Shatner’s Bassoon – The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan

SB_RingMaster Review

We have all had a dream which is ripe with randomness so abstract that it somehow makes sense, and that is exactly what it is like listening to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan, the new album from Shatner’s Bassoon. Not that our brain cells have yet managed to come to terms with any of its themes, if there are any, or the intent behind its psyche twisting bedlam of creativity, but without doubt we are having the richest fun and enjoyment trying.

Shatner’s Bassoon is a sextet from Leeds taking influences from the likes of Tim Berne, Mr. Bungle, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, and an expansive range of styles and flavours into their warped composing and sound. Equally individual experiences of its members carry a diverse range stemming from European folk, Hindustani music, Brazilian music, straight ahead and free jazz, reggae, metal, contemporary classical, musique concrete and most likely plenty more inspiring spices. 2013 saw the release of their debut album Aquatic Ape Privilege and last year the live EP, The Crowd Grows Mild. Now representing “the summation of the last three years of working since the addition of Joost Hendrickx on drums and electronics”, Shatner’s Bassoon release their second album of unhinged imagination, an encounter from Johhny Richards (Keyboards/Piano), Michael Bardon (Bass/Bongos/Botanical String Quartet), Andrew Lisle (Drums), Oliver Dover (Saxophones/Bass Clarinet), Craig Scott (Guitar), and Hendrickx which puzzles, bemuses, seriously confuses but most of just thrills.

cover_RingMaster Review     Bruce Lawn starts the album off and according to the press release sees “Seemingly disparate musical fragments converge into a unified theme as catchy and uncomfortable as gonorrhoea. It dissolves as quickly as it manifests into a visceral aural soup, crashing into an overtly sexual Transylvanian organ punch.” It opens with a handful of lusty seconds of anthemic sax bursts and handclaps before flinging a host of discord kissed sounds made up of melodic and sonic tweaks. Already thoughts are conjuring a picnic in a thirties freak show, an abundance of off-kilter beauty providing an embrace of joy with sorrowful undertones. As with every track, and no matter the hints given by the band musically and in word, each listen sends the imagination down a new avenue of lively and shadowed adventure, though ones maybe not quite as disturbed or avant-garde as the ideas in the minds bringing the piece to ears. Band and song continue to ‘meander’ and spin new detours, a few of them Essential Logic like, as it drifts into an increasingly sinister haunting; coming out the other side with aural face paint smudged and mental coherence askew.

Bruce Lawn II: Arms like a Mirage comes next; the song’s initial elegantly chilled breath a surreal reflection of its predecessor’s final dark throes whilst spinning slowly deeper into its own turbulent intrigue of sound and barely masked insanity. It all leads to a bordering on bestial climax which is almost 6:33 like in its concussive collision of jazz, rock, and whatever else lies within its tapestry of aggression.

Like that initial spattering of water as rain clouds open is how Fringe in my eyes, Thighs in disguise sheds its mosaic of incompatible yet united sound next, each note from the song sheet a jazz bred splatter marking its territory; yes warped sounds seem to breed warped ideas, in us anyway.

Percussion and rhythms provide a skittish but fluent dance to set Mushroom/Fancy a Waltz away; bulging blobs of sax and clarinet flirting with the spicy strings of the guitar soon after before things get a little psychotically hairy in something best described by the band itself as “a machine gun spluttered duet finally melting into a refreshingly resolute meditation.” To be honest whatever we write or they say is a scratch upon the strange and spellbinding tapestry at work throughout the album and its individual exploits of tangling sound and ingenuity.

Ten seconds of innocence coated sax gaiety is all Mitch Fargone’s walk to school offers before Advocates of Anti-Funk pulsates and shimmers in a kaleidoscope of melodic and brassy sunspots, all wanting to share their swinging hips before eventually colluding in a dark carnival-esque seducing. Rip Rig & Panic meets Mr Bungle might be a good way to describe it…actually not really as again Shatner’s Bassoon cast only their own uniqueness over ears.

