AUBRY, GILLES s6t8r (Winds Measure Recordings) cd 11.98
BACK IN STOCK! Up until we got a hold of this disc a while back we'd never carried anything from Winds Measure Recordings; but that will certainly be changing, as this is a label with an excellent ear for the finer points of dronesmear sound-art and an equally excellent eye for letterpressed packaging. So, we started with the stellar manipulated field recording work from Swiss-born / Berlin-based sound artist Gilles Aubry, who ran a space in Berlin dedicated to experimental music called Stralau 68. The space unfortunately closed in 2007, but it seemed to have been a nexus of activity for noise, aktionism, avant-rock, live-wire electronics, and whatnot. Perhaps as a final act within the emptied space, Aubry recorded the resonance of the room, capturing all sorts of resonant drones, tones, hums, and buzzes intrinsic to the space outside of its former use as a performance venue. The first of three pieces on this album centers on the rasping frequencies from the industrial air vents matching wind-blown recordings from within what sounds like a huge concrete structure. Here Aubry's work attains the acousmatic aesthetic that the finest Francisco Lopez pieces of minimalism seek. The second piece is far more dynamic, with thrumming rumble grounding an interwoven drone of pierced frequencies and jarring movements from creaking metal doors, bellowing hisses of infernal air, and scrabbling textures. It's unsettled and ominous, something of a hybrid between the end-times collages of Tarab and the late period bleakness of Lustmord. The final piece continues with the scraped abrasions and elongated drones of toxic environmental frequencies. Absolutely brilliant stuff! As we mentioned, Winds Measure's packaging is a thing of beauty, here with an elegant folio of letterpressed text on thick white paper with a set of abstracted smears printed precisely in a pale pale grey. Some of the finer letterpressed work we've seen! Put it all together in a small edition of just about 300 copies. Highly recommended!
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AUFGEHOBEN Khora (Holy Mountain) cd 13.98
Pop quiz! Or not so "pop" really. Whom have we ever compared to Anaal Nathrakh -and- This Heat -and- High Rise -and- Merzbow?? Why Aufgehoben of course. Their name sounds German (it means something along the lines of "nullified" or "voided" in that language). And early on, their music did have krautrocky, rhythmic underpinning. Underpinning brutal ultra distorted NOISE rock that is. And that noise has gotten only noisier and noisier, believe it or not (disbelieve at your peril). Aufgehoben are in fact from England, and certainly fit in with the harsh n' heavy tradition of bands like Skullflower, God, Ramleh, and more recently, Shit And Shine, with whom they share the multiple drummers thing, though Aufgehoben manage to make do with just two of the species freaking out on their drum kits. They also utilize "bricks and metal" as well as the usual guitars and electronics. But if you had to guess, from just listening to 'em, you'd probably pick Japan as their country of origin. Again, 'cause of the sheer noisiness of this, but also 'cause of how the album's last, longest track "Jederfursich..." (26:57) is an epic, repetitively pounding psych guitar blow out (blow up?) that would have the combined forces of both Boris and Merzbow running for cover... whereas the tracks that precede it aren't quite as "rock", though no less noisy, maybe more so, in the vein of Wolf Eyes, who too might reach for the earplugs when confronted with this. Khora's first track "Ignorance Oblivion Contempt" is a vigorous splattering of utterly fried sounds, shrill shards of feedback and frantic trash-compacting percussion colliding and imploding and becoming one dense, writhing mass. That's followed by "Annex Organon", which features a more sparse sort of clatter, but you'd still better be careful about turning up the volume! Next, on "A Bastard Reasoning", we get over ten minutes of mayhem that begin with random meteor strikes of percussive, concussive distortion and then turn into a rumbling, tumbling skree-for-all. Damn. The relative rockiness n' riffiness of the aforementioned fourth and final track, even if the riffs sound like they're played with explosives rather than on guitars, is just a slightly more controlled sort of chaos, building and building and building... kinda like a Cadaver In Drag track -being- dragged, behind a tank, down a rocky road. No, Aufgehoben's brand of utterly destroyed instrumental improv has NOT been tamed at all on Khora, their 5th album, and 2nd for Holy Mountain, who quite rightly hail that ultimate track "Jederfursich..." as being "easily the most massive song of the year". Being obsessed with Les Rallizes Denudes and Keiji Haino, and putting out Blues Control and Wooden Shjips records, would lead you too to say things like that about Aufgehoben. Get this and see, we think you'll agree... This damage is definitely for fans of similar subversive sonic conspirators and AQ faves Shit And Shine.
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AUFGEHOBEN Anno Fauve (Riot Season) cd 21.00
There's not a band around these days that more embodies the concepts of LOUD, and NOISY than the UK's mighty Aufgehoben. But being loud and noisy is not enough on their own. If it were, we'd sure have a lot fewer shitty bands floating around. No, Aufgehoben (formerly Aufgehoben No Process) are masters of their craft. That craft being ear splitting, strangely rhythmic, massively overblown super distorted totally fucked up noise rock. This stuff is so amazing, and amazingly alien, it's hard to know how to describe it. It's sort of like free jazz, meets free noise, meets Krautrock. Maybe Laddio Bolocko covering Masonna. Or a handful of This Heat Records and a handful of Merzbow records run through a meat grinder and then performed by Sun Ra. Or Mainliner and God (the '90s British noise band, not the deity) going toe-to-toe. A mind bendingly perplexing polyphonous cacophony of zig zagging melodies, almost like someone dropped a handful of notes in a particle accelerator and let 'er rip. If you thought their previous two albums were head-smashers and ear-melters, you'll be blown away by this one. Featuring, as on their prior Magnetic Mountain opus, the guest "stereo guitar" of British improv maverick Gary Smith. Yes, as we've said of them before, "the Anaal Nathrakh of improv noise rock" are back and all pretenders should be running scared.
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AUFGEHOBEN Anno Fauve (Fourier Transform) lp 44.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There's not a band around these days that more embodies the concepts of LOUD, and NOISY than the UK's mighty Aufgehoben. But being loud and noisy is not enough on their own. If it were, we'd sure have a lot fewer shitty bands floating around. No, Aufgehoben (formerly Aufgehoben No Process) are masters of their craft. That craft being ear splitting, strangely rhythmic, massively overblown super distorted totally fucked up noise rock. This stuff is so amazing, and amazingly alien, it's hard to know how to describe it. It's sort of like free jazz, meets free noise, meets Krautrock. Maybe Laddio Bolocko covering Masonna. Or a handful of This Heat Records and a handful of Merzbow records run through a meat grinder and then performed by Sun Ra. Or Mainliner and God (the '90s British noise band, not the deity) going toe-to-toe. A mind bendingly perplexing polyphonous cacophony of zig zagging melodies, almost like someone dropped a handful of notes in a particle accelerator and let 'er rip. If you thought their previous two albums were head-smashers and ear-melters, you'll be blown away by this one. Featuring, as on their prior Magnetic Mountain opus, the guest "stereo guitar" of British improv maverick Gary Smith. Yes, as we've said of them before, "the Anaal Nathrakh of improv noise rock" are back and all pretenders should be running scared. THIS IS TH SUPER SUPER LIMITED ALREADY OUT OF PRINT VINYL VERSION, only 200 copies made, pressed on heavy transparent vinyl, housed between two thick perspex sheets with four interchangeable translucent paper inserts, wrapped in white electrical cable and individually numbered with a photograph of a 'found' number!!!
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AUFGEHOBEN Axiologue / Thermidor One Five (White Denim) 7" picture disc 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Last copies of this glorious slab of noisy brilliance! Is it us, or is UK noise rock outfit Aufgehoben continually getting noisier and noisier? Is that even possible? We're beginning to think it is, even after the recent Messidor full length seemed to have reached a noise ceiling. But here we are, two splattery, speaker frying blasts of no wave, free jazz noise rock. Or something. Not sure what to call it, but we like it. A lot. It does require a strong stomach and some iron clad earholes, but if you think you've got the stuff, then hop right in. Two drummers, electronics, and very little else, are all these guys need to DESTROY. Side A begins with some rhythmic free jazz splatter before being swallowed alive by white hot bursts of crumbling distortion and swells of Merzbowian fury. The sheets of noise stuttering and almost 'skipping' into strange speaker shredding almost-rhythms, some otherworldly white noise pulse that bathes the rest of the song in a blinding and painfully loud glow. Side B is cut from the same cloth, beginning with some Derek Bailey-ish guitar scrabble before the band launch into a full-on free jazz noise rock assault, loads of buzzing feedback, charged sheets of skree, all blown out and super distorted and in the red, interrupted by brief bits of tranquility, peppered with moments of grinding guitar scrape and spastic drum sputter, always quickly obliterated by a massive super nova of pure noise. Fucking brutal and massively intense! Packaged in a plain black sleeve with some simple paste on art. Pressed on super thick vinyl, a gorgeous picture disc adorned with strange branch like patterns, like a fossil or some blurred winterscape. Nice!! LIMITED TO 524 COPIES!!!
AUFGEHOBEN Fragments Of The Marble Plan (Holy Mountain) lp 17.98
Jeezus. Just when you thought that Aufgehoben couldn't get any noisier, the UK unit ups the ante with this terroristic slab of sonic annihilation, their sixth full-length and 3rd for Holy Mountain. Full of brutal feedback and blown out howl, crinkly glitch and sudden outbursts, this is loud miasmic 'music' that's maybe made with guitars and drums (2 kits worth) and electronics, but could just as easily be channeled direct from nightmare. There's broken rhythmic clank that garners them some This Heat and (early) Supersilent references, lashed to skree worthy of the Japanese heavyweights like Merzbow and Hijokaidan. Aufgehoben have long been one of our favorite noise acts, 'cause there's always a discernible method to their madness, if you will, enough 'rock' structure for your ears to hang on to (for dear life) to make it, ahem, listenable. But boy do they push that envelope! This is one for fans of their previous works of course, also for fans of certain Skullflower, Kevin Drumm, Wolf Eyes, Voice Crack, Borbetomagus, Shit & Shine... Really, recommended to all noiseniks! We wish it were on cd though, that's our preferred noise format. Who wants to get up and flip this when you're in its tender clutches?
