viernes, 31 de julio de 2009

Andrew Douglas Rothbard - Exodusarabesque

Link removed by request

Genre: Psych Folk, Experimental
Label: Peaking Mandala


Exodusarabesque is an exercise in bewilderment. Much like the album’s title, the music Andrew Douglas Rothbard creates is the result of a surgery of different parts. And, similar to attempts at pronouncing Exodusarabesque, describing this music is an exercise in futility. Believe me, this being my 7th attempt at tossing words at the album, I am well aware of the failings of English (at least my grasp of it) in properly describing this mythical beast that Rothbard has created. However, don’t let my discouragement in trying to write about Exodusarabesque translate to discouragement in listening to it because what Rothbard has created here may reveal itself as the very best this year has to offer. Why else would I try over and over again to convey its strengths? I ‘m not going to make any overly specific claims here, but there is absolutely no doubt that I’ll be revisiting this album on Forest Gospel come December. That should be enough right? Leave you with an enigmatic claim without any semblance of an explanation about what you’re getting into. If it isn’t, don’t blame me for the description that follows…Exodusarabesque isn’t kind to those who try to describe it. But, here goes nothing: Exodusarabesque is a supernatural concoction of chaos gone right. In the simplest and most boring of terms, Exodusarabesque is an electronic freak folk collage. The closest relative to the sound Rothbard has created that I can think of is what Kemialliset Ystavat. But where Kemialliset often wanders off aimlessly, leaving listeners stranded in the middle of the woods, Rothbard maintains just enough structure to string you along. And don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get lost in the woods every once in awhile, but at the same time, it is infinitely better to have guide. There is no arguing with the fact that Andrew Douglas Rothbard work is experimental, but as with the very best of experimental music, Rothbard has just enough of a pop presence to make Exodusarabesque supremely palatable. What else? Oh yeah, the electronics. So, in addition to this incredible forest of organic textures, Rothbard has added an electronic edge that I have never heard coupled with free/freak folk. Exodusarabesque adds a glitch/hip hop element to these recordings that sounds like Prefuse 73 remixing Campfire Songs with Here Comes The Indian. You know what? Forget freak folk. Welcome freak electronica. I’m going to go ahead and quit right here. There is probably about a million other off kilter comparisons and descriptions I could throw at Exodusarabesque, but eventually this true chameleon of a record shakes them all off and stands alone, grazing on it all but somehow not becoming what it eats. As one last effort to convey my impressions of this album I will just say this. Recently, I have been compiling and organizing an obligatory end of decade list. While doing so I was surprised to find that I didn’t feel very comfortable putting anything on that list that I had listened to so far in 2009. It isn’t that I didn’t want to; it’s just that nothing stood out as strongly as records from the past nine years had. After listening to Exodusarabesque, Andrew Douglas Rothbard’s musical behemoth, that has now changed.

Review taken from Forest Gospel

Implodes - Implodes CS

This is no the original cover art

Genre: Ambient, Drone, Noise, Psychedelic
Label: Plus Tapes

Implodes is a Chicago quartet that prefers to keep the melodies and lyrics hidden in fuzzy distortion, reverb, echo & effects. Mostly the sounds are distant and dissonant, but slyly hidden below the surface are rays of melodic sunshine that peak through the clouds from time to time. Think Jesus & Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, Suicide and Flying Saucer Attack, but, you know, more… schizo. 100 copies, hand numbered.

jueves, 30 de julio de 2009

A Broken Consort - Crow Autumn Part Two

Link removed by request of the artist
Genre: Ambient
Label: Sustain Release

My Space


Crow Autumn 2 is the follow up to, um what was it called, oh yes, Crow Autumn 1, which in turn was a continuation down the roads travelled in Box Of Birch. This means (even) more dark, dense layers of bowing and scraping, with elegiac melodies scrambling to climb free of the undergrowth into a forest air sodden with music and emotion. From the start of first track "Mountain Ash" to the end of last track “Beneath” a piano tolls remorselessly, an accordion wheezes in the distance, and the violin mulls over these repetitive themes, these inescapable and haunting fragmented memories, at times almost completely scratched out by wailing drones and quivering tremolo. The piece ebbs and flows slowly, finally trickling its way to an eventual release into silence. The magnificently composed Crow Autumn 2 will play on in your head long after it has stopped though.

