Archive for September, 2011

Album Review

Jefferson Pitcher – Now The Deer (Tape Drift, 2011)


Jefferson PitcherThe Invisibility Of Animals (Tape Drift)

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Essentially a Pitcher guitar album but he’s joined by a buncha pals like Boston’s Mike Bullock who takes aim with his contrabass, and previous collaborator Christian Kiefer helps out with pianos n banjos n such. So now it’s a delicate guitar record with a heavy dose of ambient concrete. Click & crunch, field recordings, mumbled whispers, resonating, shaking, all adding to the overwhelming beauty. Pitcher’s guitar is slow, calculated, and wide open, like Malick’s Days Of Heaven with an understated intensity and long takes of waving wheat fields glowing in the sun. Now The Deer came out at the beginning of the year and I still haven’t heard anyone talking about it. This is criminally underrated, a shining centerpiece on 2011’s mantle (with some seriously sweet packaging, each one with a different photo Pitcher took in Spain housed in a vellum envelope).

Video

Talkingmakesnosense – Coruscates

A new album by Glaswegian Talkingmakesnosense came out a couple weeks ago on Rural Colours but this video for the title track has already been around a while. Guy likes to plan ahead, I guess. Judging by this piece, though, Coruscates is gonna be a fuckin stunner.

The video is an astounding kaleidoscopic piece of brilliance, “inspired by the light phosphenes that you experience when your eyes are closed.” I see some cool stuff when I close my eyes… but nothing like this. Is there any way to fix that? Science?

The coolest part of this is that “the entire video was created by filming and affecting light reflections from the river Clyde.” It’s like watching a melting snowflake slideshow set to a glowing Mountainsy ambience. It’s beautiful visually & aurally, and it’s almost 12 minutes long so grab a chair.

Out of Print

Sound And Light: Karnak Temples – Thebes Of The Hundred Gates (Sono Cairo A. V., 1970?)


 
Download Sound And Light: Karnak Temples – Thebes Of The Hundred Gates

I work in the Simmons College Archives now, and that means I find a lot of weird cool shit. 99% of the time it’s not really something I can use or take, though. Because it belongs to the Archives. Duh. But one of the graduate student workers was going through a recently acquired manuscript collection from a worldly old lady and found this tape with a dozen accompanying slides. It had no research value and was only tangentially related to the rest of the stuff in the collection. So when I yelled “Holy shit that looks awesome!” my boss let me take the tape. And the slides.

This is a tape that someone who went to the Sound And Light show at the Karnak Temples in Egypt would buy as a souvenir. Not having gone to the show myself, I can’t say if this is a recording of the show or if it goes above & beyond. I have no idea. All I know is this tape is crazy weird and hilarious. I think it’s from the ’70s and it’s filled with dramatic music, cheesy as hell scripting, and people with British accents pretending to be ancient Egyptian pharaohs.

And then there’s the slides (which I scanned and included in the download). Who goes to a place and buys pictures? Never understood that. Weird shit abound with this one you guys. Download at your own risk.

Music Nerd Meets Archivist: A Guide To Cataloging An Unwieldy Digital Music Collection

image via

 
If you’ve been paying any attention to me on Twitter, you may have noticed a couple of things. 1: I’m going to grad school so I can be an archivist. 2: I’ve been talking up how I want to do some major cataloging of my digital music library. I’ve always wanted to do a super amazing hardcore tagging system for all my mp3s, but I never got around to it because it would be extremely taxing. But when I took a cataloging class, I got so fucking pumped to actually start working on my own collection that I finally decided to actually put some thought into it and figure out exactly what I wanted to do.

Why am I so excited about cataloging my digital library? The ENDLESS fucking possibilities. I can sort & display & tweak everything about how I view & access my collection in ways that are completely impossible with physical records. If I feel like spending all day today in the 70s, then tomorrow I want to know which Music Ruins Lives releases I’m missing, and yesterday my pal was scoping out my minimal drone, this is easy as hell digitally. But only if my collection is tagged with the proper metadata.

I have never tolerated poorly tagged mp3s. Everything in my library from the moment it gets imported needs to have at the VERY least the artist, album, and song fields filled. If it’s in all caps, I change it. If the song titles have track numbers, I get rid of them (and make sure the “Track Number” fields are filled). I normalize the artist to match the way it’s represented in my library (add or remove “The,” etc). I get rid of any wonky punctuation or excessive description in those fields. I was less strict about making sure there was the year, genre, artwork, etc, but you get the idea.

I use iTunes. Since I switched to Mac all those years ago, I’ve always used iTunes. Yeah, it’s got its downsides and it has irreparably fucked me over on multiple occasions but it’s still the best at combining what I want out of a digital music player and a library management system into one application. And although it generally gets better over time, it’s not there yet. I dream of the day when Apple decides iTunes doesn’t need to be a massive amalgamation of media management and can be strictly for music (as opposed to music, movies, books, games, whatever the fuck else they decide to include in iTunes 11).

