Thursday, 31 May 2012

Motion Sickness of Time Travel - Motion Sickness of Time Travel (2012)

Since discovering the Spectrum Spools imprint a few weeks ago, I've downloaded and enjoyed several of their incredible albums. I've already written about Soft Coast by No UFO's and LP by Container, both of which are perfect examples of the kind of forward thinking, original music this label is championing right now. At the same time as I grabbed the aforementioned releases, the new album by Motion Sickness of Time Travel caught my eye and was duly downloaded. I've been playing this one ever since and decided it was high time to give it a little exposure too.

Rachel Evans has amassed an incredible body of work in the three years since the inception of Motion Sickness of Time Travel - over two dozen releases to date on a wide range of labels and in a plethora of formats. That this album is likely to gain maximum exposure for her, it's only fitting that it should be self-titled as it has the definite feel of an attempted magnum opus.

The album consists of four, twenty minute plus slabs of synth improvisation and lysergic drone-scapes, draped with an amorphous haze of analogue experimentation. It's a testament to Evans' skill as a composer and arranger that none of these tracks overstays their welcome despite the extended lengths. 

First track 'The Dream' plunges headlong into subtly hallucinatory psychedelia weaving euphoric drones and vocal lines into a utopian drift until everything is overtaken by burbling synth chatter, closing things out on a slightly more sinister note. 'The Center' embeds Evan's treated voice into a bed of Kosmiche arpeggios, sounding like Grouper jamming with Cluster. The track is finally subsumed by a rumbling drone which gradually resolves into a beautiful coda of voice and saturated synth blooms. 'Summer Of The Cat's Eye' is a seductive, sinister piece utilising more ghostly, disembodied vocalising and lapping waves of electronic texture. The album ends with 'One Perfect Moment', a multi-part affair that encapsulates and distills everything that has gone before whilst great clouds of nebulous ambience and backwards masked washes of sound drift over the track like vast storm clouds racing over the desert prior to a thunderstorm.

This is a stunning release that makes no attempt to hide it's influences both historic and contemporary. At various points I was reminded of Tangerine Dream, Florian Fricke, Emeralds, Windy and Carl, Manuel Gottsching, Oneohtrix Point Never and Klaus Schulze but the strength in Rachel Evans' work lies in her understanding of these reference points and her willingness to develop them into new arenas.

I have played this album a great many times so far but am still discovering a host of sonic minutiae contained within it's one and a half hour running time. I suggest you do the same, particularly if any of the above references mean anything to you.

Astonishing release - highly recommended.

'One Perfect Moment', taken from the album Motion Sickness of Time Travel;

Postscript - Rachel Evan's Bandcamp page lists a total of twenty six releases available for download, most offered under the 'name your price' deal. It's well worth a visit if you'd like to track down some of the more obscure and limited run issues. Further details of releases, upcoming shows and general news are available via the Motion Sickness of Time Travel blog.

As a further taster, I also wanted to include the astonishing title track taken from They Came Up From the Hills and Down from the Sound;

Monday, 28 May 2012

Pariah - Rift (2012)

June 11th sees the release of Rift, the new three track EP by Pariah on R&S records, almost two years after the UK producer's last work under that name - the Safehouses EP. Having been impressed with Arthur Cayzer's previous work, particularly the sweeping, post-dubstep stylings of the aforementioned Safehouses set, I managed to track down some advance transmissions from Rift and was mightily surprised to hear how far things had come in that intervening period.

The EP kicks off in serious style with 'Rift' which opens with a static, filtered lockstep rhythm and then introduces a single descending tonal wobble which teases with it's eerie presence for a few moments before dropping out of the mix. A series of drones and metallic clangs build around the drum track before the bass wobble returns for the rest of the piece. It's a brilliant track which stuns with it's immediacy, simplicity and strange potency.

Next up is 'Signal Loss', resting on clipped kicks and a pulsing vocal tic whilst synths shimmer like dust motes in the air. Cayzer then introduces a piano flourish and more stretched vocal samples whilst the track turns widescreen with a static sheen hovering over a sparse, clattering break. 

