M.B.: An Hour With… (Placenta Recordings, 2014)

September 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

M.B.: An Hour With...

M.B.: An Hour With…

Maurizio Bianchi is one of those hyper-prolific artists whose music I’ve always admired but never really delved into, simply because there’s so much of it, so much of it is so hard to find, and how do I really know where to start, or stop? But that’s about to change because now that I’m sitting down and listening to this album, I’m just blown away by how incredible it is. The 4 compositions on here are named by their track lengths (which do add up to exactly an hour), and from the beginning, “Seventeen Minutes And Fifty Seconds” is just hard to turn away from. Every time I listen to it on different speakers and different volume levels, I hear something different. Sometimes it’s icy microscopic glitch, sometimes it’s fluttery insects in thick night air. It doesn’t seem to change throughout much of its duration, but it pulls you in, and then when it does start to shuffle up around the 11 minute mark, it feels like everything’s starting to fly around you and gets you prepared for something chaotic to happen. “Twelve Minutes And Thirteen Seconds” is a long trawl through some dark haunted passageway, with all manners of tints and distortions fraying the edges of your vision. “Eight Minutes And Twenty-Seven Seconds” is tense dark ambient drone, which seems to incubate a glowing dismal orb, with fluid radioactive sparks squirming from it. “Twenty-One Minutes And Twenty-Nine Seconds” has crystalline sound loops which sort of outline a melody, with a calm but vaguely stiff and metallic drone beneath. The sounds very subtly shudder and vibrate if you pay attention, but it’s easy to just get lost and let it all wash over you. The blurb on the back of the jewel case sums up how this album is meditative and relaxing, but at the same time sort of rough. It uses the term “conscientious entertainment”, and questions what to do after you’re done listening and meditating to this album. Good question. It’s not accurate to call this noise or power electronics or industrial, but it’s not a simple ambient or drone record either. All I know is that this is going to sound perfect this winter, and not in some sort of cliched predictable “frostbitten cold bleakness” way.

Charlatan: Local Agent LP (Umor Rex, 2014)

September 13, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Charlatan: Local Agent LP

Charlatan: Local Agent LP

Newest full length from Digitalis founder Brad Rose’s current main project. Murky bubbly synth sounds, with a definite rhythm but less “techno” sounding than previous Charlatan stuff. Still gets pretty noisy, as on the end of “Blur Suit”. “Lonely City” has a pretty sweet, gelatinous ooze-smeared Detroit techno melody and bass pulse, without an actual beat. “Skulled” has more showers of fractalized modular synths over a swampy bass pulse. “The Cure” opens with thrashing, sloppy noise bursts and only gets crazier and more corrupted from there, until some sort of awkward beat emerges halfway through. Utterly bizarre and fascinating. “Double Blind Host” is another track with sort of an awkward misplaced-sounding beat, or rather a couple rhythms superimposed on each other which sort of fit. It’s definitely the most “minimal synth” sounding track here, if that means anything, which it most likely doesn’t. “Antiprism” has another lurching synth rhythm over gritty drum machine beats, with more synth detritus stumbling along afterwards. And “Nightmaring”, be glad that slithering monster is just in your dreams and not your life. Super incredible stuff as always, recommended to those interested in both vintage experimental electronic music and the way-out-there side of abstract dance music.

Christopher Willits: OPENING (Ghostly International, 2014)

September 13, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Christopher Willits: OPENING

Christopher Willits: OPENING

Christopher Willits has been part of the Ghostly family for 10 years, and was releasing material on Taylor Deupree’s 12k label before that. But his highest-profile work in recent memory has been his production and mastering work on Tycho’s recent breakthrough album Awake. Listening to Willits’ new album, it’s hard not to think of it as sort of an ambient companion piece to that album, especially since Tycho’s Scott Hansen provided instantly recognizable, triangle-heavy artwork for this album, plus he and his band members contribute heavily to this album. While Awake had uptempo rhythms and U2-like guitar melodies, opening is much calmer and more relaxed, a 45-minute warm sunrise of an album. Beats pop up occasionally to push things along, and sometimes (as on “Clear”) they’re striking, but not in a way that’s overbearing. The beats get most involved in the album’s 2 longest tracks, “Connect” and “Wide”, which slowly unfold with chiming guitars, subtle glitches, and softly pulsing bass along with the beats. “Release” ends the album by doing just that, summing up the album’s wide-scope panoramic sound of sky-blue ambience and slowly thumping beats.

