Album Review

Howard Stelzer – Brayton Point (Dokuro, 2014)

howard stelzer - brayton point album cover
Howard StelzerUntitled (excerpt) (Dokuro)

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I remember first getting into weird music and having Howard Stelzer be one of my launchpads. All I knew was that he made the most awesome sounds essentially from messing around with tapes, and of his innumerable collaborations, the ones with Giuseppe Ielasi on Night Life and Jazzkammer on Tomorrow No One Will Be Safe were on constant repeat for a while. Then I went to a show he put on with Astronaut (early OPN group), Geoff Mullen, Fire In The Head, Skeletons Out (which unbeknownst to me at the time was a collab between Stelzer and Jay Sullivan), and Red Horse, and while talking to Howard at the merch table afterward, I realized that 1: the dude I was talking to was in fact the one & same Howard Stelzer who collaborated with anyone worth a damn, 2: this guy ran a super boss label Intransitive, and 3: he was from Boston! I was a kinda floored. He had his brand new solo CD Bond Inlets for sale, so I snatched that up and have been enamored ever since. According to Stelzer, Brayton Point is his first solo full length since 2008′s Bond Inlets (although Discogs begs to differ), but yeah, I’m pretty fucking psyched about this one, and yeah, it’s as good as I hoped it would be.

Brayton Point is comprised of sounds taken from the Brayton Point Generating Station in Somerset, Massachusetts, and it’s one big horror show of industrial chaos swirled together in a hulking drone storm, a dense and twisted hellmouth with fleeing screaming demons, the sort of music your parents thought you’d hear if you played a melted Black Sabbath record backwards, except way fucking cooler, with more high end skree, whirlwind static, and core shattering garble, but with plenty of moments of reprieve, a subtle mechanical hum with ancient technology creaking in the distance, the texture of tape making its way to the playing field, this is absolutely & ridiculously awesome, the whole 50 minute piece a welcome beast of Stelzer’s patented tape fuckery, so glad this dude is back in the game, and he’s back with a motherfuckin winner, really can’t wait to see what else he’s got on deck.

AGB Radio

AGB Radio (September 15, 2014)

100% awesome
 

AGB Radio 2014/09/15

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Background music: Aidan Baker & Thisquietarmy – Hypnodrone (from Hypnodrone Ensemble)
00:00:00 Talk break
00:00:41 Jordan De La Sierra – Temple Of Aesthetic Action (from Gymnosphere: Song Of The Rose)
00:25:22 Music Blues – Premature Caesarean Removal Delivery (from Things Haven’t Gone Well)
00:29:39 Talk break
00:30:41 Tomaga – Mountain Opener (from Futura Grotesk)
00:38:29 io – Binaural Cymbal (Solo No. 6 For Gustavo) (from Dedication Vol. 1 (Solos))
00:46:22 Morgan Evans-Weiler – 4 (from Two)
00:55:02 Muscle And Marrow – Tongues (from The Human Cry)
00:59:14 Talk break
01:00:26 Planning For Burial – Mischief Night (from Planning For Burial / Liar In Wait Split)
01:06:03 Liar In Wait – Paper Houses (from Planning For Burial / Liar In Wait Split)
01:10:13 Mark Templeton & Kyle Armstrong – Side A (from Extensions)
01:28:22 Talk break
01:29:31 Isengrind – Ghost Pond (from Underflesh)
01:33:22 Aby Ngana Diop – Ndame (from Liital)
01:39:52 The End Of The World Championship – Balance Beam II (from Balance Beam)
01:59:31 Talk break

AGB Radio

AGB Radio (September 8, 2014) – Ladies Only Edition

I did a special Ladies Only episode last year and it went over pretty well, so I thought I’d do another one. There’s no lack of amazing female musicians, so this isn’t like a rare or unusual set or anything, and there’s plenty of other premium artists that I could have just as easily included. Just like last time, all of these records came out this year, and with the exception of Half High, Paco Sala, and Esben And The Witch (all three of which I know have one or two dudes involved), as far as I know this is 100% lady talent on display.

