Looking back on 2016: my top 80, and the rest of the (unsorted) 2016 loves…

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Alright, no use trying to get around it: 2016 was a disaster. Unrelenting tragedy both personal and national for so many of us around the world characterized it. Here in America we got a generous helping. Everything seems to be up in the air at this point. Not so good…but what else is new?

Tough times are ahead; as with the close of any other year, we have to move on and pick up the pieces. Everything will be okay, I think. At least we still have art, music, friends, family (in whatever form they take)…

As always, what I listened to in 2016 was determined largely by who reached out to this site and by what arbitrarily caught my interest (i.e. I checked out the new Seahawks because I have been a fan for a while now, the new Marc Richter as Jemh Circs because I was so affected by Alphabet 1968 and Earth…). I am perpetually feeling as though I am missing out on stuff I may really take a shine to simply because it might be outside of that bubble.

There is still a lot from 2016 I have to catch up on or revisit: I never really made time for Solange’s three-hour A Seat at the Table, which seemed to organically generate the most praise out of everything from 2016. Casino Versus Japan’s Frozen Geometry, too, seems too daunting to take on at the moment. Though I was saddened, like millions of others, by Bowie’s passing, I didn’t take too much to Blackstar, but I  did moreso to John Cale’s M:Fans and Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker. Nevertheless, I try to keep things eclectic as best I can, though year after year I always find myself most caught up with ambient and drone out of it all.

My top 80 list is ordered logically for only about the first fifty releases… after that, I’m not completely sure that there is any meaningful correlation between number and list item. These are just some albums I connected very strongly with. I’ll probably want to revisit them at some point in the near future and it is my hope that you’ll check them out if you have not already. Who knows why Kib Elektra‘s lovely, early-Eno-esque EP for Bezirk Tapes Blemishes did not garner more attention. Similarly, I’m not sure why I have not seen either of Aria Rostami and Daniel Blomquist’s fantastic collaborations made much mention of this year. I liked both of 36‘s releases for this year so much that I would say I consider them both favorites, but I think people overlooked the EP, Seconds and Forever. So, here they all are.

All the albums in the top 80 are hyperlinked for your convenience, since it perplexes me when someone goes to the effort to compile a list and then makes it almost like a chore for the reader to get an idea of what the different items are actually like. The honorable mentions are not ordered in any way other than alphabetically, by the first letter in the artist’s moniker or name.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me this year and to everyone who stopped by to read my thoughts. While I have been plugging away at the site, learning more every day from new discoveries, I managed to get on with Decoder magazine, and to organize two shows of local musicians/sound artists at Turn! Turn! Turn! that I think turned out well. Looking for a place to host more shows in 2017, the first being with my friends Noisegasm— hoping that pans out. That I am able to do this is a privilege for which I am grateful. Happy New Year to you, reader.

