V/A Air Texture Volume I (Air Texture) 2cd 22.00
Everyone has a specific music they're especially fond of. And sure we're all pretty omnivorous when it comes to the music we love, but there's always that one sound or style you find yourself returning to again and again, that one thing on your iPod that gets played over and over like crazy, around here, folks tend to be partial to jangly pop, blackened metal, abstract noise, seventies proto metal, field recordings, sixties psych, Warped Tour emo metal, techno, or dubstep, among other things. But one thing everything here can agree on, is the importance of 'sleeping' music. Those blissed out sounds that are perfect for late nights, for that moment when your consciousness begins to drift, where for a moment, you get just a glimpse of the other side, before the curtain parts and your incorporeal self slips past, and doesn't return until the next morning. The soundtrack for that crossover is also very personal, some folks listen to buzzing black metal to drift off, others the mesmerizing thump of minimal techno, but there is a certain strain of ambient music that everyone here is equally enamored of. Minimal techno label Kompakt has coined the phrase Pop Ambient for this strain of electronic music, one that is not so much standard ambient music, or even new age, but more an electronica/techno with the beats removed, leaving just the ethereal ephemera, that at one time was a backdrop for the beats, but sans rhythms, those sounds become the focus, and are loosed from any sort of proper structure, allowed to flow and drift, to swirl and shimmer, this new music that is indeed ambient, and perhaps even a little new agey, but is ultimately something much more evocative and experimental, songs and sounds that acts as mysterious soundtracks for sleep, music that simultaneously serves as background ambience, but can also invoke active listening, allowing the listener to immerse themselves in the sound, to travel sonically to these otherworlds, to explore, and to get gloriously lost. This double disc collects some of the current crop of ambient alchemists, a handful who are already aQ faves including Leyland Kirby, Klimek, Biosphere, Oneohtrix Point Never, Atlas Sound, Wolfgang Voigt, Markus Guentner, and Maps And Diagrams (whose cd on Time Released sound we reviewed recently), but even more that are brand new discoveries, all of whom are poised to become new favorites for sure, and pretty much instantly, this comp became out go-to late night listening collection. The first disc is heavier on the new discoveries, opening up with a track by Orla Wren, who weaves a glitchy stretch of crystalline skitter, that reminds us a bit of Oval, all warm and liquid, hushed and delicate, but which soon blossoms into a lush thick swirl of layered buzz and softly swirling shimmer, laced with chiming melodies, and hazy bell like tones, one track in, and we already find ourselves wanting to hear more, which happens again minutes later when Rafael Anton Irisarri's track begins, a warm, swirling cinematic thrum, a very Caretaker-sounding sprawl of murky muddy strings, of looped string section shimmer, all blurred into something hazy and drifty, wreathed in soft hiss and warm record crackle, looped and lovely and hauntingly mesmerizing. The oddly named Let's Go Outside continue with their own brand of dreamy drift, a blissed out dreamdrone raga of metallic buzz and lush layered loveliness. Bvdub (aka Brock Van Wey, one of the curators of this collection) offers his own bit of looped and layered swirl, all effected steel strings, a sort of folky flutter smeared into lush string like swells, the lengthy track peppered with epic majestic bursts of heaving high end buzz, again all blurred into something more more ethereal, and so it goes, this is one of those rare comps, that not only plays like a proper album, but that doesn't slip up once, every single track here is gorgeous, and is woven deftly into the sonic fabric of the whole. The second disc is where most of the more familiar names can be found, many of those Pop Ambient veterans, Klimek (who even released a record called Music To Fall Asleep), starts things off with a field recording flecked slow burn drone, very darkly dramatic and ethereal, which leads directly into a track by Andrew Thomas (the other curator of this collection), his number a moody chunk of shimmery slowcore, all twangy Earth-like guitars over a hushed hazy backdrop of warm strings and glistening analog crackle, sounding almost like a Pop Ambient Barn Owl. Oneohtrix delivers some very minimal and dreamy celestial kosmische, while Biosphere weaves a gorgeous bit of orchestral thrum, all deep swirling strings, pizzicato melodies and mysterious percussion, while Markus Guenter finally introduces a beat, a murky minimal pulse, beneath another gorgeous sprawl of glistening droned out shimmer, and again, so it goes for the rest of the second disc as well. ANYone who loves the Pop Ambient series will flip for this, as will fans of all things darkly dreamy, be it minimal electronica, abstract krautdrone, cinematic ambience or anywhere in between.
RAFAEL ANTON IRISARRI "Flowstone" MPEG Stream:
LET'S GO OUTSIDE "Hold Still Without Me" MPEG Stream:
BVDUB "Tried So Hard" MPEG Stream:
KLIMEK "Ice Storm (Prelude To A Fratricide)" MPEG Stream:
ANDREW THOMAS "Black Sky Bright Sun" MPEG Stream:
LEYLAND KIRBY "Departure"
V/A Air Texture Volume II (Air Texture) 2cd 22.00
We made the first Air Texture compilation our Record Of The Week, back in November of 2011, a fantastic, and fantastically blissed out collection of ambient soundscapery from some of our favorite audio alchemists, running the gamut from dreamy Pop Ambience to abstract ethereal drone music, from modern classical minimalism to hushed softly psychedelic shimmer, and the many many variations in between. This is the second volume in what now appears to be an ongoing series, and once again features a lineup that reads as if it was curated by someone at aQ, as well as featuring a number of artists who contributed to the first compilation. Most folks will probably just need a list of the folks involved: Brian McBride of Stars Of The Lid, Loscil, Pan American, Mitchell Akiyama, Bvdub, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Simon Scott, Lawrence English, Marcus Fjellstrom, Rafael Anton Irisarri and loads more. And like the best compilations, it doesn't feel like a compilation, it plays like an album proper, or perhaps the perfect mix tape for late night chill out / drift off. Brian McBride starts things off with a track that does not sound that far removed from recent Stars Of The Lid, huge sweeping swells of lush chordal shimmer and swoonsome strings, orchestral and symphonic and achingly majestic, dappled with pointilist piano and soft focus swirls, that blossom into radiant expanses of prismatic gauzy drift. Marcus Fischer weaves muted rhythms into a swirling sea of guitar twang and distant melodies, the sound washed out and rainswept, Loscil unfurls billows of blurred electronics, darkly dynamic, sounding like a slightly more sinister Oval, while Chris Herbert lays out a super minimal sprawl of softly staticky hiss and ephemeral thrum. We could go track by track, but the great thing is how all the songs share attributes that weave all of these disparate pieces together, while each track remaining wholly unique, the listener is carried along by this constantly subtly shifting collection of sounds, lost utterly within each, the songs bleeding into one another, offering a bit of sonic familiarity, before revealing something unique to that track, a constant voyage of sonic discovery, which rewards close listening, but is equally effective as background ambience. Music that conforms to its surroundings like some strange sonic fog, hovering and drifting weightlessly in the distance, becoming something else entirely as we draw closer, and lose ourselves within. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. And most definitely the perfect soundtrack for late nights, lost afternoons, rainy days, deep black nights, and drifting into oblivion.
BRIAN MCBRIDE "At A Loss" MPEG Stream:
MARCUS FISCHER "A Fifth Season" MPEG Stream:
LOSCIL "Else" MPEG Stream:
CHRIS HERBERT "Naimina"
V/A Al-Jabr (Ash International R.I.P.) cd 14.98
Another 'remix' album of the processed electromagnetic radio waves released by Disinformation (the first was the Antiphony 2cd). The central analogy of these 'remixes' by Evan Parker, Jim O'Rourke, Lawrence Casserley, Mechos, Tactile, Simon Fisher Turner, and T:unk Systems is of an underground publication by 9th Century mathmetician Abu Ja'Far Muhammad Ibn Musa, who proposed the ideas of mathematical fractions to the rest of the world. Conceptually the remixes stand as 'surgical reunifications' in which broadcast data noise are transformed into pulsing drones and electrical melodies. The stand out contribution is clearly the Evan Parker remix in which is staccato blurts of multi tracked saxophone work brilliantly next to the noxious hypnosis of Disinformation's original.
