Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Good Amount "In a Quiet Way" cs

Good Amount
In a Quiet Way
Lava Church

This is kinda awesome and totally unexpected. I guess it sounds like a weird bedroom version of eastern world type ambient music. Not usually my thing but this is pretty rad. Loops and noise smash any yoga studio vibe that this almost achieves in a way that makes me think that Good Amount (Christian Michael Filardo) really knows what he is doing. There are some samples. Some are part of the music in the form of loops and some are added as a sort of narrative. I usually hate that stuff but it really works here. Some of the tracks here really remind me of Barry Black and that totally works for me. The layout is pretty boring. It looks like those tapes you would get before cds really existed where the cover was just the LP with some big blocky san serif typeface that had little personality. I know that was the intention as the "Stereo 360˚ Sound" logo on the cover tells me but all that says is "remember when tapes were ugly and boring?" and my response is, yeah, I do. Still the music is great and this is a nice break from the chaos I usually immerse myself in. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ryan Jewell v. Drake & Russell split cs

Ryan Jewell v. Drake & Russell
A Soundesign Recording

First of all Ryan Jewell is basically becoming a foley artist of noise. The sounds on this recording sound almost like he is just using things around the house to create and interesting noise soundscape. As it goes on it gets a little more processed and loud but the first few minutes are really interesting electro-acoustical sounding pieces. As it get more intense it actually gains a lot of momentum and starts to sound as if Ryan is starting to pull the walls down of the room he is recording in. It gets a little long in the tooth as it goes on but it's pretty impressive. Drake & Russel have a really interesting experiment in depth going on here. There is a juxtaposition of room sounds almost. Some of the sounds are like gravel being poured slowly on your head while other sounds are loops of distant tape manipulations. Other times you hear bells and dishes clanging next to your head and around your room. I really recommend checking this out with headphones on. It's a whole new world of disorientation. Impressive cassette all the way around. 

White Gold cd

White Gold

This is fucking refreshing… Two 21 minute tracks of blistering HNW from The Cherry Point's Phil Blankership and John Wiese. As much as I love lo-fi, warped cassettes of buried noise, I can really appreciate this crisp, clear and present onslaught. I forget how good noise like this can really sound. The noise is brutally intense and if you listen to this on headphones the sounds will wrap your head like a keffiyeh in a storm. There is not one dull second of this massive cd. The design is great; simple typography and beautiful photo collage perfectly juxtapose the destructive audio. Limited to 150 copies. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Black Cum "The Return of Black Jesus" 2xcs

Black Cum
The Return of Black Jesus
Self Released

"I'm here to destroy your babies. I hate your children born or unborn and I'm going to kill them. Abortions is for wussies [sic]. If women that want abortions had any balls…" This may be Black Cum's double cassette masterpiece. It's just as horrible sounding as always but the singing and lyrics are on a whole new level. Brand new insanity is reached on the first track of completely nonsense right off the bat in a song about killing children. I swear to god halfway through some pretty descriptive rants about what else an umbilical chord can used for I can hear the guitar star playing The Stooges "I wanna be your dog". The songs that follow are equally as brilliant in it's weirdo primitive anti music terribleness. It's a god damn disaster and you may hate me for enjoying this but I kinda love it. Oh yeah. I almost failed to mention how many songs are on these two cassettes. 59 songs. 59. 59 titles. Let me give you a selection of those: Cop Consentration Camp [sic], We Only Listen to Dubstep (and we like it that way), I have a Dream, Mr. Rodgers Pulled Pork Sandwich, Kill Me So I Can Trip, Scalping the Elderly…  and many more. The packaging is awesome and kinda horrible as well. Just like the band. Two tapes sewn into a handmade bag with two spray painted patches and a huge list of song titles and their manifesto. Which might explain Black Cum a little better to you:

Black Cum doesn't write songs.
Black Cum doesn't practice.
Black Cum doesn't do second takes.
Black Cum just gets fucked up, presses record and plays.
Whatever happens, happens.

God bless them.

Oh yeah, they have a kickstarter up right now for a 10" lathe. They only need $200 total so go over there and help them out. I am going to. I can't miss one of these… It's going to be psychotic. 

Sunken Cheek "Depths" cs

Sunken Cheek
self released

Restraint. That is my first thought. The first part of this tape is so minimal and deep that I am a little in awe of it. It mostly sounds like the sounds like distant battle heard from a mountain top. Huge, deep slow rhythms smash under layers of reverb. Scrapings whispers and shuffling sounds exist subtly but closer and somehow more menacing. A just when you get used to the distant sound of horror something loud and brutal happens to your speakers that might make you jump. It's a good one. Packaged in an "o" card with three separate inserts with lyrics and information. I kinda wish there was something besides the "o" card to package this one. Like a bag or box or something more sturdy than card stock. Either way though, this is good. Check out more on the artist's site.

