Bonnie Baxter - “Cobweb Sensations”
Bonnie Baxter returns with this psychedelic grind of pulsating noise fury, Cobweb Sensations.
Bonnie Baxter - “Cobweb Sensations”
Bonnie Baxter returns with this psychedelic grind of pulsating noise fury, Cobweb Sensations.
As an album, Attack of the Koala People is a frolicsome romp through a 16-bit game of your childhood.
Aloysius Scrimshaw - “Post-Music”
(Pink Dolphin Music)
Just when you thought underground music couldn’t get any weirder, Aloysius Scrimshaw’s latest release burrows to even lower depths of strangeness and insanity.
With his previous album Kind Regards From Isaac, the Dead Musician imprinted his peculiar style on a folk aesthetic. However, on Post-Music Scrimshaw pivots to a more electronic sound.
Imagine a club of undead ravers hypnotically swaying to an unholy amalgamation of throbbing drum and bass layered with unsettling synth pads and accentuated by guitar and assorted sonic freakery.
Atop of the musical morass, Scrimshaw delivers Rorschach-esque narrations of the macabre and morbid.
Second Wakeup tells the tale of how claustrophobic and tedious environs pushes a submarine crewman to his absolute breaking point.
Wendigo Psychosis recounts grisly scenes of animalistic barbarity and Creature 432 paints an eerie setting of a house by the lake.
All in all, Post-Music is a solid entry in the Dead Musician’s discography and an interesting artifact in his musical quest for the offbeat and unusual.
Check out the link below to add this disturbing little gem to your collection.
Sing along with the Dead Musician: “Second wakeup for the shipmate, second wakeup for the shipmate…”
QOHELETH - “Ape Dog Wars Chide the Stem Toil”
(Philip K. Discs)
Experimental noise-rockers QOHELETH teamed up with composer/multi-instrumentalist Whettman Chelmets for a complete makeover of their debut album God is the Warmest Place to Hide.
The musical mashup spawned the sonic abomination of Ape Dog Wars Chide the Stem Toil-a bleak amalgamation of industrial sprawl that warps the original source material into bold and demented new forms.
The idea for the musical collaboration came about through social media. On Twitter, Whettman saw Jeremy Hunt-one of the members of QOHELETH-expressing the desire to do a noise rock remix album.
“Jeremy said something in a tweet...regarding all these different styles and sounds he wanted to do with the band but he didn't have the technological wherewithal. I told him I'd be interested,” Whettman recalled.
QOHELETH and Whettman tested the water with a single track, and they were so pleased with the results that they decided to go ahead and remix the entire album.
“It started with just one of the tracks, to see if he would have fun with it and then it just expanded from there,” said Hunt.
“I figured I'd just do a remix or two but ended up doing every song and a couple of other ideas too,” said Whettman.
The band was so pleased with Whettman’s work that they wanted him to take complete artistic license with no inhibitions.
“He would send ideas back to get our feedback, but basically we wanted him to feel the freedom to go crazy with it,” Hunt said.
“They gave me free reign to do whatever…” agreed Whettman.
The ethos of unbounded sonic experimentation shows off in spades. While enjoyable as a standalone, the work can only fully be appreciated as a companion piece to the original.
You then take on the role of an audio archaeologist, uncovering artifacts that point back to the original source material.
On Bombardier, the fuzzed-out and distorted bass loop will point you to Tombs of White.
The melody on Sikorsky will allow you to uncover Heaviness of Presence as the source track.
To give any more clues would totally ruin the listening experience, so go ahead and pick up both albums to revel in the noise and sonic anarchy.
Sone Institute - “Where Moth and Rust Consume”
(Front & Follow Records)
If Where Moth and Rust Consume were a film, the TV Guide description for the film would read:
A British misanthrope gatecrashes a poetry convention with a Casio keyboard and trolls/amazes the audience with tales of wildy vivid apathy and disturbing beauty.
