Best of 2012

Posted in Best of on December 27, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

For those of you following the absolutely indispensable “The Antidote Podcast” you may have had a sneak preview of my best of list for 2012. This year I decided to be less of  a pussy and actually rank them. 2012 has been an amazing year for experimental music and getting my list down to 10 has been a slog

1. Mike Shiflet – The Choir, The Army

2. Mick Shiflet / Joe Panzner  – Split

3. Helm – Impossible Symettry

4. Carter Tutti Void – Transverse

5. Trouble Books – Concatenating Fields

6. Lee Gamble – Diversions 1994 – 1996

7. Daniel Menche – Guts

8. Heroin In Tahiti – S/T

9. Gyps – Den

10. Jason Lescalleet / Aaron Dilloway – Grapes and Snakes

Best Moment of Australian Television Ever

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This appeared on a biggest rating variety show on the largest rating network of the time. Hosted by a moron and a puppet.

Lorenzo Senni – Quantum Jelly (Editions Mego) 2012

Posted in Lorenzo Senni, Music on November 25, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Lorenzo Senni  is a name I’ve heard before, mostly from  his emails about Presto? Records, but who I have never actually heard. Now I’ve admitted in the past to being a bit of a label whore and Editions Mego is one of the labels that I spend a great deal of cash keeping up with. More importantly  do you see those shoes on the cover? I own them but mine are orange. Right comfortable they are. See that blue gel substance in the sole. Bouncy it is. It also tells you a bit about Quantum Jelly itself.

There are a number of Mego artists that play around with the carcass of techno in all its various forms. snd’s Mark Fell is probably the best known. I’ve always found Fell’s work to be extremely uncomfortable because of the way he shaves away all of the fun from techno and creates sterile minimalist beats. I suspect that the techno that Fell is inspired with is of the stark Basic Channel variety. Senni is much more concerned with that cloyingly sentimental Western European trance music so beloved by, you know, the Dutch for instance. Yet unlike Fell, Senni doesn’t try to obliterate the beats beyond recognition. The tracks are simple and reductionist but some of the cheese is left in there. This is most obvious on the third track MakeBelieve, which I hated myself for liking. But you know, there are reasons why this stuff is popular. It is after all basically emotional music for the essentially soul less. There is a fair amount of colour in this jelly but it may be best not to over think it. It is a record that is not going to change the world but I can’t help but like it. As comfortable as those blue asics trainers.

The Antidote Podcast

Posted in Uncategorized on November 25, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Sorry I haven”t been around for a little while but I promise that I’ll do better from now on. In the meantime did you know that there is now a ducksbattlesatan approved podcast? It is called The Antidote and feature myself and Ingmar from evolkweenthemusical blabbering on about records. It is ten buckets of goodly noise/experimental/drone excellentness and you should run here or to the itunes to get your free download.  The first two episodes are up and tonight we recorded episode 3. Listen right to the end to here about our special Menche competition. In a few weeks we record our beginners guide to Merzbow. Stay tuned!

Locrian & Christoph Heemann – S/T (Handmade Birds) 2012

Posted in Christoph Heemann, Doom, Drone, Locrian, Music with tags , , , , on October 16, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Here are two artists I don’t know a lot about. I knew about Heemann from his collaboration with Merzbow and work with Nurse With Wound and the Chicago duo Locrian have made a previous  appearance on this site with their Rain of Ashes record. Before listening to this record I kind of knew that Locrian mined a drone metal sort of sound palette. That sort of sound  feels very stale to me now. The  number of submissions I receive from bands who still play it have not instilled me with a great deal of confidence that there is anyone thinking freshly about metal in a drone  context. When this arrived I was in two minds whether I would listen to it but I did and I’m glad I did. This is a truly great record. It is also a pretty difficult sound to pin down.  There is a shit load going on on this records four lengthy tracks. The first track Hecatomb is one of my favourite pieces of music mright now. It’s roots are obviously firmly in a drone metal context yet it is the injection of Necks style piano and  a feeling of improvised abandon with the guitars which lend the music an open, expansive feel. The second track lifts its skirts to reveal its blackened metal soul whilst the third track Edgeless City is an excursion through ambient drone with a sinister edge that gradually becomes much more oppressive.The final track, The Drowned Forest sees the artists getting their inner druid on for some ritualistic vocal action which become more intense as it progresses. It’s strangely beautiful and overwhelming all at once.

