ONE DAY AS A LION: One Day As A Lion

DISTORTED AGITATION FROM RAGE/QUEENS TWO

Given that the world has been spiralling to shit, you might have found yourself reaching for angrier music more often. I have. Music that’s got the gravitas, the provocation and the intellect to somehow document and deal with the insane wrong-ness of dumbfuck cops killing black people, and dumber-fuck ‘cenotaph protectors’ destroying Black Lives Matter protests in the false name of monument-al preservation. Dipshits and hackle raisers. No wonder Terrace Martin’s Pig Feet, wrapped and dropped within days of George Floyd’s killing, hits so hard. Pig Feet does not flinch.

Neither does Zack de la Rocha. His full-tilt delivery always captures these moments and even now, aged 50, he’s got the fury – check the explosive verse in Run The Jewels’ JU$T for evidence of that. His voice is the sound of a fight. But with Rage Against the Machine, it battles with another wild voice – Tom Morello’s guitar – and winds up less prominent in the rock orthodoxy of the RATM set up.

Maybe this is why he’s been such a serial collaborator since RATM last put a record out. Those guest slots put his voice up front, give it room, give it oxygen. They make his words flammable.

This is also true of the short-lived 2008 project with Jon Theodore, One Day As A Lion. As a primal drum-bass effort where the voice gets a 5-track vent, it’s way less Rock than Rage – got a raw urgency and a just-produced-enough attitude that’s clammy with rehearsal-room heat. Nothing arena-sized, no anthemic hooks, no guitar, just a very live-sounding gig stripped back to stiff rhythms and hard words. And with Theodore, ex Mars Volta and now Queens of the Stone Age, behind the kit, you know the drums are solid. His beats aren’t minimal, but neither are they fussy. They are, somehow, hip-hop friendly.

One Day As A Lion EP

Life beyond Rage

Wild International‘s petro-fumed groove is the mid-tempo starter that smoulders rather than explodes, like it’s on cruise control looking for a target. Downtuned bass riffs swell for the chorus, thick and sticky not liquid slick, and this track sets the vibe for the whole EP. The tempo (agitation?) picks up for Ocean View, Last Letter and One Day As A Lion, while If You Fear Dying locks onto the same spacious groove as Wild International. Other than that, you know roughly what you’ll get, track to track – unlike, say, Saul Williams’s self-titled conflict-zone masterpiece of hip hop, poetry, electronic, industrial and spoken word from 2004 (where Zack winds the tension on Act III Scene 2 [Shakespeare]).

One Day As A Lion don’t do genre hops and mood shifts. Their force is rough-edged, avant-ish primal rock with urban backbone and no, it wouldn’t hold your attention musically for a full album. But as an EP, as a righteous blast, it works ‘coz you get 20 uninterrupted minutes of de la Rocha flow, and this is the key point. As we know, he’s got that gift for making you BELIEVE – absolute conviction and persuasion every time, and right now we need that voice even if we didn’t know it. JU$T is the 2020 reminder. One Day As A Lion might be more curio than must-have, but as a non-Rage de la Rocha fix, it’s pure. The message remains the same

but it’s 2020.

FFS.

Time is coming
rising like the dawn of a red sun
If you fear dying
then you’re already dead
(If You Fear Dying, One Day As A Lion)

DESERT STORM SEND HEAVY OMENS

MAY & JUNE REWIND: FINNISH PUNISHMENT, FUTURISTIC FOLK, HARDCORE TRASH AND OTHER NEW SOUNDS FROM MAY AND JUNE

Fancy a bit of Triptykon in a summer solstice heatwave? Nope. Not. At. All. But, now that the clouds and monsoon squalls have returned AND THE NIGHTS ARE DRAWING IN, we’ve got a brief opening to revel in some typically darkened heft from Thomas G Warrior and ensemble. Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019) is the full Requiem suite, live with the Metropole Orkest, completed specially for a one-off performance at the Roadburn festival. The new piece is the centrepiece: the half hour Grave Eternal, pitched black and long between parts I and III, Rex Irae and Winter. Heavy as a funeral.

Oxford behemoths Desert Storm launched their new album Omens in May. The previous album, 2018’s Sentinels, wasn’t just Desert Storm’s best album to date but one of the best metal releases of the last two years – file under Grizzly Bastard Rage and Groove. How does the follow-up follow that? It might be asking too much of anyone, and on first listen Omens sounds sombre, maybe even serious. Definitely less of the outward bodyrock vibe, if that makes sense. But it is loaded with commanding riffs and starts to reveal itself after a couple more listens. Desert Storm do not fail, more words will follow.

