Life Elsewhere Music Vol 252

In this volume a wonderful array of new releases for your listening pleasure, including a new single from LEM favorites, King Hannah and we’ll pay respects to the passing of an important contributor to the beginnings of industrial music, Richard H Kirk of the legendary Cabaret Voltaire. First, we get things underway with Sophia Can’t Walk from Obey Cobra’s Oblong LP. The Cardiff based-band says they are, experimental, ethereal psychedelia, post-punk with electronic and heavy flourishes. I say that Kate Wood, Steve O Jones, Rory Coughlan-Allen, Gareth Day, Ian Coote, and Rosemary Swan have made one splendid recording. This is a band to keep an eye on. Golden Vessel & Rei Soi La are out of Brisbane, the two artists were working independently until they released Jersey City as a collaborative single c/o the very fine Mammal imprint. The guys say the song was written almost two years ago when Maxwell (aka Golden Vessel) had just spent some time in Jersey City and was catching the train over to Manhattan each day to explore. Even though Kalem (aka Rei Soi La) had never actually been to Jersey City he really enjoyed living in this brief moment in time that Maxwell was bringing out in the song’s lyrics. Sticky With No Glue is a title I will admit to being tempted to wander off with into salacious territory. Instead, I’ll let Isma & Varnrable explain. Isma is a music producer and DJ from Paris, while Varnrable, is a Norway-raised, Copenhagen-based artist with Ethiopian roots. Their record is on Cascade records out of Paris. The music of Laila Sakini caught my attention and I decided you should hear two in a row from Laila’s What I Got EP, first the title cut followed by Tech Message (dub). Written, recorded, performed, produced, and mixed by Laila Sakini in London, although I believe she is originally out of Melbourne. Listen carefully to her music. So good. In the last volume of LEM we focused on the Toronto-based label, Hand Drawn Dracula, and chatted with label founder, James Mejia, who selected excellent releases from his imprint, including, Vallens. We took a deeper listen to their In Era and picked Sin So Vain for this volume. This rewarding album is complete with a carefully designed sleeve by James Mejia. The first time I played Cabaret Voltaire on the air in America was to my knowledge the very first occasion the proto-industrial trio from Sheffield had radio exposure in the US. A few days before, I’d just returned from a trip to London where I had stopped into the fledgling Rough Trade Records. Geoff Travis had loaded me up with a box of brand new releases for airplay on my radio show in the colonies. One of those platters was the Extended Play EP by Cabaret Voltaire. It was a Thursday night, I had a show on KAOS at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.  As I back announced Do The Mussolini (Headkick) by Cabaret Voltaire, self-admitted music nerd, Bruce Pavitt bounded into the studio and demanded, “What the fuck was that?” This was 1978, a few years later Pavitt went on to found Sub Pop, (that’s another story). At that time, the sound Richard H Kirk, Stephen Mallendar, and Chris Watson made was so different it triggered an instant reaction from anyone who was listening. And, Cabaret Voltaire was almost unknown in the UK, let alone in the Pacific North West. Over the years the band went on to make numerous recordings, became instrumental in a new genre of music, and reached legendary status by the time the ’80s came to a close. Richard H Kirk remained the sole member continuing on with the original name, (although he used numerous intriguing monikers for various projects, over the years). Late last year (2020), we featured Richard H Kirk’s recent LP, Shadow Of Fear on the show, giving me the opportunity to say, “Kirk is the sole remaining member, this is Cabaret Voltaire’s first studio album in 26 years. Kirk has released many acclaimed solo albums and is credited with creating bleep techno. He formed this new album from a series of pulverizing live shows. There is something timely about this release even if I do get a little nostalgic about playing Nag Nag Nag in a dance club, all those years ago. The influence of Cabaret Voltaire cannot be underestimated”. Richard H Kirk, age 65, passed away on September 21, 2021. Rest in peace.

Whenever I spot a new release on the White Peach label I know it’s going to be good and it deserves to be included on the show. From the Solstice EP, you’ll hear, Impetus by Lofty. I think we can safely say that dubstep, grime, and many more electro genres have their roots in part with Industrial music and Cabaret Voltaire in particular. South London artist, Wu-Lu came to my attention via James Mejia, from his Time EP we go to flip side to hear, Being Me. Miles Romans-Hopcraft is Wu-Lu who writes and produces his own work. Check him out. Black Country, New Road begins Track X with, “You’ve got great hips – I’m still shaking”. Now that should get anyone to listen carefully. Their LP, For The First Time is full of gorgeous music, let me know what you think of this band from London. Over in Dublin creative talent seems to bubble over recently, Cat Dowling being a good example. On the enterprising FIFA label, Cat Dowling gives us Animals and a persuasive reason to explore more of her work. Top marks for the production. At last, it appears some of the popular indie stations around the country are finally catching up with my raving on about King Hannah. The Liverpool duo, Hannah Merrick and Craig Whittle are back with a new single, A Well-Made Woman. They have a video to go along with the cut, you need to see. They say their debut LP should be on the way soon. And, do make sure you listen to my conversation with these very lovely people.

Playlist

  1. Obey Cobra – Sophia Can’t Walk
  2. Golden Vessel & Rei Soi La – Jersey City
  3. Isma & Varnrable – Sticky With No Glue
  4. Laila Sakini – What I Got
  5. Laila Sakini – Tech Message (dub)
  6. Vallens – Sin So Vain
  7. Cabaret Voltaire – Do The Mussolini (Headkick)
  8. Lofty – Impetus
  9. Wu-Lu – Being Me
  10. Black Country, New Road – Track X
  11. Cat Dowling – Animals
  12. King Hannah – A Well-Made Woman

Artwork by Sylvie Archendes 1950 – 2003 “Then again” 1987 12″ x 15″ mixed media, blackberry juice on treated sugar paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

Show LEM 252