Zimpel​/​Ziołek – S/T

Sometimes it’s nice for an album to turn out rather different from what you’d expected. Polish clarinetist Wacław Zimpel has made a name for himself in recent years with albums on Instant Classic in an avant-garde jazz/post-minimalist vein. His labelmate Kuba Ziołek originally came to my attention as a member of Innercity Ensemble, whose last two albums, blending post-rock, jazz and much more, were big personal favourites. While the afore-mentioned influences still come to bear on their recent full-length collaboration, we also get a hefty dose of pastoral, ambient progressive folk – as The Quietus pointed out in their review, it’s not a million miles away from Mike Oldfield at times. The wistful, unaffected vocal sections also remind me of artists like Oddfellow’s Casino, Daniel O’Sullivan and maybe even Richard Youngs, while the cascading acoustic guitar picking occasionally resembles Disco Inferno in their gentler moments. All said, it’s a delicate, thoroughly charming album.

Cartwheels on Glass so far…

In case you’ve missed them, here are the three tracks that have been put out there so far by Cartwheels on Glass, the five-piece featuring members of Lovecraft, Organ Freeman and News from Neptune! They come from sessions which took place at the end of last year – there are a couple of pearls yet to be unveiled from those dates so keep an eye out. We also play the Bido Lito! Social Liverpool Music Week Special at EBGBs with Rongorongo (whose Mick Chrysalid produced the Cartwheels tracks) and SPQR on Thursday 19th October…!


Cartwheels on Glass w/Rongorongo and SPQR @ Bido Lito! Social Liverpool Music Week Special

On the eve of Thursday October 19th, I will be rejoining my comrades in Cartwheels on Glass (also featuring members of Lovecraft and Organ Freeman) for the Bido Lito! Social Liverpool Music Week Special!!! We’ll be on a bill alongside Rongorongo and SPQR at EBGBS on Seel Street. Here’s the event page for full info…


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Memory Drawings – The Nearest Exit

Autumnal, dulcimer-led post-rock anyone??? Memory Drawings have apparently never actually all been in the same room together(!), being a collaboration between members of such highly-regarded groups as Hood, The Declining Winter, Movietone, Brave Timbers and Manyfingers. Their lovely new album ‘The Nearest Exit’ hits a sweet spot between gently cinematic soundscapes and bucolic folk, bringing to mind the likes of Rachel’s and Steven R. Smith’s work under his Hala Strana alias.

Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

While I don’t necessarily endorse everything he says or does, I have to say that Ariel Pink (without or without his Haunted Graffiti) still has the pop Midas touch going by the evidence on his recent album ‘Dedicated to Bobby Jameson’. Ever since the no-fi swirl of early ’00s albums like ‘The Doldrums’ and ‘House Arrest’, his gift for strangely affecting, oddball melody and hazy atmospherics has drawn favourable comparisons to his similarly eccentric mentor R. Stevie Moore. Fortunately his recent albums, which upgraded to something almost resembling mid-fi accessiblity, haven’t spoiled the magic, rather revealing the talent which lurked under the murk for so long. He doesn’t always put said talent to the best use – his albums can be hit and miss with occasional slips into self-parody or overcooked comedic gurning – but to date there have always been enough gems dotted throughout his long-players to make the journey worthwhile.

Serenus Zeitblom Oktett

Thanks to the Boomkat Weekly Digest (an excellent source of strange and/or interesting new music) for recommending the recent debut release on the Hyperdelia label by Berlin ensemble Serenus Zeitblom Oktett. The press release describes it as “the beautiful result of a complexly processed abstraction of a live acoustic jazz ensemble”. I’ve seen comparisons to Norwegian electroacoustic improv types Supersilent, whose ‘6’ is a recognised high water mark within that genre. I’m no expert when it comes to this sort of music but I’d also make comparisons to the later work of drum’n’bassers-turned-avant-jazz-explorers Spring Heel Jack, as well as the more ambient moments of post-rockers like Bark Psychosis, Do Make Say Think and Rachel’s. Otherworldly wonder abounds…!