"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Saturday, 26 February 2011

New Skin for the Old Apparatus

Noone knows who Old Apparatus is/are, but that, along with the weirdo imagery, seems to have helped. These days, in ‘underground’ (how quaint) ‘dance’ (loosely) music circles, it seems it’s not who you know, it’s who is unknown (see Burial, Traversable Wormhole, to name but two more recent). If you want to go through the whole cloud of unknowing again, there’s a whole lotta guessing going on at Dubstepforum, with various candidates being bandied about. Anyway, not wanting to dwell with an overly jaundiced eye, purpose here is to highlight an unknown artist(s) release by Dubstep roots imprint, Deep Medi Musik, owned by Digital Mystikz man, Mala. Without so much as a London Rootsmen Go Doomstep Shock headline, their 20-minute promo mix and vinyl-only appeared early this year, sounding far from Medi's in-house style - except for recent deeper space emissions from V.I.V.E.K and Benny Ill (dig that name!). Huge open spaces with scant club visions, Roots aesthetic eschewed, the vinyl (now also available in flac) has an A and B of viscid and hard ambient-industrial and bass-scapes, parts deciding space is the place, and staying beatless, but more sections bringing in caustic percussive percs, applying low-end theory beyond standard half-step skip and bass wobble orthodoxy. Those seeking reference coordinates might look beyond the step to darkside eclecticists Demdike Stare - if they stepped things up, or Raime - if they roused themselves from vaguely maleficent torpor (pssst! Bits even sound like IDM-tastic Chris Clark).

There’s a deal of doom and noise nuggets here to get you musing. Their future’s so bruit, you gotta wear more than shades – it’s all pillar drills!

Yep, it’s mytholo-geed up by some pretty Out-there artwork/imagery by a guy called Gerbil tea. Now, those less open to the seduction of the Uncanny may simply sit unmoved, asking “why have they got pillar drills as heads?” Still it'd be hard to be unmoved by the sound of Old Apparatus:

OA-001 by Old apparatus

A boomkat scribe takes time out from the blather about the latest glowfi-spaghetti-psych-hop sensation from Anglesey recorded on a Woolworths dictaphone or whatever/wherever to script something salient: “…exploring a darkside realm of post-dubstep noise-sculpting/sound design posited somewhere in the midst of Chasing Voices, Burial and old-style Vex'd. Nobody bar the label knows who's behind it, but that only amplifies its enigmatic aura. The A-side builds from a squall of distortion into cataclysmic bassline worship sounding like Stephen O'Malley jamming with Mala while insectoid percussion etches skeletal surface patterns and the rhythm unfolds like something from the Anstam archives. The B-side is weirder still, a multi-sided geometric construction unstably morphing from ecstatic dubstep noise to Raime-like halfstep industrial dystopia, with an added welt of blackened distortion.” That ought to do it.

Downloadable promo mix and various viewables at the Old Apparatus site. Esoteric an’ ting!

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

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Old topographies

Erstlaub remixed? My undiplomatic twin would probably rather have Fyans' piercing, magical menace unleashed on & infused in to others than the reverse. But no one asked him. Whereas Broken20 (our new label of 2010) has asked several fellow travellers from the Highpoint Lowlife/B20 stable, enlisting them to cross-pollinate his windblown specialness.

One of the most apt of the refixers is Moving Furniture's Sietse. His Orphax is a kind of kissing cousin to Erstlaub. No surprise, then, that his swirling, layered The Last Few Seconds Before Hibernation is one of the highlights of The First Few Seconds After Sleep, which seems like it's going to end up preceding the logically prior The Last Few Seconds Before Sleep (downloadable excerpt) - unless these ears somehow missed that one somewhere along the way (apologies if so)...

Another is Alastair Cook. See video (lovely rush-blur) for his Asleep (ditto) take on Sleep above.

The remainder comprise B20 potentate Ruaridh TVO (finessing his experimental & techno urges into a single outlet), plus Mandelbrot (20-minute buzz guitar epic), 10-20 (Walk & Reed Bed remixes further stand-outs) & the improbable Bob Techno.

Orphax in further B20 action - deploying "a certain melancholy" - with the latest in the label's jaw-droppingly excellent series of 'podcasts'...

