Bandcamp: Was Ist Das? picks

The Corona virus has had a devastating impact on underground music with venues shut, tours cancelled and a lot of money being lost by thos involved. As a fundraiser, that bastion of the underground, Bandcamp, are wavering all fees for labels/artists today. So there’s never been a better time to support your underground by buying direct and getting high quality digital files. However, there’s a ton of stuff out there and the high traffic is making the site a little unstable and slow. So here’s a curated view, all stuff that I’ve personally bought:

A career spanning collection of demos and unreleased gems from Six Organs of Admittance is a pretty damn vital thing. This digital only release is pay what you can afford and ESSENTIAL:

This was the album that made me a Wooden Wand fan when I got the vinyl off Blackest Rainbow. Long out of print so this is the best way to get it. Kinda disturbing to think that was 10 years ago. Also, can we just say that Blackest Rainbow was a label that massively influenced my tastes in music?

Sunburned Hand of the Man were for many a gateway band, one that really signified that anything goes. “Wedlock” is definitely one of the major albums BUT check the discography deal. You can get everything on their bandcamp page for $39. That’s 115 albums of wild, wild jams and freak outs.

A beautiful collaboration between the sainted sci-fi author and an avant garde composer, this is their imagined culture of an alien race from one of her books. It’s world music from another world.

If you fancy some speed-prog madness from the band that incensed the critics, stunned audiences and created their own unique world. Imagine a cross between Magma and Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band and something very fast.

Ben Frost takes the textures of abstract ambient and approaches them with a punk ferocity, making his music a slow-building burn out of electronic force.

This is the original compilation that defined the new Japanese psych scene. Beautifully remastered for vinyl and digital and guaranteed to burn down the house.

If you smoked weed between 1998 and 2003 in England you probably heard this at some point. It’s aged beautifully and turns out you can listen to it when you’re straight too. Get this on lossless on your big speakers!

Legendary Phoenix group co-founder by Alan Bishop and W. David Oliphant. Weirdly got lumped into the industrial scene, probably due to the split album they did with Controlled Bleeding but you can tell by this 1987 album (Bishop had left by then but all of Sun City Girls guest on this one) they were in a world of their own.

A great collection of early Liles stuff, though if you’re staying in on shutdown you should consider you can get everything on his bandcamp for 88 quid and that’s enough music to outlast any emergency, as some of the “albums” are actually enormous box sets. This would last you till August without repeating anything

A perfect recording of a perfect moment in time, when Raising Holy Sparks started off day two of the Tor Ist Das! festival. Special guests galore, it starts with a sermon in the church pulpit and ends with a mass session including 3 harmoniums.

Amazing improvisation duo, it was an honor to put out their first two releases on Was Ist Das? but this is their third and most recent on Feeding Tube records. An angelic conversation with eternity

Germany’s current champions of pushing rock ‘n’ roll out of the envelope. An amazing live band and this album bottles the lightning beautifully.

An astonishing live performance that made me feel excited to be in Arizona. They’re not actually a trio and on here are much augmented with some heavenly horns.

bunch of reviews posted

Yesterday Was Ist Das? turned 14! Awkwardly my old laptop had finally gone over a cliff and my new one didn’t arrive until the end of the day. So today is more of a celebration as I was actually able to do stuff (and I was off work). Anyway, I just stuck up six new reviews. Well, I say new, one of them was from February and somehow got lost and with it being an anniversary it seemed a great time to revive it (Teeth of the Sea) but one of them is from 4 years ago when I lived in the UK. It was a typed review I found in a cloud when setting up the new laptop. So I slapped it down over a recent photo (Steve Gunn & The Black Twig Pickers). What else? There’s folk, there’s synth pop, there’s abstraction of the finest order. Go on over to the Features page for all the options.

Now my laptop has a bigger screen, the website will be designed accordingly. I know nobody has computers anymore and they’re all using smart phones. I have one too. I’m just a creature of habit.

A young person’s guide to Andrew Liles

To celebrate the fact that he’s managed to go over fifty years without dieing, Andrew Liles has released the second half of his enormous “Colossus” project which you can check/buy/peer at right here. Our review, the biggest we have ever done, is on the way this week but for a more timely marking of the occasion, here’s a quick Was Ist Das? 5 release primer for our personal picks from his enormous discography. Two points to note, one is that we are ignoring Current 93 and Nurse With Wound. He may have made some major contributions but they ain’t his babies. He’s just the wet nurse. Secondly, as he is prolific, I haven’t heard everything but I have heard a lot and I know what I like.

1.Fini

A collaboration with Jean-Herve Peron of Faust and a joyous treat. JHP’s dadist sensibilities get fed into Liles’ Hi-Tech but surreal world. The result is rather like what if Faust had entered a time machine in 71 and made their next album in a modern studio.

2.All Closed Doors

A 2003 release that really showcased that here was an electronic artists who may well have inhaled the entire Warp Records catalogue but could coldly outweird them all. For the Bandcamp reissue you get two versions, the original 2003 mix and a special binaural remix for a 3d headphone experience.

3.The Vortex Vault

A twelve CD series, released monthly, this was the first grand declaration of the strange mix of prolific and proficient. With a vast rogues gallery of collaborators, it’s a real feast of sounds. The whole damn set is available as one download for 24 quid which is insane as it’s a huge collection.

4.Like Swallowing Eclipses

I know I originally said no Current 93 but this is actually the first five C93 albums (plus ‘Faust’ and ‘I have a special plan for this world’) remixed by Likes. Rather than doing anything crazy or blasphemous, though, he sort of reimagines the albums as they would sound if they were recorded today. Not that there aren’t plenty of changes, it wouldn’t be worth bothering otherwise, he just drags them into the modern world. It’s a remarkable achievement.

5.The Power Elite

An almost retro approach to the classical avant garde except it’s in blisteringly high quality. Fidelity aside, though, this is straight back to the good old days when you could find this kind of music in charity shops for 50p, content betrayed by being in the classical section with a modern art cover. It really does sound like he’s kidnapped a classical ensemble and is forcing them to do weird stuff in his basement.

So there you are. I’d like to say here’s to the next fifty years of music but by then he’ll be dead and those of us still alive will probably be shitting in caves and eating dogs.

reviews for Andrew Liles & Black To Comm up on the site

The dust is slowly falling off the pen, the camera snaps away and then enventually the laptop starts up and it all falls together. The latest reviews on the site are both for very odd, very entertaining electronic music. There’s an enormous Andrew Liles album and the new on from Black To Comm. Hope you can read the handwriting. They’re over at http://wasistdas.co.uk/Features.htm

Free compilation from Flower Room Records

Always been a big fan of the works and projects of Matt LaJoie such as Herbcraft, Endles Caverns and, of course, his work with MV & EE. Recently he’s really been on a majorly productive streak with his Flower Room Records putting out a whole tide of killer jams. To give you a perfect primer on his recent action, there’s a free compilation called “Arrangement 1” right now. Check it out:

Was Ist Das? Shutdown Ends

Following a shocking festive season during which the warring elements of my soul were unable to find a compromise, Was Ist Das? is finally posting new stuff. First up, reviews of Heather Leigh and Scanner are up on the Features page http://wasistdas.co.uk/Features.htm

Then, over on the Label Page, I’ve created a page that just shows a bunch of picks of previous releases. You can’t click on them. It serves no practical purpose. I’ll probably only update it once or twice a year. I don’t care. I just wanted it. Just look at it! http://wasistdas.co.uk/label.htm but don’t confuse it with our normal Label page which is at http://wasistdas.co.uk/label/

Hoping to be making it out of date very soon with some great releases.