This is the first public release of a 1982 song-cycle by artist/composer/designer Jacqueline Humbert and electro-acoustic pioneer David Rosenboom. The album combines lush, minimal-synth, almost new-age synthesizer arrangements with spoken and sung vocals. and lyrics about being entranced by daytime television. The two “Talk” tracks are definitely in the Robert Ashley mode of spoken drama observations with minimalist music, although this music is much lighter in tone and poppier, and there’s sung vocals as well. “Bareback” is kind of an avant-country-pop song, with a series of “where were you?” questions for lyrics, and a sweet, almost saccharine arrangement and melody. Are those synths imitating accordions? “Domestic Violence” is almost relaxing and even chipper, and kind of cheesy-loungey around the middle (those synth-flutes!), until you realize the lyrics are about, well, domestic violence. Even if you’re not listening to the lyrics, the crying baby after the 5 minute mark will break you out of whatever pleasant mood the lyrics might be putting you in. “Distant Space” is another short avant-pop song, which in some weird way reminds me of some of Negativland’s jingle-like original songs (like “Happy Heroes”). “Wishes” alternates between melancholic sung choruses about wishing to visit New York, Paris, and L.A., and Algebra Suicide-like spoken verse about fashion and plastic, over an oddly gospel-inspired clapping synth-pop rhythm. Another fantastic release on Unseen Worlds, a reissue label which definitely seems to value quality over quantity. They only seem to release about 2 records a year, but the last few were ingenious works by Laurie Spiegel and Maria Monti, and this is another jewel in their crown.
Synth-heavy instrumental neo-Krautrock. In the ’90s this probably would’ve been filed alongside bands like Trans Am. Motorik drum machine rhythms and atmospheric guitars, and plenty of arpeggiated, blooping synths. “MOD-ULO-510” could almost pass for a karaoke version of Kraftwerk’s “Pocket Calculator”, if it weren’t for the guitar feedback. “Rowly Way Overlook” and “Los Feliz To Griffith” break from the motorik rhythms for some Cluster/Eno ambience, with the former being rhythmic and almost ballet-like, and the latter being more free-flowing and cloudlike. “Life In The Sprawl” is warm, bubbling ambience with a soft 4/4 beat in the background, and then a fuller drumbeat blossoms in the second half of the song. “Chiba Prefecture” is futuristic shopping mall music, for you to buy trendy designer spacesuits to. “Electromagnetika” is sort of similar to the last couple Dan Deacon albums, but with more of an overt Krautrock influence. “Habitat ’67” cools everything down with a sublime string-synth-heavy pulse. Totally retro-futurist music.
I haven’t reviewed any breakcore since I started posting reviews to this blog, and I wish there was more high profile breakcore stuff coming out nowadays that was worth mentioning. Pretty much any new breakcore stuff coming out, if there is any, seems to be amateur netlabel artists doing things I’ve heard people do better. This is one of Bad Sekta’s many free mp3 releases, and it’s been sitting in my “review” folder for a while, so I’m finally getting around to reviewing it. Turns out this is all material recorded from 2004-2007, so it certainly has that era’s sound to it; fast, random jungle breaks, gabber kicks and ragga samples. But there’s also a lot of beatless neo-classical pieces on here. The title track does the fast d’n’b-with-noise-bursts thing, but with a bit of space behind it, before it gets more intense and overloaded later on. “That Old Piano Tune From Years Ago” is, in fact, a downtempo piano tune, and quite sad and pretty at that. “Salmonella Pudding Semolina Poison” unexpectedly ends up being another sad piano tune, and “ASIO Trouble” is a mysterious guitar and chiming-synth piece. After a while, it seems like this is pretty far removed from anything breakcore-related, at least after the opening track on the release. “The Distinctly Pungent Return Of Xiao Fan Pei” marks a return to distorted beats, and somewhat random sounds, and it goes into what you think is just a breakdown before it gets crazy, but it doesn’t get more intense, only more forlorn and introspective. “The Undeniable Link Between 14 and 0.restored” has soft acoustic guitars and drums that fade in, and some sort of spoken sample that I can’t quite make out. So overall, while there’s some breakcore on this release, it’s clear that this artist has (had? is he still around?) a much wider scope and is capable of doing many different things.
