Music Reviews



Escupemetralla: Poison of Dead Sun in Your Brain Slowly Fading

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 10 2018
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Artist: Escupemetralla
Title: Poison of Dead Sun in Your Brain Slowly Fading
Format: CD + Download
Label: Novak Records (@)
Rated: *****
The myth behind the music: "Escupemetralla are the result of a series of retro-transmissions to be carried out in the mid-twenty-first century at the "Thorne's Cone Light Reversion Laboratory for Children", Los Alamos, Texas (Federal States of Mexico and Puerto Rico). In a certain way, Escupemetralla are just virtual entities that will actually exist in several years' time. Escupemetralla means "Spitshrapnel" in Spanish." The musicians behind the myth: "Escupemetralla is a duo that produces experimental electronic sound, formed in 1987 in Barcelona. There is some confusion about their members, who sometimes call themselves Muhammad and Muhammad. The name of the duo (Spitshrapnel in Spanish) comes from an anarchist song from the 1930s ("Throw the bomb which spits shrapnel..."). They define their sound as 'obscure electronics,' 'war ambient,' and 'twisted symphonic music,' encompassing noise, industrial music, futuristic experimentation, plagiarism and appropriationism. Their productions were published in the 1980s and 1990s mainly as cassette tapes by Clonaciones Petunio. Between 1998 and 2016 they remained inactive but resumed their activity in 2016."

Okay, so that's some intriguing background never having heard (or heard of) this outfit before, so do they sound as strange as all that might lead you to believe? Well, yes; sort of. In a sense these guys are not markedly different than Zoviet France, producing industrial electronic soundscapes and collages relying heavily on electronics, looping and samples. I recall doing a lot of this kind of thing myself in the 1990s, although I never released any of it at the time (thinking there wasn't much audience interest in it), although now I wish I had. The music on 'Poison of Dead Sun in Your Brain Slowly Fading' is divided into two sections: Transcendent Side and Political Side. The Transcendent Side begins with a cacophony of voices ("Hikuri Neirra") fading into a jittery electronic rhythm that evolves into a chaotic maelstrom replete with air raid sirens and screeching electro-screams. The monotonous sample & holdish looping electro-rhythm of "Mutaciones Des Does Magnetofones" morphs over time with other additional sonic effluvia. "Echafaud Temporel Spectral" features foreign dialogue amid industrial ambient and electronic background with a creepy surrealistic bent to it. Title track "Poison of Dead Sun" features LFO driven slowly ascending ring-modulated electronics and shades of souls possibly rising from the dead moaning in the aether. This is cinematic dark ambient at its finest, with ghostly bellish tones, dramatic heavy percvussion hits, swirling atmospheres and heavily reverbed ambience all the way round. I could imagine Universal Studios using this for one of its Halloween Horror Houses.

On to the Political Side, which begins with "Presidente Basura" (President Trash), a re-imagining of Trump's inauguration. Really didn't need that; we've got enough of the Cheeto-in-Chief to go around for a lifetime. "Andalusia, Alabama" features lots of falling abrasive oscillations before the voices come in. Dialogue samples of some kind of discussion on metaphysics over moaning electronics and a heart-pumping industrial rhythm with other industrial-electronics in play usher this one to conclusion. I really got a kick out of the title of "Go Fuck Yourself With Your Atom Bomb," but the jerkish vocal sample "I have mystical visions and cosmic vibrations" kind of ruined it for me. Small matter though; the ambience is pretty good, and you do get a brief sample of the title at the end. Final track, and the one with the longest title - "Gran Plan Para La Transformacion De La Naturaleza" is also the lengthiest time-wise (11:48), and perhaps the most expansive on the album. The soundscape has a transcendent quality that approaches the spiritual, yet retains the flavor of Escupemetralla's shaggy experimentalism. As a whole, 'Poison of Dead Sun in Your Brain Slowly Fading' may not be the ultimate achievement in industrial ambient soundscapes, but it certainly has its moments.

Nexus Monkey: Enjoy Irresponsibly

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: Nexus Monkey
Title: Enjoy Irresponsibly
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
St. Petersburg, Florida based Nexus Monkey brings us 10 short tracks, titled I through IX and a final track named “Smells Like A Tool Shed When I Come Around.” The title made me laugh, so I hope it lives up to my expectations! The disc opens up with a weird mix of pleasant drone, harsh static, analogue bleeps and squalls, and heavily processed instrumental music, all thrown into a blender on the frappe setting. Who knows what that setting is supposed to do anyway? The rest of it goes along the same lines, with different ratios of ingredients. At times it is heavy on the melancholy drones (II, IV) mixed with 8-bit analog, other times the analog dissonance comes to the forefront (V), and other times it is a brilliant mixture of all of the above in equal measure (VI). And I know you’re wondering what “Smells Like A Tool Shed When I Come Around” sounds like. Take all of the above, but put a grinding heavy metal guitar rocking out over the whole thing. It was like Xome did a collaboration with my teenage music collection. It was beautiful. All of this to say that this disc is absolutely wonderful. If you like it noisy, this is one to get. But please remember to listen to this irresponsibly. This album weighs in at around 22 minutes and is limited to 42 copies, so get it while you can.

