"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 29 November 2010

Raster Man Vibration

Bass-bin quaking lounge-noir slowcore electro-funk cinematic-space-dub from Raster Noton’s stealth bomber, Jens Massel, aka Senking. His slow’n’low creepshow sound has been sneaking around some years now, and just put out a tremendous Pong, ostensibly inspired by the early cult video game.

Raster blurb: “SENKING -- PONG -- referring to the classic video game -- is Senking's fifth release on raster-noton, moving its focus on stretched dubstep rhythms. To these slow motion grooves, he adds shredded melodies, sub basses and echoes, which create an atmosphere like an Angelo-Badalamenti-soundtrack known from David Lynch's movies. His electronic sound aesthetic reflects rather an organic texture than a machine made algorithm. In tradition of former dub producers, he generates his tracks while playing, and therefore they appear to be momentary. They are aware of the club, but do not want to serve it. At Berlin's CTM 2010 Senking proofed that PONG can be massive on stage as well.

Some years ago in a review elsewhere of previous release, List, was this: “His deployment of the grumble of analog synth-bass and noir-ish melody snags a semiotic of classic 70s film soundtrack.” Prescient, as it turns out, since a 70s-themed video recently went up on youtube, to which "V8" from Pong, is the retro-fitted soundtrack - starts out quirky (and watch out for ass wobble vs. bass wobble!), but be warned, as gorecore filmscene edit mayhem comes late on (from around 3:38). Whacko!

And a further subtly sinister Pong emanation, "Painbug in My Eye", displays an elliptical blend of Massel’s muscle and sound design chops:

Senking - Painbug In My Eye by ericstein

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Practical dreamers

Arnolfini, you're spoiling us. Ahem. Sorry, but the shame of that woeful not-even pun won't stop LMYE relishing a rapid return to the Bristol waterside this week for Thursday's jaw-dropping line-up of Ben Frost & Tim Hecker (oh, & the improbably Paul Morley-approved Ekoplekz).

This not-to-be-missed "monolithic double bill featuring two true international masters of sculptured noise, deep rumbling and artful sonic contrast" is a compelling follow-up to our recent gig of the year - the only UK Room40 10th anniversary show outside the metropolis, & another laudable coup for Arnolfini.

Looking back, Rafael Anton Irisarri stood out as the Room40 night's most positive surprise. Lawrence English was magnificently intense (pump that harmonium...) & demanding of a prone audience he'd sent to the floor, while Andrea Belfi was inspiringly subtle in his agile gong & keyboard double-act. Grouper too was gripping as she floated skeins of what began as voice & guitar (but came out as whisps & shudders) over her soundtrack tapes. But, more unexpectedly, the darkly grand & resonant romance of RAI's bowed & looped live dronetronica has stayed with me.

It's tempting to draw out the links between Bristol & Seattle - a pair of soggy, slacking west coast ports - to explain Irisarri's exceptional showing, with Belfi at first providing welcome colour splashes that I'd have liked much more of (as I would of him generally & of the later LE/Grouper pairing). But the previous night's fairly similar show at Cafe Oto (stream below) gives the lie to that idea - in both cases a dronier, somewhat deprettified & foggy version of his recorded self, going beyond the fine North Bend & making me long for his next record...

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Sunday, 28 November 2010

252 James Street North

Characteristic dreamy, other-wordly accumulation in this thisquietarmy footnote to alan's Scott Cortez epic yesterday...from this set, part of Fugues' unreleased series with debruit&desilence - note to self: must somehow ferret out that 2009.

A more intense, affecting version of tqa's slow-motion shimmer-drone from a live cathedral (!) performance last month (embedded below, along with a quartet of recent releases...).

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Saturday, 27 November 2010

Old Shoes... New Gaze (pt. I)

Scott Cortez floats free from the de rigueur digital means of production of our age, continuing to navigate by lo-fi colour - guitar-wrought, loop-pedal-refracted, 4-track cassette-captured.

