Jel: Late Pass (Anticon, 2013)

November 29, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Jel: Late Pass

Jel: Late Pass

First proper full-length from sampler-wielding Anticon veteran Jel since 2006’s Soft Money. He’s still sticking to the SP1200 he’s had since he was a teenager, and he’s still pushing the limits of what can be done with the instrument. There’s also plenty of soft-spoken rapping/singing on this album, and the lyrics are listed in the liner notes without designating which tracks they’re from. Both “Late Pass” and “Breathe” find Jel warning us “don’t get too comfortable”, with “Late Pass” in the context of a swampy, dubby hip-hop track with semi-instructional lyrics, and in “Breathe” being the only lyrics of a swift, forward-looking instrumental with a bit of noir-ish guitar. “thnk4u” is a short, uptempo breaky instrumental with lots of scratching and some obscured vocals. Tracks 3-5 get into more lyrical territory, with “Look Up” having a detailed beat in line with other recent works by longtime members of the Anticon stable. The track also seems to weave a pretty impressive tight web of instrumentation, with distorted organ, guitar and horns, making it hard to tell what’s being played by what instrument, or if they’re even those instruments at all.

Deepchord: 20 Electrostatic Soundfields (Soma, 2013)

November 29, 2013 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Deepchord: 20 Electrostatic Soundfields

Deepchord: 20 Electrostatic Soundfields

Detroit’s Rod Modell has been making spacious, aquatic ambient dub techno under aliases such as Deepchord, Echospace and cv313 for well over a decade. This album is another extended (nearly 80 minute) meditation, heavy on moist atmospherics and with less emphasis on beats than some of his other work. Many of the tracks are under 2 minutes, and function as transitional interludes, leading smaller, concentrated moments through the labyrinth of extended, repetitive rhythmic tracks. Tracks such as “Prayer Wheel” are steeped in hissing atmospherics without beats to guide them, while “De Wallen” and 10-minute epic “Aerosphere” are closer to the throbbing dub techno of Porter Ricks and the whole Basic Channel/Chain Reaction axis. “Oceanic” is appropriately wide and vast, but it doesn’t progress much, making it feel deceptively deep. “Fern”, on the other hand, builds with a lurching slo-mo beat and tinted dub effects, and a proper dub bassline. “Barcelona” has filtered street chatter, and is a bit reminiscent of Burial’s ambient interludes, but stretched out over 9 minutes. “Bronze” is similar, but it’s a 2 minute interlude and feels a bit more tense and worried, and it has a very brief soft IDM-ish beat segueing into the rain-fog of “Lotus Leaves”, which has some spare psych-dub echo ripples behind the rainy hissing. “Amsterdam Remnant 6” is a bit more of a straightforward percussive dub-techno track, heavy on the dub reggae flavor but with also a bit of glitchy delay. “Seaweed” is another swirly haze of a track, which seems to shift more the closer you listen. The final 3 tracks are full of rain, street sounds (laughter, dialogue, footsteps) and brittle moonlight, with closer “Rooftop” having the most close-miked rain crackle.

Clearcut: Messages 12″ EP (Boont, 2013)

November 17, 2013 at 11:52 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Clearcut: Messages 12" EP

Clearcut: Messages 12″ EP

Illbient lives! This is the first solo release from former WPKN DJ Davo, whose radio show got me into all sorts of weird awesome music when I was a kid, and helped inspire me to be a freeform DJ. 3 tracks of cut-n-paste downtempo, chock full of spaced out samples (pretty sure that’s Sun Ra on “Teleportation”), scratches, reggae drum fills, trumpets, and deep bass. “Depends On You” takes up the entire second side, and it sounds straight off a late ’90s WordSound release, and that is a super high compliment. For more sounds, check out DJU’s Soundcloud, and to order this record, Paypal $15 to sammydvsjr at gmail dot com.

