CHARLES ATLAS Worsted Night (Ochre) cd 16.98
A fine new album from local darlings Charles Atlas, on UK's Ochre label who've released music by similarly dreamy outfits Windy & Carl, Fuxa, Magnetophone, Kawabata Makoto, A.M.P., etc. This is organic instrumental blissout music -- warm and human -- consisting mainly of heartbreakingly pretty arpeggiated piano and guitar chords whose gentle notes articulate themselves separately yet are moodily sustained for many seconds, a sonic tactic we've also heard wielded by Boards of Canada, but Charles Atlas is more sad and emotional. Reminds me of Sonna, Pan American, David Kilgour, and Tarentel, although Charles Atlas sets itself apart using gorgeous flourishes on warbly musical saw, quiet tinklings, female oohs and ahhs, cool trumpet, hollow ticktock clicks (a la Young Marble Giants). The chords are minor key and tension-filled yet still pastoral and hushed -- a very pleasant combination that prevents the album from becoming boring or sickly sweet. Very restrained, mature and introspective. Had enough of Boards of Canada? Give Charles Atlas' fresh take a try. Beautiful.
"Sun with Teeth" RealAudio clip:
CHARLES BRONSON Complete Discocrappy (625) 2cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Two cds of off kilter, screaming fastcore. This collection is everything ever recorded by these crazy kids from Dekalb Illinois. Cd one contains 96 songs, in chronological order, from their stumbling retarded hardcore roots, to their emergence as the reigning kings of absolutely pummeling powerviolence. Disc two is all unreleased stuff, including a really long movie, that contains 30 second blasts of CB live intercut with scenes from actual Charles Bronson movies. With truly comprehensive and completely illegible packaging. Absolutely amazing. Essential for fans of Crossed Out, Man Is The Bastard, Drop Dead, etc.
CHARLES SHARP 6 Exits (Empty Cellar Records) lp 14.98
Bay Area-based jazz sextet, Charles Sharp 6 make their vinyl debut on local San Francisco label Empty Cellar which also released the avant-jazz Sword and Sandals lp Good and Plenty a year or two back. An uncommon combination of reeds (sax and clarinet), cello, accordion, double bass and drums, this group of improvisers seem to be channeling a late fifties /early sixties era jazz, but one that neither sounds classic or retro. In fact, as good as these musicians are, they almost sound like they came to jazz, through some other means, like punk, judging by the near-ramshackle bombast of the opening track. Yet, there is a laid-back angularity to their work that feels like it should be in a beat-era or eighties indie movie, evoking the same sort of vibe as Birdsongs of the Mesozoic, or even the Lounge Lizards with out so much of the eighties art attitude. Sometimes ferocious in their compositional approach, the C#6 are hardly as twee as their instrumentation might suggest, but they can also really intensify a mood with quiet focus, allowing the diversity of instruments to congeal and worry around subtle modal variations, expanding but not releasing the tension. One of the most interesting new jazz albums we've heard in a long while!
CHARLES, CHRISTOPHE Undirected Dok (Ritornell) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Christophe Charles previously collaborated with Markus Popp on the Oval album "Dok," probably the most abstract piece of glitchery in the Oval catalogue. Judging from the liner notes of his new "Undirected Dok" album, Charles was probably responsible for the indeterminant nature of that Oval disc. Charles proposes his idea of 'undirected music' as a means of attaining tonal harmony through the absence of structure, a concept that references both the music of John Cage and the the fog sculptures of Nakaya Fujiko, among other things. For the most part Charles' electronic collages on "Undirected Dok" succeed in their lofty goals. As can be expected from all releases on the Ritornelle label (experimental subsidiary of Mille Plateaux / Force Inc), Charles embraces the closed-circuit feedback logic of fellow lowercase technicians like Taylor Deupree and Coh; however, Charles escapes over-exposure to computer screen irradiation by venturing out to capture some fabulous field recordings of subterranean waterworks, bustling train stations, and children at playgrounds, which he then adds to the alienated sounds of digitial glitch processing.
CHARLES, MATTY Lonesome Lull (Ruby) 7" 3.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Local boy Matty Charles' first 7" won't, or shouldn't, be his last. Beautiful, heart rending songs sung with a voice at times silky and others gravelly. Some of the best country to come out in a while.
CHARLIE & ESDOR s/t (Mellotronen) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Finally got enough of these to list. It's something you're gonna DEFINITELY want to have if you're into the whole '60s/'70s Swedish psychedelic scene, Sweden's "krautrock" bands if you will. Y'know, if you like Parson Sound, Trad Gras Och Stenar, International Harvester, Arbete Och Fritid, Algarnas Tradgard, Kebnekajse, and all the other often interrelated outfits that we've been lucky enough to find reissued on cd in recent years. You can add this to that list, a brilliant collection of loping, rollicking, freaky hippie jams from the drums/sitar and guitar duo of Edmund "Charlie" Franzen and Esdor Jensen, and friends. They got their start together in 1969, and performed at the first of the free festivals in the summer of 1970 that are now an part of Swedish counterculture hippie history. They definitely must have fit right in that time and place, judging by this cd's awesome mixture of Eastern-inspired raga rock, Swedish folk troubadour music, Dylanesque ballads, and HEAVY guitar power trio acid rock. These tracks, recorded in 1970 and '71, have languished in obscurity, mostly unreleased for the past 30-some-odd years, several of them originally meant for an abandoned album release back in the day. A few, like "Wolfs Mouth Song" (here given its original title of "Fuck The Cops"!) were released on vinyl as singles and so forth. But you were probably never gonna run across one of those rarities... so it's great to have this all on cd! And Mellotronen has presented this in a nice digipack. Isn't that a great cover shot, of Charlie's back as he beats his drum kit at one of those hippie festivals?? It would good for a Levi's ad (you can see the tag on his jeans) if they were that hip. The 32 page booklet provides plenty of photos, a history of the band, and detailed track-by-track commentary on these recordings. There's also a discography complete with full-color reproductions of album covers and single sleeves. Very very nicely done.
"Da Klagar Mina Grannar" MPEG Stream:
"Fuck The Cops"
CHARM (OST) (5 Rue Christine) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Soundtrack to the long awaited feature film by Sadie Shaw (infamous SF/Olympia underground filmmaker extraordinaire, responsible for numerous music videos and photography, mostly for the Kill Rock Stars label, guitarist in SF outfit The Lies) and Sarah Reed (also of The Lies). Features (mostly) exclusive tracks by Aisler's Set, Deerhoof, Thrones, The Need, The Lies, Concentrick, Replikants, Sarah Lund (Unwound) and Aaron Beam plus wonderful scoring by Tim Green and many more! What's most interesting about this soundtrack is most of the better-known bands' contributions are quite unindicative of their "normal" output (specifically Thrones, Replikants, Deerhoof and the exclusive Aislers Set track), but they fit the overall tone of the film and are quite beautiful on their own. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that these artists had the film in mind when composing their contributions to Charm. Quite nice!
