Evol - Proper Headshrinker 6
‘Proper Headshrinker’, Editions Mego 2013
“a focused and rigid masterclass in post-techno formalism that, frankly, could probably be used in military operations.“
(Alex Cobb, Experimedia)
Svarte Greiner - Black Tie (Excerpt)
After two bone chilling full-lengths for the Type Recordings imprint, Erik K. Skodvin has embarked on his first journey for his own Miasmah label with ‘Black Tie’. While originally conceived as a soundtrack to an installation by Norwegian artist Marit Følstad, Skodvin uses this as a starting point to craft his most unnerving long-form pieces to date. Split into two distinct movements, ‘Black Tie’ and ‘White Noise’, we are exposed to the yin and yang of Skodvin’s patented acoustic doom, and all the gravitas that might contain.
‘Black Tie’ was the piece which ended up being used in the installation itself, and is the closest to Skodvin’s established sound as it stops time around its creaking cello, plucked strings and whispering ambience. Subtle and slow, the track blooms into a skeletal cloud of radio static and distortion before sinking back down to earth on those familiar moaning strings.
With ‘White Noise’ however Skodvin takes us on a different journey, allowing panoramic synthesizer drones to take control while Middle Eastern strings chime in the distance. Transcendent and disarming, Skodvin manages to connect the dots between Biosphere, Thomas Koner and of course Deaf Center and still emerge with something fresh and unexpected. More than simply an accompanying work to aninstallation, ‘Black Tie’ is a crucial new chapter in the Svarte Greiner evolution, and one that should give a few clues as to what might come next. (Miasmah)
Tokuma Japan Communications, 1998
This record is part one of a counter-remix-project embarked upon by Berlin-based sound innovators Oval and Tokyo-based installation artist/sound designer Christophe Charles. The record is primarily an Oval record accessing the soundfile archive of travel and field recordings by Christophe Charles. On previous records 94diskont and their debut Systemisch, Oval explored deconstruction and reconstruction, assault and aesthetics creating a unique semantic on top of the exploration of generic features and bugs of electronic music media. Their music has always been a naturally occurring phenomenon that documents their adaptation process of digital (music) media as a whole.
On this new lp, Dok, the preparation of the recording process itself was a challenge in its own right. The challenge centers around the widely static and very delicate environmental recordings of sound designer Christophe Charles and the difficulty in creating music out of sounds with no sustain, no rhythm, and in no linear stucture or relationship to each other. Charles, who holds a Phd from Tsukuba University and a Phd from Institut National De Langes et Civilasations Orientales in Paris, has spent considerable time exploring the often forgotten aspect of music, its spatial dimension; in other words the effect and/or location of amplification, position of the origin and dimensions of space in which music is performed/played. These considerations have led him to work often with “Found Sounds” or actual environmental (urban or otherwise) recordings. Charles provided Oval with a selection of field recordings of bells from around the world. The bells’ sounds and monolithic travel recordings were static with almost no rhythmic index. Oval transformed the static character of the found sounds and made them fluid.
The resulting record documents a compelling merge of two vast, very distinctive soundfile archives, effortlessly two extreme, sometimes even contradicting approaches to both music and music technology - encouraging the listener to see sound shape and form in entirely new ways by adding an entirely new spatial and lively index to Oval music. Through the additional processing of the bell and other environmental sounds, the addition of bass tones and the use of as well as “as is” environmental recordings, Oval have once again created a complex, yet accessible soundscape. Dok is nonetheless still firmly grounded in what Oval always was all about: intervention into simulation, and theory and above all a musical result that may be enjoyed without any knowledge of the technology or theory behind it. (Thrill Jockey)
‘The Watchers’, Important Records 2013
The Watchers is a historic collaboration between Lubomyr Melnyk and James Blackshaw. Both artists are well known as composers but here it is their impovisational skills that are on display. First 200 copies of the LP will ship on blue vinyl. CD version is packaged in a heavy duty digipak.
I first met Lubomyr Melnyk at a festival called Hea Uus Heli in October 2008. We were both scheduled to play that day and I was very excited to see him perform. Before the show I bought several LPs from him and mentioned as much. Lubomyr (more than modest and courteous, as he always is) asked me what I was doing at the festival and I replied that I was also performing at the festival a little later, to which he responded “I’ll come and watch you”, before being ushered into the hall to play one of the most staggeringly sonorous and beautiful sets I’ve ever heard. It was overwhelming, full of pathos and I left the hall with those incredible overtones hanging in my ears for hours.
