Puce Mary, "The Drought"

Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically acclaimed releases Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the penetrative viscerality offered on previous records, however, The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth.

Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary’s compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatized body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centered on first-person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience.

"To Possess Is To Be In Control" makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while "Red Desert," named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic "The Size of Our Desires" acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world.

Rather than escape, The Drought dramatises a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a 'corporeal architecture' where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologizes the artist's transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert – to live without drying out.

More information can be found here.

5211 Hits

Puce Mary, "The Drought"

Building from a reputation of arresting live performances and critically acclaimed releases, Puce Mary breaks new ground with The Drought, evolving from the tropes of industrial and power electronics to forge a complex story of adapting to new realities. Remnants of noise still exist, sustaining the penetrative viscerality offered on previous records.  However, The Drought demonstrates an intention to expand on the vocabulary of confrontational music and into a grander narrative defined by technical and emotional growth.

Bringing together introspective examination with literary frameworks by writers such as Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, Puce Mary's compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatized body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control. The Drought presents both danger and opportunity; through rebuilding a creative practice centered on first-person narrative and a deliberate collage of field recordings and sound sources Puce Mary injects an acute urgency across the album seeking resilience.

"To Possess Is To Be In Control" makes use of lyrical repetition as an ambiguity of two selves, or a divided self, attempting to consume one another, while "Red Desert," named after Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1964 film, portrays the individual subsumed by surrounding environmental forces. The seven-minute epic "The Size of Our Desires" acts as the emotional tipping point of the record; amongst the ominous drone and dense feedback flutters almost-beatific melodies, while the lyrics reveal a romantic call to be swept up in the midst of an increasingly uninhabitable world.

Rather than escape, The Drought dramatises a metamorphosis in which vulnerability is confronted through regeneration. Noise and aggression no longer act as an affront to react against but part of a ‘corporeal architecture’ where space, harmony and lyricism surface from the harsh tropes of industrial music. The Drought chronologizes the artist’s transformation through a psychological famine, new ways of coping akin to plant survival in a desert – to live without drying out.

More information can be found here.

496 Hits

Jason Lescalleet, "Almost is Almost Good Enough"

Originally published as a tour cassette in June 2017, the initial run of 100 hand-numbered copies sold out at the end of the tour. A second edition was published in July and that edition sold out soon thereafter.

Many people have asked about buying downloads so we've finally decided to honor these requests while also offering a hard copy available for collectors that enjoy seeing spines on shelves.

We hope you can appreciate that we've decided to make this album an unlimited edition here on Bandcamp instead of repressing the cassette for a third edition.

You may also notice the appearance of a bonus track taken from a live recording in June 2017. Please enjoy!

More information can be found here.

4625 Hits

BJ Nilsen, "Focus Intensity Power"

For his inaugural LP for Moving Furniture Records, the Amsterdam-based Swedish sound artist BJ Nilsen turns his intense aural focus and compelling narrative power away from his well-known and much lauded predilection for field recordings of organic nature or the urban built environment. The five pieces presented on this record capture Nilsen during a short residency he did in the Fall of 2017 at Willem Twee Electronic Music Studio in Den Bosch, The Netherlands – five documents these are of improvised sessions using modular synthesizers, tone generators and test and measurement instruments.

Nilsen, ever the exploratory sound experimenter, de facto exchanged his wax rain coat for the white laboratory mantle. On Focus Intensity Power he lets the machines rule supreme. Although BJ says there's no underlying major concept to the record, the quintet of recordings is tied together to form a sturdy sonic package, tied with a red thread of analog pulse, droning waves and subtle and surprising noise interventions. Washes of natural wind or condensed bustle of London traffic as we have come to know and highly appreciate from his previous works have found their machine-counterparts in sessions that retain the flâneur's touch of slowly moving, roaming open ears with keen interest in texture and timbre. And at the same time these indoor improvisations yield a tremendous poetic freedom for both artist and listener; boundless walking through layers of pure sound – freed from time and place and space.

More information can be found here.

5202 Hits

Tim Hecker, "Konoyo"

Konoyo by Tim Hecker

"In the wake of our recent 2xLP reissues of Radio Amor and Haunt Me, Haunt Me Do It Again, we're pleased to announce Tim Hecker's proper return to the label with a brand new full-length recorded in Japan utilizing a traditional gagaku ensemble: Konoyo.  Worldwide release date is September 28th.

