Music Criticism

µ-Ziq – Grush

After thirty years in the game, Mike Paradinas is clearly still having a heck of a time, finds Jon Buckland

µ-Ziq aka Mike Paradinas has been in the game long enough to see styles and fashions come and go. Hell, in his career spent carving out glitchy, emotive electronics with crackling beats, the Planet Mu man has even invented the odd genre along the way. For his new record, Grush, however, he’s opted to take a trip down memory lane.

‘Metaphonk’, the penultimate cut on the record, is a case

British Murder Boys – Active Agents & House Boys

A dozen years since their 'final show', the duo of Regis and Surgeon prove they can still tear it up

British Murder Boys went out with a bang in 2012. Performing their “final show” to a rapt Tokyo audience eager for industrial thumps, ear-shredding guitar feedback, and a shamanistic performance by robe clad beguilers. And, whilst the duo of Surgeon (Anthony Childs) and Regis (Karl O’Connor) only managed to stay away for three years, it’s taken until now to raise their heads above the parapets and commit their bolshy electronic belligerence to a full-length release.

Kee Avil – Spine

Within Spine’s forty minute run-time, Kee Avil scampers across myriad references points from a broad array of modern musical masters. There’s the quiet exploration of Keeley Forsyth, Coil’s unsettling esotericism, and Lucrecia Dalt’s sensuality. We get creaking sounds akin to Gazelle Twin’s straining electronics, the delicate leanings of HTRK, Ronce-like ASMR, elements of Björk’s vulnerability, and, impressively, she hops between these various styles and approaches, whilst restricting herself to just four sound sources per song.

Steep Gloss - The Tape Label Report, March 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Steep Gloss, the brainchild of Ross Scott-Buccleuch, is home to cassette-based experimental musical collaborations. Based in the northwest UK, the label arrived in the world just prior to the pandemic with distorted mulch and harsh blasts from Andrew Sharpley & Romain Perrot (aka Vomir) and Earth Trumpet & Midwich’s abstract, psychedelic spree.

Reviews | Container

As anyone who has found themselves whispering sweet nothings into a porcelain bowl after miscalculating their consumption levels will know, the urge to be sick (or “yack”) rises and falls, ebbs and flows, looping like an internal tide forever on the turn. This is perhaps best illustrated by Stewart Lee’s ode to barley wine and the gaping anus of Christ. If you’ve spent nights into mornings seeking oblivion to repetitive soundtracks, you may well know it all too well.

The Trilogy Tapes - The Tape Label Report, February 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Will Bankhead is a busy man: graphic designer, photographer, skateboarder, DJ, and label head. It’s hard to know how he fits it all in. Initially a one-man operation, Bankhead’s London-based The Trilogy Tapes label is now a family-run affair with his daughter helping out on mail order a few days a week. Skate brand Palace also assist with clothing production and distribution. “Kit at Palace is a diamond, he helps me a lot,” says Bankhead. “There’s so much more to organize than it might seem.”

Reviews | Pissed Jeans

Pissed Jeans have always elevated their Jesus Lizard leanings and Flipper-worship into a self-deprecating yet oddly assured vein of rock and lurch. This, their sixth album, does little to buck that trend. However, where recent releases have found them peddling sludgey doom trudges (with the occasional dabble in breakneck pyrotechnics), Half Divorced is packed full of pep. They’ve stomped on the gas and it burns along like a raging forest fire.

Industrial Coast - The Tape Label Report, January 2024

Welcome to The Tape Label Report, where we introduce you to five cassette-focused labels you should know about, and highlight key releases from each.

Industrial Coast is a fiercely independent, proudly Northern, and socially conscious noise and experimental label run by Steve Kirby out of Middlesbrough in the UK. His releases regularly raise money and awareness for people in dire situations. “Poverty, homelessness, human rights, domestic violence: I reckon that’s above politics, it’s just about trying to help people less fortunate than yourself,” says Kirby.

Reviews | Lea Bertucci

The impacts of climate change on music have been visible for some time now. Whether its in discussions of coloured vinyl’s oil consumption, electricity usage for vast farms of streaming servers, or last week’s reports of widespread fainting and the death of a fan at Taylor Swift’s Rio concert, the fact that the Earth’s climate is changing is increasingly difficult to ignore for those involved in either creating or consuming music.

Album Of The Week | Hot Flob Time Machine: Prisoners of Love And Hate By Apostille

Back in 2018, I wrote an unpublished novel featuring a scene in which a schoolboy is washed away on a river of phlegm after falling into his school’s “Gob Pit”. Christoforos, objectively the best chip shop in Worthing, is located just around the corner from the house which I grew up in. The patron of that particular establishment happens to be the father of one Michael Kasparis. Fast-forward five years and Kasparis has released his third album of ecstatic synth-pop under the Apostille moniker, on which, three tracks in, the song ‘Spit Pit’ appears.

Reviews | Speaker Music

“Seemed to me that drumming was the best way to get close to God.” – Lionel Hampton

Best known as the ‘King of the Vibraphone’, Lionel Hampton was also a master of the drums, performing jaw-dropping stick-juggling routines without missing a beat. Hampton died of congestive heart failure on 31st August 2002. Just a few days later, James Stinson – one half of Detroit Techno luminaries, Drexciya – also succumbed to a heart condition.

These events may be unrelated but their synchronicity is eerie.
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