[ Orange Milk, 2017 ]
On his second full-length for Orange Milk Records, Darren Keen achieves the escape velocity that plunge him beyond the clichés of footwork, setting him free of endlessly repeating spoken-word samples that, let’s face it, can get quite annoying after a longer while. The drum patterns are as tight, fast and complex as ever. But here, Keen manages to slow down sometimes, providing a much-needed rest from the sensory overload of the genre, while proving that he’s able to break the mold and look further without locking himself into the safe zone. The album is full of politeness, which is also a welcome thing in the world of ubiquitous trolling and constant middle fingers toward everybody. Keep being polite, Mr. Keen. It works very well. Highly recommended!
The spring batch of tapes from Crash Symbols comes spearheaded by Brooklyn ambientalist Julia Bloop, who promotes the upcoming cassette Roland Throop with “I Gotta Get Outta This Place”. Bloop creates a dreamlike atmosphere by cleverly juggling relaxed percussive loops, spoken word samples and delicate melodies, resulting in a calm, melodic microcosm that sounds like a clever quote of late 90’s Ninja Tune and their downtempo classics.
Roland Throop is out March 24th via Crash Symbols.
[ PHINERY, 2016 ]
WHAT IS THIS MADNESS!? Brooklyn based sound shredder G.S. Sultan plunges headfirst into the wobbly, fluctuating soundworld of glitchy hyper-psychedelia, like an attempt to cram several terabytes worth of data into the form of a single album divided into several tracks. The result is overbearing and chaotic – imagine the wildest, weirdest moments of Astral Social Club playing on a baddly skipping CD or crippled by a severe digital compression, this is glitch with ADHD. Massive drones rise and fall, occasionally towering above the pointilistic, decomposed sea of violent bleeps and bloops, adding to the aural experience. A challenging but intruguing listen!
[ Kranky, 2016 ]
The new LP by the Brooklyn based synth trio Forma, called Physicalist. With an artwork done by Robert Beatty, the new release is fully informed by progressive electronics and Berlin school while retaining a unique balance between psychedelic and work-friendly. While most of Physicalist stays close to the more kosmische side, with deep cosmic drones and huge, spacious ambience, there are much more rhythmic moments, the ones when the listener can fall into the bliss of a simple endlessly repeated pattern (“Sane Man”, “Maxwell’s Demon”, “Physicalist”) or the moments of modern classical wonder, like on “As If Pianos Grew on Trees”, where the synths are replaced by pianos. Physicalist is a work of art, the one that slowly grows on the listener, but once it does, it stays. Highly recommended!
[ DFA Records, 2016 ]
The new release by the Boston/Brooklyn Guerilla Toss sees the band create a fully fleshed-out sound, much more dancey than their previous releases, combining noise rock skronk and no wave atonality with dance punk aesthetics. Meaty bass, maniacal drumming and the wonderfully unhinged manner of the vocalist Kassie Carlson sounding like the perfect amalgam of Lydia Lunch and Daniel Martin McCormick will leave you stomping your foot and nodding your head to those crazy rhythms for days. New York City might be cleaner, safrer and more gentrified these days, but the spirit of No Wave lives on. Recommended!
[ Northern Spy, 2015 ]
The basement. That dark, dank, often scummy part of the house or a building forever sheltered from the sunlight, hidden underground. Created with a noble idea of providing a space for keeping food or water heater, the basement got mugslinged in popular culture in recent decades for being a place of choice for murderers to kill and murder people or a place for residence for anti-social Internet-addicted outcasts also known as “basement dwellers”. But, in the world of music, the basement might be just an important as the recording itself – Bob Dylan even named one of his albums The Basement Tapes.
The basement was also the recording space for PC Worship, one of New York’s more notorious noise rock units. On the newest album (EP?) they explore a space between the melodic catchiness of alternative rock with sludgy, distorted malignant noise rock with some excursion into stoner metal zones (like the magnificently slow “My Lens”), while always staying in the thick soup of amplification and guitar filth. If Basement Hysteria is anything like a cabin fever, then things are going to get bloody.
Jefre Cantu-Ledesma definitely loves challenging music. His entire oeuvre focuses in the idea of pushing the texture in music to new boundaries. Whether it’s the lengthy, unchanged drones, ritual marathons or sandpaper, acidic ambience, there’s always beauty hidden beneath the noise. Jefre’s newest album, A Year With 13 Moons, is no exception from the rule. Like a harsher cousin of Tim Hecker, he purposefully coats the underlying captivating melodies with bursts of lo-fi white noise and corroding metat rattling over the soft interior. Difficult, but very atmospheric. For those looking for that thin border between ambient and noise.