Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best Of 2011

My verdict is still out on whether I like top-10 lists or not, but there were some real standouts this year that I thought merited special mention:

Full Lengths:
1. Roly Porter - Aftertime
2. Grouper - A | A: Dream Loss/ Alien Observer
3. Barn Owl - Lost In The Glare
4. Prurient - Bermuda Drain
5. Burial Hex - Angelic Gematria
6. Dirty Beaches - Badlands
7. Demdike Stare - Tryptych
8. The Haxan Cloak - The Haxan Cloak
9. Stare Case - Lose Today
10. Andrew Chalk - Violin By Night

Singles/ EPs

1. Massive Attack vs. Burial - Four Walls/ Paradise Circus
2. Grouper - Water People
3. Salem - I'm Still In The Night
4. Prurient - Time's Arrow
5. Demdike Stare - Elemental - Parts 1 & 2
6. Sean McCann - The Sky Is Filled With Incredible Wishes
7. Laurel Halo - Hour Logic
8. Björk - The Crystalline Series (Omar Souleyman Remixes)
9. Andy Stott - Passed Me By
10. Burial - Street Halo

Honorable mentions (some of these are totally excellent in their own right, but only missed the cut by a wee bit). In no particular order:

Balam Acab - Wander/Wonder
Kangding Ray - OR
Kreng - Grimoire
Zola Jesus - Conatus
Jacaszek - Glimmer
Six Organs Of Admittance - Asleep On The Floodplain
Natural Snow Buildings - Waves Of The Random Sea
Natural Snow Buildings - Chants Of Nifelheim
Higuma - Pacific Fog Dreams
Jon Porras - Undercurrent
Evan Caminiti - When California Falls Into The Sea
Juv - Juv
Peaking Lights - 936
Andy Stott - We Stay Together
Leyland Kirby - Eager To Tear Apart The Stars
Sean McCann - The Capital
Simon Scott - Bunny
Kaboom Karavan - Barra Barra
Fourth World Magazine - The Spectacle Of Light Abductions
Julianna Barwick - The Magic Place
*AR - Wolf Notes
Hauschka & Hildur Gudnadottir - Pan Tone
Brainworlds - *****
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - From The Stairwell
Matthewdavid - Outmind
Death Grips - Ex-Military
Christina Vantzou - No. 1
Deaf Center - Owl Splinters
Robedoor - Too Down To Die
Vatican Shadow - Kneel Before Religious Icons
Burial Hex - Book Of Delusions
Burial Hex - Eschatology I
A Winged Victory For The Sullen - A Winged Victory For The Sullen
The Caretaker - An Empty Bliss Fills This World
Nate Young - Stay Asleep (Regression Vol. 2)
Shataan - War Cry Lament
Arizmenda - Without Circumference Nor Center
Innercity - Boy In Forest Trying To Hotwire The Earth
James Ferraro - Far Side Virtual
James Ferraro - Condo Pets
Grimes/ D'Eon - Darkbloom
Genocide Organ - Under-Kontrakt
Emptyset - Demiurge
Kuedo - Severance
BJ Nilsen - Vinyl
Chelsea Wolfe - Ἀποκάλυψις
Ela Orleans/ Dirty Beaches - Double Feature
Holy Other - With U
Tim Hecker - Ravedeath 1972
Barn Owl - Shadowland
Ekin Fil - Language
Skullflower - Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses
Alberich - Psychology Of Love

Enjoy 2012 before Quetzalcoatl or something starts eating the planet in December!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Stare Case

Stare Problem (American Tapes, 2010)


Lose Today (De Stijl, 2011)


Ash From The Burning Log Coated Tape Heads Vol. 2 (American Tapes, 2011)


