Joyous solo debut from the veteran Congolese guitarist, after four decades working in collaborative contexts.
High-altitude Bryars, trash on the walls, desperate shamans. The Los Angeles-based multidisciplinary artist discusses three important albums.
Emotional rollercoasters, impossible Neo Tokyo, perfect snares. The London-based Swedish producer/sound designer discusses three important albums.
Architectural sound, understandings of freedom, and how do we end? The composer, improviser and performer discusses three important albums.
Light in the ocean depths, doors to other worlds, respiratory cycling. The Tehran-based composer discusses three important albums.
Intermingled inner worlds for strings, saxophones, keys and sudden voice.
(Almost) falling into the water, post-dumb-house-party-bike-rides, wildness and mastery. The musician and member of Xiu Xiu discusses three important albums.
Chicago improvisatory trio for drums, cello/guitar and turntable engage in hall-of-mirrors time-meddling.
A set of reduced electronic studies for the 53-EDO microtonal tuning system.
The science of baffling unpredictability, nuclear plants leaking beauty, the moments before the apocalypse. The São Paulo-based artist discovers three important albums.
Digging in near the bridge, one old woman, acting like the Rolling Stones. The American media artist and composer discusses three important albums.
Cataclysmic suggestion and fragmentary beats, in the debut EP from the Dhaka, Bangladesh-based experimental act.
Music for sleep, radical electronics, biospheric amorphous spaces. The sound artist and 12k label founder discusses three important albums.
Three ferocious exercises in improvisatory vigilance for guitar, bass drum and contrabass.
Three attraction operators in full theatrical flow, captured at the Kentucky State Fair back in 2013.
The joy of UK pirate radio, intoxicating production, Streets Of Rage DJ set. Montréal-based French-British producer Jean Néant discusses three important albums.
Colonial resistance derived from Zulu and Mozambican cultures is whirled into dizzying sound design and techno vigour.
Sound cradled in the grand echoes of churches and caves. Reflections on family, grief, legacy, transformation.
Phytoplankton microsound, sketched-out dead ends, perfect warbles. The North Carolina-based electronic music producer discusses three important albums.
Sunday puppet show routine, childhood anime memories, Brazilian cutlery jams. The electronic producer and performer from Taiwan discusses three important albums.
Scared of the wolf, emotionally-resonant Eno, the 90s Louisville scene. Modern composer Matthew Cooper discusses three important albums.
Oxfam treasures, panic-stricken falling, wordless stories. The multidisciplinary artist discusses three important albums.
Brittle fantasies for voice and electronics. Rising, falling, rising again.
Very inviting thumbs, vanilla apologists, Monk's comeback. The Toronto-based experimental musician discusses three important albums.
In love with a vampire, psychedelic songform subversion, composer visitations. Haela Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix discusses three important albums.
Sleepless Lagos, echoes of heaven, beastly synths. The sound artist and violist discusses three important albums.
Uncanny kinships between tape and laptop, in the debut release from Zheng Hao and Ren Shang.
Beauty in djent-adjacency, solo-Jeep-screamo-touring, "bad guy" music. The multi-genre multi-instrumentalist discusses three important albums.
Fishing the sound, math rock imposter syndrome, maximalist gratitude. The Athens-based sound and visual artist discusses three important albums.
Nostalgia rushes, unhurried solo guitar, Pharoah jumps in. The American trombonist and composer discusses three important albums.
Grim and claustrophobic electroacoustics.
A blur eternally unsharpened on the horizon line.
Uncomfortable DJ sets, golden ratio songs, the "best band in the UK right now". The primary member of The Brian Jonestown Massacre discusses three important albums.
Beautiful, wrenched songs about inner rage and the rigidity of societal codes.
A live improvisation by the sound and text duo of Iris Colomb and Daryl Worthington, captured at Cafe Oto last October.
Communal grief, tapes from the Halal Meat Shop, time-space departures. The Hyderabadi Muslim American poet, musician, interdisciplinary artist discusses three important albums.
Inner darkness unleashed over the walls and floors, manifesting as shadow ambience and evaporated techno.
8 Quadrants by Yosuke Tokunaga Everything travels in circles. 8 Quadrants is built on overlain repetitions running at disparate speeds. Percussive sounds spin through tight-knit delays, while melodies repeat after extended exchanges between sweeping synth chords or chopped-up piano. At points there are even “beats”, manifest as skeletal trip hop
Ruinous beauty, hauling a bass sax up the stairs, Hendrix's face, worlds of breath. The saxophonist and composer discusses his important albums.
Prepared piano and strange manipulations. The blurring of spaces and selves.
Intuitive resonance, cataclysmic dualities, bandleader grace. The UK-based saxophonist discusses three important albums.
Here are a handful of records I enjoyed last year. Yara Asmar – Home Recordings 2018-2021 (Hive Mind Records) The debut album of the Beirut-based puppeteer/video artist/multi-instrumentalist, built on recordings captured on cassette and mobile phone. These tracks hang on the edge of wakefulness, with the edges of diurnal
Heart wrung like a towel, Skullcandy bass, the magic of music boxes. The Beirut-based multi-instrumentalist, video artist and puppeteer discusses three important albums.
Visions of hell/paradise, two G's in eggs, bizarre lemonade. The composer/multi-instrumentalist from Austin, Texas discusses three important albums.
Vocal imitation games, aural cocktails, jazz-adjacent ingenuity. The New York-based composer and pianist discusses three important albums.
Hauled together in the rubble of post-apocalyptic shock.
Atomised matter. Blackout in the club.
Too-short tracks, dying melodies, birds mimicking electronics, the highest organ note. The musicians and collaborators discuss their important albums.
The London-based composer conjures the memory of a trip through Oregon's natural spaces.
Tim Hecker beneath the aurora borealis, nerdy icebreakers, blurs and beats. The Turkey-born, UK-based composer and guitarist discusses three important albums.
Harnessing ugliness, memories of Okinawa, Pärt in the snow. The Japanese vocal performer discusses three important albums.
Fluttering assemblages for strings, woodwinds, voice and the playful meddling of FX.
Miless in the city, matching Spiderland tattoos, vertiginous rabbit holes. The guitarist and label curator discusses three important albums.
Sad tween car journeys, dismantled pop, pioneers of Baltimore Club. The South Asian-American vocalist, sitarist, composer and producer discusses three important albums.
An eclectic array of synthesisers from London's Electronic Music Studios, fed through a process of lively trial and error.
Brazen electronic keys, odes to the rig, ripping everything out. The UK composer and performer discusses three important albums.
Raga of the spine, stretched like honey dripping, body-recalibration drones. The Chicago-based visual and sound artist discusses three important albums.
Synthesisers crunched in trapezoidic arpeggiations, voices in service of nonsense.
Two eggs for breakfast precede the skitter of the unexpected.
Haunting organs, sitting inside tape loops, endless questions. The Oslo-based multidisciplinary artist discusses three important albums.
Microtonal drones for strings, saxophone and modular synthesiser, pressing back against the insistence to continue.
Feedback as praxis, weird fragments, the first true drone show. The Cree, Canadian, interdisciplinary artist and sound designer discusses three important albums. Chloe’s picks: Les Rallizes Denudes – Mizutani Coil – Backwards (Demos) Phill Niblock – Music Chloe’s new album, They Can Never Burn The Stars, is out now on SIGE.
Nestled loops and wrong turnings in time.
Two improvisatory musicians camp out on the extremes in this wonderful collection for vocals and variously facilitated low frequencies.
Black metal vs Aphex Twin, sad tape loops, the best screamo of all time. The UK-based artist and multi-instrumentalist discusses three important albums.
Black metal rendered in 72-note octaves and spectral overtones, forever reaching beyond its own limits.
Power surging in circles, with self-made instruments using light and body-born electricity.
No-input pre-amp and radio, whiling away time in a waiting room for nowhere.
Earth-shifting philosophies, wordless shoegaze treasures, cinematic heartache. The MC and producer discusses three important albums.
Near-silence as a conduit of catalyst for ecstatic sensory fullness.
Charming, intricate electronics running on the liquid logic of jazz.
Septic-tank-prog roadtrips, poop jokes written backwards, a literal anvil. The Oregon-based composer, multimedia artist, instructor and champion of friendship discusses three important albums.
Subterranean commute cacphony, four minutes total.
ASH INTERNATIONAL. “Some scientists believe that we have memories from the past and the future both. Past memories and future memories come together as a circle,” states Yenting Hsu in the liner notes for the fourth track on Flash 須臾. Even without reading any context, this record is audibly fixated
A weaving of voices, moments of pure connection, sibling influences. The Narrm/Melbourne-based drummer and composer discusses three important albums.
CZASZKA. Five petri dishes of electronics in cyclical stasis, produced during the first lockdown in Barcelona, Spring 2020. Most of the movement here occurs on the micro level, as synthesisers ping against eachother or chicane between steady pulses. Polymetric junctures are produced as each element adheres to its own mode
RELEASED BY ALTER. Justin Broadrick has regularly exposed the sombre energy at the core of pop music: most obviously through Jesu’s combination of melodic earnestness and steamroller forward drive, but also in Final tracks that crushed and reversed samples of mid-00s indie pop. It Comes To Us All is
BANDCAMP. Limen illustrates how the most intense experiences arise not from unabated eruption, but by relentlessly rendering the promise of it. The energy here is one of accumulation – gathering, compressing, assimilating – with clouds darkening overhead and surface explosions pointing to a volatility that runs right to the core. Yet Limen
Myspace discoveries, kaleidoscopic sonics, the beam shining through. The Yokohama-born, London-based producer discusses three important albums.
Despite the title, there is no saxophone throughout these 84 minutes – only Charles Curtis on cello, arranged in just intonation by LaMonte Young. On a quick skim of the composition’s history, versions including the intended instrumentation seem to be in the minority: an earlier configuration by Young involved Curtis
Reaching beyond our world, the thing in all its magnificence, the butterfly on your hand. The violinist, composer, improviser and interdisciplinary artist discusses three important albums.
Divine possession, accessing a communal psyche, opening quantum windows. The guitar player and electroacoustic composer discusses three important albums.
Mum meets the Beatles, live environment failures, waves of transformative energy. The composer of experimental and electroacoustic music discusses three important albums.
BANDCAMP. Sicko is constantly materialising. As glitches scatter, warm synth drones rise from beneath, in turn receding to reveal strings in reverse, distorted voices…these pieces are forever becoming the next state of becoming, the energy restless and goaded forward, each new moment instigating yet another foaming reaction. It’s
Stretched instruments, drudging through the mud, Kanye on the space highway. The Brooklyn-based Asian American musician and composer discusses three important albums.
Sulphur and molasses, museums and ice cream, reverence for the beautiful. The avant garde ballard-purveyor discusses three important albums.
BANDCAMP. Rich and strange evocations here from Ètienne Michelet, with saxophone/clarinet contributions from Kim Soo Min splattered like paint globs into swirled basins of electronics, stammering drum patterns, pulsing chimes and guitar. The constituent materials were recorded in a small room over the course of two months, and while
Wombic alien mechanics, circuit-bent FIFA, worldbuilding soundtrack serendipity. The Syrian-born, Sweden-based artist discusses three important albums.
BANDCAMP. Deeply satisfying electronic beatwork here from Rhys Llewellyn (drummer in Hey Colossus), using a minimal hardware setup to plunder the possibilities within sleights of syncopation, indulgent kick resonance and exquisite hi-hat tones. Prime example: “Galdem” starts out with an unworkable lurch of a beat, before a deft swivel of
Gargling fire, empty samplers, ruined picture discs. Crucial Listening host Jack Chuter shares his three important albums.
Totality in music, lyrical homicide, destroyed Barbie dolls. The experimental music performer and instrument-maker discusses three important albums.
BANDCAMP. Derived from Xena Glas’ lived experience with autism, the five tracks of Body are named after specific sites where the effects of autism announce themselves, each at the juncture between the internal and external: “Eye” references the plethora of ideas and emotions conveyed through eye contact; “Feet” and “Hand”
SA RECORDINGS. The push and pull of disparate distances. These tracks are gathered from elements of emotional significance to Nyokabi Kariũki, all within her home of Kenya – the ocean at dawn, a stroll through a farm, voices of family, contributions from close friends, the interwoven languages of home and heritage
13 January 2022 Incredible new EP from this Canadian/European duo, all stemming from the synth melody that pervades the entire release. In fact its ubiquity is primarily in spirit, with the levitating drone of “SEASONS NEEDLE” and the radio interference of “SEASONS EENT” infused with its beautiful searchlight swirl.
BANDCAMP. What an opening riff. Like a degraded film loop of someone falling down a right-angled staircase, drums and bass stumble and slam into the wall on repeat, occasionally dragged into chaotic celluloid divergences, somehow returning to the main refrain each time. Where some groups affiliated with the “noise rock”
VHS basslines, definitive ambient, record shopping in Woolworths. The London-based musician and anarchist discusses three important albums.
Like all end-of-year lists, there’s nothing definitive about this one. Neither is it in any particular order. Essentially, here’s a selection of records that pop into my head when I think about the music I’ve enjoyed throughout 2021. I’ll probably end up adding a whole bunch
Everybody against everybody, the left hand of the Qin master, tin can Beatles. The Beijing-based musician and poet talks about three important albums.
Liturgical lullaby, canine concrète, a chess game that never ends. The Chicago-based media artist and composer talks about three important albums. Olivia’s picks: Alèmu Aga – Éthiopiques 11: The Harp Of King David Beatriz Ferreyra – Huellas Entreveradas Morton Feldman – For Samuel Beckett Honourable mention: Kim Jung Mi – Now Olivia’s
CRUEL NATURE. The debut album of Düsseldorf’s Todeskino (which possibly translates as “death cinema”) opens with beauty and sadness in neoclassical widescreen: choir pads swirled in synthesised strings, piano notes like droplets into unstirred lakes, melodies that wring the emotive polarity of major and minor keys. The record continues
Spontaneous trips to Genoa, bloop speakers, big Tori energy. The LA-based musician and visual artist discusses three important albums. Emma’s picks: Sibylle Baier – Colour Green Shape Of Despair – Monotony Fields Tori Amos – Boys For Pele Emma’s new album Engine Of Hell is out now via Sargent House. Head
CONTROVENTO / STALLO / MOVIMENTO Marie e le Rose remarks that this trittico (three-part operatic suite) is partly a tribute to their favourite GRM musicians and an attempt to channel their “compositional thinking”. This is apparent in the precise movement of electronic sound – how they dart around the listener’s head – with
XI RECORDS. NuDaf diverges from other Phill Niblock pieces I’ve experienced. I’m used to hearing a certain linear progression with his work – slow and inevitable, often manifesting as the microtonal melting of an opening chord, dragging the piece from unity into disarray. And while these 65 minutes become
DASA TAPES. The title of this record is the Greek word for “vapour”, and each of these one-take pieces for French horn is a contemplation on this transitional state between water and air. Just as in evaporation, this elegant concept disperses itself into many manifestations. Kakaliagou’s whispering acts as
Perceptual geographies, Dylan’s near misses, Coltrane’s unresolved places. The LA-based artist and composer discusses three important albums. Byron’s picks: Maryanne Amacher – Sound Characters (Making The Third Ear) Bob Dylan – Planet Waves John Coltrane – Sun Ship Byron’s fabulous new record, Mirror Views, is out now via Ash
Weird industrial synths, rapping over alarm clocks, Kubrick with 2 bricks. The Zambian-Canadian rapper and producer discusses three important albums. Ashanti’s picks: Janet Jackson – The Velvet Rope Death Grips – The Money Store Danny Brown – The Atrocity Exhibition Check out the BACKXWASH website here. She’s also on Twitter and
Turlin + ATTN:Magazine present: * knifedoutofexistence Cracks Below The Surface by knifedoutofexistence Electronics, voices, and colliding surfaces, straining upward through a blanket of feedback and malformed fidelity. FLESHLICKER (HNW set) Traumatic Amputations by FLESHLICKER Compounding the grain from every VHS horror tucked at the back of the cabinet, recast on this
Ever-heavier tape trades, music for twenty radio stations, new urgencies. The composer, artist and improviser discusses three important albums. Raven’s picks: Mr Bungle – Disco Volante José Maceda – Ugnayan Moor Mother – Fetish Bones The latest record by Endlings – Raven’s band with John Dieterich – is out now on Whited Sepulchre.
KARAOKE KALK. These 16 minutes were assembled from sound walks captured in Schopf’s birthplace of Santiago de Chile, from which she has twice departed: firstly in a flight of exile during the 70s, and again to move to Berlin in the 90s. Returning home is often complicated. Schopf makes
More mayonnaise, electrified tango, unapologetic folk. The musician, composer and multimedia artist discusses three important albums. Cecilia’s picks: Charly Garcia – Clics Modernos Violeta Parra – Composiciones Para Guitarra Eduardo Rovira – Sonico The audio documentation of RED(DB) is out now via Relative Pitch Records. Head over to Cecilia’s website
PLAYNEUTRAL. These five pieces by Stephen Vitiello (guitar, modular synth, piano) and Brendan Canty (drums) are constantly toying with the notion of synchronicity. From a superficial perspective, Vitiello is seldom aligned with the repetitious clarity of Canty’s grooves: on “Piano 1” he rains haphazardly upon the beat like shards
Record warehouse paradise, lullabies finished in hell, destroying synchronicity. The musician and filmmaker discusses three important albums. Domingæ’s picks: Jackson C. Frank – Blues Run The Game Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica Ryuichi Sakamoto – async Domingæ’s new album Æ is out now via Sacred Bones. Her Linktree is here and
BANDCAMP. All proceeds go the The Gate. Porosity is the key. On gig night, Sly & The Family Drone might rock up as a group of three players or maybe nine, splaying themselves among the audience so that everyone in the room is essentially swept into honorary membership. Jamaica!! have no
Lost souls in a fishbowl, lushness and harmony, sanza psychedelia. The Kenyan composer and performer discusses three important albums. Nyokabi’s picks: Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here Kelsey Lu – Blood Francis Bebey – Psychedelic Sanza 1982-1984 Nyokabi’s new single, Galu, is out now via SA Recordings. It’s part
COLLIDING LINES. Side A of this record, coming courtesy of Sylvia Hallett and Stephan Barrett (with contributions from Helen Frosi and Wes Freeman-Smith), centres on the “hidden details of worlds we miss in the everyday”: experiences that are in opposition to those anomalous and large-scale events that we, broadly speaking,
Cannonball of musicians being shot at a staircase, flying across the top of the mosh, sunlight in the white room. The Ireland-based, Australian-born artist discusses three important albums. Robert’s picks: Naked City – Grand Guignol Ministry – In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up Folke Rabe – What?? Robert’s
Tracklist: ex.sses – soft tongues ex.sses – buried ex.sses – resurrections Akira Sileas – LUDER MIX Buffy Sainte-Marie – Little Wheel Spin And Spin Julian Sartorius – Locked Grooves (extracts) Cypro – Cycle
Resonating glass, the arsehole of Western music, shopping mall avant garde. The nomadic sound maker discusses three important albums. crys’ picks: Annea Lockwood – The Glass World Of Anna Lockwood Walter Marchetti – Antibarbarus Bernhard Günter – Univers Temporel Espoir crys’ contribution to Boomkat’s Documenting Sound series is called Other Meetings and
BANDCAMP. In addition to the instrument/texture setup referenced in the accompanying text (frame drum, traditional Spanish tambore, wooden whistle, paper, plastic, metal), the other prominent sound on Toinen/Other is Koskenlahti’s own breath. On “Tunto/Sense” it’s a nasal breeze skimming over the thumps and scurrying fingers,
ACTIVE LISTENERS CLUB. What am I actually hearing? Even After opens with what appears to be an orchestral drool: fidgeting ride cymbal, brass microtonally mingled with woodwind, squiggles of guitar lead and feedback, arcs of choral voice. Yet those flecks of electronics throw doubt over the whole thing. Is this
Out-of-time ska, home alone raves, smashing together American music. The live electronics improviser discusses three important albums. Lauren’s picks: Lunachicks – Jerk Of All Trades Andy C – Nightlife Van Dyke Parks – Song Cycle Give yourself a proper treat and listen to Lauren’s record Embrace, released on SUPERPANG. There’s
THE JEWEL GARDEN. For a record that pulls so heavily on hold music, an image of the sea from the perspective of the shoreline couldn’t be more apt. Both provide objects for wayward attention (hold music in the void of pure waiting between events of overt purpose, the sea
ANTIBODY. Elizabeth L Davis presents three tracks that spill out of the lines they draw for themselves. Energetic moderation and rhythmic rigidity become barriers against which Gekachelt is constantly pressing, with tape delays and electronic extranea smeared all over the grid, skimming the edge of eternally-escalating feedback before ducking back
Top string of the harp, transcendent worldbuilding, catharsis in composing. The LA-based artist and composer discusses three important albums. Geneva’s picks: Ursula K. Le Guin + Todd Barton – Music And Poetry Of The Kesh Grouper + Roy Montgomery – Split Swans – The Great Annihilator Geneva’s new longform work, Turning Of The
XXX alcohol, forgone resolutions, avalanches of brutality. The multidisciplinary artist and performer discusses three important albums. Jen’s picks: Joseph Spence – Good Morning Mr. Walker Stephen Layton – Whitacre: Cloudburst And Other Choral Works Opeth – Blackwater Park Go spend a bunch of time on Jen’s website and Instagram. Sonified Physiological
BANDCAMP. We know that we can bridge the gap between languages by a process of translation: the imperfect equivalence of concepts that allows us to understand, in an approximate form, what might be communicated by someone else speaking in a different tongue. For Weaver ~, Jaleh Negari broadens its application to
Slipping into the bloodstream, reassembling the alien spacecraft, addictive polyrhythms. The Honduran-American producer discusses three important albums. Pablo’s picks: Muslimgauze – Hussein Mahmood Jeeb Tehar Gass Paul Schütze – New Maps Of Hell Los Roland’s – Solo Exitos Vol. 2 The new Dalibor Cruz album, Riddled With Absence, is out now
DRAGON’S EYE. Genrietta’s debut EP is named after a subterranean metro station in her originating city of Moscow, which was opened in 1935 with the first phase of the city’s metro line. Track titles make further references to specific locations in the vicinity, such as “Bitsa” (one
TAKUROKU. “It is the first time that I create a completely new composition by imagining and collaging together various unrelated sounds” states Biliana Voutchkova. Created primarily in the latter months of 2020, Seeds Of Songs can indeed feel like an erratic assemblage of fidgeting vocalisation, distant echoes, tinkling glass, hybridised
Jaw on the floor, zoning into spirituality, bastardised reggae basslines. The multidirectional musician and producer discusses three important albums. Kevin’s picks: Gil Mellé – The Andromeda Strain OST The Necks – Sex Public Image Limited – Metal Box Kevin’s soundtrack to Tarkovsky’s Solaris comes out June 25th on Phantom Limb.
