The Young Knives
This was a free gig for the fans. No queue or even a search, just stroll through the doors and you’re in. Dodgy bar as per usual, and it’s always best not to consider the damage. After some decent support from Lightspeed Champion (especially the Star Wars rendition), they’re on, with sharp white suits to boot. The House of Lords appeared to be Buddy Holly on Stars In Your Eyes. Cool.
The Young Knives
I am always happy to see the Knives, knowing I will hear songs from the exceptional Voices Of Animals & Men. Loughborough Suicide is an anthemic joy. Tailors appeared even odder live. The recent 2nd Long Player is of only average standard yet songs performed from this were delightful too. This was a very confident performance by the Young Knives. A confidence that allows all their fun & nerd qualities to shine. I thought noticeably so compared with previous gigs I had attended. The white suits helped too. A good night was had. Cheers Young Knives.
Belong, Same Places
The Belong sound-journey is turning into a strange trip. October Language was a quietly fierce album, full of bubbling drones and turned-inside-out soundscapes - at times it sounded like the surface of the sun; at others like the slow foetid heat of the Louisiana bayous. And, almost inevitably I guess, the full force of the Katrina catastrophe was mapped backwards onto the record (October... was recorded before the hurricane hit) and it came to stand for an expression of rage and melancholy (I discussed this briefly in an interview I did with Turk back in 2006). Which is fair enough, it was a beautiful enough elegy, even if it was post of the fact - but I still felt the record exceeded this remit. It stood apart from the events. It still does.
The Colorloss Record E.P. was a strange beast and to some extent reminded me of Mark Hollis' escape into enervation - the evidence for which is apparent in the journey from The Colour of Spring to his own solo record, then...nothing. All the aggressive elements of October Language had been stripped away and instead there was a kind of heightening of a sense of decay - a feel that was present on the LP but not nearly as prominent as this. The 4 tracks were cover versions ('Late Night' by Syd Barrett, 'Beeside' by Tintern Abbey, 'My Clown' by July, and Billy Nicholls' 'Girl From New York') but cover versions heard through the metal ribcages of rotting buildings - the songs are there but buried beneath dense washes of reverb and tape-disintegration. It's a strange effect (one notionally, at least, close to what Kevin Shields was up to, or more recently Liz Harris with Grouper) and a a disorienting one, rather like listening through the walls to a late night conversation in an adjoining room. But whereas Hollis' inward retreat might have been in response to something pathological and as such more intense and neurotic, this, I think, has a different, more aesthetic aim - something to do with stripping sound away, returning it to some primordial starting point. And all achieved through technology so you're left with an odd, uncanny paradox. But one that gets into your body cavities, into your skin.
Now we have Same Places which might be an EP or it might be a single, I'm not sure. It's a 14 minute track and a one-side vinyl only release (on clear vinyl which is very apt), and the sound is closer in its construction to October Language in that it feels almost more exploratory, even topographical at times. The surface of the sound is like distempered glass - the smoothness and limpidity disturbed by the whorls of the added texture of the paint; but as the piece takes shape it's the tectonic shifts beneath the exterior that pull at you. It's like listening to the warm garbled feedback from a depth gauge or a sense probe as it works its way across terrain - the rise and fall in the oscillator drones mirroring the sharp inclines, level screes and plunging valleys of the landscape. And after a few listens, by the centre of the track (which lest we forget is called Same Places), it's possible to feel airborne above it and to have something like a full appreciation of the structure, which all in all is a peculiar way to appreciate a piece of music but there you are... I'm intrigued to see where they take this thing next.
Same Places is available as a free download (a 320 bitrate download, at that) and you can get the superbly packaged vinyl here.
The band have also made the CDR only tour EP available as a free download. Go get.