The latest release from UK experimental electronic pop artist, Sone Institute, Where Moth and Rust Consume constantly walks the line between carefully crafted lyric, artistic composition, and devious “wouldn’t it be funny if” type experimentation, all of which comes together to create an album that I am enthralled by.
The opening track, I only exist, comes off as a pseudo-philosophical exploration of being. The speaker in the song repeats a refrain of:
“I only exist because you love me/
You will die the day I say goodbye/
I only exist because you love me/
Even though its a lie”
Is the speaker here Sone himself, or are we hearing an intangible concept personified, like love or God? Between the existential wonderings, disturbing imagery and unusual perspectives weave their way around the narrative.
Most other tracks on Moth and Rust are devoid of such probing queries, and instead offer contemplative electronic music tinted with variety and depth. Tracks such as Summer Lightning, The Devil Works in ASDA, and A Gilded Cage are filled with this brand of driving, buzzing electronica, laden with catchy, electro-pop beats and buzzing with synth detail. There is a delicate balance of pain and pleasure in these works that is hard to identify. One must undergo it in order to understand. The track What’s Bred in the Bone stands out as a worship of the preset rhythms and chord structures from those keyboards we all had as kids, while Winter is Dead is a looping found sound that slowly drowns in ambient waves.
Throughout the release, Sone Institute continues to shift and grow the sound of each selection, so that every experience is a new one - creating a complete, but varied experience, in what feels like just a taste of something much larger that has been going on for quite a long time without our knowledge. Overall, Where Moth and Rust Consume is a lot of things, and also none of those things. It’s a shouted statement in an empty room, and a platitude in the shadow of a deep loss. It’s a mercy kill, a long kiss goodnight, and joyful euthanasia. The release closes with a simple and short track entitled God Bless You, that features a vocal sample that repeats just that until the record ends. It never really ends, though.
Ricardo Dias Gomes - “Aa“
(Kill Shaman Records)
Brazil-based experimental artist Ricardo Dias Gomes explores assemblages of fragmented field audio, powerful rhythms, and spoken word to create a compelling release in Aa.
Oozing out of fuzzing speakers with grimy electronic beats and echoed bits of recorded audio, Ricardo summons unnatural energies that flake from the walls of dangerous alleyways onto swiftly moving vehicles in the night. Gravitational forces bend streetlights, causing them to cast unfamiliar shadows. The opening track, Precipio pounds with a dark purpose and a grinding, frayed bass. Near-mic vocals are non-rhythmic and hypnotically conversational. Ambient shards of noise are tossed about, creating misshapen spaces. The deep heartbeat continues in Tela Parada, as objects scrape on pavement, and the voice intensifies. When an additional beat drops in at the apex of the song, kinetic elements bounce across the audio, leaving pieces behind to spin as the track fades.
Fogo Chama breaks the forward momentum to detail some creative synth composition with brilliantly performed lyrical style. Aa progressively becomes more threatening and aggressive with the heavy drone and obsessive whispers of Partimos Daqui part 1, The crunchy, driving bass line of punk-infused Paranormal, and the thoughtful reflection of Partimos Daqui part 2, and the Cohen-invoking patience and balance of Nenens. Album closer Pre-Revolutionary State offers atmospheric night sounds and a gentle conclusion.
Variety and depth characterize this audio work, and require repeat visits to fully absorb. Ricardo Dias Gomes’ ability to blend action with detail paints a large mural of music here with many brush strokes of experimental sound. Aa is available on LP from Kill Shaman Records.
valyri - “Expanses”
Longform electronic explorations of untold universes that exist beyond our feeble perceptions find a home in this patient and vast recording, Expanses. Comprised of six extended tracks that carry the mind of the listener away from earthly patterns and lift toward the myriad of heavens above, this latest release from dark ambient/ experimental drone artist valyri is nothing short of a metaphysical journey to endless non-corporeal realms of astronomical grandeur.
