Earzumba - Bestial Infernal
I'm a complete novice to the whole plunderphonic or sampladelia genre, my one and only encounter was with a sole People Like Us album. So, fresh ears and an open mind leads me to Earzumba. Bowie, Elvis, harsh noise, voice samples, pounding beats and a hell of a lot more besides all meet in a riot of overt editing prowess. It's enjoyable enough but ultimately it just passes me by and leaves me feeling slightly uninspired. Until, that is, track 13 (El Mundo Como Estrella Muerta) arrives. A 30 minute throbbing, iridescent, fluctuating live drone recorded for Radio Bremen showcases another side to Earzumba and it's a side that desperately needs to be explored further.
Ecoute La Merde & Some Asian Female Bodybuilders - Kanda Tomoko
There's very little info accompanying this cd apart from the names and contact addresses of those involved so i don't know if this is a split album or if it's a collaboration.
Knowing SAFB's predilection for sinewaves however I'm going to assume that tracks 2 to 10 are him and that the long opening track is ELM.
I've been falling out of love with ELM's sort of muscular noise music - all shrieking swoops and grinding tectonic rumbles - but occasionally a day comes along that just needs to be soundtracked with music that sounds like God's diarrhoea. Today the sun is shining on a beautiful spring day. There are children playing in the street and outside my window there a birds singing in the tree. At least I'm assuming they are because all I can hear is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHZKZKZKZKZKZKCKCKCKCKCKCKCK RRRRRRRRRRPRRRRRR RRRRRRPRRRRRRRRRRRRRPRRRRRRRRRR.
SAFB are that more sedate affair here his slow, overlapping wave forms are a nice counterpoint to ELM's mania. I really like the ideas and the execution behind SAFB's music but my one complaint is that I do find his total reliance on electronic soundsources a little cold but you have to admire the way he embraces his muse and the skill with which he constructs his music.
Two contrasting styles making one good album.
James Edmonds - October
7 track album of glitch and loop based ambience bestowed with a dynamic that allows the inherent rhythms of individual sounds to propel the tracks along avenues of their own making. There is a warm and earthy quality that gives the album a worn-in feel allowing the listener to wrap themselves in the sounds and be swaddled in their embrace.
Swirly, compulsive, absorbing and recommended.
James Edmonds - Wood and Concrete
(Heretic Records HC08)
This is my second exposure to Edmonds' music, the first time on the very mellow and swirly October sometime last year. This time out on Italian label Heretic Records Edmonds has assembled a sumptuous array of warm and introspective loop based compositions. His palette is a rich, inviting melange of colour and texture used to great effect to create a series of immersive soundworlds that I cannot recommend highly enough.
FM Einheit + Irmler - No Apologies
It had to happen sometime and if it wasn't going to be full band collaborations then at least a couple of members needed to get together and see what happens as two of Germany's finest exponents of industrial music wrap their sounds around each other. Ex Einsturzende Neubauten percussionist meets Faust's keyboard player in this excellent collaboration. The two combine very nicely to create a noisy and insistent soundclash. Hans Joachim Irmler's ecstatic synth calls and stabs given a brutally earthy context by Einheit's clattering, scratching percussive assault.
I really had no idea what to expect when I first dropped the needle onto this LP It really could have gone any number of directions. The direction it does take though is one of free, expressive music created in a sense of true and intuitive collaboration. It's an action painting of sound that would seem perfectly at home in the body of work of either participant or to be more precise, is perfectly at home in the body of work of both participants.
Einsturzende Neubauten - Liebeslieder
Originally commissioned, by the WDR architecture department no less, in 1993 this is an in-depth look into the formative years of one of the most unique bands on the planet. Did you notice that word back there, formative, you see that's where the problem lies for me. With the exception of the wonderful 'Patient OT' I find a lot of the early stuff unlistenable. Great ideas, great noises, great lyrics, great visuals, abound but, put it together and it all sounds like shit to me. Where this disc comes good is with the live tracks from the 1993 tour which is right at the point where I started paying attention. Most tracks featured in the documentary are paired up with film of earlier versions of the same song but it's the versions of 'DNS-Wasserturn' and 'Salamandrina' that steal the disc certainly taking honours over the, frankly, cringeworthy Twin-Peaks inspired video for 'Blume'. The documentary is a series of talking heads (mostly belonging to the band) and some trips around old haunts and friends. You never really get a feel for the group though, it all feels like it was done at a very reverential arms-length. You never fully get to appreciate them and the space they inhabit within the world. Their motivations, aspirations, inspirations and even their innovations get lost in the mix. The only times I can truly say it engaged my full attention was during the aforementioned live footage, the rest just got tuned out after a while. For fans of the early years only I think otherwise interesting but not essential.
