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Archive for February, 2010

SONE INSTITUTE – Curious Memories (CD, Front And Follow)

Posted: February 28th, 2010, by JGRAM

The Sone Institute are one of those acts that produce a wide series of sounds that exhibit a huge scope of imagination and lengthy influences that provide a distinct setting for the task ahead.  Listened to with a clear head, yours will be a mind soon muddled and disfigured by the sounds and images imposed onto your soul.

In the past Sone Institute have displayed a talent for spilling beats over the most cautious of tones in a style similar to Broadcast while mixed with an easy listening intellect and kitsch awareness (appreciation) akin to that of Jonny Trunk.  Within such a gesture there is true fluctuation of two grand and downbeat worlds convulsing and marking something wholly fresh into the ground.  With Curious Memories they have expanded further on this premise extending their arsenal and truly succeeding with every avenue they visit.

The album begins with a thunder bolt followed by crazed and disorientating fairground attraction atmospherics on the wonderfully named “Inter Asylum Cross Country”. The track sounds like something RZA may have cooked up and used on one of his scores.  Truly a song to come with stitches.

With “The Wind Began To Switch” the record reaches a frenzied pace as handclapping hysteria coupled with grandiose strings that sound straight out of an American television cop show from the seventies bursts onto the scene.  The crazy beat sounds excessively like Lalo Schifrin’s work on Dirty Harry only now bettered to a blistering pace.

Eventually it all mellows out quite significantly, changing identity like a chameleon on a mirror, touching zones that you might expect as output from acts on labels such as Ninja Tune and Kitty-Yo.  A true blissed out harvest of an experience occurs as ambience overrules the exotic early impetus of proceedings in assaulting fashion.  It has to be said the swinging of systems in such schizophrenic style does make for a difficult listen.

For some reason I come away from listening to this record with the theme music from The Professionals running around in my head.

This is music for the movies.

Thesaurus moment: flick.

Sone Institute

Front And Follow

Harsh Noise For Your Wall

Posted: February 25th, 2010, by Justin Snow

Harsh Noise 4Harsh Noise 3

Danny Milanese, who makes fucked up tunes under the Ultra Bonbon moniker, also apparently makes visual art. Paintings to be precise. And he’s got a new series that he’s working on called Harsh Noise For Your Wall, which, if you don’t know, is a terrible/hilarious pun referencing the idea/philosophy/genre Harsh Noise Wall.

He’s only got a couple HNFYW paintings for sale at the moment (pictured above) but more should be following soon. Judging by these little 200×300 images, they certainly seem to evoke that HNW aesthetic, and I’m sure they do an even better job when seeing them in person. They’re 8×10 acrylic & oil on board originals for 20 bucks a pop (shipped sans frame). That’s one sweet fuckin deal to own original pieces of art influenced by HNW for so cheap. No use resisting, cave in to your desires.

BEACH HOUSE – Norway (7″, Bella Union)

Posted: February 24th, 2010, by JGRAM

I used to have an online buddy hailing from Norway.  In fact I feel when she disappeared from the cyber world I actually lost a potential love for in Line Larsen I truly feel I met (in an online capacity) a potential soul mate.  Our interests were similar and we exchanged similar worldviews and a sense of fondness prevailed that could have remained/lasted strong for a long time.  When she disappeared off the face of the internet I truly feel fearful that something bad occurred to her in real life.  I really wish she would get back in touch I miss her so.

At this point the single has almost concluded as I acknowledge that the first time I am playing this seven inch I am paying absolutely no attention whatsoever to it.  My bad.

Beach House appear to have come out of nowhere, they are being lauded by all quarters as a sudden stream dreamy (sometimes drippy) bands begins to overwhelm indie pop.  If it were a bit louder you might compare it to the shoegazers.

It all feels rather minimal.  Half the time the vocalist (I’m loathe to say singer) appears to be making up words, exchanging lyrics for noises they appear to be making up on the spot.

There appears to be a prevailing leaning towards an eighties slickness and sensibility to sound at the moment.  I am truly struggling to decide whether this is a good thing or not.  Here with “Norway” I am being presented with a layered set of sounds padding out a strange set of sentiments being exhibited by the frontman that be.  With creeping, underlying sonics I would not be surprised if new My Bloody Valentine material were to sound like this (or at least the demos might).

