Looking Forward To… Dion And The Magic Chords – ‘Gestalt’

Way back when, I used to write reviews for the Echoes & Dust music site. Time management and a lack of motivation put an end to that. But I still get sent preview links to some fantastic music, which is great for me, but a disappointment for the artists involved as I have to explain that I don’t write for them any more and would hardly have time to listen in detail, never mind actually write a review.

However, there are a few exceptions and this is one of them.

In 2013 (really? That long ago?) I wrote a review of Dion And The Magic Chords’ album ‘Curiosa’. I loved its playfulness, its innocence and its energy.

Well, four years later, they’ve got a new album, ‘Gestalt’ and it’s a cracker. Due for release on 28th October 2017 on Laterax Recordings, it takes all the elements from Curiosa and then adds to, and refines, the formula further. Actually, “formula” is the wrong word, as there are an eclectic bunch of tracks on this release. The charm, skill and dynamics of Curiosa remain, but there seems to be more structure, reflecting a focused and tight live band more than the lo-fi geeks one might imagine.

Gestalt

Instrumentation is rich and varied, from lo-tech vintage home keyboards and organs to analogue synths and some lush acoustic (one assumes) brass and woodwind orchestrations. There’s a much more cinematic feel than previously, exemplified by the opening track Synchronizität which adds to the mix a ‘Ralph & Florian’-era Kraftwerk sensibility: motorik and melodic. Structures change and passages suddenly segue or jump to new and interesting places.

Fairy Slide takes a plonky home organ intro and develops it into a bouncing soundtrack with double-time drums and rumbling filtered 8-bit arpeggios all overlaid by ethereal magic chords (couldn’t resist).

Throughout the album, the tracks, however gritty and dark, develop into beautiful soundscapes and washes. The Runner starts with a broken arpeggio which morphs into a gorgeous wash of sound and then flips, with staccato keyboards and rhythm box beats, before returning to dreamland territory.

Most albums are a journey, but with Gestalt, each track is a voyage to different destinations. I shouldn’t really make comparisons, but I’m going to anyway. The influences of Phillip Glass, Ennio Morricone, early-era Kraftwerk and Cluster can be discerned. But there really are so many strands to this music that a few comparisons alone won’t give you an indication of the experience. I suggest you listen.

I, for one, am glad to have become acquainted with their music and, particularly, the stand-out track, Gestalt Lamp, which has just blown me away with its warmth, its melancholy and its hope.

Thoroughly recommended.

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Identity Crisis? New Album?

I really ought to do this more often…..I’ve not written here for some time. And, as usual, there’s nothing more to tell you than I’ve got new music available at dementio13.com.

TNP Audition copy

However, things are a little bit different this time around. I have been guilty of inventing new artist identities in the past, when I have made music which does not quite ‘fit’ the Dementio13 vibe, whatever that is. Sometimes it’s only a subtle difference, but enough to bug me. So I invented the likes of The Reasonable People, Diebenkorn, Wint & Kidd, etc.

But this was partly a dissatisfaction with the name Dementio13. A name I’d started using in 1999, when I thought differently and acted differently. After umpteen releases and the passing of many years, I’ve decided to partition things a bit. So, I will be making some music as Dementio13, but this will only be for remixes and collaborations. In future, all solo stuff will be under the moniker, The Night Programme.

And so, with that in mind, here’s a new release; similar in parts to recent D13 stuff, but also a few changes to the overall feel.

I’ve come up with some quite melodic electronica and breakbeat/electro interspersed with odd little noodles which act as themes and idents for imaginary 1960s radio shows; very much in a BBC Radiophonic Workshop vein. They’re a huge influence on me; John Baker, Delia Derbyshire, etc, so I make no apologies for the slightly pastiche nature of the tracks.

Anyway, the album is available at the usual Dementio13.com for free, or a nominal contribution to the Dementio synthesiser fund!

There are also quite a few bonus tracks, if you buy the album in its entirety; including a 22 minute live acid session…plenty of squelch and analogue hammer.

Anyway, that’s all for this bulletin….it could be another 6 months until I post again (as long as we don’t get vapourised by a couple of fucking megalomaniac psychopaths!). But until then, stay safe and thanks for your support.

 

Recent Additions

Spring is here and, as is my way, I’ve posted/re-posted some music over on Bandcamp in celebration of the new lack of early-morning darkness and the warmer temperatures. Some years ago, I released an album of soundtracky tunes that I was quite proud of at the time. The mixture of electro, trip-hop and odd little tunes somewhere in-between didn’t work too well, for me, on later listening and I decided to pull the album and sit on it for a while. That “while” turned out to be about 6 years.
Last month, I gave it another listen and decided to re-order the tracks, remove some of them and add some other unreleased tracks. So it’s now up on dementio13.com. Titled Rebop/Reboot (the original title being Rebop), it’s available as a release for subscribers only and fills a little gap in my back-catalogue.

