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Rum Music

Rum Music For April Reviewed By Jennifer Lucy Allan
Jennifer Lucy Allan , April 28th, 2020 07:17

Soothing bedroom synths, Donald Judd harmonies, accumulation loops and brass played under a German bridge all feed into this month's Rum Music reviewed by Jennifer Lucy Allan

Klara Lewis

I am trying to be productive without being too productive. Previously, there were weekly (if not daily) articles being published on burnout; how to suppress or alleviate work based stress and anxiety; how to squeeze an extra ten minutes out of your day so you could fill it with exercise/ a hobby/ something self-improving. This crisis has not hit us all equally, but for those of us with pace slowed, commutes eliminated, time sinks drained, all of a sudden there is some time, and I don't intend to bring into this new space the ideology of achievement and attendance that was sucking us dry before.

I have noticed releases stalled. I have stalled releases. The pause is welcome. I am unsure whether I am happy to hear the pressing plants are still open and running, as I don't know what that means for those that work there. The live shows that filled my inbox and my evenings are no more. I miss them dearly, but my inbox doesn't. The live streams are nice but I have only watched a scant few if I happened to fancy it. My inbox is as quiet as the streets and anything that pops in, I'm staying a safe distance away from. (Yes, I still owe you an email.)

My listening to new releases has dropped off a cliff; I am sunk in the oceans of back catalogues (re-listening to King Tubby, The Congos, and Susan Cadogan) and diving deep-sea trenches of British DIY drone music from the 1980s (Paul Kelday, mostly). My hunger for new things has been replaced with the urge for escape, mostly into the past. As such, the things that stuck this month were releases that could cut through this nostalgia to lift me, soothe me, distract me.

As if I need to remind you, now is a crucial time for this zone of music. If you have spare income from a cancelled commute, coffee or pubs, spend some of it on musicians, venues or promoters. We want them to be around when it's safe to open, but many of them need help to see this out. You know what to do.


Bulbils, aka Sally Pilkington and Richard Dawson, have been making roughly one release a day and releasing it on Bandcamp, each one is EP-ish in length.

The releases are consistently intimate and meditative, and have the sense of listening in on something that is being played for and by one another. They are perhaps, moments for relaxation and distraction, passed generously from musicians to listener. I associate the sound with the holy lineage of home-made synth records made in people's leisure time and released on cassette in the 1980s – long drawn out chords and charming keyboard motifs. I'm particularly snagged on day four.

All releases are free to download, but Bulbils ask that if you want to pay, you donate to one of their suggested charities instead.

Adderall Canyonly – Sadnessorzzz11one
(Tymbal Tapes)

It's a good job I don't have to read this column out loud. It says something about the people who made a record I think when the title is completely unpronounceable. What it says is: the sort of people who listen to this music almost never have anyone to talk to about it.

Unexpectedly, Sadnessorzzz11one is nearly not-crackers. Unselfconscious John Carpenter synth stabs (early and late eras) are the vehicle for a soundtrack-like journey through a variety of digressions that are both juicy and warm. It has a bit where the channels bounce annoyingly between left and right, and it opens unhelpfully with a cough, but it remains the most hopeful and escapist music I've stuck on this month.

Make of this bio what you will: "Adderall Canyonly is Wayne Longer, formerly of Leland, MI; formerly of Stowe, VT; formerly of Marquette, MI; formerly of Portland, OR; formerly of Phoenix, AZ; formerly of Iowa City, IA. Currently in-between."

Digital hat tip to Marc Masters for this one.

Lea Bertucci – Acoustic Shadows
(SA Recordings)

Bertucci is a regular in this column, which I can credit to the fact that I like each of her releases more than the last. This is my favourite of hers yet, bringing together two pieces that were recorded in the enclosed and hollow body of the Deutzer bridge in Koln, Germany, which spans 440 meters across the Rhine river.

"Fragments of each performance were captured by microphones installed in the space and then played back through the 8-channels after the performance was over in a loop of overlapping moments, creating a sonic accumulation that takes place over long stretches of time - a musical performance with no clear ending."

This partially collects two of three performances there, one for eight brass players, and one for three percussionists. The space is as much a player as the instruments, causing the flow of the brass as each horn ebbs and swells with sound, bringing the long decay to woodblock clacks that sound like dripping water. I escaped to somewhere bigger, somewhere outdoors, while listening to this in headphones.

