featured: Meat Beat Manifesto “Opaque Couché”

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I first heard Meat Beat Manifesto in 1988, saw them perform in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1989 (on a bill with a new band called Nine Inch Nails and local opener Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids) and I’ve been a fan ever since. Here, specifically, is the song that sold me on the band in the first place:

WOW, RIGHT?!

Led by only constant member John “Jack Dangers” Corrigan (formerly of post-punk/industrial/dub band Perennial Divide), MBM have embraced dub, pop, hip-hop, industrial, ambient and all manner of electronic music but have never made a bad album. And they’re still going strong! The latest, named after (supposedly) the world’s ugliest color, is more spidery crackling and less heavy dub than other recent albums… but I’m enjoying the heck out of it.

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featured: Fals.ch

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From right at the end of the 20th century until a few years into the current one, Fals.ch existed at the forefront of post-techno digital sound art. The label was very much in line with likeminded Mego, Fällt, Ritornell, Raster-Noton, and others that drove whatever you want to call this new music based around digital errors and art/punk software abuse. It was run by the folks behind CD_Slopper, aka Florian Hecker and Oswald Berthold (of Farmers Manual). During its run, Fals.ch released EPs (mostly) as online-only downloads with a couple of physical data-CD compilations along the way. The original Fals.ch site is long dead, so from the ashes (well… code doesn’t turn into ashes, but you know what I mean) comes this Bandcamp page to make the music available again.

You’ll recognize several names here, notably Voice Crack, CD_Slopper, Koji Asano, Pimmon, Pain Jerk and Oval. There are also plenty of unknown/obscure artists to check out as well, including several whose only evidence of existing seems to be here. If you’re ready to explore, below are a few places where you might dive in:

featured: Joseph Allred “Aspirant”

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WOW. Well, I guess I’m even more out of the loop than I’d imagined. This newish cassette by Joseph Allred is waking-dream gorgeous, a lush and humid throb of harmonium drones and implacable clang that sucked me in right away and pinned me to my seat in slack-jawed joyful admiration for the duration. So I wondered: who is this guy, anyway? Turns out, he lives in my state. Not sure how much this good could have eluded me for this long, but I’m gonna repent by telling ev’ryone: listen to this. Fantastic, beautiful stuff. Fans of Jay Sullivan, Birchville Cat Motel, or Stars of the Lid will wanna dive in, pronto. I’ve got some catching up to do.

featured: Patrick Gibson (R.I.P)

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Cancer is the f’n worst. That malignant bastard took Australian electronic-music pioneer Patrick Gibson earlier this month. You may know Gibson’s work with such remarkable underground post-punk luminaries as Systematics, Ya Ya Choral (in their initial incarnation), On the Area Steps and Scattered Order… but in case you aren’t as much on an M-Squared Records nerd as I am, here are a few places to begin exploring. This music ranges from primitive tape-loop and synth noises from 1978 to angular electro songs from the early 1980s up until his experimental 2013 solo recordings. Some of it, particularly the very early Systematics live and demo material and just about everything by No Night Sweats, has been pretty much unheard until now, when his close friend and bandmate Phil Turnbull dug the music up from his archives.

featured: G*Park “Gour”

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Hey look, G*Park has a Bandcamp page now! I’ve been a fan ever since I heard some track of his on a compilation back in the 90’s and thought something along th’ lines of “What the hell am I hearing right now?!” After exploring his albums, which are few because of how much meticulous care he takes in constructing each one, I am no less baffled than I was at the start. Marc Zeier started out with some tapes on the similarly-singular Schimpfluch label, then had work out on sympathetic imprints like Zabriskie Point, Banned Production, 23five and Tochnit-Aleph. This is alien stuff, bristling and breathing and yet just far enough way to seem potentially dangerous. So far, the only thing he has up at Bandcamp is “Gour”, which exists physically as an LP on Tochnit-Aleph.

featured: Raymond Dijkstra & The New Blockaders “Destructieve Verlichting”

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Des Astres D’Or is Raymond Dijkstra‘s publishing arm (he considers it more like a gallery than a typical record label, and when you see the records it’s easy to understand why) for very small edition vinyl records and unique artwork packaging. As you might expect if you already know his work, Dijkstra curates this imprint carefully, presenting albums by outsiders such as Smegma, Silvia Kastel, Legendary Pink Dots, Limpe Fuches, Ditterich von Euler-Donnersperg, Modelbau, The Bohman Brothers, Max Eastley, John Duncan, Bryan Lewis Saunders and a few featuring Dijkstra himself.

At Des Astres‘ Bandcamp page, one can purchase physical editions while they’re still available, which isn’t for very long. Each is a run of no more than 25 copies on hand-cut vinyl (not lathes), but have a look at the meticulously constructed objects and you’ll get the idea of how special they are. Considering the price of original artwork, it’s more than fair. But for those who can’t afford an original but just want to hear the music, some of the catalog is available to purchase as downloads.

Begin with this collaboration between Dijkstra and that anti-music band that has been calling it quits for decades, The New Blockaders. It exists as a set of five 8″ vinyl records in what appears to be a gloriously handmade art book. Anyone who doesn’t have 400 Euro handy for that piece can at least check out the churning metal scrape and agonized accordion whine here.

featured: Finlay Shakespeare “Routine”

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Like most people with ears, I’ve long been an admirer of the Editions Mego label and it’s Editions-less predecessor. Starting in the mid-1990s with techno-adjacent dance music, Mego quickly shifted sideways to abstract sound art, experimental pop and all sorts of radical and forward-thinking digital (and otherwise) music/noise. I try to listen to whatever they publish, and tend to enjoy a lot of it… but this single is especially exciting. I hadn’t heard of Finlay Shakespeare before checking out his “Routine” single, but I’ve since discovered his own Bandcamp page and listened to some earlier albums. They’re all worth hearing. “Routine”, though, has become one of the most-played tunes around my home. It’s driving and catchy and intense and a lot of fun.