While the violin leads in A Broken Consort, it supports in Skelton’s Carousell work. That isn’t the only difference; this is far sparser, with the melodies given more space and time to flower (unlike in the oppressive darkness of Crow Autumn 2), and the tracks disentangle themselves much more readily into individual pieces. "Artery"opens with a church bell, but it feels less ominous than the tolling of Crow Autumn 2; almost like a fresh spring countryside morning. The prominent guitar playing is loose and improvisational, feeling its way delicately through this new, better-lit world, stumbling upon melodic paths as it goes. At times it is joined by a dreamy, hazy violin; at times it sings out across the plains almost unaccompanied. A girl giggles; and for the first time I feel I have intruded on a private picnic, or even a reminiscence on a private picnic. That this is a piece born of a burning love feels confirmed by the soft, beautiful piano-led piece which follows, “And The Orchard”, the piano lingering on into the next track to dance slowly with the violin. This was just setting me up for “Owl Lanterns”, where familiar sounding melodies are sweetly circled by sweet strings and deftly-picked guitar; the first time I heard this reduced me to tears. This is so different to Crow Autumn 2, and in its own softly-spoken way, even more powerful.

Review taken from Mapsadaisical

miércoles, 29 de julio de 2009

Tomasz Bednarczyk - Painting Sky Together

Genre: Ambient
Label: Room40

My Space


Tomasz Bednarczyk moves out of the shadows a bit more with his second full-length effort. His previous work, Summer Feelings, lent itself to being listened to in a lax and hazy manner, in a state of daydream, where its tranquilizing, therapeutic quality could be most fully felt. This work, on the other hand, though still of an unassuming pace and soothing tone, draws the listener more towards the precise definition of the sounds and their elegant placement in the mix.

Even at its most minimal, the disc shows a certain invention and a knack for thoughtful, ear-catching arrangements. Bednarczyk traces a patient progression from electronic textures that are dry and crisp, that stand up proud and then ease into the nodding pull of the cool and considered piano chords, to the slow-reveal of subtle details behind a gossamer veil of ambience. Finally, in the albums strongest segment, which takes place near the end of the work, with “Agata’s Film” and “January”, Bednarczyk subtly frames and colors environmental recordings, while simultaneously maintaining a level of heightened stasis and exploring overtones through a repetitive piano motif, thus conveying a sense of the panoramic while remaining quite personal, even private, in tone. This sublime delicacy is sustained to the very end, establishing that, as a composer, Bedarczyk is only growing in integrity.

Chubby Wolf - L'histoire

Genre: Ambient. Drone
Label: Gears Of Sand

My Space


With a name like Chubby Wolf, tossed out amongst the half-dozen or so other artists using the word “wolf” as part of their nomenclature, you might not be mistaken if you thought it yet another in a long list of noise-affiliated projects. But wait: L’Histoire arrives released on the intrepid Gears of Sand imprint, well-noted for its now dense catalog of experimental drone and distinctive atmospheric music, so any ideas of noise to the contrary can be formally laid to rest. Quite the opposite this music is, in fact the polar opposite. Across eleven meticulously sculpted, wind-chapped, albeit sometimes chilly, pieces, adorned with titles such as “Anti-body Library”, “Inverted Windows”, and “You, My Luminary”, Chubby Wolf demand you close the windows, turn the lights down to a faint dim, and let these potent miasmatic toneshifts waft between the four walls as they insinuate themselves in your subconscious. Like the work of Pauline Oliveros, L’Histoire is an exercise in deep listening, one that makes that demand implicit on its participant. Though all attendant sounds were created with a seeming paucity of means (toy piano, a heart monitor, and the obligatory electronic processing), the ends are justifiably vivid and contemplative, even downright lustrous. The poetic lilt the artist lends to a piece such as “Lay the Voice to Rest, Fear Mist” is pure sensation, literally and figuratively, supple, if shrill, wisps of sound tendering a bleak landscape. That the artist can render such poignancy out of the barest of electronic materiél speaks volumes about how the softest approaches can often yield the most concrete results. Oh, and Chubby Wolf is Dani Baquet-Long, half of drone avatars Celer, which goes some way to explain how these tattered sonic pages uncurl to reveal the argot residing deep within its mysterious L’Histoire.

