Russian born Mischa Pavlovski has spent time in Sweden, but currently resides in Copenhagen, hence his appearance in this guise on Posh Isolation. ‘Kapitel’ is his debut recording in a psychedelic techno-dub canvas, following formative years in various punk and black metal outfits.
On a twelve inch vinyl pressing of 500 copies, ‘Kapitel’ proffers four slabs of colossal atmospheric import, ambiently poised and expertly composed, with one ear focussing on tension, and the other awash with melody. Dislocated, yet intrinsically connected to biological imperatives, Pavlovski gets under the skin of the listener to infuse their life-blood with psychotropic intent as it pulses through their veins.
Pavlovski began the ‘Kapitel’ project in 2012. His love of electronic music and dub culture had hitherto found little room for expression in the punk rock and black metal scenes he frequented. Embracing the spirit of change, he sought help from friends with the tech-know-how with regard to accessing the means of production. After a period of exploration and experimentation with various software programs, Pavlovski suffered a period of self-doubt regarding his skills in this area of newfound artistic expression, and he almost scrapped plans for the project. Eventually, however, following inspiration taken from the symphony ‘Peter And The Wolf’, by Sergei Prokofiev, Pavlovski found both the confidence and the voice to express himself electronically, and the soundtrack we now embrace as ‘Kapitel’ was born.
Posh Isolation have tended to impress most with their less anticipated releases in 2014: Vanessa Amara‘s ‘Both Of Us’ and Rosen & Spyddet‘s ‘Springet Som Symbol’ for example, but with ‘Kapitel’, Mischa Pavlovski has arguably delivered one of their strongest releases thus far. Highly recommended.
Orden Mundial – ‘Obediencia Debida’ (LVEUM)
In many ways, 2014 has been the year of the follow-up. Twelve months of second-album-appraisal. Three hundred and sixty five days of: “yeah, but is it any better than the first one?”. The vanguards of the current wave of DIY punk/HC are coming of age, experiencing growing pains: developing; progressing; regressing; impressing; depressing. One theory says: ‘their debut is always their best’. Another theory says: ‘punk rock as a genre gives you one shot: make the most of it, then get a proper job’. There are a bunch of theories, as with most abstract concepts, and let’s face it, punk rock is theoretically as abstract as any art form, circa 2014.
Back in the day, when the first wave of UK punk hit the fan, littering debut albums throughout the nation’s streets like discarded flyers, many bands rushed their second albums, desperate to avoid bursting-bubble-syndrome. Consequently, the old guard delivered insipid, watered-down facsimiles of their debuts with a shrug and a ‘will-this-do?’, subsequently ushering in newer waves in the process. This has arguably been the case ever since.
Significantly, this summer has born witness to a rash of sophomore signals, some developmental triumphs, such as Total Control‘s ‘Typical System’, others archetypal regression therapy: I’m thinking Hank Wood And The Hammerheads further reversal into the garage marked ‘hoary old rock’n’roll’ with ‘Stay Home’. Whereas the former pushes envelopes for fun, the latter withdraws inside the safety net of the past, concealing a lack of both options, and, seemingly, ambition, behind a facade of pseudo-classicism.
As one of the most genuinely authentic and integrity-laden of the current crop of raw punk bands (and I include DHK and Maquina Muerta in that pantheon), Mallorca’s Orden Mundial follow their s/t debut twelve from December 2012 with ‘Obediencia Debida’, a ten-track affair on LVEUM.
The first time I heard ‘Orden Mundial’, I instinctively knew this band were unique. Bernat’s utterly intense vocal delivery set them apart as raging outsiders in a world of conformists. Orden Mundial make feral punk rock of seething intensity, shot through with unbridled anger. When I caught up with the band live at JT Soar in March of 2013, they destroyed my hearing and threatened my very sense of balance. Of all the bands I’ve seen live in the past five years or so, that performance remains the pinnacle. By the time Bernat surfaced on guitar for Mexican troupe Maquina Muerta‘s s/t EP later that same year, my relationship with Orden Mundial was bordering on reverential.
‘Obediencia Debida’, then, raises the bar significantly from ‘Orden Mundial’. Where the former had a strictly jam-up-the-faders-and-press-play approach, the latter is an altogether more considered beast. In terms of production, it has values. Sonically, Jaume’s guitar tone is brighter, lighter, yet no less powerful. Bernat’s vocals are set deeper into the mix, but sacrifice none of their angst. Marti’s bass is more prominent, more robust, especial during Jaume’s freeform ‘solo’ excursions, whilst Rafaelito expands his rhythmic repertoire through a wider range of tempos/signatures. In terms of songwriting, ‘Obediencia Debida’ is loftier in almost every respect. Some five minutes longer than its predecessor, both ‘Son Fantasmas’ and ‘Acción Humanitaria’ stray across the three minute mark into no-man’s land. This takes both courage and talent.
Rarely do you hear a punk rock band mature without losing some of what made them punk rock in the first place, but Orden Mundial are the exception to the rule, and ‘Obediencia Debida’ is a work that demands respect beyond its cadre.
