SOFT

#6

(Butte County Free Music Society) Magazine $8.00

Images and text by and/or about Lenore, Doug Roberts, Cody Brant, The Viper, Veronica Lovejoy, The Marques, Fenwick Addison, Joan of Art, Genki Teddy, Maria Estevez, S. Glass, Lymphoma, Ace Farren Ford, Cruel Duane, Aldo Chob, Stormycedar, Dylan Nyoukis. Full color throughout, 32 pages

BREN’T LEWIIS ENSEMBLE

Attract And Reproduce

(Butte County Free Music Society - BUFMS107) 3-inch CDR $4.25

Eighteen minutes of electro-squawk inspired by bot larvae gestating in a nutrient-rich aspic of rancid custard and leech waste. The fourth three-inch CDR in the Dumb Tangerine Dream series. Includes a swatch of Yale University sweatshirt courtesy of This Is Yvonne Lovejoy. Cover photo by Lacie Pound. Edition of 25

NATIONAL DISGRACE

An Evening with National Disgrace

(Chocolate Monk - choc.530) CDR $8.00

Paul Sturm famously observed in 1986 that “Times are bad” and here is proof, recorded live at Vis Club, San Francisco, California, July 3, 1986. Performing as a duo this night, instead of their usual quartet, the set is no less a caterwaul for the missing personnel. Hand-made sculptures produce their signature “waste sound.” Percussion is present and accounted for, courtesy of springs on metal, banging on scrap metal, rotating motor with objects whapping into metal. Industrial-sized shortening cans liberated from a restaurant and converted into amplified pseudo-guitars provide the strings. Vocals are by Fred Rinne, background vocals ably handled by melted records, harmonica, and an out-of-control audience. Edition of 60

KAMBRIK ZONE

Vaporous Clamor

(Chocolate Monk - choc.528) CDR $8.00

Cody Brant (objects, feedback, tapes, and voice) and Ian Mckenzie (synthesizers) know you never asked to be born. They have just the right soundtrack for your last hurtle toward the finishing line. Let’s see what Angela Sawyer has to say: “The sound of the electric other has been here for 65 years, and while it changes a little depending on which technology is cheap, or whether or not you’re American, it never progresses per se. And I don’t think it should. Because we’re all trapped. Round tones hang like a heat, and then are slowly punctuated by the ugly gallop of some somethings plugged back into themselves. Give yourself over to this sound, and you can intuit the heartbeat of a Boston Dynamics robot — a mechanical cop that will keep coming until everybody that isn’t rich is eradicated from existence. There is no foreground on this record, no depth. Sometimes the electronics are juicy, and sometimes flat. Sometimes a snorg has a fuzzy edge, and sometimes it’s metallic. But be certain, you’re always inside the robot and the robot can’t feel. It has no head to feel with. It can only do backflips and open doors while it endlessly patrols. You know it’s looking for you.” Edition of 60

HORSE LAMINATORS

If You Can Hear This You’re Too Close

(Chocolate Monk - choc.531) CDR $8.00

Hey, poser, forget the much-vaunted cardiovascular workout and let masterful triumvirs Sindre Bjerga, Max Nordile, and Theo Gowans ratify your brain and ears with their beyond-crunked cut-up music. A heavy session of scrambled listening awaits if you are ripe for said ratification. Breathe deeply. Says Bjerga, “The tracks are packed dense with cut-ups and synth-boggle and shredded microphonie — split open wide with slowed-down stories from the subterranean ditches dripping icicles, mad locusts swarming.” Edition of 60