Perversely this ultimately sounds to me like the singer from the Wannadies fronting the accompaniment of Ryuichi Sakamoto in “Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence” mode with a dabble of MBV effects stirring underneath.  Random.

The b-side sounds a bit like Scrawl.

They’re from Baltimore but not like in The Wire (the TV show not the magazine).

I think I missed the point.

Thesaurus moment: hut.

Beach House

Bella Union

Dan Friel – Obsoleter (LP, Spooky Tree)

Posted: February 11th, 2010, by Justin Snow

I have a total hard on for anything Parts & Labor related. Any album, split, or solo project they do, I will be all over it and Dan Friel is no exception. He handles the electronics and vocals for P&L but when he goes solo, he forgoes all vocals and just goes crazy with his damaged electro blasters.

Obsoleter was originally released on cassette back in 2006 through Night People but sold out (with good reason). Friel and Spooky Tree were kind enough to put it out on vinyl for all of us who missed out on the awesomeness a few years ago.

This is similar in sound to his last release of new material, Ghost Town, which shouldn’t come as a surprise because Friel is doing shit that is unlike anything else out there right now. It’s harsh and melodic, massive and hollow, gritty and lush, and creates hypnotically blissful ear candy that spans the grand desert jungle. This is electronic music for those weary of the clubs or the ambient drone and are looking for something to blast when you’re rolling down a grassy hill getting covered in dirt.

Funny thing about me and Obsoleter… I was playing this at your traditional 33rpm forever until one day I noticed the innocuous footnote on the bottom of the back sleeve reading “45RPM.” HA! So I got pretty used to this running much slower than it should. But even though I’m totally used to the proper speed now, I still think I prefer a couple of the songs slowed down. I feel like a complete ass. Has that ever happened to you?

Dan Friel
Spooky Tree

GRAFFITI ISLAND – Pet Snake/Demonic Cat (7″, Fin Du Monde Records)

Posted: February 8th, 2010, by JGRAM

This is a terrifying seven inch that really has to be seen and touched to be believed.  Housed on one-sided vinyl the reverse of the release is snakeskin seven inch.  Lush.  Quite frankly it makes me feel queasy to touch, sick to experience and ill to move onto my turntable.  It is also a disco plate with one of those large jukebox holes.  In this day and age such aching decadence is purely criminal, this is most definitely the best way to go out.

With this record Graffiti Island do it again, this is all painfully great stuff creaking like coolest hula party never assembled in a manner that should cause Calvin Johnson to reconsider his output of recent times and take pride in the fact that he has influenced so many that are now doing things so much more better.

There is a Petsmart theme to this record, a tone of affection that comes with the wrong love of having angry pets.  Well, perhaps not but that is my interpretation.  Sue me.

At the fear of sounding too gushing the package just turns me on with its warped Snoop Dogg crossed with Garfield gone wrong cover artwork.  This is graffiti of the highest order, a demonstration of smut and angular thinking.

Returning to the music the pulse is strong with this one.  The rudimentary guitars are survived by vocals ascribing major intent as an echo blossoms to scintillating and terrifying degrees.  “Demonic Cat” in particular describes a high degree of mischief with its “666 lives”.  The lurching motions of the song perfectly describe the movements of somebody up to no good.  These songs would be perfect for the Batman TV series soundtrack.  If only Adam West hadn’t already made it.


Thesaurus moment: chum.

Graffiti Island

Fin Du Monde Records

Machinefabriek – De Jonge Jaren (2001-2004) (digital, 2010)

Posted: February 4th, 2010, by Justin Snow

Machinefabriek gave the world a present (today?). You can now download and listen to the earliest recordings of Machinefabriek before “Machinefabriek.” Songs compiled from 20 CD-Rs he self released way before his debut full length Marijn came out on Lampse. Songs that sound almost nothing like the Machinefabriek we know and love today.

De Jonge Jaren sounds like Machinefabriek making a Notwist/Aphex Twin record. Yeah, tons of electronic beats, pretty poppy, kinda catchy, and really fuckin good. Hearing the roots and foundation of the guy who went on to record Marijn is endlessly fascinating to me and I bet I’m not the only one, which is probably why he released this.

There’s a text file included in the download that tells the story of how Machinefabriek came to be and where these songs came from. It’s a pretty great read, especially the part about his metal phase where he “became a master in drawing unreadable band logos.” Imagining this guy being really into Cannibal Corpse is fucking hilarious for some reason.

Download De Jonge Jaren (2001-2004)