25 Mar 2015

Craig and Yikki "Near-Death Flower"


Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

"Near-Death Flower", a collaboration between Sheffield’s Craig Manga (of Manga Bros) and China's Yikki Tong, has been described as 'dream pop with night terrors', an entirely fitting accolade for this most ethereal, yet barbed EP. A hazy, shimmering mix of Cocteau Twins reverb and Cranes style vocals, this is an otherworldly, unsettling and beautiful work that drifts and floats on entirely its own plain.

Opening track 'Whale in the Belly' begins with Yikki's vocalisations, her crystalline voice stretching over clouds of somnambulistic electronics and gentle percussion. It all feels delightfully and slightly out of kilter with reality, an Alice in Wonderland air of lysergic dreaminess. For fans of 4AD acts such as His Name Is Alive, This Mortal Coil and Modern English this is essential listening. 'Ghosten' starts with echoed glockenspiel and some gorgeous backwards melodies that seem to orbit around each other, creating a late night or early morning haze that both disorientates and enraptures. Yikki's layered vocals intertwine; creating a ghost choir of disquiet and beauty that hovers over the electronic buzzes and whirrs before fading into the ether. 'Last Ghost Story', with its ringing harmonics and treated guitar is a harsher environment but still icily reflective and frozen in sheer loveliness, whilst Yikki intones over the growing chimes and tension. You need to hear this; it is a masterclass of carefully and deliberately controlled atmospherics and brooding, layered ethereal pop. The guitar becomes ever more apocalyptic, the bells more frantic until all disappears into the black of night. Closer 'Tactile' is quiet, insistent, yet filled with warped electronica. Yikki's haunted vocals and analogue wails and hums create a cathedral of sound that suggests a very modern form and interpretation of psychedelia. Dreamlike, unique, utterly creative and in its own universe, Near-Death Flower is a rabbit hole all of its own.

Available now on bandcamp this is a stunning, unearthly and accomplished EP that Ivo -Watts would have snapped up to be on his label back in the day. Do not let this go by; there is perfect psychedelic pop here, left of centre perhaps but bewitching and entrancing almost definitely.

24 Mar 2015

The Owl Service " Three Inverted Nines"


Reviewed by Nathan Ford

"Three Inverted Nines" is not a new release as such, but has been freshly reissued along with a selection of other items from the Owl Service. These prolific spook folkers have recently unveiled a subscription service (which you can read more about here), but are also making titles available individually, in excruciatingly limited CD-R (20 copies of this one), and digital formats.

"Three Inverted Nines" was originally released for Halloween last year, and consists of reinventions of Danzig tunes in the Owl Service's typical, revisionist folk-rock style - think "Liege & Lief" crossed with "Children of the Stones", to get your bearings, although this is notably more sparse than the Owl Service's normal fare. These skeletal arrangements up the creep factor exponentially, with plenty of dark spaces for sinister presences to hide.

While the novelty of the idea may seem in danger of outweighing the results, this is very carefully judged and tastefully executed, with Danzig's melodrama given understated readings which re-channel aggression into a sinister disquiet.

"Diabolos '88" is an ominous opener - a sinister, half speed May Day procession with full on synth choirs that suggest a Lucio Fulci scored "Wicker Man". Elsewhere, the voices of Fiona Radford, Diana Collier, Nancy Wallace and Mr Owl Service himself, Steven Collins, are used to desolate effect, none more so than on the ghostly, circular outro of "Come Back", where Nancy Wallace's voice truly sounds like it's projecting through the veil.

A great starting point for the Owl Service neophyte, and one which will make you want to delve much deeper.

Limited edition CD-R and download available here:

Nine Questions with the Owl Service

Nine Questions is a new regular feature on the Active Listener, where we ask our favourite artists nine simple questions and get all sorts of answers....

Today.... Steven Collins from the Owl Service.