Twin Radiant Flux may be a reheat of unreleased material from 1997-1999, but it feels very much in-the-now, a tribute to the musicianly imagination of The Artist Formerly Known As lovesliescrushing, in drawing from a heritage left by the likes of MBV, Slowdive, Cocteau Twins, Lush, Catherine Wheel, [insert shoegaze band of choice] to forge something sui generis. A long format piece split into parts, Flux starts slowly with a lone drone to the fore before the shoes-wooze and gaze-glaze drape themselves velveteen over proceedings, over the remainder of which he arcs and dives with shifts and drifts, shimmers and fades, sparingly smearing gorgeous steelmelt over the canvas.

Those who've lately been seduced by the likes of Simon Scott and Rafael Anton Irisarri seriously need to check in here, since, though the ambit is less tortuous - more serene, yet far from fluffy - Scott Cortez is a founding father of a whole lately emergent guitar-abstracted ambient-drone tradition, and a still vital spirit is evident in Flux, a work of grace and beauty, whose aural perfume lingers kinaesthetically in the room long after. Cover image by the man himself, via Messrs Chartier and Deupree and the fine Line, 12k sub-label, mastered by busy bee Deupree.

Download mp3 : Part V - Scott Cortez - Twin Radiant Flux (my edit) (n.b. available to stream via Line's release page)

90s scene-watchers may recall llc as painfully unfashionable, derided, through cloth-eared and facile received wisdom, as MBV-copycatists. Somehow, though, Cortez managed to take his passion forward as an almost cult operation under the patronage of darkwave neo-gothic label, Projekt. Hindsight has been kind to llc's legacy, though. Any number of tracks going back over the years reveal Cortez’s artful recontextualisation of the tropes of the ambient-dreampo-shoegaze genre; try this from circa 1996's swoon-some Xuvetyn, titled typically word-playfully, "Blooded and Blosom- Blown"(with apols for video-void, enhance the aural!).

In fact, for all the attendant axe worship one might have imagined, Cortez has gone on record as saying he isn't a guitarist; presumably, he intends that he is not a 'guitarist', i.e. neither defined nor driven by his 6-string thing, but rather using it as his tool (a 'simple tone generator', no less... or rather, no more), defined and delimited through the artist's agency, sometimes exponentially, frequently to acousmatic extreme. As if to underline this, a few years back came what might be been as a declaration of independence from hitherto constant pluck-strum chum in Chorus, an album whose sole sound source was voice - his own and that of llc sidekick, Melissa Arpin.

Let’s face it, though, methinks he doth protest too much; 'cos THIS...

(Fig. 1 shows The Axe as Nu-Shamanic Totem)

...just has to be the loveslies weapon of choice. I mean, can you see the same degree of wind-in-the-hair romanticism emanating from wielding, saaay, one of these?:

Hmm... though, could it be fixed with... a psychedelic makeover...?

Or maybe... lose the beard, get a face job and the hair... more coolly coiffed...?

Nnnyes, so... anyway, guess The Look is all a bit er... random, music-weapon notwithstanding:

Back on track... point being: the axe is certainly crucial on the evidence of three other Cortez/llc endeavours released over the last year. First, this fab 2-cd set on Projekt, girl. echo. suns. veils., (note anagrammatic sleight of hand)

The artist (in both senses) is seen in self-shot footage showing him in the process of preparing the parts for the individualised custom-crafted limited edition package (wooden box edition sold out, though available in less crafted cladding).

Around the same time, in some ways a relative of the Flux of our departure point, came a similarly engrossing listen in Crwth (Chorus Redux); an abstracted retool of Chorus, undertaken at the behest of Line man Chartier.

Chartier's seal of approval for Cortez’s project ("...the early 'missing link' between the likes of Slowdive and Fennesz. ...an important, if perhaps overlooked, point in the timeline of contemporary electronic music") was perhaps the backstage pass for Cortez's belated entry into the Inner Sanctum of Experimentalist Rigour (see here for more on Crwth).
Download mp3 : ZRENE - lovesliescrushing - Crwth (Chorus Redux), SHEMERR - lovesliescrushing - Crwth (Chorus Redux)

Read full review of Crwth (Chorus Redux) - LOVESLIESCRUSHING on Boomkat.com ©

And finally (more to say but enough already) there's news elsewhere of a collab with kindred axescapeist and fellow-flouter of word boundaries, thisquietarmy, though just as well Cortez reverts to the name his Mum gave him here, otherwise we might've had to deal with a nomenclatural pile-up:

lovesliescrushingthisquietarmy !!!!

