Strange Umbrellas #24
"'Pleasure Island' is British composer Tim Parkinson’s disquieting and joyous Slip debut: play time in end times. Titled after the Disney adaptation of ‘Paese dei balocchi’ (or the Land of Toys) in Carlo Collodi’s ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ (1883), 'Pleasure Island' is a metaphysical playground of organic and digital cohabitation, its inhabitants pacified by toys and comforts. Alongside Dawn Bothwell, Suze Whaites, Laurie Tompkins, and Francesca Fargion, Parkinson exerts an uncannily emotional pull from an unlikely but potent alliance of ultra-minimal aesthetics, dead-beat drums, junk electronics, and mechanised mantras. Voices are hemmed in by electronic sound. People buffeted around by machines. Words surrounded by garlands of digital interference. Time repackaged as countdown.
Tim’s trash-opera ‘Time With People’ continues to be performed around the world, past champions of which include Object Collection, a.pe.ri.od.ic, Edges, and NEC, and he is a co-curator of London’s longstanding ‘Music We’d Like To Hear’ series. Despite decades of fiercely independent production, this is his only piece conceived of first and foremost as an album.
Tim Parkinson / keyboards, stylophones, drums, percussion, midi, electronics, sounds, vocals
Francesca Fargion / vocals on 'Happy Birthday'
Dawn Bothwell / vocals
Laurie Tompkins / vocals
Suze Whaites / vocals
Recorded in London Oct–Dec 2017 & Newcastle May 2018. Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Rick Pushinsky.
Tim Parkinson – Pleasure Island
"'You Are Under Our Space Control' is firebrand US group Object Collection's inimitable Slip return: a utopian space-opera, a homing signal cast into an empty universe, a beacon for an aesthetically radical future. Drawing on space travel, transhumanism, astronautics and the resurrection of the dead, Kara Feely's texts rehearse a progressive politics through a total re-envisioning of everyday life. Travis Just's limber speech-song vocal parts are eerily and spasmodically FX'd, and navigate surprisingly glistening instrumentals - a headlong tangle and squelch of flexing 808s and metal objects, roboticised guitar, and unreal synthesis.
YAUOSC's bubbling force belies its diverse, unruly underpinnings. The opera’s musical backbone is a drum-machine transcription of John Cage's 1951 piano solo 'Music Of Changes', a landmark of indeterminacy; its title grabbed from Cy Roth's sci-fi romp 'Fire Maidens From Outer Space' (1951); its texts inspired by Sun Ra and the Russian Cosmists’ poetics and philosophies, and interviews from real (and imagined) space travellers and astronomers.
Object Collection charge these impulses with a burning, engrossing physicality. This is, above all, an LP of heaving, life-giving music, deep in the mess of futuristic fervour."
Mastered by Giuseppe Ielasi. Artwork by Frank Eickhoff.
Object Collection – You Are Under Our Space Control [SLP054]
Edition of 100 hand numbered two color screenprints for our four day Peter Brötzmann festival celebrating his decade long relationship with Cafe OTO.
Design by Peter Brötzmann. Printed on A2 colorplan White Frost 175gsm paper by Tartaruga.
Peter Brötzmann Four Day Festival A2 Screenprint
Pleased to present the full recording of Pat Thomas' moving tribute to Duke Ellington on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of his birth. According to Thomas, Ellington "never stopped discovering, never played the same tune in exactly the same way twice", and the same could be said here. The tunes are all there, but they emerge unpredictably, warped and hammered through the body of the piano in Pats own way. The second set was an hour long, with Pat rolling through 'Rockin’ in Rhythm', 'Isfahan' and 'In a Sentimental Mood' in a collage of heavy harmonics, serious swing and a wicked appreciation for exploration. An absolute pleasure to be in the room for this one, and tremendously happy to share the recording.
"Deconstructing and reconstructing as part of the interpretative process is second nature to Thomas. The obvious is kept at his arm’s length so from tangential start points, unforgettable melodies would creep back to plant flags firmly in the ground." - London Jazz News
1.Prelude to a KissSolitudeTake the ColtraneSophisticated LadySatin DollSerenade to Sweden
2.Rockin’ in RhythmMood IndigoIsfahanIn a Sentimental MoodI Got It Bad and That Ain’t GoodHeavenDo Nothing Till You Hear From MeDay DreamCome SundayCaravan
Pat Thomas – Plays Duke Ellington
“Debut full length from London based 3 piece originally hailing from New Zealand (Matthew Hyland), Germany (Anja Büchele) and Romania (Dennis Debitsev) Precious Waste In Our Wake (full title written nowhere: “The Fucking Terrible Receding Shapes, We Shed Precious Waste In Our Wake”) is an endlessly beautiful, dense and chaotic crawl through so many forms it can be difficult to ascertain what is actually at play. Ostensibly a ‘rock’ band carved from the same plank as previous outfits Philosopie Queen, The Mean Streaks, etc Triple Negative have shaken a somewhat complacent London with their wildly original blend of chaos and beauty rolling around a maelstrom of politics, spite and humour. Bloodclaat Orange, Fatna Bent Lhoucine, The Associates, Aby Ngana Diop, Royal Trux, Brigitte Fontaine/Areski, and Babyfather are all somehow wished into the scenario, either suggestively, explicitly quoted or manifesting as some malformed degree of inspiration.