  1. 36- Seconds and Forever [Mystic & Quantum]
  2. Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist- Wandering Eye [Glacial Movements]
  3. Donnacha Costello– Mono No Aware [Self-Released]
  4. Cass Mccombs– Mangy Love [Anti-]
  5. Loscil– Monument Builders [Kranky]
  6. Chihei Hatakeyama- Grace [White Paddy Mountain]
  7. Marco Marzuoli- Appunti [ÉTER]
  8. Paul Jebanasam- Continuum [Subtext]
  9. Black Spring & Miles Cooper Seaton- West of Will & Cvrst Patience / Adige (for Luigi Lineri)
    [Monocreo]
  10. Kate Carr- It Was a Time of Laboured Metaphors [Helen Scarsdale Agency]
  11. Brian Eno- The Ship [Warp Records]
  12. Various Artists– Absence [Flaming Pines]
  13. Forest Management- Acclimation [Amethyst Sunset]
  14. Hakobune- Apsidal Motion [White Paddy Mountain]
  15. Ant’lrd- Sleep Drive [Whited Sepulchre Records]
  16. Kyle Landstra- Variables of Resolve [Twin Springs Tapes]
  17. Roarke Menzies- Corporeal [Self-Released]
  18. Kib Elektra- Blemishes [Bezirk Tapes]
  19. Thet Liturgiske Owäsendet- Catalina [Lobster Sleep Sequence]
  20. Steve Hauschildt- Strands [Kranky]
  21. wndfrm- A Land of Falling Waters [Dragon’s Eye Recordings]
  22. Siavash Amini & Matt Finney- Familial Rot [Umor Rex]
  23. Haruo Okada & Fabio Perletta- Genkai [LINE]
  24. Koen Holtkamp- Voice Model [Umor Rex]
  25. Mike Weis- Sound Practice [Monsastral]
  26. 7FO- Water Falls into a Blank [Rvng Intl.]
  27. Seahawks- Escape Hatch [Ocean Moon]
  28. Ifsh- Be Locus//Be Limpid [Big Ear Tapes]
  29. The Caretaker- Everywhere at the End of Time [History Always Favours the Winners]
  30. Bio Services- Probiotics [Self-released]
  31. Deison- Any Time Now [Many Feet Under Concrete]
  32. Sam Shalabi- Isis and Osiris [Nashazphone]
  33. Rezo Glonti- Budapest [Dronarivm]
  34. Biosphere- Departed Glories [Smalltown Supersound]
  35. Thomas Köner– Tiento de La Luz [Denovali Records]
  36. Giulio Aldinucci- Goccia [Home Normal]
  37. Tomonari Nozaki- Decadence [Forwind]
  38. Sarah Davachi- Dominions [Jaz Records]
  39. Acre- Beyond Cease to Exist [Monorail Trespassing]
  40. Pulse Emitter- Through the Portal [Phinery]
  41. Eric Schmid- a channel: dedicated to Michael [Recital Program]
  42. Lorenzo Balloni- 創生の最果て (Sōsei no saihate) (The farthest ends of creation) [murmur records]
  43. Damian Valles- Strand [VoxxoV Records]
  44. Solemn Embrace- Arc [Cromlech Records]
  45. Vanessa Rossetto- The Way You Make Me Feel [Unfathomless]
  46. Masayoshi Fujita & Jan Jelinek– Schaum [Faitiche]
  47. Dreamboat- Dreamboat [MIE Music]
  48. Altars Altars- Small Hours [Home Normal]
  49. The OO-Ray- Vespers [Lifelike Family]
  50. Cheap Galapagos & Hybrid Palms- Internet Holidays™ [ArteTeTra]
  51. Kane Ikin– Modern Pressure [Type]
  52. Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith & Suzanne Ciani– Sunergy [Rvng Intl.]
  53. Andrew Chalk- 彼岸 / 悲しき配分 ‎(Higan / Kanashiki Haibun) (The opposite shore/ Sorrowful allotment) [Self-released]
  54. Pjusk- Syklus [Self-released]
  55. Channelers- Essex [Inner Islands]
  56. Porya Hatami- Phonē to Logos [Audiobulb]
  57. 36- The Infinity Room [A Strangely Isolated Place]
  58. Ennio Mazzon- Pavement Narrows [Discreetrecords]
  59.  øjeRum- Væv [Eilean Records]
  60. Benjamin Finger- 9,5 [Sellout! Music]
  61. Saåad- Verdaillon [In Paradisium]
  62. Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement- Green Graves [Hospital Productions]
  63. adzuki- Radio Sea [Shimmering Moods]
  64. Council Estate Electronics- Arktika [Glacial Movements]
  65. Daniel Lanois- Goodbye to Language [Anti-]
  66. pinkcourtesyphone- Taking into Account Only a Portion of Your Emotions [Editions Mego]
  67. Jemh Circs- Jemh Circs [Cellule 75]
  68. ABSV- In Line, In Chains [Self-released]
  69. Ethernet- Prophania [Truth or Consequences]
  70. Hep!Collective- How to Draw a Bunny [Phinery]
  71. Don Gero- Weirding [Ewe of Now]
  72. Tarnovski- Tapping, Crinkling & Scratching [Jipangu]
  73. Andrew Tomasello- Sundialing Transmissions [Self-released]
  74. Dolphin Midwives- Orchid Milk [Self-released]
  75. Celer- Tetra [Self-released]
  76. Sean McCann- Music for Public Ensemble [Recital Program]
  77. Peter Kris- Labrador [Never Anything Records]
  78. Braeyden Jae- Fog Mirror [Whited Sepulchre Records]
  79. The Lavender Flu- Heavy Air [Meds]
  80. Alex Cameron- Jumping the Shark [Secretly Canadian]

