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Quietus Charts

Albums Of The Month: Music We've Loved In September
AR Wood , September 29th, 2017 14:50

The tQ office favourites from the past four weeks of new releases, including Princess Nokia, Gary Numan, Botanist and Leyland Kirby.

The mists have not yet arrived but we do have some (occasionally mellow) fruitfulness already this autumn, from the Botanist's post black metal experiments and Leyland Kirby's free but priceless new album to Simone Trabucchi's gospel, dancehall and bass-heavy Italian-African sounds and Carly Rae Jepsen's faultless piece of pop. Swell your gourds and drink up, comrades.

Botanist - Collective: The Shape Of He To Come

While I love, love, love the Botanist’s trademark acoustic, one man, eco-apocalyptic green metal, Collective: The Shape Of He To Come is a fantastic and welcome leap forward for the project. After seven albums in as many years, Californian Otrebor has expanded the Botanist to become a band with multiple vocalists - somehow without compromising their unique sound. The ever so slightly overdriven but elegiac sound of the hammered dulcimer is still the foundation upon which everything else stands but Otrebor has delegated the necrotic vocals to A Lindo, while trying out a new clean style himself. (This is tightly harmonised with the singing of bassist Bezaelith.) The overall vocal effect sits somewhere between neo-Gregorian chant, English folk and Fairport Convention (if they’d had an unlikely vocal booth encounter with Anaal Nathrakh). While most practitioners of post black metal carry on plugging away at the fringes of shoegaze and post metal, it’s good to hear something completely out there and on its own.
John Doran

Leyland Kirby - We, So Tired Of All The Darkness In Our Lives

"For all its 16 tracks of languid, wandering piano, electronics, drums like eyelids fluttering off into a doze is a strange, direct listen that fits its title. It has, even in the past day, managed to alter my head drastically at a particularly troubling time. Apparently put together from Kirby's prodigious archive of tracks, lurking in his Krakow HQ, it's like an assemblage of all the best moments of album interlude music you've ever heard drunk, wept over, grieving and bleakly euphoric, like rolling over onto the other side of a bed still warm from a lover just departed for good."
Luke Turner (Read the full review here)

The Doomed Bird Of Proovidence - Burrowed Into The Soft Sky

"Doomed Bird act as a vessel of bastardised prose, drawing on numerous literary sources, both real and fictitious, to create their tawdry tales of woe. But on Burrowed Into The Soft Sky, Kluzek has changed tack, foregoing the lyrical storytelling and instead deciding to articulate the album’s stories as a series of abstract instrumentals. Calling forth a team of disparate musicians, he developed a series of pictorial maps that contained links to orthodox orchestral arrangements and references to other music pieces to provide a guide to take Doomed Bird’s music into a different, more furtive mode of darkness."
Bob Cluness (Read the full review here)

Still - I

Under his new moniker of STILL, Simone Trabucchi traces the histories that connect his hometown of Vernasca in Italy to Ethiopia and Jamaica enlisting the vocal talents of a number of African-Italian vocalists to form I, the project’s first offering. What follows is a dizzying exploration of gospel, dancehall and bass-heavy club music. Opener ‘Haile Selassie Is The Micro-Chip’ is a soaring, organ-led meeting of autotuned and often intelligible vocals, while ‘Bubbling Ambseea (Afrikan Messiah Riddim)' immediately following it is more direct with its thumping, half-time drums and digitally rendered sound FX. ‘Nazenèt (Wasp Riddim)’ dances around irregular time signatures like Mark Fell interpreting modern dancehall, while closer ‘Mangrovia’ finds its footing at a highly danceable 112bpm tempo, retaining the hard-hitting drums that can be found across the record, as well as the heavily manipulated guest vocals that hint at the album’s grounding in exploring Italian-African colonial connections. It’s yet another reliable release from a label, PAN, that rarely if ever puts a foot out of step.
Christian Eede

Princess Nokia - 1992 Deluxe
(Rough Trade)

Princess Nokia’s debut album is oscillating, introspective and at times chaotic. It serves to complicate rather than explain or define the New York rapper’s own identity. She is an urban feminist, a ghetto bruja, an Afro-Latina, a New Yorker. She is all this and more. 1992 Deluxe confirms Princess Nokia’s versatility and wide-ranging musical education – the thematic range is matched by the eclecticism of the sonic influences here. On opening track 'Bart Simpson', she demonstrates masterful restraint and stamina, but on the confrontational 'Kitana' she spits fire over a hard-as-nails trap beat: “I step in this bitch and I do what I want / I don't give a damn and I don't give a fuck!”
Alice Kemp-Habib (Read the full review here)

Meridian Brothers - ¿Dónde Estás María?

