Album Review

Ben Bennett – Spoilage (Experimedia, 2013)


Ben BennettEverything / Everything / Everything (Experimedia)

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This is the definition of hard to peg. Minimal power electronics? Noisy jazz punk? Funky field recordings? Not quite any of those but kinda all of them. Bennett takes whatever the fuck he can get his hands on and makes the craziest racket ever. This dude doesn’t know what acceleration means, he’s only got 3 speeds: silent, quiet, and brain boiling, and he jumps in between them with super precision, but there’s something about the brain boiling mode that, even though it’s chaotic as fuck, still has a maximal minimalism, knowing that whatever you’re hearing is basically just a handful of everyday items and Bennett is going to town on them, it’s fucking raw & primal, without being simplistic or boring. And I’d swear there’s some electronics or effects going on here but apparently that’s not the case, this is pure analog in all its caustic glory, and maybe you could chalk it up to lo-fi recordings, but he goes from blown out in the red explosions to painfully detailed squeaks & scratches in half a second, so fidelity ain’t the answer. This is just the sweetest fucking noise and Bennett is a master of his tools, which are almost impossible to guess. Some are decipherable… Are those pots & pans? Oh, yep, he mentions a “camp cook set.” Some aren’t… I bet this is a percolating coffee maker. Haha nope, it might be either a “mason jar ring with latex glove stretched across it” or “the narrow part of a balloon.” Then there’s the truly bizarre moments, like the track that literally sounds like a motherfucking freight train. I have no idea how he did that, but it’s insanely awesome. Maybe he used his “pizza cutter” and “wheelbarrow.” Clearly the “how” isn’t the reason to check this out, though. Just know this is some fucked up shit that sounds incredible on the turntable. Don’t miss out.

P.S. “All proceeds from digital sales of the album will go to Living Energy Farm, a project to build a farm, community, and education center without the use of fossil fuels or electronic media. More info at livingenergyfarm.org

Album Review

Textile Trio – AAA (Songs From Under The Floorboards, 2011)


Textile TrioUntitled 1 (Songs From Under The Floorboards)

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Two French turntable brutalists (Alexandre Bellenger and Arnaud Rivière) and drummer/trumpet destroyer Aaron Moore (of Volcano The Bear) joined up for some truly devastating stuff on AAA. This is fucking killer. Free jazz noise taken to the furthest level, a neverending cacophony of hardcore. Turntables getting torn to bits to make sweet skree crumble, I can only imagine what they look like when these guys are done with ‘em. The equivalent of smashing your guitar into your amp and lighting them on fire, that’s what these guys are doing with their turntables. Fucking insane. And Moore is a beast on the drums, absolute reign over the kit, furious & cathartic. I’ve only recognized the trumpet for a brief moment on here, which either means a) Moore is mostly taking care of the drums or b) he’s warped his trumpet sounds beyond recognition and it just melts together with the rest of the chaos. I’m rooting for the latter. And for the whole goddamn thing. This album is punk as fuck and needs to be heard. Intransitive sub-label Songs From Under The Floorboards has graced us with 100 copies of AAA, make sure you give one a home.

Album Review

Flossin – White Anaconda And The Rainbow Boa (Overlap, 2011)


FlossinThe Launch (Overlap)

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There are three well known facts. 1: Zach Hill is awesome. 2: Christopher Willits is awesome. 3: Matmos is awesome. Flossin is those guys (along with Nate Boyce and Carson McWhirter (the bass player for The Advantage)). Sadly, it’s also known that super groups don’t always amount to the sum of their parts. Flossin is not that kind of super group. Originally, it was Willits, Hill, and the almighty Kid 606, but that was just for the first record, Lead Singer. It was pretty great. But then the Kid left and Matmos took his place (along with those two other dudes who everyone for some reason seems to ignore is part of Flossin?) for the second album, Serpents, from 2009. I haven’t heard that one. I’ve heard this one, though. White anaconda And The Rainbow Boa.

WOW. How has this not received any fanfare? You guys, it’s Christopher Willits, Zach Hill, and MATMOS. The blogs should be all over this. Not just because of who’s involved but that should at least be your entry point into this mess. And this is a mess. They spent two days improvising in the studio and the result was White Anaconda, a glitchy free jazz noise fest. Willits and Matmos (and those two other dudes) fuck around with their electronics & guitar processings, whining & clicking, droning & exploding, melting their sounds into one indistinguishable whole because honestly, who knows who’s doing what on this, while Hill destroys his drums in the way only he can. Yes, normally he’s a beast on the kit, but in Flossin he goes the spastic Eli Keszler route and takes his already inhuman skills to the next level.

