REVIEWS 23/04/01




The subtitle for this is:

"25 Tall Tales of sexual impropriety with seventeen year old girls, decadent nuns and bread dolls taken directly from the pages of both spicy art publications and the most aromatic sections of the style press appended with instructions on how to hang old bread bags from the back pockets of your levis in order to signal your carnal desires to the gingerbread men who frequent the world's most swinging bakeries and hottest 24-hour bagel shops."

Which is a bit of a mouthful, really! Another of Stewart's great compilations of journalism, rants, reviews and so on. This is more direct than the last pamphlet, Anamorphosis (which is reviewed here). Despite being a compilation, it seems to hang together pretty well. The main themes being the continuing critique of anarchism, the resurgence of bread doll fetishism and punk fucking rock.

On the highbrow front we have some very good critical essays and reviews concerning academic treatises on stuff like Debord, Punk Rock and high art stuff - Stewart certainly knows when and how to put the boot in. On a more accessible level there are pieces on John Sinclair from the MC5, fetishism (fruit, uniforms, and the obligatory bread dolls!), computer sex, and Stone Circles. On the "what the FUCK?" level there is some seriously deranged stuff about Iain Sinclair and his Falconer film, a look at renting £1000 a week apartments, and the origins of the Mind Invaders rock 'n' roll hoax/meme (or is it?).

Plus some interviews with Stewart which take in his political evolution, the Art Strike, afro-american music and a whole heap more. Jean Baudrillard is blissfully absent as well!

Warning! This pamphlet will ejaculate into your bread bin as soon as your back is turned - and you will love it!

£3.75 (cheques to "S. Home")
Sabotage Editions, BM: Senior, London WC1N 3XX
ISBN 0 9540063 0 5



A4 leaflet published by L.O.A. which is essentially Italian ultra-left communist Amadeo Bordiga's thoughts on the Mexican day of the dead. "The very noble Mexican population, having submitted to Catholicism under the pitiless terror of the Spanish invasion show that they have remained 'primitive' because they experience neither terror nor horror of death. On the contrary these people are the heirs to a civilisation incomprehensible to the Christians of today or yesterday".

Stamped addressed envelope?
L.O.A., Box 15, 138 Kingsland High Road, London E8 2NS


I found this issue much more interesting than issue 25 (see 231100 reviews). There's a whole heap of stuff on Scottish culture - Hugh MacDiarmid, Hamish Henderson, clans, and a look at scottish heros which examines and critiques the concept of heroes/heroism.

There are also some great music bits - Avant Garde composer James Dillon is interviewed. This is very welcome after my experience at the Pole gig recently because it raises all sorts of issues about elitism, intellectual music and so on. Andy Martin gives a thorough introduction to Progressive Rock, which isn't my bag, but the piece focuses on the music rather than the wacky aspects that were featured in the recent "Top Ten Prog" programme. (Arguably the wacky aspects are the most interesting, but only if you're not interested in the music!). There is also an extensive review of Andy Martin's previous band - Academy 23. Very interesting to see some sort of attempt to put their work in context and review them critically. Hopefully this will make a few more people investigate the tapes, records and CDs which are still available.

Also a great interview with Chen Siu Ming, a martial arts instructor in Hackney, a sceptical rant against New Age Stuff, a (rather minimal) War Arrow cartoon, and quite a lot more (56 pages, A4!). Occasionally slips into that old elitism/nationalism trap, though...

£3 plus 50p for postage and packing in the UK
UNIT HQ, Box 4, 136 Kingsland High Street, London E8 2NS




Fair play to Ambush - just as they've getting serious acclaim for their fucked up drum 'n' noise ragga business, along comes this little beauty.

Slepcy Hail from Poland, apparently. This 3 tracker manages to conjur up some seriously DARK 'n' sinister shit. And by that I don't mean a few vocal samples being pitched down and the odd rumble, I mean "eeeeurgh fuck I don't know if I like this/ what's that over my shoulder/oh but it's fucking awesome actually/or is it" dread. The record is less immediately physically satisfying than the pure adrenaline of stuff like DJ Scud, but you can't party all the time. Bad vibrations for all the bad boys and girls who've taken it to the brink one weekend...

The track "And Again" takes up the whole of one side - the space allows the track to breathe a bit - some loooong dark bits with some ultra sinister squeals and processed strings build up the tension before the monster appears in the form of a breakbeat stabbing into your ribcage. But then it's gone - and we're back to a brooding silence... It's more space than fill, an absolutely compelling lesson in the value of restraint, something that most people making noise music have no idea about. The little pauses that lull you before the next onslaught begins. Be careful what records you keep this one next to...

