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Music Of The Month: Albums & Tracks We’ve Loved This October
AR Wood , November 2nd, 2018 07:51

Moon Relay to Maarja Nuut, Todd Barton to Turismo Girlfriend World Tour, Accü to Amor: some of the very best good stuff from the past month

’Bitch On A Switch (October)’ by Lisa Cradduck

This weekend at the Barbican there’s a day of feminist mythmaking - so the blurb says - at an event called New Suns. Discussions, readings, workshops and films all occupying the space where activism and science fiction and justice meet. A reminder, I’m hoping, that other worlds are possible and that some of them are underway right now, that plenty of other people are already working on it. You’re not on your own. Stop watching the news, just for a day or two.

Watch the new documentary about Ursula Le Guin instead (screening at New Suns, and available online); read Preti Taneja’s novel We That Are Young, or the spell poems of Elinor Cleghorn (they’re both there on Saturday, reading and discussing). New Suns is named after the epigraph on Octavia Butler’s last novel: “There is nothing new under the sun. But there are new suns.” And it’s true, isn’t it? There are things you haven’t thought of yet, things you haven’t noticed yet, connections you haven’t made yet, and albums that give you a glimpse of the good stuff. Pay attention to the good stuff, nurture it, dance to it. Forget the rest.


Jim Ghedi & Toby Hay - The Hawksworth Grove Sessions

I have little or no knowledge of the intricacies and tradition of swiftly picked 12-string folk music of the type played by Jim Ghedi and Toby Hay on The Hawksworth Grove Sessions. It's a music that arrives in my ears via Laura Cannell's recommendation over at our friends Caught By The River, rather than PR or record label machinations - and what a blessed relief it is. Masterful, intricate playing is actually often the sort of thing I can find myself reacting against - too earnest, too technically accomplished, too lacking in the cracks of ability through which the madness of inspiration might pour - but this 10-track album is an absolute delight and a balm for saturated times. Ghedi and Hay apparently composed the pieces while touring together, inspired by the landscapes in which they spend their daily lives. Their dexterity on the strings creates a sonic density that touches the psychedelic; it conjures an uncanny human presence, as if they’ve snared old ghosts and forgotten voices, and given them new life. Luke Turner

Accü - Echo The Red

Half-Dutch half-Welsh musician Accü’s debut album takes the ethereal, melancholy dreaminess of Broadcast and Vanishing Twin but beefs it right up, escalating the electronic head trip to a spinning blast of cosmic pop brilliance. Recorded in a caravan in the remoter reaches of North Wales the record twists and turns, from shimmering and sweet lopsided melody to the occasional full-on psychedelic wigout and a spoken-word cameo from Stewart Lee. It’s light on its feet but never loses its power – an under-the-radar psych pop gem. Patrick Clarke

Graham Massey & Umut Çağlar - Kicked From The Stars

Last year, 808 State alumni and Manchester don Graham Massey spent ten days collaborating with Konstrukt founder and Istanbul free-improv jazzer Umut Çağlar as part of a music residency at Manchester’s Islington Mill. They ended the residency with a live show, an “organic, free flowing event” that also involved Manc beloved Paddy Steer. That show was recorded and then mixed down the road at the Old Granada Studios: and here it is. The sense of place - of both Manchester and Istanbul - is strong. There’s shades of swaggering Manc techno, of rave playfulness, of slinky jazz and rumbling improv explorations. A rich, sticky treat. Anna Wood

Todd Barton - Multum In Parvo

The space created for others is one reason why this record might make you think of John Cage and his 4’33” – which is not silence, after all, but unpredicted noises, a giving up of control, by the writer and the audience, a playful and very serious leap into undirected possibilities. That Latin title, Multum In Parvo, suggests getting a great deal out of very little. And there is a great deal here: Barton trusts you to recognise the abundance, and to understand that you’re part of it yourself. Anna Wood – read the full review here.

