Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Each man kills the thing he loves

I know, this is cheating.  I know, this is one line from one song.

The song:  Yukihiro Takahashi The Core of Eden, which is also on YMO records.  But I just love this track.  I love this track, I love Takahashi, and though I already did Yellow Magic Orchestra once, I just can't seem to stop listening to this track.  And oddly enough it's mostly because of that one line...

"Each man kills the thing he loves"

Takahashi's voice dips in pain at the end.  His voice carries a strength that emphasizes just how easily it can be defeated.  Its a wavering, undetermined, very weak and vulnerable voice.  It shows us all the reality of love.  Love is not a strong worldly power.  Love is a delicate, fragile, easily misplaced and overlooked thing.

Love can't change the world, love can't save a life.  Love is a porcelain vase standing on a towering pile of toothpicks standing end on end, the slightest breeze or sneeze sending them all catapulting toward the end of existence.

Each man kills the thing he loves.

Taken from Oscar Wilde's quote in A Ballad of Reading Gaol.

Oh, and I didn't even touch on the chorus, "This is the end of the Earth"


Michael Morley: Gate and The Dead C

So recently I've really gotten into the sound of blurred guitars, vocals, drums, and noise that is New Zealand's Gate and The Dead C.  The man behind both is Michael Morley.  I'm going to go on a rant right now, which is at least a bit related.

If you are in the music industry, or any industry, or alive, USE THE FUCKING INTERNET!  I could've seen Michael Morley live!  Recently! Apparently he was literally just in San Francisco live at the Great American Music Hall.  What the fuck.  Unless the website I found was wrong.  But seriously, I don't research what is playing every single week in my area, because you've seen my blog.  99% of the shit that plays I don't care about.  So that means when an artist I care about comes, unless they have an online presence and mention it, I am likely to miss them.  Case in point:  I saw Fennesz when he came to SF because it was on his website.  I missed Michael Morley cause he has no web presence.

Anyway.  That aside.  I love static soaked, low-fi sounds that reverb the fuck outta the listener and crumble away just as they begin to make sense.  Michael Morley, apparently, is also a fan.  I got into the Dead C and Gate just recently, and it is a unique moment for me when I listen to something for the first time and alreayd know: yes, I'm going to love this band.  I am going to love The Dead C and Gate.

They are different in their styles and intensity.  let's start with Gate, cause that's where I started.  Gate: The Dew Line.  This is more drum-free, more noise soaked approach to music.  The droning groans and distorted instruments lull you into a trance like state as they simultaneously ease you down and build you up.  it's strong, somewhat undefinable harshness yet extremely calming and accessible.

I like the vocals in this a lot.  A mixture of shoegaze, and just pure "I don't fucking care" vocal approach, and the lyrics seem to be a bit out of nowhere.  Morley sings, "I needed all the words..." for no apparent reason, or at least none I'm aware of, on the track "Needed All Words".  All of the lyrics are similar, feeling disembodied, unreal, another part of the surreal dream that envelopes you as you listen to this music.

Dead C is like the Skullflower of Bower's projects.  Those of you who are like "wtf" this means that it's Morley's more typical band like approach to music.  With a drummer, and another guy, they create as normal music as you'd expect.  It too takes the low-fi, drenched in decay approach.  It is equally bizarre on different albums, the style changing from garage rock to extreme noise, to just plain strange (I'm looking at you, The White House).  To say that this music is easy to define is a huge mistake.  It is constantly changing, and it never does the same trick twice.

One this that it always is, unique.  Unique, interesting, diverse, and enlightening.  Here is a small weird selection:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KhdrGJIasM  (same artist.  weird, right??)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013



I'm going to preface this entry by saying that in general, I really don't listen to black metal.  I don't care for the vocals:  the deep guttural men talking about whatever. And I don't care for the deep and repetitive bass lines, I just don't enjoy it.  Now technically Murmuüre may not be considered strictly metal, it is more industrial/black metal/experimental/whatever.  But you know what I can use the metal label as a generality.  And fuck you if you disagree.  Yeah.  In a good mood today.