HISTAMINE TAPES. Centred on the dwindling biodiversity of the El Membrillo wetland in Chile, these two extended pieces look to “create awareness of the spaces in which the human, the animal, and the botanical converge”. They render audible the damage unleashed by encroaching human acts (housing developments, the dumping of
BANDCAMP. Percussionists Shayna and Nava Dunkelman refer to their setup as “Rorschach-like”, in reference to those symmetrical inkblots used in psychological tests into emotion and character. I expect this describes the physical mirror-image arrangement of their instruments, but it also lends to the idea of percussion as conduit of the
CZASZKA. The title of this record refers to an evening spent cutting back and forth between two radio talk shows, bringing the voices of one programme into liason with the other. Beachers thereby illuminates the countless lines of dialogue that exist within radio: between presenter and guest, between on-air speaker
Going beyond the bandstand, simultaneous multidimensionality, searching for fire. The music research strategist and insurgent learning workshop co-ordinator discusses three important albums. Marshall’s picks: Prokofiev – Peter and the Wolf (Disney animated version and accompanying reading) Earth Wind & Fire – All ‘n All Ornette Coleman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come
BANDCAMP. We begin on a magic rim. The cymbals of Yuko Oshima stir with restless potential, peering over the edge; the saxophone of Audrey Lauro leaks like the heavier outbreaths of someone on the verge of waking up; the electronics of Pak Yan Lau dance like the glow of oncoming
Toilets on heads, high frequency feedback devastation, hot pink harsh noise. The New York-based vocalist from Sydney, Australia discusses three important albums. Charmaine’s picks: Derek Bailey / George Lewis / John Zorn – Yankees Yan Jun + Hsia Yu – 7 Poems And Some Tinnitus Masonna – Noskl In Ana – Rare Tracks Collection Charmaine’s
BANDCAMP. Immediately, Furry-Tarot-Dori conjures the image of a village community: perhaps all living in houses that stud the hillsides, perhaps in Medieval dress, perhaps roaming as one communal spirit and chasing pipers as they gallop across the fields. And yet synthesisers? Lopsided drumkit lurches reminiscent of 90s Pram records? Forthright
Drumsticks into sawdust, ripping off Harvey Milk, going crazy for the Blind Owl. The BIG|BRAVE guitarist discusses three important albums. Mathieu’s picks: Rockets Red Glare – S/T Harvey Milk – A Small Turn Of Human Kindness Blind Owl Wilson – S/T The latest BIG|BRAVE album, Vital is out
VERZ. While Maguire’s previous work, Bairds of Gartsherrie, was a broader reflection on his family’s hometown of Coatbridge, ijzer en staal focuses on the physical process that quite literally powered the town’s history: the creation of iron and steel. The former release is imbued with an outward
Thrash at the rehearsal room, transcending cheap music, collapsing nature and artifice. The analog noise artist discusses three important albums. Yuko’s picks: Slayer – Reign In Blood Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon Monolake – Gobi. The Desert Yuko’s new record, End Of Trilogy, is out now on
BANDCAMP. “Things I hold onto make me want to change, but the more I change the more I find myself holding on,” sings Piotr during “Invisible Map”, his voice perched on a fingerplucked guitar that curls in like an autumn leaf. While exemplary of the album’s affection for a
BANDCAMP. Among my favourite moments on No Preview are when Hannya White starts whistling. That idle spill of high pitch, a kite cut free and released quivering into the updraft – the sound of someone away with themselves, rising above synthesiser presets that crash into eachother like hunks of splayed and
The opposite of politeness, sucky sucky bloodsuckers, ego destruction on the subway. The two improvisatory collaborators discuss their important albums. Chris’ picks: Caroline Kraabel – Now We Are One Two Art Ensemble Of Chicago – Chi-Congo Bill’s picks: Jaynez Cortez And The Firespitters – There It Is Ronald Shannon Jackson – Pulse The
SIGE. Formerly found in the incredible improvisatory duo Black Spirituals alongside Zachary James Watkins, percussionist Marshall Trammell is presented here in different collaborative company: firstly within the rich echoes of the Tribune Tower in Oakland, and secondly alongside visual scores generated through his public art installation during his residency with
Snot-caked pants, wild banshee shit, the cadence and emphasis of Robert Ashley. The New York-based composer and multi-instrumentalist discusses three important albums. Ka’s picks: Love – Forever Changes Sonny Sharrock – Black Woman Eliane Radigue – Songs Of Milarepa Ka’s new album, Vivification Exercises I, is out now on RVNG Intl.
FLAU. On “Nostalgia”, the third track on Takahara’s debut record, two piano-playing hands pass eachother like strangers on the stairs. They appear peripherally aware of one another, yet otherwise swept into their own daydreamt trajectories, as one hand ambles down and the other saunters up. The piece depicts this
BANDCAMP. I can only assume With Drums was an absolute delight to work on. For sure it’s a thrill to listen to. From an artist whose records often suggest a steady-handed sculptural process comes this: a rough bundle of clatter and whim, doubtless assembled with the same care as
12 seconds of Stockhausen, high-altitude Frank Ocean, the power of SOPHIE. The Vancouver-based composer and music educator discusses three important albums. Sarah’s picks: Karlheinz Stockhausen – Kontakte Frank Ocean – Blonde SOPHIE – Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides Sarah’s YouTube channel is called Sounds Good – find that here – while her
CHERCHE ENCORE. Everything that stretches outward is bent inward and vice versa. The beats on RELIC point aesthetically to the club yet kinetically to nowhere, evading motion altogether as the syncopations multiply to form a flat expanse of cancelled-out emphasis. Whispers are pushed so deep inside the ears as to
Sitting in a room, Hip Hop Connections, looking for a breadfruit tree. The Blackburn-based artist, radio DJ, podcast producer and lecturer discusses three important albums. Paul’s picks: De La Soul – 3 Feet High And Rising The Congos – Heart Of The Congos Alvin Lucier – I Am Sitting In A Room
MONASTRAL. Despite the presence of electronic patches and overdubbing, Pi Sound 琶聲 showcases the interaction between Chloe Yu Nong Lin and her instrument – the pipa, or Chinese lute – first and foremost. Her gestures move between soft strums that mimic petals falling, sudden staccato notes like pinpricks through closed curtains, knocks
Releasing your giant, rural music in the city, stealing the cat from the temple. The Bangkok-based artist discusses three important albums. Pisitakun’s picks: Pornsak Songsaeng – สาวจันทร์กั้งโกบ Jing.com – มันส์ ม่วน คัก Buddhist chants – Malai chant / Giant chant Check out Absolute C.O.U.
901 Editions. The visual simplicity of Aloïs Yang’s Micro Loop Macro Cycle installation is, in fact, an introductory provocation to a billion different questions and consequences. The piece consists of a block of ice suspended in the air by rope, dripping intermittently into a glass bowl on the floor
WEBSITE. The first few listens to Gas Lit assert, above everything, a stark duality: the earthen heaviness of guitar and drums, whose gestures are like geothermal springs calling upon the most ancient energetic potential, and the bright sprawl of the sky, painted through saxophone loops and reverb that spill like
BANDCAMP. Recorded during the first days of the “stay at home” order in New Mexico last year, this collection of improvisations for saxophone and voice captures that now-familiar transition state: after the categorical loss of normality, prior to fully comprehending the new mode of existence. This feels like Taylor’s
Invocations for judgement and destruction, sons of nature, reimagining the music of Indonesia. Wukir Suryadi and Rully Shabara discuss three important albums. Senyawa’s picks: Gugus Gema – S/T Sawung Jabo/Iwan Fals – Dalbo Church Universal And Triumphant, Inc. Featuring Elizabeth Clare Prophet – The Sounds Of American Doomsday Cults Alkisah
OOH-sounds. Ansatz is crammed full of fight scenes. Dizzy edits, swords unsheathed, the whoosh of missiles flying wide, grunts of pain, the clunk of metal armour dented by hulking metal cleavers – all backdropped by broken beats that stand like stubborn metal foundations of buildings otherwise ruined. Beyond these explosions of
WEBSITE. While the ultimate source of this record is the sounds of violence, the output often verges on the lush: voices, prepared piano and field recordings entangled and unfurled like clusters of wild flowers. Several stages of translation reside in between. The record was made by playing clips of violence
FULL SPECTRUM. This album essentially captures the execution of several snare drills from George Lawrence Stone’s 1935 percussion training book Stick Control For The Snare Drummer, described by the author as aiding improvement in “control, speed, flexibility, touch, rhythm, lightness, delicacy, power, endurance, preciseness of execution and muscular coordination”
Battling the beast of boredom, choosing the bloodstream over the live stream, being cooler than Santa Claus. The Portland-based abstract sound musician discusses three important albums. Daniel’s picks: Alvin Lucier – Music On A Long Thin Wire Die Kreuzen – S/T Diamanda Galás – Litanies Of Satan Daniel’s wonderful new
In no particular order, here are 25 records I particularly enjoyed this year. Aho Ssan – Simulacrum KMRU – Peel Laura Luna Castillo – Tuberose Speaker Music – Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry Yves Tumor – Heaven To A Tortured Mind King Rambo Sound – Strange Reality 奇妙な現実 Menzi – Impazamo Atariame – Completeness Pantea – Things BLÓM – Flower Violence
Ethereal spatiality, appropriated memories of home, millennial mythos. The multimedia artist from Mexico discusses three important albums. Laura’s picks: Golden Living Room – Welcome Home Core Of The Coalman – Mystery Odes Bath Consolidated – Narryer Gneiss Terrane Laura’s latest record, Tuberose, is out now on Whited Sepulchre. Listen/buy on
BANDCAMP. Everything is fair game. In the absence of a self-censorship that usually mediates the traversal from “thinking” to “doing”, the electronic improvisations of Lopez and Lazo capture very flash of fiery whim: the most clunky keyboard melodies, the most garish phaser sweeps, the sudden leaps in volume, the false
CYCLIC LAW. Built upon beckoning glossolalia, the songs of Russian performance artist Dagmar Gertot feel as though they’re on the very brink of accruing meaning. She proclaims vowels with the grandeur of someone about to recite poetry, yet she never moves into the formation of words. The instruments (accordion,
PAN Y ROSAS. Donate to Assata’s Daughters here Spread over an extended duration that conveys the sheer length of time it takes to transition, the two hours of Wir Brauchen Angst. Und Schade dwells entirely between disappearance and emergence. These pieces often fixate on wisps, traces and brittle high
Lockdown dance parties, loosening the Nutcracker’s limbs, finding space to breathe. The songwriter and saxophonist discusses three important albums. Ashley’s picks: Jonathan Richman – I, Jonathan Duke Ellington – The Nutcracker Suite Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society – Mandatory Reality Ashley’s excellent new record, Ray, is out now on Slip.
BANDCAMP. Embedded in the repetition of these reduced synthesiser refrains is the insistence to listen again. There’s always more to hear, even within the context of so little. The listener mind snags upon a different rhythmic emphasis after two minutes, flipping the picture sideways; jagged details blunt themselves through
Bilna’es بالناقص Resembling a water-logged device attempting to revive itself – whirring, slipping, failing – this debut record from Dakn seems to showcase circuitry rendered audible through damage, drawing attention to those little motors that used to cycle silently inside their casing, all now straining against a system too broken to
Consolidations of love, breaking fourth walls, strength with machines. Camila de Laborde and Daniel Hermann-Collini discuss their important albums. Camila Fuchs’ picks: Jenny Berger Myhre – Lint Leila – Like Weather Flying Lizards – Fourth Wall The KLF – The White Room Spacemen 3 – Recurring The duo’s new record, Kids Talk Sun, is
BANDCAMP. Nemeton notes that this 54-minute piece was composed using a polyrhythmic sequence with a very slow clock. This refers both to the duophonic Moog synthesiser that sweeps and recedes, but also to the silences of various sizes that splay like canyons between the notes. Where the synth travels through
WHITED SEPULCHRE. Imagine Tuberose as a mobile hung from the ceiling. The entire structure rotates gently, while the individual branches find their own rhythm, spinning in opposing directions and at disparate speeds, connected and contradictory. There is no singular depiction of mood or time. Instead, the elements – sporadic dots of
Resonances in empty libraries, unseen Mingus vibing, high school post-rock discoveries. John Daniel discusses three important albums. John’s picks: Charles Mingus – Ken Burns Jazz Do Make Say Think – Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord Is Dead Stars Of The Lid – Avec Laudenum Check out the Forest Management website here, and
BLOXHAM TAPES. All profits from this release will be donated to Black Lives Matter. It’s nothing new, but we’re more aware of this fact than ever: collaborating digitally offers the possibility of intimacy, even if it takes on a completely different form. What we lose in being unable
ACTIVE LISTENERS CLUB. “Magic happens in the space between Listening and the listener, where there is only verbs.” This is taken from the text accompanying Things, whose title is perfect in being a placeholder for possible objects: a recognition of an outline, an entity, yet to be specified. And so
Beautiful choreography, explorations of cinematic spaces, cassette collections in the back of the photograph. Sarah Badr discusses three important albums. Sarah’s picks: Fairuz – Maarifti Feek Roly Porter – Aftertime Toumani Diabaté + Ballaké Sissoko – New Ancient Strings The latest FRKTL album, Excision After Love Collapses, is available over at Bandcamp. You
BANDCAMP. Horizogon feels like standing in a hallway between various open doors, absorbing the sounds of separate lives as a happenstance symphony. A warped vinyl of sombre choral music spills out from one room. Pastoral orchestral tones seep out of another. A jazz group practice tentatively down the hall. Synthesisers
INSUB. In an interview about Grey (Gray), Bonnie Jones refers to her remote collaboration with Rodolphe Loubatière as building “this new kind of surreal space. It’s not the room, it’s not our bodies…it’s actually a kind of hyperspace that is more or less based on a
NEW YORK HAUNTED. All profits from this release go to Support for Belarus. More information here. Three tracks (and a bonus alt mix) of pounding, hissing distorted techno from Belarus. Every sound here has been doubled in size, with beats chafing against the synthesisers and leaving all textures with tattered
Banning all cymbals, post-hardcore road trips, low frequency earworms. The New Orleans musician discusses three important albums. Melissa’s picks: Peter Gabriel – 3 (Melt) Unwound – Fake Train Björk – Post The new MJ Guider record, Sour Cherry Bell, is out now via Kranky. Check it out on Bandcamp, and be sure
HALLOW GROUND. The first track on Aperio! is like rolling something around the palm. Turning it over, feeling the indents and protrusions on every side. Gradually, an everyday object transforms into a miracle of craft through persistent attention alone. A synthesiser surges in and out, splitting into two notes and
DRAGON’S EYE. The surface of Aftermath is crusted and cracked. Rock ruptured by the upward thrust of magma flow. Electronics glow along the fracture lines – synthesised strings, choral pulses – while a thick distortion smothers and presses down. Pocks and protrusions emerge as these vertical forces exploit the weak spots
The omnipresence of data, Bandcamp soul/sound-searching, goofy classical. The scientist, artist and community organiser discusses three important albums. Sarmistha’s picks: Moor Mother – Analog Fluids Of Sonic Black Holes R. D. Burman – Padosan OST Maria Chavez – Plays Pan Daijing – Lack Check out Tavishi’s music on their Bandcamp or
leerraum. Described by Mo H. Zareei as “a reflection on living in suspense between two geographies, two time spans, and two selves”, this 33-minute composition is akin to watching a torchlight sweep over a wall in a ceaseless figure of eight. A single synthesiser chord undergoes gentle modulations of tone
ROOM40. If Fullman’s Long String Instrument can be likened to the sea – splayed drones that glisten and undulate, filling up the entire field of experience – Wong’s cello is a lone entity looking out upon the water, her bowed tones carving through the coastline on a slant, like the
FLAMING PINES. Inspired by his childhood recollection of war while growing up in Tehran, Mafakheri’s Durations is a perfect illustration of how memory can smear the details while retaining every ounce of the original sentiment. Depictions of explosions or passing aircraft are reduced to blurred silhouettes, with echoes conveying
Dub reggae masterclass, cacophonous veganism, ambient treasure troves. The musician and producer discusses three important albums (and an honourable mention). Kush’s picks: Skinny Puppy – Too Dark Park Various – Jah Warrior Showcase Volahn – Aq’Ab’Al Honourable mention: Pete Namlook + Jonah Sharp – Alien Community Part 1 + 2 Find Only Now
STELLAGE. Some repetitive beats are an incitement to move, whereas others terminate movement entirely. The New Age Is Shit tends to the latter. The album starts in a dead end and only pushes itself further into the wall. Distortion deadens the energy, coating the drum machine in concrete, dragging at
Waves of timelessness, electromagnetic chandelier recordings, Minilogue improvisations. The Nairobi-based sound artist discusses three (well, four) important albums. Joseph’s picks: Ana Roxanne – ~ ~ ~ Chris Watson – El Tren Fantasma Rival Consoles – Persona Honourable mention: Idrissa Soumaoro – Djitoumou The new KMRU record Peel is out now on Editions Mego. KMRU is on
LINE. So much artistic work is made around the hallucinatory potential of the night, but what about the dawn? Shinonome is a reminder that the emergence into daylight brings with it a uniquely porous consciousness. Just as the sun has yet to rinse away the darkness completely, the listener emerges
SUPERPANG. Musique Grossière translates as “coarse music”: apt for a record that feels like a 2020 iteration of Cronenbergian horror prosthetics. Synth tones bulge out of computer screens, wet and plastic, smeared and grinned by the refraction of curved glass. Computer artefacts (code errors, whirring computations) are rendered in bloated
ENMOSSED. The plot of these two extended sides is as follows: two groups of people argue over a pothole in the road, with the event presented from the perspective of the road and then from the pothole. Whether or not this plot is actually contained within FARCE is by-the-by. The
Fearless four-track improvisations, spiritual jazz recurrence, manipulations of passing time. Lorena Quintanilla discusses three important albums. Lorena’s picks: Los Llamarada – Gone Gone Cold Phil Cohran & Legacy – African Skies Éliane Radigue – Trilogie De La Mort The new J. Zunz record, Hibiscus, is out 21st August via Rocket Recordings. Check out
BANDCAMP. Here we have a collection of tracks originally recorded between 2004 and 2012. Some were fully assembled as early as 2007, while others have been pulled out of the archives and assembled only this year. Within these pieces, we have looped voices that re-tread the past onto the present;
It’s both familiar and thoroughly sinister. In an article that details many of the ways in which major streaming services are crushing musicians – the pitiful revenue allocation, the bias toward superstars at the expense of independent artists, the algorithmic re-enforcement of the music industry’s very worst prejudices – VICE
NOISEFABRIK. It’s not clear what this transition falls between. With the release being recorded by Thierry Arnal and Sophie Jeannin under lockdown, it’s potentially a reflection on our global adjustment to the pandemic, as the pre-virus world shrinks into the rear-view and the world after exists as an
IDEOLOGIC ORGAN. The voice of Ai Aso hangs on a single vowel, quivering like bird wings adjusting on the wind. Each pluck on her acoustic guitar is framed by the tips of fingers halting notes prematurely, or creaking up the fretboard to prepare for the next chord. Each gesture on
BANDCAMP. The album title is perfect. It’s a great aesthetic fit with the dazzle of Eve Maret’s synthesisers, which glitter like thousands of astral lights during her flights of electronic pop and unravel like comet trails during extended ambient passages. It also suggests a very fragile form of
GRANNY RECORDS. Studies In Audio Fabrics collates five sound pieces that press into the realm of the tactile, produced using the array of analogue synthesisers housed at Willem Twee Studios in the Netherlands. Listening to the album, it’s arguably easier to conceive of the sensory traversal occurring in the
Volcanic psychedelia, flanger sweep obsessions, monuments in the mountains. The musician, poet and teacher discusses three important albums. Steve’s picks: Pink Floyd – Live At Pompeii African Head Charge – Off The Beaten Track Jóhann Jóhannsson + Yair Elazar Glotman + Tilda Swinton – Last And First Men Head over to Neurot Recordings to
WABI-SABI TAPES. Tempo is a matter of perspective. Just how the progress of a single day runs concurrent to the arcs of larger, slower transformations, each track on Fractal Archipelago is a zone where all rates of movement can be simultaneously perceived: urgent pulsing beeps, steady plonks of synthesised bells,
FULL SPECTRUM RECORDS. The extended, high-pitched tones of Rhonda Taylor’s saxophone are like hands clasping upward at the sky. Swerving and heat-drunk, she manages to imply the presence of a vast landscape through a vertical wisp of sound – not by filling the space, but by capturing the sense of
Listening to assholes, inner/outer presentations of self, power chords over trap beats. The Texas-based artist discusses three important albums. Claire’s picks: Lil Peep – Come Over When You’re Sober Pt. 1 Sun Kil Moon – Among The Leaves OIivia Block – Karren Head over to Claire’s website for information
BANDCAMP. “Everything needs to change. Everything needs to change.” With each loop of the spoken sample, the sentiment drains out of the statement. Each sound on the opening 17-minute piece is inducted into a tight, manic orbit of endless repeating. The falsetto voices start to pulse like a siren, static
THE TAPEWORM. The two sides of Long Decay And New Earth document the rehearsal of a piece on 28th December 2019 and its performance on the 29th. The source material comes from Jiyeon Kim’s piano mixtape, which was released under her 11 moniker last year. Before even pressing play,
BLUE TAPES. While there’s nothing cryptic about the setup here – a Korg SQ1 sequencer, a circuit-bent Yamaha MU-15 tone generator, a cluster of disrupted MIDI patterns – Suren Seneviratne’s compositions seem to dangle like unfinished sentences, cut short of communicating the entire message. Describing this fleeting release is only
Excursions into outer jazz, marbles against metal, empty Tokyo streets. The New York composer, performer and sound designer discusses three important albums. Lea’s picks: Charles Mingus – The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady Bernard Parmegiani – De Natura Sonorum Keiji Haino – Black Blues Lea’s latest album Acoustic Shadows is
UTILITY TAPES. Within this tattered quilt of idling guitar loops, crumpled static and starchy interference, no single sound is permitted to dominate. Waste products are processed to pull their inner tonality to the fore, as tuneful as the plucked melodies with which they intermingle. Intention and happenstance are blurred into
NENDODANGO RECORDS. Just as a river is both a static presence on a landscape and an entity of constant flux, MOTOR melds two modes of movement into one. Sax players Sofía Salvo (baritone) and Gustavo Obligado (alto) often work in extended strands of sound – the former excavating moaning overtones from
BANDCAMP. MOSS is a flashing perimeter. 19 minutes of electronics rendered in a dazzle of alternating colours and lights. Movement and illumination cradling an empty centre. The synthesisers are spatially arranged into a living sphere, stimulated by the pattering rhythm that presses itself upon the air. The shape persists even
The case for BTS, a complicated relationship to jazz, drunken birthday improvisations. The cellist, composer and improviser discusses three important albums. Okkyung’s picks: Kim Hyun Chul – Vol. 1 Duke Jordan Trio – Flight To Denmark Pieter Wispelwey – Ligeti’s Sonata For Violoncello Solo Okkyung’s latest album Yeo-Neun is out
BANDCAMP. What is it that binds the instruments on Empty Spaces? Certainly not a common tonality. Delphine Dora’s piano splays like a tenuous constellation of stars, each note like a wry harmonic rebuttal to the one prior, while the contributions of Žils Deless-Vēliņš – forming variously as plucked guitars, hushed
BANDCAMP. Guitarist Daniel Meyer Grønvold and drummer Kyrre Laastad are barely touching. That’s the beauty of their improvisations as Deep Thoukus. The instruments skim against one another, each a pondskater to the other’s rippled water, making brief and intermittent contact – enough to push away and coast for a
WEBSITE. HUMANHOOD RECORDINGS (RELEASED JUNE 3RD). Each pass of the loop is not simply a repetition, but a process of compounding. The object grows in size and intricacy with each cycle. This applies to Alessandro Ciccarelli’s method of routing his mixer output back through the input, through which he
PAWLACZ PERSKI. How exactly has the double bass been prepared for the purposes of Runo? Wojtek Traczyk doesn’t say. I imagine the alterations based on the sound alone, and it’s not a pretty picture: the body of the instrument speared by metal girders and splattered in oil, bleeding
Black Sabbath backseat boombox, clearing the room with Melvins, 100 miles of Neurosis. The author of Doomed To Fail: The Incredibly Loud History Of Doom, Sludge And Post-Metal discusses three important albums. J.J.’s picks: Black Sabbath – S/T Melvins – Gluey Porch Treatments Neurosis – Through Silver In Blood J.
