Crisis Man – “Asleep In America” – [Digital Regress]

whngr   2/2/2023   12-inch, A Library

High Energy Rock n’ Roll

Accelerated and emotive, these are sounds of progress with sweat, tears, and blood soaked strings that reverberate through our flesh suits. Rattling free the cobwebs and dust of acquiescence with considerable variety in structure and delivery; shaking the corpus into action, propellant and visceral with delicious synthy interludes. I am reminded of the sounds coming from N.Y. through Toxic State Records, beautiful in its rebellion and aggressively danceable. 

This five-piece is fronted by author, Ross Farrar (Ceremony) from San Francisco and graduate of U.C. Berkeley, “Asleep In America” feels deeply examined with an air of intellect but the delivery is from the heart or maybe the loins. Vibrant and evocative. Ben Wright (Acrylics), Jess Sylvester, Nick Vicario (Autistic Youth) from Portland, OR, and Shawn Mehrens (Abi Yoyos).

Santa Rosa – 2022

Microwaves – “Discomfiture Atlas” – [Three.One.G]

whngr   2/2/2023   12-inch, A Library

Perversely Frenetic Angles

Aggressively fractured art-rock with metallic elements and irregular time signatures applied with strange vehemence. Full sounding and note-intensive, the tone is a kind of disturbed resignation to a bizarre landscape that lacks optimism but perhaps not whimsy. A kind of mid-western Jazz is reprezzented on more strings than should be on an electric guitars with played with technical aplomb and electronic abstract elements. A clever and confrontational outing that might remind one of the illustrious MX-80 Sound or Voivod with spoken/shouted vocals and fever dream lyrics. Noisy and splintered, this is sonic high-math delivered with a deranged pessimism, and perhaps a resignation to eventual extraterrestrial incursion and then… dominance.

Microwaves are Dave Kuzy and John Roman (Brown Angel) accompanied by a retinue of complicit musicians including, Eric Paul (Arab on Radar, Doomsday Student, Psychic Graveyard), Sarah Quintero (Spotlights), Rebecca Burchette (Exosus), and Todd Rittman (Dead Rider).

Philadelphia, PA – 2022

Hiram – “Immersion” – [Home & Garden Music]

whngr   2/2/2023   A Library, CD

Quiet Natural Meditation

Minimalism stretched into almost 39 minutes of contemplative inner discovery with accompaniment by crickets, birds, empty space, pensive flute, possibly some sort of synthesizer, and your own inner dialog. Put this on before your Reiki treatment, ignite the white sage, align your crystals, your chakras, and your misguided intentions while you relax into the false security of your laying on of hands ceremony and pretend that you will be healed. Put all of your trust into faith healing and miraculous power of belief as you tell yourself that your suffering has purpose and that all will be well while you enjoy the sounds of insects desperate to mate before their short life is extinguished possibly by the birds that contribute to the duet. Remind yourself that this too shall pass… though in this albums case it will take a while. One long painless track, unless you are a cricket or a punk rocker and then strap in… it’s going to be brutal.

Hiram is one Mather Himes, interdisciplinary artist and musician from Minnesota who has committed 20 years to marrying “…traditional and natural elements combined with new techniques and technology, forming a bridge between past and present, and connecting self to space.”  (from mathewhiram.com)

Minneapolis – 2022

Deadform – “Deadform” – [Brainsand]

whngr   1/26/2023   A Library, Cassette

Created with GIMP

Oakland It Hurts

Feels sick and hopeless with despair. Five sonnets scrawled in the illegible script of the forsaken psychiatrist who has given up on the oath of Hippocrates, wrote on the gutter stained prescription pad of a life filled with abuse, confusion, and loss. Moderately fierce, feverishly despondent, three-piece sludge merchants/doom-saints crust out with chugging and a few perverted nods to Iommi. Unsettling samples/ambience, furious kit abuse, and a bit of slightly cringe worthy guitar leads that are rough and pinchy but paradoxically enjoyable… with riffs and guttural bellows that stretch bestial tendrils into the primordial lizard brain. The endless search for heaviness continues by one of the absolute paragons of the dark crafts and cultivator of an unmistakably regional sound that effectively channels profound mental illness into a life devoted to suffering.  An arguably noble, if hellish, cause that has grabbed many of us by our foundations, executed by one…

Dino Sommese (Dystopia, Asunder, Noothgrush) drummer and vocalist of profound influence with bassist Brian Clouse (Stormcrow, Fema Coffin), and Judd Hawk (Laudanum) on guitar. 