Listening to Murmuüre the first time is an experience only similar in feel to those moments in life when you realize that you experiencing purity of emotion and thought.  I have only felt this way a few times, usually marked by a huge life event or by a musical experience that completely envelopes me.  Murmuüre has the enveloping, the purity down to a craft.

This one man band is the enigma of a man named Felix (or F.) and it is all based on a one hour improvised guitar session that is painstakingly recorded and mixed, added to and subtracted from.  I could go over the whole spiel, but why not just let him explain it:  click here http://murmuure.org/murmuure.html

In essence, this music transcends "metal"- it transcends everything really.  It is amazing, and being only 30 minutes long and six songs, that is really saying something.
The whole release (first it was cassette, reprinted as CD and vinyl) feels like a delicate poem almost, and although rigid, hurtful and unflinching, it is just as fine and intimate as a ballad.  It's a very personal work, one can tell immediately, one that must've felt like a weight lifted from the shoulders after Felix was done with it.
This music gives me hope for music.  I don't know how else to say it:  the fact that this exists is proof to me that I should keep searching, endlessly, for music.  Because sometimes you find something like this.

To go into specifics, the whole experience sounds very organic.  It's very raw and unrefined, at it's core a twisting and searing flame of emotional and existential void.  It creates and consumes not unlike fire, an uncontrollable and deadly fire that is respected as much as it is feared.  It has power, it entices you in and pulls you into it, and really it is just as powerful as love or sex.

The fine tuning, the "after effects" to the music, the drumming, the flute, the interesting whistle that starts the whole experience, the indiscernible yells that are heard sometimes, are just as important and just as instrumental as the guitar itself.  The whole thing is really built on those guitar improvs, taking something that is so raw in it's source and refining it down again and again, and then ending up with this as a whole.  The whole definitely exceeds it's parts in this case, although the parts are brilliant unto themselves.

The most remarkable thing about this record is that it's so entirely unique.  It truly sounds like nothing else.  In it's most basic level, it is a type of music, however in the details it's another, in it's performance another, and so on.  It could truly be loved by about anyone, I think.  Anyone with a good love of chaos that is.  Glowing reviews from everywhere online, being named heavy metal album of the month/week/year at different places by different people, shows I'm not the only one to think this, I can happily report.

The drumming is my personal favorite part of this.  The meticulous and very disturbed drumming, pounding away in a unconventional method, is beyond words.  The rot of the music, the distorted crumbling away of the archway upon which you balance, gives the drums a sick backdrop.  The timing of this release is impeccable.  Everything feels so exact, so balanced and thought out, and I suppose that makes sense for 30 minutes that took 3 years to make.  I admire and am astounded by that dedication.

I wish I could say that this is the first of many releases, or that it is not alone in its existence.  But so far I have yet to find anything that stands close to this in musical quality.  It is completely alone, and in all rights it should be.  It deserves it's own existence, it's own private musical universe wherein it reigns supreme as the only music and the only truth.

Maximum volume is necessary for full immersion.



please buy his music:


Monday, October 21, 2013

Black Sun Roof - 3012 & Feral

Given my most read post is about Skullflower's epic Fucked on a Pile of Corpses, I present to you another Matthew Bower project - the newest one, Black Sun Roof.

What discogs.com tells me is that Black Sun Roof is "A project of Samantha Davies and Matthew Bower of Skullflower and Voltigeurs, sometimes joined by Gordon Sharp of Cindytalk."  However neither of these two releases say anything about This Gordon Sharp character.  Samantha Davies and Bower seem to be constantly in collaboration, whether it's in Skullflower, Voltigeurs, or Valley of Fear.  So for them to team up again makes sense - and there does seem to be another element here, maybe that is Gordon, but again I can't say for sure.

Matthew Bower is probably one of my all-time favorite musicians.  You name what project, I'll like it most likely.  Given that the only project of his I haven't heard is the incredibly rare Sunlayer.  Now that Hototogisu is apparently over, and with Skullflower releases still coming sporadically, Bower clearly needs a new musical outlet.

