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May 2022

Toshiya Tsunoda Somashikiba

“Pure” field recordings that really give you the sense of being there, taking the time to explore the place (here rural Japan) and are equally interesting and pleasant to listen to. I’m not a fan of everything Tsunoda has released but this is quickly becoming a landmark for field recordings for me. Very detailed, long (2 CDs), comes with extensive descriptions.

▷ RYM

Heiner Goebbels SHADOW/Landscape with Argonauts

So fun! Going out in the city to ask (about a hundred) people to participate in an absurd and impressive musical play, with choirs singing and accompanying saxophones and noisy electric guitars and cars passing by and oriental instruments (strings, drums, even singing), even hip hop beats on one track. It was also released as a radio play.

(But why such a drab cover art? I would have, I don’t know, asked the participants to draw a landscape with argonauts. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s what it is? Maybe one of them scribbled this as a kind of “fuck you, here’s your landscape with astronauts, now leave me alone”? That would make it better. Hey, I could draw a landscape with argonauts. I still don’t know what argonauts are or what they look like but that wouldn’t stop me.)

Discovered on François Bonnet’s L’expérimentale programme on France Musique.

▷ RYM

Demdike Stare Testpressings

I like Demdike Stare for their grainy, esoteric dark ambient trilogy Tryptych, but their following works didn’t have the same magic — except for this. A series of industrial techno EPs, with colder A-sides and a wilder B-sides (all like that except for the sixth EP), setting up raw, abrasive, experimental backgrounds before hurling the wildest beats in your face.

▷ RYM

АЛ-90 [AL-90] КОД-915913 [CODE-915913]

It doesn’t always work. Sometimes this kind of lo-fi, low-energy house sounds shallow and drab.

But sometimes it hits just the perfect level of moodiness and soulfulness for my mood, and I can’t get enough of it. Like the way “Опытная девочка” [“Experienced Girl”] uses that Supremes sample — a single line that’s in a different mood than the rest of the song, it’s a nice touch in the original song and here it becomes everything. Many of my house favourites are like that.

▷ Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Rav B-Sides & Rarities Vol. 3 [2011–2015]

Yes I discovered him with a B-sides compilation first, but that was a good idea — the rapid accumulation of short tracks in different styles works really well here, I love his flow, his beats (often jazzy and melodic), it’s not even too chaotic or too dense. I actually prefer it to Beneath the Toxic Jungle, which is also good but a bit tamer and more conventional?

Could be my new favourite rapper, I just need to check out what his lyrics are about lol

▷ RYM

Kate Carr Splinters

Edited field recordings taken in + around a gallery in London, where the artist was invited to work; as always, Kate Carr has her own way of making everyday sounds poetic, beautiful and a little strange. And here, in addition to the urban sounds of people and buildings (yes there are beeps and drones, the artist often closes in on them, making them sound more present and more musical), there are also fragments of live performances by other artists, music as part of our lives and environments.

▷ Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Bríi Sem propoósito

I’m not into black metal, but sometimes I find a hybrid record with black metal elements I love. Murmuüre’s self-titled album and its psychedelic, esoteric, Coil-inspired black metal; Progenie Terrestre Pura’s U.M.A., space-themed, with some space ambient and psybient elements; “Wind’s Dark Poem” on Mount Eerie’s Wind’s Poem; Strawberry Hospital’s Grave Chimera with trancecore and blackgaze. And now this one, which also includes psybient in some passages and is also psychedelic but in a different way, in two long, trippy, always changing tracks.

▷ Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Azu Tiwaline Magnetic Service EP

I’m just going to quote the Resident Advisor review, it’s on point:

“Raw percussion forms the foundation of Magnetic Service, with patterns drawing from Berber musical traditions local to the southern Tunisian region of El Djerid where she lives and the nearby Sahara desert. Throughout the EP dub and minimal techno concentrates bubble on the flame of cyclical and repetitive drum beats, carrying the weight of vast expanses, stories inherited and faraway dance floor memories with every resounding thwack.

The EP’s title track and ‘Tight Wind’ were made in collaboration with French sound artist Cinna Peyghamy, AKA Cikkun. Here Peyghamy attaches a contact mic to the hide of his tombak, a goblet drum often used in Arabic and Persian music, creating metallic electroacoustic jangles. Modular synth lines slither in the spaces between the drums’ bionic gallop while gusts of scorched sound granules churn at its heels.”

▷ Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Jabir Vuelo por las alturas de Xauen

I usually dislike lo-fi and cassettes, but it seems like I have a thing for old cassette synth ambient? First I loved Galen Herod’s Limacon, and now this one — old, crude-sounding synths + flute, violins or drums (the flute is my favourite here), over looped synth melodies, over background noise. It feels as if I’ve stumbled upon a beautiful, calming source of forgotten mysticism.

