Bearsuit Records are releasing an eclectic new compilation album of Various entitled “Mark Barton’s “The Sunday Experience” – a celebration of the work of our former colleague, the writer/music reviewer Mark Barton who, sadly, passed away just last month – after a long battle with lung cancer.
Mark Barton spent over two decades championing independent music, writing tirelessly about often under-appreciated independent releases with boundless dexterity, wit and an unquenchable creative imagination that could paint pictures of the music he was describing. I first became aware of him when he wrote the singles out column on Losing Today over fifteen years ago, I was inspired by his voracious appetite and passion for music. His trademark stream of consciousness style that had scant regard for grammar at times, poured forth with passion, heart and vivid colour. Often writing about bands you had never heard championing the under appreciated and eclectic, a kind of John Peel of the blogging world his love and passion for the sounds always shone through each word. He later became a friend and wrote for GIITTV, his pieces always inspired and brought a smile to the face.
Alex Nielsen founder of Bearsuit Records tells us the inspiration behind the release:
“Knowing for some time he was ill we’d been planning on surprising him with this album – as a small thank you for all his support. Unfortunately, this didn’t pan out the way we’d planned as he passed away before we could complete it and get it to him… (Although his daughter did tell me she mentioned it to him when he was in the hospice – so at least he knew)
Releasing the record seemed the right thing to do. He gave so much of his time helping and encouraging our small label – and group of artists – that it seemed there was no option! We had to do something – however small – as a thank you to him. He also wrote in such an informed and eloquent way that I always looked forward to seeing/hearing his thoughts on our work. I think all the artist and bands that he championed probably feel the same.”
The album features artists reviewed and encouraged by Mark’s writings…
The artists are : The Lovely Eggs, Schizo Fun Addict, Bigflower, Kiran Leonard, Moon Duo, JD Meatyard, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Wizards Tell Lies, Godflesh, John 3:16, Needle Into A Bug, Harold Nono, Yellow 6, Isan, FortDax, The Bordellos, Polypores & Rothko…
There is also a larger digital version of the album where there are many other tracks by artists and bands who have also been supported by Mark – to be found on our Bandcamp page (see below). There just wasn’t enough room on one CD!
All of the artists and bands have contributed their songs gratis.
All the proceeds of the album will go to Macmillan Cancer Support.”
Rather than review it ourselves we thought we would leave the description to Mark as a tribute:
The Lovely Eggs – “Magic Onion”
Out via the Flower of Phong imprint (be honest do labels get any cooler?) where it’ll arrive on limited quantities of green onion splatter vinyl with the addition of a Casey Raymond hand produced booklet, ‘Magic Onion’ is essentially the Fall in some shroom blurred kaleidoscopic Carroll-esque wonderland redecorated by those surrealist Boosh dudes found craftily re-trimming lost Pebbles happenings from some secret psychedelic swirled shed located on the outer edges of reality – freakishly fried stuff.
Schizo Fun Addict – “Take A Heart”
This babe lurks on the dark side of psychosis unravelling itself in freaked out detachment and isolation whilst wiping your mind and senses in a howling garage psych white out whose authentic primitive gouging leads one to suspect the blighters have access to strange time travelling paraphernalia. That said that’s the least of your concerns as you swerve, duck and dive to avoid the gripping desperation literally
peeling from the grooves.
Bigflower – “I See You”
A nifty slice of dream psyche discordance that if I’m honest, taps deftly into that whole Snub TV vibe of the early 90’s, you know, that noisy melodica and coolly underfed skinny chic look espoused by J. Mascis and Co and other such like, though here shone through a mildly lysergic lens to reveal something frayed and wired with a shades adorned Velveteen aloofness. Here I’m thinking primarily of the Ultra Vivid Scene with perhaps a pre ‘Wake up’ Boo Radleyfolk, Mr Rays Wig World and Wonky Alice muddying the feedback strobed mix. Add in ultra cool and that does it for us.