ODESZA: In Return (Counter, 2014)

September 13, 2014 at 7:30 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

ODESZA: In Return

ODESZA: In Return

ODESZA’s rise to popularity has been lightning-fast, already signing to Ninja Tune-affiliated label Counter after releasing several free self-released EPs and an album since 2012. They’ve been constantly touring since then (and they’re coming to the Blind Pig on 10/8!), and at this point they’re selling out shows in advance. This album refines their glossy, chopped-vocal chillwave sound into something more high-res and poppy, with more than half the tracks featuring guest vocalists. This results in some fun poppy songs (“Say My Name”, with a chorus joyously declaring “I wanna dance with you!”, and appropriately dancey music), but I feel like their sound says enough without lyrics. There’s enough sampled vocals in their music already that it still sounds coherent and communicates something, and even if the vocals are chopped up beyond the constraints of words, they still are catchy enough to stick in your head. The tracks without proper vocals seem kind of short, you kind of wish they’d go on longer, but if they did they’d probably just be repeating themselves, so really they’re fine the way they are. But even on the songs with proper vocals and lyrics, the vocal samples are used as an extra instrument, used to accentuate specific moments of ecstasy (as on “Echoes”). They draw from a variety of exotic-sounding influences too, with tracks like “Sundara”, “Kusanagi”, and “Koto” having Eastern-sounding instruments and vocal samples complementing their titles, and thumb pianos (among other acoustic instruments) showing up in tracks like “It’s Only”. Overall my favorite track would have to be “Koto”, with its no-nonsense tough distorted beat, crystalline melodies and glitched vocal samples. Extended bliss-out closer “For Us” is another highlight, though, with another chilled yet adrenaline-rushing beat, and an extended cool-down period for the last couple minutes. When vocalist Briana Marela sings “it feels like it’s perfect”, it pretty much does.

Show #256 – 9/13/14

September 13, 2014 at 6:56 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Hour 1
3:00 AM CAN ~ Vitamin C ~ Ege Bamyasi ~ Spoon/Mute
3:04 AM Sonogram ~ Equivocals ~ LED Melodies ~ Simulacra
3:08 AM Simian Mobile Disco ~ Jam Side Up ~ Whorl ~ Anti-
3:13 AM Christopher Willits ~ Clear ~ Opening ~ Ghostly International
3:19 AM Slow Magic ~ Closer ~ How To Run Away ~ Downtown
3:25 AM ODESZA ~ Koto ~ In Return ~ Counter
3:29 AM Noah Creshevsky ~ What If ~ Rounded With A Sleep ~ Pogus Productions
3:32 AM Charlatan ~ Double Blind Host ~ Local Agent ~ Umor Rex
3:35 AM :zoviet*france: and Fossil Aerosol Mining Project ~ North Of North (Broadcast Mix 2) ~ .wav ~ Soundcloud
3:38 AM Sparkling Wide Pressure ~ I Do Not Have Words ~ split tape w/ Madrugapha ~ Salvador Records
3:42 AM BLACKHOoDS ~ Green Canyons ~ mp3 ~ Bandcamp
3:50 AM Evy Jane ~ Worry Heart ~ Closer EP ~ Ninja Tune
3:54 AM De Leon ~ side B track 3 ~ tape ~ Aught
Hour 2
4:00 AM Jerry Hunt ~ Chimanzzi: Drape: Link 1993 [Derivative Extraction: (Birome: Zone): Plane: (Fixture)] ~ Haramnd Plane: Three Translation Links ~ Pogus Productions
4:06 AM Damian Catera ~ Vivaldi Concerto In G Minor Pop ~ Baroque Treasures ~ Praxis Classics
4:11 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₁::check ~ 0ºC ~ Touch
4:11 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₂::cacoepy ~ Touch
4:12 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₃::circuit ~ Touch
4:12 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₄::contexture ~ 0ºC ~ Touch
4:14 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₅::cuts ~ 0ºC ~ Touch
4:15 AM Ryoji Ikeda ~ C₆::counterpoint ~ 0ºC ~ Touch
4:18 AM Mama Baer & Kommissar Hjuler ~ Untitled II ~ Zahn – Polizei ~ Placenta Recordings
4:31 AM Lawrence English ~ Another Body ~ Wilderness Of Mirrors ~ Room40
4:38 AM Pjusk ~ Glott ~ Solstøv ~ 12k
4:44 AM Girma Yifrashewa ~ Elilta ~ Love & Peace ~ Unseen Worlds
4:51 AM Joel Andrews ~ Seraphic Borealis ~ I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America, 1950-1990
Hour 3
5:03 AM If, Bwana/Trio Scordatura ~ Ringing (Ano)the(r) Bell ~ E (And Sometimes Why) ~ Pogus Productions
5:10 AM Taylor Deupree ~ Field (Beta) ~ Lost & Compiled ~ 12k
5:18 AM M.B. ~ Seventeen Minutes And Fifty Seconds ~ An Hour With… ~ Placenta Recordings
5:37 AM Jorge Antunes ~ Mixolydia ~ In Defense Of The Machine ~ Pogus Productions
5:48 AM Philip Corner ~ Piece For String Instrument #5 ~ Pieces From The Past ~ Pogus Productions
5:51 AM Frances White ~ In The Library Of Dreams ~ In The Library Of Dreams ~ Pogus Productions

