3/3 or 1
Howdy followers ov Void,
It would please me if this is finding you during any semblance of being well, the end is nigh, my friends.
Looks like I’m heading to the nowhere-town that is Broaddus, TX this afternoon, to spend time with extended family, and test my patience while being surrounded by people that almost couldn’t hold more different ideals than myself. The good news is that there will be four-wheelers and plenty of countryside to drive off into and be alone with the hogs, birds, snakes, deer, and who knows what other surprises? I would truly rather interact with snakes than most of my extended family. It’s all for the memorial service they’ll be holding for my father tomorrow. One of the things that humans do to try and achieve closure, whatever works I guess, but as far as I can tell this is just another way for folks in the funeral industry to exploit grieving families. Maybe I’m a little biased here, having a degree in mortuary science and remembering the classes where it was a little more than colloquially encouraged to spike up the prices of everything from having a minister show up to say some words about shit he has not a clue about to baby caskets, so the owner of the funeral home can financially benefit. There is no such thing as closure. I believe in it less than I believe that we are all merely chickens with our heads cut off. As a member of this virus that is humanity, i’ll now move on from my introduction to this update, and into the things that are helping me navigate through this mess.
Carl Sagan “Billions & Billions: Part III, Ch. 14; The Common Enemy”
Think the publishers of all these random things will sue me for promoting them? I had to put my pen away while reading this book. I could damn near underline every sentence in it so far. I feel like this Chapter is very worth sharing. I would also recommend this book to anyone who denies climate change.
—-In their own words: “!*%^^*@#@ is 185668232’s 10th consecutively celebrated year album of making original music; this is pronounced like ‘QWERTYshift,’ supposed to be released in December of 2014. As a further reach into the unknown of electronics, self-identity and letting go of everything that does not push towards the singularity, this album continues the linear progression we are all used to being surprised by 185668232.” I was lucky enough to meet and share time with the very inspiring and lovely individual, Iam, as they were technically the first touring performer to perform in the now defunct physical location of Void Castle. Through talking with them, I’ve learned that the sounds found on the bandcamp are updated and changed frequently. I have a physical copy of what was this album at the time of its assembly. Housed in printed paper full of poetry one must squint or use a magnifying glass to read. Some of which are lyrics heard in the album. The magnitude of the sonic activism approach is worthy of repeated listenings, checking the bandcamp every now and then to see if anything has changed, I’d also advise ordering a copy of the album to check out the poetry and visual art in a printed form. Wholly, the artistic output of Iam is rather astounding. “bodily dysmorphic club spawn brand name labotomies textbook spiritualities Flaps and flops collapsing crops ignored” “in an ethically medical manner, Entertainment, love, shelter, food, inspiration, emotional support, variety, opportunities to progress, zero-tolerance to prejudice against human resources endorsed remorse of force that brought forth the great divergence” “i’ve been so scared to share my mind before then i realized it was simply taboo and anything taboo is more marketable so sad, so true but i cared a whole lot more than i now do” “our parents put us here to die Sorry for Capitalism, Patriarchy, Pharmaceuticals, Intellectual trademarked Academia, Corruption climbing slime to prime, Young and senile” There are tons of thought provoking poems and sounds, found within this antividual’s realm. Again, astounding!
Luther Price “Me Gut No Dog Dog” 1995
—-‘Standing Tall and Looking Good’ the cadence goes, GI blues and blue uniforms, the trashy and the clinical, erect buildings and ejaculating penises, life at home and during war, the muscular and the overweight, basic training and anal training, fucking machines and fighting machines, static white noise and silence juxtaposed with cut up scientific evaluations and 60’s pop rock songs, tanks and human pyramids, gloom and glee, stray dogs and aimless teens, cocksuckers and assfuckers, homosexuals and bubblegum, youth groups, graduating class, mixing drinks at the bar, the face of taking it up the ass. This was recommended and shared with me by my friend Bryan, thank you!! Very intense and bizarre filmwork. Can’t find this online, so if the above description interests you, we can pop it in the DVD player next time we hang somewhere together.