V/A Amplify (Erstwhile) box set 197.00
This is really gorgeous and it's taking a lot of self control to keep us from all taking one of these home. And as Christmas draws near, self control seems to matter less and less. Whether it's a gift for some music freak you love, or a sneaky gift for yourself amidst the rest of your shopping, you couldn't do much better than this. A super fancy, slip cased box set documenting the 2000 Erstwhile festival in Tokyo, put on annually by the label of the same name. Seven discs of some of the best improv/abstract/free jazz/noise you'll ever hear. Most of the recordings are from the actual festival, but two discs are from club shows around the actual festival, while one disc is a performance by an all-star guitar septet made up of Keith Rowe, Tetuzi Akiyama, Oren Ambarchi, Toshimaru Nakamura, Otomo Yoshihide, Burkhard Stangl and Taku Sugimoto and another is a studio recording by the duo of Gčnter Mčller and Toshimaru Nakamura. Wow! There's also a DVD document of the festival by filmmaker Jonas Leddington and a huge booklet with photos and twenty essays! Ready to buy it now? Well here's the track listing: CD 1 (outside festival shows): 1. Thomas Lehn/Toshimaru Nakamura, 2. Gčnter Mčller/Tetuzi Akiyama/Nakamura, 3. Christof Kurzmann/Nakamura, 4. Lehn/Nakamura/Taku Sugimoto. CD 2 (studio sessions): Gčnter Mčller/Toshimaru Nakamura-tint. CD 3 (festival): 1. Cosmos (Sachiko M/Ami Yoshida), 2. Keith Rowe/Lehn/Marcus Schmickler. CD 4 (festival): 1. Mčller/Otomo Yoshihide, 2. Lehn/Schmickler. CD 5 (festival): 1. Burkhard Stangl/Kurzmann/Sugimoto, 2. Rowe/Nakamura. CD 6 (festival): 1. Stangl/Mčller, 2. Nakamura/Sachiko. CD 7: (seven guitars): 1. seven guitarists: Rowe/Akiyama/Oren Ambarchi/Nakamura/Otomo/Stangl/Sugimoto (Cornelius Cardew-Treatise, pp. 82-84), 2. seven guitarists (improvisation). Okay, how about now?!?!? C'mon...you know you want it. I sure do!! No sound samples cuz we're all still trying to fight the need to own this so we haven't even cracked one open yet!
V/A An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music / First A-Chronology 1921-2001 (Sub Rosa) 3lp 41.00
NOW ON VINYL! Sub Rosa, in claiming to present this compilation within the context that "history needs constant re-evaluation because, like music, history cannot be read as a fixed entity" has unfortunately released an anthology that offers no new insights or previously unknown factors in the inception of noise and electronic musics. Rather, the artists featured are the often-name dropped art stars used within institutional texts for the Whitney Biennial or Documenta to legitimize sound art or some connection between institutional forces and underground activity. A good number of the artists - like Luigi Russolo, Pierre Schaefer, Sonic Youth, Xenakis, Pauline Oliveros, Edgard Varese, John Cage, Ryoji Ikeda, and Einsturzende Neubauten - are undoubtedly important; but is it really necessary to sing their praises yet again? While there's certainly something to be said for introducing new audiences to a lot of the amazing music on this compilation, Sub Rosa should fess up to curating a sort of K-Tel compilation for the avant-garde. That said, this vinyl version probably will have some interesting utility for creative DJs!
V/A An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music: Fourth A-Chronology 1937-2005 Volume #4 (Sub Rosa) 2cd 16.98
The curators of the fourth volume of the seven part series of Anthologies of Noise & Electronic Music are correct when they point to the fact that the history of the avant-garde is a messy one with tangled connections between competing factions, ideologies, methods, and personalities. The Sub Rosa compilations are dotted with a who's who of the electro-acoustic avant-garde from the past century, tossed in with a smorgasborg of previously unknown (and often very interesting) artists as well as contemporary musicians who are well on their way to establishing themselves within the canons of the institutional avant-garde. Sub Rosa has gone out of its way to compile a collection to scramble one's notions of the taxonomic rhetoric that may influence the perception of any of the artists present; hence you'll find Les Rallizes Denudes (already you can tell this series is not very reverential of the academic definition of experimental electronics music, with the inclusion of this incendiary Japanese psych band) next to Vibracathedral Orchestra followed by one-time Blind Idiot God guitarist Andy Hawkins then Alvin Lucier. Sub Rosa boasts that more than 75 percent of the album is unreleased material, which is all the more impressive considering that the compilation features the likes of Gyorgy Ligetti, Oliver Messiaen, William S. Burroughs, Milan Knizak, Steve Reich, Halim el-Dabh, Jean-Claude Risset, Stephen Vitiello, Laurie Spiegel, and many others. To top it all off, it's surprisingly pleasing to listen to. What that says about the state of 'noise' music may be another question.
WANG CHANGCUN "Seafood" MPEG Stream:
LES RALLIZES DENUDES "Fucked Up and Naked" MPEG Stream:
HALIM EL-DABH "Wire Recorder"
V/A An Anthology Of Noise & Electronic Music: Volume 5 (Sub Rosa) 2cd 19.98
V/A An Uncommon Nature (Anomalous) lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The current glut of mediocre compilations from the computer glitch faction of experimental music demands that the compiler of any collection should hold greater standards than, "I'm selling yet another compilation featuring Kid 606. Please buy my product." Simple curatorial questions such as: why these artists? Why these tracks? What is the thematic connection? What is to be learned from these juxtapositions of sound?, have clearly been forgotten and replaced by a rotating line-up of flavours of the month. Thus, Anomalous should be commended first for not recycling the mimetic electro-glitch roster on their "An Uncommon Nature" and second for putting some thought into the production of the compilation. This vinyl only album documents discrete physical actions which address the age old dichotomy between humanity and nature. Erik Lanzillota -- the curator of this album and founder of Anomalous -- has for the most part succeeded in creating a near seamless aural flow between the long thin wire striations of Jonathan Coleclough and the muffled thunderstorm field recordings of David Knott. The one snag is the annoying nasal blurt from Agog, but the wonderous drones from Mirror and the rich texural rubbings form Jeph Jerman keep this compilation from sinking like so many others.
V/A Another Kind Of Language (And / OAR) 2cd-r 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Despite the oversized package and the dedication to the amazing Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky, this is not a DVD. Rather this is a collection of sound artists and archivists who were comissioned to create a piece inspired by the work of Tarkovsky. The majority of the artists in question have composed their pieces as an homage to Tarkovsky's slow, but revelatory pacing of the narrative. The atmospheres of the sublime, the psychologically horrific, and the melancholic -- which all run through Tarkovsky's work -- speak boldly with Another Kind of Language as thick dronescapes molded from various field recordings of rain, wind, and surf. There isn't anything overt about this comp that screams out "TARKOVSKY!" with no obvious samples or quotations to be found within; rather, this is a humble dronological tribute to the Russian filmmaker's amazing sensibilities. The contributing artists run the gamut, from familiar AQ faves Mnortham, John Hudak and Kiyoshi Mizutani, to lesser-knowns/unknowns Jon Tulchin, Yannick Dauby, Dale Lloyd, , Rsudin, V.V., Madali Babin, Duul_Drv, Josh Russell, Philip Pietruschka, Sawako, and Logoplasm.
MNORTHAM "When Inaccessible" MPEG Stream:
JON TULCHIN "Mnemonic Cartography"
V/A Anthology 1: Come Organisation Archives 1979-81 (Susan Lawly) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The Come Organisation was the brainchild of Whitehouse's William Bennett, whose notions of punk rock veered far from the comparatively palatable sounds of The Sex Pistols or The Damned. Where the Rotten / McLaren axis made a very calaculated attack on mainstream culture through Situationist ideals, Bennett's notion of punk was a transgression that exposed all of the desires of the id. The more vulgar and more obscene, the better as far as Bennett was concerned. In attempting to claim this space, Bennett delved deep into the realms of ultra-violent pornography, screaming cruel tales of misogyny. This double cd documents the very early tales of Bennett and his numerous productions in and with Come, Whitehouse (his most infamous creation), Nurse With Wound, and The Sodality. Come was a gritty punk band that Bennett formed after a brief stint in Essential Logic, if I'm not mistaken. With warbling synth attacks, pounding drum, and slashing three chord guitar churns, Come sounded much closer to the muddled art-rock of Snakefinger than his more decidedly punk compatriots Warsaw or Suicide. Whitehouse does exactly what every other Whitehouse track does: emit incredibly painful high frequencies and Bennett's megaphone yell of his, um, lyrics. The Nurse With Wound track features Jimbo 'Foetus' Thirwell in the construction of a wild display of dozens of tape machines going awry much like early Merzbow. Bennett also included his 'official' mix of the Nurse With Wound / Whitehouse collaborative album "150 Murderous Passions" - which sounds just like Whitehouse, and pales in comparison to the 'unofficial' mix that Stapleton released on United Dairies. The compilation concludes with a very strange field recording made in the Bradford Red Light District: something conceptually very disturbing, but in actuality just sounding like a guy walking down a busy street with a tape deck in his pocket. All of Bennett's productions have been meant to offend, or at least provoke, and this one is certainly no different.
