First 7″ from a Detroit band who’s been gigging around steadily for the past year or so. I saw them with Failed Flowers and Weyes Blood at the UFO Factory recently, and they’ll be playing there again in March with TOPS and Rebel Kind and Coyote Clean Up. Fred Thomas recorded this 7″ along with the band, and it’s been up as a free download on their Bandcamp for a few months, and now it’s on vinyl courtesy of Detroit’s Salinas Records, who I’m not familiar with, but the insert that comes with this 7″ shows that they have a pretty sizeable catalog already. Looking up info about this band, their sound is described as “mom rock” (?!), and it seems kind of laidback and somewhat country-ish, but still clearly with an indie slacker thing going on. Opener “Blood In The Bathtub” vaguely starts like “Where Is My Mind”, but is more of a sad “don’t leave” song, but not as depressing as its title makes it sound. “Lost My Way” is way more uptempo and fun, coming close to local bands like Deadbeat Beat or labelmates Radiator Hospital, and is definitely the track to start with on this record. “Lucy’s” is another laidback country-ish song with sliding guitar and lyrics about bars and pot brownies and general confusion. “I See You” is a more reflective acoustic ballad, with more upfront vocals, and with more of a worn-in country-rock sound.
I ordered this and Ballerine Nadiya (my favorite tape of last year) several months ago, and eventually the links to purchase these tapes disappeared from their respective Bandcamp pages, so I figured the MP3s were all I was going to get. Fortunately, they finally showed up this past week. The label’s based in Russia so they just took that long to get here. They were entirely worth the wait, of course, I fell in love with Ballerine all over again, and this tape seems to take on a different dimension now that I’m listening to it in its intended form. Even more sprawling and uncategorizable than the previous Piper Spray tape I have, Epigraph To The Bright Star Catalogue, this is just a bizarre beast which seems to mutate and change course every few seconds. The Bandcamp page divides the album into 20 tracks, most of which have slashes in the titles, suggesting multiple movements. On top of that, the cassette version has an extra 20 minutes of bonus material. It’s extremely hard to tell where tracks end and begin if you’re not listening to the digital version, so it’s best to just tune that all out and listen to it one uninterrupted 30-minute side at a time. The music’s just as trippy, colorful and hard-to-tell-what’s-going-on as the artwork, it’s just one cartoon hallucination of melting synth melodies and sloppy lo-fi beats after another. It doesn’t have quite as much of a Saturday morning TV theme feel as the previous tape, this one seems a little more scattered and VHS-distorted, but there’s plenty of reflective synth melodies which hold the tape together and seem to keep it from sounding completely random and nonsensical. There’s nothing else to really say about it without being overanalytical and giving too much away, you just have to press play and be surprised and amazed.
First album of non-soundtrack compositions from the legendary horror movie director/composer. It seems like appreciation for classic horror soundtracks is at an all-time high now, with labels such as Death Waltz putting out deluxe picture disc editions of soundtracks by Carpenter and Goblin, among dozens of others. So now the master is back to show everyone how it’s done. The 9 tracks on this album have all the hallmarks of his soundtrack work: pulsing synths, prog-rock guitar riffs, pianos, and tons of suspense. “Obsidian” is an 8-minute epic which seems like it could be stretched out into an entire film. “Abyss” is another long-ish suite which starts off with starry synth riffs and eventually ends up with some stomping danceable beats for a bit (Carpenter’s influence on electro cannot be understated). “Purgatory” ends up with kind of a marching drum tempo. “Night” is the album’s shortest track, and probably the most immediately catchy, it already sounds like it could be the theme to one of his classic films. Overall, this album might seem a little cheesy if you’re not familiar with his work or his era of films, but if you’re already a fan, or you at least appreciate what he does, it’s just good fun.
Highest profile release so far from former WCBN DJ Sean Schuster-Craig. This album also features guest vocals by fellow former WCBN DJ Julia Holter, and electric piano from Zach Phillips of the now-defunct (but incredibly awesome) Blanche Blanche Blanche. Jib Kidder has released many different types of music over the last decade or so, with his highest profile work so far being his hip-hop collage album All On Y’all, especially its infectious cut “Windowdipper”. This album can be described as sample-based country-psych-pop, continuing with the ’70s country-pop samples of his last album, Steal Guitars, combined with the vocals of his last tape and 7″ and some of his earlier material. His vocals have a free associative lilt which almost make him sound like he’s singing backwards, somewhat similar to older Animal Collective. I’ve always had a hard time getting into vocal-based Jib Kidder, his instrumental/sample-based stuff has always been more immediately appealing to me, but his vocals and lyrics just sound way better here than they ever have. The sample production has as much of a trippy, hallucinogenic feel as the vocals, especially on “World Of Madness”. “Situations In Love” has a melody similar to the Twin Peaks theme, and a few other songs head in that direction too. “The Waves” has some sax fluttering away towards the end. “Dozens” feels like the album’s poppiest, most uptempo song, but then you realize that the vocals are pretty much incomprehensible, and they just seem to be one verse which goes on for a minute until the guitar solo, and then the song ends abruptly with a shutting-down sound. “The Many” sounds really familiar, I’m sure I’ve seen him play the song live before. I thought it was on one of his previous releases but it doesn’t look like it was. “Melt Me” is a 10-minute drone-out which would appear to be the perfect end to this album, but it’s followed up by the slightly more upbeat 11, which actually ends the album. In some ways, a higher-profile, poppier Jib Kidder only makes him more mysterious, and this is a puzzling album which invites repeated listening.
