In Memory of Mark Barton

Yesterday we lost one of the greats of music writing Mark Barton – Losing Today/The Sunday Experience. Mark consistently supported Jezus Factory since the first release and his enthusiasm and constantly quotable writing skills AND ability to absorb and digest a seemingly endless amount of music was astounding. Mark was also a lovely man and I will miss his correspondence over the last 13 or so years and reading his words of wisdom. The measure of the man is that he was so supportive that he is perhaps the only journalist to actually buy our releases. Even when he was very unwell he soldiered on with such bravery and humour. My sincere condolences to his friends and family. Mark will never be forgotten.

Below are just some of the excellent things he said….

Lazy people can go to this link but I suggest you fully scroll all the way through

Tape Cuts Tape ’pagan recorder’ (jezus factory). There’s a strange sense of displacement about this – the debut release by trio Tape Cuts Tape – as it constantly seeks – whether by accident or design – to throw you off balance and reeling about your footing. It’s a displacement intensified by its wilful want to avoid categorization or at least settle to a given groove or style. Instead it flits almost apparition like fancifully drawing from this and that. Headed up by Ruby Trouve one time of deus fame and these days seemingly spreading himself thin by having a hand in almost anything of recorded relevance escaping the territory of Belgium, Tape Cuts Tape features long time friends Eric Thielemans and Lynn Cassiers – the fruits of whose first collaborative recordings are gathered into the 12 track set ’pagan recorder’. a quietly beguiling set it is to which applies a disarming scatterbrained brush to its realisation that equally guaranteed to puzzle and perplex as it reward and amaze. Here you’ll find fixed between the grooves elements of distressed post rock cues, subtle jazz montages, disturbed chamber folk interludes (‘vacuum’), shamanic folk blues (‘reckless’) and razored skull grinding kraut boogie (the locked grooved grizzle of the psyched out shimmer tone of ‘this red’ all gorgeously bathed and haloed by Cassiers almost celestial opine to which gathers in stature and density to tail off like a futuristic Jefferson Airplane – while we are here we may as well add to the list the stoner space psyche of ‘layers’ whose enjoyment suffered from the quality control issues present on the CD). From the art jazz blues tomfoolery of the parting ’exit’ shaped in the kind of schizoid no wave crookedness we’ve come to love and expect from Medicine and Duty to ‘petrol blue’ in many ways is the albums sore thumb – rudimentary and focused its longingly brushed with a numbing down tempo groove more prevalent of the 90’s Bristol scene upon which a curious dark seduction is weaved as though some tryst between Garbage, Portishead and the Sneaker Pimps had been hatched, ‘pagan recorder’ is one of those weirdly wonderful records that every so often arrive and depart and without so much as a by your leave have you jaw agape and in its absence has you struggling to nail exactly what it is about it that caused the hairs on your neck to go all a frenzy and your ears to tentively prick up to attention. Both cut from the same melodic cloth ‘heavy’ and ’choosen profession’ offer perhaps the sets most explicit pop moments – the former sounding not unlike the Delgados scratched and splintered by a laid back and chilled Flying Saucer Attack and then delicately detailed with a nimble finger plucked riff artistry more becoming of Vinni Reilly having been commissioned to score some bleakly beautiful retrace by David Lynch of ’twin peaks’ with the latter hollowed, spectral and decidedly hymnal in countenance grained with a deceptively dreamy in a gloom gathering way as it navigates between a choking sonic forest pitched with Artery on one side and the Virgin Passages all the time orchestrated by a brooding and bloodied Bang Bang Machine. All said best of what is a strangely beguiling release is the fleet of foot macabre minimalism of the unsettling and creepy ‘night passage’ which amid the chill toned freak folk atmospherics lurks what could easily be Bjork’s impish elfin alter ego.