Below, three compelling new Ersts - one valedictory, one later live, one with self-made video, each dense with riches...

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

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ryan the Haar Stylist

Feeling the low frequency rumble and ‘viscous haar’ (sic) of Sublamp’s In Our Hiding Voice, a pleasingly ear-disorienting set of shadowy floatings through rooms of gloom that sits glowering winsomely at the ambient-noise-drone intersection. LA-living sonician Ryan Connor’s bio offers (in)formative insight: raised by scientist parents living outside of various national parks in New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, Ryan developed an early fascination with nature and science that influenced his later work as an artist - though not sure how helpful it is to be told “he uses textural sound and images to explore an intuitive and emotional response to sensory data.” Presumably because he's “primarily interested in pre-language experience.” Oooh-kay – that’s fine, you can have the pre- [we do the post- here (dunno anything independent of language, anyway, chief... ’s all mediated, innit)].

girl, calling to an empty house by sublamp

we sleep in a room-shaped hole by sublamp

Anyway, Sublamp’s previous (on Dragon’s Eye, Ahora Eterno, Serac, SEM, Friendly Virus, handily tagged here) had certainly registered the name, but this one, on UK’s own cuddly Hibernate, proves to be far more illuminating, notwithstanding all the ‘viscous haar’ (thanks, boomkat, for the handy new bit of word kit). As well as the boomers, there are a slew of other 'views (Fluid Radio, Static Sound, Future Sequence, and Savaran - collected here) testifying to the 'lamp's sub-stance.

But leave it to the lovable lads at Leeds, Norman Records, to win hearts, if not minds, with typical dry and droll delivery. Assigning IOHV a Norman Records recommendation, Brian* comments: The second track on this is like been immersed into a pothole outside a factory where they're drilling things. A muffled fuzzy rumble, disquieting & deep but not sinister, almost soothing! before going on to clinch the critical deal: There's times during this album I'm thinking along the lines of the recent Thomas Koner re-issues. All ominous, chasm like dark ambiance and foreboding atmospheres. At others though, it's a contact mike taped onto the wheel of a hobo's shopping trolley dragged over waste ground whilst being chased by a slightly miffed hum of discontent. All good stuff!

(*This is the same Brian, BTW, whose idle review remarks were indirectly responsible for a non-OK computer situation involving projectile coffee emission over my work desk; this triggered by an involuntary guffaw at his dark mutterings in response to a new tract of Untitled liminal noise from enviro-dronescape supremo, Francisco Lopez: It's the sound of a scarecrow wolf whistling through chapped lips to a bee in a field a mile away from a busy motorway. As you are probably aware, scarecrows can't whistle (or do anything for that matter) so you get this sound like television interference that goes on forever. If you like to completely befuddle people than this is probably great music for the party that no one turned up to in the world of the dead.)

Anyway, back to Sublamp, who's got it going on quite differently here from previous, departing interestingly from Hibernate house-style without abandoning the building. He refers to having sought something centered around the kind of listening one might engage in whilst hiding from something or someone, perhaps hiding in empty buildings, underground tunnels or dark rooms in abandoned houses… Sounds about right, as most of it gets you straining to scrape up errant pitches and stray chords and assemble them into sequences through a scraggy veil of scuzzed up drones, radiator hum and the crackle of someone's soul.

Cut A Door Where The Walls Meet from ryan connor on Vimeo.

So, yes, in sum, Sublamp’s is a psycho-active pothole well worth peering into, a veritable temporo-spatial tunnel… that’s er… well worth digging. OK, back to pre-language…

Some live footage:

sublamp - betalevel 6/19/10 pt4 from ryan connor on Vimeo.

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

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Saihoji Temple

Footnote to yesterday's look at O: a brief revisit - inspired by their coming joint jaunt round Japan with flau - to Sylvain Chauveau's solo work. Still struck by swelling filmic strings, measured piano delicacy, a little glitch & crackle (more, please), & amazing, lambent space around every note...

Stream Chauveau's Type releases in full: the highly recommended S, Nuage & Singular Forms...

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

Friday, 18 February 2011

Story of O

No brainer to follow Steven Hess with On cohort Sylvain Chauveau. & while Chauveau's would still be a major body of work even without his collaborations & engagements - not least with Hess - you wouldn't want to do without them.

