Sandy Ewen: You Win LP (Gilgongo, 2020)

December 1, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Sandy Ewen: You Win LP

Sandy Ewen’s first solo LP is apparently guitar-based, but it’s extremely difficult to tell how she’s coming up with these sounds. The album’s title track takes up the entire first side, and it starts out sounding like physical currents rolling around before the plumes of feedback eventually start blinking like alarms. She seems to strangle the daylights out of her guitar, squeezing out some notes but mostly producing violent, panned vibrations. It eventually drifts into a tunnel of loose, spacious thrums and metallic resonances, moving far away from the more grounded rumbling of the piece’s beginning. The alarm beeps can’t quite go away until the very end, though. “Virginia Creeper” is maybe the most lowercase track here; some scrounging around but not a whole lot happens. “Serra” is a floating feedback sculpture which sounds like it might be bowed, but it’s hard to tell. “Face Topography” is far more fractured and splintered, almost sounding like an electroacoustic tape piece performed live on a guitar. “Square Waves” is another sort of floating pieces filled with ringing, lightly clanging tones. Ewen has created videos for these pieces, which incorporate a lot of innovative processes, and look pretty amazing based on the still images, but I haven’t gotten around to checking them out yet (my wifi connection can be pretty fussy sometimes).

Richard Devine: Systik (BL_K Noise, 2020)

December 1, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Richard Devine: Systik

With his new record, Richard Devine returns to making acid music after 25 years, but using pieces from his current gargantuan collection of gear. This includes a portable modular system and two modified 303s. The four tracks were recorded in singles takes, as this material was intended for his 2020 live sets. The music is a far cry from when I saw him at the underground stage of the Movement festival several years ago, when he was playing harsh, glitchy noise and people couldn’t escape fast enough. Instead, this is more danceable, certainly helped by the 303 acid elements, but the beats are still corrupted and twitchy enough for the IDM nerd brigade. The first two marathon tracks get mega hectic and fractured, in a fun way, but “TiMetrics” is more of a straightforward electro stormer. “5schim” is the shortest and most joyous of all, just a glorious 4.5 minutes of gleeful acid and the type of choppy rave-inspired breakbeats that remain a perennial favorite of AFX and Squarepusher.

patten: Aegis (555-5555, 2020)

November 30, 2020 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

patten: Aegis

I haven’t gotten around to checking out all the recent patten releases yet, but thankfully I did give Aegis a listen because it’s amazing. This is one of his more beat-driven efforts, and the tracks all refract a number of different club styles and meld them into something new. “Heat Loss” is a particularly sharp-edged grime track which is filled with abrupt double-takes and fragmented voices, while trance synths form a mist around it all. “Cloak” is sort of like an industrial-gqom robot march, gradually becoming more hallucinatory as the distortion grows and more dislocated voices are added to the mix. A thick, wavy bassline calmly levitates throughout the fractal chaos of “Gravity Bond”. “Drip” is faster and more of a battle scene, and eventually the frantic beats disappear, leaving a marsh of corrupted static. “Optics” has an almost straightforward club beat, but still feels tripped up by 8-bit glitches and modulations. Like a lot of tracks on this album, it comes back stronger during its second half, constantly pushing more sounds into the mix. “Goo”‘s bassline doesn’t change much throughout the track, which starts out light and somewhat chirpy at the beginning, but absolutely growls by the end, making the bass seem to carry so much lumber behind it. “Vertigo” brings back some of the captured voices that haunted earlier songs, and it has one of the album’s softer melodies, which seems to glow in a cool, dark shade of blue.