V/A Anthology 2: Come Organisation Archives 1981-1982 (Susan Lawly) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Along with Throbbing Gristle's Industrial Records, William Bennett's Come Organisation was one of the seminal publishing entities for transgressive British art in the late '70s and early '80s, mostly for his own projects Come and Whitehouse, but also a few other recordings from Maurizio Bianchi (recording under the Leibstandarte SS MB moniker), Sutcliffe Jurgend, 150 Murderous Passions (a collaboration between Bennett and Nurse With Wound), and probably some other projects that have eluded my research (if anybody has a discography from Come Organisation, please let me know!). While the Come Organisation is no longer active, Bennett has founded Susan Lawly to continue publishing Whitehouse material. This document is the second collection of material from the Come Organisation vaults, comprised of the last Come album "I'm Jack," highlights from the conceptually based compilation "Fur Ilse Koch," and a two tracks from Bianchi's "Weltanschauung" album. For the Come album "I'm Jack," Bennett had worked with Foetus' Jim Thirwell to create two very odd pieces of primitive anti-punk. On one track Bennett took up the drums, with Thirlwell on guitar, electronics, and vocal duties; and the other track found the two switching yet performing similar pieces. Starting off with the sludgy guitar feedback that has since become the staple for bands like Earth, the Melvins, and Harvey Milk, Come sporadically drop in unstructured double kick drum beats before unleashing a belligerent feedback / synth noise. Ilse Koch was the wife of the commandant at the Buchenwald concentration camp during Nazi era Germany, and had developed an unsavory fashion aesthetic of furnishing her lampshades with the skin from dead prisoners. Obviously the material from the Come Organisation compilation that is dedicated to her is certainly not for the squeamish. The anonymously produced tracks from Musique Concrete and Etat Brut both employ similar methods of media appropriation into bizarre collages with lots of Jim Jones references. But it is the Nurse With Wound track "Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree" that is the highlight to both "Fur Ilse Koch" and "Anthology 2" on which a little German girl pleads for her father accompanied by an ever intensifying psychoacoustically irritating high frequency drone. Very creepy. The MB tracks are also quite impressive, with his signature aesthetic of sinister electronic dirges that are continuously collapsing under the weight of an existential gloom. Bennett indicated in the liner notes the possibility of reissuing "Fur Ilse Koch" at a later date, pretty much all that is missing from that compilation and these highlights are the shock tactic insertions of Nazi speeches, Manson gibberish, and the Japanese Imperial War anthem. The tracks featured here do well enough to frighten and horrify without such obvious references.
NURSE WITH WOUND "Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree" RealAudio clip:
COME "President, Your Prick's Stiff" RealAudio clip:
LEIBSTANDARTE SS MB "Endoradiaion"
V/A Antitrade (Touch) cd 15.98
"In the northern hemisphere from the southwest, a wind that blows steadily in the opposite direction to the trade-wind" reads the definition to the 'antitrade' on the disc itself. Aside from this oddly placed text, there are very little clues to the reading of this baffling pseudo-concept record from Ash International (R.I.P.). Collecting fragments of disembodied voices, VLF radio noise, and field recordings of fireworks for Guy Fawkes Day, the artists on this compilation manifest an aural purity of simple drones to assimilate the disparate noises in a surprisingly cohesive whole. It is a little hard to believe that this is a compilation as Bruce Gilbert (Wire), S.E.T.I. (aka Andrew Lagowski), Disinformation, Hazard (who I believe recorded as Morthound on Cold Meat Industries many moons ago), Lief Elggren (Ghost Orchid), Aer, and hhh contribute on this album. An excellent piece from the click and drone school.
V/A April (Box) cd-r 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Welcome to the Frans De Waard show starring Frans De Waard! 5 of the 7 tracks on this compilation feature Mr. De Waard in various guises as the "borrowed" project Freiband covering a King Crimson song, as the ambient drone guitar project Shifts, in the ultra-minimal techno / microsound project Goem, and in the musique concrete ensemble Kapotte Musiek. Roel Meelkop (who works with De Waard in Goem and Kapotte Muziek) contributes a solo track of minimalist scraping. The last track throws off the symmetry of the Frans De Waard connection with a duet between Boston's Jason Talbot and Howard Stelzer on turntables and tape constructions. Limited to 300 CD-Rs.
GOEM "Braun Mix" RealAudio clip:
ROEL MEELKOP "Fuzzy" RealAudio clip:
FREIBAND "Dream Illusion"
V/A Archaic Variations : Localization (Obs / Observatoire) cd 12.98
An impressive survey of the curatorial aesthetic from the Russian imprint Observatoire, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years with some great releases of cracked dronology and mangled field recordings. The concepts on Archaic Variations slant toward crude electro-acoustics, psychogeography, obsolete technologies, and improbable strategies all mapping out tactile soundfields with variable degrees of manipulation and deconstruction. The first handful of tracks (Emmanuel Mieville, Richard Garet, and Takanobu Noshino) are relatively hushed compositions of shadowy drones, distant vocalizations, and raw field recordings lending an air of clinical detachment. Chris Whitehead's elegaic piano and field recording piece addresses a rural British ceremony that dates back to the 12th Century, recalling the piano laced impressionism of Andrew Chalk and Cindytalk. The latter half of the disc tends toward claustrophobia and decay, introduced by none other than our own Jim Haynes, whose chainsaw drones and swarming radio bursts transmit through thickets of scabrous noise dialing up comparisons to Kevin Drumm's more noxious facets. The Russian artist Radioson maintains the shortwave theme with an paranoiac set of hypnotic melodies revolving around repeating beacon tones and gray masses of static. Gonna have to dig into this project more for sure. The compilation concludes on a very bleak note with a track from Francisco Meirino, the brilliant, if under-recognized electro-acoustic tactician here jettisoning razor-sharp errata of EMF interference across pierced feedback shards, and the finale from another Russian artist Dasein, compacting distorted synths and tortured vocals into a more nuanced take on the early Whitehouse / Ramleh axis. 300 copies, only.
RICHARD GARET "R.O.U / Tristan Narvaja - Villa Biarritz" MPEG Stream:
JIM HAYNES "Iodine" MPEG Stream:
RADIOSON "Life Of Neron" MPEG Stream:
FRANCISCO MEIRINO "What Remains Of All That Misery"
V/A Archiv 1.1 (Asphodel) cd 13.98
Originally released as a bonus cd for subscribers to the Wire magazine, this sampler is a perfect introduction to the super clinical, ultra minimal Raster-Noton sound featuring a who's who of the avant / minimalist / techno / experimental world: William Basinski, Signal, Senking, Bytone, Komet Noto, M. Akiyama, Pixel and more. Also worth picking up if you're already into this stuff as some of the tracks here are out of print, rare or previously unreleased. A gorgeously bleak, sometimes lush world of clicks and beeps and whirs and drones and crackle and whir and hum and rumble. Awesome!
