DECAYCAST Reviews: Somnambulists “From the Field To The Factory” CS/DL (Zum, 2019)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Somnambulists “From the Field To The Factory” CS/DL (Zum, 2019)

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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.

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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. 

 

 

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DECAYCAST Track Reviews: GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

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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 : HAPPINESS FOREVER “Primitive Dimension” Cassette (Mondo Anthem!, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : HAPPINESS FOREVER “Primitive Dimension” Cassette (Mondo Anthem!, 2018)

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Another short but powerful offering from the PACNW’s Happiness Forever, titled “Primitive Dimension”, which is  aptly titled for this minimal but powerful sonic offering, A dark pulsing arpeggiated square wave  synth opens the track, slowly and effortlessly edging the listener to the edge of the cliff out of the gate.  Hard  stereo panning madness ala Phedora era Tangerine Dream when the tech left too many fuzz pedals in the chain in the best way. Lower pitched synths slowly undulate as the panoramic view widens and we are left  confronting out demons.  Pulses slowly phase and undulate across the spectrum of rhythmic militancy, shifting ever  so slightly to create a psychedelic fuzz of confusion. Long  drawn out bell-like sounds breathe in the background creating tension and thickening up the form to a dense, stew of synthesizer sludge.

 

Perfectly timed, the A side gives breath to a more subtle and sparse (but  equally dark and unsettling) B side which begins with murky, basement synthesizer swells, ringing inside the cochlear with beautiful collapsing sine waves, radiant, insect-like buzzing sounds, throttled tones of a  disharmonious and gray sunset. Happiness Forever creates peaceful yet slightly unsettling and  dissonant tone poems for  fans of  drone, ambient and synthesizer music. All the individual synth  voices sprout equal trees within a sonic forest of psychedelic electronic explorations.

DEAYCAST Reviews : MONOCHROMACY “Living Posture” CD (Stay Strange SD. 2018)

 

DEAYCAST Reviews : MONOCHROMACY “Living Posture” CD (Stay Strange SD. 2018)

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Stay Strange SD Collective artist Esteban Issac Flores brings eight heavy, dissonant and atmospheric guitar based worlds oscillating between drone , noise, metal and industrial under tbe MONOCHROMACY moniker . Flores elegantly creates haunting and dissonant cinematic spaces for a wall of destructed waves of swelling chaos, choked screams decay into walls of thick oppressive fog of tone, climax and eventually swell back down into dreary, pulsating tones. Sine waves shifting into the horizon encapsulate a distant haze of confusion and dread.

On “Living Posture” , Flores creates a deep and complex tension between the various sonic elements, which really doesn’t ever falter throughout the eight tracks of dreary doom. Some of these atmospheres could call back to Times Of Grace era Neurosis (my favorite period of one of my favorite bands ) , SUNN O)))) , Earth etc but that would be sort of a lazy comparison as Flores has clearly refined his sound to something not heard before in the tropes of heavy music.

 

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Monochromacy “Living Posture” CD (photo from artist)

Monochromacy leaves the “tough guy” bullshit of extreme music far away in the trash for a delicate and intelligent experimental offering. Flores has clearly honed a unique philosophy and approach to present the listener with a tense, yet refreshingly present decaying burning structure of mammoth and intimidating take on noise-influenced, drone-metal. The plethora of unique territories covered on this record while maintaining an overall dark and dreary cinematic vibe is rather impressive to say the least.We are never left without a tight sonic line pulled taught across our reality/neck wth ever shifting tone, pulse and intention. what is going on? Where did he leave us atop this  fog  ridden, dank mountain of dissonance and confusion? What is GOING ON! Wow and just like that it’s over, what a listen.Absolutely essential ride for all fans of the heavier side of noisy guitar works and heavier dissonant, cinematic music in general.

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