Indigo Sixteen – Bring on the Rain

Not having previously come across their previous trio of singles, their new track Bring on the Rain is our long overdue introduction to Indigo Sixteen. It is a compelling jangle of indie/punk devilry from a band looking ready to step into the long line of unique and compelling Scottish propositions of decades past.

Creating a sound which by design or chance embraces the essences of classic bands like Scars and Josef K as well as British outfits like The Libertines and Skellums, Edinburgh hailing Indigo Sixteen emerged in 2013. Leaning on inspirations ranging from Kasabian, The Smiths, and Joy Division to The Jam, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, and Nirvana, Indigo Sixteen previously released the singles Decide (2014), And What? (2014/15), and Come and Go (2016). Now it is Bring on the Rain ready to stir greater attention the way of the quartet and as it plays in the ears it is hard to imagine it not rousing up a host of new fans.

The vocals of guitarist Stephen Mallin pull the song into view, the equally alluring creative clamour of fellow guitarist Matt McPherson adding its melodic jangle to his and the rhythmic shuffle of drummer Callum Davidson and bassist Andrew Stears. Carrying an energetic and virulent swing to its gait and spirited tenacity to its character and enterprise, the song reveals its punk and indie sides with zeal, merging them into a proposition maybe not yet truly distinct but as gripping and exciting as you could wish for.

Those earlier suggested flavours swiftly come to mind in the song to add to its appeal and a quickly bred anticipation for the next band’s next steps.

Bring on the Rain is out now.

https://www.facebook.com/IndigoSixteen/    https://twitter.com/IndigoSixteen   https://www.instagram.com/indigo_sixteen/

Pete RingMaster 21/11/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Snuttock: An introduction of Rituals

Photograph by Laurie A Smith

Allow us to introduce you to Snuttock, a band from Baltimore in Maryland consisting of Bryan Lee, a classically trained musician, and Christopher Lee Simmonds, the latter also a founding member of Michigan progressive metallers Thought Industry. There the background to the pair and Snuttock ends though the fun and real discovery of the electro outfit is through their music. Some might pin it down as synth pop and certainly that is its breeding but with sonic and emotion cast shadows, a kaleidoscope of flavours and textures, and more twists and curves than a descending slinky, it makes for a proposition which never leaves ears and imagination lost for adventure.

Formed in 2003, Snuttock released debut album Straight Jacket Life two years later. It was the first insight to the pair’s blossoming fusion of industrial rapacity with the instinctive allure of synth pop; a blend shaping Carved and Sutured in 2008 and its collection of new tracks and dance-floor friendly remixes. Where we come in and cast a glimpse into, thanks to Lee and Simmonds themselves, is with the band’s last two releases, Endless Rituals and Rituals Redux. The first is in a way the duo’s proper second album, though it seems to be classed as the third, and was released in 2013. Its successor came out last year and sees a host of artists presenting remixes of its predecessor’s tracks, the album acting like a companion piece to the originals bringing new sides and personas to their already captivating characters.

What Endless Rituals quickly establishes is the diversity across the sound and creative enterprise of Lee and Simmonds; songs ranging from simply synth pop to industrial, dark electro, ambient and much more.  As expectations and assumptions of what comes next arise they are quickly shot down and left floundering as song by song the release persistently presents a new facet to its swiftly captivating presence. For all its twists and new sides though, there is a coherency to it all which links it all as something truly individual to Snuttock.

From opener Attention, intrigue is an eager response, the opening shadows of the track rich in suggestion and invitation before the track breaks into a vibrant stroll. That vibrancy is soon a flood across hungrily catchy endeavour, grabbing body and ears with zeal and infectious energy. There is a feel of early Mute Records bands to the song, The Normal coming to mind most and the laying down of the first compelling moment in the album’s landscape.

The dark wave scented, robotically natured Single Cell Antenna is the first twist in the emprise of sound within the album, its dance dexterity and pop glow managing to also cast a dystopian shadow over the affair. New turns flow through ears from thereon in, the emotional reflection and melancholic sharing of the Depeche Mode like People Too, the reserved but open funk of We Learn with its BEF air, and the dark ambience of Nameless straight away expanding the broad terrains honed by Snuttock. The last of the three is like a flight across cosmopolitan lands, its instrumental blossoming in adventure and suggestion with something akin to a merger of Kraftwerk, Thomas Dolby, and pre-split Human League.

