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Parking Non-Stop
Species Corridor
Klangbad CD

Although they're signed to German based label Klangbad and have taken "sonic consultation" from, among others, Joachim Irmler of Faust, Parking Non-Stop are a Welsh trio. That said, as titles like "Trans-Siberska Express" attest, they are beguiled by notions (albeit mystical and ghostly ones) of what Europe can be, as reflected in their music, which makes extensive use of found sounds from the continent. So, the title track derives its rhythms from recordings of a rare European bison on the Polish-Siberian border, while "Landscape Through Trees" features the sounds of traffic recorded in 2005 at the site of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination. All of these are disconcerting, destabilising and fascinating, and it's one of those cases where it helps to know the origins of the sound. I personally find the rather deadpan, orthodox electropop stylings with which the group marry their samples a bitjarring however, I'm willing to concede that that could be my loss rather than their failing.

David Stubbs, The Wire, November 2008


Parking Non-Stop, "Species Corridor"

Utilizing recordings made over the last decade to make their debut album, the Welsh trio cannot be called hasty. They can, however, be called a treat to the ears. Oscillating wildly between spacey pop and documentary, they have assembled an album that is not only a collection of wonderful songs but also give a bystander's perspective on the strange creature that is Europe.

I first heard Parking Non-Stop about four years ago when they supported Einstürzende Neubauten in Dublin. Unfortunately on the evening I was running around like a headless chicken and could not get a chance to give them the attention they deserved. Listening now to Species Corridor and piecing together the glimpses of their performance in my mind, I feel a true magic in this band. Their combination of found sounds and field recordings with art pop music works surprisingly well, it sounds like the open ear of Scanner and the melodic ingenuity of Wire (but isn't Githead!).

The music of Parking Non-Stop is about the ever changing shape and character of Europe. Their name comes from a signpost in Eastern Europe (if my memory serves me correctly), the label they are on is run by Jochen Irmler of Faust and their field recordings cover much of the topography of Europe. All these elements and facts brought altogether, Parking Non-Stop serve as documenters of what Europe was, what it now is and what it may be. Unlike many of the conservative politicians in Europe, there is an openness here to new Europe, its latest member states and the possibilities they bring. Like Kraftwerk depicted it on Trans-Europe Express (alluded to here on the superb "Trans-Siberska Express"), Europe is more than an economic super state; it is a chance for culture to breed and expand beyond physical borders.

Alan Holmes' service in Ectogram serves him well here, his guitar work is versatile and gentle (apart from the awesome and blistering solo on "City in the Intermediate Realm"). The melodies play well against the washes of sound created by Dewi Evans (on various keyboard and synth style instruments). Both provide a vivid space for ZoÎ Skoulding's ethereal vocals to exist. Her voice sounds so human amidst these electronic devices and forms a bridge between the field recordings and the music. On the title track this synthesis of exotic recordings, music and voice is particularly powerful (and as the first piece on the album it is an exciting introduction to what is to come).

We all have friends who despair when we move towards the stereo with a new CD, invariably they find our latest purchases painful to listen to. Species Corridor is an album as much for those friends as it is for the average Brainwashed reader. It is a strange and beautiful album that sits comfortably both on the conceptual side of modern music and on the delightfully listenable side of things. It has been a long time coming but it has certainly been worth the wait.

John Kealy, Brainwashed.com, 24th August 2008


Parking Non-Stop, "Species Corridor"

...the explanatory notes are part of the fun. PN-S don't have a drummer, but they get their backbeats from recordings made as the meander between their Welsh base and some of the more atmospheric regions of Northern Europe, so credits go to such percussive neophytes as a bison on the Poland-Belarus border, Slovakian woodpeckers, and a nautical winch in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (and I bet that looks ugly in Blogger's layout).

This is more than just a stack of field recordings, though: fragments of ZoÎ's texts drift in and out; and the found rhythms form a bedrock for odd, slightly retro, melodic noodling, overlaid by echo-laden, occasionally Nico-ish vocals. I'd like to call it Stereolab with a head cold, but that probably sounds like a bad thing; in my sonic universe, it's anything but.

