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

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

mutanT.R.I. – Obcsurection

mutanT.R.I. - Obcsurection

A few weeks ago during the police brutality protests in Baltimore, the netlabel Poverty Electronics became known to me through their compilation, INTENT: Experimental Music In Solidarity With Baltimore Protesters. Ever since then, I’ve been listening to a lot of their catalog. mutanT.R.I.’s “Obcsurection” is the first release reviewed here at Acts of Silence and I highly doubt it will be the last.

mutanT.R.I. aka experiMENTALien aka I.v. Martinez aka many other names is a prolific Slovakian experimental musician. When I started listening to Obscurection and the drones slowly seeped in, I let out a sigh as I knew where this record was going. Thank goodness I was proved wrong shortly into this 45 minute work. I was scared that this would be one of those drone tracks that went no where. Yeah, yeah, I know they have there place. But that’s a post for another day.

mutanT.R.I.’s Obscurection an improvised electronic delight stealing from all genres whether drone, noise, electronica, glitch, and ambient. This is for all intents a live recording using the kitchen sink — unedited, unmastered, undubbed. It is quite rare for an track that pushes past the 15 to 20 minute mark to hold my attention, but mutanT.R.I. was able to do so in spades. His introduction of new sounds and moods through out Obscurection and, more importantly, his ability to know when to abandon some sonic plaything and move forward is what kept me listening, and it is what will keep you listening.

Artist: mutanT.R.I.
Title: Obscurection
Netlabel: Poverty Electronics
Release Date: June 2015
License: CC BY-NC-SA
Download mp3: zip

Stella Veloce – For a Flat

Stella Veloce - For a Flat

Stella Veloce’s For a Flat begins with some light percussion, voices and some intermittent noise from a saxophone. As the percussion becomes a bit more animated in “Friday”, the voices continue like a distant conversation you may overhear in a restaurant, the saxophone becomes more pronounced, and then the whispering of a guitar. Sounds sway in and out, some taking the spotlight and others not willing to share it like the blues guitar riffs or the unyielding saxophone. The guitar and saxophone finally give up, the percussion subtley remains and a light humming enters, an old slave spiritual perhaps?

All the instrumentation on For a Flat were done by cellist Stella Veloce, though calling her a cellist would be limiting. This biography on the Sardinian musician’s website states, “As a composer she works in the fields of instrumental acoustic music, performance art, sound art and stage music. Beside composition her activity as a musician ranges from pop music to free improvisation.”

I love that fact that Veloce called her album, For a Flat, as our homes, past or present are such an intricate part of who we are. A work that tries to grasp that feeling, that attempts to reanimate home, and one that does it so well, is a refreshing work of art.

“Saturday” is the second track which features birds and wonderfully grating cello. Noise from the most unlikely places. I am aware that For a Flat was edited after the fact, but I hope the section on “Saturday” with the flock of birds was Veloce playing along with them. As the track goes on, Stella Veloce adds other strange sounds to the mix. Is one sound bong water? Probably not.

Stella Veloce ends For a Flat as most weekends do with “Sunday”. The cover of the album shows Veloce sitting in a bathroom playing the cello. “Sunday” opens with the sound of running water, a shower, and the voice of Chiara Giuliante or Katie Lee Dunbar singing. (Dunbar had the vocals in “Friday” as well.) The third and final track is also the longest. As the running water ends, an odd noise appears and keeps on surrounding the listener. “Sunday” is a track of many parts, a section may end and you think the song is over, but it picks up with other sounds like a chime playing along with a cello and some string plucking. Vocals arrive again.

I could go on in trying to identify the various sounds that come forward, but I don’t want to make this album a parlor game. Stella Veloce’s For a Flat is a remarkable album that is full of feeling and audio nuances. I know you will enjoy it.

Artist: Stella Veloce
Title: For a Flat
Netlabel: zip

Crackles in Time

Crackles In Time

Crackles is the third release on Petroglyph Music from the duo of Yann Breizh and Zreen Toyz, The Cure of Folly (2013) and 7777 (2014). Built from the circuit-bent devices and other lo-fi instruments, Breizh and Toys improvised for hours. These four tracks are an edited version of their disciplined yet free playing. The listener moves through Crackles as the duo plays synth-y drones interspersed with aquatic glitches and other displaced electronic sounds. This laid-back approach to glitch/electronic music fulfills are gaping hole in mostly predictable ambient genre.

Artist: Klopenn
Title: Crackles
Netlabel: Petroglyph Music
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Release Date: January 2015
Download mp3: zip

In The Tunnels

In The Tunnel

Spirit of Gravity is not just a netlabel, rather the netlabel is part of the Brighton artist collective called Spirit of Gravity which has been performing live experimental music for some 15 years now. Some members of this collective, Dan Powell, Geoff Reader, and Stan Reader, performed an impromptu set during the one-day sound festival Fort Process in Sussex. With lots of percussion, strings, flutes, grunting, and groans, the track, “In The Tunnels”, is fleshed out in the resonance of a tunnel leading into the fort. Though this is ostentatiously a remix album — the one track is remixed three times —, I found that each track gave me a different listening experience which is very rare for remix albums.

Artist: Four Heads
Title: The Tunnel Tracks
Netlabel: Spirit of Gravity
Release Date: January 2015
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Download mp3: Bandcamp