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Akira Rabelais, "Spellewauerynsherde"

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cover imageThis singular album was originally released back in 2004 on David Sylvian’s Samadhisound label, but Boomkat has just issued it on vinyl for the first time (along with quite a lot of accompanying praise about its status as an absolute masterpiece).  As curmudgeonly as I am, I have to agree–while the epic centerpiece of Spellewauerynsherde could probably benefit from somewhat sharper execution, these seven pieces cumulatively amount to quite a quietly staggering whole.  Rapturous beauty aside, Spellewauerynsherde is also quite a radical and inventive bit of sound art, as it was crafted entirely from feeding medieval choral music in Rabelais' self-designed Argeïphontes Lyre software, which seems to work by mutating, disintegrating, and recombining the source material.  Naturally, the sublime and unusual source material itself deserves a healthy amount of the credit for this album's timeless beauty, but Rabelais' transformative magic has unquestionably elevated it into something considerably more otherworldly and mysterious.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 August 2017 18:44

Ben Frost, "Threshold of Faith"

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cover imageLast summer, Ben Frost flew to Chicago to record with Steve Albini for two weeks, an engineer who certainly shares his appreciation for raw power.  It turned out to be quite a fruitful union, yielding roughly two hours of (presumably) explosive new material that will likely be surfacing for the next several months of the foreseeable future.  This EP is the first salvo from that stockpile of blown-out, impossibly dense speaker-shredders, acting as a bit of a teaser for a full-length due in late September.   As expected, Threshold of Faith absolutely erupts from the first notes, capturing Frost at the top of his gnarled, seismic game once again.  In fact, an EP seem to be the perfect format for Frost, as he is at his best when he shows up, unleashes a hellstorm of face-melting elemental force, then gets out before any numbness starts to set in.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 August 2017 18:53

Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie, "Essential Anatomies"

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cover imageCompiling recent small-run cassette works into a luxurious double record set, Essential Anatomies represents a reunion for the duo of Colin Andrew Sheffield and James Eck Rippie.  Collaborators since 2000 and friends for even longer, the four lengthy recordings here capture their Texas reunion in 2015, and with its undeniable sense of complexity and cohesion, makes it clear that they have not missed a step from their time apart.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 09:11

Elodie, "Odyssee"

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cover imageThis collaboration between Andrew Chalk and Timo Van Luijk (Af Ursin) has been active since 2011, yet this is the first of their albums that I have actually heard, as Van Luijk shares Chalk's love of limited, small press-style releases.  As a result, Elodie's output has mostly been a series of vinyl-only releases from Belgium and Japan, though Stephen O'Malley’s Ideologic Organ has thankfully stepped up to get their next album to a wider audience.  On paper, Odyssee seems like a very poor choice for my first Elodie experience, as it has two traits that generally make me steer clear of an album: it is both a live recording and the soundtrack to a film.  In reality, however, this album is quietly stunning, taking Debussy-style Impressionism into gorgeously smoky, twilit, and eerily hallucinatory territory.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 August 2017 06:58

Ora, "Time Out of Mind"

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cover imageOra was always a rather curious and enigmatic project, as the collective formed by Andrew Chalk and Darren Tate in the '80s has been historically characterized by extremely limited releases and shifting membership.  Time Out of Mind adds yet another strange chapter to the Ora tale, as it is a reworking of unreleased material that largely pre-dates Ora's debut release (1992's DAAC cassette).  Chalk and Tate make it clear that this is not a "lost album" though–it is more of an alternate history, suggesting a path that the project might have explored without the intervention of line-up changes and new working methods.  Naturally, Chalk fans will probably swoop down on this album en masse, as material from this project is so maddeningly rare, but this collection is a modest and understated affair content-wise, consisting primarily of brief sketches and vignettes of mysterious field recordings and bleary drones.

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 August 2017 09:47

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