Tim Footman, Cultural Snow, 14th September 2008


Parking Non-Stop - Species Corridor (Klangbad)

Anglesey's Parking Non-Stop are a trio consisting of Dewi Evans (Rheinallt H Rowlands / CUT 23 / Technomania), Welsh cultural catalyst Alan Holmes (Central Slate Records / Ectogram / The Serpents) and Alan's wife - poet Zoe Skoulding - and they take their name from a signpost spotted somewhere deep in eastern Europe on one of their many travels around the continent. When three undeniably gifted and individual musicians / artists get together then nine times out of ten it'll be a recipe for self-indulgent, self-obsessed disaster - on that one other occasion they'll gel and compliment each other perfectly and produce a classic work.

Species Corridor effortlessly falls into the latter category and is very much a travelogue of Alan, Dewi and Zoe's journeys around the ever-changing face of Europe. Along the way they have gathered an extensive library of field recordings - many of which have been used on the album, including a rare European bison recorded in the Bialowieza forest on the Polish-Belarus border. In addition to this there are no drums or drum machines on the album as all the rhythm tracks have also been generated from field recordings including slate being smashed in the Welsh mountains and a nautical winch and chains beneath Britannia Bridge. Yes, this is art Jim - but not as we know it.

Guitars, keyboards and bass have been blended in with the field recordings to create a sound which is totally unique - dreamy soundscapes and the noises of dead industry nestle seductively alongside surprisingly catchy, almost europopesque, songs and the icing on the art is Zoe's haunting voice, sounding like a cross between Julee Cruise and TG's Cosey Fanni Tutti and which compliments the music perfectly. I'd rather listen to a voice like Zoe's over the multi-octave shite coming out of Mariah Carey's mouth anyday.

Although Species Corridor sounds as French as the Camargue, as German as efficiency, as Polish as Kielbasa and as Slovakian as something Slovakian it remains, at the end of the European day, an inherently Welsh album and as such has become, for me, the best album a Welsh band has produced since the start of the new millennium.

Damn it - this album's so arty I'm sure I heard an eclectic guitar in there somewhere.

Gary Cut, The Fly, August 2008


Species Corridor

I'm not well-travelled in mainland Europe, so it was pleasing to instantly recognise the site of the cover photograph of Parking Non-Stop's album Species Corridor. It's a station on the Prague Metro, one place I have been, whose deep chambers are all lined with these distinctive sci-fi metallic mouldings, which makes waiting for a tube train in the Czech capital feel like standing inside a giant Dalek.

The Czech Metro designers have created a different colour code for each of its retro-futuristic stations, and my suspicion that these cover shots were taken at Jiřího z Poděbrad was confirmed by pictures on a Prague Metro website.

I suspected Jiřího z Poděbrad because that's the title of one of the album tracks. It starts with a station announcement in a collage of sound sourced from that Prague subway as well as others at La Defense, Paris, and Potzdamer Platz U-bahn, Berlin, plus bells recorded in Cathedral Square, Haarlem, a street cleaner in Amsterdam, further ambience from Berlin's Kollwitzplatz and Brussels' Jaques Brel museum and wooden percussion recorded at the Ghost Garden & Dog's Graveyard, Portmeirion, Gwynedd.

In keeping with the other tracks on Species Corridor Jiřího z Poděbrad is a melding of field and studio recordings, an experimental soundscape part europop and part industrial minimalism, belonging to 'a body of work that explores the sonic geography of a wider Europe within the context of north Wales, where [Parking Non-Stop, ie Zoë Skoulding, Alan Holmes and Dewi Evans] live'.

The band website states that 'Parking Non-Stop is a psychogeographical experiment in combining soundscape and field recordings with spoken word and music,' and this would affirm David Stubbs' note in The Wire, that 'it's one of those cases where it helps to know the origins of the sound.'

What does the listener do with the knowledge that Jiřího z Pod?brad station runs beneath a large square which is named after a fifteenth century Bohemian king Jiřího z Poděbrad, or George of Podebrady, leader of the Hussites, enemy of Rome, whose conquest of Prague in 1448 sparked a civil war? The music caused this listener to recall the feeling of standing on a futuristic-looking platform with a keenly heightened sense of possibility of time travel, inter-spatial journeying, and as the sound track builds into a series of sharp eerie rail track squeals and the rumbles and blasts of warm violent air preceding the arrival of an oncoming train I take this as the sound of King George's 9000-strong army, marching from Kutná Hora in the east to take possession of Prague with little opposition.