 

AGB Radio 2014/09/08

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Background music: Half High – Calling Nina Pt. 1 (from Calling Nina)
00:00:00 Talk break
00:00:41 Julianna Barwick – Two Moons (from Rosabi)
00:05:32 FKA Twigs – Two Weeks (from LP1)
00:09:37 Samantha Glass – Outsider Family (from Surface Water Perception)
00:18:11 The Oath – All Must Die (from The Oath)
00:24:38 Emma Ruth Rundle – Living With The Black Dog (from Some Heavy Ocean)
00:29:13 Talk break
00:31:08 Jenny Hval & Susanna – Black Lake (from Meshes Of Voice)
00:36:35 Fait – Slow Glow (from Atmosphere)
00:42:04 Paco Sala – Peace Keeper (from Put Your Hands On Me)
00:48:39 Yuki Murata – Elegy (from Gift)
00:52:41 Foie Gras – The Throat Of The World (from Held)
00:56:21 Fatima Al Qadiri – Szechuan (from Asiatisch)
01:01:02 Talk break
01:02:41 Linda Aubry Bullock – All Of The Crowns (from YDLMIER 050)
01:10:13 King Woman – Dove (from Dove / Fond Affections)
01:25:12 Tara Jane O’Neil – Glow Now (from Where Shine New Lights)
01:29:39 Talk break
01:30:42 Anne Guthrie – Long Pendulous (from Codiaeum Variegatum)
01:36:59 Islaja – Temporary Haven (from S U U)
01:40:22 Alice Boman – Burns (from EP II)
01:43:58 Esben And The Witch – Those Dreadful Hammers (from A New Nature)
01:47:29 Isnaj Dui – Orthoclase (from Euplexia)
01:53:52 Jackie McDowell – Little Maggie (from Baptisia)
01:58:48 Talk break

AGB Radio

Tecumseh – Violet (Anti-Matter, 2014)

tp0001c
TecumsehSerenade For The Dead (Anti-Matter)

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This Portland trio (Ian Hawk, Jeremy Long, and John Krausbauer) has been pretty dormant of late (their last release was in 2011) and now all of a sudden they’ve got two new records out on Anti-Matter, this 30 minute LP Violet and the For The Night 10″, so yay! but regardless whether this is a sign of things to come or they’ll just hide out for another few years, this new stuff is the fucking besssst, Violet diving deep into the minimal drone via heavy dark doom vibes, this is like Sunn O))) minus the metal and laid up on downers, sorta like that Culver record on Fabrica from last year but way louder, funereal tonal shifting that’s absolutely fucking massive, a monolithic drone that roars in your head and rattles you to your core, but doing so without too much crunch or abrasive grit, so while this is evil as fuck, it’s also kinda soothing, like being inside a mausoleum reverberating from a constant rolling thunder, mega monstrous minimalism for those sleepless nights spent watching demons crawl up the wall, this is just fucking spectacular, and fyi For The Night is just as good, so do yourself a favor and scoop up both of these limited leviathans, if for no other reason than being able to see that beautiful eyefuck of an album cover (by Tauba Auerbach) in person.

Album Review

Death Blues – Ensemble (Rhythmplex, 2014)

death blues - ensemble album cover
Death BluesUnseen (Rhythmplex)

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Disclaimer: I was a bit heavy handed with the quotes in here because there’s just too much to not share. No apologies, just a heads up.
 

Jon Mueller has been working on his Death Blues project for a few years, addressing “the inevitability of death as impetus to become more present in each moment,” which is to say (and I’m paraphrasing a quote I can’t find the source of) Death Blues is as much about death as firemen are about fire. He’s put out a handful of releases as part of this project, including Mueller’s Death Blues debut on Taiga and the Here manifesto, all of which were variations of a visceral motorik transcendence founded on hammered guitar, propulsive percussion, and spiritual incantations, but this is different, a whole new beast.