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AUFGEHOBEN Messidor (Holy Mountain) cd 13.98
Yer ears ready for a bit of a challenge? This, the fourth album from take-no-prisoners English instrumental noise-rock project Aufgehoben (nee Aufgehoben No Process) ought to be just the thing. Seven tracks, 45 minutes of crumpled, crinkly skree in the form of amp-frying distortion, chaotic falling-down-the-stairs song structures, and clattering pipe-fightin' percussion. It's "music" that's been brutally improvised and manipulated, coming out sounding something like Merzbow meets the Starfuckers. At its most extreme (which is very, and most of the time) this stuff's so in-the-red it's infrared. This time around we're hearing less of the krauty rhythmic pummel and snatches of near-melody that characterized their earlier releases (like their last one, 2004's Anno Fauve), and more just sheer blown-out, blow-it-up loud skronky noise, or threatening-to-be loud glitchscapes of brief silences, scrapery and FX. The "small print" in the cd booklet somehwhat puzzlingly specifies the instrumentation/methodology as "paper, stone, electronics, two drums, one mono GS" and "no bass, no overdubs, no no no process", along with the usual disclaimer that Aufgehoben "accept no responsibility for health or hardware". A smart lawyer they must have... Messidor is a seriously OTT session for fans of the likes of Wolf Eyes, Shit and Shine, and Skullflower.
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AUFGEHOBEN NO PROCESS The Violence Of Appropriation (Junior Meat) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. As promised in last list's review of this British avant-noise-rock band's juggernaut of a second album, we can now offer you copies of their debut, "The Violence Of Appropriation", which bears the alternate title "Cool Tastes In Heavy Sounds". Heavy Sounds indeed! While not *quite* as punishingly always-in-the-red as their follow-up album (which co-billed guitarist Gary Smith), this is still a distortion-fest with lots of guitar and massive rhythmic propulsion. Compared to that 2nd album, the beats here are perhaps "funkier", if that makes any sense in the context of this noisy-as-heck outfit, which employs a music-improvised-live-then-sampled-and-deconstructed methodology a la Phantomsmasher, Radian, and Pluramon. Imagine one of the loud, noisy, semi-industrial bands from the early '90s Pathological stable (God, Terminal Cheesecake) attempting some sort of instrumental modern-day take on experimental krautrock, with Merzbow doing the mixing! This quote from the cd booklet's literal small print gives both the recording details and a definite sense of their sonic overload aesthetic: "1 All sounds and musics utilised in this recording were produced via live and undirected improvisation involving the services of two drummers, a floating pool of guitarists, bass players, keyboard operators, string-scrapers, and non-and-quasi musicians. 2 No sounds extraneous to those original improvised sessions, recorded in Bethnal Green between November and December 1998, were employed in the final product. 3 Aufgehoben No Process accept no responsibility for damage caused by this recording to hi-fi, hearing, or aesthetic sensibilities. 4 Aufgehoben -- past participle of Aufheben, the sublation or simultaneous cancellation, preservation and suppression of terms, a process immanent to the object itself." Yep, whether part 4 of that makes sense to you or not, the rest of the quote gives a pretty clear picture of both their working methods and (part 3) the extremity of the results.
"Brief Blank" RealAudio clip:
"Mondo Cult Trip" RealAudio clip:
"Happening And Formless"
AUFGEHOBEN NO PROCESS VS. GARY SMITH Magnetic Mountain (Junior Meat Recordings) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Whoa... This, the second album from mysterious Brighton UK outfit Aufgehoben No Process, is some serious, distorted, noise-rock mayhem. And LOUD. Led by Wire scribe Stephen Robinson, and consisting of one, maybe two drummers plus sampler and other indisclosed instrumentation, the Aufgehoben boys (apologies if there's girls in the band, but I'd be surprised, this has a very definite male energy!) are teamed here with (against?) improvising "stereo guitarist" Gary Smith (whom you might know from his heavy "fusion" bands Mass and Powerfield, and most recently the Glass Cage match-up with Hugh Hopper and Shoji Hano, along with other solo and collaborative efforts) for thirteen tracks of high-density heaviness. They indeed scale "magnetic mountains" of riff and noise, venturing also into a few moody valleys of equally-distorted, but quieter, improv fuckery. Mostly, though, this is fully in-the-red sonic assault of utter devastation, full of martial drum pummel, Smith's swooping stereo guitar skree, and beyond-metal instrumental intensity, the likes of which the UK hasn't heard since the glory days of early Skullflower or Kevin Martin's God (and without God's dumb vocals) -- and even then this is taking it up a notch. Heck, even the scariest grindcore metal bands from the early Earache label roster would be sent crying home to Satan upon hearing this. Along with the old Pathological bands like God and 16/17, you could compare this to the best of the current Japanese scene -- imagine the noisiest Japanese psychrockers (Mainliner, Musica Transonic, High Rise, Boris) with a healthy dose of Merzbow added in! So it makes a lot of sense that Aufgehoben No Process enlisted Gary Smith, 'cause he's previously played with High Rise's Nanjo Ashahito, and the rhythm section of his band Mass are former members of God, as well. But this Aufgehoben disc is even louder and noisier than any of that, they're kinda of the Anaal Nathrakh of improv noise rock! We were very impressed, and glad we managed to track some of these down for the store (we'll get their first cd in eventually too).
"Gourdportalplaning" RealAudio clip:
"Grosse Module" RealAudio clip:
"Magnetic Mountain "
AUINGER, SAM & ROBERT ADRIAN W/ RUPERT HUBER Flugstunden / Applaus (Werks) cd 17.98
A split release between conceptual composer Sam Auinger and a collaboration by composers Robert Adrian and Rupert Huber. The Auinger piece is an awesome 40 minute digital manipulation of the sounds of jet engines, resembling flanging twin-blade flutter or amplified insects. The Adrian/Huber piece is a long, rhythmic collage of applause (clapping). Put that track on when you feel the need for a little positive re-inforcement!
AUN Black Pyramid (Cyclic Law) cd 12.98
We've long been fans of Canadian doom/drone/dirge outfit Aun. They shared a split with French ultra doomlords Habsyll (who also released a record on Andee's tUMULt label) and we made their most recent record, VII, a Record Of The Week a while back. Which makes perfect sense, as they traffic in a perfect blend of electronic dronemusic, abstract blackened buzz and downtuned glacial sludge that we just can't seem to get enough of. VII was peppered with black metalisms as well, and featured drumming from Voivod's Away, transforming Aun's drones into something way more metal, but on Black Pyramid, Aun move away from overtly metallic soundmaking, and instead focus on creating a collection of epically abject dronescapes, that capture the same sort of intensity and soul crushing heaviness, but using a distinctly different palette. And the results are incredible. Dark, and dreary, depressive and hauntingly beautiful. Each track here is a miniature epic, a bleak sprawl of smoldering sounds, deep shimming low end drifts beneath hazy fragmented melodies, everything blurred and smeared into slow shifting clouds of grim ambience, the tracks peppered with mysterious bits of random percussion, scrapes, creaks, chimes and buried rhythms. The sound occasionally blossoms into thick buzzing sheets of crumbling distortion, smoldering swaths of blown out thrum, or gorgeously dreamy streaks of shoegazey melody, but just as quickly settles back down into pulsing electronic swirls, or murky expanses of blackened drift. The record closes with the 9+ minute "Shining", which finds Aun taking that hushed minimal shimmer, and tethering it to a strange skeletal rhythm, a sort of disembodied techno throb, but more brittle and trebly, as the black swells beneath roil and churn, until eventually, thick throbbing droned out guitars, wreathed in swirling fuzz, are driven forward by a new, more propulsive, loping, lurching rhythm, the sound growing more and more intense and distorted, before finishing in a final squall of swirling FX and washed out distortion. So good. And while way less metal than the previous record, it's most definitely just as heavy, and dark, and intense. LIMITED TO 1000 COPIES!!
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AUN Motorsleep (Alien8) cd 15.98
The term 'doom' gets bandied about quite a bit these days (by us, too, to be sure). It's gotten to the point that anything slow and low gets described as doom. There's a certain cool quotient attached to 'doom' it seems, and all sorts of music makers have been taking advantage of that by doing their best to infuse their music, be it metal or pop or drone or electronic, with some of that doomy magic. But as we all know, doom is more that playing slow, more than tuning way down, more than plodding lugubriously, it's about evoking a mood, creating an atmosphere of dread, of DOOM, using those sounds to paint a bleak and abject picture, rendered in shades of grey and black, especially black. We're not really that uppity when it comes to people branding themselves doom, but in the case of Aun it might be a bit misleading. Not to say Motorsleep is not a killer record, it is for sure, and it is plenty dark and dreary and rumbly and droney, and heavy, okay, a little bit doomy, but really only a bit. To these ears Aun sound way more like Machinefabriek or Jasper TX, with some Nadja or Jesu mixed in. There's not much riffing, it's not all that heavy, instead, it's mysterious and murky, blurred loops laced with buzz and crumble, are woven into haunting melodies, the songs all blend into one another, like one massive organic piece split into movements, and it does get heavier and louder, but more sort of like Sunroof! heavy, a sort of sun dappled upper register ur-drone, more than any sort of crushing pummel or churning pound. The music at its most minimal shimmers and glistens, spidery bits of crystalline sound set amidst deep rumbling tones and slow shifting textures, often building into almost orchestral swells, sometimes slipping into something murky and blurred and barely metallic, other times glimmering like and expanse of starry sky, not so much doomy as just dark and dolorous. This might well be too dreamy and drifty for troo doomlords, but for anyone into fuzzy distorted shimmer, Japer TX, Machinefabriek, Tim Hecker and that sort of washed out buzz flecked loveliness, then Aun will definitely hit the spot.
