Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Wilmoth Axel's S/L tape is split into two sides: Washington and Oregon. Both sides contain mixtures of twangy, crunched up blues, microtonal riffing, synth laden prog rock and more. Many of the cuts remind me of a drunken version of The Advantage due to their 8-bit-esque synth components and crispy drum work. Others are reminiscent of a less polished Explosions In The Sky. The last category of selections you will hear on this tape are more of a general driving rock vibe that houses some Zeppelin influence (probably not what they are going for). If S/L is a collection of live jam sessions, i am thoroughly impressed but i feel like the collection could have been split into two separate tapes or many could have been left out. The order of the tracks leave cohesion to be desired but it's definitely daring and may entice listeners that enjoy more rock flavored tones. The stand out cuts are Cranberry Egg Limble (which is immersive due to the inclusion of a cranberry egg limble recipe card in the cassette package), Edgeless Mood, Etch and Fill and Very Little Harm In Asking.
LIYL: Add N to X on depressants, The Unicorns on tranqs, Led Zeppelin on bulleit
-- Joseph Morris
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Y’know how all your favorite American ‘80s pop albums have a few songs where (the artists) try a li’l something less…y’know…they just…shot for something a li’l outside the box? And, hey, sometimes it was good (weird, but good), and othertimes…well…notsomuch.
Well, Funny Death, from Japan is a contemporary pop artist that doesn’t want you to think too hard, or stress yourself out with all that “adventure”; they’ve got the mid-tempo POP thing down to a science, so you can sit back in your driver’s seat, relax, and expect a straight forward, all around, no punches pulled, Pleasant experience throughout the entire album.
-- Jacob An Kittenplan
Monday, October 24, 2016
It’s only 2 tracks, spanning a quarter of an hour, but that time in meditation goes flying by. Track 1, “Three Chords” is exactly that, all at once, for pretty much 8 minutes. Sound boring? Well, the devil is in the details, and the devil’s organ reeds get all types of feisty. Think Charlemagne Palestine’s legendary overtone-worship of “Schlingen-Blangen”. Turn it up and walk around the room.
The second track, “Four Notes”, is, you guessed it, just that, and so much more, but this time around with pedal-rich guitar plodding. The mantra leads you down the road contemplating, “Yes, four separate notes, but none isolated, none existing without the support and distraction of the others.”
Sure, this all sounds like a bunch of new age horse-shit if you’re not into it, but I suggest you find some decent speakers and/or headphones and give it some deep consideration. In a world of predictable formulas, Emma Hendrix is sharing with us strength in patience and nuance. Thank you!
-- Jacob An Kittenplan
Sunday, October 23, 2016
New Zealand's frazzled legends, the Garbage and the Flowers play a backdrop of Velvets worship done right at some pretty hip parties and at the fore-front of well attended gigs in Wellington and Melbourne. This is some pretty right on 'NYC subway sound' as Jonathan Richmond would put it. Although a lot of these songs have already been released, it's always a trip to hear alternate takes of old classics from TGATF. Mainly because they have/had a knack for making a song new every time it's played. Where there was a subdued guitar solo, now there's frantic violin scraping; What was initially a song released with a relatively clean recording, now it is released as recorded from some hippy's pocket on a warbly tape. If you can't squeeze anything more out of your Velvet's boots and boxes, pick up this tape by TGATF. You won't be let down.
-- T. Penn
Saturday, October 22, 2016
mangled common sounds
and called this a life
MOT is a Vancouver, BC duo that shit-stirs, exacerbates, and flings life’s otherwise tuneoutables into a messy confrontation for the psyche via amplified ambient, drone, field recordings & harsh noise aesthetics. Do what thou wilt wit it, but ignoring is not an option.
-- Jacob An Kittenplan
Friday, October 21, 2016
Damn, the bus is late, and I have to walk or I’m not going to make it. Trust the process, they said. It’ll get there, they said. Now I have Southwest Detroit to contend with, and I’m not too keen on it. Have I been to Southwest Detroit before? Not on your life, which is why this bus, which has not arrived on time as I was told, was such an important element to this afternoon. But see, it’s overcast, it’s chilly, and I’m probably going to get drenched by passing vehicles (because, let’s face it, why walk on a sidewalk if you’re not treating its edge like a balance beam?). I’ve got places to be. I’m a drum machine.
My beats lance through dystopian noise like a hot scalpel through lesions. I make tones suffer until they no longer resemble sound sources at all. Southwest Detroit is a gutful of grand funk ambience, and I’ve got a date with it. Here it comes – the overcast sky becomes a drenching rain, and I’m still plugged in, my infinity-foot extension cord trailing through rivers of asswater down gutters choked with refuse. What bus? Irrational anger at nothing but general circumstance overcomes this gray-out, and we’re better for it anyway. Zone6 is about to get shifty, and I haven’t even begun to short out. Oh wait, maybe I have.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Yes! Sarin’s imperative to “Just Beat the Devil Out of It” (the title of this album, you wretched person) is as timely and legitimate today as it was in the “satanic panic” heyday of 1980s Evangelical Christianity that still, somehow, mindbogglingly, pervades to this day, in 2016, on this very planet. Far be it from me to suggest a Catholic alternative – bah, exorcism! – when a good ol’ beating is just as good. Because if the devil’s in ya, you did something to get that devil there. It’s your fault, you sinful slice of unfortunate meat pie, and we love you so much that we want to save your ever-living soul by beating the shit out of you. Let the festivities commence!