When AIDS slid this into my box and I discovered Dino was up to something new I went straight to the internet to see if I could cop a feel off b-camp and was immediately enthused but when I went to dub the cassette it sounded pretty fucking murky. Sometimes that can be good… but I decided that I would purchase the FLACs for a bit of unit measurin’. Whose do you prefer #6’s dirty as fuck analog contribution or my super clean, soulless offering built with ones and zeros. They are both on the cd. Mark your preferrence, ya slag, and I’ll tally all two of your meek little votes, and award the winner with absolutely nothing… at the end of never.

Oakland CA – 2022

Mo*Te – “Regulate Body Temperature” – [Rural Isolation Project]

whngr   1/26/2023   A Library, CD

Strange washes of mid-weight noise with distorted child-like melodies.

A child is playing alone quietly in the dayroom as the sun from the window stretches in oblique angles over the wall and floor, suddenly the air expands, making the windows flex gently as the crayon drawings taped to the colorful, muralled walls flutter and then fall to the carpet ornamented by friendly fish… our little one has discovered the gift of telekinesis and the blocks they were playing with begin to spiral into the air in a helical anomaly. Life will never be the same.

MO*TE is one  Fumiyuki Nagura of Saitama. Solo noise artist with at least 41 releases stretching back to 1995 and who was inactive from 2000 to 2009.
Japan – 2022

Schurer* ^ Steinbruchel* – “Falte” – [Non Visual Objects]

whngr   1/26/2023   A Library, CD

European High Art

Mostly somber abstractions constructed using the exquisite corpse method. I do something without you, you do something without me, and when we connect them it must be divine providence. Bells, chimes, drones, and hums, digital burbs, purrs, and equilibrium disrupting chords on these minimalist compositions intended tor an installation in 2006 at the Kunsthaus Zurich with a four channel visual accompaniment by Yves Netzhammer that we all most likely missed. These tracks might pair well with artisanal French pressed coffee and the rain on a quiet afternoon, inside with a cat and some light reading or possibly a dream of being pressed lightly inside a quiet French cat after noon in the rain.

Schurer* is one Brend Schurer, electro-acoustic, computer music composer, conceptual sound, performance, and installation artist (oh brother… you get an eye roll for that cv off from soundcloud) and Steinbrüchel* is German musician and graphic designer Ralph Steinbrüchel, both of whom reside in:

Zurich – 2007

Cetilia, Mark – “The New Way” – [More Records]

whngr   1/26/2023   12-inch, A Library

Not “modern jazz” you blind old fuck! MODEM JAZZ. If you’re volunteering here there is a 89.7% chance that you are closer to your grave than you are from your mother’s “Master studio” and if you’re from around here you are well beyond remembering the modem… you probably helped design them! Anyway this record yeah, sounds like modems drunk on jug wine and smoking filterless cigarettes with a fair amount of drone… and probably a few nasty surface nicks… that quizzically sound a little like other parts of the album that potentially are not a damaged record but at this point, here in 2023, in our modern audiosphere,  who can truly know the difference between intent and destiny? What is the difference between a quiet percussive passage and a damaged LP? What is intent? What is your intent… right now? Does it involve free will? Is the man in control of his destiny, or is the computer manipulating the man. Have computers finally freed us from free will? All important questions to ask… one’s that I have no answer to, but know this, you are free to play this potentially damaged double LP on the radio to a handful of other people whose lives are likely on the short end of their life stick. 

