Saturday, August 29, 2009
Burrito is a Russian trio coming from Samara. Burritard is their second album, and a follow-up to Fridtjof Nansen (2008/2009). It was really schizophrenic album by its intensivity and diversity of genres, ranging from hip-hop madness and obvious dada manifestos to flowingly psychedelic guitar riffs reminiscent of the play of never-to-be-forgotten Michael Karoli.
What does actually mean this word "Burritard"? Obviously it is a spoonerism with two initial words "Burrito" and "Bastard"? No doubt, conceptually and musically Burrito is a serious bastard because of spitting in the face of mainstream culture and music. Despite of the fact that this madness viewable on Fridtjof Nansen has been diminished and channelized into minimalist approach, Burritard has a bit more concentrated inner gaze to hit hard on the wrist of the listeners. Behind the restrained sound textures you can hear even denunciative evilness. Listen to the opening track Ant Gaze and you could feel in your ears how all of those sinister sonic whirls draw you in. The title song is hemmed by hard crawling trip-hop beats and experimental electronic lines. The track will have developed into powerful skirling manifesto. It sounds like some tracks of Blur from the album 13 produced by William Orbit would be re-produced through a distorting mirror by some invisible members of The Residents. All the following stuff will be continued in cutting edge thread. Every track is a little outer space in itself, engendered mostly from the combinations of pulsating drone sounds, digital hisses, silent sounding guitar passages or angular guitar raspings. Its abruptiness and coolness in the sound lines characterizing countless unexpected changeovers in different directions on this album reminds me of miracular approach of Faust nearly 40 years ago. It is avant-prog in its best sense and sensitiveness.
Download it from here
Monday, August 24, 2009
By paraphrasing a phrase from one of The Smiths songs "Oh California, so much to answers for", I want to say that Californians have had big role to answer to some important questions in the developing process of avant-garde music in the past. It is hard to overestimate the role of such band like The Residents, Sparks, Big City Orchestra, Negativland, Cromagnon, and Estradasphere, if to show up only some names among others.
Clayton McEvoy comes from California, being grew up in the vast expanse of concrete and desert. He is a modern guy, creating his soundscape from the glorious traditions of shoegaze, drone, minimal music, and ambient. His music is consisting of Slowdive`s Pygmalion-era experiments, La Monte Young`s and Angus MacLise`s cyclic and pulsating drones, and sharing a bit similarities with the guitar-driven ambient contemporaries such as Stars Of The Lid and Windy & Carl, or a bit earlier acts such as Labradford and Beautiful Machine.
I doesn`t matter how should we view upon Lamenter, a follow-up to his debut album Cradlesongs (released under Hidden Shoal), as avant-garde, or vanguardism in itself, just abandoning an obsession to draw out an abovementioned row regarding cutting edge music from California. Although the frontier between bad taste and good taste is often very fragile within the genres of ambient music just because of its huge (over)explotation and the conceptual finiteness of the genre the present album is on the right side yet. Some minor even often invisible details being on this album play very crucial part in the first place. For instance, those haunting even outwards feelings pursuing undercurrents passing through such tracks as Bleeding Riverbed, and Kinski for Halloween helping with to create genuinely powerful manifestations nowadays. Mostly Clayton McEvoy`s music is sliding and slipping uphill and downhill on foggy soundscapes herein.
Download it from here
Saturday, August 22, 2009
In retrospect, we can just avow Human Tracks II/Heq was actually the second album released by an Argentinian musician-pecussionist Humberto Luis Schenone under Clinical Archives in this year.
On the site of Clinical Archives it is said the following:
“Human Tracks” is the name for a collection of musical works which has the intention of reflecting the history of the human journey from an alternative point of view.
“Heq” is an unforgettable and wonderful novel written by a remarkably good Danish writer called Jørn Riel which was the inspiration for this album, to whom it is dedicated as a little tribute, for the hours of pleasure his literature has generously given to the world.
The opening track Ancestors begins with tribal shamanic voices to get developed into easy orchestrated and subtle passages. It sounds like the members of Penguin Cafe Orchestra are searching the way out of the forest while adjusting to the patterns of it just in a case. These drum lines are not program-based electronic urban jungles though. The following The New Land whirls around looped vocal experiments and the sounds very reminiscent of glass harmonica. In fact, all the following tracks are based on these weird sounding instruments, running through its various phrases in different orders of succession. You can`t be wrong it you call it an album of minimal music.
I could only imagine is it a kind of music inspired mostly of the plateaus of Patagonia, of its hollow soundscapes, of cold winds and deep lakes? My feeling about this closeness to Nature herein is dredged by bird calls set in in some songs. This sound is raised aloft, being sublime, calm and soothing. Sometimes sonic milieu is very threnodial as well (Shanuq). If you are searching for the examples of untemporary music by any reason of all of this you want to you could dig it up from here.
On this album are joined a lot of different aspects with each other into unfixed rows in general intent. In fact, specific rows will be generated in the head of every listener. Yes, if this is chill-out music it is seriously in an abstract way.
Download it from here
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
In 2007 three mates were living together in the apartment on the bank of a picturesque river meandering through one small university town in the Michigan state. Some hours after first meeting they had shared their own music and ideas with each other and the night had been spent with a huge jam session. Their aim was to express the touch of humanity and the presence of nature through their music, in a direct way opposing to despair and fatigue in people distinctive for life in the big cities. The ideas came to reality, and the band was born. At first they had named yourself as Ringo Star, later changed it as ***, and starstarstar as well.
The first side in the name of electric goose and the nylon moose (EGATNM) refers to a flirt with electric and electronic music, and the second side to the acoustic aspect presented on this album respectively. The trio consisting on Chuck Golda, Mike McConeghy, Dylan Rogers has turned their aesthetical direction a 180 degree- a bevy of alt-folk and alt-country tunes dominated on Soul Tide released in 2008 (actually being of Ringo Star at those times) has been decreased to be changed into a bit broader spectre of the music colours and genres. Beyond doubt EGATNM is a pretentious follow-up surprising us with developments in unexpected or even weird directions at times.
