Show #264 – 11/15/14

November 15, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Hour 1
3:00 AM Andy Stott ~ Violence ~ Faith In Strangers ~ Modern Love
3:06 AM Cooly G ~ 1st Time ~ Wait ‘Til Night ~ Hyperdub
3:09 AM Akkord ~ HTH020 (The Haxan Cloak’s Cloud of Witness) ~ HTH030 ~ Houndstooth
3:20 AM Supersilent ~ 12.3 ~ 12 ~ Rune Grammofon
3:26 AM Matthew Collings ~ Silence Is A Rhythm Too ~ Silence Is A Rhythm Too ~ Denovali
3:38 AM Negativland ~ Relatively Optimistic Notions ~ It’s All In Your Head FM ~ Seeland
3:44 AM His Name Is Alive ~ cassette-only bonus track ~ Tecuciztecatl ~ London London
3:52 AM David Shea ~ Meditation ~ Rituals ~ Room40
Hour 2
4:00 AM Steve Roden ~ Straightforwardness ~ Flower & Water ~ Dragon’s Eye Recordings
4:07 AM Child ~ What The Sermon Said ~ tape ~ Life Like
4:09 AM Lawrence English + Stephen Vitiello ~ Forecast The Dawn ~ Fable ~ Dragon’s Eye Recordings
4:14 AM His Name Is Alive ~ See You In Forever ~ Dark Reflections ~ cd-r
4:22 AM Rash ~ Nidanam ~ The Weight Of The World ~ Carbon Records
4:34 AM Vapour Theories ~ Descend, Part 1 (For Bailey) ~ split LP w/ Loren Connors ~ Carbon Records
4:42 AM Tom Carter ~ untitled ~ split 7″ w/ Gate ~ Carbon Records
4:46 AM Fred Frith and John Butcher ~ Delirium Perhaps ~ The Natural Order ~ Northern Spy
4:49 AM Q Electronics ~ You Can Do It ~ Drum Buddy Demonstration LP Volume 1 ~ Rhinestone Records/Skin Graft
4:53 AM Quintron ~ Mood ~ The Frog Tape ~ Skin Graft
4:54 AM Aaron Dilloway ~ Tremors ~ Modern Jester ~ Hanson
4:57 AM Rebel Kind ~ I See ~ Today ~ Urinal Cake
Hour 3
5:01 AM Quintron ~ Frogs ~ The Frog Tape ~ Skin Graft
5:04 AM Blanche Blanche Blanche ~ Tragic Bios ~ Termite Music ~ OSR Tapes
5:06 AM Angel 1 ~ One Wish – Shah ~ Allegra Bin 1 ~ 1080p
5:09 AM Machinedrum ~ 2 B Luvd ~ Vapor City Archives ~ Ninja Tune
5:13 AM Lee Bannon featuring Deejay Earl ~ MFS-2 ~ Main/Flex ~ Babygrande
5:16 AM Clark ~ Snowbird ~ Clark ~ Warp
5:20 AM DVA ~ Monophonic Nightmare ~ Hyperdub 10.4 ~ Hyperdub
5:24 AM Little Animal ~ Sleeping House ~ mp3 ~ Soundcloud
5:28 AM 18+ ~ Iawa ~ Trust ~ Houndstooth
5:32 AM Philip Corner ~ Gnossienne No. 1 ~ Satie Slowly ~ Unseen Worlds
5:36 AM Glacial23 ~ The Last Evenings Of Summer ~ 12″ ~ Savage Quality
5:41 AM Torn Hawk ~ I’m Flexible ~ Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time ~ Mexican Summer
5:47 AM Dorian Concept ~ The Few ~ Joined Ends ~ Ninja Tune
5:52 AM Submotion Orchestra ~ Chrome Units ~ Alium ~ Counter
5:56 AM Jon Hopkins with Raphaelle Standell ~ Form By Firelight ~ Asleep Versions ~ Domino

Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa @ MOCAD, 11/9/14

November 12, 2014 at 10:55 pm | Posted in Photos | Leave a comment

His Name Is Alive: Dark Reflections CD-r (self-released, 2014)

November 12, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

His Name Is Alive: Dark Reflections CD-r

His Name Is Alive: Dark Reflections CD-r

Tecuciztecatl is His Name Is Alive’s first fully distributed, non-limited album since 2007, and their first album to be properly released on vinyl since the ’90s. It’s an ambitious psychedelic rock opera horror story about evil twins, and I’m still trying to digest the whole concept. Musically, it’s more classic-rock-sounding than most of their albums, and I’m still adjusting to that too. What’s immediate, though, is that the presentation is fantastic, especially with the incredible vinyl packaging, and the book that came with the limited pre-order version. The pre-order also came with a cassette version (which has an amazing bonus track not on the CD or vinyl), and also this CD-r of outtakes and demo versions and other stuff. Tecuciztecatl is inspired in part by classic horror movies (ranging from Night Creatures to Tenebre), but this limited bonus disc has more of a soundtrack feel than the actual album, due to its 28 tracks which are often instrumental variations on songs or movements from the album itself. The album features heavy usage of Mellotron, and there’s definitely parts on here that feel like a soundtrack to some sort of hippie vampire flick. There’s an amazing 7-minute droney version of album highlight “See You In A Minute”, here titled “See You In Forever”. There’s short experiments like “Mellotronix” which could be likened to all your favorite BBC Radiophonic workshoppers or Ghost Box hauntologists. There’s fuzz guitar phasing mindwarp experiment “Mirror Trampoline”, and then there’s a new recording of Mouth By Mouth deep cut “The Torso”, which takes on a new meaning in this horror-inspired context. “The Way It Was” is floaty and ethereal and has a pretty string arrangement. Also, Tecuciztecatl‘s final track is a really lovely minute-long song called “The Cup”, which I wished was way longer, and this disc has a 2-minute version with strings. Small victories. Still putting this whole massive, bloody, Mellotron-drenched puzzle together, but this definitely helps add more context, and it’s an enjoyable listen in its own right.

Fred Frith and John Butcher: The Natural Order (Northern Spy, 2014)

November 12, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Fred Frith and John Butcher: The Natural Order

Fred Frith and John Butcher: The Natural Order

A document of an entire hour-long improv session from 2009 between Fred Frith (electric guitar) and John Butcher (sax). Very loud, raw and abrasive; both artists set their instruments on stun and never look back. Frith is particularly adept at transforming his guitar so that it sounds like different instruments. In the first track alone, it sounds like a demented circus organ, a radio switching stations, and some sort of drone, basically at the same time. Butcher is known for extended breathing techniques, and can flutter and squeal away for hours at a time. On tracks like “Turning Away In Time”, you almost feel like the guitar notes are being played backwards. “Accommodating the Mess” definitely uses some technique that makes the guitar notes appear to stutter, and then change pitch. And it’s used sparingly, so there’s long stretches of inactivity before the skipping starts again. A few anonymous voices surface in this piece as well, possibly from a stray, unsuspecting radio transmission. A challenging listen, as you would expect from these two experimental music titans.

Machinedrum: Vapor City Archives (Ninja Tune, 2014)

November 12, 2014 at 9:39 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Machinedrum: Vapor City Archives

