Monday, January 31, 2011
"One night, my roommates and I settled down to a lazy evening browsing HBO’s decades-old on-demand catalogue of “Real Sex”. It became obvious that the ‘90s were categorically unattractive. Similarly—although unaided by frizzed up-dos and genitally inspired facial hair—independent comics from the same era suggest that the decade was ridden by ugliness. Replete with sloppy art, a zine (read: lazy) mentality, and fragile, memoir narratives, the legacy of ‘90s comics is one of slipshod vanity. Panel after panel is scrawled with weepy girls in their bedrooms and brooding boys with comical glasses, suggesting that the broken family stories and social disquiet almost everyone endures is terribly interesting if illustrated as quickly as possible.
Even now, as young hipsters of tomorrow buy Ghost World graphic tees—What hath Clowes wrought?—comics have struggled to recover from the confessional sloth and egoism of the ‘90s.
In many ways, Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve mini-comics, now collected in Drawn and Quarterly’s box set 32 Stories is no different. The art is imprecise, the author features himself prominently, they are printed on copy paper, and there is no shortage of panels of downtrodden suburbanite youth. Throughout the minis, Tomine insists on the truth of these personal stories, even devoting an entire piece to the issue of his biographic accuracy—as if to suggest the reader might miss how very open the author was being.
However related to the deluge of ‘90s trash Tomine’s work may seem, the likeness ends at the superficial. 32 Stories effectively demonstrates how the dolorous ‘90s diary comic might pull itself out of the mire of its similar contemporary pieces. It is Tomine’s command of form that ultimately redeems the genre.
The 20th century hermeneutician Paul Ricoeur once wrote that the meaning of the Bible doesn’t occur in any of its stories of in any one of its narrative forms, but, rather, emerges from the subtle interstice of all the stories and forms. Tomine’s 32 Stories work in much the same way and its is this narrative holism that prevents them from ever feeling like they are weighted down by authorial self-obsession. Tomine never directly comes out and says, “I felt lonely”, or “Modern life is hell”. Rather, he presents the reader with many snippets of stories—some only a few panels long—that express Tomine instead of drawing him out. Tomine’s portrait becomes a wonderfully indirect one, in which, for the most part, the author is inferred as simply the central point around which all the fragments revolve.
It is an incredibly rewarding activity to try to construct the author in this way and one that avoids all the pitfalls less discreet memoir. 32 Stories takes on a life of its own as well, maturing from its half-baked first issue into the masterpiece issues five and six and finishing with the awkward #7, seated on the cusp of being picked up by Drawn and Quarterly (the mini-comics were self-published).
Much of this vitality, may be attributed to the admirable way in which Drawn and Quarterly has chosen to treat this reissue. Rather, simply stamp the Optic Nerve mini-comics in a trade—cf. Sleepwalk, Summer Blonde, Shortcomings—Drawn and Quarterly has gone the facsimile approach and recreated them exactly as Tomine originally published them. The change in the stock as the mini-comics go on, as well as the introduction of spot and color and treats such as stickers, allow the reader to experience the evolution of Optic Nerve.
Although now eclipsed by his later work which secured Tomine a spot in modern comics indie pantheon, the Optic Nerve mini-comics are an endearing and eminently readable glimpse into the author’s earlier life and career. Easily appreciable by both Tomine fans and newcomers alike, 32 Stories is a successful reminder of what the ‘90s should have shaped up to be."
Monday, January 17, 2011
Those latest material was recorded by the same members as their Windom Live recording session which performed with Masami Akita of Merzbow on drums (Disc3-2 and Disc4-2), and Fumio Kosakai of Incapacitants on oscilator(All Tracks on Disc3 and 4).
On booklet Jojo said "there are two basic concepts Hijokaidan has, improvised and loud sound. and important thing for me that it is played as live. i was not interested in overdubbed recording."
Thursday, January 13, 2011
"It’s hard to put into words how I feel about this album. It’s as if Ufomammut took every element of doom that I love and just combined it all, elimninating any excess that could possibly exist. Firstly, it’s just one big long song. I worship Dopesmoker, so any time that something comes along with this kind of scope, I’m immediately enthralled and have to hear it. The problem is that I always go in expecting Dopesmoker, but just end up with mindless repetition, making the album as long as possible. I’m now ready to admit that my expectations have been exceeded.
The Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om, Shrinebuilder) references in this piece are certainly undeniable. Part I’s monotonous, chanting vocals create a hypnotic, psychedelic atmosphere. Part V later brings in a down-tuned, bassy groove quite akin to what Cisneros has done with the aforementioned Om. However, this isn’t to say it’s a copy. I was astounded by the level of sophistication present on this behemoth. Part II inroduces a three-note, eerie guitar melody which drifts over maniacal drones, almost like something Pink Floyd would have done early on. This theme later recurs in Part V, bringing the album to a very unsettling finish.
To continue their musical breadth, part III is a demonstration of some of the most badass sludgery I’ve heard in a long time. Part IV continues with the same tempo, but dynamically toned down dramatically, at least for the first half. The second half breaks into a minimalist, atonal guitar solo which then helps to reel in a very BORIS-esque intro to part V which lasts for about 2 1/2 minutes, then breaking into the aforementioned infectious groove. This then leads into another sludgy portion bringing back the chord progression of part I and finally wrapping things up so that it all makes sense.
As hard as I try to pick out many flaws in this album, I can only find one. I would have liked it if they could have made the theme of the album, the story of Eve, a bit clearer. When you listen without any prior context, it’s pretty much impossible to gather the ideas due to the lyrics being incredibly hazy and all spoken snippets laying low in the mix. This is hardly a flaw, though, as it actually helps the music. It adds ambiguity and mystery to an already mysterious sounding piece. In this way, I wouldn’t change it at all. I’d say the band made a good call with what they did as changing the texture of the vocals would have drastically altered the end product and possibly jeopardized this grandiose work of art.
To summarize the four paragraphs preceding this one, I highly recommend this album. It’s the easiest 100 I could possibly imagine giving. I hope Ufomammut can gain the following they deserve, since Eve is worthy of being talked about for decades to come."
