Music: Antecessor – Olympus Mons

The same day that Antecessor brought their magical electronic sounds to the PDX Pop Now festival, the duo released a new collection of tunes recorded between 2013 and 2015 to delight any of the folks who were unable to make it to the weekend event.

Listening to this new album, I couldn’t help but feel that if you were looking for a way to fill up the hole left behind by the death of Tangerine Dream leader Edgar Froese, these two gents have you covered. These six tracks are a pure delight, crackling with energy and forward momentum and a smart use of melody. Unlike a fair amount of synth-based music I run into, it is obvious how much care these two put into the tracks. They could just make a lot of fun noise with the many fun toys they have, but these dudes are writing actual songs. And what wonderful songs they are.

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Music: Burke Jam – Chrysalis

Artist Burke Jam has spent a lot of time studying the sounds of the world around us, sussing out how the noises we willingly and unwillingly interact with affect our day-to-day lives and our minds/bodies. And he’s explored how people and the environment co-exist in these tenuous times.

It’s bold, heady work that has resulted in some incredible sound art as you’ll hear with this recently released digital collection Chrysalis. These compositions reside in the world of drone as mixed with field recordings that Jam has collected over the years. And the combination of the natural and unnatural sounds is almost dizzyingly wonderful.

There doesn’t feel like there are positive messages embedded in these tracks. Instead these works ask for your attention for a brief period, hoping that you’ll consider where these tones originated from and what his manipulation of them means. Your final answer almost completely depends on the kind of person you are, leaving them up to a vast array of interpretation.

Music: Dead Puppy – Violence

Boy, I just do not like the name of this group. Even after getting multiple emails today about the band Goblin Cock…that seems more palatable than this. Yet, I can’t stop listening to their little digital release released today.

Dropped into the world through local imprint Feel Bad Beats, this droning, scrabbling little gem seems to have been created using guitars and a whole mess of loop and effects pedals. Which isn’t the most original of set ups but they make it work for them with deceptive ease, letting each track on here breathe and unfurl and gently slip into your brainpan before you know what just wrapped around your amygdala.

Music: Chefkirk – .LI​\​;​-​O8Y​/​P​]​.

Something that has always fascinated me is how folks try to soundtrack fireworks displays, meshing up the big triumphal moments of pop and rock songs with the fizzle and electric blasts of sparks going off in the sky. Seems a fool’s errand to this guy, but if I was going to take on such a project, I think I’d prefer something that is equally unhinged and hard to pin down. Something like this new release from Chefkirk.

That might be the coincidence of the fact that he released this new work on July 4th talking, but I could definitely hear these digital squelches, toe-tingling rumbles, and sand blasts of static going along very well with the kind of blowsy fireworks display that gets trucked out every goddamn year sending our small animals scurrying for safe ground and our veterans breaking out into a cold sweat. This kind of neck tightening noise might be just the ticket to help them get through the night.

Music: Manabu Shimuda – Pieces for Her No. 5

Sounds et al is a new local label that just recently slithered out of the primordial ooze that is the current music world, and they’re carrying with them some very exciting sounds from manabu shimuda, a composer and artist fromJapan. His first release for this new imprint is called pieces for her and while there’s no indication of who the “her” in this scenario is, she should be very impressed with what he has created in her honor.

As the notes for the LP say: “The album is a showcase of his creative work whilst living in Europe. Inhabiting a space between classical and experimental, the album has a strict rule within composition – to use only four organic sound sources to structure the simple melody lines and calculated rhythmic patterns: Piano, White Noise, Sine Waves and Field Recorded Noise.” 

It’s beautiful, minimalist stuff that, no matter how many times I listen to it, always seems to be changing in some small way. Instinctively, I know that’s not the case, but I’m constantly surprised by the music with each pass I take through it.

The album is set to be released on the 15th of this month. Pre-order it here, or pick a copy up at Beacon Sound.

Music: Regosphere/The Vomit Arsonist – “An Inquiry Concerning The Indications of Insanity (excerpt)”

Regosphere and The Vomit Arsonist

So lowkey that you probably missed it, Eugene, OR’s ever impressive home for noise/experimental music Dumpsterscore Recordings has been quietly unleashing droves of small run CD-Rs and cassettes that sell out with the quickness. Luckily, the Internet is here to … Continue reading

Music: Antecessor/EMS/Grand Arbiter/Daniel Menche

If anyone doubts that the local experimental scene is a friendly one, let a project like this lay your worries to rest. Just a few days ago, the electronic artists Antecessor, EMS, and Grand Arbiter played a collaborative set together at Killingsworth Dynasty as part of a party celebrating the career and life of Thrones. One gent in attendance was the ever-prolific Daniel Menche, who captured their squirrelly and beautiful set on his digital recorder and, with some remixing, turned it into this beautiful hour long melt. Listening to it, I feel like I’m either being slowly swallowed up by a warm blob or, at the very least, gawking at the last half-hour of 2001 after a few sips of psilocybin tea.

News: deepwhitesound Announces Winter 2015 Releases

deepwhitesound has, for over a decade now, been a go to source for fascinating experimental music from around the world. The Portland-based label curates a wide selection of sounds and then offers up them up for free download through their lovely website.

Towards the end of last month, deepwhitesound sent around an e-mail announcing their Winter 2015 slate of releases, and it is a fine bunch that deserves your attention.

Among them is a new recording from Memory Metal, the local duo made up of Cody Brandt and Shane McDonell that places contact mics on pieces of metal and records the noises they make when beaten, scraped and otherwise abused. Their 24 minute piece 2 is a small challenge to your eardrums but one that will reveal some delicious overtones and strange rhythms that can be surprisingly comforting.

I’m also very fond of the work of Glaswegian sound artist Louise Harris, which is part of this new bundle. Her work primarily uses visuals timed to react to the scratchy, droning sounds that she cooks up, but as an aural-only experience, the noisy delights are still quite thrilling.

 

Music: Pailo + Jeph Nor Live @ Volt Divers 12.12.15

One of the coolest events to go down here in Portland of late has been Jeph Nor’s Volt Divers series. Happening on a monthly basis as Lovecraft Bar, the performances highlight the many artists here that utilize hardware synths. A gaggle of them stop by the dark confines of this venue, perform a quick improvised set and get out of the way. The results vary in quality, to be sure, but they often provide real inspiration.

The VD crew has their next event scheduled for January 9th @ 7pm and they welcome in Dweomer, Ras Mix, S.H.E., Joy Through Noise, and this duo of Pailo and Jeph Nor. Let their glitchy and delightful performance from last month’s event serve as your guide.

Music: The Van Meyers – “The Persistence Of Now”

2016 is off to a mighty fine start, thanks to the appearance of a new album by the Corvallis trio The Van Meyers. I’m fond of the entirety of The Persistence of Now, but have especial love for the title track. It’s just over 21 minutes long, and brings out the influence of William Basinski on these jazz players. The long drones and spacious washes of sound that lap over their sonic jetty go very well with the icy wasteland that is slowly dissipating right outside my window.