Marc Benner: At Times I Struggle to Be Pleasant

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: Marc Benner (@)
Title: At Times I Struggle to Be Pleasant
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I have known Marc Benner for many years, so I was happy to see this disc in the stack that I would review. I am more familiar with his work as the project Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain, since he has been on a few of the Zaftig Research holiday compilations, so this is my introduction to his work under this moniker. This disc consists of one track titled “At Times I Struggle to Be Pleasant,” which the notes explain come from two field recording sessions. There is a rawness in the composition that I really enjoy. The music sounds distant, like you are listening to someone perform a simple song on a bass (and what sounds like an accordion) in a deserted train station, as people nearby talk about their plans for the evening long after the last train has left the station. As the musicians’ song reverberates through the station, you hear people coming in and out, the sound of metal grinding on the rusty gate, and you realize that you somehow missed your train. The voice of the attendant on the PA system gives you no comfort. You hear a harmonica player join the others as you suddenly realize that you are lost and don’t know how to get home. If you enjoy field recordings, this is one to check out. This album weighs in at around 18 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.

Bardoseneticcube: DroBussy

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 09 2018
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Artist: Bardoseneticcube (@)
Title: DroBussy
Format: 3" MiniCD
Label: Inner Demons Records
Rated: *****
I am quite familiar with Bardoseneticcube’s work, and one thing that I have found is that they like to change things up on every album. I suppose this makes sense when they explain that “The most precise definition of their music is surrealism: ‘pure psychic automatism willing to express the real functioning of the reflection either orally or written, or in any other form. Dictation of mind without any control from the intellect, outside of any aesthetic of moral considerations.’” With that in mind, I was interested to see what this one would be like. The liner notes state that this disc contains “Surrealistick interpretations of the music of Claude Debussy,” so let’s see how that plays out. The disc consists of three tracks, titled “A,” “B,” and “C.” “A” kicks it off with sweeping waves of hiss and the tones of an unearthly choir as a staccato melody plays over it all. The mixture of slow-moving bass drone and frantic melody keeps it interesting. Well done. “B” takes a more symphonic approach, with synthesized versions of the classical piece with bits of analogue bleeps coming through. But it is lightly processed, just enough to give it an uneasy, sinister feel. It reminds me a bit of Coil’s more orchestral works. “C” takes us back into the ethereal realm, with everything blended together into a dreamlike wash of sound. Some percussion gives the illusion of a beat, and at times piercing tones are all that are left. It starts and stops, lurching along, until it all dissolves into nothingness. Overall, this is a solid addition to Bardoseneticcube’s already impressive body of work. Well worth picking up. This album weighs in at around 20 minutes and is limited to 42 copies.

Håvard Volden: Space Happy

 Posted by Stuart Bruce (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Oct 04 2018
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Artist: Håvard Volden
Title: Space Happy
Format: CD & Vinyl
Label: Sofa
‘Electricity’ is the broad theme here, with the layering up of different electric and electronic sound sources into eleven rather miscellaneous but generally dark works of noise and experimentation which seems to take on a variety of influences ranging from 60’s radiophonics to 80’s industrial proto-techno to 90’s-era more ‘mainstream’ ambient approaches.

Many of the pieces are little more than sonic vignettes, like the endearingly quirky “V”, but there are some slightly longer works to get your teeth into. “II” has an acid-techno-ish pulse that runs around it and grounds it. “IV” is particularly unusual, initially throwback-minded piece that evokes strong memories of black-and-white sci-fi but which then throws in some freeform electric guitar strumming and then some odd spoken-word poetry to muddle things up somewhat. “VI” is a broader journey into where feedback and distortion meet ambience, and is the track most fitting of the album’s title.

Generally it’s got quite a raw sound that’s quite playful and somehow feels quite authentic, as though faithfully retreating the steps of pioneers half a century ago exploring electric weird sounds for the very first time. Not just a nostalgia piece, it does work in its own right, albeit in a slightly incoherent fashion, and fans of early electric oddness will appreciate this as more than a homage and a worthwhile listen in its own right.


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