Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Music Review: Listening Center - Other Voices 2

(Ghost Box GBX712)
7" Single

Listening Center is the musical persona of NYC musician David Mason.  For his contribution to the new Ghost Box series of 7" delights he has brought a short set of synthesizer ditties that invoke a sprightly library vibe alongside Vangelis-esque beats and a Kosmicshe-pop sensibility.

It's a wonderful pop record that feels like it should have been released a couple of decades ago but I'm glad it wasn't because back then I was all about the fast and the heavy and so would have never gotten to hear it.

(www.ghostbox.co.uk)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Music Review: Brooks & O'Hagan - Other Voices 1

(Ghost Box GBX711)
7" Single

Ghost Box regular Jon Brooks (he of The Advisory Circle) here teams up with Sean O'Hagan of the High Llamas for two pieces of gentle, hazy, lazy sunshine pop or 'poptology' as my brain keeps insisting I call it.

Brooks' trademark hauntological tendencies are here giving the two tracks the feel of a 'Programmes for Schools and Colleges' countdown tune (which is no bad thing in my book) whilst O'Hagan's influence (and strings?) steers the music away from imminent lectures on 'Chemistry in Action' into the sunnier warmer climes of the gentle pop of The Free Design and The Beach Boys where instead you can feel chemistry in action. 

Singles were meant to sound like this.

(www.ghostbox.co.uk)

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Music Review: Delia Derbyshire & Anthony Newley - Moogies Bloogies

(Trunk TTT008)
7" Single

Here we have an unreleased collaboration between Delia and the multi-talented Anthony Newley created apparently as soundtrack pieces but remained unused due to his move to the US with then wife Joan Collins.
Side one is a whimsical slice of vintage Delia all nursery rhyme atmospheres and tooting melodies over which Newley has added a voyeuristic commentary all sung in his best mockney manner (think Blur's 'Parklife').  Lyrics here - http://wiki.delia-derbyshire.net/wiki/Moogies_Bloogies

Over on the B side is something much, much stranger. 'I Decoded You (Moogies Bloogies pt.2)' sounds unlike anything else by Delia that I've ever heard and for it's 1 minute 28 second run time it is filled with busy clangs and tootles before twisting suddenly into a calliope waltz; over it all Newley, in another (more 'cultured') accent again signs a frankly creepy love song.  The notes on the reverse of the sleeve make the claim that musically this is an example of Delia sampling which seems reasonable and these folks are far more knowledgeable on this topic than me.

7 inch singles are rarely particularly cheap these days but they remain my favourite format and combining it with an unreleased rarity by a favourite musician makes this a real treat that's very much worth the asking price.

(www.trunkrecords.com)

(please note, that's not actually Delia (or Anthony Newley for that matter) in the video below but American composer and musician Suzanne Ciani)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Music Review: Pauline Oliveros, David Rothenberg, Timothy Hill - Cicada Dream Band

(Gruenrekorder  Gruen149)
CD

When we last heard David Rothenberg he and some friends were making beautiful Bug Music on his earlier Gruenrekorder release.  This new one finds him continuing along that unique path again in the company of vocalist Timothy Hill but joined also this time by the (as if you needed me to tell you this) accordion playing Pauline Oliveros. 

CDB is a similar sort of creature to it's successor, which is no bad thing, but this time out the instrument seem to be taking a prominent role in the recordings.  Previously it seemed that Rothenberg was reacting to the insect's cavalcade of sound. Here the critters are more integrated into the music; as though the music was assembled around their exclamations.  It works really well but it does seem more deliberate and, for lack of a better word, 'composed' (which seems unlikely to me) than the previous.

It's a really lovely set.  Rothenberg is centre stage and on fine form, Oliveros is a more withdrawn presence but her contributions are precise and work particularly well alongside Hill whose vocalisations are restrained and avoid the overt (and for me very annoying) vocal gymnastics that many avant-vocalists are prone to.

Highly recommended and another in a long line of phenomenal releases from this eclectic and wonderful label.

(www.gruenrekorder.de)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Music Review: Craig Safan - Warning Sign

(Invada Records)
CD

Safan is an American soundtrack composer with a long filmography that includes things such as 'A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master', 'The Last Starfighter' and the TV series 'Cheers' for which he provided all the original music except the theme.  Here though it's his electronic score for the ultra-obscure 1985 zombie movie 'Warning Sign' that concerns us.

I'm pretty sure you can take a fairly accurate guess from that date what this is going to sound like.  Recorded on the Synclavier synthesizer - the synth of choice for many 80s pop music stalwarts such as Sting, Genesis and Michael Jackson - 'Warning Sign' is awash with sounds that have been rendered utterly passé by overuse.  The polyphonic tones of the Synclavier though are rich and endearing and weighted with nostalgia and Safan manages for large parts of this soundtrack to conjure up and maintain some heavy, dramatic and occasionally melodramatic ambiences.  Sometimes they all come crashing down to earth with a (now) clichéd 'du du dum' noise but, as I said earlier, he's got a pedigree for this stuff and knows how to build and hold a mood.

I've had a copy of this sitting around for a little while now and, as is my way, I've tried it in different environments.  Of them all it proved to be most at home in my car.  The cinematic scale of the compositions and the depth of the Synclavier's tones means it's perfectly suited to motorway driving; particularly at night as it decorates the journey with cyberpunk textures. 

It is dated sounding and is lacking that certain spark that similar, and classic, soundtrack work of the same era such as 'Blade Runner' or some of John Carpenter's work has and as such I can't see it ever being more that a reasonably well thought of piece of cult ephemera but that's no bad thing.

(www.invada.co.uk)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Music Review: Howlround - Torridon Gate

(A Year in the Country)
CD

This third album from London's finest manipulators of magnetic tape, Howlround, is a slow burning, deeply atmospheric corker.  Produced entirely from recordings made from the gate referenced in the title, the duo of Robin (the Fog) and Chris (Weaver) have coaxed a dizzying array of unsettling and even sorrowful sounds from this most functional of objects and have layered them to astonishing effect.