0 (NULL) "Mikro Makro" MPEG Stream:
SENKING "Stand" MPEG Stream:
V/A Arktinen Hysteria: Suomi-Avantgarden Esipuutarhureita (Love Records) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. When our Andee was away on his vacation to Finland last year he got turned on to this compilation of early ('60s/'70s) Finnish experimental music. It also has been getting a good deal of airplay on our favorite radio station, New Jersey's wonderful WFMU (www.wfmu.org, tune in!). So, now we're real happy to have finally gotten this in stock, and felt it deserved Record Of The Week status for several reasons: it's Finnish, it's fucked, and it's also of historical import. Mainly, though, it's just fucked. In that fun way we at AQ totally dig. Sure, "Arktien Hysteria" (translation: Arctic Hysteria, if you couldn't guess) is all experimental and avantgarde but definitely not super serious -- heck, it starts out with a veritable symphony of burps, and one of the best artists on here is known as The Sperm. These tracks tend to feature (one or more of the following): early "sampling" cut-ups, druggy proto-punk psychedelic rock freedom, free jazz noise, groovy oddball electronics n' drone, conceptual flux, and vocal derangement. Arktien hysteria indeed! The freakouts on here should prove that none of the art-punk noiseniks of today can make a noise that hasn't been made already. Such as the turkey gobbling style sax and maniacal percussion of Jouni Kesti & Seppo I. Laine's "Analysis of Revolution". Not that it's all zany hijinks, there's abstract soundscape stuff on here too, some of it really dark and weird. Quite a few home-built instruments/machines/synths feature here, along with tape loops galore. Thougth some folks make do though with just sheer frenzied performance gusto. All tracks were taken, we believe, from rare LPs originially released circa 1967-1970 by the legendary Finnish label Love Records. Actually, one cut even dates from as far back as 1961. The cd booklet's got photos and (thankfully) some liner notes in English, though there's more text in Finnish, oh well. Pan sonic and Circle and Keuhkot and Kemialliset Ystavat and all the rest of Finland's current avant/underground scene start to make a lot more sense when you hear what their aunts and uncles were up to a few decades back, makin' noise at live happenings, or constructing tracks in primitive DIY studios built in their sauna huts. Damn, what a cool compilation. Insane, and arguably essential.
BLUES SECTION "Shivers Of Pleasure" MPEG Stream:
JUKKA RUOHOMAKI "Mika Aika On" MPEG Stream:
JOUNI KESTI & SEPPO I. LIANE "Vallankumouksen Analyysi" MPEG Stream:
THE SPERM "3rd Erection"
V/A Aryan Asshole Recorcds Compilation (Aryan Asshole) lp 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. What would you expect from a label called Aryan Asshole run by one of the guys from Wolf Eyes and a pal? Big loud ugly noise right? Well, that's exactly what you get on this compilation, Aryan Asshole Compilation Vol. 1. A collection of out of print tracks (previously released as super limited lathe cuts) from Wolf Eyes, Aaron Dilloway of Wolf Eyes, Dead Machines, Burning Star Core, Hive Mind, Religious Knives (half of Double Leopards), Damion Romero as well as Bloodyminded, Graveyards, The Moonlanding, Failing Lights, Charlie Draheim and Raven Strain. The sound runs the noise rock gamut: primitive Whitehouse shriek with ear piercing sinewaves and squealing feedback with shouted megaphone vocals, clouds of high end skree, kitchen sink clatter and blown out electronic glitch and gzzzt, full on detuned distorted metal guitar riffage, tweaked and twisted, skipping and pitchshifted into some hiccupping plunderphonic metalstorm, super spare ambience, Jandek-ish guitar, random room clatter, footsteps, chairs sliding against the floor, plink plonk percussion all space-y and abstract, rumbling SUNNO)))-like dirges but way more malevolent and lo-fi, crumbling electronic buzz and splatter and... well, you get the idea. A pretty killer comp of modern noise (rock) of the meaner and weirder and more fucked up persuasion. The cover art features reproductions of all the long out of print square shaped lathe cut picture discs gathered within! Cool.
V/A Aryan Asshole Records Compilation Vol.2 (Aryan Asshole) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A Audio Apogee - Frequency Thirteen Records Compilation: An Anti Baroque Fieldtrip Into Aire Movement And Grey Vibration (Frequency Thirteen) 2xcd-r 9.98
It's been a while, but finally, the return of Frequency Thirteen, and TRUE SHEFFIELD BLACK PSYCHEDELIA!! Yep, in the past we've championed killer discs from Black Vomit, Ice Bound Majesty, Trolskull, Dukkha and Rape Rack, all offering up a truly twisted take on blackened heaviness, and ever since we've been dying to hear more, so this pretty much hits the spot, a massive sprawling double disc compilation, featuring tracks from most of the Frequency Thirteen roster, and as far as we know, all the tracks here are EXCLUSIVE. So if you're already a fan, and snap up F13 cd-r's whenever you see them, then you obviously need this, exclusive new music from Skultroll, Dukkha and Ice Bound Majesty, as well as a whole mess of others. But for those new to Frequency Thirteen, it's tough to imagine a better introduction to True Sheffield Black Psychedelia. Which is a bit of a misnomer, as much of this is not from Sheffield, much of this is not necessarily black, although it's ALL psychedelic, and it's all TROOOOOOO. Beadle, who we had never heard of before, open up the first disc with a crushing chunk of looped riffage that reminds us of a more blackened Gore, a lurching, lumbering, hypnotic crush. Which perfectly gives way to a new Dukkha jam, that sounds like classic nineties style noise rock, heavy and crunchy and weirdly melodic, with some awesomely twisted melodies and arrangements, and some wild freaked out guitaring. Brobdingnagian who you might remember from their ep on Rusty Axe spews out some noise drenched black filth, like some sort of Ildjarn Merzbow mash up. And so it goes, the whole disc a twisted, convoluted, buzzy, blasting, psychedelic sonic travelogue, with some surprises along the way. Trolskull, slow things down with their murky heroin house minimalism, buried voices, a muted pulse, swirling swaths of synth. Ice Bound Majesty offer up their fiercest filthiest blow out yet, furious and frantic, doused in effects, with programmed drums so fast it almost sounds like a chest rattling drone. Charles Dexter Ward crafts a weird sort of Dan Higgs sounding bit of ritualistic sea shanty style guitar drone, albeit crunchy and distorted, and War Ethic does some weird super murky grindy thrash, but with some skittery almost jazzy sound blastbeats, and there's more more more more. And that's just the first disc! The second disc starts out with some super minimal sinewave shimmer courtesy of a band called Syn, before Dukkha kick shit into gear with the most awesome hypnotic looped psych jam, that would make Circle or Cave proud. In fact, it sort of sounds like a mix of the two, but with a bit more metal drumming, and some convoluted tangled arrangements, but always slipping back into super mesmerizing hypno-rock. KPTMichigan unfurl some gorgeous hazy woozy Tim Hecker like gauzy dronemusic, while Scum Also Rises (awesome name) so some strange post industrial mathy groove rock, that sounds WAY better than that description makes it sound, fat fuzzy bass, weird skittery electronics, all fuzzy and blown out. Sluglord stir up some sort of unholy blackened orchestral doom, all dense tones and deep shimmers, and the Disobedients do a sort of super minimal bedroom doom pop, and Trolskull return with some murky abstract rhythmic weirdness, that sounds a bit like a less loose Avarus, a bit more sinister and haunting and a bit krautrock too. And of course again here, there's more more more! Easily one of our favorite labels, with a roster that should make most other labels bow their heads in shame. And this is definitely one of the few comps where you literally want to hear more from every single band. Fancy packaging too, a fold out die cut full color sleeve, jam packed with about a million inserts, liner notes, an obi... hell, just buy it, you won't be sorry. And odds are, like us, soon you too will find yourself obsessed with TRUE SHEFFIELD BLACK PSYCHEDELIA!!
BROBDINGNAGIAN "You, You Smell Like Death" MPEG Stream:
TROLSKULL "Unutterable Hideousness" MPEG Stream:
DUKKHA "Deu!" MPEG Stream:
PULSAR "Praeternational Light"
V/A Audiolounge (Intermedium Records) cd 16.98
The "Audiolounge" was held in the foyer of the Berlin Academy of Fine Arts as a deliberate attempt to avoid a concert hall or club experience. Instead, this night-long event was a combination of a hands-on workshop and audio / visual installation. This double CD audio document features musical selections from Robert Lippok (from To Rococo Rot), Console & Andreas Ammer (regular collaborator with F.M. Einheit), Robert Merdzo & Bulent Kullukcu, and Kalle Laar & Georg Zeitblom. Lippok begins his set with quiet digital clickery, that MicroHouse synth pad swoosh (without the rhythms), a plaintive piano sample, and a run-out vinyl groove popping incessantly. All of these sound elements gradually converge into a steady rhythmic loop that morphs into a leftfield electronic breakbeat sounding much like Lippok's contributions in To Rococo Rot. Andreas Ammer and Console combined an archival recording of Martin Heidegger speaking over downtempo post-New Wave / semi-Aphex electro beats. Robert Merdzo and Bulent Kullukcu set down big, yet ever-shifting German techno beats and media samples. And finally, Kalle Laar and Georg Zeitblom accurated titled their contribution to the evening 'hypersound concrete.' All and all, this is a pretty interesting record.
