Microforms #4: May 2, 2023

Imagery by Jacob McKeating

Posset There Are So Many Lights In The Sky I Don’t Know What’s UFO Any More (Self-Released)

Newcastle Upon Tyne’s ever-reliable, ever-woozy Posset’s latest dispatch is a single journey of many mini movements. Drawing ever nearer to Chris Morris in terms of juxtaposition and surreality, There Are So Many Lights…. is more domestic than its interplanetary title would suggest. Posset manages to combine analogue’s sense of onward/forward spool turning movement with salival squelch, workbench grit, and left turns. 

Field recordings, loops, and the drone of a vacuum through plasterboard walls, these sections of sound slot together like crack-toothed cogs that jar and delight. Ending with a completely unexpected short fiction reading of a Cronenberg take on Eternal Sunshine…, you will still never know exactly what you’re going to get with Posset.

Mark Treka Loping / Gestures (Beacon Sound) 

Möbius dance steps. The thump of foot on floor, the swirl of cloth, a breath. The opening of Mark Treka’s” Loping” is a stuttering visual of arrhythmic sound and steps; layers of sounds and instrumentation are added, forming a translucent world. A Mbira is plucked low in the mix, embers dulled in the open air and mix while slide guitar snakes through the room like smoke. Treka’s ability to arrange elements with clarity and those scrunched and dug up from the earth makes the world feel unwound and lightheaded, leaving the listener with a clear head while the world melts ice-cream-like around you.

Mücha “Lines of Force” (Jo Johnson Version)

Jo Johnson removes this track’s original deep and grounding beat, along with the rest of its bones, unstitches the sounds from the groove, and pushes this version off into the ocean like a lilo from Mücha’s shore. 

Beginning with a rubbery bounce of underwater sounds, this version is a swirl of the gentle noises above and below a glassy liquid surface. Vocal parts rise and fall, synth sounds spread like petals opening as Johnson hands-free nudges the elements into a new looser form. A more sedate, and like Johnson’s early 2023 solo work, a more exploratory take on the world for a first remix/version, this is a beautiful start. Arpeggiations rise and fall with no peaks, no troughs, just open water, open sky.    

Agnes Haus Sequel (Opal Tapes)

Stark sounds, stark aesthetics. This debut release by Agnes Haus explores the cobweb connective tissue between stern ambient / bleep electronics and tomb sounds. There’s a bleakness infused through the whole cassette; even the brighter stuff, led by its electronic melodies, refuses to fully shrug the shroud. Dungeon air hangs around the tape’s ankles like fog, and even as notes hopscotch through melodies, there’s a spite and a cold that runs through the music. This sense of glassy-eyed sinisterism births a feeling there’s an extra presence over your shoulder as something darker permeates the room. Sequel sits in a tainted gothic electronic void. 

A Place To Bury Strangers “I’m Hurt” (GLOK Remix)

GLOK (aka Ride’s Andy Bell) tones down, loosens, and re-ups a straightfaced stomper by A Place To Bury Strangers into more limber territory. Pushing the track back into lost and lean Post Punk 12” territory, “I’m Hurt” is now minimalist hands-on live band electronics bashed out in a tiny industrial unit studio. This feels like a big nod to the type of less-is-more dancefloor deconstruction dubs Andrew Weatherall would grace a band with. The combination of Electro stylings and live and loose upfront bass is full on leather, dry ice, and strobe. 

Chlorinefields Read The Room (Radical Documents)

An EP that sways with the incoming Summer warmth, the five tracks here centre on gently high indie strumming and shiny lead melody lines. This alt rock quintet keeps things slightly buzzed, jangling, and angular across the EP, the recordings sounding neat as a pin. Kersey William’s vocals are as soft and indolent as a slow river of iced coffee. The title track’s synth flute melody brings in a 4AD feel, and its post-hibernation guitar solo weaves its way through the song’s second half. The warmth moves from elemental to human with the tempos on “Com On Spell It Out,” from the slow to medium pace of people rolling over in bed, their arms, hair, and legs entwined in sleepy stretches and unfurlings.

Lead Into Gold The Eternal Present

As half of Imperial era Ministry, Paul Barker seemed to take the lean and stripped industrial aesthetic with him when he departed the band. The content of his longtime solo project is pretty much as you’d expect it, a mean but tuneful collection of dark cuts, but is no less enthralling for that. The drum machines are mixed to hit as hard as a bastard, the bass lines are muscular and melodic, and the electronics stay on the unhinged and angry side of industrial rock’s aesthetics. It’s almost possible to hear the analogue tech being corralled by Barker as the elements circle their prey. Messy cybernetics at its nostalgic futuristic finest.

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