četvrtak, 21. veljače 2013.

Leven Signs - Hemp Is Here (1985)

Vinilno reizdanje krajnje čudnog, barokno-eksperi-pankerskog zvukovnog kunića iz 1985. ne vraća nas u prošlost nego pokazuje da je ona odmah tu, u slijedećoj sekundi.



Originally released on cassette by Unlikely Records, and on vinyl by Cordelia, the album quickly drifted into obscurity, and original copies are near-impossible to find today. After a chance encounter with the tape, Digitalis boss Brad Rose tracked down Peter Karkut (one half of Leven Signs with Maggie Turner) and obtained the rights to press a 2013 vinyl edition of the album, remastered by James Plotkin and with new artwork by Karkut himself.
A press release describes the record as sounding “like a modern electronic take on gamelan music with crashing rhythms and modal melodies corrupted via bewildering sonic processes”, and makes comparisons to the work of General Strike, Robert Wyatt, Flaming Tunes and Flying Lizards. Certainly from what we’ve heard of it, it’s an eccentric and hugely enjoyable work sure to be enjoyed by a new generation of adventurous listeners when it drops again on February 18. - www.factmag.com/

Vinyl reissue of this obscure new wave oddity from 1985. Strongly recommended to fans of Flaming Tunes, Peaking Lights, General Strike. Initial copies on transparent Green Vinyl** 'Hemp Is Here' is a shockingly prescient 1985 new wave diamond rescued from almost certain obscurity by Digitalis. In the manner of BEB's Flaming Tunes reissue or Forced Nostalgia's Vazz dig, it's one of those records which instantly begs the question; where have you been all our lives?! At nearly 30 years old it's aged remarkably well, constructed by Peter Karkut's rhythmic sleight of hand and peppered with timelessly evocative vocals courtesy of Maggie Turner, yet of course feels attached to that fertile era of bedroom experimentation when folk felt freed of sonic restraint and permitted to just do what felt right and good. And this is very right, and seriously good! They've got us by the knackers with opener 'Our Position Vanishes', a whirligig amalgam of Muslimgauze-esque mid-eastern loops and Indra Dunis-like vocals, and don't let go, cycling onto the crooked mystic pop of 'Prague Spring' and the cryptic, calligraphic intricacies of 'La Luna' and the wheezy slowfast dirge 'Sedes Sapientiae' for one of the most shocking A-sides you could hope for. Turn over and there's the super rugged - as in rude AND rough - DIY beats of 'Carry the Torch' and the swaggering 'This Inner Space' sucking us into the sacred-feeling trio of ante-chambers starting at 'Rumi', bowing into the organ recital 'Das Seal' and breathtaking closer, 'Held In Arms'. This is love at first listen, but don't worry, we can all share...- boomkat

Leven Signs’ Hemp is Here really should be considered a classic of mid-80s UK avante garde, but it came and went in 1985, as both a cassette release (Unlikely Records) and vinyl release (Cordelia) in the blink of an eye. This duo of Peter Karkut and Maggie Turner managed to craft one of the strangest, most affecting albums of new wave experimentalism that I’ve ever heard. Due to the album’s impossible-to-find status, it’s been largely forgotten and continuously overlooked, but hopefully that will begin to change.
A chance encounter with the cassette version of Hemp is Here led me on an internet scavenger hunt before tracking Karkut down. Through the years he has continued developing his various artistic pursuits, recently having his short film Sunflower Supermodel in the London Short Film Festival. Turner ‘s path is a big foggier, though her collaboration with Karkut continues.
But what is it about Hemp is Here that makes it such a special record? At times it feels like a modern, electronic take on gamelan music with crashing rhythms and modal melodies corrupted via bewildering sonic manipulation. Karkut layers organ sequences over and over, constructing songs that have more in common tonally with music you’d hear in gothic cathedrals than any sort of school of electronic music. Think of a more diverse, Turkish-tinged Flaming Tunes and you might be getting close. Hemp is Here is a manic conglomeration of influences and ideas, ending up as a sensational playground of aural narcotics.
Leven Signs’ music is full of tension and it’s perhaps this element that makes it so memorable. On the surface, Karkut’s complex compositions seem at odds with Turner’s often-detached, stunning vocals, but it’s the dichotomy of those two disparate elements that latch on and don’t let go. This record is almost 30 years old and I’m still not sure what it should be classified is (other than brilliant, of course). - www.digitalisindustries.com/music/
Leven Signs belong to that British breed of avant-synth/new wave experimentalism including the Flying Lizards or General Strike – i.e. bands regurgitating their ethnic, ambient, new wave, avantgarde and systems musics influences into a highly creative musical hotchpotch where each song is a sonic playground crammed with musical ideas. Thanks to a choice of synth sounds emulating acoustic instruments like percussion, organ or flute, as well as Turner’s ethereal vocals, Leven Signs’ music has a timeless quality, something further exacerbated by the many Medieval touches in melody and rhythms – some tracks indeed sound like an electronic version of Officer‘s Kalenda Maya. Sequencer programming, synth playing and drum machine are brilliantly taken care of by Peter Karkut, while Maggi Turner is on vocals. - continuo.wordpress.com/
leven signs - hemp is here (12inch vinyl lp) - Click Image to Close
mini-masterpiece has passing affinities with the mutant-pop-into-post-punk tendency that emerged out of the British R.I.O. scene of the late 70's/early 80's (Unrest, Work and Play, Red Balune, Lowest Note On The Organ, Officer! et.al.), the way the musical constructs of Peter Karkut (who creates all the sounds here) rub up against the beautifully detached vocals of Maggi Turner creates a musical tension uniquely their own. Pity they went and slapped a title on it more apropos for a High Times festival reggae cover band, as Leven Signs' art attack is anything but the hackysack-playing soundtrack conjured by the words "Hemp Is Here".- mutant-sounds.blogspot.com/

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