Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dust and Lights

"The last three Cindytalk records have been the best, most assured releases of Gordon Sharp’s 30-year career. Issued by Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego, it’s hard not to hear them the triad as a culmination. Like most British men of a certain age (even in far-flung West Lothian, Scotland), Sharp first came to music via post-punk’s decree; to this day, The Freeze remain woefully underrated (especially their two sessions for John Peel). Much overrated, however, was the Peel session that led to Sharp’s association with Ivo Watts-Russell’s This Mortal Coil. “Kangaroo” notwithstanding, there was something about 4AD’s bourgeois glossolalia that just didn’t suit the fractured upbringing of this lad from Linlithgow. As I’d soon discover, that wasn’t all Gordon Sharp was not suited for.

Indeed, Sharp had been fucking around with gender roles (mostly on stage, mostly in Europe) for quite a while. Of that, I was aware. I pegged it as some vestige of transgression leftover from his more “industrial” days. But then I heard 2009’s The Crackle of My Soul — the first in the trinity for Pita’s imprint. The tune “Transgender Warrior” said it all without saying a single word: “Gordon” would now be called “Cinder.” Up Here in the Clouds soon followed, and while there was nothing as startling or revelatory as “Transgendered Warrior,” it was a beautifully damaged record all the same. I pegged that as Cinder finally being comfortable in her own mortal coil.

By the time The Crackle of My Soul saw release, Cindytalk collaborator Matt Kinnison had died of cancer. In the years post-“Kangaroo,” Cindytalk had dwindled steadily down to a one-man/trans-woman band. By the year 2000, on record anyways, it was really just Matt and Cinder. Hold Everything Dear, named after the John Berger book, is thus a lamentation. But make no mistake, a maudlin marche funèbre this one’s certainly not. The electronics are simply too intense, the field recordings processed too abstractly. First cut “How Soon Now...,” with its Teutonic child’s play soaked in sheets of feedback, sounds equal parts Stockhausen c. Gesang der Jüngling and Sutcliffe Jügend’s power electronics. There’s an isolation evinced in a track like “In Dust To Delight,” it’s perfect intervals slyly referencing Wagner’s opening to Nietzsche’s Zarathustra. On the other hand, Cinder’s sparse piano stylings never sounded so deliberate, as if every note was an ode to Kinnison.

Whereas before Cinder seemed content to let the samples do the talking, for the first time on the Mego discs, she physically intervenes here, tightening the contextual reins by adding that most fundamental of musical elements — rhythm. But because this is Cindytalk, you’ll not hear a quantized break or beat. Apropos for a tune titled “Floating Clouds,” forward motion actually starts from the ground up; there’s a teeming of organic life (winds and percussion, most prominently) underneath the sepulchral drone. In the interstitial pieces here, the piano often tolls pentatonic, perhaps a nod to the Japanese studio where much of this one was laid to tape. Developmentally, as with most of Cindytalk’s recent work, the happenings macro are still very much protracted. But what do you expect from an album named Hold Everything Dear?

Finding out precisely what is dear has occupied the majority of Cinder Sharp’s life. You may think because you are … but what are you, exactly? Male, female or some third party in-between? Re-listening to the records Cinder made as Gordon, you can almost hear him searching. It’s more than a crisis of style. Having found both a label for herself and for her music now, Cinder is finally free to look for other, perhaps more philosophical answers. Yes, life sucks, and then you die. But what happens to the ones you leave behind? Well, if you’re Cinder Sharp, you’ve come to know a thing or two about rebirth. And here, if you’re lucky enough to be in Cindytalk, ultimately, you make the greatest record of your second lease on life."

By Logan K. Young for Dusted Magazine .

"A muddy green or staring blue..."

I never loved a dear gazelle
"We’ve been quite taken with Cindytalk‘s brand of slow and fogged-out synthery since hearing Up Here In The Clouds and The Crackle of My Soul, both released for Editions Mego. On Hold Everything Dear (EDITIONS MEGO 122), the solo effort of Gordon Sharp has been supplemented with contributions from Matt Kinnison, the record was recorded in Japan, London and Essex, it took them five years to complete it, and it’s got some connection to the work of John Berger, the polemical left-wing writer and broadcaster. None of this might actually be relevant to the music we hear, but it bears Sharp’s signature traits: layered, slow-moving blocks of processed sounds, informed by a sense of authority and sternness of furrowed brow that verges on the severe. More romantic moments do intrude in the form of short and distant piano music fugues, and little excerpts of field recordings such as the voices of children which open the record. Yet for some reason, these glimpses of hope serve only to add to the abiding sorrow of this record, which seems to be taking universal pessimism about the state of the world into a metaphysical dimension; titles like ‘Waking the Snow’, ‘Hanging in the Air’ and ‘Floating Clouds’ are laced with the sort of cryptic symbolism you’d associate with an ascetic philosopher who has virtually withdrawn himself from all human intercourse and retreated into a world of private signs and meanings. Far more than producing vacant droning, Cindytalk manages to invest his work with complex undercurrents and overtones. Where the Droneskvadronen All-Stars are content to issue largely non-associative sounds which allow listeners to project their own delusions and fantasies, Cindytalk constructs his music to deliver all the intellectual content of an essay from a Marxist journal from the 1970s…also exists as a double LP set."

Ed Pinsent review for The Sound Projector.

I never loved a dear Gazelle–
Nor anything that cost me much:
High prices profit those who sell,
But why should I be fond of such?
To glad me with his soft black eye
My son comes trotting home from school;
He’s had a fight but can’t tell why–
He always was a little fool!
But, when he came to know me well,
He kicked me out, her testy Sire:
And when I stained my hair, that Belle
Might note the change and this admire
And love me, it was sure to dye
A muddy green, or staring blue:
Whilst one might trace, with half an eye,
The still triumphant carrot through
(Lewis Carroll)

Code 39

Rewind 2011 - Top 50 Releases of the Year

39. Cindytalk: Hold Everything Dear

See complete list HERE .

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rose Bonbon

L'ambiguïté sexuelle chantée à La Villette

"Ne dites pas à Susanne Oberbeck, alias No Bra, "sans soutien-gorge" en anglais, que ses performances bousculent la frontière entre les genres. Peu importe que la jeune artiste allemande soit programmée dans le cycle masculin/féminin de la Cité de la musique, à Paris. La programmation, éclectique, mêlait, jusqu'au 26 novembre, des concerts revisitant les voix de castrats, des danses sacrées de l'Inde du Sud où les hommes interprétaient, autrefois, des rôles de femmes, etc.
Vendredi 25 novembre, la scène underground était à l'honneur. L'occasion de découvrir des artistes à la marge dénichés par l'association parisienne In Famous, sensible aux questions de genre. No Bra, donc, chanteuse et vidéaste, s'est taillé une réputation de provocatrice. Parce qu'il lui est arrivé de se produire avec une fausse moustache. Parce que sa voix descend dans des graves insoupçonnés. Androgyne ? "Je ne suis pas transgenre, je suis juste moi-même", dit-elle en partageant une bière dans sa loge, avant de monter sur scène.