—-A solo effort by a terrific percussionist and noise maker. On ‘Basura’ I get the impression that this is a sort of overture, and a fantastic one at that, showing off his skills with sticks, and I’m assuming some contact-mic’d drums, that provide an electric accompaniment that reacts to his playing, one is ascended into this gorgeous realm. Title track ‘Malo’ comes in next, and things are more subdued here; bass frequencies swell and shift around seeming to be triggered by some patient mallet playfulness. The lightning bugs shimmer in the distance of this healing dreamscape. The structures created in this vast field of sound morph in and out of one another, truly amazing timbral beauty, electroacoustic ambience of the finest quality. ‘¡Ak!’ is where one’s arrived after crossing the ‘Malo’ landscape, where one finds the celebration of these dream beings. All is full of life here, and all is full of wonder. The kalimba plays it’s soulful tune that pulls us out of our bodies. ‘Te Cuidas Mucho, Miguel’ is where our spirit is taken care of, and the raw acoustic prowess of Rosaly reaches epic heights, and builds to this strange and lovely amalgamation of electronics and acoustics. ’10Hz’ rounds things out with stacked and unusual percussion, blended with electronics, time is non-existent here, super fast and precise tapping and churning blends with long ringing swells echoing into the fjords, shifting rolls come down like an avalanche. It becomes difficult to tell what is treated electronically, all this crescendos before dropping the sonic mirage once more, and being softly brought back to shore. Fantastic. Also must mention the beautiful packaging, the CD is housed in a 7″ size cardboard case with beautiful artwork by Zachary Worth.
—-I only became aware of Lambkin within the last 12 months or so, when it seemed I was gang-recommended to get on board by friends and fellow creatives Steve Flato, Chase Gardner, Alan Jones, and Jeff Williams. Since then, everything I’ve gotten my hands on has been extremely fascinating. A ton of older stuff is long sold out, being scalped by used record dealers on Discogs and eBay, and everything he releases seems to sell out fast, including this release. Looks like I signed up for No Rent’s Cadillac Club at the right time. I was also lucky to find some decently priced Shadow Ring CDs at Recycled Books in Denton several months ago. The rest of what I’ve checked out, I have sourced in Youtube or Soulseek. Collaborations with Jason Lescalleet are among their oeuvres. On ‘The Criminal Waves’ are more strangely expressed spoken segments, both in tone and delivery, that work their way through cleverly assembled field recordings, some of which sound like muzak elevator jazz and Tejano coming through the wall, mostly muffled bass motifs through different sections of white tape hiss, the occasionally loud beeping sine waves. All of these things and more put me into a dream like state of guided-imagery and hypnosis. It is almost equal in disorientation and relaxation, and again, quite fascinating. On ‘Men Do The Cutting’ it starts with what feels like a rebuttal to those that wish to imagine that everything is okay, that it will all “just take care of itself.” It isn’t long before what sounds like pigs being slaughtered alive and perhaps their afterlife journey that follows chugs along into an avian afterlife dreamscape, this becomes semi-nightmarish and starts sounding like a forrest being leveled, the birds go away and the hacking continues. Perhaps it has already trailed into ‘Wind Without Walls’ but I wasn’t keeping time. Lush drone-scapes and galloping, subtly swelling higher pitched tones become enveloping, yet another amazing release by Lambkin and No Rent. I’m sure that all those that bought this and made it sell out the first day it became available are pleased.
—-Here we have an hour long collaboration from two of the harsher-side-of-the-spectrum noise artists. What is heard is a dynamic, pulsating and throbbing cacophony of static, deep bass tones, sputtering synths, all sorts of sonically grotesque madness. The results are quite amazing, abandon your bodily desires and be absorbed into this violent black hole of catharsis.
