"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Earthling release

If the new set's anywhere near as fine as the exquisitely subtle & shimmering Vol. 1 (recorded in Bangkok, Berlin, Chicago, Foshan, Kyoto, Philadelpia & Tokyo between 2006 and 2009) you & 2,221 others will be very well rewarded. Hear Vol. 1's rumbling, juddering Berlin piece below.

Less saturnine than the great Aidan Baker, though equally promiscuous in his serial collaborations (including Ryuichi Sakamoto &, especially, Taylor Deupree), Willits is endlessly engaging & beautifully inventive. See previous coverage of his lovely collisions & extensive solo stuff here.

Christopher Willits > Improvisation (live) - Berlin, Germany - June 19, 2009 (from Live on Earth - Vol. 1, self-released; photo by Jan Kruml)

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

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Venerable vigour

Warp's exuberant 20th birthday celebrations bring home the realisation that the same landmark is looming for another venerable independent. But while Thrill Jockey may date all the way back to Bettina Richards' bedroom launch in 1992, it's hardly showing its age - indeed, to these ears the Chicago label's hit a particularly rich, vigorous vein of form lately.

Perhaps that has something to do with Tortoise's emergence from hibernation. Certainly, the post-rock leviathan's first proper album in five years (see here) has added to the label's recent momentum.

Besides the many pleasures of Beacons of Ancestorship itself (interview & performance here), Tortoise have also revived the former glory of their remix encounters with the likes of Oval & Autechre. Most notably, Mark Ernestus (Basic Channel) has fermented a slowly decaying version of the zithery Gigantes - sold out on 12", but available on US iTunes & released in Europe next month...
At the other end of the band's spectrum, Doug McCombs' collaboration with David Daniell has also budded into a release (Sycamore). No accident, perhaps, that the wonderfully sustained 15-minute post-jazz/rock epic Vejer de la Frontera features Tortoise's John Herndon too.

With their unashamed lap-steel & accumulated hours of improvising, you could see the Daniell & McCombs duo as deconstructor-editors of a guitar-led American tradition.

David Daniell & Douglas McCombs > F# Song (from Sycamore)

As ever, there are also compelling things happening on the label away from Tortoise's orbit. Take Lokai & Jason Urik.

There may be a few cheap points to be scored by claiming Lokai as a European version of Daniell & McCombs. But a closer model for the pair is probably something like Eno's Music for Films - rewardingly moody sketches, often brisk or even curt by the standards of Thrill Jockey peers & with a portentous, clangy quality recognisable from sister/cousin incarnations Nemeth & Radian (previously featured here).

Lokai > salvador (from transition)

Meanwhile, Urik's forthcoming Husbands & remix (with Joe Williams) of Thank You's Pathetic Magic pick up the brilliant mantle of Mountains (featured here previously) - dense, elongated, immensely textured droney vamps. Ironically, the twinkling, slurred remix is the shortest of these lovely pieces: pretty perfect in its own right, but due a further reworking/stretching, perhaps?

Jason Urik > The Eternal Return (from Husbands - vinyl-only!)

Other Thrill Jockey-related posts on LMYE: here (Lithops), & here, here & here (Nobukazu Takemura).

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

Monday, 7 September 2009

Dit’moi Monsieur

NB: scroll down for exclusive mix...

Ever since the bravura display of May's eight Tam Variations, there could be little doubt that LJ Kruzer's Manhood & Electronics (Uncharted Audio) would be one of this year's landmark albums, notwithstanding its indifferent title - a lift from a memoir by Bryan Strange, apparently. But it's only on full immersion that the gentle, timeless brilliance of this ravishing post-modern hymnal unfolds completely (sorry if the physics of that don't quite hold up...).

The more you hear it (full stream available), the more obvious it is that Manhood is a masterpiece of a kind of urban pastoral - spare & reflective, but still warmly engaging. Its restraint & modesty, its delicacy, its poise are all pretty rare, & welcome, commodities.

The definitive, untampered (or at least differently tampered) Tam is a clear highlight - a beautiful orchestration of block-chording piano with counterpointing keys, dreamy washes & more abrasive buzz. Others include the yearning opener Barnab & the frozen Glassisms of Poil, as well as the brisker lushness of Tram & drowsy prettiness of Frum.

A couple of '814' (Bach or a cool keyboard - who knows?) versions feature among the Tam Variations. Two more, both extended, here:

LJ Kruzer > Barnab814 > Poil814

EXCLUSIVE: LMYE is thrilled to present LJK in the mix - if Manhood weren't enough, his excellent This is What I Like electronica mix whets the appetite still further ahead of his unmissable, free (!) Union Chapel gig on September 26. Its 30 minutes range catholically from Moondog to Villalobos' Minimoonstar, & feature unlikely to be repeated debuts here for both Maurice Chevalier & Tomita...

00:00 Maurice Chevalier avec Yvonne Vallée – Dit’moi Monsieur Chevalier
01:27 Regolith – Sap Rising
03:57 Signal – Ermafa
07:05 LJ Kruzer – Kruzerlude
09:46 Moondog – Tugboat Toccata
11:48 Benge – Polymoog
12:29 Moondog – Gloving It
12:48 Autechre – Altibzz
14:16 Ricardo Villalobos – Minimoonstar
17:05 Justus Kohncke – Yacht
22:14 Benge – Oberheim Xpander
23:47 Jordi Savall performing Tobias Hume: Beccus An Hungarian Lord
25:45 Tomita performing Debussy: The Girl With The Flaxen Hair

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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