Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Marinos Koutsomichalis - Malfunctions (Agxivatein, 2010)

Marinos Koutsomichalis - Untitled 2

I'm thinking this new Agxivatein label might be on to something... They put out that user-manipulated album by Bozkurt, and now they got Marinos Koutsomichalis' Malfunctions, which also has a bit of a surprise element.

I don't make music. Never have, probably never will. But from what I'm told, it's not an easy process. Lots of shit can go wrong, equipment breaks, strange feedback coming from unknown places, the whole Murphy's Law thing. Koutsomichalis laughs in Murphy's face. Malfunctions is an album comprised entirely of those unwanted sounds. The mistakes that you seek to eliminate and destroy. Marinos purposefully manufactured those random artifacts and fine tuned them, resulting in a brilliant electronic noise album.

If I hadn't been told the sound sources on Malfunctions were "mistakes," I wouldn't know. I mean, come on, it is a noise record. That being said, this is some seriously fantastic noise. Huge harsh squalls of static folding over itself, hidden blips on the radar, power line hum, bug zappers, there's even an entire track that sounds like Airsoft machine guns blasting from single shot to full-auto.

Not all of the songs ramp up to full blown body crushing walls of sound, some are sparse glitchy skipping hard drives, but the ones that do are absolutely beautiful. So many fucking layers of astounding chaos. Honestly, my speakers can't go loud enough when I listen to Malfunctions. Cranked all the way up, I feel my bones vibrating to dust and I still want more. This album works great as a concept, but throw that idea out with your hearing, fucking turn it UP and you just have one of the best noise albums of the year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicagojazzen - Misantropi För Nybörjare (Irrlicht, 2010)

Chicagojazzen - Bränn Ner Jörn

The Swedish dude who put out that sweet Brachiosaurus tape on Native Parts last year is back with his debut vinyl slab on Irrlicht. If you loved that tape, then you're really gonna love Misantropi För Nybörjare. And if you're new to the whole Chicagojazzen thing, let me introduce you.

I think the heart of this music is in pop, although it takes many strange routes and uses some irregular means in getting there. The best comparison might be if A Faulty Chromosome and Madagascar joined teams to make a blown out beat heavy pop folk record.

The artsy collaborative feeling found on Brachiosaurus is still in full force here. Tons of instruments, all the usuals plus melodica, xylophone, some electronics shit, and who knows what else, making sweet drone lullabies, waltzy carnival tunes, and weirdo basement dance jams.

And then there's the black metal influence. Yup, this guy is all over the fucking place and it's awesome. "Bränn Ner Jörn" is a perfect example of the bizarro fucked sounds from Misantropi. It's totally in the red, thick with a hundred layers of nondescript buzzing & tweaking making a mostly danceable song with scratchy roaring demon vocals.

There's no way to really peg this record without omitting a dozen plus elements. Every song is its own mini-album, and the record as a whole speaks for itself. There's no use trying to translate it or help finish its sentences. It's a wild beast. And you know not to fuck with those things.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sun Boxes At Important Records

This has been in the planning and almost-happening stages for months. Every time they would set a day, it would get rained out, and I would get cranky. This is something where rain is more than just a gross, wet nuisance. It actually makes the Sun Boxes not work.

Sun Boxes are a creation of Craig Colorusso, which he installed at Important Records HQ for a one day affair. Each box is a solar powered speaker with a chip that emits a single guitar tone played by Colorusso. Very straightforward. There are no batteries, so when the sun fades, so does the music. There were 20 Sun Boxes, each with a different guitar loop that, according to Craig, would take about 7 months for all of the boxes to reach point zero again. That means walking through the boxes yields a new aural experience every time, even if you trace your previous path.

There was something magical about the Sun Boxes in that it seemed damn near impossible to pinpoint which sound was coming from which box. I could be sitting in front of one box and still not be able to tell what sound it was making. All of the boxes seemed to be fusing together under the sun, creating a single organic harmony that incorporated the surrounding sounds of trees rustling, overhead jets, and the nearby golf course.

The simple serene fun of walking through a field of drone boxes is nearly indescribable. It's just something that needs to be participated in on your own. Colorusso lives in the Boston area, but the Sun Boxes can be deployed anywhere, at any time (as long as it's not raining). So keep an eye out and maybe you'll spot one in the wild some day.

I shot a shitty video that does nothing to convey the experience, which you can see below, and there are more photos of the event on Flickr.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Video: Tobacco - Super Gum

ET's sister gettin her fuck on to some sexy Tobacco jams. I mean let's face it, that's all anyone ever wants to do when Tobacco is playing. And strangely this is safer for work than most other Tobacco videos.

