Darwinsbitch - Ore
(Digitalis Industries ACE016)
Behind the immaculately named Darwinsbitch is one Marielle Jakobsons who, on this, her debut solo seedee, has assembled a many layered monolith of sound.
Taking elements of drone, folk music and melancholic sacramental music, jakobson (who is also part of the duos Date Palms and Myrmyr) has focused them into a most intriguing whole. There is a deceptive ease to the music. It's far too easy to slip comfortably inside the ambience and miss the sheer quality of the music. Her instrumentation is dense yet unobtrusive and drenched in the white heat of her drones.
Ore is a beautiful piece of folk music that is equal part utterly familiar, utterly alien and utterly compelling.
Day Before Us / Nimh - Under Mournful Horizons
(Rage in Eden RAGE91)
The two nom-de-plumes at the top of this review belong to Philippe Blache, who brings piano, organ & guitar to the proceedings and Guiseppe Verticchio who mixed and mastered the album along with providing the synths, samples, field recordings and assorted other sonic detritus.
The album opens with a queasy keyboard motif over recordings of the sea to evoke an atmosphere very much tied up with that of the cover art of a weather-beaten statue of a seated angel presented in black & white.
This (the combination of the vaguely gothic and the bilious instrumentals) continues throughout the album and the pair use it to project some interesting imagery in the aether.
Truthfully it's all a little ostentatious for my tastes but it made for an interesting place to visit a couple of times.
Dead Labour Process - People Are The Same All Over
(Dead Sea Liner 26)
The always reliable Dead Sea Liner label make a welcome return to my seedee player with this little oddity. Dead Labour Process is, I think, one Euan Currie whose music is a trippy smorgasbord of 60's sci-fi bloops, trills, bleeps, sweeps, pings, twangs and woos. Opener, 'Fushwives' exoticises these by adding various sampled nature sounds but the second track 'Subzero Aqua Jazz Hands' is all about the cosmos baby. It's great fun ... short ... but great fun.
Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - A Line: Align
(Mystery Sea MS42)
Swedish musician Thomas Ekelund is the man behind the enigmatic nom-de-plume and here produces a set of fragile and absorbing recordings. Indeed, so fragile that often other unavoidable ambient noises (passing cars, local wildlife looking for a shag, an unexpected sneezing fit) can completely overwhelm and destroy the ambience that he is working to create. As the album progresses Ekelund takes a more muscular approach allowing his drones to build until they begin to dominate the aural landscape rather than being subservient to it before once again retreating into it's more introspective ambient form. I have to admit to a slight frustration with very quiet and sparse music simply because my lifestyle precludes the option of wearing headphones and so much of the time the music I am listening to has to compete with the myriad distractions of everyday life. For music as delicate as this it is a daunting task and one that it often doesn't achieve. Having said that however one should note that on the times where the distractions are few and the music is able to breath and expand to fill the space then it succeeds admirably.
Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain / Dysthymia - split 7"
(Diophantine Discs n=23)
Two track, two act single on 7" vinyl (my favourite format) from one of the best labels around is always going to get me to sit up and pay attention. Both artists are new to me so we'll begin in the traditional manner with side A.
Dead Shall Not Have Died In Vain which sounds like one of those Canadian post rock outfits that were in vogue a few years back - Godspeed Thee Silver Pan Am Flames or somesuch - is the nom de guerre of one Marc Benner. Here he layers crashing metal over lush ambient drones. It's just the right mix of noisy and mellow and is way, way, way too short.
Dysthymia is my first exposure to the music of Diophantine label head Kyle Wright. Right from the off this is a very different animal from the one living on the flip side. The music here is a massive crescendo of grinding noise laced through with a looping siren call. It builds and builds before erupting in the inevitable money shot of screeching soaring sound. It's great fun.
To sum up - everything released on Diophantine is worth hearing - Everything!
Death Qunt - Now 69 / Shit In Your Bed
(Big Filthy Records)
Ok, just so you know, the following review is split into two distinct parts. The first part is a minor rant about that awful name they've saddled themselves with whilst the second part is a major rant about just how good this album is. Okay? Got that? Right, here we go.
Death Qunt??? Death.......Qunt......? What can the thought process behind a name that bad be. Funny? Well no it's not, obviously. Or, is it for controversy? Well, the only people who could possibly be offended are your average Daily Mail readers and they're never going to hear it. It's the type of name 13 year olds with mullets, spectacles and mascara call their first death metal band. They even carry this over into their individual names which I really cannot be bothered to type out.
