Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Giulio Aldinucci - Disappearing In A Mirror

Fuuuuucccckkkk, this is an amazing album that I unfortunately didn't listen before the end of 2018, otherwise I might have said this was last year's best album. Italian sound artist Giulio Aldinucci has crafted an amazing world of heavy ambient soundscapes that combine the best of William Basinski's decaying loops and early Tim Hecker's (pre-Virgins) shattering tectonic ambient drones, albeit with a personal voice that creates superb climactic atmospheres (the unending choirs on "Jammed Symbols") and hypnotic subterranean rumbles ("Notturno Toscano"). Essential listening. 2018 LP on Karl Records.


Monday, January 28, 2019

Mike Johnston | Mike Gilmore | Mike Khoury | Kirk Lucas ‎– The Hidden cdr

In contrast to the quartet's second release (here), here there's less emphasis on Asian music influences, and it sounds more like a straightforward avant-garde jazz album (if there's such a term), with strong chamber music leanings. Mike Khoury's violin has a dominating presence along with Mike Gilmore's vibraphone, and the mood shifts from playful improvisations to drone-like atmospheres enabled by Kirk Lucas's cello. 2007 cdr on Triple Bath.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Mönster ‎– Arms cd

On their second lp Mönster eased up a little bit their more hardcore edges for a punkier and more rocking approach and a kind of lighter/less dirty production. If real DIY punk was played in big arenas, Mönster would have been headliners. 2006 cd on Sabotage.


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Mönster ‎– Death Before Disorder LP

 Mönster were a German-Canadian-Polish hardcore powerhouse with members of Highscore, Costa's Cake House, Insuiciety, The Black Hand and legendary Born Dead Icons. They played a raging mix of dbeat punk with Motorheadesque rock 'n' roll. After they released this lp I saw them live at a squat in my hometown and I even grabbed the mic to sing one verse from the anthemic "Failed." Guaranteed room destruction music. 2005 LP on Sabotage.


Friday, January 25, 2019

Mönster / Chainbreaker split 7"

Two tracks of hymnal hardcore punk 'n' roll by Canadian-Polish-German conglomeration Mönster and two more tracks of filthy, screaming rock 'n' roll hardcore punk Germans Chainbreaker. The guy on the cover reminds of a little bit of Papa Smurf, doesn't he? 2006 7" on Vendetta Records.


Maurizio Bianchi ‎– Colori cd

A significant release in MB's oeuvre in a twofold way; first, it was his return cd after his mid-80s retirement to devote himself to religion. Second, the music contained is in stark contrast with the abrasive industrial noise of his early period, and with his later ominous, dark industrial ambient drone that he still puts out today. This is soothing synthy ambient - with a very very slight new age feel (don't be put off by that, only a wee bit) - that could have been the soundtrack for some documentary on underwater life or the study of the human brain or whatever. There's an element of naivete with regard to the simplistic piano chords/melodies created by MB, but if you want something to accompany you in a non-troubling way while doing the housework, it's cool. 1998 cd on EEs't Records.


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Tremolo Ghosts - A Cardboard Sunset

Another very interesting release by Wormhole World, who have just released Xqui's Capitulate, is the upcoming cd by Tremolo Ghosts, the solo project of Owen Chambers, who participates in the Liquid Library label, presented in an earlier issue of TQ. The basis for the music here is acoustic folky stuff, with Owen's very characteristic high-pitched voice, which somehow reminds me of Yes's Jon Anderson in a higher and warmer tone. However, in comparison with earlier releases such as Gibraltar or Clutter Flies there's a more psych mood, more diverse instrumentation with electric guitars, reverbs, and improvised guitar snippets, and there's even a noise interlude. I get a very maritime feel here, and a melancholy air but filled with hope and conviction. Another great early 2019 release that's gonna keep me good company for the year. Go to the bandcamp, and pre-order it, it's worth the money.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Mike Johnston, Mike Gilmore, Mike Khoury, Kirk Lucas - Impermanence cdr

If King Crimson's beautiful improv lullaby "Moonchild" had been recorded by Asians instead of Brits, this is what it would sound like. This quarter plays free jazz without the madness and aggression usually associated with it. With heavy use of violin, vibraphone, and folk instruments such as the shakuhachi, the zither, the gong, and saz, they form an incredible relationship and communication in dark Eastern-tinged avant-garde, like a subdued Far East version of The Revolutionary Ensemble. There's also a surprise Japanese music-based cover of "When There Is No Sun" by Sun Ra. Cool stuff! 2009 cdr on Triple Bath, a label that should be releasing more music more often.


