Rum Music For April Reviewed By Jennifer Lucy Allan

Coastal gamelan, Taiwanese folk song, live recordings on cassette and tears for love and loss in this month's selection from The Zone


It feels like a year has passed since I last wrote Rum Music. In fact it is just two months. I have been staying in, experimenting with something I have never tried before: being a tad antisocial. The book I’m writing keeps demanding silence, and I’ve not even been calling on my usual concentration zone failsafes (mostly the Popul Vuh catalogue played in chronological order).

I still went out a bit: top two shows were a night of Éliane Radigue’s Occam pieces: Dominic Lash performing Occam XVII for double bass, and Enrico Malatesta performing Occam XVI on two cymbals. During the latter, I could not match sound with image, and thought briefly that Éliane had added a synth. Of course, she hadn’t, and in fact had found the truly hallucinatory possibilities of sympathetic cymbals. At the other end of the spectrum, I danced blisters into my feet seeing Malian musician and BPM speed-freak DJ Diaki. I also bought stuff: Valentin Clastrier’s 1984 experimental hurdy gurdy record, which remains a steal, and another Shizuka reissue which seems to be coming via Jed Bindeman who runs FTS (it will arrive after Rum Music’s publication date). The edition of 500 will not last long, so don’t sleep.

In the last few months I’ve also received an early heads up on some incoming releases and been gifted some unreleased music through WhatsApp and DMs. Makoto Kubota, who is largely responsible for the Les Rallizes Dénudés remasters, is working on some other LRD recordings. More details to come. Tuareg musician Moussa Tchingou, whose brilliant first EP on Sahel Sounds I wrote about in the last Rum Music, started pinging me demos from his as yet unfinished debut album. tQ’s own Richard Foster also started sending me live videos from WORM full of excited expletives, making up for the fact I’ve been trying to stay in. Cheers pal! With all this, generating coverage based on An Album Coming Out On A Certain Date becomes slightly absurd. What counts as a release these days, anyway?

Before you begin answering that stupid question, and by the time this is published, I will have just arrived in Japan. Please, if you know any bars with Rum-adjacent record collections, get in touch.

Ruth Anderson & Annea Lockwood – Tête-à-tête

(Ergot Records)

Tête-à-tête is a deeply intimate collection of three works by two composers, together forming the most moving tribute to a life-changing relationship I have ever encountered. It opens with ‘Resolutions’ from 1984, Ruth Anderson’s last completed electronic work before she died in 2019. It was restored by Maggi Payne, and there is a comparison to be drawn between Anderson’s play with pure waveforms here and Payne’s music on collections like Ahh-Ahh. It is a tight playing with the shape of sound. ‘Conversations’ was Anderson’s gift to Lockwood. Three days after meeting in 1973 they became "joyously entangled" but for nine months afterwards lived apart – Lockwood at Hunter College, NYC and Anderson in Hancock, New Hampshire. They called each other twice a day, and Anderson surreptitiously recorded their calls, later collaging them together with blousy bar tunes and jangling piano and giving them to Lockwood in 1974 as a private piece nobody else was meant to hear.

It is a collage of the sound of love and affection; of utterances that contain more meaning than their words: effervescent giggles, amorous sighing, and words that contain in their expressions an intense yearning. The experience of listening is a listening-in to the intimate sound of their love, which blooms in the instant composition of conversation. ‘For Ruth’ is Lockwood’s posthumous response, made for Counterflows in 2021. Seven months after Anderson died, Lockwood returned to these conversations, and to the places they spent time, in Hancock and Montana (where Anderson now rests) to make field recordings. Where ‘Conversations’ is frothy with the happy bubbles of communication, ‘For Ruth’ occupies a space of contemplation, perhaps remembering (but not remembrance). It is gut-wrenchingly personal, a goodbye of sorts. I know Lockwood, I released Anderson’s record, so perhaps I find this more affecting than others, but I have not been able to listen through without completely breaking down. I played it on Late Junction, and myself and my producer both bawled. Not for sadness, but for what it is and what it can be to share a life with someone else – the beauty and meaning this brings to our time on this planet, and the inevitable loss one party will endure. "Tell me everything," whispers Lockwood. "What is everything?" replies Anderson. "That we love each other?"

"Yes," Lockwood says, "yes, yes, love!"

EP/64-63 – EP/64-63
(Permanent Draft)

This one is an absolutely boss level trip; a crucial document of a luminous show from last May at New River Studios in London with a venerable all-star line-up who are all on my list of ‘who’s good now’ in experimental music. It was a first meeting between Valentina Magaletti, Dali De Saint Paul, Agathe Max, Yoshino Shigihara and Laura Phillips, and the penultimate show in Dali’s 64-show improvisational series, and came charged with the big yes energy of that project. The combination of Magaletti’s chug and rattle slathered with Agathe’s violin as Dali’s vocals cut across the spaceways curling from Yoshino’s synths, made it one of the best shows I saw all year. Once they fell into the zone, I was fully and completely sunk for the whole journey – not one single outside thought entered my mind (which almost never happens). Relistening has confirmed it was as good as I remember: There’s a section where Magaletti gets a groove going on the toms, and in a rushing of synths De Saint Paul calls from the fog, then Max’s violin breaks out, soaring like searchlights in the night. It crushed me then and it crushes me now. I bugged Dali for the tapes because I wanted to hear it again so badly, and now it’s coming out as a proper release, you lucky buggers. Do. Not. Sleep.

