pwhmobs feature wire 09 -
'The Now Sound of Sheffield' feature in the Wire, including Part Wild Horses Mane
PWHMOBS review PlanB 09 -
Interview as part of 'next wave 2009' feature
PWHMOBS review wire 08 -
Review of Battaile de Battle (singing knives records)
pwhmobs online reviews a -
Various reviews and writeups online
mapsadaisical.wordpress.com - PWHMOBS @ The Luminaire, London 30/05/10
"While drums and flute may not be the most promising of combinations on paper, Lyon’s Pascal Nichols and Kelly Jones, aka PWHMOBS, are using them as the basis as some of the most original and fresh-sounding music anywhere right now. They combine those instruments with tapes, electronics, chanting and ethnic percussion and instrumentation to create something that isn’t jazz, isn’t rock, isn’t world music…but it is something. Quite something. They begin delicately with Jones adding layers of breathy flute, and Nichols playing with bells and other gamelan-like objects I couldn’t quite place. Some of the sounds were completely inexplicable, until I realised that Nichols had a mic strapped to his neck, and was adding groans and yelps into the mix. The two were listening closely to each other, building tension, adding new sounds and textures, looped bird song appearing amongst the flute melodies, with Nichols scattering rimshots amongst the flock. This rose gradually to sections of near-tribal rhythms, with Nichols beginning a throaty incantation, almost a call to prayer, and one I’d have been compelled to answer. This was deep and devotion-inspiring, a transfixing performance wholly in line with their reputation as one of the most original and exciting of live acts."
Tip of the Tonugue (David Keenan) writeup of Low Fired Clay Escape LP:
Much-anticipated new album from the greatest live band in the UK right now, Manchester’s Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides. Percussionist Pascal Nichols and flautist Kelly Jones have minted a profound new form of improvisation that carves spectral shapes from silence and creates free music with a spare orchestral beauty and deep psychedelic atmosphere. Augmenting their instruments with electronics, tapes and old military communication systems, they expand the basic free jazz format with drones, feedback and zoned vocals, taking the Cherry/Blackwell duets and relocating them upwind of the alien soundtracks generated by Japan’s Taj Mahal Travellers. This latest album presents five tracks of sublime, infinitely nuanced duo exchange. Nichols kit is so tonal, so expressive of melody, that at points it sounds like he’s playing acoustic bass lines with it, shadowing Jones’s flute as it ascends through heavenly stratas of pure tone. At points the hand-drums and scuttering vocal chants bring to mind Sun City Girls’ ethno-forgeries but there’s also aspects of Angus MacLise and Amon Duul in their cultic depth. Unlike so many improvisers who suffer from attention-deficit Nichols and Jones are capable of incredible subtlety and of painstaking minimalist tension, using silence and single notes to dissolve both space and time. And when Jones plays those incredible sighing runs that sound somewhere between Roland Kirk and Sabu Orimo, dissolving like pink clouds, and Nichols makes one simple movement of his hands and then the next, the effect is overwhelming. We’ve said it before but there’s no one else that can touch them right now. Their combination of inspired musicianship and refusal of received technique makes them the most exciting psychedelic free jazz ritualists of their time. And this is a stunning document of a group at the peak of their powers. Edition of 530 copies. Highly recommended.
Richard Morris, soundblab.com
Bataille de Battle (Singing Knives)
Sometimes the psychogeography of a place can inspire its music makers to take a quantum leap across the chasms of space and time. In the late 70s, the bleak industrial landscape of Sheffield was the birthing ground to an austere and mordant futurism, exemplified by The Human League and Cabaret Voltaire. Thirty years later the same crumbling brickwork and haunted factory spaces echo to a sound which is inverse and yet also similar.Part Wild Horses Mane is at the forefront of a scene of bands which use ornate English folk music, LaMonte Young style drones, free jazz drumming and found sounds to create music as alien and alienated as anything by the post punk synth pioneers. 'Full Left Hand Cocoon', which opens this album, sounds at once ancient and space age, making use of disembodied howls, ethereal flute and, most startlingly, long pregnant silences which beam the listener to a lunar landscape, as vast and lonely as the one conjured in Brian Eno's seminal Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks. Listening to it feels like taking a moonwalk in a wooden spacesuit.
