Friday, December 23, 2011

Stendeck - Scintilla

Some quality IDM from this year, which, if a little fat were to be trimmed, could quite easily be in the top few releases of the year. But let us not dwell upon these things and indulge in these 72 minutes of gorgeous beats instead.

Taking obvious cues from the early Warp crew, especially Autechre, and also a lot of recent trends in the more emotive and atmospheric electronic music, Scintilla is a night-time journey through the various side-streets of IDM. What makes the length a little easier to digest is the variation on offer. As with most good electronic music of this nature, it sucks you in and takes you somewhere else (the cover is pretty suggestive).


Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming

With this being released on Daptone Records, you can pretty much tell straight away how this will sound: like it was recorded about 40 years ago. Sounding like a cross between James Brown and Otis Redding, and backed by the Menahan Street Band, Bradley screams his way through an assortment of revivalist soul as if his life depends upon it. Fans of the aforementioned artists, Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, or any other Daptone artist, enquire within.

No Time For Dreaming

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion

Very minimal, yet dense tones from Chicago-based noise/drone musician Kevin Drumm.

This album is a great example of using the most minimal materials to startling effect, as the majority of it is made up of ambient drones. While this may seem excessively simple of the surface, the slightest ripple caused by a change in timbre or tone leads to the texture being altered (un)dramatically. These drones are like slowly moving monoliths, exposed to the elements and changing at an almost unnoticeable pace. The deep and complex textures only reveal themselves more as you give yourself over.

Imperial Distortion

Wraiths - Plaguebearer

Industrial horrors manifested in otherworldly drones. A condensation of pain and paranoia, in noise form.


XX. Strings

I know, hardly any posts over the last couple of months. And it's not even like I have gone and gotten a life or anything.

Monday, November 21, 2011


I know I'm late on the bandwagon, but here goes nothing. I'm going to be making some mixes just to have a bit more content on this here blog, and because... it kills time, who knows.

Holidays are here, and I have to do something.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

This Heat - Deceit

Oddball post-punk, which owes a lot to Can and other Krautrockers. It is one strange journey through this album, at times very abstract, at others conventionally melodic. I don't have very much to say about it for some reason, but I strongly recommend it. You should have a strong reaction either way.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Flourishing - The Sum of All Fossils

Everybody keeps mentioning Ulcerate in an attempt to describe these guys, but that's a little misleading. They do strive to create a large wall of sound, concentrate on texture, and generally sound like the world ending, but they approach those things from another angle. Flourishing embrace the bass-heavy characteristics of sludge whole-heartedly, which gives them an interesting vibe compared to most other death metal, and consequently, a lot of other metal in general.

Anyway, people should not be trying to compare these guys to others, as there is no point. Here is a band doing their own thing (and doing it fucking well, mind you), in a genre notorious for it's lack of originality. Death metal fans, rejoice! All hope is not lost.

The Sum of All Fossils

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Contributed a review over here to killedincars, which is basically one of the best blogs/collection of social networking tools going around.

I will be doing some more in the future, so I will post links here whenever they are up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Tuesdays, Two Gigs

Last Tuesday, as a part of the Melbourne Festival, I went to see the Kronos Quartet. Any fan of 'modern classical', 'contemporary classical', 'contemporary art music', 'new music', '20th century classical', or whatever else the intelligentsia are arguing it should be called, should be familiar with the name; they have been recording and performing for decades, and had many works commissioned for them.

My experience with them had so far been limited to Steve Reich's Different Trains recording, and the brilliant Piano and String Quartet by Morton Feldman (more worship of him to come, I promise). I had read many times people comparing the most successful string quartets, usually saying Arditti is the best, then Kontra, Kroger, Kronos (for some reason 'K' plays a large role) and others follow in whatever order. Even still, at that level, some kind of awesome talent is invariably needed, so I was quite keen to see them, if not for them just to experience some of this music live for the first time.

Well, 'this music' that I expected to hear only came in a small portion. All but one of the pieces (maybe two?) had electronics worked in, either in the form of electronic instruments that each member had, or backing tracks and sampled vocals. Now this does not necessarily guarantee awful music, but when you play high caliber string music, and match it with poorly integrated 80's electronic sounds, awful is just the starting point.

