BORIS WITH MERZBOW Megatone (Inoxia) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. AQ faves Boris (masters of Melvins-esque slow-motion dirge metal) team up with sometime AQ fave Masami Akita (who as Merzbow basically invented 'noise' as a genre) to unleash this three track cd of monster drone! Both camps represent with some of their most gorgeous work. Boris contribute what sounds like the prettier more minimal stuff from their moody album Flood, with guitar only evident on one track, and even then it's slowed down, stretched out and buried under a thick blanket of Merzbow-y haze and Boris-y rumble. Akita keeps his noise side in check (although there are some truly caustic moments) opting instead for dark, processed low end with the occasional sonic flare. Created using guitar, e-bow, space echo, Powerbook and feedback conduction (!), Megatone finds itself situated closer to the drones of Coleclough or Karkowski than it does to the metallic pummel of the Melvins or the Corrupted. The opening track is a deep 20+ minute rumble, with white noise spread thinly above, while Akita's Powerbook gradually becomes more and more sonically intrusive and the processed guitars form subtle melodic overtones, throbbing and pulsing in ultra slow motion. The second track is constructed out of far away, psychedelic, Keiji Haino-esque guitar leads, buried under some Merzbowian ear piercing skree, allowing Akita to unleash some of that 'noise' he is so famous for. The final track lets the guitars do the talking one more time with huge walls of distortion, still heavily reverbed and distant sounding, but much more serene and almost ambient, with Merzbow's noise contributions much more complimetary and distinctly less harsh. A massive, gorgeous totally enthralling collaboration from two of the most exciting artists in music today!
"It Continues Waiting For A Headronefish" RealAudio clip:
"Encounter With The Inside Of The Wavemotion..."
BORIS WITH MERZBOW Sun Baked Snow Cave (Hydra Head) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Outside of being Japanese, and VERY VERY loud, one wouldn't necessarily think Boris and Merzbow had a whole lot to offer each other sonically. But as we know, that is most certainly not the case. Their first outing together was the legendary Megatone record, a stretched out doom drenched drone of mammoth proportions, sure there were guitars and basses and plenty of laptop fuckery and analog squiggle, but it was all smeared into a totally mesmerizing , incredibly dense drone record. Match up number two, the recent LP only 04092001, threw some people for a loop, especially folks all ready for the drone. Instead they were given what was essentially a Merzbow produced Boris ROCK AND ROLL set. Like their Heavy Rocks record, an energetic blast of overdriven, Stooges-esque sludge stomp RAWK, but for 04092001 mixed on a Fisher-Price mixing board, broadcast through a transistor radio stuck between stations. Cool for sure, but much more noisy and messy. So here we are with the awesomely titled Sun Baked Snow Cave, which finds Merzbow and Boris together again, and returning to a sound much like Megatone, but with a definite nod to Flood as well (our favorite Boris record btw). In fact we might go out on a limb and claim that this is the best (non-rock) Boris record since Flood! Gorgeous ghostly guitars, simply strummed or delicately picked, each note and chord set adrift in a vast expanse of barely there sound, spare, drifting and languid. After about ten or twelve minutes the guitars are suddenly darkened by a slow building cloud of distant rumble and reverberant thunder, with lightning flashes of electronic grit, hiss and flicker. Then, about twenty minutes in, the bottom drops out (or IN) and the sky falls when a MASSIVE slab of super distorted downtuned guitar is laid out, a constant buzzing roar, over which Merzbow drapes all manner of glitch and stutter and crunch and crackle. A dizzyingly dense swirl of free noise drone, thick and slowly shifting, noisy, but in a muted controlled way. Eventually the storm passes, and the last twenty minutes of the record is one extended stretch of dreamy drift, surrounded by Merzbow at his most subtle, little smears of sonic haze, sort of like the audio equivalent of the afterimages you see when you stare at the sun. A haunting coda that gradually dissipates and fades to grey, and then black. Packaged in an exquisite Japanese style mini gatefold, with lovely black, white and blue metallic artwork by Stephen O'Malley.
"Sun Baked Snow Cave (excerpt)"
BORIS WITH MERZBOW Walrus / Groon (Hydra Head) 12" 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. More than a year after it was first announced, it's finally here. The anxiously awaited new lp from Japanese psych doom heavyweights Boris, and their Japanoise partner in sonic crime Merzbow. This is Boris / Merzbow matchup number FOUR for those of you keeping score. Now we know, that as with most new Boris releases, no description is really necessary, most of you probably haven't even made it this far, in fact, just seeing the word Boris triggers the perfect Pavlovian response, your finger immediately clicking on the BUY button. And who are we to argue, let's take a second and let the Boris freaks take care of business, then we'll go into a little more depth for those of you who might need to hear a bit more about the long overdue Walrus... Okay, a brand new Boris record, we know you're excited. We are too. Boris have again teamed up with Merzbow. The two outfits had previously worked together on the absolutely killer drone record Megatone, the epic and sludgy Sun Baked Snow Cave, and the ear shredding live lp 04092001, and now here. The strange thing, is that these two tracks were recorded waaaaaaay back in 2001. So they may even in fact be from the same sessions that spawned one or all of those other releases. Back to business, two tracks, relatively brief, and as with all Boris releases, so completely gorgeously packaged. Deluxe thick gatefold, the front a sort of green to yellow fade, with the Boris / Merzbow logo done all Roger Dean 'Yes' style, the inside, a surreal landscape, also in the style of Roger Dean with some strange turtle/seal creature in the foreground. So completely beautiful. When the bottom drops out on the doom-sludge-drone market, these guys will be some seriously in demand graphic designers. But what does it sound like? Well that's funny too, cuz it's not at all what we expected. The A side is actually in fact a cover of the Beatles "I Am The Walrus", and a pretty straight cover to boot, minus the noisy ministrations of Merzbow. Beginning with some simulated seal (or seagull?) sounds, the band launches into a fuzzy, laid back version of "Walrus", pretty cool for sure, but here it's all about Merzbow, adding all sorts of hiss and fuzz, most of the time it sounds like some spastic DJ scratching, relentless and dense, elsewhere it's snatches of white noise and weird industrial whirs. The middle chunk of the song finds Boris kicking it up a notch with Wata unfurling some killer Hendrixian leads, but it's almost drowned out by the Merzbow's noisy squalls. Minus the noise, this might not have been so exciting, a pretty straight ahead cover of an oft covered tune, but the strange textures and noisy backdrops manage to transform it into something pretty interesting. The B side is what does it for us, a massive, overblown super distorted dirgedrone. A thick wall of crumbling guitars, and buzzing crackling electronic hiss, over a wild drum jam, the drums recorded super blown out. It's like Skullfower, Gate, SUNNO))), Yellow Swans and Birchville Cat Motel all jamming at once while a drummer tries desperately to kick up a competing din. Very free, VERY noisy, but pretty kick ass as well. As with a lot of Boris releases, this is not necessarily one for the newbie, although it could make a decent 2 song sampler for the curious. Fans already know they MUST have it, Boris virgins might want to check out Flood, or Amplifier Worship, or if they are looking for more rock than dirge, maybe Pink, first, but if you're at all curious, don't dawdle, as with all things Boris this will be gone and only available on eBay before you know it... All right, we got about 100 copies, as far as we can tell there were four different colors, including black. Here's how it works, first come first served on the colored vinyl, once we run out, it's back to black, if you won't be happy with black, then do not order AT ALL, we will not accept orders for ONLY the colored vinyl, we're going to assume, that the reason people buy records, and yes, even Boris records, is to listen to them, and to enjoy the music (wait, these collectible discs contain music??!?) so while it might be cool to have colored vinyl, it's the music you're after, so black will do just fine (and black sounds better as everybody knows), so go ahead and order it, if you're in time to get colored vinyl, you will, if not you'll get black. And as with most things like this, it's SUPER LIMITED and thus is limited to ONE PER CUSTOMER.