La Mancha Del Pecado "Untitled Somber Demos" cs

La Mancha Del Pecado
Untitled Somber Demos
Self Released

All three La Mancha Del Pecado cassettes I have reviewed now are all great but if you have to get just one of them I would recommend this one first. It's a little different but it's a good starting place. Some totally blackened static (you will see what I mean) along with other tracks that sound like whales dying in a hailstorm. It's pretty awesome… Other tracks have this Earth vibe but completely destroyed by noise and piercing and I mean piercing feedback. There are some twisted vocals coming through the din that are maybe a little too effected at times but it's an interesting listen on those tracks. All in all this is fascinating and a good lead into the more extreme static dirge on the other La Mancha Del Pecado cassettes. Get in touch with Miguel and get a trade going.

Email link. 

__dReágän||||||/Julia Ladense and Mantichura split cs

__dReágän||||||/Julia Ladense and Mantichora
I Had an Accident Records

__dReágän||||||, a project with a name out of the Fifth World, plays some intense and brittle drone from Belgium. Using what sounds like tape manipulations, effects and guitar __dReágän|||||| makes a huge lolling ocean full dense static. It's loud and broken. __dReágän||||||'s name kinda bugs me but I got to admit that it is pretty fun to type out. __dReágän||||||. __dReágän||||||. __dReágän||||||.  Julia Ladense and
Mantichora tracks are also in the realm of drone. Much more low end heavy and beautiful. Almost sub audible at times. Pretty impressive. If you have listened to Oakeater's LP recently and dug it then I think you may dig this as well. There are some samples buried in this one but it sounds awesome. I think it may be a little long but it's definitely worth picking up. Limited to 50 copies. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Head in the Oven

Head in the Oven
I Blew Up the Challenger
Self Released

Another submission in the intentionally-horrible-off-beat-noise-rock-doom-crazy-person genre that I find so charming. I really don't know what these guys have going on as a scene out there because these guys are crazy. Head in the Oven share a drummer with Black Cum who always deliver on the lyrics. These lyrics are just about as charming: Fuck you Han Solo. You Took My Girlfriend. I Wanted to Rail Princess Leia but I'll Just Fuck an Ewok Instead. Those are the lyrics to an entire song. The music is ultra-naive lo fi punk noise stuff recorded on a boombox in the practice room. The vocals are extra high screeches that as actually pretty killer. The packaging is interesting… The j card is nowhere near the correct size for the case, the lyrics sheet is folded crooked and the tape is handpainted. Very home made and DIY. Let's also mention the title and cover photo. The Challenger explosion. I actually wonder if these guys were alive when that happened.  That is becoming old timey to talk about. They might as well have atop called I started the Great Chicago Fire or Take That Hindenburg. Like I said, charming. Limited to six copies so I am not sure how many people get to enjoy this slice of crazy.

UPDATE: Check the comments for a link to purchase this one. The edition is 18 copies in 3 different covers. Awesome. 

Friday, February 17, 2012


I Had an Accident Records/Cooler than Cucumbers

Totally awesome and slightly groovy loop type stuff. Mostly heavy drum rhythms accompanied by noise, bass, piano or any number of instruments playing heavy repetitive riffs. Each track has it's own combination of instrument and drum loop. It's pretty awesome. Super dirty and distant sounding drones. Almost seems like it came out in the 80's. Almost reminds me at times of Coil or Deutsch Nepal and other times like if DJ Shadow had more balls. The art is strange cut up of the Tower of Babel and Shiva. Pretty excellent stuff. Limited to 250 copies. 

Marinara Cooler cs

Marinara Cooler
Moon Mist Music

Beautiful noisy drone that sounds so canned and lo-fi that I just love it more.  It feels like most of the music is made through tape manipulations, contact mics and possibly synths of some sort. It's very filthy but also beautiful. Like a lullaby buried in gravel. The packaging is a little loose for my tastes. Just in the details though as the artwork is pretty awesome and out there collage. It's real that the j cards are too small for the case and the cassette itself is just a Dinah Shore tape that was copied over with no new information on it. Also the audio ends quite a ways before the tape ends so that doesn't fit either… It just feels slapped together. Oh well… It's still pretty rad. 