Crush Collision 9/11/14

September 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Hour 1
10:03 PM Rival Consoles ~ Helios
10:06 PM Simian Mobile Disco ~ Calyx
10:10 PM Soul Of Hex ~ Lip Reading (Larry Heard Midnight Mix)
10:16 PM Esteban Adame ~ The Grind
10:22 PM Aphex Twin ~ minipops 67 [120.2]
10:26 PM Kidkanevil ~ Inakunaru
10:29 PM Moiré ~ Mr Figure
10:33 PM Telegraphy ~ How Are You Today
10:38 PM Via App ~ Ace
10:41 PM My Panda Shall Fly & Maulin ~ Gingerbread House (5 a.m. Minimal Dub)
10:44 PM Snuff Crew ~ Berlin
10:50 PM Hal Floyd ~ All Ventures Overboard
10:54 PM Mr. Flash ~ Midnight Blue (Jon Convex Remix)
10:58 PM Perc ~ Tri-City
Hour 2
11:02 PM Timoka ~ Borogoves
11:06 PM Kasper Bjørke ~ Grit
11:11 PM Permanent Heartbreak ~ Sorry Not Sorry (Raíz Remix)
11:15 PM dynArec ~ Safe Scouting Guide
11:19 PM Prism House ~ Drift (Thug Entrancer Remix)
11:22 PM Hagan ~ 1991
11:25 PM Ikonika ~ You Won’t Find It Here (VIP)
11:28 PM Marcelus ~ Red Dance
11:33 PM Sinden Presents The Crystal System ~ Got Me Moving (Moiré Remix)
11:36 PM Synthek & Audiolouis ~ Headroom
11:41 PM Jeremiah R ~ Interplanetary Phenomenon Unit
11:43 PM Somepoe ~ Woodstate (Blood Vibes Remix)
11:46 PM Mike G ~ Blackjack (Korma Pulse Mix)
11:51 PM Driftmachine ~ To Nowhere Pt. 2
11:55 PM Strategy ~ Osmosis

Slow Magic: How To Run Away (Downtown Records, 2014)

September 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Slow Magic: How To Run Away

