This is a compilation of 2020 weirdo music put together by one my fellow participants in the music-writing enterprise known Frank’s APA. For fear of setting the copyright police on him I will refer to him here as SB. I had the great idea of listening to the compilation and writing my impressions of the tunes in real time. So that you can listen while you read I include embedded YouTube videos of the tunes.
LINGUA IGNOTA ‘O Ruthless Great Divine Director’
Piano accompaniment, Ms Ignota’s somewhat overwrought operatic vocals. I keep hearing her saying “Everyone I know”, though looking at SB’s notes I see she is saying that everyone she knows is a fucking cop. I suspect a logical implication here that if i) everyone she knows is a fucking cop and ii) ACAB, then iii) everyone she knows is a bastard. Time to get some new friends then, Ms Ignota.
It gets a bit multi-tracked symphonic vocals as it goes on but it does not have the same “holy Jesus this is intense” quality as the ‘Do You Doubt Me Traitor‘ track from the Caligula album (heard on a previous compilation from SB) Though it does build and she sounds like she is completely losing it and speaking in tongues by the end.
Oranssi Pazuzu ‘Uusi teknokratia’ (from Mestarin kynsi)
As this one starts it sounds like it might get a bit metally, though there is a flutey sound in the background that gives things a certain Hawkwindy ambience. Then some grunty vocals come in but they are not overwhelming, at least not initially.
I see they are from Finland, that land of extreme music, so to some extent I feel like I should be comparing them to Maria ja Marsialaiset, who are another Finnish psych rock band notable to me for having an all woman line-up that includes one of my buds from the world of Belle & Sebastian fandom. But Maria ja Marsialaiset are rock and not metal and probably the kind of thing that might show up at the kind of psych discos my friend Mr W used to put on when there were events, which is not something I could say for Oranssi Pazuzu.
I think I would probably enjoy seeing these fellows live if they were playing at a festival that was not entirely dominated by this kind of music.
Oh wait it’s gone a bit quiet and ominous… is this a long fade-out or a prelude for some final gruntfest before the close?
It was a long fade out.
Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou ‘Ancestral Recall’ (from May Our Chambers Be Full)
I like how Emma Ruth Rundle has the kind of name someone might have if they were playing Indietracks (the indiepop festival that takes place in a railway museum) despite not sounding even remotely indiepop. But I’m not entirely clear here where Emma Ruth Rundle ends and Thou begins. It all sounds a bit metally with lady vocals that alternate between being a bit quiet and almost whispery before going full on shouty screamy. So are all the vocals from Ms Rundle or does she do the quiet ones and someone from Thou does the shouty ones (which, on reflection, might not actually be lady vocals)? If the latter then maybe Ms Rundle on her own would actually be more at home at Indietracks than I initially thought.
Uniform ‘Delco’ (from Shame)
More metally music. The vocals seem a bit distorted rather than being grunty, screamy or shouty. Good hessian music. I am actually headbanging as I sit at my computer here.
Clipping ‘Looking Like Meat’ (feat. Ho99o9) (from Visions of Bodies Being Burned)
I think it was seeing Clipping live at the Helsinki Worldcon that really brought home how their unique selling point is combining rapping with Warp-style beats (though I am sure that many musical experts will be able to let me know of many other other acts who did exactly that long before Clipping did and/or explain that actually Clipping do not sound anything like any of the Warp acts).
Overall though I am left with the sense that Clipping are an act I really need to see live to truly get.
There is some bad language on this track.
Mary Lattimore ‘Don’t Look’ (from Silver Ladders)
She play the harp but she play it different to other harp ladies like Joanna Newsom or Áine O’Dwyer. Three minutes in and this is starting to sound a bit ominous. And now the instrumental palette is expanding beyond the harp. It is very likeable; further investigation may be required.
Villaelvin ‘Ghott Zillah’ (from Headroof)
This makes for an interesting contrast with what went before as it opens with what could be the sound of someone using a sledgehammer to break through a wall. It is an interesting piece though in that the ominous noise is not married to grunty metal or drill n bass music like momma used to make.
Himukalt ‘Another Body’ (from Sex Worker II)
OK this sounds like something from that guy who just happened to be named after a serial killer who made the record about the floor crawling with cheap pornography and stuff. Lots of static, ominous accompaniment, creepy spoken word vocals at the edge of hearing.
When this was originally described in the pages of Frank’s APA by SB, I suggested that perhaps the album’s depiction of the world of sex workers and sampling of their speech is exploitative, serving up visions of a disturbing lived experience for the edgy delectation of hipsters. Listening to the track now I am not quite sure what I make of it. There are some snippets of conversation from what might be sex workers here, but they are a bit indistinct, making it hard to put them down as informative or voyeuristic. It is all pretty ominous though.
Darren Korb ‘Through Asphodel’ (from Hades: Original Soundtrack)
Initially it is ominous and melodic, almost Balkan influenced, but it feels like there is going to be a break where heavy guitars and grunty shouty vocals come in.
Guitars coming in now, but it is still melodic metal. Actually looking at where we are in the track (barely two minutes to the end) I now think it unlikely there will be a big break, for all that it is getting more rhythmic. I think this would all have been less of a surprise if I had registered that it is from a video game soundtrack, as it definitely feels like the musical accompaniment to action of some kind.
Full of Hell, HEALTH ‘FULL OF HEALTH’
The song title makes it sound like this will be a track by some kind of wholesome all-American band with lovely teeth singing about the joys of the straight edge lifestyle.It does not sound like that but rather boasts the heavy guitars and grunty vocals I was expecting on the previous track.
Duma ‘Kill Yourself Before They Kill You’ (from Duma)
The title reminds me of the tagline to the film Futureworld, which was some kind of sequel to Westworld: “The only way to survive is to kill yourself”. I think the film was about people battling robot versions of themselves but when I was small and saw a clip from it on Screen Test I thought it looked so terrifying (people being blown up in explosions etc.) that the tagline meant that things were so bad for the characters in the film that suicide was their best option. I don’t think that’s what the people behind this tune had in mind. The track might be described as electronic metal – something with a metal sensibility created without obviously using traditional metal instruments.
NORDRA ‘Remembering’ (from Pylon III)
Oooh, this starts like the soundtrack to some 1970s horror film. I see from SB’s notes that this was written for a dance piece, so I am somewhat imagining it being for some kind of Suspiria knock-off, though it gets a bit less 1970s horror as it goes in, while still sounding a bit… ominous. It’s quite short by the standards of the pieces on this compilation and might perhaps be best appreciated in the context of the full album. I like it though, good music for when you want to create and edgy and threatening vibe.
Divide and Dissolve ‘8VA’ (from TFW)
Another piece of what might be called dark ambient, although sounding like it might have been made from treated instruments rather than pure electronic fiddling. OK then there are drums, which are a bit less ambient, but it still feels like mood music rather than a two-tapper. And then some wind instrument that sounds almost Middle Eastern. Jazz metal (except not metal)?
Ben Babbitt ‘The Clearing’ (from Kentucky Route Zero – Act V)
And this is another game soundtrack tune. I am unfamiliar with the game though combination of banjo twangings and what sounds like field recordings of the natural world (in Kentucky) makes me wonder if this is an unauthorised game adaptation of Deliverance.
And so it ends.