Summary Of New Stuff

Welcome to Winter and a happy new year. As I only seem to be sporadically updating the blog nowadays, it means, when there is news of new releases, there is a lot to report. So, besides the November release of the album, ‘Broxen‘, I’ve been very busy working on quite a few remixes and collaborations since last time I posted. Broxen has had some really positive reviews and airplay on BBC Radio a few times; which is a buzz that never leaves you, as an independent musician with no PR as such. So, many thanks to Adam Walton and Tom Robinson for playing my stuff on their shows, it means a lot.

Also, as ever, Mark Whitby and Pete Jackson of Dandelion Radio have been really supportive and playing tracks from the album. Both of them have invited me to do a live session for their respective February and March shows, which will be aired on rotation throughout those months.

In December, I recorded a spoken-word track with Equinox, featuring his words and voice and my music. It’s one of several collaborations between Equinox and various artists. The album, ‘It’s Hard To Be Happy When Your Head Is Full Of Sin’ (release date tba) will be a cracker, I’m sure.

The other major news is that my collaboration with Marie Craven has recommenced with the mini-album ‘Chasing Headlights‘. I’d really like you to hear this. Marie and myself have worked together for about 8 years, this time with poet James Brush, who provided the  words.

So, back to Broxen…… here are excerpts from a great review by Louder Than War.

“An artist that is continually evolving, Broxen brings forwards tracks of increased maturity and addiction. Influences from krautrock are obvious and the occasional oddness only helps to ensure that the Wales based Wiganer doesn’t fit into any shaped box……

Call it lo-fi, call it D.I.Y., call it whatever you will but Broxen is a fine collection of mixed beats, styles and ideas from a man not prepared to stand still and spread his electro wings. With further collaborations from Rob Halcrow (Picturebox), Manfred Hamil (The Shed Collective) and Colin Robinson (Big Block 454, Jumble Hole Clough) included together with a fine appearance from Squarepusher on album closer MIDI Sans Frontieres, this is an album that has already received widespread acclaim and reaction.”

And finally, video-maker MD/Shoots has produced some great trippy visuals for ‘No Maps’. Please do check out his other work also.

 

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A Glance Backwards…

As is customary at this time of year, one tends to evaluate, reminisce and review the past twelve months. It’s a pre-requisite for the act of moving forward; hence the tradition of getting all misty eyed about the previous year and then making resolutions about the coming year: I’m going to lose weight; I’m going to work harder/less; I’m going to be more understanding in a relationship; I’m going to devote more time to family & friends; etc.

Well, I’m no exception. I’ve got quite a bit to look back on, musically, from the past year; and I’ve got a fair bit to look forward to.

So, besides the Olympics, economic decline and the impending apocalypse; what happened for Dementio13 in 2012?

I released two albums, both of which I’m very proud of, for a start: “Crash St.” in March and “El Lissitzky” in June were released fairly soon after one another, but had been in the recording and pre-production stage for around six months previously. They were the culmination of everything I’ve done musically during the past 10 years and so, I feel, they were my best work to date. My music’s not to everyone’s taste; some think it’s too diverse, some think it’s not tough/experimental enough, some think it’s too gentle and that’s their prerogative. However, I attempt to find a balance between tunefulness and experimentalism when I record….that’s where I’m at. With these two releases, I tried to do that as well as paying homage to all the music I like and know by the artists that formed my musical tastes. ‘El Lissitzky’ was as much about Factory Records as it was about Russian Constructivism. Here’s my favourite track from ‘Crash St.’:

