Thursday, August 14, 2014

OK, another batch and then I'm outta here for a few weeks.

Bruno Duplant/Eva-Maria Houben/Bileam Kümper - Field by memory inhabited III & IV (Rhizome.s)

Two extended works from a score (unseen by this writer) by Duplant, realized by Houben and Kümper.

III is rendered by piano and viola. The first eight or nine minutes are all (or at least mostly) viola drones, only to be abruptly "disturbed" by a surprising piano arpeggio, like a pleasant awakening from a dream. A lengthy, non-digital silence. A similar up and down flurry from the piano heralds the next section, the viola following shortly, beginning in the same manner as he had played earlier but soon adopting a different set of approaches, sometimes skittering, sometimes swooping. If there's piano during much of this portion, it's faint enough to fade into the woodwork, until a bit later, some interior instrument noises emerge and there's an unexpected few moments of hyperactivity. It shifts a bit back and forth between these poles for the remainder of its 40 minutes. I enjoyed it pretty well, though felt there was some disconnect between the instruments. Admittedly, this reaction may well have been due to the contrast to "IV", at least partially because of the sonic nature of the instruments involved, organ and tuba (how many people double viola and tuba, btw?). Houben evokes gassy, breathy expulsions from her organ, woodenly knocking about now and then, and Kümper tends to do similarly, with obviously different timbres, on his horn; the pure sound is simply fantastic. As well, there's more continuity even as the elements slide though there are also the occasional stabs of sharpness and harshness to keep things honest. A strong work, worth the price of admission.


Jeff Gburek/Karolina Ossowska - Visitations (Catalogue of Wonders)

Gburek is a thoughtful fellow and this release arrives with plenty of text, both in the disc insert and in accompanying material. The former is poetic in nature while the latter encompasses Benford numbers, meteorological concerns (both "out there" and "body weather"), the 2012 US Presidential election and a biblical citation. I'm doubtless missing aspects of how these and other elements enter into "Visitations", but it's, in audio terms, more than challenging and sprawling enough to deal with on its own. The principals are Gburek (guitars, field recordings, bass recorder, electronics and processing) and his wife, Ossowska (violin, keyboards, penny-whistle, collages) with flutist Asia Zielecka making an appearance on one track. "Hallucinogenic" is one word that recurred in my head while listening; there's an intense, dreamlike feeling to much of the music, propelled often by Gburek's guitar (which often possesses a tone that toward which I'm not too partial) and Ossowska's violin (which I like very much) amidst a swirl of spacey keyboards and mutant field recordings, occasionally soaring along rockish heights, other times lingering amidst abstracted ambient sounds and small percussive noises. The violin lines (sometimes multi-tracked) tend to have a strong and very attractive Romantic quality, I might go as far as to say with a fine Polish or northeastern European cast; they provide some of my favorite moments on the disc. In fact, there are numerous episodes that are quite beautiful scattered throughout (the ending several minutes of the second track, for instance and all of the eighth); trying to process the work as whole, which I get the impression is what the musicians would like, is a tougher task. You pretty much have to succumb to its logic, something I couldn't quite do entirely, instead appreciating this section very much, the next not so much. But that's dreaming for you.

It's really an impressive effort though, even if I'm on the fence about it re: pure enjoyment. There's a lot to dig into. Oh, and there are thunderstorms. Loud ones. You can hear much of it at the soundcloud site below.

Catalog of Wonders

Ryan McGuire - Civilian (Glasswing Music)

