JANDEK Brooklyn Wednesday (Corwood Industries) 3cd 17.98
JANDEK Canticle Of Castaway (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
The Jandek onslaught continues unabated. So much so that we have been forced to actually go back in time and review albums released within the last few years that somehow flew under the radar when they first came out. Jandek's recent direction with melodically rich collaborative albums like Where Do You Go From Here? and Maze Of The Phantom has been enthusiastically received by aQ customers and staff alike, we just can't get enough. Canticle Of Castaway dates from 2010, and unlike those previously mentioned albums, this is the kind of material that probably separates the casual Jandek listener (if there is such a thing) from the true acolytes. Featuring the most enduring of Jandek recording approaches - the man and his sourly tuned guitar - Canticle is almost jarringly "out there". So if you dig that stuff from the mid-2000s, like the Ruins Of Adventure and When I Took That Train you should find plenty to love; if you found yourself pleasantly surprised by how much you actually liked the past few releases after never really being a fan, you may find yourself cowering in terror. We think it's great that Jandek's still got the old fire within to create such awesome and bizarre tunes that are completely unique to him. Starting with the 29 minute "Don't Go Out", the feel is similar to what you get on the earliest records, but more upfront and less distant sounding, the voice older and more secure sounding in its delivery, but perhaps even weirder in the lyric department (a good thing for sure). Occasional slashes of conventional chords show up, but it's mostly free form strumming and wandering single note melodies. Things follow a similar path with "You Weren't", a brief 6 minute piece before closing with another monster, the 17 minute "Boys Like Blue", which has slightly sparser instrumentation, perhaps hinting at the restraint we've heard on some the recent live stuff. Or perhaps not. It's Jandek, so you'll probably never know. So yeah, we're definitely giving this our highest recommendation, and we know there are plenty of you who will agree with us. Of course, it wouldn't be a Jandek record without confusing the living fuck out the majority of the human population, so approach at your own risk!
"Don't Go Out" MPEG Stream:
JANDEK Chair Beside A Window (Corwood Industries) lp 24.00
Now back in print on vinyl, Chair Beside A Window was album number four in the massive Jandek discography, recorded and originally released back in 1982. Jandek's recordings are always self-contained, self-referential, and willfully difficult excursions into anti-folk aesthetic that deconstructs every blues-based archetype through freely tuned 'songs.' It was never clear at all if Jandek was the work of one mystery man who lived in Texas, or if he employed help from anonymous musicians. The early records allude to a nearly hermetic form of creativity, but given the model for Jandek's live performances in the 21st Century (with only a couple of a notes handed to the backing musicians and no introductions whatsoever), it's entirely possible that Jandek brought in a couple of musicians under similar instructions back in the day. That said, Chair Beside A Window is an exceptional record for Jandek, not just because of its cracked genius, but also because of the appearance of two outside vocalists, a woman presumably named Nancy and another woman who might be Nancy's sister named Pat. There had been speculation that Nancy was Jandek's girlfriend, although there's nothing to prove (or disprove) that notion. In any case, Jandek's "Nancy Sings" is something of a freak-folk classic with Nancy adopting more of a classic Patsy Cline delivery of fragile beauty, as a counter to the lithium warble and growl from the man himself. Jandek also reprises his track "European Jewel" which is as close to a Jandek standard as you can get, given the recurrence of this song on a handful of albums. This song appeared on Ready For The House but here gets an electric guitar arrangement instead of the treble happy acoustic found on the debut. There's still no end to the mystery of Jandek, even after he's been touring the globe as a very unlikely troubadour. Pretty much all of Jandek's records from the '80s are awe-inspiring / confounding documents, Chair Beside A Window included!
JANDEK Door Behind (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
JANDEK Glasgow Friday (DVD) (Corwood) dvd 14.98
JANDEK Glasgow Monday (Corwood) 2cd 12.98
Just when you think you have Jandek figured out. Nearly fifty releases, several this year, you sort of figure he has his 'thing' and does it when the inspiration strikes him. But then along comes Glasgow Monday and we are totally thrown for a loop. Where to begin. First off it's a single track, spread out over TWO discs, a track called "The Cell" nine parts, near ninety minutes. Recorded live in Scotland, May 23, 2005, this is the 47th Jandek release, and FOURTH of 2006. BUT, gone is the strangled blues guitar that pretty much defined Jandek's sound, and its place, piano. Just piano. And vocals. Some strange scraping buzz and subtle percussion, some rumbling cello way in the background, but this is almost entirely piano and vocals, and you know what? It's absolutely gorgeous. This just might be the disc to win over all you Jandek haters out there. The piano is lilting and lovely, strange melodies hover and dissipate, notes and chords trail and drift, hands wandering along the keyboard, slightly melancholy, the sound just glistens and shimmers, while Jandek sings over the top, a sort of spoken croon, tentative, hushed, almost whispered, very dreamy and delicate. This is really nothing like any of the other Jandek records you have ever heard. A dark and mysterious, lovely and dreamlike record. Intimate and inspired, gentle and delicate, without a doubt the loveliest Jandek yet...
"The Cell: Part One" MPEG Stream:
"The Cell: Part Two"
JANDEK Glasgow Monday (Corwood) dvd 14.98
JANDEK Glasgow Sunday (Corwood) dvd 14.98
Even though we know the mystery man known as Jandek has lately been playing shows here and there, a new pick up band in each city, a who's who of underground musicians acting as his sidemen, it was still an absolute thrill to see the man up on stage on this DVD, documenting his first ever public performance. It's hard to explain. We literally had knots in our stomachs, hairs raised on end. Watching a shadow, in the dark, strap on a guitar and then step into the light. This was Jandek for fucks sake!! Live and in the flesh. After years of supposition, did he actually exist, was it a hoax perpetrated by some way too clever hipster musician, was he insane, was that really even him on those record covers. None of it mattered. Because there he was. Tall and skeletal. Dressed all in black. A black hat pulled low. And while he was much older and much more gaunt, he was immediately recognizable from those iconic album cover images. This, like maybe most Jandek releases, is for diehards only. His atonal deconstructed blues, off key and mournfully moaning, is definitely an acquired taste. And this live performance finds him at his most atonal for sure. Backed up for this performance in Glasgow back in 2004 by Richard Youngs on bass and Alex Nielson on drums, they add a certain stumbling free jazz vibe to Jandek's tortured blues dirge stagger. But hell he sounds great, and looks great too. Part of us was a bit disappointed that he finally decided to play live, but another part of us watched in awe as a mystery came to life, while somehow remaining as mysterious as ever. Absolutely essential for every Jandek fan. NTSC, all region, aspect ratio 4:3, three possible viewing choices: "Camera 1", "Camera 2" or the "2 camera mix edit."
JANDEK Helsinki Saturday (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
JANDEK Khartoum (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
The 43rd album from the one and only Jandek is here! Doing his very distinct thing on acoustic guitar and vocals, a style that has become known to music nerds far and wide as "Jandekian", Khartoum is yet another dark, downer trip into this hermitic Texan's psyche. Well, maybe he's not so hermitic anymore, but even now that he's actually making public appearances (only 27 years after he released his first LP), his music remains as raw and mysterious as ever. And "Jandekian" hasn't lost its meaning. Khartoum consists of alienated, atonal strum-und-twang, teamed with loosely demented vocals, sometimes quietly spoken, sometimes pitched to a warbling holler, delivered with the stream of conciousness lyrical logic of a homeless poet. These songs, with titles like "You Wanted To Leave", "Fragmentation", "I Shot Myself", "In A Chair I Stare", and "Fork In The Road", seem fixated on past (broken) relationships, forgiveness, regret, and despair. Our attempt to transcribe the lyrics of "I Shot Myself" produced the following: "I shot myself I can't get up I am beyond repair I shot myself I'm over some hill beyond the valley stars in the black night sun filters through forgetting a mountain time slides in my mind and I know what it is its time to die..." Something like that. Or, from "New Dimension", another of Khartoum's eight tracks: "You're married, I presume I'm not looking but if you're not be careful I'm the vulnerable kind I love to hurt myself I hurt myself in love and I don't care and all the spirits in the spirit world don't equal you because you're gone and I took you for granted and I miss you so." It's a soul laid bare, speaking directly but in such an idiosyncratic manner that it will only be heard by those with a will to listen. Seriously, his scrabble of strings and chaotic chording provides almost a respite from his depressed words and sometimes excruciatingly miserable wail, one that at times reminds us of Oxbow's Eugene Robinson. So... another fine addition to any fan's sagging Jandek shelf!