martes, 28 de julio de 2009

Zola Jesus - The Spoils LP

Genre: Psychedelic, Noise, Experimental
Label: Sacred Bones

My Space

Hailing from the unsuspecting locale of Madison, WI, Zola Jesus—the alter ego of Nika Roza Danilova—occupy a sphere of sparse industrial rhythms, no-fi drones, and ethereal femme vocals. Those who have seen her handful of live shows, heard her WFMU set, or caught any of the acclaimed, sought after, and now mostly out of print releases on Die Stasi or Troubleman Unlimited already know. For those uninitiated The Spoils may be the most fully realized representation of her sound. Zola Jesus have two previous releases on Sared Bones, the Souer Sewer single and a limited CD of a live performance from WNYU. The CD contains the entire “Soeur Sewer” 7" as well as the three songs from the Die Stasi single.

Part Timer - Taped Recordings

This is not the original cover art

Genre: Ambient. Electronic, IDM
Label: Self Released

My Space


John McCaffrey's latest batch of material comes in a dainty three-inch serving, a self-released affair that follows on from his contributions to the Moteer and Flau catalogues. Across seven untitled tracks in eighteen minutes McCaffrey stitches together fragments of acoustic instrumentation and cordial, homespun electronics. The essence of the Part Timer sound is pretty much condensed within the second and third compositions on the disc: during the former, the gentlest of steel-strung guitar pluckings entangle themselves with xylophone melodies against a quiet backdrop of watery field recordings while the latter takes on a more processed feel, but using the same sort of source instrumentation. Here clockwork, metronomic percussion ticks away at the edges of the mix whilst loops of plucked string phrases circulate, evoking that familiar Part Timer sound whilst referencing peers like The Boats and Mùm. The midsection of the EP takes us into slightly more surreal, fragmentary areas, whirring along gently as miniaturised drones, dislocated violin straggles and airy incidental sounds come to the foreground. For the final track however, McCaffrey focuses on more immediately substantial fare, stamping out a resonant, authoratative bassline while Four Tet-like up-tuned strings form melodic clusters. Taped Recordings is one of those releases that plays to the three-inch format beautifully, filling up the disc with a clever balance of curious acoustic ephemera and emotive electronics to form a small, but perfectly formed whole.

lunes, 27 de julio de 2009

Motohiro Nakashima - We Hum On The Way Home

Genre: Neo Classical, Ambient, Folk
Label: Schole

My Space


We Hum On The way Home is a delightful mix of pastoral sounding acoustic neo classic lovelyness. There's guitars, pianos, trombones, violins, cellos and percussion all hanging around together making a beautiful mix of loveliness. It's well constructed thought out instrumental music which is really emotive and moving. I thought this was gonna be more electronic as I'm sure some of the earlier releases by him I'd heard were electronic. My memory is shocking... I really can't remember. Anyhoo this is lush. The acoustic guitar and trombone work really well together like they're related (not like their married though as they wouldn't get on at all...). It's a thoroughly charming and delightful listen and I'd heartily recommend it to anyone who wants to have a really enjoyable 56 minutes of their life.

lunes, 20 de julio de 2009

Alumbrados - Monochord Lp

Genre: Dark Ambient, Drone
Label: Important Records

This is one of four vinyl-only Bardo Pond related releases coming out simultaneously on Important Records.
Deep in the forest ethno-drones, drenched in buzz and shimmer. Sitar, guitar, cumbas and all sorts of percussion create exquisite layers psych drone Nirvana that will transport you to another dimension.
Strangely peaceful, the music we hear in our heads when we lay in grass at night staring at the stars.