McGuire is a Boston-area bassist who has performed with many of that cities new music luminaries including Greg Kelley, Dave Gross and Mike Bullock. "Civilian" contains 12 improvisations for solo bass. It's one of those recordings that's really sufficiently outside of my current purview that I find it tough to honestly evaluate. McGuire is clearly an accomplished player with strong technique. Most of the music is bowed, almost all of it in the instrument's lower registers which yields a dark, rich atmosphere here. His approach might be said to lie somewhere between the lyricism of a holland and the assault of a Guy; I actually found myself thinking of Joelle Leandre more often than anyone else. He's not nearly as frenetic or show-offy as Guy can be (a good thing) but at the same time, I found myself wishing he'd investigate more tonal--in a word, straighter--climes; I think the results would be quite rewarding. He veers close to that once or twice here ("Delicate Creatures I", for instance) and it's lovely, comparable to primo Holland. For me, it's a tough assignment to carry an album's worth of solo bass (or anything) these days if you're not dwelling in a more contemplative framework where the sounds are allowed time to live and breathe on their own rather than rapidly being shunted aside to let the next torrent through. Obviously, that's me. Fans of post-free jazz bass will find a good deal to enjoy here. Me, I'm curious to hear what McGuire would sound like with a partner or two, especially if those persons came from a different vantage. You can hear for yourself at the bandcamp site below.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Radio Cegeste - three inclements (Consumer Waste)

I've been wanting to hear more of Sally McIntyre's (Radio Cegeste) work since her collaboration with Lee Noyes a couple of years back and this one satisfies that desire quite well. Three pieces, each fairly short (total disc time less than a half hour)and concise. The titles make one curious about the contents. "a lagoon considered against its archival image", for instance, a series of statics amidst thunder and rain (one of the inclements), the former tearing jagged holes in the fabric of weather. Some faint beeps (shortwave? two sets of four tones, repeating) can be gleaned through the storm. A marvelous work. I get the sense of more radio involvement in "study for a lighthouse", a bristling sound essay full of both intense activity and plenty of air, the sonorities several plies deep, with a series of five, sharp, hard "taps" repeatedly establishing a harsh surface while hisses, gurgling and perhaps faint voices occupy strata beneath; entirely absorbing. In "1897 (song for Richard Henry), McIntyre unsheathes her "broken violin", wending it through wooly masses of static, birds and (there must be a better name for it) the "woo-woo" you get on shortwaves, normally a sound I'm not terribly fond of (too much baggage) but here, it just manages to fit in. The violin is dark and a bit mournful, evoking an off-tune sea shanty, perhaps, though that thought might be influenced by the preceding nautical imagery.

Fine, fine work.

Luciano Maggiore/Enrico Malatesta - talabalacco (Consumer Waste)

Recorded separately, using synths and objects (though the overall cast of the piece is percussive), recombined at a later date, with a very clean, clear sound and including a fair amount of silence. It's fine though I can't say it grabbed e especially. This practice is entering middle age, at least (I think my first file sharing exposure was Otomo and Carl Stone's "Amino Argot" back around the mid 90s) and I often to find it somewhat lacking barring an overarching, at least tenuously cohesive idea as was the case, for example, in MIMEO's "sight", at the behest of Keith Rowe. Any sounds can be molded after the fact, of course, and often, as here, the results are unobjectionable and even reasonably enjoyable on their own merits. That's one way to view them, to be sure, distancing oneself and regarding the activity in a Cagean way but after a while, I admit, this begins to be something of a chore. Not to particularly take this release to account, just mentioning the sort of thoughts that routinely pass through my noggin while listening. Things are kept on a generally low boil here, full of medium level knocks, taps, squeaks and scratches. The silences act to create a kind of episodic character but there's (intentionally, I assume) no discernible structural, much less narrative idea in play, just sequences of sounds, which is enough sometimes; other times, one hankers for a bit more.

Consumer Waste

Monday, August 11, 2014

Apologies for the even briefer than normal write-ups. I'll be away on vacation in the US as of August 15th, not back until September 4th and I have a heap o' stuff here, both physical and digital, wanted to get a batch done before I left.

