STEREO ATE MY LAST TAPE (NEW BLOG)

•October 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have started a new ‘companion blog’ to this blog called “Stereo Ate My Last Tape”. Basically, it will serve as mini-reviews, opinions, possible future MFTROU reviews, etc. I have no set update frequency set for this blog yet, but I am aiming for at least once or twice a week (I would like to do once a day, but am not sure if that is possible/feasible yet). Also, depending on time, some of these entries might be expanded up at a later date and/or turned into full reviews.

Again, thank you all for your patience and support.
Check it out here: http://stereoatemylasttape.blogspot.com/

Alberich : NATO – uniformen

•October 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

While many of the once ultra-limited cassette releases put out by Hospital Productions are now being sold through outlets like Boomkat, the actual cassette editions (often produced in amounts of 50 or less) still sell out extremely quickly, often before fans are even aware of their release. To make matters worse, the second-hand copies of this (and other Hospital Productions limited editions) are being resold for exorbitant amounts. Would YOU pay $500 for ANY release set that wasn’t even in absolute mint condition?

Nevertheless, most of this collection is decent power electronics, and some of the tracks are actually quite good. However, with a release this size, there are bound to be some duds in the group, but thankfully they do not detract from the overall presentation. Also, despite the relentless repetition inherent in most of the tracks, NATO-Uniformen also throws in a few welcome variations, such as the menacing drone of “God And Faith”, while “Atlantic Munitions Development” sound reminiscent of some of the earlier work of Vatican Shadow.

If you are a fan of Hospital Productions and their more recent work, then you will definitely enjoy this. If you listen to some of Cold Meat Industry’s mid-era bands such as IRM, Institut, Nod, and others, you might dig it as well (although I would recommend listening to some of the tracks before buying). However, if you are just getting into power electronics or even industrial in general, I would consider looking elsewhere first.

Download : The Eyes Of Stanley Pain

•October 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

“People have good, clean spirits”.

Featuring an all-star assembly of Anthony Valcic, Genesis P-Orridge, Phil Western, and Larry Thrasher, in addition to (at the time) core of Download: Dwayne Goettel, Ken Marshall, Mark Spybey, and cEvin Key, this is an essential and highly vibrant work of industrial electronica.

Yellow Swans : Going Places

•October 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is an absolutely massive album. It has been frequently noted that, due to the fact that the duo of Gabriel Mindel Saloman and Pete Swanson had decided to disband Yellow Swans, that there is a pervasive sense of finality and closure present throughout the album. This is true, but there are also more ambivalent emotions, drives, and thoughts being expressed. With track titles such as “Foiled”, “Opt Out”, and “Limited Space”, one wonders whether or not these are merely arbitrary titles or if they somehow relate to either the band or the circumstances surrounding the split of the band.

Musically, there is an emphasis on rhythm and texture density (which Pete Swanson had mentioned was a goal of the album in an interview). Though the music is far from ‘friendly’ or ‘pleasant’, it is for the most part much less abrasive and confrontational than many of their earlier albums and EPs. Also, throughout the songs one can frequently detect both a sense of lingering and resolution. Repetition is used for hypnotic effect, such as on the tracks “Opt Out” and “Limited Space” (featured above). Finally, there is a huge amount of catharsis residing within the compositions, especially on the incendiary title track.

In short, highly recommended: a triumph of experimental drone electronica. Although GMS and Pete Swanson have since ‘gone places’ (Swanson with his solo career and GMS with his numerous projects, collaborative and otherwise), it is also clear that Yellow Swans had ended on the top of their game, and that, given the chance, they may have even reached higher ascents.

Opening Remarks

•October 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This is the newly created companion blog of “Music For The Rest Of Us”. Due to various time-restraints and the increasing amount of time required to write/research the average MFTROU review, I am starting this endeavor for shorter reviews and opinions.

SEIROM : Seiromistkreig

•July 3, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Maurice De Jong is a busy man. In addition to his main project Gnaw Their Tongues, he also has many side-projects (most notably De Magia Veterum and Aderlating), his own label Devotional Hymns and Mastering Graphics design group, in addition to recently created bands Cloak Of Altering (which is itself apparently an evolution of an older project called Ophiuchus) and Seirom. While one might reasonably come to the assumption that, with so many concerns going on at once and/or over a short period of time, that eventually the overall quality of the releases would suffer, it would appear that, if anything, the opposite is actually happening. “Seiromistkreig” finds Mories stepping further outside of his comfort zone, while still maintaining what is now known as his ‘signature’ aesthetic and sound. Easily comparable to a number of other luminaries in their respective genres, this album also manages to blend these influences into something completely refreshing and unique (at least when compared to other releases in his discography).

