SKRONKFEST 2019 (a little report)

Armed with a bag of almost mouldy bananas and a craptop I walked from East Finchley to wherever the neerivrrsidestudios in London are located. On the map it was a one and a half hour walk but no money for traveling (bananas are expensive these days) it was the way forward. I went there because it’s Skronkfest, a mini festival run by Rick Jensen with a line up to die for and even space for open mic sessions. I always wanted to go to Skronk, but somehow always thought it was miles away, or at least more than one and a half hour walk. If I knew it was ‘this close’ I would have probably visited the frequent experimental and improvisational nights much more often… but oh well; Skronkfest 2019 is going to be my debut! And look at the cutest sound engineer:

Upon arrival, one of the precious spying undercover reporters already spotted that the feast had already started, a group of men improvising in a odour of cigarette smoke and beer. I went for the other option; the bar area in which the first official artist would started at any possible minute. After a small sound setup the one and only Ana Berkenhof had the honour to open Skronkfest officially with a set that was short but impressive. Ana looked fresh as if the artist has just came out of a shower, ready to thrill the room with a sound performance that would trigger the imagination. Ana used her vocal abilities to create a bassy noise voice, one that went down the road to meet up in the middle to give the voluminous sound of a steamboat that would intertwine with the elegance of a mermaid.

In the live room the legendary The Ron Caines Trio had risen up to provide a very impressive show of improvised jazz madness. It was quite the amazing sight and sound, as if three individual monkeys had teamed up to provide a bunch of creative energies, full of active wildness, with material that would tastefully crack or go full on berserk with wicked drumming that would make the muppetshow orchestra muppets look pale in comparison.
My feelings went from ‘what the f is this?’ to ‘wow this is wicked!’

Inside the bar area it was time for the highly anticipated performance from the duo Tujuh Kuda, I had already met DK & The Doll (the two members of this experimental group) upon entry and was super curious how they would sound like in audio form.. DK had a beautiful instrument that was made out of cigar box and The Doll had brought a whole collection of mystery stuff to be playful with.

I couldn’t stop smirking happily while Tujuh Kuda performed and did their wonderful thing; it was like a surreal blend of culture & noises that created a very trippy atmosphere to get your head completely lost in. The melodic lines provided by DK (who is originally from Indonesia) made it an instant hypnotic ambiance, while The Doll (originally from New Zealand) was providing the sounds that would rumble the speakers with weird voices and out of the box sounds. It was a combo of semi traditionalism meeting dramatic weirdness that went next level when The Doll started to use the action of shaving her own head into a promising sound scape performance! I couldn’t stop smiling as this was not just amazing to hear or see, it was also just extremely trippy stuff! It made me happy and The Doll’s hair a little bit thinner!

…of course I can’t blame Tujuh Kuda, but after their performance things went quickly down the hill ‘reporter-wise’. Their set was doing something within my body, probably unleashing some druggy endorphins that would make my goal to report on the entire event into something that would quickly become as a impossible thing. In my eye I saw Rick Jensen running around and asked how long he had organised these Skronk events and (if my memory doesn’t play jokes with me) it was something like three years! Apparently Rick is also a New Zealander who clearly can’t be missed in the London Underground scene as who else could possible organise such a packed and crazy event & let it parade by all so smoothly?

In any case, only three performances in and I was already loopy and lost when I stumbled in the live room in which my mind just simply got blown away by an audio visual performance that was so good that when it was over I could hear all audience members gasps lines like ‘amazing’ ‘great’ and the popular ‘wow’… the only problem was, reporter-wise ; who was this artist?!


I asked but the name that I thought I heard did not compute with my insider knowledge & now I could only guess.. I have a feeling it might have been Ben Moon, because damn, this psychedelic experience certainly took me to the moon.. on a gigantic screen there had been animated lines of a full colour spectrum moving upwards or becoming like a melange of eye trickery while the artist (hidden behind its equipment) would also throw in a unique sounding soundscape that was so psychedelic that even the most soberest person in the house would feel extremely high just by being a willing witness of this performance! It was a really amazing audio visual trip! It certainly blew my mind away!

