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Crawl Unit – “Tucson Mon Amour” – [Drone Records]

abacus   5/25/2016   7-inch, A Library

second pressing of live performance from Crawl Unit’s only tour played at Big Storage in Tucson, a relic from a criminally underrepresented sound artist. distant wavering tones on the hazy horizon, sparse industrial tinkering litters the foreground, the scattered detritus flickers in the hot desert sun. the B-side has more of a looped rhythmic feel. stroke delusions

Moloch / Closure [coll] – [King of the Monsters]

abacus   5/17/2016   7-inch, A Library

destructive split from UK juggernauts: moloch from Leicester start of feral and drag themselves through the sludge like a dull blade through flesh, Closure out of Leeds plod and stomp but explode in sporadic bursts of powerviolence and grime. mud hurling, vomit choking goodness; now spit

Crowhurst – “Aghoree” – [Chondritic Sound]

abacus   5/17/2016   12-inch, A Library

LA-based Crowhurst, experimental black/sludge metal / noise/ambient project centered around Jay Gambit, has been incredibly prolific over the past years, pumping out multiple releases per year since 2012. here is his first release on Greh Holger’s label Chondritic Sound and featuring a diverse blend of instrumentation; the mixture of synths, electronics, flute, guitar, and field recordings combine to produce a truly haunting and psychedelic ambiance. at the beginning, hollow Ghosts linger on the periphery until Claustrophobic emptiness consumes, black metal guitar swells devoid of form but tone still hovering on the sonic horizon. Marfan offers a calming respite of overlapping organ textures as side A closes. the foreboding coalescence of Siren builds doom clouds like a looming storm and Dance a shadow draped bridge leading to the industrial noise visions of Modern Life. this album figures more firmly in the noise/ambient realm, which makes sense for its place on the label, but is only a sliver of the sonic offerings Gambit puts forth.

drone – “reversing into the future” – [Pomperipossa]

abacus   5/17/2016   12-inch, A Library

a name as mundane and obvious as it can be, but simple enough to reveal its most base form: under a sweltering LA hills morning, Touch curator Mike Harding pairs with sound artist Mark Van Hoen complementing each other on a mix of modular synth, short wave radio and field recordings. plodding diamond-cut drones shimmering in opaque luminescence, subtle melodies tread through almost viscous murk; tonal beads glisten in the beckoning heat, the hazy soundscape blurs as waves of harmony lap against rhythmic apparitions and disappear into the breath of dusk. on the B-side conversational hallucinations narrate the intangible outer world, drowned out by the piercing repetition of inner existence; inaudible lapses mid-way through make the beaming resolution all the more proud. from masters of the drone form, as beautiful and inviting as it is alienating; sure to brighten the early lights of dawn and darken the mood of dusk alike.

Oranssi Pazuzu – “Varahtelija” – [Svart Records]

abacus   5/11/2016   12-inch, A Library

blast off to the furthest reaches of outer-dimensionality with these Finnish trippers: cyclical cataclysmic transformations of metal, kraut/prog, jazz, thrash, psychedelia. the album art says it all: stare into the abyss of nothingness and open up to brilliant colors. black metal to be sure, but not the least bit bleak- they recorded this with an indiepop/shoegaze producer to bring an entirely different aesthetic. don’t get me wrong though, this is heavy as fuck and got all the tortured screams and blistering riffage to satisfy your angst, just that there’s a lot more going on: time signatures galore and layers upon sonic layers of beauty. the most intense and illuminating DMT trip you’ll ever have.

Todesstoss – “Hirngemeer” – [I, Voidhanger Records]

abacus   5/11/2016   A Library, CD

a trapdoor to dementia, twisted hallucinations from German avant-artiste Martin Lang supported by screams of anguish from Flesh of L and bass blasts from Euer Gnaden; lonesome wrangler black metal alternately depressive ambient and brown-acid-soaked caterwauling; fumbling instrumentation broken by maniacal sortie of shrieking decapitated guitars and headswollen synths. a spectacle of mental collapse and decomposition; a barefoot walk on a carpet of shattered mirrors, each fragment reflecting distorted images of the self. evocative voyeurism lashing out at tortured platitudes and mindless quotidian.

Floral – “EP1” – [Subruckus Collective]

abacus   5/4/2016   A Library, Cassette

precision math rock from local virtuosos out of Mountain View; their interplay is telepathic, Ty perfectly syncopating Nate’s complex finger-tapping. Nate studies at Berklee, and it shows – weaving beautifully fluid mosaics between opposing melodic lines. outstandingly mature delivery- pushing boundaries without being overly showy or technical; these guys have the potential to blast off and never come back with their level of playing abilities, but show admirable restraint as they execute these meticulously crafted homegrown DIY songs. some of the best new rock music to come out of the Bay Area, so play it.

signor benedick the moor – “el negro” – [Deathbombarc]

abacus   4/27/2016   CD, Hip Hop

weirdo hiphop from outsider kid out of the LA area, like the dude that brought pot to all your LAN parties in middle school, and always showed up high to drama class; theater nerd – names himself after his favorite jaded character from Much Ado About Nothing; clever wordplay that maintains its juvenile toilet humor amidst intellectual eloquence. production that sounds like a 90s fantasy-rpg on casio, other times heavy metal noise rock – all self-recorded, probably spends all his time in front of a computer chopping up the hardcore/sample-heavy beats; did i mention he’s high as fuck?

