Faures – Asthenospheric Movement I (Home Normal)
Faures is a new project bringing together René Margraff (aka Pillowdiver), Samuel Landry (aka Le Berger), and Fuzz Lee (aka Elintseeker), all three of them being totally righteous droners on their own, each from a different continent, and together forming up like a motherfuckin Drone-tron, unstoppable with their perfect mellowtones. Continental Drift was inspired by this quote from Hans Cloos in regards to continents & tectonics, “It let them float and drift, break apart and converge. Where they broke away, cracks, rifts, trenches remain; where they collided, ranges of folded mountains appear.” And Faures spun the quote to instead reference sound, letting loose a massive & delicate record of shifting glacial air, breaking open vents to unleash monumental walls of bliss and then filtering out the overwhelming static to leave you with a subtle soft ambient that’s deeply intimate and full of emotion, inaudible clicks intertwined with layered minimalism, resonant piano, and mournful strings, this is some divine head-filling drone that soothes all forms of beast, Home Normal proving yet again to be one of the most reliable sources for drone records of the highest fucking quality.
Black Hat – Portrait In Fluorescent Light (Hausu Mountain)
With only a couple killer EPs to his name (on Debacle and Field Hymns), Black Hat drops this fucking ridiculous full length on the Hausu and people better start payin attention now. This dude jams some dark techno drone that drowns out the rest of the watered down stuff in the genre. Thought Of Two could easily have come out on Modern Love, it’s got the sprawling ambient vibe that drones with the best of em, soaring through deep space headed for the edge of the universe and glimpsing the other side of life, and beautifully textured foundations that set the scene for a mixed bag of rad rhythms, occasionally woozy & blissful, but mostly just alien industrial grooves that are murky as fuck and damn near perfect, this is the most premium shit, definitely a high point in the scene right now. Only 100 copies of this beast were pressed to white vinyl and they’re almost completely gone already, even though it was officially released yesterday, but if you miss out on the white vinyl, there’s plenty of CDs to go around. UPDATE: Plenty of black vinyl was pressed up too. My bad!
Claypipe – Shed Your Clothes And Feel The Sun (MIE)
Claypipe is not a new band (although new to me, thanks MIE!), it’s the output of renowned New Zealanders Antony Milton & Clayton Noone and this is their seventh record, so if you’ve heard either of their work or heard anything from Milton’s PseudoArcana label, then you might know what you’re getting yourself into here and have probably already started looking for a copy to cherish in your arms forever. This record is the most perfect blend of drone & pop you could imagine, à la Benoit Pioulard’s recent stuff, although A Daylight Blessing is much more warbled & fuzzy, stretched out drones & easy going chords wrapped up in gauze and soaking in the sun, everything is muffled under decayed hissing tape, turning the blissful & serene into something just a hair unsettling, the shimmer jangle propped up on a sobering melancholy, distant vocals echoing down canyons with a soft scattering of sounds teeming with life, an absolutely beautiful and enchanting record, only 300 copies pressed up by MIE and officially out as of yesterday, so get a move on.
Anne Guthrie – Strongly Leaning With Irregular Crown (Students Of Decay)
After a handful of excellent releases under her belt, Guthrie drops her first vinyl full length on Students Of Decay, and, surprise surprise, it’s fucking outstanding. Guthrie works in the realm of field recordings and processed instruments, most notably here with the French horn, violoncello, and contrabass. Brilliantly blurring the lines by twisting the natural world with the manmade one, I think I hear rushing air & squawking birds, but hardly confident enough to identify anything in particular. The mysterious origins are only the beginning though, while a spectral world floats between the bizarre sounds, fleeting moments of abstract turning concrete slip between your fingers, subtly blown out radio transmissions crackling & crumbling like an ancient stone wall, insects humming past your ears, decaying mournful horns looped to infinity, this is both sterile and full of life, a strange overlap of warmth & cold, Guthrie is adept at finding the perfect tone at the perfect moment and allows for both extended silence and lush minimal drone, absolutely wonderful stuff, definitely not to be missed, and SOD is only making 250 of these, so get while the gettin’s good.
David Andree & Josh Mason – Winter To Spring, Further Than First Thought (Own)
After Mason’s The Symbiont scored the number one spot in my Top Drone list last year, suffice it to say I was craving more of his delicate sound. This new record, a collaboration with David Andree, fills the void quite nicely. Andree & Mason worked long distance (from Minnesota & Florida, respectively), each recording a piece to tape in one take and sent to the other with the stipulation that they too must record their contributions in a single take, with the intent of closely simulating a live collaboration. The results are pure fucking magic. These two dudes work so perfectly together, it’s as if they’re the man with two heads, both individuals’ unique ideas being implemented by the same body. Call, Response is the calming restrained guitar drone that I loved so much on The Symbiont with the addition of Andree’s field recordings & tape manipulation which gives an already multi-faceted sound an even deeper quality, this is the most tender music you can think of, each tone & click acting as a breath of life, nothing existing but the natural silence found between floating specks of dust, the pluck of a guitar string as subtle & precise as the blink of an eye, textured rustling and elongated resonance doing everything it can to point the way towards enlightenment, spend an entire lifetime looking at every detail in this record and you’ll always discover more. I can’t imagine how much effort went in to making a record this understated and profound, but we reap the benefits, and the elegance of this masterful ambient is ours to enjoy. Only 300 pressed, so do not sleep on this.
