Listening After the End

Monday, 28 August 2017

I have a new release to announce. It is the result of a major project undertaken this past Winter / Spring.

In Summer 2016, my friend Denver-based writer and musician Cody Yantis prompted me to do an album of all acoustic sources. Over the next many months I recorded many hours worth of improvisations with non-electric musical instruments and oddsorts, and collected field recordings. These were arranged, and multi-tracked with no processing other than EQ and compression.

I’m quite proud of how this came out, it really feels like a marker of that time in my life.




This new pro-dubbed cassette, dubbed in an edition of 50 on chrome tapes is available to purchase on Reno Park Press:
http://renoparkpress.com/002.html
http://renoparkpress.com/002.html
http://renoparkpress.com/002.html
http://renoparkpress.com/002.html
http://renoparkpress.com/002.html


The label describes it like this:

“Listening After the End is a study of one’s immediate environment, of the resonant potential of what surrounds us. A frozen stream. A passing train. A ceiling fan. The wind. A cat plays; someone sneezes; an autoharp lets out a long hum. These vignettes–textural, spacious, and sonorous–are wonderfully evocative pieces that, when taken as a whole, form a vibrant sonic life, one that revels in the animus to be found in even the subtlest of things.”



If you are unable to purchase the new cassette due to lack of funds, or perhaps you don’t have the means to play tapes, well worry not. There is also a free-to-download version that you can find right here:


https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/listening-after-the-end
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/listening-after-the-end
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/listening-after-the-end
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/listening-after-the-end
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/listening-after-the-end


Each comes with a diary-like text describing what it was like to record each section of sound that you can hear on the album.

Thank you for your attention.


Eclipse Sound

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

The total solar eclipse was easily the most spectacular, astounding thing I have ever seen.

Totality was so searingly beautiful it seems like it should have made a sound. A chirping, sizzling, Earth-shaking blast-buzz. A massed chorus of uncountable drifting frequencies, the most exhilarating avant-garde shit you’ve never heard.

… so anyways, here’s what the eclipse actually sounded like for us:



A few minutes before, during and after the total solar eclipse, recorded at Camp Wyoba on Casper Mountain, outside of Casper, Wyoming.
We had an entire mountain meadow almost entirely to ourselves, most of the people in camp were gathered together in a larger meadow about a quarter mile away, but it’s mostly their sound you can hear. I don’t need to point out when totality begins and ends in the recording, because it’s really obvious.

Present in our group were Carrie Hodges, her brother Alec, and myself (C. Reider).

The photo was taken by Carrie Hodges.

“I’m just imagining this wave of screams passing across the entire United States”







(tangent: http://www.republicworld.com/s/5393/what-does-an-eclipse-sound-like-some-scientists-have-tried-to-find-out)


Upcoming show, August 12, Denver

Monday, 7 August 2017

I’m pleased to be performing on a fantastic bill of music by several of my friends & respected colleagues this coming Saturday. I’ll be playing alongside Offthesky + Radere, Stephen Karnes + Cody Yantis and the touring folk-dronester Andrew Weathers. Pretty unmissable lineup, if you ask me.

The show will also be an informal release party for my brand new cassette release “Listening After the End”, out on Cody Yantis’ superb Reno Park Press.

CELE pt. ZONE Full Spectrum Showcase
Saturday, August 12th @ 8pm
Bar Max
2412 E Colfax Ave, Denver, CO 80206
$10
For more info, ticketing and/or to RSVP click the link:
https://www.facebook.com/events/2063168043910739


Young Music, Vol. 1

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Beginnings are a bit arbitrary, for some reason I set my year one of music making as 1991, even though I have recordings going back well into the 1980s.
Thinking back that 2016 was the 25th anniversary of that arbitrary date, it occurred to me to package up some of my early work that was currently unavailable. There are three volumes of this now planned.


