Kabyzdoh Obtruhamchi - Kabyzdoh Obtruhamchi
Interesting cassette album mixing noise and 'traditional' instrumentation from Russian composer Sergey Kozlov. There's an earthy Krautrock atonality to these compositions that really grabbed my attention and more importantly kept it for the duration.
You're probably not going to explore either outer or inner space to these recordings as they've not quite reached psychedelic nirvana but they certainly go to some nifty places and left me wanting to hear more.
Kadaver - This Time...It's Cancer
(Topheth Prophet TP012)
The distinctively bleak project names pretty much let you know where you're ears are going over the next 40 minutes or so. Brittle, snarling noise-scapes grind like a lap-dancer on over-time as various voice samples, screams, howls and other assorted escapades careen around on the surface. There is little let up in tone or pace throughout the album which does limit it's appeal and the trick ending is pretty pointless but if you like this sort of balls-out screaming noise fest then this is worth a listen.
Kaeba - Ianurek 5.0 X 100
This is my first exposure to the music of Kaeba or Gianclaudio Hashem Moniri as he's known to his mum. His music is a melting pot of sounds and textures twisted and turned to create a set of elusively introspective compositions. There's no real narrative running through this album as it constantly waxes and wanes, occasionally an abstract soundfield of harsh, spitting textures, occasionally a sumptuous synthesized string swell, occasionally a beeping, bleeping sci-fi panorama.
It's extremely well made and shows a real flair for sonic assemblage but does feel a little too remote. I'm finding it hard to connect with the music on anything other than a practical level. I'm envious of his mixing skills but I'm feeling very little emotional attachment to the music. It feels a little too clinical and coldly academic for my tastes. Don't misunderstand, I've played this a few times recently and enjoyed it every time but each time it's been chosen because I know it makes for a nicely coloured environment for when I'm engrossed in work and that is a recommendation.
Mendel Kaelen - Remembering What Was Forgotten
Firstly my apologies to Mendel. I've had this fabulous album for a little while now and liked it so much I was carrying it around with me so I could keep playing it. Of course the inevitable happened and it got misplaced. Happily, earlier today it resurfaced so I can both listen to it again and also tell you all just how good it is.
Kaelen operates in the area of psychedelic drone augmented by field recordings which is nothing we haven't seen or heard before but the deeply ingrained sense of effortless beauty that runs through the four constituent compositions is just sublime, even at it's most bombastic - 'Light of Nature' - it is still beautifully poised with a distinct sense of implied melody behind the drawn out tones. I keep getting ridiculously lost in this album, only surfacing when the final chords die away and even then only long enough to press the play button again.
An exquisite album. Hugely and unrepentantly recommended for all lovers of the magic of the drone.
Mendel Kaelen - The Tragedy That Drowned Itself
Mendel is a return visitor to these pages having previously given us the very wonderful 'Remembering What Was Forgotten'. This, his second album, brings him back to us in fine form.
I hope he'll forgive me if I start this in a seemingly negative manner. At 70 minutes this album is far too long. It's approximately twice as long as my attention span. My comfort zone for an album is around the 40 minute mark, basically about the length of one side of an old C90 cassette. Anything beyond that and I'm starting to fidget and get distracted.
So, with that in mind realise that the runtime here is an issue (for me) but, and I'm really happy to say this, it's the only issue.
As before Mendel has created a textured soundworld from field recordings and tonal works. This is immediately apparent on album opener, 'The Cloud' with its abrasive post-industrial ambiences. 'The Stream' has a haunting melancholy and such a sense of disconcerting eeriness that in the right place and the right mindset it can be a generally unsettling listen. 'The Horse' is a much more uplifting experience with the addition of lighter more triumphant sonorities that sing over the rougher textures. 'The Heart' is probably the least successful track here as it's latter half consists of some fairly characterless digital tones that feel slightly at odds with the rest of the album. The album closes with the daybreak tones of 'The Dream' that leaves the album on a delicate, softly stated high.
Like I said at the beginning, as a whole this album is far too long for my attention span. It is however very nice indeed and split in half it is two very satisfying listens indeed.