I had been so mind blown that my disorientation quickly made my ability to report into a jubilant mess. I believe that when I was getting blown, inside the bar there had been a performance by lee boyd Allatson going on, or maybe not – at this point in time I certainly couldn’t tell any more- I think I’ve seen and heard Slate Pipe Banjo Draggers, which (if I had witnessed it correctly) quite a danceable psychedelic sensation that got me into a groove, not like Madonna, but more like we made it into Goa and someone had slipped in some drops of acid… it was probably the most straight forward set of the night, but certainly helped to keep the place (and my head) buzzing!

In the lovely live room there was (I believe .. don’t shoot me if I’m wrong..) Coded Dystopia playing, which did my heart well as it came across as a performance that took the audience straight to some kind of peaceful place, one in which yoga positions would have been not out of touch, blissful minds would have been tucked in a blessing. Think of the sound that triggered images of seagulls and whales swimming around in the imagination.

Now there is a guest appearance over here, as The Doll is taking over for a review of what’s going on in the bar section:

The Doll was on hand to give this eye and ear witness account of the extraordinary Toxic Chicken’s display of visual and aural plumage: “After a very sedate seated mini modular man, Toxic Chicken made quite the impression – towering over a laptop perched on a solid chunk of wood which was in turn plonked on top of a little wooden stool. With noodles sprouting out of the sleeves of their gaily-coloured floral ensemble this fera pullum delighted the ears with upbeats and cheer. First we were initiated into the delights of a daily breakfast bowl of NOODLE SOUP. Yes my feathered friends, a steaming bowl of it was devoured onstage.

The chicken crowed repeatedly with their mouth full of hot salty goodness. The audience were hungry for more so a Special Guest Banana Person entered the scene wearing sunglasses and brandishing bunches of BANANAS. The joy felt by this dancing fruit was palpable to all! And sensing our hunger the kind yellow creature shared their bounty by distributing bananas to the chicken, the audience and of course to the waiting floor. The bar staff were seen to be gazing with some small trepidation at the squashed noodly offering, but they still had a smile on. All hail hazardous poultry! Long may they reign!”

Thank you The Doll! Also for making the picture of what was going on in the other room at the same time; an obviously spectacular event in which Isn’tses & Golden Pillars of Misery took over the stage and sound system. They are legendary so just thinking about what had been going on is a justified reason to go and google them for previous recordings of live shows.

I believe that after the noodles and bananas had been cleared and Bagel the sound engineer cat had taken over the engine again, there was a performance by Matt Atkins in the bar area, one that was quite the abstract moodiness that might inflict high buzzing buzzes in the ears, the kind that you could feel still when you go home and lay in bed thinking about all your sins & the obvious successful Skronkfest night!

There was some amazing experimental free jazz music happening inside that felt like energetic pulses that can’t be placed in a box, vocal performances and so much more… but my head was gone, overwhelmed by all that this super packed feast had to offer! An amazing event that really seem to flourish by bringing all these experimentalists together to become a hotbed of underground music above ground! Well done all bands, individuals, artists, people and Rick Jensen & for organising this amazing festival & new river studios to be the perfect host!

Looking forward to Skronkfest 2020!!

||| Photos by KN & The Doll \\

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Black & Blue (A Capella Version) – Backstreet Boys

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tite: BLACK & BLUE A CAPELLA VERSION

artist: Backstreet Boys w/ vocals provided by Earwig Deluxe

tags: better, than, the, original, alternative, boy, band, experimental, solo, voice, vocal, improvisation, Knoxville, definitely, not, using, manipulation, to, maybe, get, hits, this, is, probably, going, to, get, taken, down, and, soon, don’t, blame, me, that’s, just, a, forecast, i, swear, and, it, shouldn’t, be, unexpected, really, like, i’m, just, pointing, out, the, obvious, here

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

mmmmmm

A HMMMMMMMM.

Something seems amiss my friends. Something is most definitely up (and it’s not just my boner from listening to Shape of My Heart, it’s not my fault those were some sensuous tones that stirred within me a whirlwind of passion that may not be entirely stopped unless it hits that cold front), but I don’t quite know what. All I do know is that we have been graced with one of the all time wowee bowee holy shit and take it away from me I don’t need to eat anymore finds, we have a cappella version of one of the hottest albums in the year of our Lard 2000. Lard 2000 sounds fancy. Like, future lard. The possibilities are endless. Well, they have an end alright. At 2000. What ends you ask? Lard. Guess it’s rather limited. Until you start asking how you get to 2000. Looks like we’re back in the future buddy.