Flossin is a furious monster of chaos, a reigning maelstrom of glitch, that is the least jazz-like jam session I’ve ever heard and somehow makes all of this flurrying actually soothing & relaxing. For all of it’s precise notes & isolated tones, it blurs into a smooth pink bliss, something that’s surprisingly transcendant, a soft wash of zen over your mind, ambient glitch pushed so far to the limits of glitch it collapses in on itself and becomes ambient again. 100% top notch. This is what should be expected of supergroups. White Anaconda is fucking it.

Album Review

Aidan Baker – The Spectrum Of Distraction (Robotic Empire, 2012)


Aidan BakerReturn To The Cave Of Time (Robotic Empire)

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Aidan Baker, who is undeniably the most epically prolific dude of our generation, has somehow even outdone himself on this new one. 97 tracks, with something like 18 drummers from bands like Locrian, Swans, The Jesus Lizard, Slowdive, Jesu, Batillus, and Neptune, 2 CDs worth of music, all meant for random play, making each time you throw it on more or less a new experience. Baker solicited drum tracks from masters the world over and ended up with 6 hours of drums (which I think you have access to if you drop some cash on this?) and then boiled it down to about 2 hours of finely chopped tracks that he laid guitars & bass lines over.

Most songs are pretty damn short (less than a minute) but there’s some fully formed songs on here too, some spiking up to 7 minutes. The sound of Distraction is all over the fuckin place, there’s skittery free jazz, furious black metal, white hot psych grooves, gritty black ambient, lullaby drones, and, most importantly, massive Nadja-esque metalgaze. This is every side imaginable of Baker, and he shines at every moment.

The whole “distraction” thing is a valid theme, very topical, etc, but I think the best part of this is the complete opposite of everything else that Aidan Baker has created, aka chaotic as fuck. So much of his work requires your full attention, you need to put it on and do nothing but listen to it. This is something I’ll put on so that it won’t keep my attention. This is supremely awesome, it showcases all of his mad skillz from every direction making it a record for the background of everything. Fucking brilliant. Dude still remains the best ever.

Album Review

Grasshopper – Miles In The Sky (House Of Alchemy, 2011)


GrashopperWith Diamonds (House Of Alchemy)

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House Of Alchemy has been super kind to us here, they reissued this super limited tour-only tape from 2009 and the world is a better place for it. Grashopper is a trumpets/electronics duo making some crazy fucked noise drones on the free jazz spectrum. There’s two side long pieces last a little over 10 minutes each, the first leaning heavy on the drone, with searing static and shrill tones that sounds like their trumpets are in flames. Surface of the sun type stuff, or rather, Icarus style, too cose, definitely, but only close enough to melt your face instead of total incineration. The B side is a bit more frantic, it starts out with an old sample of a guy grashopper telling a little girl what his music sounds like in various moods, “And when I’m sad, it’s like this…” and then Grashopper comes in with some pulsing high end grit, heading into some spacey shit, waves & rays shaking their fist, trumpets dancing in the cosmos. Totally fucking cool, and although The House has graced us with another round, it shan’t last long. Only 100 copies of this bad boy and it’s been out since sometime last year. You do the math.

Album Review

Charles-Eric Charrier – Silver (Experimedia, 2011)


Charles-Eric Charrier12 From

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What’s the world coming to when it takes a guy like me 3 years to review a release on Experimedia? Shameful, I know. Well, it’s time for that to change because this label is consistently killing it with the most awesome freshness in cool shit. And Charles-Eric Charrier is the first in hopefully many more, because this dude has got something special goin on.

Charrier is one half of MAN along with Rasim Biyikli, and he’s done a thousand and one collaborations with every cool cat around. Silver has him taking a beautiful blend of psych & free jazz, creating a hypnotic and constantly morphing spiral of jams. The opening track is prime Western groove material, with dusty percussion that skitters like tumbleweeds and meandering guitars set in slow riffs getting their buzz & grit on under wide open blue skies.

The second piece is more evil, a possessed hermit whipping out his busted vintage synths & radio transmitters, making swampy electro drones and garbled alien space blasts, all while some mad genius in the back swaggers on the drum kit. A fucking journey and a half, going places I didn’t know existed with mournful trumpets and stuttering guitars, back and forth unsettling tension and smoothed out relaxing tones.

And that’s just the A side, from there it goes in all directions jazzier, noisier, etc, etc. It gets more frantic, numerous staggered layers of piano, acoustic guitar, electronics, and hidden percussion, slowed down single bass strings resonating with fluttering Americana, lush cymbals & dry shakers, hollow toms chugging down the railroad, steel plucking in the heat of the night, blistering battles of scratching stars & bats terrorizing the valley, the kind of jazziness that’s right up my alley aka not too heavy on the jazz.

Silver is definitely a winner on all accounts. Charrier’s got some twisted vision of contemporary free jazz that I’ve yet to see elsewhere and I’m all for it because this record is fuckin HOT. Some seriously top notch shit, obviously it should’ve been called Gold.