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Outsideleft Week in Fireworks Music We're hearing from... Arnold Dreyblatt, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Democratize, Callum Easter, Tone Generator & The Body Without Organs, We Owe, A Blaze Colour, Lewsberg, DJ Rashad, The Beatles, Brad stank, Gazelle Twin, Jacques Brel, Rolling Stones, Nicole Rampersaud, Lol Tolhurst X Budgie X Jacknife Lee, Marc Almond and Mike Garson, Darkplace, Duran Duran, Only Ones, Ruiqi Wang, Night Nail and The Lunar Laugh

Outsideleft Week in Fireworks Music

We're hearing from... Arnold Dreyblatt, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, Democratize, Callum Easter, Tone Generator & The Body Without Organs, We Owe, A Blaze Colour, Lewsberg, DJ Rashad, The Beatles, Brad stank, Gazelle Twin, Jacques Brel, Rolling Stones, Nicole Rampersaud, Lol Tolhurst X Budgie X Jacknife Lee, Marc Almond and Mike Garson, Darkplace, Duran Duran, Only Ones, Ruiqi Wang, Night Nail and The Lunar Laugh

by OL House Writer,
first published: November, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

"Being introduced to the music of Arnold Dreyblatt is like entering a whole new sound world. It feels like a distorted version of something familiar with musical motifs repeated over and again." - Katherine Pargeter

SINGLES

WE OWE - Illogical Thinking (Mothland)
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by Alan Rider

Hot on the heels of last weeks 'Time Suck' single comes 'Illogical Thinking'.  To my ears this is a big step down, being quite a lazy walkthrough of a self consciously reflective track, which is apparently about We Owe thinking about Bigfoot.  Yes, I didn't get that from this either. It bumbles along without really going anywhere and you would not recognise this as being from the same act as 'Time Suck'.  Basically, its just dull.  The clearly AI-generated video is also extremely creepy.  If this is what AI thinks of us, then we might need to be even more worried than we already are. 


RUIQI WANG - A Descent of Lilies (Orchard of Pomegranates)
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by Toon Traveller

Just the title, and label yell, hey you GOTTA listen here, and yes you do. From the acoustic bass opening, into the wonderful drums and piano, married with  Scat vocals, There's timing changes aplenty, taking the music miles from Western conventions. listen, engage, challenge and be delighted. The Piano and vocal flirt and tease, soar and float above the drum and bass. This is Jazz as should be, ideas, and tunes played, spliced and interspersed with humour, smiles, and tender kisses from a voice born to sing Scat Jazz, Finger popping, head nodding, foot tapping, Jazz, that Jazz detractors will love to hate. 


BRAD STANK - I Belong To You (Sunday Best)
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by Toon Traveller

Sounds like it was recorded at high volume, it's hard on the ears. But not as hard as the 'drawl', DRONE is more apt. Crawls along, forgettable backing, ponderous, flat as last night's lager and empty as a used crisp packet.


NICOLE RAMPERSAUD - A Tourist In My Youth (Ansible Additions)
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by Toon Traveller

Characterised as experimental, yeah it's that alright. From the cacophonous opening of industrial slabs of sound, the synthesized recreation of industries hammer and bash. First in the wailing saxophone's claxon clarion call.  all very standard stuff more Alchemy than an experiment, halfway through the experiment shines through, un reeded horn blows, deep-throated, sonorous and primitive, squeaks, squeals of sounds, suggesting hubble bubble of play, and delight. Experimental, imaginative, instantly, genius. 

ROLLING STONES - Angry (Polydor)
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by Alan Rider

It's a scientific miracle that the Rolling Stones are still at it and have been since 1962.  You will probably have heard this coming out of a radio in a hairdressers or someone's car by now, but it's actually perfectly decent, much though I'd wanted to hate it.  They have gone beyond being a band really, to becoming a part of human history and nothing anyone says will change that now.  The video shows them strutting out of giant billboards, full of arrogance and oozing success and excess.  With anyone else you'd say that was wishful thinking, but for them it's just another day at the office.


