ORGAN THING: Another five recommended pieces of music with Berlin’s Monika Werkstatt, anti anti-art band The New Blockaders, Scaramanga Six, Iran’s Mahdyar and Leeds quartet NARCS…

That five thing again, five music things, you know the score by now, five-nil. Five bands or musicians or pieces of music, musical things that have crossed our paths, five things we’re pointing at you, up to you what you do with it all, here they come, five recommended musical things in no particular order…

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Monika Werkstatt

1; MONIKA WERKSTATT – “Omnii is proud to be hosting the incredible Monika Werkstatt from Berlin as part of their EU tour. Communities and alliances are the right antidotes to the reactionary tendency towards isolation that characterises our time. When we’re among like-minded people, pressure alleviates, sincere exchange takes place, and we stimulate each other. For this reason, Gudrun Gut rounded up female musicians and producers from the entourage of her label, Monika-Enterprise. This project is called Monika Werkstatt, and it’ll be accompanied by the release of a kaleidoscopic album. For its UK shows, the Werkstatt will be represented by Barbara Morgenstern, Pilocka Krach, Sonae and gudrun gut herself. Their collective motto for the evening is: »Live and Work / Dream and Make an Impact«. At the same time we celebrate twenty years of Monika-Enterprise Berlin label work. Don’t miss the only show in London with support from La Leif at Cafe Oto”.  The show at Cafe Oto happens on November 18th, more details here

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Lot of good things coming up at Oto in the next few weeks, then again there always is, here comes a hip new indie rock band….

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The New Blockaders

2:  THE NEW BLOCKADERS say “Even Anti-Art Is Art… That Is Why We Reject It!”, they may sound like some kind of hip beard-growing indie rock band, but don’t ‘let that name fool you, feat your eyes and ears on this…

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The New Blockaders are at London’s Cafe Oto on Saturday November 10th, you have been warned, the gig details are via that link you just passed, here come sone stolen blurb…

“The New Blockaders may sound like a hip Indie Rock band, and they may want you to believe such a thing to lure unsuspecting listeners. As merchants of ‘anti-music,’ they embrace Luigi Russolo’s 1913 Art of Noise manifesto and although Russolo is widely credited as being the first major noise theorist, contemporary Noise artists like TNB were the first to progress from the use of noise as assault on tonality to the development of a rich, complex language capable of subtleties of shade and nuance without sacrificing any of its feral power or ability to unlock repressed personae in the listener.

Their manifesto (1982) proclaims, ‘Blockade is resistance. It is our duty to blockade and induce others to blockade: Anti-music, anti-art, anti-books, anti-films, anti-communications. We will make anti-statements about anything and everything. We will make a point of being pointless…’ Everything about TNB entails refusal. The title of their collection Gesamtnichtswerk is important here. It reminds us of Wagner’s dream of the ‘total art work’ – the Gesamtkunstwerk, but the art is replaced by nothing.

Lazier souls than I would place TNB within the pantheon-lineage of UK Industrial, although I see them as a free-standing unit with more in common with the Futurists and (maybe) Einsturzende Neubauten (without the ‘songs’): Electrical tools, metal, ear-shredding static noise – the very definition of nihilism through sound. Superficial similarities exist to forebearers like AMM’s free form music aesthetic, Throbbing Gristle’s Second Annual Report and Lou Reed’s one-off decadent, noise-loop experimentation Metal Machine Music. TNB differ in that they have never burdened themselves with writing excessive, sleazy Rock Pop put on, prone to current Pop culture sampling obsessions or attempts at confining unruly, nihilistic sounds. They create a true musical sound cluster of destruction to such an extent that their so-called ‘anti-music’ transcends nihilism into positivism/optimism suggesting new music.

TNB always suggested more than a band or musical project. They are bent almost as much on philosophy and literary ambitions, issuing manifestos and texts and referencing the likes of Debussy and Nietzsche. TNB never set out to be part of a self-glorifying youth movement where pompous, romanticized bullshit dies hard in an endless, capitalistic magic show. Instead, they depict the emotional tonalities of an ambivalent, ambiguous new century with no form or direction. Their musical legacy offers respite from the fraudulent herd of co-opted streamlined sounds, which masquerade as experimental.