“The New Way” could easily be accused of having beats, but could also just as easily be considered interpretive beats or maybe “beat adjacent”? Beepy beats? I dunno, there is a lot of quiet and minimalism too. Maybe it’s a metaphor for something…  maybe the space between the beeps are the beats. 

“What is beats”?

From his very pretty website:

“…. Mark Cetilia is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice exists at the nexus of sound and image, the analog and the digital”… including …”generative systems in art, design, and sonic practice…” and, “…carefully controlled chaos.” 

So this is art I guess.

Rhode Island – 2022

Black Cilice – “Banished From Time” – [Iron Bonehead Productions]

whngr   12/22/2022   A Library, Cassette

Cavernous screeches peel through the mists of an eternal nocturne.

Portugal’s misanthropic black anchorite low fidelity murk metal project returns to our library, this time on cassette. Five spectral black metal offerings with a thick mist of noise/drone. A total absence of life this recording feels like an extrasensory foray beyond the veil. Thin, dark, miserable; these are the sounds of the recluse who has dispensed with society.

Black Cilice is credited to the atirst “none” on Encyclopedia Metallum

Portugal – 2017

Xibalba Itzaes – “Ah Dzam Poop Ek” – [Guttural Records]

whngr   12/22/2022   A Library, CD

Mayan Black Massacre

Raw Seminal first LP from early black metal project Xibalba Itzaes (now just Xibalba) out of Mexico (not to be mistaken for the California hardcore/beatdown group of the same name and slightly similar logo). A two-piece, low-fidelity expulsion of rage, terror, and malice with themes around the brutality of the Mayan pantheon and exploration of a culture rife with human sacrifice. Xibalba roughly translates to “Place of fear” and represents the name of Mayan the underworld. Includes traditional indigenous instrumentation like rattles and flutes like, “Garchah” (Disc 1 – track 4), “Sac Ibteeloob Cab” (Disk 2 – track (5), and “Bolontiku Vahoom (Disc 1 – track 7)” which also has some ambient avian sounds. Cvlt, cold, and grim, these lads were on the crest of the 2nd wave from the New World and are perhaps the first trve black metal projects to come from south of the border.

Xibalba are brothers, Marco Ek Balam (vox, guitars, lyrics, songwriting) and Jorge Ah Ektenel (drums, lyrics, songwriting) who have both continued the tribal war malignance until the present day (despite a few hiatuses) though they have had a bass player (also their brother) since 1992, he is not credited on this re-release, however, he most likely did perform on the second disc,”Live from Delorean Sanctuary” which was recorded in 2017 and is extra muddy and gross.

Mexico City -1994

Ignivomous – “Hieroglossia” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

whngr   12/22/2022   12-inch, A Library

Aussie Tech-Death Doom

Heavy/fast – heavy/slow detuned death metal from the land of reversal. As above, so below. Frenetic fretting, double bass, blast beats, relatively sparse pinch harmonics, trem dives, and other guitar trickery, guttural bellows with compelling and even beautiful perhaps cover art by one Stéfan Thanneur of Ocre and illustrator to many delicious music related outings including Oakland’s Succumb. Ignivomous is Latin for “Vomiting Fire” and the themes include philosophic pessimism and gnostic ideology around the “… hostile nature of the material world”.

Active since 2006, this five-piece has had a couple of line-up adjustments but have retained the core of the founding members for their sixteen year existence.

Melbourne – 2019

Akitsa – “Sang Nordique” – [Hospital Productions]

whngr   12/15/2022   12-inch, A Library

Nordic BM from the New World

Primitive and coarse, Sang Nordique is a plodding march into Canadian black metal with a macabre garage rock sound and deep roots in the noise scene. More morose and minimal than furious, with ugly guitar tones and simple repetitive compositions slightly reminiscent of Les Légions Noires, admittedly, in part, due to the French lyrics which are thoughtful and morose. This album was re-recorded in 2008 with Eric Syre on drums and re-pressed in 2019 by Hospital Productions due to a longtime friendship between Tremblay and label owner Dominic Fernow of Prurient which includes rehearsals (side D) from 2002. Vocals are gravelly, guttural, forlorn, hollow, screechy and on “La Nature De Mon Pays” (B7), melodic and slightly evocative of a wintery dissonant sadness.