JD Meatyard – “Anna Had A Kid”
With more than a passing hint of Lou Reed with a smidgeon of Arab Strap for good measure ‘Anna had a Kid’ is one of those bruising encounters that’s liable to have you a tad tearful, hollowed and by its end somewhat grateful for your lot – that said what makes it such a sure fire listening pleasure is the way the sympathetic sour of strings bitter sweetly sigh to a forceful lo-fi strum giving a maudlin and somewhat forlorn sombre gravitas to proceedings which slowly amass in tension, depth and density. Until by its end they combine to forge an impacting crescendo of fracturing and howling anguish and hysteria which by these ears shifts ever so subtly into sonic terrains occupied by the hillfields.
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – “Sweet Relief”
It’s been a while since we featured ear gear from the immense sonic juggernaut that is Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, herewith a track entitled ‘Sweet Relief’ ripped from a new full length ‘feed the rats’ via rocket out today in fact on limited blood red vinyl – as though you needed prods of encouragement. Bugger me though this is heavy, bearded beatnik space stoner that principally ought to appeal first hand to those Sabbath and Hawkwind purists among you while simultaneously catching the ear of the Mugstar brethren.
Kiran Leonard – “Pink Fruit”
Get over the fact that this ‘un is 16 minutes long, and yes we did get a mild visitation of the old five o’clock shadow during its stay, but for a fair few of you out there, we are suspecting that this will be the sonic equivalent of several birthdays all tumbling in at once. Its author is, by the way, only 20 years old, which kind of makes a mockery of some who’ve been plying their trade for some 40 years plus, it teams with ideas and reference points (three minutes in and counting we’ve already noted Beefheart, Billy Mahonie, Archer Prewitt – and that’s just starters) and while it mightn’t be pushing the envelope its packed with enough distractively waywardness and sense of disconnecting all over the shop acuteness as to have admirers of groove that rips up the rulebook cooing fondly in the aisles. Kiran Leonard clearly has a few unresolved issues which fortunate for us translates on occasion into stuff like ‘Pink Fruit’. This intense, intricate, dislocated and clearly complex sound board heads up a forthcoming set for moshi moshi entitled ‘Grapefruit’ which we suspect will attract critical acclaim when it drops next March.
Be under no illusion ‘Pink Fruit’ is a colossus, a colossus that teeters and turns from moments of savage brutality and simmering storm gathering glowering to warping dream like states with the occasional off road detour into Vernon Elliott / Nyman-esque pastoral symphonia and fog bound wood crafted rustic hymnals. ‘Pink Fruit’ lurks on the dark side of Sonic Youth in much as Mr Leonard possesses that same exquisite knack for bringing and pulling everything back out of the seeming fracturing discordant chaos. Amid the claustrophobic groaning loom of the gnarled riffola a howling unravelling psychosis peels that jars, jabs, spars and scowls to lay invisible joining dots to the likes of thinking fellers local union 282, trumans waters and most obviously of all Shellac, while lest we add in the small but essential detail that had this emerged with the trusted name of touch n’ go tattooed to its hide the blighter would be the toast of the underground scene.
Polypores – “Lelen”
‘Brainflowers’ (LP) marks the final outing for the year by Polypores, a beautiful ambient awareness sympathetically stroked in an elegant, moment paused genteel caressing. Best experienced for maximum effect with eyes closed headphones donned and volume hiked to infinity that way you get to float in its demurring folds – between [“Sagans Voyage” and “Glittering Enigma“]there’s the shyly shimmered opining celestial pastorals of ‘Lelen’.
Isan – “Kirkeskov”
Typical tender trimming from Messrs Saville and Ryan, ‘Kirkeskov’ is a kookily cooled gloopy soupy cortege of chirping tropicalia sounds beset in ice formed snow globes so fragile you fear they’ll shatter to the touch though yet once shaken wake. Stretch and yawn as though some secret hideaway lagoon life had wrested into life following a period of hibernation, very demurring stuff indeed.
