Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sparkling Wide Pressure - Meaning Plane

Sparkling Wide Pressure's Meaning Plane might as well be a self-titled album, conceptually at least. The essence of the music is in the name, bringing an expansive spectrum of noisy textures that might feel familiar to some, but thankfully authentic to most, if not all. Through the five pieces on the album, SWP creates a series of sonic sculptures that manage to incorporate many sounds without feeling bogged down or diluted by sheer variety. The album is satisfyingly colorful and well focused.


Defibrillators - Live at Colour Ride Club 16/10/08

I recently became aware of the Colour Ride label when Edward, the man behind the mayhem, contacted me about doing a set of reviews. This first one comes from the Defibrillators, a London-based band that seems to thrive on chaotic musical creation. This live album consists of one twenty-four minute monster that paints a portrait of improvisatory freedom at its best. This group wears "free" music on its sleeve but seems to have an element of subtle cohesion that belies a highly developed language of interplay between these musicians. They seem to have a handle on improvisation as their medium of choice rather than just an excuse not to sit down and write music the long way.

Throughout the disc, most of the melodic and harmonic chaos is nestled atop a steady rhythmic foundation that gives the listener a point of reference amidst the constant musical metamorphosis. There are elements of a plethora of musical influences throughout this set, from droning textures to harsh walls of noise as well as everything in between the two. In the transitions of the music, this group excels, seeming to wordlessly decide each change before the listener has a chance to guess their next move. For fans of unabashedly improvised music done well.


Dante Augustus Scarlatti - Demises of the Dynamic Microophone (In Monodelity)

One man's fervent (or stoned) reflections on existence come to life over seven compositions that make use of a plethora of sounds sources and methods of manipulation. Like a carpenter meticulously crafting an altar, DAS carves a somber piece of beauty relying primarily on minimalistic guitar and various raw sound recordings. This is perfect accompaniment to a thunderstorm, in fact, if you listen to this music on a nice day it becomes gradually harder to believe the sun would have the gall to shine while it is being played. Scarlatti doesn't have the blues, he can't even see color. He paints worlds of grey, with thousands of tiny shades covering the spectrum from white to black. Think Ansel Adams in sonic form; looking toward the most gripping images nature has to offer and stripping it of any color. Simply breathtaking at times. This album comes packaged in "sacrificed" reel to reel cases with beautiful inserts and a complimentary patch.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hail Architeuthis! - s/t EP

Architeuthis is the biological genus of the giant squid, a fact which I learned a few days before seeing this band play their first live show ever some months ago. That show will be burned in my memory for a very long while as the first, so far only, but hopefully not last, time I witnessed a band live up to a name that unabashedly conjures images of the epic and chaotic. This ship-sinking mayhem I witnessed at that first show and the ones that followed, however, is merely the face of the beast above the surface of the sea. Below, the creature fluidly roams the depths, silently vigilant of the surface for any ships unfortunate enough to cross into his waters.

This latter image is the subject of this debut EP, which serves as a sacred prelude to the ascent of their sacred beast. Twenty minutes of hallowed drones and aqueous soundscapes lead to a brief glimpse of chaos toward the close. This first release from HA! is damn near perfect in terms of the composition and execution of the music in relation to the image under which it was released. Beautifully haunting, this EP should be much more widely known, if only to let everyone in on how high the bar was set for a debut while they weren't paying attention.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Icuab Drain - You're Uncomfortably Sane

Icuab Drain, another member of the Auris Apothecary family, has released an impressively compelling debut EP that, if nothing else, proves that video game inspired music can be more than a gimmicky show of musical masturbation. The four songs that comprise You're Uncomfortably Sane push the use of the 8-bit palette into new territory. Its like staring at the Mona Lisa everyday for five years before walking to the next room and seeing a sky by Turner for the first time.

The strongest song on this EP is the appropriately titled 8-bit Revelation. This track alone makes the tragically short fifteen minutes of the release worth its weight in gold, driving it to its end. Icuab Drain has set a high bar for anyone who even dreams 8-bit when making music. Gamers beware: you're sound has new masters.


Hou - Retriculating Inner Shade

Ever since the internet began to reshape music and its distribution some years ago, leveling the playing field for a bast number of would be unheard artists, there has been a deluge of music far to big for anyone to manageably keep up with. This flood has brought to light some amazing music and some big disappointments. It seems that every ass-clown with a guitar and a bad day starts up a music myspace and lets his emotions out into the world to make his authentic personal depth known to this heartless, superficial world.

Luckily, Hou is one of those artists that makes this explosion of music bearable and even likable. His debut album, Retriculating Inner Shade, is anything but a musical myspace diary. Over the course of fifteen songs, clocking in at just over an hour, Hou creates a contemplative atmosphere from a plethora of synthesizers and sequencers. On the surface of the music not much reaches out and screams "Hey I'm innovative!", but this is one of the main strengths of this album. Hou avoids musical extremes in favor of a subtle passion buried throughout the album. He speaks softly and directly, but, like all wise men, does not care to use gimmicks to get your attention.