DECAYCAST  Reviews: Blaine Todd & Andrew Weathers (Houdini Mansions, 2018)

DECAYCAST  Reviews: Blaine Todd & Andrew Weathers (Houdini Mansions, 2018)

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This split begins with Andrew Weathers on the A side offering three experimental guitar and synth offerings, beginning with the track “Llano” which offers spacious, minimalist guitar work complemented through warm buzzing, swelling synthesizers. The synths and guitars play wonderfully off each other in a barren, pulsing, slightly unsettling tone poem. 

The second track, and standout of the tape “Mugwort Moon” is a huge, throbbing synth number with insect-like rattling pulses that transport the listener into a parallel universe of floating drones. Weathers synthesizes a perfect union of tone and spaces to create lush, dream-like compositions with heavy and dissonant overtones. 

The Blaine Todd Side of the split is more a take on traditional Americana psychedelia  rendered  through reverb drenched folk thrusts. Todd skates across a lush and morose pond, blending dripping, cavernous guitar strums, backed with distant unsettled, sad  vocals creating a fever dream style of psychedelic alt-pop. Gentle plucks and minimalistic events within the body of the guitar bloom into lush waves of intonation, a perfect compliment to the slightly more abstracted works of Andrew Weathers on the A side. Todd’s music is slightly more on the morose side of things where the Weathers side feels  both dissonant and uplifting at the same time, a  truly unique and dynamic pairing.

The label itself describes the offering as:

“A striking document of wide open loneliness, this split release by Andrew Weathers & Blaine Todd contains timeless works about Wobblies, the Staked Plain, etc.

Thoughtful, pensive songwriting blends with artisan-crafted dronework, and undercurrents of electronic wizardry.”

All in all, great release  from Houdini Mansions, a hybrid label, review site and radio show/ podcast. Follow them today and keep a lookout for more from this exciting collective, as well as both artists individually. 

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DECAYCAST Reviews : Expose Your Eyes “Brain Pan” Cassette (Aphelion Editions, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : Expose Your Eyes “Brain Pan” Cassette (Aphelion Editions, 2018)

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 “Brain Pan” is a compilation album of sorts spanning nearly three decades of the Expose Your Eyes moniker via Paul Harrison. This long-form cassette explores harsh, heavy manipulated noise/voice, a myriad of field recordings, slow moving and cavernous drone and ambient works, low-fi voice manipulations via  cut up and  distortion methods, glistening warm synth poems clamored against harsh noise mayhem; the  stylistic shifts throughout the release exposing the listener to a mixtape style of experimental styles. 

Standout track “Rend” blends heavily delayed percussive events with a mid-toned whirring, slowly building tension and anxiety and almost seems to crawl out of the speaker into an unsuspecting nervous system. Other tracks such as “Red River 2” offer a more sombre, melodic approach, while still retaining elements of experimentation and loose compositional structure.  The label describes the process of choosing from the vast sea of material presented to them by the artist, “For this album, Paul sent me a whole stack of recordings that I then carefully sifted through to select the pieces that would finally be presented here, and I’m really pleased with the results we’ve achieved.  

Go ahead and delve deeper into the vortex for a whirlwind of (un)easy listening.  

It will leave you washed up on a distant shore of your consciousness, perspectives altered. 

Curious, bizarre and wonderful… “

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All in all “Brain Pan” explores a wide variety of experimental sounds and really theres something for everyone on this cassette from  the uneasy, nauseating sounds and sights of one (cough cough) Smell & Quim (who Harrison was a member of) to the lush, hypnotic, Organ and synthesizer forward dronings of early  Tangerine Dream. Pick it up on limited edition full color cassettes or  CD’s from the label HERE

 

 

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews : Happiness Forever “II” (Mondo Anthem, 2018)


Happiness Forever “II” (Mondo Anthem)

Washington’s longstanding experimental stalwart William Rage returns with a heavy, cinematic offering for the Mondo Anthem imprint titled “II” or “Mondo Anthem II“. On this release, Rage crafts two slow, churning, heavy, dynamic works blending what sounds like synthesizers, field recordings, and noise sources to an interesting and unique sonic end. Overall, the sound of Happiness Forever is heavy, yet varied, textured yet articulate. A low ominous drone oscillates throughout the first side while seething, weighted atmospheric textures glaze over the drones in a hypnotic nuanced mixing style. The A side quickly builds with intensity as sine wave communications cast themselves far beyond the listener into the inner workings of the brain; something is wrong, I’m feeling uneasy.

The B side, titled “I Left My Electronic Heart In San Francisco (Recreation Of A Live Recording Of A Performance That Never Happened)” begins where the A side left off so to speak, with dense, field recordings and ominous crawling synths, which seem to sputter in and out like a rumbling, thirsty dying motor. Slow arpeggiations sing next to a thick, resonated clicking with background swells which create the perfect texture; the perfect song of alienated confusion. Mutated and garbled voices peak through the murky swamp, enveloping atop themselves and then decaying into the darkness, a different, warped experience every time. Truly beautiful sound composition.

“II” never becomes too much of one feeling, it’s always mutating while maintaining an overall fluency to its sounds and composition that make “II” a dense and refreshing listening experience for fans of many styles of electronic music. From musique concrete, to drone, to more cinematic styles of electronic composition, Happiness Forever is a which heavy fog we all must get lost in for the duration of this tape.

Follow MONDO ANTHEM HERE

Decaycast Reviews: CONSCIOUS SUMMARY “EXHAUSTIONS” (SKIN TRADE RECORDINGS, 2O18)

Decaycast Reviews: CONSCIOUS SUMMARY “EXHAUSTIONS” (SKIN TRADE  RECORDINGS, 2O18)

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The newest work from LA’s CONSCIOUS SUMMARY carves a sharp and distinct  lineage from their previous works to this newest release from California based SKIN TRADE RECORDINGS. “Exhaustions”  encapsulates the delicacy and intimacy in which Samur  Khouja, the person behind Conscious Summary handles his sounds.  The first side, “Commitment To An Extinction” begins with a low, bubbly rumble just below a present volume and continues to undulate at a stasis-like pacing of a slow churning dark, gurgling sounds interjected with sharp and poignant shards of violent sorcery. The aggressively present scraping eventually gives way to a more subtle, peaceful tone poem of pulsating drones. We  are left in a contemplative, peaceful place, but not for long, a new dawn is on the horizon, one we did not plan for. The peaceful poem turns into a dynamic battle for space and form; shivering blades of sonic chaos, accented through monstrous  spurts of distorted, harsh, frequency battles, which slowly and effortlessly take control as background synthesizers pulse, hum, and vibrate with ascending tones while the chaos ensues.  After a brief but present harsh section the listener is once again placed into a new identity, which gently, calming efforts of swelling sine waves, which are so delicate and nuanced they almost weep to the listener in a morose, subtle, nuanced phrase.

The B side offers more voice forward pieces with stretched voices and textured, articulated synth happenings  work in a high tension psychedelic harmony similar to the oncomings of a long, desert experienced LSD trip, but this psychedelia is sonic, and not  chemical based. Through masterfully mixed and layered synth and voice sections, Khouja creates  high tension electronic happenings,  with choked and  eviscerated voice offerings thumped by a sub bass drone/beat that will take the listener unto the next plane of  existence, an unknown place  with spatial distortions unknown to our  current mind.

The sounds of “Exhaustions” pull from harsh noise, drone, ambient, and new age strategies in the best way possible, referencing these historic practices while simultaneously shattering the expectations of what any of these could and should be. Khouja masterfully blends these styles in a hypnotic, meditative tour de  force of minimalist contemporary electronic music. “Exhaustions” is not worlds away from the work of say Pauline Olaveros or Terry Riley however it offers its own dynamic breath of sonic interpretation. “Exhaustions” is poised, patent, and all around a profound minimalist interpretation of space, form, tension, and experience. Highly recommended, there is also a special edition encased in a  wooden box which looks beautifully crafted, and a perfect enclosure for this cavernous work of  experimental electronics and voice.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Andorkappen “Temples Of The Unvirtuous” (Oxen, 2018)

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Andorkappen, LA  based noise/ drone maestro and also honcho at Underground Tape Review is back with “Temples Of The Unvirtuous”, on one of our  favorite labels, OXEN, also an LA based imprint. “Temples Of The Unvirtuous” begins with a slow, low, hollow  drone which barely is able to escape the speakers, however this distant  drone steadily becomes a thick, warm, comforting,  whirring sawtooth buzz accented by a steadily rising sine  wave pitch poem, steadily climbing the ladder or  alienation and confusion. This is the style of  synthesizer drone music i have been waiting for,  stripped, raw, warm, an a-tonal  form to atone to.  The bass  forward drone, and the high pitched ring, engrosses the hearing until the  sound is like a shaking, microscopic robotic insect drone which has  entered the brain via the ear canal.  You now have become rather UNcertain of what the future may hold.

The  drone remains omnipresent, now navigating the innards of your  nervous  system with its sweating,  pulsing, reverberations of mechanical hell, yet somehow this hell is soothing and relaxing, like the  warm hum of distant machines that will eventually come to end our life, but for now have  taken respite across the desert, gently vibrating and breathing, not  quite ready to attack yet. The high pitched buzz has gently, yet in a fixed, determined manner become the musical  crescendo and de-crescendo  of the A side, and of course the bass for the B side, but rest assured, no matter how your body takes it’s  new  implanted oscillations, things will be different. Even though this evil sound appears distant it  will slowly, steadily and eventually forcefully remap the sonics of your nervous system until you  are violently, shaking uncontrollably in a pile of confusion and as you collapse onto the floor, the buzzes  cease to exist, and all that’s left is a tiny mechanical bee buzzing  against a dark, barren, abandoned landscape, ominously and microscopicly floating in limbo, waiting for it’s next unknown victim.

You can order the cassette from OXEN Label HERE! 

DECAYCAST REVIEWS Petridisch – “A Fixed Point” CD/Cassette (I Heart Noise, 2017)

DECAYCAST REVIEWS Petridisch – A Fixed Point” CD/Cassette (I Heart Noise, 2017)

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Petridisch”A Fixed Point” CD/Cassette are already sold out in physical form (both CD and  cassette) but you can get a free download over there at the  I Heart Noise Bandcamp Page , which is a label and multimedia platform hosting a rather active blog of the same name. Petridisch’s  vocal and  percussion forward offerings of multi-layered, slow  ambient sonic explosions and chants of densely layered synths, build a wide variety of complex timbral experiments and densely articulated specimens. On “A Fixed Point”, Petridisch begins with slow shimmering waves of  ambient, buzzing waves, decaying, cavernous claps  and slowly and  steadily builds  layers of washed over plumes of texture and memory while structures of rhythm and  percussion begin to take form. Synthesizers slowly and  craftily edge  their way in with soft, present  swells,  mid  tempo arpeggiated sines, and layers of  ambient noise sustaining bright,  shimmering, articulate sonic  events.

The voice is an important part of this record and it adds a beautiful cloak around the various  track elements and really does gel all of the different  elements together as a compositional superglue.  Four short, ambient explorations pull equally from The Cocteau Twins, Boards Of  Canada, early Eno and  so much more, and so much less in the best way  possible, as Petridisch truly has cast their own unique sound into the  ethos of the word of endless sonic discovery and invention.  For fans of ambient, drone, early Tangerine Dream,  Terry Riley, and early synthesizer music, Petridisch packs a huge arsenal of sonic weapons in a  release that  is barely twelve minutes long, Highly recommended.

 

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DECAYCAST REVIEWS: Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey – “Metaphysiques Cannibales” LP/ Digital (Weird Ear, 2018)

DECAYCAST REVIEWS: Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey – “Metaphysiques Cannibales” LP/ Digital (Weird Ear, 2018)

 

by Diego Aguilar-Canabal

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My first instrument was not a guitar, piano, or computer—it was a space heater. I crawled up to it on my feeble haunches (so my parents recall), eyeing with skepticism the plastic cage holding its inner circuitry, and scraped a toy truck against its indifferent grooves. It was music, but not art; in a word, it was sound, yet without form.

Humans entertain themselves by forming patterns out of meaningless garbage, and the venerable Weird Ear imprint is almost religiously devoted to stripping those patterns back down to the garbage whence they came. No less ambitious is their latest platter of sonic sacrilege, Colin McKelvey & Attilio Novellino’s Metaphysiques Cannibales.

The anti-conceptual hodgepodge of musique concrete motifs is named after and perhaps inspired by a book of the same name by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, a poststructural anthropologist who sought to reimagine the study as a revolutionary “decolonization of thought.” That’s a tall order, and no single record will get the job done, but McKelvey & Novellino’s mystical ballet of bleeps and bloops certainly gets the ball rolling.

As you may remember from your earliest toys—particularly from your realization that anything in your hands could be a toy—no melody is inherently happy or sad. No ritual carries inherent reward. It seems like only the Pavlovian training by authority figures can teach you, fragile caged pigeon that you are, can pair a major-key waltz with a sweet refreshing ice cream, or the somber diminished chord with a demonic possession. But is that really how it works?

Side A of this mindfuckery starts with the buzzing whiplash of factory-like rhythms, swirls into the void of a cosmic dentist’s drill, and fades into the spacious echoes of a zombie-ridden hospital morgue. Sources are obscured, and the arbitrary distinction between impact and intent implodes in a serene chaos.

Side B creeps into your consciousness with the whispers of a long-lost French interrogation recording, swallowed by the tinkering and thudding of a conch shell sceance. A molten fax machine emerges from the sludge of a forgotten video game organ dirge, and a scintillating synthesizer drone evokes Laurie Spiegel and Roedelius before sinking into a lonely abyss. The urgency of a broken dial-up connection is tempered by the ebb and flow of a chilling piano loop.

While the grating hiss of granular synthesis is typically the domain of futuristic computer music—you know, all those sweaty nerds coding in Max/MSP—here it gives the music a sense of being unimaginably ancient, like a mad scientist’s vision of the future whispered into a phonograph to pass the time while waiting for the brine to embalm a dead monarch.

“By always seeing the Same in the Other,” writes Castro, “by thinking that under the mask of the other it is always just ‘us’ contemplating ourselves, we end up complacently accepting a shortcut and an interest only in what is ‘of interest to us’—ourselves.”

Indeed, the image we see of ourselves in this record is a terrifying one, and not seeing yourself reflected is a “don’t think of an elephant”-esque impossibility. We’re tragically vain, capricious, greedy yet wasteful, hungry to build something meaningful out of heaps of trash we never wanted in the first place.

If you’re ready to sweat through your nightmares and wake up more confused than ever, this is a record worth adding to your trash-heap.