Pas Musique/Ben Link Collins/Shaun Sandor: Of Silence (Alrealon Musique/Blondena Music/Silent Media, 2013)

December 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

Pas Musique/Ben Link Collins/Shaun Sandor: Of Silence

Pas Musique/Ben Link Collins/Shaun Sandor: Of Silence

Exploring roles of silence in music, we have three artists taking specific concepts of silence, creating pieces based on these concepts, and then passing them to the other artists to re-interpret them with their own concepts. Pas Musique work with amplified silence, so their own work sounds like a room humming, with an oddly rhythmic quality. Ben Link Collins works with studio silence, so you hear the sounds of a silent studio, starting with what starts like a bird chirping. This sound does return a few times, sometimes to abruptly end some other slowly drifting sounds. But it all definitely sounds like a studio representation of silence in nature. Shaun Sandor works with inert instruments in an active room, so in his piece, you hear contact mics recording inactive musical instruments in a studio. Beneath the hiss, there are some sounds, so it sounds like he’s creating guitar drones elsewhere in the room, but it’s quiet because he’s not actually recording them. So when all these concepts combine, you have quiet drones filtered through hiss and inertia (or so it would seem). Nothing on the disc actually consists of pure silence, although I guess the whole point of John Cage’s “4’33″” is that there is no absolute silence, there’s always sounds surrounding us, and silence in music just gives us a chance to reflect on them. Which makes it all the more interesting that this CD that I received is a bit scratched up, and when I ripped MP3s of the disc, the skips appeared in the MP3s as well, so I feel like that adds an extra dimension to this whole concept. Anyway, I’m most familiar with Pas Musique of the artists on here (Abandoned Bird Egg is definitely one of my favorite discs of the year), and their contributions seem to be the least silent, and have more going on and more ebb and flow, so I tend to enjoy those pieces more.

The Onliest Souls 12/22/13

December 22, 2013 at 8:16 pm | Posted in The Onliest Souls | Leave a comment

The Onliest Souls 12/22/13
Outsider/weirdo xmas special!
5:01 PM Heather Noel ~ Santa Came On a Nuclear Missile ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:04 PM Max Headroom ~ Merry Christmas Santa Claus (You’re A Lovely Guy) ~ 7″ ~ Chrysalis
5:09 PM The Sisterhood ~ Christmas Treat, Peppermint ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:12 PM Jimmy ~ White Christmas ~ 7″ ~ Fatima Records
5:15 PM Rodd Rogers ~ Maury, The Christmas Mouse ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:19 PM Wesley Willis ~ Kris Kringle Was a Car Thief ~ Greatest Hits ~ Alternative Tentacles
5:22 PM Rod Rogers & The Librettos ~ Santa Claus Goes Modern ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:24 PM Vessie Simmons ~ Xmas Party Rap ~ 7″ (33 RPM off center) ~ Simco Records
5:32 PM Paul McCartney ~ Wonderful Christmastime ~ 7″ (33 RPM off center) ~ Columbia
5:37 PM Rodd & Judy ~ Santa Fix My Toys For Christmas ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:39 PM Captain Ahab ~ Do They Know It’s Christmas ~ A Very Unschooled Christmas ~ Unschooled Records
5:42 PM The Sisterhood ~ The Rocking Disco Santa Claus ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:45 PM Billy Burke, the Columbus King ~ Who’s Spyin’ On Santa ~ Christmas In Hell (compiled by Uncle Dave Lewis) ~ WCBN
5:47 PM Stan Beard & The Swinging Strings ~ Snowbows ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:50 PM The Master Of Horror ~ A Zippy Nip ~ Christmas In Hell (compiled by Uncle Dave Lewis) ~ WCBN
5:51 PM Bobbie Boyle with the MSR Singers ~ Randy, The Lil’ Elf ~ The American Song-Poem Christmas ~ Bar/None
5:53 PM James Kochalka Superstar ~ Beautiful Christmas Lights ~ Monkey Vs Robot ~ Tarquin
5:54 PM The Evolution Control Committee ~ The Christmas Wrong ~ Plagiarhythm Nation V2.0 ~ Seeland
5:56 PM Mike Tangi ~ Sandy, The Guiding Star ~ Christmas In Hell (compiled by Uncle Dave Lewis) ~ WCBN
5:57 PM Weird Al Yankovic ~ Christmas At Ground Zero ~ Greatest Hits Vol. 2 ~ Scotti Bros.

