Volcanic Tongue Catalogue

Timo van Luijk and Kris Vanderstraeten
High Noon

La Scie Doree #305

LP
£15.99


Latest release from Tim van Luijk (In Camera, Af Ursin et al) is another beautifully packaged blat of bewitching low-level drone/improvisation, this time in the company of long-term collaborator Kris Vanderstraeten. Mostly acoustic, with a heavy percussive element, High Noon touches on a similar kind of tactile low-level free interaction as practiced by Imai-era East Bionic Symphonia, walking the line between more established modes of improvised/psychedelic thought with a rigour and a commitment to the beauty of unadorned form that is truly uncommon. There are repeat-vocal sounds that resemble hypnotised ascetics floating high above the north pole, half-heard nursery rhyme melodies ala Af Ursin and the kind of complex timbral constructs that please the inner eye as much as the outer ear. Totally beautiful, edition of 250 copies on white vinyl with a silkscreened cover by Vanderstraeten and highly recommended.

Frederik Croene & Timo Van Luijk
Voile Au Vent

La Scie Doree Scie-709

LP
£16.99


Edition of 400 copies LP from this duo featuring Timo Van Luijk of Af Ursin and collaborator with Christoph Heemann, NNCK et al. Voile Au Vent presents a series of piano improvisations embedded in dark, symphonic instrumental settings. Some of the most purely malevolent sounds to be associated with Luijk, aspects of Voile Au Vent almost sound like Coil circa “Dark River” with looming electronics providing an eerie backdrop to the broken bones of a piano. Later tracks bring in cut-up sound sources, shadowy samples and smears of Andrew Chalk-style drone to give the feel of Gavin Bryars’ Sinking Of The Titanic re-scored for one of Joe Jones’ automatic orchestras. Recommended.

In Camera
Rumours

Dom BW 08

LP
£18.99


First in a series of inexplicable classic rock tributes from the duo of Christoph Heemann (HNAS/Mirror et al) and Timo Van Luijk (Eloide/Af Ursin) on Heemann’s newly activated DOM BW imprint: Heemann remains one of the premier European drone thinkers, with a feel for space and place and for the precise workings of memory and tone that is truly singular. Timo’s work in Af Ursin has seen him move towards a synthesis of improvised music, avant classical drones and filmic soundworks and this beautiful record successfully blends those concerns with a slowly-unravelling setting for heavenly drone works and small instrument interventions. There are aspects of the more ‘fantastical’ Organum settings, even Nurse With Wound’s Soliloquy For Lilith, but with a darker European ancient/future feel. Beneath the enveloping drone odd, nagging melodies appear, like vague memories or barely construed shadows, giving the whole piece the feel of a reverie or a fever dream. Classic drone under the guise of classic rock – highly recommended!

In Camera
Frampton Comes Alive

La Scie Doree Scie-1012

LP
£18.99


Second in a series of inexplicable classic rock tributes from the duo of Christoph Heemann (HNAS/Mirror et al) and Timo Van Luijk (Eloide/Af Ursin) on Van Luijk’s own La Scie Doree imprint: a little more, uh, ‘rock inflected’ than Rumours, Frampton Comes Alive consists of a series of movements that confuse stasis and development, with minimal/modal keyboard works that are somewhere between the evocative ritual of Hermann Nitsch and the whole ‘Canterbury’ sound, combining aspects of progressive rock with devotional drone works. As ever Heemann’s use of sunken field recordings makes the recording feel more like an environment you can actually explore than simply a piece of unfolding music and at points the effect is uncannily affecting, with the music dissolving like the sudden absence of colour into stately black and white snapshots of the sound of yesterday, somewhere.  When the music picks up again it’s like its sounding a memorial for what came before, riding into the sun with some beautifully evocative and forlorn piano statements. A major work, one that combines diary, monumental sound work, free improvisation and subtle poetics. Highly recommended. 

Darren Tate
Edition

Fungal 025

CD
£8.99


Limited self-released disc from this UK underground stalwart, long term collaborator with Andrew Chalk, Colin Potter, Daisuke Suzuki et al. This one is based around still pools of slow-pulsing organ tone into which Tate drops tiny mesmeric bubbles of single-note activity that bloom into beautiful lambda-massaging crystalline structures. Also features some great extended shots of teleport tones that sound like an alien invasion scored by the Radiophonic Workshop and the usual epically lonesome atmosphere that at points almost parallels Steven Stapleton's work on Nurse With Wound's A Salt Marie Celeste and at others - especially the delayed guitar touches - Heather Leigh's work with Scorces. Comes in a die-cut sleeve. Recommended.

Darren Tate & Ian Holloway
The Earth In Play

Fungal 039

CD
£8.99


New album from these two regular UK underground collaborators. Holloway plays piano, wooden flute and sea recordings while Tate plays squeeze-box, guitar and percussion. Slow symphonic psychedelic drone sunk deep inside hallucinatory environments.