There were a couple of decent pieces in there, though one of them was slightly tainted by the ending; it featured them stop playing while a backing track slowly turned to noise (which in itself was pretty great) and resort to choreographed gesticulations instead. Perhaps they were trying to appeal to those who are not simply pleased by what they are hearing.

The main reason for the performance was the Australian debut of Steve Reich's latest piece, 'WTC 9/11'. If the name of the piece isn't obvious enough, the sampled vocals in the form of radio calls all throughout the piece certainly drove the subject home. It's quite ironic that a composer famed for his minimalist efforts can be so heavy handed with his subject matter. The piece itself was passable, though the vocals did get quite annoying towards the end.

They also came out for two encores, which just always seems wrong to me, one of the pieces being a Bob Dylan cover which was just bad. It got a laugh and a cheer, but I just wanted to leave after two hours of these antics.

I may seem a little harsh or stuck up, by going to see music such as this and ripping on it, but in the wise words of one of my teachers who also went 'I went expecting serious contemporary art music; what I got was a circus'.

*  *  *

Last night I saw a musician of quite a different persuasion; The Tallest Man on Earth. It's safe to say that he blew away Kronos in every aspect of performance, whether it was stage banter, intensity, sincerity and even the in his playing itself. The pieces were definitely better. 

Whether it was his crazy-eyed staring into the crowd, the grittier tone of his electric guitars (which he used for most of the songs), or his vocal intensity, there is something about the way that man commands attention. He certainly doesn't dress like any kind of rock star, or act like one either, because he gets more than enough love for his music alone that the captivating performance only served to further court the already drooling fans.

Yes, he is one of those artists who gets shouted at frequently throughout the show; including one love-struck fan showing off her Swedish. To their dismay however, his fiancée made a brief appearance for one song, singing a duet with her man that somehow avoided cliché altogether.

It is the honesty in his performance, this soul-bearing sincerity, which was sorely lacked in the Kronos Quartet show. 'Show' is more apt than concert, as it seemed like they were maybe trying to dumb down or make more accessible the music which is usually called out for being too confronting or pretentious by some. In the end, the popular singer/songwriter tradition succeeded in being taken very seriously, whereas the experimental, avant-garde and erudite 'art' musicians absolutely failed. Funny that.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Globe Unity Orchestra

Put half of the European free jazz/improv scene on a stage, and presto:

The whole channel is an absolute gold mine too.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Yellow Swans - Going Places

Seriously slept on this one when it was released last year, and can already say that it would easily rank in the top end of '10 releases.

This, their final release, is a constant struggle of noise against melody. With droning ambient soundscapes of varying textures, the noise serves to break things up further, creating quite a dynamic drone style. Going Places fits somewhere between an accessible and harsh listen; not too left of centre, never too out there, but always intriguing. All too often, artists in this style seem too lazy to do much beyond the genre's supposed 'limitations', as if repetition was the absolute crux of the art form, enabling the lesser creative individual to produce many works with ease. This, on the other hand, shows what can be done when you put a little love into it.

Going Places

Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul

With a cover and title like that, does this seriously need a description?

You will feel it in your loins.

Hot Buttered Soul

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

George E. Lewis Lecture

Recent lecture from AACM member, trombonist George E. Lewis. Has some interesting things to say.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sonny Sharrock - Ask The Ages

It's Sunday, the Sun is out, and I'm somewhat hungover after an epic night. Avant garde jazz wouldn't usually be my first choice in this situation, but right now, this album is perfect.

Sonny Sharrock was a guitarist who had been involved with the avant garde scene from the 60's, and really was one of the few guitarists into the style from the beginning. He plays with distortion, ranging from soft and buttery, all the way to screeching noise freak-outs. His use of distortion, and more importantly his tone, is the perfect tool for him to achieve the two extremes of the avant garde sound; the soft, sentimental moments of calm, and the fiery outbursts of energy, a la free jazz. Helping him on this, the last album released during his lifetime (1991), is the great Pharoahe Sanders (Sharrock played on his '67 album Tauhid) and Elvin Jones, as well as Charnett Moffet on bass, who I'm not too familiar with, but fairly impressed by.