Godflesh – “Ringer”
Let you in to a little secret, late 80’s we kinda adored Godflesh – you can blame Peel for that and his erstwhile obsession of playing earache sonic fodder on a regular basis. So here I am now in 2014 picking myself up off the floor on hearing the blighters are back with their first fresh recordings in over 13 years. Bugger me. Out via Broadrick’s own Avalanche imprint first week in June looms the ’Decline and Fall’ EP. Featuring four new cuts from which the Godflesh ones have sneaked out lead track ’Ringer’. 6 minutes of post everything tribal ju-ju, this dark and brooding cheerless bastard flatlines the voids and comes rippled in a withering and choking futility of locked grooved serrated chop chop riffs the kind of which old school admirers of Killing Joke will get evil to not to mention those of you who cut your ears upon the industrial grimness of 1919 and play dead will raise inquiring lugs and dig, stunningly oblique.
Moon Duo – “Slow Down Low”
Is it just me or does everyone feel like going into occasional bursts of the Modern Lovers ‘Roadrunner’ when this rears into ear view, not that I’m complaining or anything because it really is a bliss kissed peach. New thing from Moon Duo prized from their current Sacred Bones sortie ‘Shadow of the sun’ – this is ‘Slow down Low’ – a hip wiggling sub six minute glam psyched babe cut upon swooning struts and the kind of ultra-cooling hypno-grooved dandyness that you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d arrive on your turntable decorated in feather boas, big hair and even bigger heels, without doubt possessed of a T-Rex-ian pout though here shimmered in the softly turned lysergic garlands of Fuxa at their finest.
Harold Nono – “Tahiik”
A bit of a gem ghosted in shadowy noir trimmings and spy themed mosaics all presided over by brief moments of the kind of sinister edgy chill that recalls Budd and Barry.
Yellow 6 – “Milestone”
The [‘Milestone’] ’18 version is superbly primed with a time ticking pinch, its grace falling stars extinguishing siren calls descending with an approaching dead stop finality,(something which ought at least to have some of you recalling the much missed Workhouse). Yet there’s a dead eyed realism to the v.98 that, showered with an inescapable solace, there’s a suggestion of a tipping point long since passed, oh and its very godspeed in terms of measure, effect and delivery.
The Cleaners From Venus – “Gorgeous Day”
Culled from a forthcoming full length ‘Last boy in the Locarno’, ‘Gorgeous Day’ is a curious thing, spooled over drifting wisps of lazy eyed sea faring lounge lilts, an almost matter of fact and sighing vocal wistfully reflects. Its almost withdrawn humdrum toning rubbing at odds to the mellowing sun burn of the caressing motifs beneath which unless our ears do deceive has something of an appeal that admirers of both Robyn Hitchcock and Edward Ka-Spel may find plenty to adore, in which case throw in a little Vini Reilly to the mix and bob’s your uncle type thing.
Fortdax – “Sakura”
‘Sakura’ – a Far Eastern flavour emerges with the sensual echoes as Cotton Casino guides the celestial circus, if ‘At Bracken’ was steeped in icy flows of fairy tale delights then Folly sets ‘Madam Butterfly’ to automation.
The Bordellos – “Mark’s Sunday Experience”
Entitled ‘Grin – new free music day’, the EP gathers together 7 cuts cooled in typical dour observationalism which I must admit we here are more than a tad fond of given we prefer the Bordellos when they’re in a mellowed and slightly distracted and wayward mood. ‘Plasticine Man’ grooves along to a sparse and gruff detailing that hints of a youthful Fall wiring leaving ‘Grin’ to round off the set though not before the arrival of the perfectly derailed ‘Mark’s Sunday experience’ – honoured and indeed humbled – a song dedicated to this tiny little blog, we were and are, I’ll admit, overcome blubbing and blushing. God bless you Bordello folk.
John 3:16 – “To Help Me Obey You”
“To Help Me Obey You” is a more considered perhaps more so, meditative affair, its pensive roll carving and cutting to a slow burn arcing prowess that softly treads and trades upon terrains more commonly associated with yellow 6. Its hypnotic toning calmed and sprayed to a pristinely turned post rock lull, stately might be the word I’m struggling for.
