In praise of C-Pij

There is something brewing in Glasgow. Brother Joseph is conjuring sonic treasures, drawing inspiration from Andrew Weatherall and his many associates.

The highlight thus far is his New Year’s address, a three-hour deep dive into the world of C-Pij – Nina Walsh’s band of merry pranksters, many of whom featured in the Moinh Dubh collective of neo-folk n’er do wells.

Split into two episodes – day and night – the first gently begins with an echo of Smokebelch, of Hank, before settling into a gentle Sonic Youthesque groove and then ambience that eases this way and that – cellos, violin, piano, flute and the vocals of Anita Hurst drifting around the central churn of factory bass. A distant ghost-carol. A guitar echoes in the ambience. Birds flutter. Sun rises in the mist.

Part 2 – night – begins with Brother Joseph’s spoken word story/poem before that familiar Sonic Youth groove and a fade into an the C-Pij dreamworld. A trumpet echoes in an overgrown warehouse. Ghosts emerge. It is probably the best radio broadcast you will hear this year.

Brother Joseph explains that the C-Pij transmission was supposed to be broadcast as Weatherall’s 2021 New Year address on his NTS show. His final one – his penultimate NTS show as it would turn out – is one of the finest ambient journeys you could ever wish to take.

The delights of Brother Joseph’s transmission from the vaults of Facility 4 inspired a quick glimpse through the C-Pij archives. Previously, I was only aware of this lovely remix from Two Lone Swordsmen’s Further Reminders remix album.

But deep in the bowels of Discogs I found C-Pij LP 01 Wah-Fuzz-Swell, which is as good a description of the C-Pij experience as any. And what a delight it is.

Few albums show the ambition and coherence of Wah-Fuzz-Swell. It is fundamentally a psychedelic dub album. Spaciness slips into an aquatic dungeon, a violin echoes in the distance; there are Dr Who special effects, whispers over Spacemen 3 luminescence gliding giddily, a return to the echo chamber, tinkling organ, a sampled drum break drives the trance before fading into more warped electronics. A bass-driven march of space invaders takes over. Then there’s some throat singing over spiralling strings. One track is called ‘Dolphins are Cunts’, another ‘Industrial Folk’ and another is labelled ‘Smokin’ Dub’. You should be getting the picture. It’s pretty far out stuff.

“Final tweak and sequence by C-Pij 04”, read the liner notes, which I believe is a Weatherall and Tenniswood alias. I always thought it would have been nice to hear Woodleigh Research Facility produce an album of similar far-outness. This will suffice.

The Discogs seller I bought it from offered free postage on another CD. So I plumped for UFOrb, as I was in that kind of mood. Another psychedelic dub album of ambition and coherence, which I had never bought back in the day as a housemate had it and played it to death. My scarce pennies were best spent elsewhere. And it was only a fiver. Bargain.

Anyway, as I was reading through the credits it raised a smile to see the names “Andrew and Nina” among them. Nice.

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