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polvere [live mix]

01. polvere [33:55]

A mix I have put together earlier this year for a special occasion, which turned out pretty short but focused. Initially described as “multilayered springtime vibes for loud speakers”, though it certainly fits the summertime/cans scenario as well. No tracklisting at hand, but attentive listeners will likely recognize that it is quite cookshop-core. Among the featured artists: Fabio Orsi, Richard Skelton, Cloaks, Eric Cordier, Es… et voilà!

It is called ‘polvere’ (Italian for ‘dust’) because the music & the layering were meant to achieve a strong sense of etherealness . . .

(doru649)

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Mathieu Charbonneau ¤ Solo Piano

© E-Tron Rec.

A1-B3. Moyenne #1 – #6

Entirely plain and genuine brief efforts of solo piano affected by nothing. Everything on this short tape is fresh and bare, the pieces each mumbling their own troubles to the listener. The EP is welcoming to both a casual listener and an attentive one.

These 6 pieces, the longest being a mere 3 minutes, do not wander too far from reach, instead playfully caressing you until you have sunken deep into your chair. Melancholy but not in a woeful way, always coming back to land after dipping into depressing waters.

Charbonneau seems to know exactly what he’s doing to the listener but is not showy about it, instead letting each and every note carry itself until the end of the tape. (notebooks)

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Scammers ¤ Cover You

© Field Hymns

A1. Waterfall
A2. Dave
A3. 30 & Smokin
A4. Transitioner
B1. Cover Me
B2. Ooh-la-la
B3. Do You Trust Me
B4. Manager Song

«Filthy, slinky, after party scene jams from Scammers with Cover You on Field Hymns. Playful, slightly campy 4th wall breaking lyrical delivery complemented by an absolutely stunning electro lounge dance fusion. Post industrial meets David Bowie (is that a ‘Station to Station’ reference?) impersonating David Tibet making references to ‘90s rave timbres. Strangely depressing and reaffirming, a kind of emotional duality that opposes humanity and embraces humanism. Weird, I know and tons of fun. The standout track ‘30 & Smokin’ twists the formula into beautifully produced dance, reminiscent of the most effective early Prince records and lays down endlessly clever off kilter lyrics in the vein of, “I’ll get down on my knees and crawl around you, around the feces and bicycle grease”. Something this brilliant is destined to be obscure and thank goodness for that.» -Guide Me Little Tape

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Dinner Music ¤ Tomb of Comb

© Bathetic

A1. Introduction
A2. Remote Location
A3. Single File
A4. The Great Coach Race (Coal Miner’s Blues)
A5. Tomb of Comb
B1. Flee Season (Run Pamplinas Run)
B2. I’ll Be Seeing You
B3. Pain Reminder
B4. Fragile States
B5. Epilogue

Dinner Music is primarily Rick Weaver of Form a Log and New Flesh fame, singing and playing organ, percussion, corpse piano, guitar, tapes & etc. Based out of Chattanooga, Weaver also runs Human Conduct Records. Anyhow, this record is just a dynamic, crazed and bizarre all-rounder, and a particular highlight among Bathetic releases. Here’s the blurb:

«Rick Weaver returns to Bathetic with his brand of warbled and warped cinematic music. It’s like a Lynchian smear of uncomfortableness that is both blooming and bodacious, while maintaining an awkward and alarming air. Afterhours music; like Captain Beefheart exchanging tales of trips to the gates of hell with a young and broken Tom Waits to the ghost of Evel Knievel, amongst sputtering, broken tones and ghastly and unnatural timbres. Beautiful in its controlled chaos.»

sspace | zippy (81mb)
905 Tapes (last copies)

[download includes 'Tomb of Comb' book/drawings courtesy of artist]

Sparkling Wide Pressure ¤ Cosmos Blues (for Chris Bell)

© Ghetto Naturalist Series

A. Cosmos Blues I
B. Cosmos Blues II

Slow, ephemeral saturation.