But, it's the final track that pricked my ears and caused me to keep on hitting repeat. 'Among Those Metal Trees' is simply three and a half minutes of melancholy ambience, a mesmerising tangle of compressed drones and found sounds which are pulled like a vapour trail behind a mournful, molasses-slow vocal snippet. It's a revelation after the first two tracks and a stunning end to an incredible EP.

This release should surely cement Arthur Cayzer's reputation as an original and forward thinking producer in the field of dubstep and a wider, more experimental electronics sense. 

Huge recommendation and another one to add to the release of 2012 list!

Soundcloud clips;

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Senking - Dazed (2012)

Earlier this month I had the good fortune to discover an album titled Pong by Senking which is the work of German electronics sculptor Jens Messel. As always in these situations, I began to do a little background research and found that Jessel has released a fair bit of material under the Senking name over the past 14 years. 

I was so impressed by this album, both in terms of the music and the stunning production techniques employed that I immediately began to write a post extolling it's virtues. Before I had a chance to publish the piece however, a new release was issued by the Raster Noton label and so I promptly downloaded it to compare and contrast.

It's clear that Messel is tinkering with and developing his sound further whilst retaining continuity over the two year gap between these releases, but… what a sound! I had written a series of sentences whilst listening to 'Pong' to describe each element as it presented itself and I took this approach once more during my review time with Dazed. When I'd finished, I had repeated myself several times, but far from this being a sign of a lack of progression, I feel it is more an indication of an artist working within a fully realised and perfectly formed musical framework.

The key factor in Messel's sound is his controlled use of bass, he appears to have influences in the mechanics of both dubstep and experimental electronics. He switches effortlessly between dark, overdriven low-end diffusions, rough-neck subs and rugged low end contours. His music is literally dripping in breathtaking bass pressure. His use of space is also stunning, nothing sounds compressed or unfocussed, each element is allowed to float freely within the soundstage. The sparing use of eerie synths, spurts of electronic tones, organic elements and snippets of dialogue throughout adds a creeping paranoia to the whole set.

I didn't find too much information about this incredible EP online but this paragraph summed things up nicely enough for me to buy it immediately;

"His music takes the dramatic spirit of classic John Carpenter and Badalamenti themes and updates it with advanced, ultra-modern studio production in order to elucidate his occluded atmospheres. With a deeply personal touch he conjures expansive cinematic moods, often tainted with a sinister, midnight jazz appeal and always sculpted from the sort of tactile, synthesised wave shapes and tones your ears simply can't wait to grasp and fondle like a precious substance."

A strong contender for my release of the year - very highly recommended!

Postscript - Don't just play this EP (or any of Senking's other releases for that matter) through your computer speakers, they simply won't do it justice in the slightest. Push it through your hi-fi, dial up the volume and let the gargantuan, tectonic subs play havoc with your solar plexus.

Friday, 25 May 2012

No UFO's - Soft Coast (2011)

Konrad Jandavs has been playing in various bands since the 1990s around his hometown of Winnipeg. Following a move to Vancouver, he created a cassette of collaged "cosmic trash" under the No UFO's moniker and established the Nice Up International label to release it. 'Soft Coast' created quite a stir on the underground tape scene and was quickly picked up by Spectrum Spools who reissued it in a limited run of white vinyl in 2011. This initial release is now sold out at source but there are still vinyl copies to be had over at Spectrum Spools. A digital version of the album is also widely available.

The album itself pays a clear and central debt to 1970s German electronic music as well as subsuming a variety of other, disparate audio sources. This is a channel-hopping glide through early electronic loops, pulsating minimal synth-scapes, ambient drones, punky guitars and musique concrète, sometimes in the space of a single track. The influences here are sewn together in the best possible tradition of mix tapes; you appreciate the connections as they’re replayed in a joyous, nebulous drift. It is an album which has obviously been crafted by a true music lover and dedicated record collector.

On opening track 'Evidence / Century Park', jagged post-punk guitar lines are gradually replaced by spaced synths and a bouncing rhythm track straight out of Berlin circa 1976. The fabulously titled 'Punx on the Promenade' is two and half minutes of sun bleached drone whilst 'Untitled I' sounds like a decaying tape containing a lost Neu track. My pick of the crop however has to be 00/00/2010 which begins with a lazy guitar figure and bassline, adds a mumbled vocal cloaked in reverb before throwing in some primitive electronic tones. It almost sounds like Suicide on a heavy valium kick. 