(Found on the La ola interior: Spanish Ambient & Acid Exoticism 1983–1990 compilation.)

▷ RYM

Zeena Parkins Three Harps, Tuning Forks & Electronics

Strange that such a minimal cover can be so misleading — it’s a subtle and beautiful record, the beauty of the harp contrasting with the strangeness of the other instruments and occasional dissonances, just the right balance I like to hear in such music.

Thanks to dugnad for the recommandation!

✿ Bandcamp
✿ RYM

Pan Daijing Tissues

Pan Daijing’s Lack — which I like a lot and many listeners hated — was dissonant, harsh, confronting listeners with uncomfortable and painful bodily experiences. Jade was already different, but Tissues is even more so: ethereal, theatrical, darkly beautiful.

(Get the 1-track version, the 4-track one is the same but with gratuitous fade-ins and fade-outs. I don’t know why they put that one on Bandcamp.)

Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Nathan Hill The Nix

Yeah yeah, this is yet another book starring + written by a middle-age white American male writer who’s struggling to fulfill his publishing contract, and of course it’s satirical (we live in a society) and contains all the clichés you’d expect from that kind of book — but I really enjoyed it! It’s more about his mother anyway, who throws rocks at a right-wing governor and gets sued to hell for it, with flashbacks about her life in the 1960s, coming from a small town to Chicago, as the protagonist learns about her life and why she abandoned him. And that part isn’t as cliché.

The Nix is funny, interesting, and I liked how Hill genuinely feels sympathy and understanding towards people even when they do the wrong things. My favourite parts were about the MMORPG addict guy — stuck in a completely unsustainable, toxic, self-destructive routine that makes absolute sense from his point of view.

Georges Perec Un homme qui dort

The story of a man who decides to be indifferent to everything. But this isn’t like Céline’s Voyage au bout de la nuit, where the protagonist and author seemed both so jaded and sick of everything they turned an adventure into pointless monotony — Perec does the opposite and manages to turn what should be a maddeningly boring life into a fantastic book, as unlike the “man who sleeps”, Perec finds interest and poetry in the tiniest, most insignificant things.

Gaspar Noé Enter the Void

What a trip. It’s 100% aesthetics and atmosphere (don’t watch this for the story or characters), but I was sucked in from the very first second with the flashing, psychedelic opening credits (⚠ seizure warning), and then two hours of DMT simulation and floating as a ghost in Tokyo streets was a pretty awesome experience.

(No, I haven’t watched Irréversible and I don’t want to. But maybe I’ll watch another Gaspar Noé film.)

Quadrant Infinition

It’s Basic Channel, but closer to Detroit techno (and with a Carl Craig remix). The whole EP is good, but “Hyperprism” is just so good.

▷ “Hyperprism”
▷ Discogs

The Maghreban FACT Mix 570

Most tracks here are techno and house, but that’s only part of the sound — it also contains jazz and songs from Lebanon, Guadeloupe and other countries, lots of non-electronic vibes.

▷ FACT (the WeTransfer link no longer works but you can ask the blue bird about it)
▷ RYM

Jana Rush Painful Enlightenment

Intense footwork based on abruptly cut and looped jazz samples, divas singing, moaning/sex. It’s also dark though, and you get plenty of conflicted emotions like how the moaning is on a track named “Suicidal Ideation”, or how the “I need someone / I need you” sample on “Disturbed” (don’t know the source, sorry) both gives a sense of soulfulness and sounds like a cry of pain. This album feels full of blood. Cold in a sense yet boiling inside.

Her previous album is also great, though this one strikes me as even more unusual and interesting.

Thanks to danilo for the discovery!

▷ Bandcamp
▷ RYM

Amir Baghiri Rooms

A great ambient journey. Starts with typical tribal ambient (that slightly dark rhythmic vibe with chants, digeridoos, drums, you know the deal), but the second and third discs take off towards space ambient, more minimal, droney or experimental, changing styles depending on the track, before ending on an emotional and super dreamy note.

▷ RYM




… And here’s my landscape with Argonauts!



June 2022

Rắn Cạp Đuôi Ngủ ngày ngay ngày tận thế

“Sleeping through the apocalypse”. 27 minutes of digital rainbow chaos with underlying peacefulness, vocal elements in Vietnamese (perhaps elements of Vietnamese music too? I think so but I could be wrong, I don’t know anything about Vietnamese music). Only a 7/10 for me so far but I’ve been coming back to it a lot, so maybe it’s time to bump it to a 8? Anyway it’s good, I’m looking forward to their next one!