Away from metal, here are some other standout tunes from the past couple of (still weird) months.

TERRACE MARTIN – Pig Feet

OK, this ferocious track got priority status in the Lockdown Music: Week 12, but its power has not waned, even though the news is moving on. Mandatory listening and viewing, I reckon. For all of us.

HELEN MONEY – Coil

Cellist, composer and, on this track at least, post-rock gnarly dronemaker, Helen Money’s Coil takes Thee Silver Mt Zion’s delicate grandeur and smears it with King of the Slums’ canal-water dank. Doesn’t it? Definitely getting a whiff of Manco Diablo in there. But where KOTS linger at street and below, this track also soars way above the grime.

CASPAR BROTZMANN MASSAKER – The Tribe

Continuing the Southern Lord reissues, none of which I’ve got round to yet, The Tribe is another reminder of Brotzmann’s wild noise rock guitar assault from the 80s and 90s. Sheets of noise and moan. Whether we can last a whole album of longer tracks is a different story.

C DIAB – Street Scenes

There’s something both ground-level loco-motive and mountain-high questing about this instrumental, percussion-less voyage. When you learn that C Diab is Canadian and based in Vancouver, you paste your own visions of infinite plains and towering geological spectacle all over it, no matter how reductive that might be. Sigur Ros-ian swirl with tension-built motion.

SHARRON KRAUS – Tell Me Why

Folk melodies, naked vocals, delicate instrumentation … so far, so traditional. But there’s an ish. When the gentle electro (is it?) oscillation pulses ‘neath the acoustic, it somehow transforms the track and turns it into a part-ancient/part-sci fi hybrid that’s wholly addictive.

[struggling to find a Bandcamp link so scroll down here]

ORANSSI PAZUZU – Kuulen aania maan alta

The vocals might be ripped from a ragged black metal hand-me-down, but the beats, drones and processed fuzz on this track nod to Blanck Mass more than black metal. Maybe. Then again, what do I know? Anyway, this one plays out like a rapid exit from a carnival spiked with the bad stuff … metallic psyche with nightmare visions.

SCANNER – Step Ahead

Dreamworld travelscape. Whispered words and constant movement. Spectral flames and stretched realities. Or maybe just a fucking gorgeous slice of semi ambient Scanner. Yeah, that’s it. Transport yourself here.

TRASH TALK – Something Wicked

New hardcore needed ? Here’s a nice little 89-second wakey-wakey. Never heard them before, despite their 15-year life, but seeing that Thomas Pridgen – Pinnick Gales Pridgen, ex Mars Volta – plays drums is pushing the intrigue button a little harder.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 12 – PIG FEET

THE SOUND OF NOW? After pushing the Algiers line in last week’s Lockdown Music, Pig Feet stormed through and lobbed a brutal response to police brutality with beats of fury, Kamasi sax and a video that shocks you into a state of alert. THIS IS IT: the sound of now, nailed by Terrace Martin with Denzel Curry, Kamasi Washington, Daylyt and G Perico. Watch it all the way to the end for a tragic truth that makes you feel sick.

What else this week? Re-runs of Childish Gambino’s This is America. Repeat listens of older ragers. New albums by Desert Storm and Triptykon. Here’s the week’s listening.

JUNE 6
Old Man Gloom – Ape of God II
Desert Storm – Omens

JUNE 7
Saul Williams – Saul Williams
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – Viscerals

JUNE 8
Pinnick Gales Pridgen – Pinnick Gales Pridgen
PGP: Of all the non-King’s X Dug Pinnick projects I’ve managed to get (plenty to go yet, CHEERS dUg!), this one stuck the least – seemed a bit showy, a bit scorch-o blues, on the first few spins. Listening today, cycling the city with it cranked loud while the world’s anti-racism touch paper gets smoked into flames, PGP felt like they belonged in this moment. Experimental? No. Political? Not explicitly. Tough riffs and blues-edged heaviness by three guys who live it? Yes.

