DECAYCAST Reviews : LUER “Cartridge” (Fluxus Montana, 2018)

 

DECAYCAST Reviews : LUER “Cartridge” (Fluxus Montana, 2018)

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Here we step back over to a short but power and sonically diverse from Matt Taggarts’ LUER project. “Cartridge” comprised of two short sides of mixed style electronic compositions spanning harsh noise, post industrial, musique-concrete and expanded ambient/drone techniques; a hearty stylistic swath for such a short release indeed, but this cassette doesn’t feel contrived in it’s uniqueness and non-commitment to a specific sound or style. Like his solo work under his own name and P.C.R.V., Taggart has always oscillated between the  sonically dense and the hauntingly minimal, letting the concept dictate both the intensity and the presentation

0013940643_10, and that could be happening here as well, though the focus seems to be more onto nuanced sound with LUER than previous works with refreshing and interesting results. LUER blends sputtery, chaotic synthesizer patterns and textures, backed with heavy, industrial percussion working in tandem with mutating synths and unrecognized manipulated sources. Both sides offer varying peaks and troughs of intensity, but as the listener, we are never left with a boring moment, a unique sonic happening is always right around the corner ready to unfold inside our  cochlea. Harsh, synthetic noise blasts swiftly and determined  cut through the mix like stab wounds to our own perceived reality.

The B side offers more warmer synth manipulations on the forward coupled with digitized harsh noise blasts, analog machines crumbling atop each others dying circuit pulses, and space. The use of sparseness on the second side especially offers a tense and cinematic feel to the overall composition, never knowing when the next cacophony is going to rumble up through the speaker and slice your skin to fill up the case. This is the sound of blood corroding a body into the inner most part of the ear- perfect. Stunning artwork to boot, pick up the cassette today here.

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DECAYCAST Reviews: Proud/Father “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” (Orb Tapes, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Proud/Father “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness” (Orb Tapes, 2018)

Proud/Father creates a tense, murky unsettling of ambient din on the A side of their newest album, “Symbolic Exchange & Emptiness”  on PA’s ORB TAPES. The side begins with a slow, gentle pulsing ambient tone which slowly evolves over time into washed out, thick waves of  sonic fog.  “The first side is a reflection of isolation, both physical and emotional, from depression and similar mental health disorders. ” quotes the releases bandcamp page, and the  subtle, harmonic shifts seem to oscillate moods  ever  so slightly without ever  jarring the  listener out of a meditative, hypnotic state. Several layers of drone eventually give birth to lush, washed out, undulating vocal tones, or are they even? Proud/Father seamlessly blends multiple sources into a singular harmonious, but still unsettling buzzing, like the buzzing inside your body when anxiously awaiting a phone call where every second seems like an eternity and every far away sound oscillates as a precursor to something your unsure about and  you can’t place  your brain on why. P/F has mastered keeping us in a sonic stasis, whilst their  shifting tones  dance around an aura of confusion, with even a dab of resolve.

The B side Al alejarme de casa recuerdos débiles se apagan” , according to the bandcamp page ” is an exploration of the fading Boricua culture and the history of Puerto Rican independence movements.”, and it begins with a choppy tense transmission, the sound of a message in a bottle being dragged through an underground cement  tunnel ever so swiftly and softly as to not detect the unknowing above.  The  choppy radio static like noise transmissions quickly fold into more undulating, thick walls of  ambient drone, a thick fog casts itself inside the ear and modulates our mere understanding of the sound’s orgin, we are left with an increasingly angrier and more aggressively articulated drone of unknown origin.  What was once a singing  drone has  turned into an angry, whipping, radicalized wind, devoid of mission and  geographical direction, just a thickness of tension and intention. Proud/Father continuously oscillates between drone, ambient, and soundscapes with swiftness, however compositionally things never seem rushed, always blending into each other  with care and precision, P/F has  crafted an ambient soundscape  strategy to call all their own. For fans of The Shadow Ring, Tim Hecker, Beast Nest etc. Tapes are apparently sold out, though you can get the digital here, highly recommended.

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: CONCRÎT “Far” (2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: CONCRÎT “Far” (2018)

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Madrid, Spain outfit CONCRÎT blends decayed out ambient textures with atmospheric howls, delicate, haunting, creaks and bends in sound and tension, mixed with dark industrialized rhythms, and heavy field recordings ranging from disaster to psychoactive terror/tragedy.  CONCRÎT takes the raw field recordings at a great value, using the voice as a sort of lead guitar over the top of the dark, churning, mechanized rhythms of catastrophic failure with  dissonant rhythms. “That’s the way freedom is and we wouldn’t change it for a minute”. The music could be higher in the mix, though it does afflix the listener’s brain on the tension and caustic nature of these events blended with such mechanized, alienating sounds, though at times the voice does become so dominating we almost forget we are listening to “experimental music” though it’s not for the worst effect.  The ambient sections prove to be some of the stronger work on “Far” though the whole album holds it’s  weight in dissonance, and minimalist looping  rhythms. Closing with “0000” an unknown field recording of  chatter and a detuned, decaying piano rhythm slowly spins the listener into the end of this dark and morose sonic offering.


“FAR is the first EP of the dark ambient/industrial act CONCRÎT, based in Madrid, Spain.
The EP moves between soft programming and noisy mechanical rhythm mixed with historical speeches and ambient sounds, FAR is inspired by the human need to reach further and the consequences of exploration and conquer, the hope and the horror; Inspired by the voices of Amelia Earhart, Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong, and the accident of the shuttle challenger and the attack to Hiroshima, with American presidents Reagan and Eisenhower’s speeches. The last piano piece is inspired by airports as non-places, where even travellers on their pursuit to the most remote destinations remain anonymous.”

 

 

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. 

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.