The description provided by Mories, that the project/album is “Blissed out melodic guitardronesblackmetaldrums stuff” is quite accurate, if somewhat simplistic in terms of the sound and feel presented. Beginning with an insistent guitar drone, indistinct rumbling, and spoken narration (buried deep within the mix), these elements build up in true post-rock fashion until a fuzzed out lead soars over rumbling bass rhythms and persistent blast beats. The second track, “Istauchkrieg”, is basically a dark ambient interlude, similar to the material of the other, as-yet-unreleased Seirom album “Eremitic” (although it is important to note that Eremitic focuses more on dark ambience and noise). Finally, “Istnichtkrieg” follows in a similar vein of the first track, with a quicker build-up, feedback, and cello provided by one Aaron Martin. If nothing else, check out the last three minutes of this song. Mories is not only proficient at creating a sense of ‘epic’ in his work, but has fully mastered it at this point.

Hopefully this direction is not simply a one-off EP. Blending influences and methodology similar to that of the late Birchville Cat Motel, Nadja, and even perhaps Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this album projects rays of shrouded light, hope, and maybe even optimism, qualities that are, by design, lacking in most of his other projects. While his music is perhaps best known for suffocating dread, irreverence, and an almost overwhelming sense of apocalyptic fury, it would be a shame if these uncharted waters were not further explored and developed.

Download the album for free from the Gnaw Their Tongues Bandcamp

JOHN LITHIUM PRESENTS: LITHIUM TOOLBOX SOUNDSOURCES COLLECTION

•June 11, 2011 • 3 Comments

INFO PAGE & DOWNLOAD HERE: http://www.archive.org/details/ARGREC14

“Lithium Toolbox is a soundscape collection, featuring twenty-five different synth compositions from John Lithium. This collection is mostly sci-fi/cyberpunk/noir influenced and/or inspired. The first twenty-two tracks are brand-new songs composed in June, while the final three were recorded in May. The total collection is roughly 625 MB, with an average ‘song’ time of about two minutes. These are mainly drone-oriented tracks, although there are several notable exceptions.

While many of these ‘songs’ are able to stand under their own merits, they eagerly await for assimilation into your own designs, either in a remix and/or enhancement capacity.

This collection is licensed under a Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike
CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/). While the preceding website covers most of the basics regarding this license, there are a few additional points to make. To begin, if you utilize this material (regardless of if it is for commercial or non-commercial use), please send me a note or email at (c h a n d l e r n [a t] g m a i l [d o t] c o m) describing your work and some links to the finished product. Also, while I by default usually include the share-alike aspect of the license, if you still wish to use the material but want to use a different license, send me a message and we can discuss it. If you have any questions/concerns/thoughts about this material (and/or other topics), again feel free to contact me at the email listed above.”

Nod : The Story Of The Three Little Pigs And The Big Bad Wolf

•June 9, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Once upon a time, many years ago, I created a music review blog. In the beginning, it was created as an assignment for a college class, but over time it expanded into something of a full-time hobby. While I have (arguably) written quite a few good reviews regarding many good albums, there were a few albums I reviewed of albums which were (arguably) not really good, and there were also a few bad reviews and/or opinions. Some (but not all, for better or worse) of these bad reviews were either edited later and/or revised completely. A few remain in need of trimming or deletion. However, one review, which I had not thought about for many years, until just recently, soon bothered me enough to do an extensive re-write. This is the story of the Music For The Rest Of Us review of Nod’s debut (and to my knowledge only) full-length “The Story Of The Three Little Pigs And The Big Bad Wolf”.

To be honest, looking over the original review was somewhat painful. After having discovered Nod’s Reverbnation site, and listening to the majority of his work whilst reading the lyrics for the songs, I had discovered in a flash that I had greatly underestimated and marginalized this band. Clearly, I had not given this album or project a fair hearing, which made itself worse when one considers that, due to the somewhat obscure nature of Nod, the review itself was one of the top hits when doing a Google search. So, while this project may or may not still be active, hopefully this review will somehow rectify my past mistakes and convince others to check out this album and this band.

While information about the band is somewhat vague and cryptic, with conflicting information (their now-defunct ‘official site’ states that “Nod has existed since early 1996”, while a more recent page states 1994), it is known for sure that it is mostly the work of Daniel Wihlstrand, with vocal assistance on many tracks by Elisabet Sundström. It is difficult to say whether or not the group really had consisted of “artists, painters and novelists as well as musicians” in the past, or whether this group is still active. Nevertheless, the text claims that “Nod is today a one-man-project and the musical goal is to crush all kind of music into pieces and then rebuild it into something extraordinary”. In this regard, he is absolutely correct.