Here is the first volume:


Young Music, Vol. 1
https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/young-music-vol-1













This first volume of collected early works spans the years 1988 to 1997, from when I was sixteen to twenty-six years old. It spans a period of time when I used many different ways to record music: first by borrowing equipment from friends, or by layering sounds by bouncing from one tape player to another – to a Fostex 4-track recorder – to an early hard-disk recorder, the Roland VS-880 – before I finally started doing work on computer (none of which you’ll hear on volume I, but there’s a smidge of it on volume II). Herein I explore a lot of areas of interest that I no longer find interesting, so there may be some novelty at that material, but there’s a surprisingly cogent expression of ideas I still use today on some material. This was a time when I had very little clarity on what I actually wanted to explore in music, and correspondingly, a lot of the stuff now is a little embarrassing to one degree or another. I can look past it because I know that I was really into what I was doing then, and I can hear myself fumbling awkwardly toward some of the things I’m doing now. Maybe in another twenty years I’ll look back on my current stuff with some embarrassment, who knows? Most of the tracks on Young Music vol. 1 feature the guitar, an instrument I relied on during my early years, but have since all but abandoned. All of this is lo-fi as fuck, much of it goes on for too long, and some of it may annoy. I fought the urge to completely remix and edit this material. Instead, all tracks are derived directly from mixes I made (either to tape or DAT) at or near the time I originally recorded the stuff.


Anent

Sunday, 9 July 2017

An album of field recordings and “acoustic noise”


Free to download:


https://c-reider.bandcamp.com/album/anent



Performance photos

Sunday, 9 July 2017

A couple of nice shots of my performance at Trident in Boulder on July 7 have arrived. The first color photo is by Don Poe, and the others below, including the black/white photo are by Loretta Cummings.


















Upcoming Performance

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

I’m playing a show on this upcoming Friday, July 7 in Boulder.

If you’re nearby, and you’re into drone / noise you’re welcome to come.

Here’s the event link on … (eughhh) Facebook (shudder) …

https://www.facebook.com/events/1916420941959398

And here’s a cool poster:


Chew Cinders

Saturday, 18 February 2017

I’m very pleased to announce a new release on the excellent Midnight Circles tape label!

Chew Cinders is out now, available in free download or limited casssette C-26!

https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/chew-cinders





This music was recorded in Summer 2016, and I’m particularly happy with it. It’s the first music released that I made after my near-fatal illness in late 2015.

The Midnight Circles label describes the work very well:

C. Reider – “Chew Cinders” C-26. 2 part sound-collage by C. Reider (USA). Great and dense combination of droning electronics, pitched voices and field-recordings. “Chew Cinders” possesses a resonating rhythm, sometimes flowing, sometimes cut-up in nature and blends generated and found sounds to an intriguing unity.

Both parts of ‘Chew Cinders’ focus strongly on the manipulation of time and pitch. Throughout the record chunks of voice & field-recordings are slowed down and mixed into a sweeping array of synthesizers and noisier drones that evolve into long and dense passages from time to time. The cut-up character of the album blends electronics, effect-manipulations and field-recordings into a varied sound collage with parts that change abruptly in tone while other passages fade slowly into one another. ‘Chew Cinders’ combination of sounds spans from generated, synthetic tones to recordings of metals and bells, anonymous rooms as well as anonymous voices.



I strongly encourage you to look into the other releases on the label as well. Midnight Circles releases some really high quality stuff.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (Part Five – Final)

Monday, 16 January 2017

Hello, again, I’m C. Reider. I release most of my own music for free on the internet, and I listen to a lot of music by people who do the same. This is a list of free-to-download releases from 2016 that I liked a lot.

My reason for doing these lists is so that people will discover music that I think deserves to be discovered. Please share this list with anyone you know who may take an interest!

I’ve done lists like this for several years, here are previous years’ lists:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

These lists have been getting really long, because I listen to a lot of music over the course of a year, so for my sanity and yours, I’m going to break up this end of year list into several smaller lists. This strategy will also allow me to consider albums released late in the year, while still being able to raise the profile of cool stuff from earlier in the year. This is part FIVE of the big list, and it is the final part of this 2016 round-up. Here are links to the previous installments:

LINK TO PART ONE
LINK TO PART TWO
LINK TO PART THREE
LINK TO PART FOUR

The ordering of these releases is completely arbitrary, no ranking is intended, and none should be inferred. I like everything I’m listing here to varying degrees, but ranking is a silly activity that helps exactly no one form their own opinion about music.

I should clarify that by saying these are netlabel releases, I don’t necessarily mean they were released on proper netlabels, many of these albums were self released. To me, netlabeling is a community activity, involving releasing music online for free (or pay what you want)…
preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license…
and EVEN MORE preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license that allows for remixability and sampling. So I use the word “netlabel” even though the word is admittedly problematic. You could just see this as links to a bunch of free music if you wanted to keep things simple.

This is the final part of this end of year round-up of freely downloadable music. There are 99 releases described in total across the five parts of this series.