SILENT RECORDS. Cascade speaks to the strange feeling of presence that clings to mountains when they are seen from afar. They hum, inaudibly, as they loom out of the landscape, still quivering with the same tectonic forces that pressed them into the sky. Authors such as Nan Shepherd have verged
SLIP. Repetition triggers a slow inversion of first impressions. The elegant becomes overwrought; the whim becomes a declarative act. It’s through this process that the majestic opening sentiment on Repetititive Music – a loop of ascending strings, like an ornate mansion staircase – degrades with every repeat. The paint starts to
ATLANTIC RHYTHMS. Composed when Amy Reid was living on the island of Monhegan off the coast of Maine, the 19 minutes of Isolated Bliss are a bittersweet ode to the futility of escape. With time, the spotless simplicity of an elsewhere – the bright sun, the glittering water – start to accrue
CONSTELLATION. The album title plainly describes T. Gowdy’s main interest here, although the music within takes an understated approach to the attainment of therapeutic states. Too often, records that explicitly seek to be meditative leave me feeling like a surgical subject, with all musicality forcefully bent toward the primary
Lost and hopeless, Gaspar Noé colour palettes, ghosts in the city. The Paris-based musician discusses three important albums. Désiré’s picks: Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside Roly Porter – The Third Law Burial – Untrue Stream/download Aho Ssan’s Simulacrum over on Bandcamp. He’
DISEMINACIÓN / MEDIO ORIENTE Recorded live at LOF in Santiago back in August 2019, these two collaborative pieces by Chilean exploratory stalwarts Cristian Sánchez (Asunción) and Ignacio Moreno Flux (ihä) emanate like strange glows nested upon the horizon line. Both synthesiser and guitar are rendered in luminous liquid tones, loosened from
BANDCAMP. Performance, in this case, is simply an echo of its preparation. Once Yasuyuki Uesugi has set the parameters of his equipment, his input is reduced to simply determining the beginnings and ends of these pieces (all of which occur as an abrupt cut, giving each the impression of being
MIKROCLIMAT. All of the sounds on Chaos contrôlé come from circuit-bent toys, which is fabulous for numerous reasons. For one, it provides a renewed purpose to these bundles of wiring and colourful plastic, rebelling against the consumerist cycle of cheap manufacture, short product lifespan and regular replacement. It also means
BANDCAMP. Like water running through my fingers, my efforts to hold and examine each melody are futile. No sooner have I latched onto Atariame’s acoustic guitar than it fades out, as if wandering distractedly into the next room over. Sometimes my attempts are disrupted by fogs of electronics and
Choral jet engines, childhood dictaphones, not giving a fuck. The vocalist, composer and improviser discusses three important albums. Ingrid’s picks: Ruby – Salt Peter Roomful Of Teeth – S/T Tanya Tagaq – Animism You can check out Ingrid’s ongoing project Dulme on her website or over at Bandcamp. Her improvisatory
BLUE SANCT. Sex Funeral started as the Iowan basement jams between Matthew Crowe and Bob Bucko, Jr., with no particular plans to carry the music out into the open. While they’ve since released a bunch of records and started gigging on the regular, their output hasn’t shaken its
BANDCAMP. The voice of Savina Yannatou babbles and subdivides, spreading rapidly from the centre to the edges, becoming a palpitating flock of sharp inhales and tumbling tongues. One definition of nympholepsy is “divine frenzy”, used by the ancient Greeks describe the state triggered when someone is possessed by the nymphs.
FALT. The electricity is fresh and harsh. Boiling hot and jagged at the edges. PHASE is a documentation of now, here, devoid of mediation, devoid of the corrective measures of overdubbing and re-recording, devoid of softening echoes and abstractive FX chains, devoid of the cooling effect of excessive human touch.
BANDCAMP. I wear L.L. like a headband. Sebastian Maria achieves a sound that stretches beyond the horizontal, with synthesisers held taut and curled around the back of my skull. It presses inward, too tight for comfort, with rhythms so immediately internalised that I mistake them for my own pulse.
SOUNDCLOUD. The sweeps of violet and white on the album cover are perfect, given that Samosi conveys the surreal magic of walking through clouds at high altitude. Reality softens under low oxygen, sunlight shatters into its prismic constituents across the mist, while the very act physical ascension is enough to
Monolithian matter, melting Arvo Pärt in a pan, finding the hidden trumpets. The Tehran-based composer discusses three important albums. Siavash’s picks: Keith Jarrett (with Jan Garbarek) – Luminessence Alfred Schnittke – Requiem Kevin Drumm – Sheer Hellish Miasma Keep pace with Siavash’s activities on Twitter. His collaboration with Saåad, titled All
TRUTHTABLE. For a record constructed using algorithmic and generative techniques, the opening minutes of Black are suspiciously straight-forward. An electronic beat skims along in a groovy 4/4, accompanied by a synth drone that sweeps the back wall like a searchlight. Despite the cold monotony of ndr0n’s texture palette,
BANDCAMP. Press play and be yanked – and I mean yanked, hard – down through Megadrive cartridge slots, ascending beyond the strobes and perspiration rain of claustrophobic basement clubs, hurtling into the blur of shopping malls with their garish cocktail of consumerist stimulus, before smashing through skylights to greet flocks of augmented
DUST ARCHIVE. If we can represent our linear understanding of past, present and future as a single horizontal line, the objective of Dust Archive is to chart the diagonals that lead to misremembered histories, alternate realities and prophecies that are never liberated from the cocoon of mere theory. The imprint
BANDCAMP. It is alleged that, in reality, Dante met Beatrice only twice: once at the age of nine and again when they were both in their late teens. The rest of their encounters took place within his poems and dreams, where these fleeting interactions became extrapolated by the forces of
BANDCAMP. This trio understand that the essence of a truly transcendent experience is ambiguity: a material disobedience that ignores the boundaries that confine and corporeally categorise. That’s why the guitars refuse to hold shape and swirl like water instead. It’s why the voices eschew clear communication to slip
FLUF. 62 tracks, none of which breach the 30-second mark, designed for shuffle playing. If a linear album is like a roll of parchment, Flocking KF Variations is a rattling sack: each piece a marble randomly extracted from the bag, inspected briefly for the swirls of colour inside, then tossed
ATTN:Magazine presents a screening of Mark Jenkin’s “Bait”, which has been heralded as ‘One of the defining British films of the decade’ (Mark Kermode, The Observer). Venue: Otto Print and Coffee House Tickets £6 (buy in advance – limited capacity): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/attnmagazine-presents-bait-2019-at-otto-print-x-coffee-house-tickets-90183185335 Trailer: https:
PENULTIMATE PRESS. The sounds are scuttled and scrunched. Kid-friendly keyboards cluster into high-pitched chords, running like teardrop rivers amidst the tickles and taps of insect legs or twisted tape. This is a collaboration negotiated through the very tips of fingertips and caffeine twitches of its players, Feronia Wennborg and Simon
BANDCAMP. Total change is only possible through the obliteration of the current form. It cannot be appended to the existing entity. Old shapes need to be broken down and wielded as raw source material once more, reduced to a powder of pure possibility, released from the structures that force creation
GRUENREKORDER. It’s disarming to hear a piano played like that. I mean it as a high compliment, but the melody on opening track “snow” carries the slow, plodding concentration of a grade 1 practice exercise. It’s simple to the point of being tuneless, and perhaps that’s the
FLUID AUDIO / FACTURE It’s hard to tell whether Still Life is pulling itself apart or bringing itself together. The album is partly a magnet for the worn and estranged – sounds that carry the impression of having trekked 15 miles to arrive here, tattered and glitched, slumping down on shaking
SOLIUM. Or to use its full title: and even though you put my life through hell just hand me your sins I will carry them as I still feel pain where you wounded me. Or to break it down further: 18 tracks that lurch forward on aching bones, each slumping
Finding the source, German vocoder waltzes, memorising every sprinkle. The musician, author and podcaster discusses three important albums. Cory’s picks: Alice Coltrane – Journey In Satchidananda Atom™ – Liedgut J Dilla – Donuts Cory’s new book is called Now Is The Way: An Unconventional Approach To Modern Mindfulness. You can get
CONDITIONAL. I’m staring at the DAW as the hours slip by, looping the same rhythmic section over and over again. The perfect synth tone is here somewhere. With each repeat I try a new one. A little more bounce maybe? Perhaps if it were distorted? Less abrasive? Is that
CRUEL NATURE. Each of these songs is a glimpse of eternity. Their incarnation on Nerves And Skin lasts only a few minutes apiece, but their recurrent elements – cyclical harmonies, synthesiser loops – could continue forever, bearing witness to the flux of the landscape around them over the course of months and
MOVING FURNITURE. The bellows collapse. There is an expulsion of air, but then so much more: a low drone that pools like water, with overtones that dance upon the surface as prism light. The thick, fermented aroma of several vanished years, of history and heritage, the scent like a matted
Reaching for trance states, peer-to-peer discoveries, the myth of technological neutrality. The Berlin-based artist discusses three important albums. Jessica’s picks: György Ligeti / Pierre-Laurent Aimard – Works For Piano Missy Elliott – Miss E…So Addictive Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol. 2 Jessica’s album Multivocal is out on Important Records. Check out
You’ve probably noticed that ATTN has gone quiet over the past month. In case you’re not receiving the newsletter (sign up here if you’re keen), last month my baby boy was born. All of my energy is being poured into fatherhood at the minute. The experience is
Vocal frequency doppelgängers, selling souls to the devil, kick roll anthems. The Berlin-based producer discusses three important albums. Kyoka’s picks: Frank Bretschneider – EXP Tricky – Maxinquaye Eomac – Bedouin Trax Listen to the fabulous new Lena Andersson record over at the Raster Bandcamp, where you can also find solo releases by
BANDCAMP. We open on the ocean. The entire sensory field is richly smacked by rippling blue. Just as the mood of the water can be reinterpreted if the observer simply adjusts the point of focus – locking upon the menace of a rolling wave, then shifting to the placidity of tiny
ATTN:Magazine and Champion Version present an evening of graceful dispersal. FACEBOOK EVENT. GOOD WEATHER FOR AN AIRSTRIKE The solo project of Tom Honey. Smeared expanses and colourful uplift. MINUS PILOTS Matt Pittori (percussion) and Adam Barringer (bass). Streams of cinema and tilted time. UPWARD Jack Chuter’s solo project.
SIGE. There is a clear divide. Before and after. Much of the material on Here Behold Your Own captures the time prior to the birth of Faith Coloccia’s son, with its development and release tracking her journey into motherhood. The record itself is split into two sections – the eight
Mischievous imps, spirit animals of the ethos, uncomfortable trance states. The New York noise musician talks about three important albums. Margaret’s picks: The Stooges – Fun House SPK – Auto Da Fe Whitehouse – Bird Seed The new Pharmakon album is titled Devour. Head over to Sacred Bones or the Pharmakon Bandcamp
KLAMMKLANG. It’s impossible to perceive the entirety of the human body at once, whether referring to one’s own body or the body of another. Observing the body from the front means that the back is hidden from view. To hold someone’s hand is not to feel the
BEARTOWN RECORDS. Bo Rane is best described as a leakage. It’s not cathartic or antagonistic. These improvisations for acoustic guitar, voice and other have a dribbling quality to them, like a viscous liquid running out of the nostrils and bubbling at the corners of the mouth. This is what
Host Jack Chuter asks musicians to share a story about a profound live music experience, from a Daft Punk stadium spectacular to a 30-hour experimental music marathon. BONUS: Here’s Belly Full Of Stars talking about a profound live music experience: TRACKLIST: Territorial Gobbing – Machine Learning To Scowl – 2019 Sam
KARLRECORDS. What is contained within the thick fog of Gnosis? At points I can discern traces of chanting voices, or the hiss of winds rushing through stone tunnels, or the echoes of a lost music. They congeal in the dark, loitering like a residue of the ancient past, smothering space
Quadrophonic 8-track playback in a 1982 pimped-out trailer. The musician and podcast creator discusses three important albums. Emils picks: Joni Mitchell – Court And Spark Bread – The Best Of Bread Pavement – Watery, Domestic Check out the Holy Sons website and Bandcamp to keep in the know on Emil’s various happenings,
SOUNDS ET AL. Tipped out, tumbling down: chunks of rock, percussion in tatters, miscellaneous household trash, colourful ribbons of saxophone. High-Time Seizure is an avalanche of whatever happens to be at hand, hurling drum samples after frenzied bass improvisations, kicking bells and cymbals over the edge, terrified at the prospect
LISTEN. brokendatapool is a support group for the sonically undesirable: a place of congregation for sounds that have been wounded by the world’s crueller tendencies. Broken office furniture is recast as an idiosyncratic timekeeper. The rubble of processed piano motifs is scattered like fragrant powder. There’s also a
LINE. The premise is incredibly elegant: six microphones are pointed at a set of loudspeakers, while an algorithm adjusts the amplitude of the microphones over time. Hums of feedback thicken in the air, negotiate a constellation between themselves, then reform as dictated by the change in microphone sensitivity. No players
NIGHT SCHOOL. INDEX 1: 14 August 2019 1: 14 August 2019 Everything becomes absurd over time. With enough repeats, the most beautiful melody is drained to a husk of arbitrary angles and surfaces. Paradoxically, incidental details can also accrue profound weight when placed on infinite loop. Accidents become rituals. On
Pigs in shit, breezy French vibes, humorous absurdity. The Australian composer and multi-instrumentalist discusses three important albums. Oren’s picks: Pat Metheny – Offramp Annette Peacock – X-Dreams Godley & Creme – Freeze Frame Oren’s latest solo record, titled Simian Angel, is out now via Editions Mego. His website is over here and
FRACTAL MEAT CUTS. INDEX: 1: 03 August 2019 2: 08 August 2019 1: 03 August 2019 There are days when life conspires against you. The car refuses to start. An absent-minded colleague knocks their tea over your laptop. You gouge a hole in your t-shirt during an attempt to shuffle
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 10 July 2019 2: 17 July 2019 3: 01 August 2019 4: 08 August 2019 Enablers have always had moments where raw force seems to overpower the outline of their music. Precision falters as they collectively play host to a sudden overcharge, subsumed by the voltage of
In a panoramic examination of how single artistic objects can shape the trajectory of life, Jack Chuter asks artists to discuss one book or film that has a profound impact on them. Tracklist: Mariam Rezaei – 9 DARTED LINE – 2019 Gravespit – Queen Anne’s Lace – 2019 Nour Mobarak – Neurodiversity – 2019 Cassie
SOUNDCLOUD. INDEX: 1: 17 July 2019 2: 31 July 2019 1: 17 July 2019 Smash a glass or crush a piece of fruit, and the debris explodes far beyond the object. Shards and juices form a ragged halo over the surrounding surfaces. This type of impact is rife throughout My
Instant messenger trades, high fives with Björk, keeping the windows up. The Poland-born, New England-based composer and producer discusses three important albums. Derek’s picks: St Vincent – Actor Björk – Medúlla AGF – Head Slash Bauch Derek Piotr’s new album, titled Avia, is released on August 2nd. Find out more information
If you’ve heard the ATTN podcast Crucial Listening, you’ll be familiar with my interest in important listening experiences. There have been a number of occasions when I’ve heard an album that has triggered, or accompanied, a profound change in the course of my life. Perhaps it rebuilt
Putting on shows for weird bands, saxophone machines, mad distorted riffs. Tireless noisemaker Matt Cargill discusses three important albums. Matt’s picks: This Heat – Deceit Mindflayer – Take Your Skin Off Ultralyd – Chromosome Gun The excellent new album by Sly & The Family Drone, titled Gentle Persuaders, is out now. Head over
Host Jack Chuter presents music and contemplations by exploratory musicians from all across the globe. This month, the theme is imprint: artists talk about a place, person or event that influences the way they think about working with sound. Tracklist: Lilien Rosarian – Good Morning Oak Tree – 2019 Yudan Zou – A
Fish stock concrète, groovebox epiphanies, Kerrang cover-mounts. The London-based experimental musician discusses three important records. Luke’s picks: Pet Shop Boys – Discography: The Complete Singles Collection Napalm Death – Scum Adam Bohman – Music And Words The magnificent new Helm record, titled Chemical Flowers, is out now on PAN. Check it out
TIME RELEASED SOUND. INDEX 1: 30 May 2019 2: 06 June 2019 3: 11 June 2019 4: 26 June 2019 1: 30 May 2019 /content/images/wordpress/2019/05/ZOOM0276.mp3 2: 06 June 2019 The past is irretrievable. If I revisit a place that was important to me during
PAST INSIDE THE PRESENT. INDEX: 1: 23 May 2019 2: 29 May 2019 3: 06 June 2019 4: 26 June 2019 1:23 May 2019 We begin with the voice spilling out from the throat. As a mere wisp to begin with, like a candle flame. Gradually it fans outward,
FLAG DAY RECORDINGS. INDEX: 1: 12 June 2019 2: 15 June 2019 1: 12 June 2019 Initially I am drawn to four presences. The first, and most prominent, is the landscape. The waves collapsing into the rock. Birdsong forming archways overhead. The clink and chatter of a restaurant. Children playing.