V/A Azadi!: A Benefit Compilation For RAWA (Fire Museum / Electro Motive) 2cd 14.98
Longtime supporter of the rights of Afghani women, AQ-customer Steven Tobin has produced benefit shows and now this double disc benefit cd -- and what a comp it is. The musical choices are all over the genre map yet it works nicely as a sit-down listen, and it will certainly introduce you to many groups you've never heard. Includes experimental indie rock (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Deerhoof, Zmrzlina, The Intima), ethnicky female vocal theatrics (D'yara, Charming Hostess, Jou Jou, Samsara), avant electronics (Blevin Blectum, Bran, Planetsize, Zeek Sheck), quirky weirdness as only East Bay bands can do it (Spezza Rotto, Charming Hostess, Faun Fables, Mono Pause), world-class improvisers (Dave Slusser, Saadet Turkoz, Miya Masaoka), underground hip hop (DeepDickCollective), and much more. All proceeds benefit RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, an organization founded in 1977. Pick this up, feel great about it, and get a genuinely good listen to boot.
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR "George Bush Cut Up While Talking" MPEG Stream:
THE INTIMA "The New Savage" MPEG Stream:
DEERHOOF "Bring Down the Nutritious Pigs"
V/A Babcotte, Sudbury And Eaton: The English School Of Funerary Origin (The Guild Of Funerary Violinists) cd-r 12.98
Another glorious glimpse back at the long lost art of the Funerary Violin. A genre all but forgotten and lost, some say quashed by the Catholic Church, a gorgeous mournful body of work, solo violin pieces to be performed at funerals, sad and sorrowful, minor key and miserable, dense with dark emotions, perfectly transporting the listener back to an nineteenth century funeral, the procession, the mourners clad in black... Very beautiful and evocative. But it's not just the music, it's the tangled history of the players and the personalities, the musicians and the composers and the patrons responsible for much of the music. Oh, and the fact that it's all made up. That's right, these amazing scratchy wax cylinder recordings of simple melancholy violin pieces, and the text accompanying them have all been fabricated. Although sometimes it's tough to tell when hearing the genuinely creepy, crackly and realistically old timey sounding music, and reading the extensive tales of the composers and their tragic lives. Maybe it is all real? Who are we to say? Just because there is only one person in the entire world who knows everything, anything actually, about the mysterious Guild Of Funerary Violinists. And the fact that none of the performers or composers are mentioned anywhere, recorded, written, anecdotal, except within the pages of the book, the liner notes and the website of the genre's discoverer (perhaps creator). But like we mentioned in a past review of another Funerary disc, who cares? The music is dark and mysterious, emotional and creepy, and the text is fascinating, impossibly well researched considering none of it is real, and totally fun to read. This disc (supposedly) collects the work of three of the most important figures in the English School Of Funerary Violin. Babcotte, Sudbury and Eaton. All of these recording recovered from the extensive collection of Funerary relics kept by Gunter II, Prince of Schwatzburg-Sonderhausen, who in addition to the wax cylinders heard here, also counted among his prized possessions, the coffins of Goethe and Heine, as well as the death mask of Beethoven. The first Babcotte track here is thought to be performed by Gunter, himself an accomplished violinist, however the rest, the legendary "Funerary Suite # 4", due to their sound and performance are considered to be the work of Wilhelm Kleinbach (whose disc we reviewed a list or two back). The Eaton piece, a slow mournful, sometimes atonal dirge, is performed by the composer himself, captured on wax cylinder in 1913. And the final piece, "The Erroneous Dirge Of George Babcotte is performed and recorded by Maria Rotaru in 1975, a young Romanian violinist who tried to pass the work off as her own composition. When the truth came out, Rotaru disappeared mysteriously, and it was only after the collapse of the Soviet Union that this piece resurfaced. Or so we're told... Even without the fantastical backstory, the music is worth the price of admission. Each piece is wonderfully crafted and beautifully performed, all solo violin, keening mournfully, minor key melodies drifting dreamily in some, the scrape and sawing of the bow constructing miserablist dirges in others, all except the more recent bathed in a thick cloak of crackle and static, giving it that Jeck / Hecker fuzzy-blurry-dreamy vibe we can never seem to get enough of. The fact that this music is set amidst such a dense and complex, passionate world of intrigue and mystery, love and death, only makes it that much more exciting. And the fact that every single bit of it is made up, well, as far as we're concerned that just seals the deal. Recommended!
PRINCE GUNTER II "The Erroneous Dirge Of George Babcotte" MPEG Stream:
WILHELM KLEINBACH "Funerary Suite No. 4 - March" MPEG Stream:
WILHELM KLEINBACH "Funerary Suite No. 4 - Introduction And March" MPEG Stream:
WILHELM KLEINBACH "Funerary Suite No. 4 - Dream"
V/A BBC Radiophonic Music ['60s] (BBC Worldwide) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Originally released in 1968, this disc brings together pieces composed during the first decade of the reknowned BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a groundbreaking sound laboratory that provided British radio listeners and TV viewers with avant-garde musique concrete interludes and wacky sound effects -- Dr. Who being their most well-known client. There's no Who here, but a broad range of other stuff, including music from a War of the Worlds dramatization, experimental radio plays, documentary soundtracks, and signature tunes for local radio stations. Back before computers and sampling, these recordings represent many hours of painstaking, clever work: 33 tracks composed by Workshop electronic music pioneers Delia Derbyshire, John Baker, and David Cain. Their heroic efforts are historically interesting, and a good listen to boot, which was always the intent. The cd booklet contains extensive liner notes and evocative photos of Workshop staffers amid their tape reels and sundry noise-making objects. The Workshop's second decade saw the introduction of synths, output explored on this disc's companion reissue, 1975's "The Radiophonic Workshop", reviewed elsewhere on this site/list.
DELIA DERBYSHIRE "Blue Veils And Golden Sands" RealAudio clip:
JOHN BAKER "The Frogs Wooing"
V/A BBC Radiophonic Workshop (Rephlex) 4 x 10" 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Super limited quadruple 10" set that compiles tracks from both the BBC Radiophonic Workshop records, up until now only available on cd. All the artists get one side, except Delia Derbyshire who gets a whole record to herself. Here's what we had to say about the cd versions: "BBC Radiophonic Music" Originally released in 1968, this compilation brings together pieces composed during the first decade of the reknowned BBC Radiophonic Workshop, a groundbreaking sound laboratory that provided British radio listeners and TV viewers with avant-garde musique concrete interludes and wacky sound effects -- Dr. Who being their most well-known client. There's no Who here, but a broad range of other stuff, including music from a War of the Worlds dramatization, experimental radio plays, documentary soundtracks, and signature tunes for local radio stations. Back before computers and sampling, these recordings represent many hours of painstaking, clever work: 33 tracks composed by Workshop electronic music pioneers Delia Derbyshire, John Baker, and David Cain. Their heroic efforts are historically interesting, and a good listen to boot, which was always the intent. "The Radiophonic Workshop" The classic 1975 album reissued, chock full o' quirky and/or moody cutting-edge compositions from the the madmen (and women) who inhabited the legendary BBC Radio Radiophonic Workshop in its heyday -- you know, the folks responsible for all the electronic music on the Dr. Who TV show. So, you get all the mysterious whooshes and percolating scifi bleepage you'd expect. Sound effects and music converge here, utilizing the most advanced synth technology of the day (such as the EMS Synthi 100 'Delaware' machine, described as "massive"), and a lot of imagination. Combining electronically-generated sounds with tape loops and live instruments, tracks here range from spritely, happy video arcade pop toons to spooky, creepy soundcapes (or the disturbing gastrointestinal ambience of "Major Bloodnok's Stomach", track 8). Clever montage, music box melodies, and assorted mad-computer sounds abound. Pretty neat.
V/A Beard, Bread & Bear's Prayers (Bastet) cd 14.98
Latest musician curated compilation on Arthur Magazine's Bastet imprint. Curated this time around by Ethan Miller of Comets on Fire, it of course features songs from both CoF and Comets off-shoots Colossal Yes, Six Organs of Admittance, and August Born. But there is also lots of other new and old noisy and folky weirdness from Albert Ayler, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle, Michael Yonkers, Ghost, and Brother JT among others. One of the most interesting tracks is by the mysterious Shit Spangled Banner, a band we couldn't find much information on because the page in the booklet is oddly missing (although a few AQ'ers have some old SSB tapes!). Beard, Bread & Bear's Prayers is of course equal parts noisy and folky, soft and harsh, given the penchants of Miller's musical dichotomy with Comet's noisy psych and seventies west coast rock. Sweet!