They served as a major influence on legendary Noise pioneers as Merzbow and their influence on the current crop of popular crossover Noise artists such as Prurient and Wolf Eyes is immeasurable. Collaborations in recent years with artists such as Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore have brought their anti-sound to a younger and diverse audience. The metal-bashing of K2, the awkwardness of Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, the density of Macronympha and the abrasiveness of Merzbow all owe something to the anti-music of TNB. They, more than any other, define the essence of true Noise music both in art and in act”

 

3: THE SCARAMANGA SIX  have a new two track single, lead track Stabby Fork is is typically Scaramanga with those healthy bits of Super Furry Cardiacs and bits of Gorky’s Zygotic Who, lots of The Who and strange tales and okay some might say they “borrow” just a little too much from Cardiacs at times but we can forgive them that can’t we? Their hearts are on their sleeves, their sleeves are probably attached to old bandsman’s uniforms. Two more very fine tracks, two ambitions stabs, far more than stabs, tiny epics, supper furry prog rock excess and excess is almost always a good thing, who said less was more? No no, pile it on, a full plate of prog pop and another tiny epic

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There’s a video here as well, can they get away with confetti and flowers like that? Are they pushing it a little too close to being something more than….. is it homage maybe? yeah, a homage, damn good one as well.  “The official video to Stabby Fork by The Scaramanga Six. Taken from the album Chronica (Wrath Records 2017)” – available on Double CD and Vinyl from www.thescaramangasix.co.uk

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4:  MAHDYAR “blends traditional Middle Eastern influences with hip-hop and other electronic sounds”, more about him on the other side of the photo…

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Mahdyar

“A vital figure in Iran’s underground music scene, Mahdyar’s dauntless electronic architecture fuses restless fractal beat structures with warped Persian motifs and instrumentation. The Tehran-born producer’s long-anticipated debut ‘Seized’ comes more than a decade since Mahdyar made his initial mark as a teenager producing the majority of the newly emerged Persian Hip Hop movement at the age of 16. Retaining the grit and urgency of his hip-hop roots, Mahdyar sonically aims further off-the grid building crushing, feral soundscapes in constant flux. Dark and provocative, ‘Seized’s frenetic energy reveals itself slowly and purposefully. Toying with structure form and identity, it paints a tense portrait that evokes images of abstract forms twisting and mutating.

A classically trained musician at a young age, Mahdyar got into graffiti at the rebellious age of 14 setting him on a course that would lead to a chance meeting with some of Tehran’s upcoming hip-hop artists and into the producers chair. His early productions carved a way forward (and away from imitating Western hip-hop) for Tehran’s underground drawing on traditional Persian music, Farsi poetry, and mysticism. Since these early days Mahdyar has produced a number of acclaimed Persian hip hop albums but most notable is Hichkas’s Asphalt Jungle. The album was his first full length as a producer and it became a massive domestic hit – earning him the recognition of an artist of considerable impact on Iran’s music scene seeking to empower the younger generation to make art that challenged the status quo.

Unfortunately this recognition also brought him and his friends to the attention of the authorities keen to dampen their influence. Due to the perceived risk to mainstream Iranian youth culture; the Government began closing studios, arresting key figures, and culminating in the the blacklisting of Mahdyar by the Ministry of Culture. Against this backdrop of authoritarianism, Mahdyar decided to leave Tehran in 2009 when he received an invitation to Cannes for the premiere of the award-winning No One Knows About Persian Cats as the film’s composer. Mahdyar settled in Paris and started working with prestigious establishments such as French National Museum of Modern Art Centre Pompidou, Franco-German culture and art TV network Arte, Sweden’s National Theater Riksteatern and numerous Iranian, French, British and American filmmakers. 

Mahdyar’s ambitious first full-length offering ‘Seized’ rhythmically structures itself along the contours of middle eastern traditional music and hip-hop, weaving mournful complex sound collages that blur the line between its acoustic and digital sources. Frenetic compositions continually build, reshuffle, and take a new divergent path with each reset. The slow crawl of opener “Seize” begins to take form with each new measure, teeing up the listener for a sonic journey into unfamiliar territory. Trudging along like a ship in a sea of molten iron, “Seize” is a good example of Mahdyar’s uncanny ability to give his composition’s such strong visual qualities. The dirge “Money Money” is an imaginary score for an apocalyptic ancient world in a universe where money has succeeded in controlling everyone and everything. The album cycles through an array of themes and visual cues, often alluding to the horrors of war, greed and intolerance. However, there are moments of odd beauty (“Glimmer Of” “Running From”) that suggests that Mahdyar’s realist vision isn’t dystopian as it seems on the surface but rather is one that recognizes conquering these challenges means taking the more challenging, uncertain routes”.

 

5: NARCS – Leeds quartet NARCS have a new video for a song called ‘Raus!’, a single taken from their recent  album ‘A Thinking Animal’, and album that was released was released via Clue Records.

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‘Raus!’ will be released on 24th November as a digital standalone single and across streaming services, and similarly the band’s album ‘A Thinking Animal’, is currently available on blue vinyl for just £4 or PWYW for the digital download from the Clue Records Bandcamp page

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