Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Goldmund – Two Point Discrimination

Like fellow traveler Sylvain Chauveau, Bostonian Keith Kenniff is a sometimes-electronics artist (recording as Helios) who spends moonlight hours at the piano. Also like Chauveau he has just released an e.p. that illuminates the roots and branches of minimalism. But Kenniff’s main branch is perhaps as much miniaturist as minimalist. The eleven brief tracks feature cascading repetitions and overlapping movements that hearken to the schools of Riley, Glass and Feldman. Each is a delightful clockwork that appears fully formed only to vanish wisp-life leaving the next to take up the space. The inside piano is close miced, creating an intimacy with the physical presence of the music and revealing tiny details created with each impact. The single word titles are also linked into the sentence “Leading them from light to shadow they will see as one,” and this also creates another layer of meaning with the music. The final three pieces settle into a quieter lull that concentrates as much on the resonance and sustain as the notes themselves, like a breath of satisfaction slowly released.

Western Vinyl

Brian Grainger – Eight Thousander

Alan Weisman’s recent book The World Without Us speculates on the Earth’s post-human development. Were it not a contradiction of sorts, Brian Grainger’s desolate guitar improvisations would provide an ideal soundtrack for this vision. His approach culls aspects of Stars of the Lid’s oceanic wash, Flying Saucer Attack’s grainy panorama and especially Roy Montgomery’s talent for describing space through sound. The opening trio of pieces captures a mood of twilight weariness; the guitar’s muted figures nested in the amp’s unmasked electric hiss. “Above the Sky” breaks free of the pregnant drone into a tremolo wide enough to bend at the edges. The only slight misstep comes on “Lost in the Woods,” a track that fetishizes the delay and creates a miasma of overlapping notes that disrupts the albums overall arc. Grainger’s unvarnished, no overdub strategy gives the work a vital feel despite its overall coolness and restraint.


Origami Arktika – Trollebotn

Once you get past the wince-worthy name this folkloric Norwegian band makes up with fireside balladry that calls to mind a mead-headed Circle or electricity-free Current 93. Recording in the region of Seljrod the band, whose ranks swell and contract from 7-10 members, excavate traditional folk songs of the area and give them reverent yet slightly askew treatments. Singer Rune Flaten’s warm narrow-ranged vocal easily casts us back to pre-Plague times and song cycles for beautiful heartbroken ladies. The band both plays and manhandles their instruments into making occasional non-proscribed sounds. The ceremony is steered by new drummer Kjell Runar A159’s (the numbers are doled out based on the person’s order of entry into the “Origami Republika”… I think?) loose meandering beat, keeping the sometimes trancelike instrumentation from suffering the crush of gravity. While the majority of the tracks grow out of some dark root, “Fanteguten” is a lighter narrative guiding “how-to” deceive pretentious women, and with a tight looping rhythm that could easily double as a RZA backing track.


The Drift – Ceiling Sky

With their 2005 release, Noumena, this San Francisco crew eked out a patch of post-rock ground that abutted against the jazz/fusion property line. This collection of tracks previously only available on vinyl releases further articulates some of their best attributes. On the 2004 “Streets/Nozomi” tracks Safa Shokrai’s upright bass sits atop of the alternately driving and dragging rhythms; fantastically recorded to capture every hint of vibration, string snap and finger pluck. The two tracks taken from the vinyl version of Noumena are a touch chillier, exploring dub rhythms and atmosphere with the aid of Jeff Jacobs’ lowering trumpet work. The crown jewel of the release has to be Four Tet’s remix of “Gardening, Not Architecture.” Kieren Hebden knows his way around acoustic instruments, upping the free jazz overdrive of the drum track while swirling the electronics and guitar like a blizzardy treat. Eventually high-pitched electronics sub in for the woodwinds it all locks down into an over-caffeinated loop. High energy fun.

Temporary Residence

Lawrence Casserley / Simon Desorgher – Music from Colourdome

While the intrusion of laptops and homemade electronic gadgets into “proper” improvised jazz seems to be on the increase, many of these interlopers are still pushed to the periphery of their respective outfits. From their time out corners most manage only the odd crackle or sine wave to stain the acoustic eminence. Lawrence Casserley strikes a blow for the wire jockeys by forcing the acoustic instruments to come to (and through) him. The ColourDome is an actual structure used in the long running Colourscape Festival, directed by Casserley and Desorgher since 1980. An air-supported labyrinth of colourful PVC, it provides an environment for spectators to inhabit and experience sound. In addition the duo use this structure to improvise new ideas. Here flautist Desorgher is joined by UK saxophone giant Evan Parker and violinist Philipp Wachsmann. On the other side of the coin, Casserley’s usual instrumental processing is abetted by David Stevens. The end result is most successful with the acoustic instrumentation and mutations simultaneously inhabit space. Occasionally this balance is lost and we hear the sound of someone wandering and lost in the ColourDome. What would Mel Gibson do? Sorry.


Tarentel – Ghetto Beats on the Surface of the Sun

This San Francisco outfit continues to red shift from its beginnings as an above average post-rock outfit in the vein of Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky. Subsequent output revealed a growing interest in improvisation, “Eternal Music”-style minimalism and probably pharmaceuticals. This limited edition double disc unleashes an avalanche of ideas, and like most avalanches there are only a handful of air pockets for those trapped in its path. The objection of too much belies the fact Ghetto Beats is likely not meant to work as a coherent statement… more of a flare-lit aggregation of tribal beat driven and ambience-heavy sketches. Long pieces like “All Things Vibrations” and “Sun Place” grow and unwind into their own ecosystems split free from greater context. Some of the shorter pieces, however, suffer from under and over-watering. All in all, if fans of Tarentel have followed this far they should have little fear wading into this foliage. Others may need to sharpen their machetes.

Temporary Residence

Michaela Melián – Los Angeles

Having strong roots as singer and bassist in German band F.S.K. (begun in 1980 and still going steady), Melián’s solo career is surprisingly new. This organic and lovely release follows her more DJ friendly debut Baden-Baden that appeared on Monika two years ago. Focus here is on warmth and acoustics, with violoncello, Spanish guitar and ukulele balancing the stoic against the playful. Given the album’s title it’s difficult not to picture a smog-obscured landscape made golden and dreamlike in early morning light. The instruments are likewise bathed in refracting layers of ambient noise and stacked upon each other until the loops punch through to the surface. Pieces like “Stein” or “Stift” conjure Steve Reich in a dream of quicksand. This mould is broken on later tracks like “Convention” and “Sebastian” that resolve into sharper detail, revealing angles and edges where before there was only heat haze. A closing cover of Bryan Ferry’s “Manifesto” further dims the lights and sparks up the neon of Sunset Strip. Sometimes it is about the nightlife, after all.


