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Contents

Welcome to the colourhorizon contents page! Hope you find something you dig 🙂

What’s In A Cover?

In What’s In A Cover, we explore cover art; the themes and messages that support the artists vision! And sometime we chat to the artist to get the inside track!

What’s In A Cover? Garsa on The Unfairity

Methods Of Dreaming with Hawksmoor

Concrete Island with The Heartwood Institute

‘Paint Me A Dream’ with The Chemistry Set

What’s In A Cover? Lust For Life by Iggy Pop and Fried by Julian Cope (guest written by Henry Forrest)

Summer Heads and Winter Beds by The Raft with Phil Wilson

‘Painting In Carlisle’ by The Maitlands

Hinterland by Lonelady and English Martyrs by Total Victory

Licensed To Ill by Beastie Boys and Dragnet by The Fall

Spying by Jennie Vee and Vintage Violence by John Cale

So Alone by Johnny Thunders and Marquee Moon by Television

If You Like…

To help you find your new favourite band, these articles suggest if you like this stuff, you’ll love this band!

Melodica and boiler suits = The Lucid Dream

Spooky countryside shit = Flange Circus

Soundtrack music but wish is was trippier = Teeth Of The Sea

VHS double packs and podcasts about murder = The Heartwood Institute

Interviews

Over the years we’ve talked to some big names!

New Age Healers… stuck on a desert island

Who are Synthetic Villains?

Last Bee On Earth

Dead Sea Apes on Warheads

Phil Wilson aka The Raft (ahead of the release of Abloom)

Hey Bulldog – ‘Al Lupo’ single

Dis-orientation Through Volume – Three Dimensional Tanx

The Importance Of Cross Country Running – The Maitlands (2016)

Nice Legs: “They were freaks too…”

Hey Bulldog (2015)

Radar Men From The Moon (2015)

TVAM (2015)

St James & The Apostles (2014)

Movies

Little thought-pieces that take a look at a movie from a new direction.

The Dark Tower (actually this is just a review of a shit movie)

Becoming square: Alex Cox’s Repo Man

“Compromise”, “Bullshit”; Bullitt and the banal

A wild and stupid ride: To Live And Die In LA

Bones of the art form: Michael Mann’s Miami Vice

The untold story of Michael Mann’s Dune adaptation

Review/Not Reviews

When is a review not a review?

Concrete Island (1988) Blu-ray

The TV (Total Victory) Listings – Set Controls For The Heart Of The Pendle – here guest writer Henry Forrest turns a Total Victory EP into TV listings

It’s Black Market, Marty. Something’s gotta be done about Black Market!

The Maitlands – When It Rains, It Pours goes on Take Me Out

Miscellaneous

Grotesque: Mark E Smith 1957-2018

The real new Manchester: LoneLady

The Whispering Knights (1977) – DVD Special Edition (2008)

Liverpool Psych Fest 2015 Field Report

Comrades in anarchy: Clint Boon’s Rebellious Jukebox

Communications Across Time: The Remainderer by The Fall

Iggy Pop – American Caesar (1993)

Party Like It’s 1999 – Madness’ Wonderful 

The Essential Songs of 2015…

Lucky Dip – The Raft, Angie Riggan, Plike

In Defence Of Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants by Oasis (2000)

Clinic – Internal Wrangler (2000)

The Chameleons – Why Call It Anything (2001)

Fiction

The New Recruits of G-Police Part 1

Introducing…

Carla Dal Forno…

The Last Bee On Earth

Boston Building

Swellebound

Astral Lynx

Rhys Bloodjoy

LIINES

Reviews

Selected list – one day I shall finish this list 🙂

The Aces – When My Heart Felt Volcanic (2018)

The Autumn Stones – Escapists (2015)

The Battery Farm – ’97/91′

Brahma Loka – Awaken EP (2015)

Camera – Radiate! (2012)

Cantaloupe – Teapot EP (2012)

Caudal – Ascension (2014)

From Turner to Di Chirico; the transitional phase of Celestial North and ‘Distant Life’

Certainty in uncertainty: Celestial North presents Olympic Skies

Control Of The Going – I Love You But It’s Going To Rain

Control Of The Going – ‘She’ (single)

Control Of The Going – ‘Wildflower’ (single – 2015)

Country – Failure (2014)

Bear witness to a shattered world: Dead Sea Apes’ Free Territory …“Cast out all ye demons” cursed the last of the Sky-Gods, issuing maledictions under the blood red sky. The Under-Demons hold sway in this land, scouring the burnt out remains of buildings for the burnt out remains of humans”.

Dead Sea Apes – Sixth Side Of The Pentagon

Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain (2015)

Dead Sea Apes – Higher Evolutionary (2014)

Dead Sea Apes – Lupus (2012)

The Death Of Pop – ‘Locomotive’ (single, 2016)

The Death Of Pop – Don’t Bother Me (single, 2016)

Dyr Faser – Trio

“A thousand tales of empire”: East Lake presents ‘Red Lanterns’

Eat lights; Become lights – Heavy Electrics (2012)

Evening Fires – Where I’ve Been Is Places… (2015)

Evening Fires – Light From On High

E GONE – Shipwrecks and Stray Cats

From the fjords to the universe: Brilliant Apparatus EP and the majesty of EGONE

E GONE – All The Suns Of The Earth (2014)

Flange Circus – Abandoned Glow

Flange Circus – Overexposed EP (2015)

Flange Circus – Ekranoplan EP (2014)

