Thursday, December 13, 2012

CDR's: Caaldruun, Dave Fuglewicz, Gnarly Sheen, Triangle And Rhino

CAALDRUUN - Headstone CDR 
(Foxden Recordings FD02; Ltd 25; USA) 2012

Sometimes a record is not easily defined, or interpreted in words. I can't gauge the metaphors correctly for this release by Caaldruun, the project of Eric Kessel, a new noise artist, or formerly unknown to me at any rate. Maybe these sound-structures were created using field recordings, maybe contact mics attached to unusual objects, maybe they are cleverly programmed analog synths, it's really hard to tell. The very refined use of his sound sources creates otherworldly, ambient spaces, mixed intelligently with a few pseudo-melodic textures and some abrupt cuts along the way that teeter the structures in upon themselves. One thing is for certain, this is one of the best debut releases I have ever heard, Kessel's work comes fully formed and mature, a superb release that must be heard. Limited to 25 copies this may already be out-of-print, inquire about it HERE.

Caaldruun Excerpt

DAVE FUGLEWICZ - The Wizard's Porch CDR 
(Self Released; USA) 2011

Dave Fuglewicz continues his creative streak with this excellent release. The inception of this album is explained in the liner notes: "I originally recorded this in 1996 as part of a collaboration, but that fell through and it stayed buried in my tape library until late 2010. I added some more to it with several VST synthesizers and so I present the two versions (from) 1996 and 2011". Each track is a little less than 30 minutes, both satisfying listened to separately, but I like it better as one long, cosmic trip, in two parts, running an hour. The structure is abstract and languidly paced, never moving far from the primary looping repetitions. Analog synths, bells, chimes and chirping/tweeting sounds create a minimalist, but well-textured evocation of a stoned evening (crickets, wind chimes and psychotropics) on "The Wizard's Porch". Get it HERE.

Dave Fuglewicz Excerpt

GNARLY SHEEN - Transit Of Venus CDR 
(DumpsterScore Home Recordings DSC#089; Ltd 50; USA) 2012

One of the most bizarre albums to have crossed my path in 2012 was this oddity, "Transit Of Venus", by Gnarly Sheen. Gnarly is the solo project of Morgan Rankin, who runs the Husk Records label with Josh Lay, but this album is on the DumpsterScore Home Recordings label, which has already brought out about a hundred limited edition releases since 2004. There is a definite horror film soundtrack quality to these compositions. Utilizing lo-fi synths, guitar, and drum machines, the mastering here is very strange, with some sounds unexpectedly loud and distorted in the mix and even, at times, seeming to be at odds with the structure they are coalescing with. Like this was made at the end of a psychedelic trip, these compositions are wobbly, unstable, the product of a mind that is still unhinged, emerging from an altered state. This is an excellent example of 4 a.m. bedroom isolationist music with each track fascinating, intense and moody. Get it HERE.

Gnarly Sheen Excerpt

(TNR Tapes; USA) 2012

Triangle And Rhino, the post-rock duo consisting of Jake Lexso and Matt Rappa, have another excellent release under their belts with this one, "Diamond Slime". I've compared their work before to Sun City Girls, but i think it's their eclecticism that bears that resemblance the most, otherwise these guys are definitely unique and getting better all the time. This release is one of their best and also one of my favorite releases of 2012. From the hyperactive opener, "I Will Protect You From The Mouths Of The Liars" to the epic half hour noise-rock title track, to the prank-call facetiousness of  "Teenage Brain Fucker" this album will leave you devastated in it's wake. Time for some larger indie label to grab this band up, you hear me Sub Pop? Get it HERE.

