V/A The Total Groovy (Drag City) 4cd 34.00
Here's one of those Good News, Bad News reviews. The good news is this 4cd box set is really fantastic, the bad news is that it's out of print and we only have 3 copies to sell. It actually came out over a year ago, but somehow we utterly missed out on it then, whoops! Too bad 'cause we probably would have made it Record(s) Of The Week! Sticking to the good news side of things, once we did finally find out out about it, despite it being already out of print, we fortunately were able to acquire a small handful of copies from Drag City, who as luck would have it had just received a few back in a return from a European distro. So, THREE of you out there are in luck. But might not know why, yet. What's the deal with the Total Groovy? Well, a while back, we reviewed what was then a vinyl-only Drag City reissue of an album called Strange Men In Sheds With Spanners, which appears as one of the discs in this box set. That lp of previously unreleased material came from the archives of Pete Shelley's own Groovy label, the Buzzcocks' singer's DIY outlet for the krautrock inspired, avant-garde experimentation of himself and his friends, and the other three discs in this box are reissues of Groovy's first three original lp releases, all from 1980. So, first off, here's more or less what we said about Strange Men In Sheds With Spanners back in 2011: Best band name ever? Definitely a contender. Never really thought that Pete Shelley of famed UK punks The Buzzcocks had anything like this in him, but this album is pretty damn good - almost living up to the ridiculous moniker! Strange Men In Sheds With Spanners was Shelley's oddball synth-wave project that began even before the Buzzcocks broke up in 1981. Back then, he took up the habit of inviting any number of unidentified 'guests' over to his studio to jam with anything and everything in the place; and these Strange Men In Sheds With Spanners recordings came from the many tapes that he made by these means circa 1980-1984. Who those guests in Shelley's studio might have been is anybody's guess. Ours? Maybe Eric Random, maybe Francis Cookson (who co-founded Groovy with Shelley), maybe Sally Timms from The Mekons. Regardless, the resultant recordings are an electronic-heavy art-punk with plenty of weirdo synth meanderings, Keith Levene sounding guitar splinterings, dub-inflected basslines, and scatterbrained effects. None of the punk-pop hooks of the Buzzcocks are found here, even when guitars, bass, and drums enter the picture; it's pretty much all about the studio as instrument with lots of effects swarming about the drum machine rhythms and bare-bones post-punk grooves. One could think of The Storm Bugs, Crawling Chaos, The Psyclones, or Jeff & Jane Hudson. Then there's the other three, equally confusional discs also found here: the oscillator insanity of Shelley's solo lp Sky Yen, 41+ minutes of delightful knob-twiddling distorted drone actually recorded in 1974; some shambling drone-rock and dadaistic vocals shenanigans from a soundtrack by Sally Smmit And Her Musicians (aka Sally Timms, Pete Shelley, and others); and a record with four untitled tracks of lo-fi industrial improvised (?) rock from a unit called Free Agents. All stuff for which the terms 'weird and wonderful' were doubtless invented! Each disc comes in its own cardboard sleeve reproducing the original album art, the Free Agents one complete with miniaturized insert advertising the Groovy catalog, and tip-on cover. Also inside this eye-catching, Op Art adorned box is a booklet containing an interview Drag City did with Shelley all about everything Groovy, talking about other related projects like The Tiller Boys, revealing various influences (Eno, Can, Ralph Records), etc. Totally great for anyone into the oddest of Messthetics tracks, NWW list stuff, or even the Boredoms' Super Roots series. Again, kicking ourselves for idiotically overlooking this when we could have gotten more, argh. So now it's first come, first served (and since we have so few, if you're mailordering this, it's always a good idea to pick an alternate as well). Good luck though - sorry to provide such a big review of something we probably won't be able to sell you!
PETE SHELLEY "Sky Yen Part 1" MPEG Stream:
SALLY SMMIT "Soundtrack To The Film Hangahar Part 1" MPEG Stream:
FREE AGENTS "Untitled 2" MPEG Stream:
STRANGE MEN IN SHEDS WITH SPANNERS "track 3"
V/A The Virus Has Been Spread / A Tribute To Atari Teenage Riot (D-Trash) cd 5.00
**SALE **SALE* *SALE** **LAST COPIES** Oh man, how this takes us back. Canadian label D-Trash is definitely the new DHR, spawning a whole new scene of breakcore bruisers and digital hardcore crushers. Admittedly they owe a huge debt to Alec Empire, Atari Teenage Riot and that breakcore/metal hybrid sound those folks practically created. So here it is, years after the demise of ATR, Empire has moved on, DHR seems to have disappered, so what better time to remind folks how amazing that shit sounded then, and brutal and heavy and badass it still sounds today. So here's the whole D-Trash roster, each tackling a classic Atari Teenage Riot track, all our favorites for sure, "Start The Riot", "Into The Death", "Delete Yourself", "The Future Of War"… Most of the bands here do it pretty straight, if anything just making the guitars crunchier and heavier, the beats more distorted and blown out, but still the tracks are classic, and sound enough like the originals that from note one, we're already banging our heads wildly. A few folks mix it up, Untitus (whose reissued full length is listed elsewhere on this list) slows things down, unfurling a thick buzzing backdrop, letting the drums lurch in a grinding anti-funk, the vocals all sultry and slurred. Schizoid (who also has a full length reissue on this list) turns his ATR track into some howling ultradistorted blast of blackened breakcore, the drums a chaotic blur, the vocals a hateful howl, so intense and furious, so much so that it almost makes the original sound tame. Other highlights include the robotic electro of Evestus, the old school (digital) hardcore punk rock of DHC Meinhof, the skittery metallized jungle of CTRLer, the playful video game gabber of 64Revolt… It's all pretty amazing, we of course lean toward the heavier more brutal blasts of digital hardcore, but goddamn, this all still sounds so great. We've been going pretty nuts, immersing ourselves in all this amazing D-Trash stuff, it's like a nonstop breakcore dance party around here and we STILL can't get enough. Start the riot! Delete Yourself!
SCHIZOID "The Future Of War" MPEG Stream:
UNITUS "Death Star" MPEG Stream:
V/A The Walls Are Whispering... (EE Tapes) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Gorgeously packaged (a cd in a gold and black silkscreened 7" sleeve) ultra limited compilation featuring some of our favorite experimental drone based musicians, as well as a handful of lesser known, but equally sonically appealing folks. AQ faves Troum offer up one of their sweetest airiest pieces yet, a slowly drifting meditational blur and Steve Roden's piece is a hypnotic and dense, note heavy assemblage of thick drones and repetitive chimes. So good! This whole collection is a stunning listen. Other contributors include Toy Bizarre, Kallabris, Inade, Christian Renou and more!
STEVE RODEN "The Presence Of Copper" MPEG Stream:
V/A The Way Out Sound: Back Catalog of Singles (The Way Out Sound) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is an awesome collection of early and way out of print 7"s from San Diego's The Way Out Sound label. A glance at the artists is all it will take to convince you how essential this really is. All exclusive tracks from: Merzbow, Muslimgauze, Skullflower, Truman's Water, Pure, The Silver Wizard, and Holland Skin Tunnel. Essential.
V/A This Infernal Love Of Life (Monochrome Vision) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Here's something that we didn't think we would ever see resurface. Topyscan (The Scandinavian chapter of the Temple of Psychic Youth) originally released an LP showcasing the wares of Sweden's electronic, darkwave, and experimental scenes, with some of the earliest work we had encountered from Zbigniew Karkowski and Phauss (featuring CM von Hausswolff) as well as cuts from Eld-Omala (some of whom had worked with Wire's Graham Lewis on a handful of recording) and White Stains. As a piece of vinyl, it worked quite well with gloomy electronic work sharing one side and skeletal minimalist crackling on the other. On cd, there's a bit of a disconnect between the two aesthetics, but considering how good all four tracks are, it matters little. Eld-Omala opens the album with a minor-key piano melody hanging above a grim atmosphere of disembodied voices and dark ambient passages all set to heavy drums and distorted guitars that could easily be an out-take from Coil's Horse Rotovator. The White Stains piece is miles above anything else that this typically underwhelming project has ever done. Again Coil seems to be template, through a occultish ritualism built around a heartbeat pulse, wooden flutes soaked in reverb, and an excellent use of Shepherd tones (an auditory illusion created by several tones being layered in such a way as to give the impression the pitch is in constant descent). The scatter-shot minimalism of Phauss switches gears entirely through a wavering sci-fi tone smothered in electrical static treated with ring modulation and broken by some weird radio transmissions. Definitely a precursor to Hausswolff's recent work with radio, satellite, and EVP communication. The Karkowski piece again is one of the finer compositions that we've heard from him, although undoubtedly he would disagree 'cuz it's not punishing, violent, or masculine enough. The spiralling electronics and tight vibrations aspire to all of those attributes which Karkowski has been known for, but without the excess of distortion, his work has remarkable subtly and dynamism. Very nice!
