from Record Collector

Southall Riot have promised that this 21 copies-only release is the last 8-track cartridge of the 20th century, so until anyone says different, we'll believe them. And be quick if you want to invest in this frighteningly limited edition.

The premise for the album is the fusion of the band's 'field recordings' of last August's solar eclipse, with studio sessions with a variety of colaborators, predominantly Ansuz Lúnasa. The sound is alternately bombastic and calm, with keyboard sounds cutting across in swathes, which one imagines is designed to symbolise the moon cutting across the sun. However, this isn't readily apparent for most of the album and the field recordings aren't very obvious.

Nonetheless, this is a bold experiment in both concept and format. And if you don't have an 8-track player, there's a CD release scheduled for March.

from Robots and Electronic Brains
.Unbeknownst to me, at the same time I was gaffa-taping my scope to the broomstick and pegging the curtains shut, Philm and Stu from Southall Riot were recording the ambient sound of the eclipse from two different Cornish locations and collaborators Ansuz Lunasa were busy in their studio. "Sunhead" is the result of these recordings, and others in the following weeks, mixed down into one 30-minute whole which lumbers through Fuxa-like drone and windy haze to the midpoint where someone, almost off-mic, asks "So this is it?" and Southall Riot kick off a grinding psyche-pop celebration

from Original Sin
Since the beginning of my fanzinewriting efforts Southall Riot were more than once a very regular guest and to be honest this band are so productive that it becomes quite difficult to keep on following their releases in terms of reviews, but some are workaholics while others don't even deserve the title of worker. Southall Riot are the kind of band who can be an easy victim of lazy journalism as in their records so many things happen that one will just describe it as "industrial" or "experimental" while hip reviewers will say it's "post-rock". I don't really think that apart from snippets none of these three descriptions say how Southall Riot really are. For me Southall Riot is more like a movie as every one or two minutes there's a complete change in style and that's also what you're getting on this colloboration from Southall Riot and Ansuz Lunasa. The collaboration on this CD (by the way the other existing format from this release is an 8-track cartridge) lasts 30 minutes but where as many other songs should consists of one boring riff till you have no guts to go any further, "Sunhead" is more like a psychedelic experience in where Pink Floyd meets Mogwai and the soundexplosion from Spacemen 3. OK, it's not the kind of record you're going to play if you're having your first cup of tea in the morning but it is definitey something to play once the tea had effect on your brains..

from Atom Heart Records
Collaborative EP by Ansuz Lúnasa (of whom I know absolutely nothing) and Southall Riot, a duo from England (and owners of the Victory Garden label). Thirty minutes of spacey Post-Rock, full of feedback, distortion & yummy white noise. Probably largely influenced by 68-era Pink Floyd, but ending up sounding like a bizarre blend of Flying Saucer Attack and early Guided By Voices. A really nice addition to any Psychedelic music collection.

from Swizzle-Stick
Initially released as a limited edition of about 20 8-track cartridge, but now available on CD, Sunhead is a collaborative effort between London's highly underrated psych-popsters Southall Riot (think Guided by Voices meets Brainiac and Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett) and noise-collage weirdoes Ansuz Lunasa. Exceeding the conceptual oddness of even the Flaming Lips, the premise of Sunhead is that it is one track spanning 30 minutes and three seconds and is meant to sonically document the visual event of August 1999's solar eclipse. "So, what does an eclipse sound like?" Funny you should ask. As it turns out, an eclipse sounds a bit like a cross between Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music,' and Neutral Milk Hotel's "Marching Theme," but with acoustic guitars and children giggling in the background. Nothing on the album could rightly be labeled a "song," but among the drums that sound like tin being rustled by a hurricane and tape hisses that sound like exotic wild birds, shards of melody sneak through.
Bits of dialogue and radio transmissions blend together, speed and slow, swell and fade, as a guitar wanders through the noise and briefly creates a coherent song structure in the midst of the noise storm, but is soon replaced by bleeping sounds like satellite tracking systems' radars.
Around the five minute mark, tribal drumming enters the picture and calls to mind "Stomp," but by eleven minutes the speakers rattle with fuzz, like locusts in the studio. This portion of the record tends to come across as mechanical and noisy, almost industrial, whereas the rest of the album could just as easily be Pink Floyd outtakes.
As we approach 18 minutes of this sonic eclipse, we are greeted by a jangle pop tease. A great, bouncy Turtlesy rock song, with just a bit of fuzz in the back surfaces through the sea of gentle feedback, backwards masking and voices merrily chattering just quietly enough to be inaudible. The Brit-pop breakdown is a welcome break from the abstract noise, but it is also little disappointing because it shows what great things the guys are capable of when they're not wrapped up doing wacky sound exploration experiments.
A few seconds of a lone acoustic guitar being quietly plucked brings the album to a quiet close, much the way big noisy storms softly slink over the horizon.
Overall, Sunhead is an interesting album, though probably not something you would choose to bring along on a Sunday drive. In fact, I'm not sure when this album would be appropriate listening.perhaps if you mute the TV and listen to it as you watch reruns of "Perfect Strangers" it takes on a deeper meaning. (This is the part where you say "Oh Cousin Larry, don't be ridiculous.") (Karen E. Graves)

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