It is fair to say that every track within Endless Rituals stirs the senses; the outstanding and dark, almost predacious presence of Crawl invading the psyche with a prowess reminding of UK band Defeat giving one particular favourite moment though with its thought romancing, dark atmospherics One Day and Spitting Into The Wind with its Blancmange meets Artery like emotive theatre leave their magnetic mark. Even throwing a handful plus of references to give a hint of the songs on offer, the uniqueness of Snuttock is the driving force and continues to captivate across remaining tracks like the haunting post rock/electro ambience of Ghost and the irresistible electro punk popper Advice.

Endless Rituals is a treat, even more so if you can get the deluxe edition with an additional four tracks, which newcomers to Snuttock should make their entry point though Rituals Redux certainly makes for a potent invitation too. Even after years of taking them on board, we have yet to get our personal heads around the appeal and maybe even purpose of remixes especially when the originals are so impressive and dominate. We can equally understand their popularity and in turn demand for others though, even more so after listening to Rituals Redux. Whether it was because we heard it first and numerous times before Endless Rituals, the album like a film or TV show hinting at the majesty of a source book, or simply the quality of the tracks on offer, the mix of all maybe, it certainly awoke an appetite for the Snuttock enterprise and a fun in imagining their originals.

First the only ‘negative’ with the album and that is its radio show skits and bumpers. Whether they are taken from a real show or are simply cast to suggest that surrounding they do niggle personal tastes, especially when coming back to back. It is a minor thing of course and certainly once the music descends and remixes from the likes of Psy’Aviah, Marsheaux, [:SITD:], TweakerRay, and Sebastian Komor, is forgotten as feet quickly leap and the spirit jumps opening track and a sparkling take on Advice by Leæther Strip. Each track takes the core essence and heart of the original songs and casts them in a fresh landscape of imagination or shadow of dark suggestiveness. Major highlights for personal tastes include Sebastian Komor’s fizzy take on We Learn and indeed Marsheaux’s warmly seductive version, The Metroland Protocol’s hypnotic twist on Single Cell Antennae, the noir lit take of the same song by The Rorschach Garden, and Psy’Aviah’s haunting at times senses stalking remix of Spitting Into The Wind.

As we said though, and maybe surprisingly, considering its 2 CD, eighteen track length, Rituals Redux hits the perfect  spot with artists such as [:SITD:], Amarta Project, Statik SeKt, Retrogramme, Red This Ever, TweakerRay, Guilt Trip, L’Avenir, Diskodiktator, and Deutsche Bank Machine equally lighting ears and enjoyment with provocative interpretation and craft.

So that is Snuttock, a band which if synth pop and broad electronic adventure is your appetite should make for a highly pleasing new exploration.

Check them out more @ http://www.snuttock.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/Snuttock/  and their music @ http://www.snuttock.com/store.html

Pete RingMaster 31/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

SΔCRED ΔPE – Self Titled

We are among many claiming Sligo based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer John Bassett as one of the most inspiring and refreshingly imaginative composers/songwriters around today and the first album from his new project gives no reason to pull back on that acclaim. SΔCRED ΔPE is Bassett’s, the founder and driving force of KingBathmat and post/progressive metal solo project Arcade Messiah, exploration into electronic/synthwave bred adventures. It is a bold new avenue to pursue for artist and listener but a continuation of the kaleidoscopic sound and visually stimulating artistry within his eager imagination.

As poppy as it is progressive, as emotive as it is instinctively infectious, the SΔCRED ΔPE album needs little time to infest an eager intrigue for something new from its creator; as instantly exciting the senses and involving thoughts and more physical involvement. In many ways, it is his most accessible offering yet though attracting and gripping attention and pleasure has never seemed to be something needing a great deal of time across any of his releases to date. It has a freedom suggesting Bassett is embracing his own electronic loves seemingly with an eighties breeding; playing with inspiring sounds and textures with zeal but weaving them into pieces suggestively complex and intimate and, especially in the album’s pair of instrumental soundscapes, cinematically pregnant though all tracks have just as potent passages.

