Monday, January 31, 2011

iTAL tEK - Midnight Colour

Planet Mu, 2010

I've taken a sidestep from trying to dissect the endless flood of drone/synth/lofi psych bands into the current stream of fantastic beatmakers that I had all hopped off of a half year ago. I'm talking the brainy, thick, multitalented stuff; Flying Lotus, Teebs, Ras G & their ilk, some old & new Ninja Tune faves (the boxset that rules), and the current crop of post-dubstep norm-challengers, like this iTAL tEK album, Mary Anne Hobbes' Wild Angels compilation, Jamie Vex'd's positively illuminated EP, Starkey and the like. I had dismissed this album at first because I still expected them (and myself) to be able to squeeze some more testosterone from the thick bassy noise and aggressive jungle references, but now that my tastes have matured I'm ready to get into this new sound. It does take alot of cross-fertilization, it seems, from stuff like Flying Lotus & Ninja Tune, it's a civilized sound, edgy but not overwhelmingly masculine, jazzy, atmospheric, and avoiding the dub monotony that plagued early dubstep. Here's to the future, I hope you dig it, I know it's another transformation of my taste, but hey all that psychedelic drone, save a few consistent greats, has been getting old too to these ears.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Julianna Barwick - Florine

Self-Released, 2009

Wonderful little EP from an artist who revels in that new kind of sacred minimalism created only by voice and sparse accompaniment. Think Grouper, Inca Ore, Xela's better recent works, etc. Only here there is more of an anthemic, worded, gospel-like glory. Positively in rapture here. Full LP, The Magic Place, is forthcoming on the Asthmatic Kitty label.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rhythm & Sound - Rhythm & Sound

Rhythm & Sound, 2001

Seems like all the bloggers in my clique have been outing their secret minimal dub / techno obsessions recently. Here's one of my personal favorites, one of the most solid, consistent, but still interesting compilations of ye olde Basic Channel crew. Nobody quite tastes as smooth as these fellows if I don't mind myself saying. Pure frosty cold dub tech beats. And Savage fucking hypnotizes on "Smile." BO!


Monday, January 17, 2011

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Marcia Bassett & Helena Espvall - Lapidary

Altvinyl, 2010

Amorphous & gorgeous bioluminescent twilit forest ascensions from two of the most powerful & skilled women of the movement, Marcia Bassett (aka Zaïmph, ov Hototogisu, GHQ, Double Leopards, etc.) and Helena Espvall (Espers, Fursaxa's band, Ghost collaborations, etc.). Inverted rainbows of emotional charges, nightside of eden but neither blackened nor charred, more sensual, liminal, and romantic. The sort of sprawling tactile-yet-ethereal drone sculpting we've come to expect from Bassett's best solo work. For focused, in-depth listening.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mandatory Monstrous 2010 List

//From the Camp NO FEAR Bunker buried deep within the Costco parking lot, Gila Bend, Arizona 1/4/11. The soundtrack to when we re-conquer the surface will be Umberto - "Prophecy Of The Black Widow" and it shall rule. //

Sun City Girls - Funeral Mariachi (out with a bang, not with a whisper)

Faun Fables - Light Of A Vaster Dark (finally took a break from raising little Edda to put the songs on record that I've fallen in love with live already twice by now. "Sweeping Spell" and "Hear The Grinder Creak" were like my mantras at work even before this came out.)

Master Musicians Of Bukkake - Totem 2

Daniel Higgs - Say God (there god is - there is god: there god is not - there is god)

Hype Williams - Do Roids And Kill E'rything/ Untitled/ Find Out What Happens When People Stop Being Polite, And Start Gettin Real (haters will hate but pro-lazy hypno-hop brings the gold in my book)

Neil Young - Le Noise (really fucking crazy that he could pull out something as good as Crazy Horse, solo, almost more than 30 years later, but then again he ain't just another fucking Bob Dylan "People may find this hard to believe, but I only really care about the music, that's it" - NY)

Bernardino Femminelli - La Montaña Del Capricornio

Dirty Beaches - Night City/True Blue/ Golden Desert Sun (kid is just positively amazing and pulls your heartstrings like none other than Alan Vega or Ian Curtis without saying a particularly audible word)

Broken Water - Whet/ Broken Water Cassette (really Whet is the best, but both releases create such perfect Oregon swamp fog bud-fused burnout early 90s high school vibes, it's the meeting of genres and punks and minds that should have happened back then)

Forest Swords - Dagger Paths (accompanied so many wide open window lone-ranger cruises through the Sonoran desert and Tucson's ghettos. a total psychedelic art-anime western)

James Ferraro - Feed Me/ Night Dolls With Hair Spray (finally becoming the rock star from another galaxy he always wanted to be, Unarius finally found him! it's so wonderful)

Outer Limits Recordings - Julie/ I Need My TV

Zola Jesus - Stridulum/ Valusia (finally becoming the cute gothy pop star from next door she always wanted to be)

Gary War - Police Water (only 4 songs but even better than all of Horribles Parade, keep 'em coming)

Salem - King Night (guilty as charged. but if it makes you feel any better, I thought the Levi Fader fort fiasco was horrible as well. and all other witch house is terrible. period.)