Wall Matthews – Spine River : The Guitar Music of Wall Matthews, 1967​-​1981
(Tompkins Square)

You'll love this if you are a fan of Folkways, American Primitive zones, the Fahey-Basho matrix, etc. Matthews was a member of 1970s experimental group Entourage, and his guitar music is being released in an annoyingly vast six volume series by Tomkins Square, with the first just arriving, which covers early work up to the 1980s, after which we'll hear recordings from the 1990s and beyond. There is also a free sampler up on their Bandcamp.

I'm a sucker for a bit of finger-picking, what can I say.

Klara Lewis – Ingrid
(Editions Mego)

This new one from Klara Lewis has a patina a lot like Disintegration Loops, except its energies work in reverse. Ingrid is more like accumulation loops, where power and density pile up until the pressure begins to add distortion.

It takes repeated listens to unfurl, and is being released as a single sided LP (a bold choice for anyone) at the beginning of May, but is available for a few quid as a download. No streaming on this one yet, so you'll have to take my word for it.

Available here.

Luiz Henrique Yudo – Chamber Works
(Another Timbre)

When I read that this included pieces called 'THE DONALD JUDD HARMONIES' I was half sold before I'd even pressed play. I don't cover nearly enough of Another Timbre's releases in this column, which is a definite oversight on my part. The Sheffield label is a stalwart, but doesn't do much shouting online, and because it deals in subtle contemporary composition (mostly on CD) they lose out in the hubbub, for me at least. This one has cut through.

Luiz Henrique Yudo transcribes artworks into sound, his work here performed by Apartment House. Yudo's pieces avoid being too self-consciously experimental, and neither do they over-reach for affected emotional displays. They contain quietness, and the Donald Judd Harmonies swell and fall like breath. It is, like Judd's works, crisp and cool, exquisitely executed, but by no means inert, containing a reflective melancholy that has moved me.

DJ Lycox – Kizas do Ly

Slouching towards bangers but never quite getting any demanding momentum up, the pace of this EP from the familiar hand of DJ Lycox on the impeccable Príncipe label has a melancholy and sloth to it that is very welcome. It is about the pace I'm able to work at right now, which is to say, that of an electric milk van – a few miles an hour and stopping every minute or so. It has been my most listened to record of the month.

Beatriz Ferreyra – Huellas Entreveradas
(Persistence of Sound)

Last month I misleadingly said the new Beatriz Ferreyra record Echos on Room40 was new material – but this was only partially true, it was newly released old material, with one more recent piece. Huellas Entreveradas actually collects newer pieces from between 2001 and 2018, including one made for Bernard Parmegiani's birthday. Sounds include rattlesnake tails and outer space fly-bys, insect hiccupping and tinfoil scintillations, giddy radio samples and the bloops of early computer calculations. There's only a trailer online, listen here.

Don Cherry & Krzysztof Penderecki – Actions
(Our Swimmer)

This is Cherry and 14 other jazz musicians being conducted by Penderecki in a performance of his Actions For Free Jazz Orchestra in 1971. "Wow", you might be thinking, "I never knew this happened." Well my friend, not only is it Cherry with Penderecki, but those 14 other musicians, aka the one-time New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra, also included Peter Brötzmann and Han Bennink, among others.

As such, it is wild and free in the proper sense, with fierce passages of overwhelming ferocity and a thrilling energy that means this record will never be listened to in the background. Parts contain the feel of Cherry 's Organic Music Society too, and for the encore, Cherry teaches the audience to clap a tintal before the band let loose like . Downside is that it's an LP-only reissue for Record Store Day 2020 so a bit tough to get hold of, but easy enough to listen to.

Keith Rowe – an assemblage / construct for 45 voices

A 16-minute long piece by Keith Rowe using Gregorio Allegri's Miserere, which he writes is "about how the walls of the Sistine Chapel have absorbed the work over the centuries, based on a recording by Le Poème Harmonique."

It's a simple concept, which makes the original work more like itself, where voices cumulate and gather, bouncing from walls and reaching new exalted heights.


I quite enjoyed this novelty catfight track by Helm. Tusk has a load of performances up, including a live set by my favourite Finnish dads, Circle. You can still donate to Cafe Oto even if you missed the auction. My choir is doing sessions on Zoom, would recommend.