Anyways, before I got sidetracked, this is a cappella version of one of the hottests albums in the year of our Lard 2000, by none other than the male humans too young to be called men of the rear roadways. Something tells me Lard 2000 takes the rear roadways in the future.

I kinda just want to slide a greasy hand against this persons head in congratulations for such a masterpiece. It will be grease from my own head because it is a nice thing to do. It is a very greasy part of my body. One might wonder why I wouldn’t want to just go for the direct application of grease in a head on head rubbing meltdown come together of the century but well, I want the usage of an applicator. It gives it a bit better ritual feel, so it feels more important. You know, I’m imparting something onto this wise entity, rather than just rubbin grease together. Classy. Run a respectful joint here.

This rendition speaks to my soul. It’s holy crap. We’ve gone up to 2002. If Goat is the master of the universe, how can it be stolen? Checkmate Battery Bunyuns. Oh shit. That’s not what they’re called is it? It’s Backstreet Boys. Ok, my bad. That was real time folks. Ah, stupidity.

But yeah! What a way for it to make it out into the world! Only just some

You ever think that like, people are slated to be famous and stuff, and that there was nothing that could have pried them from that fate? I feel like that’s a thing right now. Which is a fucking shame because that sure as shit ain’t me. It might be you though! So, in that case, I am happy. Someone’s gotta get the leg up. But don’t raise it too high. We don’t need a full view. (What?)

Truth be told I was hoping that this was going to have like some sort of nugget of goodness in it but not really. I even checked out their other stuff and it is ABSOLUTE GARBAGE.

Personally, I like it when the powers that be don’t point their nose down my way, even in a sneering appreciation of cleverness kind of way because either way they’re still looking. And you get your cheap laugh and your two seconds of fame but still hoofin down the scraps of fat from the liposuction tube (ok I am having a real hard time trying to word this properly, so here goes an entirely too long explanation: what I’m trying to say is that they eat human fat, from a bin, or whatever receptacle it is put in, and the best place for this is a surgery place, hospital maybe, and the surgery is liposuction. Would it just be fair to say the medical waste after liposuction? I felt there was a much better way to explain myself with words here but for the life of me the flow just isn’t coming. Well, anyways, thanks for that.), I think we are a little lost now.

Kinda wish I had a banana right about now. Sounds pretty good. I’m getting a slight headache reading about all the legal jargon regarding contracts and record labels and what not so before a blood vessel bursts in my brain and I die from a stroke I’ll just post the link to this piece and call it a day and forget about all the other stuff.

 

https://earwigdeluxe.bandcamp.com/album/black-blue-a-capella-version

Ya know what. I’m a tad angry now. I’m calling this shit. What in gods name is this? What was the point? What the fuck were you doing? This isn’t even clever. Like, it’s just shit. Utter. Shit. It was going to be drivel to begin with. But then another interloper appears and says why not. Yeah but still, fuck it. Fuck it to a million pieces.

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Hypo – Hypo “Domino Cascade”

Artist: Hypo
Title: Hypo “Domino Cascade”
Keywords: alternative experimental paris cold wave death disco gothic lounge musique concrete Missouri
label: Powdered Hearts

Let it to the freaks to deliver the right adventurous atmosphere, the contagious rhythm of a happy maniac with an additional sauce of a lucky free spirited playfulness that will make you feel as if the music is like an audio playground in which it’s actual fun to hang your ears in.
This Hypo is the one that has that whole freedom package in its bag pack of knowledge and doesn’t hesitate to unzip the whole damn thing to let it all hang out. You can feel and hear the creative powers of energising energy at work, sometimes going for complexity and at other times just buzzing away with a unforgiving groove; everyone is a winner over here!

Psychedelic mainframes are interwoven in these tracks along with the blessings of shameless out of boxness that gives Hypo the green card to be hyperactive in the do whatever they want department. If things go a little berserk at times it’s all part of the big plan. From organic melodies, beeps and bops, sniffs of organic jazz, sweet animals singing in electronica shapes to upbeat blurbs & smokey bits of stoney baloney materials in which stoners wade through the foggy sound in which even lazy laid back vocals of wonderful people rile the music; it’s so delicious that it would be fairly idiotic to miss out.