Never one for slowing down or playing safe, Bower's Black Sun Roof project takes off immediately with the first release, Feral.  Feral is a grisly chunk of distorted noise, not as loud and aggressive as Skullflower's Fucked on a Pile of Corpses, but definitely in the same realm.

The noise here is a bit more harmonious, crafted, and musical.  The beginning track, Shit Slaughter has a theme of "skipping record" with a very short little snippet of a scream on repeat while chaos builds slowly around it.  Slowly the chaos overwhelms and destroys everything.
Lions and Peonies is my favorite track, calling back some of the works of Total, with a repetitive core sound, and layer after layer of distortion whirling around it.  It's truly an epic song.
Temple of Mithras, even sounds like some of the "shimmering" sounds of Sunroof! and Hototogisu, but with a howling background, and a bass line that those more happy-go-lucky releases never had.
Night Mare's Milk is an easy favorite as well.  Some distant bells and hazy noise infiltrate a repeating tune.  Good gradual build here.  Kind of sounds like a movie soundtrack
Son of the Blue Wolf introduces the only voices (I think) on the release, a clamor of voices in conversation whilst an actual melody builds and another repeating slice is also floating around in there.  Awesome.
Shadow of the Golden Fire is an almost ambient track, sounding like a repeating record caught in a groove of damnation and slowly falling apart before you.  It's eerie, slightly deeper than the rest of the release.
Feral was also released with a CD of some of Bower's older stuff, and 1 unreleased track.  The only songs that are rare on this CD is tracks 2, 3, and 7, depending on how hardcore a collector you are.  I would consider 8 also, but it is actually a reworking of "Ornamental Lake of Death" which is also on Wings Over America.

3012 is a completely different release.  When I heard Feral, I was glad it was the type of Bower project I like, and not another Sunroof! Temple Music.  The shimmery, Hototogisu approach is usually my least favorite of his musical styles, and unfortunately that is what the first couple tracks in 3012 sound like.  Granted, they are different enough, they have a static and some banging that would not be present in Temple Music, but all in all very little variation.
The last track, Glassy Penetralia darkens things up a bit with slices of what sounds like tortured machines presenting some very interesting sonic variances.  All in all, there is hope for Black Sun Roof (for me, anyway)
I have not heard 4 Black Suns & A Sinister Rainbow.  Please look for more reviews coming soon!

1/27/15 update:  rereading this, I realize I never actually reviewed all the songs on this release.  I still, in fact, have not added My Dark Angel, track 3, because well, I don't have it.  Someone send it to me!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Yeah, I know, I didn't post anything last month.  Kill me.

I did however, go on vacation to the island of Kaua'i, so that's a good reason.

I wanted to find Hawaiian music to write about here, but couldn't really find any.  If you know of any good Hawaiian bands, send em my way.  I know of NONE.

So what else?  I've been listening to YMO still, and the three guys that did it are just great.  I love it a lot.  I wonder what else...  That's it.  I know, lame right?

More next week.

Adios, or should I say aloha

Monday, August 19, 2013

Akira Rabelais

Fragmentary seems like the perfect introduction word to Los Angeles based musician Akira Rabelais.  Either that or innovative.
His approach is not something that easily be pinned down, and there are multiple examples of this.  Perhaps the most telling part of this story is that this is a man that created his own computer program with which to filter and modify the music that he plays.
His creation of his musical program the Argeïphontes Lyre, was the beginning to his 7 releases, which span everything from field recording to glitch noise.  His approach is normally one of producing the sounds and then running them through his program which alters it via filtering, re-combinations, and morphologies.  It's a high tech way of adding a computer touch to everything, as usually the program will decide on its own what to do to the sound he made.
He tends to take an ambient, quiet approach as seen in much of his music.  Being a musician in almost the classical sense, he composes for piano and guitar, as well as cultivating ideas in the IDM/electronic genre.