The Howlround modus is based very much on that of the early years of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and as such they record their sound sources onto loops of tape of varying sizes which are then played via three tape recorders with all processing and editing done within the machines.  In this way the composition that the two have persuaded the tapes to reveal is as otherworldly and queasily creepy as it is beautifully earthy.  There's a gritty texture that evokes stories of the gate's history, it's place and it's age but through all that there is movement. The sounds expose themselves, transform and meld producing a piece of music that is at times introspective, at times vociferous and in a constant state of resurgence and restless agitation. 

The end result as presented here is a piece of music that whilst acknowledging the debt it's playful manner of execution owes to the workshop of the 1960s, is, in conception, timeless and really rather fun.

(www.ayearinthecountry.co.uk)
(www.howlround.co.uk)


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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Book Review: No Wave: Post Punk Underground. New York 1976-1980

Thurston Moore & Byron Foley
(Harry N. Abrams Books)

No Wave is the first book to visually chronicle the collision of art and punk in the New York underground of 1976 to 1980. This in depth look at punk rock, new wave, experimental music, and the avant-garde art movement of the 70s and 80s focuses on the true architects of No Wave from James Chance to Lydia Lunch to Glenn Branca, as well as the luminaries that intersected the scene, such as David Byrne, Debbie Harry, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop, and Richard Hell.
This rarely documented scene was the creative stomping ground of young artists and filmmakers from Jean-Michel Basquiat to Jim Jarmusch as well as the musical genesis for the post-punk explosions of Sonic Youth and is here revealed for a new generation of fans and collectors.
Thurston Moore and Byron Coley have selected 150 unforgettable images, most of which have never been published previously, and compiled hundreds of hours of personal interviews to create an oral history of the movement, providing a never-seen-before exploration and celebration of No Wave.


No Wave was for me always better in the abstract. For the most part I'm really not all that into the music. There are exceptions but truthfully these are mostly exceptions to the scene anyway - Glenn Branca's guitar ensembles and some of the latest Lydia Lunch things.

As I'm sure this is the case for many folks it was that lady back there (along with Sonic Youth) that was my entry point into the scene. Truthfully though I have read more about the bands than I have heard them. The book increases this discrepancy via an abundance of quotes and snapshots. There's a vague authorial narrative but the bulk of the journey is conducted via the words of the participants.  The photos are a mix of band promos, gig pics and snapshots.  They work well with the text reflecting it's monochromatic delivery and lack of fussiness with their directness.

Searching and indepth it wasn't, interesting and personable it absolutely was.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Book Review: Alan Moore - 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom

(Harry N. Abrams)

With each new technological advance, pornography has proliferated and degraded in quality. Today, porn is everywhere, but where is it art? 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom surveys the history of pornography and argues that the success and vibrancy of a society relates to its permissiveness in sexual matters.
This history of erotic art brings together some of the most provocative illustrations ever published, showcasing the evolution of pornography over diverse cultures from prehistoric to modern times. Beginning with the Venus of Willendorf, created between 24,000-22,000 bce, and book-ended by contemporary photography, it also contains a timeline covering major erotic works in several cultures. 25,000 Years of Erotic Freedom ably captures the ancient and insuppressible creative drive of the sexual spirit, making this book a treatise on erotic art.


This is a reproduced essay written by Moore on one of his non Lovecraftian obsessions - pornography.

It's an interesting little read that is entirely and obviously Moore and feels like it fell straight out of the pages of Dodgem Logic. The really odd thing about it are the remarkably prudish illustrations. For an article that is championing the decline in quality of pornography it's remarkably coy about showing almost anything that could be considered actually pornographic.

A light but enjoyable article that is more polemic than argument but was possible better suited to be a magazine article rather than a book in its own right.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.  

Book Review: Alan Moore & Facundo Percio - Fashion Beast

(Avatar)

Alan Moore's lost masterpiece comes to life as an incredible comic book series almost three decades later! The mid-80's were a stunning period of brilliance for Alan Moore, seeing him create true masterpieces including Miracleman, Watchmen--and Fashion Beast! Working with Malcom McLaren (Sex Pistols), Moore turned his attention to a classic re-telling of a Beauty and the Beast through his unyielding and imaginative vision.
At long last, Fashion Beast is presented in deluxe trade paperback and hardcover collections of the complete ten issue Fashion Beast series. Doll was unfulfilled in her life as a coat checker of a trendy club. But when she is fired from the job and auditions to become a "mannequin" for a reclusive designer, the life of glamour she always imagined is opened before her. She soon discovers that the house of Celestine is as dysfunctional as the clothing that define the classes of this dystopian world.


This is an old Alan Moore based on an idea he'd worked on with Malcolm McLaren way back when. It tells of a self obsessed cloakroom attendant named Doll who finds herself hired as the feature model at the world most prestigious fashion house. As the world falls apart outside she discovers that life inside the fashion house to be wholly dysfunctional.

It's an entirely of sort of thing that didn't really grab me to the point most of Moore's things do but it's lack of anything to grab onto may be a fairly good reason as to why it never saw the light of day until now. It seemed empty, almost vacuous even. The ending is heavy handed and the pacing was uneven but an intriguing read nonetheless.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more. 

Book Review: Barry Gifford - The Stars Above Veracruz

(Thunder's Mouth Press)

A high-wire artist named Ropedancer is our guide to Gifford's world in The Stars Above Veracruz. His tale opens and closes this book of linked short fictions that take place in Honduras, France, Cuba, Paris, New York, New Zealand, Mexico, and other locales. Gifford's lyrical stories are often confessional, involving crimes large and small and narrators who, win or lose in their battles, never emerge unscathed. There is little triumphing here; victory lies in the completion of the journey, the survival of the high-wire artist who, step by step, follows his lifeline with utter concentration. At once tragic and humorous, full of pathos, and reminiscent of Thornton Wilder's humanist classic The Bridge of San Luis Rey, The Stars Above Veracruz is Gifford's most significant work since Wild at Heart.

