Heres three incredible things that I never even contemplated the existence of until very recently. Christ knows why these lot aren't more prolific, although it's hard to see them getting radio play any time in the next decade.


There's something about Bugskull's album Communication that fills the space between your ears with a warm fuzzy glow. The first half is odd, nostalgic and wonderfully playful, with elements of Mr Scruff,  Dilla and Lou Reed at play amongst field recordings from a sunny meadow on another planet. Then you get to the fifth track, Exposed wires, and it all gets a bit more unsettling, perhaps even better for it. I don't want to spoil the surprise but halfway through the track something happens that made me choke on my tea at work, narrowly avoiding showering the screen in the process. It's hilarious, if a little disconcerting, as are the barely audible growls and muffled rasping breaths that seep through in the following tracks. At it's heart, this could probably be described as a collision of hiphop and psychedelic drone but with so much more going on than either of these tags would suggest. It's rich, varied and colourful throughout, calming yet intricate with a discordant edge that sets it wholly apart from everything else around. I can honestly say that listening to this album has made me happier than anything else in recent memory.

Downliners Sekt

I heard one of Downliners Sekt's tracks on Mary Anne Hobbs' show the other week; having never heard of them before and missing her introduction to the track I was left bemused. It sounded like an unlikely collaboration between Burial and Ras G complete with 2 step shuffle, ghostly voices, layered static hiss and distorted found sounds. It wasn't until I listened back through the show that I discovered who the track was by and after a short frantic google search (that led me first to an obscure 60's Blues band) I arrived at this amazing musical collective's site. Their most recent EP, Hello Lonely, hold the nation is phenomenal, there are so many comparisons but still nothing quite like it and what's more all their music is free in digital format, at 320kbps and everything. Even more surprising is their relatively extensive history as a band, bridging the gap between post rock and dark electronics (see their 2008 album The Saltire Wave), something for which they seem to have garnered a range of plaudits from in the obscure circles of experimental rock journalism. Most remarkable of all their debut album Statement of Purpose, recorded between 2001 and 2005 is superbly put together and still incredibly fresh. In an unlikely testament to their depth and versatility, contemporary dubstep artists have recently begun to utilise these tracks in their mixes despite their age and original purpose as an intermeshing of breakbeats and post rock. It goes without saying that this music deserves your support so head over to their site and show them some love. Did I mention it's free?

John Cohen

Although you'd be forgiven for overlooking the open license releases on Net-Lab and Open Music it still stands that both sites deserve to be extensively explored. Free net labels have an immense amount to offer and due to their nature a whole load of otherwise untenable music gets an outlet when established labels wouldn't touch it for fear of losing money. Such is the case with John Cohen, whose collaborative project Dead Fader saw it's debut LP release Corrupt my Examiner on Cloaks' 3by3 label earlier this month. John's music is incredibly dark and agitated yet underpinned with richness and diversity belied by it's prickly exterior. I'm not going to lie, some of it certainly isn't for the faint hearted, you might even have to turn the volume down a couple of notches as  it weaves it's way from IDM to Noise and Industrial Metal (with occasional flourishes of Dubstep and Electronica thrown in for good measure). However there are moments in these stark compositions that leave you breathless and slack jawed in wonder. In particular the tracks [][][][] and -||- x  are ridiculous and unspeakably dramatic, both instantly finding a place in my heart that I never even knew existed. His self titled release and the follow up Noise Pollution are both free, as are all the other releases on Net-Lab and Open Music so there's no excuse not to go exploring.


  1. hey gren,
    thanks for the new cakes!
    the new layout freaked me out a little bit to begin with but its grown on me now and im finding it rather pleasent on the optical nerves, i am currently enjoying bugskull immensly, even with the beeps! and am presently d/ling john cohen and downliner's sekt for an afternoon full of musical cake and wickedness.
    japanese school girl hand signal! xx

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  3. Thanks much for the kind words about Communication. I am glad you enjoy it.