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A disc with the potential to infuriate idiots before they've even heardit is a rare thing, and Lord Almighty, Father of Toads, here are two ofthe damn things! Having already made a recording of noises sourced fromthat famous old book full of bloodbaths and boils, the bible, prolificJapanese sound artist Aube has allowed the Elsie and Jack label toassemble a cast of thousands to hack and chop digital crosses on whichto hang the pages of the book.
A relatively low key track from Brume opens the unholy proceedings withthe kind of bleak soundscape that reminds me that it is written that noman should look upon his uncle naked! This is followed by relativelylow key tracks from polite beat merchants the Remote Viewer andSirconical. The first track to actually sound like it was made frombook noises is the page shuffling 'Papyrus' from Super Massive.
The big noise erupts eventually on the seventh track when PrincessDragonmom says let there be digital cement mixers. And lo! There weredigital cement mixers! Merzbow ups the stakes with some real tweaterfucking nastiness that would have jolly ol' Jehovah reaching for theear plugs if he heard it on the eighth day. Damn, cursed the one truegod, forgot to create ear plugs! Now if only evolution actuallyhappened the likes of Flutter and V/Vm might actually have us allmutating closable earflaps or eardrum off switches, but as it is we'lljust have to settle for the somewhat asinine observation that these areall the kind of satanic gobblers that would disobey the commandments ofthe mad old god of retribution himself and feast upon the flesh ofbirds such as the bat and the pelican.
Some folk just can't get enough of the good book and Super Massive,Wheaton Research and Disco Operating System all drop multiplemetaphorical turds in the font. Wheaton Research, aka Brent Gutzeit,whose drone collaboration on Kranky with James Plotkin was quite good,throws up a suite of ear fucking minimal high glitch-pop crackles thatmake the likes of Hood and Volcano the Bear, who actually attempt towork Aube's bible bashing into weird songs, sound like clean cut kidsthat went to Sunday school and trembled at the mere mention of buringbushes. The Volcano the Bear song works better, as it displays morehumour in the way the Aube noise is deployed. Disco Operating Systemoffers three tracks entitled 'Jimmy', 'Page' and 'Hamilton', presumablyin some kind of punning tribute to Led Zeppelin and Helmet; after allAnton LaVey did call heavy metal 'the last burp of Christianity'. Andthe 'Jimmy' track is quite a burping quick loop cut affair, whilst'Page' does a bass throb and 'Hamilton' combines the two approachespresumably using different samples.
Some references are made to the themes of the book, and Phosphene getsa mention for using the word 'Nebuchadnezzar', a king we don't hearenough of with a name like that. However, I was saddened that no onementioned or attempted to emulate the parting of the red sea or theplague of frogs. And it must be said V/Vm missed a golden opportunityin not trying to simulate the cacophanous menagerie of Noah's ark. Thenagain, they'd probably only have let the pigs on board!



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"The Cuckoo" is the full length debut from Jansky Noise, a solo projectof one of the V/Vm lads. The ziplocked LP is a gorgeous green/blacksplattered vinyl and is "part 3 of an ongoing series of colour codeddistressed audio" releases, the previous ones being Noise/Girl's"Discopathology" and V/Vm's "Masters of the Absurd". Side 1 begins witha few tracks worth of heavily processed loops that approach aMerzbow-ian level of noise assault. The remainder of the side calmsthings down considerably, but only after a passage of disruptive humansnoring paired with bird squawks. This eventually tapers down to an oddbut soothing sort of ambient experience that includes a soundreminiscent of a distant cruise ship horn and a bit of effected musicbox. Side 2 alternates between mercurial and mellow tracks. PatsyCline's classic rendition of the Willie Nelson penned "Crazy" is giventhe classic V/Vm treatment, pitch shifted and slowed down to a creepycrawl. "Roaming in the gloaming with SCOTTISH pie by my side" (yougotta love those whacky titles!) is an impressive example of pastoralmeets industrial ambiance just after sunset. "Rapid Racing" revs up andshifts through high pitched frequencies, coming to an abrupt stop forthe finale: a relatively untouched Andrews Sisters' "Money is the Rootof All Evil". "The Cuckoo" is another thoroughly fun and diverse 32minutes of lunacy from the V/Vm camp. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'llcringe, you'll smile. Be sure to check out the revamped V/Vm site atBrainwashed later this month for info on the neverending torrent of newreleases on the horizon.



