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IMPORTANT (Please read to avoid confusion):
Some items below may be tagged with a bold, red, all-caps "out of print/unavailable" notice. This does NOT mean that all other items not so tagged are, in fact, in stock -- or for that matter, in print and available, though there's a good chance they are. Some folks get confused on this point, and we can see why, so please read this for further clarification and other important before-you-order information. Unlike some mailorder websites, we don't have an electronic inventory system linked to our site, so you can't be sure of what we actually have or don't have in stock at any given moment without asking us -- please email our mailorder department for availability status -- or better yet, just go ahead and place your order using our shopping cart function and we'll get back to you with the status of each item. If you have general non-mailorder questions, email the store.


AUTECHRE s/t (LP5) (Warp) lp 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Autechre's sad little melodies over angular electro breakbeats have taken on the very distinctive trait of deceleration, as the pulsing electronica speed through dystopic conduits only to hit vacuums within the digital spaces causing vertiginous slow motion freefalls. With every release Sean and Andy successfully redefine electronica while maintaining their exquisite signature. Highly recommended.

BANNLUST Digital Tensions (Sabotage) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Grabbed this off of Jim's favorites shelf, this is what he had to say about it: "As Sabotage gets a criminally small amount of press, there will be virtually no hype for Bannlust...which is a fucking shame, as thousands of trainspotters will pass this up looking for that long gone Autechre album when they should be listening to this...as good if not better than recent Autechre and/or Skam recordings!!!"

BASTRO Diablo Guapo (Homestead) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow, Homestead reissues two of Andee's favorite records ever (see The Frogs, below). There was a time, pre-Tortoise and pre-Gastr del sol, when John McEntire and David Grubbs rocked. I mean really ROCKED. Hard to believe, but in 1989, those guys were making some of the meanest, noisiest (barely indie) rock around as Bastro. Nasty Albini-ish high end guitar assaults, hammering rhythms, and howlingly furious vocals, made them Slint's bigger and meaner noise rock brother. Awesome.

album cover BLONDE REDHEAD In An Expression Of The Inexpressible (Touch & Go) cd 14.98
The Japanese/Italian trio's last album Fake Can Be Just As Good should have been the album Sonic Youth made right after Daydream Nation. Fortunately, their latest album proves that they are no longer a Sonic Youth rip-off band. And for that matter, what they've grown into is quite something to behold. On In An Expression Of The Inexpressible, the band's fourth full length, lead female vocalist Kazu Makino has honed her pipes into a distinctly expressive wonder... taming its former shrillness into something very childlike and otherworldly. Noisy melodies of angular guitars, modest keyboards, and a tight rhythm section come across as desperate yet beautiful epics. Very highly recommended.
RealAudio clip: ""

BLONDE REDHEAD In An Expression Of The Inexpressible (Touch & Go) lp 17.98
The Japanese/Italian trio's last album Fake Can Be Just As Good should have been the album Sonic Youth made right after Daydream Nation. Fortunately, their latest album proves that they are no longer a Sonic Youth rip-off band. And for that matter, what they've grown into is quite something to behold. On In An Expression Of The Inexpressible, the band's fourth full length, lead female vocalist Kazu Makino has honed her pipes into a distinctly expressive wonder... taming its former shrillness into something very childlike and otherworldly. Noisy melodies of angular guitars, modest keyboards, and a tight rhythm section come across as desperate yet beautiful epics. Very highly recommended.

CRESCENT Collected Songs (Roomtone) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Due to Bristol's rather incestuous pool of avant rock bands, Crescent's name often appears in conjunction with Flying Saucer Attack, Movietone, Third Eye Foundation, and Amp. As it should, since members of Crescent have performed with all three of those groups. It is a tad disheartening to see customers buy Crescent records with the hope of hearing a cosmic drone of blissful feedback, only to find an antithetical abject muck, and then selling them back.
And you know what, there's absolutely nothing wrong with an abject muck, actually we really like abject muck. If you listen closely to the tracks that Matt Jones (Crescent's mastermind) has appeared on in Amp and Movietone, you'll realise that everything he touches ends up with a gritty lo-fi quality. And for Crescent's third album, he has taken up residence in a Bristol church to capture a rather humid, almost rusting sound on top of his very loose songs. A gothic (NOT in the Trench Coat Mafia definition) sensibility of decaying atmospheres, permeates the slow moving waves of sonorous basslines, loose hammond organ semi-improvisations, and skittering rhythms, somewhere between jazz and krautrock.

album cover DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE Something About Airplanes (Elsinor/Barsuk) 2cd 15.98
Here's there review we wrote about Death Cab's debut way back when (we made it Record Of The Week in 1998), we don't want to change a word, it's funny though since they're so huge now....
At the risk of slipping into hyperbole, which we try avoid at all costs (snicker...), this is hands down, one of the best (and possibly most overlooked - we almost missed it ourselves, gasp!) indie rock records ever. Landing somewhere between There's Nothing Wrong With Love and Perfect From Now On, Death Cab craft a Built-to-Spill-ian universe, full of lazy sad pop, intricate compositions, jangly melodies, shifting structures, odd time signatures, and haunting cellos (and none of that solar malevolence that Doug Martsch and our very own Jim are so fond of.)
This record has been an unbelievable hit in the store. We don't think it's ever been played without at least one person buying it, sometimes 2 or 3!
The version we have now, is the limited, numbered, slipcased 10th anniversary edition, with expanded booklet and bonus disc of DCFC's first show in Seattle, on February 25th, 1998, titled Live At The Crocodile Cafe. Nice!!
MPEG Stream: "Bend To Squares"
MPEG Stream: "President Of What?"
MPEG Stream: "Your Bruise"

FUCKHEAD The Male Comedy (Mego) cd 16.98
Calling this an industrial record certainly does this record no justice... Although Fuckhead's overblown testosterone laden angst is clearly presented through digital technology, thankfully none of the dated Front 242 or Rammstein references appear. Instead dense hyperactive sampling and digital noise processing dominate the album. Certainly an odd choice for digital electronica saboteurs Mego to release, but nonetheless an brutal and beguiling album. Recommended.

album cover I AM SPOONBENDER Sender / Receiver (Gold Standard Laboratories / Mint) cd 11.98
The debut album from the San Francisco avantgardists I Am Spoonbender is quite a brilliant fare, in which the telephone operates as metaphor to semiological, aural, and sidereal transmissions (Andee's interpretation: "They sing into phones"). But this object finds itself in need of repair, disrupting and re-interpreting the original signals of This Heat and Gary Numan into mutant grooves propelled by Dustin Donaldson's post-Jaki Leibezeit percussion and Brian Jackson's prog bass angularity. On top of all of this rhythmic disruption, Cup's delicate vocal / synth melodies fall somewhere in between the tropes of late '70s new wave and Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy For Lilith. Yeah, I already run the risk of making this review far more advanced than it really need be, so I say that this -- the aural equivalent of Avital Ronell's Telephone Book -- is one of my favorite records of the year. No shit.


MPEG Stream: "Replaced By Toys"
MPEG Stream: "Waking Dream Seance"
MPEG Stream: "Mr. Knife Miss Fork "

LABRADFORD E Luxo So (Kranky) cd 13.98
The fifth studio album from Labradford finds the band incorporating instrumentations of dulcimer, string section, and tape loops alongside their atmospherics for guitar, bass, and piano. Labradford may have beaten Andee (in his first solo project after A Minor Forest, Pee, and Tic War) to the punch with a blatant appropriation of George Winston / Shadowfax / Windham Hill onto a record for Kranky.
Beautiful, none the less.

LABRADFORD E Luxo So (Kranky) lp 10.98
The fifth studio album from Labradford finds the band incorporating instrumentations of dulcimer, string section, and tape loops alongside their atmospherics for guitar, bass, and piano. Labradford may have beaten Andee (in his first solo project after A Minor Forest, Pee, and Tic War) to the punch with a blatant appropriation of George Winston / Shadowfax / Windham Hill onto a record for Kranky.
Beautiful, none the less.

MAEROR TRI Hypnotikum I (Soleilmoon) lp 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Almost entirely overlooked by 'post-rock' journalists for their fascination with industrial culture, Maeror Tri (now disbanded though Stefan and Martin have continued as Troum) have nevertheless constructed some of the most beautiful and simultaneously terrifying drone rock, complete with delicate melancholic melodies sublimated beneath glacial guitar washes. These tracks were culled from the backing tapes Maeror Tri performed with on their last European tour. Opens up a can of whup-ass on Windy & Carl and Labradford. A pretty limited piece of vinyl from Soleilmoon.

MAEROR TRI Language of Flames and Sound (Old Europa Cafe) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

MB (BIANCHI, MAURIZIO) Symphony for a Genocide (EEs'T / Alga Marghan) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In the liner notes, a smug Maurizio Bianchi (aka MB) included a quote from Genesis P-Orridge who described MB's early 80's industrial noise records as 'boring, meaningless, pathetic'. I'd agree with MB in claiming that Gen was jealous, as MB was able to construct brutal hallucinatory recordings of electronic noise that offer metaphors of microscopic anyeurisms which collapse the body from within. Bleak chilling drones that are reminiscent of Conrad Schnitzler's most neurotic, Nurse With Wound's most droning, and Whitehouse's least annoying. MB's very prolific career in the early 80's with a more than a dozen records was cut short in 1984 at which time he joined a monastary.
Some of my favourite 'noise' records that have been gratefully reissued, thus sparing me from shelling out the $120.00 that I've seen the vinyl editions of these records going for!

MCGREEVY, STEPHEN P. Electric Enigma (Irdial) 2cd 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
From the same label that brought us the truly disturbing Conet Project comes Stephen P. McGreevy's VLF recordings. With a knowledge of basic radio telescopics, a few choice geographical / atmospheric anomalies, and a good ear, McGreevy records the earth's electromagnetic signature generated through such phenomenon as the Alaskan Northern Lights. Delicate whistles streak over loud crackles, that bring to mind Id Battery's fascination with recorded fire, or John Duncan's shortwave radio experiments. Word of caution, one of our faithful customers complained that this created rather deleterious psychosomatic effects.

MCGREGOR, DION Dion McGregor Dreams Again (Tzadik) cd 16.98
How long would last if your roommate screamed his dreams out loud every night? Would you have the foresight to capture these disturbances on tape? Lucky for us back in the 1960's Dion McGregor's roommate stuck it out long enough to provide us with this aural document of one man's nocturnal pain and pleasure. Dion's dreams range from queeny dress up parties to drooling descriptions of large breasted women and cunnilingus contests. Equally disturbing as it is riveting.

NURSE WITH WOUND Second Pirate Sessions (United Dairies) 2cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There was an old Nurse With Wound LP which Steve Stapleton (the madman behind NWW) sold to the old Rough Trade distribution in the UK for $99.99 simply because he knew of glitch in the accounting system that would cause the whole system to crash when anyone bought his record. Not quite as maddening a prospect here, but still he has released all of the unused tracks from the Rock 'n' Roll Station sessions across a double cd and a single piece of vinyl... Yes, there are different tracks on the vinyl and the cd (the 2nd disc is the complete Rock 'n' Roll Station album), making the consumer decisions of which to buy (if not both) somewhat problematic. Musically, it is 'rock' as NWW probably will ever get, with a solid recognizable pulse that punctuates the dadaist noises that is oddly similar to a Joe Meek with a drum machine. Easily one of the best releases from NWW in a very long time... and if it matters... of the AQ staff, Byram and Marc took home the CDs and Jim got the vinyl.

NURSE WITH WOUND Second Pirate Sessions (United Dairies) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
There was an old Nurse With Wound LP which Steve Stapleton (the madman behind NWW) sold to the old Rough Trade distribution in the UK for $99.99 simply because he knew of glitch in the accounting system that would cause the whole system to crash when anyone bought his record. Not quite as maddening a prospect here, but still he has released all of the unused tracks from the Rock 'n' Roll Station sessions across a double cd and a single piece of vinyl... Yes, there are different tracks on the vinyl and the cd (the 2nd disc is the complete Rock 'n' Roll Station album), making the consumer decisions of which to buy (if not both) somewhat problematic. Musically, it is 'rock' as NWW probably will ever get, with a solid recognizable pulse that punctuates the dadaist noises that is oddly similar to a Joe Meek with a drum machine. Easily one of the best releases from NWW in a very long time... and if it matters... of the AQ staff, Byram and Marc took home the CDs and Jim got the vinyl.

OMIT Interior Desolation (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.
With dozens of self released tapes, a 3cd boxset, and a handful of collaborations with Dead C/A Handful of Dust guitarist Bruce Russell, this New Zealand reclusive misanthrope returns with more dark & claustrophobic dronescapes. Found sounds, homemade instruments, & barely perceptible rhythms are forced into Omit's mostly broken 8-track in the form of tape loops which shift and pulse ominously. Plus the recurrent motif of squealing pigs. An absolutely stunning record!!!

PLASTIKMAN Consumed (Novamute) cd 15.98
After the early 90's incarnation as F.U.S.E. making some of the heaviest cybernetic techno stomps to come from Detroit, Richie Hawtin has continued to devolve techno along a trajectory of minimalism. The monochromatic pulsing beats appear more as the afterimage of techno than as some club floorfiller. Brilliant in its paradoxical expansive claustrophobia.

PLASTIKMAN Consumed (Novamute) 3lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
After the early 90's incarnation as F.U.S.E. making some of the heaviest cybernetic techno stomps to come from Detroit, Richie Hawtin has continued to devolve techno along a trajectory of minimalism. The monochromatic pulsing beats appear more as the afterimage of techno than as some club floorfiller. Brilliant in its paradoxical expansive claustrophobia.

THIRD EYE FOUNDATION Fear Of A Wack Planet (Domino) cd 7.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Once in a blue moon an absolutely perfect single drops from heaven onto us mere mortals. It's almost unheard of that this phenomenon would be realized by the same band twice. Yet Matt Elliot, Mr. Third Eye Foundation first gave us the brilliant "Semtex" single... and now "Fear Of A Wack Planet".
Majestic choral voices delicately float as haunting historical texts to a Baroque past with elegantly simple breakbeats forming the basic structure. Yes, this is the same alchemic formula that Enigma has been boring the world with for some time now, yet Third Eye Foundation's ability to manifest the sublime provides that elusive transcendental quality that makes this one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard.

THIRD EYE FOUNDATION Fear Of A Wack Planet (Domino) 12" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Once in a blue moon an absolutely perfect single drops from heaven onto us mere mortals. It's almost unheard of that this phenomenon would be realized by the same band twice. Yet Matt Elliot, Mr. Third Eye Foundation first gave us the brilliant "Semtex" single... and now "Fear Of A Wack Planet".
Majestic choral voices delicately float as haunting historical texts to a Baroque past with elegantly simple breakbeats forming the basic structure. Yes, this is the same alchemic formula that Enigma has been boring the world with for some time now, yet Third Eye Foundation's ability to manifest the sublime provides that elusive transcendental quality that makes this one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard.

V/A Mission Two: Connecting Electronix Network (Nature) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
NOW AVAILABLE ON CD!!! This is a brilliant compilation of a lot of electronica outfits which are pretty obscure... Only V/VM and D'Archangelo are the really familiar artists here. Nonetheless, the tracks (which are mostly Italian in origin) share a similarity to Skam's or Rephlex's output of nu-skool electro and warped electronica. As a result we've been tracking down singles from A Credible Eye Witness, Phoenecia, and Vendor Refill.

V/A Mission Two: Connecting Electronix Network (Natural) 2lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A brilliant compilation of fucked electronica, with tons of outfits none of us had ever heard of. Only V/VM and D'Arcangelo are the familiar names here. Mostly Italian, the tracks sound quite similar to SKAM's output in Manchester, and Rephlex in London. Nu-skool electro and warped electronics. If you like Autechre or Aphex, pick this up, you won't regret it!

album cover INTRUSION The Seduction Of Silence (Echospace) 2cd 21.00
We originally reviewed this way back in 2009, but this gorgeous disc of blurred minimal techno / electronic ambience has been reissued with a whole 'nother disc of unreleased extras. Even sans the bonus material though, The Seduction Of Silence is a gem, and well worth checking out if you missed it the first time around, and hell, probably worth buying again for the extras! Here's what we said when we reviewed it back in 2009:
Intrusion is the solo project of Steve Hitchell, who alongside Rod Modell forms the impressive heroin-house meets dub-factory duo Echospace. Just as Modell's solo recordings don't veer too far from the Echospace mantra, the Intrusion sound doesn't see any reason to break the mold either. If it ain't broke, why fix it? This is the beloved muted blur of the Detroit / Berlin axis of techno that spurned the whole Basic Channel / Chain Reaction sound and which then slowed itself down into the murky dub of Burial Mix. Hitchell and Modell have both been so captivated by this particular sound, that they've collected many of the modular synths, signal processors, and classic drum machines that Moritz Von Oswald and Juan Atkins used back in the day to perfect the mimesis of that abstracted techno that steadily cruises through the dronefields. The bulk of the album finds a hypnotizing rhythm sublimated behind atmospheric synth chords rippling in sync with the cascading wash of echo and heaping snow drifts of tape hiss; but Hitchell does make a few noteworthy detours. "Intrusion Dub" is a decidedly uptempo digidub number, with Augustus Pablo-esque trills across the melodica and an insistent hi-hat uncannily similar to the metronomic rhythms provided by Public Image Limited on Metal Box, but of course pixel-pointed into a Chain Reactive / Burial Mix cloud of digital hiss. Elsewhere, he recruits the Burial Mix toaster par excellence Paul St. Hillaire to offer his ghostly croon to the mix. Mighty fine, mighty fine.
MPEG Stream: "Intrusion Dub"
MPEG Stream: "Little Angel w/ Paul St. Hillaire"

album cover MAEROR TRI Emotional Engramm (Zoharum) cd 17.98
BACK IN STOCK!!!
Originally released in 1997 on the now defunct Iris Light imprint out of England, Emotion Engramm was the final album from Maeror Tri - the haunting, post-industrial drone trio that was the precursor to the equally haunting, post-industrial drone DUO Troum. This record - more so than any of the other Maeror Tri albums - engaged the complex structures that Troum would later push through their interlocking, shadowy melodies and slow-motion, effects-heavy drone. At the same time, the concepts that went into Emotional Engramm are more closely related to the clinical psychological themes of the Maeror Tri albums Multiple Personality Disorder or Language Of Flames & Sound, as referenced by the titular engram (purposefully misspelled in the title), a Scientology term for a mental image embedded into the brain by any type of trauma - physical, emotional, psychic, or otherwise. Far from prescribing the teachings of Scientology, Maeror Tri uses that concept as a jumping off point in conjuring "resonance of control, impact, fortuity, the randomly instigated yet inedibly etched emotional memory: Kodak ghosts." It's easy to read particular passages within the frozen din of washed-out guitar noise, spectral melodies, tectonic bass rumblings, and metallic slashes of grim electronics as the seizures within the psyche that might get caught in an infinite loop for the inner-mind. Some of those images provide an emotional resonance that's deeply sad and full of despair, while others are enraged with a blackened hostility. As we mentioned, many of the ideas and strategies that went into this album continued to develop through Troum; but even so, this stands as one of the best albums that either Maeror Tri or Troum had produced.
MPEG Stream: "Secunda Figura: Sublimis"
MPEG Stream: "Quarta Figura: Vadum"
MPEG Stream: "Septima Figura: Sphaira"

album cover MILLINGTON, MARY [PRE-ORDER] Come Play With Me & Other Tales (Tangerine Press) 10" 46.00
We haven't gotten any of these in yet, but figured some of our weirdo music / obscure art-vinyl obsessives might want one of these, especially folks into the whole Trunk Records scene of strange lost audio from yesteryear. These are EXTREMELY expensive, but exquisitely handmade, so this is in fact a pre-order, cuz we'll only be getting as many copies as we get orders for, so if you want one, and order one, we'll charge you for it now, and ship it in a couple weeks when it comes in, either on its own, or with whatever order you have pending at the time.
So here's the skinny. The Trunk Records label is definitely a good reference point, as this record really does seem like it could just as easily have ended up on Trunk. Mary Millington was the most famous pornstar in 1970's Britain, appeared in all the most famous adult magazines, even had some film roles in proper non-pornographic films. Around the mid to late seventies, Millington began to record 'porn audios' which were included with many magazines at the time, which were, as you might imagine, Millington simply talking dirty, playful and casual and conversational, telling sexy stories, being nasty, stories about peeing on her suitor, and being peed on ("Lovely Little Tinkle"), giving blowjobs ("The Longest Tongue In The World"), and giving underwater wanks ("Come Play With Me"), laced with little aside ("Ooooh, it's hot!", "I've got pubic hair in my mouth!"), and all set to groovy, soft focus psychedelic jams, all remastered from the original tapes and some of the flexi-discs included with the above mentioned magazines.
If you were a fan of the Flexi-Sex release on Trunk, which collected some of Johnny Trunk's favorite sexy flexis, you'll have an idea of just what you're in for, sexy, goofy, funny, playful, weird, total outsider audio from a lost era.
And as mentioned above, the packaging is super super deluxe, pressed on 140 gram 10" opaque blue vinyl, housed in fancy gatefold sleeves using recycled card stock and conservation glue, hand pulled screenprint artwork by Walden Press on the front and back, as well as a saucy full length image of Millington inside, on 1970's style newsprint.
EXTREMELY LIMITED!!! We can probably only get a handful, so (pre)order now if you want one!
MPEG Stream: "Come Play With Me"
MPEG Stream: "Lovely Little Tinkle"
MPEG Stream: "The Longest Tongue In The World"

album cover SIOBHAN Omega Stamp (Chondritic Sound) cassette 8.98
When the pioneers of techno began laying down their tracks in the mid '80s, the futurist sound of Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson had little to do with the ideals and / or decline of the Detroit automotive industry. The sleek, motorik tracks were reflective of cultural dialogue with German electronics in parallel with a distinct African American science fiction emphasizing racial and class-based tensions. Detroit Techno's incredibly long shelf-life results from the mirage of club culture that emphasizes the new and the innovative while recycling the dominant lexicon of whumped basskicks, ecstatic melodies, electronic minimalism, etc. Those dudes did it first back in 1987 and it still sounds bad-ass. Siobhan (nee Travis Galloway) hails from Detroit and creates his own fucked / Goth-jam techno that has no discernible connection to the prevailing aesthetic of Detroit Techno. These crunchy, lo-fi tracks have none of the sleek production tricks from those Detroit elder statesmen, rather Siobhan takes a guttural, rock approach to production, compressing the fuck out of everything, cranking the tracks into the red, and probably even recording onto tape. One gets the sense that he could be jamming these tracks in an empty warehouse (or nearly empty with a couple of wasted goth-girls headnodding alone in the corner) through a daisy chain of guitar amps and recording the result through a single microphone. As rough as that sounds, he's a damn fine programmer - squelchy acid percolations that would make Richard James blush, ghostly melodies channeled from Cold Cave, and potent industrially minded drum programming akin to mid-'80s Ministry, 242, Skinny Puppy, etc. One of our favorite cassettes in recent memory, and it makes for a great introduction to a hitherto unknown musician.
MPEG Stream: "Nothing Evoked"
MPEG Stream: "Numb Tolerance"
MPEG Stream: "Vulgar Yesness"

album cover NORD NG Tapes (PCP Records) lp 21.00
Nord began in 1979 as a minimal electronics / drone-on industrial project for Hiroshi Oikawa and Katayama Satoshi. They only recorded one album together -- their eponymous 1981 release on the Pinakotheca imprint - before they parted ways, but each of them used the moniker Nord for their own projects. Satoshi's Nord involved a handful of Japanese noise musicians including Hiroshi Hasegawa from Astro and C.C.C.C., with a smattering of recordings being released over the decades; but it's Oikawa's Nord that has become a holy grail to those seeking one of the most obscure releases of the Japanese noise underground from the '80s. He released two LPs on his imprint L.S.D. Records, as well as a couple of cassette releases. NG Tapes was one of those cassette releases, only made available as a bonus tape with a select number of copies of Nord's LSD album, itself an edition of just 200 copies. For all of its mystery and mythology, LSD was a dodgy record, in part due to the Surrealistic Pillow citation at the beginning on one side of the record; but the follow-up Ego Trip with its mind-erasing irradiation of post-Schnitzler / post-Monoton / pre-Thought Broadcast minimalist arpeggiation and dour electronics is a watershed album no matter how you slice it. NG Tapes may in fact be even better than Ego Trip, making this reissue all the more necessary.
NG Tapes centers upon three long-form tracks of ominous, synth pulsations that capture radio-tunings, blankstare guitar drone/noise, and some disembodied vocal monotone within a psychic black-hole vortex of emotional emptiness. Oikawa girds these longer tracks with some short numbers of noise-junk tactility, scuzzed-out distortion, low impact power-electronics, and primitive rhythm-box programming. Presumably these shorter numbers reflect the aesthetic of the aforementioned Pinakotheca album though that one doesn't seem to be in the cards ever for a reissue. Hypnotic. Narcotic. Desolate. There's the sound of NG Tapes in a nutshell. A one-time only reissue, nicely repackaged in a tip-on sleeve and an obi to replicate the original tape's design.
MPEG Stream: "A1"
MPEG Stream: "B1"
MPEG Stream: "B2"

album cover SEVERED HEADS City Slab Horror (Medical) lp 19.98
Severed Heads never really fit comfortably with any particular convention of the post-punk aesthetics; and when the project quietly disappeared in 2008, their demise was announced without much in the way of fanfare. Essentially a solo project of Australian electronic musician Tom Ellard, Severed Heads began in Sydney back in 1979 with Ellard experimenting with tape loops, DIY electronic kits, and rudimentary noise making devices all finding something of a commonality through lurching rhythms within this primordial soup of sound-making. Eventually, samplers and drum machines made their way into the Severed Heads repertoire, the group's best years from 1983 to 1988 or thereabouts, thanks to their avant-garde smarts throwing a monkey-wrench into synth-punk conventions. City Slab Horror (1985) was the second album that Severed Heads produced for Ink Records (and later reissued through Nettwerk). A deliberately imperfect record, City Slab Horror seeks to work against the latticework of rhythmic structures and melodic fluidity, with samples firing at irregular intervals and atonal pitches running rampant throughout the record. Exposing the rigidity of the mechanized form was one of the common strategems for synth-punk practitioners, with Fad Gadget and The Flying Lizards doing similarly disjointed avant-pop projects. While Severed Heads would eventually streamline into a sensible synth-pop project, City Slab Horror showcased how engaging Ellard could be in his wanderings through mad scientist archetypes, comic book horrorscaping, hiccupping sequencing, and inelegantly playful tunes.
MPEG Stream: "Spastic Crunch"
MPEG Stream: "4WD"
MPEG Stream: "Cyflea, Rated R"

album cover TROUM Dreaming Muzak (Zoharum) cd 16.98
Dreaming Muzak was the very first release from Troum, not long after the two members of Troum had disbanded their previous project Maeror Tri in 1998. Originally released as a cassette housed in a tiny pillow in an edition numbering a scant 100 copies, then as an equally small pressing on cd-r a few years later. That said, Dreaming Muzak does what Troum and Maeror Tri have always done so very well: drone-on with gritty, psychological undercurrents. If the intent of Troum was to put the listener to sleep, the lulling vibrating patterns certainly have the capacity; but the overall darkness of these sounds will never inspire the most pleasant of dreams. These are shadowy, bleak, and cold sounds which permeate the album, and lend themselves to images of desolate factories spewing a constant stream of black soot in some wintery post-Soviet country. A very nice document from one of our favorite drone acts.
MPEG Stream: "Part 1"
MPEG Stream: "Part 2 (The Dream Catcher)"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Menses (Menstrual Recordings) lp 30.00
Produced at tail end of 1981 and self-released in the beginning of the following year, Menses marked the second proper piece of vinyl for MB following his highly acclaimed album Symphony For A Genocide on Sterile. At this time, Bianchi was in the throes of a manic production schedule, producing close to 30 records from 1979 to 1984 with the dozen or so slabs of vinyl representing some of the most visionary examples of power-electronics and hyper-minimal industrialized torpor from that period. Here on Menses, factory floor rhythms are cobbled together from primitive drum machines marching through a set of martial, if tinny beats and pangs, setting the foundation to Menses' side-long track "Yra." Keeping the whole structure of the piece "decomposed" and / or wholly variable, Bianchi laces this black-tunnel-vision-quest with dive-bomb electronic squalls descending onto his horror-laden spectral drones. It's wholly in keeping with Bianchi's unrepentant obsession with the psychic / psychological collapse of the self through the symbolism of sexual deviance, totalitarian force, technological advances, and the horrors of genocide. The flipside "Scent" is even more unhinged, settling on frequencies of sharp abrasiveness manifested in another time and another place through Whitehouse's Wasp synths. The rhythm box underbelly is done away with in favor of a vertiginous network of crushed muscle tissue and misfiring nerve endings, all of which is cycling through a corroded tape-delay machine of sorts. This marks the fourth pressing of this on vinyl, and in keeping with the previous iterations, it's incredibly limited. Something around 200 copies or so. Do note that some of the sleeves had their corners bent upon arrival from Italy.
MPEG Stream: "Yra"
MPEG Stream: "Scent"

album cover PUCE MARY Persona (Posh Isolation) lp 25.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Fuck. Puce Mary. Her real name is Frederikke Hoffmeier, she's a striking Dane who hails from the post-punk / art collective Posh Isolation, which may be known best outside of Copenhagen through the retro charms of Lust For Youth and the punk snarl of Iceage. There are charms to the noise of Puce Mary, with those charms being nekromantically violent, libidinally impure, and just fucking sick. The historical thread of Puce Mary's work traces all the way back to the true crime litanies of Throbbing Gristle's "Very Friendly" and "Hamburger Lady" cast upon bleak arrangements of nauseating electronics. There's plenty of nods to the equally seminal works of SPK, Brighter Death Now, Whitehouse, Premature Ejaculation, and Wolf Eyes; but it has to be said that most every major figure and visionary author of power electronics is a dude. Puce Mary / Hoffmeier represents one of the few great female artists wholly operating within this insular aesthetic. As we noted before in earlier discussions on the work of Puce Mary, Pharmakon is an obvious contemporary with considerable presence; but Puce Mary's overall catalogue exhibits greater breadth and better ideas.
So here stands the epic album Persona, which counts as her second solo lp (alongside a wealth of hard to find cassette releases and a couple of collaborations). The militant, mono-rhythmic pound on "Courses" is raked with squalls of distant pierced tone and a sickening electronic blurt that sounds more like Cosey's coronet than anything electronic. The vocals are buried in demonoid distortion, tremolo, and flange - a conflation of effects that run through the death industrial ethos dating back to the early '80s. The recurrent vomiting and retching (presumably from Hoffmeier) on "The Viewer" dots the horror-synth sound design of sustained atonal church organ drones, Hellraiser squiggliness, and disembodied bone-saw whirr. The slow crawl of doomy timpani on "Pigs" looms with empty spaces by what could be poltergeist activity and the commanding voice of hers again buried in throat-ripping FX. There is a refinement to Puce Mary's work that's rare within the sewage-work of the id produced through industrial culture; but that refinement doesn't eschew the raw, existential negativity that boils through Persona. Death-industrial at its finest.
MPEG Stream: "Courses"
MPEG Stream: "Impure Fantasy"
MPEG Stream: "Persona"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Over (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
Where the companion album All Under is the more abstract and (slightly more) unconventional, All Over finds Lewis returning to his capacity for penning some brilliantly weird avant-pop numbers. The overall feel of the album is sunk in a liquid narcosis that runs parallel to the blurring miasma of shoegazing; but Lewis doesn't drown his work in reverb. It's a great trick to build something hypnotizing though a skeletal synth & guitar pop context. "We've Lost Your Mind" girds a motorik click track of Oval-like glitching with a minor-chord jangle that harkens back to A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck era Wire if it were recorded today. "The Start Of Next Week" is a fabulous piece of dark techno that could fit somewhere near Silent Servant or Surgeon. The dubbed-out tropical ditty "Quick Skin" pools Lewis' vocals into layers of overlapping delay patterns with a tinny rhumba and chicken-scratch guitars channelling the spirit of Brian Eno's Another Green World, albeit with a darker color palette. Other tracks do push the abstraction with a few tracks sounding similar to what :zoviet*france: would make if given the challenge to make a 'pop' record circa 1988. Like All Under, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Start of Next Week"
MPEG Stream: "We've Lost Your Mind"
MPEG Stream: "It's Hard"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Under (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
There were also plenty of one-off collaborations with various Swedes throughout the '90s (H-A-L-O, He Said Omala, Hox, etc.) and one hell of a great collaboration with John Duncan.
That Duncan / Lewis album immediately jumped to mind when we first put on All Under, a compendium of soundtrack work and ephemera recorded at various times over the past 13 years. The eerily paranoiac blips of phasing shortwave radio broadcasts fire across the first two tracks of All Under, both of which are variations on work composed for a multi-channel video piece by Gunilla Leander. These electrical flurries, flecked with irradiated ash and attenuated glitches, are shaped from the droning data-streaming into mercurial melodic ambience that wouldn't be out of place on Aphex Twin's dreamtime masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II. "The Eel Wheeled" again reflects similarities to that Duncan collaborative record, with Lewis slowly reciting one of his bizarre assemblages (which also form the basis for Wire's lyrics, even those sung by Colin Newman). His Burroughs / Gibson / Dick inspired sci-fi fragmentation with his baritone voice elegantly sitting amidst his discordant collage, projecting an ominous sound of a crumbling society being sucked into its virtual self. The finale is another soundtrack piece "No Show Godot," draping wisps of arctic noise onto a soft rhythmic chatter as Lewis slowly unveils a blossoming radiant drone that terminates at the unveiling of a long-form drone-pop number for ritualized pulse, blurs of fourth-world vocal exoticism, Sub-Saharan cinematic nods, and Lewis commanding a subdued industrial mantra akin to an opiated version of Muslimgauze. Like All Over, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "All Under (Film Score)"
MPEG Stream: "The Eel Wheeled"
MPEG Stream: "No Show Godot"

album cover LIVE SKULL Cloud One (Desire) lp 26.00
The latest installment in this long overdue reissue campaign for eighties New York noise rockers Live Skull, this being their second full length, Cloud One, originally released in 1986, the last album before Thalia Zedek (Come, Uzi) would join and take over lead vocals, and like their debut, on Cloud One, Live Skull still sonically fit pretty perfectly alongside their NYC brethren (and sistren) in Swans, Sonic Youth (especially Sonic Youth) and the rest, but on Cloud One, the band made great leaps both sonically, and with their songwriting (and the matching more polished production), the new(ish) sound definitely hewing ever closer to the minor key melancholia infused angularity of SY, but mixing in long, droned out passages and slow dark blooze creeps, adding an element of brooding mesmer, and dark psychedelia. That darkness also represented by a sonic shift toward something gloomier and gothier, with many of the tracks here more reminiscent of the West Coast sound of the time, the Scream Club, and bands like Janes Addiction, Kommunity FK and the Abecedarians (especially on the live bonus tracks!). Hints too of outfits like the Wipers, the Gun Club, the Flesh Eaters, a sort of swaggery psych blues crossed with noisy experimental rock, there's still some junkyard percussion, a little Pussy Galore here and there, but the band definitely had their eyes on the musical prize, whether by design or not, Cloud One is a tightly wound, complex piece of noise/art rock, that even now sounds impossibly prescient of a sound that so many bands would go on to mine in their wake. It's actually a bit shocking that Live Skull's career trajectory wasn't more like Sonic Youth's, on this record for sure, but even more so on their 1988 swansong, Positraction, the band seemed poised for success, and an eventual move into the semi-mainstream, but for whatever reason, they remained firmly entrenched in the underground, and would only make it another couple years/records before calling it quits.
Fantastically curated reissued, with a whole mess of bonus tracks, unreleased, demos and live, as well as a massive booklet with tons of rare photos, old flyers, live shots, and extensive liner notes by the band, as well as extensive track by track notes on the extra songs as well!
MPEG Stream: "Fort Belvedere"
MPEG Stream: "Cloud One"
MPEG Stream: "Boot Camp"
MPEG Stream: "Haircut For Pigs"

album cover PUCE MARY The Great Panic (Freak Animal) cassette 9.99
It's inevitable that Frederikke Hoffmeier (aka Puce Mary) is gonna get compared to Pharmakon, as the number of women producing the sour and sick tones of high caliber, industrial malaise is paltry at best. Pharmakon's mini-album Abandon was certainly a highlight for 2013 through her blighted electronics, bloodcurdling vocalizations, and the abject imagery of larvae crawling across her bare legs; but we did have to wonder if Pharmakon had more to offer than those four scalding tracks, wondering if she was just a flash in the pan, creating a visage that adopted the violence and terror of industrial culture as a marketing ploy of shock in order to rattle / titillate the nerves of the fainthearted.
Enter Puce Mary, whose output of noise-culture vulgarities easily outpaces that of Pharmakon, with an impressive slew of sadly impossible to find cassettes and lps (including a handful of releases on the Iceage related Danish imprint Posh Isolation). Her voice is at the center of The Great Panic, uttering desolate screams, longing sexualized moans, glossolalic ululations, and barked declarations that may or may not be understandable to her fellow Danes; and she buries all of this amids carpet-bombed detonations of crusty noise, mutant bass-synth pulsations, and atonal flurries, pushing her work as a distillation to the necrotic pall of Brighter Death Now, the hyperbolic tautologies of Whitehouse's delerium, and the scabrous distortion of Mauthausen Orchestra. Bad vibes guaranteed.
MPEG Stream: "The Great Panic"
MPEG Stream: "Insomnia"
MPEG Stream: "Drugs II"

album cover PUCE MARY Ultimate Hypocrisy (Freak Animal) cassette 9.99
Ultimate Hypocrisy is another cassette only release from Denmark's reigning queen of noise -- Puce Mary (aka Frederikke Hoffmeier). The tape is a bold statement of power electronics and noise tactics that eschew much of the overtly troubling imagery found throughout the genres, in favor of a more poetic adaptation of existential nihilism. It begins with an uneasy, marching churn of chirping electronics latched onto a grinding locomotive plod, all processed through crude machines and effects recalling the classic industrial murk of SPK, Anenzephalia, and Factrix. She follows this with a horrifying piece of sound poetry that would make the demented aktionist Otto Muehl proud, through an extended passage of psychosexual sobbings and moanings adjoined to a gloomy, creepy thrum of blackened emptiness. The unsettled spaciousness of this track emphasizes her vocal gasps and deep throated utterances that might have been lost had she taken a wall-of-noise approach. Elsewhere, Hoffmeier does belt it out in a staccato, militant delivery although the content is thoroughly obscured through heavily flanged effects and the complement of juggernaut metal-on-metal bashed rhythms. Razor-slashes of caustic noise, coarsely rendered oscillations, paranoid-as-fuck tension, and sick-sick-sick tones foul the air throughout the remainder of the tape. Of course, it's recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Ultimate Hypocrisy 2"
MPEG Stream: "Ultimate Hypocrisy 5"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Over (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
Where the companion album All Under is the more abstract and (slightly more) unconventional, All Over finds Lewis returning to his capacity for penning some brilliantly weird avant-pop numbers. The overall feel of the album is sunk in a liquid narcosis that runs parallel to the blurring miasma of shoegazing; but Lewis doesn't drown his work in reverb. It's a great trick to build something hypnotizing though a skeletal synth & guitar pop context. "We've Lost Your Mind" girds a motorik click track of Oval-like glitching with a minor-chord jangle that harkens back to A Bell Is A Cup Until It Is Struck era Wire if it were recorded today. "The Start Of Next Week" is a fabulous piece of dark techno that could fit somewhere near Silent Servant or Surgeon. The dubbed-out tropical ditty "Quick Skin" pools Lewis' vocals into layers of overlapping delay patterns with a tinny rhumba and chicken-scratch guitars channelling the spirit of Brian Eno's Another Green World, albeit with a darker color palette. Other tracks do push the abstraction with a few tracks sounding similar to what :zoviet*france: would make if given the challenge to make a 'pop' record circa 1988. Like All Under, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Start of Next Week"
MPEG Stream: "We've Lost Your Mind"
MPEG Stream: "It's Hard"

album cover LEWIS, EDVARD GRAHAM All Under (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
One of two concurrently released albums from Wire's eccentric bassist / vocalist Edvard Graham Lewis. Even through the lens of Wire's situationist post-punk and avant-pop eccentricities, the solo and side projects for Lewis were almost always well beyond the scope of Wire's amorphous signature. Dome was an early investigation into proto-electronica and disjointed industrial bricolage, and then there was the contorted romanticism of '80s balladeering through the under-appreciated He Said moniker.
There were also plenty of one-off collaborations with various Swedes throughout the '90s (H-A-L-O, He Said Omala, Hox, etc.) and one hell of a great collaboration with John Duncan.
That Duncan / Lewis album immediately jumped to mind when we first put on All Under, a compendium of soundtrack work and ephemera recorded at various times over the past 13 years. The eerily paranoiac blips of phasing shortwave radio broadcasts fire across the first two tracks of All Under, both of which are variations on work composed for a multi-channel video piece by Gunilla Leander. These electrical flurries, flecked with irradiated ash and attenuated glitches, are shaped from the droning data-streaming into mercurial melodic ambience that wouldn't be out of place on Aphex Twin's dreamtime masterpiece Selected Ambient Works Volume II. "The Eel Wheeled" again reflects similarities to that Duncan collaborative record, with Lewis slowly reciting one of his bizarre assemblages (which also form the basis for Wire's lyrics, even those sung by Colin Newman). His Burroughs / Gibson / Dick inspired sci-fi fragmentation with his baritone voice elegantly sitting amidst his discordant collage, projecting an ominous sound of a crumbling society being sucked into its virtual self. The finale is another soundtrack piece "No Show Godot," draping wisps of arctic noise onto a soft rhythmic chatter as Lewis slowly unveils a blossoming radiant drone that terminates at the unveiling of a long-form drone-pop number for ritualized pulse, blurs of fourth-world vocal exoticism, Sub-Saharan cinematic nods, and Lewis commanding a subdued industrial mantra akin to an opiated version of Muslimgauze. Like All Over, this is brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "All Under (Film Score)"
MPEG Stream: "The Eel Wheeled"
MPEG Stream: "No Show Godot"

album cover KSHATRIY Slepok Soznaniya (Muzyka Voln) cd 14.98
Heaving, psychonaut droning from this Russian project, Kshatriy. The name of Sergey Uak-Kib's project is actually Sanskrit, as a now deracinated caste of warriors from ancient India. Uak-Kib posits something of a balance between the spiritual and the physical in the beliefs for this class of enlightened fighters. The holistic fortitude found in that statement seems to be furthered in the glowingly psychedelic artwork that has graced some of Kshatriy's other recordings. So much for first impressions, as this is fucking bleak. Anenzephalia bleak. Thomas Koner bleak. Lustmord bleak. Thrumming drones of Vulcan intensity and Promethean scale gird the entire album of Slepok Soznaniya. The thunderous cracks that introduce "Lights" are cataclysmic in nature, tumbling from deep space and smashing into the Siberian forest, unleashing shockwaves across the curved surface of Russian's landmass and creating elegantly harmonic ripples across the swampy taiga. Iron wheels grind on long-train tracks which lead to destinations unknown on the "Hymn To Kali," which is more of a dirge than a hymn through the slow, militant pound and evolving reverberant chord shifts for an ashen, musical negativity. The almost self-evidently named "Space Travel" surfs the solar winds with echoes of distant pulsars and glowing nebula clouds flickering through the endless expanses of nothingness.
We were awestruck by the work that Kshatriy produced for the 2014 Drone-Mind / Mind-Drone III compilation; and so we're delving into his catalogue. Slepok Soznaniya was originally released in 2009 on the bracingly good Russian imprint Muzyka Voln. Not all that much in the way of distribution west of the former Iron Curtain; so this one makes for a new favorite in the radiant black dronemusik camp.
MPEG Stream: "Hymn To Kali"
MPEG Stream: "Loki"
MPEG Stream: "Magic Forest"

album cover FROST, BEN Aurora (Mute / Bedroom Community) lp 25.00
ALSO ON VINYL!!!
Ben Frost records are scary. And beautiful. They're the stuff of dreams. And nightmares. They're like soundtracks for films that can never be made, the music conjuring up images that can only exist in the imagination. It's musical magic, or sonic alchemy, whatever it is, it's something few have mastered, and even those that have, barely approach the mysterious mastery of Ben Frost, whose previous record, By The Throat, remains one of the most terrifying documents of electronic sound art we have ever heard, weaving the sounds of snarling wolves into thick swells of corrosive bass buzz, and brilliantly bleak, yet impossibly lush sound design, and balancing that sonic grimness, with glimmers of hushed beauty, in a way that makes the sound both mellifluous and malevolent in equal measure.
Aurora is another stunning sonic missive, and one that immediately conjures up yet another lost world, one that lurks in our collective imagination, but that has begun to bleed through, into our every day world. The shadows seem deeper and darker. The grey skies shout through with streaks of blood red, the nights interminable, the days, scorched expanses of endless time. All of this represented by strange sprawls of layered electronic drones, of gristled pulsations, of strange staticky rhythms, and mysterious buried melodies, the sounds this time around brittle and jagged, the loveliness sharp edged and flecked with rust and dried blood, the rhythms that surface are hauntological, reminding us of the dubbed out avant mesmer of groups like Demdike Stare, but here those rhythms seem to gradually splinter and fray, wreathed in thick swirls of soft noise, sculpted into weeping melodies, and darkly decaying textures, all hiding some glowing inner warmth, suffusing these sounds with an organic quality, that transforms a series of sounds into something alive, a crackling energy that is barely contained on the record, one can almost imagine the sound as colored sparks leaping from the speakers, bursting from the headphones, a cascade of brilliant sonic flares, raining down from above.
Lurching robotic percussion is shaped into strange skeletal shapes, lumbering behemoths trading through fields of groaning, creaking chordal thrum, pelted with prismatic streaks of sound, a beastly groove, that builds to a thick swath of soaring epic psychedelic electronic majesty, like a meaner, moodier, more metal M83, a brilliant blacknoise blur, that blots out the stars, painting the sky in shade and shadow, eventually morphing into burnished stretches of grey ambience, laced with dubby skitter, all of which blossom further into a flurry of blissed out electro flares, which fade into crackling seas of gristle and hum, undulating imperceptibly beneath hazy layers of grumblingly distorted shimmer and grinding sheets of druggy thrum. A heaving landscape of tense cinematic atmosphere, smeared fields of tangled melody, wildly colliding synth streaks, and jumbled beats and rhythms, all wound up into a tightly coiled swirl, flurry of frenzied electrons, gradually crumbling into the ether, leaving just a barely there cloud of sonic static discharge, until finally, nothing. And emptiness.
Simply stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Nolan"
MPEG Stream: "The Teeth Behind The Kisses"
MPEG Stream: "Secant"

album cover EXIT IN GREY Perception (Daphnia Records) cd 15.98
Exit In Grey's impressionist driftscaping continues to broadcast darkly beautiful, animistic apparitions from the taiga of Mother Russia. As we've mentioned before, Exit In Grey is the work of one Sergey [S] Suhkov who sometimes works under this moniker with an enigmatic character granted with the name (S), though it seems that (S) has parted ways with [S] for reasons unknown. The mystery to the authorship of Exit In Grey is by design as their may be many forces, elements, dimensions, psychic energies, and parapsycological reverberations that are communing with Exit In Grey to achieve the emotionally resonant dronemuzik found in their ongoing body of work. Perception slowly unfolds over two lengthy tracks, each clocking in around 27 minutes flush with ghostly loops, harmonic wash and analogue drone girding the ebb and flow of various cycles from guitar chords delicately generating melancholy melodies all bathed in reverb, tangles of forest-born sound objects which might as well hail from the overgrown ruins at Chernobyl, oceanic field recordings of ominous tidal churn, and shortwave receptions of hiss, electric hum, crackle, and disembodied voice. The slow pacing of Exit In Grey's poetic electronics reminds us of that Motion Sickness Of Time Travel series of Moon Ballades. Yeah, beautiful stuff.
MPEG Stream: "Part One"
MPEG Stream: "Part Two"

album cover FOSSIL AEROSOL MINING PROJECT 17 Years In Ektachrome (Hand-Held Recordings) cd 14.98
We first heard of the Fossil Aerosol Mining Project on :zoviet*france:'s fantastic podcast A Duck In Tree, and we were certainly baffled to discover that this enigmatic project from the outskirts of Chicago has been in existence since the early '80s. A cassette here or there might have materialized throughout the years, but it seems that the bulk of the output was just secreted away until some of this stuff started showing up on their website, revealing a dreamy, narcotic ethos of post-industrial tape-loopery. Think Phillip Jeck. Think Terry Riley. And most of all, think :zoviet*france:! The etymology behind the name Fossil Aerosol Mining Project harkens to the act of rummaging through abandoned warehouses, whose crumbled surfaces were dappled with graffiti. The remnant waste from all that graffiti was the never-ending supply of crushed and spent spraypaint aerosol cans. So, the punk-scavenger miscreants who would find themselves sifting through the rubbish of those abandoned warehouses in search of a motherlode of 16mm film or reel-to-reel tape machines would undoubtably come across countless, discarded cans. Quite a poetic allusion for this tape-heavy Mining Project.
The quotations of bird song and the pleasant ambient wash of the initial 30 seconds snap into something quite foreign with a series of radio communication bursts and snippets of slow-motion monologues from Ronald Reagan, whose soothing, patronizing declarations would raise the hackles of many critical thinkers and agit-prop artists during his presidency. Nowadays, it's something of a distant, sonorous ghost, something that we're supposed to dread but can't quite figure out why. The Fossil Aerosol Mining Project cycles through a myriad of sympathetic loops, each of which harbors its own patter of delay, lending to a complex web of crumbling sound furthered along by backward tapes of textural scrabblings and iridescent drones. This network of eerie, diaphanous sounds and hypnotizingly soft-focus rhythms which may have their origins in a thoroughly forgotten fragment of a song, whose content was wholly lost to the magnetic erasures, dubbing-upon-dubbing-upon-dubbing, and / or the bacterial decay which flecked away the ferric oxide leaving behind an entirely different set of chemical stains. What's left is just a shadow of whatever emotion might have been imprinted onto the tape. It's a beautiful coagulation of sound, the musical equivalent of a Joseph Cornell box... either that or the recapitulation of the classic :zoviet*france: albums (e.g. Look Into Me, Assault & Mirrage, Just An Illusion, etc.). One of the best albums of 2014.
MPEG Stream: "Backbone 1982"
MPEG Stream: "From The Lowlands"
MPEG Stream: "Systems Clock"

album cover MORTHOUND Mortology (Raubbau) 5cd 72.00
A precocious one, that BJ Nilsen! Morthound (sometimes spelled Morthond on a couple of releases) was Nilsen's project when he was just a teenager, producing some of the more abstract convulsions of dark ambient and collaged electronics that appeared on the seminal Swedish industrial label Cold Meat Industries. This anthology collects the four Morthound / Morthond records recorded from 1991-1994 before Nilsen dropped the moniker in favor of Hazard, through which he matriculated onto Ash International / Touch Music shortly there after. Nilsen appends most of the discs of Mortology with various tracks from the CMI compilations and rounds out the entire collection with a whole disc of unreleased material. Death Time was Nilsen's first outing - a cassette from 1991 on CMI imprint Sound Source - and speaks much beyond the years of a 15 year old kid in Sweden going down to the library to check out sound effects and wildlife recordings to run through his Akai sampler and into a four-track. Along with those source materials, Nilsen also relied heavily on his shortwave radio, whose detuned transmissions and numbers station broadcasts he liberally cut-up into eerie collages full of shadow, drone, and dread. This Crying Age (also from 1991) was the first widely available Morthound cd, with a deep soundtrackish sensibility that recalled more of the early soundtrack work of Graeme Revell / SPK especially the Zamia Lehmanni album with its esoteric / occult mysteriousness through hypnotic, metal klang loops, emotionally somber rumblings, and wispily opiated flute melodies which sporadically graced the dark electronics. In the liner notes, Nilsen explained that he has never wanted to stick within one particular aesthetic, and Spindrift (1992) was very much a departure for Nilsen with this foray into legitimate psychedelic pop, with "Stairhead" being something of a hypno-drone-pop track of glistening guitars and summery organs with much more in common with Ultra Vivid Scene or A.R. Kane than Brighter Death Now! This track is a bit of anomaly as much of the rest of Spindrift is fleshed out with baroque, synthetically orchestral pieces full of John Carpenter / Halloween arpeggiations, David Lynchian themes within the creepy / maudlin scores, and plenty of saddened atmosphere. The final album recorded as Morthound was The Goddess Who Could Make The Ugly World Beautiful (a quote from Taxi Driver, fyi!), finding Nilsen shifting closer to the sound he would soon perfect under the moniker Hazard with stealth-bomber drones and arctic field recordings, but not before unleashing a handful of tracks inspired in equal parts by early Coil and contemporary In Slaughter Natives with a baroque pagan bombast through thrashy guitar riffs and muscular drum programming. The disc of unreleased Morthound material is uniformly bleak, spacious, and eerily abstract. Again, the material here points closer to the Hazard tracks that soon followed; and actually stands as some of the best material that Nilsen recorded during this time period. We have very limited stock on this boxset!
MPEG Stream: "Death Time"
MPEG Stream: "Mithril"
MPEG Stream: "The Age Of Crying"
MPEG Stream: "Stairhead"
MPEG Stream: "Losing Ground"
MPEG Stream: "Thundra"

album cover V/VM (LEYLAND KIRBY) The Death Of Rave (A Partial Flashback) (History ) lp 26.00
V/VM was the first project that forced sonic hermit Leyland Kirby into the public eye, when he emerged as a giddy figurehead for the amphetamine-amped drill'n'bass that blossomed around the likes of Hrvatski, Aphex Twin, and Atari Teenage Riot in the late '90s. For all of the hype that surrounded him, Kirby's 'sound' was essentially, a purposefully aggravating, immature brand of cheap musical humor by turns, brutal, noisy, dumb and occasionally sort of genius, although it mostly tended toward the goofy - which included shameful plunderings of '80s dreck ballads, by running a Chris Deburgh or a Lionel Richie song through a ring modulator. Yeah, much of the V/VM material was ridiculous, puerile, and lots of times borderline unlistenable. But that sort of seemed like the point...
Not surprisingly, we avoided much of the early V/VM stuff, circa '90s and '00s; but those glimpses of genius, would later blossom into the sublime transcendent beauty of Kirby's Caretaker persona, and we were not alone in finding Kirby's work as The Caretaker thoroughly sublime, a stunning haunted ballroom approach to ambient composition through massive amounts of cathedral reverb and ample chorales of surface noise from antiquated '78s.
That said, The Death Of Rave project is perhaps the one body of work from V/VM that should most certainly be heard. And which maybe not surprisingly ran concurrent with some of the earlier explorations as The Caretaker, first being released online as a massive archive of over 200 dancefloor anthems being time-stretched and reworked into rave's anti-apotheosis. No rhythm, no release, no exhilaration, this was all grey sculpted noise and decommissioned electricity. This 'partial flashback' represents the best material from that unwieldy catalog which now seems to have vanished from the internet. (Long live the physical medium!) The Death Of Rave cultivates a slow, almost industrially-minded tension of granular electronic noise, with a sense of fictional memories similar to those created in Kirby's dilated 78 recontextualations as The Caretaker. Here, those would be the fabricated memories sought by Roy Batty and his fellow replicants in Blade Runner, flickering repetitions of pixels into dense networks of cold data that in another context would be a jacked-up acid track or a sensual deep-house groove. But here, it's poetically and poignantly vacant - a residual memory recoded as the empty warehouse itself, where a party once happened, with the floor covered in crushed plastic cups, two-day old vomit-n-beer, broken high-heels, and cigarette butts. And in the maudlin mind of Kirby, that's something quite beautiful.
MPEG Stream: "Monroes Stockport"
MPEG Stream: "Machete's At The Banshee"
MPEG Stream: "Marple Libradome '91"

album cover CHASMS Subtle Bodies (Sleep Genius) lp 17.98
Ah, Chasms! This has been one our favorite local acts in recent years, thanks to their smattering of cassette only releases and their impressive live performances of shoegazing heaviness and goth-laden electronics with an almost dark industrial vibe, which had us imagining Coil remixing Cocteau Twins or Slowdive! Subtle Bodies collects material from two of these (now out of print) cassettes along with a brand new track as a bonus! As we mentioned in an earlier review about the Riser tape (whose four tracks comprise all of side one of Subtle Bodies), the San Francisco duo are at their most focused and effective, starting off with flashes of hot white light, tapping into that classic shoegaze sound, with Chasms aiming and reaching so much higher then most of their peers. "Not In This Dimension" may very well be their most beautiful song yet, a shimmering gem that we had to play over and over after the first time we blasted this on our headphones. And each subsequent time we do, we close our eyes and let the song engulf us, gliding through a world of soft and swirling sonic sensations that we haven't felt since maybe Slowdive's masterpiece Pygmalion.
The flipside dives into a more narcoleptic and narcotic sound with the the drumless haze of "When It Comes" and the claustrophobic, blurred dirge of "Darker Outside" reminding us of some of those super creepy tracks by The Cranes from way back when. The eleven minute "Dissolution Into Light" rounds out the album as a blissed-out ride down the river Styx with desolate thrums of bass distortion and heartbreakingly sad melodies wavering through the feedback and reverb. Totally recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Riser"
MPEG Stream: " Not In This Dimension"
MPEG Stream: "Darker Outside"

album cover FROST, BEN Aurora (Mute / Bedroom Community) cd 15.98
Ben Frost records are scary. And beautiful. They're the stuff of dreams. And nightmares. They're like soundtracks for films that can never be made, the music conjuring up images that can only exist in the imagination. It's musical magic, or sonic alchemy, whatever it is, it's something few have mastered, and even those that have, barely approach the mysterious mastery of Ben Frost, whose previous record, By The Throat, remains one of the most terrifying documents of electronic sound art we have ever heard, weaving the sounds of snarling wolves into thick swells of corrosive bass buzz, and brilliantly bleak, yet impossibly lush sound design, and balancing that sonic grimness, with glimmers of hushed beauty, in a way that makes the sound both mellifluous and malevolent in equal measure.
Aurora is another stunning sonic missive, and one that immediately conjures up yet another lost world, one that lurks in our collective imagination, but that has begun to bleed through, into our every day world. The shadows seem deeper and darker. The grey skies shout through with streaks of blood red, the nights interminable, the days, scorched expanses of endless time. All of this represented by strange sprawls of layered electronic drones, of gristled pulsations, of strange staticky rhythms, and mysterious buried melodies, the sounds this time around brittle and jagged, the loveliness sharp edged and flecked with rust and dried blood, the rhythms that surface are hauntological, reminding us of the dubbed out avant mesmer of groups like Demdike Stare, but here those rhythms seem to gradually splinter and fray, wreathed in thick swirls of soft noise, sculpted into weeping melodies, and darkly decaying textures, all hiding some glowing inner warmth, suffusing these sounds with an organic quality, that transforms a series of sounds into something alive, a crackling energy that is barely contained on the record, one can almost imagine the sound as colored sparks leaping from the speakers, bursting from the headphones, a cascade of brilliant sonic flares, raining down from above.
Lurching robotic percussion is shaped into strange skeletal shapes, lumbering behemoths trading through fields of groaning, creaking chordal thrum, pelted with prismatic streaks of sound, a beastly groove, that builds to a thick swath of soaring epic psychedelic electronic majesty, like a meaner, moodier, more metal M83, a brilliant blacknoise blur, that blots out the stars, painting the sky in shade and shadow, eventually morphing into burnished stretches of grey ambience, laced with dubby skitter, all of which blossom further into a flurry of blissed out electro flares, which fade into crackling seas of gristle and hum, undulating imperceptibly beneath hazy layers of grumblingly distorted shimmer and grinding sheets of druggy thrum. A heaving landscape of tense cinematic atmosphere, smeared fields of tangled melody, wildly colliding synth streaks, and jumbled beats and rhythms, all wound up into a tightly coiled swirl, flurry of frenzied electrons, gradually crumbling into the ether, leaving just a barely there cloud of sonic static discharge, until finally, nothing. And emptiness.
Simply stunning.
MPEG Stream: "Nolan"
MPEG Stream: "The Teeth Behind The Kisses"
MPEG Stream: "Secant"

album cover RAISON D'ETRE Mise En Abyme (Transgredient / Drone Records) cd 17.98
There's a whole lot of history and a whole lot of meaning loaded in that title. The simple translation from the French is just "put in center" and its earliest etymology refers to the repeating pattern in a coat of arms as a symbol of the aristocratic / familial traditions being passed on from one generation to another. With this repeating formal motif, the phrase has become a term in critical theory to define self-reflexive structural forms and the potential for an instability of meaning, structure, reality etc. through repetition upon repetition. The results are the deliberate mindfucks of the play within a play, the dream within a dream where the dreamer is unaware of dreaming, and the infinite replication of images like the one found on the cover of that first Guardian Alien album (woah, so trippy, dude!).
The application of this phrase to the work of Raison D'Etre points to a gnosticism of darkness that compounds upon itself within the depths of the human soul. That seems suitable to Raison D'Etre's, um raison d'etre, as this has been the long-standing project for Peter Andersson who has recorded for now two decades under this moniker, almost exclusively for the now-defunct Cold Meat Industries. For all of the torturous death-ambient and grinding industrialisms of that imprint, Andersson (not to be confused with the other Peter Andersson on CMI known also as Baby Lina Doll of Deutsch Nepal) offered up a ghastly beauty through his haunted ambience that seem to echo with the maudlin sense of loss from Tarkovsky's lesser known film Nostalgia which ends with a scene of snowstorm quietly precipitating on the innards of the desicated Gothic cathedral. All of the Raison D'Etre albums have dreamily wandered through medieval chants and extracts of Germanic hymnal music, but these albums speak more of Andersson's position on the absence of God rather than a glorification. Mise En Abyme channels these thoughts into cold sweeping passages of melacholy ambience and cinematic overtures which glide along a stately trajectory in and out of cold silences. Machined rhythms and fabricated noise disrupt the ghostly ephemera about half way through the album, but this counterpoint is hardly a distraction. Recommended for those enamored by the work of Deathprod and Svarte Greiner / Deaf Center!
MPEG Stream: "Infernos"
MPEG Stream: "Katharos"
MPEG Stream: "Agraphos"

album cover THOUGHT BROADCAST Votive Zero (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
The schizophonic erasing and minimalist-dub-industrial aktions of Thought Broadcast are strategies directly replicated from very obscure sources from a very specific time frame. One admitted source is the unheard catalogue of Vanity Records flexidiscs from Japan circa 1981. In positing the work as an outright forgery, Thought Broadcast's copies of copies of copies of copies engender a punk-situationist zenith of radically free appropriation as artform. Where Through Broadcast is taking its cues from Vanity; Vanity was obfuscating the work of Maurizio Bianchi (amongst others), who in turn took after Conrad Schnitzler (amongst others), who leapt into sound upon his tutelage from Joseph Beuys. The network of influences and detours and rhizomes through both time and space is never a linear one, always convoluted and morphing; and Thought Broadcast is very clearly aware that the simulacra of signifiers can be an exhausting, unending cycling of ideas. In the replication and variations on stolen, damaged goods, Thought Broadcast re-ignites an obsessive, psychological tension which speaks of VHS video nasties, conspiracy theories of subliminal messages coded in television static, and the liminal horror of sound being used a control mechanism. Yes, these were the ideas that were spawned out of the Industrial Culture Handbook (e.g. Burroughs, TG/PTV, Z'ev, etc.); and Throught Broadcast's distillation of synth-punk ideas and aesthetics through the variation upon the most minimal of means -- a flanging, noisy-as-fuck synth droning above a grittily-phased drum machine -- is undeniably perfect in it's reminiscence for a time when everything else was fucking boring and fucking horrible. Yeah, one of the best electronic records of year. 1981? 2014? It matters not.
MPEG Stream: "Anchorite"
MPEG Stream: "Runaway Signal"
MPEG Stream: "07/13/2013"

album cover MELCHIOR, DAN Slow Down Tiger (Starlight Furniture Company) lp 14.98
Further down the rabbit hole goes Dan Melchior! Slow Down Tiger is the latest sonic adventure of continuously deconstructed pop for the occasional collaborator with the beloved chanteuse Holly Golightly. That said, for those looking to his lo-fi garage pop quirks, Melchior does have an album on Castle Face due out in the summer of 2014; but we gotta say that he can continue to produce these long-form weirdo collages for as long as he wants! "Tongues" rolls out with an eerie, hypnotic sitar-n-electronics loop that grounds a series of media samples / spoken word snippets from a variety of sources. The fine people down at the Starlight Furniture Company (you should really see their storefront on Mission Street in San Francisco, they really DO sell furniture! really cheap stuff, too!) have mapped out many of the sources including BBC broadcasts about poll tax riots in the UK less than three decades ago, as well as Russian and Chilean poets, obscure film clips, and some cultural lamp-lighters who shine their philosophies of curmudgeonliness and traditional lore on those who care to listen. As Melchior cuts the power on the tape loop machine, a ghostly guitar drift trickles through the shadows, dripping in equal parts with maudlin syrupiness, inky depression, and overdriven spring reverb. The vocal readymades continues to dot this landscape of guitar dronescape as dreamy allusions to those Delia Derbyshire dream-reciting experiments from the early '60s or the delightfully subversive tract of daytime soap collaged by Daniel Steven Crafts some 30 years ago. The flipside "Hospital Poem" is a desolate piece of lo-fi minimalism for chord organ and electronics, evolving into a heartbreaking, loner meditation that in all likelihood takes up the theme of Melchior's wife's cancer and her ongoing struggle with the disease. Great. Great. Great.
MPEG Stream: "Tongues"

album cover A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism / Inindependence (Thrill Jockey) 4lp 25.00
We ran out of the special Record Store Day limited tote bag version of the AMF reissues, but we just got the last remaining copies of the vinyl reissues (sans tote bag) direct from the band. Both lps are again sadly out of print. But while they last, we have a handful of the nice priced 4lp set which includes both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence... Here's our review of both when we listed this back around Record Store Day...
In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (!), our very own Andee was asked about what Record Store Day Releases we were most excited about. He mentioned a bunch, but the two they actually included in the magazine, were the utterly hilarious music nerd classic Rock, Rot And Rule (now sadly out of print), and these two vinyl reissues, from recently reunited / reactivated nineties post/math/noise rock combo A Minor Forest, which as many of you know, is in fact Andee's band! He was kind of joking, and a bit embarrassed when THAT was one of the ones they picked to print, but really, we WERE pretty excited. These two records have been out of print on vinyl for a decade, and have been remastered, now come with digital downloads, and one has all new artwork! But instead of making Andee further toot his own horn, we figured we'd try to be more objective, and let some other folks weigh in. A couple reviews from the past, and a couple from the present. So when we first reviewed these back in the day, for AMF's debut, Flemish Altruism, we asked beloved aQ-pal Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about that record, here's that original review from years and years ago:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millennium. Buy two. Wow."
Then, the follow up Inindependence was reviewed thusly by us upon its original release (when aQ reviews were still concise and impossibly brief):
"Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision!"
So here were are 15+ years later, and both records, now reissued and available as a swank 4lp / tote bag set, in honor of the just passed 2014 iteration of Record Store Day, are ripe for reassessment, a new listen to some old sounds, with fresh ears, a bit of distance, and years of subsequent music making in their wake. So, here's what the illustrious Pitchfork site had to say this week about both AMF records:
According to legend, the A Minor Forest song "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck" - a high point of the post-rock group's 1996 debut album, Flemish Altruism - was swiped from an inside joke that had circulated for years among the punk kids of Rapid City, South Dakota. A Minor Forest wasn't from Rapid City; they hailed from far-off San Francisco. But the band toured extensively throughout the country during its 90s-spanning existence, playing many of the same DIY venues that hosted the burgeoning post-hardcore and emo bands of that decade. If there's one thing that brings people together, it's cruel humor - and A Minor Forest, brooding and abrasive as well as downright delicate, knew a good joke when they heard it.
Flemish Altruism was reissued on vinyl for this year's Record Store Day, alongside A Minor Forest's other studio album, 1998's Inindependence. The rollout has been humble one, and it can't help but be compared to Slint's deservedly lavish Spiderland box set this month. Slint blazed trails with its dour, eerie ominousness; A Minor Forest, on the other hand, neither innovated nor intimidated. That doesn't make Flemish Altruism any less tense. The shadow of Slint - as well of Slint's slower, icier cousin, Codeine - loom large over A Minor Forest's distended syllables and dangling chords. The group had been honing that sound on singles and EPs since 1994, but Flemish Altruism tracks like "...But the Pants Stay On" and "Jacking Off George Lucas" groped for a new vocabulary out of the fragments laying around after post-rock's early-'90s Big Bang. What resulted was pidgin Slint-but in that process of restructuring, A Minor Forest came damn close to inventing post-post-rock, where the subgenre's self-seriousness was wrestled with until it laughed, gasped, and collapsed.
Steve Albini and Bob Weston produced Flemish Altruism, and the nerve-tightening cello they'd previously captured on Nirvana's In Utero feels almost deliberately evoked on the album's most arresting song, "Perform the Critical Straw Transfer". Singer/guitarist Erik Hoversten opens it with a deadpan punch line: "Guess you really lucked out…" he begins, his numb voice trailing off as bassist John Trevor Benson screams bestially yet faintly in the background, "…on this one." Sarcasm never sounded so black. Beneath them, cellist Dominique Davison saws with quiet strength, as if mocking and apologizing at the same time. The screaming gets pushed to the fore on thoroughly non-dainty "Dainty Jack and His Amazing Technicolor Cloth Jacket", an erratic spasm of dissonance that shows an affinity for San Diego screamo (A Minor Forest had previously recorded with Matt Anderson of Heroin), only broken up here and there with squibs of pinpoint jazziness. The balance is struck almost perfectly on "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck", a 10-minute noise-cycle of mood swings, red herrings, and curdled blood.
The wiseass, scattershot racket of Flemish Altruism settles into a more predictable groove onInindependence. Concise and controlled by comparison, A Minor Forest's second and final album (not including their 1999 singles-and-EPs collection, ...So, Were They in Some Sort of Fight?) drags more algebra into the rhythm and more calculation into the off-kilter melody. It wouldn't be fair to say the band had begun to take itself either more or less seriously - but the music is more serious, and even the song titles are less crass. If "Erik's Budding Romance" is to be taken at face value, that relationship flip-flopped randomly and often between coy, candlelit dinners and table-flipping eruptions of lust. Drummer Andee Connors, an unsung hero of his instrument and era, is in top form, coaxing every shade of texture, dynamic, and emotion out of the kit. There are honest, unabashed hooks on the deliciously brief (that is, under four minutes) centerpiece, "…It's Salmon!!!", as well as in "Michael Anthony", which skips a sweet melody across a minefield of disjointed changes and chords. At the same time, the album's 18-minute monster "The Smell of Hot" never fully jells; as A Minor Forest's recording career drew to a halt, patience-testing jams occupied one extreme of their spectrum, while a hint of pleasing pop teased at the other.
A Minor Forest's legacy is not a towering one. Most notably, Hoversten went on to play with Pinback, where he was able to indulge his love of angular melody much more avidly. The band never seemed to want to make bold statements, and it always punctured whatever atmosphere it crafted with wiry self-deprecation and perverse wit. When A Minor Forest reunited in 2013 after a 15-year hiatus, Hoversten said in a radio interview, "[This reunion is] sort of like, take an outfit you wore 15 years ago, then put it on today. Clearly you liked it at one point, but it's not exactly the outfit you would have chosen today. That being said, it's not like I'm being asked to put on a clown suit." Despite their crank titles and in-jokes, A Minor Forest was never a funny band. But they had fun, and that fun seeped into their music. And that makes Flemish Altruism and Inindependence two of the most endlessly rewarding albums of the 90s post-rock boom, if never the most monolithic.
And finally, here's a review of both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence from the always awesome Pop Matters:
The bare truth behind two classic albums from the 1990s.
I remember it clearly: the road was a hazy sequence of distant glares kept together by a dense, hazy lull immersed in the purest of mists. My friend, the proud owner of the CD, was holding the music artifact with one hand, while the other occasionally found its way up and down the wheel, now on this side; now on the other. I never knew how both hands also managed to offer such an accurate interpretation of the drumming, but his abilities ceased to amaze me when my side of the car hit a guardrail that seemed to have popped out from nowhere. My friend carefully placed the CD case in the glove compartment and met me outside the vehicle, where we assessed the damage. "That drumming! Oh boy, that drumming!", was all he had to say.
Not much has happened in the 16 years that followed that day. My friend got married, paid his way to a divorce and when we meet, I drive, so he can be Andee Connors and I can take good care of our lives. In the real world, the influence of a band like A Minor Forest - a scruffy bunch of lads from San Francisco - still echoes on both sides of the Atlantic. Inheritors of the legacy initiated by bands like Slint, Bastro, Gastr Del Sol and Shellac, A Minor Forest's name appears, rightly or wrongly, almost invariably as part of the American post-rock scene, as if their own legacy could not be singled out and stand on its own two feet. But while most people blame them, together with a whole bunch of Midwestern acts loosely located in the "Corn Belt", for the explosion of the math-rock plague, the impact this short-lived ensemble has had on indie rock is probably still far from being recognised.
Their two classic albums, Flemish Altruism and Inindependence, reissued on vinyl by Thrill Jockey for Record Store Day on 19 April, are both presented with an array of previously unpublished pictures in a special four-LP set that includes download cards. However, what matters the most is that these albums, which have been out of print for a decade, have been remastered from the original tapes. The sensuality of the naked, raw sound that was the core of that scene (and I hereby use this term in the artistic, rather than in the geographic sense) is therefore faithfully represented in all its purity and ingenuity. "The Dutch Fist", "So Jesus Was At the Last Supper" and "...But the Pants Stay On" are some of the finest representations imaginable of noise as the most spontaneous by-product of the deconstruction of rock grammar. This primary necessity regulated by tradition - Erik Hoversten (guitars and vocals) and John Trevor Benson (bass) had both studied music at Berkeley - found its champions in Steve Albini (who else?) and Bob Weston (he too of Shellac fame), whose uncompromised affection for stripped-down sounds and total lack of artificiality constituted the perfect match for the band.
Flemish Altruism is the result of this formula, and tunes like "Jacking Off George Lucas" or "Ed Is 50" betray an improvisational approach which heavily relies on the dichotomy between the extreme unpredictability of noise and the discipline usually behind melodic patterns. The almost mandatory (at least back then) tour of most of the US would lead, two years later, to the recording of Inindependence: an album that followed the path traced by its predecessor, perpetuating the angularity and eclecticism that would make A Minor Forest easily recognizable years after their dissolution.
Flemish Altruism and Inindependence are the band's only full-lengths and it could not be otherwise. Although a collection of much of their out of print material, plus a couple of new tracks made it onto the Were They in Some Sort of Fight? CD on My Pal God Records in 1999, these two albums vouch for an incredibly inspired band which disbanded once they realized that the traditional rock instrumentation was starting to restrict their enormous potential and creativity. Does this awareness affect these two records? Not at all. A Minor Forest didn't live long enough to see their craft surpass their inspiration, and for this reason their legacy is definitely safer now than it was 20 years ago!
As mentioned above, both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence have been remastered, both include digital downloads, and are housed in swank full color gatefold jackets, Flemish Altruism has all new artwork!!
MPEG Stream: "But The Pants Stay On"
MPEG Stream: "So Jesus Was At The Last Supper..."
MPEG Stream: "Speed For Gavin"
MPEG Stream: "Erik's Budding Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Michael Anthony"
MPEG Stream: "The Dutch Fist"

album cover TAIGA REMAINS Works For Cassette (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) lp 14.98
What a gorgeous album! Taiga Remains is the former drone-out-of-noise project of Alex Cobb, with Works For Cassette being the final sonic statement under that moniker. He's hardly calling it a day, as he is continuing to record under his own name and is also responsible curating the impeccable Students Of Decay label with well over 100 releases of top-shelf neo-psychedelia bathed in reverb, drugs, or both. His own recordings emerge from this same curatorial vision for beautiful, blissful, drone-on delirium. He blew us away with a disc on Root Strata a couple years back, but THIS one is THEE album!!! With a swooning guitar half-melody slipping out of focus from the beginning of Works For Cassette, we knew this would be a gem, immediately fixating itself in a staring contest with those long-form sprawls of Andrew Chalk or the glassy-drone hypnosis occasionally produced by Tim Hecker. We know that Chalk is wide-eyed through his own magical realm of English dreariness and Hecker's ambitions would mount matchsticks between his eyelids in his pursuit of greatness; but Cobb never blinks. His darkly kosmische gaze extends beyond that metaphysical staring context and peers up the the coast of California beyond the green flash of a disappearing sunset to the west and toward the distant aurora borealis twinkling at the north in sheets of irradiated greens and yellows. So speaks from the mind's eye of Alex Cobb.
Golden tones of metallic buzz swaddled in radiant timbres and ghostly reverberations. Majestic blurrings from time-dilated meditations on the minutiae of existence exploded to the scope of the infinite. Sublime, oceanic roilings where the division of land, air, and sea is so diffused that a bathysphere is required for any means of transportation. Blissed-out pleasure-seekers, psychonauts, dronologists, daydreamers, inner-mind pioneers, and psychic malcontents seeking something to soothe the soul; here's a perfect album for you. Works For Cassette is an epic, cinematic feat of dronescaping; and one of the finest that we've come across.
MPEG Stream: "Sup Pralad"
MPEG Stream: "There's Nothing"
MPEG Stream: "Winter Tai-Tung"

album cover BONNETTA, JOSHUA Strange Lines And Distances (Experimedia) lp+dvd 31.00
A film version of Strange Lines And Distances has made the rounds at some of the established film festivals around the globe for the past few years; and now Experimedia offers the video documentation of the piece along with an edit of the soundtrack specifically rendered for vinyl. Bonnetta's work is conceptually driven (and is exceptionally well executed), based upon the first wireless transmission that Marconi broadcast from one side of the English Channel to the other. Out of this single transmission, we not only have a lineage that begets radio then television then cellphones then iPhones then 'the cloud' and onto whatever the next means of immediate communication may be on the horizon; but we also have all of the miscommunications, hidden messages, lost transmissions, EVPs, numbers stations, alien voices, and any other tech-gnostic renderings of the machine as a telepathic device communing with the divine. Bonnetta's piece is a suitably eerie score of shortwave radio drones and oceanic field recordings, compositionally reflecting Marconi's notion that the radio transmission does not actually disappear but just becomes incrementally fainter. As such, Bonnetta's audio sensibilities owes a considerable amount to the long-shot works of Alan Lamb, Jim Haynes, Thomas Koner, and BJ Nilsen. The video work operates on a simple, yet effective conceit with two channels of video representing both sides of the Channel. The video was all shot on 16mm film and maintains a muted color palette of wintery grays and cold blues as Bonnetta tracks through both landscapes which hold numerous environmental similarities, tied through Marconi's idea that his first wireless transmission is still bouncing back and forth between these two sites albeit infinitesimally faint. It's a really beautiful piece of work; and not surprisingly won a handful of awards. The lp contains extended compositions of the soundtrack, a very lengthy piece of critical analysis of the work, a dvd with the film itself, and digital downloads of both the video and the audio. Whew!
MPEG Stream: "Strange Lines And Distances I"
MPEG Stream: "Strange Lines And Distances II"

album cover V/VM (LEYLAND KIRBY) The Death Of Rave (A Partial Flashback) (History ) cd 22.00
V/VM was the first project that forced sonic hermit Leyland Kirby into the public eye, when he emerged as a giddy figurehead for the amphetamine-amped drill'n'bass that blossomed around the likes of Hrvatski, Aphex Twin, and Atari Teenage Riot in the late '90s. For all of the hype that surrounded him, Kirby's 'sound' was essentially, a purposefully aggravating, immature brand of cheap musical humor by turns, brutal, noisy, dumb and occasionally sort of genius, although it mostly tended toward the goofy - which included shameful plunderings of '80s dreck ballads, by running a Chris Deburgh or a Lionel Richie song through a ring modulator. Yeah, much of the V/VM material was ridiculous, puerile, and lots of times borderline unlistenable. But that sort of seemed like the point...
Not surprisingly, we avoided much of the early V/VM stuff, circa '90s and '00s; but those glimpses of genius, would later blossom into the sublime transcendent beauty of Kirby's Caretaker persona, and we were not alone in finding Kirby's work as The Caretaker thoroughly sublime, a stunning haunted ballroom approach to ambient composition through massive amounts of cathedral reverb and ample chorales of surface noise from antiquated '78s.
That said, The Death Of Rave project is perhaps the one body of work from V/VM that should most certainly be heard. And which maybe not surprisingly ran concurrent with some of the earlier explorations as The Caretaker, first being released online as a massive archive of over 200 dancefloor anthems being time-stretched and reworked into rave's anti-apotheosis. No rhythm, no release, no exhilaration, this was all grey sculpted noise and decommissioned electricity. This 'partial flashback' represents the best material from that unwieldy catalog which now seems to have vanished from the internet. (Long live the physical medium!) The Death Of Rave cultivates a slow, almost industrially-minded tension of granular electronic noise, with a sense of fictional memories similar to those created in Kirby's dilated 78 recontextualations as The Caretaker. Here, those would be the fabricated memories sought by Roy Batty and his fellow replicants in Blade Runner, flickering repetitions of pixels into dense networks of cold data that in another context would be a jacked-up acid track or a sensual deep-house groove. But here, it's poetically and poignantly vacant - a residual memory recoded as the empty warehouse itself, where a party once happened, with the floor covered in crushed plastic cups, two-day old vomit-n-beer, broken high-heels, and cigarette butts. And in the maudlin mind of Kirby, that's something quite beautiful.
MPEG Stream: "Monroes Stockport"
MPEG Stream: "Machete's At The Banshee"
MPEG Stream: "Marple Libradome '91"

MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL Ballade For A Crow Moon (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel) cd-r 17.98

album cover A MINOR FOREST Flemish Altruism / inindependence (Thrill Jockey) 4lp + tote bag 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
In the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly (!), our very own Andee was asked about what Record Store Day Releases we were most excited about. He mentioned a bunch, but the two they actually included in the magazine, were the utterly hilarious music nerd classic Rock, Rot And Rule, which you'll find reviewed elsewhere on this week's list, and these two vinyl reissues, from recently reunited / reactivated nineties post/math/noise rock combo A Minor Forest, which as many of you know, is in fact Andee's band! He was kind of joking, and a bit embarrassed when THAT was one of the ones they picked to print, but really, we WERE pretty excited. These two records have been out of print on vinyl for a decade, and have been remastered, now come with digital downloads, and one has all new artwork! But instead of making Andee further toot his own horn, we figured we'd try to be more objective, and let some other folks weigh in. A couple reviews from the past, and a couple from the present. So when we first reviewed these back in the day, for AMF's debut, Flemish Altruism, we asked beloved aQ-pal Douglas Mosurak to say a few words about that record, here's that original review from years and years ago:
"October 22, 1996: Bay Area rock trio A Minor Forest stop indie rock dead. Their new double LP on Thrill Jockey is so incredible, and subsequently so complete, that no other records of its kind need to be produced anymore. Lesser bands of their stripe are currently being petitioned to break up immediately to save embarrassment. And while some people will miss, like, June of 44 or the Archers of Loaf for a little while, with the proper exposure to Flemish Altruism, they'll forget all about it. AMF manage to piece together everything good about every post-Big Black and every post-Heroin outfit into a seamless, epic sound; fairly dense, deeply emotional and thoroughly human. They have the sense of humor required to lift it off, too. Some of their songs prefer to hide in the corner; some lunge for your throat. Their style is such that their original ideas fill in with ones borrowed from their rich lineage in such a manner that pays tribute without disrespect. It's a thoroughly engaging sound that I'd rank up there with the Bitch Magnet discography, with the Bastro LPs, with the Gore records, with the cream of the Gravity crop, even with the Shellac album. Best rock record of 1996, and currently outweighing all proposed rock concepts until the close of the millennium. Buy two. Wow."
Then, the follow up Inindependence was reviewed thusly by us upon its original release (when aQ reviews were still concise and impossibly brief):
"Simply put, this may be the last bastion of rock on Thrill Jockey, before they devolve into a purely electronic/jazz label. Sure we may be boasting a little, because A Minor Forest is our very own Andee Connors' band. But this truly is a great record of delicate math rock instrumentations executed with violent precision!"
So here were are 15+ years later, and both records, now reissued and available as a swank 4lp / tote bag set, in honor of the just passed 2014 iteration of Record Store Day, are ripe for reassessment, a new listen to some old sounds, with fresh ears, a bit of distance, and years of subsequent music making in their wake. So, here's what the illustrious Pitchfork site had to say this week about both AMF records:
According to legend, the A Minor Forest song "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck" - a high point of the post-rock group's 1996 debut album, Flemish Altruism - was swiped from an inside joke that had circulated for years among the punk kids of Rapid City, South Dakota. A Minor Forest wasn't from Rapid City; they hailed from far-off San Francisco. But the band toured extensively throughout the country during its 90s-spanning existence, playing many of the same DIY venues that hosted the burgeoning post-hardcore and emo bands of that decade. If there's one thing that brings people together, it's cruel humor - and A Minor Forest, brooding and abrasive as well as downright delicate, knew a good joke when they heard it.
Flemish Altruism was reissued on vinyl for this year's Record Store Day, alongside A Minor Forest's other studio album, 1998's Inindependence. The rollout has been humble one, and it can't help but be compared to Slint's deservedly lavish Spiderland box set this month. Slint blazed trails with its dour, eerie ominousness; A Minor Forest, on the other hand, neither innovated nor intimidated. That doesn't make Flemish Altruism any less tense. The shadow of Slint - as well of Slint's slower, icier cousin, Codeine - loom large over A Minor Forest's distended syllables and dangling chords. The group had been honing that sound on singles and EPs since 1994, but Flemish Altruism tracks like "...But the Pants Stay On" and "Jacking Off George Lucas" groped for a new vocabulary out of the fragments laying around after post-rock's early-'90s Big Bang. What resulted was pidgin Slint-but in that process of restructuring, A Minor Forest came damn close to inventing post-post-rock, where the subgenre's self-seriousness was wrestled with until it laughed, gasped, and collapsed.
Steve Albini and Bob Weston produced Flemish Altruism, and the nerve-tightening cello they'd previously captured on Nirvana's In Utero feels almost deliberately evoked on the album's most arresting song, "Perform the Critical Straw Transfer". Singer/guitarist Erik Hoversten opens it with a deadpan punch line: "Guess you really lucked out…" he begins, his numb voice trailing off as bassist John Trevor Benson screams bestially yet faintly in the background, "…on this one." Sarcasm never sounded so black. Beneath them, cellist Dominique Davison saws with quiet strength, as if mocking and apologizing at the same time. The screaming gets pushed to the fore on thoroughly non-dainty "Dainty Jack and His Amazing Technicolor Cloth Jacket", an erratic spasm of dissonance that shows an affinity for San Diego screamo (A Minor Forest had previously recorded with Matt Anderson of Heroin), only broken up here and there with squibs of pinpoint jazziness. The balance is struck almost perfectly on "Bill's Mom Likes to Fuck", a 10-minute noise-cycle of mood swings, red herrings, and curdled blood.
The wiseass, scattershot racket of Flemish Altruism settles into a more predictable groove onInindependence. Concise and controlled by comparison, A Minor Forest's second and final album (not including their 1999 singles-and-EPs collection, ...So, Were They in Some Sort of Fight?) drags more algebra into the rhythm and more calculation into the off-kilter melody. It wouldn't be fair to say the band had begun to take itself either more or less seriously - but the music is more serious, and even the song titles are less crass. If "Erik's Budding Romance" is to be taken at face value, that relationship flip-flopped randomly and often between coy, candlelit dinners and table-flipping eruptions of lust. Drummer Andee Connors, an unsung hero of his instrument and era, is in top form, coaxing every shade of texture, dynamic, and emotion out of the kit. There are honest, unabashed hooks on the deliciously brief (that is, under four minutes) centerpiece, "…It's Salmon!!!", as well as in "Michael Anthony", which skips a sweet melody across a minefield of disjointed changes and chords. At the same time, the album's 18-minute monster "The Smell of Hot" never fully jells; as A Minor Forest's recording career drew to a halt, patience-testing jams occupied one extreme of their spectrum, while a hint of pleasing pop teased at the other.
A Minor Forest's legacy is not a towering one. Most notably, Hoversten went on to play with Pinback, where he was able to indulge his love of angular melody much more avidly. The band never seemed to want to make bold statements, and it always punctured whatever atmosphere it crafted with wiry self-deprecation and perverse wit. When A Minor Forest reunited in 2013 after a 15-year hiatus, Hoversten said in a radio interview, "[This reunion is] sort of like, take an outfit you wore 15 years ago, then put it on today. Clearly you liked it at one point, but it's not exactly the outfit you would have chosen today. That being said, it's not like I'm being asked to put on a clown suit." Despite their crank titles and in-jokes, A Minor Forest was never a funny band. But they had fun, and that fun seeped into their music. And that makes Flemish Altruism and Inindependence two of the most endlessly rewarding albums of the 90s post-rock boom, if never the most monolithic.
And finally, here's a review of both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence from the always awesome Pop Matters:
The bare truth behind two classic albums from the 1990s.
I remember it clearly: the road was a hazy sequence of distant glares kept together by a dense, hazy lull immersed in the purest of mists. My friend, the proud owner of the CD, was holding the music artifact with one hand, while the other occasionally found its way up and down the wheel, now on this side; now on the other. I never knew how both hands also managed to offer such an accurate interpretation of the drumming, but his abilities ceased to amaze me when my side of the car hit a guardrail that seemed to have popped out from nowhere. My friend carefully placed the CD case in the glove compartment and met me outside the vehicle, where we assessed the damage. "That drumming! Oh boy, that drumming!", was all he had to say.
Not much has happened in the 16 years that followed that day. My friend got married, paid his way to a divorce and when we meet, I drive, so he can be Andee Connors and I can take good care of our lives. In the real world, the influence of a band like A Minor Forest - a scruffy bunch of lads from San Francisco - still echoes on both sides of the Atlantic. Inheritors of the legacy initiated by bands like Slint, Bastro, Gastr Del Sol and Shellac, A Minor Forest's name appears, rightly or wrongly, almost invariably as part of the American post-rock scene, as if their own legacy could not be singled out and stand on its own two feet. But while most people blame them, together with a whole bunch of Midwestern acts loosely located in the "Corn Belt", for the explosion of the math-rock plague, the impact this short-lived ensemble has had on indie rock is probably still far from being recognised.
Their two classic albums, Flemish Altruism and Inindependence, reissued on vinyl by Thrill Jockey for Record Store Day on 19 April, are both presented with an array of previously unpublished pictures in a special four-LP set that includes download cards. However, what matters the most is that these albums, which have been out of print for a decade, have been remastered from the original tapes. The sensuality of the naked, raw sound that was the core of that scene (and I hereby use this term in the artistic, rather than in the geographic sense) is therefore faithfully represented in all its purity and ingenuity. "The Dutch Fist", "So Jesus Was At the Last Supper" and "...But the Pants Stay On" are some of the finest representations imaginable of noise as the most spontaneous by-product of the deconstruction of rock grammar. This primary necessity regulated by tradition - Erik Hoversten (guitars and vocals) and John Trevor Benson (bass) had both studied music at Berkeley - found its champions in Steve Albini (who else?) and Bob Weston (he too of Shellac fame), whose uncompromised affection for stripped-down sounds and total lack of artificiality constituted the perfect match for the band.
Flemish Altruism is the result of this formula, and tunes like "Jacking Off George Lucas" or "Ed Is 50" betray an improvisational approach which heavily relies on the dichotomy between the extreme unpredictability of noise and the discipline usually behind melodic patterns. The almost mandatory (at least back then) tour of most of the US would lead, two years later, to the recording of Inindependence: an album that followed the path traced by its predecessor, perpetuating the angularity and eclecticism that would make A Minor Forest easily recognizable years after their dissolution.
Flemish Altruism and Inindependence are the band's only full-lengths and it could not be otherwise. Although a collection of much of their out of print material, plus a couple of new tracks made it onto the Were They in Some Sort of Fight? CD on My Pal God Records in 1999, these two albums vouch for an incredibly inspired band which disbanded once they realized that the traditional rock instrumentation was starting to restrict their enormous potential and creativity. Does this awareness affect these two records? Not at all. A Minor Forest didn't live long enough to see their craft surpass their inspiration, and for this reason their legacy is definitely safer now than it was 20 years ago!
As mentioned above, both Flemish Altruism and Inindependence have been remastered, both include digital downloads, and are housed in swank full color gatefold jackets, Flemish Altruism has all new artwork, and while they last, available ONLY at aQ (or from the band on their upcoming tour, which begins a few days after this week's list!), both records are bundled together (4lps!), for a special low price, and housed in a silkscreened tote bag, with a killer new AMF logo by none other than Christoph Szpadjel, the Lord Of The Logos!
MPEG Stream: "But The Pants Stay On"
MPEG Stream: "So Jesus Was At The Last Supper..."
MPEG Stream: "Speed For Gavin"
MPEG Stream: "Erik's Budding Romance"
MPEG Stream: "Michael Anthony"
MPEG Stream: "The Dutch Fist"

album cover SMALL CRUEL PARTY Unroof The House Of The Fishes (Harbinger Sound) lp 25.00
A functionally difficult proposition, Small Cruel Party is the defunct sound-art moniker of US ex-pat Key Ransome, who generated a considerable amount of material back in the late '80s and early '90s when he was residing in the Pacific Northwest. His post-industrial / phenomenologically centered work is always tactile with the scraping of found objects, the grinding of wires, the cascade of bells, the whir of some unseen turbine, the rustling of abject garbage strewn in a sodden warehouse. Very little electronic processing seem to go into the whatever Small Cruel Party happens to be recording, just some overdubbing here and there maybe. Unroof The House Of The Fishes was originally a cassette from 1993 on the seminal if obscure Japanese label G.R.O.S.S. curated by Akifumi Nakajima aka Aube. Both sides of this record operate as two distinctly different pieces, with one side quietly rumbling with somatic gurgles, nocturnal thrumming, haunted chanting, and the din of cargo ship engines echoing through abandoned warehouses. It's not far from Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing, though far more ominous and creepy. The otherside is quite a bit more tortured with layering metal-on-metal grinding and deep resonant frequencies with the near constant churn of cobalt black textures scraping against each other. Here, Small Cruel Party's nearest neighbor would be the more scabrous moments of Organum or perhaps the anti-mnemonic compositions of intertwined frequency and texture from Giancarlo Toniutti. Remastered for vinyl by Scott Konzelmann (aka Chop Shop) and features new artwork by Ransome.
MPEG Stream: "Side A"
MPEG Stream: "Side B"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Mectpyo Bakterium (Menstrual Recordings) lp 30.00
Maurizio Bianchi is one the pioneers of Italian Industrial music, transforming the psychedelic electronics of the likes of Conrad Schniztler, Cluster, Eno, Neu!, etc. into a chilling, dark theater of cancerous sounds that had become the template for the countless dark ambient / industrialists who followed. His story is a peculiar one, as he was incessantly productive throughout the late '70s and early '80s until he unexpectedly stopped in 1984. This musical cessation served to heighten the mystique around the man, as rumors and falsehoods swirled around his legacy, followed by numerous bootleg tapes and LPs of his rarities. Mectpyo Bakterium was an album originally released on lp back in 1982 on the Mnemonists' imprint DYS out of Colorado, and then later in 1998 on cd through the Alga Marghen reissue campaign of his major records. And here is the first repress of the vinyl which goes for a very pretty penny on the collector's market.
Mectpyo Bakterium is a bleak piece of electronic expressionism, with shivering tones and slashing bursts of clinical noise meandering through minefields of grim atmospheres. As it was originally released on LP, the two main tracks of this album are each side-long excursions that mutate and fold on top of themselves, beginning at very dark, very grim launching points and ending up in an entirely different mindframe, having rotated through dour melodies, squalid noises, funeral drum machine marches, and further bleak electronics. It makes sense for this to be a worthy contemporary of TG, Cabaret Voltaire, and Whitehouse! This officially sanctioned lp is limited to 275 copies in a nearly exact reproduction of the original.
MPEG Stream: "Festish Pinksha"
MPEG Stream: "Sterile Regles"

album cover KEMP, ALICE Decay And Persistence (Fragment Factory) cd-r 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN STOCK!!! A surprising state of affairs, since it's so limited of a release.
A hitherto unknown to us British sound artist, Alice Kemp seems to have honed her craft of cloak-n-dagger electroacoustics through the realms of performance art, with this long-form piece being a reworking of the sound designs that were commissioned by the performance art duo Weeks & Whitford. The imagery and allusions from Weeks & Whitford are gruesome (with Rebecca Weeks holding a malformed Eraserhead-like creature molded from livers and hearts in one of the photos accompanying the record) and spooky (a human hand made of frozen wine that melts all over a wedding dress worn by Weeks), in "tracing the scars that are left as the trophies of love." Admittedly, there's only the various project descriptions and photographic evidence of those pieces, but Kemp's sound design must have been a disturbing, claustrophobic addition to those performances, as this album would easily make her an honorary member of the notorious Schimpfluch-Gruppe. In fact, she was invited to perform at the Extreme Ritual festival alongside all of the Schimpfluch artists (e.g. Rudolf Eb.Er, G*Park, Sudden Infant, Dave Phillips, Raionbashi, etc.) with the participants and audience members alike astonished / aghast at her work. The tick-tock rhythms of a clock brace empty spaces and shadowy rumblings of tactile sounds that could very well be the calving of massive icebergs or the amplifications of blood vessels hemorrhaging just underneath a trepanned skull. Taut wire snaps and VLF crackle slowly enter the fray as Kemp's overarching composition follows what Nurse With Wound's Stapleton did on Salt Marie Celeste, with a leviathan crawl of incremental psychic intensity. Lets hope this album isn't just a minor excursion for Kemp; but as it stands now, this is all we know of... and it's a pro-duplicated cd-r in a nice digipack in an edition of just 100 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Decay And Persistence"

album cover MAEROR TRI Meditamentum (Zoharum) 2cd 19.98
The two Meditamentum collections stood as the 'best of' Maeror Tri's offerings culled from their numerous cassettes released from 1989-1996 at the tail end of the first wave of cassette culture as we know it; and these collections had in fact gone through a couple of different reissue iterations themselves eventually getting released through the seminal dark ambient label Manifold, some fifteen years ago. Of course, those are long out of print; now the Polish label Zoharum has brought all of the material from those anthologies into this double-disc set, with much nicer packaging and artwork than any of the previous versions. But the strength is still in the sounds produced by Maeror Tri, whose Stefan Knappe and Martin Glitsch continued as Troum after Maeror Tri disbanded in 1996. Melody and rhythm soon became parts of Troum's droned-out vocabulary, but these musical aspects were far more fleeting in the work Maeror Tri, which hinged on an abstraction of grim noises that have more in common with the formation of cold planets out of comet dust, iron ore and ice than the instrumentation of guitars, bass, synths, flutes, accordions, etc. Here, it is the thrumming reverb of inhospitable galactic forms colliding in deep space, rippling through time and the cosmos as an existential shot of raw nihilism. As such, the recordings of Maeror Tri have much more of an industrially tinged, thousand-yard stare, which is fully on display on Meditamentum. The cassettes from which this collection was drawn include Peak Experience, Somnia Et Expergisci, Ambient Dreams, Sensuum Mendacia, Sublimal Forces, Allianz, Hypnobasia, Venenum, Beauty Of Sadness, Archaid States, Ultimate Time, and a handful of tape comps. Yes, a few of these cassettes have enjoyed reissues themselves; but this collection makes for one of the best bodies of work that Maeror Tri has ever produced.
MPEG Stream: "Voices On My Skin"
MPEG Stream: "Soma II"
MPEG Stream: "Philemon"
MPEG Stream: "Tartarus"

album cover MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL Ballade For A Snow Moon (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel) cd-r 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The sixth in the year-long series from Motion Sickness Of Time Travel dedicated to the North American naming tradition of the full moons. The snow moon is ascribed to February full moon, and her rumination on this particular moon is wintery without being gloomy. There's a crystallization of sound through her kosmische synth sequences, trilling melodies, moon-muzik spells, and ethereal vocalizations that captures the snowblinding radiance of the sun casting its rays through the icicles that hang from her Georgian farmhouse. We've got only a handful of these with no chance of a restock. Limited to 50 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Ballade For A Snow Moon (excerpt)"

album cover DEADBEAT & PAUL ST HILAIRE The Infinity Dub Sessions (Blkrtz) 2lp 26.00
We've long loved Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, THEE voice of minimal dub geniuses Rhythm And Sound, his gorgeous, otherworldly croon adding some serious soul to R&S' darkly digital world of gristly dubbed out, slow skitter creep, and really, if there was ever one of those 'could sing the phonebook' voices, it's St Hilaire's. Years back, St Hilaire performed with Deadbeat, aka Scott Monteith, another aQ fave, a dub scientist in Berlin by way of Canada, whose sound was and is equal parts Rhythm & Sound skeletal dig-dub, and Pole style click and pop minimalism. Over the years, Monteith and St Hilaire stayed in touch, even playing the occasional show, but this is the first proper recording the two have made together, and it's a total stunner. And as you might imagine from the above, it's pretty much just what you'd expect, a sprawling collection of gorgeous super spare electro dub, a lot like Pole crossed with Rhythm & Sound. But that sound is stretched way out, some of the tracks here almost house-y, some very Kompakt sounding, but regardless of the sonic influence or inspiration, Monteith and St Hilaire make the sound totally their own, conjuring up some spiritual musical magic that makes The Infinity Dub Sessions totally divine. Especially the first track, which is worth the $18 price tag all on its own. Maybe the most perfect, and perfectly mysterious and moody modern dub track we've heard, all woozy, thick bass rumbles, wreathed in static, deep mesmeric swells, laced with dubbed out upstroke chordal thrum, as well as the occasional dubstep style bass wobble, little bits of glitch and squelch scattered throughout, super minimal melodies drifting like bongsmoke in the background, even instrumental, this would be totally hypnotic and irresistibly mesmerizing, but add St. Hilaire's gorgeous croon, and it becomes something even more transcendent.
Nothing else is quite as dark and bass heavy, but all the tracks are tranced out, softly swirly and psychedelic, the sound simultaneously minimal and skeletal, but also deeply lush and layered, ranging from the super percussive churn of "Dopa", with some seriously twisted, echo drenched vox, to the more reggae sounding "What The Heck Them Expect", St Hilaire's vocals the focal point, the background music a dark, languorous groove. "Working Everyday" is a dubby, dreamy sprawl, all soft focus and prismatic, billowy chords drifting atop a lazily propulsive rhythm, while "Rock Of Creation" is a hazy techno-dub ballad, a field of gristly and crackle the framework for shimmery synths and hushed melodies, St Hilaire crooning seductively amidst ethereal clouds of sound. The final three tracks have a huge Kompakt vibe, but imagine if Kompakt was headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, with The Infinity Dub Sessions a chronicle of St Hilaire and Monteith's mobile sound system, the streets of Jamaica sonically transformed into some otherworldy dream-dub dancehall.
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Strong"
MPEG Stream: "Dopa"
MPEG Stream: "What The Heck Them Expect"
MPEG Stream: "Working Everyday"

album cover BE FOREST Cold (We Were Never Being Boring Collective) cd 9.98
Even better than their Earthbeat album that we recently ballyhooed about, here also is the debut album from Be Forest! Several of us here discovered this album a while back, forking over substantial sums of cash for the privilege of getting ahold of this Italian shoegazing goth quartet; but we've solved the distribution riddle, and now can happily offer this album to you, O beloved aQuarius customer!
Be Forest hails from the coastal village of Pesaro, whose cultural sleepiness seems only trumped by the substantial number of retired folk who live there. Such is the well-worn recipe for rock, punk, metal, goth, noise, aktionism, and whatever else might strike your fancy: take a bunch of bored teenagers with grandiose ideas / immaculate taste and give them instruments... interesting things should happen. Be Forest is the only band we've heard from what's been dubbed the 'Pesaro-scene', but on the strength of their albums, we're curious to hear what else might be happening alongside these Italian miserablists. In the aptly named album Cold, you'll hear the ghosts of The Cure, Slowdive, Modern English, The Chameleons UK, and pretty much any of the bands that would have inspired half of the Captured Tracks roster; but Be Forest pen songs and create an atmosphere that is WAY better. No drum machines to be found here; Be Forest's Erica Terenzi lays an impressive backbeat on every track, augmented by those gated-reverb tricks that Martin Hannett developed with Joy Divsion that are still being used today as necessary spaciousness and ethereal ghostliness within the goth songbook. Terenzi and Costanza Delle Rose share the vocal duties in Be Forest, with their darkly seductive inflections seemingly indistinguishable. Songs like "Dust" and "Thrill" sparkle with brightly ringing tones over tribal percussive patterns foreshadowing Be Forest's second album Earthbeat; but it's the gloom 'n' doom pop of "Screaming Prayer", "Buck & Crow", and especially the magnificent "Florence" that are the highlights here. The latter track follows the Robert Smith / Simon Gallup goth-pop formula of big thrumming basslines and majestic pop-hook crescendos that could have slipped easily on to Disintegration or Pornography. One of those albums that has been stuck in the stereo here at aQuarius, and for very good reason!

album cover PSYCHE Re-Membering Dwayne (Dark Entries) lp 14.98
Before Dwayne Gottel re-engineered synth-pop to embrace a signature aesthetic of shock and horror in Skinny Puppy, he proved to be a thorny creative foil for the Huss brothers of Edmonton, Canada. Stephen and Darrin Huss met Dwayne in their late teens in high school, after the Huss brothers ditched early attempts at standard punk in favor of something akin to the darker elements of UK new wave (i.e. Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, OMD, etc.). In the naive and earnest diary entries found in the Xeroxed booklet (a very nice touch of punk memorabilia we might add), Darrin writes in the third person that it was Dwayne who first christened the band The Pinstripe Club after a British nudie bar. The band changed names and managed to gig around Edmonton with a notable opening slot for Moev, the Canadian synth-punk band who were always on the verge of something great throughout the '80s. The early '80s founds a lot of creative disagreements between the three members of Psyche, but they did manage to convince somebody to record them onto a 4 track. By the end of 1983, Gottel had split for good, heading to Vancouver, only to join up with Skinny Puppy a couple years later. The Huss brother continued on, exhibiting considerable promise early on. But the band proved to be much better in slicing up eyeballs than crooning to the pretty goth boys and girls; nonetheless, that's where Psyche ended up.
Re-Membering Dwayne is a collection of the 8 tracks that the band recorded back in 1983 with Gottel. The swarming synth noise, John Carpenter-esque / psychologically tense sequences, whipcrack electronic snares, and aggressive percolations which soon became the backbone to Skinny Puppy's first recordings and demos can be tracked back to these pieces. Gottel seems to have sung on at least one track - the very primitive synth-punk number "Screaming Fire" noted for its brusque, guttural vocals, with Darrin Huss taking up the vocal duties elsewhere vamping effectively like Marc Almond. Another remarkable find from Dark Entries, who present this collection, as always, with a great remastering job by George Horn!
MPEG Stream: "Eye Of The Hurricane"
MPEG Stream: "Screaming Fire"
MPEG Stream: "The Crawler"

album cover TROUM Mare Morphosis (Transgredient Records) cd 17.98
It goes to show how prolific Troum can be, if we missed the first two entries in the 'power romance' series, which were granted ocean/sea titles and based (in part) on samples from J.S. Bach. This 52 minute piece features multiple movements that ebb and flow into each other. The opening phrases ascend from pastoral orchestral samples (presumably those aforementioned Bach samples) into a soaring crescendo of swirling, emotionally bright tones and loops from trilling strings, girded by those luminously flanged guitars that Troum has mustered for years. Then comes the anthemic surge of a big back-beat from programmed rhythms that sound more like a live drum kit than they've previously produced, giving this movement a feel more like those grand early tracks by Sigur Ros or even Godspeed! You Black Emperor. A subdued melancholic passage of lugubrious murk follows before the duo reprises their classic Troum / Maeror Tri sound of deep, doom-paced basslines and goth-drone melodies which churn through the guitars. The bass climbs to the foreground some 30 minutes into the album with those weeping guitars settling into the distance before another fantastically mesmeric rhythmic blast kicks in. Admittedly, we've been critical of Troum and Maeror Tri for some of their programming choices in the past; but this is a high caliber set of sampling here, with a mid-tempo breakbeat laced with overblown cymbal crashes that has more in common with the complex patterns of Squarepusher than the earlier tribal-industrial rhythms. The finale pools into those saturated drones of evanescent bass and guitar, scraped with just the right amount of distortion. Another great album from these perennial aQ faves...
MPEG Stream: "Mare Morphosis (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Mare Morphosis (extract 2)"
MPEG Stream: "Mare Morphosis (extract 3)"

album cover DEADBEAT & PAUL ST HILAIRE The Infinity Dub Sessions (Blkrtz) cd 17.98
We've long loved Paul St Hilaire, aka Tikiman, THEE voice of minimal dub geniuses Rhythm And Sound, his gorgeous, otherworldly croon adding some serious soul to R&S' darkly digital world of gristly dubbed out, slow skitter creep, and really, if there was ever one of those 'could sing the phonebook' voices, it's St Hilaire's. Years back, St Hilaire performed with Deadbeat, aka Scott Monteith, another aQ fave, a dub scientist in Berlin by way of Canada, whose sound was and is equal parts Rhythm & Sound skeletal dig-dub, and Pole style click and pop minimalism. Over the years, Monteith and St Hilaire stayed in touch, even playing the occasional show, but this is the first proper recording the two have made together, and it's a total stunner. And as you might imagine from the above, it's pretty much just what you'd expect, a sprawling collection of gorgeous super spare electro dub, a lot like Pole crossed with Rhythm & Sound. But that sound is stretched way out, some of the tracks here almost house-y, some very Kompakt sounding, but regardless of the sonic influence or inspiration, Monteith and St Hilaire make the sound totally their own, conjuring up some spiritual musical magic that makes The Infinity Dub Sessions totally divine. Especially the first track, which is worth the $18 price tag all on its own. Maybe the most perfect, and perfectly mysterious and moody modern dub track we've heard, all woozy, thick bass rumbles, wreathed in static, deep mesmeric swells, laced with dubbed out upstroke chordal thrum, as well as the occasional dubstep style bass wobble, little bits of glitch and squelch scattered throughout, super minimal melodies drifting like bongsmoke in the background, even instrumental, this would be totally hypnotic and irresistibly mesmerizing, but add St. Hilaire's gorgeous croon, and it becomes something even more transcendent.
Nothing else is quite as dark and bass heavy, but all the tracks are tranced out, softly swirly and psychedelic, the sound simultaneously minimal and skeletal, but also deeply lush and layered, ranging from the super percussive churn of "Dopa", with some seriously twisted, echo drenched vox, to the more reggae sounding "What The Heck Them Expect", St Hilaire's vocals the focal point, the background music a dark, languorous groove. "Working Everyday" is a dubby, dreamy sprawl, all soft focus and prismatic, billowy chords drifting atop a lazily propulsive rhythm, while "Rock Of Creation" is a hazy techno-dub ballad, a field of gristly and crackle the framework for shimmery synths and hushed melodies, St Hilaire crooning seductively amidst ethereal clouds of sound. The final three tracks have a huge Kompakt vibe, but imagine if Kompakt was headquartered in Kingston, Jamaica, with The Infinity Dub Sessions a chronicle of St Hilaire and Monteith's mobile sound system, the streets of Jamaica sonically transformed into some otherworldy dream-dub dancehall.
MPEG Stream: "Hold On Strong"
MPEG Stream: "Dopa"
MPEG Stream: "What The Heck Them Expect"
MPEG Stream: "Working Everyday"

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) Tuberpendicular (Errata In Excelsis) cd-r 14.98
Potatoes. Leave it up to irr. app. (ext.) to shove some wires into a potato and get a whole album from the resultant audio mess. Well, maybe. We'll hazard a guess that M.S. Waldron (aka irr. app. (ext.)) ran with the idea of the perennial science-fair project in harnessing enough bioelectrical energy from a potato to power a small alarm clock. Many years ago, the British sound artist Michael Prime had hooked up biosensors to mushrooms, recording the erratic signals that strangely emanate from within a fungus; and Waldron's recording process could have something to do with this. Then again, he could have just made a big bowl of mashed potatoes and slopped around like Otto Muehl or Carolee Schneemann. Waldron's back catalogue features a considerable amount of irrational activities leading towards the poetics of audio surrealism. The name itself - irr. app. (ext.) - is a cumbersome shortening of irrational appendage extension, and plenty of other absurd ideas cohabitate with Waldron's knack for the oblique collage. Psychic surgery gone horribly wrong. Involuntary twitching of limbs from dead insects. The philosophical eccentricities of Wilhelm Reich wrapped up in circles upon circles. And now, potatoes. There's definitely a whole lot going on in Tuberpendicular, and the electrified potato salad concoction may only be a small portion of the album. Sharpened tones of biofeedback, squishy and clinical squiggles of indeterminate origin pock Waldron's cyclical sound design of percolating drones that transmit out of creaky old spaces. Really great, really convoluted collage based work that finds simpatico with Nurse With Wound, Michel Chion, and the weirder elements found throughout the history of electronic music. Limited to 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Tuber Receptor"
MPEG Stream: "Ollottrilotlillittaialiattat"
MPEG Stream: "Tuber Inducer "

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) Ustrojenstvozagyvat (Errata In Excelsis) cd-r 14.98
No idea what to make of that title. Plop it even into a Google translation tool, and you get some nonsense about a "valentine cormorant" surrounded by a bunch of gibberish as Google wants to make this word out to be Japanese. It looks Russian to us, not that the linguistic skills at aQuarius have any command of a language beyond our own brand of English polyglot. There is a curious and eerie aura of animistic, psychic mysticism that inhabits the whirling gears, locomotive rhythms, and deeply dilated industrial clamor that might have a passing resemblance with some of the esoteric offerings from the Russian postindustrial scene.
M.S. Waldron (aka irr. app. (ext.)) has been a relative constant in the Nurse With Wound touring stable with a handful of appearances on the latter day Nurse recordings. And he did travel with Nurse on their first excursion into Russia, where we're pretty sure they played Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Much is a mystery and much is gibberish in the realm of irr. app. (ext.), so the meaningless of this title in conjunction with a tenuous aesthetic linkage to a project like Linija Mass or Vetrophonia might have absolutely nothing to with the album. At the same time, it could have everything to do with it. The album seems to be sourced from bowed metals whose slashing atonal frequencies are layered and collaged into interwoven networks of discordant textures. Waldron has worked extensively with these types of sounds, even creating a brilliant homage to the Organum / David Jackman sound with the irr. app. (ext.) album "The Other Side Is Blank". But here, slippery collage-techniques and audio layering hold a lugubrious psychedelic hue that encompasses Waldron's aquatic gurglings, walkie-talkie broadcasts, metallic glissandos, and mechanical rhythms. All of which could harken to the idiosyncrasies of everyday objects (as his live set-up could literally be any given junk drawer tumbled onto a table with contact microphones affixed randomly) or perhaps more romantically, emblematic field recordings made while he was visiting Russia a few years ago. Nonetheless, this is another great album from irr. app. (ext.); and this hand-fabricated edition runs just 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Ustrojenstvozagyvat 2"
MPEG Stream: "Collapsible Spectra"
MPEG Stream: "Ustrojenstvozagyvat 3"

album cover ILLUSION OF SAFETY Surrender (No Part Of It) cassette 6.98
Somewhere, an old T-shirt from Illusion Of Safety exists (the last we saw was affixed to Sigtryggur from Stillupsteypa some 10 years ago) with a deadpan/ironic catch-phrase "Illusion Of Safety gives you that soaring feeling" next to an image of a man tumbling headfirst out of a skyscraper window. Such a calculated juxtaposition of word and image was emblematic of the '80s art world (e.g. Barbara Kruger), often speaking to the underbelly of callousness, cruelty, violence and general amorality within consumerist society. Outside of this bold piece of iconography, Illusion Of Safety has operated within a more liminal state of mysteriousness through signifier and meaning. Even in their most placid albums of soft-focus ambience, the specter of some unknowable threat lurks in the background. More common in the Illusion Of Safety catalogue is an iron-fisted grasp of that sense of foreboding and dread through psychologically tense sound design. Over three decades in existence, this Chicago based project has been whittled down to its core member Dan Burke - with a few comrades-in-arms joining him occasionally - and is probably the longest running American industrial project, having produced a very impressive body of work. The 2014 album Surrender fits comfortably next to some of the masterpieces of the IOS back catalogue (e.g. Cancer, In Session, Historical, etc.) through the trademarked juxtaposition of noxious frequencies snaking in and out of harmonic phase patterns only to snap out of existence with a razor-cut edit into an electrical burst of tesla coil noise (for example). Disjointed rhythms, mediated collages, decontextualized field recordings, and psychoacoustic phrases map this album with incredible control and precision. Illusion Of Safety proves once again that they are one of the greats of industrial culture. Grab this album before it disappears, the pro-duplicated cd-r is limited to just 100 copies. Same for the cassette.
MPEG Stream: "East Of Easement"
MPEG Stream: "Popular Delusions"
MPEG Stream: "Roller Coaster"

album cover TURMAN, ROBERT Spirals Of Everlasting Change (Baba Tonnerre) 2lp 42.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The conception for Spirals Of Everlasting Change began in 1982 for Robert Turman - best known as the founder of NON with Boyd Rice and to a lesser extent within the obscurant noise project Z.O. Voider. He envisioned two separate cassettes to be played simultaneously on two decks with the languid ambient tones of one cassette lashed across the harsher industrial-klank rhythms of the other. By 1987, he reworked all of the material into a single mix again sprawled across two cassettes, with the dreamy, zoner tracks corralled onto one tape and the more dissonant pieces on the other. He released Spirals Of Everlasting Change in two formats in the late '80s, once as a cassette inside a 5" reel-to-reel tape box and again as part of the Chapter Eleven anthology comprised of eight cassettes that documented all of the recorded output up to 1988. So far, only the seminal Flux album (which got reissued on Spectrum Spools a couple years ago) and Spirals Of Everlasting Change have been resuscitated from the dustbin of terminal obscurity, as Chapter Eleven is downright impossible to find. We can hope that a reissue campaign of all of those recordings will eventually materialize; but until that happens, we'll definitely jump at the chance for another archival Turman recording.
The titular tracks are the more abrasive pieces, with the ready-made loops sounding very similar to what Boyd Rice delivered on his infamous Black Album of delirious repetitions for tape-gyrating dervishes and maddeningly insistent phrases that may have been culled from thrift store belly-dancing records. "Lonesome Echo" and "Lower World" are eerily prescient of the work that William Basinski became famous for - lilting melodic passages generated from simple overlapping loops that have a ghostly recollection of a forgotten past, smudged in a kirlian glow of distressed chromium oxide and industrial dub debris. This double lp set of Spirals Of Everlasting Change is super limited, coming out of Luxembourg in an edition of 289 copies, of which we only have a few!
MPEG Stream: "Lonesome Echo"
MPEG Stream: "Lower World"
MPEG Stream: "Spirals Of Everlasting Change (In)"

album cover BE FOREST Earthbeat (We Were Never Being Boring) cd 9.99
They say a lot of things, whoever they might be. They've said that the '60s are back. They've said that '70s are back. They've LONG said that the '80s were back (beginning in 1992 or so); and now, they say that the '90s are back. Whatever. A good sound and a good tune are universal, and timeless, and Be Forest harken back to the best parts of the 4AD / Creation sound from the late '80s / early '90s, doing so with great songwriting, and not just the beautiful patina of that sound. This Italian band has studied their history quite well, picking up many of the songwriting tropes of the era they so adore. It's easy to hear in Be Forest all the things that Budgie did right in terms of creating that rollicking, ritualistic backbeat for Siouxsie & The Banshees. There's plenty of the bright sparkling guitar lines that harken back to what Johnny Marr brought to the Smiths as well as the spiralling melodies that could spin out of the shoegazing miserablism of Slowdive and Ride. And yes, all of these things in and of themselves are worthy of investigating. How many times have we jumped up and down for the dreamy gloom pop of any given Slumberland / Captured Tracks band (e.g. Heavenly Beat, Girls Names, Violins, Diiv, etc.)? But in Earthbeat, Be Forest has added to the equations, some impossibly memorable tunes, which is really at the core of what makes this band so great, lead by the chanteuse Costanza Delle Rose, who helps push the group's sound slighty more toward a more modest version of the swoonsome torch songs of Beach House. Great stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Airwaves"
MPEG Stream: "Colours"

album cover BE FOREST Earthbeat (We Were Never Being Boring) lp 17.98
They say a lot of things, whoever they might be. They've said that the '60s are back. They've said that '70s are back. They've LONG said that the '80s were back (beginning in 1992 or so); and now, they say that the '90s are back. Whatever. A good sound and a good tune are universal, and timeless, and Be Forest harken back to the best parts of the 4AD / Creation sound from the late '80s / early '90s, doing so with great songwriting, and not just the beautiful patina of that sound. This Italian band has studied their history quite well, picking up many of the songwriting tropes of the era they so adore. It's easy to hear in Be Forest all the things that Budgie did right in terms of creating that rollicking, ritualistic backbeat for Siouxsie & The Banshees. There's plenty of the bright sparkling guitar lines that harken back to what Johnny Marr brought to the Smiths as well as the spiralling melodies that could spin out of the shoegazing miserablism of Slowdive and Ride. And yes, all of these things in and of themselves are worthy of investigating. How many times have we jumped up and down for the dreamy gloom pop of any given Slumberland / Captured Tracks band (e.g. Heavenly Beat, Girls Names, Violins, Diiv, etc.)? But in Earthbeat, Be Forest has added to the equations, some impossibly memorable tunes, which is really at the core of what makes this band so great, lead by the chanteuse Costanza Delle Rose, who helps push the group's sound slighty more toward a more modest version of the swoonsome torch songs of Beach House. Great stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Airwaves"
MPEG Stream: "Colours"

album cover PYE CORNER AUDIO Black Mill Tapes Volumes 1-4 (Type ) 3cd 26.00
It is a red letter day for us here at aQ, in that we finally actually get to write about and sell you a Pye Corner Audio release instead of lamenting the fact that our supplier for PCA recordings only sent us a fraction of what we had initially wanted - or is more often the case, that it sold out completely before we could get our hands on ANY. To be sure, over the past couple of years, a few of Pye Corner's releases have slipped in and out of the shop, leaving just an ectoplasmic stain of picture-perfect electronic retro-futurism on our collective minds; and it also seems fitting that Pye Corner Audio released an album of his hauntological disco on the Ghost Box label, which again we've never gotten enough of to list. But now, hurrah, we have this!! As the title specifies, this triple cd set collects the first four volumes of Pye Corner Audio's Black Mill Tapes, which were originally released on vinyl as a couple of double lp sets which are (as noted) long gone.
Pye Corner Audio is the work of audio wizard Martin Jenkins, who is one of the in-house engineers at Miloco Studios in London where he works alongside the likes of Alan Moulder, Flood, and Trevor Jackson - yeah, top flight producers for sure. It's obvious that the work of Pye Corner Audio did not develop in a bubble, as there are very clear ideas and a fully formed sound language that is very savvy in its references to Delia Derbyshire's sci-fi electronics, the autobahn precision of Kraftwerk's songwriting, John Carpenter's bold synth melodies, and the bad-ass swagger of Detroit techno. In a rare interview, Jenkins described the working methods of PCA as being quickly sketched-out variations onto quarter inch tape and even four-track cassettes with a couple of no-name Japanese monosynths and a drum machine. He continues that "I definitely embrace imperfection. In my days as an engineer, I spent so much time polishing performances and correcting mistakes that I realised it made for pretty sterile recordings. I also felt extremely liberated after coming to the realisation that there is no absolute final version of a song. There are just alternative interpretations. Once I stopped chasing that elusive perfection, things eased massively."
Through those monosynths and simple step sequencers, Jenkins builds a unique, forgotten sound of alien ambient passages made foggy through an almost Basinski-like approach to tape disintegration punctuated with crackingly good Italo-disco jams. These rhythms are where Pye Corner Audio really shines, presenting a whipcrack / leather-glove seduction that comes straight out of the Throbbing Gristle playbook for "Hot On The Heels Of Love", but if those four somehow had an imagined electronic music summit with John Carpenter at the other side of the table trying to score a soundtrack for Cronenberg with none of those super-egos getting in the way of each other. Yeah, this stuff is timeless. Just fucking timeless.
MPEG Stream: "We Have Visitors"
MPEG Stream: "Electronic Rhythm Number Seven"
MPEG Stream: "Hexden Channel"
MPEG Stream: "Void Bounds"
MPEG Stream: "Evil Surrounds"

album cover ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE Light That Comes, Light That Goes (Denovali Records) cd 15.98
NOW ON CD!
Drugs. Hallucinations. Isolation. Death. Some pretty classic / heavy-as-fuck metaphors run through the work of Brian Pyle, the mad genius of Manilla Beach up in Humboldt County, California. He's been at it for a long time now, first knocking on our door with his homespun variations of floorcore psychedelia with the seemingly inactive collective Starving Weirdos; then, there was the fraternal act of nature jamming drones through RV Paintings; and Ensemble Economique is Pyle all by his lonesome, where he's proven deft at density of sound laced with a nocturnal pop streak that could even warrant some Demdike witchy references. Pyle's hypnotic structures are deceptively simple and proven emotively effective - a lilting layer of blown-out guitar drones cycling through elegiac melodies, another layer of electronic sequences, oceanic driftings, chanted vocalizations, rasps of bowed metals, maudlin church organ explorations, or thumming dial-tone samples, with crumbled film samples of what could be some Russian / French / Hong Kong noir film of some woman frantically whispering about some crime that may or may not have happened. The individual tracks glide into a purposeful, cinematic song cycle narrative that begins with the thoroughly gloomy, portentous opening track "If You Need Help" that is a real downer of an acid trip spent staring at a ghost ship sinking in the depths of the Pacific with sand, sea foam, and black rain kicking you in the face to make the sense of hopelessness all the more real. Pyle links the two sides of the album with "Ksenia" - a track split in half of percolating acidic electronic sequences girding those female vocal samples and guitar drones. By the end of the album, his delirious slow-motion take on '80s bombast lifts the album's weightiness with two drone-pop ballads of marching rhythms and radioluminescent hypno-melodies. Another mighty fine album from Brian Pyle!
MPEG Stream: "If You Need Help"
MPEG Stream: "Ksenia"
MPEG Stream: "Radiate Through Me"

album cover EXIT IN GREY Shadows Of Stillness (Muzyka Voln) cd 14.98
The second album in as many weeks from the Russian industrial-impressionist Exit In Grey. At this album's core is a duality of gloomy exasperation and despair on one hand and a universal, meditative sense of calm on the other. Both of these emotional states co-habitate in a slow crawl of suspended drone construction and dappled shortwave radio reception from detuned military transmissions as well as the ethereal crackle of a VLF receiver. The initial gasps from Shadows Of Stillness spill from a claustrophobic synth tone, whose desolate, chemical transmission is accentuated with low-frequency rumblings and bone-creaking textures that wouldn't be out of place on a Sleep Research Facility or Lustmord recording. About halfway through "Speaking With Silence" the nocturnal mood lifts with a golden set of melodic ambient phrases akin to Popul Vuh's classic psychedelic instrumentals and a chipper satellite beacon signaling back to earth that all is well up in the heavens and we need not worry so much about our plight down here on this rock. The album's finale reprises this radiant shimmer as if all of the sounds were the sunblinding reflections of a midnight sun cast upon the placid waters of the Arctic Ocean north of St. Petersberg. Cold yet beautiful.
MPEG Stream: " The Sunset Dust In Our Hands"
MPEG Stream: "Shadows"
MPEG Stream: "So Beautiful And Quiet Place"

album cover ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE Interval Signals (Denovali Records) lp 19.98
At his marine outpost on the western shore of Humboldt County, California, Brian Pyle (aka Ensemble Economique, as well as a member of the Starving Weirdos and RV Paintings) is in a prime location to dial into the ether for radiowaves across the Pacific. With the nearest communities of Eureka and Arcata far less irradiated with electro-magnetic interference which makes shortwave radio listening down right impossible in urban areas, and with Pyle's proximity to the Pacific Ocean (it's a couple hundred yards from his back door) acting as a massive antenna, he's able to listen to transmissions that seem to come from Russia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, China, and numerous other locales. Along with the baffling radio phenomena of utility signals and numbers stations, Pyle found himself captivated by the sounds of 'interval signals'. These are the specific sounds, phrases, or melodies that announce the end or beginning of a particular program. Often very simple, so as to work within the limitations of shortwave, these signals can sound very eerie and truncated when broadcast halfway around the world. Pyle first incorporated these sounds into a performance back in 2011 for 23five's now-defunct Activating The Medium festival, and those echoing phrases have become a staple in Pyle's live sets. So this entire album dedicated to interval signals, finds Pyle lacing these sounds with insistently dark, piano solos and bleak field recordings of abandoned spaces pounded by monsoonal winds and rains. Interval Signals is a very solitary, impressionist work, showing a sense of spaciousness found more in the likes of Basinski and Coleclough than in most of Pyle's previous work. Still very cinematic in scope, but its an entirely different movie for Pyle this time. A Pixelvision version of Last Year At Marienbad? Yeah, it's that cool.

album cover FANUM & EXIT IN GREY Dust Storm (Daphnia Records) cd 15.98
Sergey [S] is a tireless Russian dronemuzik composer who records under the monikers Exit In Grey and Five Elements Music (amongst many others), and whose back catalog resembles that of Aidan Baker in terms of scale and quality. A while ago, you could randomly grab any given Aidan Baker disc and rest assured that he'd deliver an impeccable album of billowing ambience rippling with emotional impressionism and melodic subtlety. The same can be said for pretty much anything that Sergey [S] touches, with the bulk of his releases short-run albums self-produced in his motherland, with only a few albums seeing European release. We listed a couple of things that Sergey put out through Mystery Sea, that Belgian proprietor of night-ocean drones, both of which were very impressive; and everything we've managed to scrounge up has been amazing.
Dust Storm - a collaborative project with the enigmatic Fanum (who seems to be the work of another Russian character named Ascet) - does not sway our esteemed opinion of Sergey [S]. The three tracks brilliantly embrace the analogy of dense sound amorphousness with the harsh/soft, soothing/terrifying duality from a looming sand storm. The suspended tones from Sergey and Ascet spiral slowly into sad, fugue-like melodies that are cloaked in the slow-motion miasma as if melding the cold, deep-sea waters and the boiling methane spewing thermal vents. The shortwave radio textures of the album's finale bring more of the psychological disruption found on early John Duncan works, but much of Dust Storm recalls the best of Troum / Maeror Tri. Not sure how limited this album is, but stuff from Russia arrives at a snail's pace, so if we run out, it might take us a while to restock...
MPEG Stream: "The Dust Storm"
MPEG Stream: "Nocturne"

album cover MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL Ballade For A Cold Moon (Motion Sickness Of Time Travel) cd-r 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Not long for this world, Ballade For A Cold Moon is the third in a monthly series from Motion Sickness Of Time Travel. All of the previous editions (as well as the one that came out right after this one) sold out almost immediately. We were able to snag a few of this one; and we'll try to get the future editions as she releases them. That said, Cold Moon is a longform dreamtime transmission of analogue synth worship hitting all the right sweet spots: Tangerine Dream's Zeit, Klaus Schulze's Irrlicht, and some fine style J.D. Emmanuel for good measure; but all those liquid melodies that drip from the sustained tones and watery ambience are pure Motion Sickness! Can this lady do no wrong? Limited to 50 copies with hand-printed artwork and wrapped in twine.

album cover SILVER CASKET s/t (Vaald) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
All that we get from this label about this here cassette is "debut tape of hushed, lonesome ballads from this haunted bedroom troubadour." There's not much said about the shadowiness that is Vaald Tapes either, although the black noise, impenetrable goth demeanor, and funereal dirge-drones from the label's mysterious artists have all been top notch. Silver Casket's stripped down ballads for dour acoustic guitar impressionism strip away all of the electronic floweriness of Mountains, leaving behind the plaintive spaghetti western motifs spun in some loner's bedroom with only a melodica or a couple of bells to simulate Morricone's flourishes. An atmosphere of futility, sadness, and desolation hangs heavy on these skeletal tracks dripping in reverb, echo, and subterranean vibes; and after the brief 23 minutes of ghostly deathfolk gloominess, we're left wanting much much more. Whoever the fuck this is, keep it up. This is great work! Unfortunately limited to 25 copies of which we have a good chunk of the run.

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Tryptych (Modern Love) 3cd 22.00
REISSUED! After being out of print for over a year or more, all three compact disc format releases by these aQ fave hauntologists have been repressed, two of the three now in new packaging (jewel cases instead of elaborate digi-sleeves) and at a lower prices! So, needless to say, if you somehow missed out on any of these before, two of which have been aQ Records Of The Week, we're very happy to present 'em to you now. All three - Symbiosis, Tryptych, and Elemental - are highly recommended. Read on...
Finally, Demdike Stare's dark and dizzying, murky and mysterious hauntological black dub triptych, previously available via three separate slabs of now very out of print vinyl, is now available on cd, gathered up into a single, nicely packaged triple disc set. And loaded with bonus tracks (nearly 40 minutes extra all told), which makes this pretty much a shoe-in for Record Of The Week...
Demdike Stare are one of the few bands who seem to be a unanimous aQ favorite, everyone here LOVES these guys, and judging on how many of the various lps we've sold, everyone out there does too. Which makes sense, when you consider, DS basically create a kind of black metal dubstep, or as we (and others) like to describe it, a blackened dub record on Chain Reaction. Either one should give you an idea of the sort of dark sonic energy these guys conjure up. Thick claustrophobic atmospheres, skeletal rhythms, thick throbbing bass, skittering dubbed out beats, disembodied voices, stuttering minimal sort-of-dubstep, looped and processed African folk music (??), swirling glitched out electronics, deeeep pulsing dronemusic, reverb drenched post-rock-via-techno skitter, all woven into a swirling organic mass of dub flecked blacktronica, dark and sinister and dubby, and weirdly house-y, sprawling and epic and creepy and so totally sweeping and cinematic.
The first disc, Forest Of Evil, was originally two sidelong tracks, the first starts out all deep shimmer, with a softly melodic buzz, spidery acoustic guitars, long stretches of billowy black ambience, bits of shuffly jazzy drift, peppered with thick shards of buzzy fractured dub bass and Kompakt style skitter, giving way to glistening late night techno, whirling pop ambient, and blissed out ethereal dronemusic, while the second is darkly dramatic, epic and majestic, like some lost Italian soundtrack, big drums, orchestral and ominous, looped samples, blurred melodic smears over deep pulsing bass, whirling clouds of cymbal shimmer, insectoid FX buzz, jumbled atonal melodies (hints of Bernard Herrmann), the vibe tense and haunting, with some dubstep bass buzz, that slowly dissolves into a Caretaker like outro, all layered strings wreathed in hiss and crackle, hazy and druggy and divine. The bonus track "Quiet Sky" conjures up just what the title implies, a quiet sky, but a dark, bruised midnight sky, flecked with stars, soft swirls of metallic shimmer like gauzy clouds, the song gradually developing a strange minimal hiccuppy rhythm, underpinning the deep melancholic swells, a strange almost industrial tinged bit of pop ambience.
The second disc, Liberation Through Hearing, is thematically related to the Book Of The Dead, and focuses on the space between death and rebirth. Rendered in greys and blacks, in buzz and rumble, beginning with some woozy late night Portishead style downtempo trip hop, low slung looped skitter and swell, lush swirls of cinematic strings, ghostly choirs, a softly lurching rhythmic stutter, a deep cavernous throb, sounding like a ghostly stripped down dubstep. Which gives way to heaving expanses of black tidal thrum, muted scrapings, all wound into hypnotic pulses of dark energy, laced with distant chiming melodies, a haunting, gauzey faded memory in sound, drawn from radios with dying batteries and gradually slowing turntables, a soft focus symphony of creaks and rumbles and blurred low end shimmer. The first half finishes with a swoonsome smear of looped ambience, like a field recording of an after hours nightclub captured in a temporal loop, warm and druggy and fuzzy, strangely hypnotic and rhythmic, totally trancelike, a creeped out wasteland soundscape, mysterious and chilling, which is eventually augmented by thick slabs of corrosive low end, and heavily reverbed industrial clatter, which eventually emerges into a strange sea of crackle and hum, of warbly rhythms, chiming bells and distorted crunch, sounding a bit like Jeck spinning Pole record, abstract and spaced out and hauntingly lovely.
The second half opens with thick streaks of ghostly mesmer, all washed out and slowly decaying, underpinned by thick swaths of dubstep style bass wobble, but muted and smoothed into soft smears of undulating blackness. Subtle skitter surfaces, as do distant voices, the sound getting more and more dubby, a bit like a Caretaker record on Chain Reaction, that sort of hazy abstract drift, but anchored to barely there beats, the buzz building to an intense coda, all the while wrapped in throbbing woofer punishing low end.
Some super stripped down rhythms are laid over a swirling ghostly backdrop of fragmented melodies and a buried house music thump, tangled and blurred strings wrap the proceedings in a veil of softened reverb and subtle echo, the almost Eastern sounding pulse and swell reminding us a bit of the late great Muslimgauze.
Finally, the record collapses into some sort of melancholic sonic reverie, a hushed ambient outro, a tranquil sea of soft swirling swells, clouds of echo and reverb, a dreamy darkness, a blackened bit of blurpop minimalism, laced with muted streaks of fuzz and hiss, but all gradually sinking into Demdike Stare's endless trancelike billowing blackness.
The bonus tracks on this one (3 of them, clocking in at nearly 20 minutes) continue the record's surreal sonic journey, spidery rhythms, and chiming melodies are looped and layered over a simple pulsing propulsive groove, the whole thing slightly warped and warbled, as if recorded onto an old piece of tape, and played back on some dusty old ramshackle tape player, ghostly, but surprisingly playful at first, before slipping into some seriously creepy, deeeeeep droning rumbles, wreathed in shimmering solar winds, softly billowing sheets of hiss and static, eventually shedding all of that, leaving just a thick morass of softly undulating low end, shot through with a slo-mo house music pulse, only to have the hiss and whir return, this time relegated to the background, until the track finishes surprisingly with what sounds like a bit of African style funkiness, before disappearing in a brief cloud of swirling hushed buzz.
Finally, the third disc, Voices Of Dust, unveils the Tryptych's final movement, opening with "Black Sun", a short stretch of some super minimal electronic dronemusic, all layered overtones and strange sonic shadings, which gives way to the chopped and looped and stuttery vocal driven "Hashshashin Chant" which takes tribal drums and traditional folk music vocals, and twists them all up, and tangles those elements with strange percussion, industrial buzz, the whole thing a dizzying chunk of hypno-electronic collaged psychedelic mashup weirdness, before slipping into the much murkier and minimal "Repository Of Light", which unfurls like some sort of Hawkwind-meets-Pole spaced out digi-dub drift. And so it goes, the sound flitting between impossibly realized miniature sound worlds, cinematic electronic ambience, ominously pulsing low end rumble, hazy glitchy dubbed out Jeckian smears, super blown out electronic big beat bombast, almost industrial sounding avant big band abstraction, roiling corrosive soft noise, bellowing foghorn-like melodies, warped and woozy scratchy old lp warblescapes and beyond.
The bonus tracks are the perfect, hazy, ghostly coda, the first, a warm, whispery bit of keening abstract melody and thick pulsing thrum, all very washed out and space-y and dreamlike, a constantly vibrating living thing, a throbbing organic expanse of minimal space drone psychedelic ambience, until finally, the whole disc is laid to rest with 9 minutes of heaving, glacial, metallic creep and creak, wreathed in record crackle, the final sounds unfurl like some old dusty Tim Hecker 45 spinning at 16rpm, mournful moaning melodies, buried rhythmic thumps, shimmery sitar like buzz, all hazy and smeared and lysergic and mysteriously murky, the perfect slipping-into-darkness, leaving-this-world-behind finale...
Gorgeously evocative, creepy and cinematic, abstract and otherworldly, druggy and dreamy, fantastically haunting and utterly spine tinglingly stunning. And thus, absolutely recommended.
Matt's addendum: "Really feeling this collection of tunes these days. Love blasting this spooky dub-collage REAL loud in the shop! Thee neighbors get upset, but they need to chill cuz it has to be MASSIVE!"
MPEG Stream: "Forest Of Evil (Dusk)"
MPEG Stream: "Caged In Stammheim"
MPEG Stream: "Eurydice"
MPEG Stream: "Regolith"
MPEG Stream: "Hashashin Chant"
MPEG Stream: "Repository Of Light"
MPEG Stream: "Rain And Shame"

album cover CARNACKI, THOMAS / VULCANUS 68 split (Alethiometer Records / Gigante Sound) lp 14.98
In an interview for Re/Search sometime in the early '80s, J.G. Ballard quipped that San Francisco must have the highest population of deviants with college degrees. Back then, the Bay Area did boast a sizable contingent of acid-damaged drop-outs, sexpot performance artists, transgendered punks, mischievous hucksters, members of Caroliner, and the unclassifiables, all flying their freak flags, with those numbers gradually dwindling, relocating, and/or aging over the ensuing decades. The weirdos and the degenerate artists still exist; yes, they do! But San Francisco should be a little ashamed that most of them live in the East Bay. Berkeley denizen Gregory Scharpen is one such character, who sometimes goes by the pseudonym Thomas Carnacki and sometimes is the absurdist bandleader for various minstrels operating under a banner of the same name, that being Thomas Carnacki. A gnomish / wizardly type with an old-growth beard and extraneous tentacles dipped with ectoplasm, Scharpen / Carnacki is a larger-than-life character who toils in film, theatre and sound design, with his expertise finding sympathetic ears and fingers in irr. app. (ext.) and Nurse With Wound.
This split release marks the first slab of vinyl for Carnacki, and finds him / them working in parallel with the equally obtuse but less flamboyant outfit Vulcanus 68. The Carnacki ensemble for this 20 minute track includes stalwarts Jesse Burson and Gregory Hagan (the latter also being in Common Eider, King Eider) and occasionalists Sheila Bosco and Cheryl E. Leonard. What these five are doing in a room is really anybody's guess. Huffing glue and fumbling with Tibetan bowls? Channeling the spirits of grizzled thugs and wrestling with those ghosts? Ripping apart a piano and putting the whole thing back together all wrong? All of these could be the method acting principles behind these nocturnal collages and strange actions of slow-moving events. Oakland's Vulcanus 68 (nee Jared Blum and Dominic Cramp) dial in something not too dissimilar to Homotopy To Marie, with plenty of gurgling noises, radiophonic allusions, backmasked gestures, and hauntologically challenged puffs of smoke. These too could have originated from similarly liver-destroying acts of sound immolation as on the Carnacki side of things. Yeah, this really could have been a United Dairies release circa 1983. Limited to 250 copies and comes with a download.
MPEG Stream: THOMAS CARNACKI "Elegant Things, Distressing Things..."
MPEG Stream: VULCANUS 68 "Arcano XV"

album cover MURRAY, BRENDAN Commonwealth (23five Incorporated) cd 14.98
LAST COPIES IN EXISTENCE!!! THOUGHT TO BE OUT OF PRINT!!! We've ballyhooed Brendan Murray's exceptional, yet perennially overlooked drone & din work in the past; but nothing could have prepared us for Commonwealth. Damn, this guy is good. No, wait; he's fucking great! After a handful of cd-r productions, a Twonicorn cassette, and a fine cd release on Intransitive of processed shimmer, shifting frequencies, and some low-end girth rumblings for our obligatory SUNNO))) reference, Brendan Murray has produced his best work to date with Commonwealth. Compositionally, it's incredibly simple: a drone goes up, and it goes down. It lasts a little under 50 minutes. But buried with this single minded composition, there are thick spun rumbles, reflective vibrations, sympathetic sub-harmonics, and rich tonal frequencies. Out of the constant tectonic whir that introduces Commonwealth, shimmering clusters sound like a battery of reed organs or hurdy-gurdies, slowly modulating into heavier, deeper drones. We've been told that the source material for these sounds is guitar, although you'd be hard pressed to hear anything guitar-shaped anywhere on the disc. It's far more like the hallowed minimalist sound of Charlemangne Palestine and LaMonte Young. Dare we say, it's better? Yes, Murray's drone hums like a perfectly tuned machine, with multiple pistons purring in a steady progress along Commonwealth's compositional arc. When Murray shifts the focus of the album downward, which begins not even halfway through the piece, the descent is noticeable; but it actually becomes Murray's most fertile work within Commonwealth. Here, low rhythmic thrumbs crawl beneath the surface of the slowly collapsing drone, precluding its inevitable terminus. Perfect trance-enducing dronemuzik. Fans of Aidan Baker, Andrew Chalk, and Phill Niblock should definitely take note!
MPEG Stream: "Commonwealth (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Commonwealth (extract 2)"

album cover STICKMEN, THE s/t (Homeless) lp 24.00
Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. This picturesque hamlet is situated on the south end of that remote island, but there's not really a whole lot going on in town. Well, probably not much until recently - we are extremely curious about the Museum of Old and New Art that opened there up not too long ago, a real head-scratcher with its radically adventurous programming (seriously, lo-fi black metal weirdo Striborg is scheduled to perform there sometime this year, under the shadows of works by such figures as Chris Olffi, Anselm Keifer, and plenty of decay-oriented Australian artists... and yes, The Stickmen played the 'Dark Mofo' festival at MONA in 2013). So, the creative kids from Hobart back in the '80s and '90s were much more likely to flee to the much larger metropolises of Melbourne or Sydney over in mainland Australia. The Stickmen were the rare band from Hobart who persevered in their hometown long enough to develop into an amazing antipodean amalgam of Flying Nun / Xpressway NZ fuzz-pop, post-Birthday Party scum rock, and dour American math-rock, but probably not that many people ever heard about them. In fact, WE had never heard of them, until this album showed up in the shop; and yeah, they are pretty goddamn great.
Their eponymous debut album originally came out in 1998 as a mutant, garage punk blast of sharp guitar riffs, driving rhythms, cheap-ass transistor radio vocals, and weird sounds transmitted from a turntablist who spun drones and noises on his decks. The photo on the inner-sleeve is worth a thousand words with the microphone taped to a broom (complete with bristles) and suspended from the ceiling via a thick piece of rope for the guitarist to sing into (or not), while one of the band members fiddles with a mess of pedals and reaches up to backspin a record. The sound broadcast from such a Rube Goldberg contraption is brilliantly intense, somewhere between the Swell Maps avant-punk melodies, The Oh Sees' jubilant mania, and the scientific aggression of Pitchblende. Tracks (like the emphatic "No!" or the belligerent "Wired Wrong") accelerate from a Tracy Pew swagger up to wah-wah freakout guitar explosions that wouldn't be out of place in a Comets On Fire jam, albeit much more punk and violent. It was around this time in The Stickmen's career that they played at the Risdon Medium Security Prison; and you gotta wonder if the energy these guys could muster should have started a riot... if it didn't happen, why the fuck not? A great, great find! We're all totally stoked on this!!
Fancy tip-on sleeve with super high gloss printing in a pretty limited edition. Download code? You bet!
MPEG Stream: "Without A Clue"
MPEG Stream: "Wired Wrong"
MPEG Stream: "Creep Inside"
MPEG Stream: "On The March"
MPEG Stream: "Who Said It Should Be Good?"

album cover HIRSCHE NICHT AUFS SOFA (HNAS) Melchior (RRRecords / United Dairies) cassette 6.98
HNAS's fourth album "Im Schatten Der Mohre" has often been cited as the best work from these '80s German eccentrics, following a longstanding opinion from HNAS's Christoph Heemann supporting such a statement. Yet the sporadic resurgence of HNAS recordings may challenge Heemann's claims, as evinced by this authorized cassette release of Melchior on RRRecords. Melchior is in our opinion, in fact, the best of the HNAS recordings; and was the 2nd official album for Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa (translated as Moose Without A Sofa), originally released back in 1986 through Steven Stapleton's United Dairies. The presence of Stapleton and his wife Diana Rogerson (aka Chrystal Belle Scrodd) certainly slants Melchior into the paratactic Dada and post-Faust idiosyncrasy of mid-'80s Nurse With Wound (especially Sylvie and Babs). Just as NWW has always been the studio-driven vehicle for Stapleton's absurd audio experiments, HNAS - in 1986 the duo of Achim P. Li Khan and Heemann - used the studio as an alchemical means to recontextualize Krautrock's experimentalism, cheeseball disco, Teutonic chants, and Eastern European prog rock, into an aesthetic collision, that always teetered between working brilliantly and collapsing into a mess of delay ridden effects. When Stapleton's freak-out guitar and Rogerson's eerily disembodied / disaffected voice appear, HNAS gets noticeably better in their monochord guitar blurts, plodding percussion, bleeding 23 Skidoo horns, and unnerving atmospheres. That said, we'll admit our bias in favor of NWW over HNAS. Regardless, Melchior should be required 'out-there' listening!
MPEG Stream: "Im Sommer Gibt's Nix Zu Essen"
MPEG Stream: "Mastvieh Ohne Socken"
MPEG Stream: "Tonnenschwer Im Abendkleid"
MPEG Stream: "Speck Des Jahres"

album cover LOOP A Gilded Eternity (Reactor) 2lp+7" 25.00
NOW ALSO REISSUED ON VINYL! We made the 2009 double cd reish of this, the final proper album from late '80s mantric space/psych rockers Loop, a Record Of The Week, this new double lp plus 7" edition deserves nothing less as well.
Contemporaries and countrymen of legendary UK drug rockers Spacemen 3, Loop took the same sonic influences but rocked a little harder, opting out of the extended soporific drifts the defined the Spacemen, (although they were perfectly capable of blissing out with the best of them) and instead creating looped, krautrock spacejams, that were downright heavy, as well as being space-y, druggy and surprisingly catchy. Guitars were fuzzed out, vocals way down in the mix, reverb and delay EVERYWHERE, riffs often processed into stuttering textures and looped rhythms, the drums alternatingly motorik and skeletal, and pounding and explosive, all wreathed in a glorious otherworldly haze.
A Gilded Eternity, originally released in 1990, might just be their heaviest and most rocking yet, definitely their tightest, album opener "Vapour" has one of those riffs TO DIE FOR, the main melody is so completely catchy, the song a woozy, repetitive chunk of gloriously propulsive dronerock, less space-y than much of what came before, but definitely more rocking and relentless. the next track "Afterglow" pushes that new heaviness even further, sounding not unlike Swervedriver, big crunchy distorted guitars, pounding tribal drumming, the arrangement a lurching start stop, that slips into cool washed out breakdowns, before exploding right back into the stuttery groove. And so it goes, the band unfurling their masterwork, in a career of masterful works, "Blood" is total abstract minimal krautrock, the guitars stripped away, leaving just a super spare drum part, wrapped all up in processed vocals and swirling effects, another jam that easily could have gone on for 10 more minutes. But then just like that, the band slip back into "Breath Into Me", whipping up another killer riff, the track a looped space garage groove that rivals record opener "Vapour". The record proper ends with the nearly 10 minute "Be Here Now", the Loop version of a slow jam, beginning with some strange processed guitar, the band ease into a languorous groove that drifts druggily through soft focus clouds of lysergic buzz, brief squalls of wild wah guitar, but remaining locked and looped, the weary vocals drifting above the warm endless buzz.
The cd reissue came with a bonus disc as well, of demo tracks and Peel Sessions, which this vinyl version does not include, but, the vinyl DOES come with a bonus 7" containing on its A side the Loop track "Shot With A Diamond", which happens to be Jim's favorite Loop track alongside "Arc-Light." This track provides the perfect sonic segue between Loop and the sounds guitarist Robert Hampson would later explore with his post Loop solo project Main, an ominous bit of electronic sample laced dronemusic, creepy and haunting and so fucking awesome. It should be noted that this version of "Shot With A Diamond" has been stripped of the vocal samples from Apocalypse Now, presumably which were never authorized initially.
Required listening for anyone with even the mildest interest in sounds space-y, druggy, metallic and psychedelic!!!
MPEG Stream: "Vapour"
MPEG Stream: "Afterglow"
MPEG Stream: "Be Here Now"
MPEG Stream: "Shot With A Diamond"

album cover LE SYNDICAT Timespace Losses 1982-1987 (Monochrome Vision) cd 14.98
The mid-'80s were very productive for Le Syndicat, the French industrial noise outfit that formed in 1982 with the noble intention to make the most noise possible. The bulk of the tracks collected on Timespace Losses were culled from various cassette compilations during that time period 1982 to 1987, with the final track being a rare live recording. These works defined LS's earlier noise bruitism before iron-fisted rhythms locked down Le Syndicat's latter-day panzerbeat aesthetics. Overblown screams and garbled vocalizations dissolved amidst the acrid feedback, mottled distortion and blackened noise which seeped out of Le Syndicat's repurposed consumer electronics (e.g. shortwave radios, televisions, Walkmen, etc.), inspired by the mediated chaos of SPK, Merzbow, Ramleh, Whitehouse, Controlled Bleeding, and other early practitioners of power electronics. Not surprisingly, Le Syndicat managed to land their work on tape compilations released by Broken Flag, ZSF Produkt (run by Masami Akita back in the day), Placebo, and Beast 666. This collection is a very primitive, nasty set of recordings. Conet Project fans should take note that the 'Swedish Rhapsody' numbers station is featured heavily in the very John Duncan like collage of shortwave transmissions on the Le Syndicat live track concluding the collection. Recommended for all of you noise freaks out there!
MPEG Stream: "Sex Und Vomit"
MPEG Stream: "Suck The Putrified Kaiser 3"
MPEG Stream: "All Armi"

album cover DEATH AND VANILLA EP (Hands In The Dark) lp 26.00
RE-PRESSED AND BACK IN STOCK!!!
Here's the much needed reissue of Death And Vanilla's first ep, which was originally released in a tiny edition of just 100 copies a couple years back; and truth be told, this reissue will suffer the same fate, as the vinyl has also sold out amazingly fast. Death And Vanilla are a low-profile Swedish duo that triangulate themselves in the forgotten futures of Duophonic era Stereolab, the Focus Group's curiosity shoppe of library music electronics, and Broadcast's avant-pop anachronisms. Given how well D&V manage to operate in this context, it is a bit surprising that a Thrill Jockey or a Matador hasn't banged on their door. But for us, it's all fine and good for the duo to remain in their perch above the largest cemetery in their hometown of Malmo, continuing to produce a Spartan catalogue of spellbinding, sublime albums. Like all of those more contemporary references, Death & Vanilla's impeccable taste in pop music telescopes back to the late '60s with French new wave films, sultry Cinecitta psyche pop, Italian horror grandiosity, and the tried and true motorik rhythms of Neu! The arrangements are baroquely set with fuzzed out / vibrato guitars, slinky basslines, theremin, Moog, glockenspiels, vibraphones, and harpsichords, with vocalist Marleen Nilsson breathily crooning like an opiated but just as dreamy Brigitte Bardot. Brilliant stuff this Death & Vanilla; and this expanded version of the original ep features three exquisite bonus tracks, including one based on the work of Daphne Oram and sporting an unsettling extracted piece of dialog from the film Marathon Man. Oh, you know which one.
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts In The Machine"
MPEG Stream: "Godspeed"
MPEG Stream: "The Dodens Vaniljsas Theme"
MPEG Stream: "Between Circles"

album cover V/A Framework Seasonal: Issue 5, Summer 2013 (Framework Editions) cd-r 25.00
Thank God for the nerds! The Framework Seasonal series continues with an amazing set of archival recordings from the Derby Tape Recording Club and the Leicester Tape Recording Club. Yeah, you read that right. Tape Recording Clubs! These represented two regional clubs which operated in this little known phenomenon that reached a peak in the late '60s and early '70s with commercial grade technology becoming readily available. Many of these clubs would actually record onto reel-to-reel tape, organizing outings upon which the participants would pool resources in order to collect primitive field recordings of motorcycle races, the howler monkeys from the Paignton Zoo, bowling tournaments, a guided tour from a power turbine... and yeah, there's a recorded example of trainspotting with a young man reading off the line and make of a particular train to the heart of England. Many of these recordings show their age with lots of tape hiss, compressed frequencies, clunky hard-stop edits, and a few bits of blown-out microphone distortion; but, really when is that a criticism here at aQuarius? But the charms of these recordings are not just found in the patina of crackle and flutter; the documented sounds themselves are often accompanied by narration from the various club members. One of our favorite field recordings is the bicycle ride of Leicester's John Buckler, who huffs and puffs his way through traffic noting the fish and chips shop to his left and how out of shape he is from a two minute bike ride uphill. There's a couple extracts from the Derby club's Christmas Party including a spirited round of musical chairs; and another gem is the radio advertisement from the Derby club complete with Derbyshire-ish bleepity electronics and an earnest call to join the club. Library Music enthusiasts will be rapt with joy over these antiquated sounds! What a gem of an album!
As we've noted before, the proceeds from the Framework Seasonal discs go to support the Framework Radio series of broadcasts dedicated to field recordings and their use in composition. Hence, the price.
MPEG Stream: DERBY TAPE RECORDING CLUB (MARJORY HOWARD) " Derby Tape Recording Club Advert"
MPEG Stream: LEICESTER TAPE RECORDING CLUB (JOHN BUCKLER) "Trainspotting"
MPEG Stream: DERBY TAPE RECORDING CLUB (BILL HOWARD) "Birdland, Bourton On The Water"
MPEG Stream: LEICESTER TAPE RECORDING CLUB (JOHN BUCKLER) "Bicycle Ride"
MPEG Stream: LEICESTER TAPE RECORDING CLUB (JOHN AMFLET) "Pre-Rec Message"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Carcinosi (Menstrual Recordings) lp 30.00
The mythology of Maurizio Bianchi / MB has been well documented here at Aquarius; as we have long been spellbound by many of his classic industrial productions. He began experimenting with electronics, noise, and 'tape decomposition' in the late '70s, recording at a feverish pace over a five year period. He released a handful of records on Sterile, Broken Flag, and Come Organisation, with a few albums being self-financed private pressings. All of these albums quickly went out of print, not only due to the quality of the recordings, but because of his mysterious disappearance from the music scene, spawning a number of implausible legends. In the late '90s, the Italian avant-garde label Alga Marghen embarked on a reissue campaign of MB's classic albums. Those 10 discs, too, went out print leading to yet another campaign of Bianchi's earliest work. Carcinosi was one of those 10 Alga Marghen albums, and has now gotten the reissue treatment from Menstrual Recordings.
If there is one MB record to own, it's Carcinosi - the existentially bleak synthesis of the divebomb synth squalor found on his early work like Symphony for a Genocide and the frigid drone exasperation of his finale Armaghedon. Originally released in 1983 as a private edition of 400 copies, Carcinosi is part two of his dyptic of 'bionic music' alongside Endometrio. The metaphors of cancer mutating within a technologized body parallel a text in which Bianchi refers to this work as a warning of another Auschwitz. Bianchi's Carcinosi masterfully actualizes his grim metaphors with a mesmeric carousel of dark fractures, muted noise and disorienting synthetic pulsations smothered in a heavily saturated wall of delay. Again just 400 copies of this are around, with an exact reproduction of the original artwork with the album itself pressed on clear vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Terzo Ciclo"
MPEG Stream: "Quarto Ciclo"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Teban Slide Art (Menstrual Recordings) 3cd 48.00
Teban Slide Art collects a body of work from the industrial pioneer Maurizio Bianchi that has long been a point of controversy in the history of noise music. At the very beginning of his career, Bianchi had 'signed' a contract with Whitehouse's William Bennett for the release of two albums on Bennett's Come Organisation label. There were rumors that Bennett and Steven Stapleton of Nurse With Wound drafted a completely daft contract that assumed all of the rights to Bianchi's work, which Bianchi signed. Here is where the story splits, as Bianchi claimed that he never consented to the additional overlay of Third Reich speeches found on these recordings, nor to rechristening of his nom de plume from MB to Leibstandarte SS MB; where Bennett asserts that the albums were released as Bianchi intended, and his latent religious conversion a few years later around 1984 sparked his discontent. Regardless of which of these stories is the actual truth, those early Leibstandarte SS MB albums quickly became the stuff of legend and myth, with very few ever actually hearing any of those recordings. What prompted Bianchi to agree to reissue these recordings is also a bit of mystery, but here they are - Triumph Of The Will and Weltanschauung (the two Come Organisation albums) and Lebensraum (an unreleased album that was unofficially issued as a cassette by Murder Release). The cancerous sounds that Bianchi produced are sinister echoes of bone-chilling vibrations, throbbing rhythms, deranged anti-melodies, and horrifying atmospheres that drip through Bianchi's frigid electronics which are not too far from the material he produced on albums like Menses and Neuro Habitat around the same time. Not all of the tracks are laced with Nazi speeches, but when they are, the mastering pushes Bianchi's cold synth-noise into the background. All this said, it is impossible to escape the context of those speeches; but the intent of lacing these two becomes unclear. Is this the simulacrum approach to the modern society as being so corrupt that the crimes of the Third Reich are still within the capacity of the human condition? Or was this something akin to a very British form of black humor (especially if this was in fact Bennett adding the speeches later) in poking fun at all of the 'transgressive' references that punk and industrial culture were appropriating? The verdict is still out. Limited to 413 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Triumph Of The Will"
MPEG Stream: "Weltanschauung"
MPEG Stream: "Endoradiation"
MPEG Stream: "Examples Of Cannibalism"

album cover MB (MAURIZIO BIANCHI) Telmegiddo / Bacterhabitat (Menstrual Recordings) cd + cd-r 29.00
Following the release of the Teban Slide Art collection of Maurizio Bianchi material that dates back to early 1981 of the infamous Leibstandarte SS MB recordings released on William Bennett's Come Organisation, we find ourselves at the end of 1984 with Telemediggo. Bianchi's final official album was the self-released Armaghedon - a soundtrack to an unfinished film that would have been really interesting to have seen. Unfortunately, Bianchi destroyed more than half of the pressing of Armaghedon, with the film probably suffering the same fate. All of this was spurned by his religious conversion, becoming a Jehovah's Witness, causing him to eschew many of the ties he made with the industrial / experimental community for well over a decade. Telemediggo would have been the follow-up to Armaghedon, and is a continuation of the free-floating almost psychedelic dronework that shows a considerable amount of maturity of Bianchi's compositional prowess. Gone are the almost meandering attempts at melody and gone are the panzer division rhythms found on albums like Symphony For A Genocide. Instead, the gasping environments from Bianchi's final period could be considered placid in comparison to his more suffocating works, as if he's allowing for slivers of light to seep through the vast darkness. Don't worry, Telemediggo is a heavy piece of refined minimalism! There were a handful of private issue cassettes of this album that made the rounds, eventually getting bootlegged under the title "Extreme Man 2" in 1990. Another bootleg made the rounds of some sketches that Bianchi was working on, and that had the title "Extreme Man 1." This cassette is reprised as the second disc here, rechristened as Baterhabitat. For some reason, this second disc is a professionally duplicated cd-r, where the disc of Telemediggo is a properly replicated cd. Hmm. These recordings are considerably rougher than Telemediggo and do expose some of Bianchi's process, as he began to layer sympathetic synth sounds that he describes as a "mixture of bacteriological wall of noise." He indicates that the recordings date back to 1982, but seem to have been left unfinished. Packaged in a really cool metal box that solves the problem of those Chain Reaction metal boxes with a soft-felt case that holds both discs. Limited to 208 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Tel"
MPEG Stream: "Mediggo"

