now – ‘Functionality Is Convenient’ (2023)
PIERRE, WITH A MESSY HEAD Blog
“Now brings back its indie-kraut in an album of songs entitled Functionality Is Convenient, choosing a 12 minutes portal with Away To The Library, Away To The Shops. 14 other pieces are following, more or less pop, semisynthetic, on which lands the quiet voice of Justin Paton. An album generous in astonishments.
now – ‘Gold Star Lavander Marriage’ (2019)
MR. OLIVETTI, Freq Magazine
“Incredibly, the band now have been plying their charming trade for the last twenty years or so, and yet every release sounds so fresh and imbued with the joy of a band that have just started playing together.
The not quite fey vocals and gentle, arthritic beat of opener “I’m Sure That Rest Will Make You Feel Better” are joined by toytown keyboards to produce an effect that would not have been out of place on Sarah Records. It is an influence that follows through onto “Fill Up The Gap”, but although influences are apparent, they somehow manage to inhabit their very own world, one with very little fuss that is stripped back to an unhurried minimalism.
So I thought I had their number until halfway through ‘Her Voice/My Ears” a definite groove is introduced and things suddenly grow decidedly funky and repetitive. The drummer is really classy here, adding sweet little fills that are kind of cheeky, but show him as leading this admittedly low-key charge. Just to prove a point to me as a lazy listener making too many assumptions, next track “Biscuita” comes on like a low-fi Camera, all motorik groove, but clean keyboard lines that are the essence of simplicity with just a little synth texture draped across the track’s little shoulders like the earth tones of a charity shop cape.
Justin Paton‘s vocals are generally offhand and sometimes a little off-key, but it doesn’t detract from them at all, and the patchwork effect of “Strong Urge” with the instruments stitching the song together without stepping on each others’ toes is lovely. I can’t tell if the drums are real on some of the tracks and the bedroom vibe of “Thoughts Again” brings to mind Robert Sotelo. Once again, I think I have them and then they throw the modern R&B groove of “Crackin’ The Shell” down to really freak me out. Hip, distorted vocals are delivered in a semi-rap which I didn’t see coming, and the squelchy instrumental kids’ theme of “I Don’t Look Forward To The Day When I Have To Throw This Jumper Away” rounds out a decidedly quirky but irresistible side one.
Side two of Gold Star Lavender Marriage opens equally insistently, with Justin’s voice a little further back in the mix on the motorik “Petro Twig”, while “Shit Zoo” couldn’t be any less well named, with more minimalist instrumental fun; the strained, cheap keyboards so simple yet so effective. You have the feeling that they want the songs to have a bit more groove on this side and are allowed more time to unfurl; the heartbeat synth and warm, contented vocals of “Leaves” become dreamy and hypnotic, while wood blocks are added to “Nachspiel” for a little texture.
Once again, just as I think I have them, after the experimental and self-evident “Arp”, final track “People” finds Justin discussing his anxiety about the state of folks in the modern age over a celestial keyboard motif and a sub-techno beat. His voice here, considering the concerning subject matter, is delivered in the trippiest, worry-free manner and then just like that, the album is over and now have woven their magic spell and drawn you into their soft-focus world. Give Gold Star Lavender Marriage a try, I dare you not to be seduced.”
now – ‘Twenty Years Of now’ (2018)
PIERRE, WITH A MESSY HEAD BLOG
“It’s always now, even more since 1998 the year now was founded by Justin Paton. 20 years defying the music time:
now was yesterday, is today and will be tomorrow, evolving into a playful krautrock, aggregate of electronic loops and fiddlings, guitars and toy instruments: melodica, toy piano and omnichord.
Formed around Justin Paton, the band remains loyal to its vision and impetus energy and never exhausts, choosing a name destined to never belong to the past. This copious compilation gathers 26 pieces drawing the story of band clearly independant, curious and free that loves to play and move with casualness until euphoria.
