Couldn’t tell you a thing about this band, but this is a pretty nice mini-album of melodic instrumental synth music. “Slip” begins the album with bright shimmering waves of synth, punctuating atmospheric gaze with the type of stacatto sequencing that always tickles my fancy. “Automatic Morning” starts out sly and sinister, and gains a spare, snapping drum machine beat 3 minutes in, cruising along with twinkling starlike melodies, then fading away to some street recordings and faraway strings for the last minute or two. “Heat Death” has a pretty basic Krautrock-y beat, is interrupted with a brief pause and a wave of distortion, then continues gazing onward. “6equj5” (a title I’m almost positive someone else used recently but I can’t easily Google it) slowly percolates between two notes, waiting until the final two minutes of the track to drop a delicious fuzz-covered beat. “Everything” ends the album with another endlessly droning Kraut-influenced track, with steady drumming and spacey, driving synths.
5th album from heavy post-rock band Russian Circles. Kind of what you’d typically expect from them; heavy, crushing, epic, melodic, instrumental (although Chelsea Wolfe guests on the final track). After a short beatless intro, “Deficit” starts out slower but then warms up after 2 minutes, and keeps with this steady, yet furious tempo for the track’s near-7 minute length. “I777” stretches even longer, keeping a similar tempo with soaring guitars and crashing drums. The rest of the tracks are much shorter, and “Cheyenne” is more drifty and drumless, then “Burial” has a slow heavy beat and metallic riffing. “Ethel” is a little lighter, with some sort of almost folkish melody (Scottish? Irish? maybe?). “Lebaron” is more crushing, swirling riffing with a 5/4 time sig. “Memorial” also has a choppy time signature and features drifty, washed-out vocals by Chelsea Wolfe, whose lovely voice sounds more like another instrument than something actually singing words.
French guitarist/neo-classical composer Sylvain Chauveau, who has released albums on Type and Fatcat and released an entire album of Depeche Mode covers, presents an EP of remixes of his own work as well as other artists. The album starts with a dramatic string-based rendition of “Heart Beating” by Agoria, which has strikingly pop-sounding vocals that I wasn’t expecting. 2 is a slow, rusty remix of “Abstractions” by Chauveau’s project Arca (not the hip-hop producer of the same name), which lurches along a down-and-dirty beat and sudden controlled bursts of piercing distortion, and a few brief words spoken in Japanese. 3 is a remix of Paul Duncan (of Warm Ghost), which is pretty straightforward acoustic guitar folk, but it seems like the guitar might be looped a bit at points, and maybe the vocals are downplayed a bit. I’m not sure, I haven’t heard the original. 4 is a remix of Chauveau’s own “Dernière Etape Avant Le Silence”, a drizzly piece for strings and bells. 5 is a remix of Dutch indie-folk band At The Close Of Everyday, with David Sylvian-esque vocals sung in Dutch, and acoustic guitars, organs and other droning instruments, and a few touches of glitch/distortion. 6 is a remix of Chauveau’s own “A_”, which features his own vocals which sound even more like David Sylvian, almost strikingly so. The track is a blurry, static-y electrified drone with phrases of vocals worming their way throughout the mix. 7 is a remix of Félicia Atkinson & Elise Ladoué’s project StretchAndRelax, featuring more of Chauveau’s vocals (also, as on the previous track, alternating between straightforward and processed), along with piano which seamlessly switches between being played forward in reverse.
Following Ghostly’s SMM: Context compilation from 2011, this is another exceptional collection of current drone/ambient/experimental artists from outside the label’s roster. Simon Scott of Slowdive (who actually appeared on a Ghostly release a few years ago, The Sight Below’s It All Falls Apart) starts the album out with a typically lovely drifter with gliding tones and a hint of hissing and distortion. Next is A Winged Victory For The Sullen (Stars Of The Lid’s Adam Wiltzie and composer Dustin O’Halloran), with a meditative orchestral piece with rippling piano and a soft bed of strings. Celer’s “Nothing So Mystical” starts quiet and vibrating but swells up into a rich, oceanic drone, like the best of the project’s work. Black Swan (who created the jaw-dropping album In 8 Movements a few years ago) brings us a really haunted piece called “Passings, Heartbreak”, with decayed voice-like sounds that sound more ghostly than anything the Ghostly label usually releases. Jim Haynes’ “This Is Radio Sweden” is typical of his style of rusted field-recording drone, with a cold blowing wind, close-miked clicking/scraping sounds, and a flat, steady beep. The piece gradually forms a layer of rusted-over distortion before ending. James Devane and Maxwell August Croy’s excellent project EN contributes “White”, which starts off with sparse koto and several gradual layers of droning instruments, continually getting brighter and more wonderous. Pjusk’s “Dorsk” is dark and chilly, with bass and beats that are quiet but low and enveloping, and very icy textures. Fieldhead’s “37th” is another clustered cloud of icy tones, which is guided by clear, upfront bass frequencies in the first part, but then turns to frosty, distorted, decaying string sounds for the second half. Sarah Lipstate’s Noveller project ends the disc with a brief and direct piece called “Bright Clouds Bloom”, with somewhat stripped down guitar and violin, and a tiny hiss of percussion, with a sound more reminiscent of ’90s slowcore than most Noveller stuff I’ve heard.
