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Samartzis, Philip – “Mort Aux Vaches” – [Staalplaat]

samartzis

Philip Samartzis is an Australian sound artist, composer, and professor in Sculpture, Sound and Spatial Practice at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He and Andrew Curtis formed the group Gum in the late 80s to explore broken, looped, and layered vinyl. Samartzis’s solo work focuses digital processing of acoustic and found sounds to construct abstract sound environments.

This 2003 release — part of Staalplaat’s Mort Aux Vaches series — contains three pieces that mix synthesized and natural sounds in unsettling and often jarring ways.

Variable Resistance (T1) begins with disorienting binaural clicks, slowly tweaked. The sounds come into focus, crisp and precise, but only briefly. Before long some comforting and reverb kicks in, and more natural noises appear. Echoey drips, gasps, and rasps, like wandering through dark wet steam tunnels with a faulty flashlight. Ends with the sounds of a rough pummeling and wailing, as the track skips and glitches to a halt. The CD is not broken.

Deconstructed Windmills (T2) is calmer, starting with a long high-pictched buzz, giving way to sterile pulses and tones, like hospital equipment. This is replaced with ominous thuds, algorithmic blips and bloops. Brief interludes of glitchy static puncture the overwhelmingly vast drones.

Soft and Loud (T3) draws the most on acoustic sounds and recordings. The first movement alternates between crunching, bending, scraping, screaming metal, and utter silence. Organic sounds like gurgling water and crinkling fire mix with synthetic sine wave drones. Low vibrations like bad fluorescent lights. Broken voices. Drum ratatatat. Some moments are actually musical, with rich harmonies and quick repetitive glimpse of a melodies, but there’s always something off — the instruments are not what they seem, almost a mirage.

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on June 13, 2017 at 8:51 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Solenoid – “Bike/Ingrid” – [Audraglint]

    R-303275-1269513195.jpeg

    Two short tracks of electronica. Bike is jaunty, while Ingrid is intense and beat-driven. Ingrid is my preferred track.

  • Reviewed by humana on June 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Lockwood, Annea – “Breaking The Surface” – [Lovely Music Ltd.]

    breakingthesurface

    These are two epic-length tracks, the first commissioned by Thomas Buckner and composed by Lockwood to showcase her vocalizations that call to mind shamanic chants with a large glass gong, wind, and a Cameroonian rattle, among other instruments. Track 2 records the voice of sculptor Walter Wincha, interviewed by Lockwood just over a day before he died at age 30. Interspersed with the interview are field sounds of running on a track. The entire experience is cathartic and mesmerizing.

  • Reviewed by humana on June 13, 2017 at 7:20 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski – “Marchetti / Noetinger / Werchowski” – [Corpus Hermeticum]

    R-195261-1163962129.jpeg

    Live recordings of two half-hour performances of improvised electronics and violin, released in 2000 by the New Zealand label Corpus Hermeticum (run by Bruce Russell of the Dead C). Lionel Marchetti is a French musique concrète/electronic composer who creates studio pieces and improvised live works. This release is an example of the latter, with Marchetti using microphones, tape recorders, radios, and loudspeakers strategically placed to complement the acoustics of the performance space. Jérôme Noetinger is also a French sound artist; both he and Marchetti were students of Xavier Garcia, and have been frequent collaborators since the early 90s. Here they are joined by violinist Mathieu Werchowski. The CD includes an essay from guitarist Michel Henritzi that casts the performances as radical acts: “two concerts that are imploding limits within which our listening is held by the dominant discourse of our market-led era.”

    The Lille performance (T1) opens with a sweep of the tuner dial on an antique radio – sometimes the hint of a broadcast fades in for a moment through the static and woozy, theremin-like feedback. When Werchowski joins in, it kicks off an ongoing exchange between the violin and electronic sounds for a place in the foreground. His frantic, repetitive bowing builds into a fury; later, blares of microphone feedback, blotting out everything around it, dominate as Werchowski brushes on muted strings. An extended lull gives way to another build-up with long pulls of the bow on dissonant double stops and wild electronic chaos. The Turin performance (T2) has many of the same elements, but it is the darker and queasier of the two pieces, with high-pitched whistling and droning feedback creating a persistent tension. Intense listening.

  • Reviewed by lexi glass on June 12, 2017 at 9:28 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Skullflower – “Black Iron That Has Fell From The Stars…, The” – [Nashazphone]

    skullflower

    Cythoth staple Skullflower was founded by England’s Matthew Bower (see also: Total, Voltigeurs, Sunroof, Black Sunroof, Hototogisu) in 1988. Frequent member Samantha Davies (Voltigeurs, Black Sunroof) joins him on this 2017 release. which is dedicated to the Egyptian god Set. It’s probably no coincidence that the label is based out of Egypt. This is something like Skullflower’s 30th album. Its full title is ‘The Black Iron That Has Fell From The Stars, To Dwell Within (Bear It Or Be It).’ Okay.