To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie – The Patron

The term “dream pop” is generally used to describe a music where the melody, voices, rhythm and tone all blend into a kind of indistinct haze. TKAPB have more vivid dreams. The Minneapolis duo of Jehna Wilhelm and Mark McGee take an expressionist and/or baroque approach to lyric storytelling. The Patron is, from all accounts, a love song-cycle for merging corporations… and indeed the musical equivalent of concrete buckling and heartrending electric wiring is laced throughout. Somewhere, perhaps hiding under a photocopier, Wilhelm sings her swooning romantic songs while McGee catapults flaming boulders against the outer structure. In other words this ain’t “Jack and Diane.” At intervals, like on “Lovers and Liars” and “I Box Twenty,” there are bits that more closely resemble songs in the canon of, say, CocoRosie or The Cranes. Elsewhere shards of feedback and crumpled electronics gyre around the idea of a song. For all that it is an impressively elaborate first recording that challenges and repays the brave and economic of heart.


Sylvain Chauveau – S.

This first release for Type records marks a return to minimalist experiments for Chauveau after his surprisingly faithful album of acoustic Depeche Mode covers in 2005. Over the five brief tracks his strongest weapon is tension, built with a play of elastic and irregular intervals. As on opener “Composition 8,” where a few low tuned electric guitar notes bob and eddy in a thick bass drone amongst the liquid popping of looped analog input contacts. The piece is bracketed by two louder “plug-in” noises, creating the illusion of a placid and self-generating oasis hidden from outer chaos. “P.” features Chauveau at the piano, seeming to acoustically recreate the overheard electric sounds of the previous. “E/R” is something of an anomaly here: an extended cycle of regular digital figures with little variation, not unlike contemporary minimal techno from Kompakt stripped of nearly all dance floor pretense. After another brief piano composition, the closer “A.” is a simple and quiet song that seems to have been fed a drug and left to weave and stumble upon itself. Chauveau continues to prod the world of post-Satie classical piano composition into new enclosures with subtle electronic boundaries.


Sun – I’ll Be the Same

Oren Ambarchi and Chris Townend switch back from their artist/producer dynamic to their group one for this second effort on Staubgold. As with the eponymous debut a pun-obliging sunniness touches the diffusive songs until you can’t always spot a structure amongst the lens flares. Tracks like “Mosquito” and “Smile” channel fragments of classic cracked psychedelia beamed from Donovan to Brian Wilson to CSNY. The image of a Laurel Canyon mega-jam at its psilocybin peak spilling over into Venice Beach or Malibu also comes to mind. Ambarchi and Townend apply a loose improvisational approach to broader tracks like “Help Yourself” and “Soul Pusha” that results in wonderful “first-take” instrumental collisions and drumming that defies any time-keeping theories. The Animal Collective have occasionally mapped out songs like “Bruise Things,” with its mix of acoustic trippiness, electronic arabesque and found sounds. Sun, however, take this map, read it upside down and stumble onto a bridge that drifts off into morning fog. I’ll Be the Same may test patience if you’re expecting common sense to be the guide, but if you’re willing to abandon steering you may be ready for this ride. Man.


Oren Ambarchi – In the Pendulum’s Embrace

With recent pendular group work that has swung from the high brow [Keith Rowe] to Cro-Magnon browed [Sunn O)))], Australian guitarist Ambarchi returns to center with this new solo release. Following a thread begun with Suspension (2001) and Grapes from the Estate (2004), both on Touch, Pendulum starts as a familiar meditation on tone. The Sunn O))) aesthetic of repetition and vibration suffuses the muted low guitar rumble and sympathetic cymbal shimmers of “Fever, A Warm Poison:” the sound Ambarchi building a monolith in a bell jar. The tone-cloud returns on “Inamorata,” retaining its slow pace and evocative shape until it is slurred into colourful contrails by a bowed drone just past the track’s midpoint. “Trailing Moss In Mystic Glow,” last of the three long pieces, adds lovely meandering acoustic guitar clusters to the mutating electricity; closing off is a wordless vocal counterpoint in the Lichens / Alexander Tucker family. This de-centralization of the guitar simultaneously breaks open new melodic terrain and maintains Ambarchi’s distinctive voice. One senses that if the albums through-line was extended a song might eventually emerge. But if this is the close of a triptych or just another evolutionary step remains to be heard.

Southern Lord

Brian Joseph Davis – The Definitive Host

Serving as either a summation of or introduction to the collected sound projects (2004-2007) of Canadian artist Brian Joseph Davis, The Definitive Host is an inarguably wonderful looking package. There are unavoidable comparisons to be made with fellow maverick John Oswald, and especially his Plunderphonics works. Underlying considerations of copyright and censorship are manifest on pieces like “Ten Banned Albums Burned, Then Played,” sounding as title describes, and “Eula,” which features the Sony/BMG user license agreement orchestrated for and sung by a choir. “Ten Banned Albums…” features everything from Mahler and Stravinsky to Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist in a suite of stylus-jarring loops. New to this collection is “Five Box Sets Played on Fast Forward, Then Edited Into Songs” that, as advertised, takes on Motown through Metal, repurposing themes from a machine-driven randomness. And perhaps this is where Davis and Oswald part company: while Oswald performed exacting surgeries with razor and magnetic tape, Davis seems to embrace the chaos of creation that occurs when the technology runs itself. He also lets human error direct things as on “Yesterduh,” featuring layered performances of “Yesterday” by paying users of a gallery’s recording booth, encouraged to sing the song from approximate memory. The edited results are embarrassingly lovely. The disc is held in a chapbook-sized glossy package with photos of the burned albums, the score to “Eula” and several other tidbits to pore over while you listen.

Blocks Recording Company

MC Maguire – Meta-Conspiracy

Using the computer as a compositional tool is not exactly groundbreaking, but using it to achieve the level of musical density present on Meta-Conspiracy stretches the boundaries of its applications. The two long suites by Canadian composer MC Maguire both began as commissions for orchestras and/or dance accompaniment but have since grown in proportion and purpose. “A Short History of Lounge” is a duo piece for CPU and piano (played here by David Swan). Described by Maguire as “a quasi-rondo sonata… a kind of Boulezian pandiatonic Rumba,” it begins as an accelerating, percussion-happy absorption of musical themes, both naturalistic and digitized, heroically accompanied by Swan’s piano. The piece slows to regroup in several spots over its duration before swelling again into massed but always musical layers not unlike a thick sandwich of Zappa’s mid-80s Synclavier experiments in contemporary classical themes. “Got That Crazy, Latin/Metal Feelin’” is also explained with notes pointing to “a harmonic 49-chord progression (forward then backwards through all the major/minor keys),” but in the listening it can be taken as a half-hour collage of overlapping themes. Accompanied by John Gzowski’s guitar and vocals by Maguire with Sam Sinanan and Barnyard Drama’s Christine Duncan, it somewhat resembles a more frenetic, serial version of label boss John Zorn’s Naked City band pieces. That is to say good fun for those who like music that resembles rollercoasters.