Cody Yantis – Brightness III (Planted Tapes)
Yantis has been slowly digging his own niche in the weird ambient folk scene for a few years (see Box Elder, Cold Scholar), but this new one on Planted Tapes takes things to another level with the addition of warbly tape manipulation on top of his dusty reverbed guitars. Maybe the tape manipulation has always been there, but now it’s undeniable, and undeniably awesome. There’s a bit of a kitchen sink approach to instruments here, but the plucked strings (guitar and banjo), piano, tape work, & field recordings are the foundation, and he’s built a magnificent world of barely there ghosts and distant dreams, a room that you stumble through in the dark, grasping at shadows instead of the real thing, trying to confirm the existence of something concrete, and instead coming up empty, with the silence in between echoes warped until it’s only partially recognizable and the music you expect to hear is decayed, sharp & clear in one moment, falling apart at the next, delicate to begin with and turned to thread bare lace by the end, this is truly incredible heartfelt and emotional music that fills every fold of your headspace with a mysterious familiarity, an album that you won’t be able to shake and will obsess over until the tape itself degrades on its spools. I can’t recommend this enough. Only 100 made, $7 including postage, you can’t go wrong.
Glottalstop – Side A (Tartaruga)
Insanely awesome debut release from Glottalstop aka the Petrels dude, basking in an unsettling tape manipulated tension. Woodsmoke is fucking fantastic, two side long pieces that are dark as hell, the A side is super minimal and the B side cranks the horror volume to 11, the whole thing sounds like a haunted mansion coming to life to chill yer bones, it has deep low end tape wobble drone tying itself in knots with ghostly cello skree, scratchy looped hypnosis, scrambled white static, voices that you’re damn certain must be coming from inside your head, and who knows what kind of electronic wizardry that taps you on the shoulder and quickly disappears, this is nightmarish in the most perfect way, ethereal and nauseating, sounds rising from the silent mist and being whisked away before you can fully hear them, roaring demons passing in & out through a wall of noise, Woodsmoke is about as eerie as you can fuckin get. And like most things Tartaruga, this is dressed to the nines with a screenprinted inner sleeve that runs across the label, a sewn & screenprinted jacket, and all housed in a PVC sleeve, extremely limited to 200. No reason to skip this one.
Twilight Of The Century – Hibernation II (Tape Drift)
A sort of northeastern supergroup if you will, comprised of Eric Hardiman (runs Tape Drift, records as Rambutan, in Century Plants, Burnt Hills, etc), Ray Hare (records as Fossils From The Sun, also in Century Plants, Burnt Hills, etc), Linda Aubry Bullock (solo strange sound creator, and A/V/multi/media experimenter extraordinaire as Orangecookie), and Mike Bullock (solo electroacoustic excellence, works with Linda together in music/video/performance as Rise Set Twilight, in video as Twin Stars, and the record label Shadowselves). I try not to do too much bio stuff in reviews but all these rad folks fuckin deserve it. Music wise, Hibernation is as weird as you’d expect from a lot like this, a sprawling post psych hallucination that gets the smeared heat haze treatment, stumbling in the scorched desert under the stars and being comforted by your inner demons, an echo mumbling something vague & disorienting as spacey droning electronics & muffled guitars twist together into a ghostly tranquility, swaying between beautiful dreams and fevered nightmares. Putting these 4 together is almost begging for disappointment, but they deliver the best fuckin debut you could ask for. A mere $7 is all it’ll take to get these fucked jams in your hands.
Howard Stezler & Frans De Waard – Pink Pearl (Exhaust) (Bocian)
I’ve always loved anything that Stelzer has worked on, and by way of his collaborations he frequently leads me to new and exciting artists that I’ve either never heard of or have never gotten around to sitting down with, Pink Pearl with Frans De Waard being an excellent example. The two had been casually trading and elaborating on each other’s sounds for a decade or two before their work culminated in this spectacular piece of creeped out droney weirdness. It has a strong field recording vibe, and while that might be an element to this, there’s nothing to specifically call out as a recognizable sound. Instead, it’s all looped murmurs, crusty electronics, bubbling tape fuckery, stuttering mechanics, hissing clicking breaths of the netherworld, beautifully spare broken dreams alongside bleak industrial bang clank lye vats, the echos of a derelict boiler room still alive with phantoms of the past, eliciting strong memories buzzing & wheezing from the back of your mind that are a hair too ethereal to grasp ahold of. This is absolutely fantastic work, and while I’m unable to distinguish between Stelzer’s & De Waar’ds individual sounds (one of the signs of a truly successful collab), I’ll be damn sure to keep an ear out for more of De Waard’s records.