BORNGRABER & STRUVER Clouds (M=Minimal) cd 23.00
A few lists back, we reviewed a cd from this German 'techno-kraut' duo, who as we mentioned in that review, we first heard remixing Conrad Schnitzler. That disc gathered togther two of B&G's recent 12"s, and was a perfect introduction to their strange string laden, motorik electronica, hypnotic and tranced out electro-kraut minimalism, that deftly fused techno, and dark hypno-jazz, pop ambience, and all sorts of disparate elements. Clouds is something else altogether, but equally appealing. No beats to be found here, the vibe is about as far removed from krautrock as can be, or dark jazz, or any of the other sonic elements that made up those 12"s. Instead, Clouds finds the duo creating super abstract modern twenty first century classical minimalism, and experimental ambience. The opener reminds us of WIlliam Basinski, or maybe Philip Jeck, a gorgeous fragment of swoonsome melancholic symphonic strings, is manipulated into a hazy dreamscape of washed out loops, of blurred melodies, simple and cyclical, repetitive and gloriously hypnotic, the sound doesn't really change at all until about 5 minutes in, when haunting operatic female vocals join the strings, making it sound all the more dramatic and cinematic. And it's only briefly, soon, the voices fade, blurred into the background, and it's another gorgeous stretch of swirling strings. The second track is similarly arranged, but much more percussive, a plucked guitar, a symphonic stab, those two elements spread out over an expanse of near silence, super dynamic, heavily reverbed, it's a strange, and strangely rhythmic composition, this track especially smacking of some super abstract Jeck experiment, two turntables set up in a huge empty room, one spinning a single orchestral burst, the other that guitar pluck, the speed constantly shifting, very weird, and very mesmerizing stuff. "Secret Bells" is not bells at all, but instead, dark languorous piano, drifting in a sea of rumble and buzz, flecked with what sounds like mysterious field recordings, static and crackle, it's very hazy and dreamlike, a warm swirl of otherworldly chamber music. The record finishes off with the three part, 14+ minute title suite, and begins as stately piano, wreathed in natural reverb, soon joined by woodwinds, the sound growing blurrier, and more dissonant, building to a strangely atonal crescendo, before easing back into the more tranquil drift of the opening, and so it goes back and forth, lush and hushed and delicate, dark and brooding and almost bombastic, before blossoming into the second movement, which is more driving and discordant, horns, piano, buzzing strings, locked into stuttering rhythms, darkly dramatic, and very cinematic, again very dynamic, and very hypnotic, before finally finishing off with a stretch of long tones, a more mournful dirge, the horns moaning, the strings keening, the vibe almost like some ancient court music, majestic and melancholy, finishing off with a final flurry of tangled melodies. Quite cool, and yet so entirely unlike anything we were expecting from these two, which might be why we're digging it so much! FYI there's an lp version too, with download code, but we only were able to get a few, not really enough to list, but you can ask...
"Wellen" MPEG Stream:
"Mobile" MPEG Stream:
BORNGRABER & STRUVER Urlaub + In G (M=Minimal) cd 23.00
Maybe we've been going through a bit of a techno phase here at aQ lately, freaking out about the likes of Shed and Silent Servant, among others. For some of us here, it's waaaay more than a phase... And you know we love the krautrock. So Christian Borngraber & Jens Struver are just what the doctor ordered. The Berlin based duo (whom we first encountered remixing the late great Conrad Schnitzler) offer up what could arguably be considered "techno krautrock" on this disc, which collects together two of their vinyl 12" releases (still available separately, we got 'em), Urlaub and In G, originally from 2011 and 2010, respectively. The three tracks of Urlaub are all quite compelling, rhythmically and otherwise, full of hushed pulsations and eerie echoing electronic hypnosis. There's the tremulous atmospheres of 16 and half minute opener "Reise". The icy dancefloor noir of "Berlin Tribal Music". And then the nearly 12 minute "Dancing Queen", which has a breathy, flute-like lick looping throughout as part of its happy chugging shuffle that we can't help but associate with early, traffic cone era Kraftwerk (gone disco). All of Urlaub is groovy, minimalist, motorik stuff we're really digging. Maybe even better, and even more krautrockish, is the second half of this disc, In G parts I and II, totaling almost 32 minutes, a slow-building beatscape with whispery, wind-like textures and choppy samples of sweetly sawing strings. It's both haunting and groovy, quite a krauty techno tour de force that incorporates clicks n' cuts, drones, and pop ambient 20th century classical sounds. Wow. We note that it bears a dedication to revolutionary free jazz bassist Sirone. In particular, if you liked a couple of other releases we've reviewed recently - Oren Ambarchi's Sagittarian Domain, and/or Elektro Guzzi's Live P.A. - this might be right up your alley. Recommended, of course!
"Reise" MPEG Stream:
"Berlin Tribal Music" MPEG Stream:
"In G - Part I"
BORTHWICK HOLLAND FILLIERS Helene (Temporary Residence Ltd.) cd 13.98
When D.C. recording engineer / producer Trevor Kampfmann himself makes music, he goes by the moniker Trevor/hollAND. Dunno if you recall the Takako Minekawa remix record from a few years ago, but Trevor contributed what is in my opinion the best remix on it... and surprise!, rumor has it he didn't even use any of Minekawa's songs in the remix, he just handed 'em whatever totally-unrelated music he was working on at the time, which happened to be amazing. Here Trevor again teams up with photographer Mark Borthwick (who took the photo for Sonic Youth's Thousand Leaves album) and French model Helene Filliers who provides a somber, toneless reading of a fragmented love poem written by Borthwick. The entire 38-minute recording is done in one track -- it's actually the audio to an art installation -- with long stretches of silence and repeated vocalizing from Filliers (she says "and then..." like 47 times), punctuated by some audio trickery such as tape loops and stereo separation. Unfortunately it's only when trevor/hollAND lets loose with his musical interludes that the record gets going. Acoustic guitars mingle sweetly with chiming synths and stuttery percussive loops and cuts. He knows how pretty his material it is, and knows that in order tone down the sweetness it's better to situate his music within more experimental contexts. Trevor/hollAND and Borthwick are certainly talented, but this record is trying my patience. A disappointment from the usually trustworthy label Temporary Residence. Comes with a couple Borthwick polaroids and a foldout poster with the poem's text.
BOSMANN, KARL Eskalation (You Don't Have To Call It Music) lp 15.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** We've had these for ages, we listed it a couple times, and somehow we still had a whole bunch of these, which is tragic cuz this is so great! Absolute essential listening for the drone doom dirfe obessed!! But it was priced at nearly $40, which is definitely prohibitve. So... because we'd rather have these spinning on turntables, filling the ears of the aQ faithful with fantastic sounds, rather than gathering dust, we're dropping the price as low as we can go. Basically at our cost. SO c'mon, if you missed out before, or were hemming and hawing because of the price, now's your chance. And these are actually out of print, so the copies we have are the last ones ever! Her's our review from when we first reviewed it: We almost didn't list this, as we only managed to get 5 copies of it, and all of our distributors told us it was out of print. But just for the heck of it, we contacted the label directly, and they still had a stash that they were willing to sell us, which is a good thing, cuz it's amazing! And it's CRAZY expensive, but when you see it (and hear it) you'll realize it's pretty much well worth it. Never heard the name Karl Bosmann before, but he seems to be sonically aligned with the doomdreamdeathdrone crowd. And that's precisely what this is, although a bit more varied than usual, this one's definitely for the SUNNO)))-set (ummÉ sorry), a huge old chunk of low end drone. Multiple variations on the glacial near static crawl, some glimmering and effervescent, others grinding and thick, crumbling and abrasive, at least one seems to be all processed vocals, looped and smeared into some weird Steve Reich-ian drone and coupled with a wash of minimal low end shimmer, and one is all detuned guitar strum and disembodied buzz. Easy to hear some Wolf Eyes and definitely some Vulture Club. All of side 2 is a single slow burning sidelong epic, very Fear Falls Burning sounding, beginning as a whispery shimmer, building to a massive clamorous Sunroof! style din. And let's not forget the packaging. Holy shit, it would be worth it even if the record sucked. Embossed metallic silver on matte black jacket, inside a metallic silver on black insert, a metallic silver on black sleeve, even the record labels are reflective silver, super striking and SO worth the extra scratch.
BOSMANN, KARL Euphoria Mitte (Monochrome Vision) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Karl Bosmann is a German post-industrial / electro-acoustic tactician who seems to come from the Conrad Schnitzler mold of continuous experimentation with his equipment in pushing it to expressive means, no matter how atemporal or atonal the resulting sounds might be. Our previous experience with Bosmann had been through monolith drone-fields that swelled from electronics and possibly cymbals into discordant dissonant crescendos somewhere between SUNNO))) and Sunroof! Here, Bosmann showcases a wide array of electronic circuity, whose home-built, tone-bent aesthetics take after the sound poems of early electronic music coupled with the nondestructive strategies from the likes of Nautical Almanac. His electronic insectoid blips, click, and blorps percolate through live-wire electrical fields and the humming cycles akin to fluorescent bulbs. Many of these tracks begin rather charmingly similar to something by Dan Deacon or Black Dice, but Bosmann twists the demeanor of his electronics through anxiety-riddled tones that glow as if a background radiation, with all of the clicks then standing in for Geiger counter pulses to allude to the neutrino bath that he's unleashed through his electronics. The pierced feedback mantra "Around The Sun" is a great recapitulation of what Arcane Device and Nurse With Wound have done with similar material. Dotted through the experiments, Bosmann interjects collages of industrial-space field recordings coupled with overlapping male / female spoken word bits, whose content and context are smeared to the point of abstraction following the Hafler Trio's many demonstrations of information overload. Limited stock on this title, we might add.