Golden Glow is an exploiting opening - dynamic and dreamy indie folk is flavoured with strong ingredients of soul music. Certainly it is the best choice to introduce all the album in a tease yet beautiful way. Reciprocity is a synthetic soul funk engendered from the velvety accords of electric pianos, autotuned vocals, and shimmering sonic whirls. Although Antientam, and the ending track To Good Memories! are the ballads, yet, these cuts are without of any void and disgraceful show-offs usually so characteristics to this music genre . By vocal technical side the tracks are superb as well. With warblings of the grasshoppers, and looping vocal sequences/experiments showed up on Island even if those could indeed be reminiscent of the songs of Animal Collective, though, this feeling is strongly amiable. Fellowship grows gradually through psychedelic electronic sounds into a folktronic symphony. This is a real masterpiece in itself.
Supposing that if a lot of variety and experimentation don`t disturb the harmony and its developments it actually could only strenghten the whole one throwing in it a invisible yet endearing backcloth. Every time to listen to this from start to the end it is a little miracle. Obviously it is the best free-folk/alt-folk/weird-folk album released since Paavoharju`s insuperable album Laulu Laakson Kukista. I have a feeling that I can foresee electric goose and the nylon moose will rule the charts of netaudio in the end of the running year.
Download it from here
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Nogaro is a one-man-project of a Belgian musician Sèbastien Wilkin who is particularly known by his previous project Tongue. He has also involved as the lead singer and composer in the doings of Silicon (alongside with David Hougardy).
Domestic Colours EP was released under Tripostal, Carte Postale Records netlabel subdivision. The music coming from that source is usually ranging from electro-acoustic compositions and ambient to post-rock and indietronica. The latest mentioned genre is well enough to characterize Wilkin`s sound in a general way. Doubtless he is a very talented musician who has a sensitive side of him to operate with appealing melodies.
The coverprint made by Jean-François Flamey consists only of different colour spectrums. It is a very felicitous locution for this album, to be visually described. It is simplistic, and schizophrenic as well. This is modern pop in the information era during which the borders have been burnt between underground and mainstream music to ashes. Winamp-player do display me some information - 7 tracks and 28.52. There do not have any long tracks to listen to. One track is followed by another in a jaunty row. Just be ready to get drowned by the beautiful music. The opening track My Head On Fire is a blend of electro-bleeps with a balmy vocal. It is a calm, moving arrangement running from the point A to B. Upon it melodic sequences will have been revealed as infectious at its best. The music has the logic of a gradual increase through lush song structures, a bit developments in sound dynamics, and changes of voice timbres. It is really restrained music - if there are any of sound experiments it is vaguely discernable yet.
Listening to this album it is a little bit nostalgic for me. It reminds me of the times when I was listening to the second and still excellent album Cafè De Flor (1996) by Estonian band Bizarre nearly every day 10 years ago. Indie music seemed so refreshing at those times... Domestic Colours provides me with the feeling of deja vu, and it is wonderful to be experienced it again and again.
Download it from here
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Album cover photo: by Daniel Verson
In the netlabel movement we share experiences and ideas. Due to the nature of the medium, with its download-at-home shared experiences, the music often transports us to imaginary cities of our dreams.
David Schombert's electronica Jamendo release "Metropolis" features a solid set of songs which provide us a rail pass with which to our inward imaginary city. The title track envelops its synth line in chill percussion and robust melodic pads. The result is a smooth down-tempo bit of urban melody, like a walk past tall buildings and small parks at dawn.
"Cyclus' begins with field recordings of gentle noise into which percussion elements subtly intervene. An appealing minimal groove meets a wave of slow melodic pad. A bass line joins the action in an understated way. Mr. Schombert appreciates the power in doing less and implying more. Samples and melody interact. The effect is smooth and infectious.
"Lunapark" transports the listener to a different place, in which in my mind night sounds and urban cool meld into the the fog, to be transformed."Long Step" counterplays a cinematic synth line with a robotic synth line. The effect is vaguely dancefloor and vaguely krautrock.
Although the tracks in Metropolis fit squarely in the electronica camp, each features a human element which moves beyond the machines. A woman's laugh, a chill pad, percussive electro-beats--an intersection which we feel comfortable and at home, but not bored.
"The Beat" has a retro "beats and bass and synth hits" feel about it. The song could be the soundtrack to a sleek 1980 urban detective show set in northern California.
"Trance" mingles percussion and synth elements to achieve a smooth, subtle melodic attack, as if we dined in an Italian restaurant in which the sauce is minimal but full of subtle flavor.
"This way" points us down the one-lane street into a square of bohemian shops, in which one could imagine the sound of women intoning "bon jour!" as one walks in the door, and in which the goods are hand-crafted by local students from the nearby art school.
This collection of instrumental songs transports one to a place which is an imagined Paris or Lisbon or Winnipeg or Osaka--a place in which down-tempo calms overcome the stress and fears of population density. With an mp3 player and these songs, one can walk the streets with a bit more calm, and a jaunty step forward. Perhaps a few instrumental lanes here are familiar, but the feel is "well-beloved street" and not "tired old alley". This release is a good listen, and a soothing cityscape.
Download it from here
Friday, August 14, 2009
I love dance-vibed rock music. I think everyone who has involved in searching and listening of indie music in an obsessive way just can`t ignore it. Though all this stuff is surrounded by massive hype nowadays there are some acts quite symphatetic for me. The Rapture, LCD Soundsystem and !!! are among others. Although I am probably one of the fewest who despise the biggest - The Klaxons – the music with cheap melodies and reminiscent of demo-like production in bad sense. However, most dance rock I adore comes from 80s and the beginning of 90s – A Certain Ratio, PIL, Happy Mondays, Flowered Up. There is nothing surprising at all – all these names are the widely known ones. At those times have been made rock music keen more or less on rave and acid house anyway. Beside madchester it was time reserved for exciting crossovers as well – The Heart Throbs (the aesthetic of blonde hair indie rock was blended with dance beats and the presence of David Lynch-ian esoterics), also The Orchids and Field Mice (twee-popsters went on a trip into baggy areas at times). We can`t be without The Fall as well though I don`t share Mark E Smith`s attitude as if The Fall were the only band worth giving a try to honour them as the supreme godfathers of all alternative rockers (including dance-rockers too). Moreover, in the sound of The Fall can be heard the obvious inluences of CAN. For example, Soon Over Babaluma (1974), one of the albums of Cologne quartet, was chronologically one of the first rock/dance hybrids in the first place. Besides it would also weird to think that in a case of recent bands and musicians their would be influenced by the examples of one-two bands only.