Honorable mentions…

Ados 33- Seven Sounds in Grey, aἰών- Correspondances, Ak’Chamel- Transmissions from Boshqa, Andrea Valle- Cortège d’Alsaxy, Andrew Henry- The Sky Never Ends, Andrew Pekler- Tristes Tropiques,  Antenna- Primavera, anthéne – permanence, Aria Rostami- Return, Aria Rostami & Daniel Blomquist- Signal Artifact, Arsari- Scavare, Autistici & Justin Varis- Nine, Basho- Japan, Beak>- Couple in a Hole, Benjamin Finger- 10, Black Spring- Golden Ghost/No End, Body Shame- You Look So Under Fed, Bracken- High Passes, Cello + Laptop- Transient Accidents, Channelers- Space Makes Clearing, Chihei Hatakyama- Above the Desert, Chris Abrahams- Fluid to the Influence, Chris Dooks- Accretion Disk, Chris Strickland- Excruciating Circumstances in the Kingdom of Ends, Christian Fennesz & Jim O’Rourke – It’s Hard For Me To Say I’m Sorry, Christine Ott- Tabu, Cloud City Cars- Magic Guard, Consumer. & The Translucent Spiders- Con / Tra, Corvino/Incorvaia- Perugia, David Vélez- Apathy Spreads, Dimitar Dodovski-DériveDino Spiluttini- Christmas Drone for the Sad and Lonesome, Emiliano Romanelli- Tabulatura Volume 1, Eluvium- False Readings On, Ethernet- Outside of Time, Federico Durand- A través el espejo, Gaetano Cappella- Maiella, Galaxy Research- Cryptic Fortune, Gareth Davis & Merzbow- Atsusaku, Geneva Skeen- Dark Speech, Gidge- Lulin, H Takahashi- Body Trip, Heejin Jang- Binary Breath, Heron Oblivion- Heron Oblivion, How to Cure Our Soul- Luna, Huerco S.-  For Those Of You Who Have Never (And Also Those Who Have), IXTAB- Alea, Ian William Craig- Centres, Inner Travels- Clear Seeing, James Murray- Eyes to the Height, Jari Pitkänen- The Raven Trilogy, Jason Van Wyk- Attachment, Joel St. Julien- Every Rise, Johanna Warren- Gemini I, John Cale- M:Fans, Julianna Barwick- Will, KEDA- Hwal, Kirill Mazhai- Small Hours, Klara Lewis- Too, Kyle Landstra- Jeweled Moon Codex, Leonard Cohen- You Want It Darker, L’eoscombou Couti- Five Cambridge Utilities, Llay Llamas & Tetuan- Split, Lorenzo Masotto- Rule and Case, Lost Trail Orchestra- Lost Trail Orchestra, MO~DU- MOD02, Machinefabriek- Crumble, Martijn Comes- Radio Oblivion, Matmos- Ultimate Care II, Matt Christensen- Prowl, Matthew Barlow- Hatha, Matthew Sullivan- Skene, Melodium- Luminol, Michaela Antalová- Oblak Oblek Oblúk, Moss Covered Technology- Speicherbank, Motion Sickness of Time Travel- Affinity, My Cat is an Alien & Gelba- Tape Crash #15, Mytrip- Filament, Nathan McLaughlin & Jeremy Purser- Levain, Neglect- This is Not a Door, Nevada Greene & Scott Tuma- Ragged Glory, Nhung Nguyen- Nostalgia, Noisegasm- Bad Trips & Chromosome Damage, Not Waving- Animals, Offthesky- Silent Went the Sea, Oliwa- Patagon, Omrr- Music for the Anxious, Orphax- Music for Thái Ngc, Our Solar System- In Time, Parallelism- Angular Geometry, Patkus- These Are But Dreaming Men, Breathe, and They Fade, Peder Mannerfelt- Controlling Body, Phi Bui- Unnoticed Moments, Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue- Blu Deux, Rapoon- Song from the End of the World, RON- Invisible Though Not Implacable, Rootless- Distant Cities, Sceptre Fretpen- A/B, Schoolhouse- Fade, Scott Monteith- Qawwali Quatsch, Simon Scott- Floodlines, Solo Andata- In the Lens, Sophia Loizou- Kathexsis, Stag Hare- Velvet and Bone, Sustainer- Medicina, Talc- Bicameral Mind, Tasos Stamou- Koura, The Green Kingdom- Harbor, The Myrrors- Entranced Earth, Tomonari Novaki- Concession, Tomonari Nozaki- Credence, Ujjaya- The Landing Zone, Valanx- The Towering Pillars, Vanessa Amara- You’re Welcome Here, Viewfound- Memorate, Waclaw Zimpel- Lines, Wander- Kat Gat Sea, William Fowler Collins & James Jackson Toth- Under Stars and Smoke, Yann Novak- Ornamentation