The International Nothing - The Dark Side of Success (Ftarri)

"Berlin's finest in clarinet entertainment since 2000". :-)

The third release by this self-effacing duo (Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke on clarinets) is very much in line with the first two, both a good and, perhaps, a slightly troubling thing. Good in the sense that what they do is so luminous and beautiful, tracing delicate lines, often with closely adjacent tones creating a panoply of ghost tones and beats, all played with extreme subtlety and sensitivity, carving out a fine area of sweet/sour tonality; it's wonderful work. Troubling, maybe, in a kind of treading water sense. I find myself wanting to hear them more steadfastly confronting song forms, something they do in one track here, "Deepwater Horizon". There, a simple seesaw rhythm undergirds some gorgeous playing, ironically, opening up (for me) wider vistas in urgent need of exploration (!). The remainder of the recording is absolutely fine and should be heard both by fans and, as ever, curious listeners just getting into the genre. It's lovely music, greatly appreciated; I just want to hear them push things more.


Also available from Erst Dist

Paul Baran - The Other (Fang Bomb)

I think it's safe to say that within in this extremely wide-ranging recording, most everyone will find a few things they enjoy a lot as well as a few tracks they could easily do without, though those would doubtless vary a great deal from one person to another. Baran is well aware of the further reaches of experimental music but chooses to pepper "The Other" (assembled between 20101 and 2012 with the participation of, among others, Sebastian Lexer, Axel Dorner, Lucio Capece, Werner Dafeldecker and Sylvia Hallett, to mention only those with whom I'm familiar) with nods in various more popular directions including electro-funk. Sometimes the music recalls early Bryars (the strings on "Himmelstrasse"), though I often found myself thinking of the shifting electro-exotica of Simon Fisher Turner (this is, for me, a good thing). A young girl elucidates chess moves, Baran sings a couple of times (evoking Robert Wyatt once). The general atmosphere is one of flux, of shadow movement; I had no problem drifting along with it, enjoying the ride. Others may find this or that episode distracting, either an over-reliance on song or, on the other hand, if that catches their ears, too much disjointed abstraction. I liked the mix.

Fang Bomb

Neu Abdominaux Dangereux - Dangereuxorcisms (CKC)

I forget exactly how it happened, but somewhere around 1990, I picked up a disc by an outfit with an unlikely name (at that time, the first word was spelled, "Niu") and had a bit of a blast, eventually writing it up at All Music Guide. So, some 25 years later, the bastard child of Roberto Zorzi and Nicola C. Salerno is back...and it's still rollicking good fun. the cast consists of Zorzi (guitars), Scott Amendola (Drums, electronics), Giovani Albertini (guitar), Pino Dieni (archlute, daxophone, guitar), Henry Kaiser (guitars), Michael Manring (bass guitar), Enrico Merlin (guitar, banjo), Mauro Ottolini (trombone, sousaphone), Marco Pasetto (clarinets, alto sax), the ROVA Saxophone quartet and Garvey Salerno (bass guitar). There remains a bit of the collage aesthetic here, though subtle enough as when the theme from Ornette's "Peace" just pokes its nose out at the end of the first track (Coleman is more fully represented by a cover of "Feet Music" later, a banjo feature, naturally). Perhaps it's unfairly assigning a national flavor but I couldn't help hearing the spirit of (a jazz-funk-rockish) Nino Rota hovering over things; the Godfather theme is also referenced here. Highlights include a lovely take of Frith's "Water Under the Bridge" (originally written for ROVA, I believe), "Europa?" (Angela Merkel on vocals--someone should sign her) and Larry Ochs' "The Shopper" (which I think I remember from a shared LP with Braxton, "The Aggregate", on Sound Aspects). Oh, and they cover "Interstellar Overdrive" and, on a hidden track, perform a moving version from the main theme of Ornette's "Skies of America".

Good, clean, slick fun, lots of it.

their Facebook page

Virilio - Signature (Record Label Record Label)

Virilio is Corinna Triantafyllidis (tympani, tamtam, synth, drum machine, voice) and Dimitris Papadatos (electronics, guitar, turntables, synth, voice) and "Signature" arrives as a 45rpm, 12"slab of creamy white vinyl.

Side A is a dark, propulsive mixture of noise and blurred industrial rhythms--cavernous, echoing with siren-like wails, creating a very paranoiac feel. Very effective at conjuring up an oppressive swirling atmosphere, dense and resonant. Not really my personal cuppa, but well realized. Side B is more threatening still and is enhanced by a bed of rich consonance behind the skittering/gravelly surface. More pulse than rhythm, this track breathes much more convincingly, hovering with menace for several minutes before evaporating into whines and bell sounds; very nice. For fans of dark electronics.

