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dimanche 28 janvier 2018

Album de la Semaine

Exploded View
Summer Came Early

Interview de Exploded View, par The Seventh Hex

Exploded View is a collaborative project helmed by the UK-born, Berlin-based political-journalist-turned-musician Anika. After playing a string of 2014 solo shows in Mexico with a backing line-up composed of local producers Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo, Anika and her new bandmates discovered a chemistry that they simply had to capture on tape. During their rehearsals in Mexico City, the four musicians discovered a new sound, several steps removed from the krautrock-isms of Anika’s previous work. Exploded View emphasises the talents of Anika and her collaborators in a new way, one that cuts through its improvisational roots with laser-focus and intent… We talk to Martin Thulin about feeling uncomfortable, Mexico City and a bedroom revolution…

TSH: Between rehearsals the band recorded jams and nothing was ever planned, things just fell into place. How pleasing was it to have this type of band dynamic from the outset?
Martin: It was so rewarding and really pleasing that things worked out in this way. I mean, I’m sat with my own music right now and it’s written in a completely different manner to how I worked with Exploded View. When you plan things too much, you sort of get lost, it becomes like a labyrinth. Me and Hugo left this material on the shelf and we were convinced nothing interesting was in there, but we listened back to the material and were both pleasantly surprised that we had some cool material to work with. The whole process was like an accident.

TSH: What was the task of producing like for you?
Martin: It was quite challenging actually. The first part of recording was just Hugo and me setting up equipment to register what we were doing. When we were listening back to the sounds and starting to edit the material, that was the mind-blowing part. I mean you think you have nothing and you suddenly find magic to work with.
TSH: It’s also been noted that Anika’s seamless vocals were improvised…
Martin: Yeah, and I think it might have been frustrating for her in the moment. I was reading a Brian Eno interview recently and he touched on the best thing that can happen to a band is creating at the exact point of feeling uncomfortable, and that’s exactly what happened with this record, including Anika’s vocals most probably too. We just felt extremely uncomfortable with everything we were doing.

TSH: Would you say that whilst Anika was dealing with a lot of anxieties and letting them out with the music, you guys offered a balance to her with your musical duels?
Martin: Yeah, it totally balanced out so well. At times, the recording process was like going to war between Anika and the rest of us! She was very frustrated and would insult the band, ha! We’d sort of insult her back with music. I found it all really interesting. Also, now that we’re recording new stuff, we’ve been doing it the same way, but what’s more difficult this time around is that we know each other a lot better - we’ve become closer and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for the creative process.

TSH: What comes to mind when you look back at forming ‘Lost Illusions’?
Martin: Well, it was quite organic; we were simply just playing along. Although, there was something quite funny about it: Hugo was playing bass and I was in a separate room with the drums. Anyhow, there was a door nearby and Hugo was standing in the door playing bass, as his forehand was leaning towards the wall – he just looked so frustrated! So, yeah, this track was like the essence of frustration. I wish I had a picture of his frustration, ha! It’s that frustration word again, and it certainly came through on this song.

TSH: Also, ‘Killjoy’ is a track that you’re very fond of?
Martin: This track is quite fun to play live for me. When we were forming it there was this weird thing going on between Anika and me, we worked well on that one. From what I understand this song is a hate song. Also, when me and Anika team up and play this one live, we look at each and can laugh about it in a way.

TSH: With Exploded View you continue to get the opportunity to challenge the boundaries of live shows…
Martin: Yeah, I’ve played live with a lot of bands; it’s always the pinnacle because playing live takes everything to another level. I really am pleased that this album takes on a life of its own when we perform. However, when we recorded this album, it wasn’t supposed to be an album format, it was just us recording. I don’t even play drums normally and I was learning how to be a drummer, the band was playing things we don’t normally play. Now that we’ve each refined our skills, it makes the live shows more difficult to be spontaneous, but we are more on point.

