Post Tagged other musicians

Recommended Listening

Sunday, 07 July 2009

a.k.a. reviews.
Here’s some experimental sound stuff I’ve found around the internet that I enjoyed, and you can too.

Dexp Lab – Sectors LP … Retro-futurist ambiance that frequently veers into dissonant noise-ambient sound clusters and occasionally settles into a groove that hints at head nod territory. For me, the best music merely ‘hints’ rather than ‘says’. Like this a lot.
Free. 320 / VBR / OGG. Rus Zud netlabel.

Pavonine – Pavonine … Soft industrial drone work, reminiscent, to me, of the Hafler Trio’s quieter music, but more explicitly ‘ambient’. Very atmospheric and admirably restrained. “Rassamblement des choses qui portent malheur” has a subdued musical theme that is so understated and melancholy that it could be heartbreaking under the right circumstances. Completely lovely.
Free. 320 kbps mp3. Webbed Hand Records

Hannah M.G. Shapero (Altocumulus) – My Name is Marietta Cashman … consisting of recordings from the late 1960s of a teenage girl experimenting with the Buchla 100 modular synthesizer. From the descriptive text: “The sounds on this recording, unheard for 40 years, are a compilation of assorted electronic effects which were thrown together without much planning, rather as a storehouse than as a finished piece. They date from 1968 and 1969. The modern aesthetic of patchwork and accidental meaning, which was only at its beginning in 1968, has made this into “listenable” material.” I doubt I could make a better description than that, you will either like that or not. For me it’s pretty great.
Free. 320kbps mp3. Just Not Normal netlabel.


Thursday, 06 June 2009

I thought I’d pass along a recommendation of an underground recording I’ve just enjoyed. Olifaunt‘s newest album “Three Crows Become Four” (love that title!) is an autumnal set of churning bass drones, reminiscent of Crib (wow, Crib is important enough that it has a Wikipedia entry! If only I were so important! Alas I’m just not “notable”)… also recalling prime Maeror Tri.

I reckon this project will find its way onto a label like Kranky or Infraction sooner than later, (definitely sooner than Drone Forest) so go check them out now and you can say you were there before the poseurs!

Olifaunt has given this album to the world for free, at the Internet Archive (link), and/or at Last.FM (link).

DJ Nikto vs. Hedningarna

Saturday, 04 April 2009

I’ve just listened to a netlabel release I’d like to recommend.

Hedningarna is a band I’d previously never heard of, that performs Scandinavian folk music on instruments such as hurdy-gurdy, Swedish bagpipes, lute, fiddle and several custom instruments.

DJ Nikto has taken their recordings and run loops through delays, reverbs, digital smears, stuttering pauses and filter sweeps. Simple enough in concept, but the whole is very effective, it reminds me a lot in spirit and execution of some of the more ambient releases by the hallowed Muslimgauze.

The album is available for free from the venerable, admired Russian netlabel Top 40. There are streaming and downloading options at the link below.

DJ Nikto remixes Hedningarna

PBK – Under My Breath

Monday, 03 March 2009

PBK’s newest CD “Under My Breath” has been potentially ‘about to be released’ for much of the last decade. Thankfully for all of us who are fans of his work, the release is finally available.

The release features a diverse assortment of highly abstract soundwork, with collaborators such as Aube, Wolf Eyes, Artificial Memory Trace, Tore Boe, Christian Renou (from Brume), Nigel Ayers (from Nocturnal Emissions), John Wiggins, Dale Lloyd and C. Reider (that’s me!)

PBK’s completely unique compositional style is well suited to a release like this, where a diverse group of collaborators contribute a varied sound palette. He draws strongly on the distinct characters of electroacoustic, musique concréte, ambient and noise musics in his sound. Each song presents a completely new atmosphere, in which there is a feeling of motion through a sort of “painting” or “landscape”, where new features lurch unexpectedly into view with quivering, crackling energies.