Virilio's site

Friday, August 08, 2014

Catherine Lamb - in/gradient (Sacred Realism)

Lamb has become one of my favorite composers in the new music (are we using the term post-wandelweiser yet?) and this recording does nothing to deter me from that opinion; cements it pretty firmly, in fact.

"in/gradient" is performed here by the quartet of Andrew Lafkas (doublebass), Tucker Dulin (trombone), Jason Brogan (electric guitar) and Lamb (viola, filtered/formant oscillators), a single 55 minute work. While there's something of a steady-state character to the piece as a while, within, it makes extensive travels and creates a vague structure. Lamb has a professed fascination with just intonation, very much on display here. I've not seen the score but I'm guessing a good part of it involves an instrument's migration from one note to an adjacent one over a given period of time, dwelling on the microtones encountered during the passage. [Shortly after writing the preceding, I happened to have some communication with Lamb and she was kind enough to send me the score. Unsurprisingly, there is a helluva lot more to it than I imagined. It's quite dense, in fact, and among other things, the specific pitches involved are delineated in ratios, colors and cent values--if I'm reading it correctly, never a safe assumption--, quite specifically, although other aspects of the approach are up to the discretion of the musicians. In any case, there's a huge amount of things going on] With four instruments (plus oscillators) all capable of this kind of gliding (I get the impression Brogan is using an ebow or similar sliding apparatus) the overlay of these microtones is consistently amazing and beautiful. It begins on solid tonal ground, just trombone and bass, I think, before the former veers off slightly. There's a silence, the horn reiterates its direction, the others join in, almost hesitantly and the trek continues, pathways bifurcating. The sound is quit but full, the notes tending toward the lower ranges of the instruments. The lines shift in duration so that the overlapping is always in flux and the presence of this or that instrument shifts as well, one or another always emerging or submerging. It's difficult (for me) to describe further except to say that I found it entirely mesmerizing, leaving on play for more than a day, over and over, appreciating it on its own and how it colored and interacted with the environment; at one point, the Wednesday noontime sirens were heard and fit in gorgeously.

A fantastic piece of music, one of my favorite things for a long time.

Bryan Eubanks - Anamorphosis (Sacred Realism)

Three works by Eubanks bearing a certain amount of similarity to each other, each very concentrated and interesting.

"Double Portrait" consists of brief alternating patches (four to five seconds) of field recordings and sine tones/soprano saxophone. There are two of the former, each repeated through the piece's fifteen minutes, one including church bells (which, for me, impart a kind of ominous sensation), one with what sounds like horse hooves and traffic. Actually, the first repeats in whole, the latter seems to be an ongoing process, four seconds at a time. Interspersed with these are calm held tones that more or less occupy the same area throughout but with subtle pitch variations and differing strengths of the sines vs. the soprano. Irregularity within regularity, very rigorous, like a set of shutters opening and closing, some offering the same view, some with a slowly changing scene. Toward the end, the sections begin to overlap. Eubanks requests the listener do so with an open window, something I do fairly routinely anyway, and it works fine here, adding another layer of quasi-regularity.

"Spectral Pattern", for sine tone, tuned pulse, white noise and instruments (here, Johnny Chang and Cat Lamb on violas, Eubanks on soprano) lasts twice as long and begins in a similar structural territory, a steady, light pulse with the occasional (more widely spaced than above and longer) "window" during which the strings and horn play lines near enough in pitch to engender wonderful quavers. A bit over seven minutes in, the pitch of the instruments in a more plaintive direction and you begin to detect an additional, very faint sine tone alongside the pulse. Somewhere past the halfway point, a general hiss (the white noise) infiltrates things, blotting out the pulse, entirely "other", alien in a way. The noise feathers out, commanding more of the sound field, the instruments continuing as before but unable to enter into anything remotely suggesting a dialogue. Oddly disturbing, very effective.