The dark enchantment of Boat Comforts moves in like sea fog, creaking boards and melancholic siren sent calls mesmerising and tantalising the senses. Every passing second brings darker and stranger nautical essences, the piece toying with the imagination like a Jules Verne on LSD written adventure complete with a bare boned and crazed shanty. Cardiacs come to mind the more the song spills its insanity and rum brewed frenzy before Boat Comforts Part II: Goat Conference / The Real Shim Lady unveils its own sonic choral of loco spawned textures and cracked rhythmic incitement. Like the unbridled discordance of eighties band Stump infesting the psyche and the creative prowess of a composer to a silent movie, the track goes from low key musical disorder to sinew swung hysteria and back again into deep melancholy.

Next comes DMT AABA which is like a nursery room found in American Horror Story, it in turn followed by the even more thickly haunting of The Ballad of Long Egg, a track which for whatever reason sparked thoughts of films like Roman Polanski’s Repulsion and The Tenant. Closing eyes whilst listening to the track ensures it is an atmospheric noir scare, its textual narrative high suggestion even if the results brewed mentally do or do not match the band’s intent.

Inspector Fargone is another passing swoosh of temptation, its twenty odd seconds like a spaced-out Jacques Tati moment whilst the brilliant Boghead (WaspSpeed) is a fevered uproar of energy through a palette of eccentric funky sounds and demented brass grimaces and eruptions, all coming together like a Dali sculpted painting by numbers, though of course there is no recognisable order or structure to the blaze of premeditated and free form ingenuity.

The album is brought to a close by an enveloping lure of sound which again can only be described as haunting. Will you be my Friend? draws in vocals for the first time, their harmonies as left field and fascinating as the sounds hugging their presence, and wonderfully as musically heretical as the gentle cacophony creating one enthralling and exhaustingly bewitching album.

When you listen to The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan you will have a totally different view and response to its songs, that is a given such its diversity and unfathomable genius but most will agree that for appetites of humour loaded music with an insanity as broad as the imagination and wealth of flavours in its creation, Shatner’s Bassoon have provided one feverish treat.

The Self-Titled Album Shansa Barsnaan is available via Wasp Millionaire Records from September 24th.

Pete Ringmaster 23/09/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Oh! Gunquit – Eat Yuppies and Dance

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Time to meet your new favourite band and album, and the beginning of frequent visits to hospital A&E because of the twisted rhythmic effect on the body and the deranged dance-floor tempting offered. The culprits are UK provocateurs Oh! Gunquit and debut album Eat Yuppies and Dance. With more agitated rhythms than found in a Cardiothoracic unit entangled in a web of virulent contagion built on salacious grooves and naughtily flirtatious temptation, the band’s sound is pure irrepressible addiction. Hints of their devilish practices have been unveiled for quite a while by singles, videos, and an acclaimed live presence, but with Eat Yuppies and Dance, the London based quintet has just infected the world with their finest moment yet.

With a sound presumably self-tagged as rumble-bop trash freak-a-billy, and you have to say it fits perfectly, Oh! Gunquit has its seeds in a meeting between neighbours Tina Swasey and Simon Wild at a North London vinyl-only sweaty cellar club DJ night. Apparently from an energetic pogo competition the pair decided to form a band based on their mutual love of wild garage punk, exotica, raw rhythm ’n’ blues, and surf-trash. This was 2011 and since then the band they subsequently formed has become an eagerly devoured proposition across shows and festivals which have seen them playing with the likes of Black Lips producer King Khan with his Shrines, Fat White Family, Public Service Broadcasting, Andrew Weatherall, and Keb Darge amongst many. One gig even saw Adam Ant make a “crazed” impromptu stage invasion whilst radio has been just as hungry for their songs. This has all been backed by a pair of limited edition and self-released seven inch vinyl singles and tantalising videos to match. Now with Dirty Water Records, the band has uncaged their greatest bait of sound and devilment yet to seduce and enslave towns, nations, and the world.