Then, there's the music, and what glorious music it is! Think Naked City, think the jazzier end of Zappa, think The Residents, think about getting a copy. DQ (I'm not typing it again) are a three piece (saxophone, drums and guitar) of ex-music students based in Leeds, UK. They produce a deeply (and unconventionally) groovy jazz skronk that's as addictive as sin. Like the above list DQ mix elements from a variety of genres, fusing metal, lounge, noise and jazz with a healthy avant-garde sensibility to produce music that sends shivers to the tips of your toes. They're at their best on the longer tracks (Voodoo Fire & Slam the Ham) when they can get a real hold on the piece, fire off each other and head into outer space but be aware that the quality of songwriting and musicianship never, and I really do mean never, drops from tracks one to eleven. As is often the case with small releases 'Now 69' was recorded at different times and by different people so the production values dip and dive a little through the album but that's a petty quibble about what is easily one of the best albums I've heard this year.
Dead Wood - Harmonic Sector 1-10
(Dead Sea Liner 18)
The understated and slightly clumsy fractal-esque cover art tells a subtle truth about this album from Dead Wood (Adam Baker) as it gives a first glimpse into the retro-primitive electronic soundworlds produced by this artist. Composed from a cavalcade of tones and drones Baker avoids the pitfall of cold electric paralysis that often accompanies releases of this sort by keeping his sounds in constant motion. They tumble over each other, albeit at a very leisurely pace, and tracks are developed with a keen ear for structure. What is missing for me however, and this I find is often the case with music that pursues this entirely electronic avenue, is any sort of emotional attachment to the sounds. I can appreciate the skill involved in their generation and in their construction and it makes for excellent background ambient music but in true listening terms it is lacking that indefinable something that grabs your attention and holds you rapt for the duration.
The Declining Winter - Goodbye Minnesota
(Rusted Rail RRI4)
Mellow post-rock with added singing from this UK one man band (Richard Vincent Adams) that's very nicely packaged and with some really quite beautiful melodies floating around. I'm less taken with the vocals though which are generally flat and lifeless and ranged from being mildly irritating to downright annoying depending on my mood. The music though is where the appeal lies and Adams writes a nice tune although the lack of dynamism on display means Goodbye Minnesota is a slightly one dimensional listen but one that was enjoyed with reservations.
Deep & June Paik - I Mog Deep (deepinjune - the abraxus tapes)
Tiny little cd documenting a live collaboration between these two German (I think) ensembles both of with are new to me. It's a set of Sunno)) style deep and dark drones but without the American's intensity (and stupid robes, fortunately). I like this very much. For the majority of it's 16 minute runtime it's so slow as to be practically comatose and when it does wake up it does so with a blearily weary inevitability that perfectly suits what has gone before.
Well worth tracking down.
Mathias Delplanque - L'inondation
(Mystery Sea MS45)
If my reading of the press statement is correct then at least the bare bones (if not the entirety) of this remarkable album consists of a recording (or recordings) made from sounds filtering up from the lower floors of Delplanque's apartment building. L'inondation consists of all those sounds that are so exotic and disturbing in a 'silent' house - drips, hisses, clangs & taps. Sounds that are both amorphous and mundane. For Delplanque they are the building blocks from which he creates his soundworld. As you'd expect from that premise there isn't huge scope of material to be had but those sounds that are available are used to their utmost and to spellbinding effect.
derschlaeger - Blogs
When I first heard that Faust percussion powerhouse Zappi Diermaier was working with an ensemble producing schlager music (a form of anodyne pop music popular in Germany in the 1960s and early 70s) I was both simultaneously repelled and intrigued with a definite lean towards the latter.
As you can imagine Zappi and his cohorts present a very different take on the genre than most of it’s fans would recognise. Faust fans on the other hand will feel right at home. Blogs is an album of clattering avant-percussion and dislocated instrumentation augmented by occasional forays into the cheesy low-rent songs that define the genre. It’s a fascinating listen that I have been returning to repeatedly over the last month or so. It most strongly reminds me of classic era Nurse With Wound complete with the dada sample chaos only here it’s all the product of a very clever group of musicians indeed.
