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Music Reviews

Eisenberg, Wendy – "Its Shape Is Your Touch" – [Vin Du Select Qualitite]

Thurston Hunger   4/22/2020   12-inch, A Library

Oct 2018 release, talented tangled fingers on solo guitar (as is the apparent M.O for the Vin Du Select Qualitite label). The opening cut named after deceased artist Sol LeWitt lost me, but in the way Derek Bailey’s work would lose me. Maybe I’m clutching too much to a map that no longer applies. Eisenberg uncertainty principles applied to note selection and rejection? Dipping into “Lethe” track 3, all is forgotten which right about now is about as promising as life gets. That has a great blend of peace and tension, discordant clusters hang in space, the pace is relaxing, with a few flourishes of finger-picking that will bloom later on in another river “Eridanos” which has a lot of furious eddies of playing. Between them “Early November” is dusky and somewhat bouncy. “Designated Mourner” is pretty, with a spider-like balancing of dissembled chord to dissembled chord. “Sawn” speaks to its technique, fingerblade friction used to saw notes off the strings at times, some bluesy 7th comfort tossed in for good measures. The album has a tipsiness to it that is part of its charm amidst avant brainiac complexity. The closer, “All Saints” is a guitar pretending to pop bubble-wrap and/or be leaky faucet. Shape-shifting suits Ms Eisenberg well, as Lexi mentioned check out Birthing Hips also there is Editrix, both of which kinda rule.
-Thurston Hunger

Seeded Plain – “Flying Falling” – [Public Eyesore]

lexi glass   4/22/2020   A Library, Cassette

Seeded Plain are the local electroacoustic duo of Jay Kreimer and Bryan Day (of Collision Stories, and the head of the new music labels Public Eyesore and eh?). Over the length of this C60 tape, we’re drawn into a strange sonic realm made entirely from a collection of original homemade instruments invented by the duo. The devices used on this recording aren’t specified, but Day’s creations have names like Magnetoselqier, the Rotowhisker, and the Sputterphone, vivid titles that give clues to the origin of the unique sounds found here. At times they have a familiar counterpart – a plucked string, a toy piano, a vibration from a gong, a hiss of an insect. But others are utterly alien: the whistles, whirrs, and warbling tones from another dimension that melds with and subtly transforms our own.

A Mild Case of Split Wrists [coll] – [John Wiese]

whngr   4/21/2020   7-inch, A Library

Asmr For Automatons

Two moderately noisy tracks on this 45 by Joe Colley of Crawl Unit and John Wiese that worry, wither, and writhe. Machines crunch, tap, whir, crackle, and grind. Chirp, pulse, short, falter, and fade over near sub-sonic rumbles that though neither overtly harsh nor necessarily amiable may provide the listener with a subliminally calming experience. 

These two sound sculptors have come together again to create a sonic curio for your perusal. Packaged neatly in a succinct and aesthetically pleasing jacket, this single from 2007 will flicker through your awareness, be forgotten, and settle in your subconscious to perhaps live again in dreams of hypnotized machinery.

Gendreau, Michael – “Polvo Seran, Mas Polvo Enamorado” – [Public Eyesore]

whngr   4/21/2020   A Library, CD

Danger! Extreme Minimalism


A harrowing experience for dj’s awaits. Can you handle the silence, low levels, and diminutive sounds of equipment failure? Soft low-frequency purrs, machines turning slowly, empty space, a distant dog barking, muffled speech from down the hall, near sub-sonic drone, abrupt crashes of abstraction. Arrhythmic plinks, plunks, bumps, thumps, and clicks. White-noise. Automobile traffic from 9 miles away, android insects, footsteps, infrasonic vibrations, and a decrepit lathe. 
San Francisco based acoustician Michael Gendreau produces four tiny aural engravings that  might cause you to peer at the cd player querulously and consider notifying Engineering about yet another cd player giving up the ghost. However, this is all according to plan as Gendreau’s work on low noise and vibration for buildings implies a focus on space and the site-specific sounds produced therein.