Akitsa is a two-piece from  Montréal, “O.T.” (Outre-Tombe/Pierre-Marc Tremblay) liege of Tour de Garde Records and “Néant” of Uno Acto, both of whom perform all instruments.

Quebec – 2002

Ctenizidae – “…Of Rotting Soil And Spine” – [Nebular Carcoma]

whngr   12/15/2022   10-inch, A Library

There is something very small on this landscape… and it is you! 

A tiny man in a field of unspeakable horrors, fearsome giant spiders are prowlling for flesh and now that you are the size of an almond, you make a hopelessly soft target and must battle for your life like a lost Frazzeta painting. And these six short tracks are the soundtrack to your terrifying, if brief, tale of woe in the spiny clutches of ruthless arachnoids. 

High intensity USBM and harsh, slightly insectoid electronic textures by one, The Abyssal Rot of All Creation of which no information is available. Cteniizidae is an order of spider that hunts uses a trapdoor to hunt and hide… Creepy.

Location unknown – 2021

Whoredom Rife – “Whoredom Rife” – [Terratur Possessions]

whngr   12/15/2022   12-inch, A Library

Modern high production black metal from Norway.

I acquired this because I want to say “Whoredom Rife” as much as possible in my life and I appreciate their aesthetic. Shields and skulls, check, NWN! was having a sale, yup. The tracks are alright too, I guess. I mean, it’s all there; Norwegian, brutal, furious, grim, cvlt, fits into christless… just a little too technically proficient and exhibiting more virtuosity than I generally prefer. Call me what you will, but I want my metal bleak, crusty, and mysterious… Give it to me rrraaawwww… slip back into the shadows and scheme.

W.R. are “K.R.” (Kjell Rambech), vox and “V. Einride” (Vegar Ytterdel Larsen), everything else. Larsen has been active as a session and live drummer in the current century including working the kit for Gorgoroth. Prior to that, and until recently, he was in an absolute shit project called, Keep of Kalessin. Cringey videos exist, try to avoid seeking them out. He is far better on all instruments in Whoredom Rife than any of his previous cohorts are on theirs.

I am drawn to the packaging on this EP though it has a few qualities that are irritating and counterintuitive for service in a radio station. Gate-fold slipcover? Okay, if you say so… fuckin’ flashy pants… but pretty rad at the same time. ;P

Trondheim – 2016

Meat Wave – “Malign Hex” – [Swami]

whngr   11/16/2022   12-inch, A Library

Seething dark post-punk

Mid to up-tempo rock and roll with a proliferation of very catchy downstroked riffs and a pessimistic if not confrontational stance. I hear Hot Snakes, The Fall, perhaps a slightly darker Franz Ferdinand or a more aggressive, less apathetic The Strokes. A full sounding three-piece with huge hooks.Engaging and energetic with some gentler passages (B2 “Waveless”) that add contrast and depth as well as the near title track “Malign” (B5) which is a beautiful down-tempo and subtle ear-worm that works nicely for us though “Jim’s Teeth” (B4) is perhaps the strongest offering lyrically, compositionally, and in delivery. A tight and focused album, Malign Hex gains favor and builds resonance from repeated listens.

Three-piece from Michigan, Chris Sutter (guitar, vocals), Joe Gac (bass), and Ryan Wizniak (drums).

Chicago – 2022

Body, The & Big|Brave – “Leaving None But Small Birds” – [Thrill Jockey Records]

whngr   11/16/2022   A Library, CD

Post American Traditional

Thoughtful and pensive folk with a powerful and passionate delivery, especially by vocalist Robin Wattie of Big|Brave, with sparing electric and amplified elements that tend to build gently as the album progresses. Beautiful, tortured, and often unconventional vocals rise above somber violin and acoustic guitar, hypnotic minimalist percussion, piano, mandolin, vocal harmonies, feedback, crumbling frequencies reminiscent of life’s inevitable result, and the deep sorrow of love forever lost. 

