DECAYCAST Reviews: MAX NORDILE “Primordial Gaffe” (Paisley Shirt Records 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: MAX NORDILE “Primordial Gaffe” (Paisley Shirt Records 2019)

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Bay Area punk/skronk/noise-jazz stalwart and member of Bay Area angular Jazz Punk trio, Preening, Max Nordile offers a cassette of short improvisations ranging from minimalist abstract percussion collages, to droning amplifiers, reeds, kitchen sink falling down the stairs type of vibes here via SF label Paisley Shirt Records. Plethora of interesting textures here and lots of start/stop/STOP  going on which often sounds like a full free jazz band about to blast into a ring of chaos but they keep getting stuck in the beginning, creates an edgelike tension which is hard to replicate in a studio/recording, but Nordile accomplishes this quite nicely with raw room recordings rather than overproduced studio isolationist techniques. Some tracks are more raw experiments with often just one sound source, however others are more developed, using multi-instrumentalist strategies where percussive objects clang and bang into each other while strings and a plethora of reeds bleed through in the background.

My favorite track is without a doubt also the albums longest, “Decaying Tab (with Mirror)which navigates more into Mort Garson on acid territory with yelled vocals, womping horns, muted, angular guitar riffs, and a percussion shit storm-  a  true cacophony invoking Trout Mask era Beefhart at times. Highly recommended for fans of  skronk/free jazz with a punk sensibility. 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Marlo Eggplant “Loose Footing” (Dubbed Tapes, 2019)

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For her newest cassette “Loose Footing”, underground experimental sound artist,  curator, and all-around master of her craft, Marlo Eggplant further refines her minimalist sound discovery practice for a frightening and dynamic sonic offering. “Loose Footing” is a haunting, dark and powerful delve into the deeper trenches of experimental sound and composition. The tape opens up with a twisted and mangled voice piece that turns into flowing water, a distant wind, a failed communication; we’re not really sure, except that it’s a new part of the journey. This work functions sort of as a “mixtape” style release in the sense that it contains lots of short compositions that all gel into an overall vibe, while maintaining their own individuality of experimentation, free from the flow of an “album” but structurally just as completed, and in some ways perhaps more profound and detailed than many noise “albums” where everything is presented as one long track. After the twisted, demonic voices subside,  A more melodic, undulating sine-wave drone piece eclipses from the crumbling fog, like an intense pulsing light escaping from the distant mountain peak at sunrise, warming the inner ear with a comforting din. Eggplant has always worked with a diverse palette of sounds, however this cassette composites so many different styles of composition and techniques that almost no two minute section is the same as the last- we are always led to a new sonic discovery with Eggplant at the controls.

Her sounds hold power and often a cinematic vision, I often found myself closing my eyes and dozing off into an unknown and slightly frightening world of unknown origin. If there’s one person who can transform sound and take us to another place, it’s Marlo Eggplant. The  B side contains more of the same, dark, heavy drone-based works which morph strings, turntablism, voice, and mixed electronics for a highly dynamic, tense,  and complex effect-my favorite listening experience. Eggplant is one of the best in the game and you should follow whatever she’s doing, including her label and distro and LADYZ IN NOIZE series. Also check out an older review we did of Marlo’s last tape  “Head/Rushed”  (Vaux Flores) here 

DUBBED TAPES 

MARLO EGGPLANT

DECAYCAST Reviews : Bran (…) Pos “Cosmic Mushmouth”  CS (Planetary Magnetics, 2020)

DECAYCAST Reviews : Bran (…) Pos “Cosmic Mushmouth”  CS (Planetary Magnetics, 2020)

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Bran(…)Pos‘ new album “Cosmic Mushmouth” may be the most complete overview of Jake Rodriguez’s multi-faceted soundscape composition to date. With his signature vocal-triggered electronics buried under layers of modular and effects, “Space Gelt” seems closest to a lot of the recent live performances I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Jake do. I first saw Bran(…)Pos in the late 1990s in SF and seeing how different each
performance could be and the many concepts that Jake has tried over the years has made him a favorite of mine and many in the Bay Area. It’s great to see him team up with Tyler Harwood (who produced this for his label (Planetary Magnetics) and did the artwork) who you may have seen perform as Anti-Ear or together with Rodriguez as ‘Beandip Troubadours,’ fully engaging both of their hilarious stage performance skills.

The crowning tracks here are the 20+ minute composition “RxR (rocket crossing)” which slowly builds into a stuttering modular synth rhythm with some of Bran’s trademark acoustic tympani playing. The final track “Martian Brine Pool” features an amplified cello;  another instrument that Bran has used off and on and in many configurations over the years.

