COLUMN ONE Early Tapes 1992-1994 (Nefryt) cd 17.98
Column One is a mysterious German post-industrial project that began in 1991 injecting their grim constructions of crumbled noise, avant-turntablism, drone, and grimy grit with allusions to science, gnosticism, eschatology, and Dada. Their mission is one that seems to follow that of Cranioclast - another hermetic project from Germany whose hypnotic looping pieces are girded by strange texts, anagrams, and shadowy metaphor. As the title of the album attests, this is a collection of the earliest material from Column One culled from their first cassettes as well as some unreleased material recorded around the same time. A morose, unsettled atmosphere hangs throughout all of the 13 tracks, with blackened synth tones, gristled pulses, and martial rhythms slowly revolving through appropriated collages snatched from radio and old records playing Germanic anthems. Where the stained electronics certainly have their roots in the gnarled TG / SPK ambience of autopsy films and horror dronescaping, the found sonic objects remove Column One from the death-industrial camps of Brighter Death Now or anything found on Cold Meat Industries in the mid-'90s. These warbling, decentered loops and deformed, mediated samples are handled in an almost poetic and painterly manner that could be considered psychedelic if everything weren't so fucking dark. If not a direct influence on Dominic Fernow, these early Column One pieces articulate the same disturbed psychological vibe that Fernow built into his Christian Cosmos and Vatican Shadow recordings. Housed in an oversized sleeve with 8 postcards.
"Mit Fried Und Freud Ich Fahr Dahin" MPEG Stream:
"Odyssee" MPEG Stream:
COMAE s/t (Rhiz) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Comae is a new collaborative project formed by London-based sound architect Janek Schaefer and Robert Hampson (Main, Loop). Beautiful guitar based sonicscapes are accentuated with found sound abstractions and spatial dynamicism (via piercing test tones and low frequency rumbles). Pieces vary from dense aural vehemence to dispassionate minimalism and super low frequency pulses. Quite nice.
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Dreams No Longer Hesitate (Zond) cd 11.98
A couple years back, we raved about a disc called The Dematerialized Passenger, the first album from this unique band (or perhaps we should say project), remember? In case you don't, here's the deal: Combat Astronomy are a USA/UK collaboration, creating a crushing industrial/jazz/prog hybrid. Imagine Godflesh with a free improv horn section, saxophones squealing amidst the metallic riffage. Or Scorn taking a skronked-out stab at chamber music. Like their earlier release, this new Combat Astronomy opus is again laced with punishing, rigid drummachine beats, along with heavy, uber-low-end fretless bass shaking each song with doomic distortion. Which establishes an absurdly heavy context for sax, clarinet, flute and bassoon to freak out organically, like wild weeds creeping through cracks in giant slabs of concrete, on the floor of an abandoned factory somewhere. But unlike their all-instrumental debut, this time Combat Astronomy have recruited a female vocalist, Elaine di Falco, who also plays some piano, to add yet another unusual dimension to their mashup of extremes, now reminding us slightly of James Plotkin's now forgotten post-Old project Flux. (Hmm, maybe Kayo Dot and later Ulver could be other comparisons now too.) If the addition of her vocals makes this a bit more overtly melodic, it's still no less extreme overall. And certainly just as intricate, her delicate vocal arrangements in themselves quite complex, multi-tracked, as on the urban R&B influenced (???? no, we're crazy) "Touch The Moon" and the album's whispery coda, "Ordinary Miracles". And the focus of CA is still on the ominous grooves, ambient electronics, and battling horn bleats... tracks like "Alive Inside Eternity" and "Sentinel" are lengthy epics (12:36 and 16:49, respectively) of serious beats and blats and skree, in the challenging, compelling, militant manner to which actually only Combat Astronomy can truly lay claim. The vocals, when present, then take it into another, equally unlikely, atmospheric realm of twisted prog-pop. Pretty darn cool!
"I Can't Breathe" MPEG Stream:
"Lightning In Her Eyes" MPEG Stream:
"Alive Inside Eternity"
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Earth Divided By Zero (Zond) cd 11.98
You don't really hear much about Combat Astronomy, except from us at Aquarius Records (do you?). Which is weird, 'cause this band should be a lot better known than they are, among fans of heavy and/or freaky music, considering they're already on their third (and a half, counting a split) cd release, one that has been long awaited, for a certain subset of AQ-customers in the know. For those not in the know, we'll say that basically CA sound like a Justin Broadrick or Kevin Martin industrial metal act (Godflesh or God, something along those lines) mixed up with freeform improv horn-skree, for results both brutal and beautiful. This band, or we should say this collaborative trans-Atlantic project, to be precise, is the unholy spawn of American sub-bass sludge technician Jamie Huggett and British improv reedsman Martin Archer (and friends). Thus they don't play live that often, which might have something to do with their low profile. They're self-described as an "intense hypnagogic industrial/jazz/prog/doommetal hybrid", and we can't think of any other outfit that better fits that mouthful. As we now know to expect, CA's new disc dishes out uber heavy doomic annihilation, bludgeoning with squelching bass and machine-like beats, the entire thing in fact percussive in its distorted rhythmic impact, amidst ominous organ and rising electronic drone. Yet CA also has a prog/classical side, thanks to Archer's woodwinds and also some female vocals, first introduced to this previously all instrumental act on their 2nd album Dreams No Longer Hesitate, returning here only wordessly, to eerie, avant garde effect. With that in mind, and all the heavy bass, Magma fans might find this to be their extreme sludge combo of choice. We'd also of course recommend Combat Astronomy to those who appreciate the likes of Painkiller, 16-17, Scorn, and even UFOmammut... And Earth Divided By Zero might just be their best disc yet, keeping the expanded palette of sounds found on their last outing, but leaving aside that disc's occasional surprise explorations of vocal (prog) pop song-ishness, instead forging a more organic synthesis of what we REALLY dig about this unit, the grinding low end and squealing sax skronk, the heavy rhythms and atmospheric, ambient-ish interludes. Not that it's without melodic surprises, like how track two tries to lull us with a placid piano intro, shades of Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore... but soon enough the bass and distortion attack is back in force. Punishing, but such sweet punishment.
"Astralized" MPEG Stream:
"Parallax Of One Arc Second" MPEG Stream:
"Earth Divided By Zero Part 1"
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Flak Planet (Zond) cd 11.98
With the arrival of Combat Astronomy's fourth album, welcome once again to that unlikely alternate universe inhabited by us at Aquarius Records (and a few others too, like you?), where this intense instrumental outfit is as HUGE as their sonic footprint, their ultra-heavy hybrid of avant garde jazz and post metal industrial doom resounding planetwide in giant concert halls... if 21st century classical chamber deathjazz sludge were the next big thing, they'd be the biggest. Whereas, heck, in real life, we don't even know if they tour, probably not, since some of the group live in England, with another crucial band member based here in the USA. When they get together (however they do it) it must be a cathartic experience for everyone involved. As they say themselves about this album, it's "LOUD BASS LOUD HORNS LOUD DRUMS MASSIVE RIFFS" all the way. Well, with some quasi-ambient interludes, and bits of melody amidst the mayhem. But for the most part, thick drone, rumbling bass, punishing programmed rhythms, screaming horn blurt. It's kinda like if Godflesh were to record an album for Tzadik, armed with an arsenal of horns and woodwinds. Combat Astronomy use and abuse a variety of saxophones and clarinets, various flutes, bassoon, bass recorder, reindeer horn (?), along with fretless 5 string bass, organ, electronics, zither, tambourine... On Flak Planet, the formula has been perfected. The disc's opening track "The Stone Tape", is both cinematic and assaultive, it's jazz, but for the squelching sub bass and trudging jackboot rhythms. As the disc spins, there's outbursts of maniacal piano, jarring prog complexities, stretches of exotic atmospheric drone, and more monolithic thud. Brutal yet beautiful, as we've said before, for fans of 16-17 (natch) as well as, we'd bet, possibly PIVIXKI, Master Musicians of Bukkake, Ehnahre, and assorted RIO ensembles.
