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Canonbury - The Knock of the Shoe (Exotic Pylon)

Canonbury The Knock of the Shoe Exotic Pylon
28 January 2014

As well as writing for Mojo, The Wire and Quietus, Brighton’s Joseph Stannard is known in the UK for organizing The Outer Church, a recurring event that brings together experimental electronic musicians and underground filmmakers. Between 2006-2007, however, he tried his hand at being a noisician. The Knock of the Shoe compiles recordings from that time, “adjusted” in 2012, with remixes by some of the leading voices in the experimental electronic UK scene.

It’s a shame Canonbury has remained dormant for so long, as Stannard’s tracks have the eerie quality of Carl Zittrer‘s ’70s soundtracks: They make you really uncomfortable. There is a range of modes, from frenetic pulsing over a barely audible, distant voice, as in the opening “Huffity Puffity,” to the slightly-off, wavering drone of “TQ5699,” to haunting Morse code beeps in “Finale.” “Ley II” sounds like a UFO landed and tried to appease its abductees with an acoustic guitar they don’t know how to play, while “Rabies in the Manor” comes across as EVPs from a haunted mansion. The rapid pulse, distant percussive sounds and hypnotic frequency of “Bodmin Fence” are particularly unsettling.

Remixes, which comprise half the release, offer alternate, equally disturbing takes on the tracks from the likes of Anna Meredith, Hacker Farm, Old Apparatus, Ship Canal and Black Mountain Transmitter. “Ley II”‘s treatment by The House in the Woods is especially chilling, though Kemper Norton transforms “Bodmin Fence” into something resembling a Claudio Simonetti soundtrack. Where remixes can lose the original intention of the track, these play with the idea while keeping the mood intact.

Hopefully, Joseph Stannard doesn’t stay dormant for too much longer, as he truly is a superb experimental electronic artist. Delve into The Knock of the Shoe and discover why nightmares can be enjoyable.