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low, "last night i dreamt that somebody loved me"

Two new songs grace this CD single available now from Low on theirChair Kickers label. In addition, the disc comes with a very impressivemusic video for "Dinosaur Act" directed and edited by NY-basedindependent film enthusiast, sometime musician and fulltime fan MarcGartman. Ironically enough, "Last Night I Dreamt,..." is possibly the-last- great Smiths song, yet the overall font and style theme of thissingle mimics the -first- Smiths release. "Last Night" is by far myfavorite on their final album, strangely enough allegedly recorded-after- their split (without Johnny Marr and Morrissey even recordingtheir studio sessions on the same days). The trio have been performingthis live in the US to receptive audiences but reports tell the bandwas heckled in the Smiths' hometown of Manchester recently. While it'snoted that the recordings took place at the home studio in Duluth, theemotionally heavy reverb makes it sound like it was recorded in anempty concert hall. The second track, "Because You Stood Still" is aclimactic Low original which probably won't become one of my favoriteLow tunes, yet it has the most natural mix of strings I have heard in aLow song since "Condescend" from 1997. Maybe one day Low will finallygive in and release a nice compilation so I don't have all these greatsongs on individual singles,..



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Every single track from Foetus' latest album "Flow" is given a "Blow"job for this companion remix album. Eleven hip remixers take their turnbut Thirlwell isn't quite willing to entirely let go of the controls ashe maintains the executive producer's chair. For me, remix albums areusually a hit and miss proposition and this one's pretty par for thecourse. I often can't help but think, 'yeah, this is alright, but Ilike the original much better'. First the ones I like. Franz Treichler(Young Gods) completely turns "The Need Machine" inside out fromraucous rocker with aggro vocals to frosty soundscape techno withwhispered vocals (which must have been re-recorded). Phylr (JF Coleman,ex-Cop Shoot Cop) does a nice job of transforming "Mandelay" into oneof his own moody, predominantly instrumental pseudo-industrial tracks.Sean Beaven (Kidney Thieves, longtime NIN mixer/engineer/producer)gives "Grace of God" some drum 'n bass fills, clever new samples andeventually a slower guitar fortified chorus. Ursula 1000 serves up"Someone Who Cares" with a whole new white trash race track influencedbacking reminiscent of My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult circa"Sexplosion". And Thirlwell himself can't help but join in on the funby obliterating and extending "The Need Machine". And now the ones Idon't much like. Charlie Clouser (Team Nine Inch Nails) gives parts of"Quick Fix" an extra rock jolt but he also relies on far too manyNINnie-isms like vocoded and hacked up vocals. Pan Sonic and Kid 606essentially make new, annoying tracks of their own from pieces of"Kreibabe" and "Shun" respectively while Panacea buries "Heuldoch 7B"in distorted beats and synths. Yuck. And DJ Food tries to make"Suspect" creepier by pitch shifting down much of the vocals but themusic is such a mess it makes it intolerable. I'll say it again: hitand miss. I'd rather listen to "Flow", one of my favorite new albums ofthe year. states that a "Blow" related event is planned fornext January in Los Angeles.



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kitchen motors presents: "nart nibbles"

The third collection to come out of Iceland's Kitchen Motors might aswell be parts three and four to the Motorlab (reviewed a couple monthsback). This 2xCD collection shares many of the Icelandic performers ason the other collections, recorded earlier however (1999) from avariety of improvisational performances in the Motorlab. The majordifference is that the first two compilations were rather rigid in thecollaborative respect — each performance was between at least twounlikely paired identities. On Nart Nibbles, collaborations occur, butthere are also performances by the individual groups. Seven tracks fromseven different entities make up the first disc, beginning with a fourorgan and one drummer ensemble, Apparat Organ Quintet, whoseperformance sets the stage for this rather clean, well assembledcollection. A contribution from Big Band Brutal is neither big norbrutal, but quite clearly establishes the fact that instrumentalimprovisation doesn't always have to be harsh or directionless. Discone ends with a fabulous 10+ minute rhythmic collaboration between Múmand Músíkvatur with organs, a toy drum kit, synths and dryer sounds.Disc two however features only two tracks. The first is an all-star13-guitarist ensemble which stretches nearly half an hour. "HelvitisSymphony I" is much less dissonant (and more enjoyable) than most avantgarde guitarist ensembles (like those led by Glen Branca) and featuresguitarists like Motorlab organizer Kristin Bjork, Jonsi from Sigur Rós,Hilmar Jensson and Hei¦a. Over the course of the piece, each guitaristintroduces their part, contributing a distinct sound and feel, fromdrones to melodies, carefully layering over what's already beenestablished, yet developing and mutating the feel and direction. Thecollection concludes with a beautiful electronic versus organiccollaboration between Biogen, Plastik and Hilmar Jensson, matchingpulses, low frequencies, and caterwauling guitars into a hypnotic audiosoup. Gosh I wish I were there.