Hecker will also stage a series of special performances in tandem with the album's release in Tokyo, London, Krakow, and Berlin."

More information can likely be found here soon.

4692 Hits

Swans, "Soundtracks for the Blind" remastered boxed set

Soundtracks For The Blind by SWANS

Swans' Soundtracks for the Blind, their last studio album released in 1996 prior to their 2010 reformation, will be released for the first time on vinyl by Young God Records on July 20th 2018. Much requested by Swans fans, the vinyl package will consist of four LPs in jackets enclosed in a box with a poster, insert and download card. The box set will be a limited edition of 4,000 copies worldwide and once sold out will be followed later in 2018 by a gatefold LP version. The album will also be reissued on CD featuring a repackage of the original digipak for the 1996 Atavistic release plus a bonus disc of the contemporaneous Die Tür Ist Zu EP (a German language version of some of the material from Soundtracks that also includes unique material) recently released for the first time on vinyl in the USA for Record Store Day 2018. Outside of the USA, Die Tür Ist Zu EP will be released as a limited edition companion piece double vinyl set, also on 20th July.

"This album has everything in there – all the ideas from Swans' initial 15 years of work.  There's some contemporary recordings of the band as it existed in '96/7, with Larry Mullins on drums/percussion, Jarboe singing and playing keyboards, Vudi playing electric guitar, and Joe Goldring playing bass and electric guitar, and me singing and playing electric and acoustic guitar, but there's also a huge amount of sounds and recordings that Jarboe and I collected over the years. These are reassembled, looped, mangled, and in many cases overdubbed upon to create new pieces of music… I really set my own trap, dug my own grave on this one. There was SO MUCH material to deal with, to sift through (whole trunks full of decomposing, moldy cassettes and discs with samples and sounds), and the task of making it into something coherent was at times debilitating. Really like climbing up a mountain of sand. I don't remember why I set this goal for myself, to somehow incorporate such a ridiculously disparate amount of material. I think maybe it was so I could justify throwing all that crap into the local dump, which is what I did when I finished the album.  But in the end, after centuries of picking at this huge iceberg of material with a toothpick, my trusty engineer Chris Griffin and I managed to sculpt something out of it. It actually breathes, seems to live, in most places I think. … When I decided to reform Swans in 2010 Soundtracks was what I referred to as a starting point" – Michael Gira / Swans 2018

More information can be found here.

5072 Hits

Marian Zazeela and La Monte Young, "The Well-Tuned Piano" reissue

The Well-Tuned Piano

"Deluxe DVD edition of The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights, containing La Monte Young’s continuous 6 hour-24 minute performance of his masterpiece is now back in print for the first time since 2001. Comes with a 52-page booklet, which includes La Monte and Marian’s essays on their works. Edition of 500, one time pressing.

High Minimalism - one of the great, revolutionary musical movements of the 20th century, is marked by a canon of towering and iconic works -  Dennis Johnson's November, Riley’s In C, Conrad’s Four Violins, Reich's Drumming, Palestine’s Four Manifestations On Six Elements, Wada’s Lament For The Rise And Fall Of The Elephantine Crocodile, the list goes on. Even in the face of these marvels - the radicalism and wonder, little comes close to wild ambition of La Monte Young's great, evolving masterpiece, The Well-Tuned Piano - among the most beloved works in the body of Minimalism's output. Initially recorded in 1981, issued as a now impossibly rare 5LP set in 1987, Young’s continuous 6-hour-and-24 minute performance of the work was recorded again in 1987 and released as a DVD in 2000, with the new subtitle, In The Magenta Lights, going quickly out of print and remaining so ever since. Now, in a momentous event, the composer’s own MELA Foundation and Just Dreams recordings have issued a new deluxe DVD edition of The Well-Tuned Piano in The Magenta Lights, making it available to the public for the first time in nearly 20 years. This is as big as it gets.

