Wednesday, October 24, 2012

One score of years...

The first 2 12″s on PRAXIS came out at the end of November and beginning of December 1992 and the label is celebrating this with a series of parties around Europe in the last two months of 2012.
The first will be a party in London – the birthplace of the label – on November 2nd on the MS Stubnitz!

Still in the process of finalising the line-up, confirmed so far are:
Bambule –
Base Force One –
Controlled Weirdness –
Dan Hekate – DJ Stacey –
DJ Scud – (Ambush/Sub/Version)
Eiterherd –
FZV – Kovert –
Somatic Responses –
Warlock –
VJ: Sansculotte
King George V Dock, Gallions Reach (DLR-Station), Royal Docks, London
Doors open 11pm, music starts midnight
Tickets on the night: GBP 10.00


Switched to Lunar

Music by Cindytalk
"Switched to Lunar" from "Up Here In The Clouds"
Video by scorpiorising

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tower Transmissions

Cindytalk will be playing, in solo format, at the second edition of the 
 Tower Transmissions Festival in Dresden, Germany 
on September 22nd,Saturday.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Woodland Gathering

Woodland Gathering ,Fell Foot Woods – Lake District, UK – 17th/18th August 2012

Radio Black Forest and Endtyme Records present the much anticipated second installment of the WOODLAND GATHERING. Building upon the success of the last event in July 2011, this year’s line-up will go one step further in providing a true celebration of the esoteric, bizarre and experimental.Expect record stalls, films, talks, DJ’s and of course, live music all set against the stunning back drop of the Lake District and the unique atmosphere of Fell Foot Woods.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Birds,children and chimes

Creating mood and atmosphere out of a collection of sound sources as varied as birds, children playing, and chimes, is not easy. Thankfully, we have Cindytalk to take care of that. Twisting all of these sources and more into a subtle soft-edged Polaroid of sound, Gordon Sharp and the late Matt Kinnison create a dizzying abstract of an astounding kind.
‘How Soon Now….’ begins innocently, with the chattering of children giving way to chimes and bells ringing out amidst a cavernous bass texture. Subtle clips of children’s voices slip in and out, as everything begins to feel like a fractured memory of time gone by. After the brief solo piano interlude of ‘On the Tip of My Tongue’, ‘In Dust to Delight’ mixes machinery with the throbbing blend of synth and texture, mixing to create a tension not unlike a dark room in an unfamiliar house. Shimmering mirages of sound bend and weave in and out of one another, as you could almost imagine the sound to appear in front of your eyes like a hazy distortion of light and colours. The piano makes a return on ‘Walking in the Snow’, delicately picking its way through a sparse melody. ‘Hanging In The Air’ has blasts of static lancing out amongst, of all things, the recording of sparrows, chirping and flittering away. Quite a juxtaposition. ‘Floating Clouds’ bends chime like tones with no beginning or end into a continuous whole of melting waves and sinous billows of tone, while ‘I See You Uncovered’ witnesses the final visitation of the lone piano, this time room miked and reflective, evoking retrospect. Closer ‘…Until We Disappear’ open with the piano which gradually melts into a variant texture of the opening piece, bringing the edition back to it’s beginning, and finalising it in a most fitting manner.
A lot can be said about creating mood utilizing such disparate sources, but when it comes to actually pulling it off, it’s a fair bit more difficult than one could imagine. When describing this album, it feels more apt to call it a collection of colours, moods and textures, as opposed to a group of songs. Quite recommended.
Nick Giles
Photo by Spaewaif

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fading Lucky

  Cindytalk (solo) will be appearing at Power Lunches  in Dalston on Friday 6th July.
Specially invited by DeadFader   for their new 12" release launch party.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Cinderflame DJ Set,
Unlost Illustrated Book Launch,
Antenna Studios Crystal Palace
London 20th May 2012.
Various Artists :
Robert Hampson
Mats Lindström
Ryoji Ikeda
Robert Hampson
Mats Lindström
Ryoji Ikeda
John Cohen/DeadFader
Guy Reibel

Spirit Dreaming

"Like some purveyors of a darkened effect-driven fairytale/nightmare, Cindytalk were a total contrast to the guitar driven meat they plied at last year's Supernormal... More 'spirit behind the circus dream' than full on 'memories of skin'... Gordon, the Dietrich figurehead calling forth an eddy of vocal spurs to which the band responded instinctively. Vocals getting more manic, shouting, commanding things to rise rise rise ... burning up on the personal. A flash of semaphorical arms, twisty fingers... sending out the shivers... making you feel voyeuristic as the bitter sweet delivery was impeccably wrapped in varying shards of musical debris... "
Live review by Cloudboy for  Rottenmeats blog.