If you loved Donkey Kong Country's soundtrack, you'll wanna have sex with this one. Even if you haven't heard tried DKC1's soundtrack or didn't even like it, I would still recommend that you should listen to this. You have my word, it's that good. The power of atmosphere is increased in this iteration of DKC, and so has the memorability. Don't get me started on the music styles here. It has over-the-top techno ("Disco Train"), atmospheric ambient tracks ("Klomp's Romp", "Flight of the Zinger", "Forest Interlude"), more intense tracks ("Lockjaw's Saga", "Run, Rambi! Run!", "Haunted Chase", "Crocodile Cacophony"), fun-upbeat tracks (""Jib Jig", "Snakey Chantey", "Token Tango"), as well as the legendary "Stickerbrush Symphony".
Bad description? Yes. Great soundtrack that should be remembered for years to come? Also yes...
"Keith Fullerton Whitman has consistently blown our tiny minds this year with a stream of utterly crucial releases. Whether morphing the Arabic Oud into majestically ornate formations or commanding his self-generating hybrid analogue/digital modular setup into unimaginable arrangements, we're witnessing the culmination of years of dedicated research and experimentation blossoming into tangible, cherishable productions in 2010. Arguably, he's saved the best for this LP, using masses of recordings gleaned from live improv and studio sessions between 2007-08 as the raw material for these compositions, created between 2008 and spring 2010. In the seventeen minutes of 'Disingenuity' we're subject to a cataclysmic display of cosmically attuned imagination, conjuring myriad configurations of textures, shapes, contours and tones with the constant ability to shock, seduce and tear us apart at will. Within the ever shifting dimensions of his arena, sounds are generated from his Doepfer Hybrid Modular Synth and made to radiate and ricochet from every surface, returning to our ears in a different shape and space each time, violently unstable and cosmically chaotic, yet hopelessly engrossing, kinda like hearing a field recording from the big bang. If that was the genesis, then 'Disingenuousness' is what came after, as the constellations settle into place and the excess energies disperse with reduced velocity, homogenizing into alien harmonic structures and nuclear melodies with the deft electro-acoustic rendition of pioneers like Pierre Henry, Bernard Parmegiani or Tod Dockstader, whose work he effectively continues today. If you love experiencing visceral, thrilling electronics that sounds like the music of the stars, you simply owe it to yourself to listen to this album, you will thank yourself afterwards. **Please be aware, this album is strictly limited, housed in custom printed outer-pvc with a design aesthetic worthy of the music contained within."
Monday, January 10, 2011
"Kazumoto Endo, one of the harshest of noisicians from Japan. He uses pop music clichés to entitle his songs, and he even samples pop. You won't get to hear it on this CD, though.
It's also one of the coolest album covers I have seen."
" the Deception Island leader and dronemeister crafts two powerful glossy noisescapes in this cassette from Arbor CDr. 100 copies."
Sunday, January 9, 2011
"absolutely amazing limited cassette on Mike Pollard's Arbor CDr label. the first few minutes of side A just blew me away immediately upon listening. courtesy of Peter formerly of JK Tapes and currently of Young Tapes. 40 copies with full color six page zine."
"Fucking Whore Society is Karjalan Sissit‘s latest full-length album, no doubt eagerly awaited by a growing group of fans. I count myself among the after seeing a stellar performance by the band last year, in which they presented their authentic – and alcohol-drenched – mixture of dark ambient, modern Finnish folklore, and crushing martial industrial sounds.
"This is probably the most melodic and well rounded EBM-album I have ever heard. There are no fillers here, and no monotonous noise, high pitched tones, embarrassing samples or annoying ten minute pauses, just pure melodic and powerful body music. The only thing I would ask for is that the 12" version of Mindphaser be included on the album, since the edit strips out too many of its elements. I was also a bit surprised that "The Blade" was chosen for the second single, I would have thought the excellent "Lifeline" deserved the honour.
A true milestone in the history of EBM. Of course, it spawned a legion of subpar copycats, but oh so many attempts that didnt make it. TNI remains my personal pick of the long career of FLA and I think many would agree."
"The art of the duo Contagious Orgasm resides in their ability to structure contradictory sound sources into dynamic, at times beat-driven pieces. The Flow of Sound Without Parameter makes a very apt title for this CD. The music sounds like it has been conceived as one work split into six interlocking movements. Hiroshi Hashimoto and Shingo Sugiura mention a session of field recordings, but which sounds come from the field? What others have been treated or are derived from other sources? It is better not to know the answer; mystery acts like a catalyst in this case. Short loops, electronic sounds, various nature sounds (lightning, water, birds), human sounds (screams, voices, children's cry), and ghosts of melodies have been used to build a 43-minute aural dream sequence fit to serve as the soundtrack for one of F.W. Murnau's '20s silent horror films. The piano melody, alto voice, and string quartet samples form a hectic song in "Thirsty Teeth." In "Dr. Barrett's Logic," industrial sounds meet birds and electronic space sounds in a very strange cantata. The piano is back for another melody sketch in "Hacking the Reality Myth," pit against a drum'n'bass-and-bagpipes segment and a heartbeat insistently hammered on the floor. The closing "Firewalker...And Way in Way Out" includes an Arabic leitmotiv backed by a rhythm track and tons of sound samples. This album makes for a strange, sometimes crude, but very rewarding journey"
"All art based in time has a trajectory. In music, consideration of trajectory is most crucial during long stretches of uninterrupted sound. Anything requiring attention for 20, 30, 40 minutes or more-- a DJ set, say-- needs a logical structure, a steady payout of inducements to encourage the listener to maintain focus. Listening to Lisbon, which documents an October 2005 performance at the Galeria Z? Dos Bois in the Portuguese capitol, I get the idea Keith Whitman has done some thinking about structure. Here he uses the tools (guitar, processed via computer) and palette (an emphasis on slowly shifting drone) first brought to bear on his 2002 album Playthroughs, and extends them to suit a long-form piece.