Misty Conditions: D’zzzz LP (Planet Mu, 2013)

December 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Misty Conditions: D'zzzz LP

Misty Conditions: D’zzzz LP

Henry Collins retired his Shitmat alias after taking the project to its logical conclusion (by remixing every UK #1 pop hit ever), and now he’s started a new project with Richard Wilson (Burnkane), offering a distorted, blown-out take on trap and juke beats. There’s no trace of EDM glitz or glamour, and it’s actually quite dark and dirty, maybe even depressing. “Dank” seems like the obvious would-be anthem with its repeated sample of “I have that dank, dank, dank”, but it’s just so slow and blown-out, it sounds like it’s suffocating rather than getting high. And there’s sort of a dub techno undercurrent to it, along with the crushing, harsh distorted beats and hip-hop samples. It’s actually quite refreshing in how anti-glamorous it is. It’s followed by “Drowning”, a shuddering, nervous-heartbeat dark ambient interlude. Then the first side ends with “Dilute”, a noisy broken-rhythm experiment that could be on an Opal Tapes release. Side B starts with a track called “Death”, which further points to the darkness of this album. It starts with tablas, and it’s not the only exotic-sounding percussion on the album, which also points towards some sort of “otherness” not really associated with these types of beats. Not for nothing does “Demonoid” start with a computerized voice saying “we would like to remind you to take notice of what is happening around the globe.” “D’mmmm” has chopped/looped R&B vocal samples and detailed beats that approach juke, but somehow it’s still sort of aired out, and again severely distorted so that it sounds like it’s suffocating, or damaged in some way. The part at the end where the beats turn into harsh 4/4 kicks and the vocal samples pile up is particularly exhilarating. The album ends with “Damiana”, maybe the most screwy, blown-out track of all, which manages to squeeze a high-BPM kick inside its squirmy, squelchy groove. A pretty fantastic album that hints at current trends, but takes them into dark, unexpected directions.

Show #219 – 12/21/13

December 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Hour 1
3:01 AM Big Star ~ The Ballad Of El Goodo ~ #1 Record/Radio City ~ Stax/Fantasy
3:05 AM Led Zeppelin ~ Thank You ~ Led Zeppelin II ~ Atlantic
3:09 AM ABBA ~ Eagle ~ The Album ~ Polar
3:15 AM Queen ~ Don’t Stop Me Now ~ Jazz ~ Hollywood
3:23 AM Suicide ~ Frankie Teardrop (with some other stuff mixed in) ~ Suicide ~ Red Star
3:36 AM Tom Scharpling ~ Riders Almanac With Garrison Keillor ~ YouTube
3:39 AM Ted Leo & The Pharmacists ~ Rock’N’Roll Dreams’ll Come Through ~ 7″ ~ Chunklet Magazine
3:42 AM Dump with Zachary Brimstead, Esq. ~ Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey ~ Dog: A Best Show On WFMU Tribute To Ram ~ WFMU
3:47 AM Philly Boy Roy ~ Last Will + Testament ~ The Best Of The Best Of The Best Show On WFMU, Vol. 2 ~ WFMU
Hour 2
4:06 AM Scharpling & Wurster ~ The Music Scholar ~ Chain Fights, Beer Busts and Service with a Grin ~ Stereolaffs
4:47 AM Suburbanal Cuts ~ The Tommy Song Live ~ Understanding The Probalities ~ cd-r
4:49 AM Tom Scharpling & Petey ~ Petey’s Black Fly Song ~ WFMU Radio Archval Oddities Vol. II ~ WFMU
4:55 AM Tom Scharpling ~ 8-14-07: The Vow ~ YouTube
4:57 AM Tom Scharpling ~ untitled ~ Sounds Of The Northeastern Freeform DJ ~ WFMU
4:58 AM Tom Scharpling ~ on the WFMU Marathon 2010 ~ YouTube
Hour 3
5:02 AM Ice ~ The Dredger (Titanic) ~ Quarantine ~ Carcrashh
5:09 AM Night Shift ~ Woods Scare ~ Trespasser’s Guide To Nowhere ~ Time Released Sound
5:16 AM Dilatedears ~ DancingintheFallingFactory ~ Dinner In The Cave Of Veils ~ Placenta Recordings
5:20 AM Lauren Bousfield ~ Cascading Retail Spaces ~ Avalon Vales ~ Vale Records
5:24 AM Misty Conditions ~ Damiana ~ D’zzzz ~ Planet Mu
5:30 AM Ben Link Collins/Shaun Sandor/Pas Musique ~ Within Silence ~ Of Silence ~ Alrealon Musique/Blondena Music/Silent Media
5:35 AM Stock, Hausen & Walkman ~ Schweitzer ~ Organ Transplants Vol. 1 ~ Hot Air
5:39 AM Innode ~ Gridshifter 05 ~ Gridshifter ~ Editions Mego
5:45 AM Afterhours ~ That Dream About ’97 ~ Sleepwalker ~ Not Not Fun
5:49 AM Tortoise ~ Peering ~ Gently Cupping The Chin Of The Ape ~ Thrill Jockey
5:55 AM Laura Cannell & Rhodri Davies ~ Even A Moment ~ Feathered Swing Of The Raven ~ Brawl Records