Brilliant tabernacles, drugs without drugs, teenaged gurus. The artist, composer and graphic designer discusses three important albums. Faith’s picks: Swans – Soundtracks For The Blind Einstürzende Neubauten – Zeichnungen Des Patienten O.T. Earth – Hibernaculum Head over the Faith’s blog for updates on her work, along with links to her
BORING MACHINES. INDEX: 1: 08 May 2019 2: 15 May 2019 3: 22 May 2019 4: 09 June 2019 1: 08 May 2019 This music resonates with me, but not on the level of conscious comprehension. The rhythms abide by a stuttering logic that transcends my own computational prowess, adherent
Vinyl destruction, phony voices, dancing in the attic. The musician, artist and mechanical techno assembler discusses three important albums. Graham’s picks: Milan Knizak – Broken Music A Guy Called Gerald – Attic Attack [1986 – 1988] Helena Celle – If I Can’t Handle Me At My Best, Then You Don’t Deserve
A selection of new exploratory music, accompanied by the artists talking about how they knew their track was completed. TRACKLIST Enablers – Bill, In Consideration – 2019 p.vivax – Kettle – 2019 Mira Martin-Gray – Kissing Infinity – 2019 Furchick – Pretty Cricket – 2019 Rosa Anschütz – Rigid – 2019 Dalot – Beirut (Dust Fall) – 2019 Tsone – A
Breathless openings, reassembled DNA, talking through the guitar. The Seattle-based duo talk about three important albums. Dylan’s pick: King Crimson – Starless And Bible Black Adrienne’s pick: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Abattoir Blues / The Lyre Of Orpheus Dylan’s pick: Jimi Hendrix – Band Of Gypsys Earth’s
HOMINID SOUNDS. INDEX: 1: 11 April 2019 2: 25 April 2019 3: 10 May 2019 4: 16 May 2019 1: 11 April 2019 This album is sea sickness. A constant, giddy tilting. The summoning of mirage through weakness. The inner, churning weight of feeling utterly stranded, fated to sway and
KRAAK. INDEX 1: 18 April 2019 2: 27 April 2019 3: 10 May 2019 4: 16 May 2019 1: 18 April 2019 Like rakes dragged through soil, the four harmoniums carve deep grooves through the air. Their paths intersect and rippling lattices are formed, with drones negotiating the division of
Fez spoilers, triphop Americana, musings on completionism. The composer and multi-instrumentalist talks about three important albums. Cee’s picks: Darren Korb – Bastion OST Disasterpeace – Fez OST Tomáš Dvořák – Machinarium OST Connect with Cee via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and support their work on Patreon. Be sure to check out their
Host Jack Chuter asks musicians to describe the environment in which they make their music: the physical spaces, equipment and ritualised behaviours that accompany the act of creating sound. TRACKLIST: Chris Otchy – Minimum Feed Lilt Elision – Vicente Lavie – Luvbirdz NacHut Report – Międzyczas Corey Fuller – Hymn For The Broken Phantoms
Discovering secret treasure, making 183 of something, songs of gender transition. The percussionist and composer discusses three important albums. Sarah's picks: 1) Baudouin Oosterlynck – 1975-1978 2) Maher Shalal Hash Baz – Return Visit To Rock Mass 3) Antony And The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now Head over to Sarah's website
The sensation is akin to standing at the top of a mountain and looking out. The ecstatic failure of trying to ingest the sheer expanse of the earth below and knowing that it unravels far beyond what I can see. Or conversely, standing at the foot of a mountain and
ATTN’s Jack Chuter presents a selection of sonic curiosities and invites each of the artists featured to talk about the experience of recording one particular instrument. Expect happy accidents with piles of clothes, last chances with borrowed lutes and erased presets for bass-heavy harmonisers. Tracklist: Amma Ateria – Vielä Aymeric
Coltrane ‘n’ whisky, Magma in real time, pure multiphonics. The LA-based composer/saxophonist discusses three important albums. Patrick’s picks: 1) John Coltrane – Interstellar Space 2) Magma – K.A. 3) Little Women – Throat You can keep up to speed with Patrick over on his official website or on Bandcamp. Crucial
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 07 February 2019 2: 16 February 2019 3: 07 March 2019 4: 07 April 2019 1: 07 February 2019 Don’t be fooled. Sound is not a fluid running through your fingers. It’s actually a putty. You can clasp it, press your palms into the cold
SPLEENCOFFIN. INDEX: 01: 13 March 2019 02: 21 March 2019 03: 07 April 2019 01: 13 March 2019 We open with a piece that resembles an old film loop shivering upon a projector screen. Greyscale light and splattered interference. The viola heaves like the sea, the long harmony cracked by
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 24 January 2019 2: 31 January 2019 3: 07 March 2019 4: 30 March 2019 1: 24 January 2019 In the mind’s eye, 7 Directions is a gigantic wheel. It spins at such a pace that a familiar optical illusion starts to take place: a much
Fluffernutters, theremins on the chase, absent plus-ones. The artist and podcaster discusses three important albums. Jeff’s picks: 1) Malibu Ken – S/T 2) The Knife – Shaken-Up Versions 3) Noname – Telefone Check out Jeff’s incredible podcast, Here Be Monsters, over here (or subscribe via your podcast app). His personal
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 20 February 2019 2: 07 March 2019 3: 21 March 2019 1: 20 February 2019 It’s difficult to convey the significance of home. These places are often unremarkable when reduced to space and material, indistinguishable from the buildings that stand on either side. Plain to the
Unprecedented Oud, the phenomenal character of the Čahārgāh, blending tradition and technology. The Iraqi multi-instrumentalist discusses three important albums. Khyam’s picks: 1) Jamil Bashir – Ud traditionelle en Iraq – évocations modales – Arabesques 4 2) Mohammad Reza Shajarian – Dastan 3) Wendy Carlos – Beauty In The Beast Keep up to speed with
A playlist accompanied by “serving suggestions”: instructions for optimal environments and circumstances for listening to each piece, including contributions from the artists themselves. Narrated, as always, from the farmlands of Throop in Dorset. TRACKLIST: Ian Fleming – Desolate Pinprick In A World Of White – 2019 Julia Reidy – Imminently – 2018 Demen – Illdrop
Dried up drones, wounded song, psycho experimentation. The Seattle-based musician discusses three important albums. Monika’s picks: 1) Jocelyn Pook – Flood 2) Swans – The Great Annihilator 3) Igor Wakhevitch – Docteur Faust Be sure to check out Nordra on Bandcamp or via her official website. Same with Zen Mother – Bandcamp or
Damaged format, barcode translations, exploring the Fens. The London-based sound artist talks about three important albums. Kate’s picks: 1) Oval – 94diskont. 2) Ryoji Ikeda – Dataplex 3) Simon Scott – Below Sea Level You can check out Kate’s music over at Bandcamp or find out more on her website. Crucial
Double-gravity drunkenness, stomach electricity and other such states of human experience, narrated from the farmlands of Throop in Dorset. TRACKLIST: Ben Shemie – I Know You Feel The Same – 2019 Berlau – Bagatela 1 – 2018 Helena Gough – Tephra – 2010 Richard Moult – Part I (from Celestial King For A Year) – 2011 Heavy Lifting
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 03 January 2019 2: 13 January 2019 3: 31 January 2019 1: 03 January 2019 This release is the 11th instalment in a year-long, 12-part series on Copenhagen’s MAGIA label, with various artists all responding to a question posed by Ignacio Córdoba: “what would happen if
Pre-hispanic traditions, classical guitar genius, major label rebellion. The Argentinean musician discusses three important albums. Alan’s picks: 1) V/A – Musica de los Aborigenes (music by Native Indegenous Tribes from Argentina) 2) Agustín Barrios– The Complete Guitar Recordings 3) Luis Alberto Spinetta – Spinettalandia y sus amigos You can check
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 05 December 2018 2: 10 December 2018 3: 24 December 2018 4: 16 January 2019 1: 05 December 2018 These strange constructions toddle away from me, doubling-back on themselves to throw doubt upon their ultimate direction, occasionally flashing me a wry and knowing glance as I sit,
INDEX: 1: 13 January 2019 2: 16 January 2019 1: 13 January 2019 Flicked spittle, scrunched aluminium foil, choirs of ripped fabric, the squeaks of shuffling polystyrene blocks. I pull all of these textures out of the landfill of mixer feedback, and then mutter to myself about how it’s
Energetic phenomena, Romanian spectral music, hidden pulsations. The Icelandic composer talks about three important albums. Bjarni’s picks: 1) Seefeel – Succour 2) Ana-Maria Avram + Iancu Dumitrescu – Soleil Explosant 3) Helena Gough – Mikroklimata Bjarni’s official website is here. Lueur is out now on Tartaruga. Crucial Listening is also available as
Revellers in flowing fabric. Drinking shots at the velodrome. A thematic playlist centred on parties of a different kind, narrated from the farmlands of Throop, Dorset. TRACKLIST: Jiboia – Diatesseron – 2018 Mazut – I Am Become Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds – 2018 Moon Relay – #`´`´`´/ – 2018 Spartak – On Conditions – 2014 Orgue Agnès – Le
I begin my review of 2018 with a lyric taken from a song released in 2015 (after all, it’s worth noting in these end-of-year articles that recency isn’t a prerequisite to present pertinence). The line comes partway through “Stonemilker” by Björk, her sentiment buoyed by the ricochet of
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 14 November 2018 2: 22 November 2018 3: 05 December 2018 4: 11 December 2018 1: 14 November 2018 2.04gb zipped. 28 wav files. 137 minutes of audio. Thousands of tiny sonic fragments, trimmed and enhanced and repeated, stacked into precarious pillars and cobbled into crooked
Music to the touch. Soundscapes to ramble through. Two thematic playlists narrated from the farmlands of Throop, Dorset. TEXTURE: Sofheso – 0109 (from Archive) – 2018 Fleshlicker – Scratching – 2018 Hesitation – Etruscan Rooking – 2018 Masayuki Imanishi – 8 (from Worn Tape) – 2018 Andrea Taeggi – Gylany – 2018 Audrey Chen – Heavy – 2018 Ipek Gorgun – Seneca – 2018
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 22 August 2018 2: 29 August 2018 3: 12 September 2018 4: 22 November 2018 1: 22 August 2018 The expansion of time offers more than just the expansion of terrain. Within the vague realm of “heavy music”, we readily conflate long duration with the vast: bigger
HUBRO. INDEX: 1: 04 October 2018 2: 11 October 2018 3: 25 October 2018 4: 14 November 2018 1: 04 October 2018 I saviour my first experience to a new Moon Relay record. Because this music is rife with misdirection, the initial attempt to comprehend the record is messy – characterised
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 6 September 2018 2: 12 September 2018 3: 19 September 2018 4: 06 November 2018 1: 6 September 2018 An illusion is at work. I lose the ability to distinguish between the inside and the outside. Sometimes the microphone is directly inside Audrey Chen’s mouth, picking
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 25 October 2018 2: 30 October 2018 3: 06 November 2018 1: 25 October 2018 Ding-ding, ding-ding, ding-ding, ding-ding. A blunt metallic chime runs throughout the first track on Extrametric. Even as the surrounding landscape utterly transforms, the chime persists – unphased by the changing direction of gravity’
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 13 September 2018 2: 19 September 2018 3: 04 October 2018 4: 30 October 2018 1: 13 September 2018 Offloading machine gun fire into a manhole cover. Microphone damaged by bullet deflection. Screams from adjacent cells, echoing in through the air vent grill. Three minutes and I
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 4 August 2018 2: 10 August 2018 3: 15 August 2018 4: 23 August 2018 5: 25 October 2018 1: 4 August 2018 In these early stages, my most resonant listening experiences of Raw Silk Uncut Wood have been outside. Ambling through the town centre, with the
Meshuggah were my favourite band throughout my teens. I’d already developed a love of metal music from the age of 13, but the addition of Meshuggah’s rhythmic complexity – unusual time signatures placed directly alongside a straight 4/4 beat – resulted in the perfect combination for me. Guttural impact
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 20 September 2018 2: 26 September 2018 3: 04 October 2018 1: 20 September 2018 Some harmonics will only emerge if the player is patient and gentle, waiting to be unlocked by a very precise gesture. Other harmonics are present instantly but reside at the deepest depths
Podcasts are my other love. As well as ATTN’s own Crucial Listening podcast, you may know that I co-host a podcast called Episode Party: a biweekly show where Freddie Harrison and I invite guests to swap podcast recommendations with us. Since we started, my podcast consumption has ramped up
BANDCAMP. INDEX: 1: 15 August 2018 2: 16 August 2018 3: 23 August 2018 4: 5 September 2018 1: 15 August 2018 I struggle to think of this as the final Black Spirituals album as a duo, given that I’ve always visualised their music as eschewing the notion of
If I leave the default settings on Spotify untouched, the music will play forever. Playlist endings become doorways into algorithmic autopilot, and I’m swept into a stream of recommended tracks. Activate the five-second crossfade and the silences disappear completely. Sound is ceaseless. Endings mingle with beginnings. Music loses its
At some point, ATTN got away from me. I was writing about too much music, and the site started to outpace the optimal conditions for deep listening. At the time, I didn’t even realise it was happening. After all, the problem is self-affirming; as well as denying myself the
Sneaking into the galaxy bar, bubbles in the park, 69 occurrences of time. The Brussels-based composer talks about three important albums. Christina’s picks: 1) Laurie Spiegel – The Expanding Universe 2) Vangelis – Opéra Sauvage 3) Hiroshi Yoshimura – Green Read more about Christina and her music over on her website and
Raw character, true divas, emergency dentistry. The Berlin-based producer and DJ discusses three important albums. Ziúr’s picks: 1) Still – I 2) Grace Jones – Nightclubbing 3) TV On The Radio – Young Liars Keep up with Ziúr on Facebook, Bandcamp, Twitter, Soundcloud and Instagram. Crucial Listening is also available as a
While it’s possible to draw lines of connection between the music of Copenhagen’s Karis Zidore and her work as a dancer – the soft sense of timing, the spontaneous tumbles of reflex – one can also see how these pieces explore the opportunities of immaterial presence. By processing micro-sampled extracts
Electroacoustic viscera, recurrent symbolism, crying through synthesis. The Manchester-based artist discusses three important albums. Kelly’s picks: 1) Tigran Mansuryan – The Color Of Pomegranates OST 2) Luciano Berio + Cathy Berberian – Visage 3) Arca – S/T Check out the dates for Kelly’s collaboration with Matana Roberts over at Outlands, and
The final ATTN radio show. Thank you for listening. TRACKLIST 1. Soft Blade – Pesnya Volchonka 2. memorygarden禅 – ブルーsky 3. Mech – Sub-Clouds 4. Kotra – The Capital Of Death–Contorted City 5. Chaines – Knockturning 6. Laura Steenberge – Rip Van Winkle 7. Gel – Down 8. Lauren Tosswill – Shape Note 9. OOAME – Bagatelle 10.
Vitamins for the brain, learning from the masters, adventures in language. The composer and saxophonist discusses three important albums. Matana’s picks: 1) Hannah Marcus – Desert Farmers 2) Karlheinz Stockhausen – Momente 3) Derek Bailey + Joëlle Léandre – No Waiting Find out more about the Outlands tour over here, and keep up
Coconut hooves, grotesque distorted shapes, the healing force of the universe. The bass player and composer discusses his important albums. Massimo’s picks: 1) Arvo Pärt – Tabula Rasa 2) Coil – Horse Rotorvator 3) Current 93 – Imperium 4) Einstürzende Neubauten – Halber Mensch Massimo Pupillo is on Facebook, while URUK can be
There’s no sense in discussing field recording in terms of listening and passivity. What I love about Ramshead – the latest album by Australian sound artist Philip Sulidae – is the active role of its recordist. For one, Philip is an audible presence amidst these recordings of Australia’s Kosciuszko National
At a certain point, the music of Lotto takes the wheel. The players are no longer the instigators. The idea gains autonomy through repetition, responding to the resonances of the room as it grows, sending subliminal commands back to the trio of guitar (Łukasz Rychlicki), bass (Mike Majkowski) and drums
The adjustments are miniscule. A redirection of the breath; a slight constriction of the vocal cords. Steenberge tilts back and forth between harmonica and humming, often blending the two into a stream of harmonies, as vocal frequencies press against the rasp of blown notes. Her inward breaths are whole and
Lobster spaceships, unleashing the beast, flying capos. Ben Chasny talks about three albums that informed his Hexadic System. Ben’s picks: 1) Khanate – Things Viral 2) Fushitsusha – The Caution Appears 3) Morton Feldman – Triadic Memories For more on Six Organs On Admittance, head over to the official website or the
Monique Recknagel of Berlin-based label Sonic Pieces discusses working with fabric and having intimate collaborative conversations. Also: a selection of pieces centred on the piano. Keep up to date with Sonic Pieces on Bandcamp and Facebook. TRACKLIST PART 1: PIANO 1. Left Hand Cuts Off The Right – II (from Desired
Given that My Cat Is An Alien’s output instigates the abandon of our conventional space-time, it’s somewhat appropriate that this interview is over a year in the making. In fact, the below discussion manifests as a beautiful chronological zig-zag: starting with the brothers’ collaboration with French guitarist Jean-Marc
Sound as smoke; an effortless rising, expanding and swirling. Instruments melt into eachother as they billow into the air. Falsetto voices curl around the soft streams of trombone, or sink into organ drones like a body collapsing into fabric. There is no tension in this collaboration. No restraint, no compromise.
It’s a miracle that any of these songs come to an end. The momentum of Sidi Touré is circular and frictionless, with intricate guitars whirling around syncopated beats, and bass picking the exact movements to apply and relieve weight. The songs spin like pinwheels on a cool breeze that
There is a switch on Lauren Tosswill’s microphone. On/off. This binary transition has become synonymous with the ease of doing something (i.e. “…with a simple flick of the switch”), but Tosswill’s music is all about the forces that accumulate on either side of that divide. There
As obvious as it sounds, I am struck by the fact that Kate Carr exists within her music. I hear the boundary between her edges and the space around her; a phantom emptiness in the centre of the stereo frame that traces the outline of her head. After all, to
There are times when Unruly Top hits an impasse. I’m thinking of the latter half of “Funk Table”, which is a gradual haemorrhaging of energy and rhythmic flair – running the groove flat through repetition, until those semi-automatic handclaps and blistered synth chords seem to persist because they can’t
The drums on this record are incredibly rich. The kit spreads all around the stereo frame, arranged in a semi-circle of cymbals and toms and snares, all of different timbres and tunings; some bouncing and reverberant in tone, others kept to a taut crack, all of them cradled in the
Synth jams in the coal shed, collective escape, drum machine rebellion. The Sheffield-based artist discusses three important albums. Mark’s picks: 1) African Head Charge – Off The Beaten Track 2) Alternative TV – Vibing Up The Senile Man (Part One) 3) Unique 3 – Jus’ Unique Keep up to speed with Mark’
The King is the debut full-length from Cee Haines (aka Chaines), and it’s constantly questioning itself. The dimensions of space contract and expand in an organic, ventricular way; time loiters and becomes stagnant, or sprints forth with urgency; identity changes under observation, with the voice shifting in pitch and
DARKROOM begins with the sound of circulating air. Winds probing the corners of barren corridors. It’s the sort of hiss that can incite hallucinations if one dwells within it for too long: traces of human voice, the rasp of passing traffic. Before too long I realise that I am
I listen to Zerkalo as a set of digital files, although the aesthetic is 100% weathered tape. These electronic rhythms sound like they’re throbbing upward through a layer of mud. The synthesisers and cymbals feel blunted and unsteady. There is a distance between Zerkalo and I; both the distance
When I contemplate the collaboration between vocalist Matt Finney and Siavash Amini, I think about edges. Beginnings and endings. On the surface, it seems easy to set the boundaries of their individual contributions. Finney’s words are contained to a brief, one-minute cluster near the beginning of each piece. Amini’
Central to this album is the idea that deliverance can find you anywhere, at any time. In unglamorous locations. Amidst the flow of other events and thoughts. It’s like a chemical output, produced when all of the elements of life fall serendipitously into a very particular constellation. On Etziony’
The thread of the voice can lead back to either the body or the spirit. On Sharon Gal’s “Etude For Three Voices V”, the thread forks and leads to both simultaneously, as the composition captures both the falter of human expression and the immaculate transcendence of congregative choral song.
Chinabot is a platform and collective created to change the dialogue surrounding Asian music, founded by Cambodian-born/London-based artist Saphy Vong. The platform put out three releases in 2017 which, through both the spectacular colours of the artwork and the ecstatic energy of the music within, channelled Chinabot’s celebration
These songs are honey. A sweet, continuous oozing across an uneven surface. All shapes are vague, witnessed through the soft focus of relaxation and summer lethargy, bulging asymmetrically as they outwardly pool. The guitar chords are dipped in dissonances that complicate their sentiment – streaks of hope across melancholy, drops of
Glacial orchestras, floaty head voices, critique among friends. The New York composer discusses three important albums. Julia’s picks: 1) John Luther Adams – Become Ocean 2) Caroline Shaw – Partita For 8 Voices 3) David Lang – Little Match Girl Passion Keep up to date with Julia Wolfe on her website. Tones,
Stephen McEvoy of the FLUF label discusses self-restraint, tinnitus and time in reverse. Also: a playlist of grubby guitars. You can also find Stephen’s Tuuun project over at tuuun.org or on Twitter. His project based on resynthesised tinnitus sounds, titled Twenty Ongoing Tones, is up on Bandcamp here.
There’s something deeply satisfying about hearing drums and electronics wired into eachother. Human limbs rap against the soft membrane of synthesiser textures. Fizzing chords fold themselves around the contours of the head and the chest. Snarls of static kick up off the cymbals, like layers of dust agitated by
I’m peering at the rhythm through a mist. I catch sight of silhouetted hi-hats and the blur of bass drums, aware that most of the structure is hidden from me. Syncopations allude toward those drums that I cannot see, as beats stand lop-sided and gravity defiant, with surfaces vanishing
Laughing coats, booing the Blockheads, roller-skate disco. The New York guitarist discusses three important albums. Norman’s picks: 1) Nico – Chelsea Girl 2) Black Box – Dreamland 3) Lou Reed – Berlin Norman Westberg’s website is here, and be sure to check out those beautiful limited editions on his Etsy store.
OOAME winds it up, and then lets it run. Milanese Nwas is built from custom software and digital synthesis, resulting in an auto-generative music that flickers and dances of its own accord. The press text talks about this material in terms of “artificial wildlife”, likening the lively, self-instigated behaviour of
Gino is a cat. “The most funny and friendly cat I ever [did] see”, according to Plinter. At just a year old, Gino was somehow poisoned and died shortly after. This album is a tribute to both his life (bouncy, mischievous electronics and kitten farts), death (swarms of static and
The bass guitar is often at the centre. It’s the mediator between rhythm and melody, helping me establish my sense of up and down within the music. It’s also often the source of satiation that brings fullness and coherence to the act of instruments in dialogue; when everything
I am overwhelmed by African Ghost Valley. Their improvisation is like a light shined directly into my eyes – a deluge of present tense, as if trying to salvage as much of the NOW as possible before it perishes into the past. Their releases come thick and fast – at the time
Levander catches the balance just right. Computer processing isn’t used to transform the sound of vintage clarinet, but to explore it. Processing is a scalpel. A magnifying glass. A thermal camera. It isolates the warmth of breath gushing down the cylinder, or seeps in between the fibres of the
The beats here are pure concrete. Techno for cold, hard surfaces. Yet it’s crucial that these beats are robust, otherwise Atlas – just like its mythical globe-carrying namesake – would be crushed under the weight that rests upon its shoulders. In this case, the rhythmic propulsion plays support to all manner
On the new collaborative record between Vietnamese artist Sound Awakener (Nhung Nguyen) and Greek artist Dalot (Maria Papadomanolaki), I hear the imprint of both physical distance and immaterial intimacy. Little Things was created during an 18-month exchange between the two artists, during which they traded sonic materials and shared their
I’ve learned that the word “egregore” is an occult term, used to describe the autonomous nature of the “group mind”. It’s the idea that collective thought – i.e. the coming together of several people around a common objective – produces a distinct, immaterial entity in itself, transcending the mere
Post-rave drives, bunk bed fevers, making a happening. The LA-based sound artist discusses three important albums. Yann’s picks: 1) Allan Kaprow – How To Make A Happening 2) F.U.S.E. – Dimension Intrusion 3) The Weeknd – Echoes Of Silence Check out Yann Novak’s website here, and read more
It’s the electronic equivalent of a clenched fist. A bundle of low drones pressing inward, squeezing into other another, spluttering as the tension becomes too much, buzzing like a pitched-down tesla coil. And like a clenched fist, this knot of drones is a point of unstable energy consolidation. It
I am forever captivated by Boris. I can’t think of many other bands that harness such a playful relationship with identity and legacy, either by releasing records that run against the trajectory of their previous work – such as those inexplicable turns into pop or bursts of psychedelic punk – or
This is the scene in my head. There’s a party going on down the hallway. I haven’t been invited. Instead, the music throbs through my bedroom walls. I lay stranded in the dark, trapped between the time I went to bed (three hours ago? Four?) and the unreachable
It’s far too easy to articulate tranquil music in terms of water and floatation. When one encounters a record like districtアトランティス, the analogy feels so pertinent that those other, more casual usages start to feel like lazy approximations. The instruments on the latest memorygarden禅 record seem to be genuinely
Jack Chuter is joined by Remo Seeland of Swiss label Hallow Ground, who provides a playlist and discusses the instigation of visions through listening. Also – a collection of sounds, places and memories from 2005 – 2017. You can also find Hallow Ground on Bandcamp and Facebook. TRACKLIST PART 1: LISTENING MEMORIES
There’s a wonderful calm to Zeno van den Broek’s latest album, titled Paranon. Partly that’s the inherent softness of those sine waves. Whether listening over speakers or on headphones – which make for drastically different experiences – the record graciously adapts to the space rather than assaulting it, pooling
Live 2002 is an arrangement of electricity. Adjustments in voltage. Right-angled circuitry. Carefully modulated levels of interference. The three artists negotiate these changes between themselves – one locking into a pulsing bass loop, another sending shudders of static over the top in intermittent waves, another transmitting high-pitched beeps to the edges
CLANG. Echo. The nightclub is empty. The speaker cables have frayed. There is no continuous dance beat throb, muffled by bodies and moisture, sending the walls into a nauseated heave. Instead, there are chunks of sound freefalling in the dark. They crash against the floor like chandeliers, echoing violently into
Stolen travel, beautiful noise, trips to Planet Autechre. The Warsaw-based artist discusses three important albums. Aleksandra’s picks: 1) Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol. 1 2) Autechre – Tri Repetae 3) Thomas Köner – La Barca You can check out We Will Fail on her website and over on SoundCloud. The Refined Productions
I’m not surprised when Maximilian Latva says that he listens to several punk and extreme metal tracks at the same time. I’m also not surprised to hear that he creates his music amidst a fire hazard of tangled cables and pedals. His latest album on Art First Records,
Nieto talks about mixing these sounds, which were captured at airports, hotels and on aeroplanes all over the world, in a way that tries to maintain “the spirit they had at their origin”. Yet of course, visits to these places are often marked by disorientation – the unrest of travel logistics,
There’s a track on Falling Time called “Skyness”, which translates as “the essence of what it means to be the sky”. The audio matches this premise perfectly: synthesisers carried upon the breeze, cloud-like bundles of bass frequency, white noise whooshing in panoramic circles. It’s a process of embodiment
For Midget!, identity is a slippery thing – not a fixed state of being. It slinks into the margins between solid objects, changing shape to keep pace with environmental change and undulating mood. In other words, identity is a process, borne out through the lifelong stream of decisions and reactions, negotiating
Daniela Orvin is a musician and photographer based in both Berlin and Tel Aviv. At one point in our interview, she notes that all of her photographs are self-portraits – even those that depict landscapes, or objects, or tree stumps. Similarly, her debut release on Gravity’s Rainbow Tapes – Untitled (2014-2016)
On The Conqueror Worm, the air is always thick. With distorted drones, with the diffusion of funeral bells, with shapeless fogs of low frequency. Discoloured and unclean. Somehow it feels like a warning, like the darkness of emergent cloud cover before the rain comes down. Given that the album finds
Computer matrimony, floating outside of time, lounge music for fluorescent light tubes. The Los Angeles-based artist talks about three important albums. Richard’s picks: 1) Kraftwerk – Computer World 2) :zoviet*france: – Shadow, Thief Of The Sun 3) Pan Sonic – Vakio / Philus – Tetra The wonderful new Pinkcourtesyphone album “Indelicate Slices” is
2017 has been ATTN:Magazine’s best year. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the past 12 months have been my most prolific: over 200 articles were published on the site in 2017. I poured more time into the site than ever before, and the way I spent this
When the terrain of possibility stretches outward in all directions, sometimes the most profound action can be to stay completely still. Worn Tape is a record built from the sounds that decorate the daily life of its composer, Masayuki Imanishi: a mixture of radio emissions, field recordings and carefully captured
The energy of Richmond artist Nancy Kells flows both inward and outward. Inward: the hums, chants and ethereal resonances of her solo music as Spartan Jet-Plex, which both maps out the intimacy of her living room and the swirling, inarticulable monologue of the inner voice. Outward: the collaborative drive of
I don’t dance to this record. I run my hands across it falling in love with its beautiful slopes and paintwork sheen. I admire it from all sides, catching my reflection in the tinted windows, quietly excited by the elegant curvature and tiny symmetries. Using an interpretation of ambient
These are more than just percussive sounds. These are physical dents in the speaker cones, caked in the distortion of the mechanism they’ve just blown apart. Somewhere beneath the noise, I hear the resonances of objects I recognise: dulled and rusted kitchenware, the patter of hand drums, ripped up
My first experience of Isnaj Dui was actually when I performed on the same bill. It was a few years ago now, but I vividly remember her looping flute melodies over the buzz of jack cable interference. Yet the mood of her performance is even more potent in my memory:
There is optimism here. Deep in amongst the murk – keyboards and voices drowning in their own echo – there is always a melody pressing up through the centre of Vlimmer. And even if the harmonic definition is often obscured by the fog, I can nonetheless hear the extravagant intent of these
High vibration resonance, nostalgia in dub, ecstatic dancing. The Oakland-based composer discusses three important albums. Zachary’s picks: 1) Linton Kwesi Johnson – LKJ In Dub 2) Sun Ra – Atlantis 3) Éliane Radigue – Naldjorlak I II III You can find Zachary’s music over on Bandcamp. For more on Black Spirituals,
A playlist of music inspired by the interviews, reviews and podcasts that featured on ATTN in 2017. ***** MIXCLOUD LINK WILL BE POSTED HERE WHEN AVAILABLE ***** Tracklist: 1. Phil Maguire – Brak 1 2. Midwife – Song For An Unborn Sun 3. Byron Westbrook – What We Mean When We Say Body Language 4.