    Three lengthy pieces of instrumental psych guitar played through so many layers of effects, it becomes scary noise… or at least that’s what it sounds like. The credits list ‘Nilotic Delta Slide,’ ‘Pro-one,’ ‘Devices,’ ‘Fire,’ ‘Violin,’ and ‘Salt’ for the instrumentation.

    The sounds are hazy and baleful, like a half-asleep Typhonic beast. The clash of beauty and ugliness found in Skullflower’s music is practically religious in nature, and despite hades of John Cale in the catgut screech and belly-deep drone, no one does string noise quite like this. It has a wailing, seasick quality that reminds me of public mourning. This LP will not surprise Skullflower’s fans, but it will please them. I hope to hear the sidelong B track at least once per hour on KFJC for the next 8 weeks.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 12, 2017 at 7:39 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Brizbomb – “Brizbomb” – [Westside Welding and Machine]

    BRIZBOMB-0909

    This album is relaxing to listen to, especially when you consider how it is contains no overdubs, no edits, no anything except an artist and a rack, which is pictured in the poster. The sounds on here are perfect accompaniment for mind musing and expansion.

  • Reviewed by humana on June 12, 2017 at 11:49 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Eastman, Julius – “Femenine” – [Frozen Reeds]

    Julius_Eastman

    Julius Eastman was a black gay composer/vocalist in late 70s/early 80s New York, performing and recording with the New York Philharmonic and Meredith Monk and others. He suffered from mental illness, the super threw all of his stuff out on the street in ’81 and 9 years later he died in obscurity at a in Buffalo. Scholars have been putting the pieces together since then.
    This concert was in 1974 in Albany. 12 or 15 performers memory is hazy. At the performance soup was served and Eastman wore a dress. A mechanism of Eastman’s invention plays sleigh bells for about 70 minutes. The vibraphone hammers out a motif that is expanded upon by the ensemble. In Eastman’s words, “the end sounds like Angels opening up heaven … euphoria.”

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 11, 2017 at 8:36 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bad Jazz – “Daymare” – [eh?]

    e93

    One long track 39m. Piano and a bunch of fumbling. Will make you think something is wrong with the car. About 38 minutes in a toy drum machine takes over. Noises. A plastic straw makes an ominous sound and brings the proceedings to an absurd finale.
    Tanya Chen (Tender Buttons) plays piano, electronics, toys.
    The liner notes have a picture of some salmon fillets and a microphone.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 11, 2017 at 8:22 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Circus, Lena / Itaru Oki – “Zanshin” – [Improvising Beings]

    Zanshin is a collaboration album between the French experimental jazz trio Lena Circus and the Japanese trumpeter, flugelhornist, and perennial collaborator Itaru Oki, released 2016. The album moves back and forth between minimalistic noise and cacophonous noise, always with trumpet. Drums are an afterthought. Could be good bed music, but the textures are unpredictable tracks tend to crescendo toward the end. On the whole, only moderately interesting, somewhat lethargic, with passages of panic like Miles Davis unable to wake up from a heroin dream. Has two tracks over 10 minutes for bathroom breaks. Squirrels and farts here and there. If you do two takes of an experimental improvisational piece, do you have one track or two. Social Norm

  • Reviewed by socialnorm on June 11, 2017 at 4:21 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Bralove, Bob/Kaiser, Henry/Muir, Chris – “Positively Space Music” – [Fractal Music]

    bralove

    One synth keyboard and two guitars, in the hands of 3 close friends and master musicians. Guitarists Henry Kaiser and Chris Muir have been playing and improvising together for over 40 years (this album includes a track by the duo recorded in 1977). Here the pair are joined by keyboardist Bob Bralove who has worked as sound designer and digital music technician for Stevie Wonder and The Grateful Dead.

    “Positively Space Music” is a genre-bending double CD packed with a wide variety of influences, including jazz, funk, ambient, and prog, all done in a very psychedelic spaced-out style. The trio fully embrace the wavy synth sound, and at times teeter on the edge of an 80s kitsch vibe. However, the group’s phenomenal musicianship and almost telepathic communication keeps things moving forward, pushing boundaries and exploring uncharted territories of Space and Music.

