The Burrell Connection: Hyper/Orbit 12″ EP (Craigie Knowes, 2018)

September 15, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

The Burrell Connection: Hyper/Orbit 12″ EP

The newest Burrell Connection EP starts out with crunchy broken beats, “Clear” sweeps, and an acid line snaking through everything on “Hyper 14.255”. Then “Hyper 480” starts out riding the line between atmospheric jungle and techno before some impossibly heavy breaks smash in. It all ends way too soon. “Orbit 458” is a slower, bleaker atmospheric breakbeat track with the “fuckin’ voodoo magic man” sample as made famous by Hyper On Experience’s “Lords Of the Null Lines”. “Orbit .512” is a much more hypnotic midtempo shaker with a sly acid line sparking up throughout. It somehow feels caught between dubby disco, gqom, and some sort of shamanic trance. A very well rounded, often marvelous set of tracks.


Mamuthones: Fear On The Corner (Rocket Recordings, 2018)

September 11, 2018 at 11:04 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Mamuthones: Fear On The Corner

Nearly a decade ago, I reviewed a Mamuthones album for Foxy Digitalis (R.I.P.) which was sort of a droney dark ambient work filled with clattering metal and creepy voices. I lost track of the group after that, but sometime in between then and now, the Italian group started making colorful psychedelic rock, informed by both Krautrock and Afrobeat, and they signed to Rocket Recordings. Rhythm is the focus here, and there’s pounding drums as well as marimba and other percussive instruments adding some additional flavors. There’s some noise bursts and plenty of flanged guitar effects, but the group largely don’t drown out the rhythm. “Show Me” is probably the most overtly Krautrock-sounding song, but “Alone” is a straight-up disco-punk jam. The album ends with “Here We Are”, a trance-inducing 10-minute procession which is roughly as frightening as the album’s cover art.

Fritz Welch: A Desire To Push Forward Without Gaining Access To Anything LP (Radical Documents, 2018)

September 11, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Fritz Welch: A Desire To Push Forward Without Gaining Access To Anything LP

Former Peeesseye member Fritz Welch presents an album of totally off-the-wall vocal pieces. Double-tracking and processing his voice, he starts out speaking normal words but quickly goes off the rails into elastic-faced jibber-jabber and primal gobbledygook. The fact that there’s two of him making these alien cartoon noises only increases the nuttiness of it all. I’m not an expert on dadaist sound poetry so I have no clue who to compare this to — other than weird voices I come up with when I think nobody’s around. He breaks slightly from the madness with the brief “Tamio’s Prison Song”, a listing of several prisons described as “a poetic response to a song often performed by Tamio Shiraishi”. The second side is my favorite of the two, because his voice is aided by electronics, so he’s grunting and shouting into the void, and then his voice comes back to haunt him. Definitely recommended for fans of the vocal stylings of Dylan Nyoukis and Aaron Dilloway. Listen and buy from Bandcamp, if you dare.

Body Shame: Open Sores tape (SDM Records, 2017)

September 8, 2018 at 9:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Body Shame: Open Sores tape

Usually the term body shame refers to making fun of someone for being overweight, but in this artist’s case, it seems more like being ashamed that one inhabits a body, and wanting to transcend it or break free from it, no matter the damage. This is rambunctious, barely controlled percussive chaos with clattering drums completely broken free from any conventional rhythmic grid patterns and lava-like bursts of squelching synths. Some of it feels like an attempt to play doom metal entirely on a card table full of busted electronic equipment and dilapidated drums, yet all of these inanimate objects have lives of their own and keep scurrying across the room and doing things they’re not supposed to. It can be hard to grasp what the artist is trying to accomplish here, even after multiple listens, but there’s obviously a lot of thought put into this, and it feels like an intense self-examination as well as a deafening cry out from within. There’s nothing pretty or tame about any of this, it’s messy, destructive, chaotic, and incredibly challenging. It’s also highly exhilarating, a life-affirming body rush. For fans of Scissor Shock, Five Star Hotel, Nero’s Day At Disneyland. Available from Bandcamp.

Christian Rønn & Ikue Mori: Chordis Et Machina LP (Resipiscent/Nische/Tonometer, 2018)

September 3, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Christian Rønn & Ikue Mori: Chordis Et Machina LP

This is a delightful collection of improvised spluttery noises, knocks, electro-acoustic sorcery, and the types of electronic buzzing that make you think the arm of the turntable is skating across the record, but it’s not. Ikue Mori is just credited with “electronics”, but Christian Rønn plays upright piano, prepared grand piano soundboard, FX, and Buchla and Serge synthesizers. There’s some sparse moments, but other times you need to listen several times in order to get an idea of everything going on. It sounds very random and sometimes accidental/by chance, and that could all be a turn-off for some listeners, but for me, the way they venture into the unknown sounds utterly exciting. The clipped pianos which rumble throughout “Loch Ness” add some eeriness, but still in sort of a sideways, refracted through broken prisms kind of way. “Primordial Chaos” is more piano-heavy, coming closer to a glitch-enhanced Conlon Nancarrow player piano study. “The Path” is maybe the most abduction-like piece. Really fun album, and I’m sure it was a total blast to create as well.

