about this release
Welcome to Brave New Wales, a personal selection of the best new music being made under the radar and off the grid by musicians from and/or living in the Land Of Song.
Despite many areas of Welsh music being celebrated and well documented, little publicity has so far been given to the more experimental or challenging avenues being pursued by the rule breakers, or perhaps more interestingly, those blissfully unaware of the rules in the first place. There's great variety here: from the murky baritone guitar smears of Chuch to the environmental recordings of Eirwyn Llwyd Roberts; from the brick-in-the-face noise of Stereo Minus One, Rose Heyworth and Edwin Pang to the strange beauty of Angharad and Rhodri Davies' violin and harp improvisations.
We make no attempt to search for Welshness within the music, or to investigate parallels between land and sound - our intention is more simple: to showcase music that you are unlikely to have heard before; to give recognition to the creative souls tucked away in bedrooms and studios (and forests) up and down the land making music primarily for their own pleasure, and to show that in this tiny and bewitching country of only 3 million people, there's much to celebrate.
We hope you enjoy listening as much as the contributors enjoyed making. And if you like what you hear, spend some time seeking out more. This is a far from comprehensive survey; there are likely volumes more material as yet undiscovered.
Finally, if you're making strange and wonderful music, feel you should have been included but weren't, get in touch. There's always Volume 2...
- Carphology Collective: Moving A Pile Of Bricks Three Feet To The Left And Back Again (Brick #20 - to the left)
- Gimp Nipples: Twentytwotwentytwo
- Chuch: Snorkel
- Achonry: Parts And Others
- Rose Heyworth: Midnight Alibi
- Gwydion Gruffudd: Raslas Bach A Mawr
- Stereo Minus One: 4.wav
- Edwin Pang: Patient X (live) (edit)
- Richard Bowers SAAB: Intermezzo 3
- Graham Bowers: By Word (iii)
- WHITENOISESOUND: Sunset
- Gimp Nipples: Homework
- Tatamax: Play Statues
- Carrintavy: My Double's Friend
- Min Boyce: Dead In Treorchy
- Y Phthwng: Cyfnos
- The Lumpy Choo Choo Band: Mild Green Speaks In Mysterious Ways
- Carphology Collective: Moving A Pile Of Bricks Three Feet To The Left And Back Again (Brick #20 - back again)
- Beautiful Screaming Lady: Crwth (i Cass Meurig)
- Simon Proffitt: The Ringing Rocks
- Angharad Davies/Rhodri Davies: Live At St. Giles
- Steve Hubback: Beyond The Grave
- Gorwel Owen: Banjo Study #1
- Eirwyn Llwyd Roberts: Beicio
- The 14th Century: Ei Thwyll a'i Hystryw
- Y Chwiorydd Marw: Gardd-gân
- Richard Bowers SAAB: Intermezzo 6
- Traw: Fire Works
- Jim Knight, Fiona Owen and Gorwel Owen: Six Minutes
- ISG: Trio
- Nawadaha: The Hidden Garden
- Lleu Williams: Tra Tor
- Graham Bowers: Always Is (i)
- Hwyl Nofio: This Black And Red Land (Blood Mix)
- Ap Duw: SH592371
- The Master Musicians Of Dyffryn Moor: The Sickener, The Deceiver, The Tiger's Eye
- Perfect Blue: Koyo *****
- Sound Engineer: Sangfroid Meets Arturo
- Chuch: While The Carnival
- Matthew Lovett & Javier Carmona: No.6
- Richard Bowers SAAB: Intermezzo 2
- Strap The Button: Casualty (of the Nemesis Trilogy)
- Green End Listening Station: Dobrone Bach
- Dominic De Nebo: Archwiliad Prynhawn
- Carrintavy: A Monster And A Deserter
- The Lumpy Choo Choo Band: Let Me Have That Lemonade Squash Please
- WHITENOISESOUND: (Like A) Pyramid of Fire (Outro)
- Strap The Button: 243 Seconds Of Elvis Presley Followed By A Scream
Disc 4: (this came free with first 100 copies of Brave New Wales, now all gone)
- The 14th Century: Dwi'n Sefyll Mewn Cae, Rhan 1
- Edwin Pang: Patient Y
- Gwydion Gruffudd: Baldy Gonk (In The Wind) *
- Rose Heyworth: Benefit Kid **
- Sumomo Mo Momo: Idwal
- Min Boyce: Extreme Listening *
- Dominic De Nebo: Our Artifacts Are Getting Smarter
- Louie O'Grady: Untitled
- Ian Watson/Mark Jolliffe: #3 ***
- Jacob Whittaker: Classic Mix 02 ****
- The Master Musicians Of Dyffryn Moor: A Tedious Way Of Saying That I Do Not Exist
- Beautiful Screaming Lady: Bwswci (i Yiorgos Batis)
- The 14th Century: Dwi'n Sefyll Mewn Cae, Rhan 8
* Previously available on the web-only compilation Crania Draft Massif (Fourier Transform, 2007)
** Taken from the EP H.I.V. Diet (Red Venice Presents, 2005)
*** Taken from the EP Phantomhead N.8 (Phantomhead, 2007)
**** Taken from A Classic Album (jacobwhittaker.co.uk, 2006)
***** Written, recorded, produced and mixed by Rob Allen
All other tracks previously unreleased
WEB EXCLUSIVE: download the English-language version of Beautiful Screaming Lady's Crwth, which is not available on any of these discs, here:
Beautiful Screaming Lady: Crwth (for Cass Meurig) [160kbps mp3, 10.0MB]
Three CDs and 48 tracks of drone, field recording, free improv, plunderphonics, space-rock and unfettered noise, pulchritudously packaged in a petite black box, all from Wales and quite possibly featuring no-one you've heard of. The most likely candidates are avant-garde harpist Rhodri Davies, one-time Gorky's Zygotic Mynci producer Gorwel Owen and Jackie-O Motherfucker-feted free folkers Nawadaha; a number of others have no releases, demos or online presence. Don't read this as a black mark against the cherishable Fourier Transform label, which since releasing Aufgehoben's raging Anno Fauve LP a few years back has gone above and beyond in its efforts to document the abrasive fringes of sound. It's hope beyond hope that anyone might like all of Brave New Wales, but quality control is tightly observed, with effective unknowns like Edwin Pang and Green End Listening Station cleansing and challenging on the sly.
