Saturday, June 2, 2007

Chie Mukai - Solo Improvisations (2000)

Three tracks recorded at Kid Ailack Art Hall in Tokyo in the late 90s. Just over 40 minutes of solo improvisations featuring the beautiful deep drone of the er-hu (a traditional bowed Chinese instrument) augmented by voice, kengali, rings and cymbals. Mukai is an important (and underdocumented) figure in the Japanese underground whose work goes back to her time as a student under Takahisa Kosugi in the late 70s which resulted in her participation in the legendary "East Bionic Symphonia" album. Since then she has continued to work with her own Ché-SHIZU outfit and appear on recordings with artists such as Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Rinji Fukuoka (Overhang Party), Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms) and Masayoshi Urabe. Description from Fusetronsound.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Z'EV - Production And Decay Of Spacial Relations 2xCD (2006)

"Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the very first Zev studio album which originally came out on Backlash in 1981, Die Stadt is proud to announce the re-release of Production and Decay of Spacial Relations for the first time on CD. It features the original seven tracks from the vinyl plus six recodings entitled Reproduction and Decay of Spatial Relations made by Zev in May/June 2005. Back in the day, Zev used to bring boxes over from Holland when he would come back to New York City which he would sell to Bleeker Bob (a famous record shop situated in the East Village of NY) who told him: this is the best industrial record ever and I sell it to every Japanese buyer who comes into the store. The CD is housed in a reproduction of the original LP (!) cover and comes with a special handmade insert. First edition of 500 copies. Total playing time: 79:57 min. The first edition of 500 copies also includes a bonus CD with never before released archive material all recorded in 1982." - Die Stadt.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Popol Vuh - Yoga (1976)

Two long Indian Classical pieces by Florian Fricke and a some unnamed Indian musicians. Tabla, sitar, harmonium, organ and female vocals. Great stuff.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Daniel Menche - Concussions 2xCD (2006)

“All percussions and concussions created by Daniel Menche.” So says the inner sleeve and truer words were never spoken. What starts out sounding like a cover version of Steve Reich's Drumming—layer upon layer of pulsating percussion patterns—rapidly escalates into a thunderous inferno of Dionysian proportions. Once a gargantuan level of density is reached and the listener finds him/herself wholly trapped at the center of the vortex, the relentless onslaught becomes a Rorschach, its pummeling throb resembling the amplified patter of pelting rain at one moment and the violent thrum of rabid animal scratching the next. Disc one's track seven sounds as if the Portland-based sound artist placed a microphone at the center of a roaring fireplace or a hornet's nest (no surprise that the title of Menche's 1993 debut is Incineration).

Still, though Concussions adheres to its strict conceptual principle throughout, contrasts regularly emerge during the twenty untitled tracks. Patterns mirror one another in disc one's track three as their repetitions alternate from left to right while track four gathers them up and drops them into the center of a hellish cauldron, reducing them to a howling mass. It's at such moments that Menche's repudiation of the label 'noise artist' for 'sound sculptor' has merit and his so-called quest for 'vehement beauty' achieved. Interestingly, though the churning Concussions generally makes Reich's Drumming seem a microsound outing by comparison, Menche's drumming patterns move in and out of sync with one another in a manner that's not wholly unlike its renowned precursor. Yes, it's an overwhelming experience—literally so when the two discs total 114 minutes—and not a ride I plan on taking more than once, yet incredible nonetheless. Review from Textura.


Gruntsplatter - The Death Fires (2000)

5/5 - The personalization of Post-Apocalyptic Noise Grind: Gruntsplatter specialize in a form of power electronics ambience distinguished by roiling, turbulent sonic vehemence that rises from the center of the earth to a speaker rumbling perch overlooking the blasted, post-apocalyptic terrain. Always a step ahead, though, Scott Candey, the one man force behind Gruntsplatter, as well as head of the Crionic Mind label and Worm Gear magazine, has taken the foundation forged on cataclysmic ideals, and added a distinctly human element. I've read that Scott utilized personal loss in the construction of some of the music on The Death Fires. This key emotional element lends even more depth to an already multi-layered decimation of the earth. Not only is the earth drowning in the destructive forces that Scott unleashes, but now there are atmospheric textures and disparate tones that lie underneath, subtly signifying anger, denial, and melancholy. The mutated, corrosive, and wholly indistinguishable vocal loop that runs through "Against The Dying Of The Light," as beaten on with feedback and fury, seems almost an exercise in frustration, an inability to help, a patchwork of incapacitation in a situation that demands response. "Struggling To Breathe" is drenched in contemplative tides brimming with increased distortion as the track progresses. Scott's willingness to explore the inner landscape of torment and despair is featured here, as the thick, oppressive noise is like a straightjacket, forcing him to stay focused throughout the tenuous emotional venture. The subterranean fires that singe "The Resonant Soil" tonally highlight the shift the music has taken during The Death Fires eleven tracks, from day of apocalypse, to night; from a life lived, to the moment of sunset, the cooling embers crackling ominously, the moment before death takes one's hand. For music intent on swallowing the earth, the scope of what Scott has accomplished here, in giving it heart and soul, is nothing less than astonishing. How else could one explain how this 'roiling, turbulent sonic vehemence' could also be described as, quite simply, beautiful? Inspiring work from a major force within the realm of dark, sonic expression. Review from Crionic Mind.