Besides the luminous On, Chauveau's involvement in Arca & the defunct Micro:mega, & his partnership with Felicia Atkinson, you'd be missing out on the playfully thoughtful/thoughtfully playful conceptualists O (sometimes Ensemble O, often plinkily percussive, & yes, of course, they've done versions of Cage's 4' 33). Newest from this source - which it's quite appealing to think of as a distilling step beyond On, though chronologically O seems to precede On & is as often as not macro where On is more or less always micro... - is for the black monk on Belgian netlabel etlefeucomme.

Recommended by Stephan Mathieu, a weighty endorsement round our way, these are three diverting rule-driven cut-ups. Their alternate lurking bleakness & alarm clock repetition is oddly rewarding - especially version 2.

Oh, & "for a realistic listening, please play those recordings at low volume"...

Blurb: « the black monk » is how some people used to name american painter ad reinhardt. from 1960, reinhardt had toughened his work to the point of only making black canvases in a square shape until the end of his life. those « ultimate paintings » were invariably divided in nine squares and three different but almost identical blacks. this composition by 0 is based on principles inspired by ad reinhardt's concept: nine juxtaposed fragments of 45 seconds, monolithic and dark, with three different musical colours. the three « colours » have to be created by the performers with the instruments they have chosen.

A gripping earlier piece is Passacaille, a buzzing, twangy encounter with the classical Passacaglia. Probably...

Background: 0 has started in 2004. the members currently live in bayonne (france) and brussels (belgium). the band can include new members for each project and also increase or reduce when needed: percussion ensemble, chamber music, fanzine, field recordings...we perform our own compositions as well as pieces by other musicians: from taku sugimoto to steve reich, from fritz hauser to the jackson 5.

O > version 2 / version 3 (from for the black monk, etlefeucomme) > Passacaille (Ensemble O, Idiosyncratics)

More O sounds here (trio live) & here (Morton Feldman rearrangement)...

Lots more O video here...

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

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Countries yet to come

Nils Quak is a journalist who's unafraid to bury the lead - in his strikingly deep, spacious music, at least (his writing would leave my schoolboy German flat on its puny back...). The fine recent This Once Silver Sky - stream a couple of extracts, one downloadable & the full 30 minutes below - underscores how key accumulation is to his sound.

You could be forgiven for thinking the unfortunately-acronymed TOSS's single track, Quand Meme, was going nowhere, & none too fast either. But you'd be wrong. Around a third of the way in these ears twig a big payoff as initial drear, even desolation turns monumental & moving (those slow-motion fireworks, that muffled, rousing rise in tone). Eventually it flips into two lighter, more obviously lovely passages to bring us home to an explosive greeting.

The powerful trio of people dont live here anymore, To Feel Nothing & Leaving town - also below - work similarly. A scene-setting tone or two, a deliberate pace, a sense of gradually making out the cavern's contours - & suddenly illumination, a flaring of light & smears of colour, has crept up on you.

Hear further sleight of hand in the murkily reverberating Within Reach, Tanger at Night's self-deconstruction & the fuzz-shedding If it would be different at all. Below try the sumptuously juddering, evidently Twerked Balconies & Backyards too...

More at Nils' website, SoundCloud & Bandcamp, as well as his blog & Twitter.

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

Monday, 14 February 2011

On & on

Suddenly, Steven Hess's wondrous 'percussive fog' is all around. Pan American re-issue? Check (& LMYE coverage on its way. No, really...). Cleared debut? Released last week (& with a Digitalis cassette to follow, allegedly). Return of On? One of the 50 albums that particularly mattered to us in 2010. Covering Can? Yup. Turn-of-the-century greenhouse installation? Why, yes, since you ask - that too.

& that's just to scratch this serial collaborator's surface. His forthcoming slate also features new Locrian & Ural Umbo LPs. Haptic probably won't stay quiet either. Fessenden may be gone, but there's been nothing from WORK for a while, nor further encounters with either Greg Davis or Miles Tilmann. & lately Hess has been prone to fill any gaps with solo releases.