ALBERT AYLER "Truth is Marching On" MPEG Stream:
SHIT SPANGLED BANNER "Cuntshine" MPEG Stream:
AUGUST BORN "Providence"
V/A Belly Of The Whale (Important) cd 13.98
V/A Benytt Denne Glimrende Anledning Til A Ta En Titt Inn I Musikkens Virkelige Skattekamre Gjennom Den Dor Som Humbug Holder Apen For Deg (Gold Soundz) 2cd 15.98
V/A Between Two Points (12K) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. "Between Two Points" is yet another compilation of electronic glitches and lowercase music. Disc one is more rhythmic in its nature with morse code bleeps and rhythmic sine wave modulations from Noto, Taylor Deupree, Sogar, Mikael Stavostrand, Komet, Dan Abrams, Kim Cascone, and Vend. Disc two is barely there with Bernhard Gunter providing the most activity of sound amongst the likes of Richard Chartier, Steve Roden, Immedia, Roel Meelkop, *0, Miki Yui, and Duul_Drv. Please will somebody issue a moratorium on compilations as predictable as this one? I'll give you 20 bucks if you make it happen. Well, maybe just 10. But it's gotta happen.
V/A Bhreus Kormo (C.I.P.) cd 11.98
A breast cancer research benefit compilation of experimental music ranging from beautiful droning ambience to all out noise. featuring Bran, John Wiese, Skin Crime, Negative Entropy, Josh Norton Cabal, and more. Proceeds donated to the Howard Brown Health Center's Cancer Quality of Life Study. Nice. And it's for a good cause!
V/A Bip Hop Generation Vol 1 (Bip Hop) cd 16.98
From one of our favorite labels, France's Pandemonium (home of Hint, Guapo, and others) is born a new all electronic label called Bip Hop. Their first release (actually a series of releases) "The Bip Hop Generation" looks to be an interesting collection of experimental electronics, digital glitch worship, and IDM abstractions. The first in the series compiles tracks from Marumari, Schneider TM, Massimo, Goem, Phonem, and Ultra Milkmaids, and ranges from darkish, abstract, drum & bass to sinewave based techno minimalism to ticklish pop electronica. Really Nice.
V/A Black Bean & Placenta Sampler #4 (Blackbean & Placenta) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A Blank Field (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
V/A Blip, Bleep (Soundtracks to Imaginary Videogames) (Lucky Kitchen) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE. SORRY Completely charming compilation of soundtracks to imaginary video games! Yes it is as good as it sounds, very intense yet harmless and fun at the same time. Besides the music, the best part of the package is the descriptions of the games, truly stuff worthy of Kool Keith's crazy brain, for example: "FAMILY TREE POLO: Bounce through time in your ambulance. Save your injury prone ancestors so you may eventually be born." For full game descriptions, see www.luckykitchen.com. Features contributions from: Nick Birmingham & Daniel Beattie (UK, Hot Air/Spymania), V/VM (Manchester UK), Soundcard (UK, Spymania), Colongib, Egghatcher, Jake Mandell (Worm Interface), Personal Electronics, Tim Kotch, Marumari, Blitter vs. Hrvatski (Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge), Flexible Products, Aerospace, Flatline Racing System, Stupid Lepton, Wheaton Research, Suetsu & Underwood, Underwood. Crucial underground electronic scenarios, charmingly packaged in a perversely non-video-game-aesthetic hand-sewn felt envelope. Limited to 746 numbered copies. A contender for "album of the week".
V/A Bottom of the World (Fourth Dimension/Fisheye) 7" 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Compiled by Opprobrium's editor Nick Cain, this little gem of a 7" features some of the best often overlooked avant-noise / out-rock stuff from New Zealand, with Omit's lo-fi alien tape-loop dadaism, RST's humid blasts of guitar feedback, Sandoz Lab Technician's angular no-wave slop, and Surface of the Earth's breathtaking teutonic drones.
V/A Bound With Skin (Skulls Of Heaven) 5cd 45.00
This is another one of those compilations that barely requires a description for several reasons. The first is the list of bands. Like an aQ customer's sonic wet dream: Tomutonttu (Jan Anderzen of Kemialliset Ystavat and Avarus), the Skaters, Ashtray Navigations, Zodiac Mountain, Wooden Wand And The Vanishing Voice, Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood, Armpit, Fursaxa & Zaimph, Axolotl, Astral Social Club, Excepter, Uton, Anla Courtis, Wolfskull, United Bible Studies and Kyrgyz (featuring our very own mailorder maven Christine, along with Loren Chasse, Tom Carter and Robert Horton). Phew. And that's just the bands we know, include these new-to-us sonic treasures: Navy Black, Clixcx, Watersports, Pan To Scratch, Taikuri Tali, PW Best, White Dog and Maths Balance Volumes, and we're talking nearly 5 hours of strange sonic explorations. The other reason this might not need a typically expansive AQ description is the fact that this compilation is crazy limited, to only 500 copies. So odds are we're gonna run out mighty quick, and it's unclear whether we'll be able to get more... So what's it all about? Skulls Of Heaven sent out a call for artists to contribute their most challenging and bizarre recordings, the only stipulation that the track be between 6 and 13 minutes long. These 25 are the best of the contributions, and they are indeed challenging and bizarre, from a group of artists who traffic in the bizarre and challenging anyway. The sounds are all over the map as you might imagine, processed vocals all tangled up in stumbling atonal guitar plink and reverbed swirls, mechanical barnyard symphonies, murky psych-drone crawls, muffled muted ragas, thick buzzy drones and drifting clouds of piano tinkle and creaking machine-like ambience, serpentine Eastern melodies draped over slow shifting sonic shimmers, ultra minimal glitchscapes peppered with haunting growls and alien transmissions, epic washes of roaring growling guitar and quavering theremins, thick sepia toned expanses of soft focus flutter and dark moody drift, mysterious vocal experiments, chanting howling, whispering, crooning, buzzing static drenched electronic fuckery, hiccuping childlike rhythms, primitive percussion, creepy landscapes of Goblin-esque organ and outer space FX and it goes on and on and on. A totally tripped out, mind melting sonic travelogue, from the forests of Finland, to dusty basements in abandoned buildings, to strange undersea caves dripping with reverb, to mysterious cities floating in the clouds to the farthest reaches of outer and inner space... These are REAL cd's. not cd-r's. Each disc in its own slipcase, both the discs and the sleeves featuring original artwork from Shayde Sartin (Flying Canyon, Giant Skyflower Band, Skygreen Leopards, Kelly Stoltz, Wooden Wand), held together by a thick textured paper cardstock obi, all tied up with a leather cord. Super striking. And again, limited to 500 copies...
