godspunk volume twenty-one (PUMF
798, 2020 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 24th May 2020
First, a disclaimer: I was not in the mood to listen to this disc and write a review. I am in the midst of working on tracks for our 11th EP and frankly this
godspunk business was a distraction for which I had scant time . . . but (sigh) I relented and decided if I didnít do it now then pStan and his pals might have to wait weeks before I submitted my review. However, the sheer variety that pervades the first
six tracks changed my attitude completely . . . and then Bingo Crepuscule appeared. Zounds! Instantly I was in precisely the right frame of mind to listen to this disc. Well done, chaps and
Second, a technical note: I always listen to a godspunk from start to finish first through headphones and then through speakers as occasionally tracks offer subtly (and sometimes radically) different experiences when heard via alternative mediums. Only then do I provide my responses to the tracks.
Third, for contributors new to my reviews: please do not interpret my marks out of ten as qualitative evaluations of your work. They are not. I give marks out of ten as calibrations of my personal musical preferences since then my remarks and observations can be regarded with greater fidelity. I realise this sounds ineffably pompous but it is important (at least to me) that contributors realise it is never my intention to insult or ridicule their work. On the contrary I have total respect for personal creativity and I would never disparage people engaged in it, despite my aversion to 90% of music that is not baroque or modern classical.
Harsh Noise Movement - Alf Garnett Love Triangle
Disparate taped voices backed by short wave radio and other indistinct
noises . . . weíre in Nurse With Wound and Lemon Kittens territory (and that constitutes high praise from me). After a minute or so, this begins to adopt a really malevolent
mien . . . I imagine a hospital waiting room where the doctors are all members of a secret fascist
organisation . . . this ought to be tedious because it is so repetitive yet, oddly, I am never bored by it. The volume levels of its respective components alter slightly over time and the effect is one of disquiet and anxiety. 7/10
The Lettuce Vultures - Where Eagles Dare Not
As an amateur ornithologist, I have to be sympathetic toward a group who feature vultures in their name and eagles in their song
title . . . donít I? Does anybody here remember an amusing group from the late 1970s called The Swell Maps? Well, imagine they were American instead of hailing from Leamington Spa. An impassioned vocal howls and sneers over an acoustic guitar backed with strangely irritating noises off-stage like members of a school band rehearsing (ineptly) in the next room. It provides a splendid contrast to
the taurus board. ĎJust think about it, you moron.í While definitely not my type of music, thereís a playful, spiteful quality to this I do enjoy. 5/10
Satanik Seagull Sekt - Baptised In Seagvll Shit
Well, weíve had vultures and eagles so now letís hear it for
seagulls . . . even if they are Satanic Seagvlls. Imagine a 1980s Pet Commodore computer game tried to include a heavy metal song as part of the soundtrack to a computer
game . . . it might sound rather like this. Argh, itís bloody horrible! However,
two minutes in, the style changes and weíre in mid-seventies rock guitar slow tempo mode although still via that frigging Pet Commodore. This is the most bizarre and eccentric track on here, at least so far. What on Earth is that vocalist screeching? Ye Gods, there are
six and a half minutes of this, too. Near the end waves roll onto the sea shore accompanied by
gulls . . . presumably diabolic in origin . . . which bring the piece to a devilish avian conclusion. 1/10
Nil by Nose - Journey
A voice-over (as in a film or television drama) recites a series of observations on a morning at a train station (Victoria to Milton Keynes) while wind, recorder, voices and other indistinct noises provide quiet commentaries in the background. Nil
by Nose are frequent contributors to godspunk and I usually find their
work . . . um . . . difficult to assimilate. This is absolutely brilliant. It is easily my favourite Nil
by Nose track, far above and beyond anything else Iíve heard by them. Here the narrator is clearly isolated from the other people he encounters, all of whom are irrelevant to him because their worlds and his are so different and incompatible. This is epitomised when he meets the landlord at the end: Ďoh, you do music
- my son sings in all the local clubsí. The narrator does not include his reaction to this trite announcement
- it isnít required. We know what he thinks of it. For best results, this really needs to be heard through headphones. The sounds that accompany the narrator are always very quiet and very subtle and therein resides the power of this magnificent piece. Anyone totally new to
godspunk will not find any Nil by Nose tracks even remotely similar to this among their previous
contributions . . . which reveals the extent of their imagination. My only caveat is very occasionally the voice needs to be slightly louder or more distinct. 9/10 (and it would be the full 10 if the voice was slightly louder or more distinct).
the taurus board - Mirakil
Listeners relatively new to godspunk will not recognise the name of this outfit but for the first five or six
editions [nine, actually - Ed], each one featured a taurus board track and we at UNIT headquarters invariably greeted each new disc with joy for that reason
- we usually saved these tracks until the end because we wanted to finish with a flourish. A definite 1990s acid rave groove informed all their works which why the Chinese teenagers who were members of UNIT at that time were so enthusiastic about the tracks. That groove is largely absent here. Instead what we have is a mid tempo rock inflected number with a grumbling bass and disjointed, fragmented keyboard and guitar figures that sound to me like part of a soundtrack to a film. After nearly a decade of absence,
the taurus board offer a restrained, introverted return to godspunk with this rumbling instrumental groove. 8/10
The Large Veiny Members - Accomplished In A Year
I am pleased this bunch continue to be regular contributors to
godspunk even though I am often not enamoured by their musical idiom. Well, who cares about my eccentric musical taste anyway? Thatís not important. What we have here is a drum machine, distant, disjointed voices (which really ought to be louder in my opinion) and dream / trance
keyboards . . . reminds me of music heard indistinctly from next door while one reclines in bed with
'flu, neither asleep nor awake. That is an observation, not a criticism. 3/10
The Large Veiny Members - Difficult To Say
Take a drum machine and a couple of synthesiser keyboards . . . add a taped voice in a
HitT style et voila: you have this . . . er . . . whatever it is. All right, letís be honest, I find this really tedious but that is a comment on my musical preferences, not on the content of this piece. I think Iíd prefer it bereft of those irritating taped voices, actually. Taken in the context of this collection, it does provide an electronic contrast to Johnny and his Kaprikorns or the pristine pop song warblings of UNIT so thatís grand. 2/10
Johnny & The Kaprikorns - Misery
What kind of music do you normally feature on godspunk? Oh, here we have both kinds: country
and western. Combine Leonard Cohen with a typical Nashville outfit
. . . which means this is absolutely not my kind of music at all. I am allergic to country and western while Leonard Cohen sees me right out of the door. That said, this is done in a crisp, professional manner and will appeal to fans of this genre although they may prefer the vocal to be louder in the mix. In its favour, this is country and western in its original form, i.e. divested of the glossy, slick productions that pervaded such examples of the genre in the 1970s. 3/10
Johnny & The Kaprikorns - Jock Stewart
Yeehaa! Weíre in Cajun country . . . New Orleans folk music circa 1940 replete with banjo, washboard and whistling. I wish the vocals were more distinct and much more prominent in the mix. I actually like
this . . . much to my surprise. 6/10 (but it would be a higher score if I could hear the singer properly).
Johnny & The Kaprikorns - Weetabix Head
Acoustic guitar, ukulele and mandolin provide a rustic accompaniment to a singer who (yet again) is mixed far too quietly for my taste. The fellow can evidently sing so letís hear him. This really isnít my kind of music so I have to struggle to be fair here but other than the murky depths to which all
three of their tracks thrust their poor singer, they offer a triumvirate of American old time country and folk that I donít believe Iíve ever encountered on previous
godspunks and therefore they are a definite asset to the collection. 2/10
UNIT - The Witness
Christ, this sounds (almost) like punk rock in places, as if pStan discovered an obscure punk track circa 1985, dusted it down and gave it a 21st century production specially for this disc. Seriously I am still rather proud of this piece although I admit the text is of higher quality than the music but one element spoils it: my feeble, warbling caterwaul. Imagine if this was sung by a real singer (like, say, Liam Gallagher) instead of a croaking ninny with the voice of a Meadow Pipit. 8/10
UNIT - Breaking Barriers
I wrote this ancient anthem in 1987 - probably before many of you were born! Christ, what a concept. For once my saxophone playing isnít too wretched although my voice still reminds me of a homosexual crow with influenza. Fortunately I am supported by a solid backing from Keilan, Fritz and Colin so thatís grand. The text is hopelessly idealistic, of course, but it depicts life in England at a time when we enjoyed far more freedom than we do now. Also, thank you, pStan, for placing this after
Bingo Crepuscule - the contrast is stark and highly effective. 8/10
UNIT - The Island
I wrote this bleak ballad in 1981 shortly after I was discharged from Springfield Psychiatric Hospital. It was the very first piece of music I ever wrote that did not end up in the rubbish bin. For once my singing is not wretched (although still severely limited in range) and the lads offer a superb rendition of the piece. Fritz merits special praise for his restrained bass guitar playing despite it taking the lead melody throughout the piece. Colin switches to vibraphone for this piece (it was never intended to feature drums) and although this is the
fourth or fifth time we have recorded this work since its debut in 1982, this is the definitive account. 9/10
UNIT - Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes
It is difficult for me to be objective in response to this piece. It is also impossible to avoid the cloying effect of self-praise but Iím going to announce it anyway: this is one of the very best works I have ever written and the lads offer an absolutely superb performance of it. My keyboard playing is decent enough, too but (sigh, weep, wail, grumble) oh, I do so wish I had a decent voice and I do so wish I could sing properly. I know how the voices ought to sound (in my head) but no matter what I do, no matter how often I try, again and again, it
sounds . . . um . . . like this. I rate this among the top ten best texts Iíve ever written so it deserves a decent singer. Actually, a female vocalist would be appropriate for this but Iím not having the operation and thatís final. My devotion to the group only goes so far, after all. The target for this lyric is the media
- including social media, all those news reporters and newspaper journalists who wallow in the misery and suffering of other people purely because it boosts sales and viewing figures. 10/10
Howl in The typewriter - Amnesiac Smile
godspunk collections invariably start and end with HitT. This offers a fine start with its slightly obscure lyric, burbling keyboard and typically raucous vocals that ooze sarcasm with a cynical observation on fear and paranoia: Ďwe had to commit suicide in order to surviveí. I liked that bit. Musically this falls between avant gardening and a pop song without being either so itís a bit of a
platypus . . . yes, but which bit? You decide. 7/10.
Howl in the Typewriter - Bingo Crepuscule
Throbbing Gristle (circa Jazz Funk Greats) . . . The Lemon Kittens (circa The Big
Dentist) . . . Nurse With Wound . . . The Nocturnal Emissions . . . are all evoked in this magnificent slice of sheer avant garde eccentricity with its gulls, waves, church bells, ship horns, fragmented voices, tuba and other assorted sounds in a collage of immense complexity. This is beyond doubt the best
HitT track I have encountered (so far). It is utterly astonishing (in my biased opinion). In UNIT we often attempt to impress ourselves (and hopefully others) with displays of technical virtuosity but this piece proves instrumental proficiency is not necessary, indeed superfluous (and can actually amount to nothing more than empty sonic gestures Ė yes, occasionally we are guilty of that, I admit it). Heard through headphones, this is even better
- some of the intricate details become clearer. When the music box fades in at the end, one is left with a sense of nostalgia and almost unbearable loneliness. Ye Gods, this is, in the words of Ron Weasley, bloody brilliant. 10/10
Howl in the Typewriter - All Cahoot And Scrunty
Sundry percussion, strange synthesiser burbles and a hint of a 1980s dance groove are filtered through an acid rave
thingie . . . taped voices are a frequent feature of HitT tracks and they are BLOODY ANNOYING. This would work much more effectively as a purely instrumental piece. When the tempo suddenly slows down (an unexpected element in a work of this genre) it takes me by
surprise . . . which Iíve ruined for you now Iíve revealed it, of
course . . . but after barely two minutes I find myself intensely bored by this, despite the complex amalgam of disparate sound sources that clash and collide with each other. 4/10
Howl in the Typewriter - Howl in the Typewriter
On the first three editions of godspunk there were contributions from LDB, a rapper whose slabs of grime and hip hop provided a noble contrast to everything else on each disc. Sadly, he retired from music to concentrate on
writing . . . so now pStan engages with the genre and ye gods, he succeeds with admirable aplomb. This is superb! How many words rhyme with Ďwriterí? It is a clever parody of the arrogant conceit of so many rappers eager to tell us all how great they are with, for example, this announcement: Ďfish tremble at the sound of my nameí. If my lyric for
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes is clever, well, there are moments in this that surpass it. Really, this would work as a poem in its own right but when muttered and spat venomously over a grumbling rumbling breakbeat like this, the effect is electric, awe inspiring and at times hilarious. 9/10
All right, letís not waste any further time. For me, there are 3 tracks on this disc followed by Ďeveryone and everything elseí. This is not to insult, dismiss or demean the other tracks here. Our own
Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes is among them because it is easily one of the best works I have ever written and the performance is
mandatory . . . but Iím sufficiently familiar with it (all those bloody rehearsals) for the impact to be dulled somewhat. The real surprise here (for me) was Nil
by Nose with Journey and, of course, Bingo Crepuscule by
HitT which I have now played five times in succession. Yes, thatís how much I am impressed by it. Then I played
Howl in the Typewriter again . . . and again. Honestly, pStan has superseded all previous contributions this time around with
two magnificent pieces.
As for The Large Veiny Members, if new listeners read my comments and happen to sympathise with them, please donít be deterred
- instead, check out their contributions to previous editions and you will not fail to notice the variety and range of their styles, an impressive achievement given the idiom in which
they choose to work.
Then there are Johnny & The Kaprikorns who are able to bring 1940s American folk and country music to the proceedings without every descending into mere pastiche. Despite my aversion to the genre, I genuinely hope they offer contributions to future
godspunk collections because quite frankly Iíve never heard any other contributor indulge in this kind of music and it expands further the range of styles and idioms available on each compilation. Yes, they are a major discovery able to provide an excellent contrast to the usual contributors (including ourselves).
Anyway, if I had to select three editions of godspunk from volumes one to
twenty-one in order to impress a new listener, this would definitely be among them. It is one of the strongest contenders yet with not a single weak or disposable track on
it . . . which almost compensates for my rotten singing. Part of this enthusiasm is a response to the welcome return of
the taurus board after so many (too many) years. Please, ttb, give us a track (or two or three) for
godspunk volume twenty-two . . . and godspunk volume twenty-three . . .
and . . . you know what I mean. Finally, do I have any complaints? Only one: where is Dataís Cat? A
godspunk bereft of a Dataís Cat track is a godspunk with an integral aspect omitted. I really hope he returns for
godspunk volume twenty (PUMF
791, 2019 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 17th August 2019
Initially I sent pStan a review of godspunk volume twenty on 14th August after Iíd listened to the album through speakers. On Saturday 17th August, after the test match, I listened to it again only this time through headphones. As a consequence Iíve modified my review and also corrected a few minor errors I made at the time.
godspunk volume twenty: a celebration of 20 albums in 16 years. So pStan, how does it feel to release 1.25 albums every 365 days? Weíve returned to orange for the colour scheme, the inner pages replete with art of the same high level of quality we now expect from each release. As I peruse the various artists who contribute this time, it occurs to me to add up the number of different people who have submitted tracks to the series ever since
volume one in 2003. Then it occurs to me only a train-spotter or a Doctor Who fan would do that . . . so I donít. (Us Grange Hill fans are far more suave and sophisticated, mate.)
[ - So far, up to volume twenty, there have been 113 different artistes
featured on godspunk. Some of these artistes, however, have used multiple
aliases for their work so a truer number of different contributors would
be nearer to 70 (it's difficult to be exact as I don't fully understand
the family trees of the individuals and bands concerned) - ED, who is
neither a train-spotter nor Doctor Who fan.]
The absence of John Tree and Dataís Cat virtually screams at me here . . . and just what did happen to the taurus board anyway? I suspect heís been abducted by acolytes of Cthulhu or, less plausibly, exhausted his supply of ideas . . . for the present. I vote
volume twenty-one features the return of John Tree, Dataís Cat and the taurus board. So there. This time I shall approach each track in the order they appear on the album. Note: the marks out of ten represent only my personal musical preferences and do not denote levels of quality or technical ability.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Anglerfish. Hello, itís 1997 again. Well, while the taurus board are temporarily moribund, instead we have a replacement (apparently) until suddenly a heavy metal groove gate-crashes the party, alternating with 21st century techno. ĎMy eyes are like headlights shining into your soul.í If this track is autobiographical (and I suspect it is) then Iím really glad Iíve never had relationships like those pStan has endured. 8/10
- Nil by Nose - Beatnicks In Space. Thereís a late 1990s acid rave flavour to this, too. I can see why pStan programmed this track to follow his one. Strange voices are dubbed over equally strange keyboards and drum machine whose dialogue adds a 1950ís mien to this science fiction B film presentation. I canít resist smiling when this plays . . . which on my face can hardly be a pleasant sight. 5/10
- UNIT - Amery Hill School. Well, this soon eradicates any joviality. I still find it impossible to listen to this without a snarl of white hot fury. I think this is one of the most angry tracks Iíve ever written. Every word of it is true . . . unfortunately. (Note to that daft Dutch reviewer: no, this track doesnít keep going out of time Ė itís mainly in 7/4, you dick-head.) The quote from the 1st movement of Beethovenís 9th Symphony near the end is relevant but Iím buggered if Iím going to explain it here. I dedicate this to every listener who suffered humiliation, intimidation and verbal or physical abuse at school. 9/10
- Lettuce Vultures - Just Stare At Your Phone. Yes and thatís what 70% of the general public seem to do these days
- ogle at little screens on black plastic devices while real life passes by, unnoticed, erased, resigned to eternity etc. Right then, letís do this: take Flipper, add The Butthole Surfers then shred them through the filter of Bad Brains and sprinkle it with Throbbing Gristle. I think the real composer of this track is probably Yog Sothoth for who else could be responsible for such crawling chaos? This sounds even more effective through headphones . . . either that or it simply fries brain cells faster that way. Initially I awarded this track 7/10 but it improves with repeated listens. Now it merits 8/10.
- Dr. Awkward - You Make My Teeth Itch. Electronic drum patterns and malevolent keyboard sounds redolent of Portion Control, Test Department and The Lemon Kittens combined with a 21st century production render this number oddly timeless. Its relentless violence might have been recorded any time between 1983 and the present. 4/10
- Blue Eyes of the Broken Gonk - A Wolf Giving Birth to Fifteen Blue Feathered
Marbles. What kind of title is that for a godspunk submission? Probably a highly appropriate one. A gentle guitar filigree over limpid keyboard phrases nestle uneasily with oddly disconcerting noises off-stage, dominated by a pair of violins, one bowed, one plucked. This is a most unusual amalgam of (almost) folk tune and avant-garde
soundscape. What I particularly enjoy here is that the piece gradually changes in style and idiom quite radically throughout its duration so that near its conclusion we are in a profoundly different sonic environment (dominated by harsh electronics) to that which commenced the piece . . . then the guitar and keyboard return as if to remind us of the start but this, too, is interrupted by a mutated rock riff that hammers the other music into oblivion. This is a really intriguing and highly interesting piece. My only (minor) complaint is that it ought to be a couple of minutes longer. 9/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Freeloaders. ĎThe bible is only bile with an extra b.í I award extra marks for that alone . . . which, given my opinion of the music, is fortunate because I loathe it. Frigging acoustic guitar frigging strummed for nearly 3 minutes argh no, please. The pity is that the lyric is utterly superb (but then pStan usually writes highly articulate and often very witty lyrics anyway) but the music (sigh), the music . . . ugh . . . yet in its favour is the contrast its stark simplicity provides when set against many of the formidably electronic sounds that squeak, burp, warble and ululate across the disc elsewhere. Then again maybe Iím just peeved because I canít play the guitar, especially acoustic ones. 3/10 for the music, 8/10 for the lyric.
- UNIT - The Greenfinch. It is odd pStan should choose to follow his simple acoustic track with one of the most slow, gentle ballads Iíve ever written although it does work. I very rarely write music like this. The bass guitar was recorded in Bremen, Germany and the woodwind parts were recorded in Osaka, Japan while the keyboards and vocals were recorded in
Inverbervie, Scotland. I then returned to London and added the Greenfinch and Willow Warbler. Daft I call it. Oh but I wish I could sing properly. 7/10
- Infected Youth - Evil Gods Of Darkness have Mercy. Is this a plea for said gods to have mercy or a statement of fact: evil gods of darkness have
mercy? I suspect the former to be the case here. Here we have another instance of time travel
- late 1960s idiomatic music is dropped into the 21st century and given the electronic treatment. My primary complaint here is the vocals: they are mixed far too low. Letís hear them! Otherwise I do find this rather repetitive but this does create a slightly hypnotic groove. 4/10
- Mutant Beatniks - Cosmic Orders. Well, we were warned about those beatnicks from space earlier, werenít we? Here they are playing a procession of cool jazz, punk rhythms, acid rave beats and industrial sounds all filtered through a psychedelic mixer until strange electronic sounds gradually rise above the threshold of human hearing only to return near the end of the piece. This is music performed by reptilian beings on their spacecraft en route to us from Sirius B . . . reptilian beings definitely inebriated by whatever foul and loathsome alcoholic concoction theyíve brewed during their long and arduous journey. The gradual transitions from one idiom to another make this a companion to the Blue Eyed Gonk with its blue feathered marbles but these lizard appear to have lost theirs! 6/10
- The Large Veiny Members - A Salads Pucker. Is the title an anagram? The presence of this group completes a trilogy of cocks for this album
- the others provided by the back cover illustration by pStan (no doubt to suggest a dick-head) and our own Akira sitting on the train with his own large member poking out of the right leg of his shorts. Notice how I type twaddle about phalluses because I find it quite difficult to describe (at least in charitable terms) this very repetitive electronic mess that trudges wearily along for over 6 minutes. It does have a slight 20 Jazz Funk Greats atmosphere to it (which from me is a compliment) but for me, this quickly becomes very tedious. Well, come on, chaps, what reaction can you expect from an Oasis fan? 2/10 through speakers. 5/10 through headphones.
- Dr. Awkward - Dickie-The-Fence Timeslip. At only a minute long, blink or cough and you miss this. I gain the distinct impression of 5 or 6 late 1960s organ led instrumental Ďbí sides played simultaneously. It ought to be a mindless racket but in fact it is highly effective. My complaint here is that it is far too brief . . . which means it is a compliment, of course. 7/10
- UNIT - The Quasar. Excuse me while I go all Noel Gallagher on yoí ass. I consider this to be one of the best purely instrumental works Iíve ever written and the lads perform it quite superbly. Mind you, my saxophone playing is . . . um . . . not quite so superb although it just about makes the grade, if you donít listen too closely. Complaint: the cymbals are too loud, the drums and bass guitar too quiet. I suspect a remix is due on the horizon. 8/10
- TWDC - Spunknik Stink Shyte. Why do 2 of our tracks here not have any drums on them? Because the drum parts were swiped and shoved onto this crawling chaos instead. There is even a budgie which creates a mutated link to UNIT. pStan makes a guest appearance on drums on this mess but really, I find this difficult to tolerate. It sounds as if some of the players perform live while the vocalist (and that budgie) are overdubbed. Honestly, pStan, is it really necessary for your pal to swear so loudly and abundantly so often? The final third of this piece is far more effective (when all those drums and bongos return) although Iím not sure why
- Iím not a fan of drums and percussion usually. 3/10
- Blue Eyes of the Broken Gonk - Bog-Eyed Friar. The Graham Bond Organisation once made an appearance in a truly abysmal 1960s film called Gonks Go Beat. I just thought Iíd share that with you. Here we have more gentle guitar work accompanied by distant, off stage sounds in the background . . . but in this instance the coalition is less effective (to my ears anyway) although I canít decide why this should be. 4/10 through headphones yet, oddly, 6/10 through speakers.
- UNIT - Barbaraís Bridge. Oh, itís us again . . . so soon? Yes, this track follows Bog-Eyed Friar nicely so I can see why itís placed here. I write slow, gentle ballads about once every 5 years on average so itís unheard of for me to write 2 in the same year, both of which appear on this collection. Barbara Jackson was a lovely (if occasionally violent) girl who befriended me at school in the late 1970s. She once played the Invention In Bb by J S Bach while taking occasional swigs of scotch from a plastic cup plus frequent drags from one of her Dunhill cigarettes. My kind of girl! If I had to list the top 10 tracks Iíd ever written, this would easily rank among the top 5. Once again, my singing (as I laughably refer to it) adversely affects the piece yet despite that, I still enjoy this ballad. Itís especially rewarding to hear
Keilan, Fritz and Colin on 3 different bass guitars. 9/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Beowulf. Now to totally wreck the mood . . . but only musically. The lyric, being primarily a childhood memory, is related to Barbaraís Bridge, isnít it? Thereís even a mention of snowflakes near the end which creates a further link to my ballad. Musically this is harsh with its relentless drum beat and malevolent synthesiser growls at odds with the singing style and gentle lyric although there remains a slice of spite underneath it: ĎDo you remember the time, the time when nothing happened at all?í Yes, one can never accuse pStan of being soppy or sentimental. 7/10
- Dr. Awkward - Cybermonktime. Aye, itís a harmonium . . . but not as we know, it, Jim. The growling harmonium is suddenly assaulted by a few wallops on a drum near the end which cause me to ask: what on Earth is it all about? Most odd. 3/10
- Infected Youth - Evokation Of the Massed Gods Of Darkness. Hello, itís those frigging gods of darkness again, back from their tea break . . . or blood break, perhaps. Musically this is so similar to the other track I wonder if it might be the second part of it. Iíll have to listen to the pair in succession because I think they might prove more effective. I still wish those vocals were louder, though. This sounds less 1960s, more 2010s . . . less Hermanís Hermits, more
Scriabin, which is what we want, natŁrlich. 5/10 through speakers, 7/10 through headphones.
- Lettuce Vultures - Leisurely Waiting. This is post-punk eccentricity shredded through a colander by a studio engineer high on LSD 25. FŁr
mich, this is either too short or too long; it depends how you listen to it. Iíd like the vocal to be slightly louder, too. This bunch are definitely interesting and certainly they donít sound like any other group Iíve heard, if they are a group Ė so many godspunk contributors these days seem to be individuals able to sing and play everything themselves, which is extremely impressive . . . the bastards. What, jealous
- me? You bet I am! 6/10
- Nil by Nose - Drizzle Rider. Well, weíve had plenty of snow so now itís time for rain. What an inclement album this is! This is extremely similar to the other Nil by Nose track and just as irritating. Iíd like that voice to be louder
- much louder. Musically I prefer this to its predecessor: the disparate growls, rumbles and warbles create a rather more varied and interesting
- UNIT - A Study Of Alkaline Metals. Itís Noel Gallagher time again: this is brilliant. I find it incredible I could write such a pop song as this although a large amount of praise must be reserved for
Keilan, Fritz and Colin for their contributions to the performance. I admit the lyric is not one of my best although it does contain some effective couplets. My favourite part is the chorus (so far as the lyric is concerned). Along with Barbaraís Bridge this is one of the best pieces Iíve ever written . . . which means most of you will probably hate it . . . but I hope you donít! The chemistry is correct, incidentally. 9/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Loaves Of Bread. Here we go - thumping thundering growls and groans mit fuzz tone bass guitar and crashing drums in a compound metre now and then which is definitely designed to appeal to me. What the hell is this lyric about then? Iíve really no idea but perhaps that is part of its charm. 7/10
Question: what is the purpose of that strange dedication that appears on the tray card? I can agree with all of it except for the policemen and the butcher although I suspect Iíve missed the point entirely. After my 2nd listen to these tracks, only then did I notice the quote from The Greenfinch on the inside of the tray card
- 'fragmented and disjointed'.
In summation there is one aspect of this collection that is instantly apparent once one has listened to it from start to finish: it is easily the most gentle and restrained instalment to date. There are more quiet, slow, gentle and introspective tracks here than appear on any previous godspunk. Does this mean
volume twenty-one will contain hardcore punk rock, heavy metal and power electronics? Probably not . . . but then again . . . I defy anyone to predict what it will contain. Even when familiar contributors appear, surprises accompany them. I would not expect a Howl in the Typewriter track to feature only a voice and acoustic guitar, bereft of any harsh or strange electronic sounds. The absence of drums on 2 of our tracks might be unexpected and, of course, with Nil by Nose and The Large Veiny Members, it is impossible to predict what their submissions will contain . . . which speaks in their
favour, of course.
I will omit my usual Ďtop tracksí list this time because most of them would be ours and there is a limit to how conceited even I will allow myself to be. The variety is still apparent here although I think the absence of any real rockers, extreme electronics or avant garde works does affect the collection adversely . . . but pStan can only work with what heís given and we must shoulder a significant part of the blame for this, me and my Greenfinch, Willow Warber and Bridges.
My box of discs came with a free copy of a dissertation by Tim Thompson on The Azathoth Cycle which, despite its meticulous research and diligent attention to detail, causes me to froth at the mouth and gnash my teeth in a dark corner. Iím a student of science and a passionate exponent of rationality, intensely hostile to religion, the occult and all that sundry
kerfuffle. I did read the collected works of H P Lovecraft in the late 1980s and I found most of them profoundly entertaining. 'At The Mountains Of Madness' is a masterpiece, for example. However, I also read (or tried to read) 2 books by Aleister Crowley, primarily to try to comprehend the attraction but both tomes were so ineffably tedious and full of utter nonsense, I could not finish either of them. Ye Gods, they were so abysmal I canít even remember their titles. I think one might be 777. I dismiss C G Jung as a buffoon. True, heís a clever buffoon but he is to psychology what country and western is to racial harmony. I worked in Homerton Psychiatric Hospital for 22 years so I am not a complete novice here.
However, as an academic dissertation it is superb, a finely crafted text replete with charts, illustrations, diagrams, references and footnotes. The rigorous (almost fanatical) attention to detail in the piece is formidable. This chap has evidently done his research and then some. What I find therefore so ironic is that all that effort, all that sheer hard work, should be expended on a wheen oí
blethers, a pile of pish that ought to be sent back to the middle ages where it belongs. It is the 21st century and by now scientific rational inquiry should have replaced 100% of religion, mysticism and supernatural nonsense. I find it utterly incredible that in the 2nd decade of the 21st century anyone can believe in ghosts, gods, demons, UFOs, extra-terrestrials and Pan knows what else. Honestly, I really do not mean to be insulting to Mr Thompson (although I suspect I have been) but I am a student of science, particularly physics and astronomy. I spent the 1990s producing a series of magazines called Smile designed to promote rational, scientific inquiry. This means I am biased, perhaps unfairly unbiased, against this kind of subject. For students of
occulture, Lovecraft and Crowley, I am convinced this dissertation provides essential reading. May it provide more enjoyment and enlightenment than it gave me!
In my review I have tried to be fair in my descriptions of each track because I want people to purchase copies of every godspunk collection. None of my observations, comments and descriptions (some of which I admit are extremely flippant) are intended to deride or insult any of the contributors, most of whom I suspect are technically superior musicians to myself so I am obliged to be cautious in my criticism. For new readers to this site, if you happen to possess previous godspunk collections, I urge you to make a playlist of tracks by The Large Veiny Members, Nil by Nose and Howl in the Typewriter then listen to them as if they are albums by each of these outfits. In this manner you will more readily appreciate the extreme variety and formidable contrast of styles and idiomatic musical language each of them is able to display.
In conclusion: anyone who has access to the first 3 editions of godspunk is invited to play the Howl in the Typewriter tracks followed by the UNIT tracks then play the Howl in the Typewriter tracks followed by the UNIT tracks from the most recent 3 editions of godspunk . . . then compare them . . . and you will instantly notice one characteristic: the quality of the performance and production of the Howl in the Typewriter tracks remains consistently high from
volume one to volume twenty whereas the quality of the performance and production of the UNIT tracks (here the word 'quality' is used with more than a hint of irony) is atrocious on the early volumes. There is a lesson to be learned here! Finally I hope Dr. Awkward, Infected Youth and Lettuce Vultures contribute to the next godspunk collection. Although I much prefer Dr. Awkwardís contributions to godspunk volume nineteen, that fact reveals the variety and range of his musical oeuvre. godspunk volume twenty
- a quiet, restrained celebration of 20 albums in 16 years.
godspunk volume nineteen (PUMF
770, 2018 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 21st November 2018
I received our obligatory copies of godspunk volume nineteen and, as usual, a made myself a cup of tea, rolled a cigarette and enjoyed my usual ritual which is to slowly flick through the pages of the booklet first
- in silence. Well, I didnít stay silent for long. When I reached the back cover I stared in sheer
astonishment . . . then burst out with a sharp bray of (probably hysterical) laughter. Itís the sight of that daft
horse . . . in a wig and tights . . . WHORSE . . . I tried to play the CD but I developed a further fit of giggles and had to calm down for a moment before, finally, I was able to restore equanimity and proceed to the business.
- Howl in the Typewriter
- Digital Sickness
Most godspunk collections commence with a HITT pop song. This is not an exception but I donít enjoy this much on a musical level although the lyric is powerful, albeit very disturbing and thoroughly unpleasant. One of our group members recently emerged from a hospital operation which perhaps causes a slight bias against this number. It makes me shudder! Ugh, it really is a grim exploration of medication and hospital treatment. 5/10.
- Black Cat
If The Lemon Kittens were asked to provide the soundtrack for The Wicker Man, this is how it would sound. The harmonium is especially effective. If cats could actually sing then they would probably sound similar to these backing vocals. All right, I really donít like this much but purely on musical taste
- itís still a highly original work. 4/10.
- in whose nostrils was the breath of life
What a bloody horrible racket! I try to hear what that child says (she sounds as if sheís speaking via a telephone receiver) but her voice isnít loud enough. This is also strongly reminiscent of The Lemon Kittens (circa The Big Dentist) so I really ought to enjoy
it . . . but I donít. Sorry, pStan. 3/10.
- The Glory of the Sun
How dare you assault me with a frigging didgeridoo! Iíd enjoy this slab of thumping bass and drums (even with the presence of that didgeridoo) if those poxy taped voices were absent. The synthesiser lines are especially effective but my attention is continually diverted by all those people nattering about nudism and nakedness. Come on,
pStan - youíre a perfectly competent musician - so give us a purely instrumental work devoid of any taped voices. 5/10.
- A Mill1000000n
Now we have more taped voices but in this instance they donít impose on the music but create an essential feature of it. ĎThis is the sound of a million
starlings . . . unbelievable.í Look, I worship birds so any track that includes the sound of a million
starlings is liable to accrue points instantly. HITT save their most effective, impressive and interesting track until the end. Yes there are elements of Throbbing Gristle, The Nocturnal Emissions and Nurse With Wound here but that means it is liable to be an intriguing, enjoyable and entertaining
soundscape . . . which is precisely what we have on offer here. (Note: is it purely coincidental my favourite HITT track of this set happens to feature a member of AWARE who contribute the most impressive track on the entire collection?) 9/10.
- Dr. Awkward
- Stealing The Pennies From A Dead Manís Eyes
This is strictly from Fairport Convention and while I am not a fan of folk music, this is actually a compliment. The doctor may be awkward but this music certainly is not. The slide guitar is subtle yet an essential addition to the plucked strings that provide the basic riff. Token complaint: it is too brief! In fact it sounds like an excerpt from a longer piece. The performance is crisp, clear and precise. Very impressive. 8/10.
- This May Be A Tad Uncomfortable
Ye Gods but this is impressive. I sit here and I can scarcely believe my ears. Take the kind of sonic adventures explored by industrial outfits of the early 1980s but give it the 21st century
treatment . . . which is what we have here. Now this track is impressive when taken on its own merits but when played straight after
Stealing Pennies From A Dead Manís Eyes (which is what I did) the instant response must be: are these tracks really by the same person or people? UNIT are renown for their
variety . . . well, this beats us at our own game. I am extremely impressed by this track, an effect given more impact when its folk rock companion is added to it. 10/10.
- Puttin 'Em Back
This is Stealing Pennies From A Dead Manís Eyes with the slide guitar louder and played backwards. There may be other subtle noises included
- itís difficult to discern. Is this what Fairport Convention might sound like after a tab of LSD 25? Note: virtuoso performers of CD players should programme these 3 tracks to be played in succession; they are then even more effective. The impression given is that
This May Be A Tad Uncomfortable affects the listener (or performers) so
Stealing Pennies becomes mutated after the encounter. Please Dr. Awkward
- be sure to contribute to godspunk volume twenty. 7/10.
(The artwork is also memorable: a single line of white text on a black page ĎDr Awkward Is Unavailableí with a line scored through
- Nil by Nose
- Always There
Excuse my flippancy, chaps, but my immediate impression is: this is a missing track from 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle. From me that is praise. All right, it is slightly too repetitive for my taste (alas, Mr. Mark E. Smith, I donít dig repetition) but that does not detract from the rather pleasantly hypnotic gently bubbling keyboard sprinkled with guitar phrases, toy xylophone and distant, indistinct voices. Despite my aversion to repetition, this is never actually boring or tedious. 6/10.
- Wake Me
More jazz funk greats! This is rather more malevolent, however, with grim voices in the background over an insistent electro-beat and growling keyboard. These 2 tracks are similar in idiom but I urge listeners to check out the Nil By Nose tracks on previous
godspunk collections. They will discover precisely how varied their musical styles can be. Suggestion: take every track by
Nil By Nose from every godspunk collection on which they appear and listen to the tracks in succession. I
did . . . and then you begin to appreciate how inventive and innovative they are. 6/10.
- Shy Rights Movement
- Everyone Leaves You In The End
Vocals and guitars recorded in a bedroom circa 1981. That is what this brings to mind. Oddly, I gain the distinct impression if this was recorded in a posh studio, much of its effect would be lost. That said, this really is not my kind of
music . . . not at all. However, I can certainly sympathise - even empathise
- with the lyric. Complaint: the vocals are neither loud enough nor clear enough. The fellow can evidently sing so letís hear him! 3/10.
- Endlessly Blue
Ah, this is more like it! The early 1980s mien remains but that is not a complaint, merely an observation. Now the vocal is mixed far more clearly and it makes a major difference. The guitar playing is more interesting, too, based on a series of repeated riffs but, with the aid of reverb and restrained playing, it presents an appropriate accompaniment to the voice. 5/10.
- Flux of Yellow Daisies
- Satanic Mass
Now I was definitely impressed by their contribution to the previous
godspunk so Iím pleased to see them return for this instalment. The opening lulls us into an expectation of a gloomy, malevolent reverie when suddenly guitars and drums burst forth and we find ourselves in 1970s rock territory. Iíd like the bass guitar to play more interesting stuff but this is a minor caveat. The inclusion of a church bell adds further lustre to a track whose only requirement is a decent vocal mix and perhaps a couple of chord changes to prevent it being so repetitive. That said, they create an impressive atmosphere that is highly memorable. 7/10.
- Insecticide Track 1
Again the vocal is far too low in the mix, so much so that it irritates me. I want to hear those words! The occasional incursions of a sitar amid all the 1970s guitar rockery is oddly attractive. I used to possess a copy of the Necronomicon by Abdul Al Hazred as well as the collected stories of H P Lovecraft and magic squares of Abra Melin The Mage so I can appreciate the motivation behind their
work . . . I simply wish theyíd go further into the realms of the avant garde soundscape they submitted to
godspunk volume eighteen. 5/10.
- The Large Veiny Members
- Hanging Like An Elf
As I listen to this (for the second time) I find myself waiting for the main event to happen. It is as if the music is a prelude to an event that never occurs. Complaint: the vocal is much too quiet in the mix. Ye Gods this is irritating! A flimsy electronic beat sprinkled with sonic confetti that ought to be effective and yet it appeals only to the homicidal side of my nature. What a cantankerous old bastard I am. As with Nil By Nose, I recommend listeners new to
godspunk collections check out the earlier contributions by this bunch because again the sheer variety of their work is more impressive than what can be discerned from their work here. 2/10.
The artwork is rather groovy though - a horny elf showing off his bare legs giving the finger to a fairy who responds in a similar manner
- The Golden Gonk
- Leaving the Laboratory
Question: have this bunch ever heard any tracks by Five Or Six? The stylistic similarities are impossible to ignore. Five Or Six are one of my favourite groups so I am inevitably sympathetic to what this group / person does here. Yes, it tends toward repetition but with subtle changes and shifting modification of instruments and musical ideas that move, with gradual yet still surprising, into territory closer to Gentle Giant (no, Iím serious) than post-punk outfits. This is distinctly impressive because it defies categories. Imagine someone asked that perennially annoying question: what sort of music do you play? How the hell can anyone reply in a manner that is even remotely informative? The music slides, again gradually, into a chaotic profusion of guitar dominated rifferama but with that keyboard or synthesiser never far away. The frenetic incursions of heavily distorted sounds intrude on the soundscape and emerge ultimately victorious. What a truly bizarre work this is! Note: it is even more effective via headphones. 8/10.
- 2000 in 10 followed by King Piranha
CHRIST IN A CAMISOLE! This is bloody brilliant. All right, it is also a seething chaotic mess (but only now and then) yet it succeeds because it includes sections that are very quiet and gentle juxtaposed with loud, abrasive noise and, amid and between all this
kerfuffle, contrapuntal lines informed by trombone and clarinet plus a rather distinctive female vocalist. Complaint: the recording quality is rough
- not enough to spoil the track but Iíd love to hear this in pristine stereo with more bass frequencies. Complaint: it is a pity they donít list the names of each performer and their instrument in their otherwise informative sleeve notes to the booklet. Anyway, I played this piece not once, not twice but five times in succession. Thatís how much I enjoyed it.
Question: why have I never heard of this outfit or any of its members previously? How is that even possible? This is beyond any doubt one of the most invigorating and intriguing contributions to
godspunk since Hebetation in 2003 and Stream Angel in . . . whenever it was, I canít recall exactly. The territory explored by this piece is not far away from (to give the most immediate examples) Derek Bailey, Paul Rutherford, Evan Parker, Ivor
Kallin, the London Improvisers Orchestra and some of the more abrasive moments of AMM yet it manages to sound dissimilar to any of these. I especially enjoy the brief moments of discussion between the group members not only before but even during the piece! 10/10.