"Fieldrecording Collage Art Exhibition Italy 09 I" MPEG Stream:
"Le Coucher Du Soleil Romantique" MPEG Stream:
"Around The Sun" MPEG Stream:
BOSSE-DE-NAGE s/t (II) (The Flenser) cd 9.98
Record number two from this mysterious Bay Area black metal horde, a group whose sound is as heavy on the Louisville math rock is it is on the black buzz, and on record number two, they stretch out even further, exploring their math/post rock tendencies in ways that were only hinted at on the first record. And as one might expect, the mix of black buzz and meandering post rockisms sounds much more organic this time around, where as the first time the separation between the two sounds was more jarring. The production is much improved too. Just take the opening track, "Volume Two Chapter One", with its darkly dynamic opening, all start stop minor key minimalism, a melancholy minor key melody played out over a series of chords, left to ring out, the drums crashing in time, the only hint of the blackness to come is a howled vocals way way off in the distance, it's two minutes before this crashing moodiness segues fairly smoothly into some frantic blackened blasting, the drums not your typical blastbeat, instead offering up all manner of unlikely fills, the result a little off kilter, and a good balance to the otherwise more traditional back buzz guitar and shrieked vox. And then with about 2 minutes to go, the buzz seems to dissipate leaving just a churning, chuggy chunk of palm muted math rock, that sounds more like Don Cab than Darkthrone, pounding out the final minute in a tangle of mathy rhythms. The post rockisms are much more subtle in "Marie In A Cage", which plays more like your standard buzzing blackness, but there are those wild chaotic drums, not to mention a killer part midsong where the band switch into a brief bit of proggy mathiness that KILLS, but it's brief and soon the band are galloping along again, never fully shedding that mathiness, but instead incorporating it into the black buzz. "The Lampless Hours" is another track that starts out sounding like some lost mid nineties Touch And Go record (minus the flurries of double kick drum), before launching into a stretch of 'proper' black metal. "The Death Posture" is a churning doomy plod, peppered with burst of blasting black metal, and again here, the band are much more subtle with their deployment of post and math rock elements, which ultimately makes for some truly idiosyncratic black metal. And finally, the record finishes off with the 11+ minute "Why Am I So Lovely? Because My Master Washes Me.", which again sounds on the surface traditionally blackened and buzzy, but the post rock undercurrent seems to seep through every chance it gets, finally shouldering the blackness out of the way at about the midway point for a stretch of gnarled mathiness, that manages to not sound out of place, instead, it's drawn in shades of black, that make it that much easier for the band to slip back into the furious buzz that finishes off the record, until the last minute when the recording seems to go haywire, everything blown out and distorted finishing off in a wild squall of Merzbowian white noise. Definitely less post rocky than its predecessor, but again, the trade off is that the post rock element doesn't sound as much like a gimmick, instead sounding more an actual intrinsic part of BdN's sound, and while black metal dabblers may not be so inclined this time around (although they should be), true grim metalheads might just find their horizons being expanded, whether they realize it or not.
"Volume II Chapter I" MPEG Stream:
"Marie In A Cage" MPEG Stream:
"The Lampless Hours"
BOSSE-DE-NAGE s/t (II) (The Flenser) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Record number two from this mysterious Bay Area black metal horde, a group whose sound is as heavy on the Louisville math rock is it is on the black buzz, and on record number two, they stretch out even further, exploring their math/post rock tendencies in ways that were only hinted at on the first record. And as one might expect, the mix of black buzz and meandering post rockisms sounds much more organic this time around, where as the first time the separation between the two sounds was more jarring. The production is much improved too. Just take the opening track, "Volume Two Chapter One", with its darkly dynamic opening, all start stop minor key minimalism, a melancholy minor key melody played out over a series of chords, left to ring out, the drums crashing in time, the only hint of the blackness to come is a howled vocals way way off in the distance, it's two minutes before this crashing moodiness segues fairly smoothly into some frantic blackened blasting, the drums not your typical blastbeat, instead offering up all manner of unlikely fills, the result a little off kilter, and a good balance to the otherwise more traditional back buzz guitar and shrieked vox. And then with about 2 minutes to go, the buzz seems to dissipate leaving just a churning, chuggy chunk of palm muted math rock, that sounds more like Don Cab than Darkthrone, pounding out the final minute in a tangle of mathy rhythms. The post rockisms are much more subtle in "Marie In A Cage", which plays more like your standard buzzing blackness, but there are those wild chaotic drums, not to mention a killer part midsong where the band switch into a brief bit of proggy mathiness that KILLS, but it's brief and soon the band are galloping along again, never fully shedding that mathiness, but instead incorporating it into the black buzz. "The Lampless Hours" is another track that starts out sounding like some lost mid nineties Touch And Go record (minus the flurries of double kick drum), before launching into a stretch of 'proper' black metal. "The Death Posture" is a churning doomy plod, peppered with burst of blasting black metal, and again here, the band are much more subtle with their deployment of post and math rock elements, which ultimately makes for some truly idiosyncratic black metal. And finally, the record finishes off with the 11+ minute "Why Am I So Lovely? Because My Master Washes Me.", which again sounds on the surface traditionally blackened and buzzy, but the post rock undercurrent seems to seep through every chance it gets, finally shouldering the blackness out of the way at about the midway point for a stretch of gnarled mathiness, that manages to not sound out of place, instead, it's drawn in shades of black, that make it that much easier for the band to slip back into the furious buzz that finishes off the record, until the last minute when the recording seems to go haywire, everything blown out and distorted finishing off in a wild squall of Merzbowian white noise. Definitely less post rocky than its predecessor, but again, the trade off is that the post rock element doesn't sound as much like a gimmick, instead sounding more an actual intrinsic part of BdN's sound, and while black metal dabblers may not be so inclined this time around (although they should be), true grim metalheads might just find their horizons being expanded, whether they realize it or not.
"Volume II Chapter I" MPEG Stream:
"Marie In A Cage" MPEG Stream:
"The Lampless Hours"
BOTANIST I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From the Dead (tUMULt) 2cd 15.98
Hot on the heels of last week's listing of the new double cd release on tUMULt from Bay Area hypersonic one man black metal band Mastery, comes something even stranger. Yet another mysterious one man black metal horde (and another double disc), rising from the fertile SFBM underground. The scene that gave us Leviathan, Draugar, Crebain, Pale Chalice, Sutekh Hexen, Dead As Dreams, Dispirit, Horn Of Dagoth, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis, Amocoma, Elk, Necrite, Palace Of Worms, and more, has now spawned the oddly monikered Botanist, an odd moniker only until you realize that all the songs here are about plants and flowers, and all of the artwork following suit, old faded images of strange and wondrous flora and fauna, but that's not nearly the strangest thing about Botanist. Nope, the strangest thing would be the fact that there are NO guitars, and there is NO bass, just drums, vocals, and HAMMERED DULCIMER. That's right, eerie and esoteric, buzzing and baffling, drum and dulcimer driven black eco-terrorist black metal. And as strange as that may sound, the SOUND is even stranger, the dulcimer a particularly haunting and strangely melodic instrument, the typical black metal riffs replaced by maniacal dulcimer melodies, repeated motifs, flurries of cyclical notes, the sound buzzy and brutal in it's own way, with an almost old-timey feel to the sound, the drums mathy and intricate, often sounding strangely like a demonic drumline, the vocals a hellish raspy croak, but it's the dulcimer that drives the sound of Botanist, a distinctive metallic buzz that's eerily creepy and darkly cinematic, with many of these tracks sounding like they could be some alternate soundtrack for a lost seventies giallo or some super surreal art film. The tracks are mostly short sharp blasts of metallic buzz, the dulcimer alternatingly offering up dense overtone-rich clouds of frenzied tangled melody, but just as often, unfurling stretches of haunting atonal shimmer, occasionally spacing way out, and weaving sprawling dreadscapes of minor key tension and slow build terror, the sound of the dulcimer so strange, sometimes evoking old pianos in ghost town saloons, other times impossibly melodic, with the songs on the verge of pure poppiness, or as poppy as something as twisted and confusional like this can be. The sound of Botanist is definitely black metal, in form, in structure, in intent, in spirit, even to a degree in sound, but it's also something wholly other, the relation between the rhythms and the melodic component of the dulcimer's haunting buzz and chiming metallic tone hard to quantify, and obviously even harder to accurately describe, then there's the dulcimer's traditional station as a folky Appalachian instrument, it all adds to the crazy, confusional appeal of Botanist's warped sonic world, one that manages to be both heavy and buzzy and blackened, but also haunting and hypnotic and strangely soundtracky, a swirling, hazy, chaotic sound, densely melodic, relentlessly rhythmic, fantastically fucked up and bafflingly brilliant. The discs are housed in super swank full color mini-lp gatefold style Stoughton jackets, with a thick booklet of lyrics, the jacket and booklet both printed to look like an antique botanist's field journal. ENTER THE VERDANT REALM!!