Strange little EP (most of the tracks are just fragments, it’s definitely an EP even though there’s 13 tracks) of prepared piano experiments from RDJ. The beats are unexpectedly funky, sometimes sounding like DC go-go. However, many of the tracks are well under a minute and just seem like samples that weren’t integrated into a track yet, or ideas that just haven’t been fleshed out yet. The longer tracks are obviously the ones that come closest to sounding like fully realized tracks, but even then they’re pretty skeletal. “snar2″ is just a snare drum roll, and “piano un1 arpej” and “disk aud1_12″ sound like player piano experiments. “0035 1-Audio” and “diskhat2″ are incredibly funky beats that play for half a minute and then abruptly disappear. “DISKPREPT1″ is pretty much all prepared piano, and his children’s voices are audible in the background. “piano un10 it happened” is a pretty piano piece, which have been the highlights of his last 2 albums as Aphex Twin, and it just makes me wish he’d do an entire album of stuff like this. It certainly sounds like this could be acoustic drums and pianos played by robots, but who can really tell. It’s definitely not as virtuosic as Squarepusher’s recent robot experiments, but if nothing else it’s the funkiest prepared piano music ever made.
Else Marie Pade: Electronic Works 1958-1995 (Important Records, 2014) + Else Marie Pade + Jacob Kirkegaard: Svævninger (Important Records, 2013/CD issue 2014)January 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
2CD anthology of works by Danish musique concrete/electronic music pioneer Else Marie Pade, who is now 90 years old and still creating music. This collection compiles works dating back to the ’50s, and while many of them have been released on CD before, none have been released on vinyl until now (as far as I can tell), and definitely not all of them have been compiled in one place before. The first CD mostly consists of the “Faust Suite”, a 36-minute 6-part suite of crystalline echos and vibrations, which get noisiest during “Faust & Mefisto” and “Rejsen Til Bloksbjerg Og Valborgsnat”. “Margrethes Fordømmelse” features voices chanting “Dies Irae”, which seem to eventually disappear into a cave. “Rejsen…” is the longest part of the suite, and has kind of a trudging, decaying feel to it, and gets pretty harsh for its era, but not Merzbow harsh. The disc concludes with some standalone pieces, which seem to move around a bit more than the “Faust” suite, maybe because they’re not attached to a concept the way the suite is. “Lyd & Lys” definitely has a suspenseful horror-movie feel to it. “Syv Cirkler” is more playful, with bloopy synth patterns and plenty of playing around with pitch. “Etude” continues this playfulness with more decaying textures and primitive melodies punched out and consumed by echo, ending up a soggy mass of sound. Disc 2 starts with another suite, “Illustrationer”, which starts out sounding like raining ice pellets and freezing wind. “Kong Vinter” has the most acoustic sounds on the album, with thrashing, dismantled pianos joining the eerie electronics. Both of the “Glasperlespil” pieces which end the album (especially the first one) have some slightly sharp tones which aren’t really harsh or piercing, but they’re discordant enough that they function as alarms if you’re sleeping while listening. The second one is a lot sparser, lapsing into some uncomfortable moments of silence, only to be frightened awake by tones which erupt without warning. Overall, Pade’s music isn’t quite the type of abrasive, cut-up musique concrete you might expect from a composer like Stockhausen, but it’s graceful and ends up being frightening as often as it ends up being playful. Also being released is Pade’s collaboration with fellow Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, which was originally released on vinyl in 2013 but is finally receiving a CD release now. All of the pieces here are named after types of clouds, so it’s easy to attach adjectives such as “drifting” and “vaporous” to these recordings. Some of them come close to being inaudible at times, especially “Stratus” and “Nimbostratus”. “Cirrocumulus” sounds most like precipitation, there’s just a constant dripping wetness to it. “Cumulonimbus” is the loudest and most active, with controlled feedback and what sounds like metallic percussion. “Bortdragende Regnskyer” is the CD-only bonus track, and it’s 15 minutes of shining, slowly descending space music.