Plough Lines hail from Manchester, and I was lucky enough to catch them live supporting Human Hands in Leamington Spa a few months back. That fateful Sunday afternoon they raged against the limitations of equipment/compromised sound to soar above the wreckage like a sonic bird of prey: equal parts tension and majesty, forging a furrow through the ruins of emotional hardcore, transcending the past in search of a future.
Swimming in vaguely the same genre pool as the mighty Human Hands, Plough Lines proffer a welcomed flipside to the hardcore holocaust seemingly dominating much of the UK in 2014. Having waited patiently ever since for the single the quartet mooted that spring afternoon, my week was brightened by the news that said seven is now available to purchase from the Plough Lines’ Bandcamp page. Run along now, you won’t be disappointed:
Not to be confused with Vancouver’s Snob, London’s Snob feature Ellie (Good Throb) on guitar, Ollie (Lich, Family Outing) on drums, John (Skylark) on bass, and relative newcomer, Fran, on vocals. Their 6-track seven comes housed in a hand assembled package that is both functional and quaint.
Sonically, Snob are way darker than their capital-centric contemporaries, Good Throb, Frau or Woolf, although Fran’s vocals aren’t a million miles away from Ellie’s Good Throb voice, in terms of tone and timbre. Although there’s a mess of fuss being made around Frau at the moment, Snob would appear to have the edge when it comes to gravitas. I’ve read the words Rudimentary and Peni elsewhere in close proximity to opinions about Snob’s signature sound, and, granted, the bass does most of the work underneath the smoldering guitars, but the universal truth is that Snob are firmly grounded in 2014, and have little or no relationship with a past that is now merely theoretical.
‘Harassed’ sets the template for ‘Mother’, ‘Send In The Mayor’, ‘Shovelling Idiots’ and ‘Sick Of It’, and can be sampled via the link below. The lyric sheet reveals a vicious streak at the heart of Snob, targets include Boris Johnson, idiots, sexists, OAPs and stalkers. There’s even a song about pissing one’s self, called ‘Piss’:
“Oh, I need to/Oh, God I’m gonna/No! Hold it in/It’s trickling down/It’s trickling down/It’s trickling down my fucking legs/It’s happened/Sweet relief/I’ve pissed myself”
I think we can all relate to that.
If you can’t get down with Snob, you’ve probably got cat shit on your top lip. Tidy.
Total Control – ‘Typical System’ (LVEUM)
Melbourne collective Total Control‘s sophomore full-length could have ended up somewhere nasty, like Matador, or Sacred Bones. Kudos, then, for refusing to abandon the underground that made them a cult concern, and for sticking with LVEUM in Europe, and Iron Lung in the US.
Three years on from the band’s genre splicing debut, ‘Henge Beat’, ‘Typical System’ finds Total Control expanding exponentially within the envelope marked ‘template’. The influences remain the same, but the quality feels more discerningly crafted this time around. If you haven’t noticed yet, Total Control don’t make things easy for themselves, and that’s part of the attraction. It took me years to hold ‘Henge Beat’ to my bosom and truly swoon, and it’s taken months of studious listening to embrace ‘Typical System’.
The bits I balked at on those early spins are ironically the things I have grown to love: the Joy Division/New Order synth waves of ‘Flesh War’, leading to that Pet Shop Boys chorus; the MC5 lick at 1:17 in ‘Systematic Fuck’; the saxophone on ‘Liberal Party’; the blatant Thirteenth Floor Elevators’ homage of ‘Black Spring’; the chorus of ‘Safety Net’. When duly added to the bits I fell in love with at first listen: the Depeche Mode on morphine of ‘Glass’ (yeah, I know Depeche Mode were all on heroin anyway, but you get my drift); the angular angst of ‘Expensive Dog’, and it’s soon apparent that ‘Typical System’ rewards repeated investment with generous bonus payments.
Back at the advent of 2014, I was predicting great things from Australia. Although the new Rat Columns sucks chunks, and much of the Cool Death Records roster seem calculated, and, frankly, pretty boring, Nun, Eastlink, and now Total Control, have more than adequately compensated. Lyrically philosophical, thematically nihilistic, musically challenging, and constantly on the move, Total Control are a veritable institution in themselves. In a country as brutishly right wing as Australia is circa now, making subversive music with intellect and intelligence, on your own terms, is akin to inspiring a revolution from your practice space. Melbourne is a seemingly creative oasis in a cultural desert; a library in a red light district; an independent record shop in a mainstream mall. Total Control have it all going on right now, and you can have a slice of it too.
- trakMARX: ROCK AND ROLL, GARAGE PUNK, PSYCHE, HEAVY METAL, PROTO PUNK, KRAUTROCK, JAP ROCK, PUNK ROCK, POST PUNK, INDUSTRIAL, BLACK METAL, DOOM/DRONE, POST ROCK, NOISE, AVANT ET L'ART DE L'ETRANGER