//EXP.NEW | Kangding Ray, Emego, Digitalis, GRM, Karen Gwyer, A New Line, Ben Frost, Current 93, Von Tesla, Vantzou++
This week’s new titles in the shop.
raster-noton Kangding Ray Digitalis Recordings Editions Mego Kranky Christina Vantzou SUBLIME FREQUENCIES Current 93 Ben Frost Weighter Recordings No Pain In Pop Karen Gwyer Honest Jon’s Alga Marghen 50Weapons Addison Groove Baskaru France Jobin DeadBeat Drag City Records Bureau B Border Community Central Processing Unit drumcell CLR Dirt Crew Eskimo Recordings Ed Banger Records Mr. Oizo The Durutti Column Factory Benelux FEEDING TUBE RECORDS Glitterbeat Records Hymen Records Orphx Kismet Records Kompakt Records Les Disques du Crépuscule Light In The Attic Records Dead Moon MIE Music Mannequin Modularfield n5MD Kool Keith Nuearth Kitchen Nature Bliss Other People Ritual Productions Presto!? Records Sun Ra Surface Records Uncharted Audio Minibus Pimps epic45 ++++++++++++++++ and more.
Mark Fell will be performing in Cleveland at The Transformer Station courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art on Wednesday November 13th.
Details and tickets available from Cleveland Museum of Art.
With a bounce and whimsy that aren’t even found in the same world as some of eMego’s more challenging releases (Kevin Drumm, Daniel Menche, etc), COH’s new album extracts from IDM and glitch styles that prevailed about a decade ago. Despite that statement and the album’s title, “Retro-2038” is much more than a retread of bygone eras with Ivan Pavlov pursuing a unique hybrid of sound that is hyper-detailed while never forgetting the singular power of a booming beat. This comes together most convincingly on “Method As Fun,” the last track on “Retro-2038.” With a base of pin pricks of static and deep bass drones, chopped melodies and rhythms flicker from one ear to the other and back again at an incredibly rapid rate to create an effect like Raster-Noton releasing a disco record. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
In many ways, this is a classic example of the eMego sound in 2013: dense, uncompromising electronic processing that has no right to be as beautiful as it is. Cindytalk has been active for the better part of three decades and “A Life Is Everywhere” is their noisiest excursion yet, with loud abrasions as tactile as they are abstract. Taken in its entirety, “A Life Is Everywhere” is a rush of all-consuming sound that takes serrated frequencies and blissful synth zones and swallows them whole. Nowhere is this heard better than on “My Drift Is a Ghost” that doesn’t avoid rhythm and harmony as much as it subverts it into something far more fractured, obscured, and interesting. ”A Life Is Everywhere” is another must-hear record from a label full of them. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
Daniel Menche is never one to rest on his laurels, but with “Marriage of Metals” he may have outdone himself. The latest in a string of Menche’s eMego releases, the album carries two side-long tracks of ringing feedback loops that cycle in between phrases of gamelan and their swirling harmonics. Menche was granted access to a wide array of gamelans to experiment with and though the instrument isn’t usually found in Menche’s distorted waves, its addition to his sound is incredibly natural, as if his noise has been waiting for it all along. Listening to each detailed component - the pulsing distortion, impossibly deep bass undercurrent, gamelan melodies - and trying to follow them through the thick web of sound is a joy in itself. Your ear gets caught up in the intoxicating sway and momentum of traditionally noise-ridden material with the clean, shimmering metallic resonance of the gamelan and, in the end, it’s a hybrid that is thoroughly addicting. Highly recommended. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
Like a heavily layered Container LP or a more structured Bee Mask, Ben Billington, operating here as Quicksails, at once fits neatly into the Spectrum Spools catalog and expands it in unexpected ways. Past Quicksails releases were on Under the Spire and NNA Tapes, but “Mayville Dream” is bolder and positively kaleidoscopic, with streams of color and bursts of energy creating a lively and inviting album. It’s structured and always rooted in intoxicating rhythmic formats with every speck of sound - pulsing pianos, jittery synths, crashing cymbals, and glitchy electronics - working towards inexorable momentum. It’s no surprise that Billington comes from a background in percussion, but there’s so much more happening on “Mayville Dream” than that. It’s telling that on the rare occurrence he slows things to a crawl, such as on “Only Escape,” the album remains just as captivating. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