"The Stone Tape" MPEG Stream:
"Zona" MPEG Stream:
"Inverted Universe (Part 1)"
COMBAT ASTRONOMY Kundalini Apocalypse (Zond) cd 11.98
A fine follow-up to 2011's Flak Planet, here's another hectic, headspinning batch of blat, bash, and blast from this unusual unit, avant-industrial-prog-jazz-doom titans Combat Astronomy, the collaborative project of American James Huggett (fretless 5-string bass, guitar programming, production, etc.) and the UK's Martin Archer (horns, organ, electronics). Archer also brings in the Juxtavoices choir for the disc's 13+ minute finale "Cave War", Juxtavoices being the vocal ensemble we last heard on the recent Record Of The Week outing by Archer's incredible Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere. As any Combat Astronomy aficionado expects, 'tis total, tumbling heavy jazz-grind, the burble of Archer's clarinet or saxophones surfacing amidst the thick low-end rumble of Huggett's bass and jackbooted machine rhythms. Where else are you gonna get this fix? You'd have to go back to John Zorn's Painkiller or England's mighty God back in the '90s to hear something like this. Keeping it interesting, the iron fist of Combat Astronomy slips on the velvet glove, sometimes, with occasional snatches of sinister but blissful ambient drone or third-stream jazz or buried melody battling the propulsive chaotic crush of the riff/rhythm onslaught. The pounding power, freakout energy, and sometimes ceremonial-sounding beauty of these ten tracks have us fully entranced. Seeing 'em live (do they ever even play live??) would be amazing. Never thought about this before, but we hope that the name Combat Astronomy doesn't mean that they're opposed to the science of astronomy, as in "fight against astronomy". Combat astrology, ok, but astronomy? Or maybe, it's a type of astronomy, the kind used in combat, like if you're a starfighter pilot or something. Anyway, not important, nevermind. What is important is that this band shouldn't be as under-the-radar as they are, 'cause they're pretty incredible.
"Kundalini Dub" MPEG Stream:
"Recoil" MPEG Stream:
"Orchard Of The Snakes" MPEG Stream:
COMBAT ASTRONOMY The Dematerialised Passenger (Discus) cd 10.98
A grinding, rumbling distorto sub-bass death march with jackhammering machine beats... sounds kinda Godfleshy at first... but then, what's this? Heavy-duty blasts of saxophone, flute and bassoon?? Yes indeed, Combat Astronomy combine industrial metal with freaked out free jazz and prog, making for maybe the heaviest "jazz" record since Switzerland's under-exposed and now defunct 16-17 assaulted our ears with Gyatso back in '94. Yet there's also interludes of calm -- doomy passages of ambient moodiess with droning, multitracked reeds. And then it's back to the grind. The rhythms are punishingly mechanical, but also interestingly off-kilter. The weird timing adds to the sense of unease that's also built up by the squonky, skronky sax bleating and ominious electronics... Who's responsible for this brutal, beautiful madness? Well, Combat Astronomy's all-instrumental album The Dematerialized Passenger is a trans-Atlantic collaboration, built upon the foundation of the distorted bass, guitar and programmed beats of one James Huggett from Minnesota USA, in collusion/collision with the saxes, clarinet, violin and effects of Sheffield UK's Martin Archer. Remember that Masayo Asahara cd we reviewed a while back? Saint Agnes Fountain, the supposed long-lost '70s Japanese minimalist drone-prog album that was actually the work of a current-day British musician? He's *that* guy. Two of Archer's pals join in on flute and bassoon as well. The results are likely to alienate all but the most adventurous jazz, metal, and prog fans...which is why we figured a lot of AQ customers might like it! Could certainly be a good one for fans of Godflesh, God, 16-17, Aufgehoben, Last Exit, Zdrastvootie, and other far out outfits on the extremes of industrial, prog and/or improv.
"Greedy Angels" MPEG Stream:
COMET III Astral Voyager (Fire Museum) cd 14.98
Frickin' gorgeous! This hitherto unknown to us Sicilian duo (Delfo Catania on guitars, sitar, flute, tapes, homemade instruments, percussion, etc. + Carlo Matanza on Moog, organ, theremin, and suchlike synths) delivers a sparkling slab of late-night, outer-spheres, electro-acoustic dronepsych improv. Good listening with the lights off, eyes closed, headphones on, suitably relaxed, ready for the "astral voyage" that this indeed simulates and/or stimulates. The ceremony begins with reverbed tones in placid alternation, heralding a gentle, crickety/treefroggy drone bedecked with ringing pulsations, swirling electronics, pretty ping ping pings and hummmmmummmummm... It's all quite organic and lovely, sort of like Jewelled Antler meets Popol Vuh, all new weirded out. An abstract ritual of chiming and tinkling opens track two, which also is graced with wordless female vocals, moaning on high, the contribution of guest Shirin Demma. Echoing piano chords also punctuate this haunted voidscape... strings zing, as things drift sweetly and serene but with an undercurrent of ominousness. On track three, Comet III introduce some non-sucky saxophone exhalations (courtesy of another guest, Caetano Firlito), bringing more smokey, somnolent, and melodious atmosphere, steering our astral voyage into the dreamlands of track four's thicker haze of slo-mo synthesizer spinning out wobbly drones. And then finally, on the album's 15 minute title track, a suspenseful electronic rhythm is begun, amidst bells and bloops and a bed of soothing synth that sometimes rears up into a denser, spookier sizzle. This one's a bit like a spaced-out John Carpenter soundtrack, as heard (hallucinated?) through the walls of a New Age isolation tank... towards the end some simple folky guitar meander adds to the mesmerizing mood. An altogether satisfying voyage, is Comet III's debut trip though our headspace, a perfectly mysterious and evocative tribute to its kosmiche krautrock forebears for sure...
"C1" MPEG Stream:
"Part 1" MPEG Stream:
COMETS ON FIRE & BURNING STAR CORE s/t (Yik Yak) cd-r 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. A long while back we had a super limited lp featuring a freaked out psychedelic team up between Bay Area psych rock heroes Comets On Fire, and Ohio drone noise outfit Burning Star Core. While that lp is loooong gone, the label just discovered a box containing the last 30 cd-r's of this disc, originally sold on tour only, which features completely differently music than the lp, although recorded during the same sessions. So if you missed out on the lp, this cd-r should do you right, and if you got the lp and loved it, then this here is like a perfect part two. Another massive slab of freaked out lo-fi psych-sludge. Most definitely NOISY, and quite certainly LO-FI. Blown out, ultra reverbed, psychedelic noise. There may indeed be actual songs, but they are struggling constantly to stay afloat, pummelled by wave after wave of mayhemic skree and crumbly distortion, bottomless pit reverb and fuzz Fuzz FUZZ! Wow. We're pretty sure the sessions that yielded these sound (captured on the out of print lp and this here cd-r) were purely a studio concoction, but the thought of actually experiencing this stuff live had us excitedly donning protective eyewear, thick soled boots, fire retardant clothing, industrial strength earplugs and strapping on our rock and roll hardhats! ALREADY OUT OF PRINT! We have 30 copies, and once those are gone, it's gone for good...
COMFORTS OF MADNESS Autism (Durian) cd 17.98
COMFORTS OF MADNESS Ršhren (Charhizma) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Tinkering effects and cartoony samples join a traditional jazz improv set which would easily be at home on Zorn's Tzadik. Features fabulous Japanese guitar player Uchihashi Kazuhisa (Altered States, Ground Zero).
COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER Amnesia (Elder Press) 12" 17.98
Hot on the heels of their stellar Root Strata release Worn, SF's Common Eider, King Eider are back with a brand new, VERY limited, splendidly dark dose of somber, atmospheric folk. After being so instantly won over by Worn, we couldn't wait to hear what kind of grim beauty lay behind this gorgeous one-sided 12" picture-disc. Amnesia patiently opens with deep stretches of weeping violin, quiet vocal haze creeps into the murky horizon, subtle cymbal splashes accent the deeply ambient swells and the piece grows into a huge orchestral bellow. A single composition that breathes and changes like a sweeping ocean tide, a wash of crystalline tones wavering from the forest floor, long-form melodies echoing from the evening sky, the strings, vocals and minimal percussion all melting together into a gloriously kaleidoscopic fever dream! So gorgeous! Packaged in a cool heavy PVC silk screened sleeve, the record pressed on white vinyl, the B side also silkscreened, super striking looking, and criminally LIMITED TO JUST 100 COPIES, these will be gone in no time, so be quick!
COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER Figs, Wasps And Monotremes (Root Strata) cd 12.98
Record number two from the peculiarly monickered Common Eider, King Eider, the one man project of Mr. Rob Fisk, formerly of Deerhoof, currently of Badgerlore, and much like the first disc, Figs, Wasps And Monotremes, is another haunting missive of long drawn out drones, and minimal folk mesmer. The intro is a smoldering shimmer of scraped strings, wavery falsetto vocals, and all manner of overtones and harmonics, mysterious and hypnotic, we would have been quite happy if it had gone on just like that for the record's entire 32+ minutes, but the record soon shifts to something more songy (only slightly though), deep distant swells, dense soft drones and more ethereal falsetto vocals, all drift over insistently sawed strings, the string unfurling an almost looped sounding rhythmic melody. The record drifts lazily after that from spare melancholic reverb drenched sun dappled soft folk, all shimmery and washed out, to still more keening high end drones, looooong tones allowed to howl and buzz and slowly decay before being overtaken by still more growling, scraped strings, sounding almost like a 20th century string quartet slowed down to no beats per minute, to fractured free folk, steel string buzz, angular abstract riffage wrapped in haunting gauzy lo-fi hum, to super intense, almost Sunroof! worthy sheets of high end ur-drone, the notes crumbling and distorted and gorgeously blown out, and back to more introspective folky flutter. A gorgeous sprawling, abstract record, the listener drifting dreamily from song to song, sound to sound, sinking ever deeper, falling in slow motion, Common Eider's blurred soundscapes moving past, like a film slowed way down, so each frame flickers gently before slipping away, allowing another to take its place. Absolutely lovely. Gorgeous packaging too, as with all Root Strata releases, a three panel white cardstock sleeve, printed in silver ink, adorned with images of fruits and branches and a platypus!
"Wasp Tunnels (Intro)" MPEG Stream:
"Monotreme Mom (For Jamie & Andrew)" MPEG Stream:
"Brown Trumps White (Harry's Mix)"
COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER How To Build A Cabin (Yik Yak) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Latest bit of abstract beauty from Mr. Rob Fisk, formerly of Deerhoof, now of Badgerlore, a gorgeous slow burning expanse of soft and shimmery minor key Appalachian guitar, buzzing bowed viola, and reverb drenched vocals. Each track is a slow build, a musical new dawn, the guitar sprawled out like dew on grass, the vocals like a gauzy fog hugging the ground, a tranquil blissful drift, the viola offering bits of blurred grit and melody, so so gorgeous. Imagine some impossible blend of Grouper, Henry Flynt and Jack Rose. The surprise here, is the occasional blast of jagged super distorted guitar. Not sure how many folks remember the amazing Slap Happy Humphrey record, a long out of print Japanese disc featuring Jojo from Hiokaidan, one of the Angels In Heavy Syrup and one of the Subvert Blaze guys, long soft swirls of lilting dreamy folk occasionally interrupted by huge crashing psychnoise guitar. Bits of this disc definitely remind us of a sort of modern freakfolk version of that disc, although the psychnoise intrusions here are much less frequent, and even at their noisiest offer up some gorgeous keening melodies. Barring the bits of coruscating heart-of-the-sun guitar freakouts, most of this disc is delicate and gentle, the vocals indistinct and plaintive, wrapped in soft billows of reverb, the guitar spare and lovely, the viola adding just the right bit of raga like drone... Fans of any of the above mentioned bands will love this for sure. And anyone into the current crop of dreamfolk would do well to check this out as well. GORGEOUS packaging. A thick white textured paper booklet printed with silver metallic ink, sewn together, the cd in a clear plastic sleeve, the artwork featuring images of ducks and instructions on how to build a cabin (of course), all held together by an extra wide Japanese style obi. Wow.
"Steal Your Hair" MPEG Stream:
"Hollemn" MPEG Stream:
"Please Don't Drill In Anwr"
COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER Sense Of Place (aQuarius recOrds) cd+dvd+book 35.00
It's finally here, the years in the works Sense Of Place, an ambitious audio/visual document that captures San Francisco drone/ambient/folk band Common Eider, King Eider's quest to build a cabin in the wilds of Alaska. It's an incredible package including both a book and a dvd, each offering up images of the process, from the flight up, the journey to the site, to the actual construction, as well as the gorgeous landscape surrounding the cabin (or cabin to be). The dvd and the cd both contain part of the music, both of which are meant to be played simultaneously, Zaireeka style, the fusion of the two resulting in a lush soundscape of layered organ drones and haunting choral harmonies, the music on its own is moving and mysterious, but when coupled with the visuals, it's that much more powerful. The dvd is a gorgeously impressionistic visual travelogue of the process, the first image is the plane soaring over the clouds, then the snowed-in city, the trip to the site through epic expanses of snow, the actual building of the cabin, from the ground up, the whole thing peppered with lots of stunning shots of the surrounding landscape, the snow that goes on for miles, gorgeous pink tinged skies, distant mountains and dense almost black forests, eventually, the shots are through the windows of the cabin, the trees bowing in the cold wind outside, the clouds drifting across stunningly blue skies, eventually, there's one more survey of the pristine landscape surrounding the cabin, animal tracks, frozen lakes, the setting sun, trees still green, gathering storms in the distance, and finally, the cabin recedes into the distance, and we're back on the plane once again, heading home. The accompanying music is the perfect soundtrack, spare and spacious, the distant drone a constant underpinning, the vocals drifting in and out, we were worried at first about matching up the two discs, but realized it almost doesn't matter, we tried multiple mixes, and it always sounded fantastic, wheezy chordal whirs, the vocals layered and wreathed in echo and reverb, a mysterious chorale that instead of building and then fading out, remains somewhat constant, with different voices receding and resurfacing, each part of the music slipping easily from just organ, to organ and voices, making for a constantly shifting landscape of muted melody and vocal texture, the vibe is sort of Grouper-ish, but a bit more medieval, a bit more arcane sounding, as if it were in fact some ancient ritual, reenacted for the building of this structure, to imbue it with the spirit of the ancients. The music is dark, but infused with a mysterious warmth, the perfect analogue really for the whole process/project. The cd and the dvd are both housed in stickered clear plastic inner sleeve, which itself is then housed in a super elaborate printed origami style fold out poster, sealed with a sticker. All that's accompanied by a trade-sized, full color, 56 page perfect bound softcover book, featuring photos from the expedition, some as mundane as a sign at the local grocery store, others stunning shots of the terrain, the roaring fire in the cabin stove, empty Pabst Blue Ribbon cans in a snow drift, a black banana, cut firewood, the plane, tracks in the snow, some obvious, others abstract, all gorgeous. Includes minimal liner notes, including a poem by Ben Chasny of Six Organs Of Admittance. And on top of that, the package also includes a silkscreened patch, featuring the Common Eider sigil. LIMITED TO 250 COPIES!! And only available at aQuarius!!!
"Sense Of Place (Excerpt 1)" MPEG Stream:
"Sense Of Place (Excerpt 2)"
COMUS / RAMESES III / SIMON FINN The Forum - London 28th / 29th May 2010 (self-released) 7" 8.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. To commemorate the recent 25th anniversary Current 93 performances in London, a super limited number of these commemorative 7"s were pressed up (only 300 copies!), featuring exclusive tracks from three of the bands that performed with C93, psych drone combo Rameses III, psychedelic folk legend Simon Finn, and most excitingly, legendary seventies acid folk outfit, the mighty Comus!! The Comus track might be what gets folks most excited, and rightfully so, a recording of the group performing "Diana" on the Melloboat, in Sweden, in 2008, their first show together after nearly 40 years!!! We tried to watch clips on YouTube, but the crowd was so amped, and howling and clapping and singing along, you could barely hear the band. Thankfully this recording is pristine, and the band sound incredible, even more woozy and carnivalesque and maniacal than they did back in the day, the player practically perfect, the vocals incredible for the many decades that have passed, definitely makes us wish we had flown over. Rameses III contributes a gorgeous thick swath of densely layered dronemusic, very minimal, softly pulsing, rife with swirling overtones, hypnotic and raga like, really super nice. And finally, Simon Finn unfurls some dark brooding psychedelic folk, lovely and haunting male / female vocal harmonies, over warm soft melodic swells, the sound stripped down, the arrangement minimal, the structure skeletal, but the overall feel still darkly lush and lovely. A pretty fantastic 3 way split, we can only imagine how great the shows must have been. A gorgeous sonic artifact too, sturdy full color cover, pressed on thick colored vinyl, and again limited to only 300 copies!