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

Yuna Hirasawa Terrarium

A melancholic exploration of a future world on the verge of ruin — actually an arcology where the boundary between humans and robots has more or less dissolved. A young female scientist sets out to gather robot cores with her robot brother; this is all in order to save society (humanity?), but it also means killing the robots or letting them die. So while the series is mostly about world building, there is cuteness, tenderness, tragedy involved. And it get better and better with each volume (four in total).

Hiromi Goto (story) & Ann Xu (drawings) Shadow Life

The story of an elderly Japanese-Canadian woman who settles in on her own, adapts to living in her new place — and begins to see strange little creatures and the shadow of death. It’s about old age and death then, told in a tender way, with a slow rhythm and a Ghibli-like sense of magical realism and wonder. Also good to read about an unusual protagonist! Older people are too often left in the background.

P.S. Someone just told me things went ugly during production — like a previous artist had been initially hired, and then dismissed without being paid halfway through, or something like that? I couldn’t find sources for that though, so tell me if you find one.

Opinion YT

Pure ambient drone; not austere nor truly minimal, in fact it’s sonically quite rich, but it’s really all drones and overtones — no melodic nor neoclassical elements here. One of the best I’ve heard in this style, very soothing, elegant, multifaceted. This will resonate with any feeling you might have, happy, sad or simply contemplative, as long as it’s calm and slow.

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

The Gerogerigegege > (decrescendo) Final Chapter

Lo-fi, soft, introspective piano played in a park. Finding a sort of melancholic peace at the end of the world. Except this end is only a feeling on the first track, and all hell is actually breaking loose on the second one where harsh noise is added to the mix. Yet the piano plays on, unperturbed, as if it didn’t matter anymore.

(The first track here is the same audio as the first > (decrescendo) album, so Final Chapter makes it redundant except for the nice cover art; > (decrescendo) Box is worth getting though, very short but it’s also nice in the same vein. A few records from the vinyl edition were also buried in the soil of the park and released as a special edition.)

Probably my second favourite Gerogerigegege release (the first one being Moenai Hai).

▷ RYM
▷ Discogs

Ludwig A.F. The Ransom Note Mix

Groovy af. House, electro, trance, just a little hip hop and riddim, futuristic vibes. Feeling like this could be one of my favourite mixes ever.

▷ The Ransom Note (free download)
▷ Soundcloud
▷ RYM

Ricardo Villalobos Thé au harem d’Archimède

So Villalobos’s thing is eclectic, weird, minimal, very slow-evolving grooves. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, here it’s all really good — completely out there and bumping, with unexpected rhythms + sounds (e.g. the strings and hand claps on the first track). The transition from “Temenarc 2” to “Temenarc 1” and the melody on “Temenarc 1” (borrowed from Peter Gabriel’s Passion?) are just ♥

▷ RYM
▷ Discogs

Narcotic Syntax Reptile Sweat Accelerator

Digging further in the Perlon catalogue — this is really fun, like a pop version of microhouse (with vocals and all), or tech house gone completely nerdy and quirky. “Komodo Dragons (Narcotic Boost)” is actually a remix of a Misty Roses song, and “Cowabunga!” is even better, all cut-up funky grooves and spoken word. If you want more, the Calculated Extravagant Licentiousness EP is also solid!

▷ Official website
▷ RYM
▷ Discogs

Chris Korda Apologize to the Future

I got into Chris Korda after reading her incredible Discogs bio (which doubles as content warnings): “Chris Korda is the transgender, vegan leader of the Church of Euthanasia, a Massachusetts-based organization that advocates halting the overpopulation of the Earth by its four pillars of Suicide, Abortion, Cannibalism and Sodomy.

Six Billion Humans Can’t Be Wrong and The Man of the Future were all catchy hooks, faux-cheap synth sounds, robotic voices and very black provocative humour (or serious provocation) about how awful humanity is — definitely not for everyone but great if you’re into that. And now that we’re actually envisaging the not-so-distant collapse of our civilization, here is the logical next chapter.

Yes, it’s all collapse and imminent doom — Korda doesn’t pull any punches, and the lyrics aren’t nice, they’re scathing and desperate. (Okay, they could have been better stylistically. Sometimes they come across as childish.) But the music brings cynical cool, house grooves and melancholy to them, making the whole thing is very enjoyable in a dark way. Short too. Dance ’til we die.

▷ RYM
▷ Discogs
▷ Bandcamp
▷ “Apologize to the Future” (video)
▷ Overshoot (video)

Alexander Bruce Antichamber

A first-person puzzle game with coloured cubes and impossible architectures; conventional logic doesn’t always apply here, it’s half puzzles and half pure experimentation. I did need a walkthrough at times, but I like works that function by their own strange rules! Also pretty nice minimal aesthetics and ambient + field recordings soundtrack.

