Galdre Visions: s/t EP (Leaving Records, 2020)

October 29, 2020 at 7:48 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Galdre Visions: s/t EP

Galdre Visions is a quarantine-born remote collaboration between four Leaving Records artists: harpist Nailah Hunter (2020’s rookie of the year?), former Pocahaunted member Diva Dompé, sitarist Ami Dang, and Olive Adizoni (Green-House). Their first EP contains four songs of swirling, meditative new age pop to help us all get through this together. Opener “Living Space Station (Bad Dream)” is an R&B-tinged affirmation that we’re all living in a nightmare, but it doesn’t mean we can’t find something to keep us bonded. “Super Passiflora” is more of a pleasant float through a lagoon, with tiptoeing harp melodies and wordless vocals helping things along, and the sounds of rushing water flowing underneath. “Moon Ferns” is a more complex orb of sounds, giving a bit more shine to Ami Dang’s sitar, and building a web of interlocked vocals and crystal tones. “The Sun Will Rise Again” is the EP’s most upfront expression of trust in the universe and hope for the future. The quartet’s music is optimistic but still based in an understanding of real world situations, which makes it refreshing — it’s not so bright and sparkly and smiley that it’s cloying, but it does feel encouraging.

Ale Hop: The Life of Insects (Buh Records, 2020)

October 26, 2020 at 10:53 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Ale Hop: The Life of Insects

The newest album from Ale Hop was inspired by the Peruvian experimental artist’s month spent living with different insects in her home studio in Berlin (incidentally I mistakenly wrote the label as Bug Records, when it’s actually Buh). She actually bought them from an insect dealer and built terrariums for them, and recorded them to use for sound design in a film. This album isn’t a collage of insect sounds, but there’s moments that might make you think it is. Instead, it’s a stunning and curious album of pieces which attempt to form aural depictions of the insects. Not that this one song is called “Grasshopper” and it sounds like a grasshopper, and this other one is like crickets humming, etc. It’s a lot more open to interpretation with the titles. But there’s definitely some buzzing drones, some sickly insectoid chirps, some high-pitched whirs and flutters. And also some fractured pop melodies here and there, and NWW-style sound design sorcery. It’s actually more accessible than you might think, at least if you’re into dark abstract industrial. So maybe it’s not really that accessible. It is pretty fascinating though.

Tristan Welch: Capitalist Teeth (self-released, 2020)

October 26, 2020 at 10:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Tristan Welch: Capitalist Teeth

Tristan Welch’s third album of 2020 was inspired by his first trip to the dentist in years, due to ongoing financial struggles as well as mental health issues. This, of course, made him realize that taking care of one’s health requires winning the game of capitalism, when it should be a basic human right for everyone. The music itself is noisy drone which sort of feels like having a dentist work on your teeth and constantly picking and scraping, yet it’s not actually as painful as it seems, and maybe there’s some anesthetics involved. If you’ve ever been at a dentist’s office and thought the whirring machines sounded cool and would make a good album, well, this actually doesn’t sound exactly like that. If you’re into noise/drone stuff, you could easily listen to this without being aware of the concept and still just enjoy it for how it sounds; it doesn’t sound gimmicky at all. Still, it does capture that feeling pretty well; it’s kind of harsh at some points but also pretty soothing. The second track seems a bit more glacial by the end than the first, which is where most of the action is. A good head-cleaner, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have insurance.

Show #553 – 10/25/20

October 25, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Buscabulla ~ El Aprieto
Actress ~ Diamond X
Al Wootton ~ Over
Acre & Filter Dread ~ Blood Artist
Basic Rhythm ~ What Would I Do
clipping. featuring Michael Esposito ~ Pain Everyday
Lauren Bousfield ~ Crawling Into a Fireplace Cackling
Machine Girl ~ Blood Magic
1.8.7 ~ Chicago
John Frusciante ~ Blind Aim
Linea Aspera ~ Entropy
Optic Sink ~ Exhibitionist
Molchat Doma ~ Pryatki
Carlos Giffoni ~ Spiral of Rest

Maximum Ernst: Hallmark of a Crisis Period 12″ EP (Ever/Never Records, 2020)

October 25, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Maximum Ernst: Hallmark of a Crisis Period 12″ EP

The latest EP from New York experimental duo contains two side-long tracks of meandering psychic explosions and ghostly transmissions/warnings. The A-side starts out with a burst of static and some barely tethered guitar notes, and it all gets swept along in a heady rush, sometimes with a few violent outbursts of haunting voices or other premonitions. It’s a bit ghastly but also kind of soothing. The second side, however, is far more nightmarish, with distorted voices simultaneously shouting at you about science from several angles. Then an organ freakout explodes and pushes it even further into the realm of panic. A sort of drilling “bassline” withers through it all as overwhelming clouds of noise drown everything else out. Towards the end it mostly shifts to one speaker, further disorienting everything before it fades out.

Show #552 – 10/18/20

October 18, 2020 at 10:58 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Nubya Garcia ~ A Shade of Jade
Roland Haynes ~ Second Wave
The Awakening ~ Convulsions
Cesaria Evora ~ Carnaval De Sao Vicente
The Budos Band ~ Gun Metal Grey
The Raymond Scott Big Band ~ Carrier Pigeon
Neil Cicierega ~ Whitehouse
People Like Us ~ You’ve Got To Know When
ESP Summer ~ 天国の王国
Eki Shola ~ Blue Light
Future Islands ~ Waking
L.A. Vampires ~ Deeper
Loraine James featuring Jonnine ~ Don’t You See It
Mary Lattimore ~ Sometimes He’s In My Dreams
Beavis’s Ass Is On Fire!

