METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt – The Beauty of Blasphemy

METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt - The Beauty of Blasphemy

I do not know if this is the first work between METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt, I would be greatly surprised given each musician’s prolific output. (A cursory look makes it appear that this is their first collaboration.) METEK aka Fredrik Nilsson has worked with dozen of experimental musicians as well as releasing several solo releases. Maqrquardt’s output is even more staggering. What it comes down to is that both musicians do not fear collaborations and release some great experimental music. So I was very excited to listen to The Beauty of Blasphemy.

“Friday Evening” opens up The Beauty of Blasphemy by METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt. This track, as well as most of the album, appears dronish, but there are other sonic bits at play here, whether it is electronic manipulations, field recordings or background voices. The second track “Monday Morning”, still filled with drones, begins with what sounds like the exhaust of some tremendous spaceship. The sounds change throughout this 5-minute piece, but the sonic frame does not.

“Monday Night” continues the mood which borders on ambient, but that limits The Beauty of Blasphemy‘s genre — that is if it has any. A feeling of not-quite-sadness permeates all of these tracks, but oddly it is a joy to listen to. The last track is “The Beauty of Blasphemy” which begins a bit more noisy than the other tracks is equally as beautiful as the rest.

Oddly, as I write this revew of METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt’s work and I use words such a ambient, beauty and sadness, I am unsure if those who love what is considered ambient music today would like this work at all. For me, the combination of noise and drone is what makes this album so wonderful.

Artist: METEK and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquardt
Title: The Beauty of Blasphemy
Netlabel: suRRism-Phonoethics
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip

Aeristirvx – Untitled

Aeristirvx - Untitled

Somewhere deep in your radio dial, there is a sound, rather a group of sounds that is calling out to you. What meaning these sounds have is personal, my understanding of them is inherently different than yours. We hear differently because the same songs are not being played. In these buried radio waves that can only be heard by a few lies Aeristivrx, a shadowy figure with no past or future, only present. The world where these sounds emanate is dark, not in the scary sense rather in the unknown sense. Aeristirvx is comfortable here.

Aeristirvx’s Untitled on the netlabel 8 Ravens is one-track of extra-terranean low-bit noise. Listening to this track with its agitating sounds, the listener can only immerse themselves in it. To reject this noise is to accept the plebeian popular sounds emitting from ear buds around the world. Untitled is Aeristivx’s song of agitation and turmoil. Aeristivrx exists solely because you need Aeristirvx to exist. When you are done, Aeristirvx will no longer exist for, but may exist for someone else.

Artist: Aeristirvx
Title: Untitled
Netlabel: 8 Ravens
Release Date: April 2015
License: CC BY-NC
Download mp3: zip

Red Clouds – Weed Drone Haze

Red Clouds - Weed Drone Haze

Imagine a man, a giant of a man whose arms are the size of a typical man’s legs, his fists are the size of a small child’s head, his legs are as sturdy as telephone poles, his head is so large that objects get caught in its gravity. This is a big man and he is like no other. His saliva, rather his drool, has magical powers as used in the making of fantastic drones. I told you it was magical. This man walks around with a bucket, a drool bucket to capture these enchanted drones. Today this drone bucket has brought forth Red Clouds’ Weed Drone Haze on the netlabel Petroglyph Muisc.

I do not know if this giant man is indeed Red Clouds aka James Hoehl, he most likely is not. Could the drones on Weed Drone Haze come from this giant man’s drool? In all likelihood, yes.

“After Dawn They Appeared” opens Red Clouds’ Weed Drone Haze, the drones approach like the pre-dawn sun, creeping towards you, inevitable but still taking their time. Listening to Red Clouds’ second track, “At the End of Time”, for the first time is when I understood that Weed Drone Haze to be something greater than my anticipation. Sure, anyone can but together one wonderful drone track, but following it up with another track equal in its sound does not happen that often.

“Death Machine”, the longest track of the album coming in just over 16 minutes, deepens the drones as glitches are stretched out and other electronic sounds find their way from the background to foreground. Red Clouds’ “Death Macine” might be the most un-dronish track of the entire album, but if so, it is only by a slight margin.