Kassel Jaeger - ee[nd]
(Mystery Sea MS44)
Yet another fabulous release on Mystery Sea, if you aren't regularly checking out their releases then you really are missing out on some great music. Kassel (a pseudonym) produces a rumbling, tumbling almost drone like music that hovers in the hinterland between noise and ambient. Never truly quiet yet never actually noisy either the evocatively titled ee[nd] is an earthy and decidedly grimy listening experience that is thoroughly recommended for those with a taste for the coarser (but not noisier) side of the sound spectrum.
Kassel Jaeger - lignes d'erre & randons
Daniel Crokaert's Mystery Sea spin-off label Unfathomless continues to gather pace with this outing from a new name to me. I have no info on the who, the what and the how of the composer so I'm going to absolutely let the music speak for him.
If there's a definite house style to the Unfathomless label (which would be hardly surprising when filtered through the ears of it's sole proprietor) then that style would be for grimily fluid, introspective, subterranean (or should that be sub-aquatic) drone work. It's a beautiful sound when done right and one that is becoming increasingly popular as others follow where Daniel and his chosen artists lead. Unfortunately not all those followers are as astute as they may be and very few indeed are as seemingly astute as Kassel Jaeger appears to be. Here he / she / it has taken the house style and augmented it further through a widening of palette (the inclusion of electronics) and a deepening of interaction with his sounds. Not content to simply process his sounds into oblivion and allow the latent textures to decide the shape and sound he instead has incorporated them almost un-adulterated into the whole and we get to fully appreciate the interaction of sound and idea in a manner that happens on far too few occasions.
A new benchmark for an already excellent series methinks.
Katchmare - Frieda Harris
(Heart & Crossbone HCB-036)
It's been a little while since an H&C release made its way from Israel all the way to this little corner of Wales. Today they make a very welcome return.
As a label H&C are very much interested in the noisier end of things but not exclusively so although, a glance at the cover of this here seedee would make you think that this was going to be one of those but maybe with a little extra black / death metal thrown in for good measure. Black on grey sleeve - check! Spiky almost illegible band logo - check! Gothic font for track listing on rear - check! Oodles of teenage Satanist guitar angsty wankery - no check! Beautifully immersive, pulsating, intense and darkly psychotropic post-industrial droneworks of the darkest ambient - very, very check!
Kaze - Tornado
(Circum-Libra Records 202)
Kaze make the direction of this their second release amply clear within a couple of seconds as the lazy opening is rent by a piercing and unexpected scream. The flurry of sound and energy that follows however is not entirely symptomatic of the rest of the album - although it does reappear - as they seem very open to new textures and directions.
This quartet of pianist Satoko Fujii, trumpeters Natsuki Tamura and Christian Pruvost and drummer Peter Orins wander through some very interesting vistas over the five tracks. From cascading caterwauls to trepiditious noir via delicate soundscaping to musical torrents again.
It's both exhausting and exhilarating and as such it's immense fun to grab onto the side and go along for the ride.
K-Branding - Facial
(Humpty Dumpty Records HMPTY006)
'Fun' is an adjective I rarely get to use as a reviewer. The music I generally receive here at the WWR mansion tends to leads more towards descriptors such as 'introspective', 'melancholic' or just plain old 'dark' - depending on the particular genre - but 'fun' is a real rarity. Well, K-Branding have delivered an album that, for the most part is just that. 'Exuberant' works too, as does 'boisterous'.
This guitar, saxophone & drums trio follows a blurred path that takes them through industrial, noise, punk, rock and no-wave territories. Their gloriously noisy music is a well needed catharsis to much of the artistic conceit that come my way. The music is reminiscent of the stuff put out by Pandemonium Records a few years back (Alboth, Unsane, Guapo) but has a more varied and tribal feel to it's industrialised music than any of those others. Amongst the torrents of drums and noise the music is undeniably tuneful with a definite groove in places. You could conceivably dance to this. It's raucous, intense, rambunctious, punishing, powerful and, indeed, great, great fun.
Jeremy Kelly - Jeremy Kelly
(Digitalis Industries DIGI046)
There's a real intimacy to these recordings that make you feel as though you're sitting in a smoky room full of nicely baked musicians listening to them having the jam session of their lives. The fact then that this is essentially a one man band (two other musicians make occasional contributions) makes this stunning recording even more impressive. As with much of the Digitalis catalogue that I am fortunate enough to hear this has an underlying stream of folk / country tinged acoustic guitar melodies upon which Kelly floats a bewildering array of forms and sounds. He borrows liberally from both the middle-east and the mid-west adding touches of bent circuit noise and occasional electric (guitar) swarms to produce a wonderfully cohesive and deeply immersive album.