- Game Of Thrones
Ihre trommel zeit ist furchtbar schwierige. Why the hell did we waste our time, energy and effort on this arrant nonsense? The drama series is absolutely superb; the music is utter
shite. I think that is what motivated me to make my arrangement of the theme tune
- to add extra harmonies and remove 90% of the percussion - but even so, this really doesnít make the grade. It might help if we could all play in time, too. The trumpet and horn playing by Fritz is memorable though. 5/10.
- Who Won The War
The lyric is inspired by the film It Happened Here (1966, directed by Kevin
Brownlow) but it sounds like a trendy loony leftie rant and is slightly embarrassing now. I wrote it in the 1990s although the music is strictly from 2018 and the performance is mandatory. 6/10.
- Share The Same Thoughts
The chord sequence is by Pete Bynghall, the original guitarist of The Apostles, a group I joined in 1982. I remained a member until 1989 when sanity prevailed and I departed in high dudgeon. (I do high dudgeon rather well.) This is the first time I played an alto saxophone with any proficiency and even now I am satisfied with the result. 7/10.
- Gaudeamus Igitur
Iíve always loved this 16th century anthem but I could never find a recording of it that met my
requirements . . . so I decided to record one myself. Oh but I dearly wish I possessed a decent voice. 7/10.
- The Loch & The Glen
This is one of the best instrumental works I wrote during the 1990s but our initial recording of it was dire
(cf Kšmpfbereit, 1996). My only complaint here is the occasionally shabby time keeping but this partly due to the recording process: Fritz recorded his horn and bass guitar parts in Bremen, Germany, when he was unable to travel to England to record the work with us. I have since amended this minor problem (the marvels of post production with a digital editing
programme) so its inclusion on our album Better Dead Than Red does not present a shameful embarrassment yet hearing this now, I realise it really isnít too bad. The middle section is a direct quote from the concert overture The Land Of The Mountain & The Flood by the 19th century Scottish composer Hamish
- Soul Patrol
Oh aye, here we go: UNIT try their hands at soul funk. I have since remixed this so it is clearer yet this account is serviceable and does possess a kind of frantic urgency I still find appealing. We issued it as the Ďaí side of our 1st single earlier this year. Isnít it odd how we still refer to Ďaí and Ďbí sides when we issue our work on CDs? This number would sound really groovy if UNIT possessed someone who could actually sing. 8/10.
Right then - now for my obligatory conclusion. The best part of the entire package is
WHORSE. It is worth purchasing for this reason alone. That picture should be enlarged to A2 size, framed and hung in the Tate Gallery. The top 3 tracks (for me) are these,
1 AWARE: 2000 in 10 followed by King Piranha
2 Dr. Awkward: This May Be A Tad Uncomfortable
3 Howl in the Typewriter: A Mill1000000n
For the uninitiated among you: please note that my marks out of ten refer to my own preferences and represent my idiosyncratic musical tastes; they are not intended to indicate a calibration of value. For example, suppose the pair of tracks by Shy Rights Movement were excised from the disc and replaced with more avant gardening by Dr. Awkward, HITT or UNIT
- then the collection would not be nearly as effective. They provide the only gentle, folk-pop orientated pieces on the album,
Stealing Pennies aside. Thus the variety remains (a trademark of any
godspunk collection) and the art is definitely impressive . . . but then I cannot recall a single edition of
godspunk where the art is not impressive. To be honest, I donít rate this among the very best collections in the
godspunk oeuvre but it does rank among the top ten.
Final note: to Dr. Awkward and AWARE Ė for purely selfish reasons I hope you are both able to contribute further tracks for
godspunk volume twenty.
- Review by Carl
Dullbedsitblogger (Nil by Nose and Large Veiny Members), 7th December 2018
I have always enjoyed Andy
Martin's reviews of godspunk and have finally thought I should really pull my finger out and type my thoughts!
Digital Sickness - Howl in the Typewriter
Bang, we are in to godspunk volume nineteen
with a line about feeling ill. I really should listen to more of
pStanís stuff to break down how to actually make a song, rather than an idea that just peters out.
Game Of Thrones - UNIT
I have never seen or read Game Of Thrones, so not sure of this tracks relevance to it
- but it really reminds me of playing historical sims type games on computers in the mid 90s.
Stealing The Pennies From A Dead Man's Eyes - Dr. Awkward
I think Dr Awkward must be a old western snake oil pedlar style Dr. cos this made me want to stagger dustily into the swing doors of a saloon.
Satanic Mass - Flux Of Yellow Daisies
This started with the spooky sound of a black mass, then morphed into the soundtrack for a haunted maze adventure with a bunch of teens and monsters chasing one another around like
Always There - Nil by Nose
This is me trying to do a romantic tune.
Who Won The War - UNIT
Some satire from an alternate universe and / or possibly a statement about Brexit Britain.
Black Cat - Howl in the Typewriter
A guided tour through the cut and paste mind's eye of pStan.
Everybody Leaves You In The End - Shy Rights Movement
This sounds like the interesting person performing at an open mic night after hearing too many cover versions.
If I had had one more pint I would cry.
2000 in 10 followed by King Piranha - AWARE
Improv poetry night.
Share The Same Thoughts - UNIT
The great thing about being involved with these godspunks is UNIT. They have been there since the beginning and hearing them evolve is a great journey; every time UNIT, but every time slightly further on with their journey.
Leaving The Laboratory - The Golden Gonk
I enjoyed the synth plinks and plonks . . . but I can hear the story of leaving the clean clinical space of a laboratory into the fuzzy confusion of the world.
In whose nostrils was the breath of life - Howl in the Typewriter
Industrial childís play filth.
This May Be A Tad Uncomfortable - Dr. Awkward
Now Dr. Awkward is peddling his electrical remedies! I feel cured!
Gaudeamus Igitur - UNIT
I wonder if Andy sang all the parts in this or if he had got together a
Hanging Like An Elf - The Large Veiny Members
This was improvised with my long time musical cohorts Fay and Dave. The main thing I think when I hear this is I could
have produced it better - there are a few annoying clicks, and the sound is generally a bit thin.
Insecticide Track 1 - Flux of Yellow Daisies
Listening to this I can imagine a rather confused traditional Indian musician making the best of a clerical error that
meant he had a leather clad rock band as his backing group instead of his usual
Endlessly Blue - Shy Right Movement
This track is haunting. If you were to strip everything back from an emotional
Inspiral Carpets track you might get something almost like this.
The Loch And The Glen - UNIT
The glockenspiel and drums in this are great - I am transported to a village hall in
Stoneybridge, where a slide show of majestic Scotland is being shown by a local keen photographer.
The Glory of the Sun - Howl in the Typewriter
Nudist didgeridoo, all very natural and no mention of volleyball! I hate the feeling of sand stuck to me. I got put off naturism when I was young and saw a copy of H&E
- there was a photo of a guy who had obviously lay on his front on a sandy beach. Just thinking about it still makes me shudder!
Wake Me - Nil by Nose
I can't remember what all the samples are in this - probably stuff I though was funny at the time. Not a lot really happens.
Puttin 'Em Back - Dr. Awkward
This is an intriguing tune. I feel like I know it, but pretty sure I don't -
and I want to know what is being played backwards.
Soul Patrol - UNIT
In an alternate universe where UNIT are Mark Ronson this is Up Town Funk!
A Mill1000000n - Howl in the Typewriter (plus dJohn)
I think this is possibly the sound track for when dJohn and pStan experimented with Vulcan Mind Melding. I can hear the
two minds blending together, then the experience becomes too much.
godspunk volume eighteen (PUMF
756, 2018 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 12th January 2018
Who actually reads these reviews? Presumably the contributors to each godspunk collection. It pleases me to imagine they are also scanned by people sufficiently intrigued by the presence of these compilations to consider purchasing them and require more information prior to reaching a decision. If this is so then it is futile for me to say how much I like or dislike a certain track. What help is that to a potential buyer? However, I invariably do include such statements because I endeavour (though not always with success) to be fair and provide accurate descriptions of the contents so if I really dislike a track then the reader can, in theory, compensate for my comments and assume (perhaps) it merits more praise than Iíve given to
it . . . and vice versa. My marks out of ten represent my personal response to a track (thus they refer only to my musical preference) and are therefore not an indication of its artistic merit.
- Nil By Nose (in their various incarnations)
- Red Pick Up
My only complaint about this splendid impertinence is its duration: it is far too brief. It is a clever and deliciously cruel satire on country and western songs. This obviously appeals to me because I loathe, detest and despise country and western. Whenever I hear it (which, fortunately, is very rarely and only ever by accident) I see black people hanging from trees while hooded numpties set fire to wooden crosses. However, I freely admit the performance of country and western music does require a level of technical proficiency not found in many pop groups so if one seeks to ridicule it, one has to be able to play instruments to a certain
standard . . . which is why this piece is so effective: it is played superbly. I would like the vocal a little louder in the mix but this is my only (minor) caveat other than its brevity. Note: the best country and western parodies I have ever heard can be found on one of the soundtrack CDs by The Simpsons. One of these includes a song about a pick-up truck, too. 8/10
- That Scat
Here we have another splendid slice of parody, this time in a 1970s jazz funk groove. Again, I would prefer it to be longer and, ideally, the bass guitar (or bass keyboard) should be slightly louder in the mix. What we have here is a drum machine, a bass and a keyboard emulating a brass section with a vocalist who gives it wellie on the cool scat singing vibe Iíve used in certain UNIT tracks except here thereís a hint of Elvis Presley, too. Come to think of it, the vocal ought to be louder, too. The performance is crisp, clean and finely executed but just as I begin to enjoy
it . . . it ends! 7/10
- Throat Drone
I wonder if the purveyors of this track have ever heard Motet by The Lemon Kittens? It appears on We Buy A Hammer For Daddy, their 1st album, released in 1979. That has unaccompanied male vocals, albeit of a more complex harmonic nature than what is given here. Basically the music does what the title suggests: drones on a single note for only a few seconds. It ought to be extremely tedious but actually it is highly effective, especially when placed between
Rain Man and Miranda Passes The Audition. Again, this piece would benefit from being slightly longer. Anyway, one fact is now apparent:
Red Pick Up, That Scat and Throat Drone could conceivably be written and recorded by totally different artists because they sound so radically different from each
other . . . an impressive achievement. 7/10
- Metal Trap
This reminds me of those atrocious poufy new romantic outfits of the 1980s which means I am destined to dislike this piece intensely even though it is evidently a satirical swipe at such ensembles. The lyric is also amusing yet I still find this excessively irritating! This is not an actual fault of the music or its performers but a property of the genre theyíve chosen to satirise. A drum machine, typical 1980s keyboard sounds and an impassioned vocal provide the primary musical presentation but the wordless vocalise (under heavy reverb) in the background adds an extra dollop of Depeche Modery if you like that kind of thing. 3/10
- My Babys Skin
An emotional vocal over a twanging guitar and a vague murky morass of synthesiser provide the primary ingredients of this strange little number and, for the first time, I am grateful it is under 30 seconds in duration. Christ, this is annoying! It might supply a useful bridge between
Goat and Reginald but I still find it irritating. However, it does provide yet another facet of the astonishing variety of which this bunch are capable. 2/10
- Look Ma
At nearly 2 minutes, this piece is 4 times the length of any of its predecessors. Right then, think Throbbing Gristle, The Nocturnal Emissions and Whitehouse. Now add more intricate (and thus interesting) synthesiser / electronic sounds plus occasional vocal interjections, the entire sonic slab blasted out
fortissimo . . . and you have this magnificent aural edifice that stands astride
Ampoule and WeavyHeight like a colossus. This is (in my no doubt biased opinion) absolutely brilliant and, for me, one of the best tracks on the collection. Hear it once and you will possibly grumble Ďugh
- bloody racketí. Well, yes, perhaps . . . but please listen to it again, this time through headphones (which is what I did). This piece is actually far more complex and intricately arranged than an initial encounter with it might suggest. On my 3rd listen I simply sat here and relished the crawling chaos of disparate sonic strands that weave an electronic tapestry which, despite its harsh and abrasive mien, merits repeated listens. Iíd like some of the bass frequencies to be a little more prominent in the mix but this is my only caveat. 9/10
- Teal Hair
An electronic beat, an electric organ, a synthesiser plus electronic noises off-stage over which male voices chant like monks from Hell, primarily in only 2 keys, lend this a strange aura, as if it is an avant garde response to
A Song For Paul Novak. The organ ought to be louder (but then I like organs) although the piece does sound clearer when heard on headphones. At nearly 2 minutes it is the longest of their contributions yet not (in my opinion) their most impressive. I find myself waiting for something to happen, some event to
occur . . . but it never arrives. That said, the playing is crisp and precise while the atmosphere evoked is suitably sepulchral for its subject matter. 6/10
Note: for virtuoso operators of CD players or computers, I recommend listeners play all these tracks in succession (in the same order they appear on the compilation). The experience is definitely worth the effort. How can they manage such variety, especially when each track is played with such conviction? There is a problem with tracks under 30 seconds duration: listeners can be tempted to dismiss them as insubstantial and disposable. This would be a severe error with most of these items. Their brevity is rarely an indication of their substance. Remember: a lack of seconds does not imply a lack of content. For me, Volume 18 displays Nil By Nose at their very best because the sheer range covered by these tracks, combined with the technical finesse of the performances, I find astonishing. Yes, this is all highly impressive.
- Dumb Robot Pilot
A rock steady drum pattern (rather 1970s - which is not a criticism) combines with a grumbling bass guitar and early 1980s guitar rifferama to create a typical rock instrumental one might hear used as background music to depict a club in a 1980s childrenís television drama. Now, thereís a problem here
- this is really not my kind of music so I must struggle to be fair to its exponents. Over the years, UNIT have received (correctly) praise for our technical ability even from people who donít particularly like our kind of music. Well, Dumb Robot Pilot prove they are equally proficient: this number is executed with consummate skill. Indeed, it rolls along in an arrogant swagger I find rather appealing. I think the problem (for me) is that it requires a lead melody somewhere, an additional Ďsomethingí to add lustre to what presently sounds rather like a backing track for a vocal or lead instrument. Nevertheless, when heard in the context of this compilation, it provides an unexpected dollop of hard
rock . . . which is excellent if you like hard rock. If, like me, you
donít . . . well, then you have to appreciate the variety its inclusion affords.
No, itís no good. I canít leave it like that. I played it again (through headphones) and I am forced to revise my previous opinion. This is actually a finely crafted example of rock music whose only fault is that the bass guitar needs to be slightly louder. To my surprise I found I was never actually bored
- I didnít experience a desire to fast forward (which is what I expected). If it changed key more often then Iíd find it easier to enjoy the piece. Anyway, Iím glad I played this work again because I enjoyed it more the second time around and it obliges me to increase my score to 8/10.
A rock steady drum pattern (rather 1970s - which is not a criticism) combines with a grumbling bass guitar and early 1980s guitar rifferama to create a typical rock instrumental one might hear used as background music to depict a club in a 1980s childrenís television drama. Just a minute
- isnít this how I described Panzer? Well, I know perfectly it is, of
course . . . and therein lies the problem. It sounds (to me) like a slower paced variant of
Panzer. However, the difference here is that the piece really does sound like a backing track in urgent need of a lead instrument or a vocalist. I tried it again through headphones but, alas, this time I really did feel the urgent need to press the fast forward
button . . . yet I managed to refrain from doing so . . .
. . . but this track features additional properties which generate criticism. First: thereís a reverb used on the guitar which sounds excessive and makes the general sound rather murky and muddy. Second: the slow tempo and repeated riffs emphasise the degree of repetition. Again, I think the bass guitar needs to be louder. The playing is exemplary; make no mistake, these cats are highly competent musicians
- itís just a pity they didnít add another guitar or a keyboard to play a lead melody line which, in my opinion (which I admit is probably not worth much) would raise this piece to a much higher level. 5/10
- Rain Man
A drum machine + 1980s keyboard sounds + a very intriguing lyric combine to provide one of the more interesting tracks on this compilation. Note: Ďweíre all fantastic nowí appears on the inner spine of the CD tray card. I donít like the mid Atlantic accent adopted by the singer but this is merely an example of my personal preference rather than a genuine criticism. The vocal melody is contagious and my only real problem is the absence of a bass guitar or bass melody instrument because this means the track sounds rather top heavy. That said, at no time did find myself bored by the track
- a significant achievement since I am notoriously impatient with any form of music that falls outside my narrow preferences. 4/10
This is pure pop: drums, bass guitar, guitar and keyboard in full effect with a vocal whose sound and diction I definitely prefer to that adopted for
Rain Man. Mein Gott, if this track was played on Radio 1 or any other commercial radio station, it would not sound incongruous. That, by the way, constitutes significant praise from me. There is a part of my mind (admittedly a small part) that really appreciates bright and breezy commercial pop music and this magnificent tracks meets every requirement: a strong vocal melody, a nice harmonic progression and a pristine performance that merits respect and approbation. Can this therefore constitute a fair review of it?
No . . . because I love this kind of music and therefore I am liable to heap praise upon it, some of which may not be
warranted . . .
. . . but I donít care, all right? All the same, in the interests of balance and fairness, letís give it another listen, this time through headphones. Could the vocal be just a tad more prominent in the mix? Possibly. The string synthesiser is also a bit too quiet for my taste although it sounds clearer through headphones. Thereís also an acoustic guitar here but it only appears at certain moments in the work. The guitar parts weave a gentle web through the sonic texture, too. No, itís no good: Iím going to listen to this a third time, purely because ITíS SO BLOODY GROOVY! This is (so far) my favourite track on the collection. This is The Hit Single, without a doubt. Have S.L.I. ever recorded any other tracks like this? Not to my knowledge. Anyway, yes, I was right: the vocal should be slightly louder in the
mix . . . but that doesnít stop me giving it 10/10.
- The Large Veiny Members
- Meat Balls
This is (by 1 second) the longest track on the collection. Late 1990s house and acid rave meets the more accessible (tuneful) elements of Throbbing Gristle and The Lemon Kittens in a kaleidoscope of disparate electronic fragments (interrupted by occasional vocal interjections) which do change but only gradually, almost imperceptibly, over an insistent beat underscored by a keyboard that suggests rather than insists upon a chord sequence. All this tomfoolery ought to place the piece firmly in Ibiza circa 1995 yet it doesnít sound Ďold fashionedí (whatever that might mean). It does give the impression of a 21st century ensemble who seek to create a memory of that decade with its shell suited exponents cavorting on dance floors high on ecstasy and low on artistic discernment. Actually, this piece is superior (technically and musically) to much of the robot noise that afflicted the 1990s and for one crucial reason: it never becomes tedious or
boring . . .
. . . but then as a child of the 1990s am I unfairly biased in its favour?
Probably . . . so letís see if I can listen to it again (on headphones) without becoming impatient. Yes, all right then: second time around I notice the absence of a bass guitar or bass keyboard. Does it really need this? Perhaps not but Iíd appreciate such an addition since most of the interesting fragments tend to happen in the mid range and treble regions of the work. Electronic manipulation of the sonic strands adds to the interest
- repeated phrases are often subjected to transformations as they mutate into other sounds or fall apart while new sounds take their place but this all happens gradually, organically. This is one of the more intriguing works on this disc and definitely my favourite LVM piece. 8/10
- Flux Of Yellow Daisies
- Rise Of The Sacrificial Goat
This is (by 1 second) the second longest track on the collection. It is also the least accessible. Now, I have to be careful here: I read their page in the booklet and fundamentally disagree with about 90% of its
contents . . . so I must not allow that to adversely influence my response to the track. (As a passionate, enthusiastic and informed student of physics and astronomy since the 1970s I cannot accept the assertions made in their
essay . . . but this is not the place to enter into a scientific debate.) So, what do the Daisies have for us? Over 6 minutes of a violin scratching away over a jumble of electronic
noises . . . apparently . . . or at least, thatís what it may sound like if you donít pay attention.
Look, this is not background music. To appreciate its intricacy, full attention is required although I do realise that is a formidable demand given the extreme avant garde idiom adopted here. For me this does not present a problem, of course, but for many people, I can imagine their responses: thereís no tune, no melody, no harmony, no
rhythm . . . itís just a load of noise. Ah, but thatís where they are wrong. It is not just a load of noise. On the contrary, much of this work is restrained and delicate with a disparate collection of sound sources that weave in and out of focus like minute organisms observed through a microscope or the movement of molecules suspended in solution. Usually a work sounds more effective either through speakers or
headphones . . . this piece sounds equally effective using either medium, although the incredible range of sounds and their quite formidable complexity does become more obviously apparent through headphones.
I played Reginald (S.L.I.) and Look Ma (Naughty Boyd Narcissist) 3 times each because I enjoyed them so much. This track Iíve played 3 times because it intrigues me
- indeed it fascinates me. Iím not even certain I Ďlikeí it that much
- by which I mean, I canít decide if I actually enjoy listening to it. I must do
- or else why would I wish to endure its 6 minute duration 3 times in succession? On my first encounter, the violin annoyed me because it sounds as if the player is not technically proficient. However, suppose thatís true
- does it matter? Not necessarily. What does matter (to me anyway) is this: does the performance serve a useful artistic function in the context of the piece as a whole? To my ears, yes, it
does . . . because its rough ineptitude (assuming it really is ineptitude) creates a stark contrast with (and opposition to) the mechanistic perfection of the electronic and industrial sounds. I equate it with a human being or an animal trapped inside a vast mechanistic environment from which it seeks (and fails) to escape.
(20 minutes later.) I have to hear this piece a 4th time. Iíve not been this intrigued with a
godspunk contribution since Hebetation and Stream Angel. There is a hi-hat there and a
cymbal . . . but among the other sound sources these are not instantly apparent. At certain moments during the piece, the machine music (as I choose to call it) alters its course, abruptly, yet it never actually ceases. A sonic strand stops to be replaced quickly by a different set of sounds yet while this occurs, other sound sources continue so one gains the impression of a vast leviathan whose component parts change course and alter momentum yet continue their relentless subjugation of the organic element: the violin. This is merely my interpretation, however, so perhaps ought not to be regarded as a definitive description of the work. If this piece was played on BBC Radio 3 amid other avant garde classical works, it would not sound incongruous. However, I find it impossible to decide on a
score . . . what do I think of it? I canít decide. What I do know, beyond any possible doubt, is that it is one of the most interesting contributions ever made to a
godspunk compilation and for this reason alone I shall award it 9/10.
Note: this outfit also released a 21 minute CD called Insecticide which - to my astonishment
- I actually enjoyed. I disagree profoundly with the essay they include in the
godspunk booklet, primarily because it is simply not factually correct. When the gigantic cyclotron was initially constructed at CERN in Switzerland there soon followed a plethora of anxious complaints from people with noble intentions but a lamentable absence of a basic knowledge of physics, convinced the scientists were about to create a miniature black hole that would envelope the world. Actually, the physics of black holes donít function like that
- to create such a monstrosity (which I agree would be an activity of monumental stupidity) requires a gargantuan mass, i.e. at least 1.4 times that of the Sun.
I also find the sleeve notes to this EP irritating (they primarily feature a long quote over 3 pages from H P Lovecraft together with a page that invites Satanist to contact the group) because surely the world does not need Satanism or any other kind of medieval superstitious balderdash. Instead we urgently require sanity, rational thought and hard scientific facts. When problems occur in the world, it seems to be de rigeuer to blame the scientists when in fact it is usually governments and their paymasters, the multi-national corporations, who are responsible for the mess in which we find ourselves. Scientists are generally ordered to clear up this mess. It was a group of scientists who first warned governments about the perils of a depleted ozone layer and the noxious effects of CHC emissions back in the 1960s. Is it their fault if governments ignore them? Hardly.
The EP reveals people clearly fascinated by the 1960s and all that H P Lovecraft, Charles Manson and Satanic bollocks so beloved by industrial outfits of the 1980s. It sounds impossibly dated and old fashioned now yet itís pleasant enough in its own way and quite amusing. Will there still be bands in 2118 who drone on about all this hoary old tat? Frankly I could not care 2 hoots about Charlie Manson
- what has he ever done for me or for society? Given hippies an even worse reputation than they had already, I suppose, but apart from that I can think of not a single useful contribution he made to the world. H P Lovecraft created some splendid stories but he was never a Satanist. He wanted to be an 18th century English aristocrat, a desire occasionally revealed in some of his earlier short stories.
Oddly, none of the tracks (which are played with technical precision and with a crisply clear production) sound remotely similar to their contribution to
godspunk, being rather guitar orientated grooves with the intrusion of taped voices and odd sounds. In fact, although the tracks are split into sections called Track 1, Track 2 et cetera, each separated by short largely spoken word pieces called Interludes, the whole set framed by a Prelude and a Postlude, I hear it as a continuous 21 minute work.
- Moineau Ecarlate
- Ampoule Gaz Tete
On more than one occasion I have complained about the absence of overtly avant garde contributions to more recent Gods Punk collections. Flux Of Yellow Daisies and Naughty Boyd Narcissist (with
Look Ma) compensate for this - yet this very strange piece adds a further inflection to the mix with its synthesiser driven repetition under / over which we hear various sonic strands: percussion, electronically treated voices and other sounds impossible to define. I canít hear this once and give it the attention it
merits . . . so letís spin it again. A car horn, disgruntled voices, odd stops and starts plus synthesisers in sonic disagreement with each other all contribute to the mess
- but this isnít a murky, untidy mess - itís a meticulously contrived array of sounds, noises and fragments of music that amount to indecision, confusion, a debate that is never concluded. I do find it slightly irritating but this is not a criticism of the piece itself, merely a comment on my own musical preferences. This definitely deserves
7/10 . . . probably more. I really hope they make future contributions to
godspunk because Iíd like to hear what else they have for us. Yes, an intriguing work. Iíll modify my score: 8/10.
- Nina On The Dance Floor
This is my musical depiction of Nina Bentley, one of the daughters of Dexter Bentley who presents the Hello Goodbye Show every Saturday at midday on Resonance 104.4 FM. It forms part of a series of purely instrumental works I composed in honour of various children
- the others are Mordecai Watson and Iris Watson (the children of Ben Watson who presents Late Lunch With Out To Lunch every Wednesday at 2 pm on Resonance 104.4 FM) and Dan and Mia (the children of
pStan Batcow) plus Chester Scores Another Goal (included on godspunk 17). Heís the son of Dexter Bentley. Nina particularly enjoys dancing so I present what appears to be a typical disco
number . . . until the metre changes and we are obliged to dance in 7/4 and 5/4. The harmonic clashes (with discords) are deliberate. They represent my aversion to dance music! That said, I wonder if this piece isnít slightly too long for its content. 7/10
- Miranda Passes The Audition
This is my musical depiction of Miranda Bentley, one of the daughters of Dexter Bentley who presents the Hello Goodbye Show every Saturday at midday on Resonance 104.4 FM. It forms part of a series of purely instrumental works I composed in honour of various children Ė the others are Mordecai Watson and Iris Watson (the children of Ben Watson who presents Late Lunch With Out To Lunch every Wednesday at 2 pm on Resonance 104.4 FM) and Dan and Mia (the children of
pStan Batcow) plus Chester Scores Another Goal (included on godspunk 17). Heís the son of Dexter Bentley. Miranda is interested in drama and acting so this presented me with a difficult challenge. I elected to write music dramatic in nature with as many 19th century classical chord progressions as I could contrive plus the obligatory jazz rhythms in the central section. In fact the outer sections are a fast 9/8 and 5/8 which can also be regarded as a slow 7/4 if youíre that way inclined. As with its predecessor, I think in retrospect this piece could benefit from being slightly shorter. 8/10
- A Song For Paul Novak
I do not enjoy repetition and I do not enjoy music that remains in only 1 or 2 keys for its entire duration. This piece is repetitive and utilises only 2
keys . . . yet it is one of my favourite UNIT tracks. It was selected for this compilation by Fritz, Colin and UJ since it provides (in their opinion) a dramatic contrast to our normal style.
Er . . . what then is our normal style? My prissy little pop songs, probably. It was never my intention to write a piece that is ostensibly derived from repetition and only requires 2 keys Ė it is not an exercise I would relish Ė but as I began to set my lyric to music it became obvious (to me at least) it required precisely this kind of musical setting because it provides an accurate portrayal of Paul Novak, the boy who introduced me to the work of Anthony Burgess and John Wyndham, peace be upon his name. Novak was in the year below me in school.
Have you ever read Animal Farm by George Orwell? I detest the man - heís one of the most irritating writers Iíve ever encountered and his political beliefs are vile. Anyway, think of that dreadful
donkey . . . then combine him with Marvin the paranoid android from the Hitchhikers Guide To The
Galaxy . . . and you have Novak. The difference is that he was also incredibly unstable emotionally, prone to bouts of sudden violence. I was besotted by him which probably did not assist our relationship. He insisted he did not want or need friends. Yes, Iíve rarely made life easy for myself. His father was amazing
- wrote novels and studied ancient Greece and classical Rome so I quickly developed a friendship with the man. As for the music
- it needs to be in 7/4 time. The unstable metre represents the personality of Paul Novak. The electronic sounds and birds represent my own incursion into his life. My vocals are usually abysmal yet for once they arenít too intolerable, perhaps inspired by the lyric. If I had to list my Ďtop tení tracks by UNIT, this would be among them. 10/10
- Howl In The Typewriter
- Image is Everything
Most godspunk sets commence with a power pop track by HitT. This time we have a track that owes much of its mien to grime and dub step. I generally expect nasty, vindictive lyrics from
pStan and thatís what we have here: a searing critique of contemporary numpties desperate to shove their vacuous personalities on social media. Is this one of the most powerful lyrics I have ever heard? Actually, it just might
be . . . but Iíd better check . . . so Iíll play it again. A sampled drum kit in a typical 2010s break beat + jackplug hum transmuted into an almost musical pattern + an angry bass guitar figure with a distortion pedal + a couple of multi-tracked vocals whose restraint (they barely narrate above a whisper apart from a couple of brief shouts during the chorus sections) + violently aggressive electronic interjections create an astonishingly hostile sonic environment that contains more anger and disgust than any amount of mere punk rock or heavy metal.
Myself, Lawrence Burton and pStan Batcow share one specific (and laudable) quality: we each possess an innate ability to inflict upon victims quite vituperative sonic assaults upon individuals or groups of people. I can match
pStanís ability when it comes to lyrics but musically, I acknowledge his superiority. When I write vindictive attacks upon people, the music is usually Ďtoo niceí. I canít help writing luscious harmonies and memorable melodies.
pStan (with commendable self discipline) is able to relinquish these attributes and strip his track down to the bare essentials required to rend his victims limb from limb. Consider the elements that comprise this piece: none of them are pleasant, musical (in the conventional sense) or designed to appease listeners. These are nasty, brutal, aggressive sounds. This is napalm as music. The track oozes contempt for its recipients
- splendid. 8/10
Acoustic guitar, bass guitar and harmony vocals suggest a folk song but there are distractions: a distorted electric guitar and occasional electronic interjections presage what happens half way through: we are flung into a 21st century recreation of a 1960s groove until the track suddenly collapses in on itself and begins to fragment into avant gardery before the original song reasserts itself but at a faster tempo
- then slows down and returns to its quiet opening although the lyric has reached a different conclusion
- magical. In terms of style, this is not my kind of music. The lyric, conversely, is utterly superb. Indeed I maintain it to be one of the most powerful he has ever written but what do I know about it? 6/10
- Little Lizard
Distorted electric guitars and bass guitar in a prominently 1970s mien accompany a strangely impassioned pair of vocals which relate the experience of a lizard but (typically) with the imposition of strangely incongruous electronic sounds which grumble and squeak underneath the number until the vocals and guitars stop suddenly
- now the electronics take centre stage and the music drops dramatically in volume and we are flung (without prior warning) into avant garde territory. However (again without warning) the original song returns yet still those oddly disturbing electronic sounds refuse to be placated. All right, this isnít my type of music
- I really only enjoy the quiet middle section - but as a composition this is high quality stuff. 5/10
- A Strong Sense Of Embarrassment
pStan frequently employs pre-recorded voices in his works and this is a typical example of the genre. A busy drum beat with bass and keyboards suggest a pop song yet the sampled voices allude to self immolation and death by fire. In one section a child intones a recitation to which Stan adds a drum rhythm in perfect time to it
- splendid. ĎHow can people do things like that?í asks a female voice. To appreciate just how much work has gone into this track you really need to hear it
again . . . and again. I admit itís not what I would normally choose to listen to but thatís not relevant here. Pay attention to the sampled voices and notice how one speaker makes a statement which is apparently answered by a different speaker even though the 2 voices are separated geographically and temporally by huge distances. This is clever stuff. 5/10
- One-way Jigsaw
A drum machine plus various electronic sounds (in isolated fragments) are combined with 2 voices (one quietly insistent, the other passionately intoned) in a work which sounds to me like a 21st century variant of The Lemon Kittens. The tempo changes and the lyric refers to Ďdisjointedí and
Ďdisassembledí . . . which provides an appropriate description of the music as it increases velocity and alters its component parts. What on Earth is this lyric about? The track is nearly 4 minutes long yet it seems to complete its course in half that time. Very odd. 4/10
Presumably a pun on Heavy Weight, here we have more sampled voices (but cut up into isolated fragments) together with a couple of keyboards to create an incredibly irritating collocation of moments like a reel of tape with parts missing from it. Thereís an almost John Cage quality to this that creates a hypnotic quality akin to the mental state endured when one suffers from influenza and lounges on a bed or sofa in a state of semi-consciousness. Oddly, the track seems to become less annoying and irritating as it proceeds
- which suggests my tolerance for it improves as I become inured to its sound
world . . . perhaps. 5/10
- The Eroder
A drum and bass groove underpins a funky synthesiser figure with sampled voices and a blistering vocal from Stan which perplex me entirely. I admit Iíve no idea what this is about (assuming it has to be Ďaboutí anything) but I particularly enjoy the odd juxtaposition of 1990s beat and 1970s groove with vocals strictly from 2017. I canít be objective about this track because I enjoy it so much! Musically (perhaps even lyrically) it is one of the simplest tracks on the disc and it is certainly the most accessible of all the
HitT contributions. This cries out to be given airplay on a radio station! 8/10
Conclusion: the degree of variety on this collection is impressive given the low number of contributors. At first glance this appears to be a split album by Nil By Nose and Howl
in the Typewriter with a few extra tracks included by other artists. Personally I mourn the absence of Dataís Cat and
the taurus board because even a single track by each of these contributors would enhance the collection
considerably. However, the presence of other tracks (Reginald, Sacrificial Goat and
Look Ma in particular) adequately compensates for these omissions and certainly this is one of the most impressive collections in the relentless march of
godspunk which bestrides the 21st century like a colossus. There are now 18 volumes of
godspunk . If I had to select what I consider to be the 3 best godspunk collections so far
- this would definitely be one of them. Is there anything missing from it? Actually, yes: a couple of acoustic numbers from John Tree would add further
variety . . . but now Iím just being absurdly pernickety.
In virtually all my previous reviews of godspunk collections I rarely mention the artwork. This is because the only visual art that interests me are films and television dramas. I prefer pictures that move. However, certain pages of this CD booklet are extremely impressive. What I refer to as the 1964 page
(HitT) is especially effective but almost every contribution on offer here provides a riot of colours and shapes designed to intrigue, perplex and please the eyes. In fact, this sentiment applies to most of the other
godspunk volumes from around No.7 onwards but for me to actually notice the artwork and deem it worthy of comment means everyone must have made a special effort on this
occasion . . . either that or some cunt has spiked my tea with acid (again).
Now, if I had to pick just 5 tracks to advertise this collection to a potential purchaser, hereís what Iíd choose.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Image is Everything
- S.L.I. - Reginald
- Flux Of Yellow Daisies - Rise Of The Sacrificial Goat
- Nil By Nose - Look Ma!
- UNIT - A Song For Paul Novak
This does not imply this quintet of tracks is Ďsuperiorí in some arcane manner to their companions or that they merit more attention; they merely provide an impressive introduction to the wealth of invention and originality contained on this disc. Now
then . . . after such a successful compilation, how do you follow it? Well, hereís one suggestion
- no, itís not a suggestion, itís a plea: Dataís Cat and the taurus
board: please please please come out of retirement and make a couple of contributions to Volume 19. Moineau Ecarlate and Flux Of Yellow Daisies: please submit tracks to the next volume. Nil By Nose: er, well, just continue to do what youíre doing, please.
godspunk volume seventeen
(PUMF 749, 2017 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 31st March 2017
Many previous issues of godspunk tend to feature a large number of different contributors, many of whom provide tracks of brief duration. This edition features a smaller number of contributors who generally give us rather longer pieces. Does this represent an improvement? Not necessarily
- although it does provide a contrast to some of those earlier compilations. The range of styles and idioms remains, of course, since this has nearly always been a constant feature of these collections, although it isnít quite so dramatic or impressive as on previous volumes.
My marks out of 10 have become such a familiar feature associated with my reviews that I continue to include them but please remember they do not provide any indication of quality, technical ability or production
- they refer only to my personal response to the music or soundscape with reference to my musical preferences. As my current UNIT associates are quick to remind me, since I am an Oasis fan, my musical opinions must instantly be suspect and treated with extreme caution. Damned cheek!
However, shortly after I completed this review, 2 previous members of UNIT listened to the collection and they insist the tracks by New Born Nihilist and Heavy Water are among the most intriguing and impressive on display here, awarding each of them 9/10 . . . which proves what happens when you let an Oasis fan review a godspunk compilation. This prompted me to listen to the entire CD again (this time through headphones) and this is reflected in my notes below.
- The Large Veiny Members
Creeping Clowns - like Nil By Nose and others, this bunch are regular contributors to the godspunk franchise. Hier ist 1980s trommel maschine mit burbling keyboard und not much else except for a couple of fellows having a conversation in the next room. Come on, chaps, what the devil are you playing at? 3/10
Limbo Nimbus - like the previous number this is only a minute and a half in duration with more 1980s drum machine and keyboard sounds babbling away merrily . . . which irritates me intensely! 2/10
Pumping & Racing - the return of the babbling keyboard and those 2 fellows are still having a debate in the room next door. This track is nearly twice as long as either of the other 2 and it feels like it. Most of this is really quiet, too. It intrigues me even though I donít like it much. At least thereís hardly any drum machinery here. 3/10
Note: on a previous collection there was a group of very short pieces I disliked intensely yet when I played them together in succession rather than in the order they appeared on the album, I preferred them. Iíve just adopted the same practise with these 3 tracks and lo and behold
- it works! They sound much better when played as a trio of linked pieces . . . but why? Iíve no idea. My 2 ex-band members insist these tracks each merit 5/10 each . . . but 7/10 if played together as a continuous work.
Auburn Hair - this proves the spirit of indie pop is alive and thrives with a groovy little song that reminds me (slightly) of The Charlatans, alas without the Hammond Organ. I wish the bass guitar was slightly higher in the mix. Who else does this remind me of now? Oh yes
- The Monochrome Set and The Lines, both of whom produced mutated pop pieces like this. 8/10
Take Me On A Journey - the sound of an acoustic guitar makes a nice change after so much electrickery on many of the other tracks. This is certainly different to their other contribution. Iím not so keen on this one even though it features a wider range of instrumental sounds. Iíd prefer the vocal to be slightly higher in the mix. The final 40 seconds are superb. Both these tracks are barely more than 2 and a half minutes long yet they provide enjoyable moments of tuneful whimsicality among the more strident avant garde works here (or, for that matter, my own histrionics). 7/10
Note: I reviewed this CD on 29th March and gave these pieces 7/10 and 6/10 respectively. The marks given above indicate my opinion based on my second listen to the CD.
- New Born Nihilist
Tie The Captain To The Mast - more guitars, all doom and gloom with distant reverb drenched voices. Bloody Christ in a pink leotard but this is repetitive! It grinds on and on with relentless misery for over 4 minutes. It might help if we could hear what the vocalist is saying / speaking but presumably this is not intended thus we have to take the work as find it. Perhaps if the sound was beefed up a bit (more bass maybe) it might work as an effective form of crowd control but I really canít tolerate this. Itís torture, pet, sheer torture! 0/10
- All right, I admit I dreaded hearing this a second time. I even considered skipping it
- but that would be excessively rude and godspunk contributors deserve more respect. Sigh . . . but this is still the most annoying track on here . . . an opinion not shared by a couple of ex-members of UNIT who prefer to remain anonymous.
- Nil By Nose
Thinking Bread - a brief, single contribution this time from a bunch who normally give us a few samples of their wares on each edition. Indistinct voices mutter over a repetitive babble of keyboard minimalism that reminds me of Dome or one of those other projects by solo members of Wire. 2/10
On second exposure to this piece Iím reminded of numerous other contributions made by this character, many of which I either enjoyed or found intriguing. I suspect if I heard all these tracks in succession, the full wealth of ideas and range of styles would be revealed, a quality not apparent when a single track is heard in isolation like this.
- Heavy Water
Heavy Water - Malcolm ĎScruffí Lewty of Hellbastard formed a band called Heavy Water who played a few concerts and released a couple of CDs in 2004 and 2005 . . . but this is a different group. Here we have a (sort of) rock group with crunchy guitars, bass guitar and drums plus a synthesiser . . . whose burbles and warbling provide (for me) the only moments of interest in music that is easily as repetitive and tedious as the track by New Born Nihilist. Itís all based on just 2 notes! Dear God, it just goes on and on, playing those same 2 notes over and over again. Normally when a group plays a boring, repetitive piece based on only 2 or 3 chords itís because theyíre a punk band and theyíre too technically inept to do anything better. This bunch, by contrast, sound to me as if they can actually play rather well . . . so why oh why do they limit themselves to this dreary dirge? Argh! Mummy, take me away to some other place (where perhaps itís worse). 1/10
Yes, on a repeated listen their technical efficiency is even more apparent, especially through headphones
- so why do they avoid playing more than 2 chords? Itís obviously intentional but I admit this piece has me bewildered! My 2 pals assure me if I had any musical taste at all, I would be able to appreciate this music is clearly an exploration of trance inducement through repetition and my error is to listen to it as I would to a pop song. Maybe theyíre correct . . . but I still find it really, really boring!
