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Lotus Eaters is a collaboration between Stephen O’Malley (Sunn/Khanate/Burning Witch), James Plotkin (Atomsmasher/Old Lady Drivers/Namanax), and Aaron Turner (Isis/House Of Low Culture). Originally released by Aaron Dilloway’s Troubleman Unlimited label on CD in 2007…this is a remixed, rearranged, remastered 2xLP version re-released by TAIGA in 2011, that also features reworked material from their 2002 self-titled 7″ release by Drone Records.
Three sidelong immersions into minimalist, electro-acoustically generated psychedelic ambient digression:
Side A (15:00) pitches, groans, squeaks, squawks, rattles, chuckles, whistles, clicks, clanks, plunks, and clunks toward some inner-spacial, crystallizing hoarfrost.
Side B (18:09) surges in an alchemical wash of tones, drones, trawls, and insouciant tinkering…cast on edge by the occasional ictus of silence.
Side C (20:21) traipses into an lush, interstellar nebulae of textured oscillations…outlying rumbles…and innate raspings.
Side D…etched artwork, do not play!
The twelfth studio album, in a thirty-year skein, by american experimental band Swans…fronted by writer, arranger, producer Michael Gira. An epically vehement and cinematic coalescing of neo-folk, post punk, noise rock, drone, and other traces of avant-garde techniques…which Gira considers the apotheosis of all his previous musical endeavors (Swans, Angels of Light, The Body Lovers, Skin). Intrinsically nihilistic strains formed by traditional rock instrumentation (guitars, bass, percussion, piano, voice) fraternized with a diversity of sonic prospects (harmonica, chimes, vibraphone, synthesizers, mandolin, accordion, hammered dulcimer, bagpipes, reeds, strings, as well as acoustic and synthetic fire sounds) that provoke a feral, shamanistic state of awareness.
***Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker of Low provide background vocals on “Lunacy”…Seth Olinsky, Miles Seaton, and Dana Janssen of Akron/Family contribute background vocals to “A Piece Of The Sky”…Jarboe bestows background vocals upon “A Piece Of The Sky” and “The Seer Returns”….and Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeah’s imparts lead vocals to “Song Of A Warrior”***
Initial full-length solo effort from Chilean-born experimental electronic musician Cristian Vogel. In the early 1980′s, Vogel and his family emigrated to the UK and, by the late 1980′s, he had begun experimenting with his own electronic music compositions as a member (along with Si Begg and Germ) of the Cabbage Head Collective…which produced self-distributed tape cut-ups. By 1992, Vogel had earned a degree in 20th Century Music at the University of Sussex where he began to infuse Detroit, English and German techno arrangements with elements of musique concrete and other avante-garde influences.
Beginning To Understand (circa 1994)…flaunts his early proclivity for merging an abstract paradigm into a genre of music that had been known, to some extent, for rhythmic and stylistic conservatism…by adroitly adorning various tempos of standard “four on the floor” trance and house rhythms, as well as “broken beats”, with walloping bass drums…dark atmospherics…intricate analog synth tweaks…washes…flutters…submerged cutoffs…reverse tape transitions…and an overall twisted sense of ability.
LHF is a London-based, seven artist collective of electronic musicians that record under the enigmatic monikers Amen Ra, No Fixed Abode, Double Helix, and Low Density Matter…whose combined enterprise manifests a lushly produced fusion of ambient techno, dubstep, and “sinogrime” (a tradition of incorporating East Asian samples into UK dance music) along with hints of jungle, and late 90′s/early 00′s “darkside” drum & bass styles.
No Fixed Abode drifts about in a psychedelic haze of subdued beats and placid samples…reflecting the entrancingly subtle work of Demdike Stare or Muslimgauze
Amen Ra occasions a far more complex approach…layering funked up, synth-laden, rolling half-step beats with a plethora of instrument accents and vocal incidents.
Double Helix twists up fat, eerie, broken, two-step garage beats sprinkled with a bazaar of instrument samples and sci-fi atmospherics…dipped in dubwise vocal snippets and film clips.
