Monogamy: Tonight Looks Bad (Fish People Birds, 2021)

February 28, 2021 at 1:47 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Monogamy: Tonight Looks Bad

D. Alfred Lyons III has been making nervous, bummed-out lo-fi pop as Monogamy for around a decade or so, in both solo and full band formats. This is the debut album by Monogamy the band, and it’s a well rounded sampler of their various moods and methods. Their more approachable pop side is represented by songs like “Blue Can”, the fuzzy duet “The Roaches Are Back” (with its insistent chorus “You don’t exist, you’re nonexistent to me!”), and the almost SLGTM-esque “Never Seen You Dance” (it’s no coincidence that Fred Thomas mastered the album). Elsewhere other songs are slower and more anxiety-stricken, with more bluntly honest yet artful lyrics about depression. Curiously, a more dirgey version of “Low Morale” (a punky highlight of their 2016 7″ EP) appears early on in the album. “I’m Sad All the Time” makes its intentions pretty clear, although the synths and saxophones liven up the mood a little bit. The rest of the album is far more experimental, starting with the clanging industrial synthscape collage of “Frag the Ones That Die”. The final three tracks are longer and more grief-stricken, mixing shoegaze droniness with coldwave bleakness. While the first side might have some tracks that can help you dance to try and shake off the cobwebs, the second side leaves you no choice but to come face to face with existential dread.

Jeff Greinke: Other Weather (Spotted Peccary, 2021)

February 28, 2021 at 12:58 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Jeff Greinke: Other Weather (Spotted Peccary, 2021)

Like his previous album, 2018’s marvelous Before Sunrise, Jeff Greinke’s newest work blends ambient soundscapes with intimately recorded acoustic instruments. This album sounds further from dark ambient and space music, and closer to neo-classical and chamber music. Continuing the longstanding weather theme present throughout his discography (just look at his past album titles: Cities in Fog, Big Weather, Moving Climates, etc.), the album is filled with rolling textural clouds and melodic figures which convey various weather patterns and phenomena. There’s more downcast tracks like the slowcore trudge of “Rain Through the Night” as well as more dramatic, swelling epics like “Snow Across a Windswept Plain”. “Clouds Like Flying Saucers” is more mysterious and hard to grasp, with delicate notes tripping over each other, but in a way that’s obviously deliberate and purposeful, making you ponder what exactly is occurring. The piano-driven “After the Rain” immediately hits a sort of mood similar to Aphex Twin’s “Fingerbib”, but more unbound and meandering. Tracks like that one and “Across the Sky” certainly feel like staring up at the clouds and noticing weird shapes, yet the music itself is far from being random and formless.

Northwoods Improvisers Quartet/Quintet: Raft (Entropy Stereo, 2021)

February 27, 2021 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Northwoods Improvisers Quartet/Quintet: Raft

Longrunning Detroit jazz ensemble Northwoods Improvisers return with their first recording since the 2012 death of Griot Galaxy legend Faruq Z. Bey, whom they regularly collaborated with since 2000. They’ve been playing strictly acoustic instrumentation since the early 1980s, but the music is charged with enough energy that it often seems electric. Each piece has a writing credit, and many of them are composed, structured, and melodic, like “Ethiopia” (which definitely sounds inspired by the music of the country it’s named after) and the slow river float of “Raft”. “Burgundy and Green” starts out with a flurry of drumming which continues underneath the sax and flutes, which diverge from a sorrowful, weary duet into wild improvisations. “Woodfire” is an expressive audio painting which instantly transports you to a remote environment far from civilization. “R.M.” is a short, frantic, angular burst accompanied by a poem in the inner sleeve, although the audio is instrumental. “19 Moons” is a Faruq Z. Bey composition, and the mournful “Tasbih'” is dedicated to him. The busier, more sprawling “Witnessed” is for Mike Carey, another longtime group member who does not appear on this album.

Show #571 – 2/27/21

February 27, 2021 at 1:55 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Rochelle Jordan ~ All Along
Riddlore ~ Mad Is
Kush Jones ~ UUU
Jana Rush ~ Fluidity
J Dilla ~ Beej-N-Dem Pt. 2 (instrumental)
Drumskull ~ Interlocked (Coco Bryce Remix)
Ecko Bazz ~ Kyusa Embela (Gunfinger Mix)
Mani Festo ~ Full Circle
Jordana ~ Finalé
Sexual Harrassment ~ Exercise Your Ass Off
The Fall ~ Rowche Rumble (live)
The Wedding Present ~ You Should Always Keep In Touch With Your Friends
Gallery S ~ The Meaning

James Bangura: E​-​FAX009 (Art-E-Fax, 2021)

February 26, 2021 at 6:58 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

James Bangura: E​-​FAX009

James Bangura’s latest EP has six tracks which casually fold shuffling breaks into refreshingly lush textures, then delicately heat up the club without getting dramatic about it. “Denitia Junction” is blown-out, spludgy hip-hop with wind-rush jungle synths and dubby vocal echoes. Then there’s more upbeat yet spacious, resonant club tracks like “Interpretive Dance” and “Incoherent Response”. The producer doesn’t go for big, heavy sounds or commanding basslines, or anything else that would make for obvious floorfillers, but the songs are so intricately arranged that they give your mind as much of a workout as your body.

