This time on the album review page you get the dark electronics of the original Attrition line up live in the Cage, the brutal ice cold death metal of Frozen Soul, the manic wonderful new album from Pere Ubu and a collection of electronic pieces from Russia recorded way over fifty years ago but still vital listening. Have a read about them all below.
ATTRITION – Live in The Cage 07.02.2023
Since the end of 1980 Attrition have been creating dark industrial music. 2022 saw the reformation of the original lineup who have since played across the UK. This is the recording made of their rehearsals for those performances on multi track and mixed by Martin Bowes. It’s a glimpse into what was, what’s to come and where they are now. While the new album is looming into view, this recording is where it all comes from.
The music starts with a drone and the sample of a voice, it’s strange and unearthly and telling you what you are doing is futile, idiotic and will lead to ruin. The symphonic synth sweeps that follow are amplified by Martin’s growling whisper and Julia’s operatic singing. That’s what makes this band special and together they are brilliant. The synth sounds are built up over and over themselves, throbbing with menace and sleaze. It’s not a record for sunny days and bright skies, it’s for the darkness, the dusk and dawn. It’s for the forgotten corners and crumbling brickworks. There’s a heat to this music too, and not just sexual although that is a part of it, it’s the heat of the back seats of the clubs, the heat of a humid summer night when sleep becomes impossible. This is a deep journey into where the forty odd years that Attrition have existed came from and ultimately ended up with. The last few tracks erupt into joyous drum and bass beats which disorient you even more, but even with the joy, the darkness and heat is still behind it.
Frozen Soul – Glacial Domination
Century Media Records
Texan Death Metal. Those three words are all you really need to know about this album. As well as, It’s very very good. The synths that rise up from nowhere alongside the sounds of cold hard bloody battle are the perfect contrast to the frozen wastes of hard cold full death metal. It’s the creeping iciness of frostbite, the colour of a splash of blood on snow. It’s bloody cold listening to this. For the most part it’s fast, grinding forward, it’s nasty and sounds great. The monstrous sounds at battle here are as powerful as glacial drift and as grinding as ice scraping slowly across mountains, it’s a battering ram of an album.
Pere Ubu – Trouble On Big Beat Street
Cherry Red Records
Pere Ubu sound like they are just on the very edge of falling apart, held together by the force of their wills and our belief in them. This album is discordant, feels very wrong and could be as at home in a jazz collection as a post punk shelf. In other words, Pere Ubu are functioning exactly as they have been for years. Idiosyncratic and masters of the weird. I’m going to come right out and say that if you already like Pere Ubu you will love it. If you don’t, give it a go, it may be a jigsaw piece you didn’t realise your mind was missing.
The vocals are howls, yelps and high singing, showmanship is all as they switch from idea to idea to idea. The story about visiting a chicken store alongside various faces you will know is printed on the cover and the loose free blues that leads off from it is the best track on the album. But the whole thing is loose and free, off centre and fucked up. It’s Pere Ubu. Enough said.
VA – Музыкальное Приношение (Musical Offering)
Cold Spring Records
This is a compilation of music made using the ANS Synthesiser, recorded in 1971 this is the first reissue on CD. ‘Created by Soviet scientist Evgeny Murzin over the course of 20 years, ANS is an instrument with which a composer can not only create but also draw their music without notes.Inside the ANS are five rotating glass discs with 144 tones printed (by hand) on each one. Light is projected through the discs and onto photovoltaic cellbank which converts the light into electricity and sends signals to the ANS’s amplifiers and bandpass filters. The ANS can generate 720 tones this way and, unlike a human musician, play them all at the same time.’
So what does it sound like? Gentle mostly, these recordings are restrained compositions using drones and sounds that play on the imagination vividly. There are waves, bleeps and dropping objects. A sound very reminiscent of the Clangers with playful chimes around them. They transport you into space, into a jungle, underneath the ocean and into dark empty spaces. They are remarkable pieces of electronic composition.
Attrition’s website is attrition.co.uk, they are on Facebook, Bandcamp and Tweet as @attritionuk.
Frozen Soul’s website is www.frozensoultx.com. They are on Facebook, Instagram and Tweet as @Frozensoultx.
Pere Ubu’s website is ubuprojex.com, they are on Facebook and Bandcamp.
You can order VA – Музыкальное Приношение (Musical Offering) from the Cold Spring Bandcamp page.
All words by Adrian Bloxham