Triangle And Rhino Excerpt

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Marax Mini CDR Releases

The Muchausen Sound label, run by Eric Crowe, has been putting out a bunch of 3" cdr's, most of them split releases featuring Marax, Crowe's long-running sound project, and other international noise acts. They are all ultra-limited, probably out of print by the time you read this since most of them seem to be in editions of only 12 copies! These are very interesting little releases with real nice graphics on the cover inserts. Marax puts away the atmospheric, horror-industrial approach he is sometimes known for and stays in a severe and punishing  PE/HNW mode. Track titles such as "Tumult OF The Mind" and "Ad Nauseam Of Rage" show the philosophical direction of his work on these mini cdr's. Coma Centauri (Brandon Clark, Japan) performs raging, extremist pedal  and contact mic noise;  Dao De Noize (Artem Pismenetskii, Ukraine) slow building synth sputterings and electroacoustics; Elle (Ludovica Corsini, Italy) molten, confrontational she-fuckery that seems to owe a debt to Debbie Jaffe's Master/Slave Relationship; Distant Trains (Charles Hoffman, USA) with a fascinating lo-fi, bedroom approach utilizing odd voice clips, distorted guitars, all sorts of kitchen sink ephemera; and Molting (Moe Lest(h)er, USA) conjuring up whirling, electronic firestorms. To check on availability contact Muchausen Sound HERE.

Mini CDR (Muchausen Sound MS 09; Ltd; USA) 2011 

MARAX/DAO DE NOIZE - Untitled (Split)
Mini CDR (Muchausen Sound MS 36; Ltd; USA) 2012

MARAX / ELLE - Untitled (Split)
Mini CDR (Muchausen Sound MS 34; Ltd; USA) 2011

MARAX /MOLTING - Untitled (Split)
Mini CDR (Muchausen Sound MS 36; Ltd; USA) 2011

MARAX/DISTANT TRAINS - Napalm Zombie (Split)
Mini CDR (Muchausen Sound MS 06; Ltd; USA) 2011

Marax Rabbit In The Log Excerpt

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Amigo, Crippling Deficincey, Charles Rice Goff III, Michael LaGrega, Pregnant Spore, Thirteen Hurts

 AMIGO - On The Sun 2xCDR 
(Self Released; USA) 2012

Amigo, from Flint, Michigan is Tim Flynn, the drummer for many Flint punk bands: Rats Of Unusual Size, The Freakies, Drat, etc. This is his first noise release, to my knowledge, but quickly establishes Amigo's humorous stance against the self-serious noise artist cliché. "On The Sun", the sole track on the album, is a joke- the track begins as our protagonist combusts when his wormhole sets him down smack dab in the middle of our solar system, and is gone in six seconds! After that, you'll be glad you've got the "Demos and Outtakes" disc that comes with this: a half hour's worth of guitar feedback and FX pedal experiments. Amigo's musical approach is akin to such artists as Emil Beaulieau, Crank Sturgeon, and other neo-dadaist noise performers. At the Flint Festival of Noise, in October, Amigo began his performance onstage, played for less than 10 minutes, then abruptly picked up his suitcase of gear and a battery powered mini-amp still blurting out feedback, walked out of the venue and down the street until he was out of sight! it's that kind of irreverence that is sometimes needed to keep it real in any art/music scene. I don't know if Amigo has an official site, but there is a Soundcloud account HERE. 


 CRIPPLING DEFICINCEY - I Am Terror's Snootiness CDR
(Self-Released; USA) 2011

Not much known about this project, no information available on the net, so can't say who is responsible for it, or where to acquire it. The name is pretty funny, that's not my misspelling. Sounding like a lot of noise releases I hear these days, possibly done with no-input mixer and scads of pedal FX with the occasional distorted vocal. Fairly heavy in places, definitely worth a listen. Write cripplingdeficincey at hushmail dot com.

Crippling Deficincey - Less Soft Habitat


PREGNANT SPORE - Experiments In Putrid Putrefaction Satisfaction CDR 
(Rainbow Bridge RB-124; USA) 2012

A Pregnant Spore release is always going to have the most extraordinary noise sounds. Maybe it's because the project founder, Justin Marc Lloyd, circuit bends so many of the pedal FX he uses in his gear setup. Whatever the case, his noise releases are among the most exciting out there."Experiments In Putrid Putrefaction Satisfaction" is no different, the spectrum of bass drones, squealing upper range pitches, and glitching, destroyed sounds form an extremely varied sonic canvas. The tracks on here don't sound the slightest bit "composed", but the randomness of these improvisations work for me as metaphors of cellular worlds, or electric charges feeding through networks of wires, things we can't necessarily make logical sense of. If still available get it HERE.