Einsturzende Neubauten - Alles Wieder Offen
After 20 odd years on the cutting edge of musical experimentation it seems EN are as hungry and as innovative as ever they were. A string of experimental subscriber only releases (the Musterhaus series) has seen the band exploring the outer reaches of musicality before feeding some of the results back into this the latest of their commercially available albums.
Alles Wieder Offen (All Open Again) continues very much in the style of Perpetuum Mobile, Ende Neu and Silence is Sexy in that it sees EN once more exploring a sophisticated and deeply intimate song style that has them melding the 'orthodox' with the 'Einsturzende Neubauten'. Recent years have seen EN mature into a band whose scope, vision and oeuvre is unmatched in modern music. On Alles Wieder Offen they have simultaneously retained the angular dissonance upon which they made their name whilst embracing a song-craft that also values enchanting rolling melodies, chiming instrumentation, immaculately positioned guitars, hypnotic rhythms, vocal lines that are often almost nursery rhyme like in their deceptive simplicity and a dynamism that can leave the listener battered and breathless.
Elapse-O - Elapse-O
(Records On Ribs)
CDR & Download
Oxford two-piece who produce a shimmery and bludgeoning shoegaze haze very much in the tradition of Suicide and Spaceman 3 and that my friends is never, ever a bad thing. Elapse-O's sonic turbulence isn't going to be to everyone's taste but then some people wouldn't know good music if it was slapping them in the face with a month old haddock. The album is short and sweet clocking in at twenty and half minutes and the lovely folks at Records On Ribs have made it available as a free download via their website. Personally though I reckon you should show some love and send them some cash for an actually, exists in the real world, copy. You won't regret it.
El Heath - A (Rather) Dead Sea Liner EP
(Dead Sea Liner 17)
One of the gems of this months issue of WWR is this short ep of quiet noise and melody from El Heath - about whom I know absolutely nothing. The recording is coarse and the instruments are played often (but not always) with seemingly little effort or attention yet it all works wonderfully well. Almost everything about this recording reminded me of the work of UK drone maestro (and WWR friend and fave) Darren Tate in particular the work he has been producing of late such as Strange Artifact. It has that casual, sitting room psychedelia feel that makes his work - and this - so very appealing. It really took me by surprise how much I like this one - bravo to El Heath and bravo to Dead Sea Liner. I look forward to the album.
Ehran Elisha & Roy Campbell - Watching Cartoons With Eddie
(Out Now Recordings ONR004)
Probably the most identifiably 'jazz' of the Out Now Recordings releases that I’ve listened to so far. This set of duo recordings by Campbell (on trumpet, pocket trumpet, flugelhorn, flute and percussion) and Elisha (on drums, bells, temple blocks, gong, roto toms & percussion) is, in part, intended as a tribute to drummer Ed Blackwell and trumpeter Bill Dixon.
The music is, by turns, intense, acrobatic, convoluted, rolling, obtuse, transcendent, acerbic, labyrinthine and joyous.
In a zine mostly noted for it’s drone and ambient leanings this is a definite anomaly. There are more notes on this album than in most issues worth of albums (some unkind souls would say more ideas too but not me). Anomalies are to be treasured though. The oyster with the pearl is the anomaly and this is most definitely a pearl.
Ehra Elisha, Harold Rubin & Haim Elisha - East of Jaffa
(Out Now Recordings ONR006)
One of the biggest problems with having been so ridiculously busy over the last 2 years is that for a chunk of that time seedees as simply bloody wonderful as this one have been sat by my desk un-played and, not so much unappreciated as, not appreciated yet.
This is fantastic. I love jazz but I'm fairly choosy as to where I put my allegiances. I like my jazz to be fairly abstract but at the same time I like some semblance of melody or flow. Don't get me wrong I love a good atonal skronking blowout as much as the next guy but for simple, going straight to my happy place enjoyment then the former is where it's at. 'East of Jaffa' is where it's at also.
