R.Y.N. – ‘Cosmic Death’
For the uninitiated, R.Y.N. was the drone / void ambient project of Gateshead duo Pete Burn and Dean Glaister, active from 2003 to 2011. his release presents the band’s two 2008 albums ‘Cosmic Birth’ and ‘Astral Death’ together for the first time as a double-cassette package, complete with 11″ x 11″ poster featuring original artwork by Burn, taken from James Plotkin’s (Khanate; O.L.D.; Scorn) original masters.
QOHELETH – ‘Warmonger’
QOHELETH is built from the last remaining scraps of their sanity (Jeremy Hunt, Mike Strickler, and Caiden Withey). The resulting sounds and sights of the collective are rooted in upheaval: loud, obnoxious, and discomforting. Throughout their five-year existence, they have focused on three central tenets: pushing the musicality of noise to its limits, never standing in one place for long, and continually asking questions. Their latest album, Warmonger, explores the American love affair with violence. What happens when a country is: founded in violence, endowed with a mythos that both ignores and celebrates destruction, and continues to perpetuate it, over 200 years later? The American Dream is a violent one. What happens next? Warmonger reveals a more communal aspect of QOHELETH, as they invited friends to lend their vocals and noise-making talents to the party. Artists E.B. Taylor, K, Juan Carlos Lopez, and Jon Michael help broaden the sonic palette of previous albums, offering their own perspectives on what violence hath wrought. At the core, this record is one of lament, anger, and grief, tinged on the edges with hope. If there’s a path towards life and well-being for all, it has to start with a reckoning. This is ours. (includes the bonus free 6-track EP ‘Contaminator’ download)
Empty House – ‘Mushin’
Empty House is the new project from Fred Laird (Taras Bulba; Earthling Society). This debut record was recorded over a three day period in March 2021. The idea was originally based on the music set out by The Taj Mahal Travellers freeform soundscapes, Midori Takada’s marimba and harmonium excursions and Usuma Yakoto’s minimalistic rhythms. The Zen Buddhist approach of No-Mind or Mushin was adopted in the freewheelin’ way the album was created which was in a consciously unconscious manner with no actual idea or blueprint beforehand. Pick up whatever instrument is around and play and see what happens. The instruments that were around at the time of recording were – Organ, Guitar, Bouzouki, Shakuhachi Flute, Dizi Flute, Temple block, Tibetan bells, biscuit tin, a buddha radio, one of those drums that hippy buskers plonk about on outside Scope, congas and a Gakken Synth. Some field recordings were created by capturing a leaking faucet in a garden centre and the eerie sound of some bamboo chimes recorded in Fred’s garden the day after the first lockdown started (no traffic on the roads, up in the air or out in the street). ‘Mushin’ means no-mind or empty mind that you attain through meditation or if you’re a martial artist through your patterns (Poomsae, Kata etc). However recording an album on achieving Mushin, would be the sound of silence. So, the idea was to create drifting pieces of music like when tiny thoughts or images drift in and out of your head whilst trying to achieve Mushin – The distractions so to speak.
Orrin DeForest – ‘Harshcore 98-00’
A band of near mythical status Gateshead’s O.D.F. blasted onto the North East’s harshcore scene in 1998 and were gone in a flash three years later; their 2001 split album with Newcastle’s Jazzfinger the only remaining recorded output. Featuring the talents of Pete Burn (Marzuraan; R.Y.N.) and Rob Woodcock (Marzuraan; Tide Of Iron; Fret!; Platemaker et al) and remastered by Graham Thompson (Ballpeen et al), this re-issue of long-lost recordings, captured in 1998 and 2000, is a welcome reminder of the unconstrained liberating spirit of UK harshcore and a missing link in North East England’s rich hardcore punk lineage.