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LISTEN: Esben, TotS & Thought Forms Playlist
The Quietus , October 7th, 2013 09:25

The bands select some tracks to get you primed for their triple-billed tour, kicking off tonight in London

As the three embark on a joint, rotating-headliner tour, sponsored by the Quietus and beginning tonight at The Lexington in London, Esben And The Witch, Teeth Of The Sea and Thought Forms have compiled a collaborative playlist via the magic of YouTube and e-mail. From one to the next, each choice informed by what’s come before it. (Mostly…)

Esben And The Witch pick…

The For Carnation – 'Emp. Man’s Blues'

We'll start slow. This'll be playing in at least one of the vans on the tour. Beautifully tense and patient. The pause in the bassline; the slow, considered drum beat; the deadpan detached vocal delivery that still retains a fantastic emotional potency. This is from a much-overlooked album [The For Carnation] in general, typified by this opening track. Eight minutes of one insistent groove. Simple and glorious. 

Thought Forms pick…

Papa M – 'Arundel'/'Roadrunner'

That The For Carnation album is one of our all-time favourites and, having bonded over a shared love of Slint, it was a big soundtrack to our first year together, along with the Papa M album Live From A Shark Cage. A similar warmth in sound, but with more light and space to it. 

Teeth Of The Sea pick…

Holden – 'The Caterpillar's Intervention'

All four of Teeth Of The Sea have been summarily slayed by James Holden’s latest album, whose expansive yet intricate modular sorcery transmits on unheimlich and previously unheard frequencies. The sinister stomp of 'The Caterpillar's Intervention' is a particular blinder, unintentionally allying fearsome free jazz skronk to the glam spectres of long-time TotS influence Add (N) To X in audacious fashion. 

Esben And The Witch pick…

'Miroloi Me Girismata' (Μοιρολοι με γυρίσματα)

To follow on from Holden we've chosen this piece of Greek mountain folk music. A fine Grecian gentleman called Peter put us on to it whilst we drank into the early hours when we played in Athens recently. A little rogue perhaps, but it's not altogether dissimilar to 'The Caterpillar's Intervention' with its rhythmic insistence and exotic brass/woodwind noodlings that manage to create a realm that feels both foreign and a little fantastic. Apparently in Greek, mira means fate and logos means reason, logic. So the title roughly translates as an inevitable fate, an impending doom. Certainly intriguing.

Thought Forms picks…

Get The Blessing – 'Torque'

We've chosen this video of Get The Blessing playing 'Torque' live in Serbia last year. Tortured sax pulled through delays, stretched-out woodwind ghosts twisting round a trumpet mirror-maze as the bass drives up and up, elevating and destroying you simultaneously with each move be it barely perceptible or pounding... Insistent, hypnotic and burning; one of the most thrilling and completely immersive live bands we've ever witnessed.

Teeth Of The Sea pick…

Don Cherry – 'Brown Rice'

Seemed a fitting time to bring up Don Cherry, a massively formative (and on-going) influence on the avant jazz scene in Bristol, from which Get The Blessing spring. Frank Lowe's tenor and Charlie Haden's wah bass find the spaces between the repetitive vocal/keyboard refrain, whilst Cherry's whispered vocal ushers you into a strange place indeed. 'Brown Rice' is funk music disassembled and deconstructed until it resembles nothing of the sort, ambulatory yet disorienting, beguiling yet sinister.

Esben And The Witch pick…

Alice Coltrane – 'Yamuna Tira Virhari'

Keeping along the jazz route, next up is Alice Coltrane. We fell in love with this song and this woman the first time we heard this record. Coltrane's emotional vocal mantra sounds like an ancient lament, floating on the breeze. The strings weaving through the warm soothing haze of analogue synths that shimmer below. If Cherry's whispered vocal is ushering you into a strange place, then Coltrane is there to welcome you.

Thought Forms pick…

Metal Mountains – 'Structures In The Sun'

That shimmering warm haze leads us to Metal Mountains. Their album Golden Trees is thick with the stuff; full of dreamlike wanderings, the drones that wind and entwine with the repeated picked guitar melodies, underwater tapes echoing. We saw them play in New York (where they are based) a few years ago and were taken aback by the raw beauty of their performance.

Teeth of the Sea pick…

Dennis Parker – ‘Like An Eagle’

Just to send the proceedings skyward on a suitably euphoric conclusion, we bring both a TotS favourite and a stately and soaring disco pièce de résistance from former adult entertainment mainstay Dennis Parker (AKA Wade Nichols, star of Captain Lust, Teenage Pajama Party and Boynapped) who managed a dazzling reinvention under the auspices of Village People producer Jacques Morali. The accompanying video is worth a gander just to see just how bewildered the passers-by are by Dennis' formidable swagger. 

Have a look at the tour dates below and head to Esben And The Witch's website to get hold of tickets:

Mon 7 - The Lexington, London
Tue 8 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Wed 9 - Kazimier, Liverpool
Thu 10 - The Harley, Sheffield
Sat 12 - Cookie Jar, Leicester
Sun 13 - Sticky Mike's Frog Bar, Brighton
Mon 14 - The Exchange, Bristol