JUNE 9
Algiers – Blood
Algiers – 1st November 1954
David Bowie – Heroes
Robert Plant – Carry Fire
Bowie, Heroes: The end of the day called for Robert Fripp, but not King Crimson. Something song-oriented, so where else but Heroes? You can’t argue with this album, nor can you argue with Fripp’s gift for pushing others’ music into unexpected places.

JUNE 10
Nine Inch Nails – The Slip
King Crimson – Beat

JUNE 11
Ozo – Saturn
One Day As A Lion – One Day As A Lion
King Crimson – Three of a Perfect Pair
One Day As A Lion: Yeah well, it’s that kind of time, isn’t it? Zack de la Rocha and Jon Theodore go primal with bass, drums and distortion.

JUNE 12
Blown Out – New Cruiser
Triptykon with the Metropole Orkest – Requiem (Live at Roadburn 2019)

Given that the UK lockdown is now easing, this might be the last Lockdown Music log. Or maybe it gets a different name, who knows?

Keep safe, keep the music ON.

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 11 – ALGIERS

‘I CAN’T BREATHE.’ We know the rest, sadly. And since George Floyd’s murder by police in Minneapolis, we’ve seen an explosion of resistance and demands for change and justice. Good. We’re behind time. Black music of resistance and protest has surged on the radio, but can rock do more than crank out Rage Against the Machine again, good as they are? Something newer, less familiar? Pure entertainment won’t cut it, neither will one-dimensional anger. Whose voice speaks of Right Now?

One, without question, is Algiers. Walk Like a Panther rages so hard and with so much soul that it shorts your body-brain circuits. Check the video then check your heart for a BPM shift. Check Blood. Check The Underside of Power, There Is No Year and anything else you can get your digits on. Hit Bandcamp and give cash for Can The Sub Bass Speak?, released as a single last week ‘…to support the struggle to end state violence against Black people and destroy white supremacy‘. Check Algiers for the firepower, fury and soul that music needs right now.

Who are you turning to?

Here’s the listening for Lockdown Week 11. Heavy times, much to learn and do.

MAY 30
S
wans – My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky
Ryley Walker – Golden Sings That Have Been Sung
Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference

MAY 31
The Beloved – Single File

JUNE 1
Algiers – There Is No Year
Ministry – Relapse

JUNE 2
Algiers – The Underside of Power
Charles Rumback and Ryley Walker – Cannots
Algiers – There Is No Year
Rumback & Walker, Cannots: Following Walker’s Golden Sings the other day, Cannots got an airing. Wildly underplayed, this record – mistake. These guitar and drums instrumentals veer from Walker’s song-based records towards more experimental jams that draw on the earth and the elements, at times carried by the same barren winds as Earth’s Hex: Or Printing the Infernal Method..

JUNE 3
Soundgarden – Live From The Artists Den, disc 2

JUNE 4
Funk Spectrum: Real Funk for Real People (compiled by Josh Davis and Keb Darge)
Ministry – From Beer to Eternity
Old Man Gloom – Ape of God I

JUNE 5
Zozobra – Harmonic Tremors
Corrosion of Conformity – No Cross, No Crown
Zozobra, Harmonic: There’s nothing like the bone-shaking bass of Caleb Scofield RIP to free you from human-made constructs, trivia and banality. Tune in to a primal noise frequency.

Keep the music ON, keep safe.

Lockdown Music week 10 right here.

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 10 – SEATTLE

TRIPPING CORNELL’S MEMORY CORNER. May 18 was the anniversary of Chris Cornell’s death – three years gone. Did the surfacing of this thought make Soundgarden’s Live From the Artists Den a more moving listen this week? Maybe. But maybe not. Maybe it was solely the strength of the music and set list that did it, because it is a massive, immersive listen – if you create the space and give yourself the chance. Two discs, recorded in 2013, released in 2019. Sure, you’ve got to be a little bit in love with Soundgarden, but is any proper rock head not? Seriously?

So, this was the listen of the week, prompting thoughts of lost musicians and how they affect the way we listen to music, whether we listen closely enough to music in the first place, and what the role of a live album is these days.

What else? Here’s Week 10.

MAY 23
Radiohead – TKOL RMX, disc 2
Soundgarden – Live From the Artists Den, disc 1

Soundgarden, Live: No fewer than seven of the 17 tracks on disc one are from King Animal, and the non-album track Blind Dogs is in there as well. Definitely not just a greatest hits retread, is it? Taree, Rowing, BEN SHEPHERD’S HULKING BASS … Soundgarden still had something to say and the playing proves it. Listen with ghosts in mind, and not just for Cornell. Those four people will never do this again.