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AUN VII (Important) cd 14.98
Part of the joy of music for us is seeing various genres stretched to the breaking point, testing the creativity of the music maker, whether it's electronic, black metal, indie rock, whatever, it's what really keeps music exciting for us. Not that we don't love us some buzzing blasting grim black metal, or perfectly poppy indie jangle, but sometimes all it takes is that black metal being twisted up a bit, or that pop music tweaked a little, or heck even better, combining the two into some impossible grim black indie jangle, to really get us going. One genre that seems to offer limitless possibilities is DOOM. We've had funereal doom, true doom, black doom, doom folk, doom pop, and within those various permutations, there are still more subsets, ultra doom can be abrasive and harsh and heavy, or washed out and dreamy, doomgaze anyone? But we have to say, we pretty much love most doom, all the various shades of slow and low, doooooooom, the more o's the merrier, the slower, the heavier, the prettier, the more abstract and minimal the better. Which brings us to Quebec's Aun, who to some ears might indeed sound like doom, and heck, certain elements of Aun's sound are most definitely doom-like, but Aun is a perfect example of the above mentioned experimentation. The tropes that define the sound remain the building blocks, but are approached as something malleable, able to be twisted into any shape, and it seems the shape Aun has chosen is something closer to the glacial crawl of SUNNO))) and the metalgaze drift of Nadja. Which is a pretty killer combo, especially in this case, as Aun manages to make that sound, sound pretty unique. The opening track of this new album is a slow motion sea of heaving black swells, downtuned and thunderous, but blurred into gritty streaks of low end, wreathed in glitch and crackle, underpinned by sheets of coruscating feedback, buried in the mix, offering a subtly melodic counterpoint to the mesmerizing glacial pulse of the thick crumbling near static riffage. The result is a totally mesmerizing, almost raga like doomdrone, that manages to be both tranquil and crushing, dreamlike and HEAVY AS FUCK. The second track begins hushed and shimmery, minimal and ethereal, while way off in the distance a churning riff begins to pulse and throb, eventually emerging as a thick pulsing wall of crumbling sound, very much like old Earth, but like the track before, crackling with electricity, and then the drums come in (courtesy of none other than Voivod's Away, wow!!), but not like a normal beat, they sputter and skitter, little explosive bursts, not fully kicking in, just peppering the black expanse with machine gun bursts of percussive crunch, before eventually locking into a rhythm, the track becoming a strange almost krautrocky groove, while all around those sheets of guitar undulate wrapping their blackened tendrils around the beat, shades of Aluk Todolo. The next track is more of the same, that motorik drum beat, but this time the guitars are muted and smoothed out, unfurling haunting melodies beneath the drums, epic and cinematic, and the cool thing is it never gets properly heavy, the guitars remain washed out and minimal, a little spacey, a little psychedelic, the production almost sounds like Xasthur, weirdly lo-fi and lush at the same time, before the track sort of splinters to pieces at the end, allowing the drums to sort of drift off, while those churning guitar drones slowly rev down. The 'final' track (more on that in a second), returns to the incendiary guitar crunch of the first few tracks, spreading out another dronescape of warm buzz, glimmering glitch, and blown out blurred melody, all hazy and super distorted, there's a brief bit of drum driven dirgery, before the track settles into some softly crackling shimmer. After the 'final track', there appears to be an unlisted extra track, sounds like maybe it could be live, hardly matters, it fits perfectly with the rest of the record, another expansive buzzscape, all layered ever shifting drones, truncated melodies, strange textures and timbres and overtones, the most abstract of the bunch, a swirling shimmering blackened drift, still heaving and heavy, but way more ethereal and space-y, the perfect final movement for sure. Equally recommended for doomlords, dronelords, and pretty much anyone who likes it slow, low, mysterious, heavy and BEAUTIFUL.
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AURICLE, THE s/t (self-released) cd-r 7.98
People went nuts for the most recent record from local psychedelic space rockers 3 Leafs, and rightfully so, a primo clutch of tripped out, druggy drift. The Auricle finds one of those Leafs exploring another quadrant of the outer reaches, this time with a drastically different arsenal, violin, French horn, ukulele and sampler, sounds strange, but this trio makes it work, a healthy dollop of reverb, a little delay, the violin unfurling loooooong velvety ribbons of sound, the French horn moaning out melancholy melodies, the Ukulele spinning out little upper register trills, sent spiraling into the ether, the sampler... well, not sure what it's doing, probably just taking all of the rest of the sounds and subtly twisting and transforming, the end result is something that is definitely space-y, abstract and atmospheric, haunting, playful pizzicato melodies surface here and there, the violin sometimes drifting into more traditional sounds, making this sound like a chamber ensemble drifting through space, and that's just the first track. The rest of the record definitely branches out a little, from warped minimal sort-of-bluegrass, looped and hypnotic, to otherworldly music box like warble, to clattery almost industrial sounding machinemusic, to deep almost new age sounding ethereal ambience, to strangely drone-y old timey back porch blues, to slow spaced out slowcore lullabies, all tied together by the woozy washed out reverby production, and the strange and wonderful instrumentation.
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"Truth Gets Its Shoes On"
AURORA PLASTIC COMPANY Low Noise (Bobby J) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A dirty, yet simmering atmosphere surrounds these free noise improvisations built out of lo-fi guitar feedback, siren like modulations of analog electronics, theremin, clarinet, accordion, organs, etc. Wouldn't be out of place on Ecstatic Peace or Siltbreeze.
AUSTERITY PROGRAM, THE Black Madonna (Hydra Head) cd 13.98
It's hard to know exactly what to say about these guys, we have to fight our urge to just gush madly, and as you all probably realize by now, we can only put up so much of a fight... the last Austerity Program record was a bombastic homage to the drum machine fueled acerbic brutality of the late great Big Black, which we absolutely loved. But this record somehow manages to retain that sound (how could it not at least a little, especially considering the lineup is guitar, bass and drum machine?) while taking it so much further. Sure Big Black were amazing, as were the legion of drum machine driven behemoths that followed, but the Austerity Program are way more than the sum of their parts. Especially the drum machine part, which seems to define most bands that utilize one... The drum machine here doesn't always sound like a machine at all, which is the key, it's super tight, and precise, but could maybe be an actual drummer. Occasionally the band do take advantage of the machine's super human abilities, but for the most part, the drumming while crushing and brutal is also weirdly deft and subtle. The vocals also can't help but give a nod to Albini and Big Black, it's not a hellish howl or a guttural growl, it's more of an angry nerdy wail, a hyper literate, snarky rant delivered in a sung / spoken, regular guy shout. But the vocals are generally few and far between, which means it's mostly all about the bass and guitar... And fuck if these aren't some of the heaviest, and thickest guitar sounds ever. It helps that the riffs totally destroy, super catchy, weirdly melodic, soaring and epic as often as they are metallic and pummeling. Sometimes super affected, but just as often a straight forward chest caving crunch, the bass throbbing and pulsing right along, often offering up some super unlikely melodic counterpoint, never content to just be a low end presence, the bass grinds and growls as intensely as the guitars. The overall sound ends up being some strange hybrid of Big Black (obviously), Harvey Milk, Jesu, a little bit of Fugazi and some hints here and there of black metal buzz, all tightly wound into an utterly intense crushing blast of beautiful brutality. From the first track, you'll be pretty much knocked the fuck out. It's a super complex mathy metallic workout, the guitars, swirl and soar, slither and shimmer, all the while pounding out some of the most bad ass riffs ever, and it's super dynamic, with the drums and guitar locked tight, stopping to emit little squalls of corrosive feedback before spiraling back into walls and washes of furious buzz. All the tracks are impossibly gorgeous and melodic, as well as being super ultra tight and clinical, guitars are massive, roiling and thick, the riffs warm and dense, but jagged and razor sharp, and the arrangements are mindblowing, super complex, but not to the point of destroying the flow of the songs, just perfectly obtuse and tangled, so much so that it sounds like one of these guys must have gotten some sort of calculus degree just to program the drum machine. But it's not all pound and crush, some tracks are slow and brooding, the guitars building and building, a haunting groovy Fugazi like percussive chug, that eventually builds to a completely catchy, massive grinding guitar / pummeling percussion battle that manages to take the shape of a crazy catchy song at the same time. We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the fact that these guys are also really fucking funny too. But in that all to rare way, where the music is absolutely NOT funny, the humor is subtle, and clever, and just a bit snarky, but it's all over the place, EVEN in the music, but subtly so. From the sticker and obi text on the outside, to the lyrics (especially the part where they scream "Here is my favorite part" before, well, what just might be their favorite part), to some of the clever arrangements, some of the strangely almost recognizable melodies, right down to the WTF liner notes, a chunk of pseudo-scientific data analyzing the various songs on the album, based on things like "distinct drum patterns", "average tempo", "vocal references to death", "abrupt pauses" and more. There are graphs and charts, and lengthy descriptions of how the "Divergence Index Value" of each song was calculated. Even the cover art, various swaths of old lady plastic flowers... these guys just totally rule. They're heavy and ultra brutal, but don't take themselves too seriously, they're funny, but the music is not, the humor is smart and funny, and somehow perfectly compliments the sheer epic intensity of the music... They also had a contest celebrating the release of their new record with the grand prize being your very own customized song, and as if that weren't enough, have a peek at this amazing Austerity Program infomercial: http://pl.youtube.com/watch?v=1WcsV7hQ1V4 As if it weren't already painfully obvious, absolutely essential, totally recommended, one of our favorite new records, and a no brainer for record of the week!
"Song 12" MPEG Stream:
"Song 17B" MPEG Stream:
AUSTRASIAN GOAT, THE / CHAMBRE FROIDE split (At War With False Noise) 7" 9.98
AUTECHRE / HAFLER TRIO aeo3/3hae (Die Stadt) 2cd 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Very quiet electronic wisps, distant rumblings, and hushed drones mark the beginning of the second collaboration between Autechre and The Hafler Trio. Again, The Hafler Trio's Andrew McKenzie houses his work in a beautiful, if fragile folio, much like his previous releases on Phonometrography, whom McKenzie has inexplicably ceased doing business with. Why you might ask? Has he ever needed a reason for his actions? At least, Autechre has remained on good terms with McKenzie enough to complete this twin set of recordings. After almost 16 minutes of shrouded-in-secrecy wash and whir, a short segment of randomly splattered fizzing electro-static gives evidence to one of the few sounds on either compilation that clearly hints at Autechre's signature sound, harkening to their most recent recordings Confield and Draft 7.30, but without any of Autechre's already dwindling appreciation for rhythm. In other words, you'd certainly be excused for thinking this a Mego release of laptop noise. The clicks and cuts gradually dissolve across a sea of low end acousmatic rumblings and stretches of inactivity, bringing disc one to a close. The second disc features a considerable increase in audibility, as dense reverberating swells of electric sound (e.g. h3o's Exactly As I Say) snaps to an equally beautiful passage of post-Ligetti electronic chorale music. If you're a fan of the Hafler Trio, it almost goes without saying that you'll want to pick this up; but it must be said that if you're looking for more in the way of Autechre, you won't find much of it here. As with all Hafler Trio releases, no sound samples can be made available.
