Thursday 28 February 2013


A revelation hearing Kerkko Koskinen Kollektiivi.

Space meant it was not possible to go into all that was seen, so here’s a few amongst the many others taken in.

Anna von Hausswolff: a mind melter, caught in the MOJO piece.

Bow To Each Other: highly classy electropop duo, proper songs. Fully formed.

Broken Twin: works better as a lone entity and especially with the violin. Bits nod towards Our Broken Garden

CTM: definitely not Chimes & Bells. Shakatak meets Imagination.

Elefant9 with Reine Fiske: nailed the ELP/Coliseum roots to the floor with the approach of LA hardcore circa 1981/2. Powerful

Elliphant: Sweden's MIA, but with more pointing and added bouncing. Headache inducing.

Eva & Manu: instant connection with the audience, but the repetition of the songs (oddly reminiscent of Tunng) and the sweetness leaves little aftertaste.

Guðrið Hansdóttir: a surprise, hard-hitting and like Nanci Griffith filtered through something totally alien. Great.

Holograms: couldn't get in.

Hvitmalt Gjerde: Bonkers, Gerry & the Pacemakers-style 1963 Merseybeat in a Bergen dialect. Send them to Liam Watson

MF/MB: instantly thought of K-X-P with the La Düsseldorf and two drummer approach, then needed a reorientation course as MF/MB are up to their third album. Relentless.

Oyama: Efficient, but MBV’s return makes small-scale retooling of Isn't Anything not so necessary.

Retro Stefson: “Do you like house?” Not really, but they are irresistible.

Young Dreams: further to the MOJO comments, it’s more about the architecture than the songs, so strong melodies would be good.

Wednesday 27 February 2013


Not much more to say, beyond noting the Greenwich Village stuff, Berlin lyrical refs and the possibly anti-war sentiment of I'd Rather Be High. Perhaps he could have played some of the sax? 

Review here: The Arts Desk David Bowie The Next Day


Iceland, France and the early '90s.

Sunday 24 February 2013


Approach with care. Can’t work out the trajectory from/link with last year’s French album. 

Monday 18 February 2013


It’s arrived in physical form, and the vinyl is way more dynamic than the download.

Sunday 17 February 2013


The standout at last year’s SPOT Festival in Denmark were Papir, an instrumental trio that didn’t initially feel as though they ought to be there. Powerful and immersive, the only Nordic things which came to mind to measure them against were Swedish progg and the Supersilent/Rune Grammofon Norwegian end of things. At that point, Papir seemed on their own - at least in Denmark. Then there were thoughts of Ash Ra Temple.

Their third album, the terrific III, has just been issued by the fascinating El Paraiso label and it’s as sinuous, psychedelic and densely shaded as they were live. Each of the five pieces on the album doesn’t have a title - Papir III: I, Papir III: II and so on (no Roman numerals). Papir are Christoffer Brøchmann (drums), Christian Becher Clausen (bass) and Nicklas Sørensen (guitar).

From the suburbs of Copenhagen, Papir coalesced as an instrumental outfit in 2008. They met at music school. All three had played in bands beforehand.

III is a blast, a full-on expression of band at one with what they’ve decided to do. Papir’s grasp of texture makes the louder passages more impactful while, although they are highly technical musicians, there’s nothing flashy. Balance is partly what it’s about. Structure too.

Yet, however great the album and their extraordinary live shows (well, ok, I’ve seen just the one), the question about place remains – they don’t seem to be part of the international post-rock, instro-rock world or post-Krautrock, post-Tortoise scene.

Perhaps that’s partially do with not being about musical architecture (like Explosions In The Sky) or perhaps it’s simply to do with being one-offs in Denmark? Either way, the release of III offered an opportunity to check in with Christoffer.

Asked if Papir slot into anything Danish, Christoffer says “in a way we are a one-off, or at least we don’t know anyone here in Denmark playing the same blend of instrumental music as we do. But we do share some ideals about the approach to making instrumental music with our label mates Causa Sui - a musical friendship based around a common spirit.” Papir’s members also play informally with Electric Moon, Øresund Space Collective and the El Paraiso Records Ensemble.

The pieces evolve from, as Christoffer explains, “listening to each other. Even though we all have a passion for diving into more uncertain free form or jamming territory, we have been playing together for so many years we have come to reach a common and intuitive understanding of creating music together. We start out by recording some free-form jams. Then we listen through these recordings and pick out the parts we find interesting - if there are any. Then we start to jam from these selected parts and record the jams of these selected parts. We then usually go on to a process of working with the form and the structure and in the end the jams evolve into more composed pieces. But we always try to keep improvisation important to the pieces. When playing live, we sometimes like to try out unfinished pieces and see where it goes. Some pieces are often completed in the studio.”

Contrary to the impression from SPOT, where they didn't easily rub musical shoulders with others playing, Papir do have an audience at home. “We don’t have many fans compared to mainstream artists,” says Christoffer. “But our last two records are now sold out and it looks like a lot of people have already pre-ordered the new album. In January, we played our first concert in half a year in a small club and the place was totally packed and we sold a lot of records.”

As to why they decided to be an instrumental band. “When we had a lead singer it always felt natural to just jam,” says Christoffer. “When the last singer left, it felt natural for us to go on as an instrumental band. Playing with a lead singer there are some pretty boring conventions connected to the roles of the different instruments. We find ourselves better off without those conventions, accommodating more freedom, focusing on the interplay and collective energy, releasing more space to explore non-hierarchical structures.”