The Five music things thing yet again (and again) for whatever it still might be worth. Five? There’s something rather compelling about five, ive more? Do we need to do it again? Is there another way? A cure for pulling teeth? A new editorial yet maybe? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever? What do reasons make? Again and again and again (and again). Five more, same as last time (and the time before) five (or six or maybe seven) more musical things and yeah, we did say all this last week and the weeks before and blah blah blah while the whole world window and no, we never do and the proof of the pudding is in that proof reading. When we started this thing, oh never mind, it doesn’t matter and like we asked last time, does anyone bother reading the editorial? Does anyone ever actually look down the rabbit hole or is it all just method acting? Cut to the chase, we could just cut ‘n paste the editorial from the last time, there’s loads of music further down the page, well five or so pieces of music that have come our way in the last few days and cut to the damn chase, who needs an editorial? Anyone seen my contact lens? Who needs any of this? Who needs it, who needs it, Cynical who? Same what every day? Here’s your five for today. Stay alive
Five (or maybe six) recommended musical things then, in no particular order…
1: Girls In Synthesis, the urgently good Girls In Synthesis, the deliciously spiky Girls In Synthesis have just announced a lOndon date which in turn gives us an excuse to post this echo from your future, this video, this slice of whatever it might be, I like a band you can’t put a finger on, they sound wired in the best of ways….
Girls In Synthesis play the The Shacklewell Arms here in London on February 25th if going to a gig is a prospect by then of course, Details of the gig here, i think they explain themselves. This piece of caustic goodness is their latest release, their latest needs, find it on Bandcamp. Actually they’re putting together a string of dates, Reading the day before London, Manchester the day after, I guess Facebook is the place to keep up. Do like thier black and white artwork, their killing jokes, thier menace…
2: Remote – Some people from Finland, “Remote is a noisy rock duo from Helsinki, Finland, all music is played by pasi peni and tomi nuotio, who someone might know from their older bands Can Can Heads and Weepikes”. It was indeed the mention of Can Can HeadsMore from Bandcamp that got our attention, I don’t know why? i don’t know why? I don’t know why? Maybe it was the counting? One, one and a half, two, two and a half, hello? We like this… More from Bandcamp, gawd bless Bandcamp
3: Rapoon – “Multi-disciplinary artist Robin Storey (ex-:zoviet*france) aka Rapoon reissueslandmark early solo work Fallen Gods” so reads the headline. What we have here is some kind of fast moving trace-like expereince, positive repetition as it were….
‘Fallen Gods’ is the third studio album by Rapoon aka Robin Storey, formerly of :zoviet*france:. Originally released in 1994, ‘Fallen Gods’ emerged amid a prolific early period for the Rapoon project, following in the wake of debut album ‘Dream Circle’ – originally released in 1992 – and second outing ‘Raising Earthly Spirits’, released a year later. Building on the haunting industrial ethers of ‘Dream Circle’ and the esoteric, rhythmic drone of ‘Raising Earthly Spirits’, ‘Fallen Gods’ consolidates many of the sounds and disciplines that had shaped Storey’s work up to this point, while indicating a newfound, concerted focus on classical Indian instrumentation. The results represent a synthesis of myriad ideas, rooted in the duality between modernity and mysticism.
Throughout ‘Fallen Gods’ the reverberant pulse of Tabla-led percussion and the remote tones of what sounds like the Bulbul tarang (aka Indian banjo) resound and repeat in locked instrumental cycles, as vast, atmospheric shadows and echoes are unfurled. On ‘Sanctum’ Storey creates a mesmeric form of ceremonial indigenous music and with ‘Iron Path’ combines ramshackle, automotive percussion and distant zither-like emanations. Intensities are heightened with the title track, as Storey delivers a sidereal melee of barrelling drum sequences, gleaming ambient vapours, and stuttering glossolalia. In these opening exchanges, as with much of ‘Fallen Gods’, archaic modes of musical performance are uniquely reconstructed, as organic elements are subjected to inventive technological processes; primitivism made mechanical.