 His first release, "Elongated Pentagonal Pyramid", was very much an electronic and abrasive approach, with a few slower and calming tracks to the release.  It was released by himself at first before picking up attention and being re-released.  "Eisoptrophobia" and "...Benediction, Draw" followed, being piano and guitar based albums, respectively.
"Spellewauerynsherde" was the first time it was truly clear exactly what his program was capable of.  Rabelais took Icelandic choir songs that he found, reworked them, and filtered them through his program.  What came out is a mutant, unexpected, and slightly haunted sounding release full of bizarre voices echoing and floating around, and soothing drones of voice tonality.
To compare it to anything else, one would have to draw a comparison to something that had been damaged, like the works of William Basinski, which were constantly in a state of flux despite being at its core, repetitive.
Rabelais took a foray into field recording with "AM Station" and "Hollywood", which I must admit I didn't enjoy, as I don't really listen to field recordings.  So, next!

"Caduceus" came in 2010 - and this is where shit got serious.  Immediately it hits that this is not the slower, ambient, and field recordings that had preceded it.  This took a turn back towards his first release, "Elongated", except that the noises in this were not computer produced, but guitar produced.  He played stuff on a guitar, filtered it through his many programs filters, and emerged out an loud and disturbing piece of music.  It is groundbreaking to say the least.

He has since vanished from the music scene, I cannot find any information about him since then, so I don't know if we can anticipate another release or not.  His website is another separate enigma, which you can find a lot of information on, if you're willing to dig through its many, many pages.




Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yellow Magic Orchestra

Next time I'll do a post on something American.  Guaranteed.
Until then, let's return to one of my favorite places fro fun music: Japan!

Ah, the 80's.  The 80's and late 70's were a very interesting part in musical history, as synths and pop music began exploding and people began to like music that was heavily inorganic.  Of course, there was Moog's and synthesizers before then (but not long before...) but this was when they really hit the mainstream.
There was also a bit of the remnants of disco left which gave some early 80's pop a very dancy, almost techno-ish vibe to it.

From Germany, the band Kraftwerk made it doing simplistic repetitive technology-related tracks.  What I'd describe as the Japanese equivalent to Kraftwerk was Yellow Magic Orchestra.  Musical magnate Haruomi Hosono had been well known in Japan since the early 70's for his funky, jazz influenced releases - and he teamed up with two mostly-unknowns, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi.  Their first release, 1978's self titled release, exploded.

This was an odd blend of actual video game soundtracks and Japanese synth pop, which at first was overall similar to Kraftwerk in the minimal, computer and synthesizer sounds.  Only 2 of the 10 songs had lyrics, then being slowly drawled and more of a second thought behind the obvious focus:  computer sounds.  It was all together a faster paced type of electronic dance music, being much more pop-oriented, which is why I believe it was in the end a more successful venture.

The hit single "Tong Poo" brought the release to many other ears and to many other countries, and soon enough their second single was being released.  The wonderful thing about YMO was that as they grew in popularity, their releases kept coming both as a band and as individuals.  Sakamoto, Hosono and Takahashi would  continue to work on their own solo work as well as being in the band, never de-prioritizing either.

2 big releases in 1980 and 2 more in 1981 proved that they were a very prolific band, in addition to those Takahashi and Sakamoto both had big solo releases during those years.  They were a force to be reckoned with.  They dominated the early 80's in Japan.  Their venture proved not to be too long lived, however.  Come 1984 they released only one, remix CD.  That would prove to be their last release for almost 10 years, only returning in 1993 and 10 years later in 2003.

They went their separate ways, Sakamoto becoming the breakout artist when he went on to win an Oscar for his soundtrack to The Last Emperor.

They were truly a fun, unique band.  My favorite of their releases, BGM, is truly a classic of 80's pop. As they forayed more into pop, they began to sing more, and worked with Japan-based British singer/songwriter Chris Mosdell to write English songs, and these to me and just priceless. I don't know the process of how these songs got written, who truly deserves credit for the lyrics, but they're just all in all great songs.

