The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Gig #137: Of late 44: Tshegue, LOFT, PTU, Pere Ubu, Ekin Fil, C Joynes & The Furlong Bray, Anthony Laguerre, Wormed, LINGUA IGNOTA, Metrist, E-Saggila, Robert Pollard


Pere Ubu
Ekin Fil
C Joynes & The Furlong Bray
Anthony Laguerre
Robert Pollard


Tshegue The Wheel
‘Tshegue are a Parisian duo born from pure musical joy. Their debut EP, 2017’s Survivor, was an intoxicating blend of Congolese guitars and garage rock, a cosmopolitan Afropunk where every note fizzed with energy and threatened to burst through the speakers. Partly, this was a nod to heritage; the clattering, rackety rhythms and head-spinning electro recall singer Faty Sy Savanet’s native Kinshasa, a vibrant, music-obsessed city where sounds blare constantly from shops and homes. But it was also born of their studio alchemy, where ideas are allowed to run riot and instincts indulged. “We do not tend to conceptualise music,” producer and drummer Nicolas Dacunha recently told i-D. “We just go to our studio and jam.”’ — Derek Robertson


LOFT That Hyde Trakk
‘Despite working primarily with sounds devoid of human touch, LOFT is able to inflict a very human kind of malaise on her music. It turns out that pain, in all its complexity, in all its ineffability, lends itself well to the limitless potential of digital sound. Specifically, and departt strikes me as an attempt to articulate various sorts of bodily disturbance: the popping of joints and the tearing of flesh, delicate blips that prick against the skin like static shocks and huge gulps of bass that grow tight around the throat. On “That Hyde Trakk,” the musical surface blisters and cracks as if a virus were consuming it from the inside. The track is rooted in crushing breakbeats, but it struggles to contain them, as, measure by measure, they splinter off into polyrhythmic chaos and tear through the mix in a rash of static. While undoubtedly the best track on the project (as well as one of the best interpretations of “the break” I’ve come across all year), it’s also the most anxious. Plug your headphones directly into the chest of someone having a panic attack and I imagine you would hear something like this track.’ — James Knight


PTU Over
‘PTU don’t just have any old ideas. They have great ones, packing Am I Who I Am with improbable sounds, intriguing blind alleys, and eyebrow-raising quirks. The wandering bass line and “Star Trek” door swoosh on “The Pursuit of a Shadow,” the cutlery rattle and chipmunk vocal on “Former Me,” and the ghostly spectre of polyrhythmic rave on “After Cities” are the work of two people in love with electronic sound. And yet this music is the opposite of a functional DJ tool. There’s nothing practical or workman-like about songs like “Over” and “Skyscript”; they are awkward, spiky, and strange, oddities held together by the kinetic energy of imagination.’ — Ben Cardew


Pere Ubu What I Heard On The Pop Radio
‘It’s difficult not to take such proclamations as David Thomas’s claim to have been listening to pop radio nonstop prior to recording the album with a pinch of salt. Whatever the reality behind that claim, opening track ‘What I Heard On Pop Radio’ provides a fascinating answer to the question implied by its own title. Gagarin and Wheeler together provide a dense electronic backdrop that’s equally banging and decorated with idiosyncratic whooshes and whirrs, like sonic curlicues of analogue sound. Seeming to delight in his hard-earned curmudgeonly status, Thomas declaims: “Save the emotional garbage for someone who’s gonna’ pretend much better than I do” and warns “they got somethin’ they wanna sell you.” A cycle of repetitive guitar licks and sputtering high hat percussion weave their way around a queasy melodeon riff. It’s deceptively simple stuff packed with a high density of intriguing incidental details.’ — Sean Kitching


Ekin Fil Episodes
‘Ekin Fil continues her quietly complex dream-pop oeuvre on Maps. For many years now, this Istanbul musician has been writing mysterious and haunting songs, rich in heavy-reverb effects and an introspective torpor. With each successive album, her songwriting has blossomed through broader instrumentation and more intricate melodic phrasing, though the somber atmospherics and ghostly manifestations remain a judicious constant. Minor-key, tear-stained notes of piano, organ, and guitar veer along elliptical orbits as a soft-whisper lilt of Ekin’s voice narrates more by emotive decree than by literary couplet.’ — Helen Scarsdale


C Joynes & The Furlong Bray Triennale
‘The layers of guitarist C Joynes latest album take a little unpeeling. He plays with the Furlong Bray, assembled for the occasion by adding sound artist Cam Deas and guitarist Nick Jonah Davis to free folk ensemble Dead Rat Orchestra. The album is named after a hybrid animal/plant of Central Asian legend, and North and West African gusts blow through the music. Like Joyne’s previous album, Split Electric (also with Davis), The Borametz Tree is instrumental. But, while Split Electric was focused and spare, the new release is a storm of sounds. From the first notes of ‘Triennale’, with its sonorous finger-picked guitars, percussion, bells, and what seems to be a reversed, rattling sample, the music is complex and highly atmospheric, like a central European wedding dance.’ — Tom Bolton


