DJ EMBRYONIC PETIT SAC featuring DURTY DAWG Ef / JOSHUA LOVEJOY split cassette (sweatband records, 2011)
The A SIDE of this is Petit Sac Featuring DURTY Dawg Ef , what or whoever that is we will not know, but Petit Sac crafts super minimal south mouth sample loops, a lot of grunting, squeezing, gascious, robotic sounding loops repeat and repeat. Compared to his live performances, this is really stripped down vocal/ mouth sound recordings. Playful, annoying, and possessed infant/ animal sounds all are given equal weight in the composition to present a truly weird collage of voice and mouth sounds, which for the most part are all unprocessed aside from the occasional reverb, delay, or stutter effect. The end of the side builds up with two or three layers of stuttering voice Bloated and pitched at different intervals offering some “musical” resemblance but for the most part the mix is comprised of static stuttering vocal workouts. Not nearly as dense as other Petit Sac stuff I’ve heard but this is from 2011.
On the split side, Joshua Lovejoy opens up with a quiet ticking, ambient low fidelity tone wash. As the track breathes the ticking seems to vary in speed in an organic way but always creating a tension between the other quiet sounds in the background. I keep glancing at my tape deck to make sure the tape is playing at normal speed, and to my surprise, it is. There is a nice tension created between the quiet, rumbling drone and the ticking. Eventually after about five minutes the water clock sound scrunches and screeches to a hault and then flips on it’s head in reverse . The static rumbling in the background stays pretty much unchanging throughout the entire track and eventually the ping ceases and the listener is left to contemplate their existence through this barely audible fuzz as it fades out to silence. Very minimal tape overall with Petit Sac side holding a little stronger interest and variation wise.
JOSHUA LOVEJOY & DJ EMBRYONIC PETIT SAC @ Foxy Digitalis
DECAYCAST REVIEWS : Phemale “City Silk” LP (Redscroll Records , 2013 )
From the moment I first glanced / heard about / had suspicion of this record, I was intrigued by mystery.
PHEMALE is a unique and elusive project, remaining relatively obscure and under the radar in the east coast experimental music scene , all the while slowly building up a dense meticulously crafted archive of recordings. From browsing the archives or WFMU , Phemale flexes from more traditional drone/ noise to what could be nearly considered fucked up “pop ballads”. Phemale crafts delicate collages that morph into full on structured haunting compositions. Delicate, eerie synthesizers, present but non dominating beats, soft vocals, and samples/ field recordings all mingle to create a hauntingly beautiful mix of dark ambient experimental “pop” songs. Some tracks are more collaged / sample based it appears as they take the listener on a subtle, yet articulate journey through space, time, and emotion. These are cold songs , but never wholly alienating the listener, yet keeping them in a delicate sonic balance of yearning for more information all while embracing the mystery of intention.
Just when things start to get really busy, there’s a calm in the storm and were right back in the artists headspace, for better or for worse. Loss, uncertainty, and identity politics all seem to play a role in the mood and concept of this record with really interesting and unique results. This record is all over the place, in the best possible way, taking outward journeys both with it’s structure and intent, yet always resolving to a plane of solid ground where the listener can regain their bearings and then venturing back out into uncertain terrain, all the better. A loop, inside ones brain , tucked away behind the mask of self progress. From finely tuned minimal sound collage to lushly dark but warm pop slings . “City Silk” DEFINATLEY references early 80s industrial synth pop , but in a highly refreshing and unique way, which soars above and beyond many others dabbling in those genres these days. Phemales sounds are as dark, elusive and under the radar as he is. So don’t sleep on this , or it might just vanish . A beautiful layout and the record comes with a cutout mask! Can’t beat it .
This three-inch CD comes with a small bag of powder. Is it gun powder? Am I supposed to eat it? Sniff it? Upon closer inspection it is a bag of sand. And being dedicated to a day at the beach I can hear the ocean screaming. I’m glad I didn’t sniff it, because it turns out it feels like I’m wearing a jet pack when I press play anyway.
