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This album explores the adage that less is more. Locrian member Hannum uses voice and organ to get to the bottom of things in these three ambient tracks. “Via Negative” means the negative way, and the music is minimalist and droning in a way that mesmerizes. As in cooking you clarify by boiling away excess, in ambience you remove extraneous layers like melody and harmony to get to the heart of the matter. Track A2 is especially pleasing as it is like a heartbeat that never fails.
This is gorgeousness of the wow variety (at least for me). Three tracks instrumental (A2, A3, B3) and three tracks featuring the sweet (A1, B1, B2) voice of Alice Hansen heard through the dreamy haze of music she creates with Chuck Blazevic. A2 is particularly lovely with its slow, melancholy piano. The music itself is ambient and wonderful. Try it, you’ll like it.
Out of the UK comes this project between spoken word artist Lisa Jayne and drums and synth musician Andy Pyne. I prefer the lone tribal drum of “Specimen” with Jayne’s whispered words, but many may enjoy the lyrical noise/rock of “Standing,” in which the British accent creates a nice effect.
Released in September 2014, this is a split LP by Bruce Russell and Gnarlos. Russell’s ‘No Mean Dub’ is an electronic composition edited from one of the worktapes from ‘No Mean City’, which immediately follows and is practically all spoken word and a stereo mix of the two independent mono tapes, along with repeated and meaningless fanfares. Gnarlos’s sidelong is keyboard drones with loops of harshly spastic violin and a smattering of experimental sounds and field recordings courtesy of Silvia Kastel and Joan of Art.
Also known as Runzelstirn & Gurgrlstock, Rudolf Eb.er is an expert in psychographics and psychodynamic acoustics. This 2-CD set released in August 2014 features audio-environments built from specific nature-sounds and extreme acoustics. Also, scream-vocalist Junko Hiroshige (Hijokaidan) participates on several tracks (Disc #1: 9, 15, 17, 18; Disc #2: 4, 8, 10). Field recordings and noises such as transmission static, water flowing, and a swarm of bees buzzing appear as well. Some tracks may be really soft and hard to hear while others are really loud and intense.
Hip-hop/brass-band/psych/noise orgy! MC Sub-Zero Permafrost spits raps overmusic from the project LYDSOD (a very sarcastic acronym for Live Your Dreams Stay Off Drugs), an acid drenched psych coalition from Brooklyn.
Very high pitched vocals, not sure if it spins correctly at 33 or 45 (I think its 45). The tuba and trombone add a zesty spice to the hip-hop flavor. The B-side wanders a bit into the noisy side of things, which I know a lot will enjoy. Throw it on the turntable and enjoy..
FCC: Both sides :(
One-man black metal band from South San Francisco. Goes by the moniker Wikkidiablo Wikkid. Five assaulting tracks of blood boiling blacker than black metal. Fast and in yo’ face, good use of electronics. Tracks almost bleed together.
Last two tracks are from a project, Blakhouse, that records for the same label. Joined by drummer, The Plague, things seem a little more disorganized, in a good, improverish kinda way. Much more earthy feel, drums don’t sound as forced.
Based in England, this is a split LP between elemental Bristol fuzz-peddlers “Thought Forms” and Brighton’s “Esben and the Witch”, and as first demonstrated during their 2013 tour, these two bands seem to like each other. Thought Forms take a grungier route, as they do more punk and sometimes in a more brutal way. On the flip-side, Esben And The Witch’s songs are heavier and more gothic, plus there’s this hint at a slight change in direction for them. But indeed, both of the bands sound good and get along pretty well.
This double LP compilation was recorded in various cities, villages and remote regions of Rajasthan as part of a two-month road trip seeking found folklore and different aspects of their cultural and Hindu religious life. This is a musical landscape of contemporary Rajasthan on the street level as it was found in 2007 to 2008, focusing mostly on the personal beauty of raw power in their music. In Rajasthan’s modern-day avatar, daily life is basically a hardship but has equipped their people with their notoriously resilient and proud character, and that is clearly voiced in the music of the region.
