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Datashock, "Kräuter der Provinz"

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cover imageI have made a few sincere attempts to appreciate this shifting German collective over the years, but Datashock have proven to be a very hard act to wrap my head around.  At times, they have seemed like an indulgent, improv-heavy pastiche of various seminal krautrock artists, yet they also have moments where it feels like they are actually the rightful heirs to the throne vacated by folks like Amon Düül II and Can.  In fact, I suspect the latter would especially appreciate the perverse post-modern genius of Datashock being an ethnographic forgery of their own cultural heritage.  I know I certainly do.  In any case, this is the first Datashock release that has truly clicked for me.  It is still uneven and exasperating at times, but such missteps are a rare exception and the second half of the album catches fire beautifully.  While Datashock remain deeply and unapologetically in the thrall of the past, the best moments on Kräuter are inventive and inspired enough to transcend and surpass most of the bands they are hell-bent on channeling.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2018 08:22

Good Luck In Death, "They Promised Us a Bright Future, We Were Content With an Obscure Past"

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cover imageThis new project is the debut release on the new Nahal imprint, bringing together Mondkopf's Paul Régimbeau and Lebanese artist Charbel Haber.  In a rough sense, Good Luck in Death shares Mondkopf's heavy drone aesthetic, but Haber's presence shifts that vision into more diffuse, fragmented, and hallucinatory territory.  The result is frequently quite haunting and sublime, as the duo craft an immersive world of darkly beautiful and blackened ambient drone mingled with flickering glimpses of a buried organ mass.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2018 08:33

Richard Chartier, "Central (for M. Vainio)"

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cover image Released to commemorate one year since legendary artist Mika Vainio’s passing, long time fan and collaborator Richard Chartier has created a fitting tribute to the artist, his legacy, and also his undeniable influence on Chartier’s own work.  The final product is less of an overt tribute, at least in sound, and functions more as a knowing homage that synergizes the core elements of Vainio's lengthy body of art via Chartier's undeniably nuanced and complex aesthetic.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2018 09:00

Hellvete, "Droomharmonium"

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cover imageThis sprawling double CD of extended harmonium performances was my first real exposure to the solo work of Sylvester Anfang II's Glen Steenkiste and it is quite a curious introduction.  The closest kindred spirits are probably La Monte Young's "The Second Dream of the High Tension Line" or Stars of the Lid at their most pastoral, as Steenkiste devotes his energies to crafting deep, meditative drones that strain towards lightness and transcendence.  Hellvete's work is not nearly as harmonically adventurous as the just intonation/Pandit Pran Nath-inspired milieu, but Steenkiste compensates somewhat with an unusual feel for time and a willingness to blur together music, ritual, and chance intrusions from the natural world.  The less inspired passages tend to feel like sustained and halcyon suspended animation to me, yet Droomharmonium occasionally transforms into an entrancing bit of magic and wonder when Steenkiste is joined by some curious birds or the harmonium disappears to make way for some eerily twinkling bells.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 June 2018 08:39

Bob Bellerue, "All In"

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cover image Although has a lengthy career, Brooklyn's Bob Bellerue has sat comfortably in the fringes of a fragmented noise and experimental scene.  His newest release, All In, is a nicely limited tape edition that captures two distinctly different performances, one from 2011 and the other from 2014, which features him emphasizing some notably different styles from his body of work, although the final product makes for an entirely cohesive release that feels as much as a conceptual album as it would a set of two live performances three years apart.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 June 2018 09:01

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