Pierre Bastien makes world music, in a way. He incorporates Yugoslavian, Moroccan, Senegalese, and Javanese instruments into his compositions. In a more accurate way, though, he makes the opposite of world music, because all of these instruments are played by robots. He builds machines that play the instruments, which he then accompanies with either trumpet or violin. It is eerie how warm-sounding, how nostalgic, the results can be. The song below, “Now On” (he also has a penchant for palindromes), sounds more like a fetishist of the past like the Caretaker than the machinist that Bastien actually is. Listen below.
If you are a fan of 80’s minimal electronics then you are going to enjoy Gorilla Aktiv. Gorilla Aktiv have a contagious punk style to their music which distinguishes them from other bands in this genre. Their first demo “Va bene” was pressed on the “Nur Für Erwachsene” 7” EP. The second demo from 1982 and the lost third demo from 1983 were then combined on the Umsonst Ohne Risiko LP. Quirky, minimal-wave at its very best.
Not much is known about DZ Lectric & Arnova. From what I can gather, this album is a collaboration between DZ Lectric (Christian Dezert) and Arnova (Ian Taguiev) and was created in Belgium, 1998. As I dig deeper and deeper in to early 80’s industrial music, it is not surprising that this group is from Belgium. Belgium has produced some of my favorite groups such as Absolute Body Control, À;GRUMH, Dive, and Suicide Commando. However, this group is not like the bands listed above. They really are indescribable to me, which is why I love this group and album. Listen to the album and come up with your own conclusions.
Weirdo Baltimore sound experimentalists Matmos are coming off a spat of collaborations with the likes of So Percussion, Lesser and Wobbly, and Jefferson Friedman to put out their first proper LP since 2008’s Supreme Balloon. Marriage of True Minds is due out sometime in early 2013, but to tide us over until then we get “The Ganzfeld EP” on October 16. In the past, Matmos have focused their compositions on sound sources that were almost sickeningly physical—2001’s A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure was created entirely out of field recordings of surgical procedures, and the track “Tract for Valerie Solanas” from 2006’s The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast featured a cow’s reproductive system being played like a bagpipe with a vacuum cleaner set on reverse. This time, though, Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt are turning their attention to the intangible. The conceit of this record is a bit complicated, so we’ll let Thrill Jockey do the explaining:
“The EP and the album have the same conceptual basis: telepathy. For the past four years the band have been conducting parapsychological experiments based upon the classic Ganzfeld (“total field”) experiment, but with a twist: instead of sending and receiving simple graphic patterns, test subjects were put into a state of sensory deprivation by covering their eyes and listening to white noise on headphones, and then Matmos member Drew Daniel attempted to transmit “the concept of the new Matmos record” directly into their minds. During videotaped psychic experiments conducted at home in Baltimore and at Oxford University, test subjects were asked to describe out loud anything they saw or heard within their minds as Drew attempted transmission. The resulting transcripts became a kind of score that was then used by Matmos to generate music. If a subject hummed something, that became a melody; passing visual images suggested arrangement ideas, instruments, or raw materials for a collage; if a subject described an action, then the band members had to act out that out [sic] and make music out of the noises generated in the process of the re-enactment.”
The track “Very Large Green Triangles (Edit)” is based off of Ed Schrader (known for his Music Beat)’s experience with the experiment. It centers around a short hummed melody, building up toward a chant describing his titular vision.
I would recommend getting a physical copy of this when it drops next year, as the liner notes are going to be necessary to understand what the hell is going on in most of these tracks.
I came across this amazing blog called “Tape Attack” and found this gem of a band called Casino Mariteam. It is hard to describe this band. I feel safe enough to say it is German 80’s “other”. This blog specializes in lost German tapes that range from minimal synth, punk, post-punk, experimental, noise, and pretty much every type of genre I love. Do yourself a favor and download everything available from this blog. Here is the link to DL this album:
Severed Heads is an Australian band that was formed in 1979 as Mr. and Mrs. No Smoking Sign. The original members were Richard Fielding and Andrew Wright, who were soon joined by Tom Ellard. The original members left the band and Tom Ellard began making music on his own. He eventually started recruiting extroverts that shared his vision and named his project Severed Heads. Early Severed Heads music was characterized by the use of tape loops, noisy arrangements of synthesizers and other dissonant sound sources, putting Severed Heads in the general category of industrial music.
I have not been able to find the first album anywhere, which is a damn shame, since the songs I heard from that album are the noisiest, tape morphed, and mindfucked tracks I have heard by them. Don’t get your panties in a wad, because I found some early Severed Heads nonetheless. There are two DL links below. The first link is the album Since the Accident. Much of the album includes avant tape experiments like “A Relic of the Empire,” “Brassiere, in Rome,” and “Alaskan Polar Bear Heater,” which merges the voices of an American middle-class everyman with an opera singer. This album is an essential first wave industrial record. Not all of the songs on this record sound like the track “House Still Standing,” which is a shame since that is my favorite song on the album.
The second DL link is not exactly Severed Heads, but features future member Garry Bradbury and a guest spot from Ellard. This tape is called “Taxidermy” by Wet Taxis. This rare tape displays the noisy, minimal, experimental foundation of what would become Severed Heads. Severed Heads should be an inspiration to all DIY musicians. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what kind of equipment you have, as long as you have ideas and the motivation to create sounds.
Keith Fullerton Whitman is intimidating for a variety of reasons. He’s a large, bald, bearded, grandfatherly-looking man. In most press photos he is seen hunched over a tangle of wires and machines that look unintelligible to anyone without a degree in electronic music. He happens to have one– a Bachelor’s in Music Synthesis from Berklee– but that’s not why he was asked to hold workshops and lectures at Harvard, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Those invitations were based on his successful visit at Harvard with Matmos, when they recorded much of their breakthrough album The Civil War, and then his subsequent solo work.
In the late 90’s he recorded as Hrvatski and started the Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge (RKK) label to release his own work, but what we’re focused on here are his releases under his own name– 15 full-lengths since 2002. They’re divided roughly into three types. First, there was the “Playthroughs” system, which consisted of computer-processed instrumental music. Now, he plays both what he calls “Live Electronic Music” (improvising on hardware modular synthesis equipment) and “Studio Music” (transforming acoustic and electronic music through musique concrete methods). Lisbon is particularly representative of Whitman’s work because it marks an uneasy truce between the three. By the time of its release on Kranky in 2006 Whitman was apparently done with his “Playthroughs” experiments, but this piece is evocative of them at several points. It is technically “Live Electronic Music,” as it was recorded live in Lisbon in October 2005. That said, it uses field recordings more appropriate for his “Studio Music.” This, then, is a sorting out, a marking of his entire musical territory into the boundaries into which each respective project eventually retreats.
If this all sounds rather academic, well, it is. But Whitman’s work is enjoyable even for those uninterested in the intellectual aspect of the music (which goes far more in-depth than my vague definitions above would indicate). The tension between ambience and noise and the repeated succession of one over the other is hypnotizing to those interested in the physical sensation of pure sound. Listen below:
There’s not a lot of information available about Delta Files, but here is what we know:
1. It was a short-lived project by Olivier Moreau, who is better known for recording as Imminent.
2. There were only two Delta Files releases, the Body Bags LP and the Acpklenc EP, both released on sublabels of the now-defunct Re-Load in 1996.
3. Body Bags was recently made available as a name-your-price download on Bandcamp.
All you really need to know is that as Delta Files, Moreau made weird, industrial electronic music at the height of the classic 90s IDM era. Do your own research and check out the 7+ minute scorcher “Headache.”