Aelter "Dusk/Dawn & Follow You Beloved" 2xcd

"Dusk/Dawn & Follow You Beloved"
Crucial Blast

For all of those that were not lucky enough to pick up the first two LPs by Aelter, Crucial Blast has done something very awesome. This double cd of the first two records is a massive piece of gorgeous experimentation. Acoustic guitars, keyboards, drones and various other instrumentation creates sprawling pieces that are so deftly put together that you can't help but love this. Fans of Earth and Barn Owl will definitely enjoy this but Aelter goes into some strange black metal realms that make this record feel a bit more handmade and personal. I was a big fan of both vinyl pressings of this but having it all in one nice package is excellent. I kinda feared that both Dusk/Dawn and Follow You Beloved would disappear into discerning collectors record stacks, rarely to be heard again. If I have to nitpick I would mention that the font, Ardenwood, is never to be used again. It has been used a lot by a lot of bands in the last few years, most notably by Earth on The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull cd. The type treatment in general is pretty amateur in general but with music this good it really doesn't matter. Pick this up or buy one for a friend. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Remnants v. Collapsed Arc split cs

Remnants v. Collapse Arc
A Sound Design Recording

First of all, before you do anything with this one you must either play it loud or at the very least, loud on headphones… Its a totally unique experience as the first side, Remnants lays down a sound that is right in the middle of your head immediately and it wavers and falls apart but then it just comes back at full speed and takes over your whole skull. Its a massive drone that barrels through everything. I am actually a little stoned right now so the hyperbole might be running over the edges of my cup but I am floored by this first side. Remnants have always done amazing work but this is something new. It's restrained and minimal but also completely intense. Gorgeous. Collapsed Arc is way out there. Cut up loops and noise that create impossibly catchy sound collages. When the track with the meowing hits you it will creep you the fuck out. The fidelity of this cassette is noteworthy. I generally love the lo-fi, home dubbed, dirty, distant cassette sound but this sounds amazingly clean and clear. Perfectly mastered and prepared. I am impressed. Simple artwork and design but it works very well. Absolutely worth checking out. 

La Mancha del Pecado "En el Festival de la Desgracia" cs

La Mancha del Pecado
En el Festival de la Desgracia

This is more awesome blown out static, noise, drone insanity from Ciudad Juaréz. Tons of waves of piercing lo-fi static over huge synth drones. It is so compressed and thin that I actually find it really amazing to listen to. It has a 1980's feel at times. A little Throbbing Gristle mixed with NON. I dig this. It's a little long. I think Miguel Pérez from both Agorafobia and LMDP picks up the store bought c90s and feels the need to fill them so you aren't left with any blank space, I get that and very much appreciate that dedication but it does get a bit long at times. I must say that LMDP is one of the recent noise acts that does an amazing jobs of the endings of his tracks. Especially on long tracks you can just run out of steam and let it end but he has something planned and it works well. I should mention that it appears that this tape is also one sided...  You know how I feel about that. Very strange artwork like the last cassette I reviewed from this label but I am not as into the visuals as I was the previous release, Devastación Debutante. Still well worth seeking out. Check the previous review for contact info and I will update this if and when I find out more.

Email link. 

La Mancha del Pecado/Whermacht Lombardo "Devastación Debutante" split cs

La Mancha del Pecado/Whermacht Lombardo
Devastación Debutante

Holy shit this is refreshing. The split from Mexican label, Agorafobia, is totally intense and harsh drone/noise. The man behind La Mancha del Pecado (the Stain of the Sin, I believe), Miguel Pérez makes so brutal sounds on his side of the tape. It totally harsh but it also has this excellent lo-fi sounds quality that makes it almost sound like regular tape hiss turned up so loud you can hear the ghosts and demons that left a signature behind the din. Reminds me a bit of Emaciator if they leaned a bit closer to harsh noise. Whermacht Lombardo is just as brutal. Apparently it is made from a Spanish woman that Miguel met in Mexico that is now a prostitute who prefers women and loves static. Sounds awesome and I am not sure about this but the sounds are fascinating. It's more of this dark, desolate static that I hope is permeating northern Mexico. I am very interested in the scene there. I am not sure about the edition number or exactly how to get these cassettes short of checking here. I do recommend you check this out though. The tapes are super DIY. Photocopied covers and labels stuck on reclaimed store bought blanks. The grit of the music really works with the grit of the layout. It's pretty perfect. It's a lot like a Soccermom Ebonics release. hmm….