album cover TARAB Strata (Unfathomless) cd 21.00
Vacant store fronts, abandoned buildings, and empty lots are increasingly harder to find in San Francisco these days. Even the former wastelands well to the east of our Mission location are filling in with all manner of development, from modern office spaces to sleek steel & glass apartments. Complaints of gentrification can hardly be made when such buildings are constructed on purportedly mitigated toxic sludge or the settled landfill of crumbled highways from the '89 earthquake. These dead zones in the urban landscape nevertheless are thriving ecosystems of feral plants and animals that can exist sprouting through broken asphalt and plumping themselves on the scraps of whatever can be pulled from nearby garbage cans. Few would pine over the loss of such spaces, and the Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod (aka Tarab) is one who would actively explore vacant lots instead of ignoring them. Over the years, Sprod has released a small catalog of brilliant, if understated albums that reflect these dead spaces in the urban landscape, often with apocalyptic foreshadowings through his compositions. He patiently builds this work through layers of sparsely processed field recordings and found object manipulation often recorded directly in such environments - empty warehouses, military bunkers, dry sewer ducts and the like. For Strata, Sprod has documented something of a concrete island on the outskirts of Melbourne, bordered by train tracks, highways, and drainage ditches. In collecting his recordings, he would dig and claw through the broken concrete, construction refuse, bum trash, and aggregated debris, amassing a whole array of crumbled textures and noises that would also echo with the distant din of cars and trains roaring by, many miles away. What is always impressive about Sprod's albums is the incredible clarity of detail which pops into focus, as the bright frequencies of found metal debris take the shape of obsidian shards with possible diabolically mystical qualities. The compositions coalesce into churning swarms of texture that snap into expansive rumbles paralleling the desolation of Thomas Koner's polar treks, giving way to doppler-effected field recordings of trains with the grinding of brakes and the pulsing thunder of the engines. It's that rich attention to detail that warrants comparisons to Chris Watson's impeccable phonography, but the compositional approach strikes a balance between the psychological implications of Luc Ferrari and those damn-near perfect collages by Small Cruel Party. As with all of Tarab's work, this is very highly recommended! Limited to just 200 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Strata (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Strata (excerpt 2)"

album cover SAADA BONAIRE s/t (Captured Tracks) cd 15.98
If you never heard of this obscure eighties female fronted world-pop outfit, get in line. An unlikely mix of Teutonic new wave and dubby balearic dance pop created in Bremen, Germany, Saada Bonaire only released one single in their lifetime. Now Captured Tracks, through its new imprint Fantasy Memory, has brought to us the complete recordings of this short-lived outfit, and it's pretty amazing, especially if you are into lost post-punk disco rarities as much as we are. Created by Bremen DJ Ralf Behrendt in 1982, and recorded in Kraftwerk's studio by legendary dub-punk producer Dennis Bovell (The Pop Group, The Slits) featuring an array of jazz and world musicians hired from the local immigrant center, Saada Bonaire was fronted by Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfield, whose sultry but blase delivery make their sound a sort of hybrid between the domineering dance music of Gina X and Grace Jones and the breezy dub of Brenda Ray. The aforementioned single "You Can Be More As You Are" is an infectious post-disco club classic, that probably had a lot more traction in southern Europe than in the west. Their music, with its exotic flourishes and dreamy tropical rhythms, seems tailor-made for warmer climates, and we can easily see these tracks being played in sunrise dance sets after a long night of clubbing. Definitely a band that should have been a lot bigger than they were, their lack of success the fault of EMI's A&R man who notoriously went over budget with the acts he developed. After going over 5x the budget for Tina Turner's Private Dancer, EMI pulled the plug on Saada Bonnaire and they were rarely heard from since. This anthology covers everything the band recorded between 1982 and 1985, but still remains surprisingly modern sounding for being 30 years old.
MPEG Stream: "You Could Be More As You Are"
MPEG Stream: "Invitation"
MPEG Stream: "Shut The Door"
MPEG Stream: "Joanna"

album cover SAADA BONAIRE s/t (Captured Tracks) 2lp 34.00
If you never heard of this obscure eighties female fronted world-pop outfit, get in line. An unlikely mix of Teutonic new wave and dubby balearic dance pop created in Bremen, Germany, Saada Bonaire only released one single in their lifetime. Now Captured Tracks, through its new imprint Fantasy Memory, has brought to us the complete recordings of this short-lived outfit, and it's pretty amazing, especially if you are into lost post-punk disco rarities as much as we are. Created by Bremen DJ Ralf Behrendt in 1982, and recorded in Kraftwerk's studio by legendary dub-punk producer Dennis Bovell (The Pop Group, The Slits) featuring an array of jazz and world musicians hired from the local immigrant center, Saada Bonaire was fronted by Stefanie Lange and Claudia Hossfield, whose sultry but blase delivery make their sound a sort of hybrid between the domineering dance music of Gina X and Grace Jones and the breezy dub of Brenda Ray. The aforementioned single "You Can Be More As You Are" is an infectious post-disco club classic, that probably had a lot more traction in southern Europe than in the west. Their music, with its exotic flourishes and dreamy tropical rhythms, seems tailor-made for warmer climates, and we can easily see these tracks being played in sunrise dance sets after a long night of clubbing. Definitely a band that should have been a lot bigger than they were, their lack of success the fault of EMI's A&R man who notoriously went over budget with the acts he developed. After going over 5x the budget for Tina Turner's Private Dancer, EMI pulled the plug on Saada Bonnaire and they were rarely heard from since. This anthology covers everything the band recorded between 1982 and 1985, but still remains surprisingly modern sounding for being 30 years old.
MPEG Stream: "You Could Be More As You Are"
MPEG Stream: "Invitation"
MPEG Stream: "Shut The Door"
MPEG Stream: "Joanna"

album cover HUSERE GRAV You Are Transparent (Crucial Blast) cd + zine + button 13.98
Years and years ago, a handful of cd-r's showed up in the mail, obviously black metal, it took us a while to figure out what or who it was, the group's logo, fantastically illegible, the artwork abstract and black and white, shapes and skulls, altars and shadows, and the music, woah, dark and ritualistic, buzzy and blackened and pretty goddamn weird, we eventually discovered it was in fact a 'band' called Homunculus, but were never able to get copies for the shop. We've been fans of Texas industrial noisescapers and black drone technicians Husere Grav for a while now, and only just discovered, that the man behind Homunculus is in fact also Husere Grav. But don't be expecting black metal here, HG traffic in a bleak, blackened, post industrial ambience, huge heaving swaths of Lustmordian rumbles, sprawling bleak soundworlds that are equal parts Wolf Eyes at their most minimal, and the grim, kvlt ritualism of Abruptum, all blurred and smeared into hazy expanses of black sonic murmur, and abstract metallic shimmer, abject soundworlds of blunted blacknoize and crumbling squalls of static, most of the tracks here surprisingly tranquil, heady, meditative soft noise minimalism, which sounds at times quite a bit like The Caretaker, albeit a bit noisier and low fidelity, or Caretaker offshoot The Stranger, sculpted static, and buried murky melodies. While folks into black metal, and black ambience, and ritualistic dronemusic will of course dig, the sound here is shot through with a buried beauty, that casts You Are Transparent, as something almost more aligned with Philip Jeck, Tim Hecker or Leyland Kirby, which is most definitely a very good thing.
Super deluxe packaging, the disc, housed in a dvd case, with a sixteen page black and white art zine, wrapped in a Japanese style obi, with a sticker and a button. LIMITED TO 400 COPIES, each one hand numbered.
MPEG Stream: "Red Room"
MPEG Stream: "Lines"
MPEG Stream: "Found In The Woods"

album cover JUPPALA KAAPIO Alpen Ocean (Omnimemento) lp 21.00
So lovely is the work of Juppala Kaapio! That said, we must sadly report that the Japanese / Swiss, husband-and-wife duo have stated that Alpen Ocean will be their final album under the guise of Juppala Kaapio. Another project is in the works, and they are planning to unveil whatever this may be sometime in 2014. Many of the drone-clad works we champion hedge their bets with the power of the darkside; but there are plenty of choice examples of rapturous, celestial tones and holy minimalism that seek to enlighten rather than darken the consumers' mind. Juppala Kaapio's small catalogue of lovingly crafted minimalism figures somewhere between the summer solstice nature jams of the Finnish freak-folk types and the twinkling harmonics of Terry Riley and LaMonte Young. As for Alpen Ocean, a brightly hued psychedelia of a sunburst and snowblind tableau is rendered through the wide-eyed sense of awe and wonder after calmly sipping a cup of psilocybin mushroom tea. Carole Kojo's delicate falsettos waver into a meditative chorale through tape loops and delay amidst the slow kaleidoscopic arrangements of chiming bells, bowed gongs, glassy electronics, and a few pastoral field recordings thrown in for good measure. It all comes together into bright, rapturous drones that Juppala Kaapio's Hitoshi Kojo describes as "overlaid harmonies of a murmuring of trees, howling skies, roarings of the ocean and the gradual transformation that are accompanied by melodies which may remind you of migratory birds travelling across the sky on a lost ancient continent, or the dream of sea animals that are in eternal slumber in a ridge of mountains." Limited to a mere 300 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Alpen Ocean"
MPEG Stream: "Atlantic Alps"

album cover BRADLEY, PAUL, JONATHAN COLECLOUGH, HITOSHI KOJO, & COLIN POTTER Water Mountain (Omnimemento) 2cd 19.98
It has been far too long since we've heard anything from Jonathan Coleclough. So long in fact that we probably need to refresh some of our readership on this stalwart British drone artist, whose name alone became a shorthand for mesmerism that deftly balanced dissonance with sympathetic tones and a subtle use of melody drifting ever so slightly within a narrow band of frequencies. Yup, that's what Coleclough delivers; and for many years now, we've cited his work as the gold-standard of dronemuzik, with perhaps Tim Hecker as the only other experimental musician to get cross-referenced in more instances. Those lovely tones and eerie metallic shimmers that enamored us to Coleclough are firmly entrenched on this album, which also features some other pretty heavy hitters. Colin Potter is another British experimental chap whom everyone should know, not only because he's responsible for working on some of the best Nurse With Wound albums (e.g. Salt Marie Celeste, Thunder Perfect Mind, etc.) but also because he's crafted some intoxicating electronic albums over the years of kosmiche brainbending and full-thrum minimalism that would give Manuel Gottsching and Coil a run for their money. Hitoshi Kojo is the Japanese drone-minstrel who has alternately worked under the solo moniker Spiracle and in the duo Juppala Kappio, slipping between the glassy acoustic mantras of Organum and the freak-folk ragas of most any album on Fonal. Paul Bradley may be the least well known contributor, here; but this British drone musician has done exceptional work over the years with both Potter and Coleclough in various guises.
This album was recorded back in 2006 in Colin Potter's former studio, which literally was a water tower with all four parties conjuring their various shadow-clad drones, shivering phase patterns, spectral frequencies, and lonely textures. Water Mountain feels very much like a thoughtful Conny Plank production in which an organic dreaminess flows through all of these sounds, which seem to be transmitted by each individual through whatever means, and effortlessly molded into a eerily blissed out drone album. Watery gurgles, bowed metal trills, and crumbled soil stain the sparkling hums and stretched occlusions throughout both discs, gliding in and out of hallowed, church organ minimalism, tectonic rumblings, and one blustery crescendo of atomically cracked distortion that fires up near the end of disc one. Altogether, this is a magnificent set of recordings and one that will pull Coleclough back into the public spotlight by hook or by crook. Super limited pressing of just 250 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Fata Morgana"
MPEG Stream: "Polar Vortex"
MPEG Stream: "Deliquescence"

album cover G*PARK Reuters (Tochnit Aleph) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN PRINT!!! G*Park is the work of Marc Zeier who has been quietly generating some of the most evocative musique concrete / electro-acoustic whatnot / broken drones / softened noisejunk since the mid '80s. These recordings had mostly been on cassette back in the day, with a couple of discs appearing over the past decade thanks to Blossoming Noise and the defunkt Zabriskie Point label. He's also an auxiliary member of the aktionist Schimpfluch collective, although his work shares little of their scatological hyper-violence of smeared fish guts, vomit, and bloodletting. Yet, the G*Park recordings mirror the sinister vibe of Schimpfluch through his delicately disfigured field recordings and tape-cut manipulation. Zeier presents a masterful collage of disjointed repetitions from handcranked mechanisms that rupture with bellowing drones and aqueous gurglings. Elsewhere, air raid sirens explode through the laser-whipsnap recoil of cellphone tension wires being struck, and the reverberation of prepared piano abuse slams against densely packed drones into thunderous punctures. These pieces are clinical studies of decay amplified from a microscopic order; and considering that Zeier's occupation is a plankton fisherman (seriously!), perhaps these are the birth pangs and death throes of those tiny creatures. A very highly recommended piece of sound art!

album cover MONOTON Monotonproduct 07 (Desire) 2lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
OOOHHH!!! NOW ON VINYL FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER THREE DECADES!!!
Konrad Becker released only a couple of albums in the early '80s under his moniker Monoton. The modest editions of his recordings relegated him to inevitable obscurity back then, but thankfully through the magic of reissue technology more folks now have had a chance to enjoy his genius work, a hyper-bleak precursor of electronica, that bridged the kosmische sounds of Cluster and Conrad Schnitzler with the more contemporary sounds of Pan Sonic and Coh to come.
We're sure that there are more than a few modern music nerds out there who hang on every word printed in The Wire, so the reissue of anything by Monoton will no doubt thrill those avid Wire readers. Of course, not everyone keeps one eye on The Wire; so allow us to reiterate what that fine British music magazine penned about this album in 1996, The Wire did a cover story entitled "100 Records that set the world on fire (when no one was listening)," and which featured plenty of favorites already heralded in their pages (Derek Bailey, Faust, Fushitsusha, Nurse With Wound, Bernhard Gunter, etc.) as well as a handful of brilliant records which apparently nobody else had ever heard. Monoton's 2nd album, Monotoprodukt 07, from 1982, found its way onto that list of 100 seminal albums, despite the fact that barely anyone actually owned copies of this self-released album of Germanic proto-electronica. Wire scribe Biba Kopf was one of those lucky few, and certainly said it better than we could have: "[This album] is so alive with the pulses that triggered many electronicas to come, from techno through trance to Mego's creeping static, you could make a case for Konrad Becker's guruhood. Yet for all its prescient washed out tones, threadbare textures and minimalist rigour, it has the edge on much that followed. Adopting an imperious art stance towards mainstreams and margins alike, Becker cast a cold analytic eye over electronica's urfathers, picking up on Suicide's jittertronic urgency, if not their melodrama, and DAF's throbbing sequencers, but with the sex threat removed, which he patched into his own crackling circuits, hissing vistas and tumbling beatstreams."
Lo and behold, the good people at Oral in Canada were kind enough to reissue Monotonprodukt 07 first on cd back in 2003 (long since out of print) and now at last on vinyl, complete with a beefed-up re-mastered sound complements of the best in the business, Rashad Becker (no relation?), making for a very cool and highly recommended listen! We concur with The Wire about this album's importance. This really is one of aQ's experimental electronica essentials.
MPEG Stream: "Dancing & Singing"
MPEG Stream: "Fire"
MPEG Stream: "Root Of 1 = 1"

album cover THEOLOGIAN Some Things Have To Be Endured (Crucial Blast) cd 13.98
"Some things have to be endured, and that makes the pleasures so much sweeter!" So spoke the villainous Frank Cotton in Clive Barker's first Hellraiser movie. It is interesting to think back, and realize that Coil had their proposed soundtrack to that same movie rejected with some citing that Coil's themes were 'too frightening' or (more likely) 'not commercial enough' for a major studio motion picture. Anyone with ears who has listened to Coil's unreleased themes to Hellraiser will not find anything frightening or scary at all. In fact, Coil was quite reverential to somebody like David Shire, especially with his minimalist and maudlin score for The Conversation, with Coil composing everything on the Fairlight synthesizer, which itself had a distinct sound but one that didn't fall in line with the Goblin / Carpenter axis. Had Coil turned in to the film studio something like what they produced on their grand statement to the apocalypse in Horse Rotovator, it might have sounded close to where Theologian ended up on this death-synth industrial opus.
Here, Theologian - the project of a cold-hearted character simply given the name Leech - has employed the talents of a host of female vocalists from the darkwave and noise underground. The conceit has a similar feel to Lustmord's recent album The Word As Power; and thankfully, both albums transcend any notion of female tokenism. Furthermore, both albums do not suck. Far from it for Theologian; as this album triumphantly extends the M83-produces-Swans analogy that we posited regarding the 2012 epic The Chasms Of My Heart album. After a garbled, witchy cackle that introduces the album's first track "Black Cavern Myopia," Leech uncorks a dark-minded, power techno rhythm, crunched through distortion, echo and sinister atmospheres featuring the deep-in-the-catacomb vocalizations of Hecate's Rachael Kozak. A more familiar militantly bashed rhythm keeps with a Swans-styled corporal beatdown on "The Conjoined Deviant Procession" with the monotone chanting delivered by Kristen from Sewer Election. The vocals never really come to the foreground throughout the album, instead they swirl and commingle amidst the metalgaze hiss, powerdrone murk, and audio sickness from Leech's decomposing productions. Even when he employs the talents of opera singer Melissa Kelly (the only vocalist not hailing from noise culture), her voice is cacooned in billowing reverb as it flutters throughout the ghastly synth melodies and blackened industrially crushed doom plod on "Ectothermism." Aside from Sewer Election and Hecate, we've not encountered any of the other vocalists, but their legion is Rachel Maloney (Tonikom), Nikki Telladictorian (Prometheus Burning), Patricia Benitez (Fetish Drone), Gillian Leigh Bowling (Teloahqaal), Christiana Key (Delphic Oracle), Joan Hacker (Factoria), and Shari Vari (Void Vision). Leech has crafted monstrous, ghastly album of lurching rhythms and totally downer melodies - think the Cure's Pornography remixed by Vatican Shadow. So good!
MPEG Stream: "Black Cavern Myopia"
MPEG Stream: "The Conjoined Deviant Procession"
MPEG Stream: "Gore-Stained Ramparts"
MPEG Stream: "Ectothermism"

album cover GARET, RICHARD Blank Tape Positive (Contour Editions) cd-r 12.98
There's a choice photograph on this album's innersleeve of a portable cassette player denuded of its plastic exterior, leaving behind an exposed array of circuit boards, gears, and miniature belts with a contact microphone shoved unceremoniously into these mechanics. Presumably, these mechanics still work or least they create some sort of flappity electro-acoustic spluttering that Richard Garet can use as source material in composition. This strategy of amplifying a malfunctioning object is one that Garet has investigated before on such records as the former Record of the Week, Areal, from early 2012, whereby he incorporated broken speaker cones, fizzing cross-wired circuits, and plenty of radio noise in that elegant album of cracked dronemuzik. Blank Tape Positive is more caustic due to all of the tape decks in various states of workability and non-workability. It was probably Wobbly who once waxed historical about a David Tudor performance in the mid to late '60s during which he made full use of a soldering iron in the middle of the performance to fix some piece of electronic gear that had failed. Garet's performances, installations (which recently included a high-profile exhibition at MOMA in New York!), and recordings engage a similar tension - conceptually, strategically, and aesthetically. Throughout this album, Garet tangles the electro-magnetic hisses from all of the circuitry with the plastic-gear clattering of the working tape deck parts all of which blooms into Kirlian drones of spectral proportions. The unstable forms on BlankTape Positive are not all that dissimilar to those strobe-light electro-acoustic pieces that Loren Chasse crafted so many years ago. Occasional warblings of varispeed start-n-stop expose the source material's more recognizable signatures; and Garet typically interjects these elements as he's abstracted everything else into a haunted Tim Hecker-like smear of rapturous drone. Garet's work has always impressed us, and this album is no exception. As with everything on Contour Editions, the album is packaged handsomely oversized sleeve with archival ink printing and a professionally duplicated disc. Limited to 150 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Blank Tape Positive 1"
MPEG Stream: "Blank Tape Positive 2"

album cover MILLIS, R. Relief (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) lp 14.98
Polyglot might be just the right word to describe what Robert Millis and his Climax Golden Twins have been up to for the past two decades or so. An album might be a ramshackle collage of blisterfuck noise-rock, another might be a graceful set of murder ballads, and yet another might hypnotize the listener through an alpha-state minimalism. And then, there's Millis' acclaimed collections of olde-timey '78s and raw field recordings of indigenous folk songs, much of which has been released through those tasty labels Sublime Frequencies and Dust-To-Digital. The solo work from Millis tends more toward the dronemuzik and hallucinatory collage axis of CGT's multi-headed agenda, although he has been known to strum out a sadsack blues number that might straddle the worlds of Alan Bishop and Roscoe Holcomb; but here on the impeccable new album Relief, Millis tunes in and drops out with a blearily psychedelic album of forgotten sounds, ghostly fragments, and Pacific Ocean drones. The album begins with a comedic outburst from one of Millis' 78s with a helpful direction to "hear the secret sentence played out on the talking typewriter" followed by a jaunty clatter of a manual typewriter all wrapped in scratchy-vinyl, crackling goodness. Immediately, the album delves into a swarming tone-float of harmonic overtones pecked with trilling glissandos. The source for this sound has got to be a plung - a Bangladeshi mouth-organ used specifically by the Murung peoples living deep in the rainforest, as this sound is uniquely atonal and wrigglingly eerie in its wavering notes. Millis furthers this wooziness by rarifying these sounds into the holy minimalism conjured by LaMonte Young, Angus Maclise, and company. After swimming here in these golden pools for a good five or six minutes, Millis drops the needle on a dramatic orchestral swell that would be the envy of the Caretaker's sunken ballroom recordings. A couple of hip-swaying recombinations of temple music rhythms and Les Baxter exotica glide in and out of Millis' glassy-eyed shimmeriness and post-Eno piano constellations. The album's finale is an impressionistic driftscape of languid, temple bell & gong tones stretched into a gorgeous, expansive cloud of lush harmonics giving way to a metronomic wooden rhythm that leads to a set of solitary piano notes suspended over Mariana trench diving-bell ambience. Limited to 400 copies, and comes with the requisite download code. So fucking good.
MPEG Stream: "Secret Sentence"
MPEG Stream: "Enjoyment Machine"
MPEG Stream: "Relief"

album cover ARTEMIEV, EDUARD Solaris (Superior Viaduct) lp 23.00
We are so excited to see this incredible score to one of our all time favorite films finally issued on vinyl. Long unavailable in any format, the electronic scores that Eduard Artemiev created for Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky's fantastic and meditative seventies sci-fi films Solaris, Mirror and Stalker are some of the most incredibly moving and brooding soundtracks we have ever heard. So much so, that the movies would not have had such a deep emotional impact without them. This original 1972 Solaris score (not to be confused with the later eighties re-recording, also being reissued on another label) in particular is eerily contemplative, full of chilling electro-acoustic drones, romantic Bach organ fugues and dreamily ponderous passages wrought with field recordings, gongs, and ghostly choruses, that are both beautiful and terrifying in equal measure.
Solaris can be seen as the Eastern European counterpart to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, as both films are meditative existential ruminations on the metaphysical schism that divides human and alien understanding. Based on Stanislaw Lem's 1961 novel, the film centers on a space psychologist Kris Kelvin who is sent to investigate the mysteriously stalled progress of a space expedition sent from Earth to study the strange planet Solaris. When he arrives, he finds the three person crew oddly isolated from each other and the station in disarray. The mystery deepens when he awakens the following morning and sees his late wife (who killed herself years ago) asleep beside him. It seems that the planet Solaris is actually a sentient life-form that is using the passengers' past memories as a means of communicating with them. However, not understanding what consequences may come about when confronted with uncanny manifestations of painful memories from the past, the planet's attempt at making contact with the expedition causes the crew to become emotionally dysfunctional and self-destructive. In Tarkovsky's multi-layered narrative, no amount of space travel can separate us far enough from the past that continually haunts us.
In 17 movements, Artemiev's score is centered on Bach's "Choral Prelude for Organ in F Minor" as a recurring theme. The mix of classical and electro-acoustic music underlies the visual set design of the space station which also features oddly enough, reproductions of Old Master paintings, in particular the 16th century series "The Months" by Pieter Bruegel The Elder. The confluence of past and future motifs in the film as well as the score is startling effective allowing for an uneasy ruminative moodiness on the nature of time. The frigid electronic passages give voice to an oceanic planetary presence that is absolutely awe-inspiring beset in harrowing timbres that calm and intensify in subtle slow-moving waves. Only Tarkovsky can make windy wild meadows, foggy woods and tumultuous oceans feel so unfamiliar and freakishly alien. The second side opens up to more dreamier and stranger sonic passages, including a theme based on Kelvin's dead wife Hari that is beautifully haunting with a short choir interlude. From there, that leads into a snippet of Russian folk-song, and field recordings of birds, dogs, voices and gongs, with eventually both the Bach organ pieces and the cavernous electronics intermixing more and more intensely together with epic results.
Comes beautifully packaged with 3 variant covers featuring different film stills (sorry, we can't guarantee which one you will get!), and a full color booket of static shots from the film. Another win for the increasingly amazing Superior Viaduct label. Essential!
MPEG Stream: "Movement 3"
MPEG Stream: "Movement 9"
MPEG Stream: "Movement 16"

album cover TROPIC OF CANCER Restless Idylls (Blackest Ever Black) cd 17.98
There's the amphetamine fueled goth of the Sisters Of Mercy and Bauhaus with all of their wastoid glam-punk vamping and sexually nihilistic anthems; and then there's the soporific romanticism that is equally as bleak, but softened by a couple bottles of blood red wine and a tear stained visage. This latter vantage point eschews any wild-mood-swing mania in favor of a maudlin introspection captured in the empty spaces of the latter halves of Joy Division's Closer and The Cure's Seventeen Seconds (or Faith, your choice). Here lies the aesthetic of Camella Lobo's Tropic Of Cancer. Over the past few years, Lobo has earned a cult following through her affiliations with the Sandwell District's Karl O'Connor (who produced this album) and Juan "Silent Servant" Mendez (who partnered with Lobo in writing much of the early material), although her work shares little of the brutalist architectural modes of Sandwell's techno thump. Instead, it is all ghostly whisps and a gloomy weightlessness suspended over skeletal melodies and the sparest of rhythms.
Restless Idylls is her debut album and holds a very steady course set forth by those singles and EPs she crafted with Mendez. Highly spatialized, the songs push her haunted croon into dusty corners bumping up against spider webs and black lace. behind the foregrounded one-two-one-FOUR slow-motion drum programming that she uses almost exclusively. Between these two bookends, guitars, bass, and synths glide with an elegant ease, even as the moods she is crafting are ponderous and melancholy. "More Alone" is the closest thing that could be qualified as a single, with a considerably more uptempo variation on her heartbeat rhythms and death-disco synth lines. The uniform emotional torpor of the album becomes rather hypnotic once you get locked inside the album with its slow pulsing rhythms and tremulant wash of melting, sad-girl echo. Dejected and blighted, nice!
MPEG Stream: "Court Of Devotion"
MPEG Stream: "More Alone"
MPEG Stream: "Hardest Day"

album cover PAINTED CAVES Surveillance (Shelter Press) lp 23.00
Surveillance is the latest release from Evan Caminiti, one half of aQ beloved drone/doom duo Barn Owl. And displays Caminiti's gradual shift away from purely guitar based ambience, toward something more dark and dystopian, and beat driven, shedding much of the twang flecked duskiness, in favor of murky fragmented rhythms, and gristled textures. Barn Owl too has displayed a similarly dramatic sonic shift over the last few releases, introducing drum machines, and synths, and similarly Caminiti's partner in Barn Owl, Jon Porras, has expanded his solo sonic palette as well, occasionally shoegazey, but also dabbling in witchy electronics, most notably as DVVLLXNS. But Surveillance might be the closest either have come to crystallizing such a distinctive, and distinctively entrancing sound, one that channels seventies and eighties soundtrack music, abstract electronics, modern minimalism, minimal house music (a la Chain Reaction), and who knows what else, into something stunningly mesmerizing, hauntingly bleak, and strangely alien. Yet somehow, still quite beautiful.
Surveillance does play out like some sort of soundtrack, with a few moments touching on the Carpenter/Goblin sound that seems to be so prevalent these days, but those moments definitely don't smack of any sort of bandwagon jumping, instead existing as just one sonic element, deftly woven into a much more sprawling and epic whole, with most of the tracks blossoming into something altogether stranger, lurching, pulsing, revealing mysterious arrangements, unfurling constantly shifting textures, rhythmically mesmeric one second, a creeping tar pit ooze the next. "Event Boundary", sounds a bit like a futuristic Muslimgauze, a simple skeletal rhythm, drifting atop a whirring raga like buzz, and wreathed in soft melodic swirls, heady and heavenly hypnotic, gradually growing more and more sinister, the electronic buzz sounding almost like processed horn bleats, the strange tangle of electronics dense and tense, haunting and harrowing for sure. "Leningrad" is similarly bleak and barren, with another field of buried pulsations, beneath arcing fields of tones, and soft focus synth sweeps, not to mention some dubbed out beats, all in a softly psychedelic haze. "Flesh On Tape" is about as close to the current Carpenter craze as it gets, but even then, the sound is much more minimal and softly glitchy, the Chain Reaction influence in full effect, maybe Carpenter on Chain Reaction is good band math, and it sounds just as good as you think it would.
"Shadow Gamelan" sounds like it was plucked from some obscure seventies Euro-art film, not hard to imagine this on a soundtrack for a movie like Possession, softly squiggly guitars, disembodied buzz, lots of echo and dreamlike reverb, hazy and soft focus, but underpinned by a subtle sonic malevolence, while "Loft Life" sounds like something on Kompakt slowed way down, and wreathed in shadow, before finally, the record ends with "Stalker" (an homage to Tarkovsky maybe?), which is a gently noisy, swirling psychedelic shimmerscape of keening high end, buzzing swells, buried pulsations and strange hissy vocal emanations, a stunning sprawl of harrowing cinematic soundscapery that again, like much of Surveillance, seems to effortlessly blur the line between hushed haunting loveliness, and brooding, blackened sonic intensity.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES, pressed on 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "Never Alone"
MPEG Stream: "Flesh On Tape"
MPEG Stream: "Event Boundary"
MPEG Stream: "Loft Life"

album cover HANNAN, CAMILLA Strangelands (3Leaves) cd-r 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Damn, girl, what took you so long? Strangelands is Camilla Hannan's first full album in close to a decade, with a smattering of compilation tracks dotting the way back to her debut album More Songs About Factories which was released in 2005. It has to be said that the Etsy-craftsy-cutesy cover of a felt collage of a cuddly human couple with teddy-bear heads is about as far removed from what Hannan has constructed on Strangelands as can be. No twee-pop balladeering about lunchroom crushes and pigeon toed growth spurts to be found here; this is a bleak and artfully composed album of environmental toxicity and greasily machined rumble. Think Organum. Think Francisco Lopez. Think BJ Nilsen. Hannan plays up the psychogeographical references of her native Australia being situated at the end of the world (both navigationally and eschatologically) with plenty of citations of outback desolation marked with wild-eyed slashes of Road Warrior violence. Hannan's work begins with field recordings, so filled with vivid cinematic details that she easily builds allusions of the aftermath from a nuclear holocaust through her recordings of abandoned warehouses populated by swarming flies, rank sewer pipes that resonate the thrum of some leviathan breathing apparatus churning 20 miles below the surface of the sea, creaking harbors on the verge of rusting into the sea, and uninhabited islands that are uninhabited for being so uninhabitable. Dingy, grimy, and fucking bloody knuckled, let's go to Australia!
Pro-duplicated cd-r in a nice die-cut sleeve with the aforementioned felt collage imagery.
MPEG Stream: "Straddie"
MPEG Stream: "Eric's House"
MPEG Stream: "Strangelands"

album cover FIELD, THE Cupid's Head (Kompakt) cd 16.98
Simply superb. The Field could release the same damn album over and over again, and we'd be completely content, so perfect is his signature style of minimal techno. Cupid's Head is his fourth album in six years, a relatively slow pace of output for such top shelf work; so with each album comes the opportunity to savor what Alex Willmer is up to. From Here We Go Sublime was the debut album that introduced the template for all of Willmer's other albums; and like Wolfgang Voigt's pinnacle of minimal techno - the four Gas records - Willmer's success is through the presentation of inventive variations on a theme. His begins with a sparkling arrangement of delicately arpeggiating pixel points and micro-samples, which might have been lifted from soft-rock ballads of the early '80s; and with the skill of a crafty plastic surgeon, he deftly eviscerates an ugly source material and renders it exquisite and wholly refined. All of his taut melodic phrase and clipped gasps of romantic exhortation latch perfectly onto the archetypal Kompakt monophunk techno pulse. The minimalism of Cupid's Head is not one of stasis, as there are rather broad gestures of emotional dynamism even within the framework of a constant beat. "Black Sea" begins with a classic set of The Field's pink-n-pastel electronic colorations, but slips oh so gradually into a more nocturnal set of jet-blacks and engorged reds that really would be the perfect transitory track between Ulrich Schnauss and Surgeon. These long-view structures look backward to how Arthur Russell produced with some of his slowly developed strings that slowly resolved a melody over a 10 minute New York house track. Radiant, glassine, and downright rapturous.
MPEG Stream: "They Won't See Me"
MPEG Stream: "Black Sea"
MPEG Stream: "A Guided Tour"

album cover DUNCAN, JOHN / Z'EV / MICHAEL ESPOSITO There Must Be A Way Across This River / The Abject (Fragment Factory) lp 24.00
BACK IN STOCK! ...and really fucking spooky! Of course, we wouldn't expect much less from John Duncan, whose sound research specifically seeks out the most intense of psychological states. As the most infamous case, Duncan's Blind Date performance piece tells of his presumed experience with necrophilia as a masochistic ritual for depositing his last seed in a dead body before undergoing a vasectomy. While the audio documentation of Blind Date is cold and precise in what it says, Duncan neither confirms nor denies any of the details beyond what is told in that recording. It could have been a fabrication; but he plants the idea that he *might* have broken the most significant taboo of human civilization. Since then, Duncan's psychological research through sound, visual art, and performance has become far more sophisticated in approach and content. For example, there's his convoluted Pynchonesque album Our Telluric Conversation with CM von Hausswolff, and there's the masterful recapitulation of the sounds from the Stanford Linear Accelerator into The Crackling - a cavernous, sublime electric chorale which magnify the smallest of particles into massive discordant drones.
There Must Be A Way Across This River was a performance / installation that Duncan presented inside a refrigerated basement at a performance hall in Bologna, where he presented a slow-developing soundtrack of arctic drones layered with darkly vibrating shortwave patterns, whispered declarations from Duncan himself, and these strange violent bursts of electronic noise. While he never stated this to be the case, we wonder if he demanded that the audience be naked, as he has done for a handful of his other claustrophobic, black-box performances. That might have been even too cruel for Duncan! The sounds of There Must Be A Way Across This River are relatively subtle for Duncan's catalogue of work, but they are darkly evocative, eerie, bleak, and ominously threatening. Another very strong piece in his ever impressive body of work.
The flip side of the record is a strange collaboration between Duncan, Z'ev, and the EVP hunter Michael Esposito. Originally, Esposito, Duncan, and the medium Heidi Harman set out to make recordings in Duncan's childhood home outside of Chicago. Despite making arrangements with one of the occupants at the house, they were refused access, all the while Esposito was recording their conversations. During those recordings, 18 EVP invocations occurred, one of which addresses Duncan by name - an allegation that Harman confirmed through her own psychic contact. These 18 invocations were then given over to Z'ev who manipulated them into a suitably frightening set of interwoven drones and spectral undulations. If that particular EVP citation of Duncan's name is on these recordings, Z'ev has thoroughly eradicated the syntax into a slippery, ectoplasmic sound. It's one of the best things we've heard from Z'ev outside his kinetic percussive assaults, and rounds out a terrifyingly great piece of wax!
MPEG Stream: JOHN DUNCAN / MICHAEL ESPOSITO "There Must Be A Way Across This River"
MPEG Stream: Z'EV / MICHAEL ESPOSITO "The Abject"

album cover G*PARK Sub (23five Incorporated) 2cd 16.98
Back in 2010, G*Park performed in San Francisco for 23five's Activating The Medium festival, presenting the early sketches of his eviscerated musique concrete and disembodied field recordings, surging from vacuum-sucked voids through ice-cave drones into tumultously compacted rumblings whose frequencies were on the verge of tearing The Lab at the seams. It was an exhausting emptiness that G*Park constructed through all of his sounds, grimly alluding to a science-fictional apocalypse of an endless winter and relentless viral agents. For the next two years, G*Park (aka Marc Zeier) finessed the details of that work, tightening up the tension and further hollowing out the noises, resulting in Sub - easily the best release from his impeccable catalogue, and one of the finer outings from the Schimpfluch-Gruppe. Along with the likes of Sudden Infant, Rudolf Eb.Er, Raionbashi, and Dave Phillips, G*Park hails from the Swiss collective Schimpfluch, which extends the ideas and concepts of the Viennese Aktionists (i.e. Nitsch, Brus, Schwarzkogler, Muehl, etc.) of aestheticized violence and abject transgression through the histories of punk, performance-art, industrial/noise, and DIY cassette culture. There is horror, dread, fear, and scorn in all of the work of Schimpfluch; and it manifests in many different ways. In Sudden Infant, you will find the Dada-prankster; in Phillips, you have the psycho-sexualized demon; in Eb.Er, you've got a scatological shaman, but in G*Park, you have the haunted existentialist. Easily the most introspective and mysterious of the lot, G*Park doesn't have the numerous world tours that the other members of Schimpfluch do, but his work is revered by those in the noise and sound-art communities as being a hidden gem of grizzled collage-based compositions. His work exists somewhere between the technical constructions of Luc Ferrari and the more vacant strategies of industrial culture (i.e. Thomas Koner, John Duncan, etc.); Sub is spacious album girded by darkly radiant drones and shadowy thrummings that ebb and flow as a strange subcutaneous current akin to blood streaming though veins or a toxic algae bloom fed by the strength of the sun; but that spaciousness is not one of calm pools of ambient bliss. No, this is a very tense album as he pricks, shatters, ruptures, and bleeds out those drones with agitated harsh snaps and slaps of acoustic debris - the suffocating last breath of oxygen extracted from a scuba regulator, the murderous caw of a crow, a whipcrack burst of unknown energy, a brutalist thud of a fist striking a ribcage, static errata from EMF detectors that may or may not be dialed into paranormal activities, or just the drippings of an ice cave whose entry way has just collapsed leaving you with no escape. An unsettlingly brilliant album.
MPEG Stream: "White"
MPEG Stream: "Ice"
MPEG Stream: "Swine"
MPEG Stream: "Glow"
MPEG Stream: "Purge"

album cover VAINIO, MIKA Kilo (Blast First Petite) 2lp 34.00
NOW AVAILABLE ON VINYL!!! Kilo finds our man Mika Vainio returning to the rhythm and noise once again, and very few people have ever done that combination as successfully as this Finnish electronic artist. Vainio's career, as you probably know, began in the early '90s through the project Panasonic (which later had to be rechristened as Pan Sonic for obvious reasons), with slippery grids of pure-tone bleeps and clinical atmospheres haunted a swaggering techno that aligned in equal parts with Plastikman, Suicide, and Throbbing Gristle. The monumental 4cd set Kesto by Pan Sonic from 2004 marked one of the most exhaustive statements of experimental electronica EVER produced; and the resulting world tour led to the collapse of the Pan Sonic. Vainio remained steadfast in his solo productions since the demise of Pan Sonic, alternating his major albums between the rhythmic workouts and sleepless landscapes of drone-splattered electro-acoustics. Even on an off day, Vainio's rhythmic explorations are at the top of the heap... And on Kilo, Mika Vainio is in top form. His post-techno, breakbeat rhythms have always enjoyed a bad-ass swagger, and those grooves persist on Kilo through an industrial barrage of jackhammered sequencing, Martin Rev-esque pulsations, and cyclotron velocities spun from his analogue noiseboxes. Another very impressive album from Mr. Vainio!
MPEG Stream: "Cranes"
MPEG Stream: "Load"
MPEG Stream: "Scale"

album cover WHITE POPPY s/t (Not Not Fun) lp 14.98
There must be fluorescent paintings of ladybugs, dancing mushrooms, and the beaming smile of an anthropomorphized sun adorning the walls of Crystal Dorval's bedroom, where she's been dashing off charmingly, disheveled bliss-pop tunes as White Poppy, which eventually caught the sympathetic ears at Not Not Fun. If not, her bright psychedelia oozes with acid-kissed warmth would be well served by such confines. It's definitely a vivid, touchy-feely and eye-dilating psychotropic drug that is Dorval's choice and not really the opiated stupor her moniker alludes to. The swirling spaced-out pop songs that drift through her eponymous album are graced with titles like "Skygaze," "Dizzy," and "Joyride" all of which are nearly onomatopoetic in describing what you'll hear. Although it does have to be said, she pens a track called "Existential Angst" which is anything but. Oh well. On some of her tracks, she adopts the drugged out, loop-station hypnosis that wouldn't stray far from the orbit of Motion Sickness Of Time Travel's electronic miasma; but Dorval is at her best when she deconstructs the bittersweetness of girl-group, fuzztone pop into a deliriously catchy and happily acid-damaged version of the Cocteau Twins. Yup, hypnogogic pop at its finest, right up there with Peaking Lights, if you ask us.
MPEG Stream: "Darkness Turns To Light"
MPEG Stream: "Wear Me Away"
MPEG Stream: "Dizzy"

album cover AU PAIRS Playing With A Different Sex (Drastic Plastic) lp 24.00
Nice 200 gram vinyl reissue of the 1981 debut from this British post-punk quartet that reminds us of a Pylon/Pretenders hybrid with sharper teeth. Smashing the power politics of sexual relationships with biting critique, this two female, two male foursome deliver cleverly disaffected songwriting with an urgent rhythmic energy. The band only put out two records and this one is their best, with infectious hooks and a bracing cynicsm that remains razor-sharp. They even pull off the rare David Bowie cover that far surpasses the original with "Repetition", a creepily banal look into the mind of an abusive spouse. For fans of Gang of Four, Delta 5, Xmal Deutchland, The Slits, Mo-dettes and the bands mentioned above. Recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Dear John"
MPEG Stream: "Come Again"
MPEG Stream: "Repetition"

album cover BAD NEWS No End (Chondritic Sound) lp 14.98
No, not the same Bad News which offered up a British version of Spinal Tap's heavy metal stupidity and awesomeness; although there is a certain incredulity about this Bad News as well. Of course, styles come and go with each season, and many of the sounds that defined the '60s, '70s, and '80s have eventually come back around through whatever cultural zeitgeist is spurning them on. So, this Bad News is one of several bands currently at the forefront of a minor movement that is pushing beyond the minimal wave aesthetic out of the early '80s and into the more aggressive, blustery sounds of industrial uttered by Wax Trax, PIAS, and Nettwerk from 1986 to 1990. Yeah, think Vivisect 6 era Skinny Puppy or Twitch era Ministry. Bad News is the work of Alex Lucas and Sarah Bernat, the latter being renowned for her work in the chairkickingly punk-as-fuck noise trio 16 Bitch Pile-up; and her bad-ass swagger on vocals and guitar is amply matched by the heavy sequencing and blister-popped electronics from Lucas. "Decay" sports a Missing Foundation / Skullflower guitar churn amidst a slow dive bomb squalor of electric noise and Bernat's gray-colored monotone vocals, with the rhythms and electronics embued with a heavy, machined plod. Sweaty. Smelly. Greasy. The title track throws a monophunk basskick into the foreground with hypnotically aggressive intentions matched by what could only be seen as an industrial strength / megaphone raga in which Bernat chants those titular words. "Typical Illusion" is Bad News' finest moment of post-hardcore riffage affixed to militantly double-timed rhythms and cluster bombs of heavy noise, electronic confusion, and ill will. If anybody remembers when Controlled Bleeding released a couple of really ho-hum records on Wax Trax in 1989, THIS is what Paul Lemos, et al. should have been doing.
We had this on cassette briefly, and we gotta say that the vinyl mastering job renders a truly superior product. Fucking rad.
MPEG Stream: "Typical Illusion"
MPEG Stream: "No End"

album cover JOANNA GRUESOME Weird Sister (Slumberland) cd 10.98
Do we forgive them for the band name? Supposedly, this is a riff on the beloved avant-folk songstress Joanna Newsom, to which we have to ask "What the fuck, Joanna Gruesome? Really? What did Ms. Newsom ever do to you?" Sure, we've lauded the benefit / curse of having a laughably, ridiculously bad name; and this one may be nearing the top of the list, just 'cuz we can't think of a single reason why this band name should exist. But here it is, and fuck if Joanna Gruesome's sound doesn't completely right shine through their questionable moniker. In the best possible light, the name is an awkward commentary on the awkwardness of being an awkward indie-dork who is enduring the awkward growth spurts of late-teendom and who somehow has figured out to play guitar, bash drums, and sing harmonies in spite of the gangly legs and stubborn baby fat. This five piece hails from Wales, and couldn't have found a better home than Slumberland Records, which they share not only with current indie pop darlings Veronica Falls but also stalwarts of the fuzz-pop jangle like The Aislers Set and Black Tambourine. The songs on Weird Sister have a brilliantly schizoid ability to shift in style without sounding out of place at all (belying that awkward teen gangliness, mentioned earlier), with a dreamy, bubblegum pop-punk vibe that crashes into a riotous, overblown riff, sounding like a Veronica Falls vocal harmony smashed into a sugarsmacked noise-pop tune from the Swirlies, one of America's finest forgotten answers to My Bloody Valentine from back in the '90s. Vocalist Alanna McArdle (formerly of Evans The Death, fyi), alternates between the coy harmonizing chanteuse and the charmingly beligerent riot-grrl brat. Come by on a Saturday afternoon here at aQuarius, and the chances are this will be on the stereo. Yeah, a noise-pop classic for fuck's sake!
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers"
MPEG Stream: "Sugarcrush"
MPEG Stream: "Secret Surprise"

album cover JOANNA GRUESOME Weird Sister (Slumberland) lp 14.98
Do we forgive them for the band name? Supposedly, this is a riff on the beloved avant-folk songstress Joanna Newsom, to which we have to ask "What the fuck, Joanna Gruesome? Really? What did Ms. Newsom ever do to you?" Sure, we've lauded the benefit / curse of having a laughably, ridiculously bad name; and this one may be nearing the top of the list, just 'cuz we can't think of a single reason why this band name should exist. But here it is, and fuck if Joanna Gruesome's sound doesn't completely right shine through their questionable moniker. In the best possible light, the name is an awkward commentary on the awkwardness of being an awkward indie-dork who is enduring the awkward growth spurts of late-teendom and who somehow has figured out to play guitar, bash drums, and sing harmonies in spite of the gangly legs and stubborn baby fat. This five piece hails from Wales, and couldn't have found a better home than Slumberland Records, which they share not only with current indie pop darlings Veronica Falls but also stalwarts of the fuzz-pop jangle like The Aislers Set and Black Tambourine. The songs on Weird Sister have a brilliantly schizoid ability to shift in style without sounding out of place at all (belying that awkward teen gangliness, mentioned earlier), with a dreamy, bubblegum pop-punk vibe that crashes into a riotous, overblown riff, sounding like a Veronica Falls vocal harmony smashed into a sugarsmacked noise-pop tune from the Swirlies, one of America's finest forgotten answers to My Bloody Valentine from back in the '90s. Vocalist Alanna McArdle (formerly of Evans The Death, fyi), alternates between the coy harmonizing chanteuse and the charmingly beligerent riot-grrl brat. Come by on a Saturday afternoon here at aQuarius, and the chances are this will be on the stereo. Yeah, a noise-pop classic for fuck's sake!
MPEG Stream: "Anti-Parent Cowboy Killers"
MPEG Stream: "Sugarcrush"
MPEG Stream: "Secret Surprise"

album cover FERIAL CONFINE (ANDREW CHALK) Meiosis (Siren Records ) cd 21.00
This is the long lost recording of Andrew Chalk's 1985 album Meiosis, which was originally issued as a cassette on the seminal UK noise imprint Broken Flag. For those of you (and we know there are many of you out there) who are enamored by the impressionistic pools of dreamtime sound that make up most of Chalk's more well known albums, the Ferial Confine aesthetic is a considerable departure. But for those of you who can also sink your teeth into a delicious chunk of noise (and yes there are plenty of you out there too!), this album will hit that teeth-gnashing sweet spot. In the mid '80s, Chalk was not only involved with the Broken Flag circle, but also with Organum and The New Blockaders; and parts of this albums parallels much of the TNB / Organum strategies for densely aggregated, metal-compacted noise junk. Unlike the power electronics sound of Ramleh / Whitehouse, this shared aesthetic sounds like recordings of sheared metal plates being sped up and having the high-pitched frequencies of those scabrous grinds amplified into frenetic transmissions of aggravated tactility. It's almost a more listenable, more psychedelic, more acoustically based form of the aggro-minimalism of the Harsh Wall Noise format which was proposed a couple years back. While this aforementioned sound is the dominant strategy for the first three tracks on Meiosis (following suit from the first Ferial Confine album The Full Use Of Nothing), the middle tracks predict the more contemplative, dark drones that Chalk would produce on his late '80s albums Crescent and East Of The Sun. Here, deep rumbling electronics ripple through delay patterns alongside the resonant acoustic frequencies of suspended pieces of metal and even some field recordings of bird songs. Certainly not the pastoral impressionism of his current output, but very much looking forward to what he would be doing nowadays through a more industrially minded and jackbooted lens. By the end of the album, the searing feedback-blistered frequencies return, albeit with a weirdly psychedelic series of electronic glissandos buried beneath that's akin to early noise-junk Merzbow jamming with Daphne Oram. Very cool. If anything, Meiosis is a fantastic archive from the British underground; and given the collectability (and bootlegs) of the Broken Flag cassettes, this is necessary reissue. Hand fabricated by Andrew Chalk in a tip-on style sleeve with an obi that sports the title in Japanese.
MPEG Stream: "Meiosis Part I"
MPEG Stream: "Departures"
MPEG Stream: "Eight Bright Cycles"

album cover DARK DAY Hands In The Dark (Dark Entries) 12" 14.98
Hands In The Dark was the first single for Robin Crutchfield's Dark Day, originally released in 1979 on the Lust/Unlust sublabel Strike It From The Records. At that time, Crutchfield had recently parted ways with Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori, with whom he had founded the legendary no wave trio DNA; and he envisioned Dark Day as being something of an inversion of the gender paradigm by employing women to play drums and guitar while he relegated himself to the synths. His idea didn't entirely work out exactly how he wanted throughout the entire history of Dark Day; but he was able to recruit Nina Canal (who later went on to found UT) and Nancy Arlen (from Mars... the no wave band, not the planet) for the earliest incarnation of the band whose line-up only managed this one single. The lead track is a quintessential no wave song with Canal's hard-plucked guitar tones and Arlen's weirdo percussive march of sporadic rhythmic splutters on the snare syncopated with the steady kick drum pulse; but all of this serves as a backdrop to the creepy synth and vocal melodies from Crutchfield. It was this melody that inspired the Chromatics to re-invent the song as a sultry, faux italian-disco number; and we'll give credit where credit is due, stating that both versions are totally rad. "Invisible Man" - the B side on the original single is found on the A side here, and follows the savant drum-pulse, bloody fingered guitar work, and Crutchfield's serpentine voice & synth arrangements. On this pressing from the esteemed Dark Entries, the flipside features the side to the Trapped 12" which had 6 short excerpts of reworked synth lines from the Exterminating Angel lp. So, with this release, Dark Entries has issued everything that was done by Dark Day in the early '80s. As with the other Dark Day albums, this is a necessary reissue!
MPEG Stream: "Hands In The Dark"

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA Pain Is Beauty (Sargent House) cd 15.98
Much better than Zola Jesus' recent rebranding of old songs with a string quartet, is Chelsea Wolfe's Pain Is Beauty. These two records have emerged at about the same time, at summer's end of 2013, and these two personalities seem to share the headlines of whatever glossy blogspottumblffeedtweeterbirdpitchfulking thing you might frequent. Yeah, the goth subcultures have long enabled their ice queens to emerge as fashion icons of a cold hedonism and sexually charged detachment, all the while looking fantastic in smeared coal-eyed make-up and frost-white skin. For now, it's these two ladies who are holding court in the land of the gloomy; but when it comes to delivering the art, Chelsea Wolfe has stepped up her game on Pain Is Beauty, easily bettering Zola Jesus' tepid stringed album and producing what is probably the best album of her young career. Her last album of acoustically driven songs - Unknown Rooms - showcased her songwriting chops and an elegant quivering falsetto that wrapped around her plaintive death-folk ballads. In fleshing out these songs with drums, bass, electronics, and yes some strings, Wolfe's songs all amass into a delicious album of moody witchiness and haughty debauchery, while retaining the magickal aura of her unhinged apocalyptic howl that manifested out of some arcane blood ritual. The use of electronics on the album is particularly striking, to the point where we have begun to hope for a full album with just purely electronic minimal wave arrangements. The opening number "Feral Love" is engineered upon a hammering blastbeat although the volume is dialed down beneath the infernal guitar noises and her bleak siren song. "The Warden" is another electronic track that hypnotically cycles through chorale vocals, a taut dulcimer riff, and sparkle-clad rhythms. Yeah, it's brighter than anything else she's done, but there's plenty of doomified plod, bad-ass villain vibes, and ravenously empty folk tunes that haunt the rest of the album. Time to break out the black nail polish again.
MPEG Stream: "Feral Love"
MPEG Stream: "The Warden"
MPEG Stream: "They'll Clap When You're Gone"

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA Pain Is Beauty (Sargent House) 2lp 31.00
Much better than Zola Jesus' recent rebranding of old songs with a string quartet, is Chelsea Wolfe's Pain Is Beauty. These two records have emerged at about the same time, at summer's end of 2013, and these two personalities seem to share the headlines of whatever glossy blogspottumblffeedtweeterbirdpitchfulking thing you might frequent. Yeah, the goth subcultures have long enabled their ice queens to emerge as fashion icons of a cold hedonism and sexually charged detachment, all the while looking fantastic in smeared coal-eyed make-up and frost-white skin. For now, it's these two ladies who are holding court in the land of the gloomy; but when it comes to delivering the art, Chelsea Wolfe has stepped up her game on Pain Is Beauty, easily bettering Zola Jesus' tepid stringed album and producing what is probably the best album of her young career. Her last album of acoustically driven songs - Unknown Rooms - showcased her songwriting chops and an elegant quivering falsetto that wrapped around her plaintive death-folk ballads. In fleshing out these songs with drums, bass, electronics, and yes some strings, Wolfe's songs all amass into a delicious album of moody witchiness and haughty debauchery, while retaining the magickal aura of her unhinged apocalyptic howl that manifested out of some arcane blood ritual. The use of electronics on the album is particularly striking, to the point where we have begun to hope for a full album with just purely electronic minimal wave arrangements. The opening number "Feral Love" is engineered upon a hammering blastbeat although the volume is dialed down beneath the infernal guitar noises and her bleak siren song. "The Warden" is another electronic track that hypnotically cycles through chorale vocals, a taut dulcimer riff, and sparkle-clad rhythms. Yeah, it's brighter than anything else she's done, but there's plenty of doomified plod, bad-ass villain vibes, and ravenously empty folk tunes that haunt the rest of the album. Time to break out the black nail polish again.
MPEG Stream: "Feral Love"
MPEG Stream: "The Warden"
MPEG Stream: "They'll Clap When You're Gone"

album cover PADE, ELSE MARIE & JACOB KIRKEGAARD Svaevninger (Important Records) lp 27.00
A drop-dead gorgeous album of pure tone minimalism from two outstanding Danish composers. Jacob Kirkegaard is a familiar name around these parts, thanks to his impeccable recordings for Touch, channeling quite literally radioactive field recordings and even ear-piercing tones captured from inside his own ear; but Else Marie Pade is a figure who actually towers over her fellow countryman as she's been working with analog electronics and electroacoustic minimalism for close to 60 years. She was quite the bad-ass in her youth, fighting in the Resistance during World War II as an explosives expert (fuck, yeah!), ending up a prisoner of war from 1944 until the end of the war. During that time in the P.O.W. camp, she composed hymns to lift the spirits of the fellow prisoners. Upon release, she began studying piano; and by 1954, she quickly moved into the nascent realm of electronic music and musique concrete, becoming what many have cited as being the first Danish composer of both media. Her sensibility is one that is not dissimilar to that of Eliane Radigue in terms of long-form programs, although Pade seems more interested in tonal slippages akin to somebody like Roland Kayn. This collaborative work is a picture perfect example of what two great artists should create when given the chance to work together. The album is sourced both from Kirkegaard's 'otoacoustic' recordings (those aforementioned recordings of inner-ear frequencies) and from Pade's vault of analog electronic recordings. The six tracks of Svaevninger appear as portraits to cloud formations, an apt metaphor to the ephemeral slippages, crystalline phase-patterned hypnosis, and glassy-eyed suspended tone-floats these two produce. Think Chalk, Derbyshire, Oram, Niblock, Nilsen, Coleclough, and any number of the great electronic drone-artists / minimalists we've championed. A marvelous album!
MPEG Stream: "Nimbostratus"
MPEG Stream: "Cirrostratus"
MPEG Stream: "Cirrocumulus"

album cover FERIAL CONFINE (ANDREW CHALK) The Full Use Of Nothing (Siren Records) cd 21.00
BACK IN STOCK!!! This marks the second reissue of these recordings from Andrew Chalk's early noise-junk project Ferial Confine. The Full Use Of Nothing was originally a cassette self-released back in 1985 and was most likely one of the recordings that piqued the interest of Broken Flag to eventually release some of Chalk's more gnarled constructions. While the Ferial Confine records are definitely noise albums, there is a thread which ties these into the drone-centric work for which he's best known, in the gradual evolution of the compositions that shift from one set of demolished sounds into another. The process seems to find Chalk beginning with metal-bashed percussion recorded at very slow speeds on a 4-track then bounced to a different track at very high speeds with swarming synth / reverb saturated dronescraping draped beneath the volatile squeaking and dissonant klanking aktionism. One can hear some of the early Merzbow and / or Yeast Culture noise-junk recordings and most certainly the frenzied clamor of The New Blockaders (who had in fact worked with Chalk around this same time period), but it's that phasing, slippery drone miasma suspended as a backdrop to all of the tactile noise that gives this a very Andrew Chalk feel. Even working with noise, Andrew Chalk proved himself much better than many of his contemporaries! The cd reissue of The Full Use Of Nothing is the first in a triology of Ferial Confine recordings which will include the Broken Flag cassette Meiosis (1985) and a second pressing of the First, Second, And Third Drop (1986, unreleased until a cd version came out in 2008).
MPEG Stream: "Introduction"
MPEG Stream: "Part Three"
MPEG Stream: "Part Four"

album cover SANDWELL DISTRICT Fabric 69 (Fabric) cd 16.98
From the dark minds of Sandwell District comes this impressive mix of motorik techno, bleak disco, and heroin house. Sandwell District is both the name of a label which collects some of the finer specimens of electronica (i.e. Silent Servant, Rrose, Surgeon, Regis, Function, etc.) and the name of the project for Karl O'Connor (Regis, British Murder Boys, etc.) and David Sumner (Function). It's pretty much just a semantic difference when it comes to this mix, as many of the artists that have contributed to the label are featured on this mix. Sandwell District envision themselves (both label and project) as a logical outgrowth of the British industrial culture (e.g. Throbbing Gristle, Clock DVA, Cabaret Voltaire), with ominous chords and controlling rhythms bounding through their body of work. We've long heard that O'Connor likes to toss in some of the more extreme proponents of early industrial noise in his DJ sets; and we do get a brief taste of Boyd Rice & Frank Tovey - whose metallic flanges are driven by a thumping 909 kick. Not exactly the infernal chaos of Whitehouse, but still a nice touch. Most all of the mix comes from various cuts and mixes from the past 12-18 months with recognizable selections from Raime, Vatican Shadow, Ike Yard, Function, and Surgeon - all of which enjoy skeletal structures of muscular rhythms, black atmospherics, and nary a melodic chord in sight. The closest thing to a melody could be found in the Chain Reactive stabs of metallic synths that glide in sync with the ride cymbal swagger of Mary Velo's "Detune" and the mid '90s acid trax from Plastikman's "Plasticine." Nice work, Sandwell District, nice work.
MPEG Stream: IKE YARD "Loss (Regis Version)"
MPEG Stream: MARY VELO "Detune"
MPEG Stream: PLASTIKMAN "Plasticine"
MPEG Stream: UNTOLD "Motion The Dance"

album cover SKULLFLOWER Kino I: Birthdeath (Dirter Promotions / Shock) cd 21.00
Feverish excitement might describe it when we heard that a bunch of crucial early Skullflower artifacts were due for impending reissue! Now they're here, four volumes of some of the most heavy and noisy and extreme "rock" ever. We're highlighting the first two discs (Birthdeath and Form Destroyer) this week, and will do the same with the discs three and four (Xaman and singles collection Black Sun Rising) next time, though they're in stock if you want 'em now.
While Skullflower is virtually synonymous with the madness of Matthew Bower, the project emerged out of a motley bunch of crusty noise merchants including Stuart Dennison, Stefan Jaworzyn, and Gary Mundy. According to the lengthy interview with Mundy in As Loud As Possible on the history of his Broken Flag label, this Skullflower line-up was virtually identical to that of Ramleh at the time, with Mundy calling the shots for the latter and Bower for the former. Both Bower and Mundy came into Skullflower through the UK power electronics / industrial scene with Ramleh and Bower's solo projects Total engaged in the throat gargling vocal shrieks and scorched-earth noise generated through both monikers; yet, by the late '80s, the noise nestled into a primitive bleak psychedelia and a black hearted, riff-heavy brute-rock with very obvious connections to the acid-fried grooves of the early Butthole Surfers and the monstrous hypnosis of Les Rallizes Denudes.
Birthdeath was the very first Skullflower release, originally a four-track 12" released on Broken Flag in 1988. Sometimes this 12" is referred to eponymously, but Birthdeath is the title it has been officially granted for this reissue campaign of the band's earliest recordings. The title song is an apocalyptic plodding rhythmic track with the basslines violently played by Bower who grabs all the strings at once and nearly yanks them from the instrument's neck. A diseased whistling of guitar feedback morosely wheezes and moans behind the primitive bass & drum throbbing dirge, but the band's feral-rock demons really come out on "Grub Song" which debases the already deconstructed sound of Public Image Limited's motorik post-punk into a shit-stewn brainmelt of Sister Ray distortion, bullhorn garbled vocals, and lead-guitar freakouts cranked through a brutal-yet-groovy muscularity. This one song could have established Skullflower's legacy even if they just stopped at this 12" with a lineage from the Stooges through Swans into Skullflower and onto the likes of Aluk Todolo. Thankfully, the band did not stop. In fact, Bower's madness continues on to this day albeit in a very different form. Also, he somehow found six additional tracks of unreleased material dating back to the earliest Skullflower recording sessions. No shit!
MPEG Stream: "Birthdeath"
MPEG Stream: "Grubsong"

album cover SKULLFLOWER Kino II: Form Destroyer (Dirter Promotions / Shock) cd 21.00
This is some serious holy grail reissue action here, a handful of crucial early Skullflower releases remastered, reissued, repackaged, with bonus tracks to boot! We'd been hearing rumors for ages, but they're here now, four volumes of some of the most heavy and noisy and extreme "rock" ever. We're highlighting the first two discs (Birthdeath and Form Destroyer) this week, and will do the same with the discs three and four (Xaman and singles collection Black Sun Rising) next time, though they are here if you want 'em now (and trust us, you do!!).
Form Destroyer. What a fucking perfect name for this record! The title had become adopted as shorthand by David Keenan / Volcanic Tongue to describe the obliteration of rock into noise only to be shaped back into rock with lots of malice and / or drugs tossed into the mix. Maybe it was Byron Coley. It doesn't really matter, now does it? Form Destroyer was the first full length album from Skullflower, released in 1989 on Broken Flag following the Birthdeath 12" from a year earlier. For the most part, these sessions again featured the same rotating cast of characters as on that earlier release - Stefan Jaworzyn and Ramleh's Gary Mundy joining the stalwart Skullflower partners Matthew Bower and Stuart Dennison - with additional insight from Anthony "Ax" DiFranco and Coil's Stephen Thrower.
The rock-primitivism of Skullflower can be traced back to Sabbath, Swans, and the Stooges; but Bower and company intercede the stoner fuzz plod with a muddy miserablism and squallid filthiness. The wah-wah freakouts from Jaworzyn's guitars on "Elephant Graveyard" are mixed into a monochromatic smear of swirling black chaos amidst the suitably grim rhythmic pounding; and the twin guitar corrosion from "Thirsty Animal" lands on the abject side of Sonic Youth's mack-truck riffage circa Confusion Is Sex. The moroseness is felt most clearly on Skullflower's epic "Woodland Death March" with Bower's distorted basslines setting a bleak hypnotic melody that stablizes the cavernously echoplexed guitar explorations from Mundy and Jaworzyn. "Procession Of Eternity" closes the album with a slumping wall of mercury-poisoned freenoise and downpitched subharmonic riffs that looks foward to the viscera churning avant-dooooooom of Earth, SUNNO))) and the like. The cd reissue of Form Destroyer features the two cuts of bad acid trip alchemy that had also appeared on the Ruins anthology from 1990 and two unreleased bonus tracks as well! With the Ruins anthology suffering the curse of cd bit rot, much of this early material from Skullflower has been the stuff of legend. Yeah, it does exist, and it's just as good as everybody is claiming it to be. Form Destroyer is in fact Jim's favorite Skullflower album of all time. (For Andee and Allan though, that honor still belongs to IIIrd Gatekeeper, at least as far as the early SF records, although in a desert island disc scenario, we'd probably try to figure out a way to bring em all!). So absolutely essential!!!!!!!!!
MPEG Stream: "Thirsty Animal"
MPEG Stream: "Woodland Death March"
MPEG Stream: "Procession Of Eternity"

album cover SKULLFLOWER Kino IV: Black Sun Rising (Dirter Promotions / Shock) cd 21.00
This long in the works reissue campaign has had aQ staff and aQ customer Skullflower nerds freaking the fuck out. Four, count, em FOUR reissued rarities! On the last list, we reviewed reissues of both Skullflower's very first 12"ep Birthdeath, and their first proper full length Form Destroyer, both absolute psychedelic noise rock crushers. But that was only the beginning. Since most Skullflower fans were already super familiar with those records anyway, it was more a chance to revisit, as well as preach the gospel of early Skullflower to the uninitiated. But it's the other two reissues that might be the most thrilling. Elsewhere on this week's list, you'll find a review of Xaman, Skullflower's 1990 second album, one that due to a manufacturing defect found most copies eventually rendered unplayable, and thus essentially unheard for decades. And then there's this one, a singles comp, hopefully the first of many, gathering up three different singles, originally released on Majora, Forced Exposure and Shock, and the crazy thing is, even the Skullflower freeks here, had only ever actually heard ONE of em! So that alone made this totally essential. But in addition to those singles, there are also SIX previously unreleased tracks, as well as Skullflower's three contributions to The Portable Altamont compilation (which also featured such noisy luminaries as Coil, Current 93, Nurse With Wound, and Drunks With Guns), all of which add up to some of the filthiest, noisiest, most pummeling, tranced out, knuckle dragging, psychedelic krautrock-style dirgery you've every heard. Cuz really, for all the skree and crunch, all the noisy churn and caveman pummel, most early Skullflower jams are stretched out hypnorock sprawls, albeit constructed from crumbling superdistorted bass, wild tangles of angular melody and shards of noise guitar skree, and some surprisingly motorik drum bashing...
The only one of the three reissues that's sort of new, begins with the weird choice of starting not with any of the previously released 7" tracks, but instead, a double shot of unreleased rarities, the opener "Night Tripper" as good as anything SF was doing at the time, squalls of feedback, thick, blown out riffage, damaged drumming, yowled, buried in the mix vox, super murky and hypnotic, which leads right into "Kasso's Blues", which is loping and lumbering, a sort of detuned atonal main riff, and some garbled vox wrapped around tribal beats make it sound like some super obscure, super wasted Butthole Surfers jam. The aforementioned single, the only one we HAD heard, is the "Rift / Avalanche" single on Majora, and it's some of our favorite Skullflower, smoldering, brooding, dirgey, but sorta dreamy, a locked minimal rhythm, buried vocals, and then long arced tones, super mesmerizing and so epic, the 'flipside' though is a wild nois drenched heavy psych freakout that looks forward to groups like Rusted Shut. The Forced Exposure single delivers one part noisy Dead C style plod rock freakout, and one part billowing psychedelic space out, while the Shock single is super swaggery and dirgey, the recording muted and murky, total cave like rehearsal style sound, but it suits them, the second half getting downright rocking.
After that, there's the awesomely titled "Bo Diddley's Shitpump" , which might be the most bloozy of the bunch, as is hinted at by the title, but it's more like Pussy Galore style blues, tangled up with some Swans and some Hawkwind, and with a hint of mutated AmRep style bash and howl. "Against Everything (A Guide To Canine Foreskin Retraction)" sounds like a Crash Worship record on Shock, wild dense tribal drumming, wreathed in a cloud of flanged shimmer, wah wah splatter and spidery tendrils of tangled guitar melody, and girded by some strange industrial whirring buried in the mix. "March Of The Lemmings" is all garage blooz swagger, with echo drenched vocals and a thick chugging main riff, even some bleating horns, everything dubbed to high heaven, and then wrapped in a spider web of noise guitar skree, and finally closer "The Punk Rock Song" is about as punky OR poppy as SF get, but they manage to fuck it all up and douse it in just enough noise to keep it interesting...
Holy shit, so much amazing, twisted, noisy sonic genius. As far as we're concerned all four of these Skullflower reissues should have /could have been Records Of The Week, but forced to pick one, it had to be Black Sun Rising. But seriously, who are we fooling, you NEED all four!!!
Nice packaging too, mini gatefolds, printed inner sleeves, and a booklet with reproductions of the original 7" covers.
MPEG Stream: "Night Tripper"
MPEG Stream: "Rift"
MPEG Stream: "Avalanche"
MPEG Stream: "Slaves"
MPEG Stream: "Bo Diddley's Shitpump"

album cover MISSING FOUNDATION 1933 (Dais) lp 19.98
It was a lot easier to fuck with the mainstream media back in the '80s. Negativland certainly had the most success thanks to the hoax that surrounded the cancellation of their 1988 tour as the band were under scrutiny by Federal agent Dick Jordan for their connection to a murders that took place in Minnesota by a presumed fan. While the crime was true, the idiocy and lackluster fact finding from the national media made Negativland an underground sensation, all of which was exposed on their 1989 album Helter Stupid. The NYC anarcho-industrial outfit Missing Foundation had their fun with CBS in 1988 who ran a ludicrously unchecked expose on the band, aligning their political declarations of classist warfare with Satanism and accusing them of being the root of most every problem in New York (drugs, blight, graffiti, vandalism, and of course those rampant Satanists who were lurking at every corner). Such is a commonplace error in discussing transgressive art - that the work at hand causes social diseases and not as the artist often intends for the work to be a mirror of the conditions that led to social collapse and malaise. It made for a sensational media event for Missing Foundation, whose relative high profile for a noise-junk industrial noise band led them to a publishing deal with Restless in 1990.
Missing Foundation's second outing 1933 was the album that set the stage for that CBS interview. It was released originally on vinyl in 1988 by the gritty scum-noise-punk label Purge/Sound League (later reissued in a campaign by Restless as well), and those Missing Foundation slabs of wax ironically became very collectible records. Where the debut smashed everything to bits and scattered the remnants of noise and rhythm to tape, 1933 was considerably more militant in the junkyard bashing, which provided much more comparisons to Einsturzende Neubauten and Test Dept. The infernally smoldering guitars are still present, but lockstep effectively with the bashed rhythms. "Martyr Of The City" and "Turmoil" entertain an aggro-hardcore / mosh-pit sound to the chugging guitar riffs, explosive drums, and the bullhorn vocals from Peter Missing. It can be very hypnotic, but it's also utterly nihilistic. Elsewhere, the sounds collapse into oil-stained and bum-trash strewn recordings of guttural distortion, indeterminate scraping, and throat mangled yelps that could be the sordid, psychic field recordings of New York's social malaise that festered in the late '80s. The Lower-East side of Manhattan will probably never sound like this ever again.
MPEG Stream: "Martyr Of The City"

album cover ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE The Fever Logic LP (Not Not Fun) lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Love the cover on this one! An homage to those Sisters Of Mercy singles on Merciful Release back in the mid '80s, in particular the bleakest Sisters release The Reptile House EP. That's about as Goth as you get for a reference, and the druggist mania from Ensemble Economique touches on the existential void and the spatialized darkness that the Sisters Of Mercy crooned on that EP. Yet, EE bends the Goth into an unhinged, fractal-spinning universe that plays equal parts to ritualized psychedelia, autodidactic electronica, misremembered '80s pop hits, and drone-splattered horror scores. This 'Ensemble', as many of you will know, is the solo work of the Northern California mad-genius Brian Pyle, who's mostly been recording and touring solo in recent years but has an extensive back catalogue through the epic collective The Starving Weirdos and the animist hypnogogia of RV Paintings. Here on The Fever Logic LP, Pyle layers disheveled heaps of melodic synth loops on top of reverb-soaked drum tracks, with his pleading vocals and occasional strums on the guitar breaking into the mix. While the production is very much in keeping with Pyle's everything-at-once approach, the atmosphere he crafts dwells in that realm of the pharmaceutical miserablism that the Sisters Of Mercy brought to that aforementioned Reptile House EP as well as those Cure style introspective interludes that dot Faith and Seventeen Seconds. When we were playing this in the shop, an astute customer commented that this was like a goth version of Broadcast! Well said!
MPEG Stream: "We Come Spinning Out Of Control"

album cover RASPBERRY BULBS Deformed Worship (Blackest Ever Black) lp 23.00
You might guess from the band name, the pink record cover, and the fact that it's on the Blackest Ever Black label, that this would be some sort of dark post industrial minimal techno, or avant hauntological house music, but in fact this is full length number two from NYC metalpunks Raspberry Bulbs, featuring He Who Crushes Teeth from aQ faves Bone Awl, and really, while Raspberry Bulbs is often touted as whole different sort of sonic beast, their sound is definitely cut from the same cloth as the raw black buzz and pound of Bone Awl. If anything, it's the sound of Bone Awl given a punk rock makeover, injected with a healthy does of poppiness too. Simple and stripped down, thick buzzy basslines, crunchy distorto guitars, practice space sounding drum pound, and some heavily effected vocal bellows, all wound up into a tense sort of post punk that is really not that far removed from more polished / popular groups like Iceage, Holograms or Lust For Youth. Albeit way more fucked up and fractured, noisy, chaotic, urgent and intense.
Even with that black metal lineage, and the basic sonic similarities, it's still curious that Raspberry Bulbs appeal so much to metalheads, these guys would be way more at home on a bill with the above bands than any proper black metal outfits, and we're guessing anyone into those groups, or Grave Babies, Rank/Xerox and the like, heck even Interpol or Cold Cave, will flip for these guys too. Fuzzed out noise-rock garage-gloom post-punk that swaggers and slithers, pounds and howls, revealing its surprisingly catchy side throughout, hooks surfacing from the din and lodging firmly, the brooding buzz punctuated by spidery leads and some surprisingly melodic moments. Even the yowly echo drenched vocals end up sounding more punk rock howl than black metal vokill, turning the whole thing into a strange blackened post punk pop that we're digging a whole lot.
MPEG Stream: "Cracked Flesh"
MPEG Stream: "Lusty Climbing"
MPEG Stream: "When A Lie Becomes The Truth"

album cover MILLIS, R. Reforms (Alterity 101) cassette 7.98
Well, if you've wondered where in the world has Robert Millis been for the past year, the answer is India, as the avant-everything guitarist from the Climax Golden Twins somehow cajoled his way into getting a Fulbright Fellowship to spend a year conducting ethnomusicological research on the subcontinent. Truth be told, our man Millis stained his fingers on curry and cigarettes while thumbing through old '78s for a year. Not a bad gig, if you can get it! But his working vacation was a productive one too, as a spate of new releases are on the immediate horizon of his sidereal collages for prismatic drone, raga mysticism, and polyglot psychedelic narcosis. Millis declares this cassette to be a re-imagined construct of solo material and Climax Golden Twin tracks of old; but even for CGT / Millis completists like we are, it's hard to pick out much of anything that is obviously tied to a gem like the Imperial Household Orchestra, Dream Cut Short In The Mysterious Clouds, or those asskicking AFCGT records. Millis stitches together disembodied drones, skittering satellite transmissions, and swampy field recordings that on the A side of this tape could be some unearthed Steven Stapleton / Chris Watson collaboration. Until that improbable event happens, we'll happily settle for Millis' tape. The flipside is all slippery minimalism through purring overtones and sensually rippling glissandos hitting all the right sweets spots of La Monte Young transcendentalism, before Millis introduces some found recordings of Jonestown-esque ritualized vocal incantations that turn the vibe from pleasantly opiated to seriously creepy. Fucking great stuff that's limited to something like 200 copies.
MPEG Stream: "AK Duet"
MPEG Stream: "Orchlabreapourmoi"

album cover MALLARD, THE Finding Meaning In Deference (Castle Face) cd 13.98
Is it right to call The Mallard's final album a swan song? Wouldn't a duck call be a better metaphor? Even for the charmingly weirdo, garage-pop label empire Castle Face, The Mallard were an odd bird in a flock that includes Thee Oh Sees, Warm Soda, and Blasted Canyons. Finding Meaning In Deference is only the band's second album and its release is a posthumous one, after the band's somewhat public demise in the spring of 2013. The minor-chord jangliness that The Mallard churns out is a weird amalgamation of a whole lot of Flying Nun bands, all of whom are wholly misremembered in a drunken / drugged-out / art-damaged haze. One can pick out bits of The 3Ds, The Pin Group, and Straightjacket Fits, but it's always deranged into a woozy, yet totally groovy swarm of psychedelically tainted gloom pop, or gloom filled psyche-pop if you wanna approach from the other direction. Frontwoman Greer McGettrick finds herself half-asleep and half-awake in monotone melodies she croons between the swaths of spring reverb and analogue delay, while the band behind her jangles and lurches through the slithery, narcotic reinventions of garage-pop tropes. On "Out The Door," McGettrick wakes up enough to climb up and down a sublimely simple lo-fi vibrato that grates against the creepily skeletal guitar chords and zombie-stutter rhythms. The playfully elliptical basslines of "The Communist" with its fucked-up, lo-fi low-pass filter sweeping makes for a particularly woozy number. It's almost fitting that they end the album with the extended drone-rock epic "Iceberg" where The Mallard cruises in a holding pattern of Parson Sound hypno-rhythms, only to plummet back from the sky in an extended tumble of gasping vocal mantras, thrumming basslines, and Velvety minimalist jangle. A perfectly aQuarius record of imperfect pop perfection.
MPEG Stream: "Out The Door"
MPEG Stream: "React"
MPEG Stream: "Iceberg"

album cover VAINIO, MIKA Kilo (Blast First Petite) cd 17.98
Kilo finds our man Mika Vainio returning to the rhythm and noise once again, and very few people have ever done that combination as successfully as this Finnish electronic artist. Vainio's career, as you probably know, began in the early '90s through the project Panasonic (which later had to be rechristened as Pan Sonic for obvious reasons), with slippery grids of pure-tone bleeps and clinical atmospheres haunted a swaggering techno that aligned in equal parts with Plastikman, Suicide, and Throbbing Gristle. The monumental 4cd set Kesto by Pan Sonic from 2004 marked one of the most exhaustive statements of experimental electronica EVER produced; and the resulting world tour led to the collapse of the Pan Sonic. Vainio remained steadfast in his solo productions since the demise of Pan Sonic, alternating his major albums between the rhythmic workouts and sleepless landscapes of drone-splattered electro-acoustics. Even on an off day, Vainio's rhythmic explorations are at the top of the heap... And on Kilo, Mika Vainio is in top form. His post-techno, breakbeat rhythms have always enjoyed a bad-ass swagger, and those grooves persist on Kilo through an industrial barrage of jackhammered sequencing, Martin Rev-esque pulsations, and cyclotron velocities spun from his analogue noiseboxes. Another very impressive album from Mr. Vainio!
MPEG Stream: "Cranes"
MPEG Stream: "Load"
MPEG Stream: "Scale"

album cover ZEH, JASON A Vacant Lot To Be In ( Crippled Intellect Productions) lp 15.98
The resurgence of the cassette as a viable media may provide an additional context for the work of Jason Zeh, as his gritty drone-noise constructions are entirely based on the contact points between magnetic tape and the tape heads that read / translate that magnetic information into sound. His approach to sound often deals with the dislocation of this contact point, which is akin to the way that Christian Marclay, Gum, or Phillip Jeck approach the turntable. Zeh might wield sandpaper to abrade the tape itself, magnetized razor blades to slice the tapes, leaving irradiated coronas of electrical hum near the edit, and even smearing globs of dirt into the gears and mechanics of the tape deck. All of these very tactile methods impart very tactile results, and as such, A Vacant Lot To Be In is much more akin to Chop Shop's obliterated tape saturation than the somber self-immolation found on William Basinski's Disintegration Loops. Both tracks on this vinyl only release rise through scabrous crumplings into a steady arcing mass of high-voltage dronework whose phase shifting patterns give the impression of an electrified sea of ferric oxide churning through tidal forces. One of the sides builds towards an intense crescendo of turbulent, boiling, junked noise, while the flip eerily navigates an insectoid minimalism. Zeh's work is very strong and deserves as much acclaim as we can muster, especially given his relatively low profile. Highly recommended for fans Joe Colley, Hive Mind, Mike Shiflet, and the more industrially slanted aspects of contemporary sound art. Oh yeah, limited to just 300 copies.