Apologies for the long hiatus, but life has been particularly lifelike recently. Stare Case is Nate "THE HATE" Young and "Inzane" Johnny Olson, 2/3 of Wolf Eyes, producing some dead wino funk and totally 'tarded creeper jazz. Skeleton porn. Like a mellower Graveyards or Olson's Handicapper Hornz project meets Demons or Young's recent solo electronics translated into bass. Young's über-depresso vox burble up on top from the tussin'd out basement fog with clear intent to permanently damage yr mind. This, along with Nate's recent solo work, has got me back into the Wolves after quite a long break, and they're once again producing some of the year's solidest jams. Dig it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Burial Hex - Angelic Gematria

Blackest Rainbow, 2011

Master Ruby reports in chants of pale light from the nadirs of the heavens. Cannot recommend this work enough, his austere from-the-occult-to-the-ecclesiastical angle approaches the same kinds of realms as recent Xela, only with a more firmly blackened root; with hollow whispers from the corners of vast cathedrals and great organs ringing from the mouths of the saints' agonies. Moves on the latter track into black romantic synth work akin to a more Goblin-ish version of his work seen in tracks like "Go Crystal Tears." Brilliance.


(thanks to The Radiant Now for the original post)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Consumer Electronics - Nobody's Ugly

No Fun Productions, 2007

Mentioned in the previous post. Sideways digitized power electronics/ drone from Philip Best's (Whitehouse) solo project. Demonstrates once again that Whitehouse and their closest ilk are about much more than producing the highest-possible-volume screechfest. Would like to think this album set the precedent for the new kind of PE seen in Yellow Tears, Halflings, etc., but it really seems everyone was arriving at digital-laptop-collage feedback hybrid sounds on their own around 07-08 and on.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Bodychoke - Cold River Songs

Purity, 1998/ Relapse 2009

So far in my experience, when guys from decent power electronics acts turn rock, they rock OUT, i.e. Skullflower, Ramleh, Dominick Fernow's umpteen projects. Bodychoke, the 90s side project of Kevin Tomkins (Sutcliffe Jügend, ex-Whitehouse) is no exception. Hidden away for some reason, I unfortunately participated in its underrating, as I have often put Sutcliffe Jügend on the side and focused more on Whitehouse as the purveyor of high-quality vileness, a status SJ does not deserve as I am finding I like quite a bit of Tomkins' material more for sheer atmosphere and pro viciousness. Bodychoke was his rock fugue and continued his integrity; what you've got here is noise rock heaviness that's somewhere between old school Skullflower tactics (or moreso rock-era Ramleh), with an almost Swans-level sophistication (the celloist is amazing), lyrics schizophrenically going between Michael Gira and Oxbow drugged-up suicide crooning, and when it gets romantic (this usually means there's a knife in somebody's head) it even sounds kind of like a psychopathic Fields Of The Nephilim. The atmosphere is as thick as his main solo project, the themes as twisted, but a little more introspective (i.e. no "I never met a woman who didn't deserve to die"). Absolutely magnificent stuff, this is their magnum opus but the other two albums, Mindshaft and Five Prostitutes are not to be missed.


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Human Quena Orchestra - A Natural History Of Failure

Utech, 2010

Ultraheavy sequel to The Politics Of The Irredeemable by the doctors of electro-sludge. Full-on intense negativity beneath the wonderfully grim cover art.


Muslimgauze - Gun Aramaic

Soleilmoon, 1996

I put out a request on for albums similar to Eye For An Eye and this was one of the replies. Spot-on, I was very pleasantly surprised, a real standout in the vast discography, thick Palestinian ghetto atmospheres permeate, the string drones and distorted sample on "Oil Prophets" (both tracks) is a real gem.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Wingdings - I-III

I: Return To Earth (Outer Limits Recordings, 2009)


II: Zarathustra's Puzzle (Outer Limits Recordings, 2009)


III: The Symbol Of Infinity (Outer Limits Recordings, 2009)


The ongoing adventures of Bruce Muscle find his supposedly peaceful return from chilling with the intergalactic party dudes in the Bro-Zone violently interrupted by lysergenetic vistas of brainjuice-sucking Transmedia™ kaleidoscopic prisons: WHO KILLED FLUFFY BUTTERS? Doom II chaingun vengeance is found in the new VHS holographic weapon, Ripper Fleshers®, but only with the help of Thrash® energy juice (energize now with the Kenner™ Metaphysical Effects® Playset!) and Innerspace guru and Soul Vision pioneer, Rom Dos, can he seek to destroy the all-encycling computer mind now consuming VIRO CITY. Hey dude, where's all the babes & beer?

