Another dear tradition of the ever generous Pink Dots is the festive closure of the year with a special EP, sometimes more reminiscent of an audio play (Well actually two as there is a Halloween Special, too).
One of the great tunesmiths of our time, gardener and poet, well actually a relict of the jangling 60’s – Martin Newell from Wivenhoe, Essex has published this year’s “almost traditional Christmas EP” as usual as pay what you want / can release:
Listen and Enjoy.
He also overhauled his online presence after years and besides a new homepage and bandcamp he can be found on twitter, fb and instagram easily.
And while I’m at it; there’s also a documentary in the makes which should be published in one way or another next year – watch the trailer on yt;
Besides staying inside like what felt the whole year many re-mastered releases and nearly lost albums made it back in the limelight and to my pleasure the very first real Cleaners From Venus post 1980’s album, the excellent “English Electric” whose title was immediately snatched by O.M.D. found it’s way back in November too.
Kann eine Band mit Titeln wie “Normalitätsempfindungsanpassung” oder “Wollte, Würde, Hätte” schlecht sein? Warum jagt uns eine Krise nach der anderen? Was wurde aus Zero Moment Of Truth seit dem tollen Debüt von Anfang 2019?
ZMOT spielen live im Garten Ausschnitte aus ihrem neuen Album “Ökologisches Liedgut für junge Aktivisten”
Dazu Video-Erinnerungsfetzen an die Geschehnisse und Erlebnisse der letzen Monate.
[straight from youtube aktuell]
Das ganze seit kurzem auch als Download Album mit PDF booklet nach dem Motto reinhören, zuhören und zuschlagen (Trieb- und Gewissensbefriedigung durch Kauf von 100% wiederverwertbaren Bits und Bytes).
In Autumn last year Tom Ellard finally succeeded to get rid of the name “Severed Heads” which stuck to the group from 1979 onwards and even with him when the group started to evolve into a one man project beginning in the late 80’s.
He stated fair enough it was not his choice (Australian for Talking Heads?) but even with side projects and solo efforts he had just put to much energy into it to drop it like that. After all Severed Heads where rooted in the same Australian diy scene as S.P.K. and a well-known name (brand?) in early electronic experiments with tape, loops, found noises which continued with their constant use of available technology including video productions and screening containing defamiliarized images and a mixture of psychedelic mutations of electronics starting as early as 1982.
The audiovisual band featured Stephen Jones on Video Synthesizers and headed into their strongest phase starting with “City Slab Horror”. When they toured “The Big Bigot” in 1986 I had the luck to see them in Munich (together with Indie Rockers Inca Babies, Gaye Bikers On Acid and the then recently reformed Wire) and was heavily impressed of the futuristic sounds and graphics they produced. Distribution and licensing deals with Ink Records (UK), Nettwerk (USA) and Volition (AUS) where in place and all looked very promising until their gear was stolen. Slightly demoralised and back in Australia they started working on what became the ill fated breakthrough album “Bad Mood Guy” featuring the heavily promoted single ‘Hot With Fleas’.
This was the first of many attempts to create a hit single and please the labels.
“Rotound For Success” followed in 1989, aiming even more directly into the area of electronic dance music with pop appeal leading to a mediocre album where electro, ebm/industrial and experimental roots shone through only in the technical craftsmanship. The pointless Pumpkin on the cover nearly said all, I actually waited years until I got a cheap and perfect copy just for completion. No less than three 12″ singles had been issued surrounding this one to feed the happy dancing crowd – ‘Big Car’, ‘All Saints Day’ and ‘Greater Reward’ the best of the lot.
Further attempts to popularize the band – meanwhile Ellard and Jones – where made in 1988 with the “Bulkhead” Compilation which lead to a first revival of ‘Dead Eyes Opened’ and in 1991 with the newer Remix collection “Retread”. The last proper Album for Nettwerk followed with “Cuisine (with Piscatorial)”. While it started great with ‘Pilot In Hell’ everything that followed went downhill with only a few exceptions. The balance between commercial appeal, wierdo Pop and interesting electronica of the times was just too much too handle. Ellard later said in interviews we tried to make club music for drugged party people while we never went to clubs or took drugs – so it basically could’nt work. Nettwerk dropped them afterwards (I guess the extra experimental section Piscatorial at the end of the CD did not help) in favour of female singers and rappers while distancing from the whole ebm/electronica acts which made them big. The European distribution via PIAS got lost along the way.
