Posts Tagged ‘phil jarvis’

Guest Post: Phil Jarvis reviews Unnecessary Woe by Sly and the Family Drone

October 14, 2013

Family Drone

Sly have made a Prog album. A fucking trippy, mysterious, terrifying, dark and brooding beast of an album. Anyone can make noise. It takes a lot of reflection, heartbreak, stolen whisky slogs, squatting and bloodshed to actually evolve your sound whilst keeping the spirit of your act. And Sly, man, if you’ve seen them live, you know these crazy bastards know how to create the tension then release all the energy in the room into something euphoric and insane. They’ve captured it on record beautifully. It’s rich, stuff happening all over the place. So much going on. Waves of drones, drums build up, drums go ape, noise, YES. N.o.i.s. e. Chants. Screams. It’s what Industrial music should sound like before that genre got hijacked by Goths and cunts. In places, it lets you imagine if Autechre weren’t just sat behind laptops, and actually had a band. This is the closest I can describe it. It’s unique. Krautrock being dragged into the 21st century and drained of all the hippy shite. Yeah! Full on Tangerine Dream and Stockhausen vibes. And done with no strings in sight! That, comrade, is impressive. Salute….

Track one “Handed Cack” sets the uncompromising and claustrophobic scene for what is to come. It feels like how your head and ears feel like just after you’ve seen them live. Warm bloodied ears, with the threatening hum of tinnitus. Vocals being deformed in to the mix, chimes tingling high notes creating an eerie cascade.
Track one slow drips into Track two “Grey Meat”. The dying radar alarm sounds warn you the tempo is about to change. The tribal drumming builds up, with noise coming and going. Sampler stabs. Building and building until the whole thing kicks off for a riot. And then back to the alarm.

Track three, “A man that could look no way but downwards, with a muck-rake in his hand”, goes for a Musique Concrete approach to start off with, and then rips its mask off to reveal again the howls and mania heard in “Grey Meat” before then dropping some epic sub beats that pave the way for some fine cosmic nodding.

Maaaaatttteeeeeeee……for real.

Get this on vinyl, bandcamp; play loud, in a room. And give it the respect it deserves!

Her zu.


Philip Jarvis: 2012 in Retrospect

January 21, 2013

Sly and The Family Drone

January 2012 began horribly. Dumped, playing to a heckling crowd, fed up with my job. I had to kick myself up the arse.

I volunteered on my days off at a local museum, doing some work for a local historian. That was the first bit where I got to start sorting myself out. Volunteering, man, can’t sing its praises enough. If you’re ever in a rut, do some. It will seriously sort you out.

Having a creative block, an old mate returned from Uni and started forcing me in to jamming. I took some of the improv I did with him and used it in the Dead poets collective I was involved in.

Around this time, I was re-reading Stewart Lee’s book and read “A summer in the park” by Tony Allen. They are both wonderful and inspiring reads. I think, in particular, the Tony Allen book leaves you with this fearless desire to just try out whatever, believe in what improvising can offer, don’t worry if things fall flat on their arse, sometimes you can nail it.

The alternative comedy, poetry collective I was involved in did its longest set at a pub in Basingstoke.

We used it as a warm up for the biggest gig we would ever do, a local festival gig.

Before the festival gig, through luck, we ended up curating a couple of nights at a pop up gallery in Basingstoke. The first one was the best night of my life, even if it did involve a shambolic performance by me (involving a broken mic stand and a DIY homage to David Lynch).

The second one we curated I got to try out some alternative comedy:

The best band for me is Sly and the family drone. I must have seen them a few times in 2012; they always create an intense and euphoric show. Have to be seen before you die or you have lost.

The best YouTube video I saw in 2012 has to be:

The best book was “A summer in the park” by Tony Allen. It sorted my head out.

The best song I haven’t heard before was:

The year ended well. I got a new job I enjoy. I played my last gig in the collective I was in, and got offered to release a comedy album out on

I also made an e.p.

I ended up liking 2012 a lot.

New Year 1 – Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise

January 4, 2010

To welcome in 2010, I asked my close friends to write a review of an album they’d heard for the first time in 2009. It didn’t have to be released that year, only listened to. Most rose to the challenge, and over the next five days I am going to post the results before collating them in the Publication Archive. Essentially it was done because I felt that geographical distance was enabling an idleness in me, and that working on a project contributed to by close friends, no matter how brief the contribution, would allow me to ‘keep my hand in’, and perhaps springboard additional projects over the coming 12 months (I’ve got about 10 to work on billed as personal New Year’s Resolutions)

Any way. The first review is from Pseudo-Marxist komrade Phil Jarvis, a short sweet review of the rereleased Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise

‘How do you describe the indescribable? Treatise, Cornelius Cardew’s “Score”, consisting of nearly two hundred pages of shapes to be interpreted by whoever opts to take it on, makes you feel like you’re trapped in a 1960’s black and white existential film that metamorphosis’s into a Blade Runner meets Quatermass hybrid, around the time you realise there is no plot, no narrative, just you and a fucking journey. An ideal soundtrack to J. G. Ballard’s ‘Atrocity Exhibition’. Not an ideal soundtrack to sex. And nowhere near as good as ‘In a silent way’ by Miles Davis!

Treatise offers the listeners drones, sustained piano chords, and frequent silence. This mix doesn’t create a hypnotic piece; the listener is fully conscious and lucid. You are aware of what you’re doing and the options you have as a listener; turn it off, persevere, or try to ignore it. It’s bold, experimental, annoying, and a call
to arms. Cardew’s haunting piece somehow works.’

More tomorrow.

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