ELD-OMALA "The Halidom / Oh My God" MPEG Stream:
WHITE STAINS "Underworld Initiation" MPEG Stream:
PHAUSS "Supreme Bliss" MPEG Stream:
ZBIGNIEW KARKOWSKI "I Fell In Love With An Evil Witch..."
V/A This Is Dubstep Vol. 3 (GetDarker) 2cd 0.00
CASPA (FT. SUBSCAPE) "Geordie Racer" MPEG Stream:
DOCTOR P "Gargoyle" MPEG Stream:
EXAMPLE "Kickstarts (Bar9 Remix)" MPEG Stream:
EMALKAY "Critical Hit"
V/A Three Locations (Recorded Fields) cd-r 12.98
More of a collaborative project than a compilation, Three Locations began with the invitation for a group of artists to contribute three field recordings to a pool, which would then be shared amongst all parties involved for them to use for separate compositions. Nice idea, and it's a pretty great collection of experimental musicians present, including Toy Bizarre, Tarab, Els Viaene, Felicity Mangan, and Klimek, whose presence on the compilation came as a bit of a shock to us, since we've known him for his very digital ambience for Kompakt and Anticipate. The liner notes don't provide all of the details as to the origins of the field recordings. Harbors in Norway, Japanese mountains, and an underground tunnel in Australia are mentioned; but outside of those locales, the sounds that appear throughout the compilation show a wide range between the natural and the industrial. Toy Bizarre offers a diptych of a piece that at first swells to a dramatic crescendo of clattering, metallic rasping that collapses into a somber extended passage of windswept gestures set against a black backdrop. The Belgian sound artist Els Viaene shaped those field recordings into a series of slow-moving, repeating phrases in a Spartan almost Koner-like composition. The ever-impressive Tarab delivers a fantastic track, showcasing much more of a musique concrete strategy that comes across like a John Duncan take on Luc Ferrari. The washed-out noises and environmental dinscapes have been densely layered and spliced into a very active sound field laced with rupturing events. Something's lurking around the corners of Tarab's sound that cannot be qualified as benevolent. Australia's Felicity Mangan counters Tarab's frenzied collage with a delicate tapestry of croaking frogs and aquatic percolations. As for Klimek's contribution, it' bloody fantastic. A fluctuating dronescape of pop-ambient tones hovering out of the extracted field recordings for an elegant construction. Altogether a fantastic end to a great compilation. Limited stock.
ELS VIAENE "Hori" MPEG Stream:
TARAB "Eicophobia" MPEG Stream:
KLIMEK "Drone Composition... "
V/A Tididii Tididii Tididiididii (267 Lattajjaa) 2cd-r 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Be forewarned, we have very few of these (about 15 total) and once they're gone, they're gone for good. A massive collection of experimental Finnish music from the label that brought us the Avarus live cd-r a little while back. Hand decorated, this double cd-r has lots of familiar faces, Uton, Avarus, Ektroverde, Can Can Heads, Kroko but even more unfamiliar ones: Slaughterhouse Quintet, Kilometritehdas, Kvantti, Testicles, Sonic Temple Assassins, Skullpture, Short Eyes, Blubberheads, Du Hex, Plat Ypus, Brasptreet and tons more. The sound is stumbling, abstract free folk clatter, very reminiscent of Jewelled Antler at its folkiest, while sounding a bit like the abstract Acid Mothers Temple space jams at its free-est. A totally gorgeous and a surprisingly consistent listen, espcially for a comp with 46 bands/tracks!
UTON "Vihrean Tuuman Hengitys" MPEG Stream:
AVARUS "Eppi-Loona Motkottaa" MPEG Stream:
V/A Tigerbeat6 Inc. (Tigerbeat6) 2cd 14.98
Kid606's label celebrates its second birthday with this double cd (for the price of one!) that compiles 44 tracks from the usual (and unusual) electronica suspects: Lesser, Blectum From Blechdom, Com.a, Dat Politics, Mikael Stavostrand, Wobbly, Pisstank, Twerk, Gold Chains, Knifehandchop, Pimmon, Stars As Eyes, Steward, Cex, and Stilluppsteypa, among others. Aside from the varied and super-hip music that these discs offer for your exploration, we really liked the mail in questionnaire found in the cd booklet ("we are now incorporated. your opinions matter. please reply to us with the following information"). Although we haven't sent ours in 'cause of replying "no" to question number 16 which asks "did you decide not to send this in because you thought that it would depreciate the collector's value of the cd or make it more of an incomplete package aesthetically?" It was the aesthetic thing for us, of course, not the collector thing.
KNIFEHANDCHOP "sunjammer is my favorite pokemon trainer" RealAudio clip:
BLECTUM FROM BLECHDOM "always frank"
V/A Time And Relative Dimensions In Space: Long Form Works (Rebis) cd 10.98
Great drone / psychedelic noise comp with Taurpis Tula, The Skaters, My Cat Is An Alien, Jim Haynes, and Number None.
V/A Tomorrow's Achievements - Parry Music Library 1976-86 (Public Information) lp 26.00
Anyone who shops for orignal library records can testify that it can be a grueling, expensive and oftentimes unrewarding quest. Even libraries with good track records like DeWolfe or KPM can fall short if the themes are uninteresting (like Casino Royale or British Fanfare). Separating the wheat from the chaff takes lots of knowledge and research, and more often than not the good music is only likely found through high end-collectors or a connection with the library archives itself. Thankfully we have this superb compilation that takes out a lot of the guesswork and delivers some incredible sounds to boot. Hailing from Toronto, the Parry Music library was founded in 1974 by John Parry and Chris Stone. Parry's connections with the great UK library Chappell Music helped bring him incredible talent including Nino Nardini and Johnny Hawksworth among a host of others. Selected from a 10 year period, this is an absolutely incredible and essential collection of warm electronic majesty in the form of music for unrealized industrial films, kids' TV shows, commercial spots, radio broadcasts and B-movie cinematic soundtracks. From avant-garde soundscapes to cosmic proto-Balearic disco, sublime choral pieces, blithe autumnal warp and woozy abstracted kinderlieder, a beautifully realized compilation of pure joy!
V/A Tonalism (Pehr) cd 10.98
This compilation presents a striking visual effect, with a different Pantone color strip mounted on the front of each one (our initial copies display the yellow to ochre end of the color spectrum). Musically, "Tonalism" is a quiet affair of guitar and electronic based ambience. The three names that we recognize come from the West Coast. Phtalo label artist Dntel opens the album with a quietly flanging piece of analogue electronic ambience. Tarentel remixes their magnificent track "Steede Bonnet" (originally from their debut album) turning into a dreamy piece of tape delayed deep hypnosis. Timonium drones along nicely, with shimmering, slow motion washes of guitar that sounds quite similar to Troum. Languis swooshes and swells with delicate Klaus Schulze-esque electronic pulses. Nautical Movements, Meerschaum, Crownery, Eucalyptus, Anstey Station, and Sore & Steal round out this compilation, one that makes for a pleasantly dreamy, if a tad understated, listen.
TARENTEL "Steede Bonnet (Flood Remix)" RealAudio clip:
DNTEL "Open The Window And Let Me In"
V/A Topography of Indefinite Impressions (Autopia ) lp 10.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. While presented as a compilation, this is more of a collective in which each of the projects are various combinations of a rotating core of likeminded San Franicisco musicians. In the end, "Topography of Indefinite Impressions" enjoys a lush aesthetic link between the pastoral space-rock of Mirza, Stephen R. Smith, and Thuja with the alchemic dronolgy of id battery, L. Chasse, and Music For Tunnels (which happens to be the experimental / electronica pseudonym for Tim Green of The Champs). Limited to something like 300 copies and well worth it! And note, the obscure title is meant to poke fun at such titles, not to be understood...
V/A Touch 25 (Touch) cd 15.98
Touch began in 1982 with the publication of Feature Mist, a cassette magazine which featured some very early New Order tracks, snippets from Shostakovich, a poem or two, and a couple of other obscure musical interludes. Over the next 25 years, Touch has developed into what every independent record label should be, an organization dedicated to their own agendas, ideologies, and aesthetics. During that time, Touch has been responsible for releasing records by some of the most influential electronic musicians and sound artists from the past few decades: Chris Watson, Christian Fennesz, Mika Vainio, BJ Nilsen, Biosphere, Ryoji Ikeda, and Philip Jeck. It must also be noted that the history of Touch is also inexorably linked to that of The Hafler Trio, although the two entities terminated their relationship with a particularly chilly separation. Needless to say, Jon Wozencroft and Mike Harding (the current proprietors of Touch) have always been fond of the compilation as a means of constructing a broader narrative about the current state of the label's aesthetics and philosophies. Touch 25 is the celebratory compilation, toasting Touch's silver anniversary, featuring 25 tracks from their current roster of artists with interludes of various field recordings. BJ Nilsen opens the compilation with a majestic field recordings of the Baltic Sea on a cold winter's night. This is followed by Oren Ambarchi's tense interplay between grizzled cable buzz and softly rounded guitar tones. Christian Fennezs pulls another gem of summer-has-gone abstraction from his whipsy guitar strum and DSP effects. Pan Sonic offers a rare bit of cacophony in this mostly sedate compilation with a crack of static and drum machine acceleration. We could prattle on, but it should be obvious that Touch again has produced another quality compilation. Wozencroft himself described Touch 25 thusly: "What seems to have taken place, is a sequence of 25 tracks (in itself an accident of numbers) that each in their own space are quite obscure and 'of a refined sense of taste,' but together, build a very emotional journey through the emotional conditions brought on by the lack of emotion in everyday life, and its replacement by extremities."