2012 has seen some excellent collaborations and split LP’s. Swanson and Shiflet, Dilloway and Lescalleet, Shiflet and Panzner, Blankenship and Reed have all produced amazing records this year. Add this too the pile.  This record has restored my faith in  bleak metal.

Bee Mask – Elegy For Beach Friday (Spectrum Spools) 2011

Posted in Bee Mask, Drone, Music with tags , , , on October 10, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I have seen some unbelievably great shows this year. One of my absolute favourites was back in July when Rites Wild and a rather unimpressive local act supported the great Bee Mask aka Chris Madak. Of course with any great show there is always great merch and I just so happened to get myself a copy of Elegy For Beach Friday before I left.

It is difficult to describe the experimental  electronica that Bee Mask produces. It is fair to say that on this record, the foundations of the  sound is rooted firmly in drone territory but infused throughout are Caretaker-style nostalgia, bubbling electronica, buzzing insect-like sounds, broad sweeping elegiac passages of sheer beauty, synth excursions and clouds of opaque and menacing drone. As an album, Elegy works extraordinarily well notwithstanding that it is a compilation of rare vinyl and tape tracks from 2003 to 2010. In fact rarely has a record had such an effect on me as this. It is one of those records that seeps into the consciousness and is an almost perfect rendering of great electronica that explores  beauty, menace and sadness. Bee Mask has a new EP on Room 40 and his new Spectrum Spools release of new material arrives in a few weeks. Don’t be surprised to see either of those reviewed hear soon. Elegy is mesmerising and fantastic.

Hallock Hill – The Union / A Hem of Evening (Mie Music) 2012

Posted in Hallock Hill, Music with tags , , on September 9, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I’ve listened to and digested every Mie Music release from the last few years and it occurred to me whilst I was listening to this record by Hallock Hill that this small boutique label has introduced me to music and artists that have sent me off on musical tangents that I never expected. In effect the taste of some guy called Henry has now become part of my musical journey. This is the guy who not only release one of the best things Daniel Menche has ever done in the spooky Yagua Ovy but also rereleased Gate’s epic Dew Line record – just because, you know, he wanted to.

Take this double LP from Hallock Hill for instance. I am a noise and experimental music guy with a nostalgic bent for late eighties hardcore. I like my music shockingly difficult – bordering on indescribable. So why has this record of 15 of the most hauntingly beautiful improvised acoustic guitar tracks had me completely mesmerised for the past few days? Before playing this record  the idea of listening to acoustic guitar solo music – well look, quite frankly, it probably wouldn’t have happened. But Hallock Hill, otherwise known as Tom Lecky has created a pretty yet occasionally dissonant space for people like me to drown in. This double record is actually two separate works. The Union was originally released last year and A Hem Of Evening was recorded about the same time but finds it’s first release here. I don’t play the guitar and my desire in creating music finished at the end of HIgh School so I have o idea what Lecky is actually doing but it sound like there are three separate guitar players at times particularly on the amazing The Sheets. The effect he creates is both archaic and meditative. This record could have come out anytime in the past 40 years – music like this is timeless.

If you haven’t got a record player, I’m assuming Boomkat will have a digital copy for sale soon enough. Check out samples at

Arsenal – Factory Smog Is A Sign Of Progress (Touch and Go) 1990

Posted in Arsenal, Big Black, Music with tags , , , on August 29, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I bet you are thinking to yourself, “why on earth do I need to read a review about some late 1980’s hardcore band that no-one remembers of even cares about”.  Well the reason that I wanted to draw this to your attention is that Arsenal was the final pre-law school  band of Santiago Durango,  the bass player for Naked Raygun and most importantly Big Black.  When Albini folded Big Black and then went on to his finest hour in the terrifyingly great  Rapeman, Durango moved on to Arsenal which he may have been the only member of (I stand to be corrected – info is limited). Now at the time that Durango was releasing the mighty Manipulator EP on Blast First, Albini was creating all sorts of fuss with Rapeman to the point that his much protested tour of the UK ended in the band breaking up. I suspect that Arsenal kind of got  starved of oxygen at the time. Durango then went on to release the Factory Smog Is a Sign Of Progress EP on Touch and Go and then ceased to exist. The CD of Factory ….. that I tracked down on amazon also includes the Manipulator EP. The only other place Arsenal every appeared was on the famous Devils Jukebox 10 x 7inch single boxset that Blast First put out in the late 1980’s. The  single fro that compilation, Little Hitlers, appears on Manipulator.