Here is some information about the releases described:










Anyway, that’s some kinda cool info if you’re into statistics.

So let’s get into the last batch of free music!




Toaster – Divorce Songs EP
https://toaster.bandcamp.com/album/divorce-songs-ep
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self released

Some very nice, grooving, IDM-ish song tapestries with warm synth pads and bopping tick-tock drum patterns.




Reid Karris – Lacrimis de ex Arborum
https://plustimbre.bandcamp.com/album/lacrimis-de-ex-arborum
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Plus Timbre

A bevy of improvisations using percussion and electric guitar, each named after a different species of tree. Predictably sounds like a bunch of biscuit tins falling down a very long staircase (in a good way).




Morten Rasz – Primal Spirits
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr197-morten-rasz-primal-spirits/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

Morten Rasz, née Martin Rach is a prolific and inventive experimental artist. He presents work with a cornucopia of different approaches and styles, under a dizzying array of aliases, not all of which I can keep up with. He recently showed me a short video demonstrating a little synth that reads a graphic wave table that can be ‘drawn in’ in real-time with a mouse on a computer screen, like a scaled-down, digital version of Oramics. I suspect that’s what he’s using on this 30 minute collection of electronic music. Pops and buzzes accumulate and tumble all over one another, framed by sections that are either quiet or out of hearing range.




Ian Watson – …
https://ianwatson.bandcamp.com/album/-
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self released

Three long (35-45 minutes each) sickly, denuded, bitcrushed drone tracks.




Tobias Reber – Kolapse
https://tobiasreber.bandcamp.com/album/kolapse
Licenses vary per song
Self released

This album (mostly remixes by guest artists) presents a kind of prog-industrial, quasi-dance-oriented, percussive, electronic music. The pieces are by turns hard nosed or slightly more subdued. There is a kind of steely, considered complexity to the music, holding firm the squiggling sound design. While there is a fair amount of variety here, and while each track can be bracing (some more than others, of course) when taken as an album it can be slightly fatiguing.




Jøn Liefhold – Argusterfelder A-C
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/argusterfelder-a-c
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles


A nicely composed set of ringing high frequencies, crackling loops, pendular keyboard phrases, angel choruses and unidentifiable, distorted scrapings. Constantly shifting into new scenarios of pretty sounds and silences.




Luong Hue Trinh – Illusions
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/luong_hue_trinh/illusions/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

The introductory fanfare is a startling recording of breaking / bouncing glass bottles, followed immediately by a very quiet drone that builds on itself slowly, introducing mechanical rumbling, factory floor whirring and Bertoia-esque gongs. This first piece is a musical collage of field recordings made in an industrial district in Vietnam. The machine noises are joined by fragments of music played on Vietnamese lutes and zithers. The artist statement describes the string music as a traditional style, evoking a longing for home. Pairing that with the factory sounds gives the music an emotional and political punch. A very beautiful and charged album.




Méryll Ampe – Void if Removed
https://archive.org/details/at083_MeryllAmpe_VoidIfRemoved
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Audiotalaia

An intense, complex collection of electronic noise compositions, with crisp sounds and inventive arrangements.




Gabi Losoncy – 16f
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab114.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

The cover photo for this hour and twenty minute long field recording situates it historically within the alarming horror of the American election season of 2016. The recording is an urban soundscape, milling city activity as heard from the relative peace and quiet of a docile area, just slightly removed from the bustle. Possibly the recording was made in the café pictured in the cover photo. Pairing the calm mundanity of this everyday scene with the Daily News headline declaring Donald Trump as “RACIST!” in all capitals perhaps reflects the banality of such a monumentally historic moment. As placid as the recording is (occasional, sporadic emergency announcements notwithstanding), I can’t help but wonder how the sounds of places like this might change given the global instability of politics at the moment. Aside from the possible historic implications of recordings of this nature, it’s also just a pleasant thing to listen to, especially when doing something tedious, like paperwork.




Hinnerk Schmidt – Camas
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/camas
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

A laboriously slow, repeating piano phrase muffled by a blanket of tape hiss, a hint of maybe clarinet or ebowed guitar shows through, threatening to develop into something larger, but instead retreating, giving way to that ever cycling piano loop. On ‘Seite B’ the piano is even more distant, cloaked in reverb and heavily foregrounded tape hiss. Rather than only one phrase cycling throughout, however, this piece has more indeterminate playing, still delivered in that very slow pace. Haunting stuff.