Front Cover 2 flat (1)     With a line-up completed by Kieran, VV, and Alex, Oh! Gunquit equip Eat Yuppies and Dance with a torrential revelry which can fall into anything from psyche rock and pop to garage and punk rock, and on again to rockabilly and surf rock and that is still only part of the full musical stomp which starts with opener Sinkhole. The resonating slightly tinny beats which accost and incite ears from the first breath of the song are the sign of things to come, their anthemic lure having one single aim with their actions, to ignite body and emotions. Vocals jump in swiftly with the same impact before the song slips into a sultry groove woven caress of surf temptation over a vivacious garage rock canvas. The voice of Denver bred Tina brings an enticing tang to the exploit as does the acidic kiss of guitar enterprise which flames across the encounter, everything combining for a potent and lively start to the album.

It is an opening quickly over shadowed by the brilliant Head Bites Tail, an exhausting tapestry of dark pop and fiery rock ‘n’ roll best described as The B-52s meets The Cramps whilst being filtered through the warped funk voracity of Rip Rig & Panic. Brass seduces with unbridled toxicity across the song whilst rhythmically it is as busy and inescapable as the first seconds after doors open on a Black Friday high street sale. The vocals are equally as volatile and excitable in quite simply one quite exhilarating proposition.

Sixties beat lined and blues hued Caves strolls in next, its suggestive swagger as tempting as anything cast by your favourite temptress. Once more there is a great tinge of B-52s to the exceptional enslavement but to that there are additional essences of garage punk bands like The Orson Family, the bluesy seducing of a My Baby, and the garage pop escapade of The 5.6.7.8’s in the mix. The song is pure aural sex but as becomes a habit with Eat Yuppies and Dance as soon as you think the band has hit a pinnacle they come up with an even more deviously addicted treat, in this case Bad, Bad, Milk. Vocally and musically insatiable, the track is sheer addiction from the first flying syllable and rhythmic swipe to its final infection loaded spark. Everything from the chin down is in rapid union with the merciless stomp, every beat, groove, and flame of brass simply Class ‘A’ addictiveness to which vocals and melodically mischievous hooks are the ringleaders.

     The fuzzy sax hazed, seventies psyche pop dance of Hope In Hell provides another new colour to the diversity of the album, before Pony Boy brings a rockabilly/fifties rock ‘n’ roll tenacity to its garage punk shuffle to ignite ears all over again. Think Imelda May meets The Horse Party and you get a whisper of its epidemic of sound and persuasion, again Eat Yuppies and Dance stretching its creative landscape.

Into The Woods visits a bluesy backwater scenery in the imagination next, rock ‘n’ roll keys a la Fats Domino, luring excitedly from within the sweltering but inviting climate of the song. A great merger of fifties and modern rock pop, the song flirts and dances with ears and emotions until making way for bubbly rock ‘n’ roll of I Need Help Now. As its predecessor, the song casts a spell on body and vocal chords whilst creating a new twist of dark pop adventure within ears and album, at times skipping along like a predatory version of The Shangri-Las in a fiery entanglement with Cradle.

All the big irresistible rhythms and anarchic incitements are out for Voodoo Meatshake, their rabid seducing matched by brass and vocals which in turn are bound by searing grooves and a suggestive stroking by keys. It is an explosion of lustful sounds and rousing energies, one of those feel good assaults on the senses which have you exhausted and bloated with pleasure. The same applies to closing song Lights Out; a rhythm ‘n’ blues romp leaping around fondling the passions like a mix of The Revillos and King Salami and the Cumberland 3. It is a glorious slice of sonic diablerie, a mouth-watering hex on feet and passions bringing the similarly sorcerous Eat Yuppies and Dance to a dramatic and thrilling end.

There is no remedy to the potency and create toxins of Oh! Gunquit’s sound, just more lust emerging with every listen of their brilliant first album.