This set of shorts from the author of the Sailor and Lula novels (the first being Wild at Heart made into a movie by David Lynch) had some gems mixed amongst them and there were some moments of pure Gifford but it wasn't all gold. Some parts dragged which is really saying something with stories that often only lasted a couple of pages.

I'm a huge Gifford fan. I've read everything I can get my hands on and he very rarely disappoints.  This is also the case here and on the whole though it was still a typically fun piece of Gifford-ana.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.  

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Book Review: Charles Stross - The Apocalypse Codex

(Orbit)

Bob Howard used to fix computers for the Laundry, the branch of the British Secret Service that deals with otherworldly threats, but those days are over. He's not only been promoted to active service but actually survived missions against cultists, enemy spies and tentacled horrors from other dimensions.

I really like these very British Lovecraftian books about the UK's magical secret service The Laundry that Stross has done but I'm not sure I could actually read one. All the one I've come across (and I'm fairly certain that it's all of them) have been audiobooks and now all the characters are so entirely tied up with the voices that reader Gideon Emery has given them that this is the only way for me now.

This latest one pits our promotion bound hero, computational demonologist Bob Howard, against an American evangelist with a hard on for waking the Sleeper which would be bad news for all involved and everyone not involved. Helping him along the way are two external operatives - Persephone Hazard and Johnny McTavish, a witch and an ex-squaddie respectively - who slowly reveal to him the the true hidden history and nature of The Laundry.

This time out it's less obsessed with the bureaucracy of the agency and what we get is more of a straight adventure story but as Stross has been writing each as a pastiche of different authors such as Len Deighton, Ian Fleming and Anthony Price and here inserting Bob into Peter O'Donnell (Modesty Blaise) novel that's understandable. These have fast become amongst my most anticipated releases and are an absolute joy to find out where Stross is going to take Bob next which is a particularly apt way to end this review as it mirrors the tantalising end of the book

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more. 

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book Review: Mitch Cullin - A Slight Trick of the Mind

(Canongate)

Behind my head as I write this is a shelf with about 20 Sherlock Holmes books plus various DVD adaptations / versions. It would be pretty safe to say I'm a fan. I am not however even remotely precious about it. Amongst those 20 odd books and sat alongside the canon are a number of pastiches, some are downright silly - the 'War of the World' one springs immediately to mind (written by the magnificently named Manly Wellman). Another features him teaming up with a young Teddy Roosevelt, whilst a third pits him against the gentleman burglar Arsene Lupin although he is called Herlock Sholmes in that one. There's even a first edition of Michael Chabon's masterclass of a novel featuring an elderly Holmes, The Final Solution.So basically, do what you want with him. The character is malleable and durable enough and I'm enough of a fan to go along on the journey and see if it's going somewhere interesting.

In 'A Slight Trick of the Mind' Mitch Cullin takes Holmes somewhere very interesting indeed, to the end. Cullin places the nonagenarian Holmes in two very different settings and the younger version into what at first seems like a rather nondescript case that eventually takes on much deeper meanings.

Switching effortlessly between his life amongst his beloved bees in the company of the housekeeper's son, his beekeeping protégé, and a trip to postwar Japan ostensibly to search for prickly ash but also to satisfy a young man's curiosity regarding his estranged father whilst also being drip fed the resolution of the earlier case; Cullin's book is that rarity, a literary pageturner. It's beautifully written and reveals it's heartbreaking secrets both far too soon and frustratingly slowly. The carefully crafted links between the various stories are given the time and space to allow their tales to tell and to allow us to more fully understand what it means to be both Holmes at the height of his powers and Holmes at their decline.

For many people this will no doubt be an ill fit alongside the canon but those people will be missing the point. This isn't a book about Sherlock Holmes the great detective; he is simply the principal in a book about loss both great and small. Loss of friends, loss of family, loss of a child, loss of love, of memory, of things, of direction and ultimately loss of self. Holmes is ourselves wit large and as such any loss is born magnified and intensified. Through him we are shown what it means to be ultimately, inevitably, inescapably fallible.

I found this to be a beautiful and poignant read that took me to a place I've not visited in a while and brought me back filled with questions for which the answers can only be experienced when the time comes for them to be asked.

Heartily and resoundingly recommended.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Alan Moore & Kevin O'Neill - Nemo: The Roses of Berlin

(Top Shelf)

This is the second League of Extraordinary Gentleman spinoff books to feature the exploits of everyone's favourite sub aquatic pirate goes off to Germany to rescue her daughter and her son in law, the air pirate Robur.

The book mixes in The Great Dictator, Metropolis, Cabinet of Doctor Cagliari, She and more to great effect. I've got to say though that if it wasn't for the majesty of Jess Nevins and his explanatory website - http://jessnevins.com/annotations/rosesofberlin.html - much of it would have been incomprehensible to me as it was written in German and I don't currently have a friendly German to hand..

It's a quest book (of sorts) and as such is a little thin on plot but what there is is typical Moore and there is plenty of distraction in the always beautiful art from O'Neill who as ever brings the most absurd worlds to life in stunning, awe inspiring and eye popping glory.

Not the best of them but still wonderful.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Ray Bradbury -Fahrenheit 451

(HarperCollins UK)

Time, I think, for a classic. I do this every now and again. I'm a fairly freeform sort of reader normally and just go with what catches my eye but now and again I like to dig into the classics for a while. They rarely disappoint. I did A Canticle for Liebowitz recently which turned out to be a corking experience so, as I said, time for another. This is one of those books that regularly sits near the top of 'Greatest ever...' lists so I had high expectations for it and disappoint it did not.

The story, as I'm sure you all know, tells of the awakening of fireman Guy Montag from a world of blinkered, sanitised corporate delusion where he burns books for a living to one where he becomes one of the saviours of the very things he's meant to hate.

