Tag: Bernholz (Page 2 of 2)

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING RECORD – VOLUME 1

Annual General Meeting Vol 1 - CassetteSince establishing itself in 2010, the Brighton based artistic co-operative Anti-Ghost Moon Ray has successfully launched acts such as GAZELLE TWIN and BERNHOLZ to a wider audience, thanks to the patronage of key veterans such as JOHN FOXX and BLANCMANGE.

With a manifesto that “explores common ground in a strong aesthetic approach towards art, film, music, technology, science, and nature”, the collective’s founding quartet also includes ACQUAINTANCE and GREAT PAGANS.

To start 2016, Anti-Ghost Moon Ray have curated a compilation entitled ‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 1’, with profits in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an organisation dedicated to providing independent aid for victims of war, disease and famine across the world.

As well as featuring new music from GAZELLE TWIN, BERNHOLZ, ACQUAINTANCE and GREAT PAGANS, ‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 1’ also includes a variety of artists from outside of the collective. The result is a collection of “diverse electronic music ranging from contemplative, crystalline ambience to overdriven tape canons and experimental dance”.

It begins with the cascading sequenced magic of ‘Septobel’ by Anti-Ghost Moon Ray associate BENGE; it’s a track that will be appreciated by anyone who has loved his ‘Twenty Systems’ tribute to the history of the synthesizer, or the more transcendental side of his work with JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS.

But contrasting the mood almost immediately is ‘Ravoir’, an industrial flavoured collage by AUSSCHUSS utilising chorals, metallics and gunshots. This sets the scene for three more experimental excursions, from the Gothic ambient drone of BERNHOLZ’s ‘33‘ and GREAT PAGANS’ abstract statement ‘Disquiet’ to some futuristic sound sculpturing from German artist NIKA SON. More conventional in comparison though with a chattering drum box and primitive string machine is the appropriately titled ‘Fizzy Logic’ by DEEDS.

Annual General Meeting Record - cassettesWith a distinctly uptempo template, the squidge fest of ‘Polite Applause’ by ACQUAINTANCE begins like KRAFTWERK through a drum ‘n’ bass filter.

Following ROSEN’s eerie instrumental piece ‘Iliim’, GAZELLE TWIN continues to demonstrate her interest in the metaphysical with the spacious ‘Outer Body’; driven by a Geiger Counter, the glitchy patchwork of sounds merged with her voice provides an intriguing listen.

Meanwhile ‘Slipping’ is the work of DON’T LOOK, a young Hastings based bedroom producer. A Sci-Fi drama building around a hypnotic rhythm construction and assorted ‘Clangers’ noises, its inventiveness should not be entirely unexpected, given his links to VILE ELECTRODES.

FUTURE IMAGES’ digitally percussive broadcast montage ‘Resolute’ livens up the pace again, before the closing ‘New For You!’ from CARDINAL FANG begins with simultaneous radio noises in the spirit of JOHN CAGE’s ’12 Radios’; however, a lead vocal unexpectedly appears amongst the lo-fi noisescape. While possibly well-intentioned for variety, the track does spoil the continuity of what has been until this point, a cohesive wordless listening experience. But this is a minor quibble to what is in the main, a well-thought out compilation.

Despite there being twelve artists involved, the esoteric concept of this collection does provide an inventive thematic core. In an age of attention seeking and “buy me” culture, this understated compendium of artistic integrity is a worthy 49 minutes of your time, and all for a good cause too.


‘Annual General Meeting Record – Volume 1’ is available now as a download or cassette from
https://antighostmoonray.bandcamp.com/album/annual-general-meeting-record-vol-1

All profits are in aid of Médecins Sans Frontières – Doctors without Borders (MSF)

http://www.antighostmoonray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/antighostmoonray/

http://www.msf.org.uk/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th February 2016

BLANCMANGE + BERNHOLZ Live at London Red Gallery

Blancmange2015-03In some ways, ‘Semi Detached’ is BLANCMANGE’s technolstalgic album. It could be seen Neil Arthur’s personal recollections as an art student, set to a midlife narrative.

With tremendous wordplay, it acts as both a commentary on English suburban aspirations and the fact that this new long player is Arthur’s first of completely new material recorded without his long time partner-in-crime Stephen Luscombe.

A pair of weekend live shows at Shoreditch’s Red Gallery was chosen as the venue to launch this latest opus from BLANCMANGE, perhaps surprisingly only the fifth of their career. In the band were Ogoo Maia, album producer Adam Fuest and regular collaborator David Rhodes.

BERNHOLZ-May2015Opening the evening was BERNHOLZ, a member of the Brighton based artist collective Anti-Ghost Moon Ray which has also spawned GAZELLE TWIN and GREAT PAGANS.

Appearing on stage alone, he performed a brave, honest set of resonant art pop in an Eno-esquse tradition that also recalled that other synth duo from The Wirral, DALEK I LOVE YOU.