Begun in 1964 and premiered ten years later, The Well-Tuned Piano, despite its consuming and immersive duration, is regarded by Young to be an unfinished work, slowly evolving in his hand, mind, and ears over the decades. Utilizing his own just-intonated tuning system, divided into seven structural / thematic intervals of varying length, the work, being improvisation, is ever-changing with no specific form. Considered by many to be among the great achievements of 20th-century music, it is one those rare works which is known by almost every fan of avant-garde music, while having been heard and seen by comparatively very few - the Gramavision release being virtually unobtainable, the initial DVD having been only issued in an edition constrained to the low hundreds, and performances having been scarce at best.

This realization of The Well-Tuned Piano In Magenta Lights was recorded and filmed in concert May 10, 1987, at 155 Mercer Street, New York City, with the subtitled referring to its accompanying light-installation by Marian Zazeela, Young's partner and collaborator since the early 1960s. A work of shimmering sonority, challenging relationships, The Well-Tuned Piano deserves every bit of its legendary status - an entire rethinking of the way the piano is seen, understood, and heard, singing down the decades since its early versions began to appear.

Issued by the composer himself, this new edition expands the original accompany booklet, including La Monte and Marian's essays on their works, to 52 pages with a new essay by their senior disciple Jung Hee Choi. For the first time, in these notes, Jung Hee illuminates the the tuning underlying this masterpiece of composition, for all to understand. This issue of The Well-Tuned Piano In Magenta Lights is as important and as essential as they come. 6 hours and 24 minutes of pure bliss. It won't sit around for long.  Who knows if we'll see it again before another 20 years."

-via Soundohm

More information can be found here.

5773 Hits

Roland Kayn, "Simultan" reissue

Simultan by Roland Kayn

"Finally, Roland Kayn’s breathtaking cybernetic salvo, Simultan; one of the most important works by one of the 20th century's greatest (if unsung) composers; all newly remastered from original tapes and reissued for the first time since the original 1977 release by classical music label, Colosseum.

Italy's Die Schachtel, following the lead of Frozen Reeds' 16CD edition of A Little Milky Way of Sound in 2017, have the honour of reintroducing Simultan into the wild. Presented to the highest possible standards on the format it was intended for, the unfeasibly complex dynamics and revelatory perceptive spaces opened up inside Simultan are bound to generate jaw-dropping reactions with Kayn's growing ranks of followers and even the most hard-to-please fans of outer-limit composition.

Collapsing ideas from electro-acoustic, concrète, electronic, and computer music disciplines into what he termed “cybernetic music,” Kayn methodically and effectively worked off-the-radar towards a form of Artificial Intelligence in music from 1962 until his death in 2011. Building on his earlier studies with seminal figures such as Boris Blacher and Oskar Sala, as well as time spent playing organ and piano with Ennio Morricone and Egisto Macchi's exploratory Gruppo di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza, Kayn devoted his life’s work toward realizing what would become recognized among the most incredible, genuinely prism-pushing arrangements of sound ever recorded.

Simultan is the first in a series of seminal Roland Kayn boxed sets released between 1977 and his blinding masterpiece Tektra in 1984. While he had previously contributed Cybernetics III to a Deutsche Grammofon split with Luigi Nono, Simultan was where Kayn's ideas really came to fruition, and with results that practically document the birth of a new music, or a computer manifesting its first signs of sentience in sound.

Weighing in at six pieces clocking in at over two hours, it's arguably a difficult, spasmodic birth when compared with the smoother contours and expansive arrangements of his subsequent releases, but that amorphous atonality and noisy unpredictability accounts for much of the attraction to Simultan, which sounds like very little before it, or even since.

If you're the insatiably curious, technically pedantic type, then many of your queries about Kayn’s music will be answered in the lucubrate liner notes included on the insert, which provide all the technical context one would need to know. But it’s better to just dive head-first into Simultan and let your head be consumed, dissolved into those micro-organismic diffusions and unfathomable chaos.

Mercifully this 2nd wind will prevail on further reissues of Kayn’s aforementioned run of boxed sets up to and including Tektra. We advise making some space on your shelves and your calendar to spend some time with this incredible music.""

-via Boomkat

More information can be found here.