NEIL CAMPBELL / STICKY FOSTER

Orange Emulsion Gush

(Chocolate Monk - choc.529) CDR $8.00

These two old heads were recently reunited when El Stickoid was granted a short break back to the Brexit Isles by his handlers after successfully sewing confusion in Tunisia. With his never-waning Protestant work ethic Campbell dragged our bedraggled Agent to Huddersfield’s Dai Hall on a Saturday afternoon in August for a short but savory jammer of sonic sourdough positivity. Praise the raise! “From a fine Calder nosebag we headed to the sandstone tones o’Hudd, Neil effusively introducing the jewelcase misery geyser, whose wares we browsed before hirsute sarnies and mauve sambuca coffee,” reports Foster, if the above seems to good to be true. “Vacated shop had space, signs of good goings on, hot beverage access. Deep, dark broom cupboard of bags of janglers, cables ’n’ footstomp extracted, and Neil applying suitable pluggings. Ebb ’n’ flow of harmonium lungs overstretched the retied strap and foot pedal duo down to one. Painted pedestals for swapping toys, alpini and no-lamb chanters, things fumbled out of parps to a scratchy throb, between mugs of tea. So long since I’d had a tinkle with anyone, but felt so good! I didn’t see it coming, but a gush of white emulsion appeared down my thighs as we deposited the clangers back in the broom cupboard. Glee turned to distress as we realized we’d tipped it into one of the few items not purchased in a Bradford poundshop, but teetering bows and floor rolls had a wind-down follow-up as we rubbed back the Superstition’s orange panels. ’Twas a guilty tale to confess at the well ventilated head of steam.” Edition of 50

THE NEGATIVE KITE

Hovering A Corner Into Carpet High Skies

(Chocolate Monk - choc.532) CDR $8.00

Birmingham’s mysterious The Negative Kite returns after a short three-year absence with 41minutes and 41 seconds of hard-to-pin-down lo-fidelity Xerox-like tape music. This thing wheezes, crackles and confuses. Bass rumbles and skittering cassettes float alongside distant resonating who-knows-what while unknown animal-ish sounds burble up into earshot. Feels like you’re floating over a monochromatic landscape. Astral projection music for all you ferric oxide animists. Edition of 60

THE OCCUPANT

Phantom Cupboard

(Chocolate Monk - choc.524) CDR $8.00

“Phantom Cupboard occupies a homemade spaceship the components of which are outmoded appliances that need regular adjustments and deglitching,” explains Rick Potts. “After docking onto a decommissioned communications satellite, the newly plundered obsolete hardware is cobbled into a charity store kitchen cabinet. Lost voices find a home in this makeshift rocket. Calm chaos ensues as the machines talk among themselves. Outside, beyond the repurposed microwave oven door, the vastly jaded cosmos has a bad dream.” Edition of 60

TODD W. EMMERT

Open Doors, Open Graves

(Chocolate Monk - choc.525) CDR $8.00

North Carolina’s number one porch lounger returns to the microphone and the craft of song after spending 2020 singing not a single note (too busy blowing cigar smoke in the face of the cardboard God). He repents nothing and knows not to mourn this mess of a world as we are all just sea-monkeys observed from afar. You want a monk’s cell with a ceiling fan? Sorry, all we have is the mellow sound in which to drown, covering, according to the Tarheel Troubadour, “themes of death, mental illness, loneliness and solitude, and mysterious bohemian bloodlines.” Edition of 60

HOWARD STELZER

Shaking Off The Metaphors (Suburban Observances Volume 1)

(Chocolate Monk - choc.527) CDR $8.00

Sounds collected over many years, known very well to Stelzer, possibly so well he wasn’t truly hearing them any more. The first in a series of six volumes of collections of tracks to have passed through the hands of others and then back to the master incorporates processing by Theo Gowans (Territorial Gobbing), Andrew Zukerman (Fleshtone Aura), Theresa Smith (DeTrop), France Jobin, Ross Scott-Buccleuch (Diurnal Burdens), Frans de Waard (Modelbau), Joe Murray (Posset) and Stuart Chalmers. Tori Kuso sings on one track. Edition of 60

MAŽAS KIEKIS

Much Like Yourself

(Chocolate Monk - choc.526) Cassette $8.00

At one of the last Crazy Doberman shows before the dreaded Covid jaws clamped down, a twitchy gent sporting a fine skullet and rocking a Heart Of The Congos t-shirt approached the ensemble — nothing unusual there — and talked excitedly about his “plastic & mystic art,” and how through the power of the voice he could “prove that social graces are but a side dish of deceit.” The players got edgy as Mr. Quick Talk rummaged in his bag. A tape was gifted and then off he went into the night. As soon as they jammed the tape, they knew where its natural home was and kindly proceeded to post it on to Wino Lodge. Here you’ll find the sound of Kiekes letting it all go, speaking in tongues, mumbling, singing, maybe even losing his mind. Multi-layered voice and tape crud scurry back and forth, looping and lopping, garbling and gurning. The only credits on the tape read “voice, dictaphone, microphones, cassettes, tape loops, voice memos, 4-track, moisturizer, mixer.” Hard to tell if this is the work of a student of sound poetry and text sound composition, or just a loner with a vision. Either way he is speaking our language and it is life-affirming stuff. C24. Edition of 50

