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Music Reviews

Paysage d’Hiver – “Kerker” – [Kunsthall Produktionen]

atavist   8/31/2019   12-inch, A Library

The genre of Paysage d’Hiver according to The Metal Archives: Black Metal, Ambient. Paysage d’Hiver is Winter Landscape in French, and as the project is based in Switzerland, the album title, track titles, and lyrics are in German. This release, Kerker, or Prison, was originally released in 1999, and Kunsthall Produktionen has re-released it 20 years later on vinyl with fine packaging. This recording warrants a 20th anniversary. Painted with a seemingly limited palette, the arrangement of these spare elements combine to suggest a story over the course of four tracks. Elements contrast each other and occupy different sonic regions so that they are clearly discernible. It’s at once despairing and beautiful, primarily a richly textured dark ambient piece, with the last track being the closest to conventional black metal; even so, the sounds throughout are much rounder than the grit and abrasion of the most caustic black metal recordings.

A1. “Depth”. In the rumblings, the stirrings of monolithic subterranean beasts who walk in the endless night, disturbing slumbering caverns. Finally, guitar sounds resolve. Is this a ray of light in this dread catacomb? When it falls into naught, the beasts prowl undaunted. This first track blends into the second…
A2. “Steps” …which starts with a new percussive element. Their dark works accelerate unimpeded. Synths build. Glimmers of light, ephemeral, beauty has returned to do battle with the dark beasts. Guitar returns to cry into the darkness, mournful, all is lost. But the rhythmic machine passes. The beasts and the light, flickering, remain. At the conclusion, a voice emerges, confused? Tormented? Rumblings like wind, an ether, a permeating medium through which souls pass. A slow fade to oblivion leads to an abrupt end.
B1. “Shadow”. The rumblings return. Here, little alters this minimal landscape for some time, and new patterns emerge only gradually. Pulses punctuate the rumbles. Ethereal light glimmers in the unrelenting dark. That voice returns, to be overwhelmed by a new malevolence…
B2. “(Passage/Course)” …a master of darkness. In this concluding track, a driving drum machine is buried in the din of the guitar. Still the glimmering light of the synth flitters across the surface while the beastly voice prowls the sonic depths. Guitar and drums cut through the middle. It’s like the beast and the light are in the room with you an the guitar and drums are heard through a wall. The lyrics might mean, “Is this the life course? Immersed in my inner self, I am bound in the time of the universe, I go the slender course about the knowledge of the shadows”. A satisfying dissolution provides a conclusion.

Peals – “Walking Field” – [Thrill Jockey]

Dangerous Dan   8/28/2019   A Library

Cerebral and shimmering instrumental music from William Cashion (Future Islands) and Bruce Willen (Double Daggers). Accented by toy pianos, keyboards, tambourines. No base or drums. All of the percussive sounds were created by microphones and guitars. This is a throwback to 1970’s German ambient scene.

Black Dog/Goddess Aphonic [coll] – [Monastic Discharge]

atavist   8/27/2019   A Library, Cassette

Black Dog: Filthy vocals, bass buzzes like malevolent electrical wire. Lo-fi production boosts the raw subversion. The mix favors the vocals over the instruments, so turn it up and have Gollum screaming in your ear.

Goddess Aphonic: the quest to meld heavy with saxophone continues. Driving, insistent rhythm section. Snarling bass. The sax carries the main melody with descents into the skronks and shrieks common when a sax is pushed into the red. The sax is maxed out in a way that you can feel the air rattling around the inside the brass. Occasionally, some strangled vocals are forced through the chamber.

Mother, Juggs & Speed – “Party Trash/You’re Bumming My Trip” – [self released]

Dangerous Dan   8/27/2019   A Library

Mother, juggs & Speed were a Los Angeles Band. The two tracks on this 7′ inch record haven’t seen the light of day since 1989. They were culled from a cassette tape that was found in a garage belonging to guitarist Arthur Brennan. This gem is dedicated to lead singer Fred Maddux who passed away in 1996. He was 34 years old. The band got their name from a 1976 movie. Mother , jugs & Speed starring Bill Cosby, Harvey Keitel, Raquel Welch, and Larry Hagman. Band members were also in Student Teachers and Glue. This is down and dirty punk limited to 200 copies.

Gilbert / Hampson / Kendall – “Orr” – [Mute Records]

Dangerous Dan   8/27/2019   A Library

Experimental music that is a mix of discordant, rough noise to sonic soundscapes. Guitar noise, tape loops and electronic manipulation. “Wire” guitarist Bruce Gilbert teaming up with Robert Hampton and producer/mixer Paul Kendall. This one falls into the category of difficult music

Tibetan Folk Music [coll] – [Saydisc Records]

humana   8/26/2019   CD, International

These are “traditional songs & instrumental music from the roof of the world.” I only wish I could appreciate them as much as I would if I had grown up hearing them. The male vocals are a lot easier on my ears than the high-pitched female vocals. The track titles are picturesque and simple, and the instruments are Tibetan versions of a dulcimer, a six-stringed lute, a transverse flute, and two-stringed fiddles. Rich liner notes enhance the listening experience.

Kellar – “Fulminant” – [Foolproof Projects]

Dangerous Dan   8/26/2019   A Library

This is the third release from Duo Dan Cross on guitar and effects and Andy Pyne on drums. Fourteen tracks of noise art improv. Thundering drums and primal jamming to prog-punk guitar attacks. Elements of doom and psych. Reminiscent of Acid Mothers Temple.

Moran, Kelly – “Optimist” – [Obsolete Units]

humana   8/26/2019   A Library, CD

This is a wash of utter beauty from composer and pianist Moran, who hails from Brooklyn, New York. She plays many instruments, although it is her prepared piano that conjures hints of Philip Glass. Many refer to this as minimalist, but I think the layers and textures are just right for filling the spaces thirsting for musical loveliness.

Klimperei / Sacha Czerwone – “Pour Le Jardin” – [Jardin Au Fou]

humana   8/26/2019   A Library, CD

Klimperai is Christophe Petchanatz, who, together with Sacha Czerwone, created these sweet, sad songs that indeed would be pleasant to listen to in a garden. Czerwone is a composer and accordionist who adds her sweet vocalizations to these mostly instrumental songs. Sprinkled throughout are fieldlike birdsong, toy pianos, and loveliness. Each song is just long enough to make its way into your music memory.

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