Ask The Ages

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jandek - Six and Six

'Fucked up' is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to describe Jandek, and really, it's probably the most apt description. Dissonant chords (riffs?), strummed on a somewhat ambiguously tuned guitar, accompany the voice of a man who knows solitude all too well. The strange part is, it doesn't sound like he is crying out for any kind of help. It is not out of frustration, depression or loneliness that he crafts these songs; just pure twisted atmosphere, which is all the more disconcerting when it the intent is unclear.

The fact that it is so hard to connect or relate to this man and his music, makes it all the more powerful.

Six and Six

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coltrane Live Videos

The whole thing is incredible, but skip to around 57 mins in to see them tear shit up.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Company Flow - Funcrusher Plus

Thought I had posted this already. Should have anyway.

This is turning into one of my favourite hip hop albums. El-P, the man who basically symbolised the underground movement at the turn of the century, is in his absolute element here. I can't stress how fucking good that guy is. He does most of the production, and most of the verses too. It's dark, alien, boom bap, like taking the RZA lo-fi ideas from early Wu but kind of fucking with weird bass sounds. It has a strange vibe, but it works.

Must hear.

Funcrusher Plus

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Klaus Lang - Trauermusiken

Young Austrian composer Lang sure knows how to force you to listen.

The two pieces found here, are comprised of slow, droning strings, and at times, silence; or better yet, emptiness. At such minimal volumes, your ears tend to play tricks on you, and it sure makes for an interesting listening experience. You have to crank up the volume, but it will always sound "quiet". I guess this steps into lowercase territory, with the use of extremely quiet sounds, but really you could just say it's the logical progression of minimalism toward the end of the twentieth-century.


Gérard Grisey - Les espaces acoustiques (Asko Ensemble, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln)

Spectralism: music composed with certain timbral and note choices informed by analysing sound spectra.

Too hard to grasp? Yeah doesn't really matter. What it boils down to, is that a composer is taking great care with the science of sound, which greatly affects the compositional method.

Grisey, and this cycle, which took over a decade to compose, are synonymous with the style. It can be haunting, minimalist, calm, crushing, and frightening; a combination of all that is great about twentieth-century classical.

Les espaces acoustiques

Ryoji Ikeda - +/-

Sometimes weird genres have quite obvious names, which makes it fairly easy to know what you are getting yourself into. Take microsound for example; it's safe to assume the music is going to be made from small sounds, and that it is. Sine waves, clicks, pops, glitches, crackles, whatever. All those sounds that are annoying to most people while trying to make a record. Well, here is a record full of them.

The result isn't quite what you would expect, though. Instead of some harsh electronic environment, what Ikeda manages to conjure from the most basic noise ingredients, are pulsating waves of minimal sounds; soothing glitches and alien "beats".


AFX - Chosen Lords

Compilation of the Analord series of releases put out by one Mr. Richard D. James, under both AFX and Aphex Twin (for two tracks).

Stylistically, this sits more on the acid side of his earlier techno works, with a kind of IDM underpinning. It's not really breaking ground like some of his other stuff, but of course whatever you get from this guy is going to be an interesting listen.

Chosen Lords

Beach House - Teen Dream

Maybe it's because Spring is here, I don't know, but all of a sudden I've started listening to this heaps in the last week or two.

Teen Dream

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Paysage d'Hiver - Paysage d'Hiver

Swiss black metal greats, Paysage d'Hiver, dishing out their usual lo-fi goodness. The lo-fi quality almost turns it into droning ambient soundscapes, with moments of melody, but nothing lame like the recent trends in the USA.

This is how lo-fi bm should be done.

Paysage d'Hiver

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde

Bizarre indeed. I can only imagine how weird this would have seemed in '92.

Some funky production and more abstract lyricism reminds me firstly of Del, but sometimes this thing sounds fairly East coast too. It's a great mash of influences here, but stands apart from most of what was happening at the time. Mostly though, it's just great fun.

Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter One: Gen de couleur libres

This recent release from vocalist/saxophonist Matana Roberts has been doing the rounds nicely on the internet, thanks in part to a review from The Needle Drop. People are getting excited about a new jazz release in 2011, whowouldathunkit?

Supposedly the first chapter of 12, Coin Coin... channels the spiritual aspects of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, and the abstract elements of Art Ensemble of Chicago. It all comes together relatively neatly, to form a narrative driven avant-garde exploration through different moods. Being a member of the AACM, it's no surprise that Roberts' sound is equal parts experimentation and afrocentrism. 

If you feel like your end-of-year list is lacking in something a little more adventurous, then by all means, give this a listen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kaoru Abe

When I started with American free jazz artists, I thought it was intense. Then when I heard Brotzmann, Evan Parker and other Europeans, I was shown once again the power of the sax to absolutely destroy my comfort zone.

So it was with great pain/pleasure, that I found this drug addled Japanese man, playing the sax as if his very life was at stake.

Here are two of his fantastic solo albums:

Plenty of his stuff can be found on youtube. Also expect some posts later on of his work with Masayuki Takayanagi.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eric Dolphy - At the Five Spot, Vol. 1 + 2

Eric Dolphy had a two week residency at the Five Spot back in '61, and luckily, Rudy Van Gelder was there one night to record the goods.

Both Dolphy and Little are in fine form, though it's most definitely in that mid-point between the bop and avant-garde that was still to take off, which may annoy some hoping for more out there Dolphy. The songs are great though, especially the Little tune 'Bee Vamp'. Unfortunately Little died only a few months later, which is really a shame, because these recordings show so much potential (imagine him in all the spots that Dolphy would give to Hubbard later on).

At the Five Spot

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To Pity a Paedophile...

Last night I finished reading Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov. For those who don't know, the novel is a memoir of sorts, of an (incestuous) paedophile. No, not all sunshine and rainbows. However shocking the content might be, the writing is absolutely beautiful, which only increases the effect tenfold. What is interesting is that the story is not some vehicle for lofty metaphor or allegorical significance (though I admit, those kinds of interpretations always interest some), as Nabokov himself points out in the Afterword. It is just a messed up story.

So who would enjoy such filth? Who would enjoy a story about paedophilia and incest, where you do not necessarily feel sorry for the 'victim'? Well of course, this is the question that many asked, and many continue to ask about different forms of art focused on the darker side of humanity. The answer, quite simply, is many people. It holds classic status now, and is loved by many.

Of course there are many people who would be disgusted by such a story, and possibly disgusted with those who enjoy it. This is usually the point where censorship, restrictions, and flat-out bans usually come into effect, though interestingly enough, for literature it rarely happens. If this were a film, video clip, lyrical content on an album, or any other form of art, it would no doubt be subjected to restrictions, censorship, etc. An 8 year old would not be able to purchase the film, yet they can purchase the novel (for less than $10, mind you). Sure, the novel wouldn't be taught in too many schools (Donnie Darko style PTA boards have their ways), but it is accessible. Why?

Censorship and restrictions are ideally in place to protect the simple minds of children, or in some cases, the simple minds of everybody (A Serbian Film, anyone?). In some places around the world, many many things are just blacklisted and not allowed at all; an encroachment on artistic freedom, but that is not the main point here. What I am more concerned with is the attitude towards those who create and enjoy this art, the reasons behind banning such things. Simply put, can art be immoral?

These things are never black and white, though this seems to be a problem in another sense; people struggle to divorce themselves from the imaginary. We encourage escapism in different forms of art, but have the nerve to judge those escapes on subject, rather than artistic merit. Should your morals be questioned for enjoying a novel such as this? What about misogynist hip hop? Extremely violent films? Comedy about race? It is indeed quite possible to distance yourself from the subject matter, to take a step back from the views that may or may not be present, while enjoying it simply as art.

Alas, we live in a world where people experience post-Avatar depression, and where the obsessed find murderous inspiration in The Beatles. Perhaps people are too impressionable, and it is they who are the problem.

