The only other release I’ve heard by Nickolas Mohanna is Reflectors, his entry in Preservation’s Circa For 2011 series, which was my favorite release of that series. I thought that album was a different, more abrasive yet still blissful variation on the arpeggio-heavy synth-drone stuff that was coming out around that time. This album consists of two 17-minute pieces commissioned for a touring sound exhibition, and continues to be an aggressive, sometimes noisy/cut-up take on freeform electronic music, which can’t really be held by genre terms such as “ambient” or “drone”. There’s so many sounds being stretched apart, delayed and smashed back into each other, and while it can sometimes seem like you’re floating, it’s not just an airy, weightless feeling, you’re still in control and everything you’re feeling effects you. It’s enjoyable, though, it’s definitely not some sort of harsh cathartic experience. The second half (“Interstate”) gets a bit more rhythmic and melodic, which pulsating tones which almost resemble gabber kickdrums at one point, and then a bright somewhat-melodic tone which dissolves into rapid fluttering. It sounds like there’s some voices poking in and out of the mix, but who can tell where they’re coming from or what they’re saying. There’s such a heavy concentrated sensory experience, but eventually it simmers down to just one vibrating tone for the last few minutes of the piece.
mic break music = Piper Spray And Benzaldehyde Monster tape
3:01 AM John Carpenter ~ Obsidian ~ Lost Themes ~ Sacred Bones
3:12 AM Can ~ Future Days ~ Future Days ~ Mute
3:24 AM Ideal Bread ~ Lapis ~ Beating The Teens: The Songs of Steve Lacy ~ Cuneiform
3:28 AM Nickolas Mohanna ~ Split X ~ Phase Line ~ Run/Off
3:45 AM Aphex Twin ~ Organ ~ mp3 ~ Soundcloud
3:52 AM Aphex Twin ~ Delphium ~ Selected Ambient Works ’85-’92 ~ Apollo
3:57 AM Aphex Twin ~ piano un10 it happened ~ Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments Pt2 ~ Warp
4:03 AM Jib Kidder ~ In Between ~ Teaspoon To The Ocean ~ Weird World
4:05 AM Paperhaus ~ Cairo ~ Paperhaus ~ self-released
4:10 AM Bonny Doon ~ Lost My Way ~ 7″ EP ~ Salinas Records
4:13 AM Ricked Wicky ~ Miles Of Concentration ~ I Sell The Circus ~ GBV Inc
4:15 AM Ballerine Nadiya ~ Help From the Cold ~ Ballerine Nadiya ~ Singapore Sling Tapes
4:19 AM Disappears ~ Mist Rites ~ Irreal ~ Kranky
4:24 AM Cloakroom ~ Assymetrical ~ Further Out ~ Run For Cover
4:36 AM Belle and Sebastian ~ The Everlasting Muse ~ Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance ~ Matador
4:42 AM DJ Tre ~ DNB Spaceout ~ Teklife: Next Life ~ Hyperdub
4:45 AM Melt Unit featuring DF0:Bad ~ Sadface Acid ~ Get Melted ~ Cock Rock Disco
4:48 AM Burial ~ Temple Sleeper ~ 12″ ~ Keysound
4:55 AM Oneohtrix Point Never ~ Rush ~ mp3 ~ Soundcloud
5:03 AM Else Marie Pade ~ Syv Cirkler ~ Electronic Works 1958-1995 ~ Important
5:10 AM Fennesz ~ The Other Face ~ Venice ~ Touch
5:13 AM Demdike Stare ~ At Rest Version 3 ~ At Rest ~ DDS
5:15 AM Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith ~ Glide ~ Euclid ~ Western Vinyl
5:18 AM Agent C ~ flou ~ Tension Rock Vol. 4 ~ Psalmus Diuersae
5:24 AM /f ~ Yixl ~ Micromental ~ Psalmus Diuersae
5:41 AM Arovane ~ Il_Eth ~ Aarlenpeers ~ Touchin’ Bass
5:46 AM Somatic Responses ~ Diffusion Graffiti ~ Gamma Ray Bursts ~ Photon Emissions
5:53 AM Jaga Jazzist ~ Cinematic ~ ’94-’14 ~ Ninja Tune
10:01 PM Jack J ~ Something (On My Mind)
10:11 PM Daniel Avery ~ Knowing We’ll Be Here (KiNK Remix)
10:15 PM Daniel Jacques ~ Before I Begin
10:20 PM Hodge ~ Mind Games
10:24 PM Hieroglyphic Being and the Configurative or Modular Me Trio ~ How Wet Is Ur Box
