ORGAN THING: The art of noise, new albums from The Lonely Bell, Sudden Voices, Psychic TV’s Edley ODowd and the ever productive Weasel Walter…


The Lonely Bell – Ghost Town Burning (Blackjack Illuminist Records) – The Lonely Bell is Ali Murray, a Scottish songwriter and musician from the cold windy Isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland – well it says songwriter here, but these are instrumental pieces rather than songs. Apparently he writes and releases music under his own name as well as this rather dark introspective ambient music that he releases under the name The Lonely Bell. Ali has lived up there on the Isle of Lewis all his life, that fact does feel rather important, there is a feeling of not quite desolation or isolation, it does feel like he has a lot of time and space to play with though, a lot of time soak up the time and space offered by his situation. it is two twenty minute drones that make it this album, two twenty minute pieces of dark, dense intrigue. And yes, there is a depth here, a dark (but not quite too dark) depth, a beauty, a painterly warmth, a rich sound, something rather positive, not quite empty, the sound is radiant, welcoming, as enjoyable as it is gloomy, as expansive and at the same time, for all the talk of time and space, at the same time something claustrophobic. it is some kind of beautiful desolation, a beautiful expanse, it sounds it sounds like music made on an island and yes, there is comfort (or maybe escape) in the unfolding nature of it all.  Hypnotic, bewitching, inviting, reassuring, cathartic maybe? Rather beautiful in a darkly positive kind of way. Music that doesn’t really need words… Bandcamp




Sudden Voices is, well it says on the Bandcamp page that Sudden Voices are a “London based group mixing ragged space jazz with off-kilter krautrock”, although I supect right now, this is mostly the work of one time Union Wireless man Ben Morris.

“Sudden Voices is a project led by Ben Morris, who is returning to music after a hiatus of more than fifteen years. Ben previously served time in Union Wireless, a London-based post\kraut\experimental-rock band who meandered their way through the late 1990s with a constantly evolving line-up of musicians. A couple of albums were recorded, the first at London’s renowned analogue paradise Toe Rag Studios, the second with Toby Robinson (Can, Derek Bailey, etc). Both albums were released by Elefant Records, kindly reviewed in the music press of the day, and maybe even listened to by a few people. It was hard to tell back then”. Don’t know if we count as the “music press”, really hope not, but I do recall being rather positive about the releases and a gig or two back in the days of Organ as printed thing…

So Ben Morris is back some twenty years later, well it can kind of hit you like that, you need a moment or two to recover when you pour you heart and soul into your art.  This self-titled album, Sudden Voices, is a delight, I hope that doesn’t sound too throwaway, there’s a depth here, nothing is ever obvious but then again, nothing is too difficult, there’s a delightful flow to it all, a delight in the crafted detail, the care taken. There’s a delight in the layers, the way that the repeating of a line about the way of the world feels like a positive thing. Sudden Voices is a hopeful album, an album that takes all the time it needs to reveal itself.  Some of it is gorgeous, while elsewhere on tracks like Sunrise it really does bite. Actually most of Sudden Voices sounds rather unique, rather different, rather beautifully considered and yes I guess it is vaguely post something or other, although really it doesn’t need to be shoved into some lazy pigeonhole even if there was to be one that could be considered appropriate. This is a very enjoyable very accomplished debut album, the way it flows, the way it warms, right now we’re touching on some kind of lo-fi electronic folk flavour, until the  vocal drones of Sunrise kick in again, do keep coming back to this track and that Hammond flavoured undercurrent and the hints of (almost) Pagan worship ritual that mingle with the New Order of it all. Does Fixed Orbit have a touch of menace about it? Do keep coming back and finding more, it is an album that keeps on revealing…      


Meanwhile down here we have…


Edley ODowd – from New York with a kind of menacing sound, an enveloping sound, “a long-time veteran of multiple music scenes, Edley ODowd has collaborated and performed with many musical luminaries of various genres over his 30+ years. A founding member of NYC’s Toilet Boys and longtime member of Psychic TV, ODowd established himself as a solo-artist in 2022. Expect more new and exciting projects from Edley in the near future, including the debut of his new band Scorpion Tea”.

F(our)ward has an almost suffocating sound, this is not background music, this isn’t nice music, well it is, it is very nice, but there is a menace to it a sense that you might not want to look around the corner. This is a big sound, a thick sound, dark, painterly, underground, tribal, ever evolving, it sounds like music created by someone whomight have been invovled on the darker side of the Psychic TV sound . The quarter of an hour of Morgue Wheel does sound like some dark underground crypt that no one has been in for an age or two, Damn Baby sound like an extention until that massive drum sound kicks in and takes us further down, “why would it hurt, I don’t know”, I don’t know what’s going on here, I don’t know if I want to know, some kind of saucer full of secrets, It does feel relentless, that’s no bad thing, find the album on Bandcamp


And while we’re here, yes more from the ever productive Weasel Walter, this time in the guise of Seth Andrew Davis / Alex Cunningham / Damon Smith / Weasel Walter and a rather fine piece or two of improv art recorded in 2022. THese things so often sound like they were far more rewarding to actually be one of the artists involved with the making of it rather than it is to be the listener , however in this case, this works rather well from a listeners point of view. I kind of like the tension between then, the tightly wound sound that does feel like it might burst at any moment, I like the obvious chemistry, I like that these were the very first sounds they made together. We’ll let the music do the talking on the otherside of this short statement from Weasel….

“This was the first time this group ever met, and the first time I ever played with Seth and Alex. The first notes you hear on the CD were the first we ones we played together. I think it’s obvious from what transpires, that free improvisation is alive and well.

On a technical level, I think the recording quality is excellent and this was one of the easiest mixes I’ve ever done in terms of nailing all the tones. The first draft was the one we used here – no revisions were needed. There are duo and trio outtakes from the session, but we all agreed to let the quartet takes stand on their own. In particular, Damon’s bass really shines here, given equal presence and clarity in the mix. I’m not really asked to do free improvisation very much at this point in history, so if and when I do it, it has to be special. I believe this is the case with this release.” – Weasel Walter, March 3, 2023. Find the release on Bandcamp


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