I am thrilled by the words which Parking Non-Stop lyricist Zoë Skoulding writes (in The New Bridge from Remains of a Future City),

the lines of the landscape
run through me to somewhere else

But I also then recall the arrival of the Metro train on the platform that day, a piece of the antique Russian rolling stock which until quite recently shuddered around the bowels of the city, quite out of place beside the space-age platform, its banality shattering the illusion of space-time trickery, and helping me recall part of the Parking Non-Stop mission statement:

They aim to achieve a distinctive north Wales sound that is based in discovering new spatial and temporal resonances: this is not a musical identity built from a mythical past, but an engagement with the sonic possibilities of the mines, quarries and rusting machinery in the landscape as it is today - a decaying rural-industrial environment rich with unexpected noise.

"Ukončete prosím výstup a nástup, dveře se zavírají­" (Please finish exiting and boarding the train, the doors are closing.) Is that exiting, or exciting?

John Davies, johndavies.org, October 21st 2008


Parking non-stop in Investitions und Illusionsruinen
TafelMuzak N† 83 von Philipp Steglich

Das Entree: Abfahrt von der Autobahn, idyllische Landstrasse. Keine verbeulten Nazischleudern in den brandenburgischen Alleeb”umen, kein zerfetztes Onkelz-T-Shirt (frakturdeutsch: 'Leibchen'?) in den Zweigen. Schade.

Dann weitet sich der Blick und eine Fl”che wird frei. Ah, die ber¸chtigte Zeppelinhalle, in der die Aktion”rstr”ume von Cargolifter und viel Steuergeld begraben sind. Eine Investitionsruine, ein st”hlerner Sarkophag? Ja, und zugleich neudeutsches Spassbad. Feuchter Traum in die Ferne: Tropical Island: unser Ziel. Parkpl”tze davor wie ne Messehalle oder n Flughafenvorfeld.

Das Entree II: Photo am Pepsi-Automaten. Der hat ein H¸tchen auf: Nicht reetgedeckt, sondern Stroh oder sowas. (Wir sind hier nicht in St. Peter Ording.) Eintreten und H¸llen fallen lassen, sind eines. Die Schrankfachnummer, vierstellig!, liegt um die 8000 rum.

Ah, S¸dsee mit 1,30 Meter Wassertiefe. So haben wir uns das nicht getr”umt, die wir mit der CLIFF-Werbung der Achtziger aufgewachsen sind. Akustisch ne Hallenbadkulisse. Aber sch–n warm das Wasser und nicht frostig-sportlich. Eintauchen, untertauchen. Haare sch¸tteln, sch–n stromlinienf–rmig drapieren. Luftholen.

Das ganze Programm: Drei Rutschen: jede rutschen, zuletzt den Turbo. Ich sehe sie in der R–hre verschwinden - und ihr Schreien, lauthals. Nach den ersten Metern auch ich, ein Br¸llen, s'geht nicht anders und heftig Wasser schlucken. Einen riesigen Eileiter, eine Harnr–hre hinunter. Ein langer Geburtskanal - aus dem wir nicht gekrochen, aus dem wir geschossen kommen.

Entree III: Sechsfuffzich Aufpreis - willkommen im textilfreien Bereich. Stimmt, hier muss man nackig sein. Wenigstens unterm Handtuch, das als Lendenschurz getragen wird. Bloþ nicht den Bauch einziehen, sonst Adamskost¸m. Oder Eva. Oder was auch immer - wir schauen da nicht so genau hin.

Dabei lauter H¸ttchen und Tempelchen mit Saunen und Kr”uterbad und hier Dampf und hier das. Austesten wie wirs aushalten. Auch Sprudelb”der. Dabei weniger Geschrei als beim Volke drauþen in der S¸dsee, das gerade musikalisch und tanzbongom”þig bespaþt wird. Wir k–nnen die nicht sehen. Die d¸rfen uns nicht sehn. Wir sind ja textilfrei, wir san ja die Nackerten.