Jambes interminables fourrées dans un jean, cheveux blond vénitien aux fesses, yeux bleus et teint de rousse, elle rejette toute étiquette et déjoue les codes. "Dans les années 1970, note-t-elle, on ne rangeait pas dans une case l'ambiguïté sexuelle de David Bowie ou de Patti Smith..." Démonstration quelques minutes plus tard, sur scène. Monokini, godillots, chaussettes à paillettes, elle dévoile la courbe voluptueuse d'un sein sous un tee-shirt troué. Chante d'une voix monocorde, façon Nico, des histoires de la vie ordinaire. Et pourtant... Est-ce sa longue chevelure qui l'habille, ou son beau visage grave ? On ne sait par quel miracle elle évoque soudain une version moderne de La naissance de Vénus du maître italien Botticelli (vers 1485). Un ordinateur portable en lieu et place du coquillage. Alors, garçon manqué ou concentré de féminité ? On ne le saura pas, et c'est très bien.

En deuxième partie, place au crooner rose bonbon. Blond devant, brun derrière, robe courte et talons. L'écossais Gordon Sharp, du collectif Cindytalk, a trente ans de scène et de collaborations artistiques derrière lui (Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil...). Il a traversé les genres musicaux (post-punk, dark-wave) et semble avoir trouvé sa voie dans la musique ambient-industrielle. Après s'être frotté les mains au whisky - ou au brandy ? - et bu quelques gorgées de cet élixir, Gordon Sharp ferme les yeux, et improvise. Utilise sa (belle) voix comme un instrument qui ne s'arrête jamais et s'écoule dans une veine poétique et mélancolique. A côté de lui, Robert Hampson explore les limites de sa guitare tout en réglant les nappes électro.

Au-dessus, un film à la beauté expérimentale donne à voir quelques flashs d'Anna Karina dans Vivre sa vie (1962) de Jean-Luc Godard. Un clin d'oeil pour cet artiste qui a très tôt choisi de vivre la sienne en toute liberté, en explorant son genre à volonté. "Gender Freedom !", résume-t-il après la représentation. "Je suis un homme biologique, j'assume ma part de masculinité. Mais dès l'âge de 9 ou 10 ans, j'ai voulu explorer mon côté féminin. Je peux être parfois très mec, ou très fille, cela dépend des jours et de l'hume ur." Dans son album Transgender Warriors (2003), il a voulu rendre hommage, dit-il, aux personnes transgenres qui luttent pour exister. Des héros ordinaires qui font la "révolution" chaque jour, qu'il s'agisse d'affronter le regard des passants dans la rue ou de retirer une lettre recommandée à la poste, en jupe mais avec des papiers masculins.

Et l'on se surprend à fredonner "Cherchez le garçon/Trouvez son nom", le tube des Taxi Girl. Le genre, c'est une vieille histoire sans fin."

Clarisse Fabre for Le Monde

Photo by bladsurb

Art à part

Sunday, November 20, 2011


CITÉ DE LA MUSIQUE- Masculin/Féminin - Transgender Warriors
Transgender Warriors

Première partie
No Bra
« Entre la performance, la musique et les questions de genre, sans soutien-gorge, mais avec la moustache, elle se produit quasiment nue, vêtue d’une minijupe rose riquiqui. Immense et longiligne,elle psalmodie, impassible, des dialogues fictifs, absurdes et hilarants [...] sur fond de déflagrations électroniques. » C’est ainsi que Les Inrockuptibles décrivaient Susan Oberbeck, alias No Bra (littéralement : sans soutien-gorge), lors de l’un de ses passages à Paris en 2007. La jeune artiste expérimentale allemande, installée à New York, fait tout pour déjouer le carcan de l’identité sexuelle.

Seconde partie
Cindytalk est né en 1982 des cendres du groupe punk new wave The Freeze.
Gordon Sharp, qui porte le nom et le projet du groupe sur les cinq continents de l’électronique, se produit seul pour son premier passage à Paris. Sa performance – des plages sonores « sculptées en une série d’atmosphères », dit-il, dans lesquelles se glisse sa voix improvisée et du piano – s’inscrit dans le sillage d’un album
récent : Transgender Warrior (« Guerrier transgenre »), album publié par le label autrichien Mego.

Cindytalk voix, électronique, piano
Invité spécial
Robert Hampson guitare

Tarif C : 25 € (1re catégorie uniquement)

Cité de la musique
221, Avenue Jean-Jaurès
75019 Paris

There will be a Cindytalk radio session/interview on Ouvert la nuit (France Inter) on Thursday 24th November between 9-10pm (continental time.)

Friday, November 04, 2011


Lumberton Trading Company,the sister label of Fourth Dimension,founded in 2005 by Richard Johnson and Hassni Malik,releases LUMB017 CINDYTALK with PHILIPPE PETIT A Question of Re-Entry 12”

Limited to 300 and featuring two incredible collaborative pieces by France’s prolific Philippe Petit and Cindytalk built around piano, electronics, voice and that kinda trans-dimensional murmur and crackle we already love both of them for.
Out in late November 2011.
Available to pre-order HERE !

Friday, October 28, 2011


Cindytalk - live at Cafe OTO from Gianmarco Del Re on Vimeo.

Cindytalk Live at Cafe OTO performing with Julia Kent on cello and Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo on electric guitar and electric viola - 18th October 2011

"Third act of the night was the eagerly anticipated Cindytalk. Before coming on stage, Gordon Sharp told me he had prepared a noisy set. Having recently delivered a stunning trio of albums on the Mego label, home to Fennesz and Bill Orcutt, which saw him plunging into uncharted waters to develop a radically new language for Cindytalk, it was difficult to guess how that would translate into a live setting especially one tilted towards the noisier side of the spectrum. Starting off in a suitably sombre mode, more abrasive than melancholic, Cindytalk quickly captured the stage with an assured presence, which indicated that the transgender warrior was not willing to take any prisoners. And yet there was no posturing and nothing confrontational in Cindy’s voice. On the contrary it was immediately apparent how delicate and fragile Cindytalk’s sound was even if coated in an armour of steely dissonance. Performing with his eyes firmly closed as if cocooning himself as one does when inhabiting a non-space as described by Marc Augé, and only occasionally glancing towards the audience or to the back projection onto which spilled images pertaining to the feminine, I felt like an intruder eavesdropping on a very private conversation.