"Dracocephalum" MPEG Stream:
"Invoke the Throne of Veltheimia" MPEG Stream:
"Helleborus Niger" MPEG Stream:
"Aldrovanda Ascendant" MPEG Stream:
"Convolvulus Althaeoides" MPEG Stream:
"Dioscoria" MPEG Stream:
"Megaskepasma" MPEG Stream:
"In the Hall of Chamaerops"
BOTANIST IV - Mandragora (The Flenser) cd 11.98
Full length number FOUR from this local eco-terroristic, drum and dulcimer driven black metal one band band, whose first two records were released as a pair on our very own Andee's tUMULt label. At the time, as much as we loved Botanist's unique and warped take on black metal, we must admit we were a bit surprised when Botanist sort of blew up, making all sorts of year end top ten lists, even popping up on Pitchfork and NPR. We sort of assumed it was too weird to have much appeal, but it seems if anything, that weirdness only made Botanist more appealing to non-metalheads, and in another surprise twist, brought out the open minded experimental streak we had just assumed most metalheads might be missing. But it's easy to see why people dig Botanist. Heck Andee dug his stuff enough to put it out. Botanist's music is dark and twisted, droned out and buzzy, weirdly melodic, super trance-y and hypnotic, it's really barely black metal, the blasting drums and the croaked squashed spider vocals really being the only truly black metal elements, even the metallic buzz of the dulcimer, aping the sort of fast picked BM riffing, ended up sounding like something wholly other. Botanist's third record, on the Total Rust label, found him slowing things down, and creating his own version of doom, which like his take on black metal was appropriately and fantastically skewed. Which brings us to IV, the fourth Botanist full length in two years, and once again, a whole sonic shift has taken place, this one more difficult to quantify, it's not black metal, and not doom, and this time around, we're tempted to say it's not even really metal. Actually not at all. When we first heard it, we were struck by how melodic it was, almost shoegazey, the dulcimer strangely recorded, to turn the brittle buzz of the early records into something washed out and gloriously distorted, single strings ring out like prismatic chordal swirls, and the more rapid passages blur into blissed out streaks of hazy blurred dreaminess. In fact, minus the vocals, Botanist IV sounds more like some experimental shoegaze pop band, even the blast beats seem to have been ditched in favor of more midtempo rhythms, and then those are mostly buried in the mix, beneath clouds of reverberant overtones, of whorls of FX drenched metallic chords, that all seem to sprawl like cloud of metallic shimmer, laced with keening melodies, the whole thing surprisingly sun dappled and prismatic, if we didn't know the grim story behind the lyrics of IV, we'd assume the theme was one of redemption and rebirth, or in keeping with the Botanist's themes, IV plays out like the soundtrack to post-human earth, once the human race has been eradicated, and the world is a lush nirvana, where nothing but plants grow, allowed to spread out endlessly, and reach forever heavenward. And heck, even with the vocals, it's hard to disguise the lush melodic elements that pretty much entirely define the sound of IV. Considering the sort of surprising widespread appeal the first few records had, we can only imagine this one might just be the real big breakthrough record for Botanist, it's so catchy and melodic, so pretty and lushly layered, that it's hard to imagine that even some of the more metal averse folks wouldn't or couldn't be won over. We even suggested to the Botanist himself that he should release an instrumental version, imagining the pure psychedelic shoegaze sonic bliss that would result, but for now, IV's glorious mix of lush sonic bliss and grim verdant vokills is more than enough.
"Arboreal Gallows (Mandragora I)" MPEG Stream:
"Nightshade (Mandragora II)" MPEG Stream:
"To Amass An Army (Mandragora III)"
BOX Studio 1 (Rune Grammofon) cd 17.98
We just love it when a plan comes together. Somebody thought it would be a good idea for these three Norwegians and one American to form a band and knock out some killer electric avant jazz improv jams. And indeed it was! Of course, just WHO these Norwegians and American were made a big difference: Box consists of guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim (Scorch Trio and a million other projects over the years), bassist Trevor Dunn (Fantomas, Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, etc. etc.), drummer Morgan Agren (Mats//Morgan Band), and on electronics & keyboards, Stale Storlokken (Supersilent, Humcrush). None of 'em novices at acting and reacting as interesting sound-makers in diverse contexts. The first track, "Untitled 9", is the longest, at 17 minutes, and pretty much says "Shred". Loud and clear. If you liked the Scorch Trio's scorching disc on Rune Grammofon, you'll probably dig this too. And the remaining five tracks here are also worthy, offering up plenty more moody bass burble, glitchy synth textures, threatening electric guitar, and percussive percolation. And though the disc is entitled Studio 1, we should note that this was all improvised live to analog tape with no overdubs or edits. Just pure badass instrumental interplay from four dudes who know what they're doin'.
"Untitled 9" MPEG Stream:
BR0WN ANGEL Agonal Harvest (Thunderhaus Ltd.) lp+cd-r 16.98
The return of these Pittsburgh heavies, the oddly named Br0wn Angel (yup, that's a zero), who deliver their swansong in the form of this epic and darkly melodic chunk of churning low-end heaviness, having recently called it a day. But what a note to go out on! And what a change from their self titled debut. That record (which is included here on the accompanying cd-r) was a sick and sinister chunk of superdistorted sludge, equal parts industrial pummel and droned out black crawl, with the band equally capable of kicking some seriously dense mathrock jams as they are churning, downtuned ultradoom. But the first track here, at least the first few minutes, displays a side of the band only hinted at on the first record. Starting with some mysterious field recordings, the band unfurl a thick sprawl of minor key buzz, and washed out melancholic heaviness, the title "You Can Find Heartbreak Anywhere" suits the sound perfectly, the vocals a weary croon, in a different context this would be some woozy dreamlike slowcore, but here, wreathed in thick, crumbling swaths of guitarnoise, squalls of feedback, and massive drum pound, it somehow makes it sound even that much more moody and malevolent. But then again, this is Br0wn Angel, so halfway through, the song splinters into a woozy start/stop, with squealing feedback, and harsh vokills, before again switching gears, and adding some chiming melodies to the proceedings, giving the sound a sort of ultra melodic Godflesh style industrial vibe, maybe Godflesh fused to Interpol, which sounds like a weird, but an AWESOME combo, especially the final salvo, where the vocals are belted out, and the song is transformed into something seriously dark and emotional. The rest of the record is equally progressive and emotional and WEIRD, the second track is a dense slab of math metal chug and churn, a definite AmRep thing going on, but much more abject and downtuned, and like that first track, the band deftly incorporate all sorts of unlikely melody and still more clean vox. From there on out, it's a constant battle between light and dark, noise and melody, the sort of sonic tension that makes for compelling heaviness, "Days Of Vagrancy" taking those massive drums, and wreathing them in woozy, heavily effected guitars, and thick caustic bass buzz, the result more atmospheric than brutal, at times reminding us of eternal aQ faves Geronimo, that sort of almost motorik pound and mesmerizing bassline, surrounding by swirling clouds of noise and FX. "Did You Ever Need Me" is some seriously heartfelt indie rock / post rock in industrialblacknoise's clothing, stripped of the huge drums and buzzing guitars, it might pass for pure indie rock, but but instead, the sonic heft and underpinning darkness elevate Br0wn Angel's sound to something much more intense, and emotionally resonant. The last two tracks offer up more of BA's new twisted industrial / metal / gloom pop hybrid, seems like exactly the sort of thing fans of Pinkish Black and Wreck And Reference would dig big time. Sad that this is the last we'll hear from these guys, but like we said, we couldn't have hoped for a better final missive. The lp includes a cd-r, that contains both the new record, AND the self titled debut, which we described thusly: Br0wn Angel (yeah, that's Br0wn with a zero) hail from Pittsburgh, and offer up a heaving helping of blown out, super industrial metallic crunch, some strange hybrid of Godflesh, Author & Punisher, Big Black, and Jesu, but they add all sorts of unlikely stuff that makes this SO much more than just wannabe Streetcleaner. The opening track alone should have metaldrone obsessives in a trance, it's a blackened doomdrone raga, that finds these guys weaving a sprawling landscape of crumbling, superdistorted guitar crunch, a bit like SUNNO))) but way more melodic, infusing this blackened crawl with chiming melodies, strangely melodic seeing as they're set amidst barren fields of crumble and pound, the sound thick, gristly, but warm, and thick, and then the vocals come in, and they're quite unexpected, a monk-like chant, transforming the song into something way more ritualistic and spiritual, and we can tell you, if that first song had been stretched out to fill up both sides, we would have been pleased as punch, but instead, the band do get way more metallic and propulsive, the sound thickening into a sort of slowed down tarpit Austerity Program, thick guitars, lots of harmonics, streaks of feedback, starts and stops, ultra dynamic, sheets of guitar skree over black industrial creeps and proto industrial metal pummel, which again would have been just fine, but these guys continue to twist and tangle up their sound, occasionally launching into full on progged out math rock, but just as often slipping into some sort of super sludge death march, the interesting part is how those two sides bleed into that plodding, industrial core, creating a fucked up hybrid that is all their own.
"You Can Find Heartbreak Anywhere" MPEG Stream:
"Days Of Vagrancy" MPEG Stream:
"Did You Ever Even Need Me"
BR0WN ANGEL Vomitter (Lost Tundra Recordings) cassette 3.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A few lists back, we reviewed the debut lp from Pittsburgh heavies Br0wn Angel (and yeah, that's brown with a zero, not an 'o'), a fantastic and fantastically heavy chunk of industrial metallic crunch, that reminded us of everyone from Swans to Godflesh to SUNNO))) to Jesu, a perfect blend of hazy washed out melody and lumbering Teutonic crush, rhythmic and ritualistic, even a little proggy/mathy at points. Well, the band got in touch with us, and sent us their VERY LAST copies of their first demo, the wonderfully titled Vomitter, and while the vibe is similar, the sound is definitely way more raw and lo-fi. The opening track is a surprisingly warm and dreamy bit of buzz drenched crumble, all glitchy and rapidly decaying, like the guys plugged their guitars directly into an old transistor radio with dying batteries, making it sound like some alien Appalachia, definitely reminding us of Amps For Christ, but the sound finally switches to something more in keeping with their lp, twisted shards of feedback, barely audible drum pummel, super distorted voices, the tape hiss and warped recording more prominent than the instruments themselves, the songs really only barely audible through the cloud of crunch and buzz and whir and rumble, the sound peaking, and those peaks becoming just another blown out rhythm. Not heavy so much as distorted to fucking high heaven, and in the process transformed into some sort of experimental textural rhythmic outsider drone-noise weirdness. They do an Arab On Radar cover too apparently, although you'd be hard pressed to tell. We're digging this a lot, and imagining, that it might not be nearly so amazing sans the noise and sonic detritus. Features members of the Microwaves and Creation Is Crucifixion, and is already out of print, we have the last 7 or 8 copies. Each one hand painted.