A good time daydreaming, a birthday party levitating.”
now – ‘pleasesorrythankyou’ (2017)
MICHAEL RODHAM-HEAPS, Freq Magazine
“Right from the electro-slapped rub of the opener to the insistent burn of guitar that seals the deal, this baby kicks winter grumpiness out into the far reaches like its predecessor Innard Listeningestion did. Its glinty beams and squelchy piranhas are the perfect panacea to the prevailing gloom, smoothed in plenty of harmonic warmth.
The gritty dEUS-like undergrowth of “Nothing New” wrestling a biscuit tin and hub cap shimmy, all funnel-focused by a dribble of Residents-like vocals in a dubby delirium that sends you a bit peculiar. The brilliant scar of light-hearted indie that is “Shore”, the Sesame Street bop of “Save it Down” too, all hitting the toe-tapping essentials, flanked in stabby electrodes, getting all jiggy with the feisty agitations. The cosy gaussian blur of ’69 that is “I Can’t Say” cutting it all back to an inviting lilt of living room acoustics and tom-tom bounce that canters around your skull in the summery dapple of hushed lyrics is something that wouldn’t be amiss on Mark Robinson’s Teenbeat label.
The felt-stitched vibe of Pleasesorrythankyou‘s cover capturing the carefree, loose-knitted nature of the vibes contain therein. A cheeky rhythmic grin mooching with addictive motoriks and hic-cupping diodes, even chucking in a slice of surprise evangelism along the way. Bowing out on the effervescent uppers of the last track, a blazing bright cursive crawling all over you in kandy-kraut currents of breeding ripeness. Nagging fretworks scattered into sparse pockets of ambience before dispatching another eruption of driven ascends – a vibe that warrants plenty of re-spin.”
now – live at the Strongroom, London 3/10/15
JAY HARPER, Freq Magazine
“Anyone who’s seen London stalwarts Now play live will know that they are always different, yet always reliable (as in they will always deliver). They’ve been existing in different formations for over a decade and a half now (Now!), and have collaborated with the likes of Damo Suzuki, who is basically Krautrock royalty, for those of you unfamiliar with his name.
The pleasant yet ordinary surroundings of The Strongroom aren’t the most inspiring; yet, as stated before, Now will always deliver. Tonight’s set was purely instrumental, so we weren’t treated to any of their infectious ‘pop songs’; which was definitely a shame. However, the trade off seemed fair as instead the audience were handed candy-coloured motorik confectioneries that brought huge grins to everyone’s faces. Now bring us hypnotic grooves forged from the ashes of various mantric musical strains. For example, “The Foundry Favourite” sounds like a tougher incarnation of Zuckerzeit-era Cluster rockin’ an acid house dance floor. In fact, the spectre of the famous Chicago dance music style hangs as heavily over proceedings as NEU! does (this is a very good thing).
Along with the motorik and acid influences, one can detect the sound of minimal house, techno (in all its many guises), funk (hey, is that you Bernie Worrell?) and disco; and these all come together in the most natural and wonderful way, rather than feeling like some forced, muddy fusion. Now make it sound like all of these genres (and non-genres) are the most natural bedfellows in the world. The added dashes of acid become even more obvious when you realise that now founder Justin Paton is performing and recording acid house tunes under his own name (an album is imminent), and it also explains the expertise that is so effortlessly sprinkled over the solid krautrock that Angela, George and Vanessa were driving home.
Other tracks, such as “The Pump Room” seem to be both minimal yet rich, rigid yet funky and fluid; everything you want from hypnotic dance music is it not? By the end of their set now had the room rocking and smiling like idiots. They really delivered exhilarating, fleeced music; and no, that wasn’t in any way a put down.If you’ve never seen this act live before, it is strongly advised that this is remedied and you seek out one of their gigs immediately; you really won’t regret it.”
now – ‘Innard Listeningestion’ (2014)
MICHAEL RODHAM-HEAPS, Freq Magazine
“There’s a certain mild krautishness nurturing in those Kinder Egg diode flashes, a light-hearted flush of danceability that’s swimming in the real and the synthetic in equal amounts. Oddly punctured textures and filtered sequins that seem to bubble-burst plenty of satisfied grins, a childlike tinkering perfectly matching the lurid orange vinyl and crayoned graphics of its package.