It took me forever to finally get around to reviewing Lafidki’s split 12″ with Orphan | Oliver after receiving a download promo of it, so the same thing is happening with his tape from last year on Orange Milk. Why do I keep telling myself I’m going to get around to reviewing everything that crosses my radar, and then it just sits on my desk and hard drive until there’s no room and I never listen to anything? But this guy’s stuff is pretty great so I should mention it. Like a lot of Orange Milk releases, this is bright, sparkly, neon, distorted, confusing, and beautiful. “Astral O” is 6 minutes of thundering drums, cascading synths, and blinding distortion. It feels like dancing in a room full of huge, glowing sculpture, and it’s boiling hot, and you’re loving every second of it. “Vong Wong” (a collaboration with Dustin Wong) is a little lighter, with more thundering drums but also trippy, delay-heavy dub guitar. “Pygopagus” starts in a mysterious music-box mode, but switches to something entirely different after a minute, with more bright synths, rippling guitar and thundering distorted drums. “Les Siamois Ne Savent Pas Sur Quel Pied Danser” has a little bit of a darker vibe, with slightly worried (but still bright and sparkly) synths, and bashy, quasi-drum’n’bass beats which sound like they’re fighting their way out of a junkyard. “From Abyss To Constellation Pisces” has more frazzled, fractaled synths and a dubby beat, and changes tempo towards the end, getting brighter and more head-nodding. Lafidki’s sound can almost seem overwhelmingly ecstatic, but in a controlled way.
So Mike Paradinas is suddenly releasing a flurry of new and old material under the µ-Ziq name this year, including 2 CDs worth of unreleased early ’90s material, plus this promo-only mix that I haven’t heard. But there’s also the Chewed Corners album and this 12″ EP. I still haven’t bought Chewed Corners yet, but I heard a stream of it and it didn’t particularly strike me as sounding like µ-Ziq, so I need to spend some time with it when I get around to buying it and appreciate it on its own accord. This EP, however, definitely sounds like µ-Ziq, so I instantly embrace it, although I wasn’t super crazy about the sound clips I heard when they were initially posted to the Planet Mu site. But “XT” has a really happy piano melody, ’80s R&B guitar licks, light dance beats, and the kind of goofy childlike wondrous feel a lot of Paradinas’ work has. “Ritm” is piano-and-string-heavy house, and “Pulsar” is arpeggio-heavy Italo-disco. “Monj2” is where we get closer to the type of distortion sounds µ-Ziq was using on his earlier recordings, but with a clear juke/footwork influence, and gorgeous cascading synths. “New Bimple” is also uptempo, with knocking beats, dreamy pianos and understated arpeggiating synths. It’s pretty short and feels kind of sketch-like, but it’s fitting as a closing track on an EP. Even if XTEP isn’t a return to the drill-n-bass days, it’s still an enjoyable sampling of what µ-Ziq circa 2013 sounds like.
Newest album from neo-Krautrock group. “Dexedream” kicks everything off starting straight into Neu! territory, with a motorik rhythm and echo-chamber vocals. “Pacifier” starts with brief rhythmic sound bursts, then gains a 4/4 dance beat and multiple female voices speaking different self-help monologues. “Deep Fantasy” is like Sun Araw but crazier, busier and more distorted, and lots of flying, delay-crazy vocals. “The High Life” is dedicated to Francis Bebey, whose excellent electronic works were released in 2011, and there’s definitely a bit of an Afrobeat influence, with funky repetitive guitar licks, but also Suicide organs and squiggly delay. “Maya Control” has even more of a distorted Afrobeat sound, with crunchy beats and industrialized chopped-up vocals. “GmbH” has stacatto uptempo beats and motorik guitars, and echo-covered spoken vocal samples, and then vocoders and female vocals. “Third Wave” has a slow mysterious pulse and waves of synth effects. “Marsh Bar” is also Sun Araw-like, with tropical electronic percussion, a spare, dubby bassline, and snatches of muddled vocals.