Sunday, January 20, 2019

Equimanthorn - Lectionum Antiquarum

Extremely busy these days with my PhD, baby and work so I'm just going to make a rudimentary post without trying to describe music I've only recently heard, but something you will have probably listened to already. Equimanthorn is a side project of ex-members of Absu (usually boring US pagan black metal) playing ritual black ambient. Their first album (Nindinuga whatever) had a Sumerian approach and was mainly boring and I've also heard the 2004 Second Sephira Cella which was absolute shit. But this demo compilation rocks. I first heard it when I was 16 or something, just discovering noise/ambient/drone and kind of getting over aspirations to make Satanic rituals myself and fortunately becoming a rational atheist; I got this cd from a stupid far-right black metal magazine that offered it for free. At that time I was studying too hard for school and for eventual access to university plus I had a very demanding girlfriend, which means I was usually exhausted and sleepy. So listening to these dark, ominous, subdued sounds was kinda calming. But oh dear, one afternoon I was sleeping to it, and I had a sleeping paralysis combined with Lovecraftian nightmares while track 3 ("Black Mountain of the North" - great percussive loop and threatening reemerging sounds for 15 minutes) was playing and it scared the shit out of me. On the whole it's fun; there's some stupid very "live ritual" moments (track 4 in particular), but the first two tracks have a cool guitar-bass drone approach, and tracks 6-10 are from a unified session with more elaborate ritual ambient orchestration that is totally Abdul Alhazred-worthy. "The 131st Spell of Ninazu", with its pulsating loop and Azathothian flutes still makes my hair stand up. 1999 cd on Unisound Records.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Eziak - Nomads cdr

Ambient soundscapes mingle with instrumental prog rock and jazz and infused with a post rock sensibility. Somewhere between Shora, ECM jazz, and the rhythmic elements of The Necks. 2012 cdr on Triple Bath.


Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Xqui - Capitulate CD

Xqui was a surprising newcomer in the noise/electronic underground world; refusing to reveal his real name and working with mysterious samples processed through mobile phone apps, he has so far created a number of diverse releases spanning the distance between dark ambient, soundscapes, noise, and epic levitational hymnal ambient. In his new release, which was brought out just a few days ago, he presents an even more expansive painting of sounds; starting with the more surprising additions, there are a few - so to speak - more conventional and accessible tracks; there's "Cypriot," a collaboration with Geiger von Muller, which starts with typical cryptic ambient and builds on a weird acoustic guitar loop; there's "Epiphany," a tribal-sounding rhythmic track that urges the listener to dance naked like possessed and sounds a little bit like William Bennett's Cut Hands, and there's "Valley," which sounds almost like monotonous 80s electro-EBM without the rhythm, but with a bright melody on top. And then there's some of his darkest and most feverish ambient soundscapes, of which I can distinguish "Deathbed," a track with an amazing ringing keyboard sound hovering and returning over layers of sound created by a female voice and a distant percussive sound, as well as "Kismat," a muffled chaos of reverse voices and a swirly loop that just creates fever. I have referred in another post to Xqui's soundscapes as Lovecraftian horror music for the urban individual, and this album reiterates this likening; even the "lighter" moments have an ominous feel about them, and bring to my mind the clubs presented in Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows's The Courtyard in Red Hook, Brooklyn, where Aldo Sax investigates murders and ends up under the influence of the Great Old Ones. Dizzying music, worth hearing and supporting financially, so go to Xqui's bandcamp and donate something to this exceptional sound shaper. 2019 cd on Wormhole World.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Mickey Guitar Band ‎– Mickey Guitar tape

Their other release (minus Gerogerigegege, who, however, is the recording engineer here) is even more heavily focused on the guitar; side 1 is 27 minutes of ambient guitar effects of ambient nature and even similar to 1980s science documentaries. Again I find a Frippertronics element here. Side 2 is a live recording of the full band with a much grittier sound than in the LP; I get a jam/improvisation/noise feeling over the guitar solos that kinda akin to Les Rallizes Denudes and Taj-Mahal Travellers and slightly Can. Good shit. 2017 tape on Captain Trip Records.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

The Mickey Guitar Band Feat. The Gerogerigegege ‎– From The Deep LP

From the moment I learned of the existence of this, I was wavering on whether I should buy it due to the price, but eventually I did. Second kind-of-mass outing of Gerogerigegege after the amazing out-of-nowhere return of Moenai Hai is this collaboration lp with Japanese psych rock band The Mickey Guitar Band. Gero is listed as playing percussion, which is not that audible actually, as well as handling the production. So what we got here is psychedelic rock heavily focused on guitar solos combined with fizzy, levitating ambient pieces generated mainly by guitar effects akin to 1970s Robert Fripp. I'd say this sounds like a mix between Hawkwind and Popol Vuh, but don't take my word. It ain't that Gero-weird, but it's a good psychedelic record with a nightly sound ideal for night drives and such. 2017 LP on Psych.KG.


Friday, January 11, 2019

The Golden Gonk ‎– A Thick Ridge Of Low Pressure tape

Minimal psychedelic drone heavily influenced by 1970s kosmische music by The Golden Gonk, the main project of Jamie Azzapardi, who we saw in the previous post with Howl Of The Lacerated. This mainly revolves around static synth drones and voices tuning in to the drone, as well as fun guitar loops sustaining cool guitar solos. 2018 tape on Shack In The Barley Productions.