“Innards” starts the ball rolling, its super-cute measures amok with squelching Paddington Bear galoshes bouncing off cling film-coated puddles. A curl-e-whirling of vocals, light and airly remainders to a tinselated rhythmic goodness, popsicles dream-feeding soft cushioned contours and jangling xylo-tonics of a catchy number that’ll haunt you with its fancy footwork. “Listening Forward To It” adds an increase in tempo, the beat toothpasted with arp(ing) sensations and glaring headlights. Its quieter Satie-like moments prised open in resplendent returns; wide spans of guitar milking the radiant sunlight of imaginary horizons and swoosie graduations needled in mousetrapped percussions, hand-clap snare-ations and glinting piano keylines, swimming to further sanctuaries to slam on recoveries of fuzztoned Neu! polish. Its electro-tribe hobgoblins leaving a glowstick of Picasso afterimages living it up in Colgate beams of optimism and a spangled, chilled sign off.
“Ingestion Syndrone” brings on further contrasts, butterflies churning a rude rasping of half-hitched hooks. A Russian doll of enveloped goodness parcel taping the tempo into jangling pockets on tight-fitted tailoring, bleeping buttons attacked in noisy insertions. LFO weepings held in jazz hands, noodling your noggin in robotically-wielding monks and whisk-battered Hancocks. An odd soup of preset abandon surface-skating fruity circuitries; a satisfying box of feet-shuffling frogs.
“Feminine Devastation” bleeds patternated dub and a certain acid fattness in the bassline, all foot-sliding hip slinkiness, a funky jigsaw scooping those smarting kisses of dustbin-lidded snap as jellied eels of guitar spike the sequential candy pulling at the clasps of its own reality. The excellently-titled “An Octopus In A Stringbag” signing us out on a skipping-rope of misshapenness that suddenly finds itself lunging a brief lounge mellowness before slipping unconsciously under the duvet.
But hold on, a craftily inserted download card reveals a cunning host of extra mixes that rearrange the EP’s scenery further — the belly dance of Centre of the Universe and the taupe-tapping centrics of Radio 9, Ben Glass‘s phasic coat-hangers — lingering numerical curves that pull and push the original like a pixilated ragdoll.”
“Man I dig this uplifting music. I guess this band had a real good time recording this, ‘coz listening to this makes ME feel real good…. Their tags hit the nail on its head: pop/dance/electronic/experimental. Although some tracks are long, they don’t bore me for a second. The remixes are fun interpretations of the original tracks. Lovers of creative, experimental & slightly whacky electro-pop will drool over this. Well done, NOW!”
now ‘Liminal Mixes’ (2013)
ALEX SPALDING, YEAHIKNOWITSUCKS.COM
“The first track, titled ‘Groovy Chick’, gets a warbling synth and rhythm together adding a wah-fuzz bass. I’m feeling it so far! Bits of electronic-sounding weirdness shoot out like a guitar run through strange processors, very avantfunk.
Next is ‘Creatures’, in which a thick sawsynth sequence grows steadily louder, and then these really nice tiny bells start playing… it’s like a sleigh ride through through an electronic German town abuzz with displays of yuletide cheer, coming mostly from the robots out of Kraftwerk’s secret underground laboratory. I mean, we all know Kraftwerk have secretly been building robots with which to take over the world, right? Harmonica and then a nice groove come in as well. It’s a really cool track!!
Then it’s ‘Don’t Make A Sound’ which, despite it’s title, does make a sound… starting with guitar fret flicking, then churning out a riff and adding a stompy drum beat. This track gets fierce! I love the drumwork on this album so far. I hear what sounds like a scissor snapping in the mix. Lo-fi vocals come into the mix, this sounds like a garage exploding. It’s taken down for awhile, slow building guitar drones, feedback and electronic noises… really great!