Crush Collision 12/19/13

December 20, 2013 at 10:34 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Hour 1
10:01 PM Marshall Applewhite ~ Kick Back
10:05 PM Helado Negro ~ We Will You
10:10 PM Ten Walls ~ Gotham
10:16 PM Ellen Allien & Thomas Muller ~ Free Nation (Thomas Muller Edit)
10:22 PM Robert Hood ~ Alarm
10:29 PM Kevin Saunderson ~ Velocity Funk (Joe Brunning’s Back To The Funk Remix)
10:35 PM Audionite ~ Trax-O-Matic
10:41 PM James Ruskin ~ Slit
10:46 PM Manse ~ Lying In Wait
10:50 PM Illum Sphere ~ Sleeprunner (Illum Sphere’s Re-Run)
10:54 PM Inigo Kennedy ~ Interaction
10:58 PM Special Request ~ Undead
Hour 2
11:02 PM Special Request ~ Broken Dreams
11:07 PM Ramos & Supreme ~ The Journey Part 1
11:13 PM DJ Infinity & Back to Basics ~ People Of Paradise
11:17 PM Dub Warriors ~ Rocking Out To The Nation
11:22 PM Natural Mystic ~ Mash Up
11:28 PM Override ~ Critical Phase
11:32 PM The Full SP ~ Raw Basics (Tango Remix)
11:37 PM Uncle 22 ~ Free
11:41 PM Baraka ~ I’ll Be There [possibly the best jungle track ever made]
11:46 PM DJ D-Lux ~ Taking Me Higher
11:50 PM Jaco ~ Wicked Everytime
11:56 PM Sky Joose ~ X-Redskin

Nosaj Thing: Home Remixes 12″ (Innovative Leisure, 2013)

December 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nosaj Thing: Home Remixes 12"

Nosaj Thing: Home Remixes 12″

Picked this up at the Michigan Theatre when James Blake played there (we had balcony seats!). I haven’t listened to Nosaj Thing much since his first album, but he started out with a Julianna Barwick sample and was generally a lot more hazy than I remember his music being. Anyway, I got this 12″ because it has Kyle Hall and Gerry Read remixes on it. Kyle Hall’s mix of “Try” is typically great stuff for the young Detroit house prodigy, nice clippy beats and samples and night skyline chords. The Gerry Read mix of “Light #3” surprised me more, though, it had more random sounds and kicking beats. A bit Akufen-ish, but not that type of micro-house glitch overkill. Kind of lo-fi and rough. And there’s a brief, excited melody and high-pitched vocal loop that show up for just a few bars towards the end. The record also skips a little and I can’t tell if it’s my copy or if the music is just being really sneaky. Fun stuff.