Expanses begins with Pseudologue sequv.6, formed from a rapidly cycling synth pattern, imbued with a brightness and wide open freedom that envelopes the listener in spiraling tunnels of light, firing across the kaleidoscope of space at immeasurable speeds. The next movement in this space symphony is Brokensun recognition (phase silhouette,) a heady arrival in a timeless zone of eternity, transported slowly by drifting ambient clouds of glowing energy. Different depths of mood pass across the starry vastness, from euphoric jubilation, to shadowy ruminations, but all energies lead to the central energized core of this epic - a dissolving of place and time.
It is the removal of where-ness that truly characterizes this release. From the sweeping and grandiose opening overtures to the detailed sorrows of a thousand drifting, lonely souls in Disappointment Theme, to the haunted piano soliloquy that melts into a buzzing mechanical afterlife in the closing track Music for Dysgnosia, valyri steers the voyage as a skilled traveler, guiding the listener from one existence to another.
Stephen Hawking once said, “To confine our attention to terrestrial matters would be to limit the human spirit,” and Expanses illustrates the endless possibilities that await the spirit no longer tethered to the base concerns of earthly life.
To expand your reach beyond valyri’s latest production, she invites you to explore a greater universe with a subscription to her full calalogue:
Whettman Chelmets - “Alas… The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive”
(Submarine Broadcasting Company)
The eclectic and electrifying Whettman Chelmets worms his way back into your auditory canal by dropping a shortish EP with a longish title and shoe-gazerish feel.
Alas… The Sun is Shining and You are Still Alive canters out of the gate with the The Sun is Shining -a merry little dream-pop ditty with a toe-tapping bass and drum section driving the melodic interplay between sparkling guitars and arpeggiating synthesizers.
The interlacing layers of guitar and synth take a pensive and darker tone on the second track Alas -an organic ebb and flow of sound and emotion with the dynamics dictated by a throbbing low end.
Not to leave any part of the album title unused as a track name, the EP ends with You are Still Alive -an ambient dronescape where reverb and delay-saturated guitars clash notes with a celestial drone that rises to a cacophonous yet transcendent crescendo before echoing off into infinity.
Whettman Chelmets never disappoints and his latest release upholds his reputation as a fun but serious composer who can pack a wallop in 20 minutes or less.
Check out the link below to add this gem to your collection.
Quimper - “Perdide”
A soft-edged, quckly moving keyboard introduces this quirky, inward-looking ousider release Perdide from UK band Quimper. The release takes no time to move into experimental zones, with the track Lovely Bees, which buzzes in the ear with heated looped synth lines and almost whispered vocals. Warm Carpenter follows with a driving beat, weaving synth augmentations, and choir-like vocals reverberating in the background.
This collection of strange music, which the band self-describes as “wonky pop,” is a glimpse into another world that is quite different from the one we inhabit. It is one of those weird planets where many ordinary-looking things are very dangerous, and everything is a vastly different shade and color than one expects it to be. The title track, Perdide, presents a looping buzzing bass line that is visited by unearthly voices. The sparse vocals that occasionally drift through these wobbling synth meanderings are hauntingly echoed, and delicately faint. The meaning derived is wordless and obscure.
The sum of all the parts is an otherworldly audio experience that transports the listener in a pensive way, enabling one to travel to another world, where strange wonky-pop illustrates a colorfully odd existence. Though electronics play a large role in the production, Quimper has cultivated a powerfully organic sound with an aural artistry that plays on the senses to create a light tension and wonder.
Andrulian - "Irresistible Forces"
(Submarine Broadcasting Company)
Experimental electronic artist Andrulian adds another powerful ambient work to his prolific catalog with Irresistible Forces, a dark journey through a shadowy underworld – a dimension that mimics our own, but is forever shrouded in darkness and confusion. The laws of physics do not entirely apply here, and nothing is as it should be.
Waves of hazy energy wash overhead as deep tones well up from underfoot. This is an unstable place full of horrors and nightmares. Sounds in the distance may be natural, or may be some hidden danger. There is no way to know. All the while you are searching for a way out – but much like a fish swimming under the ice of a frozen over lake, there may not be a way to cross back over. This purgatory may be your new home.
