This collaboration between Chicago-based engineer/producer/musician Sanford Parker (Buried At Sea, Nachtmystium) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot) blends heavy guitars, electronics, and deep vocals for a doomy but not overwhelmingly brutal experience. Swans definitely come to mind, but this duo definitely isn’t as concerned with constructing a pummeling, world-conquering, transcendent maelstrom of sound. All 5 of this album’s tracks sound different. It’s not entirely accurate to describe it as sludge metal or industrial or anything close to those orbits, but they might help pointing you in the right direction. “Oracles Hex” takes a long time of swirling, churning guitars and vocals before the clattering electronics and deep bass tones hit. “A Thorn to See” is a 15-minute lament of a blackened soul, building from a slow Scorn-ish drum machine and eventually piling on more guitar shredding and buzzing electronics. “CNN WTZ” is beatless and gets closer to Sunn O))) territory, with slow, droning guitars and eventually shrieked vocals and static noise. “I’ll Try You All” starts out with detached guitar notes and howled vocals, eventually crushing with feedback noise rotating between both speakers, and no drums, like the previous track. “43” is possibly the most haunting track, starting out with ominous piano and horns before the guitars come in. The song’s final minutes feature furious incomprehensible distorted screaming underneath the blaring horns. Really a fantastic album, it crushes in ways you wouldn’t expect.
In 1974, an obscure German band called Sand released their debut LP, Golem. Like a lot of psychedelic and experimental rock albums from that period, the album obtained a cult following over time, and was reissued a few times during this decade. This album was recorded in 1972, and is basically an early version of Golem. Listening to it, it’s almost astonishing at how much it anticipates people like Coil and Current 93. C93 actually covered one of the songs on this album and Nurse with Wound’s Steven Stapleton did the cover art. The first side features 2 10-minute tracks; “Helly Copter” is very hypnotic and kind of demonic. “An Old Loggerhead” is also, but it’s a lot more sparse and it seems like there’s a lot less happening. The first two songs on second side are comparatively more poppy, but only compared to the first side. “When the May Rain Comes” (the song C93 covered) is the shortest and folkiest song, and yes, it sounds a lot like the apocalyptic folk style that C93 would become infamous for. “Standing On the Corner” is a bit more upbeat, at least musically, with a puttering drum machine and repetitive lyrics about “standing on the corner with my feet soaking wet”. “Julia” is longer and sort of feels like a sort of opera, with 2 distinct parts. Very hypnotic and slowly progressing, with sparse, eerie melodies and echoed vocals. The album feels like a sort of lost chapter in psych/Krautrock history.
Since noise-rap trio clipping. surprisingly released a well-received album on Sub Pop, Daveed Diggs went on to fame as part of the musical Hamilton and Jonathan Snipes (formerly of the brilliant Captain Ahab) scored several horror films. This EP actually consists of tracks that weren’t finished in time for their last album, as they prepare to write and record new material. “Shooter” includes beats entirely created from over a dozen guns which the group fired and recorded themselves, and the lyrics subvert the tired “hashtag rap” formula of mainstream rap. “Back Up” features explosive beats and noise bursts along with guest verses from Antwon and Signor Benedick the Moor. “Wriggle” is built around a sample of power electronics pioneers Whitehouse (“Wriggle like a fucking eel!”) married to a hyperactive juke beat and acid techno squiggles, and it’s easily the EP’s most exciting track. “Hot Fuck No Love” is absolutely filthy and it matches the fast, turbulent rhymes with jungle breakbeats. “Our Time” is at once the noisiest track and the most lovestruck R&B song on the EP. Somehow the group manage to make these types of combinations work. Whatever they come up with next, it will probably be twice as deadly.