The best thing about 80's music was that it didn't have to make sense, be ABOUT anything.  It was fine to sing a wreckless jargon and base it to bizarre zany rhythms and that was fine, people ate it up.  With thought, I present YMO's Cue:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Uptream Color

I'm going to depart from my usual music blog here to do a piece of writing on what I think is a fantastic, original, and mind-bending film.  Upstream Color
The plot is loosely about a man a woman who, sharing more in common than might be on the surface, bond together and try to reassemble their lives.  The way they are connected to is only hinted at throughout the film, and I'm intentionally leaving it out because I really want any readers of this column to go see the movie for themselves.
The essential thing to grasp about this film is that is not a paint-by-numbers, ordinary film.  The type of film this is intrigues, inspires, challenges.  It makes you think, it gives you parts of a story and infects the ideas in your head and makes you fill in the rest.  This is the kind of film that makes me fall back in love with movies.
When I was younger, I wanted to direct movies.  I was inspired by great films that I saw and I wanted to create my own unique vision.  The more Hollywood creations I saw, the less inspired I became however.
Where are the great, thinking man's films?  I saw action blockbuster again and again, and cheap remake after cheap remake.  I began to decide if this what people wanted to see, if this was where Hollywood saw the future, I didn't want to be a part of it.
Seeing a movie like Upstream Color reminds me of wonderful films like The Seventh Seal, movies that really made one contemplate themselves, and meaning.
Upstream Color is made by Primer director Shane Carruth, the man has a very focused and abstract mind, and his movies reflect not just brilliance but an entire philosophy.
Definitely A+, 100%, two thumbs up, whatever the rating system is it gets full marks.

Please watch it with an open mind.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


I logged onto this blog recently to discover that of all my page views, most of them were coming from Russia.  I have no idea why this would be, but it is an odd coincidence because recently I've been thinking a lot about Russian culture and music.
I've always been fascinated about other cultures, when I was young I was raised with Native American beliefs and rituals, because my parents are major hippies.  In fact one of my favorite stories is about how I lived in a tipi for over a year and participated in many a sweat lodge event.  This grew into a fascination with Asian culture and an appreciation for other ways of life that has extended to cultures all over the world.
I never had an knowledge of Russian culture when I was young, it is entirely new to me and brought on over the course of the last 3-4 years ever since I moved to Los Angeles and then to Oakland, CA.  I became enamored first with the writing, then the food, and then the music.
Although no "classic" Russian music has any interest for me, I developed an interest in some of the more industrial and experimental bands that have come out of Russia, in particular the works of Sergei Shubin and Биопсихоз.  Written in English as Biopsyhoz, this band is at what I would consider the forefront of Russian industrial metal music, and a really fuckin good band.
I discovered Biopsyhoz by doing one of my time honored routines:  going to a music store that features music from other cultures and randomly buying a CD based solely on cover art.  Through this, I've actually uncovered more great bands than any research or other method I've tried.  I didn't buy Biopsyhoz but my friend did, and so I got into them by listening to the CD he'd bought.
What a band like Rammstein did for Americans was make them realize that although it could be sung in a different language, music should be a universally appreciated idea.  You don't have to know what they're saying to appreciate it.  It is inevitable for me to compare Rammstein to Biopsyhoz because they're both foreign, both industrial, and both heavily influential.  For my money (or lack of it, as Biopsyhoz gives all their music away for free on their website) Biopsyhoz is better, though.
What does better mean?  I just like the dynamic involvement of experimentalism infused in their music.  Their is an aspect of the other-worldly, a funky and glitchy almost IDM like approach that makes it stand out and makes the music more memorable.
Whereas a band like Rammstain has some good songs and some forgettable songs, just like a lot of bands, Bioppsyhoz has only memorable tracks.  Really standout tracks are almost commonplace and going through their music creating a best of is difficult for me because I truly like about 100% of it.
They take some more unconventional approaches too when on certain tracks they invite other Russian singers, both male and female, some Russian rappers, and other guest musicians in to perform with them.  In fact one of my all time favorite tracks utilizes a female Russian vocalist and is a bit more of a pop/rock song in sound than their usual metal/industrial approach.
Please, enjoy:
До свидания!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

