Saturday, 23 April 2011

Yes yes fun

Although I don't actually buy CDs or records anymore I still have a lot of admiration for artists and labels who take great care over releasing their music as a tangible product. In fact, the labels who have put out some of my favourite sounds over the last few years, like ghost box, are partly defined by this aesthetic, with their music released in lovingly packaged, limited edition ornate LPs and cassettes.

I was a real record shop trawler for years. But now, like many, I am a total download convert. I understand the feverish desire for pretty 'things' and the collector ethos, but the internet is now the greatest record shop in the world, one where the music obsessive can hear endless sounds old and new without the financially crippling task of tracking down actual records, not to mention the difficulties of storage. I realise this is anathema to the artists that keep the vinyl ethic alive but for me music is firmly about HEARING as much exciting stuff as I can rather than ‘owning’ it.

Not not fun are definitely in the obsessive collector tradition and are home to some of the most exciting, compelling underground music of the 2000s. Co-run by La Vampires' Amanda Brown (ex Pocahaunted) they take in bands who deal in psyche-folk, ambient noisepop, Italo disco and pretty much all of the currently active musical sub-genres swirling around the underground right now. Their output seems to have taken up a lot of my listening time of late, unsurprising as 90 per cent of it ticks my musical obsessions to a T.

My good friend and filmmaker Ben Robinson, who shares my love for this kind of stuff, asked me recently where I thought the whole hypno-pop thing that has been blogged about by all and sundry was headed. I couldn’t help thinking that its ultimate endstate would be where almost every music movement ends – utter absorption/co-option into the mainstream and no doubt soundtracking some fey TalkTalk ads very soon.

BUT many of the artists on NNF feel like they’re taking the dreamlike fetishisation/ reimagining of the recent past and moving it further, twisting it into interesting new shapes.

Particularly Estonian-born musician/artist Maria Minerva - whose brilliant, spectral album Tallinn at Dawn is one of my absolute faves of the year so far.

This video is off the scale.

AND THIS from the new-ish Minerva 12" 'Noble Savage' is possibly even better.

LA Vamps own stuff betrays a certain dub/slits influence but again, creates its own strong groove. WARNING: this video could upset those who harbour violent anti-hipster tendencies.

Umberto is another very interesting NNF artist whose output thus far seems to consist entirely of long form doom-synth homages to GOBLIN and other dark purveyors of 70s horror scores.

Geek out to THIS. Love his titles, which are like the chapter selections on sleazy Italian horror DVDs.

This one kicks in around the two minute mark. DARK synths.

For more Not not fun fun, get thee over to pontone for a nice free mix.

Available online, not in a record shop.

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