Music Reviews

Yevtushenko, Yevgeny – “In Readings From His New York and San Francisco Concerts” – [Columbia]

whngr   3/22/2021   12-inch, A Library

Readings in English and Russian by acclaimed poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko with friends on both American coasts ca. 1972.

Exploring themes like the Vietnam conflict and genocide, Yevtushenko was criticized by fellow Russian poets for working with the Communist Party.; allowed to travel extensively during the Cold War and often critical of the West, Yevtushenko was able to forge new ground, delivering passionate, compelling, and rousing performances while casting dispersion. Though the topics are well tread in 2021 and can feel a bit trite at times, they are nonetheless, valid criticisms of some of humanity’s darkest days. However, the performances by all parties are what makes this recording engaging. The meter, and projection is fierce, words as weapons with lashing tongues rolling ‘r’s like vitriolic peals of thunder… barring Allen Ginsberg who really seems to struggle with the emotional depth of the suffering conveyed by all the other performers… including the heckler on Babi Yar (B3) whom Yevgeny shuts down just prior to his performance, eliciting a round of applause from the audience, who I gather were communist sympathizers and anti-empirical yet far too soft and weakened by capitalism to survive in Mother Russia… besides their political radicalism was merely a phase and they probably became a bit complacent after profiting greatly through their early investment in Apple™.

Yevtushenko passed in April 2017 at the age of 83, a resident of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rotting Sky – “Sedation” – [Black Horizons]

whngr   3/19/2021   12-inch, A Library

Fervent Obliteration Ritual

Devastating Harsh Noise/Black Metal. 

Abrasive yet ethereal. 

Sullen and fierce.

 Remote, impervious, and elusive though personal and uncomfortably intimate.

Throbbing. Peeling. Clawing. Bleeding. Crying. 

Cold and implacable.

Miserable yet divine.

A colorless crawl through a gauntlet of polar extremes.

It is likely that this is not for you. Put the record down and walk away.

Forget you crossed paths with this horrifying monument to pain.

That was close. A narrow escape. But you’ll carry on… for a while anyway.

Rotting Sky is one Tim Messing of Portland Oregon and guitarist of the now defunct Nux Vomica. 

Berk, Ernest – "Electronic Music For Two Ballets" – [Trunk Records]

aarbor   3/17/2021   12-inch, A Library

Ernest Berk was born in Cologne, Germany. He was known as a pioneering ballet dancer, teacher and electronic music artist. He went to England and started a dance company there. This album is consists of the scores for 2 of his ballets: Initiation and Gemini. Initiation is about “modern youth’ and its ritualistic behavior, being “initiated” in order to belong. Gemini is about a young man falling in love with identical twin sisters. Forget that these are ballets. This music can be used for many other purposes and will appeal to a broad audience. Berk created an electronic sound suited to his experimental dance style – it is abstract and great listening. Towards the end of his life Berk gifted his entire collection of work to the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne – most of which was destroyed during the construction of an underground railway. These 2 recordings come from an original which the family had. AArbor

Villard, Michel – "Les Musique Des Films De Charlie Chaplin" – [Disques Vogue]

aarbor   3/17/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker and composer who rose to fame during the silent film era. His life was a true rags to riches story as his childhood in London was quite impoverished. His best known character is “the Tramp”. He directed and produced his own films, also wrote them, edited them, starred in them, and wrote the music. On this album you’ll find music from: his silent films: The Kid (1921), A woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936), his first sound film The Great Dictator (1940) which satirized Adolf Hitler, and his later films: Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). AArbor

Sula Bassana – “Shipwrecked” – [Sulatron Records]

SlartiBartfast   3/15/2021   12-inch, A Library

Psychedelic, electronic, krautrock from Germany’s own Dave Schmidt (AKA Sula Bassana). From uptempo, hard diving compositions to more mellow ambient tunes this 2016 solo release “Shipwrecked” is sure to please your ear drums and your mind. Recorded using vintage synthesizers,  organs, drum boxes, and guitar in Sula’s “Amoebeklangraum”, or little sound room as Clemens Mitscher describes it, this Sulatron Records release will keep your head bobbing and your mind throbbing with pleasure as you enjoy some thoroughly out of this world kosmische musik. 