Anthony Laguerre MYOTIS//solo
‘Anthony Laguerre is a improvisational composer who does things a bit differently by using sound engineering through his drum kit to create some dynamic pieces of music and art.’ — Everything is Noise


Wormed Cryptoubiquity
‘This Spanish band plays brutal death metal, a concentrated form of sonic ridiculousness distilled down from a style that’s already known for excess: insanely fast blastbeats, insanely low vocals, insanely offensive lyrics (typically about sexual violence and gore), and insanely heavy slams. Wormed check most of the boxes, with some modifications. Their catalog drops the squicky gore themes in favor of spinning a long, abstruse science fiction yarn based on (evidently fairly accurate!) astrophysics. And they’ve got an aural aesthetic to match — they supercharge the intense technicality of brutal death metal with a futuristic prog sheen, creating space for disorienting polyrhythms and even some genuine melody to creep in.’ — Doug Moore


LINGUA IGNOTA Do You Doubt Me Traitor
‘Lingua Ignota, AKA Kristin Hayter, is a survivor of abuse who calls her hybrids of folk, spiritual, industrial and metal music “survivor anthems”. Two years ago, the San Diego-based musician self-released an album called All Bitches Die. Its emotional rawness – all anguished howling and spitting fury – paired with moments of melodic beauty give it an extraordinary power. She is unflinching in her descriptions of violence (“He beat me till my teeth were scattered / Like pearls across the red, red ground”) and her hunger for revenge (“I repay evil with evil”). Extreme music is overdue a reckoning with misogyny and violence – Hayter says one of her abusers was “a very powerful noise musician in the Providence community” – making her use of heavy music as a tool for catharsis even more remarkable. “A lot of my work comes out of extreme music and heavy music that’s in a misogynist context,” she says. “I’m trying to re-contextualise that phallocentric format for people who need it.”’ — Maya Kalev


Metrist Closer The TV
‘Across the EP, production pyrotechnics are the star of the show. But elaborate and brain-tickling as they are, they’re an ever-present component of the music, which makes it difficult to keep things fresh. Luckily, Metrist finds ways to maintain the wow factor. “Closer The TV,” which uses voices as a main sound source, is a good example, deploying a relatable, human element to help the listener tune into how the sounds transform, even as they’re subjected to inhuman, impossible-sounding manipulation. It fits in nicely with other downtempo crawlers on Timedance, trudging along in a sort of no man’s land, but it’s also the sort of tune that’d spring quickly to mind after a long night of music.’ — Mark Smith


E-Saggila Show You
‘Following on from last year’s album for BANK Records NYC, E-Saggila has put together something that addresses the club and the headphones in equal measure. Taking the approach of a documentarian of our virtual landscape, there’s a deep motive that underpins the heavy digital signal processing. With plenty of storming mechanical rhythms that embark from gabber’s chaotic neighborhood, the samples of voices, conversations, and phone calls, all wind the listener around the desperation that’s embedded in the digital world’s seamless mediation of our lives. Owing as much to power violence and industrial as to Rotterdam, E-Saggila’s affinity for the extremes is as conceptually critical as it is stylistically present.’ — Northern Electronics


Robert Pollard Pain
‘I’m always pushing myself to come up with new techniques for creating art and writing songs. In the last couple of years I’ve actually developed a formula for writing songs, that’s a little too involved for me to elaborate on right now. The initial catalyst for me to write songs, I think, was to be an active participant instead of just a passive listener. To hear more of what I really like by writing them myself.’ — R.P.




p.s. Hey. ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane. No, that Nuttall book is legendary, but I’ve never read it. I see it’s been reprinted. You into it? Recommend? ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. I haven’t seen ‘The Nico Project’ obviously, but, in theory, I have no problem with her or any figure being interpreted subjectively. The name of the show seems to signal that Nico is the source of a project. Based on that, I wouldn’t go in thinking I was receiving a definitive bioshow. But I don’t know. ** Bill, Hi. I love Derek White’s work. He’s so great. I haven’t seen anything new from him in a long time. Have you? ‘Queer California’: I’ll look its evidence up. DL-Alvarez and Jerome are a great start. Vinny Golia too! Jeez, seeing them both in close proximity sounds so sweet. Do let me know how the gigs are if you go. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi. Sadly it’s way, way out of print. I haven’t even seen pricey copies on eBay, etc. Yeah, like I said to David, I don’t think a show sourcing Nico (or anyone) needs to replicate her to be a strong work. ** Bernard, Oh, we should have a contest! Maybe that’s what we can do while I’m hiding out in your life-saving air-conditioned spot. ** Misanthrope, Hi. Enjoy it while he enjoys it. Like Kyler Ross-level enjoys it? Ha ha. I suppose I can go find out for myself. All the more reason to get that thing inside you disintegrated, assuming that’s doable. LPS: tsk tsk. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Nice to hear your positive report about the Tarantino. I’m a fan of his films generally, so I would see it anyway, but I like what you’re saying it’s doing. Good. Thanks a bunch. ** Right. I made another gig for you featuring things I’ve been into of late. Naturally I highly encourage you to forefront your curiosity and go on a musical adventure today, but that’s up to you obviously. See you tomorrow either way.