Lonnie Holley’s debut album, last year’s phenomenal Just Before Music, was easily the most eye-opening album I’ve bought all year. With his gruff, soulful voice and free-flowing synthesizers, Holley improvised free verse about earth, space, nature, consciousness, and human tragedy, and it was just glorious and inspiring and life-affirming. The songs on that album were recorded in 2010 and 2011. This is his second album, and mostly features recordings from the same years, although opening track “Six Space Shuttles and 144,000 Elephants” was recorded in a church in Alabama in 2006 (as was “Making a Joyful Noise”, a short conversation snippet). There’s more rhythm and drums (programmed and live) than on his first album. The last 2 tracks even feature Bradford Cox (Deerhunter) and Cole Alexander (Black Lips), adding drums and guitar, and several multi-tracked Lonnies. The results are a little less stunning than the first time out. He still has a truly unique vision and sound, but I don’t think that his collaborators really mesh well with what he does. He seems to really enjoy working with them, and I’m sure the feeling is mutual, it seems like working with this guy would be a really enriching experience for everyone involved, but as far as his music, I feel like his vision is best when it’s pure and undiluted, just him doing his thing. So of course my favorite tracks on here are the ones solely credited to him. “The Start of a River’s Run (One Drop)” features stark electronic percussion emulating xylophones or marimbas, and Lonnie’s vocals singing about rivers, slave ships and spirits. “Mind On” has a small tinny drum machine beat and liquid synths, and vocals which seem a little bit more sparse and repetitive than usual. “Sun & Water” (co-credited to Lillian Blades) is even more repetitive and mantra-like, and features hand drums and multi-tracked vocals, and a bright, hopeful synth melody. And then there’s the Bradford Cox/Cole Alexander tracks, the 13-minute rambler “From The Other Side Of The Pulpit”, and the album’s title track, which sounds like an instrumental reprise of the previous track. Both feature the same sort of lazy phase-shifted drum beat, scrap metal percussion, and mallet percussion, with Lonnie’s wailing background vocals. They sound just fine, but I can’t help feeling something’s out of place. Still a really unique album overall, and I hope I get to see him live at some point (he toured with Bill Callahan and they came to Detroit recently but I was at a show at my friend’s house), but his first album had a much bigger impact on me.
First album from the owner of Brooklyn-based house label L.I.E.S. Very dirty lo-fi techno inspired by paranoia, stress, and monotony. Some of the tracks (“Modern Paranoia”, “Crack Microbes”, “Fake Rush”, “No Real Reason”) are sludgy, basic monotonous techno jammed out on primitive equipment, but then there’s abrasive industrial garbage-dump experiments like “Sledgehammer II”. “Director Of…” has an acid bassline that sounds like it could turn into an acid house stormer, but instead of a beat dropping, there’s a bunch of blurry dialogue samples. “Slow Drown” ends the album with a tense loop repeating for 3 and a half minutes, not changing much but feeling like a pool of some sort of liquid that could slowly drown you.
Newest album from Julia Holter labelmate/tourmate Lucrecia Dalt, whose previous album Commotus came out last year, and recorded this album in Barcelona but has since relocated to Berlin. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time listening to her last album, so I’m not sure how this one compares, and she has some earlier albums as The Sound of Lucrecia and just Lucrecia, and I haven’t heard those. But this one has cold, prickly synths and dreamy, whispered vocals, in English, Spanish and Catalan. “Vitti” is the track that keeps sticking with me, starting with dirty lo-fi cascading synths, and vocals that remind me of MBV circa Isn’t Anything, but then fading to a quiet, primitive beat and a few spare guitar notes. “Volaverunt” has a spare, slow-moving creepy-movie vibe, accelerating a bit for its final two minutes. The lyrics to “Edgwise” are just a series of “u”s, and the song tiptoes from a very small beat through a wide resonant space. “Murmur” is a short piece with a ticking metronome beat and oscillations, and harsh metallic guitars which slowly creep in. The album ends with “Mirage”, another slow, creeping song with a ticking beat and soft, minimal, breathy vocals, and synths which gradually rise and glow.