BRADLEY, CAMPBELL, FOSTER Live At The Lift, Brighton 14th March 1998 (Rhizome) cd-r 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Two of these names sound familiar as members of the mighty Vibracathedral Orchestra, and with the addition of one Sticky Foster, this trio kicks up a very VCO-like din. Clattery drone with a distinctly Dead C like vibe, due in no small part to the lo-fi recording, as well as the gritty, grimy ambience. Pulses and throbs are woven into a thick, heady drone, with chimes and tinkles, shimmers and skree, and splattershot cardboard box percussion. Noisy and lovely and hypnotic.
"Bradley, Campbell, and Foster Live At The Lift"
BRADLEY, JULIAN A Companion As Glamorous As Sleeping On Wheels (Veglia) cd 14.98
BRADLEY, PAUL pastandpresentcollide (Shining Day) cd 15.98
Another fantastic release that somehow slipped through the cracks, this one from Paul Bradley, who besides performing and recording in Monos, with Colin Potter (Nurse With Wound, Ora, etc), has released an amazing amount of gorgeous releases on his own, pastandpresentcollide most definitely being one of them. A lush, gorgeously hushed expanse of smooth muted minimal dronemusic, a sort of smeared new age shimmer, deep swells of stretched out melodies, a slow burning barely there bit of tonal thrum, an absolutely perfect late night drifting off soundtrack, resonant, reverberant, the tones overlapping, layered, bleeding into one another, the notes melting into one epic softly swirling organic whole, close listening reveals some mysterious ghostly voices, drifting way below the softly undulating dronescape, mesmerizing, soothing, tranquil, so so lovely. Any one into deep minimal dronemusic will love this. Certainly essential for fans of Jonathan Coleclough, Ora Monos, Machinefabriek, Main, Darren Tate, and the like. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES when it first came out!! We have about 6 or 7, not sure if we'll be able to get more...
BRADLEY, PAUL Sketches From Dust (Twenty Hertz) cd 16.98
Taking a cue from fellow British drone alchemist Andrew Chalk, Paul Bradley offers an elegant miasma of elongated tones from guitar and piano, the latter of which was contributed by Current 93's Maja Elliott. The overall feel of Sketches From Dust is thoroughly amorphous in its strategy for a pure ambience (in keeping true to the Brian Eno ethos of such early masterpieces as On Land and Thursday Afternoon). After stretching the timbral monochrome from piano and guitar into a shimmering chorale, Bradley gingerly places these sounds in a loosened compositional framework that shares some similarities to how Mr. Chalk arranged his abstracted piano on Blue Eyes Of The March. On occasion, Bradley allows for clusters of Elliott's piano to flicker within the freefloating drone breathing with the quality of billowing clouds and transient early morning fog whose refracted light through water vapor makes everything obfuscated and luminous at the same time. Very nicely done.
"Extract 1" MPEG Stream:
BRADLEY, PAUL & COLIN POTTER The Simple Plan (ICR) cd 16.98
Colin Potter and Paul Bradley have been collaborating over the past eight or nine years, between Potter's ongoing involvement in Nurse With Wound. On previous releases, Potter and Bradley have mustered monolithic, clinical studies in tectonic low-end rumblings and unsettled drone vibration work. The drone is still the principle sound element for The Simple Plan; but, here the two set out to record in real-time with synths, guitars, and a bunch of effects. The five extended renderings are dreamy driftscapes that certainly harken to the '70s mantras of psychedelic ambience touched with phased guitar dissonance, glistening surfaces of reflecting-pool ambience, and meditative looping jams. The massive 18 minute "Gloaming" is the center piece of the album with sitar-like harmonic overtones arching out of a pastoral set of interwoven loops with smaller glistens, shivers, and sparkles glowing from the underbelly of this cinematically expansive piece of psychedelidronemusik. Certainly, those Eno collaborations with Cluster and Robert Fripp come to mind (especially Evening Star); but even the recent crop of psychedelic dreamscapers like Emeralds, Celer, and William Fowler Collins draw comparisons to this nice piece of work. Lovely!
"Gloaming" MPEG Stream:
BRADLEY, PAUL & COLIN POTTER The Simple Plan (ICR) 2cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Colin Potter and Paul Bradley have been collaborating over the past eight or nine years, between Potter's ongoing involvement in Nurse With Wound. On previous releases, Potter and Bradley have mustered monolithic, clinical studies in tectonic low-end rumblings and unsettled drone vibration work. The drone is still the principle sound element for The Simple Plan; but, here the two set out to record in real-time with synths, guitars, and a bunch of effects. The five extended renderings are dreamy driftscapes that certainly harken to the '70s mantras of psychedelic ambience touched with phased guitar dissonance, glistening surfaces of reflecting-pool ambience, and meditative looping jams. The massive 18 minute "Gloaming" is the center piece of the album with sitar-like harmonic overtones arching out of a pastoral set of interwoven loops with smaller glistens, shivers, and sparkles glowing from the underbelly of this cinematically expansive piece of psychedelidronemusik. Certainly, those Eno collaborations with Cluster and Robert Fripp come to mind (especially Evening Star); but even the recent crop of psychedelic dreamscapers like Emeralds, Celer, and William Fowler Collins draw comparisons to this nice piece of work. Lovely! The first 135 copies of The Simple Plan also come with a bonus disc with solo reworkings of this material from both artists.
"Gloaming" MPEG Stream:
BRAIN AND, THE s/t (Fuck It Tapes) cass 8.98
BRAINWORLDS / EXPO 70 Abnormal Vergence (Hooker Vision) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here's a nice pairing, featuring Expo 70, who needs no introduction to the aQ readership, and Brainworlds, an Atlanta based guitarist whose work at least here rivals that of Expo 70. Both of these long tracks are recordings from a night of cosmic meditation in 2010 at the seminal performance space Eyedrum in Atlanta. Brainworlds' deep guitar tones float weightlessly in a shimmering expanse from his hypnotic loops and evocative cosmic solo work outs that come across like some lost Ash Ra Tempel jam getting remixed by Troum at their most stratospheric. Really stunning work, and this would have been great to see live given the reverberant acoustics of Eyedrum. Justin Wright was in more of a cosmic mindset for that performance too. Wright's guitars take after some of Michael Rother's phrasing at the beginning of his set, locking into a darker heavier mantra as the performance moves forward with a pulsing rhythm and heavy chords reminiscent of Expo 70's masterful album Black Ohm. Classic drugged-out space drone bliss from both Brainworlds and Expo 70. We're pretty sure this is a 60 minute tape; it's damn long regardless... but it's limited too, just 100 copies released from the Hooker Vision imprint run in part by Rachel Evans of Motion Sickness of Time Travel.
BRAINWORLDS "Labyrinthitis" MPEG Stream:
EXPO 70 "Stepping Further Outside Petulance..."
BRAN (ANOTHER PLIGHT OF MEDIC'S...) POS, THE Amantis Incongrue (Chitah! Chitah! Soundcrack) cd 11.98
Surrealistic solo artist The Bran (Another plight of medic's...) Pos, aka AQ-customer Jake Rodriguez (who helps to run & book the Clit Stop venue here in SF), has released what I think is his actual debut cd, after a variety of cd-r releases. Experimental to the core, in live performances Jake's a veritable Tasmanian Devil of insane vocal manipulations and electronic effects. Here, the vocals take a back seat (or can't be differentiated from the electronics!), it's pretty much all outer-space distortion and chaos-collage, like a Masonna intent on making 'weird' noises instead of painful ones. One track features his free improv duo Compomicro-Dexall. For fans of Mike Patton and other John Zorn-approved avant garde noise craziness. Good stuff. Comes packaged in one of those clear plastic clam-shell cases.
BRAN FLAKES I Don't Have A Friend (Lomo ) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Aaah, the fountain overflows with a facetious flood of tweaked tunes from Mr. Mildred Pit and Mr. Otis F. Odder. Together they are the Bran Flakes from Seattle, WA. Giving a tip of the hat to Irwin Chusid (radio host and champion of musical eccentrics everywhere ---Raymond Scott to name but one), they plunder and paste melodic incongruities (what was that?! a tv show theme? and that?! a Nancy Sinatra song? Lawrence Welk? Mickey Mouse?), children's voices, broadcast announcements, frantic beats, and exotica flourishes together like a giant demented pinata. At once, fluffily silly, yet strangely menacing. Features a collaboration with our pal Wobbly. Fabulous fans of Bruce Haack, People Like Us, Quintron, and Negativland, take note.
