Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hanged Man Vol. 1 cs
Hanged Man Recordings
So full disclosure, I am on this comp. Right off the bat I want you to know that, but there are also nine other amazing artists and I think it would be a total shame not to let you know about this release. Anyhow, here we go… As far as I know all of these artists are from the Pacific Northwest. Every artist has their own perspective but works very much in the over simply defined genre of experimental music. Megabats plays beautiful layered synth music controlled by Nintendo Gameboys, Kristian Garrard explores electric minimalism while Karnak Temples creates a whirl of guitar drones and what almost sounds like distant trumpets. There are moments of pysch inspired folk from Josh Medina and totally deconstructed acoustic sounds from Sokai Stilhed. Some tracks can be dark and dreadful, like from Thunder Grey Pilgrim where others are just gorgeous. Them, There plays some absolutely haunting guitar tinged drone mixed with what sounds like field recordings from a cold and distant island. I would say the most out there track is from Inh Halentropy. It's got a Kraut Rock/Pysch Rock vibe but it almost reminds me of some of Dario Argento's early title sequence soundtracks. Real spacey stuff. Nightjar is also very strange and beautiful. This comp comes highly recommended. Nice screenprinted covers and limited to 100.
I love Mink Stolen. Again I need to mention that I have collaborated with this wonderful human being who goes by the name, Chris Negrete. Musically this is tops. Right up there with many of my favorite Hanson Releases. Deliberate grinding synths and vocal manipulations twist and turn over three short tracks. Really this is perfect in length. This being the first release from Mink Stolen since the name change from Mink Stole (see: lawyers/Nancy). I fully recommend this. My only issues with it are these: The music is quite a bit shorter than the length of the tape so you get a lot of dead space at the end. Which is something I have done before and got shit for it from a peer. Also, there is nothing on the other side of the tape. I guess when you put those two things together it kinda works out because you are going to want to just rewind right away when you get to the end of the music. Either way, I recommend you just on this. This was from an edition of 18 copies and there are six left on his webstore. Each has a totally unique cover. Beautiful.
The Somnambulist Remixes
I am torn on this one. First of all I am not very familiar with Golden Gardens not remixed so my frame of reference made it difficult to be objective. I was holding off on reviewing this until i knew more… Then time went by and I said, "fuck it. I am going to review it on the merit of it's work and not worry about the context". So now that you know that here is the second thing: I half love and half hate the tracks on this cassette. There are some real stand outs, especially from Golden Gardens themselves. Those tracks are exceptional. I could listen to them all day. I like them enough to want to search out everything from this beautiful Seattle and Florida duo. The other remixed tracks though are pretty hit or miss. The track from Cex is okay but i am really not of fan of anything this guy has put out yet. Not horrible, just not my thing. The Nonnon track that follows it kinda bums me out. It makes me think about being in the middle of Hempfest, surrounded by people who i seem to have one thing and only one thing in common with. It's too much trippy wanderings for me. The remix from Hair is pretty nice. Quiet but still complex. Interesting and pretty cool but then the track that follows that is pretty much straight up house music. Again, just not my thing. I hate that one drum beat with a passion. Luckily the last track is from Golden Gardens and it's fantastic. The whole affair is certainly interesting and worth giving a listen to. I give the tracks a 2, 2, 4, 5, 4, 2, 5… so average that out and there you go.
Actuary/Bastard Noise split 12"
Love Earth Music
I know most of you that have read my blog know that I am not a fan of samples in noise. I don't know what it is about it but something usually just rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it just comes off as a little dated to me. It usually just sorta pulls me out of the moment and reminds me that not only is this sample from a movie but I probably have a Netflix DVD to return and I better get it in the mail if i want to get another copy of Cowboy Bebop…. and then it's ruined. Actuary does seem to use samples in some of their pieces but they handle it in such an appropriate and seamless way that it totally pulls me in. Their mood is sullen and terrifying all at the same time. The sounds are just about as bleak as you can make it. They really remind me of when I got my first Smell & Quimm cassette in the mail. How dark and fucked the whole thing was. I had the feeling that one day it would be evidence. Had the West Memphis 3 listened to shit like this instead of Marilyn Manson's pg-13 mall rock, they would have never gotten out. Bastard Noise in their own right have always done great work. This is no exception. In fact, this is the most exciting release from them I have heard in awhile. It's a real black lump of chaos spinning on your turntable. The whole blistering painful noise symphony is totally brought to a new level with Eric Wood's insane vocals. This is a good one.