Dance or cry? Garsa presents ‘Ghosts’

The Goner – Bitemarks EP (2010)

The Goner – Behold A New Traveler (2010)

The Goner – H.H. (2009)

Hearts & Tigers – S/T (2015)

Helicon – Gehenna EP (2015)

Helicon – Take The Ride EP (2011)

Hey Bulldog live in studio

Hey Bulldog present ‘Death & Greed’

Hey Bulldog present ‘California’

Hey Bulldog – No Future Part II

Hey Bulldog – Al Lupo single review

Hey Bulldog ‘Divide And Conquer’

Hey Bulldog – Under My Spell (single)

The Ilk – Seasonal Variations EPs

the ilk – new dark age (2014)

“My teeth are all crumbling down”; ILL presents We Are ILL

Howard Devoto’s nose: ILL present ‘Kick Him Out The Disco’

inle elni – the deep well (2015)

IX – 6EQUJ5

Jane Weaver – The Silver Globe (2014)

Lester Bangs would have Creem-ed his pants for the Janitors

The Janitors – Evil Doings Of An Evil Kind (EP – 2014)

The Janitors – Here They Come (single – 2014)

The Janitors – Drone Head (2013)

The Janitors – First Sign Of Delirium (2010)

Reverence and adoration: Jennie Vee, Out For Blood

Chameleonic: Jennie Vee presents ‘Wild Flower’

Jennie Vee – Spying (2015)

Jennie Vee – Die Alone EP (2014)

A slow mutation; John Cale’s Lazy Day

JuJu – JuJu (2016)

Klaus Morlock – The Ascerbi Trilogy (1974-1981)

Klusters – Olbers’ Paradox (2015)

Last Bee On Earth – The Great Solar Flash

The Heir Of Confusion – LoneLady presents ‘(There Is No) Logic’

Lonelady – Nerve Up (2010)

Los Mundos – Calor Central

Louise Pop – Time Is A Habit (2012)

Lola Colt – Away From The Water (2014)

Love, Hippies & Gangsters – Sun Over Babaluma (2015)

The Lucid Dream present ‘CHI-03’

The Lucid Dream – Compulsion Songs

The Lucid Dream – ‘I’m A Star In My Own Right’

The Lucid Dream – The Lucid Dream (2015)

Lumerians – Transmissions From Telos Vol III (2014)

Lumerians – The High Frontier (2013)

Lumerians – Transmalinnia (2011)

The Maitlands – When It Rains, It Pours original review

The Maitlands – ‘Where Did It All Go Wrong?’

The Maitlands present ‘Flotsam & Jetsom’

The Maitlands – Dissatisfied

The Maitlands – ‘Daunting From Derker’ (single)

Our Man In The Bronze Age – The Gallows Tree (2012)

Your Bloodwork Came Back, It’s The Manimals

Matt Parker – The Imitation Archive (2015)

Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer – Can’t Stop, Shan’t Stop (2014)

Motorama – “Calendar” (2012)

Mugstar / Damo Suzuki – Start From Zero (2015)

Mugstar – Axis (2012) “Brian Blessed driving a tractor”

Mugstar – Lime (2010)

The Red-Sided Garter Snakes – Endless Sea (2015)

Submission & Damage: Psychic Lemon present Freak Mammal

Peaking Lights – The Fifth State Of Consciousness

Peaking Lights – 936 (2011)

Plank – Hivemind (2014)

Plank – Animalism (2012)

Psychic Lemon – Frequency Rhythm Distortion Delay

Psychic Lemon – S/T (2016)

Radar Men From The Moon – Subversive II: Splendour Of The Wicked

Radar Men From The Moon – Subversive I (2015)

Radar Men From The Moon – Echo Forever (2012)

Radar Men From The Moon – Intergalactic Dada & Space Trombones (2011)

Rachel Mason – Das Ram

“Perfect for imperfect times”: The Raft presents Summerheads and Winter Beds (guest written by Henry Forrest)

Once Upon A Time – The Raft present Abloom

The Raft – The Jellyfish EPs

Rock Music Of Canada present Songs To Pleasure Thineself To…

The Sudden Death Of Stars – Getting Up, Going Down (2011)

The Sun’s Evil Twin – Mysterious Transmission (2016)

The Tapestry – ‘We Talk’

The Tapestry – Infatuation (single, 2015)

Aggressively forging the future: Teeth Of The Sea present WRAITH

Teeth Of The Sea – Highly Deadly Black Tarantula (2015)

Teeth Of The Sea – MASTER (2013)

Teeth Of The Sea – Your Mercury (2010)

Teeth Of The Sea – Orphaned By The Ocean (2009)

Three Dimensional Tanx – ‘A Compulsion For Propulsion’

Three Dimensional Tanx – Attack!