Wenn ich mal einen Vorschlag machen d¸rfte: Nicht so bl–de Disco-Tribal-Mucke spielen. Da wird einem schlecht von beim Baden. Eher sowas wie Parking non-stop. Da haben wir akustische Reiseaufzeichnungen. Und zwar authentische. Da k–nnen wir mit den Gedanken spielen. Alles baumeln lassen. Und die Synthiet–ne machen uns nicht erschrecken, die machen uns froh. Die sorgen f¸r eine Groþstadtremineszenz. Und wenn dann selbst ein Specht den Beat angibt, dann ist das auch ok. Das ist moderne Musik, die geht auch in so einem riesigen Hallendingsbums, wo man sich wie ein nasser Furz vorkommt, mit seiner Schrankfachnummer 8041. Man braucht n”mlich n bisschen Freiheit.

Aber schon regiert der Bauch. Essen gehen, wir nehmen das tropische Barbecue. All-you-can-eat. Alles sch–n, wie f¸r die Zubereitung im Wok, klein geschnitten. Ente und K”nguruh, Fr¸hlingszwiebeln und Austernpilze. Und dann f¸llt man sich das eigene Sch¸sselchen sch–n randvoll, gibt es ab und ein Mensch in weiþer Kochkleidung kippt das ganze auf eine heiþe Edelstahlfl”che. Und wenn es durchgegart ist, noch eine Marinade druff, die sich der Gast bei der Bestellung hat aussuchen k–nnen.

Aber Marinade? War das nicht son Fl¸ssigszeug, in das man das Gargut _vorher_ einlegt? Und hier gibt's also braune Pampe hinterher einger¸hrt. Aber das macht nun auch keinen Unterschied mehr, wird doch alles, was wir im Buffet zusammengesucht haben auf einmal erhitzt. Ohne Ansehen der unterschiedlichen Garzeiten: abgekocht. Weil deren Grillplatte nicht das H–llenfeuer eines Woks hat.

Ein sch–nes Modell von Wahl und Freiheitssuggestion. W”hle, was du essen magst. Aber wir bereiten das zu, und ohne jede Kunst!, mein Freund. Und kippen da unsere Soþe drauf. Und ihr, zahlende G”ste, sitzt dann brav und gleich vor euren N”pfen, und macht wie fette Karpfen den Mund auf. Und zu.

Alles Illusion.

Philipp Steglich, verbrecherverlag.de



I'd been looking forward to seeing this gig for some time - PNS's local live appearances are rarer than a house in Bangor that isn't full of students and support from Mank, Black Balloons and the inimitable Pearl Necklace promised a mouth-watering evening's entertainment. The crowd and I were destined to go home sated with both kunst and entertainment.

Pearl Necklace
This is a band which defies description - taking the concept of pub duo to a whole new level of consciousness they never cease to entertain their loyal local (literally) fanbase. As with all pub duos Pearl Necklace only perform cover versions and they do it with, at times, hilarious originality, utilizing backing tracks programmed on a Playstation along with live guitar, keyboards and, of course, vocals. With a repertoire of over 140 songs the variety of their live performances never ceases to amaze and amuse - the last time I saw them live they managed, in quick fire succession, to perform (per)versions of Eric Clapton's Wondeful Tonight, Shanks and Bigfoot's Sweet Like Chocolate and Throbbing Gristle's Something Came Over Me and I still find myself chuckling for no apparent reason every time I look back at that night.

Tonight's performance, however, was something quite special and also, in a way, quite touching. Anticipating that some of the musicians in question would be present tonight, they'd worked their socks off for 2 weeks prior to the gig without anyone's knowledge preparing a totally new set that was made up entirely of cover versions of songs written by some of the classic local bands of the last 25 years - The Casio Kid, The Lungs, CUT TUNES, Stephen Davies and The Ominous Dr Clip Clop to name a few. Their interpretation of the material was excellent and revealed, behind the tongue-in-cheekness of it all, a deep affection for the bands and artists that have made the Bangor and surrounding area music scene such a special place for the last quarter century.

There's more chance of Pearl Necklace successfully invading a small Caribbean island nation than ever getting on the front page of The Fly but their fans couldn't give a toss about that and they showed their appreciation at the end of the set with a lenghty ovation.