In Currents 2xcs
Wow. This is aptly named. Violent, intense, massive… I could go on. Violent Pink's intensity on this recording is literally impossible to contain. There are moments where the audio just can't handle what is happening and just disappears. This vanishing is not a moment of calm though. It's like the part in Friday the 13th where Jason was standing right there and now you have lost sight of him. You know that the next time you see him something very unpleasant will happen to your guts. Across it's two cassettes you get controlled feedback, HNW mixed with desperately twisted screaming. It's like a huge overstuffed bed of hatred. I love this. Nicely packaged in those things that books on tape used to come in. Looks like they only made 50 copies but i bet you could find a copy from the label if you hurry. Good luck.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Priest in Shit 7"
Priest in Shit is exactly what i hoped i would come home to after my recent tour. This reminds me of when I first got into noise about 16 years ago. Harsh, blistering noise accompanied by photos of naked nuns. Debauchery in it's highest order. Reminds me a bit of Taint in a way. Screen printed covers with full color insert and sticker. Phage Tapes deserves your attention.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Self Communion/Drowner split cs
What We Do Is Secret
...Self Communion is operated one half of the art/design collective known as FEEDING. I am sure you know of FEEDING by now and if you don't please take a minute to familiarize yourself. It will help. The sounds on Self Communion's side of this tape are wonderfully dreadful. Reminiscent of Throbbing Gristle's "Hamburger Lady" in it's plodding rhythms, maniacal vocals and grinding noise but there is some deeper exploration into where that sound can go. Self Communion takes this rhythmic industrial noise and turns it into something scarier and more hypnotic than you may be ready for. It's truly frightening. Drowner makes use of some very organic sounds to create something that also produces anxiety but in a different way. It feels almost like a soundtrack from a dark, forgotten film. Banging of steel, scraping of concrete, air escaping through cracks in granite. It all seems to tell a story of things falling apart. Drowner is always producing excellent work in very limited runs. I recommend in the case of both Self Communion and Drowner you do your best to find as much as you can.
Lighten Up Sounds
Lighten Up Sounds have a real interesting roster. I have reviewed some of their older stuff in the past and they seem to have a real cohesive approach to the releases they put out. The artists don't necessarily sound like each other or anything but they definitely seem to play with the same accent. If that makes any sense at all. Glue Clinic really plays with reverb. This whole release sounds as if they are almost playing the room they are in. It's pretty wonderful. It goes from almost Barn Owl-esque guitar drone to full on free jazz/noise explorations. There is some seriously restrained moments and some very intense sections but they are all coated in a heavy layer of spatial awareness. I think this is fantastic. Really great work. Nice packaging, Xeroxed j cards with screen printed sections. Seems like maybe on a Gocco, which makes me love them even more.
Soccermom Ebonics is the only label i think that is allowed to use store bought Maxwell cassettes anymore. Headed by both members of Sparklegirl, this label has a catalog that rivals American Tapes in it's vastness. Cassettes, cdrs, micro cassettes, 8-tracks, lathe cut vinyl, zip disks and probably tin cylinders are all in their back catalog and trying to collect it all is impossible. I have the honor of owning a 1 of 1 cassette/cdr box set and I am not the only one to receive one of their one of a kind box sets or edition of 5 cdrs. It's thankfully just too much. So anyhow… Nyquil Chakra is made up of one half of Sparklegirl and someone who's name i didn't catch but is referred to as TB. Tyler maybe… I forgot. It's a c60 filled with so much pedal manipulation of high pitched frequencies that you actually feel a little beaten down by it's nonstop intensity. It's like the collective thoughts of every dying insect was strung together into sixty minutes of piercing screams and tones. Then injected directly into your brain. It's fucking endurance that's required to take this trip but it's worth it. Oh yeah. You'll want to stay through till the end of the credits. As always, a non descriptor Maxwell c60 with a xeroxed j card makes up this simple but wonderful packaging. Edition of 50.
Sleep of Ages/a-m #2 split cs
a-m #2 starts off this split with some nice low end grinding tones. Sorta like Emaciator, which is something I am quite fond of. Really understated crackling harsh drone pieces that move into each other quite smoothly. I find this to be almost relaxing in it's delivery. The segues between tracks is masterful as it seems almost like one long piece but it's made up of very different approaches. Sleep of Ages sounds a little like 1970's sci-fi sound effects meets Clive Barker's earlier films. Scary and cinematic. For some strange reason I keep thinking of ROM the Space Knight. No idea why. It moves into smashing bottles with the accompaniment of synth drones. Pretty cathartic stuff. I think after seeing John Wiese this week I am a little non plussed by this approach but it's still cool to hear. The layout is nice with it's screen printed obi strip around a poly case. The only issue i have with the layout is that there is a big sticker on the back that says "limited edition" with the number (there are only 50 by the way). If it said "limited to 50 copies" or "edition of 50 copies" i don't think i would notice but "limited edition" just screams eBay or QVC or something. I know that is a silly thing to focus on but it kinda hit me strange. Oh well, who am I to criticize that?