Email link

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Egg Sac "Lose It" cs

Egg Sac
Lose It
Moon Mist Music

I am going to guess that Egg Sac are from the midwest. There is a very strong Hanson Tapes vibe to this recording that I am way into. It's like noise, samples, saxophone, drums, circuit bent toys and the good taste to use it all well is all you need to make your own orchestra. It's destructive and chaotic without being harsh. The saxophone playing that cuts through pretty often is amazing and the smashing and crashing of toys, junk and drums adds some much distortion naturally that this tape almost falls part as you play it. I am into this. The layout is pretty odd. Black xerox on one sided gold foil cardstock. The tape itself is a Dinah Shore cassette that has been dubbed over, which I sorta hate by the way but I will give it a pass this time. It's kinda silly and also a little confusing as the other tape I got to review from this label is also on the same Dinah Shore cassette with no markings at all to tell them apart. In fact my two year old loves to hold the tapes as I get them and she often take them out and looks at them and then puts them back so there is a slight possibility that this music might have been Marinara Cooler but i doubt it. Heh. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Body Morph "Live with the Hamtramck Philharmonic Symphony" cs

Body Morph
Live with the Hamtramck Philharmonic Symphony
ITDN Group

This is super weird. It's basically saxophone that is being played in the most anti-music way possible while still breathing into a mouthpiece with a reed. It ranges from transcendental to kinda annoying pretty seamlessly and I sorta love that. Both tracks are live and they show the artist really commanding an epic amount of restraint and intensity. I must say that there are moments at the end of the first track that get a little bit annoying but it's done some intentionally and directly that I can't help but enjoy it. The second side is the real winner for me. I think it is recorded outside. I can hear buses and cars going by and there are these moments of silence between the almost whale song like swells of saxophone that are just perfect. The playing is excellent and I am actually pretty impressed. I would check this out and also look for more stuff from Body Morph. The artwork is also weird but totally appropriate. Edition of 50 from a label that sells out of releases fast. Check this out and get back to me about what you think. Now that I am listening to this a second time I am liking it even more...

Shadows "A Death in the Family" cs

A Death in the Family
A Soundesign Recording/Atavistic Recordings

First of all. This is a Batman themed noise record so that means it already wins. Super nuts constantly evolving noise that never sits still. I was actually really impressed ith how much it moves around and always stays ahead of the listener. And Batman. The cassette has an awesome batman stencil on it. A Death in the Family comic dealt with the death of the second Robin and the guilt that Batman went through after his pretty rough death. I know for fans of the comic this was intense. I guess this tape does a pretty good job of communicating that. This is exactly the type of nerdy that I enjoy. At press time there are only 3 copies left!
Simple artwork (Mike Mignola) and hand painted cassettes. 

M.Todd & L.Kerr "Beyond the Threshold" cd

M.Todd & L.Kerr
Beyond the Threshold
No Visible Scars

This is a deep dark record. Super low drones that are so low that they are almost inaudible. If there was sound in space this is what it would sound like. This is could also be described as soundtrack for a cold lonely death. Without words or melody it perfectly describes all the sad, forgotten shallow graves and empty wells that offer sleep to the corpses of our unfortunate brothers and sisters. I don't have too much more to say about this one. It's great. The layout is appropriate in it's minimalism. I would have liked to see them do a little more with the presentation and a little less with the thanks list but it's fine. Look into this one. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Million Brazillians "Dyngia Salon" cs

Million Brazillians
Dyngia Salon
Friends and Relatives Records

This was a little unexpected but a totally amazing find. Man, Friends and Relatives Records has definitely carved out their own interesting niche in experimental music. This is the second release and the third artist of theirs that works in the experimental jazz genre. Two long instrumental jams are encoded on this cassette that both somehow move between free jazz, middle eastern classical, drone, and tribal music. The first side of this tape sounds like a Curtis Mayfield jam meets a Raga. It's super good. Maybe something Herbie Hancock might have explored had he not gone into the electro jazz direction that I was never able to get into. The second side is more of a drone track with a middle eastern/indian feel before swirling into a tribal trance. I love the canned/lo-fi sound on this cassette. It's like listening to this band practice through your bedroom wall. Excellent release. Limited to 50 copies. Good luck on this one. 

Lougow "King Conversation" cs

King Conversation
Friends and Relatives Records

I am finding this tape a little hard to pin down. It's eclectic and interesting. It leans towards the drone side of things but it's not. It has moments of electro acoustical sounding instrumentation and some bit of noise but it feels more preplanned than noise. It's kinda beautiful in general but also hard to make out the edges. Like a beautiful woman preserved under ice. This has been compared to John Cage and I think I can hear that. I have listened to it five times today both actively and passively and I keep noticing different things about it. It's good. The artwork is both naive and understated but it's also very nicely drawn. All around it's a worthwhile cassette to own. Limited to 50 copies. 