Max de Wardener – “Music For Detuned Pianos” – [Village Green]

Max Level   3/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

Composer de Wardener’s pieces written for pianos modified with various ‘non-standard’ tuning systems. If you enjoy the unusual instrument tuning concepts of composers such as Harry Partch and LaMonte Young, then you will no doubt appreciate what’s going on here. I’m just a dumb bass player so I can’t tell you much about tunings such as “seven-limit just intonation” or “overtones from three interlocking harmonic series” but I can say the music they produce is pleasantly otherworldly. I do wonder why four pieces played in standard piano tuning are included–the liner notes say it’s “to provide a familiar perspective” but one track like that would have been plenty. I’m here for the modified tuning stuff. Pieces performed by pianist Kit Downes.

Cobra Thief /Animal Oxygen

carsonstreet   3/11/2021   12-inch, A Library

Cobra Thief/Animal Oxygen

Cobra Thief says of themselves on bandcamp: Cobra Thief is a perfect mix of Kyuss, Soundgarden and Mountain. Deep, spaced out Rock’N’Roll since 2017. They are often described as Desert Rock. Their sound floats along the dividing line between heavy psych and stoner rock in a way that is unique. Very cool stuff.

Boy Dirt Car – “Familia”- [After Music Recordings]

whngr   3/8/2021   12-inch, A Library

 Fractured Dada with Resonance.
Mid weight noise, subverted rock, confrontational tirade, drone, monkey screeches, feedback and malevolent psychedelia. Defies description but could potentially be an aural analog of the brown acid of upstate New York circa 1969.
While preparing this album for our MP3 database I found that I was having a hell of a time finding any delineation between tracks, listening repeatedly until I felt a lurch and madness began to creep through my mind in the shape of a fractal of oxidizing steel leaning in to the sky on a cold winter’s afternoon. Exploring the hive mind I discovered track lengths from multiple sources, none of which corresponded with my increasingly worrisome recording. I searched harder and decided the speed must have been wrong on my turntable so cutting corners I began to stretch the track lengths warping the sound but it still wasn’t quite matching up with Spitify. I decided to pan my recording all the way to the left and listen to it on brandcamp to see where they diverged but still they only seemed to be in sync momentarily before I became lost in the echoing swarm of voices and irregular percussion. I panned all the way to the right but the only thing I could truly discern was that I was no longer tethered to my faculties as I felt reality become diaphanous and I slipped further into my confusion. I began to hear something or someone breaking into our house or perhaps raccoons had penetrated the walls… I threw down the headphones. What was that sound? I descended the stairs while surrounded by an unfamiliar noise, lunacy, and an unremitting need to discover the source. I threw open the front door and was met by an impromptu storm; huge globs of water striking the earth and the awnings accompanied by moderate wind and the return to my senses. Back in my room I decided to take a new tack. What could the record tell me visually? I found that where I had intuited the end of the tracks and the beginning of the next were totally in line with a minor interruption in the grooves and that the track titles did not correspond with the streaming sites online; this album was not the same as the one online. Clarity and insight followed, I had something analog and different from what was readily available to the masses and it was a puzzle, one that had pushed me into the gaping maw of madness before being solved partly due to an atmospheric shift and a seemingly random coincidence of procyonic sounding reverberations and upon reflection; this was an appropriate introduction to Boy Dirt Car, one the group I’m sure, would appreciate.
Formed in Chicago in 1981 by Darren Brown and Eric Lunde. They were soon joined by Keith Brammer and Dan Kubinski of Die Kreuzen,  building an avid and devoted following before crumbling in 1989. They were rebuilt sans E. Lunde in 2001.

Hissing – “Permanent Destitution” – [Profound Lore Records]

whngr   3/8/2021   12-inch, A Library

Frantic, demented Death Metal from Seattle Washington.

Grinding gloom with sparse, uncomfortable, perverse mathematics. 

Anger, hurt, toil, apathy.

 Furious guitar, drums, and bass with guttural bellows and sparse noisy abstraction.

Numbness, intellect, drudgery, despair.

Not quite lo-fi with attack, vision, and a deranged masochistic bent.

“The miasma of the human hive in the city we live in. Rather than active human malice and cruelty, I think we’re more interested in the dull violence of tedium, the slow corrosive way that modern life saps your passion and vitality day by day and we let it happen.” -Z. Wise of Hissig

Trumans Water – “Godspeed The Static” – [Drunken Fish]

SlartiBartfast   3/6/2021   12-inch, A Library

Fantastic, raw, energetic, Low-Fi, garage sounds from Trumans Water. Transport yourself to that underground, post-punk, improvisational sound emanating from a warehouse party of the early 90’s. A band appears and begins to test the limits of expression and noise. All distortion on instruments and mic’s at 11. Perfection! “Godspeed the Static” is Trumans Water’s first in a series of limited releases of the Godspeed series. The Godspeed limited releases are all live, in studio, improvisational sessions. “Godspeed the Static” is a noisy, fuzzy, gritty gem of an intro to the Godspeed recording series. From “Sweet Sister Gay” to “California Lies” This is a four track LP sure to let that pent up anxiety disappear into the fuzzy distortion of Trumans Water’s loud, noisy and impressive improvisational escape. 

