At the very top of the month we offered a Autumn kickstarter with a piece outlining some of the more interesting releases expected this time of year. As we close the calendar for November, this is meant to be a short, sweeping follow-up to keep you in tune with some we missed, and five just out that are well worthy of your attention. Keep in mind, this is a diverse selection of works that could be described from dramatic to minimal to industrial flamenco. Yes, indeed.
The Contemporaneity Of Six Moments is the debut from Hendekagon (Adventurous Music). On the sweeping, modulated side of ambient this glows and expands from Moment 1 to Moment 4.2 (one of two bonus tracks). It has some in common with Gregorian chant, and modern day soundtrack composition but escapes true definition by way of its hybridization of these and other genres. In a fleeting light this might remind some of Deep Forest, Enigma or even Opus III – but most of these 90’s artists have been lost to time to an extent. The aerated approach of Hendekagon is as expertly produced but is far from the pop realm of those mentioned, but f/uses references in a far more veiled way in an outpouring of nu-new age, a meditative and modern re-invention of the dated genre.
Ana Arenas & Yunclas have paired to produce Luddita (Zona Watusa), two lengthy tracks that sort of turn traditional Flamenco on its head. Side A contains Miss Ludd, at first offering rock guitar riffs (ala Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin or Jethro Tull) and mediating percussion that sounds like rap-tapping (dancing?) on a tin roof. It’s a warped fusion of style and substance. The frenzied strings color the entire canvas with raucous squiggles of expression that move into contemplative territory towards its apex. And from there it’s pure performance art that creaks and sizzles. Once flipped Captain Swing rattles like an old car with an out of whack alternator. Noises balloon between the raspy and a hypnotic looped drone. They distort frequencies and defy gravity. A growling sleeper of a record.
Begun in 2013 Regime of Calm by Cacero Lazo (Submarine Broadcasting Company) is ambient on steroids, just a lil’ calmer. This forty-three minute album is full of nine instrumental tracks that are colored by the space they inhabit, faint melody, and surprise. From the religious iconography of the Joseph Stella cover art (yes, the same artist who painted the famed Brooklyn Bridge, one of my absolute favorite works of art), this has a reverent feel to it. There are pauses, half-beats and vocal snippets sampled throughout, dispersed ethereally. The standout for my ears is Kattus Funus in this regard. There are minimal passages, shoegaze-like strumming and others that sound like excerpts from the dawn of Portishead, it’s a truly all-inclusive record. Regime of Calm is full of pensive turns, though it’s hugely stocked with an atmosphere of wide-ranging color, distinguishing itself among a plethora of tepid ambient records aimlessly lost to the ether.
Tricontinental Circus (Inversions) from Crème de Hassan defies description, but I will try. A perfect storm of collaged experimental elements with an underground attitude and an out-jazz sensibility. If you merged parts and pieces of Albert Ayler and Mouse on Mars with frenetic tape play you’s be in the ballpark. At times at full tilt, and otherwise weighed sound sculpture, these eleven mostly short tracks are like snake charmer audio gems. In the description of the record it lays out: “The languages that are dispersed across the album come from Cambodia, Afghanistan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco and include an Arabic translation of Nietsche by friend of the band Ayoub El Mouzaine.” This exotic collision is ultimately evident and further nuanced between ticking melodies that range from humming to whirling dervishes in the making. This is contemporary (sic) whirled, world music.
And finally. Here is a unique improvised trio, Barton Bayard Moody and their first work together, Start from Silence (self-released). The players and their respective tools:
Todd Barton: Hordijk Blippoo Box, looper, shakuhachi flute samples
Bruce Bayard: Buchla Music Easel, Morphagene sampler
Nathan Moody: Ciat Lonbarde Tetrax Organ, Sidrax Organ, and Cocoquantus; Make Noise Ø-Coast
Three experimental works that come in just under an hour, opening up with the vibration of Buchla and other warning signals on DeepWithin. Some sounds are like objects dropping into liquid while this mind-melding pulsation permeates, and implodes towards its end. Scintillating conversation between the three without any obvious ‘solos’. Processing Plants seems to have this masked sense of resistance. By its centerpoint there’s this churning segue into the unknown that comes off like broken sprockets and industrial detritus holding on to complete a task, dusty and worn – as if having made it to the hollow bottom of a giant tank. Lastly, Furnace appears to be in a contained basement bound by tension. The pilot light is clearly on as this wriggles and sparks to action. The piece galvanizes like a combustible jam session and then discharges its energy with metallic, birdlike and other looser effects to round this out. Elegant and extraordinary.