Low Density Matter weighs in with a few light clusters of jazz and soul influenced techno…a la Carl Craig…yet retains the broken-beat, and sample-heavy, nature of the collective.
2010 compilation from Ostgut Tontrager: an electronic music label owned by the club Berghain in Berlin. Conceived by Emika (an English electronic musician of Czech origin named Ema Jolly), whom accumulated field recordings she captured after hours at both Berghain and Panorama Bar (which are located in a former power plant), and then edited them into a four gigabyte library of sounds which were given to each of the labels’ artists (as well as other producers associated with the clubs) to apply their own distinct production methods. Inspired by the resonate din created by the clubs, and by the idea that the club spaces influence the DJ sets/productions…she sought to investigate which sounds remain when the nightly parties are over, as well as what music could be made by the building itself. Sonic material was drawn from ventilation system sub frequencies, beverage cooling rooms, light rig electro-ambience, large metal swings, and vibrating bottles.
The resulting 24 tracks…whose framework range in style from minimal techno to techno dub, tech house, and detroit techno…render a striking exposition of experimental electronic dance grooves from the likes of Nick Hoppner, Marcel Dettmann, Shed, Len Faki, Dinky, Ryan Elliot, Barker & Baumecker, Norman Nodge, Cassy, Ben Klock, Emika, Luke Slater, and Margaret Dygas.
Originally released in 2000, Neuschwabenland is the fifth album from Gerhard Petak (an Austrian sound artist…recording as Allerseelen) and is considered to be a collection of Martial Folk/Military Pop songs: a genre Allerseelen is credited for helping define which blends experimental, neoclassical, post-industrial, marches, electronic dance, and dark ambient elements. This limited edition double vinyl version was re-released in 2008, and includes a remastering of the original tracks (Sides B, C & D)…as well as two previously unreleased tracks (A2 & A3), and updated versions of two others (A1 & A4). Dour, desolate, urgent, mobilized, looped, layered, lushly orchestrated sonorous expeditions inspired by the only chunk of the Third Reich not to be conquered: a section of Antarctica claimed by Nazi Germany in 1939.
The second and third installments of Italian-Swiss guitarist/sound artist Luigi Archetti’s abstract minimalist study of the interior “nothingness” of sound. Archetti deploys a microtonal approach…utilizing feedback, electronic bow, tone generation, effects processing as well as sound elements produced by playback of blank video tape…to craft 20 engagingly bleak electro-acoustic events that vary in length from 1 to 15 minutes. Resounding, enveloped, icy still-points… compression, decompression, hesitation, inundation, silence…magmatic cogitations that thresh and hold at the cusp of oblivion, detained by dint of reiteration. Disc 1 engages dark ambient realms…while Disc 2 generates far noisier elements.
***Highly recommend mixing, layering, connecting tracks off of both discs to achieve maximum efficacy***
Circa 2007 compilation of releases from Skull Disco, a London-based independent record label run by Sam Shackleton and Laurie “Appleblim” Osborne from 2005-2008. Both Shackleton and Appleblim are considered to be innovators in the evolution of the so-called dubstep genre of electronic dance music. Appleblim’s productions fall close to the dominant conventions and devices exploited within the genre…the lurching, hindered beats…negativist bass-lines…blatantly dynamic arrangements, and oft-clipped samples. While Shackleton’s tracks reveal true innovation within, and without, the framework of dubstep sound….melding African and Middle Eastern percussion/instrument samples with a minimalist, Basic-Channel-esque techno dub mentality…into a lush, hypnotic style of organic rhythm-scapes that more than insinuate a Muslimgauze influence.
