NOW – Liminal Mix (LN 007)

Now - Liminal Mix

Now… we travel into a realm of free-floating waterfalls, giant red plastic balls and puffy white clouds against purple skies. Try not to fall off the edge of the gravity-defying rock canyons in the album artwork for Now’s Liminal Mix.

Artist: NOW
Title: Liminal Mix
Label: Liminal Noise Tapes
Cat#: LN 007
Keywords: Experimental Rock, Krautrock, Fuzz, Drone, Noise, Pop
Reviewer: Alex Spalding

From the album/artist description appearing on Soundcloud:

“NOW was founded in 1998 with the aim to bring together adventurous multi-instrumentalists who are as much in love with analogue synthesizers and electronics as they are with guitars, percussion and traditional instruments to play experimental pop. They have worked with visionary underground musicians such as Can’s Damo Suzuki (a joint album was released in 2007), Charles Hayward (This Heat), Salvatore, Kaori Tsuchida (Go! Team), Hugh Metcalfe, Rebecca Closure and Man From Uranus. Now have also written commissioned music for many compilations (e.g. Albino Radio, Two of the Beatles have died, Pie Paper (NZ)) and exhibitions (e.g. Harold Offeh’s ‘Being Mammy’).”

And from the post on the label’s Blogspot:

“Next out on Liminal Noise is a cassette by regular players on the London scene NOW. Celebrating 15 years of their existence this year, they’ve played with notables such as Damo Suzuki, A Hawk and a Hacksaw and Faust. Their release is entitled the ‘Liminal Mix’ and brings together a collection of tracks pursuing their particular brand of Kosmiche influenced experimental pop. Here is a track:”

Wow! A few of the names are familiar. This Heat are one of my favourite post-punk groups, and I’ve been listening to Can and Faust for years even though I feel obliged to mention that of the many Krautrock / Kosmiche groups these aren’t necessarily my absolute favourites, though they are pretty decent starting points alongside Neu!, it is said– making up a sort of highly acclaimed trinity of Krautrock, as far as most critics are concerned (while Absolute Elsewhere and Brainticket were probably my two greatest personal influences in these genres)… but it was hard not to be excited to hear what Now sounded like. Not to mention, Liminal Noise Tapes is always putting out great things, like Kostoglotov’s work for instance.

The first track, titled ‘Groovy Chick’, gets a warbling synth and rhythm together adding a wah-fuzz bass. I’m feeling it so far! Bits of electronic-sounding weirdness shoot out like a guitar run through strange processors, very avantfunk.

Next is ‘Creatures’, in which a thick sawsynth sequence grows steadily louder, and then these really nice tiny bells start playing… it’s like a sleigh ride through through an electronic German town abuzz with displays of yuletide cheer, coming mostly from the robots out of Kraftwerk’s secret underground laboratory. I mean, we all know Kraftwerk have secretly been building robots with which to take over the world, right? Harmonica and then a nice groove come in as well. It’s a really cool track!!

Then it’s ‘Don’t Make A Sound’ which, despite it’s title, does make a sound… starting with guitar fret flicking, then churning out a riff and adding a stompy drum beat. This track gets fierce! I love the drumwork on this album so far. I hear what sounds like a scissor snapping in the mix. Lofi vocals come into the mix, this sounds like a garage exploding. It’s taken down for awhile, slow building guitar drones, feedback and electronic noises… really great!

After that is ‘Fill Up The Gaps’, beginning with an eclectic beat and growing synth modulations. It’s something in almost the same vein as Add (N) To (X), with it’s Moog bass and acoustic drum groove, but more and more it is reminding me of many early forays spanning the ’60s and ’70s into crafting enjoyable electronic rock/pop. Sirens, lasers, ever changing analogue sequences. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, inducing me into a sort of hypnosis. The drums start beating off at the end, and then it devolves into a shuffle of noises and low, rolling modular bass.

Last is ‘With It’, and I’m sorry the album ever ends… a shrill chorus of whirring, buzzing electronics, then bass frequencies that start pulsating erratically, a low kick just barely audible. These synths can scream! 😀 The dizzy disharmonics are engaging my senses, we hear drums careening ahead, piano plays softly over the top. This is probably the most experimental production on this short work, and it’s amazing. So many layers of synth, strange noises… we’re left with piano and reversed-sounding synths with long-attack, and it’s really pretty, free. A bench is creaking. I hear something snap or crash. A low piano chord like human anger, resulting. Sharp, crisp notes from the piano in high octave… the way it’s been produced or recorded, there are gaps in the distance between some notes, when the sizzling hiss disappears, making the sounds seem like composites, tapestries of several recording, despite the cohesion. Well, cohesion… you know what I mean, I hope. A synth returns, it’s oscillation modifying subtly. The kick returns, the wash of synth layers with it… synthetic sounds beckon to you, loudly! Then, the track ends.

Very enjoyable listen! Normally, it would seem that attempts to bring together a diverse range of artists to do something experimental or pop or cohesive, or really anything, ends up sounding like a big wank at the end, if it ever even materializes… but this album really worked and had a magic all it’s own, all of the artists really made something worth hearing, standing apart from histories, or personalities… something appreciable and self-merited. I implore you… get it today, and share in the dream of awesome tape music experiences with me… you can find it at the link below:

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