It's a poignant, sad and exhilarating and is as tightly wound as Montag's nerves. Most of all the novel seems utterly and depressingly real. Magnificent.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Neil Gaiman - The Ocean at the End of the Lane

(Headline)
(HarperAudio)

Every now and again it's fun to do into Gaiman's worlds again and see what he's been up to. This one is fairly safe ground for him telling - in flashback - the story of the time when he and the family of 3 ladies who lived down the end of the lane accidentally brought a grey thing into the world and then sent it away again.

In a lot of ways it felt like a kids book but with some decidedly adult scenes dotted throughout. The version I got was the audiobook as read by the author and it was, as you'd expect, nicely done and it very much lent an extra autobiographical feel to the proceedings in support of the first person narrative.

It was an enjoyable trip, not for me on a par with his best but still bags of fun.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Book Review: Robert Chambers - The King in Yellow

(Wordsworth Edition)
This has been sat on my bookshelf for at least two years waiting for me to get the urge to read it.  I finally have and just in time for all the references in True Detective to start appearing.

The book is a strange sort of thing with the first 4 stories concerning the effects of reading the titular play on different people.  These tales are odd and sometimes very dark - 'The Repairer of Reputations' and 'The Yellow Sign' - sometime M.R. James type ghostly - 'In the Court of the Dragon' - and the fourth (or second in chapter order) is kind of lovely.  The rest of the book is entirely unrelated to either kings or the colour yellow and are largely forgetable.

Later in his career Chambers made a very good living out of writing romance stories and the seeds are already here whether they are hidden amongst ghost or war stories there is often love in amongst the narrative.

Truly this entire book threw me for a loop.  Absolutely not at all what I was expecting but fun nonetheless.

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Music Review: Peter Orins - Empty Orchestras

(Helix / Circum-Disc LX 006)
CD

Peter Orins is the drummer in Kaze who we had the pleasure of hearing recently (check the Wonderful Wooden Reasons archives) and has returned to these pages with his band mates replaced by electronics which makes a nice change as it's usually the drummer who is ousted by circuitry.

On this, if my reading of the slightly over-written press release is correct, Orins is dueting with his autonomous - their word - noise producing gadget. Whether he is in some way triggering the textural changes via his drums or whether this little electronic Merzbow is entirely going it's own way and he is responding to and interacting with is something of which I'm unsure. It is all rather fun though. The drums are sometimes a little too high in the mix but the end result is an odd, abrasive, rhythmic, stompy and thoroughly enjoyable collection of old school industrial improvisations of the type not seen around these parts for far too long.
(www.circum-disc.com)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Music Review: Merzouga - 52°46’ North 13°29’ East – Music for Wax-Cylinders

(Gruenrekorder Gruen 124)
CD

There are two predominant forms of field recording releases I get sent here at Wonderful Wooden Reasons. The first is of the collector variety; a compendium of noises often on a particular theme (usually location) meant to represent, reproduce or chronicle. The second is the field recording as instrument, or perhaps more correctly sound source, to be manipulated and processed often until it's unrecognisable and a thick soupy grey murk.

Of the two it is the former that I hold in higher regard (which is not to discount the latter entirely) but there is a third and much rarer form that comes my way on occasion that is by far for me the preferred. Here the field recording becomes a clear and equal partner in the work, neither hidden nor dominant, and this is what we have here.

At the heart of this album are a number of wax cylinder recordings created in the early 20th century by globetrotting Germans and kept in the archives of the Berlin Phonogram Archive. These phonograms have been digitised and made available to artists to explore and utilise.

Merzouga are the duo of Eva Popplein (electronics)and Janko Hanushevsky (electric bass) and here they have seamlessly interwoven a selection of beautifully worn, warm, crisp and crackly recordings of song and speech into their music. The voices guide the piece with the Hanushevsky's bass giving the proceedings a real melancholy perfectly at home with the aged beauty of the recordings whilst also occasionally pushing itself to the fore and fluttering against your perceptions like one of the more broken of the elder recordings. Popplein's electronics insinuate themselves in between the sounds adding subtle textures and colours with the realisation that its presence is all the stronger for it's restraint.

This is a glorious recording. It's a communion with voices past, an exploration of the ethnographers curiosity and, most of all, a celebration of the vitality of sound.
(www.gruenrekorder.de)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Music Review: Various - Funny Old Shit: A Trunk Records Sampler - vol. 1

(Trunk Records)
CD

Trunk compilations are always a joyous experience. One that is to be greeted with a smile and an expectation of being taken on a trip like no other. This first in a new series of budget compilations is no exception. As you'd hope it's a glorious TARDIS of sound that travels through time, space and genre to bring us 16 examples of unusual, crackpot, wonderful and, yes, funny old shit.

Where else in your collection will you find Brazilian movie soundtracks, French avant-garde (Pierre Henry & Pierre Schaeffer), the b-side of the first ever Radiophonic Workshop release (a pseudonymous George Martin as Ray Cathode), Noel Coward reading Ogden Nash over Aquarium by Camille Saint-Saëns (a melody that the Harry Potter composers were most definitely aware of) and calypsos from both Robert Mitchum and the UK TV legend that is Bernard Cribbins; Mitchum's about a stolen watch and Cribbins' about gossip that references both an oxyacetylene welder and someone having their kneecaps scraped - which sounds exquisitely painful - all sharing the same space along with 10 other equally bonkers and marvellous excursions into the peculiar.

But, and I can't put this strongly enough, even if the catalogue of delights I've listed above doesn't inspire you to go out and grab this fantastic and cheap - did I mention the cheap? it's only £2.99 on CD - compilation then you absolutely must, must, must, must, must go out and get it for the exquisite vocal take on Coltrane's 'Naima' by The Double Six of Paris which I've had on loop for days now.

It's always cause for smiles when a new Trunk release drops on the doormat but that's especially true when it turns out to be as good and as much fun as this one.
(www.trunkrecords.com)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Quietude #17: The Planets. Sweet!

Evening folks.

In between working my way through the massive stack of marking i have in front of me I've been tinkering this evening with a new Quietude mix.