We Like Cats - We Like Cats (cat dub 4-EVER)

Dire Wolves - Jams And The Giant Peace (people could just fart out jam sessions like these forever and I'd be happy)

LA Vampires meets Zola Jesus/LA Vampires Featuring Matrix Metals - "So Unreal"/ Psychic Reality/ LA Vampires Split (I never really liked Pocahaunted at all, ever, so I experienced their end as kind of a blessing, but Amanda's side projects are blowing my mind these days; Vibes, as well, was good. Bethany's Best Coast is ok too but a far cry away in quality/originality. and sorry, Sun Araw still sucks)

Donato Epiro - Supercontinent (like a massive playhouse of mangled psychedelic toys in a Jim Woodring kind of way, Stunned continues to kick ass despite releasing the occasional turd)

Sean McCann - Fable Shop/Fountains/Open Resolve (continues being a nonstop genius)

Bill Orcutt - A New Way To Pay Old Debts (normally not into something this deep into free improv, but this just carried me right from the beginning. I've got blisters on me fingers!!!)

Scorn - Refuse;Start Fires (just so fucking brutal. "Take Someone's Eye Out" makes we want to go all mecha in the desert rescuing illegals from the US Army District 9 style)

Fursaxa - Mycorrhizae Realm (why ever listen to anything else she's made, this is just too beautiful)

Cyclobe - Wounded Galaxies Tap At the Window (not as maximal as earlier stuff but this is definitely the soundtrack to opening the horrible non-euclidean doors of reality with blasphemous chaos rituals)

Moon Wiring Club - A Spare Tabby At The Cat's Wedding/ the whole Ghost Box Study Series (these guys continue to bring what Boards Of Canada promised us, albeit in a different cultural form)

Games - That We Can Play (the rejected soundtrack to Tron Legacy's original incarnation: Tron 2D: Digital Beach Party)

Oneohtrix Point Never - Returnal (still not as heavily into this as Rifts, but the self-titled track is just too good a song to not mention this. not to forget the thousand TR-303s retro noise-assault bookends to the album)

Cloudland Ballroom - Blues From The Sun/ Split w/ Sundrips (best of the massive synth crop this year, the Sacred Phrases & Fadeaway Tapes labels are shaping up to be something great. Cloudland Ballroom [edit] is from Ireland of all places, too. all those Sundrips tapes were cool too, but there's nothing much to say about them)

Chrome Wings - Time Patterns (more explosive goodness from Stunned)

Golden Retriever - 2 (so fucking magical. for once this kind of space-jazz-modal-synth stuff delivers what it promises, best thing since Ariel Kalma or Terry Riley's Poppy No Good And The Phantom Band)

Vibracathedral Orchestra - Joka Baya (the astrological infinite concert continues ad infinitum, on and on)

Emeralds - Does It Look Like I'm Here? (listening to this on the way to Cape Canaveral to see a space shuttle launch is positively unforgettable)

Barn Owl - Ancestral Star (more underwhelming than I had hoped, and certainly not as good as Evan Caminiti's last two solo records, but still glorious in its own understated deeply heartfelt way)

Yellow Swans - Going Places (released in 2009 originally I know, but reissued in 2010. another fucking amazing final album)

Woods - At Echo Lake (took me a while and some maturing to get into this stuff, but this is wonderful holy campfire hippie summer camp music)

Honorable Mentions:
Skullflower/ White Medal split

Skullflower - Strange Keys To Untune God's Firmament (still pretty meh compared to Circulus)

Sleep ∞ Over - Sleep Over/ Outer Limits (is this witch house? because I guess I still have no fucking idea what that means, whatever, this is still pretty decent)

Earth Station - Control Belief

a whole slew of random synth/drone releases that didn't make the cut on Digitalis Ltd, Housecraft, Stunned, etc.

Ancillary bizarre crap that I'm afraid to admit:
Haus Arafna - You (really weird considering I was wayyy into this stuff in high school, but they just came back to perfect the formal power electronics-meets-minimal synth with severe amounts of goth on this one. not too much electro like the last November Novelet album, but not Subliminal or some death industrial horseshit either. makes up for the fact that Maska Genetik called it quits with music)

MIA - MAYA (super mainstream I know but I had to have some cheery anthem to throwing molotov cocktails at border patrol trucks here now)

Die Antwoord - $O$ (shut up I know, shut up shut up shut up can't hear you lalalalala)

Rewind Selecta!!:
Silver Bullets - Free Radical (cannot believe this slipped by me last year, mind. is. blown.)

the whole Ghost Box label

CoH - Above Air

Vivian Girls - Vivian Girls

Outer Limits Recordings - Foxy Baby (helll yeaaah motherfucker)

Discovery Zone:
Ghost Box
The Moon Lay Hidden Beneath A Cloud (had a really bleak period in the middle of the year where I got way into them)
that black metal is becoming irrelevant
Julianna Barwick
Gary War
Hype Williams
Herz Jühning
Geneva Jacuzzi - Lamaze
Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem
Mount Vernon Arts Lab
Night People
that Stunned is actually a pretty great label
Dirty Beaches
getting way more into Harappian Night Recordings & Neokarma Jooklo Trio

ok that should cover at least some of it...BOOOM 2011!

Dirty Beaches - Badlands

Zoo Music, 2011

Guy rides around on a flying motorcycle, around the Pacific Rim. Has a girl who kisses him on the cheek in every town. End of story. 1959.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Low Light Situations - Office Romance

Not Not Fun, 2010

Where's Laura Palmer?



Dead Luke - Cosmic Meltdown

Night People, 2010

Been in and out of the 'lo-fi' type tape stuff for the past few months, but this is a solid win. Former Zola Jesus collaborator (in bed and in music), here's some astral synth-punk jams kind of like a low-key Gary War but not really...serious solo action on this one.