Kiln: Tungsten (Ghostly International, 2021)

December 7, 2021 at 8:55 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Kiln: Tungsten

A long-running Michigan group that’s been part of the Ghostly International family since the early 2000s, Kiln sporadically surface every so often with an indescribable type of live band IDM which feels scientific yet loose and jammy. This EP is basically additional material from the sessions that produced last year’s Astral Welder full-length, and it works on its own accord. “North Bar Lake” is a surprising country venture, with steel guitars caressing its fluid machine rhythm. “Cat Paw Spiritual” gently sneaks through a back alley at night, keeping its cool while wading through trash and grime. “Argon Pedestrian” seems brighter and more joyous at first, but it also seems to crawl through sludge for a moment, only to shine bright when an acoustic guitar comes in. Finally, “Pinyon” is a short violin-based piece which rocks gently on the ocean waves as we drift out to sea.

x.nte + Elevation: Angel 933 (Never Normal, 2021)

December 5, 2021 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

x.nte + Elevation: Angel 933

Atlanta duo x.nte + Elevation released a collaborative album called Angel 93 on Cock Rock Disco 4 years ago, and its successor now appears courtesy of Suzi Analogue’s Never Normal Records. Released in conjunction with an RPG game (according to the Bandcamp blurb), Angel 933 is another massive block of glitch-infested breakcore that never hesitates to push the decibels far in the red and make the breakbeats as sudden, choppy, and explosive as possible. Some of the newer breakcore folks are favoring shiny, atmospheric d’n’b textures and rave throwbacks, or endless anime samples, but this is more deconstructed art school noise jungle, with some more rolling-out passages, but lots of chaotic interruption and non-linearity. But it’s not entirely that way, either. There’s glimpses of beauty scattered throughout. Like the last track, which has a part featuring layers of pianos twinkling throughout its trash-compacted breaks and nu-metal-ish vocals. It’s hard to really name a favorite track here, since it’s all amazing, although the appearances from NO EYES are always welcome, and “haigan newboss anthem” shreds particularly hard.

Show #608 – 12/5/21

December 5, 2021 at 4:48 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

2:00 am Dave Graw (local) ~ Perihelion (Apsis Warning Signs) ~ Abandon Hope (new) ~ Syncro System ~ 2021
2:04 am Bitchin Bajas ~ Opus In Springtime ~ Switched On Ra (new) ~ Drag City ~ 2021
2:09 am Syntoma ~ No Me Puedo Controlar ~ Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980​-​1989 ~ Dark Entries ~ 1983
2:14 am Robert Görl & DAF ~ Gedanken Lesen ~ Nur Noch Einer (new) ~ Grönland Records ~ 2021
2:17 am Bush Tetras ~ You Can’t Be Funky ~ Rhythm & Paranoia: the Best of Bush Tetras ~ Wharf Cat ~ 1981
2:19 am Soccer96 feat. Nuha Ruby Ra ~ Dopamine ~ Dopamine (new) ~ Moshi Moshi ~ 2021
2:23 am E.Vax ~ Pretty Good ~ E.Vax (new) ~ Because Music ~ 2021
2:27 am Model Home ~ Body Power ~ both feet en th infinite (new) ~ Don Giovanni ~ 2021
2:33 am Steve Roach ~ Spiral of Strength ~ Tomorrow ~ Projekt ~ 2020
2:41 am Your Old Droog feat. Lil Ugly Mane and billy woods ~ Meteor Man ~ Space Bar (new) ~ Mongoloid Banks ~ 2021
2:45 am Sherelle ~ Jungle Teknah ~ Fabric Presents Sherelle (new) ~ Fabric ~ 2021
2:49 am Skee Mask ~ Testo BC Mashup ~ Pool (new) ~ Ilian Tape ~ 2021
2:56 am Christoph De Babalon ~ Cool Priest ~ 044 (Hilf Dir Selbst!) (new) ~ AD 93 ~ 2021
3:01 am Dev/Null ~ Breath ~ Microjunglizm (new) ~ Evar Records ~ 2021
3:04 am Ouri ~ High & Choking, Pt. 1 ~ Frame of a Fauna (new) ~ Lighter Than Air ~ 2021
3:07 am Eris Drew ~ Loving Clav ~ Quivering In Time (new) ~ T4T LUV NRG ~ 2021
3:14 am Makaya McCraven ~ Coppin’ the Haven ~ Deciphering the Message (new) ~ Blue Note ~ 2021
3:17 am Adrian Younge & Ali Shaheed Muhammad w/ Brian Jackson ~ Young Muhammad ~ Jazz Is Dead 8 (new) ~ Jazz Is Dead ~ 2021
3:20 am Henry Franklin ~ Plastic Creek Stomp ~ The Skipper ~ Black Jazz ~ 1972
3:24 am Lee Morgan ~ Speedball (7/10/70, Set One) ~ The Complete Live at the Lighthouse ~ Blue Note ~ 1970
3:29 am Blush To The Snow ~ Blush To The Snow ~ Blush To The Snow ~ Not Yet Remembered ~ 2020
3:34 am Aesop Rock x Blockhead ~ Oh Fudge ~ Garbology (new) ~ Rhymesayers ~ 2021
3:37 am Don Zilla ~ Buziba ~ Ekizikiza Mubwengula (new) ~ Hakuna Kulala ~ 2021
3:40 am Zvrra ~ Inside ~ Bizzaroland (new) ~ Avian ~ 2021
3:43 am Embryo ~ Yu Mala ~ Auf Auf (new) ~ Madlib Invazion ~ 2021
3:47 am Nailah Hunter ~ Sadko ~ @0 (new) ~ Ahead of Our Time ~ 2021
3:51 am Gerycz/Powers/Rolin ~ June ~ Lamplighter (new) ~ American Dreams ~ 2021
3:54 am Dan Munkus with Tommy White ~ A Once Lonely Man ~ The Edge of the High Trace (new) ~ self-released ~ 2021