I spend 35 minutes in a state of uncertainty. Selected Ambient is the latest album by Switzerland’s Martina Lussi, and despite the fixed nature of the recorded format, these four compositions seem to be pressing against the solidity of their capture. Different instruments and spaces emerge from within the
When I think about the most potent psychedelic rock, there’s a counterbalance at play. As well as the visceral drive that powers the ascension into space, there’s a sense of submission – freewheeling into the momentum, coasting upon the waves of phaser and echo. Human muscle is the spark,
I slipped into Reaching For Indigo quickly. So quickly that it unsettled me slightly. Even at its most mellow (the sustained organs and slowed time of “Brainshift”, the descendent fluttering guitars of “Black Fly”), the latest album by Circuit Des Yeux shakes me urgently by the shoulders. After all, the
There’s something helpless about that electronic metronome pip on opening track, “Repeat And Memory”. For large stretches of the piece, it seems to be measuring duration for its own sake, disobeyed by the sporadic rumble of passing traffic, unaligned to the four musicians as they shuffle and cough in
Ever-ascending love, walls of bass, deep listening on the Northern line. The London-based composer/experimental turntablist discusses three important compositions. Shiva’s picks: 1) James Tenney – For Ann (Rising) 2) Pauline Oliveros – Rattlesnake Mountain Proving Grounds 3) Photek – Ni Ten Ichi Ryu You can check out Shiva’s work on
Tonight begins in water. Plunging down beneath the surface, rising to take several frantic breaths, then diving back down again. Slows alternates between the harsh clarity of the air – synthesisers diced into crisp, rattling pellets – and the rumble of ocean pressure. Eventually he stops coming up for air. The more
These electronics are clogged sinuses in winter. Throbs and bloated tinnitus hums, clogging the free-flow of thought. Gelatinous and unstable, pressing inward against my head. Amidst all this, a voice mumbles through the veil of an overdosed medicinal recovery. I only catch the occasional word, and coupled with the dry,
It would be incredibly dull – futile, even – for collaborative records to simply harvest the obvious common ground between the participants. On the second collaboration between The Body and Full Of Hell, titled Ascending A Mountain Of Heavy Light, I hear them feeling around the edges for some of the more
At times during Luna Anfibia, Lucía Chamorro reverse-engineers the process of composition. Instead of shaping the sounds themselves, there is a sense of tinkering with the mind and ears used to receive them: clogging the ear canals with water so that guitar loops and birdsong arrive muffled, goading the listener
My fantasies about natural landscapes can be relentlessly optimistic. And of course, these places can be invigorating. I’ve never been to the northern Icelandic coastal town of Olafsfjordur, but through the field recordings that bluster and foam through Heraclitus In Iceland, I generate an idyllic picture: boisterous winds rolling
When I hear Patrick Shiroishi’s solo saxophone on his album Tulean Dispatch, I hear someone using the instrument to articulate the extremities of emotion and experience. Those unstable groans reach beyond the semantic boundary of words such as “despondency” and “dread”. Those erratic spasms of arpeggiation – which twirl and
These collages are like the obsessions that infiltrate dreams. Imagine, for example, that you have an epiphany about the beauty of photography. You spend the daytime taking photos or diving deep into the literature on lenses, shutter speeds, photographic film and aperture. And so sleep becomes an overspill for these
Blockhead rainbow afghan, improvisational philosophy, biological instruments. The Berlin-based improviser talks about three important albums. Audrey’s picks: 1) i’d m thfft able – Endless Blooper 2) Lê Quan Ninh – Ustensiles 3) Susan Alcorn – And I Await The Resurrection Of The Pedal Steel Guitar You can discover Audrey’s work
Michael Brown (List Of Moths) joins ATTN:Magazine to talk about creation in solitude, ambiguous movements and his debut EP on Turlin. Also – a selection of pieces centred on the theme of dancing. TRACKLIST PART 1: DANCING 1. Sourin – Rikka 2. Yeah You – Pace 3. Shit And Shine – Wespennest 4.
I wish I could make music like this. Music that parades the illusion of stillness to the idle on-looker. Music that, in actual fact, celebrates the very impossibility of stillness, cherishing the tiny fluctuations in frozen guitar drones and field recordings. Not only that, but this is music that appreciates
We invariably talk about sound as an aerial presence, but the tuba on Belatedly drives down into the earth beneath. Like a cruise liner sinking into quicksand; melancholic yet somewhat majestic in descent, executed with a graceful acceptance that the journey was always going to end this way. This record
Immediately, Aquarelle wields a very distinctive compositional technique. He fills space and then vacates it. This creates a very different kind of quiet; one that still bears the imprint of its former occupier, quivering with the residue of sounds recently departed. Just how harsh lights leave glowing silhouettes in my
There is paradox within the music of Jozef van Wissem. He understands the power of fixating on small details for long periods of time. That’s why the lutist plays the same three-chord melody for 10 minutes straight; I’m guided towards a heightened state of listening, shedding my awareness
Sleep Heavy sounds like singing into a fire. Serenading the flicker of distorted keyboards as they swell and recede. Bedecked with the crackle of burning logs (or, as we tilt in and out of this analogy, the cobbled journey of the needle around the vinyl groove). The voices are caught
There is serenity on Kakyou – 佳境. Even when distorted drums and bass are ripping a hole through the album’s midriff, the stereo edges remain tranquil – little flowers of unfurling piano and guitar and chime, sometimes with choral voices poured over like water. At these edges, Sourin pays tribute to
Creation in solitude, human connection, rhythms in collision. The Norwegian composer / singer discusses her three important albums. Hanne’s picks: 1) Moses Sumney – Aromanticism 2) Kelela – Take Me Apart 3) Espen Reinertsen – Nattsyntese Hanne is currently on tour for her new album Trust, which you can buy over at Musicglue.
I first discovered London’s An Trinse (aka Stephen McLaughlin) when he supported Sarah Davachi earlier this year. While both artists occupy that broad plain of electronic sculpture, Stephen’s set made for an interesting point of contrast. Sarah’s music expands like liquid poured on a flat surface, graceful
Stubborn Persistent Illusions has been my car album since it came out back in May this year. I’ve drummed out “Horripilation” on my steering wheel more times than I remember. It’s an album to which I feel viscerally connected: the percussion on the “Bound And Boundless” can be
Everything is water. Not only is opening track “Clepsydra” created from the resonances of “waterbowls” – Tomoko Sauvage’s porcelain bowls filled with water, which are then amplified by hydrophones – but the very movement of her music feels inspired by water in various states. This piece is like rain dripping through
The phrase “live with no overdubs” is always exciting to me, particularly when I’m confronted with music that suggests the opposite: the careful arrangement of dozens of tiny guitar fragments, each shaped over the course of a dedicated recording take. For Demoiselle to truly have been recorded live with
Magnitude is everything. The poetry of How We Lived is in how tales of human woe are swept into the streams of greater atmospheric change. Cosmic change, perhaps. Matt Finney’s spoken account of a wretched family car journey is difficult to inhabit. Yet when set afloat upon Heinali’s
Ahead of the Taiwanese Experimental Music showcase at Cafe Oto on November 4th, this episode sees Happened and ATTN explore the ever-growing experimental music scene in Taiwan. Through conversations with venues, institutions and organisations from across the community, Lucia H Chung and Jack Chuter consider how the scene has changed
Unrecognised chaos, underwater grunge, deceptive ambient movements. The Berlin-based musician discusses three important albums. Aidan’s picks: 1) Big Black – Songs About Fucking 2) James Plotkin & Mark Spybey – A Peripheral Blur 3) Stina Nordenstam – Dynamite You can find Aidan Baker over on Tumblr and on Bandcamp. There are also separate
We’ve reached the final artist interview in our TAIWANESE EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC event preview. Once again, I implore you to come join me at London’s Café Oto on Saturday November 4th, where Happened will be presenting four Taiwanese artists that all have their own unique means of working with
Ian Hawgood of the Home Normal label joins ATTN for a playlist and an interview. Also – an extended conversation with one of the founders of Ting Shuo Hear Say: an organisation and community based in Taiwan, centred on sound art and the act of listening. HOME NORMAL TRACKLIST: 1) Federico
As someone with an 80-mile motorway commute, I really appreciate how Yeah You convey the sense of movement. When traveling by car, the travellers are ultimately stationary – instead, it is the landscape that hurtles through us, with colours, pedestrians and logos melting into the speed and pirouetting around the edges
The ATTN preview of Taiwanese Experimental Music continues. On 4th November at Café Oto, Happened will play host to four Taiwanese artists that bring an exploratory energy to their interaction with sound, technology and performance. I’ve already had two wonderful conversations with event organiser Lucia H Chung and media
There is no gradual assembly. No slow gathering of tones, no slow deepening of harmonic sediment. Instead, pressing play on Cellular Resonance is like stumbling upon an ancient tree in the middle of a forest, standing before a structure that has endured years of growth and self-nurturing before I arrived.
Last week, I kicked off ATTN’s preview of the Taiwanese Experimental Music event, taking place at London’s Café Oto on 4th November. Artist and event organiser Lucia H Chung discussed the conception of the event and the boundaries of improvised performance. You can check out that thoroughly enjoyable
It’s common for the stranger iterations of dance music to be the reserve of the basement club. Concealed from the idle interest of passing civilians, shut out from the nourishment of sunlight, reinterpreting the fragments of mainstream cultural dialogue that drip through the ceiling. For this debut EP by
Playing with earthlings, disrupting linear time, the St Anger challenge. The Washington-based musician discusses three important albums. Aaron’s picks: 1) The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland 2) Metallica – …And Justice For All 3) Caspar Brötzmann Massaker – Home Honourable mention: Neil Young – Dead Man OST Aaron is @aaronbturner on Instagram,
Sonic tactility is a strange thing. We can talk about how Byron Westbrook’s new record, Body Consonance, mimics the sensation of being plucked and flicked from the inside. At times I can feel the weight of his electronics pressing down against my head, soft and slightly moist. The surface
I feel exhausted after listening to Instantanés. There are moments where I feel compelled to grab a notebook and start jotting something down: the shape of certain sounds in my head, the exact timings of those bursts of birdsong (a task rendered near-impossible by the number of digital emulations of
The rhythms are the only solid objects here. Structurally, they’re beautiful – assembled from dozens of tiny electronic samples, each providing its own syncopated inflection or rigorous emphasis. Dub-slow and deliberate. As they recur, the advancement develops a sense of urgency: ticking like a gigantic robot clock, galloping across the
Claire M Singer reveals that the ocean is present within Fairge. The title comes from the Scottish Gaelic word for “the sea” or “the ocean”. Water ripples across the album cover. And with that, I am swept into thoughts of the water as her music gathers from layers of cello,
On 4th November at London’s Café Oto, event organiser Happened will be presenting Taiwanese Experimental Music: a showcase of four musicians from Taiwan, all of whom have their own unique method of upturning the conventional means of manipulating, consolidating and presenting sound and performance. Of course, the term “experimental”
I see textures, but not objects. I hear machines and voices, but I don’t know their intentions. The pounding of metal surfaces. The wail of unoiled joints and seams. The groans of overlain incantations. TELE.S.THERION refers to itself as “acousmatic black metal” – hideous sound without visible source,
I’m compelled by the way this work is framed. These are not records or albums, but “filecasts”: transmissions of compiled information, updating the recipient on any developments since the broadcasts prior, summarising the current state of play. Each cast is a selection of audio tracks, images and texts, much
Dispatches from space, tuning downward, chasing Coltrane. The Enablers vocalist talks about three important albums. Pete’s picks: 1) Pere Ubu – Dub Housing 2) Mississippi Fred McDowell – Live At The Gaslight, November 1971 3) John Coltrane – Interstellar Space You can check out Enablers over on Bandcamp. Crucial Listening is also
With every single sound on The Nightwatchman Sings – the long awaiting debut album of Rotten Bliss – I am gifted a glimmer of history and circumstance. Never enough to help me know, but enough to make me question. Part of this is down to the array of fidelities, instruments, FX and
The special energy of this record’s opening half, recorded and broadcast live on LA’s The Boffomundo Show back in 1979, is the result of a twofold process. Firstly: cramming Fumio Miyashita’s synthesisers, percussive instruments and objects into the small room of Theta Cable Studios in Santa Monica
Mark Greenwood’s voice is chasing itself. The vowels hang open; tired or slightly drunk I don’t know, but the slack of the open mouth is a beckoning for the next sudden vision, or the next flare of sensation, not so much ejected from the mind as claimed from
Anna and Kristina of the Stoscha label discuss crafting a compilation, the process of collaboration and the advantages of co-ordinating their operations from their respective homes of Frankfurt, Germany and Malmö, Sweden. Also: a playlist of voices. PART 1: VOICES 1. Captain Beefheart – “81” Poop Hatch 2. Agnes Hvizdalek – Index
There are two layers to LABOYATTA. First: the electronics. Dry and corroded, clenching and oozing, caked in interference that clings to the surface like a crust of mud and foil. These thumps and hums are the album’s forward thrust, but only just – taking lead from dub’s contradictory mixture
Unconscious Archives Festival opened last night. It’s a series of sonic and audiovisual events taking place across London until the end of September, gathering together artists for performances that instigate collisions between old and new media, artist and audience, performer and venue, technology and curious, interruptive circuit-bender. The lineup
Concerto storytelling, iso-polyphony, ensembles of weirdos. The Montreal-based violinist selects three important albums. Jessica’s picks: 1) Gil Shaham – Sibelius / Tchaikovsky: Violin Concertos 2) Various – Cry You Mountains, Cry You Fields (Traditional Songs & Folk Music From S.E. Albania) 3) PJ Harvey – Let England Shake Check out Jessica’s website
Ah! Finally. Music that acknowledges the death of “thinking straight”: a fraught, fidgety dollop of short attention span and clamouring priorities, built from the debris that clings to the nooks of consciousness: the residue of yesterday congealed into the idle passing of now, with visceral flashbacks of last night’s
There’s a point in this interview where Japanese artist Haco refers to her voice as being “see through” and “like mist”, which is perfect. In fact, the whole of Qoosui is driven by this tentative adherence to form, pouring guitars into basins of field recording and evaporated electronics, speculating
What if Zucker was to perform these pieces live? How close would I have to stand to hear a tongue squashing itself against the front teeth, or to feel every audial ridge of those injured pigeon coos, or to sense Zucker’s mouth changing shape as he emits a mere
Fiction makes it all seem so simple. In novels and cinema, coherent narratives are intrinsically woven into the fabric of life; profound symbolism rises to the surface of its own accord, prosaic rhythms temper the transitions between jubilant highs and counterbalancing contemplative lows, and endings always arrive at moments that
I listen to so many artists that wield a vivid sense of atmosphere, but London’s Anji Cheung goes one step further. Through a process of negative exposure – wafting sound into the spaces between imaginary walls and imaginary objects – she generates sonic spaces that are rich and tactile enough to
Percussion crushed up like coke cans, trampled under passing pedestrian traffic, who in turn try to hold conversations among the din of ambulance sirens and car horns and white noise winds, burying the throb of bass drum that runs underneath like the forgotten reminder of passing time. It’s a
“If you don’t aim to play to your own ideals, then everybody is sold short. Otherwise you might as well hand people a questionnaire as they come in, asking them what they want you to do.” This is taken from Biba Kopf’s interview with saxophonist John Butcher, conducted
Psychedelic breakfast, compositional commentary, just intonation autopilot. The Montreal-based composer discusses three important albums. Sarah’s picks: 1) Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother 2) Alastair Galbraith – Cry 3) Terry Riley – Shri Camel You can check out Sarah’s music/updates via her website, on Facebook and over at Bandcamp. Crucial
“The name [OEK] is a reference to the Tuvan word for yurt, or quite simply to the idea of home.” When I contemplate how “home” might be articulated through music, my mind lazily skips straight to held major keys. Unambiguously positive, reassuringly consistent sounds. A refuge from the unmediated turbulence
The latest record by California’s Chelsea Wolfe – titled Hiss Spun, released on Sargent House – often illuminates the physical burden of living. Fuzzed out guitars are dragged along by a lethargic rhythmic drive, like a body driven down by the weight of organs and skeleton and contemplation, pushing forward through
“Compared to my previous tape this one is one step closer to the dancefloor,” states Gábor Kovács (aka Új Bála). As far as I’m concerned, this one is ready for the dancefloor. Let’s roll it out. The album has a visceral pulse, distorting as it rattles the innate
Wrenched hard. We begin with the sound of surfaces and strings pulled taut – hoisted up, stretched out, left hanging in cruel postures and quivering with muscular fatigue. I barely recognise these shapes as instruments. Instead, I see wood panels splintered and snapped; guitar strings spilling like hair; hands and bows
What is meant by nomadic here? Perhaps it’s referring to how Francine Perry, Lisa Busby and Ruthie Woodward aren’t tethered to the traditional framework of performance, free to roam away from the stage into the crowd, beyond the reaches of mains electricity, detached from all consideration of timetables
Phoene Somsavath discusses the origins, experiences and ideas behind FRM-AT: a record label, booking agency and event series based in Glasgow. Also: an interview with my brother about listening and memory. The show will be broadcast 10pm BST on 29/08/2017, via Resonance and Resonance Extra. Listen here: Resonance:
The rhythm persists. Despite the clangs of construction work just outside the window; despite an obnoxiously loud television pushing muffled voices through the wall; despite the dangerous wiring the causes synthesiser electricity to jump and skip as the voltage lurches around the circuit. Central to Tape 1 is a sense
The instruments are stacked on top of one another to form an anthropomorphic sculpture: bass drums and brush snares for bandy legs, piano keys stacked to form a spine that ripples and writhes, topped with a saxophone that’s like a head too big for the shoulders upon which it
Down the back alley that leads away from Peckham High Street. Snaking left. Then right. Another alleyway now. I’ve probably gone too far. Wait – there’s a sign. Down a set of steps. Basement, darkness. This isn’t the last time that I’ll be tentatively navigating a route
Post-punk hurled at a wall, intellectual slapstick, the loops of life. The Brooklyn-based composer and author discusses three important albums. David’s picks: 1) Circle X – EP 2) Tony Conrad – Ten Years Alive On The Infinite Plain 3) Luc Ferrari – Presque Rien No. 1 ‘Le Lever du jour au bord
This record was built upon an “impromptu collaboration in front of a sleeping audience”. As musicians, how do you navigate that? Obviously there’s the sense that to wake the crowd from slumber would be undesirable. Rude, even. Yet unlike other experiences of being in the vicinity of someone asleep
With the music of Ewa Justka, I’m not just exposed to the sounds emitted by her home-made electronic instruments. I feel rocked by the circulating voltage; blasted by the excess heat that pulses out of the mangle of wires and transistors. Ewa describes her own music as “weird acid
Seattle’s Nordra is constantly transforming. Throbbing electronics collapse into dismally prophetic horns; into voice under digital stutter; into sludge guitar unmoored from percussive drive. These mutations are not just the product of mastery – Monika Khot has an incredible knack for extracting serenity from catastrophe, or resolution from ambiguity, or
The oud and the banjitar. Alone in the pitch black. The only sensory presence here is the dialogue between these two instruments: one reeling out a line of plucked melody, the other concurring and querying through intermittent improvisation, joining in and dropping back, following the instinct that commands when to
Jelena Glazova came to my attention just last month, following the release of her split release with fellow Latvian artist Marta SmiLga. As soon as I learned that her music uses the voice as primary source material, I started to hear these sounds – streams of bad wiring, alien glissandos, foams
We open with a track called “Zero Doesn’t Exist”, which is an excellent title for an improvisation by two siblings. While improvised music encourages a greater focus on the present tense, it remains a product of past circumstance, enacting the reflexes that have developed over the course of a
The songs of Denver-based artist Midwife – aka Madeline Johnston – are lights in the fog, warm and expansive, with choruses cutting through the drear of hampered fidelity. Distortion smothers voices. Guitars crumble into analogue decay. There’s something both brutal and wonderfully sincere to how these pieces must persist, like flickering
It’s the music of endless spiral staircases. Of running away from an unseen threat. We can talk about Aluk Todolo’s amalgam of krautrock, black metal, improvisation, jagged noise and surging surf rock, or we can address the fact that something within their sound isn’t quite right. Their
Year-long fixations, psychedelic culture and dramatic minor keys. The Wisconsin-based composer/percussionist discusses three important albums. Jon’s picks: 1) Uriah Heep – The Magician’s Birthday 2) Faun Fables – Family Album 3) Psychic TV – Dreams Less Sweet You can find out more about Jon’s work over at Rhythmplex and
Legs and arms are in motion. In fact, I imagine that Stef Ketteringham’s whole body is in motion. This movement is a product of performance. Every strum ripples outward toward the toes and fingertips, which recoil at acoustic dissonance and collapse upon the bass drum. But it works the
Headphones. Wake Up Gastone sounds like a record that was written and recorded while wearing headphones the whole time. Privately, in a locked room. Perhaps this lock was only released when the record was finished, incubated in a solitary space and pieced together under dim lighting, hidden from the unfathomable
Yiorgis Sakellariou is a composer of experimental and electroacoustic based in London. Within his music, I hear an acute understanding of how to fabricate a rich, interconnected environment. Despite the fact that his audio is drawn from a whole array of locations and sources – field recordings made around the world,
Klink is an electronic music compilation. It’s also a strange day out in a future metropolis. The buildings – gigantic, vibrantly coloured tower blocks – are constantly reshaping and shuffling around the city. They respond to accommodate transient human interest by reconfiguring their own architecture, rendered in digital bricks that dialogue
Electronic or acoustic. It’s always so hard to tell. Likely, it’s both: synth drones pulsing through thin sheets of wood, string friction augmented by digital processing, airflow perpetuated by machinery. Chimes are smeared into eerie dollops of bronze, resonating for far too long. Voices babble and drip – half
