Debut solo album by End of the Alphabet label boss, Noel Meek. Previously well known for his vocals in bands like The All Seeing Hand and FANZ, he has gone solo electronics in the last few years, releasing on Pseudoarcana and End of the Alphabet.
An alternate mix of Spinning in Sand previously featured on The Wire's "Below The Radar Volume 21" download compilation.
Byron Coley in The Wire: "This new one's a dandy. Not unlike Shandar-era Terry Riley trapped in the back of a moving van in an airport parking lot."
Tony Mix Tapes: "Noel Meek is beginning the adoption process by the greater weirdo community, but he and his End of the Alphabet label still feel like a discovery all my own. It helps that Living in the Time of the Golden Circle is another curveball from the New Zealand sound artist, incorporating the myriad influences of the -nesia and letting them run unfettered through the NZL anti-pop funnel. Despite the two decades of internet dominance, the reason I keep finding solace with the All-Blacks attack is how cut off from Western civilization they continue to be. It’s as if New Zealand refuses to adjust to 21st Century social media courtesies even while plowing forth with 23rd Century musical revolutions. LITTOTGC is just another shining example of that proud, rebellious middle finger making Meek all the more lovable to his new noise foster parents. So with bylines in The Wire and Lord Byron writing up EOTA releases, I shall sit here but not reminisce about the olde good times, but be fondly attached to the new. And soak up the atmosphere of the -nesias because my blank bank account will not allow me to go on the real adventure. LITTOTGC takes me there for a lot less, but is just as soul stirring and uplifting."
The Quietus: "After some compilation tracks, an ace 8” lathe cut of drones, and collaborative work as part of FANZ, Noel Meek puts out his first solo full length on his own tape label in Auckland. New Zealand’s DIY underground has certainly maintained its unique sonic personality - gnarled, harsh and bathed in analogue hiss, and yet energised by a fervent punk energy while beaming rainbows of psychedelic colour from all angles - and Noel Meek embodies it all here, adding his own almost childlike twist to things in the process. Living In The Time Of The Golden Circle was seemingly concocted like the work of a mad scientist, chaotically wielding loopers, fuzz pedals, small keyboards and assorted electronics like he’s brewing up chemical cocktails. Opener ‘Spinning In Sand’ duels a pair of fuzzed out Casio-harpsichord tracks over various glitchy noises and burning organ drones. The likes of Birchville Cat Motel can spend a good twenty minutes building their noisy workouts to the levels of lo-fi satori Meek hits in a mere three or two here. In fact it’s perhaps his relative succinctness that defines his work. Even on the longer tunes like the nine minute ‘Save Petrol, Burn Cars’ - distant submerged bangings in the background and another pair of luminescent keyboards fuzzily gliding their way between a small handful of notes at random - he gets by with a sparing blend of relatively little. Less certainly is more (except when it comes to those fuzz pedals). Though intoxicating to listen to, the tape barely shifts from Meek’s playful aesthetic mix of sounds, never quite diving deep into darkness or succumbing to the dreamworld prettiness. The sparring organ lines of ‘Maps Of Maps’ are the closest proceeding get to gothic, while the menagerie of woozy synths on ‘Every Colour Is Bad’ almost comically brings to mind Pac Man’s ghost buddies, and closing track ‘Electric Jerusalem’ amasses a dense ocean of bobbing fuzz, eastern tones, and randomised sitar notes. Meek’s workshop of noises is epic fun, and his debut collection of mini noise ragas winds up being far more inviting than anything so damn weird has the right to be."
Sixnoises: "Some of the prime and often entirely legitimate criticisms of music deemed to be experimental are that it’s kind of pretentious, elitist even, and really not that much fun. Well, just to be clear, the debut full-length solo album from End of the Alphabet Records’ founder Noel Meek isn’t flippant or silly in any way. But it is a hell of a lot of fun to explore.
From the bizarrely twisted harpsichord on album opener “Spinning in the Sand”, right on through to the time-warping movements of album closer “Electric Jerusalem”, Living in the Time of the Golden Circle features as much bliss as head-scratching hiss. Meek roughs up heavenly sections with a little sonic Hell. And a track like “Save Petrol, Burn Cars” traverses every one of those aforementioned features in nine minutes of lo-fi, contorting insanity––with buried percussion crashing, and ear-worm frequencies eating into your brain.
It’s mesmerising stuff, as is the album’s other similarly unnerving and entrancing lengthy track, the organ-heavy “Maps of Maps”. Most of all, as mentioned, it’s all a great deal of fun. It’s simply a joy to dive into because it’s a sumptuous feast of sounds and textures that are weird and most assuredly warped."
released September 22, 2015
All production: Noel Meek
Mastering: Thomas Lambert
Artwork: Grits 'n Grams
Thanks to Pat Kraus and the Musical Electronics Library.