CONCEPT BUREAU Identity Encoder (self-released) cd-r 6.98
Concept Bureau is the name of this Bay Area project who generate a plethora of sounds using a machine they call The Identity Encoder. According to the liner notes the mysterious mechanism "translates personal facts and preferences into sound". These particular recordings were done just down the street from us at Artists' Television Access (ATA for short, it's a cool center for d.i.y. underground media works). The fourteen tracks of the fourteen participants range from soothing womb-y pulses and blips to a cavalcade of wind-up and squeak toys run amok. If you didn't know the story behind this release you could easily believe that these are some home recordings made by an old BBC Radiophonic engineer. Limited to 50, packaged in hand-numbered, hand-sewn cardboard sleeves.
"Heather Dewey-Hagborg" MPEG Stream:
CONCERN Caesarean (Arbor Infinity) lp 16.98
Gorgeous new full length from Gordon Ashworth (aka little brother of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone's Owen Ashworth), and like the previous Concern album, Truth And Distance (reissued on vinyl and reviewed elsewhere on this week's list!), Caesarian is another meticulously crafted series of looped and processed soundscapes, equal parts Philip Jeck, Tim Hecker and William Basinski, full of lush drones, crumbling decaying tapes, and hazy atmospherics, all assembled from a surprising array of acoustic instruments: piano, clarinet, banjo, sruti box, acoustic guitar, augmented with processed tapes and various reverbs, resulting in a sound that's both human and alien, organic and processed, beautiful and mysterious. "Discrete Memorial" might be one of our favorite tracks yet from Ashworth, a strange loopscape of melancholy piano, mournful horns, all captured on a crumbling bit of tape, repeated into a mesmerizing refrain, but the various elements stuttering and glitching out, like some beautiful bit of sad pop, recorded on an old damaged tape, and played back on a malfunctioning tape player, gorgeously hypnotic, but similar to Basinski's recordings, much of the sound is derived from what surrounds the music, strange drop outs, bits of hiss, subtle squelches here and there, the tones and notes changing speed and pitch, it's all woven deftly into a warped and warbly, beautifully imperfect bit of looped droning melodic drift. The cool thing though is that by the end of the track, the sound has shed all of the imperfections, having grown gradually more lush and less lo-fi as the song progressed, eventually ending up a gorgeously swirling Lubomyr Melnyk like flurry of rich harmonics and warm melodies. The rest of the record is equally moving, and sonically breathtaking, from the warm whirling swells and metallic buzz of "Mending", to the fractured murky folk drift and eventual psychedelic drone effulgence of "From Warmth And From Violence", to the glitchy almost Oval sounding shimmer of "Leaving Gold", and finally, the sprawling 34 minute "Immersed In Envy, Porous With Forgetfulness", which manages to somehow bring all of those various sounds together, insectoid buzz, hazy abstracted minimal shimmer, mysterious field recordings, washed out whirring organs, sunshiney dronepop drift, blurred hiss drenched ambience, all woven into a lovely, slow shifting expanse of lush minimal beauty. LIMITED TO 500 COPIES!!!
CONCERN Misfortune (Isounderscore) lp 17.98
The final release from Concern, aka Gordon Ashworth (brother of Owen, he the man behind Casiotone For The Painfully Alone), which uses as its main sound source a folk instrument called the box harp, or lap harp, and the record opens with a gorgeous Reichian figure played on the harp, which becomes the foundation of the whole record, an homage of sorts to the African kora and the a a similar stringed instrument from Madagascar. The creation of the record is almost as compelling as the sounds themselves, with Ashworth using super primitive looping techniques involving cassettes and speakers and microphones and delays, but even more exciting, using cavernous parking garages and a sort of crude echo/delay, like a modern day Taj Mahal Travellers. The results speak for themselves though. Beginning with that rapid fire figure of notes played on the box harp, buzzing and percussive and darkly melodic, all over wheezing barely there chords, those opening harp notes soon disappear beneath a warm wash of lush layered shimmer, which we gradually realize is simply the same sounds, slowed down and blurred a bit, transforming them into something droney and dreamy, but the sound is constantly shifting, the opening flurry of notes surfacing now and again in different forms, all building to a lush dense dreamily blown out coda, all the while, the sounds constantly couched in a background of ambient sounds and field recordings, the crackle of fire, voices, footsteps, the clatter of dishes, the clinking of glasses, it all definitely adds a strange dimension to an already mysterious landscape of sound. The B side continues right where the first side left off, the buzzing box harp notes now hazy and washed out and wreathed in a prismatic glimmer, lush, but super active, a roiling melodic swirl just under the surface, the sound mesmerizing and ever shifting, building gradually to a soft cacophony, before closing with a gorgeous sprawl of softly warbly mesmer, sounding like Philip Jeck spinning old recordings of box harps, everything dreamy and crackly and softly fading to black. LIMITED TO 300 COPIES! In a super striking jacket, with teal foil metallic printing on black matte jackets.
CONCERN Truth & Distance (Digitalis) lp 16.98
This awesome 2009 cd release, now available on vinyl!! Here's what we said about it before: One of several new releases on the always kick ass Digitalis label, this one from a one man band called Concern, that one man being Gordon Ashworth, little brother of Owen Ashworth of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, as well as a member of the late great Peyote Calamity, a weird heavy outfit, who sadly never released a proper record, but neither of those bands necessarily hint at the sounds to be found here. Utilizing a vast collection of instruments and noise making devices, zither, lap harp, mbira, banjo, piano, clarinet, trombone, accordion, acoustic guitar and alto horn, Ashworth blurs all those various instruments into long streaks of hazy drone-y dreaminess. Three tracks, all long, all gorgeously lush and textured, strangely melodic and propulsive for a sound that tends toward a more static drift. Opener "Truth And Distance" bristles with energy, a glowing warm shimmer, the edges growing ever sharper as the songs sprawls outward, from a hushed whisper to a mighty heart of the sun ur-drone, the sound raw and organic, the core a deep unwavering drone, but the sound is like a stream, carrying all manner of glitch and hum, stray bits of disembodied guitar, melodic fragments, eventually transforming into a strange abstract Appalachia, a soft swirling tangle of upper register buzz and and skittery processed tones, definitely some of the most divine drones we've heard. The first track is well over half the total length of the record, but the second two tracks, while shorter, are just as beautiful and epic. "Young Birth" builds from hushed whir to almost symphonic sounding majesty, a warped otherworldly new age, all tranquil and blissed out, the various tones overlapping and intertwining before fading out in a soft flurry of crackle and hum. While the final track, "Heartsink", begins all raw and fuzzy and almost heavy with a Tim Hecker sort of vibe, only to shift gears, and allow the sound of the various instruments to become distinct and identifiable. Which in no way means the sound is any less dreamlike, soft shimmers of heavily reverbed piano drift weightlessly in an expanse of soft muted melodies, the overtones creating distant drone-y swells, the result a lovely abstract sort of classical chamber dronemusic, so so so nice. Essential listening for the drone inclined, and any one into Tim Hecker, Aidan Baker, Fennesz, Belong and the like might just have a new favorite record.
"Truth And Distance" MPEG Stream:
CONCERN Truth and Distance (Digitalis) cd 12.98
One of several new releases on the always kick ass Digitalis label, this one from a one man band called Concern, that one man being Gordon Ashworth, little brother of Owen Ashworth of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, as well as a member of the late great Peyote Calamity, a weird heavy outfit, who sadly never released a proper record, but neither of those bands necessarily hint at the sounds to be found here. Utilizing a vast collection of instruments and noise making devices, zither, lap harp, mbira, banjo, piano, clarinet, trombone, accordion, acoustic guitar and alto horn, Ashworth blurs all those various instruments into long streaks of hazy drone-y dreaminess. Three tracks, all long, all gorgeously lush and textured, strangely melodic and propulsive for a sound that tends toward a more static drift. Opener "Truth And Distance" bristles with energy, a glowing warm shimmer, the edges growing ever sharper as the songs sprawls outward, from a hushed whisper to a mighty heart of the sun ur-drone, the sound raw and organic, the core a deep unwavering drone, but the sound is like a stream, carrying all manner of glitch and hum, stray bits of disembodied guitar, melodic fragments, eventually transforming into a strange abstract Appalachia, a soft swirling tangle of upper register buzz and and skittery processed tones, definitely some of the most divine drones we've heard. The first track is well over half the total length of the record, but the second two tracks, while shorter, are just as beautiful and epic. "Young Birth" builds from hushed whir to almost symphonic sounding majesty, a warped otherworldly new age, all tranquil and blissed out, the various tones overlapping and intertwining before fading out in a soft flurry of crackle and hum. While the final track, "Heartsink", begins all raw and fuzzy and almost heavy with a Tim Hecker sort of vibe, only to shift gears, and allow the sound of the various instruments to become distinct and identifiable. Which in no way means the sound is any less dreamlike, soft shimmers of heavily reverbed piano drift weightlessly in an expanse of soft muted melodies, the overtones creating distant drone-y swells, the result a lovely abstract sort of classical chamber dronemusic, so so so nice. Essential listening for the drone inclined, and any one into Tim Hecker, Aidan Baker, Fennesz, Belong and the like might just have a new favorite record.