2:00 am Soumitra Lahiri ~ “Raga Bhairavi: Dhun In Tintal” ~ Raga Ahir Lalit/Raga Bhairavi ~ India Archive Music ~ 2007
2:17 am Swans ~ “Cloud of Unknowing” ~ The Glowing Man (new) ~ Young God ~ 2016
2:44 am Vivenza ~ “Veriti Plastici Partie. 2” ~ Veriti Plastici ~ Rotorelief ~ 1983
3:02 am Karlheinz Stockhausen ~ “Region III” ~ Hymnen ~ Deutsche Grammophon ~ 1969
3:26 am Karel Appel ~ “Le Cavalier Blanc” ~ Musique Barbare Van Karel Appel ~ Sub Rosa ~ 1963
3:40 am Klaus Schulze ~ “Gewitter (Energy Rise – Energy Collaps)” ~ Irrlicht ~ MIG ~ 1972
3:46 am Nurse With Wound ~ “Chromanatron Pt. B” ~ Chromanatron ~ Rotorelief ~ 2013
4:06 am Arbeit Schickert Schneider ~ “41°” ~ ASS (new) ~ Bureau B ~ 2016
4:12 am Joasihno ~ “Grounds” ~ Meshes (new) ~ Alien Transistor ~ 2016
4:18 am Ela Orleans ~ “Hands in Dark” ~ Circles of Upper and Lower Hell (new) ~ Night School ~ 2016
4:22 am James Ferraro ~ “Leather High School” ~ Night Dolls With Hairspray ~ Olde English Spelling Bee ~ 2010
4:30 am Christian Fennesz & Jim O’Rourke ~ “Wouldn’t Wanna Be Swept Away” ~ It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry (new) ~ Editions Mego ~ 2016
4:49 am Landing ~ “Morning Sun” ~ Third Sight (new) ~ El Paraiso ~ 2016
5:04 am Ryan Huber ~ “Cellar of Last Resort” ~ Comoros (new) ~ Inam Records ~ 2016
5:07 am Snakepiss (local) ~ “Dead or Alive (Y’re Cumming With Me)” ~ Knives (new) ~ Chambray Records ~ 2016
5:10 am MV Carbon ~ “’Til I Get It Straight” ~ The Sun Will Turn On You (new) ~ Discombobulate ~ 2016
5:13 am Amnesia Scanner ~ “AS Gardens Need Walls” ~ AS (new) ~ Young Turks ~ 2016
5:17 am Scrap.edx ~ “Where Are You Hiding?” ~ Camo Cuts (split 12″ w/ Sorehead) ~ livevil ~ 2007
5:22 am T_A_M & Zubuntu ~ “Chim Richalds” ~ mp3 ~ Sabacan Records ~ 2013
5:27 am SineRider ~ “Birdcall” ~ Seconds Minutes (new) ~ Sun Sea Sky Productions ~ 2016
5:34 am Meat Beat Manifesto ~ “Not Playing God (Funny Noises Mix)” ~ split 12″ w/ The Mellowtrons ~ Skam ~ 1998
5:41 am CoH ~ “OKA” ~ Z-Rated ~ Rotorelief ~ 1996
5:46 am Blochemy ~ “Voem” ~ Da Mear (new) ~ Sun Sea Sky Productions ~ 2016
5:52 am Plaid ~ “Dilatone” ~ The Digging Remedy (new) ~ Warp ~ 2016
5:55 am Dalot ~ “Her Lullaby” ~ Mutogibito (new) ~ n5MD ~ 2016
3rd album from a British techno producer who’s released music on Kompakt, Turbo, International Deejay Gigolo, etc. As with a lot of dance music producers who release tons of 12″s, he experiments a bit more on the album format. There’s dance beats, but they aren’t always upfront or propulsive. Most of the tracks aren’t geared towards the club. They’re generally around 4 or 5 minutes, with a few reaching beyond that. Vocals appear throughout the album, sometimes by Will Samson, sometimes (I’m assuming) by Sei A himself, but they aren’t always proper lyrics. The Samson tracks are certainly the most structured and lyrical ones, although “Ancestors” is darker and has less vocals, and it stands out. There’s some Burial-ish U.K. garage/dubstep flavor to opener “Always”. “Linear” takes a long time to build, with the beat coming in after 3 minutes, but it’s sounds really bubbly and atmospheric and nice. “Morning Soldier” is a nice midtempo waking-up-around-10-AM track. “Tides” is a subdued Samson tune with an uptempo electro kick. “Exit” is a whispery ambient track with a different singer, Daudi Matsiko. Album-ending “Trails of Gold” seems unassuming, but it’s a really good early IDM-sounding track.