It made me think of a passage from a Don DeLillo novel The Body Artist. “That night she stood outside his room and listened to him whimper. The sound was a series of weak cries, half cries, dull and uniform, and it had a faint echo, a feedback, and carried a desolation that swept aside words, hers or anyone’s. She didn’t know what it meant. Of course she knew. He had no protective surface. He was alone and unable to improvise, make himself up. She went to the bed and sat there, offering touches and calming sounds, softenings of the night. He was scared. How simple and true. He was there in the howl of the world. This was the howling face, the stark, the not-as-if of things.”

Granted that there is no whimpering in Cindytalk sound, it is just the primeval fear I felt creeping up on me that brought me back to this passage, the feeling of loneliness echoed by Anna Karina’s face flickering on the screen. But it might have easily just been me projecting. Whatever it was, I was left trembling until, like softenings of the night, Julia Kent and Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo joined the proceedings halfway through Cindytalk’s set tracing the contours of a possible path leading towards the light. Without holding onto the helm, Cindy let them gently steer the boat within reach of the shore but still refusing to drop the anchor. The pervasive sense of displacement so intrinsic to Cindytalk’s music remained intact. Never going for the easy option Cindy sat at the piano like someone trying to articulate in a foreign language something deeply personal.

Having prepared myself to a barrage of noise I kept loosing my footing taken aback by the sparseness of the sound enveloped by Julia Kent’s cello and Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo’s electric guitar and viola with murmurs of appeasement. It was a performance that subverted my expectations. Once again, I will borrow from Don DeLillo’s novel to voice my feelings. There is a passage where he writes about the wind, which sums up my experience “There is something about the wind. It strips you of assurances, working into you, continuous, making you feel the hidden thinness of everything around you, all the solid stuff of a hundred undertakings-the barest makeshift flimsy.”

In the end I was left with more questions than answers, and that to me is always a good sign."

Gianmarco Del Re for FLUID RADIO

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rebirth in Autumn

Just as nature lulls itself into its wintry sleep,the official CINDYTALK WEBSITE has been upgraded.
Walk through the rustling leaves...

Friday, October 07, 2011


Cindytalk (solo) will be playing in Berlin tonight (Friday 7th october)
alongside C-drik Kirdec and others.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Of Heart And Silence

Cindytalk interview for French blogzine  D-Side Web ,"De couer et de silence".
Hold Everything Dear review HERE .
Original interview in English:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"A taste of ash with the scent of burning embers..."

Heady times indeed to be a Cindytalk fan, this is their third album in as many years after quite a few out of circulation. Gordon Sharp completes his trilogy of recent works in grand style and surprisingly enough, there's even some prettiness to it. This latest incarnation of the band have taken the concept of abrasion as art to it's limit, alienating a lot of the fans who have been waiting and waiting for a return to their darkwave roots of the 80s. 'Camouflage Heart' is the one I'm speaking of, kids, an album of viciously forceful rhythms and almost psychotic vocals. 

These last three albums have pushed the extremities of Cindytalk's sound relentlessly in wildly confrontational ways. You can not ever know what kind of record you're going to get from this bunch, they don't do repeats and they most certainly don't take requests. Just listen through this act's discography and it will soon become apparent to you: Cindytalk do what they damn well please and as for the muse which inspires them... 'Transgender Warrior' is more than just a single. 

Sharp gives us quite a few excellent impromptu piano bits throughout but never do they become pompous or overbearing, they accent like ice water on one's back in the searing summer heat. You'll feel a quickening of breath as you're pulled through the ghastly sonic landscapes of what sound like eviscerated hymns twisted and bent by the cruelest of means in the name of creative exorcism. There have been some comparisons made between this one and a film score he composed back in 1988 entitled 'The Wind is Strong...' which are not without merit, however, instead of doing short and sweet little cues Gordon extends and enhances the spiteful nature of his work to new heights. This is not a feel good release nor is it going to make anyone's party playlist; it will raise the hairs on the back of your neck and send chills down your spine. You decide which you prefer, I'll be wearing a scarf. 

It's a taste of ash with the scent of burning embers that 'Hold Everything Dear' imparts as I play it and for being the length it is, you won't even notice any time has passed. How Mr. Sharp manages to pull this off is quite beyond me, I've played all three one right after the other even changing up the order but the potency of what's going on here is not diluted in the least. Here's the genius part of it, when played alongside those infamous 80s works, this material clearly shows much more range; an indefinable depth which never could have been achieved if this bunch had stuck with the pre-determined path their brief flirtation with pop music (This Mortal Coil) was beckoning with. It's all the more impressive to know that this kind of work has an outlet and with any luck a new generation of fans who will fearlessly embrace the uncompromisingly unique style of a band who's existence is similar to a viral form: just because there aren't any symptoms does not mean there isn't continual activity and sentience lurking outside the scope of vision. Waiting. 

Before I go, I'd just like to add that Cindytalk have been a continual source of inspiration and one of the few remaining bastions of originality to me for well over twenty years. I feel it only proper that I thank you, Gordon, for making so many blindingly visionary records throughout your career and hope there are many more to come.

Peter Marks
13 Sep 2011
Reproduced by kind permission of  Brutal Resonance-Hold Everything Dear review.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dissolved Boundaries

"Cindytalk are enjoying an increased amount of exposure recently as a result of the trio of fractured ambient albums released by mainstay Gordon Sharp on Editions Mego.It would be a shame if this detracted attention from the full group, whose performance tonight verges on the shamanistic - powerfully dominated by a lucidly funky Paul Middleton on drums.A now wholly improvisatory concern, Dan Knowler's versatile guitar moves everywhere from sheer blizzard to angular Beefheartian flourishes.New recruit Jacob Burns opens up subtle electronic wormholes, Gary Jeff's bass covers dub-like foundations, melodic runs and abstract texture with Sharp's spectrally anguished vocals and body language controlling the overall flow.This emotional maturity allows for that very rare thing : a melting pot where the boundary dissolving of genres results in something genuinely original and uncategorisable."

Supernormal review by Jonny Mugwump for The Wire, October 2011.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vogue Anglaise

Cindytalk Vogue Interview -English

August 2011

1. Hold Everything Dear takes its name from a book published in 2007 : how is it linked to it and why did you want to refer to a work that is quite recent ?