Alpine. – Fr:om, Harmed, Weather, To Stark, Micro, Climates.

Genre: Ambient
Label: Highpoint Lowlife

My Space


This is the work of Alex Smalley one half of Pausal who have toured with the likes of Stars Of The Lid and Grouper to name but a few. Alpine. is his solo project and ‘Fr:om…’ will only be the second release.

The six tracks showcased here sound like a trip through beautiful countryside on an early morning, the sun just rising as the subtle chords glide over you. There is an almost classical feel to this music, you hear pianos and orchestral sounds but they’re tweaked and made into subtle reverb drenched loops into electronic soundscapes rather than any traditional notion of classical music or sounds. This coupled with a subtle use of field recordings and found sounds, which gives the pieces an out and about in the countryside sort of atmosphere somehow.

There are many highlights as it works so well as a single flowing piece but the organic crackles and mesmerising drones of ‘micro,’ do it for me. As do the tweeting birds and looping chimes of opener ‘fr:om’ that descend into orchestral bliss. The field recordings on ‘weather’ are something else too you can really feel the ambiance captured on tape from these places.

Here we have music for late nights and early mornings, Alpine. shows the way on a journey mapped out through sound. Its compelling and beautiful, it just shines with a shimmering laid-back energy.

viernes, 17 de julio de 2009

Moon Phantoms - Moon Phantoms Lp

Genre:Dark Ambient, Drone
Label: Important Records


Another Bardo Pond-related LPs out on Important Records, this release from Moon Phantoms features Michael and John Gibbons, Isobel Sollenberger, Jason Kourkounis and Suishou No Fune's Pirako Kurenai and Kageo helping out on guitar and vocals. That's some line-up, and as is to be expected from such a stellar cast, this is wholly brilliant piece of avant-rock improvisation. The prevailing tone of the first side, as dominated by the immense 'Departure Into Space' is one of colossal free roaming psychedelia, with a real sense of depth provided by the wall of guitars, which is soaked in just the right amount of distortion as straggly lead parts flail around the atmosphere casting off solo licks. The B-side is the real star here though, 'All Is Dyed In The Midnight' involves a roomier. more restrained approach, meaning guitars are used for soundscaping and Isobel Sollenberger's flute is able carve out some otherworldly melodic lines. A blast.

Alasehir - Torment Of The Metals Lp

Genre: Psychedelic, Drone, Experimental Rock
Label: Important Records


Alasehir's 4th release, following a CD apiece for the Important, aRCHIVE and Siltbreeze labels, Torment of The Metals "continues their sonic exploration of dense, languorous, free expansion. Billowing and exploding like a cluster of hashish stars, they produce a cosmic energy akin to a quasar in the heavens far left of Coltrane's OM and just right of the galaxy known as Dead C's Harsh '70s Reality

One of four Bardo Pond-related LPs to be released this week, Alasehir's Torment Of The Metals is the product of Michael and John Gibbons from the aforementioned stoner rock icons. This LP is at the more brain-frazzled end of the psych/sludge scale, featuring huge, furious guitar riffs, passages of extreme fuzz and some killer free-rock drumming from Jason Kourkounis. The band get through three tracks in forty minutes, which isn't as sluggish as it sounds - sure, they grind to a thoroughly tuned-out pace for much of 'Wheel Of Anguish', but this LP is heavy and intense in all the right ways. And just check out the righteous sleeve...

Limited edition of 500 copies pressed on virgin vinyl. Guitar out-crunch hailing from the Bardo Axis. Alasehir is grounded stoner heavy-zen and the second in our four part Bardo Pond related vinyl set.

