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How time flies! Nah, not really this time I guess... Anyway, it's time for a little roundup of my last four reviews on Veil of Sound again!

THE NUDE SPUR - The Nude Spur (CD) (2023)

I've been writing a lot about various (all at least relatively new) releases of Hückelhovian drummer Jörg Schneider here recently: two albums by Teen Prime, the epic Ambient Drone Free Jazz of Glimmen and three albums of his Schneider Collaborations series, seeing him teaming up with the guitar players N, Barley Rantilla and Thomas Kranefeld.

The chaotic Avantgarde Free Jazz Rock chemistry with the latter was so fruitful that they recorded a whole second album together, which was quite similar to "Schneider Kranefeld", but also different enough with a weirdly consistent Western vibe, that they decided to give it its own new band name The Nude Spur. The tracks are just called "Sheriff, You Forgot Your Pants" (Parts 1 to 7) and in its entirety it's just a gloriously mind-boggling high-energy clusterfreak of absolutely bonkers improvisation with lots of crazy Bill Frisell vibe.

Love this fun beast and its accordingly weird CD digipak presentation! 

POIL UEDA - Yoshitsune (transparent blue vinyl LP) (2023)

There's no doubt that I adore PoiL Ueda's second album in one year after the self-titled debut as well. In fact I deemed it great enough to crown the double pack of these two my third-favorite album of the year 2023!

The combination of Zeuhl-ish King Crimson Prog / Math Rock with traditional Japanese Satsuma-Biwa and Shomyo music and vocals to is just so breathtakingly wild, captivating and unique. There's truly nothing alse like it! I don't think that I will ever fully comprehend the whole genius of this spectacular French-Japanese project. Amazing stuff!

Just as "Yoshitsune" is a musical continuation of the first album, the artwork is made in the same beautiful style, making this an all-around wonderful item.

KARA DELIK - Singularities I - IV (2023)

Not every cross-cultural goodness can come as radically out of the blue as PoiL Ueda, but that doesn't mean that Kara Delik's Anatolian-flavoured mix of Post Punk, Dub, Krautrock and whatever the trio feels like doing isn't an action-packed wild and entertaining ride.

Over the course of last year the Berlin-based band released four seven inch "Singularities" on 7", and if you're only half as receptive for fearless Rock experimentation and Orientalisms, these little gems should all be more than worth your time!

MINERALL - Bügeln (2024)
Last but not least we have another trio consisting of members of Speck, Kombynat Robotron and Zone Six. Yeah, guess who!

This album was recorded during their first gathering in January of 2023. "Bügeln" is one only minimally edited piece of fantastic spontanous Psychedelic Rock improvisation, informed by the great chemistry of its players - a very coherent, but never dragging, always gripping chunk of dynamic, here atmospheric, there heavy Space Kraut.

Combine that with an unexpected, yet somehow weirdly fitting cover artwork and there's really nothing left to be desired. Awesome Sulatron release, available digitally and on vinyl.


MADDER MORTEM - Old Eyes, New Heart

The Norwegians Madder Mortem have been around since 1993 and released seven albums between 1999 and 2018, but I must admit that I only ever heard their name so far, without even knowing what style of Metal they were playing.

Good preconditions to be seriously surprised on first listen in the car, after only briefly flying over the promotion sheet from Dark Essence Records before and reading "For fans of: Neurosis, Cult of Luna, Solefald, Meshuggah". Not wholly wrong, but still pretty misleading.

MADDER MORTEM - Old Eyes, New Heart (CD) (2024)

Maybe that was a selling point accidentally copied from another release? Because while all those comparisons seem reasonable at some point for one passage here, another there, they really set up completely different expectations and made me doubt I had put in the right disc, when the opener "Coming From The Dark" not only began as a Progressive Metal banger with one part reminding me of a certain Dream Theater bridge, but also surprised me with female lead vocals from the absolute powerhouse Agnete M. Kirkevaad. Very foreboding, but also catchy. The track establishes a Dark Rock atmosphere as well as modern breakdown riffs and the growling backing vocals of Agnete's brother (and guitar player) BP M. Kirkevaag as later recurring elements of the album.  