"Truth And Distance" MPEG Stream:
CONCRETES Boyoubetterunow (Up) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Definitely walking a raucous and veering path to your ear... it's The Concretes. Decidedly Swedish and experimental. Okay, allow me to elaborate: quirky, strolling pop that takes many stylistic turns. Perhaps this is due to the fact that this group sometimes swells to include up to 18 members, with Horns, organ bits, sing song-y melodies. The vocals bring to mind those of Smack Dab (if you're unfamiliar with them, they were an odd little pop band with a precariously fragile female vocalist that released two albums on Homestead Records in the early '90s.) Fans of Stereo-Total should certainly check this out.
CONET PROJECT, THE Recordings Of Shortwave Numbers Stations (Irdial Disc) 5cd+book 78.00
The Conet Project, originally released in 1997, has attained near mythical status around here. Many folks associate The Conet Project inextricably with our store itself. Which makes sense. We championed the Conet Project relentlessly, everyone here is obsessed, most of us owning multiple copies, some of us incorporating sounds from The Conet Project into our own music, and The Conet Project still ranks as probably THEE best selling release ever at aQuarius. Even more remarkable for the fact that it's not really music at all, at least not in the typical sense, and it is and always has been pretty expensive, as a deluxe 4-cd set initially, and import to boot. In fact until it went out of print for the last time a few years back, we had sold close to one thousand copies, and that's just in our little store. We even used to have a big chart on the wall, where we kept track of the sales, and for a while, we were even taking Polaroids of people who bought the Conet Project to display in the store, a snapshot of them holding what we can only imagine would become their new favorite record (buyer #382: Mike Patton!). Which all leads to the question some of you may have, what the heck is The Conet Project, and why are we (and many of you) so obsessed with it? And so thrilled that it's finally available again?! Yes, available again and obviously a big time Record Of The Week. Basically, the Conet Project is a now FIVE-cd compilation (more details on the new 2013 edition's additional fifth disc is down below, near the end of this long review!) of recordings of mysterious shortwave radio broadcasts, known as "numbers stations". These numbers stations are generally believed to be encrypted spy transmissions, but no concrete evidence has ever surfaced proving that supposition. However, no credible *alternate* explanation has ever been demonstrated, either. For years (ever since the start of the Cold War), amateur radio enthusiasts have come across these sinister signals, and they continue to this day, broadcast in many languages all over the world (the theory is that some are CIA, some are KBG, some are Mossad, etc). In general, the transmissions consist of a deadpan voice (sometimes an old man, sometimes a young woman, etc.) reading a seemingly random, meaningless series of numbers over and over. Sometimes the broadcasts are preceded by a musical cue (the "Swedish Rhapsody" music box one being a favorite of ours), and sometimes the numbers are not conveyed by voice but by even more cryptic electronics (as with "The Buzzer", and other noisy, abstract stuff found mainly on disc four). Needless to say, hearing those amazing and baffling sounds collected on these cds is an unnerving experience. Not only does knowledge of the supposed purpose of these transmissions imbue them with a disturbing quality, but the repetition of the numbers combined with the background of shortwave radio static makes for a aurally hypnotic experience. If merely regarded as a piece of experimental ambient sound sculpture, The Conet Project would be a brilliant and affecting piece of work, yet with the added context of international intelligence and conspiracy theory, it becomes even more intriguing and creepy. Lots of information is included that provides a great deal of description of, and speculation about, The Conet Project. Which is possibly the most incredible, and weirdest, item of sound art/documentation that we've EVER had here at aQuarius. Mesmerizing, fascinating, unique, massive, scary, but sometimes even soothing. 100 percent recommended to the adventurous listener ('cause it's not for everyone!). And once you have it you'll understand why it had to be so many cds - being overwhelming is part of the obsessive allure of this Project. And it's not just us, The Conet Project has popped up in lots of unlikely places, most notably it was sampled on Wilco's breakthrough Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album, the title of which in fact comes from The Conet Project itself. Wilco were also famously sued by Irdial, the label who released it, and they lost! Some sounds from the Conet Project also popped up in that Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky, and over the years, we've heard it in various films and on various records, it shouldn't be surprising that so many weird music obsessives love The Conet Project. Really, as we said, if there's one recording that seems to be most identified with aQuarius recOrds, or that at least we mention most often when trying to explain to people what it is that we're all about here, it's most definitely The Conet Project, and yeah, over the years there have been plenty of others, including Sounds of North American Frogs, Os Mutantes, Burzum's "Filosofem", Comus' "First Utterance", Boris, Circle, Philip Jeck, Village of Savoonga, and loads more since, many other records near and dear to our hearts (for instance, hearing the first Neutral Milk Hotel album always makes us nostalgic for the old 24th street store). But for some reason it's The Conet Project that really seems to sum it all up. It's all the things we really love: completely ridiculous (4, no, now 5 cds!), completely fucked (secret government spy transmissions), droning, weird. It's just so interesting and evocative on so many levels, both musical and totally non-musical, as a listening experience and also as a geopolitical cold war and beyond artifact. Definitely an all time perpetual aQ fave: Allan's got the whole thing on his iPod, so does Andee, he also owns multiple copies of the set, many of which found their way into his old band A Minor Forest's live performances, Jim has steadfastly maintained that this is the greatest record of all time, and who are we to argue? If it's not obvious, we all are a little bit obsessed. And what this is all leading up to is that YES, finally after literally YEARS of being out of print and unavailable, The Conet Project, has been reissued AGAIN, but this time, with a WHOLE EXTRA DISC, with its own jewel case and booklet!! That's right, the new Conet Project is FIVE discs, not four, and if you're big Conet nerds like most of us, you might just have to buy a second (or even third!) copy. The new disc is not just another numbers station disc though, instead it's a collection of "noise stations", which essentially sound just like the numbers stations MINUS the numbers. So it's a series of gorgeous buzzes and strange hissing fields of blurred melody, lots of crunch and crackle, buried rhythms, whistling tones, strange textures, in fact, much of it is downright musical, so much so that we were musing, hmm, what if this new disc is in fact a hoax, a series of number/noise station like soundscapes created by some electronic musicians like Hrvatski? Naw... But there was in fact talk of a Conet remix project for years now, so it's not that far fetched, and in a way, if it WAS a hoax, it would be even cooler. But as far as we can tell, and according to our resident numbers stations / shortwave expert Jim, these are in fact that kind of weird alien sounds you can hear, tuned in to these mysterious stations. As much as we love the other four discs of The Conet Project, this new one is pretty exciting, and we have to say, definitely makes a case for buying it AGAIN! But for all the rest of you who have yet to discover the bizarre sonic mysteries of the Conet Project, there is no higher recommendation we can give, an all time unanimous aQ fave, our best selling record EVER. Sonically, and conceptually mind blowing. We never made it Record Of The Week before for some reason, but in our hearts, it has always been, and always will be, a perpetual aQ Record Of The Week!!! FOREVER. BTW, this counts as a "box set" for shipping, it won't fit in the USPS flat rate box we use, so it'll have to go media mail or UPS if you're mailordering it domestically.