The Beat Maras – Bat And The Astral Phoenix 

“Ultra f**king cool – expect Artrocker and NME arse kissing in say August.” LOSING TODAY

i h8 camera ‘volume 1’

I H8 Camera ‘Volume 1’ (jezus factory). We are assuming the last outing of what has been an excellent year for the Jezus Factory imprint having put out a consistently impeccable roster of releases that have seen debuts for the Beat Maras, the Snake of June and Creature with the Atom Brain as well as an album and four singles from the mighty Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences (sadly we’ve only got three of them – seems ‘the battle is over’ slipped the net). Any the year closes with this rather special release courtesy of I H8 Camera. Arriving today – we debated for a whole 24 seconds whether to treat this as an album or lump it in with the singles – fearing we’d probably lose it if we put it aside for a later date and seeing as we were putting the finishing touches to this particular missive we thought – to hell with it – and threw it in with this lot. Described by way of the attached press release as an ‘all star Belgium jam band’ I H8 Camera features the combined talents of (pause for a sharp intake of breath) – Deus, Pox, Ow, the Evil Supertstars, Kiss my Jazz, Sharko, the Rudy Trouve, the Love Substitutes, Sukilove, Dead Man Ray, Septet, I Love Sarah, Zita Swoon, Mitsoobishy Jacson, Franko Saint de Bakker, Riefenstahl and guests. The idea initially took root in 2004 headed up by the Love Substitutes collective as an idea to prevent gig cancellations due to ill health, the concept one of crafting a totally improvised showcase – no rules, no set lists, no discussion – just play and be damned, the line forever changing depending on who is available at any given time. ‘Volume 1’ is a selected aural document that collects together various performances recorded for posterity between 2004 and 2007 all edited seamlessly by Craig Ward into one humungous mind frying 53 minute stew. Superbly put together , ‘volume 1’ reveals the multi disciplined nature of the collective as they evolve and terra form through a myriad of free form jams providing within the grooves something that should appeal to all lovers of elements of jazz, no wave and psychotropic funk and much more besides. When you consider that this is basically a freeform improvised jam the thing that strikes you most right from the onset is how tight it sounds, most ‘jams’ have a knack of being – shall we say – a little woolly in respect of musicians normally feeling and feeding off other members vibes thereby giving the spectacle a protracted hesitancy and sense of dicking about, ‘volume 1’ sees this feature reduced to a bare minimum. Amid this extended set don’t be to surprised to find your wig flipped to the peculiar privilege of hearing wiring jazz workouts that nod to Albert Ayler and the insane art rock surrealism of Inside Ov a Butcher’s Shop rubbing shoulders with the strains of some neat tribal like psychotropics or the macabre darker less frenetic and unhinged edges of the Birthday Party’s ‘junkyard’. the landscape forever shape shifting is awash with freakish tripping treats, once the squalling disconnected jazz skrees that greet you from the opening pass a sublime mutant Captain Beefheart comes out to play spewing up all manner of lysergic tipped hybrid Stones riffs while dealing out the odd reference marker in the general direction of Pere Ubu and early career Talking Heads. Elsewhere there’s some seriously schizoid post rock riddled punk rawk itself jettisoned from an acutely skewiff take on the Contortions. Though as far as we are concerned the sets best moment are the final 15 minutes or so where a dread eerie chill descends upon the spectacle to manifest into a wiring psych collage pierced with discordant dreamscapes that to these ears one suspects Acid Mothers heads would be well advised to check out. ‘Volume 1’ is due to hit the shelves next month and will come housed limited edition book featuring artwork by Rudy Trouve, hell we are counting down the days to ‘Volume 2’.