TOMUTONTTU "Samaan Aikaan Toisaalla" MPEG Stream:
THE SKATERS ".:~:~:." MPEG Stream:
AXOLOTL "Anola (For ERA)" MPEG Stream:
ASTRAL SOCIAL CLUB "Uroo Uroo Uroo"
V/A Brain in the Wire (Brainwashed) 3cd 43.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Brainwashed.com is an indispensible website dedicated to all sorts of musical arcana, publishing an insightful number of reviews and hosting the official domains for such diverse artists as Nurse With Wound, V/VM, Matmos, Mirror, Labradford, Trans Am, Legendary Pink Dots, etc. In 2000 and 2001, The Wire commissioned Brainwashed.com to assemble two albums that were to be distributed to all The Wire's subscribers in conjunction with one of their issues. Unlike so many of those crappy free CDs that usually come with magazines, The Wire and Brainwashed.com got it right, with mostly exclusive tracks from interesting artists (including Matmos, Bedhead, Stars Of The Lid, Diamanda Galas, Gordon Mumma, Cex, Thighpaulsandra, Fridge, Twilight Circus, Windy & Carl, Current 93, and plenty more). "Brain in the Wire" features both of those CDs, plus a third disc of 'surprises.' If we can indulge The Wire's monthly "Invisible Jukebox" feature (which must have been the intent of not providing any information), this is our guess at those unknown artists on "Disc X." Track one is Wire editor Rob Young talking about how he wouldn't want to be Richie Hawtin, which makes me believe that track two - a thumpin' Detroit acid production - is Richie Hawtin, or maybe not. Track three, well, this is a prepared piano piece with fragments of tape manipulation behind it. Sam Shalabi? Keith Rowe? David Tudor? Gordon Mumma? It could even be Matmos, after all, their next record is a piano record. Man, I really hope track four is Coil, and it's a hint of their "Backwards" record, but I've got to say that it's Cabaret Voltaire, with the synthetic Fairlight melody and heady breakbeat propulsion. Track five. Well I know that Hrvatski has something on this compilation... and this laptop tricked out drone piece with microscopic buzzing and glitches of orchestral instrumentation could easily be Mr. Whitman. Track six. Easy. That's Panacea. Track seven, slowcore indie strum that could be Bedhead, could be Windsor For The Derby, but never really explains itself more than being slow. Track eight is 3 seconds of filler static. No way I'm guessing who that is. Track nine. Jeff tells me this has to be !!!, and I'll believe his analysis on this badly recorded live track of '80s punk / funk revisionism. Track ten. This sounds like Sonna to me, the quietest indie-rock band Steve Albini has ever produced, but have they been known to filter their guitar strum and hammond organ sadness with Max / MSP filters? Track eleven with its corny organ grind and 'funk-soul-brother' whiteness, just sucks... I don't want to know who this is. Track twelve has got to be Bowery Electric, with their gritty atmospheric trip hop electronics and shoegazing guitars. Track thirteen has got the introduction right out of "Bring It On" and fizzy electronica breakbeats, so this is certainly from the Tigerbeat 6 crowd, so I'll guess Cex. Hey, we're not claiming these to be right! Have fun with it yourself, we sure did! Where this compilation succeeds in its musical content, it royally fails in packaging: three loose cds in a metal tin which requires the booklets to be bent in order to fit, accompanied by a cheap keychain, a cloth patch, and a q-tip (???). All of this is wrapped with an unkempt piece of wire. Arrggg.
V/A Broken Flag - A Retrospective 1982-1985 (Vinyl On Demand) 5cd box 117.00
V/A California (Troniks / Ground Fault) 10lp box set 85.00
When Erik Hoffman of Ground Fault hand-delivered this monumental 10LP box crammed full of the most guttural noise, splattered improv damage, cosmic drone headcrack, and low-brow Dada absurdism that California has to offer, he threatened that he could have made this thing even bigger. Fuck. Bigger than 10LPs with 20 different bands abusing your turntable? Yeah, fuck is right! In alphabetical order, the California box features Amps For Christ, The Cherry Point, Joe Colley, Control, Gerritt, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Moth Drakula, Open City, Oscillating Innards, Damion Romero, Rubber O Cement, Sixes, The Skaters, Solid Eye, Spastic Colon, Tralphaz, John Wiese, Xome, R.H.Y. Yau, and Yellow Swans. Sure you may say, Yellow Swans currently hold residency in Portland, so why the hell are they on this compilation? Details, details, details... FYI, they were Californians until a few months back... You already know if you need this.
V/A Celebrate Psi Phenomena Retrospective (Last Visible Dog) 3 cd-r 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A Chronologi (12K / Instinct) 2cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. "Chronologi" is a self-congratulatory compilation from the Brooklyn experimental / electronica label 12K, celebrating their first four years of operation. 12K is run by Taylor Deupree, who is in many ways the American doppleganger of Carsten Nicolai and 12k is the American version of his Raster-Noton collective. Both artists' labels specialize in positioning ultra-minimalist clicks and stark-white absenses within a highly-reducted technotic skeleton; however, Deurpee's 12K is guilty of being party to the current oversaturation of electronic music compilations. The majority of the work found on "Chronologi" culled from the older out of print albums from 12K, feature tracks from Human Mesh Dance, Arc, Drum Komputer, Taylor Deupree, *0, Shuttle 3358, 0/R, Kim Cascone, Komet, Deurpee with Richard Chartier, and Deupree with Tetsu Inoue. This compilation is no better or no worse than the Mille Plateaux compilations "Modulations and Transformations" or "Clicks and Cuts," and just like those compilations "Cronologi" offers more of an overview than any insight into the incredible subtleties of this growing field of electronica.
V/A Clicks And Cuts 5.0 (Mille Plateax) cd 17.98
V/A Clicks And Cuts 5.0 (Mille Plateax) cd 17.98
V/A Clouds Carved The Mountains (self-released) 2 x cd-r 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Better act fast on this one, super limited, as in ONLY SEVENTY COPIES, and it's a pretty killer sampling of some of the best SF bands around, all exclusive tracks, from a bunch of our favorites, and a whole bunch of bands we'd never heard of before. Barn Owl, Lucky Dragons, Tussle, Pale Hoarse, Ascended Master, Snowblink, Drumz and so many more. Two discs, nearly 2 hours, of spaced out drone, groovy abstract rhythms, dark swilring ambience, woozy drum machine driven lo-fi pop, pounding low slung post rock, and lots of stops in between. All of the tracks were recorded live in the Fall of 2007, during Drew Bennett's collaborative Clouds Carved The Mountains Installation / Sound Series at the Triple Base Gallery, here in SF. Beaufiul hand assembled and hand silkscreened cover, with a printed insert, of the seventy copies we only got a handful, so grab one quick before they're gone...
BARN OWL "Untitled" MPEG Stream:
TUSSLE "Untitled" MPEG Stream:
ASCENDED MASTER "Untitled" MPEG Stream:
V/A Club Foot (Subterranean) lp 12.98
V/A Cocktail Event (Staalplaat) cd 17.98
Something tells me that the Dutch experimental geniuses at Staalplaat wants this to be deemed an exotic album to be placed next to Martin Denny and Joe Meek. Well the first track - an odd big band arrangement of The KLF's "What Time Is Love" - may very well fit the bill, but the rest of the album features the Fluxus vocalizations of Jaap Blonk, the Icelandic minimalist weirdness from Stillupsteypa, the scraping noise of CoC Casper & Daniel Menche, and the digital bleeps of Pita & Mika Vainio (Mego / Sahko).
V/A Commercial Ad Hoc (Illegal Art) cd 8.98
This is the third compilation from plunderphonic label Illegal Art. Where the first compilation ("Deconstructing Beck") featured artists using source material taken entirely from the music of Beck, and the second ("Extracted Celluloid") from film scores, this newest release takes radio and TV commercials to task. Maybe it's the nature of plunderphonia that makes the commercial such prime source material, or maybe it's that the artists on this disk just happened to be more succesful this time around, but this is far and away the best release from this label we've seen yet. Features tracks by Evolution Control Committee, Pimmon, Mr. Meridies, Big City Orchestra and much more.
V/A Compiled cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Defining the Chain Reaction / Basic Channel sound to anyone not familiar with their specialized variant of techno is somewhat of a daunting task. Wholly self-referential. Intelligent in concept and execution, yet its functionality is located entirely within the physical. A perfection combination of Carl Craig's late-nite Detroit techno and Lee Perry production techniques of manipulation equalization and dubbing out tape hiss. With that said, an apt description has been offered unto us for the Chain Reaction sound: 'Heroin House.' Aside from that, this is a collection of some of the best singles to date from Scion, Erosion, Continuous Mode, Substance, Vainqueur, Pelon, Monolake, ridis, and Porter Rick's absolutely monolithic "Port of Transition".
