Side note: I essentially came to discover this project through my obsession with horror movies. You see the label who released this album is called Hausu Mountain, named after the psychedelic cult Japanese horror film Hausu(a film for which I owe my love for to my good pal at Unholy Rhythms. Props.) I checked the label out and here we are. It all comes back to horror.
So The Big Ship. First of all this experimental ambient duo’s Twitter handle is EnoWorship, so that’ll give you some clues as to what’s in store here. Most of their sprawling musical numbers extend out towards the 7-minute mark with singing only occurring on a tiny fraction of the runtime. Within that framework the tracks range from gentle, rolling folk themes to soothing ambient synth work to marching electric guitar stomps that skate close to post-rock. And all the while the band is sealing all the cracks with well-plotted atmosphere and pleasant vibes. This is sit-back-and-relax music if ever there was such a thing. In fact I’m on my second run of this thing and I’m one pillow and a blanket away from the best nap of my life. See ya.
Portuguese mysterioso cassette tape label Exo Tapes have just released their latest in a string of experimental, drone, and ambient works. Label head “J” (Sofa Pits, Mediafired, JCCG) sent it to me last week and I’m just getting around to sharing it today because that’s how long it took me to sort of wrap my head around it. The label has always dealt in music that could loosely even be labeled as such, but their latest tape from Whatever™ pushes that notion to its farthest reaches.
The individual behind Whatever™ has always had a presence in Exo Tapes workings, but it’s always been as an art designer. His work is always a sort of a minimal collage take on found art (have a look). It’s a sort of repurposing of images from various places and making something new out of them. That notion sort of speaks to NO AU!, his first official release for the label. It’s not to much ambient noodlings as it is a compiling of field recordings from a tannery layered over top of each other. There’s more to it than that, but I’ll let you do the digging. It’s a interesting conceptual release that’s soothing as it is interesting.
Thanks to my good friend Tyler of Flashlight Tag for introducing me (and many others I’m sure) to this little homespun curiosity. There is not a ton of information to be had on this guy, so all I know at the moment is that his name is Jackson Scott, he hails from Asheville, NC, and he’s onto to something pretty good here. Like Bradford Cox, to whom he has oft been compared, Jackson seems to value 1960’s melodies and pop experimentation in equal measure. His debut album Melbourne, which can be downloaded for free, seems to waver between convention and experimentation; often slowing on its pass between the two. The result is a relatively sluggish, almost stream-of-consciousness type musical experience that often feels like a dream state.
And much like the lack of available personal information on Jackson, the album also strives to keep the listener more or less at an arm’s length. There are moments of seeming clarity with Jackson’s somewhat childlike vocals crooning over dreamy guitar pop lines. Moments that linger for a moment only to be shrouded in the next by ambient guitar noodlings and obscured vocals. So many artists play up the mystery gimmick these days and it does little more than annoy me. In Jackson Scott’s case it suits him just fine and has me deeply interested in where he goes next.
Title: Will The Circle Be UnbrokenArtist: The Miami169 plays
The Miami // Ring Shouts
Daniel from Prison Art just shot this over to me earlier this week. The small tape label has really been proving their worth this year with strong releases by artists like Each Other, ALASKAS, and The Plums. Their latest release from experimental New York artist The Miami couples the mysterious project’s new EP Ring Shouts with their debut LP I’ll Be Who You Want Me to Be onto one cassette.
On Ring Shouts, The Miami takes and completely re-imagines four classic American folk songs to haunting effect (notice the artwork). The result is an unsettling journey through the mind of what sounds like a tortured artist. Wringing as much raw emotion from the human voice as is humanly possible, these songs almost feel too personal to listen to. His voice quivers and quakes and sounds almost close to tears at some point, but he keeps on pushing it. Now that might sound off-putting to some but never once does the EP compel you to look away or cringe. It’s mostly just fascinating to hear what sort of unspoken imagery the human voice and skeletal instrumentation can drum up on this short conceptual release.
Title: Yours Becomes MineArtist: Sunday Fir279 plays
Acid Glasses // “Yours Becomes Mine”
So Acid Glasses made a quiet somewhat comeback earlier this month. All has been pretty quiet on the western front since Nick dropped the infamous Tape, Deported cassette, a release that caused quite a big stink last year. Since that release, Nick certainly kept himself busy, but some major technical setbacks kept him from anyone hearing that material.
So now that everything has more or less righted itself, those weird and unpredictable gears have once again begun spinning in Nick Burk’s mind. Proving that Acid Glasses is still functional, Nick released a small two-track release a few weeks ago. The first of those two tracks, “Yours Becomes Mine” is a dreamy and surprisingly straightforward track that puts Nick’s oft-hidden vocals right up in front. And the best part is that he is singing right to us instead of distorting himself and throwing the resulting concoction on the canvas. If you’ve been following Acid Glasses for a while then you’ll notice that this track is a nice little change up from a guy who typically likes to keep his audience on its toes.