Black Balloons
Taking music to a totally different place than the one inhabited by Pearl Necklace, one-man band Black Balloons delivered a lengthy 3-song set which varied in quality. Utilizing a loop FX pedal for the first song, Mr Balloons built up a powerful and, at times, spine-tingling drone using harmonies of his own voice and a recorder. As the layers built up he switched between a detuned guitar, bashing a tom tom, bashing the guitar with a drum stick and on top of this sang in a style reminiscent of a cat being strangled. The effect was hypnotic, powerful and startling in places and reminded me of a bastard Popol Vuh - if Werner Herzog had been in the audience I'm sure he'd have considered Black Balloons to do the music for his next film.

The second song, for me, didn't work - a rambling, chaotic, detuned guitar drone which lost it's way on several occasions and failed to live up to the expectations of the opening song. If he'd used the loop fx and some delay/reverb it could of been another story. The final song returned to the themes created in the opener and was another chaotic hypnotic barnstormer. I'd like to see Black Balloons get into the studio with a sympathetic producer - I think the end result would be quite exciting.

Mank, AKA Ben Powell, has been providing the Welsh music scene with superlative Dark Ambient / Electronica music for the last 10 years. His numerous albums - released on his own Mankymusic label - have entranced Welsh music fans and gained critical acclaim from BBC Radio Wales and Radio 1. A technician in Bangor University, his work has seen him regularly visiting the Arctic Circle over the last 12 months or so and in fact he programmed the whole of his last album on a laptop on board a Russian polar research ship up there. This has led to his music developing a colder and more spacious feel and this was demonstrated perfectly with tonight's performance. Armed with his laptop and switching between lead and bass guitars and playing in front of one of his video projections he produced a polished performance which alternated between the atmospheric, dark and sinister and achingly beautiful. I feel it's only a matter of time before Ben Powell gets his face on a Welsh £1 coin.

Parking Non-Stop
And on to the meat and two veg of tonight's show. This was an event to debut PNS's wonderful new album Species Corridor which has been released on Faust's Klangbad label. Their performance started as it meant to carry on with vocalist Zoe creating a delicious drone by rubbing the top of a glass of wine, sampling it into a loop fx pedal, sipping some of it to change the key, sampling that and then repeating the process - it's what Quentin Crisp would have regarded as pure style. And from then on it just got better and better. As expected, the band performed the new album and any fears that I had about them being able to reproduce it live without an overkill of backing tracks due to the volume of field recordings on it soon dissipated.

The performance took the audience on a musical journey around Europe - Krautrock guitar blended with cheesy Parisian organ and Tatu-style Euro synths layered over industrial and organic rhythms generated from field recordings - the perfect backdrop for Zoe's ethereal voice. The end result is totally innovative, avant garde but surprisingly accessible - and if that wasn't enough the band performed in front of a video backdrop of goats walking backwards on a courtyard in Laibach's home town of Trbovlje.

Over the years this trio of artists have learnt how to captivate an audience live to such perfection that it's become as effortless as breathing. Having been involved in many acclaimed projects in the past as individuals, with Parking Non-Stop Alan, Dewi and Zoe have blended their collective skills together perfectly and continue to challenge, create, inspire and set a benchmark for every other Welsh band to try and reach - tonight's performance showed why.

Gary Cut, The Fly September 2008


Parking Non-Stop
Species Corridor - CD Klangbad
[www.parkingnonstop.com] - 14t-65:59

Vengono dal Galles e sono in tre: Zoe Skoulding alla voce, Dewi Evans alle tastiere, e Alan Holmes alla chitarra, Pi˜ una messe di 'suoni trovati' in ogni dove e di campioni sparsi: la formula è quella un po' abusata del 'glitch-pop', in quanto strumenti tradizionali ed elettronica dai timbri tenui e sguscianti si mescolano nelia definizione di canzoni pop un po' sghembe e stratunate ma sempre attente alla resa metodica complessiva. Com'è ovvio it gioco riesce meglio quando le canzoni sono ben scritte e non s'indulge troppo negli ammenicoli d'arrangiamento; non accade sempre ma quando accade il risultato non è assolutamente male (City In The Intermediate Realm, Submarine Dreams. la cupa e tristissima November). [6/7)

