Monday, 3 February 2014

Music Round-Up: Cage Suburbia, Rainer Veil, Mark Banning & Sun Ra

Old Techno Brutalism has long since been dismantled, ground to dust and dumped by the new breed - such is the way of things - harder! Faster! Not necessarily faster, but definitely harder. Proof comes from the Italian duo, Daniele Guerrini and Matthias Girardi, on Argument #01 as Cage Suburbia (Haunter Records). Mind you, they reach high velocity on aptly titled The Last Shellshock. These one-take sessions lend even more edge to the act of slicing and dicing your brain, having a rough-hewn spontaneity that ponderous post-twiddling cannot achieve. More like cage fighting than caged suburbia. Brutally efficient. Out February 17

Rainer Veil tell it like it is on their new E.P. called, er, New Brutalism (Modern Love). If the title's not exactly subtle, neither are the sounds, but what did you expect? That said, they sound like New Age music compared to Cage Suburbia. Liam Morley and Dan Valentine almost contradict themselves by erecting comparatively complex blocks of rhythm build from old (breakbeat/junglist) and new materials. It's step up for them after Struck. If you lean over the concrete ramparts and holler 'METALHEADZ!' into the core of this building you'll hear an echo, and that's no bad thing. Gnarly but still nuanced. Out Now.

Did I mention New Age? Flashbacks to the 80s and shops selling crystals along with posters of dolphins - oh no! Oh yes, but despite resisting last year's I Am The Center compilation (it wasn't hard to do) I find myself (worryingly) enjoying Journey to the Light by Mark Banning (Students of Decay). Made in '84 on a private press, this two-tracker is blissful without being too soft and best of all has no crappy 80s synth overload in an attempt to prove just how New it was. With a title such as Everlasting Moments, the first track should be selling chocolates, and if it was, they'd be at least 70% cocoa, which is something. A Sea Of Glass continues to seduce us all into lighting incense and meditating, almost. I'm not that taken with it, but yes, even I need peaceful vibes, ma-a-a-n, and this makes a change from the usual suppliers of that such as The Modern Jazz Quartet. Out now.

Last but never least, Other Strange Worlds, a transmission by Sun Ra & His Astro-Infinity Arkestra, first beamed in 1965 but only now being relayed to us Earthlings by Roaratorio, bless 'em. Whilst not as crucial as the quartet release, The Night Of The Purple Moon, this quintet session still has the quirkiness (and charm?) of the similar Strange Strings album. It's the same idea, give horn stalwarts such as John Gilmore and Marshall Allen kora and percussion to play with instead and see what they come up with. The result is much plucking and scraping of strings, and like the true Afro-futurists they were, creating antique black off-world sounds. Ali Hasaan's trombone is the Voice Within The Stars, a rare brass note amid all the drums and strings. Allen's oboe-playing on The Other Beings is a highlight, as is the blowing on Journey Amongst The Stars. Without these solos the record would be a much less interesting excercise but Sun Ra could and did do what he liked, which is why he's a god. Out late February.

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