Label three:four records says: "The collaboration between Scott Cortez and thisquietarmy doesn’t really come as a surprise. The latter acknowledges that the previous works from Cortez (under the lovesliescrushing moniker) greatly influenced his work, to the point of using the same way of writing the band’s name (no capital letter and no spaces between words) for his actual solo project. The main thing that they have in common is their unconventional use of the guitar, which they consider as a signal generator. They then process those sounds through various effects, to obtain a different result than that of the original signal until the source becomes almost undetectable. Meridians is also the first vinyl production from thisquietarmy, as it is Scott Cortez’s first under his real name."

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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Loop-Lines Uplink Factory

Won't somebody bring the Liondialer / Machinefabriek / Kleefstra-Bakker-Kleefstra extravaganza round our way, or at least a bit closer than Tokyo? In a way they have, of course, in the form of White Box's alluring That It Stays Winter Forever tour CD (Milk Factory review).

Another route in to this Anglo-Dutch constellation of oblique expressionists is Danny Saul's richly atmospheric, briskly jump-cutting - one moment metallically buzzing, the next achingly crystalline or fuzzily droning - Kinison-Goldthwait (stream a 13-minute sampler below that probably ramps up the cinematic scene-shifting, as well as a yearning, keening taste of live Liondialer). Half of LD alongside Greg Haines, Saul was last on LMYE's radar as part of a typically tasty Hibernate Hole in t'wall bill also featuring Mark Templeton.

Blurb: "Saul's debut release for Hibernate is an entirely instrumental affair, and a venture into darker sonic territories. At times there are nods towards the more textural aspects of his previous album, but this is clearly a move in a different direction again; much of the instrumentation throughout the album has been processed or transformed into something unrecognizable from its original source sound.

The albums artwork and track titles suggest that Saul is taking some form of inspiration from the well documented (although perhaps lesser known) public feud between the American stand up comedians Sam Kinison (foul mouthed ranter), and Bobcat Goldthwait (Zed from the Police Academy films). The dispute (supposedly over who stole whose act) came to a head on U.S. 'shock-jock' Howard Stern's radio show, when a boozy sounding Kinison called up Goldthwait live on air, leading to a rather fiery showdown.

Saul says 'Throughout working on this record, for some reason, I couldn't stop thinking about these three people and this particular incident on the Howard Stern show. That's not to say the music or album is in any way conceptual - it isn't. The track titles may provide something of an 'ambiguous narrative' which the listener can take or leave."

Past coverage (also here & here [all GH]).

Piiptsjilling > Sangerjende Wyn

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Friday, 19 November 2010

Bored Man Finds Interest

Get past the unalluring moniker, and you’ll find some chewy drone-food served up by the shadowy Bored Man Ganesh. See what he did there? Andre Gansebohm simply deconstructed his name and reformed it, a possible paralleling of his M.O. in choreographing the smeared tones and field grit threaded through the oneiric gloop of his psych-drone-ambient project. Bored Man is heard to good effect on Evoke the Present, Installation 13 on David Tagg and Brian Grainger’s invariably interesting Install.

Try Woodland Panorama for a good bad trip through creeped out dark forest ambiance, pulsing with timbral inner life, rustles and scrapes, crackle and hum. Or Subway Drainage whose inky depths host a more exploratory inquiry into drone-tone. Forestal Soil Spirit maintains eerie atmospheric conditions, this time finding a more harmonious floatpoint for the listener, not far from recent Celer-y elegies.

Further Install-ment: note the Install Digital Archive, an online catalogue of exclusive music from the label’s stable available for free download courtesy of the Tagg team.

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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