What I love about this piece from local duo RON is how much it moves and flows and evolves over its nearly 19-minute running time. While I’m all for a little stagnation and repetition in music, it’s obvious that Carl Laukkanen and Sam Wenc put a lot of care into making sure this work had some momentum to it, letting it move from a quaintly minimalist guitar/synth beginning into more glitchier territory. And it all wraps up in a triumphant symphony of drones. I feel energized and excited by this brilliant work. Just what I need to help get me through the long stretch before Election Day. Snap up a copy for yourself (digital or cassette) here: https://ronisron.bandcamp.com/releases
I’m very excited to welcome a new contributor to the EXPDX fold: Matt Palenske, the artist known as Consumer. He’s going to be helping keep fresh content on the blog since my work and other projects are preventing me from keeping things updated here as regularly as I would like. He’s kicking off his contributions with a bang, too. Here are his thoughts on the new cassette by EMS, and an audio interview with the artist herself.
Vern Avola has made herself a support beam in the synth based experimental electronic scene in Portland. Participating in a wide roster of projects including Elrond, Big Nasty Bill & the Deans, and offering live assistance for Tig Bitty among many others, she has an apt name for her project in which she is the sole decider…Eat My Shit (EMS). Her October 2016 release, through An Out Recordings, Liebe Fur Alle contains two takes on a live moment recorded by Daniel Menche at the High Water Mark Lounge.
The A side is the raw room track, literally beginning with a natural crossfade of the crowd’s chatter and EMS’s establishing drone. The second breath into the strobing hum is from a new atmosphere, an unfamiliar air that signals that the visions have already taken effect. The sound trudges through a colossal canopy that veils the rapid descent into increasingly wider views of a fantastic journey akin to The Neverending Story. The excitement and mystery of adventure are presented at face value. Dread and serenity are inner-twined so vividly that the idea of arrival is abandoned, volunteering to ride a sonic conveyer belt. Whether or not somebody has a similar visual reaction, the point is that this album rewards the listener’s full immersion.
The B side is a shift in perspective of the same journey. After experiencing the smell and touch of the adventure, the B side studies the experience from inside an apparatus. Remixed by Menche, the elements are intensified to a blinding level as if he’d shrunk down to the size of a red blood cell, charting the raw journey from hyper-specific beacons, relentlessly stretching either time or space to arrive at an understanding. By the end, the results of the study aren’t shared. The mystery remains.
Purchase the cassette and/or download as well as stream the album at http://emsnoise.bandcamp.com
Where Dustin Krcatovich’s last release as Skin Lies, the marvelous cassette Stimulus Regression, had an air of doom to it, Troubled For Life, his latest missive (at least the one track from it that we’ve been gifted), is far lighter in spirit…to a point. While this kicks off with some frosty synth lines glinting from the speakers, things slowly, methodically get a little warped and dark. By the end, you’re not sure what direction the song is going to turn, either skidding into some sonic murk or easing up on the throttle and coasting to a soft landing. Either way, I’m definitely ready to go along for the ride.
Scott Worley is no stranger to the site. His work with Jatun, and his live performances have always been welcome here. That same courtesy is now being extended to his latest endeavor under the name Adaptive Machines. My man has long been a circuit bender and a constructor of all manner of electronic noisemaking toys and gadgets. As he says in the notes for this new release:
“It takes me anywhere from a day to two weeks to finish a patch on the modular. At the moment of finishing the patch it’s pretty typical of me to hang out for many hours in a meditative trance, listening to the ebb & flow of interactive modules at play. It’s really nice to step back and admire all the work put into what essentially is a temporary piece of art.”
Now we are graced with the fruits of his decision to not just let these patches and sounds simply slip away into the ether. He has recorded—directly to cassette or reel-to-reel—three long spacious jams that wend and wind like a UFO on a drunken joyride through our atmosphere and trying to communicate with gentle messages or frantic pleas.
The latest release by post-everything trio U SCO was an exercise in spontaneity and directness. According to the notes accompanying this new cassette/digital album, it was recorded quickly over the course of four days and “all the ideas were felt and confirmed in the moment instead of being corrupted by overthinking.”
A dangerous road to travel for most any musician, but these confident and talented lads were very much up to the task. What came out of their fevered brains are six tracks of drone, noise, agit rock, proto-metal, and a little bit of jazz for good measure.
