On September 26, 2018, melodious mayhem erupted at a small music venue in Rome, Italy. On that infamous date, four tectonic titans of experimental free-jazz created a seismic shift of noise and atonality.
The GOATS are Declan Randulph Owen, Alan Morse Davies, and Jorge Mario Zuleta. Together with a wild gang of guest stars, they set out on a ambient hippie journey through some sort of groovy nebula of found sounds, drones, and mind-altering audio euphoria.
Experimental percussionist Claire Rousay creates tightly controlled works of ultra-minimalism that gleam with texture and purpose that challenge classification or description. The feeling that Several Erasures produces is one of detail and intimacy - close sounds of movement in another room, and the comfort of hearing a loved one moving in the circles of a daily routine.
DIno Felipe - “Citrus Scenarios”
Swirling eddies of fuzzy electronica and nearby noises are the introduction to the adventure of sound, Citrus Scenarios, brought to us by Dino Felipe.
Dere Moans - “Inglorious Deathsounds Mixtape”
(Bad Cake Records)
Dere Moans returns with two sidelong slabs of sonic spaghetti woven together in that special way that only Dere moans can. Inglorious Deathsounds Mixtape is a swirling vortex of plunderphonic scuzz, a deluge of orphaned orchestrations, sliced samples, and deconstructed dialogues, masterfully merged into a tightly controlled audio output that achieves a strange serenity inside the blinding cloud of blended sound.
It is not the chaos itself that draws the attention, but the delicate balance of between that tangled stream of consciousness, and the shaping of the relentless tide. Feel the organic contours that remain after this crashing wave of signals and noises is swept up and bound by invisible powers and contorted into glowing sculptures of wordless wonder.
Prepare yourself for 60 minutes of warp zone refreshment crafted from tumult, honed with cinematic interludes of reflection, and ending in a fading coalescence of what was, leaving a jagged imprint on the auditory psyche.
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.
Andrea Borghi - "Superelief"
Superelief is a collection of gratifyingly tactile audio art pieces that sound like a balance between carefully constructed vignettes of crafted detail, and well-curated edits of natural recordings.
Using a "prepared turntable," and other gear, Andrea Borghi creates an immediate, organic auditory experience that focuses on a slowly rotating mechanism which objects are dragged across the surface of, or perhaps roll around in a container. The closeness, or even intimacy, of these kinetic impressions strongly command the listener's attention in a meditative way - perhaps not unlike watching a potter at the wheel, shaping clay or a textile worker at the loom. These recordings capture rhythmically ordinary movements that feel familiar, even if we cannot immediately identify the movements themselves.
Ultimately, this powerful piece of minimalist sound art is a good work to return to when the noise of life has become too chaotic, but silence is too still.
Benjamin Shaw - "Megadead"
"Ive' got things to talk about/ I've got hell to pay" - Benjamin Shaw
Megadead may be the name of the latest release from lo-fi indie pop artist Benjamin Shaw, but don't let the morbid name fool you. There is a lot of vulnerable, depressing shoegaze to behold here, but there is also a lot of light and hope. This is certainly one of those occasions where the cover art perfectly fits the content. Sure, there's a skeleton - but look at all that glorious daylight streaming through the window!
The production of this album blends found sounds, field recordings, and carefully executed lo-fi, indie pop songwriting to create a varied listening experience propelled by interest and sustained by detail. Much of the release feels instrumental and ambient, a sound collage of answering machine tapes, and clips of old radio broadcasts, synth compositions, and occasional inward-looking, lonely lyrics delivered by Shaw.
Benjamin Shaw is a poignant songwriter, who favors a straight-forward exploration of personal feelings over storytelling, or metaphorical meanderings. I have recently decribed his past works as "depression rock," which was said partly in jest - but it actually fits those works pretty well. In this release, however, we see Benjamin flexing his artistic muscle, with heartfelt writings that address homesickness, boredom, weariness, loneliness and a variety of other very human feelings, all with a lightly morose and sometimes humorous air.
Overall the subtleties and depth of Megadead superseded my expectations of what it was going to be, and I recommend you take a listen when you get a chance. It's definitely Benjamin Shaw's best release to date.
Sea of Poppies - "S/T"
With a pleasant, sleepy-time name like Sea of Poppies, you wouldn't expect this release to deliver this searing transmission of hardcore analog noise right into your ear holes, but that is indeed exactly what this is. Prepare yourself for a real mind sizzle, as unforgiving, screeching surges of power electronics blaze themselves out of your speakers, laying waste to thought processes, emotions, worries - anything that was occupying the mind prior to cranking this righteously malevolent audio onslaught.
Each of the three untitled tracks featured on this self-titled release are created using varying techniques to create blistering documents of pure chaos, forged in a furious upheaval of ragged, tumultuous sound. The last brutal track, which tops 12 minutes in length, is a relentless journey through a violent noise dimension, that will leave you to sit silently and ponder things for a little while when it finally fades away.
This release is available on cassette, directly from the artist in an edition of 30.
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.
Melfi - "Four Concerns"
Built from two sidelong tracks, Four Concerns is an artistic assemblage of field recordings and artfully crafted synth-sound pieces that ebb and flow from one aural zone into another, creating an audio experience that gains familiarity on repeat listens, but always retains some mystery.
There are a lot of crevices and shadowed areas in this densely packed sculpture of sound that will take some time for your ears to navigate around. From synthesized planes of existence to noise-driven crescendos, all backed with field-recorded ambience and methodical placement of elements, puncuated with improvisational flourishes of astonishing power, Melfi defines a convoluted boundary, then immediately pushes past it. All of this comes together to form a complex piece that challenges the mind while providing an evocative sensory experience.