What was the first record you bought?
That was the album 'Kings of the Wild Frontier' by Adam & the Ants, back in late 1980 or early '81. For those who don't remember, they were a UK post-punk band who had a string of hit singles in the early 1980s. They had a really striking image and made cool videos which had a huge impact on me as an 8 year old. That said, I don't think I was influenced in any way by Adam & the Ants, although I recently re-visited their 3 albums and they still sound great and really distinctive. Less than a year after buying 'KOTWF' I heard 'New Life' by Depeche Mode and everything changed. That was the first record I bought that had a profound influence on me, and actually set me off on the path to where I am today.

What was the last record you bought?
I actually bought 3 records together; the soundtrack to the '80s horror film 'Re-Animator' by Richard Band, 'Circuitous' by Afrikan Sciences, and 'Margin Walker' by Fugazi. I'm really into '70s and '80s horror scores right now - I probably spend more time listening to them than I do any new music. 'Re-Animator' is very good indeed, because it steals from one of the best, owing a huge debt to Bernard Herrmann's 'Psycho' score. Afrikan Sciences is the work of US producer Eric Douglas Porter - its roots are in hip-hop, jazz and house, but rhythmically its quite experimental and pretty unique sounding. It's on the PAN label who have been releasing great music for a while now. And 'Margin Walker' because I realised it was the only Fugazi record I didn't have on vinyl.

What's one thing about you that very few people know?
Despite being a big cheese lover, I only tried Brie and Camembert for the first time last year.

If you could record with any one artist who would it be and why?
I'd actually choose an engineer; Don Zientara, Steve Albini or Bob Weston. Despite making folk music myself, I have very little time for contemporary folk music, largely because the sound of almost all modern folk albums is completely soulless and lifeless. Modern folk music has become too middle-of-the road and safe for my taste, and as a genre I find it really un-interesting on a sonic level. The raw, in-your-face sound of people like Zientara/Albini/Weston is, to my mind, exactly the right kind of sound for a folk record at this time. Obviously we'd love to actually go and make our new album at Electrical Audio in Chicago, but instead we'll be doing it all at my house as usual!

Who should we be listening to right now?
I can't think of anything *really* exciting that I've heard recently. The Viet Cong record is pretty good, and so far this year I've enjoyed the new releases by Sleater-Kinney, Moon Duo, Sam Prekop and John Carpenter. Apart from that, anything on Opal Tapes, PAN or Bed of Nails.

Vinyl, CD, digital or cassette?
Vinyl for serious listening, digital for convenience. I love my iPod - 30 years ago, if someone had shown me a device the size of a fag packet that could hold my entire record collection it would have completely blown my mind, and now it's a reality. I can remember going on long journeys when I was a teenager, weighed down by a Walkman, a bag of cassettes and a stack of spare batteries. Digital music is a truly fantastic innovation. The CD has become a bit worthless in my world. I'll buy them if it's the only available format, but I tend to just rip them and then immediately sell them or give them away. Vinyl with download codes is the way to go. I simply cannot understand the resurgence of the cassette - it was always an inferior sound carrier and it continues to be so. Totally pointless in this day and age.

Tell us about your latest release.
'Three Inverted Nines' is an EP we recorded for Halloween 2014. It was a limited edition release available for 1 week only, but we're now giving it a second pressing for those who missed out first time around. It contains covers of 4 songs written by Glenn Danzig which he originally performed with his bands Misfits, Samhain and Danzig. Obviously the songs fit the Halloween theme perfectly, but they're such great songs and they deserve to be heard by people who wouldn't normally buy a Danzig album. I'm a huge Glenn Danzig fan and this isn't the first time we've covered his songs. We actually played live as The Fiends a couple of times, performing only Misfits covers. The first time we did it was Halloween 2009 and that remains one of my favourite gigs I've ever played. Incidentally, the title of the EP comes from the lyrics of the Misfits song 'American Nightmare'.

