Tag Archives: experimental

Wreck And Reference – Black Cassette

Every now and then I come across a release that I really want to tell everyone about, yet no matter how long I let it simmer in my head, I’m at a loss for just the right words to use… Occasionally that has resulted in something of a lateral approach, but I really didn’t want to leave it a minute more before talking about Wreck And Reference’s Black Cassette, particularly as – instead of something moderately easy like altering images with wire, sand and various other mediums – the artistic inspiration this is responsible for involves herding a big group of unsuspecting people near large buckets of different coloured paint, plus the use of a fly wall and a catapault.

I have no idea why, though I’d hazard a guess it has something to do with that cover art, but it’s all beside the point since it’s not something I have the resources to accommodate. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that the presumed people-mosaic such a thing would result in looks very cool the way I imagine it.

There is something a bit fascinating about the focus of surprise people have after being subject to forces greater than themselves, particularly if that force has become an accepted if but domineering presence, as I suspect a great big catapault in a room would be. I’d bet good money people would be splat against that wall and saying things like “My good coat! It’s ruined!“, partly because they already know and have accepted how they got stuck to that wall, and it can’t be changed, and partly because there is strange comfort in the absence of will and choice. Such, also, is the power of something that is both personal and visual that it usually supersedes the importance of great things in our immediate vicinity, even if they pose a threat.

Generally, if people are thrown, they accept they will fall.

On to much more important matters, however, and this music. There are things that are due attention (like all the stuff about innovation and so on, in particular that this can be filed under genres like doom, noise and metal yet it’s all electronic aside from the drums). And then there are the things that grab mine… Things like “what’s it like to not have hands?”, a line in the first track All The Ships Have Been Abandoned, which is my own paint-covered coat. (Metaphorically speaking).

What’s actually important is that there is a hell of a lot that is striking within the 2o or so minutes these tracks run for, and if/when you give some thought to what struck you the most, I doubt it’s going to be what instruments were (or weren’t) used. These songs have been crafted effectively enough for that to be largely inconsequential, to me anyway. As in, good music is bloody good music; don’t care how you make it.

You can currently purchase the second issue of Black Cassette from Music Ruins Lives, which includes an exclusive track. As with all their other releases, numbers are limited but if you miss out, you can grab a digital copy from Bandcamp.

S4E


Jonathan Meiburg – Why I Love My Home

(Songs for Charles Burchfield)

This is a fairly appropriate post for today, as, in other news, I have (finally!) acquired a new home and will be going through the whole moving process again over the next week, which – as much as I hate moving – is more of a relief than I can possibly convey.

That aside, I spotted this release on Bandcamp last week, and considering the various other Meiburg-associated releases – Buteo Buteo, The Golden Archipelago (Shearwater) and the s/t Blue Water White Death albums from last year – were all amongst my favourite albums of 2010, I couldn’t resist the lure of these two tracks.

Charles Burchfield, just for those who haven’t heard the name before (myself included, but I’ve been doing a little research), was an American artist born in 1893 (d. 1967). I didn’t know that I was already familiar with a few of his pieces prior to looking them up recently, so I have to say I love that music can lead to these other discoveries because the work I recognised have been pieces I’ve happened upon over time and thought were just beautiful. There’s been many more, though, that I haven’t seen before at all, and I’m truly enamoured with quite a number of them. Here is just one example of the wonderful art Charles Burchfield produced:

The following is an excerpt of the words on Bandcamp by Jonathan Meiburg in regards to the songs on this release:

I was invited to perform at the opening of the Whitney Museum’s exhibit “Heat Waves in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield” last year. I’d never heard of Burchfield before, but loved the whimsy, darkness, and grandeur of his giant watercolors, and wrote this pair of songs as an attempt to evoke some of his paintings in sound, since Burchfield often tried to depict sounds in his paintings. 

Whimsy, darkness and grandeur are all things Jonathan Meiburg and co. seem to have a strong command on, and the result is something that actually feels a little at the mid-point of Shearwater and Blue Water White Death. The second track – The Moth and The Milky Way – reminding me occasionally of Song For The Greater Jihad, the lead single from Blue Water White Death. Each song is based on specific paintings, though, with the first track – Hymn To The Valences – based on Two Ravines and The Song of The Telegraph, while the second is based on The Sphinx and The Milky Way (pictured).

