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Easy Ernestness

img  Tobias

London's "Rough Trade" has always been a safe-heaven for great new music. They are probably one of the few distributors that will give truly different bands and labels a chance without them having to open their accounts right away. So the mere fact that their "Counter Culture 05" compilation (planned for a release in 2006) will include an act from the "Difficult Fun"-outfit should be enough as a recommendation.

But then the label was so nice as to send us a demo of their latest release, a New-Zealand heavy Split between VAW and Heliogabalus and we were hooked even more. For once, the lofi-approach was used as a true musical tool instead of a gimmick and we were treated to two magnificent discoveries. VAW is the solo project of Cameron Bain, who used to waste his time on trying to outsmart the world and wanting to be wittier than any other Prog Rock Band out there. While most Punks left their simple songs behind them in favour of jazz or complex structures, Bain finally went the other way: "Whiskey and Winter" are the two most important factors on his mini-album which relies almost completely on the trance-inducing qualities of hypnotic guitar splinters and burning distortion rivetted onto soft reverb. It remains his little secret how these broken pieces can sound this beatiful.
The same can be said about Heliogabalus, consisting of David Mitchell and Matthew Hyland. Even though they use a more colourful set of instruments (amongst which a bass ukulele), their music is just as sombre. The difference being that they like to shred the strings of their guitars to pieces, while recording the resulting mix of fatalistic frenzy and shimmering blues chords onto cheap audio tapes. You might call it Sonic Youth on a haystack. If this is supposed to be art, it's pretty entertaining, if it's supposed to be entertainment, it'as turned out pretty artistic.

"Asja auf Capri" are the only act to have released a full-blown album as yet, while one of the compilations has already sold out. Don't go missing on what's still left and don't wait for the rest of the world to find out about Difficult fun. Go there right now!

Homepage: Difficult Fun

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