The British multimedia artist and composer Russell Haswell has just released his latest LP “Reality Therapy” on the label Diagonal. Born and raised in Coventry, Haswell has been consistently and uncompromisingly pursuing aesthetic radicalism since the beginning of his career. In addition to his musical practice and collaborations with artists like Aphex Twin, Pan Sonic, Yasunao Tone, and Florian Hecker, he curated important exhibitions in London and New York in the 1990s before releasing a series of enduringly influential works in extreme electronic music after the turn of the millennium. For V/A and our focus theme on opulence, the artist who now lives and works in Glasgow has compiled a list of ten auditory and visual sensory overloads.
Khanate – To Be Cruel (2023)
Khanate (consisting of members of Sunn 0))), Blind Idiot God, and all-time favorite Old Lady Drivers) reform after over ten years of doing other things. Heavy music for heavy times! I was lucky enough to experience their long-form tracks live a couple of times in London in the early 2000s. It’s just been announced that they will play live at 2024’s Roadburn Festival (Holland) – and their tour may even make a stop at a town near you!
The Vision – Waveform Transmission vol. 2 (1993/2023)
A re-issue of Rob Hood’s The Vision project on Berlin’s Tresor via Jeff Mills Axis Records. I remember having the original CD issue back in the early 90s, which is now long gone (stolen, scratched, or lost)… Some of the most squelchy, intense, fast-paced techno out there! And if I remember correctly, there was a misspelling/typo of “THE VISIOM” on the CD sleeve, which was easy to miss due to the elongated/stretched font. Re-issue of the year.
Claude Young - Brutal 1 (2001)
The greatest DJ in the world, who recently withdrew from the music industry. I’m sure he had his reasons; I just hope he’s going to reconsider and return to the decks and make ripping tracks again. Between 1998 and 2003 Claude produced eight Pattern Buffer EPs in his then Glasgow Studio for the Dutch Label Djax-Up-Beats. Proper gnarly techno! I keep thinking that all these tracks need a CD compilation re-issue.
New Order – Thieves like us (1984)
As a surprise, a friend of mine took me to see New Order in Glasgow’s OVO Hydro Arena (also the location of my first COVID-19 vaccination!) the other night. They didn’t FKN include “Thieves Like Us” in their set, so I thought I would re-watch this old European Pop-TV roadshow live rendition, which is far more interesting to watch than all the totally distracting accompanying videos that surround bands onstage on arena tours nowadays! I want to watch a band or performer – not a video. And I definitely don’t want to watch U2 at the Las Vegas Sphere.
Another heavyweight returns after a long silence. In 2001 I got to support Corrupted and G.I.S.M. (R.I.P Sakevi) in Japan performing as a trio consisting of Zbigniew Karkowski, Masami Akita (Merzbow), and myself…and again a few years later Haswell & Hecker played on the same bill as Corrupted at the Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival (LUFF). And at some point I was able to see them again in London when I was still living there.
Glasgow-based label and Eurorack module company Fancyyyyy released the latest of Tom Mudd’s explorations into physical modelling and Karplus-Strong methods of synthesis and computer music. Fake guitars twang away in true solo-improv fashion. A synthetic John Fahey! Fahey, I must add, was someone I was able to catch live a couple of times in NYC and Chicago in the 1990s.
R Görl – Blue Sex Drops (1998)
“Blue Sex Drops” from the 1998 album Sexdrops on Munich’s Disko B label, produced by Birmingham’s Regis. This is where the minimalism and repetition of DAF meets the hard and wonky Downwards records sound, intense filter sweeps and a tight drum track make it a euphoric face-melting classic. It’s certainly due a re-issue. Back then I remember Upsart (Disko B label head) putting it on the Ultraschalle’s PA at full volume before the club opened and anyone was there… It was totally techno; it nearly killed us.
Incapacitants – the movie (2019)
Incapacitants have been on my radar since the early 1990s and I finally got to meet them on my first trip to Japan in 1997. The following years I returned to Japan several times and was able to see an Incapacitants show almost every time – a must see! The true fusion of techno and noise, filter madness! A duo of Pain Jerk and myself even supported them at the All Ears festival in Oslo in 2015, which was bucket list stuff. No home is complete without an Incapacitants box set, or maybe two…
Piper Alpha – Rescue (1988)
Essential Disaster Rescue footage. Piper Alpha was an oil platform located in the North Sea 120 miles (190 km) north-east of Aberdeen, Scotland. Piper Alpha exploded and collapsed on 6 July 1988, killing 165 of the men on board, 30 of whose bodies were never recovered. Shot in 1988 and first aired in the UK 1990 on ITV. 202 Squadron, Royal Air Force Search and Rescue Force based at RAF Lossiemouth made the rescues.
Kevin Drumm – Trouble (2014)
The quiet after the storm. Back in 2014 I was asked to spectrally repair an annoying dropout and master this recording, one of Kevin Drumm’s quietest works. As usual Kevin’s complex investigation into listening and attention span endurance tickles the ear, leaving us to question everything we hear thereafter. A total reset.