Stress (formed in 1981) is the West Midlands, England duo of Phil Clarke (editor of the Nuneaton fanzine Damn Latin) and Alan Rider (editor of the Coventry fanzine Adventures in Reality). Integrating vintage synthesizers and drum machines, bass guitar, cut-up samples, programming and vocals…Stress created a austere brand of electronic New Wave synth-pop that is contemporary to bands such as Cabaret Voltaire, Joy Division/New Order, Attrition, Eyeless In Gaza, and Depeche Mode. Conspiracy Theory serves as a “best of” compilation album featuring remastered tracks from their first two cassette albums Help Comes Too Late (1982) and Restraint (1984)…as well as a few tracks that appeared on various compilations in 1984-1985. While catchy and rooted in synth-pop, the songs retain a raw and experimental edge…especially the manner in which the drums are programmed, as well as in their charmingly deadpan vocal delivery. The lyrical themes are rooted in a dour, Orwellian outlook on materialist society…the neuroleptic nature of popular music…and a desire to artistically subvert mainstream culture. Recommended Tracks: The Pulse Thickens…which is a satisfyingly moody instrumental; I Go To Pieces…for it’s tricky, rhythmic impetus; Semi-D Prison…an entrancing vibe and clever arrangement; Tear It Down…a techno-delic journey with industrial leanings; The Prayer Clock…a breakdance circle forms at a political rally (nice use of speech sample).
***Czech out the special “Stress Edition” of the Adventures In Reality fanzine included…which contains press clippings, photos, lyrics, and an amazing list of the equipment used to create their sounds***
Four-way split collection from Chicago-based Immune Recordings…featuring exclusive side-long, minimalist explorations by a quad-angular cluster of artists from the American experimental/psychedelic music scene.
Pulse Emitter…Daryl Groetsch from Portland, OR…utilizes home-made modular synthesizer pads and patterns to fashion a pair of delicately melodic explorations through desolate yawns of cosmic introspection.
Date Palms…Greg Kowalsky & Marielle Jakobsons from Oakland, CA…blend violin, Fender Rhodes, analog synthesizers, bass, and tanpura into a gently rising Carnatic/Hindustani-influenced carpet ride that coalesces an eastern style raga haze with a Spacemen 3-esque bass-driven drone. Warning…there is a false ending at approx. 1:40 remaining in the track.
EXPO 70…is guitarist Justin Wright from Los Angeles, CA…joined with Mike Vera on percussion and Aaron Osborne on bass to create an entrancing growl of psyche-drone-doom that radiates a heavy influence by the motorik ( repetitive 4/4 beat) of classic Krautrock. Originally composed/prepared to accompany a vintage fashion show, the track is broken into two distinct movements… the transition of which occurs at approx. 8 and a half minutes in.
Faceplant…solo work from Wisconsin native Aaron Coyes of Peaking Lights…constructs three repetitive, techno-trance grooves with his own custom-made electronics devices and modular synths. Aggression is assertively disco-delic…Sensation undulates in a Reichian swirl of appregiated rhythmic manipulations…and Sedation infuses the stylistic elements of both previous tracks into a mezmerizing cocktail.
1999 full-length from this defunct trio of San Francisco metal-heads…Erik Moggridge (formerly of Epidemic) on guitar and vocals…Will Carroll (Death Angel) on drums…and Max Barnett (Hammers Of Misfortune) on bass. A compulsive swill of thrash, speed, death, doom, and grind…viscous, potent, dire, unrelenting riffs cozied with abstract, depraved, mordantly psychotic lyrical themes. Multiple voices careen about with toxically schizophrenic changes in angle, tempo and allusion.