Goat – “Commune” – [Sub Pop Records]

SlartiBartfast   3/6/2021   12-inch, A Library

Tribal rhythms, fuzz guitar and psychedelic sounds? A band dressed in masks and tribal attire to bring this enchanting psychedelic sound to you? It must be Sweden’s own Goat. “Commune” is Goat’s second studio release out on Sub Pop Records from 2014 and remains a gem nearly a decade later. For those that know Goat, you can bask in the warmth and love of this sophomore release . For those of you who are unfamiliar with this fantastic Swedish psychedelic experience, sit back, relax, and let your noggin get carried away in the hypnotic rhythms and fuzz heavy guitar driven divineness that underlies the enchanting and energetic vocals of the two female lead singers. “Commune” is guaranteed to scratch that psychedelic itch in your ear and transport your mind to another world. 

SS / S – “Sicario De Dios” – [Jealous God]

cinder   3/4/2021   12-inch, A Library

This being a collab between Silent Servant (John Juan Mendez) and Svreca (Enrique Mena). The first track opens like a foreshadowing into a nightmarish dream. A dark, guitar drone ala Sun O))).  Then the struggle in your dreams begin. The next track brings a bass heavy techno beat, that runs repeatedly through your head as you run through the fog filled forests at midnight, escaping what lurks in the shadows. Side B has that foreboding drone feel again, as if you’ve been stopped cold in your tracks…something is whispering your name, pulling at your soul, but you can’t see it. The final track – you race like hell to find shelter and hope that your sweat drenched smell doesn’t attract the steaming behemoths that stalk.

Copy – "Chosen Atmospheric Pieces" – [Gold Robot Records]

aarbor   3/3/2021   12-inch, A Library

Copy is Marius Libman from Portland, OR (who now lives in SF). This is his most recent musical release from 2016 on stylish silver vinyl. His style is playful and retro sounding with a very analog synth sound as if he’s trying to create 8 bit computer music. Each track is an instrumental gem. Some tracks are lusher sounding, others more glitchy – each one has its own unique personality. You can’t dance to it but it’s definitely worth a play! AArbor

Aparicio, Jaime Delgado – "El Ambajador Y Yo" – [Vampi Soul]

aarbor   3/3/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Looking at the album cover you would think that this record is a bit on the dark side, but not very dark. The film is from 1966 and that explains the sound which is very enjoyable but not too challenging: mostly jazz, with some surf, a bit latin and rock. The composer is Jaime Delgado-Aparicio of Lima, Peru – a graduate of the Berklee School in Boston. Just enjoy this – it’s a guilty pleasure. AArbor

MXLX – “At Time Temple” – [Kinda Rad! Records]

whngr   3/2/2021   12-inch, A Library

MXLX is Mathew Loveridge, Bristol, England and “At Time Temple” is an explorations of the perversion of several genres including Black Metal, Ritual Psychedelia, Noise, Punk, Folk, Hymnal, and perhaps the inception of several other genres that fall between the cracks of extant categories. At times meditative and serene (Zone Away), elsewhere tortured and vehement (Disastrchasr), the composition and performances appear to provide a vehicle for personal expression above any other motive.  
Layers of drone and squealing guitar, buried percussion, white noise modulation, emphatic wails, deep string bends, cacophonic scrambles of electronics and guitar, thunderous double-kick, quiet spaces of single picked acoustic guitar, lilting choral passages filled with lamentation yet devoid of meaning… 

Pulling from a broad spectrum of influences and subverting them all, indeed,, there is an utter lack of convention in almost every aspect of this release, especially the spit in the eye of high-minded grandiloquence. He produces (heavily) as a byproduct of a diagnosis that he credits as a motivator.and states, “I happen to be autistic, The ridiculous pumping out of mediocre jams is sort of a by-product.” But this apparent self-depravation has a note of humility to it. The art and packaging of  this release is raw and unrifined, mirroring aspects of the sounds contained within, especially a sense of immediacy, or urgency, of capturing a moment or a feeling before it slips away giving the album an ephemeral feel. Having excised this ghost he will move on to other compositions, other demons to slay. with no allusion to deeper meaning or value. He does it because he must. Internal incentive being the crux of his motivation while we, the listener, are an unnecessary mote, a passive witness to his expression. 