Kelvinator Motherfuckers - A New Creature
(Heretic Records HC03)
Given the provocative name I was expecting raging punk rock or some sort of pseudo-operatic death metal opus of dubious quality. Instead Kelvinator Motherfuckers bring a righteous mash-up of disjointed rhythms, vague melodies, swooping electronica and bruising ambience to the table. It's wonderful stuff that grabs you and yells 'Listen to me!' in your face for a far too short 22 minutes.
Kostis Kilymis - .accumulated
(Organised music from Thessaloniki #2)
This very nicely packaged CD arrived with no extra info about the composer other than what was written on the back of the sleeve which credits Kilymis with 'sounds, recordings & processing'. The sounds that Kilymis has recorded have been culled from very ambiguous sources (mostly field recordings I suspect) and processed to maximise their most uncomfortable, piercing, grating and dis-harmonious qualities. He / she / them / it has used these sounds alongside the unprocessed sounds to create a recording with an incredibly sparse beauty that avoids pretty much all the clichés of noise music.
.accumulated certainly won't be to everyone's taste. There is very little concession here towards the comfort of the listener. Microphone pops and knocks are incorporated into the recordings sharing the stage with more deliberate sounds. Many of the tones used are painfully high both in pitch and in the mix. I found myself cringing along to this album on more than one occasion. Of course each cringe was accompanied by a rueful smile because there is an undeniable charm here.
This is easily the least compromising albums I've heard in a very long time and I like it all the more for that fact. Boldness of vision of this calibre should always be supported. Recommended.
Soon Kim & Tetsuya Hori - Non-Transposed Sense
(Konnex Records KCD 5228)
A simply astonishing set from two Berlin based Japanese musicians that mixes Kim's beautifully understated saxophone with Hori's laptop, melodion, toy-piano, cigar box and beer bottle - the cigar box isn't that apparent but the bottle is used to nice effect.
Kim, who has previously studied under Ornette Coleman, is, as one would suspect given the nature of his instrument, often to be found providing the more flighty aspects of the compositions but his playing is beautifully understated refusing to overpower (or overplay) the sumptuous textural bedrock provided by Hori's variety of instruments. Indeed on the final track it is Hori who very much takes the lead to which Kim provides flashes of light and colour before it all ends rather oddly.
There are parts of the album that don't work so well - the spoken text of track 2 being a particular weak point - but that said this is one of the finest examples of electro-acoustic music I've ever heard. Both musicians seem utterly in tune with each other and the music is, as I started this review by saying, simply astonishing.
King Razor / Posset - Split Series #1
(Dirty Demos DirtyCDR019)
2 tracks each on this CDR-ep featuring two UK based noise musicians. King Razor's two contributions mine the area of post-industrial noise utilising a slow and very heavy metronomic pulse as a bedrock upon which he layers an array of grinding noises and brutally processed voices. It's generally two slow moving to really connect with but enjoyable nonetheless.
Posset take a very different tack to KR opting for the 'joyful racket' approach. An explosion of sound, light and colour that hurls itself at you. Breathlessly attacking over it's allotted 14 minutes, pausing only once, before abruptly dying. I find this form of blood and fire composition a little too bruising for my delicate constitution but over this sort of timescale it's pretty absorbing.
Kiss My Farkyn
What can I say? It's either 'mad genius' or just plain 'mad'! Either way is good. 10 tracks, 33.16 minutes, of ecstatic oddities. To write a review in the manner of this album would necessitate me starting each sentence in the middle and working my way outwards whilst replacing all the adjectives with verbs. It’s indescribable, it’s incredible, it's inspired and it's insane. I love this!
The Knockouts - Honolulu Sunscream
(High Town / Topplers)
Infectiously groovy set of garage instrumentals for this Luton quartet featuring ex-members of 80's indie popsters Thrilled Skinny. There's a refreshingly self-aware coherence to what's on offer here as the band flow effortlessly between pseudo-psychedelic pop jams to low-down and lo-fi garage / surf skronk without ever losing site of the fact that guitars are meant to be fun.