And don't forget the man himself is stopping by The Middle East in September. Awwww yeah.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Spermwhales - Time Warp EP (self released, 2009)

Spermwhales - Time Warp

Spermwhales, the dude who crafted that burlap cased Endless Sea Of Clouds, has offered up a free 20 minute EP and it's glorious. It's a textured drone love affair with lots of water squiggles & warble glitches thrown over some unhindered hypno-drone. It sounds like The Snorks partying in a champagne ocean, or The Jetsons buzzing along in their aerocars during a golden sunset. So, obviously, there's no reason not to grab this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

André Foisy - After The Prophecy (Land Of Decay, 2010)

André Foisy - The Great Disappointment

I'm gonna be honest. The last thing I expected a solo project from one of the dudes from Locrian to sound like is looped string drone. But that's exactly what André Foisy's After The Prophecy tape is and it's fucking great. There's a catch though. There's only 2 songs, repeated on both the A & B sides, and one of the songs was previously released on a Twilight Luggage comp. So is it worth it? Come on guys, this is a Land Of Decay release. Of course it's fucking worth it!

The first (previously released) track, "The Great Disappointment," is a swirling medley of mandolins, violins, and guitars. Very hypnotic. The electric guitar buzzes along with a layer of feedback, lots of plucking, lots of chords, it's just a royal mess of harmony. It's over wayyy too soon but it sounds fucking grand.

Then comes the real bread winner, the 21 minute "Call To Clarion: Flee That Flood." Starts out with a Ty Braxton style guitar loop foundation, some Dirty Three drones come in, and then the resonant feedback breaks through. It's a dense blend and the layers just keep getting piled higher & higher, more feedback, some percussion, until about 10 minutes in, it falls apart into a FX glitch squall. This is some dark shit, let me tell you. The Locrian influence shines its evil horns. Even when it's just the lone dusty guitar towards the end, it's still unmistakably the work of a Locrian dude.

Locrian bends genres in the most interesting & beautiful way possible, so it only makes sense that this doom/noise/psych/ambient tape is from the hands of someone who has an intimate relationship with Locrian. But this isn't Locrian. It's André Foisy, with his own style and take on the drone side of things. But After The Prophecy is every bit as awesome as anything Locrian has done. Only 250 copies. Hurry your ass up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

MP3: Girlfriends - Gov't Seizure (Aurora 7, 2010)

Girlfriends - Gov't Seizure

Everyone's favorite Boston garage scuzzbuckets Girlfriends got a new 7" headed your way in the form of "Gov't Seizure" which was previously only available as a live track on a couple blog comps (like the evercool White Guys). It's a post-dark blast of fun that dials down into a real lowlife. And the B-side, "Creep Stuff," is just as filthy and lovable. They're headed out on tour very soon, so make sure to catch 'em before they're headlining the big joints. And if you're here in Boston, make sure to join them at Great Scott on July 1 for the 7" release party with Doomstar!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sewer Goddess, Xiphoid Dementia, Vomit Arsonist at Fool's Mansion (Salem, MA)

A night of crusty disgusting black industrial harsh doom noise for free, hosted at Fool's Mansion right in my own downtown.

Vomit Arsonist

Xiphoid Dementia

Sewer Goddess

Friday, June 18, 2010

Haiku Review: Endless Endless Endless - On Growth And Form (Tired Trails, 2010)

Endless Endless Endless - Weight

Endless Endless Endless
On Growth And Form (download)
/lushed out space burnt rock/
/arms up warm energy blast/
/glide by pulsing static/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Michael T. Bullock & Andrew Lafkas - Ceremonies To Breathe Upon (Winds Measure, 2010)

Michael T. Bullock & Andrew Lafkas - Ceremonies To Breathe Upon (excerpt)

Bullock from Boston and Lafkas from I don't know where team up for some contrabass dueling on Ceremonies To Breathe Upon and you reap the benefits. Yay, right?

There's just one 43 minute track and it's a fuckin doozy. It opens with a near static drone, breathing in and out in a way that almost makes it hard to tell you're listening to strings. It's an organic sound that completely empties my brain. Not in a meditative or transcendent way, but more like a numbing stress free kind of way. I just disappear. Become totally vacant. I never notice the water bubbling footsteps or the shift to a more melancholy tone. All of the nuanced subtleties in harmonics heading in a Stars Of The Lid direction, they just pass me by.