Grange Hill - how can I review / describe our own contributions? Can my opinions be trusted when Iím the writer of these pieces and one of the performers? Probably not. This is our arrangement of the second (and in my view vastly superior) signature tune used for The Greatest Television Series Ever Broadcast Anywhere In The World & Anyone Who Disagrees With Me Is Simply Wrong. Itís written by Pete Moss and we play a faithful rendition of it although we opt for a live drum kit rather than the drum machine featured on the original number and I lowered the key from C to Bb just for jolly, wouldnít you? I am (I believe) justifiably proud of this piece. Iím not alone in this opinion: it is the 2nd most played / viewed track of the 460 UNIT works now available on our You Tube site. 10/10
A Song For Lee Perkins - oh how I wish I could sing properly and had a decent sounding voice. This is a biographically accurate (though possibly rather cruel) description of a lad who went to Anstey Junior School then Amery Hill School with me from 1976 to 1980. This would sound much more effective sung by a girl or a woman. 7/10
Chester Scores Another Goal - this is our tribute to Chester Bentley, son of Dexter Bentley who hosts Hello Goodbye, an alternative pop music programme broadcast every Saturday afternoon on Resonance 104.4 fm. We recorded musical tributes to his 2 young daughters, too (Nina and Miranda) although God only knows what they think of the music. The Match Of The Day quote I could not resist. Chester is crazy about football
- daft I call it. As for the music, well, itís all a bit fragmented . . . lots of nice chords in search of a decent melody. My saxophone playing hasnít improved either. 6/10
A Song For Billy Harper - Harper is another lad I knew from my school days although he attended a different school to ours. His passion for fighting and ornithology I found impossible to resist. The strident performances given by Fritz and Colin are not able to disguise a salient fact: this is not one of my more inspired musical pieces although Iím quite chuffed with the lyric. 7/10
Terry Cashmore - this piece included quotes from The Hellraisers by Syd Dale because Cashmoresí parents were both groovy hippie types who ran the Rendezvous Cafť in Alton High Street during the 1970s. He didnít go to our school (which in the circumstances is probably fortunate for me) but attended the same school as Harper. The sound effects are appropriate: he did boxing 3 times a week as I can attest: I met him on just 3 occasions and each encounter resulted in a fight . . . in which he battered the crap out of me. As with Chester, this piece sounds like a succession of interesting chord progressions in search of a decent melody . . . which it is never able to locate. 6/10
A Song For Terry Cashmore - the music is based on a far older piece I wrote when I was in The Apostles but we never recorded it at the time. I resurrected it for this tribute to Cashmore and added a 7/4 passage (which is almost obligatory in my pop songs these days
- cf A Song For Lee Perkins) plus some nice harmonies for the vocals. For once my singing isnít too wretched. Yes, there are some rather lewd and lurid aspects to the lyric but at my age, Iíve nothing to lose by expressions of honesty. 8/10
I skipped all our pieces - Iím far too familiar with them already.
- Howl in the Typewriter
Little Punk Kid - Mark Perry meets The Lemon Kittens in Paul Wellersí bedroom. This joins a brace of tracks written by people with reference to their dads complaining about the behaviour and attitude of their sons (Jethro Tull, Motorhead, Cyanide, Oasis and Skrewdriver come to mind . . . which probably reveals more about me than is healthy) yet it provides an unusually restrained opening for a godspunk album. The guitar and drum work are strongly redolent of Gertrude (if anyone is familiar with their work). 6/10
Brindhuft Spocmeg - hey oop - trouble at tímill. HitT indulge in a spot of avant gardening but with one of their spiteful lyrics that bristles with aggression. I really appreciate this side of their work. Parts of this remind me of John Cooper Clarke
- which, from me, is a high compliment indeed. The words dance on a soundscape that constantly shifts territory, an uneasy, malevolent collage of electronics and musique concrete
- absolutely superb! 10/10
Failure To Thrive (Zygfryd) - what? Christ but this is irritating. Itís far too close to punk rock for my tastes. The bass guitar part is what salvages it (for me) with its chorus effect and strident playing. There is a contrasting middle section in which an elderly chap asks us why we donít go to hell . . . but why should we? Weíre already there
- itís called Britain in 2017. 3/10
We Donít Think That The Weathermanís Dumb - this issue of godspunk is virtually a HitT mini-album with 7 tracks. This 12 minute epic features a plethora of pre-recorded voices, often cut up and rearranged to force new meanings from their speakers, supported by generally minimal musical blips, bleeps and squeaks. After a while (6 minutes in my case) this becomes tedious, despite the diligent work and obvious effort involved in preparing all these different voices. The main subjects discussed appear to be various household cleaning agents . . . hair . . . and God. 5/10
The Leaves - this sounds rather like one of those early 1980s electro-pop outfits from Europe. The prodigious use of sampled voices is a frequent feature of HitT pieces but listening to this I realise I prefer those more pop orientated tracks on which pStan sings but thatís probably because Iím a boring bugger. When a break beat enters over half way through, the track sounds more 21st century but I still find myself waiting for something to happen. 4/10
Seven Women - the shortest HitT track here features more sampled voices set to minimalist guitar and electronic sounds. All right, Iíve had enough of all this sundry kerfuffle now
- I want to go home, daddy. 2/10
Corpse Van - the first 30 seconds of this sound like King Crimson circa 2003 (no, seriously, it really does). Even after pStan enters with his very distinctive voice, the music still loiters dangerously close to Robert Fripp and his chums . . . but this is not the hippie noodling 1970s KC. No, itís a relative of those 21st century albums where great slabs of metallic guitars and clinically clean drums batter us to oblivion. None of this is remotely intended as a criticism, incidentally
- far from it. For those of you with patience, after the track finishes at around 4 minutes, there follows umpteen minutes of silence before we are given a recapitulation of the Weatherman track
- how much grease is there? This is a device pStan has used on previous godspunk albums although Iíve never quite understood why! 8/10
Repeated plays of these tracks havenít caused me to revise my scores although I did hear aspects in them I didnít notice first time around. HitT tracks definitely benefit from being heard through headphones as well as speakers. My 2 pals take issue with me over some of my scores and statements, in particular
Corpse Van which they insist sounds nothing like King Crimson although they agree it merits 8/10. They give
Failure To Thrive and Seven Women 6/10 and 8/10 respectively and accuse me of not being able to discern the difference between musical inventiveness and a poached egg.
Summary: if ever an edition of godspunk required contributions from Dataís Cat and the taurus board, this is it. For me the real discovery here is S.L.I. about whom I know nothing. I hope they contribute to the next volume. Also, if you, like me, donít like The Large Veiny Members works this time around, donít dismiss them
- instead, check out their contributions to previous volumes and youíll discover thereís more range and variety to their oeuvre than is immediately apparent here. However, this begins to sound just slightly like a godspunk album with too few contributors which might account for the slight diminution of contrasts and variety compared to many (indeed most) earlier godspunk editions. Also: I notice after I dismiss certain contributors with excessively low marks out of 10 I then have the arrogance to award our group 10/10 for Grange Hill . . . which is surely the epitome of conceit.
Note to radio stations and people new to godspunk compilations: before you form an opinion on (for example) Nil By Nose or The Large Veiny Members, I strongly recommend you check out their contributions to previous volumes
- because the sheer range and wealth of styles reveals the sum of their work is more significant than their component parts. So, for me (and my absurdly biased and probably limited musical tastes
- Iím an Oasis fan, after all) the 3 tracks which most impress this time around are:
- Howl in the Typewriter - Brindhuft Spocmeg
- UNIT - Grange Hill
- S.L.I. - Auburn Hair
Iím pleased pStan included a dedication to Robert Dellar on the tray card, too. Itís a crying shame Robert didnít live long enough to hear this CD. He supported our work (but always with intelligent criticism) from 1982
godspunk volume sixteen
(PUMF 742, 2016 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), April 2016
When I first held godspunk volume sixteen in my hands on Friday 29th April 2016, a thought occurred to me: it was a Friday when I first received copies of godspunk volume one back in 2003. I remember I thought to myself: I wonder if we can persuade pStan to allow us to appear on godspunk volume
two? This series of compilations has managed to continue to titillate, irritate, intrigue, fascinate and annoy recipients of its odd mixture of music for 13 years. Ee, lad, thatís real champion. I never liked the front covers or labels very much, despite the glorious colours
- I detest clowns, you see? Iíve always found 2 or 3 tracks Iíve really enjoyed, usually by people utterly unknown to me. Then there were those contributions from LDB and the taurus board which I loved . . . whatever happened to them? Well, LDB now lives in America and is a successful author so thatís grand. As for the taurus board, their strange fate remains shrouded in mystery . . . yet while I regret their disappearance from the godspunk canon, there are plenty of new artists and groups to interest me . . . but I still detest clowns.
- Howl In The Typewriter - FF
Itís the guitarist from Yes - Steve Howe - over there in the background with an acoustic guitar
- Howe In The Typewriter perhaps. What an absolutely superb lyric! pStan always does this
- hits us with a grim, bleak lyric set to mutant pop music that stays in your head for many hours afterwards. Oh, all right, so Iím biased. I, too, hate, loathe, detest and despise that big fat nothing Facebook. It fades out! I have to deduct a point for such impertinence
- or do I? No, because it suddenly blasts back again at the end! Oddly, this is over 5 minutes long yet it seems more like 3 at the most . . . which is generally the sign of a vibrant track. 8/10
- UNIT - Who
I wrote this for The Apostles in 1988. (I used to be in this woefully inept and very silly little pop group called The Apostles from 1983 to 1989.) We finally recorded a decent version of this in 2015 which we thought might be the definitive rendition . . . but then we recorded it again barely 6 months later in January 2016 for our 31st album. The tempo is slightly too fast and my singing is still abysmal. Well, tough. The lyric is one of my best and the music does it justice, too. It sounds absurdly smooth and commercial compared to the tracks either side of it . . . which amuses me for some reason. Perhaps Iím finally going gaga. 8/10
- Spam Javelin - Ghetto Scum
Christ, this heavy going - sort of punk rock / heavy metal - definitely not my kind of music . . . not at all. Ugh. Mind you, thereís plenty of power here and thereís nothing wrong with the performance. I canít give a fair comment on this because I absolutely loathe this musical idiom so it would hardly be fair for me to try. The lyric is damned fine, though
- when you can discern the words. Pity they didnít print the lyric in the booklet because they deserve to be heard . . . related to FF above. 3/10
- Nil By Nose - Letís Talk About It
Now regular contributors to godspunk and generally able to submit tracks of considerable variety, often difficult to predict, which is generally a sign of quality. I find this very tedious but this is probably because Iíve never been a fan of taped voices and 1980s drum machines. There is a curious early 1980s audio cassette mien to the work despite its 21st century production which is crisp and clear with plenty of bass. Purveyors and exponents of this genre will probably enjoy it immensely . . . and I hope they do because clearly considerable work has gone into the production of this strange collage. 3/10
- UNIT - Mia Borowy Buys A Drum Kit
When I was 12 or 13 I never listened to pop pap. I was strictly a fan of classical music
- baroque or avant garde. I couldnít tolerate any of that 19th century romantic pish. I became aware of the existence of Mia and Dan then I thought . . . it might be fun to write a couple of musical tributes to them because weíd already performed this gesture for the 2 children of Ben Watson (who presents Late Lunch With Out To Lunch on Resonance 104.4 fm) Iris and Mordecai (on Rock In Opposition: Phase 6). Recently we completed 3 more tracks
- instrumental tributes to Nina, Miranda and Chester, the children of Richard Bentley who presents Hello Goodbye on Resonance every Saturday at midday. Does this track work? Not totally
- it needs a more prominent lead melody. To my ears this sounds slightly like a backing track in need of a saxophone, flute or keyboard. Whoís to blame for that then? Well, me, because I wrote it! 7/10
- The Large Veiny Members - 80s Buddy Cop
Here we go then . . . excellent artwork in the booklet but this track really doesnít do it for me
- basically because Iím not a fan of music that sounds computerised or electronic. Yes, I know, I plunged into that 1990s acid rave nonsense and enjoyed myself like a total feckiní eejit but despite this thoroughly deplorable aberration in my already flawed personality, I canít summon any enthusiasm for this although, like the Nil By Nose track, the performance and production are excellent. 3/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Cryptosporidium
Distant music heard blowing across a rainy street by a gloomy character stuck in a crypt
- me, probably. Odd fragments of music in different idioms drift past in a slow succession of blurred, indistinct moments like dream images
- slightly disturbing but highly effective and oddly rather plangent. 7/10 On a second hearing Iíve changed my mind. 8/10
- Spam Javelin - Fuck Off
Christ, howís this for a contrast? This is bloody horrible! Sorry, but it really is . . . although for pure aggression and white hot hostility, I doubt it can be superseded . . . except perhaps by another of their own tracks! 4/10
- Catholic Overspill Blame dJohn - 1 Rotten Westernote Manipulated
How on Earth is anyone expected to remember the name of this outfit or its bizarre title? Still, itís better than, say. ĎOoh Baby by The Creeping Nobodiesí. This comes on like mid 1970s acoustic guitar valium rock after itís been assaulted by a couple of 1990s geeks high on LSD 25 after theyíve had their stash confiscated by the local police. This is extremely stereo
- 2 totally different mixes in left and right which create a fragmented yet effective mien. The music itself isnít especially inspired in terms of harmony or rhythm but this only exaggerates the bizarre production given to it. It needs a bass guitar! 6/10
- UNIT - A Song For Imogen Boorman
In the same key as the previous piece, this follows most effectively but again, we now sound like a commercial pop group someone has secretly shoved onto godspunk while pStan was having a bath. The numerous puns and televisual allusions create a ballad intended to be humorous and self deprecating yet it disguises a genuinely serious issue
- a brief period during the early 1990s when I thought I might finally have begun to cure my dreadful affliction . . . but then I realised the reason I fancied Imogen Boorman is because she looks like a female version of Lee Simpson, this Scottish lad who worked in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens . . . so I was still a horrible little queer. Wretched, isnít it? My singing isnít too atrocious this time . . . which makes a bloody change. 8/10
- seven eves - Horrid Beastliness/Beastly Horridness
This comes on like Cryptosporidium Part 2 . . . son of Cryptosporidium . . . quite effective although Iíd like more bass frequencies in there but this is merely a matter of personal taste. 5/10
- Spam Javelin - Fucking Jerk
Iím starting to appreciate this bunch . . . well, slightly. They really are a curmudgeonly bunch of spite spitting angry louts who probably sound just like I will when Iím made redundant at the end of June. Their presence on this compilation sounds as incongruous as our own contributions . . . which, oddly, seems to work, once youíve recovered from the initial shock. 4/10
- Nil By Nose - Battered Crawfish
I have a track called Crawfish by The Streetwalkers (the group formed by Roger Chapman and John Whitney after they disbanded The Family in 1974) and I can almost recognise elements of it underneath all the reverb and strange sounds on offer here. Well, I canít complain about the bass instruments this time. It grumbles along nicely although I find myself waiting for the main event to happen yet it never arrives . . . which presumably reveals a defect in my own response to the music rather than any fault in the performers / writers. 4/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - How Does It Feel
Ah, can we expect a cover of How Does It Feel by The Squires (1967) or How Does It Feel by Slade (1975)? Of course not: pStan doesnít need to waste his talent on covers of ancient pop pap by other people. BIRDS! Heís used BIRDS! For this reason alone, pStan will go to heaven. I shall supervise his canonisation personally. Thereís a slight chorus effect on the vocals which I find annoying. I like vocals to be crisp, clear and in your face, especially when the singer has a decent voice (like pStan) rather than a feeble squawk (like me). My God but parts of this lyric are grim . . . yet painfully truthful. The music verges on progressive rock in terms of its structure and the frequent changes in tempo and metre. This is actually a really complex piece which sounds even more effective on headphones. 8/10
- UNIT - Dan Borowy Buys A Bass Guitar
Of course, the other reason I wrote these 2 pieces is to give Fritz and Colin a chance to show their skills and have a bit of a bash, especially because theyíre technically more competent musicians than myself. Yes, I know
- this sounds like it was written in 1974. Well, I didnít discover pop music until 1980 and by then it was too late: I soon realised the 1980s meant crap fashions, crap music and crap politics. The 1990s meant nothing at all. By the 21st century the only group whose music interested me was my own . . . so only when I began to investigate pop and rock music of the 1970s (in the early 2000s) did I discover what Iíd missed. Odd: these 2 tracks (Mia and Dan) were written in 2016. Who and Look Into The Sky date from the 1980s. Our Imogen was written in 1994 yet there is a slightly 1970s aspect to all of them. Well, fair enough. Anyway, this sounds (to me) more complete and satisfying than its companion, Mia. 9/10
- Higgins++ - Friends Of Mine
Because our tracks are all keyboard dominated while many of the others (with the exception of Spam Javelin, obviously) tend to rely on synthesisers and electronics, the presence of distorted guitars on this creates a nice contrast. All right, this is absolutely not my kind of music so I probably shouldnít comment on it since I can hardly be fair to it but the playing is crisp, tight and spot on while the production is heavy, powerful and yet still clear. If you like this idiom then hereís an excellent example of it. 4/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Black Hole
If Hawkwind had a couple of members (though not necessarily large veiny ones) of Throbbing Gristle in the group, perhaps theyíd have recorded a track very much like this. I definitely prefer it to their other opus, thatís for sure. That said, Iíd still prefer the addition of a bass guitar or synthesiser playing in the bass register underneath all these intriguing sounds. 6/10
- Spam Javelin - How Can You Die When Youíre Already Dead?
No, I donít like this at all, despite the presence of yet more vitriolic, vengeful sentiments which make me smile, possibly because I can empathise with the reason someone would wish to write such a lyric. I can think of plenty of rat bags to whom this applies! It fades out! Ah, this is a sin for which no pardon exists . . . music should never fade out. See me. As usual, the performance and the production are excellent, however. 2/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - And He Ran
Oo-er, Missus - this is a bit of a bloody mess, isnít it? Despite the intriguing lyric, the music sounds like a band trying to play while being shoved down a flight of stairs. 3/10
- Tirikilatops - Snail Party (Wah!)
Suppose The Lemon Kittens had stayed together and recorded tracks during the 1990s . . . they would sound (I contend) very much like this . . . which from me is high praise indeed. What this needs is a funky bass guitar and (perhaps) the vocals more prominent in the mix. It sounds south east Asian . . . Japanese or Korean . . . which is also commendable. Itís gloriously pretentious nonsense, of course, which is probably why itís so enjoyable. 7/10
- UNIT - Look Into The Sky
A golden oldie from 1984 although we recorded this in 2015, this features (shock, horror) an electric guitar in it
- a rarity. I am especially proud of this lyric - a legitimate response. The music could be more adventurous but I decided not to tinker with it as Iíd received numerous requests from people to make a modern recording of this piece previously wrecked by The Apostles although in those days the music had a different lyric. Yes, this is definitely one of our superior works although itís a shame my singing voice is so weak and weedy. 9/10
- Spam Javelin - Lifeís A Bastard And Then Youíre Dead
Finally, just to prove they really donít intend to allow any respite, we have . . . what? Oh, I see . . . itís finished already. God almighty, give me a chance. Letís hear it again then. Right, as I was saying . . . the 5 tracks by this mob give us 2 Fucks, 2 Deads and a Scum. Is there a theme developing here?
- Howl In The Typewriter - 20 Gold Pieces
From the shortest track to the longest one. Och, come on, pStan, stop faffing about. What are you playing at? This is beyond doubt the most annoying, irritating and ineffably infuriating mess on the entire collection . . . which reveals just how rich and varied the work of Howl in the Typewriter can be. In fact it would be interesting (and rewarding) to hear every Howl in the Typewriter track from every godspunk collection perhaps issued as a double disc set . . . including this one, despite my adverse reaction to its atrocious
Note: you will realise Iíve been rather cruel to certain outfits here, particularly Spam Javelin and Nil By Nose. However, virtuoso manipulators of computers or CD players might care to programme their machines to play each of the tracks by these artists in succession. The effect is interesting: they then sound (to my ears) far more effective in this new context. Iíve no idea why. Try it if you donít believe me! In response to the complete disc, I notice not once was I ever bored
- except during the final 3 or 4 minutes of 20 Gold Pieces - which is significant. True, most of the pieces here are fairly short but that alone doesnít ensure the absence of tedium. Certain tracks sound better when heard through headphones (Nil By Nose, UNIT, Howl in the Typewriter) while others (Spam Javelin, Higgins++) require large speakers to blast out their sonic deluge for full effect. In summary, this collection requires the presence of our flute playing friend (sorry, pStan, I can never remember what he calls his outfit
- insert the name here.......) ["that would be Data's Cat, Mr Martin", said pStan] plus a couple of really mental, off the wall avant garde pieces to complete the picture. That said, it is still a fine body of
godspunk volume fifteen
(PUMF 735, 2015 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), July
Because I invariably listen to godspunk compilation in order of artist / group, not in their actual running order (I prefer to listen to various contributions by the same artist / group since I find this makes my review easier to compile) a curious quality of this particular collection arises: the continual (one might say incessant) plethora of tracks imbued with a mechanistic, robotic, harshly electronic mien has an unfortunate consequence. Where these tracks when heard in isolation (or, say, after a Coldplay track
- assuming anyone out there is daft enough to possess any Coldplay tracks) sound big, bold, powerful and impressive, when clustered together on a single disc, their impact is severely diminished. This is unfortunate. I listened to the album again
- this time with the tracks in the order compiled by pStan - and there is a marginal improvement but not enough to obviate my complaint: this collection, though abundant in quality, is deficient in variety
- a comment I never believed it would ever be necessary to issue with reference to an edition of godspunk.
- Nil By Nose - Grass Skirt, No Pineapple
Early 1980s industrial / electronic soundscape (cf Lustmord - The Nocturnal Emissions Ė SPK) given a contemporary digital workout and then some. Very robotic / mechanical / insistent
- a thundering sonic bludgeon without armour piercing volume - pop music written and performed by Cybermen. Problem: I really like this . . . which means a whole host of other people wonít. You know the type: thereís no bloody tune, you canít hear the words, why in my day they used to play real songs et cetera. I say
- stuff 'em. This would really cause mass mental breakdowns among ecstasy ridden chavs if it was played in a club in Ibiza circa 1995. 8/10
- The Large Veiny Members - A Covenant
Aargh - death by drum machine - killed by a Casio. How many Gameboy keyboard sounds can you squeeze into a 6 minute track? This many. I donít dig repetition so this was never destined to be top of my playlist but it does change and evolve in a minimalist manner although Iíd like more bass frequency stuff grumbling away underneath all those Gameboys. Technical note: this sounds far more exciting and effective when heard through headphones. 6/10
- Shaun Robert - Namaste
Youíre watching an obscure French film - psychological thriller with a supernatural or science fiction element, all muted colours and metallic sheen
- but the soundtrackís faulty and most of the dialogue is inaudible - well, then, that means youíre listening to this. Definitely not my kind of music BUT definitely interesting and probably merits repeated listens. This, too, sounds more effective through headphones. 4/10
- Nightclub In A Volcano - Pipebomb
Thereís an electronic / synthesised / machine driven groove to many of the tracks featured on this compilation which imbues the collection with a kind of post-techno ethos I find tedious after a while (a short while, too). Heard in isolation, works such as this are quite effective. This is profoundly unpleasant
- all the wrong sounds played in all the right places - I know this is so because, despite my aversion to techno and repetition, I never find this boring or tedious. Then again, maybe Iím simply turning into a Cyberman. Note: this piece should be played after youíve listened to a track by (for example) Rammstein (at one end of the spectrum) or Coldplay (at the other) for full effect. The repeated loop Ďteenagersí sounds strangely disturbing, too. 6/10
- The Lampost Gullivers - The Tragedy Of The Lampost Gullivers
Big Up The Bass! What an absolutely superb bass guitar sound complete with grime drums and distant TG / A Certain Ratio trumpet + Rammstein guitars. Black Sabbath (without the big hair mindless macho postures) as performed by The Pop Group
- which canít be bad, can it? Well, provided you donít enjoy Black Sabbath (like me) and do enjoy The Pop Group (like me). This does become too repetitive after a while
- well, after 3 minutes in my case but you know what a difficult bugger I can be these days so donít take too much notice of my feeble complaints. 5/10
- The Lampost Gullivers - French Disco Punks
Everything I said about their first contribution applies here but now with New Improved up-tempo feature and a hint of a tune BUT if youíre going to have a vocalist then turn his voice up in the mix and letís all hear what heís singing about, chaps, no? No? Oh, all right then, have it your own way. Here, Iíll tell you what: this is one hell of a bloody racket, pal. You could demolish Victorian houses with this track. 7/10
- The Atom Furnace - Alien Carnage
Well, I did say (elsewhere) I wanted more bass frequencies . . . and here they are
- in spades . . . and shovels. If ever a track merited the appellation Ďindustrialí in its most literal sense then this is it. SPK + Whitehouse + 1990s acid rave gone horribly (i.e. wonderfully) awry. Oh if only that vocal was louder / clearer in the mix so we could all savour it. 8/10
- The Atom Furnace - Evilution
Suppose Throbbing Gristle had decided to adopt a change in their musical direction and become a heavy metal outfit. Then it would sound very much like this except (sigh) this time the vocal is too loud and the music too . . . well, not quiet exactly
- thereís nothing quiet about this track - but too distant, as if itís being played in the next warehouse while the vocalist crouches on the doorstep and growls in your ear. 5/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Ringmaster
Think: late 1980s mutant disco meets Brit pop outfit in a very, very bad mood
- turn up the bass and let this do your demolition jobs for you. Personally Iíd like less distortion effects on the guitar and the bass guitar slightly louder but this piece, as they say (ahem) kicks arse, baby. When the keyboard enters around 2 minutes in, the work suddenly enters a 1990s TV theme tune vibe which I really like
- an alternative theme tune for Grange Hill perhaps. This is large, chunky, technically proficient post-punk with a glorious production
- the Ďaí side of the single. 9/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Happy Smashing Fun Time
Old skool pop song inna pop punk vibe innit? Mindless lyric (for a valid reason) observes mindless numpties desperate to have a happy smashing fun time . . . until the cash is exhausted
- then itís back to the bedsit and the misery. Underneath the machine driven will-be-happy-at-all-costs desperation is a profoundly bleak mien highly appropriate in a nation whose population have been stripped of most of the liberties and freedoms for which our fathers and mothers fought so valiantly during the previous decades. Oo-er missus. 5/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Doreen
BIG keyboards already - but thatís all. A largely monophonic theme with, er, not much else to support it other than the BIG production and BIG keyboard sound . . . well, I hope Doreen appreciates it
- because I donít. (Ooh, that was a bit catty, wasnít it? No need for that attitude, old bean. Well, honestly, after their magnificent Ringmaster, I expected something with more wellie.) 2/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Woodchip Of The Mind
Right then - letís see what these cunts have to say for themselves. Yes, just as I thought
- what quality does this track possess that is absent from any of those by the other outfits reviewed so far? This: when any one of those tracks commence, they continue in their selected genre / idiomatic language until their conclusion. This starts with prominent voice and bass guitar coupled with distant fractured guitar / keyboard sounds in one tempo then the music transmutes into a faster tempo with a mutant pop flavour before it slides into a groove that is almost (but not quite) a ballad. In other words, I could not predict how the next 2 thirds of the track would proceed based upon hearing its initial third. Imagine Alternative TV had interesting ideas (for a change) and had finally learned to play their instruments . . . they might sound like this. Not one of my favourites but still an impressive opus. 7/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Jacob Swift
Rap / grime meets a Disney filmscore soundtrack with a quite bizarre - even surreal
- lyric. This is a fast and frenetic burst of spitting bars until 2 minutes in when the tempo slows suddenly and the music becomes slightly more malevolent. Comment: these words sound to me as if they are important . . . so if I had access to his tapes / files then Iíd lower the volume of the backing track and raise the volume of the vocal so we could all hear the text clearly. 6/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Little Ball Of Badness
You what? Sorry, I coughed and missed it. Letís hear it again, please. Oh, right, I see
- 1234, a power chord implies the start of a slice of punk rock but it dies away as pStan says thereís no man living can shit in the skip of God. You what? Daft I call it. 4/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - The Toaster
First - weíre in the 1990s and it sounds as if the taurus board have returned but then the tempo changes and pStan searches through his drawer to search for his freedom . . . because heís sure it was there a minute ago. This is an immensely sad, plangent lyric set to profoundly inappropriate music. It ought not to work . . . but it does! My God but his mercurial mind emanates some curious soundscapes now and then. Nevertheless the music is (slightly) irritating to me because . . . actually Iím really not sure why. Still, at least it is never predictable. 6/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Three Zero Five
Slide guitar, bongos and bass guitar provide a curiously 1970s flavoured folk-pop track which is really not my kind of music but
- apart from the sound of pStansí voice - could easily be by a different outfit entirely. In fact, because I chose to listen to these Howl in the Typewriter tracks in succession, what strikes me instantly is that they all sound as if theyíre created by different contributors, each of whom feature pStan as a guest vocalist . . . then, at 3'43'' it stops . . . and we wait . . . and we wait. Suddenly, pStan tells about Jacob Swift and a couple of outcasts he encountered on the street. To be brutally honest, this 2 minutes of speech (which sounds as if it is recorded outside in a street) is more immediately arresting than anything else on this entire compilation. How odd! 4/10
- UNIT - A Song For Barbara Jackson
How can I write about our own group and be objective? I canít. Compared to (almost) every other track by every other contributor this piece exudes harmonic invention I find absent elsewhere. The bass guitar ought to be louder. My singing ought to be in tune and in time. Well, we ought to have a decent singer in our group, full stop. There, thatís soon said. Itís still one of the most inventive pop anthems Iíve ever written which is partly why weíve included it here. Note: this is not the version included on our album The Workshop. Barbara was one of 5 people who befriended me when I was an inmate of Amery Hill School (1976-1980). The others were Susan Wilkins, Eric Cooper, Wayne Gibson and Wayne Johnson. 9/10
- UNIT - A Song For Danny Wentworth
I donít know why I keep returning to the blues, albeit usually in its urban electric form. I think the music is appropriate for the personality of Danny Wentworth who was (well, besides rather physically appealing) a total hedonist with regard to sex and drugs yet he revealed a razor sharp intelligence and social awareness generally hidden under a facile persona cultivated as a means of survival. Amery Hill School was one of the most brutal and despicable educational establishments in the country during the 1960s and 1970s. No wonder Danny took drugs. Every incident described in the lyric actually happened! My vocal (sigh, whinge) just isnít good enough, though, is it? No, Sir, it most decidedly is not. 7/10
- UNIT - Danny Wentworth
Well, at least I canít complain about my vocals here because itís a purely instrumental track. This is a depiction of Danny which is entirely successful but youíd need to meet the lad to appreciate
it . . . which means its efficacy is lost on 99% of the listeners. The bass guitar playing by Fritz is superb and Colin gives it wellie on the drums. My keyboard playing is acceptable, too. The harmonic sequence on keyboard at the start and in the middle are direct quotations from the 1st movement of the Symphony No.6 by Franz Schubert. Danny often complained about my love of classical music so this is my belated revenge. 8/10
- UNIT - A Song For Wayne Johnson
This is a new recording of the piece, not the version recorded for The Workshop in 2012. If my vocal sounds ragged (which I suspect it probably does) this is because it took me 15 attempts before I was able to sing this ballad from start to finish without breaking down in tears. Even now, I find it unbearable to listen to this. Oh, itís played excellently by all 3 of us although the bass drum and bass guitar should be more prominent. The 5/4 metre lends an unsettling aspect to the piece appropriate for poor Wayne who did indeed 'take one tab of LSD too many' but when he left the school and was placed under psychiatric care for a few months, the primarily culprit was that despicable school rather than the drug. My love of nature, wildlife and ornithology are completely due to his magnificent influence upon me, for which I will forever be grateful. 9/10
- UNIT - A Song For Wayne Gibson
In 1978 Brother Nicholas and Brother Andrew, 2 monks from the Abbey on Kings Hill, Beech, near Alton in Hampshire, decided I was intensely lonely (which I was) and urgently required a friend (which I did) so they put me in contact with Wayne Gibson, a boy shunned and despised by almost every boy and girl in our class at school. They dismissed him as a glue sniffer
- in fact, the reason he often stank of glue was because he was addicted to Airfix world war two model aircraft. He collected the entire set (with my assistance) and constructed them (without my assistance) in his bedroom. He was obsessed with commercial vehicles, too
- vans, trucks, lorries, coaches and buses. The 3 instrumental breaks (in 5/4, 7/4 and an alternating 9/8
- 5/8 figure) provide a respite from my frenetic rap which features actual events and incidents from our lives. I provide full accounts of these in 2 of my books: Faded Fragments Of Distant Dreams (DNA BOOK 003) and I Wish I Was Dead (DNA BOOK 006) the latter of which has yet to be printed but is due to be published before the end of the year. The musicís pretty groovy, too! 8/10
So who provides the most immediately impressive contribution this time around? Dumb Robot Pilot, obviously! I note very few tracks score less than 5/10 on this occasion where usually I grind my teeth and fulminate vengefully upon this or that contributor before I dismiss them with a paltry 1 or 2 out of 10. Technically this is possibly the most accomplished and proficiently performed / produced edition of godspunk in its history . . . but it is most definitely not the most varied. Is this important? Not necessarily
- but the inclusion of Mr Tree (for example) and our flute playing genius [that's Data's Cat - Ed] would have been most
godspunk volume fourteen
(PUMF 728, 2014 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy
Martin (UNIT), 12th October 2014
"The Obligatory Review or How To Make Oneself Extremely Unpopular"
Perhaps it is the presence of all those really short tracks with their humorous voices and sundry sound effects but in total, this disc does offer one salient property: it is never pompous or pretentious. The mixture of more conventional pieces (songs, ballads and instrumentals with recognisable melodies, harmonies and rhythms) with surreal scraps of sound, strangely haunting works and all those really short snippets conspire to create one of the more eclectic godspunk collections which I suspect will not please many radio stations but I hope Iím wrong. Note: the sound quality and the production of every work on this collection is very high
- I mean, compare the pieces on this disc to, say, godspunk volume one, two or three. Perhaps technology has advanced significantly since then to enable more people to create professional quality recordings without the necessity of recording studios.
- Babobo - Swanging (Weíre)
This sounds very similar in style to Tirikilatops except now weíre in a reggae groove and (apparently) weíre swanging . . . sorry, I know itís originally written as swanginí but I dislike apocapations intensely. 4/10
- Shaun Robert - Mythology
Odd, fragmented noises behind what might be an acoustic guitar accompanied by squeaks prove our attempts at the avant garde pale into insignificance by comparison. Lost the thread of what Iím doing, he says. You said it, pal . . . but then this suddenly becomes a commentary on recording a piece of sound collage while itís being recorded . . . mirrors against mirrors, wheels within wheels, eclipse over eclipse . . . if you see what I mean. Most of this is extremely quiet, which makes a pleasant change but . . . (sigh) . . . I quickly lose patience with it. 5/10 . . . or is it? It sounds as if a fair amount of time, energy and effort was involved so Iíll play it again . . . now isnít that odd? It wasnít nearly so tedious the second time around. Iíll tell you this as well: it works much better on headphones. 7/10
- Ddong - Rock & Roll Is Never Die
Itís those flaming Japanese cockroaches again! I think Babobo, Tirikilli-whatsit and Ddong are all the same person / people / insects. Right . . . whereís my can of fly spray? 3/10
- Cow - Bomiya
Itís those flaming Japanese cockroaches yet again! I think Babobo, Tirikilli-whatsit, Ddong and Cow are all the same person / people / insects . . . again. I need another can of fly spray, quick. 2/10
- Nil By Nose - Bikini Atoll Beach Party
This is the longest track on here so letís see what they have for us. A recording of a news reporter informing his audience of the events surrounding the nuclear test on Bikini Atoll . . . which sounded really bleak and effective until that flipping drum machine blundered in and utterly ruined the atmosphere. Thatís it, mate, youíve completely spoiled it now
- me perceptive auraís gone for a burton. Christ, doesnít it go on . . . and on? Normally I find this bunch quite interesting but not this time
- sorry, chaps. 2/10
- Sil Pid - Ten Years
I mean, why? Whatís the point? Am I a miserable old git because this irritates me intensely? Probably. I played it again just to make sure . . . no, I was right the first time Ė sorry, chaps. 1/10
- Dimm D3ciple - Theoís Lullaby
This outfit are frequent contributors to godspunk and itís easy to see why: they are rarely bereft of intriguing ideas, not all of which work (in my opinion) but that doesnít matter. Thereís a gentle, whimsical and almost plangent aura to this piece that makes me think of Home Time by Throbbing Gristle . . . which from me is high praise indeed. For my taste this continues for too long without any change to the basic acoustic guitar riff. 5/10. No, itís no good, Iíll have to play this again because I donít think Iím being fair . . . I was right to do so. This, like the piece by Shaun Robert, works better the second time around, especially on headphones. 7/10
- Baby S*** Pad - Cowboy Song
Iím just old enough to remember when the first cassette recorders became commercially available. Drunken dads would record any old bollocks onto the machine theyíd bought for their daughterís 12th birthday to check the machine worked . . . which is what this piece sounds like. 5/10
- Benny Fitfraughd - Epistle To The Bottle
This actually made me laugh out loud - itís so ridiculous yet also highly evocative
- and it proves Iím not always a miserable, grumpy old git . . . just most of the time. 7/10
- Kimchi - Iccccc
Well, sorry if I donít sound very sympathetic, dear, but if you will strip naked and then plant your arse on a plateful of drawing pins, what do you expect? 6/10
- Royal Spud Hair - U.N.I.T.
I will most certainly not say this song is s*** because I dislike swearing and I suspect the other members of the group would disagree with me anyway, Colin Murrell especially. He tends to enjoy many of the tracks I find excessively irritating . . . which leads me to believe it ought to be he who reviews these compilations rather than me since, to be fair, Iím probably not the most appropriate person so to so. ĎAlong with the other songí he sings . . . what other song? Thereís only one piece by Royal Spud Hair on here. Is telling me Iíll Ďsay this song is s***í likely to make me change my mind about it? Actually, I donít believe I have ever dismissed any piece of music on a godspunk album as rubbish simply because I donít happen to like listening to it. Just because I donít like a piece of music, I do not say it is rubbish
- conversely, if I enjoy a piece of music, I donít automatically claim it to be Ďgoodí. I am aware I occasionally enjoy pieces of music (certain avant garde classical works) which I suspect constitute nothing more than wretched examples of sonic doodles risen above their station while I cannot stand Mozart or Wagner even though technically I am aware the music itself is superb. Advice: ignore my comments if they offend you. You canít expect me to like everything, can you? Compensation: some of my comments about certain UNIT tracks weíve contributed over the years have occasionally made the other group members angry so this just proves I really am a grumpy git who spends far too many hours listening to Gentle Giant and Colosseum . . . probably. 1/10
- The Revolutionary Army Of The Nation State Of Dave - National Anthem
It almost takes longer to speak the name of the artist and the track title than it does to play the track which is more muffled voice over sundry percussion . . . with a vaguely African feel. 4/10
- Tirikilatops - Hannom
You what? At 12 seconds this is finished before Iíve even had time to . . . just a minute (or, if you prefer, just 12 seconds) letís listen to this daft stuff again. It sounds like a school girl rapping in Japanese with a kind of hip hop beat underneath
- rather bonkers but strangely appealing. 6/10
- Tirikilatops - Horibochi Fkr.