"You Wanted To Leave" MPEG Stream:
"I Shot Myself"
JANDEK Khartoum Variations (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
44th Jandek release...
JANDEK London Tuesday (Corwood) cd 8.98
JANDEK Newcastle Sunday (Corwood Industries) 2cd 12.98
45th release, 2nd of 2006, double disc, 90 minutes long, an amazing live recording documenting Jandek's live perfromance at The Sage Gateshead England on May 22, 2005.
JANDEK Newcastle Sunday (Corwood) dvd 14.98
JANDEK Not Hunting For Meaning (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
Oh boy another Jandek!
JANDEK Raining Down Diamonds (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
Raining Down Diamonds is the 41st (42nd if you count the live one) album for Jandek, who in recent years has stepped out of his hermitic existance and has performed several times in England with an upcoming show in the US. One of those performances found Jandek and Keiji Haino on the same bill; while it's never very clear when Jandek recorded any of his recordings, it seems that Jandek had been quite impressed by the oblique screams, howls, and ululations of Mr. Haino. As wholly self-contained as the Jandek ethos has been, it is quite unusual when other voices emerge within Jandek's primarily solitary artform (the notable exception being the guest vocal appearances by a woman referred to as "Nancy"). Obviously, it's impossible to confirm or deny if he has or has not been influenced by Keiji Haino (or anyone else for that matter), but Raining Down Diamonds sure does sound like a Keiji Haino record. Here, Jandek is only playing the bass and singing, although back to his more recognizably lithium saturatured wavering as opposed to his recent ventures into a baritone style. Oh so sad, and oh so bleak, it can only be Jandek.
"What Things Are" MPEG Stream:
JANDEK Six and Six (Corwood Industries) lp 26.00
Record number two, originally released way back in 1981, from this not-so-mysterious-anymore and not-so-reclusive-anymore mysterious recluse, finally available again on vinyl! Another raw glimpse into the hermetic soul of this unliklely underground troubadour, through his ultra-minimal, angular trance-blues soaked with as always, lots of spring reverb and moaned wavering vocal. An acquired taste for sure, but those who do acquire a taste for Jandek's unique twangy murky off kilter caterwaul, often end up completely obsessed.
JANDEK The End Of It All (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
JANDEK The Myth Of Blue Icicles (Corwood) cd 8.98
For a while there, we used to really try and keep up with the detailed reviewin' of new Jandek joints as they came out... but now that we, and he, are on his 52nd (!) record, it's tough. We still like getting a new Jandek cd, to get another shot of that one of a kind Jandek feeling (lonely, weird, confusional) and they're cheap enough, so we hope he keeps on cranking 'em out (pretty sure he will, based on his track record over the last thirty years!!) but having something new to say about the mysterious Texas troubadour isn't easy. Of course, he's not *quite* so mysterious as he used to be, with live performances (begun in 2004) now almost commonplace. The front cover picture on this one (a grinning red haired man, who now we can identify as Jandek himself in younger days, photographed against a portion of Houston skyline) needn't necessarily be read for signs and portents the way they used to, but his words and music remain pretty opaque. On The Myth Of Blue Icicles there's four songs in the typical Jandek mold of minimal, meandering (track 3, "The Daze", is over 14 minutes long), not-so-melodic outsider folk: Lethargic, stream of consciousness singing-talking, sounding pained and maybe a little drunk. Atonal, abstract guitar strum. Also pained and somewhat drunken. But for sure not jolly-drunken... this is all about emotively sparse, depressive atmosphere. And it's a proper solo "studio" album, not one of the many live documents with avant-indie sidemen that Jandek's label Corwood has been releasing of late as well. Not that the distinction is terribly meaningful, since Jandek's live records feature all new songs anyway, and also any album with Jandek on it is indeed equally uniquely Jandek...
"The Daze" MPEG Stream:
JANDEK The Ruins Of Adventure (Corwood Insudtries) cd 8.98
What to say about Jandek that hasn't already been said. This is release number 49, the last of 2006, if you're already a fan, you might have to buy this one too (some of us here are so inclined), if none of the last 48 records have managed to turn you into a fan, odds are this one won't either. That's not to say it isn't good, it is, really good actually, but good in that way only Jandek records can be good. An alternate universe of sound, where a 'good' Jandek record is one that seems to be mostly solo bass and vocals. Plodding lugubrious low end, simple fumbling basslines, and that atonal croon, spewing tales of sadness and misery and loneliness and despair. The ultimate outsider solo doom folk death trip. Recommended, if that's your sorta thing. It is ours...
"The Park " MPEG Stream:
JANDEK What Else Does The Time Mean (Corwood) cd 8.98
Jandek's always been a difficult proposition, with his atonal deconstructed blues, drastically out of tune guitars, howled and groaned harrowingly emotional vocals, definitely an acquired taste. So to imagine Jandek sounding EVEN MORE atonal, and off key, and detuned, and damaged, seem pretty much impossible. But that's precisely what has happened on What Else Does The Time Mean, the 46th Jandek, release and the 3rd of 2006! We were worried that Jandek's mystery would have faded with his recent shuffle into the spotlight (including several live shows), but if anything it's only made him more of an enigma. A handful of live performances and a higher profile than he's ever had in his entire career have done absolutely nothing to change his totally unique, totally fried haunting abstract blues stumble. If anything it's pushed it even further OUT. This record is totally damaged and incredibly difficult to listen to even by Jandek standards. The opening track is a 16 minute stoned stagger, a lugubrious drift through prickly steel string strum, accopanied by a slurred, sleepy sounding, stream of conciousness tone deaf mumble. The rest of the record follow essentially the same sonic blueprint, each tune a tiny tragedy, each one a creepy out of tune crawl through a drunken drowsy abstract blues-scape. This is definitely dark and emotional stuff, practically dripping with pathos, a seriously intense soul laid bare for sure, but the sound of pain and anguish is meant to be sharp, and jagged, sounds that help the listener feel that pain as if it was being inflicted upon them, which in a way it kind of is. What Else Does The Time Mean is a gloriously and fantastically uneasy listen, the sort of musical discomfort we've come to expect, and anticipate from quite possibly the saddest sounding man in the world!
"My Own Way" MPEG Stream:
JANDEK What Was Out There Disappeared (Corwood Industries) cd 8.98
Oh geezus more Jandek!
JANDEK When I Took That Train (Corwood) cd 8.98
JANDEK White Box Requiem (Corwood) cd 8.98
That guy in the sun on the cover again, this time with mutton chop facial hair.