Don't be fooled by the relatively vanilla name, which might imply two Stetson-clad cowboys strumming inanely round a campfire - the loose Colombian collective Meridian Brothers are one of the world's weirdest, and most purely enjoyable bands. Rarely is an album simultaneously so wholesome and so bizarre as ¿Dónde Estás María?, their new record, which stirs a heady brew of lavish strings, dreamy psychedelia and traditional music from across their native South America, all undercut with a particularly wonky sense of groove.
Paddy Clarke

Gary Numan - Savage

"Numan's decision to directly incorporate these less familiar (to the western ear) musical mores into his already alien-sounding style pays off. Gary Numan has always had a talent for atypical songwriting that transcends the notional limitations of traditional western music. ‘Cars’ is the first song I can ever remember hearing, and even as a toddler I was bewitched by that utterly unique Moog coda that seems to quiver at the threshold of a whole universe of music we've barely begun to explore. Those basketball-court synths from The Pleasure Principle are back in far greater numbers than they were on Splinter, and hearing them squeak over these new microtonally shifting horns and Lisa Gerrard-esque desert chants is impossible not to enjoy."
Josh Gray (Read the full review here)

Re-TROS - Before The Applause
(Modern Sky)

"Before The Applause is an LP so unmercifully intense that it holds up free from any packaged narrative. They’re still great absorbers of influence - the spectre of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ hangs over ‘Pigs In The River’, and there’s a distinct twist of Einstürzende Neubauten on 'The Last Dance'’s looming thud – but rather than just presenting a decent imitation, as they did on their last record, here they absorb their forebears into a melting pot of their own devising. Re-TROS have become outliers, rather than copyists. ‘At Mos Phere’ is the best articulation of their expanded abilities, a monster of a song that incorporates the most welcome of the group’s newfound dalliances – a fascination with the ceaseless pump of electronica. All the best moments on Before The Applause are anchored thus, looped around a spine of walloping industrial rave as the band maze seamlessly from one temper to the next. On ‘At Mos Phere’ the trio lay down that essential pump and let it settle in, sounding akin to Factory Floor at their best, and then slather on a sweep of space-rock atmospherics, voyaging further and further outwards before reeling it right back in from escape velocity towards the bare bones of the beat. From there they throw themselves from severe robotic vocals to blissful acid house piano, through blasts of more modern, James Murphy-ish groove."
Paddy Clarke (Read the full review here)

Various Artists at Green Door - NEET

"We get covers like Howlin’ Wolf’s ‘Moanin’ At Midnight’ – synth-blues-garage dementia that reminds me of long-gone Jay Reatard project Lost Sounds – ‘Tainted Love’ given a kitchen-sink dub treatment and Devo’s ‘Jocko Homo’ squawked with gleeful vigour, spruced up with the sounds of a distressed 8-bit farmyard and a quizzical “fuckin’ hell” right at the end. As for whoever the singer is on the Stooges’ ‘1969’, barely forming syllables for the amount he’s doing his nut, it would be a travesty if that was his only vocal performance ever."
Noel Gardner (Read more in Noel's Foul House column here

Reissue/Compilation of the Month: Various - Digital Zandoli 2
(Heavenly Sweetness)

Following on from last year's Digital Zandoli, a compilation which offered a bracing introduction to the zouk music that soundtracked a number of people's lives in the French West Indies through the 1980s, Heavenly Sweetness now come good with the series' second instalment - another 12 storming cuts from the 80s and 90s handpicked by curators Julien 'Digger's Digest' Achard and Nicolas Skliris. The second volume opens with perhaps the strongest track of the bunch in Dominique Coco and Fabert Thenard's 'Ban Di Fwan', originally released in 1993. It's an absolute delight, meshing the zouk sounds that fill the record with digi-dancehall influences. Michel Alibo's 'Fou, jaloux' is a starry-eyed disco stepper, while Osmose's 'Melodi' makes for one of the compilation's funkiest moments with its boogie guitars and dashes of brass.
Christian Eede

Tracks of the Month

Phase Fatale - Order Of Severity

Princess Nokia - Brujas

Beatrice Dillon & Call Super - Fluo

Minor Science - Volumes

Insecure Men - Subaru Nights

Carly Rae Jepson - Cut To The Feeling

Lost Cat- Pastel

Bjork - The Gate

Wild Beasts - Punch Drunk And Trembling