Duo Jesper Norda & Åbi Berglund has issued their debut album under the Gothenburgian netlabel 23 Seconds. The label site proclaims that Put Your Jacket On is a true revelation. The opening track Joy Of showcases its true potential – by dazzling through the light of glitterball a journey just began. The essence of this track is specifically hidden into overdriving synth violins in refrain part. The aim of this 33 minute set demonstrates chiefly one very certain tendency – the album is a blending of 80`s and 00`s – post-punkers` monotonic drum-machine sounds and New Order-alike acid bass sequences alongside with fortrightness and electro affinity of the neoravers. These examples are illustrated by the most hit potentiality owning track Danger. I wouldn´t really be wondered about that if some listeners who haven`t immersed into this album would ask on the basis of such tracks as We Sure Aint Got It Like That, and The Word Most Common In is that any of the newest unreleased tracks compilations by The Cure? A little nostalgic stroke is never bad at all, isn`t it. No doubts, the boys are full of potential and I wouldn´t really be surprised if they would be soon as the bigshots on the groove rock/pop music scene worldwide. One of the best albums on that nichè I have had honour to listen to.
Download it from here
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Zymogen, the Italian-based netlabel, is very well known by its exclusiveness and high qualitative approach in describing electronic music. By offering electronic sound to people who prefer listening to the music with the headphones rather than to cover in rude beats someone`s dance floor.
1123581321345589 is the sophomore album under Zymogen in this year (the previous one was Nicola Ratti`s èsope). Oskar Hallbert (OH) is a musician who lives in the woods in the northern Sweden. His previous work Sids Apartment EP released under rain music sounded like the music played in finger-pick guitar style in the middle of the street or in a far corner of a crowded public house. This is a conceptual album on the Fibonacci numbers. He was inspired by the perspective that with the Fibonacci numbers it is possible to describe the nature, the proportion of human body and so on. In a word, the life is full of the combinations of numbers.
How could the sound be showcased in practise in reference to this theory? OH has described his initial approach as the improvisation on its own. His album seems to be consisted mainly of short 4-seconds snippets, and 89 tracks. Yet, this colossal schema is housed into 26 minutes. These very short tracks establish a thin ground where we can perceive minimal changes in the soundscape. The new album goes on a trip there where the previous one was finished. In fact, this folktronic sound will have been further developed from a placid frame of mind to overwhelming sadness. In the track 34 (not. ok) the listener will be engulfed by very funest sound sequences. Dolefulness of it will slowly spill over into your thoughts and change into depressive state of your mind. As we know as well good music can been accoutered with affinity to hurt the listeners sometimes. The longer tracks predicate mainly on mini-orchestrated and chamber music tunes. A smorgabord of modern (electronic) music is represented here - some experiments with hiss and noise, electroacoustic aspects, collage music/plunderphonics, field recordings/musique concrete, digital sound processing and spoken word. This conception and approach have beyond doubt some similarities with the works of Curd Duca nearly 10 years ago. Nevertheless, it is very intimately sounding work indeed.
Download it from here
KS: Dean, you are running the netlabel Rack & Ruin records. Why have you chosen such a name? What kind of aims hoped you to reach with this project initially?
DB: Rack & Ruin came about by accident. A music forum where I post had a number of users posting tracks, Eps and albums, as is with the nature of forums, it wasn’t long before these said posts had vanished from the front page and into obscurity. Upon listening to a number of these artists it became apparent that this was a real shame and so I decided to set up a website which was initially going to be a placeholder for these artists to host their music. The said artists contained the likes of Jason the Swamp, Andy’s Airport of Love, Moon Runners, Dublin Duck Dispensary, America Del Sur, Tyson Brinacombe, These are Words, Billy Say, and many many others.... we collectively put our minds together to try and come up with a suitable name which could encapsulate all artists. Initial suggestions involved ’Under the bed records’, and ’Pica Owl records’ (which was actually suggested by PWRFL PWR), but it was Kelly Filreis who came up with ’Rack & Ruin’, she is an artist who has since made a number of Rack & Ruin album covers, alongside working with the likes of Dylan Ettinger on his El Tule tape label. As for how she reached ’Rack & Ruin’, I don’t really know, and perhaps strangely I don’t feel I want to know – it seems to suit that the name is as big a mystery to myself as to any listener.
KS: The music coming out from Rack & Ruin records is ranging from weird electronica to psych folk and lo-fi. What are those connective elements between all of those artists? What is the most important aspect by a band to be recruited?
DB: I touched upon it earlier but the connection is purely another music forum – despite many of the artists sounds being very different, a fairly high percentage of artists all found each other via a music forum set up for a now defunct Canadian band, The Unicorns. As the label grew and started to reach out to more people, that is when I started to receive submissions from new artists and acts that had no connection with The Unicorns forum. I also actively persued some artists, the likes of starstarstar were found on a forum for Animal Collective – I heard a couple of tracks that they did, and felt that they definitely needed to be heard by more listeners. This has also happened recently with the likes of Frost Faire, and I have no doubt will continue to play a part in how I go about finding artists for the label.
There are many things that I look for when opting to put the music out, I do try to find acts that are either going to be very accessible or interesting and different enough, who fit into a niche market. I guess this is why Rack and Ruin really fits, as you can split the name into two seperate entities, Rack being accessible, Ruin being not so accessible. Recently I think the focus has been on the Rack side of things, as there are many many netlabels that are around that feature electronica, ambient, noise, whereas surprisingly in comparison the more accessible indie sounds are thinner on the ground.