On this new album, there is a kind of highly tense melancholy, a kind of mixture of fear and sadness, leading directly to his concept… if I may quote:

“The main control utilized by any government is “fear” as it relates to personal safety. We see this quite clearly in the U.S. since the events of 9/11. They turn huge populaces into quivering paranoiacs through media saturation and cold-war tactics. So came this idea that if anything were to be said out loud that was contrary to the “approved” line of thinking, that it would have to be said secretly, quietly, or “under the breath”

On a personal note, his use of source material I originally used on my early 2001 release some things I did when I lost my mind, connects this album to that time period very strongly for me. I think this music could not come from any other time period.

The Russian label Waystyx has published the CD in a very handsome die-cut cover, with graphic elements interweaving with the cut elements. The inside recording notes and song titles can only be read in the reflection of the CD itself, which is a pretty clever presentation.

You could go to PBK’s website for more information on how to order the CD. It is highly recommended by me.

One more quote from PBK about the new CD:

“The project was conceived to be similar to my “Life-Sense Revoked” CD relase from a few years ago, i.e a sort-of all-star collaborative recording with friends of mine whose music I admire. My personal goal with this was to achieve a new kind of ambient music for the 2000’s, one which incorporates musique concrete elements, turntable experimentalism and some of the textural elements which have been showing up in my work for years. I feel that this is a brilliant release and I hope you will enjoy listening to it as well. The guests on this recording are among my most cherished friends working in avant garde music today. I realize the odds are against us, we work in an area of sound production where neglect is the order of the day, we can’t get paid for our music, we self-release our work quite often just to document what we are doing. We continue to work against the odds in our own little corners of the world, striving to take our life experiences and turn them into art. Hopefully this release will help us gain a little wider audience, especially in the Eastern European and Russian communities where their ears seem to be really wide open and hungry for new sounds.”

If you are interested to hear more PBK work featuring collaborative work with C. Reider, (in anticipation of our full length collab CD which should hopefully come out this Summer) I recommend (very strongly) his excellent CD “Headmix”, which has been recently made available as a free download from his SoundGenetic blog. It’s also available in its entirety on Last.FM, right here.

Music recommendations

Sunday, 02 February 2009

A few quick nods to some things I’ve heard around the ‘net lately:

C.P. McDill – Introspection
This venerable underground artist has put out a lot of good work, this one is striking for its character. This Eno-esque ambient piece presents a continuously rolling tone cloud which constantly shifts between tension and release and often drifting into really serious dissonance. The choices of tones occasionally seems completely random, and at others it’s more composed. The piece seems to sit very uneasily with itself, and that makes listening to it a very curious and captivating experience… not something one can always say about an explicitly ambient work.

Zieltogend – Myst II
More deep, dark drones from the man behind Desohll and Norss. This particular piece remixes some works by Mystified. I really love this kind of thing, when one underground artist pays tribute to another by remixing, especially in this case where the artist clearly has a love for the work he is appropriating. This guy’s drones are quality stuff.

Shoeb AhmadPiano Music
Originally released as a 3″ CD that appears to now be sold out, you can still listen to this very enjoyable bunch of experimental piano music through Last.FM, so I’ve linked to the release’s page at that site. Ahmad runs his piano through Max/MSP, yielding a mixed sound palette, sometimes stark and pretty sound fields to accompany his minimalist playing, and at other times, the piano is seemingly lost in milky resonant distortion. I’d like to see Markus Brösel move in this kind of direction.


Saturday, 01 January 2009

Last.FM has its flaws, but it’s been great for discovering new music. Here are a few wonderful gems I’ve found while looking for music that Last.FM’s algorithms have deduced to be “similar to” C. Reider, and “similar to” Drone Forest.

An absolutely gorgeous 20 minute long bit of grey ambient bliss from Stray Ghost, called A House Of Gold And Oak was recently mentioned on Disquiet, and for good reason, this album is beyond good. (Last.FM link)

Still Crescent (Myspace/Last.FM) and August Stars (MySpace/ Last.FM) are the same guy, Sébastien Wright , who creates some ridiculously beautiful droning ambient music. This stuff is really great… I wish I could point you to a freely downloadable album, but at least you can stream his music. It’s worth it.