Good luck to you all.

 

(Artist Spotlight/Interview) wndfrm

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The work of my friend Tim Westcott, aka Portland’s wndfrm, has over the years found a foothold in the international electronic music community for the wide range of its styles and atmospheres, from deep-listening exploration akin to lowercase (see C60/tmkutekt, for Home Normal, one of my fave labels) to an idiosyncratic take on dub techno ( Formal Variant is crucial). The latest wndfrm release, for Yann Novak’s excellent Dragon’s Eye Recordings (check the new Marco Marzuoli, Geneva Skeen, and of course Novak himself), A Land of Falling Waters is an acousmatic mental journey through Cascadia’s moss-draped rainforests and fog-enshrouded beaches down to the micro-level of undergrowth and tidepools. It is most definitely worth your time, an essential sound art album for the year. Additionally, Tim has a DVD collaboration with visual artist Mark Henrickson out; it is entitled 1412

Tim had time to chat over email to promote the album, recently. I got to pick his brain for his thoughts on the act of listening, so I was naturally pretty happy…

On the release page, A Land of Falling Waters is called “a stereo iteration of a quadrophonic live-performance presented throughout the summer of 2016.” So, maybe tell me a little bit about how this work developed over time?

Like most of my projects, it came from aggregating various textures and elements into a framework that I could use in a performative context… I had a few shows lined up in the late spring/summer of 2016, and half of them were of an ambient nature.

I can’t say that I started out with the “Cascadian” thematic element…that emerged due to the nature of the source material…  the quadrophonic aspect is simply a product of my desire to work with as much spatial depth as possible, in any given context.

In this work you capture a very organic sort of soundspace. Where were the field-recordings on the album taken? What sound source was maybe the most surprising or unusual?

To be honest, I don’t really want to give out much in the way of specifics… while I would probably say more in a personal context, I think with this type of work the act of perception is vital to the enjoyment of the piece… to influence the listener in a certain, concrete direction I think is possibly detracting from this experience. I truly enjoy reading reviews that credit this type of sound or another, especially when they are completely wrong! It’s so telling how much our past experiences influence how we perceive the world around us.

I will say there really are very few source elements; they are sourced from a couple of spots in the Pacific Northwest, and one urban locale in Montreal. The piano elements were recording during a tuning session for the last edition of the substrata festival in Seattle, in 2015. I just left my recorder in the room and walked out while the technician was working.

In fact, the piano recording proved to be the most surprising, for some reason I got some “surprise” tonal and harmonic elements from the reverb and notch filter chains I used.. very cool!

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What kind of narrative or feeling did you want to convey on A Land of Falling Waters? How is it different from your work from the past?