FENNESZ "Tree" MPEG Stream:
PAN SONIC "Slovakian Rauta" MPEG Stream:
PHILIP JECK "Hindquarters"
V/A Touch Sampler 00 (Touch) cd 15.98
Compilations are not usually things that warrant strong recommendations. The constant colon-blow of "United States of Trance, Ambient, Jungle, Techno, Techhouse, House, Deep House, Speed Garage, Divas, and / or Gabba" compilations from the electronica marketing majors make anybody with a critical ear a little uncertain when picking up that next item from the compilation section. However, Touch Records has now released 4 "Touch Samplers," all of them defying the usual ineptitude found on market glut of compilations. "Touch 00" - the fourth in this series from Touch - is a curatorial masterpiece that was fashioned entirely from exclusive tracks. If you're not familiar with but curious to learn about the mimialist electronica subgenres included here, this comp is a wonderfully accessible place to start. Bookended with the subatomic particle warbles from Ryoji Ikeda and Mika Vainio, the undisclosed narrative of the compilation hits a number of crucial signposts with Thomas Brinkmann's downer monophunk grooves, Locust's halcyon electronica, Hazard's dronological investigations into the Swedish forests, Philip Jeck's beautiful collages of vinyl antiquity, and the whimsy of People Like Us / The Jet Black Hair People / Wobbly. Field recordings of scanned celphone calls, air traffic control announcements, and passages from Chris Watson's worldly adventures break up the musical proceedings, but forge emotive connections throughout the whole album.
V/A Toywar (Etoy) cd 12.98
Comp of weird electronic/experimental stuff with Wobbly, People Like Us, the Jet Black Hair People, Monopause, etc... interestingly, released by the Etoy art-group folks who infamously got into a big hooha with the corporate internet bozos at eToys.com last year.
V/A Trax Reprint 2: Notterossa / Rednight (Small Voices) 2cd 10.98
We managed to get a small handful of these from a distributor, they're priced super cheap, as the label has since folded, so these are the very last copies we'll ever be able to get, and we have only TWO of these, so be quick… Like many of the other releases we've been featuring from the now defunct Small Voices label, there seems to be very little in the way of NON academic descriptions of this stuff for lay people, folks like us who might just be interested in the sound, and don't need a lecture on sonic semiotics or whatever. So we'll skip the confusional history, and the academic jargon, what we could glean is that this is a cd reissue of tape release from 1982, called TRAX, and maybe this is the one place we should quote the label who describes TRAX thusly: "This is the first in a series of reprint programme of the most representative titles from the TRAX catalogue, one for each letter of the name: T for Traxman, the comics series created for Frigidaire magazine by Massimo Giacon and Vittore Baroni; R for Rednight, a collective homage to the work of William S. Burroughs; A for Anthems, alternative national hymns for real and imaginary countries; X for Xtra, audio works composed at distance through a process of crossed interferences" Not sure if that helped or not, but it's definitely interesting. This reprint comes in a huge oversized magazine style packaging, with liner notes in Italian and English, as well as tons of cool illustrations and graphics. Culled from what we can tell was some sort of zine or art project? Anyway, the first disc here is the actual 1982 tape, a compilation of noise/experimental/avant sonic art from a whole bunch of different artists and musicians from all over the world, it's a pretty fantastic listen, strange field recordings, industrial clatter, reverbed piano accompanied by strange mechancical buzz, swirly deconstructed drone pop, processed vocal loops, effects drenched sci-fi spoken word, noisy abstract avant electro-jazz, collaged porn soundtracks, strange detuned folk mash ups, primitive electronics, static drenched music box lullabies, splattery rhythmic improv, and so much more. All presented as one seamless hour long track, it's a heady, psychedelic listen for sure, definitely academic, but sonically more naive sounding, there's a distinctive joy in sound making on display, which is pretty refreshing, and for every chunk of atonal skree, there's another stretch of melodic loveliness. The second disc, is a new recording from composer / soundscaper / audio alchemist / modern minimalist Gianluca Becuzzi, whose Memory Makes Noise disc we review elsewhere on this week's list, and whose Kinetix double disc we listed a while back. At first we were under the impression that Becuzzi's pieces was a reworking of the first disc, but on closer listening, and a closer reading of the confusing liner notes, it seems that maybe it was INSPIRED by, as sonically it's quite different, opening with a strange spoken word, delivered over a hazy industrial thrum, a fuzzy distant drone, laced with deep distant low end bellows, and like everything we've heard from Becuzzi, his pieces constantly shifting, here flitting from ominous cinematic drone punctuated by bursts of static and random clang and clatter, to warm softly whirling subterranean warble, and from strange circus like garble, to hazy, glitchy crumble, before returning to the opening spoken word drone, further testament to Becuzzi's penchant for panlindromic composition.
V/A TrickBeat (Human Wreckords) cd 14.98
Hardcore noise mashup featuring a strange mix of contributions from Melt-Banana, Christoph De Babalon, Merzbow, Shizuo (& Chris), Stilluppsteypa, Patric Catani, Brezel Goring (of Stereo Total), as well as many others. Dunno if these artists have actually produced the tracks themselves or if they're plundered, remixed and destroyed by someone else completely. Completely absurd, but interesting nonetheless for fans of noise and the aforementioned...
MELT BANANA "Vietnashville Infantry (& Swinger Mix)" RealAudio clip:
SHIZUO & CHRIS "Landbubenschmarocker"
V/A Trighplane Terraforms No. 1 (Mental Telemetry Standards & Voids) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. First in a proposed series of limited edition "abstract folk compilations" from Missouri's Mental Telemetry label. This "Trighplane" (i.e. three-way) split between Magic Carpathians, the Six Organs of Admittance, and Vibracathedral Orchestra isn't a bad start! From Poland, California, and the UK respectively, these are all AQ-fave outfits, with perfect "Terra" credentials, Ptolemaic-style. The opening two tracks from the Magic Carpathians are kinda scary, with off-kilter strings and Anna Nacher's haunting voice. They do a song from their last album, "Ethnocore 3" but perhaps it's a different version. Then Six Organs takes over with a long, gently droning piece with an old-timey folk vibe. Last up is Neil Campbell & Co's Vibracathedral Orchestra, bowing away at their oven racks, electric guitars and whatnot for five tracks of satisfying improv drone clatter, perhaps the most abstract (if not most folky) stuff on here. Though it IS folk in the sense of homebrewed, primitive music-making, just how we like it. All of this in a nice letter-pressed package (designed by AQ pal Nemo who runs Time-Lag Records), limited to 1000 -- what are you waiting for?
SIX ORGANS OF ADMITTANCE "Warm Earth, Which I've Been Told" RealAudio clip:
VIBRACATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA "Jubilee"
V/A Trogotronic Compilation - Analog Audio Ordnance (Total Annihilation) cd 7.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. **SALE **SALE* *SALE** This comp is sort of an advertisement, a promotional item, which would normally turn us right off, but this disc killer, and it just so happens to be promoting a line of hand crafted 'caveman' effects, created by none other than Nelson from Man Is The Bastard, Sleestak and Geronimo. Wondering where those fucked up sounds were coming from? The damaged electronics on the Geronimo record? Well, most likely it was a Trogotronic device helping to create that racket. They look beautiful and sound even better. Check it out: http://www.thumbprintpress.com/trogotronic.htm So this here comp features a who's who of noise artists who apparently endorse Trogotronic. But you know what? Even if you had no clue what the hell Trogotronic was, this comp would still stomp your ass. Check out the lineup: Geronimo, Unicorn, Sickness, Drunk On Blood, Mike Shiflet, Torso, Bastard Noise and more and more. The sleeve even lets you know which Trogotronic device was used in each specific track. We can't tell you how close we've come to blowing our paychecks on some of these noisemakers. But for now, we're happy to make do with this disc. First off, an unreleased Geronimo track, worth it right there. An awesomely creepy electronic krautrocky crawl, all crumbling and distorted, low end crunch beneath, squealing high end siren like skree. Sounds like an outtake from their full length, which it probably is, and which of course means it's awesome! Drunk On Blood, another Man Is The Bastard side project, offers up a symphony of electronic jackhammering, pounding and pulsing, almost musically, percussive and relentless, and weirdly listenable. The Sickness track is a heaving wall of analog fury, crumbling and crunchy, the Bastard Noise track is downright pretty, a sea of squelches and a distant beastlike howling, Torso unfurl some seriously creeped out hissy dronemusic, Unicorn offer up a weird symphony of shrieks and stumbling percussive clatter, Astrogenic Hallucinating spits out some fucked up, horror movie analog video game music, we could go on and on and on. All the tracks here are pretty amazing, some textural and drone-y, others blown out and white hot, still others, rhythmic and abstract, at the very least, you'll probably listen to this like crazy and do some serious damage to your speakers, worst case though, you'll end up like us, freaking out and NEEDING some of these noisemakers for yourself, then you can do some REAL damage! Beautifully packaged in a fold over, silkscreened sleeve.