Pregnant Spore - Untitled

(Self-Released; USA) 2011

Richard Adams, aka Thirteen Hurts, released "Threshold" in 2011. This is a journey into extreme states of mind and body via noise. Very well textured compositions with rhythms emerging occasionally, not programmed rhythms, these are very primal and seem to have emanated from power electronics process, at times glitching uncontrollably, only maintaining time for moments before changing direction abruptly. Track 5, "Percolate", reveals the more controlled side of his improvising, as drones are stretched out in long form, with tonalities fluxing in and out of the mix, at 17+ minutes this is a very impressive slowly building electronic storm. Recommended! Get it HERE.


Four Compositions For The 2011 Kansas City Electro-Music Festival CDR 
(Taped Rugs Productions; USA) 2011

Charles Rice Goff III has been a name I have known since the early 90's when he had some of his electronic music released on the Ecto Tapes label out of Oklahoma. Charles is based in the Kansas City area and the music on this CDR was performed for the Kansas City Electro-Music Festival in 2011. These compositions were created in collaboration with Michael LaGrega who performs on synthesizer. The aesthetic here is one that Goff knows very well, he's been doing this sort of thing for over 20 years, equal parts space rock, avant garde and sound collage. Here he adds, as well, his voice in places, utilizing a vocoder effect. The vocal parts are hit-or-miss for me, but the compositions built up between sequenced parts and textural, sweeping synth tones sound very good. The use of turntable loops from rare records adds another interesting element to this music. Get it HERE.

(Taped Rugs Productions; USA) 2011
This release documents the preparation and development of themes to be performed at the Kansas City Electro-Music Festival in 2011(see review above). There are some differences in these compositions to the live performances but the overall sound is the same, a sort of throwback to space rock, ambient music and cassette underground weirdness. Get it HERE.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tapes: Arvo Zylo, Flesh Coffin, Hal Hutchinson, Matthew Reis, Orgasm Denial, Torturing Nurse, Vullmoxx, Zanstones

 TORTURING NURSE / 梅志勇 /  ORGASM DENIAL / 李剑鸿 - 4 Way Split 
(Fuzztape FT-001; Ltd 50; China) 2011

Earsplitting power electronics from several of my favorite Chinese noise artists. The Asian scene outside of Japan is really growing fast, very fresh stuff coming from that part of the world, and this is an exhilarating example! Get it HERE.

 FLESH COFFIN - Devil Worship In The Slaughterhouse  
(Out-Of-Body Records O-O-B R-002; Ltd 100; USA) 2011

Extremely lo-fi, yet harsh, junk noise combines with ambient textures and atmospheric soundscapes on this excellent cassette. Much to discover in Andreas Brandal's large discography, but this is my first encounter with his soundwork. A harrowing journey into the lunatic fringe. If still available, check HERE.

(Der Bunker Records; Ltd 100; U.K.) 2011

Hal Hutchinson leaves behind his junk metal and composes HNW sounds for this limited edition release. Extremely oppressive and unchanging wall of heavy static power electronics. Der Bunker Records label seems to have gone under, so probably best checking for this on Discogs.

(Community College Records CC038; Ltd 50; USA) 2011

Enigmatic foray into noise minimalism on this superb tape release from Matthew Reis. Tape deck hissing and gentle motor whirring become the background for this soundscape adventure, intercut with glitching noises, contact mic sounds and occasional noise crescendos. Studies in solitude, like being in abandoned factories with dripping water, rats scurrying, sounds of the pipes humming. Can't recommend this enough, but it is sold out. Originally on Community College Records, but better scope for this one on Discogs.