"Swedish Rhapsody" MPEG Stream:
"5 Dashes" MPEG Stream:
"Iran/Iraq Jamming Efficacy Testing" MPEG Stream:
"Magnetic Fields" MPEG Stream:
"Tyrolean Music Station" MPEG Stream:
"The Buzzer" MPEG Stream:
"Data Bursts, 5.201kHz (USB And AM) [Disc 5]" MPEG Stream:
"Exotic Cipher, 6.215kHz/AM October 5th, 2008 19:27 GMT [Disc 5]" MPEG Stream:
"Descending Jammer, 7.969kHz/USB [Disc 5]" MPEG Stream:
"Drone, 17.964kHz [Disc 5]" MPEG Stream:
"Oscillating, 5.178kHz, March 12th, 1997 [Disc 5]" MPEG Stream:
"348|10|13|36|19|21, 11.573kHz, 19:17 GMT [Disc 5]"
CONFUSIONAL QUARTET s/t (Elica) cd 16.98
Finally back in stock, hopefully for longer than before! Last time we listed it (on AQ-L #109), we sold out super fast and weren't able to get any more until just last week!! Here are the nice things we said about this disc back then: Not a new release, but we managed to get a few in stock for the moment, so we thought we'd list this. We got turned on to the Confusional Quartet (great name!) a while back because of a review our friend Tim Ellison wrote in his great 'zine Modern Rock (formerly Rock Mag!), and now it's a big favorite of a bunch of us here at AQ. As you may be aware, Italy in the '70s boasted a lot of excellent progressive rock bands. Following on that tradition, the Confusional Quartet, an Italian group who flourished in the very early '80s, play a unique brand of New Wave prog rock. Their mostly-instrumental compositions are quirky, catchy, and energetic. Complex yet poppy, this should appeal to folks into both Devo (who were fans!) and John Zorn, into both video-game and surf music, as they combine New Wave keyboards, No Wave guitars, and avant-garde concepts. Tim described this a lot better than that, unfortunately I don't have his 'zine in front of me at the moment to crib from! However, whenever this gets played in the store, we invariably have customers asking about it, and sometimes even buying a copy, so check out the real audio clips! This nicely digipak'd cd has 24 tracks compiling their entire recorded output circa 1980-81 (a self-titled LP, self-titled EP, and a flexi disc, plus a couple unreleased cuts). And, there's their really charming vintage d.i.y. video-clip for their version of "Volare" as a cd-rom bonus! Plus art, photos, and bilingual text in the cd-booklet. Exciting and fun, a real find.
"Bologna Rock" RealAudio clip:
"Pensione Elastica" RealAudio clip:
"Nebdo Zip" RealAudio clip:
CONNORS, LOREN Night Through: Singles and Collected Works 1976-2004 (Family Vineyard) 3cd 26.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. There are musicians who are incredibly technical and ultra proficient on their chosen instrument. Then there are others who don't have that kind of technical talent but who more than make up for it with a never ending reserve of raw emotion and deep personal expression. But rare is the performer who has both. Loren (sometimes Mazzacane) Connors is one of that rare breed. This 3-disc collection gathering bits and pieces from almost 30 years of recordings is an amazing testament to the ghostly, captivating sounds Connors has conjured up with his guitar. Unlike most guitar players Connors knows how to coax an impossibly wide range of sounds from an instrument that is usually approached from a much more singular point of view. Whether it's lurking feedback, washing in and out of his smoke filled strumming, or his more direct stripped down and totally pretty pick and strum, Connors is always challenging himself, never resting or relying on one specific sound or style. If somehow Connors is missing from your cd/record collection, and if you found yourself entranced by Earth's last outing Hex..., and perhaps you love the sounds of Tom Carter, the instrumental outings of Tom Verlaine, then for sure NEED to get some Loren Connors running through your veins and filling up your ears. Because of his prolific nature (Wow, has he ever released a ton of records and collaborated with a who's-who of underground luminaries!) this is one of those instance where a retrospective makes a lot of sense and is perfect for those of you who never knew exactly which records to start with. Now you have your answer. This one. One moment sounding like crazy psychedelic Japanese guitar jams, the next creating goose bumps with his chilling and subtle delivery, the next creating a creepy web of sound with distant off key vocals that rival Jandek in their mysterious and riveting nature, and the next laying down the ghostly sounds for a soundtrack to a film we wish would exist. Such a great journey, wandering through this moonlit collection of songs.
"Many Miles More" MPEG Stream:
"Haunted House" MPEG Stream:
CONNORS, LOREN The Murder Of Joan Of Arc (Table Of The Elements) 12" 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Second in the Table Of The Elements' label series of limited, one sided clear vinyl 12"s, this time from ultra prolific guitarist Loren (formerly Mazzacane) Connors. Sublime and mesmerising, Connors' guitar is a dark cloud of distant chiming chords, shimmering reverb, and warm rich sonic swirl. Minimal but somehow completely epic, a dark cinematic dream/drone-scape. So good. Striking woodcut image silkscreened in silver ink on the clear vinyl in a clear sleeve. VERY LIMITED. So don't dawdle.
CONNORS, LOREN & ALAN LICHT In France (FBWL) cd 19.98
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE Airs (Road Cone) cd 12.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE Bridge, the (Megalon Records) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE In Twilight (Alien8 Recordings) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE Portrait Of A Soul (FBWL) cd 16.98
Absolutely gorgeous guitar instrumentals from a true American genius, Loren Mazzacane Connors, who has been recording since the early 1970s. While other records of his have featured impassioned howls, this French import album's pure emotion is rendered oh so quietly in 26 short jewel-like pieces, a song suite that, as the liner notes tell, chronicle the artist's slow realization of his inability to capture the essence of another person through his music. (The cycle of songs begins with day and ends at a hopeful dawn, so perhaps all is not lost.) This is utterly deep introspection told in aching, weeping guitar lines, melodic and simple, without any sort of effects or distortion. For those of you coming at this from a "rock" angle, imagine the incredibly emotive guitarwork of Mick Turner (Dirty Three) stripped down to its bare essence. Yeah, it's that good. So highly recommended!
"Day (1)" RealAudio clip:
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE The Daggett Years (Ecstatic Peace/Father Yod) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. 17 tracks by cult "Venusian blues" guitarist L.M. Connors, of unaccompanied acoustic improv recorded for Daggett Records back circa '79-'80, and long out of print. Much of that material was collected for last year's limited-edition 4 cd boxset which is also now totally out of print! So, to appease fans who missed that (or the curious who weren't sure if they needed 4 cds) here's a "best-of-the-box" collection selected by Connors himself. Remastered by Jim O'Rourke.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE / JEAN-MARC MONTERA / THURSTON MOORE / LEE RANALDO mmmr (Numero Zero Audio) cd 14.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE / LICHT, ALAN Hoffmann Estates (Drag City) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. An impressive line-up accompanies this 'duet' between Alan Licht and Loren Mazzacane Connors with production by Jim O'Rourke and contributions from Darin Gray (ex-Dazzling Killmen), Rob Mazurak (Isotope 217), Ken Vandermark, amongst others. Slow lugubrious guitar solos with minimal jazz structures.
CONNORS, LOREN MAZZACANE / SASHA FRERE-JONES Standing Upright On A Curve (Sub Rosa) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONRAD, TONY Early Minimalism (Table of the Elements) 4cd 45.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. This is a 4-cd box set with 96-page booklet and enhanced cd-rom featuring interviews, performance footage, and video scores. Includes the amazing, previously lp-only Four Violins recording from 1964 (whereas the other discs are recent compostions/recordings, featuring Jim O'Rourke on electric violin amongst other players). (from the liner notes:) "'History is like music - completely in the present.' In 1962 Tony Conrad's amplified strings introduced the sustained drone of just-intonation into what became known as 'minimal' music. Utilizing long durations and precise pitch, he and his collaborators forged an aggressively mesmerizing 'Dream Music' - denying the activity of composition, elaborating shared ideas of performance, and articulating the Big Bang of 'minimialism.' However, the many rehearsal and performance recordings from this period were repressed, and remain inaccessibly buried to this day. In 1987 Conrad set out on a ten-year return expedition to the site of these entombed fragments; from them he reconstructed and regenerated the epic EARLY MINIMALISM. Reaching back through time, Tony Conrad weaves a mobile narrative over and under minimalism: making music out of history, and history out of music."
CONRAD, TONY Fantastic Glissando (Table Of The Elements) cd 16.98
It's 1969 and Tony Conrad finds himself fascinated and obsessed with the sounds of sine wave oscillators. One of the godfathers of minimalism nearside LaMonte Young, Conrad was always on the more harsh side of things then other Minimalist disciples like Terry Riley and Steve Reich. Fantastic Glissando is a series of electronic compositions that Conrad created with sine wave oscillators that he then processed through a pump counter with head gap delay. The result is an aggressive textured drone that sounds like something traveling near the speed of light. This cd reissue includes a bonus 10-minute track that was not included in the LP version. The first time we heard this in the store, it was pouring outside and by the time it ended the sun was shining...San Francisco natural occurence? Or the work of Conrad's intense hand in the sky? We're still not sure.