Noel Gardner, Plan B
Welsh experimental label Fourier Transform launch their most ambitious project yet with this three-CD box of the best in current Welsh experimental music. A tough job considering that, to me at least, the ideas of Welshness and the avant-garde seem about as mutually exclusive as Robert Mugabe and a fair election (satire!). However, for the most part, they pull it off admirably. This box manages, in one fell swoop, to draw a map of the Welsh experimental scene with musicians from all parts of Wales accounted for; even Mid-Wales, which you wouldn't have imagined to be populous enough to produce anything leftfield enough to warrant inclusion here.
Indeed, there's a suprising breadth of material here ranging from arty conceptual stuff (Moving a Pile of Bricks... is exactly that) to harsh noise (Gimp Nipples, Rose Heyworth, Edwin Pang). Unfortunately, it's the harsher moments that tend to let this collection down slightly with only Edwin Pang rising above the ill-considered, tinny digital noise of the other artists that are plowing the harsh noise/power electronics furrow here. But low points are scarce in what is an impressive, and important, collection.
Iain Peebles, Sŵn Magazine
I could only think of one Welsh band, on top of my head, being Super Furry Animals, but they don't seem to part of this collection... It's quite a daring move to start with a couple of strong noise pieces on disc one, but as the CDs evolve there are also other forms of music, mostly ambient and field recordings, as this turns out to be a release of music that is nowhere near rock music and that's the cool thing about this release, it's all connected to the world of experimental music, in all its shades and colors. Hard to tell track by track what is there, but as a whole, this is an excellent introduction to Wales and its musical undercurrent.
Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
This is not a CD to do your washing up to on your battered kitchen stereo. Sit comfortably together in an ambiently lit room. Play the CDs through a decent sound system and make time for it, it deserves your full attention... a rollercoaster of emotions with no commitments, complete unpredictability, moments of blissful euphoria and relexation, wrapped in black. What more do you want?
Emma Louis, Snowdonia Nights Out Gazette
According to the liner notes, this triple-CD compilation is a 'personal selection of the best new music being made under the radar and off the grid by musicians from and/or living in the Land of Song'. It features a wealth of over eighty experimental composers, musicians and sonic artists working under some thirty names; many operating in a solo capacity, but the majority as part of small groups or collectives - some local, others more geographically widespread - with an emphasis on shared creativity and collaboration. Most of the featured artists, perhaps inevitably, are clustered around main population centres in the south-east and north-west of Wales, but a substantial number also hail from more remote, rural and coastal areas; thus, with the CDs comprising recordings made largely between the years 2000 and 2008, the collection makes for essential listening as a truly national survey of the underground, experimental scene in Wales at the start of the new millennium. The variety here is enormous, with tracks occupying a whole gamut of genre-defying, abstract zones from the noise-inspired electronica of Rose Heyworth to the free improvisation of Rhodri Davies via ambient drones, avant-garde doodlings and the field recordings of Simon Proffitt. Many tracks are abrasive, some have political or humorous subtexts - but all challenge the listener to enter a world of serious and vital music-making well away from the academy or mainstreams of 'rock' and 'classical' music. Fourier Transform's liner speaks for itself: 'Despite many areas of Welsh music being celebrated and well-documented, little publicity has so far been give to the ... avenues being pursued by the rule-breakers, or perhaps more interestingly, those blissfully unaware of the rules in the first place ... our intention is ... to showcase music that you are unlikely to have heard before; to give recognition to the creative souls tucked away in bedrooms and studios (and forests) up and down the land making music primarily for their own pleasure and to show that in this tiny and bewitching country of only 3 million people, there's much to celebrate". The resulting package is ambitious, well produced and beautifully designed; a rare collection to be cherished.
Steph Power, Composers Of Wales Quarterly