Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Exsanguinate/ La Infame Turba De Nocturnas Aves - Allegory Of Death

Misanthrope Studio, 2003

More top-notch Exsanguinate material split with the mysterious project of one Marco Alcocer, La Infame Turba De Nocturnas Aves. Garrison's side is as excellent as The Black Acts and follows in the same general form, but what's really remarkable here is his split mate. Really no info about Alcocer or LITDNA is out there but his short side is some truly high quality work, blending impressive noise/power electronics with ambient in a way that stays raw, reminding a bit of Sutcliffe Jügend's use of atmospheric drone or an analogue Cathode Terror Secretion minus the vocal frenzy. The sounds are sharp, uncompromising, and surprising, and benefit greatly from Garrison's mastering technique seen with both his and numerous other artists' releases.


Zoät-Aon - Star Autopsy/ The Triplex Bestial

Star Autopsy (Aural Hypnox, 2005)

The Triplex Betstial (Aural Hypnox, 2008)

Turgid elucidations of the ethereal flesh of the celestial bodies by Helixes associate Jaakko Vanhala. The consistency & quality of the Aural Hypnox releases is surely ineffable - as far as is revealed, Vanhala doesn't share his membership in any of the other Helixes projects and is yet another separate shining example of the brazen oneiracoustic explorations of their ritual sonics. The sound here is perhaps most easily spoken of as between the cosmic electromagickal surgery of Aeoga and the more subterranean, subdued graveside moments of Arktau Eos or latter-day Halo Manash, but Vanhala has truly uniquely touches the sounds with resonant blue starshine and sidesteps the ritual aspect of the usual æsthetic into territories more soundscapelike, generating external visions of time and place rather than sheer nameless emotional transmutation. On The Triplex Bestial his sound undergoes violent astral mutation as transcendence is achieved through primal transcendent gore, the stripping away of the veils of the universe like the skin of the reindeer of the sacred hunt.

Exsanguinate - The Black Acts/ Inhuman Treatment

The Black Acts (Crionic Mind, 2002)

Inhuman Treatment (Misanthrope Studio, 2002)

A now classic album & Mini-CDr EP by the ambient-industrial project of Thomas Garrison (Control) themed on the torture instruments of inquisitions past, present and future. Control has always had a great affinity for rounding out its power electronics sound with fat-sounding, dark, resonant, highly atmospheric, yet raw synth tones that in many occasions beats out the oldschool high-pitched wailing phaser and feedback that many continue to ape. This sound continues directly over to Exsanguinate, only there is a differently powerful ambient magick going on here, completely devoid of vocals and occasionally marked with explosive metal-on-metal percussive strikes. Intense, professionally-produced work that generates an incarnation of the "death industrial" aesthetic well within the side of the respectable (read: far better than most of the Cold Meat Industry stuff).


Friday, August 3, 2012

Year Of No Light - Nord/ Ausserwelt

Nord (Radar Swarm, 2006)


Ausserwelt (Music Fear Satan, 2010)


I hadn't realized that I had this post sitting in my drafts. I recently got back into this band after a long hiatus from metalloid type musicks, except for my continuingly growing love for the healing bleakness of Corrupted. And French group Year Of Light is not too unlike some of latter Corrupted's more epic and blissful moments. Year Of No Light seem to really get how to work this whole "post-metal" way of thinking; the pseudo-orchestral rapture of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and their ilk is here but with openings into even blacker abysses, but best of all minus the usual metal baggage, specifically blackened/ deathened vocals that when not done as well as the instruments causes a really sick feeling in my ears (here's looking at you, Altar Of Plagues). Shining particularly well of these two releases, in this regard, is Ausserwelt, completely devoid of vocals, but fraught with intense and meaningful drone, and epic storytelling chord progressions nonetheless. Either release is not to be missed, anyways.

Keiji Haino - ここ (Koko)

PSF, 2003

In what will be hopefully the start of regular uploads of Haino's solo discography (collabs may come later), this here is a perhaps unusually blissful slice of the vast, difficult, yet spiritually rewarding Japanese prodigy's œuvre. Released as a limited giveaway in the winter of '03-'04 for PSF's "Keiji Haino Fair" (what a lovely thing that must be), this half-hourish piece occupies the same austere, voidsome, bardolic black meditative territory as all his work, but moves in a more ethereal direction. Perhaps akin to a bliss-inducing version of his Nijiumu project, it almost moves into the shimmering moonlit territory of much of traditional Japanese psych, specifically Suishou No Fune or Les Rallizes Denudes and in its longform dronescaping not unlike a more strictly boundaried Kawabata Makoto solo piece. Ends in a positively rapturous forwards-reverse pure reverb that lasts almost a minute, perfectly peaking out this remarkable piece.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mount Vernon Arts Lab - The Séance At Hobs Lane

Ghost Box, 2005 (orig. Via Satellite, 2001)