Stefano I. Bianchi, Blow Up, September 2008


Parking Non-Stop
Species Corridor
Musiker: Dewi Evans, Alan Holmes, Zoe Skoulding
Das Projekt um Alan Holmes (Mitglied der ebenfalls auf Klangbad ver–ffentlichenden walisischen Band Ectogram) nennt sich selbst ein "psychogeographisches Experiment",. das Field Recordingsmit Sprache und Musik kombiniert. Ðber die letzten Jahre erstellten die Mitglieder dieser Gruppe Field Recordings in ganz Europa, von denen sie sich dann im Studio bei der Komposition dieser St¸cke leiten lieþen. Aha. mag da mancher denken, es handelt sich also um eine "Konzeptmusik". Und da schrillen die Warnglocken auch schon los, denn in der Mehrzahl generieren solche Kopfgeburten sehr anstrengend zu h–rende Alben (und an dieser Stelle k–nnte man eine schier endlose Liste anf¸gen). Im Falle von Parking Non-Stop zeitigt das Experiment keine konstruiert klingenden Soundscapes, sondern eine sehr sch–ne, gelegentlich fast simpel zu nennende lnstrumentaimusik, die die Field Recordings und Spoken-Word-Passagen wie selbstverst”ndlich umarmt. Die Stilbreite reicht dabei von den Synthiesounds fr¸her Goth- und Doombands ¸ber experimentelle Musik bis zu verspielter Neo-psycliedelia. (Die Ectogram ja auch auf ihrer musikalischen Agenda haben. Die Musiker selbst behaupten ¸brigens, die Ÿsthetik ihrer Musik springe zwischen den Polen "Europop", und "Industrial Minimalism" hin und her. Nun denn.) Nicht zuletzt ging es den K¸nstlern bei der Erschaffung dieser Musik aber auch darum, einen typisch walisischen Sound zu entwickeln, der in der Gegenwart verankert ist. Und genau das ist es, was diese Kompositionen der Beliebigkeit und des Konzeptuellen entreiþt. Denn wenn man sich die walisische Landschaft vor Augen ruft und die Musik der K¸nstler, die das Land hervorgebracht hat (John Cale, Super Furry Animals, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci etc.), vergleicht, dann scheint sich da schon so etwas wie ein spezifischer Einfluss der Landschaft auf die Musik herauszukristallisieren. Und das flieþt selbst in solche Tracks wie "Trans-Siber-ska Express", ein - da sitzt dann pl–tzlich ein Haufen irrer Waliser in der l”ngsten durchgehenden Eisenbahnverbindung derwelt.

Ralf Bei der Kellen, Jazzthetik, September 2008


Parking Non-Stop
Species Corridor
(Klangbod/Broken Silence)
Heimwerken einmal anders: Zuerst sammelten die drei Waliser auf ihren Reisen Geräusche und Eindrücke. Da finden sich dann Schnipsel aus den europäischen U-Bahnen, aus niederländischen Abflüssen oder die Sounds von Spechten aus der Slawakei und diese Töne werden dann zu elektronischen Songminiaturen entwickelt. Auf diesem Weg werden dann konventionelle lnstrument und fast ausgestorbene Sounds aus Moog-Synthesizern hinzugefügt und was herauskommt, zeigt dass die Idee des Songs bei aller Spielerei nie verloren geht. So verschmelzen Reisenotizen, Songideen und Soundexperimente zu einem spannenden und charmanten Ganzen. Dass die Waliser ihre Kraftwerkplatten ausgiebig gehört haben, versteht sich dabei van selbst.

G. Bus Schweiger, Skug (Austria), October 2008


"Species Corridor"
Parking Non-Stop
Broken Silsence/Klangbad
www.parkingnonstop.com 65'59"
Wie ein roter Faden durchziehen verschiedene Field Recordings - das GeIäut von Kirchenglocken, das Klopfen von Spechten, Fetzen eines Gespr”chs - die 14 ansonsten von analogen Moogs, Feedback-Gitarren, tibetischen Klangschalen und manch obskurerem Klanggenerator gepr”gten Songs dieses Erstlingsalbums. "Trans-Siberska Express" (Tipp) beweist, dass auch so veritabler Elektronik-Pop entstehen kann. Wie, weiß zurzeit offenbar niemand besser als das walisische Trio Parking Non-Stop.

AP, Keys, September 2008


[ Intro | Current | Location | Performance | Sounds | Collaborators | Words | Links | Eating | Reviews | Shop ]