2012 was also a time to discover new music; by both ‘established’ artists and DIY independents. Suffice to say, that’s a distinction which is fairly irrelevant, as the quality of both categories is indistinguishable from one another. My shortlist (if I was compiling such a thing) would certainly include Matt Stevens and his band The Fierce And The Dead. ‘Guitar heroics’ is a term often used to describe viking-like rock posturing; however, Stevens plays with fluent, sometimes humorous, invention with a knowing wink to rock’s slightly absurdist past. There are also lots of great references to film music and multiple genres which lift this music above rock self-reverence. Another candidate for my fave music of the year must certainly be Colin Robinson of Big Block 454, Churn Milk Joan and Jumble Hole Clough. The latter of these three projects show him to be a masterful exponent of restraint (especially compared to the wonderful Dadaist energy of BB454), creating atmospheres and spaces rather than grooves and noise. Lastly in this short shortlist would be Steve Kelly (aka the now defunkt SK123) in his guises as Macerator and Douglas Deep. Electronic music is a splintered affair…….the sonic possibilities offered by technology often can lead to too many options for the musician. Therefore, it’s often necessary to invent multiple personas to delineate between the stylistic differences of one’s output, as Kelly has done. He employs as much skill in his use of computers, controllers and his sound-palette as the previously mentioned artists do with guitars and effects. Beats are his ouevre, though he is deft at creating atmosphere as well. His music is invigorating, inventive and vastly underrated. All three of these artists have released quality music this year and they’ve also proven to be jolly fine people as I’ve either met, or conversed with them; they’ve also been great supporters of independent music; I can’t recommend them enough.

There are also a handful of people deserving of thanks for their continued support of my own music. The writer and musician Oli Arditi has reviewed and promoted my main releases this year as both Dementio13 and Cwtch. His writing style is rare in that it explores cultural theory in an extremely wordy and eloquent way while conveying a sense of enthusiasm and non-elitism. As music blogs go, it’s as much a lesson in context and structure as it is a review of music; and makes for a refreshing and informative read. Arditi does not treat us as idiots and rather than ‘dumbing down’, he ‘clevers up’! I am now a regular reader of his blog as I know that, even if I have no intention of listening to the music he is writing about, it will always make for an interesting read. Then there’s Dandelion Radio…..what these guys (particularly Mark Whitby and Pete Jackson) have done for my music is immeasurable. In playing to a large and loyal listener-base, Dandelion have helped promote and disseminate independent/DIY music further than any artist on a tight budget could do so. In February and April, I performed two live mixes for Mark and Pete respectively.

Right, I think that covers most bases for now……apologies if I’ve missed you out but time is fairly short and this could turn into quite a tome if I were to mention everyone who has supported my efforts (and there are many of you). I’m adding the finishing touches to Laurence Made Me Cry‘s album mix today. Then I’m off to post it to Jo (who’s been patiently waiting for ages for me to get it ‘right’!). Her album’s out on 11th March 2013 and is thoroughly recommended…I should know as I’m now very familiar with these tracks!

Have a great Christmas and I’ll see you on the other side….

Music, Sand and Exotic Fruit

Sunday morning…… nice. Sunshine….nicer. However, some prick has dumped a smashed pineapple (from someone’s trash by the looks of it) all over my front garden; which isn’t so nice, as I have to clean it up.

Aaanyway, this is going to be one of those posts where I repeat myself repeat myself from some previous posts, so apologies if this all sounds vaguely familiar.

First off, I just want to share some music which I’ve been enjoying for a few years now; which you might not be aware of. But, if you like the kind of music I like (and surely, if you read this regularly, you know what that music is), I am sure you’ll love Sand. Their two albums “Still Born Alive” and “The Dalston Shroud” have been on very heavy rotation on my iPod.

From the excellent Soul Jazz Records site:

“Influenced by the New York Art/Punk scene of Sonic Youth, The Swans, Liquid Liquid, this is the group’s follow up to “Still Born Alive” (Soul Jazz Records, 2003) and ‘Beautiful People are Evil’ (Soul Jazz Records, 2001). This new album brings in a number of guest vocalists – Norwegian experimantalist artist/singer Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje as well as Austrian cabaret singer Louie Austen (Kitty Yo Records) who provides a chilling vocal on the Patrick Pulsinger produced “Doctor Crop”. Sand have performed onstage accompanied by cows and sheep for the Japanese Ballet troupe Karas. They have also performed at the Vienna Opera House alongside techno guru Patrick Pulsinger In 2005 they composed and performed a new soundtrack to the Tarkovsky film “Stalker” at the ICA as well as toured cinemas with a series of specially comissioned work from video artists. This new album (“The Dalston Shroud”) was recorded in Paris, Tokyo, Vienna and York in 2006.”

