Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Review - Soundhog and the Twelve Hour Foundation




Highlights Tonight from CASTLES IN SPACE
REVIEWS MASQUERADE AS A TV SCHEDULE 122
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ON SOUNDHOG TONIGHT
5:05   NEWTOWN PARKWAY (New series) A bloody exciting trip down the   information super-highway on a scooter whilst being chased by   aluminium police detectives about to crack their next case.
10:15   ASTRABLAST The celebration of the excesses of time travel and space exploration continues this week with a jaunty look at how pogo  sticks are manufactured. Listen out for the sweet homage to the end   bit of Doctor Who in 1982.

Buy this wonderful single right here and now.


5:06  BUNCH OF FIVES (New Series) As the five investigate the old   power  plant they get more than they bargain for when they find that they are trapped in a shopping montage.
10:13  FIVE MORE (Film) When visiting a fairground Jemima and Algernon find a   baby Speak and Spell that they teach to dance at the local Bring and   Buy sale.
12:31  COQUILLAGES(Repeat – 2 of 15) Join in with Barbara Masters as she guides you through the second of the fifteen stages of grief in time to the rhythms of a spider spinning a web.

BUY this beautifully presented lathe cut single sided single here.

Monday, 28 May 2018

It's Disjointed Oddities Day! - A review of Disjointed Oddities and Other Such Things - Keith Seatman


It's Disjointed Oddities™ Day!

How will you celebrate?

Firstly can you spot the difference between these three identical images below? 


That’s right! They are completely identical. That’s because on Disjointed Oddities™ Day things that appear different or strange are united in a confluence of joyous abandon. A Child, the Hare and the Old Wooden Chair on Keith Seatman’s celebration of things apparently separate but actually unified: “Disjointed Oddities and Other SuchThings” captures this perfectly. The strange shuffling steam train beat, electronic whistles, creaks and a guide to etiquette at a party playing within, underline the complexities and delights of this exciting EP. “Please and thank you and thank you very much for coming.”

 
No Disjointed Oddities™ Day would be complete without a visit to Grey Lake. The haunting beats and Cutleresque reminiscing are both haunting and strangely hilarious, which of course is a juxtaposition that this day is all about.

Of course it is then time to enjoy the heady hard stamping disco beats Behind the Curtain, Red Room. Jump. Jump and nod your head in a frenzy of nostalgic enjoyment for a forgotten
future as the beat, sweeping synth and electro drum whoops sweep you along.

On Disjointed Oddities™ Day you absolutely can get Something for Nothing. As this exploration of being stalked by a neo-plastic Jenny Agutter android through a haunted 1970’s Antique store shows absolutely. "Listen to this one."


But we are all Broken Folk. “An Empire is falling” as the Revbjelde remix informs us and Disjointed Oddities day will end. But it doesn’t have to. You can celebrate Disjointed Oddities™ day every day by buying this bloody brilliant EP here.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Review - All Hold Hands and Off We Go - Keith Seatman


It is late.

I should have done this months ago. I am in a panic that not enough people will realise how important this is. I need to shout it from the highest peaks.

I search for a point to call from. I can see Keith Seatman in the distance. His shadow disappearing across the water. He is elusive, unknown and yet familiar.

I spy a flickering glow up ahead. A soaring echo matches the sweep of the beam as it dances across the waves. I would climb the lighthouse to the top and scream out my news to the world but, although a lighthouse might look long, it is not tall enough. So I run further inland to the abandoned school on the hill with its tall bell tower.

The school is alive with noise. My old teacher commands me to enter, her round red face shimmering and see-through. The spectres of my memory dance in the tired beige hall, its paint peeling. The tiny chairs are pushed to the side. The music begins, loud insistent, stamping a rhythm together, we all hold hands and off we go.

I am pushed outside by intangible tiny hands. A skipping rope flips and spirals in constant loops. A small child plays a tune. The nightmare recorder player is pumping out notes whilst others hit the side of an upturned bin, insisting on a rhythm. I try to keep time, the rope skimming the top of my head. I cannot keep time.

Everything slows to a crawl. Even gravity cannot pull me down as I leap between rope and air and tarmac. Mr Metronome is beating out a rhythm and we all follow. A sweet melancholy settles over me and the playground fades to white.

The children are running ahead through the white. I call for them. But to them I am left behind or lost and dropped. I cannot find them. I am one of them and I need to join their dance. I call out for them to come back. The white dissipates to grey, to blue, to grey, to black, to sepia, to the abandoned peeling beige of the old school hall. There is a rising electronic spike and they rise.

They surround me. Beckoning me forward and back. To join the dance. The rhythm is kinder now. Four steps at a time. Four steps at a time. Do not panic. All is well. Four steps at a time.

The chairs and table are swept into the room. The shutters rise. The see-through dinner-lady with her see-through ladle pours hot cocoa into a cup.
“Take this”, she says. “And get to bed.”
A nightcap is thrust on my head and I am pushed towards an ancient door. I look about. The mood is quieter. Children chatter behind their hands. They shouldn’t be here. They have got older. I have got older. I must look odd in a nightcap and cup in my hand.  An old Hammond organ plays an exit tune.

I’m still here. Chains rattle. There is an incessant tap tap on the door. The children are silent. Tap tap. I turn. They all point, as one, at the door. Tap tap. This is the stuff of nightmares. The door rattles and creaks. I cannot breathe. It opens. A staircase is revealed. Chains rattle. I step inside.

I walk up the stairs. A sound builds, grinding, rising. What is that noise? A powerful noise. The stairs end and a vast empty room sits before me. Filled with boxes. Each box humming and shaking and dancing. Boxes with rhythms in.