“Loveridge’s vocals are typically obscured or non-verbal (see 2015’s I Aim To Understand Nothing). While he dismisses questions on his lyrics, claiming they are as obligatory and “completely unconsidered”…”-Alastair Shuttleworth, The Quietus 2020 https://thequietus.com/articles/28115-matthew-loveridge-mxlx-interview

Loveridge of Bristol, England whose mental health apparently provide the impetus for a staggering amount of output under several different monikers (Knife Library, Fairhorns, Speed the Plough, Gnar Hest, et al.) encompassing a vast amount of influences without derivation. Something wickedly pure amid a turgid ocean of clamoring whore-hounds. 

Conniffe, Brian & Walsh, Suzanne & MacDiarmada, Diarmuid – “Landslide” – [Lumberton Trading Company]

whngr   3/2/2021   12-inch, A Library

Three musicians from Dublin, Ireland explore quiet space with enchanting ambiance on this release from Poland’s Lumberton Records, 2013. 

Mellifluous, feminine vocals interwoven with shimmering chimes and bells, juxtaposed against strange nocturnal abstractions. Squeaking trapdoors? Frog chirps? Thumps, aerophone, and synthesizer swells create a slightly spooky backdrop for the delicate singing of Suzanne Walsh. 

What are your musings fragile spirits, there in the shadows, eyes aglow against the inky blackness just beyond our reckoning? Might you be coaxed out, to dance with us around the fire? Or are you too shy, too reticent, and too many secrets held to mingle with humanity? Join us in our mourning song , to heal our wounded hearts opened by the loss of our fallen companions so that we might sleep deeply, come ere the dawn.

Landslide is dedicated to the memory of John Balance (Coil) and Peter Christopherson (Throbbing Gristle)

Frost, Ben – “Dark Original Soundtrack” – [Invada Records]

whngr   2/23/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Foreboding dreamscapes of cinematic majesty.Gorgeous sweeps of strings and synthesizer. Tension, terror, and psychological torpor.It’s a good series with an excellent soundtrack by Australian/Icelandic composer, Ben Frost who is both well represented in our library and an absolutely stunning example of masculine beauty. Every element of this album works perfectly to instill a disturbing aural environment to accompany the imagery and performances. The cadence is impressively somber. Themes to a nightmarish journey through mysterious other-worldly confusion. A masterpiece in my esteem.

Dark is a beautiful science-fiction series from Deutschland that on paper should tick all my boxes but sadly due to its pace, plot, and perspective has a tendency to put this miserable volunteer to sleep. I will not relent however, though I have attempted to watch the sixth episode six times now, I will tenaciously repeat until satisfied… perhaps another six attempts will suffice. I have come to believe that this soundtrack and its visual accompaniment is, in fact, a diabolical spell devised for deep sleep with disturbing dreams. Whose opening stanzas weave a nearly narcoleptic incantation propelling the listener/viewer into a fathomless cavernous repose.

Boom Bip & DJ Osiris – "Low End Sequence EP, The" – [Mush]

aarbor   2/17/2021   12-inch, Hip Hop

From 1998 this is a 3-track record with jazzy grooves, dubbed out hip-hop beats, and ethnic rhythms. You’ll hear classic jazz breakbeats, live instruments and even some spoken word. It was their first release and only release together. Boom Bip went on to record many more records, Osiris only a few. AArbor

Collocutor – "Instead." – [On The Corner Records]

aarbor   2/17/2021   12-inch, A Library

From 2014, five fine tracks from Tamar Osborn and her colleagues in Collocutor. There’s a magical blend of influences here. As Osborn says: “I’ve always been interested in music from other places, of what happens when humans from different cultures interact, seeing which ideas stick and how it comes together to create something new and redefining. And, hopefully, that comes through in the music,” The music sounds both old and new, and it has roots in different parts of the world. New London Jazz at its finest. AArbor

Gravite – “Gravite” – [Empty Cellar Records]

cinder   2/15/2021   12-inch, A Library

A duo of Matthew Riley and Aaron Diko. For their debut release, they’ve used a collection of classic and reissued analog equipment: Juno 60, Prodigy, Mono/Poly, Minimoog, SH-01A, MS20, Minilogue, Volcakeys, & a TR-08. It’s a fantastical journey through the cosmos, with an edge on the rainbow crystallized comets and colorful oil hues of the horizons. Happy and optimistic. Definitely has a Kraftwerk vibe. Synth-tastic!

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