Or maybe it really is art that is too effectual.

Maybe art does have morals, or a lack of, which are subliminally fed to us.

Maybe art should be blamed for those dark thoughts procured in young minds.

Maybe art brainwashes us.

Maybe people should go outside.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alban Berg - Piano Sonata, Op. 1

I absolutely love this piece. It has been called a "formidable debut", and I would agree. It wrestles with tonality (this was around Schoenberg's "free atonal" phase), being somewhat loosely based around B minor (apparently), though it does all in it's power to break free.

The result is a thing of beauty.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On Wu-Tang Clan and Gigs

Saw Wu-Tang Clan last night, which is something I've dreamed of being able to say. It's quite strange seeing an artist of that kind of renown, that I have revered from an early age.

Needless to say, they were amazing.

And add that to the fact that I saw Del just a couple of weeks ago, and MF DOOM earlier this year, and that's basically 3/3 of my favourite hip hop artists (excluding of course Pharoahe Monch). Plus I've also seen Ulcerate, and Portal along with a whole bunch of other great bands at Evil Invaders... Deerhunter at Laneway festival... Tallest Man on Earth coming up, along with The Kronos Quartet....

Damn. It's been a good year.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Morton Feldman - Triadic Memories (Aki Takahashi)

I am at a loss for words when it comes to describing Feldman's affecting compositions. The feeling is difficult to grasp; I fear that any kind of metaphor I could perhaps use would just be a lame attempt at doing so. All I can say, is that with his slow and deliberate pieces, he achieves a kind of haunting melancholy that is genuinely unsettling.

This particular piece, is for solo piano, in a single, hour long movement. It is minimal, in a sense, but maximal in effect.

Triadic Memories

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Guided by Voices - Bee Thousand

Lo-Fi indie, before being a hipster was a "thing".

Simple, poppy songs, played with that "I don't care if this never gets released" kind of attitude. Basically sounds like a bunch of demos; songs suddenly cut out, change abruptly. But of course, this just makes it all the more charming.

Bee Thousand

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Masayuki Takayanagi

Here are two albums from the brilliant, yet slightly deranged, Masayuki Takayanagi. Equal parts free jazz and noise, I guess you could just call it free improvisation but who cares.

Characterised by large amounts of distortion and feedback, Masayuki's style is fierce, to say the least. He brings an intensity to the guitar that few can claim to match; certainly not in jazz circles, and probably not many other styles either. He certainly succeeded in finding his own voice.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charles Gayle, William Parker and Rashied Ali - Touchin' on Trane

A fantastic tribute to one of the greatest, featuring Rashied Ali, the man behind the skins on Coltrane's later works, and two of the greats of the last few decades, Charles Gayle and William Parker.


Touchin' on Trane

Monday, July 11, 2011

Charles Gayle - Repent

74 minutes of fury. A constant blast of free jazz, that is compelling throughout.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Heinrich von Kleist - On the Marionette Theater

One evening in the winter of 1801 I met an old friend in a public park. He had recently been appointed principal dancer at the local theatre and was enjoying immense popularity with the audiences. I told him I had been surprised to see him more than once at the marionette theatre which had been put up in the market-place to entertain the public with dramatic burlesques interspersed with song and dance. He assured me that the mute gestures of these puppets gave him much satisfaction and told me bluntly that any dancer who wished to perfect his art could learn a lot from them.

 "Thought-provoking" is a phrase that seems to pop-up in reviews of any kind of substantive piece of literature, as if it is a compliment of the highest order. Surely a passive reading experience should not be considered normal?

This may only take you 10 minutes to read, though it is something that may provoke thoughts for a long while after.

On the Marionette Theater

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

O.C. - Word... Life

Some more East Coast greatness, though this one seems a little under-appreciated.

Really jazzy production, and the dudes got a smooth flow so its an awesome chill record.

Word... Life

Jeru the Damaja - The Sun Rises in the East

How to make an East Coast classic:

DJ Premier on the boards.

Dark vibes.

Great lyricism.

Twin Towers burning?

It's got it all.