V/A Congotronics 2: Buzz 'N' Rumble From The Urb 'N' Jungle (Crammed) cd + dvd 16.98
You'd have to have been living under a rock for the last year to not know about Konono No1, but for those of you who have been, let's recap shall we? Konono No.1 formed over 20 years ago in Kinshasa (the capital of Zaire) and have been performing their own version of Bazombo trance music, incoporating into their sound, more out of necessity than any avant garde aspirations, home built amps and microphones, hand made instruments, all assembled from old car parts and batteries, pieces of wood and various found bits of scrap material. Performing in the city and thus forced to compete with the din of cars and people and city sound, they built their own PA and speaker system, making their sound much louder but also lending it a buzzing distorted sound that became as much a part of the music as the insturments themselves. The main instrument though, and the one which defines their sound, is an amplified likembe, a sort of thumb piano, which when run through the homemade pickups and ramshackle PA speakers buzz and distort and the melodies end up sounding like some strange sixties psych fuzz guitar. So those distorted melodies atop a wild festive bed of tribal percussion, hand drums, whistles, call and response vocals, it's like African highlife music but infused with all manner of, well like the title suggests BUZZ and RUMBLE. But it would be naive to think a band like Konono No.1 developed in a complete vacuum. And one would assume that the music scene in Kinshasa would at least in some ways be like any place else, with loads of bands, all playing together, swapping members, that sort of thing, and this record demonstrates that for sure. While Konono No.1 ended up being the worldwide ambassadors for the Kinshasa sound, they are most definitely just one of many groups creating an amazingly vibrant scene. In fact some of the groups on Congotronics 2 take some of our favorite parts of Konono's sound and take them even further! All of the bands on Congotronics 2 sound at least similar, employing the same basic song structure and same basic instrumentation. Cyclical repetitive rhythms, bells and hand drums locked in dense pulsing frameworks, loose but definitely the backbone of the music, the vocals are festive and wild, a single voice joined by a chorus. Each track is typically one part, maybe two, repeated and repeated with subtle variations, being as that it is an offspring of trance music, this hypnotic quality definitely defining all of these bands, a buzzing looped joyful noise, the sort of music that makes people want to dance and sway and move, eyes closed, getting lost in the mesmerizing repetition. All of the bands also seem to employ the electric likembe as well to different effect. Sobanza Mimanisia up the distortion, their thumb pianos practically growl, super percussive and blown-out, definitely the heaviest band of the bunch. Whereas the Kasai Allstars employ their likembes as a swirling delicate percussive background, not at all distorted, gentle, liliting and pretty, sounding the most like traditional high life music. The one way in which many of the bands differ from Konono is their use of guitars, the interplay between a distorted thumb piano and a distorted guitar can be beautifully dizzying. While all the bands are different, those differences are subtle enough that this could very well be a record by a single, albeit quite varied band, almost as if Konono No.1 decided to expand and explore a little for record number two. If you loved Congotronics, then this will for sure hit the spot, and actually the more we listen the more we think this might be even better than the first one. Konono No.1 have a SOUND, and that sound is amazing and beautiful and practically perfect, but they truly traffic in trance music, every song a subtle variation of the song before, almost like they have ONE hour long song that just happens to be split into parts, which we love, like most droning repetitive music, if there was a way to have each track last for six hours we would, but by the same token, one has to be in the right frame of mind to bliss out and trance out. So while this collection is still most definitely trancey, it's a bit more varied, with more instrumentation (one group even incorporates accordion!) and thus ends up being a bit more engaging, especially to the casual listener. And as if another disc of buzzing rumbling joyful trance music wasn't enough, there is also a DVD featuring live footage of 6 of the bands, including Konono (so for those of you who missed their recent visit to the US, here's your chance to see what you missed). Each band performs live, surrounded by throngs of families and children, often performing in houses, on street corners, people dancing, smiling, embracing, this is truly happy joyful music. And the footage is amazing, allowing us a glimpse not only of these amazing bands, their individually customized instrumentation, sardine cans, milk crates, springs, lengths of PVC pipe, hubcaps, film canisters, wooden boards, tin cans, thier costumed and face painted dancers, their dramatic introductions to performances, but also a look at the people, and the city, and the houses, and the streets of Kinshasa, and the culture that inspired such an amazing music.
SOBANZA MIMANISA "Kiwembo" MPEG Stream:
KISANZI CONGO "Soif Conjugale" MPEG Stream:
BASOKIN (FEAT. MI AMOR) "Mulume"
V/A Contre Tous (Dead Mind) cd 10.98
Sent to us by the fellas in Infidel Castro, this Dutch compilation features 3 new-to-us bands and two new tracks from the always impressive IC. Infidel Castro start things off with two tracks, the first, a spacious almost Melvins/Harvey Milk-ish sludge, with stretched out guitars and almost-pulled-apart beats, but with Mr. Roboto style vocals and lots of glitched out mayhem and high-end splatter, verging on new wave/electro at moments. The second is a weird and rumbling, claustrophobic soundscape, with chiming guitars and warm waves of sound, again augmented with some strange production glitchery. Next up are the Dead Husbands with a beeping, clicking sort of whimsical elctronica goofiness, kind of like an instrumental People Like Us. The oddly named Pidpi are also mostly electronic, but keep things a bit more serious, with fuzzed out rumbling drones, abrasive scraping, swarms of crunchy white noise, strange voices, and chopped up weirdness. And finally we have De Fabriek, who follow in the same sort of elctronic, chop and glitch, weird and almost goofy collages of hooting owls, ringing phones, throbbing pulses, scratching sandpaper rhythms, childrens voices, foreign cartoons, and squelchy synths, but finishing off with a super distorted, almost Laddio Bolocko style rhythmic jam. Pretty cool stuff.
INFIDEL? CASTRO "MSIGWTTH" MPEG Stream:
DEAD HUSBANDS "Waiting For The Revolution" MPEG Stream:
DE FABRIEK "Terug In De Hondenkoekjesfabriek"
V/A Creeping Dawn Vol. 3 (Students Of Decay) 4 x 3"cd-r box 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Students Of Decay, the label run by Alex Cobb aka Taiga Remains, seems unable to do anything wrong. Pretty much every release so far has been amazing, discs from Ghosting, Flash Lights, Jade Emperor, David Kirby, Heavy Winged, and of course a bunch of Taiga Remains discs, including the breathtaking Ribbons Of Dust series. Creeping Dawn is another Students Of Decay series, one so limited, the first two volumes came and went without us even noticing. But we jumped on volume three, and grabbed as many copies as we could of the criminally limited pressing (50 COPIES!!). We got about a third of all the copies made, but these won't be around for long so don't dawdle or you'll be sorry. A killer combo for sure, this quadruple 3" cd-r boxset collects a handful of luminaries from the underground free noise cd-r scene and gives each of em a disc to do with as they will. And the results are as good as we would have hoped. The first disc teams up the Nether Dawn (aka PseudoArcana head honcho Antony Milton) with Little Skull, otherwise known as Dean Brown. The two incorporate guitars, violins, clarinets, tape loops, feedback and vocals into their slow abstract ambient crawl. Guitars drift like wisps of smoke, everything is slightly off kilter and warbly as if the tape machine was slightly busted, dreamy, indistinct melodies hover and drift away, very sun baked and druggy. Like Loren Mazzacan Connors recorded on an old 4-track after way too many bong hits. Gloriously laid back and spaced out. The second disc features legendary Kiwi noisemaker Clayton Noone, who does his thing as CJA. Here, he takes his guitar, and wraps it in a thick layer of crumbling distortion, and proceeds to unfurl a dreamily lugubrious minor key jam, repetitive and hypnotic, a strummy folk bathed in fuzzy ambience. For track two, the guitar is supercharged and allowed to sort of sprawl out, into a thick pulsing layer of downtuned chug, sprinkled with little bits of random mechanical whir and little fragments of melody. The final track is another ultra murky stripped down jam, the guitar almost lost completely beneath the roiling surface, melodies getting all twisted up and tangled in the thick shards of guitar grrr. The third disc features the group Pefkin, who we had never heard of before, but who fits perfectly in this set, with long drawn out wheezing drones, haunting minor key melodies, the opening track almost sounds like a Parisian cafe in the midst of some sort of sonic storm. Disc two adds some killer backwards melodies (we love anything backwards) and some percussive steel string buzz, the rest of the disc meanders from warbly drone to blissy abstract Appalachia and back again. We definitely need to hear more from these guys. Finally, wrapping things up, is the ubiquitous duo of Bjerga / Iverson, who weight in with an epic 20 minute soundscape of speaker rattling low end, buzzing electronic glitch, thick fuzzy stretches of rumbling drone and muted melody, all whipped up into a glacial crawl, but rife with under-the-surface activity, plenty of weird little stuttery squiggles, layers of sound shifting and shimmering, all submerged beneath a rich resonant low end thrum. Four discs, all of them kick ass, and all exclusive to this release. Gorgeously packaged, each disc in a mini 3" jewel case, with full color artwork, housed in a little white box, with cool abstract green artwork affixed to the top, inside is an insert, with the liner notes, each one hand numbered. And again.. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES!!!! These will be gone in no time so if you want one, act fast...
NETHER DAWN AND LITTLE SKULL "A Dog's Hair Reverie" MPEG Stream:
CJA "Ich Lieb" MPEG Stream:
PEFKIN "The Other Room" MPEG Stream:
BJERGA / IVERSEN "Cosmic Recovery"