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Outsideleft Week in Music Surveillance We're hearing from... Ian Williams, As For the Future, Elijah Minnelli, Pig, Say She She, Willie Watson, Hinds, Phil Hayes, Rui Gabriel, Jason Robinson and Marcus Urani, Bohemian Cristal Instrument, Nick Hudson, Walt Disco, Delicate Steve, Horse Jumper of Love, Crack Cloud, Yishai Sweartz & Mona Mur, Drew McDowell, Susanna, Adios MF, Raconteurs, Teardrop Explodes & Soho

Outsideleft Week in Music Surveillance

We're hearing from... Ian Williams, As For the Future, Elijah Minnelli, Pig, Say She She, Willie Watson, Hinds, Phil Hayes, Rui Gabriel, Jason Robinson and Marcus Urani, Bohemian Cristal Instrument, Nick Hudson, Walt Disco, Delicate Steve, Horse Jumper of Love, Crack Cloud, Yishai Sweartz & Mona Mur, Drew McDowell, Susanna, Adios MF, Raconteurs, Teardrop Explodes & Soho

by OL House Writer,
first published: June, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

This is your week. In music.

intro.

Hi everybody! Remember how great Yo Gabba Gabba was? It was my daughter's favorite show, how she loved DJ Lance Rock! And now, well we're kitting her out for her prom. Of course the world's greatest tailor, Damian Marquez will be at the needles and pins. Resampling her vintage and styling it into something similarly super, as only he can do. Let's hope he's listening to the records reviewed by...  Lee Paul (1), David O'Byrne (3), Ancient Champion (2), Toon Traveller (8), Alan Rider (4), Sofia Ribeiro Willcox (1), John Robinson (3) and LamontPaul (1) as he does it.

singles.

IAN WILLIAMS - Chronopolis (Slaughterback Records)
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by Alan Rider

Drawn from the five heart rated album 'Slow Motion Apocalypse', 'Chronopolis' is one of the standout tracks, filmic and epic in scope, its frenetic sequenced undercurrents, overlaid by sonorous synth tones, expertly evokes the theme here of the surveillance every worker now toils under, thanks to facial recognition software, keystroke logging, AI analysis, and so on.  We poor worker ants are exploited for billions in profit by the already wealthy few, yet at the same time blamed for being greedy should we ask for a pay rate that simply keeps pace with spiralling prices, in some sick modern version of Oliver Twist. As if to prove that point, this month US firm Wells Fargo fired workers it accused of slacking whilst home working, secretly tracking their keystrokes and eye movements, taking screenshots, and logging which websites they visited. They concluded they were not working hard enough.  The trust that should form the heart of any home working contract simply wasn't there. This sinister 'Big Brother' approach, using technology to track and time your every working moment, is rapidly spreading throughout the machine we call 'Work'.  This is the 'Chronopolis'.  Its a scary thing and Ian knows it, using his music as a warning that sadly, few will heed.

JASON ROBINSON AND MARCUS URANI - Ancestral Dubbers (Dub Remix) (Playscape Recordings)
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by David O'Byrne

As the saying goes, some marriages are made in heaven. Free Jazz and Dub Reggae might not be the first such match that springs to mind, but on evidence of this collaboration between jazz saxophonist, composer and band leader Jason Robinson, and reggae-jazz-dub keyboardist and producer Marcus Urani, that may be due for a change. A quintet drawn from Robinson's larger Janus Ensemble provides the jazz, with Urani, delivering the dub remix of the track, "Second House" taken from Robinson's album "Ancestral Numbers I" released last month. The album, and its sequel, cunningly entitled "Ancestral Numbers 2", and due out in October are, to quote Robinson, a meditation on his own genealogy following the passing of his maternal grandmother. Having graduated through the Sacramento Jazz scene and the jazz departments of no less than three Californian universities, and with a discography - as band leader, sideman and contributor, stretching back to the late 90s, Robinson is no newcomer to either experimentation or indeed dub Reggae. He and Urani have been friends and collaborators for over 30 years,  the pair have played together in an early line up of long running US roots reggae band Groundation. Heavy on the jazz and light on the dub, Ancestral Dubbers is to say the least, intoxicating. Employing standard dub techniques, Urani has added an extra ethereal, even ambient twist to a number that was already firmly at the chill end of the free jazz spectrum. If you like music that crosses borders and tends to the edgy and unpredictable, you'll love this. If you haven't yet freed your tastes from the gridlocked high road of traditional song structure, now's your chance to expand your horizons. It's a journey well worth taking. 