Hildur Gudnadóttir / BJ Nilsen / Stilluppsteypa – Second Childhood

Though she’s worked extensively with fellow Icelandic artists like Múm and Jóhann Jóhannsson, it is likely cellist Hildur Gudnadóttir who is the dark horse of this collaboration. Her spare and echo-enhanced strings however do define the space and direction of these pieces. BJ Nilsen has gradually gone from the atmospheric electronics of his Hazard projects to nearly pure atmosphere, as with his recent CD Storm with field recording artist Chris Watson. Here he provides an enclosure that gives the ambient music room to breathe. He also serves as full circle connector to expatriate Icelandic duo Stilluppsteypa, having worked with them on two previous albums for the Helen Scarsdale label. Where earlier releases where typically barbed and dark-humoured affairs, Sigtryggur Berg Sigmarsson and Helgi Thorsson have recently embraced restraint as a new tool in their arsenal. Most of Second Childhood inhabits a twilight realm that teeters on the edge of beauty and foreboding. “How to Catch the Right Thought,” for instance, is an idyllic shimmer of cello notes that seem to be broadcast from a subterranean chamber. It is this pepper-laced honey that keeps things from drifting into new age torpor and makes this a repeatedly intriguing listen.


A_dontigny – Geisteswissenschaften

Aimé Dontigny is a Quebec artist with a slippery aesthetic that wriggles free of easy classifications. Having begun with the “free noise” collective Napalm Jazz, his treatment of sound at its root informs later work; from electro-acoustic duos with Diane Labrosse, Chantal Dumas to a recent live performance under the direction of Francisco Lopez at this year’s Victoriaville festival. Dontigny accesses these muscles here, but also draws upon his work with Érick D’Orion in morceaux_de_machines, a project that force-feeds noise into the drum n bass paradigm. What Geisteswissenschaften offers is the rapid survey of a micro-managed patchwork landscape where many styles and ideas compete for space. It opens with the lazy hip-hop pulse of “Koons” that is eventually overturned by a chaotic collapse of competing beats, followed by the smooth flow of “Pruitt-Igoe” where the electric piano and syrupy strings are just a little too uncomfortably degraded to produce nostalgia. The album begins to describe the worm in the heart of cultural recycling. What many modern electronic albums undertake to preserve through mutation and adaptation Dontigny slathers with new layers of decay and distance-confusing disorder. The album especially succeeds by allowing just enough of the “known” to peek through while spinning through its disorienting cycles of hyper-detailed noise.

No Type

Marhaug / Asheim – Grand Mutation

Organs have figured prominently in the Touch catalogue over the last couple of years, most notably with the release of the two Spire compilations featuring artists exploring the intersection of acoustic tradition and electronic innovation. Grand Mutation places this intersection dead centre of Oslo Cathedral where noise artist Lasse Marhaug and organist Nils Henrik Asheim first crossed paths ruing the 2004 All Ears Festival. Returning to the cathedral in June 2006 they brought along engineer Thomas Hukkelberg to capture their monolithic improvisations. Starting with “Bordunal” the drone elements and resonant space serve to soothe and seduce the listener before eventually terrifying them. Marhaug’s electronics were played live through a loudspeaker to share the space more naturally with Asheim’s organ, initially leading the way. By the bridge into “Phoneuma” the distinction between the duo’s tonal palettes blurs, with Marhaug exhibiting a great patience for gradual change not always evident in his Jazzkammer work or recent collaborations with Maya Ratkje and Testicle Hazard. “Philomela” illustrates the denuded sound of air forced through the fluttering stops before interjecting tones and notes. Taken as a whole the work transits from pure tone through unadulterated noise and eventually into “Clavaeolina,” something closely resembling a devotional grandeur the space must usually host. After fire and brimstone returns a more benevolent deity, theoretically.

Touch Records

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Surgery 52

Pinch - Underwater Dancehall (Tectonic)
Various - A Number Of Small Things (Morr)
The Drift - Ceiling Sky (Temporary Residence)
Bogdan Raczynski - Alright! (Rephlex)
Astral Social Club - Neon Pibroch (Important)
Charalambides - Likeness (Kranky)
Origami Arktika - Trollebotn (Silber)
Toshinori Kondo - Silent Melodies (Stilll/Off)
Ateleia - Swimming Against The Moments (Antiopic)
Sylvain Chauveau - Nuage (Type)

Track Listing

Pinch - Widescreen
Teamforest - Home
The Drift - Gardening, Not Architecture (Fourtet Remix)
Bogdan Raczynski - Alright! Part Six
Astral Social Club - The Big Spree (edit)
Charalambides - Saddle Up The Pony
Origami Arktika - Fanteguten
Toshinori Kondo - Song For The Small Planet
Ateleia - Production And Poverty
Sylvain Chauveau - Fly Like A Horse

Listen to Surgery 52 click here

Friday, November 30, 2007

Surgery 51

A Taste Of Ra - Morning Of My Life (Häpna)
Michel F. Coté & (Juste) Claudette - (Juste) Claudette (Ambiances Magnetiques)
Michaela Melián - Los Angeles (Monika)
Guido Del Fabbro - Agrégats (Ambiances Magnetiques)
Sawako - Madoromi (Anticipate)
Goldmund - Two Point Discrimination (Western Vinyl)
Static North - S/T (Independent)
Aidan Baker - Scalpel (The Kora)
Oren Ambarchi - In The Pendulum's Embrace (Southern Lord)
Brian Grainger - Eight Thousander (Attack Nine)
Charity Chan/Remy Bélanger/Kris Colvin - Fenaison: Plat (Ambiances Magnetiques)
Andrea Sartori - Il Tagliacode (Persona)

Track Listing

A Taste Of Ra - Morning of My Life [edit1]
Michel F. Coté & (Juste) Claudette - Descente Centrale
Michaela Melián - Föhrenwald
Guido Del Fabbro - Les Lettres Troisième Partie
Sawako - Appled Soapbox
Goldmund - Light
Static North - Stubborn Tiny Lights
A Taste Of Ra - Morning Of My Life [edit 2]
Aidan Baker - Scalpel
Oren Ambarchi - Inamorata
Brian Grainger - Whitecaps
Charity Chan/Remy Bélanger/Kris Colvin - Interrelations C
Andrea Sartori - Supertele

Listen to Surgery 51 click here

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Surgery 50

For episode number 50 I pondered over formats like "best ofs," "classic tracks," "exclusives" and so on... but finally decided (due in part to constant disorganization and poor planning) to stick with the steady flow of excellent new releases from the last few weeks. Maybe Surgery 100... if I start planning now.


