Banana Pill/Morbid Rainbow/Ratkiller/Sky Sacrifice: split tape (Shack in the Barley Productions, 2015)

December 20, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Posted in Reviews | 2 Comments

Banana Pill/Morbid Rainbow/Ratkiller/Sky Sacrifice: split tape

Banana Pill/Morbid Rainbow/Ratkiller/Sky Sacrifice: split tape

A double LP’s worth of sonic explorations from several parts scattered throughout Europe and the UK. Banana Pill’s “Sand” is a 22-minute trip through a haunted wind/mirror tunnel, with howling vocals crying out, but it’s impossible to tell exactly where they’re coming from. Morbid Rainbow’s side is straight out of ’80s cassette culture, with grainy tape loops of voices talking about panic attacks and more caustic sound patterns. It progressively gets more bad-trippy, ending up with caterwauling violin and mutated keyboard tones on the appropriately titled “Rotten Handwash”. Ratkiller’s set is a bit more blissful. It’s steamy and dripping, but for some reason it keeps rubbing the faucet. Eventually it ends up with a lopsided, oozing house track. Sky Sacrifice’s 20-minute collage “Slider Between Worlds” starts out with several heavy layers of guitar, then moves into candy-stripe synths which become reversed and get really flashy and hallucinogenic, and then it revisits more dark guitars and quizzical synth textures.

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Ryan Huber: Tacht CD-r (Inam Records, 2015)

December 20, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ryan Huber: Tacht CD-r

Ryan Huber: Tacht CD-r

The restlessly prolific Ryan Huber’s latest album seems to be a bit of a change, maybe a refinement from past work. There’s much less swarming drone than previous recordings, and much more concise running times compared to some of his recent work. Much of it is heavily sequenced/looped, not really anything like solos or melodies or things like that. Some of it has stuttering textures which might make it seem like the CD is skipping. “Tacht” is basically just staccato pulses which flicker rapidly. “Madon” is sparkling, shimmering atmosphere which gradually develops a low, thumping beat. “Strife / Silence” has constantly ticking metallic hi-hat sounds and twitchy bass as well as cricket-like sounds. “Concrete Teeth” basically sounds like being trapped in a really intense car wash. “Dumah” is Huber at his most Raster-Noton/Stroboscopic Artefacts-like, with minimal clicks, bleeps, and pulses in a precise, clinical rhythm. “The Will” is 5 minutes of intense grinding with some faint pulses forming out a rhythm. “Target” seems to be the most clear, driving techno track, but there’s an odd woodpecker drilling sound throughout it, and then it ends very abruptly. Free download at Bandcamp.

Todd Tobias: Tristes Tropiques + Moorea (Tiny Room Records/Hidden Shoal, 2015)

December 19, 2015 at 11:46 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Todd Tobias: Tristes Tropiques

Todd Tobias: Tristes Tropiques

Todd Tobias is a musician and engineer associated with various Guided By Voices/Bob Pollard projects, but lately he’s been carving out a solo career doing more ethereal instrumental material and soundtracks. Tristes Tropiques is a strange, mystical sound painting filled with eerie vocal loops (particularly on the opening and closing tracks), reversed and decaying guitars, and sometimes beats. Definitely has a soundtrack-like feel, especially the way the tracks segue, suggesting changing scenes. The album’s title translate to “sad tropics”, and it definitely conjures up feelings of being blue in paradise, for whatever reason. Sometimes it gets really dark and foggy, other times it’s brighter, with chiming guitars, but it’s still kind of melancholy. All of this is nice and serene.

Todd Tobias: Moorea

Todd Tobias: Moorea

The album has a companion EP called Moorea, which consists of 7 brief songs which could function as incidental soundtrack music, but as far as I can tell there is no film associated with this music. It has a bit of an exotica feel to it, but it feels like being on a beach late at night on a tropical island, with a vague possibility than the volcano that’s been inactive for centuries might just erupt. “Wing On Wing” and “Vega” are the shortest tracks (only a minute and a half each), they feel most like themes, and I think they’re actually the EP’s best tracks. A nice relaxing (if strangely a bit dark) listen.