What's next for you, musically?
Next up is the new full-length record from The Owl Service; it's called 'His Pride. No Spear. No Friend' and it's set for a summer 2015 release. At the start of 2012 I put The Owl Service on an indefinite hiatus, purely because I didn't know where to take the project next. I didn't want to make another record just for the sake of it, and felt that I needed some space to get ideas together. I actually started thinking about a new Owls album in late 2013 and was gearing up to start recording at that time, but it was delayed for various reasons and that's turned out to be a good thing. Having had a year-long thought process before recording a single note, we now know exactly where we're going with it. Thinking about it, we've actually come full-circle. When I first started planning a new record all I knew was that I wanted it to be stripped down, stark and simple. Far less 'produced-sounding' than 'The View From a Hill'. But then I went through a big kraut-rock phase around the same time the last Wolves in the Throne Room album came out, and so I started thinking we could have these big 'Kosmische' synth soundscapes fused with doom-metal. We'd have had fun trying that for sure, but I'm not entirely convinced it would have been successful! Then, by chance, I found myself re-visiting 'Pod' by The Breeders and it was like a big slap round the face. It reminded me of my original plan to make a stripped down, honest sounding album, and how far I'd drifted from that remit. The very next day I was given a copy of Fugazi's 'First Demo' album and it started to feel like someone was trying to tell me something. Since then I've been immersing myself in the post-hardcore, minimalist rock sound of engineers like Don Zientara, Steve Albini and Bob Weston, along with pivotal post-rock records like 'Spiderland' and 'Millions Now Living Will Never Die', and working on ways of incorporating that kind of sound into The Owl Service. As far as I know, this is the first time anybody has fused traditional British folk song with American post-rock and post-hardcore production - it's going to be interesting.

What's for dinner?
Pizza, with a bottle of Italian beer.

https://www.facebook.com/thepatternbeneaththeplough
https://theowlservice.bandcamp.com/

Cranium Pie "Mechanisms Part 2"


Reviewed by Nathan Ford

I can't escape the impression that anytime I'm listening to a Cranium Pie release I've gone slightly out of sync. This UK based progressive rock outfit are unusually adept at shifting perception, and coupling this with their overflowing barrel of ideas creates a singular listening experience.

The music on "Mechanisms Part 2" is often wildly experimental, giving the impression of something that's escaped from a secret government research facility. Anything else would be far too ordinary a catalyst for music this adventurous and odd. Which may make it sound like this would potentially be hard work to listen to, and it probably should be, but the band's restlessness and way with a tune ensure that it never actually is.

The preview CD that I received to review sees the double LP split into four, unnamed, side length tracks, and in that form "Mechanisms Part 2" is very successful; four suites of fragmentary fever dreams, hopping wildly from one idea to the next in an entertainingly unpredictable fashion. (Although I see that the band have chosen to split the tracks up into their constituent parts for digital release).

There's obviously a great love for the music of the very early progressive rock era evident here, but rather than try to create an album that sounds like it's from that time, Cranium Pie have elected to use the philosophy of the music of that era to create a new progressive statement that sounds surprisingly fresh, even as it brings to mind the likes of Soft Machine, Caravan, King Crimson and Matching Mole. The drums swing nicely, helping to enhance the free flowing nature of the band's music, and allowing the rest of the band to delve into areas derived from psychedelia, folk, jazz and beyond.

More often than not instrumental, the band's surfeit of ideas ensure that there is never a dull moment, and that no passages outstay their welcome - quite the opposite! Most bands would be content to stretch the ideas contained on any one of these sides over the length of a full album, but Cranium Pie seem to have worked out that the music of the early progressive era was so exciting because of its unpredictable and quickly evolving song structures. Adopting that same approach has paid serious dividends here.

Prog fans will be in Heaven, naturally, but those normally suspicious of the genre will find plenty of spacey lashings of psychedelia to keep them amused too.

Very highly recommended indeed.

Fruits de Mer are releasing the limited edition vinyl (which you can pre-order here), while the digital can be purchased / streamed through the link below. Released March 30.

Nine Questions with The Holy See

Nine Questions is a new regular feature on the Active Listener, where we ask our favourite artists nine simple questions and get all sorts of answers....