Slow Magic: How To Run Away

Anonymous masked producer Slow Magic stole the show when he opened for Gold Panda’s tour last year, and he’s embarking on a headlining tour now (and playing the Blind Pig on 10/1!). His recordings simply do not prepare you for his illuminating, thundering live presence, which involves electric voodoo masks, huge drums, and audience interaction. But taken as they are, his albums are enjoyable slices of post-chillwave bliss, with sunny melodies, chopped vocal samples (few actual lyrics, and usually they’re just the title repeated, as on “Let U Go” and “On Yr Side”), and electro-funk synths (especially on “Youth Group”), with a few somewhat trancey melodies thrown in (“Waited 4 U”). There’s moments where tracks seem downtempo and melancholy, but then switch to an uptempo dancey beat (as on “Bear Dance”). The album’s 6-minute final track is appropriately called “Closer”, and pulls out all the stops, with trap-influenced beats and ecstatic cut-up vocal samples, building to the album’s emotional climax, breaking it down, and then doing it again.

Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures (Praxis Classics, 2014)

September 10, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures

Damian Catera: Baroque Treasures

I’m not sure if Damian Catera is still a professor at Rutgers, but he was when I went there, and I saw him play a free concert that WRSU was presenting (in which Drop The Lime was booked but never showed up), and he played a noise set during the day to a small but oddly captivated audience. Catera was in a group called ConDemek in the ’80s and early ’90s, which released an LP on RRRecords in 1988, and he also collaborated with KK Null and released several albums on the Harsh House label. Since 2006, however, he’s been exploring deconstructions of baroque music, releasing an entire album of algorithmic variations on Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier in 2011. This release finds him tackling Handel, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and Albinoni. His take on Handel’s Water Music starts near-silently, slowly fading in with sliced-and-diced recognizable fragments of the melody, and ending up with a warm drone, with more pieces of the melody flaring up. “Vivaldi Concerto In G Minor Pop” starts with a disconcerting violin drone loop, then switches through several levels of time-folded-over manipulations of violins. “Albinoni Adagio For Strings & Organ” renders those instruments unrecognizable; there’s glitched-out classical guitar and insect-like buzzing, all being transformed and warped inside some sort of forcefield. “Scarlatti Sonata In D Minor” is 9 minutes of classical guitars tumbling and falling backwards and somehow upwwards throughout eternity, ending up a mountain of unspooled, rewound tape. “Vivaldi Concerto In G Minor” expands on the concept of the previous 5-minute “Pop” version, for 20 minutes of mind-melting string transformations, at turns drastic, dramatic, and bordering on noisy. Available at Bandcamp.