 ARVO ZYLO - Saint Street 
(No Part Of It; USA) 2011

Arvo Zylo's creative streak continues with this awesome foray into heavy noise and power electronics. Recommended! Check for it HERE.

VULLMOXX - Jektin Skvmm
(Mind's Eye Bloom Productions; Limited: USA) 2011

No paper cover or insert, no artist or title info- only a hand-painted shell on this cassette release by the mysterious Vullmoxx. This is the sound of death pains as expressed through distorted synths, no-input mixers and shortwave radios that create this yelping, croaking, screeching, and writhing soundscape. A helluva ride on this frantic and  powerful release! Check for this at Discogs.  

ZANSTONES -  Für Berlin
(Staaltape/ZH27 1106; Limited; Germany/USA) 2011

Zan Hoffman live performance at Staalplaat in Berlin, Germany in 2011. All sounds recorded in and around the city during the day/hours before the performance. Clanking, raking, battering, sirens, scraping metal, droning vocals and random electronics amongst all the clatter. Occasionally sounding like lo-fi gamelan orchestra with droning throat singers as Zan loops his vocals in real time in front of an audience. Excellent and recommended! Very limited, make inquiries to Staalplaat on this one: HERE.

Friday, May 4, 2012

ILSE Label: Dave Fuglewicz, Billy Gomberg, Anne Guthrie, Nick Hoffman, Half An Abortion, Richard Kamerman, Hal McGee, Violent Pink, Aaron Zarzutzki

DAVE FUGLEWICZ / HAL MCGEE (Ilse, 14) Synergistic Reconstruction (2011) CDR

One of the foremost American noise artists, the superhumanly prolific Hal McGee, teams up with another stalwart of the U.S. cassette underground, Dave Fuglewicz, to create "Synergistic Reconstruction". The original sound source material by Fuglewicz, composed on software synthesizers, was remixed and added to by McGee on a bunch of analog synths and circuit-bent instruments producing all manner of electronically derived sounds. McGee, as mixer, really sticks to his Burroughsian guns on this one, using chance tactics to slam sound fields against one another, creating their own unintentional logic. These compositions (there are four) are built from such disparate sonic events that they seem to be always moving towards some impossible destination. Fuglewicz's looping textures reign in McGee's more excessive tendencies as, amidst all the chance happenings and bombardments, a directional line will emerge moving towards a cohesive structure, centering the composition with McGee's squabbling sweeps and chattering seeming less reckless and more integral to the overall fabric. Fascinating and recommended! Get it HERE.

HALF AN ABORTION (Ilse, 11) Naked Math Machinery (2011) CDR

With astonishing power, Pete Cann, aka Half An Abortion, creates nightmarish paintings from the colours of his sonic palette. The images conjured on "Naked Math Machinery" are fantastic, though completely abstract and  from unrecognizable sound sources. These are very harsh, caustic sounds with little low-end, feedback-derived noise possibly composed using contact mics and no-input mixers. Whatever the humble, or not-so-humble, origins of these sounds, they create structures where every event is magnified to monstrous extremes and unleashed with blistering savagery. The second track, "Paused Growl", with its false ending is particularly dynamic, and the final track titled "During The Swim" has a more varied structure, with its stop and start framework, but it's still a very stern sound and an engrossing one. Cann is onto something here, he's found a new way of expressing the  noise paradigm. No cliches, just a beautiful cacophony! Get it HERE.

AARON ZARZUTZKI / NICK HOFFMAN (Ilse, 4) Lost Corner (2011) CDR

The pure sound invention of Aaron Zarzutzki and Nick Hoffman using various noisemakers on this album, "Lost Corner", is quite remarkable. Looking at the inner sleeve photo it appears the compositions were created using synthesizers, (circuit-bent?) drum machines, fx pedals, and contact mics on various objects, including a sewing machine. These improvised environments are created from small sound events that overlap, many of the sonics have percussive qualities and appear for a few seconds in the mix to disappear or come back later. Reminds me of Roscoe Mitchell's "The Maze" or some of Anthony Braxton's more esoteric compositions for percussion. The two improvisers are throwing a lot into the mix, but never latch on to a theme, the whole thing plays like Dadaist poetry à la Kurt Schwitters, but not having any crescendos wears on the concept by the end. Through and through its directions seem tentative. Still remarkable if only for the sheer scope of the varied palette. Get it HERE.