But before that we have the completely different "On Guard", which basically is a super straight Blues song on that shuffle groove with immediately throws your mind towards Allanah Myles' "Black Velvet".

Track three "Master Tongue" then finally features the screaming Post Metal outburst I would have expected in the first place. It also raises the question whether Metal bands are already allowed to gang-shout "Master! Master!" only thirty-eight years after Metallica, or if it's still too soon.

As I stare at "The Head That Wears The Crown", which features lighter vocal melodies in a style that would fit Ayreon, I begin to understand what determines the range of "Old Eyes, New Heart": Madder Mortem simply utilize every shape of modern and traditional, Progressive and rather atmospheric Metal and Dark Rock, which the lead singer can sell. And that is a lot, since Agnete 's voice really has a bit of everything, beginning with a super strong Heavy Metal belt which is very raw and grounded, but can rise high and go to more delicate places without losing its power. I'm surely not the greatest fan of Nightwish, but this singer can confidently be mentioned in the same breath as Floor Jansen.
Or maybe Amaya "Maud The Moth" López-Carromero. Speaking of her...

Ultimately the fluid stylistic mix which unfolds on this album is comparable to what bands like Healthyliving or Dool are doing, which includes the persistence with which some of these tracks clench themselves into your ear and won't let go again. Damn, how great for example is "Things I'll Never Do", which dynamically showcases everything this group is capable of? I love those fast and aggressive, but at the same time strangely laid-back verses!

One really cannot overstate how much the vocal performance ties this album together. No matter how great the spectacle around the singer is, her emotions always feel genuine and relatable.

Another thing however is just the songwriting, which kind of gives me the impression of what a band like Jinjer could do with more focus on the big picture instead of gimmicks. The magic word is taste. Some of this stuff, especially when it goes into the directions of Prog Metal, Djent-ish parts or what most of the general public would picture as "female-fronted Metal", could easily go wrong if you played it just a little bit different.
It's mainly Madder Mortem's talent to strongly convey light and dark moods, but strictly avoiding kitsch while doing so, which makes everything work.

Yes, this album has immensly grown on me and I urge you to take a listen at ideally a couple of its tracks, since one isn't really enough for a proper impression. "Old Eyes, New Heart" comes out this Friday.


TEEN PRIME - No. 7 / No. 8

MUSIKPOLIZEI! Stoppen Sie endlich diesen Mann!

Jupp, es schneidert hier schon wieder. Diesmal mit Teen PrimeJörg Schneiders Duo mit Gitarrist Sebastian Fäth. Praktischerweise erkennt man schon am Albumtitel, mit dem wievielten Werk man es jeweils zu tun hat.
Und wer wissen möchte, welchen Track er gerade hört, muss die Plattenhülle nicht einmal umdrehen, denn warum auf der Vorderseite mit dem Coverartwork nerven, wenn man den Platz doch so schön für Trackliste und sämtliche Credits benutzen kann?

TEEN PRIME - No. 7 (LP) (2023)

Der Look sticht also mit einfachen Mitteln heraus und betont zudem mit der sofortigen Sichtbarkeit von Songtiteln wie "Fuck Yeah Stealth Pizza". "Aim Low Club Tree House Meeting" oder "Smartest Song In The Building", dass man sich nicht allzu bitterernst nimmt.

Auch musikalisch lässt sich der Drumdelinquent hier schnell wiedererkennen. Ähnlich wie viele der Schneider-Kollaborationen basiert die Musik dieses Duos auf chaotisch die Treppe heruntergefallen und doch grandiosen Improvisationen. Man kann es auch Heavy Free Jazz Fusion nennen. Nur halt nicht gemeinsam in einem Raum, sondern getrennt voneinander eingespielt. Die Tracks wurden hier dann auch noch etwas mit zusätzlichen Gitarrenspuren, Orgeln, Synthies und Samples gepimt, ohne dabei die ursprüngliche Wildheit zu opfern.