Machinedrum: Vapor City Archives

Travis Stewart was always one of IDM’s more hip-hop-savvy producers. He arguably beat Prefuse 73 to the game when glitch-hop was a thing in the early ’00s, and his early albums on Merck still sound futuristic. Having morphed through several sounds and labels since then, we find him now on Ninja Tune doing a sort of juke/jungle hybrid. He explored this connection more explicitly with his 2012 side project Dream Continuum, but now he seems to have integrated the elements a bit more subtly into his sound for this album. Where the Teklife crew is pushing the jungle elements so far in their recent work that they’re mangling breakbeats with almost breakcore-level intensity, Machinedrum is smoothing things out a bit, adding loads of ethereal echo and flourishes like acoustic guitars and female vocals (both on “Safed”), generally making the equivalent of LTJ Bukem’s ambient jungle. Which is not to say that this album is the 2014 equivalent of the first Logical Progression compilation (the only ambient jungle album you will ever need), but it’s a pleasing listen. “Only 1 Way 2 Know” slows the tempo just a tad and adds relaxing male vocals and insects chirping in the background, creating something that would probably be way too soft for Chicago juke purists, but would definitely be an accessible entry point for fans of current electronic music (especially fans of recent Ninja Tune and Ghostly) who are curious about the genre. “Vizion (Centered)” is an ambient interlude that functions sort of like the ambient interludes on Burial’s albums. 6 had a dislodged, echo-swathed sample of Chuck D saying “3!”, and a wobbly d’n’b bassline floating in the ether. “More Than Friends” is another track that chops up some tasty breakbeats, but still keeps it soft and snuggly, with petal-like notes and a voice saying “friends”. If cuddle-juke exists, this is it. “Tried & True” is another ambient interlude, but this one has cosmic synths and slightly distorted guitar, and some far-off voices in the background, overall coming off more like a rougher-edged Boards Of Canada. “2 B Luvd” is another love-themed track with harder-edged breaks than the previous tracks, and “Endless <3" is another cosmic, Berlin School-inspired ambient track, with some Burial-like disembodied vocal samples.

Jon Hopkins: Asleep Versions (Domino, 2014)

November 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Jon Hopkins: Asleep Versions (Domino, 2014)

Jon Hopkins: Asleep Versions (Domino, 2014)

EP of ambient versions of tracks from Hopkins’ triumphant Immunity LP from last year. This focuses on the more meditative side of the album, with soft vocals and drifting pianos. The EP starts out by revisiting the album’s title track with Hopkins’ previous collaborator King Creosote singing fragile, folky vocals over piano and softly pounding beats. “Form By Firelight” has a subdued beat and vocals which are sometimes played backwards, and is probably the best place to start. “Breathe This Air” starts with calm pianos and little else, but gradually builds to shimmering synths, well-timed percussive bursts, and flakes of manipulated vocals. The EP’s final cut turns album standout “Open Eye Signal” into an 11-minute epic barely recognizable from its original form, starting out very still for a few minutes, then timestretching out into the illuminated night sky, and ending with slow solemn piano notes, light years away from the clipped electronic beats of the song’s original version.

Lee Bannon: Main/Flex (Babygrande, 2014)

November 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Lee Bannon: Main/Flex

Lee Bannon: Main/Flex

New EP from innovative former hip-hop producer, whose Alternate/Endings album was an excellent jungle throwback and one of my favorite albums of the year. This album continues to turn towards leftfield, exploring some of the dark jungle textures as before, but also with kind of a dark 2-step/garage vibe that puts him in the same league as Burial. “RMF-1” explores this territory nicely, with eerie chanting samples and an insistent 2-step beat. “RMF-2” is a sad, drifty interlude-like piece with some sad violin and lonely cries in the background, and some sort of rustling, packing-up noises in the beginning. “RMF-3” brings the tearout jungle breaks, and apparently features someone from Anthrax, though I’m not sure exactly what he’s doing. The breaks sound muted and faraway, though, almost like they’re coming from another room. “RMF-4” has punchy, almost gabber-like beats, and “RMF-5” has more smushed jungle breaks along with another clacking 2-step beat. “MFS-1” starts out with a flurry of chopped, distorted beats and vocal samples, then settles into another shuffling UK garage beat with a vibrant bassline. “MFS-2” features Deejay Earl of juke crew Teklife, and kicks things up into thudding, skittering d’n’b breaks, but still with a sort of distant, far-away quality to them. “MFS-3” scrambles the beats up into something convoluted and Schematic-esque. “MFS-4” slices some Amen breaks finely, before jumbling them up and then progressively getting faster and crazier, before an abrupt ending. An interesting diversion from a producer who just continues to get stranger and better.