Three Dimensional Tanx – ‘Son Of Go’

Three Dimensional Tanx – Three Dimensional Tanx (2014)

Total Victory – English Martyrs (2017)

Total Victory – National Service (2012)

Total Victory – The Pyramid Of Privilege (2011)

Two Skies – When The Storm Hits EP

Two Skies – Feel (single, 2015)

Two Skies – Red EP (2014)

Two Skies – ‘Stay’ (single)

Warm Digits – Interchange (2013, CD / DVD version)

Warm Digits – Keep Warm With The Warm Digits (2011)

The Watchmakers In Clover

Water of Life – Water Of Life LP (2015)

“Opera in the age of fragmentation”…Wire’s Red Barked Tree (2010)

White Manna – Live Frequencies (2014)

The Woken Trees – Nnon (2013)

Yuri Gagarin – At The Centre Of All Infinity (2015)

Zombie Zombie – Rituels D’Un Nouveau Monde (2012)

Zombie Zombie – …Plays John Carpenter (2010)

Warm Digits – Flight Of Ideas

Our guest writer, Henry Forrest, perverted by language, takes off with Flight Of Ideas…

The UK seems to have a cherished legacy of electro pop duos. From Soft Cell to Erasure; Yazoo to the Pet Shop Boys and Sleaford Mods to Disclosure. It is the dynamic of two awkward yet inspired (even incongruous) musical minds merging to create music that is dispensable but wholly indispensable. Imagine being inside the opulent residence of the Great Gatsby, without ever realising that the person serving you the cheese and pineapple sticks is your illustrious host! 

Electro dance music, at its best, is and will always be the dirty undervalued sibling to the crafty and earnest dynamics of rock. The expression of mass exhilaration on the face of a regular rock concert goer is akin to a mathematical genius solving a mildly problematic sum.

Flight of Ideas is Warm Digits fourth album following on from the excellent Wireless World. The filmmaker John Waters recounted being scolded by an editor over a music review that he wrote in which he described Tom Waits as being the type of artist who never washed his underwear! With Warm Digits, Newcastle’s funky cerebral duo, not only do they not wash their underwear: they don’t wear any. Flight of Ideas is every great night out you’ve ever had or are yet to have. Sexy, slick, inventive – pulsating the senses emotionally and intellectually. 

‘Feel the Panic’ benefits from the collaboration with Lancaster’s own White Stripes, The Lovely Eggs. An infectious, glorious mediative snarl on complacent thought and action whose call to action intensifies with every beat. 

The hypnotic modulations of Philip Glass’s ‘Train’ provides the refrain that runs through Warm Digits ‘Replication’ which builds beautifully before petering out. There is a schizophrenic bent to the song titles that exudes a joyous sense of panic and uncertainty that jars with the assured accomplishment of the music: ‘False Positive’, ‘Everyone Nervous’ the most positive evocation is ‘I’m Ok, You’re OK’ – an electro pulse so cool and composed that Prince Andrew would use it as required listening to pass a polygraph! 

‘Shake the Wheels Off’ is the anthem that ears and hearts gravitate to and is so indiscriminately funky that any ironic non dancing dancing (you know the type – think any indie nightspot) becomes obsolete, as stiff movements succumb to graceful submersion to bass lines that Bootsy Collins would deprive himself of coke to be able to create. 

The best of the 80s runs through Flight of Ideas whether its Japan’s Quiet Life on ‘Frames and Cages’ or Laurie Anderson’s ’O Superman’ on ‘Everyone Nervous’ they are entry point samples that fuse the then shock-of-the-new seamlessly into the new that Warm Digits are articulating with each well-crafted note. If this is Warm Digits four albums in, God only knows what wonders a fifth record can bring. 

https://warmdigits.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-ideashttps://warmdigits.bandcamp.com/album/flight-of-ideas

Henry Forrest is an LA based counterfeiter wondering what to do with the dead cop out back.

Head over to the CONTENTS page to find stacks of reviews, reviews/not reviews, interviews, If You Like…, What’s In A Cover and lots of miscellanious!

The Heir Of Confusion – LoneLady presents ‘(There Is No) Logic’

With the same glorious satisfaction of completing a 3,000 piece jigsaw of the Sheffield skyline, LoneLady returns with a brand new single ‘(There Is No) Logic’. The genius god-box behind Nerve Up and Hinterland is back doing everything she does best… and better!

Hinterland moved LoneLady into a place inspired by Arthur Baker era New Order, but while the result was dance based, it was still rooted in the grey architecture of Manchester, celebrating the harsh aesthetics of car parks, canal bridges and underpasses.

Then: “Grey as the ghost town that towers above me

Now she pushes further into electronica and emerges into a world of colour, reflected in the red cover art, her new red-jacketed image and music video that’s half acid house, half opening sequence to Charlie Chalk.

Now: “Red as the words that i read on the wall

‘(There Is No) Logic’ shines as a rippling piece of dance music. What’s so special is that while there are a gazillion electro songs released every day, this has a quality that outperforms / destroys the competition. This has a sheen of excellence as well as exuberance. This isn’t just bedroom electro – this is as polished as Kraftwerk’s TEE and as breathless as New Order’s Technique.

The lyrics channel her beloved Gang Of Four “every heartbeat has a number, and your body knows it” – reducing our life to mechanics, but adding pathos as well.

As always, LoneLady uses and rebuilds the totems of the past to capture the present; a cultural vandal who builds for the future.

https://lonelady.bandcamp.com/track/there-is-no-logic

PS Just realised that Charlie Chalk sounds like drug slang… Which makes me wish the theme tune had been done by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers.

Check out the recent article discussing the art work of Hinterland. Or head to the contents page to find more of your favourite new music!

Video Gallery:

Don’t get this on Pitchfork do you?
“Johnny wouldn’t go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head ’round the door, and mentions there’s a little sweets shop on the edge of town. So – we go. And – it’s closed. So there’s me, one of Rip Rig & Panic, and TV Smith, breaking into that little sweets shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they’ve got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopowner and his son… that’s a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really. But, sure enough, I got the Charlie Chalk, and Johnny went on stage and did a great show.