Presenting a pure vista of celestial drone on ‘Breathing Gold’, the album resumes a hypnotic, scrupulous exploration of perpetual drum cadences, deep modulations of traditional instrumentation and prodigious ripples of spectral, otherworldly resonances on ‘Sataranum’ and ‘Sacrement’. Works of infinite circular rhythms. From here the unadorned ancient tones of ‘Khomat’ and the chasmal nomadic roots music of ‘Dusk Red Walls’ present a shift in momentum, a sense of pause and suspended reflection, before the ascendant finale of ‘Valley’, a coda of undulating keys, expansive FX, and condensed surges of sampled percussion. Altogether these compositions form a deeply arresting body of work that is arguably considered one of Storey’s finest albums, a record that still sounds both completely original and remarkably timeless.
An enigmatic landmark in Storey’s early solo output, ‘Fallen Gods’ sees the sound world of the Rapoon project reiterated, expanded and memorably enriched. Across nine tracks Storey weaves together indeterminate, sonorous currents of ambient and experimental electronics with magnetic, sprawling passages of acoustic instrumentation, creating a profound work of entrancing, ritualistic minimalism. Comparisons could be drawn with the panoramic soundscapes of Lustmord, the fourth world ambitions of Jon Hassell, the heavy outernational psychedelia of Psychick Warriors ov Gaia but really ‘Fallen Gods’ illustrates an artist establishing their own trajectory, a distinct indication that Storey had moved way beyond :zoviet*france:. into the flourishing territories and intricate sound environments of the Rapoon project.
The reissue of ‘Fallen Gods’ is out on the 27th December via Abstrakce Records. Available on Limited Edition Vinyl & Digital Formats. Details via Bandcamp
Rapoon is the solo project of Robin Storey, a multi-disciplinary artist and engineer from Cumbria, England. While studying fine art at Sunderland University, Storey began pursuing an interest in sound production, taking classes in electronic and experimental composition, and working under the tutelage of contemporary modernist composer Dave Pinder.
Primarily influenced by early 70s krautrock and Karlheinz Stockhausen, Storey co-founded the pioneering post-industrial group :zoviet*france: in 1980, with Ben Ponton and Peter Jensen. Shaped by an elusive, dynamic approach to electronic music, and incorporating dissonant noise, ambient soundscapes, field recordings, tape loops, found objects, and improvised acoustic instrumentation, the original incarnation and material of :zoviet*france: has proved perennially influential. Storey’s background in fine art as well as his training and subsequent teaching in printmaking and graphic art would inform the distinctive artwork of :zoviet*france: during this time, an aesthetic often characterized by handmade sleeves and striking DIY imagery. Storey remained an active member of the group until 1992.
The same year Storey issued ‘Dream Circle’, the debut album by Rapoon, a solo project that has continued up to the present day, with an extensive catalogue of material released on labels including Staalplaat, Vinyl-On-Demand, Klanggalerie and Soleilmoon Recordings.
In addition to his work in :zoviet*france: and his solo material as Rapoon, Storey performs and records together with Mark Spybey (formerly of :zoviet*france:, currently Dead Voices On Air) as Reformed Faction and with Nigel Ayers (Nocturnal Emissions) as Hank and Slim. Storey has also collaborated widely with other artists, recording output with Joachim Roedelius (Cluster, Harmonia), Steven Wilson (Bass Communion, Porcupine Tree), Désaccord Majeur, noise music composer Randy Greif, Russian folk singer Tatyana Stepchenko aka Toloka, Pas Musique, and more.
Storey has produced soundtrack material for award-winning independent films including Randy Grief’s ‘The Three Trials’ and ‘Effaced’ by New York-based independent artist Nadine Shamounki. He has also contributed soundtrack work to Maxim Zaharov’s film ‘Boring’ as well as a film made for Channel 4 by acclaimed electronic musician and soundtrack composer David Holmes (‘Killing Eve’, ‘Ocean’s trilogy’, ‘‘71’) entitled ‘I Am Here’. In 2019 Storey co-produced – with Ben Ponton – the music for the documentary short ‘In Trance We Gaze’ by the Taiwanese director Singing Chen, a short which was screened at both the Taiwan International Film Festival and the London International Film Festival.
Storey’s work as Rapoon has been featured in a short film entitled ‘Nonexistent Tribes’ by the Ukrainian artist Oksana Levchenya, made to accompany an exhibition of textiles, masks and installations shown at the Centre for Contemporary Art in Kiev. Rapoon was also featured in the opera ‘La Songe De Sonia’ shown at Lyon’s Théâtre des Célestins in 2015 and at The KnAM theatre in Russia’s Khabarovsk region.