Today.... Simon Magus from The Holy See.

What was the first record you bought? 
First record I ever owned was Slade in Flame, which I got with a portable record player for my birthday. First record I ever nicked was Star Wars And Other Space Themes, from Blackburn Chemist's "Music For Pleasure" album rack when I was a skint wee urchin, and first record I ever bought was Special Brew by Bad Manners which I bought off my big brother's pal for two roll ups.

What was the last record you bought?
"Transmission From Sogmore's Garden" by Magic Bus, a spaced out psychedelic feast of sounds for your ears, your mind and your soul. The next last records I'll probably buy will be Corduroy's new album in March (yay! ) and Cranium Pie's new 4 album epic Mechanisms 2 (yay again!).

What's one thing about you that very few people know?
My real birth name.

If you could record with any one artist who would it be and why?
As a teenager I was convinced that sooner or later I'd be Siouxsie and the Banshees next ex-guitarist, learned to play guitar by playing along with their records and everything, so if they re-form I'll send them a tape. Steve Severin lives not far from here so I'll make sure it gets there and shout through his letterbox til he listens to it. For my own music I'd love Cyrus Faryar to do some voice like he did on The Zodiac's Cosmic Sounds album. He lives on a remote island off New Zealand, not far from you. Fancy giving him a shout???

Who should we be listening to right now?
Whoever makes your hips shake, your heart sing, or your head fed. Not Kanye West though, he's a cock.

Vinyl, CD or digital?
All of the above, and live music too. It's all well and good being a vinyl junkie, but I don't have that portable record player anymore, and it's hard going wheeling my hi-fi onto the train to listen to sounds when I'm out and about, so I keep all my sounds on an mp3 player and will just have to suffer the indignity if any people who listen to vinyl catch me. As long as the music is traveling from the musician's head into yours it's all good.

Tell us about your latest release.
It's the soundtrack to a TV show, a supernatural detective series from 1969 which was broadcast from another dimension. It has Harpsichords and Mellotrons and Hammond grooves and synthesizers and sitars and tape loops and radiophonic interludes and lots of echoes. Echoes are good fun, I like those.

What's next for you, musically?
The Holy See is my main thing, but I'm also recording and gigging with a couple of my friends bands, and long distance recording collaborations with musical friends all over the place. I've got my fingers in more pies than Jimmy Savile partying at the City Morgue, so am furiously trying to grow some extra fingers. But right now the Holy See have just been signed to Cineploit Records so will be working on some more soundtracks, and hopefully some more collaborations with other people, who knows???

What's for dinner?
Think I'll have another slice of that Cranium Pie, it's affy good. Why do I keep saying the word pie? I even heard somebody in a car calling me a pie this morning. "Oot ma road ya pie!" What's that all about?

http://www.cineploit.com/?page_id=1538
https://soundcloud.com/holysee69
http://active-listener.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/the-holy-see-music-from-tv-series-osiris.html

23 Mar 2015

Jim Griffin "The Ranger & The Cleric"


Reviewed by Grey Malkin (The Hare & The Moon)

Now here is something very curious indeed. A literal one man band, Jim Griffin’s 'The Ranger And The Cleric' takes an obvious love of progressive and conceptual rock and turns in what may well be one of the albums of the year. Inspired by the work of Albrecht Durer, H.P. Lovecraft, Gary Cygax, Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke and taking as its narrative a medieval story-cycle, this is an album that mines its own deep well of personal inspirational and ambition. Indeed, this is a visionary work that, although it nods and doffs its cap towards its musical influences, is still quite unlike anything else.