—-This band has been creating super bad ass, always forward thinking, artsy doom/rock/jazz for over a decade now. In this helping, we have a 36 minute dirge that just keeps pummeling, most of which I assume is improvised, though a definitely chemistry has been formed among the three performers. Achilleas Polychronidis, I assume is running his circular breathing sax destruction through effects, though subtle, creating a murky and spastic undercurrent, upon which Borja Díaz’ doom ridden improvised drumming and Marco Serrato’s doom ridden bass playing crush down sometimes in sync, and sometimes not. The overall effect comes across like a war zone, never knowing when the incoming round of mortars will strike. This might be my favorite improv-trio recording that I know about. Fucking awesome. The amalgamation of doom metal feels, the absence of vocals, within a “jazz” trio context, makes for a unique recording unlike much of anything else I’ve ever heard. To top all of that off, the packaging is also of a supreme quality, single cassette housed in a double-cassette case with 8 panel gorgeous artwork by Denis Forkas Kostromitin.
Baby Blood / Friendship Cemetery Split on Self Sabotage Records SS-04, tape, 2016
—-Here’s an instance where I have to validate my ‘even if I wasn’t friends with so and so i’d still love their music’ notion. Baby Blood is a several-years-running ensemble of north Texas musicians, most of which form a multitude of other north Texas projects: Bukkake Moms (RIP?), Gay Cum Daddies, Flesh Narc, The Fred Karger Memorial Lump Day Band, etc…all burned bridges aside (and there is at least one here that I never intend to rebuild), I do deeply respect these musician’s creative endeavors. All the more fitting for me personally, surely many can relate, Friendship Cemetery, has such a bittersweet adjective-noun relationship. And it’s on a label called self-sabotage. Laugh deep down inside. The singularitic and solipsistic reminders are rich with this one, but I still think it’s a very bad ass split with some of the most interesting improvised ensembles Texas, or perhaps most of the world, has to offer.
Ghost Miner, demo, 2017
—-A new work by one of my closest friends, bandmate in Ascites, Nick Cabrera, whom, even if I wasn’t friends with him I would still regard his music as some of my favorite rhythmic based works. Keep on killing it, pls&thx-u!!
Sun Kil Moon “Common As Light And Love Are Red Valleys Of Blood” 2017
—-As part of the newly founded Impossible To Complete Club my friend Kelly and I are starting, where art is recommended ad infinitum and no one has the free time to check it all out, it was suggested that I check out some Sun Kil Moon, and I am very glad that I did. This album made me laugh, it made me cry, it provoked my thoughts from beginning to end, loved it. It really kind of speaks for itself. I’ll definitely be adding SKM’s back catalog to the impossible-to-check-it-all-out-before-I-die list.
—-A few years ago when I was still on faceache, I saw a promotion for this album by Ron Varod of Kayo Dot, describing it as something like the slow parts on Converge albums, which, Converge being one of my favorite bands, and Kayo Dot being one of my favorite bands, was all I needed to just order it without hearing it first. It is definitely reminiscent of slower parts in Converge songs, but Indian has a unique slant on several metal genre’s, as well as incorporating noise elements into the pieces. I can see where lots of different kinds of metal have influenced this album from being a lifelong metal fan. Most of the album is a darkened, blackened sludge, trudging along with hypnotic and slower battery of drums, drenched in distortion guitar and bass, screeching vocals and high pitched piercing noise textures. The fifth track, ‘Clarity’, has no drums in it, and is more or less a noise track. There are no pentatonic or typical stoner metal riffs on this album, just a sound fit for a mental breakdown, and an inner rage towards the way things are.
—-This is what happens when everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. Again and again, struck down with loss, beaten down, teeth in the dirt, a carbomb splattering bodies around it like fireworks, a fleshy ankle and foot with one toe intact lay here, bone fragments and guts lay there, time slows down and the whole scene writhes in disarray. No comforting feelings aside from the camaraderie that others feel and see similar horrors. ‘Descension’ forces you down the spiral like meat into a grinder. ‘Extraction’ is the depraved terror found in that perverted space of inner resentment for all of existence. Cold and brutal, dark and harsh vibes throughout. Wrenching. Cathartic. Visceral.