DELICATE STEVE - I'll be there (Anti Records)
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by Toon Traveller

In the promo photo, a moody slightly wasted West Coast burrito-ish brother flamenco star. What we get is a languid, laid back easy opening, vibrato waved notes, very 70s, beachside day dreaming, it drifts along, with a easy on the ear, soft on the soul feel. It's regular repetition of chorus, verse, chorus without verse left me wondering, a 'lost' backing track for a Tom Petty.

BOHEMIAN CRISTAL INSTRUMENT - New Nature (Youtube)
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by Lee Paul

New Nature was recorded in a mountainside chalet on the way to the highest peak in the Czech Republic. The narrative encompasses a post human world and it really sounds like it coudn't be more otherwordly. Lenka Morávková composes on glass, the Bohemian Cristal Instrument, and then daubs a few synths around the sides. We are so chained by the past it is totally great and blessed relief to encounter  an artist with a futuristic vision.

WALT DISCO - Jocelyn (Lucky Number)
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by Toon Traveller

Hints of fragile Bowie, phrasing, a splash of delicate 80's Crooner. There's a tasteful slide guitar, and softly, softly deft percussion,  all brushed and deadened skins. I suppose it's meant emphasise the soft understated vocals. Works in places. It could remiind more than a few, in a good way, of Scott Walker. There's the pathos, the drama, the tenderness, the pain, raw and exposed, but wrapped in saccharine syrup arrangements. Truly bittersweet.

SUSANNA - Elephant Song (SusannaSonata)
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by Toon Traveller

Whispering sax, minor key, low noted piano opening.  Perfectly clear voice, piano underpinned, fluttering, flitting sax, more than accompaniment, a cross cutting juxtaposition. It shouldn't work, but does. The piano keeps melody and rhythm on track, the sax accompaniment weaves a magical web, of sound to a  lost confused, confessional, soul. This is almost Jazz poetry, with the sax singing the pain of the vocals, wailing, crying, disconsolate, Therein lies Susanna's magic, words, piano and sax haven't captivated my so so painfully and beautifully this year. 

PIG - Dum Dum Bullet (Metropolis)
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by Alan Rider

"Cutting through the scaly rind of PIG to the tender heart and the soft underbelly of the boar." is how PIG main man Raymond Watts describes this, and the Red Room album it is drawn from.  He has been at this for a while and it shows.  Whilst its not true to say it is effortless, he has an ease with which he creates these muscular modern Industrial hymns, born out of his long history with KMFDM, and collaborations with Industrial A list writing partners such as Jim Davies from Pitchshifter, also known for providing searing guitar riffs on numerous chart hits by The Prodigy.  He keeps good company, Raymond, and production values are sky high here too.  His 'The Dark Room' single from 2022 was superb too, and worth checking out whilst you are at it. PIG - what's not to like? 

ADIOS MF - They (Dash The Henge / Soundcloud)
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by Toon Traveller

Sheffield, UK home to UK's synthesizer 80s sound, heavy metal industrial rock. Industry trashed, soundscaped then, a photoed show now.  It's all the echoes, frantic drums, mixed down, back of the throat vocals,frenetic rush of guitar lines. Bash in crescendos, quirky effects  get the heart pumping, and brain lighting up. Percussion up front, driving the song, it's absolutely danceable. Some wonderful bass loaded, heavy beats, and that sense of Industry, memories  in people's heads. There's not really anything new, BUT that's not the point. A glorious celebration of those UK synth bands, heavy, proud, and inventive, it ticks all the boxes. I'd think about seeing them live.