The Sexual Objects – “Ron Asheton”
rounding up side one [of cream split up EP]
‘Ron Asheton’ is just a furious nuts down slab of wig flipped groove that quite frankly wouldn’t look to out of place sitting on that recent Ork box set that emerged on RSD15
Needle Into A Bug -“‘Arboreous Call”
We do hear the spectral spirit of ‘Eskimo’ creaking the grooves of the teaser trailing title cut ‘Arboreous Call’ which possessed of a strangely charmed child like eerie the type of which often mask and adore cinematic hauntings, is sumptuously seasoned with a sinister symphonia and shadowy chamber chill that’s trimmed with a ghostly grace and a macabre foretelling.
Pulselovers – “Theme From The Presuaders”
Now bugger me if anyone had firstly, the audacity and secondly, be honest what could be added, if anything, to improve the original, I mean we are talking John Barry here, who let’s be honest, made perfectionism a craft on its right. But credit where credit is due, that Handley chap does wonders, crafty mind but still, achieves the impossible, for here he relocates the original sound source, no longer St Tropez or Cannes etc …. losing the cosmopolitan connect along with the millionaire paradises imagery, he scales down on the glitzy adventurism to focus and instil a degree of mystery and eerie unearthliness to the tapestry and so touches it with a sense of the beyond and unknown by way of the application of a shadow toned spectral harvesting. Classy.
Xqui – “Epiphany”
Xqui step out on their own with the hypno-grooving ‘Epiphany’, clearly admirers of Muslim Gauze, this earth beat grooved slice of jubilance provides something of a mutant mesmeric which pushed to chose ties with drop the hero’s ‘Thursday’ as the best cut here [Wormhole World Sampler – “A Picture Of Good Health”].
Phil Reynolds and the Uncertain Futures – “Counting Witches”
The blurb reads something about a story to do with a shellfish looking for love who enlists the assistance of mythical witches frozen in stone – okay like that is it. ‘White Claw’ be the EP’s name and this obviously is er – ‘White Claw’ – a fifteen minute psych popping opera / mysterio that sumptuously spirals and radiates between caressing crystalline corteges of soft psych toned oceanic sprays the type of which jubilantly cool to imagine Stephen Jones’ Trucker persona pouring over the grooves of the Teardrop’s ‘Wilder’. Set to extended moments moored upon an enchanted wilderness where sound the strange allure of kosmiche folk flotillas tempering and whispering to an artistry that flickers and shape shifts magically revealing a nodding affection for Birdpen, Soft Hearted Scientists and Goblin, any questions……
The Gaa Gaas – “Hypnoti(z)ed”
Haul your hides over to the Gaa Gaa’s page for a sneak peak of what these imps have been cooking up in the studio – an un-mastered version of ‘Hypnotized’ is what’s on offer – don’t know about you but it sounds like its been time tunnelled from a Peel playlist tape c.1981 towing with it an austere post punk rapture of Section 25, Scars, PIL and Artery types.
Vlimmer – “Betonozean”
Along comes Vlimmer with the frankly drop dead jaw dropping nugget ‘Betonozean’. This is quite something else, where do we begin. An eight minute euphoric head trip, love the way it shifts just slightly out of focus, its intensity like a magnet pulling you into its sphere of influence. The way it swoons and swallow dives awash in euphoric raptures switching its focus between elements of sun scorched dream pop, post punk austere and space rock bliss kisses all the time blessed with the gravitas of The Crimea and the purring pristine crush of Toy with just the merest nod of Barrett era Pink Floyd going on in there. All this ascending to reach critical mass whereupon everything dissolves gloriously jubilant dissipates. Wow.
Exile Pots – The Well Of Night” & “Frank The Signalman”
[Album] ‘The Well Of Night’ – a beautifully spacious delight, twinkled in all manner of lulling cosmidelica which alas due to time being a cruel mistress we’ll have to put on hold from listening to a little more fully though not before drawing your attention to the quite beguiling ‘Frank the Signalman’.
