Now Playing: Netlabels II

Saturday, 3 December 2011

As I described in this previous post, I am doing tiny little reviews – sometimes not so informative – linking to / promoting whatever netlabel thing I’m listening to when I’m around my computer at home. In that previous post I described them as a “skatter-brained bunch of not-reviews”. I’ve been posting these up on my Google+ account, and occasionally collecting them here, so that’s what this blog post is all about. Follow the links to listen to any of this stuff, most of it is free to download.

metaminaFNR : A Tasty Swarm of Small Signals
This isn’t a fixed release, it’s a continually evolving experimental internet radio broadcast.

The deal is that there’s this CD release of 91 “microcompositions” by various composers including Asmus Tietchens (one of my faves), James Webb, Lawrence English, Francisco López, Louis Dufort, Alan Courtis and Zbigniew Karkowski. The whole CD is two minutes long.

metaminaFNR is streaming this CD throughout the month of December, but not just playing the CD, they’re using it as source material for a month long self-generating sound stream, as they describe: “We wanted to stream it in a special way and work on the possibilities of the code and experiment with new broadcasts formats. For that we are developed a script in “Pure Data” which will mix up the 91 microcompositions “on the fly”, following different probability distributions (Markov Chains) assigned to each of the fragment, so we will listen different versions and structures of the mixer depending on the day and time. ”

The result is some incredible experimental sound being generated as you’re listening to it, never to be heard again. Unmissable.

It’s a weirdly layed out website, but streaming instructions are available in Spanish and English.

Gusev K.P. – Vb K
This is interesting, it’s minimal techno that threatens to erupt into a big beat and never does. It hovers there, all potential, unresolved – unresolvable. There’s no real beginning or ending, it occupies a limbo, a liminal state. The longer it goes along, the greater the tension, the greater the intensity, not because the piece builds to a crescendo – it never does – but because the enduring potential persists. The music does not repeat, and continually invents itself in interesting ways, but it refuses to progress… instead it hovers, intensely.

Out on +Olliver Wichmann ‘s excellent Petcord label.

Brownbear – Touching Scents
Positively massive hip-hop tinged techno with a heavy dose of weirding. Heavy stuff with a wide sound palette. Stands up against good pop IDM like Plaid.

Appalachian Falls – GrimGrimAntonym
Looping guitar tones that begin all smooth and calming, but then crescendo to a distorted roar with some piercing shards, and finally fall back again.

AODL – Wanted Valley
Harsh noise. Sure, that’ll turn off some potential listeners. Too bad for them.

Very layered noise with plenty of crunch, buzz and insistence… bassy wobbles and spasms of squelch. To me, there’s a followable narrative to this, rather than just a heaving wall of overwhelming wallop.

I saw this dude in concert at the Denver Noise Fest… He’s pretty good.

Cezary Gapik – 1998
Ridiculously good textural soundscapes, atmospheric and industrial… remind me of some of Eduard Artimyev’s soundtrack work. Cezary definitely knows what he’s up to.

I see that now this is a purchaseable album, it must have been free at some point, or I probably wouldn’t have it. You can stream it at the link for free, though.

Marax – The Weight of Insignificance
The normally screamin’ noise monster Marax takes an ultra minimal approach with this release, exploring the self-noise of a wah pedal. A droning, low-frequency oscillation with a mild static wash.

This reminds me, of course, of Nurse With Wound’s “Soliloquy for Lilith”, in which Steven Stapleton found that waving his hands around a certain effects set-up caused a seemingly magic sound response, creating an accidental, playable instrument.

The second track is the same source material as the first, taken in a more post-production / effected direction.

Both tracks are fascinating and yet extremely minimal.

N-qia, Sweet Sequence EP
Something like a Japanese electro-pop response to the Books or maybe Prefuse 73. I didn’t expect that. Female singer takes the cutesy-but-disaffected approach, something like Stereolab’s singers.

Actually, I think I might hate this. I can’t tell.
I think my primary beef with it is that its derivations are too obvious — there’s the danger with pop music. It’s well done, and pleasant, but derivative.

Fabio Keiner – Seagram Studies
A sonic transliteration of Rothko’s paintings.


Marax – Crawlspace Atrocities
This is kind of a heavily rumbling kind of disturbing and distorted noise music that’s mixed at low levels to set an atmosphere as opposed to the aural pummelling that could occur if all level faders were pushed to the top. You could call it “dark ambient”, I suppose. To me it feels like it draws more from industrial music and somewhat from black metal… especially when the gasping, pained vocalizations come in.

I really like the constant shifting of sound, like a frantic noise performance… but the calm, subdued context is a new way to hear this kind of movement.

Well done.

Shane Morris – Approaching Singularity
Burbling, skittering insect music. Sounds like a tape being ‘eaten’ again and again. Quite good, yeah.

I’ll probably download this one.

Gassyoh – Gets EP
It reminds me of Plaid, a bit more house-music flavored though.
I like the peculiar cover art.

Kirill Platonkin – Orogenesis
Ambient music. The first track just kinda slid by me. Some sustained tones and stuff.

The second track “Magmatism” is COMPLETELY AWESOME. Slowly passing string-like tones with a slowly-boiling/popping noise. Fucking effective. Tops.

Another great release from Petcord.

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