Ferial Confine
The Full Use Of Nothing

Siren 021

CD
£14.99


Necessary deluxe CD upgrade for one of the key founding documents of the UK underground: Ferial Confine was the early solo project of Andrew Chalk, who at the time had connections to fellow avant travellers like Ramleh/Broken Flag and The New Blockaders. The Full Use Of Nothing was originally released on cassette by Chalk in the mid-80s and later briefly issued on vinyl. It parallels the early TNB recordings in its use of all electro/acoustic soundings, primarily metal and even the sound of cupboard doors banging in Chalk’s parents’ house while long-term collaborator Darren Tate appears on bowed autoharp (indeed Tate also gave the album its title).
The sound is sensual, textural free noise but with none of the harshness associated with TN, Ramleh or Whitehouse at al. At points the crawling/bubbling tectonics border on a form of metallic eroticism, cushioned by the kind of distant soft drones that Andrew would later amplify and expand on in his solo work. There are sections of forlorn classical piano bisected with dizzying laminal drones that give the music an undeniable feeling of haunted nostalgia, making for some of the most striking – and strikingly melancholy – UK noise music of the age. Very hard to extrapolate from the ‘base’ materials and process involved in its creation to the grandeur and complexity of its final form but this new edition sounds better than ever, allowing you to dive deep into the complex contours of this radical set of DIY compositional beauty. Long a secret influence on the whole of the UK underground, parts of this recording were later plundered by The New Blockaders on 1995’s TNB Est Mort! Comes in a gorgeous hard card slipcase with Japanese obi strip. Highly recommended!

Mixed Band Philanthropist
The Impossible Humane

Staubgold #129

LP
£16.99


Inspired reissue of one of the all-time oddball UK Industrial/experimental underground classics, Mixed Band Philanthropists’s legendary The Impossible Humane. MBP was a pseudonym for Richard Rupenus of The New Blockaders and pals who put to together this insane LP in 1987 with the help of a bunch of cassette contributions from a veritable who’s-who of DIY/avant gods. MBP then dredge the whole thing through several layers of impossible aural logic until you have one of the most spectacularly grid-locked and obsessively dense sides of scattershot/ plunderphonic noise/drone never released by United Dairies and this side of Orchid Spangiafora. Includes appearances from Nurse With Wound, Andrew Chalk, Nihilist Assault Group, The New Blockaders, Organum, Asmus Tietchens, Smegma, Tom Recchion, Merzbow, The Haters, Giancarlo Toniutti, HNAS, P16.D4, Vortex Campaign and more. Obsessive, endlessly intricate and inspired in its construction, simultaneously crude and sophisticated in its unfolding, pretty much the apex of underground/DIY collage tape work. Highly recommended!

Andrew Chalk
Circle Of Days

Faraway Press FP-023

LP
£16.99


Stunning new elaborately assembled handmade LP from legendary UK soundist and big VT fave Andrew Chalk: Circle Of Days consist of a selection of shorter tracks that focus around minimal organ, steel strings and field recordings. The organ tracks are luminous, beautiful, hovering around pools of slowly fluxing drone and with aching, hymnal melodies that come over like a cough syrup take on the English eternities of the Canterbury crew while giving the nod to 20th century minimalists like Steve Reich, Charlemagne Palestine and Tony Conrad. But as with all of Chalk’s work there’s a fragility, a delicate desolate quality that is marked by very particularly nuanced field recordings and subtle, almost music box melodies, combined in a way that works to transport you into a reverie of days past. This feels like one of Chalk’s most instrumentally focussed works and although the delicate, lugubrious melodies on display here may seem a thousand miles from his flesh/metal experiments as Ferial Confine there’s a wounded quality to the sonics, a feel of pained remembrance that links his entire discography, even if now it feels like there is some kind of acceptance and near-resolution. Stately, beautiful, profoundly affecting, no one makes music – or vinyl artefacts! – like Chalk and this is another stunning folk/art masterpiece. Very highly recommended!

Tom James Scott
Teal

Skire SKR-03

LP
£14.99


Edition of 300 copies private press LP that reissues what was originally a tiny private press cassette issued earlier this year in a miniscule run of only 35 copies from UK soundist/pianist Tom James Scott: this is a gem of a recording, recorded during the summer of 2013 after Scott returned to his hometown on the North-West coast of England, and moving between lush, endlessly deep sound environments and moments of spare stasis. Scott describes it as evoking “the tensions and ease of summer spent in a place haunted by distant memories and fading childhood sentiment” and that’s as good a description as any of the endlessly suspended quality of the music. It seems to exist in an alternate dreamtime, a mis-remembered place of childhood that might never have taken place, with slow sighing tones, endless vistas of crystal clear glissing tones with blooms of distant birdsong flowering in the depths and cloudy feedback hymns to the giving up of memory. The sounds of the sea and the shore feature heavily, in line with the sleeve, as gorgeous, slightly off-kilter delicate piano lines fall like distant rain and the sun drones down on the sand. Features heavenly electric piano stylings and haunted source sonics from Andrew Chalk as well as clarinet by J N Rebilly. A landmark side, beautifully presented and very highly recommended!

Onde
Purple

Ondemusic 0003

LP
£16.99


Edition of 500 copies LP from this post-Noise Makers Fifes trio featuring Timo Van Luijk, Greg Jacobs and Marc Wroblewski. Onde play minimal electric psych inspired by tidal waves, using violin, electric guitar and metals to construct monolithic single chord drones that take off on the experiments in elemental form of The Velvet Underground circa “Ocean” and the Faust/Tony Conrad Outside The Dream Syndicate recordings. Something in the marriage of metronomic guitar jags combined with mile-deep violin treatments and the klang of metal on metal brings the heavier Family Underground material to mind, but this has a dark majesty all its own. Comes in a gatefold sleeve. Recommended.