July 2018

cover

Drip Water Hollow Out Stone

12" vinyl, 45rpm

Ever Never Records, Cat. e/n-037


"Murk and mystery are the keys to MOSQUITOES’ unique ability to suck the listener into a wormhole that pulses with menace. Little is known about this new-ish UK unit, but all signs point to an intriguing future. The proof resides within the grooves of Drip Water Hollow Out Stone, Mosquitoes’ 5-song 12” EP on New York City’s fearless Ever/Never Records. Yes, the record’s title functions as a concise explanation of a timeless natural process—but it also reveals the name of each track, small gestures that gradually erode the listener’s sense of physical bearing. The murk radiates and pervades. 'Drip' tosses you into the deep end and taunts you to try to swim. Strangled vocal cries and seemingly random guitar/drum patterns suggest the disorienting tactics of avant-rock legends US Maple. There is a disturbing logic afoot, even as the sounds seem to disappear into a maelstrom of their own making. 'Water' quite literally buzzes with a malevolent grace as rhythms click and sounds reverberate like deep-sea sonar. 'Hollow' channels the throbbing and whirring anxiety of latter-day Sightings, an all-too-rarely seen influence on contemporary noisemakers. It’s a testament to Mosquitoes’ peculiar aesthetics that they can hold their own in such rarefied company. On the flip, Mosquitoes’ put their heads down and burrow deep into into the listener’s skin. 'Out' is an amorphous mass of distended sonics featuring short-circuiting guitars, unpredictable sound-swells and stuttering vocals attempting to communicate in an unspoken language. A perfect place-setting then, for the molten eruption of the final track, a fitting cap 'Stone' on a mesmerizing outing from Mosquitoes, courtesy of Ever/Never Records." - Ever/Never (July 2018)

Malarial shudders of out-rock abstraction from London/SE outfit Mosquitoes, whose name - doubtless familiar to some of you from their previous self-released 7” and single-sided 12” - has really become them: their music being a swarming, insistent, decentralised attack, as mesmerising as it is MALEVOLENT. Dream-dance of the disease-carrying parasites! Their approach is crafty, their bite is real, and good luck trying to swat the bastards. Not sure if this conceit will stretchy any further...It would be tempting to call their minimal, carefully modulated but bracingly violent outpourings dubwise, but that implies cliches of echo and delay that Mosquitoes don’t adhere to: better to call it spatial, each element positioned carefully and moving deliberately in space, be it deeply submerged guitar distortion, the incessant clang of a radiator, or plosive vocal jibber-jabber that manages to sound simultaneously and primal and deadpan (think Keiji Haino, or Alan Vega babbling in his sleep, or The Shadow Ring’s Tim Goss with all his teeth knocked out). Just what kind of music is this? It certainly makes use of rock instrumentation and ecology, but it is ROCK only in so far as Mars and Onna and Taj Mahal Travellers and Jac Berrocal are ROCK - sharing, as it does, a certain vertical quality with musique concrete, industrial, and the avant-garde fringes of post-punk, while its walking basslines and percussion parts situate it firmly in the realm of (psychotic, internally combusting) JAZZ. Just in terms of rhythm, of repetition, of counterpoint and interplay and whatever-the-fuck-you-call-groove-when-it's-definitely-not-groove, this is the most exciting 12" we've encountered all year, a reminder that liberation from the doldrums comes almost always, inevitably, from the GROUP mind. More prosaically, but just as accurately, Ever/Never, the New York label responsible for putting this thing out, compare Water Drip to the work of US Maple, and there are some affinities - even it's just a close-mic'd noirish intensity - with Nate Young's Regressions series too. Dunno, it’s just the real deal, this record - how rare to encounter a band, in this day age, so absolutely in control of their intent, manifestation, and effect. Highest possible recommendation! One-time pressing of 200. - Low Company (July 2018)

Mosquitoes make an unsettling racket, one part moan-y mid-period Ubu, another strident Pop Group-ish discord, a third like to U.S. Maple’s slant-rigged sonic architectures. All is irregular, the slapped violence of out-of-true percussion, the grumbling surges of bowed sound and metal-hinge clamor, the intermittent speaking-in-tongues vocals. Guitars buzz in and away like the band’s name-sake, flitting just out of reach before the hand comes down. Track titles in order make up a gnomic narrative (and also the EP's name), insinuating erosive natural processes erasing the solid, bit by bit. That’s as good a hanger as any to put meaning on, as Mosquitoes strip away certainty, melody and rhythm, clank by groan by howl. Harsh, provocative stuff. - Jennifer Kelly, Dusted Magazine (July 2018)

Mosquitoes, also from London to the best of my limited understanding, are our first ‘rock band’ of this month’s Foul House. The scare quotes are because their guitarbassdrumsvox setup belies a deeply gnomic, scarcely penetrable approach that most people would flatly refuse to consider ‘rock’. Quite possibly correctly! Drip Water Hollow Out Stone (Ever/Never), a 12-inch whose five tracks are named using one word each of the title, crackles with the fug of dub and the louche guitar torture of first-wave no wave and the unbound possibilities of free-rockin’ psych. At least some of those ought to be oppositional, you’d think, but Mosquitoes make sense of it via an ultra-reverbed production style, guitars used to forge rhythms and the bass melting into the drums. There are vocals, not wordless exactly but mixed to be essentially so, and I really couldn’t tell you if these pieces stem from a singular, improvised performance or were assembled from disparate parts. To this end, DWHOS bears comparison with the early, druggy ravings of Faust and Royal Trux, the infinite navelgaze of certain Shadow Ring moments and the formless freakery of someone like Heavy Winged. Get this – and quicksharp, too, with only 200 copies pressed – but don’t expect to understand it. - Noel Gardner, The Quietus (July 2018)