+Dog+ "Greetings from Moot Point" cd

Greetings from Moot Point 
Love Earth Music

I had no idea what to expect about this one. I had not heard +Dog+ before but when I pulled out the cd and decided to judge it on it's cover I assumed this was going to sound like Sublime or maybe Sweaty Nipples. The artwork is pretty awful actually. It has the kind of look you would expect from a cdr you had made at a mall kiosk. There are about seven different, conflicting typefaces on the cover and back cover. The cover is a sad smashed together collage where some of the pieces obviously came from websites where the dpi is 72 so the images look all fuzzy. It's pretty rough. Musically however this is great. Super rough and gritty noise that sounds like it's being made with synths and room recordings of beatings. There is a darkness in each track that really makes the artwork extra confounding. I just don't get it. I don't think dark creepy noise like this needs photos of autopsies or devils eating the breasts of still screaming nuns or anything. It can have pastoral photos and smiling children. In fact that would even be creepier but the cover of this is just nonsense. It must be an inside joke I am just not privy to. Either way though, I must stress, the audio is fucking great. Its tough, grim and harsh and you will be better off for having listened to this. 

Zebra Mu "Live Malfunctions" 3"cdr

Zebra Mu
Live Malfunctions

This is one 13 min live performance by Michael Ridge under the moniker, Zebra Mu. Being a live piece you get that one thing I really love in noise which is listening to an artist really creating on the fly. There are always ways you can practice making noise but each time is totally different. Sometimes you nail it and other times it just falls flat. It's hard to nail down what goes right or wrong but it's pretty obvious to all involved. In this case Zebra Mu has a generally great set. The beginning is good with sublet drones and sparse shots of noise from a contact mic'd springboard and a violin bow. It kinda fall apart a little after that. I get the sense that he may have lost a little focus or something because you start getting these moments where you really hear the pedals. By that I mean you hear a sound and think "delay pedal, delay but with the feedback turned up, now the feedback has turned down…" and it gets a little obvious. You can almost identify the brand of delay pedal (I think it is a line 6 but I am not entirely sure). Right after that though it really kicks in and the majority of the track is this awesome swirling wall of noise that is constantly evolving and changing. It's pretty great ending. I am definitely interested in hearing more from this UK artist. Packaging is simple but very nicely done. Good cover art with a color photo from a live performance inside. I have to say that this is an atrist who understands kerning. That is refreshing. LImited to 26 copies. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

V/A "Life's Been Swell... Now I Want to Die" cs

Life's Been Swell… Now I Want to Die
Strabismus Tapes

This is upsetting. Strabismus Tapes is closing up shop. I know there are a million new tape labels popping up every day but this one felt special. There was a singular vision to the aesthetics and music released from this label. You felt like the captain was fully in control at all times. I didn't always agree with every choice but i always respected them. It's fitting that the final release from this label is a doozy. A tribute to Dystopia, a band I hadn't thought about for awhile now. I have most of those records and I used to listen to the fuck out of them but I think enough distance  has built between me and that band that this was a huge surprise to me that I actually remembered and recognized some riffs/samples. At least I think I do. This is noise bands "covering" dystopia. It's harsh, dirty and totally awesome. The bands or acts that are on this comp are:
Dust Cult
Clive Henry
The Raytownian(s)
North Oakland FTW
Some of them I am familiar with and others were brand new to me but all did a fantastic job of  illustrating the rawness and brutality of Dystopia. This is a fantastic. It's just a little bittersweet.

UPDATE: Steve from Strabismus Tapes is actually not closing up shop. He is just going on an extended walkabout or something. The label may be gone for awhile but it will be back and there will be vinyl as well and many more cassettes in our future... 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer & The Rita "Drowning Witches" cd

Blue Sabbath Black Cheer & The Rita
Drowning Witches
Debacle Records

Two twenty minute tracks make up this collaboration between Blue Sabbath Black Cheer (Stan Reed, William Rage, Mason Jones and Crystal Perez on this recording) and The Rita (Sam McKinlay). Both acts are huge in my world of noise and doom. The Rita was the most intense thing I had ever experienced live since I first saw Massonna in 1995 and Blue Sabbath Black Cheer have been doing the darkest, creepiest, scariest, doom/noise since ever. BSBC is the band that SUNN0))) should be taking with them on tour but they honestly would maybe have a hard time following them. Anyway, the tracks on this are necessary. The first is a amazing example of restraint. BSBC start minimal and slowly build over twenty minutes into a hurricane which is fitting because the Rita starts this track with a thin sheet of noise that almost sounds like a dreadful rain that turns to a maelstrom. The second track sounds exactly like you are trying to sleep in the hull of a decrepit galleon in the middle of the ocean with no wind. Kept awake by the sounds of the ship slowly coming apart and the sensations of your own thirst and agony. It's fucking grim. The artwork is a little off on this one. Most of it is either witch related or sexy fifties ladies juxtaposed with the corpse of Elizabeth Short. It's a little bit of a stretch but it does look nice. These are two of the most important artists in noise right now and this is a great place to start if you have not heard them yet. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fear Konstruktor "Oktophony" cd

