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Mar. 30th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Erik Friedlander - Sidriel

John Zorn's Masada project looks like it will finally be coming to an end this summer. After 24 years and somewhere over 600 songs, his creation of a 'new Jewish music' will finally be complete. It's a colossal achievement. I've not had the time or the resources to do more than scratch the surface of it, and I do worry that the volume of the work lessens the likelihood of it making a lasting cultural impact.

Here's a taste of what you might have missed. Sidriel comes from Volac - Book Of Angels, Vol. 8 (2007), and it's played by Erik Friedlander on solo cello. It's intense, moody and unmistakably holy music, played with unabashed lyricism.

Erik Friedlander - Sidriel
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Mar. 29th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Dinnerhorse - Filling My Butt With Jesus

Talent is great. It allows you to do all sorts of things that the rest of the world could never do. But it can also be restrictive. Chances are, if you know how good something can be, you're going to pass over lots of really bad ideas along the way. Lots of them. And some of those bad ideas can be brilliant.

If you had even an ounce of musical sense about you, you'd never attempt something like Filling My Butt With Jesus. I'm not saying that reflects badly on you, just that it takes a special kind of intelligence to play kids' music on a synth bassoon. And then add grindcore drums. And then speed those drums up so fast that they become an annoying hum. Most people can't do something like that. Most people aren't Dinnerhorse.

Dinnerhorse - Filling My Butt With Jesus
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Mar. 28th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Ursula K. Le Guin - Long Singing

When I was a teen I was fascinated by the worldbuilding that went into fantasy novels and roleplaying games. Too often it would get in the way of actual creativity - you'd spend more time drawing the contours of the land and charting its rivers than you would in coming up with stories or characters. But clearly for some creators it was a valid path; famously Tolkien created thousands of years of history and several languages for Middle Earth.

So it seems did Ursula K Le Guin. Her 1985 novel Always Coming Home was about a group of people known as the Kesh, and she didn't just write their story but also created their language and their music. She even designed their musical instruments. Alongside Buchla virtuoso Todd Barton she then built them, and recorded a cassette called Music and Poetry of the Kesh that was released alongside the hardback edition of the book. It's just been re-released.

The album is an odd mix of Native American influences and pieces that sound more like the theatrical music of Meredith Monk. One piece that stands out for its originality as well as its execution is Long Singing, a rich droning tapestry of chants that immediately fills the air. It's amazing that such a thing exists, and a fascinating glimpse into Le Guin's creative life.

Ursula K. Le Guin - Long Singing
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Mar. 27th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sawako - Lapon

Sawako describes herself as a sound sculptor, and with reason. Most of her recorded songs come in the form of exquisite miniatures, delicate electronic moments released into the wind. They are filled with silences and toy-like sonorities, minimal and gorgeous and designed to be heard but not held.

Lapon is something else. It starts in pop music and ends... well, I don't rightly know where it ends. Backing singers lift their throats and sing to the skies in writhing joy, but everything is stretched paper thin. The music is glitched, broken, running backwards and forwards. It's every bit as tender and fragile as the rest of her work, it sounds as if it is floating in space against a white background. But it's so immediate, so confounding, like nothing else I've ever heard. From the album Omnibus (2005).

Sawako - Lapon
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Mar. 26th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Welf Dorr Unit - Big Tree

Big Tree is a track from the brand new album Blood, a record that openly acknowledges the influence of the great James "Blood" Ulmer. In other words, it's hard to separate the funk from the rock from the free jazz in the music of the Welf Dorr Unit. They're the New York-based transatlantic quartet of Welf Dorr (reeds), Dave Ross (guitar), Dmitry Ishenko (bass) and Joe Hertenstein (drums).

I love Ross's intro to Big Tree. It sounds as if he's been enjoying all the Saharan sunbeam guitar sounds that have been doing the rounds of the underground, but he's not going to use them straight. Instead they transform into a thousand needles of sound which he trades with with Dorr. Electric jazz is alive and well.

Welf Dorr Unit - Big Tree
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Mar. 25th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Snuff - Hazy Shade of Winter

Want to hear a completely sincere punk rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's Hazy Shade of Winter? Of course you do. Snuff were mostly known for their novelty songs, and this could be considered as such except for the absolutely commitment to the tune that they show, finding new parts to the melody even as the amplification roars. Should be the definitive version. Taken from the 1990 EP Flibbiddydibbiddydob.