Precious Waste features bloody-minded Schlagzeugspiel by Stephen Robinson (Aufgehoben) & Rohan P. Thomas (The Mean Streaks, Sigma Editions) + guest verses by Maria Callas/P.-P. Pasolini, Marlene Dietrich & actually existing urban foxes of Northeast & South London. Also contains “Destroyer”, the 1st song written by Cameron Bain for The Mean Streaks (2000. complete lyric sheet: Destroyer!), followed immediately by Dr Moreau-style fusion of Herman Melville & Peter Perrett in glass-all-void Immigrant Song. Also bass sound of the miraculous Stylophone Beatbox, plus Casio MT 45 psychick dancehall and 3 pairs of strings, not 4, on the bouzouki.
Following on from the quietly released TOWERS, OPEN, FIRE/Looking For Business 7″ on Penultimate Press towards the end of 2018, Precious Waste In Our Wake is a Malediction Forbidding Mourning, a portfolio of old pathologies folded into a sleek new nervous wreck. Precious Waste In Our Wake is a hulking ride of audacious rhythmic passages swaying alongside the meanest of melodies suddenly swept over by flights most fragile. Packaged in a high gloss sleeve with insert and precious zero by way of peers.”
“An endearingly honest and outrageously artful sense of seemingly forgetful prowess - having played together for seventeen years (!) and only now releasing their debut album, “Precious Waste..” really gives weight to the idea that it can take a long time to sound like yourself. Triple Negative's entirely unique breed of dynamic chaos providing the thrill and bewilderment of observing that which is so close to collapse, evolve into a fully realised slab of INFINITE potential.” - Low Company
Triple Negative – Precious Waste In Our Wake
"The Blue Horse is a beautiful strange journey through a landscape where little is familiar but all are welcome. Made from predominantly acoustic sources, The Blue Horse gracefully hisses, puffs, wheezes, whirls, and clunks it’s way through a series of distinct musical and non musical environments. Sounding both at times like a dark and stormy night… and “an elephant trying to get laid”, the ambiguous style of The Blue Horse conceals the artists’ unsettling, fantastical and quietly humorous sensibility.
Whilst The Blue Horse lacks any obvious precursors, it’s elemental and environmental leanings potentially tread a path initially mapped out by Moniek Darge and Godfried-Willem Raes in the works coming out of the Logos Foundation in Ghent, Belgium in the mid 80’s.
The Blue Horse is the debut recording from Sholto Dobie and Mark Harwood and features a guest appearance from cellist Judith Hamann.
Sholto Dobie is an artist and performer born in Edinburgh and living in London. His solo output is marked by live performances that are characteristically delicate, evocative and absurd. He uses his own instruments, crudely assembled from materials such as reeds, whistles, bin bags, fans and air compressors, alongside loose performative structures, to respond to places and situations. He plays in Al Fresco (with Lia Mazzari & Tom White) and regularly collaborates with Ben Pritchard. He has also worked with Ashley Paul. He continues to run the event series Muckle Mouth which he founded in 2014.
Mark Harwood is a musician and performer born in Ferntree Gully and living in London. His output veers towards uncanny audio both delicate and unsettling whilst his performances rely on teasing out and playing with the mood embedded within any given environment and audience situation. He has collaborated with Graham Lambkin, Aine O’Dwyer, Timo Van Luijk and MP Hopkins and runs the Penultimate Press label which brings forth this very release."
“People say he looks blue under the moon”, is what Mhairi told me when I asked her about it.
I was walking along the roadside with my partner in the Cabrach, one of the most remote areas in northern Scotland. At a bend in the road, something directed my attention towards the hill and when I looked up I could make out a silvery-blue creature, moving slowly and gracefully, obscured by the trees. It wasn’t clear at first, but I soon clocked that it was a horse and I took a picture of it. Earlier in the day I came across a fairy ring of field blewits, mushrooms otherwise known as blue-legs, so I knew something was up.
By the time it was dark (around 4pm in November) we were the only customers in the Grouse Inn, a long-standing middle-of-nowhere tea room and whisky bar, beautifully cared for by Wilma McBain and her daughter Mhairi. Noticing the leather harnesses on display I asked Mhairi about the horse we’d seen earlier in the woods. I was somewhat enchanted just talking about it, and she wasn’t surprised.
Later in the evening, we ended up behind the bar in the refrigeration room (where Mhairi paints), she showed us her painting of the blue horse.
I didn’t sleep much that night.” – Sholto Dobie, 2019
Mark Harwood & Sholto Dobie – The Blue Horse