Eat Yuppies and Dance is available now via Dirty Water Records @ http://www.dirtywaterrecords.co.uk/shop/#!/Oh-Gunquit-Eat-Yuppies-and-Dance-CD/p/47051183/category=2749844 and https://ohgunquit.bandcamp.com/album/eat-yuppies-and-dance

https://www.facebook.com/ohgunquit/

RingMaster 02/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Sonnymoon: Self Titled

Photo credit- Patti Miller.

Unclassifiable, almost indescribable, and thoroughly enthralling, the new self titled album from US experimentalists Sonnymoon is a bedazzling jewel of this musical year. It is a release which magnificently stretches the sounds conjured within as much as the listener, an album which at times is pure rapture and celestial manna for the senses and in the moments where individual taste means a less cohesive connection only ever leaves one smoking in grateful  thought and imagination.

Sonnymoon consists of Dane Orr and Anna Wise, who met whilst studying at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. The Boston duo already have found acclaim through debut EP Golden Age of 2009, two track release Blast Off at the tail of last year, and the 2012 EP earlier this year. The new album is the band at its most magnetic yet, a journey of intangible and mesmeric soundscapes which almost defy logic but fluidly bring everything into a seamless and ingenious union. It is near impossible to describe their sound but calling it a fiery blend of The Sugarcubes, Rip Rig & Panic, De Staat, Propaganda, and Peaking Lights, is kind of in the ball park. The release is provocative and evocative, something to fire up the mind whilst igniting the heart.

Released through Plug Research, the album is in the mind twisting the psyche immediately with opener Wild Rumpus. Released as a single earlier this year, the song is a kaleidoscope of invention and its sonic offspring. It enters on a disorientating wind of electronics expulsions sending thoughts scattering in all directions before settling into a lively trip of eager jumbled rhythms, disharmonious whispers, and celestial dazzles. The enchantment which is the voice of Wise permeates the assembled entourage of sounds like a siren, her wonderful tones pulling everything round her like a melodic magnet. It is a stunning start soon accompanied by further outstanding pieces off composition and its realisation.

The warm perpetually evolving Greatness holds the heart in a seductive embrace with again Wise shining like a sun amongst the ever shifting infectious sounds of Orr. Completely different from its predecessor but still as innovative and compulsive, the track sparks the remaining fires the first left merely smouldering.

The album is kind of in two halves though it is preference to the sounds which makes the distinction. The first part is an energetic nonstop escalator of imaginative and air juggling invention whilst the second is a more relaxed and unassuming collection of songs though no less visionary. The likes of the wonderful sultry jazz coated Kali and the simmering Watersboiled accompanied by the irresistible temptations of Flit, Fleet, Float, and Nothing Thought, has every thought and emotion lifted and immersed into the beauteous contagion the songs offer. Kali is aural sex, its seduction through harmonies and shadowed caresses addiction forming whilst the following Watersboiled is a simmering orgasmic treat with sizzling harmonic kisses and splintered melodics upon dark pulses. It is again an infection of the deepest form and along with its sister in delicious wantonness just before, they are not only the best moments on the album but arguably in indie music this year.

As mentioned the latter part of the album has a more reserved and settled presence though there is no lack of unpredictable and thrilling invention, just an overall smoother flow of whispers and stroking warmth. Songs like the slightly corrosive Others By with its squeezed ambience forming bulges of disturbed energy and scorched melodies and the woozy Every Summer Night leave one lost in wraps of feverish sound and vision whilst the closing Just Before Dawn just sends chills through the body. Its first half is a wonder borne of Young Marble Giants, that same simple elegance pouring from every note and syllable into the ear. Nearing its fourth minute and halfway in, the song dons an orchestral lined cloak and transports the listener into a world of courtliness driven by natural peace and grandeur.

To be honest this only gives you a glancing blow at representing the majesty which is called Sonnymoon, band and album. It is a release which inspires and incites with every second whilst offering the time of your life in fractured excellence and discordant blinding beauty.

http://www.sonnymoonmusic.com/

RingMaster 16/09/2012

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