  1. I’s nota question of “replicating” her. This show is clearly designed to turn her in a feminist “Meme” — a woman betrayed/controlled/ ruined by men. This was not the case. A far more interesting tribute can be found in the TV series of 20or so years ago “Gilmore Girls” one of whos teenage heroines was obsessed with Nico

    Here’s Ari with his girlfriend

    and Here’s John Cale

  2. That E-Saggila tunes is interesting for its repurposing of familiar Gabber tropes, kind of like what Nina Kraviz has been up to with forgotten russian techno genres. Here in the UK we had the similarly great stylings of Happy Hardcore that was always a favourite of delinquent schoolkids. My own fave was Go Mental – Died In Your Arms with that heartrending Cutting Crew sample at 2:20 to make you reach for the lasers.

  3. I know that Nico rejected feminism and that she was a crappy person in many respects, but how many women wrote their own songs, played an instrument, made music as avant-garde as DESERTSHORE & THE MARBLE INDEX and presented it to a rock audience in the late ’60s and early ’70s? Yoko Ono? Annette Peacock?

    I liked the Lignua Ignota song so much that I headed over to Bandcamp to download it while it was still playing here. She mixes noise with beauty and a sense of dynamic control that’s really rare – I thought of Diamanda Galas and Swans. I was also impressed by Tshegue, C. Joynes, Wormed and Ekin Fit.

    There was a dreadful clickbait essay in the Guardian today saying that we should cancel Tarantino because his films’ violence is horribly misogynist. The final paragraph of the ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD review I turned in today is quite critical of the film’s depiction of women, so I’m not giving him a pass on the subject of sexism, but if you’re going to write an article about their violence against women, you need to address the fact that they’re full of sadistic torture and murder committed by men against men and that in the context of the plot of PULP FICTION, Uma Thuman’s OD scene (to pick the Guardian’s example) hardly seems like a case of singling out a female character for abuse. That essay takes feminism full circle to a Victorian sensibility where all depictions of violence against women are sexist. (And in that light, I’m seeing Jennifer Kent’s THE NIGHTINGALE tomorrow morning for a review. Its press kit opens with a paragraph-long trigger warning and defense of the fact that it depicts rape, the murder of children and indigenous people even though that may anger some people.)

  4. Shane Christmass

    July 24, 2019 at 12:28 am

    I’ve only just dived into Bomb Culture. Great so far. It’s this 50th Anniversary edition that was published by Strange Attractor in the UK. They usually put out fairly solid books.

    Highlighted this – “Thank you Bill, Elvis, for making your violence for us. Now we’ll make ours for you…”

    I emailed you some of those Le Hors images as a GIF…

  5. Dennis, thanks a lot for this gig. I liked all the artists and most were new to me.
    Very good stuff!
    Have you heard the new Grouper/ Liz Harris album (as Nivhek)?
    I am listening to it a lot at the moment.


    That`s too bad that Alexander Kluge talked just in german.
    But perhaps you could take something out of the event!?

    Hope you can fight the heat in the next days. somehow.

  6. Hey Dennis – Spotty internet here the past few days, but checked out LINGUA IGNOTA which was very impressive. Really dug the Pere Ubu as well – I had no idea they had a new album on the way. The last one was their strongest in ages, I thought. Will dive in deeper on the other tracks tomorrow. These posts are always a pleasure, so thanks.

    Really enjoyed the Fireworks book post yesterday as well.

    I was up in the NC mountains, beating the heat and visiting family for a bit which was mostly nice. Got obsessed with an idea for a short story and have been working on that intensively — haven’t written a story in over a decade, I think. Hoping it’s not just a new novel avoidance strategy.

    Julian Calendar played a gig last week on my birthday and it went well – much better than the last one. Tweaked the setlist which helped and the club wasn’t some odd shape this time. Play another show tomorrow, adding some new tunes, should be fun.

    I was so sorry to read about the sudden death of your friend who was going to star in the tv show. That’s unspeakably awful. Hope you’re doing okay. Is there any sense about what happens to that project yet or are things in flux?

    Catch up via Skype sometime in the next week or so?

  7. Dennis, Hahaha, not that kind of enjoy. Paxton is more subtle with his pleasure-taking.

    Doc should have the results now. I haven’t heard anything yet. If it’s serious, she’ll contact me. Probably nothing, just gas or something.

    Yeah, LPS. Decided he didn’t have to go to work today. So he didn’t go. He’s scheduled for Friday. We’ll see…

    He’ll probably have to get fired a couple times to learn his lesson.

  8. Wow, a new Pere Ubu! That Robert Pollard cut is pretty fine too.

    I don’t think Derek White has had a new book out in awhile. Looks like he’s released some music?

    After seeing the Susan Tyrrell post, I scored a copy of Forbidden Zone. So insane and amazing. They don’t make movies like this anymore.


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