I received this mysterious yet amazing cassette and had no idea what to expect. This is soft, muffled, hissing techno with cool echoing vocal samples (Burial-ish). Reminds me of Deepchord projects but is much more interesting. Really atmospheric and hushed minimal beats. Super love this!!
aka Uwe Schmidt a German electronic musician (although Trk 1 is in FRENCH) who records under the largest number of aliases I have even seen, around 50? He also has his own label called Rather Interesting/Linger Decoree. This starts as weirdo electronic Kraftwerk meets Alva Noto on tracks 1 & 2 but track 3 quickly devolves into a very sad Mooryc without the edge sound featuring an artist named Jamie Lidell (do not like).
Originally released in 1977, Peter Tosh’s “Equal Rights” is seen as his grand opus and one of the best records of its time. And it still holds up. Written and recorded during a time of extreme political turmoil in Jamaica as well as the rest of the world, Tosh’s original eight songs sang of the challenges and difficulties of living in the world and how pride in yourself, being African, was a thing to recognize and proclaim. Sly and Robbie held down the rhythm, with Bunny Wailer doing background vocals. This was a sure fire hit. Tosh’s vocals sore over the music, igniting his lyrics with emphasis and cause. This rerelease adds 22 cuts: outtakes, alternate versions, unreleased and/or limited release dub plates. These are solid tracks that add to the original giving the listener a fuller understanding of what Tosh was doing and trying to express.
Saul Conrad’s album “A Tyrant and Lamb” out on Cavity Search is a current day balladeers collection of love won and lost, life in general and specific. Being on Cavity Search, home of Elliot Smith, think of the great suicidal musician and you understand why Conrad fits in so neatly. Reminiscent of Smith and Neil Young but unique in his way. I’m a sucker for the off key voice that cracks on high notes. It feels lonely yet comfortable. Simple rhymes in poetic rich lyrics set in the country. Imagery of the landscape connects to the characters’ emotional state. It’s been done before, of course, but Conrad does it so well. Instrumentation is mostly acoustic: stand up piano, acoustic guitar, drums. It’s mostly slow or medium paced and kind of quiet. Sittin’ on the porch. The production makes some of the songs sound dusty, echoey, tapping into memory filled with specifics yet vagaries. It’s not country music. It’s more easy listening like Smith is or more how easy listening should sound or how KFJC would want easy listening to sound. You have to think when you listen to this stuff. It doesn’t always give you an easy answer but somehow it is understood.
Once a brother act, now a solo project, Nuit Noire is Tenebras. He is Nuit Noire and Nuit Noire is Tenebras. Hailing from Toulouse, France, Nuit Noire has been putting forth their/his brand of death metal which is not now really death metal but what he terms as Faerie Metal. Around since 1997, the band has played with heavy musical themes dealing with the night and the mysteries that surround it, a definite change from many death metal bands. It’s refreshing and odd and off and obsessive and honorable that someone feels so intently and intensely about something that he names almost every song about faeries. They even do a song on a different album which just testifies “I am a faerie.”
ONO. Chicago art band, funkestra, cult hero worship, absurdist orchestra, noise gospel (that’s what the tags say), political agitators, experimental (sort of) electronics with a beat, performance art. Lead singer travis (lower case “t” thank you very much and I can hang with that) is a total freak. Preacher like vocals chant and warble about the current situations, the past situations and all in-between and how we have messed up and let’s watch it fall apart (with a beat). He sings of the MOVE fire bombings. He sings of his PTSD due to his stint in the military in the 1960′s. It all continuously reminds me of ’80′s agitators Pop Group, Hunters and Collectors, Pigbag, Jah Wobble, but also the orchestra bands like Zappa, Captain Beafheart, Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum, Henry Cow. There is a lot going on here: trumpet blaring in the back with echoey effects, pounding tribal like drumming, electronic sound effects, off kilter singing, plunking piano, tambourine, minimal guitar, chanting lectures, political confrontation, pounding dissonance. And all of this after a 30 year hiatus. All stand up for the full on hardcore FREAKS.
I don’t know much about this band except that they produce some fine music with male and female lyrics that are pleasing, and the music itself is shoegaze rock. I played A2 at the Penny Pitch and one of the listeners really liked it. It looks from the album like there are 6 members to the band. This is a winner for sure.
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