One of those insects lays on its back while someone tickles it . . . thoroughly daft. Iíve just realised: imagine a whole album of this stuff! Actually, come to think it, no, the more I consider it, the more I realise such a project would be deeply disturbing. 5/10
- Scraps & Peawet - Scraps & Peawet
Psychotic country and western for insects, thatís what this is: a couple of cockroaches decide to give it the Nashville routine. 14 seconds it may be but itís still sufficiently long to irritate this progressive rocker. 4/10
- Scraps & Peawet - Ants In Me House
This reminds me of The Lemon Kittens only . . . er . . . more so. A querulous voice over a sort of fuzzy synthesiser (possibly). Maybe a whole album of this kind of stuff wouldnít be so bad after all. 5/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Another Lizard Is Born
Oh yes, I remember this bunch from previous godspunk collections . . . I preferred their contributions then. This is all too mechanical, machine driven and electronic for my taste but then Iím a Gentle Giant fan so how can you possibly expect an informed opinion from such a sad old bugger? Ugh . . . itís horrible. 3/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Sambucca Revisions
More electronic, mechanical, computerised robot music from a group whose name Tim Jones refused to say on his radio programme although I canít see why. It obviously refers to muscular forearms. Anyway, this drones on and on and makes me want to kill something
- which either proves Iím crap at being a vegetarian or else it means this is music to play to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. 2/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Golden Age
Thereís a definite 1980s vibe to these cats - the mechanical drums and fearful keyboards remind me of the reason I stopped listening to 95% of pop music during the decade when Grange Hill was God. However, thereís part of me that really likes New Order and thatís the part that enjoys this splendid groove. Itís clean, crisp and grinds along nicely such that it is impossible not to dance to it. I wish there were more than just 2 chords though. 8/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Mekanika
Again, while this is clean, crisp and dance friendly, it stays in the same key all the time and quickly becomes tediously repetitive . . . which is a shame because with more chord changes this would be a kicking tune. 5/10
- Dumb Robot Pilot - Space Bug
What? You what? Letís check the track list again . . . no, according to the tray card, this really is Dumb Robot Pilot. Okay then
- guitars, bass guitar and drums - maybe this is what DRP sound like in 1976 whereas the other 2 tracks are DRP recorded circa 1985. Anyway, suddenly, I have far more respect for this bunch because I could never have predicted the creators of
Golden Age and Mekanika could also have produced this slab of rock riffery. I am mightily impressed. I still prefer
Golden Age but only just - this rocks! 7/10
- Bartles - Greetings From Ceausescu
Iím going to assume this grumbling synthesiser shocker is an all out assault on communism because then I can really enjoy it. Musically minimalist, this concentrates on the lyric and it provides a welcome blast of realism amongst all this other stuff, delightful though it may be
- grim, malevolent, sarcastic and strangely haunting. 8/10
- Bartles - Calling All Humans
All right, here we go - if this isnít the very best track on the whole album, Iím a red necked phalarope. Minimal percussion and a truly demented vocal read the riot act to the human race. I imagine a dingo, a
llama or some other lesser known mammal giving humanity their marching orders . . . a mammal in mushroom cloud laying mood, simple, direct and extremely powerful. 10/10
- Bartles - False Face Society Blues / I Cut A Mask
Now, unfortunately, while the vocal is splendid (I wish I had a voice like that) and the lyric is superb
- wildlife and nature takes its revenge on cheap and nasty tourists - the music is almost moronically repetitive, all guitars, bass guitar and drums playing the same riff over and over again. 2/10
- UNIT - Sniffled In World Body Bag
The drums are a bit muffled, arenít they? Also, sorry chaps, but your time keeping is somewhat elastic in places . . . the drums are in time, the bass guitar is in time and the piano is in time . . . but not necessarily with each other . . . yet then, with Colinsí stuff, itís equally possible itís meant to be like that. This is the first time weíve sent a brace of tracks for inclusion on a godspunk in which I am not featured on any of the pieces. This makes it far easier for me to review and, for that matter, listen to . . . because I donít have to endure my feeble wittering scrawny voice or my clumsy keyboard playing . . . so there. 7/10
- UNIT - Iris Watson
Although I wrote the bass guitar and drum parts, Fritz and Colin interpret these in their own manner while Adrian was given a choice: play my charts or invent his own. Iím pleased he invented his own
- theyíre more interesting and inventive than the notes I gave him to play. Note for that bloody Dutch reviewer: the middle section does not go Ďout of timeí
- itís in 5/4 you berk. Still, what can you expect from people who think The Pixies are the best band in the world? 8/10
- UNIT - Chinese Fantasy
Thereís an almost outrageously commercial aspect to Michaelsí music which makes it (to me) highly appealing. This was supposed to be supported by bass guitar and drums but the rest of us persuaded Michael to leave the piece as a piano solo and we were right to do so. However, Michael did ask me to add the birds which, in retrospect, should have been mixed further back so they donít dominate. Sorry
- my fault. You should never leave me unsupervised in charge of bird sounds
- theyíll always be louder than everything else. 7/10
- UNIT - Final Fantasy
I can see why pStan chose to place this after Atrophy - like emerging from a tunnel
- the birds (nightingale, song thrush) were added by me at the request of Michael. I donít like acoustic guitars much but this piece is so Ďnot UNITí that I rather enjoy it. 6/10
- UNIT - Mordecai Watson
Mordecai and Iris are the son and daughter of Ben Watson who presents a regular programme called Late Lunch With Out To Lunch every Wednesday afternoon at 2 pm on Resonance 104.4 FM or, if you have broadband, resonancefm.com. The middle section (in 7/4) just grooves along and it actually sounds like a group enjoying themselves . . . which, with UNIT, is not always the case. Anyway, this and its sister are 2 of my favourite tracks, partly because I donít appear on them! 8/10
- UNIT - Deutschland Du Warst Als Kind Schon Scheisse
Although credited as being by UNIT this is actually a solo performance by Fritz and it is quite simply the best piece we have recorded for many years. There is no programming and there are no computers used here
- the whole piece was played manually on various analogue keyboards. The rhythm track was derived from a bass drum beat put through a fuzz box and played manually on a sampler. The lyric attacks all those German industries owned and run by successful capitalists who were involved in the Hitler Youth or other Nazi groups during world war two. 9/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Girl On The Pink Bicycle
This is one of those 1970s influenced rockers which starts in a certain groove then unexpectedly changes course a third of the way in
- which is one of the many reasons why I often enjoy HitT works. Yet again, pStan gives us an almost painfully acerbic lyric: ĎIím ashamed to share this town with youí. 8/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Transmitting To Earth
HitT generally start with a pop song or a rock anthem and later on, you can be fairly certain thereíll be an avant garde soundscape or (as is the case here) a piece which incorporates voice overs from disparate sources. This (to my mind) is related to
Calling All Humans (lyrically) but reminds me of late period Sun Ra (musically) even though it doesnít actually sound like any Arkestra piece Iíve ever heard. That said, I find the music rather dreary and repetitive even though it is entirely appropriate for the text. 5/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Atrophy
Throbbing Gristle without all the boring bits - Lustmord and The Nocturnal Emissions as they ought to sound. However, thereís nothing old fashioned or retrospective about this (not that thereís anything wrong with music which possesses these qualities) but, like Dumb Robot Pilot,
HitT prove they can rock out with a pop anthem then enter into pure Lemon Kittens / Nurse With Wound territory when required. This is generally quiet and yet contains more menace and malevolence than any amount of Whitehouse tracks you care to name. 9/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Spider Respects Nothing
This is almost film music - soundtrack to a Japanese art film or an anime perhaps. Parts of it are virtually atonal and certainly if you played this to me and asked me to guess the name of the group responsible, I wouldnít have realised it was
HitT. pStan doesnít often write / record purely instrumental tracks which makes this and
Atrophy even more welcome, purely for variety. 7/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - One Eyed God
Christ, weíre into Doctor Who territory until the bass guitar kicks in and then pStan returns with a blistering assault on that chewing gum for eyes known as television. The music ranges from late 1970s rock to 1990s acid rave and God knows where else in between. Because the lyric is relentless in its aggression and the music plays smoothly its complexity is not immediately apparent
- this is usually a sign of quality - after all, we want to appreciate the performance of the machine, not marvel at the diodes and circuitry of which it is comprised. I think the reason some of pStansí lyrics are so effective is because they combine anger and humour
- a potent mixture. 8/10
So there we have it: for me the top 3 tracks are:
- Bartles: Calling All Humans.
- Howl in the Typewriter: Atrophy.
- UNIT: Deutschland Du Warst Als Kind Schon Scheisse.
Now for the revelation. I noted my generally very low marks for nearly all those really short snippets and realised often this represented a reaction to the works based on their presence between longer pieces on the album (I erroneously came to regard them as interruptions rather than works in their own right) rather than for their intrinsic merits and I am aware this reveals a most unfair review . . . so I programmed my computer to play each of these pieces in succession. I recommend virtuoso players of CDs do the same. It works! At least, I didnít find any of these pieces remotely irritating or annoying although I did find the experience somewhat dada! For me the major discovery of the set was Dumb Robot Pilot. I hope they make contributions to future godspunk collections. The work of Shaun Robert also intrigues me. Request: please can the main colour on the next godspunk be a shade of blue, green or purple? Iím hacked off with all these reds and
godspunk volume thirteen
(PUMF 721, 2013 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
(UNIT), October 2013
- John Tree - Not Any More
Regular readers may recall how I frequently acknowledge the technical facility of this chap then damn him to perdition for boring me to distraction with music that is absolutely not the kind of stuff Iíd ever wish to hear. We clearly have very divergent and probably incompatible tastes. However, finally, after all this time, heís created a piece I actually like; I even played it through a second time before I listened to any of the other tracks on this collection. Take Five Or Six, Eyeless In Gaza and a hint of The Shock Headed Peters, when each of these groups are at their most restrained and subtle . . . oh yes, thatís how highly I rate this track . . . which is strange because generally I dislike slow, gentle music and I detest works that stay glued in one key throughout their duration so I really ought to find this tedious - yet I most certainly do not. My one caveat is that it does possess a slight late 1990s droning groove now and then but this may be deliberate - The Chemical Brothers without the dance beat. 8/10
- The Flesheaters - Graveyard Love
The bass guitar is a little too prominent and the vocals are far too quiet - which is a shame because, in the latter instance, much of the humour and impact of this delightful little pastiche of bad taste 1960s pop songs is diminished. I admit I loathe this, not because thereís anything wrong with the music or lyrics but because I simply dislike this kind of idiom. Still, for enthusiasts of this genre, if the vocals were louder in the mix I expect theyíd rate this highly and why not? The performance is crisp and well executed; thereís a hint (perhaps not intentional) of The Fall in the drums and guitar lines but thatís hardly a cause for complaint, is it? 2/10
- Dimm D3ciple - The Prozac Song
I find this slow, dreary, almost moronic dirge with its half speed vocal absolutely horrible. Even at 2 minutes I sat here and suffered! Now, I remember I praised and lauded a goodly number of their previous works which indicates an ability on their behalf to produce pieces which reveal variety and originality - fair enough - but I still detest this - sorry, chaps. Mind you, to be fair: this piece doesnít sound like anything else Iíve ever heard. 1/10
- Shaun Robert - Portal
Thereís a curiously Lemon Kittens mien about this which is high praise indeed - but the first time I played it I found it boring, irritating and tedious, apart from a few seconds here and there where sounds sparkled and glittered among the sonic morass. Intrigued I played it a second time; Iím glad I did. On my second encounter, it reminded me very much of Dome and I wondered how I could possibly have formulated my previous opinion. I can imagine listeners virtually ignoring this as just so much indistinct faffing about before they move onto the next track but believe me, it does merit a second and third hearing. Oh all right, donít believe me then . . . itís your loss. 7/10
- Nil By Nose - Contacting Hassocks
When Whitehouse, Ramleh and Lustmord make their electronic industrial racket, I find them intensely tedious. When The Nocturnal Emissions and Konstruktivists do the same, I find them intriguing and enjoyable. This work suggests the creators have been listening to The Nocturnal Emissions and Konstruktivists. Look, letís not faff about with subtle hints in order to be polite - this work is a bloody racket - but itís an interesting bloody racket. I listened to this again on headphones and here you experience the full impact - this piece is extremely dense with plenty of different sounds and noises quite carefully combined (or at least thatís how it sounds) but it is a more extreme example of the genre and I doubt many other people will find it as diverting as did I. Radio play - hardly - which is a shame because I could respect a DJ brave enough to launch this baby onto the airwaves. 9/10
- The Melodramatic Monkey - The Ritualistic Mating Dance Of The West Highland Terrier & The Fluorescent Floating Human Eyeball
With a Hammond organ, a baritone saxophone, a deep growling bass guitar and a funky drum beat, how could I not immediately turn up the volume and jive around to this groove? Then, 90 seconds in, a flute enters - straight out of a Stax record from 1975. An abrupt change of mood and mode introduces strangely disjointed vocals and a Glaswegian lost soul asking questions in the firmament. When the bass guitar and sampled brass enter underneath this vocalise, the work enters magickal territory. Thereís even a smattering of wah wah guitar for those of you who like that kind of show. However, these apparently retrogressive references to historical idioms fail to impede the ability of this work to sound contemporary and vibrant in an utterly 21st century manner. THIS PIECE IS ABSOLUTELY BLOODY BRILLIANT AND ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH ME IS A BUFFOON. 10/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Dancing Ants
With its strangely ethereal electronic sounds and lilting vocal I ought to enjoy this but I donít - I wonder why that should be then? I think the continual drone in one key is the primary reason this aggravates me so much. Certainly the vocal is the main reason Iím able to listen to this while only becoming slightly homicidal. 3/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Discotheque Repetition
Initially it would be difficult to believe this track was produced by the same creators as those
responsible for Dancing Ants - which in my opinion is a cause for commendation. Unfortunately the constant robotic sampled drum beat, fragmented keyboard and murky vocal, occasionally spiced up with odd metallic percussive effects later in the piece, only irritate me intensely, probably because I dislike repetition of any kind (usually). The sound is clear and crystalline. Perhaps this track might be more effective played in a nightclub or even (ahem) a discotheque. 4/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Memory
After a strangely uncertain 6/8 prelude flavoured with 1980s keyboards we launch into one of those marvellously mutated pop songs with which Howl in the Typewriter have become justifiably associated over the years. Although this is not one of my favourites, one facet of the work generates a question: pStan has contributed 4 or 5 tracks per disc on each collection since 2005 and yet still manages to surprise, intrigue, enrapture, confound, confuse and (occasionally) infuriate me. I suspect it is not possible for this chap to exhaust his store of ideas and creativity. Maybe by godspunk volume twenty-seven heíll start to repeat himself. 7/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - The Things That May Or May Not Be True
Sampled Americans engage in a silly dialogue while pStan plink plonks away on a banjo in the next room . . . until a minute has passed when suddenly weíre flung into 1990s disco mode with utterly no mercy. Then, after 2 and a half minutes, weíre back to that flipping banjo again and weíre treated to a voice which sounds like that chap who spoke over early Psychic TV tracks . . . Christ, this is tedious! 2/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Glass Heart
You know what I said earlier about repetition and pieces which stay in 1 or 2 keys for their entire duration? Well, hereís a slow, plodding dirge which alternates in 4/4 between 2 chords a tone apart . . . again and again for interminable length (or so it seems). The feedback sounds and the bitter, mournful vocal / lyric raise this above total monotony, however. 5/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - (traditional)
Often Iíll mention the names of other groups in my descriptions in order to aid readers who have yet to purchase the disc and thus give them a few musical signposts although these only serve a useful function if those same readers have actually heard of the groups I mention - most of which are rather obscure so I suspect Iíve not succeeded in my attempt. Well, I defy anyone anywhere to name a single group who have produced a work similar to or which sounds like this. The keyboard lines are superb. Nursery rhymes and old fashioned playground tunes and chants are incorporated into a strangely disturbing piece which might be a study of the manner in which the minds of very young children perceive the world - then again I may simply be writing pretentious bollocks. 6/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Your Brain Is aJah
Each Howl in the Typewriter track is separated by only 2 tracks from other groups so pStan is in full effect here, hitting us with a new work every 3 tracks. Unaccompanied vocals in a vaguely 1970s soul funk vibe are occasionally treated with electronic effects but their presence is subtle. Nearly 4 minutes of unaccompanied vocals could be tedious but instead pStan gives us his most effective and impressive work yet (so far as this disc is concerned). You see, this is why so much conventional pop music is so ineffably onerous: how many of them would consider recording a track scored only for solo vocals and manage to do so in a manner that is dramatic, funky and enjoyable? 8/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - The RooHniverse
Someone finds an old reel to reel tape of a third rate hippie combo circa 1972 and tries to reconstruct it without knowing how the music is supposed to sound . . . result: this infernal mess! I like the bass guitar sound but thatís all I like about it. Hawkwind gone horribly wrong . . . or something. Bah, sod it, I give up. 3/10
- Howl in the Typewriter - Howl in the Typewriter in Dereksí Briefcase
At 7 tracks, this just may be the most number of tracks pStan has ever contributed to one of these collections (if you discount the disc on which one of his pieces was split into umpteen short sections). If I had to depict a sonic interpretation of a kaleidoscope then this would be similar to how I would imagine it to sound. That doesnít mean I actually enjoy the experience, of course. Oh, I like the concept - assuming I comprehend it correctly - but somehow the net result induces in me an impression of a track which fails to realise its potential. 4/10
- UNIT - Anthrax
Over the past few years weíve recorded far too many versions of works by other groups. That we should record a new rendition of this is annoying, to say the least. I can appreciate why the others felt it necessary to do so - this certainly reveals more clarity, precision and impact than the previous attempt (on our double album Civil Disobedience issued in early 2012 but recorded late in 2011). However, in my opinion, The Gang Of Four did it better . . . so there. 5/10
- UNIT - White Trash
This is a major remix of another track from Civil Disobedience which I made because it deserves to be heard and heard in its proper glory. It is one of the best ballads Iíve ever written (despite - or perhaps because - of the 1970s groove) but (sigh) why do I so often achieve such attainments only when Iím being thoroughly nasty about other people? In case any of the recipients (Garlen Lo, Thanh Trung Nguyen, Wong Yit Sinh, Luc Tran or UJ) wish to come round to our houses to beat us up, I admit (after 2 years) that this is not really a proper UNIT piece since every instrument and vocal is performed by me - no other member of the group appears on this piece. 10/10
- UNIT - Eric Cooper
This is the same track which appears on our album The Workshop from 2012. Weíve included it here because Ben Watson of Late Lunch With Out To Lunch (Resonance 104.4 fm) featured it on his programme and we were intrigued not only by his comments but also by the strange remix that occurred as a result of being converted into an mp3 file and then broadcast from a minidisc or some other modern technological gubbins beyond my comprehension. Cooper was the lad who adopted me into his gang when I was 13 at school; he taught me to respect myself, to believe in my abilities and to apply my brain to the discipline of self education and body to the rigours of unarmed combat lessons (which usually simply meant he battered me every Saturday). If I had not met him, if he had never bothered to take an interest in me then it is absolutely no exaggeration to state that I would never have become a writer or a musician and nobody would read my books or listen to my music. I owe him virtually everything and it is beyond my ability to repay him for what he did for me. This instrumental is my musical depiction of his character. That said, he deserves a superior work to this 1970s rifferama but then his favourite bands were The Stranglers and Judas Priest so Iím allowed to be somewhat insulting, arenít I? 6/10
- UNIT - Shells & Stars
In December 2012 we performed a live session for Resonance and we were absolutely abysmal. It ranks as the very worst live performance we have ever given. A group of teenage grime rappers were meant to perform with us but we were asked to play earlier than planned and they were slightly late so the collaboration was postponed. After they arrived, they recorded 3 numbers with us for use on their own programme called Sick Notes. To date, Iíve not been able to obtain the other 2 tracks. Evan Scherer plays the bass guitar on this because Fritz wasnít able to leave Germany in time for the performance. This is the weakest of the trio of tracks we recorded with the lads (in my opinion) but at least it displays our ability (limited by unfamiliarity with the genre involved) to engage with an idiom previously unexplored by the group. I retained the Resonance jingle at the end because I like it. 4/10
- UNIT - Friends
We recorded an account of this way back in 2010 for the album Facta Non Verba but it was a bit of a mess so we revisited the ballad to see if we could improve it. Well, yes, we did although the tempo is a little too fast. That said, I am justifiably proud of this piece with its memorable melody, adventurous harmonic progressions and crisp playing. My singing is a little ragged (no change there then) but I found this almost impossible to sing without crying. I find this almost unbearable to hear now, primarily because the lyric is agonisingly honest. 9/10
Postscript: when I went to the studio in October to record a few more tracks with Fritz and Colin for the next album, I looked at the collection of godspunk albums Fred Baggs (the engineer and owner of Redchurch Studio where we record nearly all our works) keeps on his shelf and as I looked through them all I realised just how many different groups and individuals have appeared on these collections since 2005. I definitely mourn the absence of LDB and the taurus board from the discs. However, their departure has been compensated by new arrivals of equal (if rather different) content and quality. The later editions seem to veer slightly away from the more aggressively avant garde soundscapes I tended to enjoy so perhaps our next contributions will venture into that territory for the next edition . . . then again maybe Iíll just write another brace of miserable depressing pop songs and Hammond organ driven instrumentals in 7/4 time et cetera. However, look at what these compilations do: they serve as an excellent advertisement for truly independent pop music and alternative sonic creativity in a nation drenched in corporate mediocrity. For this reason alone, anyone who hasnít purchased any volumes of godspunk yet should surely do
godspunk volume twelve
(PUMF 707, 2013 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
(UNIT), February 2013
- Howl In The Typewriter
BUGGERY BOLLOCKS but this is so groovy, so superbly performed and so deftly produced that I know itís going to make our track sound messy and miserably mediocre by comparison. Crystal clarity in the production, dexterous finesse in the playing, a funky break-beat rhythm, a memorable tune and an extremely clever lyric make this beyond all possible doubt the very best track HitT have ever done
- it is utterly brilliant. So much for that tedious old maxim that claims a pop group generally exhaust all their best ideas within the first 3 years of their career. I also enjoy the topical Jimmy Savile reference! 10/10.
- UNIT - Martinís Gone
In the same key as Sanitised which helps - possibly. See? Although this track sparkles, itís still murky compared with the pristine production of the previous track which glitters whereas this just glares. God knows who Sector 27 were but Luc Tran found this single in a junk shop and played it to me. It had a picture of a teenage boy in brief shorts on the front so he thought Iíd be interested in it
- bah, sod that - but, without realising it, he provided me with ammunition for a lyric directed at what he and Richard would do to me barely 3 months later. I could have written new music but it seemed appropriate to cover the song fairly faithfully since we were technically able to do so. Iíve not altered any of the words except for the names although the song title is actually called Martinís Gone. 7/10.
- John Tree - Samba Savarah Ft Veronneau
Hello, itís Xavier Cougat without his orchestra together with an arrangement by Edmundo Ross of a traditional Brazilian folk song
- or else itís Mr Tree proving once again that heís a master of pastiche while still able to present music that bears a highly distinctive voice of its own. Yes, I do enjoy this
- itís Latin exotica gone wrong in all the right ways. 7/10.
- UNIT - Male Slag
Well, itís certainly a contrast to Mr Tree but thatís not necessarily a compliment. Decent lyric, shame about the music. Why ever did we record this hoary old tosh? At least we used a Hammond organ and no guitars which is probably its only saving grace other than clarity of the production and decent performance. 5/10.
- Datasí Cat - Squid Bullets
Ah - a flute - any track that uses a flute (or indeed any woodwind instrument) is liable to receive commendation from me. Although this has an excellent break beat, it desperately cries out for a bass guitar and a chord change or two. The combination of marimba and wah wah guitar shouldnít work
- but they do. Oh, right, so there is a bass guitar after all - now thatís more like it. Aye, this is pretty damned fine or at least it promises to be so. The sudden interruption of a flamenco style guitar is groovy even though I donít like guitars. Mind you, ultimately I still find myself waiting for the main event to happen even when it goes all heavy metal and Rammstein on us. Itís a fairly groovy instrumental all the same
- Iíd just like a little something extra . . .God knows what. 7/10.
- Nil By Nose - These Sounds
Christ, this is irritating - or is it? Letís listen to it again. No, I was right the first time
- it IS irritating but Iím not certain why. Perhaps itís because the track sounds like an introduction to a piece that never appears. Thatís how it sounds to me at least but then Iíve been listening to classical music for the past 5 months so what the hell do I know about anything? The production is superb, clear and precise. 4/10.
- UNIT - Subhuman Debris
Look, we recorded this because it was requested by a pal of ours but honestly, this sounds so woefully old fashioned and outdated now. The lyric is trite and the music is simply silly. Why waste time playing punk rock when there are punk bands who do this kind of crap all day and probably better than we do? 3/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - A Short Unprepared Speech
Oh right, here we go - Death In June meets Hawkwind. I reckon HitT are the only outfit who are even more bonkers than we are. A creepy taped voice doesnít help proceedings either. Ugh. 3/10.
- Dimm D3ciple - The Wiring
Well, this is bloody boring as well - a crisply smooth, slow drum beat that needs a decent musical companion but all it receives is some grotty synthesiser and a tape of Stephen Hawking wittering over the top. I have always maintained that Hawking is an arse-hole and this gives me no reason to alter my opinion. I reckon Iím just peeved because normally this bunch provide tracks I tend to enjoy
- but this time unfortunately. 3/10.
- UNIT - Why Russians Rarely Smile
One of my cleverest lyrics - the facts about Russian are all correct, by the way
- set to ridiculously 1980s music that should have been cremated and promptly forgotten. Instead we go into a studio in 2012 and record it. I have managed to subvert the original arrangement and remove most of the punk elements but it isnít convincing. My feeble vocal doesnít help either. 4/10.
- XxiiJ - Loss
Top marks for the most enigmatic name for a band / artist ever. This reminds me very strongly of Dome (the outfit created by Graham and Lewis of Wire) combined with Five Or Six plus an element of Throbbing Gristle during one of their more restrained moments
- yet it doesnít sound 1980s - on the contrary it brings industrial music firmly into the 21st century
- but do we want industrial music in the 21st century? Yes, when itís like this. The entrance of the piano is highly disturbing. Minor caveat: once the rhythmic pulse commences
- staying in the same key for far too long - some of the dramatic impact is diminished but this is still highly effective . . . until the final 40 seconds or so when we a curiously contrived cut-up reggae music intervenes and ruins the atmosphere! That said, this is still one of the most exciting contributions to godspunk in quite a while. 8/10.
- UNIT - For Nick Wong
Now this is 1 of 3 tracks written by Evan Scherer, our American guest so perhaps I shouldnít be too unkind and, after all, it was my idea for us to record his pieces. The trouble is, we are not a punk band
- as you can hear. 4/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Dereksí Briefcase
This is so Nurse With Wound itís almost surreal. A curiously contrived collage of words, taped speech from various sources plus occasional musical interludes
- more flamenco guitar - comprise a piece that is occasionally irritating, often inspired but never boring. A lot of work and effort has gone into this. 6/10.
- Nil By Nose - Take It Easy Guys
I canít comprehend what this outfit are trying to do - well, maybe Iím too concerned with musical structures and a recognisable idiomatic language to appreciate these whimsical interlude (which may not be intended as a whimsical interlude at all, of course) but indistinct sampled voices and synthesiser sounds rarely impress me. 2/10.
- UNIT - Vita Odiosa
So, after being viciously unkind about Nil By Nose, we ought to provide music that justifies such dismissal of somebody elsesí work
- you know, I can be rude about other peoplesí tracks because hereís what WE can do. The trouble is, this sounds like an experiment which failed
- probably because itís an experiment which failed. 3/10.
- Datasí Cat - Pipe, Slippers & A Basket Of Flute
What a superb title! I find this a little repetitive at first but then the flute enters and I can forgive almost any impertinence. Iíd love to do some recording with the chap who plays the flute on this
- since UJ left UNIT I do miss his flute playing but this is a more jazz inflected style that I find extremely satisfying. Once the bass guitar and drums kick in properly, this piece really rocks but in a strangely funk influenced manner
- Ian Anderson goes to Stax. 8/10. Just a moment, letís hear this track all over again. No, itís much better than that. 10/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Fishman
Oh come on, Stan, get it together, pal, what are you playing at? Youíve gone all folk on our arses and Iím not impressed. This does reveal one aspect: anyone who tries to predict what HitT will do next is on a hiding to nothing. The production is clear and precise but Iíve never liked acoustic guitars. This is compensated by the inclusion of childrensí voices now and then. When I hear this I think of Ringo Starr which probably isnít too healthy either. 5/10.
- UNIT - Nimbis Tonantibus
All these Latin titles are by Evan, incidentally - he speaks fluent Latin and Greek, you see. Well heís an archaeology student, after all. So itís a pity what Iíve done to his music isnít as effective as I intended it to be. No, Iíve certainly not done him any favours on these tracks. Sorry, Evan. 3/10.
- The Large Veiny Members - Sans Moi
Drum machine + synthesiser bleeps + vocal en Francaise = unavoidable comparison with Mťtal Urbain. If the music itself was more interesting, i.e. it didnít stay in the same wretched key all the way through, I could begin to enjoy this far more than is actually the case. That said, it is highly memorable and it does possess a kind of relentless aggression I find appealing. 6/10.
- UNIT - BBC Bastards
Isnít it rather churlish to write a track called British Born Chinese Bastards which is obviously directed at Luc and Richard and then place it in a public forum? Yes it is. Do I care? Not at all. Does that mean Iím a nasty little cunt? Yes it does. Do I care? Not at all. Is this music a profoundly failed attempt to turn hardcore punk rock into something more interesting? Yes it is. Do I care? Well, er, yes actually
- because godspunk compilations merit better tracks than this. 4/10.
- The Flesheaters - Letís Eat Rotting Flesh
Why do I find sampled voices so annoying? I donít know - but I do. However, the other components of this strangely unpleasant track are rather enjoyable in a 1960s Mondo soundtrack manner. Thereís more beefy (groan) power here than is to be found in our previous 5 tracks
- a lesson to be learned maybe. Complaint: if youíre going to include a vocal then turn it up so we can hear it properly! This needs a Hammond organ. 7/10.
- UNIT - Conspiracy
My only vaguely successful attempt at hardcore punk rock which I wrote for Pete Williams shortly after the Earthsí crust cooled. We recorded this because we were asked to do so. Itís okay I suppose but it sounds so old fashioned and out dated now. 5/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Nightmare Of Childhood
I can definitely relate to the title of this piece. The metal percussion is effective but that sampled voice can bugger off for a start. What a miserable old cow! Okay so sheís right but I demand the luxury of being able to live in my deluded fantasy in which I retain the youthful ability to rock and roll until I die, thanks. 4/10.
- Stevan Barnes - F You
If XxiiJ provides the most enigmatic name for a person or group on godspunk then Stevan Barnes provides the most prosaic. What we have here is an example of musical minimalism that serves to exaggerate the vicious brutality of the lyric
- harmony backing vocals, a sneering lead vocal (that ought to be a little louder) over the most basic percussion of bass drum and tambourine doesnít sound as if it promises much but actually this has more power and intensity than any of our feeble attempts at raucous noise. 8/10.
- UNIT - Go Ahead
Colin Murrell and Fabian Fritze each possess virtually the entire recorded works of Wire. Even I possess all the studio works from 1977 to 2002 and many of the live tracks
- so maybe it was only a matter of time before we recorded a cover of one of their works. This was originally the Ďbí side of Map Ref 41įN 93įW but Iíve wanted to record a rendition of this for many years and finally I was able to do so, with assistance from my pals and Evan taking the part of the record company executive. This is one of our better efforts although itís a pity the piece continually speeds up all the way through. The viola playing is a little rough but it makes a pleasant change from tedious old electric guitars at least. 7/10.
- Nil By Nose - Balloc
Easily their best contribution on here as far as Iím concerned. This is deeply disturbing and reminds me of Ampnoise by Dome
- a grumbling, malevolent, nightmare noise that has all the best elements of a science fiction soundtrack minus the histrionics associated with the genre
- actually, this is so good Iím going to play it again. Yes, I was right to do so. 9/10.
- UNIT - A Song For Eric Cooper
Yes, all right, I KNOW there are 5 verses included in the CD booklet but only 4 are sung on this version, well, thatís because this was an early rendition of it
- I considered it complete at the time but on subsequent plays I realised it required a central verse to add strength to the lyric. We recorded it again and included it on our album, The Workshop. However, this version is too good to go to waste so we submitted it here. Anyway, this is easily the best UNIT track on the collection and it is only marginally spoiled by my weak, feeble voice. I wish I had one of those powerful, full bodied voices that sound good when recorded
- but I donít. I sound like a homosexual crow with influenza. Buggery
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Fishman In Dereksí Briefcase
Remember ĎHometimeí by Throbbing Gristle? Thatís what this reminds me of
- only this is far more interesting. The conversation between Stan and that child is utterly superb. The very subtle, minimal accompaniment (primarily disjointed sounds) provides the most appropriate context for the almost painful innocence of the conversation. The piece is apparently only 2 minutes long but itís followed by a long tribute to John Cage
- I cheated and moved the cursor forward because I know what silence sounds like
- then we have some Yankee chap telling us how much he loves godspunk volume eleven
- quite right too. 8/10.
These are the best 7 tracks on the compilation in my biased and thoroughly unreliable
- Howl In The Typewriter Ė Sanitised
- XxiiJ Ė Loss
- Datasí Cat Ė Pipe, Slippers & A Basket Of Flute
- Stevan Barnes Ė F You
- Nil By Nose Ė Balloc
- UNIT Ė A Song For Eric Cooper
- Howl In The Typewriter Ė The Fishman In Dereksí Briefcase
If I had to pick just 3 from that set Ė itíd be Sanitised, A Basket Of Flute and
Balloc Ė so there. Meanwhile, whatís the significance of the warning Ďtheyíre coming to get you, Barbaraí hidden on the inner spine of the tray
- Review by John Tree, February 2013
Right, well I've decided to put pen to paper . . . or to be more exact, finger to keyboard, write a review of godspunk volume twelve. This review has been re-written six times, I keep listening to the tunes and reassessing them each time. I've taken a leaf out of UNIT's book, going to rate each contribution. Each score is a combination of subjective reaction moderated by how close I think they got to their objectives.
The godspunk series is a collaborative effort, each contributor paying towards the CDs manufacture, getting a full page in the booklet, and receiving a number of copies back. It's a bit of an open-door policy so it is strong on community, perhaps patchier on quality control, but it is a great vehicle for people nonetheless. It could be argued that in these days of online self-publishing it is becoming less important to have physical product out there, but it still feels more real when on a proper CD . . . vinyl more so.
There is such a dizzying array of styles on these comps, there is always something for everyone to both love, hate, and be indifferent about . . . although there does seem to be a lot of ambient noise stuff this time round. The main challenge is adjusting your viewpoint to embrace such different approaches on the one album. Not an easy thing to do. Anyone who feels misunderstood, feel free to put the record straight!
Firstly, it's good to see the comp creator and major contributor pStan Batcow has found another Blackpool-based clown for the cover, and my own particular macabre favourite from the Pleasure Beach.
HOWL IN THE TYPEWRITER
I've known and worked with pStan for over a decade now. I have much respect for him, but still have no idea where he is coming from musically, but I can usually spot his style instantly. This is a compliment.
- Sanitised ****
Blimey, he's gone pop. I do like the silliness of this, ebullient, uplifting, but he can't resist peppering it with punk sensibilities in the lyrics. 'I know how to appreciate a fine sunrise / and how to put a bullet right between your eyes'. Hmmmm. It's a densely packed tune with many twists, turns, and surprises. Absurd, silly, intricately constructed, and quite fun.
- A Short Unprepared Speech ***
An exercise in noise. Slightly dissonant synth washes, obtuse plodding percussion, claustrophobic atmospheres. Sinister spoken word. huh? Hnnnnng very Howl
- Derek's Briefcase ***
More Howlisms here, and touches of Negativland. A collage of apparently unrelated sounds. Voice sound bytes looped. Spoken phrases pasted cheek by jowl. Bits of fractured acoustic guitar. Reverse loops. Stereo pans. Shades of White Album Number 9. Do I like it? Biting my face off.
- The Fishman ****
A song. Acoustic guitar, animal skin percussion. Another dose of surrealism in the lyrics. Kids brighten up the proceedings. I AM THE FISHMAN! Memorable.
- The Nightmare of Childhood ***
Blimey, where to start here? Squelchy synth and junk percussion. A sardonic ode to turning old. Gulp, nearly there! Sign me up for euthanasia.
- The Fishman in Derek's Briefcase **
Kid talk. Cut and paste stuff from before. Amusing for the live interactions but will it stand repeat listens?
UNIT have been major contributors to godspunk from very early on. In many ways, their approach is so far over the other end of the spectrum from myself that I personally find them difficult to access. Their sound is initially awkward and jarring, but they have an endearing quality somehow, like a post-punk Bonzo's. I guess it's something to do with being honest. There is something very 'in your face' about UNIT, hard to ignore. They talk of many changes in the band, but it's probably to Andy Martin's credit that they still sound very much the same . . . although the drums seem to have tightened up considerably, which I personally find a big plus.
- Martin's Gone ***
Tuned percussion, punk drums, growling bass. Very quirky post-punk but with a traditional construction, verse/chorus/verse etc. . . . but it seems to me the lyrics are main purpose to their tunes, which in this case, seems to be all about the changes in the band.
- Male Slag ***1/2
As I said, the main purpose to these tunes seems to be about the meaning.
- Subhuman Debris **
Sore Throat territory. Revenge tune on an enemy. I'm not keen on this, but that ain't the point.
- Why Russians Rarely Smile **
Silly xenophobic lyrics. Fuzzed guitars, galloping tempo, chaotic morse code.
- For Nick Wong **1/2
Similar instrumentation and feel to previous tune Why Russians Rarely Smile, but with the benefit of no lyrics.
- Vita Odiosa **
More post punk scratchings. Mine's a pint.
- Nimbis Tonantibus **
More post punk scratchings. Another pint please.
- BBC Bastards ***
Is that really Tony Iommi on guitar? Blimey, I'm impressed . . . add a star, in spite of the fact that I could quite happily live the rest of my life never having to sit through another guitar solo.
- Conspiracy ***
More grungy songs of bitterness and revenge. Grunge, screech. Add a star for the excellent line 'well I prefer mathematics to sex any day, baby'.
- Go Ahead ***
A blunt attack on the music biz. Kind of hits the target.
- A Song For Eric Cooper ****
A touching ode to a school friend. Again, I was more impressed with this once I realised the confessional nature of the lyrics.
- Samba Savarah ft Veronneau (John Tree's Full Brazilian Remix) ****
I had a mess with the stem tracks from this tune from the second album of US bossa/jazz band Veronneau. Wanted to see if I could transform a bossa nova, which was basically an acoustic guitar led song to something more attuned to samba, which is closer to home for me. Quite pleased with the result although others, including the target audience for this CD, may find it bland.
Another regular contributor to godspunk under various aliases, he usually hits the mark for me.
- Squid Bullets ****
This has a really good feel, can't quite work out if it's samples mixed with live playing, but it's right up my street. It's a style butterfly that flits from a funky lick, bringing in tuned percussion before changing to a flamencoish section, before entering Grunge St. Disorienting.
- Pipe, Slippers, and a Basket of Flute ****
Still life parody for the title. Nice and funky . . . percussive scraped guitar, piano stabs, and taut gritty flute leads into darabouka and breathy melody line. Groovy!
NIL BY NOSE
Dull Bedsit Blogger's alter ego has had varied output, always interesting in a sparky, intelligent, occasionally sarcastic kinda way. Here, his output turns its back on amusingly edgy tunes for the murky realm of ambient noise. YouTube parody graphic is cool.
- These Sounds****
Takes a leaf out of Howl in the Typewriter's book from the previous godspunk volume eleven, and samples the redneck YouTube blogger 'Wakey420' to reflect back at him in abstract form. Added a star for this nice concept.
- Take it Easy Guys Oomba Goomba**
Short dreamy atmospheric ping pong non-event.
- Balloc (Remixed by 1001101000)**1/2
Longer dreamy atmospheric ping pong semi-event.
LARGE VEINY MEMBERS
- Sans Moi ***
Nil By Nose's other hat. Droning backing of synths and drums squelchy synth overlays . . . and a frenchman talking . . . about? If I could understand the words I might not say it overstayed it's five and a half minute duration, as it stands, the sound of his voice begins to annoy after a bit.
DD is now a familiar contributor to godspunk, and to his credit, his varied output is never predictable.
- Fear Nothing **1/2
Keyboard sounds have promise, but needs more treatment to escape the slightly plodding clinical feel. Interesting text-to-speech Steven Hawking style shaman monologue adds metaphysical interest. Judging from his previous contributions, could have been better, but a laudable stab.
- Loss ****1/2
Wow, where do I start here? This one caught me completely by surprise. Another dreamy noisescape, there do seem to be a fair few on this album, but this one has real beauty to these ears. Totally unhurried throughout it's unnervingly exact six minutes, a haunting backdrop with glitchy sounds in sharp relief. Muted and breathy monotonic flute [plumber's pipe?], rhythmic elements lumber in . . . bass, piano stabs . . . a real and tangible soundscape. Mournful and slightly menacing. I suspect this beautifully produced piece will withstand many listens. Nice graphic too.
- Let's Eat Rotting Flesh ***1/2
The drummer, Ging, I've known for some years. Don't think I know Wakey.
We are in Cramps territory for this ghoulish romp. Low-slung bass and Link Wray style guitar, trashy drums. Heavily processed vocals are hard to discern . . . very Lux Interior, but I like it.
- F You ****1/2
Sparse percussion and harmonies form the backdrop for this claustrophobic, sexually charged vocal delivery. Creepy, yes, but that's exactly what it intends to
godspunk volume eleven
(PUMF 693, 2012 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
More bloody clowns - I hate clowns! No, the real reason Iím irritated is because the taurus board are absent from this edition
- YOU ROTTEN BASTARDS! Come on, own up, whatíve you done with them?