Angelwings Marmalade – “World Music” – [Devine Records]

lexi glass   4/15/2020   A Library, Cassette

Angelwings Marmalade is one of the many incarnations of Chicago-based experimental electronic artist Angel Marcloid (see her other projects, the fantastic Fire-Toolz and Nonlocal Forecast, in our library). She describes this working name as “the catch-all moniker for sound collage, noise improv…I used to work a lot with hands-on electronics, cassette players, loopers, stuff with contact mics on it… that ended up evolving into Angelwings Marmalade when I began incorporating software into the experiments.” This 2019 cassette is a wild found sound timewarp where tribal percussion and drum machines, computer chimes and singing gongs, smooth jazz sax and pitch-shifting synths, demonic incantations and throat singing chants, harsh noise and muzak are sonicated and synthesized into a coherent vision of unrest, a scene of dissolving predictability that seems just right for the moment.

333REDUX [coll] – [No Part of It]

abacus   4/13/2020   A Library, CD

abridged CDr sampler of a massive DVDr data disc release remixing rehashing reconstructing Arvo Zylo’s seminal 333 release. trip mental industrial of the chaotic crunchy variety, plodding soundscrapes of rhythm and noise, concrete crushing beats cracked around the edges. some of the tracks get in to more cut-up, concrete, or ambient even, spiced up with some jazz skronk? this comps got it all, true QUALITY noise stuff compiled by the connoisseur himself. released here on Arvo’s own No Part of It label; if you get a chance, dig up the bandcamp to sample the full release, especially for the complete 35minute Blood Rhythms piece. and if you’re not afraid of long tracks for that matter dig up 333 from our very own library here and maybe do some side by side. the beautiful thing about good comps is I honestly believe there’s something everyone can get down on here, this is the kinda noise that converts folks.

Brainbombs – “Fucking Mess” – [Armageddon]

abacus   4/12/2020   12-inch, A Library

yet another botch trashpile from Swedish edgelordz Brainbombs (named after a Punishment of Luxury song if you care to look), this 2008 LP comes over 20 years from their exit of the womb and they’ve hated women ever since apparently. ripe with misogyny at every track, full of rape, torture, murder; they’re heavily influenced by Peter Sotos if that means something to you. sloppy detuned repetitive noiserock to leave you numb in the lips, the grime makes you want to grimace and the horns just sprinkle a bit of class on the excrement. like I said, all the tracks are pretty dirty: 2,3,5 are technically obscene what with the masturbation and peeing and stuff but technically 2 don’t got no naughty words and 5 you can’t understand a thing anyways so do with that what you will. 6 is the only really clean track on here despite depicting a pretty gruesome murder scene (but hey at least they murdered a guy this time). if the trigger warnings don’t make your belly boil maybe this is for you (hell, maybe it makes your loins tingle, ya’ll a bunch of deranged sickos anywho)

Two Daughters – “Recordings 1979-1981” – [Vinyl on Demand]

lexi glass   4/8/2020   12-inch, A Library

With this 2019 double LP set, Vinyl on Demand resurrects the sole pair of recordings from the Two Daughters. Known only by their first names, Anthony and Paul, the mysterious Brixton duo worked on the fringes of the early 1980s weirdo English experimental universe inhabited by Industrial Records and United Dairies artists. There also may be a connection to Simon Fisher Turner: the Two Daughters could very well be the muses for Turner’s later experimental ambient project Deux Filles, whose reissued work was recently added to our library.

LP1 features the duo’s first self-released cassette, 1980’s Ladder of Souls. Fragments of twisted chanting voices, haunting melodies, simple guitar patterns, and tribal percussion are looped and layered into minimal ambient works. On some tracks, the repetition can become tedious – like the siren-like wailing that carries on for ten minutes on “Return Call” (T5) – but overall, it leads to a captivating, hypnotic effect. Especially effective are the works with percussion: “Drums” (T6) sounds like it could be on rotation at the Kluba Cupol.