Seabear - The Ghost That Carried Us Away (Morr)
Alejandro Franov - Khali (Staubgold)
Mofongo - Tumbao (Aagoo Records)
Sun Electric - Lost & Found (1998-2000) (Shitkatapult)
Phon°noir - The Objects Don't Need Us (Sub Rosa)
Gultskra Artikler - Kasha Iz Topora (Miasmah)
Chica And The Folder - Under The Balcony (Monika)
Pupkulies & Rebecca - Beyond the Cage (Normoton)
Eric Malmberg - Verklighet Och Beat (Häpna)
Swod - Sekunden (City Centre Offices)
Sun - I'll Be The Same (Staubgold)
Labradford - Prazision LP (Kranky)
BJ Nilsen - The Short Night (Touch)

Track Listing

Seabear - Summer Bird Diamond
Alejandro Fronov - Nyamaropa
Mofongo - Loco
Sun Electric - Afterglow
Phon°noir - You Are the Eskimo
Gultskra Artikler - Kuraga / Samouchitel
Chica & the Folder - Souffle
Pupkulies & Rebecca - Les Cages
Eric Malmberg - Varat Fanns Någonstans I Röran
Swod - Montauk
Sun - Bruise Things
Labradford - Everlast
BJ Nilsen - Black Light [edit]

Listen to Surgery 50 click here

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Surgery 49

Rechenzentrum - Silence (Weiser Music)
Sylvain Chauveau - S. (Type)
Pan-Pot - Pan-O-Rama (Mobilee/D)
Sam Amidon - All Is Well (Bedroom Community)
XXL [Xiu Xiu Larsen] - ¡Ciaütistico! (Important)
Letters Letters - S/T (Type)
White Rainbow - Prism Of Eternal Now (Kranky)
Xiu Xiu - Xiu & Xiu: Remixed & Covered (5RC)
Cloudland Canyon - Silver Tongued Sisyphus (Kranky)
Various - Imaginational Anthem Vol 2 (Tompkins Square)
Brian Joseph Davis - The Definitive Host (Blocks Recording Club)
Odd Nosdam - Level Live Wires (Anticon)

Track Listing

Rechenzentrum - Terra Incognita
Sylvain Chauveau - Composition 8
Pan-Pot - Dog's Dinner
Sam Amidon - Fall On My Knees
XXL - Paw Paw Paw Paw Paw Paw Paw
Letters Letters - In A Way
White Rainbow - Waves
Xiu Xiu - Tonite & Today (Remixed By grouper)
Cloudland Canyon - Dambala [edit]
Sharron Kraus - Looking For The Hermit's Cave
Brian Joseph Davis - Yesterduh (All together now)
Odd Nosdam - JB Doug Hook

Listen to Surgery 49 click here

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Surgery 48

Christian Fennesz
- Hotel Paral.Lel (Mego)
TBA - Size and Tears (Max Ernst)
To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - The Patron (Kranky)
Tarentel - Ghetto Beats On The Surface Of The Sun (Temporary Residence)
Torngat - You Could Be (Alien8)
Modeselektor - Happy Birthday (Bpitch Control)
Pjusk - Sart (12k)
WZT Hearts - Threads Rope Spell Making Your Bones (Carpark)
Casserley/Desorgher - Music from ColourDome (PSI)
Black Dice - Load Blown (Paw Tracks)

Track Listing

Christian Fennesz - Szabo
TBA - Slide in Strangers Night
To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie - The Man With The Shovel, Is The Man I'm Going To Marry
Tarentel - You Do This. I'll Do That.
Torngat - A Super Hero Anthem
Modeselektor - B.M.I.
Pjusk - Flyktig
WZT Hearts - Viszla
Casserley/Desorgher - Music from ColourDome 3
Black Dice - Drool

Listen to Surgery 48 click here

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Surgery 47

Calm before back to school storm episode

Sandro Perri
- Tiny Mirrors (Constellation)
Lee Ranaldo - Amarillo Ramp (Starlight Furniture Co.)
Deathprod - Morals And Dogma (Rune Grammofon)
Skallander - S/T (Type)
Pauline Oliveros - Primordial Lift (Table of the Elements)
John Cage - Sonatas And Interludes For Prepared Piano (Materiali Sonori)
Eliane Radigue - Jetsun Mila (Lovely Music)
HRSTA - Ghosts Will Come and Kiss Our Eyes (Constellation)
Tradition - S/T (Blocks Recording Club)
Chris Watson - Weather Report (Touch)

Track Listing

Sandro Perri - Everybody's Talkin'
Lee Ranaldo - Here
Deathprod - Orgone Donor
Skallander - Flesh Born Constellation
Pauline Oliveros - Primordial (excerpt)
John Cage - Sonata XI
Eliane Radigue - Jetsun Mila (excerpt)
HRSTA - Tomorrow Winter Comes
Tradition - Sunlight On Winter Sadness
Chris Watson - Vatnajökull (excerpt)

Listen to Surgery 47 click here

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Surgery 46

This episode is subtitled Surgery: Morphine Mix, due to its origin as a two CD compilation made for a friend with chronic back pain. The idea is that once the painkiller starts its course this music does the rest.

Also thanks to all the recent listeners and artists who have made flattering comments and have helped spread the Surgery Radio word over their internet connections.

Cheers, and enjoy

Morphine Mix

Fennesz + Sakamoto
- Cendre (Touch)
3/4HadBeenEliminated - A Year Of The Aural Gauge Operation (Häpna)
On - Your Naked Ghost Comes Back At Night (DSA)
Hildur Gudnadóttir/BJ Nilsen/Stilluppsteypa - Second Childhood (Quecksilber)
Conjoint - A Few Empty Chairs (Büro)
Jan Jelinek - Tierbeobachtungen (~Scape)
Chihei Hatakeyama - Minima Moralia (Kranky)
Robert Henke - Layering Buddha (Staubgold)
Sawako - Hum (12k)

Track Listing

Fennesz + Sakamoto - Amorph
3/4HadBeenEliminated - Widower
On - Erotique
Hildur Gudnadóttir/BJ Nilsen/Stilluppsteypa - How To Catch The Right Thought
Conjoint - Loopholes In My Lawn
Jan Jelinek - Happening Tone
Chihei Hatakeyama - Swaying Curtain in the Window
Robert Henke - Layer 10
Sawako - White Sky Winter Chicada

Listen to Surgery 46 click here

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Surgery 45

Wighnomy Bros./Robag Wruhme
- Remikks Potpurri II (Freude Am Tanzen)
Various - Total 8 (Kompakt)
Bola - S/T (Skam)
D'Arcangelo - Eksel (Rephlex)
Max Rouen - The Magnetic Wave Of Sound (Karaoke Kalk)
Dopplereffekt - Calabi Yau Space (Rephlex)
Philipp Quehenberger - Phantom In Paradise (Mego)
The Tuss - Rushup Edge (Rephlex)
Fovea Hex - Allure (Die Stadt/Janet Records)
A_Dontigny - Geisteswissenschaften (No Type)
jodi cave - absent (term)
Tijuana Mon Amour Broadcasting Inc. - Cold Jubilee (Of The Snowqueen) (Büro)

Track Listing

The Future Sound Of London - Lifeforms (Wighnomy Brothers And Robag Whrumes Simetikon)
Jörg Burger - Polyform 1
Bola - Waknuts
D'Arcangelo - Saturn
Max Rouen - Leon's Genesis
Dopplereffekt - Mirror Symmetry
Philipp Quehenberger - Ozerea 1
Reinhard Voigt - Follow The DJ
The Tuss - Goodbye Rute
Fovea Hex - Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent
A_Dontigny - Begriffsschrift
jodi cave - absent/walking backwards
Tijuana Mon Amour Broadcasting Inc. - Cold Jubilee

Listen to Surgery 45 click here

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Drawing Voices – S/T

Here’s another chance for the headbangers of the world to transform themselves into chin scratchers. Drawing Voices is in fact an interdisciplinary effort that closely examines the process sounds from illustration… i.e. brush or pen on paper. Craig Dogonski of Georgia State has been pursuing this idea since 1999, and is joined on this step by Isis guitarist Aaron Turner to further illuminate his findings. The results sound like they would be a better fit for labels like Erstwhile or Charhizma than HydraHead… an admittedly progressive Metal label, here further extending it’s Double H Noise Industries division. In certain passing intervals, as on “The Shrine of Wreckless Illumination,” the actual sound of etching and the actual sound of guitar are clear and present, but by and large the process is itself processed into electron orbits of noise. It is compelling work, on a par with the more passive aggressive moments of Daniel Menche or John Hudak; detailed, rewarding to multiple listens and with a vague but discernable operating principle. Will it cause the scratching of chins? Perhaps at least the scratching of metal heads.