These are a bit different from the WWR ones as they tend to be a lot lighter and melodic (although not always).  These are from the other sides of my tastes that don't often get featured in WWR.  So, expect library music, jazz, lounge, exotica and silliness, blues, folk and soundtrack, post rock, post punk and post alservice.

I think they're fun and I love making them.  there's 17 of the blighters now so there's plenty to dig through if you're intrigued.

peace
ian

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wonderful Wooden Reasons mix for May 2014

I've just uploaded the Mixcloud mix for the reviews featured over the last month.
I hope you enjoy.



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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Music Review: Pye Corner Audio - Black Mill Tapes, Volumes 1-4

(Type Recordings TYPE118CD)
3CD
I'm pretty much a newcomer to the joys of PCA having first heard him via the live stream of his Boiler Room set that I was pointed towards by a friend; it is well worth your time. Duly impressed I went forth and picked up the 'Sleep Games' album on Ghost Box and found myself a copy (cough) of the first 2 Black Mill Tapes (which make up the first CD in this here set). 'Sleep Games' is terrific and, at the risk of repeating myself terribly, well worth your time but not really current enough to feature here and I try not to include things that I've acquired by slightly nefarious means so I've been waiting my chance to give a shout out for PCA.

The full set of Black Mill Tapes is a joy to behold. As you should imagine from the Ghost Box link there's a definite nostalgic flavour to some of the music here; it is occasionally whimsical, sometimes solemn and often deeply unsettling. Across the three discs there are a number of common touch points that give us an insight into where PCA are pulling inspiration from with suggestions of Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack, Boards of Canada(esque) twisted electronica, the kosmische musik of Klaus Schultze (and friends) and the abundant joys of the European library music vaults all mixed with an obviously abiding love for the deeper, slower, trancier ends of dance music.

With a two and a half hour runtime over three discs covering 5 years worth of work this is a phenomenal set that shows a committed, organic and most of all an instinctual development to create a body of work that is quite simply utterly and completely well worth your time.
(www.typerecords.com)

.............................................................................................................
For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Music Review: BBC Radiophonic Workshop (and others) - Doctor Who: The 50th Anniversary Collection

(Silva Screen Records SILCD1450)
4CD
OK, an admittance right off the bat. These folks are my musical heroes. I think the people who made up the Workshop are amongst the most important figures in electronic and experimental music particularly in the UK if not worldwide and it must be said that a lot of that is down to their work on one particular TV show.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary Workshop archivist Mark Ayres has been sifting and cleaning two and three quarter discs full of Radiophonic Workshop Doctor Who cuts for each of the 7 Doctors that they were affiliated with. There's special sounds and incidental music galore from each of the main Workshoppers associated with the show and it's absolutely glorious although during a concerted listen even I can find myself getting a little sick of the various versions of the theme.

The Last disc and a bit is taken up by six cuts from John Debney's orthodox but not wholly awful soundtrack to the 8th Doctor's movie and then an entire disc of Murray Gold's entirely not my cup of tea soundtracks for Doctors 9, 10 & 11.

It's the first lot that are of interest here though and they absolutely do not disappoint. If the names Delia Derbyshire, Brian Hodgson, Tristram Cary, Paddy Kingsland, Dick Mills, Roger Limb (and so many more) mean anything to you then you are going to have a blast with this album. If they don't then perhaps you need to rectify that frankly shameful state of affairs and this'd be a hell of a good place to start.
(www.silvascreenmusic.com)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Music Review: Darren Tate - Secret Mantra

(Fungal 050)
CDR
As we've done 5 albums together (they're here btw if you want them) it'll come to no surprise to anyone when I say I'm a real fan of Tate's music. As Ora, Monos and as his own good self he has over the last 20 odd years produced some of the most individual, honest and immersive music to come out of the UK.

On this, the 50th release on his Fungal label he seems in a more spacey and playful mood than has been the case for many of his more recent releases where he's been more interested in plumbing the minutiae of his immediate soundworld. Here he has brought his toys out to play and the album is dominated by synth explorations, guitar noodles and bells. This is absolutely my favourite side of Darren's music. I love it when he goes cosmic on us as he has a way of conjuring tones and atmospheres that have an almost palpable presence within a room yet retain their unearthly qualities.

I love this album. I think it's one of best releases he has made and a real testament to the continuing quality of Darren's work. Happy 50th Fungal. Here's to 50 more.
(www.icrdistribution.com)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Music Review: The Avons - Hardscrabble

(no label)
7"
I'm pretty sure that there was a letter that came with this 7" but it's got misplaced in the chaos that masquerades as my daily life. I do remember though that it referenced the lovely folk at Intangible Cat so I'm pointing you in their direction.

According to the little info I can find The Avons hail from Marseilles, Illinois and they're quite contrary. The music - at least to a point - reflects that; the contrary that is not the Illinois bit. 2 tracks - it is only a single remember - of oddly mellow jazzy cuts. Side A pairs up Angelo Badalamenti style Twin Peaks vibes with scat vocals to wonderfully sinister effect. The reverse is a less quixotic and more melodic creature that retains the Lynchian aura of the imminent commencement of something fuck-awful but holds itself back from the full reveal - fortunately - and is all the better for it.

I'm sorry this sat in the review pile for so long - which pretty much goes for everything else in there too - because it's really bloody good and as my adoration of Mr. Badalamenti isn't something that gets fed anywhere near enough to hear music that is channelling the same spirits as him is a stone cold treat.
(intangiblecat.com/releases/hardscrabble.html)

.....................................................................................................
For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Music Review: Roj - The Amateur's Attic (early tape work)

(Peripheral Conserve pH-19)
7"
Former Broadcast keyboard player Roj's album of the other year released via Ghost Box, 'The Transactional Dharma of Roj', was a very fine set of atypical electronica that I've found myself returning to again and again each time finding something new and interesting. So, I jumped at this 7" release (also digital - see link below) on Berberian Film Studio director Peter Strickland's Peripheral Converse label.