Meanwhile, Shearwater recently performed a 3-hour concert featuring tracks from The Island Arc (i.e. the albums Palo Santo, Rook and The Golden Archipelago). Now there’s a performance I would have done just about anything to attend, had it been within the realm of possibility. Ten tracks from that performance have been made available on Bandcamp as well, and while I haven’t grabbed them yet, I certainly will be soon.

Both releases are available via the same Bandcamp profile, but you can click here for Why I Love My Home, or click here for The Island Arc Live.

S4E


Mamaleek – Kurdaitcha

According to my dashboard, I started this post six weeks ago. According to my head, I have no idea where I was going with what I had written. If S4E were a televised cooking show, bringing up a half-baked cake from six weeks back with “here’s one I prepared earlier”, pretending I knew what the contents were…once, well, it isn’t going to look all that good no matter how bright n’ shiny my smile is. (Unless it’s a fruit cake, the kind you have to boil for hours and can keep in a hessian sack until such a time as fruit cake is required. I don’t make those, though). So I’m going to have to start from scratch – seems like a decent place to start, anyway.

The main point is, I know jack about black metal. That’s not news, I’ve said as much on other occasions and – as you can see – it shows every time I try to write about it, thus I consistently realise and admit to it. Something I do know is that a good percentage of it that I’ve listened to has left me scratching my head and wondering why the hell I don’t get what’s going on – which, it’s important to note, is distinctly different from simply wondering what the hell they’re on about. That’s because there’s been a select few albums that I not only immediately grasped, but they managed to impress me beyond what I would have thought possible for music with which I usually feel I have no particular aptitude or affinity. So I’ve developed something of a perpetual curiosity about it – while admittedly it’s relatively mild, it’s also an anomaly in that I would usually neglect to actively seek out releases from a genre if I considered the vast majority of it something I don’t like and/or “get”.

Kurdaitcha, strangely enough, lies somewhere in the middle of my capacity to understand – and therefore possibly appreciate – it. That’s strange because I dig the most of it. While it contains much of the abrasiveness and dissonance I’ve started to become familiar with, there’s a rationale to it I can grasp and I’m not left thinking I haven’t understood the basics of where it’s coming from.

At this stage, I remain convinced that there’s a language to black metal that’s ultimately beyond my current level of understanding. I sometimes think it might even be the absence of certain language(s) that causes me to get the sense I need to learn something different before I can interpret and understand what I’m listening to. By language, I’m not referring to lyrics/vocals, either. When I listen to music, no matter how unfamiliar with it I am, I can detect things that I am familiar with, and either relate directly, or translate them to a slightly different sense: visual, literal, emotional…and so on. I’ve really only ever been able to do that once with a black metal album (Murmuüre’s S/T). It’s weird.

Maybe that’s the point. And why I keep gravitating towards it, as though it’s a unique dialect that I can crack if I just listen to enough of it. Perhaps eventually I’ll stop telling myself there’s a secret code to unlock, for surely music has the capacity to just speak  – out of the sheer need for, or indulgence in, a different languange – and I’ll appreciate it for that.

For now, and what it’s worth (from someone who spent the opening paragraph inexplicably rambling about cake, and most of the rest talking about this music as if it’s an odd curiosity in need of deciphering), I like this album. I can’t tell you much about it other than that, but I can virtually guarantee that if you’re even moderately inclined to give it a listen, you’ll find a thing or two to like about it as well. If you pay attention to certain circles, you likely would have seen a certain amount of hype  surrounding its release. I, at least, have the capacity to recognise why; it’s a prime example of the kind of music that keeps me exploring the genre instead of giving it up.

Kurdaitcha was released on vinyl and as a digital download by Enemies List Home Recordings. The download may be acquired for free, but you can show your support for the artists behind the music by donating some cash via the download page.

S4E


Pillars And Tongues Daytrotter Session (3rd March, 2011)

I had something of a full circle moment the other day when I saw Pillars And Tongues had a new Daytrotter Session available (recorded back in Spetember last year, available to download March 3rd).

