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Letha Rodman-Melchior, "Shimmering Ghost"

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This posthumous release, following last year’s Handbook for Mortals, presents the peak of Letha Rodman-Melchior's compositional work. Traversing landscapes of affective registers with the organizational ability of Christine Sun Kim and the diversity and intimacy of Throbbing Gristle, Rodman-Melchior re-categorizes objects to find the foreign in the familiar. Moving in and out of focus, her musical patterns themselves grow and become more and more self-aware.

As a response to possession and the human/nonhuman interface, Shimmering Ghost recalls the most moving of performances by Roger Reynolds. It exposes the overlap between senses and suggests that resonance, as distinct from hearing, is a source for beauty beyond sense. And by the use of sense’s special effects, Rodman-Melchior crafts a language that is simply a pleasure. Mary Lattimore's harp playing at times is reminiscent of Three Musicians' Music from the Rochester Folk Art Guild, but with urgency heard nowhere else.

More information can be found here.

4382 Hits

Lightning Bolt, "Fantasy Empire"

Over the course of its two-decade existence, Lightning Bolt has revolutionized underground rock in immeasurable ways. The duo broke the barrier between stage and audience by setting themselves up on the floor in the midst of the crowd. Their momentous live performances and the mania they inspired paved the way for similar tactics used by Dan Deacon and literally hundreds of others. Similarly, the band's recordings have always been chaotic, roaring, blown-out documents that sound like they could destroy even the toughest set of speakers. Fantasy Empire, Lightning Bolt's sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi-fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. More than any previous album, Fantasy Empire sounds like drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson are playing just a few feet away, using the clarity afforded by the studio to amplify the intensity they project. Every frantic drum hit, every fuzzed-out riff, sounds more present and tangible than ever before.

Fantasy Empire is ferocious, consuming, and is a more accurate translation of their live experience. It also shows Lightning Bolt embracing new ways to make their music even stranger. More than any previous record, Chippendale and Gibson make use of live loops and complete separation of the instruments during recording to maximize the sonic pandemonium and power. Gibson worked with Machines very carefully to get a clear yet still distorted and intense bass sound, allowing listeners to truly absorb the detail and dynamic range he displays, from the heaviest thud to the subtle melodic embellishments. Some of these songs have been in the band’s live repertoire since as early as 2010, and have been refined in front of audiences for maximum impact. This is heavy, turbulent music, but it is executed with the precision of musicians that have spent years learning how to create impactful noise through the use of dynamics, melody, and rhythm.

Fantasy Empire has been in gestation for four years, with some songs having been recorded on lo-fi equipment before ultimately being scrapped. Since Earthly Delights was released, the band has collaborated with The Flaming Lips multiple times, and continued to tour relentlessly. 2013 saw the release of All My Relations by Black Pus, Chippendale’s solo outlet, which was followed by a split LP with Oozing Wound. Chippendale, an accomplished comic artist and illustrator, created the Fantasy Empire's subtly ominous album art, and will release an upcoming book of his comics through respected imprint Drawn and Quarterly. Brian Gibson has been developing the new video game Thumper, with his own company, Drool, which will be released next year. And, of course, Lightning Bolt will be touring the US in 2015.

More information can be found here.

4211 Hits

Kevin Drumm, "60 Minute Relief"

Drumm has just released an extended mix of his 2012 Editions Mego EP Relief (composed for pulse generator and shortwave radio).

More information can be found here.

60 Minute Relief cover art

4570 Hits

White Hills, "Walks For Motorists"

White Hills are proponents of psychedelia as transformation. The music made by Dave W. and Ego Sensation is risky and cutting edge, rooted in dystopian futurism and hyper-conscious of society’s constant desire for a new and better drug. That progressive aesthetic is at the heart of White Hills’ newest album Walks For Motorists, a radically stripped-down record that emphasizes rhythm and groove. The album bursts forth with a new kind of intensity, one born out of laser-focused precision and detail-oriented songwriting. Possibly surprising to fans familiar with the Hawkwindian guitar squall of earlier albums, the songs on Walks For Motorists began as a keyboard melody or bass line, and several songs on the album don't even feature guitar at all. This is propulsive, open music, surreal to its core but made to inspire people to get out of their seats and move.