TSH: You thoroughly enjoyed your recent Mexico performance…
Martin: It’s great to play in Mexico City and we do have a lot of fans here. It was a really interesting performance. In general, live shows in Mexico consist of people shouting and dancing – it’s more about physical movement and having a good time. However, I like it when music isn’t just something you dance to - it’s something you listen to too. So, the show we played in Mexico City was completely packed and people were just standing there listening, which was fantastic. The crowd was in awe, just looking at Anika perform. I found it really interesting because this normally never happens in Mexico.

TSH: Being situated in Mexico City, do you find the nature that you crave?
Martin: Well, I grew up in Sweden in a small town and now I’ve been living in Mexico for almost 25 years. It’s a huge city and really noisy. It’s not easy to get to nature at all. It takes a couple of hours to get to the city limits where you can walk in mountains and stuff like that. You know, it’s increasingly getting on my nerves, I have to say. I mainly stay at home and don’t go out because I can’t really deal with a big city, the traffic, the people and the noise. I do need to find a way to overcome this obstacle…

TSH: However, even though time is spent indoors, you are looking to make positive steps in being more active with regards to making change?
Martin: For sure. Recently I’ve been thinking about writing some stuff and I’ve been getting increasingly interested in politics, but more in a bedroom sense. In the wake of Trump, Brexit and growing fascism, I think it can be frustrating to read the news every day and to feel helpless. So, I’ve been thinking about how I can make change. It’s great that people are getting together and making change, I like that. Trump has forced people to wake up; people are getting angry and fighting for their rights. There’s a lot we can actually do from home without even organising a movement. I’m interested in spending time on writing something that could be a bedroom revolution. I don’t want to sit around and wait for politicians to do stuff, because we can do it ourselves.

TSH: What brings you most joy during your touring travels?
Martin: The people you meet. There wasn’t a single place that we played with Exploded View that didn’t take care of us and show us so much love, which is so nice. Everywhere we toured, we had such a great response from the audiences, the promoters and people within the city. You know, touring is hard work, you get really stressed and tired and the funny thing is you sort of only ever get brief half an hour moments of joy when you travel.

TSH: How do you see the future of Exploded View panning out?
Martin: Well, I feel that it’s really important that it’s always fun to do it, that’s the bottom line. Also, I don’t think we are afraid of breaking up the band in case it doesn’t satisfy us anymore. It’s really nice that we do have a formula for our improvised compositions, as well as adding improvising vocals – it’s totally unique. I think that we will continue down this path and explore this formula as long as it feels good and fun.

Line Up :
Anika Henderson
Hugo Quezada
Martin Thulin
Amon Melgarejo
Label :
Sacred Bones
Tracklist :
01 – Summer Came Early
02 – Forever Free
03 – Mirror of the Madman
04 – You Got a Problem Son

dimanche 21 janvier 2018

Album de la Semaine

Scul Hazzards

Critique de l'album, par X-Silence

Les australiens de Scul Hazzards auront effectué toute leur carrière dans l'indifférence quasi généralisée. Et c'est un scandale monsieur! En une bonne dizaine d'années, ils nous auront quand même malgré tout laissé une poignée d'eps et finalement trois albums. Trois albums qui au fur et à mesure auront affirmé et puis creusé un son qu'ils auront fini par maîtriser à la perfection! Un trio noise-rock de facture classique, mais au propos agressif, sombre, surtendu et n'hésitant pas à trancher dans le lard façon boucherie sanglante.

Leur précédent disque, Landlord date de 2009 et il aura fallu donc huit années pour voir une suite à ce grand disque sauvage tout en violence rentrée. Le groupe aujourd'hui se sépare mais ils auront tout de même en 2015 pris le temps d'enregistrer tous leurs derniers morceaux. Et heureusement... Quel gâchis cela aurait été! Ils en ont donc fait un dernier album intitulé Epitath; reset et l'ont mis en ligne sur leur bandcamp, pour le plus grand bonheur de leurs patients fans. Quelques jours plus tard, ils annonçaient que Rejuvenation, l'excellent label (français) avec qui ils avaient déjà enregistré le précédent disque, allait aussi s'occuper de la sortie physique de ce dernier disque posthume. Ouf!!! Et un gros merci à Rejuvenation!