10:27 PM Patricia ~ Spotting
10:31 PM Second Storey ~ Chordelia
10:34 PM Randomer ~ Residents
10:38 PM Dronelock ~ Uneven Numbers
10:42 PM Svaag ~ Saaade
10:46 PM The Cyclist ~ Tage Grunge Rave
10:49 PM Rezzett ~ Yayla
10:55 PM Torn Hawk ~ A November Mission
11:00 PM Shinichi Atobe ~ Free Access Zone 2
11:07 PM Zeitgeber ~ Totemism
11:14 PM Acronym ~ Hunt
11:19 PM Jeff Mills ~ The Man Who Wanted Stars
11:20 PM Dat Oven ~ Icy Lake (Original Arena Mix)
11:27 PM Blacknecks ~ Hoizer
11:31 PM Perc ~ Galloper
11:36 PM SHXCXCHCXSH ~ This Hmming Raverie
11:40 PM Paula Temple ~ Gegen
11:43 PM Robert Hood ~ The Family
11:48 PM Demdike Stare ~ Patchwork
11:53 PM Aphex Twin ~ Bradley Jam Pump
11:56 PM ADULT. ~ Shari Vari
Guided By Voices broke up yet again, so Bob Pollard has decided to revive one of the fake band names from one of the Suitcase box sets and use it as a band name for real. For all intents and purposes, this is another GBV/Pollard album, nothing that sounds out of the ordinary from him. All tracks are around 2 or 3 minutes, and seem to have the usual sort of riffs and odd lyrics, and occasionally some hooky melodies. There’s a tiny bit of a prog rock influence here, but not really much more so than most of his work. I think if this were Yes or somebody, they would’ve combined these songs into sidelong suites, but Bob just leaves them as standalone 2 minute chunks. As far as songs that stand out for being different, “Cow Headed Moon” is a trudgy ballad with Mellotron, “Even Today and Tomorrow” is a shorter more acoustic number, “The Intellectual Types” is a really strange anthemic arena-rocker (with synth and unusually gruff vocals), and “Uranus Flies” repeats the title ad nauseum so that the joke (if it’s even supposed to be a joke) gets worn completely thin. The album actually gets a bit more excitable in its second half: “The Important Girl” is a pretty nice short perky track with organ, and the next couple songs are pretty decent. “Tomorrow” is an acoustic guitar instrumental (?!?!). “Miles of Concentration” starts out sounding very much like “Motor Away”, with a driving rhythm, but more of a flattened guitar line and not quite as high-soaring vocals. Yet another decent album to tide us over until he puts out another album next month or two.
First 7″ from a Detroit band who’s been gigging around steadily for the past year or so. I saw them with Failed Flowers and Weyes Blood at the UFO Factory recently, and they’ll be playing there again in March with TOPS and Rebel Kind and Coyote Clean Up. Fred Thomas recorded this 7″ along with the band, and it’s been up as a free download on their Bandcamp for a few months, and now it’s on vinyl courtesy of Detroit’s Salinas Records, who I’m not familiar with, but the insert that comes with this 7″ shows that they have a pretty sizeable catalog already. Looking up info about this band, their sound is described as “mom rock” (?!), and it seems kind of laidback and somewhat country-ish, but still clearly with an indie slacker thing going on. Opener “Blood In The Bathtub” vaguely starts like “Where Is My Mind”, but is more of a sad “don’t leave” song, but not as depressing as its title makes it sound. “Lost My Way” is way more uptempo and fun, coming close to local bands like Deadbeat Beat or labelmates Radiator Hospital, and is definitely the track to start with on this record. “Lucy’s” is another laidback country-ish song with sliding guitar and lyrics about bars and pot brownies and general confusion. “I See You” is a more reflective acoustic ballad, with more upfront vocals, and with more of a worn-in country-rock sound.