Fear Konstruktor
New Nihilism

This is one of the many cases where something being limited to 40 copies is kinda bullshit. This record is really good and only 39 more people, including the label and artist, get to know about it. Maybe it will see the light of day in vinyl form in an edition of 300 copies someday but in the meantime this becomes another one of the many releases being made right now that you basically have to be Indiana Jones to find. Now, I know that is one of those complaints that is actually a hyperbole drenched compliment, but in all honesty I think some people, other than myself of course, need to bring their editions up to at least 100. Oktophony is, appropriately, eight tracks of drone influenced experimentation. The tracks are all a little different throughout the tracks. Some have keyboards playing below a blanket of crushing noise, some have beats hidden in the fray but all through this record there is a melancholy that is palpable. The packaging is fantastic as well. CMYK screen printing on both sides of a metal amaray style case with a full color insert and numbered cdrs. Everything is designed well and I have really no complaints. Well done. 

Karnak Temples "The Din of LIght" cd

Karnak Temples
The Din of Light
Debacle Records

Adam Svenson is one half of Dull Knife here in Seattle. The other half is Garek Von Druss otherwise known as A Story of Rats. Dull Knife is a bit of a treasure for us up here that doesn't play often enough. The strength of that group is amazing, especially when you step back and look at both of their solo projects (although A Story of Rats has since added Andrew Crawshaw (Shining Ones, This Blinding Light) as a permanent drummer. It's good). Karnak Temples is contemplative abstract guitar meditations that definitely live in the same world as Earth, Barn Owl or even Neil Young's Dead Man Soundtrack work (arguably where this whole genre started). It's at times huge and sprawling and other times intimate and threadbare. Debacle gave this release a nice treatment with a six panel digipack wallet. Full color photos of Adam, his guitar and his children adorn the covers. Adorable. 

Claymation "The Dolphin Key" cdr

The Dolphin Key
Magnetic Eye Records

I have had the pleasure of reviewing three excellent guitar driven works this week. Karnak Temples, A Death Cinematic and this record, Claymation. Claymation is guitar and effects that are played with so much restraint and talent that it really is a pleasure to listen to. Especially from someone who plays guitar. The playing itself is the back bone of this recording. It moves slowly across your speakers like anenomes slowly swaying back and forth in the ocean. The music is warm and beautiful. The playing is closer to A Death Cinematic's subtle melodies than most anything I have heard lately. It can also get a little on the heavy side. Especially the final track which ends up more in the Earth/Barn Owl world of sound. The packaging is totally handmade with die cuts and stamped text. Refreshing and inspiring. I am very certain that you will dig this release. 

ASTRO/Fear Konstruktor "Dawn Mission" cdr

ASTRO/Fear Konstruktor
Dawn Mission
Quagga Curious Sounds

Both Astro and Fear Konstruktor have been making excellent sounds that have filled my hard drive and record shelf for a little while now. With both artists you are pretty much guaranteed some quality work but although they are both quite good they are both quite different. Astro is a awesome noise explosion of varying degrees. My first exposure was the Japanese-American Noise Treaty cd on Release way back when it came out. I also got the honor of illustrating and designing the Hasegawa/Igler 12" for Archivecd a few years ago. I have been a bit of a fan for awhile now. Fear Konstruktor is a relatively new artist for me. I actually discovered his (Nikita Evsuk) work through this blog. It's always been tasteful drone that swells and crashes at a glacial pace. The combination of these two artist is fantastic. Fear Konstruktor basically cut up and modified Astro's raw material with his own. It really needs to be heard to fully appreciate of course. I don't know how easy it may be to come across this one as it's already sold out from the label. Packaged in a white dvd case with fake rose pedals it was limited to 50 copies. 

Wrath of the Weak cd

Wrath of the Weak

So, where have I been? I have never heard of this one man black metal project from Buffalo until today when I was going through the massive pile of things to review and came across this. I don't even think I was supposed to review this, but it was in the pile. Which is weird since I have never seen this before. I think both the band and the label are defunct which is disappointing because WOTW is fucking great. Very similar to the 1990's black metal sounds of early Dark Throne, Burzum and Emperor but with a more shoegaze vibe. I assume you have all heard of this before and have opinions but I am way into this. I wonder where this came from? (UPDATE: I guess he is still doing stuff but just not very much lately. I will keep my eyes peeled.)