Philip Corner: Rocks Can Fall At Any Time LP (more mars team, 2013)

December 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Philip Corner: Rocks Can Fall At Any Time LP

Philip Corner: Rocks Can Fall At Any Time LP

This LP features 4 recordings dating from the early ’70s to the late ’90s, with side A focusing on unaccompanied metal percussion, and side B featuring fragile, intimately recorded drones. “Gong (Ceng-Ceng) / Ear” is the clattering of resonant handheld Balinese cymbals. “Two In Thailand” features constant clattering from finger cymbals (creating almost a forest-like audio environment) with a gong being struck in slow intervals. The instruments are slowly being moved around each other, which is audible with concentration. “Om. Duet: Jug And Bottle” is a very minimal duet for jug and bottle with microtonal breath fluctuations. There’s a heavy layer of hiss, presumably because the sounds are so quiet that they have to amplify them to make them more audible. “Satie’s 2 Chords Of The Rose+Croix … As A Revelation” is a Satie piece played on harmonium, a very intimate recording with plenty of surface noise. The instrument is old and beat up, and the wheezing and knocking and other external, non-musical sounds (coughing, kneeling, stretching) are intentionally left in, even celebrated.

Celebrate Music Synthesizer Group: s/t 2LP (Sun Ark, 2013)

December 16, 2013 at 12:10 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Celebrate Music Synthesizer Group: s/t 2LP

Celebrate Music Synthesizer Group: s/t 2LP

Last time I saw Sun Araw, at this year’s SXSW, they (it was a duo this time) ended the set with an excursion into uptempo techno beats, which I definitely wasn’t used to from Sun Araw, but it was a pleasant surprise. Instead of releasing a new Sun Araw album based on techno beats, here’s a 2LP by a new side project exploring Sun Araw’s dancey side. Unlike Sun Araw’s carefully controlled dubby jam sessions, this seems like something playfully tossed off, just a bunch of friends with a roomful of vintage analog synths, making squirmy, bloopy sounds, and just generally having a blast. There’s no escaping dubby echo and delay, as there’s plenty of that here, but there’s such a fresh-faced fuck-it-let’s-try-anything approach to this. It doesn’t seem like they’re worrying too much about anything making sense, and I appreciate that. They just seem to get out of the way and let the robots take over. Very much a celebration, of music, of creativity, of synthesizers, of cool bloopy noises, of beats, of effects, of playfulness and joyousness in general. Definitely one of the more refreshing techno experiments to come out of the noise/experimental scene in recent years.

Secret Pyramid: Movements Of Night LP (Students Of Decay, 2013)

December 15, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Posted in Reviews | 1 Comment

Secret Pyramid: Movements Of Night LP

Secret Pyramid: Movements Of Night LP

First (and not last) vinyl release from a Vancouver musician with a few tape/CDr releases to his name. Already a name to watch, as this is just a truly stunning album. Perfect music for a late, lonely, starry (or starless) night. The songs all seem to head for a sad, dark space, and they just follow it, leading into the darkness and baring whatever weather or emotional consequences may follow. “A Descent” ends up with a faint heartbeat. “Quiet Sky” looks deeply into the distant horizon, trying to find a sign of anything. “Closer” is woozy and displaced, and segues into the bright-yet-dark Windy & Carl-esque guitar drone of “To Forget”. “Move Through Night” starts with a drifty, almost steel guitar-sounding drone, but lost under a bitterly freezing cold icy night sky. This segues into “Wish” with a layer of snowy feedback, plunges to the bottom with the submerged organ of “Depths”, then makes its escape by surfacing and fading out. One of my favorite ambient releases of the year.