JANDEK ON CORWOOD A Documentary Film (Unicorn Stencil) dvd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Jandek is definitely an acquired taste, what with his deconstructed blues guitar and atonal moaning vocals. Totally powerful and personal but very very difficult. The accusation is often levelled that hipsters don't like Jandek because of the music, but because of the music's inherent unlistenability, thus ensuring hipsters are the only ones (the elite) to love Jandek. Probably true in some instances, but there is definitely a beauty and sadness in the music of Jandek, and of course the mystery definitely adds to the allure. Until a few weeks ago, Jandek, had never performed live. In twenty something years. Only one or two people had ever spoken to him or met him. He was the ultimate outsider musician, prolific, brilliant, and completely reclusive. Obviously the perfect subject for a film. Albeit a very difficult subject as source material would obviously be quite limited. Dircetor Chad Freidrichs did a pretty great job of putting together an engrossing and fascinating documentary using mostly album covers, talking heads / interviews and constructed surreal tableaus. The meat of the movie is a series of interviews with record collectors / rabid fans like John Trubee and Byron Coley talking about how they first heard Jandek and what the music meant and all that kind of stuff. The most controversial part of the movie is the only known recorded interview with Jandek, which is really kind of cute and makes Jandek even more appealing, like a regular quiet guy who just likes to make music instead of a creepy recluse. The timing of the DVD's release is a bit remarkable because as we mentioned Jandek recently performed live for the first time in 25 years, which does sort of detract from the mystery of the film, although we imagine it will probably help sales quite a bit. Definitely a cool movie, essential for Jandek fans, and certainly a good way to initiate the Jandek unfamiliar. Even my ex-housemate, who had never heard Jandek, watched the move with me and ended up buying a couple Jandek records soon after! Bonus features include: audio commentary, music only audio track, an album cover featurette, the complete John Trubee interview, audio essay by music critic Douglas Wolk, selections from Jandek albums since the movie was made, interviews with "Jandek scholars" Byron Coley, Irwin Chusid, and Phil Milstein, articles by Katy Vine and Richie Unterberger, reviews and the movie trailer.
JANDL, ERNST 13 Radiophone Texte & Das Rocheln Der Mona Lisa (Intermedium) cd 14.98
Kurt Schwitters meets King Tubby at some well endowed European arts residency program! Andee once said that if our country had the same government financial support for the arts that many European nations have, we'd just get a bunch of "artists" getting paid to "shove fruit up their butt". Which would probably be pretty close to the truth, for better or worse. In the case of Ernst Jandl, one wonders if Mr Jandl was a pensioned haberdasher and the money bestowed upon him in the form of an art stipend was actually a pity payment for the insanity incurred from the years of huffing toxic glue. In actuality, Jandl (1925-2000) was a highly regarded Viennese poet who made his living by day as a high school English instructor. Those who know German, and even more importantly: German & English, will get much more enriched results listening to this disc, as Jandl's sound poetry is not only very difficult to translate, but utilizes a great many puns which make use of English and German phoenetics. 13 Radiophone Texte is a 1966 BBC commissioned radio play in which Jandl recites his sound poetry while having his words processed via tape delay by the station's engineers. Das Rocheln Der Mona Lisa is a similar play from Berlin radio and recorded in 1970. It was originally released only in cassette form and has long been out of print. The liner notes for this disc are all, unfortunately, in German only but a good online translator will get you entertaining results.
"Auf Den Land" RealAudio clip:
"Das Rocheln Der Mona Lisa"
JANE Coconuts (Psych-o-path) cd 14.98
When a record can suck you into its spell and keep you in its grasp from start to finish you know you have something special on your hands. We hope you got to hear the drugged out and seductive full length Berserker that Scott Mou & Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear of Animal Collective fame) released in 2005 under the monicker Jane. Now we get the recording of the two's first recording session packaged in a fake out 7" sleeve... And wow! as much as we liked Berserker there is something even more seductive and spell inducing happening on these two 20+ minute space jams. Armed with lo-fi electronics, turntables and keyboards cultivating a sound that takes you in its grasp and lets you float atop the beautiful stoned wave that you find yourself never wanting to get off of. There is something so nice about hearing spacey sounds that aren't so glossed over and studio perfected. The perfect record for twilight filled with pink skies or the late late night when it's time to resign your body and mind and begin to melt away to a better blissed out place. We hear some similarities in strategy and sound to the repetitious drones of William Basinski, early Oval or even imagine a d.i.y Steve Reich coming home from a drugged out rave and wanting to wash the night away, making music in a garage with some beat up equipment with the controls set for the heart of the sky. So very nice!
"Coconuts" MPEG Stream:
JARBOE Introducing The Sweet Meat Love And Holy Cult (Paradigms) 7" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. First vinyl release from the UK's Paradigms label, who over the last few months have brought us amazing releases from Amber Asylum, Hjarnidaudi, Blueprint Human Being, Throne Of Katarsis, Utlagr, Titan, the Angelic Process, as well as the gorgeous Walking With Ghosts compilation reviewed elsewhere on this list. And as first (vinyl) releases go, this one's a doozy. Jarboe, formerly of the mighty Swans, who has for years been crafting dark and mysterious musicks on her own, returns with a new extended ensemble and new dark tribal sound. Her new group, The Sweet Meat Love And Holy Cult features some seriously expansive instrumentation, two drummers, cello, violin, piano, acoustic guitars, rebab, vocals and sitar. A big ensemble, but it doesn't sound overblown, instead it manages to still sound immediate and intimate. Especially on side A, a swirling ambience of warped effects, muted minor key melodies, and strange shimmering metallics, underpin Jarboe's haunting vocals, which build and build, layer upon layer, until the track becomes a sea of tangled voices, slipping and drifting in and out of unlikely harmonies. From within this dense cloud of vocal tangle emerges a dirgey steel string guitar, and suddenly it sounds like some modern outsider psych folk jam, all strummy and drifting, with soaring sorrowful vocals woven delicately into the reverberating steel strings. Side B is a little more chaotic, clangy, clattery and dense, tribal rhythms, some primitive krautrock jam, topped again by Jarboe's wailing vocals. The whole thing is thick with natural reverb, like it was recorded live in a cave or a cathedral. Gradually, mournful strings materialize way back in the mix, giving the whole track a subtly sorrowful vibe, and ends up sounding like a string section jamming with a sonically overpowering No Neck / Avarus orchestra. Which sounds amazing! Definitely one of the nicest and most powerful post-Swans recordings we've heard from Jarboe. SUPER LIMITED. ONLY 600 COPIES PRESSED. Packaged in a thick full color sleeve, with a truly haunting, beautiful painted portrait of the lady herself on the cover.
JARBOE Mahakali (The End) cd 12.98
JARBOE Thirteen Masks (Atavistic) cd 15.98
JARSE Alas (Fonal) 7" 13.98
JARVIS, ANDY Tectonique Du Corps (Students Of Decay) cd-r 7.98
Limited to only 100 copies and long sold out, we realized we had a bunch of these and never actually reviewed them, so figured we'd get it on the list so at least a few of you free noise cd-r obsessives could get your grubby little paws on one of these. If you're quick that is! Jarvis is a fixture in the UK noiserock underground, and unlike his usual soundmaking, Tectonique Du Corps is more of a drone-y skittery percussive freejam, organic and a bit tripped out, very free, but rife with layers of buzz and strange rhythmic arrangements. We won't go into too much detail, since we have less than 10 copies, other than to say this is some pretty kick ass shit. Drums are haphazard and abstract, very free, almost like some free jazz drummer sitting in with a noise outfit, which as far as we know could be exactly what happened. While the drums stumble and lurch, streaks of feedback swirl above the fray, while beneath and within a thick fuzzy drone holds it all together, the second track is way more drifty and abstract, a meandering bassline beneath a layer of wheezing harmonies, super mesmerizing and strangely groovy, track three is some more buzzy drift, overlaid with gnarled little tangles of distorted guitar squiggle, everything drizzled with effects and creaking ambience, and finally, the disc finishes off with a 12 minute slab of almost jazzy freedronedrift, murky and muddy, but with a distinct groove and a propulsive krautjam buried beneath the whir and buzz, super druggy and tripped out. Killer stuff. Already out of print. We have just a handful so once these disappear, they will never reappear!