Was allerdings erstaunt, ist wie Teen Prime es schaffen, auch sehr entspannte Passagen und ein erstaunliches Maß an dichter Atmosphäre in ihre Musik zu schummeln, ohne dabei vom avantgardistischen Jazzgepolter ablassen zu müssen.

Is this still what I signed up for? Nee, aber fuck it, ich nehm's trotzdem!

TEEN PRIME - No. 8 (LP) (2023)

Im Prinzip kann man über Album 8 ja beinahe dasselbe sagen wie über No. 7. Instrumental meine ich hier weniger Extras zu hören, d.h. es ist etwas gitarrenzentrischer: mehr Amerikana, Blues und Post Rock - jedoch immer in unauffälligen Dosen.

Die Arbeitsweise unterscheidet sich ebenfalls ein wenig, denn zumindest die beiden das Album einrahmenden Stücke "Kind Heart, Kid" und "Devil Found Me" wurden tatsächlich von Fäth und Schneider zusammen in Hückelhoven eingespielt. Und dies sind mit jeweils über sieben Minuten auch die deutlich längsten Tracks, der eine ausdauernd in einer mich stellenweise an Kukangendai erinnernden Weise zappelnd, der andere düster mit einer Prise Earth.

Meine liebste Stimmung strömt davor allerdings schon "Treat Your Song Right" aus. Doch ebenso wie die restliche verrückte Achterbahn dieser beiden Alben überfordert jenes Liedchen gerade meine sonntagnachittaglich müde Befähigung zur bildlichen Beschreibung ohne mich zu wiederholen.

Dass Du dir hier die Ohren verbrennst, wenn Du normalerweise nur Mötley Crüe und Die Flippers hörst, sollte ja mittlerweile ohnehin klar sein.

Lebe, Chaos Rock, lebe!


WV Noise Sorcery with MAI MAI MAI and SECOND SPECTRE

It's easy to order a record from one of my favorite labels WV Sorcerer Productions. It's incredibly hard though to leave it at just one. So here's my latest package, fully dedicated to music you best listen to as loud as possible.

After P/O Massacre featuring Alex Buess + Merzbow and Fossa Magna these new releases seriously double down on the label becoming a high quality source for brutal but sophisticated Electronic Noise.

SECOND SPECTRE - A Cast Of Memories (Pale Rose vinyl LP) (2020/2023)

Being a cooperative release by WV Sorcerer with Strange Therapy, this badass leveling album by the French Electronic Noise duo Second Spectre had already been released on tape by the latter label three years ago. And it's great that it's back to find new listeners!

Since my repertory of references in this direction is rather overseeable, I'll take the save route to say that the deep drones, booming basses, sharp noises and heavy yet danceable beats should speak to anyone who loves the Electronic works of Kevin Martin aka The Bug and Justin Broadrick, especially under his moniker JK Flesh.

This stuff is harsh and mighty, but not too alienating to instantly enjoy, since Second Spectre bring a great variety into the arrangements of their pieces and dunk the whole album into a beautiful tar of Ambient and almost clerical synth sounds, which gives it an extra level of profound and sometimes even touching depth.

The presentation of the vinyl version is a thing of beauty as we're expecting it. The only little flaw is that twelve inches aren't quite enough to fit "Wisdom" and "Fear God", tracks 8 and 9 on the record, so there are only available as digital bonus on Bandcamp. And you don't want to miss these two bangers!

MAI MAI MAI - Π​​​έ​​​τ​​​ρ​​​α (Petra) (Grey Marble vinyl LP) (2023)

Deeper, noisier, gnarlier and definitely weirder than Second Spectre. But experimental Electronic Industrial artist Mai Mai Mai, who opened the Roadburn warmup night last year, also gives his sample-heavy sound a transcendent touch achieved by a sense of World Music buried somewhere beneath the sprawling chaos.