AUTHOR & PUNISHER Drone Machines (Heart & Crossbone) cd 10.98
Originally released as a super limited cd-r, this glorious slab of machine driven one man industrial doom, has finally been reissued, this time as a proper cd! Author & Punisher is a one man industrial 'doom' band, whose sole member, Tristan Shone, designs and fabricates an incredible array of massive sound generators: a 300 pound spinning metal disc, a huge hydraulic handled chain driven (and seriously physical) drum machine, a motorized handled bass generator, a headgear with a multi mic'd mask, to transform vocals into different sounds and rhythms... We were mesmerized by the footage we saw on a dvd we reviewed years back, our first exposure to A&P, the sound was amazing, heavy and crushing, totally intense, but watching this guy, physically create and trigger the sounds, is what sealed the deal, a brutal and exhausting 'performance', a sweat soaked, instrumental work out, way more interesting than the legion of boring floorcore laptoppers and effects jockeys. The title says it all, Drone Machines, not to mention the front cover image of A&P maestro Shone, hunched over the huge spinning metal disc, coaxing from his machines a churning, chugging, pummeling low end industrial doom crush. Purely sonically, these sounds could have been played by a band, or created on a computer, but just realizing that it's one guy, and his army of sound generators, definitely adds something to the listening experience. Plus there's also plenty of weird sonic manipulation that could NOT be played by a band, thick bass tones slow down like someone pressing their finger down on a record while it's playing, that would be that massive disc, the booming percussion, involves a slamming of the huge chain driven hydraulic handle, hearing this, picturing that, makes it sound that much heavier, but screw it, taken on music alone, the sound of Drone Machines is classic post industrial metal crunch, but twisted and a little warped, a more robotic and machine-like Godflesh maybe, the tone and timbre definitely owes much to Broadrick's industrial beast. But then the record will offer up some weird buzzing almost synthy sounding bass, and weird high end tangles, strange haunting melodies swirling around, a totally tripped out psychedelic swirl, and we're in some far out sonic sci-fi universe, before it gives way to another stretch of lurching lumbering Teutonic pound. The vocals, when there are vocals, are gruff and howled, again harkening back to Broadrick, and add some serious menace to the already sonically menacing proceedings. The best parts for us are the parts where the sound sources become obvious, or at least where you can tell something weird and special is going on, the swooping low end, constantly changing pitch, the various sounds becoming clipped or cut off, the grinding rumbling low end speeding up then slowing down, it makes the whole experience that much more warped and tripped out and psychedelic. The music becomes more than a chunk of industrial metal, it becomes a heaving metallic monster MADE from industrial metal, the various gears and servos emitting strange buzzes and whirrs, its thunderous footsteps the booming beat, the speaker rattling low end it's guttural growl, and the howling vox, the man that commands this beast, and instructs it to do his bidding, a futuristic steampunk, post industrial robotic doom metal dirge, that we just can't get enough of!
"Sand, Wind And Carcass" MPEG Stream:
"Burrow Below" MPEG Stream:
"Doppler" MPEG Stream:
"Beginning Of End"
AUTHOR & PUNISHER Drone Machines (self-released) cd-r 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Last list we reviewed a dvd from a 'group' called Author & Punisher, a one man industrial doom band, whose sole member, Tristan Shone, designed and fabricated an incredible array of massive sound generators: a 300 pound spinning metal disc, a huge hydraulic handled chain driven (and seriously physical) drum machine, a motorized handled bass generator, a headgear with a multi mic'd mask, to transform vocals into different sounds and rhythms... We were mesmerized by the footage, the sound was amazing, heavy and crushing, totally intense, but watching this guy, physically create and trigger the sounds, is what sealed the deal, an brutal and exhausting 'performance', a sweat soaked, instrumental work out, way more interesting than the legion of boring floorcore laptoppers and effects jockeys. That said, most of us tend to not re-watch videos, whereas records we'll spin over and over again. So we figured it would definitely be worthwhile to track down a proper record from A&P, and here it is. The title says it all, Drone Machines, not to mention the front cover image of A&P maestro Shone, hunched over the huge spinning metal disc. So if you picked up the dvd, you know what sort of crushing sonic punishment you're in for, and if you missed out on that dvd completely somehow, then this is your chance to get introduced to A&P's churning, chugging, pummeling low end industrial doom crush. Purely sonically, these sounds could have been played by a band, or created on a computer, but just realizing that it's one guy, and his army of sound generators, definitely adds something to the listening experience. Plus there's also plenty of weird sonic manipulation that could NOT be played by a band, thick bass tones slow down like someone pressing their finger down on a record while it's playing, that would be that massive disc, the booming percussion, involves a slamming of the huge chain driven hydraulic handle, hearing this, picturing that, makes it sound that much heavier, but screw it, taken on music alone, the sound of Drone Machines is classic post industrial metal crunch, but twisted and a little warped, a more robotic and machine-like Godflesh maybe, the tone and timbre definitely owes much to Broadrick's industrial beast. But then the record will offer up some weird buzzing almost synthy sounding bass, and weird high end tangles, strange haunting melodies swirling around, a totally tripped out psychedelic swirl, and we're in some far out sonic sci-fi universe, before it gives way to another stretch of lurching lumbering Teutonic pound. The vocals, when there are vocals, are gruff and howled, again harkening back to Broadrick, and add some serious menace to the already sonically menacing proceedings. The best parts for us are the parts where the sound sources become obvious, or at least where you can tell something weird and special is going on, the swooping low end, constantly changing pitch, the various sounds becoming clipped or cut off, the grinding rumbling low end speeding up then slowing down, it makes the whole experience that much more warped and tripped out and psychedelic. The music becomes more than a chunk of industrial metal, it becomes a heaving metallic monster MADE from industrial metal, the various gears and servos emitting strange buzzes and whirrs, its thunderous footsteps the booming beat, the speaker rattling low end it's guttural growl, and the howling vox, the man that commands this beast, and instructs it to do his bidding, a futuristic steampunk, post industrial robotic doom metal dirge, that we just can't get enough of!
"Sand, Wind And Carcass" MPEG Stream:
"Burrow Below" MPEG Stream:
"Doppler" MPEG Stream:
"Beginning Of End"
AUTHOR & PUNISHER Ursus Americanus (Seventh Rule) cd 11.98
We first discovered Author & Punisher via a super limited dvd, cuz really, as good as the music is, and it is amazing, you sort of have to see the music being made to understand just how fucking nuts this stuff, and this guy really is. A&P is one man, Tristan Shone, who builds his own instruments, which in and of itself is nothing new, but we're not talking cobbled together rickety speakers and Amps For Christ style plywood soundmachines (although we love that stuff), we're talking gorgeous, precision machined instruments, that look like modern art, huge smooth steel drums, strange handles that slide along metal rails, bizarre triggers and stainless steel mouthpieces fitted with multiple microphones, Author & Punisher's setup looks like some post modern Rube Goldbergian sonic mousetrap, all glimmering metals and smooth expanses of perfectly fitted machines, the live performance as physical as any normal instrumentalist if not more so, Shone spinning the huge metal; drum creating thick swells of rib cage rattling low end, slamming the strange handles along the steel rails producing booming bursts of percussion, the strange Cylon like microphone producing an inhuman alien bellow. Even sans sound, the performance is riveting. Mesmerizing. We were lucky enough to host an Author & Punisher instore, and besides being incredible to see up close, the sounds produced shook the old wooden building that houses aQ so hard, that our upstairs neighbors came down in a panic, explaining that the whole hose was vibrating, and things were falling off shelves and tables. Now imagine that sort of physical energy, converted into sound, but not just any sound, but totally mesmerizingly epic, crushing buzz drenched post industrial heaviness. A sound that falls somewhere between the industrial crush of Godflesh, and the blown out electronic buzz and glitch of Digital Hardcore, but all blurred into a sort of abject blackened industrial doom. All manner of low end pulsing and buzzing, rumbling and whirring, the beats skittery and stuttery one second, pounding and Teutonic the next, and then there's the bass generator, which we assume comes from that huge metal disc, cuz a sound that thick and intense should really come from a massive 300 pound hunk of spinning metal, that impossibly dense low end, weirdly woozy and almost liquid, the tones being adjusted on the fly, so much so that it sounds like the speed of the recording is being messed with, the sound warbly and woozy, warped and darkly damaged and druggy. While at the same time being heavy as fuck, and pretty much WAY more brutal that bands with real drummer and a phalanx of guitarists in front of rows of amps. It's amazing how much of the physicality is captured on the record, more so here than on past recordings, the sound managing the delicate balance between blown out amp destroying crush, and tightly wound, barely controlled chaos. The songs slipping from lumbering doomic lurch, to swoonsome skittery abstract dronemusic, from noisy metallic pummel, thick, sinewy digidub, and from thick almost metalgaze drift, to super spare haunting minimal skitter. Ursus Americanus is definitely the culmination of past recordings and live performances, managing the seemingly impossible task of creating something that stands on its own musically, but that captures a soundmaking method that you're unlikely to experience from anyone else. Totally incredible. And obviously, if you get the chance, see A&P live, and have your mind (and ears) blown.