This is seriously good music, going beyond ‘spanning genres’; it includes elements of punk, funk, avant-garde experimentalism, no-wave stylings, the harder end of contemporary jazz, dubstep, krautrock and electro. Noise and groove often collide in Sand’s aural universe; as does drama and beauty. Go check them out.

Incidentally, their label-mates on Soul Jazz, Heavy Q Connection and Lucha Libra are also well worth investigating.

Next, I’m eagerly awaiting audio files from Laurence Made Me Cry so I can get started mixing the songs for her new album in a week or two. This is exciting stuff for me, especially as, for once, I’m working on someone else’s music as a co-producer. What I’ve heard so far sounds lovely. And here, once again, is my contribution to the album (apart from as a producer) on the song ‘Intelligent Mr Toad’ (version 2):

The track seems to be going down well, getting airplay on Adam Walton’s BBC Wales show and Tom Robinson’s BBC6Music show, as well as on a few podcasts and Amazing Radio.

New track with Laurence Made Me Cry

Laurence Made Me Cry is the nom de plume of Cardiff-based songwriter/illustrator/blogger, Jo Whitby. Her debut EP, the rather lovely ‘Rain Song EP’, is an emotive and intimate collecton of folk-inflected songs and has had some rotation (of the hard-disk, that is) in Dementio Towers in recent months. So it was with great pleasure that I accepted her offer to record a track for her next album (to be released early in 2013).

As it turned out, I ended up recording two quite different versions of the same song (I just can’t help myself at times!). So, as a taster for the new album, “The Diary Of Me”; here’s a free download of the second version of our song (the first will be included on the album):

Douglas Deep – “&U” – New Album

If you actually do read my various missives/rants/acts of self-promotion (have you got nothing better to do?!), you’ll be aware that I have a liking for the music of SK123. His stuff has appeared in various playlists/mixtapes and posts of mine, not just out of solidarity for a fellow DIY music traveller (which is sometimes the case with me, I’m afraid), but because I actually like his music. Take a smattering of virtually every electronic music genre since the early 90s you can think of, add a pinch of eclecticism, throw in some dark atmospheres and eery soundtrack motifs and then layer with club-friendly and varied beats…..that pretty much sums it up. I gave up on ‘dance music’ quite some time ago; but SK123’s music is “dance music+”. So often the term IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) is bandied around, but basically it means nothing. In SK123’s case, ‘intelligent’ is exactly what it is. Coupled with a sense of melody, drama and incredibly deep production (creating the subtlest of sound-scapes at times; or the hardest audio assault at others).
Anyway. What the hell am I talking about SK123 for when the title of this post says ‘Douglas Deep’? Well, SK123 is actually dead. In fact he’s been reincarnated as two distinct, yet unified persona in Macerator and Douglas Deep.

Today, Douglas Deep released his debut album “&U” unto the world and so I eagerly headed over to Bandcamp and downloaded.


If you’ve just hit ‘play’ on the embed above, you’ll already be listening to it, but I’m still gonna try to describe it (in case, y’know…you can’t be arsed to listen, you too-cool-for-skool hipster fool, you).

First off, let me just say that I’m not the most knowledgeable person when it comes to ‘techno’/IDM/club-orientated music. For me ‘techno’ started and ended in Detroit in the late 80s/early 90s along with ‘proper’ acid house; that’s what I know, that’s what I like.

However, what I do know is that Douglas Deep has conjured aural images of this era of electronic music; a kind of futurism which occasionally harks back to Juan Atkins, Mr Fingers, Frankie Knuckles and A Guy Called Gerald, but is basically of the here-and-now. He doesn’t imitate, plagarise or create pastiche; what he does is use ultra-modern production and sound to give you the same emotional rush of the kind I first felt listening to the aforementioned pioneers. “You (Ewe/U)” contains the kind of droning bass and kick combo that became synonymous with Chicago and Detroit 20-odd years ago, but there’s a more relentless feel to it. Darker, perhaps. The beats are crisp and full, but never overshadow the other sonic components. Played loud, it’s devastating.

