Field of Fear: Ashes (self-released, 2021)

November 27, 2021 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Field of Fear: Ashes

Drew Zercoe’s new album sort of functions like the audio equivalent of a natural horror film. The music was composed by processing pixel data from photographs of over 80,000 acres of land burned during the CZU Lightning Complex fires in California in 2020, and concerting the data into frequencies. The first track, “Fallen Branch”, starts out quiet and gradually becomes engulfed in flames halfway through its 10-minute duration. “Broken Trunk” is more of an immediate storm, starting out with black clouds of terror and becoming electrified in an instant, but there’s a pause where it all goes dark and still before bursting back once again. “Año Nuevo” is more of a vast, rotating drone that ends up scorching a huge amount of ground in its 11 minutes. “Bone Trees” is the longest and most astonishing track here, with a trace of a rhythm throbbing away and funereal drones bleeding underneath. It fades down to just rustling wind for the last minute or so, and you’re too shaken with fear to begin to question what’s just happened and how much has been lost.

Dev/Null: Microjunglizm (Evar Records, 2021)

November 20, 2021 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dev/Null: Microjunglizm

Last year, Dev/Null released Pocket Selector, an album of jungle tracks created using Teenage Engineering’s PO-33 Pocket Operator, a small tool which can surprisingly produce some massive, twisted material. His new Microjunglizm EP is another batch of storming hardcore and jungle, with each track packing a huge wallop in less than 4 minutes. There’s horror vibes (“Broken Bell”), there’s more aggressive drill-like breaks (“Breath”), there’s moments that almost approach more straightened out, looped versions of his breakcore past (“Warning Sign”), there’s mutant hardcore dancehall (“Time 2 Rhyme”), and lots of on-the-fly Hyper On Experience-style mashery. Definitely not as loony and horror movie-esque as the Dev/Null of old, but just as much of a shot of manic energy, and easily some of the most creative modern hardcore.

Crush Collision 11/18/21

November 19, 2021 at 9:55 am | Posted in Crush Collision | Leave a comment

Come see me at Club Above this Saturday @ 9! Shigeto is headlining! WCBN X MEMCO X Maize Collective!
10:00 pm The Black Dog ~ Cup Noodle
10:02 pm Radioactive Man ~ Multi Faith Prayer Room
10:05 pm IXTAB ~ Eidesis
10:07 pm Low Jack ~ Sweet Cheater
10:10 pm Hypnoskull ~ 1432
10:12 pm Ivy’s Hands ~ Act II [Dancing With Tears In Her Eyes]
10:16 pm Midnight Climax ~ Haunting Paranoia
10:18 pm clipping. ~ Wriggle (Cardopusher’s EBM Remix)
10:23 pm Richard Fearless ~ Acid Angels (Edit)
10:27 pm Reverberation Vs Muslimgauze ~ Blue E
10:31 pm Hieroglyphic Being ~ A Romance of 2 Planets
10:33 pm Abnormalities ~ Voyager
10:36 pm Somatic Responses ~ Techno1
10:41 pm Argiflex ~ Acid Jam 1
10:45 pm Russell E.L. Butler ~ Technofeminism House
10:47 pm Carter Tutti Void ~ t3.5
10:52 pm 4CC ~ Сторм
10:56 pm Free Love Association ~ Spoonful (Part 1)
10:58 pm Legowelt ~ Chokolecktrik
11:03 pm Techmarine Bottom Feeders ~ We Cannot Help You (The Exaltics Remix)
11:05 pm Systems1991 ~ Dancer in the Dark (Enyang Ha Remix)
11:09 pm Cygnus ~ Deep Analysis
11:12 pm Cignol ~ Lunokhod One
11:16 pm Special Request ~ Entropy
11:21 pm Percy X ~ Whatever Whenever
11:24 pm Anthony Rother ~ Stellarator
11:30 pm Bézier ~ Continuum
11:34 pm Cocktail Party Effect ~ For the Memory Exchange
11:37 pm Ellen Allien ~ Junge Sein
11:40 pm T.Raumschmiere ~ The Game Is Not Over (Uncut Instrumental Version)
11:44 pm Hania ~ Horeya
11:49 pm Kryptek ~ Street Justice
11:50 pm Underworld ~ King of Snake (Dave Clarke Remix)
11:54 pm Suzi Analogue ~ Quieres
11:56 pm Solypsis ~ Vomit Onto the Entire Planet

v/a: Relief: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund (Mack Avenue, 2021)

November 17, 2021 at 11:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Relief: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund

Benefiting musicians who are still dealing with financial setbacks due to the pandemic, this compilation gathers previously unreleased goodies from an impressive cast of modern jazz heavyweights and all-time legends. Esperanza Spalding is the guest vocalist on the dense soul-jazz cityscape that opens the album, “back to who” by Irma and Leo. Christian McBride’s “Brother Malcolm” is a solemn reflection which gets a bit wound up before resolving at the end. Cecile McLorin Salvant delivers a passionate yet unfussy reading of “Easy Come, Easy Go Blues”, recorded by Bessie Smith nearly a century ago. Jon Batiste similarly interprets “Sweet Lorraine” in the manner of Nat King Cole, accompanying himself on piano and getting a little excited during the solo. Kenny Garrett’s “Joe Hen’s Waltz” is one of the longest tracks here, folding a brief “My Favorite Things” quote into a steady outpouring of soulful musings. Hiromi revisits a track from her 2004 album Brain, and it’s astounding as always, finding place for both tenderness and technical mastery. Actually, it’s definitely not the most daredevil-like piece she’s recorded, it’s more accessible. Joshua Redman’s piece kind of floats and ambles along; Brian Blade’s drumming is the most exciting part. Charles Lloyd & Kindred Spirits perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing”, and the veteran saxophonist takes the familiar melody and runs it through the wringer several times over, as Marvin Sewell does on guitar. The rest of the band is loose and unbound, making this the most far-out piece on the album as well as the longest. Finally, Herbie Hancock presents Jimmy Heath’s “Gingerbread Boy”, a song he played piano on when Miles Davis recorded it for Miles Smiles, and this version just overflows with energy, with all of the players joyfully caught up in the moment.

Brett Naucke: Mirror Ensemble (American Dreams, 2021)

November 16, 2021 at 7:24 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Brett Naucke: Mirror Ensemble

Brett Naucke’s breathtaking new album is a collaboration with Natalie Chami (TALsounds, Good Willsmith) and Whitney Johnson (Matchess), both of the duo Damiana. Both artists add different dimensions to Naucke’s analog synth arrangements, and the results are unlike any of the artists’ other work. “The Glass Shifting” is a sort of goth sleepwalk, with starry synths shimmering down among Chami’s ethereal vocals and slow yet detailed machine beats. “A Look That Tells Time” is sparser and more crystalline, with mist floating off of thumb piano-like notes, then strings and more vivid synths rising and flowing like a fountain of pure energy. “Parallax” is clusters of haunting lights in the night sky, and “Rose Water” is similar but even spacier. “Sleep With Your Windows Open” is delicate and more acoustic, then “Late-Century Reflection” is one last burst of transcendent arpeggio-heavy synth power.

v/a: Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980​-​1989 (Dark Entries, 2021)

November 15, 2021 at 8:09 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: Back Up: Mexican Tecno Pop 1980​-​1989

Dark Entries’ latest compilation sheds light on underground synth pop and new wave produced in Mexico during the 1980s. Most of the tracks were actually featured on a 2005 CD compilation (Backup Expediente Tecno Pop), aside from 2 exclusives, including the previously unheard proto-acid synth odyssey “Las Cucarachas” by El Escuadrón Del Ritmo. Some of these songs recall Spanish electro pioneers Aviador DRO, who coined the term tecno-pop in 1979. The first songs on the album contain tinny, uptempo drum machines and melodramatic, new romantic-style vocals, with Syntoma’s “No Me Puedo Controlar” being a particular highlight. Then there’s a sample-crazy industrial track by Artefacto, who changed the “c” to “k” and collaborated with Sascha Konietzko of KMFDM, and later ended up founding the Nortec Collective. The self-titled track by Cou Cou Bazar predicts a lot of the hypnagogic pop stuff that came into vogue around 15 years ago. Volti’s Crammed Discs-issued “Corazón” is more disco-friendly, verging on freestyle, while Nahtabisk’s “La Dama De Probeta” is off-the-wall synth-punk. Década 2’s “Alfabeto (Cold Version)” is a New Beat-ish stomper, and the release ends with a stunning, dub-tinged darkwave tune by Silueta Pálida. Lots of fascinating material on here, and like the best of these compilations of obscurities, clicking around on Discogs and YouTube links will lead you down several rabbit holes with tons more to discover.

Show #607 – 11/14/21

November 14, 2021 at 12:20 pm | Posted in The Answer Is In The Beat | Leave a comment

Come see me at Club Above on November 20! I’m doing a warmup set at 9 and Shigeto is headlining! Presented by MEMCO, WCBN, and Maize Collective!