The opening few minutes are close to "Track3a (2waynice)" from Playthroughs, with clean tendrils of drone only marginally more harmonically complex than a sine wave undulating in space like a Chinese dragon kite. Whitman gradually folds in additional layers and hints of counterpoint, from organ-like chords, soft bells, and an assortment of subtle glitches. The placid ramp upward lasts 13 minutes, and then harsh chords creep in. From there it's a steady plow into dissonance, as sheets of noise are piled on and most traces of pleasantness are left behind. Had it started somewhere heavier, the knotty bass (please don't listen on computer speakers) churning away at the 20-minute mark would have long grown tiring. But after the crystalline foundation of the piece's first quarter, the snarling ugliness proceeds with an undercurrent of poignancy, magnified emotionally through careful arrangement.
Heard loud, filling a room, Lisbon can be a little overwhelming. The climax comes about three-fourths of the way in, around 27 minutes, where the gritty outer layer has been shed and the drone conjures images of a metaphysical ascension through clouds. A minute later, the engines cut out and it falls toward earth in a tumble of creaking furniture, blown fuses, and bent sprockets. Apparently, Whitman had microphones placed throughout the space to capture ambient noise, and he devised a patch to process it and add it to the mix. After the purely electronic immersion the live room sounds are jarring, but the piece quickly reassembles itself for a noisy sprint to the finish, with coarse sawtooth waves sparking fountains of harmonics. A wispy finish gives the piece a circular quality, ending very near the serene opening.
It's a 41-minute piece that, like Fennesz' Live in Japan, doesn't make much sense cut into smaller segments. The time commitment is an obstacle, but the payoff is substantial. It comes back to the trajectory. When I picture a successful long-form laptop set, the perfect arc is something launched low-- 35 degrees, say-- with great force and a heavy wind coefficient so the piece dies quickly after reaching its expressive peak. Whitman here has followed it to the letter, constructing a riveting piece of music with the organic drama of a three-act play."
"These two tapes, housed in a soft-plastic case a la RRRecords, offer documentation of four live, and very nice electronic sets from one evening at the Glasslands Gallery in Brooklyn, featuring the 2009 darling of outro-electronics Oneohtrix Point Never, the ever impressive Keith Fullerton Whitman, No Fun Acid (aka Carlos Giffoni in his 'acid' guise), and Prehistoric Blackout (aka Taylor Richardson of Infinity Window).
Oneohtrix Point Never begins his set with a lugubrious plodding synth melody before nestling into those stratospheric arcs of Juno-synth tones found on his recent Russian Mind LP. Keith Fullerton Whitman kicks out squiggles and step-patterned melodic phrases via a C64 emulator on his iPhone (no shit!) which gradually explode into a kaleidoscopic supernova after lifting out of a thick set of modulated tones 'n' drones. Giffoni has been talking up his love of acid techno with No Fun Acid being the project to act upon that infatuation. He sets down a simple breakbeat and begins a set that would make Phuture proud, in a pretty straight forward, but wholly effective techno workout. Prehistoric Blackout offers a four-note synth melody that drifts with counterpointed arpeggiations, tremolo lazer beams of sound, and tripped out, looping electronics. It should be noted that this is a room recording, and not a board mix. But as a result, there is some very amusing banter that Whitman provides at the end of his set with two enthusiastic women describing his set as a being akin to achieving multiple orgasms. Ahem. Throughout most of the sets, the audience politely stays quiet with the exception for the beginning of the Prehistoric Blackout set."
Friday, January 7, 2011
"You already know this: it's not unusual for feature-length anime to represent a wild amalgam of different genres sutured together--military hardware and sorcery will team up to battle giant monsters who evolved from the ghosts of psychic alien kids.
This opportunistic mix 'n match approach to genre can be slightly maddening to non-fans but I'm happy to report that the awkwardly but intriguingly titled King of Thorn, which gets its North American premiere at Japan Cuts on July 11, pulls together its various generic strands quite respectably. Director Kazuyoshi Katayama consistently manages to hit the story's notes of action, mystery, horror, and sci-fi in a way that seems natural and unforced. In fact, that's one of the many pleasures of the film, the way it shifts gears unexpectedly but doesn't give the audience whiplash. Whether any single element will thrill fans of a given genre--will the head-munching "demonsaurs" satisfy gore-hounds, for example?--is an altogether different question, but one has to admire the overall ambition and thought that's been put into this production.
Based upon a manga by Yuji Iwahara that I haven't read and know nothing about, King of Thorn definitely feels like it's been condensed from its source material. As a result, you'll experience a feeling of either textual richness... or jumpiness, with ideas, events and characters coming at you faster than you might ideally want to process them. What helps the uninitiated, though, is that the set-up will feel familiar without seeming too derivative. With a haunting opening scene set in New York, followed by some lengthy exposition about a global plague called "Medousa" [sic], the film starts off by recalling I Am Legend and similarly themed films. Faced with the prospect of human extinction, a shadowy team of technologists launches a Noah's Ark-type project à la 2012. Then, after a group of specially selected Ark-dwellers wakes from their cryonic slumber to find their supposedly safe environment overrun with odd and inexplicable terrors, the film begins to look an awful like last year's Pandorum. Didn't see it? Well, when a deep space crew revives to learn that anarchy reigns and that nasty monsters are running rampant, its members must embark on a quest to discover how things got so terribly messed up.
So while there's some strong overlap here, the difference is that King of Thorn strikes me as a lot smarter. Or maybe it isn't, really, and that's just my perception. Maybe I'm just overly impressed with the references to classical mythology and the psychological import of fairy tales ("Sleeping Beauty" plays a key part in the plot and imagery). More likely, I can't help noticing that while Pandorum starts sharp and gets more conventional (and dumber) on its way to its ho-hum twist ending, King of Thorn gets decidedly brainier as it progresses to its impressive twist-upon-twist ending.