5153 Hits

Jim O'Rourke, "Sleep Like It's Winter"

"Jim O'Rourke returns with his first physical solo album since 2015's Simple Songs, following a relatively steady supply of download-only releases via his Steamroom Bandcamp (over 20 of them since 2015) and collaborations with John Duncan, Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi, Peter Brötzmann, Merzbow, Fennesz and others in the interim. Anyone familiar with his exceptional Steamroom output will have an inkling of what to expect here; this is Jim O'Rourke at his most meditative, absorbing and quietly subversive, making use of little more than synthesizer, pedal steel, piano and shortwave radio for one extended 45 minute piece (punctuated by a few moments of silence) designed to mess with contemporary notions of "ambient" music.

Sleep Like It's Winter took O'Rourke two years to construct after being approached by the fledgling Newhere label to submit an ambient album. As he explained recently in an interview with ele-king: "I didn't set out to make an ambient record but it's sort of about making an ambient record more than it's an ambient record (laughing) you know? Pretty much everything I do is about what it is as opposed to being it. Just making any record in terms of "make a record in this genre" is anathema to me, but I decided to do it because it was such a revolting idea! (Laughs) Not that I dislike ambient music – I don't mean that. That’s just not the way I think when I make things, so it was such a bizarre proposal that I decided to do it."

Citing Eno's Discreet Music (as opposed to Eno’s work after the word Ambient had been adapted ) as well as Roland Kayn as influences, he goes on to explain "Roland Kayn was the biggest guy for me. Someone could call his music ambient but it's way too aggressive for that. The idea of his music is you create the system and then you just let it go. The challenge is how can you create a system that still represents the ideas even though you’ve let it go. If you look at some of the last decade or so of Cage's scores, like the number pieces, they create these systems. These later Number Pieces of his are really interesting because, if you do them correctly, they’re really constraining even though they don't seem to be. Whereas someone like Kayn and what Brian Eno were doing, especially in the '70s, they still want a result but they want to be hands off about it."

The result is a layered and complex piece that takes multiple listens to fully get to grips with, revealing layers of detail deployed within a structure that seems to evaporate into its surroundings. In that respect, Sleep Like It's Winter subverts its brief with an incredible sleight of hand; a piece of music designed to actively, deeply engage but which camouflages itself into the background. It operates within the grid, however faint and hard to define.

"For me, in making this record, the most important thing was, "Where is a line where you decide to give up on formal structures completely?" and, "Where is a line where formal structures can still be perceived but they’re not being shouted at you? For me, in that way of thinking of music, which I’ve been moving towards my entire life slowly but surely (laughs)…""

-via Boomkat

More information can be found here.

5585 Hits

Jake Muir, "Lady's Mantle"

"Sunnies on, drop-top down, sferic cruise the best coast with Jake Muir, an artist and field recordist hailing from Los Angeles, California, where he’s previously recorded and released albums under the Monadh moniker for Further Records and Touch, the latter of which on the compilation Live At Human Resources, where he took part in a beautiful group tribute to Jóhann Jóhannsson along with a number of solo contributions.

On Lady's Mantle Muir unfurls a poignant sound image crafted from samples of a well loved American pop group and later smudged with aqueous field recordings made everywhere from Iceland to the beaches of California. In nine succinct scenes, the results loosely limn a wide sense of space and place with its fading harmonic auroras and glinting, half-heard surf rock melodies rendered in an abstract impressionist manner that suggests a fine tracing of in-between-spaces, perhaps describing metropolitan sprawl giving way to vast mountain ranges and oceanic scales.

In effect the album recalls the intoxicated airs of Pinkcourtesyphone (a.k.a L.A. resident Richard Chartier) as much as Andrew Pekler's sensorial soundscapes and even the plangent production techniques of Phil Spector. But for all its implied sense of space, ultimately there’s a paradoxically close intimacy to proceedings which feels like you're the passenger in Muir's ride, and he patently knows the scenic route..."

(Boomkat)

More information can be found here.

5017 Hits

Lori Scacco, "Desire Loop"

"I think of myself as a naturalist no matter the palette," says Lori Scacco, the New York multi-instrumentalist, composer, and electronic musician whose new album, Desire Loop, is Mysteries of the Deep's third full-length LP.

Natural indeed: Scacco's music effuses warmth, enveloping listeners like a gentle embrace. Her first album, Circles, was released in the early aughts on Eastern Developments, an imprint co-founded by Guillermo Scott Herren, aka Prefuse 73. She spent much of the interim period composing music for performance, film, and classical ballet, influences audible throughout Desire Loop.