My Partner gave me a copy of this book in 2007 and it touched me deeply.The strength of vision and poetry contained within John Berger's writing had a huge impact upon me.I was working on several different threads of music at that time, secluded away in the mountains of Kobe (Japan), surrounded by "the calligraphy of birds…", i was attempting to re-position myself musically, with only my computer and a mini-disc (for field recordings) as my earliest work with the computer, "the crackle of my soul" was deliberately noise-based and i followed that trajectory more or less with "up here in the clouds" but i was determined to make this latest piece i was working on (in 2007) a bit more STILL.attempting to take some of the nervousness out of my work.i'm nervous by nature, so no easy task as my back catalogue will testify - though, there have been previous attempts at capturing a more tranquil mood with short pieces of piano from "in this world" and "the wind is strong".all too fleeting though and i wanted to stay in that moment of tranquility for longer.I'd recorded a track for a Cherbourg-based compilation for Trinity magazine entitled "Surrounded by Sky and the Stillness of Time" which was a nudge in that direction and then i read John Berger's book and it solidified my belief in what i was aiming for.I mainly use non-melodic sounds to construct my work, whispers from the machinery that collide to create an implied melodic sense.small moments of pure magic that when fitted together create something new and otherworldly.Berger's writing connects because he has an artists eye for the small details that somehow get disturbed, forgotten or pushed aside by that element of spectacle in society that holds our gaze and seduces us away from our paths.It didn't matter to me that it was a recently published book.I just wanted to herald it and pin my colours to that mast.I hope that even one person that hears my record, is inspired to read the book.the world needs to pay attention to such voices.

2. Hold Everything Dear comes quite quickly after last year's Up Here In The Clouds : what do you feel those records have in common ? Are they a reaction to one another ? How are they affected by the fact that they are on Editions Mego : does the label have anything to say about the music itself ?

I had all three albums nearly completed when i first joined the Editions Mego stable.I had begun my computer sketches in 2001 but i was moving between North America and Asia during the first few years - I spent 2003 in Hong Kong and was inspired by the sounds in that magnificent "city"..In early 2004 i had relocated to Kobe in Japan and was ready to pin my ideas down.By 2005 the first album (Crackle) had taken shape.Then the second album (Clouds) started forming and by 2007 that was almost finished so i started to sketch new ideas for a third album (Hold Everything Dear.) A trilogy seemed organically natural.
The point being that the work on all three projects definitely overlapped, so i would hope they are all intrinsically connected.However, i was determined to  approach each one as differently as i could.With Hold Everything Dear i wanted to somehow find that stillness and to involve more "actually played instruments" and the field-recordings i'd been collecting on my travels around Japan and China.At this time i had also re-connected with one of my old Cindytalk bandmates from London, Matt Kinnison.He had been incredibly supportive about my earlier computer experiments, which were something of a leap from previous Cindytalk work, so during the sketching of the third album Matt started sending me sounds he'd been working on at his studio in Southend, Essex.He'd been experimenting with Yayli Tanbur and Trumpet Marine, so he sent some of his Trumpet Marine recordings which i incorporated into my work.These were sadly to be amongst the last music he made, as he died of cancer in 2008.Added to this i had it in my mind to record some short piano improvisations for the album too.The involvement of Editions Mego came in the spring of 2009, i think, i was back in London working with a new band line-up, working towards our Autumn tour of France.In fact,band member Sherrill Crosby had secretly sent all three albums to Peter Rehberg, as she knew it was a label i was particularly fond of.He liked them and offered to release all three.I'm not a voracious collector of music, i'm usually too busy making my own but i try to keep an ear open for new and interesting musics.I had become aware of Mego in the late 1990's with Pita, Farmers Manual and Fennesz and i'd followed it's development with great joy over the years.It seems as though Peter had liked some of my early music with Cindytalk, especially the more abstract and experimental work and there's no doubt that since then i'd been inspired by what he and his fellow Mego artists were doing, so i think that this coupling has been very special for me and hopefully to emego as well.I don't necessarily feel i'm technologically at their level but i hope that i bring a different set of skills and maybe add a little shade of warmth to the mix.

3. Your sound seems to rely very much on found noises and field recordings : how do you record / find them ? How do you pick them up to be part of the music ? They seem very much present on the new record : is it a way for you to incorporate the real world within your music which would be too abstract otherwise ? Is it a way of making the record a sort of diary of a particular moment ?

Hmmm, even back in the punk days with The Freeze (Edinburgh punk band 1976-1982) i was using found sound and tape recordings at live gigs.It just seemed natural to play with sounds, to take disparate elements and throw them together to see what might happen.Early on i recorded a family conversation and used it as a backdrop to a live gig.That playfulness was taken to much further extremes when we changed our name to Cindytalk in 1982.Our albums from Camouflage Heart onwards are full of such moments.Camouflage Heart ends with sounds i'd recorded at Euston Station (London) in 1984.As some people walk around with a camera taking snapshots, i carry a mini-disc recorder and record the sounds that i find interesting as i go along.I'm fascinated by the everyday sonic motion that surrounds us.It's always been a huge sonic inspiration.I was influenced by the original EG ambient releases and early European Industrial music and both used environmental sound within their ideas, in very different ways.At this moment, on a warm summers day in London, the door is open and the sound of construction
fills the air.I always liked that, intermingling with the birds, the trees, the sounds of nature.That's the essence of music for me.Since i became a huge fan of the films of Yasijuro Ozu some years ago, whenever i hear those sounds now i'm instantly and beautifully transported to Japan… much of Ozu's best work of the 1950's features the sound of the post-war re-building of Tokyo.It's intensely elegiac to me.During my own travels through Asia, i wanted to capture something of the essence of these places and my way of doing it is through sound recordings.It seems natural for me to then make music with these recordings.Instinct plays a big part in that of course…. during the recordings for Hold Everything Dear, my partner and i visited Shanghai, which of course is one of the biggest buildings sites in the world - constant dustflow, constant clanging of large machinery - we happened upon Fuxing Park in the old French Quarter, at the park gates we stopped to read a sign which said something along the lines of  "civilised park of infinite tranquility"…  we smiled and walked inside.we didn't emerge from the park for several hours and when we did eventually leave, it was reluctantly. it was exactly as it had promised on the sign, our cynical european minds, suitably altered.the recordings i made in there were blissful.Starting with the machinery from the outside then onto a class of ballroom dancers next to a sparkling fountain (In Dust to Delight.) From there i recorded mesmeric kite flyers, a mah jong tournament and a random harmonica player who just happened to be wandering around the park as he played (Fly Away Over Here.) All very particular things that were happening in that park on that day.The poetry of everyday life.Just like an Ozu film.Of course there are other found sounds and field recordings that are processed into noise, melody and percussion as well.

4. Piano and guitar also are featured : what is your relation to those instruments ? Do you play them yourself or do you sample them ? What attracts you to their sounds ?

