LIVE REVIEW: Moon Duo @ OAF, Sydney

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MOON DUO 
OXFORD ART FACTORY
13/02/20

The evolution of Moon Duo has been a slow and steady one over the last decade. Originally starting as a duo of Wooden Shjips guitarist Ripley Johnson and Sanae Yamada, the pair have retained their minimal aesthetic and core personnel but expanded their live performance to include a drummer and most recently, a stunning light show, by Manchester-based visual projection artist Emmanuel Biard, comprised of projections onto transparent material surrounding the band on three sides, creating a 3D prismatic effect.

After a DJ set from Angus Andrews of Liars that travelled through all kinds of psychedelic dimensions before curtains parted and the band emerged in their triangular realm, silhouettes magnified large above the audience’s heads. Any Moon Duo show is a journey that doesn’t necessarily have peaks, instead there are sonic waves, carrying the crowd on stratospheric journeys through thin atmosphere, twinkling synth lines and winding, searching guitar filigrees or dragging them down into subterranean head trips to the centre of the earth. The Krautrock drive and relentless rhythms were like a superhighway – sleek and endless, the motorik bass and melodies of Yamada the perfect balanced foil to Johnson’s more traditional psych rock soloing – heavy on effects and open-ended explorations of the outer limits.

Tracks from most of their albums peppered the set and they finished off with their recent cover of Alan Vega’s ‘Jukebox Babe’, a perfect homage to one of their strongest influences. The combination of the visuals and the consistent and cohesive adherence to their musical parameters made the set a wholly immersive and transportive experience for the audience and no doubt the band as well.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Ben Neill – Auricle

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Working at the junction of ambient, avant garde jazz and electronica, Ben Neill has just reissued his 1995 album Green Machine, an album that received widespread critical acclaim on its original release on the Astralwerks label.

The music on the album is performed on his self designed, electro-acoustic Mutantrumpet, skilfully navigating a netherworld between organic and synthetic composition and playing. This track ‘Auricle’ is the perfect example of that, in the way the sounds rise and fall, blending together in harmonic hypnosis.

Neill has recorded eleven CDs of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks, and Six Degrees. His electronic opera The Demo, inspired by computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart and created with composer/performer Mikel Rouse, was premiered in 2015 at Stanford University’s Bing Concert Hall. Other performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Cite de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival, among many others. Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt, and Nicolas Collins. Neill also leads concerts of La Monte Young’s The Second Dream with an international brass ensemble; performances have recently been presented in New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Amsterdam, Huddersfield, Oslo, Krems, Koln, and Warsaw.

NEW MUSIC: Gold Dime – My House

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New York trio Gold Dime recently released this video for the title track of their new album My House. The sum of their parts but each distinctly carving their own niche in the band’s sound – Andrya Ambro (drums/vocals), Ian Douglas-Moore (bass), John Bohannon (guitar) all play with/off each other in a heavily rhythmic and mantra-like way. There are dense, pummelling sections, punctuated by squalls of textural noise and Ambro’s tense, and dramatic intonements.

RIYL: Gothic post-punk, Krautrock, avant jazz, noise rock and post-rock.

My House is out now on Fire Talk RecordsBandcamp and streaming services.

NEW MUSIC: Squarepusher – Vortrack

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Photo by Donald Milne

Taken from the new album Be Up A Hello, here’s the latest glitchy, electro squelch from the mercurial musician and producer Squarepusher.

After a 5 year hiatus that has seen him delve into a range of diverse musical projects, Tom Jenkinson will release his new album on the 31st of January. Fans can enjoy a taster as the double-A side 12” ‘Vortrack’ will be released on the 6th of December, featuring Squarepusher’s Fracture Remix.

With this new album, Squarepusher has returned to using a bewildering array of vintage analogue and digital hardware, the same equipment that first helped him develop his sound in the early ’90s. Something of a 180 degree turn, these synths, effects units and even a Commodore Vic20 are in complete contrast to the tools he used to create 2015’s Damogen Furies – cutting edge software that Tom developed over the course of 15 years. The result is Be Up A Hello, an album that is celebratory with rinsing breakbeat tracks such as Nervelevers and Terminal Slam – classic floor fillers – as well pieces loaded with visceral atmosphere and melody in Squarepusher’s inimitable style. Darker moments such as Vortrack and Mekrev Bass illustrate Tom’s continuing fascination with finely balanced psychological overload. As such, Be Up A Hello gives a nod to the mayhem, joyousness and abandon of the DIY Essex rave scene that was a strong determinant in Tom’s work.

Squarepusher
Be Up A Hello
(WARP)
Street Date: Jan. 31, 2020

Track List:

A1. Oberlove
A2. Hitsonu
A3. Nervelevers
A4. Speedcrank
A5. Detroit People Mover
B1. Vortrack
B2. Terminal Slam
B3. Mekrev Bass
B4. 80 Ondula

 

NEW MUSIC: Alaskan Tapes – Views From Sixteen Stories

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Last month, Canadian composer Alaskan Tapes (Brady Kendall) released his new album Views From Sixteen Stories. Check out the title track below, a warm, dream-like, swelling piece of music that rises and falls with a certain weightlessness. There’s sonic depth to it too. Turn up the volume and the richness of the bass tones resonate wonderfully through the track.

Hit the Bandcamp link to stream and buy the album on vinyl/CD/digital or stream on the other usual platforms.

Michael A. Muller – Lower River

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Michael A. Muller is a co-founder of Balmorhea who have released six albums over the last 13 years. ‘Lower River’ is the title track of his solo album and it’s a wonderfully immersive and hypnotic piece of ambient, droning music that hangs in the air, draped in resonating, melancholic chords.

The press releases describes the track as being inspired by his own remote travels throughout the US and Europe and the personal exploration of a meditative practice, it’s a sonic exploration of what it means to hear versus to listen, to immerse oneself in navigating the subconscious plane of pure energy and deep, immersive creativity.

Lower River is out October 25th on Beacon Sound (vinyl) + 1631 Recordings (digital).

NEW MUSIC: Christopher Tignor – The Resonance Canons

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Christopher Tignor is a New York composer with an impressive CV. In his early days he mixed sound at CBGBs, was an assistant to La Monte Young. He gained a Masters in computer science from NYU, proceeded through Princeton’s PhD program in music composition, and was later recruited for a software engineering position at Google. He’s released nine albums and collaborated with a range of other artists including Keith Kenniff (Helios), Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, John Congleton, and This Will Destroy You.

Tignor’s latest album A Light Below features this track ‘The Resonance Canons’, an 11 minute instrumental journey that is based around the sound of tuning forks. It sparkles and glistens, clangs and pulses with bell-like qualities and both melancholic and slightly ominous undertones. Lovely stuff!

“Since the last LP, my technique for tuning forks also earned some attention (and an honest-to-God tuning fork sponsorship). Again, I wanted to push the musical possibilities here, dialing those gestures in to create locked, luminous polyrhythms alternating with left hand pizzicato. I combined these methods with cascades of triggered synths in “The Resonance Canons”, an 11 minute trip ending in complete vulnerability—as the tuning fork loses its resonance, I continue knocking it against my bridge, a final ostinato built from processed noise and resonant wood.”

 

NEW MUSIC: Under The Reefs Orchestra – Tucuman

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Under The Reefs Orchestra are a Belgian trio who certainly know their way around a dark and hypnotic groove. Drums, guitar and bass saxophone combine in a haunting rhythmic mix of post rock and a dash of jazz. It works wonderfully too, conjuring squalls of guitar across a doom-laden desert backdrop.

This is a live in-studio version of the song, their brand new single, of which the recorded studio version is available on Spotify and Apple Music.