Torn Hawk: Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time (Mexican Summer, 2014)

November 9, 2014 at 1:39 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Torn Hawk: Let's Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time

Torn Hawk: Let’s Cry And Do Pushups At The Same Time

File under “way better than I expected”, probably because of the album’s title and cover, and whatever first song I heard from this was underwhelming. But this is pretty legitimate warped lo-fi electronic stuff. Nice burbling synths, warbly textures that still sound clear and well-mixed, and showboating guitar which steers clear of sounding too overblown and wanky. “Return To The Pec Deck” (ugh) is more of an uptempo action fantasy sequence theme, with some delightful vintage synths. “Acceptance Speech” has more of a bitcrushed sound, with trudging beats that have an almost 8-bit texture to them. “Because Of M.A.S.K.” gets even more flanged out, and then “Under Wolf Rule” gets into more late-night VHS vibes. This guy’s well known for making hallucinogenic VHS-damaged videos, and while there’s certainly that type of sound here, it’s well produced and tasteful enough to not overwhelm people who might be scared away by a hiss-covered cassette release. Definitely in the same league as all your favorite Software or Not Not Fun artists, or Mark McGuire/Emeralds.

Steve Roden: Flower & Water (Dragon’s Eye Recordings, 2014)

November 9, 2014 at 12:43 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Steve Roden: Flower & Water

Steve Roden: Flower & Water

This album was created using only one record as source material: a George Winston flexi-disc originally released in 1989, as the first release on the now-resurrected Dragon’s Eye Recordings label. The record was released in two versions (red and black) and isn’t even listed on Discogs, but limited quantities of both versions are still available from the Dragon’s Eye website. Winston, of course, is well known for his season-themed solo piano compositions, and Roden turns these recordings inside out, both physically manipulating the flexi-disc and processing the sounds digitally. Thus, the crackling and stretching sounds form the fabric of these compositions, with stray piano notes poking out and sometimes looping and cascading, especially on the longer tracks. There’s several shorter tracks here, which seem to be the more physical manipulations of the disc, and help the listener to understand how such eerie sounds were created from the original discs. But ultimately the longer pieces are more rewarding, simply because pianos get looped more, and it’s more hypnotic.

Chris Herbert: Constants (Room40, 2014)

November 8, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chris Herbert: Constants

Chris Herbert: Constants

British sound artist Chris Herbert released his debut on Kranky in 2006, and other than a limited CD-r and a split 7″, he hasn’t released much since. This is his proper follow-up, and it’s a blissful, multi-textured journey, which drifts enough to be classified as “ambient” but is by no means minimal or background music. There’s usually several things going on at once, but it all sort of melts into itself. “As Blue As Your Eyes Love” has a constant tone that is very reminiscent of The KLF’s classic album Chill Out. “Cinders” floats upon some sad, string-like synth sounds, and gradually fades in some scrambling, circuit-bent noises. These creep into “Cité Radieuse”, which bathes delicate tones in warm, steam-like hissing. “Spirit Copy” sounds like a brief interlude of packing up, and “Sea Holly” sounds like a densely foggy sea, but it gets clearer and brighter during the second half. “Zona” similarly shifts from being dark and crackly to being lighter and almost church organ-like, and back. A long stretch of the album feels more still and serene, but some crackling, shifting textures return to “Disjxet”. “Former Shoreline” ends the album gazing towards the sea again, complete with sounds approximating water and seagulls, and waving goodbye. Overall, it’s easy to compare Herbert’s sound to Fennesz, Tim Hecker, Lawrence English, and any number of other drone artists on Kranky or Room40, but Chris Herbert clearly has his own style, and manipulates and juxtaposes sounds in a unique way.

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