Or, as Weird Canada rather succinctly put it;

"Soft Coast is a drum machine-laced Krautno adventure catalysed by morbid visions of a future techno. Lurking minor-key experimentalia draggle the distorted grooves and subtle Much Dance vibes while cosmic drones pace the whole adventure. Grip now or regret missing the disjointed journey through Vancouver’s avant - Mise-en-scène."

I couldn't have put it any better myself.

For dedicated fans of reconfigured Krautrock and Kosmische tropes.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Laurel Halo - Antenna (2011)

Laurel Halo (AKA Ina Cube) seems to be garnering press from every conceivable corner at the moment. I've read articles about her work in almost every music news source in my RSS feed over the past few months or so. When it was announced in March that she had inked a deal with esteemed UK dubstep / grime label Hyperdub to deliver her debut full length, things went crazy. I was intrigued enough to find out more and so I acquired the three EPs that she had released so far.

First up was the 'King Felix' EP on Hippos in Tanks from 2010. I was extremely underwhelmed by this one from the word go to be honest as to my ears, it sounded nothing more than a merely ordinary synth-pop record fronted by a singer who seemed to have taken her cues from 80's warblers Liz Fraser and Enya in equal parts. Nothing to see here. 

Next, I turned my attention to the 2011 'Hour Logic' EP, also on Hippos in Tanks. This seems to be the most widely regarded release thus far by Halo and has garnered quite a following amongst the electronic/techno cognescenti. It's certainly a side-step away from the previous EP in that the vocals are dropped entirely in favour of a more freeform approach to the music, but again, I didn't get on with it at all - it just sounded too polite, sterile and inert. There are far better examples of this particular oeuvre out there in my opinion.

And so finally, I reached the third release - a cassette titled 'Antenna' which was put out in 2011 by NNA Tapes, home to a number of one-off releases by several luminaries of the electronic and experimental underground. As I cued up the first track, I wondered how this EP would stack up against such a progressive catalogue and ruminated on the reasons why NNA Tapes had put out a release by someone whose previous material seemed to me to be completely at odds with their signature sound.

Then it hit me. The tape starts with 'Impulse', almost four minutes of billowing electronic drone underpinned by a gorgeous bass-weight rumble. A spare, wordless vocal loop is buried in the mix, bringing to mind the work of Mark Clifford's mighty Seefeel. More rumbling drones follow over the next few tracks, the abrasive textures softened by the addition of blooming synths and a shimmering haze of audio detritus. But the standout track is 'Heuristic Gag Factor' which is built around a lighter, more open textured drone where a rattling, metallic beat of sorts is gradually brought to the fore. The whole thing is over almost as soon as it starts though, five tracks in only seventeen minutes is way too short - I would have dearly loved to see this scant EP developed over the course of a long player. 

So, I can't recommend anything by Laurel Halo but 'Antenna', it's just a mystery to me why she doesn't persue this direction a little more as the results are far more engaging than those of her other EPs. The limited issue cassette version of 'Antenna' is still available over at NNA Tapes and contains seven tracks rather than the five which are included in the widely available digital version.

Postscript - After listening to advance transmissions from Halo's debut album 'Quarantine', I'm left with the same feelings as above. The album sounds to me like an amalgam of the 'King Felix' and 'Hour Logic' EPs so, if your interest is piqued after reading this post, tread carefully before you decide to purchase.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Nacho Patrol - Futuristic Abeba (2008)

This is a distinctly odd one. I recently chanced across this limited run, vinyl only EP after tracking down some early releases by Danny Wolfers AKA Legowelt. It was originally issued on the KSE imprint, a sub label of Kindred Spirits back in 2008 and has subsequently been reissued as a digital download which is available pretty much everywhere. It's four tracks are pure 70's Ethiopian Afrobeat funk draping dirty Vox organs, strutting wah-wah guitars and raw vocoders over hypnotic deep house grooves. I can honestly say I've never heard anything quite like this before and so I went on the hunt for more releases under the Nacho Patrol moniker. I eventually found another EP (The Maze Of Violence - 2009) and a full length album (The Africa Jet Band Album - 2011), both of which are deserving of your attention but neither release quite capturing that filthy strain of raw Fela Kuti style funk that Futuristic Abeba is steeped in.