These bands are both sort of metal adjacent acts that hold their own with the heaviest and loudest projects on the planet with parallels being drawn to Sunn O))), not unsurprisingly as Big|Brave is signed to Southern Lord, who is owned by founding members of the vomit inducing juggernaut (Wattie has also collaborated with Greg Anderson on the digital release Needle Cast) but this collaboration is considerably quieter and employs more traditional instrumentation than either of these two projects’ previous outings. And unlike both of their previous work, there is a paucity of drones. Instead of the dense waves of atrial fibrillation inducing low-end now they are layered delicately like jeweled globes of dew clinging to the gossamer thread of a spider’s web abandoned by its weaver. Big|Brave has been noted for not being immediately accessible but having a tendency to grow on the listener over time; sometimes being a bit of a challenge. This was not the case for me and was even less true with The Body, which I adored from the first listen, but for some reason their collaboration was a bit difficult for me. Not as noisy or as thick as I was expecting, indeed I struggle to hear much, if any, of The Body as I have come to know them on “Leaving None But Small Birds” but once I settled in I found it both beautiful and haunting… though not in a spooky way, more like urging me to feel again… or maybe to be whole… things that will not come easy.

Big|Brave is Robin Wattie (guitar, vocals), Matthieu Bernard Ball (guitar) both of whom are strong visual artists in their own right, and multi-instrumentalist Tasy Hudson (drums) from Montreal, Québec. The Body are Chip King (guitar) and Lee Beuford (drums) and would be from Portland, Oregon… if they could sit still long enough to be from anywhere.

Canada and Everywhere – 2021

Off! – “Free LSD” – [Fat Possum Records]

whngr   11/16/2022   12-inch, A Library

Angry hippy loses control of his hardcore punk band (and perhaps his sanity) while continuing a life-long insurrection against oppressive capatilist war-mongering regimes and on this first release in eight years, extraterrestrials… and it fucking works. 

A strong pivot from this new release from OFF! that while employing several new elements, themes, and instrumentation while retaining a hardcore punk ethos and structure. Sounds a little like Circle Jerks colluding with a swollen, up-tempo Godspeed You Black Emperor with trem-picked heavily effect laden guitar in short form psychedelic fueled declarations against quietude. 

OFF! is Keith Morris/vox (Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Flag), Dimitri Coats/guitar & electronics (ex-Burning Brides), Autry Fulbright II/bass(…And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead), drummer Justin Brown (Thundercat, Herbie Hancock), John Wahl-saxophone (Claw Hammer). Long-time punk rock art icon, Raymond Pettibon contributes the art as per usual but in a shocking twist, employs a spray of soft color; a thumbing of the nose at well heeled conventions that mirror and complement the songs on this recording that explores metal, psychedelia, and jazz in, and around, the hardcore punk template. The packaging is just as far afield from what was called “hardcore punk” at one time, eschewing DIY ethos and aesthetic to embrace rock and roll excess and deserves a little attention, what is going on with the strange tactile printing on the interior of the gatefold? Does it glow? What happens if you lick it? Will the alien robot take over your mind? How much did this gatefold cost to print?! And lastly, the liner notes are printed on perforated white blotter paper that actually gave us a physical rush when we pulled it out, reminding us of our former days when we might have explored synaptic distortion with a lysergic irrigation of the cerebellum as we fell deep… into our developing degenerate punk rock minds. I like it though, unconventional and acerbic with a salient theme that is carried throughout the LP. The language of the genre continues to evolve, absorbing new vocabulary and phrasing while being inextricably tied to one of the last surviving roots of 20th century Southern California hardcore punk.