Jeph Jerman & Steve Jansen “Second First” That’s Cool Records 034, 2017
—-Both sides of this tape are presented to the listener in reverse chronological order; the second performance recorded in Houston for No Idea Fest at Homecare Performance Space on 29Feb2016, on side A, and the first performance recorded in Austin at Blanton Museum of Art for No Idea Fest the day prior, on side B. Dense and lush fields of sound weave about, textural grandeur of the patient and calculated variety. Jerman on objects, devices, tape and Jansen on tapes, and guitar. I love the ambiguity in revealing those instrumental tools with which the sounds one hears are created. Who knows what ‘objects’ and ‘devices’ mean? Who cares? Contextually it seems to add to the overall mystery that is conjured by such ‘devices.’ It also alludes to there being no real way of describing the goal of utilizing these tools. For me, it opens the floodgates to an expansive meditational mental state that lies beyond the mundane one felt during most encounters with society, work, bullshit, and in that it’s a beautiful thing indeed. I feel more home in those strange sonic landscapes than I ever have in my body. Is this what astral projection is? or something else entirely? All I know is that I’m thankful for finding these tools with which to lose myself. Gorgeous work of electro-acoustic new(nü)improv brilliance.
—-I recently found out about Nadler’s work through my ongoing guidance from Junior, and I’ve been loving everything I’ve heard so far. It’s quite different than most of what I listen to. Very little folk music enters my eardrums. I don’t know what it is, upon the first couple seconds of taking Nadler’s music in I fell in love with it. It’s quite beautiful, lots of subtle instrumental textures and compositional qualities to the music that accompanies her voice. It’s not often that music like this resonates with me, and will probably stick out like a sore thumb amongst most of what I end up writing about in this blog, but her music is improving the quality of my life and that’s what this blog is about for the most part.
Steve Jansen “An Error Occurred” That’s Cool Records TCR 035, Tape, 2017
—-‘Holland Import’ builds to a swirling and mesmerizing amalgamation of tape manipulation, strangle arpeggiated and colorful tones, prepared guitar is plucked and the orchestra of musical and textural tones shift and while making ones way through this unfamiliar city, the locals there are welcoming, but their ways are strange and the unfamiliarity can be intense. The textures crescendo and suddenly let go again, these sounds are tools for transcendence. Flow with them into realms outside of this one. Take a break, you deserve it. Recorded in 2013 at Studio Illiterate in Austin, TX. ‘Best If Used By’ was recorded on March, 1st, 2016 at J&J’s Pizza in Denton, TX, on a bill I also performed on. RIP to that basement. Every time I’ve seen SJ perform, solo or with various ensembles, Friendship Cemetery with Parham Daghighi and SSBT with them both + Chris Cogburn, are among the most memorable performances I’ve ever seen. This tape is a fantastic release of very forward thinking improvisation, strange unfamiliar timbre’s using odd setups and electronics with enough ear candy to share with the whole class. It is not often that improvisation falls into this singular of an approach while also achieving such mesmerizing results, electro-acoustic music amidst the finest caliber.
—-This is a bad ass 4 way split, with four fairly familiar names for me. I really dig split albums, it tends to make a stretched out listening session stay interesting for me, especially when the contributors to the split all approach things in a different manner like they do here. It opens with Flea Apparitions’ ‘Parasite Device’ which sounds like it was recorded with a couple of microphones in the room while being performed, the strums of the guitar can be heard which adds to the overall timbral quality of the mix. Whatever the guitar is being ran through turns the whole thing into a nearly dark ambient feel, but too weird, constantly shifting and texturally interesting, really great stuff. Up next is Koobaatoo Asparagus’ ‘I’m Frying Threw Sounds’ which sounds like there is possibly guitar involved, and a ton of hardware, some synths and/or keyboards as well, it feels like a mono recording as well, as if the mass of sounds is all one entity. Lots of really interesting dynamic changes in tone and timbre going on in this one. Also too weird to be harsh, although there is a presence of static sounds, overall an awesome churning and morphing mass of sound. After this we have Henry Mallard’s ‘Forest of Ducks’ with the full on harsh assault approach, violently shifting with thick bass under-churning and crisp static mangling above, very awesome. Makes me think of the harsh life ducks live, what with their necrophilia and forceful sexual advances on one another, don’t believe me, google it, or talk to Henry, he’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of the duck life. And after this dynamic assault on the senses we have two offerings from Shadow Figures. ‘No News Today’ sounds like it may be feedback based, as well as ran through a slew of modulating effects, lots of different things going on with the tones and they way they shift and flail around. I’m imagining the track being about having a loved one in intensive care and days are going by, and the days with no news are both encouraging and draining. This is followed by the closer of the 4way and second piece by Shadow Figures, ‘Reel 61’ where screamed vocals seemed to be added into a similar setup as the previous track, underneath all the screams are what sounds like a deep bass feedback being interrupted by synths, sputtering, crackling, modulating and higher pitched feedback. There even seems to be highly distorted guitar playing going on in parts, and the vocal use is quite sparse amidst the dense churnings and rumblings. I’m curious about the meaning behind the 61st reel, given the overall brooding feel of the track. Love this 4way split, another solid release from the Hypnocenter. Unfortunately couldn’t find this on bandcamp to share here, but they have plenty of other releases well worth checking out.