Lucindo: Alien Rebellion 12″ EP (3TH, 2015)

December 19, 2015 at 4:24 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Lucindo: Alien Rebellion 12" EP

Lucindo: Alien Rebellion 12″ EP

Hard, blasting techno which erupts from the core and blazes a path without concern for how much wreckage it’s causing. So much distortion on this one. Shorter interlude “Act 139” gets into some more exploratory Meat Beat territory, so that’s a definite plus. “Act 102” propels with surging acid, then breaks a bit and shuffles the thudding beats up a bit during the second half. “Act 140” is totally like ’90s hard acid. Closing track “Act 135” has more sizzling synth pads playing introspective melodies, and there’s more shifting, exquisite beats rather than the relentless thudge-thudge-thudge. Really good EP, lots of range to the 5 tracks.

Show #321 – 12/19/15

December 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

3:00 am Bernd Kistenmacher ~ “Quitting-Time” ~ Head-Visions ~ Bureau B ~ 1986
3:14 am Harmonia ~ “Watussi” ~ Musik Von Harmonia ~ Brain ~ 1974
3:20 am Warren Michael Defever ~ “Sun Synthesizers and the Creation Myth” ~ mp3 (new) ~ Soundcloud ~ 2015
3:33 am Syd Barrett ~ “Octopus” ~ The Madcap Laughs ~ Harvest ~ 1970
3:37 am The United States of America ~ “The American Metaphysical Circus” ~ The United States of America ~ Columbia ~ 1968
3:44 am Billowing ~ “Causeway” ~ Modifications D’Éclairage (new) ~ Life Like ~ 2015
3:53 am Evenings ~ “Non-Traditional Love” ~ La Religion De La Souffrance Humaine (new) ~ Life Like ~ 2015
4:00 am Beat Happening ~ “What’s Important” ~ Look Around ~ Domino ~ 1985
4:02 am Severed Heads ~ “Prototype Pop” ~ Clifford Darling, Please Don’t Live In The Past ~ Dark Entries ~ 1985
4:05 am DJ Paypal ~ “Awakening” ~ Sold Out (new) ~ Brainfeeder ~ 2015
4:09 am Billowing ~ “Corner Dregs” ~ Dead in a Ditch (new) ~ Life Like ~ 2015
4:13 am Ambiq ~ “The Mother” ~ Ambiq 2 (new) ~ Arjunamusic ~ 2015
4:18 am 0 ~ “Shi” ~ Umarete Wa Mita Keredo (new) ~ flau ~ 2015
4:21 am 3 Moons ~ “Mars in Phrygian” ~ Astronomy Of Dreams (new) ~ Moon Glyph ~ 2015
4:26 am FrostbYte ~ “Chatter” ~ One Dog Night (new) ~ Audiobulb ~ 2015
4:36 am Ryan Huber ~ “Madon” ~ Tacht (new) ~ Inam Records ~ 2015
4:40 am Subheim ~ “Night Walk” ~ Foray (new) ~ Denovali ~ 2015
4:46 am Saffronkeira with Field Rotation ~ “Syntagmatic” ~ Synecdoche (new) ~ Denovali ~ 2015
4:52 am Bersarin Quartett ~ “Umschlungen Von Milliarden” ~ III (new) ~ Denovali ~ 2015
4:56 am Aidan Baker ~ “Mountains Sweat Clouds III” ~ Half Lives ~ Gizeh Records ~ 2015
5:00 am Julia Kent ~ “Flag of No Country” ~ Asperities (new) ~ Leaf ~ 2015
5:04 am Todd Tobias ~ “Suvarnabhumi” ~ Tristes Tropiques ~ Tiny Room Records/Hidden Shoal ~ 2015
5:09 am Todd Tobias ~ “Under the Blue Volcano” ~ Moorea ~ Tiny Room Records/Hidden Shoal ~ 2015
5:12 am Mark Kirschenmann ~ “Kite” ~ Icosahedron (new) ~ Sonikmann Records ~ 2015
5:15 am Broadcloth ~ “Improvisation 2” ~ In Stitches (new) ~ Gold Bolus ~ 2015
5:21 am Arca ~ “En” ~ Mutant (new) ~ Mute ~ 2015
5:24 am Koss ~ “Watercolors” ~ Silence ~ Mule Musiq ~ 2015
5:29 am Akira Rabelais ~ “v” ~ The Little Glass (new) ~ self-released ~ 2015
5:37 am Rafael Anton Irisarri ~ “Reprisal” ~ A Fragile Geography (new) ~ Room40 ~ 2015
5:46 am Natural Snow Buildings ~ “The Rising Portal” ~ Terror’s Horns ~ Ba Da Bing! ~ 2015