Unicorn Hard-On: Weird Universe LP (Spectrum Spools, 2013)

November 17, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Unicorn Hard-On: Weird Universe LP

Unicorn Hard-On: Weird Universe LP

File under most anticipated debut album of the year, by far. Val Martino is a noise scene veteran (I still have a CDR she did with Japanese Karaoke Afterlife Experiment and Knifestorm about 10 years ago that I bought in my friend’s kitchen, probably from Ren Schofield) and she’s been pretty far ahead of the curve as far as noise musicians adopting beats and doing more techno-ish music. UHO used to feature cheerleader-like fog machine karaoke vocals along with bright synths, but her newer material is instrumental and seems to focus more on dark, pounding grooves and squiggly synths. Much more polished and clear than her earlier stuff, but still very much a noise scene techno record. Plenty of feedback noise, crunchy beats, and messy synths. There’s even some calmer, slower, more melodic IDM-ish stuff (“Night Diamond”), some brightly shining Detroit-influenced techno (“Houndstooth”), and a slow, dizzy space-out (“Wet Pet”), all before the giddy, high-speed rush of “Mysterious Prism”. Seriously fun, playful, pretty, and just plain joy-inducing music.

People Like Us: Don’t Think Right, It’s All Twice (Cutting Hedge, 2013)

November 17, 2013 at 10:58 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

People Like Us: Don't Think Right, It's All Twice

People Like Us: Don’t Think Right, It’s All Twice

I love how Discogs notifies me of new releases by anyone I own anything by, because it lets me know of things like this, a new People Like Us CD, on a new label, which I suspect might be self-released, but I can’t tell for sure. Too bad international shipping is more expensive than ever, this ended up costing $19. But anything PLU is worth it. This album consists of recordings made for audiovisual performances from 2006-2013. It’s probably the most straightforward A+B mashup release PLU has ever done, it seems like there’s far less glitch/shredding audio effects than previous work. The samples also seem a lot more recognizable than before. Not that there weren’t plenty of recognizable samples in her work before, but it just seems way more oldies radio this time around. Plenty of Beatles, Elvis, Carpenters, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Rod McKuen, Van Halen (David Lee Roth a capellas never get old), and LOTS of Velvet Underground. And also some Laurie Anderson, which sounds a little poignant coming out so close to Lou Reed’s death. There’s still some of the “irritainment” magic here, as on “I’m Dreaming”, which samples many different saccharine, maudlin versions of “White Christmas”, but cutting them off after the first two words. “Crazy” similarly chops up Willie Nelson saying “I’m crazy” with no further context supplied, along with a previous PLU staple, The Carpenters’ “(They Long To Be) Close To You”. PLU & Ergo Phizmiz’s cover of “Femme Fatale” appears, featuring the duo’s naive, Chris & Cosey-esque vocals mashed up with songs from Singing In The Rain, Mary Poppins and Bambi, as well as the original VU recording. The song titles are generally as punny as the album’s (one’s even called “Once A Pun A Time”), my favorite being the Negativland reference “Panic As Usual And Avoid Shopping”. Fun as usual, but I don’t feel like this album is quite as weird or subversive as PLU’s work usually is.

Pinkcourtesyphone: Please Pick Up (IO Sound, 2013)

November 17, 2013 at 8:01 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Pinkcourtesyphone: Please Pick Up

Pinkcourtesyphone: Please Pick Up

Remix album of sound installation artist Richard Chartier’s newest project. Plenty of dark, minimal, throbbing industrialist space-drone, but a few of the remixers add more rhythmic elements. Frank Bretschneider adds a slowly growing 4/4 thump to his rework of “An Awaiting Room”, turning it into hissy Porter Ricks-y minimal techno. Sandwell District/Opal Tapes/Line affiliate Yves De Mey turns in a seriously deep, seriously stunning rework of “Singularity Version”, with rumbling bass tones, curdling static, and precise sheets of rhythmic static panning through the speakers. Pjusk’ “Pinkcourtesypjusk” is a nice, crisp, crackly little piece of steady, minimalist IDM. Simon Scott’s remix of “A Dark Room Full Of Plastic Plants” is shimmering drone, which slowly gets colder and more distant. In the album’s second half, Chartier collaborates quite unexpectedly with King Congo Powers, who adds spoken vocals to “Iamaphotograph”, which rides a slow automaton 4/4 beat and camera clicks. Creepy Autograph (AKA Jimmy Edgar) remixes this into a tense, buzzy orb, with Kid Congo’s vocals sounding ever more distorted and sinister. Onetime Coil associate CoH cuts “Iamaphotograph” further into an excellent sliced, fragmented rhythmic glitch-beat track, with stark piano upping the fright factor. S* and Tomas Phillips minimalize the track even further, mostly just keeping the camera flash noises and stretching out a dubby, clicky sinewave pulse beat. The album ends with “Move To Trash”, featuring Kid Congo’s distorted, disembodied voice intoning over another hypnotic, gazing minimal beat with shaker-like sounds. Spaced out, electrified sounds, perfectly complemented by the gorgeous space-themed artwork, which features a gatefold with a 3D cutout that holds the disc.