Broken Flag

"Such a diverse line-up was testament to both the good taste of the organisers (again, massive thanks to the great people at Second Layer records and Harbinger Sound) and the genre-pushing nature of Broken Flag. But few bands could ever hope to encapsulate the spirit of the label in the way that Skullflower and Ramleh do. After all, they are probably the two bands that first spring to mind when one evokes Broken Flag. Skullflower were the penultimate act on the Friday, and with their dense clusters of extended guitar noise over monolithic rhythm section pounding, they elevated proceedings into new areas of sonic bliss. Matt Bower, the mainstay of Skullflower, has long abstracted himself from the gristle and grind of basic noise, focusing instead on hypnotic repetition and transcendent drone. His guitar playing, allied to that of his partner Samantha Davies, owes as much to LaMonte Young and Tony Conrad’s minimalist drone as it does to anything linked to noise or even rock, and, to cop a phrase of his, being caught up in the sound of Skullflower live is like sitting under a waterfall. With so much of the weekend’s music focusing on machines and electronics, it was a beautiful escape to be absorbed by the primeval post-rock of Skullflower. On Saturday, Davies and Bower teamed up with Gordon Sharp, aka Cindytalk, as Black Sunroof!, although what resulted felt more like Sharp fronting Bower and Davies’ Voltigeurs than anything tied to the original Sunroof! Of course, Sharp’s presence was a stunning glitch in the uber-macho ambiance of the weekend, the exquisite, ambiguous transgender singer contorting and swaying as he belted out mournful, arresting singing over a blanket of ear-shattering violin and guitar drone provided by Davies and Bower. Black Sunroof! brought a touch of the sensual, the elegiac and -dare I say it?- the queer to proceedings, and were one of the most unexpected acts on display all weekend."
The Liminal Review

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Honesty of Abstraction,Tyranny of Song

It was a pivotal moment. 1991, Probe Records in Liverpool. An EP called Secrets and Falling with a strange railroad cover shot by a band with an equally enigmatic name: Cindytalk.
Four ‘songs’ that fell apart as quickly as they coalesced. Eerie atmospherics, rock stretched to the limits and verging on perpetual collapse. Post-rock, years before such a thing was categorised into existence. A yearning unique voice, not genderless exactly but both male and female at the same time. “In the still of the night/ I wake up screaming”. A meaning just out of reach but none the less empathetic. That song, ‘The Moon Above Me’, imprinted forever on my adolescent consciousness…

“Some people might see this as a criticism but I don’t see it like that at all. We don’t really write songs.  I mean they’re more like moments in sound which in may suddenly come into being, hinting at being a song which then suddenly dissipates.”

I’m talking to Gordon Sharp aka Cindy, transgender warrior and the one mainstay of Cindytalk over their three-decade existence. Speaking with a soft Scottish brogue and constantly laughing, Sharp is the enigmatic leader and fractured romantic soul at the heart of a band who have always existed at the margins of sound and who are undergoing a renewed resurgence on the basis of three hugely acclaimed solo ambient albums on Peter Rehberg’s Editions Mego label.
Cindytalk functions as a variety of co-existent strands at present – their historical presence as a post-punk band that sonically dissipated very early on in their career into what Sharp terms ambi-dustrial; as a now formidable extraordinary fully-improvisational live band featuring Paul Middleton on drums, Dan Knowler on guitar, Gary Jeff on bass, Jacob Burns on electronics and Cindy on vocals; as a solo live act with Cindy on piano, laptop and voice; and as the aforementioned solo recording presence behind a trilogy of cracked ambient masterpieces: The Crackle of My Soul (2009), Up Here in the Clouds (2010) and last year’s Hold Everything Dear. Prior to a string of pending live appearances, we meet up to try and dissect what lies at the heart of this most unique, beautiful and haunting projects. My first encounter with Cindytalk was in their band format so I decide that this is as good a place as any to start.