Rodriguez is now heavily entrenched in the Bay Area theater scene, doing sound and composition. It will be exciting to see what lies ahead for this polymath and true SF original. Albums and acts like this that make me excited to be living and working still in SF. Come aboard!     – Derek Gedalecia

DECAYCAST Reviews : SKY “Lullabies” CS (Pop Nihil, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews : SKY “Lullabies” CS (Pop Nihil, 2019)

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Hauntingly lonely, booming caverns seem to be the backdrop for SKY’s “Lullabies”  cassette EP on the refreshingly diverse Pop Nihil imprint. First off, the  stark design caught my eye, and I enjoy the minimalist design theme that runs across of these releases, it really helps to gel them together in a special and unified way. The voice, synth, and drums all blend perfectly on this EP, creating a morose, and lush cloud for the  uncertain change of the future to be birthed upon. Cavernous reverb on the drums, and strings (synths?) cast a hollow but intentioned place for the voice to dance upon into the night.  Favorite track of the A side is “ILIKELIES” though, they all really present a focused and uniformed sound. Like the  voice and  rhythm section of early Cocteau Twins, mixed with the delicacy and nuance of contemporary avant -garde  megastars like FKA Twigs nodding to the softer side of Witchhouse.  popnihilSKY paints a blissful portrait of an unknown place where the next step is to be taken, the  only thing that’s certain in uncertainty.  The B side is a little  more  driving with a ear forward bass and  drum rhythm that escalates the pacing and tension from the soft and intricate spells cast by the first side. Closer to tara Cross or a chopped and  screwed TuxedoMoon the big percussion and thudding bass create a nice, angular tension for the voice and delicate droning synths to skate off lightly but boldly into the distance, a truly beautiful and nuanced listen.

 

DECAYCAST Reviews : GLUE “II” Cassette (Zazen Tapes, 2019)

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Another anonymous submission goes under the gun. This is pretty straight forward guitar noise/ harsh noise from GLUE  titled “II”. Lo Fi scraping and a  distressed engine revs over and over grinding the outer ear off with a feedback-induced haze, spiraling headache of a toxic grin, GLUE does exactly that, seals the ear canal as we run for cover from the sharp, cascading blasts of grumbling noise.

The B side is a gust of wind, slowly encapsulating the listener, like a boat  ripping through the beachfront, mauling unsuspecting tourists through VHS style fodder. This is a tour of low-style crunchy, ripping noises, nothing totally spectacular, but a  solid first release for the label ZAZEN Tapes and  A+  for alienation with the  ringing, piercing wind/ cloud cascade,. Fun sonic ride.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Waxy Tomb “Imminent Fold” (Gilgongo Records, 2019)

WAXY TOMB is the work of multimedia artist Jules Litman-Cleper. We’ve been following the work of WAXY TOMB here at Decaycast for many years and after a splatter of homemade CDR’s over the years it’s nice to see her work presented in proper LP format, as well as adorned with the nuanced, futuristic, cyberpunk influenced digital art that they have come to be known for through video, live performances and 2D works. The LP is also accompanied with an art book containing expanded variations on a theme of the cover art. The other-worldly visuals are the perfect compliment for the music; dark, nuanced, intricate, alien, and complicated.

The sound of “Imminent Fold” continues where previously homemade releases have left off, with conceptually dense, yet structurally often minimal and stripped down electronic compositions, though there is structure; these exist as “songs” in the traditional sense, however they gel and mutate within the lexicon of Waxy Tomb’s visual and aural landscape to continue to tell a part of a larger story. The voice has always been an important aspect of Litman-Cleper’s work, and this LP is no exception, pushing her extended vocal techniques in effected ways further than they have existed before; blending beautifully with the dark, throbbing chirps of synthesizer explorations and static noise crumblings. Litman-Cleper’s sound is at once alien, and robotic, yet natural and “comforting” in a way. She is able to ride the tension of creating simultaneously a record, that, in a sense is both an experimental electronic record and an electronic pop record, and one pinned together through the visual and aural alien language that the artist has come to define within her aesthetic set. Pulling from assumed influences such as Laurie Anderson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Tara Cross, and Bjork, Litman-Cleper creates a style of experimental electronic , left-field music all her own which speaks an alien language that with “Imminent Fold”, we just begin to understand and are all the more rewarded for it. Highly recommended.

Order via Gilgongo Records

DECAYCAST Reviews: qualchan “Goodbye To All That” (Houdini Mansions, 2019)

Back from a little break to review the newest release from Houdini Mansions, from Cascadian producer qualchan, titled “Goodbye To All That”, and it’s a rather fitting title as the short, bending, warbling loops come into our lives like short lived, lush experiences that vanish into the haze as quickly as they appeared on the horizon. on “Goodbye To All That” qualchan focuses on subtle shifts within these micro compositions that span ambient, post rock, muzak/library music and more. Some of them operate as escaped breaths from larger compositions, perhaps to be expanded upon, while others are self contained and don’t seek anything outside of themselves. Warm, trippy, fuzzed out loops for a moist walk through an all but abandoned forest. Beautiful release.