DRUNK ON BLOOD "Flight Check" MPEG Stream:
GERONIMO "Hummingbird & Tarantula" MPEG Stream:
AUTISTATIC "Autistatic Vs. TR-Ogre Pt. 1" MPEG Stream:
SICKNESS "Days Of The Black Sun"
V/A Two Effs (Fflint Central) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Fflint Central is a U.K. label run by two extraordinarily nice guys and darn fine hosts (good enough to befriend a sick and bedraggled on-tour Andee and buy him Cokes). Fflint specializes in experimental electronics and harsh abstract noise. One would think that there's enough, or too much of both, but the men from Fflint have that something special (fuck-you attitude? undefinable sound? sense of humor?) that makes these records way better and way more interesting than the majority of the 'electronica' we hear these days. Fans of VV/M, Lesser and other 'troublesome' electonica will dig this stuff. Affordable CD-Rs. Go ahead and take a chance. You may regret it... Here is the ubiquitous 'label sampler', but in this case, it's almost better to treat it like its own release, since there is so much overlap/incest among the Fflint stable of artists. All unreleased stuff form almost everyone on the label. From ear-splitting noise to soothing drones to pounding distorted beats to hypnotic pulses. From calculated compositions to all out mayhem. A good overview of an awesome new label.
MORTICIANS' CLUB "Squat" RealAudio clip:
ROTATION HEX "Berks Per Minute"
V/A Two Million Tongues Festival (Bastet) cd 14.98
Plastic Crimewave along with the ever so busy Arthur Magazine curated this great fest in Chicago which took place earlier this year. A fest with AQ faves all over it. And this comp of bands who performed at the fest is a nice consolation for those of us who couldn't be there. Festival or no, this is simply one badass compilation! With everyone from Mountains to Josephine Foster, Tony Conrad to Hototogisu, No Neck Blues Band to Jack Rose, you can tell this was a fest put together with great taste and a sense of how important varied sounds is to keep folks' attention. None of the bands sound exactly the same, but there is a definite stylistic thread that runs throughout. Maybe we'll make it to the next Two Million Tongues Fest...until then we'll be hanging out right here with this.
NO NECK BLUES BAND "Pulse" MPEG Stream:
TONY CONRAD "Bowstring 1" MPEG Stream:
V/A Two Point Two (12K) 2cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A U-Sound, Vol. One (Parallelism) cd 15.98
Parallelism is the London based imprint run by Matador head /Air Traffic Controllers guitarist Gerard Cosloy. Portland, OR based Tom Greenwood and Josh Stevenson (of Jackie-O Motherfucker and Cast Exotic Archives, respectively), collect recordings documenting the worldwide post-psychedelic underground via their Unity Sound Archive label (aka U Sound). In short, Greenwood and Stevenson set up short-lived (about one week long) installations in which a revolving cast of artists continuously perform prearranged and/or improvisational pieces that last several hours at a time. This two cd set compiles excerpts of live performances in various U Sound installations throughout 1999 in NYC. Artists featured: Matthew Valentine, Glands of External Secretion, Daniel Carter, Black Magic, Decaer Pinga (Prick Decay), Tara Jane O'Neil solo and with Sai Flora, Michael Hurley, Eagle Blood (Brian Degraw, Saul Williams, actor Leo Fitzpatrick and Angelblood member / fashion designer Jess Holzworth), Greg Anderson, Jeff Perkins, PG Six, Tim Barnes & Glen Kotche, Double Leopards, Sewerz, Unity Sound Ensemble, Furchick w/ the Armaround, Josh Burkett, Tono-Bungay, The Doves, Army Of Ghosts (ex-Aylers Angels), Far Fetched (Paul Major), Lady E Quartet (with Dean Roberts and Tim Barnes) and various formulations of Jackie-O Motherfucker. An excellent document of an amazing ongoing project!
MATTHEW VALENTINE "Jud The Obscure" RealAudio clip:
TONO-BUNGAY "SCZPLK" RealAudio clip:
LADY E QUARTET "Courtship Of Fangoso Lagoons"
V/A Unholy Trinity (Fflint Central) cd 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Another ear shredding, lung collapsing, skull crushing, hair raising, gut wrenching, ass kicking, soul soothing, spiritually devastating missive from out pals at Fflint (supplying us with some of the best experimental electronica in the world!) to tide you over until the results due from the even more unholy alliance between Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer and our own Andee's tUMULt label. This here 'Unholy Trinity' collects tracks from Fflint regulars Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer and Cousin Silas as well as newcomer The Gideon Leeches. The 'Leeches start things off with some shimmery ambience, underpinned by a shuffling jazzy snare and lots of crystalline burbling and what sounds like the theme from the Partfridge Family, slowed down and transmitted from the bottom of a swamp. Track two finds the Leeches in more of a noisy mood, weaving together synth pulses, timestretched buzz and clattery mahinery into a drizzly doomy soundscape. Cool stuff. Look forward to more in the future. Tracks 3 and 4 come courtesy of Cousin Silas, who has one Fflint full length under his belt. Track three is a gently dreamy ambient wash of soothing tones and warm thrum. Track four is SCARY. Creepy castle ambience, with drones, and distant clanks and skittering insects in your headphones, threatening to find their way into your dark warm brain. Berkowitz, Lake and Dahmer close things out with two tracks of ominous doom and gloom. Like the soundtrack to an Argento or Fulci film, this stuff is SINISTER to the nth degree. Gloomy ambient drones and ghoulish wails swirl through the abyss while people chant what sounds like 'Do it!' in the distance. Huge throbbing bass notes punctuate the grim atmosphere and the anguished (and heavily reverbed) voices of disembodied spirits reach from beyond the grave. By the final track, a thick granular drone is introduced adding tension to the already frightening proceedings, while Keith Emerson keyboards are dismantled and slowed down and spread in a thick paste over the whole damn thing until the whole thing finishes in a cacaphonous burst of desiccated samples and dismantled melodies. Another awesome release from the mighty Fflint central!
THE GIDEON LEECHES "Tynkl" RealAudio clip:
COUSIN SILAS "Doris Stokes In My TV" RealAudio clip:
BERKOWITZ LAKE AND DAHMER "Cone Damage"
V/A Untitled (Public Guilt / Epicene Sound Systems / Underadar) 3cd box 15.98
A totally mind blowing collection of artists, representing the state of 'noise' today. 55 bands, 3 cds, totally elaborate over the top packaging, a project so epic it took three labels to make it happen, but now that it's done, it was so worth the wait. So utterly gorgeous. And while we'd be the first to admit that we were a bit scared by the idea of a triple cd noise compilation, the actual state of 'noise' is actually that much of it is quite beautiful, almost all of it is surprisingly listenable, and a lot of it is downright lovely. It's not just hissing jets of white noise these days. Textural and moody, rhythmic and abstract, it might be more fair to describe this as an experimental comp rather than a noise one, but to be fair, many of these tracks are noisy in their own way. And like any comp, it's the bands you know and love that suck you in: Burning Star Core, Guilty Connector, Dead Machines, Thurston Moore, Strotter Inst., Leslie Keffer, Earwicker, Destructo Swarmbots, Mike Shiflet, Hum Of The Druid, Sword Heaven, The Cherry Point, Herpes O Deluxe, Travis Ryan (from Cattle Decapitation), Panicsville, Gerritt & John Wiese, but what keeps you in, and earns repeat listens, is the chance to discover new weird music from bands you've never heard before: OP Rechts, Bet Hell, Josh Lay, Cotton Museum, Big China & Little Trouble, Forbes Graham, Small Life, Lovae, The Heirs Of Rockafeller, Perfect Teeth, Tonight Golden Curls, Black Meat, Door, Noveller, Jason Zeh, Teeth Collection, tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, Skullcaster, Steve Bradley, Wether, Mermaids, Wet Hearts, Magicicada, Oblong Box, Aughra, Donna Parker, Robert Inhuman, Yellow Tears, 1thousand Holy Shards, Back From Iraq, Sick III Cell, Scutopus, Ben S. Jacobs, Blango, Decimation Blvd., Ultra//Vires, Darsombra, Subterrane. Phew. We've yet to make it through all three discs, but what we've heard so far is awesome. So much so that every time we listen to this, someone comes up to see what we're listening to, after almost every song. In fact just while this review was being written, Allan asked what was playing 3 or 4 times. The tracks are that varied, and that good. It might be a bit daunting to do a track by track description, just know that we've listened to almost the whole thing, and loved pretty much all of it, even the noisiest tracks. And it's incredibly well sequenced too, the tracks are matched and segue into each other as if it were and album proper, not a compilation. So good. Our faith in noise may have been restored! And we haven't even discussed the packaging yet. A sturdy rectangular box with a removable lid, held together by a thick textured paper obi, gold metallic ink on red, inside, 4 thick cardstock inserts, each with unique red and gold art on one side, while on the other, one contains liner notes, the other three the track listings and band info, with the cds affixed to the center, and each cd is adorned with unique and different art. Wow. It truly is gorgeous looking, so much so that it's hard to believe it's only sixteen bucks. But we're not complaining. Not sure how limited this is, but something this nice and labor intensive, we're guessing they won't be around for long. Essential listening for lovers of modern music, noise and otherwise, and recommended especially for even the most noise-phobic among you...