Custodian & Gnawed – “Loathsome” – [Maniacal Hatred]

abacus   4/26/2016   A Library, CD

icy cold dominance and derision from Jon Engman out of Wisconsin and Grant Richardson from Minnesota; chain dragging / stone crumbling / glass shattering loops and shrieks; vocals buried in the bruising distortion, industrial electronics to blow out speakers and scare the neighbors; Loathsome.

Merzbow – “Antimonument” – [Art Directe]

abacus   4/26/2016   A Library, CD

’86 picture disc on Masami’s own ZSF Produkt appropriated for Swedish bootleg 5 years later; inspired by neoclassical architecture and the Goetheanum: metallic mantras of meditative maelstrom – a collage of gong gouging and flogging, styrofoam squeak and shred, circuitous clatter and percussive clambering; some pieces looped and others shattered, most somewhere between. the two sides of the record were named after the main shrines of the Ise Grand Shrine, the B-side a 30 minute psychosis split in two that erupts and sizzles. the CD features a searing hard-rock noise-ritual bonus track scaring the villagers. not the harshest per se, but certainly discomforting. a misreading of native cultures relating to the structure of language and thinking in music.

Thantifaxath – “Thantifaxath” – [Dark Descent Records]

abacus   4/20/2016   A Library, CD

atmospheric black metal from this mysterious trio of Canadians lamenting the waste and failure of the human race, depressive in themes and delivery but with heavy leanings in prog territory; the production in the despairing melodicism is clean to be sure, almost too clean, almost cheesy its that clean, but listening to those deep 70s prog vibes it all makes sense. the classic inspirations are tempered with metal passages that are aggressive indeed, and the vocals definitely have that tortured howl, but the riffage veers from your standard black metal, with technical structures carried along by some virtuosic bass playing. these guys have refused to emerge from their anonymity, which probably accounts for why they’re so unknown despite extensive touring and an approachable sound, and they definitely stand unique in style, for better or for worse.

Hennix, Catherine Christer / The Deontic Miracle – “Central Palace Music From 100 Model Subjects For HegikanRoku” – [Important Records]

abacus   4/19/2016   A Library, CD

Hennix is a Swedish artist, poet, composer, and philosopher who was an early experimenter in computer-generated music in the 1960s and by the 1970s was a central figure in the Downtown School along with La Monte Young and Henry Flynt, drawing inspiration from Xenakis, Stockhausen, Japanese Gagaku music and 13th-century vocal music. featured here is a previously unheard piece taken from a festival in 1976 performed at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm featuring an ensemble of Catherine on custom sine wave generators and renaissance oboe, Peter Hennix on renaissance oboe, and Hans Isgren on sheng (a mouth-blown free reed instrument with vertical pipes-one of the oldest Chinese instruments). the group employs ‘just-intonation’, a pure form of tuning in which the frequencies of notes are related by ratios of small whole numbers or fractions, or more simply put a tuning of purely consonant intervals. how this manifests is in glistening harmonic divinity, oboes serenading over the majestic veil of perpetual reed vibration and sinewave drone. the feel of a raga blossoms from the soul of this 45 minute piece, consonance evolving into atonality as the tension builds and tones are stacked methodically before evaporating at the end. perfect for mixing but a powerful piece to stand individually if your patience can stand for it; a challenging but rewarding listen from an influential figure in the avant-garde minimalist movement. breathtaking singularity of tone.

Framework 500 [coll] – [Framework Editions]

abacus   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

framework is a radio program dedicated to the art of field recording and its application in composition, operating on submissions by recordists and sound artists from around the world and curated by Patrick McGinley (aka Murmer). this collection commemorates framework’s 500th radio program, bringing together a wide array of pieces: in some like les gardens or what-happened the field recording is the center focus, transporting you to other environments, or others where the recordings, signal from the dam or mycelial path, figure amidst lush collages transporting to you complete other psychic states. some track titles denote sources within the overlap, like ascenseur or milking a camel; whereas others describe the recordings themselves, such as the first and last tracks of the compilation recording the sounds of the milling of the paper and the letterpressing of the liner notes. a beautiful selection of familiar yet otherworldly recording, collages, drones and even musical pieces; hours of material to lose yourself endlessly