But just because I currently use iTunes, I know that the application won’t last forever (nor will my mp3s). So I make every attempt to utilize the mp3 fields that iTunes recognizes and none that other applications don’t. For example, ratings are an obvious one. I’ve never used the ratings system in iTunes, partially because I have no interest in it, but also because that rating data isn’t stored in the mp3 file. It’s iTunes specific data and that makes it non-transferrable. And there are ID3 tags that iTunes doesn’t give a shit about, like the “Publisher” field. That would be pretty fucking great to use for identifying the record label, but iTunes is pretty selective with which tags it supports.

So the purpose of this article is to explain what I’m doing & why I’m doing it in the hopes that you can glean something relevant to your interests. I don’t expect all of my decisions to apply to everyone (or anyone) because what I’m doing is for me. It’s how I want to manage my digital collection and I’ll be doing what works best for me. I just hope that maybe you’ll be inspired to do the same with your collection and I can give you some ideas how to go about it.
SO MUCH MORE TO READ

Album Review

William Bowers – Post Modern (Haute Magie, 2011)


William BowersNight Moves On Shallow Ground (Haute Magie)

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Synthed out electro-semi-acoustic “post modernism.” j/k there’s nothing really post modern about this. Still pretty fucking cool though. Blade Runner-esque city-soundscapes, exceptionally soundtracky and occasionally danceable. Like a slice from an awesome theme to a bad 80s movie, caught in a loop and repeated for minutes on end for maximum spacing outing, total kosmische sprawl with field recordings of who knows what and drones from harmonic thrones, ambient pianos meld seamlessly with glitches electronics, mixed fidelities throwing grit & crunch into an otherwise smooth & creamy tune. A bleary album of strange awe & slight bewilderment. Yup. Pretty fucking cool.

Concert Review

Barn Owl, High Aura’d, Lussuria, Stillbirth at O’Brien’s

Stillbirth: knock down drag out techno, glitched & warped, evolving into maelstrom of chaotic noise, completely fucked

Lussuria: black sludge drone, muffled tanks roll by, crawling through a tunnel of shit, briefly poke your head out into the harmonics

High Aura’d: below deck creaking, deep sea density, sky blue soaring to the sun bliss

Barn Owl: sunbaked psych drone from the masters carving out their own spot in the canyons, ended with some heavy fuckin doom shit venturing in Skullflower territory
 

Stillbirth

 
Lussuria

 
High Aura’d

 
Barn Owl



Album Review

Ricardo Donoso – Progress Chance (Digitalis, 2011)


Ricardo DonosoThe Deck Of An Ancient Ship (Digitalis)

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Fucking BRILLIANT. Donoso’s previous works have sounded nothing like this. This is new. And not just for Donoso. New for life. Like a freaky hybrid of Gas, Goblin, and OPN. It’s an IDM trance. Or an anti minimal techno. He’s taken his experience with raves in Brazil and stripped them down. No beats, no drums, just the in between moments. With minimal techno, you get mostly beats and a few skitterings of whatever. Progress Chance is just the skitterings. The motorik is gone. You’re left with a mostly foreboding/slightly uplifting beam of dusky arpeggiated synths, beautiful in their simplicity, blissful in their ambience. This is mind music. You can space the fuck out and let your brain imagine soaring through Jupiter’s red eye or you can dance to the naught-beats while you brain fills in the blanks. It might not sound all that original on paper, but this is some straight up one-of-a-kind shit. Donoso gets the trophy for coolest synth record of the year.

Album Review

Lawrence English – The Peregrine (Experimedia, 2011)


Lawrence EnglishHeavy Breath Of Silence (Experimedia)

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As someone who counts Kiri No Oto as one of their favorite records of all time (btw humungo props to Digitalis for pressing that on vinyl earlier this year), it takes a lot for me to admit that I might already like The Peregrine more. Not sure yet. Needs some more time in the oven. It’s a step away from Kiri No Oto, something a bit brighter and with more cheer. Just a bit. Like a less dynamic Love Is A Stream. It’s filled with flourishing harmonies, soaring through gray glades, warm as golden hour in June. Like the finest grade sandpaper, with a tooth so smooth, the grit almost disappears and you’re left with drone as glorious as humanly possible. An impenetrably dense wall of a dull roar, working perfectly at low volumes, not insistent on being maxed out, but if it’s not resonating in your core, you’re doing it wrong. The most intensely pleasurable listening experience you should have all year.

A pertinent quote from Lawrence English about J.A. Baker’s book “The Peregrine,” of which this album is an homage to: “He expends as much attention on the shape of clouds or the murmur of a river as on the bird, which inspires him to write.”