A concept album split into ten movements or segments, ‘The Ranger And The Cleric’ begins with 'Thoughts Combine' a spoken word intro hinting at forces both unknown and supernatural before an array of acoustic and treated guitars weave, wax and wane over each other in a veritable tapestry of sound. Double tracked electric guitar intertwines over finely wrung solos and an exquisite fingerpicking, recalling the Mike Oldfield of ‘Hergest Ridge’ or ‘Ommadawn’; it is that good. Merging into the title track, Griffin recounts the tale of both protagonists and the tale begins. At once melancholy, timeless and epic, there are heavy, unashamed hints of prog and subtle suggestions of folk but this album is also something quite unique with its own particular sound. Entirely the work of Griffin alone playing every instrument, this is an intricate but expansive piece of music; vocal harmonies, time signature changes and sound effects abound, easily suggesting the work of some 7 piece prog supergroup (imagine The Strawbs fronted by Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson).

Jousting guitars herald the ominous 'The Visions of the Prophet', soaring and repeating over the hum of vintage synths. The sound is massive and recalls the ‘sturm und drang’ of Jeff Wayne's classic prog musical ‘War of the Worlds’ in its intensity. Next, the interplay between delicate, hushed tones and the wail of electric guitar maelstrom breaks into ‘In A Single Word They Were Bound To Begin And Never End’ which continues the Ranger’s tale, blistering guitar work seguing between verses. The piece is complex, widescreen and hugely innovative; echoes of Robert Fripp's virtuoso discordance, Peter Hamill's pointed harmonies and Steve Hackett's very English sense of melody are all hinted at as the song builds to a towering and mind melting crescendo. All goes quiet and the sound of a cassette being inserted and played on an old tape deck begins 'Gentle Deeds to Charity’, a recording of sombre arpeggios leading into an acoustic refrain of great beauty and hushed grandeur. 'Tellings' follows, its Floydian melodies utterly otherworldly; in fact the whole album acts as a conduit to another time, another land. Emotive, evocative and ever so slightly cosmic this is headphones on and lights out music. Bells chime and the guitar becomes more frantic, tense and unsettling until we once again hear the sound of a cassette being pressed to play and the tape recording returns.

Next, 'Retellings' pensive acoustics are underlined by layers of electric guitar wails and howls, curious side effects merging with hushed percussion before the song finally segues into subsequent track 'Ancient Memories From Beneath'. Emerging gently, this understated but ambitious piece builds and layers from quiet contemplation to full on psych attack, replaying the doom laden motif of the album before drums and flanged guitar lead back into the earlier delicate splendour. To end, the drums return along with deranged, fuzzed out guitar as multi tracks swirl and fade in a psychedelic storm of backwards tapes and sound effects. 'Into The future But Not Into The Past' begins with chatter and another spoken word piece (which may well be Carl Sagan?) before turning into a medieval sounding, gorgeous piece of acoustic reverie. The guitars sound not unlike harpsichords in their shimmering and glistening beauty as wind chimes gently add atmosphere and a quiet eeriness. Final track 'Vanishing Point' ups the tempo, intense acoustic strumming underlying an acid guitar freak out of quite epic proportions. It is a suitably dramatic and poignant end to what is clearly a labour of love for Griffin and what for us listeners is quite simply a hugely enjoyable, unpredictable and successful prog folk classic.

Released in a lovely handmade sleeve featuring a medieval print, this album is only available in limited quantities so do not miss out. Griffin has released an opus that stands shoulder to shoulder with Yes, Oldfield, Fripp et al. Dig out your wizard's hat and cloak, light a joss stick and close your eyes as you journey with the Ranger and the Cleric.

Available here on CD from Reverb Worship.

Stream or purchase digitally here: 

22 Mar 2015

Nine Questions with the Hanging Stars

Nine Questions is a new regular feature on the Active Listener, where we ask our favourite artists nine simple questions and get all sorts of answers....

Today...Richard from the Hanging Stars (& The See See).

What was the first record you bought?
Depeche Mode "101", influenced by my older cousin. I still think Depeche Mode was an amazing group. So was Frankie Goes To Hollywood for that matter.

