Music Reviews



Guide To Bizarre Behavior: Volume 2

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2016
cover
Artist: Guide To Bizarre Behavior (@)
Title: Volume 2
Format: Tape
Label: ShanGORIL la Records (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed the Bongoloids’ album “4” and it was pretty weird stuff. This tape features the same players, so I was interested to see what a new moniker would do to the music. In this case it seemed to make it all the more strange, while retaining the sense of humor that I enjoyed so much in the previous release (I mean seriously – Suzy Creamcheese? Frank Zappa reference for the win!). At times this is improv along the lines of Zoviet France’s “Loh Land,” as in ‘Pianner Jammer,” and other times there seems to be an actual song, with bass, guitar, and vocal samples such as in “Whisper Blizzard.” But this was all a set up to get you to let your guard down before they get weird. I’m talking The Residents level of weirdness. In fact, this was the main comparison that I can make here. The lyrics border on absurd and show that they aren’t taking themselves too seriously. For example, “Justin Timberlak” features lines like “Do you want to live on the bus, like bus people?” and “get a cure for the clap.” This tape is kind of awesome and a lot of fun. If you don’t have enough weirdness in your life, you need to pick this up. If you like The Residents, you need to pick this up. If you need a good laugh after the election, you need to pick this up. What I’m saying is that you need to pick this up. This is limited to 100 copies, so if you need something to make you smile, get this tape before you have to turn that smile upside down.

Kate Carr: It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphors

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2016
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Artist: Kate Carr (@)
Title: It Was A Time Of Laboured Metaphors
Format: Tape
Label: Helen Scarsdale Agency (@)
Rated: *****
Kate Carr hails from Australia, but currently resides in Northern Ireland. She also has one of the more pretentious descriptions I have reads in a press sheet (e.g., “Kate Carr conjures a liminal art”). For example, the label describes the album thus:

“This album from Carr intertwines the lugubrious wash of environmental detail with the dissolved songwriting described in the distant past as 'rural psychedelia' rendering an aesthetic in the orbit of :zoviet*france: or as the dub of a dub of a dub abstractions from Dome. For example, a guitar swollen with ethereal blight cycles in soft whirlpools of drone and thrum as the gloom of an Irish rainstorm pours down a sewer drain. Electricity proves a noble tool as well, as she tapes into telephone wires to extract deadtones of unanswered calls. It is as if Carr is peeling back the layers of history to uncover the ghostly stains of human existence at a particular place. The dead may not be talking; but the soil and its occupiers still do.”

Wow. If you’re going to compare yourself to Zoviet France, you had better bring your A-game. Luckily, Carr brings it. There is a lot going on here, which makes for compositions that are complex, but not cacophonous. A car driving by, chimes, metallic sounds, a grandfather clock, and distant female singing all mix in to a droning, dreamlike atmosphere. Side B keeps this feeling going; after opening up with cars honking at you, this quickly moves to peaceful synth washes with other elements like water splashing and even one of those children’s toys where you twirl the tube around at different speeds to get different pitches. Anything and everything is grist Carr’s mill, with recordings taken from Belfast, Sydney, MMabolela Reserve in South Africa, Madrid, Velez Blanco - Velez Rubio in Spain, Paris, and Berlin, with many of the titles providing clues as to the source (e.g., “Many Goats With Many Bells In Valez” and “Bells From My Bedroom In Berlin”), while others are simply amusing (“She Said Goodbye With An Avocado”). In this way, Carr manages to make the familiar seem strange and the strange seem familiar. Overall this was a pleasant listen and well worth picking up if you enjoy your soundscapes with a healthy serving of field recordings. This tape is limited to 125 copies.