CHARM Original Soundtrack + The Movie (5RC) cd + dvd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Charm is a gore-tastic low-budget psychologically-powered horror film made in the year 2000 by San Francisco underground moviemakers, former AQ-er Sadie Shaw and Sarah Reed (both of The Husbands). Five years later, it's finally available on dvd and cd! The soundtrack covers a wide range of song styles. All are appropriately haunting, though they travel from classic soundtrack stuff to pulsing techno beats to spaced-out melancholia. Some highlights are Tim Green's very classic sounding title theme; Aislers Set's Joy Division-ish rhythm on "Attraction Action Reaction"; Deerhoof's rowdy noise-fest on "Appetite"; Replikants' spacey melancholia of "Memory" sounding a lot like that Ulrich Schnauss we listed a little while back; a weird one from The Need with lots of dog barking and Carol Channingesque vocal magic; Sara Lund and Aaron Beam's appropriately titled "A Lucid Moment" which is a melodically peaceful moment before the Thrones' "The Walk" creeps up at you; Concentrick's technocratic "Dansk Floor"; The Lies' angry rock song, "Wrong Kind Of Flirt"; and again with Tim Green and his classic-film-score "Epilogue". This movie is for fans of lo-budge emotionally-charged gore flims, its soundtrack for fans of, well, awesome soundtracks!
TIM GREEN "Main Title Theme" MPEG Stream:
AISLERS SET "Attraction Action Reaction" MPEG Stream:
THRONES "The Walk"
CHARMING HOSTESS Eat (Vaccination) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Amazing triple female harmonies laid over rapid fire fake ethnic music. For fans of Uz Jsme Doma, Sun City Girls...and Idiot Flesh, which this band basically is entirely members of (but better).
CHARMING HOSTESS Punch (ReR) cd 14.98
CHARMING HOSTESS Sarajevo Blues (Tzadik) cd 16.98
For those familiar with the SF group Charming Hostess, this follow-up to 2001's Trilectic album is an eagerly anticipated, more than welcome sight (or should we say sound?). For those unfamiliar, this is a wonderful way to acquaint yourself with Charming Hostess' vibrant trio of fiery female vocalists Jewlia Eisenberg, Marika Hughes and Cynthia Taylor. Richly infused with Balkan, Jewish and Sufi elements, their music is at once captivatingly complex, electrifyingly bold and nothing short of acrobatic. You might also know these ladies for their membership in the equally avant SF bands Idiot Flesh and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum -- some of whose members also contributed to this album.
"What Will You Remember?" MPEG Stream:
"Death Is A Job"
CHARNEL HOUSE Black Blood (Sygil) lp 12.98
We've long been fans of this mysterious outfit from Indiana, whose witchy blackened atmospheric black doom doesn't sound so much Midwestern as it does like it was conjured up from some other realm, via some mysterious ritual that involves much bloodletting, torches, robes, goats, a full moon, and probably some virgins, but as we mentioned in our review of record number two, Charnel House's sound seems to gradually be growing more atmospheric and witchy, and less overtly metallic. The debut was a murky muddy sprawl of doomy riffage, noise drenched creep, and furious blasting blackness, but even back then the haunting ethereal vocals gave the music a seriously witchy, ritualistic vibe, and if anything, that sounds has moved completely to the fore on Black Blood, just check out the opening track, which pairs buzzing sinewy bass and loping minimal drumming, to very minimal guitars, no riffing or buzzing really, more sort of swirling and atmospheric, with everything dropping out occasionally, leaving just those hazy vocal incantations, and a skeletal rhythmic backdrop, and when the sound does shift into blasting blackness, the production is so strange, that it doesn't even really sound heavy, or necessarily black metal, instead, it's a strangely frenzied rapid fire skittery blast, none of the music changes, just the drums, blasting lo-fi beneath the wraithlike vocals, and gauzy atmospheric drifts, freaky and far out and super cool. Here's where we might say, and so goes the rest of the record, and while much of the rest of the record does involve the same elements, the structures and arrangements are all over the place. "Atavism" launches immediately into a pounding, blasting, noise rock churn, but there seem to be no guitars, just buzzing bass, and those ever present witchy vocals, it's a super strange combo, and again, the production is bizarre, brittle, space-y, we're reminded at times of Aluk Todolo for sure, the same sort of occult rock vibe, but Charnel House are much more chaotic, a little ramshackle, lurching from chaotic noise rock crush ("Of The Sea") that minus those vocals, could be some weird band on Load, to wild chaotic drum heavy blowouts like "When You Become", that sound a bit like a dialed down Lightning Bolt performing some sort of arcane sonic ritual, to the almost post rock meander of "Sewn Shut", the haunting spectral vocals tying them all together into some sort of otherworldly blackened avant psychedelic occult rock ritual, that is deeply and darkly mesmerizing. LIMITED TO 200 COPIES!!! Beautifully silkscreened fold over sleeves, the back half revealing the lp inside, each one hand numbered, includes a download code as well!
"Deathliness" MPEG Stream:
"Atavism" MPEG Stream:
"Of The Sea"
CHARNEL HOUSE Contagion (Sygil) cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Record number two from this mysterious blackened witchy doomdirge combo, an offshoot of similarly droney and doomy aQ faves OS. But we're beginning to think we might dig Charnel House more than OS. And it has a lot to do with the vocals, which we described in another review as "demonic priestess vocals", which definitely sums it up pretty perfectly. If that whole new wave of female fronted heavy rock bands (Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth, Christian Mistress) is just to polished for you, then maybe Charnel House is what you're after, way more raw and lo-fi, bleak and blackened, primitive and noisy, the sound slipping easily from doomy abstract dirge, to churning blackened blast, the sound minimal, and cyclical, repetitive and trancelike, and then when the vocals come in, the sound is utterly transformed, into some sort of black forest ritual, some wild witchy incantation, hovering ethereal and angelic over the churn and chug and blast and buzz below. "Erosive" is the perfect example of CH's strange sound, the band locked into a tranced out repetitive blast, over which a second guitar chugs out a droney looped chord, lurching and lumbering, totally at odds with the manic blast below, the sound all on its own totally mesmerizing, but then every once in a while the vox drift in, and the sound becomes more blissed out, more abstract, the heaviness tempered by the spectral quality of the vocals. The music sounds like Ride For Revenge or some other strangely minimal black metal outfit, the vocals just take it somewhere else, this raw abstract black metal becomes some sort of otherworldly heaviness. Elsewhere the record grows even more dramatic, with the band spitting out explosive gouts of wild chaotic heaviness, only to stop on a dime, leaving just the vocals and a simple rhythmic pulse (and a little hazy shimmer), to drift dreamily, before the band explodes back in. While elsewhere the band go slooooooow, transforming into a way more melodic Monarch, a dour slo-mo creep, again offset by those creepy, dreamy, haunting vocals. The production is a huge part of it too, sometimes murky and muddy, all the sounds muted and blurred into a near drone, while other times the sound is sharp and corrosive, changing the entire vibe of the song and the record. The more we listen to this, the more it reveals subtle details, headphones even more so, a dense, dark layered landscape of looped black buzz and haunted witchy mystery... Housed in a cool, hand stamped, cardstock sleeve, with a huge printed full color poster / lyric sheet inside, each one hand numbered, LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!!