Commence they do, and Sarin, named after a chemical weapon that does as much physical damage as the church does psychologically, is a poison cloud of improvisational noise rock, enveloping listeners to cleanse, in a burn-y kind of way, all spiritual and physical limitations in order to better their kingdom here on Earth. I cannot be more clear – listening to Sarin is the aural equivalent of inhaling sarin gas. You will probably die a painful death after listening to it. But on the other hand, it’s pretty pleasant listening from an improv group – everything is coherent, and the players feed off each other and move from one passage to the next with ease. They’re clearly of one mind here. Add to that the fact that they’re playing this music at the highest stakes possible – to save your life, and your soul – and you’ve got a recipe for unmitigated success. Let’s replace all our hymnals … no, let’s toss our hymnals out the window and go with our gut. Let the spirit move us, let’s speak in tongues. Or play guitars and drums in tongues. Either way, we’re all doomed. Or saved! Or doomed. I can’t figure out which is which.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
The ghosts of King Crimson and Yes – at least of the members who have died, I guess (can you be alive and still be a ghost in some way? I wonder) – haunt Dustin Carlson, permeating his ideas for how music should be composed and presented and inspiring in him practices for maximum technical and melodic output. Put another way, DC likes his prog weird and woolly, and we as listeners should not want it any other way. I mean, I wish I would’ve written this descriptive copy: “[This tape] wouldn’t sound out of place … if an imaginary gospel group ate a tub of LSD and holed up in the studio with Brian Eno.” A whole tub of LSD! Could you even imagine…
Each of the two sidelong suites winds down different paths, changing course and cohering as they progress. Trombones and voice begin “Shakes” before gradually decaying into electronic chaos. A voice and guitar emerges at the end (yes, there’s the King Crimson comparison) to bring it on home. “The Noise of Wings” follows a similar pattern, this time beginning with guitar, banjo, strings, and voice before devolving into a low-frequency bass/spoken fragments middle section. Carlson’s voice returns with heavily treated echoing guitar, ending on an angelic note of transcendent beauty. Did I say transcendent beauty? I did. I’m not kidding. Dustin Carlson’s take on prog and experimental composition is way more refreshing than it has any right to be – anybody digging up the dinosaurs of 1970s excess should be overbearingly dull, shouldn’t they? No – no they shouldn’t. That’s what contemporary American society would have you believe. I say get back in there and fall in love with prog all over again. I sure love it like a crazy person.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Munk’s ninety minutes consist of field-recorded Buddhist chants and the ambient spaces where these practices occurred. Sound artist Jacob Kierkegaard spent time in Thailand in 2007, and this cassette functions as an aural document of the people and culture he encountered. Kierkegaard loops these recordings, manipulating them as needed but allowing the natural beauty of the ritualistic mantras to stand almost solely on their own. The result is as mysterious as it is magical, a transportational device to locales on the other side of the planet. What we may not, with Western ears, hear on a regular basis is presented here to enlighten and educate those of us who are unaware of these rich cultural traditions. Is Jacob Kierkegaard the Alan Lomax of Southeast Asia? Find out for yourself.
Monday, October 17, 2016
Brooklyn. Dali. Put them together and you have what sounds like the female offspring of Salvador Dali were he alive today to appreciate my humor. Or maybe he wouldn’t appreciate it – I have a feeling he’d spend a lot of time in a chair, over/underwhelmed by modern society. “Brooklyn,” he’d mumble, hand shading his eyes from reality, “bring daddy his Rick Parker and Li Daiguo tape. Daddy needs to feel emotions again.”
Probably best to leave that flight of fancy where it is for the moment because I’m feeling all kinds of feelings right now, crazy feelings, feelings that leave me clamoring for more feelings because I can’t properly process the ones that are overwhelming me right now, so yeah, sure keep ’em coming. Some semblance of context is needed, though, or else Free World Music is going to submerge my attention like the perfect storm in that movie The Perfect Storm, if you imagine my attention is a fishing vessel foolishly setting out to sea with, ahem, the perfect storm bearing down on it. Not to suggest that these two experimental musicians are akin to a natural disaster, they just happen to demand your attention as they do their thing, which is making music, not ginormous waves.
And to bring it back around to location, side A was recorded in Brooklyn, and side B was recorded in Dali, because c’mon, duh, keep following here. Rick Parker and Li Daiguo are a dream duo for those who are desperately in love with experimental music – I mean, they use an instrument that I’ve never even heard of before, for goodness’ sake, and I’ve heard of a lot of instruments! (For the record, it was the pipa. I know what a trombone is.) And then, to stick with one of my various themes, I feel absolutely unmoored when experiencing Free World Music, as if sinking into the depths as the tunes envelope me. But then I evolve gills, and I’m saved from my fate, and I scold myself for not realizing this would all happen in the first place.
The cohesion of these pieces should have tipped me off, even though they sound far-out when you start to describe them. Different traditions emerge and adhere to one another, those steeped in jazz, traditional Chinese, and other paths of experimentation. There’s power in the movement of these pieces – nothing stays still for long, pretty much ever. The exotic and the familiar merge and become a great new thing, weird and special, like a present-day Salvador Dali or a planet-wide tidal wave churning the futuristic and the modern together before enveloping humanity in its chaotic passage. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the track titles, which are amazing! My favorite is probably “Research Has Shown That Casting Spells Using Contemporary Social Media Is Just as Effective as Chanting over Cauldrons.” See? You’re not even ready for Rick Parker and Li Daiguo, are you. You should prepare yourself.