£18.99Fresh from the twisted machinations and fertile imagination of Cumbrian-born, London- dwelling artist and seer Natalie Sharp, ‘Trifle’ is a gallery of grotesquery not recommended for either the nervous of disposition or lactose intolerant.Visit product page →
Arriving from a nocturnal world of sex and skullduggery, urban alienation and costumed ritual, these irreverent and outlandish ditties exist on a unique psychic realm in which profane and profound happily step out together on the lash.
Whether chronicling the drama and drudgery of the night bus, inhabiting a magical fantasy landscape or delving deep and dark into her own psyche for inspiration, Sharp’s tales and travelogues arrive at a unique environ equally rich in the caustic and the cosmic.
Lurking somewhere between the eldritch diva manifestations of Diamanda Galas and the wry reflections of Victoria Wood, yet equally driven by a magpie spirit and conceptual chutzpah redolent of Leigh Bowery and an acidic wit damaged by John Cooper Clarke, Natalie Sharp’s brainchild here engineers a collision between the high-maintenance and the kitchen sink that’s a feverish spectacle to behold.
Along with her co-conspirators Philip Winter (Wrangler/Tuung) and Will Kwerk, Sharp decamped to the splendid isolation of the otherworldly Bodmin Moor studio of Benge (John Foxx & The Maths/Wrangler) to sculpt these serenades, surrounded by vintage analogue equipment and sci-fi paperbacks.
There, a unique and deliriously disconcerting confection took shape, equally informed by post-punk angularities and electronic experimentation - as on the opening clarion call ‘Home’ or the salacious ‘Knicker Elastic’ - not to mention torch song visions and choral reverie, as on the ethereal ‘Dribble Wizard’ and the poignant closing lament ‘Nowhere’, yet with dramatic panache, abundant absurdity and emotional impact to offer at every turn.
2. Knicker Elastic
3. Bijoux Boy
4. When The Water's Cold
6. Dribble Wizard
7. Mr Coral
10. Hammered In Homebase
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Opening with a single repeated note beamed from an analogue basement studio in Shoreditch, London, Wrangler’s debut album LA Spark reclaims lost technology to make new themes for the modern world.
Wrangler consists of Stephen Mallinder, best known for his pioneering work with Cabaret Voltaire, Phil Winter of Tunng and Lone Taxidermist, plus the founder of Memetune studios and synth obsessive Benge (John Foxx And The Maths). His studio’s synth-rammed walls have created an environment where sounds are ripped from a golden era of analogue electronic music to create forward-looking, new music.Wrangler formed in the wires of Memetune - a post-LCD, Factory Floor-ed electronic funk machine with VHS tape distortion in its eyes but also capable of sleekness and beauty in the stripped back beats.
The tracks range from the satellite bleep and lonely synthmelody of ‘Theme From Wrangler’ to the alien carnival rhythms of ‘Modern World’ and the ambient ‘Peace And Love’ (originally recorded for Tate Modern’s Summer 2012 programme ‘Tweet-Me-Up’). In between there’s ‘Lava Land’ – all masked, half-gargoyle vocals and primitive drum machines; the gliding, noir and neon of the title-track ‘La Spark’ and urgent, pulsing floor-filler of ‘Harder’.There are ghosts and echoes of Mallinder’s previous work in Cabaret Voltaire in these songs, especially in the vocals and lyrics, which run like his own internal movie. But the Cabs era it recalls is the unfairly neglected 1983 – 1985, when they released the likes of The Crackdown and Micro-Phonies. Oddly enough this period has been getting re-discovered and re-evaluated via a recent Mute box set, just as Wrangler started mixing this new EP for release in early 2014. Sometimes the landscape changes and you can find yourself in the right place at the right time through a mixture of luck and instinct . . .