"Fantastic Glissando" MPEG Stream:
"Process Four Of Fantastic Glissando"
CONRAD, TONY Four Violins (1964) (Table Of The Elements) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
CONRAD, TONY / EDWARD KA-SPEL split (Beta-Lactam Ring) cd 15.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Certainly an odd pairing for a split release, with '60s minimalist Tony Conrad on one side, and the surrealist Edward Ka-Spel on the other. This is a release that will certainly not win over any fans from the grumpy minimalist school into liking Ka-Spel or his outfit the Legendary Pink Dots... but will certainly make LPD collectors very happy. Ka-Spel percolates a variety of somewhat silly synthetic sounds that could have been informed by Terry Riley's "In C" but conform more to Ka-Spel's fragmented lullaby approach, with all of the pseudo-goth references one would expect from a Ka-Spel / LPD release. On the flip, playing with Alexandria Gelencser on cello, Conrad sets down layers of extended intonations of abrasive violin drones. Numbered and limited to 500 copies.
CONRAD, TONY WITH FAUST Outside The Dream Syndicate - 30th Anniversary Special Edition (Table Of The Elements) 2cd 28.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Excellent reissue! Out of print since its release in 1972 when it went almost completely unnoticed, this album is finally available in special 30th anniversary boxed double disc format! A shorter version of it was available briefly in 1993 but this features a whole other disc of extra material. It wasn't until after playing and performing for over ten years that the now-legendary experimental violinist Tony Conrad finally put his music down on wax. This was after his tenure as an integral member of the Theater of Eternal Music's Dream Syndicate with Lamonte Young, Marian Zazeela, John Cale, and Angus MacLise (NB: the latter two being founding members of the Velvet Underground, which got its band name from a paperback Conrad found lying in the street.) The Dream Syndicate's raison d'etre was exploring the sonic depth, meaning and sound of the almighty DRONE. A chance meeting with producer Uwe Nettelbeck resulted in an intense three-day recording session at Faust's secluded farm slash studio and it was here that Conrad finally got to breathe life into his own take on the drone. The Faust fellows supply a warm, insistent drum beat and a just as unstoppable bass throb. Both the bass *and the drum* are 'tuned' to specific notes over which Conrad lays his droning violin. And that's it. For half an hour. So great! Not boring at all -- your ears quickly become attuned to the waverings, harmonies, and other minute changes amongst the three elements. Fans of Neu, Can, Kraftwerk, and of course Faust NEED this. As does anyone into hypnotic droning rock ala AQ faves Circle, Highly recommended, definitely seminal album by one of the pioneers of drone.
"excerpt 1" RealAudio clip:
CONRAD, TONY, C. SPENCER YEH, & MICHAEL F. DUCH Musculus Trapezius (Pica Disk) cd 16.98
CONRAD, TONY, TIM BARNES, MATTIN s/t (Celebrate Psi Phenomenon) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. The legendary Tony Conrad teams up with some noisy young bucks for an hour of full on, high heaven, upper stratosphere, black cloud, acid rain melting everything in sight into silvery puddles, full bore skree. Recorded live in Buffalo in April 2005, there is nothing subtle about this 60 minute blast. The core is Conrad's near static lazer cannon blast of white hot, high end, which gets gloriously torn to shreds and allowed to crumble into crackling pieces, dropping huge flaming shards of shrieking grind and throbbing crunch on a defenseless audience. There are moments of near ambience too, nothing but spaced out fuzz, and little bits of clatter and scrape, but before too long, another salvo is launched and everything peels away in thick strips of charred flesh, revealing a glowing super nova of sound inside. This is another one of those records, that given a casual listen, is pretty rough, a bit of serious ear torching noise. But strap yourself in, and make it through the first brutal blast, and you'll feel your ears blossoming like flowers in the Springtime, opening up and letting all sorts of sonic subtleties in. Then it's a near transcendental, blissed out ur-drone, albeit, one that is heavily spiked with fiery fragments of ultra distorted shimmer and shriek, and thick slabs of skull rattling rumble. The musical equivalent of listening to a star implode, or better yet an entire galaxy collapsing. Intense!
CONTAGIOUS ORGASM The Flow of Sound Without Parameter (Ground Fault) cd 11.98
Hiroshi Hashimoto has been active as Contagious Orgasm since 1986, haunting his native Japan with a Gothic application of disjointed samples, anachronistic collages, and early-Coil industrialisms. "The Flow of Sound Without Parameter" is supposedly treatments of field recordings from a small town in Germany, but have been joined by so many horror film samples and shards of electro-shock rhythms, that the sound is more like a bombastic fusion of Pan Sonic and Foetus than an Eric La Casa album of delicately processed environmental sounds.
"Soundtrack To Your Mission"
CONTINUUM Volume 1 (Soleilmoon) cd 14.98
Finally, after listing Continuum Volume TWO, way back in August of 2007, we've managed to get our hands on some copies of the elusive Volume 1 (newly repressed by Soleilmoon). The various volumes constitute the ongoing collaboration between Dirk Serries, of Fear Falls Burning, and Steven Wilson, of Bass Communion. A perfect low end dronescape match for sure, but whereas the second volume explored sounds at the heavier end of the spectrum, skirting the sound world of folks like SUNNO))), the music here is much more ethereal and ephemeral. Glistening and glimmering more than creeping and crawling. Still suitably dark and mysterious and in some places a bit heavy, but much more aligned with the sort of ambient cd-r folks we tend to dig, who craft long slow moving expanses of hushed whir and swirling blurred drift. Three loooooong tracks. The first features extended tones, soft shimmery high end streaks, wreathed in what sound like chimes, the tinkle of guitar strings plucked above the neck, a sparkling constellation of starry sparkle, spread out into a gauzy layer over lonely piano plinks, and a deep, fuzzy soft focus thrum. The second is a bit more gritty. A swirling cloud of hiss and hum surrounds the dreamy melodic drift beneath. The sounds building to an almost industrial din (but even then still soft and fuzzy) before slipping back into a murky, whispered outro. The final track, another 20 minute epic, is the darkest of the bunch, a dark fog of crumbling rumble slithers above a landscape of hushed murmur, and buried melodies, a murky burbling sonic cauldron, lit by a black sun and cloaked in shadow, eventually blossoming into something else entirely, a soaring melody, wreathed in a cloud of glitch and buzz, hauntingly majestic, a sun dappled coda to an otherwise fairly dark sonic journey, but wait, the sun is soon snuffed out, the darkness returns, as the record closes with several minutes of abject industrial buzz, a creeping shadowy black drone winding it's way slowly into the blackened depths. Gorgeous packaging, much like the second volume. Housed in an oversized full color dvd style digipak, with 4 full color post card inserts.
CONTINUUM Volume 2 (Soleilmoon) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. We know what you're probably thinking: "Continuum 2? What the heck happened to Continuum 1?" Well, we're right there with you, number one seemed to have slipped right past us at some point, but fear not, we're doing some digging to see if we can't track some down for the store. In the meantime, rest assure, much like Die Hard 2, or Halloween 2 or any other famous part 2's, you don't really need to have experienced part one to appreciate the second part. But all of this talk about parts, why the hell should you care? What the heck is Continuum anyway? Well, Continuum is the darkdronedriftdoom collaboration between Dirk Serries, aka Fear Falls Burning, and Steven Wilson, Opeth producer and leader of Porcupine Tree. Whereas their first collaboration was a much more tranquil affair, match up number two augments the duo's drifting dronescapes, with massive doom metal guitars, crumbling and downtuned, sprawled riffs spread out over epic soundscapes, imagine a DJ spinning Earth 2 on one deck and Oval on the other. A glistening glimmering sonic undercurrent, beneath a plodding rumbling behemoth. The opener, "Construct IV", is nearly 23 minutes of the above, a massive riff, a gorgeous shimmering backdrop of distant whir and warm swell, peppered with little sparkling bits of FX and fragments of melody, that riff, endless and HEAVY, plodding and sort of melting into the sounds around it. Nirvana for the doomdrone obsessives. "Construct V" is a bit more subtle, with nearly two thirds of its seventeen minutes, taken up by gorgeous black ambience, metallic shimmer, and muted melodies, whispered voices and distant effects, before the guitar takes over, after slowly building for almost the length of the track, less a riff as a huge glacial chunk of distorted sound, the voices growing to an urgent hiss, the track transformed into something sounding like some sort of ambient black metal, or some grim blasting buzz, with the drums removed and then slowed down to a barely moving crawl. The final track, "Construct VI", is the dreamiest of the bunch, a loping sort of doomic post rock, a simple beat, the guitars strangely alien, drifting off in the distance, everything decayed and wrapped in distortion and delay, reverb and sonic grit, the melodies minor key and melancholy, it almost sounds what might be lurking under an Angelic Process track, once all that blown out distortion was removed, a murky muddy, Hawkwind outro as played by Low, run through Acid Mothers Temple's effects rack. Until the very end, where the track is engulfed by a wall of speaker shredding distortion, a dense cloud of damaged FX and thick squalls of crumbling sound, before drifting off into a swirling space-y fade out... LIMITED TO 2000 COPIES. Gorgeously packaged in a full color oversized A5 book-style packaging with three full color postcards.
