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Hox, "Duke of York"

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cover imageEven with two amazing solo albums last year and a new Wire album with subsequent touring, Graham Lewis managed to reactivate Hox with Andreas Karperyd (with whom he has collaborated as He Said Omala).  The music, as always, exceeds expectations, and the duo has created an album of engaging electronic pop with enough strangeness befitting Lewis' lengthy and consistently magnificent career.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2015 12:19

Sult, "Svimmelhed"

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cover image Rhythm is often a matter of togetherness. It binds songs like mortar, measures melody and harmony, marks the entrances and exits of instruments, and draws distant ideas into close proximity, if not for the sake of a single voice, then for the sake of single performance or a unified work. Though they are a quartet of two contrabasses, percussion, and guitar, Sult rejects that mode of timekeeping on Svimmelhed. Repeated patterns and measured distances are supplanted by an anatomical focus, on the particulars of steel and nylon strings, plastic drum heads, and wooden bodies. Sult break the gluey qualities of their instruments into atomic elements, then separate and catalog them like isotopes or tints and shades of a mother color.

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 October 2015 23:03

Takahiro Kawaguchi/Utah Kawasaki, "Amorphous Spores"

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cover image Listening to Amorphous Spores, it’s difficult not to think about sex. The title alone implies it. Spores are generally vehicles for asexual reproduction, and while that isn’t technically sex, it is at least related in that it is a method for securing growth and repetition over time. But Takahiro Kawaguchi and Utah Kawasaki chose to place mushroom caps on the cover of their album and many members of the Fungi kingdom can reproduce either asexually or sexually. The method utilized depends on the environment. In conditions favorable to a mushroom’s continued existence, spores are produced by mitosis. As genetic replicas of their parent, the spores simply germinate and continue the species over and over again, no partner required. When conditions aren’t so favorable, however, mushrooms go through a more complicated process involving cell fusion, the production of a zygote, and meiosis. It still doesn’t make sense to think of males and females (the gametes all look the same), but since the resulting spores are not clones of their parents, their offspring stand a better chance of surviving environmental changes. The newly mixed genetic material might, for instance, secure them a tolerance to drier climates. Though it would be a stretch to say that what they’re doing is sexual, Kawaguchi and Kawasaki also work with morphologically similar germs, “selfmade instruments” and “electronics” according to the slim liner notes. They begin as quantifiably distinct bodies, fuse, interact, and disperse, finally producing hybrid offspring. Although it’s a strange and unlikely symmetry, the structural and extra-musical content of the album point toward the similarities in fungal mating and creative collaboration.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2015 12:17

Forced Exposure New Releases for 11/30/2015

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New music is due from Steven Stapleton and Christoph Heemann, Architectural, and Thee Arcadians, while old music is due from Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Juan Atkins, and Harry Pussy.


Coppice, "Matches"

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cover   image Perspective in film or literature is an easy enough concept to explain. Appeals to height and distance or attitude and intention help situate what it means for a director or author to have a view of something, even if the subject matter is abstract. Perspective in music requires a little more: more context, more imagination, more patience maybe. Program music utilizes narrative by design, but what about music that is supposed to have eliminated narrative, that is intended as sound and not as storytelling? What about an album like Coppice’s Matches? Noé Cuéllar and Joseph Kramer’s second album this year is a puzzle box of rattling noise and growling materials, drawn from shruti boxes, pump organs, and sphygmomanometers. In that way, it is reminiscent of Cores/Eruct, a record that alternately divulged and concealed the architecture behind its construction, and which utilized music recorded and performed since 2009. Matches also incorporates music from the last six years: studio recordings and live performances from Texas, Illinois, and Iceland. It is set apart by its focus, by its cleaving to claustrophobic spaces, its tight framing, and its mechanical sequences, by the perspective it brings to Coppice’s corner of the musical cosmos. Cuéllar and Kramer have called Matches a “story with many holes.” Whether they are presenting a tattered cloth or a series of missing pieces, and whether there is a difference between the two, is a question worth keeping in mind as the album folds, unfolds, and spins through its many configurations.

Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2015 12:49
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