There are no guitars on this album.Piano, definitely.All of the Piano pieces are improvised.I'm not a trained musician and couldn't play any tunes on request but i absolutely adore the Piano.It was a matter of pure instinct for me to attempt to find simple melodic structures with the Piano.I don't own one and rarely get the chance to play, so each time i do it's a matter of re-aquainting myself with the instrument.It's a love affair.Ultimately, i'm a singer, so i think it's likely that i'm trying to find a way to sing through the Piano.I love melody as much as i love noise so i'm always trying to flesh out those tiny, fleeting moments of beauty, to capture them before they slip away.I also love the percussive aspects of the piano, the clicking and chiming of the hammers, even the creaking of the piano stool appeals to me, it merges nicely with my breathing as i's organic, and very pure.As far as sampling is concerned, there are no boundaries for me with that.I began this particular phase of Cindytalk by dj'ing at hardcore techno parties, using turntables as my instrument.This was before i even had a laptop.I would abuse and torture the records and try to build up a fabric of noise and rhythm.Then, when i eventually got a laptop (2000) i was able to start sampling some of those brutalised sounds and use them as building blocks for my experiments.I also used cd-decks in a similar fashion.

5. Actually, what instruments do you use ? And how do you process them ?

The only actual instruments i use are my voice, the piano and a virtual analog keyboard (a Nord Lead 2.) Everything goes through my Mac Book Pro where i use Bias Peak, Ableton Live, Native Instruments' Reaktor and Steinberg's Cubase 5.I'm not particularly interested in software, gadgets or technology to be very honest, all i care about is knowing enough so i can write poetry with them.It's a means to an end for me, which i realise is unusual for artists in this field,where the fiddling is an end unto itself.I'm less interested in the processes and much more so in the architecture and structure of the sounds.That's not to say i don't have a lot of fun whilst i'm creating this music, i absolutely do but i don't dwell on it.It's the pure sound and shape of things that gets me excited.

6. Your music is very much atmospheric but always makes itself felt and heard : drones are both very subtle and very present, on the forefront. Who or what has the most informed your sound ?

I'm Scottish, so i'd say that traditional folk music is the first thing that informs my approach.And Celtic folk music from a Scottish angle usually means laments and melancholic moods.The long drones of the highland pipes are a great love of mine, especially the classical bagpipe playing of the Piobaireachd (pronounced
Pibroch), which lends itself very well to experimental areas of music.Whilst Cindytalk were touring in the U.S. in 1996, we'd stopped somewhere and i had been introduced very briefly to a cd box set of sounds recorded in deep space.Sub bass, piercing crackles & solar storms, i haven't heard any of that since but
i was certainly intrigued enough that i wanted to attempt to create a music which had some of that other worldly mystery to it.i only caught a glimpse of it but i
sometimes feel as an artist it's better not to see the influence too clearly but rather to see it from the corner of your eye, then imagine what it could be like and
from there you can set about creating your version of it.Another great but more recent inspiration is Gagaku, the traditional court music of (Shinto) Japan, which to many western ears sounds jarring and discordant but to me is an absolute height of sonic beauty.I grew up listening to Brian Eno, the dark ambient tones on Discreet Music (1975) were an inspiration for me as were his seminal albums with Robert Fripp No Pussyfooting and Evening Star, though i was less interested in Robert Fripp's guitar noodling than i was in Eno's droning synths.Eno's subsequent albums, Music for Films, Music for Airports, On Land and others became crucial influences in my developmemt.Later, i was hugely invigorated by the long slow deep tones of Thomas Köner's early work.Asmus Tietchens is another that i find inspirational.

7. What difference do you make between a record and a live concert : how do you "reproduce" the record on stage ?

That's a dilemma of sorts, one that i'm always trying to reconcile.I'm an improviser at heart and with these recent albums i've improvised the strands and then pieced them together in as poetic a way as i could.But i'm not convinced i would be able to perform them live in this way, not on my own at least.One way of dealing with this was to put together a full live band, using my computer music as an undercurrent thread and have the band either perform written songs or improvise within that fabric of sound.It has been working very well that way.It's quite a unique approach which has great dynamic tension as the music is being pulled in different directions as it progresses.However, lately i've been picking up more and more bookings purely in the solo Cindytalk guise, so what i generally do with that is to very carefully structure a computer set culled from my repertoire and from that solid foundation, improvise voice and piano alongside it.At some point i'd like to be able to use the computer live to generate new sounds from a library of threads and sketches that i have loaded onto my hard drive.. but I don't want to give up singing in the live situation entirely, so we'll see how that develops.It's still a big learning curve for exciting one though, nonetheless.

8. Transgender is often quoted when it comes to you. But, how do you feel it shows in the music ? do you think the transgender issue affects the music you are making ? In which ways ?

I was "transgendered" before i was a musician or singer.I've felt a strong gender shift since early childhood, so in many ways my whole approach to life, which includes my work, has been shaped by that.Although the same could be said about being from Scotland too insomuch as these things affect the way we see anddo things.My gender "difference", as a young person certainly detached me from those around me growing up.Made me very solitary, very internal, made me think deeply, from a very early age, about who i was and how i might be able to connect with the world.We all do that of course, and in fact, i truly believe that we're all unique but if you have a specific "difference" that causes you to struggle with those around you it can force you into corners which either destroy you or toughen
you up.mine was certainly the latter.I always felt as though deep inside i was "female" but i was strong enough when i was young not to entirely discard my "male"aspects, so i was equally interested in say, football (i'm a lifelong glasgow celtic supporter) as i was in poetry.of course i don't particularly pay much credence togender conditioning, i prefer to just be a human being who likes pink AND blue to use a gender cliche.But i decided that when i was very young.. so from an early
age i was gender shifting in very natural artistic approach has always been hammer and feather and i imagine that is heightened by my being as comfortable with the "feminine" as the "masculine".as mentioned previously, i don't necessarily believe that harsh dynamics in music are masculine and thata lighter touch is feminine, rather, i feel they are just aspects of a more rounded human approach, although i'm yet to be convinced that's a universally held view.
Cindytalk came out of a relatively harsh European post-punk / industrial scene and i remember vividly being castigated in response to our second album "In This World" (split into two separate vinyl albums - one containing mainly dark harsh noisy tracks, the other, much quieter, more subtle, desolate pieces) for daring to show that lighter touch.the accusers thinking we'd betrayed our industrial roots by becoming more girlish in style.not a criticism i was at all concerned by.It should
be said that i'm no expert on the gender situation, i haven't studied it but i have lived it for most of my life.i prefer to define my own position and allow it to be fluid rather than let someone else who doesn't know me, tell me who or what i am and how i fit or don't fit in with my world.we all too easily succumb to that in our lives, sadly.Transgender is just a loose term of reference though, it only hints at who a person is.a label to make it slightly easier in attempting to understanding how we are.My third sex position, if you will, is very important to me, it gives me the freedom to be who i choose to be in this fucked up and intolerant world BUT i have no real desire to be seen as just everybody else i'm an amalgam of many different moods and characters and as i stated previously, being a Scottish Celt
has just as much of an impact on my life and music as does my gender position.Being called Cindytalk is no co-incidence though, when i was choosing this name back in the early 1980's i was very determined to give my music a "feminine" title and i still see Cindytalk as having a particularly "feminine" soul… also, alongside the serious artistic dimensions of my work i also have a HUGE amount of FUN picking out nice clothes and shoes to wear