I ordered this and Ballerine Nadiya (my favorite tape of last year) several months ago, and eventually the links to purchase these tapes disappeared from their respective Bandcamp pages, so I figured the MP3s were all I was going to get. Fortunately, they finally showed up this past week. The label’s based in Russia so they just took that long to get here. They were entirely worth the wait, of course, I fell in love with Ballerine all over again, and this tape seems to take on a different dimension now that I’m listening to it in its intended form. Even more sprawling and uncategorizable than the previous Piper Spray tape I have, Epigraph To The Bright Star Catalogue, this is just a bizarre beast which seems to mutate and change course every few seconds. The Bandcamp page divides the album into 20 tracks, most of which have slashes in the titles, suggesting multiple movements. On top of that, the cassette version has an extra 20 minutes of bonus material. It’s extremely hard to tell where tracks end and begin if you’re not listening to the digital version, so it’s best to just tune that all out and listen to it one uninterrupted 30-minute side at a time. The music’s just as trippy, colorful and hard-to-tell-what’s-going-on as the artwork, it’s just one cartoon hallucination of melting synth melodies and sloppy lo-fi beats after another. It doesn’t have quite as much of a Saturday morning TV theme feel as the previous tape, this one seems a little more scattered and VHS-distorted, but there’s plenty of reflective synth melodies which hold the tape together and seem to keep it from sounding completely random and nonsensical. There’s nothing else to really say about it without being overanalytical and giving too much away, you just have to press play and be surprised and amazed.
First album of non-soundtrack compositions from the legendary horror movie director/composer. It seems like appreciation for classic horror soundtracks is at an all-time high now, with labels such as Death Waltz putting out deluxe picture disc editions of soundtracks by Carpenter and Goblin, among dozens of others. So now the master is back to show everyone how it’s done. The 9 tracks on this album have all the hallmarks of his soundtrack work: pulsing synths, prog-rock guitar riffs, pianos, and tons of suspense. “Obsidian” is an 8-minute epic which seems like it could be stretched out into an entire film. “Abyss” is another long-ish suite which starts off with starry synth riffs and eventually ends up with some stomping danceable beats for a bit (Carpenter’s influence on electro cannot be understated). “Purgatory” ends up with kind of a marching drum tempo. “Night” is the album’s shortest track, and probably the most immediately catchy, it already sounds like it could be the theme to one of his classic films. Overall, this album might seem a little cheesy if you’re not familiar with his work or his era of films, but if you’re already a fan, or you at least appreciate what he does, it’s just good fun.
Highest profile release so far from former WCBN DJ Sean Schuster-Craig. This album also features guest vocals by fellow former WCBN DJ Julia Holter, and electric piano from Zach Phillips of the now-defunct (but incredibly awesome) Blanche Blanche Blanche. Jib Kidder has released many different types of music over the last decade or so, with his highest profile work so far being his hip-hop collage album All On Y’all, especially its infectious cut “Windowdipper”. This album can be described as sample-based country-psych-pop, continuing with the ’70s country-pop samples of his last album, Steal Guitars, combined with the vocals of his last tape and 7″ and some of his earlier material. His vocals have a free associative lilt which almost make him sound like he’s singing backwards, somewhat similar to older Animal Collective. I’ve always had a hard time getting into vocal-based Jib Kidder, his instrumental/sample-based stuff has always been more immediately appealing to me, but his vocals and lyrics just sound way better here than they ever have. The sample production has as much of a trippy, hallucinogenic feel as the vocals, especially on “World Of Madness”. “Situations In Love” has a melody similar to the Twin Peaks theme, and a few other songs head in that direction too. “The Waves” has some sax fluttering away towards the end. “Dozens” feels like the album’s poppiest, most uptempo song, but then you realize that the vocals are pretty much incomprehensible, and they just seem to be one verse which goes on for a minute until the guitar solo, and then the song ends abruptly with a shutting-down sound. “The Many” sounds really familiar, I’m sure I’ve seen him play the song live before. I thought it was on one of his previous releases but it doesn’t look like it was. “Melt Me” is a 10-minute drone-out which would appear to be the perfect end to this album, but it’s followed up by the slightly more upbeat 11, which actually ends the album. In some ways, a higher-profile, poppier Jib Kidder only makes him more mysterious, and this is a puzzling album which invites repeated listening.