Richard Youngs – Sounds From The Creation Room

(No Fans)

Since I last wrote this column Richard Youngs has released five albums. Four of them are available on Bandcamp

as a series around The Creation Room (although like the Foot Guitar series there’s a high chance he might pull all these albums before this column is published). Another is a pair of autotune/vocoder drenched extended pieces on an album called Modern Sorrow, his second for Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle. All of these releases are based on some sort of idea of a song – just the idea, mind. I emailed to ask what The Creation Room is. "When I was a teenager and had a reel-to-reel machine in my bedroom, a friend called it the Creation Room," he wrote back, "After years of living on tenement flats, we moved to a house last summer, and for the first time in my life I have a room dedicated to making music. Sort of Creation Room 2.0." I’ve plucked out Songs From The Creation room, for its arresting impressions of songs. In ‘Slow Fit For No Vibe’, he yowls almost-words, delivered as if language itself is clawing its way from the pupae of a mind, accompanied by a single drum, shaker, and occasional whooshing. On the write up for Modern Sorrow it mentions Richard’s proclivity for unexpected styles and new sounds, talking about just one of these five albums, but each one feels like it’s breaking some new ground for him. Where does it all come from?! Where can I get some?!

Selonding – Vol. IV

(Bali Gamelan Sound)

Gamelan Selonding dates back to the 900s, and belongs to the Golongan Tua classification of ensembles, which I think might mean ‘old gamelan’ or thereabouts, and indicates that there’s a less prominent role for big drums. Please do correct me on this if you know better: internet info in English is scarce when it comes to understanding the stratification and styles of gamelan. Anyway, there is a gentleness to the sound of this gamelan I have found immensely soothing, particularly the sweetness and glow of the bells in ‘Rejang Reong’. Even the more high velocity sections remain relaxing, which perhaps has something to do with this gamelan having a real softness in the attack. It was recorded in Pura Tanah Lot, a temple by the sea, in September 2021, and is part of a really brilliant series of new recordings being made by an Argentinian researcher called Agustín Oscar Rissotti, who is studying at University ISI Denpasar in Bali. I would also recommend the other recent release on this label, of vocal music documenting variations on the Ketjak chant that can be heard all over the shop, Akira and beyond.

Sabiwa – No. 16 – Memories of Future Landscapes

(Phantom Limb)

I remain utterly allergic to anything approaching ambient music and almost made the mistake of plonking this in a collagey-ambient-with-field-recordings-and-voices pigeon hole. I was wrong. It was described to me as being a little difficult, but that’s only in as much as it’s not at all "nice", which is always a good thing. I want something that has bite, and this has really sharp teeth. Sabiwa is a Taiwanese sound designer and musician living in Berlin, and the grit and girders of that city’s sound infects tracks like ‘Pupa’ with instants of pummelling electronics balanced with rippling vowels. ‘Christal’ and ‘Hermaphoridite’ contain unhurried recordings of Sabiwa’s uncle singing traditional Taiwanese folk melodies, in the former laid on a bed of harmonising voices that crescendo alongside mechanical clacking. All four tracks here have been stripped of fat and connecting tissue; the conceptual and sonic joins are left raw, lending this album a proper boldness that others in the field miss.

Laura Cannell – No Sound Is Lost

(Brawl Records)

Music doesn’t always sound like where it was made. This latest EP by Laura Cannell is a case in point. The airiness of the accumulations captured here carry none of the brutalist aesthetics of the empty shipping container that produced them. The shipping container was still in Norfolk, which might muddy my point, but this acoustic space has lent a newness to her playing here. It’s like deep pile Laura Cannell – not layered, and not looped – but denser, like you’ll sink right into it. Its three pieces are literally accumulating, through sound waves bouncing around the reverberant metal space. The decay at the end conjures the illusion of a grand and enormous space, or the more usual churches and ancient spaces in which Laura often records in. My favourite is the lightness and simplicity of ‘Swarm Intelligence’, where the playing is rooted in repetition so as the waves might coalesce upon one another to maximum effect.

Lo Escucho, Lo Pinto – Lo Escucho, Lo Pinto

(All Night Flight)

A document of ad hoc performances made in parks and on streets by Lo Escucho, Lo Pinto, while on the road across Chile early last year, coming out on Stockport label and record shop All Night Flight. It is a suite of interludes and pockets of time; of music played in places where people are passing and the world continues even as you pause. I’m not sure if any of these count as tracks so much as moments, which makes them feel more like photographs than songs. It is not boring, because nothing is ever boring if you have an instrument to play. The group are brothers Álvaro and Ivan Daguer of experimental psych rock bands A Full Cosmic Sound and Glorias Navales, with their Glorias Navales bandmate Tomás Salvatierra, and Sholto Dobie along for the ride (who I think I last covered here on a brilliant release with Lucia Nimcová recording and playing around Ukrainian folk songs). It is slow, restorative, and spacious. Give it time, and it gives back.

Jacques Puech – Gravir/Canon


Final entry for the month is this tape of bagpipes (French smallpipes to be precise) that will bore a hole from the crown of your skull to the core of the earth. ‘Canon’ plays with five pipes in phased counterpoint, ‘Gravir’ elaborates upon a Shepherd tone with a metronomic tapping, so you know time still exists and what it sounds like to count the seconds as you move ever closer towards the fate that awaits us all. Obliterate thyself.


Pretty much the only person I follow on Bandcamp is Will Bankhead. He has great taste, buys a lot, and is the one of the few people who survived the cull I executed in order to try and make my feed geared towards new releases. Through him I came across the label Hair Del which has gifted me gentle and interesting soundtracks this month – there’s nothing particularly radical happening, and yet there is a snag in these sound worlds that stop me from turning off.

Finally, don’t forget to pick up Art Into Life’s essential CD reissue of Angus MacLise tape recordings, which has barely existed until now.

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