album cover EKIN FIL s/t (Students Of Decay) lp 15.98
We were introduced to the work of Ekin Fil via a super limited cassette released on Root Strata a couple years back. Now, Students Of Decay have released the first proper album from EF, and it's a jawdroppingly gorgeous piece of slumbering drone-pop. Ekin Fil is the solo work of Turkish songstress Ekin Uzeltuzenci, who quietly waltzes behind reverberant blurs and nocturnal driftscapes. There are songs that slip in and out of existence amidst the foggy production surrounding her voice and acoustic guitar; and if you maybe think this sounds an awful lot like the work of Liz Harris, you wouldn't be that far off. Uzeltuzenci has described her work is a means of escape from the mania of her native Istanbul; and it's not just a therapeutic salve of cathartic torpor for her, she invites the audience to follow along in these dreamy, droney pieces. Like that cassette on Root Strata, this eponymous lp is quite an enchanting journey. She hypnotically strums her way through dour avant-folk songs whose melodies are entirely enshrouded in gauzy shadows, ghostly ectoplasm, and cavernous echo. No sharp edges whatsoever, but some of her songs can delve much further into the spooky than Grouper ever has. For example, there's the rocket-engine roar which girds her gasping track "Sea Holly" and the chords of "On Vanity" recall the desolate, acoustic balladeering that Bauhaus would sprinkle throughout their glam-goth bombast. Certainly for fans of Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, The Slaves, Vestals, and of course Grouper! Yup, download card included.
MPEG Stream: "Two Stars"
MPEG Stream: "Sea Holly"
MPEG Stream: "Forever"

album cover KOROUVA Unbearable Romance (2011) (Khrysanthoney) lp 19.98
Finally, the third in this series of reissues, of all three full lengths from Miranda Lehman, aka Korouva, who, as we mentioned in our reviews of the first two (Shipwrecks & Russian Roulette and Sleepwalker, which we still have in stock!), is maybe best know for having her 2007 record Shipwrecks & Russian Roulette, appropriated by black metal jokers Velvet Cacoon. We posited that she was probably in on it, and played some part in the hoax, cuz really it worked out for both groups, cementing VC's reputation, and getting Lehman's music out there and into the ears of folks who otherwise might not have discovered her creepy, gothic, piano ballads. And really, this is about as far removed from the black metal of Velvet Cacoon as you could get, hushed and haunting, dark and dreamily druggy, Unbearable Romance recorded four full years after that purloined Shipwrecks lp, yet instead of displaying a more polished production, or more full arrangements, in fact seems to have gone the opposite way, a super stripped down, bare bones, skeletal songsite, of mostly just vocals and piano, recorded live it sounds like, all the sounds bathed in natural reverb, and wreathed in warm swirls of tape hiss, total 4 track bedroom balladry that is so gorgeous. At times, we're reminded of PJ Harvey in fact, albeit super spare and stripped down, a bit like her White Chalk record. In the other reviews we mention Zola Jesus and Chelsea Wolfe as well, and those comparisons are still pretty spot on, fans of either of those women, will find much to love here, but the sounds on Unbearable Romance are much more intimate and personal, the sounds immediate and organic, more than the other two records, this sounds like Lehman is performing just for you, the listener, as if you're curled up in front of her piano, while he serenades you, her harrowing torch songs ghostly and spectral, mysteriously moody and so so lovely. If you bought the other two already, you're gonna want this one too. And if you've yet to check out Korouva, this record will very likely convince you to by all three!
LIMITED TO 200 COPIES, packaged in a thick full color jacket, with an 8 page lyric booklet and a Khrysanthoney insert.
MPEG Stream: "Exceprt 1"
MPEG Stream: "Exceprt 2"
MPEG Stream: "Exceprt 3"

album cover GRIM Love Song (Art Into Life) lp 39.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Ostensibly, this is a 'new' album from Grim, but in keeping with the obscurant aspect of Jun Konagaya's industrial noise & outsider folkmuzik agenda, there's no real way of knowing if he made this in 1986 or 2013. As we mentioned in our review of the Grim anthology Folk Songs For An Obscure Race (found elsewhere on this week's list), Konagaya's aesthetic alternates between noise-laden abjection and weirdly compelling Japanese folk songs, delicately performed for voice and guitar. The subject matter of all the Grim material - noise or otherwise - is presumably war and death. It would be hard to imagine those metal-bashed dirges with their bloodcurdled vocals to encapsulate the poetics of cherry blossoms in the spring time; so we'll take Konagawa at his word that the folk tunes maintain that interest in the bleaker aspects of the human condition. On Love Song, those folk songs are Spartanly performed on a small organ with gritty recordings of some sort of political speech laid over the somewhat sweet melody. The subject matter of the speech is unclear given that it's delivered in Japanese, but it has the same feel of any given power electronics appropriation of Nazi imagery. But these instances are few and far between on Love Song, for the most part, Konagaya bashes out industrial rhythms on junked slabs of metal with accompanying blown out synth-noise drones and impossibly corroded chunks of distortion. If anybody remembers the anarcho-industrialist outfit Missing Foundation who jubliantly smashed everything around them in the late '80s, Grim's Love Song is similar, but all the more septic and mutated. Or if anybody is longing for the days when Neubauten was actually threatening, Grim is neccessary listening. This lp comes housed in an oversized box, each featuring a handmade etching from Konagawa. Very limited stock on this one!!!
MPEG Stream: "It Comes"
MPEG Stream: "Love Song"
MPEG Stream: "Asura Hand"

album cover PUBLIC IMAGE LTD. First Issue (Light In The Attic) lp 24.00
"Hello! Hello? HELLO!" Bellows one John Lydon as if tapping on a microphone to check if it's on. Here, the former Sex Pistol began his career as the frontman and only constant in Public Image Limited, whose first two (and arguably, three) albums remain some of the most adventurous post-punk records ever produced. The reasons for the Sex Pistols demise were numerous and often contradictory depending on who's misremembered history you might want to consider, but Lydon (no longer Johnny Rotten) cited Sid Vicious' musical ineptitude on the bass as one such reason. That said, he pinned his hope for Public Image Limited's success on recruiting his old friend John Wardle to learn how to play the bass as they went. This gambit actually proved quite successful, as Wardle was a quick study, easily adapting basslines from dub and krautrock and christening himself with the stage name Jah Wobble. His deep and dubby basslines overlaid with Lydon's caterwauling vocals and squalid rants laid the foundation for the quintessential PiL sound, fleshed out by the spidery guitar of Keith Levene, whom Lydon nicked from The Clash. The first of countless PiL drummers was Jim Walker, who only appeared on this first album. PiL slowly introduces the more adventurous sounds over the course of the album, launching first into the incendiary bass-driven punk single "Public Image" which was a song that Lydon penned back with the Pistols. But through the uber-Spartan tracks in "Fodderstompf" and "Religion," PiL's trajectory towards death-disco and dub-punk was set. The full scope of Public Image Limited wouldn't be evident until the second album Metal Box, but so many of those ideas of dub techniques, atonal vocals, studio tricknology, and cross-pollination of styles are found on First Issue, which makes this an essential purchase.
Light In The Attic states that this edition is actually the first American version of this album, with all of the other editions hailing from overseas. In doing so, they've housed the album in a handsome gatefold, fully replicating the original artwork and including a huge poster. The download of the album features the rare B side "Cowboy Song" from their first single and an archival BBC interview.
MPEG Stream: "Public Image"
MPEG Stream: "Fodderstompf"
MPEG Stream: "Annalisa"

album cover BEL, THOMAS To Dye Every Night (Invisible Birds) cd-r 11.98
We first came across the work of Thomas Bel through a compilation track he provided to the beloved ambient label Time Released Sound. This French musician has quietly hand-fabricated his own releases, an aesthetic that both TRS and Invisible Birds also share. To Dye Every Night is something of a personal soundtrack for an emotional landscape of melancholy and introspection. The materials are spare but wholly elegant - field recordings of a rain storm, guitar, and voice. That rain storm is recorded in such a way to capture the smacking textures of water and mud. So sharp are some of these aqueous plonks and drips that Bel gives the impression that these recordings were made at near freezing temperatures. Bel's elliptical guitar picking cycles through a desolate melody whose mood completely fits those rainy, miserablist field recordings, and the slow, funereal piece is more in keeping with the latter day Earth recordings although the melodies certainly align themselves with the Slint / Mogwai / Codeine sensibility. Very slowly, Bel's voice rises out of the rain and mud, presenting itself as a singular, tonal chord (obviously looped, unless he's mastered circular breathing to an extent that's beyond even Pandit Pran Nath and La Monte Young!). It's a beautifully lilting piece of maudlin, super stripped down mope-rock meets ambient soundscaping. Limited to just 100 copies and hand assembled by the fine folks at Invisible Birds.
MPEG Stream: "To Dye Every Night (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "To Dye Every Night (extract 2)"

album cover TROLLER s/t (Handmade Birds) cd 10.98
Now, at last, on cd!! Originally released on a limited tape, and then on vinyl, here is what we had to say about this Texan gloom-rock combo back on list #388:
To dedicated readers of the New Arrival list, there can be no doubt that goth and industrial sounds from the eighties are back in a huge way. But rather than riding the nostalgia train, most of the groups we love who mine this sound are putting their own spin on it, adding unique elements to distinguish a sense of honest and progressive devotion from a mere genre exercise. Case in point is this debut tape from Austin-based heavy gloomers, Troller. Coming out of the same fervent scene that was birthed from the ashes of Silver Pines: Pure X, Survive (whose 10" debut is also reviewed on this list), Sleep Over, and Thousand Foot Whale Claw, Troller mine classic death rock, but slow it down with a heavy shoe-gazing doominess. You can tell the female singer has a voice as big as Zola Jesus, or Siouxsie, but what we like most about it is that she restrains her delivery from overwrought passion up front in the mix, instead letting it moulder at times in a dour misanthropic mire with the chilly synths and the booming plod of the drum machine patterns. The band has a knack for sculpting dark ambient soundscapes that are alien, pensive and luridly bleak.
Looking inevitably forward to the future multiple 7" box set, reel-to-reel, 8-track, and minidisc releases of this...
MPEG Stream: "Milk"

album cover PHARMAKON Abandon (Sacred Bones) lp 21.00
Pharmakon is the nom de guerre for death-industrialist Margaret Chardiet, who has catapulted out of nowhere into the spotlight thanks to this high profile release on Sacred Bones. There's no way that Pitchfork would touch a Sudden Infant album of fucked-up, Dada noise or some of that infernal terror of Blue Sabbath Black Cheer. What the hell would they do with Caroliner, for fuck's sake? But Pharmkon's first proper album of blood-curdled screams, dehumanized martial rhythms, and blistered noise did get a rather glowing (if off the mark) review from Pitchfork. The thing is that Abandon is a pretty damn good record, and it would only be nice if the media outlets that claim to have the fingers on the pulse of musical culture would dig just a little deeper beyond Wolf Eyes, Prurient, and now Pharmakon to showcase just what is festering in the noise underworld. Of course, that's never going to happen. Avid readers of this aQuarius recOrds newsletter will certainly know that even what we manage to get in is just the tip of the iceberg. But here stands Pharmakon's Abandon. Dragging chains and muffled whispers scrape through the elongated scream of the opening salvo of Abandon. Her vocals have the demonic rage of William Bennett's throatripping, although Chardiet is not one to enunciate her poetry with the clarity of Bennett. When she switches to a Diamanda Galas deep vibrato moan on "Pitted" to match the flatline death-throe drone and slow, metal bashed rhythms, Chardiet gets at what all of those solo Jarboe records *should* sound like, with those harrowing vocalizations accompanied by a lumbering crawl akin to those channelled by Brighter Death Now. "Crawling On Bruised Knees" could be a lost SPK track circa Information Overload Unit, perfectly encapsulating the sound of industrial dread and horror circa 1981. Like we said, this is a pretty damn good album. The cd has a 27 minute bonus track!!
MPEG Stream: "Milkweed/It Hangs Heavy"
MPEG Stream: "Pitted"
MPEG Stream: "Crawling On Bruised Knees"

album cover INNODE Gridshifter (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
Innode is the project of Stefan Nemeth, an Austrian electronica engineer aQers might be more familiar with as a member of glitchily elliptical, post-rock trio Radian. Here, he's working with Steven Hess (that jetsetting percussionist who seems to be everywhere these days) and Bernhard Breuer (responsible for the drums in the shockingly good 'live' techno ensemble Elektro Guzzi). The idea behind Gridshifter was to incorporate live drums as counterpoints to a rigid latticework of electronic patterns - hence, the title. But the results from Nemeth and his drummers totally transcend any formalist concept, as Gridshifter is full of some serious noise crunching swagger. The live and / or electronic breakbeats stalk through all of the tracks on this fantastic album with glistening waves of controlled, tonal feedback, jarring bursts of whipcracked noise, and ominous rumbled pulsations. In otherwords, it sounds just like Pan Sonic or Alva Noto played with a 'live' drummer. Even some of the analog synths have a bit of a warmer hue as well as if there could be something akin to a chord organ or wurlitzer tossed in for good measure. This would actually be an incredible performance to see live! Let's hope Nemeth can pull off a tour and not just of the European festivals, but into the US as well. Kudos to Editions Mego once again for a killer record.
MPEG Stream: "Dedispersion II"

album cover PUBLIC IMAGE LTD. First Issue (Light In The Attic) 2cd 19.98
"Hello! Hello? HELLO!" Bellows one John Lydon as if tapping on a microphone to check if it's on. Here, the former Sex Pistol began his career as the frontman and only constant in Public Image Limited, whose first two (and arguably, three) albums remain some of the most adventurous post-punk records ever produced. The reasons for the Sex Pistols demise were numerous and often contradictory depending on who's misremembered history you might want to consider, but Lydon (no longer Johnny Rotten) cited Sid Vicious' musical ineptitude on the bass as one such reason. That said, he pinned his hope for Public Image Limited's success on recruiting his old friend John Wardle to learn how to play the bass as they went. This gambit actually proved quite successful, as Wardle was a quick study, easily adapting basslines from dub and krautrock and christening himself with the stage name Jah Wobble. His deep and dubby basslines overlaid with Lydon's caterwauling vocals and squalid rants laid the foundation for the quintessential PiL sound, fleshed out by the spidery guitar of Keith Levene, whom Lydon nicked from The Clash. The first of countless PiL drummers was Jim Walker, who only appeared on this first album. PiL slowly introduces the more adventurous sounds over the course of the album, launching first into the incendiary bass-driven punk single "Public Image" which was a song that Lydon penned back with the Pistols. But through the uber-Spartan tracks in "Fodderstompf" and "Religion," PiL's trajectory towards death-disco and dub-punk was set. The full scope of Public Image Limited wouldn't be evident until the second album Metal Box, but so many of those ideas of dub techniques, atonal vocals, studio tricknology, and cross-pollination of styles are found on First Issue, which makes this an essential purchase.
Light In The Attic states that this edition is actually the first American version of this album, with all of the other editions hailing from overseas. The first disc is the proper album in its entirety, with the second disc sporting the rare b-side "Cowboy Song" and an hour-long BBC interview.
MPEG Stream: "Public Image"
MPEG Stream: "Fodderstompf"
MPEG Stream: "Annalisa"

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) Perekluchenie (Beta-Lactam Ring) cd 14.98
BACK IN STOCK!!! This classic album from irr. app. (ext.) has returned to our shelves, and here's what we had to say about the obscurant, dada-inspired album from the twisted mind of M.S. Waldron:
Slowly but surely, the mighty work of irr. app. (ext.) has been oozing out from the Santa Cruz mountains through various outlets such as Crouton, Helen Scarsdale, and Beta-Lactam. Perekluchenie was originally commissioned as part of a Beta-Lactam Ring subscription series (which if you were lucky enough to sign up would earn you a bonus picture disc with the LP) but the growing interest in irr. app. (ext.) warranted a regular pressing, thanks to such high-profile releases as the irr. app. (ext.) contribution to Nurse With Wound's Angry Eelectric Finger trilogy as well as the Salt Marie Celeste performances with Steven Stapleton himself! The relationship between irr. app. (ext.) and Nurse With Wound has gotten even more convoluted as Stapleton has joined irr. app. (ext.) in their last couple of performances. We should be quick to point out the irr. app. (ext.) and the genius behind the tongue-twisting project is far from a Nurse With Wound copyist. Hardly! While both projects draw inspiration from Surrealism and avant-garde composition, they both express strong divergent aesthetics that show how rich and open the field of Surrealist-tinged sound art can be.
Qualified as "a pointless theatrical exercise in one act or less," Perekluchenie spans five pieces of audio madness. Waldron wanders through desolate strums across a prepared piano (or some other instrument that's equally heavy and reverberant) which gives way to ill-tempered birds, ominous windswept drones, and funereal bells. Waldron shatters the grim atmosphere with an unnerving passage for tactile squeakings and poltergeist driven furniture. Elsewhere, discordant horn bleats rupture the heavenly glow of elegiac tones and genuinely baffled exclamations erupt from a very young Django Stapleton. Waldron includes other vocal contributions from Lori Anne Anne Lori Chambers, Aquarius' former owner Windy Chien, and Diana Rogerson (aka Chrystal Belle Scrodd.)
All in all, Perekluchenie is a truly wonderful album! We've been fans of Mr. Waldron for many years now, and he's yet to let us down.
MPEG Stream: "Hypothetical Tardigrade pt. 2-3"
MPEG Stream: "Perekluchenie"
MPEG Stream: "Hypothetical Tardigrade 4-6"

album cover LE SYNDICAT 30 Years Of Excess (Influencing Machine) 6 cassette box 53.00
Holy Fuck! Six cassettes of Le Syndicat? Fuck! FUCK!! FUCK!!!! This is a serious head-cleaner of brutalist / bruitist / rhythmicist / industrial noise, collecting some of the best work from this seminal French outfit and recreating the original artwork of the old tapes within a super swank hand-stenciled box. Le Syndicat followed in the wake of what Throbbing Gristle had done in England, in creating a unique visual iconography to complement the churning mechanoid bursts of noise within. It seems that the divisions of labor was split between two of the principles in Le Syndicat with Ruelgo taking up the sound design and Zorin handling the graphic output. While Zorin eventually departed from Le Syndicat's sound constructions, he continued to offer his visual skills which have long placed him as a more transgressively themed Neville Brody with both adhering to a futurist / postmodern take on art deco. The rhythm and noise for Le Syndicat evolved through process mingling tape-loops, overblown drum machine programming, shortwave radio experiments, short-circuited consumer electronics, and eventually rudimentary sampler technology. Through these simple means, Le Syndicat's industrial orchestrations lead them to a sound that blurred the lines between the feral power of Whitehouse, the bombast of Laibach, and the grim rhythmic component of MB's early catalog. The six cassettes housed within this collection include Phase Segments/Boucles (1982), Tot Mortar (1983), Audiostatik Repress (1983), Vagynaestetatis (1985), Staying Alive (1985), and L'Arme De Force (1986). All of these cassettes were originally released through Le Syndicat's eponymous in house label, with the exception of Staying Alive which Masami Akita released through his ZSF Produkt. The aforementioned Maurizio Bianchi reference is most apt on the first cassette of this set - Phase Segments / Boucles with the skeletal rhythms and gain-saturated noise oscillation paralleling those early Sacher Pelz tapes by Bianchi. While these experiments are both intriguing and of archival importance as some of the first published works, Le Syndicat fully hits the mark from Tot Mortar onward with an integrated noise/rhythm/scream/shortwave/orgasm/tapemachination excess that come to define the quintessential Le Syndicat sound. All of the cassettes were remastered, bringing out even more clarity to the grime, distortion, and exhaustive noise. It is limited to 250 copies, but don't expect these to be around for long! FUCKING AWESOME!!!
MPEG Stream: "Torsion"
MPEG Stream: "Vagynaestetatis"
MPEG Stream: "Staying Alive"
MPEG Stream: "Extrarotation"

album cover MAGAZINE Real Life (Vinilisssimo) lp 27.00
Finally a long overdue, and totally necessary reissue of the first album from quintessential art-punk outfit Magazine. Howard Devoto founded the band in 1977, after parting ways with the Buzzcocks. Less than a year after the Sex Pistols exploded onto the world stage, Devoto recognized the problematic cliches of punk and sought to remedy the trad-rock banalities and the limitations of just being able to play a couple of chords. Real Life applies the energy of the punk rock that's full of piss and vinegar to the glammy dynamics of early Roxy Music and David Bowie. Surrounding Devoto were bassist Barry Adamson (later one of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds and accomplished solo artist in his own right) and John McGeoch (one of the longer serving guitarists for Siouxsie & The Banshees). The opening track "Definitive Gaze" defines what it means to be angular, with its catchy if choppy basslines, spryly jittery snare fills, and sci-fi synth leads punctuated by sneered vocals from Devoto. This track along with the two singles off the album - "Shot By Both Sides" and "The Light Pours Out Of Me" - mark three of the high water marks of what could be defined as post-punk. The album as a whole jerks itself between restless arm-flailing mania, tempestuous emotional outbursts, and melodic croons whose ghosts would eventually haunt the likes of Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs many many years later...
MPEG Stream: "Definitive Gaze"
MPEG Stream: "Shot By Both Sides"
MPEG Stream: "Recoil"

album cover RED TEMPLE SPIRITS s/t (Independent Project Records) 3cd 34.00
We have loved this band since we were in high school, when we first picked up a copy of the Red Temple Spirits' first record. That album - Dancing To Restore An Eclipsed Moon - became something we've returned to over and over again. Then, it was a more adventurous, post-apocalyptic, and lysergically tainted take on the British post-punk / goth-pop albums of my youth. You know, Love & Rockets, Siouxsie, The Smiths, The Cure. But later, upon discovering the Syd Barrett fronted Pink Floyd records, Twink's Think Pink, and the Outsiders' CQ, Red Temple Spirits seemed less to fit in with their contemporaries and more of a feral updated expression of psychedelic awakening of those bands from the '70s. The basslines from Red Temple Spirits may have been lifted wholesale from Steven Severin of Siouxsie & The Banshees, and the guitars could hit the jagged, sparkplug bursts of Gang Of Four or even Crime (but for the most part, they paralleled the dark-eyed jangle of the Abecedarians); but the arrangements were far more convoluted - at times shambolic and rambling, and at others ritualistically intense.
The band emerged out of the LA goth-punk scene in 1987, when bassist Dino Paredes departed Psi-Com, which was fronted by none other than Perry Farrell (who would go on to form Jane's Addiction) only to find another amazing frontman in the form of William Faircloth. This British ex-pat was equal parts doomsayer and acid casualty, eagerly waxing poetic about the latter through the lens of the former. Many of these visionary tales mapped out a basic philosophy of universalist gnosticism - "The Light Of Christ" addresses a common gnostic precept that an inner wisdom is trapped within the human condition and can be tapped through meditation, invocation, rigorous study, whatnot, but not before passing through allusions to Buddhism and animism. Vocally, Faircloth sounds a hell of a lot like Black Francis / Frank Black trying to do a Syd Barrett impersonation - a demonic, tonal yelp with a faint trace of a British lisp.
The band produced two albums, the aforementioned Dancing To Restore An Eclipsed Moon (1988) and the nearly impossible to find If Tomorrow I Were Leaving For Lhasa, I Wouldn't Stay A Minute More (1989). The bulk of copies of the latter all seemed to end up in Greece for whatever reason, and given the prices for the album online, must have been single handedly supporting the Greek economy. The debut is an astonishing album that sprawls from languid dirges to frenetic punk-pop songs all lead in dramatic fashion by Faircloth. The second album attempts to tighten up some of the more unhinged aspects, with a few more conventional psych-rock songs but when they hit the cover of Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls To The Heart Of The Sun," it really is a twisted acid trip launched beyond Earth's orbit, through pounding tribal rhythms, Keith Levene-esque guitar scratchiness, and Faircloth's belted vocals. Both of those albums are present in their entirety here, along with some choice bonus tracks (including a really tripped out version of 13th Floor Elevators' "Rollercoaster") as well as a third disc of demos.
This 3cd set also marks the reinvention/reactivation/resurfacing of Bruce Licher's Independent Project Records, complete with the amazing letterpress folios he was creating back in the '90s. Faircloth was actually one of Licher's press technicians after Red Temple Spirits broke up, and Red Temple Spirits and Licher's Savage Republic were certainly coming from the same headspace. The major difference being that Red Temple Spirits was actually a way better band, if criminally under-appreciated. Very highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For The Sun"
MPEG Stream: "Dark Spirits"
MPEG Stream: "Meltdown"
MPEG Stream: "In The Wild Hills"
MPEG Stream: "Set The Controls"

album cover CONTROL UNIT In A Frame (Alt Vinyl) lp 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Control Unit are the Italian duo of Sylvia Kastel and Ninni Morgia, the latter having done all sorts of scattered psychedelic projects including a prolonged stint in La Otracina. But in teaming up with the uncompromising Sylvia Kastel for Control Unit, his expository tendencies are tempered in the heavy sourness of Control Unit's grim electronics. In A Frame is their second lp and perfects the bad-drug cocktail of early '80s Italian industrialisms and the narcotic / narcoleptic vibes of Factrix and Mars which they first began to manufacture a couple years back. Kastel and Morgia employ monotone guitars, beatboxes, and cheap synthesizers cast through ghostly delay patterns and a zombified / exhumed production grit that alternates between abstracted decompositions of Hansen records styled electrical damage and tracks which could almost be considered songs with their step sequenced skeletal rhythms haunted by Kastel's vocalizations. These more structured elements seems to corrode from within, as the geiger-counter rhythms and ticking pulsations misfire and palpitate amidst the crosshatching loops and erratically fired patterns. Even with all of the cold/minimal/wave revivalism going on, Control Unit are dialed into a very specific historical reference of most death-obsessed electronica circa 1982. Creepy, horrifying, chaotic dirges for the industrially minded. Limited to just 275 copies!
MPEG Stream: "In A Frame"

album cover LOVESLIESCRUSHING Ghost Colored Halo (Projekt) cd 16.98
Took us a while to get these to list, but, now we have a few, at last...
Ah, Lovesliescrushing! What a beautiful noise you make! Ghost Colored Halo finds the shoegaze duo returning to Projekt Records, where they released their first album nearly 20 years ago. Little has changed in terms of the group's sound during those two decades, as Scott Cortez stills weaves thick, amorphous clouds of blissed-out guitar noise around the siren-song vocalizations of Melissa Arpin-Duimstra. With just voice and guitar at their disposal, Lovesliescrushing elegantly deconstructs the pop-song into an oceanic wash of sound, all without the use of any rhythm section whatsoever.
Much of the work that has been released over the past decade was stitched together from old tapes of guitar drones and vocal tracks reworked many years afterwards. Both the Shiny Tiny Stars album on Handmade Birds and the Girl Echo Suns Veils boxset on Projekt were examples of Cortez reworking archival material and with Arpin-Duimstra dubbing vocals later. These albums further atomized the overblown shoegaze wash of sound into beautiful blurs of reverberation and echo, with the song all but entirely eradicated in the lush soundscaping. On Ghost Colored Halo, the two actually got together in the same room to record for the first time in well over a decade. Here, the song begins to appear once again, and the in-studio chemistry results in a more focused set of compositions as nebulous as they may be.
The opening number "Blemished Sunspot" blossoms with all of the majesty of one of Tim Hecker's constructions as radiant glistenings of soft-focused guitar noise gradually lift off and soar into the upper regions of the stratosphere. A more plaintive guitar strum along with Arpin-Duimstra's voice grounds tracks like "The Tiger Hunts Alone" and "The Wounds That Won't Heal," the latter almost sounding like it could have been a track from the early Tarentel records (an interesting reference to hear, especially since Tarentel's Jefre Cantu-Ledesma actually penned an homage to Lovesliescrushing on his solo record Love Is A Stream). And to throw a monkeywrench into everything we had thought about Lovesliescrushing, the duo toss a steady heartbeat pulse into rapturous, pop-ambient waltz "Ghost Colored." It's all gorgeous stuff, and we're head over heels to hear Lovesliescrushing once again, especially working with comparitively more structured material!
MPEG Stream: "Whitening Glos"
MPEG Stream: "The Wounds That Won't Heal"
MPEG Stream: "Ghost Colored"

album cover Q4U Q1 : Deluxe Edition 1980-1983 (Dark Entries) lp 15.98
Iceland's synth-punk outfit Q4U issued their one and only album Q1 back in 1982, and now those recordings (along with a bunch of tracks from the same period) get a glorious makeover courtesy of the premiere, minimal wave reissue label Dark Entries. Inspired by the British punk scene, Q4U adopted an aggressively propulsive rhythm section and maniacally jagged guitars all fronted by the snarled vocals of Elinborg Halldorsdottir. She was definitely listening to her Siouxsie & The Banshees and X-Ray Spex records, slanting towards the detached gothic monotone that would also develop out of the under appreciated X Mal Deutschland. Had Hallsdordottir sung in English and not Icelandic, the band might have developed a much broader audience, but she was committed to speak to the political inequities of Iceland in her own language. While the band originally began as an archetypal punk four-piece, the drums were abandoned by the time they recorded Q1 in favor of a drum machine (christened Elisabeth II) and plenty of synths. These icy synth melodies and motorik rhythms were much better suited to the Teutonic belting from Halldorsdottir. The 'deluxe edition' of Q1 does feature a bunch of the tracks that featured their original drummer, with the band caught in a spirited if sloppy punk furor. By the time, the electronics entered the mix, Q4U was a sharpened, synth-punk machine. It's a shame the band called it quits by the end of 1983, but at least we have this lost gem! Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Boring"
MPEG Stream: "Why"
MPEG Stream: "Skemmtistadur"

album cover TWINK Think Pink (Sunbeam) lp+cd 29.00
THIS RECENT RECORD OF THE WEEK, NOW ON VINYL! First time we've had a vinyl reissue of this old fave, in fact. And, it comes with a free copy of the cd version tucked into the jacket, which means you do get all the bonus tracks described below, even though they didn't fit onto the vinyl itself. Here's what we said other other day when we listed the cd:
Along with the revamped Conet Project, here's another no-brainer for a Record Of The Week… We've listed it before, years and years ago, when there was a cd version on Akarma, but this is a much nicer, expanded, official reissue and it's good to give it a proper review for the first time (back then, we merely quoted The Seth Man from Julian Cope's Head Heritage website, waxing rhapsodic about this record, now we'll do it ourselves).
Oh boy. Do you like psychedelia? DO YOU HAVE THIS ALBUM? If not, you're in for a treat, a mindblowing treat. Think Pink was the brilliant solo effort from former Pretty Things drummer John "Twink" Alder, and it's an all-time aQ fave, an all-time underground psychedelic masterpiece, right up there with the essentials from the likes of Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Sam Gopal, Kaleidoscope, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it's just been properly reissued on cd by the UK's Sunbeam label, with a whole bunch of bonus freakery added on. Not that this album NEEDS any bonus freakery, it's about as freaky as you can get to begin with, packed with droning chant, druidic prophecy, spaced-out psych jams, weird twisted pop, and acid-folk ramble. But, too much is never enough, right? So heck, we're happy to have the eight bonus tracks too. More on those later. First, let's discuss the original album itself. As we said, Twink played drums for The Pretty Things, but before that had his own sixties R&B outfit the Fairies. After that band, he was in Tomorrow ("My White Bicycle") with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe, around 1967. Twink then briefly formed a duo called The Aquarian Age, before joining up with The Pretty Things and appearing on their concept-album classic S.F. Sorrow in '68, another aQ fave. At that point, for some crazy reason (things were different/better back then) Twink was offered a deal by Sire to do a solo album, and Think Pink was the glorious, if at the time somewhat unheralded, result, recorded in 1969 with Mick Farren of The Deviants producing. Released in 1970 in the US & Europe, but not 'til '71 in the UK, it's been called the first Pink Fairies album, and in a way it is, as soon after making it, Twink did team up with several ex-members of The Deviants, most of whom played on this, to form that infamous proto-punk outfit. And several tracks here feature contributions from what's credited as "The Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club & All Star Rock & Roll Band".
Also participating are several of Twink's Pretty Things bandmates, his girlfriend Silver Darling, and Steve Peregrin Took, Marc Bolan's partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T-Rex, who plays, among other things, "pixie horn". And one of the most crucial contributors to Think Pink, besides Twink himself, has to be guitarist Paul "Blackie" Rudolph, who really lets loose, earning a hallowed place in the annals of distortodelic guitar wrangling for his work on this album alone (though in the course of his career before and after, he also played with The Deviants, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, and Brian Eno).
Eastern-tinged opener "The Coming Of The Other One" sets the scene, pulling us deep into its trippy Aquarian Age fantasy zone, with a solemn voice reciting Nostradamic verses ("In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king...") accompanied by tablas and sitar. Then comes Think Pink's biggest "hit" as far as we're concerned, an utterly perfect slice of stonery psych called "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", just listen to it! That's followed by "Dawn Of Magic" with its raga-like vocal ahhhaaaaahh sounds as if Pandit Pran Nath were on the mic, which suddenly segues into the space-out sike-pop of "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill", a lovely pastoral song that eventually builds into a howling guitar blow-out of the highest order. Then the trippy "Fluid" chimes into being, with its sexy heavy breathing and slinky, springy grooves, making us think of the acid-fried hippy orgasms of krautrockers Brainticket's classic Cottonwood Hill (released later on, in '71, we should also note).
Side two (track six here) opens with the martial fuzz-freakout of "Mexican Grass War", all chanting freaks and wild FX like early Amon Duul and Edgar Broughton Band. The freaky vibes continue, quite weird and wonderful, with the glammed up jam of "Rock An'Roll The Joint", the mellow morbid acoustic strum of "Suicide" and the maniacal "Three Little Piggies", before the album ends with the intense edgy psych pop of "The Sparrow Is A Sign", a song with a malevolent, sinister side to it that reminds us a little bit of Comus - and strangely too of the Sun City Girls, perhaps due to the vocals, provided by Steve Took.
Then, there's all those bonus tracks, the first two of which are actually from the lone 7" single released in '68 by The Aquarian Age, the immediate precursor to the Think Pink project. There's the A side, being the original version of "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", and the B side, an amusing number called "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard", which displays just the sort of twee, hippie British humor the title suggests. It's great to hear both of those, and the bonus tracks proliferate further with unreleased, alternate versions of more Think Pink material, somewhat heavier or rawer or definitely different, including two takes of "Fluid" and another version of "10,000 Words...", which we can't get enough of anyway.
All in all, a nicely done reissue, as this deserves, with pages and pages of newly-written, informative liner notes, plus lyrics, credits, vintage photos & graphics. Plus, unlike that previous Akarma version, this is a fully-legit release, done with the participation of Twink himself ("issued under exclusive license from Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, February 2013" it says here, and there's even a picture of him today too - apparently he's become a Muslim, and looks quite happy).
By the way... Nobody here at aQ can think about Think Pink, though, and not also think about our "customer" whom we call The Twink Think Pink Guy. We don't believe he's ever actually bought anything, but he's this older guy that comes in once in a while (and has for years) and always, always, ONLY asks about Think Pink, whether we have it in stock or not, and then talks at great length to anyone who will listen about how great it is. It's his favorite record apparently, but don't let that dissuade you, if you get this you probably won't end up like him. Probably.
Message for The Twink Think Pink Guy, if you're reading this: we expect to see you soon!
MPEG Stream: "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box"
MPEG Stream: "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill"
MPEG Stream: "Fluid"
MPEG Stream: "The Sparrow Is A Sign"
MPEG Stream: "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard"

UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust (Rise Above) lp 39.00
Hell yeah, at last! When this now-semi-legendary album was first released by UK heavy psych doom metal specialists Rise Above in 2011, it came out in an ultra limited edition of just three hundred vinyl-only copies, which proved almost impossible to come by. That first edition sold out instantly and those lps started trading for seriously ridiculous amounts of money on eBay and elsewhere. Even though, really, who the heck were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats? Well it wasn't just the cool band name generating a buzz, the music was awesome, as we later were able to ascertain. Eventually Rise Above did a repress, of which we were able to get a few, though those were expensive too and we were never able to get enough of 'em to actually list. But, we did figure out why this record was in such demand (as we'll discuss in more detail in a moment). We also learned that Blood Lust had also come out on compact disc, but oddly enough via a small Finnish label instead of Rise Above, and again we never were able to get enough of those to list, either. But we had hope that someday, somehow, we'd be able to review this for you, 'cause eventually most Rise Above stuff gets released in the USA by licensees Metal Blade, and while its been a damn long time, we're now pleased to, ta da, finally have Blood Lust on cd at a domestic price. Record Of The Week? You bet!
So, what we thought we were in for, way back when all we knew about band was their name & label, was some lysergic sludgey doomy jamming, like maybe Electric Wizard (another Rise Above band) or UFOmammut. Which we would have been perfectly happy with, of course. But, instead, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats proved to be a lot more song-oriented and more melodic than we expected, with a kind of poppy '60s garage psych rock side to 'em, amidst their heavy fuzz-filled riffage. The singer (that's ol' Uncle Acid himself, natch, also on guitar in this power trio, and mellotron and synths too) croons his twisted tales of witchburning, black magic, and murder, in a languid whine, his voice nasally pinched and reverb effected, reminding us a bit of Kyle Thomas of aQ faves Witch (and King Tuff and Happy Birthday too by the way). His delivery lends a delicate, decadent touch to the band's brand of both despondent plod and swinging catchiness, able to render lines like "I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams / I lust for womens blood, and their evil ways / I twist my words to what the good book says" with sick sincerity -and- showmanship, in a way that is surprisingly not very much metallic, instead staying (despite the music's undeniable heaviness) more in the pop realm, though one obsessed with vintage horror films.
These rollicking, but dread-infused tunes are further full of ripping fuzz guitar leads, and lumbering downer riffs. Without a doubt, doom originators Black Sabbath are a major factor in this band's sound, but they're doing something rather different with that particular inspiration than most do. And we're also reminded of some other British '60s/'70s proto-metallers like Stray, High Tide, T2, and May Blitz, who were quite heavy but psych-pop catchy as well. Perhaps very early, very psychedelic Alice Cooper could be added to Uncle Acid's roster of influences too, we're thinking of the way the song "Ritual Knife" marries a pounding tribal beat and urgently chugging ominous riffery with glorious bursts of shining melody come chorus time.
One much more recent band that these guys also remind us of, is Swedish occult rock sensations Ghost, another act whose "pop side" is so effective as to possibly threaten their "metal cred" among the more closeminded. We'd also recommend Uncle Acid to fans of that other recent, equally retro stunner from Rise Above, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. And, like last week's Record Of The Week by Golden Void, this has that laidback classic sounding '70s psychrock vibe, immediately familiar, though Uncle Acid comes across as much more dark and sinister to be sure. And lastly, fans of Witchcraft should pay attention - we'd rank this up there with that band's celebrated Rise Above debut, we're pretty sure this is gonna be considered a classic too. We're sooooooo glad they didn't just press only those 300 vinyl copies and leave it at that!! You will be too.
This cd reissue includes a bonus track not on vinyl, which provides a nice coda to the record proper, relinquishing the fuzz guitar for acoustic strum and hand percussion, Uncle Acid doing their doom-pop-psych in a more folky style a la, say, Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Cut You Down"
MPEG Stream: "Curse In The Trees"
MPEG Stream: "13 Candles"

album cover UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust (Picture Disc) (Metal Blade / Rise Above) lp 29.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now available on domestic PICTURE DISC vinyl!
Hell yeah, at last! When this now-semi-legendary album was first released by UK heavy psych doom metal specialists Rise Above in 2011, it came out in an ultra limited edition of just three hundred vinyl-only copies, which proved almost impossible to come by. That first edition sold out instantly and those lps started trading for seriously ridiculous amounts of money on eBay and elsewhere. Even though, really, who the heck were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats? Well it wasn't just the cool band name generating a buzz, the music was awesome, as we later were able to ascertain. Eventually Rise Above did a repress, of which we were able to get a few, though those were expensive too and we were never able to get enough of 'em to actually list. But, we did figure out why this record was in such demand (as we'll discuss in more detail in a moment). We also learned that Blood Lust had also come out on compact disc, but oddly enough via a small Finnish label instead of Rise Above, and again we never were able to get enough of those to list, either. But we had hope that someday, somehow, we'd be able to review this for you, 'cause eventually most Rise Above stuff gets released in the USA by licensees Metal Blade, and while its been a damn long time, we're now pleased to, ta da, finally have Blood Lust on cd at a domestic price. Record Of The Week? You bet!
So, what we thought we were in for, way back when all we knew about band was their name & label, was some lysergic sludgey doomy jamming, like maybe Electric Wizard (another Rise Above band) or UFOmammut. Which we would have been perfectly happy with, of course. But, instead, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats proved to be a lot more song-oriented and more melodic than we expected, with a kind of poppy '60s garage psych rock side to 'em, amidst their heavy fuzz-filled riffage. The singer (that's ol' Uncle Acid himself, natch, also on guitar in this power trio, and mellotron and synths too) croons his twisted tales of witchburning, black magic, and murder, in a languid whine, his voice nasally pinched and reverb effected, reminding us a bit of Kyle Thomas of aQ faves Witch (and King Tuff and Happy Birthday too by the way). His delivery lends a delicate, decadent touch to the band's brand of both despondent plod and swinging catchiness, able to render lines like "I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams / I lust for womens blood, and their evil ways / I twist my words to what the good book says" with sick sincerity -and- showmanship, in a way that is surprisingly not very much metallic, instead staying (despite the music's undeniable heaviness) more in the pop realm, though one obsessed with vintage horror films.
These rollicking, but dread-infused tunes are further full of ripping fuzz guitar leads, and lumbering downer riffs. Without a doubt, doom originators Black Sabbath are a major factor in this band's sound, but they're doing something rather different with that particular inspiration than most do. And we're also reminded of some other British '60s/'70s proto-metallers like Stray, High Tide, T2, and May Blitz, who were quite heavy but psych-pop catchy as well. Perhaps very early, very psychedelic Alice Cooper could be added to Uncle Acid's roster of influences too, we're thinking of the way the song "Ritual Knife" marries a pounding tribal beat and urgently chugging ominous riffery with glorious bursts of shining melody come chorus time.
One much more recent band that these guys also remind us of, is Swedish occult rock sensations Ghost, another act whose "pop side" is so effective as to possibly threaten their "metal cred" among the more closeminded. We'd also recommend Uncle Acid to fans of that other recent, equally retro stunner from Rise Above, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. And, like last week's Record Of The Week by Golden Void, this has that laidback classic sounding '70s psychrock vibe, immediately familiar, though Uncle Acid comes across as much more dark and sinister to be sure. And lastly, fans of Witchcraft should pay attention - we'd rank this up there with that band's celebrated Rise Above debut, we're pretty sure this is gonna be considered a classic too. We're sooooooo glad they didn't just press only those 300 vinyl copies and leave it at that!! You will be too.
This cd reissue includes a bonus track not on vinyl, which provides a nice coda to the record proper, relinquishing the fuzz guitar for acoustic strum and hand percussion, Uncle Acid doing their doom-pop-psych in a more folky style a la, say, Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Cut You Down"
MPEG Stream: "Curse In The Trees"
MPEG Stream: "13 Candles"

album cover ZOVIET FRANCE 7.10.12 (Alt Vinyl) lp+10"+7" 54.00
No need to belabor the point on this one. This is the first Zoviet France record in 13 years. It's a triple vinyl set with a 12", a 10", and a 7". This is the second pressing mind you, as the first sold out in less than a day when it was published back on October 7, 2012 (a fitting date for the format!). We can safely report that the droning loops are as good as anything that Zoviet France did in during the latter part of the Robin Storey era (e.g. Shadow Thief Of The Sun, Shouting At The Ground, Look Into Me, etc.). Storey and Ben Ponton were responsible for the best work for Zoviet France from 1981 to the early 90s, producing beautiful hypnogogic sounds, looping passages, and ethnomusicologically unhinged instrumentation all cast through tape delay effects and time-lag accumulation. Storey left unceremoniously in 1992 taking with him Zoviet France's prolific work ethic, but never really achieved the full glory that Zoviet France once had. Ponton continued on with the project in fits and starts, but he never seemed to find the right chemistry... until now. If you know Zoviet France's work even in passing, you will NOT be sorry. At the same time, we are not all that confident we'll be able to stock this in the future. Delay picking this up at your peril.

album cover BRAINTICKET Cottonwoodhill (Cleopatra) cd 15.98
A couple years ago, when an expensive import vinyl (+cd) version of this came out, we realized, good golly, we've never listed this before, really??? So we were glad to finally get to do so, 'cause Brainticket's Cottonwood Hill has been a trippy AQ fave for long, long time.
Now it's just been domestically reissued on cd, without the extraneous vinyl component, so anyone who missed out on it before can get it, and more cheaply too!
This album, originally released in 1971 (that's right!), the debut from Swiss krautrockers (we think you can call 'em that) Brainticket, is simply one of the freakiest, LSD-trip inspired slabs of groovy mu-sick ever. Up there with Funkadelic's Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow, even.
The first two tracks on side one, "Black Sand" and "Places Of Light", ease you into it, being laidback groovers laced with stabs of distortion... then the true "trip" begins, the utterly over the top, three-part "Brainticket", that starts on side one and spreads over all of side two, dense and propulsive and repetitive, with orgasmic female vocals and all kinds of intense psychedelic throb. It's the perfect soundtrack to goin' completely mad. In addition to wah-wah guitar, organ, flute, tabla, and sci-fi electronics, there's layers of musique concrete "samples", tapes of rainfall, clanging bells, clattering trains, cheering crowds, all sorts of chaotic noise panic...
Quite a overdose of LSD-enthusiasm, that even today still seems more likely to scare folks off from trying drugs than encourage 'em to do so. But then, who needs to actually drop acid when you can just listen to this? Fans of the likes of A.R. & Machines, Amon Duul II, Siloah, Tangerine Dream's Electronic Meditation, and other cosmic trips (as well as hippie kitsch) this is another one you need to get turned on to if you haven't already. Oh, and as a footnote, the drummer went on to play in proto-metallers Toad.
Packaged in gatefold digi-sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Black Sand"
MPEG Stream: "Brainticket Part I"

album cover CLIFFSIDES Spirit In The Mountain Temple (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.
Cliffsides is the solo work of Ryan McGill, a Georgia native currently residing Brooklyn who is half of the kosmische synth project Afterlife. Where Afterlife tightly wound itself around the post Manuel Gottsching / Klaus Schulze ethos that led into so many of those great Emeralds related projects, McGill's solo work is all sleepwalking sprawl and narcotic mist. Bubbling abstractions, big sweeping oscillations, and lazer-shot synth tones work through the variable curtains of delay and echo effects that McGill pours over all of the synthesized sounds. Vast empty spaces with distant vocal and guitar signals cascade through those delay patterns creating a 'floating in outerspace' vibe from the onset, only to glide into a very choice step sequence of Schnitzler-esque melodicism.
By the second side, McGill offers forth some midnight electronica / sci-fi worship channelling Tangerine Dream's Zeit only to turn that into a very dark set of ambient passages, complete with ritualized chanting and industrially grim sawtooth synth lines. There's lots to cover on this tape, as McGill sprawls and drones for over 80 minutes here. Nice that somebody is using the long form medium of the cassette to its fullest potential! Limited to 100 copies; and like most everything on Hooker Vision, this will not last long.
MPEG Stream: "La Maison Dieu"

album cover AGNES Night City (Tailings) cassette 4.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The enigmatic Agnes returns with yet another suitably dark and suitably mysterious transmission of gritty textures and carcinogenic drones. As we mentioned before in our review of her oblique, eponymous 3" cd-r, we can find little information on who Agnes is. She hails from Chicago; and this is the second release we've been able to track down, but that seems to be all we can discern. Who else she's worked with or what she's done before these two releases remains an unknown. All of this matches with the sounds she produces, bringing to mind the early work of Maurizio Bianchi, in part finding parallels to his mythic disappearance by 1983 from the noise community with all sorts of conspiracies and hearsay getting tossed around; but also in hearing a sympathetic aesthetic through Agnes' zombified electronic swarmings, high voltage crackle, and generalized bad vibes. The first side buzzes and marches along grimy arpeggiations which seem both organic and machined at the same time. The second side laces a more noxious crackle against a chugging rhythm that steadily loses its will to live and gets consumed by tactile drips, clicks, whirs, and squeaks sending visions of greasy machines dating to the early 20th century whose gears spit out metal filings, run at unsafely hot temperatures, always on the verge of blowing a cog and causing the whole operation to grind to a halt. It's really nice to hear Agnes stretch out her compositions along a broader axis beyond the 15 minutes or so of that aforementioned cd-r; but unfortunately, this tape is super limited and already out of print. That said, we've heard rumors of a full album on wax from Ms. Agnes. Bring it on, lady!
MPEG Stream: "Night City I"
MPEG Stream: "Night City II"

album cover PUSSY GALORE Groovy Hate Fuck (Shove) lp 15.98

album cover VERTONEN 11 22.4'N 142 35.5' / HACE/26,250' (Misanthropic Agenda / Crippled Intellect Productions) lp 15.98
The depths of the ocean and the heights of the mountains. As poetic as these subject matters are for Blake Edwards, he seeks to describe the existential danger inherent in exploring such places. To ascend Mount Everest may be the most exhilarating experience in one's life, but the possibility of death is very, very real. The same can be said for plunging to the bottom of the sea. Manifesting such existential threats has been part and parcel of Edwards' project Vertonen. Recently, he's embodied a slipperiness between a tonal, electro-acoustic beauty and undercurrents of industrial violence lurking from within; and that holds true on this album as well. The coordinates of the first track refer to the location of the Marianas Trench in the Pacific Ocean; and appropriately enough, that track plummets through a series of aqueous, yet ominous electronic percolations coming to rest at a blackened pressurized hum, amounting to a great piece of bleak, industrial strength dronemuzik. A lurching heartbeat rhythm guides the first half of "HACE/26,250", whose title refers to the altitude at which the condition known as High Altitude Cerebral Adema begins to impact the human body negatively through the lack of oxygen getting to the vital organs and causing the collapse of brain activity. And thus, amidst this slow somatic rhythm, harsh sinewave electronics and squalls of tempestuous noise beckon from the nether regions behind a glacial pall of cold cold drone. Eventually, these actionist gestures dissolve alongside the heartbeat rhythm into a shimmering, snowblinding drift of minimalism, a portrait of a mountaineer gazing over the horizon from the top of the world while his or her body shuts down. Horrifyingly great.
MPEG Stream: "11 22.4'N 142 35.5'"

album cover ATKINSON, FELICIA Visions / Voices (Umor Rex) 2lp 23.00
The gloomier the day the more perfect to listen to this album from Belgian abstractionist Felicia Atkinson, who also records under the moniker Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier. Her work often draws parallels to the likes of Natural Snow Buildings or Motion Sickness Of Time Travel in terms of the narcoleptic atmosphere that drifts through song and drone alike - one that's perfect for late winter fog or cold damp mornings of early spring; but Atkinson's work is probably even darker, more somber, and drearier than from either of those other artists. She deftly moves from song-based arrangements for guitar, voice, to lots of effects and broad ambient gestures of elongated fragments, loops, and pastoral passages. Visions / Voices showcases these multi-faceted aesthetics from Atkinson, collecting tracks from the various micro-edition cassettes and cd-rs she's produced over the years, none of which have made their way through aQuarius we should add.
The first cut on the album "This Impermanent Gold" is a sodden avant-folk number sporting a Jandekian open-chord, atonal strum on an acoustic guitar with bleakly windswept clouds hovering behind the gasping, non-verbal vocalizations. She counters this track with a rapturously billowing drone piece that has all of the compositional trappings of one of Tim Hecker's ambient excursions, through the rich tapestries of interwoven drones and darkly radiant hypnosis. "All Roads Are Circular" is an aptly named track of once brightly strummed guitars burnished down to a dull iron finish and set into loosely organized loops and off-set shoegazing patterns. Twinkling synths form constellations of downer melodies on "The Owls" bringing her closest to the Motion Sickness Of Time Travel sound of murkily cosmic introspection. But when she gets to "Franny," things get downright spooky with a rasping antique piano slowly creaking a low-register dirge whose ominous, suffocating vibe comes to the surface through a violent smolder of deep rumbling tectonic drones and corroded amplifier distortion, definitely giving Chelsea Wolfe a run for her money when it comes to ghastliness.
Easily some of the best material we've heard to date from Atkinson under either her name or Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier! And is there a download card? Yes!
MPEG Stream: "The Hooves Drummed"
MPEG Stream: "The Owls"
MPEG Stream: "Franny"

album cover WATSON, CHRIS El Tren Fantasma (Touch) cd 15.98
This awesome Watson disc, now repressed and back in stock!
Preeminent field recordist Chris Watson returns with a bit of a twist on El Tren Fantasma. Pretty much all of his work up to this point (outside of his contributions to Cabaret Voltaire and The Hafler Trio way back when) has been audio verite. Even such albums as Weather Report, which edit field recordings from the African savanna (for example) into a condensed journey, are pristine, realist documents codified through the exquisite, lush details in Watson's environmental sounds such as that of a lion panting after a successful hunt. El Tren Fantasma is much more engineered, imagined, and processed than anything else in his solo career; and this fictionalized Watson is no less compelling, no less dramatic, and no less awesome.
El Tren Fantasma - The Ghost Train - traces a now-defunct passanger rail line which ran from the Pacific Coast of Mexico to Veracruz on the Atlantic Coast. Watson had the opportunity to make this journey while working as a sound recordist for the BBC for their Great Railway Journeys. His compositions work with extracts from that excursion travelling across Mexico along with archival recordings whose origins are not specified. As he's stopping throughout the Chihuahuan Desert, Watson does capture the stunning chorales of chirping frogs, buzzing insects, and the blaring call of a California Quail (whose syllabic chortle is often mnemonically transcribed as "chi-CA-go" as if it were seeking a more temperate climate); but it the train's power and mass that provides so much of the impact for Watson's album. By the fourth track "El Divisidaro," Watson captures a series of loops of the train - with the bellowing horn pitched back and forth into a sustained symphonic tone and the clatter of the train's engine becoming an ersatz rhythm track, which in turn gets tricked out with some Martin Hannett styled, phasing delay work. It's easy to get lost in the majesty of this track, much like the expressive electronica that Wolfgang Voigt produced on Konigsforst as Gas. What a brilliantly simple transformation executed to perfection! "Mexico D.F." reprises this strategy with rhythmic churns building out of the grinding brakes and the roiling tumult of steam blasting through the train's pipes, becoming an almost militant thump on a lone drum. The train's horn drifts suitably in a cloud of reverberation at the end of the album, dissolving into the ghostlike apparition Watson intended it to be. As brillliant as this work is, we should also point out that Watson is not alone in composing such fictionalized scores purely through environmental sound. We would be remiss if we failed to point out the work of Australian composer Tarab, whose deft psychogeographical albums share the scope and execution with Watson's El Tren Fantasma. So great!
MPEG Stream: "Sierra Tarahumara"
MPEG Stream: "El Divisidaro"
MPEG Stream: "Mexico D.F."

album cover MAIN Ablation (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
Now here on cd too!!
It's been a very long time since Robert Hampson has released a Main album and an even longer time since he's produced a *great* Main album. Ablation changes that, although those who would be expecting the deconstructed hypno-rock of Motion Pool or Hydra-Calm will be disappointed; but those who had followed Hampson's trajectory starting with the last few Main records about a decade ago into spatialized electro-acoustics only to rediscover his infatuation with the drone which finally brought him back to the guitar as a principle instrument will certainly understand where this record is coming from. Hampson is still working at the storied GRM studios in Paris, and there is an infusion of the classic aesthetic of what came out of GRM within Ablation (notably Parmegiani and Ferrari), but at the same time he does link it back, if in a subtle way, to the mesmerism which girded the Main productions in the '90s. That said, any connections to his former group, Loop would be quite a stretch indeed.
On Ablation, Hampson has recruited Stefan Mathieu - a brilliant drone technician in his own right whom we've not heard from in ages - and the pairing works seamlessly, even as it clearly slants towards Hampson's vision of a cold disconnection dispensed in overlapping hissing layers and hypnotic patterns of abstracted sound. The percussive klank of a prepared piano on "I" is a bit of a red herring for what's found throughout Ablation especially on "II" and "III", is a series of slow ellipses of churning guitar drones and golden tonal coronas drifting with all of the uneasy beauty of an android's dream. The closing track "IV" bends along a radiophonic arc with ether crackle and metallic rasping and slow motion pixelations from a sharply rendered synth that forms the coda to the album. Organic. Liquid. Electric. Motorized. Bleak. Holy. All of those adjectives apply to this fantastic album. Welcome back, Main!
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover CONET PROJECT, THE Recordings Of Shortwave Numbers Stations (Irdial Disc) 5cd+book 78.00
The Conet Project, originally released in 1997, has attained near mythical status around here. Many folks associate The Conet Project inextricably with our store itself. Which makes sense. We championed the Conet Project relentlessly, everyone here is obsessed, most of us owning multiple copies, some of us incorporating sounds from The Conet Project into our own music, and The Conet Project still ranks as probably THEE best selling release ever at aQuarius. Even more remarkable for the fact that it's not really music at all, at least not in the typical sense, and it is and always has been pretty expensive, as a deluxe 4-cd set initially, and import to boot. In fact until it went out of print for the last time a few years back, we had sold close to one thousand copies, and that's just in our little store. We even used to have a big chart on the wall, where we kept track of the sales, and for a while, we were even taking Polaroids of people who bought the Conet Project to display in the store, a snapshot of them holding what we can only imagine would become their new favorite record (buyer #382: Mike Patton!). Which all leads to the question some of you may have, what the heck is The Conet Project, and why are we (and many of you) so obsessed with it? And so thrilled that it's finally available again?! Yes, available again and obviously a big time Record Of The Week.
Basically, the Conet Project is a now FIVE-cd compilation (more details on the new 2013 edition's additional fifth disc is down below, near the end of this long review!) of recordings of mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts, known as "numbers stations". These numbers stations are generally believed to be encrypted spy transmissions, but no concrete evidence has ever surfaced proving that supposition. However, no credible *alternate* explanation has ever been demonstrated, either. For years (ever since the start of the Cold War), amateur radio enthusiasts have come across these sinister signals, and they continue to this day, broadcast in many languages all over the world (the theory is that some are CIA, some are KBG, some are Mossad, etc).
In general, the transmissions consist of a deadpan voice (sometimes an old man, sometimes a young woman, etc.) reading a seemingly random, meaningless series of numbers over and over. Sometimes the broadcasts are preceded by a musical cue (the "Swedish Rhapsody" music box one being a favorite of ours), and sometimes the numbers are not conveyed by voice but by even more cryptic electronics (as with "The Buzzer", and other noisy, abstract stuff found mainly on disc four).
Needless to say, hearing those amazing and baffling sounds collected on these cds is an unnerving experience. Not only does knowledge of the supposed purpose of these transmissions imbue them with a disturbing quality, but the repetition of the numbers combined with the background of shortwave radio static makes for a aurally hypnotic experience. If merely regarded as a piece of experimental ambient sound sculpture, The Conet Project would be a brilliant and affecting piece of work, yet with the added context of international intelligence and conspiracy theory, it becomes even more intriguing and creepy. Lots of information is included that provides a great deal of description of, and speculation about, The Conet Project. Which is possibly the most incredible, and weirdest, item of sound art/documentation that we've EVER had here at aQuarius. Mesmerizing, fascinating, unique, massive, scary, but sometimes even soothing. 100 percent recommended to the adventurous listener ('cause it's not for everyone!). And once you have it you'll understand why it had to be so many cds - being overwhelming is part of the obsessive allure of this Project. And it's not just us, The Conet Project has popped up in lots of unlikely places, most notably it was sampled on Wilco's breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, the title of which in fact comes from The Conet Project itself. Wilco were also famously sued by Irdial, the label who released it, and they lost! Some sounds from the Conet Project also popped up in that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, and over the years, we've heard it in various films and on various records, it shouldn't be surprising that so many weird music obsessives love The Conet Project.
Really, as we said, if there's one recording that seems to be most identified with aQuarius recOrds, or that at least we mention most often when trying to explain to people what it is that we're all about here, it's most definitely The Conet Project, and yeah, over the years there have been plenty of others, including Sounds of North American Frogs, Os Mutantes, Burzum's "Filosofem", Comus' "First Utterance", Boris, Circle, Philip Jeck, Village of Savoonga, and loads more since, many other records near and dear to our hearts (for instance, hearing the first Neutral Milk Hotel album always makes us nostalgic for the old 24th street store). But for some reason it's The Conet Project that really seems to sum it all up. It's all the things we really love: completely ridiculous (4, no, now 5 cds!), completely fucked (secret government spy transmissions), droning, weird. It's just so interesting and evocative on so many levels, both musical and totally non-musical, as a listening experience and also as a geopolitical cold war and beyond artifact. Definitely an all time perpetual aQ fave: Allan's got the whole thing on his iPod, so does Andee, he also owns multiple copies of the set, many of which found their way into his old band A Minor Forest's live performances, Jim has steadfastly maintained that this is the greatest record of all time, and who are we to argue? If it's not obvious, we all are a little bit obsessed.
And what this is all leading up to is that YES, finally after literally YEARS of being out of print and unavailable, The Conet Project, has been reissued AGAIN, but this time, with a WHOLE EXTRA DISC, with its own jewel case and booklet!! That's right, the new Conet Project is FIVE discs, not four, and if you're big Conet nerds like most of us, you might just have to buy a second (or even third!) copy. The new disc is not just another numbers station disc though, instead it's a collection of "noise stations", which essentially sound just like the numbers stations MINUS the numbers. So it's a series of gorgeous buzzes and strange hissing fields of blurred melody, lots of crunch and crackle, buried rhythms, whistling tones, strange textures, in fact, much of it is downright musical, so much so that we were musing, hmm, what if this new disc is in fact a hoax, a series of number/noise station like soundscapes created by some electronic musicians like Hrvatski? Naw... But there was in fact talk of a Conet remix project for years now, so it's not that far fetched, and in a way, if it WAS a hoax, it would be even cooler. But as far as we can tell, and according to our resident numbers stations / shortwave expert Jim, these are in fact that kind of weird alien sounds you can hear, tuned in to these mysterious stations. As much as we love the other four discs of The Conet Project, this new one is pretty exciting, and we have to say, definitely makes a case for buying it AGAIN! But for all the rest of you who have yet to discover the bizarre sonic mysteries of the Conet Project, there is no higher recommendation we can give, an all time unanimous aQ fave, our best selling record EVER. Sonically, and conceptually mind blowing. We never made it Record Of The Week before for some reason, but in our hearts, it has always been, and always will be, a perpetual aQ Record Of The Week!!! FOREVER.
BTW, this counts as a "box set" for shipping, it won't fit in the USPS flat rate box we use, so it'll have to go media mail or UPS if you're mailordering it domestically.
MPEG Stream: "Swedish Rhapsody"
MPEG Stream: "5 Dashes"
MPEG Stream: "Iran/Iraq Jamming Efficacy Testing"
MPEG Stream: "Magnetic Fields"
MPEG Stream: "Tyrolean Music Station"
MPEG Stream: "The Buzzer"
MPEG Stream: "Data Bursts, 5.201kHz (USB And AM) [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Exotic Cipher, 6.215kHz/AM October 5th, 2008 19:27 GMT [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Descending Jammer, 7.969kHz/USB [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Drone, 17.964kHz [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "Oscillating, 5.178kHz, March 12th, 1997 [Disc 5]"
MPEG Stream: "348|10|13|36|19|21, 11.573kHz, 19:17 GMT [Disc 5]"

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) The Other Side Is Blank (Equation) 12"+7" 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Not much point in belaboring the issue too much on this one. There's only 100 copies. Most of them are gone. But, FUCK, if this isn't the best Organum record ever made, even if it wasn't made by David Jackman. Instead, we have a brilliant homage to the turgid acoustic dronescaping and thoughtfully composed noise arrangements of David Jackman's best period of Organum (circa 1988 - 1994), produced by the less-than-sensible irr. app. (ext.) / Matt Waldron. Quite literally, this was the album of his dreams, as one night in 2011, Waldron was overcome by a vision of encountering Jackman at an indoor shopping mall in California, where he was selling a brand-spanking new Organum LP which featured a strange bear drawing on one side and an even stranger fox drawing on the other, with the rather explanatory "The Other Side Is Blank" as the title, pointing out that the lp was a one-sided lp. While we are not all that sure if such a strategy ever came up in Organum's back catalogue, he was known for releasing 7" singles with a mere minute and half of sound on both sides. In the five tracks (four on the one sided lp, and one very short cut on the one sided 7"), Waldron dutifully creates fantastic, industrial blurs of vibrating metal, acoustic rattlings, and infernal roars of very tactile noise all very much within the aesthetic of Jackman's Organum project. Pretty fucking brilliant and pretty fucking stupid at the same time. A perfect record for aQuarius! But grab one before they're gone for good...
MPEG Stream: "Harrow"
MPEG Stream: "Rind"

album cover RV PAINTINGS Samoa Highway (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) lp 14.98
Two brothers from Humboldt County are RV Paintings - one is Brian Pyle, whose name should probably strike a chord as one of the principals in Starving Weirdos and recently has been generating some impressive work under his solo Ensemble Economique moniker; the other is Jon Pyle, who occasionally makes a guest appearance in the Weirdos but also operates in Nudge with Honey Owens, Paul Dickow, and Brian Foote. For all of the method acting from the brothers Pyle in getting stoned and jamming, they have been remarkably consistent and consistently good in all of their ruminations, with RV Paintings probably the best that they've mustered. The RV Paintings debut on Root Strata is three years out but is still a timeless, gorgeous dronesmear of bowed metals and elongated guitar; this was followed by a well-suited split with Taiga Remains on Blackest Rainbow, and now, they've got this stunner on Helen Scarsdale.
RV Paintings speak about, to, and from their own immediate surroundings: the moss, mushrooms, and mycelium of the awe-inspiring redwood forests, the heavy fog that hangs at the coast and from their bongs, and the weightiness of the Pacific Ocean just off to the west. The title Samoa Highway gives the impression that the two brothers were on their own trip during a cold, wintery day, gazing off to the southwest and pondering the warmer climate of American Samoa. But no, the Samoa Highway is located in Humboldt County, connecting Eureka with the small community of Samoa on the other side of the bay which was thought to resemble that of Pago Pago in the mid-19th Century. It's also the bridge that would get you to the Arcata/Eureka Airport.
So, the album begins with field recordings of airplanes lifting off on the jawdropping track "Millions," as sitar-like harmonics and ghostly, levitating drones emanate from the distance. It's a perfectly narcotized smear of echo and drift, hanging in space as the remnants of a particularly lucid dream or the foggy headspace from an afternoon of smoking pot and staring at the sun. This is a track that could spiral onward forever. So nice! Samoa Highway continues with "Mirrors" driven by melancholy looped melody from a cello that dissolves into a flurry of shimmered guitar fuzz, whose shoegazed mantra has been submerged under centuries of felled trees and lichens. Cyclical patterns of samples from dark yet pastoral orchestral passages rounds out the album. If it weren't for the delicate freeform clamor of the drumkit, tracks such as this wouldn't be that far removed from the 'pop ambient' cuts by Gas. Citations of Taj Mahal Travellers, Organum, Grouper, Barn Owl, and The Caretaker certainly hit the mark. Music for airports? More like Music for California airports! Fuck yeah!
And a download coupon is tucked within the sleeve as well!
MPEG Stream: "Millions"
MPEG Stream: "Mirrors"
MPEG Stream: "As Far As We Could See"

album cover TWINK Think Pink (Sunbeam) cd 17.98
Along with the revamped Conet Project, here's another no-brainer for a Record Of The Week… We've listed it before, years and years ago, when there was a cd version on Akarma, but this is a much nicer, expanded, official reissue and it's good to give it a proper review for the first time (back then, we merely quoted The Seth Man from Julian Cope's Head Heritage website, waxing rhapsodic about this record, now we'll do it ourselves).
Oh boy. Do you like psychedelia? DO YOU HAVE THIS ALBUM? If not, you're in for a treat, a mindblowing treat. Think Pink was the brilliant solo effort from former Pretty Things drummer John "Twink" Alder, and it's an all-time aQ fave, an all-time underground psychedelic masterpiece, right up there with the essentials from the likes of Amon Duul II, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Sam Gopal, Kaleidoscope, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and it's just been properly reissued on cd by the UK's Sunbeam label, with a whole bunch of bonus freakery added on. Not that this album NEEDS any bonus freakery, it's about as freaky as you can get to begin with, packed with droning chant, druidic prophecy, spaced-out psych jams, weird twisted pop, and acid-folk ramble. But, too much is never enough, right? So heck, we're happy to have the eight bonus tracks too. More on those later. First, let's discuss the original album itself. As we said, Twink played drums for The Pretty Things, but before that had his own sixties R&B outfit the Fairies. After that band, he was in Tomorrow ("My White Bicycle") with future Yes guitarist Steve Howe, around 1967. Twink then briefly formed a duo called The Aquarian Age, before joining up with The Pretty Things and appearing on their concept-album classic S.F. Sorrow in '68, another aQ fave. At that point, for some crazy reason (things were different/better back then) Twink was offered a deal by Sire to do a solo album, and Think Pink was the glorious, if at the time somewhat unheralded, result, recorded in 1969 with Mick Farren of The Deviants producing. Released in 1970 in the US & Europe, but not 'til '71 in the UK, it's been called the first Pink Fairies album, and in a way it is, as soon after making it, Twink did team up with several ex-members of The Deviants, most of whom played on this, to form that infamous proto-punk outfit. And several tracks here feature contributions from what's credited as "The Pink Fairies Motorcycle Club & All Star Rock & Roll Band".
Also participating are several of Twink's Pretty Things bandmates, his girlfriend Silver Darling, and Steve Peregrin Took, Marc Bolan's partner in Tyrannosaurus Rex and early T-Rex, who plays, among other things, "pixie horn". And one of the most crucial contributors to Think Pink, besides Twink himself, has to be guitarist Paul "Blackie" Rudolph, who really lets loose, earning a hallowed place in the annals of distortodelic guitar wrangling for his work on this album alone (though in the course of his career before and after, he also played with The Deviants, Pink Fairies, Hawkwind, Robert Calvert, and Brian Eno).
Eastern-tinged opener "The Coming Of The Other One" sets the scene, pulling us deep into its trippy Aquarian Age fantasy zone, with a solemn voice reciting Nostradamic verses ("In the year 1999 and seven months, from the skies shall come an alarming powerful king...") accompanied by tablas and sitar. Then comes Think Pink's biggest "hit" as far as we're concerned, an utterly perfect slice of stonery psych called "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", just listen to it! That's followed by "Dawn Of Magic" with its raga-like vocal ahhhaaaaahh sounds as if Pandit Pran Nath were on the mic, which suddenly segues into the space-out sike-pop of "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill", a lovely pastoral song that eventually builds into a howling guitar blow-out of the highest order. Then the trippy "Fluid" chimes into being, with its sexy heavy breathing and slinky, springy grooves, making us think of the acid-fried hippy orgasms of krautrockers Brainticket's classic Cottonwood Hill (released later on, in '71, we should also note).
Side two (track six here) opens with the martial fuzz-freakout of "Mexican Grass War", all chanting freaks and wild FX like early Amon Duul and Edgar Broughton Band. The freaky vibes continue, quite weird and wonderful, with the glammed up jam of "Rock An'Roll The Joint", the mellow morbid acoustic strum of "Suicide" and the maniacal "Three Little Piggies", before the album ends with the intense edgy psych pop of "The Sparrow Is A Sign", a song with a malevolent, sinister side to it that reminds us a little bit of Comus - and strangely too of the Sun City Girls, perhaps due to the vocals, provided by Steve Took.
Then, there's all those bonus tracks, the first two of which are actually from the lone 7" single released in '68 by The Aquarian Age, the immediate precursor to the Think Pink project. There's the A side, being the original version of "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box", and the B side, an amusing number called "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard", which displays just the sort of twee, hippie British humor the title suggests. It's great to hear both of those, and the bonus tracks proliferate further with unreleased, alternate versions of more Think Pink material, somewhat heavier or rawer or definitely different, including two takes of "Fluid" and another version of "10,000 Words...", which we can't get enough of anyway.
All in all, a nicely done reissue, as this deserves, with pages and pages of newly-written, informative liner notes, plus lyrics, credits, vintage photos & graphics. Plus, unlike that previous Akarma version, this is a fully-legit release, done with the participation of Twink himself ("issued under exclusive license from Mohammed Abdullah John Alder, February 2013" it says here, and there's even a picture of him today too - apparently he's become a Muslim, and looks quite happy).
By the way... Nobody here at aQ can think about Think Pink, though, and not also think about our "customer" whom we call The Twink Think Pink Guy. We don't believe he's ever actually bought anything, but he's this older guy that comes in once in a while (and has for years) and always, always, ONLY asks about Think Pink, whether we have it in stock or not, and then talks at great length to anyone who will listen about how great it is. It's his favorite record apparently, but don't let that dissuade you, if you get this you probably won't end up like him. Probably.
Message for The Twink Think Pink Guy, if you're reading this: we expect to see you soon!
MPEG Stream: "10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box"
MPEG Stream: "Tiptoe On The Highest Hill"
MPEG Stream: "Fluid"
MPEG Stream: "The Sparrow Is A Sign"
MPEG Stream: "Good Wizard Meets Naughty Wizard"

album cover CROOKED COLUMNS Chemical Mysticism (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
Another choice slab of gnarled industrial dekompositions from Black Horizons! Crooked Columns is a new project to us, hailing from Portland, Oregon with handful of equally unknown ancillary projects from the various members. Searing synth tones, crushing noise concoctions, and an occasional rhythmic outburst of militaristic aplomb set the stage for a cassette that could easily be passed off as something with origins dating back to 1984 from some armpit town in sodden England or from some death-obsessed Italian miserably enduring the Mediterranean sun. Even with all of the noise and grind and toxic bloom, Crooked Columns muster some intriguing variations on their core strategies of loops and noise. Sure there's plenty of references to MB's mechanical lurchings from back in the day, but that extended track with pronounced rhythms has more of a Konstruktivists feel topped with atonal horns and plenty of scabrous blurts of noise. Warbling loops and heart-beat pulses lead into smashed amplifier destruction on the second side of the tape, with plenty of horror-score sound design vibes tossed in for good measure. Really great stuff, we have to say. And as is the case with all of the Black Horizons tapes these days, very nice packaging with gold offset printing on metallic blue paper. Careful though of the drug-sized baggie tucked away inside the J-card. Supposedly, the rusted metal has been dosed with tetanus. Don't tempt fate, please. As with all the Black Horizons tapes... LIMITED TO 100 COPIES.