AllMusic Loves 2015

December 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Posted in AllMusic | Leave a comment

This was the first year I was able to participate in AllMusic’s year-end lists. AllMusic Loves 2015 (individual staffers’ lists) just went up:
AllMusic Loves 2015
I also made a Spotify playlist which ended up being over 10 hours long:
Spotify playlist
If anyone attempts to listen to it and finds at least one new thing they enjoy, I’ll be happy.
Here’s AllMusic’s general Best of 2015 list, a lot of my selections made the list:
AllMusic Best of 2015
And the Favorite Electronic Albums list, many of which I reviewed for the site during the year:
Favorite Electronic Albums 2015

Ben Monder: Amorphae (ECM, 2015)

December 12, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ben Monder: Amorphae

Ben Monder: Amorphae

ECM debut from a hard-to-define American jazz guitarist. As with many ECM recordings, the production is spacious, letting the minimal instrumentation (sometimes just Monder’s guitar, often plus drums and occasionally synthesizer) fill the room with sound. The late Paul Motian plays drums on two tracks, including a very loose interpretation of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning”, but Monder’s stunning guitar playing is clearly the star of the show. At times haunting, other times more contemplative, he does a lot with a little. Pete Rende adds subtle yet crucial synthesizer textures to “Gamma Crucis” and “Zythum”, the latter of which is an ambient dronescape with softly shuddering drums beneath it. Is this even jazz? The concluding solo piece “Dinosaur Skies” consists of dark flurries of guitar similiar to Rafael Anton Irisarri, and when it finally lets up, it feels like Monder has stepped outside of jazz entirely. An incredible album.

Show #320 – 12/12/15

December 12, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Hour 1
3:01 am Föllakzoid ~ “Earth” ~ III ~ Sacred Bones ~ 2015
3:12 am Phantom Horse ~ “Amsel Variation” ~ Different Forces (new) ~ Umor Rex ~ 2015
3:23 am Kid606 ~ “Yucca Valley” ~ Recollected Ambient Works Vol. 2: Escape To Los Angeles (new) ~ Tigerbeat6 ~ 2015
3:29 am Jlin ~ “Guantanamo” ~ Dark Energy ~ Planet Mu ~ 2015
3:33 am CFCF ~ “Over USB” ~ Driftless Ambient II (new) ~ Driftless ~ 2015
3:39 am Kangding Ray ~ “Safran” ~ Cory Arcane (new) ~ Raster-Noton ~ 2015
3:44 am Herva ~ “Fading Above Smoke” ~ Kila (new) ~ Planet Mu ~ 2015
3:48 am Cage Suburbia ~ “Black Ops” ~ Argument #03 (new) ~ Haunter Records ~ 2015
3:55 am Bloom ~ “Quartz VIP” ~ 12″ (new) ~ Gobstopper ~ 2015
Hour 2
4:00 am Fis ~ “Sub Larynx” ~ The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now ~ Loopy ~ 2015
4:04 am M.E.S.H. ~ “Epithet” ~ Piteous Gate ~ PAN ~ 2015
4:09 am Rabit ~ “Black Gates” ~ Communion (new) ~ Tri Angle ~ 2015
4:12 am Toxe ~ “Determina” ~ Muscle Memory (new) ~ Staycore ~ 2015
4:16 am Arca ~ “Snakes” ~ Mutant (new) ~ Mute ~ 2015
4:20 am Margaret Antwood ~ “Coincidence Part 2” ~ Work Focus EP (new) ~ B.YRSLF DIVISION ~ 2015
4:27 am Kode9 ~ “Zero Work” ~ Nothing (new) ~ Hyperdub ~ 2015
4:32 am Alio Die & Lorenzo Montanà ~ “Cinta Della Breccia Divina” ~ Holographic Codex ~ Projekt ~ 2015
4:42 am Kablam ~ “Spirito Sarrando” ~ mp3 (new) ~ Soundcloud ~ 2015
4:45 am The House Master Boyz and The Rude Boy of House ~ “House Nation” ~ 12″ ~ Dance Mania ~ 1986
4:53 am Bleaker ~ “Hype (Funk)” ~ 12″ (new) ~ Unknown to the Unknown ~ 2015
4:58 am Koss ~ “Over the Valley” ~ Silence ~ Mule Musiq ~ 2015
Hour 3
5:01 am redHat ~ “Ver” ~ F (new) ~ Rare Nnudes ~ 2015
5:04 am Owiny Sigoma Band ~ “I Made You, You Made Me (High Wolf Remix)” ~ mp3 (new) ~ Brownswood ~ 2015
5:09 am Long Distance Poison ~ “Eardian Mana” ~ Lama Nada (new) ~ Hausu Mountain ~ 2015
5:30 am Norman Westberg ~ “Frostbite Falls” ~ 13 (new) ~ Room40 ~ 2015
5:35 am Milk Lines ~ “Crystal Crown” ~ Ceramic (new) ~ In the Red ~ 2015
5:39 am The Flaming Lips ~ “Slow Nerve Action” ~ Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic: 1994-1997 ~ Warner Bros. ~ 1994
5:47 am Andrew Bernstein ~ “Thought Forms III” ~ Cult Appeal (new) ~ Hausu Mountain ~ 2015
5:50 am Ben Monder ~ “Tumid Cenobite” ~ Amorphae (new) ~ ECM ~ 2015
5:55 am I Am Robot And Proud ~ “A Way of Organizing Time” ~ Light and Waves (new) ~ Darla ~ 2015