It’s not so different, perhaps it is a bit more “static” and open than some of my other recorded work. It’s difficult for me to capture these things sometimes, to “finish”, as it were… everything is a work in progress, everything is bits of lego strewn about the floor, waiting to cohere. I think in the performance context, the live aspect, it’s much easier for me to sculpt sound in this manner… to take a snapshot of that process, this I find more demanding…

Honestly I couldn’t pin down any specific narrative… it is what you hear, incorporating your own perceptive bias, and emotional lean… my intent is simply to engage the ear, and hopefully to reward the act of sonic immersion and deep listening… I attempt to encourage these practices through detail and pacing.

What kind of musical influence would you say is happening here, among the more abstract elements?

A few years back I made a conscious choice to engage the world around me without wearing headphones all the time… I don’t have a car, and ride the bus/walk frequently. I think eschewing the “personal soundtrack” aspect of wandering about urban landscapes with music in ear has really helped my own attention span, as it pertains to sound.

I’m not sure if that answers your question, but I think it’s quite relevant..

Who are your favorite contemporary sound artists? Who would you say has influenced you?

Favourites? That’s a tough one… truly too numerous to list… my influences include 80s era new age, late 80s and early 90s hiphop, techno from Detroit and abroad, the whole early Warp Records/IDM scene, the minimalist and avant garde composers I’ve been exposed to, the junglist massive, the lowercase/early 12k scene, Touch Records, Raster Noton, crate digging in the ambient bin, etc….etc….

I have been truly encouraged and influenced by my friends in the local Portland scene… there is such a pool of talent here, it’s almost sickening.

You can buy A Land of Falling Waters here. Enjoy.

(Quick Take) Rootless- Distant Cities

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By way of a bubbling mixture of ambient loops, fingerstyle guitar, and spoken word fragments, Rootless, the project of Brooklyn-based artist Jeremy Hurewitz, dips his toes into the waters of eternity. Distant Cities, off Wise, Virginia’s excellent Otherworldly Mystics and produced by Mountains’ Brendon Anderegg, is a great point at which catch up. Our guide for this cosmic tour muses off and on over the tenuousness of our mortality: “a troubled clay figure succumbing to the mossy encroachments of his alien surroundings / he forgets to dream of the dreamer / haunts the epicenter of its polarity/ this trick of unbecoming / no light whose color renders darkness”  Someone once observed that you can travel the world and never feel wonder for what lies just a few steps outside your home. Sounds like someone else came to know this well, himself. A sadly brief (just under the thirty minute mark) album I could not recommend highly enough for anyone in search of poetic and clear-seeing psychedelic sounds…give it a listen, pronto!

Conjoining Currents: Drone, Psychedelia, American fingerstyle

Label: Otherworldy Mystics

(Quick Take) Covarino/Incorvaia- Perugia

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Perugia, off Preserved Sound, the debut of the drum and guitar duo of Francesco Covarino and
Alessandro Incorvaia (with some help from guests on electric and double bass and lap steel Marcos Muniz and Alfonso Alcalá) was recorded live without overdubs or fades-outs– this is worth noting because it is syntonic to this impressive collection’s organic vibe. This is overcast post-rock that circumvents crescendos (not that I don’t love that kind of stuff) in favor of the jazzy, minimal spirit of Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die, The Necks’ Aquatic, and all that other good stuff, filtered through a dreamy haze. No conventional song titles to be seen here, just numbered recordings– further evidence of a humbleness underlying it all. These five emotive explorations reveal themselves in no big hurry– sometimes with a quiet joy, elsewhere with hands stuffed in the pockets on the walk home. There are many textural touches to savour: best of all might be Incorvaia’s psychedelic splatters of reverb on “#3”, the centerpiece track, and Muniz’s lap steel on “#5”. More like this, please!

