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Nov. 27th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Vivenza - Aérobruitisme Dynamique

There's a growing consensus that the term "guilty pleasure" is an unhelpful one. It holds that we should embrace the music we love, that if we are pure of heart then all our faves should be unproblematic. Should should should. It is not a consensus to which I subscribe.

Aérobruitisme Dynamique is an extraordinary piece of music by the French composer Jean-Marc Vivenza. His work sometimes gets classified as industrial, but he sees it as continuation of the bruitisme of Russolo and the futurists. This track dates to 1994 and is made almost entirely of the sound of jet engines. 16 minutes of whirring turbine noises certainly isn't for everyone, but where Vivenza triumphs is by making his music so extraordinarily physical. These don't sound like abstract jets. They sound like part of the real world, and we are right there amidst them. His work is like Stockhausen's in that the listener is not some separate entity but right there in the middle of the action.

And while I love the sound and the artistry of this, I cannot help but be wary. As we all know, the futurists were absorbed into the Italian fascist party, and those who seek to continue their work ignore this at their peril. And Vivenza did not ignore this, but rather glorified in it. Outside his music, he is a neo-reactionary of the worst kind, swimming in a toxic soup of monarchism, esoteric obscurantism and European supremacy. Some listeners may be able to ignore this when listening to his music; I cannot. This pleasure is as guilty as they come.

Vivenza - Aérobruitisme Dynamique
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Nov. 26th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Language Removal Services - 60 second anthology of American poetry

We are blind and deaf to the familiar. We think of speech as something made entirely of language, but it is more than that. Speech is full of inhalations and lip smacks that are never recognised: the unconscious noises we make when we halter or pause, the dramatic breathing that give extra emphasis. How do we approach these sounds? One way is to use Language Removal Services, which take portions of speech and strip away anything with obvious meaning, leaving only the exoskeletons of our words. I'm not entirely sure of the original sources used for their 60 second anthology of American poetry, although I'd lay money on one of the original speakers being William S Burroughs. Is there meaning to be found in these extra-linguistic sounds? I leave that for you to decide, but there is undoubtedly drama.

Language Removal Services - 60 second anthology of American poetry
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Nov. 25th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Bruce Ditmas - L'Unita

As a jazz drummer, Bruce Ditmas played backup for Barbra Streisand and Judy Garland. Nothing wrong with that. But as a composer, when he wasn't putting bread on the table, he produced some of the most wacked out electronic shit of the 1970s. L'Unita comes from his 1977 album Yellow and is full of aleatory synth notes and utterly barmy drum machine breaks. It takes a few harmonic cues from the furthest out experiments of Paul Bley and Herbie Hancock, but its unrelenting commitment to full speed sequencing is unmatched. It's all sixteenths, all the time, and not a beat is missed. There's probably good reason nobody ever followed up on this madness, but damn is it good to know that those early experiments were done.

Bruce Ditmas - L'Unita
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Nov. 24th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Charalambides - Voice Within

Tom and Christina Carter always made the most fragile music of all their experimental folk / post-rock peers. Even so, Voice Within is a particularly delicate number. First appearing on the album Houston (1998) it would later surface on a split tour CD-r they released with Scorces, most of which would see later release as the album Unknown Spin (2003). Here's that version, full of holy keening vocals caressed by electric guitars. It's almost painful.

Charalambides - Voice Within
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Nov. 23rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Hu Vibrational - Soma

Drumming music can be as multicoloured as you like, but it tends to emphasise one thing: the hit. The moment when hand or stick strikes the skin. We think of percussive music as being a bright thing, it can be dense but it is always sharp.

The udu drum of Nigeria is different. It's made of clay, is filled half full of water, doesn't have a skin, and its most characteristic sound comes not from striking the vessel itself, but from palm strikes that force air through its side or top holes. It makes an uncanny booming bass sound.

Hu Vibrational combine that with more wooden-sounding drums, the bass of guest star Bill Laswell, and the scrawled line guitar of Eivind Aarset. Soma comes from their fourth album, the 2015 release The Epic Botanical Beat Suite, and it's a track as deep as blood. The rhythms lull you, but the guitar is always there to spread unease. A profoundly unsettling piece of music.