- Laszlo Klemke - Le Treizieme
Weíre in that basement cafe again somewhere in eastern Europe, circa 1965. Harmonica, guitar, bass and subtle percussion while we sip Pernod and swap military secrets under the table. Highly evocative stuff. 7/10
- Dataís Cat - Game Over (Life On Venus)
What an absolutely SUPERB BASS GUITAR sound and what absolutely SUPERB BASS GUITAR PLAYING! This is what weíve been trying to do in UNIT for about 3 years and these cats show us how it should be done. My God, I wasnít prepared for this. The slight rave inflections combined with acoustic instrument interludes shouldnít work but they do. I could do without that hippie 1960s lead guitar twiddly dee but perhaps Iím just being obnoxious? Well, it wouldnít be the first time, would it? This piece contains stylistic elements from the 1960s, 1970s and 1990s (yes, well they can be forgiven for by-passing the 1980s after all) and is very clever indeed. Iím going to try hard to have this played on Resonance FM because it deserves wider recognition. 9/10
- Dimm D3ciple - Boogie Monster
Jazz Funk Greats era Throbbing Gristle inflect this strange piece. The trouble is, unlike TG, this begins to irritate me really soon after it starts. Itís only a matter of musical preference
- in fact this is a subtle hybrid of horrorshow soundtrack and humour whose emptiness and only occasional loud moments paint a sonic picture that does conjure up how a honey monster would look if youíd taken an industrial dose of LSD25. Hmm . . . 5/10
- Spycore - Industrial Espionage
One of the customers from that eastern European cafe suddenly dashes for the door, perhaps to reach the 21st century before the CIA or KGB catch him. Er, at 11 seconds long, maybe itís a little too brief? 7/10
- Kunzysteem - Brighter Than Light
This is a track by Five Or Six that was lost in the archives - early 1980s feel to this and thatís not a criticism. The vocal sound is murky when it should be sharp and in your face, i.e. brighter than light, especially since it is sung very well indeed. The subtle keyboard / synthesiser warbling is sufficiently disciplined to prevent it being the sonic mess that can often result from such tomfoolery
- here it works. Quietly mysterious and highly effective. 8/10
- Englandz Glory - Burning Bright
Itís about time someone did the reggae routine - I thought it was going to be us but this bunch have beaten us to it. Personally Iíd have that bass a little louder but my main criticism is the murky, indistinct sound of the vocal line. This is unfortunate because in every other respect this is a mighty fine track, mutant reggae that hurls an early 1980s sensibility into a 2000s era sound-world
- sorry, that sounds rather NME pretentious pen pushing piffle but you know what I mean. 6/10
- The Johnny Lieberbaum Pops Orchestra - Shameless Love
The Radio 2 track title and group name provide only a partial clue to the gentle (pleasantly naive) simplicity of this splendid track. Itís easy listening, certainly, but heard in the context of this collection, it is superb. It reminds me of Ronald Binge or the kind of music you might have heard while the test card was on the television (so of course most people reading this wonít be old enough to remember when television programmes never started until the early afternoon or have any idea what a test card actually is). Thereís nothing pretentious about this
- it quite shamelessly says Ďhereís a gentle, pleasant piece of music for youí and if I failed to hear the secret, subliminal vocal underneath that urges us all to tear out the livers of prepubescent children while we invoke Satan then I do apologise. The artwork in the booklet is clever too. 8/10
- The Glue Machine - Positive
My God, itís 1981 again! I didnít think people still recorded music like this. This is strongly reminiscent of Exhibit A or the superior examples of bedroom recorded cassette albums that people used to send to each other at that time. The recording quality is crisp and clear which means we can hear that delightfully cynical lyric. 6/10
- The Earls Of Monte Cristo - Howling In The Canyon
I really donít like music of this genre - which is a pity because itís performed superbly. Actually this seems to me like a cattle ranching deep south of America Budweiser and Marlboro variant of the Laszlo Klemke experience. Why? Iíve no idea
- maybe after reviewing 10 previous editions of these bizarre compilations, Iíve finally started to go bonkers. 4/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Narwhal
Oh Christ, this is HORRIBLE! Bloody hell, itís so IRRITATING! I do like the plaintively sung vocal but it should be much louder in the mix. Dear God, doesnít this go ON and ON and ON? Squeaky synths burble away in fractured fragments way over there somewhere. This is why I have probably begun to go a bit bonkers, you see? 2/10
- The Large Veiny Members - Yeti
So after theyíve trashed that poor narwhal, letís see what they inflict upon a yeti. Well, this is a damned sight better than the previous track. Iíd like that really deep synth line to be a little louder but this does come on like a pop song that someone has pulled to pieces before selecting a few scraps which theyíve reconstructed wrongly: in other words itís quite interesting and enjoyable. 6/10
- Nil By Nose Ė Douchebag
Look, will someone please tell me, what exactly IS a douchebag? On the other hand, no, perhaps Iíd rather you didnít
- Iím still drinking my tea and only just finished my salad. Oh, right, I see what a douchebag is now thanks to that taped voice. This is really unpleasant, it simply oozes out of the speakers and drips all over your laptop. Thereís a distinct Throbbing Gristle element to this which can only ever be regarded as a compliment coming from me of course. Very synthesiser driven but whatís wrong with that? Nothing! 7/10
- Nil By Nose - So Long, Thanks For All The Masks
Cabaret Voltaire on mescaline - more American taped voices - very strange, rhythm machine and synth driven dance track that I find slightly tedious after a couple of minutes. Yes, it really does go on far too long for its content which is a pity because the actual track is decent enough. 5/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - 2012
What an oddly plangent start to the disc - acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and plaintive voices. I didnít realise Howl in the Typewriter played music like this. There are at least 4 different musical elements here jigsawed together into a composite whole. This is definitely not my kind of music but the sheer energy and effort required to produce a five minute work that contains this many changes in this many styles on this many instruments must have been formidable. Iíd prefer the vocals to have mixed a little louder since pStansí lyrics are usually worth hearing. 5/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Cheeseburger Eating American
It is a really strange experience to hear my drum machine programme used on a track by a different outfit and in a totally different context. The music is fairly low-key and repetitive but this is fully justified because it enables you to concentrate your rapt attention on this fat greasy moron of a radio presenter who you just know genuinely believes Aerosmith and Bon Jovi represent the zenith of western pop music. He advises pStan to listen to The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, The Pink Floyd and The Kinks
- er, excuse me, but didnít something happen in music around 1976 sometime? Wasnít there some sort of cultural revolution during the 1990s as well? I can understand why someone who likes the groups mentioned above would not enjoy most of the music on a godspunk disc BUT he then suggests it couldnít have taken much time or effort to create and compile the disc. Not only is this deeply offensive to every contributor but it also reveals the crass ignorance of the speaker
- you see (for example) I detest most country and western music but I accept that it requires a high level of musical ability and that it takes considerable time and effort to produce a top of the range C&W album. This chap is saying that because he doesnít personally enjoy the kind of music on the disc that therefore it canít have taken much time and effort to produce. How is it possible for such people to exist in a world that has discovered penicillin? 6/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - Chewed By Badgers
Any track with BADGERS in the title is going to be awarded one point immediately. This is another jigsaw track only here its disparate elements are shoved up against each other whether they like it or not
- usually they do not. This is a rave track designed to break the legs and fracture the ankles of everyone on the dancefloor. Mozart receives a right bashing, too, which is always a good sign. Just as this begins to become irritating it slams to a swift conclusion. It should be placed on a loop and played to that cheeseburger eating American ALL DAY EVERY DAY until he finally does the world a favour and DIES. 7/10
- Howl In The Typewriter - When I Was A Little Boy
Drums - lots of drums - and then some - plus a Slade sample. Of course, the fact I recognise the sample shows what a severely sad bastard I am, doesnít it? Oh I see now
- various old songs sampled from the 1970s as sonic snapshots of childhood, all set to a drum machine. Iím not sure how much of this I can take
- especially since I recognise far too many of them - Gary Glitter was always good fun of course
- well, unless you were a little girl I suppose. This all reminds me why so much of the 1970s was sheer hell for people of my generation (I was born in 1966 in case you wonder). The section where Captain Pugwash, Monty Python and Tiger Feet by Suzi Quatro are all superimposed on each other is easily the most effective. The Sweet
- yes and what a bunch of bastards they were as well. Creeps. Splink and Smash, yes I remember those adverts, too. Trumpton, Camberwick Green and The Magic Roundabout all appear, too
- childrensí programmes underneath Gary Glitter - naughty naughty! Oh God, bloody T Rex
- Marc Bolan: the best thing that sod ever did was die. His greatest hit was a tree. 4/10
- UNIT - Giving It Large
Yes, I was right to send this as a contribution. It fits the compilation superbly and provides a slice of pristine pop subverted by its ridiculous lyric. Now both Luc Tran and Richard Wong have left UNIT I shudder at the prospect of trying to maintain the high musical standards they set, especially with my feeble technical ability. The only problem with this piece is that my singing isnít as good as the musicians who accompany it. If this was sung by a man or woman with a really clear, smooth yet powerful voice, itíd be brilliant
- but it isnít so itís not. 8/10
- UNIT - The East Is Red
What a superb (but far too short) rendition of this Maoist tune! As you can tell, I had nothing to do with this which is presumably why it sounds so grand. The bass guitar sound is slightly odd but that caveat aside, I still find this highly enjoyable. 8/10
- UNIT - The Chinese Boy
I know what the original pieces of music sound like so to hear what Luc has done is slightly bizarre. It is effective since heís managed to include a couple of studio sound-checks not intended to be kept. It features the work of new member Fabian Fritze most effectively as well. The trouble is, now Luc and Richard have gone, I find this piece with the youthful vitality of those Chinese melodies almost unbearably sad. The playing is a little ragged here and there but again, I had nothing to do with this
- it would no doubt have been worse had I been involved! 7/10
- UNIT - The Sword Of Erin
This is preposterous and yet I really like it - Luc on no less than 7 overdubbed vibraphones. Daft I call it. Again, I struggle even to listen to this
- Iíve known Luc since 2003, heís been on every album since Rock In Opposition Phase 1 (2005) and this is one of the last pieces he recorded for us. Obviously other listeners will be able to enjoy this work (hopefully) as he intended it to be heard. 9/10
- UNIT - My Parents . . .
I realise that in the booklet Richard Wong forgot to credit the chap who played the viola
- namely himself! He omitted to mention that Luc plays a Casio VL Tone toward the end, too. Such a magnificent slab of 1980s technology must never be forgotten! I also realise why I rarely play guitar on our records
- because Iím so woefully inept. No wonder UJ suggested the prodigious use of flange and delay pedals to disguise my technical limitations. As for the content
- sorry, thereís nothing I can say about it. If the vocal sounds ragged, well, for once I have an excuse: it took seven attempts before I could complete one without breaking down in tears. To follow this harrowing account with
When I Was A Little Boy was a nice touch. That said, I suspect
godspunk is perhaps not the place for such a deeply personal number as this
- then again, maybe it is. 7/10
Summary - for the first time since (I canít remember) there isnít an all out mind blowing pure pop anthem by Howl In The Typewriter and the absence of the taurus board doesnít assist matters either. However, the almost continuously high quality in both musical ability and production from every contributor marks this as another largely successful venture into the realms of independent music with which Pumf is
godspunk volume ten
(PUMF 686, 2011 - click to buy)
- Review by Wong Yit Sinh & Andy Martin
Okay then - me (thatís Richard Wong) & Andy Martin sat here, Saturday afternoon, 2nd July, to review godspunk volume ten. UJ never reviews these things coz he reckons heíd be too rude about the stuff and Luc hasnít spoken to Andy since December last year so who knows whatís going on? I reckon itís coz Andy started to collect the complete recorded works of The Lemon Kittens in January and now Iíve heard nearly all of it as well, I reckon Luc has a bloody good reason to feel murderous. Is that really what people used to listen to in the 1980s? Anyway, here goes . . .
- Howl In The Typewriter Ė TMI
Wong: They always start these things with a pop song, donít they?
Martin: Another potential pop song subverted into fragments of spite - the spoken vocals are a little quiet in the mix
- mind you, if you reckon this is a pop song then your mind really has been frazzled and bamboozled by being in UNIT.
Wong: No, but it is a pop song - a pop song thatís been put through a mangle and then someoneís tried to iron it into shape again only theyíve spilt acid on parts of it and itís all gone a bit wonky.
Martin: Only Howl In The Typewriter could generate words like Ďbamboozledí and Ďwonkyí from us. I like those plaintive cries of ĎT M Ií every now and then.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Lurking
Wong: Here we go again - he likes all those funny noises, doesnít he?
Martin: Interesting rhythms though - what metre is that in?
Wong: Probably a gas meter. Itís a bit over the top for me - the lyricís bare sarcastic though.
Martin: You think so? I thought it was about those occasions when you look into a clear blue sky and you can see squiggly lines in front of you because a hair or speck of dust has attached itself to your eyeball.
Wong: Heís playing on Lucís organ near the end.
Martin: I think there are plenty of people whoíd like to play on Lucís organ and not only at the end, either.
Wong: Youíre a sick brother, man.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Frederick
Wong: Itís that guitar sound again so you know who it is - that vocal soundís strictly from ELO.
Martin: Jesus, youíve heard of ELO?
Wong: Yeah man, all big hair, flares and cellos, terrible band. This is a bit better than ELO though.
Martin: Only a bit better?
Wong: Yeah, well, that vocal effect is f****** terrible.
Martin: Actually, yes, it is now I come to think of it. Thatís a shame because the musical accompaniment is excellent
- mutated funk turned inside out. Yes, a less electronically treated vocal would be an improvement.
Wong: The drum sample and low synth are groovy, though.
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Stolen Carrot
Wong: What? Stan being happy? I donít believe it.
Martin: Donít worry - heíll start ranting in a rage any second now.
Wong: This music is excellent - not by itself but under this lyric it works perfectly
- it really makes you pay attention to the words.
Martin: Heís just said he wants to paint himself blue.
Wong: Yeah, I know the feeling, weíve all been there. I usually go for a shade of turquoise myself. But seriously, this might just be a contender for best track so far. As heís speaking youíre there with him, youíre in the scene.
Martin: Yes, a remarkable track; itís certainly up there with b600.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Hello
Wong: Hello, itís Phil Collins . . . or maybe Robbie Williams . . . one of those c**** anyway.
Martin: What a superb ending! Just when Iím about to scream with indignation, Stan saves the day.
Wong: S*** man, letís play this again, itís really funny.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Put It On Top Of The Settee
Wong: Christ, this is dreadful.
Martin: For once we agree - oh Stan, what have you done?
Wong: Heís completely lost the plot - this is boring, man, it just goes on and on with lots of silly voices and stuff.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Sciatica Blues
Martin: Heís used a vibraphone or at least a vibraphone sample.
Wong: Those vocals need more treble, more edge to them, theyíre too muddy.
Martin: Well spotted Ė letís turn up the treble on these speakers
Ė there! Thatís better.
Wong: So what? Shoulda been recorded properly in the first place.
Martin: Coming from a member of UNIT thatís somewhat ironic - the words Ďkettleí, Ďpotí and Ďblackí come unbidden to mind.
Wong: Yeah, true, but normally Stan produces his stuff really well. Hold on, itís only 4í 26Ē long; then silence . . . whatís going on. Bet thereís something else near the end of the track.
Martin: So are we going to sit here like a couple of c**** waiting for it?
Wong: May as well. Pass us that lighter - time for another fag and a cuppa.
Martin: Why donít you just skip forward?
Wong: Nah man - thatís cheating. Oh here we go - synths and keyboard stuff with some old bastard nattering over the top.
Martin: Stan likes his backing tapes - some of the text sounds quite intriguing but Iím not able to discern what heís saying. Something about the working classes is it?
Wong: Iím not sure, itís all too muffled - actually thisíd be better without that silly voice.
Martin: Yes, especially since itís so badly recorded you canít tell what heís saying anyway.
- Nil By Nose - Explosive No.1
Wong: What on Earth is going wrong here? Daft, I call it.
Martin: Well, it does display an unusual use of how to record voices - they sound almost inhuman
- actually this is quite effective.
Wong: No, man, itís daft.
Martin: Oh all right then, itís daft - but I like it anyway.
- Nil By Nose - Dragon Ninja
Wong: Another great lyric - this is really funny! It shoulda been called Pity The Poor Ninja or something like that.
Martin: The music isnít up to much.
Wong: Well, maybe not but it has a kinda sad, sentimental, Cantopop feel to it that really suits those words. Youíre in a mood today, aintcha?
Martin: Iím mourning the absence of the taurus board.
Wong: Yeah but be fair, you canít take it out on all the other bands on here. The only track youíve been kind about so far is
Martin: Quite right too. Everyone else ought to shape up or ship out. We need some discipline here!
Wong: Okay, well, there havenít been many out and out pop songs yet, true, but thereís not been a single track that I hate or find unlistenable so far.
Martin: Actually, yes, thatís a good point. The overall quality of the contributions so far has been fairly good, apart from a couple of amateur moments in our tracks.
- Nil By Nose - Explosive No.2
Wong: I prefer this to the first explosion. Thereís more going on here, more interesting stuff happening.
Martin: Itíd be a lot better without that infernal drum machine.
Wong: You reckon? No, itíd sound incomplete without that. Itís a bit mechanical, a bit like music made by machines but I still quite like it.
- The Melodramatic Monkey - Pissing In The Coffee
Wong: This is a bit of a mess, innit?
Martin: Sounds as if Stan has sneaked onto someone elsesí track again. Heís a bugger like that isnít he? 1970s jazz funk as it would sound if performed by a group of cybermen. Anyone reading this who doesnít know what cybermen are really shouldnít be listening to godspunk discs, at least not without psychiatric supervision.
Wong: Oh right - I thought this was ĎLurkingí - as soon as Stan appears on a track it sounds like Howl In The Typewriter anyway. Well, I suppose if he sang or rapped over a Lee Perry reggae dub or a hip hop instrumental by The Newham Generals then it wouldnít.
- Seven Footsteps To Satan - Crow Crested Cobra
Wong: This is just some geezer messing about on a guitar.
Martin: Well, why shouldnít Ďsome geezerí - or some bird, for that matter
- mess around on a guitar?
Wong: I knew youíd say something like that.
- Seven Footsteps To Satan - Lava Surf
Wong: Oh right, well this is much more like it - kinda 1980s synthipop meets early 1960s guitar instrumental after Throbbing Gristle have been at it.
Martin: Thatís a remarkably apposite description.
Wong: Iíll take your word for it. No but this is good, man, itís sorta . . . dunno, like listening to 3 tracks at once that just happen to be in the same tempo and key. He (or she) likes that distorted fuzzy guitar
- but it works though. Yeah, this oneís a winner. What díyou reckon?
Martin: I can take it or leave it - but I think Iíll leave it.
Wong: Ah, youíre such a sap, man.
- tbd - b600
Wong: b600 - sounds like a type of analogue keyboard and tbd sounds like a disease you get treated in a clap clinic.
Martin: Well, youíve evidently revealed your cultural starting points for all to witness.
Wong: Donít worry Iím not knocking it - this is the best thing on here so far.
Martin: You mean, itís even better than UNIT?
Wong: Yeah, at least itís better than some of that crazy s*** you write. This kind of almost compensates for the absence of the taurus board on here.
Martin: The absence of . . . oh I see what you mean. Yes, it is a bit 1990s
- but it has that curious amalgam of 1990s rave track mutated into a 21st century sound; but if you ask me why it manages to sound 21st
Wong: Whyís it manage to sound 21st century?
Martin: You had to do that, didnít you? Well, I donít know. Maybe itís the use of broken rhythms or the keyboard sample sounds . . . but yes, itís a barry track, I agree with you. In fact, yes, I think it is my favourite so far.
Wong: Look, here in the booklet - itís from 2000, even older than that track by The Red Guards. It says here that our pal HeF is one of the people involved
- no wonder itís so good!
Martin: We really are stuck in the 1990s, you and I, arenít we?
Wong: Yeah, weíll have to learn to live with the 2010s soon!
- John Tree - Moon Star Tail Lights
Wong: Here we go: a car engine and windscreen wipers - only I reckon itís instruments made to sound like a car engine and windscreen wipers. Yeah, this is way cool, man.
Martin: It glitters, doesnít it? It sparkles, as if from a distance - oh bollocks, theyíve added a drum machine and spoiled it all.
Wong: Yeah, I have to agree - when that beat box comes in the whole effect it ruined. He shoulda left that sound alone and gone with what he had already. Other than, this is pretty good stuff I reckon.
Martin: Yes, certainly in the top five or six.
- The Red Guards - Mao Tse Tung
Wong: This is superb. Itís the best thing on here so far. Where the hell did Luc find this?
Martin: Well, he was briefly in contact with Kwan Siu Lung, who used to play guitar for UNIT back in the day. Weíve lost contact with him since then. This outfit apparently recorded 2 or 3 numbers before being sent to prison.
Wong: Why were they sent to prison? Was their hair too long or the wrong colour?
Martin: Iím not certain. Luc mentioned one e-mail about the group being attacked by audience members in 2000 or 2001, hatchets drawn at dawn etc. You have to be careful about political statements in China. Itís odd though, youíd think singing a song in praise of Chairman Mao was fairly safe territory.
Wong: Maybe to praise Mao Tse Tung in the 21st century is not a clever exercise, even in China. Well itís still a superb song, bare hard. The use of a Chinese shawm and saxophone together especially and you can hear every word he sings. Pity the lyric is so, you know-
Martin: - embarrassing?
Wong: Yeah man, big up the red flags and follow you to the end of the world. S*** man, following Mao anywhere, that IS the end of the world, sheer disaster. How can a bunch of Chinese people my age support that crap? I knew communism was evil and stupid even when I was in junior school.
Martin: Yes but you were born in Malaysia where capitalism is virtually a religion and where there are literally people begging for food on streets lined by huge tower blocks where businessmen shift millions of
Wong: Thatís Singapore, you dick.
Martin: Oh. Sorry.
- The Shend - Itís Lovely Today!
Wong: I tell you what - this is definitely the best lyric on here so far. This is one of those lyrics that makes me smile and cheers me up.
Martin: I could do without that bloody megaphone effect through which he speaks. The music is already strange enough so it doesnít require even further weirdness.
Wong: You mean like over-egging the pudding? Yeah, maybe, but I think it fits somehow. A normal vocal sound wouldnít work either, I reckon
- you have to have some kind of effect to make it sound like it belongs to the backing track. Anyway, 10/10 for that lyric.
- Lazlo Klemke - The Danube Affair
Wong: Here we go, weíre in that Greek restaurant on Mare Street, eating kebabs and kerfuffle.
Martin: Kerfuffle? Donít you mean cous-cous?
Wong: I donít know, whatís that crap they serve up, looks like brown cement? Anyway, this is just bloody terrible, itís boring Radio 2 stuff.
Martin: Itís played well enough though - thereís nothing wrong with the technical ability and the recording is really crisp and clear.
Wong: But itís so . . . sounds like a film soundtrack but one thatís taken from a film Iíd never want to watch.
Martin: You really donít like this, do you?
Wong: Nah man, itís really irritating. Itís too normal, too middle of the road. I donít like plink plonk mandolins and stuff, sounds like an advert for ice cream.
- Foxhole UK - Politics Of Punk
Wong: This really needs a bass guitar on it - as it is, it sounds too weak and top heavy. It sounds like a track they discovered on one of those horrible 1980s cassettes they used to have back then.
Martin: Itís wretched. Come back Lazlo Klemke, all is forgiven. This is the worst track on here by a mile.
Wong: Nah man, whatís the matter with you? Itís okay, it has power and passion
- it just needs a bass guitar on it coz it sounds unfinished as it is. The vocal sound is a bit muffled, too, needs more top edge on it. But as a song itís okay, it has potential.
Martin: Potential? It has the potential to appeal only to the homicidal side of my nature. It needs to be subjected to extreme verbal abuse, have its parentage called into question and then hurled into a furnace and destroyed forever.
Wong: You really donít like punk rock, do you?
Martin: No I bloody donít!
- Dimm D3ciple - To The Beat Of The Drum
Wong: This follows Second Desert really well, too, cuz it has a kind of Arabic feel to it. Itís really subtle
- it makes something out of nothing - see how that keyboard snakes around now and then in the background? I donít normally go much on their stuff, at least not the tracks I heard on previous godspunks but this is bare hard, the best track Iíve heard by them.
Martin: Itís rather too repetitive for my tastes.
Wong: Yeah but it needs to be - this kind of music calls for it - this is really convincing, yeah, itís up there with
b600 and The Stolen Carrot as one of the best tracks on here.
Martin: Iím not convinced yet - click on Ďpreviousí and letís hear it again.
Wong: So? What do you reckon then?
Martin: Actually, yes, I see what you mean now. It does work - yes, I think I agree with you. I donít quite share your unbridled enthusiasm but certainly I agree itís one of the more memorable tracks on here.
Wong: Right then, well, thereís hope for you yet. See what happens when you stop listening to UJís Jethro Tull albums? You start to develop some musical taste!
- Cyril Bagels & The Alpaca 5 - Dem Olí Llamas
Wong: Right - this starts brilliantly! Could be good . . . when something eventually happens.
Martin: But listen to that saxophone! This is James Brown for the 21st century.
Martin: No, come on, surely not - you mean youíve never heard of James Brown?
Wong: No - look Iím 19 for crying out loud.
Martin: All right - heís the godfather of soul. Heís The Man. Look him up on google after this. Anyway, this is probably one of the best tracks on here.
Wong: Yeah, itís okay but the mix is all wonky.
Martin: Ah, you mean the bass up front and all the interesting stuff shoved way back in the distance?
Wong: Yeah, exactly. I wanna hear whatís happening.
Martin: Itís obviously deliberate since itís so self evident but I agree with you, Iíd like to hear that organ louder
- Iíd prefer this without those sampled voices, too.
Wong: I agree with you there - shoulda had more organ and more saxophone.
Martin: Richard, in my next life you may have my babies. Weíre definitely in agreement on this. But is it up there with the top three?
Wong: No, not quite - top five though definitely.
- UNIT - Universal Soldier
Martin: This is why UNIT needs a proper singer. The timing is all over the place.
Wong: Maybe youíd find it easier to sing in time if my f****** drumming was in time.
Martin: Perhaps - in any case, we should never have recorded this. Iím sick of UNIT being turned into a tribute band
- all we do these days is works written by other bands.
Wong: Yeah but heís done a good job on this arrangement - Luc played me the original and I much prefer our version.
Martin: Well, so would I if it had someone who could actually sing properly.
- UNIT - Death To Rock & Roll
Wong: Hey, this sounds really good after b600.
Martin: Thatís because you wrote it.
Wong: Donít knock it - itís a cracking good idea - itís just a pity we werenít able to pull it off effectively. We should have used more different instruments.
Martin: Hím . . . yes, that and someone who can actually sing. Itís a real shame because I love the idea, the concept
- itís so splendidly arrogant - you dismiss the whole 50 year history of pop music and insist that UNIT are the only way forward
- real champion. Itís that kind of conceit that I find so entertaining about a lot of rap and grime. The trouble is, arrogance is only really effective if you have the technical ability to support it. To me, this track sounds . . . I donít know . . .
Wong: Itís a bit budget in places, yeah. My drumming isnít really up to some of the beats. Isnít that you doing one of the crazy saxophones?
Martin: Yes, the lower pitched shabby one. UJ isnít a saxophone player but heís more of a saxophone player than I am, thatís for sure.
- UNIT - Ming Hai
Wong: S*** man, I donít remember this track being so good - it kicks serious a***.
Martin: Oh beyond doubt, itís one of the best tracks weíve ever recorded.
Wong: Well, yeah, you say Ďweí but isnít that Luc doing everything?
Martin: Almost - UJ is on bass guitar.
Wong: This embarrassing - heís our keyboard player yet heís a better drummer than me!
Martin: Yes, I sympathise. Itís rotten being the two crap musicians in UNIT, isnít it?
Wong: Yeah and when I hear this I realise UJ and Luc could easily do UNIT by themselves if they didnít want any vocal tracks.
Martin: I think thatís one of the other reasons I enjoy this track so much
- it doesnít have what Ben Watson refers to as my Ďabysmal vocalsí on it. The constant changes from 4/4 to 7/4, the fairly complex and unexpected harmonic turns-
Wong: So whatís Ming Hai again?
Martin: Richard, where have you been since 2005? Itís the name of his parentsí take-away in Sandringham Road.
Wong: Oh yeah! I forgot, totally lost it there for a moment. But why is this on here when itís already been used on that Class War album?
Martin: He remixed it slightly and gave a deeper, bigger, wider sound. He also cleaned up the ending. Iím glad he and UJ elected to submit this track to godspunk volume ten anyway because it really is superb.
Wong: Probably coz we arenít on it!
- UNIT - Second Desert
Martin: This is an effective piece of programming by Stan - this track follows
Lava Surf really well - but why did you choose this for inclusion, Richard?
Wong: Well, I definitely prefer your reading of this poem to Andy Nunn, the guy who wrote it. I know you, UJ and Luc all wanted his version to go on Facta Non Verba but the way he reads it is so dry and deadpan whereas your one has emotion, fear and nervousness in it
- thereís a kind of . . . it sounds like youíre dreading something all the way through
- thereís a real sense of horror there thatís missing in his version of it. I prefer the lack of instruments, too
- just birds in the background, thatís all it needs.
Martin: To be honest, Andy Nunnís poetry is often so visceral and with such visual imagery, that any music added to it seems superfluous.
- UNIT - Nazi Scum
Wong: I reckon I agree with you about UNIT doing cover versions. This is like a jazz band trying to play punk rock. Itís only Luc on that Hammond organ that saves this from being budget.
Martin: UJ wanted us to do it in response to that dreadful attack on the Warzone Community Centre in Belfast by Nazi skinheads last year. The sentiments are
Wong: - so we shoulda written our own anti-nazi anthem instead of dredging up this old thing. The bass guitar partís good though.
Martin: Yes, UJ really has improved as a bass guitarist recently. But the whole sound is wrong
- light jazz drums donít work on this - which is a pity because you played this really well.
Wong: Another varied collection then. You know, one of the best things about these albums is the artwork. Some of it is really staggering. Look at the back cover
- thatís bare hard, man. Thereís a sort of vicious humour that runs through a lot of this.
Martin: Yes, I know just what you mean - humour that bites. The only aspect I dislike and have always disliked is those horrible clowns. Otherwise I agree with you, visually these compilations are highly attractive. But as for the musical contributions, no, for me it suffers from the same property as the previous set
- there need to be one or two out there avant garde tracks and there need to be two or three pristine pop songs to extend the sheer range of material on here.
Wong: Yeah, maybe youíre right. Wonder why most contributors never write much stuff but rely only on visuals?
Martin: Iím not sure - perhaps they believe words superfluous and that the music ought to speak for itself? Personally, I like all those comments Luc makes when he sends our tracks in. Itís as if heís having a conversation with the recipients of the disc. Anyway, name your 3 favourite tracks!
Wong: Okay then - the best 3 tracks are b600 by tbd and To The Beat Of The Drum by Dimm D3ciple, while
The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and Ming Hai by UNIT tie for 3rd place.
Martin: Thatís cheating - youíve chosen 4!
Wong: Thereís no way out, man, I had to do it.
Martin: Oh very well. For me the choice is both obvious and easy: b600 by tbd,
The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and Ming Hai by UNIT.
Wong: So b600 by tbd, The Stolen Carrot by Howl In The Typewriter and
Ming Hai by UNIT win the gold, silver and bronze medals! While weíre on colours
- the next key colour for godspunk volume eleven should be green - maybe a lime green or yellowish green so it contrasts with godspunk volume six. Purple hasnít been used yet either.
Martin: Yes, too many reds and oranges - keep it cool, keep it blue - and be rid of those bloody clowns.
Wong: No, you have to keep the clowns - theyíre iconic now - as soon as you see those clowns, you know itís another godspunk
godspunk volume nine
(PUMF 672, 2010 - click to buy)
- Review by Luc Tran & Andy
Martin (UNIT), 1st August 2010
Sunday August 1st 2010 Ė I (Luc Tran) went to UNIT HQ for a rehearsal and also to do the regular review of the latest installment in the godspunk franchise (with Andy Martin). I had to wait until the end of the Test Match between England and Pakistan (I still canít understand what Andy sees in this ridiculous sport)
- unfortunately Pakistan lost. To compensate, I discovered that godspunk volume nine is up there with the very best of the collections
- it doesnít quite match the glory of No.5 but it must rank among the top 3.
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Edge Of The World
LT - This is a bit of mess, innit? Nice organ sound tho.
AM - The backing tapes -
LT - You mean Ďsamplesí - get with the century.
AM - As I was saying, the backing tapes are most inventive but the music is too fragmented, the changes lack logic
- the result is too much like a sonic jigsaw.
LT - That dance-y bit later on is good tho. The lyrics are totally Rob Simone territory.
AM - Youíd best explain that for people who arenít familiar with him.
LT - Oh yeah, thereís still some people who havenít heard of Resonance 104.4 FM.
AM - There are still some people, not there is still some people - plural clause.
LT - Oh shut your face. Anyway, Rob Simone presents a programme called Head Room every Monday evening on Resonance 104.4 FM. Heís been doing it since 2004 at least. Check out his website
- www.robsimone.org - he interviews all these wild and wacky people like David Icke, Uri Geller and some American pensioner who spent 3 weeks living in an underground city on Venus. He also does shows that are highly critical of American foreign policy, too. Right, advert over. So what díya give this then? I reckon 7/10 coz it promises lots but, unusually for HITT, never quite hits the spot.
AM - Yes, 7/10 seems fair enough.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Whales
AM - If youíre so concerned about being Ďwith the centuryí then why donít you ask Stan to change the name of the group to Howl In The Laptop?
LT - No, it doesnít have the same romantic ring to it. Famous authors used typewriters
- any old cunt can use a laptop.
AM - But I use a laptop.
LT - Exactly. Anyway, this is all a bit wishy-washy, innit? Maybe it needs more analogue keyboards on it rather than
AM - Oh come on, Luc, get with the century.
LT - Shut up, man, youíre not qualified.
AM - Not qua l-
LT - Youíve been listening to Black Sabbath all week. Can you honestly say youíre qualified to give any opinion on anything now?
AM - Well, if you put it like that, no, I suppose not.
LT - So Iíll give this 8/10 - itís catchy and grows on you.
AM - No, itís too dreary - 6/10 at the most.
LT - Youíre just a sad sap. Go back to your Ozzy Osbourne then.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Summer Baby
LT - The vocals are mixed way too low on this - makes the piece sound clumsy and unfinished. That bass guitar sound is groovy tho.
AM - Yes, thatís similar to the sound UJ has adopted for most of our recent material.
LT - This sounds sharper and clearer than our stuff.
AM - Yes, the production on Howl tracks is generally highly professional -
but I agree with you about the low volume vocals. This really irritates me, actually, despite the nice bass guitar playing. Iíll give it 4/10.
LT - You keep doing that and he wonít let us be on godspunk volume ten. But I agree, itís a bit of a platypus this piece
- Iíll give it 6/10.
AM - A platypus?
LT - Yeah - sounds as if its made up from bits and pieces that donít quite mix properly.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Ram Raiding
LT - Whatís that French punk band from the 1970s that Achoi raved about?
AM - Oh yes, odd little bunch werenít they? Mind you, so was Achoi. What the devil were they called? Paris Maquis
- no, that was their single - Metal Urbain-
LT - Thatís it, Metal Urbain - well, donít you think this sounds like them? Imagine if Stan sung in French instead.
AM - Oh I see what you mean - yes, youíre quite right.
LT - I usually am these days. Thatís coz I donít listen to Black Sabbath.
AM - Look, be fair, I was under direct orders from UJ. Thereís no need to be so ineffably otiose.
LT - So in-elephantine what? Oh hold on, the Whales have come back. You know, I can imagine this sung by Liam Gallagher.
AM - Liam Gallagher? You have to be . . . mind you though, now you mention it, yes, I see what you mean
- my dear old thing, you really are on sparkling form tonight.
LT - Thatís coz I havenít had my IQ lowered by listening to Black Sabbath CDs. Anyway, what díya reckon? Iíll give this 8/10 coz its cool.
AM - No, not for me it isnít. Iíll give it 5/10.
LT - Ozzy fan.
AM - Ha! Thatís rich coming from someone who listens to punk rock.
- Dimm D3ciple - The Dream
LT - Theyíre using my vibraphone! Right, they gain points for that straight away. Wish those vocals were clearer
- I really donít like that weird effect thatís on them. Mind you, when that dance beat comes in and it goes all 1990s on us, thatís really effective
- oh bugger it, itís over.
AM - Yes, it doesnít hang about, does it? Iíll give it 4/10 and most of thatís for the vibraphone.
LT - No, they deserve more than that - 7/10 at least - itís a nice, crisp sound and that dance bit in the middle kicks arse.
- Dimm D3ciple - Stranded
LT - This is brilliant - punk rock lyric over Brian Eno music - this is really odd. I like it, especially those backward bits.
AM - Thereís really no need for the swearing though.
LT - What? This coming from the man who wrote Employment Enjoyment.
AM - No, there was a reason for that - I attacked the gratuitous use of swearing by Channel 4 whereas
LT - This is an angry response to parts of our society, thereís a justification for it. Ah, thereís that rave-y type beat again
- oh, itís stopped now, just when I was enjoying it, too.
AM - Well, this doesnít do it for me at all, musically anyway. The lyric is the best aspect of it. Iíll award it 3/10.
LT - Christ, youíve really lost the plot. There, the beatís returned and it grooves along nicely. It deserves 8/10 at least.
- The Balkan'oliks - Tree Peva Kozol
LT - The bass guitar and the percussion are crisp and punchy - plus thatís a mighty fine strong vocal, too
- this lot were good on the last godspunk as well, werenít they?
AM - I think so but, to be honest, this piece suffers from being in the same bloody key all the way through. It needs more harmonic variety. The chap has a fine set of lungs though and the mix between vocals and instruments is excellent. Iíll give it 5/10.
LT - Only 5/10? No, it deserves more than that - I know the musicís a bit repetitive but itís only 2 and a half minutes. No, I like this enough to give it 7/10.
- The Balkan'oliks - dicky dicky dick boom
LT - Do you know, this sounds like - well, it has the same kinda feel as those reggae tracks Resonance plays every Wednesday night. Can you imagine this as a dub reggae thing?
AM - Yes, I see what you mean; it does possess that atmosphere. I tell you what, these people can certainly play
- I mean, itís rather simple but the music is crisp, clear and punchy as you said earlier. Itís a strong production but the music isnít going anywhere is it?
LT - Well, where díya want it to go - Manchester?
AM - Oh come on, my little piranha fish, be reasonable. I mean, Iím waiting for something to happen but it never does. 4/10.
LT - But with that fiddle and everything, it makes the piece more interesting. No, it deserves more than that
- 6/10 at least. I reckon this bunch could put together a really interesting album
- maybe with a few more chords and different instruments used tho.
- Leninís Virulent Muscle - Turf The Roads
LT - This is excellent! UJ would love this lyric. Itís really funny if you picture Vladimir Lenin singing it, too.
AM - Yes, full marks for the words . . . pity about the music. Iíll give it 4/10.
LT - But the music sort of growls quietly along in a controlled rage, itís really effective, especially with the contrast between the high female and low male voices. This warrants 8/10.
- Leninís Virulent Muscle - Spider Crabs
LT - Ooer - this is a bit drippy, innit?
AM - Acoustic guitar valium rock - itís dreadful.
LT - Oh come on, be fair - the words are good and the playingís nice and clear. At least he or she can play that acoustic guitar well.
AM - Itís still dreary to the point of being morbid - itís horrible.
LT - Bah! May all your pies be filled with quorn for ever more!
AM - Fair enough - Iím a vegetarian anyway, have been since 1983.
LT - Really? I didnít know that.
AM - You didnít know I was a veg . . . how long have you known me? Since 2002, wasnít it?
LT - Well, what about the track then?
AM - Well it is, itís horrible. I canít stand this kind of stuff. 2/10 and thatís for the lyric.
LT - They donít deserve to be dismissed so easily. Mind you, the music is a bit much after a while. Iíll give it 5/10.
- The Death Of The Enlightenment Project - Iblis
LT - So whatís going on here then? Ansaphone message . . . someone eating crisps down a telephone line . . . oh shit, itís one of those tracks, all grim and grisly noises
- bloody hell, the speakers are rattling.
AM - Quite right too - if our speakers are to be destroyed then let them be destroyed by something exciting, something vibrant, something that kicks serious arse
- so far this is the most impressive track yet.
LT - What? You have to be joking. Itís just a repetitive noise.
AM - Just a . . ? Look, this is the first really impressive track Iíve heard so far
- itís the first piece to display any passion or originality.
LT - Thatís being really unfair to Dimm, Lenin, The Balkan'oliks and -
AM - Iím simply being honest. I know The Balkan'oliks have a distinct sound of their own, granted, but their tracks tend to sound similar, to my ears anyway, whereas this
LT - . . . is a repetitive noise.
AM - Jesus Christ in a tutu.
LT - Well it is, listen to it.
AM - There! They heard you - itís suddenly changed, cut to a slaughterhouse
- now weíre in Jacques Cousteau territory - camera pan to a 1920s salon!
LT - Idiot - thatís the next track. Thatís what happens when you listen to a racket that deserves 1/10 and thatís just for the ansaphone message
- your brainís gone for a burton.
AM - My God, thatís an old phrase - Iíve not heard that for years!
LT - Thatís probably coz this horrible noise is sending me back to the womb.
AM - I wonder what the derivation is of that term, Ďgone for a burtoní
- itís most odd.
LT - So was that bloody racket.
AM - Oh youíre a hard bastard at times - Iím giving it 8/10 at the very least, itís menacing and merely needs a little more variety in the central section to merit full marks.
- John Tree - The W*y You Look Ton*ght
LT - What the bloody hell is this all about then?
AM - No idea - Resonance would love this - bits and pieces - that bloody Eric Satie again.
LT - Eric Satie?
AM - Yes, hear that dreadful piano? Itís his most famous piece. Satie is the most stupid, tedious and boring composer France ever produced. The 1920s gear sounds positively ecstatic by comparison. I wonder if this is an original 1920s piece modified by 21st century computer technology or a contemporary person doing a pastiche or a homage to that era?
LT - I dunno but itís really irritating. 2/10.
AM - You think so? Well, it is a bit ponderous but itís also rather unusual
- Iíll give it 5/10.
- Boxhead - Static & Silence
LT - Whatís this in - 6/4 isnít it?
AM - Probably. Jesus, why does this have to be so repetitive? Itís a shame because this is a really nice, cool groove
- it needs a vibraphone or a saxophone playing a lead melody or improvising over the top.
LT - Yeah, I agree, it sounds like a backing track to something. The drums are too loud, as well.
AM - Yes I think so, too. There, they heard us - itís changed now.
LT - Itís still in that same key tho - I wish itíd do something different
- itís started to annoy me now.
AM - The electric piano does that to most people - I do like it even though it is a bit 1970s.
LT - Yeah, thatís what it is - film music Ė
AM - Absolutely! Imagine this played in the background as an angst ridden young detective in side-burns and flares searches for the missing body somewhere in the backstreets of Paris. Iíll give it 7/10.
LT - No, I canít be that generous - 6/10.
- Seven Footsteps To Satan - The Devilís Janitor
LT - Oh yeah! All right - this is more like it. Yeah, this is the best one yet.
AM - Bedroom rave - the Chemical Brothers without the technology - but I agree with you, it is rather gear. It merits 8/10.
LT - Yeah, it has energy, a wonderful Hammer horror laugh in the middle and
- what? Is that it? Itís over already? Right, well, I deduct 2 points because itís far too short
- I was really enjoying that, too. 8/10.
- The Shi-ites - Dopamine Dream
LT - More acoustic guitars -
AM - Yes, acoustic guitar valium rock again - bah, this is miserable,
LT - Shut up, man, you donít know nothing about anything. Thereís a nice folky type of thing going on here.
AM - Itís perfectly horrid.
LT - That coming from the man who owns every recording Gentle Giant ever made.
AM - Your point being?
LT - Well, it proves your opinion on anything musical simply canít be trusted at all . . . not at all.
AM - What, so youíd like to hear this again, would you?
LT - Yeah, I wouldnít mind - itís all right, I mean itís nothing special but itís a bloody sight better than that
Iblis racket you raved about.
AM - I donít care - I give it 0/10 because itís the most irritating track Iíve heard so far and also because I know theyíre capable of much better material
- they recorded some far superior tracks on previous godspunks.
LT - You better hope theyíre not real Shi-ites or youíll go to work and find your office has been blown up. No, they should have 4/10 at least.
AM - See? Even after all that ingratiating waffle, you only give them 4/10.
LT - Oh shut up, man, youíre just a pussy. Worse, youíre a pussy who likes prog rock. Worse still, youíre a pussy who not only likes prog rock but you donít even have the decency to be ashamed of it.
- The Melodramatic Monkey - Giraffe & Egg
LT - Hello, itís Stan again. Not content with sneaking onto one of our tracks, heís crept into this one as well. He has a very distinctive voice, doesnít he?
AM - Yes . . .
LT - Whyíre ya chuckling?
AM - Because he always sounds so spiteful and feisty - always sounds as if heís ready to insult someone
- itís a most endearing characteristic.
LT - Here, listen to this - itís gone into a rolling juggernaut groove. This is pretty bloody good.