9. You have played with Robert Hampson : what is your relationship and what does he add to your music ?

I've long been inspired by Robert's work, specifically Main and his eponymous solo works.I was aware of his first band Loop from their beginnings but it was all a bit too rock'n'roll for my tastes, however, when he moved into more abstract areas with Main, i totally fell in love with his work.I'd been going on a similar path myself and definitely saw him as a fellow traveller.He has an exquisite artistic vision.Very pure.He's a tad more academic than i am in his approach but we both have a similar sense of the mischievous.Previously, I hadn't known him personally, i was just listening to his music from afar, however, i had dreamed of working with him in some capacity and purely by chance the first day i met Peter Rehberg to discuss my Editions Mego releases in 2009, he was also meeting Robert for a similar discussion regarding Robert's work.I took advantage of the co-incidence and hung about to meet him.We hit it off immediately, as though we'd been old friends for years and we very quickly started considering a split release on eMego, which eventually became a February 2010 10" vinyl release "Five Mountains of Fire" / "Antarctica Ends Here.It was then a logical step to discuss making music together in some form or another.Robert joined me at the Domino Festival in Brussels in April of this year where he played guitar live for the first time in about 13 years.Within the Main structure he had abandoned the guitar for field recordings a long time past but he had intimated to me that he was looking to re-explore the guitar and i felt that him joining me in Cindytalk might be a nice place to start.We worked from my computer-based music and from that foundation we improvised voice and guitar respectively to create new layers of fevered sound.He hasn't joined the band in an way, of course, it will be more of a freeform arrangement where we will occasionally join up and do whatever takes our fancy… both in a Cindytalk sense and possibly with the newly re-constituted Main as well.In fact, I'm hoping that he will join me for the Cindytalk concert at the Body & Soul Festival : Masculin / Feminin at Cite de la Musique, Paris on the 25th November.

10. After all these years, where do you feel the music is taking you and do you think you have the kind of life you wished for when you released your first records?

Music, for me has always been about searching, communicating, adventure… i've never known exactly where it would take me and i still don't but it has certainly been an exciting journey so far.Lots of twists and turns, some seriously beautiful moments and some deeply harsh and painful ones.I started my journey with little more than DESIRE in my armoury and had to learn how to communicate musically from scratch… now i'm able to perform live with a computer,my voice and a piano, if you'd suggested that to me back in 1976 when i started, i would have been incredulous.Thankfully the desire is still there and burning as brightly as ever, so that means i'll continue to attempt to find new corners to play in, new areas to explore… i'm not a trained musician, or an academic with a readily available theory about my music, i see myself as a normal person who continually seeks out new sonic territories to play in, always attempting to share my vision of the world with anybody that chooses to stop and listen.i want to emphasise the simplicity of my approach, to celebrate those that quietly go about their lives in radical ways.not necessarily feeling the need to make a huge fuss about who or what they are, just being and doing will be that revolution of their everyday lives.simple, honest music is hopefully a soundtrack for that state of mind.i shock myself occasionally, that i'm still doing this, that it has allowed me to travel and meet new people and that i still have a platform to make and share these works with others and i'm reminded that there are people who have helped me over the years, many people without whom i couldn't have done this… i feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to still be able to share my particularly awkward and melancholic view of the world.Where will it take me next? I have absolutely no idea, i just hope that wherever it is, i still have my eyes, ears and heart open and that i'm wearing a beautiful dress and a pair of killer heels……..

Zen Sonore- Cindytalk pour VOGUE

Cindytalk interview for Vogue France by Joseph Ghosn

The rest of the interview appears in Ghosn's own blog.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Surge,Seethe and Shimmer

"Hold Everything Dear" reviewed by Mark Fisher in the September issue of UK magazine
The Wire.

Friday, August 05, 2011

"Hanté par l’absence mais habité..."

Avec Hold Everything Dear, Cindytalk poursuit le chemin débuté en 2009 chez Editions Mego. Toujours un peu plus loin dans l’abstraction et le minimalisme, toujours un peu plus beau.
Cet album est le dernier opus d’une série initiée en 2009 avec The Crackle Of My Soul et poursuivie en 2010 avec Up Here In The Clouds montrant Cindytalk explorer de nouvelles voies sonores. Ce qui est un peu le paradigme de Gordon Sharp, âme de Cindytalk et membre permanent de la formation écossaise depuis ses débuts en 1982. D’ailleurs, d’âme, il en est beaucoup question tout au long d’Hold Everything Dear. Avant tout un très beau disque. Majestueux, d’une lenteur acerbe, d’un silence assourdissant et surtout, doté d’une aura singulière, peut-être encore plus que ses deux prédécesseurs. Sans doute parce qu’il s’agit d’un disque semi-posthume. Composé et enregistré à deux, entre le Japon et l’Angleterre, entre 2006 et 2011, entre Gordon Sharp et Matt Kinnison, entre la présence de l’un et l’absence de l’autre car Matt Kinnison est décédé en 2008. Le disque évolue à la fois avec lui et sans lui, son absence exacerbe sa présence au moment de l’écoute, la rendant à la fois spatiale et spéciale. Le disque lui est dédié mais l’est aussi à l’écrivain britannique John Berger, Hold Everything Dear étant d’ailleurs le titre d’un recueil d’articles et d’essais mêlant politique, sociologie, poésie et psychologie, écrits au cours de ces dernières années et pour la plupart publiés dans le Monde Diplomatique, El Pais et autres quotidiens internationaux.