Dave Graw: Abandon Hope LP (Syncro System, 2021)

December 4, 2021 at 11:10 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dave Graw: Abandon Hope LP

Dave Graw has been active within the Detroit music scene for decades, having fronted several punk, hardcore, and emo bands since the ’90s. He also played on some of The Armed’s early releases. His recent solo music is far away from all of that, embracing synths, softer textures, and more meditative perspectives. Having previously released a double CD on his own Aninterval imprint, a digital single on breakcore label Low Res, and a limited LP on Syncro System, he returns to that label with this tightly focused record of expansive instrumentals. Mostly recorded by himself in his plant-filled home studio, along with bass guitar from Seattle-based Josh Machniak, the album reminds me of labelmate Hydropark, but with a far more smoothed-out take on Krautrock-inspired songcraft than that group. Some songs here have hypnotic rhythms, but there’s also more intimate, weightless pieces like “A Sea of Interfering Signals”, which features thumb pianos, melodic chimes, and rushing sea water. Even the more driving songs, like “To The Health of the Wolf”, lift off the ground and drift easily rather than race furiously. The glowing “I May Have Been Swallowed, But I Refuse to Be Eaten” begins the second side, with an insistent synth line wriggling its way through space, and then “High Neighbors” is a crystalline reflection which gradually gains a swirling sequence and an uplifting rhythm. “With Friends” mingles lightly buzzing guitars and synths with thumb pianos which get swept into reverse at one point. “Perihelion (Apsis Warning Signs)” blends the ethereal with the physical, as a steady, shaker-driven rhythm surfaces front and center while cloudy synths flicker and billow, with one particular note sequence lingering like a memory that’s been halg-forgotten but won’t totally fade away.