Ensemble is the feather in the Death Blues hat, the fully formed masterpiece that seems as if Mueller had been planning this all along, because not only is there the record, a bright orchestral blossom aided by composer William Ryan Fritch and a bunch of other multi-talented musicians, but also a 16 page book of essays from seven of Mueller’s friends writing on loss, regret, and vulnerability, Mueller is hoping this “offers both a chance for people to escape within the work, and to then come out of it with a new perspective on their own situation. And ultimately, to consider what positive actions can be taken based on that new understanding.”

The music here is absolutely fucking incredible, it’s the score to the realization of the self, or more specifically, the self as finite, and every moment here is a triumph, an explosive but tender display of the world’s beauty, seeing past the pain & destruction into the positive, a hopeful potential way of life, these are rich, lush movements with cheering strings, majestic chords, yearning melodies, and bombastic climaxes, completely distinguished from the previous incarnations of Death Blues, the hammered guitars almost gone entirely, the wordless chants relinquished to the background of a few pieces, and now a much more dynamic song structure, this is downright pop in comparison, but this is the future Mueller intends, overwhelming & uplifting, take the bliss head on and proceed knowing fully your ultimate destiny.

As fantastic as the record is, I think I may even be more enamored with the essays, all of which speak to me on a fundamental level. There’s so much raw wisdom offered up, so many emotions & ideas that will take a long time to truly sink in.

Brent Gohde’s piece on suicide is the opener and he sets the mood for the remainder of the book when he proclaims “And there will come a day that I’ll sleep forever. But until then, I made a promise to wake up, if at all possible.”

David Ravel’s story of his father and wife dying, and watching them die, literally brought me to tears. His honesty is one that I feel will probably resonate with many: “We, all of us, die. This is not only true but also strikingly obvious. And yet, in spite of my experiences with death, I don’t think I’m smart enough or strong enough to practice the mindfulness that Jon encourages and us.”

Tom Lecky’s short abstract piece is a lipogram, which means he never uses the letter “i” and his explanation of why he chose this method is something I will always relate to: “The significance of that is quite obvious, and coincides with what I try to do with any creative act: kill the sense of self, destroy the idea of expression, make the act of making and the resulting thing the subject. I never want to be the subject. I, insofar as I am an individual, is not at all interesting to me artistically. The desire to obscure and see a self disappear is the goal.”

Stacy Blint writes a powerful multi-page stream of consciousness poem where she talks about being raped, having shitty parents, and the inherent difficulties of life.

Chris Koelle proved to me how similar people can be while having such starkly different belief systems. This is a man who seems deeply religious and believes lust to be an evil, a “slow motion suicide,” neither of which I identify with, but who also tries to find the fleeting moments of wonder in the world, which is something I also strive for, and I know this is a whole lotta stuff I’m about to quote but it’s just too fucking good. “I feel now as if the only heart I’ve ever had is a broken one, and healing don’t come easy. But somehow, there have been moments, and all the brokenness, of signs pointing toward Hope, of felt healing: through a friend’s gracious word, in a knowing smile, within a solid embrace and a mere, miraculous pat on the back. In split seconds of feeling the weight of the glory and beauty of this world press in, just for a moment, outweighing the crushing threat of despair from inside and out there.” And finally “This quiet shudder of being grateful is a gift I think I’ve experienced more and more frequently as I’ve gotten older. Which, when I stop and think about it, is really encouraging, considering the fact that the pains and problems of life become more acute the older we get. Perhaps that’s the very reason why this feeling of gratefulness wells up more and more as time goes on. Fire both consumes and refines.”

Faith Coloccia has an amazing piece on her “experience with exorcism, and sacrifice, having seen behind the veil of heaven in a nascent state” and how profoundly it has changed her outlook: “The blood is red, I cross the threshold into resurrection and the open eyes of life.”

Sally Haldorson concludes the book with a story of winning a poetry contest at a young age, the long lasting memory of her mother’s hand written book of poems, and what it’s like cleaning out your dead parents’ home.

