Colleen, "The Tunnel and the Clearing"

Colleen is an aboundingly inventive composer and artist. For two decades, Cécile Schott as Colleen has crafted welcoming, enchanting, and bewildering music. The multi-instrumentalist and vocalist’s timeless compositions make use of carefully selected tools to mold memories into transcendent splendor. The Tunnel and the Clearing finds Schott at her most vulnerable and confident, invoking contemplative and swirling organ processed through analog electronics, steady drum machine syncopations and her distinctive voice to embody breaking through the nexus of compounding transitions. On an album centered on processing the complicated washes of emotion through tribulations and revelations Colleen presents a vision of breathless clarity.

The Tunnel and the Clearing was developed over a period of transformative change. Colleen began work on the album in 2018 only to be met with extreme fatigue from a previously undiagnosed illness that all but halted her work. The following months and years of treatment and adjustment eventually led to relocating to a new home and studio in Barcelona, which was soon followed by lockdowns and ultimately the dissolution of her longtime partnership. The impact of deep reflecting on these cumulative experiences found Schott completely reimagining her compositional practices through her enduring gift for reinvention. Schott spent months in near complete silence apart from composing and ruminating on her newfound perspective through her music. Says Schott, "Never before had I felt so profoundly the power that music has, through harmony, melody, rhythm and sound itself, to express the whole range of human emotions." The resulting seven pieces investigate the complex, at times contradictory relationship between excitement and fear, anger and understanding, struggle and triumph, all focused on a reconstruction of the self.

Colleen's albums are unified by their employment of distinct and personal instrumentation to tell their story. From albums built around music boxes or viola da gamba to albums built around electronics, her music remarkably shares a dreamlike modern quality. From the early stages of working on The Tunnel and the Clearing, Schott restricted herself to using analog electronic instruments like the Elka Drummer One, the Roland RE-201 Space Echo and Moog Grandmother synth, coupled with Yamaha organ keyboard and select Moog effects. This limited instrument selection was inspired by years of listening to Jamaican and African recordings where musicians were pushed to maximize their creativity with minimal tools. A magnitude of atmospheres are summoned from deceptively simple combinations, from the meditative pulse of "The Crossing" to the frothy cascades of title track "The Tunnel and the Clearing." Pieces like "Revelation," or the brisk-paced "Implosion-Explosion" respectively showcase the most diverse use of harmony and the most incisive application of production technique in all of Colleen's catalog. Stunningly, Colleen achieves the rich emotional intricacy and the lush density of textures on The Tunnel and the Clearing through almost entirely live performance and processing.

The detailed and affecting compositions of The Tunnel and the Clearing mirror Colleen's grappling with her own psyche. Schott elaborates "I found direct correspondences between my internal discourse, its obsessive, frantic attempts at making sense of what I could not understand, and the music I was making, with motifs functioning as questions and answers, doubts and assertions." Clicks, hums, warbles and throbs emulating our evolving internal worlds, an "emotional noise." A musical journey through the tunnel toward the clearing at its end. An ending which is also a beginning. "The clearing is what is always out there: a vast expanse of space, light and possibilities," says Schott. The Tunnel and the Clearing is a work of lucid reverence, a constellation of marvels suspended in air.

More information can be found here.

  1640 Hits

Alina Kalancea, "Impedance"

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This Romanian composer’s second album is quite a wonderful surprise, easily ranking among Important's finest non-reissue releases in recent memory. Far less surprising is the fact that Impedance is Buchla-driven (given the label’s well-documented fondness for modular synthesizers), but this is happily one of those times in which the tools are secondary to the focused and compelling vision that they help bring to life. While the album's best moments tend to be those that resemble a throbbing and seething strain of minimalist, industrial-inspired "noise" akin to recent Puce Mary work, Impedance as a whole is an ambitiously shapeshifting, deep, and legitimately heavy listening experience that grows more expansive and varied as it unfolds.