This album too is a re-release, originally having been a one-sided EP in 2015. The B side of the WV Sorcerer version, which comes with a beautiful upright-format art booklet, is filled with three tracks from other sources, including one I actually already own, as "Anatole" is also featured on a split single with Sly & The Family Drone + Dead Neanderthals from 2018.

Since Mai Mai Mai has been very influental on the idea of what this label could be, WV Sorcerer inroduces "Π​​​έ​​​τ​​​ρ​​​α (Petra)" as being a very personally important release. If the expectations are raised by that - they still turn out to be fully warranted.
This surely isn't always the easiest sound collection to get into and might need a couple of spins for acclimatat, but once you're immersed into it, this sick shit will reward you greatly.

YĪN YĪN - Mount Matsu

In 2019 Yīn Yīn unleashed "The Rabbit That Hunts Tigers".
In 2022 they proclaimed "The Age Of Aquarius".

On their brand-new album the Dutch band now moves on from both the hunt of the debut and the time reckoning of their sophomore work, as on "Mount Matsu" it's both "The Year Of The Rabbit" (track 1) and "The Year Of The Tiger" (track 7).

I guess they won't mind if we include some more pets and wildlife fauna to the party. Because judging from this music 2024 could be the year when to everyone's surprise we somehow will save all the animals!
No, that doesn't sound realistic? Well, maybe Yīn Yīn shouldn't have made it a condition then that everybody has to dance while saving the planet. - But here we are. Can't change that now.

YĪN YĪN - Mount Matsu (transparent orange vinyl LP) (2024)

Even though the quartet had an important line-up change which caused the songwriting duties to be shared wider among all members now, the trajectory of their discography remains steady: every album gets more danceable, but also more stylistically diverse.

So here they are, sounding richer and crispier than ever, once again glueing together a wild array of influences with natural ease: Seventies' Funk meets Italian Disco and Kraftwerkian Robotik. Japananese Pop morphs into Psychedelic Rock and Thai-Beat surfs with Memphis Soul and other Americana. In-the-pocket grooves, electrifying melodies and moments of pure ascension. It's a vivid mashup, a multi-genre cult cinema festival inside a holy disco palace.

Yīn Yīn aren't a fully instrumental band, but vocals are very sparse, seldom going beyond one occasional line. On "Takahashi Timing" that line is "Takahashi - Never too late", on "Shiatsu for Dinner" the title is also the complete lyrics. Singing is only used as a small nudge to kick-start your imagination and fill in the blanks yourself.

The musical nerdiness, the accumulation of global sounds through the means of stacking percussion and analogue synth sounds on a foundation of Disco, Funk and Kraut Rock, that is the core of this band, where they are having - and spreading - all the fun.

I've said it before, but it remains true: 
Yīn Yīn's mission is the pure love and joy of music. Maybe that goes a little too far if you consider the photo on the extra sheet which comes with the beautifully packed vinyl version, but each to their own, right?

But seriously: What an amazing uplifting experience is this? What was already great keeps getting better. It's only just January and these dance cats from Mount Maastricht have raised the bar for the feel-good album of the year high into the sky. Whoever wants to crack that needs to fly, because jumping surely won't suffice.


PHOTOGRAPHY 2023: Harinezumi

My last look what I've done last year post features non-music pictures from Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Esbjerg, Copenhagen and the Netherlands taken with the Digital Harinezumi 3.0 (R.I.P.) and Digital Harinezumi 2.0 (just the one above and the last four at the end).

Since I didn't do any daily or weekly photo challenge in 2023 I didn't have as many pictures to select from as in some other years. But there's still enough stuff I like anyway.


medium format   |   35 mm   |   Harinezumi
live music galaxy   |   harinemusic