The physical object that is Ensemble is a gorgeous piece of artwork, it’s a large hard covered book (different than an LP with bound pages inside) that’s adorned with artwork of masks made in the 1970s, and it has a slot in the back of the front cover for the vinyl. Absolutely amazing.

Death Blues’ Ensemble is something a written review can barely hope to explain. This is one of those rare times when the trope of “you need to experience it yourself to really understand” is 100% accurate. This is the whole package of concept & art perfectly realized, raising the bar for music, writing, and experimental projects of any kind. Ensemble might literally change your life, and will at the very least offer a totally unique experience, one that you’ll treasure for quite a while.

Album Review

Foie Gras – Held (self released, 2014)

foie gras - held album cover
Foie GrasWants You In That Way (self released)

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Foie Gras is one strong, tender force hailing from San Francisco who makes music in the subtlest ways. She’s as yet released a physical record under this name, instead gifting us with free downloads on her Bandcamp (although I think there’s something tangible in the works), and you would do well to hit up each and every one of her albums (currently two available in addition to Held) as she is prone to taking them down whenever she fancies, and this is one is especially special, with a couple covers (Sparklehorse’s “Heart Of Darkness” and Heroin Party’s “Summoning Ritual”), and a slow-mo drifting drone, a welcome smothering of soft thick fog that moves effortlessly through you, blank of all emotion on the surface but digging deeper shows this is lined with an almost imperceptible but undeniable void, a bittersweet minimalism under a thin veil of devastation, frequently singing of death & suffering but always from the most delicate perspective, including the intimate Chelsea Wolfe-esque acoustic closer “Cliffs” where she croons “This is why we can’t have nice things, this is why I’ve destroyed my being, and this how you prolong the suffering,” this is the brightest dark music I’ve ever heard, and it’s just fucking outstanding, a painfully doomed record that floats above and rests in the ether bliss, truly excellent shit that makes me wonder how she’s not at the top of the drone chain, so maybe you can do you part and give this a listen, it’ll stay with you forever.

AGB Radio

AGB Radio (September 1, 2014)

Elisa Ambrogio’s solo debut is like my new favorite thing. <3 <3 <3
 

AGB Radio 2014/09/01

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Background music: Alpha Wave Movement – Cloud Sculptures & Desert Dust (from Archaic Frontiers)
00:00:00 Talk break
00:00:37 Elisa Ambrogio – Far From Home (from The Immoralist)
00:05:09 Drophead vs. Silent Land Time Machine – II (from From Ashes Comes The Day)
00:16:13 Mlimani Park Orchestra – title unknown (from Tanzania Heritage Project)
00:21:23 Rivulets – Ride On, Molina (from Ride On, Molina)
00:28:35 Talk break
00:29:57 Dan’l Boone – Mindface (from Dan’l Boone)
00:33:36 Last Ex – Girl Seizure (from Last Ex)
00:36:24 Lewis Hairston – Bile Them Cabbage Down (from Virginia Traditions: Non-Blues Secular Black Music)
00:39:01 David Shea – Green Dragon Inn (from Rituals)
00:53:35 Popol Vuh – Wanderschaft-Wanderings (from Letzte Tage – Letzte Nächte)
00:59:30 Talk break
01:00:36 Christophe Bailleau – Put My In Your (from Sonic Pool Hypnose Club)
01:08:27 Sid Hemphill – The Devil’s Dream (from The Devil’s Dream)
01:11:34 Clipd Beaks – Fkwrk (from Fkwrk)
01:14:46 0 – Black Elf (from Simplifying A Demon)
01:21:37 Bugskull – Icarus Rising (from Collapsed View)
01:26:32 Windy & Carl – Set Adrift (from Depths)
01:32:54 Talk break
01:34:36 Pip Proud – They Took Us All So Kindly (from A Fraying Space)
01:39:07 Vibracathedral Orchestra – Magnetic Burn (from The Queen Of Guess)
01:43:06 Mary Butler – Electric Chair Blues (from Mississippi Girls (1928-1931))
01:45:52 Akemi Ishijima – Time Drops (from Time Drops)
01:51:02 Earth – There Is A Serpent Coming (from Primitive And Deadly)
01:59:00 Talk break