"Erosive" MPEG Stream:
CHARNEL HOUSE The Leprosy Of Unreality (Sygil) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Along with the insanely limited tape-and-bones-in-a-wooden-coffin from blackdoom horde OS (which is most likely already sold out), we also have this, the lp debut from Charnel House, a similarly blackened and doomy offshoot of the OS mothership, but with an added witchy element in the form of some demonic priestess vocals... The sound though is not hugely removed from that of OS, the riffs are murky and muddy and doomy, the tempo, at least at first is a slithery, lumbering creep, the percussion on the opening track doesn't even sound like drums, instead it sounds like a field recording of a passing freight train, which only makes it that much weirder and cooler, the result is some sort of abstract slowcore minimal doom, but those female vocals, definitely add another element, transforming it into something much more haunting and melodic instead of just sludgey and crusty. But CH are much more likely to erupt into full on blasting black metal, albeit a BM filtered through their own particularly cracked and filthy take on the sound, which renders the blast and buzz more washed out and chaotic, blurred and smeared, the beats, when you can hear them, either sound NOT like beats at all, like the freight train rhythm of the first track, or they're mostly buried under the roiling blackness above. And so it goes, the band shifting from that murky black crush, to more crusty minimal black doom plod, the drumming getting super strange and abstract when you can hear it, otherwise just adding to the general chaos, the slower bits are rife with soaring melodies and deep sonic swells, sometimes, leaving just ghostly ambience and those witchy vocals, just as often transforming into a murky cinematic warped and woozy drone-doom, or exploding back into another stretch of blasting chaotic blackness. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES, each one hand numbered, housed in cool folded textured paper silkscreened covers.
CHARNEL VALLEY The Dark Archives (Paragon) cd 14.98
CHARRED BELLS Broken Bells Breaks Vol. 2 (Shiranui) cd 19.98
Release from the Japanese label Shiranui, which has developed a rather unique variant of drum & bass, which employs spastic asynchronous breakbeats accompanied with austere modernist jazz overtones of bowed metal, stand-up bass, and muted horns. Not at all dissimilar to the early Spymania releases by Squarepusher, though more dissonant and less groove-based.
CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED Cold Winds On Timeless Days (Metal Blade) cd 14.98
Record number two from this metal supergroup, and like the first one, besides being heavy and hooky and epic, once again reminds us how much we wish more metal bands had actual real singers, capable of actually and really singing, and then of course there are the shredding leads, which are sorely lacking in most metal these days as well. The sounds here are pretty classic metal, but with a hint of modern power metal a la Blind Guardian and Lost Horizon, which makes sense when you check out the band members' pedigrees: Tim "Ripper" Owens" (Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie Malmsteen), Richard Christy (Death, Iced Earth), Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Autopsy, Control Denied, Testament, Obituary), Jason Suecof (Capharnaum, Crotchduster). Most metal folks probably know Richard Christy as a radio personality on Howard Stern's show, but he's still a killer drummer, and all these guys shred, and this record is just a primo slab of classic heavy metal. It's not blackened, or FX drenched, or warped or twisted, but it is technical, a little proggy, heavy as fuck, thrashy, and hooky as hell, and if you're a fan of the classics, Maiden, Dio, Priest, etc., and have been lamenting the state of modern metal, this record is a total timewarp to the days of classic heavy metal, and like the first one, we find ourselves listening to very little else.
"Timeless Days" MPEG Stream:
"Ashes Falling Upon Us" MPEG Stream:
CHARRED WALLS OF THE DAMNED s/t (Metal Blade) cd 14.98
Whenever we hear some pounding death metal, or blasting thrash metal, sometimes even some grim black metal, the one thing that occasionally wears on us is the non-singing vocals, whether they be gurgling cookie monster vocals, or hysterical hellish shrieks, or demonic grunts, we sometimes can't help but wonder how much cooler the band would sound with an ACTUAL singer. So the other night we heard this blasting thrashing heaviness, which sounded pretty damn good, somewhere right between classic Maiden styled power metal, and something much more thrashy and aggressive and extreme, and then the vocals came in and we were knocked out, totally soaring classic clean metal vocals, actual singing, like Maiden or Judas Priest, which is a particularly apt comparison as the vocalist in question turned out to be none other than Tim 'Ripper' Owens, who did once front Priest, but is now fronting the awesomely titled Charred Walls Of The Damned, definitely his best gig in ages. But there's more weirdness to the story of CWOTD... Drummer Richard Christy, who has played in a million bands, including Iced Earth, Incantation, Death, Control Denied, and the pitbull fronted death metal band Caninus(!), had pretty much given up music for comedy, and eventually ended up on the Howard Stern show, where he's become infamous for some seriously fucked up and funny prank calls. Not sure why he decided to start playing again, but he gathered a pretty stellar lineup, with Ripper Owens, bassist Steve Di Giorgio (Sadus, Death, Iced Earth, Testament, Autopsy) and guitarist Jason Suecof (Capharnaum, Evince, and umm, Crotch Duster), and the record these guys have come up with rules. That is if you're into classic metal, Dio, Maiden, Priest, imagine that sort of band, but supercharged, a little heavier, a little faster, with more insane technical shredding, but still super catchy, with epic riffing, blasting drums, that classic eighties metal sound, but updated, although only a little. We're particularly reminded of more modern power metallers like Blind Guardian, or especially Lost Horizon. Charred Walls Of The Damned is quickly turning into a new favorite, we've never really lost our love for this stuff, and hopefully you haven't either, check out the sound samples, should only take a few seconds for you to figure out if this is for you. Majestic, dramatic, hooky, and super heavy. And thus, absolutely recommended. Includes a bonus dvd featuring a documentary about the making of the record (which we haven't had a chance to watch yet)...
"Ghost Town" MPEG Stream:
"From The Abyss" MPEG Stream:
"Creating Our Machine"
CHARTIER, RICHARD Decisive Forms (Trente Oiseaux) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Richard Chartier's "Decisive Forms" would be a great record for cats, dogs, dolphins, baleen whales, bats, elephant seals, octopuses, grasshoppers, sea lions, harbor seals, moray eels, sharks, noctruid moths, hermit crabs, giraffes, american alligators, african crocodiles, hyaenas, elephants, black rhinos, common rats, grey pigeons, walruses, mice, drum fish, bauerbirds, chincillas, sea turtles, praying mantises, and pigmy shrews; yet this album may not neccessarily be geared for human enjoyment as almost every sound falls outside of the range of human perception. In positioning very quiet ultra-high frequencies against fluctuating passages of silence, Chartier has created an album that requires the listener to alter his/her environment for extreme quiet. A throwback to the time for Trente Oiseaux albums in which the question had to be asked, "so can you hear anything on the new Trente Oiseaux album?"
CHARTIER, RICHARD Incidence (Raster-Noton) cd 17.98
In many ways, the work of Richard Chartier is anathema to the aesthetic course embraced by Aquarius Records. It can't be tangentially connected to the expanding definitions of metal, and only liminally parallels the feral dronecore of Birchville Cat Motel and the Double Leopards. It doesn't lend itself to ridiculous ruminations on the artifice of memory and loss, or any hyperbolic rhetoric for that matter. It's hard even to call this type of work beautiful as the rigor embedded into the process is attuned to an cold sterility rather than an aspirations for aesthetic transcendence. Thus, Chartier's work simply is what it is: a pure manifestation of sound elegantly moving through time with a highly refined sensibility for the subtle transition. The simple perfection from the minimalist ethos is difficult to champion as the manifestations are hardly theatrical enough to warrant any of the marketing strategies listed above to make most people jump up and down; but here we are, announcing that Richard Chartier has crafted an exquisite album, one that may be his finest recordings to date. Incidence is a vacuum of external references, beginning and ending with the same hissing static. Chartier plunges the album into a series of interlocking subsonic frequencies. While these frequencies were never intended to achieve the heaviosity of SUNNO))) or Earth, Chartier's understanding of psychoacoustic principles actualizes an impressively claustrophobic display of blackened tones. As Chartier introduces a simple half-step melody against these extended drone vibrations, his work opens a small referential window towards the grim isolationism of Thomas Koner or BJ Nilsen. Time manages to stand still on the best of Chartier's work, and at over an hour in length, Incidence is over before you know it. Very, very well done.