After that is ‘Fill Up The Gaps’, beginning with an eclectic beat and growing synth modulations. It’s something in almost the same vein as Add (N) To (X), with it’s Moog bass and acoustic drum groove, but more and more it is reminding me of many early forays spanning the ’60s and ’70s into crafting enjoyable electronic rock/pop. Sirens, lasers, ever changing analogue sequences. It’s a lot of fun to listen to, inducing me into a sort of hypnosis. The drums start beating off at the end, and then it devolves into a shuffle of noises and low, rolling modular bass.
Last is ‘With It’, and I’m sorry the album ever ends… a shrill chorus of whirring, buzzing electronics, then bass frequencies that start pulsating erratically, a low kick just barely audible. These synths can scream! The dizzy disharmonics are engaging my senses, we hear drums careening ahead, piano plays softly over the top. This is probably the most experimental production on this short work, and it’s amazing. So many layers of synth, strange noises… we’re left with piano and reversed-sounding synths with long-attack, and it’s really pretty, free. A bench is creaking. I hear something snap or crash. A low piano chord like human anger, resulting. Sharp, crisp notes from the piano in high octave… the way it’s been produced or recorded, there are gaps in the distance between some notes, when the sizzling hiss disappears, making the sounds seem like composites, tapestries of several recording, despite the cohesion. Well, cohesion… you know what I mean, I hope. A synth returns, it’s oscillation modifying subtly. The kick returns, the wash of synth layers with it… synthetic sounds beckon to you, loudly! Then, the track ends.
Very enjoyable listen! Normally, it would seem that attempts to bring together a diverse range of artists to do something experimental or pop or cohesive, or really anything, ends up sounding like a big wank at the end, if it ever even materializes… but this album really worked and had a magic all it’s own, all of the artists really made something worth hearing, standing apart from histories, or personalities… something appreciable and self-merited. I implore you… get it today, and share in the dream of awesome tape music experiences with me…”
now ‘pileofskyhighmiles’ (2013)
SPOONIKSPIESS, BOREALISCAPE BLOG
“Postmodernism is still the cultural magnetic field we are not able to abandon because of being a stripe in our DNA. For instance, one way is to step backwards to approach now, the 9-notch outing by now. Being released on a cult imprint, Clinical Archives, it is a fine drift between different styles similarly to The Fall. More profoundly, one can partake by moving from synth-heavy space pop to minimal post-rock numbers to droning avant-pop terrains. With It is something about a crossroad of how to match the motorik impulse of krautrock with downbeat tendencies. It might remind of an early Stereolab at the time of recording and issuing Mars Audiac Quintet (for instance, at I4Me, and A Good Natured Serpent) and a new wave of krautrockers from cities of the Ruhr area in Germany in the 90’s and the 00’s. Through it one can hear the influences of an early Kraftwerk, and Neu! (it does not surprise at all, isn`t?). On the other hand, at Lonely Chair you can perceive the influences of bedroom and lo-fi and DIY aesthetic as well. All in all, it is a top notch by any means. The trio from the UK must have been an outstanding group because of having collaborated and shared the stage with such underground music juggernauts as Damo Suzuki, Faust, Circle, Tunng, Psapp, Rothko, Plaid, A Hawk And A Hacksaw among others.”
now ‘Ooodipooomn’ (2009)
RICHARD FONTENOY, PLAN B MAGAZINE
“Pursuing their offbeat, off-kilter and occasionally off-the-wall mashup of lo-fidelity experimental pop music and uptempo kosmik grooves at the fringes of undergound and overground success, now continue to demonstrate the tireless heart of their being is something close to an unsung national treasure. Just like now‘s ever-changing live shows, the gumbo of influences and references which permeate ‘Ooodipooomn’ suffuse it with an almost naÔve joy in its own existence. Adventurous and elliptical more than merely eccentric, ‘Ooodipooomn’ revolves around the core now trio and a parade of guests, buzzing vibrantly through sensational moments where shuddering analogue synth boogie morphs into avant skronk’n’roll before throttling back into hypnotic cello, somnolent beat loops and droning surrender. The six minute trance-inducing motorway chug of ‘Hiway Code’ seems more like a whole roadtrip thanks to its the sheer busyness, while the spacious sprawl of ìYellow Tent T-shirtî and the brazen churn of ‘Ethnik Snack’ both coalesce into wildly divergent epics, remoulding the model of jam-band ethnopsychedelia along the way.”
