Reviews

Ocean Viva Silver, ‘The Sleep in Opera’

April 28, 2016

Ocean Viva Silver, ‘The Sleep in Opera’ The Sublunar Society, 2.8.16 The Sleep in Opera from French artist and experimental composer Ocean Viva Silver (Valérie Vivancos) is an ambient sound exploration into the soft hums of bodily relaxation. The conceptual album is devised wholly of field recordings made from a series of sleep happenings... 

Harry Knuckles, ‘Tónmennt’

April 21, 2016

Harry Knuckles, ‘Tónmennt’ FALK, 2.2.16 Tónmennt, attributed to Harry Knuckles, is reportedly the full-length debut from Reykjavik-based recorder Frímann Ísleifur Frímannsson… reportedly because there’s only a fairly thin thread to follow through the project’s backstory. I can say with certainty that... 

Joe McPhee, ‘Zurich (1979)’

April 13, 2016

Joe McPhee, ‘Zurich (1979)’ Astral Spirits, 1.22.2016 Joe McPhee knows two modes in the solo. He knows the warrior and he knows the sputter. He can occupy everything in between too, percussively amalgamating pieces of phrases, here and there. He is the truest definition of the jazz multi-instrumentalist, having occupied the flugelhorn,... 

John Bellows, ‘L O N G EP’

April 11, 2016

John Bellows, ‘L O N G EP’ Planted Tapes, 1.15.16 About once a year, I try to review a singer-songwriter and find myself working through a tangential monster of a preface having to do with the viability of the form and the lack of lyrical appreciation in today’s culture, based on an imagined transformation of the culture... 

The Body, ‘No One Deserves Happiness’

March 31, 2016

The Body, ‘No One Deserves Happiness’ Thrill Jockey Records, 3.18.2016 Some five or six years ago, I walked into a DIY spot full of unfamiliar crusties in a still unfamiliar midwestern town, expecting to see a punk show with all of the discomfort that comes with it; scenesters, dudes smashing into each other, drinking cold beer in even... 

Blind Alfred Reed, ‘Blind Alfred Reed: Appalachian Visionary’

March 25, 2016

Blind Alfred Reed, ‘Blind Alfred Reed: Appalachian Visionary’ Dust-to-Digital, 2.19.2016 Dust-to-Digital’s expansive new compilation of Virginia-born and West Virginia raised Blind Alfred Reed (1880-1956) is subtitled Appalachian Visionary, an appropriate sobriquet whatever his ocular condition. As a West Virginian, I’m particularly fond of our... 

Suspect, ‘Faux Empath’

March 17, 2016

Suspect, ‘Faux Empath’ Night-People Records, 1.24.2016 With its grisly imagery and blood spattered cover, it would be easy for one to assume that Faux Empath, the first tape from Chicago artist Suspect, is an enjoyably “experimental” release that follows in the rich history of “experimental”  artists... 

Sapropelic Pycnic, ‘A Love Supreme’

March 14, 2016

Sapropelic Pycnic, ‘A Love Supreme’ No Index, 1.5.2016 The first irony of covering John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme is that, for me at least, that work hardly served as an introduction to Coltrane. During my first explorations of jazz music, it was Ascension and Meditations that acquainted my ears with his uncanny vision. From this... 

Shapes / Melfi, ‘Split’

March 4, 2016

Shapes / Melfi, ‘Split’ Umor Rex Records, 1.8.2016 The day I am writing this review is also the six-month anniversary of my cubicle job. I stepped out of the classroom after nine years last May and, after a final summer vacation scouring Indeed and Glassdoor, landed a gig as a technical writer for a mortgage company. I offer... 

Sean McCann, ‘Pacifics’

February 29, 2016

Sean McCann, ‘Pacifics’ Recital Program, 1.15.2016 Pacifics is a new hardbound bit of experimental poetry and accompanying audio from Recital Program proprietor Sean McCann, released late last year alongside Italian sound poet Enzo Minarelli’s kabbalistic Romanzi Nelle. Though only the latter’s stated inspiration... 