New Age Healers… stuck on a desert island

Psych-gaze is a neat genre-fication for New Age Healers; combining the best of both worlds, they’re a slick outfit that I compared to a crack commando unit on their latest album Debris (reviewed here). They’re a bit like the Bunnymen in sunglasses and fuzz mode (but not quite the full Mary Chain). Listen to and buy their stuff here>

https://newagehealers.bandcamp.com

I caught up with the band recently to ask important questions – harsh, probing questions on the big questions in life. What the fuck would happen if New Age Healers got stuck on a desert island?

Tell us who’s in the band, what they do and something interesting about them.

Owen: We’ve had a few changes in the group; new drummer, new guitarist (our old one moved away), and we’ve added a keyboard player. Our bass player Allen Murray runs a video game company, Keyboardist Farkhad says “I have a side job as an informant for FSB (former known as KGB),” (which explains a few things), and is a project manager for an engineering firm. Our drummer Adam says “tell them i do a lot of excel and powerpoint, and email.” Kyle, our guitar player is worried that he’s being “demoted.” He says he’s a research scientist. He also has a killer mustache. Like totally murderous. Tom Selleck level sexy. I produce the morning show on KEXP and also work for the American sports network ESPN in their radio division. I am the sixth most smartest person in the band, and it’s not even close.

So, returning home from a New Age Healers get marooned on a desert island. It’s time to consider your survival… Who do you elect leader?

Hmm, likely Allen as he’s a wonderful fellow who runs a company, has a computer toilet and a military background. I think he was an admiral in the Air Force or something. Oh, and a cool beard.

Who’s in charge of sewerage disposal?

Fuck. Probably me. Sigh. But I am VERY good at cleaning a bathroom.

There’s one wild boar on the island. Do you embrace it and keep it as a pet or kill it and eat it? If the former, what do you call it? If the latter how would you catch such a beast?

We do not need to kill the beast. Instead we befriend it, name it “Dr. Harold Metzger,” and teach it how to play fetch…and poker. “Doc” then shows us it’s secret garden full of delicious curry dishes.

Yum. You find a shipwrecked game of Monopoly. How does that go?

It ends up like every practice; all of us half-naked, screaming incoherently, in tears and one of us face down in a pool of baked beans. Who’s most likely to lose their shit? Sigh. Me. I’m working on it, but it is what it is. But, I think the more important question is “who will find their shit?” Again, me. You lose something, I will find that fothermucker. When I was a kid, we played a lot of baseball in my front yard, and we’re constantly losing our only ball in our neighbors shrubs. So one became good at finding them cuz no ball, no game. As a side note, the lady across the street was an immigrant (Hungarian maybe?) who came to the U.S. after world war 2 with her sisters. They never learned English, one was mean as hell, but she was really nice, and she would collect balls while walking her dog and give them to us.

Food gets tight, who’s most likely to be skinned, cooked and eaten?

Dr. Harold Metzger, who, by the by it turns out is NOT a doctor! WTF?! And here’s another question to ponder; where’d he get the monocle?

Luckily a passing cruise ship picks you up. To pay your way you’re all set to be pot washing until they discover your a band. What song do you play to win the passengers over?

After a series of missteps playing our own material, we sing “leather and lace” by Stevie Nicks and Don Henley. It goes well. Like really well. Like Brian-Adams-Robin-Hood-well. In the audience that night is famed record producer Bruce Dickinson who hears it, “gets us,” and helps us explore the space. I mean really explore the space. I need you to love me I need you today Give to me your leather Take from me my lace Really makes you think, y’know?

If you keep the boar as a pet, do you take Dr Harold Metzger with you? How do you explain it to the captain?

Oh, that liar can stay on the island. “Doctor,” my ass. Turns out that wasn’t curry…I don’t want to talk about it.

After your return, do you never talk of your experiences, or write a concept album about it?

Uh, I just answered this. Are you even listening to me? Concept album. We call it Sgt Peppers Satanic Rituals of The Fables of the Deconstruction, form a drum circle and bang away in 6/4 like those dirty hippies in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park who ruin everyone’s weekend with that dreck.

Don’t forget to check out New Age Healers on Bandcamp!

What’s In A Cover? Garsa on The Unfairity

A protest folk-tronica artist for 2021+, solo artist Garsa has a new debut EP called The Unfairity, led by the outstanding single ‘Ghosts’ (reviewed here). He combines song-writing and heart with electronica. Both old fashioned and new fashioned, he is a man out of time, and of the now.

To celebrate the release of The Unfairity, we caught up with Garsa (Martin) as part of our ongoing series, What’s In A Cover, which celebrates art work!

Firstly, listen to and buy The Unfairity here!

Let’s start with the big one! Who made the art, why that style and how does it represent The Unfairity?

I made the art. I wanted something that I could do myself as previous single art was other people’s royalty free work from various sites. I wanted to get away from that. Not being a great artist or photographer, I played with some ideas on the computer and came up with the simple abstract landscape using triangles to build up a picture. I wanted something simple yet eye catching and in a style that I could use for future releases, to keep a kind of set theme going on.

It has a great childlike quality… it reminds me of fuzzy felt!

Yes, I can totally see that! That’s actually a great idea for a release! Fuzzy felt album sleeve, design your own scene *adds fuzzy felt album cover idea to notepad*.

