AMN Reviews: Howlround – Torridon Gate (2014; A Year in the Country)

a1642773331_2Halloween may be over, but evocative, haunting music is always welcome. To that end, Torridon Gate is an EP-length piece of ghostly echoes, scrapes, and drones. As noted by the label, “All of the music on this album was created from a single recording of a front garden gate on Torridon Road in Hither Green, London. These sounds were captured using a contact microphone and processed, looped and edited on three reel – to – reel tape machines with all electronic effects or artificial reverb strictly forbidden.” If the intent was to elicit the feel of a spooky countryside or an abandoned house, Howlround has accomplished their mission.

At times, Torridon Gate seems to call on William Basinski, early Tangerine Dream, and Northern European dark ambient stylings. But the result is more than just an amalgam of these sounds.  While decent-quality ambient and electronic music is becoming a dime-a-dozen, one searching for more need not look farther than this release.  Perhaps the analog nature of the recording and processing captures certain frequencies, as well as a distorted imperfection, that delves straight into the animal part of one’s brain.  A welcome addition to the horror music genre.

Upcoming Shows at Trinosophes

Kevin Drumm
Cover of Kevin Drumm

From Detroit’s Trinosophes:

Saturday, Nov. 8: Virgil Moorefield
Composer Virgil Moorefield has been involved with experimental music since the late 70’s. Deeply involved with electro-acoustic music, he has released recordings on such noteable labels as Tzadik, Cuneiform and Innova. After a move to New York in the 80’s, he became involved with the rock avant garde, performing with Swans and in Glenn Branca‘s ensemble. In the following decades, his worked incorporated more multi-media performances. At Trinosophes, he’ll debut a new 25 minute work, along with an assortment of other compositions from his career. The amazing ensemble for this show features some serious performs in their own right- including Bang On A Can‘s Vicky Chow on piano, New Music Detroit’s Ian Ding on percussion and Taylor Levine (of Steve Reich‘s ensembles) on guitar. This will be a major concert of New Music, not to be missed by fans of avant-rock, contemporary chamber and experimental music.

Doors at 8 pm; $10-20 sliding scale.

Nov.10: Kevin Drumm and Jason Lascaleet

Nov. 20: Steve Swell/Frode Gjerstadt Trio

Nov 22: 3 Doctors, including Doc Waffles, Doctor Sushi. More TBA.

Nove 25: GitGO (Mars Williams, Jeb Bishop, Anton Hatwich, Quin Kirchner, Paul Giallorenzo).

Dec 10: New Music Detroit

William Basinki: The Sound of Decay

William Basinski
Cover of William Basinski

From the New Yorker:

Raised in Dallas, Basinski studied saxophone and clarinet at the University of North Texas, in Denton, for two years. In the summer of 1978, he ditched school and travelled around Texas to see bands like the Sex Pistols and Television. He became interested in the music of what he calls “three points to a triangle”: John Cage, Steve Reich, and Brian Eno. He met the man who is still his partner, the visual artist James Elaine, and moved to San Francisco on Halloween of the same year. Basinski began buying cheap tape recorders and creating the work that sustains him today.

5049 Records Podcast: Trey Spruance

Trey Spruance
Cover of Trey Spruance

From 5049 Records:

Trey Spruance is a guitarist and composer who has had a gigantic influence on me for the past twenty years. As a founding member of Mr Bungle and the compositional force behind Secret Chiefs 3, Trey has released several records and made many radical statements that have influenced an entire generation of adventurous musical thinkers. A lot of people have asked for me to have Trey on the show and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share this conversation.

A Tale of Chad Smith, Jon Batiste, John Zorn, Dave Lombardo, Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock but Mostly Bill Laswell

Bill Laswell
Cover of Bill Laswell

From Music Times, a story of Bill Laswell‘s nearly-invisible presence on many recordings:

Hence the problematic nature behind Music Times headline announcing the creation of The Process: “Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer Chad Smith to Release ‘The Process’ with Jon Batiste” (which has since been amended). No doubt that Smith fills the role of the most widely recognized member in the act, and Batiste has gathered both acclaim and attention with appearances on The Colbert Report, but surely bassist and final member Bill Laswell deserves an ounce of attention, considering the nearly 4,000 recordings bearing his name in some respect for his contributions.