“What we’re doing at present is pretty fucking outstanding and unique.”

I’ve witnessed quite a few Cindytalk gigs over the last couple of years and every time is completely different to the last. What is the current status of the band?
“We’d been playing in semi-improvisational mode for a long time until last year and then we were invited to do the [Ray Davis-curated] Meltdown gig. We had effectively a group of 7 or 8 songs top and tailed with laptop computer stuff (played by Sharp and Sheril Crosby) and then halfway through our rehearsals for Meltdown we thought, well, fuck this for a lark and we abandoned the whole thing and went on from nothing. But nobody realised which is of course the trick because if people realised that’s what you’re doing then it’s probably because you’re noodling or something but if you’re able to effectively keep your improvisations short and shifting it’s like you’ve written an instant set of songs.”
It’s not your ‘standard’ kind of improvisation though is it?
“Well yes – I think what we’re doing at present is pretty fucking outstanding and unique in the sense that its going two different directions at once with a full band improvisation – not proggy and not droney either, but short pieces with lots of melodies and things happening but… we’re not getting booked. Partly I think it’s due to the usual nonsense whereby people can’t afford it (or that could just be an excuse of course) and I get booked for a lot of solo gigs so every time I get booked I offer the band but I’m always told that nobody can afford to bring the whole band over.  I mean sometimes it’s appropriate to do the solo set of laptop, voice and piano but it is very frustrating as we all feel we have something very special.
I can see why lazy promoters would run scared though. A fully-improvisational band who have come from a rock background to exist in a landscape entirely of their own making is not going to attract the profiteers but as all kinds of marginal textures bleed in to dancefloor electronics, Cindytalk live seems to make more sense now than ever before. Of course the Editions Mego albums may also be compounding this problem?
“But I can’t understand why you would want one and not the other – why could you not understand that it’s the same thing just going in different directions?”

“You can’t really just stand on street corners and start shout your head off…”

This is true. The loose trilogy of solo albums on Mego have reintroduced the Cindytalk name to a wider and different audience and well they should.  These are instrumentally a million miles from the Cindytalk band and stand as unique tablets in current ambient music. Glistening and unfolding with rich melancholy textures made up of field recordings, found sound and (barely perceptible) voice these are by far the most abstract recordings in Sharp’s discography. Were these three albums intended as a trilogy then and how did they come about?
“I guess it is a trilogy but it wasn’t originally conceived that way conceptually. The Portrait of Decay was sort of the overall title for the whole thing which then came to represent the vinyl repackaging of The Crackle of My Soul and Up Here in the Clouds. “Hold Everything Dear is a bit separate from those two but is still very much in that vein and they were all recorded in essence in the same period when I was living in Long Beach, California when I got my first laptop. I started to make noise with that straight away ‘cos well I’m a singer and I needed the band around me and they’re not there so what can I do – you can’t really just stand on street corners and start shout your head off [laughs] so I got this demo version of Ableton live and started to work. But then Crackle of My Souldidn’t really start to formulate until I was in Japan 2004/05 and already in 2005 I was recording Up Here in the Clouds.
‘Guts of London’ and ‘Transgender Warrior’ (from Crackle… ) came out  quite early on though?
“Yes, I was in Hong Kong and Klanggalerie wanted something for their singles club and I didn’t have anything really suitable at that point apart from those two, so I took advantage of it and it worked and then they became the focussing point. When I got to Japan I was finally in the right place and head space to push this further.

“I’m an existentialist in that sense – I think that’s enough – I think who we are is special enough and yes, we should always be looking to things beyond us.”