The final work is "Enclosed Space Phenomena" for generative sine tone patterns and interior space. Immediately, we're in a different sound world, one filled with multiple ringing, swirling tones, crystalline but also liquid in nature, not loud but insistent (the piece was recorded in a cistern). The cycles gradually come into phase, reminding me of the glockenspiel patterns from Reich's "Drumming", though looser and not overtly rhythmic. It's actually tough to discount the mental image of a number of teensy percussionists at play here, going in and out of phase, shifting the attack and dynamics. One can only imagine being in situ for this event, but it's beguiling enough on disc. The cover image is a pretty good analog for this music. Played at sufficient volume, perhaps you can approximate the cistern effect at home.

Extremely rigorous and well-focussed, each piece is substantial and absorbing. An excellent recording.

Andrew Lafkas - 1 + 1 = year zero (water/moon) (Sacred Realism)

Sacred Realism pulls the hat trick, three for three in this new batch. I've been increasingly impressed with Lafkas' work these past few year and this one extends his streak. Scored for nine musicians (Jason Brogan, electric guitar; Adam Diller, bass clarinet; Tucker Dulin, trombone; Sean Meehan (rare sighting!), percussion; Ron Stabinsky, piano; Leif Sundstrom, percussion; Karen Waltuch, viola; Barry Weisblat (another rare sighting!), radio; Lafkas, bass), the nearly hourlong piece breathes and lives, the time passing with remarkable quickness. The work sprawls, very beautifully so, the sounds generally soft and low (though there is often a burred tone buried in the mix, imparting a needed roughness) but welling up at multiple points to brief crescendi, quite dramatic. Funnily enough, given my reference to Reich above, I sometimes had the faintest glimmer of the structure in "Music for Eighteen Musicians", those bass clarinet-led surges. Those crests surface through the great, dark masses every few minutes for much of the work, often heralded by clear, striking piano notes, becoming more frequent toward the closing minutes, eventually mixing in and forming a new kind of mass, just for a few moments. Lafkas, in his last several releases that I've heard, has a way of constructing these amorphous-seeming but very solid pieces that do indeed possess a strong sense of respiration. Not as overtly rigorous as Lamb or Eubanks in the above recordings, but more mammalian (!) and also with a faint trace of brooding Romanticism. Wonderful work, something I'd love to experience live.

Sacred Realism

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Angle - Premier Angle (Nueni)

Not your standard improv outing, no walk in the park. Angle consists of Jean-Philippe Gross and Jean-Luc Guionnet (each on electronics, I believe, Guionnet also wielding his alto) engage in rough play here, constructing entirely abrasive sounds and unpalatable blocks of noise, dismissing any notion of pleasantry. And it works quite well. When, early on, Guionnet's flat, harsh, affectless alto tone is welded to an even harsher, more brutal one, it bores a clean, smoking hole in your skull, not very nice. The relatively quiet section that starts shows a fine disregard for the normal way of things, sending through opaque electronic ropes and shimmers, nothing very appropriate, events carried along by force of conviction. It plunges into digital silence at the flick of a switch, emerges 15 or so seconds later in an entirely different space, hissing steam and irregularly pounding metals that resolve into a seesawing, low thrum through which a pitiful alto whines (I've no doubt intentional), very effective. A solo alto section, highly controlled yet disjointed, followed by a quiet sequence which stands out, oddly enough, in that it does in fact conform to some areas we've familiarized ourselves with in this genre over the years; strong on its own, interesting when placed in this set. Perhaps more surprising, we then hear Guionnet playing a very soft, simple "melody" over rumbling electronics, very attractive, I daresay, more so when the tone is splintered into delicate overtones, the electronics softly prodding (I'm thinking, due to the latter's exact overlapping, they might be generated here by Guionnet as well.). That's where it ends, having travelled from blunt and awkward to faux calm. A disturbing set, posing questions. Good stuff.