Show #558 – 11/29/20

November 29, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

11-29-20
In-House Pharmacy ~ A Poem Recited From The Beak Of A Raven
Hyph11E ~ Shatter
Kanyon ~ Green
Machinedrum feat. Sub Focus ~ 1000 Miles
X-Altera ~ New Harbinger
Domenique Dumont ~ People On Sunday
Emily A. Sprague ~ Horizon
Faten Kanaan ~ Hesperides
Evan Caminiti ~ Russian Palm
Ataraxia ~ Deja Vu
Beatriz Ferreyra ~ Deux Dents Dehors
Ben Chatwin ~ Snow Crash
Beavis’s Ass Is On Fire!

v/a: New Neighborhoods (Freedom to Spend, 2020)

November 29, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: New Neighborhoods

Following last year’s much-fanfared reissue of Ernest Hood’s Neighborhoods, Freedom to Spend has compiled a benefit compilation featuring several current artists composing pieces incorporating field recordings from their environments. Like the original album, these selections drift between being unfiltered field recordings and passages of music. Sometimes they’re combined in crafty ways, like how the clicking and droning slowly rise above the scraping and dog panting of Ka Baird’s “West End”, with a more melodic part gradually emerging like the sun. Lieven Martens’ piece seems to consist entirely of field recordings, from dogs barking, possibly in a fairground setting, to transit whirrs. The brilliant Nailah Hunter plucks a forlorn harp melody over the rushing waters of Yosemite. Jefre Cantu Ledesma turns in one of the more innocent-sounding pieces, filled with birdsong, some sharp mewling, soft chiming, and yes, children talking. Melanie Velarde’s “NYC Files” features a cluster of Riley-ish organs along with a disorienting amount of honking car horns and ambulance sirens — just another day in the Big Apple, basically. Barraco Barner’s piece is a lovely one, with drum machines that seem to tick out of time but stay in sequence, and just lovely Durutti-ish guitar melodies, all surrounded by outdoor sounds. Much sparser is Sugai Ken’s piece, which is seven minutes of a bell (or pot, or other metal object) being struck slowly. Like A Villain’s “What’s happening to me” is accurately titled — the vocals are wordless puffs of uncertainty and tentative syllables, but sung rather than sounding like incoherent stammering, and the music is rich and light at the same time, feeling like a sort of transformation.

v/a: Hyperextension: A Not Yet Remembered Records Compilation (Not Yet Remembered Records, 2020)

November 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Hyperextension: A Not Yet Remembered Records Compilation

Not Yet Remembered Records is a new label founded by precenphix and Cos BV, two Pennsylvania-based artists who have been making IDM and various other styles of electronic music since the IUMA and mp3.com eras, if not earlier. This compilation is a preview of various releases they’re set to release (some are out already). It starts out with some tracks that are along the steady, acid-tinged, mixable sort of IDM. Tleb’s “Westerly” is pretty isolationist ambient, but not entirely removed from humanity. Stormy Acres’ “Roasted Sanguine” is just as creepy as it sounds, and it pounds steadily without going in on an attack. Wolfe’s “Hyperextension” is an always-welcome collision of soft, innocent melodies and harsh, jagged beats which sound like an electrocution set to rhythm. precenphix’s “Prazosin House Lip” is a more bubbling acid techno track, until it switches to more crunchy, bristling beats. After an ambient piece by Blush To The Snow which is failing to rise above the lawnmower outside my apartment at the moment, Orbiscorpus’ “Giver” is an amazing track with ethereal vocals and heavy, cold drum machines clacking away. More darkwave than witch house, but could work as both. Séance’s “Dead Channel” is a suspenseful hard d’n’b track with horror movie pianos which absolutely rips once the breakbeats fully kick in. Blinkhorn’s “Some Day” is a bit of a breather after the album’s most intense track, and then “Angels From Andromeda” by Cerebral is a 12-minute mini-epic which flows from more fizzy, acidic electro-IDM until a gorgeous melody stops it in its tracks, and it moves into a more uplifting second half.

