Ten thousand years I fall in love, one thousand years I fail in love

Having daubed red crosses on the windows and employed a manservant to shuffle awkwardly around the estate with a hand bell, we’ve crawled gingerly out from the covers this last day or so, scratching ourselves and feeling a little less groggy. We’ve been something of a sick house for the last seven days or missed pretty much all of the week between Christmas and New Year, which is a massive shame – I look forward to those seven lazy, loafe-some days almost as much as the feasting…

But here we are, on the brink of a another loveless decade.

I can’t be arsed to do a review of the year (let alone the decade), mainly because … well, I can’t be arsed, but also because, you’ve had enough of all of this malarkey by now, I’m sure…

For what it’s worth, I enjoyed the Modern English record (plus the various extras that have surfaced over the year); the Black Midi record was fine (but possibly not as great as their lean, haughty live set); also Amon Tobin’s Only Child Tyrant thing and Beak>’s last record (although I think that was last year).

Other than that the year has been soundtracked by a dizzying round of idiosyncratic nonsense from the Move, Sun Ra, Terry Riley and various Spanish artists (so pretty much like last year, then).

There was one lurid shaft of 2019 gold that has lit my way, though:


Proof that God still loves us…

She is burning for you some dreadful incense

Where to start?

It’s a relentlessly gloomy prospect stretching out in front of us. The dissemblers and card-sharks have done it. Despite being found out again and again, they’ve won over. Our childish, credulous nation has lifted its head from its zero-hours contracts and food banks and said, Yes, please, we’ll have some more of this. Five years of malice and asset-stripping lies before us and we find ourselves having to button up and brace ourselves for vicious winds, icy showers and shitty pavements.

(And if that sounds a little self-pitying, maybe you didn’t just watch Gloucester lose an 11-point lead in the last four minutes of a crucial European game.)

Or maybe you haven’t been listening to this…

Black Lesbian Fisherman

Forget the silly Gaye-Bikers-on-Acid name, and get ready for something very dark, indeed.

Black Lesbian Fisherman are some sort of Greek/British/US collective specialising in an atmospheric psychedelia that simply could not have come out of the nineties or the 000s – my thoughts maybe turned towards the maudlin at this moment but this month’s The Metaphysics of Natron feels a lot like a record for today’s uneasy times.

This slightly po-faced band bio from their Bandcamp page will fill in a few background details:

ALAN TRENCH has been involved in experimental/left field music since the founding of World Serpent Distribution in the early 90s; his current projects include Howling Larsons & Temple Music. Brainwashed found ‘…ritualistic drone, String Band like avant-folk, and moments of blistering krautrock assaults…’
NIKOS FOKAS is an Athens based musician and sound designer. He is a member of Vault Of Blossomed Ropes, and recently released a solo album on Midira – ‘The Eternal Creak Of The Icebreaker.
R LOFTISS of Oklahoma’s Gray Field Recordings was described as “…a cohesive vision of folk, classical and experimental styles…” by The Unbroken Circle and “totally original and…absolutely haunting” by New York Music Daily.
STRATIS SGOURELLIS Drama based Stratis is a member of Vault Of Blossomed Ropes. With a background in punk and psychedelia, he moved into funk, jazz & improvised musicks and is now experimenting with electronic sounds.
STELIOS ROMALIADIS is the founder of LÜÜP, of whose album ‘The Canticles Of The Holy Scythe’ Metal Temple said: Darkness is sweeping across the land, as blood rituals are performed in the name of those you dare not speak of…

Helluva a lot of proper nouns there, none of which mean anything to me…

The record’s a pretty macabre set of eight recordings, most of which drift across stage ill-formed, discordant and eerie, with seemingly little purpose other than to unsettle the incautious listener. Have a listen to “To Sic a Goddess”


The previous record, 2015’s Ectopic Apiary (oh yes) is a somewhat lighter affair than this but obviously things have taken something of a turn…

The lyrics are hard to hear and harder to pin down, and R Loftiss’ singing (such as it is) comes from the whispered, plaintive Beth Gibbons school of distressed souls.

Happily (hmmm…) the lyrics are preserved for us on something called the Hermetic Library, and they’re predictably disturbing, listing the ingredients for some sort of jealous lover’s curse:

Dappled goat’s fat, blood, and filth
the heart of one untimely death of a dog
a woman’s embryo, skin of a doe
sour wheat husks, salt, and a single onion
mastic and myrtle, bay and barley
dog-faced baboon shit, crab claws, fig, and fruit pits


The shrouds of ambience billowing moodily around each piece are disorientating to say the least and some of the field recordings that circle the basslines are damn creepy.

Sitting in amongst all this desolation, you’ll also find an unlikely track like “Third Rubric” which while not exactly a banger, does feature some conventional drums, a beautifully reedy organ and some gloriously clanking twanging guitar. Something for everyone, really. Sort of…

All of which gives you something of a garishly gothic backdrop with which to drink yourself numb as you consider an increasingly hoary future…