Cosmic spacey stuff from Implodes guitarist Ken Camden, drifting away from that band’s post-rock/shoegaze sound towards more ambient synth terrain. Arpeggiating synths, wooshing effects, interstellar guitars. Opener “Spectacle” has pretty guitar soloing. “Eta Carinae” is a little more subtle, sort of sounds like Cluster or Harmonia, but without drum machines. “Moon” almost has a sitar-like drone, but it definitely sounds electronic. Wide cosmic guitar trails swoop over it, and some snakelike synths slither over it towards the end. “Trapezium” is more glowing, dissolving synths, bright but with some darkness around the edges, and it turns into a flickering rhythmic pattern in the second half. “Antares” is more cosmic space-gaze, and “Dominic Sunset” reminds me more of Laurie Spiegel than anything Krautrock-related.
3:01 AM Danny Brown ~ XXX ~ XXX ~ Fool’s Gold
3:03 AM µ-Ziq ~ Monj2 ~ XTEP ~ Planet Mu
3:06 AM Sean McCann ~ Star Charge ~ The Capital ~ Aguirre Records
3:09 AM Panabrite ~ Neptune Visions In The Crystal Rift ~ Sub-Aquatic Meditation ~ Aguirre Records
3:14 AM His Name Is Alive ~ track 9 ~ Dragons Look Out Your Window ~ self-released
3:17 AM His Name Is Alive ~ Beautiful ~ Home Is ~ self-released
3:19 AM The Haxan Cloak ~ Dieu ~ Excavation ~ Tri Angle
3:24 AM Coil ~ Penetralia ~ Horse Rotorvator ~ Some Bizarre
3:30 AM Swans ~ Money Is Flesh (#2) ~ Holy Money ~ PVC
3:35 AM German Army ~ Saxon Skull ~ German Army ~ Skrot Up
3:48 AM Julia Holter ~ In The Green Wild (radio edit) ~ promo single ~ Domino
3:52 AM Algebra Suicide ~ Somewhat Bleecker Street ~ Feminine Squared ~ Dark Entries
3:53 AM Toxie ~ Ties ~ 7″ ~ Goner
3:56 AM The Woolen Men ~ Today ~ Dog Years ~ Dog’s Table
3:58 AM Radiator Hospital ~ Jose Chung’s “From Outer Space” ~ Can You Feel My Heart Beating? 7″ ~ PRTYNGG!
4:02 AM Ikonika ~ Manchego ~ Aerotropolis ~ Hyperdub
4:06 AM Sensate Focus ~ Y ~ Sensate Focus 1.66666 ~ Sensate Focus
4:16 AM Acre ~ DXTR ~ Tectonic Plates Volume 4 ~ Tectonic
4:19 AM RP Boo ~ There U’Go Boi ~ Legacy ~ Planet Mu
4:23 AM Zomby ~ Pray For Me ~ With Love ~ 4AD
4:25 AM Pharaohs ~ Everything ~ Replicant Moods ~ 100% Silk
4:32 AM Octo Octa ~ I Can Feel You (Dub) ~ Oh Love ~ 100% Silk
4:38 AM Bubblegum Octopus ~ Can We Ever Stop? (Miley Vaniley) ~ We Can’t Stop ~ Mabson Enterprises
4:41 AM Dangling Ganglion ~ Murrells_2013_MIX_1 ~ mp3 ~ Ed Special
5:03 AM Bill Price ~ Cryptoplasm ~ Squeezing Light ~ noise-arch.net
5:22 AM Sparkling Wide Pressure ~ Drawing Of The Sun ~ Bold Allusions ~ Bandcamp
5:27 AM White Poppy ~ Daydreaming ~ Drifter’s Gold ~ Constellation Tatsu
5:32 AM Ken Camden ~ Trapezium ~ Space Mirror ~ Kranky
5:39 AM John Coltrane ~ Lush Life ~ More Lasting Than Bronze ~ Prestige
5:53 AM Godflesh ~ Gift From Heaven (Heavenly) ~ Love And Hate In Dub ~ Earache
Crush Collision 7/25/13
11:06 PM Melja ~ Glass (The Phantom Remix 1)
11:10 PM Etienne De Crécy ~ Age of Access
11:13 PM Brian Mayhall ~ Wind Chill (Geoff White Remix)
11:14 PM Jamka ~ Mnia
11:19 PM Ikonika ~ Beach Mode (Keep It Simple) [Instrumental]
11:22 PM Jonas Reinhardt ~ Jungle Jah (The Beat Broker Remix)
11:27 PM Perturbator ~ Miami Disco
11:30 PM Mayo Soulomon ~ 808 Shades
11:34 PM Blood Vibes ~ Charm City (Dub)
11:39 PM Osborne ~ All Night [former Crush Collision host!]