WILLIE WATSON - Real Love (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Lovely warbling voice and an understated crying slide guitar, a weeping violin, tearing strips outta you're heart. It's all cold coffee, in some run down, out of love and out of hope, unloved, small town mom and pop cafe. Willie Watson vocal vibrato really oozes pain, and draws sincere empathy.  The lyrics, decades out time, trains haven't steamed or whistled Stateside in decades, but that's it's charm, it's romance, it's intimacy, and warmth. 

SAY SHE SHE - Slippery People (Karma Chief Records)
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by David O'Byrne

Serious Question - is it possible to improve on a classic Talking Heads number? The immediate response would be no, why even try? Female led, US-UK "discodelic" funk outfit Say She She have tried, and to be fair have achieved a very creditable result. Recorded "live" at the BBC's legendary Maida Vale studios, their overt funk/R&B stylings won't be to everyone's taste. But the musicianship and arrangement are top drawer and if it attracts radio play and succeeds in generating interest in the Heads' back catalogue, that's no bad thing.

PHIL HAYES - El Smoke (Soundcloud / Corner Store Jazz)
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by Toon Traveller

The Complete American Recordings, a comprehensive collection that drummer/composer Phil Haynes created with his audacious quintet during the early 1990s, will be released June 14, 2024 via Corner Store Jazz. On a damp, miserable, grey, climate change in action day in the NE, here's PHIL HAYES and his gang, discordant, dissonant, disruptive. This track as a taster for the full set, El Smoke, reminded me of early, misty, morning, wake ups. When I worked. It's got those squeaks, burbles and harrumphs, as baritone sax whispers, trips a melody, almost danceable and eminently listenable. This is music that will confirm all the ingrained prejudices of the "Jonny and Juile hate Jazz" brigade that stalk the music press, pub chatter, and web pages. It's inventive, it's spikey, it's drums splash, dash, mash, as player search for the unity, and harmony, it's those tentative steps, those ideas, those nuances, that capture the ears, soul, and imagination. Strident and subtle Saxs and horns shout and whisper, family rows, school yard delights, Friday night is raucous alright. Clash and dash, tasters, live samples, sketches in notes and soundings.  One thing's for sure, this is NOT AI music, It's too constructed, too on the money, too much dexterity. This music needs an investment of that scarcest of resources, time, the one thing we all have too little of. If you want a delight, a sense of the new, forget all that so called 'nu-wave', and get this into your ears. It's a sheer delight of ideas, dexterity, and wonder. 

HINDS - En Forma (Lucky Number)
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by David O'Byrne

David O'Byrne checks in with Hinds from Spain. Their first stripped back, Spanish language single. Cool... David's review is right here→

HORSE JUMPER OF LOVE - Snow Angel (Run for Cover)
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by John Robinson

Scuzzy shoegaze from a Boston based band, drifting, grunge-laden sounds analogous to swirling snow flakes, the Snow Angel as an emblem of impermanence. Newly sober vocalist Dimitri Giannopoulos describes the song, and their new album, as a reset, a purposeful step forward. That's yet to be seen. Their sound is competent but hardly incendiary, or original. Of the song Dimitri says "I wanted to tap into a feeling of being outside in the cold and wanting something" - to go inside, maybe?

RUI GABRIEL - Change Your Mind (Carpark Records)
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by John Robinson

From the album Compassion this pop-rock song about embracing new responsibilities and balancing a new life with nostalgia for the old bounces along merrily enough, nice electronics in the background, a good, chunky riff accompanying it and decent harmonies in the backing vocals. Overall thought the musical ideas don't seem to develop much, it does indeed bounce and chug along rather than soar at any point. 

ELIJAH MINNELLI - Ploughshare Dub (FatCat)
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by Ancient Champion

From the new LP, Perpetual Musket, the totally exceptional Elijah Minnelli. Don't matter what I think I need to listen to, breadcore superstar Elijah Minnelli is really it, for me, right now. Oh wow. Peace out.