THE BEATLES - Now & Then (Apple )
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by Jay Lewis

Jay breathes a sigh of relief...it's not Free As A Bird. Link here


DJ RASHAD - Last Winter (Partisan Records)
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by Toon Traveller

Retro opening PR says 10 years old, I'm hearing older sounds 70's heroes Curtis Mayfield, Norman Whitfield, Donny Hathaway, and the Social Conscious sounds of the early 70's. Avant Garde Jazz and Soul intermarried, and all sorts of ideas, music, and happenings emerged. A free, slow, lazy groove, a spaced-out vibe, Hints of hope in desperate time. This could be from the 70's, the 80's when ideas were inspirations, and music needed perspiration. Adore the fleeting pleading, almost desperate, just audible vocals and the hypnotic horn refrain. Magical  Jazzabiliity


MARC ALMOND AND MIKE GARSON - My Death (Cherry Red)
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by Jay Lewis

 I first came to the songs of Jacques Brel via a somewhat melodramatic version of 'If You Go Away' by Neil Diamond that was in my parents' record collection. It was a peculiar way to be introduced to someone who would become one of my favourite songwriters. It would be decades before I heard Scott Walker, David Bowie or Marc Almond's renditions of Brel's canon, or discovered those original French language records by the man himself. Brel's performances are filled with such passion, such torment. They are stunning. 

Almond may have already recorded 'My Death' when he was much, much younger, but to hear this version, decades on and with ex-Spider from Mars Mike Garson on piano accompanying him, is to hear what a master interpreter Almond has become. Stark, dramatic (but never melodramatic), this is a beautifully haunting rendition.  


LPs

DEMOCRATIZE - Futureproofing (Bandcamp)
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by Alan Rider

Previously I've hailed John Costello as an unsung hero, who in a fairer world would be a giant of electronic music on a par with Depeche Mode.  We gave the recent Sharktown EP by one of his other collaborative acts, The Indoor Show, five hearts and a page of its own.  Democratize, John's latest collaboration with fellow composer Geoff Pinckney, maintains that stellar standard with 'Futureproofing', which has recognisable elements from his other prior project, Engram, and 2017's towering 'The Enemy Is The State' album.  John is an absolute master of his art and could give many a chart-act lessons on how to compose original and exciting electronic music.  It's a shame that there is no accompanying video so you can hear for yourself, but the Bandcamp link below will allow you to play the whole album if you are too tight to download it or stump up for a limited CD.  I'd suggest you do though, as music this good deserves your support. Do it here


GAZELLE TWIN - Black Dog (Invada Records)
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by Alan Rider

Gazelle Twin is a revelation. Alan Rider tells you why, right over here


DARKPLACE - About The End Of The World (Icons Creating Evil Art)
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by Alan Rider

I have to hand it to Darkplace, they really know how to see a concept through. This album has been introduced gradually through a series of videos based on animated digital paintings for four of the tracks off the album, starting with ‘Arken över Hesselby’ (The Ark Over Hesselby) about a city haunted by an unknown aerial presence. That was followed by ‘Fearmonger’, featuring a post-apocalyptic scene with a spooky airship. Then came ‘Cars’, which saw a man travelling north following cryptic messages written on motorway signs. Finally, the last single ‘This Is Loud’ came full circle back to the beginning and the fictitious location of Hesselby. You can view the full album as a fully animated YouTube video - see the link below. A separate stand-alone video for the track 'The End' has also been made to celebrate the release of the album and can be seen HERE.  Its an ambitious and impressive undertaking. Previously I hadn't been especially impressed by the individual singles, but taken in the context of the whole album. and the accompanying animations, it all makes a lot more sense and works really well.  This is audio-visual storytelling rather than a conventional album and needs to be approached as such.  Darkplace are well named as it's a grimly pessimistic vision of the future they paint, and one which, much though I'd prefer it not to, is looking increasingly like the present.