What was that? Some kind of roar? You are not alone here. There are creatures in the dark that hunt you. Retreating further into the shadows, you discover an abandoned science station. The desolate structure is ragged but sturdy. Computers still scan the vast inky blackness of this dimension. It's too bad the science team that was sent here is missing, or dead. Was that a voice? Is this place haunted? Even if you find the answer, you won't be able to tell anyone. You are up against Irresistible Forces.
This 88 minute monster of a release is one of my favorites of the year. It is easy to look at a four-way split tape and just dismiss it as practically being a compilation tape. And we all secretly loathe most compilation tapes, don't we? Puzzle Time is not a compilation tape.
What Puzzle Time is, is the opportunity to explore the artistry of four truly great artists, without having to switch tapes. There are a wide variety of sounds and moods on this lengthy journey, all quite engaging in their method and scope. Each segment of this release is basically an EP that introduces you to that artist. The artists represented here are:
Electronic artist Bary Center is no stranger to us. His work boasts a recognizable style - a tightly woven blend of ethereal ambient sounds and precisely controlled, intensely compelling beats. Bary contributes six tracks to Puzzle Time - each its own unique balance between cerebral ambient cloud cover, and thunderclaps of throat-punching beats.
Compositional heavy-hitter Yorihisa Taura delivers three tracks of droning guitar loops that sometimes circle in a hazy way, but often spiral up into frenzied intensity that threatens to topple the whole track, only to settle back down into more peaceful movements. Heavy distortion brings rewarding crescendos out of continuous tones.
Third Kind Records label boss Nicholas Langley makes an appearance on the tape with carefully balanced compositions that stimulate the mind and entertain the ear. His four tracks are built from found sounds and crafted synth overlays joining to create beautiful mind-benders that tickle the thought engine.
Sound shaper, Chemiefaserwerk, presents two lengthy avant-garde noise pieces with plenty of tension builds and racket-infused payoffs, that serves as a perfect closer to Puzzle Time.
Each artist represented in the nearly hour and a half of amazing sounds on Puzzle Time offers high-quality musical output that begs to be explored further - and that's exactly what owners of the cassette can do. That is because the cassette edition of Puzzle Time comes with a puzzle, that, when put together, reveals a code to download an additional secret album. This is the kind of stuff I really love! The puzzle is a small stack of rectangular cards with designs on both sides, and features the same type of beautiful artwork found on the front cover of Puzzle Time.
The bonus album, Puzzle Time 2, is a collection of tracks from the same artists listed above that is just as thoughtfully arranged and presented as the main album.
The level of satisfaction of the music included, and the intrigue and creativity exhibited in the physical release, make Puzzle Time one of the best releases I have reviewed this year. I highly recommend this one.
WHETTMAN CHELMETS - "Annihilate Your Masters"
With the title and cover, you would expect a screeching, noisy diatribe against the powers that be, exhorting the proletariat to rise up and slay their exploitative masters.
Indeed, the opening track Preparation (Thesis) sets you up for the riotous screed as the foreboding noise and music builds with intensity along with the sampled monologue about job cuts and barely scraping by.
The title track keeps building before delivering the rowdy goods by breaking into a dirty guitar riff and drum beat. However, just when you expect the shrieking rants against the capitalist overlords to drop, the next cut New Masters, Same as the Old explodes into a post-rock, shoegaze smorgasbord of effects-drenched instrumentation and ambient splendor.
Like all of Whettman Chelmets’ work, Annihilate your Masters defies expectations and challenges assumptions about genre and style. Although this EP takes an ambient turn about midway through, it still subverts the status quo and stays true to its Marxist theme.
Both proles and the bourgeois alike can enjoy.
P.S. Check out our review of some of Whettman Chelmets’ other work by clicking below.