BILLY GOMBERG, ANNE GUTHRIE, RICHARD KAMERMAN (Ilse, 10) Blue & Gold, Delicate Sen (2011) CDR

Billy Gomberg collaborates with french horn player, Anne Guthrie (Director of the S.E.M. Ensemble in Brooklyn) and Richard Kamerman in the trio project, Delicate Sen. "Blue & Gold, Delicate Sen" is a superb album of beautiful sound worlds created by these artists. Four long tracks of improvisation, similar in intent to the Zarzutzki/Hoffman release reviewed above. Both albums are made by artists who are, apparently, very familiar with improvisation and have the daring to pull off what they attempt. It's a fine line and doesn't take much, in either case, to succeed or fail aesthetically, but where this album succeeds in a stronger way, for me, is by finding correlations in the audio stream between the improvised parts that cements their structure. These compositions are not extremely driving, or dynamic, but the languid flow of ideas across the sound field is, nevertheless, very satisfying. Whatever themes appear are very minimalist, usually a fluxing note, or multiphonic, that slowly stretches the composition as other quiet strands enter and dissolve. An absorbing listening experience. Get it HERE.

VIOLENT PINK (Ilse, 5) Propaganda Of The Deed (2011) CDR

Violent Pink is the noise project of Tyler Keen, from Augusta, Georgia, active since at least 2009, with several CDR's and cassettes to his credit, including one on AMK's Banned Productions label. This album, "Propaganda Of The Deed", starts off with an old-school, industrial style sound-clip montage, then speeds off like a rocket into a violent world of noise. His feedback based vocal approach is familiar, from Masonna to Prurient to Torturing Nurse, calling forth the psychedelic elements of this style as well as, in this case, the more dominant metal origins. The two tracks with Pete Cann, aka Half An Abortion, whose contributions are easily discerned, are the high points of this album as the heavy solidity of Cann's source material anchors the compositions. It's quite a trip, one that noiseheads will love. Get it HERE.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

SPLEENCOFFIN Label: Embarker, GX Jupitter-Larsen, Arvo Zylo

The sPLeeNCoFFiN label, out of Baltimore, MD, has been releasing limited edition noise on cassettes, CDR's and vinyl since 2003. Co-founded by Marlo Eggplant and Timothy Wisniewski, the label's philosophy of releasing albums of "raw experimentation in diverse forms" endears me to them right away. Their discography is extremely diverse and many of the out-of-print items from their catalog are now available as free downloads (including several by Marlo Eggplant, one of my favorite women on the noise scene). Some of their recent releases look really interesting, several Hazardous Guadalupe albums (an early Marlo Eggplant band project); Kreace Peeps, described as "crudely recorded and sloppily improvised excursions into tropical free-jazz, inept folk, harsh world beat, dissonant new age... (etc.)"; and Arrington de Dionyso's "Music For Two Tape Recorders", a 2 tape set that is meant to be played simultaneously on two separate cassette players to achieve it's effect. Give this label a visit HERE.

EMBARKER (Spleencoffin, no cat. #) Big Gary (2011) Cassette
Embarker is the solo project of audiovisual artist, Michael Barker, from New York. This tape, "Big Gary", comes packaged in a very unassuming lined yellow legal-pad cover that looks to be hand typed. The cover, even with the fine line-drawing, provides no indication of what this will sound like, so I push play and the tape begins with a synth filter slowly widening, moving up in pitch, rising like that for a while, then abruptly ends. Sounding for a moment like the tape is being eaten by the cassette player, but then a strange pattern of synthetics emerge forming another composition, adding glitched, out-of-key elements, high-pitched exclamations, sample & hold overloading of repetitions. All these sounds overlapping and building slowly into new arrangements. Then the patterns draw apart, becoming separated from their origins. Like random machine sounds convening, or music created by coordinated mechanical events. The B side begins more rhythmic, with a bass drum/cymbal, filtered and banging over and over while making slight timbral changes. This rhythmic structure is built up with random-sounding synths that often move in to the mix for a moment only to disappear. Definite link here, sound-wise, to the early cassette underground stuff like that of Carl Howard's NoMuzic. In the more recent context maybe this is a sort of minimal breakcore. Difficult to define, yet very interesting and unexpected. Get it HERE.