album cover GRZINICH, JOHN Surface Scripts (Semperflorens) cd 14.98
A mighty fine album of amplified textures, droning experiments, and sonorous acoustics by the American ex-pat John Grzinich, who quietly operates in the Estonian countryside. There, he searches out Soviet-era ruins which have long served as a very rich source material for the tactile events that lace his compositions for long-thin wire instruments and field recordings. While Grzinich laments the fact that Estonia is slowly cleaning up those crumbled sites and once architectural monuments that are now piles of rumble, there are still plenty of sounds to discover and investigate. As his work unfurls, a sense of mystery surrounds his process and the resulting sounds. It seems that it is the wind that drives his wire instruments, but these could be bowed or agitated by mechanical means as well. Regardless, the first lengthy track opens with slow rumbling waves that trace through a quiet passage of wooden creakings, before an ominous, electrically charged buzz slips into the mix. This hum is clinical and inhospitable, leaning towards allusions to abandoned hydro-electric dams or poorly guarded nuclear facilities. By the end of the track, watery recordings cycle forward and overtake the amassed acoustic drones before snapping to an abrupt conclusion. The second piece features an even richer wire-driven drone whose overtones and sub-harmonics glisten in spite of their leaden frequencies. The additional layers of a crackling, rustling, scraping, and other nocturnal bumps in the night parallel the compositional strategies employed by Small Cruel Party and Giancarlo Toniutti, who both allow for the simple interaction between disparate elements which orbit a gravitational drone. Some of the best work we've heard from Grzinich in a while! Limited stock on this one, as it's a Russian pressing. And by the way, it's an actual legitimate Russian pressing, not one of those "Russian" grey area editions.
MPEG Stream: "Planar Migration"
MPEG Stream: "Skew Symmetry"

album cover WAX IDOLS Discipline & Desire (Slumberland) cd 12.98
The title Discipline & Desire refers to Wax Idols' Hether Fortune's day-job (or rather night-job) as a dominatrix, before her tenure in the San Francisco garage-punk scene. In other words, fuck with her at your peril. Fortune's also to be found in the beloved distorto-punk-pop trio Blasted Canyons, whose two albums on Castle Face have long been favorites around these parts. With the first Wax Idols record on Hozac, Fortune didn't wander too far from what she was doing in Blasted Canyons with the short barked punk numbers; but on Discipline & Desire, she's painting her nails black and digging out the old Bauhaus t-shirts from back in the day, for a much darker, death-rock vibe. As such, she's continuing in a line of strong-willed, goth-inflected female fronted bands from San Francisco over the past couple of decades. Obviously, one can look all the way back to Romeo Void and The Avengers, but also more recently to Veronica Lipgloss, Subtonix, and The Vanishing. The songs are driven by Fortune's ice-queen demeanor through which she bellows impassioned tales of lust and fury on top of the buzzsaw drones and primitive rhythmic propulsion. Think X-Mal Deutschland, early Siouxsie, and Killing Joke's Night Time... and you're getting pretty close. Wax Idols also got some production assistance from Marc Burgess of The Chameleons, adding some true black-clad cred to the album. It's a record that's been on pretty heavy rotation here at aQuarius.
MPEG Stream: "Sound Of A Void"
MPEG Stream: "When It Happens"
MPEG Stream: "The Cartoonist"

album cover WAX IDOLS Discipline & Desire (Slumberland) lp 16.98
The title Discipline & Desire refers to Wax Idols' Hether Fortune's day-job (or rather night-job) as a dominatrix, before her tenure in the San Francisco garage-punk scene. In other words, fuck with her at your peril. Fortune's also to be found in the beloved distorto-punk-pop trio Blasted Canyons, whose two albums on Castle Face have long been favorites around these parts. With the first Wax Idols record on Hozac, Fortune didn't wander too far from what she was doing in Blasted Canyons with the short barked punk numbers; but on Discipline & Desire, she's painting her nails black and digging out the old Bauhaus t-shirts from back in the day, for a much darker, death-rock vibe. As such, she's continuing in a line of strong-willed, goth-inflected female fronted bands from San Francisco over the past couple of decades. Obviously, one can look all the way back to Romeo Void and The Avengers, but also more recently to Veronica Lipgloss, Subtonix, and The Vanishing. The songs are driven by Fortune's ice-queen demeanor through which she bellows impassioned tales of lust and fury on top of the buzzsaw drones and primitive rhythmic propulsion. Think X-Mal Deutschland, early Siouxsie, and Killing Joke's Night Time... and you're getting pretty close. Wax Idols also got some production assistance from Marc Burgess of The Chameleons, adding some true black-clad cred to the album. It's a record that's been on pretty heavy rotation here at aQuarius.
MPEG Stream: "Sound Of A Void"
MPEG Stream: "When It Happens"
MPEG Stream: "The Cartoonist"

album cover MAIN Ablation (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
It's been a very long time since Robert Hampson has released a Main album and an even longer time since he's produced a *great* Main album. Ablation changes that, although those who would be expecting the deconstructed hypno-rock of Motion Pool or Hydra-Calm will be disappointed; but those who had followed Hampson's trajectory starting with the last few Main records about a decade ago into spatialized electro-acoustics only to rediscover his infatuation with the drone which finally brought him back to the guitar as a principle instrument will certainly understand where this record is coming from. Hampson is still working at the storied GRM studios in Paris, and there is an infusion of the classic aesthetic of what came out of GRM within Ablation (notably Parmegiani and Ferrari), but at the same time he does link it back, if in a subtle way, to the mesmerism which girded the Main productions in the '90s. That said, any connections to his former group, Loop would be quite a stretch indeed.
On Ablation, Hampson has recruited Stefan Mathieu - a brilliant drone technician in his own right whom we've not heard from in ages - and the pairing works seamlessly, even as it clearly slants towards Hampson's vision of a cold disconnection dispensed in overlapping hissing layers and hypnotic patterns of abstracted sound. The percussive klank of a prepared piano on "I" is a bit of a red herring for what's found throughout Ablation especially on "II" and "III", is a series of slow ellipses of churning guitar drones and golden tonal coronas drifting with all of the uneasy beauty of an android's dream. The closing track "IV" bends along a radiophonic arc with ether crackle and metallic rasping and slow motion pixelations from a sharply rendered synth that forms the coda to the album. Organic. Liquid. Electric. Motorized. Bleak. Holy. All of those adjectives apply to this fantastic album. Welcome back, Main!
MPEG Stream: "II"

album cover PALE REVERSE Words of Ash, Walls of Smoke, Minds of Glass (Petit Mal Music) 3" cd-r 5.98
Words of Ash, Walls of Smoke, Minds of Glass is the debut solo release by the Bay Area avant-rock denizen Gregory Hagan, whose languid violin and tempestuous guitar work was prominently featured in one of our favorite local outfits Common Eider King Eider. He's also active in the Thomas Carnacki performances / recordings as well as in the post-MX-80 project Grale. But as Pale Reverse, he sets down the strings in favor of analogue electronics and a four-track to build this elegantly creepy piece of nocturnal dronemuzik. A ghostly rumble introduces the 20 minute piece which slowly morphs into radiant, shivering oscillations of guilding tones suspended with hiss, mist, and fog. Subtle melodies flicker with beautifully singing overtones echoing throughout the electronics, eventually amassing into a holy crescendo of interlaced dronescapes snapping back to the industrial pall which opened the proceedings. At loud volumes, the tape detritus from multiple overdubs and erasures become all the more obvious and lend more than a few complimentary comparisons to William Basinski. But fans of the BJ Nilsen / Stilluppsteypa collaborations, the latter day works from The Hafler Trio, and even the Caretaker would be well served to check this out. Limited to 73 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Words of Ash, Walls of Smoke, Minds of Glass"

album cover CHILD, ANTHONY The Space Between People And Things (NNA Tapes) lp 19.98
Certainly one of the best thing we've heard to date from the hip electronica label NNA Tapes, and it comes from Anthony Child, better known under his techno moniker Surgeon, as well as for his brutalist British Murder Boys collaboration with Karl O'Connor. Sadly, we've not carried much in the way of the Surgeon catalog, but his variation on techno structuralism is informed by an industrial tension that balances force, control, and rhythm without much melody to get in the way of his graceful yet claustrophobic trax, many of which are on par with the likes of Plastikman and Wolfgang Voigt's first album as Gas. On very rare occasions, Child records under his own name, under the auspices of eschewing the techno underpinnings in favor of tonal abstractions. That's what we've got here on The Space Between People And Things, which opens with a Spartan, if highly squelchy step sequence that rotates between white hot slabs of accelerated white noise. He follows this with an elegant oceanic piece that alternates between several shortwave radioteletype frequencies, which produce the skittering electronic patterns in the delivery of encoded data from radio-linked terminals. It's an outmoded means of communication for sure, but one that you still hear on shortwave today mostly from the US Coast Guard and some governmental organizations. It's still a very eerie sound, with plenty of paranoid X-files overtones, all of which Child happily mines on this album. The second side of the album could actually be something that he might have produced for Surgeon, but with the heavy beats entirely removed. Here's an arpeggiated ambient swath of analog electronics that have all of the deep-space cosmology you'd get from Tangerine Dream's Alpha Centauri or those Eno & Cluster records. There is a bit more of a cybernetic sheen to Child's production than the prog-synth smoothness of his predecessors; and he pushes this toward the end of side two with some sharply rendered swells of sinewave oscillations which follow a similar oceanic patterning from the shortwave work on side one. This would be one for fans of Daphne Oram, Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy For Lilith, and BJ Nilsen. Recommended for sure!
MPEG Stream: "Side A (extract)"
MPEG Stream: "Side B (extract)"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND / ORGANUM A Missing Sense / Rasa (United Dairies / RRRecords) cassette 6.98
Originally released as a split LP, then later reissued on separate anthologies of each project, this is the cassette version of the classic Nurse With Wound / Organum split from 1986.
The Nurse With Wound side is "A Missing Sense" which is a brilliant homage to the ultra-quiet /proto-lowercase composition "Automating Writing" by Robert Ashley, which is a very subtle composition of cut-up vocals and gasps with distant rumblings all of which flutter just at the event horizon at the edge of perceptibility. Stapleton's construction was originally designed as a private tape to which he could drop acid to, as everything in his huge record collection was far too shattering for his lysergic states. "A Missing Sense" like Automatic Writing is very quiet, with small vocalizations and sexualized gasps punctuating the muffled incidental sounds of what could very well be somebody vacuuming their carpet upstairs. Very subtle for sure, but there's plenty of room to take in the absolute strangeness of Stapleton's visionary work.
Here's what we had to say about Organum's "Rasa" which was featured on the now out of print Volume One collection released through Robot Records: The timeless, acoustic drones that make up the music of Organum could have been made for the beginning of the world or for its final breath; yet Jackman has always avoided assigning any specific metaphors to his work. Instead, this is music that attempts to exist purely within its own context, unconcerned with anything beyond its self-defined borders. Grinding motorcycle engines, steel strung instruments, bowed metal, and Japanese flutes are the instruments that continuously reappear throughout Organum. However grim, Industrial, grating, dissonant, or punishing Organum could be with such instrumentations, Jackman always manages to arrange his work to emphasize the dynamic and often beautiful tonalities of those sounds.
MPEG Stream: "A Missing Sense"
MPEG Stream: "Rasa"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND Automating Vol. 1 (United Dairies / RRRecords) cassette 6.98
Now, a limited time, we have this classic NWW recording on cassette!
Automating Volume 1 is a collection of recordings that Steven Stapleton made for compilations between 1981 and 1986. The album starts out on a really wacky note with "Duelling Banjos" (from the United Dairies compilation "Hoisting The Black Flag" released in 1981.) An uptight drum machine relentlessly chuggs alongside whimsical farts and blurts of archetypal NWW sounds (as heard on "Alas The Madonna Does Not Function" and "A Missing Sense"). The second track, "Stick That Chick & Feel My Steel Through Your Last Meal" (from the 1986 Laylah compilation "The Fight Is On"), is a Fluxus-esque composition of creaky noise making, with spurts of groans, more fart sounds, party favors, zithers and percussion objects (a lot of the material found on "Homotopy To Marie" can be found here). The third track, "Nana Or A Thing of Uncommon Nonsense", is another silly track (featured on the 1983 X-tract compilation Elephant Table Album), starting out with a tasteless racial joke and then sputtering through a random collage of bongos and football chants (plus, a lot of the polka loops on the Sylvie & Babs lp are used on this.) The album then turns to Stapleton's dark side with his very creepy submission to the Come Organisation album Fur Ilse Koch (1982) on which a little German girl pleads for her father accompanied by an ever intensifying psychoacoustically irritating high frequency drone. What may in fact be more disturbing than this track is to hear my co-worker Byram muttering the little girl's words as syntatical anomalies in his already idiosyncratic vocabulary.
The remainder of Automating Vol. 1 revolves around Stapleton's fascination with Robert Ashley's compositions in one form or another. "I Was No Longer His Dominant", taken from the 1982 United Dairies release An Afflicted Man's Musica Box is a creepy homage to Ashley's "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon". The aforementioned Ashley piece is an unsettling meditation on muffled conversations and muted electronics which mysteriously express a psychosexual overtone. Stapleton's homages to Ashley are a fortunately less academic sounding and pack more of a punch.
Certainly, this work stands with Homotopy For Marie and 150 Murderous Passions as the records to document Stapleton's formative years.
MPEG Stream: "I Was No Longer His Dominant"
MPEG Stream: "Fashioned To A Device Behind A Tree"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND Homotopy To Marie (United Dairies / RRRecords) cassette 6.98
Now, a limited time, we have this classic NWW recording on cassette!
Of all of the Nurse With Wound records (and we like a bunch of them!), this is quite possibly our favorite. Perhaps because it makes the least 'sense,' with a textbook definition of how Surrealism can be accurately applied in an aural context. Within Homotopy To Marie, Steven Stapleton (the proprietor of Nurse With Wound) addresses most of Andre Breton's qualifications of Surrealism as "pure psychic automatism, by which an attempt is made to express, either verbally, in writing or in any other manner, the true functioning of thought. The dictation of thought, in the absence of all control by the reason, excluding any aesthetic or moral preoccupation." In many respects, John Cage took Breton's theories to one possible logical end; but Stapleton wanted to bridge contemporary musical production techniques (musique concrete informed by Industrial culture) with the original Surrealist fascination with Victorian imagery applied to Freudian definitions of fetishism, thus offering a version of Surrealism that fits better with how Breton may have thought Surrealism would sound. References to culture and the world as we know it abound in this record, but in such a convoluted way as to appear perfectly normal next to something that would normally be aurally incongruous. The title itself certainly refers to this. Often utilized within the highly specialized vocabularies of genetics and chemical engineering (you think that *we* get verbose!), a homotopy (as best as we could determine) is the relationship between a specific object and the fundamental characteristics that define the family in which that object belongs. Who Marie could be is perhaps best left between Stapleton and Marie.
Homotopy To Marie is Stapleton's finest audio collage, culled from various studio sessions, found sounds, and unknown media samples. Proceeding along at a stately pace, this album is certainly not a quiet affair, yet each sound within the album is given plenty to hold its unique place with the collage at large. It opens with "I Cannot Feel You as the Dogs are Laughing and I am Blind" -- a close investigation of shards of glass with a gated volume filter on it to accentuate the brittleness and fragmentation of the sound, followed by a period of snoring (presumably from Stapleton) which shifts to various screams, maniacal laughs, and hysterical utterances as if from an asylum. The title track is an amazing collage of a multiple gongs with the tonal rings augmented by occasional backwards masking and manipulated attack. The rest of the album is a clutter of nondescript distortion, feedback from guitar buzz, microphones overloaded by megaphones screaming into them, broken by backwards dialogues in Spanish, rag time pianos, and clattering horns finally explode into a whimsical polka but have a weird aura surrounding them like when Hermann Nitsch uses polkas as punctuations to his orchestral drones.
Homotopy To Marie is a confounding album that matches its psychological instability with its dexterity in its composition, that leaves you not with a recognition of sound within an organized context, but the feeling of unidentifiable unease. An absolute masterpiece.
MPEG Stream: "I Cannot Feel You As The Dogs..."
MPEG Stream: "Homotopy To Marie"

album cover DUNCAN, JOHN John See Soundtracks (RRRecords) cd 9.99
BACK IN STOCK, AT A LOWER PRICE!!! In the early '80s, John Duncan moved from Los Angeles to Tokyo where he began a number of very interesting works with grandiose agendas of destabilization and transgression. One facet of his Toyko period was his pirate radio station using the frequency of NHK 1 after that station signed off at night. But perhaps the most infamous work was the pornography that Duncan produced under the pseudonym John See. Part of the intention of the John See series was for this work to be used by the viewer as source material for any video collage work; of course, Duncan was also going for sexual titillation as well. During that time Duncan shot five films for the adult film company Kuki - Doll, Fallen Angel, Inka, Aidayuki Passion, and Power Love. There are some distinctly unconventional aspects to these films, as Duncan often layered multiple images and early video effects during the build up to the money shot. But most of the sex and the "scripting" around those sex scenes tended to be pretty standard fare. What's most bizarre about Duncan's porn is the soundtrack that he uses. Instead of the funk grooves and wah-wah guitar workouts, he recontextualizes the ecstatic gasps and moans from his own footage alongside sterile drones culled from shortwave. If anything his use of sound is the most provocative element to the John See films.
In 1994, Duncan returned to the John See series, remastering several of the scores as well as remixing others in new compositions (which fit into his original idea that this work should be recycled for the viewer's use). The John See Soundtracks is a quintessential document of Duncan's early styles which ruptured violently with shortwave static and sexual outbursts in direct contrast to the cauldron of somatic fluctuations and electrical drones.
MPEG Stream: "Breathchoir Mix"
MPEG Stream: "Power Love"
MPEG Stream: "Move Forward"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND & WHITEHOUSE 150 Murderous Passions (United Dairies / RRRecords) cassette 6.98
Now, a limited time, we have this classic recording on cassette! It is a little unfortunate that we've never reviewed this album, although it has graced the aQuarius shelves from time to time. 150 Murderous Passions sometimes designates the name of the 'band' and sometimes, it's the name of the album penned by Steven Stapleton (aka Nurse With Wound) and William Bennett (aka Whitehouse) in 1981. Regardless of how anybody wants to qualify the album, there are two distinct variations on these recordings, with both producers offering up their own take on the original source material. Bennett scoffed that the version Stapleton produced lacks the in-the-red intensity he envisioned for the album; and to be blunt, Bennett is totally fucking wrong. Stapleton (who published his through his own United Dairies, with Bennett's getting a Come Productions make-over) definitely offers the superior version, with Bennett -- despite all of his infamy in the late 70s and early '80s -- really not coming into his own until some five or six years afterwards. Yes, power electronics do require some finesse. But that's not to say this is a walk in the park for a Nurse With Wound album; there's plenty of atonal metal screeches, echolocation rhythmic patterns of klanging noise, stabs of feedback, and unholy screams which get collaged into a very claustrophobic, demented composition. Anyway, all of the other versions of these recordings are totally out of print, with their future reissue probability being a big question mark. So, if you don't have this awesome album already, get the tape. Now.
MPEG Stream: "150 Murderous Passions"

album cover SUN CITY GIRLS Eye Mohini: Sun City Girls Singles Vol. 3 (Abduction) cd 16.98
The second volume in the ongoing series of singles compilations from legendary outfit the Sun City Girls was one of the many duds that frustrate so much of the die-hard SCG fanbase. It was especially frustrating given that the first volume - You're Never Alone With A Cigarette (which as of spring 2013 is sadly out of print) - was so fucking good, mostly due to the fact that much of that material was made up of tracks that were left off the group's masterpiece, Torch Of The Mystics. At one time, TOTM was slated to be a double lp set with the Girls working towards fleshing out the whole album with a bunch of similar sounding tracks. So when the album dropped just as a single slab of wax, all of the remnants ended up finding their way onto various singles back in the early '90s. As Volume One did feature many of those leftovers, Volume Three thankfully completes the task, with two of those discarded Torch tracks culled from the Three Fake Female Orgasms 7" (released on Majora in 1991) as well as all of the cuts from the Eye Mohini and Borungku Si Derita singles (both released through Majora in 1992 and 1993 respectively, the latter featuring a different version of "Esoterica Of Abyssynia" from Torch Of The Mystics, just to make things all the more confusing). There's also a different version of "Kickin The Dragon" from the other SCG masterpiece 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda, as well as a live version of another Torch classic, "The Flower".
The title track here in particular is a classic Sun City Girls jam, with Richard Bishop's desert-blues inspired fingerpicking seamlessly shifting from Arabic flourishes to Southeast Asian folk-pop and the more commonplace No Depression styled Americana, all with brother Alan plaintively sounding out syllabically a maudlin melody that may or may not be complete nonsense or some polyglot of languages dialed in by the Girls' esoteric antenna to all sorts of wild and wonderful songs from around the world. "Gum Arabic" is a terse re-interpretation of heavy Turkish psychedelia which would certainly foreshadow Sublime Frequencies eventual reissue collection of Erkin Koray's works. "Abydos Carousel Tapsel" has a bad-ass south-of-the-border vibe which shifts into an unhinged jubliant psych-folk in "Borungku Si Derita" which strangely sounds a lot like Comus! With so much of the Sun City Girls catalogue terminally out of print, getting a hold of anything from the band is a cause for celebration; but getting an album as great as this, even a collection, maybe especially a collection, is all the more reason to rejoice. And for those uninitiated into the demented psych-punk weirdness of SCG, this is a really great place to start.
MPEG Stream: "Eye Mohini"
MPEG Stream: "It's Ours"
MPEG Stream: "Kal el lazi kad ham"

album cover ENSEMBLE ECONOMIQUE The Vastness Is Bearable Only Through Love (Shelter Press) lp 19.98
If there was any artist who deserved to be covered on aQ List #420, it would have to be Brian Pyle. Even though we've heard rumors that the man from Humboldt county gave up smoking pot - even if it just for a short amount of time - the residual THC levels in his bloodstream and around the synapses of his brain are so strong that when 4:20 rolls around, the rhythms and the rituals of the long-term stoner seem to have permanently ingrained a daily jolt of chemically induced mind-expansion. Mr. Pyle is of course one of the drivers behind such aQ favorite projects as the Starving Weirdos and RV Paintings, with his solo work designated as Ensemble Economique, although all three projects do share a ramshackle, atonal aspect that tosses absolutely everything into the mix of horror score sound design, avant-drone hypnosis, no-fi pop madness, and woozily looped psychedelic constructions all stained with a stoner touch.
The title is an allusion to Carl Sagan, with Pyle showing much more restraint in his schizoid ambience than we've ever heard from him. A tense two note piano loop cycles through the side long title track, with icy shivers of time-stretched electronics casting wave after wave of late-night Videodrome vibes. Hissing repetitions gird "All That Remains Is The Night Sky" with analog synths dialed into zoned-out cosmic buzzings with shimmering melodies flickered in the distant and atonal harmonics that could almost be Tibetan horns if they weren't so electronic. Wind-swept field recordings scrape across a golden radiant drone broadcast through Pyle's synths on the minimalist long-form closer "Something New Is Happening" whose uncanny tones suspend time amidst its whisps, swirls, and flurries. More brilliant stuff from Brian Pyle, to whom we say "you're welcome" for getting him on to list 420. We just had to do it.
400 copies, on blue vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "The Vastness Is Bearable Only Through Love"

album cover XENAKIS, IANNIS GRM Works 1957-1962 (Editions Mego) lp 25.00
Iannis Xenakis took up residence in the GRM studios in 1957 during the time when it was run by Pierre Schaefer. Over the next five years, Xenakis composed a handful of works, most of which have made their way onto this Editions Mego produced anthology, including "Concrete PH" (1958), "Orient-Occident" (1960), "Diamorphosis" (1957-1958), and "Bohor" (1962). Commissioned as the sound design for the 1958 Phillips Pavilion constructed by the acclaimed architect Le Corbussier, "Concrete PH" was sourced entirely from the sound of burning charcoal, with the crackling sounds being sped up and overdubbed via tape to enhance its brittle tactility in a dense cloud of tumbling sound. This simple piece of audio construction doesn't even reach 3 minutes in length, but is one of those early pieces of electronic music that has inspired countless adventurous musicians over the intervening six decades. Take your pick: Faust, Einsturzende Neubauten, Small Cruel Party, Scott Walker, etc. "Orient-Occident" is a recomposed extract from the soundtrack that Xenakis provided to UNESCO commissioned film by Enrico Fulchignoni. Here, Xenakis builds his piece through the sounds of bowed gongs, with aggregated crescendos of dense metallic reverberation which he intuitively balances with ambient rumblings and radiophonic sine-wave flutterings. Again, this is a very instructive piece of electronic music, not only an obvious precursor to Nurse With Wound's Homotopy To Marie but also to Stockhausen's Mikrophonie which was begun a few years later in 1964. "Diamorphosis" is probably the closest that Xenakis ever came to producing a true musique concrete piece with its jagged start-stop assemblage and almost formalist, spider-web like passages whose loose interpretation of serialism serves him very well. "Bohor" was the last piece that Xenakis composed at GRM, and he dedicated the piece to Pierre Schaefer, who did not appreciate the piece whatsoever. Do keep in mind that Schaefer also didn't care of Eliane Radigue's work with feedback and minimalism, so the attack-softened clamorings from various tuned pieces of metal into a static amalgam is actually not that far from the maximalist / minimalist approach of Organum and the denser moments of early Andrew Chalk. Again some three decades before either were beginning their careers! Much of this work has been long out of print, even on CD, so kudos to Editions Mego for reintroducing these seminal recordings.
MPEG Stream: "Concrete PH"
MPEG Stream: "Orient-Occident"
MPEG Stream: "Bohor"

album cover JE SUIS LE PETIT CHEVALIER Dark Morse (Shelter Press) cassette 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Dark Morse is a super limited cassette from the brilliant Belgian drone-songstress Felicia Atkinson aka Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier, a moniker snatched from Nico's Desertshore album. Her synth, reverb, and vocal concoctions earn her favorable comparisons to Motion Sickness Of Time Travel and Grouper; but she's continuing to delve into deeper waters away from any psychedelic inclinations and toward a darkly psychological sentiment. Dark Morse is based on the Don Delillo collection of short stories The Angel Esmeralda, whose thematic arcs and intertwining narratives bristle with rape, murder, and surreal miracles popping up on highway billboards. Atkinson's condensation of Delillo's work adheres to a suitably sinister atmosphere. Shadowy, occluded sounds of ghost-clattering rhythms, narcoleptic vocals, and ill-tempered drone-melodies sprawl across the 38 minutes as shape-shifting amalgams that come in and out of existence through an ectoplasmic ambience. The witchiness of it all makes us think that this wouldn't be too far out of place alongside the Demdike Stare associates / affiliates of Anworth Kirk, Slant Azymuth, Suum Cuique, and David Orphan. While 200 copies may seem like a beefy production run for a cassette, this is too good to be sitting around for long.
MPEG Stream: "Extract 1"
MPEG Stream: "Extract 2"

album cover BISCHOFF, JOHN Aperture (23five Incorporated) cd 14.98
BACK IN STOCK!
Currently a faculty member in the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College, John Bischoff has been composing music with computers and electronics since the mid 70s, and has always focused his compositions towards malleable forms that best suit live performances. Within this context, Bischoff seeks to position the construction of sound far beyond the common perception of synthetic music as a mere simulation of the intrinsic sounds of traditional instruments. Instead, Bischoff qualifies his work as the realization of a "reflective intention," where he determines sonic structure not only through the predetermined elements which go into a piece, but also through the active process of listening to the music as it happens and responding accordingly. During the '70s when programming involved crude systems of binary code, Bischoff's vision of the possibilities for computer-based composition fused to performative agency seemed implausible; yet in hindsight, his artistic imperatives were incredibly prescient of contemporary tools such as the nearly omnipotent audio synthesis language Max/MSP, which has been at the core of Bischoff's recent work. An aptly named set of compositions, Aperture opens the possibility for multiple readings through a series of diverse techniques ranging from additive synthesis to FM synthesis to sampled-based processes. Each of the pieces on the album was recorded in real-time with no overdubs. Aperture introduces itself with clusters of samples that sprawl with the deliberate pacing of Morton Feldman's later period, yet Bischoff renders what might be recognizable citations of a piano or percussion as pointillist condensations of digitized pixels and precise plastic details. Over the course of the following pieces, Bischoff unleashes coarse streams of electrons which flange and pulse within the caustic firestorm of divergent timestretching, giving the impression that Bischoff is quite literally tearing the fabric of sound. Bischoff also offers a collaboration with Kenneth Atchley and complements the oversaturated physical noise of Atchley's water fountain sculptures with short digital articulations that ride on the top of Atchley's dense textures.
This is Bischoff's first recording in quite sometime, and has been well worth the wait!
MPEG Stream: "Piano 7hz"
MPEG Stream: "Immaterial States"
MPEG Stream: "Sealed Cantus"

album cover DURUTTI COLUMN LC (1972) cd 14.98
Now reissued on cd!!
There are those certain records for all of us that just change things when they enter your world. For a few of us here, this 1981 album by Durutti Column is one of those records. An album that showed that music could be sparse and majestic at the same time. D.I.Y., yet and grandiose in how it evokes emotion, memory, longing and desire. The work of Vini Reilly, Durutti Column emerged out of Factory Records yet their sound was something completely of its own world. Merging impeccable guitar playing with subtle drum machines, soft vocals and a golden warmth that makes this one of those albums that makes you melt every time you put it on.
Pastoral and blissful, LC is filled with both perfect restraint and full on flowing beauty. You can hear how traces of the more blissed out side of Krautrock influenced him, merging that with the stripped down emotional quality of British folk and placing it into a very modern moment. While not an obscure band by any measure, we are still blown away though by how many people who would love Durutti Column have never heard them. And with the reissue of their first two lp's we hope that so many of those folks finally do. We could go on and on listing folks whose music we love and who have undoubtedly been influenced by Durutti Column, and this record in particular: Felt, Fuqugi, Danny Paul Grody, Colleen, James Blackshaw, Ducktails, Fennesz, Manuel, A.R. Kane, My Bloody Valentine, and on and on. One of our favorite records of all time, so if you didn't have this before, now's the time!
MPEG Stream: "Messidor"
MPEG Stream: "Never Known"
MPEG Stream: "The Missing Boy"

album cover JESUS & MARY CHAIN Barbed Wire Kisses (1972) lp 15.98
Even though it's the outtake and b-sides album (which often mostly exists as an excuse for an artist to get out of a contract by tossing together some unrelated castoffs), Barbed Wire Kisses showcases the most volatile and most dynamic facets of the Jesus & Mary Chain, when they would unleash all of their hurricane fury of distortion and amplifier destruction on one b-side, and for another, they'd cut a beautiful acoustic rendering of one of their tunes from Psychocandy, still clad in jet-black reverb. Sure Psychocandy is a non-stop thrill ride; but the introspective moments of Barbed Wire Kisses make the screamed noise loosely adhering to a dum-dum '60s punk anthem all the more visceral. The surf references which greased Psychocandy are even more pronounced in these tracks, from the lead track "Kill Surf City" to the cover of the Beach Boys' mega-hit "Surfin' USA", completely laden with gloom and grit, compounded by the fact that the Brothers Reid probably never saw any sunlight. The more sedate tracks are found in "Don't Ever Change", which sounds so much like an outtake from Darklands, because it WAS an outtake from Darklands; and then there's the acoustic version of "Taste Of Cindy" which we alluded to earlier and may be the highlight of the album with a prettiness rarely associated with JAMC and sounding sorta similar to those Dave Pajo covers of the Misfits. It should be noted that this reissue reproduces the tracklisting from the original vinyl pressing, and does not include the 4 bonus tracks found on the cd version. If you never picked this up back in the day, now's your chance to grab a CLASSIC.
MPEG Stream: "Upside Down"
MPEG Stream: "Sidewalking"
MPEG Stream: "Taste Of Cindy (Acoustic)"

album cover VERONICA FALLS Waiting For Something To Happen (Slumberland) lp 14.98
Now here on vinyl...
Oh, how we waited for this album! The British quartet's eponymous album from 2011 had become a staple here at aQuarius, hitting all the right sweet spots of jangly, retro indie rock with super catchy girl/boy harmonies that fit perfectly next to old favorites like Unrest, Heavenly, Beat Happening, and whatever your particular favorite C86 band might have been. There was probably a stretch of time when it would be an anomaly if that album *wasn't* being played in the middle of a Saturday afternoon at aQ.
So, Waiting For Something To Happen is an album that undoubtedly has really big shoes to fill; and admittedly, the first couple of listens found us wondering what happened to the tension between the sourpuss punk and the giggly twee, which left us with such a warm and fuzzy feeling on that the first album. Instead, the band has settled into a melancholy jangle that pushes towards those brilliant arrangements John Squire penned on the first Stone Roses record (sans the Madchester grooviness, Veronica Falls still champion the VU minimal-motorik-mono beat) or maybe those tunes Vini Reily wrote for Morrissey's first solo record, proving to be a deft replacement for Johnny Marr. Veronica Falls may have pulled the tempo down a bit, but they are filling in the gaps with a few more baroque flourishes (like something close to a guitar solo, which was entirely absent on the first album); but seriously, do yourself a favor if you loved the first record, pick this up and give it a few spins to let the songs sink into your skull. You'll be rewarded mightily!
MPEG Stream: "Broken Toy"
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For Something To Happen"
MPEG Stream: "My Heart Beats"

album cover SHOEMAKER, MATT Erosion Of The Analogous Eye (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) cd 12.98
A very prescient, and very good, record by the sound-artist / field recordist Matt Shoemaker, Erosion Of The Analogous Eye pushes his work of tonal exploration and exaggerated found sounds into the neighborhood of many of the post-noise cosmic explorers who have been blossoming in every corner of the US it seems. At the same time, this is very much a Matt Shoemaker record, following a trajectory set forth through his acclaimed work on the once-mighty Trente Oiseaux label.
An ur-drone of analog synthesis opens the album, obviously harkening to '70s kosmische activities certainly a muscular revisitation of Schulze or even an extraction from Richard Pinhas. Such a lazerbeam of a drone has a lysergic sunrise feel to it, with the light and shadow brought into sharp relief, the colors shifted and separating into spectral bursts of yellow, red, pink, and orange. Yet, slowly, Shoemaker introduces atonal drones which clash with that introductory suspension. At first, the metallic slashes have almost an Andrew Chalk and Jonathan Coleclough feel, but Shoemaker quickly dispels those notions with a layer of field recordings of insects ravenously scurrying about. That introductory tone, which still continues through this first track, bends like a divebombing plane with Doppler tones trailing behind, descending in a series of bell tones. All of this in a seamless 17 minutes. A steady rhythm of gamelan bell tones opens the second track with accumulated complimentary drones shimmering and vibrating while harmonic dissonance abounds, collapsing into a quiet stream of percolating textures. Spread across 24 minutes, this track seems ancient and sounds beguilingly beautiful. Bellowing rumbles amplify out of recordings of rain, mud, and water and steadily arching through a metallic rattling of various pipes and gongs for the final track, which eventually gives way to an uneasy set of recordings of birds in a rainforest whose calls echo through the trees.
As with all Helen Scarsdale releases the packaging is stellar. Letterpressed text with hand-dyed paper. Each are different, each are quite special. Oh yeah, limited to a mere 300 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Erosion A"
MPEG Stream: "Erosion B"
MPEG Stream: "The Analogous Eye"

album cover TURMAN, ROBERT Beyond Painting (Fabrica) 2lp 35.00
Beyond Painting displays another facet of the enigmatic Robert Turman. Way back in the late '70s, he founded the seminal noise project NON with Boyd Rice, who soon adopted the name for his own work, with Turman seemingly disappearing from the public realm for well over three decades. There were just a smattering of self-released cassettes which emerged in the '80s, but it wasn't until John Elliott unearthed the beautifully hypnotic patter of Turman's 1981 cassette Flux on Spectrum Spools, that people began to really pay attention to Turman's work. Then the slew of Turman 'reissues' began to emerge, although it's really hard to call them reissues as the original editions were utterly minuscule. Beyond Painting dates back to 1990, but wasn't released for another 20 years as a self-released cd-r in an edition of just 100 copies; and thankfully gets a proper 2lp reissue via Fabrica. While Turman is often associated with noise culture, all of the work we've been able to hear (outside the early Non recordings) has steered clear of an aggressive tone with Flux adopting an introspective minimalism and with Beyond Painting taking a somber approach to ambient music with a distinctly postindustrial touch (e.g. Zoviet France, Cranioclast, etc.).
Spectral hues and back-masked synth notes interlock for the introductory "Soft Self Portrait" which ends up being austere, bleak, and self-negating if in fact it is a self portrait. A slow-motion, post-punk dubby bass line girds the stalker atmosphere of "Al Qa'ida" with its buzzing, harmonic synth lines. The name of this track in 1990 wouldn't have had the cultural weight that it does now, but there is a desperation and abjection to the desolate melodies that pushes through the lens of 9/11 right on through today. Another masterfully done piece is found in "Relux" whose eerily sci-fi / narcoleptic melodies predating what Aphex did on Selected Ambient Works II, but way creepier, or even what Burzum did on the ambient half of Filosofem. Yeah, it's that good! The second LP holds more of a Zeit era Tangerine Dream vibe with deep cosmic swells and hypnotic patterning through resonant tones and melancholy coloring. Who knows what other hidden recordings may emerge from the vaults of Robert Turman? Please keep 'em coming!
MPEG Stream: "Al Qa'ida"
MPEG Stream: "Reflux"
MPEG Stream: "Subterra"

album cover VERONICA FALLS Waiting For Something To Happen (Slumberland) cd 12.98
Oh, how we waited for this album! The British quartet's eponymous album from 2011 had become a staple here at aQuarius, hitting all the right sweet spots of jangly, retro indie rock with super catchy girl/boy harmonies that fit perfectly next to old favorites like Unrest, Heavenly, Beat Happening, and whatever your particular favorite C86 band might have been. There was probably a stretch of time when it would be an anomaly if that album *wasn't* being played in the middle of a Saturday afternoon at aQ.
So, Waiting For Something To Happen is an album that undoubtedly has really big shoes to fill; and admittedly, the first couple of listens found us wondering what happened to the tension between the sourpuss punk and the giggly twee, which left us with such a warm and fuzzy feeling on that the first album. Instead, the band has settled into a melancholy jangle that pushes towards those brilliant arrangements John Squire penned on the first Stone Roses record (sans the Madchester grooviness, Veronica Falls still champion the VU minimal-motorik-mono beat) or maybe those tunes Vini Reily wrote for Morrissey's first solo record, proving to be a deft replacement for Johnny Marr. Veronica Falls may have pulled the tempo down a bit, but they are filling in the gaps with a few more baroque flourishes (like something close to a guitar solo, which was entirely absent on the first album); but seriously, do yourself a favor if you loved the first record, pick this up and give it a few spins to let the songs sink into your skull. You'll be rewarded mightily!
MPEG Stream: "Broken Toy"
MPEG Stream: "Waiting For Something To Happen"
MPEG Stream: "My Heart Beats"

BAUHAUS In The Flat Field (4AD) lp 16.98

BAUHAUS Mask (Beggars Banquet) lp 16.98

album cover GROUPER The Man Who Died In His Boat (Kranky) cd 14.98
Grouper's Liz Harris seems to be settling in comfortably on the Kranky label, with the release so far of the two AIA lps on cd for the first time, the debut from Mirrorring (Harris's duo project with Jesy Fortino from Tiny Vipers), and this "new" release, The Man Who Died In His Boat, which has come out in conjunction with a lp and cd reissue of her 2008 record Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, an AQ favorite. The release/re-release of both records together is no coincidence as the tracks on The Man Who Died In His Boat were recorded during the same sessions as Dragging A Dead Deer, and the new record has a long lost twin feel that we haven't heard on subsequent Grouper records since then. While she still employs the waves of foggy reverb and layered far away voices, there is a reappearance of fully formed songs and a sheen of less-filtered clarity. Both records are informed by key childhood memories, this one by a discovery with her father of beached sailboat, and their speculation about the man who disappeared sailing it. The ocean roar, swelling waves of reverbed sound, and the far away sadness of acoustic sea shanties pour throughout the release creating a moving hypnotic spell which invariably holds us helpless in its grasp. Beautiful!
Currently, we only have the cd version, but the vinyl versions of both this and the reissue of Dragging A Dead Deer are supposedly alredy being repressed.
MPEG Stream: "Vital"
MPEG Stream: "Difference (Voices)"
MPEG Stream: "The Man Who Died In His Boat"
MPEG Stream: "Living Room"

album cover SCHNITZLER, CONRAD Ballet Statique (M=Minimal) cd 26.00
An album that launched thousands of better known records, Ballet Statique is Conrad Schniztler's masterpiece. Schnitzler, of course, was a maverick in the Krautrock community, having been an original member of both Tangerine Dream and Kluster, and later developing an expressive language of tape collage and electronic synthesis which expanded upon his early studies with Joseph Beuys. His most influential works, however, came out in the late '70s following an almost serialist body of work based on the poetics of various colors through electronic sound, eventually leading to Ballet Statique. It was originally released with the title 'Con' back in 1978 through the Barclay funded Egg Records, Ballet Statique is a skeletal distillation of progressive electronics into a bleak hypnosis of rotating melodies, atonal slashes of synthetic noise, and proto-techno rhythmic propulsion. While this album has been reissued a few times since it's original release, the current infatuation with late '70s electronics - especially through the psychedelic and minimal-wave sensibilities - make this reissue especially timely. "Electric Garden" is one of those elegantly simple pieces of electronica with an abstracted, almost random melody guiding Schnitzler's rigid step sequence cast in a cosmic shower of delay ripples with bent electro-shock noises sliding up and down against his motorik drum machine. From a track like this, one can see where Aphex Twin would have been able to make such a profound break from rave culture with these head-spinning sequences. "Metall 1" is all space-dust and comet debris hung weightlessly through Schnitzler's ominous undulations of bright synthetic shimmers and lurching rumbles of metallic low-end, clearly the inspiration for pretty much everything that John Elliott of Emeralds has ever touched. The deep-space sonor pulses of "Black Nails" reprise the tone-bent noises Schnitzler produced on "Electric Garden," looking forward to the robotic bleakness of Monoton, Dome, and Omit. It's pretty shocking how good this record is, and how timeless it sounds, even with the current strain of '70s revivalism.
This new cd reissue of Ballet Statique comes with a 30 minute bonus track edited from the Red Cassette, which is essentially an extended jam on the sound sources found on the album's cut "Zug," which is pretty awesome to hear in long-form context. So highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Electric Garden"
MPEG Stream: "Metall I"
MPEG Stream: "Red Cassette"

album cover NURSE WITH WOUND Insect And Individual Silenced (Expanded Edition) (United Dairies) cd 14.98
BACK IN STOCK!!!
Steve Stapleton has always viewed Insect And Individual Silenced as a monumental failure. So much so, that he had resisted every attempt by friends, colleagues, and other labels to convince him to reissue this album. Yet, with this reissue, he's finally been convinced to the contrary. Insect And Individual Silenced emerged as the fourth Nurse With Wound album back in 1980, and found Steve Stapleton out on his own as the principal soundmaker for the ensemble. Yet he had convinced Jim Thirlwell (Foetus) and Trevor Reidy to join him in the studio, just to see what would happen. According to the liner-notes, the studio sessions found Thirlwell fucking around with his amplifier, cable buzz, and the jack-plugs; Reidy brought in a drum kit, which he skitters across on one of the three original cuts on the album; and Stapleton had his arsenal of junk, toys, and tapes. Through the aid of drugs and alcohol, Stapleton mixed and mastered the album; and quickly sent it off to get it pressed. When the albums arrived, he admits being horrified by the results, qualifying it as "a dismal failure, a dreadful pressing, and an appallingly carefree mix - in fact a seriously misguided project altogether." So he vowed to never reissue the album by burning the masters.
Yet some 25 years later, a confluence of events forced Steve to reconsider his position, and as Steve finally returned to the work, he now admits being "pleasantly surprised." That said, Insect was reissued through Raash Records in 2007, with that label dissolving amidst unseemly rumors; and now the album gets a proper reissue through Stapleton's United Dairies, complete with a lengthy bonus track that was commissioned for a unpublished 'suitcase edition' through Raash.
Insect is an album guided by the slice of a razor, as tape edits had to be done by hand. Stapleton's collage techniques have always been deft in their erratic disruptions and maniacal detours, and Insect is no exception. The first track "Alvin's Funeral" is a wonderful and wild ride through demented sounds all going in multiple directions at once, which make it easy to get lost in this maze of distortion, sound effects, and splattered guitar noise. There's an urban gamelan of springs and bowls with the varispeed being fucked with as the tape drags across the recording heads; there's the screeched sound of metal dragged against the floor, overblowing what the magnetic tape could handle (ah, what a lovely sound compared to the ugliness of digital peaking!); there's a sampled scream from Disney's Haunted Mansion lp; and then some surprisingly sublime moments where a collaged section of distant female vocals duet with a string of shells being shaken. But the jump cuts and quick edits of dynamic volumes between the quiet and loud that keep this moving at a frantic pace. The second piece seems to have much more of that aforementioned studio session present with skittering drums and searing white hot guitar noise grating against the ears. The third track is a precursor to the screeching metal collages of Organum, albeit far more feral and atonal. This brings us to the the bonus track "Tooth, Teeth, Milk, Teeth, Skin" which is very much a contemporary collage of eerie female vocals looped into a mesmerizing ambience blown apart by harsh, musique concrete jump-cuts.
It's obvious that what Steve Stapleton may view as his own personal failure is greater than most everything that's come afterward from any of the post-industrial soundscapers.
MPEG Stream: "Alvin's Funeral"
MPEG Stream: "Absent Old Queen Underfoot"
MPEG Stream: "Mutiles De Guerre"

album cover UN FESTIN SAGITAL Bestias Solares (Black Horizons) cassette 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Holy shit, this is so fucked up, but in all the right ways. And thus, becomes our first ever CASSETTE Record Of The Week! One of those records that had EVERYone here sorta freaking out. And on it's first spin in the store, had all the folks in the back rushing up front to see what the heck was playing!
Un Festin Sagital are an occult prog-metal / angular post-punk / psychedelic free noise / black ambient orchestra out of Santiago, Chile that can strip down to the touring essentials of just flute, acoustic guitar, and voice, when need be, in bellowing their complex tales of a forthcoming lysergic apocalypse. But here, it's the full sonic onslaught of Satanic chanting, frenzied tribal rhythms, heavy anthemic riffs, acid-crazed arrangements, and witch/warlock vocals that sound as if they were recorded at the wrong speed, all dotted with some rather pretty moments of psychedelic impressionism. Diabolically strummed flamenco guitar riffs erupt into blisteringly rhythmic assaults of start/stop rhythms that are equal parts King Crimson, Comus, and Uz Jsme Doma. Or imagine Dutch punks the Ex crossed with aQ Record Of The Weekers Yamantaka // Sonic Titan!! A sound that somehow simultaneously reminds us of bedeviled Eastern European peasant folk songs that could very well be possessed gypsy curses from some remote old world village in a muddled sonic palette that also evokes the Art Bears mixed with ritualistic Hindustani vocal modulations, or the Vietnamese girls on Holgar Czukay's "Boat Woman Song". The sound washed out under layers of tape decay and warble, the music seemingly patched together and reassembled in beautiful, yet twisted psych-folk interludes which meander between the volatile rhythmic outbursts with wah-wah inflected, acidic guitar lines and long dizzying sprawls of cinematic creep and kosmische electronics, creating spellbinding atmospheres and gorgeously stunning modern avant heaviness. Strange, fucked-up stuff. Supposedly a new full length is in the works from Beta-Lactam Ring. C40. Limited to 100 copies! And so totally recommended!!
MPEG Stream: "Madre Bestia"
MPEG Stream: "Devocion"
MPEG Stream: "El Final (Tango Fallido)"
MPEG Stream: "El Asesino Del Sol"

album cover SLEEP RESEARCH FACILITY Stealth (Cold Spring) 2cd 22.00
Even though we have yet to review anything on the aQ list from this deep listening black ambient drone technician, most of the drone lovers at aQ were already big fans, how could we not be? Sleep Research Facility, aka Scottish soundscaper Kevin Doherty, specializes in an ultra minimal, spaced out black ambience, weaving sprawling landscapes of hushed thrum and sinister murmur, often manipulating field recordings and processing them beyond the point of recognition, assembling them into bleak, epic, haunting, somnambulant drifts. We were particular taken by this most recent missive, which finds Doherty working exclusively from a selection of field recordings, samples collected from a B-2 Stealth Bomber, at a US Air Force base in the UK, and if there was ever a more appropriate sound source for this sort of hushed sonic mystery, it's the military's most mysterious aircraft.
And while these recordings are obviously not the sounds of the aircraft in flight, it's easy to imagine that this modern marvel of technology was in fact THIS stealthy, emitting just a strange series of hushed rumbles, a deep shimmery thrum, laced with the telltale sounds of radio transmissions, tinny voices from the ether that sound almost like EVP recordings, ghostly and wraithlike. Doherty's manipulations are subtle, weaving the original sounds into gentle pulsations, layering multiple recordings into lush textures, weaving strange sine wave tones and staticky gristle into the proceedings, blurring and smearing everything into hazy, darkly psychedelic sonic shadows.
The mix of abstract low end ambience, and strange transmissions, can't help but remind us of all time aQ fave The Conet Project. It definitely has that same vibe, the clouded provenance of these sounds, the pure musicality of the distinctly non-musical, but Doherty does work his magic, adding subtle swaths of melody, and giving the tracks here, no matter how minimal, a sense of propulsion, beneath the murk and the droned out whir, a barely there rhythmic pulse, while at the same time sculpting the various sound sources into sprawling fields of moody mesmer, a tranced out minimalism that is at once, soothing and darkly tranquil, this record quickly becoming one our favorite records to drift off to in the evening, and yet at the same time, crackling with energy, infused with not just the sounds themselves, but the implied weight of those sounds, borne of this strange machine, one that was devised to inflict violence, the ultimate delivery system for our collective bloodlust, the sounds of which, when at rest, are strangely lovely, albeit rife with a tension implicit in the source, and speak to an alternate purpose, one where this machine, even in repose, becomes less a means of destruction, and instead is involved in the creation of something beautiful and darkly transcendent.
The record proper is accompanied by a second disc, which is the 'source' material Doherty used to create his dark droney vision, and the most interesting thing is how musical that material already is. And while these aren't the raw unedited recordings, they are the 'pre-mix' versions, which are meant to represent those source sounds, and while they are definitely much less processed, they still possess a dark musicality, with much of the grit and gristle of the finished record stripped away, leaving just deep tones, and long shifting layers of thrum and hum and whir, like the record itself, occasionally the true source sounds do reveal themselves, whether it's the clang and clatter of work in the hanger, or the squelched blurts of radio static, but ultimately, the source disc is simply another version of Stealth, one that we actually find equally enthralling. Essential modern dronescaping from this master of the dark sonic arts!
MPEG Stream: "Stealth 1"
MPEG Stream: "Stealth 2"
MPEG Stream: "Stealth 3"
MPEG Stream: "Source 3"

album cover MARSFIELD (ANDREW CHALK, ETC.) The Towering Sky (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
BACK IN STOCK!!!
Marsfield is a project featuring the premier UK drone artist Andrew Chalk along side Vikki Jackman, Robin Barnes, and Brendan Walls. This collective recorded The Towering Sky back in 2005, only to see if released some five years later. Given the gap in recording to release, we have to wonder what else Mr. Chalk has buried in the vaults of his Faraway Press that one day might see the light of day.
The recordings reflect the strategies of David Jackman, who had employed the talents of a much younger Andrew Chalk many many moons ago in his Organum ensemble. The Marsfield participants have all gathered various pieces of resonant metal (maybe a large piece of sheet metal, maybe a long stringed instrument, probably a gong or two, and definitely a singing bowl or four) and extracted sustained textures, prolonged scrapes, deep bellowings, and elegantly warbled tones in a large reverberant room. With all of the room noise with its spectral echoing, damp reflections, and incidental ambience, the Marsfield sessions sound as if they could have been recorded in some abandoned factory somewhere in the Northeast of England. The first Isolde record that Chalk and Barnes had constructed a few years back is not all that dissimilar to The Towering Sky, with the first half of this record appearing as shape-shiting ghosts of corroded, droning haze, and shifting into the latter half of the record pocked with distant plucks and small hand bells that dissolve into field recordings of English rain showers. As with all of the Faraway Press titles, this is beautifully packaged; and as with all Andrew Chalk releases, this is very highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Marsfield Cathedral"
MPEG Stream: "Marsfield Common"

album cover MEIRINO, FRANCISCO Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete (Cave 12) cd 15.98
The Swiss electro-acoustic tactician Francisco Meirino has proven a deft hand in cajoling caustic jolts of static and searing chunks of noises from electro-magnetic sources, growing leaps and bounds from his earliest recordings as Phroq to the intensely dynamic output he's been steadily releasing under his own name over the past couple of years. This album's title refers to the UPIC system developed by Xenakis as a means of drawing on a digitizing tablet which provides vector coordinates to a program controlling particular sound sources, which for Meirino's purposes include snow falling, bones cracking, magnetic field disturbances, and insect noises. As interesting as Xenakis' UPIC system is, it's reassuring that Meirino treats the device as just another tool in his arsenal to direct his own aesthetic and not let the tool itself speak any louder than necessary. Radioactive streams of static electricity and piercing sinewaves ground the scattered tactile events which at times sound more like resonant gongs and small scraps of metal whose trailing decay undulates in rippling patterns that parallel Nurse With Wound's Homotopy To Marie. Throughout the 37 minute piece, Meirino returns to the densely phased, atonal concoctions of sinewaves and static that accelerate and deflate out of pockets of agitated acoustically sourced sources. Where those cracking bones are in the mix is anybody's guess, as he adheres a sharply toxic aura to all of his sounds. Like Dave Phillips and G*Park, he's at the vanguard of contemporary Swiss electro-acoustic malevolence. Limited to 350 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled Phenomenas In Concrete (excerpt 2)"

album cover MAEROR TRI Emotional Engramm (Zoharum) cd 17.98
Originally released in 1997 on the now defunct Iris Light imprint out of England, Emotion Engramm was the final album from Maeror Tri - the haunting, post-industrial drone trio that was the precursor to the equally haunting, post-industrial drone DUO Troum. This record - more so than any of the other Maeror Tri albums - engaged the complex structures that Troum would later push through their interlocking, shadowy melodies and slow-motion, effects-heavy drone. At the same time, the concepts that went into Emotional Engramm are more closely related to the clinical psychological themes of the Maeror Tri albums Multiple Personality Disorder or Language Of Flames & Sound, as referenced by the titular engram (purposefully misspelled in the title), a Scientology term for a mental image embedded into the brain by any type of trauma - physical, emotional, psychic, or otherwise. Far from prescribing the teachings of Scientology, Maeror Tri uses that concept as a jumping off point in conjuring "resonance of control, impact, fortuity, the randomly instigated yet inedibly etched emotional memory: Kodak ghosts." It's easy to read particular passages within the frozen din of washed-out guitar noise, spectral melodies, tectonic bass rumblings, and metallic slashes of grim electronics as the seizures within the psyche that might get caught in an infinite loop for the inner-mind. Some of those images provide an emotional resonance that's deeply sad and full of despair, while others are enraged with a blackened hostility. As we mentioned, many of the ideas and strategies that went into this album continued to develop through Troum; but even so, this stands as one of the best albums that either Maeror Tri or Troum had produced.
MPEG Stream: "Secunda Figura: Sublimis"
MPEG Stream: "Quarta Figura: Vadum"
MPEG Stream: "Septima Figura: Sphaira"

album cover FERRARI, LUC Presque Rein (Recollection GRM) 2lp 32.00
Self-deprecatingly qualified by Ferrari as a "poor man's concrete music," Presque Rien is a brilliant piece of Spartan tape music that Ferrari began in 1967 with four variations on the Presque Rien theme composed over the next three decades. The first version was originally released in 1970 through Deutsche Grammophon, the next found its way through INA-GRM on vinyl in 1980, the third (composed in 1989) ended up on a cd compendium of the first three Presque Rien suites released through INA-GRM in 1995, and now the fouth chapter (completed in 1998) sees the light of day with the other three version thanks to the Editions Mego subsidized Recollection GRM project. Thus, this complete version makes a hell of lot more sense than the previous INA-GRM version which tacked on a densely claustrophobic and politically charged collage track at the beginning of the disc, setting an entirely different context for how Presque Rein was heard. Each of the four suites operates in a very spacious framework with long passages of placid sounds from nature being ruptured by short aggressive bursts of tape noise, proto-industrial machinations, and psychologically charged fragments of sound. Like Robert Ashley's ultra creepy "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon", Ferrari intertwines fragments of various whispered narratives with the steady buzzings of choral cicadas, as if each narration were that of a voyeur spying upon the intimacy of nature. It's easy to hear the influence that Ferrari's masterpiece had on a young Steven Stapleton and a pre-pop Jim O'Rourke, as well as pretty much every field recordist / phonographer that picked up a digital recorder... but Ferrari started this way back in 1967. The new 2lp was cut to perfection by D&M at 45rpm. Normally, we'd be all over playing this at the wrong speed, but this is an album really does sound way better at the correct speed. There, it's brilliant.

album cover TARAB Shards Of Splinters - Fragments Of Scratches (Semperflorens) cd 14.98
Too long has passed since we've heard anything new from Tarab - the solo project of Australian sound artist Eamon Sprod. His process involves the recontextualization of field recordings into dense collages of acoustic noise, natural disruptions, violent crackling, and grandiose crescendos of activity bracketed by periods of a unsettled calm. In listening to each of his records, we can easily see how much time and attention he puts into these increasingly complex compositions; so it's no wonder it can take two to three years for a new album to emerge. Sprod collected all of the sounds for Shards Of Splinters while on a month-long residency at MoKS in Estonia. He purposefully chose to go to Estonia in the middle of a very cold, very bleak Baltic winter, in stark contrast to the fire-season and sweltering temperatures he would have found at the same time in his native Australia. As with his small back catalogue, Shards Of Splinters navigates along the boundary between the natural and the industrial - where factories had been left to collapse and to be consumed by vegetation, where tin sheds were torn asunder by hurricane force winds, where rusted pipes eerily resonate chorale drones from unseen cisterns deep under the surface of the earth. Many a field recordist and sound ecologist uses this boundary space to collect a beguiling array of recordings, but Sprod focuses almost entirely on mapping an apocalyptic poetry through his profoundly broken sounds. The unforgiving cold of the Estonian winter threads his recordings of slushing ice, crumbled concrete, and scraped metal that he deftly arranges into ruptures and disturbances that churn through tactile squeaks and metallic vibrations. There is a violence front and center in Sprod's work as if he's forecast the globe itself waking from hibernation to exterminate humanity once and for all. Aesthetically, Shards Of Splinters finds common ground with Eric La Casa or the more narrative work of Chris Watson; but conceptually, Sprod takes a much darker approach akin to Small Cruel Party or G*Park, that gives his recordings a magnificent depth. Brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "Shards Of Splinters 1"
MPEG Stream: "Shards Of Splinters 2"
MPEG Stream: "Shards Of Splinters 3"

album cover BARK PSYCHOSIS Hex (Vinilisssimo) lp 27.00
This is an album that should have been huge, or at least an album that should sit next to Slint's Spiderland or My Bloody Valentine's Loveless as a seminal record from the early '90s. In fact, this was THE record that inspired music critic Simon Reynolds to first coin the term 'post-rock', when reviewing this record back in the day. But as it happened, Bark Psychosis was perhaps three or four years ahead of the curve, with Tortoise really stealing all of Bark Psychosis' thunder through the sculpted sounds melded by exquisite engineering, spacious arrangements, and careful consideration of forms past (e.g. that aforementioned Slint album, Miles Davis' more contemplative moments, and for Bark Psychosis, the latter day Talk Talk albums). Bark Psychosis also disbanded shortly after the release of Hex, which never really helped their cause in achieving greatness through this record.
That said, the band's beginnings were quite interesting, as they started out aping Napalm Death, whose short blasts of grindcore are the absolute antithesis of what Bark Psychosis would be known for - subtle, quiet, and beautiful scores of nocturnal music. Where their first handful of singles (which were later collected on the Independency compilation) pushed a post-punk intensity that was considerably effective (and still miles away from Napalm Death), they reached a whole new level on Hex with a lush atmospheric moodiness that's quite special.
A somber piano interlude starts the album off on "The Loom" which shifts into dubbed out orchestration for strings, electronics, and Graham Sutton's emphatic whisper of a voice. "A Street Scene" opens with one of those intricate bass / guitar concoctions that Pinback would lay out on Blue Screen Life, but with more of a cinematic, noirish approach to the construction of a sad pop-tune. "Fingerspit" opens with a graceful Durutti Column-esque melody settling on top of a slinky, deconstructed rhythm section skitter for piano, bass, and drums that erupts with a very Slint like jangled chord emphasizing Sutton's maudlin vocals. The bright ringing guitars cycle through a hypnotic chord on "Eyes & Smiles" as the rest of the band builds the tension upon Necks-style rhythmic crescendo. For all of the jazz conceits on the album, Bark Psychosis never faltered like so many of the British post-punks who attempted to dabble in the cool waters of jazz (e.g. Dif Juz, A.R. Kane, etc.), and it's pretty much because they realized that they needed to keep it as simple as possible in terms of the flourishes and let the complications speak through their songwriting and not a desire to jam. Yeah, it's an album that's definitely a precursor to Tortoise's Millions Now Living Will Never Die and Village Of Savoonga's Score. Brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "The Loom"
MPEG Stream: "A Street Scene"
MPEG Stream: "Eyes & Smiles"

album cover JUPPALA KAAPIO Rewound Groves (Omnimemento) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Yes, that is faux-fur sprouting from this cd by Juppala Kaapio! As we mentioned before, this duo has a Finnish name and shares a Finnish freak-folk ritualism, but neither participant is Finnish. They are in fact the husband / wife pairing of Carole and Hitoshi Kojo, who bring extended technique vocals, bleary instrumentation from smoke & mirror, and lots of liquid nirvana electronic processing to the source material. Where their earlier works had 'jammed nature' along the Jewelled Antler / RV Paintings / Kemiallyset Ystavat axis with a wistful crunchiness, Rewound Groves marries the golden-summer glow of high-latitude pagan liturgy and the rapturous blur of Andrew Chalk's contributions to Organum or even some of the Taj Mahal Travellers broadcasts to nowhere. The vocals from both Hitoshi and Carole wax and wane on the opening number "Sewing Through Twigs" amongst a richly patterned undulation of glistening drones from what might be bells, might be flutes, might be guitars, might be the sparkle of twilight stars. Watery textures and backmasked tape bridges these sounds with the :zoviet*france: like haze of "Mycophiles And Pebbles" with spectral loops and holy mesmerism sprawled throughout the soft-focus layering of sound. Probably the best thing that Juppala Kaapio has released to date; and given the artwork this is justifiably limited to 123 copies. Brilliant.
MPEG Stream: "Sewing Through Twigs"
MPEG Stream: "Mycophiles And Pebbles"
MPEG Stream: "A Germ From The Sun"

album cover NILSEN, BJ & STILLUPPSTEYPA Goda Nott (Editions Mego) lp 22.00
The first three records from BJ Nilsen & Stilluppsteypa were a trilogy dedicated to alcohol, and wintery drones, as semi-fictions about getting really drunk sometime in December and nearly passing out in a snowbank while gazing up at the northern lights. Goda Nott is something of an extension of these ideas, except maybe for the alcohol part. Sometime in the winter of 2011 / 2012, this trio found themselves snowed in at Stilluppsteypa's Icelandic studio with no food or water; and no way of getting out until the snow began to melt away. While they did sleep as much as they could to pass the time, they also busied themselves with recording the sounds of the snow, ice, and wind, attempting to monitor what - if any - activity may exist beyond their frozen enclave. The possibility of any existence beyond their own became uncertain, where any rustling of the snow could be a footstep or a resonant tone could be a snowplow. Through their indeterminant amount of time in that studio, they smeared these field recordings into rumbling drones and static tones that mirrored the onset of their collective madness, made audible in the crazy sounding whistling that one of them fastens to the blustery isolationism of the first side of Goda Nott. The second side is even more desolate than the first, rivaling Kevin Drumm's Imperial Distortion for the most empty, most gasping, most claustrophobic slab of audio bleakness we've ever heard. This is a radical turn away from the melancholy kosmiche electronica of their previous two albums Space Finale and Big Shadow Montana; but they are also rendering something wholly new to the bad-ass dronescaping they mastered early on. So fucking good.
MPEG Stream: "Goda Nott 1"
MPEG Stream: "Goda Nott 2"

album cover CHALK, ANDREW The River That Flows Into The Sand (Faraway Press) cd 21.00
Here's a nice find as we had thought this album to be totally out of print, but a small batch was uncovered in Andrew Chalk's studio and passed on to us! Recorded and released in 2005, The River That Flows Into The Sand was the second album that Chalk self-released for his Faraway Press imprint. Immediately before the release of this album, Chalk was working with Christoph Heemann in the very prolific project Mirror, which released 20 records during a 5 or 6 year period. Since then, Chalk retained the impressive workload found in Mirror. The River That Flows Into The Sand is the second album in as many months to emerge from Andrew Chalk's own Faraway Press. Like it's predecessor Shadows From The Album Skies, this album is a reissue of a cd-r originally released in a very small edition. However, Chalk has decided to truly develop Faraway Press into a viable cottage industry, encasing all of his work in elaborately hand-packaged constructions, that rival the original Zoviet France assemblages in terms of innovative design. How he managed to print these is a bit of a mystery, perhaps some form of decalcomania, in which an image is delicately transferred from one surface to another. Regardless, it doesn't hurt that Chalk again has produced an immaculate drone album housed within the beautiful packaging.
For many years now, the guitar has been the instrument of choice for Chalk's minimalist explorations; and here on The River, he's tightroping between the ghostly impressionism of Keiji Haino's Nijiumu project from many moons ago, the narcoleptic atmospheres of Maeror Tri / Troum, the oceanic ambience of Boris' Flood, and the time-reversal qualities of Eliane Radigue. Undulations of extended sounds cascade from his guitar, occasionally rippling with beautiful half melodies. This is a a drop dead gorgeous album, and may even be better than the aforementioned Shadows From The Album Skies. We can't recommend this album enough!
MPEG Stream: "One "
MPEG Stream: "Two"
MPEG Stream: "Three"

album cover SLAVES, THE Ocean On Ocean (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) 2lp 19.98
Fuck, yeah! Here, we have the double lp reissue of the aQuarius favorite Ocean On Ocean by The Slaves, the Portland duo of Birch Cooper and Barbara Kinzle. We got the cd-r of this album back in early 2011, upon the enthusiastic request from the former aQ-staffer Jon Porras, known to some as one half of of drone-doom duo Barn Owl. The rough sound of the cd-r has been considerably improved via remastering by James Plotkin, with the vinyl cut at 45 rpm so that all the heavy / dreamy / shoegazy loveliness is even richer and more radiant. Still one of our favorite albums, made even better!
We love bands whose music-making formula appears, on the surface, simple and intuitive, yet the sounds they create are huge, engulfing and seemingly complex. Using two synthesizers and echoing vocals, The Slaves inhabit a sound that is as lush and dense as it is mysterious and minimal. Their debut album, Ocean on Ocean, is the perfect showcase of a group that can conjure up bountiful sounds within a restrained approach. Honestly, we can't get enough of Ocean on Ocean, something about those enormous, dreamy, engulfing songscapes just leaves us wanting more. Their oozing brew of minimal pop melts and blurs with the melodic thickness of MBV's Loveless or early Slowdive, but surrenders to a contemplative mode that falls somewhere between Gregorian hymn and pagan ritual. The duo spin a radiant web of sustained vocals and heavy synth, each chord drawn out and smeared into a neon haze while indecipherable lyrics suggest longing, loss and submission to oblivion.
"Seventeen" unfolds with a slow arching chord progression that grows and dissipates like a coastal tide. Female vocals creep into the oceanic haze while fluttering noise and cosmic wash hover in obscurity. And though the rhythm-less wash may appear to be aimless improv, a close listen reveals a defined structure beneath the veil of long tones and heavy atmospherics. And yes, The Slaves are heavy. And it's not a "down-tuned guitars through a wall of amps" kind of heavy. It's more evident in the slow movement of the songs, and the visceral effects felt by each musical gesture. The duo have perfectly crafted a searing offering of "soft doom", so gorgeous and mesmerizing we've had Ocean on Ocean on repeat for the past week. "Shadows" is another noteworthy track. We love the push and pull of heavy synth and whispery vocals, whirls of female voice echo into the night then dissipate into huge swells of HEAVY distorted synth. Crumbling low end amid ethereal dream chants, what else could we ask for?? One of our favorite records in recent memory and highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "Seventeen"
MPEG Stream: "Sweet High"

album cover UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS Blood Lust (Rise Above / Metal Blade) cd 14.98
Hell yeah, at last! When this now-semi-legendary album was first released by UK heavy psych doom metal specialists Rise Above in 2011, it came out in an ultra limited edition of just three hundred vinyl-only copies, which proved almost impossible to come by. That first edition sold out instantly and those lps started trading for seriously ridiculous amounts of money on eBay and elsewhere. Even though, really, who the heck were Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats? Well it wasn't just the cool band name generating a buzz, the music was awesome, as we later were able to ascertain. Eventually Rise Above did a repress, of which we were able to get a few, though those were expensive too and we were never able to get enough of 'em to actually list. But, we did figure out why this record was in such demand (as we'll discuss in more detail in a moment). We also learned that Blood Lust had also come out on compact disc, but oddly enough via a small Finnish label instead of Rise Above, and again we never were able to get enough of those to list, either. But we had hope that someday, somehow, we'd be able to review this for you, 'cause eventually most Rise Above stuff gets released in the USA by licensees Metal Blade, and while its been a damn long time, we're now pleased to, ta da, finally have Blood Lust on cd at a domestic price. Record Of The Week? You bet!
So, what we thought we were in for, way back when all we knew about band was their name & label, was some lysergic sludgey doomy jamming, like maybe Electric Wizard (another Rise Above band) or UFOmammut. Which we would have been perfectly happy with, of course. But, instead, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats proved to be a lot more song-oriented and more melodic than we expected, with a kind of poppy '60s garage psych rock side to 'em, amidst their heavy fuzz-filled riffage. The singer (that's ol' Uncle Acid himself, natch, also on guitar in this power trio, and mellotron and synths too) croons his twisted tales of witchburning, black magic, and murder, in a languid whine, his voice nasally pinched and reverb effected, reminding us a bit of Kyle Thomas of aQ faves Witch (and King Tuff and Happy Birthday too by the way). His delivery lends a delicate, decadent touch to the band's brand of both despondent plod and swinging catchiness, able to render lines like "I was born a bitter man, no hopes or dreams / I get my kicks from torturing and screams / I lust for womens blood, and their evil ways / I twist my words to what the good book says" with sick sincerity -and- showmanship, in a way that is surprisingly not very much metallic, instead staying (despite the music's undeniable heaviness) more in the pop realm, though one obsessed with vintage horror films.
These rollicking, but dread-infused tunes are further full of ripping fuzz guitar leads, and lumbering downer riffs. Without a doubt, doom originators Black Sabbath are a major factor in this band's sound, but they're doing something rather different with that particular inspiration than most do. And we're also reminded of some other British '60s/'70s proto-metallers like Stray, High Tide, T2, and May Blitz, who were quite heavy but psych-pop catchy as well. Perhaps very early, very psychedelic Alice Cooper could be added to Uncle Acid's roster of influences too, we're thinking of the way the song "Ritual Knife" marries a pounding tribal beat and urgently chugging ominous riffery with glorious bursts of shining melody come chorus time.
One much more recent band that these guys also remind us of, is Swedish occult rock sensations Ghost, another act whose "pop side" is so effective as to possibly threaten their "metal cred" among the more closeminded. We'd also recommend Uncle Acid to fans of that other recent, equally retro stunner from Rise Above, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. And, like last week's Record Of The Week by Golden Void, this has that laidback classic sounding '70s psychrock vibe, immediately familiar, though Uncle Acid comes across as much more dark and sinister to be sure. And lastly, fans of Witchcraft should pay attention - we'd rank this up there with that band's celebrated Rise Above debut, we're pretty sure this is gonna be considered a classic too. We're sooooooo glad they didn't just press only those 300 vinyl copies and leave it at that!! You will be too.
This cd reissue includes a bonus track not on vinyl, which provides a nice coda to the record proper, relinquishing the fuzz guitar for acoustic strum and hand percussion, Uncle Acid doing their doom-pop-psych in a more folky style a la, say, Bolan's Tyrannosaurus Rex.
MPEG Stream: "I'll Cut You Down"
MPEG Stream: "Curse In The Trees"
MPEG Stream: "13 Candles"

album cover V/A Archaic Variations : Localization (Obs / Observatoire) cd 12.98
An impressive survey of the curatorial aesthetic from the Russian imprint Observatoire, which has grown in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years with some great releases of cracked dronology and mangled field recordings. The concepts on Archaic Variations slant toward crude electro-acoustics, psychogeography, obsolete technologies, and improbable strategies all mapping out tactile soundfields with variable degrees of manipulation and deconstruction. The first handful of tracks (Emmanuel Mieville, Richard Garet, and Takanobu Noshino) are relatively hushed compositions of shadowy drones, distant vocalizations, and raw field recordings lending an air of clinical detachment. Chris Whitehead's elegaic piano and field recording piece addresses a rural British ceremony that dates back to the 12th Century, recalling the piano laced impressionism of Andrew Chalk and Cindytalk. The latter half of the disc tends toward claustrophobia and decay, introduced by none other than our own Jim Haynes, whose chainsaw drones and swarming radio bursts transmit through thickets of scabrous noise dialing up comparisons to Kevin Drumm's more noxious facets. The Russian artist Radioson maintains the shortwave theme with an paranoiac set of hypnotic melodies revolving around repeating beacon tones and gray masses of static. Gonna have to dig into this project more for sure. The compilation concludes on a very bleak note with a track from Francisco Meirino, the brilliant, if under-recognized electro-acoustic tactician here jettisoning razor-sharp errata of EMF interference across pierced feedback shards, and the finale from another Russian artist Dasein, compacting distorted synths and tortured vocals into a more nuanced take on the early Whitehouse / Ramleh axis. 300 copies, only.
MPEG Stream: RICHARD GARET "R.O.U / Tristan Narvaja - Villa Biarritz"
MPEG Stream: JIM HAYNES "Iodine"
MPEG Stream: RADIOSON "Life Of Neron"
MPEG Stream: FRANCISCO MEIRINO "What Remains Of All That Misery"

album cover YEAST CULTURE IYS (Art Into Life) lp 37.00
So, we raved about Small Cruel Party a few months back, being an unheralded genius of tactile minimalism hailing from the Pacific Northwest; and now we have the reissue of the Yeast Culture album IYS, in many ways, a document originating from the same time and place that's even more cryptic and more obsessive than Small Cruel Party all the while achieving similarly cracked abstraction of sound-art. Yeast Culture was the brainchild of an artist named Abo, who set up shadowy installations, performances, and even a record shop in an abandoned building in Seattle. The days of such romantic squatting are surely over in Seattle, but they provided the context of damp concrete, rusted rebar, and festering mold. Through collaboration and in piloting the ship himself, Abo steered Yeast Culture into a strange beast of DIY musique concrete, self-immolating electro-acoustic strategies and dangerous field recording situations, amidst all that rubble and decay. While there were only a handful of releases to coincide with the seemingly rich history of activity through that space, the 1989 album IYS is the Yeast Culture masterpiece. An enigmatic smear of crumbling events, metallic scribblings, aerosolizing hiss, poltergeist-like clunks of grey noise, and strange whirring machines caught in their last dying breath. What little information that can be found on the record is that the source material was entirely taken from a three day session on an island in the Puget Sound, after which Abo quite literally ripped those recordings to shreds and painstakingly reassembled the artifacts. Like Small Cruel Party and Organum, Yeast Culture's constructions are densely layered and aggregated, with the compositional strategies keeping to a blank linearity. The sounds themselves have the feeling of being an amplification of the wood beetles gnawing through oak trees or an invasion of mechanical insects adopting a scorched earth policy in miniature or perhaps some unwritten noise symphony for Jan Svankmajer's films, full of disembodied teeth chewing incessantly on cutlery and old furniture. As if that weren't enough to entice, there's the artwork - a densely silkscreened poster that wraps around an equally densely silkscreened inner sleeve with multiple belts of paper holding everything in place. As chaotic as the heavily overlaid silkscreens look, the packaging is quite elegant and perfectly reflects the sounds on the grey / splattered vinyl. While the artwork on the original was pretty stunning, it's even better here on the reissue. Yeah, it's pricey; but when you get your hands on this, you'll realize that the price is totally justified given the amount of work that went to each album. Of course, it's super limited and so fucking recommended!

album cover KORZYNSKI, ANDRZEJ Possession OST (Finders Keepers) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A lot of the soundtracks we review, are for movies we haven't actually seen. In some ways that's sort of liberating, at least from a purely musical standpoint, hearing the sounds solely for what they are, instead of having those sounds inexorably linked to specific images. And in a lot of cases, we have discovered some incredible films via their soundtracks, and not the more common other way around. We got this soundtrack to this 1981 French horror/thriller (directed by Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, and scored by his longtime collaborator Andrzej Korzynski, also Polish, but more on that in a second) in a few months ago, and instantly, become totally obsessed, spinning it multiple times a day, inevitably folks in the store would ask what it was, because it's so goddamn good. And creepy, and twisted, and pretty much the perfect score, but for what, we weren't sure, as we had not seen the movie. And while are obsession proves that you needn't see the movie to love this, once we actually DID see the movie, we flipped for that too, wondering how the hell we could have missed out on it all these years. It's literally one of the weirdest, most fucked up films EVER. And the soundtrack we had become so familiar with over the last several months, finally viewed in the contest of the film, made both even more bizarre and amazing.
So the film itself, banned until 1991, and at the time classified as a "Video Nasty", stars an American, Sam Neil, who becomes convinced his wife, Isabelle Adjani, is cheating on him, which she is. Neil hires a private investigator, eventually meets the lover, and the lover's mother, but there's so much more to the story, there's a crazily neglected child in the mix, some truly twisted parenting, and SPOILER ALERT!!!! Some sort of super gross oozing monster that lives in an abandoned building that Adjani is in love with, or is at least having sex with? There's tons of screaming and hitting and fighting, and one of thee most dramatic freakouts EVER, with Adjani losing her mind in a tunnel, and ending up spewing and oozing all sorts of weird fluids, there's a particularly psychedelic denouement as well, lots of crazy scenery chewing, the whole thing is utterly and unabashedly over the top. Even right after seeing it, we weren't sure what the fuck just happened. But we did know, we loved the movie, and suddenly, loved the soundtrack EVEN MORE.
Korzynski's soundtrack is a series of short cues, most less than a minute, that find the composer experimenting with synthesizers, drum machines, primitive electronics. It's actually quite progressive, and in places is reminiscent of Carpenter or Goblin, especially in the movie's 'theme'. Check out the opening track "The Night The Screaming Stops", and it will be stick in your head forever, the tense strings, the pulsing rhythmic throb, the mysterious percussion, the swirling synth, and the creepy sci-fi sound effects, not to mention the melody. It's so haunting and creepy, but in the film, it's over the most innocuous sequence, and it's that juxtaposition that makes it so effectively chilling. Seriously if this soundtrack was 2 minutes long, and consisted of that first track, we'd still want a copy!
But dig in, there's plenty more, haunting swoonsome strings, drifting over a lilting organ melody, dreamy and drifty, but so subtly ominous, there's some full on synth prog, again revisiting that opening melody, but with more heft, as the soundtrack unwinds, there's lots of percussion, shakers, little flurries of synth shimmer, deep drones, the orchestral theme is particularly stirring, a refrain of the opening credit sequence, but so much more creepy and hauntingly stately. There are also lots of brief blasts of synthy psychedelia, appropriately titled things like "Detective's Desserts" or "Bloody Embrace", and part of the reason these cues are so short, is that much of the movie is sans incidental music, so the cues come in to accentuate certain events, the sonic equivalent of jump-scares, but super effective, and they add a whole other level of surreal psychedelia to the proceedings, very 'Euro' for sure. The series of "Kreuzberg" variations are particularly freaky, sinister and mysterious, grim ambience and super tense orchestral weirdness. Oh did we mention "The Man With The Pink Socks"? Another perplexing plot point, and one that here gets the bookending closing sequence, revisiting "Meeting With A Pink Tie". Adding some extra wah guitar, and both revisiting that opening theme.
Listen to the sound samples and see if you can resist. But really why bother? You won't be sorry. Even removed from the movie, this score is fantastic, psychedelic, orchestral, proggy, tripped out and bizarre, and no doubt will have you headed to the video store to experience the baffling brilliance of the film, once your sated on the equally baffling and brilliant score.
Like all B-Music / Finders Keepers releases, includes a huge booklet with lots of liner notes and tons of rare photos.
MPEG Stream: "The Night The Screaming Stops (Opening Titles)"
MPEG Stream: "Opetanie 1"
MPEG Stream: "Anna Rewards Mark"
MPEG Stream: "Possession - Orchestral Theme 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kreuzberg 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kreuzberg 4"
MPEG Stream: "What Is it?"

album cover KORZYNSKI, ANDRZEJ Possession OST (Finders Keepers) lp 25.00
A lot of the soundtracks we review, are for movies we haven't actually seen. In some ways that's sort of liberating, at least from a purely musical standpoint, hearing the sounds solely for what they are, instead of having those sounds inexorably linked to specific images. And in a lot of cases, we have discovered some incredible films via their soundtracks, and not the more common other way around. We got this soundtrack to this 1981 French horror/thriller (directed by Polish director Andrzej Zulawski, and scored by his longtime collaborator Andrzej Korzynski, also Polish, but more on that in a second) in a few months ago, and instantly, become totally obsessed, spinning it multiple times a day, inevitably folks in the store would ask what it was, because it's so goddamn good. And creepy, and twisted, and pretty much the perfect score, but for what, we weren't sure, as we had not seen the movie. And while are obsession proves that you needn't see the movie to love this, once we actually DID see the movie, we flipped for that too, wondering how the hell we could have missed out on it all these years. It's literally one of the weirdest, most fucked up films EVER. And the soundtrack we had become so familiar with over the last several months, finally viewed in the contest of the film, made both even more bizarre and amazing.
So the film itself, banned until 1991, and at the time classified as a "Video Nasty", stars an American, Sam Neil, who becomes convinced his wife, Isabelle Adjani, is cheating on him, which she is. Neil hires a private investigator, eventually meets the lover, and the lover's mother, but there's so much more to the story, there's a crazily neglected child in the mix, some truly twisted parenting, and SPOILER ALERT!!!! Some sort of super gross oozing monster that lives in an abandoned building that Adjani is in love with, or is at least having sex with? There's tons of screaming and hitting and fighting, and one of thee most dramatic freakouts EVER, with Adjani losing her mind in a tunnel, and ending up spewing and oozing all sorts of weird fluids, there's a particularly psychedelic denouement as well, lots of crazy scenery chewing, the whole thing is utterly and unabashedly over the top. Even right after seeing it, we weren't sure what the fuck just happened. But we did know, we loved the movie, and suddenly, loved the soundtrack EVEN MORE.
Korzynski's soundtrack is a series of short cues, most less than a minute, that find the composer experimenting with synthesizers, drum machines, primitive electronics. It's actually quite progressive, and in places is reminiscent of Carpenter or Goblin, especially in the movie's 'theme'. Check out the opening track "The Night The Screaming Stops", and it will be stick in your head forever, the tense strings, the pulsing rhythmic throb, the mysterious percussion, the swirling synth, and the creepy sci-fi sound effects, not to mention the melody. It's so haunting and creepy, but in the film, it's over the most innocuous sequence, and it's that juxtaposition that makes it so effectively chilling. Seriously if this soundtrack was 2 minutes long, and consisted of that first track, we'd still want a copy!
But dig in, there's plenty more, haunting swoonsome strings, drifting over a lilting organ melody, dreamy and drifty, but so subtly ominous, there's some full on synth prog, again revisiting that opening melody, but with more heft, as the soundtrack unwinds, there's lots of percussion, shakers, little flurries of synth shimmer, deep drones, the orchestral theme is particularly stirring, a refrain of the opening credit sequence, but so much more creepy and hauntingly stately. There are also lots of brief blasts of synthy psychedelia, appropriately titled things like "Detective's Desserts" or "Bloody Embrace", and part of the reason these cues are so short, is that much of the movie is sans incidental music, so the cues come in to accentuate certain events, the sonic equivalent of jump-scares, but super effective, and they add a whole other level of surreal psychedelia to the proceedings, very 'Euro' for sure. The series of "Kreuzberg" variations are particularly freaky, sinister and mysterious, grim ambience and super tense orchestral weirdness. Oh did we mention "The Man With The Pink Socks"? Another perplexing plot point, and one that here gets the bookending closing sequence, revisiting "Meeting With A Pink Tie". Adding some extra wah guitar, and both revisiting that opening theme.
Listen to the sound samples and see if you can resist. But really why bother? You won't be sorry. Even removed from the movie, this score is fantastic, psychedelic, orchestral, proggy, tripped out and bizarre, and no doubt will have you headed to the video store to experience the baffling brilliance of the film, once your sated on the equally baffling and brilliant score.
Like all B-Music / Finders Keepers releases, includes a huge booklet with lots of liner notes and tons of rare photos.
MPEG Stream: "The Night The Screaming Stops (Opening Titles)"
MPEG Stream: "Opetanie 1"
MPEG Stream: "Anna Rewards Mark"
MPEG Stream: "Possession - Orchestral Theme 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kreuzberg 1"
MPEG Stream: "Kreuzberg 4"
MPEG Stream: "What Is it?"

