AMN Reviews: Jeff Surak – AllSilver [Zeromoon zero202]

A long time in the making, AllSilver is a collection of provocative sounds from DC area experimentalist Jeff Surak. Surak appreciates and purveys what many of us simply ignore in our sonic environment; the title of the first track on the album, Love and Production, captures something of Surak’s aesthetic: love of the harsher sounds unloved by most, and production of raw sounds from the rawer materials of Dictaphone recordings, old synthesizers, lo-fi radios, mechanical objects, and a defiantly detuned zither. AllSilver is an album that draws on digital and analogue electronic technologies alike to produce an overall sound that’s consistent with Surak’s particular brand of lofi artfulness. Sometimes this sound encompasses expansive audioscapes, as in Love and Production and the lush, undulating drone of Nicéphore Niépce; it can also take the form of the granulated textures of And the Sun Will Eat Itself, or the mysterious percussive sounds that punctuate Keep Dancing After the Music Stops. The Fence is an abrasive bit of post-industrial scrunge—the sounds of machinery in extremis; Zawawa channels the ghost of a broken short-wave radio tuned between stations. The album’s centerpiece is its closing track: the epic, twenty-minute-long Scattered Lie the Saints, a complex drone piece that mixes Berlin-school sounds with a crackle and hiss reminiscent of a tinny transistor radio—debouching into the nothingness of a long-fading echo.

AllSilver comes as a digital download or as a very limited edition CDR that includes two bonus tracks; in either format, the album is a good introduction to Surak’s work. It also is a companion album to Surak’s AllGold, originally released by Staaltapes in 2015 and reissued this year by bluescreen.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews: Renaud Bajeux – Magnetic Voices From The Unseen [NAHAL007]

NAHAL_07_12inch_V3.indd“Magnetic Voices From The Unseen” is the first album from Renaud Bajeux. It is available as an LP or as a digital download. The digital edition contains an additional live track. Renaud Bajeux is a sound engineer and cinema sound designer based in Paris. Bajeux has been regularly collaborating with the INA-GRM for the last ten years and has a GRM commission receiving its world premiere at the GRM’s Akousma Festival in Paris this week.

For “Magnetic Voices From The Unseen” Bajeux primarily works with sound material he discovered in the magnetic fields of various electronic devices. Armed with magnetic coils he explores the sounds of things found on most people’s desks like hard drives, computers, cell phones and monitor screens. While the sound sources may be novel, it is Bajeux’s imaginative way of transforming these sounds into a series of noise-laden soundscapes that makes this debut album so interesting.

 

The four pieces on this album have a cinematic feel, filled with subtle to surprising developments as they progress. Bajeux’s compositions straddle elements like noise, harmonicity, glitch, experimental, electronics, minimalism, and ambient sound without ever really succumbing to any of those elements in terms of overall style.  “Magnetic Voices From The Unseen” is a wonderful debut album!

Chris De Chiara

AMN Reviews: The Dead C – Rare Ravers (2019; Ba Da Bing Records)

Aotearoa’s greying heartthrobs, the Dead C, blast us off into the end times (aka 2019) with their latest long-playing petroleum slab, Rare Ravers, courtesy of Ba Da Bing.

The A-side grooves lead in to “Staver,” a 20-minute plunge into the depths of Dante’s rings o’ hell. Fear not, feeble mortal, Michael Morley, Robbie Yeats, and [Dr.] Bruce Russell ditch the edifying Italian humdrum and instead crank out the sonic panacea one so badly craves in this blustery modern epoch. The trio incant a spellbinding and dizzying mélange, that is sure to send you swiftly whirring into phaser-laden no-blues bliss. Just as the track starts to lull around the 18-minute mark,  there is a deee-licious metallic scrape, sure to send you into fits. This listener is unsure if it is our Kiwi protagonists dragging an iron-framed bookshelf across the shop floor or if one is hearing a bit of cymbal manipulation courtesy of Robbie Yeats. If it is the latter, this is one of the few (if only) instances of Yeats employing this particular extended technique with the Dead C – a refreshing piece of sonic craftsmanship, that it is indeed one of the highlights of the A-side. In truly antagonistic fashion, “Staver” does not ride off into the sunset, leaving you and your pop sensibilities with a snug and hearty sense of resolution, instead it abruptly ends, leaving you in the company of your stylus’ incessant picking at the run out groove.

The B-side opens with “Waver,” a two-minute piece that falls somewhere between kosmische and something that might appear on a meandering private-press country release. This brief penultimate tune – which wouldn’t be out of place on any of the Dead C’s more recent output –ends before its starts, fading surreptitiously into the album’s final track (admittedly, this listener listened to the B-side three times and it wasn’t until hearing the digital version of the release, with its clearly demarcated tracks, that it became apparent there were distinct cuts on the B-side of the record).