GX JUPITTER-LARSEN / ARVO ZYLO (Spleencoffin, SP-27-CS) Xylowave/Zylowave (2012) Cassette

GX Jupitter-Larsen needs no introduction, to anybody even in the periphery of the noise scene, Larsen's project, The Haters, is legendary as one of the defining artists of the genre, up there with the likes of Hal McGee, Merzbow, Whitehouse, etc. This split tape with Arvo Zylo, titled "Xylowave/Zylowave", is a 2012 release on Spleencoffin. The first side belongs to GX and here he creates an urgent sound, though to the ear the basic patterns do not change and there are no clever editing tricks, there's something beautiful in these long stretches of wind-licked, barren machine-noise. This is crushing, bruising, yet when listened to in a certain way can be heard as ambient sounds. Rising frequencies punch holes in the structure, power tools shower sparks, until in it's final incarnation it becomes crunching rhythmics that descend to an abrupt ending. As awesome as you'd expect!

Arvo Zylo is a distinctive noise artist, though not yet well known, I've reviewed his work favorably HERE. This is quite different from the crazy combination of prog, krautrock and industrial forms I heard in Zylo's other work. His B side, "Zylowave", starts with staccato 8-bit repetitions, charged electrons fluxing throughout, then partial dropouts in the mix on one side of the stereo frame or the other. My Sansui S930's are put to the test, but they're used to this kind of noise abuse, since I've had 'em for 30+ years! Midway through, it all becomes hissing and constant crescendos with no means of resolution. Another wondrous slab of power electronics!

Finally let me say this has one of the better conceived cover graphics I've seen of late, handsomely printed in black and silver, a nice art package. Recommended! Get it for $5 (!) HERE.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

MOONLIT SUN - Transmissions From Beyond, 2011

MOONLIT SUN (Night Of Solitude, No cat. #) Transmissions From Beyond (2011) Cassette

 Moonlit Sun, from Canada, is the industrial noise project of Jason Mauricio, a committed artist of the younger noise generation. Not a lot of material is available currently from this artist, but Mauricio has been primarily dedicated to recording for several years now, with less emphasis on releasing his work. Taking a purist approach, he often works with raw sound sources, recorded electroacoustically with contact microphones and little, if any, post effects. This tape, "Transmissions From Beyond", was created using scrap metals and, as it points out in the liner notes, "no computer based synthesizers or effects were used" in all but one of the 13 tracks here. Unlike fellow Canadian, Knurl, whose junk metal compositions explore  microbic/geologic worlds, or Hal Hutchinson's "Taste of Metal", which embodies the ancient ritualist aspect of scrap-metal, Moonlit Sun stands apart for it's stern metaphor of a dystopian society and the post-modern artist living in a complex but outwardly superficial environment. The vocal work on this is really interesting, only snatches of lyrics are readily discerned, so a lot of the overall vocal effect is that of another instrument in the mix. The strong use of live echoplexing creates in many tracks a sort of shuddering, warbled sound. Sounds move about freely in their environments. Often the tracks center on rhythm but these aren't drum machines playing samples, it's Mauricio bashing away at metal sheets or barrels. So there is a definite DNA here from classic 80's industrial music, like Test Department, except in this music the lyrics aren't rallying cries, but ghostly warnings, barely emerging from the surrounding mist, these cryptic and covert admonishments. Beautiful cover graphics inside and out. Recommended! Get it HERE.