KORZYNSKI, ANDRZEJ Third Part Of The Night (Finders Keepers) 10" 24.00

album cover LYNCH, DAVID & ALAN SPLET Eraserhead OST (Sacred Bones) lp+7" 31.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We've been trying to get these for ages now, a super deluxe, extravagantly packaged lp+7" reissue of the soundtrack to David Lynch's Eraserhead. They came, and went, and now it's apparently been repressed, but those are going fast too, limited to 1000 copies. We managed to get just ten, and aren't sure our supplier has any more now. So, if you want one, grab one quick before they're gone.
Before we get to the actual music though, it's probably best to come clean, and admit that the person writing this review (as well as at least a couple other people at aQ) has NEVER actually seen Eraserhead! A travesty we know, not sure how we managed to make it this far without seeing it, we always meant to, and we WILL, especially now that we've gotten an earful of this amazing soundtrack. Much more abstract and noisy, droney and minimal than we expected. The first few minutes, all blurred noise, and rumbling low end, a smeary bit of ambient drift that sounds like Organum or Lustmord. Sinister and a bit harrowing, eventually all sorts of subtle sounds enter the mix, distant calliope melodies, like from a carousel way off in the distance, fog horns, all smeared into the smudged grey thrum that oozes across side one. Eventually, that low end is dialed back, leaving more of that mysterious organ music, this time wreathed in an insectoid hum, like a sky full of crickets, laced with Raster Noton like glitches and clicks, having not seen the movie, but being of course familiar with much of the iconic imagery, these sounds seem like the perfect sonic accompaniment, the score is peppered with strange dialog, and swirling hissy swooshes, sinister swells of blackened thrum, keening feedback, muted into minimal melodies, the sound noisy and industrial, and almost like some weird field recording flecked experimental drone record you might hear on Type or Blackest Rainbow, all wreathed in a sort of otherworldly hazy, which gives the whole thing a creepy, darkly psychedelic vibe.
The flipside begins with what sounds like a field recording of a couple in bed, creaking springs, rustling covers, which is soon swallowed up by a huge wheezing wall of atonal chords and layered tones, all draped over the sounds of choking, driven by a strange percussive pound. A long stretch of hiss and hum, gives way to haunting church organ, then cavernous rumbles, the whole second half of the soundtrack a wild, noisy chaotic collage of dense drones and crumbling noise, of whirling wind and fractured melodies, lots of buzz and crunch, creak and howl, it sounds less like a soundtrack and more like some lost record by Nurse With Wound, or Psychic TV or Throbbing Gristle. Super rad, and even removed from the visuals, this is a killer slab of lo-fi musique concrete, abstract free form noise and post industrial dronescaping.
The bonus 7" features "In Heaven (Lady In The Radiator Song)", which is some gorgeously creepy organ driven balladry, with woozy falsetto vox and lots of warble and buzz; it sounds a little bit like a dronier, doomier Daniel Johnston, and there's even a little note on the sleeve about how this specific track came to be. The B-side is a never before release bonus track called "Pete's Boogie", which is anything but a boogie, instead it sounds like it oozed right off the soundtrack, all buried organ melodies, hissing shimmer, and wheezing looped rumbles, creepy and haunting and seriously freaky. Which pretty much describes the whole soundtrack, and yeah, we know, the whole movie as well.
The packaging is totally swank, with a thick black and white gatefold sleeve, the singe to housed in a heavy sleeve, both adorned with images from the film, inside a huge booklet with still more photos, as well as several photographic prints, AND a download code.
Super awesome, and again SUPER LIMITED. This is probably your last chance to snag one of these at a somewhat reasonable price. As they say, buy now, or cry later.
MPEG Stream: "Side A (Excerpt)"
MPEG Stream: "Side B (Excerpt)"

album cover SMALL CRUEL PARTY Three Simple Eyes Of The Insect Ancestor (Kaon) cd 16.98
BACK IN STOCK!!!
Small Cruel Party was the obscurant sound-art project for then Seattle-based Key Ransome, who applied the grandeur of minimalism to the sodden detritus of his surroundings, creating a brilliant amalgamation of texture, noise, drone, atmosphere, tension, bombast, industrial euphoria, and mystical threat. Three Simple Eyes Of The Insect Ancestor was an early cassette by Small Cruel Party, released by Apraxia in 1992 in a package smeared with wax and oversized sticks that would have surely fallen off merely by looking at it sideways. In a rare piece of text accompanying these recordings (found on the Kaon website, and not the cd), Ransome describes a considerable difference in the sound quality between the original cassette and remastered cd, the latter of which negated the former's overblown mulched sound from faulty replication providing 'clarity' for the murky sounds found within. Ransome admits a lack of memory when it comes to the recording of the first track "Crowd Of Small Things" - but the dank atmosphere that hangs on a mysteriously motorized droning erratically hums amidst a slow arcing crescendo of ever-increasing tactile crunches. If anything, it's an existentially bleak soundtrack to an environmental disaster, with the damp forests of the Pacific NW suffocating under the slow ooze of a bunker oil spill. The second track "Tank Ecstasy Between Floors" features recordings make with the members of Yeast Culture in the reverberant stairwell of the Seattle Public Library. Those huge thumps and klangs from the SCP/YC industrial pipe fights are set against a shimmering stream of aquatic field recordings processed with a dreamy delay & reverb combination. In the final mix, Ransome balances the menace of those heavy-handed, thunderous booms in the stairwell with the rapturously hypnotic calm of the watery recordings. A classic Small Cruel Party strategy that's as brilliant as ever.
MPEG Stream: "Crowd Of Small Things"
MPEG Stream: "Tank Ecstasy Between Floors"

album cover LINEA ASPERA s/t (Dark Entries) lp 15.98
One of the rare contemporary bands to be released on the ever exceptional Dark Entries label, typically known for reissues of classic and / or obscure minimal wave and post-punk electronics from the late '70s to mid '80s. But this is an album that's firmly grafted to the aesthetic that Dark Entries has honed through their fine curatorial ear; so much so that if we were told that Linea Aspera were some rare Sheffield band from 1981 featuring an undiscovered Anne Clark on vocals, we wouldn't be surprised one bit. The sequenced electronics, drum machines, and minimalist melodies are ice cold in their production thanks to the engineering prowess of Ryan Ambridge, who taps into the darker synth wrangling of Chris & Cosey, Psyche, Soft Cell, Human League, and even the Eurythmics in an experimental mood. That Eurythmics reference is furthered along by the full-throated vocals of Allison Lewis, whose poetics of despair and sexual miserablism are couched in the industrialist appropriation of neuroscience and various medical pathologies. There's a considerable amount of dark tension between the cold electronics and Lewis' vocals that really makes this record quite special and worthy of being included in the hallowed Dark Entries pantheon. To be completely honest, this is really what Xeno & Oaklander *want* to sound like if either of those Anglophiles could really rise above their well crafted electronic starkness. Kudos, once again to Dark Entries for introducing us to another great minimal wave find!
MPEG Stream: "Synapse"
MPEG Stream: "Fer-De-Lance"
MPEG Stream: "Malarone"

album cover SEXTON, GEOFFREY 197 Black Pendulums (Hooker Vision) cassette 8.98
Fucking hell. Where did this guy come from? And why the hell haven't we heard anything else that he's done? To answer the first question, Sexton hails from the quaint hamlet of Franklin, Tennessee and had travelled up the road to Nashville to collaborate in the (now defunct) outsider noise-junk collective Horsehair Everywhere - another project we've not heard, but by all accounts conveyed a psychedelic violence through stoned happenings for collaged film, scabrous dronemuzik, and stoned antics. Sounds a hell of lot like The Starving Weirdos to us; and Geoffrey Sexton seems to be taking a page out of the Brian Pyle playbook with his underappreciated acoustic-dronology project RV Paintings. Sexton's prepared guitar drones ooze with a subterranean murkiness, growling and undulating towards dramatically dense codas on each side of this tape. The scraping textures give the impression of Sexton rummaging around some crumbled farmhouse, generating resonant frequencies out of antebellum glass and earthen rumblings from piles of rounded bricks all sweating in the humid Southern summer heat. Think Parson Sound, Thuja, and yup RV Paintings and you're getting somewhere close to what Sexton is doing here on 197 Black Pendulums. Fucking great.
MPEG Stream: "197 Black Pendulums"

album cover SPECTRUM TICKETS Anyajegy (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.
The last time we heard from Mike Haley, it was in the guise of Wether on Monorail Trespassing, offering up a headsplitting noise cassette of powerdrone synths and sawtooth aggression. Here, recording under the moniker Spectrum Tickets for Hooker Vision, Haley dials those electronics into a glimmering pop ambient type of ethereal drift that certainly does muster favorable parallels to Hooker Visionary Rachel Evans' solo project Motion Sickness Of Time Travel. The stabbing John Carpenter arpeggiations are central to his science fiction electronica built out of swooshing fundamental drones with Radiophonic / Oneohtrix melodic flourishes, peppered with burbling electronics and strange fuzzing static. There's just enough paranoid android in Haley's electronics to keep things interesting, making this tape recommended for anybody whose enchanted by the like of Rene Hell, Oneohtrix Point Never, and much of the oddities found on NNA Tapes. As with all Hooker Vision titles, this one is super limited.
MPEG Stream: "Anyajegy"

album cover ETAT BRUT Mutations Et Protheses (Sub Rosa) lp 16.98
Can't really tell you much about Etat Brut, other than the limited information provided by Sub Rosa. EB were an obscure industrial duo from Belgium operating between 1978 and 1983, with connections to the transgressive collective Club Moral and the Cabs-inspired Pseudo Code. Supposedly, both of the individuals in Etat Brut were named Phillipe and went on to become science teachers after leaving all of this junk, noise, and squalid rhythm behind. But that's all the information we could dig up, which is a bit disappointing, as we'd love to know more about these guys, we imagine Club Moral must have published something about the group in their Force Mental zine. Anyway, for those keen on the more brutal / guttural / abject side of industrial culture (e.g. TG's Second Annual Report, Factrix' Sheintot, or SPK's Leichenshrei), this is a very compelling document of primitive sound-demolition with an equally primitive approach to deconstructing music into its rawest elements - noise, rhythm, screams, more noise, and plenty of aggro / provocateur antics. The post-punk monochord basslines and drum machine anti-groove of "Homme Nus" is a compellingly bleak track of Frankensteinian proportions, where "Crash" conveys a dehumanized atmosphere through grim blorping electronics, musique concrete techniques, and cut-up dialogue that could very well allude to JG Ballard if only we understood French. Crumbling tape machinations, rhythms looped from shortwave radio beacons, fucked-up noise, and guttural vocalizations fill in the blanks, very prescient of what Atelecine is attempting to recreate nowadays and holding up very well against the better known projects we listed earlier.
The cd comes with two bonus tracks not found on the vinyl, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Hommes Nus"
MPEG Stream: "Douce Nuit"
MPEG Stream: "Bande Sonore Du Film Paysage Mental "

album cover SILENT SERVANT Negative Fascination (Hospital Productions) cd 15.98
YES! THIS FORMER AQ RECORD OF THE WEEK, AT LAST REPRESSED AND BACK IN STOCK ON CD!
Silent Servant's dour techno emerges from the now defunct Sandwell District collective of techno-heds keen on bending the Detroit / Berlin axis to allow for the grim pathologies of Industrial culture and all of its post-punk offshoots to infiltrate the boom-boom-boom of a 909 drum kick. Sandwell's Karl O'Connor is certainly the most vocal, hardlined, and aggressive of the District's members through the brutalist techno that he's produced over the years. His DJ sets are notorious for dropping Whitehouse and other power electronic squalor amidst furiously hard breakbeats. Juan Mendez (aka Silent Servant) strikes a gloomier pose than O'Connor through the Sandwell District and carries this over into the ethereally witched-out Tropic Of Cancer. Silent Servant's Negative Fascination drops from Hospital Productions, whose ghastly noise aesthetic parted once before for Cold Cave's gritty synth pop, making room for head honcho Dominic Fernow to follow suit with his own adventures in rhythm (e.g. Vatican Shadows, Christian Cosmos). If one were to imagine what Dom would want out of a techno record on Hospital, Negative Fascination is exactly what comes to mind - Chain Reaction's dub-inflected heroin house, Clock DVA's cybernetic futurism, and the atmosphere from the mournful dirges of New Order's first album.
A fine grit coats the production of Negative Fascination, and it's something that electronic purists may find off-putting, but it suits the bleakness and dystopian overtures that Mendez injects into his production. Acid-like gurgles propel the minimalist techno thump of "The Invocation Of Lust" and "The Strange Attractor" both of which rise and fall through a complex sequence of churning rhythms and shifting drones. "Temptation & Desire" lifts a taut rhythmic stab straight from The Sisters Of Mercy circa Body Electric and mutates it into a punchy minimal wave number with appropriately coldly theatrical drones hovering in the distant. The finale "Utopian Disaster" is right out of the Sandwell playbook of modulated techno sequencing, Chain Reactive dubby rhythms, and stealth bomber vibes. A fucking great record. (FYI, turntable types: the vinyl version's first pressing sold out, but is being repressed right now, so back in soon.)
MPEG Stream: "Invocation Of Lust"
MPEG Stream: "The Strange Attractor"
MPEG Stream: "Utopian Disaster (End)"

album cover SILENT SERVANT Negative Fascination (Hospital Productions) lp 24.00
Here's the second repress of this universally acclaimed album from last year!
Silent Servant's dour techno emerges from the now defunct Sandwell District collective of techno-heds keen on bending the Detroit / Berlin axis to allow for the grim pathologies of Industrial culture and all of its post-punk offshoots to infiltrate the boom-boom-boom of a 909 drum kick. Sandwell's Karl O'Connor is certainly the most vocal, hardlined, and aggressive of the District's members through the brutalist techno that he's produced over the years. His DJ sets are notorious for dropping Whitehouse and other power electronic squalor amidst furiously hard breakbeats. Juan Mendez (aka Silent Servant) strikes a gloomier pose than O'Connor through the Sandwell District and carries this over into the ethereally witched-out Tropic Of Cancer. Silent Servant's Negative Fascination drops from Hospital Productions, whose ghastly noise aesthetic parted once before for Cold Cave's gritty synth pop, making room for head honcho Dominic Fernow to follow suit with his own adventures in rhythm (e.g. Vatican Shadows, Christian Cosmos). If one were to imagine what Dom would want out of a techno record on Hospital, Negative Fascination is exactly what comes to mind - Chain Reaction's dub-inflected heroin house, Clock DVA's cybernetic futurism, and the atmosphere from the mournful dirges of New Order's first album.
A fine grit coats the production of Negative Fascination, and it's something that electronic purists may find off-putting, but it suits the bleakness and dystopian overtures that Mendez injects into his production. Acid-like gurgles propel the minimalist techno thump of "The Invocation Of Lust" and "The Strange Attractor" both of which rise and fall through a complex sequence of churning rhythms and shifting drones. "Temptation & Desire" lifts a taut rhythmic stab straight from The Sisters Of Mercy circa Body Electric and mutates it into a punchy minimal wave number with appropriately coldly theatrical drones hovering in the distant. The finale "Utopian Disaster" is right out of the Sandwell playbook of modulated techno sequencing, Chain Reactive dubby rhythms, and stealth bomber vibes. A fucking great record.
MPEG Stream: "Invocation Of Lust"
MPEG Stream: "The Strange Attractor"
MPEG Stream: "Utopian Disaster (End)"

album cover ALVARIUS B s/t (2nd) (Abduction) 2lp 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Fucked up minstrel-tunes, misogynistic murder ballads, and world-weary blues played by a man who's too smart and too talented to play everything straight. Yup, it's Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls in his singer-songwriter guise of Alvarius B. Alan's poetics of cruelty and black humor are highlighted most egregiously on this eponymous album (not to be confused with another self-titled record from 1994), and if anyone is expecting the puckish tunes from Bishop's acclaimed 2011 album Baroque Primitiva with its Morricone, John Barry, and Beach Boys covers will be shocked by all of the dead whores and vulgar epithets that come a mile a minute from Bishop's venomous mouth. Bishop's arrangements typically find the man scraping and rapping his bloody knuckles across his steel-strung acoustic guitar with a violent aggression that splutters out of stolen blues progressions, always punctuating his deranged lyrics. As was the case with the Sun City Girls, Bishop's solo work teases with moments of musical ecstasy thanks to some downright brilliant songwriting that get all twisted and fucked up with those gnashed acoustic chords or subverted by a peyote visions (e.g. "he sucked all of Arabia from a herbivore's labia") or downright mean spirited lyrics (e.g. "Fucking maggot, you're in the way!").
Originally released as a double lp 1997 on Abduction, the album went out of print quickly only to fetch small ransoms on eBay. The double cd sports six bonus tracks including the Sun City Girls classic "CCC" from 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda. It's pretty fucking recommended, but only if you don't mind getting sonically slapped in the face every other song.
MPEG Stream: "Cooking With Satan"
MPEG Stream: "Hippie Conglomerate"
MPEG Stream: "The Great Fuck Inaccessible"

album cover ALVARIUS B s/t (2nd) (Abduction) 2cd 16.98
Fucked up minstrel-tunes, misogynistic murder ballads, and world-weary blues played by a man who's too smart and too talented to play everything straight. Yup, it's Alan Bishop of the Sun City Girls in his singer-songwriter guise of Alvarius B. Alan's poetics of cruelty and black humor are highlighted most egregiously on this eponymous album (not to be confused with another self-titled record from 1994), and if anyone is expecting the puckish tunes from Bishop's acclaimed 2011 album Baroque Primitiva with its Morricone, John Barry, and Beach Boys covers, they will be shocked by all of the dead whores and vulgar epithets that come a mile a minute from Bishop's venomous mouth. Bishop's arrangements typically find the man scraping and rapping his bloody knuckles across his steel-strung acoustic guitar with a violent aggression that splutters out of stolen blues progressions, always punctuating his deranged lyrics. As was the case with the Sun City Girls, Bishop's solo work teases with moments of musical ecstasy thanks to some downright brilliant songwriting that get all twisted and fucked up with those gnashed acoustic chords or subverted by a peyote visions (e.g. "he sucked all of Arabia from a herbivore's labia") or downright mean spirited lyrics (e.g. "Fucking maggot, you're in the way!")
Originally released as a double lp 1997 on Abduction, the album went out of print quickly only to fetch small ransoms on eBay. The double cd sports six bonus tracks including the Sun City Girls classic "CCC" from 330,003 Crossdressers From Beyond The Rig Veda. It's pretty fucking recommended, but only if you don't mind getting sonically slapped in the face every other song.
MPEG Stream: "Cooking With Satan"
MPEG Stream: "Hippie Conglomerate"
MPEG Stream: "CCC"
MPEG Stream: "The Great Fuck Inaccessible"

album cover TONIUTTI, GIANCARLO Qwalsamtimutkw?italuc'ik (Alluvial Recordings) cd 12.98
BACK IN STOCK!!! And, it's about fucking time! During the past two and half decades, this uncompromising Italian sound artist released only two solo records and a handful of noteworthy collaborations, all of which earned him a reputation for incredible compositions nestled within an intellectual framework dealing with semiotics, esoteric languages, psychogeography, cosmology, and plenty of other topics that are way above the heads of 99 percent of everybody else. For all of Toniutti's highfalutin' ideas, his sound design isn't nearly as obtuse as you might think. There is an expressionism to Toniutti's work that you might also find in Xenakis' electronic works or Chris Watson's high quality field recordings, although Toniutti's idiosyncrasies make it difficult to draw apt comparisons. So with the release of Qwalsamtimutkw?italuc'ik, Toniutti has finally issued something new. Almost 19 years after the last proper full length album, and 11 years since the last major collaborative project. There have been entire careers that have risen and then fallen during that span of time, and Giancarlo quietly toiled away with his research into dying languages and an occasional flurry of recording which only now has been resolved. The title itself translates from Nuxalk, an indigenous Canadian language.
As for music, Toniutti built an instrument which he calls a 'rattle-harp' out of a large piece of found metal, several long thin pieces of wire, and some bones. The sounds that emanate from this instrument are haunted drones and rattles which create an unsettled ground of activity that is anything but static. Sure, the surfaces of these shadowy subharmonic hums and oceanic tone bursts could fall into the darkened ambient category that we love so much; but as Toniutti slips the layers against each other, unnerving ruptures in frequency provide a woozy feel to these occluded drones. Even at low volumes, these tectonic rumblings can be very potent.
MPEG Stream: "Qwalsamtimutkw?italuc'ik"

album cover ETAT BRUT Mutations Et Protheses (Sub Rosa) cd 16.98
Can't really tell you much about Etat Brut, other than the limited information provided by Sub Rosa. EB were an obscure industrial duo from Belgium operating between 1978 and 1983, with connections to the transgressive collective Club Moral and the Cabs-inspired Pseudo Code. Supposedly, both of the individuals in Etat Brut were named Phillipe and went on to become science teachers after leaving all of this junk, noise, and squalid rhythm behind. But that's all the information we could dig up, which is a bit disappointing, as we'd love to know more about these guys, we imagine Club Moral must have published something about the group in their Force Mental zine. Anyway, for those keen on the more brutal / guttural / abject side of industrial culture (e.g. TG's Second Annual Report, Factrix' Sheintot, or SPK's Leichenshrei), this is a very compelling document of primitive sound-demolition with an equally primitive approach to deconstructing music into its rawest elements - noise, rhythm, screams, more noise, and plenty of aggro / provocateur antics. The post-punk monochord basslines and drum machine anti-groove of "Homme Nus" is a compellingly bleak track of Frankensteinian proportions, where "Crash" conveys a dehumanized atmosphere through grim blorping electronics, musique concrete techniques, and cut-up dialogue that could very well allude to JG Ballard if only we understood French. Crumbling tape machinations, rhythms looped from shortwave radio beacons, fucked-up noise, and guttural vocalizations fill in the blanks, very prescient of what Atelecine is attempting to recreate nowadays and holding up very well against the better known projects we listed earlier.
The cd comes with two bonus tracks not found on the vinyl, btw.
MPEG Stream: "Hommes Nus"
MPEG Stream: "Douce Nuit"
MPEG Stream: "Bande Sonore Du Film Paysage Mental "

album cover SWANS The Seer (Young God Records) 2cd+dvd 22.00
Swans, Version 2.0 continues with The Seer, and how could it not be monstrous, epic, and utterly all-consuming? When Michael Gira reactivated the Swans several years ago, he did so with the intent of constantly touring the band, who furiously and methodically pounded through every set with Gira devilishly commanding to his band "More, you fuckers, MORE!!!" The songs which dominated the universally acclaimed 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky became grotesquely engorged during the live sets, with each track telescoping in length and straining with each note, each rhythmic smash made more intense than the previous one. The shows were exhausting from the perspective of the audience, and Gira's marathon-length sprint must have been hell on the band, but unlike previous incarnations of Swans, it was obvious that Michael Gira was full of joy in orchestrating all of this controlled havoc.
So, we come to The Seer - an album devised as a template malleable to the pressures of the Swans live performances. How these songs will sound at the end of the Swans 2012 tour, who the hell knows? Even outside the context of the forecasted mutation, The Seer is a beast of an album. The opening number "Lunacy" is a brightly charged march through dissonant guitar monochords and militaristic snares, before giving over to a wild-eyed chorale featuring the vocal talents of Mimi and Alan Sparhawk of Low. With Gira in charge, the emotional fragility that's emblematic of Low becomes lupine in its collective howl. "Mother Of The World" reprises the jackbooted rhythms found on the first Swans records, with a jagged guitar chord scraping bloodily against the unrelenting groove. The title track itself is a 32 minute piece that lesser bands would have used as an entire album with its massive crescendos of drone-rock pummel crashing down to a doomic plod and extended passages of slumped distortion, as something of a breather before ripping into another frenzy of gleeful obliteration.
Disc two opens with the much ballyhooed appearance of Karen O on the brief, lilting number "Song For A Warrior." It's more of an intermission for the band to shake out their arms and ears before Gira launches into another lengthy percussive workout, which is exactly what he does on "Avatar" - lockstep grooves for drums and bells rise up through a drone-rock ascent of guitars, bass, and vocals uttering languid melodies throughout before Gira commands the drummers into an furious crescendo of control, power, and noise. "A Piece Of The Sky" slowly unfurls through a shimmering drone density with plenty of Ligetti references but is probably also a thoughtful homage to Gira's amphetamine driven deconstruction on the brilliant Body Lovers cd from 1998, with a temperate Swans lurching forward into a near symphonic ballad. The finale "The Apostate" is a 24-minute vehicle for the screeching drones of lapsteel player Kristof Hahn, emitting divebombing raids across the throttled basslines, yelped vocals, and of course those interlocked rhythms.
We've got the limited 2cd combo which comes with a bonus dvd of live material from the last tour, during which Swans worked through variations of tracks that made their way on to this album, including "Avatar," "The Apostate", and "The Seer", with two gems from Children Of God and a few from My Father Will Guide Me...
And yeah, The Seer is just as good as everybody has been saying.
MPEG Stream: "Mother Of The World"
MPEG Stream: "The Seer Returns"
MPEG Stream: "Avatar"

album cover SWANS The Seer (Young God Records) 3lp 29.00
After having gone out of print almost immediately, the vinyl version of the most recent opus from the mighty Swans is FINALLY available again!!
Swans, Version 2.0 continues with The Seer, and how could it not be monstrous, epic, and utterly all-consuming? When Michael Gira reactivated the Swans several years ago, he did so with the intent of constantly touring the band, who furiously and methodically pounded through every set with Gira devilishly commanding to his band "More, you fuckers, MORE!!!" The songs which dominated the universally acclaimed 2010 album My Father Will Guide Me Up a Rope to the Sky became grotesquely engorged during the live sets, with each track telescoping in length and straining with each note, each rhythmic smash made more intense than the previous one. The shows were exhausting from the perspective of the audience, and Gira's marathon-length sprint must have been hell on the band, but unlike previous incarnations of Swans, it was obvious that Michael Gira was full of joy in orchestrating all of this controlled havoc.
So, we come to The Seer - an album devised as a template malleable to the pressures of the Swans live performances. How these songs will sound at the end of the Swans 2012 tour, who the hell knows? Even outside the context of the forecasted mutation, The Seer is a beast of an album. The opening number "Lunacy" is a brightly charged march through dissonant guitar monochords and militaristic snares, before giving over to a wild-eyed chorale featuring the vocal talents of Mimi and Alan Sparhawk of Low. With Gira in charge, the emotional fragility that's emblematic of Low becomes lupine in its collective howl. "Mother Of The World" reprises the jackbooted rhythms found on the first Swans records, with a jagged guitar chord scraping bloodily against the unrelenting groove. The title track itself is a 32 minute piece that lesser bands would have used as an entire album with its massive crescendos of drone-rock pummel crashing down to a doomic plod and extended passages of slumped distortion, as something of a breather before ripping into another frenzy of gleeful obliteration.
Disc two opens with the much ballyhooed appearance of Karen O on the brief, lilting number "Song For A Warrior." It's more of an intermission for the band to shake out their arms and ears before Gira launches into another lengthy percussive workout, which is exactly what he does on "Avatar" - lockstep grooves for drums and bells rise up through a drone-rock ascent of guitars, bass, and vocals uttering languid melodies throughout before Gira commands the drummers into an furious crescendo of control, power, and noise. "A Piece Of The Sky" slowly unfurls through a shimmering drone density with plenty of Ligetti references but is probably also a thoughtful homage to Gira's amphetamine driven deconstruction on the brilliant Body Lovers cd from 1998, with a temperate Swans lurching forward into a near symphonic ballad. The finale "The Apostate" is a 24-minute vehicle for the screeching drones of lapsteel player Kristof Hahn, emitting divebombing raids across the throttled basslines, yelped vocals, and of course those interlocked rhythms.
And yeah, The Seer is just as good as everybody has been saying.
MPEG Stream: "Mother Of The World"
MPEG Stream: "The Seer Returns"
MPEG Stream: "Avatar"

album cover SMALL CRUEL PARTY An Accident In Substance (Harbinger Sound) 3cd 26.00
An obscure project with an obscure agenda. Small Cruel Party was the brilliant / difficult sound project of Key Ransome, who operated in and around the Incubator warehouse in Seattle from the early '90s up until he left for Paris around 2003 when he became a vegetarian chef and shed much of the contacts with his former life. But back during his most prolific periods, Small Cruel Party managed over 30 releases (including a disproportionate amount of seven inches) and contributed to nearly as many compilations. But since he left, nothing. The precipitous cessation of Small Cruel Party can appear to have all of the trappings of Maurizio Bianchi's demonstrative retirement back in the early '80s, but where Bianchi might have cracked under the existential weight of his depressive electronics, Small Cruel Party may have transcended itself out of existence. In a rare piece of text accompanying the almost Dada-ist titles of his pieces, Ransome speculated that Small Cruel Party "... focused on the inherent mysterious and beautiful quality of sound itself, with the emphasis on noninstrumental sound sources, the source itself not being readily apparent. Work generally involves manipulation of physical objects in acoustic space and a great deal of concentrated activity. Even in pieces involving dense sound at high volume the resultant effect is one of intense calm." Even as one hears the haptic sounds from rocks, sand, bells, scribblings, strange whisperings, electrical hums, sodden field recordings, and barren drones, the raw sounds are given over to a ceremonial austerity whose liturgy is completely unknowable. The work is certainly informed by minimalism, but more from a context of sculptural physicality through the barest of materials instead of the musical forms of Phill Niblock or LaMonte Young. A Small Cruel Party composition is often just two or three sonic elements, with Ransome creating subtle shifts in the orbits of those elliptical sounds or mustering an ectoplasmic glow around a formless tone that ominously lifts out of nowhere to the foreground.
Accident In Substance is a wholly impressive document, collecting a bunch of those compilation and seven-inch tracks and presenting them in chronological order based on when they were created (and not necessarily when they were released). The earliest piece "Even The Lives Of Our Grandfathers" may be the most musical with a hypnotic, Terry Riley-esque repetition on a couple of piano notes, Ransome layers such with scabrous textures and breathy whispered utterances devoid of any specific words. It's eerie, beautiful, and sublime. While Ransome eschews the melody on every other track since, that haunted, hidden sensibility strengthens throughout his body of work. Thickets of acoustic noise and thudding rumbles find strange bedfellows with a chorus of handbells on the dramatically intense track "Home Borders" all of which cascade like a grim kaleidoscope of urban refuse. Those same bells blossom into a Ligetti-like swarm of linear dissonace on the blindingly glistening track "Iron Moment." Stuttering electrical pulses murmur as distant beacons amidst the field recordings of unknown actions in dank warehouse spaces on the "Second Honor" and "Ceremonies of Memory." The sense of mystery that hangs on Small Cruel Party's recordings is really something to behold. Our own Jim Haynes claims Small Cruel Party as a huge influence on his rusted sound-art, to the point where one of the tracks on his 2009 album Sever is an homage to SCP. Accident In Substance is required listening for anybody whose been smitten by AMM, John Cage, Daniel Menche, Zoviet France, Organum, Loren Chasse, and Steve Roden. Yeah. It's that fucking good.
MPEG Stream: "Even The Lives Of Our Grandfathers"
MPEG Stream: "Some Movements"
MPEG Stream: "Home Borders"
MPEG Stream: "Iron Moment"
MPEG Stream: "La Poussiere Des Murs Detruit Le Passe"

THOUGHT BROADCAST Emergency Stairway (Editions Mego) lp 22.00

album cover BORGHESIA Clones (Dark Entries) lp 15.98
Here, Dark Entries reissues the terminally obscure second album from the Slovenian minimal-wave quartet Borghesia. The band formed in 1982 during the death throes of the fractious Yugoslavian republic, operating in a liminal space between the art world and the underground punk scene, through their own club Disco FV. During these early years, the quartet produced video installations and performances alike, with the sound design being an instrumental, hard-edged variant on new wave sensibilities. By the mid '80s, the project stripped down to a duo and took up a sweaty DAF-inspired muscularity of industrial funk. But here on Clones (originally self-released as a cassette in 1984), we find Borghesia doing their best work. All instrumental trax of hypnotic, pulsing electronics with some very forward thinking 808 drum programming that foreshadowed the reductionist strategies of Detroit electro and techno, albeit within a context that favored the darker sounds of The Human League and Soft Cell. The A side features spry and punchy tracks with plenty of elliptical arpeggiations and ramped up BPMs, whereas the B side is more pastoral and slower, sporting an eerie, melodic homage to Cindy Sherman. Clones, indeed!

album cover NEPHILA Subcutaneous Memory (Monorail Trespassing) cassette 6.98
Subcutaneous Memory is the debut recording for Nephila, the solo project of Shannon Kennedy - better known as the cellist / electronics sorceress from Pedestrian Deposit. Just as she brought a spooky sense of calm to balance the infernal noise manifest of Jon Borges' side of the Pedestrian Deposit equation, this is a super creepy tape made of and for the dark arts. The first side was all crafted on a zither, which she's plucked into haunting, slow-motion cycles of creepy melodies interspersed with atonal slashes and contact mic noises that look back to those apocalyptic collages from Current 93's early days. The second features haunting incantations looped from a "branch fiddle", wood, and voice, creating a hypnotic miasma of arboreal wooziness. Another fantastic tape from Monorail Trespassing, and we certainly hope to hear more from Nephila!

album cover RECCHION, TOM Proscenium (Elevator Bath) lp+7" 24.00
Tom Recchion has been making weird and wonderful sounds since the 1970s as one of the leading figures in the Los Angeles Free Music Society. In a constant rotation of projects and bands, he cranked out ear-damaging skree, zonked tape collages, anti-musical comedies, and all sorts of other illogical strategies for making fucked-up sound. Compared to pretty much everything he's done previously, Proscenium - his first record in nearly seven years - is downright sensible; and one that fits neatly alongside all of the other releases from Elevator Bath, a label which specializes in rarified dronemuzik and oblique ambience (e.g. Keith Berry, Matt Shoemaker, Rick Reed and even our own Jim Haynes). The album began as the musical accompaniment to Janie Geiser's play "Invisible Glass" itself an adaptation of an Edgar Allan Poe short story, with Recchion attempting to craft a moody atmosphere that slowly creeps into the audience's unconsciousness. Strange melodies emerge through a shimmering hum at the onset of the record, sounding like an underwater version of Aphex Twins' Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Recchion smudges everything beyond recognition, although the thrumming of a piano does seem to peek from behind the veil of his aqueous mystery. Dense applications of reverb are common throughout, as is a strange echoing ripple that has a funhouse, helter-skelter vibe - probably the only commonality with anything from LAMFS! Whatever melodic phrases Recchion might have started out with have blurred into oceanic swells of nocturnal droning that by the end of side two morphs into an algae bloom of dread. The tracks on the seven inch are somewhat different from what's found on the lp, with a Dada-inspired splatter of haptic rhythms on one side; and a slow-crawling calliope slashed with sporadic gasps of noise on the other. While the seven inch follows Recchion anti-aesthetic through LAFMS, the ambient horror of the lp tracks are the true prize of the set. Think Basinski. Think Koner. Think Nurse With Wound. And, then you're getting close to where Recchion might be coming from.
MPEG Stream: "The Mesmerized Chair"

album cover PIN GROUP, THE Ambivalence (Flying Nun) cd 13.98
The recently re-issued / re-released discography from this NZ dour eighties dronerock gloompop combo now also available on cd (sadly missing the live bonus tracks that were included with the lp version, though)!
The entire musical aesthetic of the storied Flying Nun label can be traced back to the first two singles. On the exuberant and triumphantly cheerful side, you've got The Clean's "Tally Ho!" with its uptempo jangle and sloppily melodic power pop chords; but on the other side, there was the gloomy drone-rock of The Pin Group who actually released the very first Flying Nun single "Ambivalence" back in 1981. According to the liner notes by The Dead C's Bruce Russell, the late '70s and early '80s spawned quite a lot of bands in New Zealand trying to cop the Velvet Underground's gritty rock minimalism, including The Pin Group, a trio featuring Roy Montgomery (yes, THAT Roy Montgomery!), Ross Humphries (who later played in Bailter Space and The Terminals), and Peter Stapleton (who seemed to be the only guy in New Zealand with a drum kit, as he played with everybody). "Ambivalence" certainly had a black-leather minimalism filtered through the Velvets, but with strangled basslines and dour vocals from Montgomery, The Pin Group also shared more than a few passing glances at Joy Division. By the time The Pin Group got to their second single "Coat" (released later in 1981) the Velvets jangle had been engulfed in a black-hole of nervous gloom that hints at Montgomery's drone-rock impressionism from the early '90s onward. That single sported a clever Andy Warhol ripoff by replacing the Velvet Underground banana with a pop-art sequence of Kiwis, but the B side to that single, "Jim", situates the band at their bleakest, with a puritanically dark punk sermon that foreshadowed the emotionally draining dynamics of Slint by about a decade.
Ambivalence marks the second anthology of The Pin Group's short but hugely influential career which lasted less than 12 months. Everything from the first anthology (an eponymous cd released on Siltbreeze back in 1997) is reprised here, including the two covers - the smartly chosen "Hurricane Fighter Plane" and the unwise "Low Rider." Don't let the latter spoil the majesty of the rest of the album. Recommended? You bet your ass!
MPEG Stream: "Power"
MPEG Stream: "Jim"
MPEG Stream: "Ambivalence II"
MPEG Stream: "When I Tell You"

album cover PIN GROUP, THE Ambivalence (Flying Nun) lp + 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 entire musical aesthetic of the storied Flying Nun label can be traced back to the first two singles. On the exuberant and triumphantly cheerful side, you've got The Clean's "Tally Ho!" with its uptempo jangle and sloppily melodic power pop chords; but on the other side, there was the gloomy drone-rock of The Pin Group who actually released the very first Flying Nun single "Ambivalence" back in 1981. According to the liner notes by The Dead C's Bruce Russell, the late '70s and early '80s spawned quite a lot of bands in New Zealand trying to cop the Velvet Underground's gritty rock minimalism, including The Pin Group, a trio featuring Roy Montgomery (yes, THAT Roy Montgomery!), Ross Humphries (who later played in Bailter Space and The Terminals), and Peter Stapleton (who seemed to be the only guy in New Zealand with a drum kit, as he played with everybody). "Ambivalence" certainly had a black-leather minimalism filtered through the Velvets, but with strangled basslines and dour vocals from Montgomery, The Pin Group also shared more than a few passing glances at Joy Division. By the time The Pin Group got to their second single "Coat," (released later in 1981) the Velvets jangle had been engulfed in a black-hole of nervous gloom that hints at Montgomery's drone-rock impressionism from the early '90s onward. That single sported a clever Andy Warhol ripoff by replacing the Velvet Underground banana with a pop-art sequence of Kiwis, but the B side to that single, "Jim", situates the band at their bleakest, with a puritanically dark punk sermon that foreshadowed the emotionally draining dynamics of Slint by about a decade.
Ambivalence marks the second anthology of The Pin Group's short but hugely influential career which lasted less than 12 months. Everything from the first anthology (an eponymous cd released on Siltbreeze back in 1997) is reprised on the vinyl of Ambivalence, including the two covers - the smartly chosen "Hurricane Fighter Plane" and the unwise "Low Rider." Don't let the latter spoil the majesty of the rest of the album, which also features a bonus cd of a live show from July 1981 with a couple of tracks that had been unreleased elsewhere. Recommended? You bet your ass!
MPEG Stream: "Power"
MPEG Stream: "Jim"
MPEG Stream: "Ambivalence II"
MPEG Stream: "When I Tell You"

album cover SLAVES, THE Spirits Of The Sun (Digitalis) lp 19.98
Last year, when we listed the Paradigms cd of Grey Angel by The Slaves, we lamented that the band had already ceased to exist. They had only produced two full albums (the aforementioned Grey Angel and the currently out of print Ocean On Ocean, which will get reissued on 2lp in early fall 2012) and a mini-cassette, all of which were thoroughly brilliant amalgams of ethereal shoegaze and doom-tinged heaviness, akin to Lovesliescrushing genetically re-engineered to sound like Barn Owl. Fortunately, the declaration of the defunct-ness of The Slaves was indeed premature, as the Portland duo of Barbara Kinzle and Birch Cooper have returned and released this epic lp Spirits Of The Sun for Digitalis! The hiatus (which, seemed to be the result of the, um, romantic disentanglement betwixt the two) didn't change The Slaves' sound all that much, with elegantly fuzzed out synth melodies girding the liturgical, somber heaviness suspended upon the slow-motion crawl of the songs. Both Kinzle and Cooper intertwine wordless vocals around the fundamental tunes, which emote with the best of sound poems from Grouper but also align with plainsong chants from forgotten cathedrals. On top of all of this, they thoroughly smother everything in a beautifully luminescent blur of dream-pop / shoegazed noise. The album's opener "III" explodes with a dense accretion of guitar noise that pops in stark relief against the languid vocal chorales. "River" and "The Field" melt together with "III" to form the first side of the album with its oceanic heaviness of synth and guitar dronescaping. "Born Into Light" is a side long majestic epic that blossoms with much more blistering guitar noise searing through the melodic synth backbone, all of which deflates back to a nocturne of vocal incantations. Totally beautiful and totally recommended!
MPEG Stream: "River"
MPEG Stream: "Born Into Light"

album cover THOUGHT BROADCAST s/t (Olde English Spelling Bee) lp 22.00
Quite the student of the obscure & forgotten histories of synth punk and industrial culture, Ravi Binning's Thought Broadcast firmly embraces the primitive technology and the vacated zeitgeist from 1979-1983. For Binning, the musical universe may have ceased to exist after SPK's major label dalliance on the unforgivably bad "Metal Dance," but he still carves out plenty of room to operate alongside The Units, Factrix, and Club Moral. As we heard last on the super limited Phaserprone 7" released earlier in 2012, Binning has at his disposal a collection of primitive monosynths and drum machines, possibly of vintage origin, possibly reverse engineered through modern technology, possibly new circuits designed to sound old. No matter what the means of production might be, his sound is decidedly primitive, with the simplest of minor-chord melodies, the most zombified of arpeggiations, and the tinniest of mechanical rhythms filtered from Conrad Schnitzler through TG and MB, all of it swamped with tape hiss and scabrous noise errors. How could Binning not record this on the shittiest of 4-tracks? Highly compressed, garbled vocals bark in distant monotone at erratic intervals, with crude tape-delay manipulation further obfuscating whatever apocalyptic, anti-social, damaged epithets Binning may be uttering. It's brilliant in its bleakness and its re-animatation of that peculiar hollowed-out industrial sound.
MPEG Stream: "Fortune Teller"

album cover COLECLOUGH, JONATHAN & MURMER Husk (ICR) cd 15.98
It's been far too long since we've heard anything new from the venerable British drone composer Jonathan Coleclough, so we figured we'd grab a few more copies of the his brilliant collaboration with Murmer (aka Patrick McGinley). Back in the early oughts, Coleclough began making regular contributions to McGinley's weekly radio series Framework for Resonance FM in London; and their continued communication sparked the interest for a collaboration. Much of the music found on Husk originated from semi-improvised sessions using source material as refrigerators, thunderstorms, sheep, car horns, ferryboats, windblown sand, and crackling charcoal; and it's a crap shoot to discern which of these electrically blurred drones hails from an overheating kitchen appliance or from farm animals. Not that any of that really matters, as the art of Coleclough and McGinley is in their alchemy, transforming the commonplace into the celestial (albeit, a very dark and very cold heavenly body). Throbbing drones of low end harmonics are joined by secondary sustained timbres which undulate as polyamorous tangles, spreading rhizomes, and slippery knots bristling with tactility and spotted with plenty of hints of the organic. Each of the four tracks proposes a variation on glassine drones counterpointed by rasping textures, at times hedging for the subdued drama of smoldering crescendos and others the sublime stare at glacial immobility. Coleclough's work has always been exceptional, and his collaboration with Murmer is no different! Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Husk"
MPEG Stream: "Fieldwork"
MPEG Stream: "Germ"

album cover JE SUIS LE PETIT CHEVALIER Age Of Wonder (Shelter Press ) lp 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The monicker of Felicia Atkinson's solo project hails from Nico's Desert Shore, that mysteriously bleak 1970 album by the Velvet Underground's troubled chanteuse; and a similarly poetic mysteriousness oozes from Atkinsons' deconstructed songs. Age Of Wonder is the second piece of vinyl for Je Suit Le Petit Chevalier, strengthening her work through a handful of limited cassettes and cd-r out of an amorphous droning psychedelia and into a smoldering intense alchemy of allegorical post-ambience. On this spooky, hypnotic, and harrowing album conjured through ever-shifting, ever-blossoming, ever-defalting soundscapes, she references the psychotropic holiness of Fursaxa, the deep-sleep surrealism of Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, and the expository minimalism of Taj Mahal Travellers. Voice, synths, loops, and electronics are the tools at her disposal, which she uses to build sprawling passages of sodden drones brightened by twinkling synths playing half-melodies and accentuated by her narcoleptic vocals cycling through wordless, but emotively sad lullablies alternating with spectral bellowings swathed in deep, washed-out reverb. The layered accretion of plainsong vocalizations and dank atmopsherics opaquely reimagines that which is natural, mystical, metaphysical, and/or mundane, always positioned as something of a mirror looking back to the human psyche as unknowable and existentially sublime. Brilliantly done.
MPEG Stream: "The First Forest"
MPEG Stream: "Fever Dunes"

album cover DEATH AND VANILLA s/t (Hands In The Dark / Kalligrammofon) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN STOCK! We thought these might be out of print, and we probably scored the very last copies of this brilliant album, which has bafflingly eluded the hype-machine.
Death And Vanilla are a Swedish haunted-pop duo who have found themselves caught in the vortex of retro-futurism circa 1969. On the one hand, they've got a good grip on the baroque psychedelia of the United States Of America, Free Design, and even some of the more woolly tracks that Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg produced; and on the other, they're keen on the whole library music phenomenon augmenting their songs with plenty of sparkling synths, crackling radiophonic samples, EVP recordings (yup, that is Raymond Cass, we hear!), and tripped-out-to-space production tricks that would be right out of the Daphne Oram and Delia Derbyshire playbooks. There's even a track on this album called "Library Goblin"! If you might think all of this seems like the same strategy that Broadcast employed on their highly acclaimed collaborations with The Focus Group back in 2009-2010, you'd be pretty spot on. Even the unnamed female vocalist for Death And Vanilla sounds an awful lot like Broadcast's Trish Keenan, with her breathy delivery and unexpected melodies which soar above the monochromatic lullaby of many of the songs. As sacrosanct as it may seem, Death And Vanilla may be better songwriters than Broadcast; their cinematic pop gem "Cul-De-Sac" should be in the running for poptune of 2012 for sure with its complex interweave of harpsichord, vibraphone, fuzzed guitar, strutting basslines, and shuffling rhythms all driven by the vocal harmonies, which transitions rather deftly into the far more experimental avant-pop number "Sombambulists" which drifts aptly towards a dreamy headspace of loping basslines and percolating synths all bathed in sound-dissolving reverb. The filmic references also abound on tracks like "The Unseeing Eye" and the aforementioned "Library Goblin" as sublimely revisionist '60s pop numbers with bubbly vibraphones and seductive vocals amidst electronic filigree and charming synth blorp, before disintegrating into an otherworldly interlude of ethereal radio noise and cosmic vibrations. As such, it's a pretty irresistible album for any fan of Broadcast, Ghost Box, and Stereolab. The lp has already gone through a couple of pressings, but hopefully, we'll be able to keep this one in stock for a while. It's totally worth it!
MPEG Stream: "The Unseeing Eye"
MPEG Stream: "Cul De Sac"
MPEG Stream: "Rituals"

album cover AUBRY, GILLES s6t8r (Winds Measure Recordings) cd 11.98
BACK IN STOCK! Up until we got a hold of this disc a while back we'd never carried anything from Winds Measure Recordings; but that will certainly be changing, as this is a label with an excellent ear for the finer points of dronesmear sound-art and an equally excellent eye for letterpressed packaging. So, we started with the stellar manipulated field recording work from Swiss-born / Berlin-based sound artist Gilles Aubry, who ran a space in Berlin dedicated to experimental music called Stralau 68. The space unfortunately closed in 2007, but it seemed to have been a nexus of activity for noise, aktionism, avant-rock, live-wire electronics, and whatnot. Perhaps as a final act within the emptied space, Aubry recorded the resonance of the room, capturing all sorts of resonant drones, tones, hums, and buzzes intrinsic to the space outside of its former use as a performance venue. The first of three pieces on this album centers on the rasping frequencies from the industrial air vents matching wind-blown recordings from within what sounds like a huge concrete structure. Here Aubry's work attains the acousmatic aesthetic that the finest Francisco Lopez pieces of minimalism seek. The second piece is far more dynamic, with thrumming rumble grounding an interwoven drone of pierced frequencies and jarring movements from creaking metal doors, bellowing hisses of infernal air, and scrabbling textures. It's unsettled and ominous, something of a hybrid between the end-times collages of Tarab and the late period bleakness of Lustmord. The final piece continues with the scraped abrasions and elongated drones of toxic environmental frequencies. Absolutely brilliant stuff!
As we mentioned, Winds Measure's packaging is a thing of beauty, here with an elegant folio of letterpressed text on thick white paper with a set of abstracted smears printed precisely in a pale pale grey. Some of the finer letterpressed work we've seen! Put it all together in a small edition of just about 300 copies. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: "part 1"
MPEG Stream: "part 2"
MPEG Stream: "part 3"

album cover SCHICKERT, GUNTER Uberfallig (Bureau B) lp 23.00
YES! We're big fans of lesser-known krautrock guitarist Gunter Schickert (who also did production work with Klaus Schulze, like, for Japan's Far East Family Band). As soon as we heard that his Uberfallig album was getting a new reissue, we knew it was going to have to be a Record Of The Week. We've been in love with this record forever, referencing it and Schickert plenty of times in other reviews when we want to cite something incredibly atmospheric and minimalistically trance inducing from deep in the krautrock zone. There was a previous cd edition of this we stocked years ago, but that's been out of print for ages. Now Germany's industrious Bureau B label have stepped in and added this rare late-krautrock masterpiece to their ongoing, essential series of reissues of essential kraut / kosmishe albums. And it's on both digipak cd *and* vinyl now as well!
Uberfallig was Schickert's second album, originally issued in 1979 on the Sky label, the follow up to his 1974 Brain debut Samtvogel. It's hard to believe somebody this good didn't record more, or with other people, but we're only aware of a couple later recordings that have ever surfaced. Here on Uberfallig, Schickert's exceptionally hypnotic space-echo guitar work, similar to Manuel Gottsching of Ashra, is matched by fascinating rhythmic pulsations, at times recalling prime Can-like velocities or the circular bubbliness of aQ faves AR & Machines, and some Pink Floyd Meddle era pastoral psych vibes as well. And it's mostly just Schickert (guitar, voice) and a few friends (drums and vocals) plus nature sounds, deftly deployed.
Opener "Puls" is worth the price of admission alone. It does indeed pulse, for nearly 16 epic minutes, building from calmly rhythmic beginnings to pure hypno-guitar bliss, mixed with subtle, splashy, sploshy field recordings - evoking the idea of Schickert and his drummer colleague Charles M. Heuer wading upstream in the wilds somewhere as their music plays. That begins the recurrent watery theme found on this album, an ever present liquid watery ambience, the sounds of wind and rain and surf and babbling brooks woven in among the "actual" instruments. The cover image of an intense looking Schickert suggests this too, his visage overlaid with what looks like the play of light on the surface of water.
The second cut, "In Der Zeit", is a shorter, folkier number, with more surf-sounds and bird calls and a gentle, hushed female vocal, accompanying Schickert's pleasant, repeating acoustic guitar motif. So nice.
Track three, "Apricot Brandy II", as some may guess from the name, is a sequel to the first track on Schickert's debut Samtvogel (wish we still had a reissue of that - maybe Bureau B will do something about that, too). Again with a watery intro, then the nervous ticking of drumsticks, heralding a quietly unfurling, slightly sinister and suspenseful 12 and a half minute, gently percolating proto-post-rock trip. We're hearing some Can circa Tago Mago, and Tortoise and Circle, too, especially with the murmuring vocals chanting "Apricot Brandy" amidst other drones and moans. It's all druggy and delicate, moody and mesmeric. Quite the tour de force, coming to a close with strange samples and lovely crackling.
If that wasn't enough, the album ends with even more haunting mesmer, the aptly titled, the 8+ minute long "Wanderer", slow and spooky at first, with more of that tick-tock drumming and watery splashes. It's got a twilight sound to it, so beautiful and mysterious and mesmeric, like this whole amazing, organic, echo-laden album.
Includes, along with credits and lyrics, new 2012 liner notes from Schickert's contemporary Asmus Tietchens, in both English and German, and also an interesting note from Schickert, explaining that some of this music was used on the soundtrack to a film about the gay community in New York called Brooklyn 11238, which we'd never have guessed...
While we'll state that this is reissue definitely something crucial for fans of Agitation Free, AR & Machines, Moebius & Rodelius, Michael Rother, You, Ashra, and latter-day krautrockers Village Of Savoonga, we should also make clear that this is NOT just for krautrock collector nerds - even if you've NEVER heard a krautrock record before, we'd still recommend this one, obscure as it is. It's that good.
MPEG Stream: "Puls"
MPEG Stream: "In Der Zeit"
MPEG Stream: "Apricot Brandy II"

album cover KONER, THOMAS Novaya Zemlya (Touch) cd 15.98
Novaya Zemlya is a grand statement. But then again, Thomas Koner doesn't operate in any scale other than monumental. All of his albums (barring the somewhat lackluster La Barca from 2003) speak through the gasping drones of a bleak existentialism. For Koner, the human condition is mirrored in the environment around us, especially those rugged, barren locales at the poles, with his isolationist smears of grey sounds alluding to water, ice, permafrost, wind, radiation, and vast empty spaces above the Arctic Circle. The environmental site for this album is a suitably inhospitable Russian archipelago jutting far out into the Arctic Ocean toward the North Pole. During the arms race of the Cold War, the Soviet Union used Novaya Zemlya as a nuclear test site, dropping the Tsar Bomba in 1961 on the landmass, which was permanently scarred by the largest atomic detonation in the history of the world. The thin layer of nuclear fallout which has buried itself in the frozen tundra of Novaya Zemlya commingles with radioactive isotopes from poorly managed storage facilities, sunken reactors, and scuttled submarines.
Koner describes this landscape through its hazardous potential, which is so much worse than the current situation. With global warming, the methane gas spewed from a melted permafrost will lift all of that radioactive material into the atmosphere and send that along the prevailing winds across western Russian over Scandinavia and into continental Europe. Perhaps, a greater catastrophe than Chernobyl. In speaking to that potential, Koner manifests pockets of near silence throughout the album with his signature tectonic rumblings and stealth-bomber frequencies gliding beyond the event horizon into the realm of the audible. Darkened crumblings of earthen material pocks the beginning of the first in a trilogy of tracks, sounding almost like slabs of ice thunderously collapsing into the sea. Drones swell and collapse into pools of resonant emptiness, broken on the second track by a disembodied shortwave radio transmission of garbled voices. The album returns to those cold, contemplative sounds until the end of the album draws near, when Koner introduces a few elegant, melodic plucks from what might be a harp. For all of the foreboding that looms throughout, the end is almost hopeful that humanity might just sort out this global warming puzzle. But then again, we might not; and then, we're fucked.
An easy contender for 2012's album of the year.
MPEG Stream: "Novaya Zemlya 1"
MPEG Stream: "Novaya Zemlya 2"

album cover MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL s/t (Spectrum Spools) 2cd 23.00
NOW AVAILABLE ON CD!!! Double cd in fact.
Rachel Evans brings her humid, oozing synth explorations to Spectrum Spools, which has become quite the launching pad for a wide array of outsider electronics as curated through the judicious ear of Emeralds' John Elliott. The name of Evans' project is lifted from William S. Burroughs' novel The Soft Machine; and with her decentering, liminal drift of half-formed / half-dissolved constructions, she finds herself peering between the kudzu-encrusted fields of her native Lagrange, Georgia and the imagined soundscapes of a primordial Gondwanaland (time-travel for her seems to go backwards in time, not forwards). After close to a couple dozen releases (mostly in the micro-edition format), she's either gotten the doseage right on the Dramamine, or she's acclimated to the queasy side effects of jumping between time and space, as this eponymous record isn't nearly as woozy and narcotized as her previous work. "The Dream" starts out quite dark, with backward-masked slashes that parallel the thickets of razored noise from Current 93's early collage work; but she quickly escapes from these bad vibes into a lengthy daydream of shimmering ambience laced with bright, effervescent sequences and some rather Vangelis-like triumphant synth stabs. "The Center" spins around a latticework of crystalline sequences that blur into massive, oceanic pools of rippling sound, with her voice looped and smeared into an ethereal bliss. "Summer Of The Cat's Eye" is a mellow impressionist piece of synth jamminess akin to Tangerine Dream's wanderings across the keyboard. "One Perfect Moment" is very reverential of John Elliott's work in Emeralds and all of his solo projects, with a sequenced glissando streaming beneath the slow unfurling of bittersweet tonal chords and Evans' pleading vocal delivery. Easily, the most arresting track she's recorded to date, rounding out another fantastic album from Evans' Motion Sickness Of Time Travel.
MPEG Stream: "The Center"
MPEG Stream: "One Perfect Moment"

album cover SCHICKERT, GUNTER Uberfallig (Bureau B) cd 17.98
YES! We're big fans of lesser-known krautrock guitarist Gunter Schickert (who also did production work with Klaus Schulze, like, for Japan's Far East Family Band). As soon as we heard that his Uberfallig album was getting a new reissue, we knew it was going to have to be a Record Of The Week. We've been in love with this record forever, referencing it and Schickert plenty of times in other reviews when we want to cite something incredibly atmospheric and minimalistically trance inducing from deep in the krautrock zone. There was a previous cd edition of this we stocked years ago, but that's been out of print for ages. Now Germany's industrious Bureau B label have stepped in and added this rare late-krautrock masterpiece to their ongoing, essential series of reissues of essential kraut / kosmishe albums. And it's on both digipak cd *and* vinyl now as well!
Uberfallig was Schickert's second album, originally issued in 1979 on the Sky label, the follow up to his 1974 Brain debut Samtvogel. It's hard to believe somebody this good didn't record more, or with other people, but we're only aware of a couple later recordings that have ever surfaced. Here on Uberfallig, Schickert's exceptionally hypnotic space-echo guitar work, similar to Manuel Gottsching of Ashra, is matched by fascinating rhythmic pulsations, at times recalling prime Can-like velocities or the circular bubbliness of aQ faves AR & Machines, and some Pink Floyd Meddle era pastoral psych vibes as well. And it's mostly just Schickert (guitar, voice) and a few friends (drums and vocals) plus nature sounds, deftly deployed.
Opener "Puls" is worth the price of admission alone. It does indeed pulse, for nearly 16 epic minutes, building from calmly rhythmic beginnings to pure hypno-guitar bliss, mixed with subtle, splashy, sploshy field recordings - evoking the idea of Schickert and his drummer colleague Charles M. Heuer wading upstream in the wilds somewhere as their music plays. That begins the recurrent watery theme found on this album, an ever present liquid watery ambience, the sounds of wind and rain and surf and babbling brooks woven in among the "actual" instruments. The cover image of an intense looking Schickert suggests this too, his visage overlaid with what looks like the play of light on the surface of water.
The second cut, "In Der Zeit", is a shorter, folkier number, with more surf-sounds and bird calls and a gentle, hushed female vocal, accompanying Schickert's pleasant, repeating acoustic guitar motif. So nice.
Track three, "Apricot Brandy II", as some may guess from the name, is a sequel to the first track on Schickert's debut Samtvogel (wish we still had a reissue of that - maybe Bureau B will do something about that, too). Again with a watery intro, then the nervous ticking of drumsticks, heralding a quietly unfurling, slightly sinister and suspenseful 12 and a half minute, gently percolating proto-post-rock trip. We're hearing some Can circa Tago Mago, and Tortoise and Circle, too, especially with the murmuring vocals chanting "Apricot Brandy" amidst other drones and moans. It's all druggy and delicate, moody and mesmeric. Quite the tour de force, coming to a close with strange samples and lovely crackling.
If that wasn't enough, the album ends with even more haunting mesmer, the aptly titled, the 8+ minute long "Wanderer", slow and spooky at first, with more of that tick-tock drumming and watery splashes. It's got a twilight sound to it, so beautiful and mysterious and mesmeric, like this whole amazing, organic, echo-laden album.
Includes, along with credits and lyrics, new 2012 liner notes from Schickert's contemporary Asmus Tietchens, in both English and German, and also an interesting note from Schickert, explaining that some of this music was used on the soundtrack to a film about the gay community in New York called Brooklyn 11238, which we'd never have guessed...
While we'll state that this is reissue definitely something crucial for fans of Agitation Free, AR & Machines, Moebius & Rodelius, Michael Rother, You, Ashra, and latter-day krautrockers Village Of Savoonga, we should also make clear that this is NOT just for krautrock collector nerds - even if you've NEVER heard a krautrock record before, we'd still recommend this one, obscure as it is. It's that good.
MPEG Stream: "Puls"
MPEG Stream: "In Der Zeit"
MPEG Stream: "Apricot Brandy II"

album cover CHASSE, LOREN & MICHAEL NORTHAM The Otolith (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) cd 12.98
Throughout the Marin Headlands just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the coastal mountains are dotted with countless bunkers which were built during World War II in anticipation of the Japanese invasion that never came. Nearly 70 years later, these bunkers have been weathered by wind, fog, rain, and of course the sodden folks who tromp through the Headlands on a daily basis. These concrete structures with small portals facing the Pacific all have amazing reverberant qualities; and it shouldn't be a surprise that the more frequented bunkers and passageways inevitably echo with the sound of children dying to hear their own voices tossed back to them. The Headlands have been a favored destinations for Loren Chasse, who has sought many of the lesser known and lesser travelled environs for field recordings and jam sessions that would eventually work their way into all things Jewelled Antler (Thuja, Franciscan Hobbies, The Blithe Sons, Of, Ov, etc.). In his recordings, Chasse extracts a profound mystery and grand sense of wonder from that echo, the bunker's grit, the soft recurrence of surf bleeding through those walls, and the distant bleat of a foghorn.
Back in 2005, Chasse took his fellow globetrotting wanderer Michael Northam to the Battery Townsley where the two set up long string wires and various handheld instruments to begin a series of recordings which took a few years to complete after Northam left California. The two did manage to meet up once again in Estonia, there exploring the Soviet industrial ruins that pock the Estonian landscape with similar intentions. Out of the bramble of overgrown weeds, rebar, concrete, dirt, rock, wind, and water, Chasse and Northam straddle those psychedelic leanings of Jewelled Antler and the more studied aspects of minimalism.
The Otolith begins with an acoustic clamor, as if billions of iron filings were brushing against each other under the direction of a couple of hefty magnets, before shifting into a harmonium blur of sustained tones hinting at a melody well beneath these clouds of tousled energy. Softer drones and Aeolian fragments flutter forth out of bowed strings and gently tapped gongs amidst a golden hue of opiated atmospherics. Scrabblings across the surfaces of leaves, rocks, mud, and metal fuse with field recordings of wind and water, as a continuing demonstration of Chasse's alchemy with naturalist sound to bring forth stately ragas and dreamtime psychedelic lullabies. Chasse and Northam work amazingly well together, having produced this thoroughly amazing album. Think Popul Vuh, Parson Sound, Pandit Pran Nath, Harry Bertoia, and Erc La Casa. Totally beautiful and mesmerizing.
MPEG Stream: "The Broken House"
MPEG Stream: "Spinning Cloth"
MPEG Stream: "The Spectral Harvest"

album cover CHROMATICS Night Drive (Deluxe) (Italians Do It Better) 2lp 22.00
BACK IN STOCK AT LONG LAST!
So stoked that this awesome album by the Chromatics is available on vinyl now and with a whole side filled with unreleased tracks.
Ooooh Ahhhhh! This one has been sizzling in our ears pretty much on endless repeat since it showed up at the store. Chromatics have undergone a pretty radical change from their early herky-jerky no-wave inspired beginnings, as showcased on the amazing and scene defining After Dark comp that we recently listed, and are still so in love with. Chromatics now have a sound that is much more sensual, subdued and spaced out. And we have to say we are loving this new direction. I definitely suits them so much more naturally than their noisier punky past.
With a sound much more rooted in early drugged out disco and '80s Euro-pop, Night Drive is sparse and melancholic enough to reel in folks whose taste usually falls on the darker end of the spectrum yet with songs so damn sexy and enticing that those of us with dance and pop leanings are seduced by their sound as well. With Ruth Radalet's vocals sounding like they are being delivered in a dark room filled with fog and smoke, there is such an intoxicating late night vibe that Chromatics tap into which feels so vacant and so sexy in the best possible way. They take on the daunting task of covering Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and manage to make it their own, no small feat as that is a song with such deep meaning for so many of us. So damn good!
MPEG Stream: "Night Drive"
MPEG Stream: "The Killing Spree"
MPEG Stream: "Running Up That Hill"

album cover COLLEY, JOE Anthem (Misanthropic Agenda) lp 23.00
Anthem collects two sets of long out-of-print 3" inch singles from Joe Colley's earlier days, right after he shed the Crawl Unit moniker in the early oughts. There's the titular track which was originally released on C.I.P, which came out in 2001 and which we had been able to stock back in the day through Mr. Colley himself. The flipside contains all of the material from the uncomfortably packaged triple-business-card cd-r entitled Triptych For Paranoia Calibration, released through the terminally underground California noise label Banned Productions. The first side, subtitled "Static For Empty Life", lifts itself out of deep rumblings with streaming, cold gray ribbons of electrical fizzings that subtly phase across the stereo field. These physically active drones build up to a sublime chorus of electrical field hummings, that deflate into silence before throbbing mechanical stabs of low-bit-rate noise drive to the end of the piece. Where moments of "Anthem" are relatively placid and almost pretty (for a Joe Colley track, that's saying something!), "Triptych" is a torturous affair of brutalist squiggles, damaged circuit-bending techniques, mistreated electronics, and dead-line tones, all of which get caught in out of phase tape loops. Brilliantly toxic work, as always. Limited to just 200 copies.

album cover MEIRINO, FRANCISCO & MICHAEL ESPOSITO Ghosts Of Case File 142 (Firework Editions) cd 13.98
EVP research is commonplace within the catalog of Firework Editions, a Swedish label run in part by the conceptual artist Leif Elggren. One of Elggren's more infamous projects is the Kingdom of Elgaland-Vargaland which occupies a liminal political space between the boundaries of countries; but within the magisterial constitution, Elgaland-Vargaland annexes the psychic realm of dreams and even goes so far as to abolish death. With this proclamation, the kingdom offers citizenship to ghosts, spirits, and apparitions; and seeks communion with such entities through EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomenon - whereby voices of unknown origin mysteriously appear on the electronic mediums of tape, radio, and digital recorders. EVP researchers like Chicago's Michael Esposito claim these voices to originate from spirits beyond the grave; and there's quite of lot of late night entertainment coming from their spooky if questionable paranormal research. Esposito seems to hold more of a metaphysical and poetic agenda in his work, by reaching out to the sound art community as a crucible for his admittedly unnerving recordings. He's collaborated with the aforementioned Elggren, fellow Elgaland-Vargaland cohort CM von Hausswolff, John Duncan, FM Einheint, and now Francisco Meirino.
Esposito's role in this collaboration with the electro-acoustic artist Francisco Meirino is that of a taxonomist, with Meirino doing most of the heavy lifting on the album. Meirino made a series of field recordings in a former school of anatomy in his native Switzerland; and upon hearing something odd in the recordings, he passed everything onto Esposito, who in turn discovered over 30 incidents of EVP in Meirino's original recordings. Those discovered events became the inspiration and source material for Meirino's composition which blisters with static bursts of noise, caustic flares of electricity, and hissing fields of magnetic disturbances. Amidst these jarring events (which come together as a something not dissimilar to the Hafler Trio, Joe Colley, or G*Park), Meirino cycles through the EVP material in repetitive phrases. It's still not all that easy to hear what Esposito claims to be in these recordings, but the mechanoid repetitions lend to a very cold and disembodied aesthetic which couples perfectly with Meirino's splinterings of electro-acoustic sound. Esposito may have been the inspiration for the album; but it's Meirino who makes it all sound so damn good.
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts Of Case File 142 (excerpt 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts Of Case File 142 (excerpt 2)"
MPEG Stream: "Ghosts Of Case File 142 (excerpt 3)"

album cover D.A.F. (DEUTSCH-AMERIKANISCHEN FREUNDSCHAFT) Produkt Der Deutsch - Amerikanischen Freundschaft (Bureau B) cd 17.98
Ah-ha! The first D.A.F. record! And boy, was it quite a surprise to hear this one. D.A.F. began in 1978 as a post-krautrock outfit from Dusseldorf, with Robert Gorl, Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke, Wolfgang Spelmans, Michael Kemner, and Gabi Delgado originally calling themselves You; but with another German band snatching up the name and releasing the mighty fine album Electric Day in the same year, they decided upon Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft as the new name. A couple of band members were not all too pleased with Gabi Delgado's vocals and lyrics, and he was promptly sacked after their first attempt in the studio. Delgado returned to the band a year later when a few of his detractors left, and he became the iconic frontman for the stripped down D.A.F. with Robert Gorl. That incarnation of D.A.F. spawned an aggressive synth-punk sound that dominated the more abrasive side of new wave throughout the '80s; but this instrumental, motorik album is an entirely different beast. While electronics do make some interesting punctuations to the D.A.F. sound, they were fundamentally a damaged art-rock band with a rhythm section well versed in the classic Can, Neu!, and early Kraftwerk records from earlier in the decade, but they also exploded with slashing guitars, pummelling basslines, and an aggressive angularity that responded to the American contemporaries like DNA and Pere Ubu. Could this influence from American degenerate art-rock be an explanation for the name of the band? In any case, threads of this first D.A.F. record certainly look forward to the likes of Sonic Youth and Circle. The album is a collection of 22 untitled extracts from what seemed to be an exhausting recording session of constantly accelerating rhythmic marches with jagged-toothed guitar riffs that get pretty heavy and churning at times (even reminding us of instru-metallers Gore!), with plenty of interludes of amplifier feedback and spark-plug noise bursts. Part krautrock, part no-wave and new-wave, all rad. Not what we would have expected from their first album, but this is totally an excellent record!
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 14"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 16"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled 18"

album cover VESTALS Forever Falling Towards The Sky (Root Strata) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Some folks may know Lisa McGee from Barn Owl side project, Higuma, or her vocal work on Jefre Cantu-Ledesma's Love Is A Stream, or perhaps even Portraits, the zen-minded supergroup of Bay Area improvisationalists. Truth is, McGee has been a muse behind a lot of great recordings in that circle so it's really nice to see her finally in the spotlight via her debut solo effort, Vestals. In some way McGee is channeling Rachel Brook from early nineties Bristol bands, Flying Saucer Attack and Movietone, in her ethereal noise-pop laden songs replete shimmering electric guitar, and featuring Trevor Montgomery's bass and partner Evan Caminiti's bowed guitarscapes. The atmosphere of desolate spaciousness and the smoldering shoegazed distortion that ripple through the Higuma recordings are certainly present; but in Vestals, McGee pushes the song-writing to the forefront with chiming hypno-drone-rock bliss akin to Roy Montgomery channelling the Velvets, which thrums and drones most prominently on the album's lengthy mantra "Of Ripples." But she can also shift into quite the chanteuse, as on the crushed-velvet noise-pop of "Forever Falling" and "In Waking Dreams" where McGee's voice carries the songs to stratospheric crescendos through a hook-laden bliss. A gorgeous debut that limited to a mere 300 copies!
MPEG Stream: "Forever Falling"
MPEG Stream: "Between Worlds"

album cover GATE The Dew Line (MIE) 2lp 34.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A long while back we listed this on cd, easily one of our favorite noise-rock / noise-pop records ever, a mesmerizing noise-pop-drone gem from the Dead C's Michael Morley, an improbable mix of NZ noise whir and skree, minimal drifting drone and lilting indie pop. Think the Dead C at their very poppiest, crossed with Sentridoh at its most minimal and raw, a slab of lush, sculpted melody-infused indie rock rendered as something much more abstract and avant, but with a core that's pure pop genius. Originally released way back in 1994, and reissued again on cd a few years ago, we're not sure this has ever been on vinyl before, at least until now. And this new version, besides being remastered and packaged in a swank heavy gatefold jacket, also tacks on FIVE bonus tracks, all of which sound like they could have been included with the original version, and make this well worth buying again, even for those of us who already own an extremely well worn digital version. And if you've never heard the Dew Line before, you are in for a serious, perhaps life altering, sonic treat…
Gate's Golden record, a singles collection, was one of our favorite 'noise' records ever, and we do hear a lot of that Golden 'noise' in this chunk of damaged deconstructed pop. Long drawn out expanses of crumbling guitars, buried-in-the-mix sad boy vocals, all very raw and lo-fi, but strangely lush and heavy in that way only blown out bedroom recordings seem to sound. It's a little like Lou Barlow if he was raised on Throbbing Gristle and Suicide instead of indie rock. Guitar jangles transformed into thick sprawling atonal riffage, verse chorus verse transformed into verse verse verse, and the vocals adding a strange sweet sadness.
Dense clouds of electronic glitch and amp buzz seem to surround everything on The Dew Line, the riffs more textural than melodic, long stretches of whirring lo-fi organ, mournful and almost funereal, strange haunting minimal percussion, drifting alien FX, disembodied guitars unfurling crunchy textures and barely there melodies. Many of the tracks are vocal-less haunting guitarscapes, riffs and layers, looped and repetitive, extended into grinding washed out mantras. Cyclical and gorgeously hypnotic. Which makes the tracks with vocals sound all the more poppy.
Especially "Have Not", which is essentially a single, super catchy, languid distorted guitar riff, looped and cyclical, minor key, sounding a bit like a slowed down drum-less Rein Sanction, with drawled Neil Young / Dinosaur Jr. style double tracked vocals, laid back, emotive, and hauntingly monotone. Nearly 13 minutes long, a single riff, a subtly changing vocal line, but it's just so mysterious, sad and perfect, the whole record could easily have been a 70 minute version of this track only and we would have been just as happy…
But then we would have missed out on the melancholy minimalism of "Needed All Words", a lonely vocal line, drifting above a glacial sea of organ drone and fractured effects, or the looped stuttering industrial buzzscape of the title track, or the divine washed out crumbling grind of "Triphammer", the final song, which manages to turn 3 minutes of abstract distorted riffage, into a dense chunk of dark moodiness.
And even sans the newly added bonus tracks, this would still be absolutely required listening and a shoe-in for Record Of The Week, but the nearly twenty minutes of extra stuff only seals the deal. There's "Sunshine", a crunchy, distorted chunk of detuned dirgery, the vocals plaintive, and way up in the mix, the drums stumbling, the guitars thick and corrosive, the whole thing sounding like some live Sonic Youth B-side, while "Ives" is a sprawling expanse of churning rhythmic murk, laced with streaks of electronics, wild squalls of psych-noise guitar, all dragged along by a seriously 'rawk' riff, although that riff is buried beneath an avalanche of noise and skree. "Sadness Sings" is another one of those impossibly noise drenched guitar heavy indie rock/noise pop dirge, like a looser more abstract take on the above mentioned "Have Not", the same sort of sad boy bedroom broodiness, which is pushed even further on "Bitcher", which slows it waaaaay down, adds a little Jandek-y outsider detuned warble, but Morley delivers some sweetly crooned vox, which balance the surrounding sounds, which seem to be melting, a warped drone-pop dirge, heavy on the flanger, and the crumbling dying-battery distortion, and then finally, the awesomely titled "Tuba Is Funny", a brief bit of effects drenched field recorded acoustic guitar driven balladry, that would have sounded out of place on some old Sentridoh record.
Obviously, WAY recommended. This record is old enough that for many of you, we're probably already preaching to the converted, but those extra tracks are some serious music nerd buried treasure, and the record sounds incredible, and again, if you're one of those people who somehow managed to miss out on this entirely, here's one more chance to sink deep into Morley's mysterious musical miserablsim.
LIMITED TO 500 COPIES! Housed in a super swank heavy gatefold jacket!
MPEG Stream: "Millions"
MPEG Stream: "Needed All Words"
MPEG Stream: "Have Not"
MPEG Stream: "Sadness Sings [Bonus]"
MPEG Stream: "Bitcher [Bonus]"

album cover ALOONALUNA Bunny (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.
Funny to discover a project from San Francisco by way of LaGrange, Georgia; but that's the way it goes some times. Aloonaluna is the one-woman project of Lynn Fister who landed her first cassette of thoroughly drugged-out drone-pop on the thoroughly drugged-out imprint Hooker Vision (run by Grant and Rachel Evans, of Nova Scotia Arms and Motion Sickness Of Time Travel respectively), and it's a warped gem of twisted psychedelic lullabies that seem to bridge the damaged tape resurgence with a Jewelled Antler style miasma of half-dreamt songs and half-remembered drones. She loops bells, guitars, field recordings, gristly synths, her own voice, and whatever else she can find into hazy, atmospheric songs that turn inward on many tracks (a la Grouper) but at times like on "Watercolor Rabbit" she breaks out a punchy drum machine to turn her somnambulant, stumbling songs into giddy, lo-fi dance numbers (sorta like Kwjaz remixing Julee Cruise). "Antarctica" could almost be her homage to Richard Pinhas' "Iceland" in terms of coldwave synth propulsion. Twelve tracks in all over this 45 minute tape. Nice stuff, but unfortunately this tape is already sold out at the source... so what we got now is all we'll ever get!

album cover LINDSTROM, MATS Mig (Ideologic Organ) lp 22.00
The Swedish composer Mats Lindstrom is the studio director for the storied EMS studios in Stockholm, whose mission for the advancement of electro-acoustic music and sound art began way back in 1964. BJ Nilsen, Kevin Drumm, Brian Lustmord, and Stephen O'Malley all passed through the studios in their respective careers, alongside a plethora of more composerly types who we're not all that familiar with. While the connection was never made all that clear, it was probably during O'Malley's residency at EMS when he first met Lindstrom and became familiar with his work, which is now anthologized for the first time on O'Malley's imprint Ideologic Organ. Lindstrom's aesthetic harkens back to the classic era of musique concrete and post-serialist electronic composition from the '60s (e.g. Pierre Schaefer, Xenakis, Nordheim, etc.), playing with the metaphors of his sounds much more than the semantic detachment that usually embodies such acousmatic practices. Take for example the title track, which must refer to the Russian fighter jet, as the track was commissioned for an aviation museum in St. Petersburg and races forward and backward with jet engine roars, possibly simulated, possibly recorded, all of which is surgically cut with mechanical clank and industrial hum. The two IBM tracks clatter away with the anachronistic sounds of typewriters, rigorously collaged with bizzaro scrapes, gratings, and atonal tactile events more in keeping with the irr. app. (ext.) / Nurse With Wound realm of sonic fuckery. The finale is a demonic tape-piece of continuously ascending violin notes that could practically be a brilliant reworking of the 5000 Fingers of Dr. T soundtrack in the style of Penderecki. Excellent stuff!
MPEG Stream: "Mig"
MPEG Stream: "IBM I"
MPEG Stream: "Children Of Paradise"

album cover MY BLOODY VALENTINE Isn't Anything (Sony UK) cd 24.00
Once again, the holy grail(s) / canon of 'shoegaze' indie rock, gets yet ANOTHER series of reissues, although these are THE ONES. As in the ones we've all been waiting for, the ones Kevin Shields has been slaving over for years, the ones that by now we can assume are PERFECT. Or at least perfect as Shields sees them, which is really all that matters when it comes to his music.
Whether anyone needs another copy of Isn't Anything is infinitely debatable, whether everyone needs at least one copy is absolutely not. A fantastic indie pop / shoegaze record, an album that will always be overshadowed by Loveless, the record to follow, but one that in its own way, is really just as good, sonically not as lush, but with some of the best songs MBV ever wrote. This new version doesn't contain any extra material, and no bonus tracks, so of the three MBV reissues it might be the least essential, at least in terms of replacing your old copy, but again, if you somehow DON'T have this, buy it now, you won't be sorry.
In the name of revisionist history, Isn't Anything stands as the transition album between the gilded jangle of Ecstasy and Wine and the radioluminescence of Loveless. My Bloody Valentine had begun to bury much of their emulation of '60s psychedelic pop in Sonic Youthish Mack-truck riffage and intertwining guitar haze that upstages the Velvet Underground strum-as-drone. Tracks like "Feed Me With Your Kiss" and "Sueisfine" thickly blur the sad lullaby vocals from Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher through overblown bass distortion and strangely uptempo rhythms. Yet, My Bloody Valentine will instantly glide out of these into the shoegazing drone-pop of something like "Lose My Breath" with its tone bending extended chords and lack of pronounced rhythms. Only a couple of the songs on Isn't Anything are as instantly memorable as those found on Loveless, but there are plenty of swirling dreamy-pop gems that make this album essential for shoegazing fans!
Housed in a mini lp style gatefold sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Soft As Snow (But Warm Inside)"
MPEG Stream: "Lose My Breath"
MPEG Stream: "Cupid Come"
MPEG Stream: "(When You Wake) You're Still In A Dream"

album cover MY BLOODY VALENTINE Loveless (Sony UK) 2cd 24.00
Once again, the holy grail(s) / canon of 'shoegaze' indie rock, gets yet ANOTHER series of reissues, although these are THE ONES. As in the ones we've all been waiting for, the ones Kevin Shields has been slaving over for years, the ones that by now we can assume are PERFECT. Or at least perfect as Shields sees them, which is really all that matters when it comes to his music.
Whether anyone needs ANOTHER copy of Loveless is infinitely debatable, whether everyone needs at least one copy is absolutely not. One of THEE most perfect indie rock records EVER, which pretty much single handedly defined 'shoegaze' and continues to influence band after band all these years later. This latest / ultimate reissue features TWO different versions on two different discs, one the original master from the analog tapes, the other from the DAT master, both nearly identical as far as we can tell, and to be honest, we didn't hear much difference between either of these new versions and one we already have, yet we still felt like we needed this new version, to hear it as it was 'meant' to be heard. Regardless, if you've managed to miss out on Loveless until now, might as well grab one and discover just what it is you've been missing. And if you're already a fan, well it depends on your nerdiness/obsessiveness, but if there WAS a record worth buying over again (and again), this would definitely be it.
Loveless stands at the pinnacle of the UK shoegazer movement of the early '90s also populated by Ride, Slowdive, Blind Mr. Jones, Lush, and dozens of lesser knowns on Creation and Cherry Red Records. Almost all of these bands were enthralled by '60s pop, extending Phil Spector's wall of sound into thick tapestries of distortion and reverberation that almost completely buried their distinctly pop structures. My Bloody Valentine was no exception, but were certainly the most adventurous in terms of production techniques and most definitely the best songwriters of the lot (though Ride and Slowdive did write some amazing songs) culminating with their masterpiece (and swansong) Loveless. Led by the intertwined guitars and vocals of the bleary eyed duo of Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher, My Bloody Valentine blurred what would normally be punk-as-fuck distortion into a velvety wash of sleepwalking sound, soothed further by their hushed lullabye vocals. Yet, My Bloody Valentine weren't just interested in lulling their audiences to sleep, as Loveless borrows more than a few tricks from the contemporary Manchester sound (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, etc.) with their brilliant track "Soon" filled with rolling basslines and spry breakbeats.
That track along with the equally groovy-yet-dreamy Glider ep had been the basis for Simon Reynolds curious thesis that My Bloody Valentine had produced some of the earliest jungle tracks. More plausible was that MBV were one of the first rock bands to actively incorporate sampling into their production techniques. My Bloody Valentine had resampled their guitar feedback digitally to created strangely warbling layers of sound and allow for additional tools to build their bittersweet, melancholic melodies. Loveless may remain the final testament to the musical prowess of My Bloody Valentine, as Kevin Shields continues to state the claim that another album is in the works... well it's been in the works for well over a decade and has no signs of ever being realized. Nevertheless, this album *still* sounds totally fresh and wholly superior to all of the bands that have attempted to revive the My Bloody Valentine sound (Lilys, Swirlies, Flying Saucer Attack, Third Eye Foundation, Fennesz, Chessie, etc., etc., etc.).
Perhaps our opinion was best stated by a former aQuarian: "If you don't own it, we won't be mad, but you will certainly earn our pity." An earthshattering record. Period.
This new version comes housed in a swank mini lp style gatefold.
MPEG Stream: "Only Shallow"
MPEG Stream: "I Only Said"
MPEG Stream: "Sometimes"
MPEG Stream: "Soon"

album cover DIMMER Ascent (Isounderscore) cd 12.98
Holy shit! This is a frightfully good piece of dark minimalism on par with Roland Kayn, Eliane Radigue, and the late period works from The Hafler Trio.
Dimmer is the collaborative project between Bay Area experimentalist Thomas Dimuzio and LAFMS icon Joseph Hammer, who have toured together on a semi-regular basis up and down the West Coast for the past decade or so. The two previous Dimmer albums were collected and edited from the numerous live gigs, documenting the real-time electronic synthesis from Dimuzio coupled with Hammer's tape loop manipulations. As impressive as Dimmer has been live and on those edited live recordings, we were completely floored by Ascent - their first collaborative venture into the studio. Restricting their sources to vintage analogue gear, Dimuzio and Hammer generate swarms of harmonic drones that they in turn filter through the abstracting tools of choice. For Dimuzio, it's his gear-junkie arsenal of digital samplers and sequencers; for Hammer, it's the humble tape deck. On the first couple of tracks, Dimmer issues deep cosmic tones with strange / strangulated fibrillations from Hammer's tape tricks that elongate, expand, and collapse in accordance with a grand, if slightly sinister vision of miniaturized symphonies for the birth and death of the universe. Gasping drones billowing with toxic fumes stream rapidly out of blackened voids with Dimuzio and Hammer making prolonged descents into near-silence, before rocketing forward with another grandiose swell of ever darkening compaction of processed synth tones. Where the album begins in the shimmeringly majesty of a Klaus Schulze composition, it ends much closer to something monstrous and cavernous like Lustmord. This is easily the best we've heard from either of these two stalwarts of the California avant-garde! Limited to 300 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Part Two"
MPEG Stream: "Part Five"
MPEG Stream: "Part Eight"

album cover SWANS We Rose From Your Bed With The Sun In Our Head (Young God) 2cd 23.00
Swans are one of the few bands whose live recordings should be paid attention to; and in their lengthy career, a smattering of semi-authorized bootlegs and Gira-sanctioned live recordings trickled in and out of print, including the epic Feel Good Now 2lp documenting their Eastern European tour for Children Of God, the Swans Are Dead recordings from the final tour with Jarboe on board, and the charmingly titled album Public Castration Is A Good Idea. After the Swans Are Dead album was released, Michael Gira called it quits for a while; but his thirst for heavy pummelling percussion and discordant slabs of guitar noise proved greater than his desire to write beautifully plaintive country numbers. Swans reformed in 2011 with a magnificent fury evidenced on the album My Father Will Guide Me Up A Rope To The Sky; and Gira issued the marching orders shortly thereafter for Swans to head out on the road, a crew that included his original guitarist Normal Westberg. The tour was as relentless as Swans' music, with Gira and company crossing the globe in support of the album.
To support the record to follow My Father Will Guide Me, Gira issued a limited edition set of live recordings from that tour exclusively through the Young God Records website. That edition sold out so quickly that he issued a second pressing in a handsome double digipack with a much greater distribution. While the recording quality is exceptional, what's truly impressive is the brutal precision that Gira directs his band to pursue through the entire Swans catalogue. On this recording, there's also a great distribution of older material alongside most all of the cuts from My Father Will Guide Me. The highlights include the surging drone-rock groove of "Apostate" with Gira barking above his natural baritone and the Nietzchean commands that Gira bellows during the doom-thud of "Sex God Sex." The prettiest and most restrained number is "Your Property" originally written back in 1984 for the seminal album Cop, which would never be mistaken for being pretty or restrained. The difference in listening to Gira now as opposed to Gira some 15 years ago is that he had a huge chip on his shoulder needing to prove to the world that he was worth something. Now, he's fully confident in his abilities and in the choices he's made for his artistic career. He knows that Swans are awe-inspiring and terrifyingly great. So should you.
MPEG Stream: "Apostate (Live)"
MPEG Stream: "Sex God Sex (Live)"
MPEG Stream: "Eden Prison (Live)"

album cover LOVESLIESCRUSHING Shiny Tiny Stars (Handmade Birds) lp 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Shiny Tiny Stars is another collection of archival, unreleased material from the deconstructed bliss-pop duo Lovesliescrushing. A couple years back, Projekt released a beautifully packaged 2cd entitled Girl Echo Suns Veils (it came housed in a silkscreened wooden box!), with half of the material culled from the demos that predated their first album and the other half being newly constructed pieces. The recordings here were created from 1991-97, obviously a very prolific period for the duo of Scott Cortez and Melissa Arpin-Duimstra; which also begs the question, will we ever again see any new recordings? It probably matters not, as any Lovesliescrushing material is welcome around these parts!
The Lovesliescrushing sound blossomed from a classic shoegaze template, but stuck to a decidedly lo-fi approach, layering and overdubbing soft noise, reverb, more soft noise, more reverb, all on a 4-track instead of something more akin to Kevin Shields' meticulous productions for Loveless. With the limitations of just 4 tracks, Lovesliescrushing swept the legs out from underneath the shoegaze 'song' - removing the bass and drums entirely, leaving the vocals and guitars suspended vertiginously in mid-air. More so than anywhere else in Lovesliescrushing's back catalog, they sound a hell of lot like Grouper with the vocals creating the fundamental melody which cycle woozily through blurred motifs while the guitars dreamily drift in oceans of reflective echo and drone. Beautiful stuff, for sure; and like all Handmade Birds titles, it's painfully limited, this time to 300 copies.