Lil’ Lost Lou / Paul Hawkins ’Split’ (Jezus Factory). And blame the previously mentioned Suzerain release for this but its time for us here at the singled shed kitchen table to gather around and partake in the eating of humble pie because over the course of the last few weeks (and in the case of this particular release we can safely stretch that to months) the Jezus Factory imprint have peppered our door mat with some – well how shall we put this – frankly corking releases which in the next few days we will get around to expressing our absolute fondness for in print. If there’s any justice in the world this would have already long since sold out of its ultra limited pressing of 200 copies – pressed on seven inches of wax with artwork by Lil Lou herself all tucked up with a CD-r – damn we want one now ourselves – mind you suppose that’ll teach us for being review shy fops. Anyhow a blistering twin pronged outing featuring a cut apiece from three piece Lil’ Lost Lou – the Lou in question being singer / guitarist Lou Psyche (obviously not her real name kids – the Lou bit that is) and Paul Hawkins who previously featured in these pages when he featured on that rather ripping yuletide stocking burner of a compilation ‘a very cherry christmas – volume 2’ from those loons with toons Cherryade. Lil’ Lost Lou’s ‘Bad bad girl’ is a scalding bone shaking frazzled psychotic bitching bluesy brew that rattles along like an out of control satanic steam train, featuring a frazzled hoe-down-ing harmonica which kids lets wise up a second in saying that aside whistles, barking, yelping and bent out of shape banjos nothing quite matches the sound of a well heeled harmonica breezily piping away literally stripping the skin of your spine. Frantic, frenetic and frighteningly infectious, ‘bad bad girl’ sounds like its fallen through a rip in time straight from the formative days of 60’s garage beat, primitive, primal and minimalist in delivery the tension is visibly suffocating – ‘bad bad girl’ is your defining broken to pieces rampant country punk – think early career Orson Family meets the swamp groove of Gallon Drunk with a fast unravelling DNA spliced Dolly Parton and Kat Bjelland screaming blue murder. Nuff said. We have to admit to quite liking Paul Hawkins brand of wayward fuck off and leave alone buckled pop and so to as on ‘the evil thoughts’ the barbed humour is almost inescapable as he freewheels through what is essentially a quite dandy and strangely dinky drinking song, and yes we have said it before but as curmudgeon as he sounds he still comes across like a depressingly happy Daniel Johnston but with – and it has to be said – better tunes – marked out by its blankly despondent delivery and its looping repetitive underpin this will either drive you to distraction or indeed drink – we especially love the 60’s styled Edwin Astley like TV soundtrack ending. One of those must have releases I’m afraid.

Roy Santiago ‘…plays the great pretender’ (jezus factory). Admittedly – there’s always the excuse for the dusting down of bunting in the Sunday Experience record shed, none more so are the flags a waving with the passing arrival of pristine product via the Jezus Factory sonic stable. So with this in mind what do you get if you take an artist with a new sense of purpose and zest for life whose previous recordings have been by all accounts DIY experiments turned with sour retrospection place him in a studio and pair him up with various members Sukilove, Evil Superstars and Sleeping Dog. In short a belting power throbbing slab of vibrant buzz bombing day-glo dyed uber pop that strays, tingles and prowls like a prime time Wolfmen release (look no further than the kiss curled glam grind of ‘my car isn’t fast enough’ where echoes of ‘cecilie’ purr succulently between the grooves. According to the liners ‘the great pretender’ is much influenced by Santiago’s late fathers record collection, shoehorned between the crackling hiss that separates these ten gems essences of glam pouts and preening Mod struts are spiked and swathed amid a honey toned plethora of harmony driven bliss kissed signatures trained with an effervescent upbeat eye (as noted by the radiance fuelled ‘the sun is in your eyes‘ with its subtle Cheap Tricks meets Motors flavourings by way of Bolan and Harley). In fact this is the first of sets we’ve had the pleasure of hearing in recent weeks that have had us scurrying for our prized Epicycle records – the other in accidentally being Epigene’s adventurous and dare we say quite sublime double disc ‘a wall street odyssey’ outing. Here you’ll stumble upon the Who’s ’pictures of Lily’ as echoed and idented upon the opening salvos’ teen infatuation of ’Stella’, somewhere else the lackadaisical mooching bass line that undercuts ’king of hearts’ imparts the kind of dark beauty that was once the trademark tonality of the Pixies’ first two full lengths albeit as though here viewed through the lazy eyed viewfinder of Pavement. Further along the way ‘the Zoltar Machine’ cuts across the collective bows of both Nick Lowe and Weckless Eric with such impish aplomb you feel obliged to doff caps in admiration. Both the torch trimmed and smoky sounding ’the lady wears the suit’ and ’start including me’ orbit sonic spheres more readily traversed by Morton Valence the former graced with a sweetly spectral lovelorn days fading intimacy with the latter traced to the heart heavy maddening pang of a lost Roy Orbison nugget while the parting ’melody hand’ is possessed of a kind of damaged and fractured mindset that recalls the dissipating arabesque psych tinged schizoid persona of Bunnymen in their ‘porcupine’ / ‘ocean rain’ era had they been headed up by Paddy McAloon which once faded and left with the CD to play out for about a minute or two morphs in to some sepia a-cappella groove which if as the liner notes suggest this albums influence is indeed inscribed by his fathers record collection then this’ll be the rogue flying pickets misfit then….