I’m always up for some new Chushi, my anonymous Russian pal. Although there are some serious language barriers between the two of us, I always love getting emails from him and letting his music do the speaking for him. I’m finding that he has quite a lot to say on Alabama, his latest and longest album to date.
Continuing to experiment with any sonic textures that he can get his hands on, Chushi has begun to push his boundaries outward a bit on Alabama. In the past his music was mainly composed of a sort of stream-of-consciousness sonic experimentation that refused to follow any sort of convention. Centering around what could loosely be called “beat music”, the tracks on Alabama show that Chushi might be starting to embrace traditional song structure (albeit in his own way). Lyricism even plays a part on this album in the form of carefully selected dialogue samples and what I assume to be Chushi’s own vocals. And yet for all of the growth evidenced on this album, there still remain a lot of the angular, formless audio noodling that has identified the project up til now. It’s a mix of the old and the new and it’s easily Chushi’s most convincing work to date.
Black Pus, the side project of Lightning Bolt’s Brian Chippendale, released a new digital album this week titled PUS MORTEM. This guy and his music have been around long enough that you most likely already know how you feel about them, good or bad. Personally PUS MORTEM is just about all I’ve listened to for 24 hours now. These rhythms aim for the chest and either they crack your sternum and inject themselves straight into your heart or they simply bounce off, leaving you feeling nonplussed.
The most instantly recognizable quality of Black Pus’ music is that it initially seems extremely chaotic. Frenetic and somewhat primal drum beats literally leave no room to breath on this thing, guitars are distorted to the point where they are little more than buzzing, crunching noise all while Brian’s somewhat obfuscated vocals are shouted at you through what sounds like a megaphone. It’s an intensely disorienting cacophony of noise at first, but the more you let it sink in the clearer it’s bigger picture becomes. If you are into noise or experimental rock then PUS MORTEM is a must-hear.
It’s a bit shameful that I’ve waited a few weeks to share this album, but I’m rectifying that now. Here is Waste the Night, the debut album from Low Praises. This dynamic duo consists of Jimmy Spice (Liquid Skulls, Poppy Red) and Neil Lord (Future Museums, Niall) and showcases the wonderful byproducts that result from mashing these two creative brains together. Featuring album art by Nicolas Nadeau (Single Lash), Waste the Night is an opus of glistening pop psychedelia that’s as bright as the colors that grace the cover.
Bringing everything in their respective arsenals to the table, it’s as if Jimmy and Neil spread everything out in front of them and said, “Okay what can we make with this?” From there they started stacking elements to create new structures. Some swirling synth tones here, some shimmering guitar lines there, and a healthy dollop of warbling vocals right in the middle. The resulting album is a work of varying temperatures and depths. Feel free to wade around in it, but I would recommend diving in headfirst and swimming around for a while.
The internet is a strange place, guys. Where else could something like this exist? I mean, I can’t even pretend to understand exactly what this is and frankly I don’t really want to either. Released on the vibe-alicious label Ailanthus Recordings, Waikiki Kosmos is an amalgam of sample-collaging and internet drone that does its best to defy description. So bear with me, I’m going to try and somehow squeeze this into my box of understanding.
According to the label’s bandcamp page, AFRIKA PSEUDOBRUITISMUS operates two different soundcloud pages. One puts the project in Morocco, the other Spain. The project’s blog is a collection of bizarre collage work with accompanying soundcloud and youtube links. It’s this sort of messy ambiguity that defines the music as well as the overall aesthetic. Misplaced samples run rampant, interwoven into pools of watery, era-ambiguous, droning synths. It’s like the byproduct of a pseudo-tropical pool party hosted in ReBoot’s Mainframe City. Hands up if you know what I’m talking about.
Title: Wakeup CallArtist: Diane Kensington Devotional Band308 plays
Diane Kensington Devotional Band // 34 Wordless Mantras
In all honesty I don’t even know where to start with this one. Today has been a very strange day for me and I didn’t really feel like sharing anything, but then I remembered this double-album (I guess you can call it an album) and it just seemed to fit whatever I was going through. I mentally just refer to it as 34 Wordless Mantras when in fact the complete title is: 34 Wordless Mantras For Augmented Ascension Meditation And Silencing Your Inner Monologue NOW! Vol. 1: Deep Listening Party + 32 Wordless Mantras For Augmented Ascension Meditation And Silencing Your Inner Monolgue NOW! Vol. 2: Immersion In “Secret Harmon. So yeah…suck on that, Fiona Apple.
