deception island

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  • bee mask – from a will-less gigolo of a divinity to the gore-spattered lion on his own hearth, odysseus becomes odysseus

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    Properly, “Preconscious Makaveli, Volume 1.” But before I venture any further, allow me to clear this up: I’m making nothing in the way of an implicit argument that Julian Jaynes is in the same kettle of fish as…really, where could I even be headed with this sentence?

    Enclosed, please find sick undulation of the gossamer tape measure/verbed-out, unexpectedly wooly nighttime cloudsit plus obese quasi-prog extrusion into unrealizable pastel aviary, old-fashioned radio telescope filter rust, hovering garden, disintegrating cliffs, et al, and ascent to who the fuck knows where, complete with maybe three or four marauding entities and a nagging suspicion that DMT hyperspace is actually the trunk of someone’s car – not that it matters for practical purposes or anything…”where we’re going we don’t need etc etc.” Tranquility Base burble systems and odd concluding neolithic ritual postscript, the lot of it contemporaneous with and not unrelated to the angle worked on tour with Harpoon Pole Vault a few months back and essentially from the same cobwebbed/cheesecloth’d headspace as Canzoni dal Laboratorio del Silenzio Cosmico.

  • skin graft – brick in the mouth of a corpse – deception island

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    As proof that some small amount of justice lingers in the world, Cleveland veteran Wyatt Howland is finally getting his dues, having spent the past several years amassing a discography studded with many of the all-time classics of fucked rust belt electronics (”Soft Police Murder,” “Drug Addict,” “You Deserve Nothing,” and the watershed “Blackout” lp on Tusco Embassy, to name but a handful), collabbing tirelessly with the likes of Ryan Kuehn, David Russell, Emeralds, and Aaron Dilloway, and turning in an endless stream of punishingly focused, concise, and pissed-off performances that simply must be witnessed to be believed.
    “Brick in the Mouth of a Corpse” is both a fitting introduction to Skin Graft and a bar-raiser for those already initiated, on which Howland continues to wax subtle, detailed, and glowering, as though drawing cross-sections of harsh noise with a drafting pencil, allowing us to view the creaking, dripping, and hissing armature under its skin. This is a strategy that could never be sustained without the patience and technique that are present in spades across the six tracks that make up “Brick,” meticulously crafted vignettes that range from the principled scraping of bones and bodyslamming of trashcans to waking up brutally hung over beside a rustily copulating heap of sonar equipment. Essential filth.

  • outer space / alterity problem – untitled – deception island

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    Bonkers split concept: Alterity Problem, the Montreal-based duo of lifer oddballs Alex Moskos (also of AIDS Wolf, Drainolith, Thames, and The Medicine Rocks) and cryptic associate Joel Taylor turn in a suite of extra-damaged jams about kids, heaters, and problems, these titular concerns reflecting a certain noirish surrealism and a slightly outre pose—both very much present in the audible payload—that distinguish Alterity Problem from their most obvious contemporaries. Sometimes it’s like a Matra 12″ heard through a wheelbarrow of pills and six miles of bulletproof glass; other times it’s like spinning d-beat recs under general anaesthesia. Sometimes there are oddly, immensely satisfying syndrums in all the right/wrong places.
    The flip finds John Elliott (of Emeralds, Mist, and many others) back on DI with a fresh side of Outer Space tracks that work a polished, high-impact aesthetic angle very distinct from the decaying hyperabstraction of last year’s massive Lightyear Demonstrations while continuing to radiate the same throughgoing trippiness and post/antihuman drive. First, “Aspartame” materializes from a glowing sandstorm of synth and vocals, coalescing into one of the most dazzling and aqueous examples of Elliott’s signature endlessly unfurling klein bottle riffstyle to date. The ensuing nine minutes of this piece display a mastery of the “Dusseldorf style” of building deceptively intricate, episodic tracks on metronomic backbones, as claustrophobia and a sense of awakening to the reality of being chased by something superfucked gradually dawns, only to give way to an epic sunrise over a desert of ash and bleached bones. The finale, “USA Endless” (dark commentary?) has hung around long enough to see all inclination toward propulsion surgically removed. We’re floating six inches off the ground, in the driveway with the doors open, engine running, and wheels spinning endlessly, far too fucked to do anything other than sit back and watch the dash boil while sunlight falls like iridescent jelly on the seats. Extra weird