The album opens with its first instrumental, Horn and swiftly has ears and appetite entangled with its electronic coaxing equipped with virulent melodic hooks. Intrigue coats every note and their emerging collaboration, sonic shadows dancing with melodies and repetitious seduction like an aural cousin to the imagery at the start of the old British TV show Tales of the Unexpected. Spatial yet sinisterly terrestrial, bright but with an almost cold war like drama, the track is a virulent transfixing of ears and imagination and just irresistible.

Asleep At The Wheel (Part 1) follows, contrasting its predecessors light frenetic gait with a heavier almost prowling slow stroll. There is a weight to its air and emotion, a thoughtful pondering soon emulated in the vocals of Bassett. Again melodies escaping synths rise to a celestial atmosphere yet laden with those ever present shadows to temper the climate before Birds Fall From The Sky pulsates with sonic palpitations. From within the animated lightshow a glorious darkwave scented groan, for want of a better word, erupts and swaggers into the passions. With surrounding melodic revelry and an overall creative drama at play in sound and lyrical word, there is a touch of OMD to the song; a flavouring adding to a familiar Bassett design yet as ever one of singularly fresh enterprise.

As a tangy melody steers in next up I Want To Go Back To The Happy House, a Blancmange like lure teases ears continuing to attract as the song broadens its landscape and voice with more of a Kraftwerk meets Giorgio Moroder inspiration. The instrumental floats across and surrounds ears like a summer haze with electronic imagery indistinctly but evocatively flirting from within; easily sweeping the listener up in its flight if without quite igniting the same lustful reactions as those before it.

Through the reflective embrace and dark pulsations of Season Of The Damned and the compelling theatre of Walking On Ice, Bassett has enjoyment and manipulation of the imagination in the palms of his hands; both tracks individual slices of ethereal synth pop with an earthier heart and spine to their explorations with the first a warm hug of temptation. Its outstanding successor though, brings the darker suggestion of the first into a more tangible touch on ears and thoughts creating a John Carpenter like cinematic espionage of suggestion creeping upon and infesting the senses as melodic infection gathers. It is a catchiness which soon leads the way but never diminishes the darker threat alongside resulting in the kind of mouth-watering blend Frank Tovey (Fad Gadget) was so skilled at weaving.

The album concludes with the lullaby-esque Asleep At The Wheel (Part 2), an epilogue of melancholy fuelled, melody woven inference with a childlike clockwork skeleton. It is a sigh of emotion which bursts into greater weight and drama midway and again simply captivates from its first to last breath.

It is too easy to expect big things from John Bassett because of past experiences with his music and it is an instinct sure to continue with SΔCRED ΔPE adding another impressive and seriously enjoyable string to his creative bow. It is an aspect in his creativity we fiercely hope he continues to explore and we are certain in that wish we will not be alone.

The SΔCRED ΔPE album is out now and available @ https://sacredape.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.johnbassettmusic.com   https://www.facebook.com/arcademessiah/

Pete RingMaster 02/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Inwolves – Involves

inwolves-front_RingMasterReview

In music the imagination needs feeding as much as ears and that is certainly what Involves masterfully achieves. The new album from the dark cinematic invention of Inwolves, the release takes the listener on a host of individual journeys and sonically eventful adventures which, whilst carrying their own suggestive dramas, sparks the mind to create its own imagined exploits in tandem. It is one of the most fascinating and provocative collections of aural experiences and sonic explorations for thoughts and emotions to immerse in, and in turn one of the most beguiling listens in a long time.

The project consists of Karen Willems, previously a drummer for a.o. Yuko who has also worked with Dirk Serries on Cycle and the Zita Swoon Group among several side projects, alongside Jürgen De Blonde and Ward Dupan. Their sound draws on the inspiration of seventies “kosmische musik” as it ventures into explorations of electronic and spatial soundscapes drawn from the predominant palette of drums, guitars, and synths textures. To be honest listening to Involves shows that any attempted hint to their music is persistently redundant as each track comes, infests, and seduces the imagination with its own uniqueness. To put it simply, the band creates expansive tapestries of sound and styles which certainly our interpretations can only attempt to provide a clue to.

Involves opens with I Va Va Vimedoom, an initially shadow wrapped persuasion swiftly engaging ears and thoughts with its melancholic synth cast entrance. There is a childlike innocence to the single melody courting the darker hues, though it soon, as the senses, enveloped by the portentous electronic smog that rolls in like stormy invasive clouds. Peace becomes tempestuous, emerging finally again to stand as that lonely initial charm within an absence of everything which shaped its birth.