Flush with incandescent scree, bubbly synthesizer, and easygoing dulcet tones, the album's simplicity belies its emotional impact. At times — "Cosmographia" and "Other Flowers," for instance — Scacco's songwriting approaches a therapeutic purity that feels nearly virtuous, immaculate. This is by design: she wrote this album as counterpoint to today's destructive political landscape. "I had to create an empathic means of access for myself, and in turn, for the listener, using the core of all that I value as my way into the music,” she explains.

"I wanted to provide a vehicle for the listener to impart their own emotional experience without imposing my own meaning. I found myself returning to that space over and over again.” After listening to Desire Loop, we expect that you will, too.

More information can be found here.

4891 Hits

Alexander Tucker, "Don't Look Away"

On Don’t Look Away, Tucker contrasts traditional song structure with experimental collage and rich orchestral arrangements. Featuring guest appearances from Nik Void (Carter Tutti Void, Factory Floor) on vocals and Daniel O’Sullivan on viola, the album emerged during a particularly prolific creative period for Tucker that saw him composing for the Schauspielhaus Zürich in Switzerland, and establishing UNDIMENSIONED, his own independent publishing imprint. 

Following the release of Don't Look Away, Tucker will be heading out on a European tour, including a special album release show at the Shacklewell Arms in London on 5th September. Special guests include Paper Dollhouse and a DJ sets from the crew behind new archival imprint Disciples.

Pre-order Alexander Tucker's Don't Look Away:
http://thrilljockey.com/products/don-t-look-away

 

 

 

 

3342 Hits

Sarah Davachi, "Gave In Rest"

Sarah Davachi has quickly risen in prominence since her first release five years ago, and Gave In Rest represents her highest artistic achievement. By infusing her compositional style within a predilection for medieval and Renaissance music, Davachi unearths a new realm of musical reverence, creating works both contemplative and beatific, eerie yet essentially human. Gave In Rest is a modern reading of early music, reforming sacred and secular sentiments to fit her purview and provide an exciting new way to hear the sounds that exist around us.

Between January and September of 2017, Sarah Davachi lived in flux; storing her belongings in Vancouver, she spent the summer in Europe, occasionally performing in churches and lapidariums and seeking respite from her transitional state while surrounded by such storied history. Gave In Rest echoes that emotional state of solitude and ephemerality, reaching towards familiar musical landscapes but from oblique perspectives.

"I've always been a pretty solitary person, but that summer I discovered quiet moments to be increasingly valuable," says Davachi. "I became engaged in private practices of rest and rumination, almost to the point of ritual." Though not religious, she sought ecclesiastic environments, compelled by "the quietude, the air of reverence, the openness of the physical space, the stillness of the altars." She sat for hours in muted spaces and listened to how church instruments augmented them – their pipe organs, their bells, their choral voices – and resolved to, "tap into that way of listening." She set a goal to musically embody this secular mysticism, and Gave In Rest is the result.

Out September 14th, 2018.  More information can be found here and here.

 

4823 Hits

Sean McCann, "Fountains" expanded reissue

Prior to focusing his efforts on running Recital and publishing gorgeous works by the likes of Ian William Craig, Loren Connors, Roger Eno, Sarah Davachi and many more, not to mention working on his own ambitious recording projects like Music for Public Ensemble, Sean McCann was one of the most prolific artists within the whole experimental cassette underground, issuing upwards of 40 releases within the span of 2008 to 2011.

I caught on to McCann’s music during this time period as a contributor to the late Foxy Digitalis experimental music blog. I received a copy of his early Jasmine tape in my first massive box of promos and would go on to acquire a surprising number of his titles in the ensuing years. As anyone who actively follows this area of music can attest, though, it can be rather challenging keeping up with everything that comes out and inevitably certain releases go out of print before you catch wind of them.