Various - Kulør 001

The first release from new Copenhagen techno label, Kulør 001 is packed with killer tracks from start to finish and fans of the harder side of techno aren’t likely to find a better compilation all year. Christian Eede - read more here.

Julia Holter - Aviary

Holter has described Aviary as “the cacophony of the mind in a melting world”, and it’s easy to feel that mania in its erratic structures and fleeting absurdity. But very often those segments bloom into long and sustained areas of beauty. The thing is, neither the harmony nor the ugliness is given more prominence – they are both valid states and one will always lead to the other. William Doyle - read the full review here.

Maarja Nuut & Ruum - Muunduja

Maarja Nuut is determined to make her mark, to show that the world in her head is actually all around us if we just take a moment to feel its presence. In doing so she and Hendrik Kaljujärv have made what must be one of the records of the year. Richard Foster - read the full review here.

Guttersnipe - My Mother The Vent

Someone has finally got it right. Combining such disparate elements as arachnid consciousness, Aids Wolf, language acquisition, Captain Beefheart's lockable basement, Bathory, New Weird Britishness, Albert Ayler and catastrophic vacuum decay, Guttersnipe finally release recorded material that reflects their berserk live brilliance. John Doran

Marie Davidson - Working Class Woman

Marie Davidson’s acerbic brand of humour leaps into action from the get-go on her latest album. Across four minutes of tense, scattershot drums, opening track ‘Your Biggest Fan’ sees her roll through the often-heard utterances of supposed ‘fans’ (“Do you really need to carry round all that gear with you? My god!”). Much of the album was written on the road and tested live, and the result is her best record yet. Christian Eede - read about Marie Davidson’s favourite albums here.

High On Fire - Electric Messiah

Electric Messiah is absolutely furious. After scratching the slow itch on The Sciences, Matt has really put the pedal to the metal on this one – songs like blistering opener ‘Spewn From The Earth’ and the D-beat laden title track rank among the band’s fastest and most visceral moments to date. ‘Freebooter’ takes that punk influence even further, with an outro that could have come straight off a Tragedy record. Even the slower moments, like towering 10-minute epic ‘Sanctioned Annihilation’, are bolstered by galloping, thunderous war drums courtesy of Des Kensel. His powerhouse drumming has always elevated High On Fire to the next level, and he puts in a breathtakingly aggressive performance here. In fact, the whole album is bristling with acerbic rage, right the way through to impassioned closer – and perhaps the most politically driven song the trio have written yet – ‘Drowning Dog’. As Pike howls “God damn you!” over driving, emotive chords, we can proclaim another sterling success!
Kez Whelan - read the full review here.


Turismo Girlfriend World Tour - ‘Fussy’
International Woman Of Mystery aka Brooklyn-based DJ-promoter-tour-manager Julie Bernouis is releasing her first EP in a few weeks. First up, this storming heartbreak-and-rage party popper.

International Teachers Of Pop - ‘After Dark (Marta Salogni De-Mix)’
Undisputed genius Marta Salogni takes a colossal wonky dance banger, feeds it through her tape machine and de-mixes it into a deep, dark gem.

Gum Takes Tooth - ‘Arrow’
More searing interstellar brilliance from the ferocious London duo. New album out January.

Hen Ogledd - ‘Sky Burial’
Perhaps fittingly, given the title, this song is hard to get your rational mind round but also very beautiful.

Joy O - ‘Seed’
Joy Orbison has lost the rbison and gained a crackling fuzzing plink-plonking piece of post-dubstep that will loosen your earwax with the sub-bass. From the also excellent 81b EP.

Amor - ‘Glimpses Across Thunder’
Sunshiney mournful rave from Glasgow. Gorgeous, really.

Moon Relay - ‘F—<::::’
From Norway, on Hubro, sexy sinister thudding scifi vibes that motor right down your spine to your grateful hips. Whole album is excellent; they’re touring next year.

Shackleton - ‘Furnace of Guts’
Ivor Cutler gets a vocoder and goes tropical raving.