"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"
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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Thirty-three & a third


You may know the drill by now: in a sincere though inevitably clunkily artificial attempt to spread recognition as widely as possible without devaluing it too much, LMYE’s co-authors each independently pick 15 releases that particularly mattered to them during the year – but under two faintly hair-shirted constraints: no more than one selection per artist & one per label. 

Duplication across our 2014 line-ups was very limited. Only Lawrence English’s Wilderness of Mirrors (a highlight of another stand-out year for his Room40 imprint, our 2012 Label of the Year), Fennesz’s Bécs (eMego), Stephan Mathieu’s Sacred Ground (Schwebung) and Janek Schaefer’s Lay-By Lullaby (12k) featured on both initial drafts. 

This year we expand the resulting master list to a Festive 33-1/3. In particular, we throw in two epic collections that were too significant to exclude, even if they weren’t strictly speaking new music: Chris DooksThe Motherlode & The Otherlode (Broken20) & Kenneth Kirschner’s Imperfect Forms (Tokafi)

In addition, a wry part-vote for Le Berger’s Interwoven Sonic Tapestry – formally released at a minute to midnight (EST, presumably) today “to ensure avoidance of any 2014 and / or 2015 'top' lists” – rounds out our initial 2014 roll-call. 

Mandatory health warning: plenty of other artists & other labels than those featured here made great music this year. As previously, we’ll acknowledge the broader universe of releases that resonated with us in a follow-up post…









Anjou Anjou (Kranky) [jl]
Thomas AnkersmitFigueroa Terrace (Touch) [jl]
Andrea Belfi Natura Morta (Miasmah) [jl]
Nicolas Bernierfrequences (a / fragments) (LINE) [jl]
Alex CobbMarigold & Cable (Shelter Press) [jl]
Robert CurgenvenSIRÈNE (Recorded Fields) [jl]
Dalhous - Will To Be Well (Blackest Ever Black) [al]
Deaf CenterRecount (Sonic Pieces) [jl]
Loren Dent - Anthropology Vols. 2 & 3 (Infraction) [al]
Chris DooksThe Motherlode & The Otherlode (Broken20) [jl]








Kyle Bobby Dunn - Kyle Bobby Dunn & the Infinite Sadness (Students of Decay) [al]
Lawrence English - Wilderness of Mirrors (Room40) [al/jl]
Lawrence English & Stephen VitielloFable (Dragon’s Eye) [jl]
Fennesz - Bécs (eMego) [al/jl]
Chris HerbertConstants (Room40) [jl]
The Inward Circles - Nimrod is Lost in Orion & Osyris in the Doggestarre (Corbel Stone Press) [jl]
P JørgensenGold Beach (Low Point) [jl]
Kangding Ray - Solens Arc (Raster-Noton) [al]
Sima Kim - Debris (Soft Corridor)
Kenneth KirschnerImperfect Forms (Tokafi) [jl]








Le BergerInterwoven Sonic Tapestry (in the key of) (self-released) [jl]
Stephan MathieuSacred Ground (Schwebung) [jl/al]
Neel - Phobos (Spectrum Spools) [al]
Duane Pitre & Cory AllenThe Seeker & The Healer (Students of Decay) [jl]
Abdulla Rashim - Unanimity (Northern Electronics) [al]
M. Sage - A Singular Continent (Patient Sounds) [al]
Pascal Savy - Adrift (Eilean Records) [al]
Janek SchaeferLay-By Lullaby (12k) [jl/al]
Shifted - Arrangements in Monochrome (Part 1 & 2) (Avian) [al]
Nicholas Szczepanik - Not Knowing (Desire Path) [al]






TCF - 415C47197F78E811FEEB7862288306EC4137FD4EC3DED8B (Liberation Technologies) [al]
Tegh - Night Scenes (Inner Ocean) [al]
Mike WeisDon’t Know, Just Walk (Type) [jl]
Cody Yantis / Nathan McLaughlin / Josh Mason / Joe HoupertLine Drawings (Desire Path/FET Press) [jl]



Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Cavern spelunking


Carine Masutti was once Temporary Item.s (as celebrated here & especially here a while back), but has lately found greater permanence as herself. A limited edition treat from earlier this year (77 tapes for the world...), her Of the Glowing Mud cassette on Barge now has a companion EP - Of the Glowing Mud II, suitably if prosaically - to house remaining pieces from the original exhibition. 

Immersion in the full mud bath is recommended. These 11 pieces affirm while darkly extending Masutti's distinctive, lop-sided sound - its lurching playfulness, its idiosyncratic, percussive textures, its femininity (perhaps that last is just the power of suggestion, though it'd be a stretch to describe very much of either Mud as macho). 

The unexpected meshing of the alien & the organic, as Barge's blurb (below) brilliantly puts it, is striking. While those spelunked caverns seem like the aptest setting for many of these dank reverberations...



Blurb: "Often sounding alien and organic within the same track, “Of the Glowing Mud” is an expansive mixture of eerie heaviness and delicate sonic architecture. Visions of glacial ice melting, spider webs being spun, electricity spreading across a grid or cavern spelunking reveal themselves over the two sides of chrome tape. 

Carine says that cats' ears will especially appreciate certain tracks on the album."

All tracks mastered by the great Denis Blackham, btw - in what must have been one of his last assignments before 'semi-retirement'. No surprise that he brings much glow & no mud...










Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Carved presidents


"Wounded Knee is empty and quiet. No visitors come to remember. Yet there would be no United States without the persecution and expulsion for which Wounded Knee has become a symbol."

