Thursday 22 September 2016

For Frank #3

More album reviews, continued from yesterday. Another old album by an established artist, and some new things.

I went back and embedded some songs in yesterday's entry, by the way, because that's helpful.

Grimes, Geidi Primes
I mentioned Grimes before, right, and I thought I'd pick up her first album, since a lot of the songs have Dune references in the titles, and what's not to love? What indeed is not to love? OK, the big fancy clever production of Visions and Art Angels is not there but it's still both pop and resolutely strange, carrying just the same kind of wanton cultural syncretism that characterises the novel Dune, while at the same time reminding me in places of the Lynchian soundscapes that accompany the movie. I'm enough of a fan to know that she's read the sequels too ("Zoal, Face Dancer" is a reference to Dune Messiah), which pleases me in a sort of "famous musician likes things I like" sort of way.

"Gambang" sounds like it samples Gordon Murray, and is genuinely unsettling, while tunes like "Feyd Rautha Dark Heart" sound legitimately like something Baron Harkonnen might have on his stereo.

Better Late than Never: the Reverb Worship Compilation
This is a huge double CD compilation of things that have appeared on the Reverb Worship label. As a showcase of the label's stuff, it's, unusually for Reverb Worship, not a limited edition. While wide ranging, all of it has an off-kilter kind of feel to it, whether it's an acid folk cover of Talking Heads' "Psycho Killer" (Foxpockets) or a piece of ambient bliss-noise (Palace of Swords, "We Are the New Hyperboreans") or the noise-drenched acid folk that's the label's trademark. I've become a heavy consumer of the Reverb Worship output recently – I even bought a T shirt – and that was originally because I wanted to support Marc Roberts' music, but later because a lot of it was genuinely interesting to me and it's coincided with another realignment of my tastes. There's something about the idea of limited edition CD-Rs that really appeals to me, a sort of cottage industry thing, enthusiasts doing this for the joy of making.

Tiny Magnetic Pets, Return of the Tiny Magnetic Pets, The NATO Alphabet

Although Return of the Tiny Magnetic Pets isn't exactly new (a version of the song "Girl in a White Dress" appeared on a Darla Records compilation in 2009, which was my first contact with them) it is pleasing to see that the Dublin group are a Going Concern, having only released The NATO Alphabet EP a few months ago. And, yeah, it's another example of my obsession with female-fronted electropop. While Erin Fein of Psychic Twin uses icy electro to moderate the expression of heartbreak, the Tiny Magnetic Pets offset fey sweetness, giving it just enough bite to be palatable, like an electropop lemon drop.
James always loads up his packages with badges and trading cards.

Alone, The Retro E-Waste Lifestyle Club, Vol 3

I talked about the project last time, but it's affirming to know that James Reichelt's one song/one artwork a week rhythm hasn't let up, and in fact as he's gone on, rather than running out of creative steam as you'd expect, he's actually got better and better. This is his strongest set yet, with "Hold Hands Over Borders" uplifting and energising, and "Let the Waters Take this Divided Land" possibly the sweetest thing anyone has ever made using an old NES. James includes trading cards and badges with CD purchases, each one a unique artwork attached to a song.

Simeon Smith, The Patience Notes

I know Simeon Smith. I count him a friend. He's ridiculously prolific as a photographer, filmmaker and musician, and doing his serious stuff, he got to play London Fashion Week this year; doing chiptune (as donotrunwithpixels) he turned a Nintendo Game Boy up so loud it practically drowned out the Swansea Comics and Games Convention.

The first time I heard the title track on this album, he'd given it to me to help promote that event that I did last year. It's an awkward, initially hesitant, eventually uplifting piece of music; it feels like it's music that struggles against obstacles and walls, fighting through through to a place of triumph. Anyone can make machine music, but it takes a certain delicacy to make machine music that engages emotionally. This is my favourite thing out of all the stuff he's done so far.

ZEUK, I See Horses (Special Edition)
You know where I stand on the subject of Zeuk.

I have already reviewed the standard version of this album, the one with the teabag and the card; this one includes a second CD with Marc's long-unavailable eponymous first album on it, which is worth the price of admission on its own, a couple of extra tracks on I See Horses which are good and don't unbalance it unnecessarily – one is a redone version of "Sad Song" only with Ronnie doing the vocals, and the other I've linked below – and a little hand painted art charm card from Marc and Ronnie. I know I had the original version, but I wanted Marc's first album a lot, and it's really no chore to support him.

I believe that only the barest handful of these are yet available; Reverb Worship's eBay store is the place to go.

By the way,  my guess that Marc likes quince jam turned out to be on the nose. Go me.