"Incidence (excerpt 1)" MPEG Stream:
"Incidence (excerpt 2)"
CHARTIER, RICHARD Of Surfaces (L-NE / 12K) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Ultra-minimalist composer Richard Chartier has claimed that this album "suggests an incremental process of reduction with the compositional focus placed in the space between sound and silence." It takes about 17 minutes of practical nothingness before the barely perceptible elements of nervous fizzings, slow rumbles, and microscopic events make themselves audible. Similar compositional techniques have been employed by Bernhard Gunter and Francisco Lopez to astonishingly results, yet Chartier's highly restrictive palette of purely digital tones and pings points to the fact that "Of Surfaces" is merely an academic execution of the idea of minimalism, rather than the exploration of what minimalism can say. Thus, listening to this record is not relevant to understanding it.
CHARTIER, RICHARD Re'Post'Postfabricated (DSP) 2cd 19.98
CHARTIER, RICHARD Retrieval 1-5 (ERS) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Easily the best Richard Chartier album we've come across! The DC-based ultra-minimalist has been responsible for a number of albums so reductivist in their methodology and presentation that even with headphones, it can be a strain to discern what profundities Mr. Chartier may be offering to his audience. Yet in recent years, Chartier has been shedding the minimalist hyperbole for sterilized electronica and creating some truely evocative compositions for impressionist ambience. There was his Archival 1991 and his collaboration with William Basinski which caused us to really take notice to Chartier's work as something beyond an exercise in ultra-minimalism; and now there's Retrieval 1-5. Originally meant to be released on vinyl (with only 2 pieces) in 2004, and finally released in the beginning of this year, has now been revamped for cd where it really belongs, and with three extra pieces. Basinski, Thomas Koner, Lustmord (e.g. Where The Black Stars Hang) and Keith Berry would all be reference points for the steady dronescaping that Chartier musters on these five tracks which were in fact retrieved from old analog material Chartier produced in the '90s. These beautifully rippled and hushed drones may not have the academic rigor that won Chartier the Honorable Mention for Ars Electronica, but they are far more evocative and emotionally connected than any of his earlier recordings. Recommended!
"Retrieval 1" MPEG Stream:
"Retrieval 4 (content / intent)"
CHARTIER, RICHARD & TAYLOR DEUPREE Specification.Fifteen (Line) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CHARTIER, RICHARD / BERNHARD GUNTER / STEVE RODEN For Morton Feldman (Trente Oiseaux) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Upon discovering this album on our new arrivals rack, Loren Chasse remarked "When hasn't a Bernhard Gunter album been a tribute to Morton Feldman?" It is true that over the past couple of years, the ultra-minimalist electronic composer Gunter has been paralleling Feldman's late period pieces, which centered around the slow evolution of slighly asymetrical tonal patterns for small wind-instrument ensembles. As Gunter has acquired the habit (perhaps from Feldman) of citing his influences as dedications and titles of his pieces, it was only a matter of time before "For Morton Feldman" came to fruition (after previous albums gave credit to Xenakis, Luigi Nono, Mark Rothko, etc.) Yet this album doesn't entirely speak with Gunter's voice as he has commissioned two of his closest associates, Richard Chartier and Steve Roden, to compose tributes to Feldman as well. Gunter begins the album with a processed field recording of rushing water, and adding wavering notes from a Sho - a Japanese flute which Gunter performs much like the dissonant notation that Feldman ascribed to pieces like "For Philip Guston." Richard Chartier's piece suffers from the same problem as the majority of his recordings... most of it simply can't be heard beyond muffled bass rumbles. Upon viewing the visual waveform of the material, it's clear that something is present, but operating at frequencies that our stereo can't generate / can't playback. The Steve Roden track, however, is the reason to get this tribute as his tidal fluctuation of metallic resonance with tiny, ghostly slivers of something sounding like a sitar struggling to be heard. It has to be said that none of these pieces are as challenging or as uncompromising as Morton Feldman's iconoclastic compositions; yet, strains of Feldman's austerity and muted colors run strong on this album.
RICHARD CHARTIER "How Things Change" RealAudio clip:
BERNHARD GUNTER "Fuyo No Ame (For Morton Feldman)" RealAudio clip:
STEVE RODEN "Stasis"
CHASING VOICES Acid Bathory (self-released) 12" 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. If only all dubstep sounded this mean and mysterious! A seriously dark, low slung slab of bass heavy skitter from some unknown electronic alchemist, a stripped down skeletal beat, some skull cavingly caustic electronic crunch, heavily panned, swinging from speaker to speaker, disembodied female vox, swirls of minor key synths, so tense and dense and claustrophobic, the beats wreathed in clouds of thick swirling bass buzz... Over the course of the track's 11 minutes, the mood and tension just get ratcheted further and further up, the sound more and more layered, like the soundtrack to some foreign thriller, maybe a chase scene through dark alleys, or a couple's decent into drug induced madness, the sound brooding and THICK, about as -heavy- as electronic music gets, easily our favorite dubstep/electronic jam of the year, it kills us it's only one song, but we've been playing this on repeat pretty much nonstop. One sided, super limited, packaged in a super swank hand screened jacket.
CHASING VOICES Another Walk (self-released) 12" 11.98
Seems like we're not the only ones who have become obsessed with anonymous minimal mutant techno producer Chasing Voices, whose first two 12"s we could barely keep in stock. And there was indeed some confusion with those, as they both were packaged in cool silkscreened sleeves, and both bore very little in the way of any useful information, and of course the fact that both tracks (every Chasing Voices 12" seems to be a one sided affair) sounded like two parts of the same epic minimal techno masterpiece. Well, it seems that maybe that masterpiece is more epic than we imagined, as here comes part three, the latest one sided 12" from Chasing Voices, and like the two that came before, Acid Bathory and Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit, Another Walk is another dark brew of dubstep and techno, minimal acid skitter, dark brooding ambience, tense and intense, moody and subtly malevolent, darkly propulsive, less about the dancefloor, and more like some soundtrack for a mysterious futuristic chase scene through some crumbling city, beneath a bruised black sky, the sound reflecting the machine cause chaos, the throbbing rhythm encircled in a relentlessly swirling cloud of glitches and squelches, minor key melodies and woozy textures, a seriously and gorgeously grim slab of futuristic techno that is just as good as the other two 12"s, and most likely just as limited...