Strange little EP (most of the tracks are just fragments, it’s definitely an EP even though there’s 13 tracks) of prepared piano experiments from RDJ. The beats are unexpectedly funky, sometimes sounding like DC go-go. However, many of the tracks are well under a minute and just seem like samples that weren’t integrated into a track yet, or ideas that just haven’t been fleshed out yet. The longer tracks are obviously the ones that come closest to sounding like fully realized tracks, but even then they’re pretty skeletal. “snar2” is just a snare drum roll, and “piano un1 arpej” and “disk aud1_12” sound like player piano experiments. “0035 1-Audio” and “diskhat2” are incredibly funky beats that play for half a minute and then abruptly disappear. “DISKPREPT1” is pretty much all prepared piano, and his children’s voices are audible in the background. “piano un10 it happened” is a pretty piano piece, which have been the highlights of his last 2 albums as Aphex Twin, and it just makes me wish he’d do an entire album of stuff like this. It certainly sounds like this could be acoustic drums and pianos played by robots, but who can really tell. It’s definitely not as virtuosic as Squarepusher’s recent robot experiments, but if nothing else it’s the funkiest prepared piano music ever made.
Else Marie Pade: Electronic Works 1958-1995 (Important Records, 2014) + Else Marie Pade + Jacob Kirkegaard: Svævninger (Important Records, 2013/CD issue 2014)January 24, 2015 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
2CD anthology of works by Danish musique concrete/electronic music pioneer Else Marie Pade, who is now 90 years old and still creating music. This collection compiles works dating back to the ’50s, and while many of them have been released on CD before, none have been released on vinyl until now (as far as I can tell), and definitely not all of them have been compiled in one place before. The first CD mostly consists of the “Faust Suite”, a 36-minute 6-part suite of crystalline echos and vibrations, which get noisiest during “Faust & Mefisto” and “Rejsen Til Bloksbjerg Og Valborgsnat”. “Margrethes Fordømmelse” features voices chanting “Dies Irae”, which seem to eventually disappear into a cave. “Rejsen…” is the longest part of the suite, and has kind of a trudging, decaying feel to it, and gets pretty harsh for its era, but not Merzbow harsh. The disc concludes with some standalone pieces, which seem to move around a bit more than the “Faust” suite, maybe because they’re not attached to a concept the way the suite is. “Lyd & Lys” definitely has a suspenseful horror-movie feel to it. “Syv Cirkler” is more playful, with bloopy synth patterns and plenty of playing around with pitch. “Etude” continues this playfulness with more decaying textures and primitive melodies punched out and consumed by echo, ending up a soggy mass of sound. Disc 2 starts with another suite, “Illustrationer”, which starts out sounding like raining ice pellets and freezing wind. “Kong Vinter” has the most acoustic sounds on the album, with thrashing, dismantled pianos joining the eerie electronics. Both of the “Glasperlespil” pieces which end the album (especially the first one) have some slightly sharp tones which aren’t really harsh or piercing, but they’re discordant enough that they function as alarms if you’re sleeping while listening. The second one is a lot sparser, lapsing into some uncomfortable moments of silence, only to be frightened awake by tones which erupt without warning. Overall, Pade’s music isn’t quite the type of abrasive, cut-up musique concrete you might expect from a composer like Stockhausen, but it’s graceful and ends up being frightening as often as it ends up being playful. Also being released is Pade’s collaboration with fellow Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, which was originally released on vinyl in 2013 but is finally receiving a CD release now. All of the pieces here are named after types of clouds, so it’s easy to attach adjectives such as “drifting” and “vaporous” to these recordings. Some of them come close to being inaudible at times, especially “Stratus” and “Nimbostratus”. “Cirrocumulus” sounds most like precipitation, there’s just a constant dripping wetness to it. “Cumulonimbus” is the loudest and most active, with controlled feedback and what sounds like metallic percussion. “Bortdragende Regnskyer” is the CD-only bonus track, and it’s 15 minutes of shining, slowly descending space music.