Highly recommend…Track 3 (blend of classic stoner-doom and speed-thrash)…Track 4 (psychedelic fusion of doom and grind)…Track 6 (intense, melodic collision of death and thrash)…Track 7(convergence of doom, death and grind with a phonetically nonsensical call and response)…Track 8 (more entrancing doom-grind groove-age)…Track 9 (acrid plumes of doom and death)…
***All tracks contain naughty language, except 3, 6, 7 and 8***
2012 solo effort from Mika Vainio (founding member of the Finnish minimalist electronic duo Pan Sonic)…an elemental attraction of silence and noise, documented through micro and macroscopic application of tone generation, manipulated radio signals, various acoustic sound sources (wood, glass, cymbals, device clicks), as well as drastically dynamic production techniques. A contemporary study in deep listening: anticipation…interruption…expectation…juxtaposition…introspection. The sonic material is conceptually bent toward the most magnetic of all naturally occurring minerals on Earth, with the title of each movement lending prominent impression to the respective experiences…Magnetia portends the overall impetus of the material, with desolate tapping giving way to abrupt shifts in aural intensity…Magnetotactic orients itself to the pull of concentrated energy ranging from power electronic washes to distant rumbles and piercing alert tones…Magnetosphere deflects a mounting bombardment of highly charged particles…Magnetosense scans the invisible landscape for underlying stimuli…Magnetism responds to varying fields of concentrated noise…Magnetosome crystallizes in an icy, electro-acoustic drift.
Circa 2011-2012 release from German sound artist Markus Mehr. The second part of a triptych…In, On, Off…that features a powerfully cinematic blend of stark ambient-electro-acoustic experimentation, and industrial-noise leanings. Composed with computers, samples, field recordings, synthesizers, processed guitars and distortion pedals…On is just that: awake…aware…ready…primed. Focused compositions that sponsor tender, neo-classical ambient treks meandering through oceans of quanta…toward unreconsiled power electronic cascades.
Track 1…opens the album with a grinding, electro-industrial loop encompassing a wash of synth arpeggios…Track 2 brings to mind the placid tide from an ocean of fire gradually consuming a shoreline...Track 3 is a gentle, swirling dance of electrostatic particles radiating the subdued transmissions of an interstellar Siren…Track 4 & Track 5 are lush, orchestral flights toward upper atmospheres…Track 6 emits random, undulating bursts of cartoon-ish (Greek folk music?) signals…Track 7 emerges an ethereal nebulae of field recorded conversations and Gregorian chant…Track 8…tranquil washes of piano, harpsichord and static lull the listener toward a somnambulent oblivion.
Avante tangling of Japanese experimental guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama and Dutch neo-Baroque lutist Josef Van Wissem…composed using a technique by where Akiyama recorded the guitar in Garageband and then sent the tracks to Van Wissem who layered his lute over the guitar by reacting visually to the sound files, but without listening. Slow…gentle, sparse, abrupt, removed, pondering lilts…of liquid note droplets (Track 1), or note bubbles bursting (Track 2), and notes lapping against the shore (Track 4). With the use of bottle-neck slides, Tracks 3, 5, & 6 sound as if they were performed by some sort of Zombie bluegrass band with their decrepit synapses firing off notes as they leisurely munch on musician brains…Track 7 evokes the idea of note-breezes blowing through note-chimes and rapping against shutters of notes, and serves as a prime example of how this recording traffics melody for silence, subconsciously forcing the mind to rummage for cohesion.
Transmissions (circa 2009) from the experimental tangent of the seminal power violence clan…Man Is The Bastard. Long-time members W.T. Nelson…electronics…and Eric Wood…electronics, lyrics, vocals…construct and command mission-specific devices (electro-acoustic coils, arcade game joystick-controlled high and low voltage analog audio generators) to spawn power electronic noisescapes that taunt the notion of an impending, supra terrestrial dystopia. Dominant expressions of cosmic dread unleashed through overtly disconnected instrumentation and harsh vocalizations.
Track 1 pierces the silence of deep space with a dynamic arsenal of deconstructed aural events encompassing and accentuating ethereal laments of intergalactic imprisonment. Track 2 unfurls a sparse, glub-step beat underscoring the guttural rants of a twisted overlord. Track 3, with additional vocals from Leila Rauf (Hammers of Misfortune), is an epic dark ambient trek that references an Outer Limits episode where researchers on an alien planet live in fear of a man wearing goggles, a man who is paranoid and powerful – and can read minds. Track 4, featuring vocals from Justin Pearson and Robert Bray of The Locust, inundates with a frustrated tension. Track 5 & Track 6…which, also showcase some some stellar voicework from Rauf and Wood, drift inexorably toward the stark oblivion of an event horizon.