Beginning with the starkly minimal new number ‘28’, the set then launched into two songs from his promising debut album ‘How Things Are Made’; ‘Austerity Boy’ and ‘Horses Part 2’ both merged to form a progressive adventure involving frantic sequencers and obscure rhythms.

Other previously unheard numbers like ‘Animals’ and ‘Door’ continued on an experimental framework, but the set finished with a great new song ‘Alive’ which crossed PRINCE styled funk with TALKING HEADS.

Blancmange2015-02Arriving to the wonderful instrumental ‘MKS Lover’, BLANCMANGE opened with ‘The Fall’, an eight minute number that actually referenced Mark E Smith’s cult combo as well as the London Underground.

These Red Gallery shows were radically different to BLANCMANGE’s last two tours in support of ‘Happy Families Too’ and HEAVEN 17, as Neil Arthur promised some rarely played cult favourites as well as songs from ‘Semi Detached’.

The first of the those rare numbers was ‘I Would’, a song recorded for a John Peel session that ended up on the 12 inch B-side of ‘Living On The Ceiling’. Rearranged with a less frantic but more precise machine rhythm, despite being of 1981 vintage, it sounded totally within the aesthetic of ‘Semi Detached’ in a strangely slower but faster pace.

Neil Arthur was on fine comedic form, taking mock selfies during ‘Like I Do’ as a performance art satire on society’s obsession with mobile phones. And when introducing the most recent single ‘Paddington’, he told the audience it could have been named after Marylebone, Kings Cross or Liverpool Street railway stations but that ‘Paddington’ fitted best into the song! Featuring some of the Middle Eastern aesthetics that BLANCMANGE became known for in the mainstream, it took its place as a possible live favourite for the future.

Blancmange2015-01Alternating between past and present, ‘Running Thin’, the other B-side from ‘Living On The Ceiling’ was also dusted off while the bouncy ‘Acid’ provided one of several dancing opportunities, demonstrating BLANCMANGE’s link with both art school and disco. While there was no ‘Useless’(possibly the most immediate song on ‘Semi Detached’), there was however an outing for the tremendous ‘Starf*cker’ from 2011’s ‘Blanc Burn’, a vicious BLACK GRAPE styled attack on the vapid celeb obsessed culture of today.

There was a further surprise in the shape of ‘Holiday Camp’ from BLANCMANGE’s debut EP ‘Irene & Mavis’. With Neil Arthur taking to a melodica on this instrumental, it was a fine homage to ‘The Big Ship’ from ENO’s ‘Another Green World’ long player.

With David Rhodes’ guitar taking centre stage on the moody ‘Bloody Hell Fire’, Neil Arthur gave it his all, as he did with the charismatic Ian Curtis meets David Byrne intensity on fine, dance friendly versions of ‘I Can’t Explain’, ‘Feel Me’ and ‘Blind Vision’

Blancmange2015-04Returning for a joyous cover of CAN’s ‘I Want More’ and a rapturous ‘Living On The Ceiling’ to end the evening, Neil Arthur certainly delivered on his promise of a fan friendly set and looked like he thoroughly enjoyed performing the new and less well known material to an enthusiastic, receptive crowd. With a mature, artful approach on ‘Semi Detached’ and the new instrumental album ‘Nil By Mouth’, this can only be good for BLANCMANGE’s longevity as both a recording and live act in the 21st Century.


With thanks to Steve Malins at Random PR

BLANCMANGE’s ‘Semi Detached’ and ‘Nil By Mouth’ are both available on CD via the official online store at http://blancmange.tmstor.es/

https://www.blancmange.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/BlancmangeMusic

BERNHOLZ’s ‘How Things Are Made’ is available in CD and download formats from http://bernholz.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/bernholzmusic


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
20th May 2015

BERNHOLZ How Things Are Made

Anti-Ghost Moon Ray is the Brighton based artist collective and record label that spawned the acclaimed haunting songstress GAZELLE TWIN and which “explores common ground in a strong aesthetic approach towards art, film, music, technology, science, and nature”.

BERNHOLZ How things are madeBut as with all collectives, there are other, lesser known but no less innovative members.

One such is BERNHOLZ aka Jez Bernholz, a musician, sculptor and filmmaker with his own niche in experimental music utilising a Tascam cassette portastudio with Casio synths as well as modern digital equipment.

The end result is appropriately titled ‘How Things Are Made’ and collects together some obscure art pop accompanied by bleepy synth and occasional guitar.

And this approach is ably showcased on the opening track and his 2012 debut single ‘Austerity Boy’. Despite some deep foreboding tones accompanied by percussive six string and synthesizer interplay, in an antonymic play on MADONNA’s ‘Material Girl’, the famous “living in material world” phrase is pitch shifted into a quirkily ironic refrain over a crescendo of thunderous syncopated drums. It’s sombre but fun!