More than just sticking to a ‘cosmic theme’, this record also seems to mark a tribute to “tortured genius” and Big Star founding member, Chris Bell, who was perhaps best known for his tune called ‘I Am the Cosmos’. It’s probably the reason why the music is perceived as particularly expansive/holistic, even for a SWP release. To hear it is to be inside its own creative space, at times grappling with isolation as you become over-sensitized to the ambience steadily closing in. Frank Baugh has created the scene, but he’s also capturing it in a way that brings it to life with an added vibrancy… clearly best experienced in solitude.

To borrow William Burroughs’ words: “To travel in space you must leave the old verbal garbage behind: God talk, country talk, mother talk, party talk. You must learn to exist with no religion, no country, no allies. You must learn to live alone in silence.”

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A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Milan Guštar ¤ Les funérailles d’un grand homme sourd

© Ascarid Records

A. Flex Nr. 10 (1+2+3+4=10)
B1. Densatio in 128 edo
B2. Silentio in futurum (Marche funèbre)
B3. Flex Nr. 33 (Do nut)

Milan Guštar’s application of algorithms and mathematical principles in music and art is in keeping with his other interests, such as the research in electronics, information science and applied mathematics, modeling and simulations, or the manufacture of custom-made electronic and electroacoustic equipment and musical instruments, among others. As you may guess, this is a man that takes his compositions very seriously, and to excellent effect.

The dominating – and rather monumental – piece here, ‘Flex Nr. 10, consists in the layering of hundreds of different tones that expand and accelerate, thus gaining more and more friction – what sounds like a permanent boom that appears to be infinite, but is actually devoid of any intrinsic aggression. Its grandeur stands as simply self-evident, and as such, does not need anything to compete with. The full symmetry of form and overall sense of composition may take a while to reveal itself, but even when your meeting with infinity only lasts for a fraction of a second, that strong impression remains stored for a long time.

The B-side presents an enhanced virtual microtonal player piano on ‘Densatio in 128 edo’ and algorithmic sine waves on ‘Flex Nr. 33, another seemingly static yet constantly moving composition. As a tribute to John Cage, we even have his famous four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence, here referred to as ‘Silentio in futurum (Marche funèbre)’ – which brings us full circle from Alphonse Allais’ first stylization of silence dating to 1897.

Les funérailles is tonal magic inspired by Pythagorean tradition and conveyed in an unsentimental way. To catch up with Guštar’s other works, make sure you check Uvnitř.

sspace | zippy (137mb)
Ascarid Records

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

White Moustache Talk

© E-Tron Rec.

A. [untitled]
B. [untitled]

Imagine that a musician would play a sound with the certainty of having an infinite amount of time and space. This release, on the other hand, is painfully short at 15 minutes, but still works perfect. Olivier Fairfield plays the organ and Pierre-Yves Martel, whom you might have heard before on Transition de phase, plays his prepared viola da gamba, using quite a range of non-conventional techniques on this traditional instrument. One of the reasons why a well done improv piece is so sweet is that the players most likely couldn’t find this kind of balance and interplay if they tried to pre-plan it. Deeply visceral stuff, creepy and delightful at the same time. It’s also freely available for digital download. (LordSuperb)

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A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Valerio Tricoli ¤ Miseri lares

© PAN

A1. La distanza
A2. Hic labor ille domus et inextricabilis error
B1. Error
B2. In the Eye of the Cyclone
C1. Das Schräg Haus
C2. Le Qoheleth ✚
D1. Miseri Lares
D2. In Your Ruins Is My Shelter

«Attention! Anyone with an appetite for ambient soundscapes and taped field recordings, sound collages and cinematic concréte, experimental music and PAN: Miseri Lares is the record for you. That said, if you’re easily spooked, best give this one a miss, as the title track is a good example of how unnerving the LP can be. Pitched metallic sounds, fuzzy thunder and rainfall and gasping voices all make an appearance over the course of Miseri Lares, though its strength lies in cohesiveness, weighing more than the sum of its distorted, alien parts. Tricoli weaves these sounds into a narrative, with build-ups and climaxes theatrical in scope, knocking on your door and never quite letting up. It’s a horror fantasy presented in a very real sense, beautiful in its neo-noir morbidity, echoing around the room of your head refusing to leave – it’s probably best to just embrace the darkness.»                                            -By Volume

sspace | zippy (179mb)
PAN | Mimaroglu (US)