  • night burger – what happens next?- deception island

    out of stock

    Since he landed in Philly a couple years back, Noah Anthony of Social Junk has participated in a dizzying number of warped units, including Mirror Men, Mindless Attack, the late Form a Log, and of course Night Burger, solo vehicle for his virtuosic command of postdub/postjunk technique in the service of a stunningly bleak, utterly forlorn, and eerily refined agenda. That this project, which has cultivated a well-earned reputation for prolific and mind-erasingly intense live performances remains sparsely represented in terms of studio recordings makes an immaculately structured album-length release such as this one particularly special.
    What Happens Next? gets lurching with a slo-mo jackhammer riff that hits like a thousand telephone switchboards getting sucked into a neutron star. Anthony’s vocal persona is hollowed-out and resigned, a terrifying shell of the dosed everyman angle worked in SJ. The A side progresses through dessicated combo organ perc of “Profligate”, wrapped in tick, melt, and whisper, to the keening rust belt-style reedwave, iq-annihilating bass drops, and bucket brigade gurgle of “As Always,” “You Drive” and “My Turn to Hide”. On the reverse, “What Happens Next (Dross)” transforms the numbing bonecrunch impact of the original into a sick thud/clatter beneath a frigid organ riff, while “Settlement” stretches into epic territory, an unintelligible interior monologue dissolving in a stiff bleach solution amid a hail of highway flares, giving way to a muted psychedelia of the hyperclean factory sort, surprisingly not unrelated to a plausible interpretation of, say, early Chain Reaction recs. Phenomenal.

  • quick sails – silver balloons in clusters- deception island

    out of stock

    Few artists have played a more central role in the recent explosion of high-quality, chops-posi experimental outfits in Chicago than Ben Billington, jammer’s jammer, chinese takeout connoisseur, and member of Tiger Hatchery (with Mike Forbes and Andrew Scott Young) and White Prism (with Josh Burke). With Silver Balloons in Clusters, his most fully realized solo outing since last year’s brilliant Madison Lakes (Cylindrical Habitat Modules), Quicksails has completely fused the finest aspects of everything Billington brings to the table in his other projects, and his highly idiosyncratic synth style finds its natural and inevitable foil in his own drumming.
    Tracks like “Must Never Catch It” and “Home in Trees” evoke an alternate history in which time ran backwards for just long enough to permit Milford Graves to blast Departure from the Northern Wasteland on headphones while tracking drums for Black Woman, while “Constant Air Reservoir” and “Deep Creak” stake out a thoroughly subterranean aesthetic turf, filled with the humid whisper of microorganisms describing their favorite hollow earth haunts to buried Lee Perry reels and the hypnotizing throb of jeweled pipe organs encircling a hypothetical ideal pineal gland. On the far side of the core, the unreservedly beautiful closer “A Million Knots” unspools like an impossible Spiegel/Dinger sesh on an infinite subway platform. Silver Balloons in Clusters is a bar-raiser from one of the most deeply rewarding projects going in the contemporary post-electroacoustic underground. It’s majestic in its scope and dazzling in its intricate patternedness, at once liquid, gestural, organic, and absolutely essential.