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on June 11, 2017 at 2:47 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Brahms – “Sonatas For Viola and Piano, Op. 120″ – [Capitol Records]

    In 1912 Rudolf Firkusny was born in Moravian Napajedla, in what is now Czechoslovakia period he studied with Janacek, touring Europe in the 1920s and premiering in London in 1933 and New York in 1938. He fled the Nazis in 1939, escaping to Paris and settling in New York.
    William Primrose was a Scottish violist, teacher, and author. He was part of the NBC Symphony Orchestra with Jascha Heifetz and others. He began in 1924 as a professional violinist and switched to the viola in 1930. Late in life he developed hearing difficulties that prevented him from hearing certain pitches. He died in Utah.

    Brahms’ Op. 120 are his final chamber works. Published in 1895. Brahms loved the clarinet and wrote These originally for clarinet and piano although he also wrote a version for viola. Side A begins with a 4 bar piano theme in octaves that has been shown in recent analysis to be generative of every musical idea that follows. Side B is not too shabby either.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on June 8, 2017 at 2:27 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Classical
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  • Svarrogh – “Yer Su” – [Ahnstern]

    yersu

    Yer Su vain, you probably think this album’s about you.

    Until 2007, Dimo Dimov’s project Svarrogh was a Pagan Black Metal band exhibiting a fierce devotion to the folklore of his native Bulgaria. More recent work, however, has been closer to the Neo-Folk universe, bringing Dimov into Austria’s Ahnstern Records circle (see the ‘Oak Folk’ compilation CD). These days he resides in Germany and plays in Sturmpercht.

    He seems to have a fairly deep understanding of the traditional musical forms present in his country. 2008′s ‘Yer Su’ (the name refers to nature spirits in the beliefs of Tengrism, an ancient Eurasian religion) is not ultra-traditional folk music, although it is clearly informed by that tradition. Vestiges of the old Metal sound appear in the form of heavy electric guitars on most tracks and the occasional growl (t.s 2, 3, 7), but mostly this is heavy, Gothic Folk-Rock with a Slavonic flavor, reveling in dark nature worship and alienating stylistic touches: the deep, deep male croons, the scratchy fiddle and clarinet, the aggressive acoustic guitar strumming, the Industrial beats (t.s 5+12), the field recordings, and a dense, unmastered psychedelic sound. I think there’s tamboura, too. T. 11 is a long instrumental.

    In addition to Bulgarian you will hear Lithuanian, Italian (t.3, from Der Feuerkreiner’s ‘Valentina’), and English (t.7, from Allerseelen’s Marcel P.). The cute young girl on the cover seems to be a good example of the interesting Bulgarian phenotype. This multifarious CD has potential crossover appeal to non-metalheads, etc.

    “A wreath for Veles among the cliffs. Dark, deep water dwells there. Bees humming a secret song. Never withers, never ends.”

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Action/Discipline – “Recursive Slash” – [Oxen]

    actiond

    Startling iterations of tormented Industrial-Harsh-Noise demonomantical ecstasy from Ohio, 2017. Stefan Aune and Brad Griggs bring you abstract expressions of the modern world’s violent chaos, which is really the point of L.A.’s Oxen Records, isn’t it?

    On each 10-minute ordeal, The blaring cacophany occasionally resolves itself into brief, satisfying rhythmic passages, perhaps accomplished with a delay or loop pedal. Some thicker electronic tones are occasionally allowed to escape, but the gunky tape noise high end static sound is favoured throughout. Overstimulating and dirty, with a careful method hidden behind its indistinguishable sonic mess. Maybe.

    The Oxen website compares this to Japanese ground floor noiser MSBR. Other influences include broken glass, tsunamis, junkyards and heavy machinery mishaps.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on June 7, 2017 at 12:48 am
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Fall, The – “Wise Ol’ Man” – [Cherry Red Records]

    It’s the 21st Century and The Fall still push forward. This 2016 EP features 2 new songs, the title track plus “All Leave Cancelled”, alternate takes plus remixes of several songs from 2015′s Sub-Lingual Tablet plus a rare live version of “No Xmas For John Quays” recorded in 2014.
    Impressive stuff. Visceral and tight instrumentation pounding forward and driving the repetition which never seems to feel redone. But Mark E. Smith. WOW! As we age our voices change, our manner along with it. Smith is still Smith but boy that voice. His classic shout not sing style of thick accented vocalizing has turned into mumbled spewing, garbled growls and some of the most frightening yowls, howls and old man scream shouts. What is beyond rage? That’s the sound. Amazing. Keep your kids away, but it is superb.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 5, 2017 at 11:17 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Oliveros, Pauline & American Voices – “St. George and The Dragon/In Memoriam Mr. Whitney” – [Mode]