No music here

Yeah, I'm not writing about music today.  Rather, CD's.  You know, the shiny, round things you probably have bought music on at one point.  I am a CD fan.  It's actually a controversial thing to like, because as vinyl becomes more and more back into the mainstream and MP3s/digital formats become more and more prevalent, CD's are being forgotten.
Everyone I know has said the same thing about CD's:
1) they skip
2) vinyl is better because of how it sounds
3) vinyl is better because often it contains download codes and you can have the hard as well as digital music
4) blah blah hipster bullshit.

Lemme just say this:  fuck vinyl.  No, I'm not saying that vinyl is a inferior format and I'm not saying those things aren't true, but what I am saying is that CD's will always have that awesome 90's feel to them and vinyl just won't.  All's I'm saying is that I love my CD's and I love to buy them.

I just bought a CD at the store, and I'm extremely proud of it.  I won't ever buy cassette though,. because seriously, who the fuck has a cassette player any more???

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fucked on a Pile of Corpses

Skullflower's 2011 release, Fucked on a Pile of Corpses, is one of the most intense releases I've heard.

Sheer. Yes, sheer.  As in pure, as in absolute.  This is my description of this release.  Very noisy, very intense, and definitely harder than a lot of Skullflower, or Matt Bower in general for that matter.  The first track, Hanged Man's Seed, is a great example.  Distorted, bizarre beats tremble in the background as shrieks blare out of nowhere and a dizzying throb of guitar pulsates in the background.  I just wish it could go on forever.
Something is very twisted and rotting at the core of this, the black soul is edging out and taking over.  This release does not hold out hope for humanity or the future, rather it squashes hopes and dreams like it was second nature.
Skullflower has dabbled in the droning, experimental, traditional rock and Ethnic music (hell, all of Bower's projects have) and this is nothing like that.  When I first heard this, it's hard to believe this comes from the same mind that brought us such freewheeling, happy-go-lucky Sunroof! releases like Temple Music and Rainbow Electric Sabbath.
Even earlier Skullflower, the dissident, rock band that is was, was nowhere near this imposing, hurtful, and scary.  When acting as a team, it seems Bower would often feel at ease just to sit back and create beautiful walls of freeform noise, and this is definitely not a team work, and not beautiful.  This is, as I said, Sheer.

Maximum volume recommended:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Biggest news in 8 years

I know I'm a bit late to act like this is breaking news, but Boards of Canada, one of my favorite bands and one of the leaders of bizarre IDM music, is releasing their first album in 8 years come this July.
Something is to be said for a band that has stayed strong, and managed to make huge waves with every one of their releases, and stayed at the fore front of experimental music for the last 20+ years.  Something is also said by the legions of hardcore, devoted fans that have created websites, wikis, blogs, theories, and paid thousands of dollars just to have any bit of information about this band.
Thoroughly secretive, cult-like, and clearly very intelligent, the brothers Sandison have created musical voyages unlike anything else, whether it is ambient, IDM, downtempo, experimental, etc.  Their music has a very deliberate quality to it, so that even if it sounds like it has been aged by hundreds of years, that is the intended and desired effect.
The beginning was the impossibly rare Twoism release in 1995.  This was the first time anyone outside of friends and family had access to any of their music (which they had been making for several years before this release).  This became noticed by fans and other musicians alike, due to amazing tracks like Sixtyniner, Oirectine, Twoism, Smokes Quantity, and the quiet, strange 1986 Summer Fire.
Boc Maxima followed, with 20 tracks that ranged from beat oriented Chinook, Everything You do is a Balloon, June 9th, and Turquoise Hexagon Sun, to strange wandering snippets like Wildlife Analysis, Skimming Stones, Concourse and Carcan.
By this time, they had developed a following and caught the attention of the band Autechre and record label Warp.  Their next release, Music Has the Right to Children, was distributed more than anything previous to it, and again took audiences through the many visions of music the band had.  For the first time, they had a hit too, with the track Sixtyten and Roygbiv.
Things turned dark with Geogaddi, a very intense release that had some of their most intense songs and some of the more bizarre works.  Tracks like Gyroscope, 1969, The Devil is in the Details, and You Could Feel the Sky evoked a very dark and twisted feeling, and this for me is the highlight of their work.
We had a remarkably different The Campfire Headphase, bringing heavy use of guitars and slower beats to the mix, including their second, larger hit, Dayvan Cowboy.  With just 4 unheard Boards of Canada tracks, Trans Canada Highway came out with a similar style to Headphase, with less beats and more weirdness to it.

