Friday, November 30, 2018

Schnittke & Pärt - Choral Works (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Kaspars Putniņš)

Latvian conductor Kaspars Putniņš in charge of Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir for a rendition of Alfred Schnittke's Psalms of Repentance. I know that Schnittke converted quite late in his life to Christianity and his music was often repressed in the Soviet Union, but I can't help feeling that his choral work that was written in 1988 possesses a Soviet spirit. There is a busy, dramatic, hellish, and agonizing tone in this material that might just as well have been included in the soundtrack of Soviet films or Tarkovsky's masterpieces; it also reminds me of the sublime music of Ligetti on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Check out the third psalm ("That Is Why I Live In Poverty") with a sustained note kept for many seconds by the choir for a completely unconventional approach to religious chanting. Coupling Schnittke's psalms we get Arvo Pärt's "Magnificat" (I think that its best version is on Te Deum but this one is good too, with a more ambient sound) and one of his very best psalms, "Nunc Dimittis," that is unbelievably heart-baring and humbling, even for someone who is a hardline communist coming from an Arab/Shia background like me. It's up to par with "Salve Regina," possibly the best piece of music ever written after Miles Davis's "He Loved Him Madly." I think that on this track Putniņš outdoes both Paul Hillier's version on Da Pacem (sung there by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir as well eleven years before) and Stephen Layton's more quiet one on 2003's Triodion. Check this cd out both for this amazing take on "Nunc Dimittis" and Schnittke's unconventional approach to religious music. 2017 SACD on BIS.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Maurizio Bianchi & Sostrah Tinnitus - Concredrones cd

Deep drone/ambient cave-like sounds on this collaboration between the Italian master and Sostrah Tinnitus (of whom I've never heard before). A world of post-apocalyptic post-fallout toxic atmospheres, as observed through underground cave shelters. 2013 cd on Korm Plastics.


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Maurizio Bianchi - Akoustikoriginem cdr

Possibly one of the most divergent releases of MB, as in this one he doesn't make people's lives miserable with grey industrial apocalyptic synth sounds, but he improvises on an acoustic guitar, and a prepared one at that on the first track. Someone would call this fifty-two minutes of relentless wanking, but people who have enjoyed Chow Mwng's acoustic guitar deconstructions, or the prepared sounds of Michalis Moschoutis will probably dig this one, too. Still, the guy must be commented on for his indefatigable fingers. 2009 cdr on Lona Records.


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Charlie Ulyatt - Off Balance

Second (I think) release of of free cello improvisations by Charlie Ulyatt, whose work has been covered before here); fans of this style are going to be delighted at his new offering, in which he also appears to be making somewhat more "musical" statements aside the noisy take a-la Roof or Diktat; on "Nailed The Rooms Up" we can hear some really nice harmonics, the drone on "Hear Them Wearing Out" has an almost classical/Stars Of The Lid take, "From A Certain Distance" features a percussive side at the beginning that could be looped in a nice house music track and continues with wailing cello sounds that resemble a sore throated cornet or something, and in "A Handful of Salt" Charlie makes the cello sound like chewed-up cassette tape. An exquisite release by a very creative artist; I think I've mentioned in one of my TQ posts that the physical release of this comes at a discount for TQ subscribers, while the digital version comes for free at Charlie's bandcamp page. Great job!

Monday, November 26, 2018

TQ #17 & St. James Infirmary - Answers To Questions Unasked

New TQ issue is dedicated at length to the latest edition of the annual Tusk festival in Gateshead. Having never attended it since I live in less developed parts of Europe I like all these reports (one is this, the other one is from the semi-revived Radio Free Midwich); for one, when I was a child living in the non-Western part of Europe, and thus not being able to attend many gigs due to the high costs of transport for artists (= extremely expensive tickets), one of my favorite parts in reading rock and metal magazines was concert reviews. Secondly, with underground experimental music festivals, reading reports is a great way to discover new artists, and to slightly uncover the mystique of the No-Audience Undeground heroes you are never going to see live in your place of residence. A video of Smut during her impeccable Tusk performance was particularly such a good introduction. So we got live reviews of the great Vampyres and Liminal Haze, Lea Bertucci/Double Bass Crossfade, and the NWW Mail Art Action by Andy Wood of TQ and Chow Mwng accompanied by David Howcroft of No-Audience Undeground Tapes (I have referred to this project here), and of the Tusk film programme, interviews with Robert-Ridley Shackleton (check out his latest piece of junk gunk funk on Crow Versus Crow), G.W. Land (aka St. James Infirmary), and Ceramic Hobs, and a review of Drooping Finger's Arthur's Hell cd (Drooping Finger plays heavy ambient electronics, check some tracks here).

As always TQ comes with a giveaway cdr, and this issue carries St. James Infirmary's Answers To Questions Unasked. Never heard of the project before, so the cd and the interview have been enlightening; we're talking diverse experimental music, mainly on the heavy ambient/drone side with a strong psychedelic edge, as well as some surprising moments, as the weird black metal outbreak on track #1, and the fizzy electronic oriental psychedelia of track #3. Good stuff, will need to check out more.

You can land a subscription with TQ here to get all the goodies offered and learn more great stuff straight outta the N-AU.

Thurston Moore ‎– Kapotte Muziek By Thurston Moore cd

This is a Thurston Moore reworking/recreation of a Kapotte Muziek gig in the USA. Having a very improvised and Fluxus/dadaist edge made up of noise elements, found objects doodling and a lulling piano piece at the end. I like this a lot, actually much more than the majority of Moore's output. 2004 cd on Korm Plastics.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Merzbow & Kapotte Muziek - Works 1987-1993 3Xcd

A greatly packaged compilation spanning collaborations between Merzbow and Kapotte Muziek in the late 1980s and early 1990s, featuring tracks by both outfits working together, plus standalone tracks by Merzbow working on existing recorded material by both, and the other way round (check out the details here). Given the time when this was recorded, this has a very fresh edge and a forward-thinking outlook, with elements of Merzbow-patented harsh noise, musique concrète, industrial, ambient lulling, and even hints of deadening death industrial! A definite must listen. 2012 3 X CD box set on Korm Plastics.

