ORGAN THING: Monday, five more musical slices, Madonnatron, Lofe, Miriodor, Bruce Harper, Stereoscilia…

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A “stolen” photo of Madonnatron (Luis Kramer)

Are we really that bothered about this five slices of music on a Monday thing? Are we really that bothered about anything much? The notion is rather a simple one, five pieces of music or bands or music makers or things to feed your ears with on a Monday (or maybe a Tuesday if we;re busy, who’s counting the days?). Five slices of music that have passed this way at some point during the previous week. For those who might be bothered, here’s five, in no particular order, we might do it again next week, here’s how things looked back in the last century, Organ 1988 style…

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This week’s five…

1: MADONNATRON are from London, they clearly have a taste for Hawkwind, that of course is a very good thing…

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Madonnatron will release their debut album sometime very soon or so we’re told, Headless Children will be out on Trashmouth.  The video up there features the album’s title track, apparently it offers a somewhat ritualistic theme while evoking the story of ‘the weeping woman’ known as La Llorono. Her tale says that she drowned her children in a fit of madness and took her life when she realised what she had done. According to the legend, her ghost haunts the rivers and lakes of Mexico.

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‘Headless Children’ is the first track to be revealed from the album of the same name with the LP set for release on June 30.  They play Brighton’s The Great Escape before that on May 18 as well as London’s The Brewshed here in Hackney on June 1st alongside the glorious thing that is Cellular Chaos, Weasel Walter, he of Flying Luttenbachers and a million other things you need to explore.

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We’re rather looking forward to that Cellular Chaos gig at the Brewhouse here in London E8, you just passed a link that will give you more details about that event, and yes it is an event… next…

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2: LOFE have a new recording, there they are ladies and gentlemen, women and men, crushing grapes in their mouths not breaking out, nor breaking in, not breaking a vow, a surface or a circuit . Spit Wine, they say, is “three parts undeniable: beats, originality and deep meaningfulness. No parts unforgettable. This is a vintage harvest from the great South East London music grapevine”, and indeed it is, and indeed here it is in Bandcamp form

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The band are Stephen Elwell (Bass Guitar, FX) Nik the Deks (Beats, Synth FX) Zolan Quobble (Words & Voice).  They say there’s a limited edition vinyl available if you know where to look and that “there was something undeniable and uncrushable in the jam, perhaps it was a damson stone. I don’t think so. It’s harder than that”.
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Stereocilia

3: STEREOCILIA –  “Happy Sunday! I’m pleased to announce my latest EP is out today on Champion Version. This super limited edition 7″ will be lathe cut to order and will only be available for 7 days” said yer man John Scott, otherwise known as Stereocilia, “It will never be released by Champion Version on this format again and they will only make as many copies as are pre-ordered. Orders shipping out within 28 days of being placed. Limited to one copy per person/household”.
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Here’s what Champion Version have to say about it: “Stereocilia’s debut with Champion Version and what a cracker it is. ‘It Wells From The Rock, And Flows Away’ opens with ‘The March Burn’, an otherworldly ascent into Bristol guitarist John Scott’s ambient timbre. It’s a seductive soundscape of swirling guitar drone backwashes infiltrated by subtle electric bass textures. The sublime splendour of ‘On the Plateau’ follows with Scott establishing a spectral mood with haunting guitar chord progressions looped over droning overtones and effected feedback. Stunning atmospherics.”
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Here’s some actual sound for you, a previous release, on the Low Point label from back in late March.
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“Stereocilia is the project of Bristol based guitarist and composer, John Scott. John uses guitar, analog synths and live looping techniques to create dense, rich layers of sound. Over the past ten years John has performed all over the UK and Europe, presented work for live radio broadcasts and regularly composes for short films. He has also performed in three of Rhys Chatham’s 100-piece guitar orchestras. In 2012 at the Biennial Festival in Liverpool Cathedral performing A Crimson Grail and in San Francisco (2013) & Birmingham (2014) playing A Secret Rose”.
Stereocilia’s first release for Low Point, A Late Spring Never Lies, sees the continuing refinement of Scott’s unique take on experimental guitar. Consisting of four beautifully textured tracks that float and slide into every corner of the room, these pieces undulate and develop gracefully, the odd splash of harshness offering contrast before slowly dissolving back into the whole.
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4: BRUCE HARPER have a new album out this week, here’s a taste, Bruce Harper is actually the name of a band from Italy…
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“Somewhat confusingly Bruce Harper are a band; consisting of Lorenzo Bassi (synth, samples, vocals), Marco Lacanna (drums) and Paolo Ferrari (synth, samples, drum machine), three of whom have previously been involved in post-rock/psychedelic projects such as Floss, Teich, and Beech. Together though they make music from a completely different spectrum entirely; channeling heavy vibes of John Carpenter in to a more contemporary, dancefloor orientated framework.  Their debut album is a heady cocktail of moody synths, deconstructed vocals & meaty beats. This is perfect Friday afternoon listening to get you in the weekend mood”.

They say their sources of inspiration are diverse, from Battles’ math serialism to Vessels’ gloomy landscapes. Says the band, “We wanted to build a musical path which, through extreme rationality, could highlight the mysterious and irrational element that rests within all things.”