Also, throughout the album, there are subtle sonic incidentals: besides occasional vocal phrases and gasps, there are bits of found-sound, synth bleepery, background noise and other elements which are normally associated with ambient genres, but are mixed into this context with subtle flair.

The track I’m currently listening to, the epic “Nothing”, consists of a minimal structure but with constantly changing timbres. The word ‘repetitive’ is often used as a criticism leveled at dance music, but here it is utterly essential to allow sound itself to evolve and implant itself in your brain. The simple lead synth line features a repeating set of notes, which similarly to Phillip Glass’ music, gradually evolves in timing, nuance and tone. It starts all monolithic but develops into psychedelicism. Visually, I think of Harvey Keitel in ‘Mean Streets’ weaving nauseously around the bar, trying to stay upright…only in slow motion. That’s as close as I can get, description-wise.

Anyway, suffice to say, I really like this, the first and hopefully not the last DD album. Recommended.

Cwtch – “Silver” EP nothing to do with global sports shock!

Hello,

As you may well know, when I’m not recording as Dementio13, teaching as ‘Sir’, or moaning/ruminating as Paul The Miserable Bastard, I’m recording as Cwtch with my  talented antipodean collaborator Marie Craven. We’ve been really quite busy over the past few months, what with new solo releases and (in Marie’s case) preparing/rehearsing live projects. But we always find time to make some new stuff as Cwtch.

Well here is our latest offering, released to no particular fanfare, with no big promotional ‘build-up’. What can I say about it? Well, we’ve made music which we want to hear. We’ve made the music despite a distance of thousands of miles between us. We’ve taken the best bits of what we do as solo musicians and thrown them into the blender. 5 songs which call to mind music past and present, mainstream and niche.

I hope you can share in this music….and, of course, if you like what you hear, share it with others….. we kinda rely on that.

SILVER

Please enjoy.

Tank Yew

Hello electro-beings. I’m trying to unwind my head from a manic period of work by listening to Kraftwerk’s ‘Tanzmusik’. It is, indeed, bloody lovely: driving, melodic, whimsical, ethereal…

Anyway, it dawned on me that it was only just over a week since I released ‘El Lissitzky’, my 6th album (or, to be more correct, my twelfth album….but one I haven’t deleted!). It seems like it’s always been around, not just sitting on Bandcamp for nine days. Anyway, in those nine days, people have been downloading, tweeting, sharing, blogging about and reviewing it; just as I’d hoped. So, thank you loads, people. You are the glue that holds this independent/DIY music thing together.

I’d also like to thank a few broadcasters who have supported the music and, particularly, played tracks off the album on their shows. These include Mark Ryan at Amazing Radio and Pete Jackson at Dandelion Radio…..both stations championing new, emerging music and I thoroughly recommend them.

Also, whoever has put my music on torrent sites or free download sites……thanks. My music seems to be cropping-up in all sorts of places.

So, what’s next? Well, never one to sit about on my arse, I’ve been busy working on music for my renewed collaboration with Marie Craven, known as Cwtch. At the risk of alerting the self-congratulation police, I am really liking the sound of the new track in progress. Well, I would wouldn’t I? That’s why I make music….to hear music I actually like!!!

The new Cwtch stuff will be available whenever it’s ‘finished’. Early days yet….

Love and Cheetos to you all…..

*This* is Independent Music…

I don’t know what it is about Spring/Summer here in the UK (besides it’s utter crapness, that is! Rain, bloody rain….it’s like living in Blade Runner!), but people have been releasing quality independent music recently, particularly in June! I’m not referring to myself here, of course…..I just do what I do and hope people like it.

No, I’m referring to these little gems of sound (actually that’s misrepresenting them, ‘cos some of these sound MASSIVE!)

The Fierce & The Dead – ‘On VHS’ (‘kin awesome)

Pulco – ‘Man Of Lists’ (bloody lovely)

Jewellers – ‘Lakeswimmer’ (Gareth’s & Gareth’s new one)

Do you like my new, succinct, reviewing style?! Seriously though, it’s best to let the music to do the talking and these are very good releases indeed.