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Robert Haigh, "Creatures of The Deep"

E-mail Print PDF Haigh’s latest piano-based album is his first for US-based label Unseen Worlds. It has a finely crafted pace with such richness and delicate variety that even the most languid and pristine tracks avoid the doldrums of melancholy.

Last Updated on Sunday, 03 December 2017 09:08

VVV, "Shadow World"

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cover imageShawhin Izaddoost, the man behind VVV, put out a mixtape entitled Why El Paso Sky earlier this year, and it was quite a teaser.  Murky, ambient rhythms and catchy melodies appeared throughout, all wrapped in unique production that gave the cassette an identity all its own.  He has followed it with Shadow World, a full-length record that is drawn from the same palette as the previous work, but with a stronger sense of cohesion and consistency to make for an engaging album from beginning to end.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 November 2017 20:39

Tomoko Sauvage, "Musique Hydromantique"

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cover imageAlthough she has only released one full-length album before now, Paris-based artist Tomoko Sauvage has been making very strange and beautiful music for over a decade.  The reason for that lean discography became instantly apparent when I watched video of one of her performances, as a mere recording cannot hope to capture the fascinating and ritual-like installation that makes her work so singular: Sauvage sits in a circle of ceramic bowls beneath ice blocks suspended from the ceiling by rope (each bowl mic'd with a hydrophone).  As can be expected, there are plenty of slowly dripping and gently sloshing sounds to be found here, but Musique Hydromantique takes the idea of water-based sound art to a much deeper and more compelling extreme than I previously thought possible, manipulating subaquatic feedback and "singing bubbles" to wonderfully eerie and otherworldly effect.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 November 2017 08:13

Godflesh, "Post Self"

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cover imageThe second full length album since Godflesh's 2010 reformation, Post Self seemingly came out of nowhere, with little of the anticipation or hype that surrounded 2014's A World Lit Only By Fire.  As someone who follows Justin Broadrick on all forms of social media, I personally only heard of it due to a preorder email from an online store.  My first listen to it ended up defying the expectations which I had, based on the post-reform work I have heard from the duo. I suppose that that is exactly what a great Godflesh album should do, and Post Self manages to defy very, very well.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 November 2017 20:36

Maggi Payne, "Crystal"

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cover imageFor good reason, it is usually a safe bet to assume that any newly reissued '80s obscurity entitled something like "Crystal" is going to be lazily pastoral New Age-y synth noodling.  This album, originally released in 1986 on Lovely Music, is quite an unexpected and dramatic exception to that generalization though.  Perversely, Payne uses roughly the same palette (flute, synth, voice) that one might expect for such serene fare, yet Crystal is a strikingly dark, heavy, and unnerving album from start to finish.  I cannot say I have ever encountered anything else quite like it, which makes some sense given Payne's pedigree and general milieu (she is co-director of the famed Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College).  The nearest human reference points are probably Gyorgy Ligeti or the films of Andrei Tarkovsky, but Crystal most closely resembles a deep plunge in howling cosmic horror or the endless void of space.  Given its challenging and uncomfortable nature, it is easy to see why Payne's work is less well-known than that of her less menacing contemporaries Eliane Radigue and Pauline Oliveros, but her vision was certainly no less formidable.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 November 2017 14:54

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