—-Opening up the album, Scorpion Sound Source doesn’t wait to hit you with a synthesized sledge the first second of ‘Cat Noise 1k994’ and as the drone builds it becomes rhythmic, with deep bass kicks and a repeating ascending modulating tone and what sounds like looped pitch bent spoken phrase, and while this continues static seems to oscillate in intensity around it, this continues for a while in a trance inducing manner and at the end is a quick dynamic change that is quite unsettling as this morphs into the second track, also by SSS entitled ‘Best Show Ever (Beat The Geeks)’. This one is more of a HNW approach of lush and ugly density continuing the horrifying trance induction. I’ve yet to watch this show the track is referring to, but will have to check it out sometime. After a while the track goes through some astounding dynamic and style changes and becomes this morphing granular wall of sound that I want to describe as nauseating in a good way. After these tracks bludgeon and sedate, Foltergeist proceeds with Cycle 2, in two parts; first ‘Best Things In Life Are Not Real’ sounds like a claustrophobic experience of being stuck in a packed subway on a slowed down trip to some foreboding location where only ailments await. An awesome dark ambient excursion. Followed by Foltergeist’s second part to Cycle 2, is ‘Fruity Oat Bar’ which by the sounds of things I’m guessing was moldy when it was eaten, inducing a strange mal-psychoactive food poisoning. The paramedics are questioning you, but all you hear are the insides of your perceptions rotting away, vomiting your way into some unexpected nightmare realm between ordinary waking consciousness and nothingness. Nothing comforting here. Then Cycle 3 begins, Henry Mallard singular offering and closing harsh-disasterpiece, ‘Knife Through Spine’ takes no prisoners from the get go as the amalgamation of distorted textures stab and stab some more. No hope. No mercy. Alarms are going off, but no help is on the way. Just corpse meat for the worms and birds remain. I also couldn’t find this on bandcamp.
—-I’m probably kind of late to this realization, and I know DSO gives a shout out to Georges Bataille in at least one of their albums, that the majority of their lyrics are taken from different works of Bataille. So, obviously I’m going to be trying to track down some books by Bataille as soon as possible. These are both yet other grand masterpieces by DSO (that I haven’t yet covered in this blog), they are well known in metal circles for this and deservedly so. Through quick google searches one can find reviews of these albums that are much more eloquent than this. Fucking amazing metal albums!
—-Immediately, Macronympha and SFB get right into business with their 28+ minute disasterpiece ‘Autodesfiguracion’, a fitting title that I think means self-disfiguration, based on my limited knowledge of etymology. This sounds like the perfect soundtrack for self harm. The ugly wall of noise permeates all sense of hope. Crashing and swelling, destroying all in its path. Tortured music for tortured souls. Turpitude. Relentless Madness. There aren’t any familiar tones in this, a unique malcollage of horror. After this assault comes ELU’s slab of horrid cacaphony, ‘Glass Coins and Cuts’. Dense feedback and synth abuse immediate grab hold and do not let go, awesome use of stereo field and different things going on in the left and right channels. After being pummelled for a while a broadcast is sent out, calling all citizens with the last names ending in ‘A’ to report somewhere, and that failure to comply will result in some unintelligible and undesirable result I assume. The noise seems to take quite a change at this point, reaching greater stages of sonic violence. Really fucking awesome split.