Rocky B: Animals, Things and Human Beings

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 24 2016
cover
Artist: Rocky B (@)
Title: Animals, Things and Human Beings
Format: Tape
Label: Das Andere Selbst (@)
Rated: *****
I have reviewed a few releases from Das Andere Selbst and one thing they seemed to have in common was an element of fun. This release by Rocky B is no exception. Rocky B is the brainchild of Berlin-based artist Roi Assayag, who the label describes as “co-founder of the Jerusalem underground hip-hop scene” and a member of Neft and the Arabstazy Collective. He also records under the name Tropikal Camel. As for this release, the label describes the tape this way: "Animals, Things And Human Beings is a 13 minutes concrète-hop love song recorded on a four track in Berlin on springtime 2014 it was originally composed as a soundtrack for a fashion collection by Nicole Gütl.” If this is the case, it certainly makes me wonder what the clothes looked like because I really can’t imagine a bunch of gaunt, unsmiling models walking down the catwalk to this. But I would like to imagine it. This sounds like a toy factory where all of the sound modules have come alive and started speaking in their own musical language. 8-bit synth is the order of the day here, and the music is not quite random but definitely improvised. This is some weird stuff, but fun. Kind of like fashion. This tape is limited to 50 copies.

Darkrad: Little Black World

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 22 2016
cover
Artist: Darkrad
Title: Little Black World
Format: CD
Label: Audiophob (@)
Rated: *****
According to the bio sheet, Darkrad is the work of Jana Komaritsa, who hails from Russia, but currently resides in the United States. I had not heard of her work, but her debut album was released by Cold Meat Industry in 2012, so that should give you some inkling of what you’re in for. The label describes the music of Darkrad as “a combination of Dark Ambient and Noise, which is accompanied by quiet but threatening whispered vocals.” Sounds promising; let’s get into it. "Chernota" opens with heavy bass and the standard power electronics distorted vocals a la Genocide Organ. Thankfully this shifts in the next few tracks as the vocals become slightly more intelligible (although still distorted) over throbbing bass and analog stabs. "Someone Beneath" features rumbling bass and snippets of voice that serve mainly as texture rather than as vocals. My 5-year-old loved it and said that it sounded like being in a spaceship (yes, my kids will have great taste in music). But this is not all grinding drone and machinery. "Horizont" is nice spacey dark ambient, "All Is Wrong" is almost mellow, with its muffled bass and percussion, and "Rasshelina" has moaning drones that sound like the pains of the fallen. Some of the tracks tended to become a bit repetitive though, as in the case of "Burn The Eyes." As for the remixes, "Feel The Blood" by Dirk Geiger really brings in the drums with a vengeance while "Rasshelina" remixed by Spherical Disrupted remains pretty faithful to the original with the addition of drums and minor tweaks, only changing direction toward the end. Overall this is a good mix of noise and atmosphere. This album weighs in at around 69 minutes.

Radio Free Clear Light: The Matter

 Posted by eskaton   Experimental / Avantgarde / Weird & Wired / Glitch / Noise / Field Recording
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Nov 22 2016
cover
Artist: Radio Free Clear Light (@)
Title: The Matter
Format: CD
Label: Black Note Music (@)
Rated: *****
I had previously reviewed “Joyful Noise Vol. 2 - Nomina Nuda Tenemus” by Radio Free Clear Light, so I had some idea of what I was in for. This disc is meant to accompany a graphic poem by the same name, although sadly it was not included. However, they note that it should stand on its own. The press sheet describes the album thus: “The Matter is a sonic interpretation of themes of Gnosis and questions of consciousness and autonomy. Found sounds collide and combine in surprising new ways, culminating in 6 original tracks.” Sounds good, although I really wish that I could have the visuals to accompany the music. “Something Lies Hidden” opens with percussion and clicks, with a feeling of forward motion, over a bed of rumbling bass. Random loops of disembodied voices keep the composition interesting. If there was hope for humanity in the first track, the machine has completely taken over in “Something Is Not You.” Sewing machines, dot-matrix printers, 1950’s science fiction sound effects, and a voice repeating “something is not you” keeps it noisy and disconcerting. “What Is Inside” keeps the noisiness going until it all dissolves into a soup of spacey ambient. “Warzone” brings the weirdness I would expect from RFCL; if I had to describe it in one line, it would be 1950’s sci-fi meets 1980’s video games. It is an analog and 8-bit extravaganza. “Behind the Symbols” shifts the focus to rhythm, with percussion brought to the forefront. “Beneath the Surface” brings it to a close with more chaotic machinery, like a factory run amok. Overall, this was a good time and an interesting listen. Another good installment from this project. This album weighs in at around 65 minutes.


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