Seijiro Murayama/Éric La Casa - Paris: public spaces (ftarri)

La Casa writes, '"Paris as it is"in our daily life, with its ordinary but intimate moments captured in public spaces, with its delicate nuances of atmosphere.', and that's what we get, following he and Murayama into several neighborhoods (some within a stone's throw of my desk as I'm writing), observing closely and clearly, making the occasional interjection but withholding any judgment but the most general, that this "scene" portrays something real about this city. We hear, I assume, Murayama making some discreet mouth noises now and again (quite possibly more often than I realize) though he approximates some conceivable local fauna. More pervasively, we encounter people, bustling, traffic--nothing so unusual but caught with a lovely clarity, in a beautiful "light", if you will. Each track contains some small wonder; I got a special kick from the Murayama's humming along (or athwart) the marching band heard on Part 8. La Casa has shown a fantastic ear in prior releases and does it again, having far more in common, in effect if not in mode of construction, with Luc Ferrari than with standard field recordists. (I'm not certain how much of the recording part was done by Murayama--I may be shorting him on that front; both likely deserve equal credit).

Excellent work, don't let it slip through.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Michael Pisaro - black, white, red, green, blue (voyelles) (winds measure)

Just wanted to let folks know about this CD issue of items originally released on cassette in 2010. I wrote about the pieces then and am reprinting the brief entry (with minor editing) below. Suffice it to say that it holds up and then some, especially "voyelles" which is sublimely sink-into-able.

""black, white, red, green, blue" is performed solo by Chabala. It's an hour's worth of suspended, individual notes, of varied tone, length and texture, generally separated by five to ten seconds [it complexifies somewhat toward the end]. It's quite lovely and thoughtful, like all of Pisaro's work I've experienced, requiring fairly intense concentration and immersion to fully appreciate. His conception is amazing at suspending time and Chabala offers a very fine, sensitive reading.

For "voyelles", Pisaro took the same recording and infiltrated into it sounds sourced from sine tones and field recordings (possibly others). As good as the original piece is, "voyelles" really brings it into its own and makes it extraordinary. As with other works (like the great Transparent Cities set), Pisaro has an unerring ear with regard to precisely what sound will most strangely but somehow appropriately compliment a given instrumental tone. By adding a single layer, Pisaro multiplies the piece's depth many fold. A great, great work, one that unfurls differently on each hearing."

[been listening to "voyelles" all afternoon, here in August, 2014--immensely satisfying]

winds measure

Monday, August 04, 2014

Robert Curgenven - Sirène (Recorded Fields Editions)

I freely admit to being a sucker for certain micro-genres and contemporary, drone-based pipe organ is surely one. Despite that caveat, Curgenven's "Sirène" is a real treat. I'd previously heard and enjoyed a bit of his music on a winds measure release shared with Will Montgomery. For this LP offering, he uses unprocessed pipe organ (recorded in several different churches) augmented in parts by turntable and other sources.

Curgenven tends toward (more or less) traditional organ tones, that is, nothing too extreme in terms of airiness, extreme grinding or other extended techniques. But he arrays these tones wonderfully, layering contrasting lines, each of them pretty much tonal but, in combination, resulting in a fascinating chromaticism. The first track engages in this while also possessing a rising and falling swell, the elements shifting, cloudlike before evanescing into less linear, more amorphous shapes, cultivating a growing sizzle of alien sputters. These extraneous, though quite welcome, noises manifest clearly on the second track, "Cornubia". Ebhind an even more sonorous skein of organ tones, one hears first some vague shuffling and sliding, soon resolved into what sound like slaps on a hard, wet surface. The massed organs well mightily before, again, faltering as they splay outwards. Side B is taken up by "Turners Tempest + Imperial Horizon", a generally less tonal, reedier work. While building strength, it nonetheless flutters and shudders; what sounds like a blurred but enormous mass of hornets hovers over the affair for a while. The first half of the piece is like some mythic, shambling beast, falling, rising and continuing, beset by swarms of static. As before, however, matters are smoothed out somewhat, as though the creature emerged onto a flat landscape even if, as it progresses, irregularities become apparent among the shimmerings. Four minutes from the end there's a cessation. When sound reappears, it's distant, almost underwater. A foggy orchestra, lost in reverberation, brings things to a close.