TODD W. EMMERT

A Summer’s Day And Night

(Chocolate Monk - CHOC.390) CDR $8.00

No one makes being a visionary seem like an attractive career more than Todd W. Emmert. His beguilingly unassuming compositions slip through the cracks between the cosmic binaries — your yings and your yangs, the bottom of the aboves and the tops of the belows, the magic hours of twilight and dusk. A Summer’s Day And Night oozes with sacred perspiration wrung from the garments of the children of the supreme hypno-void getting dizzy on an interstellar merry-go-round. Four opening tracks lull you into a false sense of New Age security, better than any vegan restaurant hold muzak, before Emmert goes full ghost story and bakes your head into a wax unagi pie replica in the galley of a Unarius UFO with a series of heavy, scalp-striating distorto drones that have every right to take up entire album sides. A fine, fine distillation of “splashing” and “down.” Huff it. Numbered edition of 60

JOHNNY SCARR

NONNAH

(Chocolate Monk - choc.523) CDR $8.00

Thinking of your fate? Mired down in a mortality wobble? Deep breaths and audio hum can alleviate them shakes, while tapes and tones keep the lizards at bay. After a considerable bout of radio silence from Spoils & Relics, Johnny Scarr gets his thumb out of his arse and dusts down the old four-track. What starts off trying to fool you into thinking of this as just another miserable Spoils & Relics record morphs into something more mellow and almost musical, like the tipsy leader of a cult of one trying to reel in some starseed. “It’s just another mopey, shitty, synth record,” according to Chuckles himself, “Which obviously the world needs more of.” Cognition blurred. Ears pleased. Edition of 50

TODD W. EMMERT

A New Normal

(Chocolate Monk - CHOC.401) CDR $7.00

Part hot shot of life-affirming glimmer, part wounds-cleanser, and, in the words of Emmert himself, part “quick postcard to people who are suffering from traumas and there is no way out. That’s what the title means: finding a new place to rest inside yourself, because all previous normalcy was destroyed by trauma…. There is no fixing things….” Numbered edition of 60.

DAI COELACANTH

Ghoul Town Tails Two

(Dai Coelacanth) Magazine $5.50

Further rambling word garble from the demented street poet of England’s North. Burroughs in a flatcap with a gluebag tight in hand. “Metal Suzi dirty as a birthday.” Sixty-four pages

VARIOUS ARTISTS

**** (Four Stars)

(Swineken) LP $25.00

Dutch reissue of the legendary documentary artifact of Wellington New Zealand’s postpunk scene circa 1980. Four bands from the pre-Flying-Nun underground — Life In The Fridge Exists, Wallsockets, Naked Spots Dance, Beat Rhythm Fashion — pose for this fantastic snapshot of a radical DIY scene that played out in a vacuum at the bottom of the world.

SINDRE BJERGA / TANTO

Huffing The Semantic Smoke From The Deep Hum

(Chocolate Monk - choc.490) CDR $6.75

In the midst of it all, Sindre Bjerga escaped for a while through secret tunnel passages and met up with Tanto in his underground lab, where piles of tape machines oozed and buzzed, dozens simultaneously. He hooked up his stuff to the main frame, which made it overheat, creak, thump, and melt until the sounds were on fire and language combusted into a cloud of fog. Words and meaning went up in smoke and duo was cast into the big, deep hum of vapor. Edition of 60

FINAL SEED

Untitled

(Chocolate Monk - choc.478) CDR $6.25

Jameson Sweiger of Maths Balance Volumes beams forth further transmissions from his mysterious bunker out in Mankato, Minnesota. The weird warble of the tapes and the Chopinesque throat burbles are all present and correct, but is he telling us of the seven plagues of the petrochemical age or informing us of the fact that the internet is an alien life form? Whatever the answer, just be sure to keep your sick room windows closed while you try to decipher. Edition of 60