The eye-poppingly cool website of Erstlaub is appropriate given the high quality of his quietnoise drones. This guy knows how to let a drone develop from one interesting thing into another. Long live Erstlaub! (here’s his Last.FM link)

Links and Listening

Saturday, 01 January 2009

It is a lovely cold day, snow is in the air. We’re in the first days of the last year of the Zeroes. I’m listening to a Last.FM stream of artists that the website has determined are similar to Arvo Pärt, selections from John Cage, Terry Riley, William Basinski…

I wonder sometimes about whether other musicians occupying the underground do a lot of listening to their contemporaries and peers. I know there are some musicians who claim to not listen to music at all unless it is their own. I have never been of that custom. I do listen to a lot of my music, primarily the very current material, but occasionally some older work, sometimes just to put myself back in the frame of mind of myself as a younger composer, but I also listen very avidly to underground music.

I occasionally become so enamored of certain musicians’ work that I veer towards becoming what Kevin Kelly calls a “true fan” in his essay 1,000 True Fans. For some very unknown artists this is probably a little strange, they may not have ever had someone with a rabid interest in their music, who wants a copy of everything they’ve ever done. I’ve long had a very strong relationship to the music that I like.

When I first started trading cassettes of my music with other hometapers in the Nineties I formed an especially strong bond with the music made by several artists whose work felt, to me, contemporary and strongly linked to my own… or what I wanted mine to be. I definitely saw these groups as being interrelated in some way, even part of “a scene” of microaudible proportions although most of them did not even know each other, and in some cases did not even know of each other.

I’m not as deeply into their music as I was for a time, but it’s illuminating to look back and remember what it was that I admired about this music.

In no particular order:

Eyelight – Jehn Cerron made magical soundscapes using her voice, crackly/grainy samples and a tape looper. She still makes music (Here’s her MySpace page). Her music now is a little more beat-oriented and leans toward song-like structures more than it used to.

the Implicit Order – Anthony Washburn’s grainy noise washes and hypnotic loops keyed into my brain perfectly. I think you can hear how inspired I was by his work on our collaboration Opposing Theories from 1998. I’m also happy to have just released a new album from the Implicit Order called “Disposable Outcome“.

the Tall Bald Grandfathers – I was intrigued by this group’s complete uniqueness, and even just straight out oddness. I was happy to re-release their first album “Incomplete Inheritances“… however I have made the album (temporarily, I hope) unavailable due to my distaste for CDrs. I do not know what the Cascios are currently up to. We haven’t written in some time.

Klimperei – More magic. Clangor and movement and music! I did have a release on Vuzh Music by Christophe Petchanatz’s other band Deleted, again unavailable for the moment. I was particularly obsessed with one album of theirs called “Les Plus Belles Valses”, which can actually be freely downloaded from the band’s blog right here. This is still one of my favorite records of all time… it’s beautiful and great fun. Klimperei is still active, and has a website:

the Drowningbreathing – I wrote with Michael Pittard for a time, and could not really understand what he was writing about much of the time. He had beautiful handwriting. His music was impossibly ghostly and gorgeous. I don’t know why he hasn’t ended up with as much acclaim as someone like Tor Lundvall. I don’t know whether or not he’s still active in music at all, or whether he’s even still alive for that matter.

PBK – His composed “noiseambient” work elevates me. It was through his early work that I really began to understand the beauty in some harsher noises. We’ve collaborated a few times over the years… he also contributed to the Muslimgauze Remix project “El Tafkeera: Re-mixs in Remembrance of Muslimgauze” that I curated. Sometime in 2009 there will be a full length collaborative work that will come out called “Discorporate”.

Kirchenkampf – John Gore has put out some chillingly wonderful ambient & space music in his time. He still puts out some high quality work from his website Cohort Records.