MAY 24
Van Halen – Van Halen
R
adiohead – The King of Limbs

MAY 25
Van Halen – Van Halen II
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Ghosteen

MAY 26
Nomeansno – All Roads Lead to Ausfahrt

MAY 27
Radio, nothing else logged

MAY 28
Radiohead – TKOL RMX, disc1

MAY 29
Underworld – Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future
Urthona – Amid Devonia’s Alps

Underworld, Barbara: Always a restorative power, Underworld. Always. Find myself turning to them whenever things aren’t quite straight – not consciously, they’re just the band who set you right. Balance regained, ready for the wild, barren, rural untaming that is Urthona. Moors music.

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 9

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 9 – TASTE

THERE’S NO ACCOUNTANTS FOR TASTE. Or something like that. Bloody good job, too – who wants their tastes audited? Then again, we’re casually audited all the time, like I was at home this week:

“For someone who likes some pretty decent music, I just don’t understand why you play this.”

Fair enough when it’s an obnoxio drone/doom/mathcore noise or dirge that gets chanced upon, no probs with that being questioned (which it often is). But that wasn’t the case this week. No, in week 9 of lockdown, the antagonist was

Van Halen II.

Worse, the comment wasn’t even made during the always-horrible Dance the Night Away. It was during Somebody Get Me a Doctor. And, because I was there, I know what that comment really meant:

“For someone who likes some pretty decent music, I just don’t understand why you play this absolute cheese.”

Withering. But, even though such a sentiment is sort of understandable, it doesn’t stick because nothing will ever make those first four Van Halen records anything less than pyrotechnical pleasure shots. Pure joy with dropped jaws … the records sound great, right now especially, and they make you feel even better. Even with occasional misfires like Dance the Night Away.

And if you’re one of the Van Halen Equals Cheese heathens, look out for a review soon/ish.

Aside from all that, which albums have annoyed your nearest and dearests during lockdown? Any cred-cutting gems we need to talk about?

Week 9 listening. Here it was.

MAY 16
Radio, no gaga

MAY 17
Clutch – Earth Rocker

MAY 18
Van Halen – Women and Children First

MAY 19
Van Halen – Van Halen II
Blood Incantation – Hidden History of the Human Race
Ex Eye – Ex Eye

Blood, Hidden: This arrived last week, a follow-up purchase from a previous Rewind.The CD sticker says ‘mind-bending cosmic death metal’ and on first listen, outside late with the weakening sun, that makes sense. Brutal complexity. Looking forward to the next trip.

MAY 20
Erik B & Rakim – Don’t Sweat the Technique

MAY 21
Burial – Street Halo/Kindred

MAY 22
Killing Joke – MMXII
A Perfect Circle – Eat the Elephant
Porcupine Tree – The Incident

Space in the head needed. Brian Eno’s Music For Airports didn’t do it, neither did Robert Fripp’s Radiophonics: 1995 Soundscapes Volume 1 – a bit unsettling (though Fripp has just launched a 50-week Music for Quiet Moments series, which could be a useful lockdown resource).

But A Perfect Circle? Yes. It worked. Roomy tunes and an even keel.

Speaking of Fripp, check this duel with wife Toyah for some instant cheer. Fripp impassive in the face of flamboyance. Guitar anything but.

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 8

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 8 – STOOGES

THE MOST VIOLENT ROCK INTRO EVER? Any time I Wanna Be Your Dog torches the speakers, this question comes to mind. It has nothing to do with extremity of speed or heaviness or explicit content or any such genre-bound qualities. This is about something much more innate and visceral. Can you imagine how forceful this must have been in the studio? I can’t. It’s just too big to be contained, and you know this because even at the lowest volume, it still sounds hostile. Destroy, annihilate and burn, it’s all there in those first 25 seconds. And the best/worst of it is, it’s almost casual. Amoral, even.

Why the Stooges chat this week? Because IWBYD was on the radio, feral as it ever was, and that ties in pretty neatly with a story about the debut Stooges album on Henry Rollins’ radio show. Details below, BE MORE STOOGE.

Week 8 soundtrack.

