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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
One of my favorite musicians alive today is Arrington de Dionyso. He’s one of those figures that embodies the best elements of the creative mind: curiosity, a willingness to learn, a willingness to make mistakes, and a spirit of forward momentum. That’s just one small reason why I’m excited to catch the screening of Reak: Trance Music & Possession In West Java at Fifth Avenue Cinema on Thursday May 5th. The film follows his journey to Indonesia where he played with Group Reak Sanca Birawa. The trailer looks absolutely astounding and I’m very interested to ask him about this experience of making this film and this music during the post-screening Q&A.
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.
Astoria resident Gregg Skloff has long provided mine ears with a variety of amazing out sound. Just recently, he unveiled a blood-thickening collaboration with Arrington de Dionyso, China Faith Star, and Ben Kapp called Multitudes Into Being, to which he added his dreamy bass throb and drone. And even more recently, he slid under our door this truly outstanding collection Casiotone MT-210 compositions. I’ve been listening to this for the past 24 hours and have yet to tire of its enveloping beauty and slightly terrifying undercurrents. It’s enough to make a man start taking acid.
If you’re a resident of Portland and hit up the many experimental and psychedelic rock shows happening in the city, you’ve at least seen Dewey Mahood around. Or if you’ve wandered into his wonderful record/instrument shop Mothership Music. If you’re lucky, you can call him a friend, as he is one of the most gregarious and gentle souls in the city. And I think that comes across very strongly in his music, particularly his releases under the name Spectrum Control. The fire in the belly of these songs is warming and lovely, rather than raging and dangerous, as it centers around simple drum machine patterns and understated runs on his guitar. It’s music for any weather, and like the man behind it, its presence in your life will be an enriching one.
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 →