"Golden Lady" MPEG Stream:
JASPER TX A Darkness (Lidar Productions) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Brand new full length from one of our favorite new outfits, the strangely named Jasper TX, the work of one man, a Mr. Dag Rosenqvist, who as you might have presumed, is not, in fact from Texas. And actually, based on the music of Jasper TX, it's a bit difficult to even begin to guess where Mr. Rosenqvist hails from. One minute we're tempted to suggest some tiny village in the Alps, surrounded on all sides by snowy peaks and lush verdant forests. Moments later, we'd guess he was from the desert, existing amidst miles and miles of wide open space, the sky threatening to swallow the world whole. Another theory would be that Jasper TX comes from nowhere, or at least, nowhere we would recognize, an alternate universe perhaps, and alien land, somewhere different, dark, mysterious, separated from our world by a thin gauzy veil, so as we glimpse into that world we see and hear a reflection of our world, but one that is slightly skewed, obfuscated, fuzzy and blurry and indistinct. Which is precisely why we seem to love it so much. Like many of his sonic brethren, Rosenqvist takes simple bits of pop music, and pulls them apart, wrapping them in bits of crackle and hum, and setting them amidst soft warm melodies and dreamy shimmering soundscapes. A sort of abstract, spaced out ambient post rock might come close. But it's not really that simple to describe. It's effervescent, weightless, dreamlike, but at the same time, dark and heavy and intense. Each song a struggle between the two. A subtle tension that imbues the songs with emotion and urgency, even at their most blissed out and laid back. A Darkness, as the title implies, might just be a tad bit darker than past outings, although the first track might not immediately let on. it's a doleful warm summer afternoon drift of soft focus post rock guitar, all minor key and meandering melody, floating along a slow flow of strange static and buzzing hum. But after that, it's a slow descent into a darker place, thick washes of warm drone and whirling winds of hiss and buzz, looped vocal snippets, strange beeping and distant industrial grind, before breaking through the black sky in a burst of effulgent bliss, still minor key and miserable, but briefly unhindered by the black buzz of the preceding 8 minutes. The next track is a desert-y drift, like Godspeed covering Calexico, harmonicas and little bits of twang hover amidst a dense reverbed soundscape, like a blown out and stripped down Galaxie 500. Beyond that, the sound continues to darken, huge billowing clouds of low end rumble and metallic shimmer, muted FX drenched snatches of distant piano, peppered with strange scrapes and scratches, footsteps? Someone digging? All very mysterious and haunting. The record ends with the epic 20+ minute "Some Things Broken, Some Things Lost", a glistening slow motion drift, everything sparkling and glimmering, crystalline guitars smeared into long slow streaks of sound, melodies muted and blurred, gorgeous and ethereal, before transforming into a skipping crackly glitchscape, a whirring minimal drone hovers beneath a storm cloud of record crackle and a skipping record rhythm, before slowly blossoming into world of warm melody, a sonic expanse streaked with oranges and yellows, dark burnished reds, guitars flittering like little birds, just bits of melody against a stained glass sky. So lovely...
"Better Days To Come" MPEG Stream:
"Destroy Detroit (The Sign Of Buildings Never Built)"
JASPER TX An Index Of Failure (Handmade Birds) lp 22.00
Jasper TX, how we will miss you! An Index Of Failure marks the final installment for Jasper TX, although the man behind this dream-time drone-rock project will be continuing to record under his own name, that being Dag Rosenqvist... and hopefully, he'll be retaining the same moodscaping and slippery alternation between post-rock ambience (e.g. Stars Of The Lid, Labradford, Barn Owl, and perhaps a rhythmless Mogwai) and the electro-acoustic soundsculpting of a Tim Hecker or a Jonathan Coleclough. That said, the title is apt, given this is a collection of tracks that were originally commissioned for various compilations or were collaborations that never quite got off the ground with Rosenqvist completing the original material by himself. The sad chords on the first track sound like they could have come from a Rhodes organ that leads into a beautifully shimmering wash of guitar drone, and that resonant, echo-laden radiance continues on the second track, about which Rosenqvist quips that it was just recorded with voice and guitar, although the expansive blur and wash speaks to a much larger, if hushed orchestra of instruments quietly layering timbre on top of timbre. Piano and tape experiments get reworked through Rosenqvist's tricks and techniques, culminating in what is undoubtedly one of his finest moments - the grandiose, oceanic crescendo of desolate guitar chords, slow marching rhythms, and densely washed out blur of post-Nadja distortion on "Days Above The Tide." So beautiful! Handmade Birds printed up a few more of these than they normally do, with an edition of 500, all on winter grey-sky vinyl.
JASPER TX Black Sleep (Miasmah) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's actually been a while since we've heard from Jasper TX, aka Dag Rosenqvist. For a brief spell, JTX was churning out releases like a Machinefabriek or Aidan Baker. And to be honest, we actually didn't mind, as we've loved pretty much everything Rosenqvist has released. In fact, the very first Jasper TX release, I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You, still ranks as one of our favorite discs, and in some ways was sort of the first of this new breed of obfuscated blurred ambience we've come to love so much. Anyway, finally a brand new full length, one epic 51 minute track, split into 6 movements, and right out of the gate, we're smitten, deep dark swells, washed out barely there melodies, distant hiss, and a strange buried pulse, that seems to surface and then disappear, like some mysterious beasts heartbeat, growing louder as it reaches the surface, only to fade away as it disappears back into the depths. Long drawn out tones, shimmery reflective, before it slips into something MUCH more minimal, the second movement, a super low-end drift, barely audible through speakers but in headphones it's a powerful seismic rumble, rippled with strands of whispery static, and more buried barely audible rhythms. It's only on track three that the record takes on anything songlike, a loping lilting guitar, unspooling a dreamy laid back melody, a keyboard picking out a simple harmony over the top, all underpinned by a soft dronelike murmur. But the respite is brief, Black Sleep is indeed true to its title, narcotic and very dark, murky and mysterious, the record shifts into some abstract assemblage of thumps and bumps, before they fade out leaving a distant ominous whir, spread out like a slow moving black sonic sea, before shifting back again to song, the guitar returning, this time suspended amidst dense layers of static shimmer, low end rumbles, laced with bits of grit and glitch, of hiss and static, all very moody and intense, threatening to build to something climactic, but instead, shifting slowly forward, resolutely and mournfully. The final part, clocking in at nearly 20 minutes, begins with a cacophony of buzzing and scraped strings, a manic exploration of a piano's inside, still surrounded by shards of electronic glitch, the static and buzz creating accidental rhythms over a distant machine-like hum, before a melody surfaces, minor key and melancholy, the notes appearing one at a time as deep swells, the distant drones building in density and intensity, never quite exploding, but building to a muted murky chordal climax, majestic, but still subdued, before as all things drone must, it fades to silence. Definitely not the prettiest Jasper record (that honor still goes to I'll Be Long Gone) but certainly the darkest, and maybe the most mysterious sounding, a musical rendering of the Black Sleep, which to our ears can only be death, and as a soundtrack to slipping off our mortal coils, we'd be hard pressed to do much better than this.
"Black Sleep Part III" MPEG Stream:
"Black Sleep Part IV"
JASPER TX Closet Ghosts (Fenetre) 3" cd 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Latest disc from long time aQ fave Jasper TX (after 10 releases in 3 years, and those are just the ones we reviewed!), another lil' one, a 3" cd (not cd-r), six songs in just over 20 minutes, the first of which begins with a bang, almost knocked us out of our chairs, a super loud bit of metallic cacophony, which thankfully quickly gives way to something much more contemplative, but only a little less buzzy, a warm shimmering whir, that manages to be warm and meditative, but still a bit prickly and abrasive. The second track is much more song-y, a beautiful lilting arrangement for guitar, dark and folky, a bit Appalachian, before slipping into the third track, a gorgeous understated bit on ultra minimal drone, a subtle pulsing thrum, softly overlapping layers of low end, that seem to melt into one another. A bit of ultra high end shimmer, a whispery barely there upper register ur-drone, gives way to a spare bit of piano laced minimal ambience. The notes wreathed in reverb- and floating through dusty sun dappled expanses of hushed near-silence, which slips quietly into the closer, a beautifully bleary bit of spidery guitar, unfurling through soft clouds of reverb, a super spare slow core sprawl, that manages to be both lovely and hauntingly ominous. Another fantastic bit of abstract minimalism, and as some other reviewer opined, a pretty great way to spend 20 minutes. We of course concur, and thus say: RECOMMENDED!
