New Releases From The Tapeworm 

Source: The Tapeworm.

Nigel Wrench is an award-winning journalist whose career began in South Africa under apartheid. He is the winner of a Sony Award for “Out This Week”, BBC Radio’s first national lesbian and gay news program, and a New York Radio Award for BBC Radio 4’s “Aids and Me”, chronicling his experience of living with HIV. ZA87 is the follow-up to Wrench’s acclaimed first cassette on The Tapeworm, ZA86, “a remarkable documentation of South Africa under apartheid in 1986” (Boomkat), “chilling and at times stunningly beautiful” (The Quietus), “stylistically not dissimilar to Adam Curtis’s 2015 documentary Bitter Lake, its hypnagogic float through the rushes feels curiously vivid, free of the dating or distancing effect further media packaging might bring” (The Wire).

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist and composer based in Los Angeles who is perhaps best known for his extensive and incredibly intense work with the saxophone. Over the last decade, he has established himself as one of the premier improvising musicians in Los Angeles, playing solo and in numerous collaborative projects including Upsilon Acrox, Corima, Oort Smog as well as improvising ensembles Danketsu 10 and Borasisi. Shiroishi may well be considered a foundational player in the city’s vast musical expanse. Zachary Paul is a violinist and composer currently located in New York. His work explores the boundaries of perception, the invocation of trance states, and the juxtaposition of stasis and movement. Zachary has released solo work on Touch and Preserved Sound, and has performed with the Sonic Open Orchestra and the String Orchestra of Brooklyn. He is also a regular member of the band Nadoyel and a frequent improviser in a variety of musical idioms. These recordings capture a meeting between Patrick and Zachary, a few days before Zachary left Los Angeles and embarked across the country. The sounds of Garfield Park echoed while the San Gabriel mountains burned, and Patrick and Zachary intoned a prayer for our shared futures.

HOWLROUND – Worm Food Delivery
Both tracks produced by Robin The Fog at The Sticky Shed, Penge during lockdown 2020. Side A features a recording of a wine glass. Side B is created entirely from closed input sounds of the tape machines themselves. One take, no edits, no overdubs, no artificial FX.

SONS OF GOD, THE Electric Fauna Cassette
Leif Elggren and Kent Tankred, September 3, 1999, Fylkingen, Stockholm — a small chamber play where The Sons put the small animals on pasture and let them live their own lives, but under strict supervision and with a fixed eye so that no accidents may happen, so that no one is injured, so that no one is ill-informed, or how it might be if not everything is organized and supervised in a well-structured society. You can’t just let things be without direction, then there would be nothing at all (or death!!!). No, The Sons give a taste of a well-balanced diet in this presentation, which is expected to take four hours, which will be beautiful and moist and will be able to give a much-needed sense of well-being in these difficult times. Maybe we need another clarification: The animals, here at the service of The Sons, give away their little sounds, The Sons, however, direct them with firm hands (and sometimes a little with force) to follow their wishes. The Sons simply get the cute little fellows to produce sound and together form a musical structure that is not of this world. We’ll see how it goes.

AMN Reviews: Matthias Puech – A Geography of Absence [NAHAL Recordings]

I’m glad to have the opportunity to hear this before it drops on 6/18/2021 because, in short, it’s really good and I feel it should be on more people’s radars so they can enjoy the entire album once it releases. Per his PR kit, Matthias seems to be no stranger to computer-generated music, being a researcher in theoretical computer science and an engineer at GRM. That being said, A Geography of Absence is not all about the bits and bytes of computer music. He skillfully uses environmental field recordings to layer over (or under) the more synthetic drones he spins up.

This very creative amalgam of natural and machine is really the secret sauce of this record. The synergies are quite unique and expressive and may be attributed to Puech also being a synthesizer builder. On this release, using such tech as the Oscillator Ensemble and the Tapographic Delay (yeah, I don’t know what it is either but I may name drop it at the next cocktail party)…machines that he has developed himself, he has conjured up something refreshingly outside of your standard dynamically increasing drone album.

Throughout this 37 minute release, the 7 pieces flow nicely and very organically into each other. As in most drone albums, the mood is somewhat somber and A Geography of Absence is no exception. What is a bit different here is the mood changes from piece to piece. Even though each song naturally connects to the next, I felt like I was dropped into a decidedly different soundscape, but done very smoothly, as if walking through an open door into the next tableau sans any jarring sound event.

I also appreciated the variations of field recordings used. Clanging cowbells, deep forest wildlife sounds, and other, more opaque events gave me a sense of a continuous night scene…made more threatening thanks to the electronic layer melded over these sounds. As most great drone albums do, these electronic sounds are initially mixed in at low levels only to be skillfully and gradually increased in volume resulting in some grand textures and tensions.