Album Review

Myrmyr – Fire Star (Under The Spire, 2011)


MyrmyrFire Serpent’s Lull (Under The Spire)

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Two lovely ladies (Agnes Szelag from Evon & Dokuro and Marielle Jakobsons from Darwinsbitch & Date Palms) making exquisite electro-acoustic tunes (heavy on the acoustic). Lots of delicate syrupy strings, like liquid lace being stretched to its thinnest. Looped into charming beats with handclaps, plucked strings, bells, accordions, like Animal Hospital teaming with Eluvium, except with more pep in its step. Sadness & somber darkness abound, weaving seamlessly with moments of cheering reprieve. The electronics are an understatement, not a crutch, slightly bending the acoustics or adding an element of static otherwise unavailable. Culminates in a long heaving drone, blissful, a perfect closer. Recorded on Shasta Mountain during a snowstorm, Fire Star is a very warm record, one of solitude. A triumph if I’ve ever heard one.

Album Review

Kinit Her – Gratitudes (Small Doses, 2011)


Kinit HerWalled (Small Doses)

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Fucked as hell and 100% original. Tortured Gnaw Their Tongues horror, blackened Niblock trombones, melodic pagan incantations, mourning Godspeed strings, power metal guitar wailings, furious neo-folk, pioneering levels of prog, inhuman demonic growls, black metal tricklings, all steeped for years in a vat of DOOM. Absolutely. Fucking. RIDICULOUS. This album is as brilliant as it gets, dudes. I haven’t heard anything this astoundingly unique in years. It’s bleak, dank, and goddamn creepy. I want to have it’s baby?

Haiku Review

Nils Quak – On Sinking (Rural Colours, 2011)


Nils QuakThere Will Be No Harm (Rural Colours)

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Download On Sinking

/underwater bliss/
/golden glitches, frozen drone/
/light dances above/

Album Review

Dementia And Hope Trails – Ethereal Hurt (Dynamo Sound Collective, 2011)


Dementia And Hope TrailsDead (Dynamo Sound Collective)

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Justin Marc Lloyd’s (Pregnant Spore, Sensible Nectar, Rainbow Bridge, etc) deep resonant hum of a tape. Slow moving swells of mourning bliss, a profound guitar drone that seeps far into your body. Sadness prevails on “Dead.” It moves slow, sweeps wide, and rises with honor, following the contemporary maximum-minimalism. “Go” stays the dense static course but soars through stormy clouds. Powerfully trance inducing and gorgeous as fuck. Absolutely massive in depth & volume, making itself aurally erogenous. Euphoric on every level. A++. A c20 is far too short for this kind of shit.

Album Review

Formication – The Eyes Of Erodern Reviema (Small Doses, 2011)


FormicationNightly Instructions From The Cracked Telephone (Small Doses)

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The opening track is a ballad of disgust that cyborgs spew at their enslaved humans. The rest of the album is the celebratory minimal techno dance party for a job well done. Gritty bass & glitchy beats smothered by a blackened ambient, with urgent, haunted drones and a swarm of clicks & trills. This isn’t music that you or I dance to, it’s strictly for the hardcore neo-machines who cut off their oil supply so they can get that potent, more natural high. Absolutely killer fucking jams on here. These dudes are brilliantly mixing sub-genres resulting in a wholly realized vision that is The Eyes OF Erodern Reviema. If any part of your inner self digs beats at ALL, you owe it to yourself to check out this cold hearted beast. Plus, the limited CD version comes with an extra insert & disc of remixes, including one from Locrian. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Album Review

Szymon Kaliski – For Isolated Recollections (Hibernate, 2011)


Szymon KaliskiWhen Facing North (Hibernate)

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A magnificent follow up to his debut, Out Of Forgetting. Cold, sparse, and hidden textures opening up a world of revered memories and rainy days. Pianos whimper in the corner while unrecognizable field recordings scratch up against old wallpaper. Stuck in gray fields with a sliver of gold lighting up the horizon. Lonely, exhausted sounds sprawled out on beautifully minimal canvases. Tiny processed clicks shack up next to complementary keys, not bogged down with excessive bullshit. A crystal clear hi-fi production matching a vision just as clear. Wonderful on every level. Part of Hibernate’s limited Postcard Series but, sadly, sold out. Luckily, you can name your price for it over at Bandcamp.

Album Review

Rambutan – The Temple Of Echo (Tape Drift, 2011)


RambutanEngaged In The Ritual (Tape Drift)

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Rambutan’s version of bedroom pop. His fuzzed out guitars mixed with electronics & drum machines make a looped out beat dream sounding like he took the same drugs Eric Copeland is on. Space caves dripping with old school avant-garde, stuttered glitch jams, hidden tribes worshipping motorik jungle sounds, crystals refracting psych solos, squiggly snake charms dancing in opium dens, slowed down NES tunes set to unsettling lurching, beautiful drones, intense nightmares, songs new & old that come together in a shockingly cohesive album. Totally fucking cool, a record with endless replay value and perfect for every occasion between sleeping and partying.