11:44 PM Community Corporation ~ Genome [former Crush Collision guest!]
11:48 PM Lokiboi ~ All Nighter
11:52 PM Vin Sol ~ Frequency (Factory Style)
11:55 PM Closer ~ What Have You Done To Us (Dub)
Finally bubbling up from the tape/CD-r underground, German Army (apparently based in Los Angeles, and a duo with members named Meatball Maker and Chin Genie) is releasing some vinyl LPs now. The self-titled one on Copenhagen-based Skrot Up, which has been releasing all sorts of dark, weird oddities for 5 years now. Some of the songs on this LP have appeared on GA releases before, but they’re cleaned up for vinyl. This album tends to focus on longer, dubbier songs. “Guinea Strong Arm” has dark, blustering synths and looped percussion, with monotone vocals and dry surf guitar in the background, everything covered in echo. “Folded Skin” is a near-8-minute doom-ride, with a constantly ticking drum machine, detached spoken vocals, and tons of dub effects. “Ox Cart” is a curiously light-hearted diversion, with something sounding like an old children’s record sampled along with battered echo-covered percussion, which often lapses into backwards looping. “Pulling Lashes” is another slow, creepy death-crawl, with dungeon-like slow beats and more shadowy spoken vocals. “Translate Person” has a slightly faster rhythm, but still minimal and eerie, and with some ghostly marching horn samples in the background, along with more spoken zombie vocals. “Saxon Skull” has a more rhythmic, almost funky percussion loop, and more of a foundation to its rhythm via its bassline, and just a real dark urgency to it that sounds pretty fantastic, plus lots of cool distortion effects covering everything. And it goes on for 9 minutes of utter darkness and despair. Total Suicide and Throbbing Gristle vibes, but still doing something way different. Nicely done. Also being released is Endless Phonics on on Austin-based Monofonus Press, which has released records by Sun Araw, XYX, Led Er Est, and many others. This is easily German Army’s highest-profile release yet, not just in terms of distribution, but packaging, production, songwriting, everything. It’s not quite Wolf Eyes’ albums on Sub Pop (I mean really, “Stabbed In The Face” is peerless), but it’s some quality noisy industrial. “Cut Memory” has really awesome dark noisy 4/4 beats and distorted vocals. “Verbal Hemisphere” is a dark echo-percussion-heavy instrumental. “Literacy In Opium” has fast, punchy beats, and somewhat more sung (but still monotone) vocals than usual for GA. “Exploring Skepticism” has more crushed industrial beats, and spoken vocals talking about a “love mixture”, and then speaking backwards at the end of the song. “Self Interview” has surprisingly calm guitar over a sharp drum sample, with tremolo vocals. On side B, “Endless Phonics” has a bashed trashcan-like percussion loop, harsh delayed guitars, and Genesis P-Orridge-like vocals saying something about “disjointed worship”. “Human Limbs” has a submerged techno beat and more delay/distortion-crazy vocals. “Discrete Elements” has clear organ and drum machine sounds, but not-so-clear vocals. “Sensual Movement” has crushed, almost early-IDM beats, and a lone synth whistling under the foggy vocals. “Vienna State” ends the album, a pulsy, shifty, short instrumental.