1. Theme From Wrangler
2. Lava Land
3. LA Spark
4. Mus IIC
5. Space Ace
7. Modern World
8. Peace And Love
£18.99Wrangler’s new remix album features 11 modular synthesizer re-workings of tracks from their 2014 debut album, LA Spark.Visit product page →
Featuring remixes by the likes of Mute founder & The Normal’s Daniel Miller, Chris Carter from Chris & Cosey, Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails) and Scanner, all the artists were sent the same original proposal by Wrangler at the start of the project: ‘Wrangler would like to ask you to submit an experimental piece of music for inclusion on an album entitled Modular Remix. The idea is very simple. We provide some basic stems from a track selected by you from our debut album LA Spark and you add whatever sounds you like - the only rule being that you use just one analog modular synthesiser system of your choice. We've approached you because we admire your passion and commitment to electronic music, and we hope you will be interested in taking part.’
The result is an album which flows across four sides of vinyl, from the locked down electro-dancefloor rhythm of Daniel Miller’s ‘Theme From Wrangler’, through the darker, brutalist shapes of Chris Carter’s eight minute ‘Lava Land’ opus and into schizo-synth pop (Dean Honer – I Monster, Eccentronic Research Council), abstract ambient beauty (Alessandro Cortini), dark dub (Solvent) and finally the brooding 14 minute masterpiece of Wrangler’s own remix, ‘Theme Meme’.
Wrangler are Stephen Mallinder (ex-Cabaret Voltaire), Benge (best known for his album 20 Systems and John Foxx And The Maths) and Phil Winter (Tunng).
Their debut LP, LA Spark was described by Q Magazine as ‘creepy and brilliant, music you can dance to while looking over your shoulder. The best kind of music.’
According to UNCUT, ‘LA Spark is a compelling listen with former Cabs vocalist sneering on the imperious title track. He’s still got it.’
1. Abul Mogard - Mus IIC
2. Daniel Miller - Theme From Wrangler
3. Steve Moore – Harder
4. Scanner - LA Spark
5. Chris Carter - Lava Land
6. Dean Honer - Space Ace
7. Alessandro Cortini - Modern World
8. Benge - Peace & Love
9. Solvent – Harder
10. David Burraston - Mus IIC
11. Wrangler - Theme Meme
£18.99Wrangler's White Glue features new nine new tracks, recorded with the 3-D depth of analogue (the ancient synthesizers in Benge’s MemeTune Studios have never sounded so good) but there’s less geek and more funk; more Mod than Modular in the new album's tailored, minimalist design. Stephen Mallinder’s vocals are a surreal joy, smeared with effects and electronics as they change, chant and shift around the jump-cut lyrics.Visit product page →
The opening trio of ‘Alpha Omega’, ‘Stupid’ (Mallinder in a new mutant funk-falsetto) and ‘Clockwork’ (a nod to Kraftwerk who famously name-checked Cabaret Voltaire as ‘brothers in popular electronic music’) sets up White Glue with the crisp crack and thud of sequenced rhythms and lush synthesizers.
‘Dirty’ starts like something from Forbidden Planet, pauses for a moment and then slams into a compelling funk beat with a bristling guitar riff courtesy of Julie Campbell (LoneLady). Mallinder delivers one of the most memorable vocals of his career – venting, sliding and punching through the layers of noise with real urgency and bile.
He employs his voice-instrument to more measured effect on ‘Stop’ but it’s no less hypnotic – a feverish guilt-mantra of out-of-control consumerism: ‘Stop spending money that you don’t have/Stop buying shit that you don’t need.’ As the synths wail like sirens, you can picture Winter and Benge swaying to the beats, heads-down, lost in the propulsive, (artificial) hand-clapping groove.
The white-light-techno-rush, triggered synths and chopped-up, multi-layered vocals of ‘Real Life’– surely deserving of its own 12 inch vinyl release at some point - is followed by ‘Days’ which slowly loops in and then flicks off the safety catch with heavy bass and moody synth lines.
Mallinder offers another striking vocal which seems to self-describe his own writing methods - ‘moving pictures come in flashes.’ ‘Superset’ is a late highlight as the band coax the rhythm into life before hitting hard with a lovely, deep groove. ‘Colliding’ is the spacey Krautrock closer, a beautiful, nuanced semi-instrumental song which exits with dreamy, abstract vocoder sounds and ambient synths.
1. Alpha Omega
6. Real Life
*Bonus Cd Only Track