Second full-length LP from former WCBN DJ Laurel Halo. This is a lot closer to her Hour Logic EP from 2011, which I liked a lot. Her album Quarantine from last year was more vocal-driven and less dancey, and I honestly am not a huge fan of her vocals. But this one’s all experimental techno and it’s great. Obviously very Detroit influenced, some scuffed/dirty textures like Actress and Opal Tapes type stuff (especially “Serendip”), and a few more abstract ambient interludes (“Dr. Echt”, “Melt”, “-Out”). “Chance Of Rain” has all types of pretty keyboards and nice excited tempo. I can only hope track 7 is titled “Thrax” in homage to Lil B. “Ainnome” is probably the most epic track here, starting with a long weightless atmospheric intro, finally dropping a beat around 2 minutes in, and bouncing around all sorts of melodic bass tones and cascading synths. Possibly her best work yet.
mic break music = Phill Niblock: Touch Five
3:02 AM Laurel Halo ~ Oneiroi ~ Chance Of Rain ~ Hyperdub
3:10 AM Lucretia Dalt ~ Vitti ~ Syzygy ~ Human Ear Music
3:14 AM The Haxan Cloak ~ Marra ~ Excavation ~ Tri Angle
3:17 AM Night Sides ~ Blue Light ~ Night Sides ~ Fixture Records
3:21 AM Snares ~ Electric Funeral ~ Sabbath Dubs 10″ ~ Kriss
3:26 AM Stylianos Tziritas ~ track 4 ~ A(r)mour 3″ cd-r ~ more mars team
3:34 AM Ron Morelli ~ Sledgehammer II ~ Spit ~ Hospital Productions
3:38 AM Crowhurst ~ Naughty America ~ Crowhurst And Cryptic Yeast ~ Bandcamp
3:42 AM Blanche Blanche Blanche ~ Zeroing In ~ Breaking Mirrors ~ Wharf Cat
3:44 AM Parquet Courts ~ You’ve Got Me Wonderin’ Now ~ Tally All The Things That You Broke ~ What’s Your Rupture?
3:47 AM Tim Hecker ~ Radiance ~ Virgins ~ Kranky
3:50 AM Gavin Gamboa ~ Shattuck ~ Fresh, Fleshy Grapefruit ~ Bandcamp
3:57 AM Danny Brown featuring Purity Ring ~ 25 Bucks ~ Old ~ Fool’s Gold
4:04 AM Derek Rogers ~ Reticent Purity ~ split tape w/ Good Willsmith ~ Hausu Mountain
4:20 AM Fluorescent Heights ~ Blue Island ~ Tidal Motions ~ Constellation Tatsu
4:26 AM CFCF ~ Jump Out Of The Train ~ Outside ~ Paper Bag
4:39 AM Iannis Xenakis ~ Diamorphoses ~ GRM Works 1957-1962 ~ Recollection GRM
4:46 AM M. Sage ~ Radio Slope (for: Whitcomb) ~ The Receivers Peaking ~ Moon Glyph
4:52 AM Oneohtrix Point Never ~ Americans ~ R Plus Seven ~ Warp
5:01 AM Kid606 ~ Happiness Is A Warm Kitten ~ Happiness ~ Tigerbeat6
5:05 AM Four Tet ~ Unicorn ~ Beautiful Rewind ~ Text
5:07 AM LX Sweat ~ Heavy Rain ~ City Of Sweat ~ Not Not Fun
5:12 AM Future Islands ~ Cotton Flower ~ split 7″ w/ Ed Schrader’s Music Beat ~ Famous Class Records
5:16 AM Special Request ~ Soundboy Killer ~ Soul Music ~ Houndstooth
5:23 AM Haves & Thirds ~ Break Empty, Not Even ~ It’s Mostly Guess Work / It’ll Clean You Out But It’ll Leave You Hollow Inside ~ Hot Releases
5:25 AM Profligate ~ Triumph ~ Come Follow Me ~ Hot Releases
5:36 AM Darkside ~ Paper Trails ~ Psychic ~ Matador
5:41 AM Russian Tsarlag ~ See Those Eyes Appear ~ split LP w/ Secret Boyfriend ~ Hot Releases
5:48 AM White Poppy ~ Skygaze ~ White Poppy ~ Not Not Fun
5:53 AM Fuxa ~ Sun Is Shining ~ Dirty D ~ Rocket Girl
Crush Collision 10/24/13
11:02 PM R. Stevie Moore ~ Theme From Hurricane David
11:04 PM Pharoahs ~ Manhunter
11:11 PM Ron Morelli ~ Modern Paranoia
11:15 PM The Field ~ Cupid’s Head
11:19 PM Omar Souleyman ~ Nahy
11:24 PM Joy Wellboy ~ Mickey Remedy (Fur Coat Remix)
11:28 PM Booka Shade ~ Love Inc
11:33 PM Esteban Adame ~ Cause
11:35 PM Madame Ruby ~ jiddo
11:40 PM Dronelock ~ Clusters Part 1
11:43 PM JTC ~ Valley Road (We Are 1)
11:50 PM Special Request ~ Mindwash (Anthony Shakir Remix)
11:54 PM MGUN ~ Fiber
11:55 PM Four Tet ~ Kool FM