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Carsten Nicolai (aka Noto/Alva Noto) has been collaborating via e-mailwith several different but like-minded artists lately: with à for"Wohltemperiert", with Ryoji Ikeda for Cyclo, with Scanner for"Uniform" and here with Thomas Knak (aka Opiate) for the latest in the'static' bag series. Knak records solo under his own name as well asOpiate and Gloria Hirsch, is a member of Future 3 and worked with Bjùrkon her latest, "Vespertine". These tracks, referred to simply as optofiles 1 through 4, total a little over 33 minutes and fit right in withthe static aesthetic. Nicolai's digital glitches rhythmically singaccompaniment to Knak's simple, lazy melodies. Add bass swells, simmerand stir occasionally. It's a comfy balance between fireside warmth andgoose pimple chill. 1 and 3 are just the right length, the latteradding a tasty beat, while 2 is way too long and 4 is way too short,the latter being the most minimal of all. Nice ...



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"Transform" is Nicolai solo as Alva Noto and it is his second disc assuch for Mille Plateaux, follow-up to last year's "Prototypes". Bothare all about minimalism deeply rooted in microscopic mathematicalcoding and structure. It's kinda funny now because I really enjoy(ed)the first disc and was looking forward to more in a similar vein at thetime, but now that I have it I'm not as satisfied as I should be.Unfortunately for me (and perhaps Nicolai) is that in the time that haspassed between the two albums his collaborations with others haveinjected new and different blood into the mix with varying and excitingresults. With "Transform" were back to just Nicolai's evolutionarycomposition techniques and standard set of audio building blocks - thefull range of waves, pulses and drones, glitches, metallic pops andclicks, etc. The quality of his solo work is just as good but myperception of it has changed some ... it seems exceedingly academic andsterile in comparison now. That said, there are still a number ofmildly funky (well, about as funky as a German with a laptop canpossibly be) grooves to be found among the 10 tracks or 'modules' asthey're referred to here. But here's hoping that more collaborativework is in store.



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Peter Rehberg may be familiar as Pita and Ramon Bauer as General Magic,both of whom are usually at home on the Mego label. However, they'vebeen documenting noisy rhythms emanating from errors over the course ofa trilogy of CD's on Touch. Never ones to stick closely to a rulebook(except perhaps 'How to Rewire Your Fridge') the third CD is actuallyculled from Australian live performances by the Austrian duo. Once pastthe irritating over the top intro from a swearing local 'celebrity'it's over the top laptop noise all the way. Really this has as much incommon with Rehberg's Pita material as it does the earlier 'ballt' and'Fasst' installments. Maybe that's because the glitch is seen by thecogniscenti to have become a bit of a cliche in the five years since'Fasst' emerged twitching and humming into the twilight. The CD isindexed into 13 tracks over the course of four titles, so on randomplay cuts three of the noisescapes into 2 to 7 chunks which actuallywork off each other very well in any order. I suspect that Rehberg andBauer would actively encourage even greater listener interaction. Trydownloading the samples below and hacking, chopping and mulching themto your own requirements. I had a lot of fun doing just that withsamples from the last General Magic CD. Which is not to suggest that'passt' isn't a fine listen in itself. Its crackles and pops andmeasured descents into howling digital whirlwinds are fine exercises inreigning in and controlling chaos. From heartbeat pulses to emergencywhite noise whiteouts, Rehberg and Bauer keep things moving at a fingerclicking pace. Halfway through the longest closing excursion intomounting dissonance, 'Revolver', the influence of Bruce Gilbert'slatter day solo work is readily apparent, and recommendations don'tcome much higher than that. Like 'In Esse' or the Speedranch^JanskyNoise 'Live at the Scala' disc, these are noise works with so manylayers and masked shifts that repeated listening is essential to makeheads into tails. Piccadilly Records were impressed enough to remarkthat the album has a nice cover and These Records have described'passt' as the first comedy laptop record. So where does that leaveV/Vm and their horrible covers?