I had not long discovered Daytrotter when I took a quick listen to their debut session from February, 2009. Back then I was intrigued just enough to bookmark it, promising myself I’d come back later and take a proper listen. It took me a few weeks to do so. In a odd coincidence, I chose March 3rd, posting about it the same day simply because I thought it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

That day I was instantly enamoured – the kind of enamoured where you can’t help but insist absolutely everyone must hear it too, and inbetween that insistence you spend many other moments listening yourself and finding as much else as you can – information, music, whatever is out there.

This time around I wasted no time in acquiring the session, though I have spent the better part of a week listening to it before ultimately, once more, finding it very necessary to tell everyone about it.

Most people, including myself, tend to perplex a little over describing the music of P&T, (believe me, there are good reasons I haven’t linked to my first post!), but the most common summary is folkish drone (or vice versa – droneish folk). Others tend to veer a little towards the metaphysical; I’ve seen mesmerising, spiritual and even holy used. For the time being, I’m going to continue with my original position, but tone it down somewhat and simply suggest it’s music you need to hear.

Check out both sessions here.

 

S4E


Music Ruins Lives: Winter Releases

It should be common knowledge ’round these parts that one of my favourite artists in 2010 was Planning For Burial, with two exemplary releases – Leaving on Enemies List Home Recordings, and the subsequent Split CD with Lonesummer on own label, Music Ruins Lives.

With five¹ releases under their belt since the first back in October 2010 (Voids, a collection of Have A Nice Life tracks), most of them sold out or nearing it, MRL are shaping up to be a label you need to know about, and before the chance to lay claim on one of their limited physical releases slips through your fingers. You can keep up with the latest MRL news and events here. In the meantime, here’s a selection of current or forthcoming releases, so you can’t say you weren’t warned if you miss out.

 

Planning For Burial – Untitled

For the uninitiated, this would be the ideal place to begin, self-described as the ‘“missing link” between the lumbering doom compositions of Leaving…and the dark keyboard-driven drone pop of last year’s split…‘, so you’d get a good grounding with this. It’s also a perfect example of what I mean by missed opportunites – the CD version, which contains a 28-minute extended version of the title track from Leaving, is sold out, but you can purchase the two main tracks in digital format via Bandcamp.

 

Bad Braids – Arrow And Orb

The first thing that struck me when I listened to this was the hint of something both other and old-wordly about the psych-folk music of Bad Braids. Full review is coming soon at [sic] so keep an eye out there, in the meantime, take a listen to the first track, When My Darling Turns To Dust (Pt II & III). Or just go ahead and pre-order the cassette.

 

Tom Vourtsis – Mothhunting

Remember that whole thing about imagining your head is a fish tank? (I know it made sense to a select few out there). I’m in similar territory with this drone project, only the water is a little deeper and murkier, filled with some critters I can’t quite make out…yet. While I wait for the tide to go out – or come in, whichever happens first – take a listen and make up your own mind; I bet you can make it into something cooler than a fish tank, anyways. Pre-order the CD here.

 

S4E

1. Not including the Negative Series, unofficial releases of bonus material with a -cat#. The first of which was a live Lonesummer set, issued on CDr along with the first 30 orders of the Planning For Burial/Lonesummer split. Lucky for you, that release has  also been made available as a free download.


Gerry Loves Records – Split EP

The above vinyl EP showcases four artists on the label Gerry Loves Records. If you’re in the same position as me, then these will serve as an introduction to each respective artist – and a rather merry little introduction it is.

Unifying the four artists, aside from the label and EP itself, is location (Scotland), and a penchant for a little experimentation with the components of their respective genres. From there, things get nicely divergent for a little compliation.

The Japanese War EffortRibbit
Ambient electronic pop that has genuine sparkle, with some nice, warming and dreamy effects included for good measure – a little like a glass of champagne that tastes crisper and smoother than the energetic bubbles might lead you to believe.

Fox Gut Daata Part Of You That Meant To Go On Living
Apart from the contemplation-inducing title, this track put my imagination squarely with the tortoise in the race (you know, that one that’s supposed to tell you slow and steady wins…) Only this tortoise is strutting all kinds of ways through some nifty happy-land, winking at flowers that wink back – clearly, funky wins.