Destructo Swarmbots – Clear Light

Not as obviously extreme as Sunn O))), Nadja or any of the suddenly legion drone metal acts on the scene, the Swarmbots are still more impolite than most acts the “brainy” side of the buzzing divide. Mike Mare, who also is part of NJ hip hop crew Dalëk’s touring band, seems to be more in line with 90s post-industrial ambient/isolationist acts such as Justin Broadrick’s Final or Mark Spybey’s Dead Voices on Air. Clear Light kicks off with a forty-minute monolith called “Banta” that supposes the sound of a guitar loop plummeting through space on the Voyager probe. A sense of movement through resonant, yet mostly empty distance definitely rules the atmosphere as the pieces slowly transforms from gray to slate to charcoal. The three shorter pieces are like shards that have split away from the larger opener: a fragment of feedback here, polished echo and sustain there. The very between-ness of Mare’s sound may draw in listeners from both the dark and lighter side of the drone force, though the opposite is equally possible.

(Public Guilt)

ErikM (Luc Ferrari) & Thomas Lehn – Les Protorythmiques

In effect this is a document of an unplanned event. Invited to the 2005 Musique Action Festival in France ErikM and Concréte pioneer Luc Ferrari were slated to present a set designed around an “open working process” that allowed greater improvisational possibilities for characteristically more inert Concréte composition. Ferrari’s poor health (he passed away that August) prevented him from attending the festival. In his absence ErikM employed the audio archive the two had built for the 2004 Angle release Les Archives Sauvees des Eaux, and invited analog synthesizer wizard Thomas Lehn to accompany him. The result is a single half hour piece that stays true to many of Ferrari’s processes of electro-acoustic work, turning real world sources, splintered conversations and abstract sound into impressionist narratives. The play is extremely active and rarely overemphasizes specific moments or elements. Provocative uses of sudden volume stabs derange the more naturalistic scenes, while Lehn’s pulsing tones are well integrated into ErikM’s methodology. Even without his immediate participation Ferrari’s presence is felt in the bones of this work.


Adam Frank/Sam Shalabi – Overpass! A Melodrama

To live in one city for any amount of time is to eventually become both it’s defender and/or critic depending on circumstance. Overpass! is Adam Frank’s multi-personality dichotomous love/hate letter for Vancouver. Rather than a song-cycle Frank, a teacher of American Lit at UBC, chooses a sort of radio play, or melodrama as he describes it, supported by music from Montreal’s Sam Shalabi. The narrative centers upon the experience of Vancouver through the eyes of newcomer Antonia, a kind of toughly modernist version of Alice through the looking glass. She interacts with Merv, assistant to the city engineer and voices of architects, publishers and even the sound engineer provide various facts, figures, feelings on the peccadilloes Vancouver’s haphazard modernization. These eventually focus in on the overpass in question. Shalabi’s music, played by a small rock ensemble, by necessity remains in the background; occasionally driving the energy of the story or alternately pooling to mirror the difficulty of progress. While specific to Vancouver, Overpass! can speak to anyone who suddenly tunes in to their urban surrounding and what makes it work, or fail to.

(Alien8 Recordings)

Organ Eye – S/T

As guiding hand behind Portugal’s Osso Exótico David Maranha has long bowed his way towards the heart of Eternal Music. Drawing inspiration from the 60s experiments that eventually birthed Velvet Underground, Maranha enlists longtime collaborator Patricia Machás as well as like-minded New Zealanders Jasmine Guffond and Torben Tilly to explore two long and detail-rich drone excursions. While earlier recordings, such as excellent 2000 release Circunscrita on Namskeio records, delved exclusively into the dense properties of acoustic instruments, Organ Eye opens the door to the electronics provided by the NZ invitees. The results are phenomenal. On “Tema #1” Maranha and Machás’ slowly breath through their Hammond airways adding little pockets of violin, drum and bowed piano as time passes. The electronics here are so gradual, transparent and integrated they never really reveal themselves until the piece concludes. “Tema #2” however picks up at that spot with the modem squelch of digital noise transmitting its signal into both past and future. Building these pieces through improvisation, the players are skilled listeners, preferring to cooperate on completely filling the cavity of listening gracefully rather than overwhelming with over-amplification and feedback.


Nicolas Bernier + Jacques Poulin-Denis – Étude no. 3 pour cordes et poulies

Created as a sonic accompaniment for the dance troupe O Vertigo, Etude no. 3 is a recording that steps lightly on its own two feet. Creators Bernier and Poulin-Denis are both multidisciplinary artists and crossed paths through their study of electro-acoustic composition at the University of Montreal. Poulin-Denis’ previous training as a dancer and actor doubtlessly led to this specific collaboration. The two have achieved something rare and wonderful: a music that has the precision, inner life and depth of field inherent in accomplished electro-acoustics, but with the ghostly breath of melody giving it lift and lightness. The electronic elements elicit comparisons to the detailed works of Alva Noto or Ryoji Ikeda, but they are only the gears and hinges of a much larger and delicate machine. Nothing is ever still… brushed drums shoot right-to-left like chain lightning; voices pop out like brief captured radio broadcasts; ticks and chimes well up like a wall of music boxes… yet nothing ever seems overwrought or crowded. Bernier’s website/label/micro-community Ekumen is one to keep an eye and/or ear on in nights to come.


The North Sea – Exquisite Idols

Tulsa, OK native Brad Rose is king of all things Foxy and/or Digital… running two labels (Digitalis and Foxglove) and a webzine (Foxy Digitalis) and whenever a slow warm night comes along, recording a foxy digital disc. That is if foxy means steeped in off-kilter folk, Eastern drone and haunted by flocks of birds carrying spoons in their beaks. Last year’s collaboration with UK trio Ramses III, another Type release, explored hypnotism via longer form explorations, whereas the pieces on Exquisite Idols are more acoustic, folkier and fit in your breast pocket. Rose still ekes grandeur out of the small noises of birdsong, wind chimes and trembling drone linked arm-in-arm, as on “Guiwenneth Of The Green Grass,” with an acoustic guitar that sounds in love with the world. “Take it from me Brother Moses” is the most traditional of pieces here, with a plunky banjo giving us the old timey treatment. Elsewhere on pieces like “Cover me with Knives” and “We Conquered the Golden Age,” the latter being the only extended meditation on the disc, Rose wanders onto more crooked paths and achieves a kind of transcendence many free/freak folk collectives strive to discover.


