Nina Walsh and Niall Pearce

Freewheeling through time and space, Kris Needs continues his adventures in sound. This month: Nina Walsh and Niall Pearce

Having weathered a Dorset winter and settled into the Cosmic Hutch, manoeuvres with Nina Walsh have reignited with our podcasts, her beautifully mushrooming book and now Woodleigh Research Facility’s landmark EP, ‘Apparently Solo Volume 1’.

Nina’s Bandcamp releases have showcased her psychedelic folk side until recently, but for her long-standing studio partner Andrew Weatherall’s 60th birthday, she’s reached into her colossal Facility 4 archive to extract three roof-raising killers from 2017 in the “oompty boompty” style devotees crave.

Hard as an ancient rhino’s helmet but lethally sinuous, ‘SHLAP’, ‘Crack-Ed’ and ‘Mistress Ploppy’ resonate with the devastating flow and lethal groove-weaving of one of her late collaborator’s DJ sets, marinated in the telepathic spontaneous combustion that gripped their working together in his hyper-prolific final years.

“About a year before that fateful day, I said to Andrew, ‘We’ve got all these tracks that need sub-category folders to put them in’,” explains Nina. “I’d actually done it before he got to the studio, including folders for electro and ambient. Berlin Bum Dungeon was for panel-beating bangers that often came after he’d played some sweaty ‘Berlin bum dungeon’, as he called it – not necessarily in Berlin.”

Already causing damage, ‘SHLAP’ deploys Motor City motifs, gonad-shrivelling circuit blasts and Erick Legrand’s scything guitar over twisting, turning rhythms that never let up. ‘Crack-Ed’ maintains the euphoric pressure, riding an elastic gazelle loincloth riff enhanced by hippo bollock bass and cascading astral flatulence.

The Berlin basement influence rises like a crazed bison’s boner on ‘Mistress Ploppy’s heavyweight industrial strength stomp – the title comes from Andrew’s ‘Blackadder’-derived nickname for Nina that he soon shortened to Plop (“Not very nice is it? It’s like poo!”).

While I’m talking about the family, Niall Pearce, the son of my lifelong Aylesbury friends Rick and Jude, has unfurled the sublimely atmospheric ‘Steel Plate’ EP on Nottingham’s Reloaded Sounds under the curious moniker NN Sexless. There’s probably some grime-like genre tag but the original is an eerie, sphincter-rattling dronescape punctuated with drum ’n’ bass starbursts, hippo jockstrap lower frequencies and haunted female vocal.

Remixes come from Australia’s Krypsis (who has released on Distorted Audio and Sapyens), adding nagging shuffle groove to its weightless float, while Suffolk grimester SDLR goes the turbo-Portaloo drum ’n’ bass route. Most audaciously, Austria’s Farr (from Vienna’s Euphoria nights) shines with his evocative ‘Re-Whip’, creating its spiky midnight gutter trawl. There really is something going on here.

‘Apparently Solo Volume 1’ and ‘Steel Plate’ are both available via Bandcamp

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