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The Holy Circle

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cover imageLocrian is still an active band, but vocalist/keyboardist Terence Hannum has added another side project to his roster: The Holy Circle.  Featuring his wife Erica Burgner-Hannum on vocals and Nathan Jurgenson (Screen Vinyl Image) on drums, the project could not be more different than his other recent one, the anti-fascist Axebreaker (recently reviewed).  With The Holy Circle the mood is much more peaceful and elegant, with an emphasis on melody and songwriting, but maintaining that experimental edge Hannum is known for.

Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 10:11

Robert Crouch, "Sublunar"

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cover imageCrouch's last release, A Gradual Accumulation of Ideas Becomes Truth (Line), was a heavily conceptual work touching on location and memory that, even divorced from its intellectual underpinning, was an excellent piece of sound art.  Sublunar may not be as steeped in concept, but again the audio (a live performance mixing existing material and field recordings) is the most important facet, and again he excels in creating a disorienting piece of familiar and unfamiliar sounds that blur together wonderfully.

Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 10:12

White Hills, "Stop Mute Defeat"

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cover imageWhite Hills has always been kind of a frustrating band for me, but Dave W's single-minded devotion to psych-rock excess occasionally hits some flashes of sustained greatness, so I keep coming back anyway. If anything, he can be relied upon to consistently deliver one or two prime doses of unhinged psych-guitar squall every album...until now, that is.  In a somewhat startling turn of events, Dave and bassist Ego Sensation have returned from their brief hiatus with quite a radical reinvention of their sound.  I am not sure if White Hills' new aesthetic is categorically better than the old one, as Dave’s messy and indulgent guitar heroics have a definite appeal, but this latest batch of songs is definitely tighter, catchier, and more focused than their past work.  Equally significant: this album abandons all traces of the duo’s Hawkwind fixation in favor of a trip into my nostalgic comfort zone of ‘90s Wax Trax!-style industrial.  To their credit, White Hills make some welcome improvements to that formula, embellishing the expected drum machines and cut-up samples with some wonderfully fluid and muscular bass lines and a more simmering, understated touch to their lingering psychedelic side.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 June 2017 08:18

Ars Phoenix/The Viirus, "De(p)letions"

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cover imageThis split tape manages to capture what sounds like the final Ars Phonenix release (though vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Jon Glover and keyboardist/vocalist Caitlyn Grimalkin are continuing as Pass/Ages), and one of only a handful of works by Adam Batley's Viirus project.  Besides both hailing from the wild lands of Florida (not what I would consider a hotbed for electronic music), they also share the commonality of creating skeletal, yet catchy and moody electronic pop, making for an exceptional pairing.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 09:28

Demen, "Nektyr"

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cover imageThis is the debut release from Swedish chanteuse Irma Orm, an album that Kranky has been eagerly anticipating for a couple of years after receiving an anonymous and mysterious invitation to hear some early recordings.  If I had to guess why the album took so long to complete, I would venture to say that one of those early pieces was probably the opening "Niorum" and that Orm has spent the entire time trying in vain to recapture that brilliance.  She admittedly succeeds at least once, but the bulk of Nektyr sounds like a stark, time-stretched, and drifting marriage of This Mortal Coil and the Twin Peaks soundtrack that is shrouded in shadow and artfully blurred into dream-like soft-focus.  I suppose the highlights sound a lot like that too, but Nektyr works best when there is a skeleton of a hooky song lurking amidst all the darkness and fog.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 June 2017 15:04

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