Monday, November 30, 2009

Total - Here, Time Is Space

Majora, 1994

Continuing on with the Skullflower side projects, this here is Bower solo. After its early power electronics-era configuration (which produced the 1986 Hard + Low cassette on Broken Flag), Bower's Total project moved into a bleak isolationist drone guitar/ space rock sound. Out of this came the beyond-excellent Beyond The Rim LP (check it out over at Astraal Tempel RhytHymns), and this, the harder to find Here, Time Is Space 2xLP. He hasn't really made anything like this since, Total later moved into the twinkling sunshine meadow music that evolved into Sunroof! Only recently has Bower moved back into territory this dark and desolate (but of an entirely different sort) with Hototogisu and the Skullflower reboot.

Melancholy dirges for dead planets.



Freek, 1995

More from Anthony Di Franco's astral guitar noise Skullflower side project. Rare and ungoogleable.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Skullflower - Vile Veil

Noiseville, 2009

Banshee feedback screams, vertical transcendence on blackened wings, and malicious surrealism from Matthew Bower. Best thing other than Circulus Vitiosus Deus of the recent releases.


Ghäst/ Yoga - Split

Choking Hazard/ TDS, 2008

Haven't listened to the Ghäst half, but the Yoga half is as good as Megafauna, especially the last track, "Enim and Anakim." It's what you'd expect, improbably dense blackened kosmische music, The Skaters gone black metal.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Skullflower - Circulus Vitiosus Deus

Turgid Animal, 2008

Epic psychedelic modal black metal from the recent Matthew Bower pseudo-solo configuration.

I - Circulus Vitiosus Deus

II - Valley of Scorpions

III - Circle of Serpents

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thomas Köner - Nuuk

MillePlateauxMedia, 2004

"Ambient" seems like such a pithy word for such a transportative masterpiece. This is pure arctic music, vast isolation, ice cracking, snow whipping against a feeble shelter. The crackle of ancient Inuit tools against seal bones. No one really is quite as good as this as Köner.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ax - Astronomy

Freek, 1997

Exploding star noise and electromagnetic overtones overloading your synapses. Side project from Anthony Di Franco of one of the classic Skullflower lineups.


Yoga -Megafauna

Holy Mountain, 2009

Ghastly horrorscapes from the haunted brains of the secret museum of the labyrinth. Jack-o-lantern torch songs and ritual mist. Hails!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Troum - AIWS

Transgradient, 2007

Recent Troum album consisting of shorter, emotive songs. Jewels of the subconscious. Zero samplers, synthesizers. Perfect.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Barn Owl Megapost

Shamanic quests into desert oblivion and skyborn transcendence rendered by two wondrous and humble kind souls.

Barn Owl - Transfiguration (Electric Totem, 2009)


Barn Owl - The Conjuror (Root Strata, 2009)


Elm - Bxogonoas (Digitalis Limited, 2008)


Elm - Woven Into Light (Blackest Rainbow, 2008)


Elm - Nemcatacoa (Digitalis, 2009)


Evan Caminiti - Digging the Void (Students of Decay, 2009)


Evan Caminiti - Psychic Mud Shrine (Digitalis, 2009)


Akira Rabelais - Spellwauerynsherde

Samadhisound, 2004

Exquisite reworkings of Icelandic plainchant using the Argeïphontes Lyre software, and whatever else pleases Rabelais. One of my favorite ambient/electro-acoustic composers. As can be seen by his choice of sound sources, he approaches this kind of music from a uniquely mystical perspective, approaching the kind of baroque/victorian surrealism I strive for.


Eduard Artemiev - The Mirror, Stalker, Solaris OSTs

Electroshock, 1999

Eduard Artemiev was the composer of the hauntingly beautiful atonal music of the (arguably) three most famous films of Andrei Tarkovsky. Ligetiesque, and elements of the Solaris soundtrack distinctly remind me of the classic Louis & Bebe Barron soundtrack for Forbidden Planet. I just rewatched The Mirror (Zerkalo) for the second time, it still possesses me with its vast serenity, and memory-like structure. Artemiev's electro-acoustic and orchestral music, along with the classical music he selects, are Tarkovsky's perfect accompaniment.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Svarte Greiner - Kappe

Type, 2009

Haunting instrumental dark ambient from Norwegian Erik K. Skodvin, half of Deaf Center.