A couple of hours later, I was onstage when I glanced up and saw Lubomyr, true to his word, stood in the audience watching me attentively. I felt incredibly nervous. It’s not everyday you get to play for someone who has greatly inspired and influenced your own music. After the show, I packed up my guitar and came out to meet the crowd. The first person who greeted me was Lubomyr: friendly. full of enthusiasm and keen to hear about my music, my processes, the way in which I made music. Yet again, I was overwhelmed - for very different reasons.
“You have invented continuous music for guitar!”
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can’t think of an epitaph that would make me prouder.
We also spoke about collaborating that night and via e-mail a while after, but it wasn’t until January 2012, shortly after I’d moved back to Hastings, England from Ann Arbor, Michigan and Lubomyr played his first ever show in the UK at Cafe Oto that it came to fruition. John Chantler got in touch, said Lubomyr had a free day after his performance and could I come to London for a day, see what happens? He kindly agreed to record the whole thing.
We all met at the Vortex Jazz Cafe around midday. We set up, Lubomyr at the grand piano, me directly facing him with my 12-string guitar and began. I would retune at random between songs and together we would find interesting chord progressions, hints of melodies and ways in which to weave those immense overtones that Lubomyr is able to generate on the piano with those of my guitar. No more than two takes per song. Improvisation, spontaneous composition, whatever you want to call it. Either way, it truly felt as if the piano and guitar were as one - inseparable, parts of a bigger whole, a means by which for two people to make one sound. It never felt forced and never less than engaging. Lubomyr was always humble, jovial and open to ideas. The whole session lasted six hours.
I’m not a great improviser. I always want to take that raw creative element that the form brings and work upon it, to distill and refine it further. I think Lubomyr feels the same. But there is something about these recordings that would be incredibly difficult to recapture. A small moment in time, feeling perfectly and wonderfully lost within that sound.
James Blackshaw, October 2012. (Important Records)
Jacob - The Ominous, Part II
Jacob is the new project by David Cordero (Úrsula) and Marco Serrato (Orthodox). The duo first collaborated on the arrangements that would become the Emma soundtrack. With a mutual love for sci fi and horror films, Jacob push their dark sonics further on The Ominous, a piece for el cine de la mente. Atonal, dissonant string scrapes meld together in discomforting walls of noise, while hidden forces project an ambiguous malignance lurking in the deep fog. Bleak atmospheres and an abyss of subsonic howls threaten to devour all. A sliver of melody occasionally arises as the only light that shines into this dark place.
Geoff Mullen - Filtered Water Part 1
‘Filtered Water’, Type 2013
An exceptional album of treated field recordings and tape treatments, cut at Dubplates and Mastering, Berlin. Geoff Mullen’s ‘Filtered Water’ is an augmented mono recording documenting a multi-channel sound installation in the backwoods of Hudson Valley. Following ongoing experiments with champion and spar, Keith Fullerton Whitman, and the excellent ‘Accidental Guitars’ for regular collaborator Eli Keszler’s R.E.L. Records, it’s a subtly beguiling follow-up to his ‘Bongo Closet’ LP, released three years ago on Type. Leaving the guitar at home, he shapes an immersive, sensurreal sound ecology balancing field recordings, feedback and tape collage in a richly detailed, longform piece traversing both sides of the record. Stranded in the woods, we can almost pick up the sounds of passing trains strafing the field behind cryptically-timed clanks and feedback drones which appear to oxidise in mid-air around us. Yet, while undoubtedly abstract and experimental in form and nature, Geoff’s musical sensitivity lends ‘Filtered Water’ its sparkle, allowing for partial melodies to percolate to the surface now and again, still rich with geologic structure but crumbling at his fingertips… (Boomkat)
Silent Season - Campfire Stories (2hr:45min)
A mix of deeper electronic music.
Docetism - Bonfire
Docetism - The Temptation of St. Anthony
Mikrokristal - Dark Introduction Ends
Sam KDC - Excursion
Sam KDC - Surrender
Aes Dana - Oxyd
Aes Dana - Adonai
Mon0 - Magnetic
Esko Barba - Parhelia
Esko Barba - Noctilucent Awakening
Blamstrain - 6pm
Intrusion - Angel
Intrusion - Intrusion
Intrusion - Tswana
Octal - Himinglæva #1
JS - Track 4
JS - Track 5
Yuka & Dino Sabatini - U4
Edanticonf - Planet (Abdulla Rashims Inca Edit)
Edanticonf - Planet
Tomas Rubeck - Factions
Sys - Nocturnal
Blazej Malinowski - Factory of emotions
Blazej Malinowski - Key
Refracted - Enlightenment
Luke Hess - Awareness
Blazej Malinowski - Dreams of tomorrow
Skyscaper - Noctilucent Clouds (Kasm remix feat. SuhniSea)
Short video in the mix:
Colin Stetson - ‘In Mirrors’ & ‘And In Truth’ (Official)
‘New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light’, Constellation 2013
Colin Stetson established himself as an intensely original solo composer and performer in 2011 with the release of the widely acclaimed New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges. Judges ended up on countless year-end lists and emphatically proved that Stetson’s approach to solo saxophone transcends niche or genre; a unique and emotionally resonant instrumental music with influences as wide-ranging as jazz, metal, pop, soul, drone, industrial, minimalism, electro-acoustic and modern contemporary.