▷ Official website
▷ Glitchwave
▷ Steam

Jeremiah Cymerman Fire Sign

(Part) glitch with clarinets, strings and other instruments — performances by the artist, Nate Wooley, Peter Evans, Christopher Hoffman and others (not that I know any of them), glitched out against ambient backgrounds in chambers close to hell. A dark, mesmerizing atmosphere, with noise or instrumental outbursts until the more melancholic and melodic finale. Sounds particularly impressive on speakers.

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

Kreng L’autopsie phénoménale de Dieu

I’ve known about this for a very long time, but had never been in the mood for it before. Music that sounds played in a twisted world at night, perhaps in a church somewhere between Earth and the first regions of hell. There are no Eldritch abominations here, no abysses, no underground crypts, it’s not that kind of darkness: it’s closer to the human world, and that makes it more disturbing. An uncomfortable listen perhaps. But if you’re in the right mood, perhaps with the right book, it fits.

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

Ricardo Villalobos 808 the Bassqueen

Love this track — housier, more glamorous, less weird than the others I’ve heard by him. A slow banger. The twelve minutes pass like a breeze and if you’re like me, it will linger in your head and heart for a long time after that.

(I like listening to the entire EP too — the extended loop mix is probably meant to be a DJ tool but even as a standalone track, it sounds good to me.)

▷ RYM
▷ Discogs

Sortilège Sortilège

I’m not even into heavy metal, but this is great! Eighteen minutes of high-pitched vibratos, electric guitar solos and fantasy lyrics to put on your robe and wizard hat and headbang to (or headspin, or whatever heavy metal fans do — if they do it to this, it must be fun).

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp
▷ Official website

Kyuss Welcome to Sky Valley

Classic. Perfect for the first summer heat of the year.

(I still don’t know much else about stoner rock, there are a couple of albums I love but I’m not as curious about the genre as I am about others.)

▷ RYM

Mutant Joe Operation Chaos

<acid ghetto electro beat>

I DON’T THINK YOU NOTICE THAT YOU GONE HOKUS POKUS
I DON’T THINK YOU NOTICE THAT YOU GONE HOKUS POKUS


How can you not bump to this

▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

yeule Glitch Princess

I wasn’t sure when I first listened to Serotonin II (will revisit though!), but then I watched a couple of her videos, listened to this and I think I’m hooked. Cyber persona, electronic elements and introspective lyrics: I could even relate to this since my teenage years, when I daydreamed about being a gynoid or digital being and poured my heart out on the internet and my diary. (That’s only part of it, I know.)

… And I love “The Things They Did for Me Out of Love”. It was a risky move but I think they nailed it — both soundwise and conceptwise, the album moving on to another state instead of simply ending, perhaps a digital afterlife or perhaps what sleep would feel like if we could experience it. Yeah it’s a lot of Paulstretch but I don’t care, it works, it’s beautiful, and the fact that it’s too long for a normal human listen feels like part of the point.

▷ Official website
▷ RYM
▷ Bandcamp

Darrin Verhagen Black | Mass

Darrin Verhagen has worked in many genres I like, combining them in ways I like even more — industrial, breakbeat, lowercase, dark ambient, tribal ambient, drone, etc. His music can be furious and intense, otherworldly, or eerily comforting. He’s made soundtracks for operas, films and dance performances. And founded the Dorobo label too.

This here is an atypical work for him, and definitely not a good entry point — if you want one, try Professor Richmann Succulent Blue Sway, Shinjuku Filth Junk or Darrin Verhagen Zero / Stung — but it is pretty special. It’s a series of monochromes. Black. Minimal. Impenetrable. One noise album, one lowercase album and one drone album, the artist recommends listening to them at different volumes and on different equipment, yet they all share a similar aesthetic.

There’s one disc here I care much less for than the other two: e.p.a. Black Ice is decent noise but nothing special, in fact I’d say it’s my least favourite Verhagen record so far — as if the noise limited his sound palette rather than opening up new possibilities. I mostly hear it as a kind of palate cleanser. The other two are solid though: Darrin Verhagen Black Frost feels so clinical, like the slowest medical operation being conducted in a silent hospital in near-total darkness, only a few sounds and piercing lights emerging. And Shinjuku Thief Matte Black is my favourite of the three — austere yet fascinating, subtly changing drones, each track with slightly different evocations. To be listened to in the dead of night. (A strange idiom — in French we say “in the heart of the night”.)

(I haven’t found a good picture of the cover, but it’s black. A black acrylic laser-etched box. I kinda wanted one, but there’s only one VG+ copy on sale for € 120 on Discogs or “POA” (what? why?) on Verhagen’s website, so nope. You can get the records individually though.)

▷ RYM
▷ Discogs
▷ Official page







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