AMN Reviews: Tunnels of Ah – Charnel Transmissions (2018; Cold Spring Records)

Tunnels of Ah is Stephen Ah Burroughs and Charnel Transmissions is his fifth major release under this moniker. Not exactly ambient nor drone, Burroughs uses electroacoustic manipulations of both of these approaches as well as other stylings to evoke a sound somewhere between industrial and musique concrète. Distorted noise walls crumble and processed voices haunt these five medium-length tracks. The drone elements mimic the consequential sounds of high-speed travel as they undulate and echo in a prickly and metallic fashion. Non-specific percussion comes and goes.

The feel on Charnel Transmissions is one of melancholy and alienation. Alone in an unknown landscape, you are haunted by scattered vocalizations and ancient machines operating according to obscure mechanisms. And when you can make out the words of the disembodied voices, they only add to your growing trepidation. This is an unclassifiable and compelling release that spans multiple subgenres.

Chicago Scene: June 24-30, 2018

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Sunday, June 24th 2018

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western
Brian Chase’s Drums and Drones + Ursula Scherrer

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
John Wiese
Joe + Joe
Carol Genetti

9:00PM at the Hungry Brain, 2319 W Belmont (wheelchair-accessible)
Daniel Levin Solo
Gerrit Hatcher Group

Monday, June 25th 2018

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444 (wheelchair-accessible)
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Jim Baker, Mars Williams, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt

9:00PM at Café Mustache, 2313 N Milwaukee, 773.877.3327 (wheelchair-accessible)
Nick Alvarez Quartet with Matt Lux, Ahshwah Expinoza, Matt Murphy
Errata : Ishmael Ali, Eli Namay, Bill Harris
Adfl Quartet with Alexander Adams, Val Dorr, Keenan Foley, Corey Lyons

Tuesday, June 26th 2018

7:00PM in Fullerton Hall, the Art Institute, 111 S Michigan (Free, registration required)
Marc Ribot

9:30PM at The Whistler, 2421 N Milwaukee (wheelchair-accessible)
Dave Rempis, Brandon Lopez

Thursday, June 28th 2018

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Dave Rempis, Brandon Lopez, Ryan Packard

Saturday, June 30th 2018

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western
Music for Nine Improvisers
Geof Bradfield with Anna Webber, Nick Mazzarella, Russ Johnson, Marquis Hill, Joel Adams, Scott Hesse, Clark Sommers, Dana Hall

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:,,,,,,,,,,,

John Butcher’s Resonant Spaces Reissued

Source: Bandcamp.

The DL includes a 16 page PDF with many colour photos from the tour, an introduction by Barry Esson, Biba Kopf’s original liner notes and an essay by Stuart Broomer.

JOHN BUTCHER – Acoustic and Amplified Saxophones.

“A welcome reissue for this astonishing work of improvisation. It sees Butcher visiting obscure parts of Scotland to play gigs in sites – including an old military fuel tank in the Orkneys with a 15-second echo, as well as an abandoned reservoir, a sea cave, a mausoleum and so on –chosen for their specific, idiosyncratic acoustic properties.

If Butcher’s response to these locations is frequently astonishing – witness the serrated foghorn blasts that moan across the void in ‘New Scapa Flow’– so is the way that these places seem almost to answer his forays. In ‘Wind Piece’, recorded at the Standing Stones of Stenness on the Orkney mainland, the eerie pitch-shifted coos that merge with birdsong and Butcher’s own gurgling breaths could be emanating from the rocks themselves. This is a series of duets, really, Butcher not playing the spaces as much as tussling with them, each performance existing in an ongoing state of modification as he negotiates the different sonic qualities of each of his unusual venues.

And, while there’s a sense of Butcher being nudged constantly out of his comfort zone, there’s an accompanying feeling that he digs the brinkmanship that this requires. Raw and hypnotic, time has only increased Resonant Spaces’ power.”

RESONANT SPACES was released on CD (2008) by Confront and on LP (2017) by Blume.

Steve Swell News

Source: Steve Swell.

The summer is off to a great start with a Rob Brown recording session finished earlier this month for the RogueArt label. The band includes Chad Taylor and Chris LIghtcap. Look out for this to be released in the months to come!

June 27-29–William Parker’s Stone Residency, NYC

June 30–Artists For a Free World will be part of national demonstrations taking place to stop separating immigrant families at Union Square, NYC. Please attend if you can.

July 10–Trombone Insurgency (Joe McPhee/Dick Griffin/Steve Swell) Zurcher Gallery, NYC

July 14-15–Solo at Tim Daisy’s and with Dave Rempis et al at Hungry Brain, Chicago

July 21–Bobby Zankel Band, Philadelphia, PA

July 29–Mark Segger/Steve Swell Duo, DMG, NYC

August 3–Mark Segger/Steve Swell Duo, Happy Lucky Gallery, Brooklyn

August 19-25–Per Ake Holmlander’s Last Chance Orchestra, Stockholm, Sweden

August 28-19–William Parker at Dizzy’s Club, NYC

Please check out my new “Sampler” on Soundcloud in case you are not familiar with what it is I actually do. I will update the Sampler periodically.

The Best New Ambient Music on Bandcamp, June 2018 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

There are infinite atmospheric worlds available on Bandcamp. From the dreamy to the nightmarish, and the meditative to the deeply unsettling, these compositions often fall under the ambient umbrella. Albums without words that are deeply thoughtful and thought-provoking in their own way—these releases come from all corners of the globe. Every month, Aurora Mitchell will take you through the best ambient releases. In this edition, there’s music made from plants (for real), ASMR-tinged meditations, chirping birds, and misty atmospheres.

Gordon Grdina’s New Album Reviewed

Source: Vancouver Sun.

Over 15 years of studies into the instrument and its extensive repertoire have enabled Grdina to put his oud playing front and centre in world music projects such as the large ensemble Haram, Sangha and Qalandar as well as into jazzier realms with his trio and now with The Marrow. This new project combines Middle Eastern music with avant-garde jazz and dropped its debut album Ejdeha June 22 on Songlines.