AM - Yes it is - an excellent bass guitar or bass keyboard sound - and thereís a xylophone!
LT - A reggae grooveís crept in now - this is brilliant!
AM - Luc, I think weíve discovered the best track on here!
LT - Yeah, there always seems to be one, doesnít there? I mean, one track on these compilations thatís obviously and clearly superior to all the others.
AM - Yes . . . pity itís never one of our own works.
LT - But thatís different - we canít judge that, can we? Weíre too close to our own stuff to be able to offer a proper comment on it.
AM - No, itís the curse of the creative artist ever to be denied the luxury of objectivity.
LT - Fair enough, I couldnít put it better myself.
AM - No you couldnít, because you never read books and you always have that damned I-pod stuffed in your ear like so much plastic
LT - Oh shut up, man, and get back to your Gentle Giant records. Anyway, Iím giving this 10/10. What díya reckon?
AM - Yes, certainly 9/10 - I think Iíd prefer it to last a little longer.
- Lazlo Klemke - The Spyral Suitcase
LT - Now, is this really some undiscovered soundtrack from the 1960s or is it Dan Whaley pretending? I reckon itís him pretending.
AM - Why?
LT - Coz the musicís all too well produced - the bass guitar is deep, punchy and clear. The only 1960s recordings where bass guitars ever sound like that are those on Japanese pop Ďgroups soundsí records. No, this is all too clear and precise
- it even sounds digital. This is someone doing a very clever recreation of 1960s spy thriller soundtracks.
AM - Well, you can always check on the net - type Lazlo Klemke into Google.
LT - Okay then, when I go home I will - of course, if you werenít such a bloody retro-head luddite, youíd be on the internet here and we could check it out and give a more intelligent review of the piece.
AM - It has nothing to do with my hostility toward technology - I simply donít want the authorities and the advertisers to know where to find me. I intend to remain below the radar for as long as possible.
LT - Oh well, yeah, thatís fair enough; I can understand that.
AM - Anyway, here we are again with that French detective still searching for the
LT - No, heís found it from the sound of this.
AM - Good - now maybe heíll bugger off and make his racket somewhere else.
LT - You what? Díya mean to tell me, in all seriousness, that you donít like this?
AM - No I donít - I mean to say, hang it all, this kind of stuff has been done and dusted decades ago and it really wasnít any good at the time so itís hopelessly out of step with the contemporary scene now. Itís not relevant to whatís happening now.
LT - But does that matter? Is Bach relevant to whatís happening now?
AM - No, you can hardly make that comparison because Bach serves an entirely different function. Itís music
LT - But itís still ancient music - it might be really good, I dunno, I find Bach and all that baroque and 18th century stuff boring but if a piece of music was really good in 1966 then isnít it just as good now? Besides, you could say UNIT is retro
- if we were that 21st century then weíd be doing slow jams, R&B and grime.
AM - Oh yes, certainly, but you see I donít believe most 1960s film music was anywhere near as exciting or dramatic as modern listeners would have us believe. Look at all those trendy Camden types who rave about The Kinks, The Small Faces and 1960s pop groups
- most of it is utter drivel. What theyíre doing is trying to resurrect what they perceive to be a magical era because theyíre too young to have lived during it. Well, I was born in 1966 and my only abiding memory of that period is intense bigotry, ridiculous attitudes and desperate poverty. The sixties were only swinging and fab if you were one of the elite minority of trendy young things whose parents were sufficiently wealthy and indulgent to support your decadent lifestyle. If you were an ethnic minority in Britain, the 1960s were definitely not swinging, fab and groovy.
LT - Well, I canít say much about that, can I? I was born in 1989.
AM - Good - that means you missed the 1980s, the decade that decency forget
- crap fashions, crap politics and crap music. This is irritating as well. 3/10.
LT - Oh come on, it deserves far more than that. Iíll give it 7/10. Actually, if it really is an original 1960s soundtrack then it deserves 7/10 but if its people recreating that sound in the 21st century then it merits 8/10 for being so clever.
- the taurus board - the hod cloppers: the first rehearsal
LT - Here we go - you can nearly always rely on Hef to deliver the goods.
AM - Yes, usually itís worth saving the taurus board until last because his tracks generally form the one contribution to any godspunk album on which we agree.
LT - Pity about that voice toward the end tho.
AM - Really? I rather enjoy that about his pieces, those strange, daft people nattering on about this and that.
LT - But they interfere with the music - like when you try to listen to a programme on an FM radio and some other foreign station starts to butt in
- thatís what itís like. I wanna hear this without that voice.
AM - Thatís a fair point actually. Itís a kicking groove though.
LT - Yeah, itís one of his stronger efforts. Letís play it again.
AM - Fair enough. Do you realise that when people read these reviews, we come across as real taurus board fans? ĎOh, itís those lads from UNIT again
- well, I suppose theyíll do what they always do, save the taurus board till last and rave about it as usual.í
LT - Tough! We canít help it if his stuff is always so good.
AM - UJ doesnít like the taurus board much.
LT - UJ likes Metallica so his opinion is absolutely worthless. Christ, heís even more far gone than you are.
AM - Oh, thank you very much. So does that mean you accept my love of Ornette Coleman, The Sun Ra Arkestra and Peter BrŲtzmann?
LT - Oh shit, yeah, I forgot about all that crap - no, I take it back - no-oneís as far gone as you are. Anyway, Iím giving this only 9/10 because of that silly voice at the end.
AM - Fair enough - but Iíll award it 10/10 despite the silly voice!
- UNIT - Employment Enjoyment
LT - You know this could be a really good pop song with an excellent lyric but you had to go and spoil it with all that silly saxophone squealing in the middle.
AM - But Luc, I put that in to make the piece more adventurous and less like a normal, conventional pop song.
LT - No, youíve already achieved that with the lyric and the splendid harmonic progression you asked me to write for the keyboards. It sounds like a bit of one of your avant garde jazz records has gate-crashed itself into our pop song.
AM - Well, yes, I see what you mean. You know, what really annoys me about this?
LT - Your vocals.
AM - Yes! How did you know?
LT - Because you always complain about your vocals - honestly, they arenít nearly as awful as you think they are. Okay, you donít have a very powerful voice but at least you can sing in time and in tune.
AM - I still sing like a strangled parrot.
LT - Anyway, I like this version because I prefer pStanís voice to Richardís in the spoken bits. Iíll only give it 7/10 because that saxophone and piano string scratching in the middle spoils it.
AM - Well, Iíll give it 8/10 because those aspects improve it!
- UNIT - Minh, Binh & Vinh
LT - God, this is boring. I much prefer the version on Sons Of The Dragon.
AM - Whatís the matter with this one then?
LT - Itís too much like heavy metal and itís repetitive, all that daft twiddly lead guitar. Iím glad UJ wanted the Hammond B3 to be used, tho, that makes a big difference.
AM - Yes, your playing has definitely improved over the years - not that it was ever bad.
LT - No but sometimes I went out of time - my time-keeping was dreadful when I first joined the group. This rocks along nicely but it needs something more to make it interesting and less like some 1970s rock thing. Iíll give it 5/10 and even then Iím being generous.
AM - Well, I quite like it, especially since Iím not on it, so Iíll give it 7/10.
- UNIT - Labor Callum Obducit Dolori
LT - Here we go again - this could be a really catchy instrumental like Ming Hai but Richard has to put in a bloody drum solo and itís not even that well played.
AM - You really are dicing with death here, Luc.
LT - No, seriously, if youíre going to shove in a drum solo then you have to be able to use the drums in an interesting and inventive manner
- he just bashes away like a maniac.
AM - Quietly bonkers is what you wrote.
LT - Well, I was being polite because he was in the room at the time.
AM - Whoís that on the vibraslap?
LT - Thatís Richard as well. He had 5 bloody cymbals and 2 floor toms but it just sounds messy. The aeroplanes are good, tho!
AM - My favourite is your additional melody on that Casio VL Tone when the main music returns after Richard has done his Ginger Baker bit. I missed most of this when you 3 did it.
LT - Well you were reading that crazy book by Frank Key. Iíve never understood what you see in that stuff.
AM - Have you never heard his programme Hooting Yard on Resonace?
LT - A coupla times, yeah, but itís too silly, I canít get into it at all. I can get into this, tho. Yeah, Iím actually enjoying this now. Maybe the drum solo isnít so bad after all. Iíll give it 7/10.
AM - This is the first time Iíve really listened to this since it was first mixed
- yes, it really is one of our better tracks - 8/10.
- UNIT - Eagle
LT - Iím glad we included this version of this track. It really is one of the best things youíve ever written. That said, I still prefer the version with your singing.
AM - Really? My dear old thing - but UJ has a mournful, restrained character that really suits this piece. It also means that out of the 4 pieces on this album, Iím only on 1 of them!
LT - Yeah, he sings really clearly, Iíll give him that - you can hear all the words
- I really enjoyed playing this - all those unconventional chord progressions. Who is McKenna anyway?
AM - He doesnít really exist - well, no, he does exist but heís actually an amalgam of 3 different people Iíve known over the years. The name derives from Joseph McKenna, a young Glaswegian actor who appeared in Coronation Street, the play The Slab Boys by Johnny Byrne and the episode A Little Learning by Ian McCulloch from the 1970s science fiction series Survivors. It was that latter appearance that inspired the piece
- he plays Eagle, the leader of a group of children forced to fend for themselves in a post-apocalyptic society, Britain after its population has been decimated by a global plague.
LT - Well, Iím glad you watched it then since this ballad was the result. Is that the same series UJ has been watching for weeks?
AM - Yes - I showed him a couple of episodes in 2009 and he was so inspired he asked me to buy him the complete box set of all 3 series. In fact, I only vaguely remember it from when I was a boy but Andy Nunn sent me the first few episodes in 2008 and I was so amazed and impressed that I ordered the original box set of DVDs from e-bay.
LT - Well anyway, Iím giving this 10/10 because now Iíve removed that horrible saxophone and flute section, itís perfect.
AM - Indeed? Iíll give it only 9/10 because now youíve surgically removed the saxophone and flute section it isnít quite so impressive or interesting! Mind you, it does work as a more conventional ballad like this and youíve done the remix really well.
LT - Okay then - so how does godspunk volume nine compare with all the others?
AM - Well, I still havenít heard a collection that matches the almost continual excellence of godspunk volume five but there are a few fine moments on this set.
LT - I reckon itís one of the best yet. Congratulations and respect due to Stan &
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher, September 2010
Thereís no getting away from the fact that Blackpool manages to house more than its fair share of nutters, and I guess we can call Stan Batcow [or pStan as I think he likes to be known] one of them - but in a nice self deprecating way of course, and not a dangerous ring you up at 6am on a Sunday morning wanting to kill you kind of way. pStan has been steadily ejecting Pumf release from Pumf HQ for donkeys years, and every now and then our courses collide and I actually get off on one of them. The godspunks are welcome and hidden within their myriad depths there usually lies the odd gem waiting to be discovered.
A cursory glance down the twenty two tracks of godspunk volume nine, though, finds me face to face once more with UNIT, a band that I seem to have some difficulty with. I thought Iíd turned a corner with UNIT as in a previous godspunk I vaguely remember burying the hatchet and coming out all in favour of their wonky jazz pop punk pap but once again that jarring mix of vibraphone, keyboard, sax, crap drummer with crap singer has returned to haunt me. I imagine them setting up their gear in a pub in Hendon on a wet Sunday afternoon in February, a pub peopled with disinterested punters deep into their cups brooding over a final pint before going home to a damp flat and an angry missus. Arguing over whose turn it is to get the drinks in and whoís having the best amp UNIT eventually announce their presence, skittle through ten numbers to desultory applause before piling into the back of their rusty N reg Transit only to get lost on the way home. I dare say that theyíre a decent group of upstanding human beings with all the attributes that combine to make talking to them a positive social experience [their info page on the insert mentions the Angry Brigade and one of them is a spin bowler so allís not lost] but as ever, I struggle with their music. Let us not dwell on such matters for too long though for merriment is to be had.
godspunks are co-operative affairs whereby each contributor chips in a set amount of money which guarantees them a set number of tracks and a set number of copies in return. Its a win win situation as artists who may find the expense of releasing their own work on CD prohibitive are given exposure whilst finding themselves shoulder to shoulder with like minded musicians. You do get the odd sore thumb though and past comps have seen the inclusion of noise based artists who stick out like pervs in a playground but on the whole they work.
This issues outsider is The Death of the Enlightenment Project whose sub four minute ansaphone cum noise tilt sits easy on these ears but may not be as welcome to UNIT or Boxhead whose lounge ethnic ambience appears from nowhere like the offspring of The Penguin Cafe Orchestra meets The Art of Noise. John Treeís
The W*y You Look Ton*ght is equally beguiling; a forties gas lamp crooner ballad that he somehow manages to manipulate into one of Satieís Gymnopodieís before morphing it back to its origins - eerie, unexpected and most welcome. Stanís own project Howl in the Typewriter bookends things as is custom and then there's the usual suspects including the taurus board, Dimm D3ciple, The Shi-ites, Leninís Virulent Muscle and the Balkan'oliks amongst a handful of batty others. Its all harmless fun of course and Iím loathed to cast any of it in a bad light seeing as they all seem to be having such a good time but most of it is passes me by leaving nothing on the ears but a vague sense of having heard something wacky and amusing but not entirely lasting. godspunk volume nine is in need of a stand out track and the nearest it gets is John Tree. Where are the Las Vegas Mermaids when you need them? As ever, comes with a full colour booklet and lots of contact
godspunk volume eight (PUMF 630,
2009 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
(UNIT), Nov 2009
- Evil Jack McDeath - The Sunglassed Eye
Far too long and repetitive - definitely 1981 cassette bedroom feel to this. 5/10.
- DIMM - Ixx Perra Mental
Dear God but this is bloody irritating and there are 6 minutes of it, too. I definitely prefer the tracks on the previous CD because this is intolerable. However, one thing is obvious: this has the most professional sound of all the tracks here and since it is evident that plenty of work and thought went into it, I have to award it at least 6/10.
- The Shi-ites - Spatial
Bloody hell, itís Oasis . . . oh no, my mistake, itís actually The Sh-iites. OK, so whereís the hammond organ then? Sorry lads, but this is horrible. The vocals are too quiet as well. 3/10.
- Heffalump Trap - Bus Shelter
Over 6 minutes of this - hey oop - for that amount of time I want progressive rock, free jazz or decent heavy metal - but this is none of those. Christ itís repetitive. DO SOMETHING! Change that bloody riff, go somewhere interesting, yes yes yes, youíve done that same thing for 3 solid minutes now do something else . . . no? Oh. Are you sure you wonít go to another key, a different sonic background or a different time signature? No? Oh. Well, sorry, but you leave me no alternative. I did warn you. 2/10.
- The Cockfield Two - On The Hook
The booklet image and text are excellent - but the music is, er, less so. Keyboard too loud, vocals too quiet & I absolutely loathe drum machines (as Stan now knows, having read my review of The Def-A-Kators CD). 3/10.
- Boxhead - Sebok Goes To The Shops
This is what those baggy trousered I-pod bedecked Chavs deserve to have done to them! 8/10.
- Boxhead - Murderer
More Resonance material; theyíd love this. Highly amusing but way too long. 7/10.
- The Melodramatic Monkey - Eaten By A Giant Razz
Related to Boxhead perchance? This is from a similar stable. A bit too silly even for me but it could start a new genre: avant garde hip hop. 6/10.
- The Melodramatic Monkey - Ragzilla Vs Octopus
The various bizarre sections prevent this from being a Ďskip forwardí job but itís still bloody tedious after a while. There are interesting moments where it is by turns intriguing and amusing but it still only rates 5/10.
- The Melodramatic Monkey - Nipples
This is better, more effective and unpredictable. All 3 of these should be sent to Resonance as Iím sure theyíd be played on air. Certainly they deserve to be heard by a broader audience - and no, I donít just mean fat people. There is something delightfully unpretentious about these 3 pieces as if they are saying Ďitís okay to have fun with technologyí. 7/10.
- The Balkan'oliks - Sabaka Casa
More fun with technology but inna gypsy east European stylee. Romany folk songs versus drum Ďní bass and why not? A bit tedious after a while but still enjoyable. 6/10.
- The Balkan'oliks - Syrnyj Poezd
Christ knows how you pronounce that. Again, itís too repetitive for my ears but still interesting and highly unusual. 7/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Rainbow Footsteps
Typically nasty lyric backed by mutated pop music; it all sounds unusually murky and muddy but thereís a nice guitar sound. 6/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter: (The Very Long Title)
Bloody hell, Iím not typing all that out. Itís a superb sentiment anyway. Actually, the cosmos is mainly just empty space where nothing happens at all. I think it was designed by Samuel Beckett. Turn up the vocals, for crying out loud, so we can all hear them, what are you playing at down there? Superb end quote. 4/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Seven Men
Highly disturbing taped voice set to totally inappropriate and extremely irritating music so the whole effect is ruined. Youíre a cruel man, Stan. 3/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - The Circuit
Harp glissandi (The Beach Boys come to mind) plus sampled church bells that are totally in tune with the music - blimey, Stan Batcow joins New Order. This is absolutely brilliant, mutant pop at its best. Superb. One of the very best tracks Howl In The Typewriter have ever recorded; should be on Radio 1 and X FM on a daily basis. 10/10.
- Howl In The Typewriter - Beach Bum
Ah, I mentioned the Beach Boys just now and look what happens. I have a CD on which I have collected all my favourite Beach Boys
tracks . . . so I suppose you donít want a copy, do you, Stan? No, I thought not. 7/10.
- UNIT - One Of The Lads
Can yellow men play the blues? Based on this excursion, apparently not. Why did they ask me to resurrect this ancient Apostles number? Itís ridiculous. My singing is even worse. 2/10.
- UNIT - Shameless
I try to be Karl Blake and fail but UJ enjoys himself on guitars and Luc drags his Casio VL Tone all the way from 1983. So that little instrument was manufactured 6 years before he was born. Some of my sax notes are actually in tune - sell out! 7/10.
- UNIT - Buckingham Palace Burns Down
The bass guitar is too quiet. Probably the best drumming Luc has ever done for UNIT so far. UJ excels himself on guitar - or knackers himself trying - ee but itís reet champion all the same. 9/10.
- UNIT - Mr Arsehole
Lovely chord sequence by Luc and excellent bass guitar by UJ with his sarcastic vocals that just emphasise what a crap voice I have by comparison. The drumming is only just in time though! 8/10.
- UNIT - I Heard Him Call My Name
They insisted we record this and what a waste of time it was, too. The original song is crap and the recording and performance is a mess. Backing vocals too loud, Luc on drums is too quiet. Despite some frantic guitar from UJ, this is still dire. 1/10.
- the taurus board - In Der Teestube
- The first 2í35Ē constitute the most boring, tediously repetitive nonsense Iíve ever heard; itís absolutely abysmal. Iíd never have thought it possible from the taurus board. Then at 2í36Ē, normal service is resumed and we have a kick ass groove straight from the Ministry Of Sound. The first half: 0/10. The second half: 9/10.
Summary: more humour and fun filled frolics on this issue but it requires a few more conventional pop or rock songs plus one or two more Ďtraditional avant gardeí pieces (a la Hebetation or Stream Angel) for an ideal balance of genres. Major discovery this time around: The Balkan'oliks - make sure theyíre on godspunk
volume nine please!
godspunk volume seven (PUMF 602,
2009 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
Myself and Luc Tran listened to this CD in the order in which these tracks are reviewed here. Most tracks we played twice before committing ourselves to any opinions. In general, I favour avant garde and experimental soundscapes whereas Luc is more interested in rock and pop pieces. In this manner, perhaps the resultant review will be more balanced and indicative of the contents
- or perhaps our views will still be a load of bollocks. You decide.
- SAASSS - La La La (6/10)
Horrible song title, dreadful name - but this field recording of a primary school music session is strangely attractive
- taken out of context by appearing on this compilation, the music has a slightly plangent quality. Luc gives this 1/10
- he says its boring - I told you he was a sap.
- Ray Reagan And The RayGuns - Dopamine (4/10)
This grunge infected pop song veers too close to punk rock for my tastes -
the quiet section works best - the vocalist has precise diction so the disturbing words can be heard clearly as theyíre spat out over the distorted guitar noise
- Luc gives this 8/10 but then he would.
- HRT - The Hairline Crack (5/10)
If Five Or Six were alive and active today, they might just record music like this
- guitars like humpback whales - drenched in reverb and digital delay - my one complaint is that this is far too long for its content
- after about 3 minutes I become bored with it. Luc, being perhaps more patient, awards this 7/10.
- Arkon Daraul - The Dogs / Fording Principle (9/10)
This is the kind of sonic weirdness Cherry Red used to release circa 1981
- so it should sound old fashioned and dated - but it doesnít! Why? I donít know yet
- perhaps it doesnít matter - this works because it creates an interesting and slightly disturbing atmosphere (and boasts an intriguing title, too). Luc also gives this 9/10 because heís a genius.
- Las Vegas Mermaids - Bruce Willis (9/10)
In our brief experience, this outfit are generally much more satisfying in live concerts than in their studio recorded work. However, they have a hit here: theyíve managed to create a wonderfully spiteful assault on Hollywood action heroes set to a pastiche of 1980s synthi-pop that positively oozes sarcasm with its combination of satirical text and smooth, sexy female vocal delivery. Luc goes further and awards this 10/10 so this is definitely the hit single from the compilation.
- Dimm D3ciple - Take A Day (1/10)
So come on chaps, just how do you pronounce ĎD3cipleí? Christ, I canít stand this, it really irritates me! Luc gives it 7/10 because, unlike me, he isnít allergic to acoustic guitars. He reckons this would sound even better if thereíd been a vocal harmony going with 2 singers.
- Dimm D3ciple - Smoke Screen (2/10)
Bloody hell, what an excellent introduction - then it goes tits up and enters Mike Oldfield territory
- bah! Luc, who says this would be excellent if that Ďnoiseí at the start was removed, still gives it 8/10.
- The Cheeky Buddhas - Water Wings (7/10)
This is from very similar territory to La La La - manipulated field recordings
- but that insistent marimba rhythm becomes irritating after a while. On the other hand . . . I canít make my mind up about this. As more instruments are added, it becomes more interesting
- an African sound- then the clarinet enters and Iím hooked! Even Luc is prepared to give this the benefit of the doubt with a generous 8/10.
- Maybe Alaska - Sound Effects (6/10)
Is that Little Walter on amplified harmonica? Is that Brian Eno on synthesiser? Is this Ďa tedious self indulgent seven minute sonic messí (Luc) or Ďan intriguing exploration of distortion on disparate juxtaposed musical genresí (me)? The 5/4 rhythm that kicks in around 6í heralds the section that convinces me: Ďif you donít stop (garbled) down the stairs while Iím recording, Iíll f****** explodeí! Luc shamelessly awards this a mere 1/10.
- Richard - My Life As A Supermodel (1/10)
Christ, is this a mess or what? Itís horrible! Sounds like the singerís stood next to me while the band is in the basement. Luc likes the lyric so he gives it 4/10.
- Upwey-hey - Clareís Noodle (1/10)
What on earth is this all about then? Luc mutters Ďtoo sillyí but still gives it 3/10.
- John Tree - The Fetishist (8/10)
My God, this is so cool itís straight out of the fridge. It needs a saxophone instead of that irritating banjo, though. The keyboard lends an aura of menace. The pizzicato string section is effective. The title really suits this mood music. Now look at Luc, heís given it 4/10, says it goes on too long, what a pussy.
- Chelsea From Essex - Deal Ear (1/10)
This hurts my ears - if Whitehouse wrote pop tunes, theyíd sound like this. I donít mind telling you this is driving me quietly bonkers. Mind you, itís obvious a fair amount of thought and effort has gone into this. Luc says it makes him laugh
- maybe itís driven him psychotic? He gives it 2/10.
- RooHmania - Thoughtless A (4/10)
Vangelis meets Tangerine Dream, God help us. Luc gives this 2/10 - well, really!
- RooHmania - Thoughtless B (6/10)
Vangelis meets The Tomorrow People - this is a definite improvement - an apparently gentle new age electronic wallpaper piece but thereís an unhealthy threat of violence in the background. Luc gives this 2/10 as well
- thereís no pleasing some people.
- RooHmania - Thoughtless C (7/10)
Vangelis meets Tangerine Dream in the Tomorrow People laboratory - probably the best of the three
- but these are at their most effective when the trio are joined together to make a continuous work. Luc gives this 6/10.
- The Richwoods - Snow On The Sea, Uke Crazy Mother, Chinned (6/10)
All 3 of these otherwise delightful ukelele pieces are seriously spoiled by the O.T.T. reverb that has been plastered over them
- the final piece works best, perhaps because the effects actually become part of the music
- but it sounds unfinished - still, it makes a change from the electric guitars and cheesy keyboards favoured by most other groups. Luc gives this 4/10 which is bit cruel, surely?
- Howl in the Typewriter - Planet Head (8/10)
It hovered between 7/10 and 8/10 - then the bagpipes kicked in - that did it! Luc only gives this 6/10 because heís a sap.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Dandelion (3/10)
Sorry, Stan, but this falls way below your normal standard - we wait for something to happen but it never does. Even Luc, who normally enjoys
HitT, can only go as far as 4/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Garden Of Eden (7/10)
Nice use of choir sample and drum track in related rhythm - closely recorded spoken vocal is oddly disturbing
- on second hearing this is really rather good - especially the sentiment spoken clearly at the end with which we both agree totally. For that reason alone it deserves the 8/10 Luc awards it.
- the taurus board - Starfish (8/10)
The best aspect of godspunk CDs is that there is always a taurus board track. This is the one outfit that both Luc and I agree on, i.e. we reckon theyíre bloody brilliant and that anyone who disagrees with us is simply wrong. I was a raver in the 1990s so I have an excuse
- Luc missed it all (he was born in 1989) so with him thereís no possible accusation of nostalgia kicking in. However, this (like all their contributions so far) is not retro
- itís rave music for the 21st century. Once again, Luc starts jiving and dancing and I have to stand up and join in. Thatís the effect this outfit has on cool, groovy people. As a piece of music to hear through speakers in my home, it loses some of its effectiveness, being rather repetitive: in a club with the right vibe this would be a kicking tune! Luc awards it 9/10.
Finally, itís over to Luc for our own group.
- UNIT - Scoop Six Place Pot (6/10)
I wrote this to give UJ a hard time on bass guitar. I find punk rock really funny
- itís silly but enjoyable. The drum sound is crap, mainly because I canít really play drums, I just fake it. The title is by Birmingham poet Andy Nunn and is something to do with betting on horse racing. I enjoyed this at the time but hearing it now, itís a bit moronic. Andy gives it 3/10.
- UNIT - Better Dead Than Red (7/10)
The music to ĎF*** Off Gordon Browní is used for a new lyric by Andy which I think is a bit worrying because it veers too close to the BNP manifesto for my liking. This music is brilliant, one of his best pop tunes, but those words make me cringe. Andy gives it 9/10 because heís a right wing nutter.
- UNIT - Michaelís Brothel (6/10)
The title is by UJ - weíve been trying to persuade Michael to join UNIT for nearly 2 years
- heís a better keyboard player than Iíll ever be - and he rattled this off in one take then asked me to add electronic keyboards and a bass guitar part. UJ does okay on bass but Iím not sure this actually needs the vibes
- the time keeping is a bit suspect in places too. Andy gives it 7/10.
- UNIT - Eagle (10/10)
This is easily one of the very best pop songs Andy has ever written - itís bare hard
- excellent words and strange, haunting music - I like the interesting harmonies, the Wire guitar and the vocals by UJ
- a version of this without the guitar and with Andy singing instead of UJ is on our latest album ĎClass War' but both Andy and I prefer this version. UJ insisted what he considered the Ďbetterí version (with Andy singing) be included on the album
- well, he was wrong - this is the definitive one! Andy only gives it 8/10 because he reckons the central saxophone section spoils it.
In conclusion: far more purely instrumental works on this compilation than previously
- which makes a pleasant change - but this needs a couple more out and out pop or rock pieces for variety. On the whole this is still one of the best godspunks
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher
Stan Batcow has been collating the godspunk series for quite a few years now but with volume seven heís finally pulled together a selection of people and music that bears repeated listening and may go someway to providing a finger post for people travelling in new directions here in credit crunch Britain 2009.
These 18 artists are a varied bunch of mongrels whose Englishness reminds me of Morris men, the M1, wet Sundays and abandoned car boot sales. The miserable clown on the cover is the giveaway as is Stan himself singing ĎTechno techno techno noticeí on the opening track
Planet Head. American listeners may need some help here but they can still sit down with volume 7, beef tea in hand and listen to as fine a selection of Ďnew musicí as there is flying around these lands today.
Take HRT, heís Tony Conrad, Howl in the Typewriter heís end of the pier techno pop a la Fruitbat Bob and his Carter USM crossed with Paul Hardcastle and the birdy song. I even liked the contributions from UNIT. UNIT being an outfit who, not liking the way I took exception to their piss poor cockney agit punk on previous godspunk comps, decided to write a song about it, Iíve still to hear it. Here theyíve found a xylophone player to augment their angst and it works wonders. Their four tracks run together:
Better Dead Than Red is an angry letter to Gordon sung in a dithering falsetto,
Michaelís Brothel is a touching lament that seems to be their nod to Elton Johnís Song for Guy and
Eagle is Patrick Fitzgerald meets Tortoise. Thereís nothing better than being proved wrong and enjoying it.
Water Wings by the Cheeky Buddhas is a field recording of bathers filled with water sounds, ukuleleís [?] and spoons [?]. Its nothing short of a sheer delight.
Last time around the Las Vegas Mermaids sang about bus drivers, here itís
Bruce Willis. The Richwoods three tracks are not that far removed from what The Penguin Cafe Orchestra got up to. Maybe Alaskaís
Sound Effects is just that, seven minutes of obliterated mouth organ, 20ís dance hall music, John Carpenter doom and a voice that says Ďsound effectsí in a scary manner. pStan has three contributions but theyíre all under different monikers; Richard is straight forward punk, SAASSS is a recording of a French infant class singing a nursery rhyme and Upwey-hey is but 19 seconds of nonsense. John Treeís track is a piece of film music flummery. RooHmaniaís three tracks of soporific ambience are spread at intervals acting as cleansing sorbets. I know Iíve missed some people out but to be honest its hard to find fault with volume 7 so youíll just have to take my word for it and buy it and enjoy it for what it is - the glorious sound of an inventive island providing a positive alternative to the vast oceans of mundane pop pap that passes for mainstream entertainment
godspunk volume six
(PUMF 588, 2008 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
- Howl in the Typewriter - Weigh How
It is due to tracks like this that I much prefer Howl in the Typewriter to the Ceramic Hobs. There is a slightly 1980s synthipop aspect to this is highly effective, not unlike Exhibit A or Twelve Cubic Feet. Luc says it oozes with suggestions of menace but I reckon heís just quoting a review by someone else of a different piece entirely. 8/10.
- Evil Jack McDeath - Interference
A bizarre instrumental that threatens to break into something interesting but never quite manages it. If it was a little longer perhaps Iíd prefer it more. Still, itís worth 7/10.
- Jaw-D - Let 'Em Dance
Boring monotonous tedium recorded in a biscuit tin - which is probably rather a cruel thing to say but then itís rather a cruel number. I did enjoy the occasional electronic noises that shoot across the piece. 2/10.
- The Style Pigs - Fountain Of Blood
This is another of those songs that irritate me because it uses one of those old clichť chord progressions
- although the brazenly vitriolic words do provide a highly bizarre contrast. 5/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Shit Bomb
Well, this is related to the previous number really - less than interesting music plastered with raucous invective that is too violently cynical even for me to be in total agreement with it but by Ďeck, what a mushroom cloud laying lyric! 6/10. NOTE: So itís a crying shame that, after trying 11 different copies of the CD at random, this 1 track will not play properly all the way through on any of them
- this is hardly deliberate since the skips and crackles are not identical on each of them but similar, i.e. they appear at around about the same time and continue, off and on, throughout most of the song. NOTE: Oh all right, so it IS deliberate you awkward sod.
- John Tree - Fen Rap
A Ďnothingí number - I had to play it a second time because the first time it made so little impression on me. No, sorry but itís no better the second time around either. 2/10.
- Turn Leathers - Rock & Pop Volume 1 \ The Rise & Fall Of Western Capitalism
This starts in Henry Cow mode then comes on like a northern answer to Derek & Clive
- although the music is far more interesting! The first time I played this it irritated me but parts of it amused me so I played it again and it improves on second hearing
- a kind of avant garde approach to humour while still, possibly, making a serious point
- or maybe not. Who cares? Itís stuff like this that reminds me how incredibly pompous I can be at times. We need tracks like this to remind us weíre still just animals with I-pods and a neat line in designer sportswear. 8/10.
- The Shi-ites - Swirlygig
Nice bass guitar sound - nice guitar sound - nice keyboard sound - pity about the music. (Ooh we are in a crabby mood this evening, arenít we?) Sorry lads, I want to like this but thereís something missing from what should be a groovy instrumental. Itís vaguely 154-period Wire in sound
- thatís certainly a compliment from me. I like the way this submerges itself underwater towards the end. 6/10. Now weíve just gone back and played this again
- yes, on second listen it merits 7/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Iodine Twat
Oh itís these miserable bastards again. Backwards doesnít cut it, folks - it still sounds like an unfinished backing track. 3/10.
- Bartles - The Psychiatrists Head
Thank Christ this bunch returned for another stab at godspunk - their previous 2 contributions were superb so I was prepared to be disappointed this time around
- but no, this also makes the grade albeit in a very different (cool jazz) musical mode. The kind of incisive lyric weíve come to expect from this lot with that ever reliable combination: fury and
humour. It rarely fails. 8/10.
- Elwyn Temple Meads - All Right Me Lads
Lyric: excellent assault on folk music clichťs. Music: bloody terrible, ruins the whole effect. This extremely amusing text deserves much better music than this. 4/10.
Intermission: as an aside, I notice that there are many short tracks this time around as opposed to a few longer works. This means few tracks are ever long and tedious (apart from our contribution) but some do sound like disposable filler material. From here on I listen to the tracks in a slightly different order from how they appear on the disc.
- Elwyn Temple Meads - Isle Of St Claire
Lyric: excellent assault on folk music clichťs. Music: bloody terrible, ruins the whole effect. An extra point because these words are even better! The music, like its companion All Right Me Lads, is simply too normal, too restrained, to do adequate justice to these wonderful words. 5/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Never Killed Anyone / This Way Down
Ah well you see I cheated - after I played this, I listened to it again but this time with both tracks re-mastered as mono tracks in both channels. This Way Down is one of the worst things Iíve ever heard; itís dreadful. 0/10. Never Killed Anyone is superb and probably the best thing on here. 9/10. As a Ďsingleí number, it doesnít work when combined
- one interferes with the other and spoils the effect. 3/10.
- DimM D3ciPLe - Saw You Again
Dreadful folk suddenly gives way to electronica - I absolutely loathe this but it has to be said this is well put together and finely crafted, very professional in performance and arrangement
- pity I canít stand it! 1/10.
- The Style Pigs - Mr Hatchet Dead Man
Much too punk rock for me to enjoy, not my cup of tea at all and I detest vocals when theyíre put through that megaphone effect. So there. Itís even more annoying when this lot write lyrics that are generally interesting, too. 4/10.
- Vance Palmier & Evil Jack McDeath - Hijo De Puta
Again, itís too short - just when I start to enjoy it, it fades out. You tight fisted buggers! Come back here aní play dat banjo, boy. 6/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Three Chrome Hooks
More marvellous lyrics - one thing that Volume 6 has in spades is a far higher quality of texts this time around which make the brief instrumental contributions even more worthwhile. Anyway, this is another winner although the bass is far too quiet. 7/10.
- The Style Pigs - Hog II
Too much punk rockery for me here, far too much in fact. Oh, see? They heard me
- itís gone all 1980s synthi-funk - which is even worse! 1/10.
- UNIT - Eco Warrior Blues
Now, compare the actual sound of this to most of the other tracks on here . . . and I had the nerve to accuse Jaw-D of sounding like theyíd recorded their piece inside a biscuit tin. Well, whatís this, then, Tupperware? Also, here are six and a half minutes why I should not be encouraged to play saxophone on any of our recordings. Technically this is probably the worst contribution we have ever submitted for godspunk, at least since Volume 1, and apart from some of the keyboard playing by Luc, most of this sounds spastic, amateur and woefully inept. Itís painfully obvious here that I canít sing for peanuts either. Worthy lyrics, yes, but those poor departed extinct species deserve a better send off than this clumsy sonic mess. 3/10.
- Evil Jack McDeath - Miercoles
You see? A big professional sound with people who actually sound like they can play their instruments and enjoy doing so. Oh, thatís it, finished
- another one thatís at least a minute shorter than it should be. 7/10.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Nation Of Two
A curious deliberate use of atonality which sets off the plaintive text nicely
- although this whimsy soon descends into brutality before too long, naturally! One of those almost unbearably intimate songs that make Howl in the Typewriter one of the more unpredictable outfits to parade their wares on godspunk. 8/10.
- The Haddenham One - timorous
You know what I said about the pleasant absence of long tedious tracks apart our own messy affair? Well, I spoke too soon. Unlike our track, however, this doesnít sound like it was cobbled together in a biscuit tin by a bunch of amateurs. This reminds me of early period Nocturnal Emissions although Iím not sure why. 5/10.
- Jaw-D - Story Time
Remember those late 1980s computer games? Failing that, think of the Sega or some of the music used on early Playstation 1 games
- thatís what this is - after itís been filtered through life experienced in the 1990s. I absolutely hate this; it actually hurts my ears! But at least it has personality and character. 2/10.
- the taurus board - Angel One
Luc is actually up and dancing! Oh sod it, thatís it, Iím joining in. Why should these teenagers have all the fun?
Yo, gonna bust me some moves here! Right, letís play this bugger all over again
- yes, another winner from this dynamic duo. Their Bus Stop things on the previous collection were a little disappointing but with this cracker theyíre back on track. It could do with a bass guitar or bass sample of some kind, though, says Luc
- and as usual heís right. But it still deserves 8/10.
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher
Stan Batcowís steady trickle of lunacy continues with Pumfís sixth volume of godspunkyness. After four attempts and varying degrees of success [in my opinion anyway] Stan finally hit pay-dirt with a cracking volume five. Juxtaposing a single noise track around the usual bunch of non-conformist popsters like the Las Vegas Mermaids, Needle Park, Stanís own Howl in the Typewriter and the implausibly named Satan The Jesus Infektíd Needles and Blood [amongst a host of others] he managed to harness all that ribald lunacy into a single cohesive unit that was both listenable and for once, repeatable. If dotty pop songs coupled with the fringes of mental health are your bag you missed out.
So to volume six. I see UNIT are still there. Last I heard, London Ďpunkí agitators UNIT had taken time out to pen a song deriding yours truly. Not content with hating multinationals and loving trees they seem to have taken a dislike to Idwal Fisher. I can only assume they have more time on their hands than they know what to do with. Here they chip in with a song called
Eco Warrior Blues which if I was in charitable mood would suggest was a cocky, cheery pub rock Greenpeace anthem but Iím not - think sub Chas Ďní Dave penning an anarchist anthem after too many ales dahn the Elephant and Castle.
The Haddenham Oneís sampled voice repeating the line ďthey spilt my medicineíí over rumbling dubious hip hop cheers had me in its thrall. Characters like Evil Jack McDeath, The Style Pigs, The Shi-ites, Bartles and Elwyn Temple Meads populate godspunk releases like tramps on a park bench on a warm day. When not knocking out witty sideways-on songs about mental elf and stuff they build up dreamy techno-y worlds like DimM D3ciPLe [yes that is how its spelt]. So thereís something for everybody yísee. Top trumps on volume six tho is Stanís own Howl In The Typewriter outpourings. The man comes at you like a demented Stock Aitken and Waterman production and because its his label he can have six goes - the best of which is a split channel affair; one channel sounding like someone putting on an anorak in a gale and the other a lonesome industrial drone. godspunk discs are little pieces of creation that every dysfunctional, tee-total, alcoholic, tree hugging, London b-boy, mental health sectioned largactyl numbed person should have. Keep em coming
godspunk volume five (PUMF 560,
2007 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin (UNIT), May 2007
This is just about the best godspunk yet.
1 hour later: this is definitely the best godspunk yet. If only LDB was on here, too (sigh).
Whitehouse . . . Lustmord . . . Nocturnal Emissions . . . Konstruktivists . . . The Grey Wolves . . . but mainly Whitehouse . . . I didnít realise people still made rackets like this . . . itís still disturbing and powerful though in 2007 it does seem a bit, you know, letís make a horrible noise and shock Auntie Mavis when she comes round for cucumber sandwiches. Still, all power to them for doing it regardless. 8/10
John Tree - Night Of The Samba Drummer
Despite the not inconsiderable technical ability on display here, I find this really tedious and boring which probably shows what a philistine Iíve become these days. 20 years ago Iíd have loved this Iím sure. 4/10
Las Vegas Mermaids - Bus Driver
The musicís absolutely horrible and boring but the words are most amusing and certainly accurately describe 95% of bus drivers in Edinburgh where they are trained to be as rude, abusive and incessantly miserable as possible at all times. 5/10
- Jaw-D - Skateboard Park
This hurts my ears and thatís all there is to it. 0/10
- Bartles - Iran & Iraq
By Christ, this bunch kick serious ass (so to speak). Very clever puns on place names . . .but whatís going on? Thereís a band who are more political sounding than UNIT on a godspunk album
- shock horror! What a voice, too. I wish I could growl like that. 9/10
- Bartles - Pumpkin Dump
My God this is so creepy itís frightening. Those deliberately out of sync voices + distant loud guitars are strictly from RIO 2 only better! Now this is what punk bands should sound like . . . innovative, powerful, interesting and shit-kicking with intelligence. 9/10
The Haddenham One - Rave 'Un
Yawn . . . sorry but this is just The Residents only worse. 2/10
The Haddenham One - Amateur Dub
. . . and so is this. The bass playing is good, though. 3/10
Evil Jack McDeath - Harmonium In My Head
Toothache . . . laying in a sweat stained bed with influenza and a migraine . . . ugh! Effective though grim. 4/10
The Charles Napiers - Things've Changed Round Here
Ennio Morricone on LSD only better . . .6/10
Satan The Jesus Infekt'd Needles And Blood - Insane Pervert Human Being
Jesus Christ, where do you find these people? Otomo Yoshihide when he was 15. This is almost as painful as Star Gate by UNIT. 3/10. Second listen: no, I was wrong . . . this is actually more like Faust without their hippy crap influences. Itís much better 2nd time round. 8/10
Big Ron Turner - Oh Kerim Bey
Acoustic guitar valium rock. Ugh! 2/10
Mrs Edna Watley - The Fifth Letter
More drones . . . okay, I know itís short but . . . ugh! 2/10
Needle Park - She Comes In The Storm
This is what happens when a 21st century band has never heard any music from 1967 (nothing before 1976 in fact) but they have it described to them in words and they then try to recreate what they think it sounded like. Well, 1960s crap was never as good as this! 9/10
Howl in the Typewriter - The Last Crumb
Such restraint is unusual for HITT - you lot really should write more out and out pop songs, youíre so good at it. The words are interesting, quite powerful in fact
- music duzny move me much at all although when the bass comes in at about 1í50 the whole thing lifts and changes it from a mere 5/10 to a creditable 7/10.