So there you have it –  a career of nine released tracks all contained on an out of print but easily available  CD.  The music itself mines a much more straight forward hardcore path.  The chilling obliqueness of Big Black is set to one side  for a more music friendly approach. It is still a ferocious record (particularly the four tracks that make up the Manipulator EP) and the reason I  recommend it is that it is absolutely soaked with “that” bass sound. If you have spent any time with Big Black you will know what I mean.  If  I was to nerd-out and create my late 1980’s hardcore supergroup then the role of bass player would have been given to Durango. His playing is easily identifiable and, well, it makes me very happy hearing it again outside of the context of Big Black.  If you have any interest in mid-western hardcore from this period then Arsenal is worthwhile hearing. It is a bit of a lost gem quite frankly.

Mike Shiflet – Sufferers (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on August 10, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Type records have been releasing some absolutely cracking records in 2011/2012. Two of the finest are the Mike Shiflet records Sufferers and Merciless. Both records were recorded just before Shiflet’s ground breaking Llanos record of last year. Sufferers came out at the end of last year and is my favourite of the two. It’s always hard to categorise Shiflet’s music. I suppose the starting point is to call the tracks on Sufferers drone but I just feel that the use of that term is just not quite right. There is a melancholic deliberateness to the work here.The sound moves incrementally and  in some ways it has the overall feel of an ambient version of Wolf Eye’s  Burned Mind record of a few years back. There is a lurching post apocalyptic field recording quality to the first few tracks but it’s Shiflet’s use of volume and intensity of the sounds that makes Sufferers a couple of steps away form an ordinary drone listening experience. This is drone for the rust-belt noise guys – the sort of thing which seeps into your consciousness to leave you just a little creeped out and extremely unsettled.  Tremendous.

Thanks Keith Fullerton Whitman

Posted in Keith Fullerton Whitman, Music, noise on August 10, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

The flu kept me away on the night but this has made me very happy.

Pete Swanson – Man With Potential (Type) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans with tags , , on July 31, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Sorry I haven’t been around. Life has kind of gotten in the way of updating this site as much as I would like to. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been listening to a shit-ton of great music but in between the impending arrival of my third son, selling our house and a fucking horrible bout of Influenza A, the desire to type out my thoughts on records kind of collapsed. I even had to miss Keith Fullertom-Whitman’s recent show at the IMA because of the evil flu. One show I won’t be missing no matter whether I get sick, my kid gets born early or some other life issue is Pete Swanson’s gig at the Judith Wright Centre in August. The Yellow Swans are my favourite band –  period. I think for the last Yellow Swans record I reviewed here, Going Places, I said that the band just kept going from strength to strength wit this continual ability to make a better record that their last. I think Pete Swanson has managed to continue this quality into his solo work.

There are records of the past few years that i call my “Holy Shit” record. Albums that are just so flawlessly fantastic that  they attain the right to be called instant classics. In that group I place Black To Comm’s Alphabet 1968. Burning Star Core’s Challenger, Yellow Swans Going Places, Mike Shiflet’s Llanos, Daniel Menche and Kevin Drumm’s Gauntlet, Cane Swords’ Big Warmup In The Mouth Of Eternity. I also think that Man With Potential is up there with those records. Man With Potential sees Swanson embrace electronica and variations of techno, dub and minimalist beats and inject it with a giant dose of melancholia to replicate the rave at the end of the world. It’s stunning stuff. An album that is such a leap to the left of the  tremendous guitar  drones of the  I Don’t Rock At All. This is vinyl only but for a couple of bucks boomkat will sell you the mp3. One of the best records you’ll ever buy.

Mark Fell – UL8 (Editions Mego) 2011

Posted in Uncategorized on July 14, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Yesterday I was on a Lego run to a local shopping centre with my eldest. Despite his appreciation of One Direction, the kid has a pretty good ear. He has always had an opinion on noise and is a bit of a Daniel Menche fan. I decided to play a bit of Mark Fell as a soundtrack to the appalling traffic and rain. Truth be told, my first born was not a fan, his only comment being that it sounded like a vomiting robot. Although the vomiting robot comparison was lost on me, I had to agree that the first couple of tracks are pretty much unlistenable. There is something utterly nauseating about the beats that Fell creates which are both rubbery and harshly metallic at the same time. On the liner notes to this CD, Fell explain his process. The first five tracks are created by “using 32 operator frequency modulation synthesis configured in 16 pairs of operator and modulator, panned at equal positions around the circumference of a circle using high order ambisonics.” Got that? Didn’t think so.
Although I could gladly live the rest of my life without ever having to listen to those tracks ever again the fact is that this record, for the most part, is excellent stuff. The second suite of tracks are called Vortex Studies. I won’t spend time writing about how he came to make these tracks but they feel like an avant grade take on techno. The texture and elements work much better than the initial five tracks and if you love your electronica weird as shit then you will be very happy indeed.
The third suite is titled Acid In The Style Of Rian Treanor and reminded me much more of Fell’s previous work with .snd. The seven tracks which make up these experiments are absolutely fantastic. I think what it comes down to is that I like Fell as a difficult electronic musician rather than a theoretical sound artist. Best to leave that shit to Florian Hecker.