Snuff - Hazy Shade of Winter
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Mar. 24th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Wretched Excess - Suburban Decay

Wretched Express hail from Kansas City, and that's everything I know about the act. Not to be confused by the thrash metal outfit of the same name (presumably) the music is the sort of lushly remembered hauntology of Leyland Kirby or Valentin Silvestrov. Suburban Decay comes from the 2013 cassette A Piece of Infinity, and it sounds like a small string ensemble slowly floating away on a raft. You're adrift too. You cannot help them. Just watch and listen as they pass by and head on towards the horizon.

Wretched Excess - Suburban Decay
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Mar. 23rd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Low Orbit Drift - Shuttle

We all know about film noir and its associated musical forms. Things are going to sound jazzy, smoky, take place in some kind of lounge of varying degrees of corruption. We might even get some kind of environmental sounds, rain or traffic. It's going to be slow and seductive, and immediately familiar.

But what of music that has that same instant familiarity, that same noirishness, but is light years away from the 1940s? Perhaps the answer can be found in Udo Fischer's Low Orbit Drift. Over a series of self-released albums he took doom and transposed it into space. You'll be immediately familiar with the language of Shuttle from Wheels In Motion (2011), the moody ambience, the sinuous synths, and that is perhaps why it works so well. Music full of the emptiness and romance of interstellar flight.

Low Orbit Drift - Shuttle
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Mar. 22nd, 2018

cyberinsekt

Drinks - Hermits On Holiday

Drinks find the psychedelic within the simplicity of naive outsider indie pop. For me, it's impossible to listen to them without hearing echoes of Young Marble Giants, with the disconnect between the distant and chilly vocals and constructivist keyboard and guitar patterns. Tim Presley's music seems made from the leftover pieces at the bottom of the brick barrel, and Cate Le Bon's vocals never offer easy entry for meaning. This 2015 single is artful but remains full of charm, and was doubtless made with far more care and attention than its line-drawing aesthetic suggests.

Drinks - Hermits On Holiday
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Mar. 21st, 2018

cyberinsekt

Sister Iodine - Napalmee

If you know anything about Doklands, it should be that we love the sound of dirty amps and waves of feedback. Those two things are there in plenty in the pulsating noise of Napalmee, from the album Flame Desastre (2009).

Sister Iodine are a French trio who mix the limits of experimental rock with out and out noise, often in exhilarating fashion. Their music is raw, intense, and almost entirely atonal. Despite having been together a quarter of a century, on and off, they have only five albums to their name. That's the kind of restraint we wholeheartedly endorse, self-documenters.

Sister Iodine - Napalmee
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Mar. 20th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Vecchio - Nsambei

What if I were to tell you that some of the best afrobeat ever recorded came not from Nigeria or Ghana, but from Spain? And that it was made not for commercial release but for a production music company? And yet that's the case. Luis Vecchio and some unknown studio musicians made the album Afrorock for the De Wolfe library in the 1970s, and it is absolutely fucking killer. Nsambei is funky, has amazing percussion breaks, showcases Vecchio's swirling discordant psych organ, and has a metal bassline that's heavy as anything. Genuinely extraordinary stuff, and so deserving of better treatment than it got first time around.

Vecchio - Nsambei
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Mar. 19th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Pan Daijing - Eat

Born in China and working in Berlin, Pai Daijing creates startling and essential contemporary no wave noise. Eat comes from her album Lack (2017), and it's a headlong rush through electric landscapes that sound barely touched by human hands. It's primal noise, full of hum and crackle and vast neon caverns. Exhilarating and terrifying at once.

Pan Daijing - Eat
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Mar. 18th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Ron Morelli - island Bore

Call Island Bore minimal techno concrète and I wouldn't disagree with you. It's a fascinating piece from the man behind Long Island Electrical Systems, seemingly made from microphone noise and little else. All of the sonic accidents that come from brushing again the mic, dropping or fumbling with it, they become the raw materials for Morelli's discomfort. From the 2014 release Periscope Blues.