Fountains, initially a double CD-R on the short-lived Roll Over Rover imprint, was one of those releases that slipped by me at the time. It was only within this past year while corresponding with Sean about some of his unreleased material that I was guided back to Fountains, and I'm so very grateful for that. Within McCann’s vast back catalog, Fountains is arguably his strongest and most cohesive ambient statement. There is an undeniable depth, beauty, and expansiveness to the layers of sound that spill forth from this release, possessing the same time blurring and cranium clearing qualities that would wet the weepers of Budd, Bryers, Chalk, and even Eno himself. In the program notes that Sean penned for this reissue, he writes that after his move from San Francisco to Los Angeles he was "hell-bent on recording an ambient 'masterwork' album." He goes on to state, "I tried for months and could not make it work. It was going to be a double-LP that would have been the first Recital edition. Ultimately I gave up and moved onto the Music for Private Ensemble project." Perhaps it was the proverbial 'can't see the forest for the trees' scenario, but I’m convinced that the passage of time will shed new light on Fountains and many more people, maybe even Sean, will come to view it as the ambient masterpiece that it is.

Round Bale Recordings is pleased to present an expanded edition of the already expansive Fountains that includes five unpublished tracks from roughly the same time period, adding up to a total running time of 2 hours and 16 minutes. This double cassette edition is housed in an oversized poly-trim case with an insert and liner notes written by Sean McCann. Download codes are included in each set.

4886 Hits

Blue Chemise, "Daughters of Time"

Blue Chemise documents the hermetic soundworld of Australia's Mark Gomes. Daughters of Time follows 2017's brilliant full-length Influence on Dusk, released in micro-edition on Gomes' own Greedy Ventilator imprint. It is an elegiac set of vignettes recorded straight to dictaphone with minimal post-production. For me these pieces function in a manner akin to Loren Connor's evocative Airs, conjuring poignant, intangible senses of longing and nostalgia then disappearing well before overstaying their welcome. Regarding their genesis, Gomes points to a quote from Australian artist Robert Hunter: "It's like I'm external to them. They develop their own assertion and character; their becoming finished is a thing they decide themselves. It's unexplainable."

More information can be found here.

4487 Hits

Caterina Barbieri/Eleh Split

Highly synergistic split from ELEH/Caterina Barbieri featuring two sides of similar audio dimensions. These two electronic sound poems slowly unfurl rich timbre and harmonics with an austere stillness that is, somehow, ever-changing. It hardly matters whose side is whose.

More information is available here.

4703 Hits

Caterina Barbieri, "Born Again in the Voltage"

"One of electronic music's most interesting new voices." FACT

Born Again In The Voltage is an astonishing collection of electro-acoustic pieces for Buchla 200 system, cello and voice composed and produced by Caterina Barbieri at Elektronmusikstudion (SE) between 2014 and 2015.

Cello by Antonello Manzo. Images by Giovanni Brunetto. Photography by Angelo Jaroszuk Bogasz. Layout by IMPREC. Mastering by Giuseppe Ielasi.

Music produced by Caterina Barbieri between August 2014 and August 2015.

Recorded and mixed at EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) in Stockholm (SE).

Buchla 200 modular synthesizer + vocals + cello.

Cello by Antonello Mostacci.

More information can be found here.

4953 Hits

Zu93, "Mirror Emperor"

SURE, EVERYTHING IS ENDING, but not yet. Ever since David Tibet's Current 93 sung its birth canal blues back in the early 1980s, there's been a smell of apocalypse in the air. As the American author of horror novels Thomas Ligotti put it, Tibet has over the years presented us with words and images that are "portentous in a literal and most poetic sense."* No matter how great or small, Tibet's visions has sustained a sense of urgency throughout his many, many projects and towering work. 35 years on, as dark clouds once again are gathering on the horizon, his syncretic tale of the fallen empire inside us all seem to be as pertinent as ever. Arise for bad times.

Enter Zu93, the effectively named collaboration between Tibet and the ever-changing Italian group Zu, centered around Massimo Pupillo and Luca Mai. Seven years after the collaborators first met in Rome, the most beautifully apocalyptic city of all, they can finally present Mirror Emperor, mixed and produced by Stefano Pilia. If last year's Create Christ, Sailor Boy, the startling Hypnopazūzu album Tibet made alongside Youth, the legendary producer and Killing Joke bassist, was "a transformative union," the imperial ghost music presented on Mirror Emperor marks a return to their earth, a tour amidst the ruins: Gentle guitars, weeping cellos, the occasional rumbling bass and soft percussion, are melted and gently poured into the sepulchral engine. Despite a few electric swirls or the odd metallic screech Mirror Emperor moves seamlessly and comes across as surprisingly grounded and subtle, yet anticipatory, foreboding and at times even pastoral and Arcadian. The sound of a magical chamber orchestra or Cæsar Legions? Well, Mirror Emperor does echo pivotal moments from the respective catalogues of its creators, most urgently akin to Zu's acoustic explorations on their 2014 collaboration with Eugene S. Robinson of Oxbow fame, The Left Hand Path, leading up to last year’s brilliantly metamorphic Jhator. For others the album will come as a gift from the blazing starres, more than hinting at a stripped down Current 93 of the 90s, perhaps in the same way as 2010's Baalstorm, Sing Omega or Myrninerest's 2012 album, 'Jhonn,' Uttered Babylon at times did.