It's been years since I listened to much music that even approximates this sort of stuff and so I probably not the most reliable of reviewers but I liked it a hell of a lot. It reminded me very much of London white-trash surf-punkers Ten Benson from before they discovered AC/DC and got shit. This is effortlessly joyful and it made me want to dance drunkenly around the room and nothing ever makes me want to dance, drunkenly or otherwise.
KonstruKt + guests - Live at Akbank Jazz Festival 09
Other than a large list of names and corresponding instruments I have no info with regard to this fabulous 2 disc live set from the KonstruKt trio of Korhan Arguden (drums) Ozun Usta (drums, percussion) & Umut Caglar (guitar, guitar synth). That fiery sounding set of instruments are here joined by 4 saxophonists (on alto, tenor and baritone) and 3 horn players (euphonium, cornet & trumpet) and together they make a righteous cacophony.
This live set must have been an absolute joy to behold as all 10 players acquit themselves nicely as they twist and turn through 80 minutes of free-flowing improv. I love it when an ensemble are unafraid to let the music ebb and flow rather than just barraging the listener with a blitzkrieg of testosterone laden blowing. Here there is a definite willingness to lay back and these sections make the fire all the hotter when it comes and the slightly unusual instruments give things a character very much of it's own.
I get sent very little jazz to WWR but luckily what I do get sent is usually excellent and this one continues that lucky streak.
Christoph Korn & Lasse-Marc Riek - series invisible, Collection, II
(Gruenrekorder Gruen 099)
Location: Swansea (UK). Typed on an out of date PC on a sideboard masquerading as a desk. Written 02.05.14, 1.23 PM Deleted 02.05.14 6.10 PM Duration 193 words
Korperschwache - Eight Velvet Paintings for Helen Keller
(Inam Records 24)
Late 2008, early 2009 has already seen a crop of releases from Inam records that are to be admired and sought out. Releases by Sujo and Vopat had already made the label into one to watch a fact that was further confirmed the moment Korperschwache hit my seedee player. The music here is less exuberantly post rock than Vopat and less consumed by the search for the cosmic (or Kosmiche) drone than Sujo. Instead Korperschwache occupy the very fertile middle ground between the two mixing long drawn out guitar drones with a welcome tendency to bombastic melody hidden amongst the distortion.
I like this approach. I like this approach a lot. The lazy melodies slowly unfurl and reveal themselves to be part of a greater whole. The production is a little on the muddy side which does dampen the mood a little but only a little. Very much an album to listen to in a single sitting as there is a vague audio narrative to the music that is disturbed by stopping (or so I discovered) but rewards total immersion in it's sound and rewards you well, over and over again.
(inamrecs (AT) yahoo.com)
Kostoglotov - Kostoglowhat
This is a new name to me and a welcome one at that. London based musician Kostoglotov provides a very nice set of low-key, lo-fi excursions into a dreamy psyche-pop soundworld of clicks, cuts, pops, drones, swoops, sways and, most welcome of all, melodies. That Kostoglotov knows his way around a tune becomes quickly apparent as the gentle and often introspective compositions float by one after the other. That (s)he's not afraid to augment that tune with excursions through your third eye is a very welcome surprise.
In parts both the vibe and the music reminded me of early Appliance and that cannot ever be a bad thing, for the most part though this album travels a similar road to bands such as Windy and Carl and Amp. It's been a long while since something of this sort has dropped through my letter box and I'm very pleased it did. If you're a fan of any of the abovementioned then I recommend tracking this one down.
Kostoglotov - Our Beautiful Decay EP
(Neither Scene Nor Has Been Records)
This is the 2nd visit to Wonderful Wooden Reasons by Daryl Worthington's Kostoglotov project. The sombre melodies of the previous are continued here to nice effect. His music is a slow burning, blurry, post-ambient psychedelia of guitar and synthesizer drones that are melded to produce an electronic soundworld filled with colour. There's a definite flavour of Phaedra / Rubycon era Tangerine Dream to these compositions and it makes them feel both robust and familiar. It's like putting on new shoes and finding someone has already worn them in for you and they fit perfectly.