The drums, clarinet, piano trio have created a set of switchy, tricksy compositions that meld free-spirited melodies enlivened with a Scott Bradley-esque cartoon humour that gives the entire disc a bright and lively personality that positively explodes with colour.
William Elmore - Folk It Up In Wiltshire
(Cream of the Crop creamcropzine/2007a)
William Elmore - Time To Reflect
(Cream of the Crop creamcropzine/2006i)
I feel the need to make something clear right at the start of these reviews. I really hate Nick Drake's music! I despise, deplore and detest everything he ever recorded! The sound of that horrible lisping middle class accent emotionlessly vomiting those pitiful, inane lyrics can ruin my day. I firmly believe he got exactly the career he deserved.
This makes reviewing the more recent of these two albums by William Elmore difficult as I strongly suspect he doesn't share my views on this matter. A love of Drake rolls through the album (vocally, musically, lyrically) and permeates many of the songs. There is a charm and playfulness here that helps keep things afloat along with occasional moments where Elmore displays some his musical chops to fine effect (Soul Journey) but on the whole it moved me not.
Time to Reflect on the other hand is a thoroughly entertaining and very listenable different cafetiere of haddock. Mixing whimsical melodies (from a variety of instruments) with trippy beats and portentous keyboard lines Elmore produces a work that is unlike anything I have heard before and truly stands on it's own merits. I hope he explores this facet of his music more in the future.
Empress - Malleable Shore
Slow and almost suffocatingly dark set from canadian musician Adrian Dziewanski of guitar, ebow, vibrators and scrap metal constructions. When I read that list I must admit I was expecting droning guitars over Neubauten style rhythms but instead Dziewanski follows a different muse. Instead his music resonates with the metallic resonances of Organum and it’s slow burn development is reminiscent of Andrew Chalk’s Ferial Confine. It’s isolationist post-industrial minimalist drone at it’s finest. If you’re a fan of either of the above named then you’d do a lot worse than checking this out.
A very limited number of copies of the album (10) come with a bonus album called ‘fission / maroon’ it’s a different animal to ‘Malleable Shore’ with the sharp tonalities replaced by a softer, lethargic, swoon of sound. Again, it’s terrific stuff but maybe a little too static - I’d have liked to see / hear / feel a more conscious sense of movement - and definitely too short, which is something you don’t often get to say about a 26 minute long track.
Released in a micro edition this may be a difficult one to track down but will definitely reward the effort spent.
Empress - Movements of the Hand
First recording from Canadian dronescaper Adrian Dziewanski under his Empress guise but not the first of his albums that I've reviewed in WWR. With my usual carelessness I reviewed his second album first but that's ok cause now we get to see where he's coming from as opposed to where he's going.
Musically, 'Movements of the Hand' is far closer aligned with the 'fission / maroon’ bonus cd that came with limited copies of the ‘Malleable Shore’ album. It's rounded tonalities immersing vague field recordings in a gentle, opiate calm. I've been playing this on repeat for the last week or so. It's quite short and a single listen isn't enough to fully immerse yourself in but played on repeat it's easy to lose a couple of hours in it's labyrinthine depths.
Emulsion vs. Nookleptia - Erosion
As ever with Perineum releases this one comes in a handmade sleeve courtesy of label head Arma. His singular take on packaging being as much a signature feature of Perineum as is the quality of the music.
I've very little (read that as 'no') info on who either Emulsion or Nookleptia are or even if they're the same person and while we're, sort of, on the subject why 'versus'? They sound in perfect harmony to my ears. Why not 'Emulsion with Nookleptia' or 'Emulsion loves Nookleptia'? I don't understand the use of the negative connotations of 'vs.'
Anyway, metronomic pulses and tones form a melodic base that is augmented by washes of sandpaper noise to create a sumptuous befuddlement of rational thought whilst electronic constructs run rampant through a heartbeat of drums. Throughout, Erosion regularly flirts with the idea of introducing melody, regularly veering away at the moment of consummation. Indeed the one instance where they do embrace their melodic side is a slight disappointment as it wallows in a 'pseudo-goth' lament.