Second track 'Fully Pierced', fourteen minutes of scraping, drones and tinkling bells, is like listening to the death throes of some rusted mechanical deity. 'Someday We'll Limit Forever' is the sound from inside the belly of the beast, the clammy darkness and intestinal churning alleviated only by the phosphorous glow of Kelly Jones' flute. Final track 'Grapes Engraved' is punk as played by enraged poltergeists with faulty telekinetic abilities. It's unremittingly intense, heady stuff. It's also beautiful, and it gladdens one's heart to realise that, right at the end of this decade, someone somewhere has discovered a primal way to communicate the shock of the new.
Best Tracks: 'One Day We'll Limit Forever', 'Fully Pierced', 'Full Left Hand Cocoon'
Peter Taylor, Foxy Digitalis 2010
Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides "Blew in the Face" LP
in bellows inhuman. The clatter and chatter of percussion seems to quicken the heart in slumberous surroundings. Primal yet intricate, passionate and avant garde without at once being challengingly pretentious. The quiet and din dance in respectful, graceful methods demanding stuttered and lingered breaths. Insects murmur in pleats of linen, chaffing and clicking before the call issues. A silent brood wait, as the siren softly blows its breath to bask the patient bugs. Fingers and ears twinge dripping fluids that masturbate the cranium to the unimagined pleasures of Bosch’s demons. Arcs of ochre and sickening breaths ape intercourse to temp St Anthony. The claws are drawn and the spell broken as we fall with the winds to a discomfort soothed only by a longing call; a bastard flute in horror’s fête. Finally the drums roll a road of rubble and dust of ground antiquity, to an unventured parallel that feels as untimely as it does inviting.
The repeated choir hangs in limbo on an unreal string of taught desire and pivotal grace. The armies’ feet vibrate along its narrow limb to fornicate in reverie to a sky neither above or below. And they call ever in looped prayer beyond the subtle tumbling percussion and the singing flute. There is a grandeur that mystifies and sets apart this duo beyond their contemporaries. The march gathers steam as it ventures to wider pathways; terra firma of fleshy substance. March becomes dance as spring to the calendar month. The light and rain fuse like flute and drum. Thronging bodies entwine in unbridled lust and sinews gather with gushes of fluid and spit. Bones, teeth and screeching nails pucker hardened clay with wind-blown notes that penetrate thorough. Hands grasp in groped fervour, the vexation of the virile violent with intent. And then. The quiet. It soothes. Condensation of the sweetest breath drips in cool veins upon some dual window peaking with twinned portals. Silence.
The drama lives on in resonance as the patterns remain in woven sound that echoes long after its terminus. PWHMOBS have made their greatest contribution yet. The second side long live effort soars high above most of what I’ve had the fortune to hear this year. Both towering in its execution and in its invention. I can’t recommend this enough. 10/10 --
Neil Cooper The List, September 2010
Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides – Leith Dockers Club, Edinburgh, Sunday August 22nd/White Death – SunBear Gallery, Edinburgh, Monday August 23rd
Manchester-based spectralist duo Part Wild Horses Mane on Both Sides made the most of their weekend away-day in Edinburgh to show off the full range of their avant-primitivist activity. At Leith Dockers, flautist Kelly-Jayne Jones and drummer Pascal Nichols headlined a packed programme organised under the Bandita Trails banner. Even in the spit n’ sawdust temple of a working man’s club, Nichols’ busy martial clatter and Jones echo-treated trills produce a sacred and dramatic series of sound poems that sound like the soundtrack to some Zen dream of Shangri-la.
The next night at the artist-run SunBear Gallery, while Nichols gave percussive ballast to the hiss and miss detritus of Edinburgh duo Usurper’s increasingly comedic deconstructed sound cartoons in this Winners Don’t Shiver promotion, Jones teamed up with Helhesten clarinetist Hannah Ellul as White Death. With an at times eye-wateringly overpowering whiff of incense billowing from the centre of the room, Jones’ gossamer-light meditations and Ellul’s dark rumblings criss-cross mid-air to make an appositely English form of chamber improv that soars into the ether.