What was the last record you bought?
Alberto Montero - Puerto Principe (2013) Such an underrated and ignored record. Jesus. He's like a Spanish Arthur Lee. The most stunning beautiful compositions and atmospheres he conjures up. I wish I had a clue what he was on about though

What's one thing about you that very few people know?
Our band were all born with tails. True story. Also, Richard's dad was in a band with Bjorn from ABBA in the early 60s.

If you could record with any one artist who would it be and why?
Tutankhamun's court composer. It would be amazing. But alas he is long gone. As are the pharaohs. Might be a good thing.

Who should we be listening to right now?
Thelightshines - Now The Sandman Sing.

Vinyl, CD or digital?
Vinyl for sitting. Mp3 for walking.

Tell us about your latest release.
We've got our debut 7" out on the Great Pop Supplement label on March 23rd. We sing folk songs updated to the now with some lysergy thrown in for good measure. It's a double A side called Golden Vanity/Floodbound.

What's next for you, musically?
Finish and release an album and play shows all across this blue green earth.

What's for dinner?
Vegetarian chili from a can. We're broke.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hanging-Stars/228945743974838
https://soundcloud.com/thehangingstars 
http://www.thehangingstars.com/ 


Monochromie - Brussel-Zuid EP


Reviewed by Elizabeth Klisiewicz

Monochromie is French composer and pianist, Wilson Trouvé, This EP is only three tracks, but a new album called "Behind Black Clouds" is coming in April on Fluttery Records. In the meantime, listeners have these three lovely compositions to savor. Trouvé marries his songs with chiming bells and layers of gorgeous sound, floating down around your ears like gauze. Song #3, entitled "Brussel-Zuid Part 3", is my favorite of the three tracks. It enchants and entwines your senses, and makes you want to hear more. Track #2, "Brussel-Zuid Part 2", throws you slightly off kilter with hazy, almost discordant piano, and the opening track, "Brussel-Zuid Part 1" is widescreen ambience at its finest, evoking meadows with deep, dark forest hovering at the periphery.

Trouvé surrounds the listener with these engaging pieces, and his obvious talent shines through every nook and cranny of this criminally short release.

"Brussel Zuid" is available as a free download here:

18 Mar 2015

Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab "Beyond The Silver Sea"


Reviewed by Nathan Ford

Comprised primarily of the duo of  Joe Kane (formerly of the Owsley Sunshine, currently Macca from a really fab Beatles tribute band), and former BMX Bandit Stu Kidd, Dr Cosmos Tape Lab are obviously going to be a force to be reckoned  with in the poppy hooks department. Previous album "Ever Evolving Lounge" was a delightful affair, as you may recall from the evangelical zeal of this review. And now for EEL's followup (which they actually recorded first), we've got a full blown concept album.

"Beyond The Silver Sea" is "a sci-fi pop concept album set in an alternate not too distant future. It tells the story of a man experiencing a strange recurring vision in his dreams which is totally outside of his sphere of reference. The dream inspires him to think differently, change his physical appearance, and even place in space/time to find a better way of life and escape the confines of his current reality." says Joe. Beyond that, it's also a top drawer collection of classic pop tunes which successfully elbows it's way into the very small 'concept albums that aren't rubbish' club.

Adam Smith provides a running narrative between tracks to further the story's development, giving the Cosmo's the freedom to realize that even though they're recording a concept album, the songs can shine individually without needing to be expository pieces. As such, there's nothing on here that doesn't thrive when separated from its album-mates. It's all single-worthy.

Echoes of sixties mod-pop ala the Small Faces and baroque pop along the lines of the Zombies dominate. Perhaps surprisingly given Kane's role in Them Beatles, there's very little that is Beatlesque about "Beyond The Silver Sea". Having said that, I'm almost certain that they've stumbled upon a cache of undiscovered 1964 McCartney demos intended for Cilla Black, heard "Time Enough For Love", and decided "We'll have a bit of that." That aside though, this is far more Mod than Mersey. And it's not all sixties worship either; "Pie, Mash & Liquor" dabbles in "Ghost Town" style dub adeptly enough to ensure that the future of this band could lead almost anywhere, and that's all part of the fun.