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2009

Alexander Turnquist - As the Twilight Crane Dreams in Color

Genre: Folk, Americana, Psychedelic
Label: VHF


Second full length from NY based guitarist Turnquist, who defies expectations with a set of hypnotic epics that owe more to classic minimalism than current notions of solo guitar. Forgoing most of the extended techniques of his debut, Turnquist concentrates on laying down a thick blanket of 12 string that sets up persistent loop-like patterns in the music. Simple and lovely strings, piano, and percussion accompaniment provide the melody, carrying most of the movement in the pieces. The palette of sounds and styles here is used with extraordinary control and restraint - the orchestrations are as reductionist as possible, with no cringe-inducing "string drama" or unnecessary virtuosity. The almost monomaniacal tremolo thrum of the guitar dominates the album, but there is a lengthy ambient breakdown that occurs midway through the 18 minute "The REM Cycle - Dream Phase" that is a thing of elliptical and drifting beauty. "As The Twilight Crane" is a bold statement even in the context of the frequent micro-parsing of styles in the sub-underground - there's really not much else out there like it.

miércoles, 8 de julio de 2009

Blues Control - Local Flavor

Genre: Experimental, Psychedelic, Noise, Drone
Label: Stiltbreeze

My Space


A few years back, former Quiet Sun / Roxy Music / 801 behind-thescenesmastermind Gill Manzanera—no relation to guitarist Phil Manzanera(whose real name is Philip Targett-Adams)—offered up a beguilingreminiscence of those heady days to the Swiss fanzine Sombre Reptiles:“What we were trying to do, you see, was harness the future into thepresent. However, we were severely at odds with technology, a ring modulator on a Fender Rhodes and a bit of funny business through an analogsynth being about as far as one could go then. The work with Quiet Sunwas the foundation, then later Phil and Eno built upon that within Roxyand if only Ferry had acquiesced to Brian having a go at ‘Bogus Man,’I think the results would have been stunning (as well as longer-lasting).But alas, so then for 801, the decision was to incorporate the progressiveand avant garde through a chamber of fusion (so to speak), the results ofwhich are undeniable. Mind you, this was all during the burgeoning punkera, so it took a bit of time for some to settle in with what was happening.But isn’t that the future, really; someone has to be the first out the door toknow if the rest of us will need a jumper or not. It was all quite brilliantin that way, absolutely so, I should think.”Hmm, well, that all sounds… quite English. Oddly enough, that sliverof quinine-sotted nostalgia could be used as a swab of historical DNApap to describe the fantastic newest shimmer from Blues Control. Whilepast releases have been beauteous extrapolations into the miasmic coreof psychedelia and billowing fog of ambient space, Local Flavor is theone where all the chickens have come home to roost.The opening track “Good Morning” is practically a sideways step intoboogie rock (horn accompaniment provided by none other than JesseTrbovich and Kurt Vile); with the proper seismic shift, it could almostbe heard as an alternate reality take on “Re-make/Re-model.” It’s easilythe band’s longest stomp in the forest of rock since their debut cassette,and, man, them boots leave a bruise! The remaining three tracks morph and ebb harmoniously—in trueBlues Control fashion—the timbre occasionally elegiac, yet more oftenriffing on a plane that has yet to be transcribed. Local Flavor is 801 plusan extra one (8101, if you will), providing an unimaginable future thatwill take your breath away. So make sure you’ve paid your oxygen bill,because there are no free rides in the 82nd Century. Features guest musicians JesseTrbovich and Kurt Vile.

viernes, 3 de julio de 2009

Danny Norbury - Light In August

Link Removed By Request

Genre: Neo Classical, Piano, Ambient
Label: Lacies Records

My Space


Cellist Danny Norbury has contributed to music by Library Tapes, The Boats, Nancy Elizabeth and Rafael Anton Irisarri of The Sight Below. This incredible full-length, Light In August, finds Norbury assuming the role of a one-man ensemble, spinning a collection of understated string and piano elegies harnessing an incredibly intimate cinematic quality.