Hypno is staring as a hypnotic star of pleasure on this album, but it gives the entire show an extra jus that a whole bunch of this music maker’s friends are making appearances on this album. It helps to spice things up, make everyone feel like the spicy glitter on a druggy disco ball. Dark lights go along with colourful bright ones in this melange of togetherness, carefully aiming to make you wobble strangely along the sweetened rhythms and make the bleak white walls into one that you could step through & enter a psychedelic world of adventure and petite laid back wonders. I can’t believe I heard this album sober, as with an additional boost in the chemical zone, this hypnotic feast would probably turn into something of a next level listening experience. Good fun indeed!
https://powderedheartsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hypo-domino-cascade
<KN>

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Furchick – Thinking

Artist: Furchick
Title: Thinking
Keywords: experimental, Perth
Label: Dog Park

Wether you are thinking the most conning thoughts, or having multiple thinking sessions about what to get for someone’s birthday; the thinking music by Furchick is an ideal audio gift to apply in all situations. It might even be an ideal birthday gift to give on its very own!

We might have followed this artist step by step, but we did not hear anything like this thinking session before, making even me (as a audio listener) think a lot about all them potentials that are hanging out in all of us. But in the case of Furchick it goes out through total unexpected and pure ways, as if things come out on the moment and the chick grabs it with both horns, ready to ride it like a rodeo rider that won’t let go, calms down the bull, tames it’s surprised looking looks by giving it freedom and purity. Yep, crazy words of comparison and indeed even more stuff to think about.

But what we don’t need to think twice about is that the thinking music over here is absolutely beautiful. Even though Furchick herself claims in a private message that she is incapable of making pretty music ‘thinking’ proofs this own statement wrong, unless perhaps you are of such a kind that doesn’t think that vocals are music…
As apparently that is Furchick’s instrument here on this wonderful thinking session, one that is so beautiful that ‘official’ instruments simply don’t really have a leg to stand on as Furchick proofs that we don’t need them in order to make wonderful music.

And yes, I definitely think it’s music as it truly is… and it is captivating, humble, honest and heart warming. It also makes you think ‘wow’ as it’s like being in the aura of an artist, with Furchick herself being the instrument, composer, musician and producer at the same time! It is food for thoughts, opening the roads of potential for future generations that might have thoughts of music making but did not have the urge to follow the rules of instrumentalism; there is hope as Furchick proofs that beautiful thinking music comes from the heart and soul, two instruments that most living creatures are equipped with, but sadly only few have been brave enough to actually set them to work in order to create real music, such as the warming thinking soundtrack that Furchick does over here! Truly wonderful!
https://dogparkrecords.bandcamp.com/album/thinking
<KN>

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Caleb R.K. Williams & Ivonne Van Cleef – Music For The Carrion And Others Doped Vulture

Artists: Caleb R.K. Williams & Ivonne Van Cleef
Title: Music For The Carrion And Others Doped Vulture
Keywords: experimental santa fe bedroom recordings drone litoral lo-fi low rural psychedelia tascam western San Jose

That intense crazy look, peeking at us with a stare that looks all the way through us. It makes me feel as if we are a person in a western, doing the one bullet challenge of who will shoot first & who will aim the best. With fierce foot steps to gain a fair distance and music that fits al the trademarks for this traditional Hollywood moment, one of them is going to live and the other is going to bite some sand. This is the fitting soundtrack to it and all that’s missing is the actual shots being fired, which truly is fine as a deadly stare is already a pretty fulfilling killer enough.

The reason who nobody gets hurt has probably to do with the given fact of a certain Martin being drunk. We don’t know who Martin is but considering that and us not being Martin; it’s probably the owner of the intense stare. We ain’t trigger happy as it would destroy the music that will continue to lay down a quality atmosphere. It doesn’t take all too long before the eyes meet again but this time for a settling session of strong bourbon drinking. The music, rough and unshaven while also smooth and hot like a desert seems to turn up a brotherly/sisterly vibe in which the alcohol richly flew into the livers, so much so that enemies had become friends, twirling towards transitioning into potential lovers.

Of course after so much intensity, played out by a failed bullet duel and a friendly drinking session; the hangover kicks in for some roughed up mental state. Luckily the drugstore teepee isn’t far away. Only a few slow steps ahead until hopefully a wisecracking person would hand us a raw egg in a glass to battle the self inflicted headache. Now our day can start all fancy and fresh again!