“Fire Eyes” continues Red Clouds’ dominance over the drones. Maybe it is not so much dominance, maybe it is more of allowing the drones to flow through Red Clouds to the listener. Regardless, “Fire Eyes” is the penultimate track of Weed Drone Haze and I have not been disappointed yet. Nor will I be.

Red Clouds wraps up Weed Drone Haze with “In the Hidden Forest”. James Hoehl, from the Philadelphia area, has released several albums as Red Clouds at both Etched Traumas and Petroglyph Music, but Weed Drone Haze is his best work to date. The last track closes out one of the best drone albums you will hear this year.

Artist: Red Clouds
Title: Weed Drone Haze
Netlabel: Petroglyph Music
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

Atlanteans – Cluster

Atlanteans - Cluster

From Hollywood North, the Canadian duo Atlanteans have released their second album Cluster on the netlabel Panospria, which happens to be a compatriot of theirs in Vancouver. Atlaneans is comprised John Brennan on drums and percussion and Bryce Janssens on saxophone, guitar, and synthesizer.

Cluster opens with “A Rude and Undigested Mass”. No track on the album features any particular member of Atlaneans, rather each track allows Brennan and Janssens to explore their instrument in the context of improvised jazz. “A Rude and Undigested Mass” begins with Brennan’s call on drums, his cadence out on his own, the rhythms gloriously chaotic. A minute into the track, Janssens enters into the fray with is saxophone. Not only is he going to be wandering around with his instrument, he’ll also be laying down loops to add some depth to the sound.

The middle track, “Heredity”, is also the longest track. No doubt that “Heredity” is the most subdued track of Atlanteans’ Cluster. If you are not a fan of free jazz, this track might be the one for you and touches on the ambient/drone genre. The track hangs round like the fog of a wet harbor drawing curtains of sound and space. It’s an extraordinarily lovely work.

The last track, “Grub” blisters and catches a hold of you as it builds a wall drums, saxophones, and other sounds. The Atlanteans might be able to chill the best of them with “Heredity”, but it is these tracks, “Grub” and “A Rude and Undigested Mass” that attract me with their wonderful chaos and ambiguity.

Artist: Atlanteans
Title: Cluster
Netlabel: Panospria
Release Date: April 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

Rocheleau-Bussière-Couture – RBC

Rocheleau-Bussière-Couture – RBC

Unsurprisingly, a new release comes out from the netlabel Pan y Rosas Discos and the album is great. Though Rochleau-Bussière-Couture’s RBC was officially released earlier this week, though the album has been on their website for a few days before hand, a sort of soft drop. The list of instruments or noise-makers that Rochleau-Bussière-Couture play is rather long so I will just mention a few: theremin, turntable, cassette player and weather station. As you can imagine the sound is really out there. The three Québec musicians have worked together in different formats before, but this is the first time that Rochleau-Bussière-Couture have released an album together. Rochleau-Bussière-Couture is Stéphane Rocheleau, François Bussière, and CE François Couture.

RBC opens with “Roof Burning Catastrophe”, a short track which successfully introduces us to what is in store later in the album. The title does sample the classic track “The Roof is on Fire” by Rock Master Scott & the Dybamic Three. “Really? Bing Crosby?”, the second track, is an absolutely exceptional track that begins with field recordings of wind and some vocal gibberish. After a minute or so these wind-like sounds, the beating of metal seeps in as the track turns loud and harsh. The nature of Rochleau-Bussière-Couture’s “Really? Bing Crosby?” is abrasive without being unlistenable makes this track so wonderful.

“Run! Bleed! Create!” gives the listener some breathing space with its quiet beginning. The track has a fragility to it, it borders on a sonic crumbling, a house of sounds falling apart. But Rochleau-Bussière-Couture’s tenacious playing keeps “Run ! Bleed! Create!” together even when the musicians, at the same time, are trying to tear it apart.

If you have not notice yet, every title of Rochleau-Bussière-Couture’s album contains three words that begin with an R, a B, and a C respectively.

