I never thought I’d review a Signora Ward release here, namely due to a prejudice I’ve developed against modern noise, as too many releases sound like some idiot kid flipping on the vacuum and then recording it, and THEN having the nerve to expect someone to pay for that garbage. Thankfully, I was wrong about this particular label. Perdonami, Signora!
This compilation is a teachable moment for me. Never, ever judge a record label by one or two releases, as every one of them have the capacity to surprise you with something utterly brilliant.
Thanks to groups like the Orchestra of Mirrored Reflections (friends of the blog whose works have been reviewed here in the past) and the Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble, I’ve begun to fall in love with the deep, creepy, noir-ish sounds they emanate. Signora Ward have done a service in collection some of the leading lights of the darkjazz genre together to make one of the most enjoyable collections I’ve heard in a while.
I’ll do well to pay more attention to this label in the future!
I’m tempted to say that this release came from out of nowhere, but that simply wouldn’t be true. Once again, my good friend Raffaelle from Eighth Tower Records releases a bombshell of a release for those of you who are into drone, especially of the kind made by luminaries like Thomas Köner or the Cold Meat Industry roster.
Jeton is a Macedonian sound artist from Struga, Macedonia, who goes deep in for bleak, rumbling sounds which give you a good shaking, especially if you decide to download the FLAC file and hear it on great headphones.
There are times when bleak post-Industrial music can be absolutely rhythmic and beautiful. A case in point is the release by Artoffact Records’ of a performance by Iceland’s finest dark-electronics project Reptilicus. This was a performance done in Toronto, Canada, organized by Praveer Baijal, founder of the seminal Toronto label Yatra-Arts, on the happy occasion of new output in the form of a 7-inch release after a (far too) long period of inactivity. For the performance, they were joined by Germany’s Senking, Denmark’s Rúnar Magnússon, and Candian duo Orphx.
The group recorded a session at Grant Avenue Studio in Hamilton, Ontario, built my Grammy Award-winning producer and musician Daniel and Bob Lanois and after Baijal introduced Reptilicus to William Blakeney, who at the time was producing a modular-synthesizer documentary called I Dream of Wires.
This collaboration bore fruit in the recording you hear here. A lot of the material is reminiscent of early Industrial experiments (think more about early Cabaret Voltaire than Throbbing Gristle or NON), yet with a far crisper, dynamic sound. Reptilicus has since become augmented with Rúnar serving as third member, and it is our hope that this unit continue to record.
Justin Broadrick should be a name very familiar to you if you were ever a fan of Napalm Death, Jesu, or my two personal favorites from his oeuvre, Godflesh and Techno-Animal. Bandcamp Daily references his newest material (which has sat around, in some cases, for nearly two decades), JK Flesh.
Zdzisław Beksiński was a Polish multimedia artist whose utopian realist works stood in stark contrast to his rather jovial personal demeanor. He may have been an artists whose work could scare the hell out of you, but he was also quite a decent man who had a fondness for classical music, as well as some rock (his son, Tomasz, was a noted DJ who committed suicide in 1999).
Once again, the brilliant folks at Eighth Tower Records, a subgroup of Unexplained Sounds, have released a compilation whose subject inspired some of the most brutally dark ambient music artists active to come up with some bleak aural monstrosities.
Unexplained Sounds empresario Raffaele Pezzella is on a quest to make sure the best in experimental and electroacoustic music gets published. It seems like, week after week, he is releasing a compilation of stunning quality from a specified region, a broad retrospective, or his own delightfully noisy work as Sonologyst.
These tracks might melt your headphones a bit, but the sounds are, in their own way, blissful. Familiar names such as Sonologyst, Stefan Schmidt, Fahmi Mursyid and Thomas Grenzebach appear alongside a slew of new artists whose career trajectory will be interesting to follow.
Another masterpiece of a comp.
Autumns are quite short in Beijing, from what I understand. Winter is coming up here rather quickly, and this particular piece by the Durutti Column is making for a perfect soundtrack as I observe the grey skies from my apartment overlooking the Haidian area.
When he’s not working on his own music as Sonologyst, Raffaele Pezzella of Unexplained Sounds captures a lot of attention by releasing travelogue compilations covering the best of experimental and dark ambient music from various countries and regions. This one may well be his crowning effort.
All of these, with the exception of Sharif Sehnaoui, are unfamiliar names, but the sounds, which range from slow, churning, rhythmic drone to post-Industrial noise, the compilation introduces what I’m hoping is an energetic crop of new music composers whose influence will spread quickly both inside and outside the Levant.
Could a Syrian or Iraqi electroacoustic scene be next? I surely hope so!
Hviledag is the moniker of Anton Friisgaard, who has an EP due for release on September 22.
Listening to it, it seems Anton has captured the spirit of the best of 1970s Kosmich Musik out of Germany (think Cluster/Kluster and the solo releases by Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Dieter Moebius [RIP], Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze during their peak in the mid-1970s, and even pre-robot Kraftwerk).
Don’t think, however, that this is some boring copy of the masters. Anton brings fresh ideas to the genre. The recording quality, however, is so familiar and comfortable to me that if this release were to come out on vinyl, I would be thrilled to listen to it and place it along with the greats mentioned earlier.
Ataşehir is the side project of Sumatran Black, an expatriate residing in the Anatolian side of Turkey. The music roaring out of my speakers sounds, in part, like a black-ambient version of a 1950s B-Movie sci-fi soundtrack (trust me, this is a high compliment, considering my brother and I grew up as fans of the film genre and the music it produced) and a touch like the end of the movie Solaris, where film composer Eduard Artemiev goes into a drone which grows louder and louder until it crescendoes.
There is an amusing irony that the song titles, as Ataşehir mentions on his site, “are taken from aspirational advertising slogans of various residential developments from around the world.”
There is a bleak, black beauty to this album. It ends with a progressive-rock length final track clocking in at 48 minutes. Colorful Places to Live and Play Bandcamp Exclusive Compilation Version. . As it turns out, it is the least brutally dark track on the album, making for a pleasantly drony listening experience.