Sunday, February 1, 2015

Mechanisms

I found Mechanisms by Chrissie Caulfield to be a great sonic adventure. When I sit down to listen to her work, I never quite know what to expect. Surprising in depth, often educating, these are meaty and cutting edge pieces that push the boundaries of what can be done with modern recording and engineering techniques.

For the audiophile in me there's plenty of new sounds, often put together in novel ways. The recordings are beautiful, and though some of the sounds are dissonant, the intent is perfect, and the thought that goes into their creation is clear. Adventurous, imaginative, and playful, Chrissie brings her tremendous talent and experience into each piece, realizing new sonic visions unlike anything heard before.

Often cinematic realms are revealed, and I could easily see these pieces used effectively in several different incidental settings. Sometimes a set of strings will come forward, or a synth growl, that just begs to be used in a space epic, or war story. Emotions exude from awe to dread, even to silliness. The palette is large, as is the canvas.

With the download, you also get a very nice PDF to accompany the album, which outlines intent and techniques for each individual piece, and sets the mood for the album. I'd say you should try this adventure right now.

Find Chrissie on twitter as @Chrissie_c and on Soundcloud as well. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Angels in Black and White

Sonic images fly by the window as the limo pulls through the graveyard, spirits drifting past the corners of your eye. The music of Angels in Black and White by Isotherme evokes a cinematic experience, and the artist's description of "Ghost Ambient" is quite apt.

In sharp contrast to last week's analog romp Back to the Past by oddcommon, this album is thoroughly grounded in the 21st century. Glitchy sound collages meld in sync to synthetic drum tones and minor key drones. Never a thumping pulse, the percussion is reserved and works in the ambient setting. I found this experimentation greatly enjoyable, and sat to listen without doing much of anything else, rapt with attention.

Isotherme is always eclectic and interesting, since discovering Jeff's work last year, I've enjoyed seeing it as it comes out. This EP is a prelude to a larger work, Nail, which is due to be released on February 10th, and I look forward to reviewing as well.

Find Isotherme on twitter as @Isotherme, and on soundcloud.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Back to the Past

Transporting me, I found Odd Common's Back to the Past EP a fun listen. Well and crisply recorded, the analog tones pulse in mechanical time, haunted by vocorder vocals. I welcomed the variation and change in the compositions, as they bounced through the sequences. Very tight, as one would expect from this type of electronica, much of it was nostalgic, recalling synth greats of the past.

I'd recommend this to anyone, as I would for most of Odd Common's work, which is eclectic and varied. It is always filled with analog synth and fun sequences, and is often danceable.  Big arrangements from modest means.


You can follow Odd Common on Twitter as @oddcommon and also find him on soundcloud.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Shikantaza

When listening to  Shikantaza by Herr Absurd, sit comfortably, and be open to whatever comes. Although the name of this double length album is Japanese, the music in it is decidedly German influenced. Cited by the artist in the notes, the kosmische musik (more commonly referred to as "krautrock") inspired, it recalls experimental music, is decidedly electronic in origin, and has a few surprises tucked in here and there.

Unusual for Herr Absurd is the rare collaboration with other musicians. Valerie Polichar provided haunting vocals on several tracks, and Luke Clarke provided ethereal guitars. Both contribute positively to the tracks they are featured on, and provide an interesting character amid Herr Absurd's evolving  cinematic meditations. Sonic adventurism abounds.

You can find Valerie Polichar on Twitter as @Hugeshark, and her website. You can find Luke Clarke on Twitter as @fantasticbeard and his bandcamp page.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Reviews of 2014


I've had the pleasure to be exposed to a lot of esoteric music this year, and was privileged to review it here on the blog.

Here's a quick list of the reviews for your year-end reference.




14-02-14 Eclectic Blah by Eclectic Blah

14-03-09 The Good Fight XE by Mr Bitterness and the Guilty Pleasures

14-03-23 Static Metal by The Geeky Disco Experiment

14-04-06 Things and Horologium by Chrissie Caulfield and Stuart Russell (Double Review)

14-04-20 TWO by Brash Flair

14-05-04 Ephemeral (Frameworks) by Fellfoxen

14-05-21 Rothko Room by Stuart Russell

14-05-25 Leading Edges by Helicopter Quartet

14-05-31 Black Dog Blue by Hilliat Fields

14-08-06 Meter Bridge by Meter Bridge

14-08-17 Berlinerisch by The Geeky Disco Experiment

14-11-02 Wires String Circles and Angels by Peter Cline

14-12-14 Random Machines by Herr Absurd

I look forward to reviewing more from these and other artists in the coming months. Happy New Year!

With special thanks to Linda Palmer for providing her original artwork for the blog.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Solstice

This day marks the midpoint, the longest night of the year. We know that tomorrow will be a longer day and the Sun will return to increasing intensity. Ancient cultures celebrated this, quite rightly, by gatherings of friends and family and feasting, a tradition little changed today.

So I'd like to wish you all a Happy Solstice, in the hopes that with the return of the Sun, we will all prosper better in the coming year.

Listening: Candytrash's Here Comes Sunday

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Random Machines

The perception of music lies in the listener's mind, not necessarily the creator's mind. This is evident in the random series of albums recently created by Herr Absurd. As one can find music in Nature and in random traffic patterns, the album Random Machines can be heard as music, but is a collection of randomly generated sound.

Using spoken word taken from this blog, specifically last week's Some Definitions, Herr Absurd recorded it using various strategies to make decisions regarding just about everything for it's creation. He set up each song as a machine. In his own words "a device made to do a certain job and perform various repetitive tasks repetitively. And well. It is not asked to think, theorize or conceive. Merely to do what it does. What it was made to do. What it was commanded to do. So feel free to give these machines characters. The characters of machines."

Prolific as Hell, he continued to turn out random albums all week, following this effort with Indeterminacy Engine, Chaos Computer, and Entropy Device.

These are fun little devices to listen to. Varied with some depth, they are sometimes surprising, sometimes familiar. Surely the art here is in the strategies and design of these machines.

Find Herr Absurd on Twitter, @Absurd13t and on Bandcamp