I can answer the “representing The Unfairity” part of question one with this too. My nine-year-old son Lachlan came up with the term The Unfairity and let me use it for the E.P. I suppose the fact that the cover has a childlike quality and was named by a child using a made-up word represents it quite well.

And it has a DIY aspect to it which reflects the bedroom recording vibe going on!

Yes, I suppose it does. It was made on the same computer, from the same seat as the songs were recorded and was very much a learn as you go process. It’s all been very DIY, mainly due to lack of funds so I’ve had no choice but to do it myself. I’m glad I did though. I feel as though I’ve achieved something in doing it and I’ve certainly learnt a few new skills.

I’ve dubbed you “the Peggy Suicide of Oldham” … you dig ;-)?

If I’m honest I’m not massively familiar with Julian Cope’s work. Not because I dislike him. I do like what bits I’ve heard! He’s just one of those artists that I have passed by without giving a proper listen to. I need to take the time to dig into his back catalogue.

I’m aware of what his music means and its importance so, to be dubbed “the Peggy Suicide of Oldham” is quite the compliment, I think!

Peggy Suicide is probably the best place to start 😉 But his post 2000 work is stunning – Black Sheep in particular is sensational. But that’s enough about the Arch Drude!

Thanks to Garsa for taking time to talk to us! Don’t forget to check out the EP here!

If you enjoyed What’s In A Cover, head over to the Contents page to read more – and lots of reviews, reviews/not reviews (?) and miscellaneous articles to dig into!

The New Recruits Of G-Police Part 2

Ready for Part 2? We left Juno, Paul, Mitch and L. in the briefing room…

Not read Part 1? Read it here!

“…to answer to your questions, in order…” said Mason, “yes, you will be flying today, yes, it will be boring, yes you won’t be guarding the president just yet, and you should all learn to be more positive about our esteemed leader, anyone might be listening to you and he has men everywhere.” 

They all looked a bit sheepish, lesson learnt. 

“There won’t even be a briefing for you as your first day is such a nice easy one” he continued, “you’ll each go with one of us to Dome 27, do some patrolling, do some flying, then if you don’t kill a senior officer… maybe we’ll let you come back tomorrow.” He said it in a way that suggested he wasn’t joking, either about the coming back tomorrow, or killing a senior officer.

Juno was to go with Lt. Radzikowski, Paul with Lt. Andrews, Mitch with Lt. Snyder and Mason himself would be with L. Juno immediately realised that although L had attained the highest scores; Mason had decided she was the one he wanted to observe. On top of this Mitch would be with Snyder, and Juno knew that Lt. Snyder was Mason’s most trusted pilot, she was also the most celebrated pilot in G-Police Dome 28. Juno was impressed by the presence of Snyder, they had watched training videos taken from the cockpit of her ship. She was lethal. 

“It’s not all dull though”, Mason continued, “on your way upstairs, take a firearm from floor 43, then ammunition from floor 46, then flight suits from floor 48 and you’ll find the changing rooms on floor 51” For the moment they would only carry a weapon on duty, but when they were full G-Police pilots they could carry at all times. Similar situation with the flight suits, they would not be issued with their own personal flight suit until they were trusted not to die straight away. 

There was an awkward silence. “I said there was no briefing, so get going. We’ll meet you on floor 60 and don’t forget to go to the toilet first, children.” Juno was starting to feel nervous. 

Getting everything and doing everything took longer than she expected. Even though there were plenty of lifts in the building (and they all worked!) there was a lot of documentation to be filled in for taking the firearm and ammunition. Paperwork was bandied around for them to sign and she must have put her signature down ten or twenty times. As for the flight suits, the staff took some time getting decent approximate sizes, so she guessed she shouldn’t complain – better than when she had been bowling and been given stupidly over sized shoes. In the changing rooms she felt a bit insecure next to L’s lean, athletic figure. The changing rooms were empty as it was late, so all the officers would be out by now, but she wondered what it would be like when the place was full of pilots? Hey! She remembered that on the floor above there was a gym and steam rooms. That would be awesome, steam rooms were super lux. 

They met the boys outside the changing rooms. Paul was eating from a bag of chocolates which he offered around. Mitch and L took some, but Juno couldn’t stomach them at the moment. “Well then dick heads”, said Mitch, “let’s get to floor 60 and start shooting things.”

“I’ll use the toilet first” said Juno. 

Then take the lift up to floor 60, which was a fairly empty dark space, with no windows. They saw Mason stood with four pilots next to a metallic caged lift.

“Where the hell have you lot been?” barked Mason, “We’ve been wasting our time waiting for you.” 

Juno already guessed this was a routine Mason would do with all recruits. She tried not to smirk. He would have known how much time it would have taken them to get everything. She glanced at Paul who she already knew would not have seen through the ruse. L and Mitch would barely care, even if they believed Mason or not. 

“Here are the officers you’ll be flying with” Mason beckoned to the other pilots stood near him. He introduced Radzikowski, a tall, rangy man who was looking at something on his phone. Then there was the famous Snyder, a woman with cool sunglasses perched on top of her brown hair. Then there was Andrews, a large imposing man, statuesque. Juno was looking forward to knowing more about these pilots. 

“Well that’s enough pleasantries” Mason said dryly, “Let’s see if you can be trusted with a gunship.” And with that he went off with L. 

The remaining three of them stood looking at the officers who remained impassive. Juno wasn’t going to fall for this one. She walked confidently straight up to Radzikowski. “Sir?” The thin man sighed and put his phone away. She could see through his act as well. He smiled a surprisingly friendly smile at her, “let’s go to our training ship.” 