Ron Morelli - island Bore
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Mar. 17th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Madensuyu - One More Time

Not entirely sure what to make of One More Time by the Belgian duo Madensuyu, but I do know I've not heard anything like it in many years. PJ Vervondel plays drums, Stijn Ylode De Gezelle plays keyboards, and they both sing. Given that musical palette, what would it sound like if they were to go for theatrical rock that echoes Michael Nyman's blend of Mozart and minimalism? It's the damnedest thing, full of great passions and entirely unashamed. Taken from the 2018 album Current.

Madensuyu - One More Time
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Mar. 16th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Mattiel - Send It On Over

Send It On Over is like something out of time. It's a profoundly cinematic bit of folk/blues that took a wrong turning sometime in the golden age of Hollywood westerns and has only just found its way home. Before turning to music Mattiel worked in advertising so by rights she should be the fucking enemy, but I can kind of forgive her when she's got a voice like a waterfall cutting through the baked earth. Powerful, strident, deeply tuneful; taken from the 2017 album Mattiel.

Mattiel - Send It On Over
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Mar. 15th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Iona Fortune - Xu

I think I've written before about how at times it's possible to mistake Chinese music for Celtic. That would again seem to be the case on Iona Fortune's Xu from her 2017 album The Tao of I. It promises to be the first in an 8 album cycle, with one track per hexagram in the I Ching. That's an admirably ambitious project, but I remain suspicious of anyone who doesn't have the gadfly temperament, forever wanting to move on to new work.

Xu (or "Attending", I guess) mixes traditional Chinese instrumentation with modern electronics, adding a low booming to what sounds like a guzheng harp. It's a quietly introspective piece, dark and careful, seemingly waiting for the moment to pounce. That never comes. There's no comfort here, save a respect for the discipline involved. Very unusual to hear these sounds put to such experimental effect.

Iona Fortune - Xu
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Mar. 14th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Fire! - The Hands

2018 opened with a new album by Johan Berthling, Mats Gustafsson and Andreas Werliin, so no matter what else happens at least there is some measure of joy to be had in this hellworld. Here's the title track, The Hands. It's a simple enough beast, a repeating bass riff that keeps being given new harmonic shade by Gustafsson's muscular extended baritone sax line. Music doesn't get more masculine than this. Particularly love the crackle and hum of the electronic overlay at work here, it's as if Fire! are playing under a failing fluorescent lighting rig and they've got to get this track done before they're plunged into darkness.

Fire! - The Hands
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Mar. 13th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Katie von Schleicher - Baby Don't Go

Baby Don't Go is extraordinary pop avant-nostalgia from the Brooklyn-based singer Katie von Schleicher. She sings a gale while guitars crash out a tune that sounds as if it's being played on busted old speakers in an idyllic pre-irony version of the 1970s. All the passion in the world fits in the palm of your hand as a portable transistor radio plays her music for you on medium wave. Von Schleicher is far away and you, you're gone. From the 2015 album Bleaksploitation.

Katie von Schleicher - Baby Don't Go
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Mar. 12th, 2018

cyberinsekt

The Black Mages - The Man With The Machine Gun

It's been years and years since I played Final Fantasy VIII. I remember running about a city and either trying to shoot someone in a motorcade, or stop someone in a motorcade from being shot. Either way there was a whole lot of assassination going on, and I was down with that. It was the story about all the orphans who were trained to become child soldiers, and somehow the organisation doing that were meant to be the good guys? I don't know, I lost track during the interminable flashbacks and dream sequences.

But as stupid and confusing as the plot was, so was the music memorable. Here's one of the game's better tunes, Nobuo Uematsu's The Man With The Machine Gun. It's played by The Black Mages, who interpret Final Fantasy music as that glossy keyboard metal once so beloved of Japanese teens. It all works terribly well. Overblown melodrama done properly from the 2004 album The Skies Above.

The Black Mages - The Man With The Machine Gun
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Mar. 11th, 2018

cyberinsekt

Normil Hawaiians - New Standard

Strictly speaking, Normil Hawaiians were a couple of years too late to be considered part of the UK post-punk scene. And maybe, strictly speaking, their take on experimentalism was fuelled by other drugs: definitely an acid rather than a speed band. But they definitely were an exciting and creative band. New Standard from their 1982 album More Wealth Than Money perhaps speaks more to where they came from than where they were going, but it remains one of their finest moments. Sounds like Tom Verlaine playing krautrock, bright and dangerous and insistent.

Normil Hawaiians - New Standard
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