Haswell & Hecker – Blackest Ever Black (Warner Classics and Jazz) 2007

Posted in Florian Hecker, Music, noise, Russell Haswell with tags , , , on June 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

The location – Warner Classical and Jazz Corporate Office, London 2007

Phil: Thanks for coming everyone. As you know this meeting has been called to discuss the first quarter releases. So what have you all got?

Debbie: I have some great Ray Charles reissues.

Phil: Great – they’ll sell like fucking hot cakes. What else?

John: I’ve got a new 18 year old cello protegé from Malaysia.

Phil: Sounds good. Is she fuckable?

John: Hell yeah!

Phil: What do you have Bill?

Bill: Well I’ve been reading the Wire and there are  these two guys called Florian Hecker and Russell Haswell and they are into sound art and shit.

Phil: I’m listening …

Bill: See what they do is feed pictures into Xenakis’s UPIC machine to produce sound and music. It is totally off the charts! It sounds like electronic squelches and drones and stuff. It’s  a total mind fuck.

Phil: It may be the amount of PCP I’ve just had but that sounds like an absolute winner.

Bill: They may not be fuckable but the sound totally fucks with your mind so same same if you get my meaning.

Phil: You had me at “may”.

Fast forward three months later

Phil: Bill can you come in here for a second.

Bil: Sure, what’s up?

Phil: You’re fired. Get out.

* I quite liked it by the way.

Merzbow – Merzphysics (Youth Inc) 2012

Posted in Merzbow, Music, noise on June 11, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

The days of forking out a fortune for these sorts of releases may be coming to an end. This wonderful 10 CD boxset of previously unreleased tracks from 1994 cost me an absolute fucking fortune and I have kids for fuck’s sake. I shouldn’t be spending my children’s school fees on obnoxious noise.

The years 1994-1996 were an incredible time for Merzbow records. Think about records like Pulse Demon, Venerology, Mercurated, Oested, Noise Embryo, Green Wheels, Noizhead, Spiral Honey – all are amazing and among the best work Merzbow ever produced. The purchase of Merzphysics also coincided with me finally seeing Merzbow live. That must rate as one of the best shows I’ve witnesses. The wonderful Lawrence English from Room 40 took advantage of Merzbow being brought out by a festival in another state and organised a free show at the excellent Judith Wright Centre. For an hour Merzbow wore some noise making contraption as a guitar and rubbed it with various implements (my favourite was a plastic spaghetti ladle). It created a continual bombardment of fuzz and feedback , the noise pulsed, chugged, zoomed and threatened. Around the forty minute mark my friends ran for it. It was simply too much for them. I stayed but in those last fifteen minutes things got dark. The noise just became so amazingly oppressive. The floor of the theatre started to feel liquid. It stopped the hipsters who were trying to mosh and dance, dead in  their racks. It was the most extreme sound experience I have ever had. The whole vibe of the room changed, blackened. It just became  gobsmackingly evil. After that experience, listening to Merzphysics is an absolute doddle.

The ten discs that make up Merzphysics are similar in form to those albums that I listed above. These are the types of Merzbow records that I really like getting stuck into. The tracks eschew the recognisable forms of his later work and embrace the multilayered pure noise that pretty much defines the genre. The pleasure in records like Merzphysics is to get amongst the layers to tease out the sounds, to squeeze below the levels of aggression to find its beating heart. The tracks are probably a bit less harsh than those on Venerology and Pulse Demon but this is not a box set for the uninitiated. In many ways I prefer this to Merzbow’s last great boxset Merzbient. Although Merzphysics as a physical package isn’t particularly impressive compared to Merzbinet (and it is much more expensive), the tracks are more the sort of things that I look for in great Merzbow tracks. I just wish it was more affordable so people can hear it. If you can afford it, buy it. The only way of getting hold of it is to buy it off the Merzbow website.