In 2001/2002, I was part of a band, for want of a better word, called Sal Boca. Slightly obsessed with DJ Shadow’s Entroducing, Portishead’s eponymous album and Goldfrapp’s first album; myself and Neil McCann set about making some tunes for two mutual friends, Claire James and Caroline Moore, to sing on. I was living in a tiny flat on Roath Park in Cardiff at the time and had a studio, of sorts, in the corner of my living-room. It consisted of a second-hand PC with an Awe64 soundcard, a controller keyboard, a bass guitar and a mic. I’d go into more detail about how I’d spend endless hours making samples, cut-ups and creating patches using raw waveforms on such primitive equipment, but I’ve actually started to bore myself, let alone you.
Anyway, over the period of a couple of years, we wrote, recorded, remixed and refined our small catalogue of 7 or 8 songs; the results of which can be heard on a mini album. It exists mainly because I’m quite sentimental, but also because it reminds me of where I’ve travelled from, musically and sonically. When I originally posted these on Last.fm ( yes, that again), way back, they became some of my most listened-to tunes. So, they are available as a subscriber-only download too: updated, upscaled, etc.
So, there you are. New old stuff.

Thanks for reading, as always.

Paul

Got A Little Remix On This

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=2521328/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/artwork=small/

The new Picturebox single, Nunnery Fields Forever (Rave Version) is out on Gare Du Nord from 7th April. The title track is a brand new, high bpm recording (not a remix) of Nunnery Fields Forever, originally released on 2016’s Songs of Joy album, with new sections and radically different electro instrumentation replacing the pedal steel and organ etc of the original. […]

via Nunnery Fields Forever (Rave Version) ft. Deerful – out now. — pictureboxmusic

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.

 

Remixes, Broxen and A Collaboration

I’m pleased to say that my album ‘Broxen’ has had a pretty good response from listeners and broadcasters. Downloads have tailed-off a little these last few days, but that’s normal after the initial spike just after release. Anyway, I’m well pleased, and if you’ve downloaded or bought it; many, many thanks.

Please do tell others about it, if you think they’ll like it.

Both Adam Walton and Tom Robinson on the BBC have played a track off the album on their shows, as well as a few other generous and discerning radio broadcasters/podcasters. So, many thanks to them also.

You can listen again to their shows at: Adam Walton and Tom Robinson. They’re only available for 2 to 3 weeks from now.

I’ve also been remixing some tracks for Douglas Deep and Diane Marie Kloba; both very different projects.

Here’s the DMK remix:

I recently completed a track with the poet Equinox too. It’ll be on his forthcoming album, but here’s a stream you can listen to now:

So, a busy couple of months in all.

Anyway, once again, please share any of the music you like; word of mouth is really important to me and all of the artists mentioned.

Cheers.

 

Broxen Beats

So, 5th November is here. Which means I’ve released the new album ‘Broxen’ and been able to share it with you at last. It’s been a different process from previous albums in some ways. I’ve actually planned this one and it was recorded at a time when I was under a bit of a cloud, creatively, and I was rather over-worked. So, instead of rather rapidly recording, mixing and releasing, the album’s been gestating for three or four months.

I decided to collaborate with some trusted and admired musicians on this one too (similarly with my album ‘VTOL’ a few years ago) as I needed creative boost and there’s nothing like the surprises and accomplishment that collaboration brings to help motivate and make. They did some great work.

As for the music itself, it’s probably a bit redundant to try to explain or describe it; it’s probably better to just listen. But I will say it’s a mixed bag of styles and influences and probably more accessible than previous releases. I’ve relied less on noise and trickery and stuck to a more straight-forward way of recording/arranging. There are some almost-danceable tracks in amongst there too. I used very little in the way of software and computer manipulation and a majority of the tracks were build up as patterns on hardware, hand triggered and recorded directly onto a multitrack digital recorder. The more ambient tracks were just played directly into the recorder and built up layer by layer.

Anyway, please do give it a listen, more than once if possible. Feel free to download it for free and spread the word.

Many thanks.

‘Broxen’ Is On The Way

Ok, so I may have mentioned the new album a few million times on social media. But now everything’s finalised, I’m happy to say that ‘Broxen’ (for that is its name….it’s an autocorrect nightmare and keeps defaulting to ‘broken’; but that’s part of the point I guess) will be available at dementio13.com from 5th November onwards as a pay-what-you-want download.

broxen

I won’t go on about it, but it does contain some smashing collaborations with Jo Whitby (Laurence Made Me Cry), Robert Halcrow (Picturebox), Colin Robinson (Big Block 454/Jumble Hole Clough) and Steve Kelly (The Shed Collective) which I’m really proud of. If you’re familiar with their music, you’ll be aware of the mix of musicianship, mayhem and loveliness which they can bring to the table. If not, check out their music.

It’s also a very mixed bag, encompassing post-rocky odd electro-pop, breakbeat acid, techno, ambient, trip-hop-style stuff and drum n bass. Such is my head nowadays; I really can’t settle on one thing.

Here are a couple of previews, including an aforementioned collaboration. Hope you can share/tell your mates/partake.