"Construct IV" MPEG Stream:
CONTRA Enter The Winter (D-Trash) cd 11.98
CONTRA IGNEM FATUUM Detritus (Supernal Music) cd 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY. Those of you who managed to catch Andee and Allan guest DJing on Brian Turner's show On WFMU a few months back got an earful of all the craziest metal they could muster (if you didn't hear it, go to WFMU.org and you can listen to the whole thing!) in a desperate attempt to stump Brian the musical genius. Of course we cheated and played a bunch of unreleased demos!! One of which was some amazingly damaged keyboard heavy black-drone metal, a record called Halcyon Mockery from a band called Circumscriber. Well, we just discovered that Circumscriber changed their name to Contra Ignem Fatuum, and the disc we played on WFMU will indeed be coming out soon on Benighted Leams' label Supernal, but for now, here's a brain melting three (long) song taster and the sound here is everything we loved about the forthcoming CIF (formerly Circumscriber) disc, that same ultra repetitive black drone metal that never fails to blow us away. We weren't sure what to expect from the whole record as the majority of Detritus is ambient. No drums, no guitars, just dreamy streaks of smeary sound, delicate ghostlike melodies, warm synthesizers, chanting monklike vocals, majestic melodic swells, distant martial percussion, a bit like In The Nursery or Dead Can Dance or a lot like the recently listed Dark Ages disc. The second of the three tracks is the little black secret here, bookended on both sides by ethereal ambience, the 14 minute long title track is a brutal and mega-catchy, completely hypntoic, endlessly repeating KILLER riff, a swarm-of-locusts kind riff, buzzing and twisting, pounding and pulsing repeating over and over, a bit like a black metal Circle or more heavy metal Pharoah Overlord or even a way heavier Gore. The track builds and builds until the drums burst into a blazing fast blast beat and utter chaos is unleashed, the whole track becoming a swirl of demonic vocals, shrieking, swarming guitars, warm washes of keyboard and spastic lighting fast drumming, as everything becomes less and less distinct and more a black flurry of sound. Wow. When the riff kicks in, you'd have to be totally ROCK-less to not leap out of your chait and start banging your head and whipping your hair around like a windmill. It's like that Khold riff, the sort of riff bands kill for. So fucking great. So enjoy this while you can and steel yourself for the eventual arrival of Halcyon Mockery.
"Blood Upon The Horizon" MPEG Stream:
CONTRASTATE A Breeding Ground For Flies (Dirter) cd 19.98
Active for most of the nineties, this experimental/ambient/industrial outfit called it quits back in 2000, only to regroup and reform in 2012, and essentially take up right where they left of. While we weren't all that familiar with the group's earlier material, this new incarnation still sounds very beholden to the nineties, creating sprawling landscapes of haunting ambience, twisted, paranoiac, sample heavy landscapes of keening tones and deep rumbling drones, mysterious horn blurts, orchestral stabs, blasts of percussive chaos, deep foghorn like moans, and some seriously intense vocals, delivered as a sort of screed, deeply and ominously intoned, all over a sprawl of softly undulating shimmer, of high end glitchiness, of distant chants and chorales. The sound shifts continuously, from glimmering psychedelia, to softly roiling synth heavy churn, to squelchy cinematic synthscapes, all peppered with industrial clatter and groaning metallic thrum, that voice resurfacing throughout, as if this was a soundtrack to some harrowing ritual. But then on tracks like "Tripoli Calling", the group take fragments of female vocals, shards of percussion, and slow swirls of deep blackened buzz, and weave them into something that sounds more like Muslimgauze, martial snares underpin, clouds of cymbal shimmer, and lush soft focus swells of chordal shimmer, quite tranquil and dreamy, but almost as if it's just setting you up for the next track, which is all corrosive drones and distant sirens, soft noise melded into a heaving wall of dense, tense sound, only to dramatically shift gears, acoustic guitar strum, chanted crooned vox, and political samples, which sans those samples would sound like some sort of droned out acid folk, but instead, is a weirdly chaotic bit of post industrial sonic rhetoric. The second to last track lays out some grim black buzz, and laces it with some long stretches of blues guitar flecked low end pulsations, haunting and strange, a disembodied sort of industrial noise blues, or something, seems like a weird mix, but it's cool, and definitely works. There's also some strange gristly static, and what sounds like heavy breathing sculpted into spidery tendrils, all of which leads to the epic closer, that creepy voice back again, this time over a hazy drift of slow-mo synths, and disembodied melodies, rusty and groaning in the background, the whole thing looped and hypnotic, the track unwinding as a slow shifting collage, noisy and staticky one second, dreamy and lilting the next, that voice drifting to the surface throughout, before a tangle of overlapping voices returns us to that Jeck like opening loopscape, which becomes a creepy, woozy, dirgey stretch of down tempo wooziness. While they last, we have the limited deluxe version, which comes in a fancy oversized full color slipcase which houses a slide out panel that holds both the cd and a booklet.
"Son Of Sam" MPEG Stream:
CONTRERAS, JOHN & ROSE MCDOWALL / JOHN CONTRERAS & NURSE WITH WOUND Afraid 1 & 2 / Geomtric Horsehair Cavalcade (Durtro Jnana) cd 14.98
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE LIGHT A Retrospective (Ominous Recordings) 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. Another back room discovery, buried in a dusty corner, obscured by shadows, a box of discs from some mysterious artist called Converstations With The Light, on a Swedish label called Ominous Recordings. Throwing it on, everything made sense, the sound dark and dusty, obscured and shadowy, and yeah, definitely ominous, the only thing that didn't seem to fit was the name, cuz this is about as far from the light as you can get, a grim pitch blackness that oozes malevolence, a haunting, creepy expanse of industrial landscapes and blackdrones, of blurred noise and strange surreal sonic drifts. We eventually discovered that Conversations About The Light is in fact an American soundscaper/noisescaper named Robert Hunter Osgood, and as the title might suggest, A Retrospective is in fact a collection of various tracks, some from splits and demos, some unreleased. And while it may be a compilation, it was, and is our first exposure to Osgood and his Conversations About The Light, and all it took was the opening 15 minute epic, "Death Tree", and we were sold. A haunting cinematic slow build creep, soft shimmers of high end drifting over an abject expanse of muted thrum, and hushed rumbles, it's not really until about halfway through that the sounds actually coalesce into something melodic, the billowing background transformed into a lovely blurred bit of soft focus dreamdrone hum, and then out of nowhere, thick heaving shards of buzzing low end crunch surface and crumble malevolently above the tranquil soundscape below. The sound soon stabilizes, and becomes a buzzing smear of metallic streaks and ghostly overtones, before blossoming into an ominous, industrial dirge, wreathed in static and pulsing squelches, before finishing off with a face melting squall of grinding blown out white noise how. Shit, if this was a single song 15 minute disc, it would still be well worth the price of admission, essential listening for fans of Locrian, Wolf Eyes, Wraiths, Gog, NRIII, Servile Sect, and other practitioners of the sonic black arts, but there's nearly a whole 'nother hour, the sound remaining rooted in industrial / noise / black drone territory, but explores every little twisted corner of said territory, thick rumbling stretches of blown out grey noise, darkly undulating sprawls of hushed minimalism, drearily melodic atmospheres and creeping doomic dirges, chugging almost blackened metallic crush, gorgeous folk flecked black ambience, full on speaker shredding Merzbowic chaos, grim soundtracky soundscapes, field recorded noise experiments, keening raga-like soft-noise drifts and pretty much every strange blackened stop in between. LIMITED TO 150 COPIES, long sold out and out of print. We have about a dozen or so and they are absolutely the last copies we'll see!
"Death Tree" MPEG Stream:
"The Unlocked Door" MPEG Stream:
"A Subtle Tongue" MPEG Stream:
"On The Poisoned And Desolate Shore"