Two tracks - the first an unsettling crystalline, effect saturated tone piece that slowly fragments and dissolves into the ether, the second a gentle, crackling, almost broken, rolling, melody - that sit together as a lovely little set filled with pensiveness and unease.
(peripheralconserve.bandcamp.com/album/the-amateurs-attic)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Walter M. Miller jr - A Canticle for Leibowitz

(Orbit Books)
This classic three act post apocalypse novel has been sat on my bookshelf waiting it's turn for a good while now.  I was pleased to finally have both the time and the inclination to get around to it as it turned out to be a fantastic read.

It tells the story of the monks of Saint Leibowitz, a pre-war technician who had hid various scientific books, charts and scraps from the vengeful mobs that rose up after the war.

The three sections depict a 'mediaeval' setting where Leibowitz is a candidate for sainthood, an 'enlightenment' era where science is once more being re-invented and a final supra-modern era of spaceflight and nuclear weaponry.  Each of these sections centre around the actions of the monks of the abbey of Saint Leibowitz and their quest to keep the knowledge safe and alive.  In addition there is the knowledgeable and very long lived hermit who in many ways is responsible for much that happens.

It was a beautiful and poetic piece of work that held me absolutely rapt throughout.  The use of the Catholic church and it's rather depressing allusion to cyclic history was a simply amazing trip throughout.
(www.orbitbooks.co.uk)

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For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Thomas M. Disch - The Prisoner

(Penguin Books)
This is a sort of sequel to the original series which sees the title character returned to the village. At least that's what I gathered from the Wiki page write-up of the books. When you read though it features many instances of repeated storylines from the TV show; indeed there is a section where #6 finds film of his previous time there.

Truthfully, even though it started off well enough it soon degenerated into a bit of a mess and ended as a real disappointment.
(www.penguin.co.uk)

.....................................................................................................
For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Book Review: Various Authors - Doctor Who: 50th Anniversary Collection

(Puffin Books)
This is a walloping great tome of a book featuring 11 stories covering 11 Doctors from a gaggle (11 funnily enough) of name writers for teens and adults. It's a pretty solid experience all told with each author putting in a pretty robust performance.

Opening the proceedings is Eoin Colfer with a nippy little rooftop romp over Victorian London against kiddie stealing space pirates. Blatant Peter Pan-isms abound made concrete by a proper cheesy ending.  Michael Scott's 'The Nameless City' is a fun Lovecraftish old ones tale that sticks the second Doctor and Jamie against some very old Time Lord enemies whilst Marcus Sedgwick sends #3 and Jo to ancient Norway to swap a spear before finding themselves amongst nascent gods and a carefully laid trap.

Philip Reeve sticks 4 and Leela up a very large tree that wants revenge for something he's not going to do for quite some time and 5 with Nyssa in tow heads to wartime US and removes two alien species - one happily, the other not so - from a small town. 6 and Peri come face to face with the Rani at an Elvis wedding and 7 manages to rewrite the universe and make the Daleks benign. 8 on the other hand goes up against a sentientish alien spore that's turning all organic matter into itself.

There's a lovely idea at the heart of Charlie Higson's quite bloodthirsty ninth Doctor story set between the two times he asks Rose to travel with him. Derek Landy on the other hand goes all out with the silly as 10 and Martha are stuck inside an awful sub Enid Blyton novel that, much to the Doctor's disgust, Martha had read as a kid. Then, finishing the lot, Neil Gaiman sends the Doctor and Amy up against another bunch of ancient enemies who have evicted the people of Earth.

In all a light and fast read aimed firmly at the YA market (and sad old DW geeks like me) but also an entirely enjoyable one.
(www.puffinbooks.com)

.....................................................................................................
For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms. Please visit to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Music Review: Xavier Dubois - Sunset Gluts

(Humpty Dumpty Records HMPTY024)
CD
We've met Xavier before in these pages as part of a duo called Y.E.R.M.O along with Yannick Franck. Here he is shorn of the others sonic manipulations and instead presents us with a rather fine set of stringed meditations. Over the course of the 16 tracks he makes use of 4 string instruments - electric guitar, prepared guitar, acoustic baritone ukulele & a kamancheh (a Persian bowed instrument) - with the former being the most readily apparent.

There are elements of various folk musics here along with a very much appreciated desire to keep things a little off kilter and interesting. The music is rarely overt except when it needs to be and for the most part Dubois keeps things moving with an agreeably fluid and luminous air.

I'm generally not the biggest fan of solo instrumental records - I find they can be terribly self indulgent and rather samey affairs - so when one sneaks up on me and shows a commitment to be neither of those things it's a real joy.
(www.humptydumptyrecords.be)


For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Music Review: The Soundcarriers - Entropicalia

(Ghost Box GBX020)
CD
With the possible exception of the Study Series collection of 7" singles the Ghost Box label has for the most part based itself around the work of 3 artists - Jim Jupp's Belbury Poly, Julian House's The Focus Group, Jon Brooks' Advisory Circle interspersed around these four have been oocasional releases from Pye Corner Audio, Mount Vernon Arts Lab and former Broadcast keyboardist Roj (Stevens) and it is to his old band (amongst others) to which thoughts are immediately turned once play is pressed.

A quick search tells me that this is The Soundcarriers fourth album which means I now have 3 more albums I need to track down and inflict upon my long suffering bank account; particularly while the sun is shining. 'Entropicalia' is a joyous and groovy mash of motorik rhythms, sunshine pop, space age psychedelia and Gallic charm. I mean no slight when I say the The Soundcarriers - really as their name implies - hold their musical pedigree in full view; bands such as The Free Design, Stereolab, Can, Sallyangie, and more make for interesting reference points but truthfully only that as what we get is an amalgam that easily holds it's own.

There are some moments of sublime pop on here but for me it's when the band loosen their grip a little and start to open up during the album's latter half that it all truly comes together as the instruments start to soar finding endless clear blue skies on 'This is Normal'.