If you are a fan of the drummer’s main band or NWW you will find much to enjoy here. If you’re a schlager fan then I’m going to assume you’ve gotten in here by mistake so come with me and I’ll make you a nice calming cup of tea before showing you the way out.
d'incise - Secheresse Plantee en Plein Ciel
(Gruenrekorder Gr071 / LC 09488)
Using recordings sourced through travels in the Czech Republic and Poland mixed with various identifiable (and not so) instrumentation d'incise has created a really quite marvellous collage of sound. His take on electronic music is one of disjointed melodies and broken ambience that allows him to hold the listener in a limbo like sense of disorientation. His field recordings are beautifully chosen and there are moments where the grimy mundaneity of contemporary life almost breaks through before it's all is pulled back into the panoptic swirl by the quality of his music.
D'incise operates in that strange hinterland between genres. His music operates within and without referential boundaries and is all the stronger for it. He's unafraid to flirt with melody and positively embraces rhythm but each is kept and utilised purely as tools within and extensive arsenal of methodology. This all leads towards two conclusions that can be drawn here; that this album is hard to define but easy to listen to.
Dinosaur Jr - Farm
When Dinosaur reformed the other year it wouldn't be fair to say I didn't care, their music gave me too much joy through the 90's for me to be so shallow, but by that time my musical tastes had wandered far from the particular path they tread. I didn't begrudge them another go either. None of them particularly seem the types to go after a quick profit so they obviously felt they had something valid to say. Good luck to them I thought and then cheerfully ignored them.
It's a couple of years later and everywhere I look I'm seeing not just good reviews for this second post reformation album but absolutely glowing reviews. It's summer, I'm all rocked up as Sonic Youth have just put out their best album in an awful long time and so it's time to revisit an old friend.
So, the question is, are those glowing reviews overstating things, can this new album really be as good as Bug as they all seem to boldly claim. Yeah. It is. It's superb! An absolutely mind-blowing set of Live Rust era Neil Young style jams that manage to be both madly psychedelic and grimily earthy. There are moments of heartfelt poignancy (Said The People) and others of wild eyed pop fire (Over It) and linking them all is some of the best songwriting it's been my pleasure to hear in a long time.
Album of the year? Possibly.
Album of the summer? Definitely!
DIODAAR - Black Moon Siege Impression
(Muzzedia Verhead MV014)
This geordie (at least by location) trio engage with the cosmos through a pair of recordings of (their term) 'post-drone'. I'm not sure if this is particularly 'post' anything as it uses many strategies refined by the dark ambient scene over the last 'X' number of years. That's not to say it isn't any good though. BMSI is a well paced and immersive set of sound in constant motion. It establishes and holds a darkly narcotic ambience and sprinkles it with just the right amount of psychedelic flourishes to keep things interesting.
It isn't earth-shatteringly new or innovative but as with all the Muzzedia Verhead releases I've heard it's lovingly crafted, beautifully mixed and well worth a listen.
DIODAAR - The Ash Falls Like Snow On A Hillside
(Muzzedia Verhead MV009)
DIODAAR is the group project of Waz Hoola, Simon Moore and Kevin Wilkinson. Of these three Wilkinson is the more familiar name being both label owner and the purveyor of audio delights under his brb>voicecoil game-face. Here the trio take a plethora of instruments and mash them together to create a ominously bleak and delectably unwholesome psychedelic swirl. With it's collective feet firmly set in the same soil from which Skullflower and Sunroof! grew from but for me DIODAAR's willingness to occasionally lay back a little and allow the music some breathing space is a much more intriguing prospect.
If I have one complaint it's that at 75 minutes it's just too damn long. The album could have easily lost some of it's content and, I think, become a much more powerful statement as a result. It's a shame that the music gets more and more involving and interesting as the album progresses whilst simultaneously one can feel ones attention and commitment beginning to wander.
I really do recommend this one though especially if you like your psychedelia with a distinctly hard edge.
Dissecting Table - Why
Teeny weeny cd of utter raucousness. All tracks date back to between 1995 and 1998 and Ichiro Tsuji’s bronchitis vocals are very much of their time. This harks from when the UK crust scene of Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror, et al started to morph into the industrial noise scene of more recent years. The speed, aggression and grind are there but it’s tightly controlled and played with mechanical precision.