Book of Kells – Depiction of Saturn and Other Planets Floating in Space
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/depiction-of-saturn-and-other-planets-floating-in-space
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Twenty seven brief songs for a little over an hour’s worth of material here. The music is one of seeming restrained longing, where synth tones resonate and linger in long, lo-fi reverb tails. It’s simple and minimal, but effective. The title implies that this might be some sort of space music, but it feels pretty grounded to me.




Budhaditya Chattopadhyay – Wandering Shadows of Sound
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab116.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

Wind over water. Rain with cars and trucks passing. A steadily rattling quack that I think may be a spinning weather vane, perhaps. Quiet, rural activity. Unidentifiable sounds from mechanical and organic sources. The presence of humanity is heard throughout, but it doesn’t often become overt, only occasionally does a human voice pierce my attention. I haven’t listened to very many field recordings this year, for several reasons. This is definitely a good exception.




Escape Hatch / Thekla Munk – Brise / Vitre
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/brise-vitre
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Two ten minute long pieces from each band on this split. ‘Brise’ by Escape Hatch starts off like something from Aphex Twin’s perennial SAW II, but adds some noisy scratchings that sound like the labored channel searching of a burned out old car radio. This quick cuts into a lo-fi drone which then scoots aside from some tone pulses and finally into some ghostly piano. Wow, a lot of nice variety for such a brief piece, and still it sounds full and unrushed. Thekla Munk’s ‘Vitre’ has textured sounds feeling like a raging thunderstorm just outside a high speed rail line on which sad Dadaists shuffle cards. This track is probably the noisiest thing I’ve heard so far on Midnight Circles. A triumphant split, very nice stuff.




Scy1e – 2 Untitled for CTRL Valve
http://www.controlvalve.net/blog/index.blog/2361758/ctrlvlv063__scy1e__2-untitled-for-ctrl-valve/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Control Valve

I was very happy to have discovered this group earlier in 2016 with their excellent release on Phinery called “Canard”, which was sort of an unmoored minimal techno-industrial music. This release features two hour-long tracks and is significantly less focussed, but that’s not really anything so bad. It’s abstract modular synth noodling with room to stretch out and tweak.




Chemiefaserwerk – 4
https://etchedtraumas.bandcamp.com/album/4
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Etched Traumas

Following on from my good experience with their work on Midnight Circles, I was happy to find another new release on the Etched Traumas netlabel. This is another well considered mesh of textured noise and harmonic-heavy dronings with sudden edits to keep things away from becoming too comfortable. This is absolutely a name I’m going to be looking for going forward. High quality music.




Floating Mind – Deep Reflections
http://www.inoquo.com/release.php?&id=75
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
InoQuo

This is minimal techno music that, when it’s at its best sounds like alien neon bar music, but also has many sections that are just bippity-boppity drum patterns with off-beat hi-hats. I would love to see more minimal techno producers work more in ambiguity, but the lure of the oontz is strong. Not bad, could be better.




Half Evidence – Graines de silences
https://eg0cide.com/2016/06/26/eg0_166-half-evidence-graines-de-silence/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Eg0cide

A group that can be counted on for thoughtful, well-constructed, abstract guitar music. This one is fairly intense and dark, sounds like the mother ship landing outside a machine shop.




Aaron Yabrov – Glass Forest
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/glass-forest
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

An ambient piece with a looping foundation of organ rocking back and forth between dissonance and consonance. Over this, some whispy, proto-melodic synth phrases flit by, cloaked in reverb. Quite nice.




Amanda Irarrazabal / Cecilia López / Cecilia Quinteros – La Corporación
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr201-cecilia-lopez-amanda-irarrazabal-cecilia-quinteros-la-corporacion/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

Intense and attentive improvised music using cello, contrabass and synthesizer. A lot of patience, space and give and take. The anti-capitalist song titles are a bonus.




Asha Tamirisa – Callus / Redux
http://www.panyrosasdiscos.net/pyr198-asha-tamirisa-callus-redux/
No license listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas

First piece is a long, very slowly modulating drone, comparable in sensibility to the Arp work of Eliane Radigue, (and indeed the notes say it was recorded using an Arp 2500 system). The second piece introduces an aqueous field recording, perhaps at a lake, joined later by more Arp droneage.