Whilst some of the tracks do end rather abruptly making them feel more like sketches than fully illustrated and annotated pieces generally this has been constructed with a deft hand and a sound ear. Erosion is the exact opposite of what the title implies as Emulsion & Nookleptia (see, there's another option) build whole worlds within your speakers. Very recommended.
Lawrence English / Shinkei / Miguel A. Garcia / Andy Graydon - Variations in White part 1
4 artists, 4 tracks, 1 concept, to "interpret the colour white in the style of their choosing." Fortunately for this seedee all four artists chose to represent it sonically. But all facetious remarks aside, we have here four fairly personal but sonically unified interpretations of that instruction.
Three of the participants are new to my ears and so I get to approach their music with no preconceptions. The one I'm familiar with is Garcia (or Xedh as he is otherwise known in these pages) and it is with he (even though his is the third track) that I will begin. I like Garcia's music, very much so in the case of his 'Vinduskarm' album, as while working within a fairly well defined paradigm it is one that he explores with some dexterity. Here he seems concerned with deep dark cavernous drones decorated with flashes of sound. It's a nice piece but it doesn't really say 'white' to me.
Lawrence English is the actual album opener with 10 minutes of slowly evolving drone work. It's nicely paced and whilst not being as crisp sounding as it could have it is still rather good.
Sonically it is Shinkei who achieves what is, for me, the most interesting piece on the album. A dank, cavernous rumble of sound underlying brief twitters of electronic scree, piercing sine and enigmatic field recordings serve to produce an intriguingly low-key combination.
The final participant, Andy Graydon, is operating very much in the same territory as Garcia, powerful drones illuminated by hissing, crackling decorative flurries and as with Garcia (and indeed the other two) it’s very well done.
Generally I’m fairly ambivalent about compilations. The brevity of the tracks rarely give either the artist or the listener room to fully appreciate each piece. The limited number of tracks on offer here does mitigate this and as such it is for the most part an enjoyable listen.
Ensemble Economique - At The Foot Of Nameless Roads
you know how sometimes you listen to an album which you're thoroughly enjoying but the little voice at the back of your head is nagging at you that it sounds like something else. Well, it took over a month of steady listening to 'At The Foot Of Nameless Roads' for me to finally work out what it is that this album reminds me of and it's NWW's 'Salt Marie Celeste' in particular the segment where the rigging starts creaking.
Ensemble Economique's Brian Pyle (also of Starving Weirdos & RV Paintings) has on his debut solo album created a set of organic & ethnographically vibrant drone pieces. You get the impression that Pyle has scoured the globe amassing flutes and pipes in all manner of exotic guises that he's woven together to create an album of sumptuous textures. Further into the album modern technology arrives on the scene with the addition (or the wider participation) of electronic sounds including beats. This does nothing to mar the beauty of the album it simply adds a extra, harsher dimension.
I think my preference would have to be for the earlier parts of this album, just due to my fondness for acoustic drones, but that's just me trying to find something less effusive to write as, when all is said and done, this is an immaculate album that should be hunted down at all cost.
Ensemble SP - Live At Klaipeda 20040309
(Perineum Productions #13)
40 minute live set of fractured electronics and roadside ambience. Disembodied voices, unidentified sounds and scratchy rhythms meld beautifully to produce a wonderfully uncomfortable mood. Too often noise music is concerned with power and with bludgeoning the listener with it's macho posturing (it's the heavy metal of experimental music) and that's fine but it's also cool when an outfit, like this one, comes along and adds a different dimension to the genre. There's a huge variety of sounds encased within the 40 minutes with each evolving out of or interacting with the others so smoothly that it takes several listens to fully appreciate just how well constructed this is. Recommended.
Entia Non - Disinter
(Sentient Recognition Archive SRA026)
Entia Non is the pseudonym of Australian musician James McDougall. Disinter is a gloriously free sounding melange of field recordings sourced along the East Coast of Australia. The some of the recordings have been teased, tortured and transformed to emphasize certain frequencies and their inherent drone potential others are left untouched and used to create a surreal landscape of disembodied voices, unearthly scratches and incorporeal flutters.
Disinter is a fairly intense experience and probably not one I'll be returning to all that often. It's isn't music that you can lose yourself in as it constantly demands your continued attention which, to be perfectly honest, I found a little draining. If you're partial to a bit of intensity in your music though then you could do a lot worse than checking this out.