TROIA = Pascal Deweze + Helder Deploige + Sjoerd Bruil

Staying with the Jezus Factory crew, picked this up along with the Stovepipe and the rather nifty PerW/Trouve cassette. On a limited issue tape press, just 50 all in, this is TROIA = Pascal Deweze + Helder Deploige + Sjoerd Bruil with, what we are assuming to be, their self titled debut full length release. Now this is quite wiggy and noodling, no information attaching here alas, one thing that is obvious first encounter, is that these dudes have a thing for the funk struck quirky weird ear for ‘TROIA theme’, currently looming on the band camp preview page, is a stupidly cool mutant moocher which on initial introductions almost had us bagging this in the Legendary Pink Dots box all of which we’d
have happily done and been done with that. However the more you listen, and yes the LPD influence still strangely looms only larger so, then that improvisional grooving craftily freewheels all the time oiled by a connected musicianship who, obviously in the flow and in the moment are happily blissed and all drawing from some hidden hive understanding, the result of which, the further you scratch and immerse in their craft, the deeper you fall in its rabbit hole thinking is there a Zappa like thing cooking here. Ridiculously essential.

Heyme – Paranoid
A three tracker headed up by ‘paranoid’, a sub six minute shadow land prowler whose edgy psychosis darkly ruminates restlessly with a withering weaving that places it somewhere in the icy abandon of Roxy’s ‘in every dream house a heartache’ with Tuxedomoon for company. ‘freeze’ on the other hand, despite its title, is substantially lighter by contrast, smoky and warming much like a campfire cosy, disarmingly intimate and yet vulnerable and honeyed in vocal quivers, breezed brass, hushed harmonies and woody aromatics. Rounding out matters, ‘Cruising’ – just between you and me, our favourite moment by the trailing part of a hushed whisper, is possessed, as the title might hint, of a blissful seafaring persona, something which for the second time this evening, had us much minded to go scampering off in search of Toshack Highway platters, notably on this occasion, his first. – The Sunday Experience

Craig Ward – New Third Lanark
New from the much admired Jezus Factory imprint is a collection of guitar based improvisations from Craig Ward. Entitled ’new third Lanark’ the set comprises of five suites recorded way back in November 2011 in a bedroom and brought to life by being run through a series of processing devices. For those not quite up to speed on these things – me included – a truncated view of Mr Ward’s resume would read one time memberships of Deus, Ih8 Camera, the summer of Mars, the love substitutes and the excellently named though quite possibly politically incorrect Elton Genocide. ’new third Lanark’ finds Mr Ward voyaging into territories more commonly associated with the likes of Wil Bolton, Yellow6 et al. ambient dream sequences hollowed out and sculptured into stilled glacial montages. Like passing visions in the night, Ward for the best part crafts a crystalline and mesmeric star twinkled lullaby suite drawn together by a waltzing courtship of bowed instruments and flotillas of spacey
celestial opines rippled in minimalist fanfares (as on the seafaring on lunar tides like title track ‘new third Lanark‘). Here you’ll encounter the bitter sweet ache of the forlorn drone swathes of ’the Tenant’ and the crystal tipped opaque splendour of the murmured ’tropic of bennett’. these cavernous leviathans sumptuously coalesce to manifest into all manner of lunar lilted tripping woozy montages on ’blazes as in Dixon’ wherein things take on a glorious spectral sci-fi route very much traversing a glacial axis as that found on the end credits for Barry Gray’s ’UFO’ score after that is having been flashed through the BBC Radiophonic sonic spectrum and tweaked, one imagines, by Louis and Bebe Barron. Darker still, the parting ‘Lemo’ spirit walks beyond the veil, or so it would seem, ghostly apertures, dislocated and fracturing chorals drifting momentarily through the ether, there’s a stilled elegant reverence present throughout though even that fact can’t help you dislodge the feeling that once submerged your adrift and floating in the minds sub-consciousness. Comes housed in a dinky looking digi pack sleeve replete with, as the press release points out, a portrait of a little boy on the front.