Il faut dire que Cindytalk a toujours entretenu des liens forts avec la littérature (Wappinschaw, sorti en 1995, comportait déjà une collaboration avec Alasdair Gray par exemple) et plus généralement avec l’art sous toutes ses formes, ce qui apporte non pas un concept mais un message sous-jacent, une dimension supplémentaire à sa musique, même si celle-ci s’écrit désormais sans paroles et que sa voix s’est tue. Ce qui n’a pas toujours été le cas. Cindytalk a eu plusieurs visages et plusieurs musiques : apparus en 1982, la première vie des Écossais se déroule à l’ombre des friches industrielles d’un post-punk très noir et martial dont je ne peux que vous conseiller l’écoute (Camouflage Heart pour n’en citer qu’un, crade et sombre). S’ensuit un parcours tortueux, aux mutations et changements de line-up nombreux avec, pour seul dénominateur commun, la présence de Gordon Sharp, de sa voix et de son piano puis de son piano seul, la musique oscillant alors entre expérimentations concrètes, ambient et électronique aux digressions noise et industrielles.
Ce dernier disque ressemble à une forme d’aboutissement. Complètement épuré, tout comme le line-up du groupe. Débarrassé de tous oripeaux. Des anciens visages de Cindytalk, il ne reste plus grand chose, ou plutôt, tous ses anciens visages se retrouvent amalgamés dans celui-ci. À force de sculpter sa matière sonore, Gordon Sharp semble avoir atteint le cœur, et celui-ci est habité de vide. Comme un éther. Une large part est laissée aux field recordings, rendant Hold Everything Dear grouillant et habité, presque vivant. Et entre ces bruits, voire en-dessus, un piano, des clochettes, des nappes synthétiques majestueuses à l’origine de séquences mélodiques d’une grande beauté et d’une grande pureté. Cindytalk largue les amarres. On navigue ainsi au gré d’une myriade de sons qui suffisent à poser une ambiance, à créer une image mentale et on voyage beaucoup. Tour à tour extrêmement abstrait (l’enchaînement Those That Tremble As If They Were Mad/Floating Clouds d’une aridité extrême, rythmé par des gouttes de pluie, des nappes qui ne vont nulle part. Il faut s’accrocher et en même temps, se laisser faire) et mélodique (I See You Uncovered, Waking In The Snow), l’écoute d’Hold Everything Dear n’est sans doute pas des plus faciles mais dans le même temps, on s’y sent bien.

Et l’on se raccroche quand on le peut aux mélodies, certes parcimonieuses, mais toujours bien placées et à l’effet de sidération démultiplié du fait de leur rareté même. Le propos est majoritairement sombre et mystérieux, le minimalisme poussé dans ses derniers retranchements et pourtant, quelque chose se passe. Parce que sous ses dehors de grande sécheresse, il y a dans ce disque-là de quoi explorer longtemps. De l’entame véritablement céleste avec charivari de clochettes, cris d’enfants avant qu’un piano élégant et solennel ne prenne la place puis s’arrête pour mieux reprendre le morceau suivant, à In Dust To Delight qui pourrait figurer sur la B.O. de Blade Runner. Il s’ensuit une suite de morceaux solaires et inquiets, sans aucun rythme, presque invertébrés mais à l’ossature paradoxalement bien réelle. Découpage aléatoire des plages, stridences synthétiques qui viennent compléter l’ensemble. C’est très lent, très contemplatif et aussi très beau.

Très vite, on ne sait plus où l’on se situe dans le disque, le passage d’un morceau à l’autre est gommé, le climax emporte tout. Et alors que l’on se dit qu’il s’agit d’une morne plaine, un segment mélodique agrippe, pousse à prendre de la hauteur et de là-haut, on voit alors l’ensemble et on ne peut qu’être soufflé par la minutie du paysage ainsi dévoilé. L’abstraction pure m’a rarement pris dans ses filets comme ici. Un disque qui, à l’instar de ses deux prédécesseurs, trouve idéalement sa place chez Editions Mego et se meut quelque part sur un segment délimité par Kevin Drumm d’un côté et Fennesz de l’autre, entre sound-art, dark ambient, field recordings, drone et arrangements classiques minimalistes. Tout à la fois aride mais vivant, abstrait mais accueillant, aléatoire mais fluide, hanté par l’absence mais habité, Hold Everything Dear est avant tout une œuvre magnifique.


Hold Everything Dear reviewed by leoluce for Indie Rock Mag

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Silver Stories Of The Wind... Hold Everything Dear...Today...

cindytalk - hold everything dear (album preview) by experimedia

"Responsible for some of the most affecting post-punk, industrial and dark ambient music of the 1980s and early 90s, Cindytalk is currently enjoying a new lease of life as an umbrella for Gordon Sharp's solo experiments in digital minimalism. This is his third album to be released on Vienna's Editions Mego, following last year's 'Up Here In The Clouds', and it's another superbly crafted and very plaintive suite, Sharp's quietly intense electronics augmented with piano, found sounds and field recordings processed into abstraction. With its sepulchral drones and eerily mystical chimes, 'How Soon Now' is reminiscent of Lustmord, Lull and Inade's demonic ambient, scant preparation for such unprepossessingly pretty piano sketches as 'Hanging In The Air' and 'On The Tip Of My Tongue' – pieces with a pastoral delicacy reminiscent of the 1990 Cindytalk classic The Wind Is Strong. Other tracks evince a weary beauty that makes us think of Fennesz and The Caretaker, the soundtrack to a European isolationist European road movie that has yet to be made. Taking its title from a John Berger book of the same name and dedicated to the late Matt Kinnison, who contributed musically before his untimely passing, Hold Everything Dear is a thoughtful work, charged with sadness and, above all else, a palpable longing for things just beyond human reach. Boasting new artwork by the legendary David Coppenhall, and available as CD in 4-panel digipack or vinyl in lush gatefold sleeve, it's an essential new chapter in the story of one of Britain's last great post-punk visionaries."

"Naming his new album after a popular book by contemporary British philosopher & artist John Berger, the chameleonic Gordon Sharp continues in his 30+ year quest to uncover new sonic territory. Once affiliated with the 4AD and Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil community, his material in more recent days, over a trilogy of fine albums including this, skirts around the areas of dark ambient, sound-art, field recordings, drone & lovely minimal classical arrangements. His is a wondrous, spiritual, eerie and sometimes industrial sound that glistens, thunders and pulsates with enigmatic possibilities. From opener 'How Soon Now...' your sound-world is his absorbing vision that wanders from fuzzy, clanking dystopia, organic scrunch & cavernous ambient-noir to the reflective piano-laden vignettes he perforates the overall mood with. Out of the many artists practising in this field today, Cindytalk's output is amongst the most expressive & fascinating out there. This sonic hinterland between absorbing dream-scapes & the creeping dread of an extra-terrestrial nightmare supplies you with some really imaginative scenarios to grapple with. It's a rich, ever-evolving sound leaping from the modern stable of effortless class that is Peter Rehberg's Editions Mego."
(Norman Records)