“River, Beaches & Concrete” is a ambient noise recording that evolves into a strange improvisational vocal track filled with muted words, gutturances, and a high-pitched whine. “Really Bizarre Calimari” seems to be Rochleau-Bussière-Couture’s most pure electronic track of RBC, it borders on ambient with a spacey electronica feel. About half-way through “Really Bizarre Calimari”, the track picks up in complexity and rhythm before retreating into it’s soothing complex electronica feel. At one point in “Really Bizarre Calimari”, did I hear The Jetson’s car aka flying saucer buzz by? The last track of RBC, “Reverse Bike Crash” settles back more into previous sounds, quiet and low-key, but this track’s simpleness isn’t a slight, it helps the listener focus on each sound rather than an being inundated with a waterfall of sound.

Artists: RochleauBussièreCouture
Title: RBC
Netlabel: Pan Y Rosas Discos
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko – Distrust One’s Own Eyes

Review of Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko 's "Distrust One's One Eyes" on the netlabel Amplified Music Pollution.

AMP Records aka Amplified Music Pollution, a Mexican netlabel I believe, has slowed down a bit in their releases, but we should be very thankful for Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko’s Distrust One’s Own Eyes which came out earlier this year. Both Belorukov and Kostryko come from the St. Petersburg area and both like to make weird music. Belorukov has been releasing experimental/improvisational music and jazz for several years, while Kostryko is a relative newcomer to releasing music to the general public.

Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko’s Distrust One’s Own Eyes opens with “Nature’s Conformity to the Law” which starts out loud and abrasive. It settles down a bit or maybe that’s just me getting use to the noise and then the sounds of a chicken pen. Distrust One’s Own Eyes has Belorukov on ppooli and field recordings with Kostyrko on synth. “Two Steps Back” starts out much quieter drone and much more calm birds this time. The glitchy static fades in and and then the stronger drones start enveloping your ears. Always, various field recordings are playing in the background and some even more to the forefont.

Slight rhythms pervade “See If We Can Quiet the Dog Down” as the track wraps up the first half of Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko’s album. “Get Out The Business” is the closest track to ambient noise one finds on Distrust One’s Own Eyes. It’s a beautiful and humble track, if “humble” makes any sort of sense here.

“The Belief in the Matter” is full of louder glitches, though not too loud. The rhythm of the track is the fastest of all six tracks but it’s unassuming. The last track on Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko’s Distrust One’s Own Eyes is “Non-Freedom of Will” where a screeching bird and edgy glitches begin the short track off and then a choral recording sweeps in to give an august feel to the end of the album.

There are a few must downloads throughout the year and I believe Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko’s Distrust One’s Own Eyes is one of them. Why? Because after listening to the record several times, I’m in search of more music from these two gentlemen. Hopefully you will as well.

Artists: Ilia Belorukov and Sergey Kostyrko
Title: Distrust One’s Own Eyes
Netlabel: AMP Records
Release Date: February 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren – Long Lines

Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren - Long Lines

Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren’s Long Lines begins quietly with whispering, unimposing vocals, and muted sounds. In this duo, both Gburek and Van Halteren bring vocals and field recordings to the performance, while Van Halteren also plays samples and Gburek provides electronics and a prepared guitar. Originally meeting on the Internet, Van Halteren met up with Gburek in Belgium to begin a small tour of experimental and improvisational music.

Improvisation, words as sounds, indirect noise, and understated electronics, Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren’s Long Lines fights against being pigeon-holed as one particular style. After my first listen, I struggled against making the rather too easy and too simple comparison to other musicians. For me, Long Lines was a lesson in immersion, of listening without making judgments and connections.

Van Halteren is an Ameican sound artist living in France where, among other things, she teaches at a university and hosts a podcast called That Tuesday. The podcast features a guest sound artist and then Van Halteren and her guest explore sounds and places. This performance, Long Lines, is a direct result of Van Halteren’s podcast. Gburek, another sound artist, is also an American expat living in Poland. Gburek has had several netlabel release as well as an episode of Radius, the experimental radio show.

This half-hour performance by Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren is ethereal and, at times, surprising in its choices. Long Lines could have been one thing, say poetry over music, but Gburek and Van Halteren improvise ambient drones and subtle noises to indirectly change the course of the performance and, in turn, make this piece of music enjoyable and memorable.

Artists: Jeff Gburek and Marjorie Van Halteren
Title: Long Lines
Netlabel: Plus Timbre
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: Bandcamp