PETER PRAUTZSCH: The Fever Drawings CD Palacmusic


PETER PRAUTZSCH: The Fever Drawings CD Palacmusic

The overdriven pads of ‘Quiet Joys’ blast into life on this latest album from Prautzsch, as a heartbeat rhythm section thumps amongst a fluttering array of piano and electronica; cascading amongst reverberated cymbals and drones.

In contrast, ‘Knife Dance’ concentrates on Jazz percussion and harmonic accompaniments; and whilst make little impact on the listener, set up the subtle programming of ‘Unfold Fully’; which breathes through a sea of well placed pads.

PP never overstates himself on his latest release.  Everything plods along at a serene and welcoming pace; from the darker atmospherics of ‘The Barbarians, to the IDM-ism’s of ‘Victorian Dove’, blending analogue and electronic sounds like a well baked cake.

The off kilter soundtrack elements of some of the tracks gel the 11 song album together into one cohesive story.  Dipping his toes into a cross section of commercial and obscure pattern display, keeps the listener on edge as things delve into peculiar territories; adding the element of surprise when things start to border on the ponderous.

‘The Fever Drawings’ is a clever display of musicianship as a whole; but feels a little overworked in places when Prautzsch forces his skills home.  However, all in all this is an enjoyable release; and quite remarkable once it gets to the point.


KENNETH KIRSCHNER: Compressions & Rarefactions CD 12k


KENNETH KIRSCHNER: Compressions & Rarefactions CD 12k

Kirschner has released a wide variety of work over the years and this latest is the 4th on the 12k label, whom by and large have released nothing but quality, for the majority of albums I have got my mitts on.  I have to confess to not hearing any of Kenneth’s works up to this point; and to be fair; the overblown press bumpf doesn’t actually sell him to me.

KK’s work has often been described as “challenging” and to some; I feel it most likely is.  Blending a pool of electronic and chamber music isn’t anything I haven’t heard before, plodding on it’s way and occasionally flirting with Drone.

‘Compressions & Rarefactions’ does have its moments.  Spangling instrumentation occasionally shines a brief light along the way, but is over in a flash; and when KK is actually onto something, he tends to meander and admire these spectacular interruptions, until they outstay their welcome.

I will give credit where it’s due though.  Kenneth does know how to play a multitude of instrumentation; and when he sets his mind to it, he does it with degree of professionalism.  Prolific as he is, for those that dare venture, there is a further mammoth 6.5 hours of music (in the form of a digital download) that comes with this CD.  I have to abstain however, as there are only so many hours in the day; and whilst I respect the effort that has gone into this album, I simply have more emotive things to listen to.


THE EX: The Ex at Bimhuis (1991-2015) 2xCD Bimhuis


THE EX: The Ex at Bimhuis (1991-2015) 2xCD Bimhuis

In all honesty this was a difficult and laborious listen for me from start to finish.  I don’t mind Jazz and ethnic elements to tracks and indeed some of the music I listen to flirts with these genres on many an occasion.  However, a bumper 2 CD package of nothing but obscure and off the wall music from one of the most revered artists in this scene, is a little too much to swallow in its entirety; and I found myself staring into space, slack-jawed and drooling like I was auditioning for ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ at the half way point.

There are elements to The Ex that I love, with the odd smattering of anarchistic Punk floating my boat on the odd occasion; but it’s the incorporation of Free Jazz and other collaborative efforts that sap a lot of their work for me (although this does appeal to their wide and varied diehard fans).  This album would have benefitted from tracks such as ‘State of Shock’ and so forth and most likely it’s the choice of songs on this release that leaves me a little cold.

However, if you are one of the fans I mentioned above, who adore and revel in anything this legendary Netherlands act produce; then there is much to shout about here.  Two compact discs of music, with a booklet packed with photos, posters and an article penned by Dutch journalist Peter Bruyn.

The Ex though, if I am to be honest, have never really done anything for me, with only the odd album I can relate to; so I may not be the best person to ask when it comes to their music.  But I do respect them non-the-less for their staying power and tip my hat to their ever loyal fanbase.


JOHN CHANTLER; Still Light, Outside LP/CD 1703 Skivbolaget


JOHN CHANTLER; Still Light, Outside LP/CD 1703 Skivbolaget

Chantler’s fourth album is a tale of two halves.  Over a four-month period, he made several hours worth of raw recordings of pipe organ in London, at Hackney’s St John’s; and then processed these in the studio with additional electronics at a later date.

The end result is a monolithic barrage of distorted and bombastic drones; that are densely layered and processed into a wall of resonating pitches and harmonics.  With a shape-shifting array of arpeggio’s and noise, the title track’s sub bass rumblings set as the foundation to a skyscraper of ranging ambient that reverberates with furious abandon.

The latter three tracks of this four-song album (‘The Long Shadow of Decline parts I-III’), thematically tie themselves together; incorporating a different tone and feel to their opening companion.  Wire-like electronic sources feed their way through the mix and make for a visceral counterpart to the gentle hums of the organ; and each component in the tale provides a different interpretation of events.