Walks For Motorists was recorded with David Wrench (Caribou, Bear in Heaven, FKA Twigs, Owen Pallet) at Bryn Derwen Recording Studio in Bethesda, Wales which borders the Snowdonia National Forest.  The band had 24-hour access to the studio, which allowed them to work whenever inspiration struck. Wrench's expertise producing and mixing electronic music was an essential asset when perfecting the crisp tones heard throughout the record. This is the first album the band has recorded outside of New York City, and the vast, rolling Welsh landscape that surrounded the studio influenced the album’s uncluttered sound. Walks For Motorists is also White Hills’ most diverse album to date. Fuzzed-out rockers sit comfortably next to kraut-infused grooves, and there are more vocal contributions from Ego than ever before.

More information can be found here.

4099 Hits

Alessandro Cortini, "Forse 3"

Forse 3 is the final release in Alessandro Cortini's "Forse" trilogy. Like parts 1 and 2, Forse 3 has a distinct sound and feeling. Edition of 500.

Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels) recorded Forse using a Buchla Music Easel; of which only 13 are known to exist. "Forse," meaning "maybe" In Italian, is a series of 3 double LP releases.

"All pieces were written and performed live on a Buchla Music Easel, in the span of one month. I found that the limited array of modules that the instrument offers sparked my creativity.

Most pieces consist of a repeating chord progression, where the real change happens at a spectral/dynamic level, as opposed to the harmonic/chordal one. I believe that the former are just as effective as the latter, in the sense that the sonic presentation (distortion , filtering, wave shaping, etc) are just as expressive as a chord change or chord type, and often reinforce said chord progressions.

Of all the years with Nine Inch Nails the period spent writing and recording the instrumental record Ghosts I-IV is probably the one which changed my approach to music-making the most. After that record, I started getting more into instrumental composition, although I tried to approach it in a different way. While we had a vast array of tools and instruments at our disposal then, I decided to approach my pieces limiting myself to one instrument only, as I found myself being more decisive when faced with a limited creative environment."

-Alessandro Cortini

More information can be found here.

4642 Hits

Six Organs of Admittance, "Hexadic"

Six Organs of Admittance: Hexadic (DC616)

Wine-dark, oozing thick like oil and suddenly bright with phosphorescent lickage, Hexadic is witness to the primordial birth of a new approach to the neck of the guitar.

More information can be found here.

4239 Hits

Damon & Naomi, "Fortune"

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Fortune exists as both a film and an album. It is an expressive portrait, but doesn't adhere to any obvious narrative; rather, it's a comfortable space that the viewer can move in and out of, dreamlike and immersive. The 11 new songs on this LP or CD don't require visual accompaniment - Damon & Naomi have constructed the sequence to communicate through sound alone - but at upcoming performances the duo will be presenting them live as a soundtrack to Naomi Yang's "silent" film.

People often talk about Damon & Naomi as if they’re the raw infrastructure that remained after Galaxie 500 fell apart, a steel skeleton still stubbornly standing after an earthquake. But when Damon & Naomi began a new project, they weren’t adjusting so much as starting from scratch. By the time they released More Sad Hits, they had grown enough as musicians and songwriters that they didn’t need to lean on stark sincerity and reverb-drenched emoting. Instead, they reined in their sound, favoring acoustic over electric, building more complex and specific textures, and exploring smaller sonic spaces. If Galaxie 500 was ahead of its time, Damon & Naomi are prescient in their own way, firmly rooted in the early ‘'90s but hinting at things to come. The project provided a necessary platform for the pair to focus, hone, and build on the groundwork that they laid for themselves, peeling away layers to reveal a shy closeness that Galaxie 500 never could.

The pair’s latest project, Fortune, is an LP released in tandem with Naomi’s video piece by the same name. Naomi Yang refers to the work as “a silent movie,” though the visuals are so bound up in the music (and vice versa) that it’s more of a long-form music video, a visual poem set to the metronome of a textural score. She conceived of the piece to explore conflicting feelings surrounding her father's recent passing; Yang was suddenly burdened with a massive archive of his artistic work (her father was a photographer), as well as the ongoing aftermath of flawed parenting. Her use of the term "fortune,” then, is tinged with sardonicism but also with nostalgia—portraits from the 1940s and '50s painted by protagonist Norman von Holtzendorff’s father (also recently deceased, and who also left his archive in Norman's hands) feature prominently. An ongoing tarot card motif ties in another facet of the suddenly slippery term "fortune," using Damon & Naomi's now familiar brand of close, acoustic warmth to explore the past’s bearing on the future: "I want to be over / To touch and be gone / Forget this amnesia."

More information can be found here.

4194 Hits

A Place To Bury Strangers, "Transfixiation"

A Place to Bury Strangers: Transfixiation

"That's the most intense fear and feeling--when you go to a show and you're actually scared," says Oliver Ackermann, guitarist and frontman of Brooklyn trio A Place To Bury Strangers.