The album wraps up with “Laver” (an obvious theme here), another extended free noise canter which starts in trademark Dead C fashion: the playing is vacant, hypnotizing, and slyly non-committal. At approximately a quarter of the way through the piece, the trio’s sun-bleached sauntering takes a wild shift and is vaporized by an atomic blast of heavily-saturated distortion that crumbles out of the speakers. From the wreckage, the group rebuild in a similar mold, yet the playing possesses an equal degree of both trepidation and tenacity. Despite employing ye olde blunt cut to the end of the A-side, the group’s decision to again employ this technique at the terminus of Rare Ravers’  B-side remains jarring and unexpected.

This isn’t so much the soundtrack to the end times as it is the very blueprint. Fans of the Dead C, Siltbreeze devotees, doomsday prophets, and owners of the Faust back catalog are sure to find Rare Ravers a treat. Everyone else… well, you can wait for the twin suns to scorch your shadow into the pavement.

– J. Sebastien Ericsson Saheb

Los Angeles Scene

Zeena Parkins performing at the Music Unlimite...
Image via Wikipedia

From FaceBook events:

Thursday, Sept 15, 7pm
The Battery Books & Music, 1005b Mission St., So. Pasadena
Free improv incorporating musical elements of the past, present, and future (or vice versa), featuring: Haskel Joseph, guitar; Daryl Tewes, electric bass; Bruce Friedman, trumpet/mutes.

Saturday, Sept 17, 6pm
Royal T, 8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City presents:
Support: Artists Unite for Japan – Opening Reception
Musical performance by Motoko Honda & Jesse Gilbert featuring ‘Spectral GL’
DeaTS: funky beats by JDILLA and live trumpet by Spencer Ludwig
… DJ Snorlax
Proceeds will benefit the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.

From People Inside Electronics:

Saturday, Sept. 17, 8pm
MiMoDa Dance Studio, 5772 W Pico Blvd.(enter thru Paper or Plastik Cafe), LA
New Music for String Quartet and Electronics featuring the Eclipse Quartet, with new works by Jason Heath, Panayiotis Kokoras, Zeena Parkins, Kotoka Suzuki, and Dan Visconti.

From FaceBook Events:

Saturday, Sept. 17, 8:30pm
the Handbag Factory, 1336 So. Grand Ave., LA, presents:
Noise Show, presented by love earth music, featuring:
+DOG+, AMK, Phog Masheeen, Conscious Summary, Black Artiodactyla, Pretty Agony, Modern Concert, Motordrone.

From SASSAS.org

Sunday, Sept. 18, 1pm (load-in at 12:30pm)
Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock
SASSAS and the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, presents soundShoppe
Join us for a special presentation by John Schneider on Just Intonation for guitars. He’ll also play a little Patch, and talk about the Lou Harrison, Terry Riley and Ben Johnston works he’ll be performing on September 24 as well as lead a few “just” exercises.
soundShoppe @ Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock is a monthly unstructured sound workshop/noise jam for experimental musicians and sound artists presented by SASSAS and Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock.

From FaceBook Events:

Sunday, Sept. 18, 11am-7pm
Road Concert on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles Road Concerts
At 2pm, Rebeca Hernandez (choreographer) will lead three other dancers in an experimental site-specific performance, with music accompaniment by the experimental duo, Comfort Zone (Breeze Smith, percussion; Oz, Chapman Stick) at the Sunset/Vermont Metro Station in Hollywood.
Los Angeles Road Concerts presents a showing of site-specific projects from over 100 LA artists in unused public outdoor spaces along the entire length of Sunset Boulevard’s 24 miles, from Downtown to the Pacific Ocean. For one day, artists will perform works, display installations, facilitate car pool happenings and make music… in public spaces such as sidewalks, traffic islands, parking lots, as well as inside the audience’s cars as they traverse one of LA’s most iconic boulevards. The audience self-curates, deciding how long they want to spend at each participating artist’s spot, or to skip spots or drive at different speeds between destinations as they journey from one end of Sunset to the other, arriving eventually to a beach reception at the ocean just before sunset. The road concert can easily be experienced by bus, bicycle and walking, and artist-driven carpools are available.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Church – Faceless
Faceless is a very disturbing, original, often organic & brooding mixture of atmospheric guitar textures, cleverly placed field recordings & all manner of creative yet often uneasy sound making.

Bodies Floating In the Bay – The Glimmer Of Darkness
Bodies Floating In the Bay may sound like the name of another straight-up Gallio influence slice of HNW, and through there elements of walled noise here this is a much more complex & detailed beast that`s difficult to put into one noise bracket or genre.

Alo Girl – Unsane
Unsane is the first official & full length sonic offering from Italian Harsh noise  project Alo Girl  which is all the work of  Cristiano Renzoni; runner of the Urashima label & the other half of Richard Ramirez An Innocent Young Throat-Cutter.