album cover DARK DAY Window (Dark Entries) lp 17.98
To coincide with the reissue of another Dark Day lp, this former Record Of The Week is BACK IN PRINT, AGAIN!!!
So cool! And cold wavey. A wonderfully produced piece of vinyl to replace those crappy downloads which have been bouncing around the internet for the past five or six years. Dark Day was the project spearheaded by R.L. Crutchfield who first worked with Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori in the earliest incarnation of the seminal No Wave band DNA in the mid '70s. By 1979, Crutchfield was striking out on his own as Dark Day; and at first, this band was an intentional reversal of roles within the trad-rock band with two women playing guitars and drums and a man behind the keyboards. The ladies for that incarnation were Nancy Arlen of Mars and Nina Canal of Ut; and they managed a few gigs and one hell of a great single - "Hands In The Dark" - which appeared many years later on a Soul Jazz No Wave compilation and has been covered spectacularly by the Chromatics. Canal and Arlen weren't terribly interested in continuing in the project, leaving Crutchfield to find likeminded folks to work with. The second (and last) Dark Day record was recorded in 1982, with Crutchfield going into the studio with a bunch of cheap electronics and toy synthesizers with Bill Sack to flesh out the accompaniments on similar instruments. Their interlocking arpeggiations are punctuated with blooping electronics that are equal parts Trio and Kraftwerk with an underlying dread to the spiralling songs that detoured from Kraftwerk's utopian vision of man-machine hybrids and down a paranoid vision of man being at the mercy of his machines, no matter how innocent their intent. Dark Day's songs are insistent and catchy despite their utterly simple structures. "Metal Benders" and "Danger / Dance" are probably the closest thing to being 'hits' on the album as weird / anti-romantic variations of Young Marble Giants with whip crack rhythms and spectral pre-X-Files electronic whistling melodies. Coming out of the NYC No Wave scene helped craft Dark Day into a something other than neo-Romantic post-punk outfit with electronics. This was a wholly unique band, who never got the attention that many of their contemporaries. Kudos to Dark Entries once again on a splendid reissue!

album cover KTL V (Editions Mego) 2lp 32.00
As the title no doubt led you to believe, this is in fact the fifth release in the ongoing collaboration between Stephen O'Malley (SUNNO))), Khanate, etc.) and Peter Rehberg (Pita), and like IV before it, V was realized as a stand alone record, unlike the first three releases, which were all conceived and composed to accompany art installations. And again, like IV, the sound does not seem to be dramatically effected by this shift, although there does in fact seem to be a bit of a shift from IV to V, with V seeming, to our ears at least, to be a bit more academic, with an ear toward twentieth century classic and modern minimalism, further evidence which may be found in the two tracks here "Phill 1" and "Phill 2", which we presume are an homage to the master dronelord Phill Niblock, but of course done in their own inimitable style, with "Phill 1" opening up a thick gaseous dronescape, that is pocked with glitch and skitter, woven into the fabric of the tracks woozy undulations, and softly moaning choral shimmer. Where on past records much of the sound was barely there, and required close listening, "Phill 1" is much more immediately rewarding, lush and lustrous, thick and warm, and layered, the sort of minimalism that would probably still appeal to fans of O'Malley's SUNNO))) project. The track is definitely active, with plenty going on beneath the surface, and in the spaces surrounding the drone, be they thick slabs of blurred buzz, shards of computer glitch, and all manner of sonic detritus.
"Phill 2" finds O'Malley and Rehberg teaming up with the Prague Philharmonic, where they are joined by Johann Johannsson, who helps with the orchestration, the track transformed into something haunting and symphonic, yet still dark and droney, the sound even more rich, and somewhat cacophonous, a glorious noisy ur-drone, that definitely casts the orchestra as something much more chaotic and abstract that they are perhaps used to, the results are stunning.
In between these tracks, O'Malley and Rehberg do explore more minimal soundscapes, "Study A" features long tones, deep buzzes and sine wave like high end shimmers, stretched out into near static layered mesmer, allowing the two tones two subtly interact, and create all manner of overtones, gradually building in intensity, and at times sounding down right cinematic and psychedelic. "Tony" is another thick minimal dronescape, this one focused around a distorted stretch of slow shifting buzz, surrounded by warm melodic tones, and strange echo drenched percussion, the main drone ever shifting, creating a gorgeous slow motion melody, the background sounds lush and lustrous, maybe the prettiest thing we've heard from KTL yet. And finally, the record finishes off with the 20+ minute "Last Spring: A Prequel", which introduces text, a haunting spoken word, draped over a hissy shimmer, the breath urgent in the microphone, the vibe dark and claustrophobic, the music itself more like old KTL, ultra minimal, high end hiss, minimal static hum, bits of glitch laced throughout, the track all about the dramatically delivered vocals, which grow more and more agitated, more heavily effected, the music subtly following suit, like some strange abstract play, with some of the creepiest sound design ever, courtesy of KTL.
Housed in a super striking 6 panel digipak, with original artwork by Mark Fell. Meanwhile the vinyl comes in an equally colorful gatefold sleeve.
MPEG Stream: "Phill 1"
MPEG Stream: "Study A"

album cover COLLEY, JOE Lonely Microphone (Senufo Editions) lp 21.00
Some 10 years ago, there was Joe Colley hulking over a four-track on the floor of 964 Natoma - a performance space in San Francisco that hosted the monthly Field Effects series by Aaron Ximm (aka Quiet American). Ximm populated the very large loft in that converted autobody shop into one of the best places to experience live music, by encouraging the audience to sprawl out on futons, couches, bean bags, and pillows in order to better zone-out and focus on the sounds at hand. While much of the work that Ximm would curate focused on sound ecology and phonography, he would bring in some more intense acts such as R.H.Y. Yau & Scott Arford's legendary Infrasound, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson, and Joe Colley. At the time of this performance in 2002, Colley was just starting to record under his own name after a stint using the far more abject moniker Crawl Unit. As the explosive and negating power of his earlier noise constructions matured into complex, more conceptual pieces, Colley began to develop into something akin to the Bruce Naumann of sound art - with repetitive, occasionally self-destructive actions that investigated psychological, behavioral, and cultural codes.
"Lonely Microphone" is a reconstruction from the original tape-piece that Colley presented at 964 Natoma; and our memory of the night doesn't recall much more than the view of the lumbering Colley crouched over his gear and the impact of his signature jolts of sonic juxtaposition. Here, Colley masterfully puts together an album that looks to the woolly electronic scrabblings of David Tudor, the expressive environmental collage work of Eric La Casa, and the dead-line feeds of CM von Hausswolff. Ugly buzzes from gutted consumer electronics, terse piezo chirps, blasts of wind-shearing noise, monstrous din from some infernal machine belching beneath the San Francisco urbane crust, and plenty of watery field recordings threatening to short out Colley's haphazardly constructed microphones and hand-soldered circuits. That sense of threat is a constant in Colley's work, the threat of disaster, the threat that nothing will be resolved, the threat of another dead end, the threat that 'no' might be the only answer. "Lonely Microphone" is one of the more subtle presentations of Colley's work, and more self-contained than the post-structuralist ellipsis of his opus "Disasters Of Self." Recommended as with pretty much everything he's ever done.

album cover DARK DAY (R.L. CRUTCHFIELD'S) Exterminating Angel (Dark Entries) lp 14.98
Synth punk at its best! Here is the long overdue reissue of Dark Day's homage to the Luis Bunuel film of the same name. Dark Day was the project spearheaded by R.L. Crutchfield who first worked with Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori in the earliest incarnation of the seminal No Wave band DNA in the mid '70s. By 1979, Crutchfield was striking out on his own as Dark Day; and at first, this band was an intentional reversal of roles within the trad-rock band with two women playing guitars and drums and a man behind the keyboards. The ladies for that incarnation were Nancy Arlen of Mars and Nina Canal of Ut; and they managed a few gigs and one hell of a great single - "Hands In The Dark" - which appeared many years later on a Soul Jazz No Wave compilation and has been covered spectacularly by the Chromatics. Canal and Arlen weren't terribly interested in continuing in the project, leaving Crutchfield to find likeminded folks to work with.
On Exterminating Angel (originally released in 1980 on the Lust/Unlust imprint Infidelity), Crutchfield recruited Phil Kline and Barry Friar to flesh out the Dark Day sound. At the time, Kline was an emerging composer who had worked with Glenn Branca and at least here, he styles himself after Mark Ribot or Arto Lindsay with his expressive shards and bends of guitar melody; and Friar follows the tom-heavy patter that Nancy Arlen brought to Dark Day on the "Hands In The Dark" single. But Dark Day is truly Crutchfield's vision, with his heavily syncopated synth chords, elliptical repetitions, and spiral staircase ascensions in lieu of the traditional verse-chorus song. Crutchfield preferred to keep a very restrictive use of synth tones and filters, all the while crafting a very claustrophobic, horror-laden atmosphere. The inventiveness of his minimalist melodies and twisted lullaby-like structures are all the more impressive, perhaps only matched by Young Marble Giants or Suicide. Motorik yet stumbling, Dark Day's songs are stark and bold in their poetry about freaks, suffocating anxiety, and the toxic life of contemporary society circa 1980. "Trapped" was a strange song to be the single for the album, as it's an epic, spiralling number with those ominous synths and siren-like blurts from a distant saxophone. Many of the other songs on the album were short and condensed, jabbing the grimly simple melodies deep into the ear-canal and then moving on. Like "Trapped" the album's finale - "No, Never, Nothing" - is another lengthy track, appropriating a Moroder like disco-syncopation to a sinister, nihilistic collage of texts taken from a children's book about raising unusual pets such as squirrels and chimpanzees. The more the song spins through it's punchy chords the creepier it becomes.
Exterminating Angel is the high-point of Crutchfield's recorded works, and stands also as one of lost gems of the No Wave era. This should have been released long ago, so we have to commend Dark Entries once again for their reissue campaign.
MPEG Stream: "Chameleon"
MPEG Stream: "Flightless Birds"
MPEG Stream: "No, Never, Nothing"

album cover POTTER, COLIN Ancient History (Ultra-Mail Productions) 4cd 48.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We discovered Colin Potter many years ago, through his heady production and sound design in Nurse With Wound, Ora, and Monos; yet like so many pioneering electronic musicians in the '80s, he released a slew of cassettes overflowing with various sonic experiments and audio excursions. Ancient History collects four of Potter's tapes charting his output from 1979 to 1989, including A Gain, Two Nights, and Recent History Volumes 1 & 2. Back in this time period, Potter was working in a post-kosmische aesthetic with a small arsenal of synths, step sequencers, drum machines, guitars, and effects. He had yet to incorporate the heavy-lidded drone and field recording component which he's been associated with as of late; but those tapes positioned his sound not too far from the Moebius / Schnitzler / Schulze axis of progressive electronics with a healthy dose of Chris Carter's DIY aesthetic tossed in for good measure.
A Gain was released in 1982 through his ICR imprint and is a culmination of work dating back to 1979. The opening number to this album is a bright hypnotic piece for glockenspiel and synthesizer, which builds upon elliptical phrases on those instruments with greater and greater density and kaleidoscopic fervor, snugly situated between Terry Riley's A Rainbow In Curved Air and Cluster's percolating motorik electron-pop. Elsewhere on A Gain, Potter pulls out the guitar to augment the synth blorp and drive with some fine Manuel Gottsching-esque explorations. Two Nights from 1981 is probably the cream of the crop here, not to belittle anything else on the set; but this is a great piece of futuristic electronics that is a must have for anyone keen on John Carpenter and Goblin soundtracks! The two original side long pieces both extend from the cosmic swoosh into dynamic kraut-disco jams with incremental sequences accelerating through drum machine, neon-lit synth cascades, and more heavily phased guitar solos. Potter adds a third lengthy bonus track of similar material to round out this fantastic disc.
The Recent History discs compile various Potter projects from 1986-1989, and find him in more of a darker, somber mood with ritualized ambience drifting about his more earthen sounding sequences and sodden acoustic guitar melodies. While there's much of the same instrumentation, Potter's production also becomes far more complex with more of the shadowy, occluded techniques that he would later master during his tenure in Nurse With Wound. As such, these tracks tend to parallel some of the work of Coil and O Yuki Conjugate, and even predates some of the melodic aspects of the ambient side of IDM that would emerge five or six years later.
This is quite different from the song-based minimal wave album of early Colin Potter material released on Vinyl On Demand; but certainly showcases just how great all of those early tapes of his were and how well they hold up today!
MPEG Stream: "You Tell Me"
MPEG Stream: "All Reel"
MPEG Stream: "8th June 1982"
MPEG Stream: "Ships That Pass In The Night"

album cover APHEX TWIN Selected Ambient Works Volume II (1972) 3lp 34.00
Selected Ambient Works Volume II has been required listening since the album was originally released in 1994 right as the Aphex Twin was poised to capture the world's imagination with his mutant electronica, self-immolating techno, and acid laden drill 'n' bass. Here, the second chapter of Aphex's ambient works (sadly, no third volume followed this) is exactly what is claims to be, a brilliant collection of ambient works that re-engineered and re-interpreted Brian Eno's definition of ambient as a convoluted Phillip K. Dick cosmology of dreaming androids and quixotic sentient machines. This album stands at a crossroads of a number of musicological strains, with Aphex Twin's Richard D. James self-aware and self-conscious of the broader implications of making not just a collection of ambient music, but in making *this* collection of ambient music at *that* particular time. In the post-rave aftermath in the UK of the early '90s, chill-rooms were the zones for all sorts of lightweight collages of directionless new age musics and much of the 'ambient' music that was being produced around those chill-rooms was essentially amphorous techno that tempered the rhythm to a soft pulse and added a bird song here or there (e.g. The Orb, Future Sound Of London); but an ambient music that spoke to a community that was beginning to shape their digital / virtual selves was lacking.
Enter Richard D. James and the Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume Two. The album follows the direction of Eno's Music For Airports with 24 vignettes that ascribe to a constant atmosphere of gilded tones and lugubrious rhythms, which are more often sequenced patterns and cybernetic echoes through mercurial pools of sound. Tracks glisten, lurch, dissolve, morph, materialize, crystallize, bloom, and collapse amidst a subtle latticework of beguiling electronic melody, something that the Aphex Twin has always had in spades. It was a brilliant record when it came out, and it's still brilliant today. This is especially true with the resurgance of new age wallpaper music, as this album outshines pretty much everything on the current landscape.
For nostalgia's sake, we'll reprise what we wrote nearly twenty years ago about this record: "James sonically replicated the post-slumber / pre-waking state when sunlight first strikes the dream riddled eye within the memory banks of his rewired samplers. A beautiful, synaesthetic and haunting post-techno ambient album that really must be heard!" How true. How true.
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"
MPEG Stream: "Untitled"
MPEG Stream: "Blue Calx"

album cover MONOS Above The Sky (ICR) cd 15.98
Over the past few years, Darren Tate has been wandering into some wildly weird electronics, broadening the scope of his aesthetic beyond the seminal recordings he made with Andrew Chalk (amongst others) as Ora, and more recently through Monos. For the most part, Monos has been a collaborative project between Tate and Nurse With Wound engineer extraordinaire Colin Potter, but at other times, we're pretty sure that Tate is the only one behind the wheel. For Above The Sky, the Monos line-up includes Tate, Potter, and fellow British dronescraper Paul Bradley; and this record is a top notch, vintage sounding Monos disc for sure.
The extended pieces found on this album were culled from the one and only live Monos gig in 2006, the handful of recordings from that gig were processed, recreated, forgotten about, rediscovered, and processed again throughout various starts and stops over the next four years. The resulting album is surprisingly coherent, presenting itself as a sinewy mass of undulating drones dappled with various textures, shadowy events, field recordings, subtle instrumentation, and then some. The ghostly ambience that introduces this album is sublimely beautiful, like the druggy drones of Nurse With Wound (e.g. Soliloquy For Lilith) or the permafrost laden expanses of Thomas Koner or even a darker version of Leyland Kirby's much-lauded hauntological ambience. Distant sound elements of scraped metal echo to the foreground, as the latent sounds from some occluded ritual in some forgotten place. Shimmering acoustic clouds of resonance peel away into field recordings of numerous birds flitting about. Later on, semi-melodic phrases hover near the event horizon dominated by ominous electrical vibrations and dilated drone fields. Seriously, this is fantastic stuff!
MPEG Stream: "A Place Of Voices"
MPEG Stream: "Cloudless Day"

album cover CLEANERS FROM VENUS Vol. 1 (Captured Tracks) 3cd 33.00
Originally released as a deluxe 5lp boxset for this year's Record Store Day, this amazing collection, gathering up the first three albums from this seminal eighties indie pop outfit, is now also available as a triple cd set (and as individual lps, which we'll list/review soon), and reveals once again, to a whole new audience hopefully, what an amazing and influential band Cleaners From Venus really were.
Bandleader Martin Newell, who was bitter after some bad record label experiences with his previous band, became obsessed with doing everything himself (a real DIY band for sure), which meant recording records on a 4 track in his bedroom, dubbing the tapes himself, and releasing those tapes in super limited editions, of course distributed by Newell himself, which probably has a lot do with why these guys didn't get more attention than they did. But masterful pop music like this with such incredible songwriting was bound to work its way to the surface, and this stuff did manage to make its way into the ears of obsessive pop nerds, and quickly attained a cultlike status, and for good reason. Listening to this stuff now, it's easy to hear what a huge influence these guys had, and that their lo-fi pop was years ahead of groups like Ariel Pink, who would trawl the same sonic territory, albeit a bit more ironically. Jangly outsider pop, with strange homebrewed production weirdness, bizarre edits, twisted little intros and outros, brief snippets of conversations, sudden fade outs, that inexplicably fade right back in, the programmed drums, gorgeous vocal harmonies, hooks galore, definitely a product of the early '80s, with a different production and a less skewed take on pop, it's not hard to imagine this stuff on the radio or on MTV alongside groups like the Style Council or Human League or any of the other bands popular at the time, but Newell's Cleaners had it's own twisted take on the sound of the time, channeling Elvis Costello, XTC and the rest, but transforming that commercial pop sound into something much more personal and urgent, and without any restrictions, or any hopes of mainstream popularity, Newell never shied away from trying anything, no matter how weird it may have seemed, and the results definitely speak for themselves.
The first record, 1981's Blow Away Your Troubles, is the rawest of the bunch, and might still be our favorite, it's definitely the weirdest, with even this meticulously assembled reissue replete with those weird edits and damaged tape dropouts, all of which merely adds to the mood and mystery of the music. The second record, 1982's On Any Normal Monday, might be objectively the best record though, for a home recorded album, it sound incredible, still rife with all sorts of weirdness, whether that meant dubbed out snares, or strange spoken word segments, thick sinewy basslines or xylophone melodies, the sound is lush, and so fully realized, and the songs, catchy and meticulously crafted, in different circumstances, another instance where some of these songs definitely could have been hits.
The final record in the set, Midnight Cleaners, also from 1982, found the band's sound shifting once again, the vibe a bit more new wavey, the recording still polished, but but a bit more raw than On Any Normal Monday, still warped and weird, and reminding us a LOT of Guided By Voices, who seemed to fancy themselves a sort of imaginary Cleaners From Venus, a lost unsung genius pop band, GBV would after all manufacture a sort of faux Britishness that definitely approaches the Cleaners dreamy eighties pop sound, especially on Midnight Cleaners. Some of the songs here had us seriously thinking GBV might owe these guys some heartfelt thanks, if not actual royalties.
We had been subsisting for years on a worn out mix tape of Cleaners tracks, so it's thrilling to have all these songs in one place, many of which we're only hearing now for the first time, and we have been gleefully immersing ourselves in The Cleaners From Venus' twisted pop world, and we're hoping that the designation that this is in fact volume one, means that volume two is on the way...
MPEG Stream: "Night Starvation"
MPEG Stream: "A Girl With Cars In Her Eyes"
MPEG Stream: "Living On Nerve Ends"
MPEG Stream: "Swinging London"
MPEG Stream: "Modern TV"
MPEG Stream: "Time In Vain"
MPEG Stream: "Only A Shadow"

album cover MEDICINE Shot Forth Self Living (Captured Tracks) 2cd 14.98
Shot Forth Self Living was the 1992 debut from this legendary LA shoegaze / dreampop outfit, and was recently included in a massive, super limited 5lp boxset collecting Medicine's first two albums (as well as an ep and TONS of extras) that came out for Record Store Day 2012, but has now also thankfully been released on its own, as a deluxe double cd, with a whole mess of bonus tracks and rarities.
One of the few American bands to be on the Creation label, Medicine spent the early nineties crafting some of the most glorious and gloriously blissed out experimental psychedelic shoegaze pop EVER. Their sound simultaneously heavy and tripped out, experimental and impossibly catchy, the guitars thick and lush and layered, soaring and so gloriously melodic, like a soft focus My Bloody Valentine, the vocals ethereal and washed out, definitely of the same era as Smashing Pumpkins, but where the Pumpkins had their sights set on arenas and mainstream acceptance, Medicine seemed to spurn such things, taking perfectly perfect pop songs, and pulling them apart, stretching out two minute gems into six minute psychedelic blowouts, their music as much about texture and arrangements, experimentation and exploration as songcraft. But excelling at both in a way few have since. Fans of experimental pop groups like Teenage Filmstars, Disco Inferno, Seefeel, Bark Psychosis and the like will definitely fall in love, if they weren't already. Hearing this stuff now, it sounds as fresh as ever, and groups like M83, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcest, Health, Serena-Maneesh, Jesu, Phoenix, and all the rest, most definitely owe Medicine royalties big time. And heck if that list looks like your record collection, and for some reason you DON'T have these Medicine records, now's the time to right that wrong.
We could go through both 1992's Shot Forth Self Living and 1993's The Buried Life, and describe our favorite tracks, but we'd most likely end up describing every single track. Even now, we don't hear a weak track in the bunch, and what sounds cool and strange and experimental now, must have sounded revolutionary and downright insane in the early nineties, especially for a major label band, and it just may have been what kept Medicine from achieving Pumpkins like fame, although we like to think it was cuz they just didn't give a fuck, and refused to play the game, and instead concerned themselves with making some of the weirdest, coolest, most tripped out pop music they could conjure up. Which is exactly what they did.
MPEG Stream: "One More"
MPEG Stream: "Aruca"
MPEG Stream: "Defective"

album cover MEDICINE Box Set (Captured Tracks) 4lp Box + cassette 80.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Of the seemingly hundreds and hundreds of Record Store Day releases, we figured that probably most folks were gonna be dying for that Flaming Lips collaborative double lp (reviewed elsewhere on this week's list), but we found ourselves being way more excited about the Medicine box, a massive 5 lp set collecting the first two albums (as well as an ep and TONS of extras) from this legendary L.A. shoegaze / dreampop outift. One of the few American bands to be on the Creation label, Medicine spent the early nineties crafting some of the most glorious and gloriously blissed out experimental psychedelic shoegaze pop EVER. Their sound simultaneously heavy and tripped out, experimental and impossibly catchy, the guitars thick and lush and layered, soaring and so gloriously melodic, like a soft focus My Bloody Valentine, the vocals ethereal and washed out, definitely of the same era as Smashing Pumpkins, but where the Pumpkins had their sights set on arenas and mainstream acceptance, Medicine seemed to spurn such things, taking perfectly perfect pop songs, and pulling them apart, stretching out two minute gems into six minute psychedelic blowouts, their music as much about texture and arrangements, experimentation and exploration as songcraft. But excelling at both in a way few have since. Hearing this stuff now, it sounds as fresh as ever, and groups like M83, A Place To Bury Strangers, Alcest, Health, Serena-Maneesh, Jesu, Phoenix, and all the rest, most definitely owe Medicine royalties big time. And heck if that list looks like your record collection, and for some reason you DON'T have these Medicine records, now's the time to right that wrong.
We could go through both 1992's Shot Forth Self Living and 1993's The Buried Life, and describe our favorite tracks, but we'd most likely end up describing every single track. Even now, we don't hear a weak track in the bunch, and what sounds cool and strange and experimental now, must have sounded revolutionary and downright insane in the early nineties, especially for a major label band, and it just may have been what kept Medicine from achieving Pumpkins like fame, although we like to think it was cuz they just didn't give a fuck, and refused to play the game, and instead concerned themselves with making some of the weirdest, coolest, most tripped out pop music they could conjure up. Which is exactly what they did.
This boxset contains super deluxe double lp versions of both Shot Forth Self Living and The Buried Life, each record expanded with tones of bonus tracks, B-sides and demos, also included is the Sounds Of Medicine EP from 1994, here with two live bonus tracks not included on the original, there's also a pin and a photo, as well as a live 90 minute cassette called Always Starting To Stop, a collection of live recordings captured between 1992-1994 at various shows in the US and the UK, all housed in a super swank printed black and red box. This was a Record Store Day release, and was thus EXTREMELY limited, and is in fact already out of print. We have just FOUR copies of this box remaining, and once those are gone, they are gone for good!
MPEG Stream: "One More"
MPEG Stream: "Aruca"
MPEG Stream: "Defective"
MPEG Stream: "The Pink"
MPEG Stream: "Baby Doll"
MPEG Stream: "Slut"

album cover GARET, RICHARD Silver (Observatoire) cd 13.98
Richard Garet is on quite a roll with his latest two albums! Earlier in 2012, he presented us with the eerily beautiful album Areal (which we made a Record Of The Week!), and now there's the discordant blurs of Silver. Garet's work centers on the errata from deconstructed and cracked consumer electronics. In dismantling radios and speakers, Garet unleashes a Pandora's box of noise, static, chaos, and dissonances that he then meticulously sifts, culls, and abstracts to arrive at atonal frequencies, electro-magnetic cracklings, or attenuated broadcasts from the other side of the world which happened to be caught in his network of wires, photocells, and electronics. Though this process, Garet renders those ill-tempered noises as hollowed-out drones and vacant ambiences populated with desolate scrabbling textures. His is a deep and haunted sound, akin to the work of John Duncan, Mika Vainio, and Joe Colley; but where those three use noise as a metaphoric tool of psychic and psychological aggression, Garet prefers to sublimate his noise as if they were ghosts communing through an electromagnetic seance.
Silver glides through 4 movements, the first of which was originally part of 23five's radio broadcast series for their annual Activating The Medium festival from 2011. Here, the smoldering grit of dead-space static hovers amidst cathode ray tube drones and well-timed razor edit compositional techniques that look back to John Duncan's masterpiece River Of Flames. Garet's other three pieces follows suit with passages of intense sinewave purity that slowly dissolve into nebulae of smeared buzz and hiss, thoroughly obliterated from whatever source material he may have been using. Fantastic work that parallels those aforementioned artists as well as the more abstract work from Tim Hecker and William Basinski. Limited to 300 copies.
MPEG Stream: "Pulse"
MPEG Stream: "Gray"
MPEG Stream: "Mobility"

album cover MURMER What Are The Roots That Clutch (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) cd 12.98
In looking at his discography alone, Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer) might not seem to be such a prolific artist; although he's certainly dedicated his entire existence to the pursuit of the field recording, its use in composition, and avant-garde sound practices in general. Each week, McGinley produces the ever enlightening Framework radio series dedicated to those very topics, starting out of Resonance FM in London with syndication now reaching several dozen adventurous radio stations across the globe. He's also active in curating a quarterly series of small cd-r editions of sound ecology, phonography, and field recording based sound art; and he also is an active participant in the Estonian avant-garde, as he's currently planted himself in the university city of Tartu. What Are The Roots That Clutch is his first full album in nearly seven years. Has it really been that long? That said, McGinley did work on a brilliant collaborative project with John Grzinich and Yannick Dauby, and he released a 3"cd-r for Taalem, both of which came out earlier this year in 2012. McGinley quips that he put the recordings aside to this record for well over a year, which may account in part for the delay; but ultimately, all of the recordings from Murmer are timeless. What Are The Roots That Clutch is no exception.
The field recordings that McGinley collects hedge towards disturbances in any given sound ecology, as found in the abrasive textures from a busted exhaust vent comingling with the Aeolian harmonics from the sustained gusts streaming down from the North Sea. McGinley does include two relatively unaltered field recordings (probably some minor filtering, but that's all) within the thoroughly abstracted and droned out compositions. One of these features a very eerie fundamental harmonic drone, obviously being activated by the wind and coupled with a glistening rattle and an unfurled flapping. The three elements here make for a surprisingly musical, if totally alien sounding piece that's akin to the Alan Lamb wire recordings. The album's 17 minute centerpiece is a slow building blur of industrial resonance and densely layered aquatic filigree that melts into chunks of clattering ice (it could be wood or glass... but ice is just so much more poetic to consider given the context); but the album's finale is where McGinley really gives us something to sink our teeth into. A comparatively harsh stutter of electrical abrasion builds up to a crescendo through water-tank rumblings and fire and / or water textures. At the peak, McGinley snaps to a downright psychedelic raga of back-masked belltones, harmonium drones, and percussive clatter that all comes together in a minimalist chorale on par with anything that Angus Maclise mustered in his dervishes and mantras.
As great as McGinley's last record was, What Are The Roots That Clutch might be even better. Handsomely packaged in letterpress artwork whose ochre-yellow hue matches the color of an Estonian farm house he's quite fond of. Limited to 400 copies.
MPEG Stream: "What Are The Roots That Clutch 3"
MPEG Stream: "What Are The Roots That Clutch 4"
MPEG Stream: "What Are The Roots That Clutch 5"

album cover CARLTON MELTON aQ Hits (aQuarius recOrds) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
aQ Hits is a new collection from beloved SF psychedelic space rock minimalists Carlton Melton, and is our second annual official aQuarius recOrds Record Store Day release. Last year's was a live disc called Black Valleys, a document of a killer aQuarius instore by NY psych rockers White Hills, and that one sold out in a flash. This year's looks to do the same - if you like White Hills, you like Carlton Melton, right?!
It's a super limited (just 300 copies) compact disc, collecting a handful of rare, and now out of print vinyl tracks, from various singles and split lps from the last couple years, including one super extended version.
Let's run through the various tracks... "Bottle Of Heat [Extended Version]", is, as you can probably tell from the title, the aforementioned alternate cut, which takes "Bottle Of Heat", originally released on the 2011 Agitated Records 12" comp I'm So Convoluted!, and offers up the unedited full-sprawl recording, stretching out to more than 19 minutes, thick smoldering clouds of soft focus psychedelia, drifting and blissed out, free form and abstract, a meandering epic of lush chordal swell and shimmery FX drenched swirl, all over a shuffling hypnotic and motorik kraut-psych beat. "Handling Snakes" is the A side from the group's Valley King 7" single, and is a jolt of heavy hypno-blues a la Wooden Shjips, but in the hands of Carlton Melton, somehow even heavier with wailing riffs and pummeling drums.
The next two tracks are from Carlton Melton's split 12" with Empty Shapes, originally released on Mid-To-Late Records in 2010: "Call and Response" is an epic (and originally nearly side-loooong) blowout, beginning with a heavy rumble of monolithic sludge eventually progressing into a slow wave of burnt-out blues riffage a la early Comets on Fire, that churns and steeps into a gnarly brew of molten fuzz. While "Purer", is more cosmic and dreamy, built on a layer of percolating synth drones that give way to a more uplifting space rock jam trajectory, total heart-of-the-sun zoner blissout.
And finally, the last two tracks are from CM's split 12" with Qumran Orphics, also originally released on Mid-To-Late Records, that one in the beginning of 2011. "March Of The Cicadas" is a glorious ten minute slab of psychedelic heaviness, that sounds exactly like the title implies, a slowmotion dirge over martial rhythms with buzzing electronic hisses and stratospheric guitar leads. And things finish off with "Murder Ridge", a noirish Bardo Pond-like spiral of burning sonic embers and sustained decay, a gorgeous hazy stretch of blurred lysergic drift, the perfect final movement, psych-drone comedown.
LIMITED TO 300 COPIES, each one hand numbered, the artwork is printed on metallic silver cardstock, everything housed in a slim dvd style case, only available here!
MPEG Stream: "Bottle Of Heat [Extended Version]"
MPEG Stream: "Handling Snakes"
MPEG Stream: "March Of The Cicadas"

album cover KORPSES KATATONIK Oeuvres Completes (Klanggalerie) cd 21.00
The Austrian post-industrial provocateur Michael DeWitt attained notoriety in the mid-'80s for his project Zero Kama whose sole album was sourced entirely from human bones and skulls, with plenty of smoke and mirror production techniques to arrive at a Crowleyian sound parallel to the likes of early Current 93, Coil, and Psychic TV. Beyond the one album as Zero Kama, DeWitt released another obscure recording in 1982 under the moniker Korpses Katatonik. This cassette - sometimes referred to as Sensitive Liberated Autistiks, sometimes as Subklinikal Leukotomy Aphrenia Spasmophilik Lyssophobo Asphyxia Sinister Lethal Anorex - delved into parallel concerns of societal pathologies and death-obsessed transgressions through very dark electronics. It's very much in step with the classic industrial productions of SPK (when is anybody going to reissue those records again?) and the pre-Brighter Death Now project Lille Roger, with blackened squalls of grim noise belched through slow-grinding rhythms and an ominous proclamation that "we're all fucked." Such doomspeak from Industrial Culture was commonplace, but DeWitt's Korpses Katatonik said it with just as much brutalist force and conviction as SPK, TG, and Cabaret Voltaire at their most zombified. All of the tracks from that cassette and a compilation track make up the entire body of work for Korpses Katatonik, which have been remastered and repackaged for this anthology. The template for much of what Wolf Eyes did later is found here. Terrifyingly great.
MPEG Stream: "Nekom"
MPEG Stream: "Kcock Transplant"
MPEG Stream: "Chronozon"

album cover PEDESTRIAN DEPOSIT Kithless (Arbor) lp 15.98
Spring of 2010, the stalwart San Francisco sound arts organization 23five hosted their annual Activating The Medium festival, commissioning a handful of experimentalists, noise technicians, and field recordists to present work based on the theme of Ice. While G*Park's allegorical plunge into an ice cave and Cheryl Leonard's dripping icicles with Antarctic recordings and bowed penguin bones were thoroughly compelling, Pedestrian Deposit's performance was terrifyingly amazing. PD has transformed itself over the past decade or so from a harsh noise project into one of the most accomplished electo-acoustic outfits of our time, bringing languid cello tones and buzzing harmonics to a well-versed pedal-driven electronic arsenal of rumbles, drones, and noisy grit. A duo of Shannon Kennedy (cello, electronics) and Jon Borges (noise, electronics), Pedestrian Deposit tours constantly through the noise underground; and that time on the road has served them well in terms of delivering the goods. For their 23five commission, their set began in a familiar mode to those who've witnessed Pedestrian Deposit before, Kennedy crafting hypnotic patterns through loops on her cello while Borges hinted at something far more ominous through tectonic rumblings of feedback and black noise. Upon the dissolution of this spellbinding movement balancing noise and grace, Kennedy set her cello down and climbed into a wash basin which was positioned at the front of the stage. The basin was filled with ice water which she poured over her head in slow repetitive fashion, while a microphone captured the sounds of her chattering teeth and frigid gasps as she began a process of self-induced hypothermia. For what seemed like an eternity, Borges did nothing, allowing the raw human gasps from his partner to be the only sound they presented. Eventually, a glacial semi-melodic drone worthy of a BJ Nilsen or a Deathprod recording slowly emerged beneath Kennedy's shivering for a superb coda to such an abject piece of electro-acoustic theater. Kithless features the whole performance as the A side, and even without the physical presence of Kennedy dumping ice water on her goose-pimply skin, the recording is a powerful document and certainly stands on its own. The B side "Under A Veil Of Living Light" is a worthy companion to the live document with Borges building a crunched, tactile noise crescendo out of pools of sonorous hum and rasping buzzed cello. A magnificent accomplishment!
MPEG Stream: "Drift Gently Down The Frigid Tides Of Sleep (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Drift Gently Down The Frigid Tides Of Sleep (extract 2)"

album cover V/A The B-Music Of Jean Rollin (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 16.98
Another Finders Keepers / B-Music treat here, folks! A collection of kooky, creepy, very cool music from the films (many of them about vampires, and many of THOSE about sexy lesbian vampires!) by French underground auteur Jean Rollin, circa 1968-1979. The late Rollin has been proclaimed the "father of European Horrortica". On the freaky fringes of free jazz and psych rock, the tracks found here are the perfect accompaniment to the director's sexy, surreal cinematic phantasmagorias. And unless we're much mistaken, we recognize one of the tracks here, Acanthus' theme to "Le Frisson Des Vampires", as having been surreptitiously covered in heavier fashion by drugged-out doomlords (and horrortica fans) Electric Wizard on their Witchcult Today album!
Another one of note is Pierre Raph's aptly-titled "Gilda & Gunshots", a track of consisting of excited percussion, jazzy bass and pretty trumpet, overlaid with whipcrack-like gun shots, girlish whimpers and cries. It could almost be some noir-jazz experiment by the Boredoms. What the heck was happening in the film scene this scored, we don't know...
We could go on describing this track by track, but there are 31 cuts in all on this disc! With great titles like "Abstract Procession", "Bizarre Cult 2", "Crotch Batterie", "Crimson Gates", and "Violent Library", these vary widely and weirdly, encompassing spooky theremin-like tones, chamber music drones, somber choirs, flute-laced grooves, melodic reveries, arrhythmic interludes, all sorts of stuff. It's a real cornucopia of suspenseful strangeness and freeform avant-rockin'. Composers/performers responsible include the aforementioned Acanthus and Pierre Raph, along with many more by Phillipe D'Aram, Yvon Gerault, Francois Tusques and others. Much of this is previously unreleased. And of course Finders Keepers provides plentiful, fully illustrated liner notes in the cd booklet.
By the way, we also have a couple copies each of the soundtracks to Rollin's films Requiem Por Un Vampire (1972, composed by Pierre Raph) and Fascination (1979, Phillipe D'Aram) on import 10" vinyl, reissued by Finders Keepers as well (key tracks from which appear on this cd collection, naturally).
MPEG Stream: ACANTHUS "Le Frisson Des Vampires"
MPEG Stream: PIERRE RAPH "Gilda & Gunshots"
MPEG Stream: ACANTHUS "La Chateau"
MPEG Stream: PIERRE RAPH "Jade Lake"
MPEG Stream: YVON GERAULT "Blue Quadrant"

album cover KOJO, HITOSHI Omnimoment (Omnimemento) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Gorgeously packaged, gorgeous dronemusik!
Hitoshi Kojo is a Japanese sound artist and drone-centric expressionist who has recorded in the past under the moniker Spiracle and performs in the jubilantly psychedelic but still quite droned-out project Juupala Kaapio. Omnimoment is a collection of edits from Kojo's sound installations and site-specific work dating from 2006 - 2009, all of which extract and manipulate elemental forces of wind, fire, water, metal, wood, sand, etc. into blossoming thrums of sublime minimalism which run parallel to the works of Andrew Chalk, Loren Chasse, and John Grzinich. "Shiranui" was originally conceived at the MoKS residency program in Estonia, sourced mostly from the blades of an abandoned Soviet turbine left inexplicably out in the countryside. Kojo extracts pensive, metallic overtones from those blades that sound more like an ancient gong than some hulking industrial machine; and he amasses those sounds into semi-melodic phrases and ritualized acoustic dronings that Organum mastered in the mid-'80s. "Sea Migration" is an excerpt from an installation involving a feedback system and a bunch PVC pipes that hung from the top window of Germanic castle, looking sort of like a weird plastic octopus playing the part of Rapunzel. Those pipes captured the sound of the wind and the various frequencies of that feedback system creating a tactile, generative composition of pure tones and haptic events not too far from those far more composed works from Andrew Chalk's once prolific project Ora. The last three tracks demonstrate Kojo's ongoing strategies involving found objects through a process which he calls 'molecular communication' where extended vibrations and dense beds of accreted drone broadcast outward from Kojo's scraped metals, clinked glass, and rubbed sand. There's definitely some type of alchemy at work in Kojo's sound design, with mysterious energies transforming the commonplace into something sublime, otherworldly, or divine.
This is the limited art-edition of Omnimoment, which comes in a thick cardstock folio with a 24-page book and die-cut artwork. Certainly on par with what Faraway Press has done in their packaging department! Limited to just 88 copies! We most likely won't be able to restock the limited version, but will have the standard version soon.
MPEG Stream: "Shirunai"
MPEG Stream: "Sea Migration"
MPEG Stream: "Seeding Planets"

album cover KOJO, HITOSHI Omnimoment (Omnimemento) cd 17.98
BACK IN STOCK! At a lower price (in slightly less extravagant packaging, but only just slightly!)
Gorgeously packaged, gorgeous dronemusik!
Hitoshi Kojo is a Japanese sound artist and drone-centric expressionist who has recorded in the past under the moniker Spiracle and performs in the jubilantly psychedelic but still quite droned-out project Juupala Kaapio. Omnimoment is a collection of edits from Kojo's sound installations and site-specific work dating from 2006 - 2009, all of which extract and manipulate elemental forces of wind, fire, water, metal, wood, sand, etc. into blossoming thrums of sublime minimalism which run parallel to the works of Andrew Chalk, Loren Chasse, and John Grzinich. "Shiranui" was originally conceived at the MoKS residency program in Estonia, sourced mostly from the blades of an abandoned Soviet turbine left inexplicably out in the countryside. Kojo extracts pensive, metallic overtones from those blades that sound more like an ancient gong than some hulking industrial machine; and he amasses those sounds into semi-melodic phrases and ritualized acoustic dronings that Organum mastered in the mid-'80s. "Sea Migration" is an excerpt from an installation involving a feedback system and a bunch PVC pipes that hung from the top window of Germanic castle, looking sort of like a weird plastic octopus playing the part of Rapunzel. Those pipes captured the sound of the wind and the various frequencies of that feedback system creating a tactile, generative composition of pure tones and haptic events not too far from those far more composed works from Andrew Chalk's once prolific project Ora. The last three tracks demonstrate Kojo's ongoing strategies involving found objects through a process which he calls 'molecular communication' where extended vibrations and dense beds of accreted drone broadcast outward from Kojo's scraped metals, clinked glass, and rubbed sand. There's definitely some type of alchemy at work in Kojo's sound design, with mysterious energies transforming the commonplace into something sublime, otherworldly, or divine.
This new version replicates the packaging of the out of print deluxe art edition, and again comes in a thick cardstock folio with a 24-page book and die-cut artwork. Still on par with what Faraway Press has done with their packaging! Exquisite!
MPEG Stream: "Shirunai"
MPEG Stream: "Sea Migration"
MPEG Stream: "Seeding Planets"

album cover PORTER RICKS Biokinetics (Type) 2lp 27.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
BACK IN PRINT!!! THIS TIME ON BLUE TRANSPARENT VINYL (or so we've been told, didn't open 'em)...
Techno is a genre of self-quotation and unrepentant appropriation, always looking in the rearview mirror at what just happened to predict what will be the hot-shit trend on the dancefloor tomorrow. So to be able to trace an entire strain within techno's taxonomy to a specific record is quite rare. The 1996 album Biokinetics by Porter Ricks is one such record, setting the stage for pretty much every electronic artist who would flock to the banner of Chain Reaction through a stylized hypnotic, narcotizing techno haunted with deep atmospherics, dub murkiness, and subaquatic allusions. Porter Ricks was the duo of Andy Mellwig and Thomas Koner, who pursued "techno as a nautical sound experience." By the time the first Porter Ricks single emerged in '96, Koner had already developed his signature isolationist approach to slow-motion sound-design blustering with arctic metaphors through the dronemuzik classics of Nunatak Gongamur (1990) and Permafrost (1993). So when Koner began exploring techno with Mellwig, the approach to techno was less about 64-bar measures and more about constructing an evolving atmosphere girded to quintessentially German techno engineering that could be taken for a sonic portrait of tidal flows, map coordinates, sonar blips, and the vastness of the deep blue sea.
Biokinetics opens with the magnificent "Port Gentil" whose steady techno pulse coalesces through overlapping patterns from muffled pulsations of white noise and distant locomotive rhythms, later topped by a radiant metallic drone. The somatic oscillations of "Biokinetics 1" hardly makes for a techno track at all despite the insistent rhythms, but the eerie heartpulse dub of "Biokinetics 2" takes an isolationist reproach to everything adding its own desolate pulse and some subterranean reverb. Granulated hiss and slippery drone shimmer blossom through the final tracks "Nautical Nuba" and "Nautical Zone" that look forward to what Wolfgang Voigt would produce on his seminal Gas albums Zauberberg and Konigsforst. It sounded awesome in 1996, and it sounds awesome today.
MPEG Stream: "Port Gentil"
MPEG Stream: "Biokinetics 2"
MPEG Stream: "Nautical Zone"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Elemental (Modern Love) 2cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We would have made Demdike Stare's sprawling quadruple vinyl 12"s epic Elemental our Record Of The Week had it not been for a few things. One, the four records were released over the course of several months, two, the combined cost of all those records ended up being nearly $100, and three, we knew it was eventually gonna come out on cd. So now that the cd version is here, we can finally make this twisted hauntological epic our Record Of The Week, which is great news for everybody, EXCEPT maybe crazy completists, who will be dismayed (or perhaps perversely thrilled) to discover, that not only does the double cd version tack on a bunch of extra tracks (nearly 33 minutes worth!!), but it also features alternate versions of some of the tracks from the 12"s. So it's really up to the folks who already shelled out for all four 12" if they want to buy it all over again, but for everybody else, we can't recommend this highly enough. More on the bonus tracks at the end, but let's talk about Elemental proper first...
Elemental was probably one of the most anticipated records around here recently, the sprawling epic from hauntological duo Demdike Stare, a four part songsuite, Chrysanthe, Violetta, Rose and Iris, the duo's new sound seriously dark, much more industrial sounding, the vibe blackened, the sounds layered and way more dense.
Chrysanthe opens with "Mephisto's Lament", which is all foghorn buzz, deep whirring drones, keening high end melodic fragments, murky buried rhythms, peppered with creepy synth squelches, and when the song gets rolling, it's almost like a hauntological SUNNO))), the same sort of roiling downtuned heaviness, but here stretched into something a bit more sinister and abstract, almost like the soundtrack for some subterranean factory, all rumble and clang, all shadows and very little light. "Kommunion" is up next, a lush looped slow build, all repeated piano motifs wreathed in chanted vocals, and all blurred into fuzzy soft focus swells, the sound suddenly expanding into a blisteringly blown out in-the-red buzz, a swoonsome melody hidden in there somewhere, the sound slipping from caustic and crunchy to blurred and murky, before switching gears completely, lacing a sprawl of staticky hiss to a skeletal trip hop pulse, extra percussion provided by found sounds, clatter and crunch, atonal piano, all woven into a strange almost Art Of Noise sounding beat. Then comes "Unction", a super creepy stretch of undulating lowend, demarcated by a strange sonar ping rhythm, one that is quickly augmented by a twisted effected croaking frog skitter, and another beat seemingly assembled from the sounds of workman scraping and dragging, a crunchy noisy lurching groove, that is soon overtaken by another cloud of reverberating pianos, which finishes off the side with a coda of swirling minimal washed out thrum.
The second part, Violetta, begins with "Mnemosyne", a blissed out sun dappled bit of witch house-y skitter, all hazy and gauzy and dreamlike, until a sudden burst of clattery noisy rhythmic crunch changes everything, and then assembles itself into a strange lumbering cacophonous beat, the sound eventually underpinned by some Eastern style folk music, which drifts briefly, before that clattery beat crashes back in, now accompanied by that Eastern melody, sounding like a weirdly stuttery bit of gypsy electro. Which leads directly into "In The Wake Of Chronos", which opens with some distant mysterious melodies, some sprinkler like textures, some super minimal skeletal skitter, and some seriously deep bass thrum, the minimal drift soon peppered with short sharp bursts of metallic crunch, clipped bits of hiss and skree sculpted into a sort-of-beat, also soon joined by tinkling melodies, wreathed in echo, the sound gradually expanding, and becoming more and more lush, that beat drifting off, leaving the various other sounds to shimmer and hover ethereally over a blackened backdrop of blurred hum. And finally, Violetta finishes off with the title track, a soft cacophony of pounded piano, the chords allowed to ring out and slowly fade, all subtly warped, an ominous sort of avant classical doom, laced with little sonic squiggles, and wreathed in clouds of hiss and static, soon those little squiggles transform into beats, a wild chaotic looped rhythm, which is strangely at odds with that funereal piano, still pounding away in the background, a twisted bit of hauntological IDM, the piano subtly replaced by a hazy sprawl of synth simmer, which is left to fade out once the beat drops off, a thick swirling final movement, washed out and woozy.
Part three is Rose, and begins with a churning industrial chug, grinding through a woozy washed out haze, wreathed in a distant ethereal vocal drift, looped and mesmerizing, the sound is most definitely epic and cinematic, the sound laced with bits of clatter and crunch, and than BAM, the track is transformed into a gorgeous stretch of Middle Eastern string laden groove, all wrapped around that opening industrial rhythm, sounding like a more dense, more psychedelic Muslimgauze! The second track is more murky and dubbed out and spacey, anchored by a muted slo-mo house beat, buried in the murk, the beats wreathed in soft metallic billows, the surrounding sounds swirling dreamily, hazy melodic streaks and blurred background shimmers, clouds of tripped out drift, through which that industrial flecked rhythm soldiers druggily on.
The third track begins as a gauzy, ethereal thrum, that seems to hover wraithlike, before suddenly in drops an impossibly dense and heavy ribcage rattling bass pulse, accompanied by cool spare tabla like rhythms, that Muslimgauze vibe is definitely huge here too, a keening high end sine wave tone flutters over fragmented chunks of dubstep bass wobble, all drifting in the sonic ether.
Finally comes part four, Iris, which might be the grimmest and darkest of the bunch. Opening with buzzing cellos, and swirling blackened drones, which are soon joined by a plodding doomy rhythm, laced with streaks of prismatic feedback and hauntingly melodic harmonies, all the whole in the background, textures and layers softly swirl and undulate, the result is definitely creepy and cinematic, but also a bit blackened and industrial. The second track dials it down even further, unfurling a hushed, blurred thrum, a wash of hazy shimmer, a dubbed out murk laced with mysterious industrial percolations, reverbed clatter, and strange squelches, like a field recording of an old abandoned office building with all the air conditioners and printers and computers whirring away, a creepy disembodied hum which is soon enveloped by crunchy caustic high end, keening shards of buzz and skree, growing ever more dense and noisy. Next up some surfacing sonar pings, over a skittery, skeletal beat, shuffling through clouds of effects swirl, droned out bass warble, and more of that unidentified background shimmer, the sound is cavernous and hypnotic, the background sounds gradually solidifying into sheets of chordal whir, all wreathed in a cowl of soft buzzy sonic gauze, all the while that rhythm churns relentlessly, and that bass thrum stretches out into a strangely undulating low end drone.
Obviously, that should be more than enough to sell you on it, but folks who are after the bonus tracks will not be dissappointed, more than a half hour's worth minutes of extra music, six tracks, the first of which, "New Use For Old Circuits", opens up the set with a blast of psychedelic noise, before oozing into something much more liquid and murky, a sort of subaquatic space dub, a little bit like Chain Reaction style 'heroin house', but instead of hearing the music through a wall, we're hearing it through the thin steel walls of a submarine, stranded in the inky blackness of the deepest sea. "Shade" is a short stretch of gauzey high end shimmer, a haze of blurred melody and buried plink plonk piano, while "10th Floor Stairwell" is a fantastic chunk of thrumming low end pulsations, a minimal blackened drone that slwoly blossoms into something more tonally colorful, eventually becoming a sort of blackbuzz raga. "Metamorphosis" takes a field recording of voices and wraps it in soft swirls of static and tape hiss, soon introducing more of that impossible low end, the voices locked in a chant-like loop, while that skull rattling bass tone, pulses ominously, eventually introducing some throbbing 4 on the floor house music, but all murky and muddy, as if blasting in an upstairs apartment, just the rhythm oozing though the walls, a darkly propuslive slab of late night housemusic murk. "All This Is Ours (Sunrise)", unfurls soft swells of new age synth shimmer, a crystalline drift that soon sinks into a thick layed morass of crumbling bass-synth squelch and gradually intensifying distorted crackle, before finishing off in a squall of soft noise and sc-fi FX swirl, and finally, "We Have Already Died", strings some tribal skeletal skitter into a looped almost Muslimgauze sounding groove, all draped over an ominous sprawl of post industrial hum and layered swirls of blurred ghost-grey ambience.
Packaged much like the last Demdike Stare, in an oversized six panel digi-sleeve, with original Andy Votel artwork, mirroring the artwork from the original quadruple gatefold sleeve that housed all four 12"s...
MPEG Stream: "Mephisto's Lament"
MPEG Stream: "Kommunion"
MPEG Stream: "Mnemosyne"
MPEG Stream: "Erosion Of Mediocrity"
MPEG Stream: "Dauerlinie"
MPEG Stream: "New Use For Old Circuits"

album cover DEMDIKE STARE Elemental (Modern Love) 2cd 19.98
REISSUED! After being out of print for over a year or more, all three compact disc format releases by these aQ fave hauntologists have been repressed, two of the three now in new packaging (jewel cases instead of elaborate digi-sleeves) and at a lower prices! So, needless to say, if you somehow missed out on any of these before, two of which have been aQ Records Of The Week, we're very happy to present 'em to you now. All three - Symbiosis, Tryptych, and Elemental - are highly recommended. Read on...
We would have made Demdike Stare's sprawling quadruple vinyl 12"s epic Elemental our Record Of The Week had it not been for a few things. One, the four records were released over the course of several months, two, the combined cost of all those records ended up being nearly $100, and three, we knew it was eventually gonna come out on cd. So now that the cd version is here, we can finally make this twisted hauntological epic our Record Of The Week, which is great news for everybody, EXCEPT maybe crazy completists, who will be dismayed (or perhaps perversely thrilled) to discover, that not only does the double cd version tack on a bunch of extra tracks (nearly 33 minutes worth!!), but it also features alternate versions of some of the tracks from the 12"s. So it's really up to the folks who already shelled out for all four 12" if they want to buy it all over again, but for everybody else, we can't recommend this highly enough. More on the bonus tracks at the end, but let's talk about Elemental proper first...
Elemental was probably one of the most anticipated records around here recently, the sprawling epic from hauntological duo Demdike Stare, a four part songsuite, Chrysanthe, Violetta, Rose and Iris, the duo's new sound seriously dark, much more industrial sounding, the vibe blackened, the sounds layered and way more dense.
Chrysanthe opens with "Mephisto's Lament", which is all foghorn buzz, deep whirring drones, keening high end melodic fragments, murky buried rhythms, peppered with creepy synth squelches, and when the song gets rolling, it's almost like a hauntological SUNNO))), the same sort of roiling downtuned heaviness, but here stretched into something a bit more sinister and abstract, almost like the soundtrack for some subterranean factory, all rumble and clang, all shadows and very little light. "Kommunion" is up next, a lush looped slow build, all repeated piano motifs wreathed in chanted vocals, and all blurred into fuzzy soft focus swells, the sound suddenly expanding into a blisteringly blown out in-the-red buzz, a swoonsome melody hidden in there somewhere, the sound slipping from caustic and crunchy to blurred and murky, before switching gears completely, lacing a sprawl of staticky hiss to a skeletal trip hop pulse, extra percussion provided by found sounds, clatter and crunch, atonal piano, all woven into a strange almost Art Of Noise sounding beat. Then comes "Unction", a super creepy stretch of undulating lowend, demarcated by a strange sonar ping rhythm, one that is quickly augmented by a twisted effected croaking frog skitter, and another beat seemingly assembled from the sounds of workman scraping and dragging, a crunchy noisy lurching groove, that is soon overtaken by another cloud of reverberating pianos, which finishes off the side with a coda of swirling minimal washed out thrum.
The second part, Violetta, begins with "Mnemosyne", a blissed out sun dappled bit of witch house-y skitter, all hazy and gauzy and dreamlike, until a sudden burst of clattery noisy rhythmic crunch changes everything, and then assembles itself into a strange lumbering cacophonous beat, the sound eventually underpinned by some Eastern style folk music, which drifts briefly, before that clattery beat crashes back in, now accompanied by that Eastern melody, sounding like a weirdly stuttery bit of gypsy electro. Which leads directly into "In The Wake Of Chronos", which opens with some distant mysterious melodies, some sprinkler like textures, some super minimal skeletal skitter, and some seriously deep bass thrum, the minimal drift soon peppered with short sharp bursts of metallic crunch, clipped bits of hiss and skree sculpted into a sort-of-beat, also soon joined by tinkling melodies, wreathed in echo, the sound gradually expanding, and becoming more and more lush, that beat drifting off, leaving the various other sounds to shimmer and hover ethereally over a blackened backdrop of blurred hum. And finally, Violetta finishes off with the title track, a soft cacophony of pounded piano, the chords allowed to ring out and slowly fade, all subtly warped, an ominous sort of avant classical doom, laced with little sonic squiggles, and wreathed in clouds of hiss and static, soon those little squiggles transform into beats, a wild chaotic looped rhythm, which is strangely at odds with that funereal piano, still pounding away in the background, a twisted bit of hauntological IDM, the piano subtly replaced by a hazy sprawl of synth simmer, which is left to fade out once the beat drops off, a thick swirling final movement, washed out and woozy.
Part three is Rose, and begins with a churning industrial chug, grinding through a woozy washed out haze, wreathed in a distant ethereal vocal drift, looped and mesmerizing, the sound is most definitely epic and cinematic, the sound laced with bits of clatter and crunch, and than BAM, the track is transformed into a gorgeous stretch of Middle Eastern string laden groove, all wrapped around that opening industrial rhythm, sounding like a more dense, more psychedelic Muslimgauze! The second track is more murky and dubbed out and spacey, anchored by a muted slo-mo house beat, buried in the murk, the beats wreathed in soft metallic billows, the surrounding sounds swirling dreamily, hazy melodic streaks and blurred background shimmers, clouds of tripped out drift, through which that industrial flecked rhythm soldiers druggily on.
The third track begins as a gauzy, ethereal thrum, that seems to hover wraithlike, before suddenly in drops an impossibly dense and heavy ribcage rattling bass pulse, accompanied by cool spare tabla like rhythms, that Muslimgauze vibe is definitely huge here too, a keening high end sine wave tone flutters over fragmented chunks of dubstep bass wobble, all drifting in the sonic ether.
Finally comes part four, Iris, which might be the grimmest and darkest of the bunch. Opening with buzzing cellos, and swirling blackened drones, which are soon joined by a plodding doomy rhythm, laced with streaks of prismatic feedback and hauntingly melodic harmonies, all the whole in the background, textures and layers softly swirl and undulate, the result is definitely creepy and cinematic, but also a bit blackened and industrial. The second track dials it down even further, unfurling a hushed, blurred thrum, a wash of hazy shimmer, a dubbed out murk laced with mysterious industrial percolations, reverbed clatter, and strange squelches, like a field recording of an old abandoned office building with all the air conditioners and printers and computers whirring away, a creepy disembodied hum which is soon enveloped by crunchy caustic high end, keening shards of buzz and skree, growing ever more dense and noisy. Next up some surfacing sonar pings, over a skittery, skeletal beat, shuffling through clouds of effects swirl, droned out bass warble, and more of that unidentified background shimmer, the sound is cavernous and hypnotic, the background sounds gradually solidifying into sheets of chordal whir, all wreathed in a cowl of soft buzzy sonic gauze, all the while that rhythm churns relentlessly, and that bass thrum stretches out into a strangely undulating low end drone.
Obviously, that should be more than enough to sell you on it, but folks who are after the bonus tracks will not be disappointed, more than a half hour's worth minutes of extra music, six tracks, the first of which, "New Use For Old Circuits", opens up the set with a blast of psychedelic noise, before oozing into something much more liquid and murky, a sort of subaquatic space dub, a little bit like Chain Reaction style 'heroin house', but instead of hearing the music through a wall, we're hearing it through the thin steel walls of a submarine, stranded in the inky blackness of the deepest sea. "Shade" is a short stretch of gauzey high end shimmer, a haze of blurred melody and buried plink plonk piano, while "10th Floor Stairwell" is a fantastic chunk of thrumming low end pulsations, a minimal blackened drone that slowly blossoms into something more tonally colorful, eventually becoming a sort of blackbuzz raga. "Metamorphosis" takes a field recording of voices and wraps it in soft swirls of static and tape hiss, soon introducing more of that impossible low end, the voices locked in a chant-like loop, while that skull rattling bass tone, pulses ominously, eventually introducing some throbbing 4 on the floor house music, but all murky and muddy, as if blasting in an upstairs apartment, just the rhythm oozing though the walls, a darkly propulsive slab of late night housemusic murk. "All This Is Ours (Sunrise)", unfurls soft swells of new age synth shimmer, a crystalline drift that soon sinks into a thick layered morass of crumbling bass-synth squelch and gradually intensifying distorted crackle, before finishing off in a squall of soft noise and sci-fi FX swirl, and finally, "We Have Already Died", strings some tribal skeletal skitter into a looped almost Muslimgauze sounding groove, all draped over an ominous sprawl of post industrial hum and layered swirls of blurred ghost-grey ambience.
MPEG Stream: "Mephisto's Lament"
MPEG Stream: "Kommunion"
MPEG Stream: "Mnemosyne"
MPEG Stream: "Erosion Of Mediocrity"
MPEG Stream: "Dauerlinie"
MPEG Stream: "New Use For Old Circuits"

album cover HAFLER TRIO, THE How To Reform Mankind (Korm Plastics) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
How To Reform Mankind marks yet another entry in the reissue campaign of The Hafler Trio's early research into sound and its effect upon the human psyche. It was the third in what now stands as the first of many untitled "triologies of three," standing as the final chapter to the series featuring Kill The King and Mastery of Money. Within the entire catalogue of the Hafler Trio, How To Reform Mankind (1994) represents one of the last records that Andrew McKenzie produced before drastically slowing down his activities in the middle and late '90s. In many ways, this album is also an exceptional culmination of the ideas that McKenzie propagated throughout the '80s, which reflect a considerably different perspective upon his work, his life, and the world in general. The early Hafler Trio albums revelled in the miscommunication, the recycling of information within new contexts, and a disorientation caused by the play between what is real and what might be real. In recent years, The Hafler Trio's idioms have suggested a revelation / obfuscation of truth in the grand traditions of ancient Gnosticism.
Psychoacoustics and the psychological impact of sound have both figured heavily into all of the Hafler Trio's work, and these areas of research are profoundly present on How To Reform Mankind. Subtle flutterings of shortwave data have been processed into rarified air; low volume, resonant frequencies colliding with the body for a chest-cavity massage; the clunky piano from McKenzie's Negentropy album returns as a post-serialist leitmotif; and desolate sonar plinks slam against metal walls to astounding effect. McKenzie's uncompromising drive for his art has made the Hafler Trio one of the greatest artistic endeavors of the last two decades; and How To Reform Mankind stands close to the top of his best recordings.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot offer sound samples of the Hafler Trio's work. Oh well.

album cover ECTOPLASM GIRLS TxN (Ideal Recordings) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
First of all, be warned, these took nearly six months to show up from Sweden; and we will most likely not be restocking these when we sell out of this batch, or if we do, it could very well take ANOTHER six months. But back in the late summer of 2011, we caught wind of what seemed like a really fascinating piece of damaged, witchy pop narcotic from the Swedish sisters Nadine and Tanya Byrne (aka Ectoplasm Girls). Shortly, there after, The Wire raved about the album; and then we simply waited for the box to show... Fortunately for a lucky few of you, that box did indeed finally arrive!
The Byrne sisters could very well be ghosts from the mid-80s cassette culture of DIY electronics, industrial antipathy, and corrosive psychedelia. As half-formed / half-forgotten songs of deconstructed piano, looped abstractions, and bad vibes, the Ectoplasm Girls arrangements aren't too dissimilar from those that Zola Jesus primitively sketched on her earliest recordings. Like Zola Jesus, voice is also key to the hauntological pop that the Ectoplasm Girls create, although they take it in an entirely different direction. At times, they adopt a baby-faced atonal lunacy with shrill lullabies above their murky tunes, abstracted rhythms, and macabre electronics; and at others, they utter mantras in dull monotone as if these strangely seductive passages were culled from their own exorcisms. "Sexodrome" takes all the right cues from Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire, with vocal fragments orbiting a skeletal rhythmic plod that's all gotta reference Cronenberg in some way shape or form. It's too creepy not to! A blast of hurricane noise launches "If Your Mother Asks" which surges forward through driving techno stomp akin to TG's ceaseless march "Discipline" and complementary slashes of noise and vocal gaspings.
If we thought we could get more, we might expound more on the subject of the Ectoplasm Girls; but as it stands, we've got less than a dozen. So, delay now and perhaps delay forever.

album cover GARET, RICHARD Areal (23five Incorporated) cd 14.98
Oh, we love art made from glitches, errors, surface noise, smudges, corrosives, and just plain mistakes. Just look at how we've championed Caretaker, Phillip Jeck, William Basinksi, and Oval, and how many times we applaud something for sounding antiquated, garbbled, warbling, or just utterly fucked-up. Which brings us to New York based sound artist Richard Garet and his atypical electronic systems involving lo-tech circuits, radio transmitters, and dismembered speaker cones, we seem to have found yet another artist whose beautiful demolition deserves our attention.
Back in 2011, Garet presented an audio-visual live piece at SFMOMA, which involved a wildly stroboscopic, flickering projection that triggered jittery noises from his table top of toy walkie-talkies and bits of circuitry. With the potential for gnarled interference and ugly distortion that the cross-currents and bare wires might impart, Garet's performance was somehow instead jaw-droppingly elegant, drawing a taut line from minimalist drone & crackle through John Duncan's psychoacoustics and back to David Tudor's Rainforest excursions, but shifted just slightly towards a hauntological mesmerism with ghosts of melody seemingly buried within. Areal works in the same way as that piece; and dates back to a different installation Garet presented at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, where he flooded the space with fog and shot color-field projections into the space swirling together with the eeriely divine drones. The music on the disc in all likelihood is a distillation of the Issue Project Room extravaganza, heightening the drama and intensity of the sounds without having the benefit of a fog and light show. Garet cites radio as a source material for Areal, but damn if he doesn't get the device to sound like a Rhys Chatham guitar symphony, a field of chromatic density and shivering heaviness blossoming from supple tones and crunched noises. The album's lush atmospherics wax and wane with variable degrees of intensity, with ethereal drifts collapsing into scrabbled texture later to be engulfed in a harmonic cauldron of buzzing thrum. Garet reveals his hand at the end of the 50-minute composition with some unkempt radio interference that snaps to a sudden conclusion. You may hear bits of Tim Hecker and bits of Phill Niblock in Garet's work. Everything Garet has done up until this album has been very good; but with Areal, he's taken it to another level. Absolutely required dronemuzik listening!
MPEG Stream: "Areal (extract 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Areal (extract 2)"
MPEG Stream: "Areal (extract 3)"

album cover SCHAFER, HELMUT Thought Provoking III (23five Incorporated) cd 14.98
The Austrian noise artist Helmut Schafer died in 2007, leaving behind only a handful of recordings despite his constant travels to music / art festival around the world, including appearances at ARS Electronica and Documenta back in 1997. His work dealt mostly with psychoacoustic principles of intense frequencies at intense volumes, as such he found a sympathetic ear in Zbigniew Karkowski - who became a longtime friend and often collaborator. Yet, beginning around 2003 he came across some dismantled church organ pipes and began experimenting with alternative ways of activating the tones and timbres of those pipes, including a contraption of hairdryers that pushed small currents through the pipes to generate hushed, muffled tones. In building compositions through this system of organ pipes, he radically shifted away from the searing noise and towards a very quiet, contemplative electro-acoustic sound, involving violin, electronics, percussion, and ample pockets of empty space. Thought Provoking III is Schafer's final recording dating back to 2006 when he employed percussionist Will Guthrie and violinist Elisabeth Gmeiner to perform the piece in a Vienna church. In fact, Guthrie stitched this recording together from the rehearsal sessions and the performance itself, attempting to keep true to Schafer's wishes. The proceedings are solemn excursions in electro-acoustic mark-making built around those bellowing hums from Schafer's organ pipes amidst intermittent percussive flourishes, subtle gong overtones, sustained violin trills, and fizzling electronics. The non-repetitive clustered events sound akin to anyone from the Miasmah roster taking up the task of remaking late period Morton Feldman. For the final track of the album, Zbigniew Karkowksi took up remixing elements of Thought Provoking III into a piece reflective of Schafer's more volatile compositions. While full of the frigid vibration and electric toxicity, Karkowski shows considerable restraint in his remix, and constructing a poignant tribute to his lost friend.
MPEG Stream: "Thought Provoking III"
MPEG Stream: "Averaging Down 20xx By Zbigniew Karkowski"

album cover SCHNITZLER, CONRAD Live '72 (Further) 2lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
First, before we get into the review, we should mention that this double lp is housed in an oversized French paper hand silk-screened jacket. While it's a beautiful package, the combination of its oversized shape and the delicacy of the material means it's prone to damage in shipping, and of course all the copies we have received arrived a bit bent up. The label has no replacement covers so this is all we're going to get. We've taken a couple dollars off the price to compensate a bit, but those who are more fastidious about the shape of their vinyl sleeves, might want to steer clear of this, as we won't be able to replace them. Sorry about that!
But WOW!, this is a beautiful double lp live set from 1972 by the late experimental kosmiche composer, Conrad Schnitzler. Salvaged from decaying tapes of a performance for an art exhibition, the sounds on this are like a multifaceted sci-fi ballet. The coordination of individual electronic sounds operating in harmonic tandem of each other showcases a brilliant array of synthesis and restraint, while at the same time emanating a warm centrally vibrant core. For some reason in some of our minds we always have this impression that Conrad Schnitzler was the most abstract and cold of the German musicians of this period, but lately with each new reissue that becomes available, that impression is proven wrong time and time again. This is a gorgeous set, as essential as any of his key recordings from this era. And as usual, crazy limited, ONLY 1000 COPIES and at this point almost gone so act fast!

album cover DAUBY, YANNICK, JOHN GRZINICH, & MURMER Lind, Raud, Aastaajad (Invisible Birds) 2cd 16.98
If anything, the Estonian countryside is quiet. The clockwork schedule of the network of rural buses and the cackle of a black swan racing high above the trees is about all that you'll hear. I (Jim) had the pleasure of experiencing this Estonian quietude a few years back, and I have to say that Yannick Dauby's collection of field recordings is way more active than any i actually encountered. Estonia is known for its avian diversity, although when I was there during the brief transition from summer into winter (literally, three weeks!), the birds had all flown south... so Dauby must have been there in later spring or summertime as he does capture a number of chittering sounds from those birds passing through from Russia and Finland to Southern Europe and North Africa (or vice versa). Between these avian recordings, Dauby documents another common denizen of the Estonian countryside - the giant chunks of metal dumped unceremoniously by the Soviet agricultural industry. Even without much wind, these abandoned grain silos and oil tanks resonate with thick rumblings and subtle overtones, which Dauby dutifully records with contact microphones. These thrumming drones recall the Alan Lamb wire recordings as much as they do Thomas Koner's deep gong recordings.
Disc one of this two disc set features Dauby's "songs for birds and metal" while the second features reworkings of Dauby's source material by John Grzinich and Murmer (aka Patrick McGingley), both of whom have exceptional catalogues of electro-organic compositions based often on phonography. Grzinich's two lengthy pieces are quieter and more subtle, focusing on the patter of dripping water and melting ice with flickering drones and harmonics forming arctic halos around those aquatic textures. The two Murmer tracks intensify things comparatively against Grzinich's lowercase work, with thick drones amassed around what sounds like somebody trekking through the deep snow. Those Coleclough / Koner drones manifest ominous black clouds and unsettled vibes, not heard elsewhere on the album and turning that Estonian quiet into something haunting. All in all, a magnificent piece of manipulated field recording and sound ecology.
MPEG Stream: YANNICK DAUBY "Raud 07.06.03 Saaropera"
MPEG Stream: YANNICK DAUBY "Lind 07.06.21 Mooste"
MPEG Stream: JOHN GRZINICH & YANNICK DAUBY "Talv"
MPEG Stream: MURMER & YANNICK DAUBY "Kevad"

album cover CARETAKER, THE Patience (After Sebald) (History Always Favors The Winners) cd 17.98
Leyland Kirby has been on a real roll lately! Not only recently releasing two of our favorite albums from last year, Eager To Tear Apart The Stars and The Caretaker's An Empty Bliss Beyond This World, but also three installments of synth and sound experiments in his Intrigue and Stuff series. And now we have this beautiful and elegiac new Caretaker recording which is a soundtrack to a new documentary by Grant Gee on the German writer, WG Sebald and the influence of his most renowned book Rings of Saturn. It's an apt fit as both Kirby and Sebald have both been concerned with themes of memory, time, loss and decay (both individually and historically) and the attempts to reconcile with them in both literary and musical terms. We got a limited amount of the now out of print vinyl of this a couple weeks ago, not nearly enough to list, and those are surely gone now, but at least now here's the cd version!
Sebald's book mixed history, travelogue, fiction and memoir into a meditative account of the personal and public histories of Suffolk. The essayistic documentary takes a similarly multi-layered and nonlinear tact by tracking the same locations and landscapes, which is greatly aided by Kirby's score, which instead of using the prewar ballroom music of his last two Caretaker albums, sources a 78 rpm recording of a song cycle by Franz Schubert from 1828 called Winterreise. One of Schubert's last compositions before his death, Winterreisse was based on the poems of Wilhelm Muller, a soldier intrigued by the miraculous and grim cycles of nature, and stands as one of Schubert's most melancholic and dark compositions. In his notes for the song cycle, Schubert describes the setting: "Early on the wanderer sings about his lost beloved. As the song cycle develops he sings of abject loneliness, longing for death, and glimpses of delusional hope." Certainly sounds about right for a Caretaker album.
In true Caretaker fashion, Kirby sources snippets of melodic piano loops and wreathes them in a sheen of murky hiss, and weaves them into repetitive sonic layers. Sometimes a snippet of vocal can be detected before being cut off when the loop restarts putting the piece in a constant flux of promise and denial. The distant resonance of romantically wistful piano reverberations culminate in a seemingly rapturous fog of rained out daydreams. While Winterreise is largely a vocal cycle, Schubert saves most of the emotional heft of the composition for the piano, using it as the voice of the poet moreso than the vocal elements. Kirby fashions his composition much the same way, filtering or burying the vocal elements until the final track, where the ghostly chorus of voices slightly slowed, comes out in full force for a deeply moving climax.
This is a gorgeous score that is beautiful on its own even removed from its source or ignorant of its inspiration, but it has also made us equally excited to see the documentary, read the book, listen to the original Schubert piece as well as read the poems that inspired them. Enthralling!
MPEG Stream: "Everything Is On The Point Of Decline"
MPEG Stream: "As If One Were Sinking Into Sand"
MPEG Stream: "Approaching The Outer Limits Of Our Solar System"
MPEG Stream: "When The Dog Days Were Drawing To An End"
MPEG Stream: "Now The Night Is Over And The Dawn Is About To Break"

album cover DEAD LUKE Meanwhile.... In The Midwest (Moon Glyph) lp 11.98
We first caught Dead Luke's name on an older Zola Jesus album, back when it was all about the murk, grit and lo-fi griminess of her sound. Wisconsin was home to both artists at the time; but she soon left for Hollywood on a meteoric rise for goth-diva fame, and Dead Luke stayed behind inoculating himself from Midwestern boredom with his spring-reverb saturated, outsider psychedelia. With a name like Dead Luke, you might half expect a suitably depressive lo-fi goth thing (especially with a couple of singles on Sacred Bones along with that former connection to Zola Jesus); but Dead Luke's downer vibe is the result of being a stoner rather than an occultist, with his awesomely lazy psychedelic numbers that channel 13 Floor Elevators through the heavily sedated period of Spacemen 3. Contemporarily speaking, this album plants itself right between the rockabilly minimalism of Dirty Beaches and the shambolic retro-blast of Thee Oh Sees. Dead Luke tangles those archetypal blues chords and strutting basslines with overblown fuzz, lo-fi crunch, and swampy spring-reverb excess, with his songs always devolving out of the verse / chorus structure of the song and into a hypnotic groove rippling with melodic yet droned-out organs, as a nod to the Perfect Prescription era bleariness from Spacemen 3. He even does an old Bo Diddley number in "I'm A Man," albeit all mumbled and narcotized. "Paranoia Is A Flower Of The Mind" must be an ode to the side effects of altered states, even as the song is a sprawling, ramshackle number of drugged out American psychedelia. Yeah, it's that good. No download code, though.

