Cavatica Sessions (named after a beer that was named after a spider’s scientific name) arose from a collaboration between Tim Gray (Ethernet) and Elias Foley (Temple Maps). What happens when you combine the 32-bit hauntology of Temple Maps with the spacious, meditative techno vibes of Ethernet? To answer that question you’ve got to look at their shared affinity for dub techno– Orbweaver is a take on deep techno sounds as unconventional as Foley and Gray’s respective styles. Foley put out the limited cassette release of Orbweaver on his label Tamarack Music, which earlier this year put out On Solar Winds, his fine new album as Temple Maps, right after High Light, a collaboration between Gray and Tim Worley (Jatun).
These are layered, eclectic mixes in which splattery, booming beats compete for space with rambunctious, mantric refrains– a bustling alien landscape with synth ligaments jutting out from every direction. The sound design is intriguingly atypical for dub techno– the textures are tinny and angular, yet they resound heavily. When the guys bust out the swirling synth stabs on a track like “Heavy-Bodied”, what you’re ultimately struck by is the claustrophobia of the overall mix, which is shot through with clattering echo-heavy polyrhthms– these mixes are more dubby than ambient, with the interplay of percussive, metallic surfaces sending the listener into deep trance territory.
This one is certainly among the year’s essential listening for fans of experimental electronica at its most abstract– check it out right now!
The Big Ear Tapes family continue to outdo themselves in putting out weird beauty from the experimental deep end of progressive pc music with MSC DTH by the Balakovo-based producer Paul Hares.
MSC DTH is a mystic, free-flowing collage of samples and hip-hop beats warped in a musty echo chamber– releases like this really highlight the limitations of the arbitrary label “vaporwave”. The weirdly writhing lo-fi textures here will indeed be familiar to fans of Daniel Lopatin’s Eccojams, Vol. 1 and everything in its wake, but Hares has obviously gone much further into abstract zones. The raw but effulgent textures of MSC DTH flow from tape-manipulation-eruptions to meditative drones with a beguiling dream-logic. You won’t want to miss this one– it just might be destined for classic status down the road.
Nostos, the upcoming release from the Assisi-based label Acustronica by American double bassist Daniel Barbiero and Italian sound artist/electric bassist Cristiano Bocci, lives up to its name by charting a return to the skeletal essentials of the experimental music tradition; this fiercely beautiful album is just eight solo performances bowing and plucking double bass, later disemboweled and distorted by electronics. All that is needed is a single player and some careful sonic manipulation to give birth to a jagged electro-acoustic storm aurally reminiscent of one of Michael von Biel’s string quartets.
There are so many interesting tones that one can only create with acoustic instruments– the distinct growl of the double bass is weighty enough by itself, and when processed to reverberate and cave-into its own shadow, it becomes more ferocious than an electric guitar. Even more essential to the electronic component of the album is the way that the awesome textures of these pieces create harmonies and rhythms within their echoes. There is a garish beauty to these experiments– for a slashing immediacy that meshes with a haunting resonance, Barbiero and Bocci’s collaboration stands out from much modern classical in recent memory. Nostos is slated for release September 15th and comes highly recommended to all fans of modern classical and electro-acoustic sounds.
Other works from Daniel Barbiero and Cristiano Bocci:
“Three Quarks for Muster Mark 2 28 i” by Daniel Barbiero
“The Elephants’ March” by Cristiano Bocci [interpretation of a performance on bass clarinet by Francesco Diodato]
Sound Awakener (musician and sound artist Nhung Nguyen) released Episode, an intriguing collection of harsh noise culled from recordings made between 2013 and 2015, midway through May. Of particular interest to me is the rippling, explosive attack of the title track, though Nguyen may be more curious about listeners’ reactions to the defeaning, barely-fluctuating “Stones Turn to Ash”. This return to the harsh noise roots of the Sound Awakener project shows Nguyen’s unflagging dedication to making music and sound art that cannot be intellectualized over, but rather, intuitively felt…
Spazio Sacro, the new album from sound artist Giulio Aldinucci, is covered in a thick gauze of effects that make the slightest gestures reverberate endlessly, if only to amplify their relationship to the steadily beating heart beneath. Aldinucci, who began learning music as a child, writes music for acoustic instruments, but his fine last three albums Aer, Tarsia, and now Spazio Sacro, were synthesized more from field recordings and tones generated from digital and analog hardware. The pieces on Spazio Sacro were culled from childhood memories from rural Tuscany.
One could relate the timbres of Aldinucci’s pieces to those of Simon Scott and Marsen Jules, yet the almost disorienting flurry of dreamily altered scenes and fragments layered over the minimal composition forms an overall style that is hyper-evocative and more musically emotive than their work, almost demanding the listener to search for the secrets held within. The swelling chords and drones evoke the vastness of this landscape just as much as the mystic traditions that have coexisted with it– the album creates a conversation between the epic ambiance of this environment’s accumulated history and its author’s memories. Spazio Sacro is a musically affective and sonically imagistic electro-acoustic work, and certainly the best work that Aldinucci has done to date. This release comes highly recommended to fans of sound art and modern classical music.
Massimo Discepoli took a fresh approach to ambient music that concentrates on microtonality with Parallax, released to widespread acclaim last September on Assisi, Italy’s Depth of Field. On this album, delicate synth drones and slowly changing chords make the bed on which the lead voice, that of the drumkit, will at first excitedly whisper and shout, as if nervously exploring its environment, only to suddenly seem to fall in line with the trance in the background in one beatific swell.
Discepoli’s past project Nheap was much more angular and orderly than this– Parallax is a huge departure in style for him. More than that though, it is a very compelling ambient jazz album for the way that it brings jazz deep into the spiritual recesses of microtonality and drone in an unexpectedly harmonious union. I do not think that one could compare this accurately with most other music that mixes tendencies from jazz with ambient experiments– the album seems to be completely singular. Discepoli’s experiments pay off– Parallax is highly recommended.
Chicago-based experimentalists Comfort Food (Daniel Wolff and Jake Mashall) call themselves “junk jazz”, and less than a minute into the raggedly percussive “Memories of Babies”, off their 2013’s Dr. Faizan’s Feel-Good Brain Pills, you can see what they mean. Marshall’s propulsive chaos and Wolff’s lunatic holler of a voice make for a jolting concoction. Recommended to fans of jazz, punk rock, and all other music from the other side of the fence.
Check out their tape release of Dr. Faizan’s Feel-Good Brain Pills at Already Dead Tapes when you can.