CHASING VOICES Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit (Chasing Voices) 12" 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CHASING VOICES Scold (Preserved Instincts) 12" 12.98
Yet another brilliant, and hyper limited one sided 12" from this mysterious minimal electronic music producer, whose sound hovers somewhere in the shadows between the dark industrial churn of outfits like Silent Servant and Vatican Shadow, and the dark techno minimalism of Shed and Terrence Dixon. An abstract, almost-dubstep, stripped down to its bare essentials, just a skeletal rhythm, a throbbing bass pulse, and a softly swirling halo of ominous abstract sound, distant minor key melodies, raga like drones, clouds of gritty thrum, weird processed voices, sample breathing transformed into weird swaths of staticky hum, as the track progresses, the surrounding sounds gradually overtake the beat, pushing it further into the murk, and billowing into hazy clouds of fractured melody and shimmery textures, getting downright house-y for the second half, but even then, it's super spare, ultra dark, and utterly mesmerizing. Less dance music, and more late night, chill out, futuristic, speeding down the autobahn, abstract electronic beat laced blackened ambient techno minimalism that's tough to beat. Odds are you're gonna end up wanting to track down all the Chasing Voices you can. But be warned, they disappear quick, so you know what that means...
CHASING VOICES Valley of the Dry Bones (Preserved Instincts) 12" 12.98
Fourth installment from these mysterious NYC producers, and another chunk of abstract dancefloor radness, this one another one sided 12", and of the bunch maybe the most overtly dubsteppy, still on the minimal techno side, but with some seriously thick bass buzz. That and some looped and chopped female vox, not to mention some cool glitchy static, all gets woven into a woozy, fuzzy chunk of housey/dubsteppy groove, definitely one of more overtly dancey of the bunch, but still sorta dark hued and low slung with a bit of a creepy ominous vibe. Killer stuff, and like past Chasing Voices 12"s, crazy limited, and odds are they'll blow out of here and be tough to restock, you have been warned... Housed in a cool, super simple hand silkscreened jacket, with no info at all, no title, no band name, no nothing!
CHASM, THE Procession To The Infraworld (Dwell) cd 14.98
Utterly intense and interesting, weird and sinisterly, secretly melodic death metal from this heretofore unhearalded (by us, anyway) band, from Chicago by way of Mexico. Kinda avant-garde in an un-selfconscious sense, reminding us a bit of that amazing Enslaved record from earlier this year. ("Procession To the Infraworld" is also from earlier this year but we only got turned on to it recently, and now must you be too). In comparision to that really quite psychedelic and meta-metallic Enslaved album, The Chasm is certainly more firmly rooted in your usual death metal brutality (as per vocalist/guitarist Daniel Corchado previous work with America's most doomy and deathly death metal outfit, Incantation), but The Chasm's grinding is tinged with a baroque, otherworldy flavor. A great death metal record, and you won't hear that from me (Allan) very often!
"Architects of Melancholic Apocalypse"
CHASMS Bad Evolution (Sleep Genius) 12" 7.98
This local San Francisco duo of heavy shoegaze witchery had us smitten with a way too limited tape awhile back, that we described as the fuzziest and loudest side of My Bloody Valentine, the haziest, most washed out and dreamy side of Bardo Pond, and the white noise of Flying Saucer Attack all somehow coming together. Sadly that tape quickly went of print and left us wanting more. And now with this new single on new local upstart label Sleep Genius, run by our pal Brad from Tied To The Branches, we have just a little more, but it's so good!! Heavy and slow crushing swells of guitar churn and dark dream pop bliss, a heady mixture of early A.R. Kane's violent swooning feedbackdrift and Slowdive's gothic melancholia. The B side, a remix of the A side by Brad, stretches out the original into a witch house-y excursion of sustained hollowed out keys and slow motion creep. Featuring Marc Manning on keyboards, all we can say is: MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Bad Evolution" MPEG Stream:
"Bad Evolution (Remix)"
CHASMS Riser (Dream) cassette 8.98
While we totally dig tapes, we don't often find ourselves in anxious excitement over a soon to be released cassette. But with this new ep by Chasms that's been in the works for a while we found ourselves giddy with anticipation, and we're happy to report that the pay off is well worth the wait! Riser finds the San Francisco duo at their most focused and effective, starting the A side off with flashes of hot white light, tapping into that classic shoegaze sound, with Chasms aiming and reaching so much higher then most of their peers. The first two songs have an almost dark industrial vibe to them, which had us imagining Coil remixing Cocteau Twins or Slowdive! The second side starts off what may very well be their most beautiful song yet "Not In This Dimension", a shimmering gem that we had to play over and over after the first time we blasted this on our headphones. And each subsequent time we do, we close our eyes and let the song engulf us, gliding through a soft and swirling sonic sensations that we haven't felt since maybe Slowdive's masterpiece Pygmalion. The tape's closer "Soft Opening" has a haunting and mesmerizing quality that brings to mind Labradford or Flying Saucer Attack teaming up with Julianna Barwick! Needless to say we've been giving our Walkman's (Walkmen?) a workout flipping this tape over and over and over. It's that fucking good! LIMITED TO 100 COPIES!!!
CHASMS When It Comes (Dream) cassette 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Imagine the fuzziest and loudest side of My Bloody Valentine, the haziest, most washed out and dreamy side of Bardo Pond, and the white noise of Flying Saucer Attack coming together and you start to get an idea of the amazing terrain that San Francisco's Chasms wander so perfectly on their debut offering. We've been smitten with these two ladies from the first time we saw them perform, at what may have been their first or second show ever opening for Royal Baths. Every time we've seen them since then they only get better and better, and this cassette finds them in seriously fine form. Raw and primitive drum machines back their shredding and trance inducing guitars, and then the vocals, which are captured perfectly in the mix, bring it all together for a listening experience that makes us sway and nod and close our eyes as we get lost in the clouds of their foggy sonic daydreams. The cassette is brimming with such a perfect full and alive sound, we can't help but think of everything from Bowery Electric to Nadja to Grouper. We could go on and on about how much we love this duo, but we have the FINAL 6 COPIES of the tape left and once they're gone it's out of print, so chances are by the time you finish reading this review this cassette will already have disappeared into the ether.
"When It Comes" MPEG Stream:
CHASSE, L. (LOREN) Exfolia Motors (Unique Ancient Tavern ) cd 11.98
Odd to think that this is only the second solo recording for San Francisco's exceptional sound artist Loren Chasse after his numerous outings with id battery, Thuja, and The Knit Separates. "Exfolia Motors" is a collection of four different works, whose sections are mixed up and interspersed along the continuum of the disc... as if each of these sections have been broken from their original narratives and been rearranged in a more poetic fashion. "Exfolia Motors" presents a beautiful crystallization of droning sound with origins in various bells and gongs, the dynamic pulsations of an amplified strobe light, field recordings from rural Pennsylvania, and the crackling details of paper, rocks, and cloth. Chasse accentuates his source materials with a soft-focus haziness that recalls the tonal purity of Andrew Chalk and Jonathan Coleclough. Rather than extended drone floats, Chasse prefers to situate small events in which he gently smears his subtle sound recordings across stark white silences. Goddamn beautiful. While certain labels (Meme, Trente Oiseaux) were a bit too slow and missed out on releasing this, we're certain that this wouldn't have had such amazing artwork (each cover is a different hand rubbing from a rough piece of wood... as opposed to the stark non-existent design work of either outfit) if Chasse hadn't put it out through his own imprint Unique Ancient Tavern. Recommended!