Aloysius Scrimshaw-"Kind Regards From Isaac"
Nowadays, many projects bearing the labels of “experimental” and “avant-garde” are nothing short of conventional and pedestrian.
Instead of breaking new ground or blazing new trails, these groups merely revisit the same old ground, falling back on the same tired, old stylistic cliches.
Not so with Aloysius Scrimshaw a.k.a. the Dead Musician!!!
In his latest full-length release Kind Regards From Isaac, he kidnaps these stylistic conventions, hog-ties them in his underground lair, and menaces them in his Hollywood Undead meets Slipknot mask; reading his bizarre yet enthralling manifesto while his truly strange and unusual music plays in the background.
The track Scrimshaw launches this musical odyssey into the abnormal. Unsettling noises and an oddly folksy backbeat create the bewildering backdrop for Alysious’s raspy vocals that range from creepy whispers right in your ear to spoken-word screeches against our vile and broken system.
The weirdness in no way abates the deeper you go.
Blood From a Semitone transports you to a dark and dystopian version of the Wild West. A country-western band of the undead (complete with a harmonica and the clomping of horse hooves) provides the accompaniment for the dead musician’s signature vocal style and ramblings.
40 Nights of Rain Pt. Three sees our musical captor exchanging a call-and-response rap with a creepy little girl from a horror movie.
Dark, disturbing and genuinely one-of-a-kind. Kind Regards From Isaac holds no quarter for the faint of heart or those expecting a more "conventional" release from the experimental.
Aloysius Scrimshaw resides in a space all his own and those who take a wrong click on the information superhighway will find themselves under his sinister sway
Michel Kristof and Vinnie Paternostro - “A Place You Could Not See. A Time You Did Not Know”
In today’s world of empty consumerism and material excess, it’s easy to feel rudderless without any real sense of purpose or meaning.
It’s easy to feel like a A Door Without A Handle, A Clock Without A Face, A Car Without A Steering Wheel.
The above track titles from the Muteant release of Michel Kristof and Vinnie Paternostro are pithy metaphors for the hollowness and absurdity of the times we find ourselves in.
It’s not just the song names though; A Place You Could Not See. A Time You Did Not Know. is a perfect sonic encapsulation of the baffling absurdity of our modern predicament.
An analog synthesizer in lockstep with a drum machine creates a thick and impenetrable phalanx of industrial brute force as harsh and unrelenting as the jackbooted thud of dystopian police.
A guitar, which cannot stand against such an unfeeling and inorganic onslaught, is stomped on and beaten beyond any recognition into an effects-ravaged mess of atonal squawks and screeches.
All the while, a saxophone at the front and center of the mix wails soulfully for any trace of meaning and truth before itself succumbing to digital oblivion; trampled underfoot by the inexorable march of “progress.”
Michel Kristof and Vinnie Paternostro are genuine articles of the Muteant brand with a truly weird and experimental sound.
Click the link below and wallow in the nihilistic absurdism.
Zaumne - "Emo Dub"
Zaumne adds this selection to the latest Czaszka Records batch with this oddly satisfying, yet inexplicably unsettling release, Emo Dub.
The music itself is chill and downtempo, and would normally be very relaxing, but there is a disturbing undercurrent in this piece that comes from the sampled voices that accompany the music. Floating atop cool synth vibes and pleasing structures are voices that are almost like intimate whispers in the listener's ear. The repeated spoken phrases, (Such as the sample from the track, "Special," which is handwritten as the cover art of this release,) are cut up and pitch/speed shifted at various intervals that are not quite human. The juxtaposition of intimate human feeling with robotic repetition and affectation begins to take a life of its own.
As we progress through the release, the music turns ever-so-slightly to a darker vibe as the voices continue to ebb, flow and change form. The transitions from zone to zone are powerfully smooth, and each vocal sample seems to have been painstakingly chosen to represent different feelings, while adhering to the strict aesthetic of the project. Though each track has a slightly different resonance, all are produced with a laser precision, creating an overall effect for the listener of intense emotions being projected on a moving surface. It is as if Emo Dub is a collection of stray feelings from passing strangers that become trapped within the context of this 44 minute piece and then move along on the surface of it, reflecting back into the world.