NICK HUDSON - Sky Burial While Aliv (Youtube)
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by Toon Traveller

Recorded in a former Soviet Republic, Georgia, this is no Berlin phase Reed or Bowie. Icy coldness of abandoned grandeur, yes, but so wha? Clearly a 'mood' piece, slow, minimalist strings, strong soaring, stirring voce at the music's centre. That's the problem, a centre without heart or soul. Possibly it's meant to be ice cold in precision, and sentiment, on that level it's a success, but dispassionate abandonment of hope ideas and humanity, is either a metaphor for an A.I. dehumanised world, or recognition the years ahead are bleak whatever we do. Bleak and depressing.

DREW MCDOWELL - A Dream of a Cartographic Membrane Dissolves (Dias Records)
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by Alan Rider

Scottish experimental / electronic musician Drew McDowall certainly pushes the envelope, with a  solo bagpipe style called pibroch, often traditionally used for laments and for tributes to the dead, forming the inspiration for much of his previous work. It gives a sombre, yet expansively orchestral quality to his work. This is powerful stuff, soaring in nature, and offering a wide sky of detailed electronic and acoustic sounds, combining pibroch with cello, viola, violin, harp, and French horn.  'A Dream of a Cartographic Membrane Dissolves' is the epic closer to the expansively evocative album 'A Thread, Silvered and Trembling', which is out now.

CRACK CLOUD - The Medium (Jagjaguwar)
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by John Robinson

One of those bands that seem to have a hundred members and look really happy and young in their videos, jumping around and having fun as if the cold hand of death wasn't reaching out to them. Hateful. Crack Cloud are a punky, new-wave sounding band who could be terribly irritating if they weren't completely self-aware. The Medium is about the age old dichotomy of being a punk band trying to make money, "Who would’ve thought that the socially reclusive/Could be exploited for industry usage", a faux Rotten spits, salvaged by a pretty second half and female vocal about the joys of attending a gig, "you find your place to heal at your own pace... and someone smells a profit cause everybody loves it". The joys of being the medium and the message at the same time. 

longer plays.

AS FOR THE FUTURE - As For The Future (Indepedent/Bandcamp)
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by Sofia Ribeiro Willcox

Sofia Ribeiro Willcox unboxes the Musical Memoirs of As For the Future right over here→

YISHAI SWEARTZ & MONA MUR - Clouds of War (Soleilmoon Recordings)
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by Toon Traveller

Industrial beats, metal bashing sounds, threats. It's all doom heavy, captures a national, widespread mood, war, death waiting, skulking, hiding, ready to attack. The vocal, a polemic delivered in a mid-European voice. Desperate words, underpinned by what is best described as doomy Krautrock. This is music from a dark threatening place. Stark and raw in it's soul, it's intention, and atmosphere. This is the record that Ultravoxshould have recorded in Dresden  instead ofVienna. Take that Video, (chuck in wasted E German smoke stacks) and you've the bleakest if visions, it'd would never have charted, but I'd have loved it. Bleakly beautiful.

so, have you got anything else.

SOHO - Hippychick (Soulpunk)
by LamontPaul

Not many bands managed to get politics onto Top of the Pops. Soho did, while making subversion look like a whole lot of fun. I just love these guys so much. What you should know is Soho will be at the next Outsideleft Night Out at Corks in Bearwood, on Friday July 5th. Come along, it's going to be a superb night out. More info right here→

TEARDROP EXPLODES - Reward (Mercury)
by Alan Rider

Its all been so depressing this week, with all the pre-election posturing and lies drowning out the misery and war elsewhere in the world, we really need some pure joy.  This record always, always, has that effect on me. There is a pretty cool story about how it was created too. Play loud!

RACONTEURS - Steady As She Goes (Third Man)
by Ancient Champion

Archetypal American rock on a plate. Pretty good for taking your mind off all euro shortcoming things. S'why it's here.

essential info.

Main image Ian Williams screengrab from YouTube
The previous Week in Music 'Outsideleft Week in Music Gets Extinct' is here→

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