LP2 holds their first full-length LP, Kiss the Cloth/Gloria, released in 1981 (and reissued later in ’87 by United Dairies). Here, the ideas found on the first cassette come into full realization. The rhythms have a larger, richer sound (see the ecstatic “Gloria II”, T13), and the vocal chants are clear and strong. Layered with these sounds are lush strings, echoing gamelan, choral hallucinations, and even samples of Bowie.

McCRAVEN, MAKAYA – Where We Came From (Chicago – London Mixtape)

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Chicago drummer Makaya McCraven jams and mixes with 4 of the stars of the New London jazz scene: Theon Cross (tuba), Nubya Garcia (tenor sax) and Joe Armon-Jones and Kamaal Williams (keyboards); as well as the more established Soweto Kinch (alto sax), at London’s Total Refreshment Centre in 2017. The players bring dancehall, grime, garage and hip hop into their auditory “vision” of jazz and the remixers take it the next step. Beauty! AArbor

SHABAKA AND THE ANCESTORS – Wisdom of the Elders

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Shabaka Hutchings is the best known and perhaps the most prolific musician from the new London Jazz scene. This is one of at least 3 of his projects. Recorded in South Africa Shabaka Hutchings plays with an otherwise entirely African group of musicians paying tribute to their musical and familial ancestors. AArbor  

LAGOS CHOP UP [coll.]

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

From 2005, another fine collection from Honest Jons that dances its way through urban Nigerian social music of the of the late 1960’s through the ‘80s. Some say that the 1970s were the golden age of West African dance music before it integrated with Western Pop and became more global. Dig in, dance and enjoy! AArbor

ANTIBALAS – Fu Chronicles

aarbor   4/8/2020   A Library

Afrobeat meets Kung Fu – and it works! In this latest album from Antibalas they return to pre-gentrified Williamsburg (Brooklyn) when both Antibalas and Daptone Records were spawned out of lead singer Duke Amayo‘s kung fu dojo. After 20 years Antibalas are still fresh. AArbor

Haters, The – “Mind The Gap” – [Vinyl Communications]

lexi glass   4/1/2020   A Library, CD

Like a tube ride straight into the depths of hell, Mind the Gap is loud, unsteady descent into mechanical mayhem. The three tracks on this 1996 Haters album consist of the sounds of records being stapled together with a staple gun. Each pull of the trigger is amplified beyond recognition, and the noise – continuously spinning in repetitive cycles – seems to rise from the locked groove of a patchwork staple-sutured frankenrecord. On “Mind the Gap #6” (T1), a low sludgy bass pulse hums beneath metallic rumbles. “Mind the Gap #8” (T2) brings in the ambient blur of distorted voices. Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, luckily for you, “Things Can Only Get Hater” (T3); the closer stitches the elements of the first two performances together into a hypnotic, twenty-seven minute trance.

Deny The Cross – “Alpha Ghoul” – [Tankcrimes]

whngr   3/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Total Fucking Battery

45- local- power-violence- brutal- grind- hXc- hooks- misanthropy- heretical- raspy- note-intensive bass runs- blast beats- way too fucking short.Members of Spazz, Agents Of Satan, Municipal Waste, Plutocracy, Exit-13, Black Army Jacket, et al. lay down 18 tracks of bleak and devastating brilliance on this EP from 2016. I’m sorry that I never witnessed these bad-asses do their thing ’cause it is basically like my fucking dream sound ca. 1995 with nods to the M.I.t.B. bass slide thing and everything so I’m pretty sure I would have pissed myself. Now the country is on lock-down and the likelihood of pissing myself in public has become vastly less likely. Their drummer (Dave Witte) has moved back east, the majority of world is obliging to the empirical request to sequester, the economy has faltered if not begun to collapse, and this, like most of my dreams which lay in cinders around me, will never see fruition. Coincidentally that kind of negativity is a fitting mindset for an appraisal of Alpha Ghost. Though thematically a thread of recusancy, Heterodoxy, and the profane (no discernible FCC’s but FCC on Hospital Ballads [B3]) run throughout this blistering, seething, pane of wax, lyrically these songs are overtly personal and emotive. Staying true to the genre but pushing the envelope of technique, expression, and to my mind, relevancy. 

