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Quietus Charts

Albums Of The Month: Music We've Loved In October
The Quietus , October 27th, 2017 10:17

Not sure we really need Halloween this year (or last year, come to think of it). Still, as the global horror show continues, Brecht is thankfully proven forever right: there will also be singing, about the dark times. And some squelchy rave.

The sun is shining today and you could easily wear sandals in this weather (if you were a complete barbarian). Trump has just been on the news explaining why he doesn't drink alcohol. Half the people we know have spent the past two weeks realising that the other half of everyone we know has been abused, harassed and belittled since forever. The government wants to start culling badgers again. The woman down my street is working out whether to pay her rent or eat. What a time to be alive, drunk, sober, depressed, medicated. What a time. What to do? Fight, dance, talk, cuddle, go for a walk, have a cup of tea, have a glass of whisky, listen to some music and remember how wonderful we all are. Even Donald fucking Trump, the horrible little bastard.

Laura Cannell - Hunter Huntress Hawker

“From its brass-jangling, hoof-clattering opening seconds, Laura Cannell’s new album is dominated by the sweaty presence of a horse. There is snorting and huffing, flaring nostrils and metal striking stone, all in the space of the first minute and a half and conjured up with nothing but a violin. For most musicians, writing an album from a horse’s point of view would definitely count as a surprise move, but for Cannell it seems a fairly logical progression… Hunter Huntress Hawker is a short album, but it is performed with absolute commitment and packs intense atmosphere into each of its tracks. Cannell’s violin is alive and has strange powers.” Tom Bolton - read the full review here

Errorsmith - Superlative Fatigue

Superlative Fatigue is a record that couldn't be made by any other producer but Errorsmith, teetering between moments of plain silliness and all-out dancefloor exuberance. Marking a significant progression from his previous album, Near Disco Dawn, which was released in 2004 and formed from raw, mostly unedited live loops and recordings, the Berlin-based producer's new album was first unveiled in a live show at 2016's Unsound Festival. Its roots were sowed in 2011 when the producer set out working on demos using the RAZOR synth which he had developed with Native Instruments. Errorsmith's distinctive synth play lights up Superlative Fatigue whether it's on the ecstatic workout of 'I'm Interesting, Cheerful & Sociable' or on highlight 'Centroid' with its zaps sounding like the FX of a sci-fi movie. Elsewhere, pitch-shifted vocals form the tracks' melodic backbones with the producer himself characterising the vocals as the sounds of androids. Closer 'My Party' is as enthralling as it is ridiculous and neatly rounds out one of the most grin-inducing records you'll hear this year. Christian Eede

Zimpel/Ziołek - Zimpel/Ziołek

“The relationship between and folk music and modern minimalism isn’t as underdeveloped as one might think. At their simplest level, most folk musics rely on repetition - from sub-Saharan African drumming and Javanese gamelan to dozen-verse English folk ballads and 12-bar blues - and if Zimpel and Ziołek do anything it’s sew strands of myriad folks into pulsing Reichian soundscapes. "Both of us were keen on repetitive structures," says Zimpel. "And this process of defining a common musical ground evolved in a very organic way." Tristan Bath - read the full review here

The Left Outsides - There Is A Place

As someone who spends a lot of time writing and thinking about our unusual human relationship with forests, the sheer amount of arboreal music around at the moment is intriguing, from Snapped Ankles to the meditative ambience of Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement and now wife-husband duo The Left Outsides. Rather than going for the default sentimentalisation of nature, all these artists seem to be adept at dealing into the eerie complexity of these places. The Left Outsides specialise in unearthly evocations of woodland at the disturbing hour when daylight clings onto just a few more moments of life. Under this coherent aesthetic and atmospheric whole, The Left Outsides manage to bring together an impressively diverse sonic palette. There’s excellent folk here, to be sure, in ‘Civil War Lament’ and ‘The House Of The Stone Bell’, but this is mixed with more far-out textures that are still deeply rooted in melody. The resigned fuzz of ‘One Step At A Time’ sounds like the Mary Chain wandering slowly into a suicide pool, somewhere lost in the gloaming. Opener ‘Cry Of The Hunter’ and ‘Time Makes A Fool Of Us All’’s abstract field recordings and arrhythmic sounds underneath airy chanting resemble an organic take on Richard Skelton and Autumn Richardson’s landscape explorations. ‘Under Noonday Sun’, on the other hand, is classic psych pop tripping balls through a sunlit glade, wondering which planet the grazing cows come from. Luke Turner

BNNT - The Multiverse

There’s a point about halfway through ‘The Last Illiterate’, the first track of the BNNT’s excellent new record The Multiverse, where the Polish duo slip into one of the most gurn-inducing furrows of devastating groove I’ve heard in a very long time. I’m listening to it as I type, and the man across me on the train looks genuinely concerned for my wellbeing as I try to suppress the all-consuming power of it. Squalls of maniacal saxophone leap like a horde of imps as caveman drums loom heavier and heavier still. The rest of the record’s pretty damn good too - never quite as stomach-churningly intense as on the opener, but still a shudderingly impactful listen. It has deliciously bleak track titles to boot. ‘God Is Nothing More Than An Acoustic Hallucination’, for example, which is one great looming, bubbling crescendo. The total nihilist abstraction of ‘If The Universe Is Expanding, Are We Drifting Apart Too?’ and the cacophonic sci-fi doom of ‘Sickness Begins When One Starts To Think’ are equally unremitting. Patrick Clarke

