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.
DECAYCAST Reviews : SHADOWS “Bruce Spills The Pills” Cassette (Polar Envy, 2018)
Cleveland, OH mainstays SHADOWS continue with their darkest Knight investigations of the conceptual underpinnings of Batman interpreted as dense noise, beats, industrialized rhythms and haunting spacial decay. Shadows is the duo of David Russell and Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft) and the sound on “Bruce Spills The Pills” represents aspects of both of their sonic styles well, however it gels to create a sound still different than either of their solo output. Composition wise, this cassette oscillates between more formalized sharp, cutting, harsh rhythmic works that Russell has become known for as COLLAPSED ARC and the DAVID RUSSELL SNAKE, mixed with Howland’s crude, disgusting, fuzzed out blasts of high pitched noise and squelching feedback. With three tracks on the A side and three on the B side, all offering their own take on the sonic mayhem contained within Of “Bruce Spills The Pills”. Personal favorite would be “Freak” from the middle of the A side.
Despite being a “noise” album in some instances, there are clear distinct tracks on this each with their own breath of sonic investigation, and despite their uniqueness and form and sonic palette, they flow together quite well, never leaving the listener bored or annoyed, rather on the edge of the speaker cone begging for bleeding frequencies to ooze from the cave into the inner ear. Shadows is highly recommended for all of your crude and dirty noise and industrial needs.
DECAYCAST Reviews: Somnambulists “From the Field To The Factory” CS/DL (Zum, 2019)
Slow, morose guitars begin to dust the cobwebs off George Chen’s ZUM imprint with a fresh new ambient guitar release from Somnambulists “From the Field To The Factory” begins with lurking guitar drones casting subtle, unsettling modulations, that run across the ear like a bead of sweat escaping down the face, onto the ground which sprouts a tree.
Thick washes of reverb and delay turn strings into echoes of malfunctioning machines, churning, turning and eventually sputtering out. The track ‘Circular Ruins ” harkins early washes of MONO, Godspeed You Black Emperor etc, but the climax never comes in the same way, leaving the listener on the edge for more. Somnambulists leaves us (me) yearning a more chaotic sphere that never materializes, instead it sinks back into itself, like the worker in the field who has since run themselves devoid of motion and fluids. Perhaps the perfect sonic representation, we do not get what we want, we simply balance on the edge until the last sound can no longer be heard. Capitalism destroys the spirit and the body and this is the perfect morose soundtrack to it’s unnerving, guaranteed decay. Other tracks offer more looped spring movements , reversing, folding and collapsing on themselves, but never really moving too far from the structural or sonic reference of a guitar. Background layers of chirping drones create a ambient wash which the guitar elevates over just long and wide enough to create a lush, dynamic space to lose time in.
– Meniere Zappone
From the label.
“From the Field to the Factory is a conceptual cycle of instrumental works that reflect on labor and struggle, repression and revolt, history and forgetting, abstraction and meaning. They are meant as memorials to the invisible, the unwritten, and the unvoiced; to an inner experience existing out of time. They are hymns to an idea of the ahistorical as the lost voice of anonymous resistance echoing like stains across the battered walls of memory.”
Warren Ng is an experimental musician based in Brooklyn, NY and originally from San Francisco who has performed and released numerous recordings under the names Somnambulists and This Invitation, all linked by an interest in minimalism, string drone, and the hidden internal hum of the electric guitar.
GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”
With “Human Animal Chimera” GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT offers a blistering, slow-building rhythmic forward synth and drum track with various unheard and unique textures churning heavily in the background to create a thick, warm, but slightly unsettling blanket to cloak your ears in as the track progresses into a darker, more sinister climax. The drums are sharp and steady, militant, and pummeling, sitting perfectly in the mix to create a high tension blend of industrial, dubbed-out industrial forward banger. The bombastic drums create a stabbing and calculated backbone for the synth and other sonic parts to rattle this heavy and brooding sonic machine just as it’s ready to attack. Pummeling bass drums and toms hammer away as a symphony of buzzing synthesizers creating a refreshing concoction of dissonant, yet unified and very well gelled sound. The sound of GCFS is both dark, and complex, while retaining a unique cinematic edge, which is often missing in more traditional forms of dance and industrial music. Sputtering and groaning synthesizers, chirping sharp noise blasts and mangled voice samples create the sounds of animals and humans being glued and stapled together in a twisted, primitive lab, which sounds morbid, and yet, I can’t turn it off, I just want to hear more, and this is the fifth go around for this track for me in writing the review. This sounds great in headphones, but I can only yearn for this track to be blaring in a club akin to the blood rave scene from Blade. I wasn’t able to find much on this project but follow their bandcamp and pick up the tracks that are there, you WILL NOT be disappointed. Heavy electronic music tracks are a dime a dozen, these days, but Golden Champagne Flavored Sweatshirt bring hope for those of us who want our dance music, dark, heavy and uniquely heavy. A really refreshing listen, will be back for everything this project releases.
-Monier Watson For DECAYCAST
DECAYCAST Reviews : Sgt. Elyas “Tubular Moanings Of A Galactic Refrigerator” (Aphelion Editions, 2019)
Sgt. Elyas presents slow oscillations of fuzzed, decaying churning guitar works belting out cold isolations for the listener to freeze in confusion. The sound is heavy, thick, and powerful, without overusing distortions and effects, the tones reference the guitar but the sonic range is quite nuanced with distant throbbing percussion like rhythms fading in the background, slow symphonic pulses, washing ashore like a wave crashing upon the unsuspecting sand. Cresendos come with thick, and washed out drums hammering the surface of a still, frozen lake, and we are once again cast into a cold forgotten tundra of confusion and longing. “Tubular Moanings Of A Galactic Refrigerator” falls somewhere between power drone, drone and imaginary film soundtrack. Overall sonically unique and refreshing.
Check out more releases from Aphelion Editions here.
DECAYCAST Reviews: “Layers” by BÜCKLE / VOGT (Editions Furioso, 2019)
From French label Editions Furioso comes a debut mixed electronics EP from BÜCKLE / VOGT, blending lush, morose vocal melodies, shifting, fluttering beats. “Layers” is nostalgic and new at the same time, without compromising it’s sonic palette or compositional strategy. Swift, shuffled percussion skates underneath a swath of warm sine wave tone poems, while a voice will ascend into the mix akin to a barrem , shivering, wind tunnel across your back and up your neck, in a stark contrast to the warm, humming harmonic synthesizers and strings which uniquely gel into undulating, shifting loops of ambient, sonic bliss, without losing the rhythm or pacing of the track overall.
On “Layers” the swing of the drums and slowly escalating synth pads create a lush, but dark forest of fuzzy confusion, alienation, and sadness, all while not falling into any of the tropes those could represent. BÜCKLE / VOGT offers a fresh take on mixed style electronica, refreshing, honest, and nuanced in a universally appealing way. Can’t wait to dive into the whole EP and will without a doubt be searching out future releases from the artist.
LISTEN / BUY The Entire Album Here
– Meniere Zappone
DECAYCAST Reviews: Sabriel’s Orb / John Atkinson “Split” Cassette (Whited Sepulchre Records)
Sabriel’s Orb,’s side on this tonally deep and sonically diverse split brought to us by Whited Sepulchre Records’s split series begins with powerful, cinematic synth breaths of arpeggiations harkening back to early Susanne Ciani and Phedora-era Tangerine Dream, but her deep exploration into meditative synthesis doesn’t stop there, Willow Skye-Biggs who has been making experimental music for over a decade pushes the sounds and phrases past the confines of their own limit into a beautiful, tone poem of meditation and ritual. Distant pulses, blend with warm lush synthetic adventures through the air, into the ear, through the brain, into the heart and out through the feet like a nostalgic chill that is gone before we can even pinpoint it’s origin. Willow Skye-Biggs music has always seemed fixated on ritual, and the tones of her side of the split act like a guiding light through a cinematic, landscape unknown to previous inhabitants.
From the label: “For the fourth in WSR’s split cassette series, John Atkinson is paired with SLC-based artist Sabriel’s orb. Willow Skye-Biggs has spent the last decade exploring the intersections of identity and ritual through her ambient, experimental and techno projects. Most notably, she created soaring, beat-oriented experimental-pop under the name Stag Hare and bedroom techhouse under the moniker ariel. “
For his side, experimentalist John Atkinson offers two ambient meditations which compliment the other side beautifully and offer a similar but unique on minimal ambient / dronescape music. Atkinson slowly and meticulously crafts slow moving pulses like the first rays of sun coming over the walls of fog on an early morning barren landscape, unwitnessed and un-manipulated by humanity. Atkinson, through his various soundtrack work and work with NY group Aa (Big A Little A) has clearly come rather close to enacting complete control over what are ultimately natural and organic sounding drones. We never hear the human hand, and it’s quite beautiful. On the second track, “First Rain of the New Year ” Atkinsons’ cresendo peaks with a noisy, fuzzed out climax which is the perfect ending to this minimal yet powerful release.