Important

The opening "Introspection" very effectively foreshadows what is to come, as it slowly builds from beeps and a bass throb into a seismic slab of deconstructed techno that burrows through a barely-there haze of twinkling, smearing, and looping psychedelia. The more haunted-sounding elements evoke the feeling of descending into a nightmare, but it is at least a propulsive and darkly libidinal one (those bass pulses just do not stop). The piece then arguably segues into a more concise, focused, and hallucinatory version of itself with "Walking Through Storm" (mechanized dread with a side helping of "weirdly viscous-sounding"). Delineations between pieces quickly cease to matter though, as the album feels like an extended DJ mix of heavy bass, subterranean woodpeckers, futuristic Kubrickian menace, and plenty of subtle mindfuckery (smearing tones, field recordings, etc.). And it seems to only get better as it goes on, culminating in the stellar one-two punch of "Horizons (After a Silent Walk)" and "Concrete Floor." In fact, "Horizons" damn near steals the show when its seesawing bass thrum blossoms into a darkly surreal finale of echoing voices, densely buzzing oscillations, sinister animal howls, and slow, insistent beeps. While a few pieces feel a bit long (I wish this was not a double vinyl release), Kalancea clearly had more than one LP worth of killer material and it would have been a shame to pare it down to only that (especially since it all flows together so well in its current format). In any case, this album is an absolute monster, as Kalancea repeatedly strikes the perfect balance between raw physicality, simmering violence, and exacting execution (like an Eliane Radigue album that is about to smash a bottle over my head).

Samples can be found here.

  3625 Hits

Carmen Villain, "Sketch for Winter IX: Perlita"

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This latest installment of Geographic North's frequently wonderful Sketches for Winter series is a new album from Oslo's restlessly evolving Carmen Villain and it is a fitfully (and strikingly) brilliant one. While the general aesthetic of Perlita is roughly akin to the more psych-minded side of private press new age, it is inventively mingled with an evocative and enigmatic array of field recordings, submerged beats, and hallucinatory flourishes to achieve something truly vivid, distinctive, and absorbing. In fact, the closing "Agua Azul" completely blindsided me, approximating an unexpectedly sensual, dubwise, and almost tropical-sounding update of Apollo-era Brian Eno.

Geographic North

This album joins the pantheon of releases that I would have described as "pretty good, I guess" before I threw on some headphones and belatedly experienced its full depth and clarity. In my defense, the first two pieces could easily be mistaken for deconstructed Enya on their face, but there are hints of greater emotional depth and mystery in even Perlita's most overtly tranquil pieces. In the opening "Everything Without Shadow," that side quietly manifests in drones that lazily hiss, fray, and bleed as a corroded vocal sample repeats below the surface. In the following "Two Halves Touching," however, the full extent of Villain's vision starts to become apparent, as a lurching "outsider dub" groove emerges from a miasma of deep bass, rhythmically sloshing waves, and a repeating, hallucinatory vocal loop. From that point onward, the album only descends into increasingly poignant and pleasantly phantasmagoric territory. Listening to Perlita feels like entering a blissful and dreamlike floating world where someone else's flickering, non-linear childhood memories are being projected. That experience is further enhanced by the intrusion of enigmatically meaningful outside sounds that drift in and lazily reverberate around until they fade away. Successfully casting and sustaining such a reality-dissolving spell is achievement enough, yet Perlita culminates in a final piece ("Agua Azul") that takes the album to a transcendent new level with a smoky flute melody and a slow, sensual groove…then tops it all off with a rain of slowly falling synth tones that feels like a sky full of slow-motion fireworks. Is that what heaven is like? I sure hope so. While it is currently only January, I am certain "Agua Azul" will absolutely be one of the most gorgeous pieces that anyone releases this year, as envisioning what could surpass it strains the limits of my imagination.

Samples can be found here.

  2004 Hits

Kara-Lis Coverdale, "A 480"

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Newly reissued on vinyl on her own Gate imprint, A 480 was Coverdale's formal debut (originally issued on Constellation Tatsu back in 2014). When I first heard it a few years back, I believed it was not nearly as strong as her breakthrough 2017 EP Grafts, but I have since revised and reversed that opinion as A 480 has its own (very different) flashes of brilliance—they just require a bit more focused listening to reveal themselves. This is both a unique album within Coverdale's discography and a unique album in general, approximating a slow-burning strain of loop-driven kosmische-style psychedelia assembled from ingeniously manipulated vocal loops.