Stuart Chalmers "Fantasia" cdr

Stuart Chalmers
Self Released

Super duper weird. Also pretty awesome. Stuart Chalmers has had a few other releases I have reviewed on here and they have all been pretty rad. This cdr is a collection of four improvised movements titled, appropriately, Movements 1-4 respectively. As far as instrumentation I guess he used tape manipulations, synths, a circuit bend toy keyboard, pedals and contact mics. The first track is almost maddening. High pitched tape manipulations and toy keyboards create the type of noise you may hear in the Smurf's village. That said it's pretty awesome. There are a bunch of sample throughout but they are used in more a sound collage type of way and I think that works quite a bit better. I am starting to understand this type of experimentation a bit more and acquiring a taste for it. I guess listening to all those Broken Penis Orchestra tapes has been effecting me. The rest of the tracks just keep getting more interesting. It's a keeper. My only real complaint is the packaging. The disk looks very pro and seems to be good quality but the packaging is just a sticker with Stuart's name and a plastic sleeve. This very well could be a review copy and if you buy one it might have more to it, but I couldn't know any real info if i hadn't received a letter accompanying the release. Still it's excellent.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Death Cinematic "The New World" cd

A Death Cinematic
The New World
Simple Box Construction

So this would have gotten a 5 pretty much based on the packaging alone. If the cd had just been a collection of someone tuning their guitar for an hour I would still demand that you buy one. Luckily the music is spectacular. Intricate guitar work that is pretty much fearless in it's use of loops and soloing melodies. Fans of Barn Owl and Earth will find something to love here but A Death Cinematic does not sound really like either. He plays his own sort of drone influenced guitar experimentation. I think this is the best ADC I have heard to date. You may find this quite inspiring and I am positive that you are going to really enjoy this record. Now for a word about the packaging. The packaging is a hand made box that the artist is an expert at constructing. He may actually do wood working for a living. This is so clean and pro that it is kinda breathtaking. The printing on the wood boxes is clean and a bit of a mystery. Inside is a sleeve that holds the cd with prose printed on both sides and a small bound book filled with the artists' photographs and a ever evolving stamp…  You need to see this. It's really where the bar is now set for handmade packaging. 

Boy Dirt Car "Familia" 12"

Boy Dirt Car
After Music Recordings

Really excellent massive piece of experimental music. It's almost like a junky, dirty version of Godspeed You! Black Emperor created in a sad, dead town somewhere in the midwest. It has a lot to take in. Strange talked/performed vocals, howling, noise, grinding sounds, bass, found drums…  It almost feel like an orchestra. Like each piece is being taken care of by and individual who is focused only on performing hers or his piece. The vocals at times have this awesome Swans/Michael Gira vibe but other times they sort of sound like a Beatnik on fire. Again, the artwork is amazing but the design is also great. It has something that looks as if Raymond Pettibone had drawn and designed it. All hand done and a bit primitive and it looks fantastic. A weird and very cool record. 

Pete J Woods
Songs for Nothing
After Music Recordings

Wow, this is awesome. Noisy and dark tracks that feel like they have almost been sculpted instead of played. I guess Peter J. Woods is a multimedia artist of some sort and this work is a excellent way for me to me to be introduced to him. The tracks have this eerie, almost cinematic feel to them. Noise, synth drones, small cymbals, detached voices and alien rhythms all make up a huge atmosphere. I fully recommend searching this one out. It's an excellent work and I can't imagine you will be disappointed. The artwork and screen printed covers are gorgeous as usual for this label. 

Andy Gallagher/Boy Dirt Car split 12"

Andy Gallagher/Boy Dirt Car split
After Music Recordings

I started off this record with the Andy Gallagher side and upon listening to the first song I was a bit surprised. I didn't know what to expect from this label as this is my first encounter. Andy Gallagher's music is very reminiscent of Dinosaur Jr. in a way that actually kinda irks me. J. Mascis has a voice that you would not label as a strong singing voice. Often slightly out of key and a bit strained but it really works in some way. No one can really quite sound like him and I think Andy Gallagher tries. It's not bad music really, it just makes me really think that I should just put You're Living All Over Me on instead. The recording itself may be where some the issue is with me. The vocals are way, way too loud in the mix. Interestingly enough Mike Watt plays on the first track of this album, I Should Have Stayed in Bed Today, and it is a very catchy piece of indie type noise pop. The strongest track for sure. I think if Sebadoh, Neil Young and Dinosaur Jr are your hands down favorite type of music I think this may be for you. It just wasn't for me. Boy Dirt Car play some pretty interesting orchestrated noise/free jazz/experimental sound scape. It's a little unbalanced for me though. It feels like half of it is this awesome rhythmic, psychedelic force that is moving straight through my being and the other half has samples of cats meowing and my IKEA alarm clock going off. I actually had to check and see if my alarm was going off and if my cat was okay the first time I put this on. I guess that's pretty awesome actually but I don't think trolling me was the artist's intent. It's still pretty amazing when it's on though. I think this is definitely one artist to look for. Boy Dirt Car has piqued my interest. I have to say that the artwork is amazing and the rough screen printed covers are beautiful. Aesthetically, this label is already winning. 