It is a magnetic thought provoking start, though further contemplation is put on hold as Minimal steps forward next to bewitch and seduce. From its post punk scented electronic opening, exotic melodies and rhythms jostle for attention; eventually sharing ears as a south west Asia flavoured tempting wraps the senses and imagination. Closing eyes and allowing thoughts to wander brings a personal flight across Abyssinian and Mesopotamian landscapes but one surrounded by lurking dangers and encroaching dark times which in turn leads to thoughts to the destruction of ancient sites by modern terrorism.

The track is irresistible, as too is the following sinisterly toned Vladimir. The track is again an imagination nurturing episode on the album’s creative narrative. It easily incites mental and emotional involvement as its popping beats become entangled in a dark web of sonic and suggestive intrigue which blossoms around them. There is a kinetic virulence to the rhythmic shuffle also gripping attention before the track suddenly turns on its head and swims with synths into a dark bluesy and increasingly intensive devouring of the senses. There is a sixties hue to its controlled yet intimidating new tempestuousness, Procol Harum coming to mind initially as streams of orchestral and gothic flames rise up to evoke further persuasion upon the listener.

Strange Waltz provides exactly what its name implies; its opening muggy sonic climate eventually descending into clarity and a slow and flirtatious but again sinister three step shuffle as darkly romantic as it is emotionally apocalyptic, and ridiculously compelling. Maybe not the intention but the instrumental plays like a death dance within the imagination, suggesting and enthralling before the cosmopolitan business of Intown takes the listener down a whole different highway. Krautrock and slimline but pungent industrial essences converge on ears, the analogue embraced romancing of the recording, as across the album, memory provoking as too the bordering on obsessively rhythmic prowess which invites thoughts of bands like Kraftwerk and Neu! to the hypnotic endeavour.

Involves is completed by firstly, the invasively dark and increasingly distressed and psychotic Dirty Monks, a track unleashing a maelstrom of tortured voices and souls within its cathedral spawned ravenously shadowed depths. Its suffocating majesty subsequently makes way for the closing suggestive alchemy of Be Kind. The track is a cosmically spiced venture with Devo-esque tones to its electronics and Landscape like mystique to its discord and melody woven spatial drama. It is also another enslaving attention as it leads ears into a revolving flight of intimate and broad aural stimulation, every turn fresh from the previous with vocals an extra stirring spicing to the array of captivating textures.

It is hard to accurately describe Involves or its individual temptations but fair to say each will feel a unique experience for every singular exploration into a band which specialises in creating, to borrow the last words of their press release, “a world of endless possibilities.”

Involves is out now via Consouling Sounds and @ http://inwolves.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Inwolves-266399616750821

Pete RingMaster 30/03/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Meter Bridge – It Was Nothing

Meter Bridge _RingMaster Review

It Was Nothing is the new single from Canadian duo Meter Bridge and a song which again shows the ability of the band to create a sound seeded in eighties synth pop but equally revelling in the genre’s modern invention. It is a quality which was already in evidence and acclaimed in the band’s debut album Slow Motion, from which It Was Nothing is taken, but it never does any harm to remind especially with virulent infestation of ears like this.

Meter Bridge single cover_RingMaster ReviewMeter Bridge is the pairing of Richard Kleef and Jill Beaulieu, a Nelson based duo which came together in 2011 and quickly began picking up a keen following. 2014 saw the release of their self-titled debut EP with Slow Motion coming a year later, both stirring up potent attention on the international electronica scene. The twining of their vocals within rich electronic caresses alone had ears enticed whilst the melodic simmers and livelier eruptions explored only added to the inviting drama of sound in especially the latter release, as now epitomised by It Was Nothing.

References to bands such as Kraftwerk and Ladytron are seemingly a regular comparison to the band, and understandable as the single strolls in with dour yet smiling bass pulses aligned with a flowery breeze of melodic tempting. The contrasting yet potent pairing of Kleef’s dark tones and Beaulieu’s warmer vocal caresses makes for quick magnetism, they enhanced further by a spice of variety which also tempts from within the music as a touch of Landscape smoulders alongside a Human League like air which bridges the two eras of the Sheffield band. Throw in a splatter of Thomas Dolby and Hot Chip and you get a scent of the rich enticement of It Was Nothing.