At the end of the room is another door, a staircase beyond that leads to the bell tower. I sip my cocoa and find my tongue coated with salt and candy. The stairs reach into darkness. I climb.

The shimmering reflection of the moon hangs over the distant sea. Somewhere a kettle whistles. A boat bobs on the line of the horizon. A black triangle against silver and grey. Please, is it you? I need them to know. They must know. The ritual has begun again and all must join the half-remembered dance.

When the music plays all hold hands and off we go. We cannot resist. Put the record on again, Miss. I want to dance. I have to.

.........................................................................

It's not too late. Buy it now from here.




Monday, 16 April 2018

Review - Concretism - For Concrete and Country


 Buy the album here
BUY THE ALBUM HERE

The tape distorts and I am on the Black Special, sweeping across the grey landscape towards my refuge. Calm voices of probable doom are buffeted by the rhythm of the turning steel on the tracks. And although the end is near I am smiling at these sweet sounds of grey horror. As visions of a melting landscape drift before me, the Radomes stand proud, incongruous and mighty. It is time to disembark.

I can hear the pulsing beats of the microwave relay echoing down the hundred metre blast tunnel. In the generator room a man wearing spectacles sits behind his desk, pressing buttons.  I start to tremble. My feet shift left to right and my head sways back and forth. Are my teeth loose or is it my imagination?

They are coming. They are clothed head to toe in white, breath echoing in their cylindrical masks, voices muffled.
“There has been an Unspecified Radiological Incident,” one of them shouts, but her voice is far away and distant. It seems like a memory of something I never knew. She takes off her helmet, asking me if I have come to join the ROC Trainee programme. The man behind the desk stands and flicks a switch. The beats go dark. A voice of an old recording sweeps across, the analogue invades the digital, a misremembered score for a public information film.

I bought this badge in an Antiques Shop in Sheringham, Norfolk.
Everything else in the shop was made of brass.

The woman leads me up a flight of stairs. We wind our way higher and higher breaking through the concrete, the granite and the sod into grey steel and air. Higher and higher. The view from Pye Green Tower is one of imagined devastation. I wish for an end, for emptiness, for the new start that I have seen rehearsed over and over. But I am left waiting, watching.
 
In the radar room the dot dances, blips and repeats, the man behind the desk stares at it. Scratching his bobbing head. Men and women are working at beige computers, clacking away at heavy keyboards. Waltzing from chair, to screen, to map, to dancing dot. The end of the world was never so romantic. If the tunnel protects us from the inevitable this will be the seat of power. We will need a system. We will need new governments for a new nation. Someone will need to guide us. I hear a voice of calm among the beats and pulses and steel hits, but it is not enough. The man behind the desk is still. Just for a moment.
 
In the quiet the click of the hardened telephone exchange sings out. Soft sweeping synth caresses the wires, buzzing pylon waves of electricity swim in steady strokes above our heads. The man behind the desk is poised. Alert. He takes off his glasses and gives them a wipe.


"The radiation from this dust is dangerous. It cannot be seen or felt."
Protect and Survive - Crown 1980

A mask and suit are thrust into my hands.
“Just in case,” someone mutters. “We must be ready for the dustfall. Have you built your inner refuge? Your fallout room? Maybe you should stay here. Maybe you should stay with us. Listen.”
The calm voice reassures and frightens in equal measure. Soft tones, rich electronic bass and mechanical clanks, but underneath are reassuring tones that carry sweet nightmare on their breath.

I will stay. The man behind the desk demands it. He draws me in. Commanding me to listen again. To Protect and Survive. To plan my survival kit. To know the warning sounds. To remember. To do this for memory. For past. For future. For concrete and country.

The man behind the desk bows. I will listen again.

The apocalypse is coming and it is a beautiful thing.

You can listen to the first track here: https://concretism-cis.bandcamp.com/track/black-special


Concretism
For Concrete and Country.
An Album of Grim British Cold War Electronica.
Vinyl LP and Digital Download.
Released by Castles in Space on 20th April, 2018.

Genre: Electronica, Hauntology.
Format: 12” vinyl LP (300 copies black vinyl. 200 copies Turquoise Vinyl.)
Also available as a digital download.
Release date: 20th April 2018
Available from: Norman Records, Castles in Space Bandcamp.

Following on from a series of EP downloads and 2016’s vinyl compilation album, ‘Electricity’, Concretism releases an all new album, “For Concrete and Country” via Castles in Space on 20th April 2018. Drawing on influences from the books ‘War Plan UK’ and ‘Beneath the City Streets’, this album features music inspired by Britain’s Cold War infrastructure and state continuity preparations for nuclear emergencies - both real and imagined. The album takes us on a sonically adventurous journey through microwave tower networks, hardened telephone exchanges and devolved regional governments.

The wonderful artwork is by Richard Littler (“Scarfolk”) and features an adapted image of a “radome” located at Field Station 8613, a secret base located about nine miles west of Harrogate in North Yorkshire. These massive white golf ball-like domes protrude from the earth, protected behind a perimeter fence topped with piercing razor wire. Here, in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, these sinister radomes were used to monitor Soviet communications throughout the height of the Cold War.

Chris Sharp, the talent behind the Concretism project, takes inspiration from this not too distant world of nuclear and cold war paranoia, resulting in an album of unsettling electronics which perfectly invokes the pervasive cultural disquiet of intrusive surveillance, the red menace and the bomb. Fears which the recent drift of events confirm are still very much with us, remaining part of our societal DNA.