Before you do anything else, click the Bandcamp link at the bottom, take a deep breath, and let the music wash over you as you read this.
You are now entering a drony dreamscape, an unreal realm.
Swelling synths, elven choirs and natural sounds inhabit this sonic space and with each intricate layer entice you deeper and deeper into this bewildering but strangely familiar world.
The creator of this world, Sangam, guides you gently through his digital dominion and reveals in small glimpses all that goes on in his kingdom.
Sailing Heart casts ominous foreshadowings with its lush string pads, arpeggiating synths and the hints of a melody that never seems to resolve itself.
The heavenly title track shines the blessed light of transcendence with its angelic choir and washes away all impurity with its cleansing rain.
The enchanted forest of Cogent (Feat. Rhucle) will absolutely spellbind you as the rain falls once again in the stillness of sylvan solitude.
You probably want this experience to continue, right? Well, the digital download is name your price, so you really don’t have an excuse, do you?
However, a digital deity with the awesome power of Sangam deserves a much better offering than such a pathetic pittance.
We will PERISH without his nurturing rain to once again replenish our barren musical landscape!
Therefore, we must honor him with a sacrifice that befits his musical majesty or risk displeasing him.
No, no no. No blood sacrifice is necessary.
A cassette or vinyl purchase will do nicely.
Wayne Rex, Dave Jackson, & Rich Goodson - "Out on a Limb/ Something I Can't Explain"
Many musicians when they improvise stick with their known repertoire of riffs and licks, reticent to venture out of their comfort zone for fear of ruining the groove. Not so with drummer Wayne Rex and alto saxophonist Dave Jackson. They take avant-garde jazz and push it to extremities that challenge and startle the ears with their volatile fluctuations between ferocious intensity and pensive broodiness.
Out on a Limb (which is the main album of this double album) is a colossal understatement of album titles. This sonic sprawl takes you on a tightrope across a gaping chasm where one misstep will send you falling endlessly into the bottomless void. For fear of your precious sanity, you shakily keep your balance desperate to make it to the other side.
All the while, the void below talks to you in the surreal spoken word of Rich Goodson who peels back your psyche layer by layer to reveal that at your core you are still nothing more than a frightened child, pathetic and scared, cowling in the corner haunted forever by a cruel grandmother, a cold and distant father, an unattainable ideal of masculinity.
Just as your body reaches its breaking point of balance, your next tentative step forward finds solid ground. The music has ended with a final squall of the saxophone, a final fill across the toms. The recorded applause of the audience snaps you out of your hypnagogic state. You are safe in your own skin again, and it may be a long time before you give Out on a Limb another spin. However long you wait though, the void will be waiting. The bandcamp link is below whenever you are ready to plunge back in.
Andrew Weathers/ Qualchan Split
The Andrew Weathers side of this split tape is desolate and a little unhinged. It transmits an image of sunset over a midwestern town plagued by some dark mystery, that can only be solved when a gritty down-on-his-luck detective finally faces his own personal demons. After that, it's easy to solve the crime.
There is a rusted lonliness to this sidelong presentation that is drenched in a meloncholy atmosphere you can taste. Hazy synths weave in and out of ambient setpieces, like footprints in the fog.
Qualchan takes the stage before the smoke and mystery from Weathers has time to clear away, but his side of this story has to do with the characters who inhabit this uncanny municipality. Channeling vintage Badalamenti vibes, Qualchan's ambience has a touch of misty subltey that finds an odd beauty in all the madness and murder. Making use of his varied bag of tricks, you can expect to experience walls of ambient feelings painted with undulations of synth that seem to answer questions with more questions.
Next time you're out on a long stretch of highway, searching the horizion for solutions to unsolved cases, or for answers to age-old questions, reach for the Andrew Weathers/ Qualchan split tape - the soundtrack for seekers.