Well: Tape (Favela Discos, 2017)

September 3, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Well: Tape

This minimal-info tape from Portugal starts out with a 25-minute live seance for its first side. “Mass In C Minor For Diskette Box” sounds like it couldn’t have taken more than a few small machines to make, but the duo manage to conjure ghosts that the machines’ manufacturers certainly weren’t aware were inside of them. Starting with a prowling drone, a clicking beat gradually grows louder and more out of control. It eventually dies down, but then other noises begin to swarm like an ever-growing flock of mechanical robot birds. Once the terror becomes too much to bear, things start exploding and shooting off into space. The other side of the tape has several shorter pieces, allowing for more concentrated panic bursts (“Short-Circuit”) as well as the seep-into-your-consciousness drone “Bird Road”. Still available from Bandcamp.

Peace To Mateo: Some Strange Reason (Young Heavy Souls, 2018)

September 2, 2018 at 11:39 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Peace To Mateo: Some Strange Reason

Young Heavy Souls is quickly becoming Detroit’s premier label for all things downtempo, wonky, and experimental hip-hop. They’ve already released records by alumni of Ninja Tune, Ghostly, and Mush Records, as well as several promising local artists. Peace To Mateo (Matt Black) is the head of the label, and his newest album is a concentrated dose of dreaminess featuring ethereal scratching, ghostly voices, and jazzy horns. Rather than a sample-driven beat tape, this is an album of proper compositions, with live recordings weaved in a collage-like manner. There’s a heavy dub influence to the bass and effects of tracks like “Blue Light Ocean”, yet the slight wonkiness of “Splash Damage” clearly puts it in the category of post-Brainfeeder hip-hop. Nothing here ever seems hard or aggressive, but tracks like “Lazerdisk” and “Court the Void” are still just a slight bit twisted or more muscular enough to grab your attention instead of simply fading away into an anonymous stream of chilled-out beats.

Acemo: EP 12″ (Vanity Press Records, 2018)

September 2, 2018 at 11:08 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Acemo: EP 12″

Brooklyn’s Acemo previously appeared on Color Plus’ Vanity Press 12″, and now he has a solo EP on the label. “R.E.M. Dance” is bright, upbeat electro-techno with sunray-like synth pads and an appropriately dreamy sense of optimism. “Get It From The Sound” is lo-fi and slightly menacing, with garage-house chords and snapping electro beats, as well as rough vocals not dissimilar to “Da Back”, Acemo’s Color Plus collaboration. “The Essence” has more floating garage chords and a bit more of a neon-streaked electro feel. “Speedn N Smokin” is practically all percussion, with an occasional emphasis on the kick drum in order to give it sort of a sideways bump. As an added bonus, the digital version on Bandcamp has an extra track, “Jam 1212”, another track with snapping electro beats as well as loosely bouncing notes which vaguely tip towards trance.

True Blue: Solitary Queen tape (self-released, 2018)

August 31, 2018 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

True Blue: Solitary Queen tape

The debut EP from recent Local Music Show guest True Blue (Detroit-based singer/songwriter Alexandria Berry) contains four incredibly powerful, hook-filled tunes about yearning, disappointment, and abandonment. Berry multi-tracks her vocals, guitar, and bass, while Dina Bankole (Secret Twins, Swimsuit, Casual Sweetheart) provides steady yet urgent backbeats. Berry’s songs are simply constructed yet scathing. There’s a whole lot of vitriol on songs like “Look What You’ve Done” and “Not Anymore”, and especially the nagging “Only If You Want To”, yet the songs don’t sound harsh or abrasive. They’re easy-to-swallow garage pop tunes, but the lyrics really dig into my heart. Currently on repeat, and it sounds better every listen. True Blue will be opening for Fred Thomas (who mixed and mastered this tape) at Outer Limits Lounge in Hamtramck on September 19, and I do not want to miss it! Stream and buy the limited cassette at Bandcamp.

Dean Spunt: EE Head LP (Radical Documents, 2018)

August 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Dean Spunt: EE Head LP

No Age’s Dean Spunt picks apart a few, sparse musical elements and recombines them in order to create very detached, quasi-musical pieces which nevertheless have some sort of forward motion to them. There’s some tenuously connected arcs of feedback, some nearly accidental-sounding drum crashes and sample bursts, and a starkly thumping electronic kick drum which seems to sleepwalk through it all. It’s divided into four pieces, but it’s essentially one thematic work. It does get a bit more kinetic at the beginning of the second side, however, where the beat picks up and the feedback becomes more wavy and forcefield-like. The following “Locker” mostly just sounds like a motor running, but there’s a very few brief moments where notes are faintly audible. This was originally performed at a gallery in New York last year, and it’s easy to imagine the artist just sitting at a desk with a few small machines in front of him in a nearly blank room.

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