-Hospital Ballads (B3)   Uninsured Fucked, inhaling disease Skin is scaling From inside I bleed Uninsured System in shock Blood is contaminated My teeth crack and rot I am not immune
  C. Ramirez  2016

The cover-art is appropriate as well, which in this time of sweeping global pandemic, can only be interpreted as God sneezing on his flock.

“I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues—last, because with them God’s wrath is completed.”

REV:15

Domo/Domo

carsonstreet   3/30/2020   A Library, CD

Formed at the beginning of 2010 in Alicante, Spain. Domo plays psychedelic and electrifying rock. Domo’s music is based on psychedelia and experimental rock. The starting point of their music is “the classical structures of heavy, hard and progressive rock of the seventies”. Lots of doom and sludge here too. Recorded, mixed and mastered in August 2010.

Ascended Dead – “Abhorrent Manifestations” – [Dark Descent Records]

whngr   3/30/2020   12-inch, A Library

Death Metal Fusillade

A massacre of iniquitous proportions surround a single track of euphonious yet unholy classical guitar (A5 Dormant Souls) that includes an adept cover of Last Ritual by death metal fore-bearers Possessed (B4). Wrathful drum abuse, shredding, battery, slicing, dive-bombing, guttural bellowing, finger picking, and ominous wind by this four-piece from San Diego, Portland, and then San Diego again. The drumming stands out on this album though the guitar work is also quite ferocious with a considerable amount of virtuosity which, for this miserable volunteer, is not necessarily, or even usually, a complement but Ascended Dead have unfurled an admirably vicious first album of extremely high-energy death metal that though forging little new ground does willfully and with malice aforethought lay waste to what remains of the blackened earth bequeathed to them by their progenitors.

Space Debris/Into The Sun Live 2006 Burg Herzberg Festival

carsonstreet   3/28/2020   A Library, CD

Space Debris is a German band that creates a complicated blend of classic rock jams, Krautrock, space rock, psychedelia and fusion jazz. A Hammond B200 with Marshall amp, Ludwig drums and a special recording technique help create a sound that is creative, experimental and comparable to early Deep Purple and Pink Floyd instrumental music.

O’Dwyer, Aine – Gegenschein

carsonstreet   3/27/2020   12-inch, A Library

Aine O’dwyer/Gegenschein

This is a mystical frightening drone. Just the kinda thing to help scare the peasants into believing. It really works on a number of levels including psych, classical, medieval folk and drone. Two side-long tracks. Gegenschein (gegen-schein) was recorded at the Franciscan Friary in Limerick city. Áine (awn-yuh) gained access to the Friary in 2012 and explored both pipe organ and space in its disused state. What becomes of a sacred space after the dispersion of the spirit, after the light has been switched off and it has been de-consecrated? Read the information on the back of the sleeve about the Mayan legend and interpretations of a new era for all earthly inhabitants undergoing a spiritual transformation. I love this record and so will you or you will be going to hell.

New Improvised Music From Buenos Aires [coll] – [Esp-Disk]

Hemroid The Leader   3/26/2020   A Library, CD

14 tunes between 8:22 & 1:38. ESP Disk. Mostly jazz with chamber, electroacoustic & noise. Heavy, not swinging: repeated destabilizations, shocks & devaluation underpin tension, crisis & terror. Mouthpiece sounds, processed audio, silences. Inhabits a unique space, not the usual skronk. Cool book.

Sinneplakken – "Sinneplakken" – [Time Released Sound]

humana   3/26/2020   A Library, CD

The Kleefstra Brothers hail from the Netherlands, with Jan writing the lyrics and Romke offering his guitar and effects. Other musicians join them to create the atmospheric sounds on this CD that are hinted at by the track titles. The vocals are like a voice-over to a fascinating film that is rather dark and haunting. A lot of people will appreciate this.

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