Los Angeles – October 2022

Rider / Horse – “Feed ‘Em Salt” – [Ever / Never]

whngr   11/16/2022   12-inch, A Library

Woozy Post Gloom

Driving-droning rock that disturbs the equilibrium with meandering, slightly off-kilter lap steel, ethereal electronics, rock n’ roll drums, insistent bass lines, and mildly rabid, often reverberating death rock vocals from this two-piece from upstate New York. Rider/Horse deliver a fairly unique and often dissonant sound that includes many disparate layers with relatively traditional structure and drumming but almost every other aspect sounds alien and mildly uncomfortable. Strange but not alarming, “Feed ‘Em Salt” is the second full length from the duo of:

Cory Plump, guitar/vox (Spray Paint, Protomartyr) and Chris Turco, drums (Assembly Of Devices, Geezer) out of:

Kingston, NY – 2022

Proudpilot – “Monsters Exist” – [Peyote Muzik]

whngr   11/10/2022   A Library, CD

Powerful female-fronted post/punk/dark/wave/goth/rock from Turkey.

Complex hard-hitting drums propel driving rhythms from the bass creating a heavy platform for the other-worldly and evocative synthesizers, further elevating the haunting vocals to explore beautifully dark and strange realms. Incredibly full sounds from this three-piece with great variety in tones especially from the synthesizer, the gorgeous delivery of their sound is especially prevalent on track 10, “First Contact” and reminds this volunteer of the project Kaelen Mikla . With luscious washes of synth that at times are thick with gloriously brooding atmosphere and other times borrow the lead from the bass in what sounds like an electric xylophone or a reverbed-out marimba but with the impact of the traditional instrumentation of polyrhythmic drumming and note-intensive bass lines. Resplendent in a kind of macabre and spectral sphere of heavy diaphanous sound.

Proud Pilot are (though “were” is probably more accurate as this is their only release) , Ekin Üzeltüzenci (Ekin Fil) on synth and vox, Pınar Üzeltüzenci (Biblo) on bass guitar, and Kaan Akay (Psycho Mantis) on drums. I was unable to uncover the relationship between Ekin and Pinar Üzeltüzenci, be it siblings, cousins, father and daughter, or what intuition tells me and my desires refuse to except… husband and wife, but whatever the truth may be, I am stricken with envy, not because I think that I would be even a remotely adequate partner for Ekin but that any proximity to her might illuminate some of the secrets behind her incredible talent and her motivations. That said, I am also quite cognizant of how much pleasure I take in the mystery. Do not miss her far quieter, much more somber and atmospheric solo work as Ekin Fil.

Istanbul – 2009

Lord Diabolus, The – “Down There…” – [Dark Descent Records]

whngr   11/10/2022   12-inch, A Library


Low fidelity black/death metal/grind with heretical samples, guttural vocals, and electronic atmosphere on this single sided LP.

The Lord Diabolus was an alias of Finland’s, Beherit while in legal purgatory with their label (Turbo Music) at the time of this recording and were an early 2nd wave project of Marko Laiho/”Nuclear Holocausto Vengeance” (guitar, vocals, keyboards, and programming), Jari Pirinen/”Sodomatic Slaughter” (drums), and Arjo Wennström/”Black Jesus” (bass) who had left the band prior to this recording, from the very northern climes of Lapland that, in the frozen depths of winter, will receive only three hours of sunlight… a month. Cold and bleak is the terrain; dark and miserable are the sounds of, “Down There…” Beherit would become a notable and formative scion in the esteemed legacy of Scandinavian Black Metal especially known for their use of electronics atmosphere and samples; a practice that was considered avantgarde, less brutal, less raw, and perhaps more feminine, something that was (and to many, still is) viewed with derision. Laiho seemed unfazed by the opinions of sheep and would go on to focus on electronic dark ambient before moving to Thailand to dabble in techno. In 2008 he would return to Finland and reform Beherit with Pirinen, susequently releasing 3 more albums. In their early days they, along with other Finnish metalers including Mika Luttinen of Impaled Nazarene, would become embroiled in an intense feud with the Norwegian Black Metal scene that would be known as the “Dark War” (a slightly tongue and cheek and juvenile designation that would not rival the genuine and lasting animosity between the Norwegian and French scenes) and were notorious for their early live performances which included the heads of pigs and goats upon the stage which would help them amass a dedicated cvlt following.

Rovaniemi, Finland – 1991

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