BRAN FLAKES, THE Bounces! (Happi Tyme) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Seattle-based duo The Bran Flakes have put together another cherry of an album. Sonic plunderers who must have ridiculous amounts of thrift-store $1 records, The Bran Flakes painstakingly yet assuredly cut everything up -- macabre children's songs, sleigh bells, latin percussive rattles, afro cuban drumming, tooting horns, minor key strings, occasional drum 'n bass, bad disco, some goofy approximations of dub, wurlitzer organ, noir film samples, oompah oompah in the left channel, funky drummer-style breakbeat on the right -- and arrange everything into precise sonic juxtapositions, resulting in a very confident and enjoyable trip from beginning to end (in fact the end is a three minute long recitation of people's names, jesus how long did it take them to cut *that* stuff together?) The album's highest point comes when they cut up (Terry Riley "You're Nogood"-style!) everyone's favorite muppets Kermit and Fozzie Bear singing "Movin' right along...". It's so frickin' wonderful and happy go lucky -- can't you just see 'em in the Studebaker? While most comparisons to fellow cut 'n pasters involve names like Wobbly and Negativland, I think the group will fit nicely right next to your Kid Koala tape, your People Like Us cd, and maybe even your 12" collection of solemn DJ Shadow, who uses the same tools -- vinyl -- but never cracks a smile, whereas The Bran Flakes are all about hilarity. Look at what moog pioneer Jean Jacques Perrey says about 'em: "I enjoyed your record very much, it is so fresh, so cool, made for people who have a 'child soul' and at the same time perfectly elaborated harmonically and technically with some funny winks to other composers." Recommended for the lighthearted!
"Good Times a Go Go" RealAudio clip:
"Autumn" RealAudio clip:
"If She Was a Spy" RealAudio clip:
BRANCA, GLENN Symphony Nos. 8 & 10 - Live At The Kitchen (Atavistic) dvd 21.00
There's been quite a little resurgence of interest in the eighties downtown NY scene, specifically the guitar orchestras and proto-post rock of Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca. This DVD features two live performances recorded in 1995 with an unknown (at least to us) ensemble with Branca at the helm conducting. The music is fantastic, dark and propulsive. Repetitive and trance-like, with churning guitars and tribal drums. Sound remarkably similar to AQ favorites Circle or Salvatore. Visually, there's not a whole lot to see, although it is cool to hear what sounds like your basic rock band, but is in fact a large ensemble, with guitar players struggling to 'rock out' but stuck behind their music stands. The visuals do reflect the music quite nicely though, dark and brooding, with spare lighting and lots of empty space on the screen.
BRANCA, GLENN The Ascension (Acute) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. I only ever knew Glenn Branca as "the guitar orchestra guy" responsible for assembling huge groups of guitarists (often well known rock guitarists), to perform huge, throbbing, hypnotic and repetitive compositions -- some for ten guitarists, fifty guitarists, even one hundred guitarists. The recent Rhys Chatham box, reviewed a few lists back, suggested that perhaps Branca's guitar orchestra concept was 'borrowed' from Chatham, as Branca had performed in many of Chatham's multiple guitar ensembles. But in much the same way that we were surprised by the rock-ness of the early Chatham material, this early recording from Branca and his four guitar/bass/drums outfit has much more in common with noisy post punk/post rock: Bastro, Bitch Magnet, Slint and the like, than Ligeti, Penderecki, Messiaen or any of the other names dropped in Lee Ranaldo's liner notes. Extended drony, atonal rhythmic explorations stretch on and on, building horror-movie-minor-key tension, building and building and building, before bursting into unrelenting rock rhythm/riffs. Lots of the more rock parts sound like an instrumental version of North Western punk rockers The Wipers, but with lots of odd dynamics ala Bastro or Slint and with the extended riff repetition of modern minimalism stretching the songs into droning, hypnotic master works. Throbbing and relentless, pounding and intricate, weaving back and forth between ferocious, unrelenting rock-action, and epic, complex geometric stop/start, hypno-minimalism.
"The Spectacular Commodity" MPEG Stream:
"Lesson No. 2"
BRANDLMAYR, MARTIN / WERNER DAFELDECKER / STEFAN NEMETH / MARTIN SIEWERT Die Instabilitat der Symmetrie (Grob) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The Vienna improv-glitch squad strikes again! From some of the same folks in the bands Radian and Trapist, including the duo responsible for the Too Beautiful To Burn disc on Erstwhile, Die InstabilitŠt der Symmetrie (The Instability of Symmetry) is another freakin' great disc of what we might call laboratory jazz. You know, improv music where the notes played on instruments are suspended over what sounds like crackling chemical reactions and Geiger counter clicks. These four live musicians (playing guitar, double bass, lap steel, synth, drums and percussion) interact with each other and their own electronic/computer processing, creating a beautiful low-key soundscape, full of ominous doomful droning and abstract minimal melody, like gathered stormclouds sending down glitchy streaks of rain... There's a quiet, haunting beauty to much of this, with circling tones and the rattle of bells, restrained percussion sketching broken grooves. It's lulling, but beware the sudden pulsing squall of static. Definitely recommended, specifically to all into the likes of the aforementioned Radian/Trapist, Starfuckers, Supersilent, and Spring Heel Jack's Blue Series recordings. And while a brief liner note from Siewert says something academically cryptic about this being a site-specific audiovisual project, the sound on this disc is completely sufficient for home listening enjoyment!
"Part 2" MPEG Stream:
BRANDON LABELLE & STEVE RODEN Site of Sound (Errant Bodies Press) book & cd 18.98
Edited by West Coast sound artists Brandon LaBelle and Steve Roden, "Site of Sound" is a compendium of theoretical discourses within conceptually based sound art. Along with the rather dense and at times poetic texts, the book also features a cd of work by the authors. Featured both on cd and in print are Achim Wollscheid, Christina Kubisch, RLW, John Hudak, Toshiya Tsonuda, Christof Migone, Steve Peters, m/s, and others. Text only contributers include Loren Chasse, Giancarlo Toniuitti, CM von Hausswolff, Leif Elgrenn, David Dunn, etc.
BRANDSDAL, KJETIL D. Freedom--Waaaoh Waaoh (Corpus Hermeticum) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Of Norwegian decent, though a current resident of Northern Ireland, Kjetil D. Brandsdal constructs ominous lo-fi droning tape loops similar to a gritty variant of Omit accompanied by throbbing de-tuned bass and occasional post-VU strum. A very nice introduction / documentation on the perennially great Corpus Hermeticum!
BRANDSDAL, KJETIL D. Rogalands Lydigste + Gitar Fingling (Metal Art Disco / Voices of Wonder) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This compiles two hard to find vinyl only records from the Norwegian experimentalist Kjetil D. Brandsdal. With a freefloating agenda of subconsciously exploring sound (not far from Nurse With Wound's earliest sonic freakouts but with the sound of NZ freenoise artists), Brandsdal giddily wallows in the muck of cable buzz, overblown 4-track recordings for organ & guitar, and feedback from malfucntioning amplifiers. All the while managing to elicit simple melodic passages. Difficult but enjoyable listening.
BRANDSDAL, KJETIL D. s/t (Ecstatic Peace) 2lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace presents the fourth album from the mysterious experimentalist Kjetil D. Brandstal who hails from Norway. Brandsdal's gritty lo-fi dinscapes for cracked guitar feedback drone and turntable damage (don't expect any Skratch Piklz wizardry, rather it sounds as though he's applying thick balls of dust to the needle to force skips and loops) appear devoid of structure, beginning, or end. Freefloating stuff along the same lines as Gate, Total/Skullflower, and No Neck Blues Band.
BRANDSTIFTER Rauschgiftengelloops (Gruenrekorder) cd-r 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We recently discovered this little label in Germany called Gruenrekorder, who specialize in "Phonography and Audio Art" which translates to field recordings, turntablism and audio installations, which definitely sounded right up our alley. We then discovered that they had 60 or 70 releases, probably more by the time of this review, most cd-r's and all incredibly limited, usually to 50 or less. Yikes. Had to do some quick thinking, so we picked two of the most promising sounding and got a bunch of those (a bunch meaning 25 copies, which is half of the pressing). So elsewhere on this list you'll find the other Gruenrekorder release, a field recording of bats (and you know our love of bats is second only to our love of frogs!), which somehow seems to perfectly balance this one right here, a live recording of a sound installation for turntables, records and... plastic angels. The set up goes like this, a bunch of turntables, all set up on a small dais, each with a plastic angel spinning in the middle of the lp, and each angel with a weight hung between its wings, which shifts with each rotation, and causes various loops to alter, drift, shift, change duration, overlap, all the while, Brandstifter, the man responsible, crawls around moving the angels, replacing the records, changing speeds, the result is pretty magnificent, a looped hypnotic soundscape of operatic voices, fluttering flutes and fiddles, droning whirs, hiccupping song snippets, skipping stuttering rhythms, the vibe very festive, as most of the discs are choral, the voices locked into hypnotic mantras, the various cracks and skips adding percussive filigree. Some passages are epic and triumphant, voices soaring, while others are murky and mumbled, sounding like they could have been yanked from some mysterious Finnish free folk record or from some blurred Philip Jeck turntable landscape. Haunting and eerie, like some damaged funhouse mirror holiday soundscape, Christmas carols twisted and gnarled, holiday favorites scratched up and looped, bits of opera looped into fuzzy repetitive seasick mantras, you can almost imagine some Tim Burton-ish mad scientist armed with a bunch of dusty scratched up records and weird old fashioned turntables and all those painted angels, hovering in a dark cobwebby corner of some old seventies mall, families and children steering clear of the crazy man in the corner and his murky muddy choral din. SO AWESOME!!! Beautifully packaged, printed cd-r, full color sleeve, but again, LIMITED TO ONLY 50 COPIES!!! So once these are gone, that's it...