    This early 1990′s recording of Oliveros comes during her deep listening period. Having gone to the Pomfret School in Connecticut on invitation from American Voices director Neely Bruce to lead a Deep Listening Training, Pauline took time to sit in the Chapel on the school grounds. It was known for it’s interesting acoustics which interested Oliveros. It was here that the two selections on this CD were formed. “St. George and the Dragon” is inspired by the statue of the same name which sits in the Chapel. Oliveros, playing accordion, evokes the spiritual battle between Saint and Dragon. Her long phrases, held out to mysterious length, reverberate within the Chapel. Listeners must take time with this 47 minute piece of meditation and beauty. “In Memoriam Mr. Whitney” is a heartbreaking work performed with American Voices. Accordion slowly plays while the vocalists, including Oliveros, call out the names of their loved ones who have passed on. The vocalists were encouraged to walk about the Chapel while saying the names. We hear their movement throughout. It is haunting to hear someone call out “Mamma”, “Grandad”, or nicknames of people. The intimacy along with Oliveros’ accordion are sometimes staggering in their quiet. A unique gift to our station.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 4, 2017 at 9:43 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Rothenberg, Ned/Feldman, Mark/Courvoisier, Sylvie – “In Cahoots” – [Clean Feed]

    Nine wonderful tracks of “free jazz” exploration tempered with continuous references and returns to meter, rhythm, repeated phrases of almost melodic quality. Sylvie Courvoisier on piano and Mark Feldman on violin had recently teamed up with Ikue Mori and Evan Parker for an album, so they come from experience and skill. Adding Ned Rothenberg on clarinet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet and shakuhachi makes for an interesting, challenging and lovely trio. No drums. Fascinating for a jazz album. And not missed in the least. These pieces explore so many dimensions capable with this list of instruments. For instance, when Feldman bows his violin it’s more shocking and head shaking than when he plucks, which would seem to make more sense. Songs start off and seem to explode, a rhythm played which begins to twist then loose itself in pure emotion. Pushing the definition of what is jazz, this collection of sounds positively broadens that idea.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 4, 2017 at 12:36 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Northern Soul Weekender [coll] – [Charly Records]

    Russ Winstanley is a DJ who spun Northern Soul sounds at Wigan Casino in England from the 1970′s to the early 80′s. This compilation, on the Charly label, is a collection of some of his favorites from his personal stash. Northern Soul was so termed as a way for the north England soccer fans visiting London, who loved the specific American soul sound, to find the specific American soul records they wanted at record stores. The sound is not Motown, but it is definitely Soul. It’s history in England is steeped in the Weekender when all night clubs played Northern Soul to the masses. 2am to 8am was when it fully kicked in and the Wigan Casino was one of the shrines of Northern Soul Weekender dancing and partying.
    The 27 tracks on this collection have some familiar names but more often than not some rare finds. The stomping beats from each number keep the listeners happy and moving, with tales of love lost, love wanted, love gained, love grown pale. Tight instrumentation and lush strong vocals carry us from one tune to the next, keeping up the rhythm and making the body move. All songs shine but some standouts for me are Loleatta Holloway singing “Mother of Shame”, Big Daddy Rogers’ “I’m a Big Man” and Ruby Winters testification on “Better”. The Sharpees’ “Take Me to Your Leader” has a bit of alien fun. Joe Tex has the strangest, most difficult tune, “Under Your Powerful Love”, where he describes a night in his hotel room intentionally listening to the couple in the next room. The woman finds herself in a situation she wants out of and is trying to convince the man to let her go, all while Joe listens in. Wrong.
    But everything is super danceable. Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on June 3, 2017 at 10:38 pm
  • Filed as CD,Soul
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  • Barbwire, Mike & The Blue Ocean Orchestra – “El Surfista De Mambo” – [Sleazy Records]

    Mike is the lead guitar of the Swedish surf band The Barbwires. Here he gives us a nice single that combines surf, Latin beats, and exotica. All this on a Spanish record label – fun!

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on May 31, 2017 at 4:00 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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  • Sammartano, Ray – “Dream Switch” – [Self-release]

    Analog synth and public domains sounds.
    Spacey sparkly pretty with some indecipherable low vocals.
    From Eugene, Oregon.
    - BJT

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on May 31, 2017 at 2:13 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bastard Noise / Brutalomania [coll] – [Skull Records]

    Noisy oh my gosh and screaming vocals about veganism and animal rights. Good stuff. Brutalomania is a solo noise artist who has worked under many different aliases such as Cadaverizer Noise, Feral Squat, and Manuel M. Cubas.
    Bastard Noise of course is a California group founded by Eric Wood, Henry Barnes, and WT Nelson. They’re discography is quite extensive. They have been making noise since the early 90s and have worked with countless other artists.
    BJT

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on May 31, 2017 at 2:12 pm
  • Filed as 7-inch,A Library
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