'Fog' is Longbox's apt characterisation of Hess's dense ethereality. That's a trick he conjures through a notable, luxuriating spaciousness around his cymbal clatter - heard to compelling effect throughout the rich selection below, but most especially on the mesmerising Tilmann & On pieces.

WORK > holding / ideal form (from id EP, CONV)

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

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Can't Buy Me Lull

No expense necessary for The Inventors of Aircraft's Lull, its 3 tracks of fine-grained ambience another eloquent exhibit in the case for the quality of free netlabel releases (see those from Saffron Slumber previously on LMYE here). Airy and inventive craftsman Phil Tomsett’s latest (on young Harry Towell’s reliably tasty Audio Gourmet) is the third excellent release in his TIOA project - all freebies - following on last year's As It Is (Resting Bell) and 2008 debut Unknown Language on the now defunct Serein. Lull is, we're told, 'themed around the sea,' but up here at Earslend Mansions we like to be free too! Free, that is, to hang our own signifieds on these floaty-drifty signifiers. No bones to pick, just that all that programme stuff butters no parsnips with us - and, anyway, what matters surely is that this is one of the finest 15-minute lulls around right now.

Lull was recorded during what turned out to be some fairly intense sessions in Phil's studio between December ’10 and January ’11. Label says: Through these sessions, around 15 pieces of music were collated at various states of completion and it then became an issue as to which he would choose to fit the bill for a fifteen minute Audio Gourmet EP. Throughout the recording process, Phil became unintentionally aware of some kind of sea voyage theme, with flickering imagery of giant ships hauling themselves away from the quayside and powering through the water running through his imagination. When the sessions were complete and the time came to chose the final three tracks for the EP, the sea voyage theme had remained. This prompted the overiding nautical theme to be written into the track titles and the cover artwork too.

Oh aye, and it’s partly down to Ian Hawgood’s mastering prowess that Lull is so well turned out, as it was on As It Is.

Hear Resting Bell yell: ““As it is” has an enormous warm and dense sound. You’ll find some elements you know from “Unknown Language” like the repetitive melodic motifs over the foundation of droning, growling sounds. But for me “As it is” also sounds like a massive step forward. And massive is the keyword: The sound is one of the thickest and richest things I’ve heard for a while. When I listen to the pieces the best comparison coming to my mind is the black monolith from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Or the fantastic sound-design from Danny Boyles “Sunshine”. It sounds like something really elemental and physical. And so it is hard to point out one special track or part. The drones and melodies are moving slowly as one organic flood of magma, crawling further and further. And on top you have little scratches and crackles, shimmering and reflecting like the sunlight.”

The Inventors of Aircraft - The Tower by Resting Bell

Get sorted with a full set of Tomsett by grabbing previous release, Unknown Language.

Sample some below:

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

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bus trip

A new Necks epic? On Markus Detmer's great Staubgold? Don't mind if I do...

Just under 30 minutes of untypically guitar-laced build form the centrepiece of the forthcoming Strade Trasparenti soundtrack. Snappy by Necks standards, the piece still summons real heft along the way - much supported by its raspy, filigree-ing augmentation (not quite as much of a broadening of the palette as the recent Silverwater, but still a notable expansion of the classic trio).

A little extract - & short streams from the rest of the album - below.

Blurb: "The film "Strade Trasparenti (Transparent Roads)" delivers the physical sensations of a bus trip - it's so realistic it becomes oniric at times - and portrays Brazil's human variety in a series of encounters. The landscapes seen through the windows, the restaurants on the road, the testimonies of common and awfully endearing people are so touching, because they don't correspond to the stereotypes we have about this country. The soundtrack was composed by prestigious musicians from different countries especially for the film.

"Strade Trasparenti (Transparent Roads) is part of a tetralogy of films that are set in Brazil and share the same ethic and aesthetic principles. This film is not a trip in Brazil. It's rather a trip into the depths of Brazilian land and people. It is about Brazil, but not only. Brazil is a mirror used to reflect visions and arguments that could be universally valid.

Strade Trasparenti (Transparent Roads) is a cinevoyage, a ritual of initiation to the journey, to the discovery of the unknown, the indecipherable and the irreducible. It's to go beyond the logic of one's own national, cultural, perceptive borders. (Augusto Contento, Director)"

In other news: two live sets from this time last year here & here (via Root Strata's fine frequent drool) & on Moshcam below, & the better late than never arrival of four Necks classics on eMusic...