All in all, this is a decent addition to John Chantler’s discography; with many a string to his bow there is much to be absorbed here for any self-respecting Dark Ambient, Drone and Noise fan alike.


ESA: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt3: PENANCE CD WTII Records


ESA: Themes of Carnal Empowerment Pt3: PENANCE CD WTII Records

The third and final instalment in this series of thematically stringed releases, sees ESA’s Jamie Blacker shift stable from Tympanik Audio, to the ever expanding roster of US label WTII Records. However, nothing has altered in the transition sound wise, as Blacker brings to us what is most likely the strongest episode in this trilogy.

‘Men Will Only Break Themselves’ punches its way into existence with a clenched fist; that evolves into a jarred eruption of industrial sensibilities. Carrying an underlying dance edge, there is an evident progression in programming techniques; displaying Blacker’s ability to mix the commercial with an undercurrent of unnerving sampling.

‘Be Still and I Shall Tell You Why’ epitomises what ESA does best; a pulsating distorted beat-fest that speeds through Industrial waters with brutal abandon, seamlessly flowing into the heart stuttering ‘The Tempters Triumph’.

The pace slows somewhat as the sinister ‘Master, No Servant’ changes tack; with atmospherics carrying the track on a wave of bleak pads as a wall of beats and electronics throw jab after jab.  In contrast, ‘What the Devil Did’ is a more electronic affair that is wrapped in a cleaner aesthetic, sonically speaking; with an off kilter wire-like thread to tie it together.

‘My Church’ utilises one aspect of Blacker’s influences, with a Dave Vincent-esque growl accompanying yet another of the albums excursions into none stop barrages of rhythmic noise; that is tempered with the soundtrack church organ romp, that is ‘Threnody For You’.

The title track follows on at a relatively serene pace compared to its counterparts; and the guest vocals of Magenta.S provide some welcome respite from the continual smash in the teeth that ‘Themes…3’ provides to this point.

‘Juju Yako’ and ‘Fenetre’ signal the end of this album, as the pace slows and shudders to its inevitable conclusion; with a sea of complex electronics bouncing between a bed of marching rhythms and grinding screeches, providing a fitting full-stop to the many years of work that went into the creation of this trilogy.

All in all, ‘PENANCE’ is a crushing affair, with Blacker wanting to end the story on an explosive high.  As a collection ‘Themes…’ works effectively as a whole package, as well as each album does on their own individual merits.  I am impressed as always and this album does beg the question as to where ESA goes from here; and I seriously hope the end of this tale doesn’t signal the final bell in what has been a great run of albums thus far.





Albin Julius returns with some familiar cohorts in the Church of the Leading Hand, on this latest affair, ‘Joyride’; which comes on Black Vinyl, Blue vinyl and compact disc (so there are plenty of options for collectors out there).

Opener, ‘Drive Me Far’ has a touch of the 80’s soundtrack to it, reminding me somewhat of John Carpenter in its simplistic, yet effect atmospherics musically. Marthynna’s vocals add a psychedelic symmetry to the proceedings, in a hypnotic chant fashion.

‘Sea of Love’ utilises a synthetic edge to a somewhat muggy guitar production that works surprisingly well in providing an aged sound to the recording. This follows suit on the trippy ‘Falling out of Time’, relying on its character coming from the vocals alone.

‘Joyride’ has a number of strengths that come from unusual sources. The electronics have been utilised in such a fashion that whilst being overtly modern in sound, revert (speaking in a programming sense) back to another era; to match the 60’s/70’s feel to the guitar work and production that make the listener feel like they’re on one long acid trip. Whilst it’s not an age I take pleasure from musically on a personal level, there is something about this album that hooks me in.

I do prefer Der Blutharsch when they’re at their militaristic best, and this album does end on a high, with the chants flowing like a drone, nodding somewhat martially at other works by Julius.  Lovers of Krautrock will lap this album up and as a whole this is pleasing to the ear; I just await something more tangible and solely Der Blutharsch to sink my teeth into.


SIMON SCOTT: Insomni CD Ash International


SIMON SCOTT: Insomni   CD Ash International

Cambridge based Simon Scott returns with his beautifully packaged fourth album of atmospheric digital and organic sounds; that concentrate on the environment in which he resides.

Opening with ‘An Angel from the Sea Kissed me’, there is an immediacy that grabs the listener, as a swell of distorted guitars weave their way through a wash of pads. My only gripe is that they overtake the proceedings, drowning out the subtleties at some key points; but nevertheless, push all my buttons in a Fennesz type fashion.

Scott blends a multitude of field recordings into his work; but where others fail, he is successful in not relying on these as his sole source of production, leaving his pure skill of musicianship to speak for itself.

Along the way we are treated to dramatic seas of Dark Ambient, resonating drone work and blissful passages of pads and soul-searching guitar. The generous mix as the album progresses, touches on many an emotion; many of which reflective.

Unsurprising to learn that Scott is a freelance composer and has done much work for sound and television; also that he was part of Slowdive who worked with Brian Eno on his 1993 ‘Souvlaki’ album. Either way, Simon deserves his own stage and I highly recommend you check him out.