"Exfolia Motors 1" RealAudio clip:
"Furniture Next To Twilight 3"
CHASSE, L. (LOREN) Hedge Of Nerves (Anomalous) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Oval, Disc, Autechre... Lots of folks like that digital glitch stuff -- we do too -- but how 'bout some analog 'glitch'? Good old fashioned record crackle! AQ friend and fave sound artist Loren Chasse's new solo release, his first for Anomalous, totally delves into the realm of crackle, from records and beyond. For details, we may as well quote directly from the label's press release (since our own Allan wrote it!): "The work of sonic artist/investigator Loren Chasse (solo, Thuja, id Battery, Coelacanth and various manifestations of the 'Jewelled Antler collective') usually involves the documentation and manipulation of minute sound events (rubbings, scrapings, clickings) involving found objects and natural phenomena, emphasizing unexpected perspectives and connections. Even when performing in the psychedelic improv outfit Thuja, his 'instruments' primarily consist of contact mics, a mixer, some rocks and twigs, and his imagination. Loren's processed field recordings are fragile and full of strange beauty and feeling. "Hedge of Nerves is dedicated to a friend of Loren's who dearly loves the sound of record crackle as it mingles with the music from a record's grooves. He also enjoys the sound of record crackle alone, as when an LP cycles on its run-out groove. Compact disc reissues of early 20th century ethnic music 78s, or Portishead, or Philip Jeck: if it's got that crackle, he likes it! So, this friend asked Loren to make him a recording of vinyl surface noise only, one that he could DJ with, mixing with non-crackly musical sources, to create virtual scratchy records. For this reason, the idea was to avoid any obvious looping, but to make a continuous, unbroken and organic field of crackle. Thus inspired, however, the project soon turned into more than that, as Loren decided that it was more interesting to emulate the sound and texture of record crackle using other sources. The resulting cd indeed begins by utilizing sounds from a scratchy old 78 rpm disc (one recorded by Loren's grandfather in the 1930s at NBC Radio) but also explores more 'elemental' crackling sounds derived from fire and wind and water, from rustling branches, waves, and sand. Hedge of Nerves is dynamic, moving from loud crinkly-crackly storming sound-swarms to the sounds of a wilderness quietly bristling. It's a mesmerizing expanse of hiss and drone, buzz and click, with hints of melody (from his grandfather's 78). The originating idea of surface noise is ever-present, but upon closer examination that 'surface' proves quite deep, something within which the listener will become submerged, blissful and fascinated. Hedge of Nerves is a masterpiece -- just ask Loren's grateful crackle-loving friend, who files it with the best of Philip Jeck, Jonathan Coleclough, M. Behrens, Troum, and other masters of detailed drone constructions." As you might have guessed, that friend of Loren's is of course our own Allan...and he really does love this disc!! (And he did manage to use an advance version of this to DJ with at the Beyond The Pale festival last year -- it goes really well with Bo Hansson, actually.) Even if you're usually wary of some avantgarde academic "experimental" sterility, try this out anyway, it's warm and organic and inviting in a way many glitchy, noisy things are not, like a bonfire on a desolate, foggy sea-shore.
"track 2" RealAudio clip:
CHASSE, L. (LOREN) Siphon Glimmers (Unique Ancient Tavern) cd 12.98
Loren's first solo cd! (not a cd-r, either)
CHASSE, L. (LOREN) Synthesis of Neglected Places (Unique Tavern) cassette + book 9.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. THERE'S A CD-R VERSION NOW AVAILABLE A 60 minute tape of field recordings from Mr. Chasse's sabbatical to Pennsylvania this past summer. Humid atmospheres and fragmented sounds of stones scrapping across each other are accompanied by bittersweet piano and violin. While not intended to be as conceptually complete as some of Chasse's other albums (notably the brilliant Id Battery record for Ecstatic Peace), this a nice document into the working process into of the most underexposed sound artists.
CHASSE, LOREN Fantasy Apparition (s'agitarecordings) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. During the past couple of years, San Francisco's Loren Chasse has split his time equally between textural minimalism, as found on his exceptional solo album "Exfolia Motors", and organic improvisations, as heard in Thuja as well as several other bands on the Jewelled Antler label. Yet, Chasse has released a couple of limited CD-Rs that bridge the two at times conflicting headspaces. "Fantasy Apparition" is one of those cross-pollenizing albums from Chasse, showcasing a good deal of sustained harmonium built into half melodies amongst Chasse's signature environmental abstractions, where low creaking drones emerge from blustery loops of slowed down cricket choruses and the hiss of burning wood. As always, Chasse contextualizes these field recordings and contact microphone striations with an amazing sense of mystery.
"Fantasy Apparition 1" RealAudio clip:
"Fantasy Apparition 6"
CHASSE, LOREN Script Lichen (Edition Graphon) 3"cd in petri dish w/lichen 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There's no better way to visually represent the music of Jewelled Antler's Loren Chasse than with the various bits and fragments of nature's detritus, stones, pebbles, sticks, leaves, branches, dust and dirt. This newest release from Chasse goes a step further, encapsulating the disc itself (a little 3" cd) along with a sponge and a piece of lichen gathered from the German countryside in an actual petri dish, all in a sealed medical baggy. Wow. And the music inside is just as meticulously assembled as the packaging. Delicate and crystalline, intricate structures, microscopic movements, gentle reverberations, subtle scrapings, abstract shimmer and barely discernable micromelodies. It's almost impossible to tell which parts are natural ambience, and which parts are Chasse reacting and responding to nature, but that's what makes his work so vital and fascinating and what makes Script Lichen such an engrossing listen. And like the rest of Chasse's work, this is not something you just throw on (although you could), this music requires deep listening, active listening, the act of listening akin to a slow, exploratory wander through a sonic forest, every step causing brambles to shimmer and rub against each other, breezes to send leaves drifting earthward, the crunch of each step, the forest, and the earth around it, shifting slightly, the sonic evidence of such minute movements deftly captured by Chasse and reworked into a subtly different soundworld. So nice. Each 3" cd comes packaged as we said in a petri dish with a sponge and a piece of lichen, wrapped in a medical baggy, every one with a sticker, and hand numbered. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!!! We only got 50 and once those are gone this will be out of print and gone for good!
CHASSE, LOREN Synthesis of Neglected Places (Unique Ancient Tavern) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Loren Chasse (Id Battery, Thuja, Knit Separates) originally released "Synthesis of Neglected Places" as a limited edition cassette but has finally released a second pressing as a cdr. The majority of these recordings were made during Chasse's sabbatical in the Pennsylvania countryside during the summer of 1999 and reconstructed later in San Francisco. This album reads somewhat like a diary through sound, at first merely documenting the landscape with an extended field recording of crickets endlessly repeating their rhythmic chorus. Even for his crickets, this environment appears to have been a lonely and lethargic space. Chasse slowly begins a textural duet with the insects with shortwave crackle and labored rock scrapings. In keeping up with Steve Roden's retro-grade process of being "experimentally incorrect" (where such 'pop' aphorisms of melody and Martin Baytes' baroque singing could be included with archetypal experimental techniques such as musique concrete), Chasse concludes his album with a beautiful selection of plaintive piano improvisations, rippling with a hazy production wash and tweeting birds in the distance. "Synthesis of Neglected Places" acts as a nice bridge between the droning abstractions of his solo work and his collaboration in Thuja.