"Or you can palpably feel the danger in the music," adds bassit Dion Lunadon, "Like it's going to fall apart at any moment and the players doing it are so in the moment they don't give a shit about anything else. They're just going for it. It's a gutter kinda vibe; everything about it is icky and evil and dangerous."

The same could be said the band's fourth album, Transfixiation. Rather than fixate on the minute details like they may have done in the past, the group, rounded out by drummer Robi Gonzalez, trust their instincts and try to keep things as pure as possible. Music is much more exhilarating when it's unpredictable even on repeat plays, and this is very much an unpredictable record. Gonzalez makes his recording debut with the band here, and it's obvious that he's helped pushed the band's recordings closer to the level of their infamous live shows.

"The one thing we have in common is this fire when we're playing," adds Gonzalez. "I don't know; it's real intense."

More information can be found here.

3989 Hits

Oren Ambarchi, "Live Knots"

Live Knots by Oren Ambarchi.  Vinyl Double LP, CD.

Live Knots, Oren Ambarchi’s first release for PAN, presents two live realizations of "Knots," the epic centrepiece of his Audience of One (Touch, 2012) release. Built on the interplay between Ambarchi's swirling, guitar harmonics and the metronomic pulse and shifting accents of Joe Talia’s DeJohnette-esque drumming, the piece merges the organic push and pull of free improvisation with an overarching compositional framework.

"Tokyo Knots" presents the complete recording of a duo performance of the piece by Ambarchi and Talia recorded at Tokyo's legendary SuperDeluxe in March 2013. The performance builds gently on the foundation of Talia's insistent ride cymbal and the shifting tonal bed of Ambarchi's rich overtone-drenched guitar, eventually going into a free rock free fall of buzzsaw harmonics and crashing drums. From within the maelstrom, Talia picks up a pulsing motorik rhythm that leads the piece back to where it began, with the addition of the shuddering, elastic tones of a hand-played spring reverb unit.

"Krakow Knots," recorded live at Unsound Festival in Krakow in 2013, works with the same basic structure but stretches it out to nearly twice the length and adds strings played by the Sinfonietta Cracovia, led by Eyvind Kang on viola. The strings expand the piece's textural range with lush chordal blocks, uneasy dissonances and occasional Ligeti-esque swarms of micro-activity, the swelling string tones intensifying the ecstatic nature of the piece as it moves towards its mid-point crescendo in which Ambarchi unleashes a particularly malicious continuum of stuttering harmonic fuzz. The strings then enter with a series of swelling chords, announcing the piece’s final movement, and reaffirming the uniqueness of the tonal and compositional language that Ambarchi has patiently developed over the last two decades, in which the influence of post-minimal composers such as Alvin Curran, Gavin Bryars and David Behrman can be felt alongside the inspiration of raw free jazz, harsh noise and academic psychoacoustics. The final moments of the performance pit Talia and Crys Cole's amplified objects and spring reverb textures against a field of gently gliding string glissandi before the audience erupts in much-deserved applause.

– Francis Plagne

More information can be found here.

4133 Hits

Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke, "Behold"

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Behold is the second collaborative release from Oren Ambarchi and Jim O'Rourke following on from the 2011 release Indeed.  Seamlessly blending field recordings, electronics, guitar, drums and other acoustic instruments into a subtle combination of Krautrock, minimalism and classic free flowing electronics.

Side A takes the listener into the Fourth World adventures pioneered by Jon Hassell whilst the flip seems like an unlikely pairing of Krautrock aesthetics and the slow building repetitive structures of The Necks.

This is sharp, focused contemporary music, one where minimalist motifs meet maximalist tendencies. Behold is another landmark recording made by two of the most enthusiastic experimental explorers active today.

More information can be found here.

4251 Hits

Konsul Gneidenwalze, "Assur & Cyclades"

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Konsul Gnadenwalze is the alter ego of two gifted musicians. On stage they combine energetic live shows with minimalistic visuals. Aside of the performances they are creating their own elaborate Konsul Gnadenwalze universe. A lovely mixture of pseudo-scientific and poetic references. They create dub-wise broken beat abstractions, beautiful and brutal, organic and mechanized at the same time. Each successive listen reveals new depths, pulling you further into the world of Konsul Gnadenwalze. A wired carousel ride with the ancient question of whether we revolve around our environment, or our environment revolves around us.

More information is available here.

4320 Hits

Tom Ellard (Severed Heads), "Rhine"

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TL/DR - this is what I do for fun. Don't stress on it.

