Ectogram started of 2004 on a low note, with Maeyc damaging both thumbs in a nasty industrial accident and subsequently being unable to drum for a couple of months. Happily, he is now fully recovered and the group are back in action. They recently appeared unannounced (to themselves even) at the Ethania Banquet in Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, where they provided a spontaneous backing for legendary local situationist Johnny R's Ethania project.
Gig & Recordings
Ectogram played not once but twice at Hendre Hall during November 2003. The first occasion was at the Stwnchfest on Sunday, 2nd November. The all day festival was a big success and in addition to Ectogram, the audience was treated to largely fine sets by Kite (all the way from Norway), Wendykurk, Valleum, Carbonvein, Skinflick, Salem, Kipperwig, Violated and Noquenda. They returned to the same venue for another Sunday all-dayer on the 30th, when they played with, amongst others, Kentucky AFC and Winabego and had a fine time time, despite the cold.
On both occasions, Ectogram played a set previewing material from their forthcoming fourth album, as yet untitled which they are currently in the midst of recording, together with a rare cover version of Acid Mothers Temple's Pink Lady Lemonade.
Ectosongs laid down for the new album so far include A Dent In The Sunshine, Cleaver In The Nightingale, Overstopped, Daisy Rind, Small Things Crawling, Cloud Trouble, Electric Deckchair, Organation, Prelude and A White Plate, some of which are pretty good.
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Ectogram made a surprise guest appearance recently at the Railway Institute in Bangor. All three ectopeople went along to the gig on April 26th to relax with some beer to the sounds of Wendykurk and Valleum after spending a busy day in the studio working on new material. They were then invited to play a set themselves, and they happily obliged, using Wendykurk's equipment. The unconventional tunings used by Wendykurk served to push Ectogram into less familiar territory resulting in some interesting sonic adventure. Unfortunately the event was not recorded, but a review on the link2wales website said
"Ectogram are not here to please you, they're not gonna be playing any Green Day for the kids, they're gonna fry your brain with discordant melodies that'll have the mums in the audience shaking their heads in disbelief...... a b-side My Bloody Valentine, where you're urging them to kick into a 'proper' song. Of course, the proper song just doesn't happen, & that's what Ectogram are all about. I just can't believe it's not reggae."
Ectogram had spent the earlier part of the day recording at Bryn Derwen studio in Bethesda. Although they had a large body of new and unrecorded songs prepared, the group chose not to record any of these at all and instead played a series of spontaneous compositions, ready to be moulded into "songs" in much the same way as was done with parts of "Tall Things Falling"
Ectogram are one of 17 acts featured on the Ankstmusik compilation "Radio Crymi Playlist Vol. 1 1988-1998". The double CD celebrates the first 10 years of Ankst Records and features 2 tracks by Ectogram: Ebargofiant and Meindlos, both taken from the debut album "I Can't Believe It's Not Reggae!" (due to the period covered by the compilation).
Also on the CD are Datblygu, Llwybr Llaethog, Y Cyrff, Ffa Coffi Pawb, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Catatonia, Topper, Ty Gwydr, Melys, Wwzz, Rheinallt H Rowlands, Super Furry Animals, David Wrench, Traddodiad Ofnus, Geraint Jarman and Beganifs (click on cover pic for full track listing). Copies can be obtained from any record shop or online from the Ankst shop www.ankst.net
The last ECTOGRAM foray away from home to date was to Cardiff on Sunday 24th November at Clwb Ifor Bach on Womanby Street. Also on the bill were The Martini Henry Rifles and Mountain Men Anonymous. During a relatively brief set, Ectogram managed to preview three brand new songs, their setlist being:
A Dent In The Sunshine / Photos Of Toast / Prime Plant Locks / Kindling / Organation / Cloud Trouble / Black Lime Tree / Seven Ugly Men
This was Ectogram's first return to the site of their debut gig (2nd December 1994 with Gorky's Zygotic Mynci) since 12th July 1998, when they played an anti-racism benefit with Jah Taff and Pink Assassins. Possibly their most memorable appearance at the club however, was on the 24th January 1997, when they played with the legendary Pavement and during a backstage inter-group chess tournament, Maeyc was given a sound thrashing by both Steve West and Bob Nastanovich using Pavement's own Simpsons chess set !
The gig seemed to be tied in with some ludicrous event called "the Welsh music awards". ECTOGRAM's position on music awards is well know, i.e. that award ceremonies reduce art to the level of sport (and sport sucks). However, Ectofans can rest assured that Ectogram were not up for any awards (nor would they accept any if they were) and that their appearance here serves only to underline how pointless such arbitrary qualitative judgments on artistic endeavour are. Ectogram's contempt for organisers and acceptors of such awards remains total.