Fans are exploding with theories as to the new music, you can check out www.twoism.org or the major work of accomplishment that is www.bocpages.org or read this rave review: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/838-music-has-the-right-to-children/


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Touch Radio

Touch Radio

The idea behind Touch Radio is brilliant and unique.  You have a successful record company (Touch, out of England)  www.touchmusic.org.uk and then semi-regularly, you invite the artists signed to your label, as well as just about anyone who is willing to contribute, to release music onto your website, which will then be made free to visitors.
Giving people a sample of an artists sounds, giving the artists a way to attract fans and attention, and giving your website a league of followers who are looking to hear new, different sounds at no cost to them.  The majority of releases on the website are collaborations, and live performances.  However, the real attraction here for me, the reason I mention it in Strange Music Spotlight, is the bizarre and off the wall sounds that are sometimes featured on Touch Radio.
It begins as early as Touch Radio session 7, when sound artist Toshiya Tsunoda contributed "Studies of the sonic effects of physical vibration."  In this Touch Radio episode, many sonic complexities were presented including:  the sound of ceramic discs on glass plates while a sounds frequency causes them to vibrate, amplitude of audio signal switching, and an electromagnetic siren vibrating.
In further Touch Radio sessions, other sound tests and experiments were shown, but prominent sound artists who had ideas that although not usual in any sense, were brilliant and strange to say the least.  Experimenting with spoken word, twisted field recordings, and much more.
The musical entries are wonderful, including original music from brilliant artists like Fennesz, KK Null, CM Von Hausswolff, Z'ev, Daniel Menche, Steve Roden, Philip Jeck, Biosphere, and Oren Ambarchi.  The strange recordings for me are capped off with the entry "Gnatonemus Petersii" by Pahnotm Airwaves on Radio 59, in which a fish that emits a low electrical field to see with echolocation, is recorded and mixed into something altogether brilliant and completely different from any such music out there.
It is this continuing endeavor by Touch that must be shared with everyone.  Because really, have you ever heard the sounds of a fish living, up close?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Aube (Page 2)

to further my rant about aube, i must first draw some outlines for exactly what his type of music is considered.  to quote wikipedia, ambient music is "music that is designed to be part of the environment."   now to me that could mean a lot of different things:  wouldn't it depend on the environment?  would different hostile environments perhaps get hostile music?  it is however still correct in its definition.  this music does fit an environment.  a crazy, slightly off environment.  one where you wake up unsure about your location, and may even feel like you're in danger.  as the mystery grows and panic sets in, your eyes are losing focus and you're falling and tripping a lot, and nothing is making sense.  something comes out of nowhere and your heart leaps into your throat, you realize it was nothing and you're calm.  this is the type of environment i think of when i hear this music.  something very ominous, alien, and possibly dangerous.

the ability of music to surprise you, to put you at ease, or to make you intrigued is something i really look for.  it's just so far removed from the typical radio music and the chorus that everyone seems to have stuck in their heads.  aube's making a statement about music itself, what music can be, and what it can be capable of.

there is no envelope to push, their is no definition to destroy when it comes to music.  there is nothing that is wrong or right, and simply put music is like beauty, in the eye of the beholder.  so with that meaningless afterthought, i conclude my thoughts on aube.

not too sure if this guy is dead or what, his website hasn't been updated since 2005, but it's amazing and gives much more information than mine:  http://rgnz.free.fr/aube/

hope you like it

Update 10/29/14:  I have just found out this musician has passed away!  He was only 54, and passed away September 25th 2013.  Man, that sucks.  Rest in peace, Nakajima Akifumi

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Aube (Nakajima Akifumi)

Entry one.
I've wasted three lines already!