Strumpets – Rubies and Ruffians
We’ve a few rogue jezus factory treats with which to regale you with which alas have so far slipped the net all of which will appear at some point here in the very near future, however before those there’s this. Something of a divine curio which I’ll admit to being as I write our favourite platter. Hailing – I think from Belgium – which sounds about right given these Jezus Factory dudes appear to have the inside track of that nations finest musicianship, strumpets second full length ‘rubies and ruffians’ appears to be causing a quiet stir amid the underground community, sounding as though its breezed through some time tripped portal from an era populated by hippy dippy shiny happy beads, flowers and peace loving tree hugging folksters – either that or they’ve been riding a magic bus whose tax disc and MOT has long since expired. Whatever the case there’s no denying that ’tamara’ – ripped from the set and set upon video form below – is something truly desirable in the terms of ear candy kudos. Engraved in the woozily trip wired aspects of Os Mutantes at their 60’s shimmered finest albeit as though re-tooled and tenderly bathed in Komeda like airiness there’s something about the seducing hallucinogenic pastorals unfurling throughout that lends itself to recall those classic era Hammer House horror phonic treatments of the early 70’s though here as though re-visualised and reframed within a lilting casual aspect that sounds as though it had eyed the soft parade’s criminally overlooked lost gem ’nobody told you anything’ as its influencing soundboard. Utterly gorgeous.

Stovepipe – Born To Jive/Never Surrender
Expect a full review of this, once that is, we’ve remedied a tiny glitch, Monday or Tuesday judging by things. Trying to squeeze this in between dampcourse and decorating, so as you can imagine, the usually sedate listening room is in a whirl of chaos at the moment. Anyhow, this be Stovepipe who describe themselves in passing as ‘groovy soulful rock’n’roll ghoulies’, with an incoming four track 7 inch heading out through Jezus Factory shortly, a label who at present, appear to be going through an ear hugging sonic purple patch of late. As said, we’ll be all over the 7 inch release in a day or so, for now a rewired remix of ‘born to love’ to open the account. One of those cuts that’s coolly crafted and coded with a subtle low level itchy infectiousness, the sparse and minimal post punk angulars and the pressing earthbeat rhythmic’s collide and converge to forge and fuse a joyous schism of optimism and acutely trippy floor groove that slyly strays, hiccups and slinks into softly hazy psychedelic terrains, something which I’m minded to say, ought to chime with folk admiring of both a C-81 era A Certain Ratio and Was (not Was).

Kloot Per/Trouve

Last up for the evening, this one back footed us as we were powering down for the evening. Heading out of Jezus Factory right now (who incidentally are seemingly going through something of a purple patch of late and again are another label overdue for fond mention), this is the sinister suave that is ‘provisoir’ by Kloot Per W/Rudy Trouvé. A track culled from ‘cassette number 3’ in conjunction with heaven hotel records, this cut is possessed of the welcoming whiff of Captain Beefheart in so much as that same quirky slink though here fried, wired and mutated by a cool monochrome blissing of schizoid electro shocks that serve to usher in an edgy shadow playing disconnection.

Gore Slut – Live and Intoxicated in Nandarin
Limited cassette action from the much admired, though sadly quiet of late Jezus Factory imprint. This one in an edition of 100 came to be when Heyme Langebroek of Kiss my Jazz fame found a neglected box of forgotten CD’s while readying himself for a move. The archive material within being live recordings of Gore Slut from the late 90’s where passed up to the Jezus Factory folk for consideration and well everyone knows that head honcho Andrew is something of a completist when it comes to all things relating to Rudy Trouve. The CD, carefully listened to and cleaned where put to cassette because everyone loves retro and hey, we want to be as close to that whole 90’s vibe as much as possible in all its joys and horrors of cassette players that play too fast, too slow, if at all, don’t even start with the chewing side of matters. Look we love cassettes. So what you have here on ‘Live And Intoxicated at Nandrin 1997’ is a complete show of Trouve and Co doing, what the press release, so acutely and succinctly puts it, ‘……playing alternative guitar rock in the style of Dinosaur Jr, Yo la tengo, Sonic Youth, Jonathan Richman and Motorpsycho. Dark and introvert lovesongs, covered in a wall of noise’. What’s not to love, truth be told we couldn’t have put it better ourselves with highlights a many here, notably ‘letter’ whose dizzy discordance playfully teeters between the slow fuse rage storms of Nirvana and the squirreling impish of Trumans Water and Eric’s Trip while ‘white socks’ skirts, coos and blisters into terrains so admired of Pavement. For us though, nothing quite betters the parting salvo ‘lisa drugstore’ – an intimately bruised sonic storybook with a propensity to rupture and fragment into moments of skree scabbing unravelling, which in the end makes this something of an essential grab.