3:04 AM Tangerine Dream ~ Sunrise In The Third System/Fly And Collision Of Comas Sola ~ Alpha Centauri ~ Ohr
3:22 AM Negativland ~ Theme From A Big 10-8 Place/A Big 10-8 Place Part One ~ A Big 10-8 Place ~ Seeland
3:40 AM Negativland ~ BABAC D’BABC… ~ Points ~ Seeland
3:46 AM Nurse With Wound ~ You Walrus Hurt The One You Love ~ The Sylvie And Babs Hi-Fi Companion ~ L.A.Y.L.A.H. Antirecords
4:04 AM G.I. Gurdjieff & Thomas de Hartmann ~ Hymns From A Great Temple, No. 10 ~ Journeys To Inaccessible Places ~ Editions EG
4:09 AM Tangerine Dream ~ Astral Voyager ~ The Dream Roots Collection ~ Essential
4:15 AM Tangerine Dream ~ Ricochet ~ Tangents 1973-1983 ~ Virgin
4:22 AM Tangerine Dream ~ Part II B ~ Rubycon ~ Virgin
4:30 AM Asmus Tietchens ~ Mineral 3/Modal 2 ~ Abfleischung ~ Hamster Records
4:36 AM Tangerine Dream ~ Cloudburst Flight [on 45 by accident] ~ Force Majeure ~ Virgin
4:42 AM Negativland ~ This Disco’s Out Of Sight, A Lot About Mucus, Sammy The Whammy, A Prayer To O.T.E., LIFE’s Unanswered Questions, No Other Possibility, Etc. ~ Over The Edge Vol. 1 1/2: The Starting Line ~ Seeland
4:51 AM Fennesz ~ Rivers Of Sand ~ Venice ~ Touch
4:55 AM Adrian Rew ~ side A ~ Slot Machine Music ~ Hanson
5:02 AM Chris Pottinger ~ Moist Membrane ~ Moist Membrane ~ Tasty Soil
5:11 AM Slither ~ Euro Neu-Rot ~ split 7″ w/ Sixes ~ Tasty Soil
5:16 AM Pharmakon ~ Vacuum ~ Bestial Burden ~ Sacred Bones
5:17 AM Aaron Dilloway ~ side B track 1 ~ The Beauty Bath ~ Hanson
5:28 AM Else Marie Pade ~ Glasperlespil II ~ Electronic Works 1958-1995 ~ Important
5:36 AM Can ~ Quantum Physics ~ Soon Over Babaluma ~ Mute
5:44 AM LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus ~ Searching/Vous ~ LA Vampires Meets Zola Jesus ~ Not Not Fun
5:51 AM Yannis Kyriakides/Andy Moor ~ Psyche ~ A Life Is A Billion Heartbeats ~ Unsounds
Aaron Dilloway’s most recent solo LP was actually released in 2013 by a Japanese label called Rockatansky Records, but this 2014 picture disc version on Hanson contains about 50% different/reworked material, ostensibly making it the definitive version of the album. It goes along with the noise loop compositions he’s been known for, but it also spends plenty of time exploring silence and blank space, often building up loops/washes of noise only to drop them out and only have a few spare tones make sound for a few moments. The album’s second track is a long wash of white noise with a few bass tones uncomfortably poking out. It seems like some sort of bath, but I’m not sure how good it’ll do at beautifying. The 3rd track has an abstract, clunking rhythm that will sound familiar to fans of his Modern Jester album, but also some melancholy whistling and a light, mellow synth drone. Side B starts with a series of thick, discordant tones which get faster and angrier, until it’s just a shuddering, vibrating mess of sound. It eventually reaches a whistling pitch which makes it sound like a boiling tea kettle screaming at you. Then the final part of the album is another minimal, nearly quiet passage with a surprisingly melancholy melody (if it can be called that). This is eventually joined by a rhythmic loop which sounds like a small object sweeping and falling off some sort of surface. It all ends with some cricket-like chirping as the lonely calls out into the night.
Similar to Andy Hofle’s “Arcade Ambience” project (which consists of field recordings of early ’80s video game arcades), and the Golding Institute 7″s from the mid ’90s (field recordings of fast food restaurants, adult book stores and airport restrooms), this is another unusual, crazy, weird recording of American culture in action. This is what Midwestern casinos sound like. At any given point on this record, you’re hearing the sounds of dozens of slot machines, along with conversation, whistling, and whatever music is playing over the loudspeaker (there is most definitely some Def Leppard during side A of this record). It’s quite a hypnotic din, and listening to it could give you the urge to gamble your life savings away. You hear plenty of dinging and bleeping video poker and slot machines, lots of coins clinking, and even a few excited cheers of winners, but a lot of the time, conversations aren’t easily audible. It seems like everyone’s entranced by all the lights and sounds and just keeps compulsively gambling. On the first part of side B there’s a long stretch where a machine keeps dinging the same note rapidly, which makes you think that either it’s broken or someone’s winning a ton of money, but you don’t seem to hear anyone cheering about it. The final track doesn’t sound like a casino at all, but an outdoor recording of a train passing by very closely, with crickets chirping in the background. Only at the end do you hear some slot machine melodies, along with someone asking Rew what he’s doing, and him explaining that he’s recording the sounds. The liner notes explain that these casinos have strict security, and that these recordings are clandestine (usually the tape recorder is hidden in his pocket), so maybe it’s a guard questioning his act of recording. This was originally a limited CD-r release, but Hanson Records has released an amazing-looking picture disc LP of it. You can order it and listen to side A here.