Created by the same mind(s) that brought us Zonotope™ (which is strange enough in its own right), Diane Kensington Devotional Band is an outlet for subconscious expression and sci-fi romanticism. The entire release is a whopping 66 tracks long and they are currently all sitting pretty in my iTunes. I have yet to make it through the whole thing but the decent chunk I have digested has been bizarre yet intensely listenable. Silky tones and pastel colors run rampant and there is so much to dig into here. It really runs the gamut as far as sound experimentation so if you aren’t digging a particular track then just wait a few moments because everything will mutate from top to bottom.
You can purchase the double-album either on cassette or digitally from the bandcamp site. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like it, but hopefully you’ll find it as curious and endlessly fascinating as I have.
I might not always understand what chushi is doing, but I’m always fascinated by it. In truth, I don’t even know anything at all about whoever is behind this. So, chushi if you’re out there hit me up because I’d love to know.
Anyways, here is their latest entitled V0SLF. The SLF part of that stands for Seven Legged Face, a label that is just as mysterious. The whole release is around three minutes long and it plays pretty much straight through, so it’s basically pointless for me to choose just one “track” to share. But alas, it seems that I’ve done just that.
If you’re familiar with what chushi does, then you’ll know that they specialize amorphous blobs of dissonant and ambient noise. And as time goes on it seems that the tracks not only get shorter but they also shy farther and farther away from convention. It might sound like I’m being negative, but all of this is what makes the music so alluring to me. I’m fascinated by the trajectory of these releases and I’m always anticipating what is coming next. You can download V0SLF for free on bandcamp or you can also grab it from this link. Give it a shot.
If you ever, like me, get in the mood for some absolutely soul-crushing drone the search can sometimes be long and arduous. For me, drone is either something that sucks me in or it doesn’t. Fortunately, the folks at Sweat Lodge Guru made the search a little easier by releasing Wroom’s Fungal Overlord. The label not only claims it as one of their best, but also likens it to an “intense, stunning walk through a spidery metallic drone mansion.” There you are, poetry.
It seems a bit criminal to listen to this beast any other way than straight through on a pair of solid headphones or speakers. But to give you just a taste check out the album opener “Cylindrical Cubezoid” a buzzing, creeping monster of viscous gothic noise with doom-like undertones. Fungal Overlord is a dark journey, to be sure, but one that must be taken. You can download it for free on bandcamp or own it on cassette from Sweat Lodge Guru.
Title: Put an Implant InArtist: His Naked Torso120 plays
His Naked Torso // Eapy Sampol
This EP just made my day. If you are into noise or math rock then I highly suggest checking it out. The duo, called His Naked Torso, hail from Cardiff and are all about controlled chaos (if that’s possible). It’s interesting that the songs are initially written as improvisational spazz sessions but are then consolidated down into more coherent and cohesive blasts of pure energy.
And although their Eapy Sampol EP is four tracks, I feel like the first three are directly leading up to the crowning jewel, “Put an Implant In.” Everything on that track is just crazy with no holds barred. The spastic drumming and blistering guitars meet head on in a crash of metal and noise that never once feels out of the duo’s control. It’s a harsh, abrasive world that might not be the light-hearted, but is one that I’m eager to revisit.
The last couple of times I wrote about Brown Bread, I seemed to be tracking her sound’s trajectory from the experimental side of pop to the more dreamy and ethereal. I thought I had an idea of what Rebecca’s next release was going to sound like (more or less), but after listening to her newest EP it turns out that I was wrong.
Writing and recording Body Combat with her frequent collaborator and friend Colin Cheyne AKA Von Holt, the pair sidestep the dreamier things and seem bring everything closer back down to earth. In doing so what Rebecca and Colin have managed to do here is create their most focused work to date while still allowing the songs to wander around where they will. My favorite track is definitely “You Came At the Right Time” which is really just a stripped down piano-based pop song showcasing Rebecca’s sweet vocals. The perfect kind of wind-down music to come home from work to.
I’m home sick for the second day in a row and this stuff just shook the snot right out of my nose. So yeah, listening to this an entire EP is quite the experience. I’m posting the track “Basement Song”, but that song is not even close to giving you an example of what the EP holds in store. “Basement Song” is an expertly crafted sunny pop jam with the boy/girl vocals playing tag the whole way through. But if you listen to the whole EP then don’t let this clever ruse fool you, because the five tracks that follow don’t sound anything like “Basement Song.” In fact, none of the songs really sound all that similar to anything else on the release.
Now I could easily see how this approach would be off-putting, but I don’t hold anything against DDIILLIIAANN for the sole reason that every genre that is dabbled in here is done really, really well. Whoever this Brooklyn resident is, they manage to tread these waters without once sounding amateur. It’s an intensely bizarre experience but one that I definitely enjoyed (although I feel a little funny looking back on it). Now if you are brave enough to take the plunge then I’d direct you to DIILLIIAANN’s website (which is just as jarring/disorienting) where you can download this thing for free. Now go!