2Lanes: Baby’s Born To Fish​.​.​. / Impish Desires 12″ (Portage Garage Sounds, 2020)

November 27, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

2Lanes: Baby’s Born To Fish​.​.​. / Impish Desires 12″

The latest single from DJ, producer, and promoter 2Lanes features an all-star cast of Detroit musicians. “Baby’s Born To Fish​.​.​.” has a tough, industrious bumping beat and lush, billowing synths and piano clouds. Taking center stage is the fantastic Kesswa, who delivers hopeful lyrics about making it through the daily grind, even though it’s frustrating to be meeting deadlines and never certain of what’s going to happen next. The bottom line is “I’m gonna be fine.” Ian Fink, Shigeto, and John F.M. also contribute to the track, but Kesswa shines brightest. Easily one of the most inventive, addictive dance tracks of the year. On the other side, “Impish Desires” (with Ji Hoon) is some raw electro that swerves and twitches. Not so much the beats, which stay locked in, but the synths and dialog samples (“you’re in great danger”) all seem designed to make you constantly look over your shoulder. And then a fog-shrouded flute solo adds a different shade of trippiness to it all.

In-House Pharmacy: We Are Electronics and Piano Only (self-released, 2020)

November 25, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

In-House Pharmacy: We Are Electronics and Piano Only

Lauren Bousfield and Naomi Mitchell recorded this EP using just modular synth and piano, and while that might seem like a simple description, these are still highly complex, explosive pieces. Definitely not as pop-minded or cathartic as Bousfield’s recent masterpiece Palimpsest, and quite looser — opener “Field of Wires” almost feels like a sort of jam session, with breaks rumbling far underneath the stomping kick and classical piano melodies. “A Poem Recited From The Beak Of A Raven” is much more destructive, vaguely starting out kosmische and then bursting forward with very raw, feedback-y breakbeats and twisted analog textures. Meanwhile the piano rumbles along and keeps up the suspense. “At Dusk, On Television” has a momentary break from the noise so that the piano playing shines through more. “Tiny Claws” forgoes beats, and is instead a tense, unnerving duet for waltzing piano and harsh, buzzing feedback which seems more structured the more you pay attention.

Show #557 – 11/22/20

November 22, 2020 at 10:54 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

11-22-20
Plod ~ Aptaxi
2Lanes feat. Kesswa, John F.M., Ian Fink & Shigeto ~ Baby’s Born to Fish…
REQ & Smudge ~ Change le Beat (Etch Remix)
Cofaxx ~ Mauve Tracksuit
Dexplicit ~ Aerospace
John Carroll Kirby featuring Eddie Chacon and Nailah Hunter ~ High
Quakers feat. Sampa the Great ~ Approach with Caution
Model Home x His Name Is Alive ~ To Remember Dub
Moon Wiring Club ~ Purred Applause
Mort Garson ~ Realizations of an Aeropolis
Heathered Pearls ~ Pain Tolerance
Build Buildings ~ Indigo Bunting
Oliver Coates ~ Butoh Baby
Omni Gardens ~ Golden Pothos
Fred Thomas ~ Sonar

Kanyon: s/t (Towhead, 2020)

November 22, 2020 at 11:32 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kanyon: s/t

Don’t have a whole lot of info on this one, but it’s on Color Plus’s label, so that’s enough of a recommendation. The cover art hints at some sort of black metal demo, but the tracks are various shades of post-club styles. “Straight Ether” is gently shifting breakbeats with relaxing mellow-AFX textures. “Vroom” is much more active and playful, with motoric breaks that prompt you to skip around the room. “Patternmaster” is a much trickier, tenser drum’n’bass-ish track, all nervous, choppy breaks and no release. “Number One” has a sequence of bubbly tones that are so soothing it might make you overlook how complex the beats are. “Six Track” is another track filled with tough, crunchy breaks, and after that it’s time for a pause to refresh, so “Tldr” is a gentle two-minute bath with some squishy synths toward the end. The short, slow-motion snow trudge “Morbid” serves as another resting period in between longer, breakier, busier tracks, with “Green” being a foggy swirl of crashing Amens and half-buried woodwinds.

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