William St Hugh: Terra Former (self-released, 2020)

February 25, 2021 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

William St Hugh: Terra Former

The fourth album from this mysterious Massachusetts-based composer is a set of dark, cinematic neo-classical pieces which vary between rising-and-falling ambience and more bombastic fanfares (like “Cascade”). The brief “Blinking Drops” is more twitchy, jittery, and IDM-y, with a menacing kick drum pounding nervously away underneath. The shivering, cavelike “Diluted” is like Popol Vuh by way of the KLF’s Chill Out. “Gone to Ground” is maybe the most ominous and dark ambient-sounding piece here, a dreadscape of metallic whirring and stirring void. “Terra Former” contains at least a tiny glimmer of hope, and “Elevation” is a grand shining of horns and strings. “Dust Queen” is one last turn of the tide, casting a glance back on the themes of the album as the moonshadows fall.

Good Willsmith: HausLive 2: Good Willsmith at Sleeping Village, 4​/​25​/​2019 (Hausu Mountain, 2021)

February 24, 2021 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Good Willsmith: HausLive 2: Good Willsmith at Sleeping Village, 4​/​25​/​2019

Good Willsmith started off this year with this live tape of a 2019 gig, and it’s instantly my favorite release by them. Really inventive incorporation of drum machine rhythms and colorful, joyous, heartfelt melodies, yet still coming from a jammy psych-rock background. The first track is just really expressive, melodic, and even danceable, and it’s just really delightful. “The Burning Orphanage Sidequest” is more twisted, more angular, noisier, more technological, and just a tad bit scary, but still the right sort of challenging. “Third Eyebrow” is a bit similar but funky and polyrhythmic, mixing up wah-wah guitar effects, Zappa-style percussive escapades, and motorik trance rhythms without biting off more than they can chew. It retains the looseness and spontaneity of their other releases, and the bootleg-style presentation keeps it underground while documenting a unique, special happening.

v/a: Modus Vivendi: A Benefit Compilation for Chris Phinney (NO PART OF IT, 2021)

February 22, 2021 at 10:33 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Modus Vivendi: A Benefit Compilation for Chris Phinney

The second benefit album NO PART OF IT has released in the past few months, the proceeds of Modus Vivendi go to longtime experimental musician and home taper Chris Phinney (Harsh Reality Music, Mental Anguish), who was left wheelchair-bound after an auto accident in late 2019 (see the Bandcamp link for more details). The collection features material recorded over the course of several decades by artists Phinney has worked before, as well as newer noise/experimental artists continuing in the spirit of the ’80s tape underground. Content Nullity (now known as Mollusk King) begins the set with a bracing, powerful piece called “Grief”, which has a familiar cinematic loop doused in distortion and surrounded by swarming tones that seem like brief snatches of voices calling out, then layered thousands of times. Far from being just a noise comp, the album features haunted drift-rock from Theatre of Ice and the more detached, atmospheric Plastic Crimewave as well as a 2002 demo by Gitane Demone, formerly of Christian Death. Ethereal wave pioneers Attrition also make an appearance, in addition to other dark and heavenly sounds by Temple Ov Saturn. Chicago industrial/gospel/performance art legends ONO provide the clanky, hair-raising highlight “Miss Rita/Popeye’s Sister”, and even more frightening are mid-album scare-the-crap-outs by Dieter Müh and risaripa. Tape scene veteran PBK contributes a furnace-blasting track of his own as well as a piece from the Minóy archives. Aaron Dilloway’s typically amazing piece possibly spins chicken clucks into head-warping tape loops. An edit of a collaboration between Phinney and label founder Arvo Zylo is one of the more aggressive noise pieces here, but also feels stark and chilling in a way. An excerpt of Gas Mask Horse’s Halloween 2019 performance on freeform station WZRD properly brings the heebie-jeebies with howling wolves, ominous bubbling, and bursts of rusty noise, as well as distorted cackling. Finally, it all ends with a brief bit of slide whistle whimsy by the inimitable Little Fyodor.

Hotel Neon: Moments (sound in silence, 2020)

February 21, 2021 at 1:03 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Hotel Neon: Moments

Remotely recorded ambient pieces which still manage to feel like intimate snapshots of, well, moments. All tracks are titled after specific dates, and they all seem like they’re capturing a sunrise or a high tide or something else just as fleeting. The pieces with later dates are fittingly colder, but hardly Arctic. It’s still semi-warm, and it all has an autumnal glow to it. Fuzzy distortion, soothing waves, perhaps some pipe organ and just a general sense of serenity.

Show #570 – 2/20/21

February 20, 2021 at 1:58 am | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Please DONATE to WCBN!
His Name Is Alive ~ Keep The Moon On Time
USA/Mexico ~ Chorizo
Xiu Xiu feat. Liz Harris ~ A Bottle of Rum
Blanche Blanche Blanche ~ Blocked and Reported
Nonconnah ~ Changed in Autumn’s Feral Depths
Shygirl ~ TASTY (LSDXOXO Remix)
Suzi Analogue ~ FaceUp
Kode9 ~ The Jackpot
Govlink ~ Razorwire
Bicep ~ Saku
Acetantina ~ Dream Deluxe
All Energy Must Continue Upward ~ Child Of Forever
Altern 8 ~ Hard Crew (Reinst8 Mix)
KMD ~ Humrush (instrumental)
Bibio ~ Lightspout Hollow

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