BURNING STAR CORE "Let's Name Her Snow Cuz It's Snowy Outside" MPEG Stream:
AUGHRA "Francoj" MPEG Stream:
DESTRUCTO SWARMBOTS "I'll Love Three Of Them Barbarian Cremes" MPEG Stream:
STROTTER INST. "Treibjagd" MPEG Stream:
THURSTON MOORE "Dickraymakerz"
V/A Untitled Songs (Sirr) 2cd 21.00
V/A URSK Box Set (Utech) 10cd box 175.00
Wow. This is one amazing boxset, visually, sonically, and for a limited time we're selling em, taking preorders now in fact, so if you want one, by all means order away, cuz you are probably gonna want one. Our pal Keith Utech offered to let us sell these special fancy box sets that were otherwise only available via the Utech website; no other store has 'em! (Thanks, Keith!). So, what's this all about? Well over the past couple of years, Utech put out a series of handsomely packaged cds featuring artwork by Stephen Kasner, discs by Skullflower, Heavensore, Runhild Gammelsaeter, The Stargazer's Assistant, Klangmutationen Schwarzhagel, RST, Final, Aluk Todolo, and Blood Fountains. This box contains all 9 of those releases, PLUS an exclusive remix cd featuring one track apiece from each of those artists. Those ten discs, which come in a very nice custom engraved, matte black box, are accompanied by a folded booklet featuring text by Kasner and Jenks Miller. In addition, you get a folder, also black, signed and decorated in silver ink, containing nine cards of Kasner's art. Each set is numbered out of 90, signed, and no two are completely identical. We've reviewed most, if not all of the releases within this fantastical box, so you can look elsewhere on our site for the write ups, though we imagine you probably already know if this is something you want or not. (And might be kicking yourself if you already bought all nine cds separately, yeah, we know...). Basically, very special packaging for a collection of some really great, dark, experimental, heavy, weird cds!! If you want one, let us know, Utech will get 'em to us really quickly. But we probably won't hold your order for it, we'll either ship it separately when it comes in, or if you're a regular orderer, we can just inlcude it in your next order!!
V/A Variable Resistance: Ten Hours of Sound From Australia (23five) cd 14.98
"Variable Resistance" was the second 'listening room' event co-sponsored by SF sound art organization 23five, Incorporated and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Where the first collaboration between 23five and the Museum centered on Japanese experimental music, this one takes a southern route to Australia, which has enjoyed a healthy explosion of adventurous musicians exporting their wares across the globe. Assembled by noted sound artist Philip Samartzis, "Variable Resistance" is a title that encapsulates the tone and extent of the work on hand, referencing not only the electronic gizmo (the variable resistor) as key to many of the featured homespun constructions, but also as an applicable non-definition of those artists who "offer variable resistance in how they are defined and the positions they occupy in a broader cultural context, fragmented, and dispersed among remote cities and divided by enormous physical and psychological space." That said, Samartzis attempts to breakdown the Australian aesthetic into a number of sub-genres: Microphonics, Metallic Plates & Resonating Strings, Residue, Flutter & Flux, Malfunction & Resistance, Improvised Composition, Suspended Time & Expanding Space, Electrical Impulses & Variable Flow, Soundhackers, and Microwaves, Collisions, & Noise. While each of these subgenres do offer some help in interpreting the work of these artists, those featuring on this cd (a condensed version of the SFMOMA event) are pretty good at resisting any imposed characterization. Much of the work on "Variable Resistance" is based upon live improvisation filtered through a number of DSP techniques (with obvious exceptions and detours) with tracks from Oren Ambarchi, Robbie Avenaim, Philip Samartzis, David Brown, Xonk, Thembi Soddell, Darrin Verhagen, Pimmon, and Delire.
OREN AMBARCHI "Stactedit" RealAudio clip:
XONK "Nevermind The Ruddocks" RealAudio clip:
PHILIP SAMARTZIS "Soft And Loud" RealAudio clip:
DARRIN VERHAGEN "P2"
V/A Vibro No. 1 - The Inside Out Issue (Avence / Doubel Entendre) cd / box / cards 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Found one copy of this stashed in the closet, figured someone would probably want it, first order gets it... The premiere issue in this amazing sound art magazine box series. Each issue comes in beautiful printed box, and contains a cd and a series of full color cards printed on thick card stock. Very nice. Published twice a year by a team of artists and journalists in France, Vibro is, as it says on the box, "A cross between an art piece and a specialized magazine. A sonic object, a chronicle of electroacoustic and lo-fi experiments." Indeed! Includes music from David Toop, Mika Vainio, Chris Watson and more.
V/A Vibro No. 2 - The Broken Tales Issue (Avence / Doubel Entendre) cd / box / cards 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
V/A Vibro No. 3 - The Citizen Band Issue (#3) (Avence / Doubel Entendre) cd / box / cards 17.98
Just dug up THREE copies of this cool art box / audio mag, once these are gone, they're gone for good... Latest issue in this amazing sound art magazine box series. Each issue comes in beautiful printed box, and contains a cd and a series of full color cards printed on thick card stock. Very nice. Published twice a year by a team of artists and journalists in France, Vibro is, as it says on the box, "A cross between an art piece and a specialized magazine. A sonic object, a chronicle of electroacoustic and lo-fi experiments." Indeed! This issue contains pieces by Stephen Vitiello, Kinglet, Joan Schuman, Mark Vernon, Eva Sjuve, Christian Zanesi, Zoe Irvine, Aland Dunn & Jeff Young, Tonic Train, Pete Stollery, SI_COM and Tereza Neuma and features a full color card for each artist, with a full color reproduction of the artist's original artwork on one side, and on the other a description of the artist, a description of the piece, and assorted other information about the artist and their work. The tracks on this issue's cd are really amazing, beautifully haunting music concrete crafted from the sounds of waterfalls, snatches of conversations, brief snatches of music, warm rich drones, strange chopped up soundscapes, haunting intercepted phone calls, creaking machinery, buzzing insects, chimes, crickets, short wave radio, mutated speech, footsteps, passing cars, piano, sine waves and tone generators, synthesizers, radio broadcasts and all manner of found sound.
ZOE IRVINE "Nightwalk (Torch Required)" MPEG Stream:
ALAN DUNN & JEFF YOUNG "Rachmaninov" MPEG Stream:
EVA SJUVE "Astro Turf" MPEG Stream:
STEPHEN VITIELLO "Maybe Waterfalls"
V/A Viva Negativa! A Tribute To The New Blockaders Vol. 1 (Vinyl On Demand) 4lp 75.00
Holy shit! The first of two box sets, paying tribute to one of the most adventurous noise projects, The New Blockaders. Despite having collaborated with Andrew Chalk during his '80s noise days, David Jackman, and more recently with Thurston Moore, The New Blockaders have steered clear of something resembling a public profile; yet at the same time, their incendiary abrasions of junkyard noise and sonic obliteration have had a huge impact on the global community of noise musicians. In listening to all of these tributes to The New Blockaders, it's easy for us to convince ourselves that we're actually hearing the Rupenus brothers (the principle authors for TNB). You'll find Z'ev's splattered / slashed metals and aggressive frequency modulation, Oren Ambarchi's twisted steel collage, Emil Beaulieau's typical onslaught of hellish noise, Prurient's blackened power electronics, the white hot psychoacoustic squallor of Jason Kahn, a return to brutish devastation from Controlled Bleeding, V/VM in kick-ass drummachinegun attack mode, Thurston Moore embraces his noise bag for sick tone excretions, as well as tracks from Scanner, KK Null, The Haters, Daniel Menche, Nocturnal Emissions, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Asmus Tietchens, Zbigniew Karkowski, Ashtray Navigations, John Wiese, MSBR, Vortex Campaign, and many many more. This is very limited, very beautifully packaged, and very recommended for any one interested in noise culture!
V/A Viva Negativa! A Tribute To The New Blockaders Vol. 2 (Vinyl On Demand) 4lp 75.00
Well if you're going to get the first volume paying tribute to one of the most adventurous noise projects ever, The New Blockaders, there's no excuse not to get the second! This one has Merzbow offering a fitting bit of incendiary psycho-noise, Sudden Infant gargling into shitty condenser mics and pounding heavily on slabs of wood along turgid grinding noise, sunken feedback miasma from Withdrawal Method, a mindblowing session of industrial ritualism for scraping metal and cavernous reverb from Giancarlo Toniutti, retardo squeak & squiggle from RLW, chopped digital splatter from Achim Wollscheid reminiscent of his SBOTHI days, a very Organum-like acoustic drone piece from Brandon Walls, Violent Onsen Geisha being Violent Onsen Geisha (i.e. REALLY FUCKING LOUD AND PIERCING!), Damion Romero offering a snarling blast of junked speaker abuse, Spiracle transforming a seering noise into something almost hallowed in its shimmer, and Wolf Eyes just shit something out on an old cassette. Plus nasty bits of noise Jim O' Rourke, Dave Phillips, Aube, Cheapmachines, Courtis, Christian Renou, AMK, Aaron Dilloway, the Incapacitants, and many many more!