"I'm Asleep On The Floor While Sunbeams Grace My Tired Head" MPEG Stream:
JASPER TX D + A (self-released) 3" cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Not sure if the title of this super limited cd-r has anything to do with the OTHER Jasper TX release elsewhere on this list, although we think it sort of must, c'mon, this is D + A, the other disc is called A Darkness, hmmm... Or maybe it's a play on "DNA"... Anyway, D + A follows a similar sonic path as A Darkness in that the sound of Jasper TX, for these releases at least, seems to be growing darker and more ominous, everything painted in deep blues and rich browns and of course lots and lots of black. The two lengthy tracks on D + A are ultra minimal, and surprisingly smooth and hi-fi. Part of what we loved about the other Jasper TX releases was the crumbling lo-fi aspect, the hiss and crackle and sonic imperfections wrapped around the glimmering glistening melodies inside. But Jasper TX do wear it well, this new smoother sound, and these tracks benefit, glowing darkly from within, shimmering and spreading out like barely there ripples on the surface of some massive body of oceanic sound. This is definitely the most minimal we've heard Jasper TX, and we're loving it... there's a lot of subtle overtones happening (a la Niblock) and the results are truly divine. Subtle for sure, but so so lovely. Ultra limited of course, already out of print as far as we know, we got about 30 copies but those will definitely be gone in a flash... Packaged in cool mini hand painted jackets in a plastic sleeve with a printed sticker.
"track 1" MPEG Stream:
JASPER TX Harrisburg (self-released) 3" cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another gorgeous missive from former AQ record of the week recipient Jasper TX, aka Swedish sound sculptor Dag Rosenqvist. For more on the obfuscated beauty of Jasper TX, check the review of I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You elsewhere on the AQ site, where we wax rhapsodic about the fuzzy, blurry, shimmery pixelated dreamscapes Rosenqvist seems to be able to muster from thin air. For this brief two track blast, Rosenqvist ups the noise ante just a bit, but balances it with plenty of blurry beauty and dreamy ambience. The opener shifts from a creaking, nearly not there whisper, to a huge buzzing squall of crumbling distortion and keening high end shimmer, which quickly gives way to a super spacious near ambient minor key drift. The second track, clocking in at 15 minutes, spends its first two minutes rumbling at the edge of human perception, before a melody begins to emerge, the notes ringing out, hovering above the roiling near silent rumbles below, before beginning to swell, the notes ringing out longer, thick gauzy streaks of reverb wrapping themselves around the fragments of melody, wreathed in bits of glitch and crackle, glimmering and glistening, when, for just a brief moment, a guitar muscles its way through the murk, a single grinding chord smeared across the mournful drifting soundscape beneath, before disappearing completely, leaving the glistening notes and the crackling melodies to slowly fade away. Gorgeous. Packaged in a cool mini cardstock sleeve, with a printed sticker affixed to the plastic. LIMITED TO 75 COPIES!! We got about half, but those won't last long...
"Pt. I (excerpt)" MPEG Stream:
"Pt. II (excerpt)"
JASPER TX I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You (Lampse) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. It's funny that after years of everybody striving for better sound quality, better recording equipment, higher fidelity, a sound closer and closer to pristine perfection, wax cylinder to 78 to lp to cassette to compact disc.... that we here at AQ tend to lean in the exact opposite direction. Sure that record's great, we'll think, but imagine if it was swathed in murky distortion, or drenched in a dense swirl of tape hiss! Record crackle? Yes, please. This constant quest for sonic perfection seems like a reflection of exactly what is wrong with society in general, a constant striving for some unattainable ideal, the march of progress, sacrificing character and feeling and emotion for faceless smooth 'perfection' in the process. But those imperfections are exactly what make things interesting and unique and totally unlike anything else. But as much as we love lesser than pristine sound quality, it's worth pointing out that when, for example, we hear a compilation of old blues 78's often cleaned up, obviously the scratches and pops and hiss were not at all intended, and thus realistically have no place in the music, at least from the musician's point of view, but as a byproduct of degradation and the passing of time and the fragility of primitive recordings, the sound of that decay becomes representative of the time passed, and the history within the music. So when we hear old 78's or long lost wax cylinder recordings, we don't want them cleaned up and digitally restored, the sound of the music wrapped in warm scratchiness and murky lo fidelity, gives the music a special kind of character, like the lines on our faces, or metal oxidizing into cool greens and blues. And I guess that's what appeals to us about the music of Philip Jeck and Tim Hecker and William Basinski and the like. Musicians who create modern music, but who take that music and affect it in a way that makes it sound antique or otherworldly, damaged and decayed, sometimes by utilizing modern techniques, but just as often by employing old turntables and antiquated recording techniques, the music on its own is of course beautiful, but even more so with a rough patina of age and weariness, of whir and hiss, the musical equivalent of an old sepia tone photograph, edges all creased and folded, the images blurry and indistinct. It's more romantic, and way more mysterious. But it takes more than just slapping on some fuzz, or recording on a broken old reel to reel machine. There was a glut recently of electronica pop hybrids, where a band would sprinkle some bloops and bleeps over some generic strummy pop, and suddenly what was once a crappy pop band became some sort of experimental avant post pop group. Bullshit. Just like anything, it's more than the process, more than the technique, it's some ineffable combination that creates magic. Magic like Jasper TX. The work of one man, Dag Rosenqvist, and recorded at home in Sweden, Jasper TX sounds like so much more. A fuzzy travelogue, soft smeared images from lost lives and faded memories. A gentle lilting post rock, transmitted through time, picking up all sort of sonic detritus on the way, a message from another world, faded like an old postcard. A futuristic version of the unearthed 78. Imagine music nerds in 2066, discovering a mysterious compact disc, "rarely see those anymore...", unearthed in a trunk in some old abandoned house, marveling and the murky mystery of this record, and the beautifully fuzzy and foggy melodies, the droney timeless beauty. Jasper TX manages to evoke all sorts of feeling and emotions, some of the sounds, the methods, are clearly modern, but the whole record, every sound, every melody, is steeped in warm warbly mystery, even the title, I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You, hints at the emotional disconnect, that faded photo, undelivered postcard, translated into music. Each track is a snapshot, a sonic glimpse into the past, or a future that was never meant to be, a melancholy soundtrack full of shadows and whispers, a slow shuffling shimmer, a loping lazy rhythm, drifting beneath a warm swirly wash of thick guitar fuzz and what sounds distinctly like the sound of surf crashing on the shore, a thick wash of My Bloody Valentine guitar and M83 buzzy shimmer over a lilting minor key guitar and delicate piano, long stretches of lustrous, sun dappled drones, over slow shifting chordal washes, and a creeping morose melodic crawl, soaring strings and gentle fingerpicked guitars, all muted and mumbled, as if heard from underwater, the light bending and wavering hypnotically, tinkling music box melodies drenched in reverb and broadcast from tin speakers hung from trees, the fog thick and the moonlight dull and grey, soft strummy guitars smeared into whisps of dreamlike whir, each track thick with sorrow, or regret, or hopelessness, not overt, but conveyed through the subtle soft light each track is cast in, warm overcast evening glow, the pale spill of the crescent moon, the diffuse flush of predawn light, glimmering and glistening soft and bittersweet. The heart of the record is the appropriately titled "My Heart Is Broken, I've Lost My Way", a nine minute slow build, warm wheezing layers of organ, over ambient clatter, mic sounds, footsteps, a weary, woozy wanderingly soft soundscape, gentle swells, each hovering and gliding dreamlike, an angelic theremin-like skree way in the background, while an alien melody is played out on top, crafted from glitched out crackling instrument buzz, an abrasive squelch, cutting in and out, easily the 'hardest' sounds on the record, like someone trying to get a message through from another dimension, a groaning distorted guitar, broadcast intermittently through the ether, creepy and strangely haunting. The record closes with the just as eerie "All Those Broken Birds Singing Winter Into Spring", a final look back, before fading into nothing, soft lilting guitar, over a whisper soft drift of minor key shimmer and minimally morose melody. So totally and absolutely perfect.