Better still, nothing from the early parts of the film is ultimately meaningless, which helps redeem passages that at the time might seem random or precious. The weird yet intense relationship between a pair of twins (I know, it sounds like a cliché), the usual assortment of character types thrown together (cute child, hunky bad boy, et al.), the overall trippiness of the setting/mood when they first wake up--all of it signifies something, and the end result is a conclusion which is strangely satisfying.
Yet for some viewers the pretty standard pursuit sequences, the impossibly high-pitched female voices, and the occasional air of self-importance will be off-putting. But that's anime to me--those sorts of things come with the territory to some extent. In fact, the only reason I mention them at all is that King of Thorn is screening at a festival, Japan Cuts, where it's the only animated feature, so it may gain the attention of audiences that don't normally go for anime. By the way, the animation itself, although generally quite strong, is uneven in places, especially in certain establishing shots of a Scottish castle that look both flat and textureless.
Still, I doubt the animation quality, or even the characters, is the reason to see King of Thorn--it's the ideas. Perhaps, in fact, the film is guilty of being too cerebral and not emotionally satisfying. Even so, it definitely shares something important with most of the other films in the Japan Cuts lineup: it makes you think."
Thursday, January 6, 2011
"I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Los Angeles’ Elitist last week while I was searching through myspace for bands that don’t suck. After a seemingly endless pile of crappy hardcore and deathcore bands, I was completely overjoyed when I finally found these guys. They play technical-melodic metal and they sound like what I imagine you might get if Veil Of Maya and Misery Signals had a baby. That’s a very good thing. They’re an unsigned band as of this writing, although with their talent and skill I don’t think it’ll be that way for too much longer.
Caves is the bands first release, and they’re off to a very strong start to their musical career. Consisting of 5 tracks, the EP is full of fast and tight melodic sections often layered with complex rhythms. It’s obvious that Elitist have found the sound that they want and they stick to it throughout Caves with consistency, and this isn’t a bad thing at all. They manage to make their music sound both pretty and heavy at the same time; something I wish more bands could do as well as these guys. One random thing I love about this EP: sometimes when listening I feel like the music resembles something off of a soundtrack to a Metroid game, which is awesome. I read an interview where one of the band members says “We wanted the listener to imagine the experience walking through an epic cave like in the Planet Earth series”. Lots of the gameplay in Metroid games involves walking through epic caves so hey, maybe I’m onto something. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Either way, on with the review.
In my opinion the EP gets progressively better from start to finish, ending in my favorite song Odeon. All of the songs prior to Odeon are great too, with the exception of the intro track Transcend. Although the track is instrumental and almost 2 minutes long, it’s relatively boring and doesn’t contribute much to the EP as a whole. Whenever I listen through Caves I usually find myself skipping this first song and just starting from Principles. Aside from the first track, my only complaint is the large amount of open breakdowns used as backing rhythms. They’re not bad by any means; they’re fast and tight and usually have some lead guitar going over them, but it’s plain to see that Elitist are very capable of writing more interesting music. Those are two very small complaints though.
Overall, Caves is a very fine piece of work and it makes me excited to see what else this young band can come up with in the future. Pay them a visit on myspace and if you dig what they are doing then you can buy the EP via pretty much any online music vendor."
Dave (or David) Wise is well known composer. His popularity stems from his works in the Donkey Kong Country series which, in my humble opinion, are one of the best soundtracks created for a video game. The soundtrack varies from the tribal jungle beats found in DK Island Swing to the alluring alleviating Aquatic Ambiance to the paranoid ambient Misty Menace to the industrial influenced Fear Factory, this soundtrack is proof on how Dave is on crafting music that fits the themes found in the levels while grasping the attention of the listener. I'd write a longer, and more articulate review, but I'm very hungry so this will do for now
"1897 is the second full length album by Australian electro/ acoustic mood setters Seaworthy on the great ambient/ electronic meets acoustic label 12k. It finds the three piece weaving a darker, starker and more melancholy work than their first album for the label the excellent Map in Hand.
The bands sound is still focusing in on a mixture of: bluesy guitar hovers and twangs, folky richness and slumbering drone emission with subtle electronics elements and treatments. But overall there’s a bleaker, more sombre and drifting mood present here with at times an almost dark ambient/ organic industrial air arising, yet it never gets too dark with a richly harmonic in place and the bands distinct sound still present- it’s just darkening the sonic waters somewhat. Part of the reason for the albums tone has to do with were it was recorded; which was in and around a 100 year old decommissioned ammunitions bunker in Newington, Australia. The Bunker was Constructed in 1897(hence the albums name) to store gunpowder, with the bunker been use by the Australian navy up until recently. The band utilize the natural reverb and tones of the bunkers rooms to record guitar and electronic elements, as well as mixing in field recordings from inside the buildings, and the surrounding wetland and forest environments. But the field recording never overrun or take over the bands mainly drifting and shimmering guitar based sound; they just add rewarding and atmospric detail to the albums rich harmonic yet darkly tinged unfold.
1897 is more album based compared to Map In hand with sonic and musically themes repeating themselves here and there; along with the wonderful mood the band conjur up through-out the album which is best described as summer past melancholy meet nostalgic harmonic warmth. It’s a haunting, harmonic and sadly soothing album that really mangers to get under ones skin over replays."
"Tools is the latest creation from Italian experimentalist Giuseppe Ielasi. While Ielasi’s work over the years as a guitarist and drone artist has become highly regarded his work on 2009’s Aix (12k1051) completely broke that mold, turned heads, and quickly became one of his most critically acclaimed releases. The fractured, almost jazz-like rhythms pieced together from sampled fragments that graced Aix has been taken one step further in concept with Tools.
Created as singular studies into the physicality of everyday objects, each track on Tools, named for the object from which it was made (“Cooking Pan,” “Rubber Band,” “Paper Lamp”), is a wonderfully playful trip into new ways of listening and experiencing our everyday.
With a title such as Tools, Ielasi has set no preconceptions or metaphors with his music except for the idea to make an experimental (and somewhat ironic) play on the traditional “DJ-tools” type of record that contains buiding blocks to allow a DJ to layer and combine with other records. In Ielasi’s case, however, the twist is in the fact that these tracks, despite being simple and stark, are complex,captivating structures and explorations of physical objects, composed in a way that is becoming signature Ielasi, that becomes perfect experimental music for hazy summertime listening."