V/A Viva Negative! A Tribute To The New Blockaders Vol. 1: UK (At War With False Noise) cd 14.98
V/A Walking With Ghosts (Paradigms) cd 12.98
We have no reason not to trust Paradigms. Since their inception, this UK label has bestowed upon us slab after slab of weird and wonderful music. From the Stooges-meets-Hawkwind krautrock jams of Titan, to the massive glacial beauty of the Angelic Process, to the tripped out prog of Blueprint Human Being, to the grim blackness of Throne Of Katarsis, to the mysterious moodiness of Amber Asylum, to the epic sun baked sludge of Hjarnidaudi to the classic Pagan grimness of Utlagr. We've yet to be disappointed, and are beginning to consider Duncan who runs Paradigms an auxiliary aQuarian. How could we not? His label seems to perfectly reflect the AQ aesthetic, or will as soon as he puts out a killer power pop record and some wicked grime (haha), but for the most part, Paradigms has been batting 100% as far as we're concerned. So we were pretty excited to receive the newest Paradigms release, a compilation of drone, dark ambient, slow core, tripped out glacial prog, sludge metal, ambient doom and all of the indescribable genre nooks and crannies in between. Band name will most likely mean nothing to you, as we haven't heard of a single one of these bands: And Machine Said... Behold:, Catonium, Selaxon Lutberg, Escape The Day, Throne Of Glaktus, Paul Mercer, Monarch, Le' Rue Delashay, The Victim's Shudder, The Walking Cold, Vulf Sentient, Annastatsea and The Visions, but the music on this comp, holy shit! If there was ever a more AQ sounding compilation, we sure as shit haven't heard it. The opening track is a sort-of-industrial dirge, huge Teutonic beats, with haunting minor key melodies and super distorted low end piano, circling the crushing rhythm like vultures circling some dead and desiccated carcass. Like a stripped down instrumental Swans track. Beautiful and brutal. And that pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the record. Each track a different shade of black, from warm muted greys to pitch fucking black: from haunting elegiac piano dirges, wrapped in creeped out ominous atmosphere, an expansive cinematic ambience, so cold and washed out and utterly epic, it sounds like Basinski if he had scored a film consisting of one slowly panning shot of some arctic tundra, to creeping Codeine worship, with slowly unfurling minor key guitar and softly crooned sadboy vocals, from massive murky soundscapes of keening glistening ambience and throbbing moaning low end, to super blown out dirgey sludgy Swans-like grooves, with haunting angelic vocals and strange skittery percussion, from creepy reverb drenched chamber music, operatic vocals and moaning strings, to hellish black ambience woven from deep resonant metallic shimmers, and guttural low end rumblings... Definitely for fans of SUNNO))), Earth, Boris, Corrupted, MZ 412, Nordvargr, Codeine, Nadja, Fear Falls Burning, Hwyl Nofio, Andrew Chalk, Jonathan Coleclough, Earth, Khanate, Catacombs or any one into musicks dark and dirgey, dreamy and droney, dense and doomy. So fucking good. This is the first Paradigms release to not be packaged in hand printed paper sleeves, instead it's housed in a white DVD case, with a gorgeous black and white photograph cover. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!
AND MACHINE SAID.. BEHOLD: "The Contortionist" MPEG Stream:
THRONE OF GALAKTUS "Bloodcloud" MPEG Stream:
MONARKH "Devore Par l'Hiver" MPEG Stream:
THE VISIONS "Vortex"
V/A Warlock Pinchers Tribute (Braceface) cd 13.98
V/A We Will Be With You Shortly (Kimosciotic) 2lp 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A myriad of intriguing San Francisco experimental sound artists are features on this expansive double lp. The cast of characters includes Subarachnoid Space, Not Breathing, Earwicker, Dead Air Supply, Mystery School, Content Provider, Property Of Thieves, and Kimosciotic. Runs the gamut of texture and atmosphere. Organic and synthetic. Skitterish rhythms and claustrophonic drones. Looming thuds and brittle shimmers. If you dig the artists on the Schematic label, you might wanna check this out too (especially the Dead Air Supply tracks on side A and the Not Breathing track on Side D). For a slower, gentler mood the space rock of SubArachnoid Space meld grooves with COntent Provider followed by Kimosciotic's vaporous, almost insectile layers (side B). The second disc begins with Earwicker's lightly abrasive repetitive beats, squeals and bleeps. Conversely Mystery School take us on a much more linear voyage, sticking with a rhythm and/or sample briefly before proceeding onwards. And the final side offers the aforementioned icy liquid electronics of Not Breathing followed by the dreamily drifting aquatic chimes and echoes from Property Of Thieves. Each side is beautifully self-contained, but all four together make for a very pleasing compilation. File under: tactile sound... very nice!
V/A What Pleasing The Lord Looks Like-Marriage: Extreme, Noise...And Terror From Japan And Israel (Heart & Crossbone) cd 11.98
Killer intercontinental compilation from Israeli label Heart & Crossbone, who in the past have brought us equally killer releases from black thrash duo Barbara, weird noise metal combo Cadaver Eyes, ultra noisemakers Lietterschpich, blown out avant noise rockers Grave In The Sky, one-man experimental grind band Mildew, and most recently, the mysterious field recording-ed skitter and clang of Lagan Tapes. Not a bad track record at all! For this comp, curiously called What Pleasing The Lord Looks Like Marriage, they've gathered up 8 of their favorite extreme noise and metal bands, 4 from Israel, 4 from Japan, some mentioned above, all pretty kick ass. First up is Ryokuchi, a bass and drums doom duo from Japan, who start out with some shakuhachi and tribal drumming, before launching into a crushing, lurching sludge, dense downtuned heaviness, tons of shrieking feedback, chugging crunch, and bellowed vox. Cadaver Eyes are up next, their track begins with a thick caustic slab of undulating drone, all buzzing overtones, and layered rumbles, eventually the drums kick in, and a Khanate-like pace, the vocals tortured and harsh, the backdrop a low end slow motion doom, definitely for the ultramegadoomlords out there. Back to Japan for Zenocide, who also offer up their own sludge-y slowness, with some incredible, monstrous vocals, WAY up in the mix, the music a stripped down sort of stonery doom, think Church Of Misery crossed with Corrupted, but those vocals, holy shit, SCARY. Not sure why Lietterschpich appended 'diet' to their name, this doesn't sound any lighter or less heavy than past outings, instead, more super abstract percussive freakouts, shimmery soft noise and dubbed out doom, a swirling skree or chopped and processed sounds, all layered over a wall of buzzing crumbling sound, and those chaotic drums. MONEYISGOD from Japan are another band new to us, but again, we have to say HOLY SHIT, these guys are fucked up and heavy and awesome! Buzzing glitchy layers of noise, super blown out heavy percussion, and the occasional vocal blurt, like a way more ominous angry Boredoms, quickly giving way to a cloud of caustic white noise, all the while those drums keep pounding away. Poochlatz are another longtime aQ fave from Israel, and here they get their Whitehouse on big time, although it's like a muddy, murky, muted Whitehouse, another squall of swirling noisiness, of fuzz and buzz and hiss, peppered with strangled super processed vox, the whole thing stuttering and skittering and constantly pulsing and throbbing, almost like a Buttholes Surfer noise mix! The comp finishes off with two more new-to-us combos, first up Remesh, from Israel, who are also plenty noise, there noise expelled in great big blown out gouts, industrial, heaving, hissing, effects drenched vocals bellowing beneath that undulating sea of harsh sound, but not so harsh that it isn't listenable, although certainly harsh enough to keep away all but the very iron eared. And finally, Japan's Nerveless, mistakenly credited as Neverless, who close things out with a massive 20 minute noisedoom freakout. There is a riff, a massive crumbling super distorted bassy one, that lurches glacially, while all around it swirls dense sheets of low end throb, and a symphony of what sounds like that wind-on-microphone crackle and crunch. It's like Corrupted and Boris filtered through a blown Merzbow subwoofer. Noisy, but strangely hypnotic and heavy. Like all good comps, this will definitely leave you wanting more from most, if not all of these outfits, another noisy heavy winner from Heart & Crossbone!