Miaoux MiaouxEmitter
Subtle glitch with lightly surging synth melody, resulting in lively, feelgood pop electronica that’s easy to sing along with. Apparently, this was a track that lay dormant for a year then became the subject of a late night dash to the studio and finished on little sleep. Rather than catch the implied latency and weariness of that anecdote, it’s exemplary of what a last minute surge of inspiration can do.

Wounded KneeTomlinson’s Rant
This is a kinda folky chant with a definite old-school, jauntily up beat veneer; which in some ways is in stark contrast to the subject matter (sung from the perspective of Ian Tomlinson, whose death during 2009’s G20 summit is surrounded by controversy), but in other ways it’s highly suitable. It isn’t an angry demand for justice, it’s a consistently humming reminder of the various aspects justice entails. Rather than smack a conscience around for a couple of minutes, Wounded Knee unobtrusively taps on it, but with a catchy enough hook to ultimately become unrelenting.

(On a very minor related note, June of last year I put a call-out for a barber shop take on a doom song, Tomlinson’s Rant has me convinced more than ever that such a thing would be awesome).

All up, t’was a bit like having four dinner guests that I’ve never met before at my table, all of which are welcome back any time.

 

You can listen to all available tracks – if you want to cue any one in particular just click the back or forward buttons to scroll through the tracklisting. Or to get your own copy and listen anytime, simply head straight here to buy the limited vinyl – which includes an immediate dowload with four remixes exclusive to the vinyl edition.

 

S4E


Conquering Animal Sound – Kammerspiel

Conquering Animal Sound‘s debut album KAMMERSPIEL is essentially pop music, but in the way the likes of Fever Ray or Björk portray pop music. Where Conquering Animal Sound differ is in their love for tape hiss and childrens toys. There is no doubt, with this record they are in a world of their own.

Thus quoth the information I received concerning Scottish duo Conquering Animal Sound, which I  quote because it’s a neat summary and I recognise I’m about to use a somewhat unconventional method to describe it…

I decided to dip my toes into that world earlier this morning by way of taking a listen to a select few tracks from the album, and I think the above album cover is a pretty good representation, in so far as my first impressions were concerned –  a little wintry and dispersed – a slight fracture in known logic (or a reorganisation thereof), but related in a way that means the whole picture still makes perfect sense.

When it came to this point – where I make an attempt at  further describing what I heard in a way that’s hopefully readily understood – I was inexplicably reminded of a conversation I once had; to the point where I couldn’t escape the notion that even though the conversation was utterly unrelated, it seemed (to me) the perfect way to describe the music of Conquering Animal Sound. (I should point out I take liberties with the definition of the word describe. Perhaps ascribe might be a better term in these circumstances). Anyway, like it or not, here is an edited portion of said conversation, which was kinda about birds, owls in particular:

Me: If I was an owl, I’d be secretly thinking, the thoughts partitioned, and I’d remember them later, when I’m upside down and the walls slide up – different thoughts are viewable by turning the head a little, like a kaleidoscope.

Them: Lacrimose and swivelly. Owls have a swivelly sort of grace. Sometimes their eyes grow bigger, one than the other, and its all a-blink at the world, and the world is snapped up in the vision/beak/other.

Me: I turned the dial and was trying to find the frequency for “Sing, Little Birdie”, but it’s not to be found – this particular raven quoth “Nothingmore”.  Well, that’s a lie – I read about multi-coloured balloons (some are in the shape of a cat, and some look like walnuts – after the air has escaped), and beautiful moments caught by the eye…but I looked up from the book and heard night-music and spotted a couple of flirting owls.

I assure you that conversation not only made perfect sense in context, but the thoughts in there seem (to me) utterly interspersed with the music I was listening toso much so that I couldn’t think of any other words to describe it.

Of course, you’re welcome to have your own conversation with CAS…

Released in conjunction with mini50 Records, pre-orders are currently being taken through Gizeh @Bandcamp (official release date Feb 7th, with pre-orders to ship on the on or around the 1st). The limited edition version (which includes a bonus CD and  an artwork print) has only a handful of copies left, so if you want to reserve one of those best do it now.

 

S4E

As an afterthought, once I had written this post I decided to use Google Translate to see the English translation of kammerspiel… As it turns out, it’s intimate play. If I was an owl, both my eyes would be large and turning their dials.  O_O