We know so little about Chinawoman, that we have to surmise a lot: the daughter of a ballerina from Odessa (the song “Russian ballerina”, which is the bonus to the Russian edition of the album, narrates about it) found herself in rainy romances collecting all the grief of the world in a gentle fist; the fan of David Lynch; a Dancer in the Dark singing about love which will never come, with intonations of an emigrant from the land which has never existed... Chinawoman is a phenomenon, for obvious reasons not accessible to the western listener. References to her in the foreign media can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But low, almost juvenile voice of Michelle should have been created to hypnotize our compatriots. The illusive pop music is inspired not by the Canadian wave of indie-rock but by the noble music of the eighties, as we would like to remember it.
Trying to find out more is the same as demolishing a sand castle out of curiosity for the ghost that has lodged, able only to bring a lump of coalescent cloud-cuckoo memories to the throat, to waken soul harrowing autumn shadows, to throw into the stale air the dust which has dozed off on a dim chandelier - the witness to the time... Resistance to the charming magic of Chinawoman is in vain, even in the most doubtful moments she doesn’t resemble anyone living and is so remote from the world that one desires to believe recklessly: she exists. "Party Girl" consists of sentimentality half-and-half with sincere suffering, it is a tart drink taken alone, the drama of growing up known to every teenager; the tragedy of losing the self that not every adult is able to admit. Chinawoman has paid for her honesty - even in Canada, a haven of the most improbable music ideas, her art made sense only to a handful of friends and her mum-ballerina. If in the new century the front of independent music has moved to bedrooms, where everyone is an orchestra to himself, then "Party Girl" like no-one else absorbed the twilight and obscure anxiety of the deceptively cozy girl’s room. Chinawoman did not try to build a tempting and foggy world of the feminine in her record (as Liz Harris and other lo-fi sorceresses do); on the contrary, she exposed what is happening around her with an exceptional accuracy: a reality of alienation and the tossing feeling.
Built entirely around the nostalgic sound (a silent synthesizer hum, a cushioned drum-machine, sparse keyboards, annoying guitar plunk, icy synth-pop and warmish post-punk), the debut record of Chinawoman is perhaps a unique example of how the cultural heritage of the previous generations lives inside of us, and one never knows when it will blow up with a dry crack, forcing to sing and play in opposition to the whole world. "Party Girl" is a late "privet" (there is no single Russian word here, but all of them feel vernacular) from the treasury of the true Russian rock; the rock that has soared so high above the Universe, that is, perhaps, not in its right mind. It is a strange music of unearthly beauty."
"Presented here for the first time, 'Ephemere I & II' (for tape, or to be played with various instruments) are two previously unpublished masterpieces which represent for several reasons a very specific moment in the creative life and catalogue of Luc Ferrari. Even if Luc Ferrari's perfect skill in creating some of the most beautiful sonic works ever is now well known to the large audience appreciating his music, the undetermined character marking the two works presented here is quite surprising. Luc Ferrari was tempted in the mid-1970s by the idea of leaving the final realization of these pieces open to the performer's intervention (a perspective he decided not to develop in future researches).
'Exercises d'Improvisation', a score conceived in 1977 and unreleased for almost 35 years (first recorded this year by the GOL collective with Brunhild Meyer-Ferrari for an LP to be issued on PLANAM), directly comes from the two works presented here.
'Ephemere I' (or 'L'ordinateur Ì¤a sert Ì quoin?' i.e. 'What's the use of computers') is a 27 minute piece for tape only, created in 1974, conceived as a kind of electronic drone superimposed by fragments of multi-language whispered voices that creates the thrilling effect of a 'sea-like' continuum.
'Ephemere II' (or 'Lyon 75' after the only recorded realization) is a 51 minute tape piece with guitar improvisation. The electronic repetitive structure reminds some of the most radical works of American composer Terry Riley, while the guitar sounds, first resulting as live manipulated pointillistic impulses, develop into a blues sonority superimposing the tape drone and creating a heavy psychedelic atmosphere of the most sublime kind. The end of this long suite lead us back into more abstract and live-electronic sonorities. This very intense work can be placed in a context between scored music and totally improvised music."
"Okay I’m going to come clean here, I’m not all too familiar with the whole emo scene, let alone the European emo scene and I’m also not too confident about the history of emo, but I know a decent band when I hear it. But when I’m scouting for new bands, I’m very instinctive about what I like with bands that experiment within the boundaries a particular genre, but more importantly with bands that experiment outside of a genre. I feel that the whole emo scene recently has exploded into a foray of creative exploration, particularly since bands like Circle Takes the Square and Hot Cross which have had a resounding impact on modern emo. Mihai Edsrich, along with fellow French emo band, Daitro, (among other European bands) have taken the progressive and desperate elements of emo and have ran with them to form their own creative horizons and I don’t think they really care what transformations transpire or how far away they stray. They paradoxically keep the scene real by not keeping it real, by pushing the emo sound to new levels of desperation and thoughtfulness.
L’un san l’autre (One Without the Other) is Mihai Edrisch’s first album, and the album cover depicts a child sitting with her arms wrapped around her knees and a huge sky that looms above. This reflects the music nicely and helps establish the themes between the transitions from innocence to experience. The album opens up with Les Enfants (Children), a haunting opener with the sounds of children which flows into ‘La Pluie’ that explodes into a frenzy of distorted guitar and drums. The chaos is maintained as long as the track but then goes onto a deeper level than anticipated with ‘Et Pourtant,’ which is probably the album’s best song. The chaos transforms into a sense of desperation when the verse bleeds out of the preceding insanity to complete and utter despair, helped by the vocals that appear to texture the sound rather than just being about simply singing words in key or sounding angry. Mihai Edrisch does this a lot throughout the album; they build a moment, reach an invigoratingly rich crescendo, and then smash it down again as if it were not possible to maintain that explosive emotion for a sustained period. They do this with extremely good timing. Especially with ‘A demi-mots’, a track which is pretty much an escalade, built up using the same chords but adding slowly to the culmination and swirl of sound that is similar to the drawn out (in a positive sense) motifs used by bands like Isis and Cult of Luna. The band has the uncanny ability to create beauty from the dissonance of so many cringe-worthy chords that have been meticulously placed to create a vivid impression of desperation.