Album Review

Blood Bright Star – The Silver Head (King Of The Monsters / Ascetic House, 2014)

Blood Bright Star - the silver head album cover
Blood Bright StarPale Sphere Apparition (King Of The Monsters / Ascetic House)

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My first introduction to Reuben Sawyer’s music as Blood Bright Star was on the excellent split 7″ with High Aura’d on Anti-Matter, after that I couldn’t wait for a new full length and this thing fucking delivers, a mystifying blend of motorik psych and mellow doom, this is refreshingly original shit that’s absolutely fucking brilliant, with deep grooves conjuring dusty demons, wobbly buzzing guitars and even wobblier vocals, this is the sound of a desolate seance, a shaman who’s out of his mind in the middle of nowhere, jamming hard on the occult vibes and going to shadowy places I’ve never heard of, never escalating into anything transcendent or overwhelming but rather a slow burning fog that feels like it’s warping your brain with every passing moment, this is magick of the highest order, and The Silver Head being his second full length, Blood Bright Star is only getting started, I can’t fucking wait to see this project develop.

Album Review

Taiga Remains – Works For Cassette (Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2014)

taiga remains - works for cassette album cover
Taiga RemainsThere’s Nothing (Helen Scarsdale Agency)

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I’ve been holding on to this one for a while, spinning it on the regular at AGB HQ, digging deep into the subtle drone, this is to be Alex Cobb’s final release under the Taiga Remains moniker, although this isn’t new work, it’s a collection of two out-of-print tapes, the A side is Beneath The Weeping Beeches on Ekhein and the B side is Thereafter on Arbor, both originally released in 2008, but the great thing about this is that Taiga Remains has never had a vinyl release all to himself, it’s always been splits, so now you’ve got his wondrous smooth tones on what is essentially a full length, and the world is a better place, these are some dark & beautiful sounds, hunting through empty industrial plains in search of the glimmer of an epiphany, desperately hoping there’s something beyond the substance in front of you, absorbed in the delicate grit and shifting muffled majesty that soothes in a way harrowing music rarely does, this is mindful, meditative, and gloriously expansive, a vast open landscape speckled with the remnants of a once great civilization, the dust still settling and lit up by the sun shining through the breaking sky, this is a truly fantastic record, and what a great gift to have this remastered and repackaged on sweet sweet wax, all thanks to the impeccable HSA.

AGB Radio

AGB Radio (August 25 ,2014) – Clarence Tribute

clarence under the desk
My bunny Clarence died this weekend. This is a tribute to him, the blackest bunny ever.
 

AGB Radio 2014/08/25 – Clarence Tribute

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Background music: Nihill – Oerbron: Returning To The Primal Matter (from Verdonkermaan)
00:00:00 Talk break
00:00:53 El-Ahrairah – Following The Ancient Voice (from The Gates Of Dawn)
00:02:53 Charnel House – Once Upon A Dream (from Black Blood)
00:06:48 Dead Reptile Shrine – Through The Gleaming Darkness Into Eternity (from The Sun Of Circles And Wood)
00:11:27 Giles Corey – A Sleeping Heart (from Giles Corey)
00:14:38 Trepaneringsritualen – Deathward, To The Womb (from Deathward, To The Womb)
00:21:25 Loss – Silent And Completely Overcome (from Despond)
00:31:49 Talk break
00:32:53 Owlfood – Clutch Of Dusk’s Hand (from Destroyers Of The Moon)
00:35:31 Falls Of Rauros – To Witness Existence (from Hail Wind and Hewn Oak)
00:45:37 Jasper TX – Part III (from Black Sleep)
00:51:03 Leucosis – Euthanasia (from Leucosis)
01:01:42 Talk break
01:02:28 Loss Of Self – There Must Be Great Wisdom With Great Death (from Twelve Minutes)
01:05:30 Jakob Battick – A Silent Prayer (from Heavy The Mountains, Heavy Are The Seas)
01:13:58 Mamaleek – Lay This Body Down (from Fever Dream)
01:18:28 Ash Borer – Rest, You Are The Lightning (from Ash Borer)
01:26:10 Xasthur – Released From This Earth (from Portal Of Sorrow)
01:30:32 Talk break
01:31:20 Sadhaka – Impermanence (from Terma)
01:45:46 Seirom – I’m So Glad To Have Been A Part Of You (from And The Light Swallowed Everything)
01:51:26 Súl Ad Astral – All The Times… Forever (from Súl Ad Astral)
01:53:10 James Blackshaw – A Momentary Taste Of Being (from Love Is The Plan, The Plan Is Death)
01:58:25 Talk break