“All these projects overlap each other, they weren’t albums at first, but I already knew the structure for Crackle and before I finished it I became aware of the structure of Cloudsand so on. Crackle is probably the key of all of them as that was the first one and I was composing with abstract noise and found sound and not really the field recordings. I did have those recordings but I wasn’t quite ready to use them and, well, the trajectory was important as this was the first proper Cindytalk since Wappinschaw (1994). Of course I had no idea if I was going to be able to release this stuff. ‘Cos at the time I was in the wilderness, almost cave-dwelling as I generally tend to do, headphones on, making this stuff, dreaming that this would get a release – which is my culture, to get the fucking things available somewhere – but I did spend a decade not being to release very easily which was kind of difficult to deal with.
“So when I was putting these things together I was structuring them so I imagined they would be the be the follow-on from Wappinschaw - so they’re all recorded in pretty much the same 5 year period, and if they’re connected sonically or in other ways then that’s why. But I was very particular – this is going here, that is going there and this is going here so that there’s a step-up with each of them, so they would develop, change, move…”
These albums although different still strike me as being uniquely Cindytalk. carrying a very particular emotional resonance, something akin to searching…? Do I detect a religious aspect to the music?
“I am one of these people who searches – I have a very strong desire to create – I’m not a trained musician in any sense and the only thing in my repertoire that I would consider accomplished is that fact that I’m a good singer and I taught myself to do that. But religion doesn’t play a big part in my life – the searching aspect is vital but it’s not religious. ..[long pause] I’m an existentialist in that sense – I think that’s enough – I think who we are is special enough and yes, we should always be looking to things beyond us, but religion itself is not a part of my life.”

You mentioned only being accomplished as a singer, but you’re not singing on these albums?

“[laughs] Well yes, but that is how I like to work– I’ve effectively moved past that point at the moment and the only thing I’m able to do with any sense of knowing is the one thing I am not currently doing– I want to be in the alien landscape, rummaging around and trying to find the light. So it’s very important for me at the moment to not do the one thing that I can do well, so I’m in the dark working with technology that I am not comfortable with. I’m grappling again.

“I’m in the dark working with technology that I am not comfortable with. I’m grappling again.”

You’re almost resorting to guerrilla tactics on your creative self?
“I’m a big believer in jumping around and upsetting your own processes to stop yourself from making the same record.”

How does the compositional process work in the solo recordings?
“Well I’m interested in the shape and architecture of these things. I spend a lot of time making the pieces fit in certain ways and so no matter how far down you go there’s something there – every single thread I put in is like a universe in itself so if you find a tiny sound in the corner then that has its own levels and dimensions as well. It can be fairly random too, to be honest.
“I’m not a great fan of gadgets or effects so I don’t really care that much about gear or software – I mean obviously I’ve had to learn some things but at the end of the day what I really do is just play with sounds. And then I have the field recordings, CDs, other peoples CDs [laughs]. Well actually I began this journey by DJing at parties in America – hardcore, breakcore and eventually noise – I would have these CD mixer things and I would take other people’s music and then slow it down, fucking it up, tearing it apart.
“I was into the Oval fashion of taking sounds and editing them. Some of it will come from this or the field recordings or my voice – ‘Transgender Warrior’, for instance, started life as me just singing those words over and over. So it’s about finding a sound, playing with that sound, finding the inherent quality of the rhythms and melodies within that; every single sound that I put in to a piece of music should be able to stand up on its own – should be enough so that even if I was only to use that sound once then it would be enough just to listen to it, that you could still feel it and that if even if it was on its own it would still be something interesting rather than a sound that is just disposable. Every single element should be able to exist as a thing in itself.

“Every single element should be able to exist as a thing in itself.”

[I start to rabbit on about Coil and sidereal sound but Cindy interrupts me]
“It’s science fiction! When I toured with Cindytalk in the States in 1996 somebody played me that box set of deep space sounds and I never recovered – you know, crackles and pops and deep hums and well I only heard it in passing and I’ve not heard it since and I don’t even own a copy but it totally affected me. Certainly with Crackle and Clouds I was trying to create music that came from another world, almost like sending signals out and them coming back.
“But this changes slightly for Hold Everything Dear. It’s funny you should mention religion though as I wouldn’t call myself an atheist either – it’s too much of a position. But anyway, yes, with the last album I was very determined, knowing how nervy and angsty, to create something a little more…still. I occasionally get moments like that when I’m at the piano and I get glimpses of [breathes out] but I wanted to try with the longer tracks and when they do have these moments where they do sink down and there are these long tones and – well, I don’t know what other people think, but I wanted moments of stillness. With the first two albums as soon as you find yourself somewhere you’re being shunted off to the next place so I’m looking for the space on Hold Everything Dear.

