B/B/S – Brick Mask & Half Moon [2013, Miasmah Recordings]

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By now miasmah recordings have proven their high level output is one to watch out for, with gems like Gabriel Saloman’s Adhere solo effort LP or Kreng’s awesome box set in late ’12 being some of last year’s most interesting outings. Continue reading

N.Racker – Flock Toxicant , N.Racker b/w Tarnation Rooks [2012, Pre-Cert Entertainment]

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Amazing combo delivered by Pre-Cert in their most interesting ‘signing’ up to now. First up with a split cassette pairing N.Racker with Tarnation Rooks (who is rumoured to be Andy Votel). Side A comes with a very experimental approach and a rather avant garde-ish vibe in contrast to Side B which sticks to the familiar Pre-Cert output and is less of a surprise. With Flock Toxicant though is were N.Racker truly won me over, fusing perfectly together drones with very organic vibes and the folklore element the Pre-Cert camp has come to be known for. All this without forgetting their obsession with horror flicks, using such influences to create a chilling atmosphere throughout the LP. This surely is my favourite release (and definitely the darkest and most imposing one) out of a label whose standards have been set high from the very first outings.

Fire! & Oren Ambarchi – In The Mouth A Hand [2012, Rune Grammofon]

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A long overdue update on (what might be) my favorite band’s latest release for Rune Grammofon. After an excellent debut album and an awesome colab with Jim O’Rourke (that delivered both an LP and an excellent 10″ EP) they now are joined by none other than legendary drummer & guitarist Oren Ambarchi. What we have here is a more dense approach of their sound with the known jazz elements being always apparent: Berthling’s bass working overtime layering intense rhythms patterns, Werlin’s drums pulling it all together tightly, main man Gustafsson focusing more on the electronics rather than making his sax as dominating as before. The main reason for this different approach must be Ambarchi’s input pulling them all to a much noisier terrain harassing his guitar and adding those beautiful low end drones as well as the sheer force of his distinctive guitar reefs. A double LP that pulls you in and beats you with information, this definitely is one for multiple listens being more and more rewarding every time it hits the platter. No bullshit, their best output to date, which just lets me craving for what might come next!

Pete Swanson/Moin – Positive/Elsie [2012, Confessions]

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Exceptional 7″ offering to kick start Blackest Ever Black’s new imprint, Confessions. Side A finds Pete Swanson picking up where he left off with his Man with Potential LP last year, weird repetitive electronics that people tend to call techno (I don’t really agree) but this is all about the B Side for me with Moin showcasing some very sleek guitar drones laid on top of a numbed out 4/4 kick and the proper amount of spoken word that doesn’t become cheesy. Very curious as to where this venture will go with future releases, but definitely off to an amazing start!

Thisquietarmy – Vessels [2011, Aurora Borealis]

Somehow this one skipped my radar during 2011 but thankfully found its way to my playlist this weekend and what a treat this was! After looking into him I realised there is more to be discovered about Eric Quach aka thisquietarmy but seems like ‘Vessels’ was the best place to start. With a naval theme throughout the album and having his guitar drones as the backbone for it, he creates an interesting listen which leaps from tranquille moments of subtle synthwork and lazy percussions (the quiet seascape at dusk waiting for the sun to hide behind the horizon) to blasts of sonic energy with all three ingredients being overused and abused only to leave the listener with powerful orchestrations filling the room soon after the initial force of impact has settled in (brutal currents and waves crushing on the same shores that felt comforting and safe just moments ago).  Highly recommended

Shackleton – Music for the quiet hour / The drawbar organ EPs [2012, Woe To The Septic Heart!]

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Out of sheer completism I had to have the box set, but I can see how Shackleton has planned this release out and why. The three EPs feel overproduced in a bad way, with a couple of tunes being the exception of what is mostly Shackleton testing out his solo riffs on the drawbar organ. Having ‘Man on a string’ in mind these 12s felt a wee bit disappointing! But after moving on to ‘Music for the quiet hour’ it became apparent how Shackleton has once again surpassed himself! Dark and loomy drones, otherworldly vocals, elaborate and complex percussion which builds and builds into Vengeance Tenfold’s letter to his grand daughter, only to reach her in a new, better, post-apocalyptic earth. This is Shackleton at his best, with a captivating narrative throughout the whole listen! It all comes together with the extraordinary art we’ve come to love by Zeke Clough embracing all covers and an extra book with the uniquely grotesque images and the aforementioned letter for you to read in your own free time.

Watch: Experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson doing his thing

Great videos of experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson doing his thing in a series done for ‘La Blogotheque‘. His entirely instrumental saxophone album ‘New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges‘ was a personal favorite jazz record of 2011. If you like what you see check out the album!

Colin Stetson: “Red Horse (Judges II)” / “In Love and In Justice”.

Colin Stetson: “Awake on Foreign Shores” / “Judges”.

Roly Porter – Aftertime [2011, Subtext]

One that probably should have made it onto my best of 2011 list just for sake of originality alone. Huge release by Porter (one half of the Bristol dubstep duo Vex’d) after taking some time off under-impressed with the state of the catch-all genre tag he had been playing a large role in evolving. In this solo debut he carves into uncharted territory with hugely atmospheric ambient passages offering some breathing room a midst downright heavy and explosive soundscapes bringing a great flow to the album. An absolutely engrossing listen I keep coming back to time and time again.

Oyaarss – Bads [2012, Ad Noiseam]

Following a variety of hints of this guy’s extraordinary work here and there (an awesome 12″ on Creative Space, an excelent remix on Cloaks’ 3by3 and a free self released compilation) we finaly get to listen to the proper full lenght, only after the last minute switch from 3by3 to AdNoiseam. I really wish this would also come out on vinyl, but still it’s as much enjoyable as expected. Haunting atmospheres layered on top of bone crushing distortion and industrial infused breaks help put the sum of his work into a frame, with the tunes feeding off each other into a complete whole, as few like minded (and similar sounding) artists can accomplish.

Keith Fullerton Whitman – Generators [2012, Editions Mego]

An instant hit for me on the first listen. The release contains two live versions of Keith Fullerton Whitman’s “Generator,” recorded in 2010 and presented in a very special way. Instead of taking the feed from the soundboard the pieces are recorded through microphones in a live space allowing the room to shape the sound with it’s decay, resonances and ambient noise. The A side “Issue Generator (for Eliane Radigue)” is tuneful, melodic and rich whereas the B side “High Zero Generator” starts off far more experimental with 7 or so minutes of pure textures; bleeps, scratches and pops, building up to the more melodic and familiar synth patterns. A fascinating listen.

Below KFW doing a live take of “Generator” (September 2010, Silver Spring, MD, US).