Atilio Doreste / José Guillén – This Side of Paradise
https://archive.org/details/at082DoresteGuillen
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Audiotalaia

Free improv with acoustic allsorts and understated fart-synth. Some tracks are either recorded outside or are augmented with field recordings. I was very fond of Doreste’s 2014 release “Shifting Boundaries”, and this is a worthy follow-up.




Javier Piñango – i.r.real 8
https://plustimbre.bandcamp.com/album/i-r-real-8
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Plus Timbre

Deep electronic musique concrete made with Korg MS-20. Like a great set of bells being sandblasted by swarming waves of insects.




Minimalnun – And
http://www.inoquo.com/release.php?id=74
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
InoQuo

Lowercase minimal techno-ambient that oontzes along with kick drums made of wet towels. Soft thuds abound.




Savvas Metaxas / Dalot – It Can Only be Attributable to Human Error
http://www.notype.com/drones/cat.e/pan_094/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
No Type + Panospria

I can be assured that when I find work by Dalot’s Maria Papadomanolaki, I will discover some wonderful, restrained, soft, mature drone music. Here, there is no exception. I’m not so familiar with Savvas Metaxas, but I can say that this is a very well paired split release.




SM Milligan – The Fortification of Ears
http://www.impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihab122.htm
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Impulsive Habitat

A very well made work using collage editing to dramatize a large set of field recordings.


Notable Netlabel Releases of 2016 (part four)

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Hi, again, I’m C. Reider. I release most of my own music for free on the internet, and I listen to a lot of music by people who do the same. This is a list of free-to-download releases from 2016 that I liked a lot.
I’ve done lists like this for several years, here are previous years’ lists:
2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009.

These lists have been getting really long, because I listen to a lot of music over the course of a year, so for my sanity and yours, I’m going to break up this end of year list into several smaller lists. This strategy will also allow me to consider albums released late in the year, while still being able to raise the profile of cool stuff from earlier in the year. This is part FOUR of the big list, I will post links just below this line of other parts as I publish them.

LINK TO PART ONE
LINK TO PART TWO
LINK TO PART THREE
LINK TO PART FIVE, THE FINAL POST

The ordering of these releases is completely arbitrary, no ranking is intended, and none should be inferred. I like everything I’m listing here to varying degrees, but ranking is a silly activity that helps exactly no one form their own opinion about music.

I should clarify that by saying these are netlabel releases, I don’t necessarily mean they were released on proper netlabels, many of these albums were self released. To me, netlabeling is a community activity, involving releasing music online for free (or pay what you want)…
preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license…
and EVEN MORE preferably (though not necessarily) with a CC license that allows for remixability and sampling. So I use the word “netlabel” even though the word is admittedly problematic. You could just see this as links to a bunch of free music if you wanted to keep things simple.

You can be notified when the next part of this year-end list gets published by either following me on twitter @vuzhmusic or by subscribing to the RSS feed for this blog’s “Recommended Listening” category:
http://www.vuzhmusic.com/blog/category/recommended-listening/feed/




Pollux – &+
https://pollux0.bandcamp.com/album/-
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

A compilation / remix album that sounds like it started down the path toward being calming, sunlit, and ambient… but as things progressed, things blurred, got more fractured and granular and gained enough instability to give the album a bit of an unsettling feel. Not “dark” precisely, just slightly “off” – things feel a little skittish and tense-muscled. To be clear, this “off-ness” I’m describing is what gives the work a bit more character than similar things I don’t quite find as good.




36 – Indigo / Expanse
http://3six.net/album/indigo-expanse
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

A fluffy bit of undemanding ambient techno that gives the nod, musically to both the Orb as well as Jean Michel Jarre, while still maintaining its own sound. Not my favorite from this group, but 36 is always worth a listen. They know how to do their stuff very well.




Catalan Coast – Catalan Coast
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/catalan-coast
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

A sort of stoic, minimalist art music that leans away from the ambient tag as much as it couldn’t be classified as much else. Reminds me a bit of the legendary Tear Ceremony, who did some of this kind of thing to some acclaim throughout the nineties & early 00s. The first track sets the pace with long, reedy tones in the upper-mid register, drones punctuated by short, crescendos of chords in the same voicing. Distant, soft pops could possibly be described as the percussion element of this piece. The second track is a shimmering tonal drone of ringing bells, looped. This is interrupted by some solemn, stringed chords. The final piece is a pretty, spare, melancholy repeating refrain that sounds like a duet between a concertina and a glass armonica in a big reverberant space. What it does, it does beautifully, and when it ends I would prefer it lingered a bit longer. I liked this so much that I had to get it on tape, and ended up getting a large batch from the label… and liked it all so much that I submitted my own music to the label for release. So I guess that you can infer my enthusiasm (or bias) from that.