It is a little step outside the proverbial box for the label but one that has paid off in spades by finding a band that wholly complements the Ghost Box roster without holding themselves up in comparison. It's a playful nostalgia for the sci-fi pop of a promised future that never arrived and it's a hell of a lot of fun.
(www.ghostbox.com)


For the last 11 years Wonderful Wooden Reasons has championed experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
 It is the in-house magazine for the Quiet World label which has released music from artists such as Ian Holloway, Darren Tate, Banks Bailey, Philip Corner, Colin Andrew Sheffield and many more.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Music Review: Clocks and Clouds - In A Pentagonal Room

(Archive of Anaphoria AOA3)
CD
A welcome return to the pages of Wonderful Wooden Reasons for Kraig Grady. Here, the chief ambassador for the great island nation of Anaphoria ably assisted by Terumi Narushima mesmerise with a stunning set of delicate and spacious microtonal works recorded in the titular pentagonal room and presented bereft of any subsequent studio tweakery.

For this recording Kraig and Terumi made use of instruments (vibraphone and harmonium respectively) tuned to the 'meta-slendro' scale designed by Erv Wilson. Now, I tried to read up on it in order to try and cue you folks in on it but truthfully it just gave me a headache so I stopped but if music theory is your bag then you should check this out - http://anaphoria.com/wilsonintroMERU.html.

For me, as ever, it's the noises that count and this is delightful. It floats and twists and trips over itself in the most sublime ways. Sounds gently push at each other, playfully wrestling and merging in ways that sound like they shouldn't work but absolutely do.
(www.anaphoria.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Music Review: Spectral - ... 0r A Blind Man's Carven Star

2xCDR
 Spectral is the musical nom de plume of Gavin Semple who I'm sure some of you will know from his writings on Austin Osman Spare - which a quick gander on Amazon tells me are currently selling for some quite eye wateringly large sums of money. I must admit to ignorance to his words but I'm very glad to have been exposed to his music.

What we have here is an upcoming release of two discs worth of recordings documenting the last decade of Gavin's musical musings. Produced entirely from non-ordinary sound sources what we are presented with is a set of deep, dark drone pieces with a definite post-industrial ambience to them. Texturally they have a coarse grained granite like quality along with a definite sense of weight that gives it real presence in the room. It is anything but intrusive though; the still, calm evolution of each piece and the easy progression between them makes it a most welcome accompaniment to other activities as it colours and enhances the environment whilst also rewarding close and attentive listening.
(orspectral.wordpress.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Music Review: Lasse-Marc Riek - Helgoland

(Gruenrekorder Gruen 109)
CD
Helgoland is Germany's only offshore island and home to (according to Wikipedia) around 1000 people and, if this collection of recordings is to be believed, a hell of a lot of birds and a colony of grey seals.
These recordings form part (all?) of Gruenrekorder's head honcho Lasse-Marc Riek's phonography of the island's wildlife and it is a truly fascinating collection of sounds. I'm no bird spotter, I have a garden full of sparrows, jackdaws and magpies along with an occasional great spotted woodpecker (he's awesome), but for the most part I'm happy to put out some feeders to help them along and then go back to my book and leave them be. I suspect Mr. Riek doesn't share my benign ambivalence as the selection of recordings he's produced here are meticulous, detailed and intimate as they document the various conversations and catcalls of the assorted critters with crystal clarity and a curious ear.

Regular readers will know that I'm not the world's biggest field recordings fan. I like them yes but I certainly don't go out of my way to search them out. With that in mind please understand that it takes a lot for an album of solely field recordings to make me really sit up and notice and not to simply turn it down to ambient level and treat it as wallpaper. This album has never been treated in such a way; it's too full of life and to insistent to ever sit at the back of your attention. It's interesting and vibrant and compulsive listening and is amongst the best examples of the craft that it's been my pleasure to hear.
(www.gruenrekorder.de)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Music Review: Philippe Lamy - Drop Diary

(Mystery Sea MS72)
CD
Mystery Sea is the elder of the two labels curated by Daniel Crokaert - the other being Unfathomless - and where it's younger sibling concerns itself with concepts and reflections on location this takes water as it's core concept.

I've no idea who Philippe Lamy is and as I'm writing this in a notebook (of the dead tree variety) whilst sat in a coffee shop with no wifi access that isn't going to change anytime soon. So, entirely focused on the music with no preconceptions except the knowledge that water is going to feature in there somewhere, what do we have. We have water. Well, a little. The drops implied in the title are very much present throughout in various forms and create some lovely pittering, pattering, blooping and tonking tonalities onto which Lamy has poured a variety of subtle soundscapes - some soft, some harsh, some sparse, some dense but rarely overt as on the whole this is a restrained and purposeful set that exudes a distinctly amorphous quality that made for an enjoyable experience.
(www.mysterysea.net)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Music Review: Lost Harbours - Into the Failing Light

(Liminal Noise Tapes LN009)
CD
Lost Harbours first came to my attention a couple of years ago with their Hymns and Ghosts album. It was a very nice slice of dronelicious dark-ambient folkery which the duo - Richard Thompson: guitar, vocals, bowed guitar, piano, samples and electronics & Emma Reed: flute, clarinet and violin - continue to develop on this new album.

The dark, brooding, building intensity and power of the opening of 'Into the Failing Light' belies the fragile cracked beauty of the music that lies at it's heart. It moves from what feels like a Coil-esque ritualistic gathering of energy, a summoning into an achingly poignant and beautiful lament for the lost day that equally takes comfort in the coming embrace of the dark. It's does all this in ways that are never twee, never expected and always delightful.  It is, quite simply, a beautiful piece of work.
(www.LostHarbours.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Music Review: Farthest South - Spheres & Constellations

(Farsouthwest Records FSW002)
CD
Space is most definitely the place for the 3 folks (Barry Berko - keys / guitar, Yair Yona- bass / effects / iPhone, Yair Etziony - analog synths) who make up Israel's finest free expression, psychedelic explorers, Farthest South.

