NEW MUSIC: Chris Child & Micah Frank – Static Wheels

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US composer Chris Child & sound artist Micah Frank have recently released their second collection of songs – Tape Pieces Vol. 2, featuring this fine track, ‘Static Wheels’. Experimental post-rock and ambient drone are at the core of it, generated by the heavy use of filtering with effects so the loops blur together and bear just an echo of resemblance to its original. The ebb and flow of the track makes for a wonderfully immersive listening experience with David Lynch/Den Hurley elements in its atmospheric mood.

Tape Pieces Vol. 2 was created with TASCAM 4-Tracks, the two recorded layers of short tape loops using a few vintage synths and a Rhodes. The loops were further disseminated into drones though an array of guitar pedals. Field recordings from Portland’s coasts were subtly woven in, providing a tactile sense of place which inspired the moods of these pieces.

 

NEW MUSIC: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith – The Steady Heart / Carrying Gravity

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Composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has recently released her new album The Mosaic of Transformation, featuring these two exceptional tracks ‘The Steady Heart’ and ‘Carrying Gravity’. Over a push/pull rhythm track, Smith weaves dream fragments of vocals amid a wafting, gossamer haze of twinkling synths and textural pads on ‘The Steady Heart’.

‘Carrying Gravity’ begins with strings before taking an almost Oriental sound and filtering it through delicate  arpeggios that hang like warm pulses in the air.

“I guess in one sentence, this album is my expression of love and appreciation for electricity,” says Smith. While writing and recording, she embraced a daily practice of physical movement, passing electricity through her body and into motion, in ways reflecting her audio practice, which sends currents through modular synthesizers and into the air through speakers. Not a dancer by any traditional definition, she taught herself improvisatory movement realizing flexibility, strength, and unexpectedly, what Smith calls “a visual language” (the term was introduced to her by filmmaker Sean Hellfritsch) stemming from the human body and comprised of vibrational shapes. Understood as cymatics, as she says, “as a reference for how frequencies can be visualized,” much like a mosaic.

NEW MUSIC: NOUS – Blush

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NOUS have conjured up a swirling sonic miasma of musical nerves and tension, winding martial rhythms around droning, spiralling textures that add up to quite a glorious and immersive kosmiche post-rock sound.

New York experimental music project NOUS – led by producer and composer Christopher Bono – is an experimental music project with a fluctuating group of artists exploring ritual and spontaneity within music. NOUS III (May 29th) is the third from the project’s opening trilogy of releases, culled from a five-day musical retreat & social experiment wherein 13 musicians were invited to join Christopher at the legendary converted church Dreamland Studios, with producer Kevin McMahon (Swans, Titus Andronicus) on an intensive seven-day immersion — recording for five days, with two live performances at the conclusion.

NOUS band members on this recording:

Christopher Bono (Composer, Ghost Against Ghost)
Greg Fox (Guardian Alien, Zs, Ben Frost, ex-Liturgy)
Shahzad Ismaily (Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Bonnie Prince Billy)
Thor Harris (Swans, Angels of Light, Amanda Palmer, Shearwater)
Grey Mcmurray (itsnotyouitsme, So Percussion, Tyondai Braxton)

 

NEW MUSIC: Future Museums – Leaving The Vessel

 

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Future Museums has released ‘Leaving The Vessel‘, a five minute long piece of sparkling, glistening kosmiche electronica that sounds like a robot stepping, blinking into the warm sunlight of a new day. The track from Austin TX-based multi-instrumentalist Neil Lord pulses with an analog new age Krautrock quality, the combined results of Lord’s experimentation with guitar, synths and drum machines.

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NEW MUSIC: Alex Henry Foster – The Hunter (By The Seaside Window)

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Alex Henry Foster recently released the video for his single ‘The Hunter (By The Seaside Window)‘, the centrepiece of his new album Windows In The Sky. The song is an epic 14 minute piece of post-rock, with an ebb and flow of tension, poetry and ascent into grand, sprawling and expansive electric guitar playing that at times reminds us of Lift To Experience. Interwoven with Foster’s (mostly) spoken word are indecipherable recordings of a female voice – in another language, which adds to the mystery and intrigue.

“The Hunter (By the Seaside Window) emerged from a 30-minute jam of a noisy, out-of-breath and tortured kind of dark, spiritual, emotive, and redemptive sonic journey. It reflects on the symbiotic notion of inner struggles feeding the growing illness of the relationship between the different entities we kept on feeding within oneself, as a sort of an out-of-step addiction to pain and resignation, but also to hopelessness and mercy, as much as to salvation and grace. The cycle only ends once we decide to let go, whatever it may mean for anyone’s beliefs… as we are both the hunter and the prey” – Alex Henry Foster

Alex Henry Foster (AHF) is a Canadian musician, singer-songwriter, author, producer, and composer, best known as the frontman of Juno Awards nominee Post-Rock / Noise band Your Favorite Enemies. The impressive and gripping short film for The Hunter was produced and written by Alex Henry Foster’s longtime collaborator, French filmmaker Jessie Nottola.

NEW MUSIC: André Uhl – I Care About You, Just Not Right Now

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There are some serious sci-fi dark sonic forces at work on this new track from Berlin-based German musician André Uhl, who holds a master’s degree in futures studies and works as a futures researcher during the day. He dials into  an ominous and forbidding sound that pulses, throbs and pushes and pulls against the speaker cones. Everything is rhythmic, like the heartbeat of a city, the bass like a subterranean world of digital interconnectivity while the synth melodies teem above like a busy yet alienated metropolitan organism.

‘I Care About You, Just Not Right Now’ is the first single from Uhl’s upcoming album Relax and Implode, to be released on Berlin-based label Martin Hossbach on October 16th 2020.

According to Uhl: “The song deals with emotional confusion in a complicated relationship. It’s about proximity and distance, push and pull, and the struggle with toxic communication behavior. It tells about the kind of relationship you can’t escape from although you know you should.”

ALBUM REVIEW: New War – Trouble In The Air

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Trouble In The Air
Heavy Machinery Records

Last year Sarah Mary Chadwick released an album that she’d recorded on the Melbourne Town Hall Organ – the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. New War had already ticked that box in 2017 when they recorded this new live album.

While Chadwick created a grand widescreen soundtrack to her songs, her Melbourne contemporaries use the instrument in a much more varied way by utilising drones, pulsing rhythms and haunting melodies. Played by Jesse Shepherd, the instrument conjures up images of gothic churches, demented carousels, horror soundtracks and shadowy circuses. Those moods are enhanced by the cold electronic drums of Steve Masterson and Melissa Lock’s post-punk bass playing. Topped off by Chris Pugmire’s sinister incantations, the overall effect is one that draws a line back through Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire to Suicide, Nico and the dark side of Krautrock.

Nearly all the songs include a colour in their title, the exception being the accessible opener Bang On. I Am Position Yellow is a highpoint, wonderfully combining atmosphere, rhythm and melody, while Cocaine Blue is a beautiful piece of Joy Division-esque melancholy. 

The album no doubt had immeasurably more impact and resonance when experienced live, with the imposing Grand Organ imposing but never overwhelming the rest of the musicians. This recording serves as a fine document of the occasion.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Novelty Island – The End Of The Whirl

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Here’s some lush and immersive psychedelia courtesy of London-based musician Tom McConnell who records as Novelty Island. Recorded at the Abbey Road Institute’s studio, ‘The End Of The Whirl’ is an infectious cosmic trip that draws on the pop heavy explorations of The Beatles and more obscure English psych acts. The winning ticket is in the way he blends the hooks with a glam stomp – a warm and suitably warped cousin to Oasis, stripped of the posture and bombast.

‘The End Of The Whirl’ comes from the new Novelty Island EP Welcome To Novelty Island which takes in the art pop that Field Music do so well, Neil Finn’s bottomless well of melodicism, plus some dreamy electronica.