Hu Vibrational - Soma
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Nov. 22nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kim Myhr - Sort Sol

When Kim Myhr plays guitar, you can hear all the overtones that come from the strings dancing beneath his fingertips. You can also hear sudden shrieks of feedback, pulsing drones, ghastly melismas, and amplified crunches. Yet even amidst all the noise he brings to his music, there's an intense intimacy that comes from the close up of finger and wire.

Sort Sol comes from his 2016 release Bloom, and it's more than just a testament to the breadth of his guitar vocabulary, it's a genuinely exciting piece of truly original music. I'm unsure as to how much is improvised and how much composed, but it certainly seems to benefit from extensive overdubbing. Either way, this qualifies as some of the most interesting solo guitar work I've heard in several years. Strong recommend.

Kim Myhr - Sort Sol
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Nov. 21st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp - So We All

That few people have heard of the Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp speaks volumes about the Anglocentric music world. So We All is from their 2018 album Sauvage Formes, and it's as beguiling and big-hearted a piece of chamber pop as a 14-piece ensemble ever did play. It's an enormously positive thing, packed full of concentrated musicality and deliciousness. It makes it all the more thrilling when the scraping strings and guitar join in to provide the dissonance and chaos. Might be the only song I know where the loping, lazy bass line is played all on xylophone.

Orchestre Tout Puissant Marcel Duchamp - So We All
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Nov. 20th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Paavoharju - Aurinkotuuleen

Paavoharju stopped recording in 2013, leaving behind them one of the more interesting avant-folk legacies. Aurinkotuuleen comes from their 2011 compilation Ikkunat Näkevät. It's a rush of yearning: holy plaintive voices soar over tumbling piano, and the whole affair is nearly drowned out by a rush of surface noise. It translates as 'solar wind' and that's perhaps appropriate: a plume of plasma that disorients everything it touches. Fearsomely dramatic and more lo-fi that you would care to believe.

Paavoharju - Aurinkotuuleen
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Nov. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Kikagaku Moyo - Backlash

Here's more space rock magnificence from Kikagaku Moyo. Some of the guitar breakdowns are nothing less than pure early '70s acid blues, but that sense of them being musical cosplayers has long gone. On Backlash, the opening track from Stone Garden (2017), that's in no small part due to the lo-fi dirtiness that hangs over proceedings. The distorted groove is just filthy. What lifts it to the next level though is the drumming of Go Kurasawa, full of muscular curls and restless energy. Top rock noise, thanks.

Kikagaku Moyo - Backlash
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Nov. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Circuit des Yeux - Brainshift

Some people have been listening to Haley Fohr sing for 10 years now. While I quite understand that you might resent them for their good fortune, sometimes it's better just to sit back and listen. No better place for that than with her most recent album, the 2017 release Reaching for Indigo. She's usually tagged as an experimental folk artist, but listen to the solemn minimalist drones here, and her deep, rich, declarative voice and it's hard not to think of her as a religious performer. Fohr could have been one of the great contralto performers of spirituals, and frankly I rather wish she'd give it a go. Brainshift is arresting and astounding. Don't go a day longer without it.

Circuit des Yeux - Brainshift
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Nov. 17th, 2018

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Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Big Baby

The Canadian lounge/surf/punk outfit Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet didn't normally have vocals on their tracks. But then they didn't normally collaborate with underground comics artist Charles Burns, either. Big Baby is titled after the Burns strip of the same name, and shares much of the original's mixture of innocence and fear. If you're lucky, nothing will ever be as terrifying as your childhood, and this captures the horrors that the young imagination finds in a suburban setting. It's from the soundtrack to the film Comic Book Confidential and can be found on some versions of the Savvy Show Stoppers album.

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Big Baby
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Nov. 16th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Pauline Oliveros - A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes

Crone Music is more than just the soundtrack to King Lear, it's some of the most texturally rich drone music ever created. Pauline Oliveros' 1990 release has her treating her accordion with a wide range of effects pedals to produce the feeling of great dread and apprehension. A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes is the existential nausea equivalent of the ASMR tingle.

Pauline Oliveros - A woman sees how the world goes with no eyes
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Nov. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette - You Know, You Know

If you only know Keith Jarrett from his acoustic piano and disconcerting groaning, you'd be hard pressed to identify the keyboard player on this. You Know, You Know dates to 1971 and comes from the album Ruta and Daitya which Jarrett recorded with drummer Jack DeJohnette. DeJohnette is rather more recognisable, there's something about the way he hangs around a cymbal to provide colour that no one else ever seemed to do. But this is the electric Jarrett, with a funky keyboard sound and digging deep into the blues for his jazz. He steps away from convention for a few audacious chromatic spells, perhaps a signpost for the player he was to become. But it's unfair to listen to this solely as a precursor to other music, and I have to say I really enjoy how far the younger Jarrett can take the tune away from where you think it's going, and how quickly he can bring it back again. No surprise that he was such a fan of Thelonious Monk.

Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette - You Know, You Know
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Nov. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

E Ruscha V - The Hostess

Sometimes you see a band name and immediately want to listen to them. I'm an unashamed fan of the artist Ed Ruscha, so anyone using his name was going to set off my radar. Turns out E Ruscha V isn't just using that name for music. He's Ed Ruscha's son Eddie, and the V is that weird affectation of wannabe dynastic American families.

That aside, The Hostess from the album Who Are You (2018) turns out to be genuinely great. It's a minor piece, slight and wistful, matching pellucid keyboard tones with lazy steel guitar. They feel like sounds plucked out of time; as they fade together into an electronic squall you feel privy to some sad decline, their sonic comfort gone to seed.

E Ruscha V - The Hostess
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Nov. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sourakata Koite - Ha-Madi

Sourakata Koite is a Senegalese kora player whose album En Hollande is supposed to be getting a re-issue rather shortly. It was recorded in 1984 in a studio beside a dike, Koite having emigrated to Europe in the 1970s. Ha-Madi is a traditional tune, and he gives it great legs. None of your moody kora meanderings here, this is sharp and bright and zips along like nobody's business. You won't hear many better examples of West African polyrhythmicism than this. Genuinely astounding that it's just one guy playing all those crossing lines all at once. Deeply satisfying.

Sourakata Koite - Ha-Madi
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Nov. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Thuja - All Strange Beasts of the Past II

Thuja was an improv group from the noughties that featured Doklands favourite Steven R Smith. It was a fine setting for his melancholy folk explorations, which here are a hauntological take on a Penguin Café Orchestra rehearsal session. It's the sound of dusty rooms and shuffling feet, the ambience of distant traffic and old tape decks. Nothing ever locks in place the way it could, and the awful pain of nostalgia never leaves the frame. An untitled track from the 2003 album All Strange Beasts of the Past.

Thuja - All Strange Beasts of the Past II
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Nov. 11th, 2018

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Arca - Piel

Arca is the alias of Alejandro Ghersi, a Venezuelan producer and singer. Piel comes from his 2017 release Arca. It's the sound of holy suffering, as Ghersi sings in a counter-tenor against feedback whines and sinister keys. But he's unaffected by all of that. Spirit and body have been severed, self-flagellation is over and he's floating on a raft of endorphins. Introspection is always secretly creepy.

Arca - Piel
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Nov. 10th, 2018

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Yussef Kamaal - Strings of Light

If this is the new jazz-funk then we are in a golden age. Yussuf Dayes (drums) and Kamaal Williams (keyboards) play an entirely modern, post-jungle take on the style. Williams plays with sonic washes that occasionally smear, and he's joined by spacecat trumpet and some particularly muscular electric bass. But Dayes is a complete fucking star here, loose and expressionistic, but with skins as dry as you like. I need to hear more by this London duo. Strings of Light comes from the 2016 album Black Focus.

Yussef Kamaal - Strings of Light
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Nov. 9th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Lea Bertucci - At Dawn

Now here's how you make minimal ambient music: Lea Bertucci uses only two notes in the entirety of At Dawn, but the electronic treatments and wide range of found sounds make for a piece of distinctive texture. Forget about ambient music being for relaxation, this is neurotic stuff. No answers are to be found in the held notes of this ominous cadence, and no comfort either. Five minutes of existential disquiet from the 2018 release Metal Aether.

Lea Bertucci - At Dawn
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Nov. 8th, 2018

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Susumu Yokota - Uchu Tanjyo

Susumu Yokota was a prolific composer of electronic music. Some of it was was a sort of ambient new age techno, as perplexing as that might seem, heavy on the samples. Some of it was a lot more commercial than that. However, there's no denying that he was a tremendously musically literate guy, as you can hear on his standout albums Sakura (1999) and Grinning Cat (2001). Uchu Tanjyo comes from Sakura, and it's an elegantly constructed melding of wood drums and echo-heavy wobble guitar. Rather neat.

Susumu Yokota - Uchu Tanjyo
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