I come to about halfway in when shit starts getting eerie. Similar drones as to before but with a harsher edge. Swirling tones that make me think I'm being surrounded by phantoms. Hauntingly chill stuff, unnerving in a surprisingly pleasant way. I feel like I'm hitting puberty all over again, my emotions going crazy and I'm never really sure what I'm supposed to be feeling. All I know is that the finale is creepy as shit.

Ceremonies is a pretty killer record that hits all the right spots. Ambient neo-classical noise, sparse jazz, lush drone, it's all here and it sounds fucking great. Limited to 300 copies and packaged up in a lavish letterpressed sleeve and you got yourself a goddamn winner.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ophibre - Basil Forests (Digitalis Limited, 2009)

Ophibre - Side B

You know what's been missing from this blog for a while? OPHIBRE. AGB used to be like the #1 Ophibre fan site (still is) but I've been slacking. He's been putting out plenty of stuff for me to review (including the one on Songs From Under The Flooboards which was just released today), I just haven't been keeping up. Shame on me. Well, since I last wrote about him, he's moved up a bit in the world with a new release on Digitalis! Way to go dude.

Basil Forests has 2 side long pieces and both are the pure heavy drone Ophibre is known for. The A side starts with that no-nonsense pulsing layered over hushed cosmic hum. Space and time intertwine while stars drift by. Wide open synthy sounds, panning & warping, expanding & morphing, acting like a gas filling every available space in your room. So many intricate sounds whizzing by, it becomes dense & loud in a very soft way, dizzying in its blissy grandeur.

The B side is a whole other monster, heavy as shit right from the get go. It sounds like an entire fleet of WWII bomber planes. Menacing and relentless, it's a black hearted non-entity with a one track mind. Mostly an organ-type sound but there's an unmistakable growl underneath it all, patiently waiting until your mind goes numb when it'll lunge for your throat. However, like almost all of Ophibre's work, it also has a euphoric transcendent quality. Blur your ears and it unfolds itself one coating at a time to reveal an infinite harmony.

Because this one's on Digitalis Limited, that means that it's got quality presentation and, yes, is limited. Though how limited, I'm not sure, as it's not even on the Digitalis site. I'm sure you can (and should) get one if you ask them, or from Ophibre himself.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Batuhan Bozkurt - Laconicism (Agxivatein, 2010)

This is one of the coolest things ever. This is not a regular record. Batuhan Bozkurt made software, which in turn makes music, and your job is to fuck with it and make your own sounds, in essence creating a collaboration between you and Bozkurt. The general idea he started with was that music doesn't need to be "locked to definite micro or macro event sequences in time." He believed that when that happened, there was a "transmission loss between the composer and listener" and Laconicism is his means of eliminating that "transmission loss."

The software "provides a recipe for computers to generate sounds utilizing various sound synthesis techniques on the fly." Basically, totally fucked electronic noises that you can make sound like a swarm of bees, a glitchy blip orgy, a crumbling wall of static, or a minimal 20 BPM snooze fest. It's entirely up to you. There are 18 "songs" on Laconicism, each with a certain number of slider bars which are always set at specific levels when the "song" starts. Moving the sliders up and down change various aspects of the sound in a "circuit bending fashion." There's even a "Random" button that throws the sliders into random positions if you're feeling lazy/adventurous.

This is a piece that requires full attention. You can have fun and create all you want but as soon as you stop, the program continues playing the same loop you set it at until you come back and change it. This isn't necessarily bad, though, as some of the "songs" have really interesting sounds & patterns. But to hear another "song" you need to manually cycle to the next set or go fuck around some more.

Laconicism is easily the most unusual piece of music I have in my collection. It takes user accountability and the static/dynamic dichotomy to levels I've only ever seen in museums or galleries. And going along with the whole audience manipulation theme, this is a CC licensed program so you can download it for free from Bozkurt's site, or you can spend a couple bucks and get a physical disc in the mail from Agxivatein.

And I know I did a terrible job of explaining how this works, so watch this video and be persuaded by Laconicism's awesomeness.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mountain Wedding Weekend Mix

CC image sourced from visualpanic

Hey guys. My friends are getting married in the mountains and throwing a multi-day party to celebrate so I'm gonna be gone until sometime next week. I made this mix to tide you all over until I return. I honestly have no idea what was going through my head when I made it but the tracks are culled from my insanely killer library of envy so it can't be all bad. And actually, I think it's pretty damn good. But either way, lets face it. What else are you going to do for 5 days if I'm not around to tell you what to listen to? It's not like you read any other blogs. Right? RIGHT??