MAARTEN SCHIETHART, PENNYBLACKMUSIC
“now, the quirky combo from London with a sense for melody, wrap up a lot of sounds and vibes on this album. Most of the material is dazzling and daunting. Esoteric electro-acoustic pop seamlessly melts with broken beats. There is a quality to be discovered in their blurpy blips. Now rather compare to Cornershop; mostly because of the troubled lyricism and original melody lines in songs which have a a rather peculiar arrangement. Their main virtue is in their clean pop music touch. On ‘Yellow Tent T-Shirt’ all their qualities fall into place on one 13 minute piece of majestic breeze of vulnerable zanity and vanity. now have bigger promises to fulfill. This fifth album is riddled with lovely little tricks.”
now – ‘Oisheedy Anna’ (2008)
PHIL, NORMAN RECORDS
“The final one I’ll be reviewing on the Disco R dance label this week is a CD by Now called ‘Oisheedy Anna’ which is as bonkers as anything I’ve heard in a while. Like everything else on the label it’s reasonably left of centre and quite high on the quirkometer. They had a CD out on Pickled Egg a while back which some of you may heard a while back? If The Chap had more a folky twinge to them I reckon it wouldn’t be a million miles away from this. It’s well bonkers though and my favourite out of the 3 I’ve heard this week!”
now – ‘The Hepadaboo’ (2008)
SEBASTIEN RADIGUET, ONDEFIXE
“Following the example of label friend Moteer who reached their hand out to Minimun Chips, flaü diversifies its catalogue and poppifies it in a round-about way by taking on the multiform quartet now. But the pop of these odd birds – cheap and atypical, difficult to classify – is not easy to tame.
As with Minimun Chips, the influence of Stereolab is detectable, but not explicit. One finds it in the opening match Song which makes us believe in a possible joint venture between the group around Laetitia Sadier and the eternal children of Au Revoir Simone, who allow themselves an indigent reprise of Can. Here, one finds a love that is softly screaming from synths, and from cheap, antique rhythm boxes: the latter imprint a rudimentary rhythm, imperturbable and binary, for a length of 11 minutes. However, the Stereolab heritage, that one finds again on ‘Here’, vanishes in favour of fresh and innocent electro-pop, often coloured with a dash of carefree harmonic chants (tu-tu, ooooh-oooh, la-la, you name it, they do it all), permeated with almost shoegaze-like guitars (Dwellpoint) or delivering little funky riffs such as the many resonances of the groove of A Certain Ratio (Relive the Food). Cheap, candid and a little brutal in its dismantling (have a look at the ingenuous ‘Lies are up’!), their music enriches itself with little touches of exoticism (ukulele and mbira), tastes of the joys of dissonance (No feelings), of acerbity (It’s so), but it does not really convincingly reveal itself until the very end, with a ‘Last’ propelled by organs and illuminated with glockenspiel, competing once more with the stratified pop of Caribou.”