A1. La distanza

Coppice ¤ Compound Form

© Triple Bath

01. Compound Form [29:51]

Looks like we have a ‘magnum opus’ here, as mostly everything that came before Compound Form has only been a taste of Kramer & Cuéllar’s creativity. A piece for prepared pump organ, tape processes, transmitters and acoustic filters – this is not meditation music but may be used as such, if you feel you have enough energy to deal with its intensity. Under the right circumstances, half an hour may seem like a mere minute…

«On Compound Form, Coppice continue to explore the possibilities of expanding acoustic sonorities through the use of subtly placed electronics, and the results are stunning. The sole 30-minute composition ebbs and flows through rich drones, fractured melodies, and airy moments of near-negative space. Throughout, it’s often hard to tell when the natural sounds of the prepared pump organ end and when the electronic alterations begin. Despite this seemingly limited palette of sounds, the duo excels at creating a surprisingly diverse tapestry out of their tools of choice in a manner that resembles the instrumental expansion of Pauline Oliveros’ accordion works or Jason Kahn’s percussion recordings.»

sspace | zippy (55mb)
Triple Bath | JP

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Kassel Jaeger ¤ Fernweh

© Senufo Editions

A. Fernweh I
B. Fernweh II

«Fernweh follows the arc of François Bonnet’s previous Senufo releases. There is the unceasing stream of sound, what some reviewers have called drone, but it is more about density and detail. Bonnet doesn’t use the pure tone of a string instrument or its chording ability. Instead, he zooms in on the feral buzz. Static becomes pointillist, an all- encompassing drizzle of texture. But more important than Bonnet’s acoustic/synthetic contrasts is how he highlights them. Background becomes foreground, jump cuts open up fissures in the compositions to new worlds, gradual overlays evoke a slow metamorphosis.

Ultimately, this obsession with the peripheral, marginal and gradual makes the music highly secretive. It obscures its origins and hides its logic. The title Fernweh becomes a mission statement, a way of listening, of experiencing. The word means “wanderlust” in German, and it gets as close as any verbal form to what this music invokes. You have to wander about inside it, determine its idiosyncratic logic and come up with your own geography for it. It’s why the transitions are so crucial. These moments alert you to the essential instability of the pieces. Instead of contrast between sounds we hear as organic and biological and sounds we hear as synthetic, we hear a continuum. One system illuminates another.» -Dusted Mag

sspace | zippy (85mb)
a-musik (last copies)

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

J.C. Combs ¤ Jane Martin

© Cellar Door

01. Blond Dick
02. Civil Defense
03. Devil Clown to and Fro
04. Propaganda Robot
05. On with the Show
06. Mary Me, You Psycho You [feat. Joseph Benzola, Bruce Hamilton, David Toub and Adam Kondor]

«Hello everyone. My name is Jane Martin. I live in Fairview, OK, or actually 10 miles on the outskirts of town in a little hobbit hole-type abode. I’m surrounded by many trees and I feel as though they are family. Sometimes I feel more connected to nature than to humans – as we know how humans and their bad sides can be. Anyway, not to ramble too much, but I was lucky in that a distant relative visiting from Eureka informed me about wireless internet and managed to hook me up. This was around three months ago, around the time my composition, music life started. Ever since I’ve been busy working at this album and I’ve managed to finish enough to post it for sale. I intend to add to the collection over time, but the trees have been ignored these last few months due to my obsession with music and now I feel its time to give them the attention they deserve.»