album cover PORTER RICKS Biokinetics (Type) cd 16.98
Recently reissued on vinyl (which sadly, went quickly out of print), now available again on cd!!
Techno is a genre of self-quotation and unrepentant appropriation, always looking in the rearview mirror at what just happened to predict what will be the hot-shit trend on the dancefloor tomorrow. So to be able to trace an entire strain within techno's taxonomy to a specific record is quite rare. The 1996 album Biokinetics by Porter Ricks is one such record, setting the stage for pretty much every electronic artist who would flock to the banner of Chain Reaction through a stylized hypnotic, narcotizing techno haunted with deep atmospherics, dub murkiness, and subaquatic allusions. Porter Ricks was the duo of Andy Mellwig and Thomas Koner, who pursued "techno as a nautical sound experience." By the time the first Porter Ricks single emerged in '96, Koner had already developed his signature isolationist approach to slow-motion sound-design blustering with arctic metaphors through the dronemuzik classics of Nunatak Gongamur (1990) and Permafrost (1993). So when Koner began exploring techno with Mellwig, the approach to techno was less about 64-bar measures and more about constructing an evolving atmosphere girded to quintessentially German techno engineering that could be taken for a sonic portrait of tidal flows, map coordinates, sonar blips, and the vastness of the deep blue sea.
Biokinetics opens with the magnificent "Port Gentil" whose steady techno pulse coalesces through overlapping patterns from muffled pulsations of white noise and distant locomotive rhythms, later topped by a radiant metallic drone. The somatic oscillations of "Biokinetics 1" hardly makes for a techno track at all despite the insistent rhythms, but the eerie heartpulse dub of "Biokinetics 2" takes an isolationist reproach to everything adding its own desolate pulse and some subterranean reverb. Granulated hiss and slippery drone shimmer blossom through the final tracks "Nautical Nuba" and "Nautical Zone" that look forward to what Wolfgang Voigt would produce on his seminal Gas albums Zauberberg and Konigsforst. It sounded awesome in 1996, and it sounds awesome today.
MPEG Stream: "Port Gentil"
MPEG Stream: "Biokinetics 2"
MPEG Stream: "Nautical Zone"

album cover SOFT CELL The Bedsit Tapes (Some Bizarre) cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
We managed to miss this one when it was released a while back in 2005, but we figured we weren't the only ones to let this import cd slip through the cracks. The Bedsit Tapes is the officially released collection of the early demos, escapades, and excursions from the megawatt new wave pop stars Soft Cell. These DIY recordings date back to 1978 when David Ball was attending Leeds Polytechnic, where he made full use of a makeshift recording studio consisting of a couple of reel-to-reel tape decks and a mixing board. Upon wiring up a Korg synth and primitive drum machine, Ball started to make "weird little tunes," one of which caught the ear of fellow student Marc Almond who asked if he could use one of those songs for his performance art shows. The two began refining those electronic blorps and bleeps into arty synth-pop numbers, snarling with contemporary punk energy and technological primitivism. Almond already had developed a charismatic persona, which he jubilantly expressed upon the wide vistas of grandiose theatricality, from the crooning balladeering of "L.O.V.E. Feeling" to the switchblade slashes on the uber-ironic "Bleak Is My Favorite Cliche" to the ominous bark of "Occupational Hazard" and onto the fucked-up delirium of their frenzied cover of Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." Yeah, you heard us right: Soft Cell covered Sabbath!
Given the stripped down arrangements and trial-by-fire approach to the technology at hand, Soft Cell certainly benefited from Almond's larger than life persona. Such is what gave the 'pop' elements of Throbbing Gristle and Reproduction era Human League their iconic status, and it certainly set the stage for the anthemic '80s hits that Soft Cell would produce later on. While many ordinary Soft Cell fans might be put off by the roughness of these tracks, it's precisely that fucked atonality, that avant-punk electricity, that giddy nervousness, those warbled, sci-fi effects and those ominous drones which make us totally dig this collection. Anyone into the whole "Messthetics" scene, and/or the current revival of retro new wave electronica old and new, should also dig.
MPEG Stream: "L.O.V.E. Feelings"
MPEG Stream: "Science Fiction Stories"
MPEG Stream: "Paranoid"

album cover KAHN, JASON On Metal Shores (Editions) lp 24.00
As we've mentioned before, American ex-pat and former hardcore drummer Jason Kahn made a radical shift away from the SST punk style jams he was kicking out during the '80s toward an avant-drone-noise-improv type of career that has taken him to Zurich, Switzerland. Yeah, it is a career for him, but the price one has to pay for having a sound-art career is a constant tour / exhibition schedule. Rock'n'roll may have its fortune seekers, but a steady paycheck through sound-art? Not very likely. Yet, Kahn has done it; and done it by producing work that is incredibly refined through his own take on electro-acoustic strategies, modular synth exploration, holy minimalist composition, and an occasional percussion flourish in ghostly deference to his former life as the drummer for Leaving Trains. With all of the touring and exhibitions (seriously, his schedule is fucking insane!), solo releases from Jason Kahn can be fleeting (although he's very prolific with his collaborative contributions). So, this new production from Kahn is something that could be celebrated simply because the man somehow found the time to get this out in the world; but that would be selling it short... as On Metal Shores is a brilliant piece of shimmering, gasping minimalism that glides out of acoustically-sourced drone reminiscent of Andrew Chalk and Organum, the metallurgically organic swells of Alan Lamb's wire recordings, and the graceful minimalism of Eliane Radigue and Roland Kayn. Kahn writes at great length in the liner notes about some of the situations for the source recordings, including the nice image of Jason Kahn tapping on a resonant hand-railing near Lake Zurich as local birds would congregate and take off depending on the volume of Kahn's rhythm-n-drone. These elements along with long-thin-wire instruments attached to transducers, the thrum of giant water tanks, drainage pipe raspings, and much more get worked into Kahn's shifting drones that accrete into swollen crescendos of complex shimmered noise and harmonic interplay. This stunner of an album is limited to 250 copies, hand numbered, and hand-painted.

album cover VAN HOEN, MARK The Revenant Diary (Editions Mego) cd 16.98
Recording as Locust back in the late '90s, Mark Van Hoen produced a signature post-IDM electronica that was sublime in mood but was fraught with overly complicated rhythms and portentous song cycles that weighed far too heavily on what might have developed into something on par with Biosphere or Bowery Electric. As a result, much of his output is immediately attractive but has failed to rise above the overwrought production he endlessly piled on to his sounds.
Fortunately, recently Van Hoen came upon an experimental tape piece he made at the precocious age of 13, when he was remastering some of his earlier tracks from the '90s. That archival track centered on a mashed-up banal pop song with garbled vocals and backwards recordings of church organs, creating something quite spooky and arresting. Van Hoen took the simplicity of that process to heart (but not the track itself, drat!), recording much of The Revenant Diary on a 4-track, which is pretty much unheard of in this day and age of Ableton. The results find Van Hoen at his absolute best, shorn of those implausible complexities which troubled his earlier recordings, rendering an album that should warrant plenty of comparisons to Demdike Stare as a very well executed piece of hauntological electronica.
The warbly, decaying drones from those 4-track levitate in an uneasy fashion at the beginning of the album, suffocating what was once a vigorous drill-n-bass workout into fizzling skitter amidst the shadow, grain, and hiss of "Garabndl X", leading into the hypnotic "Don't Look Back", whose looping female vocals intoning the track's title, orbit a strutting, dubbed-out, mid-tempo rhythm that wouldn't seem out of place on Tricky's Maxinquaye. "No Distance" glides two streams of reverberant ambience along a computer-mad sequencing as a meeting between Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II and Oneohtrix Point Never's Returnal. While all of this may be simple from Van Hoen's perspective, The Revenant Diary is a richly textured album that dynamically jumps from vertiginous ambient passages into throbbing, post-dubstep explorations of rhythm. Let's hope that Van Hoen keeps it this 'simple' for the next record!
MPEG Stream: "I Remember"
MPEG Stream: "Where Were You"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Look Back"

album cover VAN HOEN, MARK The Revenant Diary (Editions Mego) 2lp 30.00
Recording as Locust back in the late '90s, Mark Van Hoen produced a signature post-IDM electronica that was sublime in mood but was fraught with overly complicated rhythms and portentous song cycles that weighed far too heavily on what might have developed into something on par with Biosphere or Bowery Electric. As a result, much of his output is immediately attractive but has failed to rise above the overwrought production he endlessly piled on to his sounds.
Fortunately, recently Van Hoen came upon an experimental tape piece he made at the precocious age of 13, when he was remastering some of his earlier tracks from the '90s. That archival track centered on a mashed-up banal pop song with garbled vocals and backwards recordings of church organs, creating something quite spooky and arresting. Van Hoen took the simplicity of that process to heart (but not the track itself, drat!), recording much of The Revenant Diary on a 4-track, which is pretty much unheard of in this day and age of Ableton. The results find Van Hoen at his absolute best, shorn of those implausible complexities which troubled his earlier recordings, rendering an album that should warrant plenty of comparisons to Demdike Stare as a very well executed piece of hauntological electronica.
The warbly, decaying drones from those 4-track levitate in an uneasy fashion at the beginning of the album, suffocating what was once a vigorous drill-n-bass workout into fizzling skitter amidst the shadow, grain, and hiss of "Garabndl X", leading into the hypnotic "Don't Look Back", whose looping female vocals intoning the track's title, orbit a strutting, dubbed-out, mid-tempo rhythm that wouldn't seem out of place on Tricky's Maxinquaye. "No Distance" glides two streams of reverberant ambience along a computer-mad sequencing as a meeting between Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II and Oneohtrix Point Never's Returnal. While all of this may be simple from Van Hoen's perspective, The Revenant Diary is a richly textured album that dynamically jumps from vertiginous ambient passages into throbbing, post-dubstep explorations of rhythm. Let's hope that Van Hoen keeps it this 'simple' for the next record!
MPEG Stream: "I Remember"
MPEG Stream: "Where Were You"
MPEG Stream: "Don't Look Back"

album cover DOME 1-4+5 (Editions Mego) 5lp 170.00
After producing three seminal art-punk records from 1977 to 1980 that moved in rapid trajectory away from the short-sharp economy of Pink Flag to the tongue-twisting surfaces of 154, Wire dissolved for the first time. Call it a hiatus, call it an acrimonious break-up, call it a fuck-you to the major label that signed them; but regardless of what may or may have transpired in 1980, there were just too many ideas in those four blokes to be contained in the trappings of a four-piece punk band. Given what came immediately after 154, it's pretty clear where all of those radical shifts came from - Graham Lewis and Bruce Gilbert. Sure, Colin Newman produced a pretty decent solo record in A-Z, but in all of the projects that Lewis & Gilbert produced, there was a torrent of amazing material that included Duet Emmo, Cupol, P'O, and what proved to the best of the lot - Dome.
In quick succession, Dome produced four albums between 1980 and 1982, all of which now are just referred to by their numerical order, although Dome 4 was originally released under the title Will You Speak This World. As much as these records were explorations of deconstructing the punk song into drone, atonality, minimal synth abrasion, and polyglot perversity, Lewis & Gilbert would also tease with hints at what Wire had previously manifested. This audience baiting was also demonstrated on Wire's live lp Document & Eyewitness which condensed the classic Wire songs "12xU" down to 15 second fragment that never launched into that pogo-punk beat. As such, Dome would build songs out of repetitive guitar & bass patterns that would parallel one of the exuberant numbers like "Outdoor Miner" or "Mannequin" but the song would then detour into ellipsis with alien drones and discordant counterpoints. "Here We Go" from Dome 1 was a prime example of this punk-tease, furthered by tracks like the wild-eyed delirium of Lewis' ranting on "Cancel Your Order" also from Dome 1. The much ballyhooed highlight from that first record is the sublime track "Cruel When Complete" sung by Angela Conway, who coos breathily over an elegant if very cold electronic pattern with quintessential minimal wave detachment. Dome 2 continues along the convoluted art-punk abstraction through the two part "Red Tent" framed by plenty of abstracted electronic fragments and rhythmic work-outs that parallel what This Heat was doing at the same time.
Dome 3 found the duo hitting their stride, where the synthetic rhythms and loops play a central role in the arrangements accompanied by weird percussion, distorted vocals, feverish minimalism, abstractionist drones, and industrial overtures. All of the tracks are given names more fitting to Kurt Schwitters "Ursonate" such as "Ar-Gu," "Roos-An," and "An-An-An-D-D-D," providing more of a connection to Dada than to punk. Through these synthetic noises, Dome find them the perfect bridge between Throbbing Gristle and Zoviet France. Dome 4 stretches out the fragmentary brilliance of Dome 3 into longer, more thoughtfully composed pieces such as the archaic sounding folk-hymnal "To Speak" where Lewis' baritone intertwines with a languid violin and lots of cathedral reverberations.
Jump some 8 years to when Wire had reformed to produce a couple of fantastic art-pop records, when Dome also reconvened with the aid of late-80s technology: samplers and MIDI sequencing (as opposed to the tape loop and primitive synth work of the early recordings); and they recorded an album entitled Yclept which didn't get released for another decade. Here, the machined rhythms, repetitive noise collages, and loping basslines rejoin the realm of the song, albeit fractured somewhere between Aphex Twin, Greater Than One, and SPK, with Lewis crooning as he would occasionally do in Wire and on his under-appreciated He Said solo projects.
These 5 lps come packaged in large box filled with photographs, posters, and liner notes plus the requisite download coupon and inexplicably a box of matches. Don't set yourself on fire, please.
MPEG Stream: "Cruel When Complete"
MPEG Stream: "Danz"
MPEG Stream: "Ar-Gu"
MPEG Stream: "To Speak"
MPEG Stream: "Because We Must (Version 1)"
MPEG Stream: "Virtual Sweden (V.S.#1)"

album cover STOTT, ANDY Passed Me By / We Stay Together (Modern Love) 2cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Before we had actually heard Andy Stott, we had a procession of folks come into the store and tell us how incredible his stuff was, and how we should definitely get whatever we could, and yet, with every 12" release, they disappeared before we could get any copies at all, and before we knew it they were gone. We did manage to hear bits and pieces, enough that when we discovered that two of the records were being reissued together as a double cd, we could barely wait, and once it arrived, well, pretty much everyone here has been playing it nonstop. UK producer Stott seems to have taken the minimal downtempo soul of Burial as a jumping off point, taking that same sound and slowing it down even further, adding more grit and grime, creating a sound now twice removed from the dancefloor, a soporific, somnolent techno that fuses murky dirgey slo-mo soul with abstract house music creep, conjuring up a music that is both haunting and sinister, mesmeric and minimal, an array of looped melodies, melded to skeletal thumps and heartbeat like pulses, fragmented samples woven into the mix mostly to provide texture and melody, but for the most part all of the various elements are recruited to either become rhythms themselves, or to be blurred and smeared into a grim washed out backdrop, over which the rhythms slither and skitter. The dub element is huge, but it's a muted sublimated dub, only really showing itself, when a voice escapes the gravitational pull of Stott's black hole dub, the swirl of effects dragging it right back down into the murk, quickly disappearing into the inky blackness, leaving just the churn and lurch, and it's that balance, a delicate one to be sure, that makes Stott's sound so special. Too much rhythmic murk, and it's monochromatic and dull, too much melody, and sonic filigree and suddenly it's not nearly so dark and mysterious. Stott deftly negotiates the middle ground, dragging the more melodic elements into the dark and repurposing them, using them to infuse his sonic black energy with life. The bonus tracks on Passed Me By, are much more active, the pulsing house-y "Stitch House" sounds like Stott covering The Field, still all fuzzy and washed out and Pop Ambient, but much more rhythmic, and less murky, while "Love Nothing" lets the rhythms come front and center, skittering and shuffling over a rubbery low end melody, and swirling synthy chordal swells, not to mention a deep dramatic croon. It almost sounds like a sketch for a future song that would find the various elements dipped in pitch, slowed down and blackened.
The second disc does dial back the murk a bit, instead focusing on the rhythmic component, wrapping everything in a Pop Ambient haze, but letting the beats break free of the whir and thrum, opener "Submission" is all hazy swirls, the only rhythm a sort of echo drenched dubbed out ripple, very dreamlike and abstract, before slipping into "Posers" which at first sounds very much like something off Passed Me By sampled water gurgles beneath a muted techno thump, but soon, fog horn like melodies drift in, and the beat blossoms into something much more active, a shuffling crunch anchored to a house-like pulse, processed vocals drifting over the top, the vibe groovy, but still washed out and druggily abstract. Which is how the first half of We Stay Together plays out, but then about half way through, the sounds begins to veer back toward the murk, "Cherry Eye" being a fantastic bit of muddied minimalism, even at its most propulsive, it's still a muted creep, as is "Cracked", although it does crank the beat a bit, conjuring up a sort of slow motion shimmy, that remains looped and mesmerizingly motorik.
The bonus tracks on We Stay Together, in some ways mirror those on Passed Me By, in that they actually sound more like their opposite, "Work Gate" is super minimal and sketch-like, a little dubby and darkly Portishead-y, while "We Stay Together (Part Two)" begins life as a hushed blur, but gradually blossoms into another Field like chunk of looped techno mesmer.
Released on the same label that gave us all the Demdike Stare records, which should give you an idea that while this might technically be techno, it's some murky dubbed out hauntology that transcends any sort of genre classification. A brand new unanimous store fave, and definite contender for Record Of the Year!
Packed in a super striking oversized gatefold sleeve, with a different cover for each album depending on which way you're holding it, both stunning black and white photos culled from the pages of National Geographic.
MPEG Stream: "North To South"
MPEG Stream: "Intermittent"
MPEG Stream: "Dark Details"
MPEG Stream: "Submission"
MPEG Stream: "Posers"

album cover STOTT, ANDY Passed Me By / We Stay Together (Modern Love) 2cd 19.98
REISSUED! Along with the three Demdike Stares we're also listing this week, Modern Love has also done the same for this double disc from producer Andy Stott, making it available again now in a jewel case at a lower price. Highly recommended if you missed it before (when we made it a Record Of The Week!), read on...
Before we had actually heard Andy Stott, we had a procession of folks come into the store and tell us how incredible his stuff was, and how we should definitely get whatever we could, and yet, with every 12" release, they disappeared before we could get any copies at all, and before we knew it they were gone. We did manage to hear bits and pieces, enough that when we discovered that two of the records were being reissued together as a double cd, we could barely wait, and once it arrived, well, pretty much everyone here has been playing it nonstop. UK producer Stott seems to have taken the minimal downtempo soul of Burial as a jumping off point, taking that same sound and slowing it down even further, adding more grit and grime, creating a sound now twice removed from the dancefloor, a soporific, somnolent techno that fuses murky dirgey slo-mo soul with abstract house music creep, conjuring up a music that is both haunting and sinister, mesmeric and minimal, an array of looped melodies, melded to skeletal thumps and heartbeat like pulses, fragmented samples woven into the mix mostly to provide texture and melody, but for the most part all of the various elements are recruited to either become rhythms themselves, or to be blurred and smeared into a grim washed out backdrop, over which the rhythms slither and skitter. The dub element is huge, but it's a muted sublimated dub, only really showing itself, when a voice escapes the gravitational pull of Stott's black hole dub, the swirl of effects dragging it right back down into the murk, quickly disappearing into the inky blackness, leaving just the churn and lurch, and it's that balance, a delicate one to be sure, that makes Stott's sound so special. Too much rhythmic murk, and it's monochromatic and dull, too much melody, and sonic filigree and suddenly it's not nearly so dark and mysterious. Stott deftly negotiates the middle ground, dragging the more melodic elements into the dark and repurposing them, using them to infuse his sonic black energy with life. The bonus tracks on Passed Me By, are much more active, the pulsing house-y "Stitch House" sounds like Stott covering The Field, still all fuzzy and washed out and Pop Ambient, but much more rhythmic, and less murky, while "Love Nothing" lets the rhythms come front and center, skittering and shuffling over a rubbery low end melody, and swirling synthy chordal swells, not to mention a deep dramatic croon. It almost sounds like a sketch for a future song that would find the various elements dipped in pitch, slowed down and blackened.
The second disc does dial back the murk a bit, instead focusing on the rhythmic component, wrapping everything in a Pop Ambient haze, but letting the beats break free of the whir and thrum, opener "Submission" is all hazy swirls, the only rhythm a sort of echo drenched dubbed out ripple, very dreamlike and abstract, before slipping into "Posers" which at first sounds very much like something off Passed Me By sampled water gurgles beneath a muted techno thump, but soon, fog horn like melodies drift in, and the beat blossoms into something much more active, a shuffling crunch anchored to a house-like pulse, processed vocals drifting over the top, the vibe groovy, but still washed out and druggily abstract. Which is how the first half of We Stay Together plays out, but then about half way through, the sounds begins to veer back toward the murk, "Cherry Eye" being a fantastic bit of muddied minimalism, even at its most propulsive, it's still a muted creep, as is "Cracked", although it does crank the beat a bit, conjuring up a sort of slow motion shimmy, that remains looped and mesmerizingly motorik.
The bonus tracks on We Stay Together, in some ways mirror those on Passed Me By, in that they actually sound more like their opposite, "Work Gate" is super minimal and sketch-like, a little dubby and darkly Portishead-y, while "We Stay Together (Part Two)" begins life as a hushed blur, but gradually blossoms into another Field like chunk of looped techno mesmer.
Released on the same label that gave us all the Demdike Stare records, which should give you an idea that while this might technically be techno, it's some murky dubbed out hauntology that transcends any sort of genre classification. A brand new unanimous store fave, and definite contender for Record Of the Year!
MPEG Stream: "North To South"
MPEG Stream: "Intermittent"
MPEG Stream: "Dark Details"
MPEG Stream: "Submission"
MPEG Stream: "Posers"

album cover RADIGUE, ELIANE Geelriandre / Arthesis (Senufo Editions) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A much needed reissue of two magnificent pieces of Holy Minimalism from Eliane Radigue! Much of Radigue's classic work from the late '60s and into the '80s had never been presented outside the context of live playback, due to the simple fact that vinyl couldn't handle more than 25 minutes to a side without serious loss of fidelity. So with the advent of cds, the vast archives of her reel-to-reel tapes of very-long form compositions and stasis-oriented dronemuzik began to see the light of day well after the work had been completed and shelved. Radigue had studied composition in the INA-GRM studios in the mid-'60s and was one of many artists who became enamored with the potential of feedback as a tool within composition. The long sinewy drones of a controlled feedback loop became a signature of her earliest works, with synthesizers gradually enveloping those sounds with their greater control and tonal palette.
Composed in 1972 and 1973 respectively (though these recordings were made several years later), "Geelriandre" and "Arthesis" represent some of the earliest work demonstrating Radigue's maturation as a minimalist. "Geerlriandre" - for prepared piano and Arp synthesizer, ripples with a melancholia through a beautiful chorus of tightly oscillating electric drones occasionally punctuated by the sustained yet muffled resonance of the piano, anticipating what Brian Eno would present many years later on Thursday Afternoon albeit with none of the romanticized impressionism. "Arthesis," using the Moog, is a more ominous affair, whirling back and forth between low end frequencies amidst a glacial progression of bleak ambience. This album isn't only good for historical documentation, but also is an exceptional precursor to the drone-tastic pursuits of current artists like Thomas Koner and Andrew Chalk.
Originally released about ten years ago on Giuseppe Ielasi's Fringes, and Ielasi wisely reclaimed these recordings for his new imprint Senufo. If you didn't get it the first time, you should certainly pick this one up now!
MPEG Stream: "Geelriandre"
MPEG Stream: "Arthesis"

album cover CAN Tago Mago (40th Anniversary Edition) (Spoon ) 2cd 19.98
Nice!! One of our favorite Can, nay krautrock, nay any-kind-of albums ever (that is if you don't ask Andee, who for some insane reason doesn't like Can at all), given a fancy 40th Anniversary reissue! What's so fancy about it you ask? Well, first the packaging, it's in a nice gatefold miniature lp style sleeve, with the original art of the German lp edition that came out back in 1971 (yay, 1971!). That's nestled inside a cardboard wallet-like folder which bears the cover from Tago Mago's UK release in 1972, a movie still of singer Damo and drummer Jaki on stage, in action, dramatically lit. For some reason they made big deal about this alternate cover being used on this reissue, it's cool to have it but we're happy the original art is also present and accounted for on that gatefold sleeve. Also inside the folder, a thick booklet with vintage photos and plenty o' detailed liner notes, including some by the guy from Primal Scream.
More importantly though, what makes this so special is that it includes a whole extra disc, a previously unreleased, 48 minute live performance from 1972! They do "Mushroom" and "Halleluwah" from Tago Mago, as well as "Spoon" from that year's equally amazing Ege Bamyasi, that song here stretched out to almost a half hour in length! Any true Can fan will want this just for the live disc, even though you probably already have one or more remastered versions of Tago Mago proper. But yeah, with the live set and the nice packaging, this is definitely worth getting, it's an upgrade all right.
For those of you who aren't big Can fans already, this would be a fine place to begin your love affair with this amazing band (c'mon, Andee!). Here's what we wrote about Tago Mago when it was last reissued:
1971's Tago Mago double album was Can's third full-length release, and their first with expatriate Japanese singer Damo Suzuki (whom they discovered busking on the street outside a club). It's truly a sprawling masterpiece of krautrock. Witness the weird noise/drone stuff on the 17 minute "Aumgn", or the totally hypnotic rhythmic psych groove of the equally side-long "Halleluwah". Again, we probably don't have to say much more, you already have this, right? But if Can's new to you, we'd recommend this (as well as Monster Movie and Ege Bamyasi and Soundtracks) as among their best efforts. PS: If you like Circle and you don't have this record, get it!!
MPEG Stream: "Mushroom"
MPEG Stream: "Oh Yeah"
MPEG Stream: "Spoon (Live 1972)"

album cover TARAB Wind Keeps Even Dust Away (23five) cd 14.98
Wind Keeps Even Dust Away is the second album from the brilliant Australian sound artist Tarab (aka Eamon Sprod) originally released in 2007; yet in his small discography of manipulated field recordings and agitated objects, he's proven himself a masterful sound artist, on par with all time aQuarius favorites Chris Watson, Toshiya Tsunoda, Matt Shoemaker, and Loren Chasse. In comparison to those esteemed artists, Tarab's work is considerably darker; and he has mentioned in a rare interview a somber sympathy for the views of extreme ecologists who posit that the world would be better off if humanity were to succumb to nuclear annihilation. As such, his albums loom as sonic harbingers of the end of the world. He builds all of his work through the overlay of multiple field recordings, augmented by the complementary sounds of Sprod rustling leaves, flaking rust, crumbling dirt, and shattering glass, all of which get mulched into seamless compositions swollen with expansive low end drones and electrocuted vibrations. Wind Keeps Even Dust Away navigates barren landscapes between the industrial wasteland and the wilderness of the outback, whose epic suites wander through the exploded view of locust swarms transmogrified into an electro-static hiss coupled with wind-borne drones and thrumming metallic vibration. Toward the end of the record, Tarab hits an ecological density through his arid sources that would imply the monumental forces of the Amazonian rainforest, but where Lopez seeks to pummel, Tarab is far more subtle in his approach, being inclined to show that weird beetle scurrying through the loose soil. He'll also make you aware of that bug's toxic qualities well after it has already crawled up and down your arm. Brilliant!
MPEG Stream: "Wind"
MPEG Stream: "Keeps"
MPEG Stream: "Away"

album cover IRR. APP. (EXT.) Flux / Crayfish (Errata In Excelsis) cassette 9.98
It has been a while since we've heard from the hermetic M.S. Waldron and his ignoble project irr. app. (ext.), and now he's released two cassettes through his Errata In Excelsis imprint, continuing his slippery alchemy of surreal collage, spiraling drone, and cracked intention.
If that title looks a little familiar (as well as the cover), it is in fact an homage to the 1987 split album between AMM's Eddie Prevost and Organum, entitled Flayed / Crux which sported a bizarre mandala of Victorian-era clip art as cover art. But it's not just the title and the cover that Waldron is riffing upon, he's created two stellar 'covers' of those two lengthy tracks. The originals found Organum's David Jackman accompanying Prevost for "Flayed" with a signature acoustic drone from Jackman's bowed cymbal underlying a reverb-saturated, free-falling excursion around Prevost's drum kit. The irr. app. (ext.) reinvention in "Flux" is nearly flawless in keeping up with Prevost's polydactyl splutter and tempestuously rolling drum fills, while building an equally impressive simulacrum of Jackman's bowed cymbal thrumm of surging electrified friction.
As good as both Prevost and Waldron's tracks are, the best work is reserved for the flipside. The original of "Crux" featured an all-star Organum line-up with Jackman surrounded by Andrew Chalk, Dinah Jane Rowe, and Steven Stapleton who's credited performing on "chair." Waldron does list the objects that went into the formation of his reinterpretation entitled "Crayfish" including the enigmatic use of a "chair" in the assembling of this rebirthing drone-construction. Was the chair particularly squeaky? Did Stapleton drag it around to create a muffled texture somewhere in the mix? Did he just sit down and get high? Those same questions can be asked of Waldron, in his use of the piece of furniture in this beautiful swarm of acoustic drones from sustained cymbal drones dappled with shortwave radio detunings and a ritualistic flute that hangs sadly above all the droning surfaces. Waldron's version rings true with the eerie, yet beautiful atmospheric construction that Organum mustered during the height of their career, with the notable differences found in Waldron's use of squishy textures and squeaks that dot the heavy-droning swarm. That said, both the original and this cover should be lauded alongside those magnificient pieces of holy minimalism by Tony Conrad, LaMonte Young, and Charlemange Palestine. Yeah, it is that good! As you know, tapes like this are usually limited, so don't wait around on this one!
MPEG Stream: "Flux"
MPEG Stream: "Crayfish"

album cover THROBBING GRISTLE 20 Jazz Funk Greats (Industrial Records) 2cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The cover for Throbbing Gristle's 20 Jazz Funk Greats is a marvelous piece of subversive design. The four members of Throbbing Gristle look quite dapper, Genesis dolled up in a tailored white suit jacket, Cosey smiling happily in her pert miniskirt, and Chris & Sleazy both wearing rather conservative sweaters, but they had situated themselves on the cliffs of Beachy Head (a notorious suicide spot on the south coast of England) with a rented Range Rover in the distance and in a variation of this scene, a nude male body lies at their feet in the grass, presumably dead. This design (executed by Sleazy through his day job at Hipgnosis Design) was a sneering act of contempt for British society that failed to see the horrors and injustice which boiled just under the surfaces of congeniality and civility.
Both Second Annual Report and D.o.A. were ostensibly compilations of recontextualized material both from the studio and extracts from live recordings, but 20 Jazz Funk Greats - the third proper album from Throbbing Gristle - feels like a conceived album from beginning to end, even with all of its dead-ends and contradictions. The album opens with the title track, where a slow-motion drum machine and synthesized bass tones strut with a mechanical swagger with Cosey's discordant cornet blurts in the distance and predatorily whispered vocal extracts of what could be some smooth jazz DJ trying to set the mood - with that mood being a sickening, menacing threat. Such is also the case, with the lugubrious "Tanith" whose atonal rolling basslines churn against strange electronic blorp and tinkling chimes, which leads into "Convincing People" - whose metronomic synth sequencing became the signature for nearly every 'industrial' band that claimed TG as an influence. The detuned and distorted guitar from Cosey smears the mechanical edges while Genesis wailed through the lyrical repetitiveness which articulated to the effect that if you say it enough, people will start believing you. A hammer might help too. The minimalist club hit "Hot On The Heels Of Love" is one of the most memorable TG songs, and for very good reason as TG offered a much-imitated disco frugality through their insistent drum machine, squiggling sequencing, and Cosey's whispered vocals. Immediately following this is a nightmarish narration of the aftermath of a night of partying too much in "Persuasion", as disembodied female yelps of sexualized horror sporadically punctuate a slithering Genesis donning the role of a low-rent pornographer. "What A Day" is another 'industrial' template with a corrosive loop of cybernetic thumps forming the only backdrop to Genesis barking as loud as he can in a diabolical take on a footballer's chant. The finale "Six Six Sixties" finds Cosey's monochord guitar awfully prescient of Sonic Youth and Bailter Space in the drone intensity through distortion and rhythm, with Genesis reciting a suitably bleak monologue above, rounding out what is arguably the best of the Throbbing Gristle albums.
The cd version contains a bonus disc with live material extracted from the numerous live cassettes (and some of these versions apparently appear on the 24cd boxset of live TG material, although we've not cross referenced these facts yet). The two versions of "Discipline" (which were released as a 12" on Fetish Records in 1981) suitably conclude this disc, as that was the track that TG also performed at the end of their sets, with the heavy drum machines whipping the crowd into a frenzy and Genesis barking hysterically for some order. Such were the wonderful contradictions of Throbbing Gristle. About as a high a recommendation as we can give.
MPEG Stream: "20 Jazz Funk Greats"
MPEG Stream: "Persuasion"
MPEG Stream: "What A Day!"
MPEG Stream: "Discipline (Berlin)"

album cover DISCO INFERNO The 5 EPs (One Little Indian) cd 15.98
Wow! Given the acrimonious break-up of Disco Inferno after their aesthetically fraught album Technicolour in 1996, we're a little shocked, yet totally stoked to see anything from Disco Inferno back in print, let along the rare EPs reissued here. This London trio formed in 1989, releasing three albums and seven eps that amounted to a brilliant mish-mash of sample-based technology, post-punk intensity, and a profoundly British mope that hangs throughout their catalogue. The first recorded forays by Disco Inferno found the group wearing their influences proudly on sonic sleeves - Joy Division, Wire, Durutti Column, and The Smiths - with the band twisting those influences into a narcotized torpour through an elliptical rhythm section that grounded the suitably delay-riddled, arppegiations and repititions from guitarist / vocalist Ian Crause. The band quickly took to MIDI technology, often sampling Crause's own guitar and alchemically rendering those into percolating satellites of effervsecent sound that orbit the song with peculiar trajectories and angles. Over time, the sampling became more and more of the focus in the band, appropriating sounds outside of their studio and fracturing all of those sounds into a more and more bizarrely splintered electronica that mutated into something grotesquely baroque, all the while hanging onto the core principles of the pop-art melody. This emphasis on sampling was an obsession for Crause after reading what David Stubbs and Simon Reynolds were championing in NME, as those two fixated on a technological thread that ran through My Bloody Valentine, Public Enemy, and The Young Gods. Crause was single-minded in his pursuit of figuring out how technology could be seemlessly integrated into the context of a British art-rock band, in frantic anticipation of what anybody might be doing elsewhere in the world. As such, Disco Inferno and Robert Hampson's post-Loop project Main were at the vangarde of ostensible pop bands disintegrating themselves before their audiences' eyes and ears. Where Hampson did achive escape velocity from rock's heavy gravitational pull with little to show for it after Motion Pool, Disco Inferno's internal disputes over where that technology needed to go caused so much strife as to destroy the band, with none of the members doing anything memorable since.
The 5 EPs featured here showcase that transition from an artful post-punk project conjuring the ghost of Martin Hannett into a complicated electronica ensemble that predicted how Christian Fennesz would deconstruct the spirit of The Beach Boys, but without the benefit of granulating laptop tricknology. We mentioned above that the band released seven EPs, the first two of which were compiled with their first album on the anthology entitled In Debt. The first EP in this anthology is "Summer's Last Sound" from 1992 and features two tracks that sparkle with harsichord-like patterns from the sampedelica, pulled back down to the ground by the thickly strummed bass from Paul Willmot, not to mention Crause's wistful, unpretentious vocal delivery of his deeply sad lyrics. "A Rock To Cling To" from 1993 finds the band in more of a traditional rock mode with guitars, bass, and drums, whose repetitive groove is offset by soaring bursts of sampled vocals that stretch like vapor trails glowing in moonlight. The B-side to that EP, "The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea", introduces a sample that would become common place in the ever-abstracting repetoire of Disco Inferno, that of shattering glass whose tinkling fragments of sound lock into an elegant Terry Riley patterning of minimalist rhythms. "The Last Dance" (also from 1993) features two versions of the title track, where Ian Crause has penned a damn good song that could have fit neatly in with the Johnny Marr songbook of The Smiths, but with jittery electronics and melancholy appropriations of schoolyard song puncturing Crause's crisp guitar lines. The B-side of "D.I. Go Pop" (the name of their second record, which didn't feature this track, oddly enough) is a manic affair of tape-revving guitar noise, threatening to unravel and unhinge as a spastic dervish. "Scattered Showers" is the other B-side, a beautifully poetic abstraction of British melancholy through sampled motorcycle engines forming the patterned tension beneath Crause's rain-drenched guitar strum. This EP and the next, "Second Language" from 1994, stand as the best material in Disco Inferno's short-circuited career. The title track of the latter single finds the band recycling Crause's sparkling Vini Reilly guitar into enchanting, hypnotic echoes out of which Crause concludes the track with a triumphant Brit-rock riff obviously alluding to the comtemporary bombast of Oasis. "At The End Of The Line" follows the aforementioned "Scattered Showers" as Disco Inferno's penchant for beautiful miserablism cast through refracted guitar lines into shoegaze bliss. The final single "It's A Kids World" finds the band at odds with itself, creating a jubilant kaleidoscope out of the drum crash from Iggy Pop's "Lust For Life" with Umbrellas of Cherbourg-esque flute trills of baroque pop guiding this atypically uptempo number. The B-side "A Night On The Tiles" is a Felini-esque collage of vaudevillian records, screaming girls, and smashed glass coming across more like a diabolical Nurse With Wound track than anything else found in their catalogue. Whew!
If you've just so much as glanced in the direction of Stereolab, Notwist, Fennesz, My Bloody Valentine, Spiritualized, and/or Animal Collective, you really owe it to yourself to check out Disco Inferno. They really are that good! We can only hope that D.I. Go Pop and In Debt (both of which are long out of print) will see the light of day once again, given the inevitible interest that will come from this anthology from one of the pioneers of avant-rock.
MPEG Stream: "A Rock To Cling To"
MPEG Stream: "Scattered Showers"
MPEG Stream: "Second Language"
MPEG Stream: "It's A Kids World"

album cover TAJ MAHAL TRAVELLERS August 1974 (Phoenix) 2lp 34.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Made the latest cd reissue of this a Record Of The Week last time, now the same label has also done a fancy double vinyl version!!!
Not sure how we never made this our Record Of The Week before, considering most aQuarians would probably rank this as one of their all time favorite drone records. Or all time favorite Japanese psychedelic records, heck, it's pretty much just one of our all time favorite records ever PERIOD. We've listed it in the past as a pricey import double cd, and an even pricier double lp, and maybe we thought it a bit too expensive before, but now with this new, more reasonably priced reissue, it seems like a no brainer to finally bestow the Record Of The Week honors on an album that has deserved it ever since we first heard it years and years ago. For those who have yet to discover the mysterious psychedelic beauty of Taj Mahal Travellers, you are in for a treat, and most likely a new musical obsession...
We love this record so much. The Taj Majal Travellers are so utterly mind blowing. This is a double cd reissue of this legendary Japanese psych ensemble's second album which has been sporadically available over the years, and when we did have it in stock, if anyone asked about drones, this is the record we would always suggest. One of the most hallowed artifacts of the psych-rock collector scum scene (originals on vinyl could set you back more than $1000!), this album is an epic higher key improvised drone extravaganza, all performed live on beaches and deserted hills in Sweden, India, Iran and England. Slow, complex, irregular throbbing waves of sound, broadcast through distant loudspeakers and recaptured and reincorporated. Feedback, time-space lag, horns, echo machines, and primitive handmade electronic devices all contribute to the ever shifting clouds of sound. So unbearably awesome. And this is not electronic music, or studio based carefully constructed drone music, this is massive and organic, dreamy and natural, waves of sound drifting through sun and sky, rain and fog, trees and electrical wires, the shape of the earth, the temperature, the wind, all affecting the sound, changing the timbre ever so slightly, band members spaced out over hundreds of yards, improvising on an impossibly grand scale, the earth as their stage, nature as their recording studio, a deliriously abstract sound world of subtle drones and drifting ambience. Imagine some long haired seventies Japanese psych rock combo, but filtered through the Jewelled Antler Collective, jamming with Chris Watson, set up on sandy dunes, grassy knolls, forest glades, each not necessarily -playing- their instruments, but instead coaxing sounds from within the instruments, setting those sounds free and sending them skyward, watching them drift downwind, where a bandmate snatches the sounds and coaxes complimentary sounds from his own instrument, sending a sonic response, these messages, these billows of abstract shimmer and steaks of lush reverberation weaving into and around each other, the sky full of warm warbly mysterious sound. Psychedelic for sure, but more a sort of eyes closed, mind open dream drift drone psychedelia. One of the most hauntingly mysterious and utterly beautiful drone records we've heard, and one of our all time favorite records!, Gatefold packaging, 180 gram vinyl.
MPEG Stream: "1"
MPEG Stream: "2"

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA Apokalypsis (Pendu Sound) cd 14.98
NOW AVAILABLE ON CD!!!
The apocalypse has come to mean 'the end of the world' but its original Greek definition is that of 'revelation,' albeit a really fucking heavy revelation of how the world is going to end. The differences between the pop-cultural definition and the biblical definition are somewhat semantic, but it's apt to mention in regards to Chelsea Wolfe's second record which situates the title in the context of the Greek alphabet. It's pretty clear that the revelations that Chelsea Wolfe spills across her brilliant doom-folk album don't aspire to the allegories and mystical visions pronounced by David Tibet, rather she seems to be clamoring about the conditions leading up to the end of the world. With demonic possession, toxic wastelands, and haunted sexuality being so prevalent in her ghastly world view, it's no wonder she's bellowing that the end is near.
Wolfe's first record - The Grime And The Glow - was a home-recorded affair, whose tape murk added to the choking-on-smog atmosphere of the dour songs. The sparse arrangements aggressively strummed on acoustic guitar shot all of the attention back on Wolfe's beguiling voice which takes cues from PJ Harvey, but way darker and witchier. The songs did liken themselves to the early apocalyptic folk aesthetics of Sol Invictus and Current 93; and that's still the case for Apokalypsis, although she has fleshed out her sound with a full band, capable of delivering minimalist Goth ballads, swamp-rock menace, and harrowing bursts of distortion to match the mood of her songs. Wolfe twists the fairytale beginning of "Tracks (Tall Bodies)" into gritty depressive dirges, reflective of the goth sound of her native LA some two decades ago (e.g. Abecedarians, Kommunity FK, etc.). She also reprises two songs from The Grime And The Glow, including the infernal barnburner "Demons" and the antebellum blues number "Moses" which retains its minor-key mope and slavehouse misery. The stalking-in-the snow pace of "Pale On Pale" lurches at a pace even slower than that of True Widow, with Wolfe's mournful voice lifting above the churning, blackened guitars. There's a grit and a severity to Chelsea Wolfe that makes her a very compelling figure in contemporary music, almost like a musical reincarnation of The Process Church in neo-goth form. Very highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Mer"
MPEG Stream: "Tracks (Tall Bodies)"
MPEG Stream: "Demons"
MPEG Stream: "Pale On Pale"

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA Apokalypsis (Pendu Sound) lp 23.00
REPRESSED!
The apocalypse has come to mean 'the end of the world' but its original Greek definition is that of 'revelation,' albeit a really fucking heavy revelation of how the world is going to end. The differences between the pop-cultural definition and the biblical definition are somewhat semantic, but it's apt to mention in regards to Chelsea Wolfe's second record which situates the title in the context of the Greek alphabet. It's pretty clear that the revelations that Chelsea Wolfe spills across her brilliant doom-folk album don't aspire to the allegories and mystical visions pronounced by David Tibet, rather she seems to be clamoring about the conditions leading up to the end of the world. With demonic possession, toxic wastelands, and haunted sexuality being so prevalent in her ghastly world view, it's no wonder she's bellowing that the end is near.
Wolfe's first record - The Grime And The Glow - was a home-recorded affair, whose tape murk added to the choking-on-smog atmosphere of the dour songs. The sparse arrangements aggressively strummed on acoustic guitar shot all of the attention back on Wolfe's beguiling voice which takes cues from PJ Harvey, but way darker and witchier. The songs did liken themselves to the early apocalyptic folk aesthetics of Sol Invictus and Current 93; and that's still the case for Apokalypsis, although she has fleshed out her sound with a full band, capable of delivering minimalist Goth ballads, swamp-rock menace, and harrowing bursts of distortion to match the mood of her songs. Wolfe twists the fairytail beginning of "Tracks (Tall Bodies)" into gritty depressive dirges, reflective of the goth sound of her native LA some two decades ago (e.g. Abecedarians, Kommunity FK, etc.). She also reprises two songs from The Grime And The Glow, including the infernal barnburner "Demons" and the antebellum blues number "Moses" which retains its minor-key mope and slavehouse misery. The stalking-in-the snow pace of "Pale On Pale" lurches at a pace even slower than that of True Widow, with Wolfe's mournful voice lifting above the churning, blackened guitars. There's a grit and a severity to Chelsea Wolfe that makes her a very compelling figure in contemporary music, almost like a musical reincarnation of The Process Church in neo-goth form. Very highly recommended.

album cover CALDERA LAKES Arranged (Ecstatic Peace) cassette 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Kevin Shields! There's a name that garners a lot of attention; and it's pretty obvious why Eva Aguila uses that moniker for her scalding noise ventures which she has broadcast up and down the West Coast. We're sure that a few must have stumbled into grimy warehouse noise shows expecting The Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine to be slumming it, instead to find a woman behind a table of pedals and some weird typewriter looking thing, all of which sizzle and shriek with a blaring electricity. So, if the ruse has ever drawn anybody in, were they pissed? Bemused? Hard to guess, but in addition to her activities as Kevin Shields, Aguila also records and performs in the duo Caldera Lakes with Brittany Gould. Here, they swing between deconstructed dream-time, avant-folk meanderings and full-on noise mode. Everything on this tape is swimming in a suitably lo-fi soup that could be the shittiness of this cassette (ostensibly a 'professional' duplication job) or the antique haze purposefully grafted onto the production. Detached folksongs strummed in monotone on guitar, with spluttered events, eerie tones, and haunted voices that drone-on creating a vibe that's not too far from those of Christina Carter or Grouper; but as these tracks proceed, convulsive noises ramp their activity from minor overloads on a four-track into concussion bomb explosions muffled through the constant gauze of tape hiss. Elsewhere, percussive scrabblings trickle through a multitude of delay pedals, forming stoned / hypnogogic patterns in keeping with some of the early experiments by Zoviet France (e.g. Eostre, Signal Gesture Threat, etc.). Static electricity cracks the ether around these phasing delays gradually building into another swelling cloud of ominous charged particles. Limited to 100 copies!

album cover SLEEP OVER Forever (Hippos In Tanks) lp 16.98
Finally, we got enough of these to list, the darkly dreamy lp debut of Stefanie Franciotti's hazy and gauzy solo outfit, Sleep Over. A new light in the field of female-led synthesization, a la Laurel Halo and Maria Minerva, Sleep Over is a stunning mix of Grouper's washed out and oceanic distortion, Cocteau Twins-ish pop romanticism and uncanny gothic dream soundtrack. We've been fans of Franciotti since her days as singer in aQ faves, Silver Pines, but in Sleep Over she has found her true calling as an experimental sound composer, synthesizing voice and sound in chillingly bright sonic environments and ambient textures. Gorgeous!
MPEG Stream: "Romantic Streams"
MPEG Stream: "Casual Diamond"
MPEG Stream: "Cryingame"

album cover REED, RICK The Way Things Go (Elevator Bath) 2lp 25.00
The Way Things Go is a very impressive electro-static drone anthology documenting a bunch of barely released material from the Texas gear junkie Rick Reed. This is a man who's been tinkering with vintage synths, shortwave radio, and sinewave generators for well over 25 years, work from the classic progressive electronic sound of the likes of Klaus Schulze and Conrad Schnitzler, through the nihilism of the post-industrialists (e.g. MB, Arcane Device, John Duncan, etc.), and into post-noise constructs of liquid psychedelia from Emeralds and all of their satellite projects. In so many ways, this could have found a nice home on John Elliott's Spectrum Spools imprint, but Reed stays with the ever impressive Elevator Bath.
There is some overlap between this collection and the self-published Celestial Mudpie album that Reed issued a couple years back. In particular, there's Reed's very evocative and chilling soundtrack to the Ken Jacobs film Capitalism: Child Labor that is an intense piece of tonal vibration, slipping from Andromeda Strain styled pulses upon rotating layers of a atonal hums, arching drones, and nervous lines of analogue static. Another high profile soundtrack is "Hidden Voices Pt 1." which was composed for the Hermann Nitsch gallery exhibit "The Orgies Mysteries Theater" in Houston back in 2005. This track contains the bloodcurdling atonality that Nitsch composes for his own aktions, but Reed twists the stratified dissonance with deep space blorp, shards of Birchville-esque distortion, and shortwave SSB detunings. The whole album follows suit with muffed static cracklings amidst radioactive clouds of analogue fired tone float, sulking at times into a melancholy atmosphere but always immensely complex. Very highly recommended stuff, and yes this does come with a download card. Nice.
MPEG Stream: "Capitalism : Child Labor"
MPEG Stream: "Hidden Voices Part 1"
MPEG Stream: "In A Hazy Field Of Green & Grey"

album cover CRONIN, MIKAL s/t (Trouble In Mind) cd 11.98
Yay, after a brief delay, last week's Record Of The Week is now available on cd!!! (And it's now a proper cd, not a cd-r like they pressed originally, though the packaging is fairly no-frills.)
Here's what we said: Up until now, SF garage popper Mikal Cronin seemed to exist mostly as sideman, his name usually following an ampersand, which in turn seemed to typically be preceeded by the name Ty Segall. Thus most of our experiences with Cronin had been the duo of Segall & Cronin, and everything we had heard we dug, a LOT, but it was hard to tell what exactly Cronin was bringing to the table, but listening to this now, seems the answer is EVERYTHING! And as much as we love Ty Segall, we're thinking that maybe much of that garage pop magic was coming from the other side of the ampersand, cuz WOW is this record totally great. Anyone at all into the SF garage pop scene, Thee Oh Sees, the Fresh & Onlys, Ty Segall, Bare Wires, etc, will go absolutely nuts for this. And if this record doesn't immediately catapult Cronin into the spotlight, then there's something very very wrong with the world. A perfect blend of sunshiney jangle, garagey fuzz, paisley pop and noisy psychedelia. And for all the warped fuzz and reverbed drunched lo fi crunch of his peers, it seems Cronin has much more of a pure pop heart. That pure pop is however gloriously corrupted by little bits of wild flute flecked freakouts, strange horns, noise rock jams, and whatever else struck Cronin's fancy it seems, yet whatever sonic weirdness Cronin adds to the mix, it never sound gratuitous, it always sounds like an organic part of the song and the sound, and without fail, the song is crazy catchy, and the sound is fantastically lush and psychedelic and utterly ruling.
The first track manages to sum it up pretty perfectly. Starting with some dreamy Beach Boys a cappella harmonies, then some big distorted guitar crunch, pounding drums, before slipping right into some dreamy almost folky jangle, acoustic guitar strum, fuzzy bass, sweet vocal harmonies and HOOKS FOR DAYS, like the best song the Fresh & Onlys never wrote, but a little bit more twisted and a little bit more Byrds / paisley pop, but with plenty of crunch and fuzz, a little bit proggy in its arrangement, and then out of nowhere, with about a minute left, the song explodes into a double time pounding psych rock blow out, complete with jagged guitar crunch and a wild flute freakout (coutresy of John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees). We've probably listened to that song 50 times since we got this in.
But once we dug deeper, we realized that pretty much every song here is an absolute gem, "Apathy" with it's start/stop acoustic strum, wild feedback, and total classic pop hooks (reminding us melodically of The Olivia Tremor Control actually), "Green And Blue", with it's thick crunch droned out guitar buzz, dirgey drumming, thick blown out wall of sound and wild tangle of psychguitar freakout, "Get Along", which is another acoustic guitar driven chunk of practically perfect dreampop, rife with sweet harmony vox and some cool tripped out backwards psych guitar melodies, "Slow Down", a lo-fi, organ driven ballad, all stretched out drones and fuzzy reverbed vox, "Gone", another crunchy, riff heavy rocker, that should have Thee Oh Sees fans frothing at the mouth. And so it goes, the perfect mix of modern garage pop and classic indie jangle, and some of THEE best songs EVER. This week's list is chock full of contenders for pop record of the year, but if any of the other ones are gonna come out on top, this is gonna be the one to beat.
MPEG Stream: "Is It Alright?"
MPEG Stream: "Green & Blue"
MPEG Stream: "Apathy"
MPEG Stream: "Get Along"

album cover ENGLISH, LAWRENCE The Peregrine (Experimedia) lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Peregrine falcons are impressive birds of prey that can be found in almost every ecosystem, known for their extreme speeds in flight sometimes reaching over 200 miles per hour. Being quite adaptable, they are often found in urban areas where the pigeons are plentiful; and it can be quite spectacular to see these birds streaking through the skyscrapers of San Francisco reducing the pigeon population one at time with a precision that's the envy of any military campaign. The Australian ambient-laced sound artist Lawrence English came to his appreciation of the Peregrine by way of a book of the same title by J.A. Baker who obsessively mapped the daily activities of a pair of peregrines in England with a purported magical lyricism in his writings. English's ornithological portrait is all about flight and soaring - it's unclear whether English took after Baker by seeking out these birds on his own or if English's work is solely articulated through the lens of Baker's prose. But, English has long been able to express a poetic simplicity through the fog of sound; and he's proved once again how deft he can be. Smeared synth drones and grey-tone ambience streams through each of English's tracks, with subtle melodic interludes of low-end bass tones girding the compositions, coming across as something between Popul Vuh and Tim Hecker. A beautiful record for sure, and one that captures a sublime element of the majesty of the nimble falcon. Limited to 500 copies and comes with a download card.

album cover V/A The Hidden Tapes (Minimal Wave) lp 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Now here on vinyl too, we know you want it!!
Lost Tapes, then Found Tapes, and now Hidden Tapes. As good as many of the reissues that Minimal Wave has released, it's their compilations that really shine. Here, those obscurant new wave / post punk obsessives offer a great collection of urgent synth blorp from all over the world and all dating from the early '80s. Very few of these tracks had much in the way of distribution or fanfare whatsoever, and that makes the discovery all the better. There's only a couple of the acts that we had any familiarity with, and we're probably not alone in that assessment. The opening number by SS-Say is one of the tracks we had heard, being featured on the CD reissue of the Pesteg Dreg album, as both bands were led by the Danish synth-mastermind Martin Hall. "Care" is a mega-watt anthem of oversaturated synth lines and euro-pop danceability that lusts after the New Order production of Blue Monday with more cocaine and dark theatricality tossed in for good measure. Every thing else on the compilation is considerably more understated in terms of production quality (and following the branding of 'minimal wave' all the more), with high caliber tracks offered on the Normal / Human League anxious bleep from the Yugoslavian project Oskarova Fobija and the insistent synth-chanting of Danton's Voice. The British duo Robert Lawrence and Mark Phillips take up a friendlier version of early SPK / Nocturnal Emissions monophunk sequencing with transitor radio vocals and speed-simulating circuitry. Things turn toward the ultra-minimal side with the bittersweet melodicism of The Fast Set and Reserve's proto-italo disco number, sporting an icy vocal detachment that would make Johnny Jewel jealous. The CD features two bonus tracks not on the vinyl including Gary Allen's weird science sequencing and goofy lyricism that looks to Devo and Oingo Boingo. Another tip of the hat goes to Minimal Wave for this one!
MPEG Stream: SS-SAY "Care"
MPEG Stream: DANTON'S VOICE "I Hear The Bells"
MPEG Stream: ROBERT LAWRENCE + MARK PHILLIPS "Computer Bank"
MPEG Stream: RESERVE "Destination Pour L'Inconnu"

album cover BEE MASK Elegy For Beach Friday (Spectrum Spools / Editions Mego) cd 16.98
NOW ON CD!!!
Here stands the monumental sonic anthology, culled from the numerous cassettes and cd-rs that Chris Madak has released over the past decade or so, under the moniker Bee Mask. Like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never, Madak is single-minded in his retrogarde aesthetic for synthesized compositions based on a vintage 1970s' cosmology. But where many of the '70s synth revivalists have coyingly adopted a full-fledged new age aesthetic through effervescent prettiness and soft-focus ambient swirl, Bee Mask offers up his own dysptopic take on psychedelic electronics through a crucible of cracked circuits, tape splutter, infernal field recordings, and a hell of a lot of sustained synth drones oscillating into crescendos of dissonant thumming. The zoner tracks on Elegy For Beach Friday (and there are a number of them) never sit in the background seeking a sublimated hypnosis, rather Madak zooms in on the placid pools of sound to unveil intense percolations and swarming vibrations. There's a scientific rigor to his pieces that finds Bee Mask orbiting around the dense, alienating electronics from Matt Shoemaker, Rick Reed, and Bernard Parmigiani. But, Madak is also one to tease with the subtle swelling melodies that harken to the more emotive works from Omit and Emeralds. If his work shares anything with the retro electronic tapestries that are the forgotten soundtracks for a summer sunset, Madak would rather blind the audience with the intensity of the sun, complete with blisters on the skin and technological mishaps from sunspots. Brilliant!
MPEG Stream: "Deducted From Your Share In Paradise"
MPEG Stream: "Askion Kataskion Lix Tetrax Damnameneus Aision"
MPEG Stream: "Stop The Night"
MPEG Stream: "Scarlet Thread, Golden Cord"

album cover HTRK Work (Work, Work) (Ghostly International) cd 12.98
It's a bleak world for HTRK, as tragedy and death has surrounded this outfit which has only been around for a couple of years. In 2010, the band's bassist Sean Stewart committed suicide and the producer of their haunted album Marry Me Tonight, Rowland S. Howard died of cancer a year earlier. All of these elements make a connection to The Birthday Party almost inevitable, especially given their historical mirroring in relocation from Melbourne to Berlin and the manifestation of the id through a very raw sound. But where The Birthday Party was an expression of violence, HTRK are in constant search of desire, occasionally finding it only to have it frustratingly fizzle out before anything ecstatic can be achieved. As a result, HTRK's sensual bleariness is in an emotional feedback loop that never can spiral beyond the longing for sex, love, a relationship, etc, without anything ever attained. HTRK's existential portraits of being trapped by one's own desires are in direct opposition to the hedonism found in most electronica. Here on Work (Work, Work), the band parallels some of the horror-affected reverberation of the flash-in-the-pan Witch House crowd; but instead of drawing on unremembered memories of the forgotten '80s, HTRK has profound pain to draw upon... and they want their audience to feel that too.
The band had been shifting their sound even before Stewart's death, with a greater reliance on electronics and subharmonic tones girding the spindly guitar work from Nigel Yang and the self-composed breathiness of Jonnine Standish. They were moving away from the rock trio and towards a miasma of voice, guitar, bass, and electronics with boundaries between these sounds far more permeable. The closest references to HTRK's sound would be Ike Yard and Dome, although HTRK are much more interested in building tension with their teasing melodicism through their droning electronics. The first track on the album features a weird collage that Stewart had made of late nite TV sex ads in Berlin amidst slow-motion sighs caught in a half-melodic drone and crawling drum machine pulse. "Eat Yr Heart" ramps a quarter-speed Giorgio Moroder sequence above heroin paced rhythm with Jonnine crooning a sultry melody counterpointed by breathy exhalations. Sexually charged yes, but more of a downward spiral into dejection rather than release. "Poison" is more in keeping with the bass and guitar structures found on Marry Me Tonight, with Sean Stewart's bass clearly present next to the twilight flickering drone-riffs from Yang. "Body Double" overhauls Suicide's classic sound of metallic synth / drum interplay with undulating melodies that stretch into a magnificent coda of cascading melancholy for what amounts to a masterful album. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Ice Eyes Eis"
MPEG Stream: "Eat Yr Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Poison"
MPEG Stream: "Body Double"

album cover HTRK Work (Work, Work) (Ghostly International) lp 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
It's a bleak world for HTRK, as tragedy and death has surrounded this outfit which has only been around for a couple of years. In 2010, the band's bassist Sean Stewart committed suicide and the producer of their haunted album Marry Me Tonight, Rowland S. Howard died of cancer a year earlier. All of these elements make a connection to The Birthday Party almost inevitable, especially given their historical mirroring in relocation from Melbourne to Berlin and the manifestation of the id through a very raw sound. But where The Birthday Party was an expression of violence, HTRK are in constant search of desire, occasionally finding it only to have it frustratingly fizzle out before anything ecstatic can be achieved. As a result, HTRK's sensual bleariness is in an emotional feedback loop that never can spiral beyond the longing for sex, love, a relationship, etc, without anything ever attained. HTRK's existential portraits of being trapped by one's own desires are in direct opposition to the hedonism found in most electronica. Here on Work (Work, Work), the band parallels some of the horror-affected reverberation of the flash-in-the-pan Witch House crowd; but instead of drawing on unremembered memories of the forgotten '80s, HTRK has profound pain to draw upon... and they want their audience to feel that too.
The band had been shifting their sound even before Stewart's death, with a greater reliance on electronics and subharmonic tones girding the spindly guitar work from Nigel Yang and the self-composed breathiness of Jonnine Standish. They were moving away from the rock trio and towards a miasma of voice, guitar, bass, and electronics with boundaries between these sounds far more permeable. The closest references to HTRK's sound would be Ike Yard and Dome, although HTRK are much more interested in building tension with their teasing melodicism through their droning electronics. The first track on the album features a weird collage that Stewart had made of late nite TV sex ads in Berlin amidst slow-motion sighs caught in a half-melodic drone and crawling drum machine pulse. "Eat Yr Heart" ramps a quarter-speed Giorgio Moroder sequence above heroin paced rhythm with Jonnine crooning a sultry melody counterpointed by breathy exhalations. Sexually charged yes, but more of a downward spiral into dejection rather than release. "Poison" is more in keeping with the bass and guitar structures found on Marry Me Tonight, with Sean Stewart's bass clearly present next to the twilight flickering drone-riffs from Yang. "Body Double" overhauls Suicide's classic sound of metallic synth / drum interplay with undulating melodies that stretch into a magnificent coda of cascading melancholy for what amounts to a masterful album. Highly recommended.
MPEG Stream: "Ice Eyes Eis"
MPEG Stream: "Eat Yr Heart"
MPEG Stream: "Poison"
MPEG Stream: "Body Double"

album cover PESTEG DRED / SS-SAY 1981-1985 I Have Seen You Through The Years, Worn By Different Faces (Optik) cd 15.98
Martin Hall appears to be the figure who defined the Danish New Wave scene, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that any of the projects he worked in found much traction outside of Denmark. Ballet Mecanique was one such project, And Then Again was another; of course, there were a couple of solo outings too. Both Pesteg Dred and SS-Say were very short-lived projects in the early '80s. Pesteg Dred was a trio that revolved around Hall in 1981 with electronics wrangler Per Hendrichsen and vocalist Inge Shannon. During one weekend, the three landed in a studio and banged out an album but didn't have the ability to pay the bill. So the tapes sat until Hall could negotiate something with the owners of the studio. A cassette of the material surfaced as a bonus with an art magazine in 1985, but otherwise, the recordings languished while all three members went onto other projects.
The dark storm of post-punk had certainly come to Denmark, with Hall admitting an early infatuation with Cabaret Voltaire and A Certain Ratio (well, he did name one of his later projects And Then Again after an A Certain Ratio tune), but The Pop Group and The Ex must have made a big impact as well. The band is essentially a mutant rhythm section of rumbling, discordant funk basslines and unschooled percussive fills that showcase way more fury than skill, with a series of weirdly skittered electronics flushed between the rhythms with murky modular sweeps, distorted drones, and delay-rippled bloop. Inge's vocals are a cold monotone bellow that aren't too far from Bettina Koster of Malaria, making a perfect fit for the darkly, cacophonous agit-punk of Pesteg Dred. The lengthy "Light, More Light" is very much in the vein of the best A Certain Ratio, with breakneck post-disco rhythm, neck-strangling basslines, jittery guitars, and even some atonal blurts from a trumpet.
SS-Say released only one single in 1985, and that material rounds out the cd. Here, Hall is working again with Inge Shannon, for a more baroque, anthemic number wrought with Siouxsie-esque operatics and wah-wah guitar scratching above the catwalk disco rhythms. With its cocaine strung synths, "Care" is definitely the gem amongst the SS-Say tracks, which showcase much more polish as a Studio 54 / Batcave hybrid than Pesteg Dred, but with just as much post-punk bombast.
The Pesteg Dred material was reissued by Dark Entries on vinyl in 2010, and now it's available on cd for the first time with the SS-Say tracks that didn't appear on the lp reish.
MPEG Stream: PESTEG DRED "Salt"
MPEG Stream: PESTEG DRED "Cold Impressions Of Perhaps"
MPEG Stream: PESTEG DRED "Almost"
MPEG Stream: SS-SAY "Care"

album cover CINDYTALK Hold Everything Dear (Editions Mego) 2lp 29.00
Prior to Hold Everything Dear, the resurrected Cindytalk had been the work of Gordon Sharp sitting down at his computer by himself to experiment with digital glitches and abstracted electronic drones. The Crackle Of My Soul from 2009 felt more like the first fruits of Sharp wrangling with his ideas in a digital environment with a few too many compositional rough edges that were in need of refinement. Up Here In The Clouds was a marked improvement through the glassine drones and fizzing noise; but Hold Everything Dear is the first Cindytalk album that truly feels like it has a connection to those brilliant post-punk records from the early '80s. While Sharp hasn't returned to the noise-rock abjection of Camoflage Heart and he has yet to sing on any of these recent albums, the fragmented smears from bowed metals, haunted clanging bells, watery field recordings, and impressionist piano of Hold Everything Dear harken to those post-noise ambient constructions found on the Eno-esque album Wind Is Strong and which concluded In This World. Many of the cavernous sounds on the album are probably sourced from the late Matt Kinnison, who had been Cindytalk's bassist since 1982 and who died in 2008. Sharp has cast a bleary atmosphere throughout the album through subterranean passages of sodden drones, cobwebbed dark elegance, and decayed textures. Sharp pocks this album with plenty of piano interludes whose somber half melodies and shadowy ambience are pulled from the same mold as those earlier piano works. They were beautiful then, and they are still beautiful now.
MPEG Stream: "In Dust To Delight"
MPEG Stream: "Fly Away Over Here"
MPEG Stream: "From Rokko-San"
MPEG Stream: "I See You Uncovered"

album cover BESTIAL MOUTHS Hissing Veil (Dais) lp 21.00
The bloodletting goth-punk of LA's Bestial Mouths is likely to find black-clad company with contemporaries like Zola Jesus and Chelsea Wolfe, but this outfit harnesses a creative dualism between voice and drums that's a unique take on what Siouxsie and Budgie had done so brilliantly for so many years in the Banshees and Creatures. Vocalist Lynette Cerezo shrieks, barks, and howls between the operatic vibrato that reaches for the atavistic bellowing that's something of a cross between Diamanda Galas and Rozz Williams of Christian Death. Ebrahim Saleh's percussion is hardly the death-disco that's so often heard from goth drummers, but more of a splattercore punk likened to a No Wave version of Crass regressing at times to caveman pummelling. Christopher Myrick's synths fill in the blanks, and often do get upstaged by the spiralling dynamism between Cerezo and Saleh with all of their car-crash stops and thunderous stomps. Where many of the songs on Hissing Veil are short sharp blasts of feral energy, Bestial Mouths settles into an effectively infernal dirge that's equivalent to Lydia Lunch ripping apart The Cure's Pornography and leaving the parts ugly and abused in some forgotten alleyway. A great addition to the Dais catalogue of recordings!

album cover BERNIER, NICOLAS Usure.Paysage (Hronir) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
This hot shit musique concrete album is now available on cd! There are so many stuffy compositions and constructions that look back to the salad days of tape experimentation in the '50s and '60s. Works can get so conceptual with each sound being meant to allude to some particular phrases of Beckett or recapitulate the Merz of Schwitters that the interplay between this found sound and that electronic blorp is totally lost amidst a dull and boring concoction that serves little more than an execution of a grant application. This is certainly not the case for Canadian composer Nicolas Bernier, whose dexterous yet ominous concrete album has landed in the good hands of Hronir, a label which has a small catalog of brutal collage artists (e.g. Sudden Infant, Raionbashi, GX-Jupitter Larssen) to accompany more oblique voices from the academic world. While Bernier's work isn't nearly as toxic as those jackbooted noiseniks, his compositions are wholly discomforting, and we mean that in the best possible way. Within the avant-garde pantheon, Bernier's work follows that of Michel Chion and Luc Ferrari doing their finest work, through dynamic juxtapositions blurting concrete sounds (bellowing car horns, steam engine growls, leaden explosions, etc.) against unsettled atmospheres and spackled dronings that start and stop with a series of repeating punctuations not unlike the strategy that Nurse With Wound mastered on Homotopy To Marie. He's aware of the cinematic urge for acousmatic works, and pushes "Les chambres de l'atelier" towards a Lynchian noir with a soft-focus melody warbling in the background to a series of crunched abrasions and eerie footsteps, ruptured by ghostly noises. Excellent, through and through!
Oh! The cd is super limited to 150 copies (and no, it's not a cd-r!), comes with a 9-minute bonus track (not listed on the artwork, though), and is housed in the same 12" sleeve as the LP.
MPEG Stream: "Paysages Articules No. 4"
MPEG Stream: "10 Passages"
MPEG Stream: "Les Chambres De L'atelier"

album cover RODEN, STEVE ...I Listen To The Wind That Obliterates My Traces: Music In Vernacular Photographs 1880-1955 (Dust-To-Digital) 2cd + book 49.00
With the first track on this anthology being a recording of wind from a 1935 sound effects record, AQ beloved sound artist Steve Roden makes a very literal introduction to I Listen To The Wind That Obliterates My Traces. Released by Dust-To-Digital, this beautifully constructed hardback book filled with images both from and ephemeral to Roden's collection of 78s, as well as two discs worth of sounds from that antique vinyl. Yeah, the idea is pretty much the same as what the Climax Golden Twins presented via Dust-To-Digital on their also-awesome Victrola Favorites anthology a few years back; but Roden's collection trends more to the mid-part of the 20th Century and is focused on Americana (including a couple of Hawaiian tracks made before the islands were granted statehood). Following that crackled recording of the wailing wind from that sound effects record, is the unmistakable voice of John Jacob Niles, the 'mountain tenor' whose spooky falsetto and maudlin melodic wanderings predated Devendra Banhart by a good 60 years... Afterwards, there's plenty of bluesmen, blueswomen, gospel belters, Appalachian balladeers, and barbershop crooners, many of which seem quite world-weary in singing their tales of lust, money, and liquor (or the lack thereof). Some of the names are familiar to us (e.g. Clara Smith, Roy Smeck, Sol Hoopii), but there are plenty of anonymous recordings from home-cut discs as well. The arrangements for many of the songs tend to be very sparse, just voice and guitar is pretty much all you get on every track; and the album is dotted with tracks from antique sound effects records of birds, ice, and even "night noises!" For those of you aware of Roden's own compositions of understated field recordings, quiet ruminations on found objects, and soft looping techniques, this shouldn't be a big surprise.
The vintage photos inside this 184 page book are completely lovely, with all of their rumpled edges, ruddy patinas, and cracked surfaces, with some far more poignant - such as the shot of a bunch of violas suspended outside in the sun perhaps to allow a coat of shellac to dry. There's the silhouette of G.J. Jessup decked out in his one-man drum and bugle corps regalia, and the glum looking fellow with the unkempt mustache leaning against his Funnygraph contraption (sadly, there's no corresponding recording for either photograph). Pages and pages of interesting images to provoke curiosity and evoke reverie. Altogether, Roden has compiled over 150 photos and 51 tracks for this stunning document of sonic obsession from Dust-To-Digital! Hard to imagine NOT wanting this.
MPEG Stream: HMV WEATHER EFFECTS "Wind"
MPEG Stream: JOHN JACOB NILES "John Henry"
MPEG Stream: ANONYMOUS HOME RECORDING "Mandolin"
MPEG Stream: GENNETT SOUND EFFECTS "Rainfall And Thunder"
MPEG Stream: CLARA SMITH "My Good Fur Nuthin' Man"

album cover OMIT Interceptor (The Helen Scarsdale Agency) 2cd 14.98
Omit is the longstanding project of New Zealand's finest electron technician Clinton Williams, who dropped out of high school close to two decades ago and holed himself up in a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere New Zealand to wrangle with analogue synthesizers, 8-track tape decks, unruly drum machines, and a small army of effects pedals. There was a time in the '90s when Williams' output was ridiculously prolific, through countless cassettes in tiny editions and a handful of lathe-cut singles. His work caught the attention of the Dead C's Bruce Russell, who was so taken by Williams' work that he collaborated with the man as Dust/Omit and released a handful of discs through Russell's seminal Corpus Hermeticum imprint. Upon the release of the 1997 3cd boxset Quad, Williams' Omit project began to slow down tremendously. The quality of work had certainly continued, but the wealth of releases was considerably diminished. In 1999, there was Interior Desolation, brilliant with its squealing pigs adding to electronic claustrophobia. Then Anomalous released Rejector in 2002; and Helen Scarsdale had the honor of releasing the epochal darkness of Tracer (2005), and now the skeletal rhythmicist drones on Interceptor.
Working in isolation has lead Williams to develop a language which is entirely his own, yet exhibits a curious convergent evolution with many of the other greats in DIY electronics - most notably Chris Carter from his days in Throbbing Gristle, Mika Vainio and his early hyper-minimal phaseshifting experiments in post-techno, and the gaping proto-industrial paranoia of Klaus Schulze. His work is simultaneously ponderously huge and effortlessly simple, as his sounds hover along intertwining sweeps of synthetic ambience grafted to simple rhythmic structures. The saddest melodies in the world poke through Omit's cold and barren surfaces, accenting the isolationist tendencies already inherent in these sounds. Interceptor is a slight detour in the Omit aesthetic, and the detour was by design as Williams had ventured outside of his hometown of Blenheim in search of a job. But he also brought two suitcases of gear with him to continue his recording. The frustrations he felt in his failure to secure employment are matched in the bleak gestures found on Interceptor. Williams had stripped away much of the grandiose sweeps of ambience and shadow, leaving behind a life-support system grid of overlapping, phase-shifted blip and click. An undertow of hypnotic tonalities pulls those rhythms towards a crepuscular gloom, which as with all of Omit's work are effortless in their compositional appearance. Anybody, and we mean ANYBODY, who has a passing interest in electronic music - contemporary, historic, surreal, arcane, Warp-ish, Kompakt-ish, or otherwise - has got to do themselves a favor and investing the time into Omit. The rewards are infinite from this under recognized, autodidactic genius.
MPEG Stream: "LockNut Shadow"
MPEG Stream: "POD 4 Lander"
MPEG Stream: "Loop ReBounder"
MPEG Stream: "SkiMMEr"

album cover SHOEMAKER, MATT Tropical Amnesia One (Ferns) cd 15.98
In the handful of exceptional records from concrete/drone composer Matt Shoemaker, the field recording has been central to his work. Take the aggregate tumblings of minerals from Groundless or the woozy humidity from Spots In The Sun, Shoemaker's use of the field recording in his pieces is miles apart from the pastoral use of bird songs or a gentle rainstorm to offer something 'natural' for an electronic ambient record. No, Shoemaker amplifies the more threatening aspects of nature with insects emitting nightmarish chorales, beetles aggressively scurrying towards hapless prey, and the air of a landscape so heavy and pungent with decay as to be impossible to breathe. For Shoemaker, the world may be nasty, brutish, and short; but he's discovering a weird beauty way out there amidst the grotesqueries of the world.
On the last two records from Shoemaker, a greater emphasis on synthesized psychedelia shot through his tense drone constructs; so with Tropical Amnesia One, Shoemaker has built an album that's just field recordings, without much of the atypical filtering, gizmos, and effects that turn Shoemaker's studio into a scientific laboratory. All of these recordings came from a two week residency Shoemaker spent deep in the Amazon forest, where silence was never afforded amidst the constant buzz of insects, torrential cloudbursts, and burbling streams all teeming with life. Watery sounds introduce the first 20 minutes to this album with all sorts of sodden creaks, slurping movements, and mud-sucking events amassed together. It's as if the vantage point to Shoemaker's sounds were just below the surface of a stagnant body of water next to a muddy embankment, crawling with leeches, skin-breaching worms, and any other parasitic creature that might come to mind. Shoemaker then shifts his attention for the remaining 44 minutes upward to the tops of the trees, where the insects have conspired to broadcast an ominous nocturnal hiss worthy of horror film sound design. A few insects and birds puncture the swarming noise, making the environment seem a lot less threatening than Shoemaker has contextualized it to be. A powerful, sublime recording, and what looks like to the be first in a series of recordings from the Amazon.
MPEG Stream: "Tropical Amnesia One [excerpt 1]"
MPEG Stream: "Tropical Amnesia One [excerpt 2]"
MPEG Stream: "Tropical Amnesia One [excerpt 3]"

album cover MOTION SICKNESS OF TIME TRAVEL Luminaries & Synastry (Digitalis) lp + cd 24.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Motion Sickness Of Time Travel is the spellbinding synth and voice project of Georgia's Rachel Evans. Up until late 2010, she had released a bunch of tiny edition cassettes and cd-rs through her Hooker Vision imprint, after which her work caught the attention of Digitalis, who released the highly acclaimed album Seeping Through The Veil Of The Unconscious. So acclaimed in fact, that all of three pressings of that album went out of print before we had a chance to wax poetic about the record on our list. It's easy to hear why Motion Sickness Of Time Travel would cause such a stir, as there's something to the easy quip that Rachel Evans is a synth version of Grouper. Evans deconstructs an ethereal pop down to hypnotic looping synth structures and her own whispering voice, all the edges are blurred and softened to a heavenly, glowing gaseousness. Her synth applications typically build from glistening arpeggios and sustained church organ tones, giving many of her arrangements a levitating, Kosmische touch considerably more vaporous in her psychedelic visions than the likes of Emeralds and Oneohtrix in her Cluster fixation. Yet, tracks like the aptly named "Day Glow" eagerly appropriate tone-bent melodies and acid-squelchiness from post-rave ambient engineers (think back to Future Sound Of London), suspended amongst the reverb glide of her breathy vocals. Then there's the oceanic and mysterious drone-waltz found on the lysergically titled "The Walls Were Dripping With Stars" which flickers with backmasked vocalizations and intermittently dubbed out whisperings. Luminaries & Synastry is a real gem; and if past performance is indicative of anything, this album will not be around terribly long. The lp comes with a cd of all the material found on the vinyl, plus a couple of a extra tracks.
MPEG Stream: "Late Day Sun Silhouettes"
MPEG Stream: "Day Glow"
MPEG Stream: "Like Dunes"

album cover BEE MASK Elegy For Beach Friday (Spectrum Spools) 2lp 27.00
Here stands the monumental gatefold double vinyl anthology, culled from the numerous cassettes and cd-rs that Chris Madak has released over the past decade or so, under the moniker Bee Mask. Like Emeralds and Oneohtrix Point Never, Madak is single-minded in his retrogarde aesthetic for synthesized compositions based on a vintage 1970s' cosmology. But where many of the '70s synth revivalists have coyingly adopted a full-fledged new age aesthetic through effervescent prettiness and soft-focus ambient swirl, Bee Mask offers up his own dysptopic take on psychedelic electronics through a crucible of cracked circuits, tape splutter, infernal field recordings, and a hell of a lot of sustained synth drones oscillating into crescendos of dissonant thumming. The zoner tracks on Elegy For Beach Friday (and there are a number of them) never sit in the background seeking a sublimated hypnosis, rather Madak zooms in on the placid pools of sound to unveil intense percolations and swarming vibrations. There's a scientific rigor to his pieces that finds Bee Mask orbiting around the dense, alienating electronics from Matt Shoemaker, Rick Reed, and Bernard Parmigiani. But, Madak is also one to tease with the subtle swelling melodies that harken to the more emotive works from Omit and Emeralds. If his work shares anything with the retro electronic tapestries that are the forgotten soundtracks for a summer sunset, Madak would rather blind the audience with the intensity of the sun, complete with blisters on the skin and technological mishaps from sunspots. Brilliant!

album cover RAIONBASHI / DANIELA FROMBERG & STEFAN ROIGK Der Strick / Blowing Up The Master's Workshop (Senufo Edition) lp 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
When the fuck is Raionbashi going to release a proper album again? Daniel Lowenbruck (aka Raionbashi) has been releasing his work on various splits over the past couple of years following a 2006 lp on Hanson that nobody seems to have anymore. Even then, much of his output has been released in tiny editions, and this split on Senufo Edition is in an edition of 280 copies. Raionbashi operates within the transgressive art collective Schimpfluch-Gruppe alongside Sudden Infant, Dave Phillips, Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, and G*Park, all of which mine the nether regions of the id for intensely claustrophobic collages of grim noise and post-Viennese Aktionism. For this split, Lowenbruck slumps into an occult almost doom-laden piece of ritualist gong strikes that certainly look back to Coil's How To Destroy Angels, but Lowenbruck slowly ramps up a smoldering, hypnotic squallor of discordant strings and uneasy field recordings with snippets of muffled vocals which seem in the midst of an unknown criminal act. Brilliantly creepy.
Daniela Fromberg & Stefan Roigk are multimedia artists hailing from Berlin, although little can be found regarding their intentions beyond their mutually crappy websites that only sport pretty pictures of their un-contextualized installations. Whatever these people are up to, it's a damn effective piece of acousmatic collage work, reflective in classic sound collage techniques found on Nurse With Wound's Homotopy To Marie, through the various bumps in the night and funhouse sound effects turned horrific and nightmarish. Arcane, oblique, haunting, and captivating. Fromberg & Roigk are an excellent foil to Raionbashi's dark ritual, and certainly should muster something else in the near future. Regardless, this is an excellent album of foreboding musique concrete.

album cover V/A The Hidden Tapes (Minimal Wave) cd 19.98
Lost Tapes, then Found Tapes, and now Hidden Tapes. As good as many of the reissues that Minimal Wave has released, it's their compilations that really shine. Here, those obscurant new wave / post punk obsessives offer a great collection of urgent synth blorp from all over the world and all dating from the early '80s. Very few of these tracks had much in the way of distribution or fanfare whatsoever, and that makes the discovery all the better. There's only a couple of the acts that we had any familiarity with, and we're probably not alone in that assessment. The opening number by SS-Say is one of the tracks we had heard, being featured on the cd reissue of the Pesteg Dreg album, as both bands were led by the Danish synth-mastermind Martin Hall. "Care" is a megawatt anthem of oversaturated synth lines and Euro-pop danceability that lusts after the New Order production of Blue Monday with more cocaine and dark theatricality tossed in for good measure. Every thing else on the compilation is considerably more understated in terms of production quality (and following the branding of 'minimal wave' all the more), with high caliber tracks offered on the Normal / Human League anxious bleep from the Yugoslavian project Oskarova Fobija and the insistent synth-chanting of Danton's Voice. The British duo Robert Lawrence and Mark Phillips take up a friendlier version of early SPK / Nocturnal Emissions monophunk sequencing with transistor radio vocals and speed-simulating circuitry. Things turn toward the ultra-minimal side with the bittersweet melodicism of The Fast Set and Reserve's proto-Italo disco number, sporting an icy vocal detachment that would make Johnny Jewel jealous. The cd features two bonus tracks not on the vinyl including Gary Allen's weird science sequencing and goofy lyricism that looks to Devo and Oingo Boingo. Another tip of the hat goes to Minimal Wave for this one!
MPEG Stream: SS-SAY "Care"
MPEG Stream: DANTON'S VOICE "I Hear The Bells"
MPEG Stream: ROBERT LAWRENCE + MARK PHILLIPS "Computer Bank"
MPEG Stream: RESERVE "Destination Pour L'Inconnu"

album cover WOLFE, CHELSEA The Grime And The Glow (Pendu Sound)