1994 saw Severed Heads (now Tom Ellard solo) return with “Gigapus” on Volition in Australia, with ‘Heart Of The Party’ issued as single on the heels of the ‘Dead Eyes Opened’ Remixes by long term collaborator Robert Racic. 1995 a Carlos Perón remastered version in Europe and 1996 an USA version. Several versions include VHS, CDRom content etc. Again a hell for collectors but nothing helped to increase the fading popularity and the crash of Volution Records ended basically their career with the music industry for good.
Back to basics Tom Ellard as always interested in technical progress was one of the first musicians to embrace the DIY of home-burned CD-R’s and perhaps the first to offer downloadable music from his SevCom pages. The new found freedom had it’s price, loads of equipment was sold, full time jobs etc. The Music Server series was started (Muzak to create working atmospheres 1998 – 2002) followed by the idea of an ever evolving Magazine like release (OP 2002 – 2007) and more. The first of these was licensed as soundtrack for the Australian movie “The Illustrated Family Doctor” and Parts used as Soundtrack won the ARIA, the Australian Music Industry Award in 2005.
‘Haul Ass’ in 1998 and ‘Under Gail Succubus’ (2006) where the only regular Studio Albums issued and they showed a return to form.
The later, coupled with the first of the Barbara Series led to another series of (including this) 4 releases up to 2018, the other volumes credited to Tom Ellard. A highly welcome work crossing all borders.
Besides LTM issued a Heads Live CD, a double Best Of called “Commmerz” and the collectors label Vinyl On Demand a Box with old and oldest recordings, revised and supervised back in 2008. So the first Ending hat not really a chance to stand. Severed Heads stepped out of the grave once more….
These activities lead to a revival in reissues, performing and reworking releases and videos. Also some solo stuff. Also free stuff. Side Projects and remasters. Installing an ever-changing bandcamp site and facsimile reproductions on Vinyl. Besides the usual strange stuff, Tom Ellard Solo & a dive into new and unusual concepts and formats whenever possible.
As a final goodbye there was a limited CD available (now digitally available) to elaborate on what he felt like performing the ‘greatest Hits’ over and over again:
‘The Living Museum’ features the tracks in their final updated versions as performed on the last live Shows in Europe, US and Australia during 2019. This is the 2nd serious and most likely final attempt of Ellard severing ties with Severed Heads and progress actively forward.
The new banner which greated visitors of the SEVCOM home over a period of months announcing his new organisation :
As my thoughts go to the catastrophe in progress which hardly leaves anyone unaffected now I like many others found more time than usual to takea look how some of the musicians I follow react to it and deal with the situation of quarantine and isolation.
Not sure if this ambient experimental work by DsorDNE with Onda Lunga was recorded in hindsight of the current overall mood but it’s quite impressive transmitting a special mood;
Due the unforeseen time he had on his hands Maurizio Pustianaz aka Gerstein remastered some of his elder recordings and reissued them via his bandcamp. Two fine examples are shown below.
Also the gorgeous “Colonna D’Aria” Compilation from Snowdonia (Reissued as SP 002 several years ago) is now professionally remastered online @ Klappstuhl Records – featuring exclusive Gerstein and DsorDNE tracks hidden in one long flow of early late 80’s Italian eclectic underground music.
Ex-Italian ‘Superstars’ PANKOW are giving away their latest re(re-)leases on the Canadian Artoffact label as “pay what you want” for the time being, as do most of this label’s artists currently, among them the incredible and unforgotten Nash The Slash (R.I.P.).
Directly responding to the current pandemic is Amplify 2020 -an online action initiated by Jon Abbey of Erstwhile Records – free downloads of musical pieces created especially during this time as direct reaction. Submissions are still open for those interested to participate.
40 Year after ‘The Amazing World Of Mr. Concept‘ burst onto the tape scene here is the conclusion… “a continued rapid stream of delight”……………… true to the spirit of his early Cassette only albums this release is made and mixed for listening in one go.
Includes extensive liner notes by Mr C! as PDF booklet and of course printable artwork to make your own CD (Sorry, blank tapes are expensive nowadays).
But this is by far not the only project he was working on in the time since ‘XXXVII‘ was released, discover more Concept City productions at the new bandcamp site and enjoy the reissue as digital version or facsimile copy of the legendary ltd. Cordelia Records 1985 Album ‘November’ on LP. Currently available via Platform 23 from Nepal.