AGB Radio

AGB Radio (August 18, 2014)

Started experimenting with playing more than one song at once. Fun stuff, will definitely be doing more of that in the future. Also I started playing some older tunes again. That Fricara Pacchu record is one of my favorite things to ever come out of Finland.

 

AGB Radio 2014/08/18

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00:00:00 Talk break
00:00:31 Death Blues – Are (from Non-Fiction)
00:17:48 Chatur Lal – 13 Bits (Jaiy Tal) (from The Drums Of India)
00:28:58 Talk break
00:29:40 Charlatan – Nightmaring (from Local Agent)
00:36:47 Ninos Du Brasil – Novos Mistérios (from Novos Mistérios)
00:47:35 Fort Rile Dog – Paul’s Friend (from Etoile)
00:51:12 Dag Rosenqvist – The Procession – Become The End (from Fall Into Fire)
01:01:41 Talk break
01:02:51 Mississippi Fred McDowell – Jim, Steam Killed Lulu (from Levee Camp Blues)
01:05:41 Matt Davignon – Strange Shapes On The Ceiling (from The 3am Music) / Church Universal And Triumphant, Inc. featuring Elizabeth Clare Prophet – Dedication To The Tackling Of The Beast And Dragon – The Momentum Of Rock ‘N’ Roll (from The Sounds Of American Doomsday Cults)
01:10:46 Fricara Pacchu – Return Of The Rats (from Midnight Pyre)
01:15:37 FKA Twigs – Hours (from LP1)
01:20:07 Laurence Vanay – Soleil Rouge (from Galaxies)
01:22:13 Nerve Net Noise – Blood Have Everything You Need (from Dark Garden)
01:30:14 Talk break
01:31:43 Jean-Pierre Mirouze – Tivoli By Night (from Le Mariage Collectif)
01:36:06 Badgerlore – We Are All Hopeful Farmers (from We Are All Hopeful Farmers, We Are All Scared Rabbits)
01:44:22 Omar Khorshid – Rahbaniyat (from El Chark (Guitar Of The Orient))
01:47:14 Aidan Baker – HTBDF I (from Hypnotannenbaumdronefuzz)
01:58:51 Talk break

Interviews

Questions For Lawrence English

lawrence english interview
 
Lawrence English is one of my all time favorite droners, with Kiri No Oto ranking among my favorite records. This year he put out what might be his darkest work yet, Wilderness Of Mirrors on his own Room40 label, and it’s easily a highlight of the genre this year. I’m quite honored to have Lawrence participate in my Q&A series. While most of the questions don’t focus on music or music-making, I think his responses offer a deep look into the ideas and themes behind his work.
 

What is the best way to die?
With dignity.

How do you think you’ll die?
Wondering if perception, in a sensory way, stops before your brain does. What I want to know is, can silence be realised? I mean real silence, where your ears and body stop their incessant collection of sound. Is there a moment or moments, where your senses are gone or diminished, but your brain remains active? In those moments can we appreciate the experience of no sensory input from sound for example? Is there a final second where we retreat into our mind, into a kind of mute consciousness as a kind of last refuge as the body gives way. That is how I at least hope to die, curious…

What makes you happy?
I talk about this a lot with people. In some respects I think this is a choice, in that we must choose to position ourselves in a way where certain things can make it onto the spectrum of ‘happy’. And this isn’t as easy as it might first appear, not if you want to really experience resounding happiness, and not just a fleeting glimpse.