So is this actually a slight movement back towards composition then?
“Yes, well, maybe just slightly less abstracted. But I’m a mistress of the abstract so it won’t last. Going back to the piano, I remember being in a studio and seeing this piano and thinking right I’m going to have a go at this and just literally feeling my way across the keyboard searching for the melody and finding it for a tiny moment so you’re looking for the cohesion and you catch glimpses of it in the sunlight and then it’s gone…”
Which is much more like life.
“Well yes, exactly. So what is a song exactly? It’s like it’s a perfect moment but our lives aren’t like that – once in a blue moon there’s that three-minute period where things go brilliantly, and thankfully there are some songs that capture that in our world, but then there’s a million ten million other songs that are rubbish, dull, pathetic and I refer to that as the conspiracy of song, the tyranny of song – as though we’re forced to keep trying to make those perfect little things that do not reflect our far from perfect lives. I prefer something that is more… diffuse.

Jonny Mugwump
Cindytalk are performing live as a full band on May 4 at The Cube, Bristol and at Woodland Gathering Festival with Faust on August 17-18.

Place At The Bridge

Friday May 4th.
Cindytalk (full band), The Chasms, Blackmass Plastics (dj) & Eftus Spectun at The Cube in Bristol.
8pm / £5 advance, £7 on the door) 

A night of extremely rare live performances by three incredibly special and unique bands. Miss this at your regret.

Cindytalk have been a force of nature since 1982. Under the guidance of the enigmatic Gordon Sharp, Cindytalk have carved out their very own and unique path and have laid down to vinyl some of the most stunning, uncompromising and beautiful records ever made. The Cindytalk live experience is one of a kind, always thrilling, always different. Every single performance is completely unique. This will be one of the rare occasions that Cindytalk will be playing outside of mainland Europe, Japan and London.

The Chasms are a three-piece band: Richard Quirk, baritone guitar; Mike Seed, drums/vocals; and Simon Pott, bass guitar. They record in an isolated barn on the Isle of Man. They make a sound quite unlike anything you've heard before. Their songs are loud, enveloping, literate, beautifully unhinged and fun. This will be one of only two UK shows the Chasms will play in 2012. You'd be totally mental to miss it. "Every now and again something comes along which is truly special... The Chasms' 'Alchemical Postcards' is quite simply THE most extraordinarily glorious, visceral, life-affirming cacophony of screeching guitar noise I've heard in many a long year" (Terrascope).

Blackmass Plastics, a veteran to many a scene, first came to prominence for his releases with the Dead Silence Collective, co-collaborating on some of their early releases for Audio Illusion & SMB records, France.At that time it was hard edged mutant drum & bass and rapidfire electro.He later established his own label 'Thorn Industries' now currently on it's third release.
Being an artist with a breadth of influences from early 90's rave to 80's electro/industrial, Blackmass Plastics diversified, keeping an ear to the ground.It's been a natural progression and recent years have seen a move into modern electro and mutated dub-step.
Opening the night will be Eftus Spectun, another band whose live outings are pretty bloody rare these days. Confusing, divisive, totally focussed and totally uncompromising, Eftus Spectun are sure to boggle the minds of anyone who catches them. Unmissable. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Haru Ichiban

                                         Haru Ichiban
Compilation album raising funds for Sea Shepherd to stop the mass killing of dolphins and whales and protect marine life.

春風に 吹き出し笑う 花もがな 
Haru kaze ni / fukidashi warau / hana mogana
Spring winds
Hoping the flowers burst
Out in laughter

Monday, March 12, 2012

Third Night

Roly Porter, Cindytalk, Alexander Tucker and Lata play the penultimate night of the Exotic Pylon festival 
at The Vortex 23/03/12.
Lata by the way is Jacob Burns who does the electronic trickery with Cindytalk.
This might well be his first ever gig as Lata (he was previously bass-player with Edinburgh "disco-punk" band Damn Shames.) 
Exotic Pylon/Cindytalk