This could have been an anthemic record. The guitars and voice are joyous. They ascend through simple arrangements of major chords – idealistic, emotionally fulfilled, deeply in love – projecting a pop music that celebrates life at its most rich and viscerally simplistic. The shoegaze fuzz hits my face like bubble bath
Cold War paranoia, modular rock, Bieber vs The Stones. The ever-prolific, ever-eclectic English musician discusses his three important albums. Richard’s picks: 1) Pink Floyd – Meddle (again!) 2) Cabaret Voltaire – The Voice Of America 3) Justin Bieber – Purpose You can find Richard Youngs online and over at Bandcamp. The first
Alex McLean of Algorave discusses the extended self, anticipating change and celebrating failure. Also: a playlist of music salvaged from a long-lost iPod. TRACKLIST: PART ONE: LOST IPOD Gultskra Artikler – Angel Andrew Chalk – Ngachi Hildur Guðnadóttir – Light Platypus (Louseman) – Electric Red Quetzolcoatl – Triumphant Rock Shards Rise From The Sea, Awaken
There’s something satisfying about the seesaw between disparate pursuits: alternating between periods of analytical problem-solving and long, mentally unfurling stretches of creative practice. Each mode of thinking enriches the other. The music of Sarmistha Talukdar goes a step further by engaging in these practices simultaneously. Through her project Tavishi,
Something is waking up. Realign conjures the twitching of fingers coming into consciousness, or the blurred sights of recalibrating eyes, or those deep, galvanising breaths taken prior to the first physical movements of the day. Rhythms emerge as expectant flickers and lurching, part-built electronic loops, while drones roll in like
I take so much from Jelena Glazova’s notion that her music, generated primarily from manipulated vocal sounds, is a form of “expressing unpronounced speech”. These phonemes are more than just abstracted sonic shapes. They are momentary moulds of the mouth that made them, spat out in three dimensional negatives
Running up stairs, understated drumming, pushing beyond the boundaries of metal music. The Norwegian noise musician / fervent collaborator / record producer discusses three important albums. Lasse’s picks: 1) Pink Floyd – Meddle 2) Ground Zero – Revolutionary Pekinese Orchestra Ver.1.28 3) Tony Conrad With Faust – Outside The Dream Syndicate You
With every release, the music of Toronto duo Northumbria pushes further outward. The scale of their panorama increases, manipulating the tones of guitar and bass in a manner that not only considers breadth, but also mimics the undulation and fracture of natural landscape. Drones intersect to form glacier tips. Harmonies
The recording space feels small. A bit dishevelled. The mains wiring is dangerously temperamental – the plug sockets buzz much more than they should – while the air conditioning has been broken for weeks, leaving the two musicians of Far Rainbow (Emily Mary Barnett and Bobby Barry) sweating into the carpet. Or
Movement and vigour. As a performer, Okkyung Lee is seldom still. Her improvisations seem to manifest from the agitation of body and material: the convulsing body of the artist, the swaying body of the cello, the scraping bow against the string. It’s an urgent, two-handed throttling of the present
Phonic Grafts does not dwell. Instead, it submits itself to the undertow of passing thought. The sense of movement here is irresistible; some sounds are wrenched and stretched into the future, others are stranded on the riverbank and left to fade away, and a few melt into Doppler glissandos as
Some improvisations seem less about dialogue – listening, responding, listening – and better resemble an agreement to let loose at a set time. Abailable starts with the sound of two musicians dragging crates of jumbled sound to the edge of a hillside: old Casio keyboards, toy synthesisers, MIDI trigger pads, spaghettis of
Two different images flit in and out of focus. The first: a congregation of musicians in a studio, arranged in a circle, facing one another. Guitar, strings, saxophone, clarinet, piano, hurdy gurdy (amongst others). Sounds are put forth like queries, which are then responded to in accidental unison or through
Bodily listening, manipulated time and the voice of David Toop. The Australian sound artist / Room40 label-founder shares his three most important albums. Lawrence English’s picks: 1) Swans – Filth 2) David Toop – Black Chamber 3) The Necks – Aether You can check out Lawrence English online and over at Bandcamp. The
A conversation/playlist with Adam Barringer of English record label Champion Version. Lathe cuts and endless repeats. Also: a playlist of pieces on sleeplessness and circadian dislocation. TRACKLIST: PART ONE: SLEEPLESSNESS Markus Mehr – Dyschronia Lärmschutz – Deep Sleep Ekin Fil – Silent-Alive Teruyuki Nobuchika – La Reve Demen – Illdrop Byron Westbrook – Infinite Sustain
Even when Estonian composer/vocalist Mart Avi describes his writing process through abstract analogies of clutter and combustion, his method completely aligns with the way that I hear his latest album, Rogue Wave. These pieces aren’t melodies nurtured from the inside and then extracted, funnelling ethereal sentiment through the
Pools Of Light can be vast. 20 violins arching downward like birds diving into the sea. 10 voices in endless rounds of overlapping harmony, cutting across eachother at discordant angles. A single bowed melody flickering like a kite, anchored by bass notes that frame the flight as either liberated acrobatics
I couldn’t have picked a better time to write about this record. I’m currently working nightshifts. 7pm until 7am. They don’t come up often, but given the amount of effort I’ve exerted in trying to whip my circadian clock into obedience over the past couple of
Strange chord progressions, the theory of the jar, falling in love in Japan. The Montreal sound artist / minimalist composer shares her three important albums. Crucial Listening is also available as a podcast via iTunes, Stitcher etc. France Jobin’s picks: 1) Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue 2) Joni Mitchell – Hejira
When I initially heard about live-coding, I was quick to presume that it was beyond my technical grasp. After all, surely this music was the reserve of those who have spent their lives immersed in programming, hidden behind a wall of education and natural computer aptitude, forbidden to the layman
This one takes me back. I can remember my early experiences of navigating “open world” computer games back when they first started to emerge. I remember taking those nervous forays into vast, vibrant landscapes via Super Mario 64 and The Legend Of Zelda, unhooked from the rigid tracks of two-dimensional
Everything about Cleveland’s Chromesthetic feels cyclical. The drum machine freewheels beneath the noise. Riffs curl back in on themselves, burrowing deep into their own fuzz-drenched beginnings, trapped within a momentous sense of endless return. In fact, just as I noted in my review of last year’s self-titled LP,
As it turns out, synthesiser and brass don’t agree on everything. This cassette documents a long-form conversation between the two instruments, attempting to reconcile their differences through a process of fiery spat, mimicry, head-on collision, harmonic complement and alternating stretches of solo and silent scrutiny. The most beautiful aspect
No information. Just a download code to a 43-minute track. The sounds within are tentative, pale, faint – muffled tones and clumps of hiss, blustering through my hearing like tumbleweeds and clouds of dust, generating a space that is neither completely empty nor mindfully alive. This is the soundscape that exists
I first watched Khyam Allami performing with his Oud at Supersonic Festival in 2009. The Iraqi composer seemed to possess the sort of instrumental intimacy that I’ve often dreamt of having myself, where the join between fingers and strings is as reflexive as that between the arms and the
When the voice passes through auto-tune, it is corrected. Intention and execution are brought into seamless parallel. Deviations are either snapped back into line or solidified into decisive and angular turns, stripping away those ambiguous wobbles of vibrato that ultimately swerve neither this way nor that. Of course, this is
If we are to think of ambient music as a depiction of atmospheric equilibrium (which we probably shouldn’t, but I know that my own inclination is often to do so), then Void Propagate is perhaps the very antithesis: an examination of the repellent, reactive activities that occur everywhere, all
Extremophile staggers rather than swings. Stumbles rather than grooves. I grimace as the drums stall and speed up, like fawn hooves flailing for purchase on an icy surface, as guitar and saxophone swerve overhead like counterbalancing limbs, and Lash’s own contrabass churns between wonk and skew. Like a clown
Improvisatory pianist Delphine Dora discusses her own work and her label, Wild Silence. Also – a playlist of 53 songs in 40 minutes. TRACKLIST: PART ONE: BREVITY Dan O’Connor – one Mari Kimura – Six Caprices For Subharmonics V Gangpol & Mit – The Burial lovesliescrushing – teardrop Spartak – Tape Machine Dream Ghedalia Tazartes – Douze
The needle and the tape. The crackle and the hiss. My ears are trained to perceive these sounds as a prelude: the fleeting bursts of noise that herald the arrival of signal and meaning. In an ideal world, they wouldn’t exist. The music would bloom immaculately from silence, devoid
Tonight seems to have a thematic underpinning. All three bands write songs with the sole purpose of strangling and burying them. For every melody I’m able to salvage, three more are drowned beneath distorted feedback, or reckless echo, or bass frequencies cranked to indulgently convulsive levels. In the case
I daydream about my past all the time, but some moments in life trigger a much deeper, more deliberate bout of retrospection. At the end of the year for example, or in the immediate wake of enormous news events. My world undergoes a tilt, and I pull together the artefacts
I’m endlessly charmed by the stories gathered and retold by David Greenberger. Instantly, I picture two older people at home on an evening, sat in armchairs tilted toward eachother, nursing a single drink for several hours. They’ve moved past the idle niceties that prelude deeper discussion; now they’
“I would describe it as acoustic blow out junk noise, prepared guitar drone, drums and bowls falling down ten flights of stairs.” That’s what Reid Karris tells me. I’ve always loved this principle of pushing instruments down the stairs. That “push”, metaphorical or not, stands for so much.
The geothermal bass frequencies, the throbs of oncoming terror, the synths that skirt the surface like fog. The music of Moscow’s Natasha Morenceli generates the sensation of imminent, apocalyptic change. For a debut EP (released on Blackwater Label last year), Stigmatization carries a remarkable conviction in its own prophecy,
Everything fits. Roughly. The collages of Gareth JS Thomas are like a jigsaw built from all the wrong pieces, with brute force used to compensate for the violation of correct placement. Instead of crushed cardboard edges, we have techno pulses strung into an irregular heartbeat stammer; voices channelled down tubes
Nektyr is a solo record. Not only in the sense that Demen created it single-handedly (presumably anyway – contextual information on the album is sparse), but also for how it seems naïve to the fact that someone else might be listening in. I spend the album’s 35 minutes nurturing a
It’s wrong that my first impulse is to associate the word “environment” with the notions of stillness and permanence, parading the illusion that it’s down to me – the subject, the centre of everything – to generate movement and action as I navigate my surroundings. In several senses, Fervor puts
Once I know that the debut Happy Place LP was written in a state of nocturnal sleeplessness, I begin to hear it differently. The rhythms (courtesy of two drumkits) start to sound increasingly slurred and intermittently synchronous. The guitars tumble out in streams, unimpeded by the discipline that reigns over
It’s there in the cover art. Silhouetted trees reflected in a pool of water. Objects distorted by various manipulations of light: the smearing of branches as refracted by the rippling surface of the water, the backlighting that removes all colour from the leaves and turns the trees into shadows,
Discomfort is the baseline. Instead of adhering to the usual model of tension and release, Roil modulates between suffering and the expectation of it. If calamity isn’t here right now – drowning me in feedback, showering shards of electronic noise on my head – then it’s painfully imminent, gnashing from
Wood attached to metal, attached to wood, pulled taut by horsehair, pulled taut by wood, splintered by metal, mangled by wood, crushed by metal. If I visualise Harpoon in my head, it’s the most atrocious mess: an orchestral storage cupboard undergoing a ransacking by some feral demons of anti-music,
The music of Diessa exists in the margin between first-person agency and environmental flux; beat-driven electronica that weaves its way through the field recordings of Istanbul market places and stumbles over the cracks and crumples of imminent tape player failure, all while collecting the residue of low-fidelity streaming and niche
I’m reminded of a fly bouncing against a window pane, buzzing as it charges and dances into the glass, perplexed by the forces that withhold it from the world outside. The quartet (Łukasz Kacperczyk and Wojtek Kurek of Paper Cuts, plus Krzysztof “Arszyn” Topolski and Tomasz Duda) seem to
Pollution takes so many forms, and the music of Hiroshima’s Akatombo (aka Paul Thomsen Kirk) is like a filthy assemblage of all of them. I’m not just talking about cityscape smog (of which there is plenty here, albeit translated into white noise and the echoes of concrete spaces)
Transits one of those ludicrous, hyperreal night sky photographs. Every single star is out, luminescent like phantoms, spilling like fine salt over an opaque, cloudless black. Slomo utilise every hemispherical inch of the canvas; the patches of emptiness are as carefully shaped as the synth glimmers and rumbling low frequencies
If one were to remove the creaks and pops that haunt the edges of “Ptarmigan”, the piece would be an unequivocally pleasant ambient drift. Electronic beats offer only the most gentle of forward nudges to carry me over those rippling waves of synthesiser, and the piece swerves idly like a
Hat dipped. Coat zipped. Eugene Robinson wanders on stage to join the rest of Oxbow, reluctant or just internally burdened, dressed like a film noir detective keeping outsiders at a safe distance. Perhaps he’s wary that his efforts to communicate will be miscomprehended, and perhaps that’s why the
The first track is called “Widely Open Window”, and it fits the title perfectly. It’s a sonic analogy to letting fresh air and sunlight circulate the room in the morning: the shower of sunlight as the curtain is pulled back, followed by the cold air that spills in once
In the opening moments of his latest record, Toronto composer/turntablist Slowpitch recreates that quintessential sci-fi experience of leaving the rocket to explore a planet for the first time: the clunk of shuttle doors pulling back, the wail of emergency sirens, the hiss of hydraulic mechanisms. There’s a cinematic,
A conversation with Sietse Van Erve of Amsterdam’s Moving Furniture Records. Also: climbing hills, hot tub chat, Doctor Who and indistinct sound. TRACKLIST: PART 1: INDISTINCT Grey Guides – Van Hoogstraten’s Big Pay-Back: Gorton Poltergeist Revisited Black Thread – Autumn Flowers ii Anne Guthrie – Long, Pendulous Ben Gwilliam – breakdownspedup Danny
Awake at 4am. Can’t sleep. Stranded between the day just passed and the day to come, unable to purge the obscure visions, thoughts and doubts that seize the times of stillness. Anxieties inflate to twice their normal size. Imagined sounds adopt the clarity of noises from the world outside.
When I listen to the work of turntablist/composer Shiva Feshareki, I’m reminded that there are always ways to expand my understanding of sound. Much of her work is built upon collaborations with other artists or manipulations of existing material, using external energies (orchestras, installation artists, organists, old records)
I picture Agnes Hvizdalek sat at the bottom of a 60-foot chimney. She’s in an ancient factory in São Paulo called Casa das Caldeiras, during an artistic residency in Brazil back in July 2016. There’s a microphone and nothing else. No instruments. For 48 minutes, Hvizdalek engages in
Reduction is impossible. This is my primary takeaway from the recent work of Emptyset. On their 2016 album Borders, the duo stripped their music back to a vital ventricular thrust. Bass frequency, throb, impact, vibration. Yet while the premise of the record was simple, the band inadvertently dug deeper into
Each track title on this record marks the day the song began. It’s interesting to think about the voids of silence that would have existed on the day of commencement, like trying to imagine empty desert plains without that Dubai skyline sprouting out of them. So much has happened
Perhaps you’ve been in this position too. You spot two lights pulsing at different tempi. On, off, on, off. Suddenly, the flashes synchronise for just a few seconds, oblivious to their kinship, entering into a chance alignment on their disparate illuminatory schedules. They slip away from eachother again. The
It’s such a simple premise. One small room. Two entities: a central furnace of soft drones and tidal overtones, and a synthesised firecracker spitting and quivering across the ceiling. Malcolm Delaney adjusts the situation, gently guiding the firecracker one way and stoking the furnace from beneath, but his role
What if I’d never been in a nightclub before? Furthermore, what if I had no innate comprehension of rhythm as a device for musical synchronicity and cohesion? The debut record of Metalized Man (aka Lasse Bjørck Volkmann) is like hearing music for the first time – hyperreal, oppressive, frightening – in
The first track on Pony Ride splays in all directions. Electronic drums patter on the left and the right. Acoustic guitars stretch across the frame like a spindly cradle, wefting and warping through eachother in curves of minor key. Cymbals, drones and incantatory improvisations rise out of the centre as
“I developed a scale,” guitarist Simon Thacker writes in the booklet for Karmana, before correcting himself: “or more accurately, a rather fluid collection of pitches that expands and contracts depending on the expressive need”. In fact, this statement could act as a broad-brush description of the whole record. Expansion and
This conversation with Dorien Schampaert (aka Belisha Beacon) upturned all of my preconceptions about live coded music – crucially, my assumption that I wasn’t technically qualified enough to take part. Her first exposure to live coding was back in December 2015 through a workshop on the ixi lang platform, with
The first track on TomJohnsonForSix, titled “Septapede”, was originally written for piano, centring on a short loop that gradually mutates through repetition, shedding notes and gathering others as it rolls around, subtly adjusting shape through the shortening and slurring of durations. It’s a delicate sculpture of plucking fingers and
The loops are walls. Recurrent pulses and buzzes repeat until they solidify, thickening into three inches of steel, then four as the loop returns again, asserting themselves on all sides of the stereo frame, sealing off all potential routes of exit. For a record that concerns itself with the act
Year Zero is always swirling, contracting, expanding, thinning, like dehydrated plant matter kicked up on the wind, tossed back and forth over the cracked earth. Much like the latter work of Talk Talk, Gideon Wolf’s latest album was created by collaging individual recordings of strings, voices and electronics, each
The motion is fierce. The electronic beats of Gudrun Gut and Beate Bartel power through time like tanks on cobbled roads, inexorable, hitting bumps of syncopation and slips of synth trigger-finger that kick me off axis but fail to slow the vehicle down. Myra Davies is dragged along with such
Köhnen (electronics) is the canyon. Pandi (drums) is the survivor stranded within. Köhnen is the environment: the winds that rattle across empty space, the rocks that tumble down on either side, the sheer vertical surfaces that eclipse the sky and thwart even the thought of escape. Pandi is the flail
Don’t disregard so quickly. Listen again. The sounds on Apathy Spreads are repeated and prolonged, which is Vélez holding my head down, keeping me submerged until I understand. On initial acquaintance, many of the textures are unremarkable: fuzzy and monochromatic, like hunks of broken breeze block or rocks wrapped
A conversation with Kate Carr from Flaming Pines: a London-based record label for experimental music, originally founded in Sydney, Australia. Also: a playlist featuring various interactions with the guitar. TRACKLIST: PART 1: GUITAR Hans Tammen – Attack Study Jenks Miller – Spirit Signal Giacomo Fiore – Until It Blazes Six Organs Of Admittance
Egidija Medekšaitė creates her music by mapping textile patterns onto compositional parameters, using characteristics such as the weft, the warp and the yarn itself to determine the harmony and rhythm of her music. The translation is both strange and beautiful; while these textile patterns weren’t necessarily designed to be
Oblivion is seldom sudden. Oikos describe The Great Upheaval as “an imaginary soundtrack for every moment in history ravaged by violence and superstition”. In truth, the record seems to document the prelude and the aftermath on either side. The “moment” itself is implied, so vividly written into the before and
I’ve listened to Triac’s new album in several different contexts. On a nocturnal walk over headphones. Via speakers during evening reading. Sat at the back of a busy cafe. The experience is drastically different each time. These clouds of sound – faint, ambiguous dispersals of laptop, piano and bass
It’s wailing and leaking. It just won’t die, yet it’s far beyond saving. Supreme is 36 minutes of imbalance and injury. It’s a prolonged, improvisatory swirl round the basin of death. Cymbals get wedged in cracked ribs of bass guitar. Saxophone gushes from the wound. Like
The pieces on Love Retained were originally intended to form the basis of collaborations. This would explain why the piano often appears to be crouching down in a small portion of the stereo frame, or why chords seem to pause and await reply (to which only silence acknowledges receipt). Hawgood
My introduction to Lost Trail was via their excellent Wist Rec release The Afternoon Vision, which came in a jackdaw folder complete with soil survey maps, distorted photography of various landscapes, and poetic phrases stranded on the back of curious images. Meanwhile, their music feels shaped by the graceful erosion
Ah! After several minutes sweeping the dial back and forth, I finally tune into the Ak’chamel frequency. An island sprouts from within a wasteland of dead air. The sounds I hear are a mix of isolation psychedelia and multicultural inquisition, seemingly built from the tiny trinkets of artefact that
“I recorded this album in the basement studio.” With this one nugget of context, Above The Desert becomes a record of aspiration and possibility. Hatakeyama is in the basement. The music is his skylight. Light is pouring in but nothing else, promising nothing in particular but sparking the flicker of
There are moments of sudden and wonderful alignment on Somi. At 2:07 on the title track, a guitar string and a key are struck simultaneously. A harmony chimes out: a nervous, half-dissonant slant, like a vocal uplift at the end of a sentence. Unsure. Hurt, perhaps. These moments largely
With some doom bands, you feel the initial impact and nothing more. With the first blow comes a numbness; a buffer of bruising against the second and third and fourth, as the riff reaches its peak of strength and promptly levels out. I’ve been to countless gigs where the
Allegedly, these edited/mixed improvisations by Jos Smolders and Frans de Waard were recorded during a single day at Smolders’ own EARLabs studios. I promptly forget this. After a few minutes, I think of Een as the sonic diary of two veteran submarine maintenance engineers. They’ve been at the
Here’s how I imagine this one playing out. Three improvisers take an off-road shortcut on their way to a recording session. There’s a bump in the road. The back door of the van flies open. All of the instruments – guitar, tuba, synthesiser, tape machine, assorted objects – tumble out
Surely, the request for “silence” – as displayed on the doors of many religious buildings – is not intended to be heeded too literally. There are certain sounds that can’t easily be switched off: footsteps on the stone floor, the breeze skimming over the walls, the sigh a dozen nasal breaths.