Finally, I should mention his use of beats. These are used very sparingly on a couple of the cuts and care was taken to not make them sound like easy to count standard techno-like rhythms. For the short period of time they are deployed, they succeeded in magnifying the dark and somewhat cosmic nature of the overall soundscape. I, for one, appreciated the somewhat jerky rhythms in the programming. Different, and welcomely unexpected.

The last piece of the album, Homeostasis, has been prereleased and can be heard on his Bandcamp page where you can also pre-order…or you can check it out at the link above.

As I said at the beginning of this write-up, this album comes very much recommended. If you are looking for a somewhat different take on a drone listen, A Geography of Absence does a great job of scratching that itch and is an artist I personally plan to get to know better.

Mike Eisenberg

AMN Reviews: Supervøid – The Giant Nothing (2021; Subsound Records)

Cosmologically speaking, the supervoid is a region of space that is remarkably less dense with matter than the rest of the universe. That notion of relative nothingness does not quite translate to this group of the same name, despite the title of their debut album being The Giant Nothing. While minimalist in a post-rock sense, there is plenty to pay attention to in and between its doomy, ponderous riffs.

Consisting of guitarists Eraldo Bernocchi and Xabier Iriondo, with drummer Jacopo Pierazzuoli and guest cellist Jo Quail, Supervøid lays down the heaviness (note: Bernocchi and Quail appeared together in a stellar trio with FM Einheit a few years back). Bernocchi and Iriondo grind out chords of various tempos with tuned-down guitars, while Quail overlays drones and wailing yet patient solos. Each piece centers around a few signature melodies, and there is the obligatory Black Sabbath nod. Nonetheless, The Giant Nothing manages to be appealing with its subtleties as well as sheer power. Quail, who is equally comfortable in a metal band as a classical orchestra, adds a level of texture and nuance to the album that lifts this offering beyond being just another heavy instrumental release.

It takes a bit of hubris to name your group after something as vast and mysterious as a section of the universe. But if the goal is to produce a commensurately immense sound, one could argue that Supervøid has attained that objective.

AMN Picks of the Week: Draaier / Bisio, Knuffke & Lonberg-Holm / East Axis / Romus, et al. / Morris & Smith

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Draaier – The Town That Was Murdered (2021)
Michael Bisio / Kirk Knuffke / Fred Lonberg-Holm – The Art Spirit (2021)
East Axis – Cool With That (2021)
Romus / Abdur-Razzaq / Cornish / Cox / Miller, etc – – Deciduous / Midwestern Edition Vol. 1 (2017)
Joe Morris / Damon Smith – Gusts Against Particles (2021)

Sound American 26 is Out

Source: Sound American.

SOUND AMERICAN is pleased to announce the release of THE OCCAM OCEAN ISSUE. Our twenty-sixth issue is dedicated to Éliane Radigue’s and her radical musical ecosystem—OCCAM Ocean—and features exclusive interviews with Radigue’s collaborators and interpreters, including: Charles Curtis, Carol Robinson, Rhodri Davies, Catherine Lamb, Julia Eckhardt, Silvia Tarozzi, Dafne Vicente-Sandoval, Laetitia Sonami, and Frédéric Blondy. inti figgis-vizueta contributes a composition to our ongoing Exquisite Corpse series.

Carla Bley at 85

Source: WBGO.

When Carla Bley hitchhiked from Oakland, Calif. to New York City at age 17, it was one in a series of renegade actions that have defined an irrefutably original career. She found her way to Birdland, landing a job as a cigarette girl — and a perfect perch to absorb musical lessons from the likes of Count Basie, Miles Davis and Horace Silver.

Largely self-taught as a pianist (having learned the basics from her father), Carla was first and foremost a composer. She began to earn a reputation when her pieces turned up on albums by equally free-thinking artists like George Russell, Gary Burton and Jimmy Giuffre, along with her first husband, pianist Paul Bley. She then helped organize an avant-garde collective called the Jazz Composers Guild with another partner, Michael Mantler.

A Reminder About Retrospectives and Overviews

We have published compilation pages of artist and label retrospectives and overviews. In some cases, these compile upwards of 20-25 reviews of albums from a specific artist or label. They serve as great starting points for exploration.

AMN Celebrates Braxton75
Area Retrospective
Astral Spirits Overview
Cold Spring Records Overview
Cryo Chamber Overview
Cuneiform Records: An Abbreviated Overview
Cyclic Law Overview
John Zorn: Releases and Performances
Magma Retrospective
Minus Zero Overview
New Focus Recordings Overview
Orenda Records Overview
Plus Timbre Overview
Setola di Maiale Overview
Unexplained Sounds Group / Eighth Tower Records Overview