Arpeggio filled bridges seem to be a familiar motif throughout the album as well, with tracks such the title track and ‘Je l’appelai’, which turns from a highly energetic screamo escapade to Refused-ish punk authority. There are some quiet, thoughtful, and even brooding moments throughout that sometimes seem to be placed a little too contrived, and doesn’t seem to feel as natural, but that is probably the only downside to this album. But they act well as breathing spaces and it balances out the hectic flight of most of the other heavier tracks.
As for the instruments individually, the guitars are melodious and simultaneously destructive (in a good artistic sense) at the right places. Particularly in the most demented sections, the guitars remain on a distinctive direction. The drums are hard hitting and help build up a lot of progression with simple variations of rhythm from quiet, methodical drumming, to frantic urgency to almost math metal proportions. Although the bass is drowned out for quite a bit, it has some nice moments that establish atmosphere and incorporate nifty breaks such as the one in the title track. The vocals are actually not bad at all, and even though I don’t understand a word he is saying, the emotion emanating from his voice and his conviction of his screaming is commendable.
It is an incredible debut, filled with emotionally charged dissonant desperation that is layered with a desire for innocence that frames this album perfectly. The album closes with a solemn ‘Les Arbres’, which returns to the sounds of children playing but without the haunting feel as the lone acoustic guitar evokes a sense of the inevitability of experience. And L’un san l’autre is one hell of a listening experience. They are an extremely tight band whose songwriting lends itself to a sound that is dynamic and unrelenting.
I would think that if this was an American band, or just an English speaking band, they would’ve been hailed in the same category as the rebellious, but dead, Refused and hyped about by fans of the genre like fellow American emo counterparts, Hot Cross and CTTS. Maybe that is good thing, but unfortunately Mihai Edrisch have perhaps followed the emo traditional too closely because they have since disbanded since reaching their creative peak as their follow up sophomore album ‘Un jour sans lendemain’ is even better than this one. This is a must get for fans of Envy, whose sound is probably the most accurate comparison to Mihai Edrisch."
"Cologne’s Senking (Jens Massel) has always been something of an odd man out in Raster-Noton’s roster of artists (Alva Noto, Byetone, Bretschneider and the like), a raggedly round peg in a sea of sharp/square-angled holes. His music is roundly lo-fi and gritty, while the label’s sound tends to the sharply processed and pristine. But still, he fits neatly, if improbably, within the label’s minimal, post-post techno aesthetic.
To this day, only a few still look fully human on the outside. One of these is Gii, a former medical student, now an illegal doctor that walks the city and cures the poor for free. He changed too, but only in the inside and his change enabled him a mysterious ability that he uses to heal people that keep mutating further every day.
He has a few 'friends' if you can call them that. One of them is a black steel cat girl called Ati. Another one is an old friend from his medical school that he just met again after ten years, Salem. And the games story really begins when he encounters a little girl with pink eyes named Kia..."
Locale must be in Japanese
Mount and run installation
Move folder to desktop (rename it as well if steps below does not work)
Run patch and browse to pick folder from desktop
Click next and play
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
"On a desert island in the south there lies an all-girls school where students learn the mysterious art of alchemy. This strange academy, known as Eiden Academy, is the setting of Edelweiss, a tale of laughs and tears shared between the heroines, who lived their lives free of men on this island, and Haruma Kazushi, one of the silly boys who came here to score. This is an all-new game which picks up where Edelweiss ended.
The heroines of this new story are Takase Sakura and Fujisaki Rin, two background characters who dominated the popularity polls and conquered the original heroines. This fan-disk will present an all-new story full of laughs and naughty things.
One scenario begins when Sakura, the girl many people suspect is a lesbian, is hanging with the guys and evaluating other chicks with them. When Kazushi says there’s no way he would ever fall for Sakura, Sakura puts her pride as a girl on the line and their competition begins. If he falls for her, he loses! As their classmates start a betting pool to see who’ll win and interfering to better their chances, who knows what ending awaits, let alone how Eiden Island’s power will affect the outcome!
The other scenario begins when Rin and Kazushi are both elected as their class representatives. As the two grow closer together, Kazushi winds up in an accident trying to save her. As a result, he suddenly finds himself with something that speaks residing in his crotch."
In a not so distant place.
There exists a society where law is based upon deterrence and criminals are assigned "obligations" fitting for their crimes.
Within this society, a man named Morita Kenichi aspires to the position of Special High Class Individual, one who holds authority over said criminals.
For the purpose of fulfilling his ambition, Kenichi returns to the town he once called home. There he will encounter three girls bearing "obligations" and there he will encounter the past he left behind.
Won't you join him in this story about how people relate to their society?
In this story about how a society relates to its people.
In this story about the girl amid the sunflowers growing in the country spinning like a wheel."
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
"Two and a half years from his previous album, “Little Grace”, a breathtakingly beautiful shower of instrumental music with ringing sounds of live instruments performed with film-like eloquence, Yasushi Yoshida will release his newest album, “Grateful Goodbye” from noble label.
Yasushi Yoshida’s music style like a storybook that breathes life into the images of the scene in the listener’s mind has led the way to many collaborations in the area of visual arts including dance, theater, and film. In his third album, “Grateful Goodbye”, each of the tracks have been composed around the concept, “stories of farewell.” A story unfolds in every song, coming together like a puzzle to form one grand story in the end. “Farewells” are captured from different angles and the flowing, three dimensional execution of the stories speak well of the artist’s talent as a story teller.