Hildur Guðnadóttir - Without Sinking

Touch, 2009

Multitracked cello + other instruments, akin to the solo work of Julia Kent or Zoë Keating, but with more of a drone/electro-acoustic touch. Great, melancholy work for stormy weather, with some powerful stereo dynamics.


COIL - Queens of the Circulating Library

Eskaton, 2000

An angel, replicating itself in luminous gold in an infinite library of trees.

The woman is Dorothy Lewis, Thighpaulsandra's mother, a professional opera singer.


Stephan Mathieu & Taylor Deupree - Transcriptions

Spekk, 2009

Frozen and static-dusted roomscapes from the two pro sound artists.


Bass Communion - Ghosts on Magnetic Tape (Reconstruction by Andrew Liles)

Headphone Dust, 2004

Journeys into the spaces beyond death, the other world, by traveling into deeper and deeper layers of silence, where the voices in the air crystallize out of their solution in the æther:

Electronic voice phenomena (EVP) are electronically captured sounds that resemble speech, but are not the result of intentional voice recordings. Common sources include static, stray radio transmissions and background noise. Some people claim these sounds are of paranormal origin,[1] while there are natural explanations such as apophenia (finding significance in insignificant phenomena), auditory pareidolia (interpreting random sounds as voices in their own language), equipment artefacts, or simple hoaxes. Recordings of electronic voice phenomena are often created from background sound by increasing the gain (i.e. sensitivity) of the recording equipment.


Tracks by Porcupine Tree lead singer Steven John Wilson, remixed by Victoriana-obsessed audio surrealist Andrew Liles. While all of the sources used aren't necessarily technical EVP, there is the generally disturbing (at least to me) theme of ghostly voices on the edge of audibility and intelligibility. Beware listening at dark.


Check out recordings of EVP's & other spirit voices/medium transcriptions on the excellent Okkulte Stimmen compilation over at Allegory of Allergies.

Akira Rabelais - Eisoptrophobia

Ritornell, 2001

Electro-acoustic rearrangements and decompositions of solo piano pieces by Satie, Bartók, and others. Assuredly made with his powerful, cryptic audio processing software Argeïphontes Lyre Eisoptrophobia, also known as spectrophobia, is the pathological fear of mirrors. The reverse-reverb soaked rendition of Gymnopedie No. 1 here is especially exquisite.


Fjordne - The Setting Sun

Kitchen, 2009

Layered laptop + instrumental music with a chamber feel from Shunichi Fujimoto. Doesn't rely on a drone æsthetic like Fennesz, Tim Hecker, etc., rather creates a fragmented, moving, structured instrumental space with software-processed acoustic instruments and voice. Like a springtime for your mind, the organisms of thought bubbling up and forming in a bright forest cabin before your eyes. Very floral.


Fifths Of Seven - Spry From Bitter Anise Folds

Les Disques Du Soleil Et De L'Acier, 2005

Forgotten album of chamber orchestrales with an Eastern European tinge from a Montreal-based ensemble of musicians including Beckie Foon of Silver Mt. Zion, etc. Wonderful music for solitary meanderings in the ancient apartments of Prague, the settings of The Trial, Švankmajer and Brothers Quay films.


Eliane Radigue - Kyema, Intermediate States

Experimental Intermedia, 1990

"Radigue became a disciple of Tibetan Buddhism in 1975. 'Kyema', a piece for synthesizer, is a Tibetan term expressing the emotional state of surprise tinted with sorrow. This piece explores electronically the full range of existence, going beyond death and back into the exuberance of physical life, expanding the musical consciousness of the uninitiated, leading one in a cyclical voyage through myriads of tones, drones, and warbles where the end is only the beginning." - forced exposure

Pure synthesizer work exploring themes of Vajrayana from a precise minimal musical perspective. More going on here than anything La Monte Young/Riley/etc., in my opinion. Radigue was/is a luminous genius.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Grouper - Cover the Windows and the Walls

Drifting foggy voicesongs from belle dame Liz Harris. As faded and warm as a memory of love.