Music is something that I find tremendously interesting.  I like a wide range of eclectic and strange stuff, and lean towards "electronic" and "experimental" music.  I have thoughts about it I've tried to share via a few very short lived websites, so now I thought I'd start a blog about it instead.  I do not have any idea how you'll find this if you do, but if you do I hope you like it.

Day 1
the strange world of japanese noise........

noise is very different overseas, it seems.  it's not this ridiculed thing, and it actually is pretty interesting.  i am into several american noise acts, but most noise and most people that like it tend to be in europe, canada, and japan.  japanese noise is ruled by several titans, all of them having a long history of making noise.
strange as a word does not describe noise music.  in fact, no single word, idea, or even this blog i'm writing can come close to "defining" noise, nor should it try.  rather, i'm just going to write about it, how i like it, and what the different "varieties" are

merzbow is perhaps the most known japanese noise musician.  his startling output spans hundreds of releases from the late seventies until now, and has remained quiet noisy and actually popular during that time.  if anyone you know has any knowledge of noise, they will undoubtedly know of his work.

my personal favorite however, is aube, also known as nakajima akifumi.  i just think its pretty amazing that all of his recordings are based on usually only one audio source, for example water.  he will take these recordings of water, screw around with them and mix them and layer them and so forth, and create dense, wonderful drone type sounds with them.  i just find this type of music fascinating.  the raw power of the sound can be overwhelming, and the drones can impact you in ways that you can't ever imagine water doing.
this type of music i just see as so eclectic, bizarre, and downright confusing sometimes.  like, i want to ask aube why?  why take water, or a light bulb, or a heart beat, lungs, a can, a floppy disk, a clock, fire, a building, steel wire, etc, why take these and turn them into these songs?  is it that you understand the sounds that these things can make that most of us are not aware of, and thus you feel you need to present them in this way?  is it just a test to yourself to make a whole track, a whole album, out of one sound source?

it is the concept of some musicians to include the sounds of the natural world (hence the whole genre of field recording) and aube's music is sort of related to this.  perhaps in some bizarre condition, you could hear sounds similar to the ones he makes in the natural world - given they they are for the most part from naturally occurring sources.  even the man made sources are usually not traditional sound-making objects.  a floppy disk, a can, a building, steel wire - these things were not designed with the sonic possibilities in mind.  we have seen other examples of this sound being used however, one of the notable related jobs would be a foley artist, who commonly uses man made or natural devices to make sounds.

perhaps in a way aube is doing this job as well.  perhaps the type of audio that he creates could be classified as creative foley.  he does use audio producing sound devices too, however.  often he will use a voltage controlled oscillator, small speakers have been used, and furthermore he has used a monophonic analogue synthesizer.  in his later recordings, it seemed his use of electronic sound producing machines was raised a bit, and he also began to combine multiple sounds into making single tracks and albums.  in addition to these two changes, he also began to remix the works of other musicians, as well as remix his previously recorded albums and tracks.

what makes this music deeper to me is the ability to really make an impact.  i first heard "cardiac strain" which is made using only the sounds of the human heart.  by playing with the sounds and mixing them, he was able to create interesting and really dynamic sounds structures.  the track "infatuation" is the stand out track for me, the high pitched cry in the background as the violent throbbing makes you hope and prey that your heart never sounds like this.  it is perhaps made more powerful by the fact we're listening to the sound of humanity, of the blood in our very veins, and the essence of life itself.

okay, i just want to post this.  more later i promise.  probably shouldn't have started writing while i was busy.