KS: You have run your records just over a year while the discography reaches more than 130 albums. What is your success factor to find out all of those artists?
DB: The music forum naturally, along with submissions. It is not unusual for Rack & Ruin to receive 3-5 submissions a week, some really jump out, whereas others either do not fit in with the ’sound and feel’ of the label, or are perhaps better suited with other labels who specialise in particular sounds and genres. There are other places on the net that have helped introduce the label to new artists, the likes of the E6 Townhall, and Collected Animals, as well as of course Myspace.
KS: If to listen to Testicular Manslaughter, Ringo Star/starstarstar, The Macadamia Brothers or someone else I must admit it is really top music to be enjoyed. Maybe my logic is somehow debased but is it possible that Rack & Ruin records may be one of the sublabels of bigger (indie) labels once in the future? Has there been someone showing his/her interest toward your label?
DB: No, Rack & Ruin has evolved into a viable alternative to the more traditional indie labels, and long may this continue. The label is entirely not for profit, and in fact with hosting charges it has cost myself money to keep this project going, but I firmly believe that it is a worthwhile path to take – purely to see where it does actually lead.
KS: On the other hand, what do you think about the situation in the music business world nowadays? Regardless of many attempts to punish people who have illegally uploaded or downloaded music the situation has not been changed at all. In this vein the netlabels give people a legal chance to download files. For example, if to check out for it at archive.org some albums have showcased very high rate of downloading. Obviously it is the acting in a contrary way in reference to the logic of business. I don`t think it that CC-music will already undermine the ground under the feets of major labels while the artists under a CC-licence are very serious competitors for indie labels however. There are even a lot of cases that some netlabels offer CD`s (mostly CD-R`s) as well. What do you think will the logic of netmusic overtake the indie labels?
DB: I think that it is all about giving alternatives, and legal ones at that. Netlabels have been going on for a long time, and although I'm no expert, a lot of releases I remember listenening to years ago were fairly unprovocative electronica. Back then I may check out a track or two, and decide it wasn't for me and move on. Nowadays I find that with more labels, the niche markets are now there, so you can find netlabels who specialise (or at least have an affinity) in areas that may be of interest to the listener. This has meant that netlabels have managed to get a core group of listeners, and not just a band on the label. It is always nice to read someone posting, "Check out Rack & Ruin records", when asked for a suggestion, and not just "Check out Dublin Duck Dispensary, they're on Rack & Ruin records". I think because of this mentality the netlabels are managing to stand-up alongside a lot of the more traditional indie labels.
With regards to competing against indie labels, I don't think that is what netlabels are really about. I think that indie labels do have to concern themselves more with the business model, whereas netlabels aren't really about making money. For myself I see music as an idea that one person (or a group of people) actually have, they have the idea, they nurture it, and then this idea becomes a piece of music. With all ideas that come into fruition they are actually worthless unless you share the idea with others. Therefore music is nothing without people listening to it. I see the netlabels job as allowing people to share ideas legally, and not have to worry about punishment for listenening to someone elses ideas.
KS: You are the Englishman who is living in the Netherlands now. Most music released under Rack & Ruin records is actually coming from the New World. Are the America more enthusiastic in doings with music than Europe?
DB: Again I think The Unicorns are to blame for the most part! A lot of the core musicians are from the US, and Canada, and due to this we do seemingly get an awful lot of artists who contact us from these locations. Recently, and mainly due to the success of Dublin Duck Dispensary, we have had an influx of Irish artists putting out Eps and albums on the label, the likes of A Series of Dark Caves, Western Homes, porn.exe, and soon to be joined by Vincent Lillis.
KS: Maybe it sounds a little provocative but what are your favorite albums released under Rack & Ruin records?
DB: I'm a fan of the latest Various Hits collection, "Never mind the brollies", we wanted to put out a summer hits collection, and I really think that we managed to achieve this. I've already read on various messageboards, and I received some private messages telling me that they think the album is fantastic, some going as far as to suggest it is one of the albums of the year - which is always very nice to hear.
I also have to mention Neil Scrivin's, Twenty years on Ben Nevis. When I heard this, it was before Rack & Ruin came about, and I definitely had this in my mind when I started the label. I think it is a stunning display of 'hauntology', that wouldn't look amiss on a label such as Ghost Box. I still feel that it is criminal that I can't own a physical copy in its very own shiny dualcase.
KS: Besides you are the musician as well. As Almiqui (in collaboration with Steve Bromley aka Gnomefoam) and Sister Ruth (his own one-man-project). When will be released the first and proper LP by Sister Ruth?
DB: I don’t really have the time to work on Sister Ruth (or another Almiqui album), running Rack & Ruin takes up a considerable amount of time as it is – with site updates and promotion.
Rack & Ruin records official site
Sister Ruth on Myspace
Almiqui on Myspace
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Talking about a finnish folk music movement, so-called forest folk, it is impossible not to see the impact of the Fonal records in reference to it. The artists who fill the roster are Eleonoora Rosenholm, Islaja, Kiila, Kemialliset Ystävät and Paavoharju amongst others. If we add some other acts like Uton, Lau Nau, Keijo, Vierivä Viiksiportieeri, Hipsu Jänis, Thuoom, Kuupuu, Keijo we can already have a talk about the New Weird Finland movement. The influence of Fonal and New Weird Finland can`t be seen only inside the borders of Finland, but certainly in broader context of the world music scene. Juxtaposing New Weird Finland with its big brother New Weird America, there can see a common part in crossing modern streams of pop music such as indie, ambient, drone, electronic music and roots music with each other. Given that NWA demonstrated that enormous potential of such music filled with inspiring vitality in the first half of 00`s, especially through the albums of Six Organs Of Admittance, Animal Collective, and Phil Elverum`s acts, yet its bucking innovative sonic conceptions have inch by inch and inconspicuously been faden away. I think, it is time for finns to conquer the world and define avant-folk at your own now. If they haven`t done it yet, I would suppose.