Carl Kruger "Gary, New Duluth" cs

Carl Kruger
Gary, New Duluth
Fusty Cunt Tapes

This is a solid piece of HNW from Carl Kruger. It's long, massive and unrelenting. It is similar to Dried Up Corpse or Taskmaster in it's intensity but the sounds are a little less guttural and a bit more psychedelic. You hear some synth type squelches here and there. It has a sorta being torn apart by evil robots vibe. I like that. As I said it is a bit on the long side but that's just the kind of punishment he wanted to deliver. The cover picture is way more creepy than I first thought at a glance. They used a photo printing machine to make full color glossy covers and it's a pretty inventive way to go about it. I am pleased. 

Dust Cult/Horrible Mess "Urine Soaked Rag" cs

Dust Cult/Horrible Mess
Urine Soaked Rag

I am glad I got to hear Dust Cult lately. In the world of noise and HNW they are doing some good work. This cassette is no exception. I have been saying releases are "totally solid" a lot lately and I need to get away from that turn of phrase but it works here as well. Although I feel like I want to hear more because I am not quite getting a unique "voice" from this but I really do like it. Horrible Mess is an awesome name for a noise act. It's really not much of a horrible mess aurally though. It's also quite good but it's pretty straight forward noise edging towards HNW. I would like to hear a bit more of what this person or people are up to. This cassette is well worth picking up and packed with potential. Limited to 20 copies and probably almost gone. 

Crystal Hell Pool "Domain" cd

Crystal Hell Pool
Debacle Records

For anyone familiar with Crystal Hell Pool and with Chris Majerus' work in general they know he has not nearly released enough music. I have found that there are slight but deliberate differences throughout the few CHP releases that I am familiar with. First time I had experienced him was on the Wind Blows Through Me cdr which was ambient and atmospheric drones that somehow found the balance between dark dissonance and almost melodic drone. Next the Weapons Cache cassette was similar drone but with all analog synths that created an awesome Soundscape similar to John Carpenter's work. The forthcoming Absolute Night is extremely minimal, dark and distant guitar work and then this release, Domain changes things up again. This is almost like an updated and less cheesy Tangerine Dream. Maybe even closer to Klaus Schultz solo releases. Full on synth driven songs that live between drone, pop and rock. This is for fans on Fuck Buttons, Megabats or Emeralds. Pretty much crucial for anyone that loves that stuff. It's a full length cd with eleven tracks and interesting artwork by the artist. Packaged in a high gloss digipack wallet. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seven Lies about Girls/Derek Rogers split cs

Seven Lies about Girls/Derek Rogers split cs
Teen Action Records

My first encounter with SLAG is going pretty well. Noisy loops and lo-fi drones move across my speakers with a bit of immediacy that add a little tension. The three tracks they offer are varied and all very interesting with the last track sounding pretty much like a room recording of a high school cafeteria. It's actually kinda disconcerting. I know a little of Derek Rogers. I have a split he did with Scott Miller of Al Qaeda/Sutekh Hexen fame and it's great. His tracks on this tape are not what i expected but I love them. Low resolution boxing noise juxtaposed with swelling keyboards and drones. In general his tracks have a sadness that is hard to put your finger on but it's effective. My life is pretty much dog shit these days and it's stuff like this that really puts it into perspective. My only issues with this cassette have nothing to do with the tracks themselves. The artists' music all around is tops and needs to be heard by you right away. So go order this. I will wait…  So, my issues with this are first of all it is mastered quiet. You end up having to turn it up a ways and get that extra tape hum that is not bad but unnecessary. I actually bet that this is not mastered at all. I know that can be expensive sometimes to get someone to master your release. If you are only making 50-100 copies I completely understand not paying the extra $1-2 per copy to get it sounding tip top. I would then recommend grabbing your copy of Garageband, or Ableton or whatever you pirated and watching a couple tutorials on youtube about simple mastering. It really does make a difference and it's not that expensive. The only the issue is the same one I had with the other Teen Action releases and that the packaging. It needs a bad or something. The packaging design is pretty nice, this tape had microfilm inside it, but it is just too naked and flimsy without a cover of some sort. You will see what I mean when the copy you just ordered arrives.