Review: Belgian reissue imprint Stroom are back with more retro obscurities, this time in the form of 48 Cameras: the brainchild and life project of self-proclaimed non-musician Jean-Marie Mathoul. After hearing an album of William S. Burroughs reciting poetry, Mathoul decided to put poems and spoken word to music. He was a poet in his own right, having already published a book of poems. At a literary event in Liege, he met UK-based writer Paul Buck (author of the novel The Honeymoon Killers) and the two of them decided to collaborate - and thus formed 48C. Mathoul was said to have built the album in his mind, long before starting the recording process, which involved something of a 'non-band'. The musicians and collaborators never actually recorded together, and to this day some haven't even met each other. Jean-Marie Mathoul sadly passed away earlier this year at the age of 66.
Review: There's something rather terrifying about "De Angst Voorbij", even if the album title is compelling you to move "Beyond The Fear". The brainchild of Flemish cult star Gerry Vergult, its drone-fuelled broodiness contrasts poppier nuances (perhaps most eerily on "Russische Roulette", nodding to some of horror's most tried and tested methods of disturbing us. "Monster" incorporates organ chords that could be the cries of a haunted fairground. "Faits Divers" uses a simple two-tone melody to slowly build an imposing atmosphere, dropping delightful piano keys over the top to bring about a sense of parallels that correlate and compliment. As a record, it's an intriguing beast that is unapologetically challenging, truly unforgettable, and deserves a place in any far-reaching and forward-thinking music collection. Those looking for real proof should check the dark wave-y hypnosis of "Usurpation".
Review: Cristian Subira aka Jasin Kolar/Venessa Milano/Nubian Deli is from Barcelona. As if he didn't work under enough aliases, he's also one and all members of Summer Recreation Camp. He has played in several bands (Coconot, Dead Man On Campus, Gargamel) and released through his label Discos Compulsivos - where throughout the mid noughties he presented experimental work as El Guincho or Teeth Mountain. His new LP entitled Modified Perspectives builds on his decades long experience creating new-age mediative textures and explores the shimmering/ghostly sonic aesthetics of FM synthesis throughout these dozen or so evocative tracks. Will appeal to fans of recent ambient by the likes of Suzanne Kraft and Jonny Nash.
Review: Originally released by Music Man in 1990, Lhasa's "The Attic" is an unusual rarity: a Belgian record that sounds like it was influenced by the then popular British bleep movement. It's not a bleep record per se, but does include subtle nods to some of the biggest bleep records of the period (including a chord sequence that pays tribute to the biggest of the lot, "LFO" by LFO), as well as a chugging, saucer-eyed groove that sounds like new beat sped up. It remains a fine record, as this timely reissue proves. Interestingly, this time round it's backed by previously unheard jam "Sexxor", a bouncy, acid-fired chunk of loopy techno that boasts one of the most rush-inducing chord sequences we've heard in a while.
Review: Belgian label Stroom return with an LP by Annelies Monsere. She has been playing music solo since 2000, initially piano-based and mostly instrumental, but once she discovered her voice - vocals became a main focus. Musically, she has experimented with different instruments such as cello, guitar, xylophone and melodica. Happiness Is Within Sight is her seventh album and traverses many moods and variations: from classical to shoegaze to ambient and even organ-led church influenced music. It is an emotional and introspective album from start to finish which allows us a window into the talented artist's soul.
Review: Stroom's latest chunk of left-of-centre brilliance comes from Jan Van Der Broeke, an artist active since the 1980s who's arguably most famous for his work under the Absent Music, June 11 and The Misz aliases. 11,000 Dreams is his first career retrospective and draws on 30 years worth of self-released cassettes and CD-Rs. It's a sublime set, all told, pulling together dreamy, evocative, melodious and soft-touch tracks that blur the boundaries between ambient, skewed downtempo pop, blissful warmth, spoken word laden cheeriness (the odd but brilliant "My Lesbian Girlfriends") and spacey cuts laden with exotic instrumentation and whistling synthesizer melodies.
Review: For the uninitiated, Vazz was a post-punk era new wave duo briefly active in the mid 1980s. They first broke through while residents of their native Glasgow, but later moved East to Edinburgh and stripped back their sound to little more than haunting piano (courtesy of the pair's musical maestro Hugh Small) and the distinctive lyrics and vocals of Anna Howson. This excellent primer offers a neat introduction to the pair's best moments between 1982 and '87, drawing on both of their distinct periods and including such highlights as the wonderfully dreamy title track, the buzzing post-punk pop of "Flute Dance", the dubbed-out heaviness of "Cast Reflections" and the unfussy piano bliss of "Star Chamber".
Forbidden Photographs - "The Tattooed Fetus" (5:15)
Y Create - "Je Ne Pas Le Pain" (2:35)
Y Create - "Broken Chairs" (0:13)
Y Create - "Everyone Has Left Us Tonight" (4:18)
Y Create - "And More" (2:13)
Y Create - "Walkin'" (4:25)
Y Create - "Let's Go" (1:50)
Truth Will Be Cold (1:24)
In Biberach (5:55)
Review: During the 1980s, Hessel Veldman was a key member of the Netherlands' network of DIY musicians, whose exploits were released in limited quantities on self-made cassettes. This album draws together the best of his work from the period, drawing not only on releases under his own name but also the ever-changing Y Create collective he helmed. It makes for hugely enjoyable listening, not least because Veldman had an eclectic approach. Across the course of "Eigen Boezem" you'll find darkly ambient explorations, lo-fi cinematic soundscapes, interesting post-punk pop, discordant industrial sounds, tape loop-based experiments and even a touch of off-kilter reggae.