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What to say other than “oh, oh, oh”, for this damsel is one to get passionate about. She works with songs that tackle big subjects (‘Civil Defense’, ‘Propaganda Robot’), while cruelly dissecting her romantic life in ‘Mary Me, You Psycho You’, a veritable slow burner that appears much faster than it REALLY is (this is a world of appearance – I told my kids that the other day!). You’re saying that there are way better options when it comes to female icons? Where are those options, tell me! We here at Cookshop merely offered to help Jane make some money, because she’s a honey, and she surely wasn’t born to live in Fairview, OK.

Drekka ¤ Ekki gera fikniefnum,

© Dais

A1. Go from My Window
A2. Window 7 (From Wonderland to Braintree on the MBTA)
A3. Ekki gera fikniefnum,
B1. Tarwestraat 52 (Late Night Version)
B2. Ekki gera fikniefnum, (Reprise) 

drekka : Faroese/Icelandic – from Old Norse drekka, from Proto-Germanic *drinkaną.

at drekka : (transitive, intransitive, with accusative) to drink

Michael Anderson is an entity that flows through all micro and macro liminal spaces wherever life leads him. Having started his musical activity in 1986, he began taking liquid forms some ten years later. A mainstay of Bloomington’s music scene, he also recorded pieces for this LP in Reykjavík and Gent, which might soon become a small pilgrimage place.

What struck me most is the sense of candor, genuineness, and just how much he loves and cherishes his pieces. Going through the live archive one can also notice a certain naturalness in the way Drekka develops his sets. He has a keen sensibility for cinematic soundscapes with a strong effect in both recorded and live situations. As well-documented as it may seem, this collection is more like another palette he has put together, with arrangements that will likely be translated into other contexts, like a merry-go-round: “What one listener perceives as absolute, Drekka sees as only a loosely-fitting frame in his gallery of visions”.

Highlights include Annelies Monseré’s serene, crystalline voice drowned in a flood of static (‘Go from My Window’), ‘a snowblind short film’ jamming between gently plucked snares, loose singing, gusts of wind, echoes and bending surfaces (‘Ekki gera fikniefnum,’), a constant beat and flickering sounds, like dying stars, revolving around my head, from ears to eyes, like a stripe, at a slowly accelerating pace (‘Tarwestraat 52′), and finally the ‘Reprise’, that’s like a moment of disorientation, when somebody’s trying to remember something.

To conclude: a seducing artifact, less targeted at obsessive inquirers who live within their “analyzing self”, and more at those who can simply feel and see the foliage for what it is.

(ameliorare)

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Dais Records | Norman

By Sid ¤ Blutigen Berges

© La cohu

A1. Infantilisation
A2. Vers solitude sauvage
A3. Désertion
B1. Engloutissement
B2. Désertification
B3. Dernière phase de l’hostilité

I see this album as a companion to a lone, pessimistic thinker, reflecting on the monotonous passing of time and our dissolution in the darkness. He plays it while reading old manuscripts depicting Etruscan tortures, in which a living body is coupled face to face, very closely to a corpse until they rot together. As he turns this tape to the other side, he makes a quick note of the horror the dead must be facing to be forced to look at the living, after which he picks up Cioran’s classic ‘A Short History of Decay’.

By Sid is an alias of the Canadian artist Charles Barabé, who’s also released some works as Gulba and Trnkdtw. With Blutigen Berges, his electronic music moves into a darker, melancholic region. The unrestrained use of reverb and windy sounds throughout the six tracks may give one the feeling of being in a large hall, perhaps an abandoned castle, the only breather being the more tranquil ‘Désertion’. The album is consistent enough to be a soundtrack for a painting, rather than a film. “All colours will agree in the dark.”

(LordSuperb)

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Unit Structure (CA)

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Jeremiah Cymerman ¤ Pale Horse

© 5049

1. Dancer
2. Ghost

There’s a moment in Tarkovski’s ‘The Sacrifice’ in which the protagonist listens to some shakuhachi music. For us in the audience it’s eerie and soothing at the same time: we know that the world is gonna end, and the music pulses with this realization underneath the veneer of quietness that we capture at first, invited by the zen connotations of the instrument and the brooding mood of Tarkovski’s poetics.