MAY 9
John Garcia – John Garcia
Henry Rollins – Cool Quarantine 2

Rollins, Quarantine: if you can’t commit to nearly four hours of radio but need some Stooges history, zip forward to 1 hour 32 minutes and 33 seconds of The Cool Quarantine 2. There, you get the backstory about the John Cale mix of the first Stooges album and then you can hear that mix of the whole album. As well as a different mix, it has a different running order too. Which now feels very strange. Is it better? Go find out. I reckon there would be universal agreement about the answer.

MAY 10
Teardrop Explodes – Kilimanjaro
These Arms Are Snakes – Oxeneers or the Lion Sleeps When Its Antelope Go Home
Iggy Pop – New Values
Julian Cope – Self Civil War

MAY 11
The Cult – Born Into This
Thin Lizzy – Fighting
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland

MAY 12
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
Metallica Monday – Black album 2012

MAY 13
Betty Davis – This Is It
REM – Reveal
Prince – Lovesexy

MAY 14
Miles Davis – On the Corner
Muriel Grossman – Momentum

Davis, Corner: this is what happens when you re-read Lester Bangs, isn’t it? Wild, insightful, high on ego and never less than persuasive, his writing compels you to go to the source and check what you missed, so this listening choice is power to Bangs more than Davis. Kind of Grim: Unravelling the Miles Perplex and Miles Davis: Music for the Living Dead, both collected in Mainlines, Blood Feasts and Bad Taste, are the pieces. On the Corner still doesn’t grab, but so what. The Bangs route back was worth it.

MAY 15
Prince – Lovesexy

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music –Week 7

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 7 – METALLICA

METALLICA UNPLUG, DISCHORD STREAMS FREE ON BANDCAMP. As well as putting out their weekly Monday gig from the archives, Metallica have joined the broadcast-from-home set with an acoustic version of Blackened where you can watch all four players on a four-way split screen. Hilarious to see Kirk Hammett throw arena metal shapes over an acoustic track but it’s a tidy version, especially the verse arrangement and the solo. More acoustica to come? Hope so.

Given the frequent Henry Rollins mentions in these lockdown posts, it’s timely to hear that Ian MacKaye and Jeff Nelson, owners of the Dischord recod label, made the entire Dischord discography available to stream free on Bandcamp this week. Great way to sample their output, looking forward to educating meself in the sounds of Dischord.

How’s it going out there? How are you using music – pleasure? Medication? Adventure? A shield from the world? Probably all of the above and more. I know I am.

Albums played, lockdown week 7.

MAY 2
Killing Joke – Fire Dances

Killing Joke – Night Time

Joke, Fire: Love Killing Joke, never click with this album. Same with two or three of their early ones. Whenever the urge to revisit them rears up, I look forward to it, sure that their magic will be revealed this time. But in Fire Dances, it still hides. Try again next week?

MAY 3
King Crimson – The Elements Tour Box 2019, disc 2

MAY 4
Isis – Wavering Radiant
Ministry – The Last Sucker

Isis, Wavering: Love Isis, never click with this album … hang on. It’s true, though. Musically sublime – it’s the final step on the bridge towards Palms– it’s the album where Aaron Turner’s vocals went to shit or just got badly produced/recorded. Sounds like he’s trying too hard to be gruff and it’s forced, unlike all previous albums. And I hate saying that, because Isis are phenomenal.

MAY 5
Harvey Milk – Life … the Best Game in Town
Carcass – Heartwork
Metallica Monday – House of Vans 2016

MAY 6
Betty Davis – This Is It

Davis, This: Perfectly named compilation. I mean, how much attitude can a person pack into a blistering funk blowout? They Say I’m Different, Your Mama Wants Ya Back, Shut Off the Light, This Is It … the back end of the CD, funk at hard volume.

MAY 7
Boris – Heavy Rocks
Gnod – Infinity Machines, disc 1

MAY 8
Julia Holter – Loud City Song

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 6

LOCKDOWN MUSIC: WEEK 6 – SANITY

THE BAG OF SANE. This has been my saviour since lockdown started: a small bag packed with means of playing music. This is what we need to survive a world where personal space has gone missing. Just grab your personal portable music stuff – for me, it’s the ipod, a personal CD player, a personal DAB, headphones, a USB power pack, and a notebook and pen – and stick it in a bag.

