YASUNAO TONE / TALIBAM! / SAM KULIK: Double Automation LP Karlrecords

yasunao

YASUNAO TONE / TALIBAM! / SAM KULIK: Double Automation LP Karlrecords

There’s only going to be one outcome when you collectively place avant-gardist, Yasunao Tone, experimental duo, Talibam! and trombonist, Sam Kulik in a room together; and that’s a sheer wall of stupidity passing itself off as music, if this release is anything to go by.

‘Op Apsis’ and its counterpart, ‘Spome Trope’ warble out of the speakers at 100db with a sheer lack of form and function; a perplexing chaotic mess that unravels ridiculously over the course of the album.

Individually speaking, each of this trio does have the ability to produce something of worth; so I am flabbergasted that this complete piss-take of noise ever made it to physical release status, let alone vinyl.

Over the years there have been many artists out there who have perfected this kind of relationship with sound. Whitehouse spring to mind when developing extreme electronics; and they are the masters of this field. Tone, Talibam! and Kulik are not; not even by a long shot.

5/10

ZEITKRATZER: Column One: Entropium LP Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Records

columnonezeit

ZEITKRATZER: Column One: Entropium LP Karlrecords / Zeitkratzer Records

I have been avidly watching Zeitkratzer roll along with their many interpretations of other artists’ work by their ensemble for some time. These have often produced mixed results; and in all honesty I have enjoyed releases where they have covered music I actually like, which I guess is to be expected.

I have always appreciated Column One, who have managed over the years to keep themselves relevant, with an array of contributors that kept their line up fresh. With such a lengthy catalogue there is much work that Zeitkratzer could have approached; yet here we have 5 collaborative efforts, which are now seeing the light of day for the first time since they were recorded during the Maerzmusik festival of 2012.

Overall the end result is that of a steady, if not over engaging wall of Musique Concrète (which is personally a genre I cannot stand, in any shape or form), but it is done with a modicum of skill, that should appeal to aficionados. I appreciate track 3 ‘Vilde Navarseke’, which suitably massaged my penchant for Dark Ambient, with its rumbling inky backdrop of colliding rich strings, amongst raining percussion.

My interest hasn’t wavered, but once again there is here another of Zeitkratzer’s works that I will only give a passing glance to, mainly due to my own personal preferences.

7.5/10

CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE: Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg CD Idiosyncratics

charlemagne

CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE: Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg CD Idiosyncratics

Prizes for most stupid album title of the week (possibly ever), go to Charlemagne Palestine, who has a ridiculously lengthy back catalogue.

For all the ridiculous posturing the title and bizarre cover represent, this one-track album covers a wised ground of sound.   With a soaring ambient tension, the title (and obviously only) track raises in pitch with layer upon layer of other sound sources applied, as you would, icing to a cake.

Over the course of the CD, the noise becomes a cacophony of visceral pulses and applied pressure; and musically this works to perfection. However, there is one issue I have with this album; and it’s a big one.

‘Ssingggg Sschlllingg Sshpppingg ‘ is ultimately made unlistenable, due to the odd array of shamanic warbling nonsensical vocals that interrupt the track at its key points. So ludicrous that they are hilarious; and I don’t do humour with my music (even more worrying that I think they’re done in sincerity).

Remove the vocals and this release would have made it onto my hi-fi time and time again. As it stands, because of this, the marks have dropped; and the chances of me listening to this again, verge on nil.

7/10

MONKEY PLOT: Angående omstendigheter som ikke lar seg Nedtegne LP/CD Hubro

monkeyplot

MONKEY PLOT: Angående omstendigheter som ikke lar seg Nedtegne LP/CD Hubro

The Norwegian trio of musicians that is Monkey Plot have produced 12 tracks here; that for the most part, make for an interesting, if not sparse debut. Playing on space and subtlety in key changes, gives the listener space to breathe in the natural analogue sounds of percussion, double bass and guitar.

There is an intimacy to the songs as a whole and one, which the band openly term as “music for small spaces”; and this is quite apt. Over the course of the album you do feel however, that most of the tracks sound like warm-ups to an actual show; and nothing ever really kicks off.