It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to anything that sounds even remotely like this and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dissecting Table - No Longer Human
(Suggestion Records, Verato Project sug022)
The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a large number of Verato Project CDs featured in WWR over the last 3 months. I have no information on this project other than it's an off-shoot of Suggestion Records and is mostly concerned with the noisier end of this beautiful thing called noise. The huge box of seedees they gifted to me came with no info at all on any of the featured musicians so I'm pretty much at a loss as to who most of these cats are. So, I'm writing blind here, diving into each album with no preconceptions which has to be good.
First impression of Dissecting Table is favourable. Opening track, 'No Longer Human' is a slow moving guttural rumble which sounds a little like a lawnmower. I like it but it does make me feel guilty about not being out working on the garden on this mild summer evening. Track 2 is an eardrum clearing total noise assault of piercing screes of noise and relentless panned shouting. Track 3 (Devadatta) continues the assault by combining swooping mid and high range frequencies with lower range pulsations that alternates between slowly deteriorating into a violent cataclysm of gritty noise and reassembling itself into psychedelic swoops.
Final track, 'Thrasymachos', is a relief after the all out attack of the previous two tracks and is probably my high point of the album. It's staccato 'melodic' rhythms are littered with shards of noise and disembodied bleeping and the whole thing seems the most deliberate and thought through of all the tracks.
As seems to be the case with most of these Verato releases this one is a thoroughly entertaining listen but is lacking that little bit of individuality that would bring me back for more.
d.n.s. - dunes
(Perineum Productions #16)
Arma, the person behind Perineum Productions, has a nice touch when it comes to packaging. Almost all the releases I have from his label are in hand made slipcases. Nothing flashy, just simple and very nicely put together. Of the four that I have this one is my favourite. Folded card wrapped in brushed leather. It's the most tactile sleeve I've ever recieved. I just don't want to put it down. With this in mind please realise that d.n.s. now have a job on their hands to be as good as the sleeve their seedee comes wrapped in and for a large portion of the album they manage just fine. A low, slow, hissing start gives way to a low, slowish, hissing, rhythmic middle which subsequently explodes into shards of electrifying noise. They lose me at around the 40 minute mark when things get drowned by, what sounds like, backtracked voice samples. A disappointing end to a good album.
Dog Hallucination - Boogers
(Intangible Cat 9)
Behind the rather puerile album title there's a project based around a sharing of unlovely sounds between two people. These were then amalgamated into this here collection by the D. Petri (Dog Hallucination) half of the pair.
The sounds are abrasive and aggressive and the resulting music is caustic and unsettled. It has an interesting proto-primitive Nurse With Wound sort of vibe gong on (minus the dada voice sampling). It's noise music but in a very focussed way that uses sound to propel the music not bludgeon the listener. I like the decayed and unremitting industrial harshness of it all. I don't think I could play it everyday as the density of the sounds would, I think, soon begin to wear but it's restless energy and convoluted nature make it an intriguing and enjoyable listen.
Dog Hallucination – Bob Hallucination
(Intangible Cat #14)
We’re getting to be quite familiar with the axis of folk revolving around the Intangible Cat label as they make their third appearance. This year (and another landed on my doormat) yesterday.
The press release mentions the importance to DH of artists of both abstract and electronic inclinations but these are most definitely filtered through their own very definite convictions and conceptions. They fuse their influences into something very much their own as guitars both abstract and melodic merge and contrast with field recordings that evolve into electronic soundscapes that are propelled from the speakers on the backs of insistent industrial-esque beats.
Like all Intangible Cat releases that have come my way though it’s on a teeny little disc and it’s just so damn short. Perfectly formed but a bit on the short side.
Dogtuckerman - Eightfold Path
(Essentia Mundi EM010)
Debut release from UK resident Chris Wheatley of laid back melodic electronica. It's a remarkably assured set laced with strong melodies, sinuous beats and enough hooks to empty a river. It isn't anything that hasn't been done before but it is very, very good at being what it is. Think 'Endtroducing' era DJ Shadow but more linear and I think you'd have a fair comparison. I like this sort of stuff but I rarely have to review it. It's something I play when I'm working because it's interesting enough to keep my energy levels up without distracting me from the tasks at hand. I've had this on loop for about two days now and I'm certainly not bored of it yet. I think this one'll hang around my seedee player for some time to come.