Damo Suzuki & now – ‘The London Evening News’ (2007)
NICK SOUTHGATE, THE WIRE MAGAZINE
“Bob Dylan is not the only artist on a neverending tour: Damo Szuki picks up a different outfit at every stop, and in March 2004 at London’s Bull & Gate, he hooked up with now, who had already been forging their own melange of Krautrock, synth pop and lo-fi for a few years. The result is an explosive set that holds well against anything Suzuki recorded in or outside of Can. . . The album creeps into life as Damo’s guttural whispers and stutters get “Knopp Off” into gear. The group knock themselves into shape one rimshot and wah-snag at a time until the piece rolls itself into a shuddering, funky whole. “Metro Girl” has a tinny hi-hat tempo, swaying with low-slung bass and mangled disco-zaps from the keyboard. “One And One Equal One” is another honourable entry in ‘the short history of poor mathematics in rock’ and is also a hypnotic slice of motorik fuzz to boot. Its followed up by the one downbeat moment on the album, “Acid Test”, a slow paced fragmentary lament. The closing workout is the magnificent “The Zero Game”, an ARP synth-loop fued bounce boogie with a two-note guitar part that Michael Karoli would have been proud of. In the latter stages it features that rarest and most precious of things – some psych trumpet playing that adds a glorious spray of Technicolor energy not heard since The Beatles’ far-out excursion “Its All Too Much”.”
now ‘Frisbee Hotpot’ (2006)
DANIEL SPICER, PLAN B MAGAZINE
“Did you ever wish Stereolab would just stop with the wussy leopard-skin lounge exotica and get thoroughly stuck into the krauty riffage? If so, you probably have to hear Frisbee Hot Pot. There are grooves on here so deep that bathospheres have been lost exploring them, so repetitive that they’re being considered as a cure for autism. This is no macho endurance test though: just listen to ‘Little Bits Inside of You’ and its cheeky Human League synth-funk and snooty girl-sneer. Opening track, ‘Abominatrx,’ is an eleven-minute journey from inept jerk-pop through a squelchy Brazilian robo-party, ending up in some kind of trombone comedy march. Elsewhere there are withered trumpets, fey breathings and heavy, heavy drum breaks. Ritalin pop, perhaps?”
JAY, MEDIA MENTALISTS
“Now I’m all for going into music shops and choosing a random cd and hoping for the best. Some of my favourite cds are ones I did not know of and just thought “What The Heck?”. I bought The Raveonettes debut ep on the first day it came out for £4. I look back on that as amazing purchase, it was brilliant and is now full price due to their popularity. This band will not get that sort of recognition as it can get just too weird but I love it. An alternative indie pop album which starts off with an 11 minute track, you know it’s going to be special and it is. Seek this out as you may not hear music as weird and great for a while. And if you do, it will be shamelessly ripping this band off. Quite hard to find so it is worth a search.”
MARK BARTON, LOSINGTODAY.COM
“Perhaps one of the best debuts we’ve heard all year has been ‘Frisbee Hot Pot’ by now – marked by it’s admirable disregard for time signatures and pop rudiments alike, ‘the Incase’ sounds kookily distracted to the point that you’d swear it had prized itself straight from an old c.1981 John Peel play list schedule.”
“This lot don’t make the reviewing process easy. “What does it sound like?”, you ask and the answer is many things and none of them all at once… things like ’70’s funk, a samba band, Pram, Can, Tom Tom club, Sadistic Mika Band… actually, if now remind of one thing more than any other it is Japan’s Sadistic Mike Band and they were very hard to pin down to any particular style too. Very accomplished without being overly slick, that’s now, as they throw in everything that comes to hand, perhaps including the kitchen sink, their party might be the hottest ticket in town.”
THOMAS BLATCHFORD, DROWNEDINSOUND.COM
“There’s not many bands left, lets face it, that claim to make pop music and yet start their debut album with an eleven-minute soundscape that drifts blissfully from being a dainty electronic choral rhyme to a drum machine-led minimal techno effort to an all-out samba throw-down and back again, let alone anyone who can make it work. Which is why my soul, my ears and my dancing shoes thank now, more a collective than a band, who havent so much as made an album as created an antidote for musical apathy. This is a band that have played with Damo Suzuki and pulled it off. Yep, that good. And Frisbee Hot Pot is one of those albums that, if art-pop is a term coming back into fashion, would be somewhere between Pollock and Kandinsky ・free-flowing yet structured, vivid yet soothing, bold yet with numerous untold hidden depths. Musically its all over the shop, of course, yet manages to steer clear of sounding like a mere mesh of disparate influences badly thrust together seemingly because they not only have a great understanding of the rhythmical heart in everything (all music is dance music, etc), but can apply it to their own restless, driving sound. Little Bits Inside Of You comes on like a glorious summit between Talking Heads and The Knife, all squelchy synths, funk-heavy bass burbles, tribal harmonic chants and the occasional stern-headmistress vocal. The most notable is here, The In-Case, manages to be a plaintive lament, albeit one with a frantic live breakbeat underneath, and makes great use of startling the listener with some massive clamorous clanging noises. Such is the nature of the rest of the album, really, feeding off the element of surprise even after repeated listens, steering your senses into different uncharted territories through each curious noise. Container Theory, for instance, begins with a startling burst of Mariachi-style trumpet, which continues into the trip-hoppy sprawl of Moment, it bubbles out of the speakers like liquid sound in stained-glass bottles, all fizzy and kaleidoscopic. Thing is, for a while it doesnt let up either, leading you to wonder where exactly theyre mining all these ideas from. Ne? Un! is lo-fi with party organ and handclaps that wants to be dancefloor-friendly but settles for being a whole lot of fun, and Pachinko balances on the edge of being experimental hip-hop, yet without any garish production sheen. But, perhaps to make up for all the energy that surges through the first half of the album, the lattermost tracks take a turn for the ambient, and a rather gorgeous type of ambient at that: I Heard Footsteps Outside, Soft Footsteps…Like Naked Feet and Calanized pinpoint the exact moment that the likes of !!! or Four Tet start coming down. And as the whole album winds itself slowly to a halt, you know it is a journey colourful, perplexing and astounding enough to warrant many return trips. Inspired and inspiring.”
SIMON LEWIS, PTOLEMAIC TERRASCOPE
“On their latest album “Frisbee”, the seven-piece band now are joined by a whole army of percussionist whose combined skills fill out the sound of the songs completely, no more so than on the opening track “Abominatrx” which build from pop song to street carnival in a delicious manner and will definitely get you feet moving. Elsewhere there is a Talking Heads/Eno groove to the songs with the bass-lines becoming central to the song, with the musicians playing tightly together, creating tension, whilst retaining a loose feel, (a good trick if you can do it). Throughout the band are not afraid to experiment with different rhthyms, the vocals telling stories, and the well-rehearsed grooves allowing the other instruments plenty of room to improvise, bringing to mind bands such as Rollerball, Caravan, and The Comsat Angels, although these are mere echoes to be found in a collection of original and high quality songs.”
SKIFF, THE VANITY PROJECT
“Sleigh bells shickle like Mr T. in full tilt, and from there, through recorders, cyclical harmonies and synth hum, a locked-in, sweet and tender little groove develops, growing like ivy, capturing all sorts of other instruments and patterns as it spreads in all directions. Not a bad opener, then, and it is one of two 10 minute tracks that fully showcase their artistry and spin. All the other tracks are snippets by comparison, but equally visionary, e.g. Excited Lobo Crown has a desert funk twinkle; The In-Case clatters like a chainsaw through a back-alley bin; Calanized clings onto a spy-drama wubble and Pachinko is a juddery slink firing off an Atari electro-trickle. This record has free-jazz spirit, elements of twee, a post-rock stubbornness while it often swims with African guitars. A floating, gliding LP that is, nonetheless, perverse in outlook; soaring, dipping and jolting regularly.”
“First of all, I must warn you, this disc is not going to be something for everyone’s ears. Indeed, it is necessary to have strong heart to listen “Frisbee Hot Pot” because there are killer grooves on this disc which would make your great-aunt dance (yes, you know, the one with the wooden leg), and which establish, propel, expand and repeat themselves, before stopping sharply, creating an incredible frustration that the faint-hearted among you will not endure. With this album, now has invented a dancing machine far from the ordinary. By skillfully mixing electro, pop, krautrock, experimentation jazz and pure groove, this band of merry Londoners confidently launch themselves onto the dancefloor and are there to stay. “Abominatrix”, the first title on the album starts as a nice electro chamber piece but develops little by little into a striking victory of danceable pop before turning into an improbable samba which finally melts down into a gigantic brass blast which unites everything. It lasts eleven minutes, and while for the first three minutes, you are satisfied to tap your foot, by the fifth one, you have the top of your body shaking to the rhythm, and by the seventh, it is impossible not to break out into a wild spasm.