The single comes with a remix by Rodney Cromwell; a version which in many ways gives It Was Nothing a new side to its character rather than just a makeover. It opens with an Altered Images like electro shimmer which soon takes on a more Visage like nature musically and a Calling All Astronauts sounding adventure to the leaner vocal mix and rawer textures. Though not a big fan of remixes, the track certainly held the ears and appetite as firmly as its source and helps give a new nudge to those still unaware of the band’s synth pop adventure.

It Was Nothing is available now as a name your price download @ https://meterbridgeweatnurecords.bandcamp.com

http://www.meterbridge.ca/   https://www.facebook.com/meterbridgeband

http://twitter.com/meter_bridge

Pete RingMaster 05/02/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

For more exploration of the independent and promotional services check out http://www.zykotika.com/

Gazing into the fresh glow of The Cathode Ray with Jeremy Thoms

The Cathode Ray_RingMaster Review

Photo and copyright Peter Tainsh

2015 has provided many treats this year and definitely amongst them was the latest and second album Infinite Variety from Scottish indie band The Cathode Ray. It was an encounter embracing the nostalgia of the eighties through fresh and inventive escapades bred of the now. One of the band’s founders is Jeremy Thoms, he also the man behind the great indie label Stereogram Recordings, and someone who to describe as busy is a big understatement. Nevertheless, Jeremy kindly gave us a chunk of his time to talk about the album, The Cathode Ray itself from top to bottom and more, including an insight to his own musical loves…

Hi Jeremy and many thanks for giving us your time to talk with us.

Ever late to the party, we discovered The Cathode Ray through your new album Infinite Variety which came out a couple of months or so ago to, it is fair to say, swift acclaim. In a music world where it seems increasingly harder to actually get people to part with money or indeed offer full attention to things, did you have any particular expectations or hopes for its unveiling or is it more anything is a bonus for bands right now?

We didn’t have any expectations other than hoping that those who had liked the first album would stay with us for the second. We knew we’d made a good follow up album but, as you say, in an environment when it’s very hard to engage with people, nothing is guaranteed.

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Photo by Hugh Womersley

Originally the band was just you and Paul Haig, famed for Josef-K and his own solo career. The press release for the album suggests this was not originally intended to be a serious band project but a writing collaboration. Was that the case and what brought Paul’s involvement to an end?

Paul definitely just saw it as a writing collaboration – “a bit of fun” was one his quotes – with group recordings just being made to illustrate them. However, the reaction to them was so positive, one thing lead to another and I pushed for it to become a band and take it more seriously, which Paul wasn’t happy with so eventually he left. What confused matters in the press and public eye was that Neil, David and I were his backing band when he did a solo tour in 2008. However the emphasis then was completely on his solo work, and he had no intention of being a member of a band again after Josef K, which in the end we had to respect.

The double ‘A’ sided single What’s It All About? /Mind was released in 2006; I believe this was meant as a one off release?

Not initially but it ended up like that. Certainly with Paul participating. When we made the agreement with Pronoia Records in 2006, the album had been recorded with Paul’s full participation, but by the time we got around to discussing getting it released he had changed his mind. So he asked us to remove his lead vocals, which we did, although some of his guitar and backing vocals do remain on the first album.

At what point did that spark the appetite to push things further; as a full band and with more releases?

The point that changed everything was bumping into Steve Fraser at a TV21 album launch in 2009. I told him what had happened and he was keen to get involved. The minute we started talking music I knew he was the man. We didn’t even bother with an audition. I knew the songs were strong enough to survive without Paul’s involvement. That opened so many doors, being able to play live (which Paul would never have done as The Cathode Ray) and generally move things on after quite a difficult start.

Were some of you all already old friends and maybe previously worked together before uniting for The Cathode Ray we know today?

Neil Baldwin and I have known each other for 34 years (!) and have played in bands together intermittently since 1986. David Mack and I had been working together since 2000 so, yes, there was a certain chemistry. Steve was the “new boy” although we’d all known him on the Edinburgh scene previously.

I have to admit for once, and not intentionally, I read about the band and its background before hearing a note for a review, and to be honest once seeing a list of previous projects for members of The Cathode Ray2_RingMaster Reviewthe band which had been indelible pleasures in my personal soundtrack, subsequently luring a revisit to old favourites records after finishing the review too, there was an increased anticipation and eagerness to explore the band and album. Do you think having your musical histories has helped draw awareness to the band or not?