ECTOGRAM hosted another successful event at Hendre Hall, Bangor on Saturday, 28th September. The bill also featured John Lawrence's Infinity Chimps, whose splendid new LP "Sounds Of Nant-Y-Benglog" has recently been released on Ankstmusik Records, along with Ism, a quietly quirky new trio comprising ALL the ex-members of Reinheitsgebot who are not in Ectogram and very loud searing guitar-rockers the Horsespookers, who transposed the arid desert ambiance of Neil Young and Crazy Horse to the damp and mythical prairies of Bethesda. It was a most enjoyable night, and those who missed it are unlikely to ever get the chance to see and hear Ectogram perform that unlikeliest of things, a Bay City Rollers cover ! The group played the Rollers' "classic" Saturday Night as a special birthday treat for a friend whose teen years were spent following the group (The Rollers, not Ectogram). Amongst those spotted in the audience were Darren Parry of Holyhead, Ann's brother and Maeyc's mother, all of who presumably had a very good time. Ectogram's set list was:
In Shadow / The Horse Behind The Flower / No, Soar / Photos Of Toast / Prime Plant Locks / Spitsbergen / Saturday Night / Scratch / Kindling / Spring Without Green / Black Lime Tree / Seven Ugly Men
Ectogram are one of several acts to be seen and heard on a new Ankstmusik DVD-zine CRYMI
This DVD will not be for sale in shops but will be given away FREE to anyone buying the new ECTOGRAM CD (or any other Ankst product) from the new Ankst online shop at www.ankst.net. The DVD comprises the TV programme CRYMI, originally broadcast in 2001 on S4C and subsequently nominated for the Golden Rose Of Montreaux (but beaten by Pop Idols), together with bonus videos by Wendykurk and Rheinallt H Rowlands and a retrospective feature on pre-Ectogram group Fflaps, as a tribute to their drummer Jonny Evans, who died last year. Full line-up for the DVD is: Tystion / Radio-D / Geraint Jarman / MC Mabon / Ectogram / Gruff Rhys / Infinity Chimps / Bubblegun / Llwybr Llaethog / Radio B92 / Zabrinski / Rheinallt H Rowlands / Wendykurk / Fflaps.
The Ectogram item features a radically different early version of Kindling from Tall Things Falling, along with live footage of the group from Notting Hill Arts Centre in 2001
It appears that we've been having more problems with our contact link. This may now be fixed, so please feel free to drop us a line anytime, either from the contact page or just by e-mailing us here. Alternatively, leave messages for us on the Ectoforum.
/ RECENT LIVE DATES
ECTOGRAM pictured live at The Dublin Castle, Camden on March 27th
Ectogram recently performed live at two album launches. The first, on March 23rd at Hendre Hall in Bangor, followed by one in The Dublin Castle, Camden, London on March 27th, both with support from Holyhead avant-metallers WENDYKURK. The group were also heard performing "Photos Of Toast" from the new album live on Radio 1's Session in Wales on March 21st. Further gigs should follow in the next few months.
Reviews of the new album have appeared in various magazines. They have been mostly favourable (with the notable exception of The Wire !) and can be found reproduced HERE.
ECTOGRAM pictured live at Hendre Hall on March 23rd
Much of the record was recorded spontaneously and subsequently moulded with little wooden tools into "songs" with the remaining more worked out songs performed live but with guest Ian hearing the songs for the first time as the tapes rolled. Musophobes however, can rest assured that this new "live" and "spontaneous" approach most definitely does not signal a move towards Jools Holland territory. On the contrary, it was most likely inspired by Maeyc and Alan's experiences of Japan's wonderful Acid Mothers Temple on their 2001 UK tours (at London and Manchester respectively) where both ectogrammers were inspired anew to steer the ectoship into the furthest reaches of the cosmos ! This approach resulted in a leafy frondescence of fresh verdant sound retaining all the zest of springtime (and more).
Fans of Ian
McMillan will be interested to learn that he is currently returning to
the music world and has formed a new group, NATHAN CARPATHIAN,
with fellow reclusive ex-Reinheitsgebot member Scott Saunders and non-reclusive
ex-Reinheitsgebot drummer Mark Thomas. They made their first public performance
alongside ECTOGRAM at Hendre Hall, Bangor on March 23rd. In the meantime,
Reinheitsgebot's classic 80s material can still be obtained from Central Slate Records.
Both Maeyc and Alan performed at the Ochre 7 festival at Gloucester's Guildhall on November 17th 2001(although not together). Maeyc's alter-ego Nixon & Jarvis played a set in the Galasphere 347 Lounge, as did Alan's Groceries and Parking Non-Stop groups, both of who have had releases on Ochre records.
A souvenir programme
CD for the event can be obtained from the Ochre Records website: www.ochre.co.uk. All the day's
performances were recorded for possible inclusion on a live CD, possibly
a double - details again from the Ochre site.