The Sun Rises in the East

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shabazz Palaces - Black Up

And one of the MCs from Digable Planets (previous post), Ishmael Butler, has a new project. This is hip hop way out of left field, with strange production and odd vocal effects here and there, though it never veers into "weird for the sake of being weird" territory. The whole album just has a strange feeling about it, like its some kind of afrocentric aliens work or something. Really cool album though, one of the more interesting releases of 2011.

Black Up

Digable Planets - Blowout Comb

Some of the smoothest, chillest, grooviest hip hop I have come across. Seriously it's like they heard Tribe and thought "nah those guys need to chill a bit more". Of course, the production is excellent, with great jazz samples in abundance, but everything just comes together so well to create a good vibe.

This album is just "mmmm".

Blowout Comb

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Autechre - LP5

Been digging these guys so hard over the last week or so. It's like the penny has finally dropped, and my opinion of them has changed from 'they are a highly respected duo, for good reason', to plain old 'fuck these guys are good'.

This, as you may have guessed, is their 5th full length, and sits right in the middle of discography stylistically. Not as intense as Confield or Draft 7.60, yet more experimental than the earlier Tri Repetae ++ and Amber. I would place this in my top 3 favourites from them, and it's their most 'beautiful' album as far as I'm concerned.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Evil Invaders III

Last weekend, after just finishing my written exams, I made the trip up to Sydney to go to the mini-festival Evil Invaders. What ensued was two nights of metal, beer and manliness. Ok, maybe not so much the last one.

Spread over two nights, the line-up was full of underground Australian metal (now there's a tautology for you). Kicking off proceedings on the Friday night, I witnessed what I am assuming was one of the first shows Innsmouth had performed. Due to a late flight time, I missed a bit of their set, but no matter. They had a decent set, with tracks from their She-Goat 7" being the better, but they seemed a little sloppy. Perhaps once they gig more frequently they will tighten up a little. Next up were fellow Melbournians, Ignivomous. Their uncompromisingly heavy old school sound translated well to the stage, and although that crushing bottom end found on Death Transmutation was cleaned up a little, the powerful vocals made up for it. Highlights of the set included 'Hedonistic Pain Ritual', and a couple of new tracks 'from the new album to be released early next year'. I am expecting great things.

Trench Hell were up next, and like the other handful of thrash bands over the two nights, I felt quite indifferent to them on the whole. Some of the bands were tight, and got the crowd going, but failed to keep me from wandering off to the bar most of the time. Seemingly all of them had only two objectives: thrash hard, and say 'cunt' as many times as possible.

Nevertheless, nothing was going to take away from the experience of seeing the live ritual of one band in particular: Portal.

Dressed in a black Papal outfit, The Curator seemingly appeared out of nowhere at the side of the stage, signifying the beginning of one of the most intense 40 minutes of my life. The wall of sound conjured forth by those 8-string guitars was almost overwhelming; the acrobatic hand movements of each guitarist certainly was. Each song was incredible, most notably 'Sourlows', the ridiculous opening moments of 'Glumurphonel', and the duo of 'Larvae' and 'Illoomorpheme' to finish off. Also, they played what I'm guessing is a new song, considering I can't find it on any of their releases. According to their set-list, it's entitled 'Curtain'. Very promising stuff indeed.

The strangest part about seeing Portal though, is seeing the members go on stage to set-up looking like regular people, and walking around the pub chilling with their friends. While it does bring a little more humanity to their music, The Curator definitely kept the other-worldly atmosphere.

* * *

Beginning late Saturday afternoon, Grave Upheaval kicked off the second day in the filthiest way possible (to a fairly poor crowd, sadly). This trio, featuring a couple of members from Impetuous Ritual, blasted out sick and filthy tunes for a good half an hour until unfortunately, their set met an abrupt end with the guitarist breaking a string. After a moment of confusion, they finished off with 'So, uh... that's it. Thanks.' and promptly left the stage. It's a disappointing way to finish, but I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw.

I didn't feel like thrashing too hard for another night, so I wandered off in search of nourishment, while a couple more bands did their thing. After finding an awesome pizza joint up the road, I deemed this decision wholly worthwhile.