Jerry Paper always seemed like the sort of Gary Wilson-esque outsider artist that I just couldn’t quite wrap my head around. He just never seemed like anything other than just some weird guy making ironic MIDI lounge-pop. This album is a big step up, as he’s backed by an incredible band here named Easy Feelings Unlimited. The promo sticker states that they’re “a band of jazz-trained clowns who will remain anonymous”, and as funny as that sounds, they seem versatile, creative, and even funky. Turns out they’re actually BadBadNotGood in disguise, which explains why the music’s so good. Jerry’s vocals have improved from the nonchalant shrug on some of his earlier releases. It still definitely seems like his sound, but it’s just better. I’m usually the type of snob who thinks people’s earlier, more lo-fi releases are better, but not this time. Oh, and the lyrics. They’re pretty fucked up! Very surrealist and kind of disturbing, exploring a Roger Rabbit-esque dichotomy between humans and toons. The music is somehow less cartoonish than previous Jerry Paper albums; or, rather, it’s just better animated.
Dark dreamy indie post-punk from Toronto which seems to fit naturally on a label called Hand Drawn Dracula. Not too far from recent Chelsea Wolfe, especially the vocals, but this one tips more towards dark new wave, shoegaze, and surf rock. After opening with a spooky ambient intro, the album gets brooding but bright. It’s dark, but not oppressively gloomy. “Rosemary” has a bit of a bluesy drag to it. “Devour” is a slow, sad dream-pop burner and the melody seems like a bit of an obvious nod to the Twin Peaks theme, but it sounds so good that it doesn’t matter. “Dark Tunnel” seems like a more sullen cousin of Best Coast’s “Boyfriend”, and it’s also a highlight. “Tennessee Haze” has the most bendy twisty shoegazey guitars of the album. “Sin Son Vain” alternates between Kim Gordon-esque speak-singing and a few crashing moments of release. “Still Need Dreams” is shorter and a bit more basic, but it stresses the importance of needing dreams, ending the album on a hopeful note. Definitely an impressive debut, wonder where this group is going to go next.
First proper LP from a mysterious Detroit artist who’s already put out a few stellar EPs on Chambray Records. This is a proper album, not a collection of tracks, and they’re all sequenced in a way that seems to tell a story, with recurring elements drifting from track to track. BPMs are listed on the back, so you can keep track of which track is which by what tempo they are. There’s some electro, some dark instrumental hip-hop, some techno, etc. A few songs on side B have female vocals and are sort of like haunted pop songs. Actually some of these tracks kind of remind me of recent Andy Stott (maybe not quite as obtuse/diseased), and the last track has a slight bit of a Burial flavor (not quite as rain-soaked). Seriously awesome, as always. Although I do have to say that I’m kind of creeped out at how much the guy on the cover looks like me when I was in college.
MV Carbon was half of noise duo Metalux (not sure if they’re around anymore) and she’s been doing solo stuff for at least a decade or so. Her set at Trip Metal Fest was a highlight of the weekend, and this album is similar to the music she performed. Sort of broken abstract industrial synth-pop, with sinister electronics and handmade beats which don’t follow traditional patterns. Lyrics are about dreams, catching spells, and escaping, and they’re delivered in a voice which is equally cute and creepy. This is really good and worth checking out.
Solo project of Greek musician Maria Papadomanolaki. Sort of halfway between downtempo IDM and post-rock, with glitchy beats and ambient synths along with atmospheric guitars and some Pro-Tools-y live drums. There’s 2 4 minute ambient “Interlude Nocturne”s (which are quite chilly), but most of the rest are 7 or 8 minutes, and epically sprawl out. “Inside Visible” is a little more sinister and has some wordless ooo-ing. “Her Lullaby” is a little different, it’s only 5 minutes and she sings actual lyrics, and it’s somewhat closer to a pop song (with kind of cute melodies and some strange noise bursts looped in with the rhythm). Very much for fans of Tycho or anything on n5MD or Sun Sea Sky.