  • j guy laughlin – apnoea – deception island – cass

    out of stock

    If you’re outside the Great Lakes-centric orbit in which he helms the proverbial tubs in pursuit of aesthetic agendas including the affably solvent-damaged sludge of the Puffy Areolas, the void-gazing post-no wave scree of DPI, the prickly, bloodshot pointillism of Heat Death, and his stellar ongoing duos with Mike Forbes, Nate Scheible, and Bbob Drake, you might be forgiven for not having checked J Guy Laughlin to date, but of course that would mean your having slept on his recent and long-overdue forays into solo sesh territory, documented on a split c20 with Forbes/Young Duet (A Sounddesign, 2009) and the recent Solo Percussion, vol. 1 c30 on Wagon. Both of these joints find Laughlin using his newfound isolation to stretch out and lay down a sprawling, muscular, and occasionally zany grammar of his full-kit style, amounting to a rosetta stone for heads looking to parse his singular approach to ensemble improvisation.

    Apnoea, however, is an utterly and wonderfully different animal, and for my two cents, the first solo work of Laughlin’s that attains the status of fully realized record-as-statement. There is next to no reliance on the percussive tropes of any going species of out drumming; instead, captured in luscious, bonkers close-mic’d splash zone fidelity by John Delzoppo, one finds an endless, subtly elaborated, and appropriately firey chasm in the floor of time, filled with amplified floor toms, deftly wielded microphones, a burlap sack full of carriage bolts, and a thousand jeweled snuffboxes of rosin, with an aggregate listening payload something like stuffing a Calder mobile into your shirt and staring at a refrigerator-sized block of obsidian all night. Sure to please appreciators of La Monte Young’s Black Album and the hi-res percussive sensibilities of Stapleton, Jackman, and Bayle alike.

  • telecult powers – orgone freakout: a happening with the telecult powers – deception island

    out of stock

    like a forgotten sonic arts union-era session heard from the business end of an opiated rabbithole, “orgone freakout” is an album-length synthesis of all the most fucked transcendent peaks on the releases (e.g. “amazing laws” and “a beginner’s guide to hoodotronix”) that have formed the apex of the telecult powers catalog to date, boiled down to their strangely arching bones. it’s a phenomenal codex of resinous creaks, empty cisterns, reflected moonlight, phantom choirs, and tendril-like percussive afterimages from a duo of cleveland-to-brooklyn transplants that’s spent the past three years becoming one of the best and strangest live acts in the world, establishing a well-deserved reputation as a cornerstone of the contemporary new york underground, issuing a viscous drip of bizarre missives through their unerringly curated temple of pei imprint, and cultivating the masterfully honed feedback between their live and studio incarnations that reaches critical velocity with this release.

    as ever, mister matthews’ handcrafted electronics are at the center of the proceedings and measured expansion of a shared timbral vocabulary continues to be a huge part of his and witchbeam’s raison d’etre, while the paranoid opacity and sheer idiosyncracy of their improvising grammar hasn’t yielded an inch. this productive tension is at once an indicator of the rewards that await the devoted acolyte and the audible stamp of their rust belt origins. writing about telecult powers back in 2008, i said that “witchbeam and mister matthews lock into their particular skewed orbit, which has something of the unhinged forelornness of nik pascal raicevic’s work, only even more fucked and disturbing, because there’s actually two people giggling at each other out on that ledge. …one could revisit it a thousand times without ever really getting a handle on it or parsing it successfully. in short, it’s necessary, rewarding, and fantastically heavy work.” that still pretty much sums it up, i believe, and it’s only gotten more true with time.

  • tiger hatchery – lemon crystal sunshine – deception island

    out of stock

    “lemon crystal sunshine” is both the first release by chicago’s tiger hatchery outside the orbit of their in-house imprints and their most coherent, lovingly realized, and hi-fidelity statement to date, with all the makings of a proper public debut. it’s no small thing to say that, in a world of massively hyped ad hoc collabs, mike forbes (tenor sax), andrew scott young (double bass), and ben billington (drums) are a genuine, dedicated, and hard-touring ensemble, and a stunningly matched one at that; while all three players have turned in head-spinning cult sessions in the past few years (forbes with j. guy laughlin, forbes and young as a duo and with weasel walter on 2009’s skullsplitting “american free” lp, and billington solo and in duos with jason soliday and brett naucke), i knew from the first seconds of their set at champagne of fests iii last year that this was something special, and the performances of theirs that i’ve caught since then, at voice of the valley, philly’s danger danger, and cleveland’s the cool ranch have only reinforced that notion.