Diminishing Shrine Recycles


Descend into holy valleys of subcortical color only to be murdered by some trash humping mutant 'burb hunters...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


** (CocoArt, 2009)


*** (Sonic Meditations, 2010)


**** (Hooker Vision, 2010)


***** (Sonic Meditations, 2011)


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Com Truise - Galactic Melt/ Fairlight

Galactic Melt (Ghostly International, 2011)


Fairlight (Ghostly International, 2011)


More recent synth work that's broke above the herd to my interest. This is totally spot-on production instrumental electropop with professional post-dubstep level mixing decks. It refines the best elements of the more rhythmic side of the earliest still-analog electro sound, and while, yes, this is a blatantly retro exercise, and such a good one that the guy earned a lucky spot on the Tron: Legacy remix disc, the difference here is the hardcore intent on making it sound great. And that it does.

Laurel Halo - Hour Logic

Hippos In Tanks, 2011

Halo creates a deeply personal synth vision that here seems to merge the Kraut-sequenced post-Oneohtrix field of hauntological electronics with some of the compositional flavor and rogueness of early-90s IDM & ambient techno; AFX, Autechre, especially The Orb. Her vocals are an entirely different story, somewhere between a parallel-universe 80s android diva and the even more lovely lingual bloomings of 4AD chanteuses like Elizabeth Fraser. What comes to my ears is far beyond the monotony that's turned me off to the new new age synth movement in recent days, a sound that despite its obvious 20-year old bin digging doesn't sound like an exercise in weak retro fashion; instead it's daringly ethereal and futuristic electronic music.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Troum, Asianova/Voice Of Eye, S.Q.E., Ure Thrall - Actualization/ Excrement Of Old Dreams

Discorporeality Recordings, 2009

The joy and magick of pure creation, the emergence of the ineffable manifestations of rigpa, from a few of the world's most illuminated seekers of transdimensional sonics.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thomas Köner - Teimo

Barooni, 1992

Good 320 CBR rip of what I am pretty sure is the 1992 copy of the arctic ambient master's classic album (not the 2010 Type vinyl reissue [remaster?], if anyone has a good, V0 or better, mp3 rip of this please hook up). Almost never able to draw myself too far from his best work in Nuuk, but after listening it to death I recently discovered this too to be one of his best. The title track in particular is a beaut'. Enveloping as always.


Lunar Abyss Deus Organum

Snovenidie (BioSonar^Labirint, 2006)


Snegopad (BioSonar^Labirint, 2009)


Bereg Teploj Vesny (Vetvei, 2009)


Huonus (BioSonar^Labirint, 2009)


Tuntury (Aquerellist, 2009)


Geologorazvedka (BioSonar^Labirint, 2010)


Homespun shamanic ambience from the obscure and underrated Russian act. Reminds of the deeply organic approach of Alio Die, but with the improvised, natural sporadicness of peak electro-ambient COIL work. Speaks of a deep Karelian undercurrent, harkening back to the days when pagan Slavs and Uralic shamans shared the same fungal-forest medicine cabinets. Wonderfully alien yet grounding work, whose genuine nature shows from the homemade cover art to the unpretentious yet daring soundforms within.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Aderlating Megapost

The Nectar Of Perversity Springs From The Well Of Repression (Shadowgraph, 2009)


Dood (Devotional Hymns, 2010)


