Panelak – Heimat (AS #007)
BBBlood – No religion at the salad bar (AS #006)
A Jarvis / Filthy Turd – The Cattle Are Ill, The Beer Is Sour (AS #005)
A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to receive a parcel from Leeds-based Pascal Ansell’s Angurosakuson label. Life got in the way – the perennial whinge of the blogger – and so the trio of CDRs sat on my desk, unloved and unlistened-to, mournfully awaiting the day I got my shit together to give them a spin.
More fool me, for these releases are simply marvellous, fine examples of the underground drone and noise that seems to flourish across the north east of England.
Why there should be a centre of gravity for this music around there I have no idea, but there’s a whole load of good stuff pouring from Yorkshire’s dark environs at the moment, ably documented by dedicated truth-seekers Radio Free Midwich and Idwal Fisher. If you want to get a sense of what’s happening in that so-called ‘no audience underground’ – which seems to radiate out from Leeds to London, Bristol, Brighton and across the sea to all manner of places – you could do worse than checking in with those crazies.
Back to the subject in hand. Angurosakuson takes its name from the Japanese phrase for ‘Anglo Saxon’ and it sums up a rather funky musical relationship that has existed between these two cultures since the early 90s. As Pascal says on the label’s website, the name ‘signifies a love and indebtedness to all things harsh, experimental and frighteningly skilful to come from the deft fingers of our Japanese friends.’
Nice one. But while these three releases are aurally indebted to our Japanoise colleagues, they have a stubborn desire to mark out a vector of weirdness that’s entirely their own.
My current fave is Panelak’s Heimat, an unhinged collection of digital scree with every knob turned resolutely up to 11. Panelak is Pascal’s own project and a darned good ‘un it is too. Its seven tracks are an exercise in maximalism, a collision of distorted gunk and frazzled wires.
Yet it is also finely detailed, each constituent yowl and clunk discernable from within the buzzing surge. Basically this is some crazy computer shit, brother. Not the early 2000’s laptop abuser music, rather some gleeful psychosis emerging from repurposed guts of the hardware we use every day to shop, talk, watch, listen, exist.
Underfelt Silk Leaves is an early highlight, its noise landscape given a curiously spaced-out feel by a judicious use of echo. Slug saloon stomps and skids around in a hyperactive fury. Largesse Projects finishes things off in a nicely playful mood, all splutters and blips like a corrupted copy of Silver Apples of The Moon in its synthesised ebbs and flows. Pure diode anarchy, baby.
From electronic playfulness to an avalanche of glowering unpleasantness, courtesy of BBBlood, the feisty alter ego of mild-mannered Londoner Paul Watson.
Regular readers to this blog will know that I really dig what Watson is doing – his Live At The Crater Lake release is a rubble-strewn wonder – and this release is no exception, offering up two tracks of glowering malevolence for our listening pleasure. Collapse, Decay, Descend is a hissing, screeching motherfucker, its 25 distorted minutes like being tied to the back of a truck by your ankles and dragged across a desert. Zagreb is even more spiteful, its grainy wave of distortion underpinned by a dissonant feedback howl. Cool tunes bro’.
Talking of sinister, the Andy Jarvis / Filthy Turd split that makes up the final release in the triumvirate really pushes things in an eldritch direction.
Both tracks take witchcraft – or the assumption of witchcraft – as their inspiration, being based on the story of Molly Leigh, a supposed witch, living in Burslem, near Stoke in the 17th century.
Jarvis’ track, Handprint Witch, amps up the satanic moaning, over which a snaggle-toothed maelstrom roars. It is unforgiving in its bleakness. Filthy Turd’s Chase Me Around the Apple Tree, by contrast, is positively chipper, a cacophony of thumb piano loops, clattering percussion, strange lolloping chimes and even a Beefheart-style vocal wig out at about 11 minutes. Not even the occasional eruptions of digital torture can dislodge its underlying optimism.