2006 full-length release from east coast noise-iacs Nate Nelson (drums, electronics) and Brian Sullivan (guitar, keys, voice). Recorded in roughly a week, and exploiting a single-take mentality, this exertion represents a studio accomplishment of their live-performance sound at that time: an impressively novel concoction of scuzz-drone-feedback guitar loop-age, plaintiff groans, and mesmerizing tripno-rhythms.
A pentagonal discharge of riveting, primeval sonic apparitions emanating the metrical spasms of possessed cyborgs, undulating in a techno-tribal pon farr, traipsing across a contaminated landscape, forging emnity, while playing power electronic bagpipes on horseback…
Revolving door collaboration championed by Cleveland, Ohio native poet/vocalist Matthew Wascovich…merging post-Punk, No Wave, and improvisational attitudes…this SOT incarnation features Nick Lesley (Necking) on guitar, John “Slow Hand” Morton (electric eels) on guitar & theremin, Jim Sauter (Borbetomagus) on saxophone, Kid Millions (Oneida) on drums, and Weasal Walter (The Flying Lutenbachers) on bass.
An onslaught of urgent, intense, raucous tracks…each, certainly, not lacking in its abundance of searing, disconnected, angular, feedback-soaked guitar riffs… catawampus wordplay…hints of sax, keyboard and theremin…congealed by a solid rhythm section that propels the cacophony into recognition. Laid back grooves that become laid-out jams, walls of noise constantly being broken down… romantic notions of aural conflict… vocals blended so as to draw the listener shrewdly into the mix…
…”My fist is rubbing your face”.
Recommended Tracks: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
***Warning: Track 5 has a naughty word***
Primal, free jazz-nastics rooted in the post-bop stylings of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman….from four accomplished members of the Boston music scene: Joe Morris (bass); Luther Gray (drums); Jim Hobbs (alto sax); Pete Cancura (tenor sax).
Six protracted tracks that stalk, mark and defend their sonic territory with finely-tuned abandon. Each movement’s name is effectively expressed in the dynamics of the performances. Track 1 is restless and bawling…Track 2 is pensive and meandering…Track 3 wanders, scurries, wanders…Track 4 is a hard-bop respite…Track 5 features a sly, camouflaged groove…Track 6 returns to the protective intensity of the opening track.
What stands out about this album is the subtly of each musicians delivery…this is palpably hostile music with soft, furry edges.
Debut solo album from Roly Porter: british sound artist, and former member of the innovative dubstep duo Vex’d. Astonishing intermingle of ondes martenot, dulcitone, melodica, viola, violin, and cello…with dark ambient textures, power electronic noise elements, samples, and random rhythmic minimalism that fabricates 10 slanted, preoccupied, passive aggressive sonic happenings on tenterhooks. Unusual propagation of classic instruments with digital processing and exploitation: filmic, chambered, overwrought, seething, hesitant, entropic moments that sizzle, scuff, nod, gist, throb, groan, and pilfer about structure.
- Roland Blunt
Rap compilation from New York-based media/production company Decon Records, featuring a notable roster of Emcees & Deejays collaborating to flaunt a dappled array of verbal and musical acrobatics. Aceyalone, RJD2, Jurrasic 5, Blackalicious, The Alchemist, and Del The Funky Homosapien shine brightest among other heavyweights of the hip hop overground, such as Casual, Lyrics Born, Abstract Rude, Micah 9, Chali 2na, and Dilated Peoples.
Recommend: Track 2 for its smooth flow and rolling groove; Track 3 for its clever production and strong rhymes; Track 6 for it’s uber-collaborative tongue twistage; Track 10 for laid back vibe and strong hook; Track 14…RJD2′s impressively lush theme music for AMC’s Mad Men.
***Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, & 13 have naughty language!!!***
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