Nekrasov/Aderlating Split (Chrome Leaf, 2010)


Devotional Hymns (Shadowgraph, 2010)


Dying Of The Light (Self-Released, 2010)


Spear Of Gold And Seraphim Bone Part One (ConSouling Sounds, 2011)


Bastardized blackened dark ambient from a side project of Maurice De Jong (Gnaw Their Tongues/ De Magia Veterum). Flourishes of percussive chaos still mar the caverns with horror, but the running-beserk-with-a-meat-cleaver psychotic guitar frenzy of his other projects is replaced here with a ritual drone/ black noise sound that's like Nordvargr/MZ.412 updated to the 21st century. So far my favorite project of his.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Teeny Bopper - Condom Dump/ Perverts

Condom Dump (Self-Released, 2008)


Perverts (Accretion Disk, 2007)


Positively vicious work from a member of Yellow Tears of a more traditional vocals + analog electronics PE type. Shit seethes in your subconscious. Gave me nightmares of some kind of mercenary archæologists somewhere in Vietnam being attacked by shamanic priests whose faces are rotted to the bone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Raionbashi - Kollekte

Hanson, 2006

A1 Untitled Edith
A2 Buildin
A3 Ein Jodler
Featuring – Frau Kutzke
A4 Noch Ein Jodler
Featuring – Frau Kutzke
A5 Bockflöte
A6 Tar
B1 Untitled Soot Pt.1
B2 Magical Blah Blah
Featuring – John Wiese, Michael Barthel
B3 Untitled Ergh
B4 Open Coffin
B5 Blöt Rain
B6 Ursuppe

More digital collaged filth in the vein of Yellow Tears from the torturkammer of a one Daniel Löwenbrück, only this slab of gooey plastic is of a particularly disorienting, bizarre kind, from a guy who has made his ways around the more creative ends of the international noise underground (John Wiese, Twig Harper, etc.)


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Absum - Purgatoire 2007-2009

Crepúsculo Negro, 2010

Black Twilight affiliated monolithic blackened drone, though nowhere near as weak as the usual Nortt-type funeral doom. Short but dense work, not the kind of sound the guy could work in forever, but a great one-off tape nevertheless.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Utarm - Minus The Divine

Turgid Animal, 2009

Gorgeous agony from the one-man project. Vocals as plague-ridden and tortured as Khanate, The Human Quena Orchestra, or Gnaw Their Tongues, across a funereal landscape of ascending spires of blackened drone. Actually very comparable to The Human Quena Orchestra, only less monotonous, and taking much more from blackened/ funeral doom. But the same kind of almost Skullflower-ish beautiful painful layered drone.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Voltigeurs - Voltigeurs

Turgid Animal, 2009

I dunno shit about Matthew Bower's personal life, but something must have gone seriously awry (I don't mean this is a bad thing) after he stopped recording as Sunroof! Because since then he's gone OUT, and has been carving and diving and climbing into the farthest reaches of mind/ space/ darkness. Voltigeurs is him and Skullflower live violinist/ additional drone scryer Samantha Davies. I thought this was released this year, but lo and behold it's been sleeping for two years. It seems on some level to proceed from or (more likely) be concurrent to his piece on the White Medal Split (that I posted here), in that kind of layered, tonal drone that's a wee bit less ear-piercing and feedback-warped than works like Circulus Vitiosus Deus, and certainly wayyyy less of that than Strange Keys to Untune Gods Firmament. Definitely as great as Circulus (still for me the pinnacle of Bower's work with the psychedelic modal blackened drone thing) and in spots almost better. The improvised ritual with Davies seems also to have a little of the wandering amorphousness of Hototogisu or Skullflower's recent live releases, but doesn't fall into the realm of total formlessness, his Mirag-derived metal raga ascensions and descensions are still majestically carving out the abyss here. Brilliant as always and looking forward to more from this collaboration.