30/4 [coll] – [Fragment Factory]

abacus   4/13/2016   A Library, CD

free channeling mind-fuck vexations – 30th release / 4th anniversary celebration of twisted tomfoolery from the Fragment Factory label based out of Hamburg, Germany operated by Michael Muennich. ranging from harsh to absent with all flavors of dirt-cut tweak, these cracked and fractured contributions are for true conNOISEurs: cut-up / field recordings / musique concrete / sound collage / prepared from and for the rubbish pile; delectables for the bent of mind and insatiable of souls. musically null and void

Gnod – “Infinity Machines” – [Rocket Recordings]

abacus   3/30/2016   A Library, CD

big players in the euro psychedelic scene, playing Eindhoven in june and have in the past as well. their catalog spans a universe of sound and this release packs surprises for sure. i expected heavy psych, though was pleasantly mistaken: most of this massive album simmers in leftfield electronics riding astral planes into realms of cosmic jazz and tribal psychedelia; deep dank beats set in around Collateral, whisking the fragrant smoke around the ether. your vision narrows, dilating in the off color light that pops and pulsats in the acid techno wash, churning bass heavy cogs stacking into a slow building dronescape of Downtime, beckoning you to the next disc. finally the mammoth psych juggernauts deliver with White Privileged Wank marching to the front line electrocution squad, Spinal Fluid goes all spacey again before Breaking the Hex really blasts off (the only true heavy psych track in the mix), a quick burst before the title track returns to mellow grooves, a long reggae trip that slowly stumbles off the deep end. excellent psychedelic music that brings 70s tripouts into modern electronics. a long drawn out comeup with only a brief peak before the comedown. sssiiiiccckkk

Dicksson, G. / Blodvite [coll] – [Jartecknet]

abacus   3/29/2016   12-inch, A Library

split LP from the very excellent Jartecknet label out of Sweden, more minimalist grainy grit of different textures: Gustaf Dicksson (aka Blod) layers tape scrambled Swedish archive recordings into various shapes-competing informational confusion concluded by a children’s nursery rhyme, the second piece a layered folk song for solo voice cut-collaged into an entrancing jumble. Blodvite (aka Viktor Ottosson) executes a delicate/desolate drone dirge, a ghostly buzz and ring in the back of your ear that subsides into nautical hypnosis that shifts, sways, and falters to the end of the sea. limited to 120 copies this label doesn’t get out much with their distribution, but is well worth the search.

Actuary / Gnaw Their Tongues [coll] – [Black Horizons]

abacus   3/22/2016   12-inch, A Library

transatlantic split of black ambient monstrosities: out of the LA sub-underground, Actuary unleashes a pairing of bellowing rumble and buzz, cosmic cataclysms swollen beyond capacity pulsating pustules of throbbing dark matter. and from the Dutch countryside, Mories presents an orchestra of tortured memories and paranoid dementia, distant fears and persistent delusions; the shit horror movies have nightmares of. despite the seeming contrast of harsh noise to some sort of mutated classical music, the two are indeed complementary in the most terrifying of fashions.

Fukuoka, Rinji / Michel Henritzi / Luca Massolin – “Weather Report” – [Backwards]

abacus   3/21/2016   12-inch, A Library

gratitude rituals from an international gathering of spirits; shimmering free folk dronescapes of morning dew glistening, string echoes in the mist. from Japan Rinji Fukuoka (Majutsu no Niwa) rings psychedelic on a variety of mediums, jumping rapidly from one to the next from the outset to cover as much depth as conceivable while French avant-gardist Michel Henritzi (Dustbreeders) drifts away freely on the lapsteel. Italian Luca Massolin (Golden Jooklo Age) covers various grounds, floating between his brethren with carefree focus and deliverance. recorded in Portugal as a political contemplation of the Fukushima disaster, these cosmic improvisations capture haunted and heavenly tones alike, as one in the same.

Cook – Greene – “a 39 Year Reunion Celebration” – [Studio 234]

abacus   3/21/2016   CD, Jazz

an intimate gathering of long lost comrades in free improvisation, veterans of the creative jazz scenes around New York / Boston / and beyond. even the tightest compositions unravel into beautifully quilted conversations: minimal yet lush, interwoven in psychic interdependency, drums and piano as one Improvising Being, old friends unloading an unspoken bond. introspective yet outgoing, both humorous and somber, the purest of personalities sonically palpable.

United Slaves, The – “United Slaves #2-3” – [Improvising Beings]

abacus   3/21/2016   CD, Jazz

haphazard collective of jazz journeymen (Owl Xounds, Arthur Doyle, Temple of Bon Matin, Other Matter) fall together into free drone jazz freakout meditations of varying portions; from 5-53 minutes, biting off more than they can muster in hodgepodge sound conundrums. broken swing swaying crooked in the windscapes, rhythm section chain rattling against the noisy tumult of rock unhinged in synth bewilderment. hippy burnout jam sessions for long come-downs at sunset meanderings: lost forever.

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