Six years ago I took stock of the vampires and creeps that populate the 'independent' music industry and figured that there was nothing there for me anymore. The whole thing could blow it out its copious arse.

Thing is, music industry isn't music, which I love and need and would still make if the last person on earth. So that wasn't going to stop.

When we closed shop it signalled a whole bunch of new people in my life. Unlike the last lot they seemed bright and caring and to be really into what we had done. It was great to have new family but after a while it dawned on me that we'd swapped our vampires for undertakers. These new guys throw a hell of a funeral! They like funerals so much they dig up the old bones over and over again.

I love these guys, but they get all anxious if you mention any year past 1980 something and, you know, I ain't dead yet. So I just did my music. The weird thing being that I started to get jealous of my old self.

Man, that guy got all the praise, the smug bastard.

Maybe I should have been working on some grand project that would throw music into the future but I like to listen to strange pop songs and so that's what I have made. For the longest time I didn't think they were worth sharing and then realised that was more pretentious than just putting them out here.

In a industry where every fool claims to be a genius all I am going to say is here's my new tunes. I have reworked them 1000x each and have to stop.

I also have to warn you I have had time to set up some puzzles and hidden things to find!

More information can be found here.

4559 Hits

Nathan Amundsen (Rivulets), "Western Songs"

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Western Songs marks the first time Nathan Amundson is releasing music under his own name. This record is his first for Silentes, and features two side-long late night instrumental guitar jams evoking the vast, arid landscape surrounding his home state of Colorado.

More information can be found here.

4953 Hits

Sir Richard Bishop, "Tangier Sessions"

Sir Richard Bishop: Tangier Sessions (DC618)

Rick Bishop picked up a new guitar in Switzerland, and by the time he got to Tangier, these songs fell out! Of the moment and in and out of time, the Tangier Sessions demonstrate how far a guitar can carry a man who knows how to ride one.

More information can be found here.

4080 Hits

"Punk 45: Extermination Nights in the Sixth City- Cleveland, Ohio"

Soul Jazz Records' new "Punk 45" album charts the rise of underground punk in the midwest city of Cleveland, Ohio, which for many people is the true birthplace of punk music in the mid-1970s.

Featuring a fantastic collection of punk 45 singles from Cleveland groups including Pere Ubu, Electric Eels, The Pagans, Rockets From The Tomb, Mirrors, X–X and more.

The album comes complete with extensive text written by Jon Savage as well as exclusive photos and original record artwork. CD comes with large booklet and thick slipcase. Vinyl edition is on deluxe gatefold double-vinyl complete with with free download code.

The album follows on from Soul Jazz Records' earlier Punk 45 albums about USA and British punk (Kill The Hippies! Kill Yourself! and There Is No Such Thing As Society), pre-punk (Sick On You! One Way Spit!) as well as the deluxe cover art book Punk 45.

Extermination Nights in the Sixth City coincides with the release of as a second album about Ohio’s early punk scene, Burn, Rubber City, Burn! – featuring the music scene of nearby Akron.

More information can be found here.

4768 Hits

Kreng, "The Summoner"

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The Summoner comes 4 years since the last Kreng album Grimoire and 3 years since the massive retrospective box set Works for Abattoir Férme 2007-2011. A lot has happened in between, and this new recording can be seen as quite the departure from the aforementioned.

His most personal album to date, The Summoner is based around the 5 stages of mourning and is made after a year of losing several close friends. Hard enough material to work on, he decided to add a 6th stage, entitled "The Summoning" to be able to arrive at the finalé, "Acceptance."

Conjuring up the spirit of György Ligeti, the first half of the album is made up entirely of 12 string players being directed to play around, make noisy clusters and crescendos, moving you between "Denial," "Anger," "Bargaining" and "Depression."  In fact, The Summoner is the first Kreng album NOT made by hordes of samples. Music to really dig deep into.

Following into the second part of the album, twists and turns are taken and it's hard to know where exactly you are. The Summoning's haunting organs and smoke-filled chambers lead you in to an earth- shaking wall of guitars, drums and bass courtesy of Belgian doom band Amenra. Leaving you in a state of shock, the album closes in an incredibly heartfelt and quiet way with the fittingly named "Acceptance."

More information can be found here.

4580 Hits

Laika, "Silver Apples of the Moon" LP reissue

Medical Records continues its exploration of the '90s with a reissue of Laika's 1994 masterpiece Silver Apples Of The Moon, originally released on the iconic Too Pure label.