Well obviously there’s going to be a certain amount of that, but I do believe, hopefully without sounding conceited, that The Cathode Ray is more than the sum of its parts. But initially I guess it did help getting people interested through our various previous involvements.

There were whiffs of all some of your previous bands at times across the songs and often nostalgia blessed air of Infinite Variety, The Bluebells and Scars maybe most notably in our ears. You are a band unafraid to draw on previous adventures and spices to hone new and fresh exploits, as potently shown on the album?

The songs that I write aren’t consciously drawing on any of our past exploits, but I guess where you’ve come from does influence where you’re going. In any case, it’s probably coincidental, as Steve only toured with The Scars as a depping bassist so wasn’t involved in their creative process, while Neil only contributed to arrangements with The Bluebells. But inevitably, as we all come from that post-punk background, some of the sounds and styles of these bands are going to rub off.

How would you say The Cathode Ray has evolved over time and specifically between Infinite Variety and its predecessor, your self-titled debut album?

I would say the vague initial brief of merging post-punk Manchester with New York has simply broadened to the point where I regard ourselves now as a band that isn’t easy to pin down musically. Our original press release mentioned 60’s Garage, Soundtracks and Northern soul, to which one critic added Psychedelia, Glam-Rock, Euro-Disco, Krautrock and 90’s Alternative Pop when reviewing Infinite Variety. So it is definitely evolving. I’m currently demoing material for the next album and there’s even more interesting musical areas I’d like to explore. It’s good to surprise people.

TCR cover_RingMaster ReviewGive us some insight into the thoughts and intentions going into the writing and recording of Infinite Variety? Do you build a release on particular aims or ideas or predominantly let things organically evolve?

Things do tend to evolve organically. If you put too much pre-conceived thought into it, the music loses its spontaneity. Although I suppose one particular aim is not to repeat ourselves. Each album needs to be a significant progression from the previous one, so a certain degree of thought does go into that. Also, apart from melodies and lyrics, I’m always interested in rhythms and try to be as adventurous and varied as possible in that area too.

We described the album as a “kaleidoscope of fun, sound, and adventure”, a fair hint we think at the array of flavours and inventive spices fuelling and shaping the songs within Infinite Variety. In the hands of many bands it might be an incoherent mix, but you manage to seamlessly blend all spices and individual characters of songs perfectly. Where do you and the band start when composing songs?

Well I compose the songs and demo them first with the key riffs, chord progressions, lyrics etc. all in place. At that stage they often do sound fairly disparate. I then present them to the band in the rehearsal room and that’s when it starts to sound like The Cathode Ray. Steve, Neil and Dave all contribute parts and arrangements until we arrive at the finished article. Some songs like The Eyes Are The Window took a long time to come together and changed quite considerably from my original demo. Others end up fairly similar to the original template, but all manage to sound cohesive owing to the fact it’s the four of us playing them, I guess.

The album’s tracks manage to be rich and at times expansive in texture and flavour yet also ‘slim’, i.e. no excess baggage or indulgence. They manage to be an open evolution from your first album but also reveal a bolder leap in aural colour and character; how do you hear their relevance to older propositions as one of their creators?

Well obviously it’s difficult to be completely objective about something you’ve created yourself, but I see their place in relation to the first album as a natural progression. The leap in colour and texture which you describe is simply a way of moving the band forward, without cluttering things up unnecessarily. You use the word ‘slim’ and I suppose that comes in at the production stage – cutting off any excess fat!

How long in the making from first note to paper or thought through to last note laid down was the album?

The boundaries are always blurred as we always tend to have songs left over which were either written too late to make the cut or simply didn’t fit at the time. For example, This Force Of Nature had its origins as a completely different song dating way back to 2006. It had never sounded right so was left on the shelf. I went back to it in 2014 writing new lyrics and melodies and it quickly came together then. Eureka Moment and Buck the Trend were written in 2009 when Steve first joined. But the bulk of I.V. was written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 – around two and half years.

Our review stated spices of bands from around the eighties as rewarding aspects but over time sixties/seventies tones have emerged. I sense your own inspirations and musical loves go far back?