Tarkatak – Lutz Pruditsch’s work with nebulous, atmospheric ambient music is untouchable. His website is here. We collaborated on one record called the Druser Pricid, which is not currently available from my website, but may be on his. I sent Lutz some new material to work on, but I do not know if we will actually complete a new collaboration together.

Qubais Reed Ghazala – A genius languishing in relative obscurity. His early work in and promotion of circuit bending is maybe more well known than his music, which is of the first class. I know that he has a website, but I do not know if he is still active with music.

Harlan – I dig this guy’s weird spazzy approach to groove music, and I could have seen him rising to prominence in the same way that someone like Odd Nosdam did. He has made an appearance on Vuzh Music once or twice.

Static Insect – Kevin Paisley’s music fluctuated between a sort of industrial experimentalism and musique concrete and noisy ambience. I really don’t know what he’s up to now. I haven’t seen his name floating around the internet. We put out a split tape together one time where we composed an alternate soundtrack to the movie “Altered States”, called “Altered Statements”. I will probably not re-release that recording, since I am not really happy with my work on that tape, even if I do think it was important in my musical learning and development (I had not used samples to construct music up until that work.)

Cheryl E. Leonard – Cheryl was/is an extremely talented sound collagist. She sent me a tape of pretty much everything she’d ever done & I think I wore the thing out! I recently re-found her work, and, according to her MySpace, she’s done an album with nothing but rocks and water. Anyone who knows me pretty well would say, ‘Oh well no wonder C. is into this stuff.’ She’s got a website which says that her newest project is a trip to Antartica to make music there. Aaagh! Mucho admiration.

Word of Mouth

Sunday, 12 December 2008

Although there is a little bit of info to pass on regarding new Vuzh Music stuff, I wanted first to delve into something I think is important about underground music. I was commenting recently to Thomas Park about how I find it odd that underground musicians don’t talk each other up very much. Everyone always talks about ‘me, me, me’. This is understandable on a certain level: underground musicians, or as we used to call them “hometapers” don’t have an advertising budget, and so many people will only ever hear about them through word of mouth, and since underground musicians rarely talk about other underground musicians, they all have to talk themselves up to an annoying degree.

This post, and this blog on the whole will occasionally point out some things I have found around the internet that I enjoyed, and maybe you will also. Clearly this will not stop me from talking about ‘me, me, me’ but it’s a start.

  • Petal – the Pharisee, I heard a track from this album on Stillstream radio, otherwise I don’t know anything about this artist. The album is a fine work of pulsing drone ambient, quite pretty indeed. There seemed to be something wrong with the last two tracks and with the .zip file, but the rest of the files downloaded alright.
  • Siegmar Fricke – Atemkalk. I don’t know anything about this artist, I found it via a promotional post on the ‘Experimentals’ LiveJournal community. The album is a fine, pleasant bit of gritty, swirling drone music.
  • Delicious Dragon. This is a MySpace page set up by friend and peer John Gore of Cohort Records. He’s recorded ambient, avant-garde, experimental and space music for decades… and now steps out tentatively into making music with beats and melody, and… it’s pretty cool stuff.
  • Velveeta Heartbreak – Future Grot. Michael J. Bowman, a friend of mine and co-member of Drone Forest, has posted on his blog a free download of “Future Grot”, a collage-like compilation of previously released musical weirdness, pop music and skronky instrumentals. Very enjoyable stuff.
  • Subscape Annex – Singing Glasses. Steve Burnett, a.k.a. Subscape Annex, has posted a new thirteen minute long work where he tries to imitate the sound of the glass armonica using a Chapman Stick fed through several processors. The effect is convincing, and the piece is very calming.
  • Martin Taxt – Various Improvisations. My wife found this piece while digging around the internet. I like it quite a bit. The three short pieces utilize the tuba as a sound source, but the artist plays the de-constructed bits of the instrument, blowing through them and hitting them together.

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