Cymeman’s Pale Horse evokes a similar experience for me. Like that shakuhachi music, and some of Rothko’s paintings, there’s a spacious quietness here that works as the membrane of some pulsating and undecipherable thing, so the sounds ebb and flow from this core, changing by altering perspective, moving by changing pace, building by dissipating whatever emerges. Commenting on Anthony Coleman’s Selfhaters, Cymeman says that “The effect is chilling. The music feels lonely and terrifying and continues to inform and influence a great deal of my own music and aesthetic.” If Coleman’s record is like klezmer from hell, there are also intimations from hell herein, and certainly some klezmer looming in the background – but it’s also a totally different kind of animal, a platypus of sorts. Incredible precision, amazing fluidity of execution: it’s so exact, I doubt it’s improvised; it’s so intense, I fear such a thing could never be rehearsed, repeated, done over. This music, like Coleman’s, feels lonely and terrifying – but it’s enticing as well and I’m just thankful it’s been recorded so we are now able to witness this beautiful, uncanny phenomenon. (A.M.P.)

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J. Cymerman’s store

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Haptic ¤ Abeyance

© Entr’acte

01. Abeyance [40:56]

Late yesteryear release from the Haptic trio; that special kind of ‘music’ that listened to on the wrong kind of device or at insufficient volume will certainly be lost on quite a few. Which, again, is probably fine, since there’s an intrinsic element of “chance and opportunity” to Entr’acte as a whole – a label that will, as a rule, never try to distract or persuade potential listeners (with its starting premise of having to be almost invisible). Describing/interpreting Abeyance isn’t such an easy task regardless, as evidenced by the response below:

Hi!

Sorry to have kept you waiting. So yeah, while I did enjoy that Haptic record (and as you correctly noted, you’d be hard pressed to find an Entr’acte release I wouldn’t find any merit in), I’m struggling to say anything worth anyone’s while about it. And, as it turns out, approaching a given record in a ‘journalist/essayist/synopses writer or whatever’ mode kinda’ ruins the fun for me – which, I guess, it wouldn’t, had I (moving on to your “arts” question) been tutored in/had any relation to arts/music and related discourse, if, in other words, writing at this point came naturally to me. I mean, I checked out Cookshop – and, tbh, it takes craft (or at least something other than just being capable of ranting on rym) to be able to adequately present a record and put into some context for a reader, which I don’t think I have, as much as I’d like to help out and as much as I admire the effort of enthusiasts like yourself, from which lazyasses like myself benefit :)

all the best! F.

sspace | zippy (94mb)
Entr’acte | Erstwhile (US)

Jan St. Werner ¤ Needle Exchange 125

© Self-Titled Mag

Needle Exchange 125 [34:32]

While roaming the dust-filled halls of a legendary city library, have you ever imagined blowing it up, Zabriskie Point-style, but instead of totally ruining imposing slabs of paper wisdom and written beauty, activating some whimsical collider that could upload all of the whirring juicy bits into your brain, instantly catalogued in some exquisite and harmonious order?… Well, Herr Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars has definitely stirred some shit up in his personal archive. By modifying already mutated notions of a modern-age ‘DJ mix’, he graces us with this clacking and burbling farrago of vivisected snippets, cut from something that could be damn well uncategorizable in the first place. (tibul)

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Kuupuu ¤ Sous juju

© EM Records

1.01. Ways of Moving
1.02. Spaces
1.03. Horizon
1.04. Persistent
1.05. Pinwheel
1.06. Music for a Ghost Story
1.07. Dance to This
1.08. Suite of Actions
1.09. Pilgrimage for Two
1.10. Up and Away
full tracklisting…

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage, cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupuu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals. “Self-released material, plus pieces culled from vinyl, cassette and CDR on American and European labels, as well as an unreleased piece and a 2012 vinyl remix”. (LordSuperb)

sspace | zippy (155mb)
EM Records | US

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Olivia Block ¤ Karren

© Sedimental

A. Foramen Magnum
B. Opening Night

«When field recordings, electronics and orchestras come together in the right hands, magnificent things are bound to happen. And there aren’t many hands more capable than Olivia Block’s. Chaotic and serene elements jostle for dominance across the pair of side-long self-referential pieces, eventually striking a delicate balance in the waning moments. It’s a journey, this one, and a meditation, an electroacoustic marvel.»