"Terrorbird" MPEG Stream:
"Lonely" MPEG Stream:
AUTISTIC DAUGHTERS Jealousy & Diamond (Kranky) cd 14.98
Our first thoughts on finding out just who was in this new band Autistic Daughters were that it was our dream of a glitch-drone rock supergroup! Yup, we're pretty keen the line-up of Autistic Daughters on their debut release for Kranky (LP on Staubgold): New Zealand's Dean Roberts + Viennese improv scenesters Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr. Guitarist Roberts we know from his old bands Thela and White Winged Moth, not to mention his fine solo recordings like Be Mine Tonight (also on Kranky) and And The Black Moths Play The Grand Cinema (recently reissued on Staubgold, and raved about here a few weeks ago!). Meanwhile drummer and vibraphonist Martin Brandlmayr has been an integral part of several AQ-fave recordings, playing in various post-rock/glitch/jazz groupings, among them Radian and Trapist. Bassist Dafeldecker we've also encountered playing in numerous interesting situations. So what have they all got up to together here? Again, the common thread of all three members previous projects is the combination of live playing with electronics and processing in the studio, and that's the modus operandi here. Like the Roberts records mention above, this is in a slow-moving, mopey, mellow vein, full of hazy, droning textures, fragmented melodies, and shuffling, sorta This Heat-ish percussion. Roberts sings (and, in addition to guitar, plays harmonium and harmonica), and his gentle vocals guide this towards being a sort of indie-pop Radian, something fans of, say, Village Of Savoonga will probably like. And there's a Kinks cover: "Rainy Day In June", that fits right in and goes some way to suggest that Roberts and co. see what they're doing as much in the rock/pop tradition as being about electro-acoustic experimention. Quite nice!
"The Glasshouse and the Gift-Horse" MPEG Stream:
"Spend It On The Enemy (While It Was Raining)"
AUTISTIC DAUGHTERS Uneasy Flowers (Kranky) cd 14.98
Teeter-tottering betwixt morose indie-rock songishness and purely textural, experimental soundscapery, this avant garde and all together moody international trio, consisting of Dean Roberts (Thela, White Winged Moth), Werner Dafeldecker and Martin Brandlmayr (Radian, Trapist) brings us their second album for Kranky, following up 2004's Jealousy & Diamond. Slow and steady and suffused with low-key drama, Uneasy Flowers should satisfy anyone's yen for (again) an uneasy-feeling yet smoothly executed mix of New Zealand indie-murk free noise and European glitch-drone laptoppery. The album is pleasingly bathed in a glow of wavering distortion/feedback (shortwave static style), scattered with This Heatish percussive patterns (from Brandlmayr) and fragile vocals (from Roberts). Nice!!
"Uneasy Flowers" MPEG Stream:
"Liquid And Starch"
AUTODIGEST A Compressed History Of Every Bootleg Ever Recorded (The Tapeworm) cassette 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Autodigest might be best known around these parts for their confusing, and amusing, and to many wholly irritating record A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded, Vol. 2: Ubiquitous Eternal Live, which was essentially an entire record of applause, the cheering and clapping and whooping and hollering, from before and after various performances, all woven into an hour long 'piece'. In some weird way, the concept did actually become something almost listenable, a sort of strangely textured and dynamic bit of weirdo dronemusic. So we were pretty excited to hear this latest in Autodigest's Compressed History series, this one purporting to contain "Every Bootleg Ever Recorded"! The liner notes on the tape elaborates: "The Music on this cassette spans over 40 years and was originally recorded on analogue and digital equipment. We have attempted to distance ourselves as much as possible from the sound of the original recordings. Autodigest Volume 4 is an attempt to reveal all limitations of the source tapes." And so what we initially imagined as some insane plunderphonic cacophony of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and Bob Seger and the Doobie Brothers and Hall & Oates reveals itself as something more akin to their applause record, or even more appropriately, Reynols' Blank Tapes record. As Autodigest have collected what sounds like the leaders, and the almost blank spaces between songs, the left over tape at the end of recordings, and woven them into a swirling abstract wash of hiss and whir, laced with little fragments of actual music, buried voices, muffled melodies, layered barely there rhythms, everything seems to be way off in the distance, and while there does seem to be full on rocking going on here and there, it's rendered nearly unrecognizable, buried beneath a haze of crackle and buzz, layer after layer after layer of tape hiss. The 'music' in this Compressed History definitely benefits from headphones. In the store or on the stereo, these sounds might tend to bleed and dissipate, blend into the sounds of daily life, but with headphones, it's a total minimal psychedelic abstract spectral sound headtrip, until the very end of side one, when the murky sonic clouds clear and a voice calls out from the stage "Awwww, for fuck's sake, stop letting off fireworks and shouting and screaming, I'm trying to sing a song..." The flip side begins with a flurry of shouting, and caterwauling from the stage, which begins crystal clear but quickly dissolves into another hissy buzzy swirl of abstraction and absence, a gorgeously textured sprawl consisting of the sounds that lurk between the sounds, not just tape hiss this time, recordings of muted muffled rocking, recorded from what sounds like the dressing room beneath the stage, the B-side much more dense and dark and noisy, like some fucked up field recording (which it pretty much is), but still shot through with random voices, shards of music, bits of sirens, distant shouts, and all the other mostly non musical detritus of a surreptitiously captured live recording. Quite cool, if not entirely musical enough for most folks, but most aQuarians into far out found sounds will definitely dig this. For some reason this one is limited to ONLY 100 COPIES!!! So grab one while you can...
AUTODIGEST A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded, Vol. 2: Ubiquitous Eternal Live (Ash International) cd 14.98
Applause. And clapping. And...um cheering. Some whooping. And some stomping too. And, well that's basically it. In AQ's rich history of presenting you with unlikely sounds: hot rod races, life support machines, melting ice, barking dogs, frogs, zambonis, we can now add to the list crowds. Yep. One full hour of crowds, before thes songs start, after they finish, ovations, the whole deal, all seamlessly edited into one hour of cheering. There is some meta-interpretation and of course some uber concept, but ultimately this is nothing but clapping. Which is not to say we don't like it. We do. Although we've only made it all the way through once. On closer listening however, about halfway through, the crowd sounds are joined by an ominous whir / drone way way down in the mix, that unless you are listening really close or on headphones you might not even notice. And it seem to serve no real purpose except to perhaps help the crowd sounds blur into a fuzzy whole that is of course obviously the sounds of cheering, but at the same time indistinct enough that it becomes a weird scratchy, very un-smooth drone. Sort of. A little like when you say the same word over and over until it starts to sound like a made up word with no meaning. Interpret away, or just sit back and let the adulation roll over you, congratulating you with an hour long ovation, for everything you accomplished today!
"A Compressed History of Everything Ever Recorded, Vol. 2: Ubiquitous Eternal Live"
AUTOMATIC GROUP, THE Ammo A Mass A Mat (The Tapeworm) cassette 8.98
Of the four new Tapeworm tapes on this week's list, this might just be the weirdest. The label describes this recording very graphically, as a post coital nude woman draped over a piano, languidly brushing her hands on the keys, but in reality, it sounds more like many hands pounding wildly on a wooden box, contact mic'ed and submerged in water. Woozy and percussive, wreathed in a thick cloud of tape hiss, and a super lo-fi production, it's easier to imagine a strange assemblage of automatons, running on rubber bands and rusty springs, each set before a mysterious box, then wound and let loose, their flailing implements producing an erratic, but strangely mesmerizing tattoo of thumps and thwacks, ever one trailing a strange bit of FX drenched static behind it, sound at times like blunted, blurred, muted firecrackers, and at other like some primitive monochromatic drum circle. The flipside is a whole 'nother thing altogether, but again about as far as you can get from the nude woman on the piano, instead, it's a slow building swell of crumbling caustic noise, that builds to thick billowing blackened clouds, before sprawling out into a darkly hypnotic expanse of blunted blacknoise shimmer, still wrapped in a gauzy layer of crunch and buzz, but the near melodic thrum beneath transforming it into something haunting and hypnotic, but still plenty noisy and distorted. The liner notes also offer a special thanks to "a loud, short, fat, hairy-assed, umbrella-carrying American", which doesn't clear up any of the tape's mystery, at all.
AUTOPOESIES Live A Noir (Ritornell / Mille Plateaux) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Autopoesies live album was recorded during the Mille Plateaux tour that skittered across Europe in late 1999. The success of this album (in direct contrast to the rather boring debut) unwittingly calls into question the role of the 'artist' in front of his / her laptop. This record (and thus the live performance) could have simply been made by inputing abstract images into Metasynth (a program that translates visual files into sound files - perfect for manufacturing Ovalesque clickiness), while 'the artist' could be playing Tetris or downloading internet porn or walking off the stage to get a beer. Sure, Roland Barthes' 'Death of The Author' becomes an easy conceptual basis to justify such a live show, but so is 'I couldn't think of anything else to do, so I'll act like Markus Popp snapping my gum and looking bored." Maybe this rant is without merit, and maybe Autoposies had a kick ass live show. Maybe. And maybe Andee will get that helper monkey he wants so badly for the store. With all of this said, "Live A Noir" is an exceptional album of subatomic digital glitches and white hot crackle, turbulent sonic swells and terse glacial scrape. Fits just right with your Stilluppsteypa and Noto.
AVARUS Horuksen Keskimmaisen Silman Mysteerikoulu (Lal Lal Lal) cd-r 6.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Will our love affair with Finland never end?!?! I sure hope not. And there doesn't seem to be any reason to worry. Certainly not with what seems to be more and more undiscovered AMAZING music cropping up all the time. First we discovered Circle and Mieskuoro Huutajaat and Keuhkot and Aavikko and the baffling and completely awesome Bad Vugum label. Then we learned of the dreamy clattery folk of Kemialliset Ystavat and their hippy percussion jam side project Anaksimandros. And let's not forget drone-doom lords Skepticism and Rapture and Tiermes. And now we have discovered Avarus and the adventurous Lal Lal Lal label. Avarus and Kemiallisett and Anaksimandros all share at least one member and definitely share an aesthetic, combining folk and Krautrock and free jazz and modern noise ala the Dead C into a totally mesmerising modern noise/folk. Avarus, while less percussive/clattery than Anaksimandros, is also less folk than Kemialliset, situating them in a unique musical position, unfurling lengthy meandering almost funereal jams, desolate and mournful, but dreamy and pastoral, motorik and hypnotic at the same time. Strummed acoustic guitars frame distant throbbing caveman percussion, dreamy soundscapes are punctuated by occasional clang and clatter, all swaddled in the warm drone of amp buzz and ambient hum. Wander into their dark forest and join the tribe. A warning: as with their prior 3" cd-r release, this is a SUPER LIMITED EDITION CD-R. We may not be able to keep these in stock for long, so if you want one don't dawdle. Sorry, you'd think that because they're cd-rs they *wouldn't* really be limited 'cause they could just burn more, and xerox more covers, but apparently not. Oh well.