Nils Frahm: Spaces (Erased Tapes, 2013)

November 17, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nils Frahm: Spaces

Nils Frahm: Spaces

Collection of live recordings from Berlin composer (which means watch for applause at the end/beginning of tracks). Definitely enjoying this way more than any other recordings I’ve heard by him. “An Aborted Beginning” is a short dub intro, then “Says” is a seriously fantastic Berlin School-ish minimalist synthesizer piece, which just keeps growing and getting more intense and beautiful. “Said And Done” starts very repetitively, just plunking on one note for a minute and a half before the melody starts playing over the one note which continues in the background. “Went Missing” is a quieter, simpler, shorter piano piece. “Familiar” seems a little more spacey/echoey. “Improvisation For Coughs and a Cell Phone” starts with unintelligible speaking, a cough, and then rapid clusters of piano notes. “Hammers” is a fast, rollicking, arpeggiating piano piece, with a bit of wordless vocals singing along toward the end. “For – Peter – Toilet Brushes – More” is an incredible multi-part suite, starting with big epic synths, then going into knocking percussion after 7 minutes, leading the way into staccato piano notes, which get more expressive and eventually gain some dubby echo so some of the notes repeat in rhythm. “Over There, It’s Raining” is a shorter, more impressionistic piano piece. “Unter – Tristana – Ambre” is another long piano suite, but doesn’t get as intense as previous pieces. “Ross’s Harmonium” is a beautiful, fragile harmonium drone, with a softly pulsing rhythm. Frahm mentions in the liner notes how all of the recordings were made with different mediums in different places and different situations, making it like a field recording album, and that there’s no room to fix any mistakes once you’re performing live. So there’s definitely a bit of looseness that isn’t quite present with a controlled, perfected studio recording, but it still sounds pretty intensely constructed and skillfully performed.

Show #215 – 11/16/13

November 16, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:02 AM Nils Frahm ~ Says ~ Spaces ~ Erased Tapes
3:10 AM Pinkcourtesyphone ~ Singularity Version (Yves De Mey Rework) ~ Please Pick Up ~ IO Sound
3:18 AM Jensen Sportag ~ Rain Code (Fennesz Remix) ~ mp3 ~ Cascine
3:26 AM The Dead C ~ Armed ~ Armed Courage ~ Ba Da Bing
3:48 AM Swans ~ Oxygen ~ Not Here/Not Now ~ Young God
3:55 AM Gnaw ~ Worm ~ Horrible Chamber ~ Seventh Rule
4:03 AM Boyzone [the noise group, not the boy band] ~ Roxanne [excerpt] ~ Menarche ~ Hot Releases
4:12 AM Melt-Banana ~ Infection Defective ~ Fetch ~ A-Zap
4:16 AM BLÆRG ~ Hyperreligiosity ~ New Era ~ Bottle Imp
4:19 AM Longmont Potion Castle ~ Turtle Pleasure ~ LPC 10 ~ D.U. Records
4:25 AM VVAQRT ~ Hyssopeq ~ Than On Eother And You Have 0 Answers ~ Hot Releases
4:27 AM VVAQRT ~ Tanner ~ Than On Eother And You Have 0 Answers ~ Hot Releases
4:35 AM Outer Limits Recordings ~ Burnin Through The Nite ~ 7″ ~ Olde English Spelling Bee
4:39 AM Monster Rally ~ Lovely You ~ Return To Paradise ~ Gold Robot
4:41 AM Ezra Buchla ~ Black Rabbit ~ split 7″ w/ Whitman ~ Folktale
4:45 AM Cousins ~ Abdicator ~ Bathhouse ~ Bridgetown
4:51 AM Dot Wiggin Band ~ Your Best Friend ~ Ready! Get! Go! ~ Alternative Tentacles
4:56 AM Group Rhoda ~ Space Race ~ 12th House ~ Not Not Fun
5:03 AM Machinedrum ~ Rise N Fall ~ Vapor City ~ Ninja Tune
5:08 AM Daniel Bortz ~ Bright ~ Patchwork Memories ~ Suol
5:11 AM Special Request ~ Ride VIP ~ Soul Music ~ Houndstooth
5:19 AM DJ Rashad ~ I’m Too Hi ~ Double Cup ~ Hyperdub
5:26 AM Alec Empire ~ Suicide ~ The Destroyer ~ DHR
5:34 AM KILN ~ Kopperkosmo ~ Meadow:Watt ~ Ghostly International
5:41 AM Laurel Halo ~ Chance Of Rain ~ Chance Of Rain ~ Hyperdub
5:48 AM Unicorn Hard-On ~ Houndstooth ~ Weird Universe ~ Spectrum Spools
5:54 AM Ron Morelli ~ Fake Rush ~ Spit ~ Hospital Productions