Velvet Cacoon - Atropine

Full Moon Productions, 2009

Diary entry by Géza Csáth, Jan. 13, 1913:

In combating myself I can only report one bloody defeat after another. Not even in this respect is fortune willing to smile at me. The week started well with daily quantities of 0.044 and 0.046 which I divided into 3-4 portions. But yesterday and today I reached again that awful vicious circle which is the source of the most shameful remorse. The trouble always starts with not having the strength to wait for my mid-morning stool. Because when I succeed in doing this and the morphine leaves the intestines, then it is followed by a pleasant, all-day-long hunger which can be satisfied with the regular amount. But if the first sin takes place in the morning, still in bed or before the bowel movements, the same amount doesn't work properly, and causes no euphoria. To commit sin, to harm myself without enjoying it, this is the bitter thought tormenting me. If I had a gun near me, at times like this, I would blow my brains out, right away.

What do I do instead? Usually before the time is up, 3–4 hours after the first portion, I take the next one. This usually gives euphoric feelings lasting 20–30 minutes, followed by the most miserable, pitiful low, during which:

1. All human endeavors, industriousness, diligence, work, seem to be ridiculous and only hate-provoking.
2. All talk is tiring and stupid.
3. All plans are unrealizable and terrible.
4. All great, beautiful, and noble things are unattainable and futile.

At times like this I smoke one cigarette after another until I no longer feel the taste of the smoke. I eat oranges till I get tired of them. Disgusted, I play the piano. I wash. Visit Olga. Find life insufferable. I make an effort to entertain her, but I lack the true sexual interest, and, therefore, I am just getting bored there. To make my stay bearable I put in 0.02–0.03 in the toilet, hating it. This is followed after dinner by 0.02, then 0.01 and 0.01 again. The last one under the pretext that it already belongs to tomorrow's portion.... This is an immeasurably loathsome and despicable life. I am so disgusting, weak, and pitiful that I have to wonder why Olga still loves me, and hasn't become unfaithful to me. That my weak and forever veiled voice, my steady staring in the mirror, my cynical and shrunken penis, my drawn face, my witless conversation, my impotent, lazy life, my suspicious behavior, my insolence with which I lengthily disappear into the WC, my stupidity haven't disgusted her yet, for ever and ever. I also think that I stink, because with my sense of smell impaired I can no longer smell the stench of my poorly-wiped asshole or the mouth-odor caused by my rotting teeth.

via A Journey Round My Skull

Neurochemically active subsonic funerary rites from the mythological Portland-based black metallers. Don't expect any metal here, just some very distilled and subtle near-subsonic dark ambience. Perfect meditation/sleep music for those wispy late autumn nights, or periods of blackened substance-induced gloom.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Popol Vuh - Hosianna Mantra + In Gärten Pharaos

Hosianna Mantra (Pilz, 1972)

In Den Gärten Pharaos (Pilz, 1972)

Isengrind - Golestan

Self-Released, 2007

One of my favorite Natural Snow Buildings-associated albums. Kind of like Fursaxa in parts.


James Ferraro - Citrac

Arbor, 2009

Hypnagogic industrial digital cross-sections of retrofutures co-intersecting our space time via the psychic internet headspace download in pre-android cybernetic journeyman vessel James Ferraro.

LP1 - Left Behind: Postremo Mundus Techno-Symposium

LP2 - Wired Tribe/ Liquid Metal Excerpt 1

Troum - Sigqan

Desolation House, 2003

Deep ocean music from the vastly underrated masters of guitar drone samadhi. Beyond excellent, this is very high on my list of favorite albums. Mastered by Robert Rich.


Wooden Veil - Wooden Veil

Dekorder, 2009

Crazed forest psychomagick ritual folk music. Like the patchwork chimæra of No-Neck Blues Band, Spires That In The Sunset Rise, OOIOO, and Einstürzende Neubauten.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Elegi - Varde

Miasmah, 2009

Deep, nautical, and wintery broken neo-classical/dark ambient/electro-acoustic music from Norway. The guy behind it, Tommy Jansen, is a shipwreck diver. Enough said. Oh, and Meredith Yayanos, of Coilhouse/Faun Fables fame is featured on the track "Rak."


Soriah with Ashkelon Sain - Atlan

Projekt, 2009

Powerful, epic multi-tracked throat singing + transcendental instrumental music. Soriah has done stuff w/ all souls & flam chen, btw.