This is 20 minutes of music that you should most definitely have in your life right now.

Play 'Futuristic Abbis Abeba' by Nacho Patrol

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Container - LP (2011)

I recently discovered the Spectrum Spools imprint which is a sub-label of Editions Mego curated by John Elliot of the mighty Emeralds. The first releases I came across on the label were by Robert Turman (Flux) and Motion Sickness of Time Travel (Self Titled album) which totally blew me away and decided to investigate more. It was during that investigation that I downloaded the Container album and have had it on heavy rotation ever since!

Clocking in at only 36 minutes, the set contains absolutely killer, squashed technoid mutations - like surgeon on DMT covering cybotron jams with a bubble machine. This release sidesteps the cosmic drift of most other Spoolers' work and is essentially a twisted, time-warping and insolently fucked lo-fi techno record. 'Application' is all submerged drums and disembodied claps as the whole track is subjected to some extra-wild DIY signal processing whilst 'Protrusion' and 'Rattler' summon the gnarly acid stylings of AFX or Legowelt. 'Dissolve' is closest to that teasing Surgeon+DMT+Cybotron formulation, a grot-infused meld of jackers' beats, sci-fi synthetics and scouring industrial noise.

From Soundcloud;

"Container is a recent moniker of Nashville, Tennessee resident Ren Schofield, who has been actively shifting about the U.S. playing shows and releasing cassettes on his mysterious I Just Live Here imprint for a long while now. Known primarily for his God Willing project, a disjointed, confusing maze of crude oscillator, tape, and guitar, Ren has established himself as a staple in the East Coast underground. Here we have a new experiment in electronic beat-oriented music. This is no standard fare, however. It glows with a vision all its own, completely isolated and separate, making it difficult to place in the awkward world of the "genre." The sounds are a thick stew, congealing new ideas and naive experiments into something in the ballpark of the new super-weird Wolfgang Voigt 12"s, abstract and minimal in nature with time-stopping tendencies . Take those 12"s and send them through the garbage can, tape loop, reel-to-reel experiments of Ake Hodell's "220 Volt Buddha" or that weird track with a lawnmower by Charles Amirkhanian on the first Slowscan volume and we might be getting closer. This music, by being so unruly and defiant of any kind of trend, has created a fresh fusion we have not heard until now. "Application" introduces you to Container in the most suitable way. A confusing anti-rhythm accompanied by eerie, unidentifiable tones before a collapse of metallic drum sounds washes you out into the minimal, motorik "Protrusion." The flip takes off with intense feedback squeal and a more light speed rhythm, leading into "Overflow," the album's wildest, most textural piece. "Rattler" leaves the listener absolutely baffled and flipping the record over again to try to figure it all out as this record makes no sense to anybody but its creator."

Essential fare for lovers of analogue experimentation or synth mangling in general.

Be sure to check out the Spectrum Spools label too whilst you're at it.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Ekoplekz - Dromilly Vale EP (2012)

I've been a big fan of Nick Edwards' Ekoplekz project since getting my hands on his staggering Memowrekz album via Mordant Music last year. His sound is, to my ears at least, like the perfect updating of Throbbing Gristle's woozy, unsettling primitive electronic experiments of the late 1970's. The mighty fine Mordant Music label has recently released Skalectrikz - a double cassette affair featuring live and studio tracks from 2011. For those of us not using legacy audio playback technology, a digital version of this album is released on Monday 21st May 2012 through Boomkat.

The Dromily Vale EP was released on the Public Information imprint on 27th February 2012 and is, once again, an indispensable addition to the man's output. This is raw analogue experimentation of the highest order, a dubbed-out confusion of tones with bent, acidic lines and clusters of abrasive chirps woven into it's tapestry of bleeps.