On this, their second album, FS have fully committed themselves to pointing themselves at the farthest point (presumably in a southerly direction) and then heading towards it in as stately a manner as possible; passing through the most grandiose of environments and boundless shimmering oceans before coming to a final rest.

I've been in contact with Yair (Yona) for a little while now and have featured the music of both he and his compatriots a few times and have always enjoyed but this new project, even after only two albums, are already one of my most anticipated of outfits and I urge you to track this down.
(www.farthest-south.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Music Review: Raagnagrok - Man Woman Birth Death Infinity

(Lotushouse Records LHRCD19)
CD
The first time I played this CD I fell asleep. Not, you may think, the most auspicious first impression but it was a very nice sleep indeed - what wasn't so good was the bit where I woke up with my head slumped sideways over the arm of the chair with the worst pain in my neck. The sleep though, was deep and dark and profound. I'd got to about halfway through the album's 14 minute epic journey towards 'Infinity' and then I was gone. They'd taken me with them, entirely.

What we have here is a UK duo of Mark Pilkington on modular synth & electronics and Zali Krishna on electric sitar & guitar who have produced a set of intensely celestial kosmische jams; some live, some studio. The occasional presence of the sitar means that a vaguely Indian aspect is often shown (as is also implied by the bands name) but it is Germany of the very early 1970s that is most apparent.

With a running time of an hour and with a concise palate, many of the tracks, once the music starts to permeate the room, do run into each other and the whole becomes more important than it's parts as they paint a really rather glorious psychotropic colourfield. There are moments I'm not hugely enamoured with but even these parts often swirl by once it's achieved consonance with the room (and my head) and they are few and far between.

I've had this album here for just under a week now and it has pretty much dominated my ears since it arrived with the disc being carried from house to car and a rip sitting front and centre on my MP3 player. If big, bold Krautrock inspired kosmische excursions are your bag then really do hunt this down cause you'll love it. If they're not, hunt this down anyway because it's great and it may change your mind.
(www.lotushouserecords.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Music Review: Christoph Korn & Lasse-Marc Riek - series invisible, Collection, II

(Gruenrekorder Gruen 099)
Booklet
Location Swansea (UK). Typed on an out of date PC on a sideboard masquerading as a desk. Written 02.05.14, 1.23 PM Deleted 02.05.14 6.10 PM Duration 193 words
(www.gruenrekorder.de)

Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Music Review: Keith Seatman - Around the Folly and Down Hill

(K.S. Audio ksa003)
CDR
It's been about a year since Wonderful Wooden Reasons was last visited by Mr Seatman and it's fun to see where his muse has taken him in that time. The playful psychedelia is still very much to the fore as is a sense of treditdation and disquiet here bolstered by some definite hauntological touches both musically and via the albums source of inspiration - games played near a folly on Pepperbox Hill in Wiltshire.
The album's blithe, impish nature is utterly infectious and it's nicely sequenced to provide a definite sense of narrative to run throughout leading us to the albums deliciously creepy denouement on 'A Gathering of the Odd'.
Keith has produced an album filled with life and joy, and a little trepidation just to keep things interesting, and it is heartily recommended.
(www.testtransmissionarchive.blogspot.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Music Review: Heart of Palm - Mayonnaise

(self released)
CDR
A very welcome return to Wonderful Wooden Reasons for our favourite Ohioan experimentalists HoP as they debut their new 5 piece lineup with the addition of a drummer and a keyboard player / circuit bender. Musically, Faust -particularly the Irmler version - is always going to be your reference point for where HoP are coming from as they produce eclectic, improvised, psychoactive tangles filled with sudden shifts and churning ambiences. The improvisations here are muscular, bordering on violent, punching their way off the CD and treating your woofers likes the dogs they are. What makes HoP so enjoyable for me is that they almost entirely avoid the showboating that can sometimes spoil improvised (and indeed all) music as they always feel as though they are listening and responding to each other and not just flailing.
This sort of thing is never going to be to everyones taste but personally I love it and it is another fascinating step in the development of one of my favourite bands.
(www.fugwub.com)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Music Review: Adrian Shenton - Electric Breath

(Phonospheric six)
CDR

New four track album from Cardiff's Adrian Shenton recorded and improvised in January 2014. Using a battery of both the conventional (Kaoss Pad, effect pedals, contact mic) and the un (squeaky toy, tray, spring) he has produced a slow burning set of darkly ambient post-industrial drone pieces.

Never in a rush Adrian allows each piece plenty of breathing space whilst he gradually adds textures and colours. The album moves through a variety of states as it opens in a relative optimistic state filled with the light of a new day before becoming increasingly, but gently, more convoluted and disquieting as it proceeds along.

I've been enamoured of Adrian's sounds for a few years now and believe he's getting better and better with every release. This is a fine example of what he does and I heartily recommend you giving it a listen especially as it's available as a name your price digital release.
(phonospheric.bandcamp.com/album/electric-breath)
(phonospheric.co.uk)


Wonderful Wooden Reasons is a webzine dedicated to experimental and non-commercial music of all forms.
Please visit www.wonderfulwoodenreasons.co.uk to access our extensive archives of music, book and movie reviews.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Music Review: A Guide to Reason - Iconography

(Faith Strange FS16)
CD
Those of you who keep a regular eye on my witterings here at Wonderful Wooden Reasons will possibly have noticed that I am a bit of a fan of the work of New York's very own Mike Fazio who is the ever so lovely chap behind this here project (and also Orchestramaxfieldparrish). Under that other guise his music is a big and bold monolith of sound that towers over you, here, he's gone for a very different approach and incorporated delicate ambience, ticking rhythms, electronic flutters and flurries and occasional oneiric melodies.

It's by far the most melodic, immediate and warmly beautiful set of music I've heard Mike produce and without meaning even the tiniest of slights against any of his previous work I think it is by far the best thing I've heard him do. It's so easy to get lost within these twisting, flickering warping sounds as they weave through the air and so difficult to leave them behind at the albums close.

Beautifully strange and strangely beautiful.
(www.faithstrange.com)

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