The top 20 floors were sealed off from the floors below for obvious security reasons. Floor 60 acted like an air lock. It was an empty floor where the normal lifts finished. It was both a meeting place and a security checkpoint. To go up from here you needed to use the service elevators; a cluster of dangerous looking grilled cages based around the centre of the floor. Juno followed Radzikowski into one of these and he used his black pilots key to activate the lift and he selected floor 65 from the panel. The lift rumbled into action and slowly ascended. It passed the ‘dead floor’ of 61 which housed the equipment for the lifts, boilers, tanks etc. When the lift reached floor 62, a smell of diesel, exhaust fumes and heat struck her. She saw two gunships. There was a loud buzz of drilling. The real maintenance was done at a specialised site not far from here, but ground crews would need to carry out quick repair work and top up shells and missiles. Probably this week would include at least one trip to the maintenance facility. 
The lift continued up, floors 63 and 64 were empty of ships. The lift stopped on floor 65 and they got off. There were eight spaces on the four sides for gunships. There was one gunship parked. A ground crew technician was stood by the gunship, drinking coffee from a plastic cup. The bay door was already open to the outside, ready for launch. She could feel the cold on her face already. The gunship was sleek and black with a large cockpit and heavy weaponry. This wasn’t Radzikowski’s ship of course, this was a duel control training ship. She wondered on what floor his own was parked on. She supposed the four officers on training duty had all parked on the same floor, that would make sense. She also wondered what his gunship looked like. Pilots were allowed to decorate their gunships (within reason), it was a perk of the job to counteract the everyday risk of death. If they passed this stage of training she shuddered at the thought of what L and Mitch would do with theirs.

 “Come look outside” said Radzikowski, he took her to near the edge of the bay door. The fall barrier protected them, but it was a vertigo inducing sight to look down 65 stories. She saw tower blocks below her. The 6-lane road seemed a dim blot, or like looking through a microscope. “Are you ready?” he asked her, “to fly above the city, over thousands of people, and if you crash, the deaths you could cause?” 

“Yes sir,” she nodded humbly.  The responsibility was scary, but it was better to feel that pressure, to stay sharp. She decided to say this. He just nodded. 

“So this is what we will do; I’ll fly us to Dome 27 and we’ll do some patrolling. Then we’ll set down and you can take controls. I’ll see how you handle her. We can do some scanning and see what else we can do while we’re there. Then we’ll try to come back alive. OK?” 

“Yes sir.” They put their helmets on. 

Radzikowski used his black key to open the cockpit. They climbed up and the ground crew guy took the ladder away. Obviously, she was in the back seat, but there was still a set of controls for flight and weapons for later, when the trainer would be in there. 

Radzikowski powered up the gunship which thrummed into life, buzzing with power. He radioed Control to ask permission for launch. They kept him waiting for 5 minutes of so, maybe one of the others had already left. When he was cleared for take-off the barrier in front of them withdrew. Radzikowski de-activated the electro-magnetic holds, slowly increased the power of the engines and the gunship passed slowly out of the bay and out into the air… 

Stay tuned for Part 3!

Head over to the Contents page to find your new favourite music from categories such as Review, What’s In A Cover, Interviews and much more!

What’s In A Cover? Hawksmoor on Methods Of Dreaming

Just look at that gorgeous, visceral, creepy cover art for Methods Of Dreaming! It’s the new album from Hawksmoor, brought to you by the good people at Spun Out Of Control, whose roster contains artwork that just makes you want to buy up everything! Methods Of Dreaming is a dark, swirling album inspired by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. We were lucky to catch up with James McKeown, the thoroughly troubled mind behind Methods Of Dreaming to talk about that cover art!

You can listen to and buy Methods Of Dreaming right here!

https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/methods-of-dreaming

Eric Adrian Lee’s artwork for Methods Of Dreaming is intoxicating! Tell us how it came about and how it reflects the themes of the album!

Yes it certainly is! Really the music and the background concept were the main prompts. The background concept was the idea of a paper published by an academic on behalf of the Milton Keynes Institute for Neurological Dream Research called “Methods of Dreaming” and the music was created to reflect this. Eric was into the album and this was the image he came up with. An initial idea that I discussed with Spun Out of Control and then Eric was a book cover I have of the Christopher Priest novel A Dream of Wessex as this evoked the feel I was looking for. One of the main aspects behind wanting to collaborate with Spun Out of Control is their strong visual aesthetic. The Methods of Dreaming cover and many of Eric’s designs in general really evoke one of the central tenets of Hauntology, “retro-futurism”, as explained by Mark Fisher in The Weird and The Eerie, the concept of non-linear time; the covers are redolent of ’80’s VHS video cassette covers, which represents the fact that many of the releases are soundtracks, real or imaginary, yet they are at the same time contemporary and contain contemporary music which is predominantly released and managed via a digital platform – Bandcamp, yet available physically on the older formats of cassette and vinyl. So a kind of retro and modern duality and hence not pinned to a specific time.

Why do you think the eye is such an important image in horror and psychedelia?

I suppose when linked to Psychedelia it has become a sort of visual shorthand for ‘consciousness’ and the idea of the ‘third eye’ of the expanded mind. In the context of Psych I would immediately think of the 13th Floor Elevators and I’m sure it even goes back to the Merry Pranksters and the Acid Tests etc. I’m not really a Horror film expert, but an early example of a horrific eye image on film is the famous eyeball slicing from Buñuel/Dali’s Un Chien Andalou and you could probably also include Alex’s ‘treatment’ in Kubrick’s version of A Clockwork Orange and the poster too.