Some people might find some activities mundane and therefore displeasurable and perhaps this results in them being unhappy. I prefer to drill into these often presumptuous acts. I am amazed by what can make me happy, or for that matter, unhappy. I think happiness becomes much more complex when you start thinking about what happens around us. What does happiness mean for us when we can look around and bare witness to all this suffering, but remain physically, socially and geographically removed from it? Is happiness meaningful beyond the self? I guess that’s the trick, coming to understand that happiness is perhaps best realised by how it radiates out, rather than in…

How can you die happy?
By living in a way that adds value, rather than depletes it. It’s easy to be a resources thief! A vacuum of time, oxygen, energy, everything. Christ knows we all witness enough of that and it’s tedious to say the very least! There’s a whole lot of ‘me, me, me’ that’s possible in life and it’s easy to succumb to it. The age of distraction loves to offer us the chalice of self aggrandizing hollowness. Death to this! The challenge is to refocus your gaze and recognize that the easiness of self and self gratification is perhaps best described as a trap. Ultimately self is singular and frankly, dull. That’s not to deny the importance of self reflection, just to say you must be more than self serving if you want to die happy, at least I feel that way.

How close have you come to death?
Death is a funny old thing. It’s the great certainty, and at the same moment, the great uncertainty. It’s coming, but when? My wife died once when she was a teenager, but she was revived by her teacher. As for me, I was hit by a car in school….I was lucky really. It just slammed into me in a way where I collected myself on the bonnet [hood of a car], but was ok. I got up and just kept running across the road.

I think probably closer to death was being hit by lightning. That was a proper, everything being zapped out of your body experience. Like somehow every possible last breath was erased out of me instantly. I had a burn mark where it entered my body and where it exited. What I didn’t know at the time was that the strike could stop my heart up to three days later. I should have gone to hospital, but didn’t. All for a recording of rain on a metal roof.

What does kindness mean to you?
Realising you need to check your privilege and recognize how lucky you are. By for the grace of god and all that…if you do happen upon this realisation then hopefully it means you can be bothered to give others less fortunate than you some consideration. Meritocracy is cancer. We got lucky, some other people didn’t…be thankful and act accordingly.

Where do you find love?
In the whispered breathing of my family during the stillness of the late night. I am a blessed human.

When were you most afraid?
There are two memories I can think of pretty readily when it comes to fear. One of them is from my childhood, a kind of fear that doesn’t really persist, at least I find, into adulthood. It’s a kind of pure fear, illogical and internal, something coming from inside the mind.

When I was sick, with a fever or something like that, my mother would let me sleep in her room. It was in the middle of the house with very little light coming into it. In that room, on top of a chest of draws was a collection of porcelain dolls from the Victorian era. There were probably about 20 of them, on stands in a couple of glass boxes that were about the size of a large fish tank. I vividly remember how if I started to stare at them, gradually their mouths would start moving and I could hear a murmuring sound, as though they were chattering from within the glass tanks. The sound was tiny, like miniature voice boxes muttering in a language you couldn’t understand, but sounded very human. Still to this day I illogically believe this experience holds some sense of reality to it. It was pure projection of course, but through that projection came a sense of perception and therein lies the human condition.

The other event was about five years ago in a park in Glasgow. It was after midnight and I was walking with my wife. The path curved around a hill about 20 metres from us and it was very dark. Around the corner came two huge dogs, there was no one in sight and they were charging toward us. It was as if they were going to literally leap on top of me. A very primitive thing kicked in. A primal fear and I took a position I have not done before or since, a kind of defensive stance that was just utter instinct. They ran right by us, brushing our legs and as they did that I let out this primal yell – at the same moment the owner strolled around the corner…he walked past looking at us like we were fools. The dark, big dogs and an unfamiliar city are a bad combination.