Constellation Tatsu/Gate

The album's brief opener amusingly feels like a targeted assault on my personal sensibility, but the cheerily artificial textures and manic repetition of "A 480 are admittedly quite an effective illustration of the album's overarching vision. In essence, A 480 was crafted entirely from vocal pieces that have been "unpersonally sourced, downloaded, then disembodied, disfigured, and displaced over forty times." At various points throughout the album, those vocal loops approximate a human choir, but they far more often sound like a synth album from the '70s that has been chopped up by an Oval-esque mad genius. While both the album's conceptual basis and its source material are certainly intriguing, what truly matters is that the three pieces at the heart of the album all belong in the headphone album hall of fame (sadly still imaginary at this point). That incredible hot streak begins with the half-heavenly/half-futuristic epic "A 479," which sounds like it could have been a lost Tangerine Dream or Popul Vuh soundtrack for Solaris. That feat is then followed by the darkly hallucinatory "A 478" and the alternately playful and poignant otherworldliness of "A 477." Each piece offers its own bit of fiendishly clever compositional sleight of hand, but the thread uniting them all is Coverdale's virtuosic skill at maintaining a consistent sense of forward motion and structure in an endlessly evolving and oft-gorgeous sea of phase-shifting loops. In the passages where everything clicks fully into place, A 480 feels like an almost supernaturally rich and immersive tour de force of subtle rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic mastery. I cannot believe that this was a debut album.

Samples can be found here.

  1743 Hits

Chuck Johnson, "The Cinder Grove"

The follow-up to Johnson’s acclaimed Balsams LP, The Cinder Grove delves further into the compositional possibilities of the pedal steel guitar. This halcyon collection of tracks draws on a wider pallette of sounds, adding strings and piano, to dive deeper into the sound bath of Johnson’s meditative music.

The Cinder Grove is a profound, affecting statement on the nature of loss and irreplaceability as well as a major addition to the canon of Johnson’s work. It's a suite of requiems for lost places. Many of the spaces that once fostered affordable living and creative work now only exist in sonic memory, like the echoes of ghosts. Like much of the California landscape in recent years, some of these spaces having succumbed to fire. Others, to the equally inexorable forces of gentrification. While his 2017 LP Balsams was intended to provide the listener with a space for respite and calm—even healing—The Cinder Grove seeks to remember what has been lost while celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the natural world.

In making The Cinder Grove, Johnson dug through archival recordings from Oakland DIY performance spaces to digitally extract their reverb and echo qualities. He then applied these effects—as well as the digitally modeled reverberation of a redwood forest—to the tracks on The Cinder Grove, allowing the pieces to bask in the lush virtual spaces, and in the process realized that these sonic re-constructions can only ever be approximations. We try to make spaces what we want them to be, whether in memory or in the material present.

More information can be found here.

  1660 Hits

Nilotika Drum Ensemble, "Ejokawulida"

Massive 2-tracker debut EP by hard-hitting Nilotika Drum Ensemble on their ancestral Bugandan percussion. Formed 11 year ago in Kampala, Nilotika have been a staple of Nyege Nyege parties since day one as well as forming the core of the more recent Nihiloxica project. Consisting of seven drummers under the leadership of Jajja Kalanda, Nilotika lure us into a mesmeric sonic kingdom dominated by furious beats against dense and complex polyphonic textures. Played with unrelenting energy and innate power over a repetitive trance-inducing structure both tracks are an urgent exploration of different rhythmic territories through intricate patterns, rapid undulations and haunting build-ups that command you to groove and dance. The first track, "Ejokawulida," is based on rhythms of Iteso traditional music from the eastern part of Uganda, whilst "Kekusimbe" is inspired by a variant of Bugandan traditional music called Bakisiimba.

More information can be found here.

  1579 Hits

Abul Mogard, "In Immobile Air"

In Immobile Air is Abul Mogard’s new solo album since 2019's Kimberlin OST, an epochal assembly of widescreen ambient works made during lockdown in Spring 2020.

Master of harmonic empathy Abul Mogard makes an ever welcome return to Ecstatic with a suite of patented pathos for testing times, mostly generated from an old Bechstein upright piano built in 1891.

Inspired as much by the instrument's rich harmonic textures as the Italo Calvino short story that lends the album's track titles, In Immobile Air collects five works written by Mogard during the ill-fated Spring of 2020.

Thematically, the album dwells on Mogard's typical concerns with memory and states of mind, and comes to feel like the musical rendering of a soul preoccupied by their mortality.

As such, it can be read as a suite of instrumental hymns for a world coming to terms with its current condition and state of static unrest, evoking a stillness of air in its glacial movements while reflecting a gnawing sense of something impending. Yet, it's simultaneously and quite profoundly soothing in its widescreen harmonic shifts along the knife-edge between bliss and dread.