sspace | zippy (87mb)
Erstwhile | a-musik (DE)

Block says: “Karren is a two movement electroacoustic orchestral composition. The first movement is created from heavily processed field recordings taken from orchestral rehearsals and various public locations, including museums and zoos. The second is a layered orchestral score performed by the Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, with whom I recorded and worked for several years in order to complete this project.”

A noble warrior locked in a very small, wooden cage. He cries slowly and says to himself: “How can they lock a man for twenty years?! One year is already too much, but twenty… how?!” The cage contains a locker with a drawer, leaving only a bit of room for him to sit. Suddenly, while he is still softly weeping, he takes some polenta from the drawer, squeezes it in his hands, only to see it turned into honey. He then takes another handful of polenta and some wire netting, squeezes them and they transform into a small beehive. He places it in the drawer and watches as a tiny dragon is born inside of it. For now, it looks more like a fish and slowly moves around the hive, but we know that it will turn into a dragon and bite the metal lock…

This is what I dreamed while listening to Sous juju by Kuupu, the solo project of Jonna Karanka, with its home-recording sound, backwards looped instruments and beautiful, hushed vocals.

Yparxei Provlima Amalia ¤ Kona Kai

© Organized Music from Thessaloniki

A1-A6. [untitled]
B1-B4. [untitled]

After a rather long (and ongoing) rekindling of field recording’s romantic period, due largely to ever-lower sticker prices on the required equipment, we find ourselves now in a more fertile age. Almost manically avoiding purity of form, Yparxei Provlima Amalia’s most recent work seizes fragments of technique and meaning from each of the genre’s ages and re-purposes them to great effect…

While Kona Kai has some of the in situ recordings of music playback common to Graham Lambkin’s works, segments of conversations and travelogue à la Luc Ferrari, expressions of noise, moments of beauty and the more traditional elements of conscious listening, it is fair to say that this album is more than just the sum of its parts. Fitting 10 tracks into just 16 minutes makes for an incredibly succinct listening experience, and the abrupt transitions from piece to piece are often disorienting – appropriate for a collection of recordings made while traveling. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why this mini-album is such an engaging listen. While some may find its attention span drastically short (read: modern), its crystalline miniatures are dense and intriguing. The texture of the work is both personal and topical, skimming over social and cultural conflict while also engaging in it. The rationale behind its compilation is more a result of an almost naive fascination with the curious, the inexplicable and the odd than with the sublime or philosophical; despite that, Kona Kai as a whole is both aesthetically and structurally pleasing.

The segments of recording are very event-focused with little-to-no context provided, either narrative or auditory. Ypa shows a sort of irreverence for traditional field recording form, shorn of a conventional narrative and presented in such tightly delineated forms as it is here, but also clearly possesses a deep respect for the epiphanic power of these moments. This characteristic lends the album a sense of both immediacy and vicariousness which continues to fascinate after repeated listens. On most tracks, these small transformative sound-events are akin to architectural follies; designed in representation of some ethos, culture or ideal, but by the distance, scale and purpose of their reproduction rendered essentially unusable. Thus, almost by design, they can function purely as ear candy to a curious audience as easily as they can be dissected to the nth degree in search of social commentary; purposeful or inadvertent, naive or insightful, existent or not.

The bewilderment at the pace and breadth of experience on display in the first listen does not quickly fade, and Kona Kai will no doubt reward repeated listens. The art of field recording has some life in it still. (vehscle / Cut and Run)

zippy (37mb)
OMFT (UK)

Dva Zagorodnyh Doma / Post-Materialists

© Eggy

A. Post-Materialists – Woman’s Alien Mask
B. Dva Zagorodnyh Doma – V servante

When’s the last time that you listened to a Russian band? Won James Won put up a notable effort last year with Voinja Vezumija (what they consider to be ‘the true Russo freak-folk’ – do check it out if you want to know), but lo & behold, these newer acts make a fine pairing.

