4 Apr 2016
Cavern of Anti-Matter / Toi Toi Toi - Other Voices #6 & #7
Reviewed by Shaun C. Rogan
Ghost Box continues to plough a singular farrow. Occasionally punctuating long periods of silence with clusters of releases such as this latest clutch of 45s, and followed by the (now available) Hintermass LP (more of that later I'm sure).
The Other Voices Series has successfully taken the approach of its predecessor (The Study Series, pop pickers) and effectively changed nothing except the reference title and art work. These limited 45 releases (which ape in design the Columbia UK labels of the mid-1960's) are of consistently high quality and are building an impressive canon of work that will be appreciated for many years to come. OK, that's the intro, you want to know about these new 45s right? Right.
Cavern of Anti-Matter (Other Voices #6) are a volcanic bunch, led by the prolific Stereolab mainman, Tim Gane. They have been around for a little while, viewed by some as a side project but in truth the quality of the music produced is so significant that it is rather disrespectful to think of it as anything other than a band in its own right.
Their latest eruption of activity is two-fold. The first is this wonderful 45 (followed by this progtastic triple album) and presented here are two beautifully meandering tracks that skate lightly across a range of krauty genres from Michael Rother-esque guitar/synth washes to more sinister electro-territory in seamless shapeshifting. A side 'Pulsing Red River Phase' is a stately travelogue of sounds that hinges beautifully on two counterpoints of alternating circular guitar riff and prime era Krafwerk synth manipulation that eventually merge into a widescreen whole. Its a real treat, offering a fairground ride of hallucinatory otherness, true head music of the highest calibre and highly addictive.
Flip the 45 and we are in more familiar territory for those who know Gane's other work as Stereolab leader with the motorik beat driven guitar chimes of 'Phototones' replete with subtle synth underpinning and a hint of 1980's New Order style bass plucking. It's bright and breezy and has a lightness of touch that offsets the 'A' side very nicely indeed. Good stuff.
Toi Toi Toi (Other Voices #7) is an altogether more mysterious collective in as much as I have no idea who they are, where they come from or indeed what they want. However, their collection of electronic squiggles and distracted atonal vocalising on 'A' side "Odin's Jungle" reminds me somewhat of the work of The Residents, Devo or perhaps Colin Newman from Wire's endlessly intriguing "A to Z" LP of many lifetimes ago. It settles into a pleasing junkyard rhythm with some very nice synth work before disappearing off round the corner presumably in search of other people to bemuse. Flip it over and again you have a similar, more rural tune "Golden Green" replete with birdsong and what may well be some German language announcements before settling into a nice pattern of rippling synth and echoed flute stabs that wouldn't be a million miles away from Ghost Box stalwarts The Belbury Poly or The Advisory Circle in its conception or execution. In fact if you told me it was either operating under a nom de plume I wouldn't be remotely surprised. It is definitely the stronger of the two offerings from Toi Toi Toi and I wanted to play it again straight after its final announcement and bleeps dissolved into the ether. Very nice indeed.
And there you have it, two worthy additions to the Ghost Box canon. If you dig the Ghost Box aesthetic as I do you will find plenty to keep you occupied here. Happy trails.
Available on 45/DL from your usual hauntological stockists, or straight from the source.