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Alan F. Jones & Derek Rogers, "Cedars"

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cover image Cedars is the second collaboration to be released between electronic artists Alan F. Jones and Derek Rogers, though unlike the previous Repetend, Parallax (2015), this is a live recording, rather than a studio collaboration.  Recorded in May 2017 in Dallas, Texas, the single piece that comprises this album highlights the different, at times contradictory approaches Jones and Rogers have towards art and composition, and the whole performance seems to be defined by these contrasts, yet somehow the overall sound gels together brilliantly.

Last Updated on Monday, 19 February 2018 21:39

Ekin Fil, "Ghosts Inside", "Inflame"

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cover imageThe Turkish artist Ekin Fil (also known as Ekin Üzeltüzenci) follows up her excellent 2016 LP Being Near (also available on Helen Scarsdale) with two distinctly different, yet both exceptional new releases.  The reasons for these differences are obvious, with one being a conventional album and the other a film score, but each also cast a focus on different aspects to her work, with the former emphasizing her unique pop sensibilities within a traditional song framework, while the latter her approach to electronics and production.

Last Updated on Sunday, 18 February 2018 23:02

Lea Bertucci, "Metal Aether"

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My first exposure to this NYC-based alto saxophonist/composer’s work was last year's excellent All That is Solid Melts Into Air cassette, which featured some wonderfully snarling and churning double-bass drones.  For her follow-up, Bertucci returns to NNA Tapes for a full-length LP sans string ensemble, focusing instead on her own solo performances.  Naturally, her saxophone plays a large role, particularly in the fluttering and reverberant minimalism of the opening piece, but Bertucci also has a deep fondness for tapes and field recordings, resulting in an unusual and absorbing mélange of saxophone squalls, bloodcurdling squeals, simmering reveries of uncomfortably dissonant drones, and languorously dreamlike soundscapes.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 20 February 2018 08:32

"Calendar Customs"

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It is remarkable that I did not sprain my finger mashing the "order now" button when this vinyl boxed set was announced, as Folklore Tapes' elusive season-themed cassettes are among the label's most crucial releases.  Being someone who has not always been particularly enthusiastic about cassette culture, I was slow to realize just how unique and special those limited releases were when the series first appeared.  Consequently, this lavish boxed set is the first time that I heard many of these pieces, though the strange and eclectic stable of artists is certainly an endearingly familiar one for me at this point.  Obviously, having extremely high expectations for something is usually a sure-fire way to end up disappointed, but Calendar Customs actually exceeded my hopes, opening up a deep rabbit hole into an idiosyncratic, phantasmagoric, and sublime alternate history.

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 March 2018 11:51

The Skull Defekts

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cover imageThe Skull Defekts have long been one of the most baffling, wonderful, and unpredictable bands in underground music, equally likely to dazzle, disappoint, or just thoroughly confuse me with each fresh release.  While far from infallible, they were also a restlessly experimental, viscerally heavy, and frequently fascinating creative force.  Consequently, I am very sad to see them go, as The Skull Defekts is the band's farewell album (though a bit of the band's brutal alchemy continues to live on in The Orchestra of Constant Distress).  As far as swan songs go, however, I am pleased to say that The Skull Defekts' final chapter is an especially strong one, inventively balancing noisy experimentation, art-damaged rock, and visceral brute force.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 March 2018 15:14

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