"untitled excerpt 4" RealAudio clip:
"untitled excerpt 6"
CHASSE, LOREN The Air In The Sand (Naturestrip) cd 16.98
With all of those Jewelled Antler projects keeping AQ's dear friend Loren Chasse busy, it's no wonder that it took over three and half years for him to complete the follow up to his acclaimed 2002 album Hedge of Nerves. Yep, it's true that Loren has released two solo projects under the Jewelled Antler moniker Of; but he doesn't see work such as The Air In The Sand (or Hedge of Nerves, or anything from id battery or Coelacanth, for that matter) as being related to Jewelled Antler. Who are we to argue? That said, Loren's solo work is made in pretty much the same manner as much of the Jewelled Antler work, particularly The Blithe Sons, where he treks up and down the Pacific Coast making tons of field recordings and then playing those recordings back in similar environments with small speakers and occasional accompaniments from rocks, sand, teasles, leaves, and the occasional alto recorder. Part of this process is an attempt to move away from the constraints of the digital workstation; but at the same time, Chasse is far more interested in the curious alchemy that occurs when a space listens to itself making sound. A nighttime chorus of crickets gurgles within aqueous percolations and the tectonic crash of surf crashing against rock. Rain vaporizes in a caustic sizzle as it falls upon overhead electrical wires, and this sound is compouned by the sharp crack of branches and the slow hiss of sand. For all of the elemental sounds that dominate his recordings, Chasse extracts subtle musical timbres and fragile half-melodies that haunt The Air In The Sand. Beautiful and timeless, this is another marvellous album from Mr. Chasse.
"The Air Inside The Sand" MPEG Stream:
"The Air Inside The Rain" MPEG Stream:
CHASSE, LOREN The Footpath (Naturestrip) cd 16.98
Loren Chasse is a man of many guises, while his recent solo releases being issued under the moniker Of for the past couple of years, his constant output via Jewelled Antler related projects has continued with his revolving presence in Thuja, Blithe Sons, Softwar, Ov, Kyrgyz, and many others. The work that Loren produces under his own name tends toward the sound art end of his aesthetic spectrum, closer to his work with Id Battery and Coelacanth than the field recordist approach to rural psychedelia found in those Jewelled Antler efforts. Throughout all of his sonic pursuits, Chasse's use of sound has always been to spark the imagination and generate a sense of mystery; and that is certainly the case here on The Footpath. A dark cloud of rumbles and growls announces the beginning of this album, as Chasse grasps several heavy rocks in his hands and caresses their surfaces with sand, dirt, leaves, water, ash, and other debris. As is often the case, these recordings have been recorded outside with a contact microphone or two and a digital recorder. So the external sounds of the environment creep into these crackling textures and eroded drones. The lulling fluctuations of surf and wind are most common, indicative of Chasse's continued wanderings up and down the California coast. But, you will also find the buzzing slash of an insect chorus or the smoldering bristle from a campfire. Chasse deftly abstracts these softened noises without ever making them sound like they had been processed in the digital arena. Every piece here enjoys a wonderfully rough hewn quality with the edges torn, tattered, and frayed. Hints of the melodic phrasing which Chasse brings to Jewelled Antler pop up on sporadic occasion in small two note phrases, that only barely pass for melodies, emerging from the mire and debris, or with his zither buried within a cloud of tape hiss and bunker reverberations, replayed and re-recorded numerous times exacerbating all of that tactile crunch. Chasse's work always comes recommended, and The Footpath is no exception!
"Footpath 1" MPEG Stream:
"Footpath 2" MPEG Stream:
CHASSE, LOREN & ELEANOR HARWOOD Fantasy Apparition (Unique Ancient Tavern) video 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. SF dronologist Loren Chasse (from Id Battery) presents the first of what we hope will be many collaborations with multimedia artist Eleanor Harwood. This 30 minute video documents slow visual explorations of natural spaces as seen through a variety of chemical filters - a perfect visual parallel to Chasse's sound investigations. Oval-like mesmer constructed out of looping drones accompanies a slow-motion pan across the negative image of a stagnant lake, whose steady march is disrupted by a car speeding along a far away road. Distant almost Arvo Part-like chorales float with the wispy motion of two baren trees shaken by a steady wind. Very nice work.
CHASSE, LOREN & MICHAEL NORTHAM The Otolith (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) cd 14.98
BACK IN STOCK!! Throughout the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the coastal mountains are dotted with countless bunkers which were built during World War II in anticipation of the Japanese invasion that never came. Nearly 70 years later, these bunkers have been weathered by wind, fog, rain, and of course the sodden folks who tromp through the Headlands on a daily basis. These concrete structures with small portals facing the Pacific all have amazing reverberant qualities; and it shouldn't be a surprise that the more frequented bunkers and passageways inevitably echo with the sound of children dying to hear their own voices tossed back to them. The Headlands have been a favored destinations for Loren Chasse, who has sought many of the lesser known and lesser travelled environs for field recordings and jam sessions that would eventually work their way into all things Jewelled Antler (Thuja, Franciscan Hobbies, The Blithe Sons, Of, Ov, etc.). In his recordings, Chasse extracts a profound mystery and grand sense of wonder from that echo, the bunker's grit, the soft recurrence of surf bleeding through those walls, and the distant bleat of a foghorn. Back in 2005, Chasse took his fellow globetrotting wanderer Michael Northam to the Battery Townsley where the two set up long string wires and various handheld instruments to begin a series of recordings which took a few years to complete after Northam left California. The two did manage to meet up once again in Estonia, there exploring the Soviet industrial ruins that pock the Estonian landscape with similar intentions. Out of the bramble of overgrown weeds, rebar, concrete, dirt, rock, wind, and water, Chasse and Northam straddle those psychedelic leanings of Jewelled Antler and the more studied aspects of minimalism. The Otolith begins with an acoustic clamor, as if billions of iron filings were brushing against each other under the direction of a couple of hefty magnets, before shifting into a harmonium blur of sustained tones hinting at a melody well beneath these clouds of tousled energy. Softer drones and Aeolian fragments flutter forth out of bowed strings and gently tapped gongs amidst a golden hue of opiated atmospherics. Scrabblings across the surfaces of leaves, rocks, mud, and metal fuse with field recordings of wind and water, as a continuing demonstration of Chasse's alchemy with naturalist sound to bring forth stately ragas and dreamtime psychedelic lullabies. Chasse and Northam work amazingly well together, having produced this thoroughly amazing album. Think Popul Vuh, Parson Sound, Pandit Pran Nath, Harry Bertoia, and Erc La Casa. Totally beautiful and mesmerizing.