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Charles Barabé / Howl Of The Lacerated / Andrew Paine / Toucan Lifecycle ‎– 4-way split tape

4-way split tape featuring excellent hypnagogic psychedelic ambient by Charles Barabé (who I'll definitely explore more), horror industrial in the vein of early Throbbing Gristle focused on howling guitar noises and creepy synths by Howl Of The Lacerated (side project of Jamie Azzopardi, boss of the label putting this out), fizzy space psychedelic electronics by Andrew Paine (reminding a little bit of Ashtray Navigations in a live environment, if you've ever seen them in the act), and blissful psychedelic synthetic ambient by Toucan Lifestyle. Nice! 2017 tape on Shack In The Barley Productions.


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Trouble - Snake Eyes 7"

Fortunately this isn't the Christian metal band, but an one-off project between David Lynch's son Riley Lynch on guitar, Lynch's collaborator Dean Hurley on drums and Alex Zhang Hungtai (Dirty Beaches, Love Theme) on sax that performed the title track for the returning series of Twin Peaks. It's a good mood cabaret rock 'n' roll track that could have also appeared in an Aki Kaurismaki movie = perfection. But all the money is on side 2 "Mother's Gone," which is a slow dirge between the Twin Peaks movie's masterpiece track "The Pink Room" and early Bohren & Der Club Of Gore, that can be played on repeat all day, admiring those long accents by Hungtai's sax. Greatness. 2017 7" on Sacred Bones Records.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Journey Of Mind ‎– Salt Rubber tape

Small-length tape featuring two blissful ambient/drone pieces for endless floating on cave waters; there is an element of tape decay loops here, which alludes directly to William Basinski, so you gotta know it's goody good. 2012 tape on the always great Sound Holes.


Drooping Finger & Möbius - collaboration tape

I have already referred to Möbius as one of the most promising new bands to emerge from the North England No-Audience Underground, so my excitement was immense when I saw a new release by them, which is this time a collaborative tape with heavy ambient solo project Drooping Finger. The witching vocal drones of Möbius (this time seemingly focusing on the female counterpart - I can't find any instances of the Tibetan monk-like male voice, apart from a very understated presence in track one) are successfully linked with scary dark ambient drones that have a very narrative approach, and the end result is an awesome soundtrack-like atmosphere of sacrifices in the woods, while I could also draw some comparisons to Sunn O)))'s more ritual moments, such as Attila's Decay track on White2. A good late addition to the best releases of 2018, released on tape by Panurus Productions.


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Corrupted & Infaust split 7"

Wishes for a happy new year full of joy and peace are incomplete without a post on Corrupted, the greatest purveyors of sonic despair and apocalypse from Japan. Their track on this split, "Other Side," is a devastating piece of the heaviest possible doom/sludge with an addictive frozen black metal arpeggiated feel that increases the feeling of devastation and is proper listening during the extreme winter conditions where I am right now. On the flip-side Infaust from Germany offer a good track of sludge with a hardcore approach; it's quite good, but of course nothing and nobody can reach Corrupted. 2002 7" on Blind Date Records.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Neurosis - Sovereign + BONUS TRACKS + VISUALS

The final installation of Neurosis Times of Grace after the release of the companion album Grace by Tribes of Neurot, which was created to be played simultaneously with the parent album (in the Halo-Guattarri post I had mentioned a particular sample from that great album...) is the Sovereign EP, which takes its cue from the last track of Times of Grace called "The Road to Sovereignty" and expands on that track's mood. Times of Grace was to be Neurosis' last "loud" album for some years, as from Sovereign up to The Eye of Every Storm they became quieter and more subdued or "neurotic." And actually after they decided to become louder again with Given To The Rising, they started sucking unbelievably, and the three albums they've released since then are godawful and the epitome of what happens when you decide to play "metal."

Anyway, Sovereign paves the way for the style they fully explored on A Sun That Never Sets, and possesses a similar sound with lots of acoustic guitar and the clear production of Steve Albini, which, although quite good for others, sounds too clean for me for Neurosis. Let's see what he'll do with the forthcoming Sunn O))) album.

The main interest of Sovereign though is the four bonus track that were only found on the cd-rom part of the cd. For some reason when I decided to make this post, the cd-rom part was no longer playable due to changes in their website or some shit, and the only thing I could retrieve was some visuals. I emailed them to see if they could send me the tracks, never got a reply, but fortunately I found them on a dvd-r where I had saved them. Phew. Of these four tracks, only one has made to other releases, and more particularly "Misgiven," which was included in the remastered release. 2000 cd on Neurot Recordings.

Happy new year!

Neurosis - Sovereign the bonus tracks

Neurosis - Sovereign the actual album

Neurosis - Sovereign the visuals