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Kevin Drumm, "Elapsed Time"

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cover image This six disc box set is a nice time capsule for the extremely prolific Drumm's work from 2013 through 2016.  Which means, of course, by now this stuff is old hat and there is likely to be another 15 or so albums worth of material available to download at this point.  However, Drumm's work is something to be digested slowly and methodically, and with Giuseppe Ielasi ensuring a top quality remastering, it makes for an essential collection of work that is fitting for both new listeners and those who have been there for a while.


"The Folklore of Plants, Volume I"

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cover imageThis latest Folklore Tapes collection is a perfect illustration of why they are possibly the most unique and fascinating label around, assembling 31 different artists to create free-form sound art based upon their research into a specific plant.  I certainly like the concept and appreciate the depth and breadth of their commitment to it (there is accompanying literature, a film, and a pack of seeds), yet none of that would matter all that much if the music was underwhelming.  As it happens, the music is absolutely wonderful, as the many brief and varied vignettes form a wonderfully surreal and kaleidoscopic whole.  A few of the participants were familiar to me beforehand (Dean McPhee, Bridgett Hayden), but most were not and nearly every single one brings something delightfully bizarre, hallucinatory, or enigmatically esoteric to the table.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 October 2017 05:52

Ben Frost, "The Centre Cannot Hold"

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cover imageBen Frost continues to mine the rich vein of recordings he made with Steve Albini with this full-length follow-up to this year's excellent Threshold of Faith EP.  Naturally, The Centre Cannot Hold is a similarly face-melting eruption of ambient drone beefed up to snarling, brutal immensity, yet it feels a bit anticlimactic and redundant after the EP, as three songs are repeated (although usually in different versions) and one piece clocks in at a mere 13 seconds.  A few of the totally new songs are quite good, however, and Frost allows himself to indulge and experiment a bit more with structure and melody than he did with the more punchy and concise predecessor.  I personally prefer the punchy and concise approach in Frost's case, but the less essential and somewhat over-extended Centre could have been a similarly strong EP if it had been distilled to just its high points.  There is some prime Frost to be found here, even if the presentation is less than ideal.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 October 2017 08:51

F Ingers, "Awkwardly Blissing Out"

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cover imageThe second full-length album from this bass-driven Australian "freak unit" is an intriguing evolution from the bleary, haunted atmospheres of 2015's Hide Before Dinner.  For one, the mood is considerably less unnerving, but the trio has also incorporated a significant dub influence (a move that always makes my ears perk up).  Naturally, F Ingers is still as unrepentantly bizarre, prickly, and indulgent as ever, but they seem to found a way to make their fractured nightmares feel a lot more playful, spontaneous, and kinetic.  At its worst, Awkwardly Blissing Out sounds like a batch of willfully wrong-headed, dub-damaged, and sketchlike experiments that blossomed from the corpses of murdered songs.  At its best, however, it transcendently resembles a newly discovered cache of extended and deeply hallucinatory dub remixes of imaginary early UK post-punk classics.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 October 2017 08:44

Alex Keller and Sean O'Neill, "Kruos"

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cover imageAlex Keller and Sean O'Neill may have been collaborators since 2015, but Kruos is actually their debut release.  That relative youth does not translate to lack of experience on the album, however, as the duo’s work is a complex, nuanced work of sound art, conjured up from some rather rudimentary sources, largely just field recordings and a telephone test synthesizer.  It is a bit of a difficult, unsettling experience at times, but a strong one nonetheless.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 October 2017 08:19

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