Conjoining Currents: Post-rock, Ambient

Label: Preserved Sound

(Interview) Ben Glas and Samson Stilwell of SOUNDSPACE

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Soundspace is a new radio-based installation series for Freeform Portland focused on recontextualizing radio as a space for new modes of listening, hosted by sound artists Samson Stilwell (who played the second Foreign Accents show ever at Turn! Turn! Turn! in October, thank you Samson!) and Ben Glas. Each month a new sound artist installs an exploratory piece to the airwaves for you to mull over, get lost in, and whatever else works. The series, which meets every other Sunday from noon to 2pm, is live-streamed at Beacon Sound, but the general idea is that the broadcasting medium puts the concept of a sonic installation tied to a specific locality in a new, far more flexible cast.

The first installation for Soundspace was Roarke MenziesAnamnesis Study: The Little Bell, a loop-based ambient piece which I caught on November 6th from the comfort of home. Roarke’s broadcast, which manipulated an obscure recording of a Russian folk song to highly evocative effect, was a real pleasure to hear not least because of my admiration for his new album Corporeal. In December, Soundspace featured Eli Coplan‘s piece Substractive Synthesis, which I sadly missed. This show is not being archived at the moment. See, this is why you really need to tune in!

I recently got the chance to have a brief but illuminating chat with Samson and Ben about the project over email. Have a look-see:

How did the two of you meet? What was the impetus for SOUNDSPACE?

S: We met through a radio show I did called Nocturne. I had heard Ben’s work through a mutual friend (Roarke Menzies) and invited him to perform on the show. Nocturne aired from 4-6 in the morning and it was Ben’s birthday. It was very romantic.

B: The inspiration to start Soundspace came from a series of conversations that Samson and I had about the possibility of transmission art and ephemeral space. When Nocturne ended we felt a desire to continue radio-based experiments and further question modes of listening and experiencing. 

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What is SOUNDSPACE “about”? What kind of considerations do you both make in curating the series?

S: Soundspace is an attempt to turn the radio in on itself, to consider the radio as holding space, as well as a an opportunity to showcase sound artists we admire. We consider our by-monthly transmissions as radio installations. The tuning in and out of a radio frequency acts as a way to interact, to enter or exit the radio installation. Using this framework the Soundspaceartists have created work that really utilizes the radio as a site-specific mode of listening.

What kinds of possible proclivities/biases do you guys think you may show?

B: I definitely see a leaning towards open and aleatoric structures, as opposed to set-in-stone or seemingly serialist compositions. There is an urge to mimic the show’s experimental nature through the content.

I was not present at Beacon Sound for Anamnesis Study: The Little Bell, but I listened to the entirety of the piece and was really mesmerized by its evocation of memory. Tell me about how you guys got in contact with Roarke and about your interpretation of the installation. Was the first broadcast the first time you had heard the piece yourselves?

S: I heard Roarke’s work for the first time about a year ago when he came to play a show in Portland. I missed the show (which oddly enough Ben was also performing at) but listened to his record Corporeal and loved it. I invited him to do a guest mix for Nocturne. Then we became pals!

B: And yes; the first we heard the piece was when it was first presented on air. It was a pleasant and beautiful surprise! My interpretation of the composition, in conjunction with the writing, was definitely nostalgic; I felt a deep longing for a moment in time that can be described by no words I know. 

S: At one point in the piece the original recording, which gets warped and reworked by Roarke’s complex electronic processing, becomes almost morse code like; the pulsing signal is so precise with wordless meaning, reaching back for itself, reaching for the moment of the recording and yet knowing it will never fully be able to reach it. It’s sad but fitting that the piece was only audible twice when we aired it and now disappeared. That is unless Roarke uses it for something else.

Your latest broadcast was of an installation by Eli Coplan. If you were asked to make a succinct introduction to his work for someone unfamiliar, what would you say?

B: I would say that Eli’s installation for Soundspace was very much focused on networks and the grey area presented by radio broadcast technology. 

S: Eli opened Soundspace to the wider radio, feeding back different radio signals into the Freeform Bandwidth and filtering and manipulating them through an open source software called Pure Data which Eli wrote a patch for. Networks within networks.  

What is on the docket for this coming January?