Howl in the Typewriter - I Seen Man
I bet you all had real fun putting this together . . . sounds like you all chose your own Radio 2 music and played multiple layer samples to see what it would sound like . . . occasionally itís effective. 6/10
Howl in the Typewriter - Preliminary Mash Up
No and I donít like it either. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter - Penultimate Mash Up
Silence would indeed be preferable to this. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter - Concluding Mash Up
Bob The Builder is not the way to win friends and influence people, Stan . . .
really, it isnít. 1/10
Howl in the Typewriter - Bus Driver
Well, again, parts of this are really gear . . . while others just irritate me . . . but taken en masse, for the intricate arrangement and the constant changes of mood and tempo (plus occasional downright nastiness), it deserves at least 7/10.
the taurus board - Bus Driver On The Road
Not one of their best . . . too much poncy rhythms and not enough interesting stuff happening . . . it barely makes the grade. 5/10
the taurus board - Bus Driver Iím Going Home
This is more like . . . early evening in Ibiza, one of the warm up tracks to start people moving and bust some moves on the floor.
- UNIT - Ivor Kallin Goes To Denmark Street
Hardly a classic but itís good to hear U-J (on drums) try to keep in time with Luc (also on drums) while Trung (on bass, right) is clearly out-classed and a little over-awed by Dave (on bass, left). Achoi gives it large on his little keyboard and the vibraphone that has now become the most defining sound by which UNIT are identified. Ivor Kallin (correct spelling) presents Ambrosia Rasputin on Resonance.
- UNIT - The Buddhist Response To Western Aggression
Eastern civilised boy teaches western barbarian how to behave . . . so stereotypical itís almost condescending but it still works, just, although it would be better had I been able to play a little more in tune! 7/10
- UNIT - No Matter, Try Again, Fail Again, Fail Better
U-J on flute (through wah-wah, octaver and flanger) and drums and Trung (on sax and one of the 2 bass guitars) are the stars of this piece although Luc (drums and piano strings) and Achoi (relentless piano) are not far behind. Dave is rather restrained on his bass guitar but this isnít really his kind of music. All the same, this is quite simply one of the best pieces of improvised music UNIT has ever done. 9/10
Itís a pity U-J didnít include the list of who plays what - this is the first time UNIT tracks have been included on which I donít appear at all! Oh, no, apart from my abysmal sax blowing on Buddhist Response . . . but it has a reason for being there as you can understand.
All in all, this is probably the most consistently avant garde and inaccessible godspunk yet which is probably why it is also the most original, inventive, innovative and interesting. Even UNIT sound (almost) as adventurous as some of the other acts on here. Bartles are the major discovery here, of course although the rag-head contributions (tracks 2, 7, 15, 16, 19, 21) do much to make this one of the most intriguing compilations anyone has put out for
- Review by Mark Wharton, Idwal Fisher, 2007
At the fifth attempt Pumf finally manage to put together a godspunk comp that is not only eminently listenable but worth returning to not just once but several times over your lifetime.
I'd almost given up on Pumf supremo Stan Batcow to deliver a more than cursory listen godspunk but with number five he's not only given me something to treasure, it also contains three UNIT tracks that I didn't hate and and and get this kids A POWER ELECTRONICS track. Yessirreebob surenuffandyeshedoes knock me over with a feva lawks a mussey etc etc etc there it is track nine
Wound. Whether that's the artist or title track I dunno but the refrain of 'fucked if you do fucked if you don't' over prime Con-Dom like ear batter had me all weak at the knees and ready to dash out and buy Stan a drink and then I remembered, he doesn't drink. But then I search on the incredibly well put together booklet that makes up the cover and there's no contact info for
Wound so I begin to wonder if this is some kind of wind up but what the fuck it's a good track let it be for what it is.
So, godspunk five. Some of the names may be familiar. UNIT for one. But here they ditch that lame punk crap for some mighty parping. It suits them better. The 25 tracks kick off in fine style though with some Carter USM like pop brightness from Howl In The Typewriter. Three minute perfect pop don't you know. The man is massively underrated. There seems to be some Hobs involvement in the shape of The Haddenham One who sneaks in a few lines of Milovan's Raven [I'm gonna fuck you up the ass tonite!] in
Rave 'Un and some Hobs lines from Amateur Cops in Amateur Dub then again in Satan Jesus and the Infekt'd Needles and Blood who play destroy everything Hijo like on the ridiculously named
Thank You For Being Insane Pervert Human Being - Try A Hearing Aid On The NHS Shithead [Sorry If This Is Printed Upside
Down]. Needle Park sound like an instrumental shoegazing band, which may not be a bad thing seeing as there seems to be some kind of revival in such matters if my reading of the runes is correct. There are but a few low-lights this being mainly some kind of techno babble from the taurus board whose version of
Bus Driver [I'm Going Home] sounds like the crap that emanates from the open windows of badly customized Peugeot 106's driven by young men wearing baseball caps. There's a 40 second track that sounds like a warm up to a whirling dervish session from Big Ron Turner that seems to be chucked in for the fun of it. Enough of these trifles though for track 8 sees The Las Vegas Mermaids encapsulate everything that is bad about getting on a bus in this country with a syncopated bopping bass version of
Bus Driver that is quite possibly one of my favourite tracks of the year. After hearing the bus set off and a quick tinkling of the bus bell female Vegas vox Fay Greenhaigh tears into her bus driver with a resigned familiarity; 'No I don't have change I have a note though it is legal tender' before looking out of the window and realizing she's lost and being kidnapped [I only wanted to go on an 18-30 holiday - where is the station?]. Sheer pop perfection that deserves to get The Las Vegas Mermaids on Top of the Pops or failing that
Richard and Judy.
There's probably some folks I've missed out here but that's all the more reason for you to get your hand in your pocket and buy it.
For once I'm looking forward to the next godspunk installment.
- Review by Phil Smith (The Haddenham One)
godspunk is a series of compilation CDs my friend & longtime Hob Stan Batcow's Pumf label puts out. Released by pooling money from the contributors, its an easy & relatively cheap way to make available stuff you've done to lots of people who just might like it, on shiny little discs & with the luxury of a nice package. Natty.
Erm . . . I should also mention that I'm on it. Ah well, why not. Its certainly not a Philfest, with a mere six minutes of my addled ideas being wrestled into shape by said Batcow at his homestead studio (on this occasion in the form of some Hobs remixes). This is more like an excuse to talk a bit about the other people on it. Last Sunday afternoon was spent reviewing it alongside some of the other contributors, as we snapped jewel cases together, inserted booklets & got ready to receive our allotted copies. I'm listening again now & feeling it settle nicely, like all the other ones before it.
As usual, Stan provides material himself. His long-running Howl In the Typewriter project offers both brief musical conceits & longer, considered pop of a beguiling nature. Howl completists have a rich history to work on, as he revisits the feel of warped tunesmiths from the Beatles to
My Bloody Valentine. Bartles is one of the sporadic foreign joes slipped in amongst the Sandgrown'uns & other UK postal addressees. A songsmith of the curious kind Stan loves to encourage & promote. Another long history of quirkiness & myth pops its head above the parapet. Elsewhere, top man John reappears in yet another incarnation (John Tree), this time to lay down upon us some jive-talkin' sambafied wiggle-gear. His output is illustrious but sadly still relatively small. The Las Vegas Mermaids get better & better with their crafted nu-age music hall tuneage & Heffey's taurus board is a game of two halves, with the second of the two contributions providing the smile-inducing acidic trance follow-on from the bubbling ambience of the first.
The mystery track is just entitled Wound, & apparently came unaccompanied by information or address, only money. Stan relayed this story with a slightly proud air (is a Batcow hand at play
here?). It certainly doesn't sound Stan-stylee. A full-on power electronics track, it kinda falls somewhere between Whitehouse & something Dave Walklett might do. I'm not sure if PE experts will be tracking down the comp for this one, but they should be. As edgy to listen to as PE should be, it is in some ways my favourite track on the CD. Sounds a bit odd amongst the rest, but then we were talking about how this volume is a return to the experimentalism featured right back on volume one (with Hebetation & Stream Angel). It is an interesting aspect of the series. Instead of being a state of the union address from Stan, its a procession of the thoughts recently found bouncing around the heads of his contacts. A veritable Affleck's Palace of sound! It is disparate, but there's some sort of connection created by the very fact that everyone has chosen to come together in the same place.
Moving on, there are, as usual, some tracks from London's UNIT. They are an intriguing group, which you should really check out if you haven't already. I'll leave out their very individual biog & just say that the make-up of the group always seems to inform their truly adventurous music. Sounding different every time, here they have an experimental jazz angle to add to the Gaelic-Chinese rock guitar sound & odd timings of previous efforts. Referencing Denmark Street and Buddhism, they are as different as ever & hence sit very well on this strangest of series. Wouldn't be a bad Termite Club booking as stands
here . . . And then there's the return of Satan the Jesus, Simon Hobs' late eighties project. I was too late to see these live, but they always sound excitingly mangled on tape. This is a new Satan the Jesus piece, a cut-up of previous efforts that takes on the effect of a noise collage. It wasn't my favourite on the CD, but maybe should constitute the beginning of a somehow appropriate updated incarnation of the band, the start of a revival even. More mangled even than the originals, it gives Simon the chance to flex his text-scrambling muscles. What it all means . . . I'm at a loss, old bean. Jaw-D & Needle Park are amongst the most conventionally tuneful cards on the table. Jaw-D has appeared in the series before under another name & is an ex-Blackpool Stan-pal. Needle Park is the brainchild of Hobs stalwart drummer, Ging. Melodic but still quirky, Pumfers to the core, lovers of pre-Britpop guitarness who have developed in a different direction to the posterboys & fashionistas. Finally, there are a number of tracks under various names including Mrs Edna Whatley, which I haven't truly got my head round yet but which all come from the same source. John Fahey pops into my head once or twice, but doesn't really sum it up. Blues fed through a teastrainer & an old tape-deck.
All in all, then, another godspunk that in some way, you do kinda need to hear. Much more entertaining to me than some dull genre-specific effort. Stancore in effect once again! The only missing link is LDB, the highly entertaining highlight of volumes one to three, a rapper in some ways able to stand his ground amongst the great, so good are his lyrics. LDB, we miss you. It should also be mentioned that RooHmania of the Hobs sticks his head in more than once, operating the desk. Kinda hitting the point of being in-house Pumf producer number two, the lad RooH has got it! He is also one of those people with little out & available but hundreds of things on the computer waiting to be unleashed. Get on it,
godspunk volume four (PUMF 553,
2006 - click to buy)
- Andy Martin did
write a review of godspunk volume four, but by the time reviews were being
added to the Pumf website (some years later) pStan had lost that review.
Which is strange, because he had kept all Andy's reviews of the various
volumes together, and he's usually quite organised at stuff like that. He
thinks that maybe he was the target of an extremely selective burglar, but
he will apologise unreservedly anyway. It was probably his fault.
Everything is his fault.
godspunk volume three (PUMF 518,
2005 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin (UNIT), August 2oo5
(Note: Dave has already listened to the CD but was not that interested in much of the contributors. I've relayed his comments, however. I have already listened to the disc through once but since I'm sat here with Achoi, who also wants to give his review, I have the benefit of a second listen before I allow my opinionated, biased comments to insult 75% of the bands and artists involved).
- Howl In The Typewriter - Affairs Of The Heart
Gangsta rap now is it - oho - howling typewriters check out the LDB flAava - bossman Burton definitely up in yo 'hood. Enough: to date, this is beyond doubt 1) the most interesting lyric you have ever written (that I have heard), 2) the most proficiently performed work you have ever recorded (that I have heard) and 3) easily my favourite Howl In The Typewriter
track of all. Even the brief punk excerpts are forgivable . . . but I find it extremely difficult to believe this is not either a deliberate homage to Lawrence or an intentional pastiche of his style. It surely cannot be a coincidence. 10/10 (Achoi somehow contrives to award this masterpiece a mere 8/10. Bah - youngsters, what do they know?)
- The 3 Ages Of Elvis - Buttercup
No, no, no . . . this sounds like late 70s / early 80s pop punk - it's horrible. 1/10
- The 3 Ages Of Elvis - Dishwash
Oh God, save me from hearing any more punk rock of any kind ever! Yes, I know they can play well and all that but this is just horrible. It's even more out of place on godspunk than our stuff. It's so conservative . . . well, too much for me. Nice band name though. 1/10 (Dave says these tracks are a gas but he's probably biased because he loves the band name! Achoi awards both these 0/10).
- Pissed Off - Asylum
What the devil is this supposed to represent? Poor Eve Libertine now set to a bad dance track? This was one of the very few good tracks the otherwise odious / boring / tedious Crass ever released - so this bunch decide to ruin it. I see what they've tried to do and it's a brave attempt but the power of the lyric is obliterated. 3/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 . . . but then he's never heard the Crass version which is perhaps an advantage in order to appreciate this. Dave, who used to like Crass, largely agrees with my sentiments).
- Norman - Paranoia
Resonance FM would love this. Pity, really, because I can't stand it. I ought to like it, really . . . it's not so far removed from some UNIT material . . . the middle section is more intriguing, of course, until he goes punque roque and then I switch off entirely. It's also far too bloody long for my no doubt Simpsons addled attention span. 2/10 (Note: please tell Norman that Mr Dave Fanning reckons this is the best track on the whole CD! Achoi says it has possibilities and awards it 5/10 but he says if the punk section was removed it'd rise to 7/10!)
- Litterbug - Who Am I?
Why do I like this band? The guitar sound is wretched, the vocals are horrible . . . yet there's something . . . something I can't quite define . . . bits of punk, Joy Division, Oasis and The Swell Maps all rolled into one decidedly curious mix. It doesn't quite match the excellence of their godspunk 1 tracks but it still makes the grade. 6/10
- Litterbug - Looking Back Then
Well, after the above, this is not so good . . . musically, at least . . . but as with the previous number, the lyrics are actually very odd - without being abstract or pretentious. I like these lyrics; bizarre holiday and television references that I don't understand, probably because I don't have a TV. I'd still prefer a clearer production and the vocals to have been sung in a more definite pitch. 6/10 (Achoi gives these pieces 2/10 - I don't know what drugs he's on but they're doing him no good at all).
- the taurus board - Green & Neon
Each time you release a godspunk CD, Achoi and I await the next instalment of the taurus board. This lot prove that all those nights and days spent during the 1990s at raves and in warehouses were not misspent youth after all but merely preparation for this - no, really they reveal there is still plenty of life in the old dance / techno dog yet. This track is a little too chill-out for me. I prefer my dance style more hardcore (drum'n'bass / jungle is my preferred genre). Still, it deserves 8/10. (Dave says he simply cannot comprehend what Achoi and I appreciate in this stuff. Bah - oldsters, what do they know? Achoi gives it 10/10, but then he'd give this lot 10/10 if they came round his house and blew fog horns into his ears at 4 in the morning).
- Razor Dog - Gonna Catch Up
The bass playing is solid. That's it. I managed to say something positive about this horrible late 70s noise. 1/10
- Razor Dog - This Love's Absurd
Not that hoary old riff yet again . . . this sounds so 1979! It's abysmal even though it's played very well. 1/10 (Note: there is far too much pub-punk rock on this
installment of godspunk. Don't do it again. Achoi (true to form) gives these pieces 0/10. Dave reckons he'd have really liked these tracks had he heard them 20 years ago. Talk about damning with faint praise! He still likes them both, especially the second track).
- Howl In The Typewriter - Walter & Frank
Not one of your best, Mr Batcow . . . strange tape of strange northern gents notwithstanding. 5/10 (Achoi likes this one, too - an 8/10 no less. Have you acquired a new fan or is he just a crawler?)
- LDB - The Trial
Can this man do no wrong? I have the fortune to have heard all his rap numbers - all of them - the double album Mind Of A Postman is the most criminally neglected gangsta rap classic ever recorded this side of the Atlantic. Being primarily a writer of texts I can appreciate how he hammers his couplets into shape and forces rhymes out of virtually nowhere . . . but this one escaped my trawl of his works. Just as it begins to become a little repetitive, the music fades and this courtroom skit reveals why he is not a bad ass black rapper from the Bronx - then we're back into the music as he comes across with pure honesty, no clichťs, no pretence, no fake gangsta rap image . . . this is that rare bird: a humorous rap that also contains a serious message to all poseurs everywhere. 9/10 because it's a little murky in sound quality, the only fault I can find in it. (Achoi only gives this 7/10 because he's a punk ass muthafukkin bitch brained ho').
- The Reverends - World Of Cricket
Marvellous title . . . interesting structure . . . but the 'production' is like some Apostles crap from 1983, which is a pity because this piece is better than most of what The Apostles ever did - although it needs a more forceful or interesting vocalist. It then fails to develop any of the initially interesting ideas - to my satisfaction at least. It's one of the more adventurous pieces on this CD and would be improved with more work done on it. 6/10
- UNIT - Make Believe
I didn't realise just how commercial Garlens' stuff was until I hear it in this new context. We do sound professional and even quite slick here - nice pop song but, I don't know . . . it's still old fashioned somehow. Is that Garlens' fault? Then again, does it matter anyway? I still like this track. 7/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 but then he likes Garlen and tends to be too generous in his opinions of the lads' musical abilities / limitations. Still, this is one of his more inspired works. Dave and U-J can't listen to anything Garlen wrote - they hate it all with a vengeance!)
- UNIT - Intlatol In Tiamacazquime
Ha! How to ensure LDB appears twice on godspunk 3. No, I can see why U-J remixed this as a purely instrumental track with the bass and guitars louder. In being kind to Lawrence I made the music backing indistinct and murky so it loses 80% of its power and majesty. As a result, this now sounds as if Lawrence is reciting this tract in a big empty hall while some band is playing in the next room. 5/10
- UNIT - In A Chinese Youth Club
Poor Garlen - tries hard to sing a vocal designed for me originally. Still, with the third person tense, the text has more intense power somehow, less self pity than the version on which I sing. Musically this is the most adventurous of the quartet we sent you and it shows. 8/10
- UNIT - Breaking Barriers
Well, despite my weak singing, this remains my own favourite despite being over 10 years old (mainly). The winning combination of U-J on two flutes, Achoi on vibraphone (and drums, obviously) and stealing the bass and guitar riff from Incandescence for the middle section (as I'm sure you noticed - such conservationists, we always recycle riffs and melodies) has definitely breathed new life into this old standard. Pity about my voice, though. 9/10
- Kate Fear & Nigel Joseph - Little Bird
A bit of a mess, this, but an interesting mess nonetheless with some intriguing texts. Unfortunately, once it starts, it stays in that groove and goes nowhere - the vocals have been recorded with way too much bass and no treble so after 30 seconds the whole thing becomes little more than a drone. Like The Reverends, this track has possibilities and potential that aren't realised. 4/10
- The Time Flies - Mr Jeffrey Martin Lichtmann
The pun in the band name is cool . . . the music less so, although the keyboard bass groove is nice. The trouble with this stuff is it's too well mannered, too polite - techno should be in your face and kick ass - this is too ambient for my taste although it's still a damn sight better than many of the tracks on this CD but then I would say that, wouldn't I? Mr Hippodrome Ibiza here with his friggin' Chemical Brothers and Andy C collection! 7/10 (Achoi also gives this 7/10 although unlike me, he's only heard all these tracks once so far, whereas I'm hearing them the second time around (and it was a bloody pain enduring Elvis and Razor Dog again I can tell you).
- The Time Flies - Spiritual Fornication
Now we diverge - this track reminds me of Out Of Afrika by the Chemical Brothers but without the kicking hardcore references which make that track so good. Again, this has potential - with a different mix and some extra samples, this could be a dance-floor killa. That's it, I've just cracked it: both these tracks sound unfinished. Still, on the strength of these two tracks, I really hope they are included in godspunk 4. 7/10 (Achoi gives this 9/10 although I can't see why this is so much better than Mr JML).
- Howl In The Typewriter - Personal Ads
A howl . . . followed by a minute of silence . . . followed by a rant that, if read in a Scottish accent, could so easily be The Apostles circa 1989 a couple of weeks prior to my departure when I loathed and despised everything and everyone, including myself. What a way to end a CD! For that reason alone - 10/10! (Even Achoi gives it 9/10, mainly because he finds it really amusing - as if you're telling everyone to 'fuck off' after they've had the decency to purchase and listen to the CD! I know your ire is directed at those grim personal advertisements such as one finds in Private Eye but I prefer to imagine you're directing your comments at your record buying public.
In conclusion, I have to say this is the godspunk edition I enjoy least, primarily because there is a surfeit of pub punk gear, early 80s sounding cassette pet type tracks, not enough avant garderie and only 1 LDB track. Achoi says the Howl In The Typewriter contributions were far more adventurous and interesting on volume 2 although we both agree that
Affairs Of The Heart is an absolute classic. He asked me to play it again and he's revised his initial score to 9/10 - he says the brief punk interludes spoil it or it'd be 10/10. Fair
godspunk volume two (PUMF 476,
2004 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin (UNIT), May 2004
- Gays In The Military - The Aids Team
You fuckin' what, John? Atonal faggot road rock - this I do not like. The lyrics do not sense make and the music, while unusual and nicely recorded (especially the bass guitar) is not really my cup of tea .. . all this handkerchief stuff and nonsense . . . my God, this is why I have being queer! Bizarre structure - horrible vocals. (4/10)
- Las Vegas Mermaids - Rich Man's Ball Bag
Now this is more like it (vocals) although the music is a bit of a dirge, isn't it? Excellent lyrics, though. Pity the music is so grim. Superb ending! (7/10)
- Las Vegas Mermaids - Weevils
The music here is much better - techno with style and more marvellous vocals. The keyboard sounds are much more interesting and effective here. Disturbing lyrics to create a most effective atmosphere. Real techno done properly! (9/10)
- Pissed Off - Rivers Of Baby Lon
My God, this is excellent too! Where do you find all this stuff? Sampled machine guns in time with the drum machine, too. Industrial techno - superb tape montage. It's perhaps a little polemical but it's none the worse for that . . . a little too long but. (8/10)
- Higgins++ - Silent Weapons For A Quiet War
Polemic? This virtually preaches at me, I mean, lighten up! No, I shouldn't complain because 99% of pop music these days says nothing and supports the corporate mind numbing machine . . . but (groan) this goes on and on until it irritates me but then I know all this . . . I'd like to play this to the HCYC lads though. (5/10)
- Higgins++ - A New England
By the way, their page in the booklet is brilliant! Techno punk rock? Sounds like a track from Bullshit Detector that failed to make the grade, no doubt because there's no swearing, you can hear the words and it's quite tuneful. I still don't like it, even though I sympathise with his sentiments and stance. (4/10)
- RooHmania - Shulavon7
What's he/they done to your song, Stan? I prefer your version although this is quite interesting - punk rock segues into techno segues into New Order: very clever! Howl in the Blue Monday already. Yes, this is very smart indeed. (8/10)
- RooHmania - J.I.G.
Fairport Connection and Steeleye Span played by New Order circa 1991. This lot are beyond doubt the most technically accomplished artists on the CD by far. It's nice to hear a purely instrumental work, too. (9/10)
- Howl in the Typewriter - Llamas
I remember this from that CD-R you sent to me. Pity the production is a little, er, bass and middle biased. Nice tune, strange words - actually, 'nice tune, strange words' applies to many of your pieces. (6/10)
- Howl in the Typewriter - Here Comes The Butterfly
You must now be called a MOST ANNOYING CUNT for writing the best thing I've heard you create with the best lyrics I've ever heard you sing . . . and then split / shred it to pieces, shortened shards of 10 second fragments oh BLOODY HELL buggering bollocks, why did you have to do this? The concept is fine, innovative, but not on this number, Stan, not on what is beyond doubt the best thing you've ever written! Of course, that's a silly statement - only you know what is the best thing you've ever written, but . . . all the same. If you release godspunk volume three, can you put the unabridged version on it so we can all enjoy and savour it? The lyrics are simply superb - brilliant - excellent. What more can I say? (10/10)
- Howl in the Typewriter - Jesus, Buddha and Allah
As for this - it's a bloody racket! (1/10)
- Pinkeye - The One
. . . er . . . well . . . (2/10)
- Pinkeye - Outside
. . . (sigh) . . . frankly . . . maybe I'm more conservative than I'd like to admit but . . . (0/10)
- Pinkeye - The Swan
. . . what's the matter with Capital Letters anyway? This is the best one yet . . . (7/10)
- Pinkeye - Lucy Bird
. . . mutated folk meets Syd Barret lyrics in hell . . . (1/10)
- Pinkeye - Field1
. . . and talking of hell . . . (1/10)
- Pinkeye - Field2
. . . despite being mercifully short . . . (1/10)
- the taurus board - King Of Denial
More lower case weirdness - no, this lot deserve to be reprised from volume one. I'm glad to see they made it here along with us, you and LDB. Repetitive, yes, but still there's that renegade non-commercial techno sound that would do well in he clubs. My problem is: it's too long. Of course, it's not designed for one man alone in a bedroom in a chair. It's a dance groove for a club but with a subversive tape insert in the middle. This lot fascinate me. Thinking man's techno! (7/10)
- LDB - Last Days Of Rome
Gangsta rap in a midlands accent - I'm convinced even if I didn't know LDB I'd still think his stuff was superb. What anger, vitriol and invective + intelligence in a 5Ĺ minute slice of bitter fulmination against everything I detest in UK post modernism. There's more aggression in this than all that 1980's anarcho punk combined. This kicks serious ass! My bloody hell, this stuff really is as hard as hell! (9/10)
- LDB - Stadium R&B
Musically this is more advanced than a dozen Three Six Mafia clones. Why does this work so well? LDB has taken his experience of industrial music and pop groups, married that to American hip-hop and gangsta rap; result: ART, mate, pure art. No bullshit, no fuss, no mess just pure impact. Excellent singalong chorus, too! (9/10)
- LDB - Warrior
This should be done by Manowar or Celtic Frost - but not LDB! A rare example of one of his tirades that doesn't quite make the grade. (3/10)
- UNIT - Bright And Beautiful
Bizarre: mutant punk rock. This still sounds as if it was recorded in 1986. (6/10)
- UNIT - Made In Hong Kong
Oh dear . . . I mean, it's all very enjoyable but I really don't have the right kind of voice for this kind of stuff and this music sounds so old fashioned now, especially in the context of this CD's contents. (5/10)
- UNIT - Out To Lunch
Well, it's amusing but so 1980's! That guitar sounds horrible, too. (6/10)
- UNIT - The Letter
At last: a track that sounds as if it should be on this compilation and also sounds as if it was recorded recently! Most disturbing - it brings tears of rage to my eyes even now. (10/10)
- UNIT- Two Weeks In Malaysia
I'm glad you decided to include this after all. Actually we should have just sent you
The Letter and this wonderful little pop song. (8/10 - rotten guitar sound
godspunk volume one (PUMF 455,
2003 - click to buy)
- Review by Andy Martin
(UNIT), March 2003
- Howl in the
Typewriter - Jesus! (9/10)
The 5'40" extended disco remix inna big up The Man anthem . . . it's worth being a God Botherer jus so you can singalongatypewriter to this marvellous piece. I would give it 10/10 if it ended at about 5'00" when the instruments fade out leaving the voices - that was the ideal place to leave it.
- Howl in the Typewriter - Mirrorshades (6/10)
The 0'42" edit . . . God nose. I'd give this 7 or 8 out of 10 if it was 2'00" but it's too damn short. A song or instrumental should be like a boy's shorts or girl's dress: brief enough to be interesting and long enough to cover the subject.
- Howl in the Typewriter - The Body (8/10)
The Nocturnal Emmissions meets Tubeway Army in Throbbing Gristle's recording studio. This is one of the better works on the CD . . . reminds me of 'Donor', a track we did in 1990 although you [Howl] use rhythms more effectively. Who said industrial noise can't be commercial? Well done, sir!
- Howl in the Typewriter - Love Camp No 7 (7/10)
Well, I'm glad there are four works by
HitT because this stuff is superb, really. It is also nice to have a gentle, melodic (but still challenging) contrast to LDB and UNIT. There's something almost Abba about the use of keyboards and that's high praise indeed. The words / voice-over part is not so interesting as
Jesus! and The Body.
- Hebetation - 10/10/02 (5/10)
If Iannis Xenakis had been a pop musician instead of an avant garde composer . . . Dome meets the Door and the Window . . . I'm glad people still do soundscapes like this but it's still not my kind of music. Note: they have good control of their instruments and effects, especially in a live context . . . this sort of stuff can so easily dissolve into chaos but this is cleverly structured. I wish I liked this . . . but I don't!
- the taurus board - Ripple Effect (4/10)
Techno marries funk in the church of TOPY. If this was only 2 minutes long or if it changed key and / or rhythm, it would be pretty gear . . . as it stands, it goes on far too long without doing much else. Pity because it's cool and funky and has potential. LDB should do a mean rap over some of this!
- Litterbug - Codeine (6/10)
It's a bit bloody morbid, ain't it, guv? Still, it shows you what can be done with conventional instruments in a non-conventional manner that is still interesting. Not mad on those high vocals but they do suit the words.
- Litterbug - Delmario (10/10)
Fuck me sideways, this is brilliant! These people have put together that chunky Joy Division / New Order instrumental that we've tried to do in the past and never managed. Cunts! Seriously, on the strength of these two
songs, I'd like to hear more. It makes a change to hear a band who do instrumentals. (I wish we'd done one, now - I grow sick of the sound of my own reedy, tinny vocals).
- Stream Angel - Day That Will (3/10)
. . . and this is only an excerpt? Christ, this is really irritating. Pity because I know this chap and he's always so generous, intelligent and perceptive about our work . . . but I can't cope with this at all. Sorry, Stream!
- LDB - Death Wish (10/10)
Now the heavy stuff - and by hell, this is mean motherfucking murderation - I know who this is about but that's irrelevant. What matters is that this proves White Men Can Rap! This kicks arse and knocks So Solid Crew into the middle of last month. I can't fault this.
- LDB - Never Go Back Again (9/10)
Yes, I know Puff Daddy can write gentle, powerful, perceptive lyrics but this shows how it really should be done. I've heard this before but I couldn't have paid attention the first time because I thought it was OK then but now - my God this is so nostalgic, sad and yet never morbid. Some of these words are so nice (in the best sense of that maligned word) and generous. Rap doesn't just have to be about violence and revenge.
- LDB - Ode To Some People . . . (8/10)
Now we're back in more familiar territory. Note: LDB and UNIT independently choose to attack trendy commercial underground scne types / fanzines. Go with the flow, these words are so powerful that I can ignore the occasionally repetitive music. This is no nonsense, no pretence, no fuss pure honesty that cuts through all the bullshit.
- LDB - Faction Paradox (10/10)
Up tempo sci-fi influenced fun complete with that most potent of mixes: anger combined with
humour. It usually works and it certainly does here. Note: all these instruments are played, not sampled. This is a rollercoaster of revenge, a delightful frolic that completes the most enjoyable, entertaining and effective quartet of works on the CD.
- UNIT - Incandescence (8/10)
Adapted from a Tony Hancock episode that ridicules avant garde art movements, this is an affectionate parody set to simple yet powerful music only slightly spoiled by the rather inept singing. The structure is excellent with the unaccompanied vocal central section framed by heavy rock outer segments. With a decent singer this would be 10/10 easily.
- UNIT - God Of Grumblers (8/10)
This starts promising . . . but devolves into a laborious funk rap with the vocals too low in the mix. A bird's voice would sound better on this. The funk chorus is good but 5 minutes of lead guitar and bass guitar twittering becomes very tedious after a while. The drumming is actually very good - which is most unusual for our band! Unusual lyrics which accounts for the higher score.
- UNIT - God Of Nothing (2/10)
Jesus Christ, this is bloody awful. The words aren't bad (if a little sloganeering) but it just goes on and on - nowhere. The bass playing is good but it has no real melody to play worth remembering. It deserves 2 for the words (some of them) but that's all.
- UNIT - A Head Wound And A Fracture (8/10)
This is more like it: punk rap! It's just a little on the long side but otherwise this is white hot rage with articulate anger matched to occasionally amusing rhymes. The music is a little basic but it matches the subject matter. The revenge against racial abuse and homophobic bigotry does need this quietly simmering rage rather than bawling screams so I'm glad I resisted the temptation to shout the words. In retrospect I wish I hadn't resorted to swearing - it sounds immature. I'm not why it works when LDB does it but when I do it, I do sound a bit like a boy who's older brother has just broken his
Playstation 2 . . .which would be a perfectly justifiable reason for breaking out into military language, of
- Review by Idwal
Fisher #4, January 2004
Howl in the Typewriter kicks things off in fine style with a rasping steam driven uber pop rant that shouts 'Jesus in your heart, revolution in your life'.
I will pay good money to whoever it is that runs that rancid chart show 'Top Of The Pops'
(my hands feel dirty typing out the words) to get Stan on there in his
day-glo DMs' and Deirdre Barlow specs to see him betting his little heart out to this poppy little number.
LDB gives us four tracks of what appears to be (what I think is commonly know these days
as) rapping. A strange one this. LDB raps with a rolling non-descript English accent over pre-programmed synth beats and exotic wash. LDB must be nearly forty - he name checks old episodes of Dr Who
(in black and white) and people who fawn over their Throbbing Gristle posters. He has a go at Adverse Effect for giving him a bad review
(which states that he's a frustrated Eminem or somesuch). Which is easy to see. But if you don't like the genre then your not going to like these four tracks anyway. I think I do like them, mainly because LDB has a great deadpan delivery and he sings, sorry raps, about things I can relate to. Imagine a slouch talking
(rapping, sorry) over a Human League instrumental . . . maybe.
With the taurus board, if I was 20 years younger I'd probably be reaching for my pill box by now. The one that contains my E and
whizz. Mindst you, if I was 20 years younger I would probably be doing that on a regular basis
Electro bleep pulse stammer the likes of which fills the heads of those nodding dogs you see on buses in baseball caps. Put it in a bucket and drown it nurse.
Litterbug is a proper band with real guitars and chords and stuff and its not a million miles away from the Velvets. First track is called
Codeine and the singer sings Codeine in a drawly Gen P.O. Box type style over a twin guitar strum and psych thrash. Next up is a track called
Delmario which is a Jesus and Mary Chain / Cramps instrumental.
Howl In The Typewriter's The Body kicks off with a voice telling us how 16th and 17th century celebs would pay good money to watch anatomy lessons with background music. A see saw stomp pans either speaker and the mans 'fascination with the interior' rolls round and round.
I'll stick my neck out here and say that Stream Angel's is probably the best track of the lot.
Day That Will is but an excerpt. A sample amalgam of shear snips. Short wave voices oscillate out of the ether. A woman says 'once I heard the sounds of the wind and the tree'. Snip snip go the shears. Sine waves come and go, flitting around the insides of a B Movie soundtrack. Reverberation. Give me reverberation or give me death. Reverse tape manipulation. Its Dada, its
Russolo. Out of the melee appears a crystal clear voice intoning a POEM.
Howl in the Typewriter round things up with a 90 second instrumental sample hound and the end is nigh.
Reviews by Jamie Azzopardi, Summer 2019
Ah, godspunk- the one and only uber-eclectic comp series with the kooky clown covers and the booklets that look like an even more deranged version of the 'Local List' rag that drops through my letterbox every few weeks! I was seriously late to the party, only becoming aware of godspunk circa 2016 when I set up a trade with Phil Smith (The Haddenham One) and ended up with a couple of volumes. Thankfully, I've made up for lost time since then, and
now - having obtained every volume and realising just what a formidable collection it
is - I felt it was only right to try and review each disc, artist by artist style-e . . . so here we go . . .
- godspunk volume one
Howl in the Typewriter - pStan gets the long, strange godspunk trip underway with the classic
"Jesus!" - one of THE most insanely catchy (synth) pop songs of all time . . . guaranteed to stick in yer mind after one play, or yer money back! His other three pieces are also synthesizer-based and are redolent of late '70s/ early '80s German electronic
music - "The Body", which is peppered with voice samples re: anatomy, surgery, martyrdom etc., is particularly impressive and is easily one of my favourite overall Howl pieces, while "Love Camp #7" is an excellent miniature in the style of Sky-era Asmus Tietchens, ending with samples from the notorious Nazisploitation/ Video Nasty film of the same name.
LDB - as with many godspunk contributors, Lawrence Burton is someone whose musical career stretches back to the early '80s, during which time he ran a cottage industry label, issued numerous solo cassettes and was involved with experimental electronic groups such as Konstruktivists. Roll on the early 2000s, however, and he was making lo-fi hip hop stuff as LDB, an EP's worth of which he donated to this very godspunk disc. Highlights include "Death
Wish" - a downtempo, dread-filled tune - and the poignant "Never Go Back Again", in which he raps candidly about his school days over atmospheric electric guitar and mellow beats.
Hebetation - this project - featuring another underground veteran in Stewart Walden, who has also played as part of the legendary A Band, amongst
others - doesn't appear to have released much of anything besides the 6 minute chunk from a late-2002 gig featured on this CD. The stop-start performance begins with haunted funhouse ambience, followed by stomping bass loops and whimsical slide-whistle whoopings. After a short break, things threaten to zoom off into hyperspeed motorik
and/ or MC5 territory, before another odd bass figure enters, everything eventually dissolving into freeform thunder. Frustratingly, the excerpt ends just as a sax enters the fray . . . denied! I love this kind of post-Godz, "stick-everything-in-the-pot" improvisational
lunacy - while this isn't the most mind-meltingly amazing example of this kind of music out there, it's still a keeper!
the taurus board - another one-off in the "godspunk volume one" soundscape is "Ripple
Effect" - a kinda funky techno workout, featuring distant telephone voices and persistent, mysterious alien interference tones. I imagine this would sound particularly good whilst driving through gloomy, deserted urban environments at 2
a.m. - a cliche thing to say, perhaps, but as I'm sure you'll come to realise, I'm full o' the bloody things . . .
Litterbug - we get a pair of tracks from this sandgrown
combo - "Codeine" comes on like a phased, drugged-out mutation of "Teenage
Kicks" - cool, but not massively eventful - while "Delmario" is a pleasingly sloppy garage rock instrumental.
Stream Angel - this chap also played with improv nutters the A Band back in the day. His stuff as Stream Angel, however, is of the carefully constructed sound collage
variety - his godspunk contribution, "Day That Will", is a beautifully sinister combination of looping sax notes, the sound of a man exhaling, ghostly classical piano and assorted samples from old films and TV, generously garnished with wheedlings and whistlings from a synthesizer or two. Fantastic!
UNIT - along with Howl in the Typewriter, the eclectic and deeply eccentric post-Apostles/ Academy 23 combo UNIT have appeared on every single volume of godspunk to
date - an impressive feat! Their first batch of tracks consists of two mean-arsed, distorted rockers and two loose funk-punk jammers, one of
which - "God of Nothing" - features both a rapped vocal and pan pipes (!). Together with their stuff on the second and fifth godspunks, this is one of my absolute favourite UNIT sets.
Conclusion - not much else to say, other than the series started with an absolute corker! 'Tis a glorious blend of sounds and styles, with nary a weak track on offer. Quite possibly my favourite volume of all!
- godspunk volume two
Howl in the Typewriter - pStan's "Llamas" is a fine
opener - a bass-heavy synth pop number, with a touch of post-punk iciness at its core . . . imagine a mash-up of "The Top"-era Cure and "Pulse of the Rooster" and you're getting close . . . perversely split up into 8 bite-size chunks and scattered throughout the tracklisting, "Here Comes the Butterfly" is a raga rock-cum-industrial ditty, replete with uber-compressed guitar for that tasty mid-'60s Byrds-ian 12-string sound . . . with utterly oblique lyrics courtesy of Stewart Walden, the hyper fuzz punker "Jesus, Buddha & Allah" closes the
show - love pStan's high/ low double-tracked vocals on this . . . and dig that 'locked groove' at the end, which never fails to make me think that my CD player's finally bitten the dust!
LDB - "Last Days of Rome" and "Stadium R 'n' B" sport much clearer vocals and crisper instrumentation than his stuff on the previous volume. Compositionally, they're perhaps a bit more developed too. "Last Days . . ." is notable for being quite possibly the only song in existence that namechecks both Boyd Rice and Boyzone! "Warrior" is the odd one out of all LDB's godspunk tunes, being a rockin' cover of a hyper obscure song by one Steve Ainsworth. Vocally, LDB sounds almost like a youthful Tony Wakeford on certain lines, while the crunchy guitars threaten to break into "Pictures of Matchstick Men" at any second!
Gays in the Military - the surprisingly-hard-to-Google Gays in the Military are/ were (from what I can gather) a band from the US. Their lone godspunk contribution is entitled "When We Were the AIDS
Team" - a pretty decent piece, consisting of extended sections of lewd 'n' crude gay-themed film samples broken up by spastic bursts of acid-fried noise rock, in a kind of "Locust Abortion Technician"/ "Psychiatric Underground"-lite style-e.
Las Vegas Mermaids - this comedy synth pop trio ended up contributing to several further 'spunks, with extremely variable results, it has to be said. Thankfully, "Rich Mans BallBag" and "Weevils" are among their more bearable tracks. I can't say either one makes me laugh, but musically at least they're pretty alright, if a touch melodically undernourished.