Phil Blankenship & David Reed – Rhinestone (Troniks) 2012

Posted in David Reed, Music, noise, Phil Blankenship on June 6, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Troniks, the label of Phil Blankenship best known for his work in The Cherry Point has been a bit quiet.  For a good many years Troniks was releasing some of the best noise records around. One of the first noise records I tracked down was the extraordinarily brutal Live At Camp Blood, a ferocious work out between The Cherry Point and Yellow Swans which in the past few weeks I’ve been coming to terms with after a few years break. Troniks was also behind the release of one of my favourite noise records of all time, Lasse Marhaug’s The Great Silence. If you head on over to the Troniks site right now you’ll find a ridiculously good deal where Phil will send you five CD’s for $20 with shipping included anywhere in the world.  That is one  hell of a deal and if you take him up on it I reckon you should make Rhinestone one of your five because it is just fantastic.

In the past few years the US noise scene  has taken a side step with the most influential bands breaking free of the constraints of noise. The nice thing about artists like Richard Ramirez, Sam McKinley from The Rita and Phil Blankenship is that their noise vision has remained undiluted and that my friends, suits me just fine.

On Rhinestone  Phil Blankenship teams up with David Reed a man whose various projects have been released on Troniks in the past. The single 30 minute track is a noise nerd’s wet dream. The thing I really liked about it was that the static wall of noise which is used by many Troniks artists as the main game is only a supporting player here. That wall of static provides the bedrock to all of the other tricks and noise that gets piled on top. Everything from the sounds of a set of suitcases being thrown down some stairs, some guitar style feedback, Merzbow-esque maximalism, amp buzz and Wolf Eyes post industrial rust belt chic to name a few are messily placed on top of each other  to create what I think may be the first great noise record of 2012.

Mike Shiflet – Gutter Divas (Dokuro) 2010

Posted in Drone, Mike Shiflet, Music, noise with tags , , , on June 5, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Mike Shiflet has had a great run of releases recently and I promise I’ll get around to posting on them soon but I really wanted to write about this one. Gutter Divas was a cassette only release from 2010 which appeared in very limited quantities on an Italian label, Dokuro. There are still copies floating around on the internets but you need not  worry about such things because for  couple  of bucks you can get your own copy straight of Mike’s bandcamp site. I actually find it extraordinarily difficult to write about Shiflet’s music. He has graciously agreed to an interview but  for  a man who makes a living  cross examining witnesses I’m really struggling to come up with a set of questions that don’t sound lame.

Anyway, Gutter Divas is a two track release which focuses on static-heavy drone. The first track Gutter Divas uses sudden changes in volume to, I don’t know, raise  the tension and  … look what I think he does is smash the passiveness of the usual listening experience that tends to be the fall back position of people like me who are huge fans of the meditative qualities of drone. Drone is an overused term on this blog  and it has a many variants as any other genre but I suppose what Shiflet achieves is a more restless, industrial, overt form which is like a caffeinated ambience. The second track, They Don’t Have The Heart to Tell You is the type of straight up drone record where the subtle insertions of other frequencies and sounds and variations in volume keep the track from being purely static. Although it feels like much less is going  on than the first track, it is far more aggressive in the fact that the drone used is the type that changes the  listener’s ear pressure (which I actually like a fair bit). Gutter Divas is the Shiflet record I listen to the most and a pretty neat starting for those that have never heard him before.

CM Von Hausswolff – 800 000 Seconds in Harar (Touch) 2011

Posted in CM Von Hausswolf, Drone, Music with tags , , , on June 4, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

I the last few years of his life, Arthur Rimbaud, lived in Harar Ethiopia where he made his living as a coffee merchant and arms dealer. It was the place where he first started suffering the symptoms of cancer which would later claim his life at the age of 37. A playwright, Ullrich Hillebrad sent Swedish sound artist and composer  CM Von Hausswolff to Harar to record sounds for some music that he wanted Von Hausswolf to develop for a play based on a letter written by Rimbaud.