The album arrives after a pause in Mogard's prized oeuvre since 2019's And We Are Passing Through Silently with a humbly arresting presence that perfuses all of his best work and keeps his listeners rapt for more.

The handful of pieces speak to both the artist’s rich inner life, and the inner voice of his instrument. Using analog and digital equipment, he transforms the melancholic simplicity of his melodies into a quietly dreamlike space.

The title track lays out this bare aesthetic with wilting, elegiac notes that vaporize into a timbral thizz, before its brooding course takes in the oblique beauty of "Clouds" and tarry drones recalling recent Deathprod moves in "Black Dust." He finally emerges from the murk most poignantly with the clearer keys of "Sand," only to shore up somewhere more contemplative, abstract, in the low key magisterial expanse of "On a Shattered Shell Beach."

The drawings featured in the cover artwork were made by Marco de Sanctis at the same time as the music.

"I think of these drawings as images from his memory, snippets from his past, like Calvino's collection of sand," Mogard offers. "But perhaps they were just drawings."

More information can be found here.

  1691 Hits

Tomaga, "Intimate Intensity"

The last, outstanding release of the London based experimental duo (Tom Relleen and Valentina Magaletti), accomplished just before Tom’s passing in August 2020, is the distillate of two years of new creative enhancement.

Mostly recorded at Tom's "Bunker" – as he called his house in London – during the days off from live performances and challenging collaborations throughout the world, Intimate Immensity collects ten intense tracks that outline a breath-taking epiphanic journey revisiting the multifaceted worlds explored by the band in seven years of non-stop and mostly live activity.
The wonderful blue artwork especially created by the acclaimed artists Icinori is a perfect match with the gist of Tomaga's aesthetics of intimacy that is well expressed by a few lines in the gatefold:

"I just found an interesting book by Gaston Bachelard called The Poetics of Space, with chapters on 'house as universe,' nests, shells, 'intimate immensity,' 'the phenomenology of roundness'... I think it ties in with our feelings about bunkers and the urge to partition the universe to create our own spaces, vs cleansing or colonizing the everyday to make it empty of anyone else's taste.  I think Tomaga tracks with their individual micro worlds are a bit like that…" – in this way Relleen introduces us into Tomaga's pulsing universe where space and meaning, articulated by sound, acquire breath and character as an expressive place where you can feel at home.

It is a quite similar aesthetics that could be perceived through Derek Jarman's quotation from Blue (1993) used in the video of "Intimate Immensity" realized by Noriko Okaku together with some of Tom's favourite stones collected from different places throughout his life.

Blue protects white from innocence
Blue drags black with it
Blue is darkness made visible
Blue protects white from innocence
Blue drags black with it
Blue is darkness made visible.

The dialogical richness of musical influences, that has always been a peculiarity of all Tomaga's performances, finds its peak here. The sonic spectrum is really wide, ranging from modern composers such as Laurie Spiegel and Pauline Anna Strom who has recently passed away, to the British refined dance aesthetics of Muslimgauze and Ossia.

The somewhat deceitful approachability of the ten tracks, their crystal clear and elegant surface, is in fact the outcome of the deep process of transformation that has personally and musically involved the duo during the last two years. 

Out March 26. 2021 on Hands in the Dark.

  1630 Hits

Perc, "Bitter Music - Complete Edition"

Perc's career defining Bitter Music album from 2017 is re-released for 2021 including all the remixes from the album gathered together for the first time.

First up is the original ten track album including "Look What Your Love Has Done To Me," then come the remixes including reworks from I Hate Models, Dax J, Amelie Lens, Matrixxman, Lucy, Pessimist, Hodge, Perc himself and many more.

More information can be found here.

  1606 Hits

Madlib/Kieran Hebden, "Sound Ancestors"

Kieren Hebden: "I was listening to some of his new beats and studio sessions when I had the idea that it would be great to hear some of these ideas made into a Madlib solo album ... arranged into tracks that could all flow together in an album designed to be listened to start to finish ... we decided to work on this together with him sending me tracks, loops, ideas and experiments that I would arrange, edit, manipulate and combine. I was sent hundreds of pieces of music over a couple of years."

Out January 29th, 2021.  More information can be found here.