I couldn’t just do a Halloween special on AGB Radio (tonight from 7-9 EST on BFF.fm!), I had to make a creep filled mix especially for you guys. However you party, this will be the perfect score for your Halloween.
Dark Cloud Rising
1. Mississippi Fred McDowell – Dark Cloud Rising
2. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
3. Wilt – She Walks The Night
4. The Sensational Whirlwinds – (Make Old) Satan Leave Me Alone
5. Have A Nice Life – The Parhelic Circle
6. Wreck & Reference – Abhorrence
7. Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch – Owl Cave
8. Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven-Shape-Note Singing Convention – God’s Gonna Set The World On Fire
9. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Maximum Black
10. The Angelic Process – Welcome To Oblivion
11. John Carpenter – The Fog
12. Lonnie Johnson – Lonesome Ghost Blues
13. Jasper TX – Black Sleep Part IV
14. Robert Johnson – Hellhound On My Trail
15. Avgrunden – The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows
16. Rev. I. B. Ware – I Wouldn’t Mind Dying
17. Empire Auriga – Waiting For The Fall
18. The Pod – Collecting Dust
Federico Durand – El Espejo De Mil Años (Desire Path)
I first heard about Argentina’s finest Federico Durand through his superb collaboration with Nicholas Szczepanik under the guise of Every Hidden Color. This
debut LP of Durand’s (translated to The Language Of The Fireflies) takes that pristine sound from Luz and amplifies it to a level of pure magic. This is a record of subtle complex sounds, finding wonder in the smallest audio spaces and turning a regular peaceful morning into a world of bright white bliss. Intimate field recordings of wildlife chatter and drifting chimes are in perfect company amidst minimal tonal shimmer, delicate softness, humble piano twinkling, and emotional dreams. This is a damn near perfect drone record, kicking introverted euphoria into uncharted territory. As is all things with Desire Path, El Idioma is limited, so don’t sleep on this.
Benjamin Finger – Consonance Of Fear (Time Released Sound)
Incredible new somber piano out of Norway from Benjamin Finger, this is a truly special record, carving a nook in the solo piano realm with field recordings of half forgotten memories, a familiar stranger who walked by, birds chirping outside your window last spring while you fluttered around the house, the voices of childhood friends, smothered fireworks acting as vinyl crackle, all hidden in the background of Finger’s eulogistic meditative piano, twinkling a bright & eerie melody, looped into your consciousness, finding a perfect balance between serene & melancholic, not straying too far into euphoric or depressive but still evoking both, this is a beautifully intimate record that will score your noir past and your peaceful tea time, this dude couldn’t have made a better record, and you have the option of copping the ultra deluxe version of this which comes with a skeletal bird mobile made from antique piano parts that lives in a huge collaged chocolate box adorned with more piano parts and contains even more piano pieces inside. So fucking over the top, so fucking cool. Only 70 of those are available, so if that’s your thing, ya best get on it.
Svarte Greiner – Black Tie (Miasmah)
Erik K. Skodvin’s Svarte Greiner project gets creepier & creepier, this new LP on his own Miasmah label is some harrowing shit, two side long pieces of dark string drone perfect for tuxedoed occult rituals, comatose bass string plucks on top of haunted smears, hushed unintelligible clatter behind the scenes adding to the mystery, black bliss, slowmo static fog rolling through valleys of bleak & bittersweet depression, murky & crystal clear, floating in the deep sea ink, a minimal motionless nightmare that you never wake from, perfectly exquisite in every way, only 500 each of LPs & CDs, so don’t snooze.
Jannick Schou – Fasjil 1 (self released)
/bleak beats amidst blissful noise/
/techno gloom shines dark/
Fabio Orsi & Pimmon – I Wish You Were In Yallingup (Home Normal)
Unbelievably amazing debut collaboration between these two drone gurus, the lushest heavy-hearted bliss I’ve heard all year, an ocean of sound growing larger every moment, lazer peepers floating in the glowing dusk like some extended post contact scene in The X-Files, wondering if what just happened really happened and relishing in the bewildering peace, subtle crackle from half memories, unmistakably gorgeous dreams of the Netherworld where emotions burrowed deep in your psyche are coaxed out by the bittersweet beauty, swirling & overwhelming, euphoric & cathartic, like being bathed in golden black rivers of transcendence, this is a perfect goddamn record that somehow tops both of the artists’ prior work, and painfully limited to 250 vinyl and 500 CDs, so do what you do best and add this masterpiece to your collection.