Ramses III - Honey Rose

Last year was a (relatively) high-profile, high-yield year for UK trio Ramses III. After a reissue of their limited edition collaboration with The North Sea’s Brad Rose on Type Records they graced the The Music Fellowship with a new full length called Matanuska. This time it’s the rapidly shifting and always interesting Important Records turn to make room, this time for an e.p. of themes that act as soundtrack for Jon Spira’s short film Suityman. The six pieces are essentially the same languid piece of music, adapted and rearranged each time for new instruments and (slightly) different moods. Without directly referencing it, Honey Rose recalls the world weariness of Ry Cooder’s score for Paris, Texas, all windblown, flat and lonesome. Subtly shifting acoustic effects and trading guitar for banjo, lap for pedal steel, the pieces are almost salutary… little pockets of recognition across distances. With a slow gait, the rhythm approximates a waltz with too many knee bends per step, saved by a buoyancy that lingers in the heart of the piece.


Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol. 1

If you recall your first year Classics and Philosophy, or at least barely like most of us, you’ll remember the Platonic ideal that reminds us our “real” objective world is filled with imperfect representations of perfect or “ideal” forms. So it follows that Carsten Nicolai draws our attention to the flaws and imperfections that diminish each copy of “unique” items… such as original recordings. The noises of digital errors, old fashioned modem transfers, fax tones are all drawn upward in the mixes of selected pieces, given equal attention. Of course, fans of Raster-Noton and other “clicks and cuts” proponents will likely be unsurprised by the white noise given its frequent appearances in other like-minded releases. The interference here is often much more extreme, often obliterating the original sources… and it is in these sources the next layer of concept is found. Nicolai pilfers sounds from such pillars of mundane repetition and reproduction as airport announcement tones, telephone waiting loops, 7-11 muzak. The irony is that the mutated forms of these everyday backgrounds become austere and even beautiful when demolished and reorganized in a digital copyist environment. The pieces are carefully interspersed with more pristine, unblemished takes on ambient sound to enhance the tension created by the noise. The artist and label both continue to push outward on the modern electronic frontier.


Small Sails – Similar Anniversaries

With too many choices daily for new bands to crush on, acts with solid live performance reps tend to earn an extra edge. Portland, Oregon trio Small Sails are musicians who also work as a filmmaking collective whose live show include on the fly video mixing with multiple projectors to enhance their playful electronics. But even without visual accompaniment their first full length delivers the light and wistful goods that gain them favourable comparisons to bands like The Books. The difference between the two groups is that the folktronic duo’s modus operates on tongue-in-cheek inventive and textured sketches, whereas Small Sails tracks are more traditionally rounded into songs… albeit songs with a little candy for their cheeks. The voice constantly returns as integral to the mix, either as enthusiastic “ta da das” or whispered secrets just under the surface, but it envelops each piece with cheerful humanity. The band have managed the neat trick of finding a sound that is intricate enough to always engage but so whimsically upbeat no one could feel challenged. So whether your first love is the post-rock crunch of Tortoise, the folk/jazz implosion of Four Tet or the quivering electro/rock of The Album Leaf, prepare to meet your new sweetheart.

(Other Electricities)

Various – On Isolation

In our file-sharing, instant messaging, cell phone-clutching modern world we are suffused with the illusion that the boundaries between humans are melting away and we are growing into tribally interconnected and enlightened societal supergroups. Or perhaps that’s just bullshit. Australia’s Room40 and the University of Tasmania collaborated in soliciting audio artwork that illustrates the flipside of this interplay: the silences and solitudes that individuals experience in the wake of globalism’s information bulldozer. Many of the artists on the compilation had already produced work immersed in the alienated end of digital minimalism: notably Richard Chartier (who also designed the sleeve) whose “A Field for Recordings 3” is a slowly creeping mass of sub-audio noise that eventually reveals itself, like the sudden surprise that your computer is a noisy dangerous animal. The other pieces waver between two basic approaches: David Toops’ “Chair Creaks, Though No One Sits There” and Scanner’s “Mountain Cabin” combine field recordings and music to evoke aural melancholy in a somewhat traditional trope; while Jeph Jerman’s “Albuquerque Hotel Room” and Greg Davis’ “Riwalla Farm (Excerpt)” reside in naturally occurring near-silences presumably far removed from technology’s empty chatter. Whether the compilation provokes though or merely more background noise perhaps has to do with each listener’s indoctrination into the machinery.


Lichens – Omns

Robert Lowe’s second Lichens disc for Kranky finds him pouring vocal descant over fragile guitar notes in the same small, enclosed space as 2005’s The Psychic Nature of Being… though it is a space someone has since let open to streams of dusty sunlight. The sheer simplicity of the music’s construction, keening loops of wordless vocal layered and embellished with iridescent fragments of folk/blues bars, belies their resultant complex emotional reach. The first two tracks, “Vevor of Agassou” and “Faeries” tremble like Medieval magic spells sung in foggy hollows. These spells are broken by “Bune,” a distorted electric wail that uncoils like Hendrix at his most introspective. The fragmentarily titled “M St R Ng W Tchcr Ft L V Ng N Sp R T” is appropriately broken into sections that move from gentle acoustic string bending to rising chord drones through flurries of birdcalls into a chant that drops from the nasal cavity and into the stomach. A welcome bonus is a thirty minute DVD that features an extended performance of this last mentioned piece at The Empty Bottle in Chicago. Lowe is deliberate and compelling figure on stage, placidly graduating from guitar to vocal loop and back until the once silent space is buzzing with his hymn.


Valet – Blood is Clean

Honey Owens has explored freak folk, electronics and psychedelic improv as a collaborating member of Jackie-O Motherfucker, Nudge and World (respectively). Going solo in Valet she unleashes her subconscious, letting it steer her into some otherworldly spaces. The landscape is the audio analogue of some funky 70s Dr. Strange astral projection, with effervescent guitars, bubbling digitalis and voodoo hand drums. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the bead curtains rattling in the warm breeze. Blood is Clean is the light-streaked cousin to last years Evangeline by Carla Bozulich, though not without its own shadows and smeared lipstick. It often resembles a machine just barely under its operator’s control, as on opener “April 6” and closer “North.” The former starts as a simple chant and hand drum pattern complicated by electricity, while the latter is a dark koan that slowly stretches upward into a Zen drone. The title track is nearest to overt songwriting and features a tiny lysergic guitar solo that would freak out any Mother. Each of the eight tracks offers a slight twist in the high; a brief station stop to ponder the colours and tastes of the sounds.