2:00 am Brett Naucke ~ A Look That Tells Time ~ Mirror Ensemble (new) ~ American Dreams ~ 2021
2:08 am Stefan Goldmann ~ Neodym ~ Live at Philharmonie Berlin ~ Macro ~ 2020
2:15 am Uffe ~ The Moon ~ Words and Endings (new) ~ On the Corner ~ 2021
2:18 am Bush Tetras ~ Das Ah Riot ~ Rhythm & Paranoia: The Best of Bush Tetras ~ Wharf Cat ~ 1981
2:23 am Guided by Voices ~ Psycho House ~ It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! (new) ~ GBV Inc. ~ 2021
2:25 am Chime School ~ Dead Saturdays ~ Chime School (new) ~ Slumberland ~2021
2:29 am Bruno Bavota ~ Apartment Loop #2 ~ For Apartments: Songs & Loops (new) ~ Temporary Residence Limited ~ 2021
2:36 am Little Tempo ~ Frostie ~ Oto No Wa: Selected Sounds of Japan 1988-2018 ~ Music for Dreams ~ 1999
2:42 am Hiromi ~ Spectrum ~ Spectrum ~ Telarc ~ 2019
2:47 am Nate Smith ft. Vernon Reid ~ Rambo: The Vigilante ~ Kinfolk 2: See the Birds (new) ~ Edition Records ~ 2021
2:52 am Doug Carn ~ Moon Child ~ Infant Eyes ~ Black Jazz Records ~ 1971
3:00 am Christian McBride ~ Brother Malcolm ~ Relief: A Benefit for the Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians’ Emergency Fund (new) ~ Mack Avenue ~ 2021
3:04 am Steve Coleman and Five Elements ~ Pad Thai – Mdw Ntr ~Live at the Village Vanguard Volume II (Mdw Ntr) (new) ~ Pi Recordings ~ 2021
3:19 am Gene Russell ~ On Green Dolphin Street ~ New Direction ~ Black Jazz Records ~ 1971
3:24 am Gene Russell ~ Blues Suite ~ Talk to My Lady ~ Black Jazz Records ~ 1973
3:30 am Suneaters ~ Sacco and Vanzetti ~ Suneaters XI: It’s the Future (new) ~ Lotuspool Records ~ 2021
3:39 am Orquesta Akokán ~ Llegue Con Mi Rumba ~ 16 Rayos (new) ~ Daptone ~ 2021
3:44 am James Fella & Gabriella Isaac ~ 6 Lacquer Ensemble ~ CCTK Music (new) ~ Gilgongo ~ 2021

Nate Smith: Kinfolk 2: See The Birds (Edition Records, 2021)

November 13, 2021 at 12:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nate Smith: Kinfolk 2: See The Birds

Drummer and keyboard player Nate Smith leads an all-star cast on the second LP of a trilogy. Influenced by the entire spectrum of Black music, Smith’s work is heavy on breakbeat-like rhythms, tricky time signatures, rock riffs, and insightful lyrics. Opener “Altitude” is just a calm, welcoming vibe with cool keys, scat vocals, and ear-tickling vibraphones by Joel Ross. Class is in session with “Square Wheel”, a mini-marathon containing rapping, encouraging lyrics, angular rhythms, and boppy sax soloing, then it leads into a brief, tongue-twisting freestyle by emcee Kokayi. The instrumental “Street Lamp” intertwines driving alt-rock with heartfelt soul-jazz. Regina Carter contributes violin to the enchanting “Collision”, and a surprisingly dark, ethereal prelude leads into “Rambo: The Vigilante”, a tense, somewhat difficult, but riveting scorcher featuring Vernon Reid. Amma Whatt sings on the sensuous ballad “I Burn for You”, then Joel Ross and michael Mayo return for the synth-funk groover “See the Birds”. Finally, Brittany Howard guest on “Fly (For Mike)”, a gentle, hopeful ballad which feels like lifting off and floating in the air.

Suneaters: Suneaters XI: It’s the Future (Lotuspool Records, 2021)

November 11, 2021 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Suneaters: Suneaters XI: It’s the Future

Kansas City’s Suneaters are described as “post graduate rock” and “scientist rock” online, but they’ve gravitated towards electronic music with their most recent releases. Their newest album has palm trees and a setting sun on the cover, and it sounds like the score to the type of film that builds a lot of suspense out of long, breathtaking shots where almost nothing happens. Slow, hazy synthscapes point your mind in directions without spelling too much out. “Climate” creeps quietly, but there’s several sudden bursts and hallucinatory flare-ups. “Graveyard” is a long, drawn-out doomscape with an unexpected chopped-and-screwed sample appearing out of nowhere and adding to the tension. “No. 3” is a shorter, prettier piece that feels like floating in some sort of lush, crystal garden. Synths are so lovely, aren’t they? “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres” is a bit more alien, with more abrasive splotches of synths squirming about, but apart from reproducing and squizzing on top of each other, they don’t seem to move too much. “Sacco and Vanzetti” is just a long, heavy, dead-eyed stare, with some faint rumblings of stray synths and drums under heavy, swarming synth clouds, and a bug-out ending that truly catches you off guard.

Christoph de Babalon: 044 (Hilf Dir Selbst​!​) (AD 93, 2021)

November 9, 2021 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Christoph de Babalon: 044 (Hilf Dir Selbst​!​)

Christoph de Babalon perfected the bleak, soulcrushing side of breakcore with his classic first album, and his work from the past decade has taken his signature sound to cinematic heights. This EP obviously sounds more high-definition than the lo-fi early stuff on his debut or the many archival releases that have since appeared, but it’s in the same spirit — unrelenting grimness, no way out, yet not absolutely smothering you with cliched “woe is me, life is a living hell” mopery. His drum programming has honestly never been better, there’s a nuanced jazziness and even a bit of an old-school hip-hop/breakbeat hardcore slap to it, yet this is clearly stretching beyond the confines of any genre. Pure artistry. My heart is full.

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