Paavoharju seems probably to be the more known act from the finnish scene, first and foremost thanks to their latest release Laulu Laakson Kukista (2008). Maybe the lesser known fact is it that their second release Tuote-akatemia/Unien Savonlinna (2006) was released under Miasmah netlabel. At those time it was a quite unusual behaving act by the artist, whose first album Yhä Hämärää (2005) had been acclaimed by music critics and therefore drew a lot of attention (in fact, I can`t honestly understand why Wikipedia wouldn`t be accepting it as the finns´ second album).
Moreover, Tuote-akatemia/Unien Savonlinna could in a sense be considered as their first album because it had been composed and produced between 2002 and 2006. The opening track Nuo Maisemat is an esoteric mix of digital noises and swirls, expansive sonic layers, beatific female voices (Jenni Koivistoinen) and almost burked rhythm structures. Kuljin Kauas is the one and only track on the album performed at the stage of an open air festival in Finland somewhere. Tavataan 12-07-04 sounds like breathing from Intergalactic Space gently disturbed by overriding feedback effects. Its abstract patterns and playing with motion and speed will give the best possibility to the listeners to relax into your deepest natural meditation and surpass everyday routine. Noises coming out from nowhence over time just to get spilled over into your brain and imagination. The next track The Mitä Sinä Et Ole starts off sounding with dirky dink synth pads which throughout the track get accompanied with the voice effects of Soila Virtanen and digitally elaborated sound tricks swirling overhead. Pepe is a devout “folk pop” song, however, every solid folk group having it in their repertoire would be proud of it anyway. By the way, this album is “dedicated to the Holy of the Holiest”. Also, the two last tracks will continue chalking out the traces of God as well. The brothers Ainala and co are playing game as if they embodied into sonic alchemists sometimes. They as alchemists have been more successful in their doings than any of their predecessors in Middle Ages, having respect and fame rather than in comparison to be excoriated and burnt up to death at autodafe.
Download it from here
Saturday, August 8, 2009
How to give the adequate definition to the starting point of punk music? What kind of assessment we could ascribe to it? I would be disappointed if I recognized it for myself only as a business project of Malcolm McLaren. Sex Pistols was the embodiment of this project, and they are previously remained as the prevailing part of collective consciousness of punk nowadays. In reality punk had developed into better directions. There were some groups who had artistically rebelled at the highest level – Clash, Public Image Limited, The Fall, Swell Maps. Punk is previously remained as one of the most acknowledged hype movements over decades. No doubt, nowadays it is the symbol of rebel and fatuity as well. I have heard how the punks come together in one European city at mid-day to go together shopping all this punk stuff. Ironic and symbolic simultaneously, isn`t it.
In last years I have good memories with the music coming out from Sicily. The sound which holds up the spirit of the music of Creative Commons (in a sense it is very rebellious attitude toward the music business). fracoz combo, msk, The Last Merendina, Barbagallo and Vanny Zero are some decorous names amongst others. Vanny Zero is Giovanni Calvo who runs the Kill Mommy Records, entirely dedicated to homemade music. He is also known as Darth Zero, the “zombitpop” project, which obviously has a flirt with acid and electronic pop, slightly keen on the punk music, and TV Zombie. He is also working on the first album of Lightgreen Blues Connection at the moment. He has also involved in the line-up of such projects like Marx Basement Band and Caputo Bros.
Love Is A Serial Killer is a combination of different influences. The open track (title-track as well) attacks with a mix of rough rockabilly and blues rock. Anyway, it presides over directions coming visible during this album. Probably this music is recorded without any plug-in details. Indeed, it sounds like a live recording. Through feedback-created noise it has been given another essentiality besides all possible combinations of blues and punk rock. A guitar, a bass, voice, drums are impinging on tempo. All the shouting tracks are supposed to be the powerful dynamic tunes from start to the end. Actually this is the music which needs no many words to be described. There are some exceptions which differentiate from the other tracks and reach the top of greatness. Killin` Myself Today is an amazing track where blues is crossovered with moderate psychobilly, and it`s all thanks to Calvo`s dreamy and playful voice. The finishing track No Tomorrow gives him the next opportunity to showcase his good timbreful and wide-range voice once again.
Download it from here
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
KS: You have been very profilic with 2 released albums Winter EP and insert coins to continue this year. When will be the next album coming out by Bert Vanden Berghe?
BVB: Well, in fact there have been released two new albums in june.
Both Passive Cable Theory albums, so not quite as accessible as brunk (that’s really an understatement). It’s loud noise and deconstructed sounds. One is called ‘non selective deposit feeder’ and can be downloaded for free at http://aurevoirrr.blogspot.com.
The other one, ‘I’m so impressed by your pop culture reference’ was released on the bleak netlabel and can be downloaded at http://www.bleak.at/index.php?iwant=arts&release_nr=bleak017.
In july, a remix a made (as ‘brunk’) from a track of belgian trip-hop band Koala, was released via iTunes. It was my first iTunes release. I’m really curious for reactions on that one.
There will probably be some other stuff too, later this year: maybe some other brunk release, and/or maybe a release of Karen Eliot (that’s an experimental improv project I’m involved with)…
Whenever there’s some news I’ll announce it on my blog http://brunkville.blogspot.com .
So you see, I’m kind of busy.
KS: You have used a lot of aliases to express yourself as the artist. By drawing the borders between your acts in that way, is it actually the easiest and most distinct method for you to keep yourself drifting between different genres?
BVB: Yes, that’s something I do make it easier for me to explain’ what I do.
Last few years I tried to make a more clear distinction between the directions of the different projects I have. Before, I did pretty much everything I liked to do or I wanted to experiment with as ‘brunk’, but that way ‘brunk’ was very difficult to explain to people: sometimes I recorded quiet and accessible stuff, sometimes it was loud and weird, sometimes it was very experimental – and that way it was harder to listen to as a whole too: too much fragmentation in styles and directions. So I started to focus more on a certain direction on each album, and somehow a more clear distinction in styles between the different projects. These days I try to do the quiet stuff with brunk, and the very noisy things with Passive Cable Theory, for instance.