"The Broken House" MPEG Stream:
"Spinning Cloth" MPEG Stream:
"The Spectral Harvest"
CHASSE, LOREN / ADAM SONDERBERG + KATHERINE YOUNG Characters At Water Margin / Speech Acts (Compost And Height) 3"cd-r 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We got a very very very few of these. It is after all limited to a mere 50 copies. Chasse completists and Jewelled Antler obsessives, as well as fans of gorgeous abstract field recordings, it's a race to see who can grab one of these before they're gone. Chasse's piece is 10 minutes long and begins with a burst of static, but as you might imagine, that's not static at all, it's more likely a field recording of wind in branches, or water traveling over a rocky stream bed. The sound soon fades, and then rest of the track is a constantly shifting soundscape of textures and timbres, many recognizable, many not, but all of them strangely musical. Such is the magic touch Chasse has with field recordings, an alchemist who with a handful of sticks and some pebbles can conjure up a beautiful world of earthy sound. Sonderberg is a member of the Chicago based sound-project Haptic with Steven Hess; and his half with Katherine Young is not quite as serene as Chasse's, a sound field rife with squeaks and creaks and thumps and Geiger counter like clicks, the sound shifting from spare and skeletal to thick and hissy and almost distorted, all underpinned by a weird low end almost electronic sounding thrum. Really nice, but as mentioned above, we have VERY FEW of these, it's almost out of print, and once they are gone, we will not be able to get more. Cool packaging too. A 3" cd-r affixed to a small block of wood, wrapped in s sheet of clear plastic, attached on one side with little nails, and velcro on the other, the liner notes a sticker beneath the plastic, each one hand numbered, LIMITED TO 50 COPIES.
LOREN CHASSE "Characters At Water Margin" MPEG Stream:
ADAM SONDERBERG + KATHERINE YOUNG "Speech Acts"
CHATHAM, RHYS A Crimson Grail (Table Of The Elements) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. In 2005 the city of Paris commissioned avant-composer and no-wave legend Rhys Chatham to orchestrate and conduct a piece to be played in the basilica of Sacre-Coeur, the largest church in France. Chatham took this amazing opportunity to have his piece A Crimson Grail performed for this first time. The piece calls for 400 electric guitars!!! In a Basilica!! Holy Shit!! Rhys Chatham and 400 electric guitars = get ready to be blasted by unrelenting noise, right? WRONG! Somehow Chatham manages to use this army of guitars to make one of his most beautiful and celestial pieces to date. The guitars come together to create a glistening wall of sound that had to make those 10,000 in attendance simply melt into their seats. Exciting to hear what could have been overblown bombast, and a flexing of too much guitar muscle turned into a subtle and shimmering work that creates space and tension and emotion and seeps right into your soul. Last year was chock full of great Chatham reissues, we couldn't get enough, so it's thrilling to start the new year not with a reissue, but a brand new piece as thrilling as anything Chatham has ever done. So totally stunning!
"A Crimson Grail: Part One" MPEG Stream:
"A Crimson Grail: Part Three"
CHATHAM, RHYS A Crimson Grail (Outdoor Version) (Nonesuch) cd 16.98
A Crimson Grail is one of our favorite massive guitar ensemble compositions of all time, and now getting to hear a different version of it, recorded outdoors at the Lincoln Center with 200 guitarists brings us back once again to the totally sublime beauty of the piece. The way Chatham is able to compose and conduct that army of guitarists to be both so subtle and explosive at just the right moments is a testament to his talent, and another reminder that he really his one of the most exciting and incredible composers around. There is a patience in this piece that really allows you to slowly enter the zone, until you have no choice but to follow wherever the shimmering sounds of all these guitars take you. We're also glad for this release 'cause the previous recording of this piece, on Table Of The Elements, seems to be out of print these days. And extra cool is that our pal and WFMU music director Brian Turner was one of the guitarists at this performance, we can only imagine what a chill inducing experience it would be to be a part of creating this sonic beauty!
"Part 1" MPEG Stream:
CHATHAM, RHYS A Rhys Chatham Compendium (Table Of The Elements) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There are many reasons why somebody needs to smack some sense into Table Of The Elements, with this compendium of Rhys Chatham's work being simply the latest episode of marketing blunders. Sometime in the future, Table Of The Elements has plans to release a 3CD box set of Rhys Chatham's compositions of rock-as-minimalism for multiple guitar symphonies, a fusionist strategy also explored by Chatham's contemporary / doppleganger Glenn Branca. And that boxset is scheduled to have a huge booklet with essays by Chatham, Lee Ranaldo, and Tony Conrad, as well as artwork by Robert Longo. All of this sounds enticing, but until that day (which may never come after how long it took Table Of The Elements to complete the Captain Beefheart series), all we can offer from Chatham is this overpriced, condensed version of the boxset. Groan. Oh, and supposedly this has a track that *won't* be on the alleged box set. Smack!
CHATHAM, RHYS An Angel Moves Too Fast To See (Table Of The Elements) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Always unpredictable and often a little bit frustrating, Table Of The Elements have decided to re-release 2 of the 3 discs from the now out of print Rhys Chatham An Angel Moves Too Fast To See box set (the third disc to follow later?), with no mention on either of these two new discs that they are indeed the same discs contained in the box. So if you already own the Chatham box, you already have this stuff, but if you somehow missed the box, you absolutely need this! A gorgeously packaged and lovingly assembled disc chronicling one of the most important works of guitar experimentalist and early drone pioneer / minimalist Rhys Chatham, a man whose career seemed to always have been overshadowed by fellow New Yorker / guitarist Glenn Branca, who may have borrowed his multiple guitar idea from Chatham anyway. The interesting thing, to us at least, is how accessible most of Chatham's pieces are. Sure, he's a minimalist composer, an artist, an avant garde pioneer, but when you get right down to brass tacks, much of his music sounds a lot like Stereolab or Neu! Filtered through Television and downtown Manhattan and with some more challenging arrangements, but very post rock nonetheless. Endless crescendos and repetitive intros build and build, until the band often launches into propulsive krautrock jams. Simple, repetitive and totally hypnotic. Echoes of AQ faves Circle and Salvatore as well as Faust and Can. Even though the pieces are for multiple guitars as well as sometimes horns and drums, it's hard to hear anything other than some really nice, spacey jams. Occasionally the dense horn jams remind us of Fleetwood Mac's "Tusk" slowed down and played through the sound system at CBGB. This disc, the 5 part title track, starts off with a dense brassy drone that sounds a bit like Niblock composing for an army of trumpets or a little bit like later records by Dutch metallers Gore. That jam quickly slips into a sleepy krautrock groove before drifting off. The second movement is a blissed out brass drone beneath a dynamic mathrock workout, stacatto bursts demarcating a wide open expense of reverberent whir. The third movement is straight up Stereolab / Neu!, a loping post rock rhythm, a dreamy sunshiney melody, all propulsive and hypnotic. Next up is a much more dissonant slab of twentieth century angularity, an amorphous cloud of swirling notes and thick washes of orchestra-tuning-up clatter and cacophony. The final movement sounds like Circle or Salvatore or Tortoise or Zombi, but with strange synthy swooshes, like bits of Chariots Of Fire or something. Driving and almost rocking, totally mesmerizing and head nodding. While this stuff is obviously of interest to folks into modern minimalism ala Maclise, Cale, Coleclough and other masters of the mighty drone, Chatham's more rock stuff, like An Angel Moves Too Fast To See, will definitely appeal to the more adventurous post/pop rockers into the above mentioned outfits (Tortoise, Stereolab, Circle, Salvatore) as well as folks into all things krautrock/free rock/space rock.
"An Angel Moves Too Fast To See - Prelude" MPEG Stream:
"An Angel Moves Too Fast To See - Allegro"