The Bonnocons are a semi-mysterious collective based in Liverpool, but its members have Yorkshire and Lancashire roots. Their aim is “to achieve a kind of Transpennine hypnotic music” (the Pennines are a range of mountains and hills in England separating North West England from Yorkshire). The bonnacon was a mythical beast from the Middle Ages which defended itself from pursuers by spraying caustic feces out of its furry anus. They are a little doomy but more psych-space jamming than dooming. Kate Smith (yes Kate Smith) their vocalist shifts between yodel, yelp, chant and wail. “Ritualistic” music reminding me of GOAT – this is a fine piece of work.
Eleven instrumental tracks by Russian trio Jahroom (Alexander N. on bass, Timur D. on drums, Rasel R. on guitar). Guest artists on trumpet and saxophone. Jahroom experiments with several interesting genres including psychedelic, progressive, improv jams and a touch of reverb laden surf. The band has been together since 2010 and they released their debut EP Nyx in 2012, followed by Cut-Price Goods in 2016 and Snegiri in 2017. This double CD contains the Cut-Price Goods album and the Nyx EP. This is some really cool stuff on this record for you metalprogpsychsurfpunkadelic fans.
British guitarist, C Joynes has assembled an ensemble comprised of folks from Dead Rat Orchestra, guitarist Nick Jonah Davis and Cam Deas (who records both as a sound artist and an acoustic guitarist). The music they have created for The Borametz Tree (a semi-mythical tree found largely in travellers’ tales of the 1500s) is a difficult-to-describe hybrid of approaches and techniques. From swirls of North African string design accompanied by dream-time percussion, to banjo/fiddle duets that remind us of documentaries about the American Civil War, to flowing free-form jams where everyone piles on psychedelic licks this is a nice trip to take. Carson Street
Khôrada is comprised of members of Agalloch, and those familiar with that band will recognize their earnest, despairing songwriting style here. However, this project mixes in some different instrumentation, and has abandoned Agalloch’s ethereal screaming style of vocalization in favor of clean, though pained (and at times anguished), vocals. There are plenty of heavy riffs and kick drum flurries to be found in the high-gloss production courtesy of Billy Anderson, but also quieter, contemplative moments. Beautiful guitar melodies are a real highlight. Throughout, the lyrics grapple with our current era, one marked by unyielding apathy and insatiable corporate appetites at the onset of climate change. Rather than present unbridled fury at the world’s end, the sound has a sadness and desperation shading into resignation. If anything, I wanted this album to take that last step into complete abandon and destruction, but these compositions exhibit considerable restraint.
Rebetika is a type of Greek folk music dating back to the Ottoman Empire, popular in coffee shops, hashish dens, and prisons of the era. Lyrics often describe crime, drink, drugs, poverty, prostitution, and violence. The music is traditionally played on the bouzouki, a Greek instrument with Turkish roots, and can be accompanied by voice, accordion, cymbals, and a variety of other stringed instruments.
Here we have modern re-interpretations of 9 classical Rebetika songs for guitar and electronics from Andy Moor (The Ex) and Cypriot composer and sound artist Yannis Kyriakides. Almost all were recorded live.
Moor’s intricate guitar picking is sampled, layered, and looped. The Greek influence is pervasive, but Kyriakides’ electronic treatment takes it in entirely new directions. Traditional tunes melt into heavy drones. Notes and phrases are deconstructed into sparse collages, then congeal under their own weight into stuttering glitchy rhythms, harkening back to the urban nightlife where this music first took shape. Faint vocal samples (also Greek) heighten the dramatic tension on a few tracks, more like memories of vocals rather than vocals themselves. Love, joy, and sorrow.
coffin nails squeaking open, a dust cloud rolling through, and the sound that keeps you awake
Portland’s weirdos Noa Ver and Zach d’Agostino. Both simultaneously play squelching, buzzing, droning electronics of their own design, while Noa uses a contact mic to produce screechy, screaming vocals, distant, like an old phone. Zach keeps a beat, sometimes, driving off into a short-circuited sunset. 100% homemade, analog sounds. Is that a violin? mamba bongoes? Who knows..? Who cares…? What does it all mean?
Is this the end of the world or a new beginning?
Maybe both, probably neither.
This will make you feel warm inside while it tears you apart. THIS RULES.
Kali Malone is an American electroacoustic musician and composer currently based in Sweden. As a master’s student at Kungliga Musikhögskolan, she studied alternative and ancient tuning systems, and for her thesis she worked as an apprentice to an organ tuner in Stockholm. It was during this time that she learned to play the organ and composed the four pieces on this album for Ascetic House. Malone recorded the dirges in a small rehearsal room at her school, using closely placed microphones to capture the sound. Stripped of the usual heavy reverb and volume, her playing has no hint of the gothic or the gospel. The organ radiates a warm, intimate sound, and yet there’s still an unsettling tension, created by her use of unusual intervals and fluctuating durations of the tones. Gorgeous work, at once comforting and confounding.
This is a pleasant aural experience brought to you by a Senegalese musician who is a griot, or a storyteller who sings his stories. He accompanies himself on the kora, a 21-string harp-lute made of a big dried gourd, one thick stick and two smaller sticks, as well as a scraped goatskin. The instrument is more than 600 years old, which is fitting for these songs that keep history alive. Read the liner notes to find out the story behind each song. Inject some cheer into your sets.
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