Show #255 – 9/6/14

September 6, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Hour 1
3:00 AM Harmonia ~ Watussi ~ Musik Von Harmonia ~ Lilith
3:05 AM Conrad Schnitzler ~ Krautrock ~ Rot ~ Bureau B
3:25 AM Roedelius ~ Goldregen ~ Wenn Der Südwind Weht ~ Bureau B
3:27 AM Roedelius ~ Auf Leisen Sohlen ~ Wenn Der Südwind Weht ~ Bureau B
3:32 AM Don Slepian ~ Awakening (excerpt) ~ I Am The Center: Private Issue New Age Music In America, 1950-1990 ~ Light In The Attic
3:37 AM S U R V I V E ~ Omniverse ~ MNQ026 ~ Mannequin
3:42 AM Autechre ~ Pen Expers ~ Confield ~ Warp
3:49 AM Suitor ~ Gradient ~ Corndogs002 ~ Sly Fox Records
3:54 AM The Siege ~ Way Down Low ~ Conditions ~ We Are All Machines
Hour 2
4:02 AM Brian Chase ~ Melody Drum Drone ~ Drums & Drones ~ Pogus Productions
4:05 AM Longmont Potion Castle ~ Clown Motel ~ 9 ~ D.U. Records
4:10 AM Monogamy ~ track 19 ~ Anaconda 2 ~ cd-r
4:12 AM Failed Flowers ~ When You Said I Love You ~ Demo 2014 ~ tape
4:14 AM Circuit Breaker ~ Grey Materials ~ 12″ EP ~ Tombed Visions
4:19 AM Half Japanese ~ We Are Sure ~ Overjoyed ~ Joyful Noise
4:22 AM Cellular Chaos ~ Wrecquiem ~ Cellular Chaos ~ ugEXPLODE
4:24 AM Naomi Punk ~ California Truth ~ Television Man ~ Captured Tracks
4:25 AM Minus9 ~ Bloodbath ~ Drown ~ Flying Blood
4:27 AM The Cramps ~ Garbageman ~ Bad Music For Bad People ~ I.R.S.
4:31 AM Taylor Deupree ~ Live In Osaka ~ Lost & Compiled ~ 12k
4:38 AM Music Blues ~ It’s Not Going To Get Better ~ Things Haven’t Gone Well ~ Thrill Jockey
4:43 AM Botanist ~ Erythronium ~ VI: Flora ~ The Flenser
4:45 AM Coachwhips ~ UFO, Please Take Her Home ~ Get Yer Body Next Ta Mine ~ Castle Face
4:49 AM Ty Segall ~ The Clock ~ Manipulator ~ Drag City
4:51 AM Bill Baird ~ Skull Castle Decorator ~ Diamond Eyepatch ~ Moon Glyph
4:54 AM The Garment District ~ Soon We See Green ~ If You Take Your Magic Slow ~ Night People
4:58 AM Lawrence English ~ Wilderness Of Mirrors ~ Wilderness Of Mirrors ~ Room40
Hour 3
5:01 AM Quttinirpaaq ~ Malvert ~ The Wire Tapper 35 ~ The Wire
5:04 AM Land Observations ~ The Brenner Pass ~ The Grand Tour ~ Mute
5:09 AM Brian Eno/Karl Hyde ~ Moulded Life ~ High Life ~ Warp
5:14 AM Lia Ices ~ Creature ~ Ices ~ Jagjaguwar
5:18 AM Saturday’s Cab Ride Home ~ White Stone New Name ~ When We Were All There ~ self-released
5:21 AM God Help The Girl ~ Musician, Please Take Heed ~ God Help The Girl soundtrack ~ Milan
5:25 AM Mirel Wagner ~ What Love Looks Like ~ When The Cellar Children See The Light Of Day ~ Sub Pop
5:29 AM If, Bwana ~ Toys For Al ~ Red One ~ Pogus Productions
5:37 AM Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band ~ Lai Sing ~ Khun Narin’s Electric Phin Band ~ Innovative Leisure
5:41 AM The Bug ~ Fat Mac ~ Angels & Devils ~ Ninja Tune
5:45 AM Mndsgn ~ Txt (MSGS) ~ Yawn Zen ~ Stones Throw
5:47 AM FaltyDL ~ Grief ~ In The Wild ~ Ninja Tune
5:50 AM Moiré ~ No Gravity ~ Shelter ~ Werkdiscs
5:56 AM Pjusk ~ Falmet ~ Solstøv ~ 12k

Evy Jane: Closer EP 12″ (Ninja Tune, 2014)

September 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Evy Jane: Closer EP 12"

Evy Jane: Closer EP 12″

I missed Evy Jane when they performed at SXSW last year, and then again when they played NXNE this year, but I was excited to see that they’d signed to Ninja Tune, because maybe soon they’d have more than just 2 songs out (those 2 songs being the equally stunning double A-side “Sayso” and “Ohso” from 2012). Now their debut 12″ for Ninja Tune is finally out and, well… The title track is nice enough, a really woozy bummer R&B ballad, but it still kind of feels like it’s walking in place rather than actually going somewhere. “Nothing So Great” mostly consists of slow vocals, and soft synth, with a trip-hop beat trudging in only during the last minute of the song. Very much a slow burn, but it just doesn’t really excite me that much. “Sosoft” is more minimal R&B, with sparsely used bass and cascading vocals, which is intriguing, but it still ends up feeling like half a song. “Worry Heart” introduces a dub riddim to the band’s sound, suggesting an interesting direction the band might take on their album, and is much more of a proper song. I’m still excited for their album, but this EP feels like a work in progress or B-sides, when their first single had 2 arresting songs right out of the gate.

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