Pinkeye - the first of many uber-mysterious, godspunk-only projects who, after contributing, seemingly vanished into thin air! Pinkeye's suite of bizarre electronics, lo-fi campfire femme folk, atonal synth squibs, dictaphone field recording snippets and warped African drumming is . . . intriguing, I'll give it that! Feck knows what it's all supposed to represent, but I kinda like it all the same!
Pissed Off - a Ceramic Hobs/ Smell & Quim-related project, who give that there 1978 Boney M (s)hit a thorough deconstruction, littering the techno-infused soundscape with political media samples and the grim sound of gunfire.
Higgins++ - this chap, best known as leader of Blackpool punks Erase Today during the '90s, was also involved in godspunk-ers Litterbug for a time. "Silent Weapons for a Quiet War" is a "Fitter Happier"-style checklist of nightmarish politicised imagery, spoken over a minimal backdrop of bass and echoed footsteps, while "A New England" is a chuggy, poppy punk
tune - not my preferred flavour of punk at all, I'm afraid.
RooHmania - the late RooH made his godspunk debut with what can only be described as a 'classic rock megamix' of Howl's "Jesus!", laying pStan's joyous vocal on top of a rather clever Jive Bunny-esque 'name that tune!' backing track. Meanwhile, "J.I.G." does what it says on the
tin - 'tis a jolly "Liege & Lief"-styled acoustic ditty, backed by a drum machine and assorted overdriven noises.
UNIT - this ultra-snappy, strangely satisfying set covers raging hardcore shoutiness, menacing spoken word, oddly poignant poppiness, a re-imagining of "All Things Bright and Beautiful" AND a lunch break for a spot of crispy aromatic duck (in orange sauce) in, ooh, all of about 30 seconds or something. I like!
the taurus board - ttb give us "King of
Denial" - a 'tribute' to ol' George 'Dubya' Bush, whose dulcet tones make a brief cameo in amidst the '90s-esque techno funkery.
Conclusion - in contrast to the 3 to 6 minute track-dominated " . . . volume one", this was the first of several 'bitty', snippet-populated godspunks, so I suppose if you're not in the mood, you may find yourself getting a touch frustrated at some of the 'fart-and-you'll-miss-it' antics. Keep yer wits about you, though, and you'll no doubt realise that there's enough quality on display here to make it worthy of a hard-earned fiver!
- godspunk volume
Howl in the Typewriter - with 60 odd minutes of the playing time taken up by other artists, there's not much pStan to be found on this volume at all. His main contribution is opener "Affairs of the
Heart" - a very detailed and creative hip hop track. Later on we get a brief collage of old geezer voices and perky beats entitled "Walter & Frank", and "Personal
Ads" - a venomous rant tucked away at the very end of the CD.
The 3 Ages of Elvis - this power trio's contributions are mostly of a bluesy garage/ psychobilly
persuasion - of their two tracks, I prefer "Buttercup", which contains a fairly mellow, melodic section in amidst the rockin' and ravin'.
Pissed Off - the mysterious Pissed Off made another godspunk cameo with
"Asylum" - a 2 minute Crass cover version, consisting of a girl with a posh voice laying into Jesus good 'n' proper over a strange, drum and bass-y electronic backdrop. I'm unfamiliar with the original (to be honest, save for hearing Steve Ignorant do his thing on "Dogs Blood Rising" by Current 93, I'm unfamiliar with Crass, full stop!), so I've no idea how PO's take stacks up (yeah,
yeah - I know I could just go on Youtube or whatever to hear it, but that would be too easy!), but whatever the case, I quite enjoy this. EDIT - pStan informed me that the actual Crass piece is used as the basis of the track, making it more of a remix . . . *still steadfastly resisting temptation to go on Youtube* . . .
Norman - seemingly even more of a mystery than Pissed
Off - according to Discogs at least, "Paranoia" is the only thing guitar slinger Norman has ever done! 'Tis a joyous 6 minute rip-ride through a whole load of
styles - quirky pop rock, techno with harsh, industrialised sampled voices, neo-'80s rock, synth funk, then a stretch of raunchy, metallic blues to finish. Weirdly enough, a fair portion of this piece seems to foreshadow the sort of retro aesthetic that James Ferraro made a tidy living out of a few years down the line! Yeah, stick a bunch of tape murk on this and you could probably pass it off as a lost outtake from "Night Dolls With Hairspray" or something!
Litterbug - you may remember these Blackpool chaps from the first godspunk. Still operating in the same kind of sonic zone as they were in '03, here Litterbug offer up two fuzzy, lo-fi, mid-paced punk tunes, of which I prefer the melodic "Who Am I?" over the slightly dull "Looking Back".
the taurus board - whilst their name appears on the front cover, for some reason ttb are missing from the tracklisting and don't have a dedicated page inside the booklet, though the Pumf site informs me that this nice slice of Black Dog-esque techno with subtle sampled voices is entitled "Green and Neon". EDIT - the track *is* listed, just on the inside spine of the tray
card - thanks, pStan!
Razor Dog - ah, Razor Dog! Back in 2003 I played in a band called Kraul
- a few months into my tenure, our singer Luke put on an all-dayer at a venue just off Central Drive in Blackpool (I think it was called The Union then) and booked these guys to play. I remember their then-drummer dropped by our practise room once in the run up to the fest and we had a
jam - he was a very nice guy. He told me I played a bit like Frank Zappa, which made me like him even more! Anyway, their material here sounds much the same as the sort of stuff they played on that day in spring
2003 - catchy, no-nonsense psychobilly. It's not my usual bag, though the small dose they provide here is pretty cool, especially "This Love's Absurd".
LDB - his guest vocal on UNIT's "Intlatol in Tlamacazquime" aside, "The Trial" was LDB's last godspunk contribution. After mixing things up a touch on ". . . volume two", this one feels a bit more like the dusty, deadpan material he contributed to ". . . volume one". To be honest, as with psychobilly, hip hop isn't something I normally listen to, but I like LDB's spin on the genre all the
same - "The Trial" is no exception.
The Reverends - for me, the glorious, all-too-brief post-punk nugget "World of Cricket" is undoubtedly the real highlight of this CD! The first part sounds like Swell Maps meets Syd Barrett, before things turn melancholy for an instrumental coda, which is based around a gorgeous, stately violin line. The lo-fi, homespun sound of this track makes it genuinely hard to discern whether it's a modern recording, or some unearthed "Messthetics"-esque gem! I'd love to hear a whole album by these guys,
but - as far as I can see - they never released one.
UNIT - out of everybody on ". . . volume three", Andy Martin and company provide us with the most
material - a whopping 4 tracks/ 12 minutes! The highlight of their slot is most certainly the classic "In a Chinese Youth Club", though the proggy "Breaking Barriers" runs it close.
Kate Fear and Nigel Joseph - this duo give us a little something entitled "Little
Bird" - a track of scuzzy, lo-fi synth abuse running alongside a spoken word tape loop. While it's far too short for my liking and doesn't really develop much over its playing time, this is still my kind of thing!
The Time Flies! - a further 10 minutes of '90s-style techno, this time from The Time Flies!, a duo featuring a chap named John Tree, who would go on to feature on several more godspunks. Overall, as with the taurus board's tune, I'm reminded mostly of The Black Dog circa "Spanners", especially on "Mr. Jeffrey Martin Lichtmann", which is the more ambient sounding piece of the two. Both contributions feature "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts"-esque sampled voices, which add pleasing amounts of atmosphere to proceedings!
Conclusion - as others have noted before me, there's a lot of punky rock type stuff on ". . . volume
three" - as a result, it does feel like one of the least eclectic (and thus one of the least truly 'godspunk-y') collections in the series. Taken on its own merits though, it's still highly enjoyable, and
whatever - that self-satisfied jester clown on the front is one of my faves! Just look at him!
- godspunk volume four
Howl in the Typewriter - pStan kicks off ". . . volume four" with
"Girl" - a sweet, melancholic tune, with shades of '90s indie and shoegaze. Elsewhere we get a couple of experimental electronic pieces, including a sequel to "Walter & Frank" from the previous volume, plus closer "The Payoff", which is musically bright and upbeat, but lyrically dark.
Yximalloo - Naofumi Ishimaru's Yximalloo project is undoubtedly one of Japanese underground music's hidden gems. His extensive back catalogue is literally an embarrassment of riches, yet for some reason he is NEVER mentioned alongside the likes of Merzbow, Keiji Haino, Masonna, Makoto Kawabata etc., despite being every bit as good as
them - truly baffling! Thankfully, pStan has championed Nao since the early
days - he released a cassette/ CD-R collection of assorted highlights via Pumf, as well as including a pair of collaborative tracks on this here godspunk. "Peter's Back (1988)" is a wonderfully fuzzy DIY boogie, sounding not unlike early Youngs/ Wickham-Smith jamming with the Brast Burn/ Karuna Khyal collective. "Peter is Back (2005)"
is - as you may have guessed - the same song tackled 17 years later - with its warped voices and alienatingly stilted atmosphere, for me it's even stranger than the '80s take!
the taurus board - again, ttb's cool, '90s-indebted acid/ techno material reminds me of The Black Dog or early Aphex Twin (as you've probably guessed, I don't listen to much of that stuff, so please excuse my extrememly limited points of reference!).
Pilzin Sox - this is another John Tree alias. "Alice Floats Away" (as in 'Alice in Wonderland') is a rather nice piece of mellow, modal electronica, with warm synth pads, Spanish guitar, dreamy female vocals and an overall feeling of gentle trippiness, bringing to mind both Ashra and The Durutti Column.
The Haddenham One - this is the project of one Phil
Smith - the man who ended up initiating my godspunk fascination! His first
piece - a homage to the 'legendary' Blackpool road they call Dickson - is a playful and entertaining slice of plunderphonic techno, with novelty melodies crashing into throbbing beats and noisy wah guitar. "In a Nutshell", on the other hand, is a (mercifully brief) 1000bpm mutilation of the title song from "The Sound of Music", which makes me feel like my head is about to explode!
Litterbug - compared to their previous contributions, this group certainly cleaned up their act by the time of ". . . volume
four" - both of their tracks sporting real drums instead of a drum machine, a female vocalist duetting with their regular male singer and a clearer, more polished studio sound. Don't get me wrong, this is competently performed material, but musically it does nothing for
me - I heard far too much of this unremarkable, derivative alternative/
punk stuff back in the early '00s . . . y'know, 4th on the bill at Copper Face Jacks on a windy Sunday afternoon in February . . . that kinda thing . . .
RooHmania - "Nine and a Half Minutes" is a psychedelic dance rock epic, based around bluesy wah guitar and erotic female vocal samples. Slightly generic riffing aside, this is a nice track, which takes you on quite the colourful, sexadelic trip!
Stream Angel - save for being sampled by the taurus board for a track on ". . . volume six", this was Stream Angel's second and final godspunk appearance, which is a shame, as I enjoy his stuff very much. This excerpt from a piece entitled "Some Strange Fabric" features heavenly ambient synths, pipe organ, pitched down spoken voices, mysterious percussive sounds etc., all adding up to a charming, '80s cassette underground sort of vibe.
Lenin's Virulent Muscle - a.k.a. The Las Vegas Mermaids. Some of their better material
here - "Mummy" is a rather cute synth pop song, while "Plastic Bags" is more forceful, reminding me of that hit song by Goldfrapp . . . y'know, *that* one. The group's female vocalist gives an impressive performance on the latter, belting it out like Grace Slick. Totally not bad!
UNIT - the UNIT squad offer up a rather jazzy set for this
volume - after a piss-takey intro, we get a couple of vibraphone-based instrumentals (in 7 and 5 time, respectively), a very brief post-punk thing with shouty German vocals, then a wonderfully raw take on Sun Ra's "Rocket No.9" to
finish - good stuff!
Conclusion - after the rock-centric third volume, "godspunk volume four" certainly got things back on track re: the unpredictable eclecticism that the series is best known for. Overall, this is a pretty damned enjoyable one, with a whole host of delightful tracks!
- godspunk volume five
Howl in the Typewriter - "The Last Crumb" starts 2007's godspunk on a calm, psych folk-ish note, with crisp acoustic strumming and atmospheric e-bowed electric. Fans of Julian Cope's "Fried" album should check this one out! At the other end of the spectrum is "Wound". Not credited to anyone on the actual release, but revealed to be a Howl track with the publication of a video in April 2019, this is pStan at his most
unhinged - 4 minutes of searing, mid-range power electronics, coming off like a less frenetic take on Whitehouse circa
"Cruise"/ "Bird Seed" etc. - fantastic! Elsewhere we get the too-bizarre-for-words "I Seen Man (Hanging Door)", a trio of light-hearted plunderphonic pop mash-ups and a multi-sectioned acid/ rave mini-epic called "Bus Driver" to finish.
Evil Jack McDeath / The Charles Napiers / Big Ron Turner / Mrs Edna Watley - these projects all feature a chap called Dan Whaley, who has been active in various garage/ psych/ surf bands since the mid-'80s, one of
whom - The Charles Napiers - appear here, providing a tantalising morsel of freeform spaghetti western-ised rock. The other tracks are all solo
affairs - a noise-riddled harmonium drone, a snatch of Middle Eastern-flavoured acoustic picking and an experiment with slowed
down/ reversed tape, respectively. All three of these are right up my musical alley, so it's a shame that none lasts beyond 40 seconds . . . then again, a lot of the good things in life are over with quickly . . . err, or so I'm told!
Bartles - this chap's musical endeavours stretch back further than any other godspunk contributor to
date - to the 1960s, apparently! His first song here, "Iran & Iraq", is a scathing, pun-tastic Beefheart/ Waits-ian rap over a backing of drums and dreamy, bluesy fretless bass. "Pumpkin Dump" is more experimental and psychedelic, with Bartles' multi-tracked voice echoing dark, nightmarish tales of war on top of another low 'n' slow backing. Excellent!
The Haddenham One - for number five, Phil Smith remixed a couple of tracks by his fave band, Ceramic Hobs. "Rave 'Un" (a.k.a. "Raven") is a brief, noisy techno assault under a demented Iggy-esque vocal, while "Amateur Dub (Learner Bus Driver Mix)" is (presumably) "Amateur Cops" given the drawn-out, echo 'n' melodica treatment. I don't own the former track in its original guise and don't have the latter to hand at the time of typing, so can't compare them with the remixes, but taken on their own merits, they're pretty cool.
John Tree - "Night of the Sambadrummer (Night Bus to RooHmania Mix)" does what it says on the tin, being a track based around err, samba drumming! Other instruments do
feature - subliminal, atmospheric synth pads, some groovy, high-up-the-fretboard chord work from RooH, then a burbling bass sequencer and a sneaky bit of marimba near the end. On its own, this is nothing to get too worked up over, though it does sound good in the overall soundscape of the CD, sorta thing . . . does that even make sense?! I'm not sure . . . let's move on . . .
Las Vegas Mermaids - "Bus Driver" is a poppy synth
rocker - 'tis listenable, but it doesn't develop much over the course of its 5 minutes.
the taurus board - ttb gets two bites of the cherry this
time - "Bus Driver (On The Road)" (what *is* this obsession with bus drivers all about, eh?!) is another funky techno track, which peters out just as some nice IDM synths enter the picture, whilst "Bus Driver (I'm Going Home)" is a clubby thumper leading into a short ambient drone.
UNIT - UNIT's all-instrumental set is interesting indeed. After the bright 'n' breezy "Ivor Kullin Goes to Denmark Street", we get a rather strange "call and answer" saxophone duet, followed by the glorious "No Matter, Try Again, Fail Again, Fail
Better" - 5 and a half minutes of full-on free improv. With sax, flute, bass, tom toms and rumbling piano all doing their thing in the no man's land between jazz and rock, this piece sounds like a long-lost cousin of "Pisser dans un violon" or "Underwater" off "Shooting at the Moon"!
Satan the Jesus Infekt'd Needles and Blood - this Hobs-related project give us a truly insane, scissored-to-shit noise collage, consisting of assorted moans, grunts 'n' howls, monstrous globs of fuzz bass, snatches of full band performance and static, static, static galore. The whole thing sounds like it was recorded on a succession of dictaphones, answering machines and wax cylinders (and let's face
it - it probably was)!
Jaw-D (featuring the Half-Pipers) - "Skateboard Park" is a catchy, scratchy, Chrome-esque lo-fi groover, based around clumping drum machine, persistent low e-string guitar riffing and multi-tracked "mic in mouth" vocals. I quite like this track, but at 6 minutes, its minimal sound palette is pretty much stretched to breaking
point - the addition of another instrument or two towards the end wouldn't have gone amiss!
Needle Park (featuring RooHmania) - beginning in a curious Paisley Underground/ neo-psychedelia-esque jangle zone, this instrumental remix of a track entitled "She Comes in the Storm" then morphs into a 4/4 meat 'n' potatoes rocker for the remainder. I like the juxtaposition of 'clean' (drums and lead guitar overdubs) and 'dirty' (distorted rhythm guitar and out of tune bass) elements here, though as a composition, this isn't particularly earth-shattering.
Conclusion - chronologically speaking, this one was definitely the strongest godspunk since the
first - Bartles, UNIT, Howl and Satan the Jesus . . . all saw to that.
Yeah - as my review attests, not everything here is stellar when put under the microscope, but there's still something about the flow of the disc that means I always spin it front to end without skipping anything. That's the strange magic of godspunk, I suppose!
- godspunk volume six
Howl in the Typewriter - fittingly, ". . . volume six" = six whole contributions from pStan, my faves of which are the opener "Weigh
How" - a synth pop tune with a punky attitude, the quirky, subtly dissonant jangle ballad "Nation of Two", which reminds me of Julian Cope in "Skellington" mode (always a good thing) and the split channel experiment "Never Killed Anyone / This Way Down", which pits a track of drifting ambience against another of glitchy, crunchy electronics and sounds rather fine any which way you choose to listen to it!
Evil Jack McDeath -
"Interference" - the first of three EJ McD pieces - is an extremely cool snippet of '70s-style instrumental rock. It sounds a little bit like something you'd hear on the soundtrack to an exploitation film from that era, y'know
- Werewolves on Wheels or Countess Perverse or something awesome like that. Unfortunately, his other two contributions are nowhere near as
good - "°Miercoles!" could actually be "Interference" in dub, while "Hijo de Puta"
- a collaboration with one Vince Palmier - is a 30 second long banjo-centric hillbilly piece, both of which are too slight to be of any real consequence (kinda the same problem I had with Mr. Whaley's stuff on the previous godspunk, for those of you taking notes!).
Jaw-D - returning after his appearance on ". . . volume five", but without The Half-Pipers this time, Jaw-D gives us a pair of
tracks - "Let 'em Dance", which bops along in a lo-fi, Suicide-ish synth punk manner, and the much softer "Story Time", which I found rather irritating to begin with, but with subsequent plays, its poppy naivety has sorta won me over.
The Style Pigs - according to the Pumf site, this project is closely linked with the likes of The Melodramatic Monkey and Data's Cat (see "godspunk volume eight" onwards for pieces submitted under these names). For this disc, TSP offer up a couple of abrasive scuzz punkers, plus "Fountain of
Blood" - a kind of 'urban folk tale', with lyrics about pierced genitals, vomit, smack, crack and masturbation. Sounds like my kinda party!
John Tree - Mr. Tree's "Fen Rap (Zen Radio Version)" is a remix of a track originally by The Haddenham One. 'Tis a droning ambient thing, with distant, echoed rhythmic
elements - nice, but unfortunately it fades out just as it seems to be getting going!
Turn Leathers - an uber-fuzzy, glitch-riddled noise rock performance gives way to a comical conversation about taking a bath, while a Terry Riley record plays somewhere off in the distance. Intriguing stuff! Turn Leathers were a trio from Todmorden, who operated between 1992 and 1994. According to their Bandcamp page, save for this track, all that remains of their legacy is a photograph and a sweet instrumental jangle pop tune that they partially rescued from a knackered old cassette!
The Shi-Ites - as the title would suggest, "Swirlygig" is a swirly, psychedelic sliver of instrumental indie/ post rock from the trio of Ging Shi-Ite, pStan and RooHmania, which builds gradually over the course of its 5 minutes without ever blowing out into cliche distorted frippery like much stuff in this style. This piece reminds me a little of the band State River Widening.
Bartles - US underground stalwart John Bartles' lone contribution, "The Psychiatrist's Head", is extremely brief at a smidgen over 2 minutes, but it's definitely one of my ". . . volume six" favourites nonetheless, coming off a little bit like Tom Waits' "Pasties and a G-String (At the Two O'Clock Club)", just with added sax. Very cool.
Elwyn Temple Meads - this is The Las Vegas Mermaids under yet another guise. Their first number, "All Right Me Lads", is easily one of my least favourite godspunk contributions to
date - an extremely annoying comedy 'synth folk' song, sung in a fake West Country accent,
which - at an excruciating 4 minutes - outstays its welcome something rotten. "Isle of St. Claire" is more of the same, but mercifully it's half the length of its predecessor, so it can be more easily ignored!
UNIT - just the one piece from UNIT this time
around - the mini-epic "Eco Warrior Blues". This is a pleasingly skewiff boogie woogie send-up, with an extended middle section comprised of jazzy improvised noodling and a spoken word performance regarding assorted extinct animal species.
The Haddenham One ft. John Tree - I really like this stretch of lo-fi, minimal techno. The inclusion of warped sampled voices brings to mind certain Howl in the Typewriter tracks. One of the strongest pieces on here, for sure!
the taurus board - as per the title, "Angel One" samples both Stream Angel and The Haddenham One and comes off a bit like a 'polite' version of Aphex Twin in the process.
DimM D3ciPLe - this kinda oddball project made its godspunk debut here with a track entitled "Saw You Again_Edit", in which a tentative, lo-fi bedroom guitar ballad suddenly morphs into a rather enjoyable slice of minimal, house-y electronica.
Conclusion - despite the presence of some fine material, I doubt this will ever become one of my favourite godspunks, though I suppose it *has* grown on me a little more each time I've played it, so you never know . . .
- godspunk volume seven
Howl in the Typewriter - as with ". . . volume three", the main meat of pStan's ". . . volume seven" offerings can be found in the opener, which comes in the form of "Planet
Head" - an infectious piece of techno pop, with a humorous spoken interlude by Andy Martin, plus a bagpipe outro! "Dandelion" and the closer, "Garden of Eden", are much more low-key and minimal.
RooHmania - this time around, RooH contributed three short snatches of synthesizer ambience, nothing more, nothing less . . .
the taurus board - as I think we've firmly established now, ttb was a project dealing in rather retro sounding techno stuff. Their track
here - "Starfish" - is a bit more pounding and aggressive than previous
submissions - it definitely got my foot a-tapping, but my knickers (and melon) remained un-twisted for the duration.
Arkon Daraul - "The Dogs / Fording Principle" is a curious ambient melange of thumb piano, cryptic voices, assorted thumpings and a field recording of rain. I liked what I heard, so looked this project up to perhaps find out
more - my diligent research revealed that they contributed a track to a Ptolemaic Terrascope comp eight years before this one, made at least one demo CD-R at some point and maybe have something to do with a chap named Steven Hanson . . . other than that, AD are a total mystery . . . though not as mysterious as Norman . . . NO ONE is as mysterious as Norman!
The Richwoods - on their Blogspot, ukelele wielders The Richmonds describe their stuff as "a musical collision between Ennio Morricone, Roy Budd and George Formby"! I quite like their trio of cute, perky tunes, the last of which is subjected to a touch of electronic manipulation, just to mix things up a bit. Incidentally, Dan Whaley of Evil Jack McDeath fame is one of the people behind this here twang-doodlin'.
Las Vegas Mermaids - this synth pop ode to Bruce Willis is an improvement on their dire turn as faux folk jokers Elwyn Temple Meads on the sixth godspunk, but that's not saying much, really . . .
nah - call me a curmudgeon, but this 'un just ain't for me . . .
SAASS / Richard / Upwey-hey - according to the booklet, these three offerings all come courtesy of someone called Laurence. The first and third are a recording of kids singing during a school production (?) and a VERY brief snatch of bass guitar and (I think) organ, respectively, while the Richard track is a scratchy (and rather spiffing) funk-punk thing in a Gang of
Four/ Pop Group/ early Liars style-e.
Ray Reagan and the RayGuns - this excellent pStan-fronted project gives us "Dopamine", a catchy, almost Rocky Horror-esque fuzz punker, which gradually gets more and more psychedelic as it chugs along.
HRT - the 6 minute stretch of rusted dark ambience provided by these ever-so-creepy masked Brighton sorts
sounds - to all intents and purposes - like it got lost on its way to a Freak Animal comp, all uber-delayed/ reverbed violin abuse and distant fuzz detonations. Yeah, I like this a lot! If you're in need of a soundtrack for your next ritual torture sesh down the abandoned factory, then search no more!
Dimm D3ciple - DD's first tune here ("Take a Day") is a disappointingly plain, go-nowhere acoustic ballad. Despite a fairly promising intro of strange backwards sound, I was prepared to write "SmokeScreen" off as more of the
same - its mawkish chords bringing to mind such crimes against acoustic guitar as "When You Say Nothing at All" and that sappy "I could be your hero, baby" shite
- until a pleasant melody entered the fray and I was reminded a little of the glorious main theme from Cannibal Holocaust, saving the track's arse well and truly! Phew!
UNIT - the UNIT posse cranked out two rather filmic instrumental pieces and two songs for the seventh 'spunk, of which "Eagle" (from the latter category) is easily the
highlight - its lovely, slippery chord progression making it one of the band's strongest compositions. Indeed, this might actually be my favourite thing on the whole CD.
The Cheeky Buddhas / John Tree - as TCB, ol' JT and company give us a playful, mysterious and nostalgic piece of 'World'-flavoured ambient music entitled "Water Wings", featuring ukelele and some kind of tuned percussion or thumb piano doing warm 'n' sunny minimalist things on top of a field recording of people having fun at the
seaside - lovely. Solo track "The Fetishist", on the other hand, is a melding of cool jazz and ambient, all upright bass, strings, atonal synths and snatches of tribal rhythm, adding up to a nicely noir-ish atmosphere.
Maybe Alaska - this looks to be another 'one-track-and-done' anonymous project, whose epic 7 minute piece ("Sound Effects") features input from Howl in the Typewriter. It's an excellent sound collage of overdriven harmonica, distant drums, plus other dark, grey driftings, and is a musical depiction of a bleak, industrialised location called Seal Sands (presumably the one in the North East of England).
Chelsea from Essex - "Deal Ear" is an instrumental in 7 time, featuring a growling synth bassline and sampled drums. While I like the actual SOUND of this, as a composition it doesn't particularly hold up to close scrutiny, coming off as pretty unhappening on the whole.
Conclusion - blimey, this is a mixed up one, even by godspunk standards! For me, ". . . volume seven" is another 'bitty' affair, that's perhaps best viewed as a kind of 'sonic
buffet' - i.e. plenty of nibbly morsels on offer, as well as some meaty stuff to really sink the teeth into, not to mention a coupla things to spit back out into yer napkin!
- godspunk volume eight
Howl in the Typewriter - we get a whopping five servings of Howl this time around, including the mega fuzzy three chord pop psych rocker "Rainbow Footsteps", "The
Circuit" - a catchy all-out synth popper, which sounds like Pet Shop Boys or New Order in hit-making mode, and "Beach Bum", an early Nine Inch Nails-esque damnation of sand-dwelling US slackers! Excellent stuff.
Boxhead - as well as "Sebok Goes to the
Shops" - a sub-20 second snippet of comedic something-or-other - there's a far more substantial piece entitled "Murderer" on offer from this mysterious project, consisting of strange scatting and mouth-farting over a cheesy electro rock backing track. It's undeniably well produced, but I find the whole thing rather irritating, I'm afraid.
UNIT - ". . . volume eight" (mostly) sees the UNIT boys at their most rocking since the first 'spunk.
"Shameless" - a messy, loose number, with a spoken vocal and a "Telstar"-esque key
line - is one of two Apostles remakes. Elsewhere there's "Buckingham Palace Burns
Down" - a wigged-out heavy metal jam, dominated by chuggy distorted guitar
and - my fave - "I Heard Him Call My Name", a "White Light/ White Heat"-styled rocker with an unhinged guitar solo . . . OK, so it's not nearly as unhinged as the one in its VU near-namesake, but then few things are . . .
the taurus board - following a teasing extended intro of strummed acoustic, droning synths and bass pulses, "In Der Teestube" then reveals itself as a sorta uneventful Prodigy-esque big beat-er. That said, those ping pong-ing synth sounds near the end are rather nice, guv!
The Melodramatic Monkey - "Eaten by a Giant Razz" features fast vocal cut-ups over a hip hop beat and a monotonous Middle Eastern-y figure played on an oud or something. Synths add a touch of interest eventually . . . then it ends! TMM's other two contributions are a bit more appealing, both being playful, surrealist sound
collages - "RagZilla vs Octopus Episode 10" consists of assorted snatches of techno, old timey music, warped voices etc. and is slightly reminiscent of Steve Stapleton/ Nurse With Wound at his most cartoony, while "Nipples" throws thrash metal, synth funk and an acid bassline into the sonic pot!
Balkan'oliks - if you've ever yearned for techno with an Eastern European flavour, then buy this CD and yearn no more (well, for about 5 and a half minutes,
anyway!) - "Sabaka Casa" is peppered with accordion and the like, while "Syrnyj Poezd" features 'Cossack'-y horn parps. Fun stuff for sure, but not my bag, really.
Evil Jack McDeath - "The Sunglass'd Eye" is a thumping, medium-paced instrumental in the style of mid-'60s US
garage/ psych, with a NICE distorted guitar tone. This is the most substantial offering yet from Mr. Whaley re: track length, though on the whole it does feel more like an unfinished backing track than a fully fleshed piece of sonic satisfaction!
D.I.M.M. - ditching the dodgy acoustic guitar moves for now, "Ixx Perra Mental" is a 6 minute stretch of low-key electronica, with a minimal beat alongside various glitches and wavering half-melodies from backwards/ delayed voice samples. The track becomes busier in a subtle way as it goes along. Pretty cool
stuff - I definitely prefer this project in electronic mode!
The Shi-Ites - "Spatial" sports an odd 'Dalek trapped down a sewer' vocal performance over a backing of weighty bluesy riffing and feather-light lead twiddlings, recalling The Bevis Frond at his loosest and most psychedelic.
Heffalump Trap - this project was a veritable godspunk supergroup, featuring pStan, Phil Smith, Kate Fear, Ging Shi-Ite, John Tree, Andrew Truth and the late Nigel Jospeh and RooH. Their lone contribution to the series is a spacious, slow, atmospheric Pink Floyd-esque instrumental, with gratifying rough edges (the grittty bass tone, not to mention all that distant, trashed-out, almost Kousokuya-esque discordant feedback) offsetting the relaxing synth and steady beat. Very cool!
The Cockfield Two - hmm . . . that picture in the booklet is mighty familiar . . . well, whaddayaknow
- this is none other than our old mucker Norman under a different name! So he's not as obscure as I first thought . . . though not by much! Anyway, "On the Hook" is a funky, semi-rapped thing, with lo-fi drum machine and synth. Part of me wants to say "not my scene, fella" and move on, but I dunno
- there's something quite pleasing about it . . . for a couple of minutes, anyway! EDIT - pStan confirmed that as well as The Cockfield Two, Norman was also behind the projects Jaw-D and Maybe Alaska. Sadly this was his last godspunk contribution, as he passed away in 2013.
Conclusion - peppered with strong material as it may be, truth be told, this is probably the volume I reach for the least when in need of a godspunk fix. Too much light, not enough shade, perhaps?! Or maybe it's the (legitimately terrifying) sadistic-looking bastard on the cover that's putting me off?! I just don't know . . .
- godspunk volume nine
Howl in the Typewriter - pStan gets the party pStarted with an extremely detailed, minor key synth pop raver entitled "The Edge of the World", which chronicles some kind of invasion from intergalactic earthworms . . . err, I *think*
(sorry - I'm rubbish at paying close attention to lyrics!) . . . also synth-centric, but much more subdued and serene, is the folky waltz of "Whales", which is rather lovely indeed . . . "Summer Baby", on t'other hand, is an odd proggy post-punk thing with minimal falsetto vocals, then "Ram Raiding" (almost*) caps things off in a perky punk-rockin' style-e . . . (*stick around 'til the very end of the disc and you'll hear a brief guitar/ voice reprise of "Whales") . . .
the taurus board - "The Hod Cloppers: The First Rehearsal" is an interestingly textured, though compositionally pretty one-dimensional techno number, with crisp beats and distorted synths.
Dimm D3ciple - following on from the ambient/ trip hop snippet "The Dream (Millions of People Mix)", "Stranded" is DD's main contribution this time around. After an intro of sweary spoken word, the track's poignant, pastoral synth lines are joined by a funky drum machine beat, the piece reminding me a touch of Aphex Twin at his calmest and most melodic. Nice!
UNIT - "Employment Enjoyment" is a breezy, synth and vibes-infused pop tune, featuring an extended free improv mid-section, not to mention pStan on guest expletives during the chorus . . . a fine song, but not one to play when yer mum's 'round! Track 9, "Minh, Binh & Vinh", is a frantic, distorted instrumental, which would be perfect soundtracking a chase sequence in some old spy film, whilst the similarly vocal-free "Labor Callum Obducit Dolori" sports a pleasingly dodgy drum solo in amidst its pacy fun and frolics! Last of all there's a re-recording of the fantastic "Eagle", shorn of the "daft sax and flute section" (their words, not mine!) featured in the version on ". . . volume seven".
Balkan'oliks - yikes . . . "Tree Peva Kozol" sounds suspiciously like some kind of "I Like to Move It"/ Zig & Zag-type '90s ragga nonsense! In its defence, I will say that I'd probably have liked this if I'd heard it when I was 11 (yeah,
yeah - I own . . . err, I mean *owned* the Zig & Zag single back in the day . . . anyone got a problem with that?!). "Dicky Dicky Dick Boom" is a slight improvement, returning things to the Eastern Europe-flavoured electronica of their ". . . volume eight" contributions.
Lenin's Virulent Muscle - back after a brief absence, LVM go all LDB on our asses for "Turf the Roads", a male-fronted hip hop track, which ain't too happening, but ain't too bad. Meanwhile, "Spider Crabs" is an acoustic 'n' strings, anti-Hugh Fearnley Wotsisname
ballad - sorta cute, but not one of their better efforts.
The Death of the Enlightenment Project - following a minute of indistinct answering machine audio and backwards demon voices, this extract from a piece called "Iblis" mostly consists of single-chord raw fuzzy doom noise, sounding not unlike one of those perversely extended Melvins intros, or early Sunn O))) on fast-forward, after which it's back to hellishly modified voices for the last few seconds. Don't get me wrong, at first I though this track was pretty cool,
but - upon closer inspection - it dawned on me that it more or less goes nowhere. I can only imagine that a longer, more sonically diverse edit would've proved more satisfying, but
alas - on this occasion, it wasn't to be!
John Tree - JT gives the old crooner chestnut "The Way You Look Tonight" a 'drifting out of focus' druggy dub treatment, replete with a Satie-and-synths interlude. Relaxing, but strangely sinister and haunting stuff.
Laszlo Klemke - this is Dan Whaley's faux '60s film composer alter
ego - "The Spyral Suitcase" (purported to be excerpts of music from equally made-up Slovakian director Emil Kuchar's "long lost 1966 spy caper" of the same name!) is a cool piece, full of different moods and
tempos - from mysterious and noir-ish, to perky and klezmer-esque. I'll be honest, only small parts of this sound 'authentically' '60s, so ol' Laszlo won't be pulling the wool over the eyes of many any time soon, but taken on its own merits, I like
it - it goes quite well with UNIT's "Minh, Binh & Vinh".
Boxhead - as you may recall, I didn't think much of Boxhead's contributions to ". . . volume
eight" - "Static and Silence", thankfully, is much better, being a relaxed, electric piano-based jazz fusion instrumental for most of its playing time.
Seven Footsteps to Satan - coming in right after Boxhead to rudely wake you from your jazzy slumber, "The Devil's Janitor" is a fuzzy, noisy techno effort. Promising sonics, indeed, so it's a shame the piece is over after a scant 54 seconds! I've no idea who is behind this project, but they've got a self-titled album floating about on the interweb, which I may just check out when I get a spare minute or twenty!
The Shi-Ites - "Dopamine Dream" sports a weak, hesitant vocal performance, which wavers bashfully atop a rootsy, Stones-y acoustic rock backing. Not terrible by any stretch, but certainly my least fave of this combo's godspunk submissions. Curious C86-type production nonetheless.
The Melodramatic Monkey - as with UNIT's "Employment Enjoyment", TMM's sole ". . . volume nine" piece, "Giraffe and Egg (Sgt. Panic Edit)", also features pStan on spoken guest vocals. Its opening section of industrial/ ambient driftings gives way to some fuzzy techno rockin', which in turn morphs seamlessly into a concluding segment of *reggae* techno! Good stuff, chaps.
Conclusion - after the somewhat disappointing eighth volume, this one was a step back in the right direction, for sure. Yeah yeah, it's still a bit on the patchy/ scatty side for my tastes, but it's a pretty fine listen, and
whatever - this was actually the first godspunk I ever heard, so it will always hold a spesh place in my heart for that reason alone!
- godspunk volume ten
Howl in the Typewriter - "TMI"
- a synth-fuelled Pistols parody, lyrically directed at irritating sexual
'over-sharers' - gets the tenth 'spunk session underway, and is the first of SEVEN (actually eight with the hidden track) Howl tunes on offer here! Other highlights include "Frederick", which sounds like Kraftwerk with a ghost in the machine, "Sciatica
Blues" - a wonderful Syd Barrett-y psych folk shuffle with e-bowed/ slide guitars, and "The Stolen
Carrot" - an absurdist/ surrealist spoken word piece backed up by assorted spooky synth doodlings.
UNIT - a reet mixed bag fron UNIT this
time - a coupla cover tunes, poetry backed by birdsong, a restlessly proggy instrumental and a nutty novelty number. The raw, rockin' "Nazi Scum" (originally by Oi Polloi) is probably my fave of the
five - love that meaty, filthy guitar tone.
Nil By Nose - the chap behind this project, Carl Anderson, is one of the members of the Las Vegas Mermaids et al. Of his three brief submissions here, I like the middle one
best - "Dragon Ninja (A Ninjas Lament)" - which sports distorted, e-bowed guitar lines and a synth bassline doing weirdly poignant things beneath a deadpan spoken vocal and repeated samples, presumably taken from some old ninja arcade game or other.
The Melodramatic Monkey - "Pissing in the Coffee" features pStan "spitting bars" (I think that's what the cool kids call it these days, but don't quote me on that . . .) over a backing of rock guitars, synths and beats. Not really my "flava" (no,
no - just stop now!), but a very creative and intricately edited track, nonetheless!
Seven Footsteps to Satan - even more frustrating than SFtS's submission to the ninth godspunk, "Crow Crested Cobra" is an improv/ noise guitar collage, featuring some tantalisingly Merzbow-esque white hot fuzz textures, which bids adieu after a paltry *33 seconds* . . . noooo, come back! We need several minutes more of you! At least! Thankfully "Lava Surf" is on hand later in the disc to give us something a *bit* more
developed - fuzzy guitar riffing and bent circuit beats, to be precise. Which is OK I suppose . . . but it ain't an extended "Crow Crested Cobra", is it . . . *goes off to sulk for 666 days* . . .
tbd - this electronic
quartet - who featured RooH amongst their ranks - recorded "b600", a fast-paced, jungle-y slice of techno, around about the millennium. I'm not the biggest fan of banging, beat-driven, "off your tits in the middle of a muddy field" stuff like this, though I like the squidgy synth textures on offer.
John Tree - after a shadowy industrial intro, "Moon Star Tail Lights" reveals itself to be an appealing, almost Oriental-sounding beats 'n' synths piece, based around a shimmering, looped figure.
The Red Guards - this cheesy, but downright infectious sliver of genuine Shanghai pop rock was mixed by an ex-member of UNIT, apparently. The recording was made in 2000 according to the booklet, but the sound is pure '80s hehe. Y'know, the more I hear this, the more I love it!
The Shend - yet more diligent research informs me that this charming, lo-fi piece, comprised of kooky spoken vocals, freeform electric guitar and a trip hop-ish beat, is the work of a dude who not only played in several punk bands like The Cravats and The Very Things back in the day, but who has also acted in TV progs like Red Dwarf, Men Behaving Badly and Casualty*, to name but three! Anyway, without trying to turn things into "spoken word wars", I have to say I prefer "The Stolen Carrot" to this, though it has the edge on "Second Desert" thanks to that luvvly noisy geetar! (*not to take anything away from Shend's formidable achievements, but I think we've ALL been in
Casualty - or Holby at least - at some point . . . or so it feels . . .)
Laszlo Klemke - another mini-suite of faux '60s film music from this Dan Whaley alias, this time rendered entirely acoustically, due to those nasty Soviets nicking off with Lazlo's electricals (ho ho!). Compared with LK's previous submission, this sounds even less 'vintage' to my ears, though compositionally it's a bit more refined.
Foxhole UK - this duo of Ging Shi-Ite (drums) and a fella called Wakey (everything else) provide us with a clumpy slice of punk rawk entitled "Politics of Punk". I find the sloppy performance and rough 'n' ready production appealing, though truth be told, musically the song is nothing special.
Dimm D3ciple - DD's lone contribution is a rather minimal affair, consisting of tribal beats, distant ambient synths, kinda corny pitched-down vocals and a few splashes of melodica. Not bad, but not my jam of choice from this project.
Cyril Bagels & the Alpaca 5 - the deft editing and eclectic sound design on display in this piece makes me think that Cyril Bagels & the Alpaca 5 is perhaps yet another offshoot of The Melodramatic Monkey etc. Expect scratching, horns, cartoon samples and oodles of funky fusion groove!
Conclusion - while it may lack the 'obvious' highlights of previous volumes, there's still an undeniable consistency of quality to ". . . volume ten" that I find very pleasing! Stylistically all-over-the-shop, but wholly free of outright stinkers = a winning godspunk combo! If only that noise track had been a bit longer . . .