KS: I have always marveled about your ability to exploit skillfully natural and electronic sounds. Are you a self-taught musician or have you some academic musical background behind you in the past?
BVB: I had studied classical guitar and music for some years when I was younger. So that gave me some technical background. But on the other hand, I mostly don’t approach things on a technical level, but one a very intuitive way. More feeling than mathematics. I do like to learn new things on the guitar though, sometimes I just learn how to play a certain song, or some new chords or techniques on the guitar, and then without really thinking of it, some things I learned sneak into some music I make – mostly in a totally different musical context, or not in a way they’re intended to be used. But I guess, that’s the way it goes with most musicians, learn a language and then write your own story with the words you’ve learned…
KS: You have used such a expression as “Brunkville”. Let`s explain it up more closely.
BVB: That’s just a funny visual way of seeing all the different musical projects I have – it’s a big imaginary town or city with all kinds of different corners, streets, buildings, atmospheres, people, stories… but they’re all part of the same city they live in. Like all this different music, all aspects and parts of who I am.
KS: Yes, let`s keep talking about brunk. It has to be said, though, in comparison with your other acts the soundscape of brunk has more affinity toward melodic and natural-sounding textures. Is it the result of using analog tehnique in the creative process too?
BVB: I think it doesn’t necessary has anything to do with technique, more an approach of keeping things honest and spontaneously. I mean, in the making of brunk music, a computer and software are involved, so that’s not really analogue, but I approach all that equipment in the same way I would approach a simple 4-track recorder. And of course there are more acoustic instruments (guitar), melody and soft melancholic lo-fi sounds involved in this music – that gives a more analogue vibe than the heavily processed sounds I often use in Passive Cable Theory or Karen Eliot.
KS: In the embodiment of brunk you have been active in dealing with experimental indie and dream pop tunes being thereby sonorously and methodically related to your contemporaries such as De Portables, or Barbagallo as well. Actually, how important is it for you those invisible connection with other similar acts?
BVB: That’s funny, it’s cool that you actually know De Portables: they’re from Belgium to, even from the same town I live in (Ghent). I like their music a lot! Barbagallo on the other hand I’m not familiar with… I’ll check them out.
To answer the question: to me, that connection is not something I’really aware of very consciously – but the music I like, obviously gets reflected in the music I create myself. A simple case of influences. And obviously, I like lots of very different things, really enjoy all those different styles.
KS: Actually, how often do you think about how would your music facade be seen from outside? What other people mean about your music?
BVB: Hmm, I only listen to the opinion on my music of people who are really close to me, like my girlfriend, my brother or some friends. Besides that, I try not to be concerned too much about other peoples perceptions.
KS: Nowadays, for all of those music which refer somehow to experimental rock, it is supposed to draw paralleels with krautrock. Indeed, what are your main influences in music?
BVB: I’m not really familiar with much krautrock. I have lots of influences, and they also evolve. I like all kinds of music from Neil Young to Merzbow, from classic to rock to fusion, from minimalism or ambient and drones to even some prog rock, etc etc… In all kinds of musical styles, you can find people who do something truly personal and creative. That’s what matters to me…
KS: Your improvising side is more perceptible in doings of invertebrata. What is the improvisation by your case? Is it deliberately manipulated process or is it just a row of sounds happened and following each other occasionally?
BVB: Some of both. I like to play with things that happen accidentally, even with mistakes, and create something emotional or musical with that. Some things just come out better this way than in a rational way.
But on the other hand I deliberately create some notes, chords, noises, progressions, layers, to achieve a certain sound, effect or atmosphere. Because that’s what really makes it my own personal thing of course.
KS: By concerning more circumstantial on the music of invertebrata or brunk, we can admit you have been a peculiar maverick in music. Are there any connections related with your convictions about freedom of expression?
BVB: Well, I can easily answer this one: it really is related with my convictions about freedom of expression. Staying true to myself and not caring about restrictions like sticking to one style or directions. It’s all about creativity, personal expression… and also having fun, of course.
brunk official site
brunk on Myspace
invertebrata on Myspace
Passive Cable Theory on Myspace
Karen Eliot on Myspace
fi_ber on Myspace
The Returns on Myspace
SkullyS LandinG on Myspace
Bert Vanden Berghe (BVB) is a 31-year-old Belgian (Flemish) musician from Ghent who is known by his aptitude to get embodied into many aliases. brunk, invertebrata, Passive Cable Theory are the names as the most known ones amongst his other projects. He has also appearing in the lineup of such groups like Karen Eliot (with Luther Blissett), The Returns, and Skully SlanginG. As summarized, all it is a very diverse stuff, ranging from the examples of alt-folk, straightforward pop punk and twee-pop to free form guitar improvisations and noise music. Though Insert Coins To Continue LP has been released under WM Recordings this year, this is the old album recorded and completed between 2003 and 2006. In some sense it is a kind of trash one, because the ICTC at first started as a bunch of leftovers and unfinished ideas. For a while BVB didn't have definite plans what to do with them, they didn't fit onto any album he had worked on until then (the albums so lo so fi and none of the above are mentioned herein). He has done everything on his own, has played some acoustic parts, bass guitars, a lot of electric guitar parts, recorded and edited in all kinds of ways, using an mexican Fender Stratocaster and an modified Epiphone Les Paul, a cheap acoustic guitar, and a Squier Jazz Bass, also used some cheap dynamic microphones. Some recorded sounds and voices are also derived from TV. Some samples are taken from seven-inch vinyl recordings of some kind of library music - farm animals, car and plane sounds, weather sounds. In addition of it, there are also represented scratches, buzzes, crackling. However, face to face with previous brunk albums it is absolutely the different one. First 20 seconds consist of a blend of defective electronica, acoustic guitar touch, spoken word and ragged guitar riffs which will predict us what will be happening next – it could describe as in a fashion of anti-manifesto per se. A kind of destructive posture in reference to his previous works as