Longmont Potion Castle: 10 (D.U. Records, 2013)

November 10, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Longmont Potion Castle: 10

Longmont Potion Castle: 10

Returning to digital-only after the first-ever full-length LPC vinyl release, here’s another album of lambs, deadpan taunting, preposterous UPS deliveries, 3-way phone mayhem, and thrash metal, via Skype. Most relevant to my location, Mr. LPC poses as someone from DTE and calls people telling them he’s going to turn their heat up to 110 degrees for testing. He starts off calling a candy store, who says that this will melt all their product. Then he calls a bunch of other people telling them to same thing, and they get belligerent, so he claims to be charging them for non-compliance. At one point he interjects “do you even know there’s a new pope?” “Liquor Outlet” finds him doing his classic vocal manipulation and playing with words, and confusing the hell out of someone at some store. “Interloper’s Probation” is the saga of a disturbed, cranky, racist old man who lives in a motel. Elsewhere, he adds synths and drum machines to his calls, resulting in a hilarious “What You Peepin’?” song for about 10 seconds, which gets met with a “what are you saying?” and a hangup. He asks a liquor store for 100 limes, and claims to be from Yelp.com and offers to change someone’s negative feedback into positive for $800. Oh, and there’s the one where he calls a record store asking for Turtle Pleasure and Solomon Gumball. “I’m at the KFC just catty-corner to ya.” He calls people claiming to be their neighbor, and tells them to quiet down, and the first person seems to actually comply with him. There’s also a disturbed, violent-minded man who really hates the president, and a montage of phone greetings, and (as a bonus track) the crazy living in a motel talking to Alex Trebek. Maybe a bit too much 3-way calls this time (they mostly just end up being several minutes of “hello?” “hello?” “no, you called me” “oh this must be a mistake” “ok bye” and not much more), but still, if you love LPC, you need this, obviously. Someone uploaded it to Youtube somewhere but you can buy the mp3s here.

Quttinirpaaq: Let’s Hang Out LP (Rural Isolation Project, 2013)

November 9, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Quttinirpaaq: Let's Hang Out LP

Quttinirpaaq: Let’s Hang Out LP

Hyper-distorted noise-rock from Austin. Very sludgy and blown-out. Some traces of vocals, but they’re swirly and flanged and completely unintelligible. Shorter tracks are more noise interludes. “Chinese Hercules” is basically a tumbling riff and drums repeating endlessly with crazy distortion. “Stork” is more uptempo, almost dancey, and has really out-of-control distorted vocals and ends suddenly. “Man Without A Body” is a slow thumpy mega-corroded-distorted splintered techno-ish track, very much like Henry & Hazel Slaughter. “A Golden Sheriff” is backwards mellotrons and beats. “Vamos A Matar Santana” is more of a midtempo sludgy groove, with wailing feedback flying everywhere. “Cop Boner” is more trashy sludgy and noisy with another midtempo beat and vocals that just bleed into everything else. “Let Merv Drive” is another long repetitive groover, but seems a little bit less blown-out than the rest. There’s even some tambourine along with the beat, and a little bit more structure to the arrangement (and another sudden ending). “Old Whisky Shoes” sounds like it could be a cover of a Porter Ricks track, with a minimal thumping beat and some dubby echo, covered in a layer of amp buzz. “A Secret History Of Belgian Dog Owners” is 2 minutes of troubled mellotron covered in hair-raising feedback distortion (and yet another sudden ending). Seriously a scorching album! Available at Bandcamp.

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