  1666 Hits

Meitei, "Kof≈´"

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Over the last few years, Daisuke Fujita's Meitei project has carved out an intriguing and hard-to-describe niche that brings together several seemingly disparate threads I never expected to see intertwined. The vision at the heart of the project is an attempt to recreate what Fujita calls the Lost Japanese Mood, which makes his work a conceptual kindred spirit to The Caretaker. Meitei can be considerably more eclectic and inventive than that comparison would suggest, however, as there is a subtle sense of playfulness that approximates chopped, screwed, and deconstructed exotica even when the ostensible subject matter is something creepy like Japanese ghost stories.

KITCHEN

Before now, Meitei's work has primarily lingered in fairly "ambient" territory, crafting surreal soundscapes of hazy, crackling loops and enigmatic snatches of dialogue. This latest release, on the other hand, captures Meitei in unexpectedly rhythmic and melodic form and marks a truly revelatory leap forward. It is tempting to describe Kofu as Meitei’s “party album,” as the best moments call to mind the delirious fun of Carl Stone’s recent pop music collages, but there are a lot of haunted, phantasmagoric, and mysterious interludes that would make it one very unsettling party. Both sides of Meitei’s vision have their share of highlights though, as the warbling, hiss-soaked beauty of "Manyo" is every bit as compelling as the propulsive, rapturous left-field beat tape fare of the two-part "Oiran." A handful of pieces feel a bit too incidental to leave a deep impression of their own, but I certainly have no qualms with the eerie, dreamlike spell that they help conjure. If Kofu offered only that, it would still be an appealingly immersive and unusual album, but the most inspired pieces elevate it into something truly sublime and memorable.

Samples can be found here.

  2682 Hits

William Basinski, "Lamentations"

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I suppose I am predisposed to enjoy any major new statement from William Basinski, given my undying love of both hypnotic repetition and tape loops, but I was still a bit blindsided by the dazzling heights he sometimes reaches with this latest opus. That said, the heart of Basinski's vision remains mostly unchanged, as Lamentations is yet another album lovingly assembled from his seemingly bottomless archive of distressed tapes ("over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs"). The mood and structure this time around are fairly far from Basinski's usual comfort zone, however, as these twelve eerie miniatures feel like a hallucinatory stroll through a haunted and rotting opera house.

Temporary Residence

Such an aesthetic is generally just fine by me (though not my favorite of Basinski's album-length visions), yet Lamentations feels legitimately brilliant when it transcends mere mystery- and sadness-soaked ambiance, as it does on the swooningly operatic centerpiece "Please, This Shit Has Got To Stop." With that piece, Basinski attains a level of heavenly melodicism and emotional intensity that I have not encountered in any of his previous work. The rest of the album, on the other hand, generally feels like an atypically murky, brooding, and subtly nightmarish twist on his usual loops of ravaged tape. However, there are also a few second-tier highlights like the swooningly angelic "All These Too, I, I Love" or "O, My Daughter, O, My Sorrow," which approximates the strains of a great This Mortal Coil song drifting through a supernatural fog. As such, Lamentations lies somewhere between a somewhat uneven album and a significant creative breakthrough. For now, Basinski has not fully mastered how to craft short loop-driven compositions as consistently mesmerizing as his classic longform work, but I suspect he will get there soon: adding chopped classical vocalists to his arsenal was definitely a welcome and wonderful flash of inspiration. More importantly, "Please, This Shit Has Got To Stop" may very well be the finest piece that he has ever released. While I suspect I could happily listen to variations of El Camino Real or 92982 forever, I am absolutely delighted that there are still some fresh ideas lurking in all those decaying tapes.

Samples can be found here.

  1952 Hits

His Name is Alive, "A Silver Thread (Home Recordings 1979 - 1990)"

A 4-disc, 60-track anthology compiling early work by Warren Defever aka His Name Is Alive, prior to signing to 4AD. This set compiles 3 volumes previously released on vinyl, alongside a bonus disc and 36-page booklet.

For the past couple of years the Disciples label has been exploring the His Name Is Alive tape archives, charting the development of their sound over 3 roughly chronological volumes - All The Mirrors In The House, Return To Never and Hope Is A Candle (the latter LP being released alongside this boxed set). The full vinyl trilogy is anthologized here, alongside a bonus disc which collects together the best tracks from a series of cassette companion volumes that Defever compiled to go alongside each LP - 6Teen OK, Return Versions and Ghost Tape EXP.