How do you listen to music?
I am constantly chasing music. I am constantly chasing all sound. It’s beautiful to realise that as soon as I have it, as soon as I perceive that sound, that music, it’s gone. What I am connecting with is memory. A personal filtering, a kind of interior psychological rendering of sensory perception. Music is in a state of constant extinction. But it also contains the promise of resurrection, in memory…albeit a resurrection that barely resembles the complexity of what you actually perceived in the first place. Apparently reductive memory is enough to satiate most of us.

Album Review

Peter J. Woods – Impure Gold, Pt. I (FTAM / Hewhocorrupts Inc, 2014)

peter j woods - impure gold pt i album cover
Peter J. WoodsImpure Gold (FTAM / Hewhocorrupts Inc)

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Milwaukee DIY champ Peter J. Woods, self described maker of “Theatrical Harsh Noise,” part of Phoned Nil Trio, xALLxFORxTHISx, and FTAM head, drops his vinyl debut (7″s be damned) and the world is now a better place, this is high caliber shit, throwing down the dynamics gauntlet on here, going for long stretches of absolute silence (or so far out of my fucked up hearing range that it might as well be) to harsh walls of caustic blown out static and high end insect skree, this has so much range that if you’re not careful you’ll fry your speakers & eardrums from cranking it up during the quite parts because it’s fuckin tricky like that, rusty industrial clank & rattle alongside nonsensical vocal samples processed to sound like a glitching melted Speak & Spell, obliterated screaming and ghostly dungeon whispers over an acid bath wash, tinnitus buzzing drone vaguely reminiscent of Charlemagne Palestine or Birchville Cat Motel, but always, relentlessly, an unpredictable treachery, this isn’t noise for noise sake, nor for shock value, nor for machismo, it’s elaborate, beguiling, & filthy as fuck, and it’s fucking excellent.

Album Review

Sublamp – Lianas (Eilean, 2014)

sublamp - lianas album cover
SublampOur Bodies Draped In Moss And Cloud (Eilean)

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Sublamp, aka Ryan Connor, is primarily interested in “pre-language experience” and Lianas takes us on a trip to the cloud forests of Monteverde, evoking a strong jungle vibe without the jungle rhythm, this is a gorgeously lush drone that’s just pure fucking bliss, 4 tracks, 3 of them nice & long, slow burning thick minimalism, like huffing ether to the point just before passing out and seeing stars dancing everywhere, parts of it reminding me of the precise intimate guitar work of Josh Mason, other parts going full blown texture overload, tender, warm, & timeless, I feel like I’ve been listening to this forever, the hum & crackle acting as the foundation of my life, a majestic fog rolling through your memory, giving everything a euphoric glow, this is truly spectacular drone, easily one of my favorites from this year, and the CD looks beautiful with deluxe handmade packaging and strictly limited to 80 copies.

Album Review

Telecult Powers – Black Meditations (Experimedia, 2014)

telecult powers - black meditations album cover
Telecult PowersNever Ending Empires (Experimedia)

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Crazy duo of Witchbeam & Mr. Matthews are back at it with a stellar freakshow on Experimedia that features guests like Rachel & Grant Evans (Motion Sickness of Time Travel & Nova Scotian Arms) and Lala Ryan (Excepter), so already this record is at peak awesomeness. Dark rhythmic weirdness banged out in an enchanted lodge that sounds just like what you’d hope a record called Black Meditations would sound like, unnerving noise waving in & out of focus, bleary drone making you woozy and filling every inch of the room, suffocating and hypnotic, conjuring an inter-dimensional knowledge of the Beyond, these guys capture the ritualistic séance of the 21st century with a creeped out occult vibe that permeates every moment, from the stuttering static and panning future electronics to the bizarre samples and mystical imagery, this record is way off the deep end, and I gotta say I’m both surprised and impressed Experimedia released this. Not their usual type of jam, but clearly Black Meditations transcends that bullshit, this will be right at home in any weirdo’s collection.