Ensemble Economique mega-post

December 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ensemble Economique: Fever Logic LP

Ensemble Economique: Fever Logic LP

Ensemble Economique has been on my radar since Foxy Digitalis sent me a review copy of Standing Still, Facing Forward back in 2010. That album was a stunning collage of dark cinematic soundscapes and field recordings, and was totally different from the stoner-dub psych jams he released on the Psychical LP on Not Not Fun that very same year. Since then, he’s released a few tapes and CDrs, an LP on Dekoder, a split LP with Lee Noble, and he released an absolute ton of music in 2013, only half of which I’ve heard. First and foremost, however, is his newest NNF LP, The Fever Logic L.P., which is up there with Troller as the best darkwave release I’ve heard all year. Not quite as blown-out or horror-synthy as Troller, but instead, slowly paced rhythms and sad, sometimes strained vocals (like the desperate moaning of the titular phrase at the end of “We Come Spinning Out Of Control”). “The Night Air Burning” has beats approximating a heartbeat pulse, drizzling synths, whispered vocals, and dramatic thunder crashing. Laying the “dark and stormy night” imagery on pretty thick, but it’s so captivating and awesome. “Blindfold Me” sounds as trauma-inducing as its title, and “Into Nowhere Again” is just classic ethereal darkwave, with slow tremolo guitar and reverb-soaked vocals. “End Scene” has more chilly synth, rain and thunder, and last-dying-breath vocals, and is bleak enough to make you wonder if the artist even survived making this album.

Ensemble Economique/Heroin In Tahiti: split LP

Ensemble Economique/Heroin In Tahiti: split LP

Before Fever Logic came out, there was a split LP (on NO=FI Recordings/Sound Of Cobra) with Heroin In Tahiti, whose Death Surf is one of the best under-the-radar LPs of last year. EE’s side immediately seems to be influenced by that album, with tom-heavy drums pounding out a slow rhythm with sheets of guitar and more quiet, whispered vocals approximating EE’s take on HIT’s death-surf sound. It gets into darker, more cinematic waters by the end of the side, ending with the choked feedback of “Désir, Desire”. HIT’s side is called Black Vacation and continues that sort of accident-in-paradise vibe, alternating between hazy mirror-reflected lounge scenes with seagulls and palm trees, and dark pulsating space-outs/abduction. But then the mutant surf rhythms return, with twangy guitar meeting crawling industrial rhythms and synths. The album ends with sobbing, implying that this was a vacation where everything went horribly wrong.

Ensemble Economique: Light That Comes Light That Goes

Ensemble Economique: Light That Comes Light That Goes

Ending the year is two simultaneous EE releases on Denovali. Light That Comes Light That Goes is probably the more “proper” of the two, seeing that it’s being released on both CD and LP, and it has more songs on it. “Songs” being a loose description, of course, as these are dark dronescapes with disembodied samples and more chilling synth and guitar layers. “If You Need Help” floats a familiar “if you’d like to make a call…” operator message in turbulent dark drifting drone, turning its own message on its head. “Ksenia” balances French spoken vocals over rippling, comparatively calm synth. “As The Train Leaves Tonight” features similar French speaking over what sounds like a deconstructed version of Spandau Ballet’s “True”, with violently clattering drums. “Radiate Through Me” is more haunted darkwave, with soft vocal harmonies and drifting guitars.

Ensemble Economique: Interval Signals LP

Ensemble Economique: Interval Signals LP

Interval Signals is this week’s other EE LP, a vinyl-only release consisting of one 40-minute piece broken into sidelong parts. This one’s a journey through All India Radio, but combines Indian radio samples with blistering cold wind, chirping birds, and an eerie stillness. Regardless of what’s actually being spoken in these radio transmissions, the sounds they’re juxtaposed with make them all sound like black box recordings from a plane about to disappear into the void. The piano at the beginning of the second side makes everything more chilling.

This is all only the tip of the iceberg, there’s a picture disc on Dekorder, an LP on Shelter Press that includes versions of tracks released on a tape in 2011, and a tour CDr. And then there’s all of Brian Pyle’s work with Starving Weirdos and RV Paintings.

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