Etrangler L'etranger - Etrangler L'etranger
(Le Brutal Records BRR 013)
(Ruidemos RDM 108)
Curious little CD of dada-esque sketches featuring a bewildering array of sounds and instruments all seemingly playing entirely different pieces. The recording quality is brutally primitive and the musicality is defiantly suspect. Each of the short tracks on offer is interspaced with one consisting of 4 seconds of silence which only goes to further enhance the episodic and haphazard nature of the music. It comes across as a significantly less able version of UK improv stalwarts AMM but the humanity that that group instils in their music is missing here and for the most part they just sound like they're distracted. Stuff like this always gets marked down by me as bold and adventurous but meant for other ears than mine.
Roland Etzin - Transmongolian
Subtitled, '6 acoustic portraits of Russia, Mongolia, China, South Korea and Japan', this set of atmospheric recordings represents field-recordings made between August & October of 2010. The 6 provide a documentation of life on the rail journey both through the sound of the transportation itself (on tracks 1 & 5), the stops along the way, the liquidity of the lake visited on 'Portrait 3' and the ambiences of the travel itself; the amorphous clatters and clangs and the Frankenstein musicality of machinery in use.
It must be said here that this isn't the most effective of Gruenrekorder releases. For the most part the sounds are just too ambiguous. They have no real sense of place. The trains could easily be the 2:30 from here to London, the tides of Lake Baikal could be the beach at the bottom of the hill from my house. The insect life of 'Portrait 5' though brings a definite sense of the exotic.
As a whole it's an interesting set of sounds but only in the sense of it's musicality. As an examination of a journey or an exploration of place it is, for me at least, slightly less successful.
Everything But The Gargoyle - Four Flies on Grey Velvet
I'm not 100 percent sure I was meant to get this nifty little eepee as the accompanying letter is written to Tony Dickie over at Compulsion Online but I'm glad it did get to me.
EBTG is a new duo featuring Ferrara Brain Pan of Forms of Things Unknown and Kyra Pixy of Pixyblink. Ferrara has been featured in WWR before but the vocals of Ms Pixy are a new and welcome visitor to these ears.
Four Flies on Grey Velvet is a short 4 song set of FBP's blown, struck and plucked instrumentation overlaid with KP's recitations of G. James Wyrick's poetry. There's a medieval and ritualistic dark wave vibe permeating the whole thing but it's never turgid or clichéd and with it's concise 23 minute runtime it hardly has chance to overstay it's welcome.
The Exploits of Elaine / Glissando - Tour Split
Wrapped in handmade paper (and, like Laura Palmer, in plastic) this is a sexy, black disc, two track tour CD featuring, in turn, one piece of improvised noodling (T.E.O.E.) and one drone piece (Glissando). The first has an almost ritualistic feel to it's murmurings, it's hiccupping and it's swaying guitarline and is reminiscent of the outer (freer) edges of post-rock and the new wave of Americana that's been appearing over the last few years. 5 minutes and 43 seconds however is nowhere near long enough to fully appreciate what T.E.O.E. are striving for so it didn't blow me away but it did leave me curious to hear more. Glissando offer up a shimmering, static drone interlaced with a vague melody that winds and contorts itself through the track. The production is a touch too muddy for this to really shine but again what is there is definitely intriguing and will reward repeated listens and further investigation.
Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
New album from my favourite of all the 'post-rock' bands (if you'll excuse the crass label), so with that in mind please realise it hurts me to write these words...this album isn't particularly great! It's not bad, not by a long way. All the things you've come to expect from E.I.T.S. are here - the slow build to the explosive fireworks, the high-end guitar work, the plaintive melodies - but that's where the problem is...ALL the things you've come to expect are here and there's not really anything new added to the mix. It's not a bad album, it's just the same album.
Explosions in the Sky - The Rescue
Released as part of the Temporary Residence, Travels in Constants series of mail order releases (#21). Right from the off this has a more engaging feel to it than 'All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone'. The melodies are grander, the ambience is deeper, the tone is more measured, generally speaking it's just better. It's still easily recognisable as E.I.T.S. but here that recognition feels like an asset rather than a burden. A warm, all encompassing hug of an album.