Sunday, June 9, 2013
Never ones to slow down, a new year brings even more Kinit Her material, manifesting in the soon-to-be-released Avant! Records LP The Poet & The Blue Flower. Focusing more on the song-oriented material of old, The Poet is a much more "flowing" affair in comparison to Schafer and Ritter's most recent efforts, pulling back from their Stockhausen and Crumb-inspired modern discordance in favor of beautiful, cascading violin work and warm ambiance.
Appearing later in the album, "Day and Night Together" is a shining example of this newly regained sense of concordance. A beautiful blend of Schafer and Ritter's acoustic and electronic interplay, pitted against their now signature, unique vocal approach, "Day and Night Together" is almost a departure from Kinit Her's usual rhythmic, churning neofolk for something resembling a Projekt Records darkwave release. Of course, in the context of the album itself, "Day and Night Together"'s darkwave qualities are merely a brief detour, but we should always expect the unexpected from Kinit Her. Pure brilliance.
The Poet & The Blue Flower will be available from the excellent post-punk/neofolk/darkwave/industrial powerhouse Avant! Records on June 21st.
Friday, June 7, 2013
With Glowing, Servile Sect's latest 10" EP, we see this duo's penchant for abstraction increase exponentially. A three-track excursion lasting a mere twenty-three minutes, Glowing shows Krnkr and Clmnt's compositions at their most mature and polarizing, no doubt to raise eyebrows and cause many an argument on various silly internet forums. Manifesting itself as a sort of slow metamorphosis, Glowing is an exercise in balance, with Krnkr and Clmnt shifting weight equally between their more alien, experimental side, and, of course, their black metal roots. Opener "Frenzy of Cubensis" shows Servile Sect at their most abstract and primal, a sort of blackened Throbbing Gristle jam, complete with a minimal industrial beat, odd, sequenced loops, and a distant black metal troll rasp. "Evoke" brings black metal guitar into the fold, erupting over a sampled tribal drum loop, again a vestige of their Throbbing Gristle influence, before fading into a bizarre bout of ambient noise. Closer "Blasting Beyond Vortex" shows Servile Sect going full-tilt, a near-thirteen-minute harsh black metal affair. Based around a consistent, droning riff, this might be black metal in the style of the greats like Paysage d'Hiver, Darkspace, and Vinterriket, this reviewer almost feels that Servile Sect is attempting to reverse their usual "black metal by way of noise" formula with a static "noise by way of black metal" track, almost mirroring the like-minded Wold's evolution (though much, much better).
What really sets this EP apart from other "space-themed black metal" bands is that it isn't based in the boring, bleak static which plagues the genre. No, there's something oddly explosive about this release, as it is with the entirety of Servile Sect's catalog. Krnkr and Clmnt's nebular approach glows at its brightest with this aptly-named release, which is only further accentuated by Mike Bjella's (GOG/Sounds of Battle and Souvenir Collecting) beautiful artwork. Expect a pre-order link via King of the Monsters Records within the next few days. Trust me, you want this one.
EDIT: HERE'S THE PREORDER LINK. GO NUTS.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The latest installation of his long-running Ulaan series is Ulaan Passerine. Though recognizable likenesses to its sister projects Ulaan Khol's "maximalist" psychedelic rock and Ulaan Markhor's distant, meditative folk stasis can be made, Ulaan Passerine manifests itself as an entirely new entity, almost a culmination and melding of Smith's entire body of work. A collection of four long-form compositions spanning over two c35 cassettes, amounting to around sixty-seven minutes in length, Ulaan Passerine's simultaneous attentiveness to pure atmosphere and memorable melodic inclusion, aspects of Smith's discography which were normally separate areas of concentration, manifesting themselves differently in each project, truly sets this new project apart from the seemingly endless list of Smith projects. Echoes of Hala Strana's pastoral, Eastern European-inspired folk make their way into the fold by way of mournful, almost Romani bowed string work and multi-modal melodies, which, when set against the Thuja-inspired multi-instrumental improvisation, results in a beautiful European East-meets-West fusion, a concept which has largely gone ignored in these sorts of circles. Beautiful sections of likely improvised guitar ragas only add to the deep, meditative setting Smith has set for this new project.