brunk. Furthermore, some song titles are also marked bellicosely, or otherwise just have a meaning referring somehow to deflexion (got it!; carcrash; blitzkrieg; mechanical errors; berror; violence on tv). At never ever ever, the blasting attack by three first tracks will be displaced and changed into dreamy mood music, as if we were back to quiet and melodic brunk again. However, shifts (a mix of heavy metal riffs and dub guitar), flipperkast dub (experimental-fashioned dub with guitar solos and wah wah effects – one of the best tunes on the album!). de wraak van de kiekens (similar to zip) is dominated by jazz guitar-alike sound and programmed beats. Indeed, it would be very good chill out track as well if it had much more longitude to come over us. The another possibility is just to push “repeat track” button on, and keep enjoying it... . There run also some floating bubblegum funk undercurrents (this should be played at high volume... preferably in a residential area!) being so characteristic to sampledelic or samplecore music that I am pretty convinced Bert Van Der Berghe has listened to Chenard Walcker and Felix Kubin a lot indeed. violence on tv reflects through its sonic aggressiveness and insane variability the meaning of the song title at its best. Furthermore, some knotty organ passages and a haunting orchestration segment have added some odd dimensions to all of it. However, in general and broader sense, the only artist who might have some reminiscence to BVB`s recent work is a Russian avant-garde combo Burrito (especially their doings and tearings around on the album Fridtjof Nansen (2008/2009). At first sight the ICTC would probably seem to be sounding too harsh to your consciousness to get broken through to. Indeed, it is like the tzunami of overloaded information flowing on you at high speed, destroying and flushing all around you, letting you live and waiting with dread the coming of the next wall of noise. The one and only question which could be questioned is – are you able to channelize all this information into understandable form for yourself? In fact, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. Download it from here 8.6
Though Insert Coins To Continue LP has been released under WM Recordings this year, this is the old album recorded and completed between 2003 and 2006. In some sense it is a kind of trash one, because the ICTC at first started as a bunch of leftovers and unfinished ideas. For a while BVB didn't have definite plans what to do with them, they didn't fit onto any album he had worked on until then (the albums so lo so fi and none of the above are mentioned herein). He has done everything on his own, has played some acoustic parts, bass guitars, a lot of electric guitar parts, recorded and edited in all kinds of ways, using an mexican Fender Stratocaster and an modified Epiphone Les Paul, a cheap acoustic guitar, and a Squier Jazz Bass, also used some cheap dynamic microphones. Some recorded sounds and voices are also derived from TV. Some samples are taken from seven-inch vinyl recordings of some kind of library music - farm animals, car and plane sounds, weather sounds. In addition of it, there are also represented scratches, buzzes, crackling. However, face to face with previous brunk albums it is absolutely the different one. First 20 seconds consist of a blend of defective electronica, acoustic guitar touch, spoken word and ragged guitar riffs which will predict us what will be happening next – it could describe as in a fashion of anti-manifesto per se. A kind of destructive posture in reference to his previous works as brunk. Furthermore, some song titles are also marked bellicosely, or otherwise just have a meaning referring somehow to deflexion (got it!; carcrash; blitzkrieg; mechanical errors; berror; violence on tv). At never ever ever, the blasting attack by three first tracks will be displaced and changed into dreamy mood music, as if we were back to quiet and melodic brunk again. However, shifts (a mix of heavy metal riffs and dub guitar), flipperkast dub (experimental-fashioned dub with guitar solos and wah wah effects – one of the best tunes on the album!). de wraak van de kiekens (similar to zip) is dominated by jazz guitar-alike sound and programmed beats. Indeed, it would be very good chill out track as well if it had much more longitude to come over us. The another possibility is just to push “repeat track” button on, and keep enjoying it... . There run also some floating bubblegum funk undercurrents (this should be played at high volume... preferably in a residential area!) being so characteristic to sampledelic or samplecore music that I am pretty convinced Bert Van Der Berghe has listened to Chenard Walcker and Felix Kubin a lot indeed. violence on tv reflects through its sonic aggressiveness and insane variability the meaning of the song title at its best. Furthermore, some knotty organ passages and a haunting orchestration segment have added some odd dimensions to all of it. However, in general and broader sense, the only artist who might have some reminiscence to BVB`s recent work is a Russian avant-garde combo Burrito (especially their doings and tearings around on the album Fridtjof Nansen (2008/2009). At first sight the ICTC would probably seem to be sounding too harsh to your consciousness to get broken through to. Indeed, it is like the tzunami of overloaded information flowing on you at high speed, destroying and flushing all around you, letting you live and waiting with dread the coming of the next wall of noise. The one and only question which could be questioned is – are you able to channelize all this information into understandable form for yourself? In fact, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. Download it from here 8.6
However, face to face with previous brunk albums it is absolutely the different one. First 20 seconds consist of a blend of defective electronica, acoustic guitar touch, spoken word and ragged guitar riffs which will predict us what will be happening next – it could describe as in a fashion of anti-manifesto per se. A kind of destructive posture in reference to his previous works as brunk. Furthermore, some song titles are also marked bellicosely, or otherwise just have a meaning referring somehow to deflexion (got it!; carcrash; blitzkrieg; mechanical errors; berror; violence on tv). At never ever ever, the blasting attack by three first tracks will be displaced and changed into dreamy mood music, as if we were back to quiet and melodic brunk again. However, shifts (a mix of heavy metal riffs and dub guitar), flipperkast dub (experimental-fashioned dub with guitar solos and wah wah effects – one of the best tunes on the album!). de wraak van de kiekens (similar to zip) is dominated by jazz guitar-alike sound and programmed beats. Indeed, it would be very good chill out track as well if it had much more longitude to come over us. The another possibility is just to push “repeat track” button on, and keep enjoying it... . There run also some floating bubblegum funk undercurrents (this should be played at high volume... preferably in a residential area!) being so characteristic to sampledelic or samplecore music that I am pretty convinced Bert Van Der Berghe has listened to Chenard Walcker and Felix Kubin a lot indeed. violence on tv reflects through its sonic aggressiveness and insane variability the meaning of the song title at its best. Furthermore, some knotty organ passages and a haunting orchestration segment have added some odd dimensions to all of it. However, in general and broader sense, the only artist who might have some reminiscence to BVB`s recent work is a Russian avant-garde combo Burrito (especially their doings and tearings around on the album Fridtjof Nansen (2008/2009). At first sight the ICTC would probably seem to be sounding too harsh to your consciousness to get broken through to. Indeed, it is like the tzunami of overloaded information flowing on you at high speed, destroying and flushing all around you, letting you live and waiting with dread the coming of the next wall of noise. The one and only question which could be questioned is – are you able to channelize all this information into understandable form for yourself? In fact, the more I listened to it, the more I enjoyed it. Download it from here 8.6
