NASH THE SLASH: Blind Windows (Canadian import CD on Cut-Throat Records, 688 Yonge St. #66, Toronto M4Y 2A6 Canada) ($18.00 post-paid).
Briefly (for the newcomers), Nash the Slash is a Canadian musician who has appeared in several of my comics (Changes, Savage Henry, and The Contaminated Zone). His recordings from the Eighties are eagerly sought after by audiophiles, not just as collectibles but for their awesome sonic content.
"Blind Windows" marks the long awaited CD release of Nash's debut EP and album ("Bedside Companion" and "Dreams and Nightmares"). Included on this 74 minute CD are "The Marsden Versions" of the EP tracks.
There are numerous aspects that make Nash's music so special. His choice of electric mandolin and electric violin set him in an odd class way outside traditional rock'n'roll. From this niche, Nash blazes with a blend of classical and modern electronic music. Shrill mandolin and squealing violin savagery belt out energetic instrumental tuneage flavored with E-perc, keyboards, devices and effects.
And ah, the songs: strong with vibrant rhythm and catchy hooks, Nash's compositional sense is another aspect establishing how special his music is. The melodies are often quite intense too...and (frustratingly) refuse to comfortably fit into any genre. Elements of pop, classical, fusion and space seep together, defying classification.
You can dance or trance to Nash's
music. Regardless of your sonic taste, Nash's dark music will leave you breathless.
For all of you who have written over the years, asking after Nash's music--here is
your chance. Don't blow it. For those of you who are already deep fans of Nash's
music--you will delight to hearing this music sans all the vinyl crackle and hiss.
Nash the Slash WebSite: http://www.nashtheslash.com
PETE NAMLOOK: The Fires of Ork (Begian import CD on Apollo Records).
Namlook collaborating with Geir Jenssen (aka Biosphere). This is a fine, dense ambient rave endeavour with pulsing electronics and alien percussives--very rhythmic.
PETE NAMLOOK: Namlook II (no label info).
This is one long astral piece, very passive (even with the nikky percussives) and spacy, but tends to wander rather than progress.
PETE NAMLOOK: Winter (no label info).
This one is really really passive with shimmering tonalities deviod of any bite...fitting, I suppose, for a "winter" piece, but a tad too minimalist for me.
BILL NELSON: After the Satellite Sings (CD on Gyroscope Records in USA).
Another release by Bill Nelson ...this guy turns out albums faster than can be healthy for a guitarist's fingers.
And what is it this time? Pop tunes--lively, rich with colorful guitar and energetic percussion. Nelson's dreamy vocals swim with sampled snippets through songs that exude pep and robotic swingtime. Truly, Nelson's compositional sense hasn't been this sharp since the early Eighties. Not much E-bow guitar (his signiture instrument) this time. Instead the emphasis on this 62 minute album is on outright guitar pyrotechnics: wail, twang and grind.
Ladies and gentlebeings--we have a winner!
BILL NELSON: Crimeworth (Flowers, Stones, Fountains and Flames) (on Resurgence Records in UK).
Now here's ambience in its purest form...mellow beyond belief, soft neverending tones and dripping water and wildlife noises and sighing electronics...this goes on for 30 minutes twice. For fans of nonexistent background music.
BILL NELSON: Practically Wired (or How I Became Guitarboy) (CD on All Saints/Gyroscope Records in USA
After a long stretch of ambient releases this Nelson album really stomps on the home plate in the rock'n'roll diamond. Kickass guitars aplenty--ripping and snarling with power. Other instrumentation is used (percussion, electronics, sampled vocal snippets, piano), but the spotlight is on the guitar. Nelson really starts rocking here with tasty tuneage that hides its kickass rockout in a cloak of progressive instrumental music. Okay...there are a few sedate pieces throughout the album, but these do not damage the intense mood created by the raucous guitar attacks.
NEU: Neu 4 (CD on Captain Trip Records, 3-17-14 Minami-Kolwa, Edogawa-Ku, Tokyo, Japan).
You either recognize Neu as legendary masters of electronic rock, or you're living in a Larry Fast darkness and I cannot help you .
The good news: for a quarter of a century there were only three Neu albums, each highly cherished and emulated by many. Suddenly--there is "Neu 4"--a fantastic dose of hard electronic rock recorded in 1985-86 made up of quirky metronomic percussion, quivery guitar, quintessential sinuous synthi rivers and treated vocals. This would be the high point of the musical decade if it weren't for the bad news...
Soon after its release this CD was pulled off the market due to legal hassles between Klaus Dinger and Michael Rother, making this gem impossible to find. But if you find i , jump on it with a strong passion.