While 'official' His Name Is Alive albums are much-loved by fans of the 4AD label in its crepuscular Cocteau Twins/This Mortal Coil period, these tentative tracks reveal a different kind of sound, notably losing the layer of prominent female lead vocals to reveal the shadowy instrumental moves going on underneath, with some tracks recorded when Defever was as young as 10.
With help transferring ageing cassettes and annotating the results from Shelley Salant of Tyvek, the unearthed results are revelatory - a gorgeous sequence of gently decaying tone float made with an incredibly primitive DIY set-up.

More information can be found here.

  1680 Hits

zakè, "Orchestral Studies Collectanea"

Orchestral Studies Collectanea consists of seven previously unreleased orchestral movements (Tracks 1-7) in addition to remastered variations of arrangements that originally appeared on Orchestral Tape Studies and Orchestral Tape Studies [Tyresta Reworks].

Orchestral Studies Collectanea is a compilation arranged and produced by zakè with additional production by close friend Tyresta. OSC is a group of richly layered movements of fragmented orchestral loops, paying homage to minimalist symphonic composers and orchestras. zakè and Tyresta incorporate field recordings and faint drone billows to accompany these selected samples of orchestral loops. With an emphasis on tone and recurrent murmurs, these arrangements offer approximately 48 minutes of delicate repetition, reticent sound treatments, and subtle manipulations. OSC is intended for low-volume listening.

More information can be found here.

  1594 Hits

Esplendor Geométrico, "40 Años Nos Iluminan"

40 AÑOS NOS ILUMINAN40 AÑOS NOS ILUMINAN

40 Años Nos Iluminan ("40 years enlighten us") is a special edition release celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Spanish electronic pioneers  Esplendor Geométrico.  This is NOT a "best of" or "collection" but an all NEW album!

40 Años Nos Iluminan is not just another EG album, as they have reinvented themselves by taking inspiration from their own long career since 1980. The new tracks included in 40 Años… offer better sound and compositions full of details, sometimes subtle, opening a new path of exploration that goes beyond the typical current industrial music loaded with clichés.  Here E.G. experiment with noise, recorded voices, striking collages, and their trademark hypnotic rhythms of industrial trance. 40 Años… marks a turning point and an evolution for E.G. (which, however, still sounds like E.G.).

The album includes 16 NEW tracks in the double vinyl version and 24 in the double CD.  Four cuts are versions-reconstructions of old EG tracks by other artists.

More information can be found here.

  1563 Hits

Robert Turman, "Chapter Eleven" boxed set reissue

Debuting in 1988 as a self-released 8xCassette boxed set, Chapter Eleven collects the solo recordings (1976 - 1987) from one of the earliest members of the US Industrial Noise scene, coalescing a wide swath of influences and culling experimental techniques into inventive new terrain. Carefully remastered from the original tapes, this deluxe reissue is a long-awaited rescue from obscurity.

"Turman seemed to have taken over where the last of the great synth based kraut artists left off in the '70s, infusing the spiritual meditation music with his own brand of loop hypnosis, slowly moving drones, industrial patterns, guitar fuzz, and even some in-your-face 80's style synth work" - IMPOSE Magazine

More information can be found here.

  1552 Hits

Mouchoir Étanche, "Une Fille Pétrifiée"

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The main reason that I follow Marc Richter's career is simply that he keeps releasing great albums, but he deserves a lot of credit for being one of the most restlessly creative and consistently adventurous artists in the electronic music underground. In keeping with that theme, this latest Black to Comm side project is arguably another experimental playground akin to Jemh Circs, yet Mouchoir Étanche's first full-length unveils a surprisingly focused vision best described as "somewhere between a chopped & screwed opera and a fever dream about an imaginary Dario Argento film set in a cathedral."