"Mars On Paljastanut Salaisuutensa" RealAudio clip:
"Feeniks-lintu Valitti Muista Enemman" RealAudio clip:
"Filipplinien Henkikirurgit" RealAudio clip:
"Eno Muista Mua"
AVARUS II (Eclipse) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. What else can we really say about Finnish forest folk freaks Avarus that we haven't already said a million times? Maybe the most exciting free music ensemble out there. And by out there we mean really really out there. On the lp-only II, Avarus twist their usually shambolic free folk into a bizarre and druggy demented cartoon music from another dimension, a dizzying swirl of pitch shifted tape loops, manipulated sound samples, snippets of jazzy big band horns chopped and doused in outerspace FX, guitars scraping and scrabbling. feedback swooping and squealing, clattery percussion, strings being sawed and plucked, some sort of primitive DJ scratching, the whole thing King Tubbied into a dubbed out brain melting free-for-all. Over the course of these two sidelong tracks, Avarus take brief excursions into loping abstract post rock, tripped out psychedelic krautrock, dreamy droney ambient soundscape, and full on pummeling free rock, but it's like they got a new bandmate, THE STUDIO, as every bit of this disc is tweaked, or twisted, or affected or fucked with. Speeds slow down and speed up, parts are flipped backwards, different songs are spliced and butted up against each other creating short attention span collage like rhythms. But somehow, II still retains all the stuff about Avarus we already loved, just makes it a little bit more druggy and fucked up. And who can argue with that? Packaged in a full color sleeve, with printed color insert. SUPER LIMITED as always. We got a whole bunch but they probably won't last.
AVARUS III (HP Cycle) lp 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yet another release from one of our favorite Finnish psych-drone-free-rock ensembles (and yes, there are enough for us to have favorites). Thankfully this lp-only release, while still limited, is not nearly as limited as many of their previous cd-r/7"/tape releases. III starts off with a lo-fi, rambling, ramshackle blues jam that mutates into wildly propulsive psych-folk with intensely strummed guitars and far-away flute melodies. And from there on out, Avarus dip their toes into whatever variant of their unique 'sound' that strikes their fancy. From atonal Jandek-ian campfire hippy hoedowns, to wild jams with spastic hand drums and sing-songy melodies plucked out on beat up, out of tune guitars, to wild clattery bursts of percussion splattered haphazardly over a Skullflower-ish skree, to stripped down, jangly hyperactive psychedelic rock to loose ambient soundscapes of whir and buzz and twang, with slithery, sitar-like guitars. Gorgeous as always.
AVARUS Jattilaisrotta (Secret Eye) cd 14.98
After years of desperately trying to track down every cd-r and 7" and lathe cut lp by these underground Finnish forest psych folk weirdos, we're all about to be in Avarus heaven. Not only will Andee's tUMULt label be releasing a double cd compilation collecting all of those rare and impossible to find sonic artifacts next month, but right here we have a brand spanking new full length as good as anything these guys have ever done. So fans of all things clattery and pagan, foresty and folky, psychedelic and droney, krautrocky and hypnotic, DIG IN! Unlike the sometimes spare and sparse early recordings, that reminded us quite a bit of No Neck Blues Band, Sunburned Hand Of The Man and other like minded hippy pagan outsider free-folk tribes, this Avarus is definitely the most rocking. Intensely propulsive, fuzzy and murky, Finnish "krautrock" (huh) of the highest order. But fear not, all the misty mystery is still present. it's still like being lost in a Scandanavian forest, and stumbling across a strange pagan ritual, in some lost darkend glade. It's just that this ritual sometimes erupts into some serious rumbling drone rock. The muddy grooves, motorik rhythms, and creepy ambience definitely remind us of the recent AQ record of the week German Oak, so what else do you need? Finnish! NNCK! SHOTM! Krautrock! German Oak! C'mon!! Features members of other Finnish underground rock luminaries Kemialliset Ystevat and Anaksimandros.
"Donkkaavarappaava Kaalikoira" MPEG Stream:
AVARUS Kirppujen Saari (Arbor) lp 14.98
What to say about Avarus that we haven't already said? Have a look at the aQ website for review after review extolling the virtues of these freaky foresty folky Finns. Heck, Andee even liked them enough to out out a double cd of theirs on tUMULt. Longtime readers of the aQ list are no doubt by now familiar with Avarus and the sonic orbit they exist in. Kemialliset, Anaksimandros, Fonal Records, but of all the multitude of soundmakers and amazing records, there's just something special about Avarus that makes them maybe our favorite of the bunch. This lp-only release captures the group on tour in the US in 2006 and 2007, and live Avarus can be a much heavier and riffier beast. Two sidelong jams, the first recorded in Washington D.C., finds the band channeling German Oak, offering up a murky buzzy groove, that sounds like it was recorded in some bunker, the guitars muddy and thick, the percussion simple and propulsive, a gorgeous and druggy blow out that takes up most of the side, but eventually the riffs drift off, leaving a scattered abstract soundscape of bird calls and weird vocalizations, of detuned guitar and stumbling skronk, swirling effects and mumbled chanting, angular and obtuse, building to a cacophonous finale. The B side, recorded in Providence, is like the second half of the first side expanded to nearly half an hour, total abstract minimalism, dada-ist sound making of the highest order, reeds creak and shriek, percussion stumbles and skitters, vocals are spoken, hummed, broadcast through a megaphone, deep resonant swells surface and quickly fade away, the track growing gradually more and more chaotic, the vocals transformed into moans, the drumming growing more frenzied, the air seeming to thicken with murky buzz and fuzzed out whir, as if the fidelity in the room is slowly decreasing. A pretty neat trick, and one that surely suits Avarus' absurdist sensibilities. Packaged in a full color fold over sleeve, with a printed full color insert. Pressed on beautiful greenish clear vinyl. And pretty limited of course, just can't remember HOW limited. VERY we're guessing...
AVARUS Live (267 Lattajjaa) 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. More limited cd-r madness, again from our Finnish faves Avarus. A super limited one track 22+ minute live set, and it'a a little surprising considering what we're used to from these guys. The last few Avarus releases have been dreamy, stumbly psychedelic tinged folk, with loose tribal drumming, and an odd assortment of bowed, plucked and strummed instruments, reminding us very much of AQ faves Kemialliset Ystavat (with whom Avarus share members) and tribal, free-rock collective the No Neck Blues Band. But this live record is a different beast altogether. Channelling the spirit of the Dead C, Avarus kick up quite a racket, a thick slab of sound, with LOTS of guitars, feedback and some seriously chaotic drumming, recorded hot and overblown, adding just the right amount of distortion and haze to the recording. It almost sounds like some New Zealand noise rock band like Gate or maybe UK psych/drone ensemble Sunroof! -covering- Avarus. A nice new direction for one of our favorite bands! In handpainted sleeves, every one unique!
AVARUS Posum Ekor Kait Dataran (Lal Lal Lal) 3" cd-r 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A 3" cd-r from this obscure & primitive Finnish psych-folk entity. Stumbling psych jamming spread over two tracks, nearly twenty minutes. Imagine the Dead C playing Finnish forest music. Or Tower Recordings covering International Harvester next door to Reynols' practice space? Droning, damaged clatter, like the cavorting of drugged out hippy carpenters. This band may or may not have members in common with labelmates Kemialliset Ystavat, that OTHER amazing damaged Finnish folk combo (of which we have a new release, see nearby for review) -- but any rate, fans of Kemialliset will like this too. Numbered and limited to 100 copies.
AVARUS Rasvaaja (Secret Eye) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Yet another blissful excursion into the wild Finnish Forests with one of our favorite troupes of intrepid sonic explorers Avarus. This limited lp only release finds these Finns exploring similar sonic terrain as past releases, but even though it may be a well trod part of the forest, Avarus know how to ferret out all the secret little hiding spots and all the beautiful sounds as yet undiscovered. Drifting abstract melodies unfurl from detuned guitars, woodwinds flit and flutter like birds darting through the treetops, plenty of percussive clang and clatter underpin the action, while far off in the distance, the forest frolicking is threatened by thick black swells of grinding low end, and stormlike rumbles. The A side offers up a full on hippy kraut jam near the end, noisy and propulsive and about as rocking as these guys ever get, with pounding drums, looped riffs all amidst clouds of whirling swirling sound. The B side is much more restrained, more mysterious and abstract, with long stretches of near silence, plenty of microscopic sonic happenings, an extended sprawl, as if the musicians, exhausted from side one's closing jam, are all stretched out in the shade of the forest, lazily plucking strings, and rubbing metals, kicking drums with their feet as they stretch out on the sun dappled forest floor, making music that is as relaxed as they are, strange, slow burning, haunting and dreamlike... LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!! Each one hand numbered, packaged in super eye popping dayglo full color sleeves!
AVARUS Ruskea Timantti (tUMULt) 2cd 14.98
Quite a few of you who read our list are probably already followers of the whole Finnish folk-psych underground, right? So this Avarus will most likely already be going in your basket (especially since it contains all of their WAY out of print early releases!)... But if you're not yet a Finn-folk-freak, you'll also find this to be a great introduction to one of the key bands from that scene... This double cd collects the early recorded works of the mysterious Finnish free folk collective Avarus. Previously released as limited run cd-r's and 7"s (in tiny runs of 50-200 copies), these tracks are a tantalizing glimpse into the mist-shrouded musical world of Finnish underground music, equal parts the hypno rock of fellow countrymen Circle, the pagan ritualism of The Wicker Man, the droning throb of Faust, the propulsive rhythm of Can, and the lo-fi clatter and skree of the Dead C. Imagine a land of forests and fjords, a land of dark skies and windswept landscapes. Then imagine the sort of music this land would evoke. Droning hypnotic clattery free folk, dark and propulsive, mesmeric Krautrock, rhythmic pagan musical rituals, all detuned guitars and hand drums, chanting and wild free percussion, and everything in between. Avarus combine psychedelic folk rock, motorik Krautrock, free jazz and modern noise into a totally mesmerizing, totally unique modern avant noise/folk, unfurling lengthy meandering almost funereal jams, desolate and mournful, but dreamy and pastoral, machinelike and hypnotic at the same time. Strummed acoustic guitars frame distant throbbing caveman percussion, dreamy soundscapes are punctuated by occasional clang and clatter, all swaddled in the warm drone of amp buzz and ambient hum. Lo-fi, rambling, ramshackle blues jams mutate into wildly propulsive psych-folk with intensely strummed guitars and far-away flute melodies. Dipping their toes into whatever variant of their unique 'sound' that strikes their fancy, Avarus sway woozily from atonal Jandek-ian campfire hippy hoedowns, to wild jams with spastic drumming and sing-songy melodies plucked out on beat up, strangely tuned guitars, to wild clattery bursts of percussion splattered haphazardly over a Skullflower-ish skree, to stripped down, jangly hyperactive psychedelic rock to loose ambient soundscapes of whir and buzz and twang, with slithery, sitar-like guitars. Occasionally Avarus kick up quite a racket, a thick slab of sound, with LOTS of guitars, feedback and some seriously dense drumming, recorded hot and overblown, adding just the right amount of distortion and haze to the recording. It almost sounds like some New Zealand noise rock band like Gate or UK psych/drone ensemble Sunroof! -covering- Avarus! Epic and endless, rumbling and stumbling, spacey psychedelic folk jams spread over two discs, TWO PLUS HOURS. Imagine the Total or The Dead C playing Finnish forest music. Or the Tower Recordings covering International Harvester next door to Reynols' practice space? Droning, damaged clatter, like the wild drunken cavorting of drugged out hippy carpenters. Spacey and druggy and totally mesmerizingly beautiful.