Brendon Randall-Myers/Dither: Dynamics of Vanishing Bodies (New Focus Recordings, 2020)

October 17, 2020 at 6:47 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Brendon Randall-Myers/Dither: Dynamics of Vanishing Bodies

Brendon Randall-Myers’ first composition for electric guitar quartet is performed by Dither, which includes Terry Riley’s son, Gyan Riley. The five movements are both intimate and distant, sharp and soothing. The striking “Missing Fundamentals” mainly consists of crests of controlled feedback, and will likely crush your speakers if you play it too loud. “Auras” is less startling, more a dreamlike ring of several close-miked guitars plucking away in intricate circles. After the brief waking winkling of “Phantom Rhythms (With Singing)”, “Trem Chorale/Harmonic Melody” is more forceful, barreling straight into the heart of the unknown with with a tough but adventurous spirit, and easily the most exciting section of the piece. Randall-Myers has been conducting the Glenn Branca Ensemble since the composer’s 2018 passing, and this track is where the album matches the force of Branca’s best work. The concluding “Vanishing Bodies (Lines and Loops)” is mostly calm levitation and floating, although there’s a few flashes where tones jump out a bit more, and it plays off of patterns like this for the final minutes.

Mike Khoury/Dominic Cramp/Gino Robair/Phillip Greenlief: Compassion & Evidence (Creative Sources, 2020)

October 16, 2020 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Mike Khoury/Dominic Cramp/Gino Robair/Phillip Greenlief: Compassion & Evidence

Detroit-area improv musician Mike Khoury recorded this 2018 session at the Temescal Art Center in Oakland with three West Coast musicians. Khoury plays viola, while Dominic Cramp (of Evangelista) plucks on a lyra and Gino Robair makes a soup of bubbling, spluttering electronics, which Phillip Greenlief threads in and out of with his tenor sax and Bb clarinet. It can get pretty messy (mostly in a fun way), but Khoury’s viola playing seems to elevate the mood into something more enlightened in the middle of the 13-minute “Nature Is the Objective Reality”. This is interrupted with bursts of radio dial-spinning, with waves of static eventually incorporated into the mix as an instrument before they float away. “The Universe Was Not Created” is a nearly half-hour vortex which features a greater presence of choppy, crunchy radio transmissions, which get blasted and stretched out at one point. It zones out deeper as it continues, ending up with terse scrapes and wind-squeaks against a tense drone. “Nothing, By Definition, Does Not Exist” finds a weird sort of rhythm between the musicians, with electronic distortion nearly sounding like a didgeridoo and having a sort of conversation with the radioactive reed spluttering.

Masma Dream World: Play At Night (Northern Spy, 2020)

October 15, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Masma Dream World: Play At Night

Masma Dream World is Devi Mambouka, a Gabonese-Singaporean artist who moved from Africa to the Bronx when she was 12, and trains as both a reiki practitioner and a butoh dancer. Her Northern Spy debut is a singular blend of pretty much everything that’s ever made an impact on her, as complex polyrhythms share space with R&B harmonies and backwards chanting. “Knight Wolf” is mesmerizing, with seismic bass and a warped airhorn introing several layers of phantasmic vocals and a slow, throbbing thump. “Theta” similarly feels like an invocation, with its reversed lyrics and ultra-low frequencies. Other tracks incorporate recordings of butoh performances and shamanic chants, while Mambouka’s own vocals are equally transporting. And the album just gets more hypnotic as it progresses, with “Becoming the Magician” being a completely levitating four minutes of slooooooow dub beats and tunneling vocals which nearly morph into throat singing by the end. “RIP” has a similar beat but more of a singular focus on Mambouka’s vocals, rather than echoed-out chants. Really stunning, otherworldly work that a lot of practitioners of otherness could learn a lot from.

Dev/Null: Pocket Selector (Modern Urban Jazz, 2020)

October 13, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dev/Null: Pocket Selector

Once known for brain-splattering breakcore which threw grindcore, oldschool rave, wanky jazz fusion, chiptune, and horror soundtracks into a blender, Dev/Null has dedicated much of the last decade-plus to breakbeat hardcore and jungle, a scene which is stronger than it’s been since its ’90s heyday. Any regular listen to his Blog to the Oldskool DJ sets has heard him slip in some jungle tracks he made on a Teenage Engineering PO-33 Pocket Operator, and earlier this year he released an entire album of these tracks. They’re clearly lo-fi and not as dynamic as they would be if they were recorded in a proper studio, but other than that, plenty of these tunes could’ve been produced and released back in the day. Some of them are a bit more over the edge than ’90s hardcore and a bit closer to the hyper-fractured intensity of Dev/Null’s breakcore work, particularly “Ahhh”, “Stop”, “Busy”, and “Hyper”. “Eazy” is definitely more on a darkside tip, and “Baby” starts out a bit smoother and more ecstatic before going haywire. “Stomp” does have some distorted stomping beats, but changes up into some more detailed rhythms as well. Seriously amazing work that seems too advanced to have been made on such a tiny hand-held device.

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