Compulsion | PO Box 19577 | Kilbarchan |Johnstone | PA10 2WX | Scotland | UK



KnifeLadder, Naevus, Dieter Müh
Slimelight, London

Over the past few years I've caught Dieter Müh live on numerous occasions. Their electronic sounds obviously inspired by the first wave of industrial music have always been invigorating. A short set of electro noise with Aleister Crowley acolyte Lon Milo DuQuette (recently recorded for release) pitching the language of the angels with electronic discord was, along with the short Current 93 set, a highpoint of last years Salon festival, curated by cult author and critic Jack Sargeant.

As they bury their heads in a bank of electronic contraptions, involving all manner of wires and devices, the electronic sounds are meshed with an assortment of pre-recorded sounds. 'You've never had it so good' bellows Steve Cammack, as he makes a rare vocal appearance, over atmospheric industrial noise. The electronic noise is bolstered with waves of clipped guitar noise. Later on in the set Dave Uden, the quieter and more studious musician, lets loose with an electronically treated vocal as he crouches over the front of the stage. The atmospheric noise pulsates over an almost melodic black electronic piece.

After the success of their vinyl LP, Tertium Organum on Tesco Records, let's hope they maintain the momentum as Dieter Müh are clearly one of the highlights in the post-industrial noise milieu.

Naevus is the dark folk project of Lloyd Jones and Joanne Owens, both prominent figures in London's underground industrial circles. Joanne features in the female power electronic outfit White Dog, while Lloyd occassionally performs drums for Sleeping Pictures and has an ongoing collaboration with Karl Blake as Retarder. For the Slimelight show they're joined by Greg Ferrari on guitar and the industrious John Murphy (KnifeLadder, Death in June) on drums and percussion. It's a fully fledged musical vehicle of dark folk and post-punk mannerisms. While the likes of Franz Ferdinand, the Futureheads are plundering the back catalogues of Josef K, Adam and the Ants and Gang of Four Naevus opt for the more obtuse Magazine and Wire, with echoes of Death In June and Swans - most notably on the stronghold bass, the deft acoustic guitar and the partly spoken vocals delivered by the shaven headed singer.

They open the set with 'The Body Speaks In Tongues', the title track from their Hau Ruck EP, but the majority of the Naevus set was culled from their Operative release, Behaviour. Their acoustic based tracks offer an intriguing take on the dark folk genre. Their only real concession to the genre is on the opening of 'While You Sleep' where Murphy performs some martialesque percussion. Naevus aren't apocalyptic or obviously spiritual their's is a much more personal vision and more abstract than their peers. Lloyd's lyrics are particularly oblique, and difficult to penetrate. They eschew the traditional verse-chorus structure, to the point the music almost acts a simple embellishment to the cryptic words. At one point, however, they opt for a straightforward blast of proto-punk sloganeering: 'One state. One church'.

Their unique slant on the dark-folk genre (where they currently and mistakenly reside) delivered tonight and captured on recent releases really puts them out on a limb, so it would be really interesting to see how Naevus would fare should they break free of the industrial ghetto. A recent session for French radio is released as The Body Speaks on Hau Ruck, and a new CD, Perfection is a Process, out now via Operative Records and Old Europa Cafe. Naevus are certainly worthy of your time.

KnifeLadder combine industrial experimentation with a combination of meditative and aggressive rhythms. The trio utilise percussion, bass and Korg synths. Kitted out in butcher's aprons over shirted uniforms they mean business, with an unremmitting wall of hypnotic noise.

It's a potent mixture of improvised industrial atmospheres, hyper rhythms and wailing instruments. Barr's low end bass adds a nice counterpoint to the improvised frequencies, while John Murphy augments with deft percussive flourishes, whooping and howling. KnifeLadder live are a primal experience that recall everything from the serated noise of Whitehouse, the aggressive percussion of SPK to the tribal beats of Crash Worship ADRV.

This was a long set from the trio of butcher boys where at times the pulverising meditative soundscapes lost focus - possibly due to the claustrophobic acoustics of the Slimelight - but when they hit their stride the music achieves an awesome power. Yet KnifeLadder are at their strongest on the more song based tracks from the Organic Traces CD. 'The Wilderness of Wolves' and 'Scorched Earth' which tonight loosely resembled Coil's 'Solar Lodge', manage to engage the audience without dissipating the force of the music.

KnifeLadder are quite a unique entity. Their improvised organic and electronic approach is well suited to a live setting, allowing them to seek a ritualistic trance state.

Key Resources:
Knifeladder - www.knifeladder.com
Naevus - www.naevus.co.uk
Old Europa Cafe - www.oldeuropacafe.com
Operative Records - www.operative-records.co.uk

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