Download CD1
Download CD2
Download CD3

Friday, November 23, 2018

(The) Solar Plexus ‎– Sushi Roll cdr

A side project of Joe Murray (Posset) with Isaac Murray, who is probably a relative of his? The glories of Posset have been sung many times in this blog, and the sounds here are pretty much in the same vein: dictaphone sample manipulations, musique concrete improvisations on home tools, retarded scat-singing; here there is a bigger emphasis on percussion, with a lot of banging on cymbals. Ideal for those who like their experimental music skronky and incoherent. 2012 self-released cdr.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Left Limbs - Cormorant tape

Dissonant, loud, and improvised instrumental noise rock by this Austin, Texas newcomer. The recording is heavy on bass and there are many instances of green-watery, psychedelic, atonal quiet that provide a good lull from the noise overload. I'd recommend it to fans of Ascension, Fushitsusha, and Monno. A good first impression from this band, creating interest in what can happen next. You can listen to this for free on Left Limbs' bandcamp, and then support them by ordering the tape.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Skullflower - Kino III: Xaman (remastered) cd

The third album of Skullflower is not only famous for its amazing content but also for the rotting surface of the original cd version that was the result of unsuitable material used by the pressing plant. Looking a little bit on Discogs this happened to many other cds and buyers chased the plant to replace them, something that happened minimally, according to my understanding. However, I'd be curious to look at the original cds, if someone would be willing to post photos. Anyway, Xaman is restored here in cd form and remastered, with enlightening liner notes by Stefan Jaworzyn (too bored to upload them, check them out on Discogs). It's a masterpiece of psychedelic noise rock, starting from the classic "Slaves," with its hideously devastating bass riff, to the lysergic rock jams of "Sunset" and "Xaman" to the spaced-out psycho jams of "Barbed Wire Animal" and "What Did You Expect?"- easily one of the best tracks ever made in the noise genres. Originally released in 1990 on Shock, this is the 2012 remastered cd version on Shock and Dirter Promotions.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Skullflower ‎– Kino II: Form Destroyer (remastered) cd

First Skullflower full-length, one of the most classic albums of the British noise underground, where they took the rhythms of Godflesh and post-punk and the noise of Whitehouse and Throbbing Gristle to another level, where rock 'n' roll and crawling psychedelia has a central position in. A real blueprint for psychedelic doom metal, noise rock and so many other subgenres. This is the 2013 remastered cd version on Shock and Dirter Promorions of the original 1989 lp that was released on Broken Flag, with liner notes by Stefan Jaworzyn about the players and the dates of each track. Also included are the two tracks of Ruins (1990) - "Eat The Stars" is such a stellar track - as well as two previously unreleased tracks, which could have easily made it somewhere in their extant discography.


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bridget Hayden - Pure Touch Only From Now On, They Said So LP

Wow, just fucking wow. Bridget Hayden, violin player of Vibracathedral Orchestra, has created what might arguably be the best album of 2018. Employing mainly electric guitars and her mournful voice, she delivers a number of extremely lo-fi but highly evocative tracks full of sorrow and despair, making a very original form of noise blues. The most pertinent comparison would be Grouper, in that they both create a very ghost-like, dense atmosphere with spectral vocals and muffled sound, but this is more on the electric side. For some reason it also brings to my mind Burzum's Filosofem, in its very idiosyncratic low production, greenish arpeggios, and the layers of sorrowful fuzz oozing from everywhere. Don't just download this, go and buy the actual vinyl from Early Music, and then go to her bandcamp and listen to some more awesomeness.


Friday, November 16, 2018

The Embassadors ‎– Live At Cologne Philharmonic Hall

Here's a live performance of The Embassadors recorded in 2007 at The Cologne Philharmonic that was once posted online. I don't remember where I found it, nor can I locate on the web so there you go. Don't expect any dub here, only slow, moody, late-night jazz accompanied by strings. Very relaxing, ideal for some good ol' wine before going to bed. 2009 self-released mp3-only material.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Embassadors ‎– Coptic Dub cd

Second (and sadly, last) album by The Embassadors, this time completely instrumental, without Michel Ongaru. The atmosphere is jazzier, even calmer than on Healing The Music, with more psychedelic dub effects and a jam mood, but less African/world influences. At some point I think I can hear a hang instrument (on "Desdemona Breathes") and this makes for a nice alternative to Bohren as night-time driving music. Not many activities are better than this anyway, so you understand that this is good music. 2009 cd on Nonplace.


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Embassadors Feat. Michel Ongaru ‎– Healing The Music cd

German-based group headed by saxophonist Hayden Chisholm collaborates with Kenyan baritone singer Michel Ongaru creating a landscape of jazz, dub, gospel, and African musical influences and a pop sensibility. There's a nice laidback warm afternoon feeling to this; imagine them as the dub and a little bit happier little cousin of Bohren & Der Club of Gore. 2007 cd on Nonplace.


Monday, November 12, 2018

La Mancha Del Pecado / Xazzaz ‎– La Fetichista split tape

Yet another split between La Mancha Del Pecado and Xazzaz. Miguel Pérez offers two dense subterranean and Lovecraftian harsh drone/noise invocations, while Mike Simpson tortures his guitar and amp once more with layers of swarming feedback and disharmonics close to Skullflower's best. 2013 tape on Agorafobia Tapes and Molotov.