In orchestration, the style of the previous album has evolved further and now features a vast lineup of live instruments such as guitar, bass, flute, and trumpet composed around the piano, cello, and violin. Approaches like chamber music, dynamic orchestra ensembles, and their emotional melody are not only inspiring but the level of completion and the superior power of expression together prove the sure evolution of Yoshida’s music. Though tranquil and melancholy in mood, the album brings to mind positive images of dynamism and life. It is not a film score. It is not classical music. It is not post-rock. It is pure and beautiful music at its best. A “Grateful Goodbye” to all those living. A masterpiece by Yasushi Yoshida."
"While she made her much-lauded ECM debut with a thought-provoking account of Schumann’s violin sonatas last year, German violinist Carolin Widmann’s reputation as a pioneering interpreter of contemporary music is spreading continiously. “The new record brings me back to my roots”, says Widmann. Teaming up with Simon Lepper, one of Britain’s foremost lied accompanists and a particularly fine chamber musician, she now presents a most varied spectrum of 20th century duo literature. “For more than a year we worked on the repertoire selection. We were looking for really strong pieces, both emotionally and with regard to compositional complexity.” By exploring the acoustic and expressive conflicts between the stringed instrument and the well-tempered keyboard, all four masters are preoccupied with unconventional duo constellations. Schoenberg’s late “Phantasy” of 1949 was conceived for solo violin with the highly complex “accompaniment” being added only afterwards, whereas Zimmermann’s vigorous sonata (1950) was later elaobrated into a fully-fledged sonata (which Thomas Zehetmair plays on a Zimmermann disc released last autumn on ECM). Seperated, yet integral monologues mark the two experimental works from the mid-seventies in which dissimilar pacings, gestural and harmonic differences are examined in most fascinating ways. Uncomprominsing and fiery renderings make for adventurous listening experiences throughout."
"This amazing Northern California emotive hardcore band has once again crafted a full length of powerfully intense and melodic songs to charm your body into a gyrating flurry of motion. The two guitar, duel vocal sound is relentless and pulsating with energy and emotion. A total of ten tracks packaged in a beautiful gatefold jacket with a design reminiscent of their last 12" record."
"Back and better than ever, L'Antietam brings us 7 new songs clocking in at about 25 minutes. The emotionally charged blend of hardcore, punk and mid 90's emo, which has won so many fans over already, is still present; yet these songs show a definite natural growth to their songwriting. Without sacrificing skill or its sense of triumph, there is a more raw, dark, epic feel to this material. By far their strongest work to date."
"There are albums which can't be placed in the boring land of compromises. There are some synaptic piece of pulsing music which is the sudden amplyfier of the worst desease you can't imagine, undressed of all that stupid depressive intentions that become the simplest way to buy kindness. Harsh, cruel, proud but even intelligent, cold and disillusioned. These are the outlines of Upon the Night I Saw a New Misery, twenty minutes of definitive catharsis, freed by any pretentious intellectualism, ideology or something similar: this is only a simple - but complete - engine builded up only to dilatate any inner desease. Nothing tries to find accomplishment here, there are only drastic cries spitted out with all the angry needed but without losing a feeble mind control. An album full of incredible degenerated hardcore metal, drawn with the certanty of whom knows his faculties. Probably one of the highest peaks of a way to mutate american hardcore."
Ending Story is a bit different than their other albums because it’s more aggressive and dynamic in songs than their later releases. Just listen to “Magical Romantic Freestyle” which is a mix of cartoon noises, a child’s voice, and bordering on insanity.
Yet it’s still a great track. There is a bit more electronica on Ending Story compared to the sparse nature of future tracks, though still has the excellent piano tracks.
These ten songs are a must for...people who like experimental music will also find a lot to digest with World’s End Girlfriend’s Ending Story."
"This is the debut full length by Detroit's Haunted Castle. These are the first recordings from the infamous Half-Crypt (which was recently vacated due to frequent car break-ins and mail stealing). At the time these tracks were recorded the basement had black mold hanging from the ceilings in some areas. It turned out that that shit was totally toxic and needed to be removed pronto. There is heavy black mold influence running through these tracks. Abrasive and lo-fi drones that sound like they are seeping from swamped out electronics. Vocals heavy like elephant calls coupled crunching guitar and molded basement ambience. There are even a few fist pumping moments! Guaranteed to be an instant classic. In a numbered edition of 100 copies in hallucinogenic tripped out linen bags and cardstock sleeves screened by Jelle Crama."
"It begins with something that could be the sound of DNA gently floating in a mitochondrial soup, and ends with an ambient texture piece with lyrics culled from a particularly dense passage from Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” In between lies an intriguing exploration of worlds of tactile sensualism (a topographic map of the skin, as it were) and a deeper look at the inner forces and powerful unseen drives that lurk below. It’s a dense and prickly world created on I Fall Into You, by Canadian guitarist, loopist, and lyricist Aidan Baker (he’s also worked as a writer of poetry and fiction, and his works in the written word deal with similar inner concerns of language, sensuality and the darker side of the psyche).
The highlight of the whole disc is the mesmerizing two-guitar gamelan of “Symbiosis,” a place where wafting, repetitive guitars merge with gently tumescent drumlike sounds until no instrument is truly distinct throughout its 10 ambient minutes. The centerpiece of the five-song disc is the nearly 25-minute “Lysis,” which opens with vocalist Naomi Okabe blankly intoning the phrase, “I fall into you and replicate.” There’s some significance to this multi-layered, seemingly inscrutable lyrical phrase – indeed the lyric itself can be seen as a tool to describe Baker’s music. It can even take on different possible meanings with each different listen: the sense one makes of the phrase on the fourth time through the CD can be significantly different from the first time, or the fifth. It’s an ambiguity that hangs, that changes and morphs, much like the music itself in all five of these pieces. The title phrase resurfaces again later, during “Phage”, a one-minute spoken-word piece that oddly enough recalls the Velvet Undergound’s “Lady Godiva’s Operation,” with two completely different sets of words happening simultaneously in either speaker.