Von Hauswolff manages to  get a large number of field recordings from his stay in Harar as well as some notes from an ethiopian string  instrument called a krar which he then creates into pieces of the most exquisite minimalist drone. The first two tracks, Day and Night,are like a perfect amalgam of two of my favourite records, Russell Haswell’s Wild Tracks and Kevin Drumm’s Imperial Horizon.  The remaining two tracks are not quite as strong as the two openers, but the third track Alas! is what I reckon Stars of the Lid would sound like if they scored a horror film. Glacial tension if you can imagine such a thing. I suppose another way to hear it is  as an interesting link to Von Hausswolff’s interest in EVP’s and other  spooky things.  The final track is much more challenging.   A Sleeper in the Valley is an oscillator overlaying a morse code rendition of one of Rimbaud’s poems. Awesome? Shit yeah! And pretentious as fuck I might add but when the record sounds this good I  don’t really care.

Dave Phillips – ? (Heart and Crossbone) 2010

Posted in Dave Phillips, Music, noise with tags , , on May 28, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Late last year I was posting about some record or another and several loyal readers began speaking very highly of Dave Phillips. At that time I had never heard of him yet after those comments I started to see his name everywhere. Phillips was one of the co-founders of hardcore group, Fear of God, and after their break up has been producing solo work under his own name.

If  my house caught on fire and I could only save ten of my CD’s I reckon this would probably be one of them. Phillips has moved along way from any semblance of hardcore on ?. This is a record that is all about embracing field recordings and sound collage in a, quite frankly, terrifying way. Much seems to have been written about the third track which to me sounds like a light bondage session with Satan. Nurse with Wound would often insert prurient sounds into their tracks but I don’t think anything comes close to the sheer and utter filth that Phillips puts together on this one.  Yet bum slapping, demonic grunting  and female moaning aside, the manner in which he fuses multiple layered bird calls, static, a loud and persistent heart beat, a swarm of flies, street sounds, accordion, doom piano and other goodies will have your average filed recording nut in fits of pleasure.  It’s like Daniel Menche, Nurse With Wound and Russell Haswell’s Wild Tracks all blended together to create something that is both challenging and accessible at the same time. ? is well worth your time.

Pete Swanson – I Don’t Rock At All (Three Lobed) 2011

Posted in Drone, Music, Pete Swanson, yellow swans on May 15, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

This short album by former Yellow Swan, Pete Swanson, came out as a bonus disc for those who bought a 4 x LP Three Lobed compilation. There were only 500 copies of this made and I was lucky enough to snaffle this on Discogs. As many regular readers may know, Yellow Swans were one of my favourite bands. I loved the shit out of them whether they were in their nasty noise mode or their cascading emotional drone guise.  I’m being honest when I say that that I was a little depressed when I found out a few years ago that they were splitting up. Yet Peter Swanson has been releasing some fine records since his former band’s swan song, the majority of them coming out on vinyl. For those of us who don’t own record players, I Don’t Rock At All is one of the few releases that  have come out on CD. The three tracks on this record are slices of shimmering guitar drone which expand, in a much simpler form, the emotional experimentalism of the last few Yellow Swans records. Swanson’s music is warm and moving without ever descending into sentimentality. This record is absolutely fantastic. I checked Discogs just now and there are copies available. It is worth your money buying a copy of this. Experimental guitar music doesn’t get much better than this.

Chord – Gmaj7 (Mie Music) 2012

Posted in Chord, Drone, Music with tags , on May 14, 2012 by noisenoisenoise

Chord last made an appearance on this blog several years ago when they released the superb Flora. That record was one of my first experiences with post-doom drone metal. Chord are a  bit of a Chicago drone super-group with members of Pelican and the drummer from US Maple. Chord’s method is to use a single chord and explore it harmonically. The two tracks on Gmaj7 offer very different interpretations of the chord in question. The first track Stasis had me asking myself whether drone could actually be aggressive. For the most part those who explore drone musically end up with a passive, meditative work.Although there are several layers of drone in the track the  top layer felt like it was  being pushed to an extremity, so much so that the drone actually lost form at some point to start reverberating.The most startling moment was around 10 minutes in where everything faded to white and the creep factor set in. It created a truly remarkable effect and only got better when after a few minutes the band’s metal roots began to show as a darkening doom spread through the rest of the track. The second track Kinesis is  much more rock orientated with a great live feel. Drums make an appearance and the repetitive guitar phrases make the track feel much more accessible than the first. There is a quasi post-rock flavour to it that is particularly engaging without being corny in the slightest. I prefer Gmaj7 to their earlier work on Flora. Chord have a wonderful sound that doesn’t pander to fashion or tries to be deliberately obtuse for the sake of it. In fact Stasis may be my favourite instrumental track of the year so far. An album suited to teh long Antipodean winter ahead.

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