"Blown Out To Sea, I'm Never Coming Back" MPEG Stream:
JASPER TX In A Cool Monsoon (Pumpkin Seeds In The Sand) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. For a while there it was a pretty even race, Machinefabriek versus Jasper TX. Both bands offering up releases after releases, super limited, 3"s, whatever, it just seemed like it would never stop, and we didn't want it to, everything we heard was fantastic. Then suddenly it seemed like Jasper TX dropped out of the race, leaving Machinefabriek to keep us sated with disc after disc of dreamy fuzzy blissed out sound. Well, if In A Cool Monsoon is why we were waiting to hear from Jasper TX, it was well worth the wait. And the wait ended up being even longer than planned, as this disc was recorded and released months and months back, but there was some problem with the mastering and the discs were trashed, and the record was remastered and now, finally, it's here, sounding just the way it was intended to. And it's divine, and more of what we love about Jasper TX. Not at all lo-fi or minimal, this is a lush, expansive song cycle, sounding like it was recorded and performed by a full band, guitars drums, strings, squalls of feedback, languid and long form stretches of moody cinematic instrumental slowcore, dreamy and spacious, laced with drones but not a drone record… The opening track is the first sign things have changed, a brief minute and a half chunk of super distorted crumbling electric guitar, chopped up bits of acoustic guitar, thick corrosive sonic swells, really pretty bur intense and noisy. But then the second track is just the opposite. A simple spare tribal drum line, a languorous bass line, chiming guitar harmonics, and a warm wheezing organ melody over the top. It sounds like Scenic or Low or Bjorn Olsson or something, meandering and wide open, subtly epic and cinematic. There are some drone tracks, but even those are rife with texture and melody, "Summer" is all layered organs, the layers shifting and beating against one another, all sorts of overtones drifting in and out of earshot, but one of the organs is always working through a sweet sad melody, while the others drone on in the background. "Waking Up" is one of the highlights, with it's delayed reverbed Spacemen 3 like guitar line, drifting in an expanse of soft space, the guitar joined by another, and then another, each offering a complimentary melody, the song is briefly interrupted by a thick swath of My Bloody Valentine style blissed out buzz, before slipping back into it's shimmering drift. The final track, "Falling From The Sky Like A Flock Of Burning Birds" is all smeared blurs of indistinct melody, tinkling chimes, soft swells of backwards guitar, distant whirs and drones, climaxing with a dense flurry of low end piano, epic and grandiose, before slowing down and darkly droning until the end, the chiming melodies, fading like the last light of the day.
"Still A Tiny Light" MPEG Stream:
"Bending Spoons" MPEG Stream:
JASPER TX Pilgrims (self-released) 3" cd-r 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here we go again, another spectacular mini-album from Jasper TX, aka Dag Rosenqvist. It's getting hard to keep up, but we're sure having fun trying. Each and every one a gorgeous little sonic gem. This time it's another 5 songs, stretched out over 20 minutes. Each track a miniature soundworld of resonant rumbles, creaking metallic streaks, long languorous stretches of slow shifting low end whir, huge speaker rattling bass swells, disembodied reverbed guitars, everything casting shadows of haunting buzz and smeared shimmer. The final track is maybe the loveliest, a fuzzed out, foggy melodic drift, barely visible through the dense sheets of druggy ambient swirl. So gorgeous. Another disc that could have gone on forever and ever and we wouldn't have minded one bit! AS with all these little treasures, incredible limited, so act fast...
"A Beacon To Lead Us There" MPEG Stream:
"Through Dusk....and Falling Leaves"
JASPER TX Singing Stones (Fang Bomb) cd 23.00
JASPER TX / MACHINEFABRIEK (DAG ROSENQVIST / RUTGER ZUYDERVELT) Vintermusik (self-released) 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. Music nerds are always fantasizing about the ultimate collaboration. And of course we're no different. We're always thinking about how cool it would be to have Necrofrost collaborating with some North American Frogs, or the Conet Project and the Thai Elephant Orchestra hooking up, or maybe Belle and Sebastien and Darkthrone... ok, maybe we're a little different. But the possibilities are endless... Even so, it never really even occurred to us to imagine two of our past record of the week honorees teaming up, but here it is! Jasper TX and Machinefabriek, each responsible for one of our favorite discs of 2006, and together, well, it's just as subtly beautiful as you might imagine. Slow chiming harmonics drift along slow warm swells of rich chordal hum, very dramatic and intense, building to a dense reverberant shimmer, barely there wintery whirs over distant steel string buzz and tiny bits of glitch like rain drops, gorgeous smears of cloudy ambient pop, drifting bell like guitars chime out over a slowly twisting bed of shuffling percussion and muted low end rumble, gauzy expanses of dreamlike reverb and insectoid buzz wrapped around mournful and melancholy bits of piano, lo-fi glitch and fuzz underpin, simple far away drumming, melodies materialize from the ether, but only just barely, huge swells of fuzzy guitar and deep resonant choral vocals, drift and swoon, like some otherworldly liturgical ceremony, all washed out and blurred into gloriously indistinct smears of spiritual sound, while in the distance, high end sparks flare and streak across the sky, like shooting stars. So lovely. Package in a beautifully designed oversized cardstock folder. We got these direct from the two bands, and we got the last copies from each, so we ended up with about 50 copies, which will not be around long...
"Frost" MPEG Stream:
"Gras Som Bryts Och Gar Av" MPEG Stream:
JAUMET, ETIENNE Night Music (Domino) cd 14.98
We love it when something unexpected, unknown, and essentially totally off our radar shows up and then completely blows us away! Which is exactly what happened with this chunk of epic cosmic psychedelic space-out by French artist Etienne Jaumet. By the looks of his photo on the cover we first thought this was going to be some sort of smarty pants singer songwriter, Jarvis Cocker sort of thing, but talk about about how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover! Instead, Night Music is one of the most satisfying and fully realized analog synth driven discs we've heard in ages. Imagine Goblin and Kraftwerk gliding through cosmic space, as the record's opening 20+ minute track really does evoke some sort of interstellar autobahn, the listener whirling through the stars and sky, Night Music a deep rich and nuanced soundtrack for that late night cosmic excursion. We also think about some of our fave modern psych-space rockers, like try to imagine Expo 70 remixed by Jonas Reinhardt, or Arp channeling Franco Battiato or Subway stretched way out into a sonic stratosphere pioneered by Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Schulze. Folks who dug the Altres record we listed last time should definitely dig this too. We'd also bet the Black Devil Disco folks and both Zombi and Zomby lovers will find loads to love on Night Music. Oddly enough when we starting doing some digging to find out more about Jaumet we discovered he was in a group called Zombie Zombie (not however, related to the above Zomby/i's). You can tell that Jaumet also has a deep love of cosmic free-jazz as he introduces subtle saxophone on parts of the record with perfectly understated results, bringing to mind Herbie Hancock's Sextant album for sure, and also Sun Ra as reimagined by Four Tet, particularly on that epic opener "For Falling Asleep" - the very next track sure says "wake up", though, bringing in more of a techno thump to the proceedings, but still staying wonderfully spaced out. Pretty much every time we play this in the store either a customer or one of us who works here asks if this is a reissue of some long lost kosmiche gem, maybe from Germany in the 1970s. In fact we found out that Jaumet based the sequencing of the record on many of those same amazing cosmic psych records from the '70s, where first side of the vinyl is one long track and the other side is filled with shorter tracks. Jaumet also has such an obvious understanding of composition, especially how to stretch tracks out without letting them overstay their welcome, and thus Night Music is just long enough to totally transport us to another dimension, yet focused enough to stay listenable and sonically complex the entire time. Something which only makes us love this record even more was the discovery that long time AQ favorite, '70s French folk-psychstress Emmanuelle Parrenin adds her voice as texture on a couple tracks (sounding very Yoko Ono, at times) as well as playing harp and hurdy gurdy. Furthermore, the mix was "directed and imagined" by none other than Carl Craig and you can totally tell, as the whole record flows with such a lush layered sound and driving pulse that is both immediately satisfying and utterly hypnotic!