Et donc ce dernier disque? Scul Hazzards poursuit exactement sur la même ligne que le Landlord. Exactement le même noise-rock presque minimaliste, ultra tranchant, tout en angles et surtout impitoyablement féroce. A la batterie métronomique et ultra carrée, implacable, se joint un chant à la rage noire et sourde, qui n'a sûrement qu'une envie: éventrer le premier qui se pointe. Et c'est sa guitare qu'il finit par éventrer en un déluge agressif noise renvoyant aux classiques du genre. Qui a dit The Jesus Lizard? Qui a dit Sonic Youth? Des grosses pointures assurément! Mais Scul Hazzards les mérite tellement! Pour qui est sensible au noise-rock dans ce qu'il a de plus corrosif, hurlant et sauvage, ce groupe évoque direct à la fois les grands Scratch Acid et les moins connus, mais non moins grands, Big'N. Epitath; reset se compose de dix bombes franchement irrésistibles où la batterie organise, où la guitare et le chant sortent du cadre en orgasme permanent, et où la bassiste (et quelle bassiste!) lie le tout dans une surtension dia-bo-li-que! Bordel mais qu'est-ce que c'est bon!!! Et leurs concerts étaient tellement intenses et jouissifs! Claque sur claque. Le chanteur possédé, la bassiste aussi menaçante que sensuelle, et le batteur à la frappe si millimétrée. On est forcément déçu que le groupe se sépare...mais n'ont-ils pas déjà dit à la perfection ce qu'ils avaient à dire? Je ne suis pas loin de le penser. Et on espère bien fort que cette mort donnera naissance à d'autres projets tout aussi excitants!
Scul Hazzards, je vous aime!

Line Up :
Drums - Leigh Fischer
Bass - Tiffany Milne
Guitar/Vocals - Steven Smith

Label :
Rejuvenation Records

Tracklist :
Gave Up On You
You Know the One
Cease To Be
Thirty Four
Count on your enemies
You in mind
Stinks like a clone
Wake Work Sleep

dimanche 7 janvier 2018

Top Albums 2017 (Rico)

10. Lawrence Wasser - V (Atomic Bongos) sorti le 25/09

09. Dalëk - Endangered Philosophies (Ipecac recordings) sorti le 01/09

08. Savon Tranchand - Symetrie (Le Turc Mécanique) 05/06

07. Crystal Fairy - S/T (Ipecac recordings) sorti le 24/02

06. Integrity - Howling, for the nightmare shall consume (Relapse) sorti le 14/07

05. Ho99o9 - United States of Ho99o9 (Independant) sorti le 05/05

04. Le Prince Harry - Synthetic Love (Teenage Menopause records) sorti le 12/05

03. Fleurety - The White Death (Peaceville records) sorti le 27/10

02. Wyatt E - Exile to Beyn Neharot (Shalosh Cult) sorti le 05/09

01. Algiers - The Underside of Power (Matador) sorti le 23/06

Top Album 2017 (Maud)

10. Shannon Wright - Division
Vicious Circle, 2017

9. Zola Jesus - Okovi
Sacred Bones, 2017

8. His Electro Blue Voice - Mental Hoop
Avant!, 2017

7. SeRvo - The Lair of Gods
Autoproduction, Remaster 2017

6. Agapes - Agapes
Third Coming, 2017

5. Ho99o9 - United States of Horror
Toys Have Powers, 2017

4. Adult. - Detroit House Guests
Mute, 2017

3. Empereur - Everyday's Death & Resurrection Show
Casbah, 2017

2. Get Your Gun - Doubt Is My Rope Back to You
Empty Tape, 2017

1. Algiers - The Underside of Power
Matador, 2017