What is most special and impressive about Ulaan Passerine, aside from the fact that it is another Steven R. Smith project (again, I'm a fanboy), is that this is the first time I've seen Smith fully focus all his creative power on one project. Though it was awesome to fully inundate myself with new project among new project, basking in Smith's endless creativity one piece at a time, Ulaan Passerine's inclusion of every impressive aspect of Smith's discography, be it the memorable folk musings, the lulling comfort of a nice, warm drone, or the respected and tasteful bravery of truly adventurous experimenting, shows Smith taking his artistry to that fabled "next step." This is what I've been waiting for Smith to do all along, and I was so complacent with the satiety which comes with hours upon hours of material that I had no idea this is what I had always wanted. Fans of Smith's body of work will know not to miss this, but even the most passing fan of instrumental, psychedelic folk music will find great enjoyment in Ulaan Passerine. A beautiful and fitting companion to hazy Summer afternoons, late night bonfires, and the sound of rain.
This beautiful double-cassette will be available early this week from the always impressive Brave Mysteries, who are also celebrating the release of new material by Xenis Emputae Travelling Band, M.B., Art ABSCONs, Psichiatria Primo Piano, and Litüus. In the meantime, enjoy this beautiful video accompaniment made by label curator N. Ritter.
Ulaan Passerine from Brave Mysteries on Vimeo.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Maurice "Mories" de Jong is the source of more than a few of my nightmares. The tortured mastermind behind the praised Gnaw Their Tongues and Aderlating, Mories has destroyed minds and ears with his own brand of night terror fuel, crafting amorphous masses of mechanized flesh and delightfully destructive sadism. With a reputation which more than precedes him, more than a few jaws dropped when Mories unveiled his newest solo project, Seirom, whose sound is as much a reversal as the project's name.
You will not find Mories's disturbing insignia hidden within the walls of "Sparkle Night." There is no epiphanic vomiting of blood, nor is there pained shuddering, rather a beautiful display of loud, full, post-rock-inspired ambiance. Echoing the "maximum sound" approach of bands like Surface of Ece(y)on and the like, "Sparkle Night" draws from a variety of textures, from the warm, pulsing bass's depth to the shimmering, glass-like guitar work and smooth mellotron work, to create something that is as massive as it is entrancing and beautiful. Like waves crashing on a beach of sea glass or an Earthrise from some distant planet, Seirom is proof that Mories isn't the ball-gagged one trick pony he was once made out to be. Even the most tortured souls can make something beautiful, and "Sparkle Night" is most certainly beautiful.
"Sparkle Night" is the first half of a brand new Seirom cassette, which will be available in a week's time from Sulphurous Productions.
M O R I E S E I R O M
Sunday, March 31, 2013
We don't make a HUGE deal out of it, but pretty much the entirety of the core staff at The Inarguable loves The Body. For a couple of us, our first experience was mindlessly following Jon to a show he'd booked for them in Chicago in 2010.
We didn't really know what to expect, but with the opening chords of "Ruiner" we thought "If nothing else, this will be heavy." We weren't ready.
Then Chip switched on the other two thirds of his cabinets. I don't think I've ever seen jaws genuinely drop before, but my god if that wasn't the heaviest thing. What we didn't get from their show was what we enjoyed on record later: The Body's trademark strange samplenoise and remixperimentation.
In an interview with Mike Simpson of Invisible Oranges, Chip summed up what has to be the core of The Body's recorded sound: "You can’t get a record loud enough to shake your stomach, which is what we do live." "Master, We Perish" is another installment in a series of attempts to make it happen anyway: right there in the production is the carefully-sculpted sound of speakers about to rip themselves apart that I've only rarely even heard in the HNW cults that are supposed to be that and nothing else. Even when Lee's distinctive drums are alone, they're in a blur of stomach-shaking clipping.