Dan Munkus: The Edge of the High Trace (self-released, 2021)

December 3, 2021 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dan Munkus: The Edge of the High Trace

The new album by Peekskill, New York-based composer Dan Munkus is a set of improvisation-based instrumentals dedicated to the memory of his late father, who unexpectedly passed away five years ago. The opening title track (the name of which came to Munkus in a dream, and he has no clue what the phrase means) is a 10-minute slow trek with mournful violin playing by Heather Sommerlad, as well as swarms of guitar feedback and steady, muscular drums carving a path through a darkened landscape. It’s undoubtedly informed by tragedy and feels like a procession of grief, but it’s still pressing onward, determined not to get bogged down by harsh memories. “The End of the High Trace” starts out with more of a moonlit glow, eventually developing guitar melodies which shimmer like northern lights, and it feels like encountering some fantastic visions while venturing into a remote area, far from the sight of any other humans. “Eighty-Four Today” is a solemn piano requiem, which gets shaded with guitar buzz later on, and then ends with a brief melody which suggests a moment of clarity. “Wooden Nickels” is a feast of disturbing yet fascinating noise textures and churning rhythms, snapping into focus when a beat emerges near the end. “A Once Lonely Man” features guest guitarist Tommy White, who adds creative textures as well as ripping solos, and it just blazes once the drums come in. So much feeling to this album.

Gerycz/Powers/Rolin: Lamplighter (American Dreams, 2021)

December 2, 2021 at 6:23 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Gerycz/Powers/Rolin: Lamplighter

Three Ohio-based musicians make up this trio, and their second album together is a gorgeous set of expansive, mostly acoustic improvisations. Jen Powers’ hammered dulcimer is what stands out the most to these ears, adding some fascinating textures to the mixture, with Jayson Gerycz’s rollicking, scattering drums and Matthew Rolin’s earthy guitars additionally carrying the pieces through vast, open, light-drenched fields. “Rotations” launches the album with ecstatic yet sprawled-out drumming and thick blankets of dulcimer and guitar, creating a truly original sound that’s just full of joy. The title track is the album’s most abstract moment, with a slower drift and some scraping and feedback tones. “June” is a much more welcoming, down-home tune, it just feels like a warm embrace from someone you’ve known a long time who truly cares about you. “Jars of Glass”, the album’s 15-minute finale, is a bit more tightly coiled and almost bluegrassy at the beginning, but after the bumpy-trail drumming disappears, it all floats towards a less constrained space, gradually ending up with controlled waves of electric feedback, and finally ending with a flurry of unconstrained splatter-drumming and noisy guitar wreckage.

Field of Fear: Ashes (self-released, 2021)

November 27, 2021 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Field of Fear: Ashes

Drew Zercoe’s new album sort of functions like the audio equivalent of a natural horror film. The music was composed by processing pixel data from photographs of over 80,000 acres of land burned during the CZU Lightning Complex fires in California in 2020, and concerting the data into frequencies. The first track, “Fallen Branch”, starts out quiet and gradually becomes engulfed in flames halfway through its 10-minute duration. “Broken Trunk” is more of an immediate storm, starting out with black clouds of terror and becoming electrified in an instant, but there’s a pause where it all goes dark and still before bursting back once again. “Año Nuevo” is more of a vast, rotating drone that ends up scorching a huge amount of ground in its 11 minutes. “Bone Trees” is the longest and most astonishing track here, with a trace of a rhythm throbbing away and funereal drones bleeding underneath. It fades down to just rustling wind for the last minute or so, and you’re too shaken with fear to begin to question what’s just happened and how much has been lost.

Dev/Null: Microjunglizm (Evar Records, 2021)

November 20, 2021 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dev/Null: Microjunglizm

Last year, Dev/Null released Pocket Selector, an album of jungle tracks created using Teenage Engineering’s PO-33 Pocket Operator, a small tool which can surprisingly produce some massive, twisted material. His new Microjunglizm EP is another batch of storming hardcore and jungle, with each track packing a huge wallop in less than 4 minutes. There’s horror vibes (“Broken Bell”), there’s more aggressive drill-like breaks (“Breath”), there’s moments that almost approach more straightened out, looped versions of his breakcore past (“Warning Sign”), there’s mutant hardcore dancehall (“Time 2 Rhyme”), and lots of on-the-fly Hyper On Experience-style mashery. Definitely not as loony and horror movie-esque as the Dev/Null of old, but just as much of a shot of manic energy, and easily some of the most creative modern hardcore.