COLIN NEWMAN: Bastard (on Swim/World Domination Recordings, PO Box 8097, Universal City Station, North Hollywood, CA 91618, USA).
Guitar, bass, drums and electronics. Makes it sound almost primative...or is it primal? Well, if you harness these instruments to Colin Newman's overcreative mind and ever-nimble fingers, you get the most outstanding instrumental pop album I've heard in years.
Some of you may remember Newman was one of the integral members of Wire. Do not expect Newman's quirky singsong style from previous work. This is a more sinuous Newman, intricately interweaving guitar rhythms and strange noises to concoct driving melodies of superior quality and intelligence. Imagine Immersion with guitars.
Incredible is such an understatement for this release. This CD definitely contains the most exciting music I've heard in many years. Heavily recommended.
NEWT: "-273C" (CD on Quantum Loop Records, PO Box 170100, San Francisco, CA 94117 USA).
This 64 minute CD is a collaboration project by Daniel Myer (from Haujobb) and Tehanu (from Forme Tadre).
This meshing of sonic minds produces a more subdued use of sampled electro sounds and industrial techno rhythms. The tunes retain a decent tempo though, being more playful and less aggressive--like a dose of 22nd century Euro lounge Drum & Bass, bursting with truly alien electronic sounds. Imagine a more laid back, sultry form of Autechre--a real winner. The music is generally instrumental with unobtrusive vocal snippets in a few songs.
NINE INCH NAILS: The Perfect Drug Versions (CD EP on Nothing Records).
Many of you out there have been eagerly awaiting this EP since the song can only be otherwise found on the "Lost Highway" soundtrack. Well, here it is, but you don't get the original version. You get five remixes that span a surprisingly wide range of styles for 34 minutes, from hard edged by Meat Beat Mani-festo, Plug and Nine Inch Nails, to astral by Space Time Continuum and the Orb. And in true unexpected nature, it's the NIN remix that least resembles the original. Stack it and enjoy.
NINEWOOD: New Can of Ice (CD on Vaccination Records, PO Box 20931, Oakland, CA 94611 USA) (12.00 post.paid).]
Dense lyrical weirdness shudders in a pool of thump-bass dominated modern rock with sparkling heavy percussion aflutter in these compressed songs (18 in 36 minutes). Imagine Primus with a female vocalist, or Henry Cow if they rocked-out, or Sonic Youth if they lived in California. The tunes are uptempo and playful--grunge beatniks do power rock with black-leotard-in-college-but-snub-the-coffee-shop-crowd intellectualism. Some may find this music to be abrasive.
(Label WebSite: www.vacrec.com).
NODE: Node (CD on Deviant Records in UK).
It's not often that such a superb album comes along catering in the extreme to the trance and power-surge electronic music genres. Node is Dave Bessell, Gary Stout, Ed Buller, and Flood.
The songs build from a trance intro into dynamic explosions of intense electronic rhythms, surging for a time to then retract into ominous atmospherics for the closing. Given that most of the pieces average ten minutes length, there's ample time to explore each stage, leaving the listener suitably satisfied and impressed by the slick vibrancy. The sound Node achieves is a weirdling blend of the best sounds of classic Tangerine Dream, Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Schulae, applied to wholly new compositions.
Absolutely recommended. As is Node's "Terminus" CD EP (also on Deviant) which features 21 minutes recorded live in Paddington Train Station in late 1995. Totally awesome--maestros at play!
NOISEBOX: Monkey Ass (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
Heavy industrial techno with a strong presence of guitars and samplers The lyrics (and sampled snippets) drip with boiling hate and angry despair.
NOISE UNIT: Decoder (CD on Dossier Records in Germany).
Again we have a band changing their sound with a new LP--and again the direction is wholly aeceptable and enjoyable. Previous Noise Unit releases have had a lyrical content and a more agro rock tint. But this time Noise Unit (aka Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber who are also known as Front Line Assembly, Delerium, Intermix) have chosen a sonic route more akin to FLA or a more aggressive Intermix.
You get 66 minutes of rapid industrial with a savage percussive backbite and hundreds of infectious synthi-rhythms--real fast-finger stuff. As usual, Leeb and Fulber's compositional talents mold it all into slick dance music for cyborgs on the triple metabolic setting.
One thing that can be said of Leeb and Fulber: they sure can crank out quality music in volumes and not suffer from any burnout. Ten FLA LPs, 8 as Delerium, 2 as Intermix, and 4 (including this one) as Noise Unit...and I still want more--more--more!