"Ambient/Ruin" may be the most aptly named album in some time and anyone who knows the work of Stephen O’Malley will instantly know why. And because of that comparisons will undoubtedly be made to Sunn O))), but Gravetemple is more abstract, less composed, and even more raw than the last couple Sunn O))) releases. It’s a truly awe-inspiring display of psychedelic black metal and cauterizing guitar feedback from O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, and Matt Sanders that features sound collages, full band improvisations, and field recordings from around the globe. Blackened squalls of distortion do dominate the four sides of "Ambient/Ruin," but the quartet is much more varied than you may expect, with bouts of Ambarchi’s shimmering motorized cymbal heard on side B, pummeling thrash drums on side C, and doom-laden guitar drones on side D. Truthfully, any regular listeners of all the names mentioned above will want to pay attention to this engrossing 55 minute journey. - Ryan Potts, Experimedia
New recordings from Alan Licht are always welcomed by me and received with a sort of happy nostalgia, the NY-based guitarist’s ’90s output (particularly “Sink the Aging Process” and “The Evan Dando of Noise” being somewhat formative records for me in my teenage years). ”Four Years Older” is an interesting concept for a record, with Licht presenting two iterations of a guitar piece that he’s been playing live for several years. Side A, recorded in 2012, begins with ecstatic ring-modulated guitar licks, blooms into something more stately and reverb-heavy, returns to furious atonal fretwork and ultimately dissolves into a beautiful, resonant drone. It’s an arresting piece that I imagine would be quite powerful in a live setting. The B-side documents the same piece, we’re told, performed in 2008. The recording does sound older and Licht, if anything, sounds even more impassioned and frenetic, carving scalding arcs of guitar noise for the duration of the side. All in all, an interesting experiment of an album and a worthy listen taboot. - Alex Cobb, Experimedia
Wold is the latest missive from Stephen O’Malley’s Ideologic Organ label and my god. ”Freermasonry” is dangerous music in the best possible way. Nothing about this album feels safe; everything is pushed past extreme into another realm entirely. Growling electronics are mauled to death in a cage of barbed wire by hissing noise and guitar tones that have been blurred and distorted into almost-annihilation. But it’s the hellish vocals that take all of this and sculpt it into something else, something that squeezes into the tightest corners of the listener’s skull until the nightmare becomes reality and the voices devour all the weakest flesh. Throughout its 58 minutes, there is no let up. Guitars die in the fire, overrun by hostile noise and serrated electronics, cut off at the top so everything is muddy, drowning under pooling blood. And those voices, always those voices…. Wold turns the dial all the way up and keeps it there because any opportunity to take a breath would be an opportunity lost. - Brad Rose, Experimedia
It took Nick Edwards nearly two decades to release a new full-length under his own name, but after Editions Mego issued “Plekzationz” in late 2012 it seems as if they have opened up the veritable creative floodgates. He reappears on the acclaimed label with “Trainwrekz” under his Ensemble Skalectrik moniker that is more idiosyncratic and improvisational in nature. The album was crafted primarily from esoteric vinyl LPs that have been manipulated with a number of out-board processors and effect pedals to create a psychedelic and plunderphonic journey that is unexpected and challenging at every turn. ”Trainwrekz” is nearly incomprehensible on the first several listens with sound effects and randomly looped sonic debris spraying erratically all over the sound field, but it’s an adventurous journey worth repeating. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia
The stupendously titled “Proper Headshrinker” is EVOL’s follow-up to “Rave Slime,” an influential out-techno record which came out nearly three years ago. Stephen Sharp and Roc Jimenez trade in a type of conceptual electronica that is both strikingly defiant and undeniably hypnotic. The album’s ten tracks all clock in at 3 minutes exactly and are uniformly constructed around simple cyclical patterns of mangled sawtooth tones. For many, this will be a polarizing record (if not an outright endurance test), as Sharp and Jimenez make no concessions or apologies for their aesthetic throughout. As ever with eMego releases, the production spec is high and the material is all the better for it. A pristine, crystal clear mastering job by Russell Haswell and a cut by D&M augments the physicality and brutality of this music. Ultimately, “Proper Headshrinker” is a focused and rigid masterclass in post-techno formalism that, frankly, could probably be used in military operations. – Alex Cobb, Experimedia
Sensate Focus 2
Editions Mego / Sensate Focus
Editions Mego head Peter Rehberg recently told “The Wire” that he “had got bored of rhythms” for the label itself and, for that reason, created yet another eMego offshoot in the form of Sensate Focus that houses “music that could be played in nightclubs.” Sensate Focus is now five releases old and the “Sensate Focus 2” 12”, like each single before it, brings obtrusive, dancefloor-ready beats and bright, sleek keyboard lines to the fore. This time around Mark Fell, the outfit’s one constant member, teams with Mat Steel to create 22 minutes of constant movement and impenetrable rhythm that will have everyone within a half mile radius moving. – Ryan Potts, Experimedia
The Wires Cracked
Proprietor of the estimable Helen Scarsdale imprint and long-time Bay Area experimental music figurehead, Jim Haynes’ output never ceases to wow me. My first exposure to his work was the wonderful “Magnetic North” (a glorious and worthy candidate for vinyl treatment *hint hint*). That album, along with the perhaps even richer “Telegraphy by the Sea” which followed it, cemented my enduring interest in Haynes’ recordings, an interest that’s never once been met with a letdown. 2011’s “The Decline Effect” saw Haynes make a large leap forward with his aesthetic, and indeed “The Wires Cracked” constitutes yet another significant development of his craft. The album opens with “Oscar,” an ominous, undulating cloud of amorphous sound. Haynes obscures (or rusts, as he likes to say) his source materials past the point of recognition. We’re told in the press release that his palette is comprised of “shortwave radio static, electric field disturbances, controlled feedback manipulation, and numerous textural scrapings,” but in Haynes’ deft hands these disparate sources cohere into organic, colossal forms. The side-long “November” contains arguably the album’s most arresting movements, beginning with highly-detailed industrial clatter which dissolves into a beautiful, cinematic bed of soft tonal manipulations and textures which rank with some of the most flat-out gorgeous sounds that I’ve heard from Haynes. Simply put, a true cracker of an album – one of my favorites on eMego in quite some time. Highly recommended. – Alex Cobb, Experimedia
Editions Mego / Recollection GRM
eMego sublabel Recollection GRM continues its sterling public service campaign with “Traces Two,” a collection of “forgotten” archival works plucked from the verdant INA GRM vaults. Those familiar with RGRM’s first editions (and with the aesthetic of INA GRM as such) will find much to love here. The highlight for me is surely Dominique Guiot’s “L’oiseau de paradis,” which opens with clarion tones and bewildering oscillations and feedback. Apparently inspired by the “rules of cinematic writing,” the piece is indeed a filmic journey, developing a sort of language or narrative logic of its own throughout its duration. Rodolfo Caesar’s “Les demux saisons” is a jittering, thrilling edifice that provides nothing if not highly imaginative listening. Indeed, “Traces Two” is an engaging and dynamic listen – a compilation that feels like a coherent distillation of the INA GRM/RGRM agenda. – Alex Cobb, Experimedia
Latest missive from Haswell’s ever-expanding catalog, “The Factual” is a difficult, but rewarding, listen. Consider that the first track is called “Black Metal Instrumental Intro Demo” and take that in for a second. It kind of tells you all you need to know about this record. It’s gnarly as fuck. Beaten-to-hell synth jabs just whack you over the head while barely-there rhythms try to dislodge from the burnt skeleton taking up space on the floor. “Killer Snakehead” is the soundtrack to the worst rave imaginable, where everyone ends up covered in shit and burned at the stake while “Urban nO!se” and “Record Shop Day” are thick, everything-turned-to-11 noise blasts. It’s utterly relentless, extreme music. - Brad Rose, Experimedia