Band photos by Holimage.

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 February 2011

Dark scrub

It's not a new sound by now, but new sounds from Richard Skelton still thrill in a pretty peerless way - that reverence & intensity, that lovely groaning physicality, that sense of encompassing care, that evident specialness.

Suddenly there's a lot of new Skelton around, in his own name & several of his many guises (A Broken Consort, Carousell, Clouwbeck, Harlassen, Heidika, Riftmusic, *AR...). Strictly, some of the new compilation *SKURA - a play on obscurity? Swedish for scour or scrub? Maltese for dark? - isn't new. But it's unreleased in any case (excerpts below).

There's also the beguiling & indisputably new Ford (full stream below), marking a re-issue of Marking Time, as well as the Wolf Notes album with Autumn Richardson from the end of last year (again, excerpts below...).

But then there's a lot of old Skelton around suddenly too. The MT re-issue, for one. But a 20-disc complete works? Tuck in to one of the releases of this or any year - though brace yourself for a significant financial commitment (more than suggested here).

The box underscores the heroic scale of Skelton's output. Still reflecting on what it means for there to be so much of this music. But the assumption that it's devalued by quantity is just crass.

Not that he's flawless at every moment of every release, of course (these ears still struggle with Wolf Notes, for example). But like other supreme artists even his rare mis-steps are fascinating & precious.

Better start saving up...

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

Saturday, 5 February 2011

There is Nothing Like a Dane

Kiloton - Language Lost (Side B) from Urlyd Audiovisual Recordings on Vimeo.

This from Kiloton's Language Lost DVD via Urlyd - a bunch of Danes spurning Geld to give away quality electronic music and video. The ideology of the label, we're told, "is to embrace net culture and enthusiastic music lovers’ impulse to share with each other." And we aren't about to look a gratis Dane in the mouth...

Kiloton is, it emerges after a sneaky search, Mads Weitling, a name ambient-industrial-drone heads might know as one half (with Danny Kreutzfeldt) of Rumforskning, a somewhat heavier proposition than Kiloton, as the relevant bit of this Gears of Sand label profile indicates (see para. 5).
In Language Lost Kiloton offers something with a melodic consonant character, but unfluffy, with that chilly Nordic thing reviewers of anything Scandinavian have to stereotypically mention (oh, sh.. oops!). To be fair, the label itself plays the Nordic card, their description speaking of "an abstract, wordless and dark dreamy album that carries a distinct nordic tone. Characterized by sharp, abrupt rhythms under deep, smouldering and crackling dubscapes, Kiloton has developed an almost cinematic sound that leads its listener through changing moods; beatiful and sincere as well as melancholic and thoughtful." Dunno about 'sincere', but I can dig 'beatiful' (sic.)

Kiloton - Mille Tendresses by Urlyd Recordings

Kiloton - The Third Kind by Urlyd Recordings

Kiloton - Recovery Capsule by Urlyd Recordings

Kiloton - Language Lost (Side A) from Urlyd Audiovisual Recordings on Vimeo.

The album/tracks are also available for free download from the label’s site.

Danish music mag Gaffa awards the album 4 out of 6 stars and the Danish blog Undertoner makes comparisons to work of, among others, John Cage, Fennesz and Paavoharju in their review. Dutch site, DJ Broadcast, gives it 4/5. Thanks to the intervention of the reliably random babelfish, we have a clear understanding of what the review had to say:

“After well receive album of Tone, on which introverted popsongs in an electronic jacket stood Kilotons debut album especially fodder for ambientfreaks are. Langerekte, harmonious and slowly sliding drones between which float shreds of short golf-ruis and ijle melodies. As if you float solo in rusty Sputnik above the pole circle and from time to time picks up radio indicators of the ground. Mads Weitling worked two years for Language discharge and that can hear you. To be compositions seems fragile and delicate, but with much care has been constructed. Which nevertheless draw the change purse and it (limited) decides vinyl to buy, dvd get with splendid work of Danish and German video artists. In this case good deal.”

LMYE can but concur.

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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