Continuing on with the filth were Impetuous Ritual, an act I was looking forward to immensely. As mentioned before, they share members with Grave Upheaval, and also Portal. Quality-wise, they fit somewhere in between. Their twisted form of de-tuned destruction was absolutely crushing, creating a monolithic wall of sound similar to Portal, with added aggression. It was quite a relentless set, though I failed to get any good quality photos...

Bringing back the old school were another Melbourne band, Black Jesus. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I had come close to purchasing their demo once, but for some reason neglected to listen to them. They put on a solid show, while not being the filthiest or weirdest or whatever. I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for any more local shows they do in the future.

A few slots later, Cauldron Black Ram played to a very enthusiastic crowd. While they were obviously a crowd favourite, and did perform very well, I just fail to see what is good about them. The worst part of it is, they were a replacement for Witchrist, who I would have loved to have seen. Oh well, there's always next time.

Finishing off the weekend, to everyones joy, was D.usk, the reformation of old death/doom titans diSEMBOWELMENT. Playing tracks from Transcendence into The Peripheral, that many, including myself, thought they would never see live, they were guaranteed a good reception, though they got more than that. They seemed to appeal to everyone there; old, young, death-heads, thrash-cunts, etc. They were also the only band to make good use of the lights on offer, and brought the event to a close in style.

Considering it was $30 a ticket, this was incredibly worth it, but considering it was in Sydney and cost a few hundred dollars in travel and expenses...

yeah it was still worth it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Freedom and Sound

The last time my soprano saxophone was overhauled, the new pads had been given a special coating intended to keep moisture out of the leather. The instrument has been awkward to play ever since. Half way through a sweaty concert the pads start sticking to the tone holes, and I’m forever having to clean them. It will soon be taken back to the workshop. But last February I played a concert in a quartet that included no-input mixing desk expert Toshimaru Nakamura. The music was extremely quiet, and after a while I stopped blowing into the instrument and worked instead with the sound of the pads as they audibly unstuck and then leapt open under the spring action. This sonic material seemed to interact satisfyingly with the other musicians’ input, and had a surprising vitality. The previous week I’d played in the same venue, Cafe Oto in Dalston, with Matthew Shipp, the American jazz (in the broadest sense) pianist. Sticky pad sounds would have been a ridiculous contribution. Equally, most of what I found myself playing in this duo would have sounded nonsensical in the Nakamura quartet. So, what can the free in free-improvisation possibly mean?

Really great essay, written by free improvisation artist John Butcher.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

John Coltrane - Sun Ship

So this is the 27th album from Coltrane that I have heard, and god damn why did I wait so long to check it out. This is one of his better post- A Love Supreme efforts, and the quartet play with an incredible amount of fire. The whole thing is just a roller coaster ride through free territory.

Somehow I'm still finding great material from Trane, it's just ridiculous.

Sun Ship

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Hiromi - Voice

New release from Hiromi, the incredibly talented Japanese pianist.

This time around she has a new trio set-up, with Anthony Jackson (Chick Corea, Steely Dan) on bass, and Simon Phillips (Toto, The Who, Judas Priest[???]) on drums. It is quite a different feel to her sonicbloom group, and also her original trio; this new trio being much more rock oriented and all about finding interesting grooves.

Either way, its nice to have her playing with a group again, after I felt somewhat indifferent towards her solo album Place To Be. Check it out.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Molested - Blod Draum

Norwegian death metal wasn't exactly the biggest thing around '93 - '95, when the next wave of black metal was really taking off, but this album here shows that quality dm can come out of anywhere.

You could almost say this has a bit of the blackened vibe, as the vast majority of riffs are tremolo picked, chordal or otherwise, and there is a strong emphasis on atmosphere at some points. Some of it is fairly technical, and the drums are pretty damn solid, but what will stand out at first is the production. This kind of muffled-but-not-in-a-bad-way guitar sound is almost like a less noisy version of some of Portal's material, and musically it's not a farfetched comparison either.

Really solid, interesting album.

Blod Draum