Martin Hoogeboom – the Garden
https://etchedtraumas.bandcamp.com/album/the-garden
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Etched Traumas

Three brief tone poems made in tribute to Derek Jarman: e-bowed guitars, slowed-down laughing gas vocals, wet streets, backstreet clinics, steam vents. More interlude than destination.




Phil Maguire – Structuur
https://philmaguire.bandcamp.com/album/structuur
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self Released
Phil Maguire – This This
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/this-this
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional


A collection of what the composer calls “strangled sine waves”… Somone call the sine police! ‘Structuur’ is a dense knot of FM synthesis that churns constantly over high heat. On ‘This This’, the waves are more given to popping and bouncing off one another. There’s a lot more space here, sounding like circuit-bent crickets moving ever away from synchrony. Apparently all this stuff was made with Raspberry Pi, hm.




Project Mycelium – Pulse
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/pulse
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Linear Obsessional
Project Mycelium – Pyramiden
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/pyramiden
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional

My ears go up when I hear associations of mycelia with music, as I’m a bit of a mycophile. Nothing too overtly mushroomy to be found here, however, so fungiphobes are safe enough. ‘Pulse’ is a twenty minute long, almost soundtrack-ish bit of ambient proto-jazz that noodles around and eventually coalesces around a little calliope groove. ‘Pyramiden’ is equally brief, equally atmospheric, but it evokes darker spaces and isn’t likely to fall into any comforting groove. It’s all skitter, dart for cover and linger a while in hiding, waiting for danger to pass. Says in the notes that all sounds on ‘Pyramiden’ were made with water and steel.




Ave Eva – Panamint
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/panamint
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Minimal, pretty, synth music that leans toward the drone.




Reier – g(f(x))
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Reier/gfx/
CC BY NC SA (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Southern City’s Lab

I admit this first caught my attention due to the similarity with my name, but it’s stuck around because of its percolating noise synths and cold-filtered machine drones. The album by this Ukranian artist smartly oscillates between prettiness and technical difficulties.




Steve Hamann – Set and Subset
https://sighup.bandcamp.com/album/set-and-subset
CC BY NC (Derivs allowed! Remix / sample away! 🙂)
Self Released

A collection of new work from a composer I’ve been enthusiastic about for years. These synth-realized pieces are musical (i.e. tonal) constructions that call to mind the work of David Borden (of Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company) in that they’re serious pieces, but stripped back, uncomplex and repeating, conveying a kind of zen-like quality of “this is all this song needs to be”.




Schemawound – Heart Removal Kit
http://music.schemawound.com/album/heart-removal-kit
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Self Released

In a not entirely surprising move, Schemawound steers his project – already diverse with industrial beat music and lyrical ambient works – into the area of psychedelic techno dub championed by people like Cevin Key & Ryan Moore. That he does it well is also no huge surprise. The production is slick and tight, the grooves are decent, and while melodic development has never been J. Siemasko’s strong point, nothing gets monotonous.




Thistle Group – Thistle Group (2016)
https://stabbiesetc.bandcamp.com/album/thistle-group-2016
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Stabbies Etc.

Brief seventeen minutes of what I presume are two sides to a tape release. Spooky little tunes with lo-fi sound loops, some percussive bashings, disaffected, post-goth-punk vocals and thoroughly fuzzed out basement-guitar plonkings.




Rashida Prime – Damaged Interface
https://bludhoney.bandcamp.com/album/damaged-interface
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
BludHoney

Serviceable, non-threatening, light, not especially intellectually stimulating ambient chill music. The kind of thing that apparently feels comfortable with having the word “cyberpunk” associated with it. I do rather like to listen to this kind of stuff early in the morning, when I’m traumatized by waking up and having to go to work. The album has been released by two different labels. The one I downloaded it from changed from a free download to charging a dollar, but the one I’m linking to now, in keeping with the theme of this end of year list, is pay what you want.




TVSky – What the Moon Brings
http://www.cyan-music.com/releases-060.html
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Cyan Music

Straight ahead, four on the floor minimal techno that sounds like it could easily have come out on the DeepChord label back in the early 00s. It’s really as good as any of that stuff was. I’m always surprised that new artists are still doing such on the nose stuff almost twenty years later, because it really seems like such a musical dead-end, but I must admit I still like listening to it. I have my reasons, so I reckon they have theirs too.




Vavabond – No-Brain Improv
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/vavabond/no-brain_improv/
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Pan y Rosas Discos

The title brings to mind Alvin Lucier’s brain wave piece “Music for Solo Performer”. I don’t believe that this group followed a similar method, as the description only discusses aspects of improvisation with body impulse as opposed to mental consideration, but Lucier’s description of his experience of performing the piece does talk about getting out of the conscious frame of mind in order for it to work at all. At any rate, I am not certain what the three credited performers are doing to make this very, very nice set of electronic clicks and buzzes that are sparsely arranged. There is not a huge amount of textural variance throughout the album, but to me it is a strong and fascinating collection of sounds.




Prone – Grand Theft Honda Civic
https://prone1.bandcamp.com/album/grand-theft-honda-civic
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self-released

Techno for alien milk bars. Perfect weird Eurorack grooves, for staring off with stoned fascination at your nearest lava lamp equivalent. This is actually one of my favorite releases overall from 2016, I really dig it.




Wëska Project – TV Mirror
http://sonicsquirrel.net/detail/release/TV+mirror/20190
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HAZE

Tones flicker by like an old cathode ray tube TV set when the vertical hold is shot. Bursts of 60 cycle hum and crackle join in sporadically. Probably time to call the repairman.




Piod – Stage One 2013-2014
http://phonocake.org/release.php?release_id=235&lang=2
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Phonocake

Decent electronic dance music done with tasteful sounds. Sometimes gets a little Ableton-y, but I’ve enjoyed it.




Matthieu Lemontagne / Emmanuel Toledo – Belle Chemise
https://arbee.bandcamp.com/album/belle-chemise
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Self Released

Not a lot I can say about this other than it’s really some pretty, very well made ambient music. If you like pretty, well made ambient music, then you can’t go wrong here.




Faastwalker – Geometrics
http://www.kahvi.org/releases.php?release_number=371
No License Listed (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Kahvi Collective

Decent enough, mellow IDM, definitely could’ve fit right in back in the 90s when this stuff was so big. There were some parts that kinda reminded me of Wendy Carlos’ soundtrack for Tron, and another part where it’s overtly a cringey hommage to Boards of Canada. Otherwise, yeah…




Kamera Obscura – Speleology: Kamera Obscura Live
https://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/speleology-kamura-obscura-live
CC BY NC ND (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Linear Obsessional

Pairing vocals with abstract electronic noise soundscapes is an approach that is fraught with perils and missteps. As a result, I can’t point to very many who do it well, but can point to a crowded field of power-electronic bands fronted by wannabe shock-jocks, and singer/songwriters who try to niche themselves with extemporaneous weird sounds and come off as gimmicky and aggrandizing. Coil was one group that successfully pulled it off, but they had built up a lot of goodwill and willingness to “go there” on the part of their audience over the course of many years of their moving away from and stretching song structure (and never entirely abandoning it). It’s not entirely surprising, then, that Coil is explicitly referenced in Kamera Obscura’s music. There are similar song structures and vocal effects and an air of mystique. The vocals are sometimes melodic with words, and other times chatter in explorations aided by effect chains. Often the music has an on-the-fly feeling of being (at least partially) made up in real time, but I don’t know if that’s actually the case. Along with Coil, other influences, such as Blixa Bargeld, Diamanda Galas, and Magma are expressed in ways that are just slightly too close to the source to take fully seriously. I always have a certain level of admiration for someone who can go do some of this stuff in front of an audience using that must vulnerable of musical instruments, the human voice (especially a capella, as some sections are here), but ultimately I can’t say I’m entirely convinced yet. I think this is worth checking out, and I hope that in time there is potential for a fully realized, strong, unique voice to emerge.




Chemifaserwerk – Idatec
https://midnightcircles.bandcamp.com/album/idatec
Copyright (No derivs! No sampling / remixing 🙁)
Midnight Circles

Chemifaserwerk is a name I’ve seen around a bit, but this is the first thing I’ve listened to from them. If they’ve got a following, it seems deserved. This reminds me somewhat of the early, anything-goes ambient/industrial of Mark Spybey under his Dead Voices on Air moniker. Softly rattling drums, bike-spoke percussion, long-delay electronic buzzing, flitting fans, synth drones, field recordings and the like.


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