Sawako, "Brand New Fossil"

cover imageOn this beautifully presented little 7", Japanese artist Sawako Kato uses a variety of found sounds to create an audio representation of what are or will become fossils, either literally or conceptually. With one side sourced from handmade crystal radio recordings and the other being field recordings of a then-abandoned amusement park, the sense of emptiness and decay is clear among the subtle sounds presented.

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11069 Hits

Kyle Bobby Dunn, "Rural Route No. 2"

cover imageClocking in at a meager 20 minutes, these two tracks mix ambience, noise, and traditional instrumentation into a fog that is sparse, yet complex, and has moments of arid beauty as well as dark, sinister passages. More than a few times this young composer reminded me of some of Organum's best moments, which is a massive compliment.

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6563 Hits

Giuseppi Ielasi, "Tools"

cover imageThe title and content of this EP could be interpreted many different ways. For one, the seven short tracks were all built using a single household implement, such as a rubber band or metal pan. Second, the sparse, short pieces are prime sampling material for DJs and other artists, making the disc a "tool" for recycling. Regardless of its potential uses, the material makes for a compelling example of Ielasi’s ability to turn the mundane into the extremely listenable.

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6062 Hits

Philip Jeck & Marcus Davidson, "Spliced"

cover imageRecorded live as a duet between turntables and keyboards (with editing and overdubbing bass added later), the main track here is a slow, dramatic piece, with the flip side conjuring the best moments of electronic dub.

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6519 Hits

Puerto Rico Flowers, "2"

cover imageFollowing up their four track debut (originally titled 4), here are two additional tracks from the former Clockcleaner vocalist's sideproject. Again, it is an exercise in unabashed goth revivalism, encapsulating the sensibilities of the genre without sounding like a tribute band or an overly derivative project. Here is simply two additional songs, following the mold set forth on the previous EP, of quality death rock with a modern influence.

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8964 Hits

Jason Crumer, "A Personal Hell"

cover imageOn this combination CDR and 7" single, Crumer continues to demonstrate why he’s so highly regarded in the noise scene.  The 7” channels the best elements of the junk metal and maxed out overdrive pedal style, while the CD takes a slow, droning direction to nicely contrast the cut up harsh stuff.
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9770 Hits

Robert Piotrowicz, "Rurokura and Eastern European Folk Music Research Volume 2"

cover imageThe latest release from this up and coming Polish sound artist steps away from his usual preference for walls of digital noise and instead plunders through tapes of traditional folk music for source material, leaving enough evidence of its pedigree there, but taking it to far off realms of sound.
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11864 Hits

Puerto Rico Flowers, "4"

cover imageWhile comparisons to Cold Cave are going to be somewhat inevitable in this day and age, this four track EP from Clockcleaner vocalist/guitarist John Sharkey III embraces the new wave nostalgia to some extent, but the result is closer to early '80s death rock than the more synth heavy projects, owing far more to the likes of Christian Death than New Order.
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13063 Hits

Harpoon/Locrian

At first blush, I thought this was an odd paring, given that Harpoon does competent grindcore punk/metal stuff while Locrian is known more for drone and experimental with just a hint of post-punk sensibility.  However, Locrian’s contribution to this 7" (plus digital) release is by far their most "conventional", and is not as an odd of a paring as I had expected.
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9166 Hits

Naam, "Kingdom"

cover imageWhen I first threw this 12" EP on the turntable I wasn’t sure what to expect.  The cover art gave me twinges of pretentious freak folk, while something in my gut said it was going to be another stagnant piece of guitar drone.  However, it is neither, and I was quite happily surprised by the unabashed noisy sludge rock that followed.
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9988 Hits

Sissy Spacek, "Epistasis"

cover imageOne look at the sleeve of this 7" gives a good indication of what to expect.  Being a 45rpm disc with 17 tracks total, it’s a good bet that the song list is really irrelevant.  Upon listening, it is pretty much impossible (and unnecessary) to know where the tracks begin and end.  But one thing is sure, it is a metallic grindcore blastbeat noise assault.
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13157 Hits

Horseback, "MILH IHVH"

cover imageFollowing his brilliant stoner rock by way of minimalist compositions album The Invisible Mountain, Horseback’s Jenks Miller has delivered another release of carefully calculated minimalism in the old school vein, but here with a bit more of a noise and shoegaze sense.
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13252 Hits

Stillbirth/Prurient, "The Mirror of Purification"

cover imageBoth artists on this brief 7" are going in directions that are perhaps unexpected with their sound, and that’s for the best.  The Stillbirth track mixes elements of traditional noise and bits of music, while Prurient’s work is an electro-acoustic collage with some overt synth work that’s not far from something that’d be heard from his work in Cold Cave.
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11175 Hits

Antoine Chessex/Arnaud Riviere

For its maiden release, the new Staalplaat sublabel Le Petit Mignon has issued this clear little 7" in gaudy, bright packaging with each of the artists tackling a side.  Between Chessex (Monno) abusing his saxophone and Riviere (Textile Orchestra) destroying an electrophone, the results is a precious few minutes of pure sonic destruction.
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11222 Hits

Liturgy, "Immortal Life"

This is definitely an odd little release, because it manages to not only be heavily laced with the standard black metal clichés (beyond lo-fi production values, metronomic drum machine, and indecipherable Cookie Monster vocals), but creates something different in the sum of its parts:  the parts are all there, but the sound is just somewhere out in left field, in a good way.
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11103 Hits

Locrian/Katchmare, "Drosscape/Scarab"

This odd little multicolored 7" record puts these two relatively young projects together, and demonstrates just how diverse the so called "noise" scene can be.  While both mix elements of contemporary drone, Locrian layers and moulds sound into structured chaos, while Katchmare focuses on simple, singular sounds to create an oddly toned piece of noise.
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9689 Hits

Emeralds, "Solar Bridge"

Usually I’d imagine something coming out on the Hanson label to be a bit more obtuse and rough than what is presented on this album.  Instead of leaning to the noiser end of the spectrum, the two side-long tracks here instead define themselves via classic analog synth drone that is so thick and sustained that it almost becomes tangible, yet never mundane.

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6465 Hits

Foreign Bodies, "Never Ready"

On ostensibly their first release, Foreign Bodies meshes '90s alternative rock, industrial, and hardcore punk thrash, and filters it all through a lens of Wolf Eyes scum noise (no doubt due to production assistance from Weasel Walter).  Needless to say, much is accomplished across these 10 tracks in 15 minutes.
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10465 Hits

Four Tet, "Ringer"

On this four track, half hour-ish EP, Kieran Hebden has created something that is for all intents and purposes, techno.  We in the field of music criticism hate such simplistic descriptions, and especially one such as that with some unintentionally pejorative connotations, but this is something that could easily get asses shaking at the disco or wherever the kids go to dance these days.  But, for all its 4/4 thumping, it is also an amazingly complex piece of programming and composition that is just as well suited for deep, headphone-centric analysis.
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10201 Hits

Jessica Bailiff and Annelies Monseré

There is the old adage that "brevity is the soul of wit" which, in some cases, may be true.  However, in the case of 16 minute EPs such as this, brevity is more of a frustrating tease than a positive quality.  This four track EP, recorded while Bailiff was touring Europe is such a purely compelling piece of work that it makes me wish it was a little bit longer. 

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9974 Hits