The second full-length from this genre-defying duo is a somber and richly-detailed work that constructs a dystopic environment where the 'natural' and 'organic' are inseparable from electricities, radioactivities and the detritus of military-industrial technologies and materials.
Through micro-recordings of metallic objects and resonances, field recordings, and raw filter-bank improvisations, Aden Evens and Ian Ilavsky (Sofa, Silver Mt. Zion) constructed a sonic landscape of polluted signal sources, weaving tentative, provisional signs of humanism into the mix by way of piano, organ and drums.
Alms is an invocation and critique of the distortions and remainders generated by the violence of the war machine. It is also a confession, of computer indulgence and easy access to technology, of leisure and the freedom for creative play - a tiny sonic treatise on the poverty of our times and how we shield ourselves from it.
This is not ambient music, or electronica. Please play as loud as possible.
How did renowned Japanese noisemaker Merzbow (aka Masami Akita), Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi follow up their majorly intense statement made on their tumultuous debut album, Cuts, which was released in 2013... By adding another ingredient to the volatile mix, in the person of skronking guitar hero and Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore they've taken things up a notch or two on the Richter scale on their RareNoise Records follow-up recording.
With Gustaffson's roaring baritone sax blending with Moore's shriekback guitar, Pandi's intensely throbbing beats and Merzbow's subversive white noise barrages, it all adds up to a sonic pummelling of epic proportions on the remarkable two LP-set, Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper. For Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper, the four kindred spirits went into the studio and came up with four extended tracks.
Drummer Pandi calls it mystery in sound.' As saxophonist Gustafsson said of their purely improvised session, "We had no game plan. That usually does not work so well. It all depends on the day, the energy and of course the room. And oh boy, that room was freakin' spectacular! It actually had a skateboard ramp! It was a truly spectacular recording.
It went super-fast -- just a wall of noise-poetry with layers and perspectives changing all the time. And to have Thurston Moore in the mix just added colours, layers, energies and sound. It was a very inspired sharing with the others." Pandi provides a bit of history on the evolution of this Cuts quartet.
"There is a legendary Roskilde live recording of Sonic Youth with Mats and Masami called 'Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth' and as a combination of that record and my longstanding duo with Masami, the idea came to try and play a quartet. Those were the days of the last couple Sonic Youth shows in South America, around 2012.
Following that, Masami, Mats and I continued to work as a trio. Meanwhile, in 2013 I got invited to join Porn for a string of gigs.
Porn masterminded by Tim Moss and Bill Gould from Faith No More and for the London shows Thurston joined us on stage - it was great fun to play together.
When we hung out backstage, we were talking about trying to hook up a quartet session sometime with Mats and Masami again.
We already had a gig planned with the trio in London, where Thurston currently lives, so we figured the only day he is spending around that time in London is the one we had for recording the follow album up to Cuts. So he was on board immediately."
As for how this new Cuts project with Moore may differ from their first Cuts outing,.
"If jazz, as the eminent critic Whitney Balliet once wrote, is the "sound of surprise," Cuts, an intensely cathartic, fiercely turbulent collaboration between Japanese noise purveyor Masami Akita (aka Merzbow), Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi and Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustasfsson, is the "sound of shock and awe." A sonic assault of epic proportions, it blends the bombast of Merzbow's grinding white noise barrages with Pandi's thunderous pulse on the kit and Gustafsson's ferocious abandon on baritone sax and clarinet mixed with live electronics, bringing to mind a marriage of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and Coltrane's Interstellar Space, with touches of Sonic Youth's sonic mayhem thrown in for good measure."
- Andrew Male, MOJO (****)
180g Vinyl + Download Code Gatefold Sleeve The German instrumental duo SANKT OTTEN (Stephan Otten, Oliver Klemm), founded in 1999, has been releasing music on Denovali Records since 2009.
Their 10th full length album called MÄNNERFREUNDSCHAFTEN UND METAPHYSIK (eng: Male Friendships and Metaphysics) is once again a collaboration record - this time with fellow countryman and experimental guitarist N (Hellmut Neidhardt).
The eight pieces on the album are based on freely improvised studio sessions and have all been recorded live, with a few overdubs added by SANKT OTTEN later.
SANKT OTTEN's Denovali labelmate N - for whom this album is release nr. 47 - is well-known for Noise, Ambient and Drone sounds standing apart from classical song writing.
The aim of this collaboration was to combine the perspectives of the genres of both partners, with N adding a grave and menacing mood to SANKT OTTEN's Electronica and Kraut Rock and SANKT OTTEN providing the sound walls of N with an unusual dynamics.
Garden of Delete is unlike anything that Daniel Lopatin has done, in terms of technique, mood, or scope. It is denser than his previous albums, by several orders of magnitude. It is more varied, and it is funnier—scarier, too. The album carries with it a risk of whiplash that's as potent on the 15th listen as on the first.
Divertissement is the third collaborative full length from minimalist composer William Basinski and sound artist Richard Chartier. The duo utilize electronics, piano, tape-loops and short wave radio to evoke a dense atmosphere suggesting hundreds of years of history rising up from the depths of a reverberating cathedral. Subtle, buried and intense murmurs of melody morph through this deeply consuming and slowly evolving composition in two parts.
On A Year With 13 Moons, producer Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, who is also a bandmate of Liz Harris (aka GROUPER) in the duo RAUM, locates a spot between cool remove and fever dreams. It's hard to decide if this is the year's most fucked up ambient album, or its most bucolic noise record.
The idea for this collaboration was sparked after the three artists were confirmed for the first ever Garden of Drones Festival in Halle (Belgium). A mutual respect and kinship for each other fueled the idea of working together on a project. The festival seemed to be the perfect catalyst to trigger the artists into having their understanding of each others work resonate in a collaboration. Hence Tri Muerti was conceived.