VARIOUS ARTISTS - Women in Revolt! (Music For Nations)
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by Alan Rider

The soundtrack to the forthcoming exhibition at Tate Britain, Alan Rider reads the riot act right here


DURAN DURAN - Danse Macabre (Tape Modern)
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by Jay Lewis

You can turn the lights back on, the trick-or-treaters have all gone. Link here


ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK - Bauhaus Staircase (100%)
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by Jay Lewis

Since they plugged themselves back in again ('History of Modern' - 2010) OMD have tried to evoke the spirit of those early, artier (some may say pretentious), records, with just a very, very slight hint of the somewhat grating pop sheen that dominated their later releases. Of all of their recent releases 'Bauhaus Staircase' is the one where they have got the balance right, it is the one that sounds least like OMD by numbers - it is a record stuffed with great electronic pop songs. From the 'kicking down of fascist art' of the title track to the political bitterness of 'Kleptocracy' ('with dirty slogans on the red bus door/ the narcissist stole the exit'....it was actually the side of a bus Andy, but I'll let that go), these are smart and contemporarily aware songs. This is not nostalgia. Then there's the synthetic soul of 'Where We Started' and the sweeping film noirish 'Verushka.'  This is the most well-rounded, satisfying OMD album in a very long time. And, if the blurb is true and this really is to be the final album of new material by OMD then it is really a rather glorious place for them to call it a day (again). 


ARNOLD DREYBLATT - Resolve (Drag City Inc.)
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by Katherine Pargeter

Being introduced to the music of Arnold Dreyblatt is like entering a whole new sound world. It feels like a distorted version of something familiar with musical motifs repeated over and again.  By inventing new and original instruments, and having a system of tuning and composition that are somewhat unconventional, there is genuinely no else that even sounds like him. Dreyblatt was part of a second wave of New York Minimalist composers and has, like Philip Glass before him, managed to weave his music around more rock/pop-based concepts. The mesmerising single 'Shuffle Effect' could even sneak it's way onto a popular daytime radio show, its weird twists and diversions only appearing mid-way through. The highlight of 'Resolve' though is the 17-minute 'Auditoria' - which blends a droning ambient soundscape with, in its closing section, the clang of repetitive notes. It is hypnotic and cleansing. 


LEWSBERG - Out and About (Bandcamp)
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by Ancient Champion

Determinedly embracing that magical lo-fi majesty, Rotterdam's Lewsberg's fourth LP, Out and About, which is out and about now, could have been penned over a younger Richard Linkletter's kitchen table. Consider An Ear To The Chest could be an ear to Andy's Chest. Really Sonically Superb. I think it is love. Lewsberg have everything and A Different View and poet Duncan Jones would probably not be alone in liking to know... spoken word sections too. But there's always violins, guitars played with rigour. There's a reason. Oh come on, you've got to get with Lewsberg. There's nothing not brilliant about this band. Perfect for a wintery evening, for waiting out the rain. 


LOL TOLHURST X BUDGIE X JACKNIFE LEE - Los Angeles (Play It Again Sam)
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by Alan Rider

In December 2018 ex-Banshees/Creatures drummer Budgie was passing through LA and met up with old friend Lol Tolhurst... The LP that happened next is reviewed by Alan Rider right over here...


TONE GENERATOR & THE BODY WITHOUT ORGANS - Control Live (Ultra-Mail Prod.)
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by Alan Rider

Tone Generator aka Dominic Guerin was a key contributor to the late 1970’s/early 1980’s industrial band SPK, who operated alongside bands like Throbbing Gristle, Test Department and Clock DVA. The Body Without Organs is his new(ish) collaboration with Scott Barnes and falls within a similar area.  This CD is a live recording from a 2022 performance in Canberra and pushes the envelope soundwise, combining dischord with rhythmic noise.  Noise is not an easy thing to get into as it is very much UN-music, almost the opposite of the pleasing tones of most performances.  There is an endurance aspect to noise that many will find perplexing and difficult to understand until you realise that the point is to see beyond the obvious 4/4 beats and major scales we are used to, and uncover a different structure and form in apparently random, clashing, and harsh sounds.  Its a hard/impossible concept to explain.  You either get it or you don't.  I get it. Control Live is available now as CD or download from Discogs.