I must admit though… the cover does remind me of Skipper The Eyechild from Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace!

Well I have always assumed that Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace was very much a British cult programme but Eric may well be familiar with it? As stated though, eyes in artwork are ubiquitous. 

When the art work arrived you must have felt like the last piece of the jigsaw was there, the cover really gives the album a “home” thematically. It roots the album to a time period beautifully! The listener knows what to expect before they start…

Absolutely, the cover brought the whole concept to life and being so visually striking has no doubt helped it to reach a wider potential audience. As I explained with the non-linear time frame, I don’t think it’s tied to an era, more the idea of time, but one that is hard to pin-point. Either way, it does suggest the content is cerebral in nature, which I hope it is and have had responses that suggest it is either relaxing escapism, or anxiety inducing. I’m happy with both of those responses.

Thanks to Hawksmoor for talking to us about Methods Of Dreaming!

Did you know that in 1988 Hawksmoor collaborated with The Heartwood Institute on the soundtrack for Alan Clarke’s adaptation of Concrete Island. You can read the review of the new Blu-ray release here!

Head to the Contents page to find your new favourite music, with categories including What’s In A Cover, Reviews, Reviews/Not Reviews, Miscellaneous, Interviews and much more!

Concrete Island (1988) Blu-ray

Whilst now enjoying a position as a cult favourite, Alan Clarke’s 1988 adaptation of JG Ballard’s Concrete Island was not only a highlight of that year’s television, but s source of controversy for the nascent Channel 4. As such this new Blu-ray release is long overdue.

Ballard’s classic dystopian tale in which a man is left trapped on a motorway central reservation is the perfect re-telling of Robinson Crusoe for the 20th century, adding in the authors obsessions with alienation, dehumanisation and isolation. Alan Clarke was a natural choice to bring the story to life, culminating in this 90 minute TV movie. The liberal additions of swear words and violence shown at 9 o’clock would cause ire with The Daily Mail and Mary Whitehouse (“I can still see it in my mind eye”) and would end up with the channel receiving record numbers of complaints (Channel 4 always seemed to welcome complaints as the sign of a job well done though).

The movie is a stark, almost existential piece, where the spicy bits are intercut with long shots into the middle distance, and loving shots of flyovers. Pulling between it’s twin impulses to be both shocking and daring on the one hand, and experimental on the other hand, it’s the perfect representation for Ballard.

Peter Davison makes an excellent leading man, perfectly cast as Maitland, the man who crashes from the motorway, and left to survive, surrounded by a stream of humanity that does not care. Before it was aired some had questioned if Davison was the right choice, his “pleasant, open face” more synonymous with nice-guy roles, but he perfectly nailed the middle class every-man thrown into a nightmare. Interestingly, Patrick Stewart had originally been hired, but the Star Trek actor realised he was miscast a week into filming and dramatically fired himself, leading to the much wiser casting of Davison. Penelope Wilton and Hywel Bennet round out the small cast.

The soundtrack caused a revelation, setting new standards in the quality of music made for the small screen. Composed by The Heartwood Institute & Hawksmoor, the punishing dark-wave dance made Kraftwerk seem redundant and as harsh as Simon & Garfunkel. An unwitting public were subjected to the grinding gears of noise and rhythm, as if the music was made from rumble-strips and suspension. The soundtrack was released a year later in 1989 on CD and cassette and sold well, leading to the The Heartwood Institute & Hawksmoor supporting Love & Rockets on tour. The soundtrack is these day available here: https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/concrete-island. In 1992 the pair appeared on Challenge Anneka. The following year they worked with Alex Cox’s to turn Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Dream Home A Heartache’ into a BBC2 TV movie, starring Nigel Havers.

For fans of British cult movies and 1980s TV, Concrete Island is a must own, as it is for fans of Ballard, who would have to wait until Ben Wheatley’s High Rise for an attempt as bold as this. A lackluster 2008 BBC adaptation with Cillian Murphy and Keeley Hawes was a rather tepid affair. Then there is Cronenberg’s Crash, but we all agree that David Cronenberg making a film about shagging in car crashes was better left for his own private collection.

Vision

Concrete Island suffered for many years due to dark and grainy VHS and laserdisc transfers. The Blu-ray is brighter but retains the atmosphere. Though still quite grainy, there is real detail in the shadows. Fine textures are much more clearly visible, and the transfer has noticeable depth. Colors are nicely improved, even upon the previous DVD (which wasn’t bad), especially reds and greens, which are quite vivid now. Concrete Island remains a product of its time, however, so don’t expect a level of sharpness equal to a new release. There are also a bit of print defects, though the amount of visible dirt and specks is minimal. The encoding is also solid, with only slight noise perceptible. Thankfully, the edge enhancement that plagued the previous DVD is absent. Overall, this Blu-ray is a very fine presentation of difficult source material.

Audio

A new English DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround track (48kHz/16-bit) has been produced for Concrete Island. Surround deployment is impressive considering the film’s age. Dialogue is pretty crisp and intelligible.

5.1 soundtrack only mix. The iconic soundtrack in full glory.

2.0 soundtrack only mix. For those of you at home who enjoy comparing different mixes of audio, here you go.