Website had this to say about the release;

"A little sliver of electronic gargling from the man of the moment, Ekoplekz. If you want to know which moment, you’ll perhaps have to remember that Dromilly Vale is Nick’s imaginary recording studio, a hybrid of King Tubby’s on Dromilly Ave, Kingston and the Radiophonic Workshop’s Maida Vale studio in London. This is 1973 re-imagined unchronically; maybe Dick Mills and Lee Perry did hang out, swapping tape delays, pressing buttons that weren’t theirs; maybe John Baker just couldn’t stop putting some of his jazzy tangles all over Augustus Pablo’s melodica lines; maybe they swapped close-miked pocket protectors over Rum and Pineapple. But if all that’s making you think this is just gonna lope along like a comedy walk then be prepared; this can get quite… noisy in places. “Jugglin’ for Jesus” will frighten the cat inside your brain with it's high pitches, sheer edges and aggressively gloopy style while “Dick Mills Blues” overdrives itself into trails and “Dromilly Vale” itself could easily have pitched up somewhere on Side 2 of Throbbing Gristle’s Second Annual Report. Ekoplekz wears his influences on his table-top of wires and boxes but he’s got a singular vision and he’s tapped a rich seam. On this release, he’s attempting to find a groove in the heart of those Sea Devil whistles and he almost finds it. He’ll keep looking."

Incredible stuff!

Thursday, 17 May 2012

somuchnoisetobeheard vs. The RIAA

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). 

DMCA Provision Title II, the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act ("OCILLA"), creates a safe harbor for online service providers (OSPs, including ISPs) against copyright infringement liability, provided they meet specific requirements. OSPs must adhere to and qualify for certain prescribed safe harbour guidelines and promptly block access to alleged infringing material (or remove such material from their systems) when they receive notification of an infringement claim from a copyright holder or the copyright holder's agent. OCILLA also includes a counter-notification provision that offers OSPs a safe harbour from liability to their users when users claim that the material in question is not, in fact, infringing. 

Google's Terms and Conditions state the following in relation to alleged copyright infringement;

"We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement and terminate accounts of repeat infringers according to the process set out in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act."

It goes on;

"Regardless of whether we may be liable for such infringement under local country law or United States law, our response may include removing or disabling access to material claimed to be the subject of infringing activity and/or terminating subscribers. If we remove or disable access in response to such a notice, we may notify the owner or administrator of the affected site or content so that he or she can make a counter notification. It is also our policy to document all notices of alleged infringement on which we act, including by sending a copy of the notice to one or more third parties or making it available to the public."

On the 9th of May 2012, I received my first DMCA takedown notice via Google Blogger, quickly followed by a second takedown notice issued on the 11th May 2012. I was required to remove material from the two posts in question or face legal proceedings from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Last month, my YouTube account was also the subject of a similar DMCA takedown notice in respect to a non-downloadable track I posted for promotional purposes.

Each of these takedown notices seem to have originated from the same source; the RIAA on behalf of EMI Music North America, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. This is a puzzle to me as I generally don't touch anything related to a major label or multinational music conglomerate.

The aim of my blog has always been to promote smaller bands who I believe should be exposed to a greater audience. I have no interest in supporting the bland, soul destroying rubbish foisted on the general public by major record labels in the name of revenue generation for their greedy and corrupt owners. I am not out to self promote or make money, simply share my love of unusual, intelligent and life-affirming music with like minded people who may not have heard of the bands in question. I am therefore confused as to why the RIAA and the four major record labels noted above are issuing my blog with takedown notices.

Given the modest readership base, relatively low online profile and the short length of time my blog has been in operation, this is an extremely worrying development which cuts at the heart of internet freedom itself. I have researched this matter in depth and found cases where blog sites have been shut down following the issue of DMCA takedown notices for linking to tracks which were made available to download for free by the band themselves. Other alleged infringement cases include the use of images freely available via Google searches on a Google blog and the removal of a blog following the post of an unfavourable review of a major label band.

This puts me in an untenable position. If I continue to post links - even to out of print releases - then I run the risk of removal of my site by Google or even legal action being brought against me by the RIAA. I am therefore removing all existing links and will no longer provide links when posting new articles.

There are plenty of other resources out there offering this facility which somehow seem completely immune to the current DMCA laws including Google itself. Indeed, Google has recently argued that links to copyrighted material which are served following a search query are not breaking the law as they are merely pointing to another site where those links are available and therefore no law is broken by them.

I urge you to fight against this draconian law and the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation in any way you can as it surely only benefits those who see revenue generation in music rather than the creation of great art or cultural enrichment.

