Windows 98の – Summer Singles

Windows 98の - Summer Singles

As summer begins its final swan song here in the Northern hemisphere, it is probably a good time to look a “summer” release and the artist Windows 98の is kind enough to oblige with their self-released Summer Singles.

If you know nothing of vaporwave then like me you’ll be fine, just go with it. If you have some prejudices about vaporwave, just stop it, just stop it now. If you know something about vaporwave, apologies. The short of it is vaporwave is more than a musical genre, it is more of a mindset or a musical feeling. Vaporwave can be cheesey and cutting-edge at the same time, it can be slow and melodic as well as being rough and noisy. Genres are nothing but labels. Just think about a genre or two that you are quite familiar with and you can see how useless it is to try and pigeon-hole any track to a genre.

What I like about Summer Singles is that Windows 98の doesn’t stay in one genre for long whether it is track by track or even with one track. The track “プラスチッククソ愛” is a good example of how Windows 98の moves from one genre, say vaporwave, and ends up somewhere in the noise spectrum. As I mentioned earlier, any pre-conceived notions about what vaporwave is viturally useless. It is never what you think and then it is. Some of Windows 98の’s tracks border on straight-up hip-hop like “Goofee Rascal – G:/ Infinite Goof” and another, “Death Grips – Two Heavens (Remix)”, leans toward breakcore. カテゴリ ラメ. 音楽 いい.

Just play and enjoy Windows 98の’s Summer Singles. Forget. Enjoy.

Artist: Windows 98の
Title: Summer Singles
Netlabel: Self-Released
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download zip: Bandcamp

Unfamiliar 05

Unfamiliar 05

My fifth podcast focusing on select old and new netlabel music that is experimental, strange and weird works. Featuring works by Annie Kerr, Antoine Ulmann, AODL, Arnold Cabott, Bastl Orchestra, Big Blood, Captain Missouri, Charles premier, DreamCape 64, Gus Garside, Harry Sumner, Henry Koek, John Kannenberg, John Tenney, Konstantin Popov, Kung-Fu-Action Jesus – His Side Kick The Red Baron featuring a Dead Crab, Lee Other, Martin Rach, The Kiriks, Winjer3, and Xesús Valle.

This is my fourth podcast release in as many weeks.

Go to Unfamiliar.cc for more information.

Peter Wullen – Do You Dream About Me

Peter Wullen

One of the striking things about Peter Wullen’s Do You Dream About Me? is the gorgeous cover. The cover photograph by Molly Green is stunning and fits the album quite well. The photograph like Do You Dream About Me? is beautiful overall, but at both of their cores is a fascinating glitch that attracts both the listener and the viewer. This photograph, simply called “first tattoo (:”, is all over the web, Pinterest and tattoo blogs in particular. Hopefully, with this post, Green can start getting some credit for her work.

Wullen works with several other artists on Do You Dream About Me: Dickson Dee, Gintas K, Cheri Gao, and Emmanuel Mieville. There are also some sounds the late Zbigniew Karkowksi who this album is dedicated to. Though the album might be under Peter Wullen’s name it is apparent from Wullen’s liner notes that this work is a collaboration; there is even an in depth bio of Dickson Dee.

Do You Dream About Me begins with a quiet drone and then it delves into static, glitch, field recordings and a poem recital. Stop there and release your prejudices. This is not one of your typical poetry albums, Peter Wullen along with Dickson Dee have created more of an ambient, experimental noise record than anything else. The poetry vocals are just another layer of sound to be distorted and bent. I’ve seen Wullen describe this work on the web as a sound poem. That sounds about right.

A little more than half-way through Do You Dream About Me, Wullen and company pivot us with a change in noise and tempo that drifts almost into silence and then slowly field recordings and other noise creep back into the foreground for one last striking verse. Peter Wullen’s Do You Dream About Me is a brilliant album and one that I will be going back to time and time again.

Artist: Peter Wullen
Title: Do You Dream About Me
Netlabel: Haze
Release Date: August 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip

Der Marebrechst (Petr Válek) – Ekra Mekra

Der Marebrechst (Petr Válek)  - Ekra Mekra

Der Marebrechst’s Ekra Mekra begins with a bizarre mishandling of “The Animal Sounds Song” which turns out to be good preparation for a unexpectedly weird record.

Der Marebrechst is an alias for Petr Válek who with his many different alias has well over a 100 albums to his name, but most of only been listened to a few. Válek’s distributes his work via a limited number of CDs which he hands out to friends meaning hardly any of his work is available to other listeners, commercially or for free. Válek’s web presence is almost nil except for Discogs and Last FM. He might as well open up accounts on Ello and Google Plus. If you are a hipster and looking for someone more obscure than Jandek, Petr Válek is most likely your guy. The liner notes state that the instruments are probably “analog, digital and software synthesizers, voice, effects, objects, field recordings, live electronics, circuit bending” which is equally as than helpful as everything else I found.

But this fog of nothingness interwines well with Ekra Mekra. The internal mechanisms of each track have a chaotic coherence that can only be an intentional lack of focuson the part of Válek. There is no use in settling in and getting comfortable, because Válek’s modus operandi is to explicitly pull the rug from only one of your feet, leaving you somewhat grounded, but not grounded at all. Two tracks may be appear to be in direct opposition to each other turn out to be more similar to each other when compared to another track. Ekra Mekra fits together exactly because it doesn’t fit together.