There is a wonderfully grass roots earthly feel to the music and it does feel home-grown and real, like it was recorded in a ramshackle wooden hut in the middle of nowhere. Occasionally there are infusions that teeter on the edges of Jazz; and indeed, it was of no surprise to learn they won ‘Young Jazz Musicians of the Year” in 2014 in their native country.

For me however there is more to this lot that Jazz alone, maybe because of its improvisational yet structured nature (most Jazz for me has no structure). A peculiar release that isn’t exactly up my street but is inoffensive overall.

7.5/10

AIDEN BAKER & IDKLANG: In the Red Room LP Karlrecords

aidenbakeridklang

AIDEN BAKER & IDKLANG: In the Red Room LP Karlrecords

Baker’s discography is truly expansive; with at least two or three albums a year, more often than not collaborating with other artists. In all honesty a lot of the releases can be hit and miss, such is the price of being prolific.

This two-track album is undoubtedly an oddity; pleasant all in all but as strange as it is serene. The title track utilises gentle guitar harmonics and drones that drift into pattering glitches and delay; whilst the second side, ‘Where we’re from the Birds Sing a Pretty Song’ carries on from where side A left off, albeit in a nonsensical fashion.

‘In the Red Room’ is harmless, but isn’t Baker’s finest hour due to feeling like one long pointless jam session. Collectors will appreciate this on its vinyl format, whereas I am aghast that some people actually manage to get a vinyl release (and this doesn’t warrant it), while others never get the opportunity.

That being said, this isn’t a terrible release, it is however an album that left me wanting more; just not for the right reasons.

7/10

AIDEN BAKER: The Sea Swells a Bit 2xLP Ici d’Ailleurs

aidenbakerseaswells

AIDEN BAKER: The Sea Swells a Bit 2xLP Ici d’Ailleurs

The Ici d’Ailleurs label have been re-issuing a fair bit on their catalogue of late and next up is Aiden Baker’s 2006 album ‘The Sea Swells a Bit’; an album, which shows Baker shining brightest when he is without collaborative interruption.

The opener and title track is a beautiful array of simplistic guitar chords that glide repetitively with low-key pads and muted drones. This lengthy track rarely changes kilter throughout, nor does it change its key structure; but ultimately shines in holding the listener in a hypnotic state.

In contrast ‘When Sailors Die’ and ‘Davey Jones’ Locker’ utilise percussion, drifting between space rock and elements of Pink Floyd; both of which are uplifting and invigorating in equal measure.

The last side of the 2nd vinyl is a live version of the title track and for me is somewhat a cop-out when the space could have been utilised more effectively. Overall however, ‘The Sea Swells a Bit’ is one of Baker’s better works and the title track itself is excellent (and that’s both versions, studio and live). If you have never listened to any of Aiden’s work before then you wouldn’t go far wrong starting here.

8.5/10

CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA: Moon Light Reflecting Over Mountains CD ROOM40

chihei

CHIHEI HATAKEYAMA: Moon Light Reflecting Over Mountains CD ROOM40

Drawing on 30 years of influences, for his latest in a long line of releases, Chihei Hatakeyama brings together eight tracks of straightforward ambient pads, drones and soundscapes.

‘Prince of the Sea’ opens up well with a simplistic array of ascending strings, that whilst don’t baffle the listener with science; immediately draw attention.

‘Path of the Sacred Forest’ carries a more distant tone, as though you are viewing the music from afar as pictures amongst the branches of trees, which are then reflected back through a ‘Broken Mirror’.

Guitar drones overdrive their ambience on ‘Mausoleum’, whilst their acoustic variant is the basis of ‘A Bronze Pike’. Hatakeyama then proceeds on drawing on all these influences for the rest of the album.

‘Moon Light…’ is a decent piece of work. Not too distant from the sounds of Fennesz (but ultimately not as concise), Chihei, thematically has constructed this album well enough to enjoy and appreciate; although for me something is lacking, preventing him from touching the echelons of ambient music’s big boys just yet.

7.8/10