Fever Ray - Plunge

"Baby, I hope one of us will hypnotise the other. Then the one less hypnotised will kill the other. The after everyone is dead and we establish the scene, the next beginning, ending, beginning, ending. A pattern can only last its own forever and the song on repeat follows me around the city. The heart is the bloodiest organ and its rhythmic pacing and growling troubles the perception like movement at the edge of the vision mistaken for a creature. It is too early to fall in love, but all of history has happened and now there seems to be only the remainder to be arranged and rearranged. ‘We waited far too long.’ It’s OK, everyone is here now." Read the full review on Monday 

The Granite Shore - Suspended Second

“There is never a dull moment here. By the time you get to the standout track, 'The Performance of a Lifetime', you are left in no doubt that, above all else, this is an album offering great and wholly affecting beauty. The song shifts into an unexpected rural space as it slowly climbs to a concluding rolling chant - infectious, rewarding and utterly irresistible: ‘We will send you sweetly to your rest / Beyond all noise, beyond all violence / We will send you sweetly to your rest / And as you know, the rest is silence.’ Emotionally charged pop for emotionally charged times.” Mick Middles - read the full review here

Kelela - Take Me Apart

“The way that I grew up definitely informed all of how I’m thinking about who I’m writing for now, and who I want to live from the lyric or the sound. It’s not new, but I want to add to that for black girls: add to the feeling that you are fucking epic, that you are important, and that the wind is fucking blowing through your hair and you are the top of the mountain. These really robust, infinite feelings - when I think about the soundscapes that I’m creating, this is quite literally what I’m thinking about, which is something I’ve never articulated before. I’m thinking about a young black girl: can she feel that? More specifically, young black girls who don’t feel like adhering to one version of what it means to be a black woman. I’m wanting to articulate the infinite nature of that identity, and how much it can encompass.” Kelela - read the full interview here

Shit And Shine - Some People Really Know How To Live

“It starts off innocuously enough with the nominal melt of ‘Behind You Back’, a minimal (and minimally threatening) hiccup and wooze number that falters and stutters, a nighttime malaise interspersed with just-outside-the-window shouts, wavering snare taps and a oscillating synthline that sounds like something alien powering up but never coming fully awake. Then the nervous clatter and agency of ‘Dish 2 Dish’ manages to infuse a dub-flecked undercurrent with popping angularity and abrasion – body movements designed to cut and flail against digital restraints. Overlaid effects fight with each other for control, constantly threatening to break things open or apart.” Brendan Telford - read the full review here

Reissues/Compilations of the Month:
Zazou Biyake Cy1 - Noir Et Blanc

Bony Biyake, Hector Zazou and Cy1's meshing of Congolese vocals, likembe and new wave now has the chance to reach new audiences thanks to the first-time reissue of Noir Et Blanc by Crammed Discs, the label originally responsible for the album's release in 1983. While seeking to explore new territory at the time of its release, the record's rhythms consistently maintain one foot firmly on the dancefloor, whether that's in the beatless, halftime stomp of opener 'M'Pasi Ya M'Pamba' or the funk-inflected brass affair of album highlight 'Lamuka'. It's a record that informed numerous late-80s new wave and post-punk experimentations, influencing artists far and wide, and still stands the test of time. Christian Eede

New York Haunted - We Roll 100 Deep

Vincent Koreman’s teeny independent Dutch label celebrates 100 releases with a great big compilation on Bandcamp. They say it "celebrates the grey area between house and techno", we say it thwacks, squelches and delights all over the place. Free and invigorating, like so many of the best things. Anna Wood

Tracks Of The Month

Amor - Higher Moment

Now more than ever before we deserve to feel the sun on our faces and the breeze at our backs. Amor's ‘Higher Moment’ is a refined moment of Balearic bliss.

Vivienne - 'Stud'

Beautiful new music on Lara Rix-Martin's Objects Limited label: "emotional longing and apathy and hatred disgustingly writhing alongside a sexuality that relies entirely on traumatic experience and feeds on dangerous situations and bodily functions.”

Dead Fader - 'FYI' (JK Flesh remix)

The album is out in December. Meantime here is a stonky, scratchy remix.

Baxter Dury -'Miami (Parrot And Cocker Too Mix)'

Like taking bronzed, engorged Ray Winstone in those tight yellow Sexy Beast trunks and making a shimmering rutting Balearic dance track out of him.

Naked - 'Spit'

London duo lube up with power electronics, vomit and an absolutely filthy rhythm on this rigid and rugged belter of a track.

Xylouris White - Only Love

New work from George Xylouris and Dirty Three's Jim White. The album, Mother, is out in January.

Red Deer People - 'C’est Bon'

Raging spooky nasal sneer guitar punk rock from Brighton.

Call Super - 'I Look Like I Look in a Tinfoil Mirror'

The first taste of Call Super's upcoming second album Arpo, with all the distinctive hallmarks of his unbeatable production - its minimalist percussion and oddball melodies build to dancefloor euphoria in the track's final minutes.

Scumlords - 'Halloween Party'

Pomp and chug, ridiculousness, and a gravelly growling crooning voice.

Shit And Shine - 'That's Enough'

A Scud missile of wrongness blasted straight into my prostate gland.

Avalon Emerson - 'One More Fluorescent Rush'

She turned in one of 2016's standout records in 'The Frontier', and now Avalon Emerson returns to Whities for 'One More Fluorescent Rush', centred around a trance-y arpeggio that evolves and builds over the track's seven-minute runtime with dazzling, ecstasy-filled results.