Obscure occult analog science that closely aligns itself with the overall Ghost Box æsthetic, but deepens & darkens towards the serious thread between electricity and magick little studied outside of COIL in their communications with ELpH. Extraterrestrial Tesla musick. Rightly so, Drew Mulholland's project impressed Balance & Christopherson enough for them to remix a track here ("Hobgoblins," can't help but think of the hilarious MST3K episode) and give them an Eskaton release for the sister Mount Vernon Astral Temple. This track has a very Belbury Poly/Focus Group feel, it kind of sounds like a slow, horror-themed version of the IT Crowd theme or something Bruce Haack might have done with a moog. There the typical Ghost Box formalities end, yes there's an overall retro feel, but the rest of the album is vignettes of numinous drone, rickety, unsettling instrumental chamber music, lurking 70s film score jazz, and minimal electroacoustic phenomena, given their own space to stand alone for investigation. In places like a chthonic Igor Wakhévitch with a lot less pretention and a little more life. The overall vibe is of a massive laboratory filled with bulky tube electronics analyzing a séance with EEGs and such, in the home of a mad scientist obsessed with Tesla as much as John Dee. Brilliant occult hauntology.


Eric Zann - Ouroborindra

Ghost Box, 2005

Sidereal release of eclectic occult sampledelia and possessed instrumental vignettes taking its moniker from one of my favorite H.P. Lovecraft stories. In it the protagonist rents an apartment and is soon bewildered all nights by the maddening wails of his neighbor's violin, he eventually discovers that his neighbor is nothing more than a conduit for undefined extradimensional forces which possesses Zann nightly with their intonations and ululations across the void of space. Likewise this album is of a distinctly different sort than most of the other Ghost Box releases; a certain antiquarian pre-70s focus remains, but it is turned towards arcane mysteries of a malignant and misshapen sort. Like Anworth Kirk, or a beatless Demdike Stare in full-Haxan mode, Eric Zann has its closest sister in Mount Vernon Arts Lab. But rather than the latter's mostly analog electronic focus, Ouroborindra merges its sampledelic soup of radio signals from non-euclidean channels with wailing strings, brass, percussion instruments, likening their free skronk to the occult possession of the Lovecraft antagonist, with a knack for turning improvisation into unconscious malignancy rarely seen out of the more jazz-oriented elements of the Miasmah label (Kreng, Kaboom Karavan, Marcus Fjellström). Grisly and enveloping vibes.


"Don't you get it yet? It must work like ... a recording. Fixed in the floor and the walls, right in the substance of them. A trace... of what happened in there. And we pick it up. We act as detectors - decoders - amplifiers."
 The Stone Tape Nigel Kneale

"Inside the infernal box are impossible spaces, dark screens and mirrors, terrible traces of light, calcified thought forms and endless idiot mutterings. The switch is thrown and the magnetic coils begin to generate their obscene flickering images. This contraption might have been conceived by the Old Ones long before it was assembled by human hands."

The Infinity Box Alan Causley & MB Devot

Dabke - Sounds Of The Syrian Houran

Sham Palace, 2012

This is a much-needed vinyl exploration of contemporary dabke dance music from the fertile volcanic wine country of Syria, of the kind made quite popular in the semi-underground West by Omar Souleyman and his unexpectedly fertile live & digital promotion by Hisham Mayet & Alan Bishop's Sublime Frequencies label  (Sham Palace is a sister, so far vinyl-only, label of SF collaborator Mark Gergis, it's only other release so far is a 2011 reissue of Souleyman's Leh Jani). Its popularity in the West is not at all surprising as modern dabke has a slew of remarkable similarities with house & techno. Drum machines & synths have come to much prevalence in the Middle East, this is particlarly seen in dabke but even this is still usually accompanied by various live instruments and particularly striking virtuoso tabla work. The underlying beat is always of a similar sort, dabke literally means "stamping of the feet" (and this describes its accompanying folk dance) and it is this stomping 4/4 which is of course one of the elements most resonant with western dance music, but it has a familiar yet foreign feel in its Syrian manifestation. One of the most striking similarities to have hit me is that of the omniprescent Arabic wedding ululation to the pea whistle of hardcore rave (yes, really, you'll hear it). Like Souleyman's band, labryrinthine trance-like synths are found throughout but not with the same prevalence as with Souleyman's cavalryman Rizan Sa'id. The sort of ghetto-tech vibe of early unpolished Souleyman productions carries over and to me this offers great warmth and realness, the kind you get from old Jamaican soundsystem recordings, and this was one of the qualities I liked best about the earlier Sublime Frequencies compilations of Touareg rock (vs. the more intimate & dynamic ranged sound of i.e. Bombino). Stuff is as lively and great as the best Souleyman's had to offer and I find myself returning to it over its sheer warmth & energy, and not to mention travel envy.