DECAYCAST Reviews: Flesh Shuddering “Heroin​-​Hooked Hound” (Cruel Symphonies, 2022)

This album is packaged with great intention and effect, complete with a chic track booklet (I actually handed these out in middle school at a mall once with a Christian youth group), fold out poster and liner notes inside a medium sized garbage bag with a picture of said opiate crazed canine displaying full doggo junkie madness.  Excellent use of silence and quiet interruptions of the harsher bits. Synth, blasting harsh noise, fucked up tape loops and samples dancing around one another. Whispering maddening phrases in the apartment above you, while other parts are fillies with wanton bashing of scrap metal as screeching vocal loops disintegrate into violent thrashing feedback tones.  

This album gets psychedelic with the tape editing and post production effects guiding the recorded sessions into interesting and unexpected directions. Lots of approaches and moods presented on both sides, some tortured vocals that sound like they were recorded in the ventilation system of an insane asylum shine through in rather awkward ways, whether it be one of the three members of the band or a sampled phrase. Side two gets into some demented surrealist darkness of slurping synth tones and acoustic sounds.  But right back into piercing harsh noise squelching, the hound needs more and is coming back for more .  A real highlight from this project. I expected marconympha worship and instead find this collective making an extremely music concrete album with elements of harsh noise and industrial synth and tape manipulation driving things into odd spaces of fragmented chaos this one come highly recommended for the weirdos.  – Jacob DeRaadt

https://cruelsymphonies.bandcamp.com/album/heroin-hooked-hound

DECAYCAST {Track} Reviews – FOURTH WIFE “Attic” (Culture Vacuum Recordings 2021)

Cincinnati Ohio’s Fourth Wife has released an electric high energy mixed genre album on the newly formed Culture Vacuum Recordings, titled “Head Fell Between Two Horses” and for our Decaycast {Track} Reviews section we’re focusing on the second track from the album “Attic”. The track is a high energy, high anxiety explosion of indie rock prowess oscillating between early Radiohead, Drive Like Jehu and Elvis Costello although it doesn’t 100% totally resonate in any of those reference points and carves out it’s own clanky, spastic, and energetic path. The mix is boisterous in a rewarding and almost noise rock way; egging on and amplifying the intensity of the clanging of guitars, synths?, percussion and vocals in a layered and enjoyably chaotic way. Frantic percussion, fuzzed screeching guitars, and layers of shouted vocals provide the backbone of Fourth Wife’s sound, and “Attic” is a great representation of the album overall. Fun and chaotic, and for all of the layers the mix is surprisingly very well executed, tune in and listen today.

DECAYCAST Reviews : PAN DAIJING “TISSUES” (2021)

DECAYCAST Reviews : PAN DAIJING “TISSUES” (2021)

Let’s go ahead and call this ‘noise-opera’, though enthusiasts of both disciplines will no doubt balk at the suggestion. This is not a lazy application of a loose monikor, however. ‘Tissues’ is a rarity in so far as it seems to engage with opera – and specifically the libretto – in a manner that extends far beyond pastiche, with a precise, meticulous vocal engaging with recognisable operatic techniques and extending them. The voice is used here both as a traditional instrument and a versatile sonic tool, not shedding the past but embracing the wealth of avant-garde composers – the likes of Maricio Kagel, or Esa Pekka Salonen – whose work has managed to puncture the future and straddle the past simultaneously. Nor are we treated to a cursory, dumbed-down invokation of noise-aesthetics. Between the driving, angular synthesis, and the muted distortions that underpin them, the listener is left with a pleasingly refined soundworld, and whilst it is by no means ‘noise’ music proper, it certainly calls upon that horizon, forging a hidden intensity from elements that might simply be functional in the mitt of a lesser composer. Theres probably loads going on here that I’m not picking up, and probably loads I’m getting wrong, but I don’t care – this whole album is awesome, inspiring stuff, the sort of thing you don’t want to get, or might never get, such is its fundamental depth and beauty. If it sounds like I’m smitten, I am. ‘Tissues’ walks a very tricky path – a journey littered with sonic devices that are used often and badly in incalculable inferior works, yet rendered here with precision and granduer, succeeding by virtue of an audible dedication to the minutiae of its material. It’s all excellent, but Part 3 in particular soars, with angry, staccato piano chasing a measured howl through a windy terrain, a brewing storm of buzzing distortion rising to euphoric crescendo, broken only by the emergence of the voice, descending into a dense fog, monotonous and playful, theatrical staccatos balancing against the dying ebb of a fractured tone, the artificial labour of a cello or broken radiator. No one description fits any given sound, each part bleeding into the next, a constantly evolving intensity. 