Crush Collision 11/18/21

November 19, 2021 at 9:55 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Come see me at Club Above this Saturday @ 9! Shigeto is headlining! WCBN X MEMCO X Maize Collective!
10:00 pm The Black Dog ~ Cup Noodle
10:02 pm Radioactive Man ~ Multi Faith Prayer Room
10:05 pm IXTAB ~ Eidesis
10:07 pm Low Jack ~ Sweet Cheater
10:10 pm Hypnoskull ~ 1432
10:12 pm Ivy’s Hands ~ Act II [Dancing With Tears In Her Eyes]
10:16 pm Midnight Climax ~ Haunting Paranoia
10:18 pm clipping. ~ Wriggle (Cardopusher’s EBM Remix)
10:23 pm Richard Fearless ~ Acid Angels (Edit)
10:27 pm Reverberation Vs Muslimgauze ~ Blue E
10:31 pm Hieroglyphic Being ~ A Romance of 2 Planets
10:33 pm Abnormalities ~ Voyager
10:36 pm Somatic Responses ~ Techno1
10:41 pm Argiflex ~ Acid Jam 1
10:45 pm Russell E.L. Butler ~ Technofeminism House
10:47 pm Carter Tutti Void ~ t3.5
10:52 pm 4CC ~ Сторм
10:56 pm Free Love Association ~ Spoonful (Part 1)
10:58 pm Legowelt ~ Chokolecktrik
11:03 pm Techmarine Bottom Feeders ~ We Cannot Help You (The Exaltics Remix)
11:05 pm Systems1991 ~ Dancer in the Dark (Enyang Ha Remix)
11:09 pm Cygnus ~ Deep Analysis
11:12 pm Cignol ~ Lunokhod One
11:16 pm Special Request ~ Entropy
11:21 pm Percy X ~ Whatever Whenever
11:24 pm Anthony Rother ~ Stellarator
11:30 pm Bézier ~ Continuum
11:34 pm Cocktail Party Effect ~ For the Memory Exchange
11:37 pm Ellen Allien ~ Junge Sein
11:40 pm T.Raumschmiere ~ The Game Is Not Over (Uncut Instrumental Version)
11:44 pm Hania ~ Horeya
11:49 pm Kryptek ~ Street Justice
11:50 pm Underworld ~ King of Snake (Dave Clarke Remix)
11:54 pm Suzi Analogue ~ Quieres
11:56 pm Solypsis ~ Vomit Onto the Entire Planet

v/a: Relief: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund (Mack Avenue, 2021)

November 17, 2021 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Relief: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund

Benefiting musicians who are still dealing with financial setbacks due to the pandemic, this compilation gathers previously unreleased goodies from an impressive cast of modern jazz heavyweights and all-time legends. Esperanza Spalding is the guest vocalist on the dense soul-jazz cityscape that opens the album, “back to who” by Irma and Leo. Christian McBride’s “Brother Malcolm” is a solemn reflection which gets a bit wound up before resolving at the end. Cecile McLorin Salvant delivers a passionate yet unfussy reading of “Easy Come, Easy Go Blues”, recorded by Bessie Smith nearly a century ago. Jon Batiste similarly interprets “Sweet Lorraine” in the manner of Nat King Cole, accompanying himself on piano and getting a little excited during the solo. Kenny Garrett’s “Joe Hen’s Waltz” is one of the longest tracks here, folding a brief “My Favorite Things” quote into a steady outpouring of soulful musings. Hiromi revisits a track from her 2004 album Brain, and it’s astounding as always, finding place for both tenderness and technical mastery. Actually, it’s definitely not the most daredevil-like piece she’s recorded, it’s more accessible. Joshua Redman’s piece kind of floats and ambles along; Brian Blade’s drumming is the most exciting part. Charles Lloyd & Kindred Spirits perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and the veteran saxophonist takes the familiar melody and runs it through the wringer several times over, as Marvin Sewell does on guitar. The rest of the band is loose and unbound, making this the most far-out piece on the album as well as the longest. Finally, Herbie Hancock presents Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy”, a song he played piano on when Miles Davis recorded it for Miles Smiles, and this version just overflows with energy, with all of the players joyfully caught up in the moment.

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