Having described themselves as being inspired by “freeform experimental groups like The Residents and Big City Orchestra, and in-league with locals like Asian Women on the Telephone and Arabian Horses”, the Post-Materialists are Sergey (sax player, lyricist and good at everything, aka Fish Eye) and Kobyla, a synth-pop/post punk junkie + various guests who bring their own contributions to keeping the improv spirit alive. The side-long ‘Woman’s Alien Mask’ was also included on Junky Tapes, their 3rd studio LP released in 2012.

Petrozavodsk duo Dva Zagorodnyh Doma have debuted with Sklon, in the form of “organic noise-pop out of old Soviet instruments & effects” and, unsurprisingly, have a vinyl scheduled for release on Post-Materialization Music, the former band’s own imprint promising “new experimental/lo-fi/punk/avant-garde/jazz music from Russia”. The DZD side of this split appears as an external background in which our little minds adapted quite effortlessly; no serious questions asked or answered, given its exceptionally slippery nature.

Amelia (aka ameliorare) was kind enough to send us poems inspired by the music, which we offer FREE OF CHARGE, but the release is for $2 on the BC page below, so don’t be cheap.

(stream/download)

Matt Shoemaker ¤ The Late Day Spectrum

© Masters Chemical Society

A. [untitled]
B. [untitled]

The moistureless solar panels enlighten the late day which when submerged in an underwater city became what now is crystalline lenses for green-eyed pervasive creatures (namely a drone) or a monophonic roar, and its suspicious interactions with rather suspiciously field recorded marine biomes, and the bio-eliptical slingshots of electrically powered species who live in there. Shoemaker’s duophonic spectrums function as a practice of strategical calm that if looked at from an emotional cusp is merely ataractic for an automated technical invention fading. (Astigmata)

MCS (sample/buy)

Sadly unavailable for full streaming on the MCS page, and sadly unavailable from European distributors, but we had to request a promo digital version and here’s what we had to say about it. If we had to choose a ‘drone tape’ of last year, this would get a big nomination…

micromelancolié ¤ Owl Eater

© Already Dead

A. Owl Eater
B. Dry Run

«Dissonant tones, an unstable aural combination, and tensions that demand more; the release of Owl Eater from micromelancolié is an album that finds a much more humanly private quality than resolution: it finds conflict and grief. It begins in the static unknown – a monotonous search in the woods of a lonely whir. As an owl’s gaze wanders, so does the light buzz in the tone, moving in and out of the speaker, up and down in the melody.

Looking for prey, micromelancolié eats the bird of wisdom and moves onto the second side with a pounding harmony on the piano. The gloom and drear of chord pushes back into another tension. Contact mics, samplers and pre-recorded sounds; Owl Eater brings a moon-skulled thrill, and a surreal reach for the creatures of the night.»

sspace | zippy (68mb)

One of this Polish artist’s most accomplished works to date, using both sides of the loud/soft equation to great effect. The title track made me think of Kafka on his deathbed for some reason, while the 2nd would make an appropriate companion piece for Švankmajer’s Ossuary. Be advised to choose speakers over headphones for full enjoyment.

Mirt ¤ Mud, Dirt & Hiss

© cat|sun

A1. Swamp 1
A2. In Limbo
B1. Bury Me Here
B2. Swamp 2
B3. The Death

A charming sample of Mirt’s recent analog explorations with synthesizer, guitar, sampler, and nagrania terenowe (the Polish term for “field-recordings”), here centered around our feathered friends. Despite its prominence, the bird theme hardly feels like the album’s biggest standout,  because the non-avian sounds are just too seductive on their own.