"Horuksen Vasemman Silman Mysteerikoulu Royh Eli Vuh Tai Siis Moi Kaikki: Rikottu Noidat Haluavat Luusi Universumin Pienin Kysymys Varisten Kokoontumislaulu" MPEG Stream:
"Horuksen Oikean Silman Mysteerikoulu Astraalikaali 25 Metria Kavellen Veden Alla Kirjoitusmerkki Aikamerkki Arkistosali" MPEG Stream:
"Kihara Silmapisara" MPEG Stream:
"Yo Tuli Ja Beduiini"
AVARUS Toosassa (Ultra Eczema) lp 30.00
Yeah, it's a bit price-y, but then for some reason Ultra Eczema lps always are. The thing is though, they're generally also gorgeous looking, deluxe sleeves with wild wacked out eye popping covers, ultra thick vinyl, and in most cases, especially this one, the grooves are packed with sounds to match. That is to say wild and wacked. The newest record from forefathers of the Finnish free folk scene Avarus, is not in fact a new record, but instead a document of Avarus' recent trip to the states, in particular a live on the radio session for Brian Turner's show on WFMU. Two side long jams, the ever fluctuating collective trimmed down to a mean lean trio, on the first, they capture here their most primitive side, lots of rattles and percussion, thumps and clicks and creaks and moans, all accompanied by strange inhuman vocalizations, sounding like humans discovering speech for the first time, howling, crooning, mewling, grunting, all that tangled up with some super abstract free jazz drum skitter, some detuned string plucking, which builds to something much more substantial, a cacophonous squall of horns and even more strange vocalizations, a garbled transmission of alien folk free jazz confusion, that manage to some still sound hypnotic and cohesive. The final few minutes are an awesome skittery croaking looped outro, that we sort of wish would have gone on for longer. The flipside starts off with more caveman jazz, strings scraped and plucked, drums splattered here and there, those alien vox, but peppered with warm reedy buzz and all manner of other abstract sounds. After a brief bit of garbled gurgling, the song sprawls into a gorgeous super skeletal, percussive workout, this too with the feel of proto-humans discovering rhythm, primal, primitive, tribal, super spare and spacious and weirdly mesmerizing. The sleeve as mentioned above is indeed eye popping, green on orange eye torture, a killer super tripped out psychedelic illustration, mirrored in black and white on the lp labels, and of course extremely limited. ONLY 300 COPIES!!!!
AVARUS Vaahtera Janiksen Hannankieliset Seikkailut (Veglia) 7" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Finnophile alert!! A new super limited 7" from our favorite avant-free-folk-forest collective Avarus. In cool hand screened sleeves. Lots of buzz and clatter, scrape and skree. Side one is less folk and more Sunroof! shimmer, while the other side is a wash of ambient folk, with a dark minimal throb beneath atonal sawing violins and kitchen sink percussion buried in the murk. Always so good. And again, let us remind you: VERY LIMITED!!!!
AVARUS Vesikansi (Secret Eye) cd 14.98
Once again these wide eyed Finnish forest freaks crawl out from under their mossy stones, from inside their firelit caves, out of their huts made of pine needles and sticks and twigs, set up around a campfire, under a full moon, dressed only in fur and animal bones, and conjure up the woodland spirits with their tribal free folk juju. Okay, so maybe it's actually just a bunch of music nerds like you or me with killer record collections and a bunch of old amps and guitars, but to us, it sure sounds like the glorious din these folks whip up could only be the product of some drug fueled ancient forest ritual. Which is precisely why we love Avarus and their Finnish underground rock brethren (and sistren!). The music they make sound not of this world. And we don't mean "Oh Finland's like a whole other world!" we mean, space, or an alternate dimension or even that huge hollow area at the center of the earth. The music of Avarus is that unique and that strange, exactly what we picture one might hear, stepping off of an interstellar transport, realizing for the first time that the atmosphere is breathable, and the vegetation is strangely lush and very Earth-like, that sound, "like music?" that lures us and our team deep into the alien forest. Or in the heart of South America, at an archaeological dig, strange markings on the rocks we've been unearthing from the very lowest levels of the lost temple, finally there's some sort of portal, a huge iron door, and... wait, is that... music? But what is it? It's like nothing we've ever heard, those sound like guitars, and voices, but so... strange.... For those of you who need more musical references, imagine a little Dead C, a little No Neck Blues Band, some Sunburned Hand Of The Man, Faust, Can, The Wickerman, all sorts of tribal musics, Parson Sound, Tower Recordings, Taj Mahal Travellers, even fellow countrymen Circle, Keukhot, Uton, Tivol and of course lots of drugs and lots and lots of space. This newest Avarus is a bit heavier on the guitar than previous outings, almost like they dug up a couple ancient fuzzboxes and ran their dang whole freaked out jam through 'em. There are lots of creepy krautrock bits, some blown out near noise parts, and lots of fuzzy disembodied psych, gurgling synths, splattery percussion, thick washes of feedback, primitive electronics, and loads of grungey guitar grit, it's all woven together into a crazy perfect psychedelic patchwork. More crazy random collage artwork, this time no Garfield, but plenty of walruses, a map and an octopus. Half the record was recorded live in Dublin with Tara Burke of Fursaxa as a special guest!
"Lapsivesi" MPEG Stream:
AVEY TARE / DAVID GRUBBS split (Fat Cat) 12" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's been a while, but finally a new release in Fatcat's split 12" series, this time ex-Gastr Del Sol, Bastro dude teams up with Avey Tare of super hyped outsider rock ensemble the Animal Collective. Grubbs side is mostly piano, the first half of which is hypnotic, melodic and melancholy, just a brief snippet of barroom piano, ala Billy Joel or Randy Newman, but looped Reich style, and occasionally drifting into moody spare minimalism. Grubbs' second track is a fuzzed out looped drone, and sounds like the opening guitar riff from "How Soon Is Now", cut up and reassembled. Avey Tare offers up two short tracks of Chipmunks style kiddie show vocals over glitchy cricket chirps and distant feedback, and a lengthy track of homemade crunched out lofi plunderphonia, all drone-y and minimal, underpinning whispered indie boy vocals. It's a weird combo, but it sort of works.