Download it from here
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Cagey House is the pseudonym for David Keifer, an american musician, who has released shitloads of albums under (net)labels during last 5 years. However, it is quite complicated to figure out the complete list of his discography. Cagey House is partially defined through electronic pop fused with art-pop, weird pop and synthetic fusion influences, and thereby sharing the similar position with such acts as Drugs Made Me Smarter, Nogaro and Bockholt, for instance. David Keifer has his first start described in the following way: “I was writing fairly typical rock/pop instrumental things. Kind of like what the Ventures would have done if they'd played fruityloops instead of guitars.” Indeed, Keifer`s sonic texture is quite unconventional in these days. It is strongly influenced by fly high electronic pop of 70s a la Kraftwerk and Droids, and by the retrofuturistic signs and undercurrents, particularly by exotica pop and space age pop tunes. In fact, Keifer`s aim to create music is obviously not beared down on the utopistic beliefs to the omnipotence to (music) machines to establish something like never-have-listened-to-it-before. It just could only have an ironic flashback to those “old good times”. By the way, on the album Elephant Orange (2006, Umor Rex) I found a track entitled as Bebe Ebullient (I would even surprised if it wouldn`t have the reference to Bebe Barron, one of the biggest names in space age pop). Furthermore, Keifer is supposed to use spare sonic language (it usually does it mean, his music is more linear, rather than polyphonic), and the songs have the length no longer as 3 minutes. Actually, the only albums which were tended more toward conventional electronic music, and also modern classical music, were Model City (2007, Nishi) and Drawing Monsters (2008, Dog Eared). Those LPs were run through seemingly lazily developing yet catchy melodic lines, thereby were drew apart from colourfulness of the sonic textures on the first albums. In fact, Steel Tantrum (2005, Nishi) is being an exception too, from time to time fulfilled with harsh and desolate tunes coming out from dystopic society out of Earth somewhere. The soundscape of this album doesn`t even sound gruesomely, it is rather like to bring forth one hopeless world for the listeners.
After The Cosmic Drain (2008, Umor Rex) Keifer started with collecting his own sound samples, which he used in place of the sounds in Fruityloops. All those sounds he had collected from the web – cartoon sounds, radio telescope sounds from outer space that astronomers have recorded, samples of Viking instruments, and instruments from India and Africa with a lot of vocal samples – are appeared at its best on the albums The Cartoon Mouse Regards (2009, Bump Foot) and Lark (2009, Free Range Beats).
Lark is in its all extensions veiled through haunting melodies, obscure mini-orchestrations, analog electronic sounds conjured from vintage synths and theremins, appeared as thing-in-itself and in all possible combinations of the aforementioned elements. The vocal samples which tonality has been varied through drifting between the half notes and whole tones, and thereof transformed into an elusive form, will only magnify the obscurity of the album as the whole one. You can touch an intimate but eerie milieu on this album more suitable to get sonic frames for the horror doll show than for usual listening. Otherwise it can imagine as the return back to the old house again, having brimful of good memories, and baleful shadows as well. From start to finish, all those 23 minutes are the very intense ones, and instantly ready to uncover David Keifer`s nature as a genius.
Download it from here
Monday, August 3, 2009
Searching for some connections between indie and hip-hop music, it is possible to go back in time even further than it would have supposed to be. At first I could remember that My Bloody Valentine`s frontman Kevin Shields suggested once in one interview that before recording legendary Loveless (1991) he was listening to Cypress Hill a lot. Also, I was able to keep in mind Yppah`s album Your Are Beautiful At All Times (2006). It was actually a pure shoegaze album just made by the musician having himself hip-hop background. Nowadays it is very popular make available such tapes where hip-hop people are bending indie styles off in strange ways, making up crossovers of them. For example Amplive`s “Rainydayz Remixes” (2008) and Wildabeast`s Wildahead – Portibeast (2008), operating the music of Radiohead and Portishead correspondingly. Max Tannone aka Minty Fresh Beats wrote down Jaydiohead (2008) by mashing up Jay-Z and Radiohead into the new one. Avant-rocker Kevin McCraney faced CAN and Rakim each other in one track on the album Uncleared Samples (2008).
It is time reserved for folk-indie star Sufjan Stevens now. Illinoize is a free remix tape put together by Montreal-based producer Tor. Tracks are sampled from Steven`s Illinoise LP (2005), and 3 of his other albums as well, A Sun Came (2000), “Seven Swans (2004) and Songs for Christmas (2006). Sufjan Steven's acoustic guitar, piano and horns and mildly orchestrated sounds have been blended into with vainglorious featurings of Aesop Rock, Big Daddy Kane, Gift of Gab (Blackalicious), C.L. Smooth, Outkast, Brother Ali, and Grand Puba. I tell you, it is a quite peculiar experience for me listening to medieval flute tunes sounding partially psychedelic and mixed with Outkast`s hip-hop rhymes and a minimal stomping piano rhythm (Dumb I Sound / ATLiens (f. Outkast). My personal favourite track is The Tallest Man/I Like It (feat. Grand Puba). Violins and an orchestrated voice have created the subtle textured background. The only gripe I felt I had had in 26 minutes, was about absence of further interesting hip-hop sound effects. This set of songs brings forth a kind of perception as if it consist of a unvaried stream being a little bit anemic in that way. Indeed, I was expecting for more harsh-edged sonic manifestations because of that potential-filled format looseness to be enough for experimentation herein.
Download it from here