The interference on Callosity is so prevalent that it becomes a presence in itself. It’s not a characteristic of the medium that disrupts the connection between me and the music, but a blanket thick enough to touch, wrapped and inextricably sewn into the fabric of her instruments. As it
Host Jack Chuter talks to Phil Maguire of Verz Imprint (a new London-based label for quiet noise and drone music). Also: a playlist on the theme of “hitting things”. TRACKLIST: PART 1: HITTING THINGS Laurie Tompkins – Sweat Fujako – Iron Lion ovfdbk. BESS – Form / Form Michaela Antalová – Oblek Sly & The Family
The mystery of Eyes To The Height resides in what James Murray chooses not to illuminate. The record is pocked with shadow. Synthesisers slink across the frame but circumvent certain patches of space, the emptiness announcing itself as drum samples echo right through it. And yet Murray’s melodic dialect
Himukalt is the artistic banner of Ester Kärkkäinen. I wonder if Himukalt is also the lens through which Ester’s image is refracted: the mechanistic grind and distortion that obfuscates her voice, the blurs and smears that drench her multi-xeroxed self-portraits. I’ve been captivated by Himukalt’s output since
Microbial growth and astral emptiness. Miniature plants and empty space. Somehow, Forresta has me depicting both simultaneously: the shudders of cell division as tiny noises expand, backdropped by echoes that splay infinitely in every direction. Tonality manifests in subtle presences, with harmonies implied by the slight rattle of bass guitar
I tend to think of these sorts of compositions as being painstakingly put together. After all, it’s not by accident that field recordings are threaded together so seamlessly, with bustling streets evaporating into open beaches which, in turn, melt in heavy downpours in forests, the colours emboldened – gently, unintrusively
Mirrored Lips are always ready to burst. Even their stretches of relative structure – tractor-paced punk, galloping noise rock grooves – are constantly threatening to erupt in manic improvisations. Vocals babble out of the lines, syncopated drums accelerate impatiently, guitars foam at their dissonant, pitch-shifted mouths. Collapse is always imminent, and collapse
I’ve never seen rain like this. Liquid gold dripping down the rim of the sky, blood-thick and shimmering. I’ve never heard chimes like this either: hexagonal prisms producing harmonics that run in slants, before arcing downwards and upwards simultaneously. Damaged Particulates is a collage of semi-physical, semi-tangible phenomena.
Gathered together on this new compilation series are Portuguese artists that stretch back into the past with the same inquisition as they press into the future, allured both by the original significance of tradition and the opportunity to reframe it. The theme of the first volume is “o Trabalho” (which
In certain circles, it’s a faux pas for the recordist to be present in their own recording. It disrupts the illusion of first-hand experience by illuminating the mediator between the recorder and the recorded, while opening up the possibility that the artist may interfere with the naturalistic behaviour of
Sound emerges. Slowly, a single trumpet note presses out of the chrysalis of breath, protruding a little more each time. I’ve heard Nate Wooley improvise before. He can be furious, virtuosic. In fact, prior to the start of his performance, I hear him warming up at the back of
The cover of ##1 Versions is a paper-shredded version of the original EP artwork, which is all the context I need to understand the first remix here. George McVicar’s iteration of “gUZU” feeds the music into a fan blade. Loops of digital ventilation become pops of pressure release, chopped
FACEBOOK EVENT ATTN:Magazine and Wimbourne Contemporary Arts present an evening of ambient blurs and murmurs: Clusters Electric basses, e-bows, minimalist understatement. http://store.championversion.com/album/equal-spaces-pt-1-pt-2 finglebone Finger-plucked folk melting into electronica, melting into soundscape. https://finglebone.bandcamp.com/album/sunlit-plumes-of-dust No Context Manipulated space, electronics, repurposed objects.
Alan Courtis is exploratory in every sense. He’s forever leaving his home of Buenos Aires, Argentina to embark on international tours (he’s actually on tour at the time of publishing this), each time taking a different instrument configuration or creative premise in tow. He collaborates with all manner
The narrative is meaningless or meaningful. This quote refers specifically to McCann’s book Pacifics, extracts of which are recited throughout Music For Public Ensemble. Frankly it applies to all aspects of Music For Public Ensemble. In the same way that landscape is an abstract splatter whose meaning arrives later
In the first edition of the ATTN:Magazine radio show on Resonance Extra, host Jack Chuter talks to Keith Helt of Pan Y Rosas Discos (a Chicago net label releasing improvisation, noise and weirdo rock from around the world) and runs through a few of ATTN’s favourite cuts from
Play as accurately and consistently as possible but with the assumption that “mistakes” are inevitable. Allow “mistakes” to occur, do not attempt to correct them. All sounds should ring freely (as long as is possible) unless otherwise indicated. All timings and tempi are approximate and flexible. It’s important that
Michaela Antalová is a drummer from Slovakia, currently based in Oslo. Her new EP Oblak Oblek Oblúk was recorded in the corridors and hallways of the Norwegian Academy Of Music, manifesting as the intersection between real and manipulated resonances. At one moment Michaela is using snare drums and cymbals to
Closure, but not. Full Stop Etc. is a great album title for a band who never succumb to the temptation of tidy conclusions, or the satisfaction of seamless musical cohesion. Instead, Moon Relay are full of zags and juts and jags: conflicting moods that clang into eachother at awkward angles,
The cello of Emily Burridge reaches, like an outstretched hand, into Nemeton’s field recording of New Forest National Park. She is an empathetic presence. Her bowed notes arrive slowly as though asking for permission before proceeding, mimicking the branches of the surrounding beechwoods that suspend themselves in the air,
The first track on Julia Reidy’s new album is a half-hour 12-string guitar piece titled “Surrounds Outlast”. It’s improvisation with the accelerator stuck down. Her fingers run fluidly and incessantly over the strings, swerving in and out of motifs, hitting microtones that jolt through the piece like speed
We begin with the flickering, fire-like erraticism of the first track. Despite bearing the title of “Snow”, I’m drawn to imagine the very opposite: an intense heat that billows and dwindles across the stereo frame, suddenly erupting from left to right as if devouring an oil slick, promptly receding
The synaesthesic clarity of aural documents #1 is such that I could draw it. Three individual groups of circular black blots, each separated by jagged rectangles that extend across the page like hedges seen from a birds eye perspective. Sonically, the blots are little digital plosives veering in and out
At least once a year, I hear someone reciting that trivia bite about how a piece of paper folded 50 times would cover the distance from the earth to the sun. It’s no longer interesting to hear this recounted verbally, but it’s wonderful to hear Consumer enacting this
Dark Web is the latest project from Danish sound artist Morten Poulsen: a generative, interactive audio/visual piece without beginning or end. While the output of Dark Web can be manipulated by the user, the project ultimately stands independently from observation and interaction; it exists whether the user is present
I spend much of Avec contemplating the seams between objects, entities, people, sounds. This record illuminates the act of intersection: a bow dragged aggressively against a cello string, the impulses of two improvisers ricocheting off one another, the sounds of chimes colliding with shrill string harmonics. In particular, I think
I realise this is coming out three weeks into the new year. That’s partly deliberate. While I’d intended to get this online within the first 10 days of 2017, I knew I couldn’t compile a proper retrospective without breaking free from 2016 first. Being impulsive and somewhat
Bassoonist Dana Jessen is losing herself, finding herself, losing herself. The four longest pieces on Carve are the works of guest composers, all of which generate strange new realities for Jessen to inhabit. They are wastelands drenched in a precipitation of glitches, deathly sunsets over panoramic countryside, field recordings that
One particularly interesting facet of αίών’s work is his attitude to the glitch. Instead of treating it as a malfunction in the transmission of sound, he wields it purposefully. As soon as we stop perceiving the glitch as a symbol of error, we unlock the ability to appreciate it.
My first listen to Uniform’s Ghosthouse EP hit me hard. In fact, I was only two minutes into the first track – a juddering, jackhammer pulsation of drum machine, serrated riff and feral vocal snarl – when I sent over a request for an interview. The band’s new material demonstrates
“Delawarr’s Multi-Oscillator was not intended for purposes as frivolous as music. It was designed to ascertain combinations of frequencies that related to specific psychological conditions, ailments and their therapeutic equivalents. Whilst concentrating on a thought, a rubber radionic detector pad connected to the instrument would be rubbed whilst turning
I experience Valehouse as if through a rainy window on a dismal day. Shapes refract through droplets of water. Colours recede into the grey of the sky and the empty streets. This album captures the sensation of omnipresent fatigue: when the weather presses down on the world below, causing everything
I was wrong. I’d assumed that the tones that make up Jockel Liess’ Bordun Chorus were artificial emulations of the human voice, laced with the hiss of electronic breath and the faux warmth of faux body. In the interview below, Jockel corrects me. Actually, the process is actually travelling
ATTN:Magazine presents an evening of sonic reduction. EN CREUX (LIVE) The solo project of Lucia H Chung. Precision, interaction, contrast. https://sm-ll.bandcamp.com/album/reloc-batch-0002 ELIANE RADIGUE: VIRTUOSO LISTENING (FILM) Anaïs Prosaïc’s wonderful documentary about French minimalist composer Eliane Radigue: a master of extended reasonances and microtonal
I picture this: a gigantic, industry-grade cassette player spewing chunks of tape at random intervals. It bunches up in the spokes and stops the mechanism from turning properly, creased and knotted and torn to shreds, spilling over the chassis like the explosive regurgitations of ten brown party poppers. The situation
On Sound Practice, Weis allegedly adopts the Zen principle of the “unknowing mind”, interacting with his instruments with the naivety and absent prejudice of a first-time encounter. I feel this mindset most prominently when he taps each cymbal, gong and singing bowl in turn, marvelling at how even the slightest
On first glance, Blackjack Illuminist Records feels like an intimate and diverse artistic collective. There’s the child-like jubilation of Fir Cone Children; the blurry, inescapable krautrock mazes of Vlimmer; the translucent drones of Feverdreamt; the jagged indie rock of Leonard Las Vegas. Like all good labels, there’s a
Stop. Sound. Stop. There are no continuous sounds on Zashomon. Instead, sounds appear, perpetuate themselves for a brief length of time and then drop out or transform. Their presence within the soundscape – at that particular moment, at that particular position – is always meaningful. Nothing is sustained for the sake of
Not quite. All of my thoughts and attempted articulations of this record fall just short of what I’m actually hearing. As such, it’s important to note that this album manifests in the margins and spaces between the words you read here, floating between colon dots and swooping into
The piano has long been neglected. Damp has started to soften the hammers and seep into the wood, tugging the strings gently away from perfect tuning. Each depressed key is a pronouncement of weather erosion and absent care, filtering each note through layers of the past as it pushes outward
At one point in this interview, I ask Israeli composer Igor Krutogolov – who founded KIP back in 2002 – whether he is drawn to the manipulation of tension and the postponement of release. The question arose as I switched from the first side of Hymns to the second, in which a
Everything floats freely in the darkness. Guitars allow themselves to be swept into improvisatory inclination, ambling through folk phrases as if struck by intermittent memory loss, forever finding the thread of melody and losing it again. Drones and electronics splay at the behest of gigantic echoes: some high and shimmering
The amplifier doesn’t simply “make it louder”. It congeals, crushes, intensifies. Unassuming chord strums go in; great waves of fuzz pour out, distorting against the limits of volume and perhaps against the limits of something else; pressing into the membrane between everyday living and the psychedelic beyond, using the
We begin with seven minutes of skydiver techno. I’m tumbling through the air. Cymbals and static suck at my ears like currents of air felt at high speed, as a melody floats by in wisps. My heartbeat is in my head. YTAC’s remix of Rough Fields’ “ZERO7411310518296” is
While it’s well established that a soundtrack can completely reshape the mood of a film, Christine Ott’s score for F. W. Murnau and Robert Flaherty’s 1931 silent film Tabu instigates a particularly profound atmospheric overhaul. Where the original was accompanied by a spritely and often bombastic orchestral
Like dye introduced to bloodstream, the electricity convulsing through Hieratic Teen illuminates every nuance of A. Karuna’s synthesiser circuitry. Low groans navigate bends in long wiring, rattling loose screws and swimming through soldering, bursting through the speaker grill in pressurised jets of electronic sound. Pitches falter during melodies as
This is music in a larval state. Through a process of unfurling and awakening, Slight At That Contact exercises all of the phonetic and gestural behaviours that will later be refined into language. Segmented body parts unsheathe to the crack of acoustic plosive, as keyboards gurgle and click like a
72 seconds into “Opal”, the first track on Line Gøttsche’s debut solo album, the piano slows as it ascends. The momentum is just enough to carry it to the top of the next chord, as it slackens into the gravity that sends it tumbling down the other side. It’
Like a glass-smash in slow motion reverse, Sunlit Plumes Of Dust rebuilds itself. Fragments of guitar improvisation congeal into distinct melody, forming vivid shapes that cut into the background blur. They are only temporary. The album cherishes brittle lucidity in the knowledge that it will soon disappear again, unravelling into
Space-time has been scrunched up like a napkin. It takes me a while to realise that and longer still to accept it. That’d explain why my sound world is completely askew: I can hear operatic voices amongst the whirr of server rooms, and drum samples bobbing upon pools of
The vast majority of people I interact with through ATTN share my general perspective on sound and the importance of listening. Of course, there are countless other artists for whom sound plays an entirely different role: it’s a subordinate force that affirms or embellishes the experiences of sight, or
We join Ashtray Navigations at the halfway point in the journey out of their own heads. The image of Leeds, England is melting away. Streetlamps droop and pour into the flow of tarmac; buildings bleed outward into an earnest overcast sky, as the image gradually transforms into the vibrant lights
I felt a Cleavage in my Mind — As if my Brain had split — I tried to match it— Seam by Seam — But could not make them fit. The thought behind, I strove to join Unto the thought before — But Sequence ravelled out of reach Like Balls — upon a Floor. A
A listener who wishes to treasure sound must confront the fact that sound wants to disappear. The piano loops on Stills bear the blemishes of being forcefully carried through the present tense. The keys are muffled now, softened by the erosion that comes to claim repeat plays, falling into a
The first sound I hear is the pop of a cork. The echo is wonderful. Russell Haswell holds a champagne bottle aloft to the crowd, perhaps in homage to the decadent setting of the Royal Festival Hall. After taking two gigantic glugs straight from the bottle, treating the drink with
The Delphic Wristwatch is the project of musician, artist and librarian, Trevor Thornton. It feels like an ode to getting “carried away”, drifting down passageways of thought and tentative thematic tangents, losing intention somewhere in the thread of discovery. A daydream enacted in music and spoken literary text. At a
The ambient orchestrations of Still Air feel instantly familiar. I live here. I am stranded in distraction, dragged onward before I can properly engage with anything. I’m surrounded by too much: the incidental noises of corporeal life floating down channels of abstract electronics; the spin of bicycle wheels and
Initially, it doesn’t sound like much. Scraps of sound overlapping. Guitars recorded with cheap and broken equipment. Loops that isolate indistinct and inconsequential fragments of happening: slapdash synthesiser refrains, sterile splinters of electronic percussion, recordings of honking horns and clattering machinery. Layers are thrown on top of eachother to
To drone can be an act of subservience. Sound takes the reins. The composer is reduced to a listener who occasionally intervenes, largely naïve to the outcome of their own interruptive input. Changes to the sound are not corrections in course, but opportunities to observe the sound in a different
I’m at the surface. First could be an unintentional sound. The hum of equipment left on by mistake, or the buzz of damaged cabling. It’s constant and tuneless. It’s a drone comprised of several equally vacant parts: a nauseating low whirr, a gush of white noise, a
Which is stronger? The desire to make sound or the desire to keep quiet? Blank Disc aren’t sure. For their side of this spina!rec split, they go back and forth between proclamations of impulse and sudden retractions of regret. Do they rebel against the silence or relish the
Psychedelia can take the form of an explosion or an implosion. In this case, it’s the latter. Instead of saturating every musical surface with vibrant, fluid plumes of happening, Solar Maximum press into the transcendence of simple, solitary movements. Uranian Fire is built from two bass guitars, embellished with
The music of Yann Novak utilises all the different modes of listening. Through mindful focus, I’m able to hear the intricacies tucked at the back of the frame: the steady fracture of safety glass, the hidden rumbles of life within seemingly empty bands of noise. Yet the music is
I’m inside a structure that both inhabits nature and shuts it out. A log cabin in the forest, perhaps. Just how this log cabin turns trees into a familiar artificial structure, Bird-Stone pulls from the serenity of the arboreal landscape while trying to divorce it from its brisk, untamed
“There is no end,” chants Camila Fuchs during the third track on Opuntia. It’s an apt statement for music that manifests as a continuous, restless transformation process. Over the course of 14 minutes, I hear these pieces strive to adapt and re-adapt to their environment, as tiny modulations in
ATTN:Magazine presents an evening celebrating the work of Tony Conrad: artist, filmmaker, minimalist musician, violin-aided manipulator of time and tonality. TONY CONRAD – COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT (SCREENING) Tyler Hubby’s documentary on Tony Conrad’s life and work. http://www.tonyconradmovie.com/untitled-gallery INSTAL 06 (LIVE) One-off improvisatory quartet
In Davachi’s music, I hear a negotiation between human instigation and letting be. Sometimes I catch little traces of melodic patterns, as she sends synthesisers through little zig-zagging motifs that rise out of the drones and return to them. At other points, she simply allows the instrument to play
When listening to percussion, my focus tends to be drawn more to the player than the instrument. Rhythms are merely the translation of a body in movement; the output of a synchronous flexing and failing, amplifying a sequence of muscle twitches through membranes of metal, wood and plastic. Yet on
Judkins’ music as Left Hand Cuts Off The Right is often a collage of simultaneous curiosities. The sounds of various animals. Instruments from around the world. Circuit bent electronics. Humid drones. It’s appropriate for an artist that seems to thrive on having numerous projects in parallel operation: playing guitar
This record is a bleak day in winter. The spindly acoustic guitar of Lauri Hyvärinen sounds like a tree stripped back to its branches, all jagged and starved of colour. The bowed cymbals of Naoto Yamagishi cut through the room like a bitter wind, sending a penetrative chill shuddering through
The reverb on Alex Alexopolous’ voice is exact. Thick enough to conjure the indistinction of semi-consciousness – the groggy half-hour upon first awakening, the auditory hallucinations that can often bedeck the boundary of sleep or deep meditation – yet not so dense to obscure the humanity that resonates within her melodies. I
It was only a matter of time before this interview came to fruition. In the past few years, I’ve found myself confronted with the music of Guro Skumsnes Moe over and over again. I first saw her performing with Årabrot at Desertfest 2014. Later in the same year, my
It’s an appropriate time to be writing this review. Recently I’ve been thinking about how the listener impresses themselves upon the listening experience and vice versa. I’m planning to include a new section in the ATTN:Newsletter this month, where an artist writes a few sentences on
Whenever I’m travelling by plane, I only acknowledge the sheer volume of my soundscape when I try to listen to music over headphones. I find myself maxing out the volume on my phone to allow the music to protrude out of the din. At this point, I’ll often
Were it not for the durational limits of the cassette tape, I’m sure that the latest release by Marta De Pascalis – a musician originally from Rome, currently residing in Berlin – would go on forever. Using a couple of synthesisers and a tape loop system, Anzar generates the musical equivalent
There are numerous beautiful collisions on Simultaneous Flight Movement. The most apparent is Laura Cannell’s instruments (fiddle and recorder) splashing against the walls of Suffolk’s Southwold Lighthouse, creating a reverb that rinses the entirety of the cylindrical structure and carries a very tactile impression of the cold brick
On opening track “Whole Summer”, I hear his voice for a moment as he stoops under Siavash Amini’s downpour of electronic rain. He’s engulfed by an oncoming blizzard of sad static and is nowhere to be seen once the noise finally clears. I meet him again briefly at
Mooncore is a percussive autopsy. After sampling the drum kit from every direction – using an array of different microphones, capturing the sounds that reside in every material within the kit – BESS processed the source audio into looped resonances, vacant white noise and downpours of plastic and wood. Each sound is
Each piece is an extract of an infinite loop. When I’m halfway through, I’m hearing the music’s future with the same clarity that illuminates its present and preserves its past. A pulsating synthesiser spans out behind me and before me. And while the road may curve with
It was only this morning I was pondering the idea of “unreleased tracks”. These aren’t always the pieces that fail to break the creator’s quality threshold (otherwise, what would be the purpose of releasing them at all?), but outcasts that don’t belong within the context of full
It’s difficult to tell whether Judder is the product of a consciously absent composer, or the product of a composer capable of emulating natural forces. Whatever the answer, Frans de Waard is only a peripheral body in the listening experience. The album uses compositional stillness to accentuate the onset
When I hear El Advenimiento Del Castillo Mujer, I think of an oddball Victorian depiction of future automobile technology, as loud and mechanically inefficient as it is crookedly beautiful. It’s covered in paraphernalia that rattles and jangles as it moves, puffing out clouds of smog as it lurches forward,
Now I think about it, I’ve been fascinated by the phenomena explored through Løkkegaard’s SOUND X SOUND project since I was a small child. I used to go see Tottenham Hotspur play several times a season, and forever marvelled at how the congregation of thousands of chanting fans
The atmosphere at the Union Chapel catches me off guard. I’ve been here several times before, but only ever in the evenings – often when the lighting is lower and the music is drearier (Earth, Oxbow Orchestra). It’s noon when I walk in. I’m immediately greeted by a
The past is collection of islands. Memories, tapes, books. All abandoned by the pertinence of the present tense, recalled out of the archives in an order governed by willpower rather than historical chronology, divorced from the context that initially brought them to be. Memories come to me out of sequence,
Sometimes I forget to be grateful. When I’m feeling distracted or impatient, my ears start to blur sounds just as tired eyes soften shapes; I hear the overall shape but start to reject the nuances within them, casually allowing the nourishment of total experience to pass me by. Sometimes
Having listened to Curgenven’s last few releases intensely over the past weeks, I’ve become particularly captivated by his documentation and conveyance of air pressure: the organ tones wafting into open space on SIRÈNE, the resonances rippling through heat on They Tore The Earth, the flutter of air around
Lie down. Close your eyes. Open them again. Seven or eight hours have passed. You might awake with the traces of a dream draining from your mind – flashes of forgotten faces and strange melds of memory – yet sleep is ultimately a period of absent self; a blank interlude between undulating
Every time a breath passes through the trumpet, something different happens. Often the air will pass through effortlessly. At other points, it splutters and dies as the mouth seals shut, or drags a squeal of brass resonance along with it, or cuts out to form glottalstops of exhalation. Sometimes, it
Rapport sur le Désordre is the music that might reign over the nightmares of a bleeding edge AI scientist. Someone whose days are spent deep inside the guts of algorithmic code, and whose evenings are spent fraught with anxiety about the implications of increasingly technological power and ubiquity. Vigroux transforms
Tse Tse Fly is an experimental artistic collective based in Dubai, celebrating avant garde music created all across the Middle East. Easy Listening Volume One is the collective’s first compilation release, showcasing the sounds that occupy the gulf between silence and the glistening capitalist noise for which Dubai is
In my head, it plays out like this. Mere moments before pressing record, an earthquake rips through the Exhaustion rehearsal space. The lights cut out. The walls fall down. Everyone is bruised and confused. II documents the aftermath, as four musicians freak out and try to take stock. Guitar, drums,
Many Sly records are lessons in persistence. They begin as piles of broken material (static dribbling out of frayed cabling, dreary-black slicks of feedback) before assembling, miraculously, into lively percussive workouts. It’s like a dilapidated motor vehicle placed under repair, drilled and hammered until the wheels start to turn
I can’t keep up with this. Sounds are flying across my field of hearing: bursts of spoken monologue chopped and incessantly looped, disruptive clangs and rattles of protest, pop songs squished out of recognisable shape, plastic synthesisers coughing and bleating. It should be an unwholesome mess. Yet thanks to
The image that persists throughout Create Christ, Sailor Boy is that of the inexorable marching army, rising over hillsides and gliding effortlessly across open fields. Like the war in which this army are engaged, the album is enveloping and unstoppable. It submits individual free will to the tide of terrible
Idle Chatter is a brand new venue for experimental music in Salford. More than that, it’s a space where live performance comes first; a dedicated (and gorgeous) warehouse space for the enactment and experience of live artistry, capable of adapting to accommodate the entire spectrum of Manchester’s experimental
I’m sure you’ve seen those home videos where someone suddenly realises their clothes have caught fire. Initially calm and oblivious, the victim promptly jolts into wide-eyed alarm and enters survival mode, thrashing around to shed the particular layer as quickly as possible, occasionally running in circles in a
For the first 20 minutes of Mayol, Hifiklub are ascending. The crowd noise of France’s Toulon stadium – as captured during a rugby match – goes from a deafening roar to a mere speck in the field of hearing, as drums and bass propel the music upward in steady shunted bursts.