"Words and sounds are nobody's personal property" - William S.Burroughs

Footnote - In the UK, our Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states;

"Copyright is an automatic right and arises whenever an individual or company creates a work. To qualify, a work should be regarded as original, and exhibit a degree of labour, skill or judgement."

Given that all art is inherently mimetic, it could be argued that nothing is truly original and therefore cannot be protected by copyright laws.

Just a thought.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bob Log III, Live at The Greystones. Sheffield, UK (2012)

This jump suited, one man force of nature plays the drums with his feet, sings through a telephone taped to the visor of a motorcycle helmet and plays a warped form of punky, garage blues on his old Silvertone guitar. It might be tempting to dismiss him as a one man band sideshow but his music is borne from a deep love and understanding of Delta blues, scotch, breasts and more than a little insanity.

Born in Tuscon, Arizona, Bog Log got his first guitar at the tender age of 11. By the time he was 16 he was deeply immersed in Delta Blues being raised on the music of Screaming Jay Hawkins and Lightnin’ Hopkins, his sound is inspired in equal parts by Mississippi Fred McDowell and AC/DC. He’s a formidable guitarist who’s forged his own unique style utilizing super low tunings, his slide playing sounds monstrous - the loose strings combined with his powerful finger picking technique let him snap and slide his dirty electric blues in a way that probably shouldn’t be possible.

He began his career playing with a metal/blues band named Mondo Guano which he left to form the blues rock duo Doo Rag. While on tour his percussionist Thermos Malling suddenly quit, leaving Log scrambling for a way to finish the booked dates. Donning a recently acquired thrift store helmet, he miked up his guitar case and kicked it to keep the beat. Eventually he replaced the case with a kick drum and cymbal, augmenting his one man rhythm even further by adding a drum machine which he triggers with his feet.

His records are amazing but it's in a live setting that Bob Log really shines. The Greystones in Sheffield is essentially the back room in a (rather fine) pub which is located in a leafy suburb of the city. I spoke to Bob before the show and he said that he loved this venue because it was intimate and had a great sound.

Bob has previously described his 'business' in the press as a 'guitar dance party' and that's just what you get from the word go. He arrives onstage in his trademark lycra jumpsuit and matching motorcycle helmet playing crazy-ass slide blues licks on his wireless antique guitar. Everything he plays is met with nothing less than rapture from the packed throng, his frantic guitar wrangling causes the whole room to explode into a dervish of wild head nodding and freaky dancing. Between songs, Bob is supremely witty and droll, his frequent ad-libs and interjections are hilarious and almost as essential as the music itself;

"I'm Bob Log III and I'm sitting on a whole bunch of tables. Let me tell you something, this shit ain't even taped together people, anything could happen.  Oh my god, I've done a lot of crazy shit man but, you guys, they put me on tables."

You should most definitely track down all four of Bob Log's studio albums and also check out his work as Doo Rag. What you should also do is go and see him live to experience the guitar dance party in full force. Whilst there, buy the great man a drink - or 'liquid applause' as he likes to call it.

His shit is most definitely perfect.

Also worth mentioning here are the support band, a local two piece called 16 Hooves who play a mix of busted hardcore and Earth-like grindcore miniatures. The drummer in particular is something to behold, slashing at his tiny kit with an unhinged smile like a punk Keith Moon. Check out their slightly dormant myspace page for a few old tracks and look out for a forthcoming Facebook page.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Ras G - El-Alylien Part 1 (2010)

Gregory Shorter Jr has been releasing his own take on cosmic, instrumental Hip Hop under the moniker Ras G & The Afrikan Space Program since 2008 but has been heavily involved with the Los Angeles music scene since the early 1990's.

El-Alylien Part 1 is a six track EP of abstract dub-hop head pressure and spaced out astral bump of the very highest order. With this set, it soon becomes obvious that Ras is at his most way out and downright esoteric. The first four tracks are a bong-eyed blend of rich field recordings and crackly samples knitted together into a bed of psychoactively charged sub bass. There’s almost no telling where each track starts and stops lending an intuitive and expressionist collage feel to the whole EP. The final track - Discipline09-2 GB Remix brings up the rear with a completely spherical re-rub of the second track, sounding for all the world like Delia Derbyshire sharing a blunt with J Dilla.