I rely on New York’s Ever/Never Records for a respite from my usual listening diet of punk and hardcore. Whether it’s the baroque post-punk of Patois Counselors, the chaotic no wave of Preening, or the cold, semi-industrial noise of Housewives, I know that the music coming out of a new Ever/Never release will be surprising and challenging. Their latest release is this debut from the UK’s Mosquitoes. The sound here is minimal, but the real watchword is "creepy." Listening to these tracks is like peering through the keyhole of an abandoned house in the country, glimpsing a dark, dusty, and sinister world that doesn’t revolve around the regular rhythms of the modern world. I don’t have a strong frame of reference for this type of music, but I’m reminded of the Eraserhead soundtrack, This Heat’s more abstract passages, or Duck Stab-era Residents, all of which share Mosquitoes’ unsettling minimalism. Like most Ever/Never releases it requires an adventurous and engaged listener, but it rewards that investment of time and attention with a listening experience you won’t get anywhere else. - Daniel Lupton, Sorry State Records (August 2018)

That’s not just a cool poetic title to Mosquitoes’ five-song EP, it’s also the five song titles strung together. This London-based group delighted me with their first self-released 7″, and it’s nice that Ever/Never brought their goods to an American audience, as that’s where I live, and this is my kinda thing. They still remind me of Sightings here, which is a rare and admirable quality, but they’re like Sightings without the feedback or squelch. Their form of avant-rock seems to tiptoe across the marble floor, delicately tickling your ribs rather than blasting you out of your chair. The bass dances around just like Sightings’ did, but the drums here are carefully measured, wherein the tuning of the drums is just as important as the impact of their hits. The vocals are quietly muttered – I can’t confirm they’re even in English, but they convey plenty of confusion and disarray regardless of the lyrics or total lack thereof – and the guitar takes the band name to heart, buzzing like a winged insect that should’ve gone extinct eons ago but instead continues to thrive. Probably the freshest and coolest no-wave-derived music I’ve heard in a while! - Yellow Green Red (September 2018)

Certainly one of the spiffiest bands’ve late to hoist signal flags across the bow’ve the HMS Down Tempo is Mosquitoes. Based out’ve London, you’re excused for not knowin’em as they seem to prefer hidin in plain sight. Prior to this lp on Ever/Never was two self-released spurts (a 7″ & 12″ respectively) in editions of 100 or so. Somethin tells me Ashtray Navigations ain’t got nothin to worry about. Less is more in this case & in the Post-Post landscape’ve 2018, Mosquitoes enunciate in singular non specifics, which is most refreshing. Time was-once upon-this would’ve seemed right at home on Y or Piano. In fact, since bassist Peter Blundell had cobbled his improv moves discreetly in the band Temperatures prior to this, I was gonna blotch together a comparison’ve Quiet Sun to This Heat. But them shoes really do belong exclusively to the Charles’, so let just forget I mentioned it. Overall, DWHOS is like a gurglin, percoatin, unfettered marsh, rich in a carbon dioxide released from the fossil fuels’ve the more lugubrious organisms contained in Pere Ubu’s Chrysalis era output. And where, friends, are you gonna hear somethin like that, today? - The Blog of Roland (September 2018)

Barely reviewable in the context of Maximum Rocknroll, but so damn good that it had to go in. Pick your favourite "experimental" rock-based group - DEAD C or the earliest ROYAL TRUX recordings or, as the label suggests, US MAPLE - and you'll find some basis for comparison here. But even more than those references, MOSQUITOES take the idea of a "rock band" to its limits. Vocals and drums glance off each other incidentally as each track is propelled by a moving bassline and anxiety-provoking guitars. Difficult to parse, difficult to pin down, but easy to enjoy for fans of "difficult" listens. - Maximum Rocknroll (October 2018)

This one came out quite a while back, but I only recently discovered it — and liked it so much that I felt the need to write about it. “New-ish” UK project Mosquitoes picks up where many bands in the short-lived no wave scene left off. In my experience, no wave revival mostly takes the form of irreverent, angular noise rock with deranged vocals, and most of the records I have heard don’t offer much in the way of new territory in either a modern context or with reference to the original movement. Mosquitoes, however, takes the deconstructed rock formula explored by acts like DNA and Mars even further, using conventional instruments in unconventional ways on their debut release Drip Water Hollow Out Stone. In this case, unconventional is a gross understatement; if DNA dropped rock music on the hard concrete floor and worked with the broken pieces, Mosquitoes kicks those pieces around until they break into dust. These unsettling, hulking “songs” build themselves on rickety foundations of rattling drums, stumbling bass, hypnotic vocal repetitions, and unpredictable guitar interjections. On opener “Drip,” tremolo guitar drones unseat a tentative groove created by a disjointed rhythm section, while the vocalist forces ragged cries out of a resistant throat. “Out” is a bizarre masterpiece, with disintegrating guitars and indecipherable words in an alien language building to a violent climax. I could go on and on; Drip Water Hollow Out Stone’s 24 minutes are stuffed with surreal density that even after listening to it every day for the last week or so I’m still discovering new things. - Noise Not Music (October 2018)