When looking over the lyrics, it instantly becomes clear that when they claim that “Nod was created and organized as a religious sect, worshipping (sic) art as our God”, they weren’t joking. Most of the songs are hallucinatory tales of metaphorically-rich symbolism regarding fairy tales, religion, mortality, and futility. While the music in “The Story Of…” follows this blueprint, it is perhaps a bit more focused than his earlier work, in that it uses the fable of the three little pigs and the big bad wolf as a conceptual framework. However, while a literal reading of this story is used to introduce the album, it quickly expands outward. In the world of Nod, humanity is the swine, and God is the grinning wolf. Yet who is the victim, and who is the aggressor? Who is the benefactor, and who is the enemy? The album’s stark minimalist imagery, featuring stylized imagery of a deceased pig and wolf, seems to emphasize the fact that, while we may, for a time, escape morality and/or immorality, no one can escape mortality.

Musically, the album most comfortably fits under the ‘industrial’ description (actual industrial, as opposed to music one would dance to), although there are elements of noise and dark ambient as well. Mostly, the album roughly alternates between abrasive passages of distorted industrial synth melodies, and brooding dark ambient meditations (with one or two songs being a mixture of both). While I would argue that this album does not lend itself to easy comparisons to other bands, besides perhaps comparing it to several other CMI bands active around that same time period, it does have a slight resemblance to later-era Prurient (in other words, focused more on the synth aspect of noise). Also, while the level of sampling is slightly less prevalent on this album than the previous recordings, it still shows up from time to time.

Although the album is relatively brief at 44 minutes, it manages to pack a sizable amount of dread in the bite-sized songs (ironically, there is no fat on these compositions), culminating in intensity in “And The Big Bad Wolf” and “A Black Madonna From Russia With Aw Aah”. While the latter provides the album with a suitably apocalyptic (and purely instrumental) conclusion, “And The Big Bad Wolf” is noteworthy in the absolutely unhinged nature of the music and lyrics. Perhaps the most ‘power electronic’ track of the collection, Wihlstrand’s anguished shouting evoking William Bennett, but with ideologically obscure manifestos more in common with IRM than the average violence/misogyny common in the genre. Meanwhile, a highly distorted analog loop angrily rumbles in the background alongside an insistent horn sample and wailing drones. Perhaps it is just me, but in these (supposedly) end-times, there is something genuinely unsettling when one hears lyrics such as “Alone with myself I searched for comprehension / Why do you ask me to worship my will / Just to kill it in cold blood / You came down to be amused for a while / Never ever have you thought about what a plague you are / I am the most perfect victim…”

In conclusion, if you enjoy Institut, IRM, or even power-electronics/noise/dark ambient in general, then you will probably enjoy this album. While it is not an entirely perfect album ‘in general’ (my main concern that a few of the songs could have been just a little bit longer), it does embody that ‘groundbreaking sound and presentation’ that, save for IRM, seems to have slowly vanished from noise and power electronics. While this is a lamentable state of affairs, it is albums like “The Story…” which hopefully serve as a guiding light for the future rather than an epitaph of the past…

In addition to having most of his work available for free through his Reverbnation site, the album is also available on iTunes. It might take slightly more work to find a physical copy. While I am not sure if CMI has any copies through their mail order, you can order one through Discogs.

Nod Reverbnation
Nod Myspace
Official Nod Website (Through Archive.org Wayback Machine)
Nod album description on CMI

Current Activity II

•May 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

-Working on new John Lithium and Nihil Obstat material.
-Argali Records resumes operations on June 2011.

Current Activity…

•April 28, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This post is a placeholder until I have at least one of the planned projects completed. Smaller samples and/or WIP may (or may not) be uploaded to the Soundcloud page.

At present, the only immediate goal is to organize, revisit, and restructure my computer/software/studio. Besides the small amount of programs I currently use to create music, I have 2 gigs worth of samples, loops, freeware, donationware, shareware, and paid programs that need to be sorted through, organized, and assessed for usability/uniqueness (in other words, getting rid of all the garbage).

Also, this site will also (hopefully soon) receive a long overdue update of the links section, along with small updates to the discography section (maybe) and possibly minor visual updates as well.

Next on the list are tentative music projects. One is the return of Nihil Obstat, and another is an as-yet untitled John Lithium project. I have been developing possible visual/auditory elements for these projects, but have not committed on anything specific yet.

Even further plans in the future include re-activating semi-regular activity at Argali Records Netlabel, vaguely regular updates on the Music For The Rest Of Us blog (special thanks to the bands/labels who have linked to reviews there at present and/or in the past)…

And remember:

“There are no happy endings, because nothing ends”

-jl IV.XXVII.MMXI