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