Oh yes – my musical tastes stretch way back! How long have you got? Songwriters have always been key to me. From Lennon & McCartney, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Jimmy Webb and Bacharach & David, through Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Scott Walker, Al Green, Bowie, Joni Mitchell, Robert Wyatt and Neil Young to Costello, Paddy MacAloon and Rufus Wainwright, the song is always key. Then there’s the bands I love – The Stones, The Velvets, The Doors, Faces, Roxy, Yes, Kraftwerk, Television, Talking Heads, Buzzcocks, Chic, Wire, Magazine, Pretenders, Joy Division, Dexys, Scritti Politti; Cocteaus, Talk Talk, Teenage Fanclub, High Llamas, Flaming Lips… the list goes on.

There is no mistaking that Scottish bands and rock ‘n’ roll of all styles and design bred there, has something unique to it, and we could go on a long list of examples. Can you define what it is in ‘the

Photo by Jez Curnow

Photo by Jez Curnow

water’ which helps breed such distinctive and so often inspirational bands from that part of the UK, as ones yourselves?

I think there’s an open-mindedness up here. Maybe Scottish bands tend to draw from a wider pool of influences than other parts of the UK. Or maybe it’s to do with being distanced from what’s happening down south – even in the age of the internet. It’s certainly true that scenes of their own do seem to crop up here around labels like Postcard, Fast, 53rd & 3rd, Creeping Bent and, possibly, our label Stereogram too, which has attracted similar kindred literate spirits. Either that or we all seem to be obsessed with the Velvet Underground!

What comes next for The Cathode Ray?

Firstly, we’ve got two more live shows coming up this year as part of The Stereogram Revue in Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus a new track called It Takes One To Know One on a compilation album. Then there’s a new video shot earlier this year at the Kings Theatre in Edinburgh by Jez Curnow to go with Saving Grace, our other featured track on the comp. After that we’ll be knuckling down to working on the follow up to Infinite Variety. I’ve got five or six new songs written and demoed, plus a couple of leftovers, so we’ll be getting on with them. Expect some new directions.

Your releases come out on Stereogram Recordings, your own label which seems to have out grown and blossomed far more than its original intent I believe. Can you tell us a little about it and what is ahead for the label too?

It has indeed outgrown its original intent which was simply to facilitate a release for the first Cathode Ray album, plus any other projects (The Fabulous Artisans) or archive material I had kicking about. But over the last couple of years it has been growing steadily with first Roy Moller signing up, followed by James King & The Lonewolves, Milton Star, St. Christopher Medal, Lola in Slacks and, Band Of Holy Joy. The critical and public response has been great which is hugely encouraging. As previously mentioned, we’re rounding off the year with two Revue shows which will feature the entire roster in some form or other (minus Milton Star who don’t have a live set up at present). These gigs will be accompanied by The Sound of Stereogram, a budget compilation in the spirit of New Wave in ‘77 or Pillows and Prayers in ’82, featuring both new and old tracks from all eight acts on the label. Next year promises some new signings plus new material from the existing acts.

My big thanks to you again for chatting with us; have you anything you would like to add?

Nothing to add except thanks very much for your support over the last year.

Lastly and looking at band’s influences on your Facebook profile, a list of bands littering my own record collection I have to say, can you indulge me and give us a few of the bands/records which inspired you to get into music and then as a musician push yourself further?

Well I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of artists who’ve inspired me, so here’s some records that have been key: “With The Beatles”; “Motown Chartbusters Vol.3”; “Pet Sounds”; “Piper at The Gates of Dawn”; “Forever Changes”; “Loaded”; “Scott 4”; “What’s Going On”; “Exile On Main Street”; “Never A Dull Moment”; “Close To The Edge”; “Aladdin Sane”; ”Houses Of The Holy”; “Quadrophenia”; “Rock Bottom”; “Country Life”; “Zuma”; “Songs In The Key Of Life”; “Trans Europe Express”; “Marquee Moon”; “My Aim Is True”; “Never Mind The Bollocks”; “Risque”; “All Mod Cons”; “Love Bites”; “Fear Of Music”; “Closer”; “The Correct Use Of Soap”; “You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever”; “Rattlesnakes”; “Steve McQueen”; “Don’t Stand Me Down”. Again the list goes on…