RYOKUCHI "Miezarumon No Kage" MPEG Stream:
CADAVER EYES "BaHoref Karrr" MPEG Stream:
LIETTERSCHPICHDIET "Par Avion Ramblin"
V/A What Would Jason Do? Go and Do Likewise! (!ooT,eviLnaCskcuD) 2cd 14.98
Not sure about the whole story, something about ceramic pigs and blowdryers. But basically, a bunch of found sounds recorded on a minidisc were sent out to numerous underground electronic/experimental musicians (some well-known, some not-so), and traded and swapped and turned into music and songs and different sounds. The results of this interesting project vary from grating to challenging to lovely to silly. Features Kid 606, Ashtray Navigations, Alejandro and Underwood, DJ Speedranch, Venetian Snares, Persona, V/Vm, Atom Heart and tons more. Self-released by the comp's conceptualizer, and probably quite limited.
V/A Where In The World Is Wendy Broccoli? - A Collection Of Out Of Print Flying Nun Singles 1981-1996 (Flying Nun) cd 23.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. For a while, back in the nineties, AQ was THE place to get your underground New Zealand rock fix. Maybe one of the only stores in the US consistently singing the praises and slinging discs by the Tall Dwarves, the Cakekitchen, the Terminals, Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, The Dead C, Bailter Space, Nigel Bunn, David Kilgour, The Clean, King Loser, The Great Unwashed, The Bats, Roy Montgomery, The Chills... and actually come to think of it, AQ is still that place, it's just that the landscape of the NZ underground has changed a bit, folks like Birchville Cat Motel, Omit, Pumice, The Dead C (still!), Peter Wright, Antony Milton, Brothers Of The Occult Sisterhood, Armpit, Black Boned Angel, Dean Roberts, The Futurians and loads more are now the ones making waves all over the world. The names may be different, and the sounds too, but the current crop owe a huge debt to those that came before, and the sound and energy of those legendary NZ bands most definitely live on through this new blood. Every time we'd get a new disc from one of those modern NZ outfits, some part of us would begin hankering to hear some of the old shit, but it's been practically impossible to track any of it down, Flying Nun, THE New Zealand label, was still around and releasing records, but seemed to only exist within the confines of NZ itself. But finally after months and months of emailing we managed to find someone who would and could sell us Flying Nun stuff. Our box of NZ goodies finally showed up and we were transported right back to that NZ indie rock heyday, we've been blasting the Chills and Bailter Space, Chris Knox and Toy Love, The Gordons and David Kilgour... but most exciting of all, we were able to get two compilations we'd been hearing about but had been unable to get until now. One is the 25th anniversary Flying Nun 4cd box set, super expensive, but well worth it, we'll try to list it some day, although we do have a few (at the time of writing this review) if you're interested, the other is Where In The World Is Wendy Broccoli, a completely kick ass and mind blowing collection of long out of print 7" singles, released between 1981 and 1996, when Flying Nun were releasing all sorts of crazy cool weirdness on vinyl... Not sure who Wendy Broccoli is, judging from the liner notes, it seems like maybe she was a Flying Nun A+R person, but it hardly matters, the important thing is, this collection is a knockout. A great overview of the label and the scene, from indie pop jangle to murky grungy free rock and pretty much every stop in between. Like most scenes, there were a handful of key players, NZ was no different, lots of names you would probably recognize: Roy Montgomery, Peter Stapleton, Robert Scott, David Mitchell, Peter Jefferies, David Kilgour, Denise Roughan, Chris Knox, Shayne Carter, Chris Heazlewood and a handful of others, who beyond recording in their own bands and under their own names, would often pair up or group together for one off recordings, single albums or even just a 7" single, that sort of freedom, and the ability to record a track or two and see it actually released, resulted in one of the most vibrant and varied scenes EVER. And the proof is right here... The mopey, slowcore jangle of Rik Starrr, the cinematic countrified twang of the Renderers, the bass heavy new wave-y gloom of Pin Group, the murky Spacemen 3 like jams of Sssf, the glimmering indie K Records style soft indie pop of The Magick Heads, the minor key melodic pop dirge of Queen Meanie Puss, the gothy dreamy downer murk of The Children's Hour (sounding quite a bit like Joy Division or Interpol), the tripped out space rock of Celia Mancini, the fuzzed out female surf rock of 25 Cents (covering a Sonics classic), that unmistakable Chris Knox lo-fi perfect pop, and that's just a handful of the twenty tracks here. Definitely one of our favorite 'new' comps of the last little while (it actually came out in 2005), and it's done exactly what great compilations are meant to, acting not only as the perfect mix, but also getting us all riled up to hear some of our old NZ faves (most of which sound just as good today as they did back in the day!!). SO RECOMMENDED!
PIN GROUP "Ambivalence" MPEG Stream:
SSSF "Catface" MPEG Stream:
DIMMER "Dawn's Coming In" MPEG Stream:
CHRIS KNOX "Under The Influence"
V/A Wierd Compilation Volume Two (Wierd Records) 4lp 39.00
Two NYC labels - Minimal Wave and Wierd Records - have been at the forefront in energizing a resurgence in minimally sculpted synth pop that harkens back to the late '70s and early '80s of synthpunk, darkwave, and industrial sensibilities. Where Minimal Wave's focus has been on digging up the lost gems from that seminal time period, Wierd actively supports those working in the field today, with a weekly club in New York and with well-curated albums including recent releases from Xeno & Oaklander and Led Er Est. Back in 2006, Wierd released a massive 3lp set, showcasing some of the best and brightest who had passed through their doors. That first set was a magnificent find, filled with misanthropes in black leather making dirge-crusted ambience, grinding dark-disco anthems, and sexy goth electronics sporting uncanny melodies. Unfortunately that set is currently out of print, although we're hoping to secure some copies anyway. This, the second set, was completed at the end of 2008 and took a slightly different approach than the first, as the curatorial direction was clearly to dovetail Wierd's tastemaking aesthetic of coldwave synth pop with the perpetually moving US underground of noise-induced powerdroning. In many ways, what Wierd was doing in this compilation parallels what Carlos Giffoni has been doing with his No Fun Festivals, but from the other end of the spectrum. So what you get here is a beautifully packaged collection that brackets a darkly propulsive synth-pop number with an abrasive noise-drone piece, with the linking factor being that all of the sounds have been made on analogue synths. Xeno & Oaklander, Martial Canterel, Three To Forgotten, Tobias Bernstrup, and Epee Du Bois belong to the former camp; and Demons (featuring Nate Young of Wolf Eyes fame), Envenomist, Cadaver In Drag, and even the aforementioned Mr. Giffoni represent the latter. Sleep Museum, Charlie Draheim, and Wave Tank seem to be the artists that do their part to marry the two, especially Draheim's piercing synth Leather Nun-ish anti-tune "Guts On The Dancefloor." Oh yeah, all the tracks here are exclusive to the compilation. Great. Great. Great.
ENVENOMIST "A Vague Disquiet" MPEG Stream:
DEMONS "Sick By Water" MPEG Stream:
VENDOME "Lightwave Emissions" MPEG Stream:
MARTIAL CANTEREL "Pathway Splits Apart" MPEG Stream:
TOBIAS BERNSTRUP "Enemies Of The Earth"
V/A Windswept Trees And Houses (Jewelled Antler) cd-r 9.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Essentially, "Windswept Trees And Houses" is a Jewelled Antler Collective primer. The Jewelled Antler Collective (Loren Chasse, Glenn Donaldson, Jason Honea, Steven R. Smith and Rob Reger) rotate through a number of wholly unique manifestations of psychedelic improv in Thuja, Blithe Sons, Child Readers, Knit Separates, and The Skygreen Leopards. With all of those outfits present, this album encapsulates the Jewelled Antler ethos in parallel with a handful of like minded artists who share their host's metaphysical glee and earnest investigations into the mysterious. Amongst the guests on "Windswept Trees And Houses" include the amazing film / installation collaboration Silt who has recently been awarded with a showcase at the 2002 Whitney Biennial, offering a very nice piece of ephemeral vocal incantations swathed in Zoviet France delay tricks. There's also New Zealand's Entlang (featuring members of Dress and Garbage From The Flowers) presenting a disjointed track of avant-hillbilly strum. But the highlight of the compilation is The Billy Crosby's whose stunning cover of Current 93's "The Signs Of Emptiness" sublimely matches a warbling Appalachian finger picking with a rough-hewn male / female vocal duet. While most compilations suffer from poor throw-away tracks, "Windswept Trees And Houses" is a great listen throughout, and certainly gets a strong recommendation as with the rest of the Jewelled Antler releases.
