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Jon Mueller, "dHrAaNwDn"

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cover imageIf there has been a running theme throughout Jon Mueller’s career, it would be his exploration of the intersection between sound and spirituality.  He has tackled both largely in abstract interpretations:  he is a multi-instrumentalist, and has delved into themes and imagery from a multitude of religions and spiritual practices throughout his career as an artist.  dHrAaNwDn (Hand Drawn) is perhaps among the most fully realized examples of his passions, however.  A stunning double record set, the audio is culled from six hours of improvised percussion performances recorded live in the Shaker Meeting House of Albany, New York, exemplifying not only Mueller’s adeptness at performing, but his ear for recording and capturing environments as well.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:23

Sutcliffe Jugend, "S L A V E S"

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cover imageKevin Tomkins and Paul Taylor’s legendary Sutcliffe Jugend project has alternated between periods of being extremely prolific, followed by utter silence ever since its inception.  Their first albums as SJ appeared in 1982, one of which was the legendary 10 tape We Spit On Their Graves, then no new material for 14 years.  The pattern has repeated ever since, though admittedly not to the same extremity.  S L A V E S, a six CD release, capped off a busy 2016, preceded by three other full length albums.  Sprawling is an appropriate term, but it is very well developed, varied, and also makes clear that Tomkins and Taylor have no intent of staying in that narrow box most associate with the project.

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:22

Kassel Jaeger & Jim O'Rourke, "Wakes on Cerulean"

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cover imageI was not sure quite what to expect with this collaboration, as Jim O'Rourke is quite an adept shape-shifter and Kassel Jaeger (Francoise Bonnet) is a bit of an unknown quantity as well.  Also, many seemingly enticing pairings tend to feel like the polished and edited distillation of a single improv session.   Wakes on Cerulean does not entirely elude that free-form and off-the-cuff territory, but it is a consistently rich and vibrant release nonetheless.  More importantly, it sometimes shares a lot of stylistic common ground with O'Rourke’s classic I'm Happy And I'm Singing album, albeit one frequently embellished by an inventive host of field recordings.  Cerulean probably errs a bit too much into genial burbling and restlessly shifting through motifs to quite attain canonical greatness itself, but it boasts enough striking passages to compensate for the lesser moments.   With a bit more work, Cerulean probably could have surpassed I'm Happy and I'm Singing.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 March 2017 15:40

Keiji Haino/Jozef Dumoulin/Teun Verbruggen, "The Miracles Of Only One Thing"

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cover imageOn paper, this is quite an improbable and unexpected collaboration: an iconic and mercurial Japanese noise-guitar god teams up with a pair of serious Belgian jazz musicians.  For one, Keiji Haino generally tends to work with artists that are nearly as outré as himself (My Cat is an Alien, Merzbow, Peter Brötzmann, etc.).  Also, playing with an elemental force as unpredictable and unhinged as Haino seems like it would be roughly as harrowing as riding a bucking bronco for anyone new to his orbit.  To their credit, however, both Verbruggen and Demoulin prove to be inspiring foils and manage to ably follow Haino's muse to whichever strange places it wanders.  Needless to say, this is very much Haino's show, veering wildly between free-form chaos, roiling electronic maelstroms, feral howling, and a few passages of sublime accessibility.  Given that, Miracles is a bit of an overwhelming mixed bag as a whole, but one with some genuine flashes of brilliance inside.

Last Updated on Sunday, 12 March 2017 15:28

Steel Hook Prostheses, "Calm Morbidity"

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cover imageTexas duo Steel Hook Prostheses are a decade and a half into their career of blackened electronics and malicious noise, and with each new release they continue to find new spins on their intentionally desolate and unpleasant sound.  Calm Morbidity is a consistent, yet diverse record that does different things and goes in varying directions, but never loses focus, and also never lightens the mood.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 February 2017 23:25

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