– Daniel Hignell (Difficult Art and Music, Distant Animals, 7000 Trees)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Crank Sturgeon “Archives Anti of the Bad Triangle Wearer Anthropomorph” (Detachment Program) 

Crank Sturgeon: Archives Anti of the Bad Triangle Wearer Anthropomorph (Detachment Program) 

Crank S(t)urgeon of magnetic confusion, people of the universe.  Mr. Sturgeon is in full dissect and microsecond edit collage on this whopper of an oxide document.  I own about 30 or 40 releases by this project (which is still about a third of what’s been released over the years), and this easily ranks in the top five favorite recordings.  Pissing in a toilet bowl of NWW Sylvie and Babs styles, early Smegma, John Cage, vocal gab, and other pop music fragments, I find myself lost in the rapid-fire juxtapositions that only CS can carry off with pure modern dada flavor.  Certain fragmented speed-change edits brought to mind passages from The White Mice Load Records LP that I obsessed over when it was released in the mid 00’s.  This audio salad is topped with sparkling trash textures,howling feedback, and interspersed with contributions from numerous guests on a bygone radio show, A Butte for Huso, that was on WMPG in Portland, Maine from 1997 to 2004.  Later edited and reassembled with found sound, shortwave, and vocal bitties in April 1999, this recording was found in 2020 and released earlier this year on Pennsylvania label Detachment Program.  Nice liner notes and explanation of the process and contributors(a bunch of unknown names, Sickness was the only name I recognized).  People can complain about projects that release copious amounts of material all they want, but Crank Sturgeon ignores all noise trends and laughs at your pretentious noise board comments, offering sonic freedom and (gasp) fun on this short release.   – Jacob DeRaadt

No online presence for this release.

Check out Crank Sturgeon

DECAYCAST Reviews: STERILE GARDEN “Winter Rituals” (Basement Tapes, 2021)

Basement Tapes has released a collection from noise/sound artist Jacob DeRaadt’s STERILE GARDEN project titled “Winter Rituals” celebrating the fifteen year birth of the project- four cold alienating and low meditations on the ripping cold and isolation of the darkened winter. STERILE GARDEN has always carved out a sonic style all their own and although this release spans many years of rituals, the tones and vibe are unified in their chilling barren presentation. Harsh, creasing walls of crumbling icebergs create cavernous of Shining like chase scene slow motion decay.

White noise gusts envelop hidden textures as glacial distortion melts out of the earths crust. Dark, haunting, and meditative, “Winter Rituals” is isolationist sounding noise/drone for an endless season of frigid messages drying up frozen on an archaic stone. Hauntingly meditative and warmly rewarding for such a dark and sinister meditation. Highly appropriate for the season, now is the perfect time to order “Winter Rituals”. Beautiful cold music.

https://basementtapeseureka.bandcamp.com/album/sterile-garden-winter-rituals

DECAYCAST Premieres: GORGEOUS DYKES DAZZLE IN ‘SWORDS REVERSED’

GORGEOUS DYKES DAZZLES IN BRAND NEW VIDEO ‘SWORDS REVERSED’

Gorgeous Dykes is a dynamic duo from Oakland, CA. Their sound is comprised of new wave, house, post-punk, funk, and synth pop that keeps the dance party going all night and until the sun comes up. Gorgeous Dykes brings the magic girl energy to encourage divine unity in uplifting the spirits in the queer/trans community alike. Their latest album “Swords Reversed” is a powerful statement to keep looking up to what lies ahead. 

Supporting their rousing album Swords Reversed (set for release February 11th, 2022 on Psychic Eye Records), Gorgeous Dykes unveil the music video to their first eponymously named single. Swirling with anime-worthy imagery, the band dances amongst nebulas and falls through cotton candy skies while guided by euphoric, pulsating synths.

WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:

Where do you draw your inspiration from musically and artistically?

Lucy: We draw a lot of our inspiration for our artwork from magical girl shows. We’re inspired by a lot of  80’s post-punk bands, but also really enjoy house music.

Ana: I’m really drawn to music that is meant to dance to, to move your body to. I’m always searching for music that gives one a certain frisson and to learn about what elements contributed to that in a song. It’s fascinating and challenging.

Who are some of your favorite artists you’ve performed with and/or would love to see yourself performing with?

Lucy: I would like to play a show with Sneaks.

Ana: Totally. That would be a really cool time. 

Tell us more about your upcoming album release. What led you to write this album?

Lucy: We tried a lot of new things and experimented with a lot of new sounds. We  wanted to write an album where each song felt unique and had space for its own feel. 

Ana: We still have two more singles we’re working on getting out that we’re really excited about. Since a majority of it was written during the lockdowns, I had a lot of time to get introspective and philosophical, ha. We tried to tell stories about isolation and regeneration – coming out on the other end. Some of them are just about us being in love, which whoever would or could have a problem with that, can play in traffic. 

How does the process begin for you writing songs? Is it always the same or different each time?

Lucy: A lot of the times we like to start with a beat that we can jam on/groove to. We always like to start with either a melody or beat and just let the song evolve from there. 

Ana: It definitely has to start out with room for us to mess around and see what sticks first. Sometimes I’ll hear a new melody jump out in my head that couldn’t have come from anywhere but the song and that’s always a cool moment. Lucy is really inspiring to work with – she has damn near perfect pitch. She’s so humble about it, though.

What is your favorite song on the album?

Lucy: I think for me it’s Unsolicited because it has a really fast and fun energy that I’ve always wanted to create in a song. It’s also really enjoyable to play.

Ana: It’s hard because I like them all so much but Swords Reversed was when I  felt we were really in our element. I  actually felt very emotional when writing the lyrics, which while I tend to put a lot of feeling into writing lyrics, I don’t usually get all choked up like that.  

How do you see yourself as an influence to the younger trans/queer community?

Lucy: I haven’t really thought about it that much because I’ve always felt like I was the one looking up to other trans artists for inspiration and motivation but I hope I can inspire other trans people to just be themselves and wear whatever they want and have confidence about it and I’d like to think of our music being sort of a background theme song to that feeling.

Ana: I would hope to be more of a tool or comfort if possible, rather than an influence I suppose. If someone younger found our work and could appreciate it and if it could help get them through a tough time or to stand up for themselves, that would make me happy. 

What advice would you give to someone that aspires to be a part of the trans/queer artist community who has trouble meeting other peers?

Lucy: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try to meet other  queer folks in the community – you never know who can help you or motivate you to get your art  out  there in the world.

Ana:  Reach out to collab with someone whose work you admire, show your support when you can and practice maintaining a strong sense of integrity. Look for kind people who don’t want the world on a platter. As an introvert with a couple of mental illnesses, I would say don’t hide yourself but also value yourself enough to recognize the qualities in others that make you feel safe. Nobody’s perfect but as long as there is love and (clearly demonstrated) respect between you and the other person, connecting with special people is so worth it. 

Do you have any plans to do a tour?

Lucy: Yes, we want to go on one!

Ana: If we don’t get to go on a tour (I’ve never been on one before) I’m going to climb to the top of a mountain and scream, ha. It’s a huge goal.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Electric Sound Bath “Of This World” (Moon Glyph, 2020)

Electric Sound Bath is the new age / ambient duo of Angela Wilson & Brian Griffith. Their newest, “Of This World” is out now via the mighty Moon Glyph Records. Large, swelling synths, rumbling sub bass undulations slowly bubble up through ambient swells on forgotten tones, a warm but slightly unsettling and unresolved tension. Electric Sound Bath is the perfect conceptual and sonic reference for this work, as the tones eclipse the listening space in a spacious and breath-like eclipse of sound. Channeling early Eno and Godspeed You Black Emperor, ESB’s tones slowly peak and dip with a graceful ease, a constantly shifting tone poem enacted with grace and precision. relaxing, calming, and blissful despite holding a tight intensity at times, never fully resolving to “background sounds” but engaging movements of pressure and movement.

The duo’s sounds have room to undulate within controlled structures, allowed to breathe on their own without much chaotic interference. Like an old ham radio beckoning into an empty sky, with hope of contact returned. Bordering on psychedelic ambient, and new age, the sound switches gears occasionally but slowly and carefully, dark and low string sounds guide the work like a distant light ahead, while warmer and more glassy synth voices continue to pulse – shimmering ever so steadily through the thick fog of the sonic space.

“This long-form creative process mirrored the duo’s own life trajectory and experiences ‘of this world’. The result is a celestial wash of MIDI-driven modular synthesizers crafting slow, unfurling caverns of sound. The type of deep, meditative tones that reward loud and close listening. Allow this music to patiently flow over you, reveling in the crystalline details and heavenly peace.”

Order now via Moon Glyph Records

DECAYCAST Reviews: Laura Luna Castillo “Tuberose” (Whited Sepulchre Records, 2020)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Laura Luna Castillo “Tuberose” ((Whited Sepulchre Records, 2020)

Ohio’s Whited Sepulchre Records brings us another underground gem with the hauntingly moving and inspirational new album from Laura Luna Castillo exploring themes of time/place, fragrance and experience, and the sound waves a wonderfully complicated line between all of these. The sounds present on “Tuberose” evoke unknown histories as worlds with a dash of familiarity, like a distant world buried deep within the subconscious rhizome. The sound is both ethereal and cinematic, often holding a powerful tension both compositionally and within the sounds themselves. It’s the music for a slow growing tree; it stretches only inches between the time we are born and when we die, yet we can still be transfixed on it’s beauty, power and growth.

The natural world. and it’s sights and sounds, isn’t something foreign to the artist and her practice. Castillo states, ““I was inspired by the book “The art of perfumery, and method of obtaining the odors of plants” by G.W. Septimus Piesse from 1857 in combination with the exploration of the study of time, memory loops, ephemeral and elusive memories.

Oscillating in sonic zones akin to Terry Riley, Meredith Monk, A Silver Mount Zion/GYBE, the ambient sections of Neurosis, and early Wendy Carlos, Castillo blends experimental compositional techniques with stunning epic, over-arching movements in sound and space. These compositions hold great tension in many different moods, which Castillo stitches together flawlessly, as they shift between haunting, and reaffirming, morose, and explosive. Huge moments happen with the space of a few seconds, and yet, we have to dedicate our mind and ear to the entire journey and it’s slower changing moments as well, as they necessitate their own timelines of experience. A vastly complex and interesting album for so many different reasons which are better heard than read about . Castillo’s sounds, like nature, are complex, complex in detail in the most rewarding ways, at times unsettling even, but overall present as an abundance of sonic beauty. Powerful powerful music, hard to classify, and what’s even the point, just go buy it here.

Highly highly recommended.

DECAYCAST Reviews: Woven In “”Profess” (Grimalkin Records, 2020)

Decaycast is back from the catacombs just before halloween to share this special release day review of the newest release from one of our favorite labels, Grimalkin Records who are always bringing important, under-represented artists into the forefront. One of their newest releases is “Profess” from GR-artist Woven In, which continues the strong presence of GR releases that bridge genres in really interesting and innovative ways in 2020, and since they have started really, and Woven In is no exception.

Woven In “Profess” is the 9th album from Woven In, the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Mariah Fortune-Johnson (she/her). Twenty-nine year old Mariah has been releasing music under the name Woven In since 2013.

On her newest offering, Woven In builds a sonic bridge across multiple styles to create a cloak of warmth, discovery, humanity and information through minimal electronics, voice, and movement. Fortune’s voice glides across the honest, minimal , rhythmic glassy synthesizers which create a perfect back bone for her to enrich the meaning of these relatable, warm compositions through the speakers and into our waiting consciousness. Pulling from early Kraftwerk with the intimacy of Wizard Apprentice or Arca, Fortune has created both a sound a a space all her own, while referencing a relatable and inviting composition style.

Tracks such as “Spoken From The Heart” offer an honest and intimate look into the album’s mantra perhaps “No it’s not very nice, but it’s spoken from the heart”. The phrase repeats as a dark heavy buzzing synth backed with looping synth arpeggios create a beautiful and heartfelt nod to 90’s Euro dance and late 80’s minimal electronics, all while accented through her lush, in the pocket, hauntingly elegant vocals; absolutely my favorite track on the record.

This record isn’t just for feeling good at the club or inside you perfect personal space however, this is a record connecting her own struggle as a Black Women in America as a central theme throughout the record;

“It’s social commentary on being a Black woman in America,” says Fortune. There are other themes within the album, including love, kink, and a couple of contemplative instrumentals. Digital only proceeds will be split evenly between Black Land Ownership and the Black Creatives Redistribution Fund founded by Mariah Fortune. The Black Creatives Redistribution Fund’s website is here

Through a powerful combination of voice electronics and percussion, Fortune has created a minimal pop masterpiece which will grow on the listener as it did me, beginning as a minimal pop record and blossoming into a contemporary minimalist electronic masterpiece. This record is honest in that it keeps on giving, it keeps letting you in with each listen, opening up new portals of meaning and new orientations to sound and meaning, and that is not an easy thing to do. “Profess” is out today and you can buy it here

DECAYCAST Reviews : Graham Dunning “Panopticon” (Every Contact Leaves A Trace, 2020)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experimental music stalwart Graham Dunning‘s newest release via the  Every Contact Leaves a Trace imprint   Panopticon  is conceptually interesting as it is sonically, and this is a tough crosshairs to hit, but once again, Dunning does this effortlessly. Dunning reverse engineered and then replaced video game sounds with his own sounds and used the gameplay triggers as a compositional tool as we understand it, with some really interesting and rhythmic results. Panopticon starts off with mid to mid-fast tempo jarring, hammering beats, ala Pan Sonic reel to reel demos 300% sped up and progresses into more delightful sonic madness from there. Dunning’s beats and rhythmic structures are complex; alienating, cold, and yet delicate and nuanced. Oscillating between glitched out, hammering beats, to more distorted, churning,  slower-moving sections, the sound and structure of Panopticon is always changing, and always refreshing and building upon it’s previous iterations.

“The research consists of four main phases: The first phase involves extraction of the silhouette of an individual. Calculating the gait period or gait cycle of the individual follows this. Finding the sum of silhouettes is the next step. Finally, similarity score computation and matching process is performed for recognition. Any two images when compared using root mean square value are said to be similar if the value falls under the given threshold.”

Like the eye in the sky it can see you but it can also control you from all sides, slowly reeling you into a violent, repetitive system that slowly encapsulates you and rapidly shoots your flailing body down the robotic assembly line into the center of sound itself. Complicated and dense, Panopticon is one for the sonic adventurer delving into the sonics of cybernetics cast across a futuristic, barren, wasteland.

Recommended listening!

Purchase HERE