Then keep it somewhere you can always get it. Because when the opportunity or the need for music arises, the last thing you want is to be scrambling around for Vital Items from a room that’s about to be out-of-bounds for a conference call, zoom social or whatever. You need to be ready, always. 100% music mobile in the confines of your own house.

And with a Bag of Music Sane, you’re sorted. BOMS will level your head and bring inner peace. Any corner, garage or back step can become your music world.

Sure, the smartphone could do all this, but that’s not the way I listen to music. Nil by Spotify. CDs are the dominant format, which is why I got a new personal CD player a couple of years back – to play them more often. And it’s been a great addition, especially when a creaking laptop renders the ipod less versatile than it once was (it’s still loaded, mind. Just not with any CDs bought in the last two and a half years).

Lockdown Music Week 6, here’s what it sounded like.

APRIL 25
Radio … often the way of the weekend. 6 Music

APRIL 26
Wire – Mind Hive
Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts VI

APRIL 27
Tenesha the Wordsmith – Peacocks and Other Savage Beasts
Bruford Levin – Upper Extremeties

CD skidding like a pigeon landing on a waxed floor? Nope. It’s Bill Bruford being a proficient time-shifting bastard in this high-muso hook-up with fellow King Crimson bass/stick player, Tony Levin. Guitar by David Torn.Trumpet Chris Botti. Impressive. It’s a mistake, nay shameful, not to play this more.

APRIL 28
Music Blues – Things Haven’t Gone Well

Metallica – Hardwired … to Self Destruct
Gnod & Joao Pais Filipe – Faca de Terra (new track)

Gnod: mentioned this track in the Rewind, but then it prompted a little Gnod dig, and … well, Infinity Machines was checked quickly (not heard it before) and sounded too vast not to order. Immediately. A little expensive, but surely worth it.

APRIL 29
Wire – Pink Flag

Listened to this album from start to finish to accompany the end of a book I just finished – Pink Flag from the 33 1/3 Series. Brilliant read, very much recommended. The last section has notes on each track in album order, so OF COURSE you need to play it while you read. Thing is, the tracks are shorter than the time it takes to read the notes. Must go back and read more fully. And yes, it does enrich the Pink Flag experience.

APRIL 30
Didn’t make a note. How remiss

MAY 1
Prince – Around the World in a Day
Henry Rollins – The Cool Quarantine 2

Keep safe, keep the music ON!

Previous Lockdown Music – Week 5

GNORTHERN POWERHOUSE

APRIL REWIND: GNOD GET PERCUSSIVE

Fewer new tracks than usual, as will most likely be the way with these lockdown Rewinds because exploratory radio listening is a little bit reduced, but we’ll give it a go. A couple of new albums got spun though, like Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs. Viscerals is as raging and space fried as you want, further pushing the Pigs’ move from hammer-heavy sprawls to concise beatings, and with Crazy in Blood they’ve gone and done a proper earworm. Not just the riff either, the chorus is knockout.

And Mind Hive by Wire is – on first listen – rich and involving, something that demands proper attention. Which it will get very soon.

OK, on with those tunes.

THE LEAF LIBRARY – An Edge, An Ending
Whirring semi-ambient soundscapes in persistent motion, warm crackles on the beats, not a million miles from worriedaboutsatan’s intimate beats. It doesn’t really need the vocals – by the time they come in, the track is lodged in your head as an instrumental – but the voice doesn’t detract either. Could it be the soundtrack to a free-flowing bike ride through city streets deserted by corona? Yes. It was. Do it.

GNOD & JOAO PAIS FILIPE – Faca de Terra
7-plus minutes of percussive trance and hypno repetitions – intriguing stuff, complete with dark turn and guitar spirals mid track. No bludgeon or infinite punishment, it’s too intricate and upbeat for that, yet the Gnod spirit flows strong in this new collaboration. Check it here.

MINISTRY – Alert Level
Borne out of lockdown, we have all-new Ministry. With Bill Rieflin’s recent passing, there’s been a lot of Ministry played round here so this is timely and EXCITING. Sure enough, apocalyptic visions and a no-messing riff run grooves in your head like mid 90s Prong, then … not much else. Even with former Tool man Paul d’Amour on bass, and even with our sky-high Ministry love wanting it to be great, Alert Level lets your attention go and drops to background. Will its simplicity work better on an album, like NWO does? Or will it never cut the Ministry mustard? Let’s see.

’til next time!

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind

amplifier wordsmith: the monthly rewind