Crush Collision 12/10/15

December 11, 2015 at 9:03 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Hour 1
10:01 pm Sonns ~ “Best”
10:07 pm Architectural ~ “Delicatezza”
10:11 pm Neville Watson ~ “Night of the Inflatable Muscle Heads”
10:15 pm Sebastien Bouchet ~ “Broken Heart”
10:21 pm Phil Asher & James Massiah ~ “Trampoline”
10:25 pm Subversive ~ “Corosync (Raíz Remix)”
10:29 pm Dronelock & Ontal ~ “Phronesis”
10:33 pm Paul Mac ~ “Post Summer”
10:37 pm Svreca ~ “Mountain Splitter (Surgeon Remix)”
10:42 pm T_st & Dronelock ~ “Circular Reasoning”
10:46 pm Ø [Phase] ~ “R-Mash”
10:52 pm Carter Tutti Void ~ “f = (2.7)”
10:57 pm Chevel ~ “Heimweh (Perc Remix)”
Hour 2
11:01 pm Daniël Jacques ~ “Slaves of Rhythm”
11:07 pm Differ-Ent ~ “The Final Driver”
11:14 pm Inigo Kennedy ~ “The Fold”
11:17 pm Lewis Fautzi ~ “Blood”
11:21 pm Mark Broom ~ “Broken Times”
11:24 pm Markus Suckut ~ “Untitled #1”
11:30 pm Octual ~ “As I Move”
11:34 pm Servent ~ “Subdivision (Bioscope Man Mix)”
11:39 pm Traces of Malmokon ~ “Can”
11:42 pm Buck ~ “Nuove Sessioni (Inland Remix)”
11:46 pm J. Anthony Allen ~ “Time Givers”
11:50 pm Kamikaze Space Programme ~ “High Rise”
11:54 pm Perc ~ “Hiding From Carl”
11:58 pm Pulse One ~ “Filter (Oscar Mulero Remix)”

The Kendal Mintcake/Patrick Cosmos: split tape (Big Sleep Records, 2015)

December 6, 2015 at 7:08 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Kendal Mintcake/Patrick Cosmos: split tape

The Kendal Mintcake/Patrick Cosmos: split tape

I received a review copy of this tape a few months ago, and soon after I drove to Chicago to see Autechre and I found a copy of this tape at one of the two branches of Reckless Records that I visited. Turns out that Patrick Cosmos is from Chicago, so it’s not that much of a coincidence, but the chance of across two copies of a non-local tape that’s limited to less than 100 copies is usually pretty slim. Anyway, the name Kendal Mintcake somehow made me expect some sort of Elephant 6 knockoff band, but instead it’s solo synth stuff. There’s definitely something bright green (but not Emeralds-y) about his work. It moves slowly and there’s a cloudy haze to it, but there’s also pretty upfront, pronounced exploratory melodies. It ends with a curious feedback wave loop. The Patrick Cosmos side is immediately more amped-up, noisy, droney, and melodic, as well as having some weird grinding texture underneath. This side is one long cosmic dream, while the other side is four shorter (but inter-connected) parts. Probably still available at Reckless Records, but if you’re not in Chicago, there’s always Bandcamp.

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