The other tracks are more dense - more beats, some great tweaked frequencies that tread the line between harsh and beautiful, and some sinister strings. Slepcy is H.P. Lovecraft on the decks, having another one of his funny turns...

you can get Ambush records from Rough Trade and Ambient Soho in London
check for other info.


War Arrow liked the last review of his stuff so much that he sent me another tape. Can't say fairer than that me old cocker! If you checked out Fatu Hiva, you'll be checking this out too. The first few tracks give a pretty good overview - "At the First Clear Word" is a suitably bombastic intro, "Shadow of Love" takes things down a notch with some bleak ambience, and then "Staying Alive" mashes up the Bee Gees riff big time, retaining the funk but adding some quick fire vocals which relate WA's harsh worldview. Blimey! As with the last tape, half the fun here is checking out the samples - everything from Iron Maiden to Da Lench Mob, from Akira Ifukube to Joy Divsion (the riff from "In a Lonely Place" - fantastic).

Lyrically it's all a bit dour for my liking (and that's saying something!) but then again, where else do you get Dawkins and Aztec Cosmology praised - on the same track? And finally, I really could have done without the 20 minute long "Bride of The Ixcuiname" track (a lot of not very much going on). 90 minutes is a long time to spend listening to anyone's obsessions, but War Drum manage to pull it off pretty damn well. I'm still gagging for their long-time-coming hip hop album, though...

Professionally duped chrome C90 with lyric sheet.
£3.00 UK, £3.50 Europe, £4.00 Elsewhere (cash/blank whatevers in UK Sterling)
Ce Acatl, BM Indefinite, London WC1N 3XX


The first thing we noticed was that "da kids" were definitely in the minority. A predominance of patrons of the arts and old jazzers. While I was at the bar my companion was thrilled to hear someone telling their mate in a very plummy voice that "there was a lot of improvisation going on there" - and this instantly became our catchphrase for the evening.

Our contact had got us seats right at the back, like naughty school-kids. The first "act" we caught was Jaki Liebzeit and someone I assumed was Burnt Friedman. Jaki boshed away on the drums inna metronomic style. Burnt added some muted electronics, sort of spiky, but not too harsh. It was a long groove-out. Kind of hypnotic but kind of indeterminate. My companion summed it all up quite well. "This is shit", he said.

Having agreed, very loudly, that there was obviously "a lot of improvisation going on there" we chilled out a bit and waited for the next installment. Jaki and Burnt were joined onstage by a series of ominously bearded people. Brandishing a flute, a saxophone and what seemed to be bagpipes, the whole thing kicked off big style into a chaotic free-jazz thang. I began to get a bit twitchy at this point. All that stuff feels a bit inaccessible to me, like astrophysics or something. You can see that there's obviously a lot going into it, but feel a bit thick for not being able to figure it out.

Fortunately it was rescued by the appearance of Jah Wobble, who layed down a tight dubby bassline which acted as an anchor for everyone else's "explorations". That and the drummers (there were now 2) was something to hold onto whilst waves of noise, parps and electronic clicks flooded the auditorium. I did actually end up getting into it. There were bits that were amazing conjunctions of tones - bits of order forming out of the sonic chaos. There were also bits that were extraordinarily dull, that had you wondering just how long they would keep banging out that bloody awful noise for.

Eventually this, and my bladder, got the better of me, but my companion was still absolutely enthralled. A good piss and several inhalations later, it was all still going on. The ensemble slowly left the stage and were replaced by the one man show which is Pole. No collaborations for this geezer, just one man and his boxes. Pole is kind of ambient, dubby, clicks + cuts electronic gubbins. Quite floaty and quite restful. A bit of a relief after the previous onslaught, it was great listening to the whole thing evolve, dub out and evolve again. Mmmmmm. People often bang on about how Pole uses digital noises that people normally try to filter out, but digital noise still ends up sounding all twinkly and clean. It is, unlike dub proper, head music. I kept trying to imagine this stuff up against a UK dub soundsystem like Jah Tubbys, but it would never work.

Pole left the stage and the ensemble returned. A bit more immediate this time, with Wobble laying down some serious basslines. I admired his discipline amongst all the free form of the rest of it. Someone was adding some phasing effects and stuff to the drums and the wind instruments. It was sort of effective, but you got the idea they either didn't really know enough about the mechanics of dub or weren't in too much of a position to interfere with what The Musicians were doing. I was glad when it ended, but I'm still very much thinking about it now...

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