Stephen Vitiello, "Listening to Donald Judd"

Here is sound art created from recordings made in Marfa, Texas, on and around the Donald Judd installations in 2002. It is solidly in the camp of those who consider elements of weather and the environment to be musical, and silence to be something much rarer than gold.
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  7668 Hits

Gavin Pretor-Pinney, "The Cloudspotter's Guide"

Co-founder of The Idler magazine has written a charming book full of science, myth, wit and nuance. Thankfully more of an artistic, spiritual, and cultural history, than a mere guide to identify types of clouds.

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  12235 Hits

Kode9 + The Spaceape, "Memories of the Future"

Anyone with a seemingly nuclear-powered sound system in their vehicle might consider this record handy to breach urban noise-pollution levels, while simultaneously getting a sleek dose of dub, paranoia, poetry and science fiction.
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  5158 Hits

Hanno Leichtmann, "Nuit Du Plomb"

Music that was made to illustrate a slide lecture on Hans Henny Jahnn's novel The Night of Lead, a tale of alienation and sado-masochism which was greeted with revulsion and largely forgotten. This is the first release under his own name by Hanno Leichtmann, though fans of his work with Static and Pole can listen without too much trepidation.
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  5260 Hits

Josef K, "Entomology"

For all their brooding, muffled fatalism and urgent, agile glamour, Josef K's smartest feature may have been their gleeful determination to shun cliché. They always sounded less destined for hit than myth, and despite not being an unqualified success, this compilation reveals that -at best- their juxtaposition of joy and grimness remains cathartic.
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  5445 Hits

Arp, Schwitters, Hausmann, "Dada, Antidada, Merz"

Describing Dada is a paradox, like a proverbial wet fish in the palm of your hand certain only to be lost in an attempted securing grasp. As Greil Marcus details in Lipstick Traces, subsequent efforts in art and music contain echoes from Zürich, Berlin and elsewhere; not least the urge (first and foremost) to destroy, or as Orange Juice sang: to rip it up and start again.
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Svarte Greiner, "Knive"

This fascinating record shadows an apparently murderous concept with more than enough themic ambiguity, musical invention and sly humor, to make repeat listens essential, if not exactly desirable.
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  6808 Hits

Max Richter, "Songs From Before"

This record is a resounding success. From the first note, the sound is cavernous, and entombed beneath some of the most mournful orchestration imaginable are musical secrets and recycled sonic treasure.
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  15762 Hits

Bibio, "Hand Cranked"

Bibio's second release on Mush is a looped daydream of the English and Welsh countryside. It is a fluid affair with acoustic guitar, manipulated field recording, sparingly used fipple flutes and piano, tiny scraps of found sound, and—in a new departure for him—singing. As pleasingly blurred as a half-developed photograph or a landscape painting smudged by spots of rain, I only wish the elements of treatment and decay went further.
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  5713 Hits

Sparrows Swarm and Sing, "O' Shenandoah, Mighty Death Will Find Me"

This worthy album by sextet Sparrows Swarm and Sing links traditional song with post-rock and pantheist imagery. SSAS create beautiful music with apocalyptic undercurrents which at times achieves a cinematic splendor.
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  10021 Hits

M.A. Dinkins, "Guitar Realtime Processing"

Recently I was lying on a very comfortable couch in a quiet house. For a couple of hours I was mostly asleep or in a semi-conscious dreamstate. Later I discovered that in a room nearby was a cat who had infrequently remembered that it wanted to get out and engaged in brief episodes of door-rattling. Listening to this record is very like that experience: peaceful, hypnotic, slightly disturbing, repetitive, flawed, transporting.
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  6406 Hits

Potpie, "Waterline"

Waterline spends some time brooding upon the shattered landscape of New Orleans, as should anyone with a heart. When the waters of the flood receded, a dirty brown/black/beige line remained on buildings everywhere. The disturbing unease of Potpie's avant-expressionism perfectly compliments this physical manifestation of the community's psychological scar.
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  8400 Hits

Aufgehoben, "Anno Fauve"

Recorded in one day, then processed over three years, here is an orgasmic maelstrom. Transmitting as much calm unease as bewildering force, Aufgehoben's third release is beautifully fleet-footed, intensely musical, tantalising ugly and almost tangibly sexual. As if a winged piledriver were coupling with a steel drum, in a furnace.

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Project Bicycle

This is an Ache label release of spirited electronic experimentation by eleven different artists, all reworking a sample of sound originally created using only a bicycle. Track #12 is that source material, which you are free to use to create your own piece. While some contributors emphasise rhythm, others  favor smoother propulsion. Everyone avoids the temptation to hit-and-run with unnecessary power or weight, in favor of a lighter touch well-suited to this magnificent subject.

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Metallic Falcons, "Desert Doughnuts"

This is a better successor to Coco Rosie's La Maison de Mon Reve than Noah's Ark, with similar gloomy smoke and theatrical mirrors allied to louder bursts of percussion and fuzzy, metallic guitar. As with La Maison a poignancy emerges from an imitation of the passage of time, like the sound of a woman singing as she mends clocks.
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Movietone, "Peel Sessions 1994 - 1997" collection of three sessions shows a group evolving from a whisper to (less a scream, than) the ghost of a mumble. Movietone’s introspective sound is naturally overlooked in a society which places more value on action, fast talking, and loudness. Their music remains elusive to define and to grasp, with a vocal style, choice of instruments, and an arm’s length embrace of folk and improvisational jazz which sets them apart, even from such contemporaries as Third Eye Foundation and Flying Saucer Attack in the post-rock branch of (what can loosely be termed) the Bristol post-rock "scene." The best of their work might be described by the verse (Peter 3:4) "let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a quiet spirit."


There is a long list of artists that made better versions of their songs for John Peel’s radio program than they did for their own albums. Whether this stems from the urge to impress the great man or the liberated feeling of getting away from their normal environs, everyone from Ivor Cutler, Echo & The Bunnymen, Billy Mackenzie, Microdisney, and The Smiths is on that list; which I am now reminded includes Movietone. Things commence here with the somnambulant terrain of "Mono Valley" and whispered vocals very low in the mix. This is voice as synthetic mood hiss rather than conveyor of words. A tension builds which is released by bits of noise: the sound of bottles being smashed, glass shards strewn, then squalling saxophone, sliced jabs of guitar, and discordant piano, all crashing in at intervals. It reminds me of the added background effects on a couple of pieces on Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures.

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  1277 Hits