B: Max Wolf (formerly Schneider) is on for New Years day (Really excited to see how Max goes about installing!) and 

S: Lutfi Othman, a sound artist living and working in London, is installing his piece The Sculptural Adhan which is truly beautiful and you gotta hear it!

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 What kinds of hopes and anxieties do you both have for 2017?

S: That art finds purpose and beauty. That the world isn’t ruined beyond repair. And for compassion.

B: My hopes for 2017 and the rest of 2016 are for some deep healing on a National, Global and introspective level. And for simple and loving growth for everyone. Anxieties: that the masses won’t be silent and listen to each other’s ideas or fears (or Soundspace). 

Tune in to 90.3 FM on Sunday January 1st for some work Max Wolf. I saw him perform with Ben for a series entitled Shortspace in October of 2015, as well as with my friends at Sanctuary Sunday and SIX, so this ought to get interesting. Happy listening.

Photo Credits (top to bottom):
Tessa Bolsover
Xander Marrow

(New Album Review) Philippe Lamy & MonoLogue- Blu Deux

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Blu Deux, off Phinery, a collaboration between painter and sound artist Philippe Lamy and sound artist MonoLogue (Marie Rose Sarri, aka Marie le Rose and Moon Ra) is torn and furrowed at its the edges, but there is something about the cumulative spaciousness of its collage-like, artifact-riddled assemblage that never jars you. But all the same, its timbral zig-zagging holds you in thrall– you would expect nothing less from a duo in which one-half (Marie) has a background in music therapy. Yet, with that in mind, you might be surprised who did what, here!

Lamy’s take on sound art is often based in field-recording and suffused with lo-fi rustles, clicks, and background chatter (take a moment when you can to check his 2012 EP entre deux, off taâlem). Sarri, on the other hand, goes the route of fragmented electronica and obscure highjinks on synths and unlikely objects. The two artists, tending towards the textural and aleatoric in their solo works not only ultimately found each other well-matched in their basic ideas, but meshed perfectly in their interplay. There is an oneiric comfort in all this seeming chaos.

The episodic feel of Lamy and MonoLogue’s soundscapes flows from an internal logic, just like the peculiar mish-mash-of-French-and-Italian of the pieces’ titles. Steady waves of hiss hang in the air like digital cicadas. A bed is laid for deep-listening ecosystems which range from near silence to the whipping clouds of noise on “Prime parole, dernière pensée” that bring to mind Bernard Parmegianni’s L’Enfer. Muffled eruptions rush underneath limpid crackles and alarms. Yet on tracks like “Les Yeux des Mezzanotte” and the opener, “Les merveilleuses aventures de il suono misterioso (Hours D’oeuvre)”, it is clearer to see how the glitches often find a fire and propel a broken rhythm for a time. They never limit themselves much, and perhaps that comes from MonoLogue’s daring sensibility. But the both of them have enough commonalities that their roles intersect with each other. It is a mostly-soft-focus, nocturnal noise that they have conspired to craft, the sort that invites you to peer deeper. Many have made the point of how noise music can actually be an effective aid for meditation and sleep. Look no further than here for that! A master-class in acousmatic hypnosis from two unsung sculptors.

(Quick Take) Dino Spiluttini- Christmas Drone for the Sad and Lonesome

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On his Christmas Drone for the Sad and Lonesome tape, off Finland’s TVEI, Vienna-based sound artist and musician Dino Spiluttini holds vigil for those left behind in darkened times. With headphones in and blankets piled deep, the endlessly planing tundra of sound puts you in the mood for contemplation. Spiluttini has been hard at work crafting epic drones for the likes of Phinery and Umor Rex year after year and is a veteran of numerous bands from the Vienna scene: the lost howl of this endlessly sustained, subtly-drifting wall of drone is the most captivating of his recent offerings. Across the two sides of the C54, we sway from a loneliness more immense than life itself to enveloping calm, in that order. A cinematic drone soundscape is just the thing for winter’s pall…

Conjoining Currents: Drone, Ambient, Here, for now by Celer & Nicholas Szczepanik

Label: TVEI