If these sounds are pleasing to your ears, visit Turn Turn Turn tonight where the trio will be celebrating the release of this new album alongside Norwegian visitors Bushman’s Revenge.
I’ve talked up the work of Evan Spacht as his many projects on here before because, well, when you’re good, you’re good. So that’s why I’m highlighting another release by this fantastic local artist: the new digital EP by his project Panting. A collaboration between Spacht and his buddy Davis Hooker, this work has been described by the artist like this…
Our sound is achieved through an intuitive process of transfers between acoustic instrument, to recorder, to tape, often played back and then recorded in another space, at another time, and interspersed with other recordings from other spaces at other times. Our collaboration became very much like a glass bead game, taking turns with the others thumb drive, and the materials therein.
A year’s worth of work resulted in these charmingly soupy tracks. I keep going back to “s” and its introduction and quick removal of a lumbering drum loop and its fine use of drone and atmospheric sounds sent through a puzzling and alluring wormhole.
While I would encourage you to follow the Bandcamp link above and toss some money to the artists, if you’re skint, you can also pick up a digital version of this EP through deepwhitesound.
Listening to this new collection of tunes by dwoemer, I’m kicking myself even harder for having to miss out on his performance last night at Atlantis Lounge. Kaleidoscape appears out of the ether like a beautiful homage to artists like Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre, the pioneers of synth-based beauty. In that respect, it’s much more direct and accessible than some of dwoemer’s previous work, but no less emotionally impactful. If anything, it might help draw in some folks who might have otherwise avoided this artist’s work up until now. Let this be the gateway to the wonderful discography of dwoemer, bringing new fans into the fold and giving us old guard folks more to cheer about!
We’ve talked up Pulse Emitter plenty on this site over the years, but can you blame us? Daryl Groetsch is a synth artist who is constantly pushing and challenging himself to reach greater spiritual and creative heights. And it’s only made more impressive when you meet him and learn how beautifully humble he is. The Zen-like quality of his being feels like it’s being informed by the work he does in the studio and on stage and vice versa.
Just this past May, he brought all of that and his impressive batch of musical toys to Seattle for a performance at the ever-wonderful Chapel Performance Space at the Good Shepherd Center, a bastion of forward-thinking music and ideas. And what he did over the course of 32 minutes was something close to a slow baptism, a gentle and measured immersion in the cool waters of sonic salvation and an equally calm pull back into reality. Lucky us, he captured a recording of the performance and has shared it with the world.
Listen to it here and then head to his Bandcamp page if you want to download it for future devotional delights.
As we look toward the weekend, and hopefully a couple of days of respite before getting back into the working world once more, the universe bestowed upon us two fantastic new releases to ease us into a mood of contemplation and relaxation.
A little while back, I was lucky enough to catch a live performance that featured guitarist Doug Theriault, synth wizard Matt Carlson, and vocalist Michael Stirling improvising together in the sanctuary of a local church. Their combined expressions were devastatingly beautiful and spiritually uplifting. I left the space feeling like I had been stretched out to about six inches taller than when I arrived. The three men have captured this same feeling on a new recording for Root Strata and I have been spending much of the day lost in its warm glow.
What time and mental space I’ve had left over has been taken up by the new album from Cloud City Cars. Ryan McGreer, the hirsute gent behind the project has been through the emotional wringer over the past year or so. But instead of letting it flatten him, he has found new inspiration within those tough moments. And what has come out of him is a blissfully broken collection of songs that refuse to stay on one trajectory. The freeform style of these off-kilter sequences and dying electronics is a carefree, drunken stumble through the streets with flickering LED advertisements and neon colors lighting your every step.
The first proper “album” from the dark ambient duo Grey Columns came along quietly in the middle of last month. I put the scare quotes in because, well, it’s only about 19 minutes long, which society has led us to believe doesn’t fit the description of an album. But it does fit the description in that these four tracks can’t be separated from one another. You have to take it in one long, slow gulp rather than just in piecemeal form. There’s also a true sense of purpose in how this collection is constructed. They move us with ease between the four movements of this album, sliding us into one grumbling, scratching, echoing room before we realize we’ve left the room we were just in. It’s masterful, beautiful, and the right kind of unnerving.