There is also a limited amount of original Klappstuhl CDr’s for those who prefer a physical product, including a free dl of the digital booklet. Rumours state it will be only 22 copies of this one which was already issued on February 20th. In any case – Mr. Concept wishes you a good time…
A great x-mas gift arrived from (Andy) Falconer of Orb fame in my inbox – the complete unaltered recording of the Ozora Festival 2019 performance. Together with a new batch of beautiful pictures taken on the Costa de Luz, provence Cádiz in Spain to enlighten the short days of Winter.
Included is printable art as he lovingly provides for each of his digital available releases allowing one to build an AFP archive on discs easily. For your pleasure find this and more @ afp online.
Yes it’s already that far with Martin Newell, just after Robbie Williams offered his seasonal highlight to the record buying public here he rides the season with his very own free digital EP with a lovely designed used 7″ cover;
Martin Newell on the other side far from retiring with a youthful age of 66 he just published his second Memoir, “The Greatest Living Englishman” (of course…).
No this does not sound pretentious – This is of course a homage to his best-known solo Album which finally put him on the map for wider recognition and left critics overwhelmed with joy due to the Andy Partridge production. Well, just to let you know I think the production is far from superior – at least the tracks I’ve known before sounded more direct and electrifying before this elder statesman of complicated Pop layed hands on them. But it worked and Newell was gained with moderate success so I won’t complain.
In this bound (!) book he tells his story 1975 up to 1995, if it’s as entertaining written as his “Little Ziggy” in which he took a close look on his 60’s let’s hope that he continues up to the revival he went through during the last years general reissue campaigns by Captured Tracks a.o.
After the 25 Years celebration compilation monster “The United World Underground” issued in 2017, he digged even deeper in his glorious tape label / DIY past to present you (as promised) digitized and mastered works of the dark past where nearly nothing was instantly available nor free nor digital.
This is meant to be the final collection celebrating the past before Mick Magic might make his words true and explore further territories in outer and inner space with a new album by his own Magic Moments At Twilight Time…
See The Magic Net for more downloads and take the chance to get hold of the lovingly remastered reissue of M & E’s top selling CD Album ‘Creavolution’ (read all and more about it here) and get a decent hardcopy at TMR Records.
Click to go to the official info site. Official Release : 06/09/2019. Expect a Bang.
As expected this promises to be another wild sonic ride – from psychedelic, experimental, goth, electro to somewhere else with loads of shades in between. As a first glimpse a bonus virtual C90 is already out with some introducing words by Lord Litter (another survivor) over at the Electronic Cottage.
Also eagerly published in July already (SP 021, digital only with full artwork pdf) this one does fit way better to the sound of Autumn leaves falling, change of the seasons and a natural decease in order to start new beginnings than to the long never ending sweaty summer nights we had unexpected the luck to explore this year in full.
“The tooth root and aching backbone of the Glove of Bones creative project was an idea for a road movie without a road, a biography without a chronology or subject and an imaginary soundtrack for a film, based around a real movie.”
After the demise of the Digital Dizzy Netlabel GLOVE OF BONES needed a new home for various releases, the brilliant Ornithology found it’s way to the Ambient Label We Are All Ghosts where collaborateur Cousin Silas already was present with a batch of his guitar orientaded menderings as well as the follow up Album aptly titled ‘New Dub Manifesto’ issued in late 2017.
The ‘Things That Fell Out Of The Box’ collection got a new home at Petroglyph Music and Glove Of Bones own bandcamp (‘Glove Of Dub’) in 2017.
This one, first published as OST remained unavailable for some time – it’s a lengthy one piece track originally the soundtrack to the self-produced film which can be found here.
This new version got remastered and expanded by G.O.B. with 7 further new tracks expanding the original issue and themes.
Also out since April this year is the latest new work now on Argali Records Netlabel thematically circling around Alchemy featuring strange sound and voice recordings from the UBU Web Archive “Occult Voices – Paranormal Music, Recordings Of Unseen Intelligences 1905 – 2007”.
Not a lighthearted theme therefore stepping more into dark ambient terretories than his other releases which mainly keep an balance between experiments, dada, ambient craftmanship.
On the latest excellent pay-what-you want compilation from Argali – ‘Music For Dystopias’ – issued in August is another new track featured besides plenty of interesting artists somewhere between dark ambient, ambient, darkwave, drones and experimental. As the total lenght exceeds every double CD album this is a great listen when you’re in the mood for just this ..
On the other Hand there is t.r. hand now. Fluffy experimental ambient drones ?