THUJA "Pity Drain The Sea" RealAudio clip:
ROB EUGENE REGER "Intruder" RealAudio clip:
THE BILLY CROSBY'S "The Signs Of Emptiness" RealAudio clip:
SILT "Sail Reticulum"
V/A Women Take Back The Noise (Ubi Ubi) 3cd+pouch 30.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Curated and published by Ninah Pixie of the Bay Area neo-Dada ensemble Big City Orchestra, Women Take Back The Noise is a triple cd compilation that's long overdue, standing as an almanac for the ladies out there wandering through the nether regions of experimental music. It should be noted that the 'noise' which the title refers to is more of a convenient placeholder for glitchey-droned-electroacoustic-field-recordings-and-a-smattering-of-volcanic-noise, as the compilation has a pretty wide assortment of aesthetics and strategies. The big names include Cosey Fanni Tutti, Fe-Mail, Blevin Blectum, Jessica Rylan, and Maggi Payne; and there are some lesser known women who we here at Aquarius have long been fans of such as Kadet and Cheryl E. Leonard. The three discs revolve around distinct themes, whose orbits often cross and mingle. The first disc leans toward the drone based electronics, highlights including Aedria Hughes' spectral guitar drones and long-stringed scrapes, Kadet's fizzing granular synthesis dappled with viola squiggle, and Maggi Payne's recontextualized household appliances transformed into oblique soundsmears with haunted aspirations. The second disc sports a bit more of a post-industrial agenda, with bouts of looping syncopation, malcontent electronics, and shadowy atmospheres. The highlights on this disc include Analog Tara's droned chorus for vibrating organs, the grey phase pattern shifts of Choronzon, and Cosey's mechanical rhythms and divebomb guitar riffs that harken back more to Throbbing Gristle circa 1978. If any of the three discs on Women Take Back The Noise embody the noise of the title than it's the third disc, with Jessica Rylan's 8-bit tirade of squiggle and bleep, further circuit-bending assaults from CJ Reaven Borosque, and the unholy cacophony of Fe-Mail that obliterates most everything in its path. The three discs come packaged in an oversized plastic pouch and sports a circuit-bending flower through which anybody -- woman, man, girl, boy, dog, cat -- can make their own damn noise record! There's only a handful of these in stock, and it's hard to say if we'll be able to keep this around for long. So act fast!
COSEY FANNI TUTTI "Wired" MPEG Stream:
FE-MAIL "They Look As Innocent As Newborn Lambs..." MPEG Stream:
CHORONZON "Current" MPEG Stream:
MAGGI PAYNE "ReCycle"
V/A Wooden Guitar (Locust Music) cd 14.98
This is a nice one. The Locust label has gathered together a quartet of today's notable, underground guitar experimentalists, all of whom are quite fond of the classic Takoma label solo guitar sound -- the "deltadelica" (their word) explored thirty years or more ago by guys like John Fahey, Robbie Basho, and Leo Kottke. Paying tribute to that Eastern-tinged, American-folky tradition, there's Virginia's Jack Rose, whom you might know from drone-psych outfit Pelt and Appalachian folk twangers the Black Twig Pickers; obvious choice Steffen Basho-Junghans of Germany; Japanese "onkyo" guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama; and Sun City Girl Rick Bishop, excuse me, Sir Richard Bishop. During the 70 minutes of "Wooden Guitar" each one of 'em provides a lengthy, hypnotic acoustic guitar performance, totally unaccompanied. Actually Basho-Junghans appears twice, everyone else just once. Let's take a look-see... Rose's "Red Horse II" is a sad and lovely 14+ minutes of vaguely raga-like 12 string strumming n' picking, densely textured yet light and exactingly pretty. That's followed by the first of Mr. Basho-Junghan's two contributions to this compilation, which continues in much the same vein as Rose's -- it's even called "A North Thuringian Raga". The Berliner is a virtuoso and this is a fantastic, meditative track indeed. Next up, Tetuzi Akiyama's piece is a lot sparser and more "abstract" sounding than what's come before, less in the Takoma style (yet still in its spirit, and latter-day Fahey would certainly approve). Appropriately, it's called "Time Between" and is the longest cut on here, at over twenty minutes. It slowly, stumblingly, somberly unfolds. Haunting, raw, and quite beautiful, it's a masterful centerpiece to this collection. Basho-Junghans checks in again with a shorter piece, the five-minute "Smiling Penguins". Repetitive and bright, it sounds like some sort of thumb-piano minimalism. Then, we're into the home stretch with the final piece on "Wooden Guitar" -- Sir Richard Bishop's quarter-hour "Corpuscle" which encompasses dusty spagetti western Morricone, acoustic Jimmy Page, and flamenco flourishes. It's a grand finale for this disc for sure, and this disc itself is grand. Essential to anyone into sheer impassioned, inventive, gosh-darn gorgeous solo acoustic guitar playin'. And it's packaged with an eye to the old Takoma LPs -- this cd comes in a embossed, silkscreened cardboard sleeve [not any more, actually, now it's in jewel case, but looks nice all the same], very nicely done.
JACK ROSE "Red Horse II" MPEG Stream:
TETUZI AKIYAMA "Time Between" MPEG Stream:
SIR RICHARD BISHOP "Corpuscle"
V/A Wrong Application (Tigerbeat6) cd 12.98
Holy crap, another compilation from everybody's favorite electronic superstar Kid 606 and friends. Compiled by Andrew Nosnitsky, the concept behind "Wrong Application" was to create audio tracks resulting from non-audio, pure data information origination. Hexadecimalica anyone? "Wrong Application" furthers the aesthetic of the Matmos/Lesser/Kid 606/etc. co-op project Disc in a rather ultraexcessive fashion (imagine that!), resulting in pure digital errata and sonic terrorism akin to the Susan Lawly camp of extreme music, but in an 'electronica' context. Featured artists: Blitter, Lesser, Farmers Manual, Phthalocyanine, Kid 606, Pimmon, Electric Company, Underwood, Suetsu, Viratone Ballad and No Human Intervention. Tracks are sewn together with interludes and segues by a shy Keith Fullerton Whitman (aka Hrvatski) under the guise of 'Anonymous'. Not for anyone looking for a pleasurable ass moving experience. Brutal.
BLITTER "That Perceptrons" RealAudio clip:
LESSER "192041 DAE Error Encountered" RealAudio clip:
KID 606 "so.nk.izz.obtuse.and.unneccessary"
V/A Xing-Wu (Xing-Wu) cd 12.98
V/A Yasujiro Ozu : Hitokomakura (And/OAR) 2cd 15.98
Yasijiro Ozu was a Japanese filmmaker (1903-1963) who had emphasized restraint throughout the 54 films of his career, offering emotionally rich, if purposefully understated narratives about the simple pleasures and pains of everyday life. This compilation is a tribute to Ozu's tableaux; and given that Ozu quietly punctuated his tales with shots of clouds, arrangements of bottles, industrial landscapes, and other environments, the tribute features a handful of suitably quiet sound artists who often use field recordings or environmental space within their work. Steve Roden is the perfect artist for such a tribute; and fittingly, he opens this compilation. His circular softness for chimed guitar and tapped drum patterns is a wonderful departure in which Roden pushes his sound design closer to the post-rock elegance of Bark Psychosis. Roden's piece is one of the better tracks on this compilation, with other highlights including Keith Berry's mournful grayscapes of drone and slow-motion crackle, Toshiya Tsunoda's impeccable recording of aerated hiss, a series of lilting lullaby chimes from John Hudak, There's plenty of raw phonography from the likes of Hitoshi Kojo (aka Spiracle), Kiyoshi Mizutani, Michael Shannon, and Ralph Steinbruchel. Taku Sugimoto's piece has to be noted for its sheer blankness except for six piano notes that emphatically emerge after 3 and a half minutes of silence. This happens to be the second tribute to filmmakers from And/OAR, following the now out-of-print compilation homage to Tarkovsky Another Kind Of Language.
STEVE RODEN "Tapping The Inside Of Sitting Still" MPEG Stream:
KEITH BERRY "Hatsu Yume" MPEG Stream:
AONO JUKKEN ENSEMBLE "Tsuiso (Chasing Memories)"
V/A Yokomono 03 (Staalplaat) lp 17.98
V/A You've Got Your Orders - Volume 1 (Chrome Peeler) cd 11.98
Kind of a weird concept for a compilation. Track titles were sent out to a handful of artists who then wrote songs based on or influenced by those titles. One quibble though. A lot of the song titles are really kind of dumb and joke-y: "Tickle Party #2", "Gameshow Contestant Flip-Out", "Not Enough Crayons For Everyone", "Sign Language Tourettes", "Hot Licks For Shredders", etc. Definitely the result of an evening of "You know what would make a funny song title?" and perhaps some serious drinking. That said, there are some pretty cool tracks on here. House Of Low Culture contribute a freaked out drone-y dirge, Mark Arm gives us an ultra lo-fi drum machine metal guitar organ dirge sounding like a teenage Mudhoney practicing in your basement, Godstomper thrash through their 30 second track with a bass that sounds like a washing machine and carboard box drums, and Hella do their hyper spastic cartoon metal blur. The bands that are instrumental fare way better than the rest, since they aren't forced to come up with lyrics for "Dance Of The Drunken Siberian" or "Smut Merchant Of Venice", which in a way is kind of a drag as I think we would have been way more intrigued by artists forced to actually come up with intense serious songs based on concepts not their own, instead of just coming up with noisy funny craziness. But maybe that's for a different compilation. Also features Nels Cline, Bluebird, Twink, Weasel Walter, Bliss Blood, Beehive And The Barracudas and more!
HOUSE OF LOW CULTURE "Showtime At The Apollo 9" MPEG Stream:
MARK ARM "Coke Limo" MPEG Stream:
HELLA "Dance Of The Drunken Siberian"