Blistering churning Noise. After 8 minutes of pummeling, a higher solid tone emerges and for 20 seconds I feel like I am hearing a war chant echo off the rim of the ricochet of static that was the Big Bang. Noise wall warbles into a barely discernible modulation repetition , like an oscillator finding its phrase and spiking out in a tearing flower beds of nails. This is brain erasure. I drift to thinking of my head submerged behind my now passed uncles motorboat as it rages into the waves multiple inner tubes en tow. By the end of the track it feels like the sand is in my shoes.
MEDVED “Archives 2″ Cassette (PREVED TAPES , 2012)
MEDVED is Paul Haney (Rust Worship/ Obsolete Units head honcho) and Ceci Moss ( Boxlienter / YBCA etc ) and this tape is just as weird and fucked up as this project is live, as I’ve been lucky to catch them live, and even book them on a few occasions since their relocation to Oakland from NYC. MEDVED crafts sharp, manipulated loops from what I can guess are synths, voice, maybe even some strings ? And tape manipulation. MEDVED belches out well crafted minimal industrial loops, with whirling perfectly placed synth rhythms over the top of subtle yet intentional percussive rhythms. “Archives 2″ is like EARLY SPK , slowed down, chopped , and re assembled for the contemporary listener, but then goes so far and wide beyond that.
Just when you are falling into the pulse of the rhythm, everything changes and you’re propelled into a totally different riff / headspace / sonic landscape. Mangled, distorted, guitar? And drums or drum machine pulse forward a militant yet textured rhythm which puts everything else in its place and marches forward. Industrial dance loops for the damaged brain that can’t process contemporary pop rhythms- a MIND BEND. Sometimes sounding more minimal industrial and other times like a drum machine at 300 BPM about to explode, with all of it’s failing circuits amplified , MEDVED never dwells on any one rhythm / approach for too long, things are always changing for the better. Vocals play a small role, but occasionally distant, delayed, decayed howlings creep into the mix and are then slowly swallowed up by well crafted , heavy , distorted loops that are the backbone of MEDVED on this release.
MEDVED is just as weird, damaged, and awesome recorded as they are live so don’t sleep on this tape, or maybe you already did and it’s gone. I got my copy tucked away for safe keeping for ripping on a damaged , toxic rain soaked day.
Decaycast REVIEWS : GNAWED “Terminal Epoch” CD (Phage Tapes , 2013)
WOW. Just wow. From the second I pushed play on this bad boy it’s dark, spatially aware, and gripping. Terminal Epoch starts out with a slow crawling drone with subtle percussive elements and voice transmissions birthed in the background. Slowly churning, mixing and making its way toward you. The second track hits and begins oozing distorted and ancient vocals atop a reverb slam which sounds like the door of mordar being slammed with the power of one million knights. A delicate balance between total chaos and control is layed forth upon minimal attacks of a death slam, mangled electronics and strangulated howls of pain. The tension and disdain on this album grows and bleeds blood of sonic darkness with every track. As the album moves forward , so does the descent into a deep dark personal place, this doesn’t FEEL like a band, but it sounds like one. GNAWED is the sound of being alone, as a producer of oxygen, all that’s left is your body and your fluids. Tension between the different elements of synths/oscillators , voice and percussive / rhythmic elements is balanced with seasoned compositional and mixing choices. Gnawed understand restraint, and the impact and intensity that such restraint can evoke.