Indeed, there is something rather Romantic in the manner in which this music is both constructed and presented, as if Mirt was conducting an inquiry into electronic lushness through the quiet contemplation of ordinary life (and perhaps death as well). Regardless of mood or how comfortably you’re seated, you’ll find a good environment to be immersed in, leading in and out with birds as connections to the outside world. The album holds continuity, moving from one aural reverie to another, and as such is unlike many badly structured others that seem faceless or hard to imagine as coming from a human (see Paul’s review). Obviously the work of careful hands and quite a noticeably developed sound.

Sold out from everywhere, but cat|sun has other things worth hunting down, including Mirt’s Rite of Passage, Artificial Field Recordings, and Journey Through the City or Something Else.

zippy (49mb)
Discogs (PL)

Fricara Pacchu ¤ Faces Faces Everywhere

© Ikuisuus

It was just recently that I finally accomplished a modest cookshop-related experiment. Interestingly, it took place at a melting shop (or ‘foundry’ as old-timers say). When Fricara’s multi-chaptered tour de force started pouring out of a battered Sharp GF777, my confident and advisor Dyadya Misha made a swift gesture, which could be read as a dramatic micro-facepalm or just a little sweat-clearing motion. He was definitely brain-scanning the shit.

“Yopt… Gusto nasrano!”, he said after the 7th audio vignette, signaling his admiration for joyful variety of melodic patterns and sound-design audacity of presented material. By track 15 he breathed: “Huyase?!”, obviously alluding to skittish character of little crusty tunes and a whiff of cheerful outsider headbangerry.

Track 32… “Zaebok!”, screams Misha, while operating his handmade furnace-degassing Golem. This insider remark could only be deciphered as following: “Praise such a morphological self-evolving mixtape, that throws decayed waltzes, hard-beat lullabies and cartoon marches at you like sweet entrails of a poorhouse Piñata or the teeth of Berenice!».

You see, while Dyadya M is an earnest, hard-working macho man, exposing pagan tattoos on his oiled biceps, he’s also a free thinker and an intuitive philosophizer at heart. He revealed to me such mysteries as the origin of Horizontal Pussy, the true nature of Fishing Catalepsy and the ontological horror of Wooden Muhomor. So now I was safe in my knowledge that you don’t have to be a pale, sleep-deprived nocturnal shadow of a boy to enjoy a collection of warped low-fi sketches. Thus said the conqueror of middle-aged ladies, the powerful demiurge of iron, steel and metal and… well, just a MANLY MAN.

“Poka, Dyad Mish!”, I happily shreaked, “S Novim!”. My hero nodded and pointed his titanic finger at a blue cassette under the bronze cupola. I put it inside the deck. It was High and Mighty by Uriah Heep (1976). (tibul)

zippy (73mb)
Staalplaat

Somnoroase Păsărele ¤ ABECD

© Baba Vanga

full tracklisting…

ABECD reached my ears at just the right time. In the midst of a musical identity crisis, I was convinced that I couldn’t digest ‘Dance Music’ anymore. An entire beat-driven world dancing by, and I was missing it all. This release has served to shine a bit more light on the root of the problem. I seem to demand of music the ability to recognize the fingerprints of its creator. Regardless of genre, I want to see a bit of the hands that are making it. As soon as it seems like I’m listening to a computer program spitting out canned beats, my mind shuts down completely. Somnoroase Păsărele do not make dance music, although some of this employs dance-like beats. And yes, Somnoroase Păsărele assemble their sounds in Logic Pro, but the hands that guide it are always visible.

Likely rooted in the fact that Gili Mocanu and Elena Album are also visual artists, this is very much a sound painting. It is even constructed using musical cues that have corresponding colors and letters. You may say ABECD is a bit of an electronic tone poem, comprised of many short sketches instead of one broad-stroke movement. Each track draws from a similar pallet of sounds while managing to be entirely autonomous creations. The color swatches are aligned slightly different each time to render some pieces rather dark or sinister, while others are downright lighthearted and playful. For the most part, the source sound is processed to the point of being unrecognizable. When the occasional unaltered bell or piano part appears out of the aqueous washes, you catch a glimpse of the humans creating the madness. This is physical music and a striking work of art. (zppaulz)

bandcamp (download/buy)