V/A, ‘Absence’

February 16, 2016

V/A, ‘Absence’ Flaming Pines, 2.8.2016 Absence is a new compilation of Iranian experimental music organized by Flaming Pines proprietor Kate Carr, and curated by Arash Akbari — who also contributes its second track — with a particular ear to highlight Tehran’s ambient scene. The opening contribution... 

øjeRum, ‘The Forest Is Sleeping Within The Trees’

February 8, 2016

øjeRum, ‘The Forest Is Sleeping Within The Trees’ Scissor Tail Editions, 11.5.2015 Minimal, sad ambient that splits the difference between Gas and William Basinski. Paw Grabowski is øjeRum, a Copenhagen-based artist mining melancholy with a minimalist toolset. Much of his catalog has been released on low-run cassettes, carrying lo-fi, spindly, surreal... 

Kraus, ‘Golden Treasury’

February 1, 2016

Kraus, ‘Golden Treasury’ Oma333, 12.12.2015 For Auckland, New Zealand based sound explorer Pat Kraus (better known in D.I.Y circles as Kraus), Swedish cassette label Oma333’s reissue of his 2009 album Golden Treasury couldn’t have come at a better time. As the story goes, Oma333 chanced upon a copy of his excellent... 

Various Artists, ‘All the Little Devils Are Proud of Hell’

January 26, 2016

Various Artists, ‘All the Little Devils Are Proud of Hell’ Chondritic Sound, 9.11.2015 Chondritic Sound, the Los Angeles-based imprint with a quasi-healthy addiction to atonal ambiance, withered minimal and cold wave, severely industrial aesthetics, and just about everything in-between, celebrates its 300th release with All The Little Devils Are Proud of Hell,... 

Haku, ‘Ne Mele A Ka Haku (Music of Haku)’

December 15, 2015

Haku, ‘Ne Mele A Ka Haku (Music of Haku)’ EM Records, 10.17.2015 Haku is reportedly the alias of Frank Tavares, an obscure Hawaiian experimental composer who — in addition to any other accomplishments — produced at least one slipstream synth album of truly weird and spectacular proportions. Ne Mele A Ka Haku (Music of Haku) began... 

En, ‘City of Brides’

December 10, 2015

En, ‘City of Brides’ Students of Decay, 11.20.2015 It’s been three years since Already Gone, the second full-length from En, the Bay Area-duo featuring perennial astral travelers Maxwell August Croy (member of Portraits and co-head of Root Strata, with Jefre Cantu-Ledesma) and James Devane. But while the pair may... 

Steve Hauschildt, ‘Where All Is Fled’

November 16, 2015

Steve Hauschildt, ‘Where All Is Fled’ Kranky, 9.25.2015 A bit of orientation: referencing a tradition in electronic music with an intense cult following, Kranky calls Where All Is Fled “a modern kosmiche milepost.” Hauschildt’s former group, Emeralds, has its own deeply devoted fanbase and its own complex universe of musical influences.... 

Ki Oni, ‘Elephas’

November 11, 2015

Ki Oni, ‘Elephas’ 6.21.2015, Inner Islands “Chillwave is the iPhone 4 of music genres,” quoth my drunk and cynical friend, “hinging on its own planned obsolescence. It’s the soundtrack to Windows Vista and beta-testing apps.” We were stumbling across Brooklyn’s Williamsburg wasteland, away from the warehouses... 

Quicksails, ‘Fleurs De La Lune’

October 16, 2015

Quicksails, ‘Fleurs De La Lune’ Captcha Records, 8.24.2015 Chicago’s Ben Baker Billington is the workingman’s drummer, one of the everyday fixtures on the experimental/outsider circuit to lend his hand to everything from psychedelic grooves to freeform-ad hoc jazz/noise collaborations. While I was previously familiar with... 

Many Arms & Toshimaru Nakamura, ‘S/T’

October 14, 2015

Many Arms & Toshimaru Nakamura, ‘S/T’   Self-Released, 5.15.2015 Many Arms continue their series of collaborative LPs, shifting from freer-jazz pastures to pure noise indulgences on their latest album with Toshimaru Nakamura (Public Eyesore). Nakamura is an accomplished Japanese no-input mixer and experimental guitarist, and he opens... 
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