Mountain Wedding Weekend Mix
1. Vangelis - Blade Runner
2. Piers Whyte - Jaque In The Barbe
3. O.Lamm - Return Of The Night Goat
4. Kraftwerk - Model
5. Fred Schneider - I'm Gonna Haunt You
6. Islaja - Pete P
7. Black Ox Orkestar - Ratsekr Grec
8. Amps For Christ - Freddie The Mockingbird
9. LSD March - Shiroi Sekai De
10. Rambutan - Wool Coat
11. Antique Brothers - Unholy Grass
12. Cassowaries - Dorsal Conqueror

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Talk To Animals / Destroy It - Kill Your Neighbour; Embrace Your Computer (self released, 2008)

Talk To Animals - Jurassic Park

Nope, this ain't new at all. But goddamn is it good. Destroy It (now Tiger Islands) does chipper chiptunes for the dance floor in the raddest way possible. Talk To Animals is some crazy fuckin girl doing SUPER AWESOME hardcore Crystal Castles/Zola Jesus/Kap Bambino type 8-bit noise that's lush and kinda droney but still definitely the stuff you wanna crank real loud at your balloon party. They do a couple of collab tracks on this, too. And it's totally free. Everybody wins.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greg Davis - Regarding Wave (Install, 2010)

Greg Davis - Regarding Wave (Part 1)

Another blanket of tenderness from Install, this time from the if-you-don't-know-him-already-you-better-got-on-that-shit dronester Greg Davis. Regarding Wave is his latest journey into the euphoric bliss drone waters, a place Davis reigns admiral among admirals.

I understand that this sort of thing might be old hat to some of you, but what Greg Davis does with the shimmer is totally his own. Plus, he's opening for Tortoise so that should tell you something. Clearly enough people think he's got the chops to please many many audiences. And they're right. Davis is the motherfucking man.

The centerpiece of Regarding Wave, "Rainbow Body" clocking in at over 20 minutes, is absolute heaven. Suuuper minimal drone, some low end didgeridoo-like thrum coupled with revolving wine glass sounding tones weaving through the cerebral cortex, massaging the consciousness in to other dimensions, until all of the previously syncopated waves slide into perfect time with each other, eliciting an incredibly beautiful harmonic joy. Wake up. This is as good as it gets.

"Rainbow Body" is book-ended by two shorter songs, parts 1 & 2 of the title track. Both are as equally transcendent as "Body," fleshing out the album from what could have been just a really solid 22 minute EP to a 40+ minute stunning piece of glory drone. Do not wait on this. There's 1000 copies of Regarding Wave and all signs are pointing to "YOU NEED THIS."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Caddywhompus - Remainder (Community, 2010)

Caddywhompus - Big Fun

First, DOWNLOAD THIS (or buy it). Now. That way when you're done reading this review, you won't have to wait any extra minutes to listen to this beautiful mess in its entirety.

Caddywhompus is that dude Chris Rehm (who made the incredibly blissful Salivary Stones tape (also free)) and his pal Sean doing some fantastic rockin noise pop shit. And pleeease understand that when I tell you Remainder is the fucking tits, that I speak the truth.

This album is a loud piece of killer pop that deserves to be cranked until your speakers blow. There's so many influences going on here it's hard to name 'em all, but I'll try. There's blistering Oxes style freakouts, stop 'n' start spasms only found in Hella worshipers, pop hooks & vocals like Dodos or Antlers, and rounded out with a Mae Shi chaos.

I honestly can't listen to Remainder enough. It's just so goddamn incredible & catchy and it fucking ROCKS. Every song is 100%. If I knew what the words were, I'd be yelling along while simultaneously air drumming & guitaring, just going crazy with enthusiasm because there is no other way to listen to this.

Now go unzip that shit and have a blast. Or drop $15 for the vinyl AND CD. The choice is yours.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oval - Oh (Thrill Jockey, 2010)

Oval - Hey removed by request
Oval - Ah! (label approved track from forthcoming full length, O)

Fuck, it's been long enough. Oh is Markus Popp's first new release as Oval in nearly 10 years, although it's not like I personally waited that long. As much as I'd like to say it, I wasn't so cool that I was listening to sweet glitch tunes in middle school. Sorry. But there are some who have waited that long. Let me assure you folks, your patience has been rewarded.

Thankfully, this is not the Oval you remember from 94 Diskont or Systemisch. This is 21st century Oval. The ever-innovating Oval. The Oval everyone loves.