This album is the continuation of the moment right before you plunge off the cliff, amplified and reverberated one thousand times over. Some tracks like “Retribution” take a slower dronier approach to the compositions while others like the second track, “Taken As Scourn” take a more rhythm forward old school industrial approach. This possesses the intensity of power electronics done right, but without the monotonous feedback and excess of vocals. The recording quality is also of a particularly high caliber. Everything in the mix is audible with respect to itself, but it all gels together to create a swell mix of a dark industrial foiree into an interpersonal hell hole, with no escape. Each voice is treated with its own layer of effects but retains an overall clarity and precision which states this is NOT improvised but highly composed and thought out, a rarity these days. Synths are a steady driving force which produce the backbone of the sonic landscape, but voice and percussive elements play an equally important and dark role in the overall material of “Terminal Epoch”
TERMINAL EPOCH is a stunning effort in new American dark industrial / drone / heavy intense music ! This album surprised me around every turn and it was always a pleasant surprise , TOP NOTCH EFFORT!!! For fans of BLOODYMINDED, Tribes of Neurot, etc …
156 “A Life Lived As If In Hell” cs (OUT OF BODY RECORDS, 2013)
156 is the cut up / field recordings project of NYC Based multimedia artist Adel Souto. 156 is apparently all field recordings and no “after market” sounds, just raw field recordings, but while many field recordings composed into an album can have a “compilation” sort of feel 156 seamlessly and skillfully weaves these raw recordings into a composition that for the most part, held my attention. The sources of the sounds have a wide range but always hold a similar recording aesthetic and rhythmic tension.
The A side starts off with some metal industrial rhythms which sound like machines scraping and pounding out their input/ output input/ output with no human in site, except for the microphone. These raw, early industrial influenced recordings slowly morph into layers of distorted howls. pings and scrapes, seemingly connected to but different from the recordings which came right before it. Perhaps some of the strongest points of this tape are the moments when you’re into a totally different “track” and yet you don’t even know how, sonically, you got there, a true sign of a seasoned and practiced vet at the chopping block. The low fidelity nature of the source material of course helps it to blend together, but 156 makes some concise and interesting mixing choices which emphasize that this is, in fact, a composition rather than a bunch of unrelated recordings spliced together. What sounds like a train running through a car wash or smashing into a metal shop on loop which accelerates with pacing and intensity near the end of the first side is the highlight of this cassette for me.
The B side starts out more subtly with a slow gentle pulsing wind sound, as if a microphone was held outside a car window and turned way down in the mix, and then sole subtle disagreement emerges … On a train ? On a plane ? Underground ? We don’t really know where we are or what’s being said, but we know it’s most likely an uncomfortable conversation and then the subtle rhythmic clacking of another unknown object and what sounds like poorly played guitar, reversed, and amplified through a long distant corridor over the top gives breath to a new section of the piece. KNIVES scrape scrape scrape, a creepy and lonely pulse, slow and itching, provides a great point of tension. 156 builds up the rhythms and loops on side B but it never quite holds the compositional weight that the A side did, but still a unique listening experience overall. For fans of early E N , S P K etc ….
OUT OF BODY RECORDS
Decaycast REVIEWS : DIVINE SHELL / JUSTIN MARC LLOYD “Obscure Psychic Themes” Split c10. (Rainbow Bridge, 2012 )
Obscure Psychic Themes” starts off with two short tracks from Divine Shell, which elegantly weaves between manipulated voice, synth textures flexing tight and tense dynamics and thought out layerings and volume
and pacing automations. The listener goes on a wash of garbled vocal tracks, brainwave alteration binaural type vocal beadings. The voice goes into a head and whispers around for a while with delicate pops and low flying subtly chirping oscillators. A minimal beginning slowly builds into a harsh frenzy and then the listener is dropped back down, to a soft psychic beading fizzing tone. The tape sounds like it was hand mangled and then put back in the shell with great success and hard pause microsecond edits breathe the voice nicely, and then it fades away, as quietly and unassuming as it started. Great tension !!!!
The flip side is Justin Marc Lloyd who is back at it with his glitter bomb homebrewed electronic sandstorm of texture and fractured sounds. This piece is more sample
Based than a lot of the homemade electronics stuff I’ve heard, though there’s a lot of interesting high speed edits and stuttering mayhem going stereo crazy in the background of tape
Collage??!! Edits ? Who knows with this guy, but this mix gets more damaged and damaged by the second. Gospal instructional type tapes turn into splattering breaking racecar engines, and pop after pop after sharp scrape, the voice comes through again for a second and is washed away in a collage of murky bubbling distorted throbs of filching electronics. Sit back and enjoy a new sound, BINAURAL bleeding. Great little release, this label never really disappoints!!!