The sounds are warm and the ambience is welcoming even when it's travelling towards the heavens as on the final track, 'I Wanted that Summer to Last Forever', where the album eventually comes to rest in a blissful conclusion.
Zack Kouns - Vast, Dark Expanses Inside Our Bodies
I must admit I was put off somewhat by the title and cover art (photos of intestines) of this album. I put it on expecting the usual tedious tirade of 'I hate my life so I'm gonna wear black clothes' total noise but I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised. Kouns is definitely a lover of the darker side of life and the ambiences he conjures are very much in line with the title he's given this album but there's a deft hand at work processing (but not overly so) a battery of sounds (lots of guitar) into a nicely chaotic composition. The vocals, I think, let the recording down by being a little unoriginal and I'd like to think that the vast, dark expanse inside my body sounds more like the Piero Umiliani soundtrack to a 1960's Italian porn film rather than droning, atonal industrial guitar abuse. It probably doesn't but I can hope.
Well worth a listen for those amongst you with a taste for the esoteric, the dark and the cacophonous.
Zack Kouns - Michael Jackson: "I Just Can't Start Loving You"
Firstly an apology to those involved as I've had this LP sitting around my house for quite a while now but problems with my computer and then my deck (they're all connected together) kept it from my ears and your eyes.
This is my second exposure to the work of Ohio-an (I think I just made that word up but even if I did I like it and so I'm going to use it) musician Zack Kouns. His music as displayed here is, stylistically, downbeat and intensely personal, although, in keeping with the concept of the release it has seemingly undergone some reconfiguring to accommodate some really nasty eighties style synths alongside his other instruments (saxophone, piano, guitar, drums and more).
I'm not hugely enamoured with large chunks of this album and that can almost exclusively be attributed to the synths. I hated these sounds first time around and my opinion hasn't changed over the intervening years. In line with what he's trying to achieve here I can understand why he chose them and I kinda like the concept but man, that handclappy 'chak!' sound just makes my bowels itch.
However, the tacks where the other instruments hold sway are a different matter altogether and are much more fun to be around. His songs and instrumentation are delicate and musical his voice is less so but perfectly expresses the anguish, loss and trepidation inherent in the lyrics which are almost uniformly wonderful (particularly the opening track) even through the synths .
So, can I recommend this to you? Yes, definitely but with a proviso that you go visit his myspace page and have a listen there first. Kouns' style of music is very much his own which is a definite plus point.; The album is slightly bogged down in a concept that makes listening to parts of it a bit of a chore (for me at least) but, equally, there is much here that will appeal to adventurous ears.
Marinos Koutsomichalis - Peripatetic
Beautifully neat little CD of cityscape field recordings all collected whilst travelling in one manner or another. It's filled with sounds both nebulous and distinct. Occasional snatches of music or speech help to humanise the recordings and allow a brief tantalising eavesdrop into another's world.
This sort of (almost) pure field recording is never going to be to everyone's taste. Personally I love it. It's taken me a number of years to really arrive at a place where I can truly appreciate the dislocation necessary to fully understand and immerse myself in the soundworlds recordings of this type conjure. It is recordings such as this one however that make me very glad to have made the effort.
Marinos Koutsomichalis - Trevor Jones Studio Sessions vol 1
Last month in WWR I reviewed my first exposure to the work of Koutsomichalis which was a nifty little set of interwoven urban soundscapes. I liked it very much. This time out he's operating further in the realm of noise drone. His sounds are more amorphous and his whole premise is more musical than on that other release. It's a nice enough set of textural, isolationist ambient. It's quietly low-key with few moments of extroversion to keep you interested and listening.
Personally I preferred his other album. There're just too many people doing this sort of stuff at the moment and whilst Marinos does what he does here well - truly he does - he doesn't manage to raise himself above and beyond his contemporaries. I would have preferred to hear him meld the two sides of his musical personality and create a more unique voice.
Yoni Kretzmer - Overlook
(Out Now Recordings ONR002)
The frenetic opening to this nifty little seedee (one of a series kindly sent my way by Outnow) belies the more intriguingly introspective nature at it's heart.