AX Metal Forest (Cold Spring) cd 17.98
Finally! The long out of print nineties releases from legendary industrial / power electronics / UK noise / black drone one man band AX once again see the light of day. Longtime fans of the mighty Skullflower, will no doubt be familiar with AX, the project of one time SF member Anthony Di Franco, who also did time in a number of other bands you might also be familiar with: Ramleh, Novatron, Ethnic Acid, JFK. But we always had a soft spot for AX, whose first two vinyl lps (collected here), Nova Feedback and II, originally released in 1994 and 1995 respectively, were for some of us our first taste of power electronics, and unlike much of the more harsh, ear shredding power electronics, AX trafficked in something much more droned out, a sound that whether intentionally or not, seemed to foreshadow the sort of slowburn sludge, and crumbling slo-mo ultra-doom that would follow. It's hard not to hear hints of Earth and SUNNO))) and Bunkur and Khanate or even groups like Troum and Maeror Tri, for all of its noise, and it IS noisy, that noise is sculpted in such a way as to render it impossibly listenable, totally hypnotic, and utterly mesmerizing. You can almost imagine a primitive hybrid of Troum and SUNNO))), the dark trancelike dronescape of the former, fused to the impossible black hole heaviness of the latter, but then the whole thing doused in a haze of caustic industrial crunch, and liberal swaths of grinding howling feedback. This collection opens up strangely enough with one track that is NOT from either of those two 12"s, but is instead plucked off AX's only proper full length cd, 1997's Astronomy, but that track, "Kortex", is definitely the perfect opener, and in some ways the perfect introduction to AX. The doomiest of the bunch by far, due in no small part to its plodding slow motion 'beat', a gristly metronomic crunch, that sounds like a snare hit slowed down a hundred times and run through a bank of dead distortion pedals, over which Di Franco lays down a churning layer of crumbling blackened distortion, wreathing those plodding squashed bug beats in squalls of overloaded powergrid buzz, it's a sort of primitive electron-level ultra doom, snakelike tendrils of hiss wrapped around sheets of grinding metallic buzz, all driven by that sinister blacknoise pulse. Which leads directly into "Nova Feedback 1", a swirling psychedelic wash of rumbling black buzz, and phased out thrum, evoking the whole guitar-against-the-amp style near-static minimalist doomdirge. Fans of the late great Vulture Club and other practitioners of that sort of doomdronedrift will be in heaven. "Heavy Fluid" is near symphonic, a sprawling 11 minute soundscape of layered guitar buzz, gristly electronics, shards of static, clouds of hiss, some serious proto-SUNN extreme slo-mo heaviness, which had us thinking a bit of another recent aQ fave, Blackwolfgoat, unfurling an endless cascade of woozy guitar buzz and melting blackened psychedelic riffage, the tones shifting constantly, as if someone was continually fiddling with the pitch knob, or more likely, an endless fiddling with the tuners, letting notes morph into other notes, to dip down into an even murkier thrum, before slowing drifting into a near howl. The sort of track, that we could listen to ENDLESSLY, only really exploding about 8 minutes in, when the original detuned creep is barraged by scrapes and squiggles and an avalanche of still more roiling guitarnoise. There are moments of pure noise, "Theme One", is in fact pretty much a four minute blast of face melting, ultra corrosive, blacknoise blur, but it almost acts like a palette cleanser, as it leads directly into the title track, which might be the most tranquil jam here, again foreshadowing the sort of bleak black soundscapery of groups like Wolf Eyes or Blue Sabbath Black Cheer or Gnaw Their Tongues, a gorgeously abject stretch of haunting post industrial buzz and hum, super cinematic, laced with all manner of grinding guitar noise, and strange moans and creaks, slipping easily from hushed drift, to cavernous bellow, and back again. We then move into the two tracks from AX's II 12", the first a 10+ minute of grinding power electronics bliss out, which after an opening blast of speaker destroying crunch, seems to gradually settle into something more spaced out and atmospheric, but really no less noisy, buried voices, shards of feedback, and all manner of metallic crunch, are blurred and smeared into a softly heaving sprawl of dense, droned out, psychedelic free-noise drift. The second part begins as a low level hum, distant heaving moans buried beneath layers of static and hum, super dense and tense, the perfect cue for the final shot in some long lost seventies horror movie, but soon the haunting elements are all but subsumed by the swirling noise, the result a roiling sea of hiss and howl, grinding metals and churning buzz. Finally, the collection finishes off with the last two tracks from Nova Feedback, the first, a dreamily psychedelic swirl of prismatic deconstructed guitar shimmer, and process chordal whirl, pulsing and pulsating, easily the prettiest track here, those strange melodies a recurring theme throughout the track, but gradually pulled apart and recontextualized, drifting dreamily one second, chopped up, looped and layered the next, wreathed in delay and reverb, and sent swirling into the ether, keening melodies over soft focus background guitarnoise, here rendered a dreamlike haze, totally hypnotic, and strangely tranquil. And finally, "Cluster" finishes things off, with what sounds like a classic chunk of black metal buzz, but here looped and layered and stretched out into an endless stretch of guitarbuzz mesmer, again reminding us of Blackwolfgoat, or perhaps Mick Barr, if he was restrained to just using the lowest strings, but that sort of near symphonic buzz, a churning tangle of blackened riffage, but blurred into something much more amorphous, a dreamlike cloud of psychedelic black shimmer, that is the perfect finish, to a near perfect collection. Needless to say EXTREMELY recommended, and not just for nineties industrial obsessives (although obviously, for those folks, this is a no brainer), but if you dig minimal guitar mesmer, psychedelic doom, abstract heaviness, post industrial soundscaping, all strains of drone, especially heavy guitardrone, this collection will blow your mind.
"Kortex" MPEG Stream:
"Nova Feedback I" MPEG Stream:
"Heavy Fluid" MPEG Stream:
"Metal Forest" MPEG Stream:
AXELROD, DAVID Songs Of Innocence (Capitol) lp 11.98
AXOLOTL Chemical Theater (Gypsy Sphinx No Cat) 12" 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We totally dig local free noise one man band Axolotl, and were ready for another blast of gorgeously abstract drone, clatter and skree when we threw this on, but holy cow is this record completely something else. We had to keep checking to see what we were listening to. Some of the elements are certainly similar, but it's way dreamier and laid back, muted and murky, subtly propulsive, it actually sounds quite a bit like Oval or Gas! Which is a VERY good thing. Slow shifting underwater drift, a looped hypnotic dreamworld, rich waves of warm sound, a totally gorgeous abstract minimal ambience. So so so good! SUPER LIMITED! 525 COPIES. Each copy is hand numbered and has a cool paste on cover.
AXOLOTL Live (Loci) 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. Even though Axolotl was San Francisco based, for some reason it was always difficult for us to get many of his releases. Most were extremely limited, a few times we managed to get merely a handful before they disappeared, but for the most part they came and went before we even discovered they were out. Axolotl may have moved away, but he also started up his own little label, concentrating on releasing various bits of sonic Axolotica. Live shows, impromptu jams, and various other recorded sonic happenings. And thankfully this time we have a direct line to the source, and we've got copies of all three titles in the first batch. All packaged in miniature dvd-style cases, with photocopied covers and some with a little xeroxed insert. And while we're not sure just how limited these are, we're fairly sure it's VERY. Live is a collection of live recordings (duh) from all over the globe, two from London, one from Glasgow, one from Amsterdam, one from right here in San Francisco, and two live on KALX. The London shows are much noisier than normal, dense clouds of crumbling distortion, static and hiss, but as always, melodies swirl beneath the skree, the various textures changing shape constantly, dizzying, and on the very dreamy pleasant side of noisy. The Glasgow show is a rich thick fluid drone assembled from glowing layers of burnished guitar shimmer and distant choir like vocals. The first KALX show is a deep tripped out druggy swirl, voices and fragments of melodies, all spinning drowsily, the second a super percussive steel string workout that sounds like solo dulcimer or something. San Francisco is a tripped out tribal drug jam, murky percussion, a haze of high end jangle, fluttering feedback, and tiny little squalls of buzz and skree. And finally, the Amsterdam show, a long stretch of high end hiss, manipulated tape, and fuzzy warbly static, all woven into a surprisingly dreamy drone. Once again, fantastic stuff.
"London" MPEG Stream:
AXOLOTL Memory Theatre (Important) cd 14.98
Long overdue collection of out of print material from SF based free noise sound sculptor Axolotl. Collecting tracks from the Jyrk cd-r Oranur, the Spirit Of Orr cd-r Object Phantom and the more recent Gypsy Sphinx 12" Chemical Theater. As much as we pretty much love everything Axolotl has done, and as much as we're psyched to have some of the older stuff on a real cd, this disc is worth it alone for the two tracks from the Chemical Theater 12", the first record where we noticed a distinct stylistic shift in Axolotl's sound. Here's what we had to say about those tracks: "We had to keep checking to see what we were listening to. Some of the elements are certainly similar, but it's way dreamier and laid back, muted and murky, subtly propulsive, it actually sounds quite a bit like Oval or Gas! Which is a VERY good thing. Slow shifting underwater drift, a looped hypnotic dream world, rich waves of warm sound, a totally gorgeous abstract minimal ambience." Sounds pretty great huh? Well, it is. And the two tracks from Chemical Theater are nearly twenty minutes long! Basically half of the 12". Including the 11+ minute glorious dreamy drone "Illiaster". But the funny thing is, revisiting the older tracks, they are just as good somehow, sounding way more fuzzy and blown out and beautiful than we remember. And we definitely remember digging them, a lot, but they sound SO great... Thick washes of murky gritty grime, drones that twist and rumble and give way to fragmented bits of melody. Soft focus stretches of pixelated ambience, guitar strums that come apart, the notes drifting in all different directions, each note enveloped in its own little swath of buzz or fuzz, simple percussion, damaged rhythms, all wrapped in a dense fog of glowing guitar growl and fuzzed out feedback... So recommended.
"Chemical Theater" MPEG Stream:
"Oranur" MPEG Stream:
AXOLOTL Object Phantom (Spirit Of Orr) 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.
AXOLOTL Oranur (Jyrk Collective) cd-r 5.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
"Oranur" MPEG Stream:
AXOLOTL s/t (Fuck It Tapes) cassette 9.98
AXOLOTL Telesma (Spooky Action) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Not sure what happened to Axolotl, but at some point his noises got way less noisy, and everything started to sound a lot fuzzier and beautifully disoriented, almost like a few records back, the band stepped into a thick puddle of sonic quicksand, and every record they've sunk a little bit deeper, everything getting more and more fuzzed out and murky, buzzy and indistinct, until now, heck they must be neck deep, cuz everything sounds about as blissed out as can be. Like an indie rock underground version of Mink Ink's Gas, Axolotl are now firmly in the Pop Ambient camp as far as we're concerned. Thick swirling sheets of ambience, guitars are fuzzy and drift like fat soft clouds, melodies are buried all the way at the bottom of about a million layers of grit and hum and whir, allowing us only brief glimpses, and letting occasional fragments float to the surface. Within this warm dense swirl is a pulse, a beat, a rhythm, often impossible to pick out, occasionally just loud enough to be heard over the soft din, a little like hearing a heartbeat through someone's down overcoat, a distant blurry thump, that almost just sounds like a random dynamic disturbance in the dreamlike hiss of each song's tranquil drift. There are always a lot of amazing records vying for the coveted late night listening position, you know the perfect disc to relax to, to read along with, or best of all, to free your mind and send you drifting off into some relaxed, not-quite-sleep but dreamily blissed out headspace, and this Axolotl disc (a reissue of a super limited, out of print cd-r) has has pretty much knocked out all other contenders! Amazingly gorgeous packaging too, a white folded over sleeve with embossed reflective silver printing, a textured pattern on the front, bold type on the back. Really striking.
"Telesma" MPEG Stream:
AXOLOTL Trade Ye No Mere Moneyed Art (Loci) 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. Even though Axolotl was San Francisco based, for some reason it was always difficult for us to get many of his releases. Most were extremely limited, a few times we managed to get merely a handful before they disappeared, but for the most part they came and went before we even discovered they were out. Axolotl may have moved away, but he also started up his own little label, concentrating on releasing various bits of sonic Axolotica. Live shows, impromptu jams, and various other recorded sonic happenings. And thankfully this time we have a direct line to the source, and we've got copies of all three titles in the first batch. All packaged in miniature dvd-style cases, with photocopied covers and each with little xeroxed insert. And while we're not sure just how limited these are, we're fairly sure it's VERY. Trade Ye No Mere Moneyed Art is the first release on Loci, and is everything we've come to love about Axolotl. Slow drifting mursckapes, swirls of muted percussion and disembodied guitar blur, soft edged effects, thick layers of whirring synth, crumbling bits of distortion, long static rumbles, subtly shimmering overtones, insectoid buzz, electronic glitch, and thick blown out sun dappled dreamlike drones. So nice.
"1" MPEG Stream: