Lancashire, UK experimental music sorcerer, Equinox, releases Correction - an intense blend of weirdo audio, obscure samples, driving beats, and noisy glitch accessories. Straddling the fence on a wide variety of genres, Correction is built from electronica, rock, noise, and everything between - spread over fourteen tracks.
When Baltimore synthpop duo Pale Spring released their debut album Cygnus, we knew right away that it was something special. The perfect blend of mid-90s euroglam downtempo beats from synth sorcerers Drew and Emily Harper Scott, featuring those warm, glowing vocals that hang impossibly in space. It’s a sleek, stylish release full of deep, moonlit electronica and spotlight bright lyrics, suitable for a black-tie-only affair, or for a dimly lit underground rave in the dead of night.
Chicago electronic noisemaker, RXM Reality returns for another stunning release on Hausu Mountain. Devil World Wide is a supercharged chunk of fragmented energy, pulsating through layers of microscopically sampled sound, cascading through eleven layers of grimy, scattered electronic whiz-bangers. I had a chance to spend a little time with RXM and delve into the creative machinations behind the music.
Pittsburgh-based pop/rock/indie/hip-hop duo BBGuns has released their album Help Yourself, and it’s a bright, flavorful shot of summertime reverie. Filled with chunky beats, infectious vocal lines, and clever rapping, Help Yourself is a huge sugar rush of music that never really goes out of style, presented in a fresh and colorful way.
I had a chance to catch up with with JP, one half of this dynamic duo, our conversation started just as we were both getting off work one afternoon. BBGuns had just participated in a 24 hour livestream.
Pittsburgh, PA indie band String Machine releases the title track to their upcoming album Death of the Neon, which will be out August 2nd. This track represents the full release quite well, showcasing folksy songwriting, multi-part harmonies, and dynamically shifting compositions that build and release tension in varied and surprising ways. Stay tuned for a full review of this stellar album.
The release of this track is a great follow up to the debut of this video for another track, Eight Legged Dog, which appeared on July 2nd. The video. Not the dog. I’d be terrified of an eight legged dog. Anyway, it’s a great video, so we’ll include that as well:
Peredam tapes has released six collections of mixes by a couple of last.fm era aliases of Qualchan.- gngsgns and bopapocalypse. There are three releases for each.
The gngsgns releases are chopped mixtapes of mostly hip hop, and each is themed around a different Texas city. Welcometodallas is a pleasantly churning mixture of high falootin’ city sounds and seedy underbelly hip hop grooves.
ftworthherointrips is a more laid back excursion into chopped/screwed blending a syrup of slowed down beats and altered realities.
screwston, man is the final of the gngsgns releases as Qualchan. states in the album description,
“another archival release from the humid summer of 2k11. this was the last gngsgns. release as i discovered two white edm ding dongs from the midwest were also using the name & i didn't want to be associated with them, so i moved onto greener pastures with bopapocalypse. the tape version (which disappeared when my old macbook died) had a fifteen minute edit of bjork's unravel.”
Along with some nicely mellowed joyride jams, there are some other humorously obvious samples and loops, that the artist unashamedly includes as an illustration of his early curation and sampling style.
In fact, each of these releases is presented in its original form.
“again some of the song choices are a little questionable in hindsight but i am just putting out everything warts & all”
The Bopapocalypse releases are similar in style and build to the gngsgns releases, pitch-bent clips of hip hop and pop songs blended into casual mixtapes to while away the recreational hours. The first of these is
free ted kaczynski., on which each of the tracks is named after a city that the famous domestic terrorist sent an explosive device to. On the Nod demonstrates a honing of Bopapocalypse’s mixing skills, with tighter, more aggressive compositions.
The final Bopapocalypse mixtape marked the end of the era, and the transition of the artist into Qualchan. Listen carefully for alterations of style and purpose:
All of these mixes are a free download and. even without deep analysis of an artist forming a style - they’re perfect chopped and screwed hip hop jams that you can download for free.
Portland, Oregon based experimental musician The Modern Folk is no stranger to releasing unusual audio artifacts of raw unfiltered folk audio, often reinterpreting traditional American music or expounding on the ills of our society.
In MF Ultra, The Modern Folk expands further into electronic embellishment of traditional musical structures while exploring the darker nature of the human condition. Here is a video The Modern Folk has produced for the opening track of MF Ultra. “Lyin’”
German electronic composer Smudgeon reveals a video from a new release on Akashic Envoy Records entitled Enfolding.
According to the artist, Enfolding is a collection of miniature ambient landscapes that capture the acute essence of “hope, loneliness, disconnection, and the feeling of the Earth shifting under your feet whether you will it or not” Apart from a guitar sample, everything else we hear is software-based artistry based on musique concrete, binaural sounds, and automatic writing.
Enfolding is available on cassette via Akashic Envoy Records.
Here is an eerie visual to go along with this deeply emotional atmosphere of tension and warm energies, tempered with smooth composition and artful delivery.
Purchase the cassette:
Purchase the digital:
Ratskin Records announces a new EP by unique experimental artist Tyler Holmes, entitled Devil. This new EP will build on Holmes’ previous three releases, which feature widely varied styles and techniques of music-making. While those releases pushed outward against boundaries and borders, Devil looks inward, to the mores and messages that shape us as children and follow us into adulthood.
Collections of Dead Souls is Timothy Anderson, of Austin, Texas. He is an artist who creates chaotic works of synth and sound, that buzz with narrative energy. His latest release, Synth Explorations Of The Unconscious Mind Vol i, warns of the injustice of modern society, while also transmitting a peaceful tone, full of hope and magic. I had a chance to catch up with Timothy to talk about it.
Gray Lee: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me. How long have you been creating music under the name 'Collections of Dead Souls?'
Timothy Anderson: I started making this form of electronic music around January 2014, didn't come up with the name until about July of 2016.
It was actually in a motel on the Las Vegas Strip that I came up with the name.
G: It really stands out. It was definitely the name that drew me in at the beginning. But you’ve made music in other forms for much longer.
T: Yea, I started playing guitar in my teens, got a 4 track when I was 17, started playing around with recording.
Then I was recording under the name FONADI, eventually adding a Korg MS2000 and a Korg Electribe to the mix.
These are some of those tracks.
G: Ok so you branched into synths pretty early on.
T: Yea, it was really more of a had to do it kinda thing. I needed a rhythm section as it were, and instead of finding other musicians, I just learned to do everything myself. Main influence at the time was Aphex Twin and Godflesh, (that hasn't changed) so figured why not?
G: You seem to work from a broad range of influences, including rock, ambient, electronica, harsh noise - each one of your releases has its own vibe. What's your creative process like? Do you start with a concept and then create to shape that, or create free form works and see what comes out of them - or is it a combination?
T: Usually a concept. The idea has always been to tell some kind of story through synths and drum machines.
- or in the case of "Because I Rushed It" I was really really drunk.
G: I’ve been listening to the new release and it does have that conceptual feel. I think the first thing I noticed about Synth Explorations of the Unconscious Mind Vol I is the way the song titles work together to create a sentence - a statement.
T: Yea. That was the intention. I've been constantly travelling for years, and was always spouting off everywhere about various anti-capitalist and anarchist topics in strange places. It's kind of been a theme in a lot of my releases.
G: Your works certainly don't mince words.
And your relationship with the evils of this world are more concrete than most people may imagine. In fact, up until very recently - you were homeless.
T: Yea, but I've been homeless a lot over the last few years. Joined OccupyDC in January 2012, which was essentially going to DC to live on the streets and march on Washington. Daily.
So, yea, it sucked, but.....
I got better. I think.
It's tough to get off the streets, but, it's just about keeping your head up, and trying to stay on a path out.
G: Congrats on making it off the street.
I think it's amazing that living on the streets, you were able to continue making and releasing music, even doing all your own cover art
T: Thank you. Laptop and iPad. Just learned everything I could about everything I possibly could. I looked at music and art as a way to keep my head together, and maybe release some pressure of my situation, as well as at least keeping me in coffee and whatnot.
G: I must say, though this new release was recorded while homeless, and bears strong messages about the ills of our society - I often found the tone to be strangely peaceful.
T: I didn't want to make anything other that something that would fill the soul with a strange kinda smile and uplifting feeling. Life is short, miserable and confusing. I wanted to make something that for a bit, someone could escape into, leaving those feelings behind.
G: I believe you accomplished that. The blissful escape of it is tangible, even amid more chaotic sequences.
T: Thank you. It was somewhat tough, when the situation dictated a noise album. I did not want to make another noise album. Although I did release a couple one off noise tracks for a few comps and singles.
G: How do you think your creative process will change now that you have privacy, a place to keep your gear, and a myriad of other things people don't realize they have?
T: It won't. I've been working this way for so long, I don't see any reason to change it. I'm only here to share a story, to share ideas, I will not change much on how I create these things.
G: That’s the truest art, to continue expressing regardless of any change or situation, whether for good or for ill.
T: Thanks. I've got to stay true to this, even if it just relegates it to some 99cents bin of history.
G: Yeah definitely keep going with your creative endeavors. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next.
T: The DVD.
G: Yes the DVD! What's that all about?
T: The audio track was recorded about a year ago, and Jorge Mario Zuleta contacted me about making a film. I said ok. I was on the streets at the time, and encouraged him to try and finish it for SXSW as I wanted to do something like project it onto the side of the homeless shelter. SXSW ended, I couldn't do it, so in the interests of getting it out there, I'm putting together complete wtf art package things for anyone who orders.
G: That sounds sick, sign me up for that.
T: It's going to be a box of stuff. Every single package will be unique in some way. A little part of Collections of Dead Souls.
Collections of Dead Souls’ releases can be found at https://collectionsofdeadsouls.bandcamp.com/
Dive Into DEEP with Benjamin Hinz
Benjamin Hinz - “Deep”
(Phillip K. Discs)
Wisconsin music maker Benjamin Hinz has been a sound innovator and creator for close to a couple of decades, and in that time he has participated in many audio projects and has also been a driving force behind boutique live sound equipment company Dwarfcraft Devices. His latest effort, Deep, takes the usual solo ambient guitar drone work he is well known for, and adds full band energy to create a dynamic release.
Deep challenges definition by combining drone, electronic, and rock elements that come together to take the listener on a tumultuous 22-minute journey through a murky, underwater environment full of mystery and terror. Beginning with a guitar drone that escalates into a full blown rock with unique electronic trim, Deep will draw you into the shadowy depths of oceanic fright. What lurks far below the frenzied chopping waves of an angry sea? Only you will know, when you dive into Deep.
Preorder Deep here:
Video Premiere - Here is a five minute edit of Deep for you to test the waters with.
Headboggle - “Polyphonic Demo”
Headboggle, who has been flipping wigs with a wild electronic spree of imaginatively composed synth masterpieces for years, releases Polyphonic Demo, a brain-bending collection of forty-four, one-minute tracks that serve as small windows into a series of different worlds. Right away, i want to analyze the word “demo” in the title. This is not a demo. I believe that in this context, “demo” is short for “demolition,” as in the demolition of the listener’s expectations of how recorded music should behave.
I can feel the gears turning inside of you. You are resistant to listening to a disc full of one-minute tracks, because you are convinced what it will just feel like someone flipping through their music collection, and listening to the first 60 seconds of every song. This resistance is not unnatural - but completely wrong. Polyphonic Demo flows like a narrative story, taking you on a tour through a hall of wonders, sharing a bite-sized piece of each strange chapter of your travels. It is highly unconventional, yet ultimately enjoyable way of experiencing Headboggle’s unusual musical perspective. Fans of Headboggle - you don’t want to skip this one.
From the label:
“San Francisco's Derek Gedalecia's long-standing HEADBOGGLE moniker has boasted over 100 releases in his twenty plus years composing and releasing music that spans from dense layered modern electronics, sputtering noise, modular and Buchla based synthesizer works, avant neo-classical, to giddy electronics and even ragtime piano, but none of these 100 plus releases have fully purged the deepest depths of unexplored sonic territories, with the inspired urgency and strategic extraction of unheard electronic compositions as his newest record, titled Polyphonic Demo, to be released on CD and digital this April 22 via Oakland, CA imprint Ratskin Records. On Polyphonic Demo, Gedalecia abandons all notions of what experimental music is "supposed" to sound like to offer a exploding, tense, exuberant, and refreshingly idiosyncratic take on synthesizer music. With forty-four one minute tracks, meant to be shuffled on CD or remain in their sequenced order, Gedalecia completely re imagines what is possible both compositionally and spatially within the confines of a sixty second track, or an album for that matter. Gedalecia constructs poignant, cinematic vignettes which offer a glimpse into dense, psychedelic zones. "Polyphonic Demo" is the listening adventure of abstract, yet masterfully grounded take on electronic music we've all been waiting for. “
Track Premiere - Headboggle - “Country Club Road
“Headboggle splinters his typically all-encompassing style of synth composition into tiny one minute morsels & the results play out like fellow Bay Area legends The Residents on their Commercial Album: short and sweet, presenting each idea as a discrete miniature world and moving on. Derek presents a comprehensive taxonomy of the tones and strategies within his arsenal of synths and electronics, finding room for everything from glistening classical-informed harmonies to the bludgeoning rhythmic squelches that have become his signature. Across 44 tracks, Derek dilates time and sketches out some oblique narrative known only to him that seems to contain infinite details”.
- Max Allison, Hausu Mountain
Video for “Blue Guitar”
“ HOLY SHIT Headboggle has gone “commercial” with (44) one-minute jingles of brain-damaged intent. I can’t get over this joker’s Modern Ballroom Dancing © sound - puts me super smiley in the headspace of Mort Garson or The Residents. My favorite release of his so far.”
- Bran (...) Pos
Derek Gedalecia, a.k.a. Headboggle, has been performing electronic keyboard-based soundscapes for several years in the Bay Area in over a hundred local performances at venues ranging from GTK to YBCA. Incorporating lowbrow with highbrow art, music, and comedy, Head Boggle’s intent is to fuse together a new ecstatic improvisational performance style with a carefully crafted musical underbed. In his formative years, Gedalecia studied classical and ragtime piano from noted ragtime composer/revivalist Dr. Brian Dykstra.
Preorder Polyphonic Demo starting 3/22/19:
Nathan Cearley is one half of Long Distance Poison, experimental analog modular synth outfit with over nine years of stellar releases. We caught up with him on a day off to talk about LDP’s new release Astro Topoi.
Gray Lee: So what’s your day off been like so far?
Nathan Cearley: Woke up at 5, went running, been watching movies
GL: Oh nice. Which ones?
NC: today I've watched an odd handful--The Bronx Executioner, Good Favour and The Man Who Would Be King.
GL: I’ve seen none of those, but Bronx Executioner sounds good.
NC: The Bronx Executioner is a weird Italian cyborg film that was distributed by Cannon at the end of the 1980s. Robots vs humans. It has a crazy credit sequence at the beginning that has all sorts of weird video distortion and noise. There is a gang in it called The Humanoids
GL: I already love it -
Let’s jump right into talking about Astro Topoi. That is awesome album, by the way. I was in the middle of several things and basically stopped all of my activity to focus on it.
NC: Wow, thanks. what do you like about it?
GL: I really dig Liminal Diamond, when the beat comes in, and about halfway through there’s this dirty, funky bass line that emerges. Really good interplay between that and the drones in the background.
NC: Thanks! that is sort of a dive into unassembled blues and funk. Like the other two songs on the record, that song unfolded completely by chance from the moment we were doing it. We didn't sit down and say, let’s do something that goes from droney into blues and then shifts into funk, but kind of weird and decontextualized. instead, one thing lead to another.
I guess the idea for the album was to have as little idea of time as possible, in the sense of goal-oriented time. Like, lets make a song that sounds like this, or, let's do this and do this other part.
GL: Yeah that natural way that it moves from one zone to another really pulls the listener in. And that’s something id like to dig into. This release is not 'computer generated,' but played live with analog equipment?
NC: Yes. All three are mostly me on the modular synth and Erica on different analog synthesizers. Most of the "composition" is psuedo-random, random or completely intuited, as far as sound, control over sound, and timing is concerned.
The long form piece, called Ausunya, was originally an experiment that came from a residency we had with Clocktower Gallery at Pioneer Works that explored how to create sound outside of typical modes of goal centric time. It was first performed there and then it evolved and was finally recorded. The spirit of that experiment is also how we made the other two songs - zero idea of an end point or goal underpinning what we were doing in the moment when bringing the songs into being
GL: How much does the recording end up differing from live performace when some of it is based in improvisation? Do you have an overall tone that you are aiming for?
NC: Rather than aim for a tone, we allowed the tone to create itself from how the sounds ended up manifesting. So, in a way, the songs decided their own tone, or were part of that process, as the making of each song unfolded. We wanted to get our minds as out of the way as possible
The live performances of Ausunya changed quite a bit from the experiments at Pioneer Works to the performance there to when we finally recorded it. Although, towards the end, the song decided to kind of reach a kind of stasis with regards to its parts. after awhile it had a kind of structure that we didn't decide on and that just worked itself out. there is a youtube clip somewhere of us performing at Silent Barn and its not completely unsimilar sounding to the recording on the album but if you compare either to some clips of the Clocktower Gallery residency event its really different but obviously related.
GL: In that way would you say this mindset is inverse to how maybe a rock or blues musician would improvise, watching for chord or rhythm changes? Do you make visual contact during the recording process?
NC: Lol, yes, probably, in that a rock or blues musician probably really knows what they are doing and we don't. We don't even pretend to know. We want to un-know the little we do know.
For example, we are not jamming chord inversions. But we equally are not, not jamming chord inversions. The practice is to try and avoid being dualistic whatsoever, but, quite different from a musican improvising in the fact that much of the reality of the music is being determined in the moment by the instruments themselves and the processes the instruments are engaged in.
GL: I think it's really working. The release has that transcendent feel without straying into psychedelic tropes
NC: Thanks! that is the whole natural event of it: autonomy, sovereignty of sound
It’s basically all proceeding from the strategy of what happens when the "musician" is removed from the music as much as possible. One time I was part of a really horrible improv group. it only lasted a couple meets. one of the men in the group looked at me one day and said, "You aren't a musician." it made me so happy. I was like, “Yes. Thank you.”
GL: It definitely takes on a life of its own
NC: Absolutely. And, once the mind gets out of the way, something else is there--something very mysterious.
GL: This is your second release through Deep Distance. There seems to be a lot of contrast between the previous album and this one. The previous being a lot more tribal/meditational/ ancient sounding
NC: That album emerged from a really different context that also was weirdly similar. but that album definitely had a kind of concept to it. whereas this album was about neither clinging to a concept nor clinging to trying to avoid immanently emerging concepts
Human program was about trying to apply the tension between order and chaos, illusion and reality, simulation and ??? to sound composition. so we wanted to really work and try to create orders and organizations of sound that appeared song like but that were in fact not.
But that album connects to this one because they intersect with the emphasis on process and psuedo random, random and intuited events
GL: I definitely think they work well together.
NC: Thanks! There is also quite a bit of that play between apparent stability and real disorder in our two Hausu Mountain releases and our 2AM Tapes release. In fact, on our last Hausu Mountain release, Knock Magh, there is a long form song called Ooch Nuch which is really a good example of randomness and intuition in composition that was literally like crazy weird mutant cell mutation where one duration unfolded or imploded or flipped out or exploded or whatever into another creating what should have been complete chaos but instead something weirdly listenable and relatable.
Same with this one song on the 2AM tapes release Perfect Weather, Nodri Yaksha. It unfolded from this kind of industrial martial thing into drone and then this Cure song. Erica and I were like, WTF? It’s definitely related to evolution in the sense that there is really no master plan. and circumstance creates the next form that becomes the next circumstance
GL: I like the level of thought that goes into your music before and after it's recorded.
NC: Ha, thanks! but the funny thing is its an absurd amount of noticing how not to think.
Like, the mind is going to keep on spitting shit out. the trick is to notice it without reacting to it. we try to do that in parallel way when it comes to "making music"
But you always have to be aware. you can't stop noticing. Then, the awareness becomes the letting go.
GL: Thats poweful. Where does the title Astro Topoi come from?
NC: It’s funny you say powerful because giving up control for just noticing and being aware of whatever is going on when its going on opens up the space for all this energy that would otherwise be lost in trying to impose time on the context and will on reality. there is an energy once you give up control. Once your thoughts are no longer wrapped up in the idea of what happened then or what might happen later.
Astro Topoi means “Space Places.” It was a conventional way for us to try and suggest that the songs have a presence with no direction - kind of like middles without beginnings or ends. You can just be with the sounds and not worry about being anything.
GL: I think in many ways people are weary of being told what to think, and the message of this music is not to think but to be.
NC: Totally. or not to get entangled in your thoughts. Trying to willfully negate thinking is dangerous too, right? but definitely, we hope that when people experience this album they can just be here. i think we are worn out with being a self, though--i think you are totally right about that. Modernism screamed:, “You gotta be someone, an identity, a self. and we will give you all these commodities and narratives to accomplish that.” And i think now people realize all this suffering in the world is a bigger problem than just political parties and political points of view...that there is this attachment to self underpinning the horror. Music is so amazing because its at one a thing and at once completely empty. And though it is used by modernism as a thing to create identities, it is equally a powerful way to cut attachment to self.
Noise, experimental music, the avante garde, jazz, whatever, can really pull the rug out from under the ego. So, its really horrifying at a deep level, because we equate that dissolution of attachment to death, rather than seeing it as freedom. That's why i get kind of crabby about how weird forms of music are being territorialized by capitalism through branding and social media. through the simulacra of community.
it’s like modernism got a guard dog called postmodernism to save it from weird music robbing it of its treasure, the ego. Maybe music shouldn't be a form of self validation, maybe it should be a form of self dissolution. if the strategy, for sound, is creating the space for something new to happen, something not yet to arrive, something that is already here to be free to be seen, the attachment to self has to be cut. in that way music becomes the most important form of “validation”—it is the affirmation of the sacred or mysterious, whatever it is that is other than economy and rationalism and classification and thinking.
GL: I dont personally like talking about my day job but if youre cool with it, in your 'waking life' you are an educator? How does that influence your music or vice versa?
NC: I work in a gifted school that is almost entirely African American. These are brilliant kids that society has thrown roadblocks against. So, just like i see music as a way to cease suffering in the world, i see teaching in my context as similar. And on a really basic level there is also this struggle between goal centric thinking and the moment. between right now and "then and next" Also, I try and remove myself as much as possible from the experience of learning and create systems, processes and structures that create the developmental events. I kind of am more of a facilitator than a chalk and talk teacher.
GL: That sounds like an incredibly rewarding experience
NC: i guess its also like music in that its both rewarding and super frustrating, lol.
GL: Do you ever spin a LDP record in the classroom?
NC: Ha. I did play an early mix of a track once to some guys who were in detention. Then they wanted to come up for detention the next day to hear more. Today, they just find it online, something that didn't happen so much a couple years ago. It was there but they weren't so "google-ly" Now they are like, "cool show you are playing on Friday night." Or, "that video you made made me see things." Or, "what's with the flashing lights."
GL: Haha that’s wild. I go to great lengths to hide what I do from people at work. It seems like you are the same wherever you are.
NC: If you can figure out a way for me to hide the internet from my students, please let me know.
Well, I don't go on about making music. Its such a academically tough experience for them that we are really focused on the work then and there. but i think my "persona" is the same. i wear my street clothes when i play out and i wear my street clothes when i teach.
i actually try and avoid talking about it with the other teachers more. kids are like, whoa, that is weird. and its a cool questioning and curiousity thing. with adults, its like, i don't get it. and the tone is like, you are a weird idiot. the kids aren't threatened. their minds haven't been as conditioned. it causes anxiety for the adults.
GL: Whats on the Horizon for LDP?
NC: Erica and I are working on a couple of new long form things, like inside out ambient, again, mostly created from autonomous psuedo random processes and structures and plain intuition. We are really focused on creating our version of an ambient album. There will be zero rhythm and lots of weird chords.
Also, Mark Dwinell of Forma and I have a Polytechnic Youth record that is just being released now of some raw early 80s'ish sounding industrial jams. very different than LDP and Forma.
_ _ _
The LP of Astro Topoi is now sold out, but you can still obtain the digital version of the album here:
Also, Nathan wants to give away some codes - grab them while they are still vaid!