It’s fitting that a few tracks on the EP contain dialogue lifted from an interview with the late, great Sun Ra, as one can draw several parallels between Ras G’s own cosmic philosophy and out-there musical stylings to that of the legendary avant-garde Jazz pioneer.

Anyone enjoying recent posts on Cupp Cave and DJ Yo-Yo Dieting should most definitely investigate this one further.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Demdike Stare - Industrial Desert (2010)

Demdike Stare is the collaborative project of Miles Whittaker and Sean Canty. Miles is also known as one half of Pendle Coven who have explored areas of techno and electronic music as diverse as their interests, taking in early-90's style hardcore, drone, Basic-Channelisms, Drexciyan electro and warehouse minimalism along the way. Sean Canty is a member of the respected Finders Keepers crew of vinyl vultures. 

The duo’s collaborative project tracks the sonic ley lines of cult soundtracks, Turkish psych, deconstructed dub reductions, field recordings, plunderphonics and all manner of psychotomimetic ephemera. The project is named after Pendle's most famous witch: Elizabeth Southerns, aka Demdike.

Earlier last month I managed to track down a copy of this rather hard to find disc which was released in October 2010 and features just one track lasting almost an hour. I've since undertaken a fair bit of research to try and find out some track list information but nothing has been forthcoming.

All I've managed to unearth is that the mix contains "arcane folk fed through proto-techno wormholes, to exalted krautrock and the richest jazz, all infected with deep vein drone throbs and spores of mossy ambience".

The music itself is magnificent though and makes up for the lack of individual track structure or band/title information. It shifts constantly between elements of 70's free jazz, Arabic rhythms, industrial noise and crackling ambient inflections without ever sounding forced or random. The 56 minute running time melts away rapidly as each new movement catches hold, plays out and recedes. It is music that has to be listened to in one sitting when you are fully prepared to take an hour out of your life and let the music overtake the room. This might well seem like a big expectation from a release, especially these days but you will be richly rewarded for your investment of time and patience.

If you're unfamiliar with Demdike stare then this release is as good a place to start as any then seek out anything this band has their name on.

Required listening.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Kyle Bobby Dunn - A Young Person’s Guide To Kyle Bobby Dunn (2010)

Based in Brooklyn, Canadian-born sound artist and composer Kyle Bobby Dunn creates music at the complete opposite of the sprawling urban metropolis he lives in. Working primarily from source recordings of pianos, guitars, strings and brass, Dunn processes them into vast minimal forms where sounds are blended into dense dronescapes to create superbly evocative atmospheric pieces.

Recorded over a period of four years, during which Dunn explored a variety of set ups and sound sources, the twelve pieces making up this double album occupy a common atmospheric space, somewhere between stylised drone exploration and the outer reaches of processed modern classical compositions. While Dunn’s soundscapes appear pretty static, they are far more expressive than simple drones and have a much wider emotional scope. The compositions vary greatly in length throughout, ranging from the short and sweet 'Last Minute Jest' which clocks in at just over two minutes, to the sprawling seventeen and a half minute album opener 'Butel', greatly impacting on the level and extent of the processing applied for each piece.

Dunn also plays on the hue of his pieces to give them a distinctive character. There is a sense of uniformity running through this record, yet he alternates between rather muffled sound spaces and more open, vibrant moments.

Behind the apparent stillness of the music and the stasis of soundscapes caught in dense fog lies a refinement which gives this record a particular resonance. Indeed, if the original sound sources are at best, barely discernible, Dunn’s heavy processing still occasionally leaves off a thin film of reality. This is particularly true with the guitar and piano textures which percolate through at irregular intervals throughout the record. The closing track 'The Nightjar' is built from guitar chords which are, for the majority of the piece, stretched and ground down into tiny particles to rather stunning effect but gradually revert back to their original state toward the end. It is perhaps not a coincidence that this corresponds with the appearance of the first clearly recognisable human voice of the record, as if Dunn was easing his audience back into reality.

On paper, A Young Person’s Guide can sound like a daunting, almost academic listen, yet Kyle Bobby Dunn’s beautifully fluid compositions are totally and utterly absorbing. A massive recommendation for listeners of Stars of the Lid and other such drone luminaries.