Monday, July 09, 2007

My Cat is an Alien – Leave me in the black No-Thing

Concurrently with a solo work by Roberto Opalio, Important also release another emanation from the “Alien Zone” in Italy that Roberto and his brother Maurizio prowl as My Cat is an Alien. Where Roberto’s disc is a hushed affair, MCIAA unleash the full force of their cosmic and astral noise. After a salutation equal parts chanting and white shriek they retreat to their percussion instruments with all the glee of a spastic (i.e. rhythmically challenged) kindergarten class recital. The disjunctive banging grows tedious, but is thankfully replaced by a frequency-shifting chant/drone generated by voice and “space toys” that finally lifts off the roof and peers into the cosmos. The second half of the thirty minute track plunges headlong into the void with shuddering abandon that most interstellar of overdrives would never attempt. The second, slightly shorter, part builds around clusters of electric guitar notes that are strummed, looped, and eventually obliterated by debris and space winds. The duo stick to their no overdub, no outtake formula of live in-studio improvisation, but with a methodology and tools that are recycled the experimentation begins to go to formula. There is a purity in their primitive-slash-futurist aesthetic that yields transcendent moments; moments that make it worth waiting out the tedium.

Important Records

Roberto Opalio – “Chants from Isolated Ghosts”

As the oft-quoted Spinal Tap saying outlines the “clever-stupid” dialectic, so it also goes in experimental music that a fine line exists between engaging and annoying. Italy’s brothers Opalio, better know as My Cat is an Alien, arguably have unlimited passports to criss-cross this line with their whimsical take on space(y) rock. On his first solo outing, originally self-released on their Opax CD-R label, brother Roberto carries on the family tradition of improvising spacious and droning themes made from cheap looped electronics, metallic objects and toy rayguns. Recorded in single takes, the pieces have a meandering quality that fortunately keeps to the “engaging” side of the border, for the most part. The spectral quality, evident in the album’s title, is sustained through sounds that suggest residual energy in empty rooms that collide against the objects… rattling their chains in other words. This spent and evaporating force echoes through the deliberately restrained pace and limited variety of sounds. The last track is a literal chant performed mournfully and accompanied only by an open window allowing the sound of rain, traffic and distant thunder to enter.

Important Records

Mika Vainio – Revitty

So you’re immersed in a five thousand gallon sensory deprivation tank with a hammerhead shark, Natalie Imbruglia and a handheld power sander, what do you do? If you’re Pan Sonic’s Mika Vainio you make an album whose title translates as Torn. Perhaps Miss Imbruglia’s involvement is more figurative than actual, but the albums focus does interpose actual shark attacks with more existential ennui. Three shorter pieces concerning “hampaat,” or teeth, introduce short bursts of electronic violence separated by lulls that become less frequent and silent as blood clouds the water. Each piece increases the menace with more graphic colour and sweeping passes of noise. The emotional elements of the album are given ample space on “yksinäisyys, suru, katkeruus,” or loneliness, sorrow, bitterness; a track that plunges us in a vast metallic enclosure with a mournfully grating cymbal as our only friend. “Raatelu,” or mauling, follows with a compression of themes that culminates in post-Neubaten grind of distorted guitar and bass pulses shot through with digital noise. At its core Revitty fulfills a horror-story narrative with twists and tensions that suggest fantasy before unleashing real gut-churning terror… and of course a last second shock as the album ends. Vainio will be indispensible should the Saw movie goons every remake Jaws.

Eluvium – Copia

Matthew Cooper has released a series of excellent and well-received works as Eluvium over the last few years. Most recently the When I Live By the Garden e.p. served as both summary and introduction to his overall sound. Copia starts off promisingly with “Amreik,” a gentle reveille reminiscent of Johann Johannson’s Virdulu Forsetar, and “Indoor swimming at the space station,” a familiar building processional of piano and synthesizer. The next suite of tracks, however, veers into a kind of melancholy torpor that resembles over-wetted themes by Angelo Badalamenti. The synth strings are too synthetic and the tone suggests an absurdly abject Laura Palmer must hide behind a nearby shrub. The album recoups itself with the last four tracks, especially “Reciting the airships” and “Repose in blue,” that reintroduce dynamics and diversity drained out of the album’s middle section. Cooper’s strengths, his ability to overlay gentle and stately strings, piano figures and drones into elegiac themes, also contribute to some limitations that begin to peek through. The illusion of the pieces being overheard, fading in at approach… existing for the duration of our listening… fading out as we exit, loses charm as the strategy repeats itself. No one wants to only see small mammals pulled from top hats for an entire evening no matter how magical the first time.

Temporary Residence

Pixel – set your center between your parts in order to

Yet another fine release from this German label that continues to explore and build within their signature sound. Jon Egeskov takes an ultra-minimalist sound set of clicks, slurs and whispery tones into live in-studio improvisation. The extended duration of the five pieces allows a slow build that initially resembles the more clinical restraint of Ryojo Ikeda’s work before introducing overlapping and competing rhythms. By the last minutes of opener “drum” the patterns take on a strange digital drum circle vibe seldom encountered in this airless environment. The real-time manipulation of minimalist elements subtly subverts a genre that usually derives strength and discourse through its dogged repetitions and slight variations. Egeskov’s background in jazz imbues a peculiar looseness to the wholly artificial noises creating a head-nodding rhythm normally only derived from “real” drums and “real” basslines. More ephemeral sound clusters, or clouds, float in and out of range like horn players sidling up to the mic to take breathy solos, as in “lion.” Whether this signals a new wave of “Funky Drummer” breaks due around 2025 remains to be seen.


Mark Templeton – Standing on a Hummingbird

Those familiar with the granular acoustics of Tim Hecker, Fennesz and Mitchell Akiyama will find safe harbour in this new label’s introductory release. Albertan Mark Templeton’s palette starts with the guitar, banjo and accordion, all of which quickly discorporate and enter a new digital eminence of colours. Edits are extreme in their detail yet an unhurried calm governs each track. Pieces like “Pigeon Hurt” and the title track make halting progress as each chord and string is made to stutter and backtrack before pushing on. Still progress is always present in the ghostly pulse of song structure that sends signals from various depths. Templeton is equally attentive to the digital overflow of accidents from over amplification and dangling shards of trimmed noises. He skillfully folds these into the mix along with incidental room sounds to blur the inside computer/outside world distinctions. While comparisons to the above mentioned artists are easy to make, this work is seldom predictable. Templeton manages to create work that follows feverish dream logic, with colours that brighten and suddenly fade and details that transfigure without altering their basic character. A welcome addition to the canon.


Carlos Giffoni – Arrogance

Breaking its vinyl only streak, Brooklyn’s No Fun Productions commits to aluminum a five-part ode to analog noise. Giffoni, who has worked with Fe-Mail, Jim O’Rourke, Prurient and in the group Death Unit, spent downtime in 2006 improvising these pieces in his apartment on his analog synth. Those expecting warm clouds and clever squiggles will encounter instead walls of oscillating white noise and what sounds like a submarine crippled by depth charges nearing the ocean floor. And so much for track one. Arrogance crosses thresholds of saturation more than those of volume, inducing a slight auditory nausea long before tinnitus would take hold. The rumble never settles on one frequency or density, the result of which is like a hit and run reversing to take another crack. Giffoni wrings everything he can out of his keyboards, until he reaches the denouement, appropriately titled “A Proper End.”