Your first listen to Tommy Hilfiger will pass you by. A rumble of thunder, a steady throb of electronics, an accordion jaunt. Gone. What just happened? It’s like a cryptic voicemail message, building up to a deep confession before bottling it and cutting the line dead. Rasines leaves me
Endrhymes is a never-ending fire drill. Sirens wail across rooms and hallways, crushing the air with excruciating shrill frequencies, urgently demanding an evacuation of the space. Yet there is no fire, and there is no way out. Listening to this record is like meandering through corridors under the persistent bleat
I hear a strange hum emanating from a small doorway. I follow the hum down a pitch-black corridor and come to a dead end, with the hum leading up a stairwell I can’t access. I traipse back out of the corridor and set off for somewhere else. My day
Ekin Fil grants these songs just enough impetus to exist, but no more. Almost every track brandishes a muffled tom drum heartbeat, providing constant confirmation that blood is still being pumped around the music’s withering frame. The reassurance is necessary. Ekin Fil’s voice is barely strong enough to
Aven needs to be heard both quietly over headphones and loudly over speakers. Through headphones, the 27-minute piece unveils Bethan Kellough’s wondrous capabilities as a sound sculptor, slotting violins amidst field recordings of turbulent weather and placid currents of water, with sounds subsuming others like pebbles engulfed by clasping
I spend much of Firewire feeling trapped within an uncomfortable stale heat: locked inside a server room with no windows, surrounded by broken fans and the hot throb of electricity, sweating into the carpet. I blame those drones. The drones that clog up the air on opening track “Contre Sens”
I’d never previously given any thought to the potential for collaboration between sound and ceramics, although artist / curator Joseph Young has spent much of the past few years exploring the innumerable ways they may intersect and interact. Many of these explorations have been alongside curator and ceramicist Kay Aplin,
Romanelli holds his sounds in place and asks me to look closer. Each of the guitar drones sways like the branches of a tree, shifting slowly through different volume levels and harmonic profiles, veering back and forth over a central point. The movement is enough to gift the album a
If the song is strong enough, it can transcend anything. It can cut through the fog of antiquity like a lighthouse beam. It can rise above the wounds of mistreatment, powered by a melodic strength that obliterates any symptoms of physical weakness. The songs are William Ryan Fritch are sincere
Last year I had the agony of being tantalised by the idea of CRAM Festival (thanks to an interview I conducted with its three curators) without being able to attend the event itself. This year, I’m able to make it up to Hundred Years Gallery for a mere taste:
The movement of Tła is unique. Without drums to provide a sense of physical impact (note – this is the second review in a row to note the allure of drumless beats), each track surges forward in a series of limbless, aquatic thrusts. One beat ripples into the next; the body
Like a drummer anxiously tapping against desks, bins and walls in the absence of an actual kit, Hyber-urban puts forth the notion that the irresistible force of rhythm will always find a way to manifest – even when starved of conventional resources. Sote finds the electronic equivalent of junkyard material (stray
Six pieces, six sonic evocations of rare cloud types. The mesmeric, almost contradictory essence of clouds resides in their combination of gaseousness and shapeliness; the puffy dispersal of vapour, curbed by edges that cut sharply into the sky. Spillages frozen in time and space. Elif Yalvaç manages to generate this
It’s not necessarily strength that drives Revolució Soterrada, but strain: the act of pushing back against the walls that close in, and screaming as counter-active forces endeavour to strangle the throat shut. The music is never permitted to rise fully to its feet, yet it never ceases to try.
Tim Catlin’s Overtone Ensemble (completed here by Atticus Bastow, Philip Brophy and David Brown) centres on his self-made instrument called a “Vibrassa”: an array of vertical aluminium rods, all set to a different microtonal tuning, which emit pristine sustained tones when stroked by hand. They gleam fiercely like stars,
Particular Factors is an ode to the awakening of instruments. When the minutiae of composition are stripped away, all that remains is the consequence of movement, impact and resonance: sound shuddering through objects and gifting voice to the inanimate; metallic materials clanging in sonorous, glistening tones that reflect their very
Bechdel is a new bi-monthly events series based in Brighton, focused on promoting female artists working in all manner of experimental sound. The lineup for the first two events has been ludicrous, featuring the likes of Lutine, Postcards From The Volcano, Lisa Jayne, The Zero Map and The Larsens (the
Case situates himself as an observer, not a creator. These pieces carry the sense of unfurling of their own accord. Electronic loops throb like tiny hearts. Guitar strings hum like the labour of laboratory monitoring equipment. None of the tracks have distinct beginnings or ends, cutting off abruptly like extracts
Architeuthis Rex are climbing into the sky. They stack electronics upon layers of distorted drone, whistling feedback, dusty keyboards, bowed cymbals, ethereal voices…anything that can be used to extend the tower of sound, which sways precariously as it clasps at the open air. Conceptually, the band deal with the
Full Of Noises festival presents an evening of film and live music as part of the V22 SUMMER CLUB // SOUND series, curated by Helen Frosi (SoundFjord) and Andie Brown (These Feathers Have Plumes). Many of my favourite gigs been warm, pleasantly informal affairs. I recall those events at which I
The most prominent force on Umber is empty space. I hear winds of different thicknesses and speeds, somersaulting through spaces of varying size and texture, enlivening loose surfaces and microphone membranes. I hear the rush of air through gigantic stone structures (old forts perhaps?), and objects splashing into the echoes
September 3rd 2016 sees the return of Fort Process: a one-day festival of exploratory sound and multi-disciplinary art, placing performances and installations within the eclectic acoustic spaces of Newhaven Fort in Sussex. This year’s lineup includes Carla Bozulich, Pierre Bastien, Limpe Fuchs, David Toop, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sarah Angliss and
When songwriting is smothered in echoes, it’s often affiliated with states of confusion or absent concentration. Precious Systems demonstrates how textural hazes can become agents of conviction. Echo isn’t used to conceal the song within smokes of uncertainty; instead, it pushes the core sentiment outward like a tidal
I know I’m hearing the recordings of an abandoned windmill, as captured by a minidisc recorder and a handmade contact microphone. And that’s all I know. I can only guess what materials and mechanisms are present. Perhaps those high metallic wines are the sound of Jerman forcing the
“It’s about the journey, not the destination.” As I listen to the record, my mind drifts helplessly toward this cliché. I wince as I feel it happening. Yet perhaps thanks to the album title, my experience of Paths centres on this notion; the thrill of unforeseeable turns and ruptures
Today is a suitable day to write about Fog Mirror. It’s midday and my mind is thoroughly clouded. I didn’t sleep well. I drank too much last night. I feel dislocated from the world outside; the edges of my vision into a cinematic dream sequence, with public chatter
The sounds are the colour of bowling alley candy: E-number shades of blue, pink, red and green. Spheres of all different sizes – some as small as sugar granules, others as big as gobstoppers – glisten and bounce against the surfaces of the room, knocking against eachother and leaping away again. They
In the opening moments of “Cobb”, the guitar of Cyril Monnard is scattered into tiny droplets of delay. Pinch harmonics patter like light rain, pre-empting the onset of worse weather. Low notes start to join them. Slowly, it intensifies: leads shower overhead, gradually becoming a heavier stream of interwoven harmony.
When the press release refers to False Readings On as “an hour-long meditation on self-doubt, anxiety, and separation from one’s self”, my experience clicks into place. The synths warble like an aged VHS tape, glowing with over-saturated hues of major key, reminiscent of home movies in their surreal vibrancy
Increasingly, it becomes difficult to separate actual guitar from the unnatural twitches of electronic processing. Mart Soo’s playing is riddled with snap decisions and intentional failures; the insatiable scurries of human fingers, scampering away from particular portions of the fretboard only to become hopelessly tangled up elsewhere. He fidgets
I press play. Suddenly I’m squatting amidst the junk objects and cymbals, with two well-worn guitar amplifiers pointing inward from either side. The room feels dank and unpleasantly cramped. In my mind, Makemake are hunched over their speakers like wretched beasts locked away in the dark, banished from the
Even when Organ Safari Lituanica splays into a mess of tooting dissonance and billowing air, there remains a sense of conscious organisation. The album never reaches a state of total chaos; organs are forced to leave or hush down if the space becomes too unruly, and each organ seems to
Two sides, two acoustic scenarios, two onslaughts of sound. Each of these seven-minute pieces is a meditation on a separate circumstance. Side one is a piano recorded in a Japanese train station. Side two is a recording of several electric guitars in an Argentinian studio. In each instance, Courtis seems
I hadn’t seen London’s A.R.Kane live before I watched them at Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona last month. Without a doubt, they played one of my favourite sets of the weekend. Aside from the sheer weight of sound emanating from just three people – guitars and feedback
String Noise are New York violinists Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim. They term themselves a “classical, avant-punk violin duo”, which goes some way to conveying their collision of technical finesse and brazen, often visceral approach to experimentation. As well as performing the material of modern classical mainstays – Scelsi, Stockhausen etc
The artwork for Temnoe Poznaetsya Chernim is a blurred monochromatic photograph. A distant streetlight (or moonlight?) swirls in the background, while a dog-shaped silhouette peers out over the murk. Details are difficult to identify, and the way in which the shapes melt into eachother suggests that it was taken on
21 tracks, 43 minutes. This breed of sound design usually thrives within much longer durations. When drones are permitted to flower over the course of a quarter-hour, evolving at a pace too gradual to perceive moment-by-moment, they often emulate some of the more elegant and cyclical progressions of nature: incremental
The pieces almost fit. Like a word that poises itself on the tip of the tongue, teetering on the edge of conscious recollection, Scala Mega Hertz is one vital piece away from becoming totally comprehensible. Throbs of electronics and vocal loops dance around the perimeter of the beats but refuse
And so Too materialises all by itself, thickening from the sound of amplifiers left humming, of vocal loops beating against the walls like trapped moths, of the buoyant rhythms of plastic cups being rubbed together. The opening four minutes, titled “View”, embark on a transition from idle noise to visceral,
Exercícios Sobre Mundanidade starts with an eerie descent down a mansion staircase. The piano creeps between two chords and guitars bluster in through the windows, adorning the soundscape with a ghoulish breed of foreboding. The more the melody falters, the more those peripheral guitars seem to flare up in
Two instruments, two very different improvisatory circumstances. I hear Cecilia Quinteros’ cello through a very organic lens: the fierce strike of the bow, the fingers skipping up and down the neck, the sound rushing into the resonant wooden body of the instrument. Changes in timbre are conducted through changes in
Linden Pomeroy doesn’t use delay and reverb to generate a sense of space, but to smother it. By sending each guitar note through funnels of infinite repeat, opening track “Festival Of Red Leaves” grows tendrils of harmony and compounded feedback, which press together until the initial melodious sentiment is
Between May 2014 and May 2015, Greek band Mohammad released a trilogy of albums exploring the sounds of a particular geographical area (34°Ν – 42°Ν & 19°Ε – 29°Ε). By doing so, the group called upon parallels between their sound and the physical landscape: the bass frequencies that mimic
My head is in a state of sleepless disarray. At the time of writing, I’ve just roused myself from six hours of restless daytime sleep, about to start my second nightshift in a consecutive set of three. If there’s a plus to this scenario, it’s that I’
There is a quiet turbulence here. When those dub beats start to pulse from beneath, the record asserts a relationship with urban destitution. Harmonies ricochet against concrete surfaces, navigating a noise that hangs in the air like factory dust, while drones curdle into a smog of dissonance. But when the
Within Cataclysm, I hear that dystopian future thrown forth by the sci-fi of the 1970s: innumerable computers encased in dull grey chassis, outlandish cars hurtling into green horizon lines, hulking robots that resembled upturned fax machines with wheels affixed. Technology is omnipresent, but rather than shrinking into palm-sized devices and
This record is actually a collection of abandoned Pololáníks material, curated into a new release by Prague-based musician Tomáš Procházka (aka Federsel). These are the sounds that were put forward by improvisatory impulse, yet overruled by the more rigorous curation of retrospect. Clearly, the potency held by these pieces at
Essentially, Liven brings together six beautiful pieces of regenerative, self-powering machinery. The rhythms spin freely like bicycle wheels, powering all manner of beautiful ambient lights and clacking wooden winches, which in turn – through a mysterious, levitational defiance of earthly physics – feed their energy back into the beats that cycle freely
If Andrew Reddy’s musical craft were to be transposed into the physical realm, he’d doubtless be working with gravel, grit and rock. Sounds crumble and collide, mimicking avalanche tremors and tectonic restlessness. Steam bursts through the cracks like hot springs. There’s the implication of military transport – chopping
“We live in a world of musical undo and versioning.” – R. Henke This quote sits atop the Bandcamp release description for Collagen. Of course, undo and versioning are the primary symptoms of digital music in the modern age: the transience and potential rearrangement of cloud-stored files, the infinite production scrutiny
In many respects, Marcus Coates’ installation here acts as a miniature emblem of THIS IS A VOICE in its entirety. “Dawn Chorus” is a multi-screen ensemble of individuals in isolated settings: in the bath, at the breakfast table, in a doctor’s waiting room, in a stationary car. By having
If you’re currently unfamiliar with Graham Dunning’s “mechanical techno”, treat yourself to this demonstration video. Piece by piece, he crafts machines made out of records, modified tone arms, dangled contact mics, slinky-springs, pedal FX and other objects, using the rotary motion of the turntable (along with additional motors)
The landscape of Géométrie du Coeur is, quite vividly, a city at night. Shadowy characters press into the walls of high rise buildings, hunching away from the observant glow of streetlamps. My peripheral vision stirs with stray animals and flickering electricity, as the landscape sits in an eerie air of
When the noise dies down on opening track “Storyteller”, I hear a quivering layer of static. This is as close as the record comes to stillness. When everything else vacates – the strange electronic signals that sway erratically like fire hoses, the contorted tubes of classical music – all that’s left
Isis were an incredibly important band for me. I was 14 when I initially heard their 2004 record “Panopticon”, and found myself appreciating – for the first time – how rock music could harness the qualities of patience and open space. I was particularly transfixed by how the guitars of “Backlit” traded
I imagine a gigantic pane of glass. I’m on one side, Wisty is on the other. Tom Rose’s new installation is playing over a hardy-looking set of nightclub speakers (the sort designed to stay intact during gigantic throbs of techno), spilling into a space occupied by a bar
Through the process of these solo improvisations for saxophone, Ida Toninato comes to know herself and the space she inhabits. Her instrument emits bullets of echolocation in the form of sharp, low bleats, feeling the spread and texture of the walls as her pulses collide with them. Low drones run
Within Fluid Variations, the tones form numerous intersecting currents. They surge into the frame and force eachother back. They climb over eachother, riding the sloping drones as they creep through upward fades and gradually dissipate. Each interaction triggers a change in direction which, however small, invariably triggers another. Before long,
Some of the pulses on Corporeal are undoubtedly machine-based. Hydraulic arms pound against surfaces, each thrust announced by a fierce expulsion of air. The clack and whine of an unoiled rotary mechanism. The pump of an electronic bass drum. Elsewhere, the pulses are that of flesh and blood and ungainly
This coming Sunday (May 29th), composer Matthew Sergeant will be presenting his installation/performance “[kiss]” at the Yard Theatre & Club in London. The piece consists of a 4-5 hour violin performance that skirts the perimeters of pitch and audibility; a thin, extended strand of glitch and friction between twine bow
Imanishi divulges his sound sources. Radio, paper, field recordings. Yet I can’t shake the feeling that I’m listening to the microscopic sounds of plant life and microbial growth: the bubbling of cell division, the tinny hums of photosynthesis, the slosh of water molecules, the chattering sines of inter-cell
“Clammy” is the first word that comes to mind. Robbie Judkins seems to specialise in sounds that stick to my face and get caught in my hair. I feel smothered and unclean within the tangle of viscous electronics and mouldy tape samples, picking bits of static and drone out of
If I wasn’t informed in advance that I’m hearing a piano (albeit with the output stretched and twisted out of its original shape), would I have been able to deduce this independently? Does Piano’s Abyss carry me deeper into the identity of the instrument, or does it
The recordings of Schwarm were captured within a flight corridor near Frankfurt airport, which cuts through the small town of Hanau Steinheim. An image search for the town depicts a place of quaint and serene charm, with beautiful historical architecture and abundant greenery; castle turrets sprouting from behind trees, spacious
On the artwork for Continental Burns, children are playing in the sea. The sky above is a cracked turquoise dusk – a mixture of faded photographic ink and the true colour of the evening. It’s not just the image that’s blemished with age and imperfect exposure. For the first
The six electronic pieces of SH were recorded/edited during sound checks and live performances. Compared to the studio – where hours and hours can be lost to the acts of revision and refinement – the performance environment is strictly adherent to the clock. The artist works within pre-defined times, often shaping
Mueller is one of a handful of artists that has really, really excited me over the past couple of years. Many of his recent releases have centred on duets between drums and the wordless voice, digging deep within solitary ideas over vast stretches of time, dragging me beneath the surface
Ostermeier’s piano melodies refrain from excess. Their allure doesn’t reside in ornamental detail or the presence of intricate little trills, but for the elegant slopes that carry one chord into another. The self-conscious hesitations and sentimental indulgence that dictate when a note is depressed, and for how long.
What if the sky suddenly shifted in colour? From midday blue to an alien green, with clouds circulating like ink swirling in an unplugged sink? This is what Fantasmas feels like: noise dispersing overhead in strange, unnaturally shaded vapours, blotting out earthly equilibrium and instating foreboding in its place. The
The songs of Clara Engel gradually accumulate in empathetic weight. The guitar repeats a single sentiment until I understand it, patiently waiting as I acquaint myself with the rhythm of the fingers and the grave pendulums of melody. At the core of each of these five pieces are kernels of
What is the laptop to the cello? It’s a landscape generator: a vibrant backdrop of birdsong, insects and the occasional whoosh of passing traffic, like a lush field spilling out the back of a village in the summer. The cello navigates the field recordings like a snake carving a
Like most people, I discovered Norman Westberg through his role as guitarist in Swans. In the context of the band, Westberg’s input seems less concerned with establishing melody and more with furnishing the Swans landscape with objects and acts of nature: spurts of overdrive foam, wood-carved slopes of dissonance.
I love the moments on Blemishes when Kib Elektra’s voice hangs like lanterns, lingering obliviously in pleasant harmony as the music jolts and pounds from beneath. And the moments when delay catches her sibilance, carrying her words over synthesisers with the delicate jerks of a pond skater. She dangles
The only reason Giant Gutter indulge in the “pretty” (i.e. the opening moments of “Sturm” which glisten like wind chimes catching the light) is to prove how quickly things can go terribly wrong. Within a matter of seconds, the track ruptures like an earthquake: the bass shifts from delicate
The 22 minutes of A Place… enact a state of memory jam, where the sheer mass of recollection starts to overwhelm the limited capacity of the mind. Slugs of voice and noise manage to seep to the surface, damaged by the combination of extreme heat and compression, carrying the sloppy
The first time I listened through A Year Without Words, I spent the entire listen staring into space; specifically, the window of my third-floor flat, through which I can see the sky, the high branches of idle trees and the antenna reaching out of the top of high-rise buildings. It
Suplington’s new 21-minute composition is a perpetual act of motion and incompletion. The chord progressions never resolve, instead tilting between different states of suspense, actively welcoming the arpeggiations that send them into furious spirals of sound. Percussively, the track is driven by what appears to be a wood block
Singulum arrives like a retriggered memory: not a sudden and fully-formed epiphany, but an image that emerges through a process of molecular restoration, enacted with the same painstaking patience with which memories fade to begin with. Each piece flowers from buds of grainy piano loop or photic drone, revealing slithers
I feel like I’m standing at an immaterial T-junction of the internet: data hurtling back and forth in binary pulses, prism refractions of orchestra drone shining through the centre, convulsions of electricity on all sides. I’m not sure where to look. Where music of the digital realm can
I heard Laura Cannell for the first time only a couple of weeks back, while I was eagerly awaiting acoustic sets by Thurston Moore and Michael Gira at the London Barbican. Cannell’s supporting set – consisting largely of solo pieces for fiddle or double recorder – knocked me sideways; a mercurial
A kologo is a two-stringed lute from West Africa, with a long cylindrical neck and a resonating chamber made out of a dried calabash gourd (the large, round fruit of the calabash vine). The tone of the instrument is a firm, bright clack – vigorous in its plucked attack and beautiful
15 seconds into Fantasy League – the latest album by Australian composer Andrew Tuttle – a banjo springs into the frame, dancing jubilantly atop a slow-swelling drone, swaying over the synthesiser haze like plant life indulging a summer breeze. The record is full of rich visions like this; intersections of moist electronics
It’s a nice name for a record, because I get the impression that Genus Inkasso doesn’t entirely comprehend the rationale behind his own musical twitches and twists. Odd Little Gestures is a 26-minute exercise in acting without the obstruction of forethought or self-analysis; letting the hands enact the
There’s too much energy rumbling through Mars-96 to guarantee anything longer than 30 seconds of rhythmic coherence (melodic coherence never gets a look in). For fleeting stretches, everything locks down – drums solidify into jackhammer rhythms while the guitars twitch uncomfortably within the state of unison, lingering upon the idea
Ester Kärkkäinen works with the outer crust of music. The part that artists normally throw away; the in-between breaths, the whirrs of unwanted interference, the buzz of bad wiring, the amplified groan of labouring tape machines. Conditions Of Acrimony is orchestrated from failure, collecting those moments when voices fail to
The first track is called “You’re Free Now!”. As promised, I am liberated. Tom drums bound freely like galloping legs, tumbling in time to a piano that gleefully distorts as it spills beyond stereo restraint. It’s a viscerally happy sound, expressing jubilance as much with enthusiastic aerobic gestures