A unique, superb recording. Don't let it pass you by.

Recorded Field Editions

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Seth Cooke - Sightseer (Organized Music from Thessaloniki)

It's easy, probably all too easy, to draw comparisons between field recordings and photography but I do like, in certain instances to think about snapshot photography, the work of people like Garry Winogrand and Todd Papageorge, when listening the work of people who consciously veer away from anything traditionally evocative and towards sound that, on the surface, seem to have been almost randomly chosen. In the same sense that simply by virtue of its components, a snapshot photo will contain vast amounts of information--audio, sociological, what have you--so might a "snapshot" field recording.

This may be piling too much weight on Cooke's offerings here: nine tracks on a 3" disc, but there's something about their "ordinariness" that summons these thoughts. The one-second wash of sound that constitutes "Traveller's Checks (sic)" could have come from almost anywhere; something equivalent to an accidental, blurred photo. The next track's 68 second have more a sense of place, however vague and activity, assuming the bowed shell of the title is the source of the keening sound we hear. We begin to parse out inevitable, even if "undesired" specialness, more so in the ensuing clicks, soft pings and mechanized voice nestled into the indistinct, sometimes aflutter ambiance of "Window Shopping". Cooke's titles seem to vacillate between the deadpan descriptive and the sardonic; one wants to hear the muffled, difficult-to-discern groans of "Weekend Soul Retrieval Workshop" as, well, a soul being retrieved. One listens more and more closely, determined to figure out these un-figure-outable snippets. The mini-epic, "Santa Barbara Christian Field Recording Association" manages to remain singularly opaque with reference to either title or source but is a hell of a lot of fun to wallow in. We tumble through the closely miked violence of "Self-Catering/Package tour", into the wind-scoured wasteland of "Hotel for November" and, finally, for another brief second, a glimpse of Hell in that FLAC we need to hear.

Fine work! A bracing tonic to the endless stream of birds, cars and water gurgles.

Grisha Shakhnes - distance and decay (Organized Music from Thessaloniki)

Shakhnes adds yet another volume to his impressive string of strong releases, retaining ties to past work on the one hand, moving into subtly different areas on the other.

The opening track, "so close to home" ism indeed, something like that, displaying the Shakhnes we've come to know and love; dark and grainy, rumbling with multiple layers of sound, as though subjected to a rough grind, through some processing mechanism that leaves copious lumps and irregularities. There's more going on at any given moment than you can hear, causing an odd experience on subsequent listens-- the "Hey, that wasn't there before!" response. Some sounds are looped, other not (or, at least, I don't think so; maybe lengthier loops). It churns, new elements swiftly incorporated in the grimy swirl. Ingredients dissipate, the mix turns dry and choppy, re-forms into a mass of what seems like engines or generators, with looped pops, imparting a somehow wet feel, sublimates and fades;classic, if you will, Shakhnes. "air" almost sounds as though recorded near the prow of an ice-breaker for the first few minutes but it soon degrades, quite beautifully, into a sequence of dronelike sounds including, I think, recordings of Mideastern music, bleeding through the stuttering taps and pervasive hiss. Possibly a distorted recording of a stringed instrument surfaces, disappears under shuffling and the frozen wastes return. It's a lovely, even moving work and a bit unexpected in parts but the next cut, "concrete" is even more so, beginning with a quasi-tonal hum, or layering of hums, a continuo that girds the piece throughout in one form or another, beneath whistling wind and undefinable rumbles. This creates a wonderful, kind of tidal swell beneath things and Shakhnes is quite careful choosing the textures of the sounds above to allow space to form between. The undertones disintegrate somewhat when we move into some large interior spaces, but there's always a lingering trace, subtly propelling one forward. "slow life" is a mini-maelstrom that I can't begin to parse. At a mere nine minutes, it's gone before I can grasp it but it's intensely tantalizing.

The Shakhnes odyssey continues, one excellent release after another. Get this.

Organized Music from Thessaloniki