Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Phil Elvrum live for the third time in London, this time at The Dome near Kentish Town, with High Places and Parenthetical Girls supporting.
I loved the High Places set; their music is incredibly invigorating and refreshing, with a strange sort of aggression and tribalism when played live — suffice to say I bought their self titled 12″ at the close. Parenthetical Girls were not really my sort of thing, some stand out tracks, an interesting vocalist and instrument rotation made it worthwhile though.
Phil’s set was, as usual, mesmerizing and wonderful, despite his obvious exhaustion from traveling.
Just for good measure, here are two downloads of the complete performances the last time I saw him live — recorded with permission by Sonny (via MEPS); first at The Luminaire and the next day at the London School of Economics library. Yesterday’s show didn’t top these, but to be honest that’s pretty hard ’cause they were awesome; there was even singalongs and people sat cross legged around him on the stage; it was all very intimate and beautiful.
Raise your arms the highest you can, so the whole universe will glow…
Last night I had the privilege of seeing M83 live at Scala in London, with The Domino State supporting; and oh how superb it all was. Of course there was a strong focus on the new album, Saturday=Youth, but they didn’t forget the old songs, mixing it up beautifully with Dead Cities and Before the Dawn Heals Us. As the rising drums, guitars and rhythm of “A Guitar and a Heart” crashed through the venue with ever increasing furor and energy, a shiver shot down my spine and I hoped it would never end.
Here is some crappy footage I shot on my camera just for my own nostalgic purposes. Note how the camera can’t hold its auto focus in the light levels, giving the impression I can’t focus anything.
Normally the words shoegaze, pop, 80s, rave and enjoyable shouldn’t be put next to each other, let alone used to describe the same 90 minutes. However, those are just the words I’m going to use to describe last night’s M83 gig at London’s Scala.
Taking to a stage covered with enough cables to give even the most seasoned of electricians a heart attack, Anthony Gonzalez (who’s much smaller and more elflike in real life than I had realised…) made it clear it was his night, and with the help of a few supporting artists ploughed through an impressive selection of his work from the past 7 years.
Naturally, the focus of the evening was on new album Saturdays=Youth, with tracks like Couleurs, Graveyard Girl and Kim & Jessie getting some of the biggest cheers of the night. However, whilst his new pop direction was the reason Scala was so packed, he didn’t forget the diehard fans from his early days (and there were a few…), throwing in some harder dancier numbers which culminated in the encore with an almost full-on rave. Well, for about 5 minutes.
Shoegaze was the theme of the evening really though, with many songs blurring into one, and for the casual fan (like myself) it was easy to lose yourself in the music for 10 minutes, totally entranced by the teamwork and the skills of everyone.
Wow, this Numero Group keeps getting better and better. I truly recommend their collections. This is a track from disc 12 in their repertoire NUM012, the album is called “What a Beautiful Place” and was originally released in 1971 but fell into obscurity until now.
“The first ever compact disc issue of Catherine Howe’s brilliant debut album. Produced by legendary jazz pianist Bobby Scott, the album is a pastoral blend of English countryside folk and London orchestral pop, not unlike Bryter Layter or North Star Grassman And The Ravens. Originally released on Reflection Records in 1971, the much sought after album disappeared before ever hitting the racks. Booklet includes half a dozen unpublished photos and an anotated history of the album’s brief existence. The fully remastered album includes an unearthed bonus track originally intended to be included on the album.”
…Enter the Numero Group. Founded by Tom Lunt, Rob Sevier, and Ken Shipley in 2003, the three self-proclaimed “record obsessives” decided to approach the record business backwards. No corporate hierarchy; no company stationary. Just a big pile of music that no one had ever heard of.
The mission was simple: to dig deep into the recesses of our record collections with the goal of finding the dustiest gems begging to be released from their exile on geek street. No longer would $500 singles sit in a temperature-controlled room dying for a chance to be played. No more would the artists, writers, and entrepreneurs who made these records happen go unknown and unappreciated.
Numero releases are sound with substance, living at the nexus of song and story. Scrupulously researched, painstakingly re-mastered, and with an attention to detail that is unmatched in the reissue field, the end result is a top-of-the-line compact disc.
There is no “Numero” sound; instead, Numero offers an aesthetic. A shelf of Numero discs feels less like a “record collection” and more like a library. The library to date is a mix of thrift shop soul, skinny tie pop, Belizean funk, and hillbilly gospel. Numero makes records for people who may have everything from indigenous Central American drumming to Canadian chanteuses stacked next to their CD players.
This track is from their third release “Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label” and this particular track is towards the end — merely a rehearsal. I instantly fell in love with this song, I implore you to listen to it.
Much like in the discovery of the decaying Victorian-life films of Mitchell and Kenyon, came the unearthing of a series of experimental sounds by Halim El-Dabh recorded through 1944 to 1959. The particular electronic concoction responsible for my wide eyed grin is the “Wire Recorder Piece” (1944), a two minute paranormal head-fuck (to be frank) that predates the first known ‘techno’ track by two years, this is the track available above. A surmise of the ghostly atmosphere seems futile; it is the soundtrack of an asylum; echoes of lost voices rebound from cold sterile surfaces as if evoked by the dead. Indiana Jones has unveiled the holy grail of noise; it is ghastly and awe-inspiring.
A collection of these old tapes were released under the misguiding upbeat moniker of “Crossing into the Magnetic Electronic”. The first nine tracks continue in the same vein as the recorder piece – an exploration of the institute if you will. “Michael and the dragon” passes an operating theatre testing a new electro-shock-therapy procedure – a deathly wail is detained by the reverberations of alternating current that charges and condemns; “Meditation in White Sound” sees a padded cell and straight jacket, a drugged out invalid reeling from whatever it is he is reeling from. “Pirouette” sees a rusted wheeled bed pass us complete with restraining cuffs and stained sheets. The tall murky windows, high ceilings and smell of disinfectant are all too apparent in “Element, Being and Primeval”. To say that I am painting a picture too bleak is to say that medical holes in the trenches of The Great War lacked hygiene. “Electronics and the word” is our final therapy session with the doctor before “Venice” sees our brief epiphany.