"The album is the closing of a long circle for me," comments Massimo Pupillo. "I've been following David's work since the early days and count Current 93 as one of the main inspirations behind my work with Zu. For me his poetry and music is like a light in the depths of human experience, a soundtrack for one's personal descent into the unconscious fields." "Zu made something very beautiful and very powerful for me to skip into. I love this album," Tibet says. Mirror Emperor adds another chapter in his ever-expanding oblique vision: personal, dense and hallucinatory. A voice through a cloud, indeed. On Mirror Emperor, the demiurge of our demise hides in the cracks of a broken world, beneath stones and moss, among the comets, in tears and things and on "BloodBoats," as if a "cosmic melancholy" (Ligotti) is being articulated. More mourning than light. Tibet explains:

We all carry different faces, different masks, and all of them will be taken from us. We were born free, and fell through the Mirror into a UnWorld, a Mirror Empire. In this Mirror Empire we are under the Mirror Emperor, and there are MANY Bad Moons Rising. At the final curtain there is scant applause.

As the music fades out, we hear a whispered "awake." “Every time I heard this final call to awakening while working on the album, I found myself deeply moved," Pupillo says. "Awake. If this was the last word to come out of Zu, I would be a happy man."

What we're left with is a dreamlike suite, created under a murderous moon. Perhaps that is all we ever hoped for. Hey, was that the Apocalypse?

Zu93 is: David Tibet, Massimo Pupillo, Stefano Pilia, Luca Mai, Luca Tilli, Andrea Serrapiglio, Sara D’Uva.

– Tore Engelsen Espedal, March 2018

*Quoted from Thomas Ligotti's "Will You Wait For Me By the Dead Clock?," the afterword in David Tibet's collection of lyrics Sing Omega (Spheres, 2015)

More information can be found here.

5087 Hits

Midwife, "Prayer Hands" EP

The latest project of Madeline Johnston of Sister Grotto. Together with collaborator Tucker Theodore, Midwife creates dreamy songs that confront raw emotions, haunted soundscapes that get stuck in your head. Following their acclaimed 2017 debut Like Author, Like Daughter, their new Prayer Hands EP delves further, bringing more reverb-drenched anthems of loss.

More information can be found here.

4811 Hits

Mark Fell, "Intra"

Intra by Mark Fell

Mark Fell returns with an incredible album of rhythmelodic cadences performed with Drumming Grupo De Percussão on the Sixxen metallophone system: a set of six microtonally tuned instruments originally conceived by Iannis Xenakis in 1976.

The eight-part Intra stands out as one of Fell's most immediate and unusual releases; high in concept but also satisfying an obsession for complex polyrhythms as explored and developed by the likes of Beatrice Dillon, Don't DJ, and further out to augmented realities rendered by Kara-Lis Coverdale, Kassem Mosse and even Jlin.

Making use of a kind of conceptual future-primitivism, Fell probes the perceptive difference between ideas of simplicity and complexity by sending instructions to acoustic drummers via electronic triggers relayed through headphones, an idea he first explored on the Time and Space Shapes for Gamelan installation made in collaboration with Laurie Spiegel.

His ongoing interests in the classical Indian "Carnatic" music systems also play a big part here; its mathematical sound rules or Tala, have 35 possible combinations - many more than the usual Western structures of minor and major scales. It is this structure that imbues these recordings with such complex, propulsive and oddly pensive energies.

Concept aside, Intra is a beautiful piece of sound art which sidesteps convention and perceptions of music in a way that’s highly pleasurable, even strangely soothing in its stilted trickle of off kilter tones, revealing successive dimensions with each repeated listen.

More information can be found here.

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