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"V/VM Hate You"

When Beatles tributes take the stage someone has to put it back. Stadium bores with hands behind backs and whiny nasal voices are pelted with rancid eggs, fat squishy tomatoes, tubs of lard and mouldy old dough by young hackers who forgot John Lennon before they were even born. Suddenly backdrop collapses and the thin squawking of union jack guitars is drowned by big nasty laptop noise eruptions. Two men in pig masks are revealed and cabbage leaves are thrown to the throng.

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my bloody valentine, "ecstasy and wine"

When I think back to the early 1990s, three albums stick out in my mindas being timeless classics: The Las, The Stone Roses, and 'Loveless'from My Bloody Valentine. Unfortunately, these bands had recordingsbefore these records (and in one case after), which fail (miserably) toreach the stunning climax of their staple album, leaving their mark onthe world as an imperfect existence. To its credit, the recent MyBloody Valentine collection of older EPs is much better than both fromthe Las and Stone Roses 'Garage Flowers'. If you're looking for thenext best thing to a follow-up from 'Loveless', however, you will be infor a disappointment. While the airy open voice male and female vocalsand heavily distorted guitars are recognizable, it's a cross betweenjangly pop and the occasional dark distorted track, often giving aretrospective nod to more obscure 1960s rock stuff. My Bloody Valentinewere certainly not in their own element quite yet. There is a certainalmost indescribable charm to it however, despite the poor production,embarassing lyrics and crummy artwork. Perhaps they were trying toohard not to sound like The Smiths but couldn't escape the traps of thecontemporary music as these EPs most likely doubled as a demos backthen. It's worth the cheap price but if you see the disc going for ajacked-up import cost, there's no need to bother.



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Though recorded in 1999, the latest Hed Nod Session is just now finallyupon us from Montreal's Hushush. This one is on candy red transparentvinyl and, unfortunately, it is the last one on vinyl due to financialissues (future sessions will be split CDs with other artists). Youshould know what to expect from Harris by now, especially for thisseries of limited edition (300) 33 rpm LPs: killer beats spinning slowand hitting low. Slower and lower than most of Harris' work as Scorn.Each of the 3 tracks per side, about a half hour total, consists of ahip hop stylized beat, a dark atmosphere, deep bass bumps and swells.And once Harris lays down the minimal groove, he sticks with it, soyou'd better be a fan of repetition. "Shorting" takes the cake on SideA with it's crisp snare rush loop propulsion. "Sweet As" starts offside B tediously, its beat being relatively limp and thedownwardcascading sound loop growing tiresome after a few minutes. But"Where" and "Then 3 More" recover very nicely, carrying on where side Aleft off. Every time I spin one of these records I realize minuteslater that I'm subconsciously swaying back and forth and/or nodding myhead. Proof positive that Harris is doing something right.



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"the princess + the warrior" soundtrack

The name Pale 3 has now been bestowed upon to the three-person team whohave composed two soundtracks prior to this one, 'Winter Sleepers' from1996 and 'Run Lola Run' from 1998. This time around, the trio teamed upwith a host of some of the most buzzworthy female singers in modern andelectronic music to complete a full-length release which accompaniesthe score. The first half of the disc are seven songs which featureSkin, Louise Rhodes (from Lamb), Alison Goldfrapp (of Goldfrapp), AnitaLane (Bad Seeds/solo), Beth Hirsch (solo/Air guest appearances), andthe film's star Franka Potente. While most of these are not from themovie itself, the trio has taken the skeletal work of many film themesand developed them into complete songs with the said singers. Fans ofthe 'Run Lola Run' soundtrack would probably be impressed with theelectronics once again exhibited here. Lush soundscapes fill the soundspectrum, heavy with emotion, while each singer delivers rather dry andalmost heartless performances in contrast. From the opening track withSkin, I have to admit I wasn't impressed as the tune sounds much like aripoff cross between Portishead's "Roads" and Radiohead's "PyramidSong", yet the two following tracks from Louise Rhodes and FrankaPotente seemingly make the purchase worthwhile. The second half of thedisc features straight score from the film and recycles many themesheard in the vocal tracks from the first half. It's decent and amust-have for Lamb, Goldfrapp and Anita Lane fans, but as the movie is,your life won't be different if you miss it.



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orchestra terrestrial, "here and elsewhere"

Leaving the rigid beats behind this time, Richard H. Kirk introduces anew alias through a new (for him) label. The first OrchestraTerrestrial release comes from Die Stadt and is packaged exquisitelywith a fold-out CD case and six prints of digital artwork representingsix of the eight songs here (three by Naked Art, three by DesignersRepublic). While Kirk has has contrasted his usual style by creating anatmospheric soundbath with lengthy delays heavily absent of drummachines and thumping beats, his signature style of long buildups,heavy repetition and lengthy songs is noticably present. For the firsttime in many releases, I can actually clearly hear distinct treatmentsfor each sound present. Each piece of the tapestry has its own life andidentity without getting wrapped up in a grey muddiness. In the blurbgoing around, Kirk is said to have created this disc after his recentrediscovery of classical composers like Wagner, Debussy and Mozart, butI'm honestly having a tough time finding the connection. Theprogression is amazingly linear: beginning with a whisper, slowly andpatiently adding beats and more layers with each track until the end,where "Uniform Spaces" breaks down, being chopped up into little bits,threaded and looped. (It's this ending that is the key that links bothreleases together for those RHK fans who weren't sure whether thefollowing item reviewed was RHK or not!) At the end of the disc, I'mfinding myself anxious to listen again before shelving it like many ofhis releases over the last ten years. The disc is limited to 1000numbered copies.



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digital terrestrial, "aural illusions"

Mysteriously enough, a 12" single surfaced on the same day as the Orchestral Terrestrial release, bearing no explicit indication that it's also a Richard H. Kirk project aside from the amazingly similar name and fonts used. There's no illusion in the music here, however, as 'Deconstructed Trance Anthem' parts 1 and 2 graces each side with none other than repetitious butchered remains of a generic trance anthem.

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COH, "Love Uncut"

Four deviant love songs make up the latest EP by COH (Ivan Pavlov) with collaborators Peter Christopherson and John Balance of Coil, Steve Thrower of Cyclobe, Frankie Gothard, and Louise Weasel. The disc comes lovingly packaged in a clear slip case with amusing cardstock inserts, color illustrated and Spanish captioned, for each song. As with some of the previous EP "Vox Tinnitus", "Uncut" pairs the guests' vocals with Pavlov's precisely programmed, laptop generated chaos. "My Angel [Director's Cut]" and "Fffetish" are reinterpretations of mid '80s pop tunes, Soft Cell's "Meet Murder My Angel" and Vicious Pink's "Fetish", respectively.

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5341 Hits

Greg Weeks, "Awake Like Sleep"

Greg Weeks is just plain weird. One look at the album cover for this,his second release, can tell you that. He's got that bloody knife lyingthere in the snow, and on the back of the release, he's lying in thesnow with a pool of blood by his head. Is he killer, or the killed, orboth? It's incredibly fitting, as "Awake Like Sleep" sounds like thesoundtrack to your favorite dream, worst nightmare, or a combination ofthe two. All songs feature synthesizer of some kind, usually mini-moogor omnichord, and half have no drums whatsoever. This gives the wholerelease a very eerie feel, that you cannot escape. Not that you'd wantto. It's very lush and beautiful, "Awake Like Sleep," even if a littlelanguid and depressing, but it's magnificently arranged. Weeks and hisprimary collaborator Jesse Sparhawk make wonderful music together,particularly on the tracks where it's just the two of them playing allof the instruments. It's a very simple release in terms of arrangementand style, but very affecting, as Weeks has immense talent as asongwriter and musician. A few of the tracks grew a bit monotonous onrepeatedly listens, but overall it's a gem, driven by the creepiness ofthe music and Weeks' voice, mixed with an interesting dash of altar boynuance due to the sound of the organ on several tracks. A challenginglisten, but overall worthwhile.



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jackie-o motherfucker, "liberation"

Walking the line between the improvisational and the organizational,chaotic and orderly, the Portland-based collective known as Jackie-OMotherfucker has released the second full-length CD for Road Cone(their seventh full-lenther in the grand scheme of things). It's acollision of opposing forces, as cold-climate bluesy rock meets afreestyle electronic assemblance, and would appeal to the Volcano theBear, Molasses, Boxhead Ensemble and Shalabi Effect fans of thespectrum. The album starts off with a heavy dosage of disorder with theten+ minute opener, following through with a guitar-heavy 14 minutelong tune driven by an 808-imitating drum machine. Through thefollowing few numbers the collective display their ability to mesh allinstruments without making too much of a mass. However, by the time itreaches "Something On Your Mind," I'm thankful most of the tunes areinstrumental. It's not that the singer has a bad voice, it's just thatthe lyrics aren't as profound as the singer might be thinking andneedn't be repeated as laboriously over the course of three minutes. Bythe time it reaches the last two tracks: "The Pigeon" and "Pray", therthe vibes, strings, guitar and wind instrument interplay is executedwell enough to paint an aural landscape of both beauty and sickness.The first of the two tracks builds from a quieter opening into a boldroar while the second calms everything down into a serene and coolending.



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Why oh why was this only released in Japan?!? "Shopping" quicklyfollowed up, followed in and flattened out the footsteps of the 2000full length debut "Tragic Epilogue" on 75 Ark. Anti Pop's trio ofverbally proficient vocalists - Priest, Beans and M. Sayyid - areaugmented by co-producer E. Blaize. It seems as if they belong to a subgenre of hip hop entirely of their own devise. The production isclinically precise and somewhat minimal, the bass and beats crisp andclear with electronic overtones. The rhymes are often tongue tyingblurs of abstract dictionary data (the lyrics are thankfully included).The first stanza of the first vocalized track "Angular" is one of manyexamples: "unto itself it's incomplete / but made complete by myconnection / the effervescent vestige of decimation / the decimal pointseven thousandth of a percent / possession with intent to make bent / Ibreak bread with tack heads / in flight unflawed with sight unseen /strongly configured with wire inside of a womb the size of an entireplanet born of fire". That all flows by naturally in about 18 secondsflat. And there's another 46 minutes after that. Meticulous mind funk.Oddities along the way include the bizarre future drama of "Excerptfrom the forthcoming epic: Dogland", the android vocals of"Technocracy", a few brief instrumentals including the city noisecollage of APC's home base "New York" and the surprising guitar sampleand female MC enhanced "Lazarus Pit" and "Verses", respectively."Shopping" was well worth the $24 it took to bring it Stateside. AntiPop have since signed with Warp Records (!) and their new EP "The EndsAgainst the Middle" should be out this November.



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isan, "lucky cat"

The most recent full-lengther from the English duo ISAN was released earlier this year on Morr Music in Germany. You might be familiar with their name from various remixes like the two on the Morr compilation, 'Putting the Morr Back in Morrissey' and their Seefeel remix on the Warp 10th anniversary remix disc or various other compilation appearances.

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4755 Hits


Apparently 18 discs worth of Merzbow just isn't enough for me ... I hadto go and order another one. Silly, especially considering that I'vebarely scratched the surface of my Merzbox. Dharma is a universal ordertenet of Buddhism. It is the essential function or nature of a thing.Masami Akita's way to enlightenment has always been 'noise' and thefour tracks that make up "Dharma" are no exception. "I'm Coming to theGarden .... No Sound, No Memory" starts off innocently enough but bythe third minute thick textures consume the stereo field. A singlelooped shard of electrical current defiantly blasts through thebackdrop. "Akashiman" marches on with prototypical tangled sound,mostly in higher frequencies. That's the first 10 minutes. The next 8is "Piano Space for Marimo Kitty". Here Akita loops a short and oddpiano melody while weaving in restrained waves, that is until the midpoint when he can no longer resist the urge to bury everything inswirling sonic chaos. The final track is the near 32 minute zen monster"Frozen Guitars and Sunloop/7E 802". By the latter half of the piece,the mass is reduced to a dulled roar that feels like it's descendingand ascending simultaneously. It's as deceptive as the digipackpackaging: simple white and black on the outside with panels of pastelcolors hidden within. Now to delve into that daunting Merzbox while myears and brain are still acclimated to the noise



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