Continuing this frantic pace, ‘Horses’ fuses Krautrock overtones with an ENO-esque strategy while the comparatively conventional but highly enjoyable ‘My History’ sees BERNHOLZ come over like DALEK I LOVE YOU’s Alan Gill accompanied by sequenced pulses and building layers of assorted instrumentation. Indeed, there are several quirky sonic parallels with DALEK I LOVE YOU’s 1980 debut LP ‘Compass / Kumpas’ in its unorthodox use of keyboards, bass guitar and voice. The template is repeated on the more steadfast ‘The Modernist’ and the stark LinnDrum driven ‘What You Want To Do’, the repetitive rhythmical mantra of which additionally recalls electro hipster faves FACTORY FLOOR.

Preceding those though is the male voice choir dominated title track which could be a successor to DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Pipeline’ but sans the metal samples.

Closing ‘How Things Are Made’, the bare ‘Mesopotamia’ uses a cacophony of BERNHOLZ’s own voice samples as a hypnotic accompaniment before being swamped by synths.

Quoting Gustav Metzger’s Auto-Destructive Art Manifesto, BERNHOLZ says “The amplified sound of the auto-destructive process can be an element of the total conception”.

Certainly as an artistic concept, ‘How Things Are Made’ will be an intriguing listen for some, if not necessarily for all.



‘How Things Are Made’ is released in CD and download formats by Anti-Ghost Moon Ray

A limited edition auto-destructive plaster block package is available from http://bernholz.bandcamp.com/

BERNHOLZ plays support to GAZELLE TWIN at London’s Corsica Studios on 1st October 2014

https://www.facebook.com/bernholzmusic

http://bernholz.tumblr.com/

http://www.antighostmoonray.com


Text by Chi Ming Lai
29th September 2014

GAZELLE TWIN Live At The Roundhouse Studio Theatre

GAZELLE TWIN headlined a special London showcase for Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, the Brighton based label that also acts as an artistic co-operative for BERNHOLZ, ACQUAINTANCE and GREAT PAGANS as well as GAZELLE TWIN.

Its manifesto is that it “explores common ground in a strong aesthetic approach towards art, film, music, technology, science, and nature”. Certainly this union collective was there for all to see as musicians from all four projects assisted each other on stage throughout the evening. ACQUAINTANCE opened the evening with dreamy electronic instrumentals fused to a contemporary dance backbone but without the overbearing beat dominance that afflicts most club music.

Meanwhile BERNHOLZ, the moniker of Jez Berns delivered a set of obscure art pop accompanied by bleepy synth, occasional guitar and what appeared backing tracks from a Tascam cassette portastudio.

Following on were GREAT PAGANS, probably the most conventional act of the showcase and who could be considered to be Anti-Ghost Moon Ray’s experimental indie supergroup with both ACQUAINTANCE and BERHOLZ featuring in the line-up.

But it has been GAZELLE TWIN aka Elizabeth Walling who has drawn the most critical acclaim and attention within the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray camp.

Championed by electronic pioneer JOHN FOXX, her dark Fourth World atmospheres have gained an appreciative audience and led to remixes for GARY NUMAN.

Her track ‘Bell Tower’ was also used to accompany a promotional clip for the Ridley Scott film ‘Prometheus’.

Tonight, clothed in a habit, her face was obscured by a veil except for her mouth while her two band mates were dressed rather unusually in red hoodie track suits! It was an incongruous contrast but it worked, with one handling manipulations and textures while the other frantically tapped the brooding, intense rhythms on a drum machine.

GAZELLE TWIN’s new material ‘Unflesh’ and ‘Innate’ certainly took on a more percussive stance and added Arabic overtones. The droning synth washes and sorprano cries were reinforced with a prominent tribal backbone that was first hinted at with the marvellous ‘Men Like Gods’ from ‘The Entire City’ which acted as one of the first cornerstones of the evening’s set.

The haunting metaphysics of ‘I Am Shell I Am Bone’ and ‘When I Was Otherwise’ provided the other points of familiarity while ‘I Turn My Arm’ from the new ‘Mammal’ EP was cinematically unsettling with its resonating bass taking a widescreen hold within the confines of the theatre. Walling was far more animated on stage than expected and coupled with the cerebral visual projections and aural tension, it was wonderful to see an artist of integrity deliver with such conviction. It was an absorbing performance that was far too short… now that’s a good sign.


GAZELLE TWIN’s ‘Mammal’ EP is released by Sugarcane Recordings available via the usual digital outlets

http://www.gazelletwin.com/

http://greatpagans.bandcamp.com/

http://bernholz.tumblr.com/

http://www.facebook.com/acqntnc

http://www.antighostmoonray.com/


Text and photos by Chi Ming Lai
23rd February 2013

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