Special Features

A rather slim set of special features, brought over from the 2003 DVD:

Commentary with director of cinematographer Dean Shipley: a rather dry affair with long protracted silences, only for those very interested in cinematography. Shipley went on to work on Cracker.

Deleted scenes: some interesting scenes here as it includes the ones starring Patrick Stewart before his untimely departure from the production. The other deleted scenes are your standard scenes that didn’t make the end cut for a good reason.

Gag reel: never as funny as you think it’ll be.

TV spots

Final Thoughts

This classic British TV movie is a sensational adaptation of Ballard, and boasts a superb cast, direction and soundtrack. The video and sound quality is an improvement, though the special features are underwhelming. On the whole, worth the upgrade.

Head to the CONTENTS page where the catergorised menu will help you find your new favourite band!

See also…

If You Like… You’ll Love The Heartwood Institute

What’s In A Cover? Concrete Island with The Heartwood Institute

This is a mouth watering proposition – The Heartwood Institute and Hawksmoor taking on Ballard’s Concrete Island. For fans you know this is going to be epic before you hit play. For the uninitiated, here’s a handy article to know if The Heartwood Institute are for you!

Concrete Island features wonderful cover art from Eric Adrian Lee. We caught up with The Heartwood Institute to talk about the artwork and how important the art is!

The artwork for Concrete Island is phenomenal- tell us how it came about!

“I think serendipity is the word. I’ve always been blown away with the way Spun Out Of Control package their releases, the art and layout is always amazing. So once they were on board for the release they suggested Eric Adrian Lee. Both James ( Hawksmoor ) and myself were delighted to have Eric doing the art. He was sent a preview copy of the audio and came back with that amazing art. He absolutely nailed the vibe first time – that 70’s brutalist / sc-fi look that’s really central to the original novel.”

It’s the perfect evocation of old paperworks. This seems perfect for Heartwood Institute, would I be correct in assuming that in general literature, movies and TV are a bigger influence on your music than other music?

“Well I have to confess I’m a big collector of 70’s and 80’s paperbacks, I love the design work on them. I’ll often buy several copies of the same book if they have different cool artwork. But yes, for sure I’m taking a lot of influences and inspiration from outside of music. It’s no secret I’m fascinated by the whole idea of hauntology and trying to translate that into music.”

Many of your albums work to a theme- does it make it easier to find cover art as you have something to represent, or harder as it has to fit just right?

“A lot of what I do is really thematically inspired and I mostly have images in mind, so I tend to send the sleeve designer a whole bunch of images, not always for them to use, but to express where the music itself is coming from. In a sense Concrete Island was much easier to pass that on, all it required was saying it’s J G Ballard, it’s Concrete Island. A swift google image search will show some amazingly inspirational book covers.”

Imagery is very important to your music, so album art must be key?

“Definitely, when you’re doing instrumental music it’s not always easy to get across what it’s about or inspired by. So the imagery that goes with it really needs to get that across. With the Witchcraft Murders LP, it was really a huge bonus to be able to produce a zine to go along with the release. It really helped get the background across. Certainly something I’ll be thinking about doing for future releases, even just as a pdf.”

… and here’s the guide image provided by Spun Out Of Control to the artist, Eric Adrian Lee, to suggest a tannoy system in the centre of the island!

Listen to and buy Concrete Island here!

https://spunoutofcontrol.bandcamp.com/album/concrete-island

and here’s Everything You Need To Know About The Whispering Knights

Read back issues of What’s In A Cover?…

‘Paint Me A Dream’ with The Chemistry Set

Summer Heads and Winter Beds by The Raft with Phil Wilson

‘Painting In Carlisle’ by The Maitlands

Hinterland by Lonelady and English Martyrs by Total Victory

Spying by Jennie Vee and Vintage Violence by John Cale

So Alone by Johnny Thunders and Marquee Moon by Television

“My teeth are all crumbling down”; ILL presents We Are ILL

I Love ILL – they’re like a gang from The Warriors dressed up in Mark E Smith jumpers as designed by Devo.

Squelchy, rabid, seasick post punk that’s more punk that post. Trashy, shlocky and bad to know, they career all over your sensibilities and live in a chaotic world of stuttering bass, fairground horror keyboards and Slits back alley shouting.

Look, they have a song called ‘Space Dick’ which is the sound of a Space Invader on holiday and a hilariously loud cowbell.

Meanwhile, ‘Stuck On A Loop’ sounds like if, that band again, Devo, were spewing over B52s B-sides.

‘ILL Song’ sounds like scurvy.

Also meanwhile, ‘Bears’ is poking around in the more contemplative end of the genre, sounding like Teardrop Explodes when Copey was tripping his nut off and thinking about his solo career. Look, this has a chorus of “I’ll feed you to my bear” (I assume they’re not singing “I’ll feed you to my Bez”).

‘Bus Shelter’ has wonky dance rock then they drop in shouts of “Hit The North” and you realise we’re all big nerdy fans in it together. They probably like Manicured Noise too.

‘I Am The Meat’ drops overwrought movie trailer bass slabs. ‘Slithering Lizards’ is a tortuously long exploration of noise, hypnosis and subsurface drilling and they haven’t even got the good grace to stick it at the end of the album. Brilliant. “My teeth are all crumbling down”, yeah mine aren’t far behind either.

All this with vocals that make Iggy Pop sound shoegaze.

Disgusting, top to bottom.

Brilliant.

https://weareill.bandcamp.com/album/we-are-ill