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.

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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.

 

Petridisch

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.

DECAYCAST Reviews: sp3ctr3s “micro doses” Cassette (Histamine Tapes, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: sp3ctr3s “micro doses” Cassette (Histamine Tapes, 2018)

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Histamine Tapes focuses on small, intimate batches of reused / recycled cassettes from a variety of artists and “sp3ctr3s” seems to, like much of the  early output on the label,  sit somewhere in the anxious realm between sound / music / noise / anti noise / flipped guitars. “micro doses” offers subtle breaths of experimental guitar tones, gentle layers of encrypted tones and  gentle flutterings of birthing sounds: the nylon stringed arpeggios ring in the cochlear as the listener begins a plucked, shimmering journey through psychedelic guitar works. Each dosage increases and the listener becomes more  detached from their  body, floating, breathing at an off-pace as the body adjusts to a tone poem of  tripped out washes of sound.

It’s unclear if I’ve been now  dosed from touching the tape, but each sounds rings for a an infinite amount of  decays until the wave warps itself  in such a distorted manner that it can no longer be distinguished as itself. Each track offers its own interpretation of granular synth chopping and slicing the subtleties in texture and  form of different  interpretations of the acoustic guitar in all of it’s bends, folds, twists, contortions, and  decays.

The more layered tracks such as “.05mg ( 06:47 )” mix low,  dark, frog-like reversals twisting peaks and troughs of  mutilated  voice, string, and percussion like soft corners of a dull, forgotten blade inside the inner ear. Other pieces such as .07mg 05:35 offer a more muted, cinematic structure focusing on a single progression rather  than a constant flex of  tone and shape. Overall a subtle yet strong  collection of  granular  experiments. Look forward to digging into more offerings from Histamine Tapes

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: PBK & John Wiggins “Where Pathways Meet” CDr (Acousmatique, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: PBK & John Wiggins “Where Pathways Meet” CDr (Acousmatique, 2018)

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PBK & John Wiggins take a  far  out ride to the  depths of  sound  design collaboration. “Where  Pathways Meet” on newly formed San Francisco label Acousmatique Recordings,  is two top notch sound artists/designers smashing into  one and other basement studio style for a warm, complex journey through a myriad of minimalist, orchestral, and cinematic takes on experimental music.

DONE #2 (4-01) is blends lush strings, new age droned chirping caked with gently fluttering synthesizers, ringing shimmers of decaying sine ways, and subtle string groans into a soothing, pulsing ambient/drone work. Other tracks such as UNTITLED #1 (9-98) are much more diverse in their approach and sonic characters. This longform collage blends crunchy digital noise sources, churning, bubbling square wave synth grumblings atop psychedelic swashes of lo fi static for a disorienting, dense, and compelling ride through the designers mind. Bubbling distortions of  memory fizzle, pop, decay and a new sound is born. Uniquely indescribable sounds, a chattering humming bell, a sqwaking, choking robotic bird belches out a sonic buzz of disorientation ringing in the inner ear. Field recordings cough ancient  stories of a forgotten room where an ancient sonic experiment has died.  

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The John Wiggins track JW BED #7 (2-98) creates a highly tense situation with it’s long-form, nearly silent, digital  waves decaying upon a shore which is  sure to slice and dice the  throat of  any and all in the  wake of the crescendo, early sun distortions bleed the ear  until the  quietest big becomes amplified into a cacophony of  uncertainty and virus, while the  PBK solo track PBK UNTITLED SOURCE (10-98)  closing out the download leaves us  with a stringed morose background for a nightmare of loss and a question never to be asked, cause the  ear and brain has  faded away with the very last note.

from the  artists…

“John Wiggins is best known as an Emmy winning film and television sound designer, working for HBO and his own production company, Wonderland Sound. Wiggins is a master of the techniques of musique concrete, his experimental work often consists of painstakingly arranged synthetic and natural sounds that create extraordinary “living” audio environments. In 2017 Wiggins was one of the distinguished winners of “PRESQUE RIEN” Luc Ferrari Prize.

Phillip B. Klingler is considered a pioneer of noise in the U.S., but has also been recognized for his work in the areas of ambient, drone and glitch music. He uses samples, turntable, analog and digital synthesizers to create dense structures of bizarre sonic origin. He has had numerous albums released and collaborated with the likes of Jim O’Rourke, Wolf Eyes, Dirk Serries, etc.

Acousmatique is a record label from San Francisco, California that is focused on publishing and promoting the best contemporary music by artists from around the world. Follow the label for new publications in the Acousmatic, Electroacoustic, Immersive Audio, Musique Concrete, and West Coast music genres. Check out the full catalog at
acousmatique.bandcamp.com

 

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

This little unassuming tape arrived in our mailbox all the way from NZ, where the artist Todd Anderson – Kunert is based. This work titled “A Good Time To Go” boasts the sonic equivalent of finding that perfect moment to ditch out on the show or event or interaction that you’re probably enjoying (or maybe not ) but are suddenly met with that harsh and disorienting wave of uncertain feelings, emotions and sense of space or lack thereof. This album is very much that. the albums opener “No” starts with a slow quiet drone which ascends into a loud, shuttering thud, and steadily breaks up into a more distorted, disorienting, confusing version of itself until the listener is left with their own feelings of confusion about confusion. Dark, crumbling noise swashes give way to more rhythmic patterns which oscillate moments between disappearance and uncertainty while bathing the listener in a sharp bath of loud and overwhelming sounds all to build to a climax and erase themselves to the point where only the distant hum of a sharp bell remains, a single alienating tone tuning and ringing inside the brain of the unsuspecting listener. The overall vibe is dark , disorienting , haunting with spurts of beautiful articulate decay.

The albums strongest track “It’s Taking Forever” is an honest, heavy take on what could be best described as digital power drone. Lots of dark and articulate textures exist throughout, crawling and wringing out dark, alienating slime into the ear, especially on this second stand out track which really carves out a lonely and confusing sonic space, oscillating between traditional takes on drone, ambient noise, “power ambient” some might say.  Overall a solid release with a wide interpretation on what could be considered psychoacoustic drone music.

TODD ANDERSON-KUNERT