Hold Everything Dear for John Berger by Gareth Evans

"Cindytalkの1年ぶりの新作は、中心人物であるGordon Sharp以外のフィーチャーした三部作の1枚目で、いまは亡きMatt Kinnisonとともに2006-2011年のあいだにレコーディングされた共作であり、彼に捧げられています。アルバム・タイトルと同名のJohn Bergerの本からインスパイアされており、美しいピアノのメロディーの多用とファウンド・サウンド/フィールドレコーディングによって、トラック間の定義がもはや曖昧になる地点にまで働きかけるぼんやりとしたサウンドトラック。前2作でのサウンドを抽象の極点へと押しやります。"
(Doppelganger Records,Tokyo)

"Anyone who is infatuated with the more ambient end of electronic experimentalism — or is it the more experimental end of electronic ambient music — is already intimately familiar with Cindytalk. This Scottish outfit has been releasing records since the ’80s, carefully and consistently unfolding an aesthetic that’s as quietly disturbing as it is graceful and elegant. So what are the odds that they’ve gone off the rails and lost the plot after all this time? Three words: not bloody likely."
(Big Shot Magazine)

"Cindytalkの1年ぶりの新作~!中心人物であるGordon Sharpと今は亡きMatt Kinnisonが2006-2011年のあいだに録音した作品です~。抽象的なピアノのメロディーの多用とフィールドレコーディングによって、全体の輪郭のぼやけた美しさが創出されていますね。因みに、本作はMatt Kinnisonとインスパイアを受けたという小説家John Bergerに捧げられています。是非!"
(Record Shop Reconquista)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Question Of Re-entry

LUMB017 CINDYTALK / PHILIPPE PETIT 'A Question of Re-Entry' 12":
The second release in the subscription series of Lumberton Trading Recordings,by none other than Gordon Sharp's ever-wonderful Cindytalk platform and the prolific Philippe Petit caught firmly in the jaws of a twilight setting where piano, voice and drifts of mesmerising sound serve a portrait of emotions rarely found in contemporary music. Limited to 400, with the first 60 including a special sound postcard (comprising an additional collaborative piece by the two artists) only available via LTCo itself. In production during August 2011, pre-orders are accepted now.
The title comes from a short story by J.G. Ballard ,"A Question Of Re-Entry", a story of cargo cults & a returning space capsule.

Normal at the Park

Cindytalk live at the Supernormal Festival
Location: Braziers Park, Oxfordshire, OX10
Time: Sunday, 21 August 2011 10:00 pm

SUPERNORMAL is a surprising new addition to the festival circuit, a spontaneous and experimental artist-led event, which lends itself perfectly to the magical looking-glass world that is Braziers Park in Oxfordhire. Explore a spectacle of cult live music, performance, discussion and cutting edge contemporary art in the sprawling ramshackle grounds.
(Live photo @ 6dogs (Greece) 17/2/2011)

Read Jonny Mugwump/Exotic Pylon's pre-fest review of Supernormal here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hold Everything Dear in early August

"Hold Everything Dear" is the third installment in the new Cindytalk sound which started with 2007’s "The Crackle Of My Soul", and then last year's "Up Here in The Clouds". It's the first in the trilogy to feature musicians other than Gordon Sharp, namely the late Matt Kinnison, to whom the album is dedicated. Inspired by the John Berger book of the same name, this latest release is a whole new set of parameters which push the sound on the previous two works to an extreme point of abstraction, and in some places near silent passages and haunted melodic segments.
And what a mysterious journey this ends up being with increased use of piano and found/field recordings giving all the tracks a blurry soundtrack appeal to the point where the definitions between the tracks are no longer clearly defined. It harks back to the odder parts of "In This World" and "The Wind Is Strong" albums from the early 1990s.
Superbly packaged with new David Coppenhall artwork in a 4-panel digipack and gatefold vinyl sleeve.

Interweave and Disintegrate (Meltdown Reviews)

(Soundcheck photo by Richie)

"Tonight's line-up, as part of the Royal Festival Hall's popular Meltdown series (now on its 11th year!), is a startling oddity. It's hard to imagine this year's guest curator, frazzled The Kinks frontman Ray Davies at home sipping on his cocoa and slipping on the latest CD by either a transgendered shoegaze chanteuse or a foul mouthed no wave temptress. However maybe he does, and kudos to him for doing go. This evening's show is an absolute blinder and the definite highlight of the festival.

First on is Gordon Sharp AKA Cindytalk. Sadly somewhat obscure these days, his contribution to popular culture is already the stuff of legend, having appeared on various This Mortal Coil releases and a John Peel session with The Cocteau Twins. Quiet in presentation and frightfully polite, Sharp and band take to the stage with little fanfare, seeming to start their first number over the intro track being piped into the Purcell Room.

This modest beginning is a delightful ruse as the adept musicians find their groove and build up a dense slab of angular guitar noise and skittering improvised percussion. Sharp's lyrical ennui and fragile vibrato work perfectly within such intimate surroundings. Melodies interweave and disintegrate just as you begin to feel safely esconced within them. The condensed nature of their performance is mesmeric, both loose and scholarly. When they leave the stage, the music hangs in the air and you want to inhale it, lest it decide to leave you again."
(Matt Cosell,Music Ohm)

"This is the only show I'm going to at this years Meltdown Festival curated by Ray Davies and it is probably the most unlikely of choices for Ray to have made. Or so I thought until I ran into my old friend Theo who I have been having a go at for many years as our musical tastes collide and he told me that this show was one of Ray's Daughters picks! Either way these are two very unlikely acts to see playing at The Purcell Rooms in The Southbank Centre and long may my taxes help to put on shows like this.

First on are the legendary CINDYTALK who I first got into back in 1985 when their Playtime was one of the songs on the Abstract Fanzine issue 5's free vinyl LP. They were a bit of a goth industrial enigma and have remained so ever since. The only other London show that I know of was the one I saw at the Luminaire a couple of years ago that was to promote the Silvershoalsoflight 10" one sided single (

Tonight they are a 5 piece to bring us a trip into the dark atonal atmospherics and claustrophobia that comes as the drummer hits his cymbals with the padlock chains he is swinging before bowing a breezeblock type thing. Meanwhile,the guitarist is attacking his guitar with a baton, the noises are grinding and Cindy is at odds with the cacophony in a maxi dress howling the dark recesses of her mind. Towards us, the light is anything but silver shoals, more like splinters of dark in the gloom wrapping us all in this brew of noise as they crashed and launched explosions of noise from the synths or the guitars. It created a fantastic journey into whatever world Cindy and Gordon Sharpe are creating for us with this sonic stew that is enough to get a few of the less hardy souls heading for the bar to get away from it."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Cindytalk (full band) will be performing at this year's MELTDOWN festival in London's Southbank.
They will be appearing at the Purcell Room on Saturday 18th June alongside Lydia Lunch's Big Sexy Noise.
Tickets are £15 and are selling very fast.