Available very soon in a limited edition vinyl pressing from Sugarbush Records, as well as CD and digital.

Nine Questions with Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab

Nine Questions is a new regular feature on the Active Listener, where we ask our favourite artists nine simple questions and get all sorts of answers....

Today .... Joe Kane from Dr Cosmo's Tape Lab.


What was the first record you bought? 
Phil Spector- Echoes Of The Sixties, an excellent compilation of all the classic Phil Spector hits with a really cool cover featuring a close up an oscillator screen.

What was the last record you bought? 
The Osmonds 'Yo-Yo' 45.

What's one thing about you that very few people know? 
I got very nearly fatally electrocuted aged 17 while playing the riff to 'Tatva' by Kula Shaker in my bedroom. I was using an old Wem Dominator valve amp which I used to unplug by simply pulling on the wire. The live wire inside the plug came to touch the earth wire and made me part of the circuit for just over a minute. My mum saved my life with a dried off rubber hair washing at the sink hose type thing. Quick thinking mum! After a few months of surgery and recuperation I returned to guitar playing and smashed a Les Paul copy through the Wem amp live on stage.

If you could record with any one artist who would it be and why?
I'd like to record with Nic Denholm who now lives in LA. We used to be writing & recording partners in The Owsley Sunshine and whenever we can get together we always easily fall back into our old groove so hopefully we can continue that soon.

Who should we be listening to right now? 
Big Hogg from Glasgow have just made a fantastic psych-folk-jazz LP which is out very soon on Neon Tetra Records. Check it out! Also The Junipers have a new album in the works which is gonna be incredible. Heard a few roughs from that and they never fail to blow the collective-cosmo mind.

Vinyl, CD, digital or cassette? 
I'm a big fan of all four mediums. I use them all daily. Love records though, especially collecting 45's of great songs that I hear randomly. CD's are great because they're still very cost effective for distributing music on and creating a product of your musical art on the whole. Also good if you're lazy and don't want to get up and have to turn a side over. Tape is a wonderful thing and the one I grew up with the most so it always holds a certain magic. You can do cool things with a cassette that you can't do with anything else.

Tell us about your latest release. 
Our next album 'Beyond The Silver Sea' is a sci-fi pop concept album set in an alternate not too distant future. It tells the story of a man experiencing a strange recurring vision in his dreams which is totally outside of his sphere of reference. The dream inspires him to think differently, change his physical appearance and even place in space/time to find a better way of life and escape the confines of his current reality. There's a lot of metaphorical stuff going on and some hidden meanings in there if you take the time to listen and unlock it all but there's a lot of fun and silliness too. It's all underpinned by a fantastic narration from our collaborator Adam Smith who also does the art and is our live band third member so really he's the "third Cosmo".

What's next for you, musically?
We've pretty much completed our third album which is entitled 'Cosmic Tone' and is really the follow up to (first album but second recorded) 'Ever Evolving Lounge'. It's a step on from that album but continues in a similar vein while adding a slightly different more modular kinda song style and less cluttered sound. It's more proggy but still very poppy too I think. It features a 22 minute song suite about the spirit of a dead old guy who possesses a young boy via a pair of pyjamas bought from a charity (thrift) shop which we hope to turn in to a short film at some point. We also have a bunch of other stuff planned which we hope to start work on very soon including a new single called 'Second Generation Imitation' and an electronics-heavy sequel to 'Beyond The Silver Sea'.

What's for dinner? 
Tonight we're having our second full band rehearsal throughout what most "normal" people would call dinnertime. We're featuring Stu "Cosmic" Kidd on drums & vocals, Adam Smith on bass and performance art antics, Paul Kelly (The Martial Arts,How To Swim) on keys/synth, Simon Caveman on percussion and myself singing & playing electric guitar. A rather meaty dish I think you'll agree!

https://www.facebook.com/drcosmostapelab 
https://drcosmostapelab.bandcamp.com/ 
http://www.sugarbushrecords.com