"For Falling Asleep" MPEG Stream:
"At The Crack Of Dawn" MPEG Stream:
JAUMET, ETIENNE Night Music (Domino) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We love it when something unexpected, unknown, and essentially totally off our radar shows up and then completely blows us away! Which is exactly what happened with this chunk of epic cosmic psychedelic space-out by French artist Etienne Jaumet. By the looks of his photo on the cover we first thought this was going to be some sort of smarty pants singer songwriter, Jarvis Cocker sort of thing, but talk about about how you shouldn't judge a book by its cover! Instead, Night Music is one of the most satisfying and fully realized analog synth driven discs we've heard in ages. Imagine Goblin and Kraftwerk gliding through cosmic space, as the record's opening 20+ minute track really does evoke some sort of interstellar autobahn, the listener whirling through the stars and sky, Night Music a deep rich and nuanced soundtrack for that late night cosmic excursion. We also think about some of our fave modern psych-space rockers, like try to imagine Expo 70 remixed by Jonas Reinhardt, or Arp channeling Franco Battiato or Subway stretched way out into a sonic stratosphere pioneered by Conrad Schnitzler and Klaus Schulze. Folks who dug the Altres record we listed last time should definitely dig this too. We'd also bet the Black Devil Disco folks and both Zombi and Zomby lovers will find loads to love on Night Music. Oddly enough when we starting doing some digging to find out more about Jaumet we discovered he was in a group called Zombie Zombie (not however, related to the above Zomby/i's). You can tell that Jaumet also has a deep love of cosmic free-jazz as he introduces subtle saxophone on parts of the record with perfectly understated results, bringing to mind Herbie Hancock's Sextant album for sure, and also Sun Ra as reimagined by Four Tet, particularly on that epic opener "For Falling Asleep" - the very next track sure says "wake up", though, bringing in more of a techno thump to the proceedings, but still staying wonderfully spaced out. Pretty much every time we play this in the store either a customer or one of us who works here asks if this is a reissue of some long lost kosmiche gem, maybe from Germany in the 1970s. In fact we found out that Jaumet based the sequencing of the record on many of those same amazing cosmic psych records from the '70s, where first side of the vinyl is one long track and the other side is filled with shorter tracks. Jaumet also has such an obvious understanding of composition, especially how to stretch tracks out without letting them overstay their welcome, and thus Night Music is just long enough to totally transport us to another dimension, yet focused enough to stay listenable and sonically complex the entire time. Something which only makes us love this record even more was the discovery that long time AQ favorite, '70s French folk-psychstress Emmanuelle Parrenin adds her voice as texture on a couple tracks (sounding very Yoko Ono, at times) as well as playing harp and hurdy gurdy. Furthermore, the mix was "directed and imagined" by none other than Carl Craig and you can totally tell, as the whole record flows with such a lush layered sound and driving pulse that is both immediately satisfying and utterly hypnotic!
"For Falling Asleep" MPEG Stream:
"At The Crack Of Dawn" MPEG Stream:
JAWORZYN, STEFAN Eaten Away By Shadows (Shock) cd 21.00
Eaten Away By Shadows collects a bunch of archival material from Stefan Jaworzyn (once a member of Skullflower, Ascension and other industrial/noise outfits) produced from 1982-83 with some of this material making its way onto compilations and onto a single released by Fusetron sometime in the early '90s. In the equally delightful liner notes to this album, Jaworzyn gleefully extols the virtues of bashing microphones with pieces of metal, and at least on one instance, an axe! The results of these Neubauten-esque excursions are most obvious on the junk-yard clamor of the only untitled piece from this collection. Throughout the clang and bash, Jaworzyn set forth a marching drum machine and distorto-muffled bass riffs whose structured sonic latticework seemed to be standard scum-fuck procedure for early Skullflower, Throbbing Gristle, SPK, etc. A good chunk of the album follows this strategy, with some surprisingly graceful moments, especially on the spacious "M.O.R" which could be some Soft Moon demo track with its eerily spectral guitars hung upon primitive drum machine rhythms. But the latter half of the album gets nasty. Really nasty, through gnarled feedback demolition and unhinged free noise explosions. Such volatility, noted on the very Susan Lawly sounding "Second Orgasm" or the two "Guitar" tracks which made their way onto the above mentioned Fusetron single, all share a transcendent self-immolation with the likes of Merzbow and even Keiji Haino that's far more primordial than any of the stylized ultra-violence of Whitehouse or Sutcliffe Jugend. Fuck! And perhaps you're wondering why it's only on cd? And not vinyl? Well Jaworzyn has very strong feelings about cds and vinyl, as he does about most things, so in his own, creatively combative words, here's a recent missive he sent out about a 12" series he's planning, the recent Skullflower reissues, his intense feelings about vinyl, and more: "Almost every sales site/label/distro seems to be concentrating on vinyl. I don't get it. It's stupidly expensive to produce (and buy - especially considering international postage costs); there doesn't seem to be any way to break even on runs of 300 or less unless you sell most of 'em full price yourself; pressings are regularly horrible (coloured/gimmick vinyl etc is an abomination, 'super-heavy' vinyl a joke); 99% of vinyl is mastered from digital sources anyway so don't give me that drivel about 'analogue sound'... Oh, I could go on and on... So the 12" series is going to lose me quite a lot. But if I sell a relatively small number of CDs I'll break even much faster, can put out another release sooner and I don't feel like a spaz having spunked over a grand on a record no one wants...AND CDs SOUND BETTER. Yes, I said it. CDs sound better. Oh, so you've got a mono UK original Piper at the Gates of Dawn, have you? Sold your kids to Estonian sex-traffickers for it, eh? How droll. Well I have it on CD and IT SOUNDS BETTER THAN THE VINYL. I mean it, man. OK, here's another. Form Destroyer. The LP version is horrible. The cut was rubbish, the pressing was rubbish (the master tapes were fine). The new CD sounds better than any other version. No, your vinyl version is not much cooler, it's simply unlistenable. (Xaman sounds fine on vinyl as it was mastered from the – wait, what, no – DIGITAL MASTER!) What is this crap always polluting discogs: 'when's the vinyl coming out?' I'll tell you when the vinyl's coming out: 'Fuck right off time' is when the vinyl's coming out. But no, let's pay £20.00 for an LP, which probably doesn't include a download (mp3s are digital smegma), so where do you get your 'listening copy'? You pay ALMOST THE SAME PRICE AS A CD for some shitty flacs, or a quid less for the mpfucking3s. What, are we slobbering slack-jawed mongoloids? Why on bog's green earth would anyone pay around a tenner for flacs? So they can make their own CD? Duh. Oh, flacs are just dandy if you've got a 250GB shitpad that plays them. And they're so convenient to load onto your portable device, eh? Right, just kill me now." Oh yeah, and to end with a delightfully apt Jaworzyn quip, also from the liner notes: "we don't want to hear any moaning about the fact it's in a jewel case, not a repulsive digipak!" Amen, brother.