Nundata – Inudata
Nundata is a rather mysterious noise project I’ve seemingly been able to find little about…it’s even unclear were the project comes from some sources claim Japan others  Serbia. Inudata is the first of a trilogy of concept albums but like the project it’s self’s it’s difficult to find any info on what the story is behind the album the only clue we have is the track titles “Last Iceberg collapse” & “Tsunami Warrior”.

Terra Sancta – Disintegration
Terra Sancta is an Australian project who has been involved in the creation of the most arid and desolate soundscapes since the mid 90´s. “Disintegration”, their latest effort, is a full length CD release on US Malignant Records and is a monument of cinematic wasteland and deeply buried mysticism.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words – Lost In Reflections
Swedish underground has been spitting some of the most un-subduable sonic creatures in recent years, and it has been doing that in a way that is both eclectic and revealing a sense of union, some sort of “swedishdom”. Even if they differ purely in terms of sound, there is a common approach when it comes to aesthetics and overall intuition towards music. From warm, floating drones to the most vicious no-fi punk rock, from DIY psychedelic to the most tortured and haunted harsh noise projects, Sweden has been spreading all its sonic diseases with no remorse.

Cave – Psychic Psummer
With Psychic Psummer Chicago’s Cave make a very buoyant, colourful, groovy & memorable mixture of : Krautrock loopy-ness, funky bass lines, jazzed & warming synth & organ lines, and the odd nudge of playful punk via a twist of new wave spark.

Werewolf Jerusalem – Nang Nak
Nang Nak find’s Richard Ramirez Werewolf Jerusalem project offering up three slices of rewarding, shifting textured static noise investigations & harsh wall noise scapes. With the third track being a collaboration between Ramirez & HWN project White Plague which features Sam Stoxen & Angie Ridgeway.

Pillowdiver – Sleeping Pills
Sleeping Pills offers up nine wonderfullly focused & often emotional felt guitar based tracks of: post-rock ambience, emotive blues tinged guitar scapes & harmonic yet melancholy tinged drifts. This is the first release from this German based project that centres around guitarist & mood-maker René Margraff.

Peter J Woods – Fairweather Mask
Fairweather Mask is a pained, violence streaked, often grimly atmospheric & brooding mix of: power electronics, noise matter, industrial seeth & drift, unsettled slo-mo string swoons & edgy cinematics that take in keyboard brooding, grey ambience drift.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Vice Wears Black Hose – Part 2
Vice Wears Black Hose is harsh noise/wall noise project that brings together two respected US noise mongers in the form of Sam McKinlay of The Rita and Richard Ramirez of Werewolf Jerusalem & Black Leather Jesus. This cdr takes in one long 40 minute track of unforgiving harsh static texturing and suffocation.

Die Rote Form – Grass Breaks Concrete
Die Rote Form make very stern yet grimly atmospheric licked power electronics meets old school industrial sonics. Grass Breaks Concrete is the band second full length cdr release packed in a nice professional manner in a glossy paper oversized sleeve.

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Musique Machine Reviews

From Musique Machine:

Earthless – Live at Roadburn
Earthless are a jam band of sorts, who borrow heavily from heavy Japanese Psych along the lines of the Flower Travellin’ Band (with no vocals), mixed with the heavier side of Krautrock. Add Hawkwind into the mix in relation to the band’s “cosmic” side, and you’re partway there. The band has the lineup of a standard power trio. Drummer Mario Rubalcaba previously did time as the drummer for Hot Snakes, The Black Heart Procession, Rocket From the Crypt (under the alias of Ruby Mars) and Clikatat Ikatowi. As if that’s not enough, he was also a member of skateboard pioneer Tony Alva‘s pro-team. Bassist Mike Eginton and guitarist Isaiah Mitchell make up the rest of the band.

Glory Fckn Sun – Vision Scorched
Glory Fckn Sun is a collaboration between PseudoArcana label boss Anthony Milton, Ben Spiers and Simon O’Rorke. The label description says the band was ”formed in 2003 as a conduit for intense ritualistic sonic exploration” and that “Vision Scorched collects together one studio track and two live pieces. These range through long form rumbling distorted deep space explorations (complete with supernova and the odd blackhole), intense yet ethereal harsh noise to close with a droning metaphysical raga-esque paean to the great cosmic inevitable of the collapse of the sun, And of light itself.” How you can hope to intimate the destruction of the solar sytem through improvised noise is beyond me, but the band certainly makes a pretty good go at achieving said goal.

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S.N.O.W. – Sound Noise and Other Waves

Free Albums Galore delivers another recommended offering.

For the most part, the musical project S.N.O.W. is a quiet affair. Sound artists Federico Mosconi and Mauro Graziani creates sculptures of tones and noise. They describe the music as “sonic representations of experience and dream, expression of a moment, through life memories and towards an imaginary future” which gives a good idea of the complexity and drama that these seven tracks can deliver. Most of the music is ambient in nature but occasionally a track like “Crashing in The Snow” provides a good amount of industrial-like tension. This is an exceptional example of electronic experimentation that straddles the border between calming music and the avant-garde.

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