texan Craig Clouse, in the live arena they have often used multiple drummers, combined with electronics and rock instrumentation, meaning they can be compared to Butthole Surfers and Boredoms in the loosest of terms – but on record they have been seriously hard to pin down. They have released albums that speak of influences ranging from Nurse With Wound to Wolf Eyes and Venetian Snares to Basic Channel, which in summary means they resist any kind of useful attempt to genre tag them… we have to make do with observing that they’re often very rhythmical, quite avant garde and usually quite upsetting on one level or another. Whatever it is, Total Shit – which I make to be their 11th studio album – is a fucking blast, man. It opens with some weird electro rockabilly deep dub on ‘Hot Shovel’ before hitting paydirt with the stuttering and lysergic schaffel of ‘Chklt Sht’. It’s probably best we skip over the cavalier (but excellent) use of sampling here and simply observe that Total Shit is $hit & $hine’s best album, but as with The Fall, by now you should expect that from the current one.
Visible Cloaks – Reassemblage
The second studio outing from Spencer Doran and Ryan Carlile as Visible Cloaks, Reassemblage is a peculiar and peculiarly interesting proposition. Weaving cross-continental and inter-generational influences, the duo have managed to weave together – or reassemble, if you will – a tapestry that manages to foreground each of its component parts without diverting attention from the idea of its cohesive whole.
There is no sense of pastiche in their borrowing from a range of Eastern instrumentation, no irony in their drive toward a distinctly New Age timbre, and no sense of nostalgia in their retrospection. In fact, despite its creation from fairly obvious component parts, their not-so-subtle titling of tracks like 'Mimesis' and 'Mask', and the sincerity with which it nods to the same Japanese influences found both in 2015's self-titled full-length and in Doran's standalone mixtapes, Reassemblage feels in many ways like the realisation of Visible Cloaks as a unit with something unique to offer as they craft a vivid and distinct sonic world from vapour and bamboo.
Simon Fisher Turner – Giraffe
Simon Fisher Turner is an elusive artist, yet this isn't through his own design. There's no obfuscation here, or deliberately obtuse plays at anonymity. Instead, Turner's work is riddled with an endearingly flighty sense of the personal that gives great resonance and depth, encompassing the wonderful soundtracks to the Epic Of Everest and Great White Silence and his series of 'guerilla' audio transmissions of his field recordings that are approached playfully rather than bogged down in the theoretical static that often comes with the form.
His sense of fun is evident from the off in the (sort of) similarly zoologically-titled Giraffe, a collection of sounds and music from all sorts of people and places encountered on his travels – from an old cinema in Porto, to a park in Andalucia and a theatre in Tokyo. There are fragments here too from the Elysian Quartet's strings as recorded for Isaac Julien's poignant cinematic tribute to the great Derek Jarman, as well as Mumbai night dogs and Turner's own family. It's all eloquently coordinated into a collage that's as amusing (the sputtering vocalisations on 'Clean Page', for instance) as beguiling, such as when a simple tone darts prettily over mechanical rattles in 'Hope Swims'. As ever with Turner's work there's a sense of an outsider to the sound art canon throwing himself in with a boyish enthusiasm and gusto - when he sticks his neck out, as here on Giraffe, it's impossible not to be charmed.
Japan Blues – Sells His Record Collection
The title for Howard Williams' debut Japan Blues album will become immediately clear on first listen to any Discogs diggers of expensive, out-of-print Japanese records across various genres. Samples of music from producer Hiroshi Satoh and duo Inoyama Land instantly stand out to me on first listen for example. On his past two releases as Japan Blues, Williams used the loosely-defined edit format to put old records into the hands of people that they might not dream of ever being able to afford, but on this album he uses this format to create something that feels wholly new.
By stitching together various different records taken from across his collection, differing in style or sometimes era, he showcases the rich depth of the music by which he is so drawn to. Inoyama Land’s ‘Glass Chaim’ sits alongside a stern Japanese spoken word sample on ‘Everything Passes’ while ‘The Sun Goddess Steps Out In Old Asakusa’ stretches out across almost 12 breathtaking minutes bringing together the contrasting elements of Williams’ record collection into something that is far more than the sum of its parts.
Davy Kehoe - Short Passing Game (Wah Wah Wino)
The Wah Wah Wino camp, based in Dublin, has been responsible for some excellent oddball music in recent years keeping one foot reluctantly in the club while exploring myriad other excursions, mostly via the work of Morgan Buckley and Olmo Devin. For Wah Wah Wino's latest release, they look further afield, following on from a compilation released earlier this year, as Davy Kehoe steps up for his debut. What follows is a storming exploration of new wave, techno and downtempo jams packed into six tracks, Kehoe's drum machine put to heavy, exceptional use throughout. It's hard to pick a highlight, from the opening title track's nine-minute post-punk freak-out to 'Going Machine''s gorgeous, organ-led balladry and 'Storm Desmond''s sprawling, mournful collision of drums, clarinet, guitar, mbira, harmonica and more. Seek out this record immediately.
Pharmakon – Contact
(Sacred Bones)"Contact is raw, coming from a place deep within, and that can’t help but rub off on any listener: an invitation to confront your own raw emotions and channel them through the music – and one that cannot be refused." – Aurora Mitchell
Moonlandingz – Interplanetary Class Classics
(Transgressive)"This is the sound of a band reporting back from the cusp of sanity and the precipice of reason, kicking their heels in the burnt-out basement of the shitty Zeitgeist." – Brian Coney
Gnod – Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine
(Rocket)"Gnod join the ever growing list of musicians concerned with personhood, dehumanisation and physical deterioration under Captialism." – Lottie Brazier
WaqWaq Kingdom – Sensekai
(Jahtari)"Shinsekai is the work of three fevered and inventive minds, who have cooked up, perfected and put a lid on their own genre of trimba psych reggae in a 35-minute explosion of dayglo invention that sings with the freedom of creativity." – Ben Cardew
Tracks of the Month
Kassem Mosse – 'MPCDEEPLIVEDIT'
Overmono – 'O-Coast'
Alt-J – '3WW'
Kendrick Lamar – 'Humble'
Unicazurn – 'Breathe The Snake'
Pharmakon – 'Somatic State'
Actress – 'X22RME'
Visible Cloaks – 'Mask'