Artist: Der Marebrechst (Petr Válek)
Title: Ekra Mekra
Netlabel: Signals from Arkhaim
Release Date: March 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Downlaod mp3: zip

Bebawinigi – Bebawinigi

Bebawinigi - Bebawinigi

Writing reviews for Creative Commons music is my small way to pay back musicians for releasing music into the wired ether for free. I also do this as a way that I can go back in time, get that slight reminder of a work, listen to it again, and feel that joy again. The last reason, and one that hopefully makes the most impact, is that someone who sees this review may actually download the album. I cannot express the hope that this last reason results in hundreds of downloads for Bebawinigi’s self-titled debut album on the netlabel Strato Dischi.

Bebawinigi aka Virginia Quaranta has released a EP that is as beautiful as it is incredible in its breadth and grasp of popular music. Quaranta’s opens the album with “Did You Get …” with a sultry bass-line and soft but firm vocals repeating “Did you get disappointed? Or did you get excited?” until it implodes in a punkish crescendo. The next track, “Cugino ITT”, is a cabaret number in Italian that could possibly be an ode to the Addams Family’s Cousing Itt (I really don’t know). Regardless, my ignorance takes nothing away from enjoying the wonderful singing, the varied tempo and, at times, Quaranta’s intentionally croaky voice.

The dark strings of “Fabula” bring a melancholy to this track, but it’s Quaranta extraordinary voice and inflection that entrap me in the song’s sadness. With the fourth track, “Dogs & Sharks”, Quaranta returns us to the punk beginnings of Bebawinigi as she blurts out, “My best friend is a dog …”

Of late, I’ve been reading chapters of Kim Gordon’s autobiography, Girl in a Band. After she tells her story up to the forming of Sonic Youth, Gordon then breaks the chapters into songs where she writes about what was happening to the band, to her, and, maybe, even what the song was about. These chapters have been taking longer to read as I find myself listening to the tracks Gordon writes about instead of doing the reading. I bring this up because Quaranta’s voice is a reminder of Gordon’s, though the former’s voice is much better. “Maramori” is probably the finest example of the alignment between Gordon and Quaranta voices.

The last track is not the last track. Quaranta ends the folk song “Telemolo” about halfway through the sixth track and then there is large silence before, Quaranta begins the ever-popular hidden track.

Though this Bebawinigi will never see the light of day in the commercial music blogs like Pitchfork, Stereogum, etc., it should do strongly in the Creative Commons / Netlabel blogs as this is proof that free music can be equal if not better than music for money. One should expect to see Bebawinigi on several Best of 2015 lists later this year. It will be on mine.

Artist: Bebawinigi
Title: Bebawinigi
Netlabel: Strato Dischi
Release Date: July 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: zip

C. Reider – Certainty Reducing Signals

C. Reider - Certainty Reducing Signals

Feeling like David Wallechinsky of late, I itch to get back to reviewing. One of the albums released on Netlabel Day is C. Reider’s Certainty Reducing Signals on the netlabel Happy Puppy Records which is run by Lee Rosevere. Both men are big proponents of sharing music, the Creative Commons culture, and the Netlabel scene. Rosevere is a radio producer in western Canada, and beyond running the wonderful Happy Puppy Records for 15 years, he is also a accomplished musician and composer. You can find his work on Free Music Archive and Bandcamp. C. Reider’s began his musical sharing journey in the tape trading culture of the 90s. The Coloradan composer has released many experimental albums as well running his own netlabel, Vuzhmusic.

I bring up their biographies, such as they are, any discrepancies are of my doing, because I wanted you to understand that their connections to the Netlabel scene run deep and strong. It is simple enough to share one’s own music, but to promote other musicians’ work, for free no less, shows a wonderful sharing spirit.

C. Reider’s Certainty Reducing Signals is both a fragile and harsh record. Reider talks about the quiet noise (or let us say, the fragility of music), ambient works that embrace the world noise and process it into an opaque musical pieces. The easy opposition, the yin to the yang, of quiet noise would be something like a harsh noise wall, but that’s really not what Reider’s music is about. I don’t know if Reider has a harsh noise wall record in his discography and I would not be surprised if he did, but the coarseness found in Certainty Reducing Signals is not that and it is not necessarily an anti-ambient statement, rather Reider’s music expands on the instability and agitation of ambient sound.

There is no signifying C. Reider sound as each album stands in its own place and time, each is a by-product of Reider’s encompassing environment; he is quite open about this. The ten tracks on Certainty Reducing Signals are a testament to the diversity of Reider’s approach to music; listen to “Twisted Bridge Dub” and “Unpermissive” as an example. Though these tracks might be different from each other, they derive from an artist confident in sound and space. Like many musicians, Reider speaks publicly about his artistic insecurities, though it’s Reider’s uncertainty which builds a auditory world of strength coexists with frailty. A wonderful example of this is “A Harsh Bunny Town”, an whimsical and contrary title, that explores Reider’s sonic outlook which is full of bends, augmentation and reduction.

Artist: C. Reider
Title: Certainty Reducing Signals
Netlabel: Happy Puppy Records
Release Date: July 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip

Netlabel List 2.0.2

Netlabel List 2.0.2

Another update to the Netlabel list. Thirteen netlabels added (that’s 38 since the re-release two weeks ago). We now have 300 active netlabels on this list, if you are counting. As well as the Facebook list, there is a new OPML (RSS) file (zip) for you.

Netlabels added to list: Alter Sonic Records, Bedroom Research, Carbonproyecto, Dubophonic, Homebody, Lost Frog Productions, Minimized music records, Modismo, Monster Jinx , Nakrikal Records, No Type, Sabacan Records, SOCSUB, Subwise, and Underpolen.

Inactive labels: A crap load of additions as well as adding Internet Archive, Sonic Squirrel, and Bandcamp for their archives.