Storey has ventured into sound art, producing work for installations and contemporary conceptual art, including contributions to the 1997 exhibition ‘Ear As Eye’ and the 2007 project ‘Otherness’, which featured the likes of Eno & Cluster, Faust and Stockhausen, both shown in Los Angeles. Storey has also contributed to the 2013 London exhibition ‘Noise and Whispers’ and to ‘Grasslands Dream of Electric Sheep’, displayed at the Loop30 gallery in Augsburg, Germany.
Besides his acclaimed work as a solo and collaborative composer Storey is a renowned visual artist and animator and has exhibited his work internationally, embarking on tours across Eastern Europe and the United States. Storey has released his own visual counterpart to the Rapoon material in the form of ‘Alien Glyph Morphology’, a suite of six short movies featuring his artwork, issued on DVD by Soleilmoon Recordings, and has also published a short story book entitled ‘A Pale Blue Door’, accompanied by Rapoon compositions.
Storey has made further interdisciplinary forays, producing music and visuals for a dance-based collaboration with the professional dancer and choreographer Johanna Devi, performed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre in 2011. Later the same year Storey collaborated with Devi again, as well as the dancer Eva Isolde Balzar, on the Berlin dance production ‘Hybrid Identities’.
Operating across numerous fields of experimental music and visual art, Storey is an internationally renowned artist with a storied career in recording, collaboration, and multi-faceted creativity.
4: Loraine James – We need to correct a wrong here, we were looking through our favourite albums of 2021 (for one of those end of year lists, not yet though, the year has’nt ended yet (whatever The Quietus night say), and we relalised we han’t mention this fine fine album from Loraine James that came out earlier this year. We really can’t let the year end without a brief mention can we?
“Loraine James comes with her second album for Hyperdub, made in the summer of 2020. Reflection is a turbulent expression of inner-space, laid out in unflinching honesty, that offers gentle empathy and bitter-sweet hope”.
5: Vonamor – There’s something rather compelling about Vonamor , captivating, intriguing, Take Your Heart is from thier self-titles debut album that’s sue out in February 2022
“VONAMOR is music and movement. VONAMOR is real and virtual.
VONAMOR is the end and the beginning. VONAMOR is from love, of love, for love.“
“VONAMOR is made up of sisters Giulia Bottaro (voice, bass, metal flute) and Francesca Bottaro (drum station, sequencer, sax, clarinet) and vocalist Luca Guidobaldi, with Francesco Bassoli (guitars and loops) and Martino Cappelli (guitars, mandolin, bouzouki, oud, loops) joining the trio for live performances.
Theirs is a story of unexpected timbres, resonating at the very intersection between darkwave and electro music. The band’s roots date back to 2016 Rome, when their focus was to communicate images, authoring various scores for short films. This morphed into the trio as we know it today with its contemporary taste and allure, literary echoes, imperious art-pop and enigmatic aesthetics.
“VONAMOR is an escape plan, our treasure island, a thick and savage jungle that gives you the chance to let your prayers and whispers reverberate like a church. We used the music in this album to walk paths that we hadn’t known before, to connect Rome to Paris to Berlin to Beijing, to mix techno music with folk, to let our voices and bodies mingle and dance to an incredibly weird yet familiar beat, and finally to search for a boom of love and light into the dark of our everyday’s life: yes, VONAMOR is a boom!” says Luca Guidobaldi.“
And we can’t let this week pass without a word about the bright star that was Stuart Adamson
It was 20 years ago, it feel like several lifetimes ago, it feels like it was only yesterday, it feels like we should mention the sad fact that it was 20 years ago this week that we lost the bright star that was Stuart Adamson. Big Country were never a band who needed our coverage, they’d more that established themselves before Organ came along, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t loved around here. That pioneering sound, that influential sound, those words that held so much, that communal bounce, that joyous united bounce when you were lucky enough to see them live, that feeling down the front at a Big Country gig, it was always a bright bright place to be, a happy place to be – as was that very emotional celebration of Stuart at Shephard’s Bush back in April 2011 when The Alarm’s Mike Peters did the leading of the singing and we all lost our voices. I don’t won’t to dwell on the sadness of Stuart being found in that hotel room twenty years ago, I want to dwell on everything that was good about the man and his music, the uplifting joy he brought and still does bring, twenty years since we lost him. Today we quielty celebrate Stuart Adamson. Stay alive.