Reviews

Grand Mal X, “Stealth Minds”

September 12, 2014

Grand Mal X, “Stealth Minds” Black Horizons, 12/12/2013 Stealth Minds arrived in my mailbox with some amazing packaging and some more amazing artwork, along with a polite decline to offer the digital downloads, preferring the listener engage in the ritual of cassette listening. I’ve been forced to put it off for a while now,... 

Blood Wedding / Timothy Morton / Marlo Pascual, “A Survey of Locked Modes”

September 9, 2014

Blood Wedding / Timothy Morton / Marlo Pascual, “A Survey of Locked Modes” Future Audio Graphics, 3/14/2014 A Survey of Locked Modes is the second release from Future Audio Graphics, a new imprint based in Queens, New York. The label’s mission is unusual and very specific: each limited edition, full color gatefold LP is a three-way collaboration between a visual artist,... 

M. Sage, “A Singular Continent”

August 26, 2014

M. Sage, “A Singular Continent” Patient Sounds, 2/27/2014 Matthew Sage’s music is immersive. There’s a considerable depth to his sonic constructions, such that upon witness, a perceptual illusion is created in which the five senses are folded onto each other into a single, whole body experience. At least that’s how... 

Ray Creature, “S/T”

August 22, 2014

Ray Creature, “S/T” Sister Cylinder, 6/17/2014 Sprung from an unlikely seeming habitat for quality dark wave, Bloomington, Indiana’s Ray Creature craft some seriously dark and startling synth pop. Though I previously thought the genre’s greatest achievements were limited to the UK and Europe alone — even in its ’80s... 

Erik K. Skodvin, “Flame”

August 15, 2014

Erik K. Skodvin, “Flame” Sonic Pieces, 6/15/2014 Fractured rhythms drive dreary, cinematic boneyard grooves on Erik K. Skodvin’s latest. A Berlin-based record label boss (of the phenomenal Miasmah Recordings), visual artist, and musician, Skodvin recently birthed Flame, the second half of his “Americana inspired” two-album... 

Mamman Sani, “Taaritt”

August 12, 2014

Mamman Sani, “Taaritt” Sahel Sounds, 5/13/2014 Taaritt, an astounding synth-driven journey through Saharan pentatonic heaven, is one of the latest rediscovered pieces of music from the Western Sahel region hitting store shelves these days. Mamman Sani’s compositions may delight you, or inspire you through some kind of disinterested... 

Taiga Remains, “Works for Cassette”

July 31, 2014

Taiga Remains, “Works for Cassette” Helen Scarsdale Agency, 5/17/2014 In an interview conducted at the beginning of 2014, Alex Cobb described his preference for recording in the morning. “I almost exclusively make music early in the morning, before the day has gotten started,” he said. “I think there’s something about... 

Symbol, “Online Architecture”

July 30, 2014

Symbol, “Online Architecture” Holodeck Records, 5/8/2014 From its fluttery first moments, Symbol’s Online Architecture places texture on equal footing with music. This is familiar, intentional, and noteworthy mainly in how it succeeds. Symbol is Christopher Royal King, founding member of This Will Destroy You and lender-of-hand... 

Mohammad, “Zo Rèl Do”

July 24, 2014

Mohammad, “Zo Rèl Do” Antifrost, May 2014 At around 140-150db, the physical movement of the air makes it feel as if the body is being compressed under water (the threshold of pain – yes, pain – is 130db). At around 180db the brain “liquifies.” I’m willing to wager that if Mohammad‘s latest... 

Jackie McDowell, “Baptisia”

July 21, 2014

Jackie McDowell, “Baptisia” Hairy Spider Legs, 4/22/2014 Under various solo and collaborative aliases, Jackie McDowell has quietly been creating a remarkable body of work across numerous small-run releases on such fine imprints as Digitalis, Stunned, and her own Biological Radio. As Inez Lightfoot, in particular, she melded an... 

Cleared, “Drown”

July 17, 2014

Cleared, “Drown” Immune Recordings, 5/20/2014 Cleared‘s first two albums for Immune Recordings both lead up to Drown, the final album in a trilogy and one of pure release. While Breaking Day was noisier than their self-titled début, both of those albums traded in tension and stunning suspense. Instantly, the... 

Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal”

July 14, 2014

Parquet Courts, “Sunbathing Animal” What’s Your Rupture?/Mom + Pop, 3/6/2014 “We caught slacker punks Parquet Courts in London last night” (The Line of Best Fit) In case you missed it, New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is retiring this year. The veteran shortstop receives standing ovations in every city, which I personally... 

Many Mansions, “Night Sesh”

July 9, 2014

Many Mansions, “Night Sesh” MJMJ Records, 6/17/2014 Many Mansions’ new album, Night Sesh, is an electronic album with the word “night” in the title and an image of a neon hand driving a neon car through darkness on the cover. If one was taking a few mental shortcuts, this album might seem full of shadows, murkiness, and... 

V/Vm, “The Death of Rave (A Partial Flashback)”

July 8, 2014

V/Vm, “The Death of Rave (A Partial Flashback)” History Always Favours the Winners, 5/29/2014 When James Leyland Kirby came of age in Manchester, England in the early 1990s, he took advantage of all the things that such a privileged position in time and space bequeaths to wry, intellectual, drug-addled, anti-establishment music obsessives. He was... 

Lawrence English, “Wilderness of Mirrors”

July 2, 2014

Lawrence English, “Wilderness of Mirrors” Room40, 7/21/2014 Once in a while, an artist comes along and throws the rulebooks of their craft out the window. On much rarer occasions, audiences can hardly discern this gesture until the proverbial books’ torn pages lay scattered in grimy gutters and alleyways. Lawrence English is one of those... 

Imperial Topaz, “Full of Grace”

June 27, 2014

Imperial Topaz, “Full of Grace” Tranquility Tapes, 2/18/2014 Tranquility Tapes has one of the most instantly recognizable visual aesthetics in all of the cassette underground. This, of course, is credited to the artistic talents of Caroline Teagle, sibling of Tranquility Tapes head Franklin Teagle. Caroline’s striking and colorful... 

Indian, “From All Purity”

June 27, 2014

Indian, “From All Purity” Relapse Records, January 2014 One of the best recent heavy releases I’ve heard found its way to my ears this month1. The album is called From All Purity. The band is called Indian. The album comes to us from Relapse Records. The band comes to us from Chicago. It is impossible to buy an Indian... 

Virilio, “Signature”

June 26, 2014

Virilio, “Signature” Record Label Record Label, 1/1/2014 A white sheet hangs in front of a black backdrop on the cover of Signature, and right away we’re shuffled into what will surely be a mysterious production. What are they hiding behind there exactly? What’s beneath the curtain? The fact that it could be... 

Popnoname, “7°”

June 23, 2014

Popnoname, “7°” Camp Magnetics, January 2014 In a number of ways, Jens-Uwe Beyer’s Popnoname guise exists at the precise intersect of Kompakt’s signature pop, techno, and ambient sounds while simultaneously branching out into the label’s more experimental offshoot Magazine imprint as a member of Cologne... 

Keir Neuringer, “Ceremonies Out of the Air”

June 19, 2014

Keir Neuringer, “Ceremonies Out of the Air” New Atlantis Records, 5/22/2014 Keir Neuringer uses his New Atlantis début, Ceremonies Out of the Air to hijack the crazed ensemble energy of free jazz and apply it in a visceral, lonely setting. Neuringer’s loneliness is not one of sadness, but one of individual tenacity and destiny. Ceremonies... 
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