Oh takes all of the laptop magic from previous Oval records and intensifies it, adds a generous helping of traditional instruments, and conjures an organic glitch unlike anything else out there. It's thrilling and brilliant and sounds pretty much exactly what you're hoping new Oval would sound like: eccentrically harmonious and pleasantly piercing. The textures are amazing. Seriously. There's so much going on it's infinitely re-listenable, much like Tortoise or old Oval (obv). This is something that is going to sound fucking killer on vinyl. And dropping just $10 on a limited 12" is a goddamn steal and a half.

However, I have one gripe.

Oh feels like a teaser, which I guess from a certain perspective it is. It's a 25 minute EP preceding a full length, so it's giving you a taste of what's to come. But it doesn't have the cohesion I was hoping for. There are 15 tracks, all but three of which are under the 2 minute mark. I get the feeling Popp was experimenting like a motherfucker, churned out some highly worthwhile tunes that sounded great, but maybe didn't fit the theme for the full length he had in mind. Don't get me wrong, it all sounds like Oval and it all sounds truly fucking great. But while it's an enjoyable listen, I feel like it's almost too much of a tease. I probably could've gone the extra 3 months without hearing anything from Oval just to experience the inevitable masterpiece of O that's to follow in September.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

David Tagg - Pentecost (Install, 2010)

David Tagg - Untitled 1

Reel to reel tapes of organ drones. BAM. Auto A+, right? Right.

David Tagg is a dude who's been around, dozens of releases on a handful of different labels, doing a lot of stuff with guitar (or so I hear). Not sure what took me so long to discover Tagg, but I assure you now that I have him in my sights, I'm never losing track.

Pentecost is the epitome of beauty. It's like Kowalsky and Basinski tag teaming the shit out of organs. Rare is the record that lives up to my snap judgments of its curt description, but this one not only meets my expectations, it sets the expectation-bypassing record.

There's almost an hour of untitled drones that are some of the most lush and mind altering drones on the planet. The richness seeps into your bones, sometimes weighing you down with a melancholic heart or lifting you up into the heavens. A warm pink haze envelopes your essence, you dream of distant fields teeming with silent hummingbirds, and dusty brooks weave their way through crackling burrows. Minimal looped texture to the nth degree. Life is perfect.

Organ drone is one thing (the best thing) but add that cloudy tape sound to it and I'm just done for. That's not to say I'm biased in reviewing Pentecost. Because I'm not. At all. This is a heavy handed ace drone record through and through, regardless of my infatuation with organs & tapes. So if you have any sense in you, you'll grab one of only 300 copies over at Install.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Nicholas Szczepanik - Dear Dad (Goat Eater Arts / Basses Frequences, 2010)

Nicholas Szczepanik - Part 2: Forgive To Forget

Nicholas Szczepanik has got his shit together. Just last year, he released The Chiasmus, which made it onto my Top 10 Drone Albums list of 2009. He also runs the infallible SRA label. And now he's already got another disc of intimate brilliance called Dear Dad out on both Goat Eater Arts and Basses Frequences.

"Part 1: When I'm No Longer Afraid Of You" is absolutely stunning. You start out in a black hole, seeing and hearing nothing. It is the very sound of silence. As you edge closer beyond the event horizon, you can see an infinitesimally small dot of light, a star trillions of light years away, and you can hear the dust of space. You focus your entire energy on that tiny star as you drift towards it and it slowly grows in size and volume. Eons pass, and before you know it, it comes to encompass your entire field of view, endlessly bright and deafeningly loud. You float on the outer edge, basking in its unfathomably glorious static, blissfully unaware of anything else. Time stops. Universes are born.

The shorter part 2, "Forgive To Forget," is less dynamic, with a dense foundation of hypno-organ that moves like the tide while organic synths shine on the wave crests. Wonderful body immersing beauty.

Dear Dad is a letter from Szczepanik to his father in music form. Do we know what he's trying to say? Maybe. Does it matter? Maybe not. The sounds might affect you more emotionally if you have that knowledge, but it's by no means necessary, and Dear Dad is going to be every bit as gorgeous either way.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Besnard Lakes At TT The Bear's

Grandiose dark psyche pop in love with The Beach Boys, The Besnard Lakes always get it right. They played all the good stuff (including "Light Up The Night") and closed with "Disaster."

Poor lighting on everyone except Jace (lead guitarist) and me standing dead center means he's the only one I took any pictures of. At least he was animated.

More photos on Flickr.