    at once too formalist, too perversely ludic, and too explicitly conscious of all the resonant objects they’re wrangling to tolerate an easy lumping-in with the neo-fire music camp and too focused on actual asskicking and immersive sheets of lusciously corroded timbral wonder to permit their reduction to ego-fodder for the plausibly bed-wetting highbrow improv set, tiger hatchery got those legs underneath ’em amid a grueling mise en abime of basement fistpumpers, and it shows. refreshingly indifferent to any/all tired, eyeball-glazing handwringing over the moral hazards of idiom, as only a band too adept and committed to bother with such rhetorical crutches can afford to be, they are, quite simply, one of the best free jazz outfits operating today.

    forbes’ bloody, eviscerating tone and evan parker-level circular breathing chops are already the talk of the proverbial town, but what’s most impressive is the integration of these traits into a complete and highly personal style characterized by flinty reserve, strikingly antihuman phrasing, obsessively slonimskyian cellular/permutational construction, and the occasional, tantalizing glimpse of a bent, neomodern lyrical sensibility, evidenced at the start of side two as he comes on like ornette coleman disintegrating in a hail of cough syrup. what glues this all together is young and billington’s strikingly congruent rhythmic vocabularies, the sum of which is often rich in loose-limbed, muppety thwack, though “lemon crystal sunshine” offers each of them ample opportunity to stretch out into more nuanced territory as well. midway through side one, billington takes his finest recorded solo to date, a nearly whisper-quiet manifesto of gradually ratcheted-up tension that deftly sidesteps the cliches of contemporary free drumming, drawing to a close as young picks up the bow for a spiraling, kaleidoscopic duet with forbes, showing off a gently weathered approach to the higher partials that’s both commendably focused and almost shockingly lovely. i promised myself that i’d never end a writeup with the phrase “must grip,” but seriously.

  • radio people – leapt – deception island

    out of stock

    Dear reader, you’ve probably never considered the notion that there might be beaches in Cleveland (full disclosure, my erstwhile hometown actually features one of the ten worst in the nation), but Pizza Nite impressario Sam Goldberg probably isn’t letting your parochial mentality get him down. With Leapt, Goldberg, who works as a lone entity on this latest offering from his still fresh/exploratory Radio People project has delivered a suite of miniatures that go to the beach without going to the beach, if you take my meaning. Here, as in all of Sam’s myriad endeavors, including Mist (with John Elliott), Free Time (with Mark McGuire), Docile Dawn (with Zach Troxell of Fragments), Pages, and his eponymous output, the animating concept is his own idiosyncratic take on the varied/storied traditions of bedroom recording, from the mossy, rainstreaked, and heartstring-tugging microcomposer-era futurism of “Korg” to the classic four-track aesthetic of the title track.

    “Finding One’s Self” is made up of endlessly tumbling/unfurling synth riffs bisected by a gracefully hissing, atomized spray of pseudo-guitar, like a carnival swaddled in a heat-sick shimmer that rises from the pavement, or like the idea of amusement itself as a gas that someone, somewhere, who may or may not be you, is inhaling. “Leisure,” on the other hand, proceeds with the sort of spare, courtly, and slightly menacing melodic poise that recalls Jarre’s Les Granges Brulees, late La Dusseldorf, and Wendy Carlos circa A Clockwork Orange, while “The U.S,” ironically enough, is more like a weird, stretched sort of italo, replete with bleary hustle, egg-frying pwm leads, and a self-aware sort of desire left in the backyard to evaporate in the late afternoon sun. It’s a fitting conclusion to a summer that left your brain and mine too cooked for anything less lovely.