"Rauschgiftengelloops (excerpt 1)" MPEG Stream:
"Rauschgiftengelloops (excerpt 2)"
BRASIL AND THE GALLOWBROTHERS BAND The Band Plays On, The Dunes Move On (Caught Me With My Eyes Closed) (Last Visible Dog) cd 12.98
Polish "lounge-psych" on Last Visible Dog.
BRENNENDES GEHIRN Epidemics Of The Modern Age (Ordo Pestilentia) cd 8.98
Finally managed to get enough of these to list, the debut release from the oddly monikered Brennendes Gehirn, aka Matt Harries, who in his guise as BG, creates dense, stormy landscapes of sound, crumbling distorted atmospheres and murky buried melodies, squall of bristling chaotic blacknoise, and dark sprawls of haunting minimal drift. A mix of black ambience, post industrial, and electronic soundscaping, BG is the sort of thing that should appeal to fans of Tenhornedbeast, MZ412, Wolf Eyes, Wraiths, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, Scorn and the like. Scorn seems like an odd one to include, but it's an occasional tendency toward a sort of beat driven sound that makes this truly unique, while the opening track follows a fairly standard slow build, from creeping drone-y dread to explosive roiling heaviness, the second track mixes it up, launching right into a blast of blaring howl and skree, but letting those sounds settle, and blur into each other, creating a sort of gauzy sonic patina beneath which melodies drift and unfurl, layers shift and transform, it's a drone, and a noisy one at that, but it's super active and constantly in motion, with the sort of momentum that this sort of sound usually lacks. "Annihilation (Awakens New Life)" is where it starts to get REALLY good, a looped sample of some sort of zither, over a simple hand drum rhythm, all over a dense undulating sprawl of crumbling superdistorted blackness, then some female vocals come in, are doused with effects, and the track lurches into motion, a sort of Muslimgauze via Merzbow, tripped out and heavy, but darkly rhythmic, the noise is peeled away, the drums skitter and shuffle, and then the noise returns TENfold, a massive cascade of churning almost metallic sounding riffage (although it sounds like some strange sample), before drifting off in a haze of blur and buzz. Then there's "Elegie Fur Clemens Scheitz", which is a fantastically grimy slab of downtempo loop-age, like Portishead looped and spinning at 16 rpm, super druggy and totally mesmerizing, the beat and groove surrounded on all sides by heaving barrages of noise, might be the coolest track here. But hang on for the epic 21 minute closer, that again sets a super abstract echo drenched beat down, in a wide open expanse of weird reverby emptiness, the beat never really gaining any sort of momentum, instead, the sounds seem to get more and more low fidelity, the track a slow smoldering ur-drone, constantly changing timbre, from murky and muddy, to bright and brittle, and finally to psychedelic cacophony. Interestingly enough, that 'beat' surfaces subtly throughout, as does a strange sampled voice (from Mullholland Drive), finishing off with some melancholic piano, and a surprising final burst of caustic noise. Beautifully packaged in hand stamped cardstock digpak style sleeves, released on Ordo Pestilentia, the label run by Wraiths, and most likely very very limited.
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"Chorea Imagnativa Aestimative"
BRETHEREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With The Lamb (Important) lp 27.00
Now available on vinyl!!! The hermetic concern with dualities, whether they be natural and spiritual, mysteries veiled and revealed, fertility and drought, or as the the title of this disc alludes to the religiously symbolic wolf and lamb, greatly inform this collaboration between avant-lutist Jozef Van Wissem and twelve-string wunderkind James Blackshaw. Named after a 13th century cult of Northern European heretics, this is the second installment for the duo, who give us four more pieces to mirror the four from the first installment. Where on their debut disc we felt the sonic fullness of Blackshaw's cascading twelve string repetitions and on one track Van Wissem's progressive use of distorted electronics, on this new album, the sound is more ascetically restrained, favoring Van Wissem's use of reconfigured medieval and classical renaissance compositions into spiraling but lyrically melodic motifs in which Blackshaw adds interlocking labyrinthian figures in DADEAD tuning. This is sacred music for mad monks!
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"Into The Dust of The Earth"
BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him (Audiomer) cd 14.98
Brethren indeed. This is the work of two consummate stringed instrument manipulators working in the improvised avant-folk idiom... Brother #1, from England, AQ fave James Blackshaw (who just blew us away with an amazing solo instore performance two weeks ago!), a dexterous master of the 12 string guitar. Brother #2, from Belgium, Renaissance lute player Jozef Van Wissem (who was also recently scheduled for an AQ instore alongside his pal Tetuzi Akiyama but unfortunately had to cancel due to a bad cold or flu). Van Wissem has received acclaim from us and others for his solo recordings incorporating electronics and field recordings alongside his innovations on classical lute improvisation. Together, it's a perfect pairing, Blackshaw and Van Wissem conjuring a delicately dense intertwining of forward-flowing fingerpicked minimalist melodies... stately spiritual praises that are all instrumental but for a brief Current 93ish spoken coda to track one, "...The Lifting Of The Veil". And track three, "How The Unencumbered Soul Advises That One Not Refuse The Calls Of A Good Spirit", is more of an electrically-charged, expansive soundscape of moody string-strike. Electronics, "tennis edits" (??) and the "feline vocals" of one Bun Bun are also woven into the mix with Blackshaw's 12 string and Van Wissem's baroque lute. To sum up: alchemical loveliness, utterly mesmeric! Really our only complaint about this is also a compliment: at just under a half hour total (28:39), we wish it were longer! The trance-like reveries this induces are too soon interrupted unless we set our cd player on repeat... (not an option with the super-limited vinyl version of this of course.) That's right, the lp version is LIMITED TO 330 COPIES. Whereas the cd is limited to a mere 1000. And we only have a few of the vinyl...
"...The Lifting Of The Veil" MPEG Stream:
"All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him"
BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him (Audiomer) lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Brethren indeed. This is the work of two consummate stringed instrument manipulators working in the improvised avant-folk idiom... Brother #1, from England, AQ fave James Blackshaw (who just blew us away with an amazing solo instore performance two weeks ago!), a dexterous master of the 12 string guitar. Brother #2, from Belgium, Renaissance lute player Jozef Van Wissem (who was also recently scheduled for an AQ instore alongside his pal Tetuzi Akiyama but unfortunately had to cancel due to a bad cold or flu). Van Wissem has received acclaim from us and others for his solo recordings incorporating electronics and field recordings alongside his innovations on classical lute improvisation. Together, it's a perfect pairing, Blackshaw and Van Wissem conjuring a delicately dense intertwining of forward-flowing fingerpicked minimalist melodies... stately spiritual praises that are all instrumental but for a brief Current 93ish spoken coda to track one, "...The Lifting Of The Veil". And track three, "How The Unencumbered Soul Advises That One Not Refuse The Calls Of A Good Spirit", is more of an electrically-charged, expansive soundscape of moody string-strike. Electronics, "tennis edits" (??) and the "feline vocals" of one Bun Bun are also woven into the mix with Blackshaw's 12 string and Van Wissem's baroque lute. To sum up: alchemical loveliness, utterly mesmeric! Really our only complaint about this is also a compliment: at just under a half hour total (28:39), we wish it were longer! The trance-like reveries this induces are too soon interrupted unless we set our cd player on repeat... (not an option with the super-limited vinyl version of this of course.) That's right, the lp version is LIMITED TO 330 COPIES. Whereas the cd is limited to a mere 1000. And we only have a few of the vinyl...
"...The Lifting Of The Veil" MPEG Stream:
"All Things Are From Him, Through Him And In Him"
BRETHREN OF THE FREE SPIRIT The Wolf Also Shall Dwell With The Lamb (Important Records) cd 14.98
The hermetic concern with dualities, whether they be natural and spiritual, mysteries veiled and revealed, fertility and drought, or as the the title of this disc alludes to the religiously symbolic wolf and lamb, greatly inform this collaboration between avant-lutist Jozef Van Wissem and twelve-string wunderkind James Blackshaw. Named after a 13th century cult of Northern European heretics, this is the second installment for the duo, who give us four more pieces to mirror the four from the first installment. Where on their debut disc we felt the sonic fullness of Blackshaw's cascading twelve string repetitions and on one track Van Wissem's progressive use of distorted electronics, on this new album, the sound is more ascetically restrained, favoring Van Wissem's use of reconfigured medieval and classical renaissance compositions into spiraling but lyrically melodic motifs in which Blackshaw adds interlocking labyrinthian figures in DADEAD tuning. This is sacred music for mad monks!