Cellule 75

The delirious intensity of the opening "Enter Mirror Hotel" is probably the perfect distillation of this latest direction, but it has some tough competition from a few other pieces deeper in the album, such as "Sécheresse," which brings together an achingly gorgeous descending organ theme with an evocative host of found sounds (children playing, ringing metal chimes) that overtake the original motif and transform into a smeared nightmare. "Le rêveur illimité" is yet another favorite, as overlapping layers of a woman speaking in French tumble over each other while eerie drones mass and slowly undulate beneath. It sounds a hell of lot like what would happen if Félicia Atkinson decided to create her own alternate soundtrack to Suspiria (which I sincerely hope she someday does). Admittedly, some of Une fille pétrifiée's other pieces are occasionally too indulgent for my taste, but Richter is generally in fine form, as he sustains a unbroken mood of haunted and bleary hypnagogic ambiance while still playfully stretching and twisting samples far beyond recognizability. In theory, Richter's finest work will always wind up on his more formal and "composed" Black to Comm albums, but he clearly has too many excellent ideas for just one outlet and some of those ideas work quite beautifully in this more spontaneous and collage-inspired incarnation.

Samples can be found here.

  1794 Hits

Alina Kalancea, "Impedance"

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Impedance, an entirely instrumental album spanning 4 sides, contains powerful rhythmic sequences, heart-beating frequencies and hypnotic loops that are paradoxically encapsulated in carefully crafted compositions which are full of secret passages and hidden doors. Kalancea's work creates ungraspable sonic experiences, which take us over, immersing us in powerful and mind altering soundscapes.

There's no quick payoff on Impedance. This is the sound of new, patient electronic music full of depth and substance.

Alina Kalancea is a Romanian sound artist and composer based in Modena, Italy. She has studied sound design and synthesis with Enrico Cosimi and collaborated with producer Alex Gamez, and artists Julia Kent and Raven Bush.

More information can be found here.

  1453 Hits

Dead Sea Apes, "Night Lands"

As darkness falls, once familiar territory is rendered alien and foreboding; full of weird and terrifying possibilities. These are Night Lands.

Cardinal Fuzz are proud to present Night Lands, the new album from Dead Sea Apes.

Recorded live in the rehearsal room last December, the newly expanded 4 piece Dead Sea Apes lock into spooky nocturnal grooves, augmented by Nik Rayne (The Myrrors) who was over in the UK for the month.

Night Lands is comprised of 3 off-the-cuff improvised jams, where Dead Sea Apes effortlessly mind meld with Rayne to head off into parts unknown.

Night Lands by Dead Sea Apes is released on vinyl and ltd CD by Cardinal Fuzz.

Out February 7, 2020.  More information can be found here.

  5035 Hits

Sunburned Hand of the Man, "Pick a Day to Die"

"Sunburned Hand of the Man might be the last of the great American free rock collectives. There was a time, not too long ago, when every region of this great republic could boast of its own visionary troupe of seekers and improvisers, thrumming at the frequency of the illuminated world. There was Pelt in the south and Jackie-O Motherfucker in the Pacific northwest, No-Neck Blues Band in New York and the iridescent Jewelled Antler out in the Bay Area. And up in the New England wilds, there was The Sunburned Hand of the Man.  David Keenan of The Wire memorably called it the New Weird America. It felt to me like the mystical democracy of Walt Whitman. It was never arch or jittery or wiry; it sprawled like the continent and massed like the seas. It produced some of the most singularly thrilling performances that I ever had the privilege of witnessing. Most of those groups have since gone dormant—disbanded entirely or decomposed into smaller units and solo projects. But the Sunburned Hand of the Man remains.

Or rather, we might say that the Sunburned Hand has returned. The sudden appearance of the phenomenal Headless in late 2019 felt like something of a resurfacing. There had, of course, been a steady trickle of obscuro cassettes and CD-Rs over the years, filling out an already bewilderingly immense and impossible to master discography. But Headless felt like their first proper album since the release of the Kieran Hebden-produced A on Ecstatic Peace! all the way back in 2010. It appears that it was no one-off.

The thing that one has to remember about Sunburned Hand of the Man is that while they were no less committed to vast, ritualistic summonings than their siblings in the American free rock underground, they were perhaps uniquely capable of channeling that cosmic funk. There’s a throb and a groove to Sunburned's music that made it as much body music as head music. This is a different kind of American weirdness than that which conjures ghosts and threatens to tear down the veil between worlds. This is “free your ass” weirdness that chugs and bounces. It makes us want to get out of our heads where we’ve all been trapped these past months and drive on the freeway or bop down the street or loaf like Walt Whitman in the stoned sun. Like the man said, it makes us want to taste the campfire. Pick A Day to Die. Sure, but definitely not today."

--Brent S. Sirota--

More information can be found here.

  1423 Hits