Norbury’s music taps into the neo-classicisms of Rachel’s or Hildur Gudnadottir, with gentle, harmonised cello figures and minimal keystrokes leading the way. A maudlin grasp on romanticism takes hold of pieces like ‘The Morning Star’ and ‘Small Field’, setting the tone for what’s to come: a set that wrings every drop of emotion from Norbury’s instrumental palette. Fans of Peter Broderick’s Float album, or the aforementioned Hildur Gu?nadottir’s Without Sinking will fall in love at first listen, but Norbury manages to map out his very own niche within the current crop of modern classical musicians on outstanding entries such as the quietly devastating ‘This Night Is For You And For Me’ and final track ‘The Evening Star’, whose extreme cello glissandos mimic pedal steel tones, arcing across the horizon in the most heart-rending of fashions. (Boomkat)

jueves, 2 de julio de 2009

Stephan Mathieu + Taylor Deupree - Transcriptions

Genre: Ambient
Label: Spekk


Spekk really is one of those labels that you can rely on every single time. Having loved and enjoyed the entire catalogue right the way back to the first release from Taylor it’s pleasing to finally have another full albums worth of material from the man himself. However, this is a collaborative work with another artist of the highest calibre, Stephan Mathieu. Between them they’ve conjured up an utterly engrossing selection of thematically focused music that’s as beautiful as you’d hope. With Mathieu providing sound sources that range from 78rpm records, wax cylinders and pianos and Deupree crafting his wares with guitars, synths and processing I imagine you’ll have a fairly good idea of where this is headed. Sculpted, entrancing, light and airy organic works with such a lovely human touch, that’s expertly tempered by a more electronic feel. At times this is out and out melodic and at others it delves into deeper, darker territory. They’re both really at home with the way the tracks flow and, even though I’d really hesitate to announce this as being drone, I have to acknowledge that there’s definitely an influence in there. But this is less static and almost, in a bizarre contemporary kind of way, poppy – that is to say you can hear the songs in there but they’re always completely tangible… it’s more of a feeling and an atmosphere than anything else. Spekk delivers once again and shows that it’s still up there when releasing contemporary electronic music. For fans of either artist or the label you’ll be unsurprised to hear that I’m considering this a totally essential release.

Greg Davis – Mutually Arising

Link Removed By Request of Greg Davis

Drone, Ambient


My Space


Davis is a student of music having studied at DePaul and worked on several collaborations with Keith Fullerton Whitman. His interest in drone is prominent on this release, “Mutually Arising,” and thoughtfully builds swirling masses of sound using Korg mono/poly and Crumar Stratus analog synthesizers, treated with various effects pedals and computer processing.

The disc features two long cuts, “Cosmic Mudra,” and “Hall of Pure Bliss.” Both tracks live up to their titular promise. Though our niche world is rife with drones, some even saying that it’s a form which is, for the time being, finished, it’s anathema to those of us who consider it an eternal music—one which has no beginning nor end, but is merely a snapshot of an ongoing eternal universal sigh. The calm, persistent mounting of harmonies and quivering timbres represented on this recording are just this sort of music. Crawling and dreamy, Davis’ sounds build monumental structures which blissfully reveal overtones which at times rival some of drone’s more recognized names. Gentle harmonies compete with more aggressive atonalities and produce lasting moments of tension which melt away, swaying breathily back into sparkling meditations on the most elemental forms of music. (Review by Dan of Fluid Radio)

miércoles, 1 de julio de 2009

Pocahaunted - Live From The New Age Cs

Not the original cover

Genre: Psych, Folk, Drone, Experimental
Label: Not Not Fun

My Space

Bethany and Amanda comprise Pocahaunted. Most of Pocahaunted’s music has been in the murkier, ambient sort of school of primitive experimentalism, but Island Diamonds is all druggy tribal rhythms and hypnotic dub jams, drenched in a grimey sort of reverb that smacks of the desert in a major Alejandro Jodorowsky kind of way. They’re El Topo on the streets of California, but they’re hard to pin down, extremely prolific, and always trying something new. They’ve now got several releases out on the likes of Not Not Fun (which Amanda co-runs), Ecstatic Piece, Arbor, Night People, and several more. (From