"The Wolf Also Shall Dwell with The Lamb" MPEG Stream:
"Into The Dust of The Earth"
BRETSCHNEIDER + STEINBRUCHEL Status (12K) cd 14.98
BRETSCHNEIDER, FRANK Rhythm (Raster-Noton) cd 17.98
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"The Big Black And White Game" MPEG Stream:
"We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"
BRIGITTE & THE HANSEN EXPERIENCE Frau Hansen Am Bass (Psychedelic Pig) cd 15.98
Psychedelic Pig has had a great track record of uncovering wonderful and rare recordings of avant-esoterica. The first PP reissue was the Metgumbnerbone album which found The New Blockaders' Richard Rupenus working with a bunch of occultishly minded individuals for a fantasticly creepy ritual music for found percussion and Tibetan horns. Then, there was the unreleased material from the idiot-savant-garde ensemble Die Todliche Doris; but now, they've chosen to dig up this album from the Dadaist realm of the Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa. It's unclear who Brigitte is but supposedly she had worked with H.N.A.S. at sometime, and the Hansen Experience does feature the H.N.A.S.' mainstay Achim P. Li Khan. Let's just say that if you like H.N.A.S. then you'll love this album, as it sounds very similar to The Book Of Dingenskirchen and Kuttel Im Frost with lots of asynchonous tape loops whirling sickly in elliptical patterns, prog-rock basslines, fumbled drum-kit workouts, and a ubiquitous delay pedal that casts every sound in the pedestrial, Experimental 101 atmosphere of ECHO, Echo, echo, e-c-h-o, ECHO, Echo, echo, e-c-h-o, etc. If you're simply curious about how Surrealism and Dadaism can be applied to sound, look to Nurse With Wound and irr. app. (ext.); otherwise this is mostly for adventurous listeners and H.N.A.S. fans / completists.
"Meine Abende Im Haupquartier" MPEG Stream:
BRILLIANT SWORDS Loves Lessons Learnt (Don't Fuck With Magic) 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. We reviewed this on the last New Arrivals list, but figured we oughta list it again, in order to let folks know, that in fact, this 'mystery group', whose cd came in the most recent batch of Our Love Will Destroy The World cd-r's (now ALL out of print sorry to say) was less of a mystery than we thought, as it is in fact Campbell Kneale, aka Birchville Cat Motel, aka Our Love Will Destroy The World. The fuzzy poppiness might have thrown us, but really, when you think about what just might make Kneale's music so catchy, considering that for the most part it's abstract and free form and noisy, is that, maybe, just maybe, those extended free form droned out psychnoise blissouts, are actually essentially just pop songs like these, slooooowed waaaaaaay doooooown. So yeah, Brilliant Swords, seven songs in thirteen minutes, and not at all what you might expect from Campbell Kneale or his Don't Fuck With Magic Label. Instead of thick clouds of abstract free noise, or twisted dronescapes of blown out loops and buried rhythms, Brilliant Swords are a pop band. Yep, a pop band. Fuzzy and noisy for sure, but this is totally buzz drenched noise pop, and it's pretty goddamn great. A little bit Husker Du, a little bit nineties indie rock, the guitars are super distorted, the vocals super melodic, the songs are short sharp and hooky as hell, the longest clocking in at 2:53, the shortest at :58, but pop music like this doesn't need any more than that. The liner notes simply state that each song was written, recorded and mixed in less than two hours, and heck it sounds like it, which is not a bad thing, the songs are super intense, passionate, catchy bursts of fuzzy lo-fi power pop, we hear some My Dad Is Dead, Hard Ons, Buffalo Tom, a little Nova Scotia jangle (Eric's Trip et al), all wound into some seriously kick ass pop. The sort of pop that if it found its way from a super limited release on an obscure micro cd-r label to the right ears, this stuff could definitely be huge, or could have been 15 years ago. Either way, we're loving this a LOT. It's short, but that just means we've been listening to it over and over. LIMITED TO 50 COPIES! We're the only source for these in the US and we only have about 10 copies left, so once those are gone, that's it.
"Don't Believe Anymore" MPEG Stream:
"We Can Be Friends" MPEG Stream:
BRINKMANN, THOMAS Klick (Max Ernst) cd 16.98
We recently made Thomas Brinkman's Klick Revolution an AQ Record of the Week, and have been listening to it pretty much non stop. So much so that we almost forgot that we had previously reviewed his first "Klick" record from 2000, which while maybe not some strange tribute to pinball, still manages to be a glorious collection of clicks and pop and whir and hiss. Anyone who has been digging Klick Revolution will definitely want to pick its precursor up as well. Here's what we had to say about it when we first listed a while back: On Klick, Thomas Brinkmann borrows Christian Marclay's technique of literally slicing the grooves of his records with a razorblade to add some new elements to his sterile techno minimalism. While this may be Brinkmann's most sonically unsettling record, it manages to retain his trademark techno structuralism, albeit sounding as if the needle is struggling through a thick layer of grime. The erratic glitches of surface noise and the lulling stutter of run out grooves stand much more in the forefront of Brinkmann's Klick than on previous works. His sterile dub techniques dissolve fragments of surface noise into ghostly decay and generate a delicate flutter much like distant helicopter blades or the choral chatter of locusts. All in all, this is a successful departure for Brinkmann, one that takes him outside of the cold rigidity of most techno minimalism and into the sloppiness of the natural world. Fans of Philip Jeck will definitely appreciate.
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BRISE-GLACE When In Vanitas (Skin Graft) cd 14.98
Jim O'Rourke has never been shy in announcing who is the primary muse for each of his multi-faceted musical adventures. There was Bad Timing, which pretty much appropriated wholesale John Fahey's idiosyncratic bluegrass style; his Eureka record tapped into the '70s AM radio sounds of Steely Dan and Bread; and then there was the often overlooked Brise-Glace, now reissued. Around the time that he formed the tape-spliced avant-rock project Brise-Glace, O'Rourke released a collaborative album with KK Null entitled A New Kind Of Water, which also happens to be the name of a mighty fine This Heat song. Couple that reference with the name Brise-Glace also being the title of a composition of musique concrete by Luc Ferrari, and you might have a pretty good idea of where O'Rourke's mindset was during the recording of When In Vanitas. Then living in Chicago, O'Rourke gathered together Darin Gray of Dazzling Killmen and Dylan Posa & Thymme Jones of Cheer-Accident in crafting a muscular buzz-saw field of sound that O'Rourke radically cut up (with a razor blade!) into the math-rock structures found on When In Vanitas. So yeah, Brise-Glace does sound a lot like This Heat especially in the tense, angular riffs, balanced with plenty of languid strumming pointing back to Slint; but more often than not, Brise-Glace eeriely predates the jagged art-rock epics of Laddio Bollocko. Originally released back in 1994, When In Vanitas remains the only record from Brise-Glace, although O'Rourke did also produce a similar project with similar people (including members of Zeni Geva) called Yona Kit, again released on Skin Graft and currently out of print as far as we know. But thankfully, Skin Graft have been wise enough to at last reissue this, one of the very best records in their back catalogue.
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BRODERICK, PETER & MACHINEFABRIEK Blank Grey Canvas (Fang Bomb) cd 23.00
BRODERICK, PETER & MACHINEFABRIEK Blank Grey Canvas (Fang Bomb) lp 27.00
BROMP TREB Dubs Absoludicrous (Ormolycka) cassette 5.98
One of FIVE new releases on Ormolycka, and another contender for most fucked up and confusional, which by now, having been exposed to the mutated musical gene pool that produces these warped and wonderful tapes, you know that means a lot. A sort of damaged DJ collage, BT is all primitive analog lo-fi hip hop loopscapes, but with little regard for groove, or beat, instead, it's like if one of the guys in Faxed Head did a solo electronic record. Plunderphonic weirdness galore, mutated samples, the tape physically being stopped and primitively scratched, synths that buzz and burble, snippets and sample colliding and then crumbling, the various random chunks of sounds loosely organized into some sort of stumbling downer funk, like a brain damaged DJ Shadow, Dubs Absoludicrous is like a caveman Endtroducing, made with boom boxes, a broken 4 track, and a handful of old tapes, woozy, druggy, fractured and freaky, our favorite part is when all the beats seem to ooze into one billowy black mass, and then transform into a lurching low end thrum, squelchy and blurpy, a synth bass slowed down and captured on tape, while the tape is just dragged back and forth over the tape head, weirdly hypnotic and rib cage rattlingly dense. Fucked and fantastic, and peep the awesome photo inside, of a corpsepainted metalhead sitting in an old faded grandma chair, watching a tiny red TV in his crappy apartment! Six different covers!
BRONZE AGE Antiquated Futurism (Bed Of Nails) 12" 17.98
Latest on Dom Fernow's (Prurient, Cold Cave, etc.) Bed Of Nails label comes from Kris Lapke, aka Bronze Age, whose three song 12"s is a fierce slab of Teutonic gothic techno, pulsing four on the floor synth squelch, backed by ethereal swirling melodies, peppered with low end percussive stutter, dense and driving and super hypnotic, definitely an extension of Fernow's Vatican Shadow, albeit much more intense. The second track is probably our favorite, a creepy slab of dour techno pop, a rhythmic drag that churns and chugs, moody, murky, morose, dubbed out, rife with plenty of skitter and hand clap rhythms, it's a dark drowsy pulsing techno trance out, that we almost wish went on for way longer. The side long third track is super spare, still plenty housey, but with a seriously anthemic vibe; it's propulsive and stuttery, a bit spaced out, but still driving and hypnotic. And since we accidentally spun this at 33 instead of 45, we can tell you it sounds even better slowed down, the side long track becomes some lost Burial jam, a gorgeous washed out dub dirge, while the other two sound like doomy Depeche Mode and murk step creepiness respectively! Either way, super rad.