"M.O.R." MPEG Stream:
"Untitled" MPEG Stream:
"Second Orgasm" MPEG Stream:
JAZKAMER Art Breaker (Smalltown Superjazz) cd 16.98
58 tracks in under 17 minutes! This is energetic, brutalizing NOISE, short sharp shocking shards of the stuff, kinda like Masonna with a drummer. Relentless bursts of distortion, screaming, pounding, feedback. Everything louder than everything else. Many of the tracks have epigrammatic titles long than the "songs" themselves (there's several here as short as 5 or 6 seconds)! We liked Metal Music Machine, the previous album by Norwegian duo Jazkamer (nee Jazzkammer) quite a bit... but while that one was noisy, it was not quite THIS noisy. MMM was way more droning and doomy and black metallish, the sort of thing that would appeal to fans of SUNNO))) and Khanate and KTL. Whereas Art Breaker is more like the Japanoise of Masonna, Hijokaidan, or the Hanatarash. With maybe a little early Napalm Death thrown in. Jazkamer are pros, so if you want to annoy your housemates, this WILL do the trick. While at the same time satisfying your own personal (sick and twisted) harsh noise jones. Doubtless this would have gotten a positive (and of course cryptically confusional) review from Bananafish 'zine had it been released back in the day.
"Art Is Magic Delivered From The Lie Of Being Truth" MPEG Stream:
"Democracy Is An Abuse Of Statistics" MPEG Stream:
"Absurdness Is The Essential Concept And The First Truth"
JAZKAMER Metal Music Machine (Smalltown Supernoise) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Savage Pencil cover art. Gothic font. Grim graphics. Black metal sonics. So this is the new Jazzkammer?! Metal Machine Music sees this Norwegian electronic noise duo changing their name (slightly) and suddenly adopting a black/death/doom metal sound. Maybe in this case we should say Metal, using the capital M for it like The Wire magazine does. Not sure what inspired this new direction, we'd hate to think it was just that in avant-experimental-indie circles Metal is now 'cool', and that they thought hey if SUNNO))) can do it, why not us? But chances are that being from Norway they're well aware of the black metal scene and dig a lot of the same stuff about it that we do, the perhaps unintentional avant-gardisms of bands like Abruptum for instance, and figured it was time to delve into it fully themselves. What matters, anyway, is how did Jazkamer's Metal Machine Music turn out? Well, we like it! First off, Jazkamer, as opposed to Jazzkammer, is not a duo, they've brought in some other folks to help out, including a real ringer -- Ivar Bjornson of AQ fave Viking black prog metallers Enslaved!! So we're taking it pretty seriously already. The first track, "Friends Of Satan" is a pretty harsh intro, and should serve to weed out listeners who AREN'T in fact friends of Satan. It's a blurred, blasting battery of drums and distortion, not unlike that sampled death metal disc by Francisco Lopez, Untitled 104. Or the Dave Lombardo track on Jonathan Bepler's Cremaster 2 soundtrack. The chorus of anguished vokills at the end of the track further nail down Jazkamer's black metal ballsiness. They'd be pleased to know that someone here asked, when this was playing, "What's that? Besides headache-inducing?" Following that, we encounter one of this album's main events, the 16:51 "The Worms Will Get In", a study in slow-motion, doom-dirge minimalism a la SUNNO))), Earth, and Khanate. Simple but effective. When it ends, it's a jarring segue into the next track, the jagged "Abomination". Probably the thing on here that most sounds like it could be from a "normal" black metal album, albeit with No Wave / Voivodian influences. Next up, the title track, that's along the same lines as "Abomination" but, like, ten times noisier. And then, the finale, the 12 and a half minute "Occult Glider" that's a menacing ambient fuzzed-drone soundscape, beautiful and powerful. We're impressed. Our doubts were quashed. Better than any Jazzkammer album we'd previously heard, as a matter of fact!
"Friends Of Satan" MPEG Stream:
"The Worms Will Get In" MPEG Stream:
JAZKAMER Metal Music Machine (Ass Piss) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. NOW ON VINYL! Savage Pencil cover art. Gothic font. Grim graphics. Black metal sonics. So this is the new Jazzkammer?! Metal Machine Music sees this Norwegian electronic noise duo changing their name (slightly) and suddenly adopting a black/death/doom metal sound. Maybe in this case we should say Metal, using the capital M for it like The Wire magazine does. Not sure what inspired this new direction, we'd hate to think it was just that in avant-experimental-indie circles Metal is now 'cool', and that they thought hey if SUNNO))) can do it, why not us? But chances are that being from Norway they're well aware of the black metal scene and dig a lot of the same stuff about it that we do, the perhaps unintentional avant-gardisms of bands like Abruptum for instance, and figured it was time to delve into it fully themselves. What matters, anyway, is how did Jazkamer's Metal Machine Music turn out? Well, we like it! First off, Jazkamer, as opposed to Jazzkammer, is not a duo, they've brought in some other folks to help out, including a real ringer -- Ivar Bjornson of AQ fave Viking black prog metallers Enslaved!! So we're taking it pretty seriously already. The first track, "Friends Of Satan" is a pretty harsh intro, and should serve to weed out listeners who AREN'T in fact friends of Satan. It's a blurred, blasting battery of drums and distortion, not unlike that sampled death metal disc by Francisco Lopez, Untitled 104. Or the Dave Lombardo track on Jonathan Bepler's Cremaster 2 soundtrack. The chorus of anguished vokills at the end of the track further nail down Jazkamer's black metal ballsiness. They'd be pleased to know that someone here asked, when this was playing, "What's that? Besides headache-inducing?" Following that, we encounter one of this album's main events, the 16:51 "The Worms Will Get In", a study in slow-motion, doom-dirge minimalism a la SUNNO))), Earth, and Khanate. Simple but effective. When it ends, it's a jarring segue into the next track, the jagged "Abomination". Probably the thing on here that most sounds like it could be from a "normal" black metal album, albeit with No Wave / Voivodian influences. Next up, the title track, that's along the same lines as "Abomination" but, like, ten times noisier. And then, the finale, the 12 and a half minute "Occult Glider" that's a menacing ambient fuzzed-drone soundscape, beautiful and powerful. We're impressed. Our doubts were quashed. Better than any Jazzkammer album we'd previously heard, as a matter of fact!
"Friends Of Satan" MPEG Stream:
"The Worms Will Get In" MPEG Stream:
JAZZFINGER Autumn Engines (Rebis) cd 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. FINALLY!! The first proper non-cd-r actual cd release from these unsung heroes of the UK freenoise underground. In the past we've reviewed as many releases by these guys as we could get our hands on. Every one an absolute gem. Dark shimmering dronescapes and epic washes of sculpted sound. Sure we love us some Skaters and some Yellow Swans and some Sunroof! and some Vibracathedral Orchestra and some Double Leopards and some Starving Weirdos, but damn it if we don't have a special place in our hearts reserved just for Jazzfinger, and their twisted take on soundmaking. It must be going on a decade now AT LEAST, since these guys started making records. I can remember stumbling on some strangely packaged cd-r, and being fascinated by the name Jazzfinger, and then later being just as fascinated by the strange sounds inside. Autumn Engines finds Jazzfinger still exploring the same sonic universe they were 10 years ago, but it's a big place, and these guys have seriously honed their chops, so every track here is like a fresh glimpse into some still undiscovered soundworld. Like sonic archaeology. Jazzfinger, take the same instruments, the same recording techniques, and mine all manner of unique sounds that no one else is able to discover. Jazzfinger's world is definitely one of drones, and ambience, delicate and dreamlike, but it's somehow much more. These are not just simple drones. Each track is like taking a different drone, or found soundscape (foundscape?) and splitting it open and observing what happens inside. What seems like a simple slow moving whir, is in fact rife with millions of microscopic happenings. Layers and striations, a whole world of melodic wonder and sonic wonder lurks beneath and within every sound Jazzfinger discover or produce. Jazzfinger have again delivered a record full of dark and lovely, truly beautiful and incredibly mysterious music. And already we want more...
"Fishing In Wet Railways" MPEG Stream:
"Strong Cheese And Fish" MPEG Stream: