Vaagner/Vaknar Fall & Winter 2020 Tape Batch

Canadian violinist Christopher Whitley presents his first release of this year, Landscape Shifts (Slight Return), a collage of material derived from a 40-minute single movement piece that originally premiered in Austin, Texas earlier this year, composed by Christopher Whitley for small ensemble, electronics and projections.

Having been composed and performed a month before the Covid-19 related US shutdown, the piece was originally conceived in response to the book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell, yet took on a new meaning as the core theme proved to be uncannily prescient in the following months of enforced stasis and lockdown.

The work itself, split into two parts, evokes themes of solitary introversion and serene patience, embedded in an tranquil ambiance featuring light movements of cello, voice, violin, piano, percussion and electronics, yet the piece never comes to feel cluttered as the small ensemble unfolds in a flurry of harmony throughout its 23-minute duration, as even in its busiest moments Landscape Shifts (Slight Return) is as much about the music as it is about the silence in between the individual sounds, giving the work an acute sense of intimacy that offers listeners a moment of sincere respite in these turbulent times.

Under his moniker "Blessed are the Hearts that Bend," filmmaker and artist Luke Seomore channels his narrative abilities and experiences into musical output. Is My Destroyer, his latest album, is an ode to film, legacies and trauma.

On the album, Luke showcases meticulously sculpted compositions that range from solemn ambient soundscapes to orchestral symphonies, often featuring spoken word or field recordings, while being permeated by a rich sense of cinematic atmosphere. Is My Destroyer unfolds like a story arc, always filled with a sense of time and direction as ideas morph, grow, disperse and rekindle; with key pieces like "Palace" these ideas seem unbound, bursting out of their seams with emotional grandeur, elegance and passion, while other works such as "Orio" or "The Tower" offer sincere moments of reprieve.

In the end, Is My Destroyer feels like a film without pictures, enticing listeners to fill the void with their own imaginings as they experience this moving body of work, leaving one with both a shared sense of connectivity and a singular experience, which ties in to the core theme of the work, one where Luke questions how experiences, legends, ideas and trauma get passed on through generations.

Initially self-released digitally earlier this year, Ruben Kotkamp's debut album fall/winter 19ʼ20 showcased the Netherlands-based artist's prowess at crafting a musical world entirely his own, enveloped by a fabric of electronic blips, glitches and clamor. Yet under this soundscape of synthetic networks lies a poignant human component that underpins the inherent moving quality of the work, which when viewed in its entirety comes across as a meditation on the digital ages continually intersecting framework between man and machine, voice and sound, body and fabric.

For this expanded issue, Vaknar presents the original album in physical format for the first time, while including two new pieces that further expand upon themes found in the original work, such as a new composition by Ruben Kotkamp, which interlaces some of the albums components into a 12-minute barrage of static noise and modulated voice experiments.

Additionally the expanded album includes a rework by Belgian composer Mathieu Serruys, who likewise reworks various components from the album and molds them into a 9-minute long, heavily tape-processed soundscape of clattering hiss, droning horns and tempered voices, ending the album on a final swan song of deteriorating machinery and human impermanence.

More information on all three releases can be found here.

2508 Hits

The Bats, "Foothills"

Spanning the last 38 years, The Bats have clocked nine incredible albums; each one seeing the band evolve with new material from the prolific songwriting hand of Robert Scott. Add to that tally the extra singles, b-sides, EPs, compilations and tribute songs they’ve recorded, creating a succinct setlist is a nearly impossible task.

Their 10th full-length, Foothills, was recorded in Spring 2018 at a country retreat pop-up studio. At that time, 15 songs were captured and immortalized in the Canterbury foothills of the Southern Alps, Aotearoa (New Zealand). Only too well, The Bats know the possibilities, potentialities and sonic vistas that arise when one takes the reins for the recording process in a beautiful place that's on home turf.

Robert Scott, on the making of Foothills has said "Time marches on... finally, we found a gap in our busy lives and chose a week to convene. We found a house that is usually inhabited by ski field workers — Kowai Bush, near Springfield about an hour west of Christchurch and of course nestled in the foothills of the mighty Southern Alps. The songs had been written, demo'd and arranged for some time, but still with a little room for trying things out in the studio. Many carloads arrived at the house, full of amps guitars and recording gear, we set up camp and soon made it feel like home; colored lights, a log fire, and home cooked meals in the kitchen. We worked fast, and within a few days had all the basic backing tracks done, live together in one room, the way we like to do it - it's all about 'the feel' for songs like ours."

The Bats must hold a record in New Zealand (perhaps the whole world, once The Rolling Stones throw in the towel) as a band that has survived with the same line-up for 38 years. No split-ups, no reforming for nostalgia's sake.

So far, half the band have spots in The New Zealand Music Hall Of Fame, vocalist/ guitarist Robert Scott (The Clean) and bassist/producer Paul Kean (Toy Love), and it's only a matter of time before lead guitarist Kaye Woodward and drummer Malcolm Grant find themselves in there too. The four-piece has created twisted wistful folk, psychedelic rock, bouncy twee pop, and everything in between, but whatever the genre, their sound is always distinctively, unmistakably The Bats.

More information can be found here.

2380 Hits

My Cat is an Alien, "The World that IS and IS NOT"

The World that IS and IS NOT is the enigmatic title of My Cat Is An Alien's new "concept album."

The World that IS and IS NOT is the existential reflection of MCIAA on 2020: a pandemic scenario where everything seems to vanish into the Void.

Explicitly dedicating this new studio album to the dark ages we're all living through, more than ever MCIAA stand strong to claim that Music and Art are the primary and true "cure" for spiritual disquiet and moral despair.

Thus the music herein is highly spiritual, sensitive, soft and warm… surprisingly lyrical. Its celestial melodies cannot but induce to transcendental meditations. MCIAA offer a one-way ticket to still unexplored otherwordly territories and better realms of space-time consciousness.

An inborn wisdom that Roberto Opalio resumes in his poem handwritten on the album insert: "In the endless vortex of No-Thing / […] I still do believe / Art can save my Spiritual Noise soul."

Produced by MCIAA in multi-dimensional, fully dynamics-frequency spectrum "STEREOALIEN FIDELITY."

Released on the renewed Opax Private Press imprint in a first, ultra-limited and hand-numbered edition of 100 Silver Color Vinyl LPs, housed in full-color printed jacket with folded cover/insert on Italian fine art linen textured 250g cardboard. Includes a 70x50 cm Poster. Cover and poster painting by Roberto Opalio. Design by MCIAA.

More information can be found here.

2566 Hits

Black Wing, "No Moon"

Dan Barrett— the man behind Have A Nice Life, Giles Corey, and Enemies List Home Recordings— has unveiled details for his sophomore album as the electronic project Black Wing. Due out December 11th on The Flenser, No Moon is a gorgeous chillwave/post-punk record with nine bleak yet blissful songs and is a fitting close out to the year 2020.

Written over the course of the last few years, with about half of the songs penned over the last six months (mostly due to pandemic "free time"), No Moon is a heart-wrenchingly honest outpour of emotion. Throughout the writing process, Barrett was having recurring dreams and felt a strange sense of timelessness — that, combined with quarantine is what he simply describes as "a weird experience." Barrett explains, "Quarantine was profoundly isolating. With writing this record, more than anything I just wanted to prove to myself that I could make something out of it. That ended up being a lot of songs about feeling isolated, a lot of 'trapped in my own head' moments. I think that was a lot of people's experience as well."

Barrett formed Black Wing in the mid-2010's as an opposite to his project Giles Corey; where Giles started as 'only acoustic instruments allowed,' Black Wing started with only digital instruments. In 2015, Black Wing released its first proper full length, …Is Doomed, to great critical acclaim. Much like that album, No Moon bubbles with electronica and indie-pop with earworm melodies and affecting lyrics. But No Moon is a transitional change from Black Wing's debut; the songs here are a bit more experimental and there's a significantly wider emotional range to them.

The nine new tracks on No Moon are gloomy yet glorious, heavy while ambient, overwhelming yet alluring, and offer an earnest and honest look into one's self during such a troubling and confusing year — something we all can relate to.

More information can be found here.

8277 Hits

Meitei, "Kofū"

It began with Kwaidan, a simmering study on the lost art of Japanese ghost story-telling. Then there was Komachi, baptized in the earthly winds and static that define its comforting sonics.

On Kofū, Meitei masterfully closes his trilogy of lost Japanese moods with an engaging interrogation of artforms and aesthetics as a provocation — or, as fashioned in the album’s subtitle, a "satire of old Japanese aesthetics." Each entry's distinct flavor has earned Meitei acclaim for conjuring a bygone culture through his transportive form of ambient music. Kofū arrives as a deconstruction of this approach. With his first release on Kitchen, Meitei has quietly defied expectations set by his previous two albums, while continuing to challenge modern notions of Japanese sounds.

Once again, Meitei resumes his focus on a Japan that has long ceased to be. This time, Kofū is deliberately playful in bridging a sensibility that connects this imagined past to the present. Fractured piano chords are the first to greet you on "Kintsugi" before they make way for a spectral elegance that parades the haunted mask of Kwaidan on "Man'yō."

But like an ambient soothsayer schooled in the art of the 808s, Meitei quickly drives Kofū with propulsion on "Oiran I," which shares a sibling in Side B track "Oiran II." On both songs, he builds tension served up by flickering hip-hop rhythms — achieved by carefully processing old drum and metal sounds — with a subversive spirit unforeseen in any of his work thus far. Dissecting vocal recordings to the point of incomprehensibility, Meitei aims for something stirring beyond- words — not unlike J Dilla and his mountain of cut-up soul samples, or The Caretaker with decaying 78s. He abides by a principle attributed to the master Hayao Miyazaki: "Beyond logic speaks of human nature."

Kofū allows full immersion into fragments of the past without the trappings of nostalgia. The tracklist is denoted by prominent (and unseen) figures of this history. Tracks "Sadayakko" and "Otojirō" are named after renowned entertainers from the Meiji era, while "Nyōbō" is dedicated to a long-suffering line of working class women within a patriarchal Japanese society. The sounds of "Oiran," sharing the name of the title bestowed upon courtesans, were sparked after learning about the treatment of red light district workers within this era. It paints a grim picture of baidoku (also known as syphilis) and its ravage spread.

These stories cloud the overall mood of Kofū, but Meitei takes a Mizoguchi-like approach to mould that unimaginable pain with tenderness. "Oiran I"'s hidden subtitle is Hana, and "Oiran II" is Shiokaze. As Meitei explains, "Hana means gorgeous and glorious. Shiokaze is the sea breeze — for her life." Tracks like "Urameshi-ya" and "Gen'ei" provide a meditative space amidst the turbulence, while "Shōnen" takes a turn for the cinematic. The eight-minute odyssey is engulfed by shadowy voice loops, mixed best for a headphone experience in a solitary setting.

Meitei bids farewell to an expedition first sparked by a passion for a long-forgotten cultural past. Kofū is a definitive conclusion with an open invitation to listeners from Japan and beyond — encouraging continued appreciation of this sacred part of history, wholly untethered from the world at large.

More information can be found here.

2637 Hits

Longform Editions 16

Longform Editions 16 presents four new pieces from a diverse set of artists exploring ideas through sound composition surrounding listening, perception and focus, both in the abstract and our everyday.

claire rousay
it was always worth it
Having forged a stark individual path with her deeply personal domestic and field recordings, Texas-based claire rousay offers a compelling exploration into the dynamics of human relationships and self-perception. Listening to it was always worth it—heavily scored with voice-to-text—is to recast your ears towards the ghosts of lost loves and find a new perspective.

"I love the sound of voices, especially the voices of my loved ones. Those are the sounds I listen to."

Taylor Deupree
Head of the influential 12K label, New York's Taylor Deupree's own work plays on rich, abstract atmospherics and, along with his solo work, has found immense acclaim through collaborations with kindred spirits Ryuchi Sakamoto and David Sylvian. Canoe is a supreme work of stillness and meditation with a mysterious sense of calm, evocative of being adrift at sea. 

"With Canoe I hope to instill a sense of solitude, loneliness, and the hushed searching for and unknown something, just out of reach."

Clarice Jensen
Platonic Solids 1
Melding cello composition and electronic elements, Clarice Jensen has been fascinated by the five shapes that make up the platonic solids, writing graphic scores based on these along with the elements of earth, fire, air, water and the quintessence Plato assigned to them. Platonic Solids 1 portrays sound that evokes stasis and movement at the same time, and very generally, explores the perception of sound through dimensional space and time.

"I'm fascinated by what happens to my perception of time when I'm listening to music, particularly work that is minimal and long… I find myself getting lost in galaxies inside the minutiae of something my ear has attached to."

The Babbling Brook
Strategy, the long-running alias of Portland mainstay Paul Dickow, offers The Babbling Brook, a stunning sound collage of continual, rolling change, rotating on a seemingly unending axis of calm and chaos. An ode of sorts to the movement of water, the piece represents Dickow's ongoing quest to challenge the more traditional sense of ambient music.

"This concludes a long series of explorations of unsequenced, improvised approaches to music which does not commit fully to the traditional sense of "ambient" music as purely contemplative in nature, but instead offers moments of confrontation, surprise, dream logic, or disorientation interwoven with sustained, immersive elements."

More information can be found here.


2912 Hits

Mouchoir Étanche, "Une fille pétrifiée" (Black to Comm)

"I am sitting in a garden, I haven't left the property in weeks, someone is dropping off food once a week. I haven't seen a human being in ages, I feel like a reverse Schroedinger cat - do I exist when nobody sees me? I must be somewhere in France but I don't remember. I have lost my consciousness again. When I wake up I hear a broken record looping somewhere in the mansion. A washed-out opera. Behind the trees I see the dilapidated hermaphrodite sculpture in a field of verdant nettles and fern. I hear gunshots far afield, aeroplanes in the sky, sirens on the main road.

When unconscious I dreamt of sitting on the Concorde observing the scarab blue ocean and iridescent clouds from above, an erstwhile receding memory. Sometimes I hear the organ of the nearby Renaissance Cathedral merging with the Russian Church bells.

I am hallucinating again. Someone's humming in the kitchen? Singing? A radio? I overhear two young women talking about art galleries in the neighbor's garden. Bees attack, again…..again and again. The hairspray finally intoxicates them. An amphoric Japanese voice is whispering in my head saying I will die soon. Someone (something?) bangs on the vases. The fountain's water turns dark red.

Fleur calls and says mum died. The funeral will be televised on Tuesday. We opt for the synthetic choir for the service. The call is suddenly interrupted. Mold is slowly taking over the house.  I go back inside."

More information can be found here.

2375 Hits

Actress, "Karma & Desire"

After recent mixtape 88, Actress reveals new album Karma & Desire.

Karma & Desire includes guest collaborations from Sampha, Zsela and Aura T-09 and more. It's "a romantic tragedy set between the heavens and the underworld" says Actress (Darren J. Cunningham) "the same sort of things that I like to talk about – love, death, technology, the questioning of one's being." The presence of human voices take the questing artist into new territory.

Flute-like melodies contributed by Canadian organist and instrument builder Kara-Lis Coverdale.

More information can be found here.

2851 Hits

My Cat Is An Alien & Jean-Marc Montera, "Nuit d'Hiver"

It was on a winter's night ('Nuit d'Hiver' indeed) five days before Christmas 2018, when My Cat Is An Alien and Jean-Marc Montera converged onstage to perform for the second time as a trio, proving once again their heavenly graced and powerful music-mind-soul connection. As it happened at their very first live encounter in 2015 (released by San Francisco cult label Starlight Furniture Co. under the title Union Of The Supreme Light in 2017), "Before jumping on stage, NO word was spoken about the concert we were going to play, nor even trying to figure out any sort of basic music scheme to be followed" recalls Roberto Opalio.

In 2018, at the opening of the final edition of the REEVOX-NUIT D’HIVER festival at GMEM inside the restored industrial complex of La Friche La Belle de Mai in Marseille, the spaceship-like dome of Le Module shook like never before. Nuit d'Hiver is a true musical hurricane of radical free jazz and "Spiritual Noise."

Brothers Maurizio and Roberto Opalio are world-renowned for their radical aesthetics of "instantaneous composition," their innate skill in creating articulated and ever-evolving improvisations that develop as if they were proper written scores from beginning to end. The same approach occurs in every duo's collaboration with other artists too—be they Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Italian electronic pioneer Enore Zaffiri or Hungarian avant-garde poet-performer Endre Szkarosi to name a few—as well as in whatever situation they might be invited to perform—including the opening of Venice Art Biennale or Milan Fashion Week.

Jean-Marc Montera is a revered guitar maestro whose skill in non-idiomatic improvisation surpasses the mastery of all his companions for his willing to explore new sonic territories instead of repeating classic formulas nowadays become too much "academic." Co-founder of GRIM (Groupe de Recherche et d’Improvisation Musicales) in 1978 and now associated artist of GMEM in Marseille, Montera debuted as soloist on legendary label FMP (Free Music Production).  Over the years, he has collaborated with many free jazz and avant-garde musicians including Famoudou Don Moye of Art Ensemble of Chicago, Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Barre Phillips, Jean-François Pauvros, Pauline Oliveros and Christian Wolff, and set up several groups specializing in the interpretation of graphic scores by 20th century composers (Cornelius Cardew, John Cage, Earle Brown, etc.).

More information can be found here.

3328 Hits

Spires That in the Sunset Rise, "Psychic Oscillations"

When you walk outside, in the light, and the sparks in your head define your map of the world, your relation to time and thoughts that lead and follow, full of light, discharging constantly. When you talk to others, an exchange of pleasantries, the flow of humanity, breath through a flute, bow on string, colors, sounds. How you never feel it all at once, the best you can do is hop on a wave and ride it.

Our age has us filled to bursting with anxiety, recriminations, separations and segregations, categories, colonies, tribute, miniscule compensation, tokenism, lip service, creeds, dogmas, easy answers, false hopes, compromise, disappointment, emperor's new clothes, and wolves in sheep's clothing.

Spires That in the Sunset Rise have wandered these woods for nearly twenty years. Psychic Oscillations is an active meditation, an album that probes how time works and reworks itself through cyclical structures, loose improvisation, and wordless vocal play, plaints and praises. While at times celebratory, there is also a palpable urgency underlying the entire record. In the wordless vocalizations of sound and breath it is unabashedly body and at the same time entirely transcendent.

Spires That in the Sunset Rise come together with this crisis point in the now and offer this vessel, filled with psychic energy made physical in time. Psychic Oscillations was written over a span of time which included a condensed period of focus during an artist residency at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, summer of 2018. The instrumentation on this record hones in on cello, alto saxophone, flute, synthesizers, and voice. It is the Spires' twelfth album. Here and now.

More information can be found here.

2393 Hits

Severed Heads, "Clifford 2000"

While the 1980s output of Australia's oft misunderstood Severed Heads is well known, the 2000s were also an intensely creative period for the group.  Along with a periodical magazine/album called Op, Severed Heads released limited hand-cut discs, two computer games and a handful of ultra-rare artworks. Medical Records is proud to present a new museum entitled Clifford 2000: a 180gm double album holding 18 years of music over four sides of continuous montage personally segued by Mr. Ellard himself.

Out December 8, 2020 on Medical Records.

2845 Hits

"A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North"

A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North main photo

The midnight hour crept unto thee with hasty caution, revealing A Little Night Music: Aural Apparitions from the Geographic North, our third putrid prowl into Halloween-inspired sounds to torment and tantalize throughout the season. For this bout of distinguished dementia, we culled 31 brand new tracks of haunted hysteria conjured by some of the most alluring ambientists and outer auteurs from around the world.

Spanning over two hours across two cassettes, A Little Night Music… unfurls itself in a literary horror structure, appearing and disappearing through a stirring Prologue and Epilogue by London-based cellist Oliver Coates, with each side of the cassettes introducing its Chapter with a chilling dirge courtesy of the inscrutable Geographic North House Band.

What fills the ensuing pages is a mirthful tale concocted by an assembly exploring a realm all at once mournful and fatalist at its core. Entries from Clarice Jensen, Malibu, and the collaboration of Like a Villain and Christina Vantzou bring about endless glacial landscapes accented by pitch-grey skies. Conversely, transmissions from Michael Valentine West, M. Sage, Gregg Kowalsky, and Austrian ambient stalwart Fennesz explore richly textured mines of foreboding glee.

Suspicion is the word when considering Zelienople's eerie horse-carriage clip-clop, Nick Malkin's neon-lit noir-jazz, or Carmen Villain's gripping dub excursion. Elsewhere Ki Oni, Takagi Masakatsu, and Mary Lattimore (joined here by Paul Sukeena) provide glimmers of warmth amidst a tortured chill.

Notable is the resurrection of Lotus Plaza and his solemnly hopeful piano composition, while barren hallucinations courtesy of Alex Zhang Hungtai, Ilyas Ahmed, and Danny Paul Grody set the stage for a third act confrontation from Atlantans Fit of Body and Algiers, providing a one-two serving of sensual unrest and cautionary homily.

With hope and resolve shimmering through the final moments of our journey, know that all proceeds from the digital and cassette editions go directly toward Feminist Women's Health Center, an Atlanta-based nonprofit providing safe, accessible, and compassionate abortion and gynecological care to all those who need it without judgement.

More information can be found here.

2664 Hits

Prana Crafter, "MorphoMystic"

Prana Crafter is William Sol, a musical mystic who blends the raw energies of nature with guitars, synthesizers, singing bowls, and a dose of flow-consciousness. The resulting sonic nectar flows out from the amplifier, cascading in the mind of the listener, splashing mantras against the listener’s third ear. Some music is meant to entertain, to be consumed like flashing patterns on a TV screen. Not so with the music of Prana Crafter. This music is a sonic-tapestry of energies that are meant to envelop the listener and deliver a message that, as Sol puts it, cannot be known through symbol or through sign.

Likened to artists across the psychedelic and folk spectrums—Popul Vuh, Agitation Free, Six Organs/Ben Chasny, —Sol's self-professed mentors-in-spirit Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, and Manuel Göttsching are present as well in familiar and surprising ways. In reviews it has been said that Prana Crafter’s music is "an example of psych-folk at its finest" (Raven Sings the Blues), "like a long-lost pressing from the early '70s, it's a mist-shrouded mysterious meditation" (Shindig Magazine), and even that, "few other musicians are making music as ambitious and genuine as Prana Crafter" (The Active Listener).

Will has said he thinks of himself as a conduit when recording and with MorphoMystic, Prana Crafter are creating truly Cosmic Music, a synthesized mediation – think if you will of Terry Reilly and Sandy Bull blending their hypnotic energy flow together. MorphoMystic is a 35 minute kosmische-inspired acid opus that lets your mind venture in the slipstream, between the viaducts of your dream before gently floating you back down to earth.

More information can be found here and here.

2362 Hits

Stephen Mallinder, "Pow Wow" reissue

A new sub-label of the longstanding Canadian electro imprint Suction Records, Ice Machine — focusing on old-school wave/post-punk sounds — is thrilled to present a new, deluxe reissue of Pow Wow, the debut 1982 solo LP from Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder.  Now expanded to a double-LP, and also released on CD/digital, it's a definitive reissue which now includes Mallinder's early solo discography in its entirety. This collection of mutant dub/funk/postpunk sounds just as fresh and contemporary in 2020 as it did in 1982 (note Autechre's inclusion of standout cut "Del Sol" in a mix earlier this year), and highlights Mallinder's crucial contributions to Cabaret Voltaire.

Some words from Mr. Mallinder on the scene and era from which Pow Wow was born: "It was an interesting, and inspiring, time. The primal caterwaul of punk was dying and lots of really significant things were emerging from the fires. Much looser vibes were in the air and there was a much more exploratory feel. Punk had championed a visceral, anti-intellectual approach but in truth the real characters brought so much more to the table, and what began to happen - from people like The Pop Group to Throbbing Gristle, and emerging scenes from No New York to Factory Records - is we began to embrace the art of it all. There was acknowledgement of the importance of books, films, graphic art, and experimentation with all those mediums. We were just as interested in turning over rocks to see what lay beneath, as throwing them. There was a sense of new magik emerging."

Pow Wow
was commissioned by the Fetish Records label, and recorded at the Cabs' Western Works studio, where Mallinder would spend his days recording with Cabaret Voltaire, and continue on alone into night recording his debut solo material. "I slept very little in those days," he adds, continuing: "It was done on 8 track and very multi-tracked, so lots of recording, then bouncing, and overdubbing, to get the integrated feel of the tracks. I became very adept at pressing record then jumping onto equipment to play it - it was actually a very 'live' record in that sense. I've always seen rhythm at the core of what I do so I loved the layering of counter rhythms. The sequence/arpeggiator parts were all drum machine triggers that were played live. It was about creating a distinct groove so arrangements came from weaving in and out of those linear grooves. It was fun to play everything from drums, guitars, keys, trumpet, percussion, tapes… and record and produce it all. Prince got it from me!"

More information can be found here.

2289 Hits

Sarah Davachi, "Figures in Open Air"

A supplement to Cantus, Descant, Figures In Open Air offers almost three hours of live recordings and variations. Featuring performances for pipe organ and solo electronics while on tour at Roter Salon in Berlin, Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in Chicago, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, Église du Gesù in Montreal, and the Lab in San Francisco, from 2018 - 19. Two-disc set.

All tracks composed and performed (organ, synthesizers) by Sarah Davachi.

Out November 6, 2020 on Davachi's own Late Music.  More information can be found here.

2240 Hits

Carl Stone, "Stolen Car"

Over the past several years, the recorded output of Carl Stone has been turned on its head. In previous decades, Stone perennially toured new work but kept a harboring gulf of time between the live performances and their recorded release. This not only reflected the careful consideration of the pieces and technical innovations that went into the music but also the largely academic-minded audience that was themselves invested in the history and context of the work. The time span of Stone's recorded output in both sheer musical duration and year range was generously expansive. Following multiple historical overviews of Stone's work on Unseen Worlds and a re-connection with a wider audience, the time between Stone's new work in concert and on record has grown shorter and shorter until there is now almost no distance at all. Stone's work has often at its core explored new potential within popular cultural musics, simultaneously unspooling and satisfying a pop craving. On Stolen Car, the forms of Carl Stone's pieces have also become more compact, making for a progressive new stage in Stone's career where he is not only creating out of pop forms but challenging them.

Stolen Car is the gleeful, heart-racing sound of hijack, hotwire, and escape. Stone carries the easy smirk and confidence of a car thief just out of the can, a magician in a new town setting up a game of balls and cups. With each track he reaches under the steering wheel and yanks a fistful of wires. Boom, the engine roars to life, the car speeds off into the sunset, the cups are tipped over, the balls, like the car, are gone.

"These tracks were all made in late 2019 and 2020, much of when I was in pandemic isolation about 5000 miles from my home base of Tokyo. All are made using my favorite programming language MAX. However distinct these two groupings might be they share some common and long-held musical concerns. I seek to explore the inner workings of the music we listen to using techniques of magnification, dissection, granulation,, anagramization, and others. I like to hijack the surface values of commercial music and re-purpose them offer a newer, different meaning, via irony and subversion."

- Carl Stone, Los Angeles, September 2020

Out now on Unseen Worlds.

2545 Hits

Big Blood, "Dark Country Magic" reissue

Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube Records are delighted to be able to  bring to you the much anticipated vinyl pressing of Dark Country Magic from this wonderful Maine trio (Quinnisa making her first intentional effort with "Moo Hoo" on this release).

Caleb Mukerin and Colleen Kinsella have been key personages of the Portland sonic underground as members of the cosmically-shifting Cerberus Shoals and the folkily psychedelic Fire on Fire before forming the more personal and hermetic Big Blood back in 2006. The band's multi-phasic discography has thus far reminded people of everything from the Comus to Portishead to Julee Cruise at different moments, yet none of these thumbnails comes close to capturing the intimacy and directness of their recordings where they take things to a higher plane of personal expression.

In Dark Country Magic haunting effects and experimental sounds combine with wailing fuzzed-up garage folk anthems and twisted poetic freak-folk as lyrical layers peel away endlessly, tiny amps weep in pain, crude percussion booms thunderous, and ragged, beautiful hooks unfurl straight out of the void. On "Coming Home Pt.3" Kinsella’s quivering bewitching vocals ask you to succumb to the hauntingly melancholic drift while acoustics strum quietly up front before Dark Country Magic's playful closer "Moo-Hoo," where Quinnisa performs a children’s story. The combination is head spinning and gloriously original, but will be immediately identifiable as Big Blood by anyone who knows the band's music.

More information can be found here.

2212 Hits

William Basinski, "Lamentations"

William Basinski's reputation as the foremost producer of profound meditations on death and decay has long been established, but on his new album, Lamentations, he transforms operatic tragedy into abyssal beauty. More than any other work since The Disintegration Loops, there is an ominous grief throughout the album, and that sense of loss lingers like an emotional vapor.

Captured and constructed from tape loops and studies from Basinski's archives – dating back to 1979 – Lamentations is over forty years of mournful sighs meticulously crafted into songs. They are shaped by the inevitable passage of time and the indisputable collapsing of space – and their collective resonance is infinite and eternal.

Out November 13th on Temporary Residence.

2456 Hits

The Dead C, "Unknowns"

Some bands struggle to transcend their initial mythos, those stories that introduce them to the public eye. But The Dead C is a notable exception. They appeared in 1986 under a cloud of mystery, their unconventional location (South Island, New Zealand) helping to fuel their erratic sound. Name-dropped through the nineties by groups like Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, they gained influence and acclaim but never strayed from their original mainlined performing technique, which can sound like chaos to the casual listener.

What kind of a world greets them and their new album Unknowns in 2020? New Zealand culture is better known throughout the world, not to mention a low-virus paradise. Yes, isolated as in the past, but this time for being a nation of efficacy in tackling a public health crisis. But what about the rest of us? The music of Mssrs. Robbie Yates, Bruce Russell and Michael Morley endures, partially because their errant sounds, once so alienating, now feel like they've been made flesh in a large part of the modern day world.

Continuing to delve inwards for inspiration with tin ears towards trends, styles and technique, The Dead C forge onward. Unpolished, dusty and gritty, these three have again taken two guitars and drums, a combo which has less to say than ever, and leave us stunned. Unknowns has Morley slurring over spiraling dissemblance, with tracks ricocheting from intense to assaultive to drained, yet consistently magnificent.

As reliable as ever, The Dead C are firmly grounded as an unassailable Truth.

Out October 16th on Ba Da Bing.

2514 Hits

Black to Comm, "Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens"

534 1600

Shapeshifting producer Marc Richter offers up another powerfully psychedelic collection of hypnagogic sound collages and electronic meditations.

Oocyte Oil & Stolen Androgens compiles new evolutions of pieces originally created as art installations alongside original pieces, demonstrating the sheer breadth of Black To Comm's sound world and distilling an incredible amount of sonic detail into, surprisingly, some of Richter's most instantly arresting and concise works to date. A deeply immersive listen that recalls The Caretaker's deep dives into the subconscious or Felicia Atkinson's synaesthetic compositions.

More information can be found here.

2903 Hits