Creature With The Atom Brain – I Am The Golden Gate Bridge dirty grinding grizzled fuzzed up blues – think deep purple shimmying up to the melvins and kicking several shades out the zep – gnarled boogie from Belgium – bugger all info alas though we must admit being rather taken by ’not a sect’ which to these ears sounds like jaz killing joke taking charge at the steering wheel of ministry’s hotrod and making road kill out of bearded chart truckers zz top. Its mooted that there’s a whole album worth of this stuff around ready to terrorise a record rack near you shortly.

Extradition Order – Kennedy
been such a long time since we had occasion to shimmy around the listening room to the sounds of extradition order, if memory serves me right they were a much hailed turntable treat from their distant days on I blame the parents records – a much imprint it should be said. These days signed to the equally admired Jezus Factory stable the band are set to release their third full length in the guise of ‘kennedy’ and come packing a sound so big, brash and brutal its liable to give the occasional bruising side kick just for the listening. From that set looms ‘Bobby’ a deceptively swaggering bad boy that pulses with dark friction all the time aligned to a hip grinding devious funk undercut that when gathered together purr with the kind of slow brooding mercurial artistry that had us on several occasions of a mind to re-hook up with our prized the seal cub clubbing club platters of yesteryear whilst imagining them mainlining on blissed out Suicide trance tones with the ever so subtle undertow of a youthful Bunnymen coursing between the grooves.  

Angels Die Hard – S/T

Out via heaven hotel presents shortly and distributed by Jezus Factory is – I think I’m right in saying – the debut full length from Angels Die Hard who feature among their core three piece line up – a trio of souls from Strumpets, so basically Strumpets with a different name and a different sound aided and abetted by a gathering of friends among whom includes Rudy Trouve. Recorded in 4 days in Antwerp, this self titled gem named after an obscure biker movie from the early 70’s features eight instrumentals whose collective mission is it seems to take you on a journey across the globe and beyond. Superbly crafted and delicately balanced between the murmured and the monolithic ‘blue mamba’ opens proceedings. Hypnotic ethnic earth beat motifs. snake charming Arabesque mantras, there’s something post rockian Quickspace about its wares that’s weaved around a subtle spectral spy themed coda that could have easily been prized by a long forgotten and lost John Barry score for a would be aborted late 60’s TV show. ‘unga dunga’ is a pure balalaikian bitches brew, unwieldy, frenetic and frantic, its shape shifts with acutely cute angular poise dashed upon skin prickling art pop posies. Freefalling into Tape Cuts Tape territories there’s something darkly seductive about ’a walk in the black forest’ with its locked groove whiter funk fractures and woozy Theremins erupting into howling cyclonic masses of wiring kraut-ian jazz goo as though carved from the remnants of an echo boy / add N to X face off. Side b opens with some seriously old school cosmic prog in the guise of ’fruhstuckstelle’ – a hulking interstellar odyssey where the legendary sounds capes of Neu, Amon and tangerine all converge, crystallise and collapse into a glorious sun bursting star symphony. And do we detect the subtle tonalities of ‘I wanna be your man’ loosely threaded between the grooves of ‘tropical hibernation’ I should say – a riff rumbling Dale-esque twang twister much adoring we suspect of the shadowy men on a shadowy planet. And then its earthbound for the alluring far eastern framed ‘angels across the pacific’ which after some gorgeously ornate and serenely spliced bowed instrumentations goes all heads down for a spot of fuzz buzzed beatnik groove. Best of the set comes with the parting ‘the lonely angel’ – forlorn, beautiful and bruised, this sighing lovely is possessed of the sensitivity of John Williams and the opining majesty of the Grails.