Friday, 4 October 2013

Album Round-Up: If, Bwana, These Hidden Hands and Emptyset

The world's population, excluding roughly 7,183,485,360 of them (that figure's already out of date...I mean, have you been here and watched the counter? It's frightening) are intrigued to know what I think of the latest music releases. So I thought I'd round a few up...and say what I...think...

This, for starters, They Call Me "Bwana" by If, Bwana is outstanding. Originally released as cassette in 1987 on Sound Of Pig (SOP100), it proves what a genius of tapeological collage Al Margolis is, or was in '87, at least. I'm not familiar with his work but will be checking it all out for sure.

I'm not familiar with Franz Ferdinand's work either, but since seeing them on Jools Holland's Later this week, I'm determined to remain ignorant. They weren't awful, just mediocre, and as we watched, I couldn't help wondering why people still listen to the archaic sound of blokes strumming guitars and singing.

I'd say 'Al Margolis should be on Later', but what the hell's the point? His artistry in tape manipulation and creation of moods akin to Pierre Schaeffer on a downer is too sophisticated for the average Later viewer. He combines many instruments (concrete and played?) with synths and vocal samples at a heightened level of creativity. If you're overwhelmed by the glut of fashionable Industrial DIY tapes revived and blogged, If, Bwana deserves your attention. You can listen over here. Top Marks to Forced Nostalgia.

I'm generally underwhelmed by the school of post-Industrial Hardcore Techno Klang (to give the genre it's full title), but These Hidden Hands by These Hidden Hands is impressive, not because it's a stunningly original take on the sound, but, it works, for me. It should work for you if you like your brains caved in by hammers to the pounding rhythms of hydraulic pistons. Yes. Amazingly, there's a vocal on When Told that I find most agreeable, and that's rare because vocals on techno albums frequently feature some bird warbling meaninglessly in an effort to create an elegiac mood aimed at past-it ravers, or something. Blame Burial. All the chap here does is repeat the title, or something like the title. And shackled to a first-rate rhythm, it works. If Regis was actually Jimi Hendrix reincarnated, he'd make music like Diesel. Fact. But he isn't, sadly. Lots of These Hidden Hands will make you think your earplugs have blown and that's a good thing.

Emptyset (James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas) are back to scare the horses with Recur on Raster-Noton. So lock up your horses, and your daughters whilst your at it. Which is not to suggest that the duo are like some heavy metal band relishing in the image of hotel-wrecking and womanising but, come to think of it, they are kind of heavy metal...the kind forged in outer space by robomechanics hell-bent on enslaving humans by demolishing them with bass. Public Enemy once asked 'Bass, How Low Can You Go?' and Emptyset have made it their mission to find out. Yes, bass is the place and the spaces these boys create around it once again provide aural thrills. How much longer they can continue in this fashion is another matter. They've been reducing bass 'n' space for some time now and it could finally dissolve to nothing. Meanwhile, they're a joy to behold.

Forthcoming: Gabriel Saloman's Soldier’s Requiem on Miasmah is every bit as good as the preview track here suggests and I'll be saying what I think of that in more detail soon. If I can summon the words. Trust me, it's one of the Albums of the Year. Likewise, on PAN, Dalglish's Niaiw Ot Vile beggars belief in it's complex qualities and if I can find words to describe that you'll read those too. TTFN


  1. Hope you review Dalglish's new album. Really enjoy your writings..

    1. Thanks for the comment. Observations on Dalglish next week.


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