NOISE UNIT: Drill (CD on Metropolis Records, PO Box 54307, Phila., PA 19105).
This time Leeb and Fulber (aka Front Line Assembly) do an electronic wall of sound that is subtly spiced with very unobtrusive lyrics. The mix is thick with sinuous E-perc, sultry electronics, with creepy noises in abundance. While the tunes on the 58 minute CD are striking and arrestingly uptempo in a very tasty industrial dance mode.
NOMUZIC: Celestial Seasonings (cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Ave., Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
The music on this 60 minute tape is varied in delivery, but carries a common thread of absolute cynicism. One song broods with a grinding synthi heartbeat and sedate rhythmic weirdness. Another song pastiches biblical quotes on a seething electronic landscape. One song starts with deceptive calm, only to build to a slowburn of spooky intense electronics. One song uses a running splice of tapes concerning extraterrestrial contacts with humans as strong front for a wall of haunting background electronics. Another song is a gurgling waterfall of processed shortwave signals. While the last song bears a surprising new age sound with its peaceful space pulse and wandering cultureal waves. Cool stuff.
NOMUZIC: ImaGottaDaVoltage (54 minute cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Avenue., Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
This is a pair of sidelong duets between Nomuzic and John Hudak (on side A) and Northern Machine's Patrick Gillis (on side B). "A" is a severe electronic landscape littered with sharp pointy noises and frequent insectoid moments. "B" is a very creepy sonic landscape with its "inaccurate rhythms" and haunting synthi washes. Very recommended.
NOMUZIC: Notes About the Man (60 minute cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Avenue., Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
Nomuzic is a band of many sounds...this tape is dark and gloomy industrial rock. Hard percussion, sinuous synthis and gravelly echoing vocals...it's sort of cross between Hawkwind and Nash the Slash with a dash of Depeche Mode. Very recommended.
NOMUZIC: A Tale of Two Kitties ( 46 minute cassette tape on Audiofile Tapes, 209-25 18 Avenue., Bayside, NY 11360, USA).
This is a very sneaky tape that lulls you with excellent ambient electronics worked around a recurrent cat's "meow" with dreamy synthis and snickering computers...then side two goes frenzied and really weird with some abrasive electronic delerium. Really cool music.
NORTHERN MACHINE: A Broken Mold (cassette tape on Hoffman Cleaner Cathode Company, PO Box 4073, East Norwalk, CT. 06855, USA).
Superb electronics that wander between intensity and trance state. Highly recommended.
NORTHERN MACHINE: Surge Zone (60 minute cassette tape on Hoffman Cleaner Cathode Company, PO Box 4073, East Norwalk, CT 06855--only $8.50 post-paid).
This is a cool release by a personal fave of mine from the independent cassette scene. One side of the tape is agro dance electronics: strange noises and vocal tape snippets. Very strong material, hard edged, rhythmic industrial. The B-side of the tape features a more sedate nonrhythmic dose of electronics: long grinds and vibrating aerial tones. Industrial new age--or is it angry ambience? Highly recommended.
THE NOTWIST: Shrink (CD on Zero Hour Records, 14 W 23rd St. 4th Fl, NYC, NY 10010 USA).
This 48 minute CD is alternative rock with a prominent electronic edge. Combine modern pop vocals, grunge guitar, snappy percussion, and Euro-romantic style vocals...then inject lots of snickering abrasive electronics. Imagine Aphex Twin jamming with James or The Smiths.
This CD contains some CD-ROM material.
GARY NUMAN: Exile (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave. #251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
You might not remember, but before Numan captured the insipid pop charts with "Cars", his Tubeway Army band pioneered a darker, moodier synth pop sound. Well, two decades later, Numan has returned to these darker, moodier roots with his "Exile" release.
Numan's rich vocals croon wormholes through ethereal yet dense electronics punctuated by E-perc like robotic applause. Add a dash of guitar snarl and you have a surprisingly interesting dose of lyrical E-music. Forget cars and other patch-chord dreams, this time the subject is the Angel Wars, with mankind struggling to stay sane in the midst of a crumbling heaven.
GARY NUMAN: The Mix (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave. #251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).
The concept: modern remixes of Numan classic tunes from the early Eighties.
The product: 66 minutes of intense vibrancy: gabber mixes by Astralasia and LCD, an industrial growl mix by Spahn Ranch, a sinuous Anubian Lights mix, and techno mixes by Leaether Strip and nine more bands.
The result: excellent transformation of Eighties club music into Nineties club fare.
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