And indeed, when all sobered up the intensity is back up again. Now the friendship and potential lover’s moment has faded into the point of no return, making again way for where this session had started earlier on: a duel! The booze had left the building, the melodic music had made the concentration up and turned the potential deadly outcome of this eye for an eye moment into one that is justifiably beautiful. It’s not clear who lives or does the opposite, but we do know that the moment of it all was worth all that had happened before.
https://ivonnevancleef.bandcamp.com/album/music-for-the-carrion-and-others-doped-vulture
KN

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Bryce Kepner – Transitions

Artist: Bryce Kepner
Title: Transitions
Keywords: rock bedroom pop dream pop indie indie rock loops minimalism pop singer-songwriter Mesa

Apparently Bruce Jenner isn’t the only one who went for some quality transitions, as also Bryce Kepner seems to have gone for it. This artist had giving it all away for you (and me?) but if you pay attention to some of the lyrics it’s not something that Bryce possible didn’t wanted to keep anyway. I mean who would enjoy keeping ‘pain’ unless you are a true masochist?

In any case Bryce Kepner went for a new start, a reborn moment of moments in which the artist hangs its trust in our guidance, while actually sounding pretty confident on his own account. A reassured attitude that wants to do its songs, production, backing vocals and singing like an artist with a well made up mind. Bryce Kepner doesn’t need our opinions to say what to do, as it’s clearly a case that the artist is already doing it without any of us holding Kepler’s hands for a procedure of unneeded confidence exchange.

Bryce Kepner seems to have gone for a minimalistic approach in production, which seems to work in offering the audio to the public in some state of self trusting that doesn’t seem to be unjustified. The artist has a nice voice and caries it decently through the very empty approach of music making, only providing the essential essences and accentuations & avoiding at all cost the sound of a muddy pool of over doing arrangements. Yep, the new Bryce Kepner really seems to carry itself around with a clear vision and confidence that truly shows off like a peacock that got all the right feathers out and about. Not too many, but just all the right ones!
https://brycekepner.bandcamp.com/album/transitions
<KN>

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Body Shame – The Solitary Vice

Artist: Body Shame
Title: The Solitary Vice
Keywords: electronic experimental abstract gonzo no wave noise Portland

Whose knocking down the door? A whole collection of manic metallic robotic drummers – so it seems. They drum like maniacs, steady and tight while a mechanic upper weirdo parades up front with a microphone and a fun fair effect popularised by reggae sound systems.

Oh please do come in, wade through my door at any time that you want, your music truly pleases me!

Ah, once in you seem to warn us about Richard whose apparently a vampire. Thank you for the warning and for the specified way of delivering this message. It’s a defiant sounding warning, one that feels more impressive than any alarm blasted out of a bypassing ambulance. A sniff of punk and shiny of repetition, more drums by the monkeys and you got indeed our full attention!

And after the vampire warning this unexpected visit also speaks about a werewolf that according to insider information is named Albert. Also here we get the message, being beaten It in our ears through a battling drumming pattern and a voice that spreads it out as if it’s trying to eat a werewolf while singing about it at the same time, Bon appetite, you crazy person!

I’m Not What I Am is the next message of our jubilant surprise visit… that’s all nice and well, but what are you than? The music speaks and my ears are hearing a bolstering attack on our social nervous system. Populist opinion would probably call this noise, but with the voice and the doomed theatrics it does sound more like the sound of a tortured artist that got its liver tied in a knot while being picked up by an army of wasps. Some judgemental thinkers might think that the army of monkeys and its jubilant vocalist might be a bit evil, but I do think that’s not the case, it must be a mask protecting the body of Body Shame for hurtful meanings opinionated opinions and other dislikable characters who look mostly down on whatever and whoever that they don’t know.

And when this person is delivering the message that it disgust us all, you know that it’s meaningful and real, possible born out of being tormented by people and now fully gone full circle to smother some hate all back in the faces of the haters again… I do miss the energetic monkeys drumming, but the realness of it all does make it into a good moment. If you have never been a C U & T you will probably be alright and not offended by this specific fist up the air.

As last bit the visitor feeds us with its own fear, blearing away like a full on puking episode that will get the hairs up and tears down the walls with a full on astral vomit in which all anger, frustration and anxiety comes out in one big blast! Don’t know if you really wanted to eat this but you simply going to get it force-fed, leaving us all a tiny bit bloated but Body Shame probably happily released and truly satisfied!

Goodbye and thank you for dropping by, see you next time!
https://bodyshame.bandcamp.com/album/the-solitary-vice
<KN>

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