Read our review of Infinite Variety @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/the-cathode-ray-infinite-variety/

https://www.facebook.com/thecathoderay   http://www.stereogramrecordings.co.uk

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 23/11/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Phal:Angst – Black Country

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A raw erosion of senses and psyche, Black Country the new album from Austrian noise sculptors Phal:Angst is a vociferously compelling provocation built upon soundscapes which suggest that the apocalypse is already upon us. Consisting of five intrusive and fierce sonic explorations themed by oppressive manipulation and bigotry, the release is a demanding and uncomfortable proposition to listen to but a welcomingly incendiary confrontation for imagination and emotions to embrace. Forging a caustic industrial, post rock and doom clad fusion of noise, the release is a haunting immersion into ravenous sounds and stark atmospheres from a provocateur bred from the same corrosive intent as a Swans or Nurse With Wound.

Phal:Angst emerged in 2006 as collaboration between the projects Phal and Projekt Angst. The years since then has seen two well-received albums, a soundtrack, and hosts of successful shows unleashed, all adding up to ensure there was certain anticipation for their third album Black Country. Recorded with Alexandr Vatagin and mastered by Patrick Pulsinger, the album is an invasive and riveting consumption which draws on thick essences of EBM and gothic rock alongside those elements of sound mentioned. It makes for an unpredictable and often voraciously abrasive encounter but one which leaves thoughts and emotions aflame and contemplating the incitement unleashed.

Hardwire is the first examination of the senses, a fifteen minute portrait of a world in turmoil and emotionally twisted. From a glorious opening female vocal caress soon wrapped in similarly elegant keys, the track slips into a heavy industrial climate. Beats and electronic designs aligned to war inspired samples emerge within the still warm melodic embrace of the song, the encroaching portentous invasion of the beauty slow and unrelenting as guitars begin their rawer sonic narrative. The track continues to smoulder between melodic grace and caustic hostility whilst melancholic breezes wash the climate of the song and the band’s vocals upon their subsequent appearance. It is a gripping track, a corruption of sound which smothers the beauty within itself in order to provoke and spark ears and thoughts.

The album’s title track is next where again a warm and gentle entrance is made. This time electronic seduction coaxes the senses though around them sonic shadows are swiftly brewing up their intent and menace. They are held at bay though as a funereal rhythmic strides court the radiant and haunted shimmer of synths and guitar. Monotone fuelled vocals add their colour to the emerging song next, though again it is a slow expansion prowled by other continually darkening tones. The repetitious nature within this and all tracks is an inescapable seducing which only adds to the persuasion if not always the accessibility of the song’s temptation. This and its successor The Old Has To Die and the New Must Not Be Born reminds of Young Gods across their maudlin soaked landscapes, the album’s third song especially sparking thoughts of the Swiss band as opening hoarse vocals and intimidating riffs sets the tone and character of the blackened suffocation of the senses to come. Again that repetitive essence and the return of those breath-taking female soaring vocals provide a rich temper to the bestial heart of the track.

It is an enthralling and bewitchingly unpredictable trespass of the emotions providing the album with its pinnacle though that is almost matched by the warped sonic flirtation of Black Milk of Morning. A track which takes its time worming under the skin, despite persistently offering slim and potent melodies across chilled rhythmic scenery soaked in abrasing sonic ambience, it almost sneaks up on the passions especially with the persistence of unpolished reiterative vocals which imprint their presence and pressure within the climactic sonic smog. There is a beauty to the open and merciless aural causticity of the song which will certainly not be for all but as the album, will provide a remarkably rewarding experience for many more.

Black Country closes with the industrial drama and dystopian presence of Theta, a track which feels like an infestation bred from the union of Kraftwerk, Einstürzende Neubauten, and Neurosis. It crawls across the senses, leaving doom bred bait in its wake whilst igniting the imagination with its creative smothering and fiery tenacity. The song is a fine end to a great album, one which at times you wonder what specifically you are enjoying about it but always by the end of its persuasion only want more.

Black Country is available digitally, on double vinyl and CD via Bloodshed 666 Records @ https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/black-country-revisited/id932871714

The album is followed on Nov 28th by digital remix album Black Country Revisited featuring remixes by: Tronstoner/NSA, Swallow Red Rain, Chra, David Pfister, Electric Indigo, Rokko Anal, and Adaevarath/Bastard Sun.

http://www.facebook.com/phalangst

RingMaster 14/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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