Here’s a nice treat I tracked down just yesterday – a collection of tunes that sound like the broken remnants of a pop song trying to reassemble itself before getting stomped back into pieces. It’s the creation of a gent named Peter Falkson, about whom I know absolutely nothing. And as a longtime fan of Jandek, I’m very much okay with being in the dark on this. Especially when the music is this good.
Speaking with Daniel Schultz about this project the other night got me terribly excited for its future and its impact on the noise scene. An unapologetic and heartfelt exploration of religion in the modern sphere through the lens of noise music. Schultz, who is the voice and spirit behind the label Apneic Void and the experimental project Troubled By Insects, debuted this project at last month’s Eugene Noise Festival and just unleashed its debut cassette for all to hear and purchase. I suggest you do both.
On a day when a famed fashion designer started his own record label and a certain high profile music festival announced that they were opening their arms even wider to Grammy winning artists at the expense of all the no name, little known bands struggling to be heard above the fray, and on a day when video has been released of art/music collective Pussy Riot being attacked by men with whips in Sochi…I was despairing quite a bit about the state of the world and the art that I love so dearly.
What shook me out of my malaise was this new collection of scatterbrained electronic sun flares created by Phil Rawsthorne under the name Lounge Gizzard. Punny name aside, this is the perfect salve to the system. A fucked up reminder that amid the chaos of our slowly devolving planet, there are sparks of brilliance, beauty, and daring that we can cling on to like a lifeboat. Give it a listen here and grab a hold; we’ll ride out this storm together.
Former Explode Into Colors drummer Lisa Schonberg spent some time last year exploring the dwindling habitat of the Hylaeus bees of Hawaii, insects threatened by pollution and the ever-encroaching modern world. Part of her efforts included using the trip as a musical inspiration for her current project Secret Drum Band. As you’ll hear from these three tracks, out on cassette via Curly Cassettes, some of that inspiration comes from field recordings of other animals and insects, including the coqui frogs. But the majority of it seems to come from some elemental force oozing out of the earth on the Hawaiian islands and from the percussion heavy rumble of music born of the state’s native population.
Sometimes the simplest of music is the most powerful. Take this long drone piece, played on viola by Justin Smith aka Information. There’s not much to it, just a slow layering of notes, but it creates this mass effect that is reminiscent of Jonny Greenwood’s work on There Will Be Blood or some of the more terrifying Ligeti choices that ended up in 2001.
Amazing music for an important cause. Marcus Fischer and Ted Laderas (aka The OO-Ray), two experimental musicians of Filipino descent, are releasing Tulong, a two-track digital single to help aid Humanitarian Response Philippines, a non-profit helping residents of the island nation rebuild their homes after the destruction wrought by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
It’s a mere $5—though they and I encourage you to drop a little extra cash in the donation jar—for two gorgeous tracks, one recorded live in 2012 at Beacon Sound Records and another recorded late last year at Fischer’s home studio.
The initial e-mail that I received about this project – a creation of Veritable Showers of Beauty member Steven J. Wilkens III – referenced the fact that there were 23 or so physical copies of this release “floating about the planet.” I like the idea of this weird, watery, intense batch of songs getting exchanged by folks around the globe, each one listening and taking some piece of inspiration from it before handing it off to another likeminded soul. I imagine this being used as background noise for meditation or as the ambient soundtrack to a store that sells incense and essential oils. I imagine this getting mixed into a dark, late night DJ set on radio or between sets at black metal show. I also imagine you poor souls sitting at your desk jobs, trying to get any work done while letting the creeping beauty and magic of this four song collection of processed field recordings and gamelan performances soak into your brain. Good luck with that.
Thollem McDonas is one of the preeminent improvisers in the music world today, and one of the most tireless. He has spent the majority of his adult life on the road, performing live or holding composition workshops or simply making a racket of some form or other with musicians both well- and little-known. Along the way, he has amassed an inspiring discography of live and live-in-studio recordings.
We’re featuring Keyngdrum Overdrive, one of his most recent releases, here on the blog today not only because it is damn amazing, but also due to its local connections. It is being made available digitally via former Portland imprint Union Pole Records, and it features McDonas on electric piano collaborating with a variety of drummers that includes hometown heroes like Heather Treadway, John Niekrasz, and Lisa Schonberg.
If the sound of a rhythm section pared down to its most blazing and enveloping parts wasn’t enough to convince you to download, keep in mind that all proceeds from the sale of this new record will go to benefit The Hylaeus Project. Here’s how it is described on Thollem’s website:
Drummer/artist/writer Lisa Schonberg spent a month in the summer of 2013 with artist Aidan Koch in Hawaii working on a multimedia documentation of the rare native Hawaiian Hylaeus and their habitats.
The 60 species of Hylaeus bees are the only bees that are native to Hawaii. Their habitat is increasingly rare, and several species have been petitioned to be listed as endangered species. Lisa and Aidan’s fieldwork have been collected in a book, The Hylaeus Project. Lisa also composed new works based on soundscapes in Hylaeus habitats for her percussion ensemble Secret Drum Band, and a recording will be released in 2014.
I’ve talked up Jason Goodrich, the man behind technicolor yawn, earlier this year, but as with any prolific artist of his make and model, his work is worth circling back to and highlighting in whatever garish pastel color you choose. This past weekend, Goodrich released Sores Material via Bandcamp, a free EP of remixes that he has done for the Denver-based”trashtronika” artist Syphilis Sauna. The source recordings were, according to Goodrich, “born from the hatred of man and dark recording arts, built from questionable media content and 8 bit audio diarrhea splurts generated by tar smeared gear, hacked software and Jeskola Buzz , which culminates some very raw, jagged glitch scapes and scraping metal breaks, to form a cracked out hybrid of noise, ambient and IDM.” I can’t speak to the original tracks just yet (going to spend some time with them in a bit), but this jerry-rigged versions by Goodrich have the itchy tension of vintage Aphex and Autechre, shattered and frayed in all the right ways.
Daniel Menche continues to be one of those artists that you figure at some point is going to let you down; that somewhere in the mass of recorded work that he has released over the years, you’re going to find a dud. No such luck, champ. I rep for absolutely everything the man has done. And for now, that means that all I want to listen to is his project Beast and the three collections of work that he has released under that name this month. Called Red Marrow, the trio of albums are hypnotic loops of electronic drums, sampled drums, and other percussive instruments, all processed and then splashed with a healthy coating of noise. Sometimes, as on the track featured here, that comes out as something approximating a dub record being played on a speaker that is going through a spin cycle. Menche’s instructions are simple: “Listen at high volume during intense exercise.” I damn well know what I’m taking to the gym with me tomorrow.