Review // Darrg – Boots
Review // Darrg – Boots

Review // Darrg – Boots

I’ve always been a fan of independent labels but in this internet age, with excellent platforms like Bandcamp, I’ve become a bigger fan of “Hobby” labels. I can’t help but admire the people who set-up a Hobby label. The dedication, time and love that gets poured into each release can only be applauded in my opinion. Especially when you consider a successful release is someone buying a download or physical copy, and a triumphant release is actually breaking even financially.

One of the Hobby labels I’ve been following closely for the last couple of years is Colander which uses the tag line “Art, noise, music, you name it, Colander will spoil it.” The label is run by Darren Giddings, the jovial host of the eclectic radio show “Space Folk Horror Lounge” found on Frome FM and mixcloud.

Colander has been releasing music from artists like Dogs Versus Shadows, The Central Office Of Information, Drew Mulholland, The Electric Pentangle and Expose Your Eyes. Often in highly unusual formats. There’s been a series of wonderfully packaged credit card sized cd-r’s. A series with titles such as “Omni” and “Material Outrage,” so far running to ten albums, all on CD, from an imaginary in-house group named “The Colander House Band,” a rather clever and interesting concept.

The house band is actually established electronic music artists making music that’s not necessarily their normal style, and releasing it under the “House Band” moniker. For my part, this has led to an unhealthy amount of time, unsuccessfully trying to fathom out who is behind the masks. My personal favourite release (so far) is a run of 25 Lathe Cut Flexi-disc’s with just one, unique, two second, locked-groove loop. This came with a download of all 25 locked-grooves, which, once played is capable of emptying a room quicker than a fire alarm.

The latest Colander offering is from the label boss himself, under his music composing moniker “Darrg.”

“Boots” is a four track EP of minimalist, left-field, guitar and electronic music. It’s available as a Lathe Cut 7” vinyl or a Bandcamp download. The title track is constructed around a 1915 recording of Taylor Holmes (an American stage and film star) theatrical reading of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “Boots.” The poem imagines the mental fatigue, repetition and despair endured by infantryman during the long marches in South Africa during the Second Boer War. Holmes dramatic reading starts with the infantryman at an already mentally low point before swiftly descending into the maniacal.

Boots—boots—boots—boots—movin’ up and down again! There’s no discharge in the war!

Darrg uses the marching pace of the poem pinning it down with a left, right footslogging drum beat. Over which phased, disorienting and heavily panning, almost industrial sounding, electronica pads zip and fizz. As the infantryman unravels the effects intensify culminating in a quickened drum beat, as if the soldier stumbles before collapsing. Obviously Kipling’s poem is about war and suffering but Darrg, intentionally or not, has given the recording a real feeling of an anti war protest song.

“Get That Ghost Out Of Spain” continues on the marching pace with a one, two drum machine beat over which two repeated, picked guitars loop while strange Synthesizer sounds buzz around. It’s almost a radiophonic piece and very reminiscent of David Cain and Ronald Duncan 1969 BBC album “Seasons” except there’s none of the dead pan, slightly sinister poetry.

“Squelch” raises the pace. Driven by Richard Scott on the drums, playing an almost tattoo rhythm, with a throbbing kick, while a simple, surprisingly catchy, bass hook loops. Again Darrgs’ use of samples is delightful. Here using an intriguing sample about “the cascade method of critical path analysis”

“Can we Not?” is the download bonus, experimental noise soundscape track. The sound of an electro, free jazz, orchestra warming up. Strangely while playing this my better half walked in the room and said “Really, it’s a Sunday afternoon, can we not have this noise on.” Which makes me wonder if that’s why, in the Bandcamp genre section, Darren Giddings has used the category “eye-rolling.”

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