After a small interlude, we have “Little Bits Inside of You”, a synthetic tube funk/new wave inspired by the Eighties (imagine Prince not with a guitar but with a metronome) which again gives way to another interlude. This goes on for 17 titles, each one more repetitive and addictive that the others. The album is full like an egg and does not offer any respite. The songs are smooth, varied, without real relationship between them, and yet completely coherent thanks to a perfect use of rhythm. The unit remains fluid in spite of the repetition, and entertains from beginning to end. It is beautiful when conceptual music (“All music is dance music” says Justin Paton) makes you move your feet so much.”
MATS, THEBROKENFACE BLOG
“now have quite a few sonic components (krautrock, free jazz, folk and electronics) in common with Zukanican, but the outcome is still something very different as ‘Frisbee Hot Pot’ is much more understated and based around gentle pop structures rather than wild improvisations. Some sections are even dancey and wouldn’t feel out of place on the dance floor of some high-quality East London club. Contrary to what some of you might think that bounciness and those percussive workouts are probably what make these homemade avant-pop ditties work so successfully. I love the way these guys manage to sound so experimental yet fill the air with such a melodic and catchy sound.”
A. TONAL D, TRI RECORDS
“Well….I’m going to be brutally honest…..!! ‘Frisbee Hot Pot’ is….really, really fab!!! I’ll give it 9.75 out of 10!!! Really like it, at no moment did my interest wane or even irk me. There is the right balance between heart & intellect, also a perfect balance of the yin-yang…masculine/feminine… The yellow cover is so right because to me it is a sunshine album. There is a happy day feel without getting sunstroke, so the moodier pieces have more of an impact…it is fun and a joy to listen to. Influences are well hidden & free from cliché…The low key ending was a suprise but that’s good. The whole thing is having a similar effect on me as to when I heard the B-52’s first album…which is a classic…admittedly they were a more commercial entity…but ace music is ace music… In conclusion its ALBUM of the YEAR, so far, really.”
now – live at ‘Guinea Pig’, The Buffalo Bar, London 16/3/03
LINUS TOSSIO, Freq Magazine
“Resident group now take the stage to an appreciative welcome – they’re here every month, but this set turns out to demonstrate the sheer effectiveness of hard work on the practicing and playing together front. Tonight, it’s the turn of multi-limbed drummer Giles Narang to shine; not showily, not with paradiddles and grandstanding, but in a highly subtle powerhouse contribution to keeping matters moving as now lay down their rippling grooves. There are hunting horn interventions, fruity licks of Mini-Moog bass and throbbing wheezes from Caspar Gordon‘s trombone, but the highlights come from Frances May Morgan‘s violin interplay with both Justin Paton‘s strained vocals and Leee Night‘s guitar skronk – but everyone swaps instruments so often it’s difficult to pin any one musician down. The set ends with a curvaceous percussion workout, all held tightly in shape by Giles, but loose enough to slip into the head trip space of a controlled cosmic jam session.”
now – live at ‘Club V’, Upstairs At The Garage, London 10/7/99
TOM EWING, FREAKY TRIGGER ZINE
“First up were now. The observant pop picker might have noticed that the name now is kind of similar to the name
Neu!, and so it proved. Neu!-influenced bands are nothing new (ba-BOOM!), but live, at least, now departed from the template by adding nothing at all to the formula and just playing straight-ahead bloodyminded piston-powered robotrock which sounded absolutely brilliant.
Their singer, who was really into it, was your classic gaunt shaggy-black-haired indie drug god, except even thinner and the guitarist smiled alot and had curly hair and looked instantly likeable and i can’t remember the other members.