Remarkably, Stetson channels these manifold musical strains into a singularly identifiable and personal sound as a polyphonic soloist who doesn’t rely on looping/layering or multi-track/overdubs technologies. Anyone who has seen Stetson in solo performance can attest to the stunning physicality of his circular-breathing technique and capacity to produce a seemingly impossible palate of multiple voicings simultaneously in real time – making his already beautiful and evocative compositions all the more enrapturing and viscerally human.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the final installment in a trilogy of solo albums and is Stetson’s most ambitious song cycle to date, again recorded live in single takes with a wide array of microphone positions and again mixed by groundbreaking producer Ben Frost. Colin’s membership in Bon Iver over the past two years has also led to vocal contributions from Justin Vernon for this record, who appears on four songs, with a diverse approach on each, and whose voice constitutes the only overdubbing on the album.
The record’s 15-minute centerpiece, title track “To See More Light”, is the longest piece Stetson has yet recorded and possibly the heaviest: a tour de force of swirling arpeggiation, continuous breathing, pumping valves and vocalizations through the reed of the horn that gives way to a tremendous, screaming, sea-sawing dirge through the song’s final movement. This latter stretch conjures a sort of saxophonic sludge metal, and the album’s heaviosity references other sub-genres of metal as well, most notably in the hardcore blast of “Brute” (abetted by Vernon’s cookie monster barking) and the ambient grindcore throb of “Hunted”. In other instances, the album is soulful and even hymnal, especially where Vernon’s vocals play a lead role: opener “And In Truth” (featuring Vernon’s most instantly recognisable contribution, of massed, multi-tracked harmonies), the cover of Washington Phillips’ gospel tune “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today”, and “Who The Waves Are Roaring For” where Vernon delivers one of the more tender and honest vocal performances we’ve heard from him in any context.
New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light is the most cohesive and fully realized of Stetson’s solo albums to date. It should reliably stand as the apotheosis of the New History Warfare trilogy, and certainly signals the full flourishing of Stetson’s unique talents as both composer and performer, pressing his arsenal of virtuosic techniques into the service of vivid, impassioned and conceptually astute songcraft. (Constellation)
When Swans released The Seer last year, Michael Gira described it as “the culmination of every previous Swans album as well as any other music I’ve ever made, been involved in or imagined.” Even to the most ardent Swans fan – and if Swans fans are one thing, it’s usually ardent – it seemed a bit of an overblown statement. That was until you actually heard the fucker. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, the apotheosis of extreme music. The Seer had loftier goals than simple catharsis, instead going right for the jugular of unbridled, transcendental ecstasy. Over twelve tracks that clocked in at over two hours, Swans used every weapon in their instrumental arsenal to stimulate divine madness: guitar and drums and bass, sure, but also dulcimer, clarinet, steel ‘cello, mandolin and – brilliantly – “fire sounds, acoustic and synthetic” on ‘A Piece Of The Sky’. That latter credit goes to Ben Frost, who also performs in support of Swans at the festival Mouth to Mouth, which Michael Gira curated “based on [artists’] ability to resuscitate, set fire to the air, or to mesmerise”.
Chris Abrahams - Stabilise Ruin
‘Memory Night’, Room40 2013
Chris Abrahams’ Memory Night is his third edition for Room40 - Play Scar and Thrown preceding this album. Widely recognised as the pianist for Australian liminal improvisation trio The Necks, Chris Abrahams’ solo work etches out an entirely different universe. It’s a place that is entirely his own, unashamedly unique and at times startling - yet always alluring.
On Memory Night, Abrahams’ expands his sonic palette, building on the uneasy frontiers of the highly regarded Play Scar. Never content to revisit past glories, Abrahams’ charts course into unfamiliar sound spaces, where electronics and instruments meet in a constant state of tension and release. Nothing is quite what it appears upon first listen and as a result Memory Night demands an attentive ear.
Recorded across 2011 and 2012, Memory Night is a haunted series of compositions that provoke and compel. Chris Abrahams has created what can only be described as a profound rendering of contemporary composition - a powerful, yet delicate evocation of sound, where instruments and electronics melt and are reformed. (Room40)