With music as fiery as this it's easy to assume it's firmly enmeshed in the free idiom but a glance at the sleeve reveals saxophonist Kretzmer as composer. For the most part it's blistering stuff with the quartet (Nitai Levi - bass clarinet, Shai Ran - double bass & Haim Peshkoff - drums) providing a tumultuous bedrock upon which the various solos and excursions can be built. It's not all vim and vigour as they are content to often rein in the pyrotechnics and explore more introspective and subtle shapes.
I don't listen to much jazz at the moment mostly due I suspect to my workload and the way it insists on your attention which is anathema to getting other stuff done. When I am in the headspace though it's nice to come across something new and thoroughly enjoyable.
Yoni Kretzmer 3 Bass Quartet – Weight
(Outnow Recordings ONR008)
Kretzmer is on tenor saxophone and along with drummer Mike Pride is joined here by the double double basses of Sean Conly and Reuben Radding.
As a lover of the bass I do feel that the potential of the two bass set up was missed. I’ve enjoyed the album; it’s a very strong mix of the various jazz ticks and tropes that group up into a very listenable whole.
Personally though I can’t help but feel that if you are going to feature 2 basses to the extent that you name your quartet for them then they should be placed very much at the centre of things but they were never really dynamic or expressive enough to claim the attention from their compatriots. It is an ensemble project though and a good one at that so perhaps I was expecting the wrong thing but then again perhaps not.
Igor Krutogolov - White
(Auris Media / Topheth Prophet aum010 / tp006)
Igor Krutogolov is an Israeli artist and composer with an impressive pedigree which shines through in the soundscape (split unnecessarily into 7 separate tracks) that he's created here. An aurally assertive keyboard drone carries the music upon which Krutogolov layers field recordings, vocals, strings, flute and much more to establish a restless and unsettling ambience. There is a sense of constant movement as abstracted melodies emerge and disperse with a fluidity that belies the complexity of the composition. I must however admit to some confusion over the inclusion of the final track. At 38 minutes in length this should be the centrepiece of the album but strangely isn't. Consisting mostly of the sound of rainfall it is simply too quiet as an ending to the album. At several points during the track I had to check the display to see if the album was still playing. Positioned earlier in the album and this wouldn't have been an issue as played in isolation it is a beautiful track but, in its current position on the running order, by the halfway mark my attention is elsewhere. A real shame because to that point I had been absorbed by this absorbing, unusual and, otherwise, heartily recommended album.
Mark Lorenz Ksela - Eins+
(Gruenrekorder Gruen 120)
If I was ever to add awards to WWR the one for excellence in packaging each year almost certainly go to Gruenrekorder. They really do send some sublime looking things my way and the metal tin that houses 'Einst+' is a beauty.
The label has a few strings to it's bow and as such you're never quite sure, until you hit the play button which aspect has made an appearance. this time out it's the turn of the sound art series with a collection by German saxophonist and clarinetist Kysela.
Here he provides interpretations of pieces by a variety of modern composers such as Christoph Ogiermann, Thomas Stiegler, Martin Schuttler, Michael Maierfof, Alvin Lucier and Uwe Rasch. Of the 6, I must admit it is only Lucier with whom I'm familiar so it's with excited ears I make the plunge.
Musically it's utterly rooted in a very modern sensibility. Sonically it's, for the most part, centred around Ksela's instruments of choice which allows the proceedings a sense of familiarity albeit on subject to occasional lunges in unexpected directions along with the sometimes sudden, sometimes subtle interjections from the array of other sound sources.
For me it is the Lucier piece that is the most engaging as it's drones sre most close to my heart but the rest are never less than intriguing and often are far more.
Modern composition isn't an area of music that I really ever have that much contact with but is certainly one that holds my interest on the rare occasion that I do and this was an unexpected treat that has gone round and round on my player for the last week as I tried to get to grips with it.
Goh Lee Kwang - Hands
(Herbal International 0902)
My first time hearing the really rather insane musical ramblings of Herbal International label head Kwang. His is an entirely electronic world of stuttering, fluttering, muttering, puttering, chattering, nattering, spattering, chattering bleeps, bloops, parps, twangs, zings, pings, swooshes and tweets. It's restless and jittery with a real bonkers 60's radiophonic sci-fi vibe but filtered through a healthily psycedelicised worldview.
It's one of the most relentlessly tiring albums I've heard in an awful long time but it is great fun. Not one for everyday but one best kept aside for that twitchy sort of a day when nothing else really does it.