Tuesday, April 25, 2017

"Anxiety of the Eye" C30
(No Rent Records)

A cursory sweep in RFD’s history shows they have a release out by Helen Scarsdale and were promoted by 23five, two highly esteemed SF institutions, so I knew from the get-go that this was gonna be a real treat!

&Lo & behold, here be indeed an Infuckingcredible collection of field recordings from various secluded spots in California’s wilderness all woven together seamlessly with droning, minimal, modular synth stitching. With great dynamic range and patient, nuanced layering, this is pretty much what Mama Earth’s circulatory system sounds like, amplified for human ears; peaceful in pace, but heavy and filled with the ancient means of simultaneous destruction and creation. Breathe in…

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Monday, April 24, 2017

"Self Titled" C40
(Midori Records)

Just goes to show you how far my head’s been up my ass; Jeweled Snakes hail from Oakland, which is just down the street from me, & I’ve never even heard of ‘em, much less the equally awesome Midori Records, equally neighboring.

The duet kicks out dark, dark electro-pop (think of the grimiest Brainiac tracks) meets stripped down Industrial party jams; and with chanted choruses like “Get Off Your Ass! Medicate Yourself!”, you can make the connection that they’re a more creative My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (“Confessions…”), but replacing the repetition, upbeat tempo and polished vocals with more focus on synth textures and ritual sacrifice. Pretty goddamn great!


-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Self Titled" C59
(Midori Records)

Map Collection’s debut album is a minimalists’ psychedelic journey, conjured up by two cooperative (as opposed to dueling) modular synthesizers. Pretty much any blip & bloop you’ve ever dreamed of hearing in an office space, roar or hum from shipping warehouse, or space-echo-as-proof-of-distant-realities on the learning channel has been recreated by here in real time, looped, & fed into this cascading abyss of an hour long sonic ride. At times soothing ambient, at others noxiously chaotic, it’s a good headphone meditation, and a fanfuckingtastic headfuck in juxtaposition to a long walk in the wilderness.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Saturday, April 22, 2017

"Green Tape"
(Zypher Laboratory)

Igor Amokian/ABF crank out gritty beats that can’t be pigeon-holed into just one or two genres. Influences of early industrial, trance, hip-hop and dub-step cross over each other naturally, filling in the gray area between hardline definitions of style. This is groovy party music to either shake your ass to or just wobble your head about in the corner.

-- Jacob An Kittenplan

Friday, April 21, 2017

“The Hell Realm”
(Spare No Expanse)

What is the “Hell Realm” anyway? Is it “Infinite Purgatory”? Can you have one without the other? Or are they inextricably linked? I think that’s what The Celestial Body is asking, anyway, and the results might surprise you. Or maybe they won’t – I don’t know what your take on all this bleakgaze wish fulfillment is. Perhaps it’s just a coping mechanism, a strategy to work through the, dare I repeat, infinite problems associated with modern living, a reaction to the reaction to the reaction. Again, infinite is key – it’s like infinite sadness, a blanket gut punch stretching from horizon to horizon. But I promise you that this does not sound remotely like The Smashing Pumpkins.

This sure seems like a strategy – an inward-looking song cycle of complete disappointment. The beauty of such a thing, of course, is its ability to reflect our own insecurities back at us in such a way that makes the path toward destruction less than a complete nightmare. That’s where The Celestial Body comes in. Part of the Posthumankrew, the mysterious artist begins The Hell Realm with sort of a fake-out, a proto–Wax Trax! composition with the appropriately proto–Wax Trax! title “Rest in Piss.” Its mixed-back Jourgensen-esque vocal samples lend it an air of passing from this life to the next – albeit a bad death, as suggested by the title. Anyway, without reading too much into that (I’d probably go on for a while), you can consider the rest of the tape a replication of purgatorial existence, a dark, dreamlike experience that skews neither positive nor negative. The dank electronics cast surreal imagery on the imagination, allowing it multiple avenues to process feelings both unstable and grounded. In short, The Hell Realm plays as sort of a lectionary for the afterlife.

But here, life goes on, and once the tape ends you’re reminded of your continued existence. Your endless, continued existence. Maybe this is our purgatory right now – who knows? Endless weirdness – kind of like how everybody thought the island on Lost was purgatory for so long. To borrow from the film popularized (in theaters!) by Mystery Science Theater 3000, perhaps our planet is like Lost’s island, and “this island Earth” is an infinite waypoint for us eventual “celestial” beings. Or maybe it’s just plain old Earth, and The Celestial Body has my own imagination in a stranglehold. Who’s to say for sure.

--Ryan Masteller