Rev. Kriss Hades - The Wind of Orion (2002)

This is the first full-length solo release from Rev. Kriss Hades, a member of Sadistik Exekution and Nazxul, among others.

I haven't heard this level of sick, insane ritualistic Black Metal since Nastrond's "Age of Fire", and this album blows that one away completely. Rev. Kriss Hades perverts the standards of modern musical composition, and then proceeds to spit upon the assumptions and cliches of Black Metal itself, creating something of fierce originality.

I have never heard anything quite like this. It's as if Nazxul and Sadistik Exekution were involved in a violent, head-on collision with Einsturzende Neubauten, mid-career Pink Floyd, and early Beherit. In the aftermath rises an album that alternates between cold, repetitive sounds and aggressive violence, taking both styles to their logical extremes.

The vocals here are some of the vilest emissions ever to be recorded, yet they are used quite sparingly, allowing the music to stand on its own. The result is a chaotic mass of raw guitar and synth that drowns the listener in sound, achieving a hypnotic effect. These songs seem to go on forever, but certainly not in a bad way, as one will hear something new with each listen.

If this is the future of Black Metal - which it may very well be - then the genre's most glorious age may be yet to come. "The Wind of Orion" is required listening for any who seek the essence of darkness in music. Review from Vorfeed.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Jonesy Tawny Port NV (Australia) -- Rated 93

What a sensational value! Made by Trevor Jones in partnership with importer Dan Philips, this is a blend averaging 46 years in age. Its light to medium ruby hue is accompanied by an extraordinary bouquet of sweet candied fruit intermixed with notions of maple syrup, earth, and hazelnuts. This gorgeous tawny delivers plenty of pleasure.(Wine Advocate) From Fine Wine House.

Merzbow - Houjoue 6xCD (2006)

An epic 6CD recording of mostly tame and mellow music and sounds by the Japanese master. Merzbow's theme for Houjoue is related to the Vegetarian history of the Japanese and the ceremony of freeing animals, shellfish, fowl and fish. Thankfully many facets of these recordings are frankly celestial and even mesmerizing. Bits and pieces of his "Frog" and "Animal Magnetism" recordings are worked into the larger structure of music. The price for these CDs is actually worth it. Even my cat who much prefers the Orb and Moby's ambient music, chilled out when he listened to four of the six CDs. Don't worry hardcore fans, there still are many powerful sounds and noises unleashed amidst these six very well-performed CDs. Merzbow is getting better with age. Review from

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3 & 4
Disc 5 & 6

Tonight's Playlist:

Merzbow - Aqua Necromancer
Terry Riley - Descending Moonshine Dervishes
VHK - Hammering On The Gates Of Nothingness
Ash Ra Tempel - Inventions For Electric Guitar
The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand
Kollektiv - Kollektiv
Sacred Miracle Cave - Sacred Miracle Cave
Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mathias Grassow - Psychic Dome (1992)

Ambient spiritual synthesizer music from Germany’s Grassow includes the 17-minute dirge Antarctica Iceland. Mathias told us in 2005 that “It’s long ago, that I composed this piece. After several listenings, I decided that this music had to do with a cold solitude - not in a romantic way, but more in its merciless strength against life, as the South Pole represents. The might of nature is in this piece. I always like to describe landscapes with my music.” Review from Antarctic Circle.


Z'EV - Ghost Stories (1990)

I would highly recommend this album to every creature that walks the Earth. The first time I threw it on was in the wee hours of the morning as I did some writing. I had it on really low. Every once and a while, I would stop working, lean back with the calming throbs of clattering metal and say, "Wow!" It was ambient music at it's highest quality. The next, and more satisfying time I listened to it was mid-day, a few days later. I cranked up the stereo so that the walls hummed along and laid on the floor with my eyes closed for over an hour. The effect was transcendental. It transported me to a calm and ethereal plane. Review from Thee Instigon Foundation.


Kawabata Makoto - Guitar Solo Vol. 2 - Mitsuha (1998)

Volume two of Kawabata's solo guitar work. Enlightened acoustic improvisations that transcend the limitations of the guitar. Description from Acid Mothers.


"If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the government and outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws. "

"The tragedy of modern war is that the young men die fighting each other - instead of their real enemies back home in the capitals."

- Edward Abbey