Laced with loss & ghosts, Stephan Mathieu's Sacred Ground soundtrack (out recently on his own Schwebung label) is - sorry for the bombast - about as profound as music gets. 

While the claim is both grandiloquent & a bit banal, since all of his work has enormous depthSG seems a special case all the same. Mathieu's empyreal, gathering sound takes on even more weight within (& in the service of) a sustained enquiry into persecution & expulsion. 

The music's insistence, a kind of fierce ethereality, underscores the film's themes - the forgotten slaughter of Native Americans, the juxtaposition of the Wounded Knee & Mt Rushmore sites (made even more painful by the Black Hills' spiritual resonance for the indigenous people), the descendants' shocking poverty. 

The fit of sound & subject is strikingly apt - you could almost say it makes Mathieu a co-author of SG... 

With more aptness, the release is dedicated to Herzog soundtracker Florian Fricke, incidentally.


Sacred Ground Trailer from Ludwig Schmidtpeter




"What do the Native Americans think about this perennial mass tourism that is happening on their own ground? Do the visitors know that the granite spires of the Black Hills into which the presidents were carved are sacred to the Indians of the Midwest? 


What happens when the perspective is reversed? When a Lakota Indian becomes the director of Mt Rushmore? When white Americans stand at the sober mass grave of slaughtered Indians? How do the tourists confront the abject poverty of the victims’ descendants?

How do people live with the presence of the past in the present? 

Is it possible for America to come to terms with its history?"









Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.

Monday, 20 October 2014

St Cyrus & Juliette


Anyone who's heard his immense Live at the Exchange, Cornwall - one of the highlights of the Touch Radio series (#93, trainspotters...) - needs no persuading about Robert Curgenven's powers at the pipe organ. 


Even so, it's hard to keep the jaw undropped at the flaunting of those powers on the recent SIRENE (on his own Recorded Fields). Curgenven, a Cornish re-immigrant from Australia with organ scholarship seemingly on his complex CV too, welds his field recording & duplate sonics on to gripping workouts at this improbable, highly site-specific instrument ("16-foot pipe organs recorded in Cornwall at the churches of St Paul (Ludgvan), St Winnow (Towednack), St Uny (Lelant), St Wyllow (Lanteglos), St Cyrus & Juliette (St Veep). Unprocessed pipe organ recordings, equalisation only")

The result is as tempestuous as its rich back story (The Tempest & late Turner) & sea-pounded Cornish setting implies. Curgenven as a new Prospero? Certainly there are spell-binding moments here, both ones of gathering, swelling force & others of beautiful becalmed resolution after the storm...


Robert Curgenven - Ressuscitant de l'étreinte de la Sirène from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.


The first part of SIRENE (Ressuscitant de l'étreinte de la Sirène) is reworked from a section of a second new self-release. They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them comes with a very different back story: it "traverses the historical dynamics of the settler colonial trope through the eyes not of the invaded but of the invaders to a harsh, remote land...a very physical negotiation of territories voided by history".



Finally, a recommended live date: Curgenven heads the Ologies' latest Winchester weigh-in, Dendrology, on November 1. 















Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.  

Monday, 29 September 2014

Urn Burial


Anything new from Richard Skelton is welcome, obviously. But the unstrung, slab-like 'Nimrod is lost in Orion' is freighted with more than novelty: the sound of thrilling reinvention. 

Part of a rich collection of works in different formats that also includes a doubtless profound & gorgeous book, 'Nimrod' (by The Inward Circles, a new addition to Skelton's many music-making personae) centres on the drones & arcs that were a more secondary, framing part of his sound before. 

Now he works with a beautifully abrasive monumentality - exploring sound as "a substance that might endure weathering", as he puts it. The effect is to "reveal layers of harmonic till with outcrops of more obdurate material; moraines of static, veins of melody.'



Blurb: "Richard Skelton's first solo album in two years is preoccupied with 'the great volume of nature', its delicacy and violence, light and dark, solace and psychological burden. The music hovers between the empyreal and the subterranean, and - framed by the accompanying book of texts, art and photography - offers what Skelton describes as a 'picture of a wood through which slanting light dimly traces other forms'.

Nimrod presents the idea of music - not as the distillation of a specific place (as in works such as Landings and Ridgelines), but as a relic of an imaginary landscape; a series of notional artefacts:

'I wanted to concentrate on sound as a material presence - to explore it as a substance that might endure weathering, to reveal layers of harmonic till with outcrops of more obdurate material; moraines of static, veins of melody.'

The tremulous strings that characterised much of his earlier work have all but disappeared as the music is divested of ornament, revealing the coarse grain of its underlying substrate: a dark mass of shifting tonal colours suffused with filigree detail.
The excerpted texts that make up the accompanying book come from a range of sources, united by a hyper-sensitivity to nature itself; a desire to understand and come to terms with its 'hidden state'. They are figures in the landscape, some of whom construct elaborate systems of classification and natural philosophy, others who seem wounded by their very affinities, and others still who seem lost, or are institutionalised. The tone of the work as a whole - which finds its analogue in the music - is aptly evoked in Gerard Manley Hopkins' poignant phrase: 'nature in all her parcels and faculties gaped and fell apart'. There is a sense of things on the verge of collapse, of despair and regret."



NB: photos by Corbel Stone Press

Important: LMYE only makes music available that artists/labels have chosen to share freely. Let us know if something here shouldn't be.
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