Go get your ears blown out. Just remember they've only given us three songs and you'll need one of the full-lengths to finish you off.
Friday, March 29, 2013
Masayoshi Urabe, though generally known as a free jazz alto saxophonist, and a beautiful one at that, is something closer to a performance artist in many ways. As a member of the the performance art movement that grew up around noise music in Japan in the 1980's and 90's, Urabe's performances (often in collaboration with members of C.C.C.C., Hijokaidan, and the like) frequently evoke the Happenings of Black Mountain and the Fluxus movement, made new and strange by their echo in a different sociological world. He can be found perched in high places playing reed instruments all the way to the accordion (I dare not ask what the "Wonder Reed" mentioned in Kampanerura's liner notes is) while collaborators on the floor shriek horribly at length (Junko of Hijokaidan) or perform strange rituals in a Pierrot costume (Kei Kato).
Kampanerura begins, disorientingly, away from obvious reeds and cut off from recognizable acoustic sound sources. Temporally disjunct impacts, buzzes, and screeches set an urban-technological tone borne out further as Urabe manages to turn familiar rock guitar sounds into an alienating smattering of metrically disrupted extracultural gasps.
The whole of the album is more direct in a beautifully indirect way; like Urabe's prose in the album itself, the music is Urabe's voice flowing through the alto as poetry. His gradual arcs and bursts find the poetry of every infinitesimal bit of reverberation and silence between. Echoing the shapes of the city (nailed to a board warped by the sun) is the softly restrained drumming of Aural Fit's (improvized rock destruction group) Teruhisa Nanbu and Urabe's own performances on assorted less-vocal instruments.
" . . . that old painter woman with the screechy voice fron Nakano . . . If there's someone you want to kill, stop working out how you're going to do it and just do it. . . . If you want to demolish, then raze it to the ground."
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Francesca Marongiu's heady-yet-catchy electronic musings under the Crisne moniker and as half of Architeuthis Rex have taken us from the furthest reaches of outer space to the ocean's murkiest depths, but never before has she so explicitly taken us into the human psyche. With Agarttha, her newest solo effort, Marongiu pays homage to Carl Jung's studies of archetypal personalities and Polish alchemist Michael Sendivogius (whose work is quoted in the album's title, A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands) with a bit of alchemy all her own, intelligently fusing the ethereal qualities of psychedelia, folk, and ambiance with doom metal's depth and plod, all beautifully wrapped in her warm, emotive voice.
At eight minutes and forty-four seconds in length, "Visions of Alina" is not only A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands's longest offering, but also its most varied. A slow-burning array of sweeping pulses, excellently arranged electronic sampling, and a unique "heavy, but not heavy" atmosphere, laden with complex emotions and crushingly slow rhythms, "Visions" is the epitome of the darkness one finds in the light. The beauty of the flame draws the moth near, but its destructive heat ultimately brings about its demise, much like how "Visions of Alina"'s calm surface hides something sinister; something draining. The magnitude of this music will not fully hit you at first, but rather when you least expect it, manifesting as a slow frown on a sunny day or a late night bout of racing thoughts. There is terror in beauty. There is black pitch within the flame.
|Artwork by Rainbath Visual|
From the artist:
"From the backward special theatre of archetypes, Agarttha is a flashing journey into the past dream of a gypsy moth whom powder ferries the listener into the twists and turns of the unconscious among remote architectures of black pointed stones and echoes of warmth and light." -Francesca Marongiu/Agarttha
The A Water Which Does Not Wet Hands LP/poster is currently available for pre-order from the ever-challenging, ever-great King of the Monsters Records. The first 100 orders will receive purple vinyl. Support.