The members of Laika hailed from various interesting places: Margaret Fiedler was actually born in Chicago, but relocated to London to pursue musical interests and was one of the vocalists and songwriters for Moonshake (also on Too Pure), as well as a previous member of Ultra Vivid Scene.  Guy Fixsen was (and still is to this very day), a renowned audio engineer and producer.  In fact, he was involved in the infamous production of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.  Bass player John Frenett was also in Moonshake and left that band the same time as Fiedler after their first USA tour.  The drummer, Lou Ciccotelli, previously played in Kevin Martin's band God.  The band also had a saxophonist, Louise Elliot.

Silver Apples Of The Moon was Laika’s first album and is almost unclassifiable.  Taking a very forward-thinking approach, the sound is the result of a very unique equation of live drums/percussion, layered guitars/samples, and diverse analog tones that all fuse together to form a hypnotic polyrhythmic combination that was truly original.  Too Pure was known for its cutting edge roster including Seefeel, Mouse On Mars, and Pram.  Laika was certainly no exception to these game-changing artists.

The opening track "Sugar Daddy" explodes from the first note into a percussive frenzy that is quite dizzying before it smolders a bit and is layered with various samples that propel the track. "Coming Down Glass" exudes a more mutated trip-hop form with thick, powerful bass lines. Other stand-out tracks include the intense "Red River" and the harder track "44 Robbers."  While it is exceedingly difficult to draw any similarities for this album with other artists, one can make loose associations with some of the most challenging percussive experiments of Miles Davis, the brilliant exotica of Martin Denny, and the gut-churning bass magic created by Jah Wobble in early PIL.

Fans of the crucial and long-lasting mark left by the Too Pure artists such as Pram and the like will definitely want this album if they have never heard it.  For most fans, the original vinyl LP was not available or accessible (especially in the USA).  The masters for which this reissue is sourced were directly transferred from the vinyl master source material (courtesy of Beggars Limited) with the utmost care and quality.  The LP jacket features similar original artwork and the LP contains a bonus insert with an engaging interview and write-up by Dave Segal featuring exclusive interviews with Guy Fixsen and Margaret Fiedler.

More information can be found here.

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5066 Hits

Boduf Songs, "Stench of Exist"

England / Ohio's Mat Sweet presents his latest album under the Boduf Songs moniker via The Flenser!

Stench of Exist is at once his most accessible and most esoteric work to date; from the opium flow of the tracks, running headily into one another like tributaries to river, to the muted-industrial-electronic-effected drums underscoring the spiraling melodies and fluttering drones, to the clean and rich guitar, abstracted cycles and feedback walls, its whispered doom metal masquerades as a lullaby.

Stench of Exist unfolds languorously, laced with mysterious electronic filigree. Gorgeously intimate, it transforms the minimal into maximal with layers of electro-detritus wreathed in lush guitar strums, street-side field recordings, reverberating pianos and softly crooned vocals. It is a record of rain and cities and nighttime. The collision of arabesque tonalities with electronic sound and ambience brings to mind the promise of Blade Runner—half-asleep at 4:00 A.M. and slightly medicated, with pyramids and flame-spewing cityscapes in downpour glowing against the fluttering eyelids in the almost-dreaming consciousness. A record for saturnine commuters, on headphones, after sunset.

Coming February 2015.

More information can be found here.

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3963 Hits

Kevin Drumm, "Everything's Going along as Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose." 2xCDR

Recorded Nov/Dec 2014.

Title lifted from the Joan Didion book The Year of Magical Thinking. Thanks Joan.

Samples and more information are available here.

2014 Everything's Going along as Usual and Then All Shit Breaks Loose. cover art

4581 Hits

Lost Trail, "One Day We'll All Walk Outside And Stare Up At The Blameless Sky..."

"...And Wait For Something to Happen"

A dark, dark journey of spirits and alchemy conjured in the supernaturally hot, still spring of 2014 in Burlington, North Carolina, that haunted black X on the map buried deep in the Alamance foothills. These are the wailings of phantoms trapped beneath the floorboards and between the walls of our murky and crumbling 1910 home, buried on sleeping side-streets within a moment's reach of swarming, grasping woods. These are the sheets of rain swept in the doorway, the static churning of a possessed shortwave radio, the spitting demons of electricity and malfunction and broken, obsolete machines slowly giving way to organic sounds, light, an upward journey out of the very hands of night's oblivion and into more luminous, radiant decay. Here lies collapse, entropy, and rebirth.

More information can be found here and here.

One Day We'll All Walk Outside And Stare Up At The Blameless Sky And Wait For Something To Happen cover art

4245 Hits