This sweetly amorphous titan affords the chance to slip away for some blissed kissed out of body experiences, best experienced loud through headphones in order to capture the full on trip-a-delic effect, the dimpling lush recline of the dissolving reverb mirages cast woozy shimmer toned ripples as the dreamy mosaics carry you aloft on a galactic ride deep into the cosmic outlands, it’s an utterly becalming and chill dripped kosmiche spectacle of the highest order which should you be in need of modern day reference markers we’d suggest the cosmic canvas’ of Craig Padilla as an as were happy bedfellow.
Sendelica – “My House Is made Of Angel Hair”
Four tracks feature on the ‘disco daze’ EP with guest remixers such as Marc Swordfish, Aviv and Consterdine all being drafted in to see if they weave their floor adoring magic and totally relocate the Sendelica prog head from beardy to bouncing. We here have been totally smitten by the Consterdine mix of ‘My house is made of Angel hair’ – a cerebral chilling slab of smoked out early 90’s styled cosmic tripwiring all softly purred in kaleidoscopic trance toning shape cuts the likes of which dive deep into the seductive late night sophisticat terrains of the Paris Angels, a youthful System 7 and the more amorphously head expanding elements of the huge ever growing Ozric Tentacles catalogue. Absolutely wigged.
Haq – “Antics In A Maze”
(‘Antics in a Maze’ EP) whose sum parts compress a joyous distillation of flirting chamber arrangements, trip hop-ula electronics and skewed rhythmic gyrations which in many respects may well collectively be their most pop orientated outing to date. To set some kind of reference markers, there’s much here to appeal to those fully versed in the late 90’s era happenings of say, Cornelius and Takako Minekawa, to these add a smidgeon of Momus and a liberal dose of the Caretaker with perhaps a tasting of Pop off Tuesday. In truth armed with these as a rough guide, you’d still be no nearer pinning down a satisfiable description of Haq, they just freefall and cross weave symphonic collages of sheer ethereal beauty. Opening title track ‘Antics in a Maze’ is pure Bearsuit kookiness that’s awash in hiccupping arrangements, dancing ghost lights and wonky enchantment. In truth not so dissimilar to the more lighter tones of Quimper as though impishly remixed by Midwich Youth Club.
Eat Lights, Become Lights – “Nature Reserve”
Kosmick love aplenty heading out of deep distance shortly with the imminent arrival of a new oscillating opus from Eat Lights Become Lights entitled ‘Nature Reserve’ with the title track being sent on ahead on scouting duties, a killer thing it is to, for deep from within the inner core of a pulsating hive mind turbulent transmissions flicker with furious precision busily fuelled by hyper-driven activity achieving critical mass density, in short cerebral ear candy for speed freaking space cadets.
Whizz Kid – “Falling Out Of Trees, Falling Down Hills”
Teetering between moments of lucidity and lunacy, Whizz Kid have always held a very special place in our listening space since first rearing their heads above the aural parapet and clearly knocking us for six with the frankly skittish ‘The Yellow and Blue’ EP from 2009. Impish was the byword, the all covering warts n’ all descriptor you’d imagine created with these dudes in mind, it proved to be one of our most favourite surrealist left field releases that year. ’Summer Bubbles’ and ’Falling out of trees, falling down hills’ but emerge from a classically arched noir script, the former a fused mosaic of emperor penguin and busy signals smoothness, the latter once awoken from its yawning slumber a Gnac styled slice of spectral spy themed eeriness that courts to the lighter side of wizards tell lies albeit re-tweaked by the overseeing eye of Meek.
Roi – “Straight Outta Southport”
It’s been an age since I visited Southport, I do recall an antiquarian of some description that was literally stuffed from floor to ceiling with records and dusty books which as a younger self. I’d visit on occasion, each and every time spending hours looking for the unnamed doorway behind which a creaking staircase would lead you to this treasure trove of delights. Maybe I imagined it all. I am minded to mention this is not some randomly plucked memory out of the blue, but because the flip of this release features a cut by the name ‘Straight outta Southport’. We do love these black n’ white (sometimes sordid) kitchen sink dramas from the Shea pen, yearning with a reflective nostalgia all ghosted with a gritty swoon of a lost yesterday, it certainly does it for us not least because its dimming glow comes illuminated in the subtle haze of a Teardrops c. ‘Wilder’ haloing.