Those who wish to carp might point out that Baker maps out similar terrain as others before, such as Michael Brook, Biota, or even Brian Eno. But the important thing to remember is a lesson that Brian Eno himself explicitly set forth: the beauty and strength of any ambient or instrumental music lies precisely in its alien quality of strangeness and unfamiliarity, its inherent newness to the ears, an experience much like looking at a topographic map of an unfamiliar place, or viewing up-close surface photographs of distant planets that have been beamed to us from faraway spacecraft. There are colossal canyons you’ve never seen before, unexpected meteorology lighting the skies, and even boring desert vistas that cry out in utter plainness, but even the plainest desert contains an unexplainable beauty just for being so different and unfamiliar. In that sense, I Fall Into You is all about exploring the cartography of an uncharted place: looking around, searching for recognition, or even surrendering to one’s surroundings and just taking it all in.
The fact that Baker has done so much with far fewer resources (4-track, sparse equipment, one month of recording) than any of his immediate reference points is in itself a victory for ambient music’s inherent Everyman quality. But what’s even more impressive, is the fact that Aidan Baker is presenting us with ambient instrumental music that isn’t just a map of some exotic fictional Roger Dean-type planetscape, but a view of the darkest parts of the human interior itself."
Multi talent Aidan Baker from Toronto is back with a new CD. This time on Angle Rec. Aidan Baker has released a string of records on several labels the recent years, and has bene one of the more active names in drone music for sure.
On this release Baker shows his talent to create wonderful meandering drones once again. The first track is a 25 minute piece, full of many wonderful details, combined with slowly changing layers of droning sounds.
The second track is another long one, 18 minutes. This time Baker uses more clear and upfront melodies, slowly moving the track to an almost psychedelic outburst of distorted guitars.
Track three and four are a bit more noisy and less spun out. But together they form a nice ending to the cd.
This cd is one of the best releases by Aidan Baker that I know. A wonderful deep droning record, with a lovely psychedelic flavour to it. If you are interested in slow droning psychedelica please give this record a try, you wont be disapointed!"
The fifty minutes are divided in 3 parts, simply entitled Part 1, 2 and 3 (though there is nothing simple about the music). The 2 projects each have 2 members, through which the total of these sound experiments is quite complex. The range of sounds is between nice tapestries of ambience towards sculptures of feedback and analog squeaking and weeping oscillators.
As a listener I am not that familiar with the works of Nadja (only having come accross the occasional track) but I am, however, a long time admirer of Troum. Often we hear a ritualistic layer in the works of Troum, but this release isn’t that ritual in nature. I think this work is way more mystic in its origin. Maybe it’s the way it was recorded (direct, no overdubs or processing) or maybe it’s the influence of Nadja. Whichever it is, this CD is definitely an addition to the Troum collection. And therefore also an addition to the Nadja collection I suppose…
The three compositions are each signed with a certain emotion that comes forward when listening. “Part 1″ can be seen as the most dreamy / melancholic of the three, while “Part 2″ if the most noisy or maybe we should say ‘intrusive’ or ‘confronting’. “Part 3″ – which is also the longest with its 25 minutes of duration – is the most ‘realistic’.
In the end, we have a journey for the mind in which we dream, have a nightmare and wake up to realize it was only a dream. Troum and Nadja only emphasize the fact that music is a lot like life, and together they wrote the soundtrack for it."
Monday, January 3, 2011
"The name Aidan Baker and the adjective “prolific” seem to go hand in hand in new music journalism and to many, it is hard to imagine that someone who will most likely be releasing his 50th solo album in seven years time in 2007 (discounting his releases with his Doom Drone project Nadja and the output of improv ensemble ARC) will have something new to say with each record. Actually, Baker is the first to admit it: “I have repeated myself, I know – but I at least like to think that when I am, I’m improving on what I did previously.” That much is certainly true and for a moment, the first few second of the untitled opening track to “Green & Cold”, which sound like a slowmotion version of last year’s “The Sea Swells a Bit”, seem to suggest this is one of those “not entirely fresh, but improved” albums. Only a couple of minutes later we desperately need to backtrack on that statement.
Before we do, though, it seems important to stress that it has always been a pleasure listening to Baker minutely adjusting the contours of his music. The aforementioned “The Sea...” featured a variation of Hokusai’s famous “The Wave” drawing and maybe that makes for an adequate comparison: This guitarist likes clear lines and shapes, his technique inherently implies simplicity and a specific form, with new motives peeling themselves off a constant, looped basis. It is the skillfull inclusion of small irregularities (in this case: layers of pervasively audible, but warm and comforting hiss), of rhythmic asynchroncities and elements moving in non-linear ellipses which turn each piece into something which can be enjoyed even without an exact knowledge of his entire oeuvre. Aidan has cited Neu! as an influence, but despite conceptual differences, Klaus Schulze, whose complete catalogue also seemed to circle around the same chord progressions, melodies and samples, is probably a more appropriate parallel. And yet, “Green & Cold” quickly distances itself from the previous output of the Canadian. Already on the second title, “Chainsaw”, Baker whispers himself through a brushwood of drums stumbling with eyes half-closed, ragged phsychedelic licks and empty bars suspended in time. On “Merge”, an acoustic guitar makes its entrance and things get even more quiet and disturbingly intimate, with different layers of speech running with and against each other – a morbid lullaby. Even though the vocals are hushed and intangible, their impact grows with each listen and I was wrong with my first impression that they merely served as yet another instrument in the dense arangements. With all of their unusual twists and turns, these are veritable songs and the sober title piece is the blues of a painter without paint, his lips all but touching the metal of the microphone. Just when you thought this was a true pop effort, Baker breaks the pattern and returns to some dreamy drones, flitting backward noises and sleepwalking percussion brushes in the final twelve minutes.
Even the purely instrumental contrubutions, though, follow their own path and mostly stay clear of the typical expansions Baker has become famous for – the individual lines seeming more intertwined, more organic and more wayward than ever. Sometimes, this sounds as though two or three different pieces were playing at the same time. At others, however, everything blends together in a bright, iridescent light, just like the end of one track can constitute the beginning of another or vice versa. Nothing is certain on “Green & Cold” and after almost fifty albums, one has to take that as a major compliment."