No Fun Productions

Prurient – Pleasure Ground

Those of a certain age may recall their first exposure to extreme music came in the form of groups like Skinny Puppy. We were confident we’d unlocked doom in cassette form until oddly shorn and black turtlenecked characters thrust earlier works by Test Dept., Nurse With Wound and others into our hands. Prurient’s Dominick Fernow makes music that resembles an aluminum suitcase jammed with those same tapes that have spent the last twenty years in a deep lake before being pulled to the surface by magnets. The four tracks on Pleasure Ground were initially (and all too appropriately) released as a double cassette on Hospital Productions. With the exception of “outdoorsman/indestructible,” which features a sickly off-kilter but mostly subdued keyboard pattern, the album is a gray-zone distorted eruption of bile and dank atmosphere. Fernow growls and shouts from beneath a collapsing wall of keyboards that sound near extinction. Like those forebears mentioned above, the anger within the music seem less a call to action than a cry of frustration. What makes the tension real is how acceptable and ultimately calming it becomes.


Xela – For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights

The four years since Type label boss John Twells’ initially released his debut full length have been intriguing for the electronic music world. A slow dissolving of checkmark genres have left behind an aesthetic that’s difficult to summarize. Having moved even further from the dance floor, new electronic works are often held together by the poetry of tone. Frosty Mornings sits comfortably alongside up-to-the-moment releases, contrasting with last year’s more individual, dense and frankly menacing The Dead Sea. It also hints at Twells’ points of entrance through the digital looking glass. “Japanese Whispers” has a slightly retro sound that runs a shiver between a snail’s pace trance and hip-hop backbeat. “The Long Walk Home at Midnight” also threads together Mille Plateaux/Raster-Noton clicks and pops with a cool after-afterhours jazziness. The reissue also compliments Type’s growing catalogue of releases that highlight individual visions over collective solidarity. Twells’ is a fine label boss to lead by setting the example of “no example necessary.”


Friday, June 29, 2007

Surgery 44

- Ayres (Type)
A Perfect Friend - A Perfect Friend (Stilll)
Hans Appelqvist - Sifantin Och Mörkret (Häpna)
Morgan Packard - Airships Fill The Sky (Anticipate)
Ultralyd - Conditions For A Piece Of Music (Rune Grammofon)
KTL - Ktl 2 (Editions Mego)
Night Of The Brain – Wear This World Out (Station 55)
The Grails – Burning Off the Impurities (Temporary Residence)
The World On Higher Downs - Land Patterns (Plop)
Fridge – Sun (Temporary Residence)
Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek - Cello Recycling/Cello Drowning (Type)

Track Listing

Helios - A Rising Wind
A Perfect Friend - Welcome Aboard
Hans Appelqvist - Full The Moon
Morgan Packard - Kelp Sway
Ultralyd - Pentassonance I
KTL - Game (edit)
Night of the Brain - Above And Beyond
The Grails - Dead Vine Blues
The World On Higher Downs - Her Static Will
Fridge - Our Place In This
Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek - Cello Recycling (edit)

Listen to Surgery 44 click here

Monday, June 11, 2007

Surgery 43

Porn Sword Tobacco - New Exclusive Olympic Heights (City Center Offices)
Zelienople - His/Hers (Type)
Nicolas Bernier + Jacques Poulin-Denis - Étude No.3 Pour Cordes Et Poulies (Ekumen)
Kahn/Mölang/Müller - Signal to Noise Vol. 3 (Erstwhile)
Destructo Swarmbots - Clear Light (Public Guilt)
Drawing Voices – S/T (HydraHead)
Erik M (Luc Ferrari) & Thomas Lehn - Les Protorythmiques (Room40)
Korber/Weber/Yamauchi - Signal to Noise Vol. 2 (Erstwhile)
Alog – Amateur (Rune Grammofon)

Track Listings

Porn Sword Tobacco - Do The Astrowaltz
Zelienople - Forced March
Nicolas Bernier + Jacques Poulin-Denis - Sol
Kahn/Mölang/Müller - Track 03
Destructo Swarmbots - Sipping On The Fog
Drawing Voices - Being Born Broken
Erik M (Luc Ferrari) & Thomas Lehn - Les Protorythmiques (excerpt)
Korber/Weber/Yamauchi - Track 02 (excerpt)
Alog - The Future Of Norwegian Wood

Listen to Surgery 43 click here

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Surgery 42

Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Jinx (Staubgold)
Maserati - Inventions for a New Season (Temporary Residence)
Andrew Pekler - Cue (Kranky)
Panda Bear - Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)
Machinefabriek - Weeler (Lanpse)
Strategy - Future Rock (Kranky)
Theodore And Hamblin - The Scientific Contrast (Moteer)
The North Sea - Exquisite Idols (Type)
Opsvik & Jennings - Commuter Anthems (Rune Grammofon)
Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - Pullhair Rubeye (Paw Tracks)
L-R / RadioMentale - I Could Never Make That Music Again (Sub Rosa)
Guitar - Dealin With Signal And Noise (Onitor)
Marhaug/Asheim - Grand Mutation (Touch)
White/Lichens - White/Lichens (Holy Mountain)

Track Listing

Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Gammler, Zen & Hohe Berge
Maserati - Kalimera
Andrew Pekler - Roomsound
Panda Bear - Search For Delicious
Machinefabriek - Chinese Unpopular Song
Strategy - Stops Spinning
Theodore and Hamblin - Pelume
The North Sea - Eternal Birds
Opsvik & Jennings - Port Authority
Avey Tare & Kria Brekkan - Who Welsses In My Hoff
RadioMentale - 'Cool Noises'
Guitar - Song Without Signal
Marhaug/Asheim - Clavaeolina (excerpt)
White/Lichens - Cimejes, Or Cimeies, Or Kimares (excerpt)

Listen to Surgery 42 click here

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Surgery 41

Artanker Convoy - Cozy Endings (Social Registry)
The Binary Marketing Show - Destruction of Your Own Creation (Independent)
Calexico - Black Heart [EP] (City Slang)
Alessandro Stefana - Poste E Telegrafi (Important)
Arve Henriksen - Strjon (Rune Grammofon)
Takeshi Nishimoto - Monologue (Büro)
Alan Sparhawk - Solo Guitar (Silber)
Thilges - La Double Absence (Staubgold)
Senking - List (Raster-Noton)
Naw - City Saturate (Noise Factory)
Organ Eye - S/T (Stabugold)

Track Listing

Artanker Convoy - Open Up
The Binary Marketing Show - Moreover (The Tip of His Finger)
Calexico - Attack El Robot Attack! (... And How He Lost RMX By Wechel Garland)
Alessandro Stefana - Whales Cemetery
Arve Henriksen - Ascent
Takeshi Nishimoto - New Morning
Alan Sparhawk - Sagrado Corazon De Jesu (First Attempt)
Thilges - Izdiucz
Senking - Pathogenic Agent
Naw - 5 AM East Bound
Organ Eye - TEMA #1 (excerpt)

Listen to Surgery 41 click here