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5: MIRIODOR  – The always challenging Montreal band’s ninth album, entitled Signal 9, has just been released. They’re a band who’ve enjoyed coverage via the various forms of Organ since the days of their debut album, they’re still sounding as fresh as they ever did….
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“Metaphorically, we could say that Miriodor is a planet, with aliens communicating in their mysterious ways with planet Earth,” says Miriodor’s keyboardist, Pascal Globensky. In that sense, the long-lived Montreal band’s ninth album, entitled Signal 9, could simply be considered the ninth set of musical messages from that exotic heavenly body.
Here’s some background sent in by “maverick” label, always rewarding label, Cuneiform….
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“It’s been more than three decades since Miriodor sent out its first signal with the release of Rencontres. Since then, they’ve established themselves as premier practitioners of the RIO (Rock In Opposition) movement, a wing of progressive music pioneered by the likes of Henry Cow, Art Zoyd and Univers Zero that embraces the avant-garde in its agenda of challenging convention at every turn.The Miriodor discography, most of which has been released on U.S maverick institution Cuneiform Records, has been building strength upon strength with each successive album. The band combines jazz, classical, rock, and international influences for an arresting, idiosyncratic sound that eludes description but remains immediately identifiable as Miriodor.

Picking up where the most recent coded message from planet Miriodor, 2013’s Cobra Fakir, left off, Signal 9 arrives like an invitation to an otherworldly voyage. Each track marks another twist and turn in a journey across strange, captivating landscapes populated by creatures, crafts, and constructions whose like has never been glimpsed outside the band’s idiosyncratic ecosystem.

Globensky, drummer Rémi Leclerc, and guitarist Bernard Falaise have expanded Miriodor to a quartet with the addition of bassist Nicolas Lessard as a full-time member. Accordingly, the band works like a one eight-handed, four-brained organism here, operating more organically and collectively than ever.

And while Miriodor often forges some of their heaviest sounds to date over the course of Signal 9, the album is also loaded with off-the-wall humor and some beautiful, contemplative melodic moments. The combination makes for some crafty contrasts, frequently flipping back and forth drastically from one mood to another multiple times within a single composition for a jarring-but-thrilling effect.

The album’s opening track, “Venin” (French for venom), begins with what sounds very much like some sort of alien craft revving up for takeoff. The trip begins in earnest with a series of knotty, hard-hitting riffs that alternate with quieter passages and woozy seesaw-ride evocations, for a schizophrenic feel that’s right in keeping with Signal 9‘s sense of dizzying sonic delirium.

The herky-jerky stabs of melody and rhythm that begin “Peinturé dans le coin” are followed quickly by a muscular but jazzy groove not a million miles from the dark, heavy Zeuhl style popularized by French prog legends Magma. “Transit de nuit à Jakarta” stretches strange, electronically manipulated sounds tersely across a syncopated sort of futuristic funk feel.

On “Portrait-robot,” a King Crimson influence seems to come to the fore, via crushing guitar and bass riffs slamming up against a backdrop of orchestral-sounding keyboards. But the album’s characteristic tongue-in-cheek humor comes into play when these ominous doings give way to a sudden onslaught of what could only be called circus music.

“Déboires à Munich” combines discordant guitar stabs with a hurtling rhythm, punctuated by shards of wordless, highly processed vocals and wobbling keyboards. Everything but the kitchen sink gets thrown into “Chapelle lunaire”,  from doomy, apocalyptic throbbing to amiable jazzy ambles that recall U.S. jazz-rockers The Muffins, and some feverishly intense, intricate interplay between the men of Miriodor.

By the time the journey progresses to “Chapelle lunaire”, all the sharp, unexpected transitions should come as a given. But that still doesn’t prevent a touch of scintillating surprise when the track’s lambent, jazzy guitar and keyboard lines rub up against markedly more arch, angular sonic tapestries. And the proceedings reach an apogee of idiosyncrasy with the twisted carnival sounds of “Gallinule d’Amérique,” coming off like a circus band jamming with Frank Zappa and The Residents in a strobe-lit hall of mirrors.

After the relatively low-key respite of “Douze petites asperges,” with its gentle, almost Tortoise-like post-rock textures, Signal 9‘s strange, stirring trip takes its final turn, as the ship starts coming in for a landing. The album’s final track, “La ventriloque et le perroquet,” opens up with what sounds like a pool of bubbling lava before leading into keyboard-led lattices of inviting weirdness, ultimately collapsing into a tower of Babel were manipulated voices become instruments on a pointillist canvas.

Once you return to your everyday life after emerging from the alternative universe of Signal 9, the whole album seems like some kind of fever dream you’ve just emerged from. But the big difference is that it’s a dream you’re eager to leap right back into again.

Once captivated by the music on Signal 9, you’ll not want to miss seeing this amazing band live. Miriodor will celebrate Signal 9’s release by touring Europe in September 2017, where they’ll perform at the Rock in Opposition Festival in Carmaux, France ; on a double-bill with Yugen in Milan (Italy), and at the FreakShow Art Rock festival in Wurzburg (Germany) in addition to playing at other European venues. Following its return to Canada, Miriodor will be performing in its Montreal hometown”.

And before we go, here, have some more Cellular Chaos….. they’re here in London on June 1st (like we already told you up there in the Madonnatron bit up there), bring on the chaos!
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And here’s a bit more of what things looked like in the days before the luxury of electric typewriters when it was all about Pritt stick glue and visits to late-night broken back street printers, back in 1988. Someone found an old copy on their loft and sent it back home, issue 10, 2000 print run, all hand painted and hand block printed with that sun, real D.I.Y back when zines really were zines….
click on an image to enlarge
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2 thoughts on “ORGAN THING: Monday, five more musical slices, Madonnatron, Lofe, Miriodor, Bruce Harper, Stereoscilia…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN THING: Cellular Chaos hit town today, town being London, today being Thursday, you’ve been alerted… | THE ORGAN

  2. Pingback: ORGAN THING: Oh and they encored with ‘Dirty Boy’. Yes, Dirty Boy! Weasel Walter and his Cellular Chaos gang hit London… | THE ORGAN

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