Eric Dolphy - Eric Dolphy at the Five Spot, Vol. 1 & 2
(Original Jazz Classics)
I claim no expertise in the world of Jazz (or anything else for that matter). I do, however, know what I like and one of the things I like most is listening to Eric Dolphy wail. I'm absolutely besotted with this guys playing, particularly his flute. Throughout this two (seperate) CD live session he's on fine form and alternates between alto saxophone, bass clarinet and flute. He's joined by a soaring Booker Little on trumpet who locks seemlessly with Dolphy right from the off trading the call and response theme of opener 'Fire Waltz'. Behind the two soloists is a rock solid and quietly inventive rhythm section of Richard Davies (bass) and Ed Blackwell (drums) who, alongside Mal Waldron's piano (who i do find to be a little heavy handed), create a vivid canvas upon which the horns can work. The great tradegy of this release however lies not in the music you hear, which is exemplary, but in the music you never will hear as a few weeks after recording these shows Booker Little was to die with Dolphy going a mere three years later. What could have been we'll never know, what was is a worthy legacy.
Doses - Doses
(Summersteps Records Handmade SUM-HM 007)
I'm in the mood for some punk rock! 3 chord, primitive, sneery, punk rock. I'm working on the new issue of WWR though so I've gotta take what's next on the pile (it's a rule I've made myself). So, Doses it is then. There's one chord...there's a second....there's the first again....and the second. I'm starting to think the universe is smiling at me. The first chord makes a third appearance before the drums start up followed by the rest of the band. It's a pretty trashy affair. Not particularly the punk I had in mind but close enough. Track two pulls off a pretty solid imitation of The Fall which sets the theme for most of the remaining 4 tracks. I think it's fair to say that this isn't the most original music I've ever heard but then again that's not always what I'm craving. Sometimes I just want to be entertained and right now I most certainly am. I was in the mood for some punk rock and I definitely, and surprisingly, got it.
Droughter - Obscure Uniforms For Mammals
(Heretic Records HC07)
Packaged to look like a 7 inch single Droughter's release on Heretic Records fires abrasive shards of sandpaper noise into the ether. Unlike many of it's contemporaries Droughter's take on the genre is positively sedate choosing careful construction and slow development over balls out attack. This is both the albums most intriguing factor and it's prime drawback. Simultaneously giving the album a platform upon which it can take it's time and build it's monoliths of sound whilst losing the sheer visceral pleasure that comes with some of the best noise albums. Some tired and clichéd rrrrrrooooooaaaaarrrrrrrr style vocals only add to the disappointment before the album is once more enlivened by some interesting sonic architecture on the final track. I have to say that on the whole this is a release for the most ardent of noise fans only as it shows an interesting and valid new take on the genre but unfortunately, for me, these are too few and far between and I'm afraid it mostly just felt a little hackneyed.
Xavier Dubois - Sunset Gluts
(Humpty Dumpty Records HMPTY024)
We've met Xavier before in these pages as part of a duo called Y.E.R.M.O along with Yannick Franck. Here he is shorn of the others sonic manipulations and instead presents us with a rather fine set of stringed meditations. Over the course of the 16 tracks he makes use of 4 string instruments - electric guitar, prepared guitar, acoustic baritone ukulele & a kamancheh (a Persian bowed instrument) - with the former being the most readily apparent.
There are elements of various folk musics here along with a very much appreciated desire to keep things a little off kilter and interesting. The music is rarely overt except when it needs to be and for the most part Dubois keeps things moving with an agreeably fluid and luminous air.
I'm generally not the biggest fan of solo instrumental records - I find they can be terribly self indulgent and rather samey affairs - so when one sneaks up on me and shows a commitment to be neither of those things it's a real joy.
Bruno Duplant - Quelques Usines Fantomes
Finding it quite difficult to review this album. Not because it's bad, certainly not, but just because it keeps slipping away from me.
Sonically it's very much an Unfathomless release filled with nocturnal, textural explorations. It's got a strange mix of feeling like it was recorded from the sounds of the great wide outdoors but is presented with a chillingly hermetic, claustrophobic and, well, wet sort of vibe to it.
It's an intriguing recording particularly due to it's elusiveness but one that has rewarded with each listen.
Adrian Dziewanski - Orbital Decay
It's been a while since Adrian's music graced thee pages and I must say I've missed it. Canadian musician Adrian makes drone music with a decidedly British flavour. His music is very much of the Chalk, Ora, Monos variety; filled with long crystalline drones and gently morphing atmospheres.
It's a beautiful album full of delicately sliding tones filled with light that pulsates and infuses the air with the character of a hazy summer daybreak.