THE LUNAR LAUGH - In the Black (Big Stir)
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by John Robinson

Cool ultra summery and shimmering guitar pop from long-established Oklahoma City band Lunar Laugh, with witty, sometimes moving lyrics from the songwriting team of  Connor Anderson and Jared Lekites. The album’s sweet, Byrds and Beach Boys-inspired sound marries to lyrics about lost family members, the passing of time and the joys of friendship in a broken world. The opening Born Weird exemplifies the approach. For you if you enjoy sixties-influenced power-pop, with harmonised vocals reminiscent of The Magic Numbers. Probably not the best time of year to release this sort of sound though. I'm all about gloom and decay at the moment.


NIGHT NAIL - Fates Explained (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

There is a problem at the heart of goth/industrial these days and Berlin-based Night Nail illustrates that perfectly.  Modern home recording facilities mean that near-pristine recordings can be produced with ease, making use of limitless plug-ins for drums, guitars, effects/processing and so on.  Sound quality is not the issue here, originality is.  As with their previous single 'Narcoleptic Dream Catcher', this is sub Sisters of Mercy goth that sounds so Sisters-ish that it could easily pass for a covers band.  They are not breaking any new ground here and what was fine in the late 80's simply doesn't pass muster now.  Night Nail needs to have a serious re-think of what they are doing and why and decide whether they want to innovate or enervate.


Other Materials

A BLAZE COLOUR - The New Ones (Plurex Records)
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by Alan Rider

There was a time long, long ago (1982) when halting and painfully self-conscious performances by pale, skinny white boys poking away glumly at banks of synths could get on the telly.  A Blaze Colour formed in Belgium in 1981 and disbanded in 1983, producing only one obscure album.  Appearing belatedly in Outsideleft may very well be the pinnacle of their career.


THE ONLY ONES - Another Girl Another Planet (CBS)
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by Ancient Champion

Edwyn Collins posted this video to Twitter this week because. That's right we never need a reason to hear The Only Ones. Did they ever even do a bad song? Everyone knows this but their albums got me across America a couple of times. You might even say, They're the Whole of the Law...


CALLUM EASTER - One Thought (Moshi Moshi Records)
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by Lee Paul

The remarkable talent of Cameron Easter has been remarked upon in these pages before now and will be, for sure, again in the future. One Thought from the 2020 set, Green Door Sessions, sees him at his most poignant, most linear, least obtuse and is stunningly beautiful. "It's easy to believe what they tell you to, because you don't see the things they do on the sly..." That's not to say that in the middle of all of this kitchen sink poetry and swamped piano there's not space for a 180 in the form of a spoken word passage. Oh how pop needs more of those. "So tell me where it ends..."


JACQUES BREL - Le Moribond (UMG Recordings)
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by Jay Lewis

The passion, the despair, the self-mockery! 'Le Moribond' has just turned up on a 5 CD box set of works by Brel alongside those of a contemporary French singer-songwriter George Brassens. Unsurprisingly, it's on a disc devoted to songs about death. And, what with 'La Mort' ('My Death'), 'Le Tango Funèbre' ('Funeral Tango'), it was a subject Brel brilliantly returned to again and again.

Whereas some of the English translations of Brel's work get close to the author's intentions, the truth of this 'Le Moribond' was mangled into 'Seasons In The Sun', and I really couldn't see Terry Jacks having a hit or, much later, Westlife singing 'I want them to dance when it’s time to put me in the hole'.  There was something so unvarnished about Brel's words, he was a master writer and performer.  Now please don't get me started on the saccharine of 'If You Go Away'...


Essential Information
Main image Arnold Dreyblatt

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